I'm way older than I want to admit and I feel like my whole life amounts to a series of "I tried"s....
I tried to lose weight
I tried to get organized
I tried to get _____ job that I really wanted
The list goes on... Gotta tell you, I'm SICK of "I tried"...
Yes, I guess it's good that at least I tried... But what really bugs me is that I feel like most of my "I tried"s amounted to spinning my wheels.... Lots of energy, lots of talk, but always, at some crucial moment, (sometimes, more than one) I chose to stop trying. I told myself it wasn't so important, I told myself I just couldn't right now, I'd try again later...
Honestly, I almost didn't write this post. After contacting Confessions of a Curvy Girl and asking if I could submit something (perhaps regularly) to chronicle the life change I'm (duhn duhn duuuuhhhhnnnn - here's that word a gain) TRYING to implement, I was on the point of sending a quick note, saying, "You know what? Never mind." It's 6:47 pm on Sunday, and after a day of referreeing two kids who seem to decide that everything they do annoys each other intolerably as soon as my husband is out of the picture (he's been away on a trip for over a week now) without benefit of backup, I feel like an utter, ineffective failure. I do not know how single parents do it, day in, day out, 365 days per year. In my book, they are superstars.
Right now, my youngest son is 1/2 hour over the time I alloted for him to play a video game, after 2 reminders to stop. After spending all day yesterday fighting with both kids then investing hours of time in soothing hurt feelings and getting everyone on an even keel again, I'm dreading yet another confrontation. And fairly certain that the tug of war that is about to happen will be time consuming and draining. Yes, there are arbitrary things I could do (turn off the game on him, etc...) but it still won't be quick, because it'll be a fight... He'll be off, but the issue won't be solved. So how can take the time to type this?
Because I'm tired of "I tried". I'm tired of almost. If I don't submit this post now, it'll be yet another "I tried" - with no success. So I'm going to leave the keyboard for a minute and once again remind my son to get off the game. Ok, done. And he claims that he will not freak out on me when/if I go down again in a couple of minutes and turn it off on him if he's not off... That will be a first.
I'm on day 14 of giving up almost all sweets, sugared beverages and pre-made artificially sweetened beverages. I'm allowing myself Stevia and soy milk in my coffee and tea, and also allowing myself fat free frogurt. I've never been much of a cook because whenever I'm in the kitchen, I eat non-stop - mostly sweets... My solution? Don't cook anything that requires any thought and get it done as fast as humanly possible.
Here's the problem. My husband's health is going downhill lately. He's gained a ton of weight that he's having a hard time losing. His joints are stiff and he has old injuries that flare up when he tries to exercise. He just had carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists, so lifting weights, racquetball and biking are painful, unrewarding chores. The man who used to run circles around me is now a slower runner than I am with maybe 1/10th of my endurance. He works a ton, travels a ton, does a ton around the house, and feels guilty taking time out to exercise because he feels like he should be with me and the kids.
He hates salad (can't bring himself to eat it, as much as he tries) - says its the texture. He's sick of chicken and steamed (pick one): broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, peas... Clearly, I need to start getting adventurous, branch out and find savory, low cal, healthy dishes to appeal to both him and my family. There are tons, I know. I also am hosting Christmas this year - for the first time ever - for the whole family. While people will bring dishes, the main burden will be on me. Which is fine - after 20 years of marriage and taking advantage of a Christmas feast every year at someone else's house, it's past time I stepped up. And I'm not working right now. So the only excuse I will have for not hosting an incredible event will be incompetence.
To be able to better care for my family, I need to spend time cooking - really cooking. And I need to be able to do it without becoming a neurotic wreck, which is what happens when my cooking attempts turn into months of unhealthy binge eating. Yes, it's that bad. "Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified", according to psychologists. Yup. I've seen those, too. So I've decided that the simplest thing for me to do is to take the possibility of eating foods that I binge on completely out of the equation. They need to simply be something that I just don't eat. No fuss, no muss. I also need to drink more water. And I only like ridiculously sweet beverages. So I figure that giving up eating sweet foods will serve a second purpose. It'll change my taste preferences so that I will no longer need sweet drinks to be satisfied.
Don't get me wrong. I've had some successes. I've been running half marathons for the past 5 years. Well, about 1 per year. But I just kind of slog through them - I don't really RUN them. Yes, just getting through one is an accomplishment in itself, but after 5 years of just getting through, it's starting to feel a bit hollow. When I ran my first half marathon, it was an accomplishment - I NEVER thought I'd be able to do it. But now I feel like I'm just doing it for show. After all, it's one of the few "I trieds" that I actually has consistently led to success. So if I go through the motions, it's at least one thing I can tell other people about myself that indicates I have any ability to follow through and acheive a goal. Because I never actually ended up with a career. My house is frequently a disaster. My hair and nails are frequently a disaster. And while I felt confident in my parenting skills with my kids as as babies and toddlers, this middle childhood stage is hard for me to negotiate. I was pretty good with toddler discipline. I knew when to distract, when to redirect, when to time out. I could make cool little kid crafts with them. Now I have to debate, persuade, enforce. I have to help them organize - me, who can't even organize myself. And they are old enough to see my flaws and call me on them. So it's time for another accomplishment. Why not this? Research says sugar is poison, more addictive than cocaine. Why am I eating it? Why do I allow my kids to eat it? Why not do something about it, at least for myself, so I can set a good example. Maybe a very important example.
So I've decided to take to take this one step myself first, hoping that in doing so, in creatively solving my own sugar addiction, I will be better able to help my kids and husband overcome their own challenges. And I need to do better than just "try". I need to commit. Just like I needed to commit to writing this post, even though it's not even close to what I originally wanted to submit.
I need to know that I am encouraging my kids and husband to lead healthy, balanced lives. I cannot do that and be a slave to my sugar/sweet addiction. It's too distracting. Since giving up sugar, counterintuitively, I've gained 2 pounds. But I still think it's worth it. So I guess I'm getting over my weight preoccupation, too. Sort of... I mean, I did weigh myself, so I obviously still care.
My son finally stopped playing the video game. And with no hysterics. He has to earn every minute of electronics time that he uses by exercising, so now he "owes" me 45 minutes. He's working on that right now, doing various exercises of his own creation (mostly pseudo gymnastic moves). And the night is ending without fights and hurt feelings. When I finish this post, I'll have completed something that I said I would do. Despite many temptations, I have not eaten any of the chocolate chip quick bread that I made, and actually managed to create a zucchini and tomato sauce dish that I really like, even though the kids don't. Not perfect. But I feel like I can say that, tonight, at least, I did more than "try". And that's kind of nice.