I’m sitting in traffic heading home after a long day and intense meetings and I’m so hungry I could eat a horse. As I try to figure what to eat that’s easily available understanding comes. First I want to buy roast maize then I remember its all starch ?… Then I looked around and all the street food available starch. Yes, I’m a street food girl but my options are increasingly limited these days. Why limited? My new regime has reduced carbs aka starch and sugar.
The cab driver hears me say I am hungry and offers me eclairs. Maayooo! That is even worse than the maize now; sugar straight to the bloodstream, an instant spike in energy but no satisfaction. Oh, I learnt many lessons from the last time I ate lots of sweets. Anyway, eventually a lady with bananas rocks up, I buy two and eat and though I’m not really full it’s better so I go with that.
It’s interesting watching my food choices and seeing how they are affecting those around me. I have totally changed how I eat and shifted my boys slightly. My lil man was totally into chips (French fries) but now he’s like, once a week is enough. Chips are a staple in my house and have been for a long time but these days, the lil man determines where we buy them depending on how much residual oil the chips have after packaging. No! I didn’t tell him that. I’m so excited.
It’s even more interesting to walk this journey with him. Every time we are leaving the house together he’s concerned if I’ve had breakfast and if not have I packed it? Have I carried water to drink? What is the plan for dinner? When we are out he watches my plate to make sure I am on track. Some of my friends find these changes daunting and too much pressure but I love it. Why? It has taught him some simple lessons I will share today.
First, he now knows has influence. He knows that he can help someone work on a project from start to finish, be a great supporting cast and keep them accountable. He feels strong because he has coach’s number to exercise his right to ‘report’ me if I am being too much. Thankfully that hasn’t happened yet. His greatest influence though is in encouraging me to keep going when I don’t feel like. Simple questions like have you worked out today, what are you eating, do you need me to help…help me keep on track.
Second, he now knows that though the path to the goal may be difficult, consistent action makes progress possible. He’s watched me work through cravings and win some and lose others. He’s watched me pack food because I don’t know what will be provided where we’re going. He’s watched me blunder and get back up. He has seen me choose to remain on task even without immediate results so we keep walking and talking through the challenges and the lessons.
Third, he’s learnt to think through things, set goals and commit to the cause. We plan meals together and when there are challenges we find options. I watch him wonder what I’ll eat and he gives options for me. He has also applied these lessons for himself. Last term when he changed schools and dropped significantly in class, I watched him get anger at himself then get up, dust himself off, set a target, work towards it and he hit the target. He now knows he can.
Fourth, he understands the value of honesty. There have been days when I ‘broke’ the rules and ate or did things I shouldn’t. I could have chosen to lie to coach and say I was on track or be honest and post the picture. I kept my word because I was learning to be honest and he has kept his word to me. It has also opened up deeper discussions between us that I really appreciate.
I have always been a firm advocate for teaching children things when they are young but there’s more I’m learning. Our children learn more from our actions than our words. If I was talking about lifestyle change and cheating all the time he’d learn it’s ok to do that. He will either step in my footsteps or avoid them altogether but at least I had set an example.
Who would have thought a simple health journey would be so revelation?