Little Mama On The Prairie

A life and weight-loss journey.

Can obese parents raise healthy children?

My children are so precious to me. Yes, they drive me to the brink of insanity, occasionally make me contemplate becoming an alcoholic, and constantly have me second guessing what the heck it is I am doing being a mother. But I still love them. I want the best life possible for them. I want them to have the chance to live their lives to the fullest potential both spiritually and physically.

The most important thing I want my children to learn in this life, is to have a real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To know Him the way I have gotten to know Him and possibly even better than I have. To have an eternal perspective that things in this life are just things, they’re not worth holding onto with every fibre of our being but that we can live so much freer when we realize the things that are worth holding onto and the things to let go.

The second most important thing I want my children to learn in life is to look after their bodies. To take care of themselves so they can better use what God has given them to serve the people around them. Children do not possess the knowledge or experience to intrinsically know what is good for them and what is not. They need to be guided, they need to be taught. And the people they are going to learn from the most are their parents.

One thing that really, deeply saddens me is seeing my obese peers raise obese children. Every time I see this I hold back the urge to cry out that they do not have to be this way. Do they not remember what it was like to be the overweight kid at school? Do they not remember what it was like to have all the older relatives make they’re “clever” jokes of “do you get better food than your siblings or why are you so much bigger?” (Yes, many older folks have said that to me, usually in the romantic language of low german). Do they not remember the self-consciousness that came through the teen years when all their friends were wearing all the cute clothes and they were left in frumpy, baggy clothes to hide their figure? Do they not remember the nights of crying because they felt like no one was ever going to fall in love with THEM? DO THEY NOT REMEMBER??? And if they do, what on earth are they doing putting their own children through the same misery! Wake up people! Just because you and I struggle with obesity DOES NOT MEAN OUR CHILDREN HAVE TO!

When I started this blog, my daughter was still young enough to not really notice or care what the shape of my body was. She has grown up a little since then. She has asked why my tummy is so big. She has asked why my bum is so big. She has asked why my arms are so big. I chose to be completely honest with her and it has been beautiful. I told my daughter the truth. Mommy is so big because mommy did not eat enough healthy food and ate too much junky food like french fries, chicken nuggets, candy and cookies. Mommy also did not exercise enough when she was young. We then have had great talks about why we say no to too much sugary foods, why I tell the kids to turn off the TV and play outside, why we need to eat our fruits and vegetables, etc. I also always focus these conversations with my kids on health. Not beauty. Not self worth. Health. Obesity is a health issue. I have said it before and I will continue stressing, obesity is NOT a beauty issue. It is NOT a self worth issue. I think if as a society we could finally wrap our heads around this, people may have a lot more success at managing not only their obesity, but their issues with how they perceive their worth as a person. But that’s a whole different topic.

So how can obese parents still raise healthy children? Well, in my opinion, it starts with getting used to the word “no.” First saying no to yourself and the unhealthy choices you feel like making because, well, you’ve been in the habit of making them for years and it is hard to break old habits. Secondly, learning to say no to your child/ren. Children are experts at instant gratification. They want the things they want and they want them now. They want potato chips NOW. They want candy every second of the day. They want to eat meals that consist of fries, deep fried chicken nuggets and hotdogs. Every meal. They do not possess the ability to know that these foods CAN be eaten in moderation, on occasion and it not have a longterm effect on their overall health but that they cannot be eaten on a daily basis and not affect how their bodies function. When you say no to your child for the things they want, they very well may hate you for a moment (I know mine have) but they will love you for a lifetime. When you are tempted to give in to their screams (or whines) of “I want,” ask yourself this question, would you rather have a child momentarily angry with you now, or would you rather have an adult daughter/son who resents you for not teaching them to make healthy choices and giving them the chance to be the kind of person they could have been if they didn’t struggle with obesity?  Kids get over disappointment pretty quick. Adults tend to hold their resentments for life. What kind of relationship do you want to have with your children long term? What kind of life do you want them to live?

The flip-side of learning to say no to bad foods and habits, is teaching your children the healthy alternative to the things they want. Keep your fridge and fruit basket stocked with fruits and veggies that you know they like and occasionally introduce new ones. Most of the time (I’m not a drill sergeant, I do let our kids have “normal” snacks on occasion too), if the kids want a snack, they have to choose a fruit or vegetable. If they say no, the consensus is they are not really hungry and don’t need a snack. If they are truly hungry, they’ll go grab that banana and get over it. My kids hate cooked veggies. It’s a texture thing for them mostly. So if I am making cooked carrots for supper, I will save a few raw ones and allow them this alternative to the meal. They still have to eat a vegetable. They don’t get the option of not eating it when it is served. On the other hand, sometimes my kids eat so many fruits and vegetables from breakfast until afternoon that I don’t prepare a vegetable with the evening meal. I’m a busy mom too, I don’t like to make extra work for myself if I don’t have to either.

Sometimes, even healthy weight parents have children on the verge of obesity. I have the same message for you, especially if you’ve never struggled with weight and the associated health issues, please learn to say no to your child. Please teach them how to take care of their bodies while they are still young and forgiving. Please give them the best possible chance to live a full and healthy life. Remember to do it from a health perspective, not an image perspective. I have no idea if my son or daughter will struggle with obesity by the choices they make as adults, but you can bet your bottom dollar they will not struggle with obesity as long as they have me and their father to guide them through their growing years and that we will be watching carefully to nip in the bud any habits that would lead them down the road of a weight gain spiral.

I still struggle with obesity. I likely will my entire life. But I will not give up the fight to regain my health nor will I allow my children to follow in the footsteps that got me here, I will never wish that kind of struggle and pain on any child of mine.

One last side-note for anyone who has been curious of my long silence. It has mostly been related to not having the time or peace and quiet to be able to get my thoughts written down. I’ve written dozens of posts in my head over the past months but can never seem to find the time to get them out of my head. That, and weight loss is currently on hold as we are 24 weeks pregnant with baby #3! I hope to find time to share a few other of my thoughts in the coming months but the tracking and weight loss version of me is on hold until sometime next year, depending on how quick I recover from my c-section.

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Remember Me?

Wow, the New Year came and went a little fast. I didn’t intend to take quite this long of a break from blogging. In fact, I often “write” blog posts in my mind as I’m cooking, driving, washing dishes, etc. but they never seem to make it into type. The life journey is moving along. The weight loss journey is a long journey and it feels like I’ve been in a massive uphill battle for too long. The thing is, I’m still struggling with priorities. I’m still struggling to find balance and most days, it just comes down to the needs of the family, or my boss, coming before my own. I am struggling to stay on a regular exercise schedule though I’ve been trying to squeeze it in where I can…often a late night bike ride in the basement just before heading to bed.

Other areas of my life journey have moved forward like crazy. Thanks to our wonderful church ladies Bible study group and the Beth Moore study on David, along with our small group study on “Too Busy Not to Pray” by Bill Hybels, my spiritual journey has reached a new level. I am so thankful the Lord never stops calling us into closer fellowship with Him!

I have also discovered that I am a recovering postpartum depression victim. Right around my son’s second birthday, I noticed my depression begin to leave and that’s the point when I realized how very depressed I had become. Looking back, I wish I had sought medical attention for it more than just the once (my Doc convinced me I was not depressed at the time, just needed “better coping skills”.)  but I have also become thankful for the experience because it has taught me something about grace that I never fully realized before. I have now  experienced some of the exact things I was so judgemental to others about and let me tell ya, there is nothing like experiencing something firsthand to teach you a good deal about being compassionate to others. I hope I will never look at the mother of a screaming child with anything but understanding and compassion for the rest of my life! One of these days I will post about my depression in detail because I know there are many young mothers in the throws of PPD and you are not alone!

So that’s where things are at for now. I apologize for my long hiatus. I do not know how faithfully I’ll be able to keep up with blogging this year but as the Lord brings topics to mind, I will do my best to find time to share them with you.

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I’ll be back…

Hey folks, just a note to say I’m taking a break from blogging, probably until the New Year.

I wish you all a happy and HEALTHY holiday season. Let’s all do our best to keep up with as much exercise as we’re able to cram in, and purpose to choose our foods wisely in the onslaught coming up. We don’t have to (or want to) meet back here with an additional 15 pounds in the New Year!

For anyone curious, I am still maintaining my weight, needing to find a way to make more time for exercise so it doesn’t start to creep back on me.

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Weigh-In Day

Hey friends, I still haven’t figured everything out but being on an almost fluids-only diet most of the week, thanks to the lovely sore throat that came for a visit, remembering not to just gorge on food the minute I could handle swallowing ( I was sooooo hungry) and have an exercise jam session with my kids yesterday, I did manage to get back down to 228 this week. I so wish I was confident enough to video myself exercising and the kids with me, it is that funny. Yes, me exercising looks funny AND the kids exercising is adorably funning, particularly my boys push ups. The kid already has a six pack. He just turned two. Sick.

Anyway, I’m hanging in there and hoping I can get fast enough at my new MT job that it will stop consuming every hour of every day and actually let me get other things accomplished every once in a while.

 

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Weigh-In Day

Hello? Anybody out there? Anybody?

Were you asking me the same thing last week? Notice I didn’t post?

The last couple of weeks have been riddled with illness, overly long “To-Do” lists, time away at a women’s conference and living on the brink of exhaustion. It’s been causing me to question and reevaluate some priorities in my life.

I am currently maintaining my weight in the 227-230 range from week to week. I am able to maintain it and not gain everything I just worked so hard to lose by being cautious of what I eat and trying to throw in exercise when I can. But its hard. I’d give just about anything for a heaping plate of poutine right now. Except for the gross feeling I’d have after I ate it.

I need to slow down and I am trying to find which areas of my life I can cut things out of in order to do that. Living on 5-6 hours of sleep a night and trying to cram in too much in my days has really run me down and I just cannot physically keep up with this pace.

While I am not in full-on weight loss mode right now while I figure this all out, you can bet your boots I will not be letting myself slide backwards to the weight I came from.  Uh uh. I am NOT going back there. And you don’t have to either, no matter what life throws at you, you can still make your health a priority.

Sometimes you might need to take a break from losing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t maintain. Actually, these seasons of plateau in your weight loss journey should be helping to prepare you for when you reach your weight loss goal. You can’t go back to the way you used to be or you’ll end right back where you used to be. But sometimes we all need a break, especially if your journey is going to be as long as mine and during those seasons, don’t give up, don’t go backwards, practice self-control, rest, collect yourself, and you will know when the time comes to put your all back into it.

I am still here, and I thrive on the encouragement of others, both giving and receiving, so please stop by and leave a note. I also thrive on gift giving/receiving…feel free to speak my love languages accordingly. ;)

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Weigh-In Day, Week 40

What can I say? Apparently I can maintain weight like a pro. Another week of holding steady at 229, in spite of efforts to ramp up workouts and eating well and cautiously. I’ve either got a major plateau going on or some other issue but either way, I am working on figuring a way out of this slump. I think I may have the body of a bear…it knows winter is coming so its trying to store all the fat for a long hibernation…

Talk soon!

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Weigh-in Day, Week 39

I wish I could say that I had lost 39 pounds over the past 39 weeks but I can’t. I am holding steady at my 20 pound weight loss another week though. This week that will be considered a victory considering the week began with Thanksgiving dinner and I’ve been working on rebuilding my muscles again, which weighs more than fat. I can’t believe how long it takes to build them up and how fast they shrink when you let up for a bit, even though they say you lose muscle at half the rate it takes to build it. While the temporary break was necessary the week before, my body has definitely been thanking me for getting back into exercise this week. The knee injury in particular was beginning to re-stiffen and get quite sore when I wasn’t exercising as regularly and has significantly relaxed since I started up again.

Anyway, this week I definitely need to get back into tracking my food, working on the exercise and get myself to a loss for next week’s weigh-in. This is enough weeks of holding steady already.

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Weigh-In Day, Week 38

Another week of holding steady – which I consider a miracle this week.

Please don’t give up on me folks. I haven’t given up on myself, I’ve just had to take a little break from concentrating and working as hard at this as I was, as demanded by circumstances.

I haven’t forgotten about posting a wedding dress photo…I am just waiting for there to be someone around during daylight hours to help me get into it and take the picture. Coming soon.

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Weigh-In Day, Week 37

Well, here it is a week later and I have managed not to gain or lose again. Well, that’s not entirely true, I did gain at the beginning of the week and then worked my but off the last two days to reverse the damage. Ugh. That was stupid. Not the working hard to reverse it part but the part about not working at it sooner in the week.

This was, once again, one of those weeks where it felt as though everything was stacking up against me, not allowing me the time to exercise or the will power to not give in to convenient, not-so-healthy food. I began my practicum at the end of last week, which I am loving by the way, except for the fact that to complete 5 hours a day of transcription work with small children in the house, it means getting up around the 5am-ish hour, working through naptime, and finishing up what I didn’t get done at night. While at the same time there still remains produce to be canned, a house to be taken care of, kids to be loved, observed and “dealt with” if you know what I mean. Harvest season is not yet over and weather has not been cooperative on that front. I know I will have haters for saying this but, as soon as harvest is done anyway, I can hardly wait for winter to settle in and things to slip back into a routine.

But of course with this cooler weather comes…Anniversary! Birthdays! Thanksgiving! Halloween candy (we don’t celebrate Halloween but we do enjoy the day -after candy sales)! Christmas! And with all those occasions comes FOOD!!! Have you started strategizing how to make it through the onslaught we’re about to enter with gaining back everything you’ve worked hard to lose, while still enjoying yourself? It’s a difficult one. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for it yet but I better get myself ready. I really don’t need to start right back at the beginning come March 2014.

Here’s hoping to a better week for me, and a great week for you! Thanks for stopping by my blog, if you’re reading, I’d really love to hear from you as it helps to keep me going.

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Weigh-In Day, Week 36

Holding steady with my weight this week, no loss or gain. I’m in denial right now though. I need to start tracking my food again and I just don’t want to. The undeniable truth is that summer is over, the chilly weather has set in, I’m not sweating from the moment I wake up until the moment I wake up the following morning anymore. I’m not outside every waking minute running around like a crazy person trying to accomplish more than is humanly possible during daylight hours. Well, I’m still trying to accomplish that but in a more virtual way with 5 hours of transcription work needing to be completed a day, plus photos for clients piling up and waiting to be edited, plus the usual kid/house care. But none of these things make me sweat. I have bumped up my workouts a notch this week in hopes that would help keep my metabolism moving. I think I may need to bump up some more. BUT, I also need to start being extra cautious of what I eat during the cold months. Fresh fruits and veggies I find more difficult to enjoy and I would prefer to stick to things like pot pie, mashed potatoes and cinnamon buns.

Do you have seasons that get you into more trouble than others? Recognizing this will be a huge step in helping you overcome the hurdles a particular season can bring. For me, knowing that the cold season brings with it strong cravings for creamy comfort foods and sweet hot drinks means I can make some smart plans to keep staying on track a little easier. For one, I make sure to keep the good stuff in the house (fruits, veggies etc) and keep the bad stuff out altogether or only have it around in small quantities for the occasional treat, not overdose. Did you know you can cook your potatoes in chicken stock (don’t drain it off), and some cubed low-fat cream cheese at the end and mash to make really creamy mashed potatoes that don’t have an ounce of butter or fattening cream? And they’re tasty too. If there’s one thing I can’t stand its watery bland mashed potatoes made with skim milk and a teaspoon of margarine. Gross. I’d rather give them up entirely.

Anyway, so the goal for me this week is to get back into tracking, or at the very least, being extremely aware of what I’m eating, figuring out how much more exercise my time budget can handle ( I would so LOVE to do more if I had the time), and in general, keep on keeping on.

How are you doing?

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