Friday, July 4, 2014

Why vanity makes no sense - really

That last few weeks I've felt rather introspective, but I wasn't sure how to voice it. You see my best friend's mother is dying. She was diagnosed in April with pulmonary fibrosis. She deteriorated rapidly, went to the hospital a week ago and 2 days ago was moved to hospice. All her family is gathered around her to be with her during these last moments. My friend said her mom is ready to go.

This family means a lot to me and they have always been good to me. I know both her parents have struggled a bit with weight and blood pressure. They have been trying to eat healthier and move more, etc. My friend's mom was never seriously overweight and she lived an active lifestyle, but she tried to do better. Yet she is dying from a disease that even the most fit athlete could get - hardening of the lungs. She's basically dying from a slow suffocation as her lungs harden more and more.

As I think about her family gathered around, sharing stories - laughing, crying, and finding closure, I'm sure things that are not on their mind are things like, "if only she had exercised more. Or, if only she was a little thinner." They are thinking about their lives together - their moments. Isn't that what's important?

Now, I'm not saying eating right and exercise and being a reasonable weight are not important. Of course they are! You can't have as many great stories and events to tell if you can't do the things a healthy person can. And, a very unhealthy lifestyle and weight can shorten (and does shorten) our lives.

But do we need to be perfect to be healthy? No. We don't.

So, I look at myself. I am definitely losing the weight for my health and happiness. I am NOT happy when I weigh a lot and I don't feel good and my health deteriorates terribly. I'm not as good a mom or as nice a wife when I eat poorly and feel poorly. I would be lying, however, if I didn't say that I like looking nice. That's why the loose skin bugs me a bit. It does less now than when I first noticed I was getting them as now I realize, "Hey, bat wings or fat arms. Make your choice!" My choice is bat wings. I like cute clothes. I like my thinner face and shapelier body. So, yes, there is some vanity there too, but in the end, "is it reason enough?"

I know many, many people going for those vanity pounds - just for that... vanity. It won't affect their health, but, as it is called, it appeases their vanity to be a bit thinner. They get miserable if they don't get to that desired weight. They claw and fight and go hungry. They skip parties to avoid the food. They worry on vacations and avoid all the cuisine. For what? 10 pounds? They give up some of the joys of life for vanity.

Some day we all die. Do we want to feel we lived a good life? or one "not quite good enough" because we didn't lose those vanity pounds. What memories will that leave for our families after we pass on? "Oh, she was always worrying about gaining 5 pounds!" "Man, remember when she wouldn't try the croissant in France?"

I was there. That was me fighting and clawing from 175 to 165. It took me 6 months to lose those 10 pounds. 6 months of daily exercise of step aerobics, kickboxing, strength training and walking/running. As well as very controlled eating of no more than 1500 calories a day. A vacation of free eating led to several more months of hard, hard work just to try re-lose those vanity pounds. Was it worth it? Maybe my health was marginally better at 165 than 175, but I was miserable - I was tired and I was hungry and I was frustrated at the lack of results. My husband said I was beginning to change in my outlook too. I was too focused on those few pounds, that I lost sight of all the good I had done. And it's true... I had!

I think on that now as I continue on this renewed journey. I'm doing this for my health, for certain, but I no longer have this lofty goal of getting to a perfect weight any more. SURE it would be great to get to 165 or 160, but I'll be happy with 175. I'm not going to go for under 25% body fat... because really, is 26% so much worse? (Which is what it was at 165). I want to be happy and healthy. I don't want to be frustrated about the vanity pounds. I want to enjoy my life while being healthy. I want my family to enjoy me and I want to enjoy them so that when my end comes, they can smile, laugh, and feel the joy as they remember a life well spent.

Hugs and lots of love sent to my friend and her family.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The scale knew I was mad! And closet shopping

So, the scale dropped a pound from yesterday - so I kind of forgive it, but.... not if it goes back up tomorrow. That's teasing in a mean way! That's kind of what I feel like 3 days ago weigh-in was - a TEASE!

But... I know it has to come down as I'm doing everything so that it WILL go down. I just have to be patient. Like last time, being patient as I approach the 200 pound mark is DIFFICULT as I have this artificial line in the sand that says, "Over 200 is FAT. Under 200 is the land of normal weight". For me, with this large frame I carry around, being over or under 200 really is the difference between looking obese and looking overweight.

And now, with being in the 212 range, I'm getting close to where I was last summer when I bought a few "fat clothes". The ones I NEVER wanted to wear again. Yes, well, I got too fat for those too! Now they are the beginning of the "getting thinner" clothes. I'm wearing one of the shirts now. I actually tried this one in a couple months ago and it cut off circulation in my arms and hugged WAY tight. Now... it's a bit snugger than I like to wear my shirts, but not too tight. It's kind of nice having clothes waiting for me on the way down. Cheaper. I don't have many, but enough to make it through as I HATE wearing clothes that are too baggy. It makes me feel frumpy and bigger than I am. No one wants to look bigger when they are working hard to look smaller!

I reallllly hope to get to around 206 at the end of this month, but man... it's tough going!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Definitely annoyed with the scale

I should be seeing losses now (according to my usual cycle), but NOTHING. I had a gain yesterday and while it was a bit lower today than yesterday, it's still higher than it should be. It's REALLY hard to eat at a deficit day in and day out and not see movement on the scale. The scale has basically been the same for 2 weeks and while I know that's NOTHING compared to what some people deal with, I have a hard time with those numbers after awhile. I won't give up or overeat as that would defeat what I'm trying to do here, but it does get hard to be "up" when the scale is up despite my best efforts.

I go to the grocery store and despite 50,000 temptations, I don't give in to them. I have tons of snacks around the house at all times, and I don't give in to them.  So, the scale could cooperate - seriously!

Not much else to say, folks. It's a semi-holiday in the house as my husband took the day off to play in a chess tournament through Sunday. So, I'm feeling a bit out of routine too and a bit bored. It's hot as hades outside, so no going out either. My big excursion was the grocery store.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Confirmed - I'm definitely getting smaller

You don't need a tape measure to know you are getting smaller. There are other signs of course. Your bra strap needs to be tightened, or your belt does (not a belt wearer, so not my experience). Your pants get baggy all over. You can see it in the mirror and clothing size. You can even feel it in movement - it's easier to move a thinner body.

But, it is nice to have measurements so you can verify it. it's not just the pants stretching out or the elastic getting shot in the bra - it's truly getting smaller.

So, I took measurements on April 4th. I decided to wait 3 months to take them again. To make it easier to remember to do, I decided to take them on the first of the month.

Here they are:

4/5/14, 7/1/14

Hips (widest part): 49, 46
Natural waist sucked in: 41, 38
Natural waist relaxed: 44, 41
Belly Button sucked in: 44, 41.5
Belly Button relaxed: 47, 44.5
Boobs: 47, 45
Bra band: 39, 37
Thigh (widest part): 28, 26.25
Calf (widest part); 17.5, 17.25
*Upper arm (widest part): 17, 16.25
Neck: 16.25, 16.25
Wrist: 7.25, 7.13

* arms are getting significantly smaller, but with bat wings, they droop lower, so take up more measuring tape than they would if my skin shrunk up.

That's pretty good progress! 30 pounds and basically 3" everywhere I tend to gain the most weight - my torso.

Let me compare that to a similar weight during my last weight loss:

Boobs:  45"
Waist:  37"
Hips: 46"
Upper Arm: 16"
Thigh:  27"

Pretty similar - Thighs are slimmer now and waist is thicker now. Basically, mother nature at work with being 2 years old and the middle age spread (bigger gut).

I'll measure again in 3 months, so October 1st. Once I get closer to goal, I'll measure more often to help with motivation as the losses come to a crawl.

Monday, June 30, 2014

3 months 30 pounds down

This month's weight loss was slower, as would be expected as my caloric deficit decreases as my weight goes down. Plus, my body adjusts, but I still lost 8.4 pounds this month to put me at 30.7 pounds lost in 3 months. Today the scale said 212.9. My seemingly impossible goal when I dreamed it of getting under 200 by the end of the summer is looking more and more possible.  I hope to get to 205.9 by the end of July and under 200 to 199.9 by the end of August. If I do that, I'll be able to wear my winter clothes again. I have 10s and 12s for winter clothes, so I should be good to go and by NEXT spring/summer I'll be able to wear that closet full of beautiful spring/summer dresses in size 10-12s. I may never fit into the 8s I bought when I was my skinniest, but that's OK!

Tomorrow is measurements day - first time in almost 3 months, so I'm curious as to what it will show. The size 14 shorts that I got are fitting looser, so things are happening!!! I also found a dress in my closet that was the first of the "smallish" dresses I got 3 summers ago to wear to an event. I thought I had gotten rid of it as I got too slim for it, but nope. I still have it and it's wearable - will be more wearable in a week or two - when... I will be going to that SAME event - and hopefully wearing the same dress!

I am actually almost enjoying this trip downward as I've found an easier way for me. I survived a LARGE part last time on protein bars. I had one (sometimes two) for breakfast every morning. With coffee and milk, that had me at 300-500 calories every day. Then I would eat PB and apples typically for lunch - another 300-500 calories and if I couldn't hack it until dinner time, another protein bar or a couple sticks of cheese. Usually by the time dinner came round I was out of calories or only had 400-500 on a 1500 calories a day diet.

Now I'm realizing those protein bars made me hungrier. Yes, they were lower carb, but not low enough carb. I love my skimpy high fat breakfast and snack midday and then totally feasting at dinner. Like last night's dinner was 800 calories, but I ended the day around 1200 calories (or a bit under). I had a HUGE salad with grilled chicken. Delicious and filling... might repeat for tonight's dinner!

I hope it stays this easy. It will make maintenance much easier too if I don't find this terribly hard.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Let's talk bat wings

Yesterday I was doing something... I can't recall. Oh, I was putting up my hair and I noticed my arm. It's deflating and my bat wings are returning and I was so happy to see that! Oh, what time and experience can do to a gal.

So, two years ago, around this time, I was at my all time low. I was exercising so strongly, and was in great shape and the diet was fantastic. I was bothered by my bat wings. They looked like this:

That's a mostly defatted arm with loose skin. I hated it.

Just now when I was looking for photos I found another one, interestingly, taken at about the same weight I am now. That was when I was noticing the bat wings then and was concerned about it and worried about them shrinking up. That photo is here (position of arm doesn't show it as well):

Well, after blowing back up with fat I lost the bat wings and just got fat arms again. So, I was so happy to see bat wings on my arm again yesterday. That means I'm getting back to where I was. Bat wings are so much better than fat filled arms. I am happy to deal with flappiness than fattiness.  Yay to bat wings!

I still have a long ways to go to get to where I was before, but I'm getting there! My double chin is shrinking and that skin is getting crepe-ish looking. My tummy is deflating and the pregnancy stretch marks are looking all wrinkly again. Look at all those 'faults' that I'm happy to see returning! Why? Because it means I'm shrinking and that means a healthier body with loose skin. Which, for now at least, is A-OK by me!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Following a prescribed diet versus tailoring a diet specific to you

Sometimes I read things and it gets me to thinking about it in new ways. As mentioned, I belong to a weight loss forum. On that forum, people are on a variety of diets - South Beach, Atkins, Intermittent Fasting, Weight Watchers, Paleo, Keto, Ideal Protein, Metabolic Research, Low Carb, Calorie Counters, etc. You get the picture. There are also people who have gotten a variety of weight loss surgeries and then a lot of people like me who make up their own diets.

I read a thread yesterday about someone who said that they had tried several diets and never could stick with it for more than three days before cheating/quitting. I responded with, "Well, maybe tailor your own diet that you can live with."  And that got me to thinking about those who follow diet plans out there in the world and those of us who don't And it got me thinking about how diets come and go in waves of fads. Huh... it's interesting. I don't think there is a right or wrong way to lose weight as long as it's done in a non-detrimental way to the health, but why is it that some of us need someone to tell us what to do EXACTLY and others can't or don't want to follow rules of a diet? And then that got me to thinking about myself specifically. Why have I never followed a diet, specifically?

So, my weight loss history. I have tried to lose weight 4 times in 44 years. The first time was when I was 21 years old. I just came up with my own hair brained idea of how to lose weight. I started exercising daily and then went on a heavily restricted diet. I lost weight SUPER fast, but was starving. It lasted about a month.

I went on a diet again when I was 27. I decided to join Weight Watchers to help me stay accountable. They had just started their points plan. I 'sort of" followed it, but not really. It gave me a set of points, but I often didn't follow it. for half the month I felt famished, so I ate more points. For the other half of the month I felt less hungry, so I ate less points. I also included exercise. After a couple months I stopped counting points and I didn't really care about anything they had to say. I just knew to eat less and move more. That lasted for about 6 months before I stopped.

I didn't diet again until I was 41 years old. I went with low carb because my blood sugars were way out of line (most likely caused by my thyroid). I had done low carb before during my second pregnancy because of gestational diabetes, so I knew what to do. But, I didn't follow any low carb diet like Keto or Atkins or South Beach. I don't know why... It never even entered my mind to follow a diet already out there. I just cut out the grains and sugars because those are not really needed for nutrition and they are also a great way to cut calories. And, again, I added in exercise, first just cardio, and then strength training. I had started low carbing specifically to lower my blood sugar levels, but what I found is that eating low carb made it easier to eat less and move more. I had more energy. I had less cravings. Huh, this low carb stuff might be the way to go for me!

I did that diet with a lot of exercise, with little tweaks, for over 2 years. Then I had this disaster half year when I just totally didn't care as I was tired of struggling with injuries. I snapped out of it, and then started right back up with the same diet, with more changes to accommodate for my injuries. At this point, I cannot do the strength training I was doing as I have several issues with neck and back issues (I get spasms quite frequently) and some issues with my left knee. I can, however, walk and walk fast, so I do that. BUT... if I'm too busy... I'm too busy. I don't beat myself up any more for days I can't fit in exercise, OR just don't feel like it. I just adapt my eating to be lower on those days - something I didn't seem able to do the last go around. Exercise is important, for sure, but I also need to be able to adjust my eating around more or less exercise as injuries and time away from exercise WILL HAPPEN.

So, now, with this current weight loss I do a combo of these diets: Keto, Atkins, South Beach, Calorie Counting, Low Carbing, Intermittment Fasting, and Intuitive Eating and probably more.  I don't follow ANY OF THEM specifically.

I fast most of the day and eat one large meal a day with two very light 'snacks' in the morning and afternoon. I keep them low carb to keep hunger at a minimum. However, if I'm hungrier, I listen and eat more (intuitive eating). I will not white knuckle it out. When I eat my big meal of the day, I keep it low carb - high fat and high protein. BUT.. I don't avoid food groups completely. I will eat fruit (minus bananas) and I will eat any vegetable or bean. When I'm craving it, I'll have something with sugar - in small bits. Like a slice of zucchini bread. Or a single small ice cream treat. I don't say, "I can't have that.". I just try to limit them because when I eat more of them, cravings start increasing and it becomes harder to stick with this way of eating. I also still need to calorie count because I do not have an "I'm full" button. I can and could eat my entire calorie allotment in one sitting - in one salad, so I need to count the calories.

This is what has worked for me, and for the most part, has been totally sustainable for 3.5 years. It was only depression that derailed me and now, I have a plan for that too.

Even the mere idea of following a prescribed diet has me balking at the idea. Like, "Who are YOU to tell ME how to eat?" But more, I don't trust any authority with food recommendations because what I've learned is that we still don't know SO MUCH about dietary needs. But also, I don't think I could follow someone else's diet and be able to stick to it. I would find it too restrictive for me. I would feel like I was cheating or failing if I couldn't follow it to a T. I just don't need it and would find it a hindrance.

Yet, I know a lot of people who need to be told what to do. It's why those diets that come with meals are so popular - Jenny Craig, Ideal Protein, etc. It takes all thinking out of it. Just do this and X will happen. Somehow, you need to figure out how to eat once you go off the program, but maintenance on ANY diet has that aspect of it.

I don't even think it's that people don't know what's healthy eating or not, but that they feel they need someone to hold their hand through it - to lead the way for them.

It gets me to wondering if people who follow their own diet are any more successful long term than those who follow a set of rules given to them by someone else. Or the reverse? Of course, people often start out with a particular diet and then tailor it to fit their needs - more points, less points. More carbs, less carbs, etc. I don't even know if there's been studies on that! I LEARN from prescribed diets, for sure. I didn't know about low carb when I was 27, but it was easy to find information on it later. But it's interesting to think about why we flock to diets - and then ditch them too.

Like Atkins was a HUGE rage... then it disappeared. Low fat was (and still is lingering on) a huge way of living, but now is waning for high protein and high fat. Paleo is now huge and will fade. it's always a cycle of diets coming in and out of fashion and people jump on the band wagon and jump off.  Why is that? is the problem of being too strict to follow? Or that it's trying to make all people fit into the same peg hole?  And why do people try a diet, have success at it, quit and then never try it again? Because you quit there was a problem with the diet? Or, was there a problem ELSEWHERE - like in your head?

It's interesting and the more I think about it all, the more questions I have.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The scale was moving down.... and then it went up - HORMONES

The first two months spoiled me. I didn't have much of a LONG stretch of weight gain around ovulation and nothing around my monthly visitor. It was SO NICE. There was no guessing if maybe I was eating more than I thought I was or something like that.

This month, however, is looking eerily familiar to my past history during weight loss. I recognize the pattern quite clearly, but since it hasn't been my pattern as often, I do have some doubt. Like, is it water weight? Or is something else going on. Time will tell because if after ovulation I have a big whoosh, then I know.... if I don't, then I'm worried as I have been on plan and the scale has stopped and reversed.

So... a few days ago I got to within .2 of a pound to losing 30 pounds in 2.5 months. That is awesome! Then, next day when I stepped on the scale, the scale shot up 3 pounds. What? Well, I did eat more at maintenance that night, but I didn't overeat for sure. Next day, still up 2.5 pounds, then 2 pounds, today 2 pounds up again. How? Why? Hormones (I hope)? I want to get to 30 pounds lost for the month and the scale is playing games with me!!! Mean scale!

And, because of the bathroom scale going up, I've avoided the scale the records those weight gains. It's a mental thing... I'm keeping track, but I'm not 'recording" them because my brain doesn't deal well with unexplained up ticks. It's silly, but I want to see a nice steady downward trend on my chart, not all this zigzag water weight business. And I sure hope it's water weight.

Calendar wise I'm on day 10 of my monthly cycle and yes, that follows the old pattern of holding steady or slightly, slowly going up. Also means I have several more days of this (if I ovulate on day 14, which is also a big if with perimenopause). All I can do is keep doing what I'm doing and eat right and move right, right?

So, I'm not at 30 pounds lost "yet". I was close at 213.7, but now it's at 215.3. It will happen. I'm not self-imploding, but I'm not happy with the scale either. When you work hard and do everything right, you want to be rewarded!  Hopefully in a week, I'll get a HUGE reward which will keep me happy for a week or two until I run into hormone weight gain again and start the cycle of loathing, then loving the scale again.

Oh, and no, not weighing in does not work for me. When I don't see the scale, I tend to start eating more. Daily weighing keeps me more on task - even when it's not good. Actually, it helps more. Like last night after dinner I was really tempted to eat an ice cream bar, but then I thought, "Hmmm... that is an extra 160 calories which means even worse news for the scale."  So.... I didn't have it, but it was my breakfast this morning. Sometimes a gal just needs some ice cream!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Revisiting loose skin and stretch marks (again)

I am a member of a very supportive weight loss board. It's the board I've come back to each time I've been on a weight loss journey since 1999. By now I'm an old pro at this weight loss thing. I've mostly figured myself out (though I do keep learning) but on these forums (and I'm sure others like them) people often come in with questions that repeat over and over again and I too asked those questions. I'm not knocking asking questions. Questioning is good, what I am knocking are the responses. At this point, the responses irk me beyond belief.

OK... what am I talking about here? I'm talking about loose skin. I'm adding the topic of stretch marks as it's a related thing that gets asked all the time on weight loss forums and pregnancy forums too.

So, the questions go like this: How can I prevent lose skin? Or, how long will it take for loose skin to shrink up? And, will I get loose skin with my weight loss? etc.  Stretch mark questions go, "How can I prevent stretch marks? How can I get my stretch marks to disappear? and so on.

Without a doubt creams to prevent stretch marks will be brought up and a SLEW of solutions of loose skin prevention will be brought up. Sure, some people will come on and be real, but usually more than half the responders will truly think you can prevent stretch marks and loose skin.

These things irk me because if you REALLLLLLLY could prevent stretch marks, don't you think we would all know what to do and no one would ever get stretch marks? Do you think there would be a mom anywhere with zebra stripes on her stomach if she could have prevented them? REALLY? If there were a cream that worked, that would be common knowledge, believe me!

Do you really think anyone who has ever lost weight would have to deal with loose skin if there was a secret to preventing it? Oh, I just need to lose slowly to prevent loose skin. OK. I'll do that. Oh, I just need to exercise and drink plenty of water. No sweat I can do that!

Reality is - we can't prevent it most of the time. AND, it's extremely individual because it's mostly genetics!

Sure, there are other things that come into play. Younger skin is more resilient skin, so maybe there would be less stretch marks and less loose skin. Sure, healthier people probably have healthier skin, so again, maybe it would be better in those cases, but even that boils down to genetics.

Maybe we all need to have "hope" that we won't get stretch marks and loose skin so that we don't fear the change as much, but it's also a slap in the face every time someone suggests that I could have prevented my stretch marks and loose skin.

With my first pregnancy, I was a health nut as I was carrying a precious child that I had wanted my whole life. I ate right. I exercised daily. I did everything by the book. Since I started out pregnancy overweight, I was told to not gain during pregnancy, and I didn't until the last week from water weight (both pregnancies actually). YET, I started getting stretch marks at 3.5 months when I was still losing weight!

My sister was pregnant at the same time. She started out her pregnancy at a good weight, but she gained 60 or so pounds with her pregnancy and she got one tiny stretch mark while I had so many stretch marks you couldn't even count them. No weight gain. Huge weight gain... I got the stretch marks!

Now, loose skin. I also have loose skin. I lost the weight properly - healthy diet. Exercise, lots of water... and loose skin. I have bat wings, wiggly inner thighs and a lower stomach flap. It probably won't tighten up because it hadn't started to in the year of "semi" maintenance I had. With this regain, I just filled up the loose skin again and now I'm defatting the skin again. It's my reality.

So please, no one tell me it's because I did it wrong.. because that's essentially what I'm being told when someone says it's a cream or a diet or exercise, etc. No... I didn't do it wrong. I just didn't inherit very elastic skin! PERIOD.

Saying reality isn't 'mean' either because reality of loose skin or stretch marks isn't the end of the world either. As my husband said about the stretch marks, "It's a small price to pay for having a child." And that's the truth and the right attitude. It was a very small price to pay! And, since more than 50% of women get them, I think we should "get over it."

Now, about loose skin. Again, I think our worry is bigger than the reality of what loose skin looks like. I think we get spooked because we've googled images of it or seen extreme examples of it on TV talk shows. We think of this when we think of loose skin:

Yes, it can look like this with a very big weigh loss and very unfortunate genetics. I'm not denying that the loose skin can be a big problem and I do empathize for those who have to deal with it or have to have surgery.

But, for most people, it will look more like this:

And it's not all about looks (I hope) it's about health. it's much better for the body to be dealing with some extra skin than it is to be dealing with extreme weight. AND, I think most people would agree that loose skin looks better than being obese too and of course it's healthier too.

When I was close to my thinnest, I had some loose skin for sure. I never took photos, but it looked a lot like this and that was with being 110 pounds below my top weight:

Sure, my body was imperfect, but it was healthy and definitely looked better than when I was obese. My husband would give a big head shake to that too.

Yes, it's not nice to think that we won't "turn out" looking like this 8 weeks after pregnancy:

Or this after weight loss:

But how many of us ever had bodies like a super model? (and Heidi had a trainer move into her house and put her on a super rigorous exercise and diet regime to get that body.) And I don't even think that model above did have a weight loss or if she did, she had plastic surgery (as I got this image from a plastic surgeons site).

So, stop worrying about stretch marks and loose skin. The worrying should have been BEFORE the weight gain as a preventative measure. Now? You are leaving it up to genetics and luck. Stop worrying and just start getting healthy and learn to love the body you have because it's the only one you'll get!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Crazy last few days

It's the end of the year madness time. In the past week I've gone to 2 doctor's appointments, 2 therapy appointments, an IEP meeting at school and then there was the school picnic and walk around the lake. Add to that the last two weekends I have had to organize some big projects which involved some run-around for planning for that. I'm POOPED. Last night I crashed and crashed hard!

BUT, school is out for summer (hope I just gave you an ear worm) and now we can move on to SUMMER! At the moment the teen is at a pool party and the younger one is crying about missing his friends and school.  There's been daily tears for a week. By tomorrow? He'll be past it and all ready for summer fun!

Yesterday the rest of the stuff for the canoe arrived, so we have life jackets, the snap-in third seat and a cart to roll it down to the lake. Woohoo! Now it is time to start tackling home projects that have been on hold most of this year. I have to put that teen to work and that will be easier without having to run around as much with appointments and such.

For me, everything is going well, despite the crazy last week. I've been 100% on plan and that has felt great. I was especially proud of myself as I managed to stay on plan despite the scale going up with my monthly cycle and with the summer heat. It went up four pounds, but now it's come down, taking an extra pound with it. As of this morning I stand at 214.6. That is 6.6 pounds lost for June so far. I had set a target for 7, so this is looking good.

We were supposed to go to a party tomorrow where I was a bit afraid of the dessert table, but it has been postponed until July. Means I have more opportunities to stay ON PLAN!!! Yay! I'm not trying to avoid fun times, but avoiding food in front of me is hard! It's hard for anyone.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Weight gain from the heat - don't sweat it!

When I was losing weight three years ago, I noticed an uptick on the scale that made no sense at first. I was eating right. I was exercising right. What was going on? Then it dawned on me. I could see that my rings were tighter (after getting too loose) and that my sandal straps sometimes left dents on the top of my feet. Ah... water retention.

I looked it up and yes, in the summer heat our bodies ups the water level a wee bit - it can be several pounds just in water for the body to use to self-regulate its temperature better. It's completely normal and  we shouldn't try to "undo" what the body is trying to do. Just realize that if you are trying to lose weight that for a month in summer you might see a slow down month for no apparent reason.  In the fall when the temps come down, you will have an unexpected water weight loss and will have a bigger loss for the month than would be expected. So, don't sweat it... It's OK. Drink plenty of fluids and just mentally adjust.

And that is where I'm at right now. The heat has gone up, up, up and my ring is tighter and the scale is up 3 pounds for several days now despite being 100% on plan. We don't over air condition our home and we still do a lot of things outside, so my body is coping with it the way it's designed to do - which is good actually! Yay for a body working right! I'll just have to be a bit more patient with the weight loss and not get frustrated.

Here's an article for you, explaining it more, from Scientific American:

Other than that, life is good. I'm sleeping well. I am busy with the end of school year stuff, but in general, I have nothing to complain about.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Still here - no worries - post about my kids

I have two kids.  My oldest is 17 and he is very bright, but suffers greatly with ADHD. He was just at the pediatrician's office yesterday for an immunization booster and a physical to fulfill his university forms.  That pediatrician is fantastic and she knows ADHD very well. I think one (both) of her boys have it.  She asked how he did in school and my son told her that he graduated with about a 3.1 unweighted.  She was really happy to hear that as yes, kids with bad ADHD don't tend to do that hot in high school. Without ADHD he would probably be a straight A student or near it and with great scholarships, but we have to be happy with what we have - he's bright and he got into his top choice for university. THAT is a huge success and we should feel it as true success that it is.

My younger son is 9. He looks just like his bigger brother - like a lot like him. Yet they are as different as night and day.  My younger son is on the autism spectrum. I don't really know how to describe his severity.  It's not super debilitating, but it is at the same time.  He's in mainstream classes and at grade level in all subjects, but he struggles with language and he will probably fall further and further behind as the kids speed up their reading and writing abilities and he's stuck 3-4 years behind. And he doesn't really have friends as he doesn't know how to connect to make friends.  Kids will talk to him and be nice to him, but that's as far as it goes.  He also has hyperlexia which means that he learned to read early, so that was easy enough, but he doesn't decode the language well, so he doesn't grasp the meaning of what he reads well from the words alone.

I sometimes get down when I see him at school, like today when they had a walk around the lake and then a picnic, but then I can also see how many huge strides he is taking.  At this very minute he is at an autism clinic doing a social skills group.  He did one 18 months ago and he is a different child from then.  Then, he didn't say hi or bye to anyone. He didn't really converse with his peers in the group, but this time, it's different.  He remembered all of their names and immediately upon entering the waiting room he said "hi X." "Hi Y" and when Z came in, "Hi Z." He then asked them, "how do you like my haircut?"  Yes, a strange conversation opener, but it was a conversation opener.  They,  also on the  spectrum didn't reply as well, their skills are impaired similarly.

When my younger son is at school it is painfully apparent how different and behind he is.  When he is at the autism clinic it's apparent how so slightly affected he is.  Though, the car ride here was awful today.  He has the new development of refusing to put his feet on the floor when he's sitting. Why? Because it bothers him.  I had to stop the car until he sat properly, twice, and threaten it a half dozen other times on the drive over.  Yes, life is full of challenges.

Life has been stressful. It was hard to make myself a priority when my babies and toddlers didn't sleep. When they ran me ragged. I know, without a doubt that my thyroid and blood sugar issues were probably created by the years my youngest didn't sleep and I survived the day by sugar fixes. I was running on fumes for years while he woke 6-7 times a night, unable to settle, ever, until he was 3 which was followed by 2 more years of night wakings from 3 to 5 am (3 times weekly when he was 3 down to once a month by the time he started school.) I though my oldest was bad with night waking and fighting going to sleep (and it was horrible) but nothing like the youngest.

I sometimes look at families and feel envy for their normalcy.  But then the next moment I think, "their bubble will get burst too as no one goes through life unscathed."

But we got through it.  My older son is starting college in the fall.  My younger son is starting 4th grade and is, for the most part, so easy compared to what it used to be. He is growing and developing skills all the time. He will probably be find.

I can make myself a higher priority now because they don't demand every second of my attention any more. I can try to be a positive role model in eating right and exercising and taking care of myself so they do those things for themselves too.  I'm mom and I want the best for my kids, including leading healthy lives.

Friday, June 13, 2014

I made a comment yesterday that I realized later was very helpful to my thought process

Yesterday I had a conversation on a forum with someone. The topic came up of being a regainer and now a reloser. (As there are many of us). I do try to analyze things so that I learn from them and while I think I know what led to derailing me in the distant past and the recent past, I now had another thought about it.  Here's a piece of that conversation:

A board member responding to my post: I know exactly how you feel wondering how we can go from one extreme of eating to another. This is my fourth time on the downward journey and there is the fear of regaining with me always now. The "gone for good" or "I'll never see that weight again" comments you see around X seem like asking for trouble. Ha! Never say never but keep up the fight is my new motto. So sad. I know....

I responded: I was the one to say it last time too as I had figured myself out. And that was true... it was. I HAD figured myself out - for then and there, not for always and forever. I didn't realize that a temporary depression would derail me, or injuries would lead to so much frustration, etc.

I always said I would struggle with it my whole life, but I TRULY didn't think I would go completely bonkers like I did. I truly, truly thought I would never go over 200 again. There was soooooo much distance between 165 and 200. HOW could I go over that with all that WARNING!!!!! space?

I didn't think I could ever regain that all - and I did... for the second time in my life. What was different this time was that I didn't really "quit". I knew I was derailed. I knew I was spinning out of control, but I hadn't given up. I just needed to find a way to reel it in and get back at it... and here I am with now another notch in my "lessons learned" belt. This is my third foray to a MAJOR weight loss. And I won't say it's the last one, but I sure hope I don't lose it completely again.

And I think that is key. We are not static. We are ever evolving. I DID know what worked for me with previous weight losses. I knew how to lose the weight and how to (hopefully) maintain that weight loss, but who says that I'll stay the same? That the environment will stay the same? That the triggers will stay the same? THEY WON'T So, I have to be constantly willing to change and adapt my plan and be fully cognizant of the fact that there will be times that it will be really hard to stay on this strict eating plan. I NEED to be on this eating plan just as if I were a diabetic because these foods affect me negatively, but needing to and doing it are totally different things. I love carbs. They don't love me.

Anyway... I think having the attitude of knowing I can only know me and my needs for the here and now is healthy. I cannot know what I will need for always and forever and I need to be constantly re-analyzing myself and constantly monitoring where my head is in the game.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

I've been behaving like a kid playing with a balloon

I got to thinking about the last few years for me. While I've always yo-yoed a bit with weight, I was at a pretty steady high weight for a long time (which is bad of course).  My highest weight ever was 275 back in 2001. It can down to 265 and pretty much stayed there with some fluctuations for about 10 years.

When we moved to Maryland, the move itself got me to 255 - which I stayed at that weight all year. It actually started to give me hope that I could lose weight and keep it off as I was going down little by little and maintaining those losses. BUT... it was really little by little.

Then, I got the "you are going to die if you don't change your life around" message. OK, it wasn't said, but I'm not stupid. So, I started to lose weight. So, when I started out at 255 I was like a fully blown up balloon.

I worked steadily down to 165 with very, very few hiccups down the road of 18 months. I had very little left to lose, if any. I was like a deflated balloon.

Then I started to blow up again, but not a lot - and stayed there for about a year. And then, I totally lost it and blew almost all the way back up to where I was 3.5 years ago - up to 243. So, looking like a mostly full balloon again.

Now I'm releasing the air in the balloon and again, letting it slowly deflate. (Hopefully for good).

It's like this image, but going in reverse order - or I guess if you start from before I gained weight, it's me going forward and backward through the different stages of the balloon being inflated and then deflated.

But, you know how balloons work. Before you blow them up, they look like this:

But, once all the air has left the balloon and it gets deflated, it looks like this:

It never goes back to the same small shape and size. ESPECIALLY the more you blow it up or the more you keep it at a big size for a long time OR blow it up and deflate it over and over again. Basically, the elasticity gets worn out. Our bodies are like that too. I "probably" won't look as good with this weight loss as I did with the previous one because of the big gain and also because of my age - 44. It's not keeping me from doing this as it's not about looks, but health. It's just a fact of life.

I'm like a balloon. And right now I'm about half way blown up or said more optimistically, about half way deflated as I'm on the losing trend, not gaining.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I wish my habits didn't rub off so much on my husband

I've been married for a long, long time - or so it seems. We've been married 20 years. Over that time, when I'm active, he gets active. When I'm inactive, he gets inactive. It's kind of strange as he is a super, duper independent fellow - like really independent minded, but when it comes to exercise (or cleaning) habits, he totally follows the leader.

At work they do a weekly weigh-in with a bunch of colleagues. They had a contest where everyone put in $100 and whoever reached goal (which they all agreed on first) would get the whole pot. No one won the first year, so they all added another $100 each to the pot. So, now there was a truly sizable kitty!  Hubby didn't join that challenge the first year, but did the second year - contributing $200 to the pot. If you know my husband, you know he doesn't throw away money. He meant to win it.  This was  when I was dropping weight like crazy and exercising like crazy. It motivated him to do more too. He got into swimming laps. He started to join me with weight training. And, little by little he lost the 25 pounds or so that he wanted to lose - winning the weight loss challenge. He looked great and was the fittest I had ever seen him.

But then I started suffering from overuse injuries. I would rest one and injure another (just thinking about it now still makes me frustrated and sad). I was slowly slipping with exercise and weight loss. My husband tried doing it on his own for awhile, but soon he stopped.

The last two months I've been walking and I have changed my eating. He weighed himself today and he's the heaviest he's been in 4 years. Now, to put that in perspective, he is NOT heavy and still within a normal range, but it's not his comfort level and he feels better when he's thinner, and he definitely feels better when he's fit.

He hasn't gone into a weigh in for months. Hmmm..... kind of like me? He's also been inactive for months and months..... kind of like me? And now that I'm getting back on track, it's motivating him to.  While I am glad for that fact, I wished it worked the other way around too - that his working out motivated me!

I do miss us working out together though. It was great couple time and it was for our health. However, I don't think I can go back to weights without addressing my neck and back issues and possibly the knee issue. Before that, I want to get a head start on walking and weight loss and not worry about the details of healing other parts of my body. I don't want to get disappointed or frustrated now, so I'm keeping to what I can do and thank goodness, I can walk!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Scale is being my friend

I had a nice little surprise when I stepped on the scale this morning. 9/10ths of a pound down from yesterday and yesterday was a nice drop down too. It must be "whoosh" time which means I probably did ovulate some time in there. It's just as easy to notice now that I'm 44.

And yesterday was quite a low calorie day for me. I didn't plan for it that way. I did like I always do with no breakfast, super small lunch and a huge dinner. Huge dinners in volume can vary wildly in calories though. I ate a heap of fresh broccoli we had picked up from the farmer's market on Sunday (and by the way, it was the bet broccoli I have ever eaten. Local and super fresh really does make a huge difference). I had drizzled a bit of olive over top and ate a few slices of grilled pork loin and some ajvar which is a roasted eggplant and roasted red pepper with olive oil spread. I ate heartily, but that dinner was about 600 calories versus the 900-1000 I have been eating. It meant for the day I only ate 900 calories! That wasn't the plan, but it's all I was hungry for. I'll probably be hungrier today and will need to eat more. I'll see. Basically, veggies can be very filling!

Tonight my younger son starts a social skills group with other kids on the autism spectrum with like symptoms/severity. This will be tricky as we need to be there by 4:30 which means leaving close to 3:30 and then it goes until 6 pm and then the drive home which will get us home close to 7 pm. Obviously, I need to feed the little kiddo on the way there, but what to do about me? Eat a huge lunch on those days and skip dinner? It's every Tuesday for 12 weeks, so I do need to plan for it. That might need to be the plan as there is no way I can wait that long to eat - especially since I take my thyroid medicine in the evening.

That's another great way to not snack at night. I have to take those meds on an empty stomach and it should mean no eating 3 hours before taking it. So, even though around 9 pm I was getting pretty hungry, I couldn't eat because at 10 I would be taking my Synthroid.

Yep... I need a big lunch today I think! Bacon and eggs sounds good!

Oh, and scale reads 217.4 Not bad! It's a nice steady decline!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Two non-scale victories this weekend

On Friday I was returning/exchanging some shorts for my teen. While I was there, I looked at the clearance rack and on the rack was the next size down in jean shorts that I was currently wearing. Even with the 1% spandex, those jeans were feeling too loose as I mentioned last week. Well, I had bought those shorts on a huge clearance 6 weeks before, this next size down was marked down even more (like $7 for the pair). I took them to the dressing room, tried it on and perfect! If anything, even these are getting loose-ish. So, I bought them and retired the larger pair. That felt good.

So, that is now several things I'm down to a size 14 - 12 in one pair. I decided this morning to pull out the "fat" summer clothes I bought last summer to get me by... The ones I had gotten too fat for!!! And... they fit. A 'tad' more fitted than last summer, but definitely wearable. So, that means I just expanded my wardrobe a few articles of clothing as last summer I ALSO bought just a couple things as I didn't want to stay that HUGE... Sigh... well, yes...

Did absolutely NOTHING on Saturday. I cooked and cleaned off our outdoor ceramic tea light holders, but that's it. We sat out on the deck most of the day - sipping iced coffee, eating the fresh strawberries I picked on Friday and just enjoyed a LAZY Saturday. We haven't had one of those in what seems like forever.

Does it look like we are enjoying?

Sunday we took it easy too, but took a nice walk in the late afternoon.

Eating is always a bit "off" for me on weekends. Calories are still in the "loss" side of the equation, but  I struggle with it more because we are eating more often. This is especially true in a male dominated household.  On weekends we eat breakfast as a family. While during the week I skip breakfast. And this weekend I had fresh strawberries! So, I made almond flour and hazelnut flour pancakes, topped them with strawberries and freshly whipped cream.  I cannot tell you how marvelous that breakfast was. I had TWO such platefuls for breakfast - one pancake each time with tons of strawberries I picked from the field!

It was divine, low carb, but still caloric. Nuts are great for lowering the carb load, but not the caloric load. Breakfast WAS my big meal for the day. That meant I had room for a small snack midday and a light dinner. Sunday was a "ditto" day for eating for me. Basically for dinner both nights I ate the salad only while the rest of the family ate the protein and starch too. Mixed spring greens, arugula, purple onions, red peppers, cubed mozzarella, sliced strawberries, avocado, and grapefruit pieces with a drizzle of olive oil. It was divine!

That's more like my OLD style of eating (more spread out through the day) and while it works too, I do miss out on the varied, HUGE meals at dinner time. But I have to make choices. I can't have a hearty breakfast AND a huge dinner. I have to choose! If I rely on what I want to eat, I'll overeat 9 times out of 10. But that doesn't mean the food can't be good!

So, on Saturday and Sunday you can see how yummy my breakfast and dinner look. I also had the coffee with half and half in the morning, an iced coffee midday and a mint chocolate chip ice cream sandwich both days And that's around 1100-1200 calories.

Today, however, is cleaning up for all the laziness of the weekend. We had done dishes over the weekend, but our dishwasher was having issues, so we have to re-wash all the glasses - which are strewn all over the counters. Then there's laundry and miscellaneous things EVERWHERE, but man... we really, really, really needed a quiet weekend.

Oh, my husband did leave for a few hours on Saturday to take part in the World Quizzing Championships. It's a worldwide test that is given to see who knows the most world-wide trivia. Participants in USA, Canada, all over Europe, Russia, India, etc. Of course, the samples are small and there are TONS of really smart and trivia minded people who don't take it, but at least here in the USA, most of the people who take it are VERY good at trivia (self-selective group). Anyway, my husband was quite happy with his performance. He is currently at 76th place with 1800 test takers reported in. That will drop "a bit" as a few more scores will be coming in, but he's happy with his performance. He got higher scores than some people who were big winners on Jeopardy! (My husband was a one day champ on Jeopardy several years back. There is a TON of luck involved in that game, so you can't tell by who won several games, won one game or never won one as to who actually knows more trivia!)

Anyway, it was a great, great weekend. Scale is coming down too. 218.3 today. Though I feel a bit cheated as my old scale (the one I started with in April) has me always a half pound lighter but I have to go by the one that records the weight! What it does mean though is that the scale is GOING DOWN!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Dresses - a big NO!

Every time I start to feel good about my progress now and in the past, all I have to do is go try on a dress and then feel a big NOPE!!!! What a way to put your ego in check!

It's even harder on me now as when I was at my lower weights, nearly every dress looked good on me. Now? I just look like a frumpy mess! I will just stick with the one dress I have that can be belted to about any size and call it DONE until I drop down into the dress size I USED to wear. 90% of my dresses are size 12s as the top part of my body needed 12s even when the bottom half were 10s.

I tried on one dress that cut my boobs in half. That's always lovely. Another looked like a moo-moo caftan. It made me look like Mrs. Roper.

This is a Michael Kors dress - available now (though the one I tried on was in blue and black):

 See> Mrs. Roper!
Plus, what's with floor length casual dresses? They're HOT! These dresses barely cover a gal up top and then cover you to your toes - so silly, in my opinion.

I don't need a dress, but I always like having one for a bit of dress-up. I may not be a girly girl with painted finger and toe nails, but I like dresses - a lot. However, I like to look good in them!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Body types

What do I mean by body types? Well, here's a visual breakdown for you for men and women:

As you know, I have two kids.  I have an older son who is 17 and a younger son who is 9.  They look a lot alike as they are both tall with red curly hair and dark eyes.  While they look a lot alike, they are so, so different in nearly every way, including their body type and body size.  My older son is a typical ectomorph.  He is long and lean. His uncle said upon seeing him for the first time at 3 days old, "he's as long as a sausage."  He is 6'2" tall and weighs 155 pounds.  When I take him to the pediatrician, she says, " let him eat what he wants, when he wants" as she worries about his weight - being underweight.

This son cannot eat if he is not hungry. He knows when he is hungry and when he is not.  He does not overeat ever and will pass up sweets if he's not hungry for them.  He's the kid who would probably be a vegetarian if he fed himself. He loves salads and fresh foods.  He, however, is not built small, but more of a medium to medium large frame (I am his mother after all). He's an inch taller than his father, but is bigger in every way - taller, bigger hands, bigger feet and bigger wrist, knee, elbow joints. My husbands ideal weight is 165-170 at 6'1" tall, so this gives you an idea of just how thin my older son is.

My younger son is also very tall, but he is built like an endomorph. He will probably be taller than his big brother as he has been taller than him since a few days past birth, but he's also built much bigger. My younger son looks like a 9 year old linebacker. He has broad hips, broad shoulders, a round rib cage along with big hands and feet.  He has to wear husky pants even not being overweight.  He does, however, tends to gain weight.  He has this pattern of gain a little, then shoot up in height and thin out for a bit, repeat.

He loves his breads and starches. He loves carbs.  Now, he also loves vegetables and fruits, but he doesn't seem to have the ability to moderate food like his older brother.  I have to be more mindful with the foods with him.  When I take him to the pediatrician she says we need to be watchful and to keep him active. His weight isn't a problem, but it is borderline.  He was just at the pediatrician's office yesterday and while his weight is high for his height, it is getting better (his weight is going down in percentage as he's getting taller).  He is 4'10.5" and 95 pounds and he does have a teeny bit of extra weight, but mostly he's just built big.

This son is built and eats more like me. I realized today that I hit 100 pounds and 5 feet tall about the same time - around age 12, and I was thin as a kid. My son will probably hit those milestones about the same time at about age 10 and I can fully see how largely built he is - especially compared to his peers.  Why was I never aware of how largely I was built compared to my peers as it had to have been true for me as well?

I started to feel too heavy in my early teens as I did weigh more than most girls my height. All charts had me as being too heavy for the ideal range for my height, but I was thin. Oh how I wish I would have known better.  It didn't help that starting in puberty I started to get a rounded abdomen, but it wasn't a fat kind of belly, but just body shape. There was no fat on that rounded tummy - it was rock hard.

No I know this is fat:

This is not (actually, I couldn't even find a belly like mine that wasn't of a pregnant woman!)

I didn't need to lose weight, I needed to tone up! I just didn't have very strong core muscles to hold the gut in. And even some very, very fit women have slightly rounded bellies - I probably would have too:

I was so unaware of how we are all such different shapes. I can see it so clearly as a parent. Go to swim lessons with your kids and see like aged children in their swimsuits and just note how many shapes and sizes there are of THIN children. It's boggling actually, so why don't we ever really take that into account? At least most of us don't?

I used to feel so bad that my husband who is 7 inches taller than me had the same ideal weight as me. How is that possible? Well, looking at the ectomorph and endomorph figures above starts to give me a pretty good idea of HOW that is possible and it's OK. We have just got to get away from counting numbers on the scale as the end all number.

So, I need to teach my younger son too that he is NOT fat, but he needs to be more careful with his eating and he needs to always be active. With my older son, I have to keep telling him, "yes, you are thin, so no doctor is going to be after you, but being thin does not mean being fit and healthy!"  Of my two kids - then "thin" one sits around all day long. I have to force him out of bed. We made him walk home from school daily, but that is his only exercise.

My slightly chubby son (and ever so slightly) walks to and from school most days AND dances or does active sports games for 3-4 hours a day. Is he unhealthy?

There's just so much more to it and our body types speak louder to the general public than it should.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Like I was possessed

So, yesterday was my teenage son's freshmen orientation at university and our parent orientation. We were up way late getting things all set for next day and then we all got up early as they had to leave the house at 7:15 to be there for check in at the dorms by 8:30 am. I would be joining them a bit later after my youngest was dropped off at school.

There was quite a bit of anxiety/stress the days leading up to it because there was a note about immunzation forms being due. We didn't have it and it could be difficult to get it in time. We were SUPPOSED to have it (as the HS said they would distribute them at graduation, but we didn't get ours). Anyway, so on top of figuring out if we really needed it (and it didn't appear like we "really" did), my husband was trying to figure it out the morning of too. I sat in my car waiting for the text to see if I could go and meet up with them or if I had to run to either the school or pediatrician's office. It ended up being OK, so I started to drive.

Then I get there and it's unclear where I should meet them. I am waiting for my husband to tell me where they are (they had just changed locations) and then I had to find it which took longer as I got a bit lost because their maps are NOT adequate.

OK, I finally get there and catch the second session. We break for lunch after that. OK... lunch. Something I don't usually have, but I can make it my big meal of the day and choose wisely. I made a green salad and skipped the pizza and pasta and deli sandwiches, and went for the roasted chicken breast, cabbage and mashed potatoes instead. No dessert. It was a good choice.

Then, we went back to sessions and then in the middle of one I had to leave as I had to get back to my son's school for school pick-up. I got turned around while getting home, so it cut it close to picking up my son at school on time.  When we got home I just needed something. Like I REALLY need something sweet. I felt exhausted. I grabbed three oreos.

I then drove back to campus with the younger one so we could show him how close the university is (30-40 minute drive) and what a dorm looked like so he could have a better understanding of what his older brother's life was going to be like at college. (This is where I have to say, "Curse you producers of Blues Clues for how you ended Steve's run on the show!" Since my younger son was FOUR he has been worried about his big brother going to college because what that meant on the show was that you NEVER saw Steve again. Going to college meant, to him, being gone FOREVER. He's now 9 and in 3rd grade and mostly gets it, but he's still worried about missing his big brother).

We stayed there for a little bit and then we drove home in our two separate cars. By the time I got home, fighting traffic a bit as it's rush hour, I was just done... I scarfed more oreos. I ate two ice cream sandwiches, I grabbed some cheese spread and crackers. I could not stuff my face fast enough with simple carbs. In ten minutes I probably ate 1500 calories. And I still ate a full dinner (though chicken and a salad). Total calories for the day was about 4000 - like 3 times what I usually eat!!!!

Today is 100% fine and no problems, but I got totally possessed yesterday - lack of sleep, stress and exhaustion just did me in. I came undone. It had nothing to do with really being hungry or eating emotionally. I have just trained my body over my adulthood, 30 year or so, to boost my energy with carb rich foods whenever it's on empty. It's going to take another 30 to not do that I'm afraid!

I try really hard to limit stress and to get adequate sleep and this is why - so I don't come undone.

I'm not going to beat myself up about it, but it was shocking to me even when I was unraveling how I was totally unraveling!

In orientation news, my son is all signed up for classes but more than half his credit hours will need to be changed when he gets his AP results in and after the takes a computer science placement exam. So far, at least, he has no classes before 11 am and I'm also happy to say that I did manage to successfully talk him into taking marching band freshmen year! Yay!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Drum roll please.....

Twelve point one pounds.  Yep.  12.1 lbs lost for the month of May.  That is freaking unbelievable.  Now... I think part of it was that I was on that blood pressure medicine that was making me hold water, but also.... A calorie is not a calorie to my body. I swear my body is an expert at converting sugars to fat on my body, but prefers to burn consumed fats especially, and protein.  I have not been very hungry, but I eat and I eat wisely for my body. I have tons of energy, and I have been consistently losing the pounds.  Most days for the last few weeks being daily drops on the scale - the most I have ever seen in my entire life.   It is truly remarkable.  That means I am 22.7 pounds down since April 3rd.  That's about 7 more pounds than I even Dreamed of reaching.

And my first real non scale victory. The shorts I bought for yard work to make it through the summer?  I can pull them down easily without undoing the button or zipper.  I'll keep them and belt them for gardening, but I just got those 4 weeks ago! If I have time, tomorrow I'll take measurements, but I might not have time until Wednesday as I teach tomorrow morning and the Monday and Tuesday my son has college orientation.

Friday, May 30, 2014

I can't think of a darn thing I want to say that I haven't already said?

Yep... here we are at 5 pm and I have nothing to say. Me? I always have something to say! Always!

It's boring to say again, "The scale is down again today." It's true though. I stepped on the scale this morning I thought it read that I had a slight gain, but turns out it was .7 loss! But... it's not the end of the month (yet) so I can't make it my monthly tally AND I don't want to take measurements, because it's not the end of the month, so I wait... and hope the scale stays the same weight (or lower) tomorrow.

Home is 'home'. I'm avoiding doing housework because I HATE IT and I'm just not in the mood for it.

It's just a blah Friday. How's that for a boring update?

I do have a peeve though... why do those little frozen burgers you can grill have so many calories? How come beef and lamb in GENERAL have so many calories? They don't make me any fuller than fish or chicken, yet have double the calories for the same size of meat? Tonight I am grilling burgers. A SINGLE patty with a slice of cheese and half a burger bun is 500 calories. That burgers gets to be the size of half the burger bun - like 2.5" diameter and skinny. Where are the 285 calories in that? It's a bummer! SERIOUSLY!

But that's all I got folks! Waiting for tomorrow!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Satisfying hunger - why are we all so different?

I'm in an interesting discussion about satisfying hunger, essentially and what it boils down to, we are all different. It takes a LOT OF FOOD to make me feel satisfied and not hungry. Takes hardly any food at all for my teenaged son. He is one of those people who don't eat much until after noon and then snacks on and off all the rest of the day.  My husband eats so differently from me too. He eats a moderate breakfast, small lunch, usually a big dinner and then an evening snack. I could eat and did eat neck and neck with my husband  and I didn't feel as satisfied as he does. I still needed more food to feel satisfied. So either my hunger button is sticky and I don't know when I'm full or I really do have a bigger appetite for food and my body just prefers to store fat. Who knows.

But, what I do know is that I feel much happier with eating that allows me to have big meals over small meals. I am LOVING having huge dinners. Now... it's still moderate compared to how much I would LIKE to eat... I never, ever eat as much as I want to eat, but I at least feel like I'm eating something substantial.

So that means, for me, right now, I prefer barely eating all day, so that I can enjoy a very hearty dinner.  So, I'm practicing a type of intermittent fasting. It feels so great to just eat portion sizes I've eaten almost my entire adult life (minus the starchy foods).

A typical day has come down to coffee with half and half in the morning and I might have 1.5 tablespoons of peanut butter for lunch and then a dinner of about 800 calories of meat and veggies with olive oil or avocado, etc for fats. Almost every night I could eat more meat or more salad than I allow myself as I really could eat a TON of food if I eat freely - easily 5000 calories a day, but I get so much enjoyment of a big plate of food every night - when I have family around me to eat with me. I can only do that, if I eat very little the rest of the day and so far that has been easy enough to do.

I do get thrown off on days my family is around more - especially my husband. I have my usual half caffeinated coffee with half and half in the morning, but then I have lunch with him (bigger with him around than by myself) and then I have an iced coffee (with whole milk) later in the day and so by dinner time I've already consumed a big chunk of calories for the day which leaves me much less left over for dinner.  BUT... I still feel as hungry as if I hadn't consumed more during the day. I still want to eat that huge dinner, but don't really have the calorie budget to do it! Well, I could do it, but then that would slow down the weight loss. And right now? It's all about getting the weight down quickly. I have the motivation and desire to get out of this dreaded state I'm in as quickly as possible. I got here quickly. I want to leave "here" quickly.

And I'm really beginning to see it. I don't think I look OBESE any more, but just significantly overweight. Or, it's that I just feel better and more energetic so that I don't feel obese. Whatever it is, I'm feeling better and better, but I still enjoy big meals! A small meal is just depressing to me. When I eat, I want to EAT!

And with that said, the scale went down again this morning. That must mean that ovulation is going to be delayed as this is NOT my usual pattern. I'll take it though - 222.1, so 10.9 pounds for the month (so far). Let's see if I can squeeze any more out of this month or not!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Graduation day and a record month!

Well, today was the day.  My teenage son graduated from high school!  My younger son said about halfway through the ceremony, "this is boring". And, at about 3/4s of the way through the graduate's names, "I'm going to die" (much to the amusement of the adults all around him who were probably thinking the same thing, but don't dare say it). We survived.... No tears or sadness, but happy to see it done.  It's been a rough 13 years of school for this very smart, very thoughtful, but very disorganized young man.

I told my husband that it doesn't feel weird to think of him graduating high school, but it is still weird to me he has to shave already! (And he's been shaving for a couple years now).  And, so, the obligatory graduation photos.  After seeing these I realized I'm the only one in the immediate family without red hair somewhere.  My boys have red hair and my husband has a red beard - all the same shade.  Maybe I need to dye my hair?

And,  today I did something I've never done.  I lost 10 pounds in a month.  Scale today read 222.4, so that is 10.6 pounds since May 1st. Yay me!

But to the graduating senior!

Only 9 more years to go until our second child graduates high school! Eek! Class of 2023? Does that sound like the far future to anyone else but me?

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In fall and winter I want to EAT and in spring and summer - who cares about food!

Yesterday and today it is getting hot and because of that, I have NO interest in food at all. I almost think we should keep the air conditioning really at minimum so that I stay a little hot so that I'm not hungry!  Seriously, it is 2:25 pm and all I've had to do is my coffee in the morning with half and half and I am so not hungry and when I think about food the only thing that sounds good is a cold salad.

I've been that way for as long as I can remember. When the warm weather rolls around I think about grilled meats with lots and lots and lots of salads. I think about strawberries, watermelon, peaches and maybe ice cream, light food.

Come fall and winter, I'm thinking roasted meats with brussel sprouts and beets and potatoes. I want hearty soups, gravies and cakes and cookies - heavy food.

I know I'm not alone in this and it almost certainly has some evolutionary basis (bulk up in fall for the lean, hard winter) and eat the fresh foods you couldn't have gotten in 'olden times' during spring and summer. Salad in winter? Barely ever interested. Soups in summer? NO WAY - unless it's a chilled soup.

So, it's making weight loss efforts easier as the foods I want to eat are lighter and when I'm hot, the appetite turns OFF. I'm much more interested in a tall, cold herbal (nonsweetened) iced tea! Ahhh!!!

When you think about it, even the party/celebration foods for spring/summer is lighter and different. For Memorial Day and July 4th it's all about grilled foods and salads (though for many it's those awful potato salads - ick!). It's corn on the cob, fresh tomatoes, watermelon, etc. In the cooler months it's roast turkey and all the trimmings, baked ham,  potatoes and cookies. It's a lot easier to eat better for the summer parties than winter ones, at least it is for me.

We didn't do anything big for the memorial day weekend - we spent a lot of time on the deck and just relaxed now that my son is done with school. Eating was easy and clean - no high calorie days.

Weight is going up though as it seems with my thyroid coming back in line, my menstrual cycle is regulating. So, today is day 9 and like clock work (for me) the scale is up .7 I'll probably see steady gains for the next week and then I'll start this month's "whoosh". Hoping to get into the 2-teens by mid June!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

I feel like I indulged so much

...but I really didn't!  This morning I had my normal coffee with half and half for breakfast and a sampling of the chocolate butter cream I was using to ice cupcakes.  Then, we had a reception after our usual Sunday meeting and I had a bit of cheese and homemade crackers and one tiny mini cupcake I made for the event.

When I got home, husband wanted iced coffee, so I had some with him. Plus, the Oreos were just calling me.  I had 2 and as I was hungry, a tablespoon and half of peanut butter.  Dinner rolled around and I had a nice salad and a good helping of grilled pork. And, as I have had almost every night a square of dark chocolate for dessert.

I had sweets, I had snacks and my calories for today came in at 1500. That is my target top limit for most days. So even on this special occasion day I managed to stay within the caloric budget and felt I really indulged.

How can my perspective change so much?  7 weeks ago I was gobbling 3000-4000 calories a day!  Now a 1500 calorie day feels indulgent? And I'm not saying I feel guilty for eating what I ate or feeling out of control and just wanting to eat junk.  No. I made choices today and I'm ok with those choices. I feel like I had good meals and treats and feel fully satisfied. Oh how I wish I could keep this feeling always versus falling into that abyss I was in for months. I don't ever want to go back there again.

We spent hours on the deck yesterday and today and that outdoor time, at home, just makes my mood soar.  I cannot explain it.  Gardening itself is a mood lifter, but this gorgeous weather and a shaded deck with beautiful nature and flowers around me? It just takes me over the top.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Twenty pounds down since April 3nd

April 1st I stepped on the scale at home. It read 241.6. April 2nd AND April 3rd (so it couldn't be a fluke) it read 243.6. Today I reached exactly, to the ounce 20 pounds since April 3rd. That is 20 pounds in 7 weeks and 2 days. That is remarkable fast. But I also gained that 20 pounds remarkably fast - I think I gained in it about 2 months too.

Things I'm doing differently this time, versus last time is that I'm being more 'free' with what I eat and I've switched to a type of intermittent fasting. It jives much better with family eating and I feel less hungry overall.

So, for breakfast I have half caff. coffee with a half cup of half and half. It's a luxuriously wonderful coffee. The fat in that coffee keeps me satisfied until 1 pm-ish. I then eat a tablespoon or two of peanut butter, maybe an apple with it too - depending on how famished I feel.

That keeps me satisfied until 6:30 pm when we have dinner. Then, because I've only eaten 300-400 calories so far for the day, I can eat as much as I want of dinner (minus the startchy carb). I can have a big piece of meat, tons of veggies, etc. Our dinners are always the most varied meal of the day, so I get to truly enjoy it. Like, last night we had scrambled eggs (made with butter) with a red pepper, purple onion and avocado salad. It was delicious!

What I'm also doing differently is that if I really want a sweet or starchy treat, I allow it - in small doses. Like, after gardening for 7 plus hours the other day, I let myself have an ice cream sandwich (180 calories). Last night at dinner I also made homemade garlic bread (italian bread smothered in chopped garlic and butter). I let myself have two thin, small slices of that for about 300 calories.  I keep those in check, but I won't deny myself them.

Mostly, I think allowing a really nice, scrumptious BIG dinner where I actually feel full has been wonderful. And for whatever reason, I am able to manage hunger during the day with a bit of fat. That leaves me with 700-900 calories for dinner at night! Yay!

I'm also not killing myself with exercise. I AM exercising and getting faster, but I'm keeping it at walking for now. I should be able to walk my entire life and some of the healthiest people I know are walkers. So.... I walk and I am already getting faster. On a walk with my husband and older son the other day they said, "Why are you running?" TWICE. I hadn't even realized I had picked up my pace that much.

And, about yesterday's post. The skies didn't fall in. I didn't die. AND, I did it!

Plan for the day is mowing and gardening and cooking. Love this time of year!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Two things in the last 24 hours about loving our bodies

I didn't go searching for this video and article, but one was shared on Facebook and another was shared on a weight loss forum.  Check them out:

Ten Reasons I Love My Ugly Body

and this video:

Body Image Movement

That then led me to search for her blog. Now people? How can she hate her body? She still looks pretty darn good to me!

About Taryn Brumfitt Blog

Both of these things hit on how hard we are on our bodies. Howe we simply are so unaccepting of the bodies we have.  Under the video I watched on Facebook, there were several comments blaming men for how we hate our bodies, but really? It's the men who expect perfection? Think back to your childhood women... how many young boys ridiculed your body? How many girls? How about your dad? Your mom? WHERE did you hear the negative talk? Was it anyone? Or is it our own self talk based on what we see in the media?

As a kid, I would say it was equal between boys and girls with negative talk: "You walk like a duck." "Why do you have so many freckles? Yuck!" Stuff like that.

But mostly, no one said much about my looks in a negative way. Sure, I heard some things, but when I think on it, I heard as many (if not more - well for sure more) positive comments too. Like, "You have beautiful hair." And "When you wear makeup you have one of the prettiest faces I've ever seen." "You are beautiful."  Even TYPING that has me feeling squeamish! WHY? Why is it OK to bash how we look? "I have wobbly thighs." "I have have a really squishy, flabby stomach". I have no weird feelings about saying that! That is WRONG!!!

I think I thought I was imperfect because I didn't have a magazine or Hollywood body. No one told me, I just saw for myself what a body should look like and then saw how mine didn't measure up. It's those images of perfect that we see and nothing else. We need to start seeing more "reality". Heck, even Shape magazine didn't want to show a "real" body recently.

My Body is Real and I Won't be Made to Feel Ashamed...

And all this time while I have been talking very honestly about how I feel about my body and my thoughts, I have never shared a photo of me in a vulnerable way. I showed in progress photos, and "before" photos well after I had gotten better, so I somewhat disassociated myself from "that" Melissa. Why? Because, I cannot say I love my body. I do not love it's wobbles and imperfections.

I am adding to the problem of only showing perfection by hiding myself as I really look. Why? Because I'm embarrassed by my imperfections.

Heck, even when I was a teen and my body was as close to perfect it would ever be, I hated my body. I had boobs that pointed south and were too big. I had a rounded abdomen (rock hard, but not flat). I had freckles. I was built big, not cute and petite. When I look back now, I realize dang! I was crazy for thinking that!

So... it's time for me to start loving my body and showing my body. My body has put up with my abuses with no sign of long term health damage. It has given birth naturally to two huge, healthy babies (10 lbs 9 ozs and 11 lbs 14 ozs). It has laughed thousands of times, cried hundreds of times. It's lost and gained hundreds of pounds. It's been through a lot. But it's all I have and I need to come to love it for I will not get another one.

My husband loves my body when I take care of it. He doesn't mind the scars and loose skin. He can see the healthy, active me. He can do something I have not been able to do.  So, it's time for me to get there too.

I am not mentally ready to share any photos of me "now" in the near buff (but I took some just now), as well, it's even hard for me to look at myself let alone share it to the masses

I had this all written up and was ready to hit "publish" when I realized, "I'm still hiding". "I'm still not being real." "Melissa, this is what this post is all about!" "You have to show the you now and start accept the you now!"  "What are you really hiding from? THIS IS REALITY."

So.... here I go... being brave. This is me at 223.7 pounds - 52 pounds from my top weight, and 20 pounds lighter than I was 7 weeks ago.

I compare that to the two I took as I was really close to goal two years ago - it's about as perfect as this once weighed 275 pounds, 42 year old body, was going to get. This is me at 170 pounds, 105 less than my top weight - with 18 months of dieting and exercise. I wanted to wear a bikini when I got to goal as that was the best I would ever get to - with aging it would just continue to get worse. After trying on a bikini for these shots, I decided I don't have a bikini body and never will. So, I gave up that idea. I was too imperfect and I swore no one would ever see these photos.

But this is my body at its best two years ago and since then I've abused it more by adding more weight. Should I go on hating it and mistreating it or should I come to peace with it and realize that it is what it is and I need to love the body I have, thus treating it better by exercising and losing weight? I cannot change my body for another one. And I am the one who abused it and I probably did abuse it because I didn't care about it. I didn't care about ME. That's so wrong! I have to love my body to care about taking care of it!

I will truly try to start to love and care for my body. It will probably take the next 44 years to undo the first 44 years of loathing. But I need to start on that path!

Now I will cringe as I hit "publish".  Being "real" is hard.