Friday, September 30, 2011

Just not feeling it today

I was supposed to go to step class this morning. Instead, I took a nap. I never take naps, but sleep was pretty bad last night and has been bad for a few days. My youngest son was still sleeping (he must have been up much of the night), so I decided to sleep too. I've been up for 4 hours and I still feel asleep. I sure hope I'm not fighting something.

To make up for my laziness, I'll definitely work out in the basement tonight. I have a combo bodystep and bodypump class tomorrow morning and I 'think' I'll try to squeeze in a spinning class on Sunday morning before I have to go into Virginia to teach Sunday school.

Would love to share something terribly insightful today, but I'm just not feeling it. Can't believe it's the last day of September, but I know it has to be when I look out the window and see all the downed leaves and the firebush starting to turn red. This year is flying by!

Editing to add: and a migraine is coming on. I knew something was off today. So much for jumping around in the basement - a dark room with a cold washcloth is probably what will happen soon.

Stats for 9/30/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 183.8

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being the only healthy one!

These past few months have been horrible in my household with people getting sick. First it was the 6 year old getting a flu and then a secondary ear infection. Just as he got better, my older son got a flu which messed up our vacation plans.

Then, just before school starts my older son flipped over his handlebars on his bike and then three days later developed pneumonia, missing the first week of school. Then, just as he was better, my husband got pneuomonia, missing a week of work.

And now, two days after my mother in law is back from her 5 week vacation, she is having a diverticulitis attack and needs to go to the doctor. On the day that the kids don't have school and I was going to go out with them.

While I'm glad I haven't gotten sick. I've had to be handmaid so much this summer that my patience for it is gone. It's been nearly nonstop since mid July and I can't take it any more! That I've been able to keep some semblance of a fitness routine is amazing and that my diet hasn't crashed and burned is twice as amazing. I guess I have determination!

Today will be studio cycling. See, I chose it this time. Not that it was the only thing I could do today (though that's almost true). I chose it over Zumba class, but I might change my mind later!

Stats for 9/29/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6 Now: 183.4

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why are we so private about weight?

And I'm asking myself that as much as anyone else. Why do we feel it's a private matter? When it's something anyone can see if we weigh too much or too little?

Even if we don't say a word, people will start noticing changes in eating habits, exercise habits and definitely will start to notice weight loss beyond a certain point. I know I struggled with it myself - do I keep it to myself or do I open up about my struggles with weight? In the end I decided I could be stronger and more accountable if I was open about it (hence the blog). What if I failed? Well, I'm human. I knew it was possible I would fail. I've tried this before and failed, but I figured, I had a much stronger chance of making it work with being open than by being closed. And if I failed, well, people would understand. At least most people would and definitely anyone who has tried to lose weight before would get it.

Maybe we want to keep it private because it's admitting a weakness if we admit we are fat? "Yes, I have a problem with food." or "Yes, everyone I am aware that I am fat and I don't like it." Maybe we all live in a world where we pretend that we are OK with being overweight? Underfit? Though... I have yet to meet anyone who was overweight who liked being overweight. I have yet to meet someone who would choose being overweight over being an ideal or a better weight than they are now. Does admitting that mean that we are weak? Does somehow admitting we know we are overweight also makes us admit we are too lazy or too scared or too overwhelmed to fix the problem? Does ignoring the weight somehow give us permission to ignore it, really? Are we fooling anyone?

Now, I will never, ever be judgmental about someone and their weight. Ever. I don't care if I was able to lose all this weight. It won't matter if I manage to keep it off forever. I will never, ever judge someone and their weight - period. Why? Because it is a personal battle and because it's different for each and every person. Changing an entire lifestyle is not easy. If it were, then we would be recreating ourselves all the time. There are years of unlearning to do and that is different from person to person. Plus, each person's body is different too and each of us will find it harder or easier to maintain different weights with differing ease. Because, it's a mind game too. My husband can go forever without eating a sweet. I can barely go a day. He doesn't have those demons to fight. I do. So how can I compare what I deal with to anyone else? Their demons could be so much bigger than mine.

Though, I also think that keeping things so hush-hush about weight makes those demons stronger. Maybe if we were more open, we would find better support and more help for us all to make better decisions.. but then again, maybe not. I hear over and over again about unsolicited advice and what works for one person might not work for another. I know I had to find what worked for me. Can't say it would work for anyone else but me either.

Stats for 9/28/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 183.6
Exercise total hours in 2011: 272
Total miles walked in 2011: 799/1000

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

How easy it is to miss exercise

I really make a conscious choice to exercise. I really try to get 6 days a week, but it more often than not ends up being 5 days a week due to schedule issues. Well, this week, it will end up four days unless I actually do bounce around in the basement tonight.

So, this is what happened. I exercised Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday last week. There are very few classes offered on Sunday and the ones I want to take interfere with my trip into Virginia every Sunday morning. So, no exercise Sunday. Monday, yesterday, I worked all day on curtains - from 11 am until 9 pm last night - with setting it up, doing it and cleaning it all up. (made dinner in there too). Too tired to jump around in the basement. Today, I have to clean up the house (big time) as my mother in law is coming home. My kitchen is a wreck and there is laundry to be folded in the mudroom (fun things like socks and underwear - others are put away). Then I have to drive to Virginia to get her and then the long commute back. Of course then there's dinner and talking with her about her trip and today is basically written off.

Voila, like that, I've missed exercising 3 days in a row and that time just sped by! It could so easily turn into a week, a month. It is so easy to get sidetracked. Now, missing 3 days isn't that big of a deal, but getting 3 days of exercise in still takes effort. Missing those days is easy! Maybe not a lifestyle change yet?

Ok, about to start round two of getting kids ready for school. This will be fun when I go back to work and need to get myself ready in that time too! Yikes! (Not looking forward to the morning rush!) Job hunting starts in earnest in October!

Stats for 9/27/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 183.6 (losing some of that water weight!)

Monday, September 26, 2011

So, while I'm in my monthly stall out, my musings

I should be downstairs ironing, pinning and sewing as my mother in law is coming back tomorrow and I haven't finished her curtains - a project I've been dragging my feet on for months and months. Why is it so hard for me just to do it??? (Not like me usually!)

Anyway, I'm in my monthly stall-out and I managed to keep all 4 pounds of water weight for another day. Fun stuff! What is interesting though, is that I had a higher calorie day on Saturday. My aim for most days is to eat between 1400-1500 calories. On that day I ate about 2200-2300 which with exercising that day puts me at maintenance range, and really, with all the working I was doing around the house that day, still should be at a loss for the day (as yes, standing and working on your feet all day is not sedentary!)

That next day, yesterday, I was not hungry - at all. I had tea in the morning and then nothing until 1 pm when I had a slice of cake at a meeting. Then I had a snack at 4:30 pm (a protein bar) and then nothing until dinner at 6:30 pm when I had a bit of chicken breast and some peppers and tomato slices. I ended the day consuming about 750 calories and I still felt so full!!!

So far this morning, I have had a yogurt and fruit smoothie and a protein bar and I am very, very full. I probably won't eat again until 3 pm or so and then we'll see. What's up with that? is all the water bloating affecting my feeling of being full overall? Is it that I've eaten more carbs and my body isn't used to digesting them (my stomach felt awful yesterday). it's really weird!

Not sure if I'll fit in formal exercise today - I actually feel like jumping around in teh basement and might do that tonight. I just have to finish these curtains as I cannot stand be harassed any more. And I don't blame her - she's only been waiting about a year for them! (Yep, that's bad!)

Stats for 9/26/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 185.0

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Boy can I pack them on!

See, this is why I don't believe in weighing weekly (or monthly or whatever other long time inbetween individual weighings). You don't get to see the pattern and can freak out about lack of weight loss or weight gain.

For instance. one week ago today I weighed 182.6. Today I stepped on the scale and weighed 185.0. I have worked out and eaten properly all week. Yesterday I ended up eating at maintenance, but definitely didn't overeat. I worked out 4-5 times and was on target - yet, I gained 2.5 pounds?  What if I would have weighed once a month? Well, ok, I would see loss, but some months I lose 2 lbs, others I lose 10 pounds. It all depends on my water weight fluctuations. I could drive myself crazy with "what am I doing wrong? questions if I didn't watch carefully and learn about my body's quirks.

So, that's why I weigh myself twice a day. Once in the morning and once before going to bed. I do the weigh in before bed to prepare myself for a bad weigh in. And that's what I got last night.

Yesterday I was on my feet all day long and I mean all day long plus, I had a hard workout. I did eat more than usually, and different from usually (high carb day), but not more than I would burn off in a day - for sure.

Yesterday I was already up more than a pound to 182.4. Last night I stepped on the scale and I think my jaw hit the floor when I saw the scale - 188.8? What???? I then had to get up 3 times during the night to pee (lost 4 of those water pounds overnight), but still woke up to a 3 pound gain from yesterday. A four pound gain in two days due to nothing but hormones. My period started at midnight last night and along with it - all the water I held onto. Wow!

But because I do weigh daily (twice daily) I know there is no way I gained 4 pounds of fat in that time and because I weigh daily and weighed in at 181 more than once, I also know it's not a fluke low weight on a one time reading. I truly am holding lots of water and it too shall pass.  And, I wouldn't have added that slice of pizza back into the pie to the left because I would be taking it back out probably the next day.

Very tired today, but it's been a great day!

Stats for 9/25/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 185.0 (Gah!!!)
Exercise total hours for 2011: 271
Total hours walking in 2011: 794/1000

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Some tricks I've learned to make this journey easier

When I started, I didn't know where to start other than to limit my carbs and get more exercise and eat less overall. Over the last several months I've learned some tricks that help me through rough patches and have found foods that seem to satisfy my tummy and tastebuds without going overboard on calories or carbs.

First, I went back to my trusted companion foods from when I had gestational diabetes. I enjoy a crisp apple, generously sprinkled with Saigon cinnamon and dip it 2-3 tablespoons of Jif peanut butter. I've tried natural peanut butters, but it has to be Jif. That snack is so delicious and so satisfying to me that I eat it almost every single day. I love it after a workout as it's cold and refreshing, satisfies my hunger and is nutritious too. That lunch is usually about 300 calories.

In the beginning, I did protein shakes with whey for breakfast. They are OK, but I tired of them. I liked them as I like a sweet breakfast, but  with needing to avoid carbs, that was difficult. Cholcoate protein shakes helped, but lately what I've discovered for a great breakfast is a smoothie. I use one cup of homemade lowfat plain yogurt and mix it with fresh/frozen fruit. I try to always use blueberries and then decide between mango, peaches, strawberries and cherries. I blend that up and have a delicious breakfast full of protein, some fat and fairly low carb for about 120 - 140 calories. That keeps me satisfied for hours.

Another trick I've learned to help with snacks are Atkins protein bars. I only buy the ones that have 2 grams of net carbs. So, when I really feel I just have to have chocolate bar or something sweet, I grab one of those. It totally satisfies the sweet tooth, but without doing the damage of a candy bar. Yes, I know there are artificial ingredients, but I was eating cheetos and store bought cookies/bars before that are just as bad or worse. Going completely clean, at least at this point for me is not realistic. Those bars range from 130-210 calories typically and have loads of protein, fiber and calcium.

Other tricks that help me is to have cheese sticks ready for snacks. My favorite is Polly-O Jalepeno Mozzarella stick. Two of those and it takes the hunger pangs away - 160 calories.

Hummus and fresh veggies are a fantastic lunch with about 150 calories only. I sometimes add a dash of a spice mix to literally spice it up.

For meals, I just make food for my family like normally, but I skip the carb. If I'm making rice with stir fry - I just eat the stirfry portion, making sure there are protein options in either tofu, nuts or chicken to fill me up. For pasta dishes, I make the sauce and either eat a really small portion of the pasta, or instead of over pasta, I put it over broccoli slaw. Again, making sure the sauce has protein to keep me less hungry. For some reason, my body doesn't have sugar issues with potatoes, so I will eat a small potato when my family is eating potatoes.

More recently, I've discovered making mini pies/pizzas. Less dough and then I can fill with beans, cheese, meats and they make great lunches and easy to grab for 250-300 calories per each and not too many carbs.

And I'm constantly learning. I just discovered a recipe for cauliflower pizza crust - have to try it as people rave about it. I add nuts to more foods than before because they add nutrients and taste delicious. But almost everything I do, I try to keep it easy to make and easy to serve as I don't like having to work to prepare my breakfast and lunch. I know myself. I don't like to cook for one which I think is part of the reason I ate such crap for breakfast and especially lunches before. Simple and easy. For dinners I cook for a family and I like putting some effort in with it, but that's only one meal of the day!

So there you have it - my tricks with eating. Not super clean, but soooo much better than what I used to do. it helps that I love to cook and I'm comfortable in the kitchen.

Stats for 9/24/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 182.4

Friday, September 23, 2011

As I look around the gym classroom

I see so many body types. My body step and my body pump classes are great classes to look around. If I take classes during the day, during the week, it's mostly stay at home moms - so most are between 30 to 50 years old. On weekends and evenings there will be more men and more younger, single, childless women. And the latter usually means shaped differently. While some women are really lucky with childbirth leaving their youthful bodies intact, most of us are not so lucky. But even with the young men and women, no one is perfect.

Today I was taking body step. The class was really small because for some reason classes on Friday are always low on attendance.  There were about 12 of us there. All of, amazingly, about the same age - around 40-45 years old including the instructor. I don't usually get a spot in front of a mirror, but today I was - just one person back. I was dismayed at my belly fat and arm fat. Man, I've come so far to still see so much blubber staring back at me. I am by far the heaviest person in that room. These women are more fit than me and leaner than me. But then as we were going around the class, I started to really pay attention.

There is this one gal in class who is amazingly fit. She has the most gorgeous pair of legs - toned and muscular, but in a gorgeous way. Her arms though are lacking the toned look (must be a runner/stepper and not working upper body?) and she has a slight pooch around her waist. Then, another gal: very tall and very thin. A true ectomorph body type. But, she is flat chested and not much shape. Another gal is a trainer and her body looks fantastic, but when you look - again, not much shape, but boxy. Everyone has something they probably don't like - some imperfection - a pooch, thin hair, scrawny legs, etc. What we see in the magazines is not reality. Even in a room with very fit women, not one of those ladies had a perfect body. And I haven't been in a class yet where I did see perfection - no matter what age.

So again, I'm trying to soak this in. So... my arms are flabby. So, I have loose skin and still more weight to lose. Everyone else has something they want to change too.

Stats for 9/23/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 182.0
Exercise total hours in 2011: 270
Total miles walked/biked in 2011: 790/1000

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Who would have thunk it - even shoes!

I knew I would need to replace my pants, shirts, underwear and bras. I hadn't given much thought to coats and jackets, but those, of course need replacing too. Those were purchased when I weighed nearly 100 pounds more than I do now... can't 'make do'. Pajamas are iffy and I am making do, but they are super funny and I'll replace those little by little, but shoes. I hadn't given my feet a second thought! Yet, my feet are swimming in my fall/winter shoes.

I pulled out the nice pair of Mary Jane loafers my mother in law gave me for my birthday/Christmas present last year. I love those shoes, but... my feet flop in them - even when I tighten the strap that goes across the top of my foot. They are too long and they are way too wide - even with heavy socks.

This morning I grabbed a pair of brown slip on loafers, my heel slips out of the back of the shoe and my foot sloshes side to side with each step. I think the size is fine, but it's hard to tell because my foot slides in the shoe and hits the top. Maybe the 10 is OK, but they've stretched out to fit my fatter feet and now can't unstretch to fit my thinner feet. Huh...

I had pulled out some high heeled shoes last weekend to work with an outfit. None of my old shoes were comfortable and they clomped. I don't do clompy shoes any more. I had one pair that were ancient that I tried on. I haven't been able to wear them for ages as they are a 9.5 and I had gone up to a 10 to an 11. Well, they fit! (But still clomped and hurt my feet, so I didn't wear them). In the end I wore a pair of open toe shoes I bought this summer. Not a perfect match for fall, but they fit and were comfortable. I just had to tighten the straps a bit.

Well, yesterday I decided to do some quick shoe shopping. First, I tried on a pair of black casual shoes in a size 10. I've worn a 10 for eons, so I always grab it. My foot swam in them. I then grabbed a 9.5 and those were better, but not in the color I wanted. So, just to see, I grabbed the 9 in the black and lo and behold, they fit! What? I haven't worn anything in a nine in pfft. I have no idea. Maybe when I first got married they were still 9s? Though I know they quickly went up (hmmm... with my weight?)

So, I came home and started to do an inventory of my shoes and wow... most are too big. Things that have laces I can make work if they are 10s, but anything I had bought in 11s - too big. My foot has very recently shrunk.

Some of it is obviously fat - my feet are narrower and since I'm healthier, they swell less too, but I think some of it is that my arches are rising again after years of slowly falling. I've always had really high arches and with a third less weight, maybe they are bouncing back up?

Whatever it is, it means on top of everything else that needs to be replaced, so do my shoes! During the summer, I just tightened my sandals up - easy peasy. Can't do that with slip on shoes which is everything I own for fall and winter because I hated doing buckles and laces when I had a huge gut - too much work.

Only thing I haven't had to replace then are socks, but I've had to about double the amount for working out.

It's more motivation to keep this weight off - a pretty penny will be invested in this new wardrobe - even with trying to be frugal!

Stats for 9/22/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 181.0 (74.6 pounds lost)
Total hours exercised in 2011: 268
Total miles walked in 2011: 782/1000

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Caught up on sleep, now getting life back to normal

After missing several days of working out in a row due to lack of sleep and my husband's pneumonia, I'm taking bodystep today and I'm so excited to go. I miss it - a lot! I thought about doubling up on classes today - doing bodystep and bodypump back to back, but decided it was probably wiser to do one today and one tomorrow - especially if my body, by some chance, is fighting off those pneumonia causing bacteria too. (Please don't let anyone else in the family get it!!!)

Of course, my house is a pit and I'm behind in laundry and cooking (out of homemade yogurt and homemade bread), but I'll catch up - especially since now I feel rested after two full nights of sleep and a 2 hour nap yesterday.

Naps are something that used to be a daily or near daily part of my life. First, I got horrible sleep at night and second, I was so tired and had no energy. Not any more. I don't remember the last time I took a nap before that nap yesterday! I just don't need a break in the day. I'm usually raring to go most of the time.

My mother in law has been gone for a month and in that time someone has been sick for 3 weeks. I haven't gotten anything done that I wanted to get done while she was gone - painting, finishing curtains, reorganizing the downstairs. Oh well, I'll try to get the curtains done at least and not worry about the rest. What could I do?

Not much more to say this morning. I'm just amazed at how the weight keeps dropping this month. I'm down another 1.2 pounds this morning. I guess my body was just ready to drop some weight it's been holding onto for awhile. I'm happy, but surprised because I haven't done anything different this month than last month, but last month I lost 3 pounds and this month I've lost 9. Weird!

Stats for 9/21/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 181.2

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's all in the angle of how you look at it

This entire journey I've looked at things in how many pounds I've lost and in chunks of ten pounds in removing that pizza slice. When I think about it, I think about "I've lost X amount of pounds." I haven't really thought much about it as "I need to lose X more pounds." I feel that way with each mini goal - sort of, but even then it's "Oo, I'm close to losing the pizza slice".

But someone yesterday said, "Melissa, you are 7 pounds from your goal!" I was like, "Whoa, really?" I guess I've thought about how far I've come instead of focusing on how far I have to go. Also... that goal of 80 pounds is an artificial goal. I really want to get to 175 or under because I know it's achievable and should be maintainable. Anything beyond that is uncharted territory for me and honestly, when I have to go to when I was 16-17 years old to even remember being a weight less than that, it seemed unattainable.

Also 175 is exactly 100 pounds less than my highest ever weight from 9 years ago. It will be 90 pounds lighter from when we lived in Virginia (I lost 10 pounds with moving/remodeling and kept it off).

When I look at the pizza slice to the right there - I see it as a ten pound chunk. It doesn't count down each pound, so how far/close doesn't really enter mind until I'm within a pound or two. So, hearing 'seven pounds until your goal' is just not how I've ever thought about it!

Now, I have thought about "how will I show the pizza is gone?" and "what will I show for pounds lost beyond the 80 pounds or do I want to or need to?"  Honestly, when I started, while I thought I could get to 80 pounds lost, beyond that seemed unfathomable. Well, I could dream about it, but it seemed such a long journey that going beyond it was into the surreal territory. Now that I'm seven pounds from that goal, I realize that not only is it likely I'll get to that goal, but I'll probably surpass it because I plan to just keep doing what I'm doing and see where it takes me. I'm letting my goal weight find me, not forcing my body to a weight I want it to get to that might not be attainable.

But it is surreal to realize - I could reach my goal of 80 pounds lost in one to two months from now. Wow!!!

Stats for 9/20/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 182.4 (73.2 pounds lost)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Today is going to be a rough day

I've had 3.5 hours of sleep. My husband was in the ER until 3 am last night. I had to get up at 6:30 am to get my older son to school and now I have to get my younger son ready for his Psych eval at the autism clinic which is all day - 9-3 and it's an hour drive.

When I don't get sleep, it's easier to give into bad food choices - especially sugar as it's a temporary boost to keep me alert. But, I'm going to try really hard not to give into the sugars even though we do need to go out for lunch in the middle of testing (though I think I might pack our lunches to solve that problem).

My husband has pneumonia - which we suspected. Now I have to hope that my older son doesn't get reinfected and that none of the rest of us get it either as obviously that bacteria is floating around the house. And hopefully it will totally clear out before my mother in law gets here which is in less than two weeks.

I planned to exercise today, but I'm sure I'll be too exhausted. But that's OK. I'm doing as much as I can!

Stats for 9/19/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 182.6 (No change since yesterday - 73 pounds lost)

Sunday, September 18, 2011

An interesting day

Today was the first day officially on the job as the Director of Religious Education for the Northern Virginia Ethical Society. I must have been a bit nervous about it because the night before I had quite a few stress related dreams - dreamed our house got broken into when I left to pick up the kids from school and was gone for 4 minutes only. Dreamed that I forgot to make bread and had to stay up half the night the day before a big event and I was messing things up. Dreamed that I was teaching someone how to make bread and they were doubting all  my techniques - stressville city dreaming.

I wanted to get there early today and my plans were already a bit messed up as my husband is sick. When I left in the morning, it seemed pretty mild yet, so I wasn't worried about him, but it meant I had both kids to watch as well as get ready for Sunday School. It was all fine, but a bit more complicated.

After Sunday school, my kids and my mentee and I went out for lunch. We ate at a local Lebanese restaurant and I had lentil soup and an appetizer, kibby. And then I took my older son to let him hang out with his friends and then the little guy and I played at Target and then hit Whole Foods. Finally coming home at 6:30 pm. By that time my husband was feeling worse and the pain relievers were no longer keeping the fever down. So, he called the doctor on call and they instructed him to go to the emergency room - which is where he is now. I will be going there in a bit once I know my younger son is asleep.

The first part of the day was so nice. I was wearing a new dress (like this one, just tan and black, not black and blue/green print). two tone dress It hugged by body in a nonclingy way and since I no longer have rolls, it was flattering - the stripes acting as a slimming allusion too. It was a $24 dress from Marshall's yet made me feel great.

The last part of the day has me a bit frazzled. Another illness - bad summer for my family with illnesses, for sure!

No exercise today, but lost another pound, unbelievably!

Stats for 9/18/11:

Beginning Weight: 255.6  Now: 182.6 (73 pounds lost)

Saturday, September 17, 2011

This month is turning out to be a great one for me

The month of July I lost 4.2 pounds (it was vacation month), so I was OK with that slow loss. Last month, August, I had a few higher, almost at maintenance eating days, but was pretty good and hit the gym regularly, but the scales didn't show much. I lost 3 pounds - that's it. I felt pretty deflated as I couldn't explain it other than my menstrual cycle was very short and my body was messed up a bit.  This month (with 2 weeks yet to go). I've already lost 6.6 pounds. I think some of that should have been last month and it's just appearing this month. I'll take it though as I really am staying focused and working out about 5 times a week.

I'm down 72 pounds, but I caught myself from the side today during body pump and man do I have a gut. And when doing planks (which I can almost do as long as the instructor asks us to do now), I see my belly hanging down. I know some of that is loose skin, but some of it is just stubborn fat. But, I just have to deal with it and keep doing what I'm doing, because well, I'm doing pretty darn awesome. I've been incredibly consistent and don't struggle too often.

Now, yesterday was a difficult day. I had the munchies so bad from about 4 pm until going to bed. It ended up being a slightly higher calorie day for me (about 1620 instead of closer to 1400) and with it being a non-exercise day, I really hate to go over. But, two things kept me in check. One, I am too close to the 70 pound mark (yesterday it was 70.2) that if i overeat, I could lose that slice of pizza pie I earned by going under 70 pounds lost. And two, for many people, they get the munchies just as their body is ready to give up a chunk of weight. It's happened to me before, so I wanted to see if maybe if I was good, I would be rewarded for it today.

And I was. 1.8 drop on the scale this morning. Got to love that! Not sure if it will stick tomorrow, but that's OK. I made it through the day and don't feel munchy yet today, so that's all good.

Stats for 9/18/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 185.6 (exactly 72 pounds lost)
Total hours exercised in 2011: 267
Total miles walked in 2011: 778/1000

Friday, September 16, 2011

When you lose your layers of insulation...

You feel the cold!

Today was the first day that the weather has let us know that fall is just about here. Last night we put on an extra blanket on everyone's bed and this morning I got dressed in a new sweater I've never worn, heavier pants, and socks and shoes. And I was still cold. I looked at the thermometer next to me and it read 70 degrees. Yet, I had to go and grab another layer and I've been wearing it all day long. Right now, over my sweater I'm wearing a micro fleece zip up vest and I'm still cold. My feet are cold (in socks and shoes), my nose is cold, my fingers are cold and my arms are cold.

I have bought a lot of stuff in the last few weeks getting ready for this season, but I didn't anticipate the need for wool or fleece heavy sweaters yet. In fact, I've rarely needed really warm clothes and definitely not when upstairs where it is usually warmer. But... that was when I weighed 250 plus pounds!

Now, I still have a lot of insulation on me. I'm not lacking fat, but it's so much less than I used to have, that I almost wonder if I feel more cold because my body is really, really not used to truly feeling these temperatures? And maybe my body will adjust so that I don't need to wear heavy sweaters all the time? Or maybe it's because my metabolism has slowed down a bit while in this weight loss mode?   All I know is that it stinks and I need to go shopping (again) for some heavier sweaters to wear at home at least. I'm freezing!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 185.4 (no change since yesterday)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Drum roll please!

I have reached the official seventy pounds lost milestone and I'm now at the lowest weight I have ever been since I got married (except for a month or so one summer a year after I got married when I didn't even realize I had lost 15 pounds, so I don't count it). This is the weight I got to at my last big weight loss effort 15 years ago. And I can tell you, this is way different. By then, I was struggling with exercising and more, with food cravings. Not now. I feel great and feel I still have more in me to work on this weight loss journey.

I'm now at a weight I was much of college. And by the way, I felt really fat in college as I did have some pudge. Now I'll take that pudge! It's way better than obese - where I was just a little bit ago. Plus a bit of pudge at 41 is considered more normal than a bit of pudge at 21. And even more so 20 years ago when there were less people overweight.

So, that means I have 10 pounds and change to go to meet my intial goal. The goal of "I hope to never weigh more than this again." Anything under 175 is icing on the cake, but not something I'm too focused on.

Not much else to add as I did a late post yesterday after exercise. My life is so exciting, I'll be cleaning today (like I was part of yesterday). Fun stuff, huh? But.. I'll be cleaning with a lilt in my step as I've officially lost seventy pounds. Wow! My husband gave me a high five this morning. Aren't we so romantic?

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 185.4 (70.2 pounds lost)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Never judge a book by it's cover or it's first time through?

I have taken studio cycling (spinning) only once and I didn't like it much. The first class I took was in a new gym, but with old cycles. The instructor was not outgoing and the workout was just dull - like the room too. Plus, I wasn't dressed properly (yes, padded shorts make a difference). Today, I really had no choice for cardio other cycling/spinning as the class I wanted to take was full, so I signed up for studio cycling and I wasn't looking forward to it.

Boy, what difference this class was. First of all, the bike shorts - no more ouchie nether regions. Second, they had computerized bikes so you were better able to adjust and know what you were doing instead of this knob where you had to guess at what's hard, what's easy. And thirdly, a better instructor - a LOT better. She pushed us, smiled, made jokes and was overall just very pleasant as well being super fit herself.

So, it was good. Still not my favorite class in the whole world, but I would put it up there with Zumba, but not as high as my favorites being bodystep and bodypump. It's good enough though that next time I can't get into my preferred cardio class, I'll look to see if something is available at that gym for studio cycling... which, unfortunately is not tomorrow. My class I want to take is full and there's no studio cycling class offered. That's OK though. I walked through my lawn earlier and it's beginning to resemble a meadow. Lawn mowing will be my slated exercise for tomorrow for sure. Supposedly an hour of mowing burns about as many calories as an hour of aerobics or strength training.

Oh, and another great thing about class today is that I was able to stand up on the bike and pedal when she instructed us to. So, that maybe means those kegels I've been doing are helping? As I had no leaking! Yay! Either that or I was holding my posture differently which is completely possible too. Whatever it was, it made the class more enjoyable all around.

Stats for 9/14/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 186.2 (yep a new all time low - 69.2 pounds lost)
Total hours exercised in 2011: 266
Total miles walked in 2011: 774/1000

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Remember that dress I was fawning over?

I don't know why I think you all might remember everything I've said all along the way. Heck, I can't remember everything I've said over the last 9 months and I'm sure I've repeated myself sometimes, but anyway, earlier this summer, I mentioned that I saw this dress and I loved it: Donna Morgan dress

I keep looking online and at the store I saw it every once in awhile to see if they ever go on sale, and so far no. I'm just not going to spend $120 on a dress that probably won't fit next year. And, the size I need has been sold out for at least a month (one person even asked online Nordstrom's if they were going to get anymore size 12 in stock - and they aren't). I saw at a clearance center online that they were expecting some in and I could reserve one, but they were still selling for $90 plus tax. No way.

Well yesterday, while I was procrastinating with cleaning my house and in between walks, I went to Marshall's to return a couple things. While there I decided to look around on their clearance rack as it's been awhile and I saw, kind of tucked in between the packed rack of dresses that fabric of the dress. It was the Donna Morgan dress. I kind of silently held my breath and muttered, "oh please, oh please, oh please" and I see it's a size 12!!! It's the only one they have and it's in my size? I practically ran with giddiness to the dressing room to try it on. Perfect fit as I knew it would be from trying it on before at the department store, but I wanted to be sure. I checked all the seams to make sure they were aligned, not ripped or stained and it seemed to be in perfect shape. The start price at Marshall's was $29.99 (as are so many of their dresses of that style/material) and it was clearanced for $20.00. What??? The dress I can still buy online in every size except size 12 for $120 was clearanced at Marshall's for $20??? That dress was so sold! I can't wait to wear it! Yay!!!!

Look how little things like that can make you so happy? That and the sun being out. Wow was it nice to have the sun yesterday! I took three walks - first mile was walking my son to school. Then I did a loop around the lake for another 1.3 and then I took another walk to get my son from school. It was great! My mood lifted instantly yesterday with the sunshine. I'm definitely affected by sun and lack of sun and that week long bout of constant rain was putting me in the dumps!

Today I'll walk again for 2 miles with the walk too and from school twice and then I'm doing bodypump this evening. I'm going to concentrate really hard on doing squats correctly so my knees stop bugging me!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 188.0
Exercise total hours for 2011: 264
Total miles walked in 2011: 765/1000

Monday, September 12, 2011

Holy fast weight gain!

Two pounds in two days. No wonder I usually stall out for several weeks. My body goes crazy with hormones and holds a lot of water! Wow! At least I know what is going on. Ovulation is approaching and my body is raging with water holding hormones. Isn't the body an amazing thing? It has this internal clock and has been working pretty flawlessly for decades and we're just a bag of bones and flesh... amazing stuff.

Anyway, did Zumba yesterday morning and it was fun. The instructor was the same as last week and she is just a live wire.  Everyone I've ever met that had that much bouncing energy was about 5' tall. Amazing!

My knees are still giving me some problems, but while I thought it was the lunges that were hurting them, I realize now it's the squats. So, I need to check my form to see what I'm doing wrong. You would think it's pretty simple to just squat, but I guess I do them wrong. Time for more practice squats I guess.

Not sure what I'm doing for exercise today. I could do Zumba this morning, but I'm looking outside and seeing sun. This will be the first day with no rain in a week or longer, so I might just take a walk instead. I want to be outside in the sun! And maybe a bike ride to the grocery store later today... that sounds more appealing than the gym. I need sun!!!

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 188.4
Exercise total hours in 2011: 263
Total miles walked in 2011: 762/1000 (realized I forgot to do this for a few days)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Where was I ten years ago

As today is the day a lot of people are going to be reflecting, I find myself doing the same thing.

The world changed after 9/11. There is no doubt. I'm not going to go all political in this post as this is not what this blog is about. Those of us not too young to remember will never forget the heavy sadness in our hearts. Most of us will never forget where we were and how it made us feel. I remember my mother and grandmother saying the same things about the assassination of President Kennedy.

I experienced the 9/11 tragedy in a very different way from most Americans as my family didn't live in the United States at that time. We lived in Canada very near Toronto and we were recent transplants, only living and working in Ontario for two months when this tragedy happened.

I first learned of the tragedy when I was dropping my kindergartner son off to his babysitter in the morning. She opened the door (TV was on in the background which it never was) and she asked me, "Have you heard?" I hadn't and I couldn't believe what she told me and then I saw the TV. The first tower had been struck and was burning. While I was there with her, sorting it out in my head and watching it over and over, the second plane hit. I think that is the most surreal. America watched the second disaster unfold before their eyes as it happened.

I was at the babysitter's longer than I usually would be, but then I needed to get to work. Being one of the few Americans in the college made me unique, especially a recent transplant for the US and from the east coast (we had moved from Philadelphia). All day people were talking with me, asking me if I had family or friends in danger. All were so sympathetic to me as it was my country that was under attack.

And that was surreal too. I only lived in Canada for two years. We lived in a university town, an hour outside Toronto. The climate much the same as the Iowa I grew up in and the Chicago I lived in, actually it was no further north than either of these places I lived. We all spoke English. We watched American television and watched American movies. The differences between the countries are so small - the health care system, a few word spellings and a few cultural differences in toasting the queen and so on. Otherwise, we share a similar path as immigrant nations. But it wasn't the United States.

People felt the shift in Canada too. We were no longer safe from Terror. Canada felt that as much as the USA. At least the people did, and the loss Canadians felt was much the same. I think the world mourned that day because it was a senseless act of terror. Thousands of innocent people killed for what reason? You don't have to be American to feel that.

But things were different. I didn't know it at the time, despite getting US news. In Canada, while our minds shifted that day, we went back to living our lives. Schools went back to normal, malls were full. We just had a sadness in our hearts (and they mentioned feeling similar sadness in their hearts when President Kennedy was shot too - that wasn't just an American loss). The United States might not pay much attention to the rest of the world, but the rest of the world pays attention to us.

Anyway.... we came back down to Philadelphia in mid-October to visit my mother in law and for my husband to finish up with his dissertation. As clothing was much more expensive in Canada and the selection not as big, I did some shopping for me and my son while there for the weekend. That's when I sensed the big change in America. At least in Philadelphia.

I went the mall on a weekend and the mall was nearly empty. So very strange. And the loudspeakers throughout the mall was playing patriotic music. Some old, some new, but every single song on the radio was patriotic, but there were almost no customers. Then I realized, people were afraid. They were afraid of being attacked and this was one month after the attacks.

I saw flags everywhere. I saw pins and signs. America had turned into a patriotic beast - just fearful. Experiencing that was very strange and unsettling. Were the terrorists winning if they made us living in fear?

I remember that day shopping for me. I was at my highest weight while we lived in Canada. I was wearing a tight size 20 and weighed around 275 pounds and I was very unfit. Ten years ago today, I weighed about 90 pounds more than I do today.

And it goes without saying. The lives lost that day are sorely missed. The acts of heroism that day will never be forgotten. The world mourned that day for so much, but most of all for the people.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Very weird month for me!

I have no idea what is going on with my body this month, but I'll take it! I much prefer what's happening this month with weight loss than any previous month so far. I'm having a nice steady weight loss with no stall out. I gained water weight with my period, but for the last week it's been steadily going down. Stalling out for one week a month during my period is one thing. Stalling out for 2.5 weeks because of my period and ovulation is another.

Now, it is probably because ovulation is delayed this month and I probably will see a gain very soon because of it, but so far not yet. I'm less than a pound away from losing 70 pounds total. Wow!!!

For some reason, 70 pounds sounds so much more than 60 pounds. Like, in my head 60 pounds sounds like, "eh, you've lost a considerable amount, but it's not that much."  70 pounds sounds like, "Whoa! you've lost a lot of weight!" I guess that must the magic line in my distorted head. Of course, it will be surreal when I lose all 80 of this pizza pie because then I will be 100 less than I was from my highest ever weight. 100 pounds is a lot of weight. Like it's crazy I ever weighed that much. Especially because I'm not starving myself. I'm not doing anything radical or weird. I'm eating a bit less and moving more. Going to the gym for an hour 5 times a week (sometimes only 4) is not excessive either. But then... getting my thyroid fixed is probably helping a whole lot too.

I am doing body pump today and then I have to hurry off to a meeting. I'm actually looking forward to the drive alone in the car. I guess I'm craving a bit of solitude after this long summer and with kids being sick.

Stats for 9/10/11: (Huh - 9, 10, 11 - cool!)

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 186.4 (69.2 pounds lost)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Will I be able to accept my body's flaws?

I'm working really hard to do what's best for my health and my looks - for me and for my family. And, in that respect I'm doing great and I really should be able to put my head around the fact that I will have damage/reminders of my past weight and from life (childbirth).

While intellectually I know that things will get better with time (shrinking up skin) and that being healthy is way more important than vanity, it is still hard to deal with what I see in the mirror every morning and at every fitness class. And then I have my husband who is totally accepting of my body's flaws and he's totally encouraging me to do what's best and not worry about the loose skin and stretch mark scars. They don't bother him and he knows things will get better over time too (loose skin). But... it's still hard to deal with.

I have several trouble areas - some bug me more than others. I have stretch marks everywhere - back of legs, inner and outer thighs, under arms, butt, hips and tummy and breasts. I got them from so many sources - starting with breast growth (these faded and you would NEVER know I had them except near my armpits), then regular growth spurts in puperty - outer thighs, hips and butt. And then childbirth - tummy and gaining weight - upper arms, more on butt and thighs and upper arms. My skin just doesn't stretch without scarring. And for the most part I can accept those flaws.

What I'm having a hard time with is the flappy skin. Like my arms. the tops of my arms are getting nicely shaped with long, lean muscles. They look good. However, I then have bat wing arms swinging below. I see them in short sleeves and definitely sleeveless stuff. Same with inner thighs (not quite as bad) and my stomach. I'm losing the fat in these areas, but not the skin. When I go to find photos of similar problems on other people's bodies, invariable, they are plastic surgeon sites because no one wants these problem areas.

These images are not of my body, but they show similar problem sites to my own. I actually tried to choose photos that wouldn't gross people out too much and they are actually BETTER than my own body's problems, but you will get the idea:

First, the bat wings. Mine are worse, but I have these:
Then, my stomach is nowhere near as flat as this lady's, but they are very, very similar stretch marks - a bikini is not in my future:

And then this is as similar as I could find of the problematic stomach. Mine is different, but similar enough to give the idea. Mine is less fat above the belly button and a bit more below it with more stretch marks. This is a before and after tummy tuck photo of someone:

I would say, "this is life and this is how my body has weathered life.", but when I look at my husband's body, he doesn't have such life battle scars. But, he's never gained the kind of weight I have either - though he did gain about 50 and has lost most of it. He has no loose skin, no visible stretch marks and his body looks almost exactly as it did when we got married 18 years ago - just less hair on top of his head, the back of his calves.

So... I'm having to learn to live with the imperfections. I could get a tummy tuck or other skin removal surgery someday I suppose, but by the time I would consider it (giving my body 2-3 years to try to tone up over that time as yes, it does take that long for loose skin to get better sometimes), we will be paying for college and just can't afford it. Plus, for vanity purposes? I just don't think I could go through that much pain just to look better when naked.

Therefore, I have this battle in my head of learning to love the body I have. I am the one who made it what it is. It's just hard to accept after all this hard work that I can't erase the fact of where I have been - a constant reminder is left behind. But maybe that's a good thing?

Stats for 9/9/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6 Now: 187.2 (new low)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Weird appetite fluctuations

I'm noticing more and more that I have hungry days and days I'm not so hungry. Since I don't believe in eating a set number of calories a day, but to just eat good, wholesome foods in moderation and throw in exercise for fitness and added weight loss benefit, I see how it varies.

Throughout this journey I've had days where I'm just mad hungry, so I eat more, but I usually found that it was rare and most days I was fine/satisfied around the same number of calories per day (give or take 100 calories).

Well, recently, I seem to have more hungry days, but then more not hungry days too. Very rarely do I feel the same hunger level day to day like I have most of the time on this journey so far. Here's the last two weeks to give a good glimpse of my eating: (* means it was an exercise day which is usually 50-60 minutes.)

8/25: 1596
8/26: 1607*
8/27: 1258*
8/28: 1566*
8/29: 2680
8/30:   838*
8:31: 1574*
  9/1: 1536*
  9/2: 1441*
  9/3: 1335*
  9/4: 1640*
  9/5: 1738
  9/6: 1241*
  9/7: 1668*
  9/8: 1119

Several times when I have a high day, the next day I have a low day. These are not decisions to eat less the next day because I felt I overate the day before. I'm just seriously not hungry. Notice on 8/29 I ate nearly 3000 calories. That's the most I've eaten in one day in the last 8 months, but next day? I was so not hungry - at all. And that low day I exercised more than I usually did - took a walk and did the gym.

The last few days too - 1200, then over 1650 and now 1120. That's a complete meal difference (as my meals tend to be around 400 calories for breakfast and lunch).

I tell you, keeping track of your eating and movement is really interesting. Most of the time the days I'm hungrier are days I don't go to the gym. Though, I didn't go to the gym today and I'm not hungry, so it doesn't always apply, but definitely gym is an appetite suppressant for me... well, all exercise is.

In other stuff, I decided not to go to the gym today as my knees are bugging me. I'll do step tomorrow. I ran errands all day today getting the water filter, a chest freezer (yay!), more school supplies for my older son now that he has been to school, and rain boots for the little guy, craft supplies for my son's hand exercises for occupational therapy. And, of course, school drop offs and pick ups. Dodged most of the rain today. It was nice to be able to do all that stuff without dragging a 6 year old along too!

Stats for 9/8/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 187.8

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

New low on the scale and being in tune with my body

It's the middle of my usual stall-out and I've noticed the last several days that the scale has been dropping weight quite rapidly. I lost my monthly period weight, but seems I haven't started gaining my ovulation weight yet. So, today on the scales I saw a number I haven't seen so far this journey - 187.6 - exactly 68 pounds lost. I'll probably start seeing the ovulation weight gain tomorrow or so, but it's showing good signs for this month's losses at least. I think I will see the second to last piece of pizza pie eaten this month - woo-hoo!

This month is probably going to be a bit unusual if my body follows it's usual pattern. So, last month I ovulated on day 10. Which is way early. And so, if my body does what it usually does when it ovulates a bit early/late, it corrects itself the following month. So, if my pattern holds true, then I won't ovulate until day 18, or so. Of course, my body isn't a computer, and it's aging so who knows if it's going to hold to the same patterns of years past, but it seems to be a bit true at least as I never get to a new low in the middle of the monthly cycle, so to do that, I think that means I can expect ovulation to be late.

So how do I know so much about my body's ovulation pattern? Well, I experienced 2.5 years of infertility while trying for our second son. And, I researched a lot about cycles and how to get pregnant with my first son. And I pay attention to my body's signals.

For my first pregnancy, I charted my morning basal body temperature and discovered then, way back over 16 years ago that I followed this pattern of usually ovulating on day 13, 14, or 15. As was noted with a temp spike the day following ovulation. I also noticed that I averaged 28 day cycles over the year that I charted such things the first time around. But, that was the average. If I ovulated on day 12 one month, the next month I might ovulate on day 16 - balancing out the too early ovulation to too late ovulation.  When I charted again 7 years later, the same pattern emerged. Except the second time I had some weird patterns of a short luteal phase for over a year after a miscarriage. Luteal phase? That's the time after ovulation until the start of menstruation. Oh, I should also mention, I really, really, really serious thought of becoming a nurse midwife during these years. I read books on the subject, even textbooks, researched schools and so on. Finally decided against it simply because of the time it would take to start to finish and with all the moving around we were doing those years (Chicago, Philadelphia, Ontario, Canada, Des Moines, Iowa, to Virginia (and now Maryland) the regulations for nurse midwifery and what education/experience was needed varied A LOT and it was too risky to do a program in one state to only find it didn't transfer to another state (or country as it turns out we moved to Canada for a bit too).

Anyway, I became very in tune with my body it's cycles during those years. Not just temperatures either, but other signals the body gives about ovulation. If you are interested, this was the book that was the best information. Ironically, it was made for people trying not to get pregnant, but it's opposite is true too. Then you know exactly when to have sex to get pregnant as well as when not to have sex (or at least unprotected sex) to avoid pregnancy. I've given this book as gifts and recommended it many times, so I'll do so here too:

So, all of this to say, I think I'll ovulate later this month and I think I dropped a bit more weight in the middle of the stall out because of ovulation being delayed. Most months I'll see a bit of a drop between my period and ovulation, but not all the way down to a new low. Until this month.

It's raining like mad today, so I'm glad I already go into the gym. Darn tropical storms! Like we need more rain? So, tomorrow it will look like I didn't exercise today, but that's because I'm adding yesterday and today's fitness stuff to today's post.

Stats for 9/7/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 187.6 (68 pounds lost)
Exercise total hours in 2011: 260
Total miles walked in 2011: 754/1000

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Residual effect of pregnancy and childbirth and getting fit now

You know, I did everything in my power to have a natural, drug free child birth for both my pregnancies. I was terrified of having a c-section. Absolutely mortified. My mom had the worst experience with my birth which was a c-section and I didn't want to repeat it. It took me until I was 24 weeks pregnant with my first to even read up on what they do, what rights I had and what to expect if I were to have a caesarean section.

So, I learned that to reduce my risks I should be healthy, fit, take a Bradley birthing class (I'm not convinced it's anything special about the class, just that people who choose it are more determined to go natural), use nurse midwives, go into labor naturally, and to not use any labor drugs. I did all of the above.

With my first pregnancy, I felt great and it was a classic textbook excellent pregnancy. Delivery was a bit long and unusual, but everything went fairly normally. Only surprise was that my baby born at 38 weeks 5 days was 10 pounds and 9 ounces. And no, I did not have gestational diabetes (I was tested three times in that pregnancy) and he did not have sugar problems after delivery either. With that birth,  I tore - a lot. But, it healed and I moved on.

However, after that pregnancy, I started to have problems with urinary stress incontinence. It was a problem when I sneezed and jumped up and down with exercise. Since I didn't sneeze much and stopped exercising, it wasn't a huge deal.

Second full term pregnancy nearly 9 years later and I started having more problems with stress incontinence during pregnancy. I found I needed to wear a pad all the time to protect myself from wetting my clothes. Second pregnancy was very difficult with all sorts of problems for me. I did develop gestational diabetes late in the pregnancy and despite being extremely rigid with my diet, I gave birth (naturally) to a 11 pounds 14 ounces baby boy at 38 weeks 4 days. Later, when I was talking to the neonatalogist I asked about why he got so big despite me being so very, very careful with the sugar in my diet and he said that he got bigger because of the sugar, but that also I just make really big babies. He too didn't have any blood sugar issues after birth and the neonatalogist said he probably would have been 11 pounds anyway. And, considering how big he has always remained, that's probably true.

His birth was faster than my first baby's, and while I didn't tear much, the little guy did break my tailbone which took over a year to get over and still gives me problems if I sit in certain positions.

After that birth, the problems with stress incontinence got worse, but I didn't worry about it too much. I had a very needy baby who didn't sleep. And reality was, I was in pretty bad shape overall, so what was a bit of stress incontinence?

But here I am almost six and half years after giving birth to my youngest and I'm feeling better and getting more fit and the urinary incontinence is beginning to be a real problem.

I had never been good about doing kegel exercises - exercises that all women are supposed to do every day to strengthen their pelvic floor muscles, so starting this summer, I got better about working those muscles every day - several times a day. You can't see improvement right away, but it's been over two months and I've seen no improvements. I can even tell that I'm unable to tighten a certain area of those muscles... muscles I know I used to be able to tighten. In fact, I cannot stop the flow of urine when sitting on the toilet - even after all those months of exercising those muscles. That's not a good sign.

It's becoming a bigger problem because my fitness level has increased a lot and I have the ability to do more higher intensity workouts, but I can't because of urinary stress incontinence. I can't run without leaking with every single step. I can't do jumping jacks or any power steps on a step routine or bouncing around in Zumba class. I even discovered I can't stand up on the bike and pedal without leaking with every single stroke. It doesn't matter if my bladder is full or empty. I just leak.

So, I started looking things up again. And here's a pretty comprehensive explanation of what it is and what are treatment options.

And that page starts with "millions of women experience involuntary loss of urine ". It is so very, very common for women to have this problem. I think my problem is a bit extreme, but it's something probably most women have dealt with after having kids. At least most women I know. Yet, I am in classes with women every day and they are jumping up and down, bike riding, running and so on and they don't seem to be having the same problem I'm having.

So, now, after all these years I wonder if my insistence on having natural childbirth instead of c-sections was the wrong decision for me. If, in the end, I did more damage to my body with natural childbirth than I would have with c-sections. I tore all the way through (vagina to rectum), severe urinary stress incontinence, and a broken tailbone that still bothers me. Oh, and hemorrhoids which fortunately rarely give me problems, but I didn't get them at all until childbirth.

Of course, I can't know what problems I might have developed with c-sections and hind sight is 20/20, so what can I do? I have to deal with what I have to deal with now. And, if I want to continue with improving my fitness, I need to fix this problem. So, when I see the doctor soon, I'll be mentioning this and starting treatment options.

Fun stuff, huh?

No exercise yesterday, but doing bodypump this evening.

Stats for 9/6/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 188.0 (67.6 pounds lost)

Monday, September 5, 2011

Squeaking in at the tail end of the day

I don't have much to report except that my son's fever finally broke so the antibiotic switch must have done the trick. That is a huge relief. One more day to recuperate and then he has to get to school - missed 5 days and has been sick for 10.

No exercise today, but a lot of work around the house. The one thing I'm mad about with myself is that I caved with having a sweet this evening. Darn... where is that resolve of steel I had in the beginning when I could force myself to exercise every day and could have a treat under my nose and not be tempted by it? What changed??? I need to figure that out because I'm not liking that I can so easily be tempted!

Stats for 9/5/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 188.6

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Not much of a long weekend

My son is still sick. We called the on-call pediatrician and she had us take him to an urgent care center to have him checked and his left lobe is still bad and his temperature is not coming down which it should have by now. So, they switched antibiotics. Now we wait and see. What is for sure is that he won't be in school on Tuesday. He's supposed to get another check at the doctor's office on Tuesday and then we can hope. Right now standing to get a snack wears him out and he has a fever. No way can he make it through a whole day of classes. It's looking like he's going to miss the first home football game this coming Friday too. Band will be down one tuba player.

I'm not overly worried as he's doing OK. He's eating and able to function. He just tires very quickly and has to keep taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen for his fever. And I'm sure the coughing is getting old too. Poor kid.

I escaped this morning to do a Zumba class. It was a different instructor and she was totally fun and a complete spit fire of energy and man, could she move. I totally suck at dance, but it's all about movement and move is what I do. Lots of shaking of the booty and the boobies, but it's fun and most of us look plain silly, so my silliness doesn't stick out.

I was looking at what classes there are tomorrow and Monday is just a dud day. Normally there would be a Zumba class offered at one of the gyms, but it's closed for summer cleaning this week. I guess it means down to the basement or walking - maybe even a bike ride. I'll find something to do and I need to. I'm feeling a wee bit housebound and I really dislike spending all day in the house. Drives me bonkers.

Not much else to report. Lost a bit of water weight to get out of the 190s (again). I'm in the middle of the monthly stall out, so we'll see where it goes from here.

Stats for 9/3/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 189.4 (66.2 pounds lost)
Exercise total of hours in 2011: 258
Total number of miles walked in 2011: 741/1000

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sleep heals a lot of things

Even though sleep wasn't great last night, it was at least enough sleep. Because of it, I was able to have a great workout at the gym today and managed a walk this afternoon and got some housework done too.

I'm still in a bit of a funk, but much less of one than yesterday. My grandmother did pass away last night and my thoughts are with the family members she was close with as I know this will be a tough time. Her stories hopefully will live on and I hope to hear more about her life as the years go by.

As far as my son goes, I thought he was getting better with the pneumonia now that he's taking an antibiotic, but he did need to take tylenol twice today for fever. The second time his fever got to 103.6 before he took something for it. If he still has a fever tomorrow, we have to call the doctor's office as he should be getting better by then. Fingers crossed that things will improve there.

Not much else to report - I'm sticking to things with eating and exercise which means it really must be a lifestyle change and not a diet. If I can take on a new job, a sick kid, lack of sleep, death of a grandmother, and the start of the new school year all at once and not get back to old habits, that's a really good sign, right?

Not sure what tomorrow's exercise will be. I might get up for Zumba in the morning - that's my hope at least!

Stats for 9/3/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 190.2
Total number of hours exercised: 258
Total miles walked in 2011: 744/1000

Friday, September 2, 2011

Can't let a day go by, but not feeling it today

My head is not in the game today. My son is still sick, but is getting better now that we know he has pneumonia and is getting treated for it. Sleep is still way out of whack, I'm stir crazy, bored and exhausted.

But... I'm not over eating. Not getting enough exercise, but at least not diving into the food.

To add to the day, I just found out that my paternal grandmother is dying. And despite not really knowing this grandmother in my adulthood, it's still sad. Sad that I didn't have the kind of relationship I would want to have with a grandmother, but more sad that an entire generation is disappearing. She was 88 years old, so she lived a long life, but it was a hard life. She lived through the depression in a shack shared with your 9 younger siblings. When her father left, she felt she was burdening the family, so she got married as soon as she finished school and started having babies. Her first baby was stillborn at term. Her second son suffered forceps delivery damage - severe brain damage and he died when he was very young. Then she had a girl and then three more boys. Her marriage was difficult and they were poor. I don't know much of her story and I didn't understand her as a person as she was a very odd person - kind of stuck in time too. But in her later years she saw my father die and her daughter die. In the end, she's only survived by 2 of her 6 children and one of the remaining almost died last week and needed heart surgery.

So, I sit here and I feel a bit deflated. I'm very tired both physically and emotionally. I have such a great life - I really, really do. I have no complaints... just some days are hard. Simple as that.

I look and I think of my grandmother who lived to be 88. 88.. that's a great age. More than double what my father lived.  She had my father, the youngest of the 6 when she was 27 years old. Yes.... her 6th child. He died when he was 42 years old, almost 20 years ago. It makes me think...

Stats for 9/2/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 190.6
Exercise total hours in 2011: 257
Total miles walked in 2011: 737/1000

Thursday, September 1, 2011

What a slow month on the scale!

I know I'm up a bit in water weight, but really, only 2.8 pounds for the month of August? I only had a few days over 1600 calories and only one day over 2000 (and 2300 is supposedly my maintenance level for calories). I exercised for 24 hours too. Really 2.8 pounds for the entire month??? What??? Ok, that's a serious bummer! I did see a low of 187.8, but since my cycle ended I regained 2.6 of which I think most is water, but how can I be sure? Wah!!!!

Well, the only thing I can do is just keep trying to do my best to move more and eat a bit less. A loss is still a loss and my health is still improving. But wow.... that's shocking!!! Editing to add that I tallied up my calories in and out for the month and I should have lost at minimum 10 pounds! My body is obviously getting more efficient on working on less. No wonder I got fat in the first place!

My son is getting much sicker (went from fevers of around 101 to now getting fevers over 104). As soon as the doctor's office opens I'm calling to get him in. Poor kid. Seems whatever it was has now created a secondary infection.

That's all that's on my mind really. I had bodystep yesterday which was great. Today I'm cleaning the house as we are getting it appraised to refinance our mortgage. Of course, when it's probably the biggest mess it ever is is when I have someone coming to inspect it for it's value! Ugh! Sick kids, school starting, reorganizing started in the house AND materials brought in for my new job.... all waiting to be dealt with before 2 pm when the appraiser arrives. That's my exercise for today - cleaning like a mad woman! (when not at the doctor's office with my son).

Oh, today is measurements day too! With such little loss on the scale, I'm not expecting much loss on the tape measure either.... Let's see - grabbing the tape measure now! OK, lost an inch in the waist and half an inch each in my upper arms and thighs. So, I guess I did do somthing!

Stats for 9/1/11:

Beginning weight: 255.6  Now: 190.4
Total hours exercised in 2011: 255
Total miles walked in 2011: 733/1000

Monthly Measurements:

Starting chest: 47"  Now: 42" (change since last month: down 0" for a total loss of 5")
Starting Waist: 43" Now: 34" (change since last month: down 1" for a total loss of 9")
Starting Hips: 50" Now: 43" (change since last month: down 0" for a total loss of 7")
Starting Arm: 18" Now: 14.5" (change since last month: down .5" for a total loss of 3.5")
Starting Thigh: 30"  Now: 24.5" (change since last month: dow .5" for a total loss of 5.5")