|Cheater, cheater! Fried-food eater!|
I love New Year's resolutions and actually have a pretty good track record over the past few years of keeping them, surprisingly.
In 2010, I vowed not to buy paper towels anymore, and besides maybe two self-purchased packs and a couple rolls randomly given to us by other people, we've been doing this little bit for the environment for over three years now. (If you've ever been to my house, then you know what a "grandma rag" is, that we own a million of them and that they easily substitute for paper towels.)
In 2011, we gave up non-natural cleaners, which was perhaps the easiest of my resolutions. I haven't bought anything "toxic" in two years (save for buying bleach--because sometimes you just NEED to kill a germ or two), although it might be considered cheating that we occasionally use a cleaning service which uses whatever products they bring with them. In fact, we even gave up store-bought laundry detergent for a while (soooo easy to make), but I fell short on that endeavor, especially when Dreft came into the picture last year. Now it's a once-in-a-while kinda' thing.
In 2012, I vowed to buy organic groceries (except for a few key items and when entertaining), and we're still Whole Foods fanatics a year later. In fact, I look back at all of the stuff I used to buy at the normal grocery store and consider "healthy" and laugh because now I'd consider it junk food. We're not perfect, but we're marching forward with mostly organic groceries in our home and proud of it.
In 2013, we have (as we do each year) lots of resolutions, but I usually pick one or two to really hone in on, and this year it's fried food (and maybe caffeine). Ryan's favorite food is "fried stuff with cheese," and since he travels a lot (and is naturally thin), he eats a lot of it. I enjoy skinny-style fries, tortilla chips (mmm) and mozzarella sticks myself, and deep down I know that I shouldn't. I do have to admit that it probably is an easier resolution for me than him, if for nothing else than the mere fact that traveling causes him to eat out way more than I do. I don't own a fryer nor do I intend to ever own one, and I couldn't even begin to think about pan frying anything at home. (Remember how I'm the "bad cook?" A large part of that is because I can't bring myself to do things like use oil or fatty ingredients for non-party foods.) Plus, I don't have a daily hankering for chicken fingers like that boy does, so...
Which brings me to the "maybe caffeine" portion of the resolution. Several years ago, Ryan randomly decided to drop his Arnold Palmer drink obsession and go caffeine free. I decided to join him. I lasted a few months, then slowly slipped back into my Coke habit (capital "C," of course) after thinking foolishly that I could "just have one or two." Drinking socially became drinking excessively-socially and then eventually drinking alone. :) Ryan, on the other hand, lasted years without sweet tea. So many years that I can't even count. (Three? Four? I really can't even remember.) I typically give up caffeine at least once a year, for Lent or because I'm pregnant or whatever, but I'm definitely off the wagon (on the wagon?) now. Or, rather, I was because I randomly stopped drinking caffeine a week ago, went through withdrawal and can't figure out if I want to commit to kicking the habit for good or not. Ryan has (uncharacteristically) been drinking caffeine with me over the past few months, and since my caffeine obsession is as bad as his fried foods obsession, he suggested it would even the playing field if we gave up both. I'm still contemplating what to do...
"Even the playing field? What 'playing field?'" you may be wondering. Well, because health-based resolutions are hard to stay committed to, this year we decided to make it interesting. I came up with a high-stakes game to keep us accountable. The cold, hard truth is that we will eat fried food again. To say that we will NEVER EVER eat another fry isn't realistic. It just isn't. On the other hand, I don't want occasionally indulging to turn into backsliding and a failed resolution. As a solution, I came up with the concept of "Cheat Jars."
We each have our own Cheat Jar, and each month I put our allowances, in ten dollar bills, in our respective jars. Each time someone cheats, they have to put $10 in the other person's jar, and then at the end of the month we disburse the money. We had to come up with some game rules, which are as follows:
1. You can only cheat as many times as there are 10s in your monthly allowance, even if you've "earned" money from the other person's cheating.
2. The cost is $10 per cheat MEAL, not per cheat item (e.g. chicken fingers and fries eaten in one sitting costs you $10, not $20). This was Ryan's demand in order to play along. :)
3. We're going on the honor system, so no cheating the Cheat Jars.
4. No amnesty. Bad day? Special occasion? Nothing else to eat? Sorry, chips and dip are still going to cost you $10.
I've been excited about this challenge since the few weeks leading up to the new year, and now, one week in, I'm feeling like this is an attainable resolution. In fact, I hadn't even stopped by the bank to get our January 10s out until today. It must've been intuition that I ran that errand this afternoon, though, because Ryan came home exhausted and craving wings (bad day + national championship game). I agreed to go to Wild Wing Cafe, reminding him of the cost of what he was about to do. It didn't matter, though, and I think he'd say it was worth it. I, on the other hand, had grilled chicken wings and celery. Mmmm. (Said no one ever. Just kidding--it was yummy.)
Let the records show that Ryan was the first to cheat in 2013, and now that we've broken ground, I can now officially say, "Game on!"
Wish us luck!