This is going to be a very straight forward article coming from a mother who has struggled with keeping her own weight and eating habits at check all her life. I have always been the biggest child in every old photograph of mine. It took me a lot of years to understand and accept my body. And when I did that, life turned around. From being the fiery teenager who would protest saying, “If I had an hour to spare, I would rather write in a cafe than workout in the gym”; I have now come to terms with the fact that only a healthy body and mind can churn out magic. Having said that, I am still over weight because I refuse to follow diet trends. Instead, I root for #RujutaDiwekar and her words of wisdom that have helped me manage my steady progress towards a healthier and stronger me.
I delivered my first child at 97kg. I was an overweight mother who managed just about fine in the labour room with her sheer will power. In the first one month, I lost around 8 kgs and was back to 89 kgs. I had started my pregnancy at 80 kgs. I had to go back there if not further lower. But I gave up on taking care of myself in my bid to single handedly take care of my son. And without realising how and when, I gained back the weight that I had lost in the first month post delivery. This time, when I stood on that weighing scale, the blow was hard enough to shake my whole being.
For the first time in thirty years, I wanted to be fit, be able to run behind my son in the garden, be able to toss and turn in the bed with him with the same power and speed as his, be able to slide under the table and quickly rise back to my feet while playing hide and seek with him, not let lethargy take over my day and send me into a stress eating spree at night, and not get caught in the viscious cycle of guilt about how much weight I had put on again.
And like they say, you attract what you ask for from the Universe with all your might. And when I truly started wanting to bring about a positive change in me, I started meeting a lot of people who were #mindful about their health and guided me with tips that I accumulated over time and successfully created a perfect home of ‘conscious eaters’ for our family.
One thing that I had understood very early on was that my child will behave exactly the way I will. So if I don’t want him to fall in the trap of unhealthy eating practices, I need to set that example for him. So we eat together and we eat healthy on daily basis. And then, we let our selves indulge guilt free once in a while.
Let me take you through my child’s habits:
- Early to Bed and Early to Rise.
A lot has been spoken and written about the importance of sleep in a child’s life. And I have observed it myself – how messed up sleeping patterns can alter the level of physical, emotional and creative development in a growing child.
- 4 Heavy Meals a Day
Breakfast ~ Lunch ~ Evening Snacks ~ Dinner. We follow this routine super strictly. All four home cooked meals. No cereals, health drinks, no protein bars, no packaged food items at all. But a yes for ‘chai’ and sometimes even with biscuits when visiting Nana Nani.
- Daily intake of fruits and nuts.
Our day begins with Kismis and Kaju. And our mid day meal is a fruit.
- Love for Salads and Chaas is unbeatable.
A lot of our relatives have been pleasantly surprised with my son’s unbeatable love for Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Chaas.
- We love Chocolates and ice creams, but only occasionally.
We prefer to bake healthy cakes at home but we also enjoy our ice creams from Naturals. And who doesn’t like chocolates? But, we don’t store them at home, ever! Only when we are out for picnics or long trips do we indulge our child with ‘gems’.
- Our night menu is sacrosanct: Khichdi or Pulav.
This is like ‘killing two birds with one stone’. It has created a sense of order in our lives – it calms him down after a long day of playing and playing. Second, it is simple and easy to cook. So it is less stressful for me while planning my dinner at the end of a long day.
NOW, coming to the main point –
How has this routine/practise benefitted us:
My child is super active, not a fussy eater at all (eats everything from Upma to Dosa to Paratha to Lauki to Bhindi to Dal to Chole to Rajma to Rice to Roti to Salad) and NEVER constipated. Till the age of two, we did face gas issues but more because of his mouth breathing (due to tongue tie) and less due to his eating habits. And after we got the mouth breathing substantially rectified, we have had no digestion related issues, touchwood! And also created some amazing food habits.
Let me jolt down the food items he never cares about, most of which he has never even tasted in these three years:
FOODS NEVER TASTED: Pav bhaji, Machurian, Chocolate pancakes, Nutella, Kurkure, Lays, Pizzas, Chinese bhel, Vadapav, Samosa, Gummy Bears, Marshmallows, any imported chocolates or biscuits, any outside Farsan, Tacos, Nachos, not even Hot Chocolate from Starbucks.
And trust me, we have travelled with the child all over India, all terrains, all weather conditions and all modes of transport. And our first trip was a straight 500kms drive to Ahmedabad when he was hardly 3 months old. And till date, we have never faced a tantrum for food in any hotel or trip. And we have never complained about stomach upset with outside food either. Outside food even means ‘Maggi’ by some aunty selling in from a shanty built in the middle of nowhere. I know you will think how and why Maggi? Only for the sake of convenience and diversity. We never eat Maggi at home, but when we are out – chai and Maggi keep us happy – be it in the snow in Manali or the dessert of Kutch.
P.S. The only extra effort I take to ensure my child is a happy with his food is create some art around it. Will have a separate post on it soon enough.