Why I Blame Myself For “Feeding” My Kids’ Addiction
If I could do it all over again, what would I change?
Realistically, nothing. Hypothetically, everything.
As I see it now in hindsight I know where I went wrong. BUT I wouldn’t be where I am today wanting to make a change for the better. There are so many lessons I learned from the mistakes I made. How could I have let this go for so long, standing on the sidelines, watching it get worse by the day? I saw all the red flags but ignored them until I saw it in myself first.
Literally Feeding My Addictions
Much of the traits I am passing down to my children are ones I set by example. Watching them each day becoming their own person is so fun to see. I am able to pick up on intricacies they have that are similar to their Dad and I. It makes me smile knowing there is a little bit of me and him in our children. Some things I wish they would let slide but they can’t always get only the good things from us.
I’m a “good” girl who has never smoked, done drugs and only drinks on occasion. So while the taboo vices were never my jam, it doesn’t mean that I’m pure as gold. My issues stem from my relationship with food and it’s been quite the roller coaster ride for years.
My so called addiction is widely accepted by the general public because it’s something we all need to survive. Eating. I don’t go around talking about it being a problem because everyone eats. For me, it became more than just fueling my body. It was succumbing to cravings, overindulging, eating when I wasn’t hungry, buying things that weren’t healthy: in turn starting an addiction for my children.
More Than Just A Sweet Tooth
I let my sugar craving take over our daily lives. It wasn’t until I took stock in my own health that I realized the amount of sugar my children were consuming each day. For years, I’ve been gluten free and at one point after my youngest was born, I ate super healthy and felt great in my body. I didn’t let grain or sugar be the main attraction and focused on lean meats, veggies and some fruits. Then I began to slack off and allow myself a treat here and there.
Well, you can probably guess where this going? One treat became many and even though I was gluten free, I ate a lot of sugar. The weight crept back on and the energy began to fade. Things were not adding up in my head because I ate well at meals but was struggling to get back to my optimal size.
Several weeks ago, I watched the Magic Pill on Netflix and something clicked. Oh my gosh, I cannot believe how much sugar I have been eating in the last couple years. During the summer, I was buying and eating ice cream with hot fudge almost every night. I thought I was treating myself after having a good day of eating but didn’t realize the harm I was causing to my body.
Implementing Healthy Habits
I took a long, hard look at my daily food consumption and knew I had to make a change. Luckily, I had done this before and saw great results. The reason it didn’t stick is because I was still in a diet mindset, not one where I was fueling for life.
Finally figuring out what foods jive with my body and which ones screw with my system has taken years. What it comes down to for my body is this: No gluten, minimal dairy, reducing sugar immensely (even in fruits), high protein, lots of veggies and some starch. Upon waking up, I drink 24 oz of water and can immediately feel my energy rise. I’ll have a cup of coffee with a splash of almond milk because I like the taste. My first meal of the day is a dairy free protein shake around 11am after intermittent fasting for at least 14 hours. Oh, and I don’t eat after 9pm.
This might sound overwhelming and if you had shown me this 5 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. It didn’t happen overnight but once I found the formula that worked for me, the difference in my body became apparent.
A Pantry Full Of Sugar
Even with these changes, sugar is still a huge part of our lives. While I have the willpower and understanding to walk away because I know of its effects, my children don’t.
With the holidays right around the corner, I have created my own of sugar ingesting zombies. After surveying our pantry, I am basically encouraging them to fill up on sugar. Here, kids, start your day with this healthy but sugar filled muffin. Don’t forget the sugary cereals and donuts that have made their way into our house as a fun fall treat. It’s truly frightening how out of hand it’s gotten.
My goal is not to go to the extreme by forbidding sugar, but instead create a healthy balance, even for myself. I don’t want my kids to hide Halloween candy in their room or sneak eating sugar because they need that fix. You know, the one they have become so accustomed to over the years.
The effect sugar has on my children is not lost on me. I see how it changes their mood, attitude and energy level. There is no one to blame for their choices but myself. I am the one who buys the food, treats them to snacks and has limited restriction to their snacking habits. I can tell them to choose a cheese stick or banana over the cookies till I’m blue in the face.
But who wants that when there are still sugar laden snacks on every shelf in the house. I want them to think of going out for ice cream as a treat. It’s hard to make that special when my cabinet is full of sugary items and products with hidden added sugar. At this point, their bodies almost “need” a constant stream of sugar pumping into their system to function properly.
Making Lifelong Changes For My Family
I don’t want my kids to feel as if I’m restricting them from sugar because I’m all about moderation. The fact is sugar has become a main food group in our house and I feel as if I’ve lost control. All I want for my kids is for them to grow up as healthy, independent adults who can make good choices for their body.
Right now, they are driven to foods by taste and not what the foods are doing for their body. They don’t understand why they get a stomach ache after eating something that didn’t agree them. They know they would rather have something sweet than eat a plate full of veggies.
I fear that my kids will fall into the same food trap as I did. It is my job as their mother to instill knowledge about making healthy choices so they can grow big and strong. I don’t want them to rely on foods to make them feel better when they are emotional, cure boredom, or overindulge because it taste so damn good.
Today is Day One of making little changes to have them realize that food is fuel to provide energy and keep them healthy. Instead of doing a full sugar purge, I plan to start by swapping out sugary breakfast foods for healthier options and stop buying snacks filled with sugar. We will continue pumping them full of information about what foods are good for them and which ones make their bodies feel icky. It’s a start, but like my life, it will take time. Eventually, they will get it.
Put your oxygen mask on first.
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