Transforming with Toddlers

by Andrea Harris | Apr 13, 2021

Children have an extraordinary imagination. They see our world in a way that is so honest and pure, that they often speak too much truth. As we know when it comes to our weight the truth hurts. My husband and I have two young boys, ages five and three, so everything in our house is about superheroes. Dad is Superman, I am Wonder Woman, our five-year-old is Batman and our three-year-old is of course, The Boy Wonder: Robin. That is a lot of pressure for Mom and Dad! Especially when we do not exactly look like Superman or Wonder Woman. So, when our youngest (Robin) began poking our bellies and making comments like, “you have a big belly” we knew our three-year-old was telling the hard truth. How do we give excuses to a three-year-old? Before you can tell them that we just finished the holidays, the year 2020 and any other excuse, we already lost his attention, and he is off fighting crime somewhere. Children are not intentionally mean; they speak to what they see. So, if you want the truth, ask a toddler. They will say it like it is! 

I started my journey with RP Diet Coach on the 5th of January as I hurdled into the transformation challenge without giving it much thought as to what I was getting into. I knew I had to decide quickly if I was going to do it, but I was ready to accept the challenge. The first couple of weeks were great! I was eating four meals a day, loading up on more carbs than ever before and thinking I had this in the bag. Now, the part about it being great was when I actually got to sit down and eat. The sitting down part may be an exaggeration but if you are a mom, you get it. We are usually standing at the counter shoveling down our meal before someone asks for something else. Breakfast time was chaotic! I was trying to make everyone’s breakfast which of course is different for every hero in house, all while trying to figure out what I was going to eat and adding blueberries to my scale one by one to hit my grams exactly. And, thinking to myself, do not any of you dare take one bite off my plate! I will not be able to figure out what I ate versus what I accounted for. Please do not mess up my macros! Please do not mess up my macros! Whew, we made it through breakfast! Only three more meals in the day to go. No, that is not a typo.

Macaroni and cheese, dinosaur chicken nuggets, cereal bars and goldfish quickly became my supervillains! What am I feeding these kids? Oh, but they are so delicious! Okay, one more bite off their plate will not hurt me. Better yet, I will finish off their plate because we do not want to waste it right? Wrong! How many times do we mindlessly finish our kids’ plates? You log those foods, and you quickly get your feelings hurt. You basically gave up one (or two) of your meals just mindlessly snacking on something you are not craving or even having enough of to be satisfied. In that moment I completely changed my mindset. No, this cheat will not kill me, but it is not going to help me either.

First goal: Stop eating off my kid’s plates. I really do not want it anyway.

I quickly realized I had to get it together if I was going to be successful. Chaos is not key to success. Organized chaos on the other hand was something I could manage. Planning my meals ahead of time was my next plan. Instead of spending hours on Pinterest making a new board of all the new fancy meals I was never going to make, I hit the grocery store on a mission. Wholesome foods, complex carbs, lean proteins, and my RP barcode. Keep it simple mama!

While I am at it, I am going to buy foods my boys will also enjoy. I may be putting together different “meals,” but I was going to try to do it by making the same foods. For example, my kids love bison. It is a huge staple in our household. I take a pound of bison, make them slider burgers and homemade sweet potato or regular fries, BAM! burgers and fries for the win! My toddlers would never dare touch a regular or baked sweet potato but making them look like fries and adding ketchup was easy. As for my husband and I, we like to eat what we call “muscle mash.” We use a bowl instead of a plate. I add my complex carb which is mainly sweet potatoes or rice and sometimes regular potatoes, lean protein, and some veggies. The bowl is full, so our eyes do not tell us we are deprived of food. Also, if you are starting out eating more than usual, this is an easy way to eat more food to hit your macros. It is a win, win.

Second Goal: Create different meals but make the same foods.

Quick, easy, and healthy needs to be on the menu. During my grocery store missions, I am always looking to find quick easy foods on the go. Yes, I was the lady in the grocery store scanning most “boxed” items before they make it in the basket. It was important for me to have go-to meals when we were rushing between t-ball practice, games, school, and swimming lessons. As parents, our job is to give our children the tools and foundation to set them up for success in life. We should apply this same concept for ourselves. This process is kind of fun. If you can spend a little extra time at the grocery store looking for new foods and meal ideas, you will surprise yourself of what else is out there. It also (annoyingly) helped that my local grocery store recently changed their entire layout. Protein oatmeal, protein pancakes that go in the toaster, flourless breads, lunch meat, protein chips and premade Greek yogurt chicken salads are just some of my favorite finds. Keep it simple! I found some great macro-friendly brands out there that make a variety of foods. Make sure you scan the foods, check the servings, and confirm they fit your macros before you buy them. Do not be misled by foods that advertise they are “healthy.” Once you scan them, the truth comes out. Find new foods you and your family will enjoy. Do not deprive yourself. No one likes a hangry mom.

Third Goal: Always have a backup plan when cooking is not in the cards.

Perfection is not key, consistency is. There were many days I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and suffered from a foggy brain. I wish someone would put me in a timeout or down for a nap. I needed to find a way to stay charged. Keeping a schedule and making time for myself were important to stay successful. I started waking up a little earlier to have a quiet cup of coffee before everyone woke up and dressed myself for the gym. I would fix my hair and put on a little makeup to feel refreshed and add some confidence. I know wearing makeup to the gym sounds silly but if I felt good, I performed well. Immediately after I drop the kids at school, I go straight to the gym. My training is just as important as my eating. It is easy to say that we do not have time to exercise but the reality is you must make the time. Make it the same time everyday just like you shower, eat breakfast or anything else you do each day. It is not selfish. I will say that again to all moms. It is not selfish to take time for yourself. It is not selfish to take care of your body. When you physically feel great, your mood improves, you are happier and energized. These are all the things that my children need from me. We want our children to be happy, healthy and love themselves. I knew I wanted to lead by example. They are my motivation.

There are days I do not want to go to the gym, but my worst workouts are the ones that do not happen. There are days that I would have a cheat meal, but I had to learn not to beat myself up over it and get right back on track for my next meal. I am a mom of toddlers. Nothing is perfect but perfectly imperfect. That is the way I like it! Consistency will trump perfection every time. I thank RP for this consistent reminder. Moms (and dads) are resilient, evolving, strong, loving creatures. We learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. The discomfort of starting something new is temporary and the result of this diet/lifestyle is nothing short of extraordinary. My advice would be to do your best every day, do not try to be perfect and be forgiving. Love yourself in the process and enjoy the journey. All the things we want our children to practice each day.

Fourth Goal: Be consistent, not perfect.

It is heartwarming that our boys think of us as superheroes, but the reality is we are the ones idolizing them. They remind us to slow down, enjoy the simple times, laugh often, be silly and not to take ourselves too seriously. We must remind ourselves and practice the principles we give our children.

Fifth Goal(s):
- Be forgiving.
- Love yourself.
- Love others.
- Do your best.
- Choose happiness.