I would like to live to be 106 or so. And I want my husband to live that long too. A long life together, during which we share deep love and great joy and amazing sex, after which we will, of course, pass in our sleep. At the same moment. While holding hands. Don't tell me you haven't had the same thought of the person you love and the way you want to go out. Nobody dreams of running out real quick in dirty sweats and getting hit by a bus. (But on a side note, I do always tell my husband that if I do, perchance, get hit by a bus, it's his job to talk about me with our daughters every day, and whisper into their sleeping ears "Mommy loves you." every night, just like I do now.)
Back to the subject at hand. I believe in order for that long life to happen, we're going to have to live healthier lives. We've been eating (and occasionally, drinking) as though we were still in college, because we are having a hard time accepting our real age and stage of life. But the last time I checked in the rear view mirror, what I saw was a gigantic
ass neon sign flashing the message JUST BECAUSE THE PIZZA/BREAD/CHEESE SNACKS ARE ORGANIC/FAT FREE/EATEN WHILE STANDING, DOESN'T MEAN YOUR ASS ISN'T GOING TO BE THE SIZE OF TEXAS SOON. Not to mention, we both come from parents with some pretty serious health challenges. Heart issues, high blood pressure, diabetes...you name it, we've got some of it in us.
I've always been healthy. I was born during a time when mommies smoked and drank their way through pregnancies and nobody looked twice. Remarkably, I was born without issues, and to this day I don't have any allergies, don't wear glasses (oh, it's coming...I just prefer to squint for now), and am otherwise without physical problems, apart from the fact that most areas of my body currently range at first glance from stuffed sausage to raw pizza dough. I would rather get back to being my fit self, because if I don't, when I walk around, I will eventually sound like that little lady who played the organ in the wedding scene from "Sixteen Candles", with her inner thighs about to start a fire with all that back and forth pantyhose friction.
I used to be incredibly active. I would dance for 5 hours (or more) a day. Alas, I simply don't have that kind of time or energy anymore. I sit at a computer five days a week for hours on end. I do teach exercise classes, but I don't take them as often as I should (could?). I have every intention of doing it every single day, but I don't always have an hour to myself where nothing else should be getting done. Also, I reeeally love sleeping. I know, I know. But I do. So that 6am class, well, that's a long shot, at least during the cold/rainy season. (To those of you fancy fit folks who are all, Really? I get up at 4:30 every morning for an hour of running in the snow and another 30 minutes of yoga...if I can do it, so can you. Well to you I say, you can stop being Judgy McJudgerson and start helping me figure out how to soak up some of your utter fabulousness, okay?)
I also want to eat healthier. But I feel ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMED at the thought of figuring it out. I can barely stick to a regular (read: kid-friendly) weekly meal plan without getting sucked into my neighborhood Whole Foods three extra times a week for whatever it is I forgot we're out of. The thought of having to think any harder about what I'm eating and how I'm preparing it makes me want to curl up into the fetal position and sleep for the next week. Which would be a good weight loss plan if I were able to lay down anytime, anywhere, without the 110-pound puppy pouncing on me.
I start reading about the differences between vegan and plant-based eating. Then I buy a cookbook about eating Paleo. I research cleanses and raw food and gluten-free and no carb eating. Then a dear friend tells me to watch two movies that will change the way I think about food altogether, and I get as far as looking them up on Netflix, and realize they are available to stream RIGHT NOW. Only RIGHT NOW here's the current thought stream I'm consumed by:
What time is it? What does the puppy have in his mouth? Is that another pile of dog hair blowing by the heater? Why is the heater kicking on so much? Oh God that bill is going to be so high. When is my husband getting home? Did Seven do her report yet? Set the alarm so we don't forget to wake up early for the Green Eggs and Ham breakfast. Must check email accounts. (Time out: answer text) Do I have the ingredients for dinner tonight? Dear Lord these pants are tight. (Time out: answer phone) Must go through mail at home. Why are these the contents of my dining room table right now: library books, three magazines, one mechanical pencil, one regular pencil, one lip gloss, one Girl Scout camping trip information sheet, one stapler, a catalog from Anthropologie (where I want to shop but can't find the time), a couple of pieces of mail urging "immediate attention", three toy horses, and one empty glass of water? I'm so thirsty - must drink more water. I wish I had one of those big water bottles with me at all times. Note to self: get new water bottle. And order some of those pomegranate fizzy tabs, those are so good. (Time out: stop puppy from scratching at the door and begging to go romp in the three foot mud puddle in the back yard for the third time today) I need to do that hiding extra vegetables in recipes thing again for the girls. I need to get cute lunch containers for their lunchboxes so they'll actually eat what I give them. I need to make my husband eat more fruit. I need new underwear. I need to go to class. When does my husband leave town again? Do I teach this weekend? Did I update the calendar? (Time out: check calendar) Did I pay the voice teacher/ballet studio/babysitter? Did I call my Mom? Aren't I supposed to be focused on work right now? How many birthdays did I forget this week? Did I confirm that Nine has a sleepover? I need to finish the laundry so we're not sleeping directly on the dog hair bed tonight. (Time out: start dryer)
I mean, seriously. That covers about 90 seconds in my brain and I'm freaking exhausted just typing it. I'm constantly grabbing my phone to put reminders in my calendar. One day I even had to put "Shower 1:00pm" in there because the days are zooming by faster than I can keep up with.
I know everyone has all the above to deal with and then some. But jeepers. If I could get fit from all the racing my mind does every day, I'd look amazing.
So. Here's where the collective you comes in.
Knowing the thoughts are going through my mind, just packed in there like commuters on a rush hour train elbowing each other for one square foot of space, where do I squeeze in learning about what's allowed on the Paleo diet and what's not? Does a plant-based diet mean you can have leather shoes, you just can't eat the animal they came from? And if you're vegan, do you eat nothing from anything with a face, essentially? But vegetarians can eat eggs and fish? Or is that a pesca-something? Do I just dump it all and do a liquid cleanse so I don't have to think about it, and then just go protein shake for breakfast, salad for lunch, chicken and broccoli for dinner? Honestly, that will last about 3 days, tops, before we break out the cheese and crackers to go with the vino, before we tuck into the pasta. Speaking of pasta, last night I am proud to say I made kale and ricotta ravioli from scratch! Well, the pasta wasn't homemade, I made them with wonton wrappers. But I bought them from Whole Foods! Did I mention I used kale? Because I did!)
Clearly, I don't have any answers. I can't figure it out. All I know is I love to cook and I love to eat. Almost everything - vegetables, meat, fruit, pasta, and everything else. And I'm freaking hungry in the morning, and sourdough toast with quince jam is SO easy to make and tastes really good with my morning coffee. And pasta and peas with grated parmesan is reeeally comforting after a long day at work. I know I need to bring my life and everything in it to a screeching halt and make this a real priority, but figuring out how to fit one more labor-intensive thing into our lives right now makes me want to eat pop tarts.
If you have this all wrapped up in a bow, I am begging you to share it with me in some comments section somewhere. I'm also begging you to be gentle with me. This will have to be done in baby steps, because my kids aren't always the most adventurous eaters, we have activities for them at least three nights a week, so advance planning is necessary, but I will not stick to something that takes hours at night in prep time because by the time they go to sleep, I want to wrap my evil Mommy claws around a glass of Chardonnay the size of my ever-growing ass and sit with my husband (the puppy fills in when the man is gone).
If you have even one small tip and you keep it to yourself, I will assume that if you were a fish, you would be a selfish.
And I'll just leave it at that.