Hi. My name is Jen and I’m a sugar addict.
I know some people say that jokingly in an attempt to express their love of desserts. I love desserts. But I’m also completely serious.
When you catch yourself standing in a corner, shoveling candy into your face as quickly as you can before anyone will notice (and not just because that means you’ll have to share), that’s a problem. When you are able to sit there and tell yourself that it’s not a good idea to consume more sugar because you’re already starting to feel sick but you are unable to make yourself stop, that’s a problem. When you’re completely aware that the amount of sugar you’re eating is effecting your skin, your stomach, your mood, your anxiety levels, and your ability to sleep at night but you still can’t stop yourself, that’s a problem.
And that’s exactly where I find myself right now. Toxic. Ashamed. Lacking willpower.
That’s also why I’ve decided to go sugar free throughout all of April.
We stood in front of racks filled with candy, the girls’ eyes wide as they scanned the recognizable packaging for something that jumped out at them. I prodded them to hurry up—OK, strongly urged is probably closer to the truth. We were going to be late. We were meeting our friends at the movie theater next door but had stopped in to pick up way less expensive candy (shhhh, don’t tell).
Samantha made her choice and immediately flipped the package over to read the back. “Mom?” she said. “I don’t think this has nuts, but can you check to make sure it’s safe for Maddie?” She wasn’t planning on sharing her candy, but she knows that Maddie has a serious nut allergy and wanted to make sure her buddy would be safe.
My momma heart burst a little, especially since lately I’ve noticed one too many adults having little to no regard for the safety of kids with food allergies. They complain about the inconvenience of having to work around allergies for school snacks and birthday parties. They are incensed that their children have to “miss out” because another kid has an allergy.
My children don’t have food allergies and I’m pretty much a tree hugging hippie, but thought processes like those fill me with rage.
Going gluten free has made me even more defensive than usual.
Why? Well, there’s all sorts of debate about this whole gluten thing. Most people will agree with the fact that there’s a percentage of the population who has a major problem with gluten. These people cannot eat the stuff without getting really sick. They have celiac. Since it’s diagnosable and has an official name, most people are OK with acknowledging that it exists.
Where you start to lose some of the believers is when you talk about gluten intolerance. This is not something very official. A lot of people have self-diagnosed themselves as having an issue. Other people (like me) have had medical professionals tell them that they “probably have an intolerance and should avoid it” or that their antibody levels are off and their celiac results may be a false negative. A colon biopsy can give you a definitive answer but… that means you need to go and get your colon biopsied. Uh, no thank you.
Here’s what I know.
If we’re out at a restaurant or something and I eat gluten by accident (say forgetting that sometimes flour is used to help bind meatballs), I’m bloated like I’m six months pregnant before we even get in the driveway. I feel sick and lethargic and I don’t want to talk to anyone. Sometimes my stomach aches and burns and twists so that the only thing I can do is curl up in a fetal position and sleep. After a few hours, I start to feel better but it can take days for the bloating and the overall feeling of grossness to leave me.
Call it whatever you’d like, but it happens when I eat foods containing gluten. That means I’d rather avoid the stuff so that I can function like a normal human.
Have you ever tried working out with a kid weaving between your legs? Or climbing on your back? Or (once they’re a little older) critiquing your form?
Let’s be real. Squeezing in a workout when you have kids (especially when they’re on summer vacation and you work from home) can be rough. Routines are thrown off completely and it’s hard enough to just conquer day-to-day tasks. Adding self care in seems like a total luxury.
But it’s not.
I’m a firm believer that if you want something, you’ll make time for it. It might mean cutting out other things that are less important, but if you really want it, you’ll make sacrifices.
This weekend I took the girls to their school to play on the playground and take their scooters around the track. I figured I’d get a nice walk in while they were doing their scooting. Um, wrong. If there’s anything all these years of motherhood should have taught me, it’s that nothing goes as planned. Ever. Ellie wandered slowly, dragging her scooter along beside her at a snail’s pace, while her sister sped around the track like there was Olympic gold at the end.
As we inched along, I got frustrated about not getting in the little bit of physical activity I thought was a given. But I quickly shifted my perspective before becoming full on doom and gloom.
I couldn’t walk briskly. So what? My meandering littlest one was happy as could be and I’d just have to make the most of it. Instead of rushing her along, I started doing lunges next to her. She found this incredibly amusing and so did her sister. We were all happy.
Why don’t I do things like that more often?! Being a mother means being a master of manipulation. You take the situation you’re presented with and you make it work.
So I mentioned a few weeks ago that my husband got me a Fitbit Flex for Mother’s Day—and that I’m maybe, sort of, a little bit obsessed with it. Well, getting to my goal of 10,000 steps a day has proven to be a little more difficult than I expected, which has only strengthened my obsession. I find it especially crazy when I have a day where I’m on my feet a lot and I don’t get nearly as many steps in as I thought I would. Turns out standing around the kitchen chopping veggies or waiting in line at the store is not nearly as active as it feels. Still, I’ve found ways to add more steps into my day and each week my activity has been improving.
Along the way though, I’ve noticed some peculiar new issues that I lovingly refer to as #fitbitproblems…