Food Fight

I have to get better at food.

I really want to be one of those people who plans a menu for the week. And then I want to be one of those people who goes shopping and gets everything in one trip. AND I want to be one of those people who shops with coupons and gets great bargains and keeps the grocery bill nice and low.

Do those people exist? If they do, I envy them.

I am really trying to find a good shopping strategy. I started out meal planning for the week and then going out once and getting everything. But I was finding that when I went and did one big weekly shopping trip, I bought a lot of stuff that we didn’t eat or that we ended up throwing out or that we really didn’t need. And I was spending more money than I wanted to.

So then I decided this month I would try doing little trips on a day-to-day basis as we needed things. I thought maybe then there would be less “extra” bought and perhaps we’d spend less money. Also I am hoping we enjoy stuff more when it’s fresh. It’s how I shopped when I lived in Japan a lot of the time, because I was not home much and because my fridge was the size of a file drawer. But… it’s a hassle to go out each day. And I don’t know if I am spending less.

I am worried about the costs. One of the things we have to do for the adoption home study is show them our finances. And it stresses me out, because I don’t think they’re going to be good enough.

We’ve been just the two of us for a long time, and cooking and food and eating out are some of our pleasures. We don’t go out a lot or buy a lot of clothes or travel. A lot of our entertainment is in cooking and eating out. So I am afraid that we’ll do poorly on our home study because of that. I’m afraid our expenses will look bad.

I am so bad at cutting back. We don’t have champagne and steak-and-lobster tastes. But we do have some habits that are hard to change. We eat more expensive cuts of meat — boneless and skinless — because I once was a vegetarian and with very few exceptions, anything like bones or cartilage or anything like that in my meat will nauseate me, so that’s my fault. Our beverages — pop and milk and water for our cooler — are sometimes fully 1/3 of our expenses, and finding cheap alternatives are hard. BDH loves cheese, and cheese is expensive unless you want to buy the oily, no name stuff — so it’s a choice about quality and health benefits. So I struggle with those things in the grocery store.

We are trying — BDH is trying — to eat out less. We use coupons when we can. We choose cheaper, healthier options like Subway if we can. BDH is trying so hard to take breakfast and lunch to work and eat it each day, and resist the temptation to go out with the gang. But it is so hard for him sometimes, and I have a hard time griping about it when I look at the extraordinary progress he has made in the past few years, and how hard he has tried. And really, honestly, we don’t eat out that much — but it’s getting to be clear to me that even occasionally is too much.

On the plus side, with the spring and summer coming, fruit and vegetables will be cheaper, and we’re trying to eat more of them. We rarely buy snack food anymore, but what we do buy lasts weeks. I am exploring no name options and giving up little extravagances in my own diet. And I am trying to just eat less. We’re both just trying to eat less.

People give us well-meaning advice all the time, and sometimes not so well-meaning. They think because we are overweight it is a character fault. They think we don’t know that we’re overweight and that we aren’t trying to do better. They think we eat crap all the time, when in truth we eat healthy food. They think we eat lots of processed and pre-prepared and packaged food. They think that veiling it in warnings about our health makes it okay. They think that because we’re overweight, somehow warnings about our health don’t get through our fat heads, when in truth they terrify us and make us feel guilty and worse about ourselves. They think it’s as easy as “just eat less” or “just follow a diet”. They think it is easy to look at your husband whose diabetes means he cannot enjoy what he loves and then tell him he has to enjoy even less, that he must be denied even more.

Food is a minefield for us. I feel like whenever I have to talk about food with someone I am preparing to do battle. I feel embarassed about the choices I am making, even though I know they are often good ones. I feel ashamed of eating and enjoying it. I feel guilty for who I am. I feel like I am being set up to be a parent who is giving all the wrong signals about food. I feel like when it comes to food, no matter which choices I make, they will be the wrong ones to someone.

I hate the feeling of being judged. I hate worrying about this stuff. Food should not be an area of conflict and battle and stress. That’s how the problems start for a lot of people in the first place.

So. Yeah. My budget isn’t getting fixed today.

11 thoughts on “Food Fight

  1. You are so right about everything, Cinn. Eating healthy costs more money and keeping on budget is very difficult. You are also right about people’s perceptions about overweight people. Couldn’t you just kick the crap out of them.

    My nine year old eats more in the run of the day than I do… and most of it as healthy as we can get into her. I also weigh 300 lbs – on steroids for Crohn’s diesease nine months after having a baby. I lost 50 lbs, in a few weeks, then put it all back on and more once the steroids kicked in. I feel crappy, look crappy, and struggle every day just to put one foot in front of the other with two serious illnesses – diabetes and Crohn’s disease, a new baby, working full time from home, a nine year old to keep busy and happy, an inability to eat fruits and vegs and healthy snacks because I will end up the hospital, run the house, do all the finances, and keep things clean enough my baby doesn’t choke on something of the floor, try to be a good wife, oh, and I babysit kids after school. What do they think I do sit around watching TV all day and eat bonbons????!!!!

    Oh, I could go on and on but what bothers me the most is the comments and snide remarks about my weight and what I eat, especially at the grocery store when you can seen them doing the once-over of the cart. Just shut up and spend one day in my shoes people! I bet you couldn’t lift one of thoses shoes by the end of the day because of total exhaustion. I don’t chose to live like this. I walk or swim every day and chase around two kids. I eat as healthy as I can with low fat/low sodium/low sugar options as I can with Crohn’s, drink plenty of water, and try not to cry every morning when I get on the scales and see it has gone up again.

    Don’t judge me – you don’t live my life – keep your unsolicited comments to yourself. Try a little understanding and compassion. It can go a long way to making someone’s day.

    Good heavens where did that rant come from.

    I meant to be supportive, Cinn. You are doing a great thing and making all the right choices and BDH and mystery baby will benefit from those choices. Keep up the great work and be proud of yourself. It will all work out. And people with advice can just go pound sand!!! I, for one, am sick of listening to it.

  2. It IS hard. I know. I tend to quietly freak out about it because Kerrigan’s father is overweight, her family has a history of health problems and I sometimes worry that ALL I can do is give her the healthiest diet possible. But, it took a LONG time for me to make that a regular part of our lives. It’s terribly difficult to sort through the massive amount of information about food and figure out what’s right for you. Mostly, I try to cut out sodium and transfat and eat the organic fruits and vegetables that are on my “list”. Otherwise, I don’t stress. I don’t stress about the prep, I don’t stress about the little things. It took a good six or eight months of figuring out the healthiest plan for us to make it easier for me to shop on budget.

    One of MY biggest problems is that we simply do not eat leftovers. I always have good intentions, but they sit in my fridge until I have to throw them out which upsets me. I hate waste. So, over time, I’ve learned to buy things that I can morph into a new meal the next time around.

    As you know, cheese is a big thing here too. But, I buy cheaper pasta, cheaper rice and cheaper bread to get the better cheese. It’s all about finding the trade off that works for you.

    If I had a billion dollars I’d spend little time working on our meal plans. But, I don’t. So, I spend time thinking about it. And trying to plan for it. And hoping I can pull my act together to make it all work out the way I want it to.

    No one can be perfect, and if you set yourself up for unrealistic expectations then you’ll fail. Stop worrying about what other people think about your food and worry about what YOU think about what you eat. If you’re happy with it, then screw the naysayers. You know how much thought I put into my children’s diets and yet you know other people say I feed them rubbish. No one who judges anyone ever says, “Oh MY GOD!!! You do a FANTASTIC JOB! MUCH BETTER THAN I EVER COULD!!” Oh no. If they are going to be judgemental then they’re going to be knocking you down. Because people are bastard coated bastards with bastard filling and that is what they DO. (Not the good kind of bastard either.)

    Anyway, I hope you know that I think you do a WAY better job at feeding you and Jeff than I do for me and the kids. You make your own BREAD for cryin’ out loud! I already think you’re a better mother than me and you are ALWAYS the very first person I call for advice about Kerrigan.

    You know what? Regardless of what you eat (and this is coming from the woman who introduced the wonder of the breakfast taco to your world) we love you.

    Besides, you are, in fact, a domestic goddess.

  3. That, in fact, took great skill and I, for one, bow down in AWE!

    P.S. Right on! None of us is perfect and if we would stop beating ourselves up maybe others would stop too…or maybe we just wouldn’t care anymore. We can only do the best we can do and stop comparing ourselves to others.

  4. I am, however, VERY judgmental about laundry. I am a TOTAL laundry snob.

    That, as it happens, is not on topic. I’m just pointing out though, that if we were talking about the LAUNDRY, I’d totally be judging folks.

    I can’t help it. It’s who I am.

    The food though? Not so much.

    And Sherri? I got exhausted just READING what you do in a day. Damn girl. You need a vacation.

  5. Randomly, (and DAMN THE LACK OF EDIT) I just noticed you have a fitness and fatness category and it makes me chuckle.

    YOU? Are good for the laughs from time to time. I appreciate that.

  6. I could give you options to edit, but then I’d have to kill you.

    And then who’d clean up the mess?

    Also, and more to the point, I don’t know HOW to give you access to edit.

    Besides, it makes for more comments, and this makes me feel all popular and stuff.

  7. Well FINE THEN.

    Where’s Carole? Here we are having a fine rant of a time and she’s *looks around* NOWHERE to be seen?

    Did you unlock the wine cellar and leave her down there?

  8. She’s on VA-CAY-SHUN, baby!

    She’s off for two weeks of rest and relaxation. But that will, we hope, include visiting the blog once she gets to her resort.

  9. Well, I have to say, a good rant just isn’t the same without her.

    We happen to LOVE her and her COMEDY, you know.

  10. Hey, I’m here but I only have 30 min. to get email and read the blog. I’m trying to get some sun but mother nature is not helping. We have just gone through a big storm here and the temp is not to my liking.I’m on vacation so I am not commenting on food until I get back home. Love you all.

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