Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Today is day 43 in the 77 day BLC countdown.
I am about to write back to a guest who is questioning how I decided to raise our rates since his last visit. I know what I am going to write. An answer that he will understand and accept but nothing is ever that straight forward and simple. There are chain reactions. Things are liniked together. When we started here children stayed free. Families appreciated. As the mom of a family I get that. But... I do remember that at the restarants where "kids eat free" my kids would balk at having to order from the kids' menu. And many kids are not the picky eaters who will only eat chicken nuggets and fries. Mine wanted a small size version of exactly what we were eating... veggies and all. When kids stay here... sometimes there are more towels used, more linens to wash, more toys to wash, more floors to wash, more windows to wash. More chemicals in the pool. More garbage. Families with young children tend to arrive earlier, stay later, stay all day. They may not sleep in all the beds but kids will crawl around on them, get changed on them, throw pillows on the floor. Some need a crib or playpen set up. At what age to kids eat more? I have "children" come who can devour the whole package of bacon if I turn my back. There is not a predictable age for when children start eating adult portions. They go through growth spurts. For many their eyes are too big and they end up wasting food. For the person with specific allergies I spend extra time cleaning. Or extra time shopping for special foods. Or extra time cooking. And then we bacame popular with large families. Should a family with one child pay the same rate as the family with twelve children? Should the family with three teenagers pay the same rate as the family with seven children under seven years of age? If I spend a lot of time "watching" children or involving them with helping make muffins or cookies... Should the family with a child with ADD and has every toy we have out be charged the same as the family with nine children where the oldest are like mini parents making sure everything gets away and the kids clear their own plates? And what if all the kids are not theirs? I have families that bring friends for the kids to play with. I have birthday sleepovers where usually only one child is theirs but the 7 others are not. The number of parents does not always indicate how much supervision the children will get. The number of adults also does not predict how much work I will have during the stay. I have one guest who stays here and honestly when I walk in his room I can't tell which bed he slept in and the one towel he used will be carefully layed across the tub and he brings his own granola. I have the other extreme of guest too who will leave a dirty kitchen, food crumbs and spills on the carpet or on the couch.... One guest. Now, multiply that by a group. The point is you can't predict. There are no constants. So the best I can do is make a plan, be prepared for the unexpected, reevaluate sometimes. I will never be able to predict every scenerio and I can't make different rules for every situation. Well, I could... but here is what I have decided. I have a base cost. I have a per person cost. I give an estimate for the highest cost because honestly as a customer the worst feeling is when you look at your bill and see extra costs you were not expecting. But what I allow myself is the option to at the END of a stay, reduce the cost. That is my new policy. I don't advertise that. I will not tell guests that. Most have been absolutely supportive of the raised rates. Hydro, gas, food, insurance... they have all gone up. But there is a maximum amount I am comfortable charging. At a certain point having one more person really does not make a difference. The resources I will draw from will remain the same.. the amount of work... etc.
What has that got to do with me and my food? Hmm. You can laugh but I see the metaphor. What if I said "here is my food for today" and then things happened? My life is unpredictable. When I exercise more I need more food. When I have more stress I need more food. I have been working with portions and planning ahead which is all great. Sometimes I can plan a very narrow path to walk... But the last couple of days... sheeshk! My "simple" method has not helped me stay on track. I need a wider path for this train to travel on while the route is so windy and I don't know what is coming ahead. What I'm thinking this morning is I need my "baseline" menu and then have snacks I can plan ahead if I need to add them. I think today while the stressors are high I need a "range" that I will not go over but can eat up to. I was thinking I should go back over the past two days and see the reality of what I have eaten and log it all. (shudder) but instead I'll focus on today and what I CAN eat.
Grazing is not good for me but I need carbs spread out over the day. I have been working on portions and learning to eat "normally" but when I am stressed, despite knowing I don't NEED more food I WANT more food. I look at my step count over the past few days and despite saying I would not do more exerice I am getting at least 10,000 steps so part of my emotional hunger may be real hunger. I know hunger will not kill me but added to stress I get a fight or flight panic response that says EAT! When I have the option to meditate, just drink water, sit quietly, breath, yes it will pass or I can delay my eating a little while until an planned meal time, but right now those methods are not working. PLain and simple. So.. what to do?
Today I am on track and on the train when I:
-1 cup steel cut oats and 1/2 cup fresh fruit salad and 3 whole pecans and coffee
-1.5 cup sauteed spinach and mushrooms and an egg (ready to make as soon as guests have eaten)
-slice of ham roast with mustard, sprinkle of shredded cheese, apple (ready to grab)
-1 or 2 100 calorie yogurts (add flax seed) (ready to grab)
-spagetti squash, 1 Tbsp. pesto, chicken, broccoli and carrots (start cooking at 5:30)
-a baked potatoe with chives and tsp olive oil margerine (I'll cook it this morning as my emergency food choice and can nuke it if necessary at whatever time)
-almonds (10 roasted) also ready to grab
I may end up eating it all which will be at the top range of my food today or I may not need it all... but what I do NOT want is to grab foods not on my plan. I do want to be aware of what I eat and how much. I can drink all the coffee, tea, etc. that I want. No thinking about caffeine today. I plan to make food my priority today. Foods I love to eat but portioned. No sugar (except in the yogurt), no white flour, regular carbs and protein and a good amount of fiber.
-walk in the pool 20 minutes after blogging and before guests eat (most of the food is prepared right now and they can help themselves to muffins/toast/cereal/coffee etc. if they happen to be up while I'm changing and are starving. The eggs and spinach/mushrooms are ready to cook and bacon just needs reheating. Tomatoes and bagels are ready to put out on the table with fruit and yogurt.
-doctor appointment this afternoon to interview a new family doctor. DD25 will come with me. Very stressful but DH and DD22 and DD23 say he is OK, young, new grad and made follow up appointments with each of them to look into issues he wants to investigate further. Good sign I think. DD25 is close to 300 pounds and has many many medical issues, on disability and has several specialists she sees. No question we will use every minute of her allotted 15 minutes. I am... I prefer to think of who I am today than my history. I have a very very thick medcial file which will be transfered to this office. Lots and lots of OLD medical issues. What will he see? Will he compare us to the skinny family members who were there yesterday? But I am a spark success story, lol. I have lost 65 pounds! Had multiple surgeries to deal with my problems. My drugs are reduced.... I could spend 15 minutes just reviewing my history but I would rather just smile and say things are great. Do I want to allow him to be part of my "team"? Will I trust him? Will I be made to feel small and ashamed that I have not done enough? Sigh. I think I will try and go first. Answer questions. Be positive. Then we will focus on DD25. I am so much better standing up for her and being positive about her and how far she has come. Breath. Be prepared but keep it simple. I need to see this as a positive towards being healthy and safe which is a being ON TRACK activity today. Attitude is everything.
-a few groceries and errands which will add steps (I have a minimum of 6,050 steps to aim for but today food and staying on my food plan is more important than getting in ANY exercise so I can only do them if I have my latest snack/meal in place.
-walk the dog... same as above... she is having a rough time but DD has given her some attention which helps me feel better about it.
-harp practice, sudoku, celebrate any time I sit and breath and relax or look after ME today
-this blog.. plan
-early to bed ie. in bed by 10:30 with a goal of 8 hours sleep
-I think I need to write and remind myself how sugars and chocolate and my trigger foods affect me and my dragon. My food dragon does not want me to do this at all.
-PRAYER TIME Spritual growth, reading, reflecting. Not likely in large amounts but there was a time when God and I used to have running dialogues while I cleaned and cooked and walked. When there is a lot of sugar in my sytem, like now, it's hard to do. Hard to be clear in my thinking or aware of that inner voice. The dragon becomes so much part of my decisions that I don't realize how it is stearing me and driving my emotions. There was a time when I prayed over the food I was preparing and had emmense grattitude for the birds chirping and sun shining, took delight in songs on the radio or awed over CBC documentaries I listened to. I hope to sprinkle my heart with opportunities to appreciate the world today. Crack open a window to my soul and let things air out a bit. Be lighter today in thought. Savour ideas rather than let them rattle about and ding the varnish of my "perfect plans". I want to let go and let God.