My mom and stepdad went on vacation a few days ago, and I have to admit I'm pretty happy about it. Billy and I have the house to ourselves for almost two weeks. We can make a mess. We can play our music really loud. We can sit down at the dinner table-just the two of us-to a nice meal. What we are eating is another story. Normally, my stepdad is in Florida running his business and the remaining three of us have settled into a comfortable routine. Billy and I work during the day, and we both go to the gym afterwards. I get home earliest so I generally start cooking dinner. Mom usually helps and by the time Billy gets home, the three of us can sit down to the meal. Because of my mom's MS, I always try to plan a healthy meal free of gluten, sugar, and anything artificial. Billy benefits because he is always watching his weight for an upcoming MMA fight, and of course there is me with my healthy resolutions. Our routine works out well for everyone.
Now with Mom being gone (almost a week down and one more to go), I've been removed from the routine and battling urges to eat whatever is convenient. Thinking back on the last few years when it was just Billy and I in our own place, I remember planning meals and cooking almost every night. I felt responsible for keeping him healthy (especially when he had a fight coming up) which helped me stay motivated to stay on top of meal planning and creative cooking. Granted, for the first year or so I was also interested in impressing him with my cooking skills while still catering to his less than sophisticated palate. But as time went on and I started learning more about the food-health connection, I began cooking more mindfully and using fresh and local ingredients. Eventually, this led to the beginning of my weight loss commitment.
Since we moved into my mom's house, my commitment to healthy cooking has continued and I am even more motivated because I know that what I'm doing is also helping her situation. When she lived alone, she was often too tired to worry about cooking and many nights would go without dinner at all. Now, I can keep and eye on her diet and make sure she is eating, and not eating things that I believe to be detrimental to her health. This mindset of course helps me to stay on the right track as well.
Knowing that I survived before we made the move, why is it so difficult to stay on track this week? I can't quite put my finger on it but it has been extremely difficult. We've even resorted to frozen pizzas, cereal for dinner, and no dinner at all. Why the sabotage? My parents are away, enjoying cruise ship cuisine, so maybe I feel like taking a little vacation from my resolution. I realized that living here with my mom is probably more stressful than I thought. Don't get me wrong, I love her dearly and I'm so glad to be here helping out. It's saving me some money too. But it is hard, both physically and emotionally. Luckily, my mom is still mobile and fairly independent, but living with her has still doubled the things I need to do and to worry about. She doesn't have "good and bad" days...she has "bad and worse" days.
Clearly, I find it easier to take care of others than to take care of myself. I admit it. For the past five months, I've been trying to fix this but I'm not sure that I can. I will always be a nurturer. But since Mom's been away, my nurturing side has also taken a vacation. I admit I'm enjoying not having to look out for her, but I'm also not taking care of Billy and I'm definitely not taking care of myself. It's painfully obvious after a week of eating junk that I need to chill out a bit. My goal for next week is to enjoy the rest of my "vacation", and to set my priorities a little straighter so that when Mom comes home, I can take care of us all and continue to work on my resolution at the same time.
Published On: May 19, 2010