Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fat Mom to Lean Kids

I have been losing weight over the last few months. It is quite possibly the slowest recorded weight loss in the entire written history of the world, but nonetheless, I have been losing weight. I've lost enough weight that people have noticed. I have not lost enough weight to hit my first benchmark. I have two pounds to go before that, so I'm thinking I should hit the benchmark by the end of June if I maintain my current pace. Don't blink - I wouldn't want you to miss it. My goal from beginning to end is to lose just over 50 pounds.

Nick has also been working on losing weight. I'm not sure what his goal is or where he is on his path, but he has been working out in sort of patchy streaks. When he gets his streak on, he drops weight quickly just by working out for an hour a day. (Insert rant #1 about how unfair it is that he can lose so easily and rant #2 about how unfair it is that he has an hour a day to work out.)

Somehow, despite the weaknesses that Nick and I so obviously have, our children are thus far lean, strong, and fit. They make healthy food choices. They lead active lives. They are athletic and beautiful and I want nothing more than to preserve that for them.

So how does a fat (for now) mother lose weight without influencing the already healthy attitudes of her children? I cannot hide the fact that I am making lifestyle changes. I don't think that's particularly healthy. I also don't think it's particularly healthy for my kids to see me working so very hard to make choices that seem natural for them. Last night when I told Jacob that I was going to walk around the park while he played, he suggested that I run instead. "I really think you should start running, Mom. That'll help you lose weight." I teased him about becoming my personal trainer. Then later, I wondered if he is serious about that task - that he is taking my weight on as his own problem.

I grew up with a morbidly obese mother. I remember my mother trying various diet and exercise programs. Even worse, I remember my father buying her exercise equipment for Christmas. I also remember when Mom gave up and decided to just be fat forever. She was just a little younger than I am now. My mother's weight struggles are hers, not mine but I would be a fool to deny that her problems have affected me.

Like my children, I was lean when very young. I began chubbing up in my teenage years. I've been thin a few times since then, but in the past I have always gained the weight back after a year or two. This is the last time that I am losing this weight. Once it's off, no matter how long it takes, it is staying off. But dealing with the day to day problems of weight loss is more challenging than I ever thought it would be. What do I say to Claire when she sees me counting out my pretzels for a snack? How do I answer Jake when he asks me why we hardly ever get donuts on Sundays anymore? How do I make the changes that I need to make without changing what is obviously working for my kids' health right now?

Monday, May 18, 2009

Author & Author (but not me)

Jacob has been writing stories for a while now, which comes as a surprise to exactly no one. He started a series of comic books early in the school year entitled The Adventures of Joe and Bob. You'll have to take my word that the books were more imaginative than the title indicates. He even had a marketing plan. The comic was to be a six book series. The first book was free. Each remaining book would cost $5. After only one classmate expressed interest in purchasing a $5 handmade comic book, Jacob abandoned the plan.

His next series was entitled Fartman. I read the first issue in which Fartman and his sidekick Beano defeated a cat thief. Their superpower also emptied an entire skyscraper in seconds. Fartman was confused about why the residents fled. Nick and I were impressed by his nuanced potty humor and he started a sequel immediately. Then he was sidetracked by a forgettable story, unfortunately. I am hoping that one day, Fartman will fly again.

His current projects include a story about a family who lives in a sewer and a biography of Mary Magdalene. The biography is actually a collaboration with a little girl who has had a crush on Jacob for a while now. Her family often sits a few pews in front of us at church, and she (not so) covertly looks over her shoulder at Jake. I suspect the collaboration was largely her idea.

So I was really not at all surprised to see a page covered with childish handwriting on the desk yesterday. Then I read it. "I love you, Sleeping Beauty!" Since Jake is convinced that girls have cooties and that he will never, ever be interested in doing anything yucky like kissing them, I was a little confused. I looked at the page again and noticed Nick's handwriting up in the corner. Claire had dictated to Nick, then painstakingly copied her own words. She can't read or spell, but she can write.