Wednesday, October 27, 2010

My Little Watchdog

Recently I did a two-week cleanse. I had started feeling kind of off; my stomach just wasn’t right, and I had had a few headaches here and there. I’ve been terribly busy lately and not eating as well as I should, so I decided that the gurgling in my stomach and occasional stabbing pains in my head were my body trying to tell me something. So one Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago, I headed to Whole Foods and picked up its cleanse.

I never seem to do anything like the normal Joe (my mother will verify this truth for you). Instead of just going out and exercising several days a week for an hour or so like most people, I don’t feel accomplished unless I’ve pushed my body to burn more than 500 calories per session (boot camp anyone?). Hell, if I’m not gonna burn 500, why not just stay in and watch the Biggest Loser instead? Simply cutting back on the things I know I need to adios sounds logical, right? (I am told cheese and wine are not major food groups, but I’m not so sure I agree.) Oh no, I decide to take it to the limit and cut out everything but veggies, fruit, whole grains, beans, and the occasional protein bar! (Vegetable soup and Three-Bean Chili everyday begins to get old about Day 4.)

So decision made, I began the Whole Foods cleanse. Mistake No. 1: I told Kensie what I was doing. (I don’t say diet around K. I think it’s unhealthy for young children to be exposed to anything “diet”-related but, rather, they should be taught how to live a healthy lifestyle from Day 1.) Initially, Kensie was unaffected by my cleanse. She already eats healthfully (I’m pretty strict about her diet), so I just ate what she was eating or included her in what I was eating if she showed interest (she rarely did). If she asked me a question about the cleanse, I’d explain to her that Mommy was just trying to make my body feel better by only eating foods that would help make me healthy and strong. She accepted my explanation and really just seemed uninterested until . . . Week 2, when I re-implemented my one glass of wine per night. Turns out, Kensie had been paying attention and, apparently, keeping notes in the recesses of her brain.

One thing I didn’t realize before I had Makensie (one thing, that’s a laugh!) was that even when you think your kids are not paying attention (which is most of the time), they most certainly are. (This is not always a good thing, I can attest.) Kensie proved this point to me every evening that I had that glass of wine. With an all-knowing look on her face, she’d scold, “Mommy, I thought you weren’t supposed to drink wine.” You’re right, Baby, that’s what Mommy told you!

After I finished my cleanse (by the way, I felt great during once I got through the sugar withdrawals) and went back to a normal, healthy diet, Kensie did not revert back to her former self, when Mommy was eating leftover pizza while she was eating grilled chicken and broccoli. Nope, now, no matter what I do, I’ve got a little watchdog analyzing my every move. “Mommy, are you supposed to have that piece of cheese?” “Mommy, I thought you weren’t allowed to have catsup?” “Mommy, you said you couldn’t have wine!” In my quest to avoid exposing my child to the dark world of dieting and the vicious cycle that almost always accompanies it, I inadvertently created a little monster. Though I didn’t use the actual word, Kensie has now been exposed to exactly what I had tried to protect her from, which means I will have to spend the rest of my life making sure she knows that no matter what shape, size, color, religion, sexual orientation—whatever she is or chooses to be—she is special, and she is beautiful. (And I’m going to have to eat chicken and broccoli for the REST. OF. MY. LIFE.)