Thursday, September 12, 2013

Today starts the next few days of craziness - let's see how I fair!

Today:  Finish making decorations for a cake, get to farmer's market, make dinner, get older son all set for their game tonight - feeding him early, getting him back to school, picking him up, making sure his homework gets done, start putting Sunday School boxes together.

Friday: Get food for Saturday's event, make homemade ice cream, get to another farmer's market (different days have different vendors, so I can get different food - kind of a pain), organize and clean house for Saturday's event, go to the gym.

Saturday: prep food and cook food, have a meeting in our house with lunch served, make a 3 tier cake, ice it later in the day, get ready for first Sunday School of the year (a party), make dinner, etc.

Sunday: finish cake, get to Virginia early for setting up for Sunday school and setting up cake, go to a Sunday School Committee meeting, hold Sunday School, drive home, start canning process of tomatoes, make dinner. Collapse.

My history has been that whenever I'm dealing with cake, I get nervouse or something and end up eating more. Maybe the stress of it or maybe just being around all that sweet smelling food does it, I don't know.

But as busy as I will be the next few days, keeping eating on track will be hard. Even last night, when I was tired and working on cake decorations, I nibbled a bit on a couple chocolate chip cookies. Why? I have no idea! I had done great the rest of the day! All in all it was a nothing gained, nothing lost day, but the plan is to LOSE these days, not gain!

It's the sleep that might get me. I need to be sure to get some good sleep despite the crazy schedule. It might not sound like a ton, but every one of those things can and will take longer than I expect they will. Isn't that always the case?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Thoughts on a blog post about Fitspiration Photos

First, to get the gist of this blog post, you need to read this first (and it's linked article it leads off from). It's fairly short, so not a big time commitment to read it.

So, it goes off on these photos and sayings, fitspirations:

OK, first, let me address the first three beyond what the linked blog writer has to say. He says it well, I just have my own thoughts on it too, of course. So, this:

Somehow, and I don't know how or why, there has been a trend of hitting exercise HARD. So hard in fact, that you reach a breaking point. Pain is good. Work through pain. Don't give up. Exercise so hard that you can't walk the next day. Workout despite being unable to walk, etc.

Seriously? Do we need to be on the verge of crawling and puking to call it exercise? How long do you think most people can sustain that and will sustain that? Do you need to do a workout called Insanity to feel you are getting a good workout? It's nonsense! Ok, maybe for some people, it's what they need - we all do need different things, but there is too much of it.

What about moderation? If the options are doing things like Insanity workouts or nothing, most people will opt for nothing. But what about walking daily? Every daily walker I've met is in decent shape! How about swimming laps? Riding a bike? Doing Zumba? Hitting some weights or doing Pilates?

If people did any of these activities daily (mixing them up especially), they would be active and would get fit. Their blood pressure would go down, Cholesterol would go down and blood sugars would regulate better - even without adding in any form of dieting. We just need to get off our rear ends and DO something, but it doesn't have to be HARD to the point of breaking. Those messages are harmful!

Now, the 4th and 6th pictures - the one with women's amazing bodies. Again... as the blogger said, these bodies are THIN bodies, so saying that strong is the new sexy and still showing THIN strong bodies is still saying that thin is the ideal.

And yes, sure, being thin and fit is great, but fit should be first and fit does not mean having to look, or needing to look like a model because most of us, no matter how fit we are, won't look like that!

I've detailed in another blog post,  about looking at others who are fit and their imperfections. Yet, I think most of us get this idea that we will look like a model if we just get thin enough or fit enough. I have seen exactly ONE person at the gym that wasn't 20 years old that had a beautiful, perfect looking body - if you think flat chested can still be perfect looking. I think it can, but many do not.

I have seen a few that look pretty darn good, but I'm sure if you ask any of them, they would tell you their trouble spots - men and women. Now that I do a lot of strength work in the man's cave in the weight room, I hear the men complaining about weak this or flabby that. I see men and women doing crunch variation after crunch variation trying to get that perfect abdomen, but they still don't get it.

How about, healthy living is the new sexy instead? But then no shaming if people have a vice - a need for a daily chocolate, or a daily diet soda, or drinking on weekends, etc. Can we have some moderation too please?

And then there is the 5th fitspiration, "Obsessed is a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated." Yes, there is truth in that, surely. Some unfit, lazy people think that even moderate exercise is obsession because they can't imagine ever doing that, but it's not obsession, but dedication to regularly working out. But there are also obsessed people.

Last night at the gym there was a young man with a great body. I see him there quite often. Someone commented to him, "What? you got here at 6? Dude, the place closes in 4 hours. You'll have to stop early." Hmm... was that a jab? Or was it a truth? Did this young man spend 4 hours in the weight room several times a week? Is that dedicated or obsessed?

What about those who take 2-3 classes a day and throw in a run. Is that dedicated or obsessed? Where is the healthy line? Do we know?

But, another thought... do we somehow think that we are lazy unless we hit it every, single, day? Not taking days off for vacation or for illness? Yes, I have read over and over about people going to the gym while they had a fever or were vomiting. People telling others to go hit the gym despite being unable to breathe properly because of a bad cold. Really, is it necessary to push ourselves so hard even when our bodies are saying to do otherwise? Are we lazy if we give our bodies a few days of rest to heal? Is the fear of losing a tad of strength or stamina that bad that we are willing to do things while we are ill or injured? Is that healthy? Why can't we say, "I can take a few days off." Are we really afraid we will never go back? And if you never do go back, what does that say? Maybe it's laziness, but maybe it's something else.

So yes, I think there are some obsessed exercisers out there. If you can't rest, then something is up. It is not just dedication, it's something more.  And conversely, I don't think it's fair to think of someone as lazy just because they don't hit it as often or as hard as you - again... that whole shame thing going on that we as humans are wont to do.

Of course, maybe I was lazy for taking so much time off, but I think my reluctance to take it easy while being injured also led to more problems and even part of my depression.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

On the way down at this weight, I felt so thin. On the way up, I feel so fat

Perspective, perspective, perspective.

I feel huge. None of my clothes fit me. I had to buy a few things over the summer to get me by (as I was at my thinnest last summer when I bought cothes). I look at my fall and winter wardrobe and I won't be able to fit ANY of it. I will need to buy a few interim pieces while I go back down.

My cockiness of getting rid of everything is biting me in the butt, but if I were to do it again, I would do the same - not keep fat clothes.

But I feel huge. TRULY huge, but at this same weight coming down I felt so svelte. My perspective has changed. Even though I was at the higher weight for decades, I got used to the lower weights realllllly fast.

I guess it's good that I hate this weight and want to get out of these numbers, but it's also not good to feel so "yuck" about my looks. And I HATE that I have to go buy some bigger jeans and shirts - even if I can find them used. I hate the idea of taking up room in my dresser and closet with them! And I stare at all my beautiful clothes are that are 2-3 sizes too small for me.

I KNOW I will get back down into those sizes. Of that I have no doubt as I am back on track and have the motivation to do it, but it will take time and all because I stopped caring there for awhile.

Monday, September 9, 2013

A weekend away and how I faired

This weekend we did a whirlwind trip to three universities for my son's college search.  We headed out on Friday late afternoon and go home early evening on Sunday.

My eating went like this:

Friday - spot on. I had a small breakfast, a low carb, smallish lunch, and a quick, healthy dinner. That's it. All was good.

Friday night, I got a bit too little sleep. Went to bed a bit after midnight and was wide away by 7 am.

Saturday: I had a nice, big, low carb breakfast of eggs and bacon (and coffee). I had a protein bar for lunch, and a salad with a roll for dinner. The day involved lots of driving and lots of walking. Ended the day with  some cheese, a bit of fruit and a few crackers. Too many calories for the day, but not by a lot and the choices were good.

Sunday. Again, a bit too little sleep. I had a good, low carb breakfast, a slice of banana bread (equivalent) then a HUGE lunch of much more carbs than I usually have because I had fries and bread with the sandwich, but also a lot of protein. But then, after another 3 hours in the car, I grabbed a Snickers at the rest stop to help me stay alert. Then, when we got  home I ate 6 Oreo cookies. I was exhausted and therefore, all restraint went by the wayside. Way over the calorie count and carb count for the day. Exhaustion won out over reason. But... even with caving, it is still far less "caving" than I was doing. I did stop myself, but not before doing some damage.

And today it is Monday. I am pooped, to say the least. Again, a bit too little sleep and the weekend rush has taken it's mental toll. I need a vacation from the trip! But, I have a will of steel. I can tell it will be OK today - especially if I sneak in a nap!

So, the weekend didn't go quite as smoothly as I planned with eating, but nothing outrageous either. Now just to get back with the program again.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How a couple of days can make such a big difference

For the last couple of weeks or so, I've been feeling myself come back on line. I would eat really well until the end of the day, and then would raid the snack drawer. I was getting more physically active, etc. But I still caved at temptations.

The last 3 days (yes it's only been three days). I was 100% on track and not tempted by anything in the house. How is it that for months I could not pass by the snack drawer without grabbing something awful, but now I can? I couldn't go to the grocery store without buying kettlecorn, etc. Then, like a switch, I'm 100% on plan again. I get into the snack drawer to get my protein bar and I'm not even tempted by the Oreos or chips. I went to the store yesterday, and walked right by the kettlecorn, even though I was hungry at the time as I was late for lunch.

What does it?

Ok... part of it is sleep. My sleep was pretty horrible a lot of the summer because of back issues. I hurt my back pretty nastily in June? (or was it May?). That was the true last straw that put me into the downward spiral - where the exercise went by the wayside as I was having back spasms from a muscle injury. I hurt it at the gym and then sleep was difficult in all positions except being on my back, so I never rested fully.

Awwww.... Melissa, that was the true problem. Lack of quality sleep always does me in. Throw in an inability to exercise (besides walking, which I did all summer), and I also lose a mood lifter and appetite suppressant.

Look how all the stars need to align right for me to stay on track. Well, most of the stars need to stay aligned and the sleep one is crucial.

I had a fitful sleep last night as I wrenched my back at the grocery store a bit with lifting something and felt those same muscles tense up. They still aren't quite healed - close, but not 100%. I don't feel the temptations, maybe because it's an isolated night and not a chronic lack of sleep.

And, some people with depression sleep more - not me. I sleep less. Go figure.

But... I did get brave and stepped on the scale this morning. I had stepped on it a month ago when I was beginning to feel a bit more uplifted, but that was temporary, and I slipped even further into the abyss. Then it read 215. The last month was BAD with food, so I was expecting to see at least 220. It read 217.4 and I was happy with that, as it's also the time of the month that I tend to weigh the most with hormonal weight gain.

I'm not going to look at it as all the work I have to redo. That's not productive. I will just work my way back down. Goal is 170. I feel good at that weight and it's maintainable. Anything lower and that is great, but not necessary.

Shaking my head as I have a lot of work to do, but this is a lifelong thing. Not a quick fix. As always, fitness is the key and for the past couple weeks I've been regular to exercise again - light,  but at it - riding my bike and lifting weights. I'll add in some aerobics this coming week.

Another true sign that my will is strong again is that I'm bringing food with me on a trip this weekend. We are driving to visit some colleges for my oldest son. I want to limit food damage as much as possible (especially carbs), so I will bring my staple of apples (yay to the farmer's market having Honeycrisp apples!) and peanut butter with me to have as a backup for either breakfast or lunch if the alternatives aren't good. We'll be walking for hours both days alternating with long car rides, so that will have to do, but I'm not taking this weekend trip as a time to pig out. That desire to treat my body right is 100% back and it hasn't been that way for over a year. I was just successful at mostly keeping on track up until May.

Weigh-in 217.4

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Unfortunately, it can be assumed when I'm away, it's not good.

I try to be very honest and transparent on my blog because I think that is important. Too often in the world we just show the face we want people to see and not what is the reality.  And as I've said before, that doesn't work with weight. We wear our weight. It's visible to everyone, so it is obvious to everyone that we are struggling with something.

I was convinced I would be able to keep the weight off and not regain. I had learned what worked. I learned what my triggers were. I had figured myself out. What I didn't know would happen was that I would fall into a depression.  And like other times I've fallen into a depression, it's only when I'm out of it that I can see it.

So, for a few months I simply didn't care. The thought of skinny feels better than food tastes left me. For awhile, I was able to keep up the exercise at least while my eating was a mess, but then with more injuries, I totally fell apart.  All bad habits crept back in and I gained weight quickly.

And then as I saw the weight piling on, it made me feel worse, etc.  Depression is such an awful thing and I run into it every few years.  I can probably name the triggers - job ending in a weird way, rapid weight gain whenever a little break happened, no new job prospects, winter doldrums, injuries making me feel bad and slowing me up, not knowing what I want to do for career, and who knows what else. But.... For the most part my life was great!  Yet, something pulled me down.

I look now, out of it, and realize I was truly stuck. I did nothing all summer long. I had all these plans for finishing decorating the house, going to museums with the kids, college planning and visits with my oldest, etc. Instead I spun my wheels. I started many things, but didn't finish anything.

I think what finally got me out of it was cooking. I found a way to cook that didn't involve eating. I canned. I canned tomatoes, pickles, jams, apple butter. My husband thought I was nuts, but it woke me up. I was able to be creative without being tempted to eat the creations.  Then one day, I realized I didn't want to grab Oreos or white bread (stuff like that is always in the house). I wanted to get back to the gym. I wanted to ride my bike.  I wanted to start caring abut my body again.

So... For everyone who looked toward me as "she can do it". "She will be and stay successful."  Well, it didn't turn out that way.

I have no idea what my weight is, but I gained a lot. I don't want to step on the scale until I am well under way with good habits again. Right now it's all about re-establishing the  good habits again.

I had forewarned my husband that it would be a life long battle, but I got him really worried and sad... Which of course made me sad and more depressed.  It's such a vicious, vicious circle. Depression sucks and it sneaks up so slowly, that you are unaware.  I guess I'm lucky that it is rare for me and short lived, but I wish I could avoid it all together!

So, I am back. Admitting problems is the true sign that I am back. I am not expecting any miracle fast diet. I'll take it slow and steady like before and hope that next time I run into stumbling blocks, that I will handle it better.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Resurrecting the blog for so many reasons - topic that brought me back? Stretch Marks!

So, stretch marks in teens and growing. Let me give a brief run down on how this topic came up.

This morning my nearly 17 year old son comes downstairs for breakfast before band camp. He still wants to take a shower before going, so he came down topless, something he rarely does.

My teen is 6'2" tall and still growing. He is very trim at 140-145 pounds and he has growth stretch marks.

Last summer while we were going to the pool, I noticed one dark red mark on his lower back crossing his spine. I thought perhaps he had a scratch, then within days he had two, three. I realized he was getting stretch marks from growing. We didn't make a big deal of it as it's a natural part of growing for many teens, especially for those with such large growth spurts. I had growth stretch marks. His dad had growth stretch marks. It happens to many, many of us. In fact 80% of all women get stretch marks (especially during pregnancy), but many boys do too for a variety of reasons.

Well, a year later those stretch marks are beginning to fade as stretch marks do. Soon they won't be noticeable at all except by some lover some day and only if she is looking closely.

About two weeks ago, higher up on his back he had a new stretch mark crossing the spine. Recently I noticed another one (and a couple lower ones seem redder again). He is going through another (last?) growth spurt. I just comment on it as a statement of fact, "Oh, you have more stretch marks along your back. I guess you aren't done growing!"

But then there is my mother-in-law. I try to keep an open mind and to be non-judgmental when it comes to her comments and behavior, but she makes it hard, really hard. My husband and I agree that she probably has either a narcissistic disorder or an antisocial disorder (paired with some autism traits). She pretty much is a classic case of this definition. Right down to 3 failed marriages.

Anyway, this is the conversation this morning while my son is getting his breakfast ready.

MIL: What are those red marks on your back?
Me: (answering for my son) Oh those are stretch marks. I guess he's not done growing.
MIL: Stretch marks? How can he have stretch marks?
Me: Lots of teens get stretch marks when growing. I got them. His dad got them.
MIL: No, S. never got stretch marks. I would have seen them.
Me: Yes he does.
MIL: How would you know? You weren't there when he was a teen.
Me: (chuckling a bit) Well, stretch marks don't go away. They fade, but I can see them and I've asked about them and he told me he got them when he was a teen and growing.
MIL: No. He doesn't have stretch marks. I would have seen them and how could he have stretch marks? No one in my family has stretch marks. Not me, not my sister, not my mother, not my grandmother. Even my great-grandmother who had 10 children didn't have any stretch marks!
Me: Well, that's one line of his family. What about his dad? Your dad? Grandfathers?
MIL: No. No one ever in my family had stretch marks.
Me: How do you know that? They fade so that you can barely see them. You have to look for them when there are places like the spine.
MIL: No, S.'s father was perfect. He looked wonderful. He didn't have any stretch marks.
Me: Well S. has them. You can ask him to show you later if you like. Plus, stretch marks aren't ugly. They are red when they are new, but they basically fade away and nearly disappear.
MIL: No, stretch marks are ugly. No one in my family has them.
Me: Now that is obnoxious to say. Sometimes you say the most obnoxious things.
MIL: OK, I'm obnoxious, but stretch marks are ugly.

End of conversation.

Now first, my teenage son is listening to this entire conversation while eating breakfast. All I need is for him to feel self-conscious about a few innocent stretch marks along his spine. He has no control over his fast growth. There is nothing he can do to prevent them. He eats well, etc. He just has the type of skin that gets stretch marks.

This is not his back, but the marks are similar to his. He is just skinnier. But these marks will fade. And as I said, only a lover who is observant would see them and she wouldn't care a bit.

But my MIL was saying something else too. She was saying anyone who has stretch marks is flawed - not perfect. Not as perfect as her and her family. She is truly bugged that her son and grandson has stretch marks. Can't be her fault! She didn't pass on "faulty" genes UGH!

It also means she thinks my body is ugly. I'm riddled with stretch marks. I got them when my breasts grew. Oh my goodness how I feared my breasts would stay like that with those red angry stretch marks. Those marks are completely invisible except just near my armpit where the skin puckers a bit. I remember crying about it when I was a teen.

I also got stretch marks on my outer thighs while I was growing. I grew very quickly between 14-15 (very late for a girl).  Then, I gained weight. I got them on my inner thighs, underarms, back of knees. Then I got pregnant and got them all over my tummy. I was getting stretch marks while I was still dropping weight in the first trimester! I only gained 11 pounds with both of my pregnancies and both times I gained 7 pounds in the last week. (When you start out pregnancy overweight, you don't need to gain weight). I got tons and tons of stretch marks.

If I were to be thin and fit and not have gaining weight stretch marks from getting fat, my body would probably look something like this model as our stretch marks patterns are really similar:

I would still have a ton of stretch marks from growing and giving birth. I had no control over my height and I wanted to have children.

Does that mean this women's body in the picture above is ugly? I think she has a great body. Does that mean she should feel flawed because of the life marks?

What message are we sending by not telling the truth to our teens/young adults? Life happens folks! 80% of girls and women will get stretch marks, so embrace them, don't feel they make you ugly. They are part of you just as your dimples are... you do know dimples are flaws, right?

What are we teaching our boys? That women's bodies can and should always look like this:

There is a reason Giselle is the highest paid model in the world. Most women simply don't have bodies like that! And, she benefited from air brushing, almost surely.

But can you see how these two models really have beautiful bodies? Do both these women feel that way?

So, I'm disgruntled. My mother in law touched on a nerve and if she feels that way, others feel that way. And not all people who feel that way have a personality disorder like my mother-in-law probably has. It makes me angry and sad. I don't want other teens growing up to feel that they are flawed and imperfect because of such frivolous things!

Later, I spoke with my teen and told him not to worry about his grandmother's comments. I assured him those stretch marks will nearly disappear and no one would care about it. Fortunately, he is full aware of his grandmother's quirks, but I also think her comments stung him a bit this morning. Maybe my husband will show his faded stretch marks to show that they are no big deal because they aren't. Though, I also think they will both think I'm over thinking/worrying about it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

This new strength routine

So, I've been doing strength training for almost 2 years with months here and there taken off for injury, vacation, doing other stuff (landscaping my yard), etc. But, in general, for 2 years strength training has been a priority.

As you know, if you've been reading here for awhile, I was doing the Les Mills class, BodyPump for strength training for much of that time. Then last fall I started working with a personal trainer in conjunction with BodyPump and then this January, I dropped BodyPump all together and just worked with a personal trainer twice a week and now I'm still working with a personal trainer once a week for a few more weeks and doing New Rules for Lifting, Supercharged with my husband 3 times a week at the gym.

Now, with BodyPump, every 4 months (or is it 3 months?) there is a new weight routine. The routine goes: warm-up, squats, chest, triceps, back, lunges, shoulders, abs, cool-down. The instructor will give some indicator if this routine is harder, easier or about the same as previous routines, so you have an idea of how much weight to put on the bar. And, as it gets easier, you should add more weight to the bar and so on.

Both my husband and I were good about upping our weights with pushing ourselves, but it did get to a point where we felt, "Ok, I can finally do it." Then, we would add some more weights to the bar for next time. That next time we may or may not be able to do all the reps, but we tried to. In any case, I always felt like I was accomplishing something - or getting better. Even though I was always pushing myself, it didn't feel like, "here we are again, super hard." I think it's because we had other people in class to compare too. We could see how far we had come. We could feel that we were getting better and improving. We knew our starting point and current point, even two years in as we always did the same exercises.

With this new routine, I'm not feeling that. With New Rules for Lifting, if you can do the required 10-15 reps, then it's too easy and you need to add more weight or do a different exercise so that you max out before the 10-15 prescribed reps. You basically should never complete things easily.

Plus, there is no one to compare yourself too. Well, I have my husband, but with most things he can do more than I can or we can do the same. (Core, lunges, power jumps, combination weights up and lunges, we are the same. Anything upper body and squats he is stronger). I just feel it's hard, hard, hard every time. And, well, it should be, but so far at least, I'm not feeling a sense of accomplishment. It's not just about adding more weight. It's many times changing the activity to make it a harder activity. So, it's easy to lose track of the starting point.

Well, there is one exception. With nearly every exercise grouping, there are different levels of difficulty. With core, Sven and I are already at the Super Charged level as I guess our cores are strong (and neither of us used to have strong cores). We tried each exercise prescribed for one workout and until workout 6 or so, every time we had to do a harder one the next time. We can hold a plank for 60 seconds, hold it with one leg up for 30 seconds (each side) and we can hold up an arm tucked in for 30 seconds each side, and in push-up position hold up one arm, each side 30 seconds. The Super Charged exercise is to hold opposing arm and leg up in push-up position. This one we can hold for about 15 out of the required 30 seconds, both sides.  So, in this case, it's easy to see that we have made progress. For everything else? Nope.

Even the push-ups. It starts with doing two sets of 15 full length push-ups. Now, there is a side note that says if you can't do full length push-ups to start at the wall and gradually work your way down to the floor at varying degrees of incline until you can do push-ups, but in the pictures it starts with full-length pushups and just gets harder from there.  That alone is so discouraging for me as I couldn't do 15 full length push-ups. Then I could do a few, but then a few shallow ones. Just yesterday, on workout 7 or 8, I lost count, I can do 2 sets of ten full length push-ups with full depth, perfect form. In the meantime, my husband is doing them with two small rubber balls under his hands to increase the difficulty after already breezing past the one leg, legs inclined and probably something else.

And, after every workout next day there is some sore muscles somewhere. Today it's my traps and glutes. Last time it was my hamstrings and lats. Basically, I'm always slightly sore.

I know this is good, as it means I'm building muscle, but it adds to the "I'm not getting better!"I hope that feeling goes away. Doesn't help that the gym is full of gym rats who can run circles around me. I am so thankful for the days a woman comes in that is way weaker than me, it gives me a bit of perspective of "OK, you have made some progress", but I still feel like a weakling most of the time!

And... sorry for the absence. It was a crazy, crazy weekend and a crazy week, but all that is behind me and caught up, so I can concentrate on writing here again. Eating has been spotty. Exercise has been good. That's been my unfortunate pattern as of late. Hoping I can make it better.

Friday, April 19, 2013

I'm beginning to feel the flab on my tummy go down

Most of my recent weight gain went right to the gut. Almost totally and completely. It's my trouble spot anyway, so to put on weight in the gut was insult to injury.  But it also made it harder to hide! Which might have been a good thing.

With doing strength training 3 times a week and with cardio another 2-3 times a week, AND with my eating all in order, my gut is shrinking and getting flatter. It feels so good! And my clothes look so much better!

Yesterday I went to Marshalls to look for something in the kitchen area, but I decided to browse the dresses for some strange reason. I went for a year with buying new stuff for every season, but for the last 10 months or so? Nada. Not a thing!

So, I found this dress. First. It's striped  - horizontally striped. Second, it's knit. Third, it's form fitting. What made me think I should try it on? But, I'm glad I did. It's slimming and looks really, really good on me! Maybe some day I'll take a photo of me in it.

The site is cool. It even shows it in demo mode:  And no. I didn't even pay half that price!

And... it will only look better as I lose the last bit of weight. Oh... and it's a size 10.

I stepped on the scale today and while it's only down a smidgeon, it is down and this is the time of the month it normally goes up, so this is exciting. Maybe, finally, I'll drop some significant poundage! PLEASE!  This winter was a tough one for me. Really, really tough.

So... while I don't really like our weight lifting routine. It's doing it's job. I'm sore somewhere every time, but I'm able to do more and my body is already showing results. yay to that!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

I'm on a roll, but the next few days will be tough!

I'm completely on plan with my eating and my exercise and have avoided food disasters by pure avoidance of temptation.

However, tomorrow my son's elementary school is having its international fair and I said I would bring Croatian food. Last time I brought mini cupcakes of traditional Croatian cake. They were delicious and enormously popular. This time? I don't think I can handle making the cakes without dipping into it.

Then, on Sunday it's the spring festival. My letter group is supposed to bring a side dish. I'll bring some veggies, but I kind of want to make something else too as it's a day before my son's birthday AND it's a day before Earth day. I'm thinking of something for that - like mini cupcakes in mini flower pots decorated to look like mini flowers. But the temptation? But I don't need to make a dessert and technically, I'm not supposed to with the division of foods.

And then Monday is my son's 8th birthday. There is no getting around making him a cake for his birthday. None. At. All.

So, I'm torn. I'm known to be an excellent baker. Well, an excellent overall cook and I do enjoy cooking and can make some wonderful, healthy foods as well as the sweet favorites. But my heart is saying, "make cupcakes" and my head is saying, "Don't do it! You know you will eat the frosting and/ or the batter!"

Wish it were possible to make cute earth day foods out of real food instead of just desserts! As wouldn't something like this be so cute to display?

It's the side of me that likes to create! I want to make something! Oh curse you food!!!

Editing to say:  OK... I'm going to behave which means avoiding temptation. I will NOT make a dessert for the international fair tomorrow. I'll make an appetizer or typical dish that is yummy, but not a bad food for me.

On Sunday for the festival, I will stick what I'm supposed to bring which is a side dish. Maybe I might make a loaf of bread too, but that at least I can't dip my fingers into the batter to eat, right? right!

And that just leaves my son's birthday cake. Making one item even if I do have a bit is a far sight better than having three temptations in 4 days. So... that's that... I must not be faced with the foods that give me the most trouble resisting - doughs/batter and frosting!

I'll make these cute flower pot cupcakes some other time.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I feel so petty, but as my psychiatrist said to me years ago...

... my problems are my problems and I shouldn't try to minimize them by comparing them to other people's problems as I can always find someone with bigger problems than I have.

Days after a bombing in Boston at the finish line of the Boston Marathon where 3 people lost their lives, over 150 were injured and countless people were traumatized by the event; Hours after the senate has decided to shoot down the only promising gun legislation; a few months after the Newtown shootings where too many little children were murdered in their classrooms, I'm feeling sad for my own circumstances.

I've mentioned before that I have a son with autism. I also have a son who has strong ADHD. My older son, is very intelligent, independent minded, likable, considerate and loving. But he is a terrible academic student due to his disorganization. This past marking period was his worst ever - his junior year in high school. I'm looking at his college opportunities shrivel and I worry about his future.

Then today I went to the IEP meeting for my son in 2nd grade. The school is excellent at helping him with his needs, but he struggles. He needs help every day with reading, writing and math. Not with the subject material, but with engaging in the material and doing it. It's getting better, but he still needs 6 hours and 30 minutes a week of support.  Add to that, this child that started reading at age four has now been bumped down a reading level because of his comprehension level and now my real fears begin to appear. I know he has problems with comprehension and not just with books, but with language period. He can mimic anything, but he doesn't decipher it well. Then throw in his difficulties with getting stuck in routines and difficulty with peer interactions.

Everyone likes him as he's sweet and considerate and cute, but how far will that take him? How far will he lag behind? Just as he catches up and goes to above grade in math, he is struggling in language based subjects, which I knew would eventually happen.

Then, after school, we went to a science fair planning meeting. Now, all the kids were antsy as they had been in classes all day, but my child? flapping, pacing, totally disengaged unless made to engage and I could see it was literally painful for him to engage. I watch his like aged peers giggle with each other and chitter-chatter and then see my son pacing in the back of the room, flapping, in his own world and I worry.

There are times I get so hopeful. On Monday we had real, true, back and forth conversation. It was wonderful. I jump with joy every time I see new behaviors that have been delayed, but then I get slammed with reality. His one step forward is still 10 steps behind everyone else. And his autism is very high functioning. And I feel bad for having woe is me moments when as far as the spectrum goes, he's doing so well in mainstream classrooms with just a little support, but where will this lead him?

And I hate that I hate autism. When we were trying to conceive him, I begged my body to not give me an autistic child. I got a lump in my throat every time I met another parent who had an autistic child. So many of my husband's peers had autistic children. After my son was born and I saw he gave good eye contact and engaged with me, I sighed in relief, but even then, very early on, I started to worry as one thing after another seemed a bit delayed.

I struggle with myself in wondering, "did I cause this?" I've posted about it before but was my blood sugars an issue? My blood pressure? My diet? My obesity?  Our combined maternal and paternal ages me (35) and my husband (38)?

And as he grows and my older son grows I wonder, "Are my expectations too high?" Is it right for me to expect my highly intelligent son who suffers from very debilitating ADHD to get into good colleges? TO even go to college straight from HS, versus community college? Do I push him too hard or not enough?

And same with my younger son. Am I expecting him to be to function too well by always having him in mainstreamed activities? Should he even be doing a science fair? Should he go to school or be home schooled? Am I coddling him too much? or not enough? For either of them?

Days like today I feel like my kids have such huge battles in front of them and I don't know if I've done well by them. I know I could have done better and could do better, but even if I did things perfectly, would it be enough? Probably not.

It's just one of those "wow... this parenting gig is hard" days. But now to the gym to try to work some of these frustrations out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Can you keep a child from becoming obese?

Every day I keep hearing things about children and obesity. I hear about the push at schools to rid the cafeterias of vending machines that sell sodas and juices and dessert lines where kids can buy ice cream and the like.

And it is true that there are more overweight kids than ever before and it's becoming a world-wide problem. This summer, I saw more overweight European children than I have ever seen before and it was shocking. How can this be when kids move all the time?

Ah... do they move all the time? Today? No... they do not. But, that's a whole 'nother post in itself, but it definitely is adding to the obesity problem with youth today.

I look around at my younger son's classroom and other like grade classrooms and there are only 1-2 kids out of 50 that are slightly chubby. One is fairly significantly chubby (and she has been since I got to know her in kindergarten) and the second child is my own son. Though, he is on the borderline, better watch it, line. So, that is about the same number of kids with issues as it was when I was a kid. And when I say borderline, I mean borderline. Here is is this past summer: (and he's the same now and always):

Now, when I look at the high school kids when I drop off or pick up my teenaged son from school, I see a lot more heavier teens than when I was in high school. Girls especially. When I was in high school, I was one of the few that was slightly overweight. Now there are many and they are more overweight at younger ages.

So, yes, I agree it is happening and it is alarming. But what to do about it and can you do much about it?

With my two boys, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum with weight. My 16 year old son has always been thin. He is 6'2" tall and weighs 140 pounds. The pediatrician is watchful for him about getting too thin. She has told us to let him eat whatever and whenever he wants. He just needs to eat. We used to think it was the ADHD drugs that were keeping him thin, but he was thin before taking them and he's just as thin off of them. It's just his tendency. We have to press the issue to eat breakfast, to eat lunch and to eat an adequate dinner. Now, at 10 pm he'll go crazy with eating snacks and he tends to want garbage, so I try to temper that too, but at some point, he just needs calories for the day and some FAT as he likes very lean foods for the day and he still needs an adequate fat intake (and protein). Yes, he's the teen boy who loves salads and veggies and is not so keen on meat and other proteins.

Here is with wild hair this past summer. It's now long enough to wear in a pony tail (which he does always):

My nearly 8 year old son is the opposite. He's not heavy, but he has a tendency to get pudgy. The pediatrician is a bit watchful of him and too much weight gain. With him I try to temper the sweets and calorie dense foods that don't give him any nutritional value. Fortunately, he too is developing a real love for veggies and lean proteins, but his tendency is to eat a bit more than he needs. This I have to temper that with foods that are filling, but not calorie dense.

So, same household. Same parents of both kids and two kids with vastly different tendencies and needs. They might look alike as they both have copper colored, wavy hair and brown eyes and are tall. They are just separated by nearly 9 years; however, they have been night and day in nearly everything since birth and their weight tendencies are one of them.

It is hard to control food intake with children as how do you know how much they need? Are they having a growth spurt? Or are they just overeating? Are they really hungry or just think they are hungry?

Plus, I have read on weight loss forums of parents trying to help their kids with weight and it just backfires. Kids will find the M&Ms hidden and will then scarf them down, hiding it. Thus developing  the hiding of food tendencies early on. Or, when they get a bit older and have pocket change, spending that money on junk food they can't get at home.

My very fit and athletic physical therapist, now in his late 30s said that he grew up in a home where his father especially was the food police. He couldn't have anything. Then, when he got to college, he went crazy. He ate all the foods that were forbidden and gained 50 pounds on his small frame and short stature. He said it took him until he was in his late 20s to start realizing that he felt like crap and looked like crap and wanted to change. He said that now, ironically, he eats almost no junk, just like his dad wanted him to eat, but growing up he fought it and would sneak food at friends' houses, etc. And his story is not an isolated incident.

So what to do?

Well, what we've tried to do (and we are getting better and better about it) is to model good behavior about moderation and about movement. We always have good snacks in the house as well as not so good snacks. There is always fruit and easy to eat raw, veggies and snacks like nuts. We eat all our meals at home or packed from home. We sit together at meal times - always. And we don't make desserts part of the meal. They are for special occasions.

And we move. We take walks, we shovel our own driveway, mow our yard and do our own landscaping/gardening. We go to the gym, to the pool and ride bikes. A family day out is almost always a day spent doing something active (even when I was really fat this was true). We never take the day to go shopping, go to some food fair, etc. We're more likely to go hiking somewhere or the like.

Here are a couple family shots from this summer at a hike:

Our hope, is that they will grow up liking the taste of vegetables and proteins and to know that grains and simple sugars are not to be the staple of the diet. We hope that they will love to move and do things outdoors and won't be drawn to sitting in the movie theater eating junk food for 2 hours straight. As yes, when we 'do' see a movie, we never, ever get food to eat while watching.

I hope they learn, especially as they see me struggle with my weight, that I still enjoy my food, but that I tend to gain weight easily and I need to watch my portions, but I use exercise to help me maintain my weight too. I never, ever say, "I'm fat" in front of them. I never, ever criticize their size or other people's sizes and I try not to make it an issue of thin people are good and fat people are bad.  For me, I hope they see and realize, it's all about health, not about looks.

And I hope I never get preachy with them if they ever struggle with food or weight or lack of fitness. Our skinny teen likes to sit and do nothing - all. the. time. So, we do push him to be more active, but not in a punitive way or at least I hope that's what we're doing. My nearly 8 year old still bounces all over the place and we encourage it, not discourage it. We walk to and from  school whenever time and weather allows. We have ACTIVE Wii games (nothing where you sit and watch and twiddle thumbs). We take him to the gym with us where he can jump and have fun too. And he's always sweaty when we pick him up after an hour. And instead of offering him a calorie dense snack he loves when he's hungry, we try to offer him a filling. calorie light snack he loves, but he still gets his cookies and stuff too.

We're not perfect and we make mistakes and perhaps one day when they're older one or both of them will ask, "So, why did you let me eat cookies at all?" or, "Why did you force me to do X, Y or Z?" That just made me X... Who knows... but what I do know is that it's not so simple to control a child's weight as it might appear. Just as, how would you feel as an adult if someone told you you couldn't eat X, Y, or Z and had to eat A, B and C? and had to do THIS exercise at THIS time and so on. Can you see how you might try to circumvent the dictator? Well, why would a kid do differently?

Monday, April 15, 2013

As I'm back on track and finding a groove, I am being more forgiving to myself

I was very unhappy with myself for this fall's 'hiatus'. Then, I wasn't too happy with myself for having such a difficult time this winter, well, mostly just March - all of March. I really can beat myself up mentally pretty good.

But today, after a good night of sleep and a very nice, though simple, weekend, I realized. "Melissa, you have still done something most people never do. You lost a LOT of weight and you've managed to keep most of it off for over a year."

And it is true. I have kept off all but 10 pounds of the weight that I lost in 2011. 2012 was a year of Yo-yoing 20 pounds, and so far in 2013 it's been a slow but steady going back down. I have nothing to be ashamed about. I was wearing a tight size 20. I had gotten down to an 8-10 and I'm currently in a 10. More than the weight, I'm active and working on fitness and in all that time, the entire time, I never quit exercising. Sure, there were times I was doing bare minimum (this past fall) and there were times I switched up what I was doing, but I was always active as I made it a priority. Again, how many people do that?

So, today, anyway, I'm allowing myself to be proud of myself for holding on and persevering and doing what the majority are not able to do - keep the weight off and to keep being physically active.

Can I do better? Heck yes. I'm not all "Melissa you are perfect." It's more, "Hey, Melissa stop being so hard on yourself. You've done a good job. Now just keep at it."

Sunday was a rest day. I had to be at a meeting at 10 am (an hour drive to get there), Then Sunday School from 11-12:30, then a potluck parent meeting from 1:30 to 4:30, then the hour drive home. Then I made dinner (I was fuming a bit that no on ate home at least STARTED to make something for dinner. At home was 77 year old mother in law, 46 year old husband and 16 year old son). Grrr.. Had dinner, cleaned up. Hung out with the little guy for a bit (after his bath as he fell in the creek earlier in the day) and then from 10 to 11:30 pm my husband and I watched a Woody Allen movie (Play it Again, Sam).

Basically, yesterday there was between 7 pm and 9 pm that I wasn't 'doing' something. So, good thing it was a planned rest day.

And, today, I just realized (as it's tax day, so how can I forget), it would be my father's 63rd birthday. He's been gone for over 20 years. Now I have no sadness about my dad. He left us when I was 9 for the most part and for good when I was 11. And when he was around when I was a kid, it wasn't good. My life was much better with him out of it. His death, when he was 42 and I was 22 (almost 23) was a shock of "he's so young" and mixture of unresolved issues that would have to stay unresolved.

I've 'forgiven' and moved on long ago. He didn't know how to be a dad. He didn't try to be an ass. And I don't even think he really intentionally abandoned us kids, just that he didn't know how to form any kind of relationship. He wasn't dumb. Just helpless.

Anyway... I've already outlived him and hope to outlive what would be his age if he were alive now (63). I'm on the right track, so there's at least that.

Tonight's health plan - weights...

Saturday, April 13, 2013

FINALLY doing New Rules for Lifting

We've had the books for eons. We have like 4 of the books - the original, for women, for life and now the newest, "New Rules for Lifting Weights, Supercharged".

I think it took me not going to bodypump any more for my husband to take the leap too. He didn't like going to BP alone and I had stopped going because I found the higher reps to be causing over-use injuries. I was working with a personal trainer and a class that did total conditioning.

I know I never, ever would have done the weights without a buddy. I am not a lone wolf at the gym. I need company to push myself. My husband said that he does for some exercise and not for others. Weight training, he likes a partner too and fortunately for us, we like each other's company.

The way this workout "works" is that it does whole body exercises - functional exercises. Not lifting weights in isolation. So, when we work a muscle group, we aren't just working that one muscle group. We are working several muscle groups. You start with basic training and do that set of workouts 4-6 times, then you move on to basic training 2 and so on. My husband and I just finished Workout A for the third time. And so far so good.

I like that I work hard, but for a very short amount of time. In bodypump classes, I would do squats for 3.5 minutes. Now I take a heavier weight and I do 15 of them, do something else, then do 15 more and I should do it to the level that completing the 15th rep is either impossible or close to impossible. Then next time if the 15th rep was possible, you use a heavier weight to make it near impossible again (or impossible to complete the 15th rep).

I work hard and to my maximum, but I'm not doing that same movement over and over until exhaustion. I just hit exhaustion faster! I like that. It's much easier for me to talk myself into doing 15 squats that squats for 3.5 minutes for sure.

It is also becoming clear that after my sessions with the personal trainer are up, I won't be renewing them. I can get more out of doing what I'm doing than with hiring someone to design something for me. Or better put, I can now do what I need to do without the push of a personal trainer. Without a partner to do the work with me, I needed that push.

Another thing we are really enjoying is that we can do this on our schedule, not a class schedule, so no more running out the door to try to catch a class on time. No more fighting for space, etc.  It's allowed my 7 year old to tell us which gym he wants to go to versus us trying to plan a workout class at his favorite gym that might not be the best time for us.

Of course, right now we look like total noobs with our books and fiddling with equipment, but we don't care about that. We're doing what we should be doing and probably doing it smarter than the average joe anyway.

So far I've seen progress too. I started with being able to do 7 push-ups both sets last Monday. I did 8 push-ups both sets on Wednesday (but that was my 3rd workout for the day) and today, Sunday, I did 10 the first set and 12 the second set. For me, it's not the arms that give out on me, it's the core. I start to sag in the middle and once I cannot support the midsection, I'm done. THAT is the part of me that is weaker, not the shoulder muscles. But, it's already getting better!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The appetite definitely changes with the seasons

Sorry to disappear for a wee bit. Kids had spring break last week and I had less free time than I'm used to. Plus, I was still in a funk and I just couldn't think of anything I wanted to write.

Boy, what a difference a bit of sunshine, open windows and some time outside makes! I feel way better!

And boy did the weather change. We went from cold and miserable  to 90 degrees nearly overnight. It's a bit too hot, of course, but the sun has been shining and I've had a chance to take walks, to stroll through my garden and so on. And because of it, I feel like a new person and with renewed motivation to pick things up a notch (or two).

What's been interesting is that alllllll late fall and winter I have been hungry. I've given into temptations over and over too. I would drop a bit of weight, gain it back, drop a bit, gain it back. Even when I was on plan, eating only 1500 calories felt like torture.

As soon as the weather started to heat up and the chill broke, I stopped being so hungry. With this heat, I'm not even remotely hungry. The last three days I've eat right around 1200 calories and I haven't felt famished and that's with exercise on those days too.

My husband is feeling it too. He only ate half his dinner last night. He has taken lighter lunches too. Both of our bodies have switched from, "must eat" to, "Ok, you survived the winter and can stop eating everything in sight now." So now, hopefully, it will be easier to take off these pounds so that I can fit in more of my summer clothes.

And I have to admit, I was a bit afraid of what would be wearable of my summer clothes. I grabbed my jean shorts from the drawer - dried in the dryer jeans shorts and to my happy surprise, they fit just fine. I tried on a skirt yesterday. It fit too. Though I remember that skirt being on the verge of being put in the donation pile last spring as my waist was swimming in it. Now I can barely fit the waist. Last spring I was 165 around this time. Now I'm around 185. Big difference!

So, here's to hoping that being on plan with eating will be easier and easier. I NEED it to be easier as this winter was very, very difficult for me (and my husband - he gained 15 pounds too!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Liking things that will never be right for me?

When I was a teen, I wanted curly hair. Remember, this was the mid 80s - the big hair band days and every girl who didn't have naturally curly hair was getting perms - including me.

I remember sifting through the beautician's photo books and oo-ing and ah-ing over  certain hairstyles that I wanted to have. Those nice, long ringlet curls. Like this.

Sigh. I would get a perm, even in ringlet fashion, but permed curls never, ever look the same as natural curl. That, and with highlighting/frosting my hair, I got a lot of damage, and so I had fried looking permed hair too (which was also a big mid 80s thing).

In 9th grade I had this:

At 19, I had this:

I had very nice, super thick, straight dark blonde/light brown hair, but I wanted lighter blonde curly hair - something I couldn't have.

I should add, eventually I did get those ringlet curls and I LOVE it. I would probably hate them if I was born with them. Or so says every woman I've ever met with naturally curly hair since childhood.

Skip forward to adulthood and the clothing I love and I'm attracted to are vintage styles and willowy styles. So, in the 90s that was April Cornell dresses and in today's fashions it's Anthropologie. Guess what? Their fashions look horrible on me.

Here's a dress on Anthropologie that I think is adorable:

Here's another:

Hmmm... I think that is the same model. Let me find a different model too wearing a casual outfit I find adorable.  Here:

Do you notice something not quite right with what I like and what I'm shaped like? I'm average height, very large boned, and very bosomy. On top of that, even at my thinnest at 165 I just barely fit into the top sizes in the store as they don't vanity size nearly as much as most stores do. This store really does cater to the tall, thin, willowy type figures. Something I'm so completely NOT.

I should be looking at these sort of clothes and models. And well, my spring dresses almost ALLLLL look like this one in cut: Jersey dress

Why is it that I love the willowy look? These models here? All for Anthropologie. I love it!

Yes, I know they are models, but why do I like THAT look? Something impossible to ever look like? I should be looking at these models and aspiring to be more like them. Though, again, they are athletes, small breasted and mostly smaller boned, but the models from Athleta are at least athletic looking:

And here's a bit about Athleta models and here about specific models.

Am I the only one who wants what they can't have?

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter foibles

Boy, so much for getting back to plan. With Easter and this yummy homemade Easter bread? Impossible!

I stayed up until 1 am getting things ready for today. As, for some reason, all things holidays or special events seems to be mom duty. All was going well. The bread was difficult as always, but I didn't burn it this year.  Pretty huh?  It's basically a yeasted cake. Mmmmm, yum!  And yes, I've eaten about a half of a loaf all by myself!

Then, the Egg hunt today. There was a good chance we would get rain, so I got up and out early to hide the eggs while my husband tried to keep the younger guy away from the window. Well, the little guy saw me out there, but then just wanted to go out and find them. He says, "the Easter bunny", but I think he knows it's me who hides the eggs and fills the baskets. I think in his mind that not saying it's me helps keep the magic alive (much like he wouldn't let us call cooked fish, fish, even though he knew it was fish. When we asked him if he wanted us to lie to him, he said "Yes.".)

So, we go out and that was fun. Here are a couple photos of that.

Oh, this last egg finding photo shows the remains of the snowbunny we made last Monday. My younger son named it Mr. Frosty Bunny. It was mostly melted by Tuesday, but here is it 6 days later, hiding an egg.  Since Mr. Frosty Bunny was our Easter snow man, makes sense to show him today. The only reason there's any hint of it remaining was that it was six and a half feet tall. Second picture is to show it next to my two boys. The taller one being 6'2" tall without shoes.

BUT... while we were getting read to go out, I was setting up breakfast. I got the Easter eggs out (we did natural dyes this year - red cabbage, red onion skins, yellow onion skins, blueberries, beets, and tumeric).

I got the ham sliced up on the fancy slicer and I arranged it on the plate. I made the coffee and I was just washing up strawberries when my husband and younger son came down all ready for the egg hunt. I just stopped what I was doing and went on out.

When we came back in, I saw on the table the ham covered up by paper towels. I asked my husband, "did you cover the ham? That was smart." He said no. Then I figured my mother-in-law must be up, so she must have done it. Just then she comes out of her bedroom and says, "Oh, Melissa. I didn't know where you were. I was calling and calling you. The cats were on the table eating the ham!"

Oh. My. God!!! So, we started a pot of water on the stove, got it boiling and then reboiled our sliced up ham, shriveling it up, but at least keeping it edible. Sigh... our cats aren't known to get on counters or tables, so I'm not used to worrying about it, but what cat WOULDN'T jump on a table for nice, fresh, sliced ham? Ugh. A foible indeed.

We laughed about it later and my mother-in-law said she'll never forget the sight ever. She said it's the best Easter ever.

Later, we had some misadventures with breakfast - strawberries and blueberries flying everywhere. My egg that was dyed in beets was pink to the yolk - that was funny.  And we aren't even halfway through the day! I still have a lamb to bake and cookies to bake with my younger son. I wonder if we'll have more stories to tell later on.

Older son slept till noon. He had been in an exhausting 3 day robotics tournament where he got very little sleep. So, we filled him in on all the doings when he woke up and ate lunch with him while he ate breakfast. We are about off to make Easter cookies using this kit (I'm trying to get away from using fake dyes, if you couldn't tell from using natural dyes on Easter eggs.)

And last, a picture of me and the littler guy on our walk yesterday.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

When a nap trumps a workout!

I've been running on fumes for days. My older son is part of a high school robotics club and they are having their regional competition this past Thursday, Friday and today, Saturday. He's had to be at school at 6:30 am each of these days. This is after a long week of early rising already.

I wear a little gizmo that tells me my sleep and its' been saying 5.5 hours, 5 hours, etc for the last 4 nights. That probably hasn't been helping my funk, huh?

So, this morning I got up at 6 am, packed up a day's worth of food for him while my husband roused him out of bed. I had breakfast, lounged around and was trying to get fully awake. It wasn't working. I was exhausted.

I excused myself to take a nap and decided that if I actually fell asleep at 8:30 and slept, then no workout at the gym (class started at 10:15). If I didn't fall asleep, then I would go to class. Well, I fairly quickly fell asleep and slept until 10 am. And even upon waking, I could tell I felt a ton better.

While I missed that workout, I'll have more energy today. I'll get all the things done today that I need to get done (and it's the day before Easter and I have a lot to do - make the eggs, dye the eggs, make the Easter cookies, make the Easter bread, cook the Easter ham, etc). It's also a lovely, sunny day (thank you mother nature!), so I can take a long walk today to burn some calories too.

I'm not a big nap taker. I maybe take a nap 2-3 times a year, but man oh man did I need it today.  In the end, it will probably mean that I burn a few less calories, but I'll probably ingest fewer too as I'll be able to make better food decisions without being so exhausted while surrounded by food! Hello? Resist cookie dough in a sleep deprived state? Like that would ever happen! I'm going to try the bubble gum trick today and see if it keeps me out of the dough! Wish me luck!

So, no formal workout, but it's all good. Sometimes you just need sleep. Ok, off to clean the dishes and prep the kitchen for the flurry of activity today!

Friday, March 29, 2013

My mind caught up with my body and it's not satisfied

Now when I see myself in the mirrors in Zumba classes or the like, I see my chubbiness and I don't like it. On the way down at this weight, I thought I was looking svelte. As well, I was looking much better than at higher weights. But, this time I know what I look like at a lower weight and I prefer that!

It's mostly in my gut. That's where I put it in and it's where I need to take it off. It's exasperated by loose skin on the abdomen, but it's not just loose skin, but flab, true flab too.


I know what I need to do and most days I do it, but what happened to that total 100% gung-ho attitude I had in the first 8-9 months of this? Why can't I recapture that? I can do well for a few weeks now, but then get derailed and mess up for 2-3 days, undoing all the progress I just made in the 2-3 weeks prior.

There is a saying that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels. And well, it's true most of the time, but sometimes... it's not true. Like last night at dinner. It was so good. I had seconds. I shouldn't have had seconds, but I did and it tasted so good and it felt nice to be truly full for a change.

Then today, I'm making pizza for my son. It's smells so good. I could eat the whole thing. Instead, I ate my apple and peanut butter  and a pepperoni stick to keep the pizza urge at bay.

Doing the exercise has become habit. I do it and I enjoy it (mostly). I think I have won that battle. However, the food one I think will be with me forever and ever. I like food too much to not eat whole categories of food. I can do really well and stay on plan, but who doesn't want to eat a slice of homemade bread? or a cookie? or an ice cream cone? Yet, when I eat those things, I just lose control of eating so that it takes days to detox and settle back down.

I was hoping finding some low carb alternatives would help and it probably will, but they are more labor intensive to make, more expensive to make and just as caloric as traditional snacks. So, a slice of low carb pizza is still a gazillion calories as is a low carb cookie. They are yummy, but not very satiating. Eating a salad of 150 calories looks and feels like more food that a single cookie!

So, I like my food - real food. I also like seeing a thinner me in the mirror reflected back at me. I don't like seeing what eating too much food looks like in a mirror or how it feels on my body.  Why can't I remember that when I get tempted by food? Like grabbing seconds at dinner last night, huh?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Going to start C25K (again).

I've started C25K three times. I've never done more than the first week as I just couldn't find the motivation to run when I could do other exercise I enjoy more.

Oh... let me step back. There are some people who don't know what C25K is. It's short for Couch to Five Kilometers.  I've linked it before, but let me do it again:

While it says it's for a couch potato, I wouldn't recommend going from completely inactive and expecting to be able to run a 5k in 8-9 weeks. It is doable, but many people need to repeat weeks to get to the next step up in intensity. And, even if you think you are fit, running is different from other fitness.  It will still take some time.

There is also a treadmill version:  and some recommendations on speeds:

So, that's C25K. But why am I doing it now if I don't really enjoy running and I have bladder issues that make it even less enjoyable?

I have new motivation. One, I desperately want to take off this winter weight I gained so that I don't have to buy a size bigger clothes for summer! I need to find more high intensity exercises to burn more calories.

And two, I've mentioned on Facebook in a couple places that I'm thinking of running a 5K when I go back to Iowa for my high school reunion this summer. I figure what better opportunity is there to do something to prove that 25 years out of high school does not equal old and falling apart?

It gives me enough time to train for one and well, why not? I plan to start on Sunday. Then continue on Tuesday and Thursdays as part of my fitness rotation. I will start on the treadmill at the gym as the weather is still yucky and so that I can control the conditions a bit better.

We'll see how it goes though. If my bladder becomes an issue or that knee injury, then I'll have to scrap the idea and just keep mixing up other lower impact exercises.

Today I did a combo or cardio and toning. Friday I'll do cardio (and perhaps strength training if my shoulder is up for it) and then cardio on Saturday.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The end of winter doldrums

My life right now has a hodge podge of stuff going on. I'm trying to get my home organized (I'm failing at it horribly). I'm trying to job hunt (I feel like I spend a lot of hours on that for naught). And I'm trying to keep up with the exercise and the eating. And I just feel blah.

My eating was bad (carby and too much) the last several days. I don't know why. It happened to coincide with no exercise. No exercise tends to mean (for me) worse decision making as I feel in a rut. And, I feel hungrier. That one I don't quite understand, but it's been a constant.

So, no exercise, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. Today I did two hours and guess what? I'm eating better. It's not a coincidence. But my head is still in a funk.

I think the cold and hanging on winter is beginning to get to me. Which also doesn't make sense as I'm an Iowa native and I have spent more years after that in cold regions too - so well over half my life and I'm getting sick of winter?

I see daffodils beginning to open, but my body says it's still winter and it's not happy with it.  I need to spend time outside in the sun. It's the lack of light. It's getting to me. It took until the end of March, but it finally took hold.

Today I let myself browse some gardening stuff. At some point the yard will be done, right? As I'm sure my husband and mother in law don't understand the need to get more stuff every year and digging up more and more of the yard, but it's this need I have. I don't even know why I need it. I just do.

Then I got in a funk because I would like to grow a lot of things and I can't because of critters. We have deer, rabbits, slugs, groundhogs, etc.

I planted a dozen knockout rose bushes last fall. Something ate them to the ground within a few days of me planting them. I see most of them survived the winter, but will they be eaten down again?

I would love to plant vegetables, but it's a lost cause unless I build a fortress around them and then the cost effectiveness is lost and my yard becomes the neighborhood eyesore.

Can you tell I'm in a funk? I just can't seem to shake it the last couple days and it's why I didn't write in the blog. I couldn't think of what to say because I feel so blah.

Good thing this feeling is fleeting and rare as it's just not nice.

Here's to hoping tomorrow is a better day all around.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Oh how I have changed!

The last two weeks I have been text book good. Completely on plan with my food. Exercising every day and if I missed a day, I made up for that hour during the week. I've done a mix of cardio and strength and I push myself every day.

Today was my rest day. I also decided I would make it a "eat what I want day". In the past, this would have meant a total pig out. Now?

Well, I had a normal breakfast in every way. Later, I ate two small pieces of cake (and they were small) and a danish at a meeting. Totally off plan, but that was my "lunch". I later ate 3 monster cookies at home and then I ate a smaller dinner than usually at home as I was full.

It was a total carb fest day and I am way over my calorie allotment, but later when I thought about getting something more, I thought to myself, "You don't really want anything more. You are just thinking you can because you gave yourself a free pass for the day. Every bite you eat is a bite that you will need to make up for later. It's not like tomorrow is a clean slate."

And that's the difference. I know that my extra 700 or so calories today will take about 2 to 3 days to make up, but if I kept eating and went totally crazy, it would take a week to make up for it.

I could tell I needed an off day today too. I'm finding that every 2-3 weeks I need to refuel with more food. This time I let the carb monster get me, but it's not always the case. And because I'm well rested and plan to get another good night of sleep, I don't think the one day of indulgence will hurt me except for the re-losing those calories I consumed today.

In the past, today wouldn't have been a 700 calorie fest, but a 3000 calorie fest. Yes, I have been known to eat an entire box of oreos. A single oreo cookie is 75 calories!!! And that would have to be offset by something salty, so a bag, a big bag, of chips with diet soda to wash it down. Why diet? I prefer the taste of it as I don't like sweet drinks.

So, I'm happy to see the changes. I'm happy to see the mind shift.

Now, I wish I could get to the point where I would never need or want these carby treats, but I doubt I will be able to erase a lifetime of a sweet tooth, but keeping it in check and tempering it with exercise and good eating will help, a lot!

Friday, March 22, 2013

That little voice in your head

You know what I'm talking about. That voice that tells you to turn off the alarm and just sleep in. The voice that tells you it's OK to eat a cookie. That voice that tells you that you can just exercise tomorrow.  That voice is so strong and so convincing.

Have you ever had a whole conversation with that little voice? I have them all the time. Here is the internal dialogue from today. It kind of reminds of Gollum talking with Smeagol (the same creature talking - one is good, the other is bad from JRR Tolkien's Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy).

Edited to add: It's a smallllll world. I wrote this post around noon. At 5 pm-ish someone posted this photo on the weight loss forum I frequent. See, exactly.

Rational voice, "You should get ready for the gym to get there on time."
Little voice, "Why not just do Zumba today instead. Your two teammates from Biggest Winner are going to be there and you talked one of them into yesterday."
Rational voice, "Yes, but you also told them you weren't going to Zumba because of taking a strength class instead, remember?"
Little voice, "Yes, but your one teammate has been slacking a bit and could use that extra support. Go to Zumba."
Rational voice, "OK, maybe I'll go to Zumba, but only after I've done strength training. I need to get at least two days of strength training and you've only done one this week Melissa!"
Little voice, "Well, you are still sore from Wednesdays strength training. Take a break."
Rational voice, "You aren't that sore. Get ready to go. You need to go."
Little voice, "You know, you've been working hard this week. You could take today off and do it tomorrow with your husband."
Rational voice, "No, you know that your knee is still bothering you and BodyPump is what caused that injury."
Little voice, "Well, how do you know it won't be OK? You can try it and see."
Rational voice, "And then injure myself some more? And then what?"
Little voice, "You could stop if you start to feel pain."
Rational voice, "And then I would have skipped today and a good chance tomorrow. That's not a good plan. I need to get ready for the gym now."
Little voice, "Then just do Zumba, then you aren't skipping a day, right?"
Rational voice, "I am getting ready right now!"

So, the rational voice won. Or did it?

I started to get ready for the gym. My sports bra (a must), a wicking shirt, a pair of workout shorts/capris, longer pants over top, the zip up fitness shirt, socks, shoes. Huh... I need to go to the bathroom. OK, I still have time.

Now, while on the toilet, which as we all know, we can't control how fast or slow we will be on the toilet.

Little voice, "You aren't going to have time to get there. You might as well not go to the strength training class and just go to Zumba an hour later."
Rational voice, "I still have time."
Little voice, "I don't know. You've never been to that strength class before. You should get there a little early to talk to the instructor to find out what you need to know for class. You don't have time for that now."
Rational voice, "I have time."
Little voice, "Ok, just go to Zumba, and then, like the earlier plan, do BodyPump tomorrow."

Upon getting up and checking the clock, I see I have time.

Rational voice, "See, I have time. Let's go!"

So, I drive there, get there in time and had a great workout. The entire workout (which is from 9:35 to 10:35) I kept thinking, "If I get out of here quick enough, I'll be able to get to Zumba at the other gym too." I kind of wanted to get to that as my Biggest Winner teammate was going to be there and I think I had talked another into going as well. I wanted to be there to support her.

But, I was TIRED when I was done with the class. This is how the class went: We did 5 stations of strength, 3 times. We had pushups on the ball, planks elbows up to hands on the bosu balls, squats with kettle bells, triceps dips on the step and then biceps curls with the bands. Then we had 5 stations, 3 times of cardio: jumping jacks with bouncing the ball, alternating foot taps on the bosu ball, kettle bell swings, next was stepping fast while straddling the step, lastly jump rope. We ended with 5 stations, 2 times of core. Crunches on the ball, planks and stepping out on the bosu ball, on our tummies feet up in the air while holding the kettle bell, lifting up to reach to the feet, on our backs on the step, lifting and lowering our straightened legs, and finally on our backs doing bicycle crunches.

It was a LOT and I was tired. I looked at the clock when we were done: 10:35. Zumba started in 10 minutes at another gym.

Little voice, "OK, you are tired. You worked hard. This class wiped you out. Go home."
Rational voice, "I don't know."
Little voice, "The goal is an hour a day. You did an hour. Go home. You have errands to run today anyway."
Rational voice is silent.

I start to drive home. To get home I have to drive right past the other gym. I hit the lights well. I was passing it at 10:45, just as the class would start.

Rational voice, "You know, you've had time to recuperate a bit. You could total go. You would only miss the warm up and you're already warm."
Little voice, "You don't need to do more today."
Rational voice, "It would be really nice to support your teammates by being there today. Go."

So, I go to park. The lot is full. I will have to park far away, making me later.

Little voice, "See, you are late. Just go home."
Rational voice, "You will only be five minutes late. You are already warmed up. It's OK. Plus, in this class people join late all the time."

I park and go on in. The irony, the one teammate wasn't there. When I got home I see that her daughter needed her car, so she was car-less. My other teammate was there, but she was surprised to see me. She said, "Oh, what happened. You didn't make the other class?" I told her I made it but decided to come to this one too.

And I'm glad I went. It loosened up the tightening muscles. This instructor is so much fun and it was good for my head.

But was the little voice silent during class? Heck no.

Little voice, "You don't have to work so hard. Remember, you've already worked out an hour."
Rational voice, "If I can do it and it doesn't hurt, or feel too hard, I should do it."
Little voice, "You'll be more tired tomorrow because of it."
Rational voice, "Tomorrow is step. Sunday is a rest day. You can totally do this full out. Just do it!"

And I did it with full range of motion as always, not wimping out.

I'm looking at my gizmo and I've already taken 10,000 steps today. I've done 1 hour of vigorous exercise and 30 minutes of moderate exercise. And that's pretty good considering the gizmo doesn't count all strength very well.

Today the little voice didn't win. It didn't win because I had enough sleep, so it stayed a little voice. Sometimes it turns into a loud, bossy voice that totally smothers the rational voice. So, I try to keep it at a little voice as much as possible because even as a little voice, it's mighty convincing and hard to keep in check.