Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Raging Waste of Potential and other Compliments



Wow, I haven't posted in forever. I would love to announce that I'd spent the last eight months writing a script or perfecting my ballroom dancing skills, but I cannot because I did not. Maybe next year.
I did, however, follow through with the subject of my last post and began attending thrice weekly bootcamp. And you know what? It worked. I fucking did it.
It has taken me since February, three days a week plus a few extra days if I was up for it, to
s-l-o-w-l-y lose nearly twenty pounds and gain a ton of muscle strength.

And I drank wine every single day.

The upside is that I'm wearing the clothes that I've hung onto since 2005 B.C. (Before Children- I'm not THAT old).The downside is that I haven't accomplished anything else, so perhaps I am incapable of working on my mind and my body concurrently. Oh,well.
Yes, neck pain persists: I'm like a rotisserie chicken at night, turning periodically on the spit that is my spine to keep it from getting too stiff. However, at the age of forty five, after Esquire deemed women in my age group as surprisingly still fuckable, I'm actually being called "fit" by my instructor for the first time in my life. He kindly called me a "raging waste of potential" around the second month, and he's correct: I've never committed to any kind of exercise plan for more than a couple of months in my entire adult life. If I had made an effort when I was younger, he's saying that I might have been an athlete. But I didn't. So I wasn't. It was never about being Strong, which it turns out, is way better than Skinny. I tried Herbalife, Diet Center, Michael Thurmond Six Week Makeover(pre-Extreme Makeover). Nothing stuck or made me Skinny. So I officially call bullshit on Skinny. And I cannot over emphasize the awesomeness of Strong.
I'm NOT bragging here, people, I'm simply saying that if I, notoriously and shockingly lazy for my whole life about this sort of thing, can get into acceptable shape, then so can you. It just takes some time. Three hours a week is where you start. Do more, get there faster. Eat less, lose more weight. Blah blah blah. It's totally boring,I know, this conversation about weight loss/fitness, but it does work if you do it. And I still have miles to go.
The other revelation that I made was in this last month: sugar is like a bad boyfriend-sweet but ultimately going to kill me and my kids. This includes brown sugar, evaporated cane juice and cane syrup,confectioners’ sugar( my personal favorite),corn sweetener and corn syrup,dextrose,fructose,fruit juice concentrates,agave, glucose,granulated white sugar,high-fructose corn syrup,honey,invert sugar,lactose,maltose,malt syrup,molasses,raw sugar,sucrose,syrup. I hate this revelation with a passion, but it's been had, and I'm thinking we're not going back. I had the kids watch "Fed Up", and it scared them into not complaining about the whole wheat pancakes with a dollop of light whipped cream that have replaced challah french toast with maple syrup, or the sugar free puffed brown rice cereal and unsweetened milk alternative that replaced Honey Nut Cheerios and Cinnamon Life.
No more orange juice, apple juice, Z-Bars, granola bars, cookies, twice/thrice weekly visits to frozen yogurt/ice cream/popsicles after school. No more enormous 20 ounce lemonades at lunch before white rice/white pasta slathered in butter and cheese. It's water/milk alternative and brown rice/whole wheat pasta slathered in Earth Balance/olive oil and some sort of sugar free tomato/pesto sauce with mandatory broccoli/carrots/fresh peas/salad. Its frozen mango after school or homemade lightly stevia sweetened peach frozen yogurt that will save us a lot of money in the long run, but I might have to get a new food processor because it HATES making frozen yogurt.
We cheat on the weekends, but a lot less than before, and when they have a cupcake at school or chocolate milk at a party I don't make a big deal out of it.
It's a little depressing, actually. There is a joylessness in a world without sugar, but the choice is either a slightly joyless present or an acutely joyless future with a host of potential medical issues.
Despite the temptation to substitute, the kids don't get any chemical/artificial sweetener except occasional stevia in moderation because the point is not to replace but to diminish the desire for sugar altogether. You may be thinking "duh, already did all that", but before seeing "Fed Up", I wasn't that concerned. Neither child is overweight, their cholesterol is excellent, they exercise regularly. As a family we are lucky to eat well, primarily vegetarian, and our genetic background is-oh, yeah that's right- each of us has a first cousin with diabetes and my husband has a  grandmother who has had it for twenty or so years. It never occurred to me that diabetes might be a risk factor for us. It is predicted to EXPLODE in the next few decades, so I did the math for the added sugar that the kids eat each day. This is not their entire diet, just the stuff with added sugar:

Breakfast
french toast/pancakes/waffles with syrup(15g);Honey Nut Cheerios with milk alternative (12g), occasional juice or smoothie(22g)
Lunch
Sunflower seed butter sandwich with some Nutella/jam on whole wheat or challah bread(20g)
Z-Bar/granola bar(11g average);cookie (5g)
After school treat
frozen yogurt, ice cream, popsicle(12-25g)
Dinner
penne with red sauce(5g)
Veggie chicken with ketchup(4g)
Dessert

small treat(10g)

Add it up. Give or take it's 80-100 a day of added sugar. Holy Shit.

They are supposed to have 12g.
12 GRAMS according to the World Health Organization.

To my surprise, my primarily vegetarian kids with zero exposure to fast food, 7-11, sodas etc. were getting seven or eight times the recommended daily allowance. This was not every day, but it was more the norm than the exception. And if we were that far off, what must be happening with the population of kids who have no one telling them what not to eat? I shudder to think of the state of their young livers. I fear for the future of all those sick people that will have done it to themselves.
I took the advice from "Fed Up" and started really reading labels.There is added sugar in EVERYTHING. Even a few grams here and there can add up to a lot more than you realize.
It's overwhelming, but it's our new reality. And, yes, I will eat cake on occasion and will never stop drinking wine. Some things are worth dying for.
I am very proud of my girls for not flat out rebelling. They've been very supportive when my "breakfast bread pudding " is too disgusting to eat or the smoothie sans sugar is not very good at all, they politely decline. It's a work in progress. I'm hoping some of it sticks and that they go into middle school and high school with a sense that healthful equals strong, smart and beautiful instead of being the exclusively pizza eating, soda drinking, candy bar consuming kids that we saw in the movie and see every day out on the world.However, if you notice them hiding in the bathroom at school binge eating Hershey's Kisses, let me know, okay?