Blog Post originally posted at the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog on April 28, 2011.
Food for thought… or at least for a healthier body
By Tami Brothers
The Kid - “Mom, can I make dinner tonight?”
Me – “Ummm, sure. What do you think you want to cook?”
Hubby – “Anything would be better than whatever you plan to make with that slab of tofu renting space in our refrigerator.”
Me - :(
For most people, the thought of their offspring taking an interest in everyday household duties would warm their heart. Hearing a teenage boy ASK to cook the family meal is pretty rare. Even more so in my family. The Kid has cooked a few meals over the years, but he’s never really shown an interest in the act of cooking until recently. That momentous event started the day I purchased a 400 calorie cookbook.
To back-up a bit, this is my Year of Reevaluation. I’ve spent the better part of 2011 finding the right balance in my family’s budget and decluttering a couple of decades worth of collections. Everything has been met with a semblance of interest from the two men in my life. That is, until I started messing with their food. This was the moment I sensed a rebellion brewing amongst the ranks.
In my defense, I’m not the best cook. When I find a new recipe, I usually follow the directions to a “T.” Then if the meal is something that garners a second chance in our home, I’ll adapt it with other spices and items that I think will enhance the taste (did I mention I’m a terrible cook??? Darn distractions.). Unfortunately, most of the meals in this new cookbook were beyond bland. Even I had a tough time faking any enjoyment in eating. But until I’ve had a chance to taste the original version, I don’t have the imagination or skill required to know when something just isn’t going to work.
Why, then, would I put my family through all of this?
Along with finding a better balance in our everyday life, hubby and I decided we need to do a better job with our health as well. Both of us have gained a significant amount of weight over the last five years and our cavalier eating habits are beginning to show in the habits we see in The Kid. After hubby required two heart surgeries and then my battle with my wacked out hormones increased, our eyes were opened to the serious consequences of our actions.
Kind of scary when you stop and look at the obesity statistics in both kids and adults and some of the issues that are causing them to rise. After doing a bit if research, my family decided we needed to take on a proactive role in fighting back.
Along with doctor check-ups, dentist visits, and making it a requirement that we all walk the dog every night (as a family), we’ve focused our attentions on a couple of other big issues that plague our lives. Because all three of us have multiple interests keeping us hopping, we spend most of our week nights eating fast food. Because of this, I’ve become entirely too intimate with the dollar menus. They are fast, cheap and extremely convenient but are also packed with way too many calories.
Or are they?
One of the tricks we’ve found to help cut some of the calories and fat while still utilizing this resource is to know ahead of time what we want to eat and exactly how many calories are in each item. I now have a printed nutrition list for each of the fast food places we use tucked inside my purse. We also grab a bottle of water from home and opt out of the sugary drinks. Not only has this cut back on the calories, but we are saving quite a bit of money, too. When water just doesn’t cut it, we use those little flavor packets or the new MIO flavorings to give us that little extra we’re craving.
On the exercise front, I started the wimpy man’s version of the P90X program. I did this 90 day regimented exercise program in the fall last year and was pleased with my 15 pound weight loss and the increase in my energy levels. *note: this was backed by a strict diet that I kept regular track of on the fitness app on my phone. My plan for this 3 month period is to lose another 10 to 15 pounds, but to also work on some toning issues I have.
**As a Family**
Hubby and I have started taking advantage of the three hours a week our jobs allot us to exercise. We’ve become quite familiar with the 5K walking/running path by our offices and I truly believe this is helping us reconnect as a couple as well.
I mentioned the evening family dog walks. At the moment we are up to two and a half miles. We’d be much further but Princess Bella’slegs just aren’t long enough to keep a good pace. Apparently we have to ease her into this life change, too. Our goal is to start the Couch to 5K program in May, alternating those specified 3 days a week with The Kid’s swimming schedule and mine and hubby’s Tuesday and Thursday walks. I’ll let you know how that goes in a future post.
Whew. I’m exhausted just typing this.
With all this going on, that 400 calorie cookbook has been passed onto a friend with instructions not to return it. I’ve since bought a 600 calorie book and those meals are going over better than the other.
Still, every once in a while The Kid gets an inkling to try his hand at the stove. Unlike his mother, he’s much braver and willing to try making a meal with items he happens to be craving. Most even turn out well (see photo of his baked Macaroni and Cheese – only a tad bit too much butter but still incredibly yummy). Hey, I even get a few days off from cooking. Win, win. What more could I ask for. :)
A few links to other Petit Fours and Hot Tamales blog authors who are on their own healthy journeys.
Sally Kilpatrick has a regular spot on the Healthy Writer’s Blog as she works to get back into the exercise groove, to figure out why she allowed herself to eat poorly, and to come up with strategies to lose weight and make that weight loss permanent.
Pam Asberry is working on her own life changes as she trims the fat in many aspects of her life.
Christine Glover is deep into a program called The 4 Hour Body: Operation Skinny for RWA Nationals.
How about you? Is anyone taking a similar healthy journey with their family? My pickles and popcorn staples are getting a little old. I’d love some new healthy snack ideas.
Check back with me on Thursday, May 26thto find out why I’ve become obsessed with a transportation helicopter called a Falcon with two mini guns on the side and missile launchers. And no, I haven’t joined the Army…