I knew that my short grocery list was not going to remain short. My husband and I work very hard to keep the grocery budget at the same amount every week. Whenever I try to look up a healthy, cheap meal on the Internet, when they label them as “budget friendly,” I question to whose budget they are referring? Usually if the recipe calls for taragon, it’s a budget breaker. Week after week I buy spaghetti, mac and cheese, and frozen nuggets, because they are affordable. There is a guilt about sticking to these meals, because without a side of veggies, it isn’t very nutritious. I am very thankful that both my kids (that’s right I said BOTH) like broccoli, so I claim that as a little victory every once in awhile. But when it comes to buying healthier food for my husband and I, it seems that we can’t have our cake and eat it to, (even the gluten-free kind). Chicken breast can go a long way, when it comes to healthy meals, but ground beef fits the budget. Lasagna has a lot of calories, but try to make it vegetarian and it racks up the dollar signs. I know a good number of my mom pals will back me up when I say, convenience will almost always win vs. healthy meals. And yes, I know there are these wonderful things called coupons and cashback apps that can change everything. Yes, salads are easy and affordable. It is no secret.
You all know, I’ve made the decision to slowly focus on a healthier lifestyle. Yes, it keeps getting slower and slower. Life happens. It is a struggle to teach the kids to be healthy, and at the same time avoid certain language so that they don’t view food in a negative way. Fat is a four-letter word in my vocabulary. I know that if I call myself fat or obsess over counting calories, my little spongy kiddos will absorb the attitude and learn from it. They are not at an the age where they should be worrying about pounds and calories. And what age is okay, while we are at it? It doesn’t matter how many years go by, we still hold on to the lie that image is everything.
The picture above is from my senior year of high school. I remember it vividly. It was 60’s Day. As the picture snapped I was sucking in my poochy belly, thinking that my little 110 lb. self was fat. That day there was a variety of tie-dyed beautifully sculpted flower power girls walking through the halls. On the outside I said things like, “They’re violating the school dress code, but whatever.” On the inside I was envious. I longed to have a body that would be worthy of hip-hugging bell bottoms and fringe lined belly shirts.
I thought all of that was behind me, but just a few weeks ago while I was getting ready for church, that high school mentality came roaring back to life. Outfit after outfit felt snug on me. Every time I looked in the mirror, my insides screamed, “Frumpy! Frumpy! Frumpy!” The clock was ticking closer to the time we had to leave and the piles of clothes on my floor grew bigger and bigger. Then the tornado of emotions spewed out. “How ungrateful am I? I have clothes while others have none. I’m made in God’s image after all. Who cares what others think? But this wasn’t snug on me last week…I’m so lazy…I’m fat. Don’t let your kids hear you cry. I will never be healthy…what time is it? AUUUUUGHHHHH!”
There is a chapter in the Bible that has comforted me since that day. In Paul’s letter to the Colossians he urges them to “Put on” things like: “tender hearted mercies, charity, forgiveness, kindness, meekness and longsuffering.” These are the clothes that matter. He goes on to say “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts…and be ye thankful.”
I want to feel healthy. I don’t need a six-pack and I don’t need to eat kale 3 times a day for this to happen. I’ve felt healthy before and I can do it again. I know I promised updates every week, and now that both kids are in school, I hope to have more time to write and get back to my healthy goals. I urge you all, don’t give into societal body image expectations. If you make a decision to be healthy, don’t make it an idol. Don’t give into the guilt because your bank balance won’t allow for nutritious food. Be fed and feed your families as best you know how.