Saturday, December 24, 2011

Your habits will always defeat your willpower (170.8)

First, Merry Christmas to all!

Second, that's 4 pounds of bonified cookie weight. Ahh, the holidays.

Third, I just finished running 10 miles. Woot!

I wanted to quickly post this before it got away from me. I'm listening to an online sermon from Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California (by John Ortberg). The sermon is about healing.

A key point from the sermon is: your will habits will always defeat your willpower. You might be able to overcome your habits for an hour or a day or a week, but ultimately your habits will win.

Your only hope is for a new set of habits.

Wow. This is so incredibly huge for weight loss and fitness. I will be noodling on this and keeping it in the front if my mind as I go into the new year.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas! (167.6)

Still crazy. Still swamped. I've been up and down emotionally the past couple of weeks, depending on the cycle of the moon, on my hormones, and on my SAD light usage/non-usage.

We were in Nashville over the weekend. It was fun and happy but with the usual stress that comes from traveling and staying in a hotel.

I'm taking this week off from work, but I'm still doing some work stuff. It just can't be helped.

Today is a good day. Very busy but I feel ok. I'm mailing almost 200 Christmas cards today. I'm also getting my hair done and stuffing and licking envelopes while my color processes. My mom has the kids tonight, so I'm wrapping everything tonight.

Just like you all, I'm swamped with Christmas stuff. I'm not getting much running in, but I ran 8 miles the weekend before last and am running 10 miles this weekend. Planning on running at least twice this week.

Work is still unpleasant. The new girl is nice, slowly catching on. The other broker is driving me nuts. It's nice to have a week away from him.

So that's the status. I am looking forward to slowing down and appreciating the Reason for the Season, and enjoying my family.


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, December 09, 2011

Crazy (166.4)

Too much going on at work to post this week. At home I'm too fried to think to post at night. So writing a quick one before work.

I've run twice this week, am eating ok but have slipped up at night, and am keeping my weight down. But, I am a ball of stress and nerves because of all I have going in at work and with kids and with the holidays.

Doesn't help that I have pms and the moon is on its full cycle, which I truly believe, now that I'm paying attention, influences my moods.

Mostly I'm just tired of all the responsibility at work. The new girl has no experience, is very nice and I like her, but it will take a long time for her to get up to speed. I have no control over that situation.

Mark has basically been sick for 2 weeks--with a brief wellness period on the weekend--and that's put a lot on me as well.

Top it off with Christmas chaos and I'm going a bit crazy.

I'm taking the week before Christmas off work. It will be a push to get it all done next week. But there's a light at the end of the tunnel.

Thank you for checking on me, Vickie.

Haven't had a chance to answer your comment on my last post on 20 pounds. I want to get back into my size 8s which means 149-152 lbs. I want to be in the 145-148 range as my "final" goal. Final as in, see how possible it is to maintain that weight long term. I looked great at that weight and ran a Half marathon at a fast for me pace. So that's another 20 pounds to lose.

Now that I'm home, I am also feeling the loss of these 20 pounds. I can run 11:15 minute miles now without walking. My clothes are loose. I'm in 34D bras. As long as I'm not hanging out with size 0s, I feel good about how I look.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, December 03, 2011

20 pounds

Today I weighed 166.8, which is 20 pounds lost from my high this year.

My mom saw me this morning when she brought the kids home and her jaw dropped. You're so thin, she said. How'd that happen all of the sudden?

I said it didn't happen all of a sudden. I've been working on it since July. It's just now showing. It takes 20 pounds for anyone else to notice.

It was not an encouraging reaction from her. At least I didn't take it that way. Which is no surprise. I am processing how I react to that type of reaction. Right now I'm working on making it a neutral response.

It is what it is. I do not have to internalize it negatively. I can go about my day in a healthy way and let any weird feelings go on their way. They do not need to stick around in my head.

Busy but fun day planned with our family, just the four of us. Putting up the Tree. Watching Christmas movies. Drinking hot chocolate. Running 5 miles this afternoon. Well, I'm running. The kids aren't.

And playing with my new iPhone. Bye bye blackberry!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Done with the plateau (168.2)

Thanksgiving was fun but exhausting.  I didn't eat as healthfully as I'd like, but I kept the quantities in check.  I also ran twice--Thursday 4.2 miles and Saturday 6.5 miles. 

I really FELT my extra 20 pounds this weekend.  I was surrounded by thin women.  I'm talking size 0s & 2s.  No matter how stupid and counterproductive and harmful it is to compare myself to other women, I still do it.  I think it's coded into my DNA.

At any rate, yesterday I weighed 170.2 and decided to be finished with this plateau.  I started tracking my calories on an Apple app called "Lose It."  I've used it before, so it has a lot of foods already recorded for me.  I'm on the 1 pound a week plan, which gives me a budget of 1,587 calories a day.  It deducts exercise like most programs do.

I'm not going to get hung up on eating exactly 1,587 calories a day.  I want to stay in that range.  Some days I'll eat more; some days I'll eat less.  Some days I'll eat the exercise calories, and some days (like yesterday, when I was under a net 235 calories b/c I ran 3 miles) I won't. 

What I did learn yesterday is why I've been in this plateau for so long.  Because I've been eating too much.

This is no big revelation.  I've been eating healthy foods but still eating for comfort, especially at night.  I've been eating exactly what my body needs to stay in the 168-170 range. 

And that's been fine and what I needed for the past few months.  Now, though, I'm ready to be done and move on.

I am not looking at December and thinking "oh hell, it's the holidays and there's no way I can stick to a diet now.  I will just start in January."  That path leads to a 10 pound gain, and I refuse to go there. 

I have a goal of being under 160 and in size 10s by my race at the end of February.  It's a goal, not a line in the sand.  I just need something to work toward.

***
The other broker hired a new assistant last week.  I like her.  She's here on a conditional basis; trying her out for 30 days before he hires her officially (he found her through an employment agency).  She's young and has 2 kids and is recently divorced and has a lot of personal issues that may cause problems with her being reliable.  But she also really needs a job.  So, time will tell. 

I am overwhelmed with the amount of work and activities we have going on.  December is insane.  I am so thankful I have my running plan and running buddies in town to keep me running.  I'm also glad I have gotten into the habit of getting up early, doing my SAD light and Bible reading, getting to work earlier, working out at lunch 3 days a week, getting to bed by 10:30.  All those pieces have to stay in place or I will lose it.  I am making sure I take care of myself, so I don't lose it. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

We're in Indianapolis for Thanksgiving with Mark's family.  We got in last night around 10 pm our time (11 pm Indy time).  I was awake this morning at 5:30 our time, probably because my body clock is set to that time, and also because I just don't sleep well the first night in a hotel (even with my sleep meds).

Rather than fighting it, I got up, went downstairs to the breakfast area, had as healthy a breakfast as possible, and now getting ready to go running with Kate & her friend Jen.  We are doing 4 miles this morning.  That will burn about 400-450 calories--which just about equals a slice of pumpkin pie.

Family dinner is late afternoon.  I can't wait.  I love Mark's family & the time we get to spend with them.  His brother & niece (with her fiance) and nephew flew in from Colorado.  It's the first Thanksgiving in his sister's new house (she & my BIL moved from Evansville to Indy this year). 

My goal for Thanksgiving weekend is to not gain weight, to maintain at 168ish (Tuesday I was 168.6).  I'm sure there will be water weight to lose the first few days home, but by the middle of next week I want the scale to read in the 168s.  Then, seriously, I want the darn thing to start moving down again.

Goals need a plan, so here's my plan:  I'm running today, I'm running 6.5 miles tomorrow or Saturday, and I'm running Sunday morning.  I'm going to focus on relationships and conversations and relaxing at dinner, and not be obsessed about eating a piece of every dessert offered (I could skip all the dinner fixings & go right to the sugar, as I'm sure you're not surprised).  I know I can't exercise off bad food choices, but I can run so I feel healthy and energized.  Nothing keeps me focused on being healthy like a long run. 

I brought my hot tea fixings with me to the hotel for my night time relaxation hit, which is what I've been doing at home.  I have apples and raw cashews in the hotel for snacks.  Travel food is tough. I'm going to do the best I can. 

I hope you all have had a wonderful time this Thanksgiving with the people you love. 

I'll leave you with this picture that I got from a blogger/Facebook friend.  I really have to find this t-shirt. It is my new motto:

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Success begets success (168.2)

When my daughter was a baby, a friend of mine gave me a book called Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child.  One of the most important things I learned about babies and sleep is this:  sleep begets sleep. 

It seems counter intuitive--shouldn't a baby or child sleep better or more if she's tired?  As it turns out, no.  The more well rested a baby is, the easier she falls asleep and the better she stays asleep.

I thought of this "sleep begets sleep" lesson yesterday, and applied it to weight loss.  Success begets success.

You'd think that being 20 pounds overweight, tired, out of shape, and unhappy would be all the motivation I'd need to get moving.  And, don't get me wrong, those things ARE motivating.  But sometimes, in the muck and mire of obesity, it feels impossible to overcome the desire to throw up my hands and say "what the hell, I'm this fat already, what's the difference if I eat junk food or skip my workout today?  I'll start tomorrow." 

Now that I have lost almost 20 pounds and have been working out regularly for a couple of months... And now that I can feel and see muscles in my quads and calves and shoulders and biceps and triceps... And now that I can run a 10 min mile for half a mile and a 9 min mile for a couple tenths of a mile...  I have the kind of motivation that doesn't wait for tomorrow. 

Now my motivation is based in success.  It's not based in hopelessness any longer.

I keep moving and eating breakfast and cutting back on sugar because I want to be better.  I want to be stronger.  I want to run faster.

Yes, I want to look better and wear smaller, cuter clothes.  But honestly, that's not the core of WHY I'm doing what I'm doing now. 

I want to hold onto this feeling of success.  I want the fat to come off my body so I can see the cut of my muscles under my skin.  They are MY muscles--I'm earning every ounce of them.  I am proud of them and I don't want them buried under a layer of fat. 

I want to weigh less so I can run faster.  I'm only in competition with myself.  I want to run as fast as I did in 2008, when I finished a half marathon in 2:15:42 (the printout of my race results are on my cubicle wall, where they've been since October 14, 2008).  I want to run even faster than that someday.  I want to run a full marathon in the near future.  Running is possible at this weight, and I do it well and (knock wood) without injury.  But I can run better when I carry less weight around.  Watch the next to last episode of any of the recent Biggest Loser seasons and you'll know exactly what I mean.

It may seem counter intuitive that becoming and feeling fit and healthy are more motivating than being overweight and out of shape.  But it's not. 

It has taken a long time for me to get here, but I feel like I've crossed the tipping point into "success begets success" territory.  I'm fighting hard to stay here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Christmas in November (168.4)

I'm swamped at work and at home.  The busy time of year has begun.

We put up the Christmas decorations this past Saturday--everything but the tree.  The weekends are crazy full from now until the end of the year, and it was either start Christmas in November or only put up the tree and no other decorations the weekend after Thanksgiving. 

We spent 5 hours getting everything out & decorated & then cleaned up.  I brought in the stuff from the garage, Sophie & Luke unloaded all the bins, I decorated the fireplace mantel, and Sophie decorated everything else.  We decorated the family room/kitchen and the dining room. 

We listened to Christmas music and watched Christmas movies.  It was relaxing and fun.  There was no pressure, no hurry, no stress.  Usually if I do everything in one weekend or sometimes even in one day, it's no fun for anyone because it's just too overwhelming.  And some years, I just do the tree because I'm not up for the work involved to do it all.

I've never decorated for Christmas this way before, since I generally dislike decorations going up before Thanksgiving.  But it actually put me in a better spirit about the holidays.  I don't feel so curmudgeonly about the decorations in the stores or the commercials on TV. 

And putting up the tree will be fun and relaxing and a family event.  The way it's supposed to be.

***
I had a good weekend, food and exercise wise.  I ran 3 miles on Friday after work and 5 miles on Saturday morning.  My food wasn't perfect, but it was acceptable and I didn't gain weight over the weekend.

I was a bundle of stress yesterday, and after work I got on the treadmill for 40 minutes.  I mostly walked, because I don't want to overdo the running miles and stress out my knees.  It was just what I needed to calm my nerves and keep me from raiding the cookies. 

Today will be 3 miles of running at the gym.  I'm in Week 4 of my half marathon training and haven't missed a training day yet.

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Sun and the Moon

I took the day off from work today.  The kids are off school b/c of Veterans Day, and I really, really needed a day off.  Thankfully Mark was okay going to the office by himself.   I slept till 7, did my SAD light and Bible reading, have read a few blog posts, am blogging myself, will run in a bit, and putter around the house.  Tonight I'm going out with my girlfriends to a Christmas bazaar and dinner.  I'm hoping for a relaxed, peaceful, refreshing day. 

It's been a rough week, and my food has been good and bad.  I've struggled with night eating (stress eating) this week, a lot.  I ran on Tuesday and took a weights class Wednesday, am running today, and running 5 miles with the girls on Saturday.  Exercise has been a constant lately--the whole "a body in motion stays in motion" thing.  It really helps.

About work: we still don't have another assistant.  Other broker is having a 2nd interview next week, and wants me to sit in.  I don't think my opinion matters.  He interviewed 3 people.  One lady would have been great, at least from her experience.  She was middle aged, in her 50s. She's been an assistant to a department head at a University.  The girl he wants to bring back for a 2nd interview is 25, has kids, is working on her degree, but is "more bubbly" than the other 2 women.  More bubbly.  This is his criteria for hiring someone.  I'm sure she's prettier, too.  I told him my opinion--that hiring someone strictly on personality and "bubbly" is a bad idea. It doesn't matter.  This is not something I can fight.  It is his assistant.  Mark & I are working toward leaving this office in the near term, anyway, so I am not invested in his decision.  It is HIS decision, not mine.  I just want to get someone in there so I don't have to do his work anymore and so I can take time off without my husband being stuck in the office by himself. 

OK, enough of that. Onto today's post.

A Facebook friend posted about the full moon the other day, about how much it affects her mood and attitude.  She is a very positive, effervescent, happy, open soul who I only know from High School but would love to know in person. 

Her post about the moon garnered a lot of comments.  People in medical and psychiatric fields confirmed that activity increased around the time of the full moon.  There may or may not be scientific evidence on how the moon affects people, but there is a boat load of anecdotal evidence.

She posted this three days before the full moon, which is today.  I started examining my feelings and behavior--and those of my daughter, who is also very sensitive--and how they've been difficult this week.  I've felt SAD symptoms of listlessness, tiredness, depression.  I've binged on sugar.  I've been moody and on edge and bitchy.  I had to take half a xanax on two mornings because I was wound up so tight.

I've always explained these feelings and behavior on hormones or food intake or lack of sleep or stress or lack of sunlight or lack of exercise (basically any lack in self-care).  And all these things DO affect me.  I'm not dismissing them or diminishing their importance. 

I know all about how the sun affects me.  I know how weather systems affect me.  I've never looked at how the moon might be affecting me.

The first website I pulled up on the moon's cycles had this to say about the lunar cycle:

Astrology and the Lunar Cycle
Aside from the scientific explanation, the term "moon cycle" is often heard in astrological circles. According to astrology, the moon's cycle can affect the way we feel about things. In particular, when the moon is full or new, both males and females can experience dramatic changes in their mood and behavior.

When the moon is full, stress becomes a major factor and people become more sensitive to details. An overload of work will add to the frustration and people will deal with their own needs rather than paying attention to others' needs. Often, a lack of assertiveness will be obvious.

A new moon brings with it the sense of calmness. In this moon cycle, people's emotions get back to normal, their determination will return with the feeling that anything can be accomplished, and there will be more energy and acceptance of other other's ideas.

Now, I am not into astrology.  I don't read my horoscope, and never have.  So I don't see these explanations as "astrology" in the traditional sense.  Maybe they are, and maybe it's hooey.  But it sure as heck struck a major chord with me.

I go through these cycles.  I feel these feelings acutely.  My rationale on the moon being at least partially responsible for the state of my being is this:  if the moon can move the oceans, then surely it can move me, as well. 

In my eyes, this is one more tool for me to use to get through the rough times.  It is one more way for me to 1) tell myself that what I'm going through is temporary, 2) prepare myself ahead of time for dealing with these feelings, especially at the full moon, and 3) honor the fact that not everything that happens inside of me is in my control. 

That last one could be seen as a cop out.  But to me, it gives me a small sense of peace.  I can't always Make Myself Well.  (Do you remember the movie Mask, with Cher?  When her son would fall sick, he would chant to himself "make myself well, make myself well."  Sometimes it worked; sometimes he was helpless.)  Sometimes I feel helpless, and all I can do is wait it out. 

That doesn't give me permission to descend into a binge or self-pity.  On the contrary.  It gives me an added responsibility, to myself and my family, to take extra care of myself, to be generous and loving to myself, and to remember to pause before I say the wrong thing or take the wrong action.  I'm often emotionally unstable during these times, and it can affect those around me significantly (in other words, I can be a real pain in the butt to live and work with, and for the sake of those I love, I have to work on toning my frustrations down to a healthy and kind level).

But it does give me permission to not expect so much from myself.  The times I feel like that, it is freeing to know that I AM OK, even if I'm not being Super Mom and Super Wife and Super Employee.  I don't have to be Super at all. 

So that's all the full moon bad stuff.  The good news is--the days before and after the new moon can make me feel strong.  I definitely have times of feeling amazing energy, strength, and invincibility.  I checked, and the new moon is at Thanksgiving and Christmas this year.  That's something to look forward to!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Difficult days

I've had a rough few days.  The time change kills me.  I'm also hormonal.  We had a very full weekend (it was Luke's birthday Sunday).  I skipped my SAD light treatments on Saturday and Sunday (b/c of time constraints).

All this, plus the availability of cake and pizza on Saturday and Sunday, has had me In The Sugar for 3 solid days. 

Sugar makes me mean and miserable.  And bloated.  And tired.  And gain weight.

Sugar's pull is so strong.  I am nearly helpless to avoid it when I am weak in other areas--like the time change, hormones, and next to no down time.

I have been exercising.  I worked out 5 times last week, including running 5 miles (in an hour.... I am getting faster and stronger) and an hour-long yoga class on Saturday.  Saturday morning is pretty much the last time I felt good.

I didn't bother weighing this morning.  I was so bloated I knew it would just further depress me. 

I am working today to get back on track and back to my healthy normal.  I started the day off with a good breakfast.  I have a good lunch ready.  I don't have dinner planned yet, and I need to go to the store tonight after work. I am running today at lunch. 

I did my SAD light at work yesterday, and at home this morning.  I still feel like I'm jet lagged from the time change and I'm feeling SAD symptoms--listless, unmotivated, tired, moving through mud, moody.

I'm just not in a good place right now.  Getting out of the sugar is KEY.  Being in the sugar makes everything worse.  It's a vicious cycle. 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Halloween 2011

My post for today is below.  Thought you'd enjoy some pics from the weekend.

Peter Pan and Captain Hook (this is a man's Hook coat...it makes me look bigger than I really am.  Of course, I'd fixate on that instead of how awesome we look!). This was taken at our church friends' house after our dinner with them Friday night.  We got ready there.  I don't have a white wall in my house, ha.

Hermione Granger and Captain Rex (storm trooper)

They are having a battle... Sophie flying on her broom stick with her hand, and Luke battling back with his light saber.  It was the perfect night to trick or treat. They had a great time.

Update on my back, neck, arm (169.2)

I've spent a good deal of time and money this year dealing with my neck, upper back, and arm injuries and pain.   The problems mostly stemmed from poor placement of my computer at work, a worn-out office chair, and carrying too much weight on the crook of my left arm.

My physical therapist worked through the majority of these issues, helping heal the nerve in my arm with ultrasound treatments and giving me exercises to do at home.  The cost for PT came out of my insurance deductible, and it was not cheap.  In other words, I have an investment in my body that I need to maintain.

At work I elevated my laptop to eye level, got an external keyboard and mouse, added a keyboard tray to my desk, and got a new chair.  I pieced them together one at a time, but it took ALL of those things combined to finally eliminate the painful knots in my neck and upper back.  In only a couple of weeks with the new chair and keyboard tray, the pain completely went away. 

My left arm is taking longer to heal.  I damaged the nerve at the crook in my arm, and my PT said it could take well over 6 months to completely heal. 
Lesson for you all--don't be a "one trip wonder" when carrying in your groceries, loading tons of weight on your arms.  You will eventually cause serious damage. 
If I overuse it, mostly when doing free weights classes, it gets tender and slightly weaker.  So I'm careful about bicep work and not loading up the bar with too much weight.

I am careful about adjusting my chair in different positions throughout the day.  I also pay close attention to my posture in the car now, keeping my abs tucked in and my shoulders back against the seat. 

Running regularly is also improving my back and posture.  When I run, I focus on keeping my shoulders down and in my "back pockets."  Running motions from my arms moving strengthen my upper back significantly, too.

The quality of my life has significantly improved because I'm not in continual pain and stress everyday. 

It took years for the small things to build up and cause injuries.  None of this stuff bothered me in my 30s.  I had used my laptop as it was for over 4 years before I had problems with my neck. 

Many small changes resulted in big results.  It was no One Thing, and it took trial and error to figure it all out.  

There's a bigger lesson to be learned from this, too.  Many small changes--baby steps--can impact every area of my life.  I have much more to work on, a little at a time.

Friday, October 28, 2011

A great run (169.0)

I wasn't able to run yesterday, because the dog needed to go to the vet (she was limping on the knee that had the ACL repaired last year--she now has arthritis) at lunch and had to be picked up after work.  So, no run.

But today I went at lunch, and it was fabulous.  3.25 miles in 37:42, which is an 11:36 pace--my best this year.  The last .25 miles I was at a 10:07 pace, and I felt strong the whole time. 

Yesterday was a crappy food day, though.  Just when I feel cocky about how well I'm doing, I have a day that knocks me for a loop.  I know what the problem was.  I had a lot of emotional stress, between work and the dog and an emotional talk with my daughter and the back-to-back dreary days.  I was nonstop busy all day long.  And I didn't get my run in.

I had choir practice at 7, ran to the grocery after, got a call from Mark at 8:20 telling me Sophie was crying and both the kids wanted to see me before they went to sleep.  I dug down and found some inner peace to give to both my kids when I got home a few minutes later, even though I didn't really have it in me. 

I hadn't eaten dinner before I left for choir.  That, plus all of the above, set me up for a binge last night.  It could have been worse, but it was still a binge. 

Vickie has some great links I read today (this one and this one) that helped me deal with what happened last night.  I already feel more positive about moving forward from the errors of yesterday.  Day has been much better.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No cookies. Feeling strong. (167.8)

Second day in a row at 167.8. 

Second night with no cookies.

Seriously, just fessing up and examining it on the blog helps me tremendously. 

Shining light on the problem, not hiding and pretending like it's not happening, admitting there is a problem....the first steps to healing.

I listened to myself when I wanted cookies on Tuesday night.  It was a knee jerk reaction--"the kids are in bed and I'm finally DONE for the day" reaction.  Cookies = comfort.  I had an apple and a cup of hot tea instead. 

I wanted cookies again when I woke up in the middle of the night to pee.  I just went straight back to bed, ignoring the pull of the kitchen.

Then Wednesday night, we got the kids in bed earlier, and I wasn't as stressed out at my bedtime.  I had hot tea again while in bed watching "Breaking Bad" on Netflix, and it helped again.  No cookies.  Had to pee again in the night and was so sleepy I just stumbled back to bed, no thought of the cookies.

Breaking a bad habit is a lot about replacing that habit with good ones.

It also helps that I've been working out hard, and I don't want to ruin all my good work with a stupid cookie binge. 

Weights class yesterday at lunch was awesome.  I need to increase my weights--they were getting too easy.  That's always a great sign.  Running again today, then rest tomorrow (I thought I'd do weights again on Friday afternoons, but my knees can't handle it, considering I have a long run on Saturday mornings), then the Saturday long run, then either rest or a weights or pilates class on Sunday, depending on how the day shakes out and how my body is feeling.

Right now, my body feels nothing but strong.  It ROCKS to feel this way.  And it just makes me want more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You're coming into focus, kid (168.4)

One of my favorite movies is Joe vs. the Volcano.  I first saw it when Mark & I were dating.  I have seen it multiple times since, and Mark & I have quotes that we sometimes use to joke with each other. Like "these lights are suck, suck, sucking the life out of me" and "that outfit is wearing you, Felix" and "I'm not arguing that with you." 

If you've seen the movie a bajillion times, these will mean something to you.  Chances are, you haven't, so watch it the next time it comes on cable.

One of the quotes that hit me yesterday was "You're coming into focus, kid."  The limo driver who takes Joe to the airport (for his trip to an island in the Pacific where he's planning to jump into a volcano) says it after he takes Joe to get new clothes and his hair cut.  Tom Hanks is transformed from an unhealthy looking sad sack of a man, to the handsome Tom Hanks of the late 1990s. 

Yesterday, I felt like that.  I felt like I was coming into focus. 

I can feel my bicep muscles now, and there's a nice cut when I flex.  Same with my triceps and shoulders.  My back fat rolls are completely gone; no more muffin top either.  My upper body shapes up pretty quickly once I start the workouts, which I've been doing fairly regularly since the first part of September.

My running pace is a minute faster (yesterday, it was 12:38 for a 3.25 mile run) than it was a couple months ago .  I did (a slow) 5 miles on Saturday with my friends, and it was almost too easy.  I just finished a pilates class, where we used a big ball, and I could keep up with everything.  It was challenging, but I could do it all. 

I feel stronger, I feel thinner, I feel like I'm going to be able to reach my goals in the foreseeable future.

So, what are my goals?  It's nice to have some again.

Weight loss wise, I'd like to be at 160 by Thanksgiving, although realistically it will likely be 162 or 163.  I'll be happy with that.  I want to weigh 155 by my race in February.  I think that's totally doable. That weight is important because it affects my running pace significantly.

I don't know what my "final" weight will be.  I want my saddle bags to be nearly gone. I want a normal shaped body, proportionate all over.  Whatever weight that ends up being is what I want to weigh. I do know that I still had significant weight in my hips when I weighed 146, so I'm guessing it will be below that. I have no idea when I'll hit this weight.  It may be next summer, it may be in 2 or 3 years, or it may take longer.  Depends on how hard I work for it and how my body cooperates. Time doesn't matter.  I just want to get there by consistently moving forward. 

Running wise, I want to run an avg 11:00 min/mile for my long runs.  I want to run an avg 10:30 min/mile on my short runs.  These paces are only possible when I have less weight to carry around.  Eventually, I want to run a full marathon, maybe in 2013.

Food wise, I want to kick my darn cookie habit.  I don't know what the problem is--muscle memory, sugar memory, comfort habit?  Probably those and more.  I almost always have 3 or 4 cookies right before I go to bed.  Yes, I realize how stupid this is and how destructive this is for weight loss.  Yes, I realize I could put the cookies somewhere I can't get to them.  It's more than behavior modification or mind games.  I need to figure out why I still eat them, after having a well-fed and productive and happy day.  Just writing about it here will help me work on it, I'm sure.

Still busy at work, still busy at home, still maintaining mostly healthy habits, including my SAD light--which I consider one of the most critical to my overall health.  Lunch time workouts are fortunately completely doable most days. I've already run and taken pilates, and it's only Tuesday!  More running Thursday, weights class Friday, running Saturday.  It's all good.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Would you like plastic with that oatmeal? (167.4)

Because of my new work schedule, I've been having to eat part of my breakfast at work. I usually have my homemade soy latte, an egg & a few bites of oatmeal at home, then bring the rest of my oatmeal to work & finish it at my desk.  This is a new routine for me; I usually only eat a snack and lunch at work.

Last week I reheated my oatmeal in a plastic glad ware container, and the whole thing tasted like burnt plastic.  Blech.

I know reheating food in plastic is a horrible idea.  At home I don't, but at work I will sometimes heat anything that won't stay on a paper plate in the glad ware containers I bring the food in. 

After the oatmeal incident, I decided it was time to invest in glass containers.

I've looked at them at Target before, but they were a fortune.  I found a set on Amazon called Snapware for $45.  There were mixed reviews about the durability of the lids and the glass, and indeed, the large container arrived with one of the snaps broken off.  It wasn't a huge deal--it's not a container I'd bring with me to work, which is the only time I need seal-tight lids--so I just kept it and didn't bother with a return. I needed the containers right away. 

The rest of the bowls and rectangular dishes have been great.  They seal tight and don't leak, they have gone through a couple dishwasher cycles & the seals are still OK.  I haven't broken any yet.  I'm very happy to have the set and glad I won't be filling our bodies with toxic plastic any more.

Any my oatmeal this morning tastes like oatmeal (and pumpkin and peanut butter and cinnamon, 'cause that's how I roll).

***
My weight yesterday was 167.4, too.  I had lunch with friends at Panera yesterday, 2/3rds of a chicken salad sandwich, and I expected my weight to bump up today. I was surprised & happy it stayed the same.  It's my lowest weight yet this year.  I'm half a pound away from losing 20 pounds.

My clothes are fitting better and better, and I'm feeling better.  I really want to be in size 10s by Thanksgiving.  I have very few fall clothes in 12s, and am just wearing the same clothes over and over (I barely have enough to get through one week without doing laundry, but I manage) until I lose more weight.  I have two pairs of jeans in 10s but nothing else for fall, so I'll have to buy a few pieces when I get to 160.  I'm looking forward to it.  

To that end, I'm working out regularly now.  Pilates on Tuesday, weights at lunch and a 75 minute walk at night with my friend Debra on Wednesday, weights tonight, and a 5 mile run tomorrow morning with the girls.  Princess Half Marathon (in February) training starts this weekend; it's the first time I'll train for a race with other women, and I'm really excited about that. I can FINALLY share my love for running with friends In Real Life.   Hooray for exercise!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Safe at this size (168.0)

I've been bopping around 170 pounds for a couple of months now.  Last week I started thinking about the Why of this plateau.
And I realize it's not a long plateau and not (necessarily) a big deal, but I'd still call it a plateau.
When I first started writing this blog, I regularly read a blog by Jonathan.  He wrote the best explanation of what a plateau is (back in 2006... how quickly time passes) that I've ever read.  The key point is this:
‘When you are experiencing a true plateau –that is, you are not gaining, and you are not losing– it is the result of the fact that your desire to change is exactly equal to your desire to stay the same.’

This Truth has nothing to do with playing scale games, making up excuses like "I'm building muscle and that's why I'm not losing weight" or "I'm eating too many carrots" (which some weight counselor once told a blogger was why she wasn't losing weight).  

It's an in-your-face, look at what you're really doing kind of explanation for a plateau.

I am at that point of exactly equal.

My desire to stay the same stems from:

I don't feel obese anymore.  Size 12 is average.  I am still overweight, but I can run and lift weights and hold my body weight in pilates.  I'm not eating sugar or processed foods as my main meals (although my nights are still a problem as far as that goes).  My husband likes the way I look.  And I feel good.

But all that combined isn't the true, deep down reason for staying this weight.  The real reason is that I feel SAFE at this size.

Nobody comments on my body or my clothes.  Nobody asks if I've lost weight.  Nobody asks me about diets or exercise or "what's your secret?"

At this size, I'm still invisible.

Understand, though, that Safe isn't where I want to be.  Safe is not a happy place.   The need to feel Safe stems from childhood damage and comments from men I received when I was thin in 2008 and recent issues with my uncle.  I wrote in detail about the need to be invisible here.

Deep down, who I want to be is what Vickie described in her zip line post (which I found easily because Vickie is the Queen of Tags, and yes indeed, she has a tag for "zip line."  Love it).  I want to feel like this, as Vickie wrote in this post:
"I am not an average person.

That illusive "normal' that bloggers often think about wanting to be.

I am above, beyond, better than a 'normal' person. Because the average joe in line at the license bureau is a 'normal person'.

And what I do to take care of myself is beyond what those people know, do, understand.

And what I have, physically and emotionally is (in my opinion) beyond what they have too."
Getting beyond Safe is, I believe, going to take some more therapy sessions.  I don't know any other way to get past it.  I had the breakthrough of understanding a few months ago.  Now I need the breakthrough of change, so that I can get my head around learning to live beyond Safe, beyond Normal.

Deep down, I know I can be that person.  Now to start digging through the layers to bring that deep down belief to the surface.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making the most of it (169.2)

Tuesday was the worst day, as far as this work thing goes.  My knee jerk reactions went into my post Tuesday, and I did FEEL all those things at the time, but my first reactions were more dire, I suppose, than reality.

I'm still not happy with the situation, but I'm setting boundaries and I'm determined to take care of myself.

Boundary example:
The broker I'm working with now asked me to access his calendar for client meetings and to see what his schedule is so I can see who he's meeting with and schedule appointments for him.  I will not do this for him.  I asked him to get me names & dates in advance so I can prep his account review material.  He is calling his own clients back when there are issues.  I've heard how he deals with Sara on his calendar--it has been a source of conflict for them, and I'm not getting involved in that. 

I am only doing "account" work for him.  I will not do personal chores for him.  If it's related to sales or service, I will help.  Anything else, I'm telling him I'm not comfortable handing that (such as entering his business and personal expenses from his bank account into Quicken).

I'm tracking every minute I touch the other broker's business. My goal is not to work more than 3.5 hours a day (half my day) on his business, so that I don't feel like I am short changing our business.


Taking care of myself:
Since I have to be here regular business hours, I'm taking a lunch like regular business hours people do.  I never took lunch when I came in at mid-morning, of course.  The past two days, my lunch has been working out at the gym.  Pilates on Tuesday, Weights class on Wednesday.  Those two classes are 45 minutes to accommodate the lunch hour.  Lunch classes are only on Tues & Wed, so I will be going to the gym and walking or running the other days. 

My plan is to go 4 or 5 days each week.  I told Mark I need this hour away from the office to maintain my sanity.  I eat lunch at my desk when I get back from the gym.  I change my clothes at work in the bathroom, drive 5 minutes to the gym, workout, drive back, change back into work clothes (sweaty but not stinky :).  Total time is about 65 minutes.  Totally worth it.

This morning I got up at 5:30 and did my SAD light/Bible reading time.  That helped center my day.

I haven't been able to eat breakfast at home, though.  I need to get up at 5:00 or 5:15 if I want to eat at home (at least, I haven't figured out any other way yet).  I had coffee (1 c. soy milk and espresso) at home, then had steel cut oats with PB and berries at 8:15.  I need to work on breakfast, b/c I'm not happy with the late hour and the lack of significant protein.   It's all part of the adjustment process.


Thank you for all your words of encouragment and support.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Big change at work (170.0)

The other assistant in the office quit yesterday.  She was totally justified in quitting.  If I were her, I would have left her boss years and years ago.  I don't know how she stood it for 8 years.  I am not upset with her in the least.  I know whatever she ends up doing, she will be happier with.

But, I am now the solo assistant to my husband and the other advisor in the office.

Needless to say, my work load is increasing substantially, and there's a big learning curve because they do things differently than we do. 

This is an unwelcome change, to say the least. My hours at the office are increasing, my flexibility is decreasing, my patience is being tested. 

The advisor treats me with respect, at least he always has in the past (I am, afterall, the wife of the branch manager and Mark & he have been friends for over 20 years).  Hopefully that will continue.  Who knows how long this situation will last.  I doubt that he'll be that motivated to hire someone while I'm doing so much for him.

Yes, he's paying me (us, really.... when I'm working for him, I'm not taking care of Mark's & my clients), by the hour.  I'm tracking my hours on a spreadsheet. 

I won't do a lot of the personal stuff he had his previous assistant do. I'm being very clear about what I need from him to do things he needs done the right way. 

The problem is, things go in one ear and out the other with him.  I've seen it & heard it for almost 5 years of working in this office.  I'm going to have to take extra care to cover my butt. 

This is a HUGE test of my patience and Christian attitude toward someone I don't particularly like (and often, can absolutely not stand at all).  I'm having to hold my tongue already; the past few months of therapy and blog writing have, in a big way, prepared me for this situation.

I don't know when I'll be on here next.  I don't like to blog at night--I'm on this thing all day long, the last thing I want to do at home is get back on my computer.  Hopefully it will be soon. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

One year later.... graces, big and small (170.6)

Today is the anniversary of my dad's death.  That day marked the end of the most difficult, challenging, gut-wrenching year of my life. 

The 12 months that have passed since his death have been full of significant changes for me.  I've written about those changes as they've happened, here on my blog.  I don't want to go through a list of them today.

Today I want to talk about all the grace I now see at work in my life.

Last Friday I had an extremely frustrating day.  Nothing was going right.  I had a long list of things I needed to get done at work, but I got sidelined with an unexpected client issue instead.  I also had email and computer problems that day.  I banged my head against the wall for hours, getting nowhere. It was very frustrating, and I broke down at one point because I felt so out of control and helpless.

At the end of the day when I was on my way home, it hit me--I haven't had a bad day like that in a very, very long time.  From January 2010 to October 7, 2010, I had bad days (and worse days) several times a week.  Sometimes entire weeks were bad like that. 

I can look back now and acknowledge how utterly horrible the year of Dad's illness was.  If God only gives you what you can handle...well, he pushed me to the very edge.

I can look at today and see clearly that I am happy.  I am blessed.  More often than not, I am filled with peace.

Even when I have a bad day like last week, it's nothing compared to the turmoil I suffered before. 

And that's where the Big Grace comes in.  Because of the year of Dad's illness, I have the ability to look at "bad days" and not let them wreck me.   It's not a "my dad is in a nursing home unable to move a muscle, bitter and angry and blaming me for putting him there" day.  It's just one bad day.

A few other Big Graces:

My husband and kids are healthy. I am healthy. We have a warm, safe home. We have decent clothes. We have food in the fridge and the cupboards. 

My relationship with my mom is healing and much stronger.  Not because she has changed, but because I have changed.

I'm on the right medication to keep my moods stable.  I am not suffering from SAD symptoms because I am treating it with light therapy.  I am sleeping well.

There are so many more--Mark passed the CFP exam, we are making a living and can pay the bills, I am cooking and buying fresh foods every week (& Mark is eating what I make) and we rarely eat out anymore.

The Small Graces are things like this:

This Sunday is the Half Marathon that I've run the past 3 years.  My coworker Sara is walking it--it's her first half.  She's so excited, and I'm excited for her.  I'm also pea green with envy.  I wish I'd trained.  I want the t-shirt, the medal, the 5 gallon bucket (that's the bling every year--a 5 gallon bucket... only in the Mid West :).  I want the thrill of the accomplishment of 13.1 miles. 

Yesterday morning I was so tempted to sign up & just do it, conditioning be darned.  I schemed about what I'd have to do to swing it.... I'd need a sub for my Sunday school class, which wouldn't be that hard.  But I'd also have to skip singing in the choir.  We only have 4 sopranos, so me skipping would leave a small hole in the choir that would make me feel bad without giving the director prior notice (we can miss, he just asks for advance notice so he knows what music to plan for).  I'd also have to walk a lot of the race, which wouldn't necessarily mean I'd finish injury free.

I had a very small PLUS column, and a long MINUS column.  The answer was obvious.  By the end of the day, I was pouting because I couldn't do the race. 

Then last night at choir practice, we rehearsed our anthem for this Sunday.  Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  One of my favorite hymns ever. The arrangement is beautiful and has wonderful soprano sections.  Vocally, it's simple but challenging. 
Our choir director is a professor of music at the private university in town, and he is also the conductor of our city's Philharmonic Chorus.  He conducted at Carnegie Hall this year; he's extraordinarily talented.  He brings out the best in us.  It's a privilege to sing in his choir. 
Normally we sing in a choir loft at the back of the sanctuary, so the congregation doesn't see us (we see the backs of their heads, except when someone occasionally turns around to look at us if we are singing really, really well).  This anthem is best sung with a piano instead of an organ, so we are singing at the front of the sanctuary with the grand piano. We only sing up front a few times a year.  I love singing in front of the congregation.  Not because they can see us, but because I can see everyone's faces when we sing.

I won't be disappointed that I'm not running on Sunday morning, because I will be overflowing with joy when I'm singing the words of this hymn.  This is a small grace, but it means so much to me.

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!


A year ago, I don't think I could have sung this song without breaking down and sobbing, mostly because I was sobbing almost every day anyway.  Two weeks ago when we first practiced this anthem, my voice did break a few times.  It's still very emotional for me, even reading the words now. 

"Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow."
I'm stronger because of all I've gone through.  I feel like it's my tomorrow--filled with bright hope--at last. 
Blessings, grace, and peace.  I can't ask for more.

Monday, October 03, 2011

the insanity will be over soon (171.2)

The stress is starting to get to me.  I had sugar this weekend, and it turned me into quite the bitchy wife & mom.  Not pretty.  Yes, it was a good lesson.  Sugar makes me miserable.  But it also soothes the pain, like a drug.  It is a vicious master.  I'm tired of learning the lesson over and over again.  I just need to remember the awfulness of its affects and stop myself before I start. 

Weekends seem to be harder for me, because they are less structured.  Something I need to work on... but it's hard to be continually "working on" stuff, you know?  I just want some mindless down time.  Mindless down time is often when the sugar crazies hit.

I kept thinking of it as "demon sugar," because I am a big fan of the series "Boardwalk Empire," which is set during the temperance movement in Atlantic City.  The movement to get rid of "demon liquor" was obviously not successful, and mostly inflamed organized crime and the mob. 

There will never be a movement to rid the world of demon sugar, but I do want to rid myself of it.  I failed this weekend.

It's not hopeless by any means.  I'm eating real meals--but I am letting the stress consume me at night and I am obviously not yet impervious to my drug of choice.

I have a lot going on between now and Friday.  I will likely not be around much until then.

I may get to take a yoga class tonight. I'm hoping to at least squeeze in some exercise to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety.

I am going to eat the best that I can, and go to bed on time, and take care of myself, and work really hard to do all these things so I don't lose it again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Busy, busy, busy (169.2)

I'm swamped, but checking in because I'm back under 170.

I also wanted to report my recent workouts:
Saturday, 5 miles in 65 minutes (13:00 min/mile)
Monday, 3 miles in 37 minutes (12:20 min/mile)
Tuesday, Group Power free weights

I am quite sore today.  I will be more sore tomorrow.

I am walking with my friend Debra tonight, for at least an hour, maybe more if she can hang with me.  (the kids go to a two-hour church kids' night for every other Wednesday) 

Next week after our annual audit is over, I will have room to breathe. 

In the mean time, I am keeping up my healthy habits (eating well, morning light therapy, taking all my supplements, getting to bed early, doing chores a little at a time so I don't get behind, weighing myself every morning) so that I can survive the chaos with grace.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Turning Weaknesses into Strengths (170.2)

I often curse my weaknesses, wishing I was something better or different than what I am. 

As I grow older and more mature, and just plain more experienced and appreciative of who I am, it is being revealed to me that the very weaknesses I see are leading to strengths.

Here are a few.

*Weakness: I have struggled with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) for years.  Last year was one of the worst.  It can sometimes be crippling, and I have hated this disorder and what it does to me for a long time.

This year, I have prepared myself by investing in a quality light therapy box and started light therapy two weeks ago.  Every morning I sit in front of this light for 30 minutes. 

Strength:  I don't just sit for 30 minutes, though.  I am reading my Bible. I go to church on Sundays, I teach the 2-3 year old Sunday School class, and I sing in the choir.  But my relationship with God often feels "one way"--like I send out my requests and pleas for help, but I don't take the time to listen or accept the gift of his Word.

These past two weeks have not only helped eliminate my SAD symptoms--truly, the light therapy is proving remarkable for my energy level--but my faith and relationship with God is being strengthened. 

Because of SAD, I am growing in my faith in a way I would never have made time for without the excuse of light therapy.

*Weakness:  My hips and thighs.  My rear view is THE reason I want to lose more weight.  If I were proportional and didn't have the ugly fat pockets of my saddlebags, I would most likely be happy with my weight and wearing size 12s.

*Strength: Because I want to get rid of this fat permanently, I am eating healthier than I ever have.  My mood is better and more stable. My skin, hair and nails are stronger and clearer.  Certainly there are internal organs that are getting healthier, too. 

I'm exercising because I want the fat gone forever, but exercise will make my bones stronger and my muscles grow, so that when I'm 80 I can get myself up and down without assistance.

Because of my saddlebags, I'm making changes that will help me live longer for my kids and grandkids.

*Weakness: I have emotional damage from my childhood that has negatively influenced the last 30 years of my life.  The primary reason for my obesity is because of what happened to me when I was 12 years old.  There are issues other than weight that resulted from my childhood baggage--fear, anxiety, OCD, the need for control, attachment issues.... there are certainly more. 

*Strength:  I found an amazing therapist this year, who has helped me work through all these issues.  Because I had this baggage to work through and heal, I now have more patience for others when they are struggling.  I have a better skill set to help my kids deal with their concerns.  I am learning to be a better listener, a better wife, a better sister, a better daughter, and a better friend. 

Weakness doesn't have to derail me.  It doesn't mean failure. It doesn't mean inferior.  It doesn't mean hopeless. 

Weakness allows me to examine the why's of my life.  Socrates said "the unexamined life isn't worth living."  Therefore, because of weakness, my life is worth living. 

Weakness is an opportunity to let something new happen in my life. And that something new may be beyond anything I could ever hope for or imagine.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Checking in (170.8)

I'm fine, doing OK, but stupidly busy. 

I'm actually a bit overwhelmed by everything I need to get done in the next two weeks -- work obligations, mostly, but also a church project and busy weekends.  Our calendar is already filling up through the end of the year.  Crazy!

Everything kind of hit me last night and I had a cookie binge (7 oreos and 2 chips ahoys).  Thank you, sugar and fat, for the weight uptick this morning. 

I haven't exercised all week.  I did great for two weeks, now this week--nada.  Tomorrow I've put on my calendar (and Mark's) that I'm meeting a group of girls for coffee at 7:30 a.m, then I am going to a Group Power (free weights) class at 10 a.m.  I'm planning to hit the treadmill or the pavement in between for some cardio.  I cannot wait.  I need the restorative power of both the Adult Intelligent Female IRL conversation and the physical activity.

If I'm sparsely present in the next couple of weeks, it's not because I've given up on the healthy life or I don't care about my blog or yours.  It's because I'm working really hard to keep my head above water.  Hopefully I'll have more time than I think and will be on here as often as possible, but I'm planning for the worst and hoping for the best.

I hope you are enjoying the almost-fall weather.  I certainly am, even if it's just gazing out the window occasionally and not sweating my butt off walking from the car to the indoors.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Weight loss to date and no one has noticed (or at least, no one has commented to me) (168.6)

On April 19, I hit my highest weight this year of 186.8.  I've now lost 18.2 pounds.  10% of my highest weight, which in WW land is a big milestone.

I started acupuncture and therapy in April.  I lost 7 pounds in 2 months, then I started taking lamotrigene and also started the Kay Shepperd plan in June.

Since then, I've lost another 11.2 pounds in 3 months.

I've gone from a tight size 14 to now wearing size 12s comfortably.

Slow & steady.  Working to win the race.

Interestingly, no one (other than my mom, unprompted, and my husband, prompted--because I want to know if he can tell) has commented on my weight loss this go round.

Which is fine--honestly I'd rather they not mention it.  I don't want the attention (I've got that invisibility issue I'm aware of but not sure how I'm going to handle when/if it comes up again).  Nobody commented on the weight as it was coming back on (thank goodness), and I'm fine with nobody commenting as it comes off.

But it's perplexing.  Is it because it's not noticeable yet? Is it because they don't want to mention it for the same reason I don't want them to mention it?  Is it because most people have better things to do than ponder whether I'm losing weight? 

Is it because there really isn't much difference in how I look from a size 14 to 12?  (this is, I'm guessing, most likely the reason). 
I'm not sure what it means (if anything) that I am even noticing that no one has commented.  This is a weird thought process.  I am making myself dizzy.

Guess it's better to just keep my head down, do the work, get healthy & feel better, and enjoy the smaller sizes that *I* know are on the tags in my pants.  I just needed to get those thoughts out of my head so I can move on.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Avocados (or, The Story of My Hair) (170.0)

I got my hair cut Friday.  When my stylist was drying and hot ironing it, she said it was super healthy & shiny.  That's the first time she's observed these things about my hair, or at least the first time she's mentioned it to me.

I smiled & said it's because I've been eating avocados and other healthy fats every day.  And I was tickled by this unexpected benefit.

Last week I re-discovered Chocolate Covered Katie's website, and on her FAQ's page she mentions her shiny, healthy hair, and that she eats lots of avocados and other healthy fats.  I didn't realize until I read CCK's FAQ's that your hair benefited from eating healthy fats.  I just thought they were making me stay fuller longer.

When my stylist mentioned my shiny hair, I knew it was the avocados and nuts I eat every day. 

I had never bought an avocado until three months ago, when I started eating whole foods (based on Kay Sheppard's plan).  I was a bit intimated at first--they are quite freaky to the ignorant, or at least they were to me, with their strange green/black skins, soft flesh, and humongous stone pit. 

But I have since warmed up to this incredible fruit and look forward to having it at breakfast every morning.  Some days I'm also inlcuding a small amount in my lunch salad, too.

What a bonus to know that the hair I put through torture every day--blow drying and hot ironing--is strong and healthy thanks to my diet.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Hey (170.6)

Sorry... weekend was a combination of swamped and lazy, and I never got online.

Today has been nuts.  We had a bomb scare at the Armory next to our building, and the police wouldn't let anyone in our building, so I went home and cleaned out Sophie's closet.  I'm at work now, but it's crazy so no time to write.

Hopefully I'll be back tomorrow!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

When you push through, when it's the hardest, when you most don't wanna but you do it anyway, that's when real change happens (171.8)

Yesterday I got home and had 45 minutes before we had to be at the kids' Wednesday night church group at 5:30.  I had had such a stress filled, anxiety driven day, I was craving a workout.  I didn't feel like the treadmill.  I couldn't run outside because I had the kids.  I decided to do Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred.

This is rather a legendary DVD.  But if you're not familiar with it--it's 25 minutes long, consists of a brief warm up, 3 3-part circuits of weights, cardio, and abs, and a brief stretching cool down.  This workout never fails to make my muscles burn, and I ache the next day.  I'm still on level 1, but there are 3 levels.  I tried to do level 3 a few months ago and couldn't get through it, it was so intense.

At one point, Jillian says (the gist of, this isn't word for word) "when it's hard and you push through, that's when real change happens." 

I know she's talking about lifting weights and working out. But it got me to thinking about how this applies to other aspects of losing and maintaining weight, and to life in general. 

When is it hardest for me?  When have I pushed through and made real change happen?  What areas am I struggling in and need to push through?

*Breakfast used to be hard.  I was in too much of a hurry.  I wasn't hungry.  I saved my calories for later in the day. 
When I committed to eating breakfast--regardless of my hunger or time restraints--I pushed through the (mostly) mental barrier and completely changed how my entire eating day goes.  Other than (mostly) eliminating processed foods, eating breakfast every day has done more good for me than anything else.

*Eating "real" food used to be a chore.  I was lazy.  I claimed to be a lousy cook. I didn't like to grocery shop. I was too tired to make lunch before I left for work or make dinner after I got home from work.  I ate out at restaurants or fast food places for more meals than I'd care to admit. 
When I committed to the Kay Shepperd food plan, eating real, balanced food 3 times a day at meal time, everything changed.  My cravings (except when I deviate from the plan) went away.  My PMS has gotten better.  My face sweats in the morning have lightened up tremendously.  I'm losing weight, slowly and consistently.  I don't feel like I'm a slave to food anymore.  I am happy with what I eat.  I have discovered that I am a good cook, and that meals don't have to be complicated to be delicious. I can prepare healthy meals for myself and my family in about the same time it takes to drive to a restaurant and wait in line (and for much less money).
*My emotional "black boxes" used to keep me safe.  I buried the hurtful things of the past, some so deep that I didn't even know what they were.  I was afraid to drag them up.  Afraid that I wouldn't survive if they were out in the open.
I started seeing a therapist this year, let the light into those black boxes, and I not only survived, I have thrived.  I pushed past the pain, found forgiveness, found enlightenment, found peace.  I learned the WHY's of my weight gain.  I learned the HOW's of being a better person.  I learned what forgiveness means.  Therapy has been one of the hardest things I've ever done.  Some sessions have been brutal.  I pushed through (thanks to my brilliant therapist), and I came out stronger and better than I ever imagined.
*I no longer give advice; I listen.
The lesson of un-attaching from other people's lives and circumstances has been one of the most freeing I have ever experienced. It has changed my life, and given me a lightness of being.  I can be compassionate without being attached to the outcome. I can listen to others, responding to their words in order to probe how they are feeling, instead of talking about myself.  The lesson of "people just want to be heard" is one that can never be repeated often enough.  People just want to be heard.
*I have eliminated the words "try" and "someday" and "maybe" from my vocabulary.
When I am tempted to use these words--and yes, this is a constant work in progress--I substitute the words "working on" and "my plan is to" and "I'll think about it/No/Yes."  Try is an excuse to fail.  Someday is code for never.  Maybe almost always means no.  Some people may say this is just semantics.  For me, it is a way of thinking about life that is more positive.  Words are powerful.  Choosing words carefully affects our thoughts.  These new words allow my thoughts to not hang on the future, the indefinite, the coulda/woulda/shoulda's.  And my thoughts either lead me to action or inaction.
Where do I still need to push through?

I still struggle with night time munchies.  It's not as bad as it used to be, but it is a pattern and a habit that I have not pushed past--I have not allowed my brain to be retrained into a new neuropathway. This food habit, more than anything, hampers my weight loss and my complete sense of peace with my way of eating.

I still struggle with regular exercise.  This is getting better over the past two weeks. I know it's in me to make time for myself--I've done it before.  It is still a matter of pushing through the "I don't wanna's."  Every time I lace up my running shoes, I take a step closer to real change.

I still struggle with keeping my mouth shut when it's not my business.  Yes, I have improved the attitude of being attached to people's outcomes.  But I still say things to others that are best left unsaid.  I still jump to give my opinion, when what the person I am talking with only wants a listening ear.  This is something I struggle with daily, and I plan to catch myself more and more.

I still struggle with negative thoughts about myself.  I am my worst critic.  I see the negatives much quicker than the positives.  I regularly engage in negative self talk.  Words are powerful.  The words I speak to myself every moment of the day are powerful.

I still struggle--tremendously--with envy.  This could be a blog post unto itself.  One of my worst faults, or struggles, is not being able to deal with other people's success.  I envy women who are thin.  I envy runners who are faster than me.  I envy women who don't have to work outside the home.  I envy the youth of people in their 20s and 30s. On really bad days, I can't read posts on Facebook because it is one happy-joy-joy post after another, and I can't stand it.

I still struggle--tremendously--with comparisons.  On the flip side to envy, I am judgmental about people and compare myself favorably to those I think aren't up to my standards.  This is a very ugly trait, and one I don't talk about.  It's all internal talk--I'm not gossiping about how I think so and so is not doing this or that.  On some levels, it's me trying to make myself feel better about my accomplishments or how I raise my kids or how I look.  Or it's a form of rationalization, that even if I'm not doing my best, at least I'm not like "that person."  Bottom line--it's ugly, it makes me feel ugly, and I want it gone from my thought process.


There is surely more, and there will continue to be more, as I grow and change. 

Today, I pushed through the exercise issue by running 4 miles before work.  Today, I pushed through my long list of "I struggle with's" by simply writing about them. 

If I've learned anything this year, it's this:  letting the light in is the first step to real change.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

weigh in Wednesday; SAD irritability (170.8)

I couldn't help it.  I got on the scale this morning, out of morbid curiosity and habit.

I think 169 is just around the corner...

I have been very irritable today.  I've been hitting a lot of brick walls the past couple of days a work, which are frustrating.  I'm behind on laundry at home, I'm worried about some life stuff, I want to work out every day but am having trouble fitting it in like I want to (still no weights or yoga).  

It hit me this afternoon that irritability is a side effect of SAD light therapy. At the start anyway.  I've been sitting about 30" from the light; they recommend 40" to start.  But I figured, hey if 40 is good then 30 will be better, right?  Wrong. Going to 40" tomorrow.

I also read some information today that the light needs to come from above your eyes, and not straight on.  The light simulates sunlight.  The sun is above our eyes.  The light receptors are in the bottom of our retinas.  So, duh, the light box needs to be above where I'm sitting.  I will have to figure out how to position the thing so it works right (which may include buying the stand that goes with it, darn it, but it has to work right or what's the point?).  But for now, I'm moving it away from me another 10" so I'm not a grouch again tomorrow.

Food is good today. I'm planning on doing yoga or hitting the TM when I get home after work. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Running bug & my back (no weight today)

I ran 14 miles last week, during a total of 4 runs.  3 during the week and my 10k race on Saturday.
I should say I "wogged" (walk+jog) 14 miles, because I'm nowhere near a running pace.  But it's easier to just say run and it helps me mentally to think of myself as a runner, since that is what I am, even though my pace per mile isn't there.  Yet.
Last week gave me the running bug again.  I loved how I felt after every run.  I had so much energy after the 10k Saturday (thank you endorphins), that when I got home I cut the grass* for an hour and spent another hour trimming tree limbs.  Yes, by 11 a.m. I was done like a turkey on Thanksgiving.  But I felt great afterwards.  My quads burned Sunday and yesterday; they are almost back to normal today.

Yesterday I took the afternoon off because we went out to dinner to celebrate Mark's CFP success (that's the reason for no weight...I know am carrying water retention from eating out, and I'm not going to weigh for a few days).

This morning after the kids left for school, I put on my running duds and hit the pavement.  I had some trouble breathing, even though I used my inhaler.  I think it may be the muggier air today (hotter temps today).  I didn't have any breathing problems Saturday, and my pace Saturday was 12:50 min/mile and today it was 13:30 min/mile, so it wasn't my speed or exertion.

Other than the breathing, though, I felt great.  I love running.  Love how I feel afterwards.  Love that it is ME time.  Love that I can feel myself getting stronger with every run.

That leads me to the "my back" part of this post.  In Sept of 2007 I went to visit my BFF in Arkansas.  We went to a spa for a massage, and the massage therapist said I had the loosest upper back she'd worked on in a very long time.  Very few knots.  I was shocked.  I carry all my stress in my upper back/between my shoulders.  I joked with her that we need to make sure that didn't get back to my husband/boss, because he'll think I'm not working hard enough.

Now that I've had the recent upper back issues again--which are 100% better since I installed a keyboard tray and got a new office chair--I realize that my loose upper back had little to do with stress.  It had everything to do with running.

When I run, my upper back muscles get a lot of work.  So do my shoulders and biceps.  My upper back muscles show up quickly because I lose weight first in my upper body.  I am starting to see them already as the fat is making way for visible muscle underneath my skin.

When I stretch my chest muscles regularly (which I've been laxed on the past week, and I can tell a difference is how much poorer my posture is when I don't stretch) by lying on a rolled towel down the length of my upper spine, my back and my posture are even better. 

Running rewards me in so many ways.  I just needed to get this body in motion and keep it in motion, and now the running bug can stick around for good.


*We have had our lawn mowed by someone else for years and years.  Mark can't cut it because of his serious allergic reactions to getting overheated (and to the grass).  I refused to cut it for years because I have so many other responsibilites, I didn't feel like I should have to take that one on, too.  It's a man's job, afterall, right? :) 

Anyway, our lawn guy that we've had forever broke his leg in the spring and had to quit his business.  I hired the young man who sold us the Scott's lawn treatments this year, since he'd mentioned he cut grass on the side.  I paid him the same amount we paid our lawn guy, and the kid does half the work.  He was doing a really poor job of it, and I finally just got tired of spending the money on half assed work. I figured I could do half assed work for free.  So I bought a push mower for $125 at Walmart.  My mom set it up for me (she is invaluable to me, truly).  And I cut the grass for the first time in probably 10 years on Saturday. 

This may sound silly, but I loved the sense of accomplishment afterwards.  Now, granted, it was only in the upper 60s and overcast, so I wasn't dealing with the heat.  I'm sure next summer I'll be bitchin' a plenty when I'm out there. 

The bonus here is also that I don't want our kids getting a sense of entitlement.  They already have that in so many ways.  We are a convenience family.  My husband doesn't know how to do anything handy man wise; his dad died when Mark was 8, and his step dad was a verbally abusive alcoholic who never spent any time with Mark.  So I don't blame him; it is just a fact.  So we have to pay people to do everything for us. 

I started having a girl clean the house this summer once every 3 or 4 weeks (yes, it's glorious; yes, it's a total splurge; yes, it's worth every penny).  When Sophie told me "I don't need to clean my room, mom.  Courtney will do it the next time she comes," I knew I was in trouble.  I put a stop to that attitude right away; Courtney no longer picks up their rooms, the kids do before she comes to clean (with no picking up--just deep cleaning). 

I figured the lawn was of the same caliber.  Our kids need to see someone in the family cutting the grass, or they'll never know that's something you DO and not pay someone else to do.  When they are old enough, they will do it (allergies permitting). 

I don't want them coming to a rude awakening someday, that life requires a lot of work.  They are going to learn that as young people.  It's my job (and my husband's) to teach them.

Monday, September 12, 2011

PASS! (170.8)

Mark passed his CFP exam!!!! 

We got the news in the mail today.  Such a huge relief. 

3 1/2 years of hard work and sacrifice--on both our parts--and it ends in success. 

****
I ran the 10k Saturday morning.  6.2 miles in 1 hour & 20 minutes.  It felt glorious.  Never once did I feel like I couldn't do it.  Yes, I got tired.  Yes, I ran more the first half than the second. The last 2 miles I ran .1, then I'd walk .1, over & over until the finish line.  Didn't matter.  It felt amazing to be in a race again. 

Last week I ran/walked 4 days for a total of 14 miles. 

My food has not been great.  I've been eating decent meals, although not balanced at every single meal (so a macro nutrient or two has been missing).  It is throwing me off & making me crave cookies.

Food wasn't in the toilet, either, so I at least am maintaining in the 170 area. Now, I just need to coordinate exercise with getting all my meals back to healthy combinations.  And cutting out the nightly cookies.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Low pressure system implosion (172.6)

It is scary how closely tied I am to the weather. 

Yesterday a low pressure system came through in the afternoon.  Cloudy, on the verge of rain, barometer dropping quickly.  As it dropped, so did my energy level. 

I also have another sore throat, probably from allergies. I have had the windows open in the house for the past four days, but on Thursday morning I closed up the house and turned on all 4 of our air cleaners (in each bedroom and in family room) to suck out the ragweed because my eyes and throat were burning and scratchy.  Last night my throat started hurting like mad, and it still does today.  It's not strep, I don't think--at least it doesn't look or smell like it yet. I'm not sick, really, my throat just hurts.

Anyway, last night was a total bust.  I skipped Sophie's Girl Scout meeting (just parents, Sophie didn't miss anything), I skipped church choir.  I dove head first into food.  I was tired at 5 pm, but instead of sleeping I ate.  Actually, I did pass out for about 45 minutes in the recliner after a carb binge.  I kept eating most of the night.  I felt worse--very, very moody--but I couldn't stop.

So... obviously I have discovered another trigger and need to watch myself during these dark and stormy seasonal transition months, and get a plan in place to deal with them.  This won't be the last time I am hit by a weather change. 

I have my old SAD light on at work, for several hours yesterday, and several hours today (it is lower lumens, so I am using it for longer time periods and hoping it starts to help).  My new SAD light should be delivered today or tomorrow.  I plan to use it at home when I first wake up.

I am eating well today.  I am going to run this afternoon, 3 miles.  I am signing up for a 10k that is tomorrow morning.  A couple of my girlfriends are running it, and it is a JUST DO IT thing for me.  I need the accountability and motivation--they are there for the taking, so I am taking them and going to run with it.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Taxes (171.4)

I won't be around much the next few days.  I am compiling our 2010 tax information (because we are self employed, we file an extension every year) and it is due to the accountants on Friday.  I'll be eye ball deep in numbers the next 3 days.

A couple of notes:
I ran/walked yesterday, 3 miles in 40 minutes.  The sun was shining.  I felt much better afterwards.

I am not planning to do the half marathon in October.  I can't hang out in limbo land any longer, wondering if I can get it together enough to do the race.  It feels right to make the decision against doing the race.  I am not in my 30s any longer--I cannot risk injuring myself by pushing my body to get ready for 13.1 miles a little over 4 weeks.  It's not worth it.  I have the Princess Half Marathon in Disney World at the end of February to train for.  That is enough for me right now.

Mark has finally decided to eat healthier.  His brother had a "come to Jesus" talk with him when he was visiting from Colorado.  Both of Mark's brother's had heart attacks at age 52.  They were both lucky, because they survived their first (Keith had 3, the third of which was massive and killed him; Jeff has had 2 and had bypass surgery a couple of years ago).  Mark's dad died of a heart attack at age 50 when Mark was 8 years old.  Mark will be 50 next July. 

Now that his degree is finished & he's taken the CFP test and has some time to deal with his "afters," he's ready to eat right.  He is responsible for what he puts in his mouth, but I told him that I would feed him whatever I eat each day.  He puts his own breakfast together (I'm keeping cooked steel cut oats in the fridge); I bring lunch and snacks to the office, and then make dinner or have the fixings for dinner ready at home.  We have a gym membership, he just needs to start going.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

SAD already? (172.0)

I had a weird weekend.  For the most part it was good--we spent time together as a family, everyone is healthy.  I even spent a couple of hours with my mom that were some of the best I've had with her in a long time.  But for a good portion of it, I felt out of sync and like I was moving through mud.

I couldn't make myself do more than the bare essentials of cleaning and laundry and taking care of the kids and the dog and grocery shopping and going to church and taking the kids to the pool Saturday....well, I guess the bare essentials are a lot more than I give myself credit for.

But when I wasn't doing those things that I had to do, I did nothing but sit and read or watch TV.  I even hit the carbs on Sunday and a little on Monday like I haven't in a long time.  I wanted to workout yesterday when the weather had cooled off, but the idea of making myself move my body seemed monumental.

Same with this morning.  I had planned on going for a walk/jog after the kids left for school.  It was in the upper 50s, partly cloudy and breezy. The perfect antidote to the 100 degrees we had on Saturday.  But I could not make myself move.  I had my coffee and a piece of toast with peanut butter (not my usual, but I was planning to workout so I didn't eat a big breakfast).  I couldn't make myself change my clothes.  I gave up and lay down on the bed.  I read for an hour before I finally got up to get ready for work.

I once had a therapist who told me she had clients who described depression as moving through mud.  Like your limbs and mind meet resistance no matter where you turn.  It's easier to lie down than it is to move. 

That's how it felt and how it still feels.  I've been here many times.  But I have been doing so much better, that it has taken me by surprise.

I've had seasonal affective disorder for years.  I am taking 1200 calcium and 6 fish oil capsules a day--and have been for a long time, although I only recently increased the fish oil from 2 to 6--to help combat depression and SAD.  I don't usually experience symptoms until October.  I suppose this year it is starting early.

My acupuncture doctor, who is also a psychiatrist, told me I should use a 10,000 lux light box to treat SAD.  I have a 2,500 lux light which is over 10 years old.  I just bought a new light box this morning (which killed me on the cost, but it will be worth it if it works) from alaskanorthernlights.com.  I will start using it the morning after it arrives.  I hope it helps.

There could be something else going on, but it feels like SAD.  I'm just surprised at the early timing.  I did notice the other night that it was 7 pm and almost dark, and I was a little shocked--wasn't it just yesterday that the sun was out until almost 9 pm?

I should live on an island near the equator.  I'd have to deal with hurricanes, but at least I'd get an even dose of sunshine year round.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Doing well but no exercise yet (170.0)

I'm continuing to do well, esp. with food and mental health, which are huge.

I've been talking to my mom more, just about life in general, and that is going well.  I think when I dropped my defenses and opened up, it made a big difference. 

My parenting skills seem to be improving, as I use my listening skills more and more, especially with Sophie but also with Luke.  Listening more is also is helping my relationship with Mark.

I am a bit behind on laundry, but nothing a busy weekend can't fix.  The house is clean and orderly, even the kids' rooms.

The biggest hole in the process is that I'm still struggling to fit exercise into my routine.  I'm going to take a serious look at my daily schedule and make myself find the time to workout.  It's not just the workout time that's an issue.  It's the time it takes to prep for it.

There are basically 3 different times of day I could feasibly fit exercise into my life. 

1) At 5:30 or 6 am.  This would require "prep" time of going to bed at 9:30 or 10 pm.  Most nights I am still doing laundry or dishes or reading or watching one of the few TV shows I DVR until 10 or 10:30, and I don't fall asleep until 10:30 or 11.  An earlier bedtime is possible (esp. if I'd do a better job of getting kids to bed before 8:30), but there is a time cost there.  Plus, I am soooo not a morning person. It would be a sacrifice on that front, too.

2) Right after the kids leave for school, which is 7:30.  This makes the most sense.  There are classes every day at the gym at 8 am, and I can get ready for work there and be in the office by or before 10 am.  Or I could go running when the weather gets nice and be at work by 9:30 am.  The "prep" time here is getting up early to eat breakfast and getting my gear packed for the gym (when I get ready there anyway).  I would also have to have an earlier bedtime of 10 pm so I could get up at 6 am to eat.  Also, I often clean the kitchen or do a load of laundry before I go to work, so I would be giving up that cleaning time and would have to do those things after work (which would be a very worthwhile tradeoff, but it is a factor).

3) At home, after work/school.  This is what I've been shooting for, and it's just not happening.  Twice a week we have after school activities and I don't have any time to workout.  So that leaves twice a week (not counting Fridays) where I could workout at home after work/school, which would be around 4:30 or 5.  This has worked a couple of times, when I've done yoga at home.  The kids can unwind after school and for the most part keep themselves busy for an hour (Luke did the yoga DVD with me the last time, which was a hoot) while I either do a DVD or hit the treadmill.  There's not much "prep" time with this, and theoretically makes the most sense, but I'm also often wiped out by the time I get home and I just don't wanna.

I'd like to think a combination of these things might work, depending on what each day holds.  I can plan ahead and put WORKOUT on my calendar, and then stick to it.  I just need to make up my mind to Just Do It. 

I can also workout on Saturdays.  The draw back there is that I like to sleep in on Saturdays, since it's my only real day off.  I just need to make myself realize the pay off for working out is much bigger than getting an extra hour or two of sleep. When the weather cools down, Saturday afternoon runs are a definite possibility.

I wanted to run the half marathon on October 9th this year.  I'm 50% sure that isn't going to happen. I could still train for it.  I've got 5 weeks, and I did it last year with only about that much training time.  I just have to get moving NOW, or my training window will close in about a week's time. 

The biggest motivator to do the race is that I've run it the past three years in a row.  It's a great course, it's in town, and logistically it's an easy race to get to and away from (small field, about 2,500, and it's very walker/slow jogger friendly).  It's also the one year anniversary of my Dad's funeral--last year I ran the race the day of his visitation--so there is that to consider. 

The obvious drawback is, of course, I've not been running much at all this year.  So I don't know if it's even possible for my body to get up to speed that quickly.  I guess I would find out if I'd just start running.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jewelry, hair, nails, and makeup, and what they covered up when I was obese (171.0)

Since high school, I have been a hair, nails, and makeup person.  I take care to style my hair, have nice nails (and sometimes have acrylics put on), and "do" my face when I leave the house.

When I was obese, I was especially careful with all of this, and I also accessorized with jewelry and scarves and handbags.  I would never, ever leave the house without makeup or hair done.  I would get my nails done every two weeks.  My clothes were always nice and fashionable, even if they were size 16s or 18s or 20s.

When I lost weight in 2007, I started relaxing the high standard of beauty I put upon myself.  I'd put my hair in a pony tail and run to the store, without makeup.  I didn't need acrylic nails anymore either.  I gave away a ton of handbags that clogged my closet.

When the fat melted away, I felt like I didn't have to hide behind the glitter anymore.

There's nothing wrong at all with looking good and taking care with your appearance.  I still do.  I have always worked outside the home, and that is the biggest reason why I had to look the way I did, no matter my size.

But it was different when I was obese.  I felt like the only thing I could make look good were the decorations. 

I guess I tried to tell the world "I really do care about what I look like... I just have this small obesity problem, but please overlook my body and only pay attention to my great hair and makeup and nails and sparkly jewelry."

Because my body looked so horribly disgusting.

Yes, that's how I felt about my body.  Disgusting.  I cried and cried when I was in size 20s after Luke's birth.  In the fall of 2005, I weighed what NFL linebacker's weigh.

When I was cleaning out a bathroom drawer a few weeks ago (part of my ongoing declutter movement) I found an old notebook that had my weight recorded from 11/13/2005 - 10/12/2006. 

I weighed 224 pounds on 11/13 (a week after Luke's birth).  I still weighed 200 pounds 7 months later on 6/22/06.  I weighed 190.5 on 11/12/2006. 

I even have measurements, I think from a WW book.  I measured the body parts they listed (no chest, don't know why) .  In May 2006 when I weighed 205 pounds they were:
Upper arm: 15"
Waist (1" above belly button): 42"
Hips: 49" (this is not my saddle bag area...this is hip area, about a hand length below waist)
Right thigh: 27.5"

I also recorded my measurements in February 2008, when I weighed 153 pounds:
Upper arm: 11.5"
Waist: 31.5"
Hips: 37.5"
Right thigh: 21.5"

History, that most of you know already--

I started blogging in April 2006.

I started LA Weight Loss in February 2007 at 207 pounds.

I weighed 155 pounds by September 2007.

I hit my lowest weight of 146 in October 2008, but settled back up to 150-155 in early 2009.

I gained back 30 pounds over two years.

I've lost 15 pounds in 2011, and have another 20+ to go.

As my body got/gets smaller, I fell like I have less to compensate for. 
 
When I got to 186 this year, I didn't run out and buy sparkly jewelry (although I did have acrylic nails put on once last year and again this year.... I haven't had them for a couple months now.  They are just too much time to keep them up).  I'll leave the house without makeup to run errands and not care. 
 
This time, with the weight gain, I didn't feel the need to hide behind glitter, because even though I was technically back in the obese category, I didn't FEEL obese again.  I felt like it was temporary, and I would be fixing it and not living it much longer.
 
I love simple clothes and simple makeup and simple jewelry.  When I got thin, I simplified all those things.  I only wear my wedding rings and a right-hand sapphire ring Mark & the kids bought for me for my 40th birthday.  I wear the same faux-diamond studs everyday; they were a Mother's Day gift in 2009.  Sometimes I wear the necklace my mom and dad got me for my 40th--a silver flower with diamonds on a delicate sliver chain.
 
Not all my clothes are simple, but my favorite ones are.  I once read that you shouldn't wear what clothing designers create; you should wear what clothing designers wear.  Simple, classic, flattering (and usually black, haha).
 
When I got thin, I didn't have to adorn myself to compensate, because the body I presented to the world didn't need it.
 
I am not thin yet; I am still overweight.  But I look much better and feel much better at this weight. My XL t-shirts are too big now, and my jeans are falling off of me (a lot of spandex in these babies).  My size 14 clothes are comfortably loose.  I expect to be back in 12s when I reach 165 pounds, which is what I weighed last year in October (I had to buy size 12s to wear to my dad's funeral). 
 
My weight loss this time has been slow and steady. I'm averaging 3-4 pounds a month, and that's mostly on diet changes alone since my exercise has been sporadic to nonexistant this summer (which is not OK and I am going to change). 
 
I am looking forward to shopping in my storage bins and son's closet (where my smaller clothes are) as I continue to lose weight. 
 
I still love great shoes and handbags, and I am still particular about my hair and makeup, but I don't feel the need to overcompensate or hide behind them any more.