Wednesday, May 1, 2013

W7, Day 1: Weigh Day

Weigh day again today--how does it come around so fast?  And it's not a good one for me at 228.0, a small gain from last week.  I feel like a yo-yo.  But really, in the larger scope of this week, a small gain isn't the end of the world.

Monday was every bit as difficult as I feared and more.  But I got through it.  Yesterday was a little better, and so was today.  I'm surprised that I made a gain because Monday I was so upset I didn't want to eat anything.  Maybe the chocolate bar I had yesterday balanced it back out.  Since there was a cake testing at work today, I'm not off to a great start for this week.

It was interesting to wear the BodyMedia device while at work because it says I burn about a thousand more calories per day.  I'm not sure the calorie increase was a good idea since I didn't lose anything this week and I did log carefully, but I'll keep the goal while I'm working at least because I feel a lot more active.

I haven't been too hungry since I've been at work--at least not for food, I still want my baby boy--so that part's going well.  I'm so tired though that I feel I could crash out at any moment, so maybe as early a bedtime as possible might help.  Halfway through the week!  Only 21 more days to go till summer.  :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

W7, D3: Back to Work

So Monday is fast approaching.  Dreaded Monday—though many folks find Monday a dreaded day every week.  :)  Still, this Monday has seemed so far off in the distance for so long that it’s hard to really believe that it’s here.  Except that I do.  I’m hemming my pants, writing my lesson outlines, reviewing curriculum, rehearsing what I’ll say, packing my work bag, and aching a little bit more with each task.  What does this have to do with food, you might ask?  Nothing really.  Seriously, this is one of those few entries that might not have much of anything to do with weight, so you might want to skip ahead to whatever entry that may follow. 

It’s just that this is my last week home with baby until summer.  While I know that summer is not far off and I’ve been supremely fortunate to spend these last fourteen weeks with my child, I don’t feel ready to leave him.  Oddly, I’m convinced I’ll be ready come fall at the start of the next school year, a time of new beginnings, but this week has been tinted with wistfulness and more than a faint whiff of sadness.  I’d like to say that’s why I ate that package of black licorice—besides, it’s supposed to be super good for your tummy too, right?—but really, it just tasted good. 
Still, I’ve been out of sorts and wishing for comfort.  I actually did a good job of walking past of a display of cakes at the fancy grocery store yesterday.  I thought to myself, “That scrumptious looking chocolate cake isn’t going to let you stay home with baby so put your too-big girl panties on and keep walking.” And I did.  I bought a sandwich wrap and small salad instead.  So maybe I’m finally starting to show a little food maturity?  (I wouldn’t bet on it though.)

I know several people have told me that they were relieved to be back at work, so maybe there’s hope that once I’m there I’ll feel better (much like just jumping into a cold pool rather than easing in).  It’s funny, months ago when I was arranging the leave, I thought I’d be itching to return a lot sooner.  Really though, the time passed so quickly and now it’s almost time to go back in a couple days.  In the meantime, I find myself holding him close and trying to memorize each little smile, his darling cheeks, and those perfect eyelids.  Funny how work once felt like the center of my life and in a short time, all my priorities have shifted.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

W7, Day 1: Weigh day yesterday

I weighed yesterday and meant to write the entry, but it was just a busy day.  It always sounds a little crazy to me when I say that because how busy can it be staying at home?  But it was and I went into work for a couple hours so that I can start planning for Monday.  Dreaded Monday.  But I'll get there in another post.

First, the weigh in:  227.8, so down one pound from last week.  I'm quite pleased with that, especially because I didn't behave myself very well through the week.  I didn't log my foods the first part of the week and had several cupcakes over the weekend.  Come this Monday, I threw out the leftover cupcake batter and frosting and got to business logging my foods.  I felt I needed a little boost in motivation, so I decided to try out the BodyMedia device that a reader very kindly lent me.  It's very interesting because I find myself wondering how one little doohicky can do so much measuring.  How does it know?  The gadget says I burn a lot more calories than MyFitnessPal says I do, measuring a daily burn of about 2400-2800.

I'm really surprised by that because it's not like I do much here at home (though sometimes just holding the baby feels like a workout for my arms and back).  On the other hand, it says I can consume about 2000 calories a day instead of 1700 and still lose my pound a week.  I think this is entirely reasonable because when I track my calories lately, I inevitably go over by two to three hundred each day and I'm still losing weight.  I always feel terrible because I never make my calorie goals, but it just feels stringent and hard to follow.  Yes, I know that many people live very reasonably on 1700 calories a day, but I'm always so hungry.  Well, you might wonder, what difference can 300 calories really make?
*Two tablespoons of peanut butter on an apple
*A greek yogurt, a banana, and some strawberries
*A sandwich with one tablespoon of peanut butter or ten pieces of turkey salami
*A Smart Ones or Lean Cuisine meal
*A tortilla with egg and cheese or refried beans
*Three servings of fruit
*Crackers and a cheese stick or hummus
*Etc., etc., etc.

In other words, three hundred calories is a big deal when I'm hungry.  So I think I'm going to change my daily calorie goal and see if I can do better about staying on track and still lose weight.  Seems pretty doable!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

W6, Day 7: ZZZzzzzZZZZ, or, Sleep! My Favorite Thing!

I've temporarily started using a BodyMedia body monitoring device to keep track of the calories I've burned and eaten during the day, as well as my activity level and the number of steps I've taken.  I'll write about this more later in the week because I just started on Monday and I want to give it a bit more time for gathering data.  It cracked me up because apparently I had a whole three minutes of physical activity yesterday, and the notification came up that this was a new personal best and would I like to share that on Facebook?  Three minutes?  Woooo!  But uh, no thanks on the sharing--let's see if I can't do a bit better than that before I trumpet it to the world.  One neat thing about the device is that it syncs to MyFitnessPal so I don't have to enter all my foods twice; I just log like normal, plug the device into the computer, and poof!  Everything's there on my screen.  That's pretty cool.  

What I thought was interesting was the sleep monitoring part of the device.  Apparently I'm a rather inefficient sleeper--not a shocker with a three month old.  Still, I knew I was waking up periodically through the night, but it's fascinating to see just how often I wake up, sleep for a few minutes, wake up again.  No wonder I'm still tired even though I've been in bed for what should be plenty of hours of sleep. The reason this fits in with weight loss is simple: when I'm tired, I want to eat.  And eat.  And eat.  Apparently this is a normal human reaction.  

WebMD explains it better than I can:
Exactly how lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight has a lot to do with our nightly hormones. The two hormones that are key in this process are ghrelin and leptin.  Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat, and when you are sleep-deprived, you have more ghrelin.  Leptin is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived, you have less leptin. More ghrelin plus less leptin equals weight gain.

Allrighty then, problem solved!  Let's all get our ZZzzz's and we'll drop those pounds!  Well, probably not.  And often if we're not sleeping well at night, it's probably for a reason.  In my case, a cutie who did not want to go back to bed last night after a late night feeding.  Still, having a three month old makes it much easier for me to get sleep, as opposed to a newborn or one month old.  I still wake up for each little sniffle and complaining why-am-I-sleeping-alone-in-my-bassinet gurgle, but I'll take the sleep now any day over those first few weeks when I was basically a zombie.  So there's hope for better sleep in the months to come.  
In the meantime, I encourage you to try to catch those ZZzzzZZZ's.  It can't hurt to be more rested and refreshed, right?  And who knows, maybe you'll drop a few pounds too.
I don't know why, but these sheep kind of creep me out.  Forget counting, I'd be kept awake watching for a sheep rebellion.  Yes, I'm a geek.  :)

*By the way, I do recognize there's a difference in font between the top part of this entry and the bottom, but I can't seem to fix it (as with the picture captions a few days ago) because it looks perfectly right on my draft page.  This drives the detail oriented me crazy, but I'm just going to leave it for now.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

W6, Day 4: The Dreaded Mirror

Yesterday I had one of those moments when I just happened to glance in the mirror after a shower and saw all that mass around my middle and just felt hopeless and horrified.  The thought, "Oh God, is that me??" popped into my brain unbidden.  Though I haven't lost a lot, I see some progress in my body.  I can still see my collarbones (this was a big achievement years ago).  My torso under my bust line has diminished back to more normal proportions, a few of my old pants are beginning to fit, and my face has narrowed.  But I looked at that mass of belly and felt despair.

On the one hand, I'm not sure why it even matters because I know I'm working on losing the weight I gained during my pregnancy (despite the cupcake I had for breakfast this morning).  Of the sixty extra pounds I was carrying at the end, I only have 26 or so to be back where I was when I conceived.  And, my baby is only three months old as of yesterday.  So if it took me almost ten months to put all of that weight on, why am I so desperate to lose it all immediately?  Yes, I looked better pre-pregnancy and felt better too.  A lot better.  I guess I just want the old me back.  Maybe it's time to look forward to the new me?  Still, I'd much rather it be a new me without quite so much around my middle.  I want to love my body again, to feel good in my skin.  In the back of my mind, I'm worried about what people would think if they saw the me under my clothes.  Then I think, "Who cares?"  I've earned those stretch marks and belly rolls.  My son is definitely a prize and a bunch of belly fat seems like a small trade for my beloved .  Still, I'm avoiding the mirror until things get a little better.  It was fun to embrace my big belly in a sort of Earth mother thing when I was pregnant, not so much after.  It's all good.  I've just got to be positive and embrace the now.

Looking at the before and after pics help though.  I spent a crazy amount of time this morning trying to put captions on these pics and centering them, but in the end, I'm giving up.  Instead, I'll just write the captions up here.

Pic.#1:  New Years Eve, 19 days before birth.  I was HUGE!
Pic.#2:  Last month, looking better!
Pic.#3:  Two months before birth, baby belly in profile.
Pic.#4:  Last weekend, hard to see my belly here, but I was feeling better and pretty too.


Friday, April 19, 2013

W6, D3: Images

One of the big reasons why I restarted this blog is because of my son.  I don't want him to be like me.  Obese.  Self-conscious.  Afraid of what others think of him all the time.  And it's more than I want to lose weight.  I want to be healthy for both of us.  I want to be able to chase him at the park, to play tag with abandon.  I want to teach him to be active and eat properly.  While I fervently hope that he'll grow up to have the metabolism of my thin husband, I fear he's too much like me.  That's silly, you might say, he's just a baby.  True!  I feel ridiculous even thinking about it, but I find myself thinking about it all too often.  I don't want him to be like me.  He was born larger than average and has steadily gained weight.  At a month and a half old, he was wearing 3-6 month old clothes.  At almost three months, those clothes are tight and we're switching to 6-9 months outfits.  He's on the outer edge of the doctor's growth chart (though she's not concerned and says he'll probably level out eventually).  He eats with gusto and I find myself keeping track of the ounces to make sure he doesn't take more than the range the doctor advised.  Crazy, right?  On the one hand, it is.  Babies are babies and probably aren't going to eat a lot more than is good for them.  On the other hand, I spent my childhood knowing I was fat and feeling that I was not a good enough person because of it and I would spare my beloved child that pain.  Of course, he's a boy and I think there's a little less weight pressure for guys, but still.

I recently read someone's blog post (see below for link) about how a mom is having a hard time because she loves the way her daughter looks, but has difficulty because the child looks like her and the mom has spent a lifetime disliking her appearance.  She writes, "She looks just like me. I need to see that as a blessing to her, not a curse. I am trying."  It's really sad.  Really, really sad.  She wants to teach her daughter self acceptance while still learning it herself.  I can absolutely relate.  All of this is so very shallow and silly.  What does it matter what someone looks like when what's inside is what counts?  And yet it totally does.  The worst part is that often we are our own worst critics and that except for a few, most people don't view us in the negative way we view ourselves.  We build our own prison walls.  I want my kiddo to be free of it.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

W6, Day 1: Weigh Day

All right, weigh day today.  I've been intending to write this post all day long but just have been distracted by this and that.  When I got on the scale, I expected it to be terrible.  I've been avoiding the scale because I know I've done a poor job this week.  It's funny how perception is different from reality because I looked at my belly and would swear it's bigger and worse than ever.  I didn't really want to know how much I'd gained.  So I stepped on...and it was 228.8, a small loss of 0.4.  Wow.  I didn't expect that at all.

Having a very small success feels much better than another failure.  Oddly, I feel more motivated to do well.  I don't think I earned any loss, but I'll take it!

On another note, I've been thinking ahead a couple of weeks a lot lately.  I go back to work in a week and a half and I already feel sad about it.  On the bright side, being back at work means that I'll get more calories each day and have a structured day where food is not accessible.  Still, I don't feel ready to go.  Maybe most new moms feel this way?  I know I've been very lucky to stay home with my baby for thirteen weeks.  I just don't want to leave him.  I want to stay home and play mommy.  And to be honest, I feel a little scared to go back out and face the world again (which probably means it definitely needs to happen).  It feels like there have been so many changes in me--having a baby feels majorly life altering!  Combining this with many changes at work and I'm so intimidated.

Uh, this is a weight loss journal, you might say, not a post pregnancy diary...focus on the food!  Well, the upshot of these uncomfortable feelings is that I feel the need for comforting.  Sometimes that comfort may come from holding my beautiful boy in my arms...and other times it comes from cookies.  Yikes, right?  Fortunately, I'm out of cookies (and won't buy more) and I do know that I need to face this upcoming challenge squarely and stand tall.  I'll only be at work for five weeks until I'm out for summer and I can spend oodles of time with my baby.  In the meantime, I need to enjoy our time together now.  Time for hugs!

Happy smile makes his momma smile!  :)

Monday, April 15, 2013

W5, Day 6: Where ya been?

I'm just not doing my best writing regularly these days.  Nonetheless, I think of my blog often and what I'd like to say as days go by.  It's just that things have been a bit busy (how busy can it be staying at home all day?) and I have to write in the times when baby's napping...except that when he's napping, I'm also scurrying around doing dishes, folding laundry, picking up, etc.  You know, normal life stuff.  But anyway, I'm back and here's a summary of this last week:

First, I've done a ton of stuff looking for what's wrong with  my tummy.  The upper endoscopy went fine.  I was so nervous, but actually, except for the IV, nothing really hurt at all thanks to the drugs that put me out.  In fact, the only thing I thought when it was over was, "Why are you waking me up?!!" I came home and crashed out for most of the evening.  Friday I had to do a body scan that felt like being in a giant photocopy machine.  Both Wednesday and Friday's procedures required extended fasting, which you'd think would make my calorie count pretty easy this week, but in fact it's been just the opposite.

I'm way over calories.  I wouldn't have expected it, but fasting seems to make me want to
eat way too much after I'm allowed to eat again.  I'm so hungry!  Even though I'd eaten the normal day's calories in a condensed amount of time, my body felt hungry.  It's probably a mental thing more than a physical one, but whatever the reason, it led to some out of control eating through the weekend.  This doesn't mean that I gorged, but rather I wanted (and got) foods that I normally don't eat:  chocolate, pizza, Chinese food, and last night, two pieces of fried chicken.  That's a lot for only a few days!  I didn't go crazy with these foods in terms of portion, but I'd normally only pick one of these treat foods per week (excepting small bits of chocolate--sorry, can't live without it!).  Oh well, I'm back on track now.  Actually, I'm glad to be back on track because I feel icky after the excess.

My tummy has been a bit better, so maybe things are working themselves out on their own.  Other than some inflammation in my stomach and possibly some gluten sensitivity, I'm still not any closer to knowing what's been causing me stomach pain.  I've been poked, repoked, scanned, and scanned again and I'm just about ready to let it rest.  I'll eat gently for awhile and see if it gets better with time because I don't want to do any more.  I haven't had any intense eating pain for a couple weeks, so that seems more positive.

I just need to avoid eating fat, spicy foods, chocolate, and caffeine.  The caffeine is the hardest part because I'm fond of a Starbucks coffee as a low calorie, well deserved "mommy" treat when I'm out with baby!  The chocolate isn't the hardest part because that's not even going to happen.  Is there life without chocolate??

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

W6, Day 7: Weigh Day, early

So I'm weighing in a day early this week and while it feels a little like cheating, I'll explain why in a sec.  I weighed in at 229.2, which puts me down 6.0 pounds since I started four weeks ago.  Six pounds in four weeks is not bad, especially since I recouped last week's gain.  Even better, this morning, my flubby tummy must be receding a little because I was able to button three of my old pairs of pants when I tried them on, though of these, two are still too tight to wear in public.  But hey, give this woman a gold star!  I don't care if they are my formally 'fat pants', they are pre-pregnancy pants and I can wear them, hallelujah!  In fact, I'm wearing them right now with an overly self-satisfied smile.  Move over yoga pants!  (But don't go too far because I still need you, bless you yoga pants).

Anyhoo, I'm weighing a day early because I'm going in for an appointment tomorrow to see if they can find what's going wrong with my tummy and causing me pain.  They are going to stick a camera down my throat to my stomach to see if there's any problems.  Yikes!  I've eaten things I don't like before, but I've never had to swallow a camera!  First time for everything I suppose.  I have to fast from midnight tonight onward and the appointment is not until tomorrow afternoon, so I may not get to eat until dinner tomorrow.  Even then, I was told that I might not feel like eating for a while afterwards, so it could be a very long time till there's something edible in my belly.  To that end, I'm trying to eat some extra calories today to balance out tomorrow.  I'm not gorging or anything, but adding about 500 extra today.  That shouldn't affect me on the scale tomorrow, but just in case, I didn't want to get penalized when it'll more than wash out tomorrow's calorie count.  I still feel oddly guilty though, as if I'm trying to get a false advantage or something by weighing early.  Silly!

I'd rather swallow this kind of camera!

Monday, April 8, 2013

W4, Day 5: Salad

I greatly enjoyed a salad from a local burrito place this week.  I got lettuce, grilled chicken, pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and a bit of ranch dressing.  It was delicious.  I'm glad to have another low calorie, low fat option that I can choose while eating out.  I also appreciated the chicken and beans that made this salad satisfying and filling.

When I went to get the salad, I also picked up a burrito for my husband, loaded with cheese and guacamole.  I found it very interesting that while I never referred to either the burrito or salad as mine, the restaurant employee kept asking me what I wanted to be in "the" burrito and in "your" salad.  In other words, he made the assumption that the healthy salad was for me, while the less healthy burrito was for someone else.  Maybe I look like I need a salad or two?  My husband suggested the employee thought the salad was mine because women are more likely to order salads in a restaurant than men.  And I thought, do women order more salads than men?  Is that a sexist statement?  My apologies if it is, I'm just curious.  Of course I've seen men eat salads, but I'm not sure any have ordered one as an entree when we've been out.  Maybe women are more weight conscious so they order salads more frequently?

Does anyone know the answer to my question?  Are men less likely to order a salad as their meal in a restaurant?  It's not a profound query or anything, but I'm just interested.  I can't wait to go back for another tasty and easy dinner.  Noms!

This salad looks super yummy!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

W4, D4: Spring Break

I haven't written much these last few days, but for a very different reason than last week.  This is spring break for my husband, who has been home all week.  It's been wonderful having him home and sharing some of the childcare responsibilities.  I have been (mostly) sticking to my calories and hopefully I'll see a better result this week.  In the meantime, it's been a happy, productive week.

This week I:
*Cleaned out the baby's closet and sorted his clothes, books, and misc. items.
*Took a hot bubble bath for the first time in a year.
*Cleaned house.
*Sorted the bathroom drawers.
*Found daycare for baby for next fall.
*Stocked the fridge.
*Visited the Asian market.
*Sampled some yummy (small) dim sum items.
*Read a book.
*Spend quality time with my husband, baby, and kitties.
*Chatted with friends.
*Took a long walk.
*Finally (almost!) finished reading that parenting magazine.
*Ate a cupcake (but only one!).

I still had lots of other things I wanted to do (get oil changed, alter some clothes, garden...) but I've been thankful for this time and feeling positive, which helps me stay on track.  The last time my husband was home for a week, the time was about recovery and rest.  This week was about enjoying life and the precious moments with our baby.  What a great week.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

W4, Day 1: Weigh Day

Well, obviously I've missed a couple days of blogging and during that time, I also missed three days of logging my calories.  The result?  I weighed in today at 232.2, a gain of 0.8 pounds.  Sigh.  I know that I deserve the gain because the Costco bag of dried mangoes in the cupboard has a good dent in it (dried fruit is often very sugary and high in calories) and I also had a beer and a burrito in that time.  My defensive side argues that I should be able to have a darn burrito if I want it--it didn't even have cheese, sour cream, or anything like that for goodness sake!  But the real problem here wasn't what I was eating so much as how much and that I wasn't keeping track.  Whenever I stop tracking my calories, things go downhill even though I try to convince myself that this time it will be different. It won't.  It really won't.  So why do I let myself think that it will?  I think there are a couple problems going on here that aren't resolving themselves.

1)  The calories are much more restricted than ever before, making it hard for me to misstep even a little without falling over the line for the day, even with very modest meals.

2)  My stomach is still really bothering me, which should make weight loss easier.  The problem is that I don't eat because it hurts, but then over time, I get really, really hungry, causing me to eat too much.  Also, I turn to comfort foods to try to make me feel better (that's where those dried mangoes played in this weekend).

3)  This last issue is really dumb, but when I know I'm not doing well, I get frustrated with everything and this makes it easier to eat out of annoyance or defiance.  

Okay, so those are the problems.  Now I've got to focus on the solutions.  For the first one, I know the solution is the same:  I need to exercise more so that I can eat a little more.  For the second problem, I've already scheduled another visit to the doctor's office, so hopefully that'll get resolved soon.  For the third?  Well, that's the hardest because I have to change my mindset.  I need to learn to accept I've failed in an instance or for a day and move on rather than give up.  It's hard sometimes to keep encouraging myself to stay in this marathon.  That's why I rely on this blog, so I need to keep writing when I feel this way rather than go silent.  That's hard too because I hate to report that, yup, I'm still failing.  Maybe instead of failing, I need to think of it as I'm still struggling but persevering?  So, I will endeavor to do better this week, starting with tracking everything today.  I can do better.
I've got to work on this!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

W3, D4: Blah...

I've felt really junkie today.  I actually took a nap in the afternoon, a rare event because then I feel I've lost a big chunk of the day.  I've been simultaneously both very hungry and in a lot of discomfort in my stomach area.  I still don't know what's causing my continuing stomach pain, but I've had additional pain along my incision line since I tried to do those crunches and leg lifts on Thursday.  My baby will be ten weeks old tomorrow, so I didn't think it was too soon to do a few crunches, but maybe it is since it's been quite painful and tender since.  To sum it up and repeating my topic sentence, I just feel junkie today.

I'm also having a really hard time staying within my calories.  My daily 1,700 seems so stringent somehow.  I know that's a reasonable number in my head, but I find myself straining against it most days with week because I am so very hungry.  I know, I know, the solution is to exercise more so that I can have more calories, but I'm too busy wallowing in an exhausted pity party.

Blah, blah, blah.  I promise to be much more perky next time.  In the meantime, thank goodness it's finally dinner time.

Friday, March 29, 2013

W3, Day 3: Brittany, Herself

Recently I've starting reading a blog called Brittany, Herself.  Brittany is a plus sized woman who is proud of her body and doesn't let it define who she is.  Recently she posted pictures of herself in a bikini, which crazily enough caused enough waves that they did a clip about it on Good Morning America.  It's ridiculous that a woman in a bathing suit is a big enough thing to be a news story.  Then she posted a follow up entry on The Huffington Post that I found very interesting because she had to defend her "plus size-ness".  She also wrote to say that she was healthy (and yes, obese people can be healthy; if you're interested, check out the links below), which I believe but other commentors don't.  But of course, there are always haters.  Let’s just ignore them because haters gonna hate.  

I'd like to focus on the first of her statements.  She had to make a case that she truly is obese by showing her scale and weight.  Even after this, I found interesting comments where people were saying the author misrepresented her weight.  Basically, they are saying she’s lying about her weight because she looks too attractive to really weigh 214 pounds.  First off, most overweight people don’t lie and say they weigh more than they do.  Second, how would they know?  Everyone's body is a different shape and proportion.  To the people saying, "I weigh X amount, so you can't weigh that much/little"--that doesn't even make sense.  I may weigh as much as another person and look completely different.  I think their real problem though is the deep societal idea that you can't weigh over two hundred pounds and look attractive, pretty, or heaven forbid, sexy.  Therefore, because she looks like those things, she must be lying and saying she weighs more than she really does.

Okay, here goes:  people over two hundred pounds can be attractive, pretty/handsome, and yes, sexy.  It's hard for some people to wrap their heads around.  I know because I was one of those people.  I topped the two hundred mark in my senior year of high school.  I hated the way I looked and I just knew that no one could ever love me romantically.  It's crazy, but by age eighteen I already absolutely and unshakably knew that no one would want to love me, marry me, and that I'd most likely die a virgin surrounded by cats (I may still end up surrounded by cats).  Thankfully, college age and older folks are a little more mature than high schoolers and eventually I figured out that I could be lovable despite my love handles, but it was still a long road.  Do I still want to weigh less than two hundred pounds?  Yes.  But can I feel good about my body and sexy above that number?  Yes.  As a whole society, we really need to get out of the only thin is beautiful mindset.  Going back to Brittany's blog, I think she looks fabulous in a bikini.  Rock it girl.

Brittany's blog and follow up:

On obesity and health:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

W3, Day 2: Tidbits

Just a few quick thoughts today:

1)  Yesterday I ate six oreo cookies even though I knew I didn't have the calories for them.  Why you ask?  I don't know.  I wish I could say (and put a stop to) what compelled me.  I started with four.  Then, knowing that I absolutely shouldn't, I went over to the cupboard and pulled out two more.  Even as I was opening the bag I knew with every fiber of my being that I shouldn't.  But I did it anyway.  The worst thing is that I didn't even enjoy the last two cookies.  I just ate them.  Nonetheless, I'm moving on determined to stay within calories today.

2)  Last night I decided to test my stomach pains problem with a fatty meal.  I went to the doctor last week and she suggested it might be gallstones causing my discomfort.  Fortunately an ultrasound showed this is not the case.  I've been avoiding eating much fat for the last couple weeks and my stomach feels much better, so I thought that maybe I'm all better.  As an experiment, I had some thin crust veggie pizza from Papa Murphy's.  It tasted fine, but I was in a lot of pain for much of the night so obviously I'm not cured and the level of discomfort is not worth the taste of the food.  Back to low fat everything, which is probably better for me anyway.

3)  I tried to do some crunches today while the baby was lying on his playmat.  Yikes.  I persevered into doing ten very pathetic ones.  I used to do 90-180 during a gym session.  Then I tried to do leg lifts and couldn't even do one.  I used to do 30 and my trainer had once complimented me on how easy they looked.  I modified it by putting one knee up with the foot resting on the floor and only lifting one straight leg for ten repetitions before switching legs.  It sort of shocked me to realize how much muscle strength I've lost.  I know that I have to stop looking backwards to the way I was before pregnancy and just move forward, but it's still hard.  On the bright side, baby seemed amused by my exercises next to him on the floor.  Maybe I'll just keep trying every time he goes down to play.  I think I might just hit the gym tomorrow.  We'll see!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

W3, Day 1: Weigh Day

It's another weigh day today and stepping on that scale was pretty good today at 231.4, putting me down 2.4 from last week and down 3.8 pounds total from my starting weight.  I was also thinking this morning about how I weighted exactly thirty pounds more the day my labor started.  I checked my pregnancy weight log that I kept in the (vain) hope of avoiding gaining too much weight, and I weigh as much now as I did on week 26.  It rather feels like I am now taking backward steps away from my pregnancy.  I sort of imagine it as a long ladder that I climbed up step by step and pound by pound until I reached the roof.  Now I am working my way back down the same ladder, step by step and pound by pound until I my feet reach the bottom where I am comfortable again.

In some ways, I think I should be focusing on setting higher...or, er, lower...weight goals for myself, but really, if I could fit in most of my clothes again and be back to where I was, I think I'd be happy for right now.  When I get closer to that point, I'll reevaluate, but in the meantime I'm feeling good.

In a way, it's still funny for me to say that I'm feeling good about my body right now because my discomfort with it has been so ingrained, but it's true.  I feel good about my body right now.  I should print this entry and post it on the wall to remind myself of that!  But seriously, I still have some aches and pains that I didn't before, but I'm feeling so much more mobile and stronger than I have been in months.  It feels great.  When I look in the mirror, I see the after effects of the pregnancy:  stretch marks, loose skin, a big tummy, etc., which would have made the old me shudder, but now seems okay.  I can see a narrow place under my bust and an emerging waist and know it's the old me coming back.  I'm all right with that
.  What a rare thing to be comfortable in my own skin.  Now I just need to find a way to hold on to that feeling.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

W2, Day 7: Clothes and confidence

I like the show What Not to Wear on TLC.  Each week the hosts take a woman with terrible fashion sense (ex. baggy sweats everyday) and help her dress her body attractively.  All right, maybe it’s shallow and all, but the focus of this blog isn’t terribly deep either.  But the thing I notice about most episodes is how most people feel so much better about themselves when they’re attired in clothing that fits them well.  Even though in the beginning they protest about not needing a change, by the end, they feel much more confident and ready to face the world.  Apparently, clothes really do make the man…or, er, woman.  I also notice that several women on the show don’t know how to dress their bodies because they’ve lost large amounts of weight but still see themselves as they were before.  Some are afraid to go in and try on clothes because they are afraid they won’t fit in anything even though they’re a much smaller size than before.  I guess I understand this fear, but it’s the opposite with me. 

When I’m losing weight, I love shopping because even if I don’t buy anything, the smaller clothes highlight my body changes and the weight loss for me.  Even more fun is shopping within my own closet.  Ever think to yourself, “I have way too many clothes but nothing to wear?”  I do this all the time because I have tons of clothes, but they are in a range of sizes.  I have stuff in everything from a size 14 to size 20.  Much like a bell curve, most of my clothes are in the middle sizes of 16 and 18.  When I’m losing weight, it’s fun to try on my own clothes and see favorite items begin to fit.  The difference this time is that my proportions have changed (my waist is much larger), so my original clothes aren’t fitting, even in the larger sizes.

In light of my new shape, I did go ahead and buy some new items.  I really shouldn’t have because I’m trying to save money with a new baby and I know I won’t be this size forever, but much like on the show, I felt reinvented in clothes that fit me properly. I may be larger, but I feel more confident in clothes that fit me.  It’s wonderful to get out of the baggy maternity stuff.  I also picked tops that I can alter by taking them in under the arms as I lose weight, so I’ll still be able to wear them.  Much of the message of What Not to Wear is to accept and accentuate the body that you have rather than hiding it and longing for something different.  While I’m still going to keep working to change my body, I feel more accepting of my body than I have for a long time.  Those of you who have read my blog in past years might know that this is a big change for me!  It’s almost as if I can accept the changes in my body because I know they were caused by pregnancy.  My mind is giving my body permission to have changed.  It feels odd to be able to accept myself (which is sad in itself), but I’m going to embrace it while the feeling lasts! 

I love this outfit, especially the shoes.  I feel cute.  :)
Not necessarily the best looking outfit, but it feels wonderful to be out of maternity!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

W2, Day 5: A Challenge

Today's entry is a challenge to you the reader:  pick one thing or as many things as you can that you like about your body.  What do you think is neat about your body?

I find this challenge difficult at times, so I'll lead the charge and tell you mine first.  I like my eyes, which can be very expressive.  I like the point of my nose.  I like my clavicle bones.  And I'll be too honest with you, I like the shape of my breasts.  I like the scar on the top of my right hand (I don't know why, I guess that's kind of weird).

When you pick your favorite body parts, be sure you are choosing physical parts instead of adjectives about yourself,  abilities, or skills you can do with your body.  (Example, "I can arm wrestle a ninja to the ground," or "I am a kind person," etc.)  These things are wonderful about you, but sometimes they help us avoid thinking about our physical bodies.

So, reader, that's the challenge.  You can comment about what you love about your body, or you can just think it to yourself, but take some time to consider it.  The reason being is that often we don't love our physical selves, and how can we love who we are until we consider what we really love about our bodies?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

W2, Day 4: Indulgences

So yesterday I did end up splurging by 250 calories, which is half of the calories I'm supposed to save each day.  The idea is that MyFitnessPal estimates the number of calories you need each day to break even and then subtracts 500 a day from there.  If you stay within their calorie limit, you should be burning 500 calories a day times seven days to make 3,500 a week, or about one pound. Unlike Weight Watchers, there is no "allowance" that allows you to splurge for a day.  I suppose you can always take it upon yourself to eat less one day to give yourself more calories another day.  I have a hard time with that though because I'm such a rule follower and when I see that little daily total reminder at the bottom, I want to fall in right by it exactly.

Sometimes I do miss the Weight Watchers flexibility that allowed me to basically have a weekend off and grab a burger if I wanted it.  I can still have that burger now, but I'd better be prepared to work damn hard for it exercising, not eat much else during the day, or see my calories go in the red at the bottom of the screen.  So you see, I have to make a choice if I want that special food.  I suppose it's like real life for everyone else!  You might say, "Uh, that's just eating responsibly."  *Sigh*  I don't like the new Weight Watchers because it didn't work well for me, but I remember the old days when I would pick one food or meal that I had been craving all week like a milkshake or pizza and enjoy it with probably indecent abandon on a Saturday.  That actually helped me stay on track because I knew that like baggage at an airport, my favorite foods weren't lost forever, they had hopped on a delayed flight and were waiting for the moment when I chose to pick them up at the gate.

I don't have the cravings yet because it's still early in the weight loss process and I'm all jazzed up, and because it still hurts when I eat fatty foods (kind of puts a damper on that pizza), but I know they will return.  I've found that if I deny myself for too long, then all of a sudden I lose my control, fall off the wagon, and binge eat.  I wish I could say this isn't true of myself, but it is.  Yesterday's 250 calories (mostly sweets) is a small reminder of what happens when I try to stay strong and push myself to accept hunger.  Fortunately, I can deal with 250 calories, but later when it's 2500 extra calories?  Because food is comfort for me, I need to find a way to let in those "fun foods" into my life and still stay on track.  I'm looking for some foods that I can enjoy and still stay on track.  It's a challenge for everyone!  Do you have any lower calorie foods that you just adore?  You know, the type of snack that conjures the image of sitting by a warm fireside with a good book and a cat in your lap?  That small indulgence that in a quiet five minutes makes your day that much better?  Let me know!

Friday, March 22, 2013

W2, Day 3: Hungry!

I'm hungry.  Very, very hungry.  The voracious dinosaur in my stomach is rawring her displeasure.  I don't want to give in, but I may allow an extra hundred calories or two to try and fill the empty.  We'll see.  In the meantime, RAWRRRRRRR!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

W2, Day 2: Journeys

I read an interesting essay (see link below) about a woman who lost 180 pounds after having weight loss surgery.  This essay struck me for a few different reasons.  First, when she was consulting her doctor about the surgery, he made an insensitive remark about how she'd now be able to fly without people on the plane giving her that "look of horror" (his words) because they might have to sit next to her.  The author was upset because what he said not just hurt her, but affirmed all the negative things she felt about herself.  Her doctor should have known better.  Just because someone is overweight doesn't mean she or he has no feelings or deserve to be treated like a pariah.  It doesn't mean people should shudder or think that the person is less than worthy.  And that's the problem.  This woman doesn't need anyone to think these negative things about her because she does it for herself.  I do it too.  I'm sure many overweight people do, which is ridiculous because one's weight doesn't define their worth.  Now if I just say that a million times and shout it from a mountain, I may believe it in my heart instead of just my mind.

The next thing that really struck me occurred after the author lost the weight.  She had surgery and lost a lot of weight without having to change her behaviors.  She became very thin.  At last her dream of beauty and social acceptance could come true, happiness and love only belonging to the thin after all.  Was she happy?  No.  Losing the weight didn't change her lack of self love.  Further, by losing the weight without changing her behavior or her mindset, she didn't deal with the underlying issues that caused her to gain the weight to begin with.  Here's a quote from her essay:

" I lost a lot of things along with the weight. I lost my sense of self. My sense of proportion. My sense of dignity, of maturity, of control. I was skinny, but my life wasn't suddenly and magically perfect-and that completely astonished me. It sounds ridiculous, having really fallen for the fairy tale of weight loss. But I had fallen for it completely, and then was blinded by the egregious lack of a happily ever after."

I used to fantasize that if I could somehow magically just become thin, I'd be able to maintain it.  I know now that is untrue.  That's part of why I originally started this blog.  Until I address my food issues and resolve or learn to control them, I'll never truly be successful.  As much as I sometimes wonder if a weight loss surgery option wouldn't give faster results, I think this process of calorie counting, reflecting, and (hopefully) exercising is my path to living a freer, happier life.  In other words, change that comes too easy isn't real change.  I was feeling badly that I'm back to where I am with my weight and having to begin my blog from what feels like the beginning, but maybe it's all a journey.  That's in the title of this blog after all.  It's a journey, not just a destination, and if the journey takes a little longer...well, that's okay too.  "What Losing 180 Pounds Really Does to Your Body-- & Your Mind"

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Week 2, Day 1 Weigh Day

I have been looking forward to this weigh day all week.  This morning I weighed in at 233.4 for a loss of 1.8 pounds.  Not the biggest loss I've ever had in the first week, but still a good loss and I'm happy.  Usually the first week I start I lose three or four pounds, but from my experiences this first week, I can tell there are going to be some new challenges to overcome.

1)  I'm much more sedentary at home than at work.  I got more calories to play with just by going to work since I used to be on my feet all day.  Though I do spend time walking around holding the baby, it's not nearly the same activity level.  You might think, "Well, why don't you move more?" That leads me to the next challenge.

2)  I'm tired.  On most nights, baby is doing a pretty good job of sleeping and my husband gets up with him too, but I wake up constantly through the night at every little squeak, sniffle, and complaining squawk and cry (he doesn't like sleeping alone).  It's much better than the first month, yet I'm still pooped most days and when I'm tired, I want to eat and eat and eat just for comfort.  Instead I've been drinking sugar free liquids like flavored water and tea all day.

3)  My stomach hurts.  This may actually end up helping my weight loss because it hurts sometimes after I eat and I get a wave of strong nausea.  If it continues I'll check in with my doctor, but in the meantime, sometimes it's hard for me to tell when I feel ill or just hungry.  It's definitely distracting.  In the meantime, eating healthy foods like oatmeal and fruits and veggis seem to help, so I've been sticking to low fat foods.

4)  I'm lacking in gym time.  I know lots of people who are working at weight loss exercise without using those calories, but I would usually eat mine since I'd earned them.  This was often a motivator when I was on the elliptical or jogging because I'd promise myself a fun food reward later.  That way I got in my enjoyable foods while still staying within my calories and keeping nutritious foods in place.  I'm thinking I might be able to sneak out to the gym for at least a little while on the weekends and maybe that would be a good place to start.

5)  I have a lot more time at home.  When I'm at work, time flies by.  I can't eat on the job (except for recess time and lunch), so I don't.  My food times are firmly set.  At home I have many more opportunities to eat and I have plenty of time to think about food.  I've set meal and snack times for myself during to day to help counter this, so I just have to stick with it.

All in all, I'm still feeling positive about reaching my goals, though I think it's going to be more of an uphill battle than in the past.  One week at a time is all I have to focus on though.  One pound a week is doable if I just keep at it.  It took me forty one weeks to put on this weight and it'll probably take as long to take it off and that's okay.  This isn't a race.  I'll dig out my jogging shoes yet, just not today.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Week 1, Day 5 Good for the Soul

This weekend I spent a lot of time gardening.  My husband graciously offered to watch baby so that I could spend some time outside.  I had rather planned to let go of my garden this year because I felt I didn't have the time to invest in it, but each day last week I watched spring start to take hold and felt such longing to go out and be part of it.  It sounds silly, but there is such joy in watching small flower buds begin to unfold.  Feeling the sun on your face and the cool wind swirl around you lifts the spirits, even when they didn't need lifting to begin with.

A Weight Watchers leader once said during a meeting that if you want to be successful at weight loss, you have to find a good hobby and I think it's true.  When I'm working my my garden I don't feel the hunger or the need to eat.  My mind is absorbed in imagining how things will be and creating a beautiful space.  I'm at peace.  Until I got out there this weekend, I didn't realize how much I had missed having the freedom of movement to hoist that shovel, pull those weeds, and climb up in that planting box.  My giant pregnancy belly and post pregnancy recovery kept me from doing most of those things in the last several months.  Now I am unleashed.

I'm very thankful for my outdoor time this weekend.  As much as I adore my baby, having some "me" time is wonderful too and I think it gives me strength to do better during the week, both in terms of food and being a good mommy.  Wait a minute, you might say, this is supposed to be a weight loss blog, not a baby blog....I know, I know, I'm getting back to it, but the two are linked together.  When I'm very tired, physically and mentally, I turn straight to food for comfort.  That was really apparent the first month after birth.  Everything was so overwhelming and exhausting that I had a direct line to my chocolate biscotti.  Now that baby is older and I'm feeling a bit more experienced, I think I'm more ready to use other things like my garden and baby's darling smiles to uphold me.  I find myself sore from head to foot today and it makes me smile because it was totally worth it.  What a great way to start the day.  :)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

W1, Day 3: Does anyone love jean shopping?

So I bought the pants.  To be more precise, the jeans.  The jeans larger than any size I’ve ever purchased.  Actually, it was a predecessor of these jeans that got me started on my weight loss path to begin with.  Years ago, I was at the mall with my husband shopping for new jeans when I realized that the only ones that would fit were a size 22.  I don’t know why that was my limit at the time, but I broke down and cried right there in the mall and vowed then and there to make some major food changes.  And so I did.

I kept a pair of my largest pants to remind me of those times and my bad habits and why I never wanted to go back to that mental place.  The day before I restarted this blog, I tried on those pants, only to realize they are too small.  Ouch.  That was a rather painful blow to my self-esteem.  Of course, 1) a pair of pants does not determine one’s character or worth, and 2) I had a baby eight weeks ago so it’s more understandable that my belly is larger.  Actually, I weigh less now than when I originally wore those pants, but my weight has redistributed itself to my tummy and thighs (I’d heard that I’d gain a bust size and was pretty all right with that, but it didn’t happen).  So, getting back to my original sentence, I sucked it up and bought the size 22 jeans that I’ve so dreaded.  Sadly, these pants are still a bit snug in the waistband, but I was unwilling to go any further up.  I don’t want to set that trend for myself.  I’ve gained four pants sizes through my pregnancy, and now I’m working my way back downward!

In other news, I’m hungry. Really, really hungry.  All right, that’s not really news.  I have charted everything I’ve eaten in the last two days, though I didn’t stay within calories yesterday.  I’ve been allotted 1,700 base calories plus any amount that I exercise.  I’ve been trying to fill up on vegetables.  While this is good for my body, it’s wrecking havoc on my digestive track so I haven’t been feeling the best.  From having done this before, I know that the first week is the hardest in terms of hunger and then my body adjusts and it’s fine.  In the meantime, I’m drinking lots of fluids and trying not to think about the grumbly in my tumbly.  Oddly, I realize there’s something cleansing about the discomfort, as though I’m feeling the excess slide away.  It can keep on sliding!  Tired and hungry, I still feel positive and excited too.  Bring it on!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Week 1, Day 2: Stats

Okay, yesterday was the overview of why I’m back to my current weight.  Today is for the nitty gritty, painful details.  I’m embarrassed, so let’s just get them out of the way right away, rather like the way it’s less painful to pull off a band aid all at once or easier to jump into a pool instead of slide in slowly.  Today I weighed in at 235.2.  That’s not the highest weight I’ve ever been at before pregnancy, but it’s definitely not something I’m proud of.  The day I learned I was pregnant, my birthday last year, I weighed in at 202.  The day I went into the hospital to start labor, I weighed in at 261, having gained 59 pounds.  Yikes. 

Aiming to lose one pound per week, I’ve set my new goal at 190 pounds, with a secondary (never reached) goal at 175.  If you’re new to my blog, you may wonder why I chose a goal that would not make me skinny.  The reason is that I don’t necessarily want to be thin (although really, who doesn’t?), but rather, I want to feel healthy, confident, and strong.  I feel good at 190 pounds, comfortable in my own body.  I’ve been that weight before so I know it’s attainable and reasonable for me.  I would very much like to reach 175 pounds or a little under because that would take me out of the obese category on the b.m.i. charts, but I’m willing to set that goal a little farther out.  I want to focus first on something I can reach.

Another goal I really want to highlight is less measurable, but I want to regain my strength.  Before my pregnancy, I went to the gym several times a week.  I felt strong and could see and feel my muscle growth.  Now I feel frustratingly weak.  Getting up from the ground is tough.  Sitting up in bed is tough.  Walking more than a few minutes is tough.  I hate it.  While I still have my membership, I haven’t been to the gym since November.  I’m not trying to make excuses, but I don’t foresee going in the near future either.  I imagined that after birth, I’d be able to pop right back in and work that elliptical.  The reality is that my constraints are time and exhaustion.  I truly can’t go during the day while I’m taking care of the baby.  I have a window of a couple hours in the evening when my husband is home and we jointly care for baby, but by then, the lack of sleep and exhaustion from the day weighs me down and I’m already looking towards bed.  I think this will improve as the baby begins sleeping more at night, and if not, summer is only a couple of months away and we’ll both be home all day. Until then, baby and I have been going for walks.  It’s crazy how a 25 minute walk around the neighborhood exhausts me, but it’s the first step towards building up some endurance.  We’ll keep at it and I’m going to attempt some exercises at home.  Maybe I should just do reps of lifting the baby up and down over my head.  After seven weeks of holding him, my arms are definitely getting a work out!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Week 1, Day 1 Back Again! Post Pregnancy

Well, my blog has been neglected for quite some time!  The reason being is that I’ve been pregnant with my beautiful baby boy, Liam.  Now that he’s born and we’re both finding our way, I’ve decided to take back my body.  In truth, I’ve been longing to take back control for weeks and weeks, but found myself lacking the energy and motivation to control my food intake both after the baby was born and during the end of my pregnancy, especially in the last trimester.  Feeling like I was starving every three hours during that time didn’t help much either.

Really though, I gained a lot of weight during those last few weeks of my pregnancy and I think a lot of the reason was emotional.  I wasn’t working, so my body was much less active and it hurt all over to move, adding to my couch time.  I obsessed about meeting my baby and when labor would start and was so bored.  Boredom, pain, and inactivity are a bad combination!  So where did I turn for comfort?  Food of course!  I was hungry all the time—true hunger, not imaginary hunger—but the problem was the food choices I made.  I ate the healthy low fat, high protein yogurt, but added fatty, sugary granola.  I drank glasses of milk…but had a side of cookies to go with it.  I munched on carrots…but dipped them in full fat ranch dressing.  Hot chocolate was my best friend.
You get the idea. 
I gained ten pounds in the last three weeks of my pregnancy alone.  Add in Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years (always difficult food control times for me) and that last trimester was not forgiving for weight gain.  I’m so embarrassed to tell you my weight now, after all the progress I made the last time I wrote in this blog.  The only thing that keeps me from being absolutely ashamed is that with all the weight gain, I also gained someone precious.  My new little love is worth the damage to my body.

It’s time for me to take back my body and get in control.  I logged my foods today for the first time in at least eight months.  Today I take the first steps.  I’ve done it before and I can do this.