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.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

What's it take to stop pushing a boulder up a hill? (170.0)

Vickie wrote a powerful post which contains some links to other great posts.  Please read if you haven't yet.  Below is my comment to her, which is my post for today.

Vickie wrote: "At what point does barely treading water or barely keeping out of the sucking vortex become never ending struggle with no results/steps forward and one calls in reinforcements?"

I guess that point is different for everybody. Most of Us probably don't get there until we hit rock bottom--and "rock bottom" means something different for everyone. We ruminate, we try, we fall and pick ourselves up again and again, and we stay stuck in the same patterns, like Sisyphus pushing the boulder up the mountain.

And when the boulder finally crushes us and we can't get back up, we admit to ourselves that we can't keep doing what we are doing, and then, hopefully, we get it, and can allow ourselves to ask for help.

I am a perfectionist. I have always "done" for myself. I have been my primary caregiver for (what feels like) my whole life. I have a hard time asking for help, with anything. I think I have all the answers. I am hard headed. **Even when what I'm doing is clearly not working, I tell myself, if I just try harder I can figure this out for myself.**

That, in my opinion, is a big reason I spent so many years being overweight. And now, after going through therapy myself, I believe that being overweight was a symptom, not the problem. The problems that therapy has uncovered are many, and they are very deep.

They don't go away just because I lose 50 pounds, and they don't go away because I push the boulder up the hill faster or harder. They really don't ever "go away." I guess that's the wrong word. They come to light, they heal--piece by piece, over time, with a lot of work and pain.

It's a long process, and it is not smooth, and it is different for everyone. But it is, in my opinion, the only thing that ends the cycle of pushing the boulder up a hill.

I agree, 100%, that it is not a process that can be done by oneself.

It was not easy to come to the realization that it was OK to get help, and that I HAD TO get help if I ever wanted to get healthy (physically and mentally).

I think for years it was a mixture of pride and fear that kept me from therapy. It took some pretty earthshaking stuff to get me past pride and fear. I hit rock bottom more than once. I was torn down to raw flesh by the time I walked through my therapist's door.

I feel like getting off the mountain and away from pushing the damn boulder up the hill is the first step. I have such a long way to go....and there is no end to the journey, like we've talked about many times. As long as we move over or around or through the boulders and aren't pushing them up the hill in futility, then we are moving in the right direction.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A new person (171.0)

The weekend went well, considering how crazy it was.  The way I handled everything was nothing short of a miracle.

We had a house guest (Mark's brother from Colorado) all weekend. He got in Friday night and is leaving this afternoon. We don't have a guest room; Mark set up the air mattress in the family room (I put the bedding on), which stayed there all weekend. I like having my house in order and cleaned up.  The disorder of the family room bothered me a bit, but I decided I could live with it and just let it go, and I did.

I grocery shopped Friday after work, and made a big fruit salad (Jeff helped with that) and dinner that night. The guys went out and smoked cigars and then came home and talked until 3 am. I slept through Mark getting into bed.

My espresso maker died Saturday morning, which was total bummer but I didn't kill anyone over it, haha.  I gathered our swim stuff for pool party #1 (I keep everything in a bag in the front hallway, so I only had to get suits and towels together), and the kids and I left the house at 11: 45 am, picking up Luke's friend on the way.  He came over to spend the night Friday, but didn't make it--poor kid missed his mom so she came and picked him up at 7:30 pm.  Luke handled the disappointment well, mostly because we still included his friend in our Saturday plans.
I was with my mom and sister for 4 hours on Saturday, and not once did I get angry or upset or irritated.  I didn't let my sister & her husband's arguments get to me.  I didn't let mom get to me.  I didn't let the noise and needs of 10 kids (3 of which I was responsible for) in the pool get to me. 

I felt relaxed, unattached but very present, and like a new person.

I showered & cleaned up at my sister's, getting ready for party #2. We left my sister's house at 4 pm, dropped off Luke's friend at his house, then went straight to Mark's cousin's house.  The kids both got back into their wet bathing suits and swam again at our 2nd pool party of the day.  We stayed until 7:30 pm.  I helped both kids get back into dry clothes for the 2nd time that day.  When we got home, they got into PJ's and relaxed for about an hour then went to bed.

Saturday night when we got home, I was worn out.  I was also upset when I saw that the steel cut oats I had made that morning for Jeff that were left on the stove all day, because neither of the guys thought to put it away after they were done.  Plus the kitchen wasn't cleaned because I hadn't had time that morning, and by then it was all a bit much for me.

Mark had done nothing at that point to help me, not with the kids or with the hospitality of his brother.  I lost it a bit, especially after he went straight to the bedroom and laid out on the bed to watch TV while I was getting the kids ready for bed after my marathon Saturday. 

We had a tiff, I finished getting the kids ready for bed, then he came and checked on me in the family room where I'd just collapsed on the couch (Jeff wasn't home, he was out at a friend's reception).  I told him I was upset & why.  I said that I needed him to clean the kitchen at the very minimum, because I was done.  He did, it helped a little bit.  I didn't stay mad.  I moved on.  I didn't binge or even feel like binging.

Yesterday sucked.  Sophie woke up with a sore throat.  I was very tired, mentally and physically.  Mark, Jeff, & Luke went to church, then out to lunch.  When they got home, Mark had a reaction to some medicine he took by mistake (he chewed a timed-release tablet instead of swallowing it, thinking it was a different med--it was in his pocket, not a bottle--he's a mad man sometimes, I tell you--and it released a ton of niacin into his system...and his body had a horrible reaction to it).  So he was out of commission all day and all night. 

Jeff went out with sister Nancy, who came in town from Indy to see him, so it was me and the kids.  I did a couple loads of laundry and that was about it.  It was a stressful, unhappy day.  I still didn't eat to cope, which is a small miracle. 

Last night after the kids were in bed I watched TV and read and feel asleep around 10:30.  I still didn't binge or eat anything to soothe my stress.

I know it's the mood stabilizer doing its job.  Yes, not having sugar in my system is also a big contributor to being more stable.  Yes, therapy has helped me "see" where I have issues and where I can change my behavior to help myself and others.  Even my hormones have not been affecting me like they used to.  I can feel my brain and emotions reacting like a stable, even person.

It truly is nothing short of a miracle.  I hope it continues.  I am not jumping up and down with tons of energy, but I am not in the dumps of depression or the pit of sugar despair either.  I am stable and on an even keel.  I really do feel like a new person.

Friday, August 26, 2011

I am among the living (170.8)

I got cleaned up and made it to work today around noon, and it took just about everything I had to get here.  At least I'm vertical, though.  I feel better, just still very weak.

And I have had zero appetite, which explains the weight loss (and I know a lot of it is fluid loss).  I will be fine with the scale going back up a little when I start eating normally again.  I am happy I haven't thrown myself into Carbs as a means of "feeling better."

I admit, when I was picking up my Rx at Walgreens on Wednesday night I thought, "heck, I feel so bad I might as well get some Ben & Jerry's."  But I didn't.  I knew it would be a slippery slope.  I did have a couple of popsicles yesterday because it was about the only thing I could eat.  Mostly I've been eating yogurt and fruit and nuts; one night I had eggs with Ezekial toast.  I've had soy lattes in the morning, and soy milk with a T. of chocolate syrup last night for dinner.  Yes, that was dinner.  My throat hurt too bad to swallow much food, and nothing tastes good or sounds good.

We have a busy weekend.  Mark's brother and niece are both (unexpectedly) in town this weekend.  We learned of his brother's trip yesterday, and his niece Kate's today.  Jeff is staying with us, but will be gone all day Saturday at his best friend's son's wedding reception.  Kate we will see either tonight or Sunday morning.  Neither is a big "to do" for us.  Both of them are health nuts (Jeff is vegan) so I won't have any food issues around them.  I will have to grocery shop today for Jeff, but lucky for him I eat lots of fruits and veggies now, so he should be in good shape. 

Luke is having his first sleepover friend come over tonight.  Max has been in Luke's preschool since they were two years old. They are now both at the same elementary school.  Max is a triplet (he has two sisters).  Luke is over the moon excited.  I can't wait to see the joy on their little faces.  I hope it's infectious.

Saturday we have two, yes two, pool parties to go to.  One at my sister's house; we are taking Max along with us.  And then one at Mark's cousin's house.  It will be a very full day.  I hope I am up for it.

I hope any East coast readers are safe & sound.  That hurricane sounds like a nasty biotch.  (and doesn't it feel end of the world-ish?  First an earthquake, then a hurricane--in the same week. Crazy.  And there was an earthquake in Colorado this week, too.  Oy.)

At least the weather is nice here. I do love some breezy sunshine. Too bad I'm not up to running in it yet.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sick (172.2)

I have strep throat. I started feeling bad Tuesday at work, then Tuesday night my throat started hurting. Yesterday I woke up with a horrible sore throat with white spots blooming on my tonsils. I knew it was strep.

It's not the worst case I've had, but I slept all day yesterday, went to the urgent care last night (they did a strep test--positive), and got amoxicilin. The doctor told me to take two doses last night, which I took about 4 hours apart.

Today I'm home again, have slept all morning and still feel pretty rotten. It takes a good 3-4 days before I get over strep.

Earlier this year I talked to an ENT office about getting my tonsils out. They don't take them out of adults unless you have 6 cases of strep in 12 months. At the time I'd only had 3, and two of those had been diagnosed as pharyngitis because the doc didn't do a strep test, but I was put on antibiotics and I know it was strep because my symptoms are always the same.

I'm not getting strep every two months. But I get it enough that it's disruptive and a pain. If I get it again this year, I may revisit the ENT.

I hate being sick. I was on a (healthy) roll. This really sucks.

And Sophie has missed school the past two days, too, because she has a headache. Not a migraine, not dizzy, but a bad headache that keeps her from concentrating. It was present all day and all night, and it's still here today. That has me slightly worried. I hope she's better by tomorrow, or I'm taking her to the doctor.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mom (172.0)

Yesterday's therapy appointment was all about Mom.  About me being a Mom to Sophie, and about my relationship with my mom.

Sophie has asked that I not share personal information about her with anyone--not even on my blog.  She is a very private girl, and I respect that.  So I won't write about specifics, but let me say that parenting my 10 1/2 year old daughter is much harder than it used to be. 

So onto my mom.  We have almost all talked on our blogs in one form or another about our mothers.  Mostly about how their parenting (or lack thereof) caused such an impact on our lives in the present tense.  Some of Us have worked through our issues; some of Us are in the middle of working through them; some of Us are no doubt terrified of even going near them.

Julie & I talked yesterday about a recent experience with my mom.  To make a long story short, I needed to pick up the kids earlier on Saturday morning (they spent the night Friday) than she wanted me to, and even though she had known since Thursday of the earlier pick up time (10:30 am), she still sighed and sighed and wore her disappointment like a cloak when I came to get them. 

Julie asked me to describe Mom as if I were an outsider and had no knowledge of her other than what I observed.  What would that look like?  I finally described what she looked like Satuday morning--like a very giving grandmother, who has 8 grandkids to take care of at one time, who is selfless and frazzled. 

"Selfless" was a big warning word for Julie.  Selfless does not mean someone who gives generously out of abundance.  Selfless implies no sense of self. 

My mom loves having my kids and my niece to visit.  She also loves her husband's grand kids (set of twins, boy & girl, almost 4; and three kids, boy-7, girl-4, girl-2) and for the most part they are very good kids.  But no matter how good kids that age are, 8 kids at one time is a lot of work. 

Mom's husband is a super granddad.  But he's a lousy communicator, and he doesn't let Mom have a choice as to when his grandkids are there.  He will even ask to have them come over and then leave the house to go work in his building for hours, leaving mom with all the kids.  She has either tried to talk to him about this and he won't listen, or she knows it's a moot point because he does what he wants, regardless, and she doesn't bother to bring it up anymore.

I talked about this with her at the first of the year.  I gave her marriage advice.  It was weird.  It was one of those things I was "attached" to that I have let go.  She's a grown up, it's her marriage, I am staying out of it.

So my mom's sense of self comes from taking care of kids/other people and she also feels like she often has no choice in the matter.  A perfect storm to create a martyr.

I told Julie that when I was up against Mom's sighs and frustrated "you're here already?  you have to go already?" that I didn't get angry.  I was very calm, said we'd talked about it already, and I had 20 minutes before we had to leave.  She was huffy almost the entire time I was there.  I didn't get mad; I actually saw her with different eyes.  I didn't like what I saw, but I wasn't angry as hell over it.

She looks and acts unhappy most of the time I am around her.  Most of the time I am around her, she is caring for a posse of children.

Julie said this is where there's a problem in our relationship.  If I want to heal this rift between me and my mom, I have to spend time with her outside of these situations.  I need to have one on one adult time with her. I need to build a relationship with her separate from my kids. 

I also asked Julie how to handle these types of situations, when Mom throws out the martyr attitude. She said just how I handled it.  I can model setting boundaries and not letting her negativity control my actions.  I can set my own schedule with my kids and not let her selflessness cause problems for me.

The idea of spending time with my mom is not a comfortable one.  I still have this wall clearly set up between us.  Yes, I feel like the anger is (mostly) gone, but I haven't moved any further than that. 

Part of the issue is that my mom's quirks get under my skin.  I was an English/Lit major in college; grammar errors in speech and writing drive me positively insane.  My mom's grammar is horrible.  There is no reason to correct her; she has and will always speak like this.  My mom also is usually indecisive.  She is passive aggressive.  She is controlling.  She is emotionally immature and unaware.

Yes, I see a lot of myself in my mom (other than the grammar thing).  It's tempered somewhat because I am NOT my mom.  But don't we dislike in others what we most dislike about ourselves? 

I'm faced with the next step of asking my mom on a date, either to lunch or to get a pedicure together.  I know I need to, but I don't wanna.  We have nothing in common.  It's not like she can be my "girlfriend." 

Understand, also, that no one else but my sister and me would describe Mom like this.  She's very pretty, she's generous, she's nice, she's kind, she's thoughtful, she'd do anything for her family and friends, she's reliable, she's a person of faith (which only happened after she divorced my dad; she did not go to church when I was growing up).

I write about all this because I need to process it.  I am going to take the next step, and I'm sure it won't be as bad as all the scenarios I play out in my head (like me breaking into tears and spilling my "black box" issues, or me getting angry at her for something so small she'll think I'm a total bitch--which I often have been around her).  It could simply be a gesture to Honor My Mother, which is a commandment that I'm currently breaking.

Saturday we have two pool parties--one at my sister's and one at Mark's cousin's house.  My sister has a new pool, and this is her first pool party.  Mark's cousin has an annual gathering that we always go to.  We have to do both.  Mom will be ticked off that we will only be at my sister's for a few hours and not all day.  I'll listen to her sighs, I'll not get mad, and I'll try not to let it bother me.  

I'll be talking to her soon, just the two of us.  I hope it's okay.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday (172.8)

Busy day.   I will update more tomorrow.

Therapy appointment this afternoon at 3 pm.

Friday, August 19, 2011

New chair (173.6)

I got my new office chair today.  I bought it online from Office Depot yesterday; they delivered it this morning.  I put it together myself (I also installed my keyboard tray yesterday myself).  My dad taught us how to follow directions and I watched him put together all kinds of things when I was a kid.  Following directions and doing technical stuff (I have done all the TV/DVD/Cable/Stereo set ups at our house since Mark & I have been married; he is not a "follow the directions" kind of guy) comes fairly naturally to me.

This isn't just  a new chair.  I hope that, along with my new keyboard tray, it is a salvation to my aching neck and shoulders. 

It has mesh seat and back (it is not a Herman Miller Aeron chair, but it's as close as you can get without spending a fortune). The chair is adjustable in just about every way it could be.  Height goes up/down, the seat goes up/back, the chair back goes up/down and tilts forward/back.  The arm rests are adjustable up/down and also has 3 side to side positions.  It's going to be interesting to find the exact perfect position to get my posture just right so I don't have any more aches and pains. 

On a food related front, I haven't written down what I've eaten this week.  I wanted to see if I could eat "normally" (the same food combinations every day) and not track every calorie, and still lose weight.  Writing everything down was starting to feel like a diet.  I will try this for a while and if my weight doesn't continue to go down, I will start recording my food again.

We have a fairly relaxed weekend ahead of us.  The house is picked up and I will only have about 3 loads of laundry to do.  Mom has the kids tonight, so I'm looking forward to some time with Mark and also by myself.  I am planning to do several workout activities this weekend since my week has been too light on that front.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Exercise for Mental Health (173.4)

My neck & upper back have been killing me for a while.  It's only when I'm at work, so I know it's a keyboard/chair issue.  I have already been to physical therapy once, that included discussions on changing my laptop screen positioning (so I'm not looking down at the screen) & getting an external keyboard.  But I haven't had a keyboard tray and my shoulders have been hunched UP for long enough that it is messing with my neck and shoulders.

Today I installed a keyboard try.  I am also getting a new office chair.  I hope both of these things will help. 

I also think that I need to learn to sit and stand better, and strengthen my core for the sake of my posture and back. I have been been doing chest openers the past few nights (rolled up towel on the floor between my shoulder blades).  I have been paying attention to when my shoulders slump forward--which is all the time. 

All this leads me to my post for today.  After work yesterday I had a headache from my neck tension.  I had planned to do a weights class, but felt too horrible for it.  I went home, did the normal after school routine, and started feeling sorry for myself.  Poor me, I want to work out but just can't.

Around 6:30 I decided that if I didn't do something physical that night, I was going to be even more miserable.  I wasn't thinking about how I needed to workout so I'd lose weight or build muscle.  I chose to move my body so my mind would be healthier and happier.

I did the yoga DVD again.  Only 40 minutes of it, because I started it at 7 pm and the kids needed my attention for bedtime routines.  But it was enough.  I got through all the standing poses, added some down dogs & planks myself, and did about 10 minutes of seated work. 

Luke tried to interrupt me about half way through, whining that he wanted to watch TV.  I was in the family room using the big TV; we have a TV in our bedroom--the kids do not have TVs in their rooms and, as God is my witness, they never will--so I told him to go in there and have Daddy put on a show for him.  But before I could tell him that, Sophie said "Luke, mommy has to do her Yoga!"  I smiled at her, said thank you, and agreed that doing yoga makes me a better Mom.

After I was finished I felt like a new person.  The standing poses make me sweat.  They also work my core.  I love feeling strong when I can hold a difficult pose. 

The difference for me with working out lately has been a significant shift in thinking.  My long-term goals of having less fat and more muscle and a body that looks good naked can get lost in the daily grind.  Those goals seem so far away, sometimes unattainable, and they can be fodder for "I'll workout tomorrow" thinking.  Because, honestly, the Big Goals have "someday" written all over them.  "Someday" is code for "never."

On days like yesterday when I just don't wanna, I can reach for the immediate reward--a healthier mind and more peaceful emotional state.  I might not notice the changes going on in my body from day to day, but I certainly notice the changes in my mental state.

And for me, that's as important a reason as any to workout.  The physical results are a bonus.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Escape (174.6)

I think the food cravings are mostly gone now, after a couple of days back on track.  Geez, sugar gets in and doesn't let its hooks go easily.  I am going to a weight lifting class tonight at 5:30. 

I feel pretty good about how things are going on the food front, even though my weight isn't moving down quickly.  I know it's not a race to get skinny, so I'm not letting the slowish pace get to me. I'm excited to start taking the classes at the gym, and I love the yoga DVD and can't wait to do it again (it is Yoga Challenge 1, Hatha Yoga with Tony Sanchez. I ordered it from

I have been reading a ton of escape books all summer.  I've become addicted, for want of  a better word, to the sci-fi/fantasy genre (magic & medieval times, werewolves, shapeshifters, beyond-reality stuff).  I never thought I'd like this type of book, but I found a couple of good authors and now I'm hooked. 

My kindle makes it way to easy to read one after another.  I don't have paperbacks piling up, I don't have embarrassing book covers to hide, I don't have to wait until I get to the bookstore or library for another one.

I know I use the books for escape.  I am not reading them to the exclusion of doing my job at work or at home.  My house is clean, my bed linens are clean, our hampers are empty, my kitchen is clean.  I'm keeping myself and family well fed and cared for.  I'm working out.  I'm sleeping 7 or 8 hours a night.

So, I guess you could say my 1 to 2 hours of reading a day is no big deal.  Except I was thinking on the way into work today--what is it that I'm escaping from? 

Part of it is the shear responsibility of being a wife and mother.  Some days I just don't want to be either.  Part of it is a (small) mid life crisis, I think.  Part of it is a dissatisfaction with life in general, which sets me up to feel guilty because I am so extremely lucky and blessed to have the life I have--how dare I complain or want something else?

I don't have any answers.  It's fodder for therapy next week.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sick kids, but didn't derail me

Yesterday I got a call from school at 9 am that Sophie had a headache and was feeling puny.  It wasn't a migraine--no vertigo, but she felt bad enough to go to the nurse and wanted to come home.  I picked her up, took her home, and went to work.  Mark took the day off yesterday so he was home to stay with her.

Then at 11:30 Mark calls me and says the school called the house & said Luke had a 102 fever and a sore throat.  Mark picked him up & brought him home.  I left work around 2 pm and Mark went in to the office for a few hours. 

Neither of the kids were horribly sick, but it was still a disruption to "normal," which I have been enjoying.  I didn't get to run or anything else yesterday afternoon.  I didn't feel up to it anyway.  The cough is affecting me more than I wish it would.

Today Sophie made it to school.  Luke and I stayed home; he feels okay on ibuprofen.  I think it's viral and (fingers crossed) not strep. He'll stay home again tomorrow since he still had a fever today at noon, but mom is coming down to stay with him so I can go to work tomorrow.

I could have spent the day eating my way through it.  I certainly have been having cravings, thanks to my Sunday excursion into junk food.  Instead this afternoon I cracked open my new yoga DVD and did 65 minutes of peaceful sweating.  It's a good DVD--not perfect.  There are no down dogs or other weight-bearing postures, but there are a lot of standing poses for strong legs and a lot of core work, and lots of breathing and stretching.  I could see myself doing it every morning before work and being energized by it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sunday - Day Off (176.2)

So yesterday I took a day off from my whole foods eating plan.  I don't know if it was hormones, rebellion, laziness, an experiment, or what, but when we were at lunch after church, I decided I wanted a mojito and fish tacos.  Of the three fish tacos, I ate one tortilla and the insides of the other two, and had sweet potato chips on the side.  The mojito was wonderful--I haven't had an adult beverage in months. 

It set off the rest of the day to be a "fun food" day.  I had some cookies after lunch, some homemade caramel popcorn, and later some ice cream with the kids.  I napped briefly after reading a book in bed.  It was a lazy day for all of us.

But, I felt like crap all day.  I could tell my body was processing the sugar and didn't like it.  I was a tad grouchy in the late afternoon.  I had cravings for more. 

It was weird being back "in the food."  Last night I realized I do not want to do that again.  This morning I had no problem getting back to my usual breakfast.  It will be interesting to see if I have any residual cravings today.  I expected the weight uptick; my fingers were very swollen this morning and I could barely get my rings off. 

I don't see yesterday as some moral failure or anything to get bent out of shape about.  Like I said, I don't know exactly what triggered it, but I'm taking a lesson from it that I hope I remember for a long time.  A full day of processed food is a bad idea if I want to feel good.

I still have the cough.  It is still wearing me out.  Several people have had the same thing, and it can go on for a month or more, so I guess I'm half way through it. 

I took a free weights class on Saturday morning.  It was awesome.  I was sore yesterday and pretty sore today, too.  I'm planning to run after work today, since the weather is still so nice. 

I am feeling more and more like this extra fat on my body is not me.  I just want it gone.  I know I have to do more exercise to get the body I want, which is the reason for the free weights class.  I also am planning to start doing yoga DVD's at home.  I got a new one that the yoga instructors at our hot yoga studio said is similar to the classes they teach, with the same poses that move through a 60 minute sequence.  I got it Saturday from Amazon and can't wait to try it out. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

Random TGIF stuff (175.0)

I finally got a run in yesterday morning after the kids got on the bus.  The weather was lovely.  Cooler air and lower humidity makes such a difference in my speed and endurance.  I alternated running and walking, and ran a total of 2 miles out of 3.

I still have a cough; it is wearing me out.  The people I know who have had this have had a cough sometimes for over a month.  Joy.

I'm doing well with food.  Only had one evening with a misstep this week (last night, hence the uptick in weight; Thursday I was 173.8), and it was "only" 250 calories of chips ahoy cookies (Luke takes one in his lunch to school).  I'm going to have to figure out how to Laura-proof them. Maybe the freezer?

The other night, after I'd received yet another letter from a creditor wanting money from Dad's estate--which doesn't exist since it was insolvent and there is no money to pay anyone--I could feel the stirrings of a binge.  I kept busy, as is my usual evening routine now, folding laundry on the bed while Mark & the kids were in the family room.  This time, though, I sat and thought about what I was feeling, and I let the tears come.  It was a short cry, but it was a cry nonetheless.  The binge feelings went away.

We are going to our Friday night friends' group from church tonight.  We haven't been in months and months.  It's the first real social event I've been to in a long time.  We are taking our own meat to grill, and the host family is providing everything else.  I am planning to take a salad and a piece of fruit with me, too, and stay away from everything else.  I'm sure it will all be processed stuff I won't eat.

The kids had a great week at school.  Luke loves Kindergarten.  He has surprised me by how grown up he has become in the past 3 days.  Treat kids like they can do more, and they do.

I have been practicing listening and not trying to solve everyone's problems when they talk.  I did that with Sophie last night--listened, gave some feedback when it seemed appropriate, and didn't try to solve every question or problem she had.  She talked a lot.  I talked very little.  She went to sleep smiling. 

It's actually been a big weight off my shoulders to not feel responsible for solving everyone's issues.  You know?  I can listen, and that is enough.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

First day of school & Dairy (175.0)

Luke is starting Kindergarten.  Sophie is in 4th grade (we just got 3 inches cut off her hair, & it is still really long.  It was below her waist, grazing her hips).  They were both excited and ready this morning. They rode the bus together, and we met them at school. Parents have to be there on the first day with Kindergartners.  Luke didn't cry when we left him in his class (Mark went, too). 

Everything went really well--I had prepped lunches the night before, which helped me not be so crazy and stressed.  I didn't get to eat my regular breakfast because I slept until 6 am (ugh, 5:30 is going to have to be my wake up time on mornings I leave for work after the kids get on the bus at 7:30).  I had a latte and a handful of cashews, so my mid morning snack is bigger than usual, and it's all good.

Random note: after my talk about dairy with California Girl at Saturday's class reunion, I am trying soy milk in my coffee.  I am using unsweetened original, and I like it a lot. I know too much soy is a bad thing, too, but this is the only soy I am getting in my diet.  I am striving for one serving of yogurt (Greek, 3/4 cup) a day, usually before bed with fruit and 1/8 c walnuts.  So we will see if less dairy makes a difference at all. 

She isn't the only person I've heard talk about the evils of dairy.  Mark's vegan family in Colorado (brother and nephew) are big opponents.  I researched online and there are arguments on both sides that sound valid.  I'm not eliminating it; I'm not taking milk away from my kids.  I have been buying organic milk for a while, so I figure I'm doing the best we can with dairy.  But I had been eating probably too much since I switched to whole foods--sometimes three servings a day.  This feels more balanced. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Tuesday - 173.4

Woot! Another drop in poundage. Happy dance on the scale this morning.

Still not running yet--stupid cough--but I'm feeling a bit better this morning and the weather is finally cooling off over the next week. I can't wait to be able to run and breathe (air, instead of pea-soup humidity) outside at the same time.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Monday, August 08, 2011

Class Reunion (175.2)

Weight this morning was after breakfast.  I was pretty happy with that.

Saturday night we went to Mark's 30th class reunion.  Below are a couple of pictures.  The other couple is Mark's best friend from HS, Karen & her husband Joe.  Karen found us our first house.  Her daughters have both babysat our kids.  She knows everyone and is one of the nicest people I know.  It's amazing how close Mark's classmates still are after 30 years.

I had a really good time.  This is the 4th reunion I've been to with him.  I know a lot of the local people, and talked with a couple of women I hadn't met before who live out of state. 

One was a very thin & fit woman from California.  She's lived in L.A. since she was 18.  Her family is still here; this is the first reunion she's been too.  She said her mom & family said she was anorexic; she replied to them that she's normal weight & fat content (she is "celebrity thin" & muscled, like Carla @ MizFit) and basically that they are all fat.  She said even the thin people here are fat.  I guess she's right. 

We had a long talk (she did most of the talking--definitely a monologue kind of person) about her life and yoga and food.  She lives a very privileged life; I have no idea what her husband does, but they have 3 kids all in private school and live on the west side of L.A.  Her son plays soccer with David Beckham's kids (David Beckham is, of course, on the sidelines, talking with the other parents...can you imagine?).  She takes yoga every day from a famous yoga instructor, who celebrities also take yoga from.  She's a vegetarian, almost a vegan, and she told me all about how we aren't meant to be meat eaters and how dairy is the devil, and said I should read "Skinny Bitch." 

She told me she was eating junk food and smoking and drinking 10 years ago.  She changed her lifestyle a little at a time.  Other than that, I don't know her history. Mark said in high school she was chubby and had blonde hair (she has long wavy brunette hair and is not only thin but very pretty).  He said he would never have recognized her without her name tag.

Of course, I felt the need to give a resume of my body history. In the 30 minutes or so we "talked," I managed to squeeze in that I stopped eating processed foods 6 weeks ago, that I've gained 30 pounds in the last year since my Dad got sick and died and am working to get them back off, that I'm a runner and have completed 5 half marathons, and that I, too, eat avocados at breakfast.

It was very weird, frankly, to listen to her talk about her lifestyle (I swear she said "L.A." at least 50 times).  On some levels I enjoyed talking to her--she was a nice person, even though she did monopolize every conversation she was in--but on other levels it made me feel inferior.  Like my little mid-west life and mid-west body weren't bright and shiny like her L.A. existence.

She also did talk about how awful things are there with immigration, taxes, medical costs, housing costs, public schools, politicians. It's not perfect, by any means.  I'd rather live where I do now than in L.A., because it's what I'm used to.  But it sure sounds pretty on the outside.


I have a cough that won't go away.  I have been taking mucinex DM, which thins the junk in my throat but makes me tired and grouchy.  My abs are sore, I've been coughing so much. 

Busy day today.  I am taking Sophie to get her hair trimmed this afternoon (It is below her waist now, and hasn't been cut since last Thanksgiving. She needs a good trim but wants to keep it long.), then the kids and I are going to their school to drop off supplies and visit classrooms.  School starts Wednesday.  My mom is keeping them at my house today and tomorrow.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Treading water (175.8)

It's been a "flat" kind of week.  Not great, not horrible, but somewhere in between.

I've physically felt bad all week, first with PMS hormones and then with a cold that is still lingering.  I've not felt bad enough to stay in bed, but not good enough to do anything but the bare minimum.

It is a week of "lasts."  This is the last week of summer break for the kids. 

Luke's last day of preschool is today, and his last day of KinderGym (gymnastics for 4-5 year olds on the small kids equipment) was yesterday.  He starts Boys Gymnastics in two weeks, which I'm excited about because he'll be working with a Russian (male) gymnast, and it's more like a real sport at that level.  But it's been hard for him, the baby of the family, to adjust to all this growing up business.  It's a bit hard for me, too.

I have stuck to good habits, though.  I've kept the kitchen clean.  I've kept the laundry caught up.  I've kept the clutter picked up & put away.  I've gone to bed at a decent hour, and fell asleep on the couch only on Sunday night.  I've eaten breakfast every morning, and brought lunch to work every day, and had a clean dinner every night. 

I haven't worked out since Saturday's 3 miles on the hotel treadmill. When I go this long without exercising, I feel disconnected from my body. When I don't workout, I have pent up frustrations and angst that don't have anywhere to go, which usually means I end up in the food.

I've struggled with snacking before bed this week.  I could feel the urge to eat when I should be asleep, & I gave in a couple of times--nothing huge, but a nutrigrain bar and vanilla wafers at 10 pm on Wednesday night made me bloated in the morning, and yesterday my weight was 176.8, almost 2 pounds up in one day.  Helen said she had potato chips one night and her weight went up 3 pounds.  I guess it's normal to retain water when your body isn't used to processed food.

Last night I didn't have a starch with dinner, and at 9:30 I was craving starch. I had two sheets of graham crackers, only because there was (thank goodness) nothing else in the kitchen. I could have done much worse damage.

On Wednesday & Thursday I was beating myself up about not running this week.  I have a training plan on my cubicle wall, getting ready for the October half, and I'm not getting in the miles.  I was hoping to remedy that this week.  It finally cooled off a bit yesterday, and I had the energy to do zip about it. 
Today I'm working to be more realistic.  I look at how well I've really done this week--all good things I've done to stay as even as possible--and it's not such a big deal.  I have plenty of time to train. I will have more time next week when the kids start school and we are in a better routine.  I won't have to drive either of them anywhere in the morning, as they will be riding the bus at 7:30 am, and I have one pick up location since they are at the same elementary school.  This is HUGE.
We also joined Fancy Gym for another year.  They were offering a discount, and we decided we'd take the money we have been spending on acupuncture and put it toward the gym.  I have loved acupuncture, but I think it's run it's course for me for now.  I will go back every couple months, probably, to maintain the energy flow.  But for now, I think the classes at the gym will do me far more good than a one hour session of acupuncture.
So not a fabulous week, but not the worst, and I am looking at it realistically and planning for better days, hopefully as soon as this weekend.
Last year at this time, we were putting Dad in the nursing home.  The two months he was at the nursing home were some of the worst in my life.  It's incredible to look back and realize it's been a year already, and to realize how much better everything is now. 
I think about Dad every single day, still.  In the little things mostly, but the last year of his life haunts my memory daily. I don't often think of him in anger anymore.  Mostly it's sadness now, at the opportunities for emotional and relational healing that he gave up, and sadness at what he suffered physically, and bewilderment at how he could allow himself to live that long in such misery, and how he could inflict his misery on others for so long and be oblivious or uncaring about how his choices affected others.  I suppose that's normal, and it will lessen as time goes on.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Breakfast makes a difference (175.0)

Breakfast used to be a time I ignored.  I knew how important it was.  Knew all about how it could shape the rest of the day, food and mood wise.  Regardless, I usually opted for something easy that was loaded with sugar and caffeine, like Starbucks or Red Bull and some kind of carb food.  There was little or no protein involved.

Since I started eating whole foods almost 6 weeks ago, breakfast has become a whole new experience.  Now, I spend 20-30 minutes on breakfast.  I may not always be hungry the second I wake up, but once I get the food started my stomach starts to growl.

Breakfast now includes a latte (125 cal) every morning (this is my only caffeine of the day).  1 cup 1% milk, 1 Tbsp Hershey's Lite syrup (yes, it's a bit of sugar, but it's 25 calories and I'm not ready to give it up yet), and 2 shots espresso.  I've been drinking it iced lately.

Then I will have one of two breakfasts:

2 (organic, free range) eggs, over easy (140 cal)
2 slices Ezekial sprouted grain bread--toasted (160 cal)
1/4 avocado, which I spread on the toast like butter (~100 cal)


1 serving eggbeaters (60 cals), with 1/4 c LF yogurt on the side (25 cals)
3/4 cup cooked steel cut oats (170 cals) with 1/2 cup frozen blueberries & raspberries (50 cals) and 1/8 cup walnuts (100 cals)

I measure everything.  The first breakfast is 525 calories; the second is 530.  I alternate them about every other day, or will have the 1st two days in a row, then the 2nd two days in a row. I love real eggs, but know that I can't eat two every single day.

When I first started eating this big of a breakfast, it seemed like waaayyy too much food. Now, I've adjusted.  I sometimes eat half my oats in the kitchen and the other half while I'm getting ready for work (yes, in the bathroom, I don't care.  I used to eat Ben & Jerry's in there, so there's not much difference except I don't eat my oats with the door locked). 

When I don't binge eat at night, I wake up hungry.  My body now expects this much food.  I don't get hungry again for 4 or 5 hours.  More importantly, I am not craving sugar or caffeine at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m., because my first meal is balanced and not sugar laden, and the rest of my meals are, too.

This morning I wasn't feeling well.  My throat is scratchy and I feel like I'm getting a cold and am worn down (which started yesterday but it was worse this morning).  For breakfast I only had a latte and egg beaters with yogurt. But that is an exception.  I was hungry and feeling puny at 10:30, so I had 1/4 c cashews. 

For lunch I had my breakfast oats w/berries & nuts, with 4 oz turkey slices and leftover zuch/squash/tomatoes from last night's dinner.  I will have 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 2 mandarin oranges this afternoon as a snack. 

Not sure yet what dinner will be--some kind of protein with veggies or a salad.  Then around 8:30-9 pm I will have yogurt (half greek, half LF) and strawberries & fresh pineapple, probably with 1/8 c. walnuts thrown in for crunch.  Kay Shepperd prescribes a fruit and dairy before bed, which is why I started having them together, and this last snack (for me) is helping to keep the late night food cravings away.

So that's the gist of my food day.  I usually have a sweet potato with cinnamon at lunch instead of oats, but otherwise it's just the protein and veggies that alternate day by day.  I sometimes have a starch at dinner, and sometimes I don't.  Just depends on how the rest of the day has been.

I will likely have to adjust the amount of food I eat as my weight goes down. But I'll take that as it comes.  Right now I'm happy to have stabilized my blood sugar every day.  I don't crave foods unless I'm having hormone issues or shoving down emotions. 

But it's not the FOOD that is causing cravings.  Not anymore.  It is such a relief.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Keeping my mouth shut--commitment vs. attachment (174.8)

Since my last therapy appointment, I've been working on keeping my mouth shut more often.

Sometimes I speak out on big things when I shouldn't--like telling my sister how she needs to be in marriage counseling and her 19 year old stepson needs to be in therapy (he won't keep a job and has major emotional issues from a drug-addict mother). Or giving my mother marriage advice. 

I also get too attached to the outcome of total strangers' lives, thinking that I know what would be best for them and if only they would do "x" then they would get better. 

I often dig myself into a hole of emotional upset when it's entirely unnecessary. The big things can really get to me. That's a huge reason why I stopped participating in Facebook as often. I got too involved in the good and the bad of people's lives, most of whom are only acquaintances.

I also have been working to keep my mouth shut with little things.  Because I "see" things faster or more clearly than other people, I often don't wait until they recognize it for themselves and instead speak up and tell them what needs to be done.

For example, this weekend when we were at our niece Kate's house for dinner, Mark was standing in front of a cabinet that nephew-in-law Michael needed to get into while cooking.  I saw that Michael was trying to get a bowl, but Mark was oblivious.  Usually I would have said, "Mark, can you move so Michael can get into that cabinet?"  But I kept my mouth shut.  Michael is a big boy; he can ask Mark to move.  I didn't need to get involved.

It's stuff like that.  And it happens to me all the time.  It is an effort to keep quiet. 

It happens with my kids a lot, too.  I jump to add in a detail in a conversation, or I'll tell them what to do next with their current task, when I haven't given them the time they need to process what I've asked them to do the first time.  Those things frustrate the kids, and make me look like a harpy.

When Julie and I talked about this in therapy, she pointed out there is a difference between attachment and commitment. 

I can be committed to being the best person I can be, and that is it.  I can influence other people by being a positive example. Commitment allows you to be who you are without imposing your opinions or judgments on other people.

Attachment is what we've talked about as being "invested" in the outcome of people's choices and their lives. Attachment means we think we have some control over their choices and the outcome of their situation.  Attachment leads to emotional upset in ourselves because we obviously have no control over other people, and it leads us to disappointment and (for me) even anger.

She said people don't want advice; they don't want to feel judged, either.  What people want more than anything is to BE HEARD.

People in your life can't be heard if you are the one doing all the talking.

This is especially important with kids.  My kids want to be heard more than they want solutions. As my daughter is getting older, I am learning this more and more.  The night after my therapy appointment, she was telling me about her day which had been a little rough, and I sat and listened for a good 20 minutes.  She hugged me afterwards and said how lucky she was to have a mom like me who listens and understands.


I was amazed at the immediate pay off of keeping my mouth shut.

It's not been easy, and I've not been perfect at it.  I have a lot of work to do, and have to keep reminding myself that People Want to Be Heard. 

I have always wanted to Be Heard because I feel like I have all the answers.  I know, not a great trait to have--it's very prideful.  Pride is another issue I've been working on this year. So this keeping quiet business is going against 40 years of who I am.

I like it, though.  I like being a listener.  If you think about the people who are most liked, most admired by others, are they the ones who spout off in never ending streams of know it all monologues?  No. The people who listen are those who are thought of fondly and kindly. 

People who listen are people who don't feel like they have anything to prove.

I can learn to listen, and reduce my prideful need to be heard. 

Monday, August 01, 2011

Weekend "Afters" and what to do next time (175.8)

Our weekend trip was really great.  It was easy travelling, the concert was fabulous, and our time with Mark's family was relaxing and enjoyable. 

I did pretty well as far as eating went. No sugary stuff at the concert or hotel, and we had a healthy dinner of grilled chicken, salad, and strawberries on Saturday night.

I also woke up at 6:30 am on Saturday morning & did 3.1 miles on the hotel treadmill.  I was happy about that, and even though I'd only gotten 5 1/2 hours of sleep, it felt great that I got up and worked out. I think it helped shape my food choices all day, too.

I didn't have birthday cake Saturday night.  It was just a plain old cake, and I'd already had some last weekend and didn't feel the need to eat it.  Also, our nephew-in-law made fabulous decaf lattes after dinner, and I'll take one of those over cake any day.

Last night was tough, though.  Mark is having his own case of The Afters, mostly over turning 49 yesterday, which he didn't handle well.  That transferred to me, and I could feel the anxiety and fear building in me all night.  I had driven 4 hours yesterday; I unpacked and put everything away and started laundry (which is a big deal for me, usually I leave things in a suitcase for a week after a trip).  I kept busy all afternoon & early evening, but instead of relieving me of anxiety, it exhausted me. 

I read a novel to relax after the kids went to bed, and fell asleep around 10 pm-- on the couch.  Mark was in the bedroom snoring loudly, and I was also in avoidance mode.  I had done all I could for him but he was still coping badly, and I didn't want to deal with it any more.  So I stayed in the family room.

Sleeping on the couch is deadly for me.  I know this.  I chose to avoid, and then fell into a mini-binge of two bowls of cereal at 1 am while I watched True Blood. 

I knew it was coming, I thought off and on all night about how I could avoid the After, and I was just too tired to do anything about it. 

It's not the end of the world, and I'm back on track this morning and made sure to weigh and didn't bury my head in the sand.  I am not beating myself up, but I am examining what happened and trying to figure things out for next time.

This is not new territory, I realize.  But I am looking at it from the perspective of eating whole foods for five weeks, which makes me clearer mentally and emotionally, and I'm trying to figure out what it is about the night binging that is so hard for me to give up in times of avoidance.

The questions I've been asking myself:

is it okay to get numb when I don't want to feel the fear and anxiety?  or do I have a duty to myself to work through the fear and anxiety and feel it, instead of numbing it? 

and if it's okay to get numb, is it okay to use food?  and if it's not okay to use food, then what do I do? 

and if it's not okay to get numb, then how do I cope when I feel like I have no energy reserves left to do anything else?

I don't have good answers yet, other than I intuitively feel that if I want to heal completely, I can't use food to escape.  Saying it's okay to binge when I "need to" would be like telling an alcoholic she can have some drinks when she feels the need to escape.

I also expect that I will always have times when I feel like this but don't have the energy to deal, no matter how much I prepare for them.  I guess that's when the food-alternative strategies need to come into play.

Now I need to figure out what those strategies might be.