Dear Confessional,

I haven’t told anyone this before, but sometimes, the Nutella jar secretly calls my name during a particularly frustrating afternoon. Somehow the spoon magically appears in my hand, and I find myself hiding in the pantry shoveling 2 – 4 heaping spoonfuls into my face during a sorry excuse for a “me” moment. Sometimes, I even use the lousy reasoning of eating something too sweet to then justify needing something salty to counter balance, and I shovel chips or leftover goldfish from the kids’ school snack. You know the drill—the cycle goes back and forth until you have completely nauseated yourself and realize your new hot pocket bloatacious belly will need some loose shirts to hide the damage done in under 10 minutes.

How about finishing off from your kids’ plates once they adamantly insist they are done? You can’t just throw it all away, right? There are people starving in the world, right? Polish that pretty princess or Thomas Train plate off as it makes its way to the sink, my friend. Dessert for the kids? Sure, why not! Indulge in a little ice cream, half-eaten cone, or rocket pop because you ate their leftover dinner— so now you deserve dessert too, go for it!

If you are like I once was, you may be suffering from a bit of “inexplicable” pear-shaped mommy bulge, in desperate need of some non-pantry-related alone time, maybe a good date night, and a bit of good sleep.

I’ve been there, and since I’m a recovering GDS addict, I would like to offer my 5 steps to success, inside and out.

In the midst of figuring out how to parent, how to work and/or maintain the house, resolve world peace by way of sibling sharing issues, throw in a few rounds of laundry, counsel daily pre-teen dramas, make nearly a half-dozen lunches for the next day, have dinner ready, and keep your young toddler from testing out his flying superman skills off of the kitchen table or counter, any sane-seeking mom may run to the pantry for temporary shelter. We can always justify “feeding” ourselves as a necessity for our personal time-outs, more than we can for our over-extended wasted time scrolling through Facebook, right? And with a bit of time, stress, and emotional clutching, we have ourselves another victim of GDS.

Get your pre-mom bod back in shape and stop running for the junk drawer—trust me, it’s possible. Here’s what to do:

1. Stop buying so much crap! You know your weaknesses (mine, Nutella, now banned from the house), so stop buying your kryptonite. Take control of the gaping mouth by not tempting it so often. It’s just cruelty to yourself, right? Update your pantry. Either buy the flavors for your kids that you do not like, or replace the crap with something a bit more nutritious. For instance, instead of gummies buy dried mangoes. Instead of fried chips, buy sweet potato or vegetable chips. If the kids complain, just call them rainbow chips and don’t ever mention the vegetable part, until they’re hooked. If there’s no other option, they will learn to love it. I even substitute regular pasta for the colorful ones infused with veggies. Make the change for the house in small steps, and then even when you indulge, you won’t feel/look as guilty.

2. Open container policy. This is a big winner for our house. When you or your kids are bored or any one of you are emotional, what do you do? Open the pantry or fridge to “just have a look,” right? You want a quick nosh to satisfy the moment, so naturally, you will grab a bunch of chips or other garbage food to satiate your appetite. So what if you opened the fridge and had “good” food staring at you, ready for a handful? Yes, my friends, this requires some minimal prep time, but totally helps. Grab your tupperware, throw some paper towels on the bottom to soak up any moisture, and use the lower shelf to create a lovely array of open container “quick snacks.” Try sliced carrots, sliced cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, mangoes, etc. Instead of the pantry for processed nonsense, you and your kids will have easy access to healthier stuff. Change it around every week and try new snacks too.

3. Drive-by eater. The mental switch is the hardest. You don’t want to throw away uneaten good food; you don’t want to force-feed your kids every bite; and you don’t want to save the last four pieces of dinner. I get it, been there, done that. So naturally, you shove it in your face, hungry or not (usually cold and gross), just to justify the non-waste. Then you snack again, in between, and then have dinner with your hubby. That bulging belly is there for a reason, my friend!

REPEAT AFTER ME: I am not a garbage disposal. My mouth is not a trash can. I deserve real food, not leftover cold crap. I am important.

Thank you. So make two conscious decisions: Either get in the habit of tossing it if it’s not eaten (look away if you need to) or save it for the next meal, even if it’s three bites. If you DO choose to eat crap, then feed your kids healthier and eat it with intent, and then make THAT your dinner and have a salad with your hubby—but do not do both. You are no longer eating for two, my friend. Unless you choose to look like it.

4. When in doubt, chew it out. If you suffer from classic GDS, then your mouth likes and is used to chewing often. So here’s a turn around fix—feed your face chewy goodness to satisfy and exhaust your mouth. What I mean is walk around with a bag of raw carrots and chew until the bouche is tired. Attach yourself to a bag of your favorite lettuce, sliced cucumbers, or cherry tomatoes, and munch to your heart’s content. I know it takes a bit of getting used to, but I used to take it in the car with me, and it helped me from not fake feeling hungry and turning to eating more junk on the run. After your mouth is tired, scale back the chew-a-thon.

5. Time to breakup. Sorry garbage food, but you’ve had your fun. It’s time to say goodbye. Time to detach the emotional element connected to food and move on to healthier and more purposeful eating. Start viewing food as your fuel. Check off the nutritional necessities for the day, and eat your meals based on what you need. Snack all day on the good stuff, but realize that this routine will help you to not feel as hungry all the time and will help you to stop polishing off cold chicken nuggets, soggy ketchup-soaked French fries, and a half-licked popsicle. You deserve more, pretty mama!

You can do this!! It’s so easy. The first two weeks will feel strange, new, and a little “hungry” but you need this for your health and sanity. You are beautiful! You are that pre-mama hotty with a fine frame—even if it’s just hiding a little. The weight scale isn’t lying, you don’t have some rare metabolism that won’t loose the weight, and you are not just made that way. Stop making excuses! It’s time to reclaim yourself again. Change your pantry-prowling routine and get started on a healthier house and a healthier YOU!

Cheers to smart munching!!

with Love,
Ruthi

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