A House Divided in Diet


Can you imagine trying to be healthy and having all that around (points to picture above)? Well, that’s my life. Even still, if you get the chance and it’s workable, I highly recommend moving home to live with your parents or other family.

One of the good things to come out of my dismal failure is getting to live with my mom and step dad. They are my rock and unbelievably supportive. Not to mention I am saving a ton of money (and stress) not having to pay household bills.

And, yes, I am saving for my very own crib. By living here rent free, I will have a huge down payment or pay for it out right. I am super excited about that.

I was raised in Germany and it is not uncommon for children to live with their parents until they are 30 or 40. Sometimes, they never leave. The house is set up in such a way that 2 or 3 generations can live in harmony.

In America, I think we are messing things up in the family department. We are moving too far away from family or leaving home too soon. We keep to our nuclear family and drift away from our extended family. Big mistake. Huge. We have so much to learn from the generation before us (unless you were raised by a drunken wife beater. In that case, I would run for the hills).

We need to stick together and help each other out. My mom and I share the household chores, grocery shopping and cooking. I know it helps her and I appreciate not having to do everything by myself.

When I lived by myself, I was very lonely and so was my mother. It used to break my heart to see her facebook check in to restaurants by herself and wish one of her kids was there but I had vowed many many times not to move back home. My, how the mighty has fallen.

Now, I love this living with the folks. I get to see my family. We help each other. I have built in company.

When my mom was battling cancer, even my grandparents moved in and we all helped her through her battle. The other day she made a comment about being a burden during this time. That could not be farther from the truth. I was happy to be able to do something for the woman that gave me life.

And, I love spending time with my grandparents. My grandmother is such an inspiration. The more I spend time around her, the more I learn good habits. She shops sales. She thrift store dives. She will slam on her breaks for a yard sale. She cooks and eats well with whole foods and vegetables. She gardens. In fact, I do not think there is one thing that she does not do. Her life is simple but full. It is a privilege to be around her to gather that knowledge for myself and our future generations.

Back to living at home. Did I mention I am very comfortable? I have my bathroom, bedroom and giant sitting room. Everything is decorated the way I like it and set up just right.

The only bad thing is my folks are junk food junkies and could not be more unhealthy. They use tobacco. They do not exercise. They eat a diet rich in deep fried Souther-ness. The above picture shows their stash of goodies: bags of chips, jars of cookies, boxes of candy, sleeves of cheese/peanut butter crackers, and chocolates galore. Nightly, my step dad comes home with a store bag full of treats and adds to the pile. Next to their pile, is my healthy but not quite as appealing produce.

The only healthy thing about my step dad is he eats a nightly salad. My mom doesn’t even do that. She eats a little bit of dinner. Then, a giant glass of milk with a ho-ho, snowball, and cupcakes.

My mom’s stockpile of cupcakes is a real problem for me. I eye them all the time and I have given in at times. Now, I am trying to stay away from her stack of sinful goodness.

One thing that helps is I am eating healthy food in great quantity. The other thing is that it is my mom’s only food source (don’t get me started, I do what I can to help these two unhealthy nuts). Regardless, I do not want to take away her food. But, at times, even the thought of taking food out of a cancer survivor’s mouth has not stopped me.

This brings me to food temptations. What do you do?

My mom is pretty slim and she can just not eat. When I asked her what she did to avoid temptation, she said, “I don’t know. I just don’t do it.” See! There ya go . . . . JUST DON’T DO IT! It’s mental. You have to be mentally strong.

Here are the most common phrases to recite in your head:
• A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips
• Nothing taste as good as skinny feels

For me, I just think to myself that once I reach my goal, I can face plant into a giant cake or whatever it is I am currently craving. That helps me until it passes. The other mind game I play is easy: This stuff is always here! It’s always around. It will be here when I hit goal! It’s not going anywhere.

That is the thinking that keeps me from hitting the “pile.”

Activities you can do:
• Go paint your toenails
• Take your dog for walk
• Guzzle down water until you are full
• Make a cup of coffee or tea
• Eat some fruit
• Grab some gum
• Take a bath

If your craving is especially bad or you are hungry, you might not be eating enough. I know the temptation when losing weight is to eat less but that will only set you up for a binge. Eat enough calories by tracking in “My Fitness Pal” app or use this handy article that I recommended before.


My step dad has declared “no diet food” for dinner. He pretty much wants to eat beef every night. I am under strict orders not to get fancy with the spices. Salt and pepper. That is it, he says. It really is just steak and potatoes around here. So, I’m learning to balance. Last week, my mom made a deep fried fish fry and I made a baked fish with butter. Surprisingly, he preferred my fish so that is what we are having for dinner tonight.

My basic fish recipe (I’ve used this for salmon and any white fish)
• Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
• Arrange the fish in a single layer on a piece of aluminum foil big enough to fold into a pouch
• Sprinkle with salt, pepper, Old Bay Seasoning and a little red pepper flakes
• Put a couple of slabs of butter on the fish. Be very generous with the butter. You want it to melt and steam the fish with butter. You do not have to eat all that butter because you can take the fish out of it when done.
• I usually sprinkle more Old Bay Seasoning on top of the butter.
• Then, close the aluminum foil into pouches
• Bake for 20 minutes. Check and make sure fish is done. If not, stick back into oven for 10 more minutes.
The fish should flake away with a fork. As a friend of mine used to say, “anybody can make something good with salt and butter.”

If I come across any other recipes that are healthy but Southern approved, I will certainly pass on. As of right now, the Gwyneth Paltrow Thai Chicken Burgers and this fish recipes are the only ones that got rave reviews from my unhealthy nuts.