Friday, December 31, 2010

This Just In...


Today is the day, the last day of 2010 & the end of my ill-named but no less passionate "Overweight in '08" campaign--my goal to start 2011 with a BMI of less than 30 & thus be done with obesity.  Until the last minute, I was convinced that I had failed in my quest & was doomed to start the new year with Opal & her friend, obesity. 

The bad news: I didn't make my weight goal, I missed it by 0.2 lbs.  The good news: I'm horrible at math & it didn't matter.  I had calculated the weight I needed to get the BMI, but I had used a simplified online calculator that just wasn't accurate.  As of this morning, my BMI is 29.5...OVERWEIGHT!

As I was getting weighed & having my measurements done, I had prepped myself for defeat & was busy giving myself the mental pep talk about the value of trying & setting lofty goals.  Blah blah blah.  In reality I was so discouraged.  Even as I was having my measurements done & they were coming up great, I just didn't care.  All I could think about was my BMI & my failed attempt.  It didn't matter that I knew that I would still hit the goal at some point, I wanted it so bad in that moment that it was crushing.  When the little gizmo popped up my BMI reading, I balled like a baby.  Thank goodness for my loving Curves family understanding how hard I've worked & how much it meant to me.

This has been an interesting venture.  The burden of public failure was more stressful than I anticipated.  Perhaps this goal was harder than my prior mini-goals, or perhaps it was my fear of humiliation, but I was a basket case for the last three days.  Perhaps it might have been good for me to fail...a dose of humiliation can do great things for one's motivation.  However, I'm much happier to be able to say that I am no longer obese & I will never be that way again.
Weight tracker & BMI printout to be framed at a later date.

I am excited to have this fresh start in 2011.  This is the year that I will hit 100 lbs gone.  This is the year that I will run my first 5K.  This is the year that I will hit my goal weight (thought I haven't yet decided what that will be).  But right now, I'm most excited to show off my little sheets of (illegible) paper that say "Mission Accomplished."

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Face of Obesity


Is this the face of obesity?

Yes, yes it is.  I have plans to change that, but for today, I'm going to climb onto my soapbox & preach something I am extremely passionate about.

One third of Americans are obese, so out of three people in a room, chances are one of them is obese (to say nothing of the other third that are overweight).  The problem is that we're not willing to acknowledge it.  Skinnies & fatties alike want obesity to look like Danny (430 lbs), Michael (526 lbs), & Patrick (400 lbs).  As the last three winners of "Biggest Loser,"  it is easy, comfortable & comforting to identify them as (formerly) obese.  With that visual in our heads, we can feel safe that we are nothing like "those" people (said with all love because I have nothing but respect for those guys & their hard work!).  It's the same feeling that you get watching "Springer:" I might be bad, but I'm not THAT bad.  Truth is, I am that "bad."

I, in this picture, am obese.  My BMI is 30.  I am nearly 30 pounds outside of the upper limit of a healthy weight for my height.  I am wearing a large sweater & size 14 pants.  I am 178 lbs.

I, in this picture, am not ugly.  I am not stupid.  I am not dirty.  I am not lazy.  I am not deluded.  I am not without self control. 

If we can't see obesity for the precise problem that it is, we can't fix it.  Obesity is not a character flaw, it is a serious medical condition, one that many suffer from whether they can acknowledge it or not.  I am thankful that I have gotten to a place where I can see obesity for what it is & put myself in a position to correct it on a granular level.  That is all that I can do. 

Sermon finished.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Smile, You're on Candid Camera


Candid photos...eeeeeek!  A nightmare for anyone with body issues.  Even at my heaviest, I was able to take a posed picture that didn't make me want to cry.  All I needed was a mere twenty minutes to dress, camouflage, suck & arrange.  A candid photo affords no such's the unvarnished, un-sucked-in truth & the truth often hurts.  

As I was going through the some 300 pics that we snapped on Christmas day, I had a realization:

1)  The digital age makes for an unreasonable & unmanageable amount of family almost made me long for the time of my youth when any event could be documented in 24 pictures (36 if it was a really special occasion).

2)  I don't want to vomit looking at the candid pictures of me opening gifts with my children.  Somewhere along the line my body truly has changed shape in places that I can't see on a regular basis & my relaxed posture has improved dramatically.  Don't get me wrong, all candid pictures of me still prominently feature my big mouth hanging wide open (I've merely shed pounds, not changed the core of who I am!), but they don't all make me wish that I had a graphic design degree & a proficiency with Photo Shop. 

So, in the name of being completely honest, a collection of candid photos that may not be flattering, but they no longer cause me to cry.  Feel free to not look at them as they are about as exciting to others as vacation photos or reunion pics.

Prominently featured: the hip & thigh & a box of cookies that Sara didn't eat by herself.

Up close & personal with no double chin (partial credit goes out to my good friend, Turtleneck).

Thigh spread: not as spready as you once were.

Ok, not a candid shot, but my hips are not dwarfing the Snuggie box!

Yes, that is the Perfect Brownie pan, completing Sara's "As Seen on TV" Christmas.

Mom, my level of embarrassment at you posting such unfiltered pics is just shocking. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Little Pink Box


Christmas presents for Sara this year rotated around the idea that everyone who sees me on a somewhat regular basis is tired of seeing my clothes fall off.  I've been avoiding purchasing too much in the way of new clothes because I am not yet to a stopping point...this is merely a weigh station (so to speak).  My friends & family were so sweet & I now have a set of gift stores who's doors I haven't darkened in years!

One in particular brought me to tears.  Ladies, you know this box:
In case you might not understand (so much the better for you--there will be no hating here!), this is a BFD!  I've always thought of lingerie gifts as a cop-out as far a presents for a woman are concerned...let's face it, it's not for the lady.  But here's the thing I realized as I opened this little pink box: it was nice that my husband COULD buy me something from Vickie' hadn't even been an option for so many years.  Yes, that is me crying in that picture.  Yes, Dave said that was the reaction he was going for.  He said he even contemplated actually picking something out for me, something he was too terrified to do in the past, but then he remembered that he's a man & he has no idea what I would want.  Too bad for him, too...that cute pink gift card is going to buy me some sensible knickers that don't pool in the crotch (yes, I just said crotch in public) of my pants as they are hanging off of my body (that is how I roll these days).  No feathers, no sequins, just cotton that fits.   

So, time to go shopping!  It's a good way to get some extra steps in on my way to the big weigh-in on Friday & a great way to put an end to every night being Amateur Night at The Hurler House.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Eleventh Hour Update


Today was last weigh-in before the polls close on my big campaign.  Next week I'll know for sure if 2010 was my last year of obesity or if Opal & friends will be singing "Auld Lang Syne" with me. 

Last week I had 5.4 pounds to go.  I was a little frightened & overwhelmed.  I knew that it was possible, but the weight of my public commitment & my sincere desire was crushing.  After WW on Saturday, I decided that I couldn't regret the outcome if I tried my hardest.  Over this last week, I laced up & went to work-out four times.  I did two Zumba classes.  I went to the mall & walked when I didn't have any shopping to do (which is odd because I still seemed to come home with bags).  I was careful about every spoonful, finger-lick & sip that went into my mouth.  I worked hard to make every rep, step & bite work hard for me.

No campaign is complete without some baby smoochin'!

The result of all of that last minute campaigning?  I'm only 2.2 pounds away.  Still a big task, but not insurmountable.  Stay posted.  Exit polls will be available next Friday.  If I'm to win, I have some more stumping (& running & lifting & zumba-ing) to do, so I better hit the trail. 

Here's to "Overweight in '08!" stay classy, San Diego!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Red Letter, Green Sweater Day


Yesterday was a bigstinkingdeal kind of day--the good kind, not the sarcastic kind.  We packed the kids in van & braved the crowds to finish our Christmas shopping.  This in itself is not notable beyond the fact that Dave & I have finally matured past the point of doing all of our Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve--at Walgreens.   The mall was as expected, a crush of crazies & their whining children who were promised a visit to Santa but not prepped for the hour & a half wait.  (Side note of hilarity: it took two mall cops to shut down the Santa line when it was time for the big man to take a lunch break.  At first I thought that was excessive, but you know there were frazzled moms that made the brute squad perfectly necessary).  Back to the throngs of people, here's the part where it gets good...

Dave: "Sara, I can't auto-recognize you in a crowd anymore."
Sara: "Huh?"
Dave: "You look so different & we go out so little that I'm not used to what you look like when I'm trying to find you in a crowd."

Aside from the clearly depressing part about us not going out in public--even to a mall--on a very regular basis, how exciting is that?!?!?  I have pulled off the ultimate disguise & I can now begin my life as a spy.  Even my husband won't recognize me as long as I do all of my spying in densely populated spaces.  Montana, you are safe.

I swear that is stove-top cleaner, not a bottle of hooch in the background.
As if that wasn't awesome enough, I got lured into a store promising an additional 40% off of sale items (I know, how could I just walk by?) & ended up hesitantly coming out with a sweater with no "extras" on the tag.  None.  Not one & certainly not two.  When we got home, I tried it on immediately.  Dave was outside shoveling.  I was so excited that it fit, I tore out of the house screaming "I'm extra free, I'm extra free!"  Poor guy, he looked at me as though I was making some sort of commentary on the state of Tibet & I'm sure my neighbors think I'm insane (the screaming was accompanied by a little move-busting--wouldn't you know, Dave was playing "Dynamite" when I came out).  Sorry neighbors, sorry neighbors' house sitter, on a day this great, nothing to do except host a dance party on your front step.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

C is for Cookie!


Something to make you smile:

Less grin getting: I had four cookie occasions last week.  FOUR! In ONE week!  That's a lot of say nothing of the eating.  Thankfully I'm 10 months into figuring out this whole moderation thing, so I still had a pretty good week.  Old Sara would have been high on the hog (or pillow puff...mmmmmm...), but New Sara took time & savored some, shared a lot, & enjoyed the events that surrounded all of those baked goods.  I tried really hard to think about the people I was baking/decorating for/with.  It took the focus off of sugarplums & marzipan (ok, I have no idea what those things are, but aren't the words fun?) & onto the people & the fun of the holiday...something I am perennially bad at. 
I am hoping that the influx of sweets is over at our house, because with two weeks left until the New Year, I've got 5 lbs to mini-goal & that BMI's not going to lower itself.  So, enough typey-typey, more movey-movey!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

2010: Dynamite!


I've never been a big crier.  Probably because I look AWFUL doing it.  Even as a child, my eyes would become immediately bloodshot & my nose would insta-drip down my face & I'd develop a weird saliva issue.  Pretty.  I think somewhere along the line I decided it wasn't worth the the ravages to my beauty to bother crying too much.

This morning, the enormity of my past year hit me like a ton of bricks & I couldn't stop the show.  It took quite the mix of odd circumstances, but when they all came together it was like Niagara Falls up in here.  It went as follows:

1.  Yesterday Lincoln asked, "May I pretty please have strawberries for breakfast."  I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing my three-year-old self's heart's desire of breakfast food had something to do with the golden arches & a lot of syrup.  My kid craved berries...real ones, not the "crunch" variety.

2.  Last night I watched the "Biggest Loser Finale."  I have nothing but love for BL & I would count myself among the people that they refer to incessantly on finale night: "the millions of people at home that the Biggest Loser has helped."  However, there was something different for me about this finale (the third I have watched).  I didn't see the contestants as Herculean anomalies, I viewed them as peers...& quite frankly, some of them dropped the ball & squandered a fabulous opportunity.  To date, I have a higher percentage of weight loss than 9 of the 21 people featured, & almost identical to another 2.  That's not to say that I think that there was anyone who hasn't done great things in their life, & I don't want to minimize anyone, but it really put things into a brand new perspective for me to have these people seem extra-ordinary rather than extraordinary.

3.  This morning I got into the car at 5:45 to go to work out.  This is not out of the ordinary at all for New Sara, but quite unfathomable for Old Sara & given my already reflective mood something struck just right as...

4.  "Dynamite" came on the radio.  I rarely listen to current pop music, but I was driving Dave's car (yes, Dave's) & he had the radio set to our local KISS station of teeny-bopper drivel.  "Dynamite" is frothy, it's celebratory & it was just the kind of party anthem that I needed to set the happy waterworks on full force.

Even now thinking about it, & listening to Taio for the 50th time this morning, I'm choking up & feeling incredibly proud of myself & thankful for the journey & just plain happy about how I have used the time given to me in 2010. 

However, back in the car on the way to work out this morning, I was snapped out of my reverie & back to dry land by the end of the song, at which point Elvis Duran comes on to segue into a pleasant little game called "Stan on the Crapper" (couldn't have made that up if I tried).  *sigh* Back to the real world.

Sunday, December 12, 2010



Lincoln trying to help me detox by sharing the burden.

I have a problem.  My name is Sara & I'm a nursorexic.

I have been fretting about the day that I ween Coraline from the time I got pregnant.  Because I had a plan to start WW back up at exactly six weeks postpartum, I knew that I would be nursing while on plan.

With Lincoln, I lost the baby weight initially by nursing alone & when I weened I gained most of it back.  I had gotten into some awful eating habits while nursing that really kicked my butt (or rather grew it) when I was done.  This time around, I realized that nursing moms need more calories to sustain, but I was deathly afraid that I wouldn't be able to discern needed calories vs superfluous.  It took a couple of months to get through the initial ravenous stage, but then I leveled out & now I feel very comfortable that I am eating appropriately to sustain Coraline's gain & my loss.

While her gain IS my gain (both on a lovey-gushy mommy level & on a very physical poundage level), I am terrified that I will have a repeat performance & actually gain once I'm not pumping my calories into my baby.  I'm afraid of my inability to scale back once I'm done "eating for two."

I find myself fantasizing about being one of those mothers who has a second grader that comes home & has milk & cookies as an after school snack--with me starring as the milk.

I wonder if it would be weird to just keep pumping--forever.

I think about going out in search of needy babies who have no mother to feed them--orphans or kittens or something.

I have always said that my reasons for nursing were more selfish than pure.  I hate to wash bottles & I hate measuring out formula.  I'm lazy when it comes to feeding my baby & it turns out that for me, once I push past the tricky early weeks, nursing is the laziest choice.  Sure, I love that I'm setting my kids up with antibodies & nutrients, but I love it even more that I don't have to sterilize nipples.  And now, I also love it that Coraline is sucking the life right out of my posterior.

Nursing has become such an integral part of the process that I am scared the whole thing will fall apart when that piece is gone.  I'm not in any rush to ween right now, but as she craves more & more solids,  I find myself feeling nervous & thinking about THE END--the day I can no longer use my daughter to justify my three o'clock cheese habit.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Walk This Way


A couple of years ago, when I was still working, I wore a pedometer for a few months, lost it & didn't replace it.  At that time, I was averaging about 3,000-4,000 steps per day.  With a desk job & no work out plan in sight, that doesn't seem too surprising.

On Saturday, I purchased a new pedometer on a whim.  Though I scoff at all of the celebrity moms that coyly say, "Oh, I just stay in shape by chasing after my kids," I have to admit that it certainly doesn't hurt.  I'm sure also involved in the increase is the fact that I have lost weight & thus gained energy...a sort of positive vicious circle.  Since Saturday, my step average is about 8,000, not counting work outs.  Who knew?!?

It's a fun game to see if I can increase my step count over the prior day & I like having a way to quantify my daily activity outside of working out.  I'd like to see my average for a week above 10,000, a good goal to help me on with my looming goal for "Overweight in '08." 

Definitely a good impulse buy.  Now, if only the DVD copy of "Undercover Brother" were that useful.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

This One's For the Girls


I just had a delicious revelation.  Pardon me for being crass, but my cans look great (I use the word cans in the interest of honesty because that is what flew out of my mouth when I had the shocked revelation to Dave the other night)!

Since I haven't gotten any new bras, gone under the knife, or found a time machine to take me back to 2001 (all of which I am open to), I am left with one conclusion...Opal's taking damage!  I have no idea how many hit points she has left under her belt, but I know this, she is beginning her retreat & it's left me looking a little more buxom. 

One of my self-worth barometers has always been boob to belly ratio.  If the boobs had clearance beyond the belly, I could live with looking in the mirror.  If the belly eclipsed the boobs, wailing & gnashing of teeth.  I was surprised & horrified when Opal began digging in her heels & the bosom started saying "Bon voyage!" Though I had lost a good amount of weight I felt worse about my body.

Happy days are here again--this morning's measurements confirmed that the old girl shrunk 3.75 inches this month!  I think this will likely be a cycle that I endure throughout the rest of the process, losing irregularly & going through awkward stages.  If only I could special order where I wanted to shed pounds on any given day.  *sigh*  There's no pleasing some people.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miles to Go Before I Sleep


I've been on this leg of my journey to sincerely shed pounds since my thirtieth birthday on February 17th.  Since then I have abolished about 87 pounds, gotten into a new "century," dropped 4 pants' sizes (8 if you count the odd sizes, too), decreased my BMI by 12 points & whittled a combined 35 inches off of my whole body.  So, given 9 months & all of this success, why am I still so filled with self doubt?

The past couple of weeks, I have really struggled with my faith in myself & the progress I have made.  Though I have come so far, in my head I often revert back to Old Sara.  When I get on the scale & I'm waiting for the number to pop up, I guess what I think it will be...always putting a 2 in the first position, though I have been out of the two hundreds for two months.  When I think about my clothes, I sometimes ransack my room for "the only jeans that fit"...just to remember that I shrunk out of them six months ago & took them to Goodwill around the same time.  And then there are the less concrete, but more damaging things about the adjectives that I use to describe myself in my head where no one can hear me: fat, lazy, lumpy, saggy, stupid, huge, unattractive, dirty & my personal favorite: squishy.

It came to a head because I was out of my controlled environment while on vacation.  I had wonderful, supportive family all around me & not a single food pusher among them.  And even though the scale subsequently showed that I made great choices & proved that being on plan doesn't mean being deprived,  I couldn't help feeling out of control & I couldn't stop the nagging voice in my head from saying undermining & hurtful things.

I'm sick & tired of this kind of reverse pride.  As a middle-schooler, an influential adult said to me that humility is "the accurate assessment of yourself," neither fluffing yourself up nor putting yourself down.  Both ends of the spectrum amount to a kind of detrimental pride.  That has stuck with me for nearly 20 years & I often go back to that idea as a way to gauge how I am presenting myself to others, but now I am realizing that I also need to shine that light internally.  Clearly I have come a long way, but mentally, there is still so far to go.  How do I rewrite so many years of internal self-loathing into a healthy appreciation of self?  Not sure, but once again I am fully convinced that the battle against bulge for me (as for so many people) is primarily a war in the mind rather than a war of the behind.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mortification, Thy Name is Motherhood


Speak No Evil
Lincoln is in love with rhyme.  He loves to hear rhymes & more & more, he loves to create rhymes. He doesn't feel constrained to keep himself to real words.  He just likes to throw out rhyming words & syllables with nonsensical abandon.  He gets the biggest kick out of it.  I exploit his love, using it as a way to fill time while waiting in line or in the car.

Today, we were at the doctor's office for his three year check up.  Given that it has suddenly become winter, we were bundled to the hilt to get here & there.  After his appointment, we were standing by the reception desk getting ready to brave the cold & Link says "Let's rhyme!  Gut!  Butt!" 

At that point, I decided to gloss over his minor infraction & see if we could just move on.  As I fought to get a squirmy baby into her coat, I absent mindedly said, "What other 'ut' words do you know?"


I stole a quick look at the receptionist to confirm that she was shaking...with laughter or with rage, I'm not sure.  For my part, I was trying really hard NOT to visibly laugh as doing so would surely guarantee that his made-up word would become a permanent fixture in his schtick.  He should probably trust his comedic instincts--nothing kills like a three year old calling his mother a slut at the pediatrician's office.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Livin' the Miller High Life


We went to Arizona for Thanksgiving.  Holy crap--I've got a good 7" of clearance.  And if I had been sitting by a real person (rather than a car seat), our butt cheeks would only have touched if I wanted them to do so.  Not that I can think of a good reason to share airplane butt sweat with anyone...but in my prior life that didn't matter.  It was cozy cozy with butt sweat to share.

I'm savoring this little victory while I can.  I'll get on the scale tomorrow & find out what my T-Giving damage amounts to.  I'm not optimistic, but I'm also not in terror.  I feel good about the choices that I made, even the ones that weren't particularly nutritious.  Yes, I ate pie, cake, chocolate, stuffing & popcorn shrimp (not all at once...that would have been Old Sara), but I also ate zucchini, squash, brussels sprouts & cauliflower.

Another unrelated victory: we took a trip & had mere minor calamities & only forgot the baby shampoo.  Quite possibly a first for our family.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A List of Appropriate Thanks


This week has been a doozy.  I've had a couple of days of pity party, a couple of days of cold weather binge eating, a couple of obligatory birthday eating.  The counting of blessings has gotten short shift.  Then, on a whim I asked Link what he was thankful for.  His amazingly astute answers (given that he is only three) made me remember that it wouldn't kill me to pick myself up by my boob straps & think about thanks. 

Here is Link's list (in his order of priority):
I am thankful that I go poopy in the potty.
I am thankful for my food that I can eat.

Here is mine (in a more random order, omitting the obvious answers of family, friends & faith):
I am thankful for coming to a place where I can get rid of both mental & physical pounds.

I am thankful for yellow paint on the walls to brighten gray days.

I am thankful for making my journey not only in a time where it is beneficial to me & the (many) remaining years of my life, but that it is timely for my kids as they are just forming ideas about eating & health & wellness & their bodies.

I am thankful for Uggs.

I am thankful for "Biggest Loser" for helping to show me that there aren't athletes & regular people, there are just regular people who do athletic things through hard work & persistence.

I am thankful for online shopping.

I am thankful for Civil Rights & the people who fight for them even when it is unpopular--on either side of the aisle.

I am thankful for "Dinosaur Train."

I am thankful to have had a daughter.  Having a girl has made me stop & remember how great it is to be a girl & how important it is to treasure femininity.  In the age of equality, feminine can become a four letter word.  I want to raise a girl that is both feminine & powerful in one amazing package.

I am thankful for "Springer"--nothing snaps you out of a pity party like seeing how bad it could really be.

I am thankful for my opportunity to be at home with  my kids.  I know that it's not the choice for everyone but I am 100% certain it was the right choice for me & my family & I wouldn't trade it for anything.  I know that my kids will be babies for a mere minute & I am so thankful to be able to spend the whole minute with them.

I am thankful for Diet Coke.

I am thankful for words.  Mixing & swirling ideas & phrases together to exorcise my demons & come up with this little blog is one of my most favorite things to do. 

And finally, I am thankful for the internet...where else can you find "Glee," all of the friends you never knew you had, a recipe for Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Pancakes & plane tickets to Phoenix in one place?  Answer: the tabs I have open right now.  Catch ya' later, kids!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Campaign Update


Out stumping on my campaign & this just in: half way to goal!  When I started my ineptly named but sincerely heartfelt campaign to be "Overweight by '08," I had 15 pounds to go to get my BMI from obese down to 29--overweight!  As of this Saturday's weigh in, I'm 8 pounds from mini-goal.  Some more math that made me smile (yup, math made me smile, first time EVER):

This week I got rid of 2.23% of my body weight...Dave & I both decided that was enough for me to stay on the ranch for at least one more week.  Good thing because I don't really have any other options.

Since February, I am down 31.6%.  That's nearly one third of myself that is gone...& I feel at LEAST one third better.

We'll see how this week goes, with cold weather foraging (grrrrrr) & Thanksgiving, this week's promise is feeling a bit tepid.  Either way, I'm well on my way to being overweight!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Few of My (Least) Favorite Things


Since it isn't quite Thanksgiving Week, I'm going to get some things out of my system that I am NOT thankful for.  We'll see if a more appropriate list manifests itself next week.

I am not thankful for kids so snotty (literally) that items get stuck in the snot flowing down their precious faces.

I am not thankful for the cold.  Last year I was pregnant & didn't even notice it.  This year I'm freezing to death & it's only November.

I am not thankful for loose skin.  I'm lotioning up so much, I feel like Buffalo Bill: "It puts the lotion on the skin."  I may only be 30, but my skin looks 70. 

I am not thankful for potty issues & sleep issues at the same time.  These kids are ganging up on us!

I am not thankful for slow & steady.  I know that anything worth accomplishing isn't easy, but can't shedding this weight be hard & FAST?

I am not thankful for caffeine.  If I can't have it, no one should.

I am not thankful for Swiffers, SpotBots, Roombas, microwaves, dishwashers or washing machines.  I would rather just not have to ever cook or clean.

I am not thankful for Krispy Kreme, nachos or Costco cupcakes.  All who make or distribute said items might as well be pushing heroin or cocaine as far as I am concerned.

I am not thankful for whining.  Dogs or kids, it drives me nuts either way.

I am not thankful for raindrops on roses OR whiskers on kittens.  For that matter, I am not thankful for bright copper kettles--but I suppose I do love warm woolen mittens.  I guess life's not all bad.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake


Every junkie has triggers.  An activity, a song, a time of day--a baked good.  Lord help me I lose all self control around anything cake-ish.  Doughnuts, cake, muffins, & scones make me weak in the knees.  Imagine my terror at the prospect of Link's 3rd birthday party & the epic cake that was required.  For Dave's birthday in September I had no qualms with doing the fake cake applesauce substitute version.  I couldn't do that to a child.  He deserves the kind of cake that I remember fondly from childhood, butter-creamy & dense, the kind that leaves a grease spot on the paper party plate that it is dished out on.  I would make my boy the cake that he had been asking for since we started talking about his upcoming birthday--but would it make it to the party or would I scarf it down days prior & be left offering party guests a partial bag of chocolate chips & some stale Fig Newtons as party refreshments?

For our dinosaur party I decided to do a large, round two-layer cake.  I baked the first layer & was feeling good about my resolve.  I had an obligation to my son & I was going to fulfill it.  As I flipped the cake out of the pan, I knew that I could conquer this cake conundrum...until the cake stayed in the pan.  I shook it, I slid a knife around the edge, I banged on the upturned bottom of the pan, & I cursed.  Finally I felt some movement.  I peeked under the pan & saw half of the cake laying on the board.  In retrospect, I could have glued it together with frosting & no one would have been the wiser.  Instead I threw a hissy fit, took one handful & handed it to my eager son & another handful & shoved it in my mouth.  With a missing hunk, this cake was without purpose.  Dangerous.  Dave insisted that the cake be saved in hunks & put in the freezer for picking at later.  Super dangerous.  Dave may be able to pick, but I am powerless to anything but mow through.

Then I got serious.  Still obligated, still motivated.  I revised my plan down to a single layer realizing that it would still be more than enough for the family & friends in attendance.  This kept me from having SIX cakes (two boxes per layer) laying around.  I put Dave in charge of burying the broken shards in the freezer where I would have to risk frost bite to dig them out.  And then I floured the heck out of the pan & made one perfect layer with an obscene amount of butter cream frosting. 

I ate one piece at the party & half a piece the next night.  Period.  My son won't suffer because I have to learn to control myself...& honestly, neither did I.  My 1.5 pieces tasted just as good as the 1.5 cakes that I could have eaten, but they didn't come with guilt, self loathing or tooth decay.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It's in the Jeans


At the end of every month, I take a picture in front of my fridge to document my progress.  This is me when I started Weight Watchers (down 15 pounds from my heaviest):
March 27, 2010

In a special middle of the month picture update, me now:
November 10, 2010
This unscheduled picture update celebrates a couple of mini goals for me.  I walked into Gap & bought new jeans (out of the store, not from extended sizes online) the size I wore when I graduated from high school...& they are skinny jeans...& I was able to tuck them into my boots...& do I see a hint of collar bone, too?
Holy crap this has been a big night!  I distinctly remember thinking that I would never be able to tuck my jeans into boots because a) I'd never wear skinnies & b) I'd never have the surplus room in the calves of my boots.  Look at me on trend, two years late.
Opal, I'm coming for you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happiness is a Warm Pair of Dave's Sweats


There are few joys simpler than a sweatpants day.  I had one yesterday.  It started off at the crack of dawn.  Darling Coraline was screaming at 5:00 (I hate FDR--he clearly didn't have small children when he instituted Daylight Saving Time), ready for her first breakfast.  It was cold in our house & I fumbled around in a laundry basket in the dark looking for some beefier clothes.  I put on some sweat pants & a sweatshirt, took care of my baby & then crawled back into bead for another hour.

When I got up, imagine my surprise when I realized I had hit a mini-goal without even knowing about it.  I was wearing Dave's sweats!  This may not seem like an accomplishment.  Anyone who has seen my husband sweat will wonder if I've lost my mind wanting to wear any of his previously worn clothes, clean or not.  Nonetheless, it a right of a wife to be able to raid her husband's clothes, particularly on days when she's feeling like bumming around the house.  I hadn't been able to wear Dave's britches for YEARS.  Though I got below Dave's weight a little while ago, the hips just wouldn't allow me to wear his pants without looking obscene.

Dave, usually so supportive of my goals, was less than happy with my achievements.  He seems to think that he's never going to be able to wear his own stuff now.  He graciously let me keep them on yesterday but was quick to add that he didn't think it needed to be a regular occurrence.  We shall see.  I don't want to have sweats days every day, but by golly when I do, it's nice to know I have options.

Friday, November 5, 2010

What are you doing? Part II (Time for Pragmatism)


While I resolutely believe making a lifestyle change stick requires flexibility, there are a few things that I have found work for me.  No hard & fast rules, just better choices.  In a departure from my prosey self, a pragmatic list of things I'm DOING to get the job done.
  • Exorcise the demons (figuring out why I eat, particularly when I'm not hungry, & getting at all of the junk that has gotten me to this point is the single most important thing I have done.  I  think 80% of the process is getting my head right & only 20% is getting my food right.  this time I'm not letting anything fester & lurk in my mind, if I figure something out, it's going in the blog.  thank you for helping me slay the dragon rather than merely muzzling the beast)
  • Weight Watchers (doesn't address WHAT I eat, merely helps me rethink how much)
  • Curves (no hard core gym for me, the intimidation factor was too great)
  • Measure everything (my food scale, measuring cups & measuring spoons are essential)
  • Log everything (most credible diet plans & nutritionists agree that food journaling is critical to not only shedding pounds, but also to breaking habits & learning how to make healthy choices)
  • Plan ahead (I make bad choices on the fly, so I make meal plans on Sunday for the rest of the week)
  • Cook one meal for the whole family (I do most of the cooking & I refuse to eat rice cakes & celery while my family eats a real meal)
  • Cook & freeze (my freezer is full of individual portions of supper leftovers that can serve as a quick, healthy meal later)
  • Analyze favorite recipes (can I use less oil? would this be just as tasty with half of the cheese? can I add extra veggies to boost nutrients & volume? can I substitute turkey bacon? can I cut the sugar in half? the answer is nearly always yes & it rarely affects taste or satisfaction)
  • Snack on real food (preferably something that grew out of the ground or had a mother.  this helps me assess if I'm actually hungry or if I'm eating for another's a lot more work to eat real food)
  • Fiber (not in supplements, in real food. I'm a volume eater, so without fiber I'd be toast!)
    • whole wheat bread, pasta & tortillas
    • whole grain brown rice
    • old fashioned oats (I eat oatmeal w/bananas or raisins every day for breakfast)
    • whole wheat flour
    • lots of greens, whole vegetables & whole fruits (vegetables at every lunch & dinner are a must for the whole family)
  •  Dairy (the ONLY food group if you ask me)
    • skim milk
    • Greek yogurt (I like the Yoplait Vanilla Honey & the Stonyfield Farms Caramel the best for straight eating & plain varieties as an excellent sub for sour cream in cooking, baking & on tacos!)
    • 2% milk cheese (fat free tastes like rubber & full fat just isn't worth the calories for everyday use)
  • Sweets & Treats (yup, I still eat sweets, but not every day & certainly not in the quantity that I used to.  I am mindful of "budgeting" my treats for something that I really love rather than a bunch of somethings that I like--even if those other things are low-cal.  if I'm not enjoying my food or I'm feeling deprived, I won't stick with it for a lifetime.  since this is a forever commitment, I sure better find a way to make treats fit--because there's no way I can banish chocolate forever!)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

What are you doing? Part I (Obesity is a Zombie)


Now that I've "gone public," I am hearing the same question over & over again: what are you doing?  It's a pretty innocuous question, & one I know that I have asked others on occasion.  What I have found in being on the receiving end of said question is something that I never would have expected (but know in retrospect that I have been guilty of in the past).  Here's how it plays out.

Kindly Stranger, Friend, Family Member or Acquaintance (practically salivating, eyes bugging out & encroaching on my personal space): "Wow, you've lost weight!  What are you doing?"
New Sara:  "Wouldn't you know it?  All of those kooks touting diet & exercise were right.  I watch what & more importantly how much I eat & I work out."
Kindly Stranger, Friend, Family Member or Acquaintance (with the fallen countenance of one who has just been informed that her grandma & kitten were hit by a truck full of puppies--all of whom died): "Oh."

The sorrow, the disappointment, sometimes the anger.  After having this exact conversation approximately 53 times, I've pieced something together.  We're all looking for the miracle fix.  Everyone wants me to say "It's this new chocolate & Shiraz diet."  Or, "It's this herb found only in the Himalayas--the Dalai Lama sent me a free sample & it really works, or your money back."  No matter how much we hear or see evidence to the contrary, we're looking for the silver bullet.  Problem is, obesity is a zombie, not a vampire.

You've got to really earn a zombie kill.  There is no silver bullet, only Rule #1: Cardio.  Enough said.  But, many weaknesses.  So many magical & surprisingly simple fixes.  Get them out in the sun, don't let them sleep in a freezer, stake them.  They're just asking to die.  My point is, there is no easy way out on this one & no one size fits all miracle.  I just have to dig in & make a commitment.  The only thing killing this beast is good old fashioned hard work.  Don't get me wrong, I want it to be easy just as much as the next girl, but if I let that idea take hold, this will just be another failed diet & another excuse to throw myself a pity party.

When I see you at the grocery store & you ask me what I'm doing, I'm going to have the same conversation with you that I've had with quite a few others.  And that's okay by me.  It is fun to have people ask & take interest in my journey!  Just know that while we are talking & I'm giving you my answer, I just may be replaying bits of "Zombieland" in my head & reminding myself of Rule #20: It’s a marathon, not a sprint, unless it’s a sprint, then sprint.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Since You're in the Campaign Spirit...


The elections are over.  No more ads, no more phone calls, no more junk mail...until the presidential race starts next week.  I know you're going to feel the withdrawal.  I will miss the sincere love that I felt when I played back messages from Sarah, Newt & friends.  To fill the void & ease my campaign withdrawal, I'm starting a new campaign:

Overweight By '08!*
(or rather '11...but that doesn't rhyme)

If there is one thing I've learned about campaigning in the last couple of months, mediocrity not only pays, but is preferred.  So, why be accurate when you can be cute?

The cornerstone of my campaign is a desire to be overweight.  What?  Yes, overweight.  In another 15 pounds I will be merely overweight (based on BMI) for the first time since 2002-ish.  So, I'm not promising to overhaul Washington.  I'm not vowing to take down the Des Moines big spenders (does that even exist?).  There will be no oath to swear off politics as usual, in fact, I'm committing to stay the course.  I've been averaging about 10 pounds per month.  My new mini-goal is to be overweight by January 1, 2011.  With only 15 pounds to go, that seems like a reasonable goal with a little bit of wiggle room for the inevitable holiday splurges.  

So, who is with me?  Anyone else have a campaign they would like to launch in the post election let down?  Does anyone else have a dream?  Together, we can make this dream a reality.  We can take this fight all the way to a new level--nay, a new pants size.  We will stay the course & we will not stop until we have victory: Overweight By '08!

*Paid for by The Foundation for Shrinking Sara's Rump

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick AND Treat


I didn't tell any knock-knock jokes.  I didn't share any dorky puns.  But, I did do a magical Halloween trick: I bought a bag of candy with no chocolate in it.
 In previous years I have purchased bags & bags of candy "for" the trick-or-treaters--with only half of it remaining by the time the small ghosts & goblins arrived at my front door.  Last year, there was so little left from our Costco bag on Beggars' Night that I nearly ran out.  I was sweating it out to 8:00 hoping that we wouldn't end up with mutinous Hannah Montanas demanding candy from the wild eyed woman with wrappers in her hands & chocolate smeared on her face.

I still bought a Costco bag, but this year I flipped the bird to those drug dealers at Hershey & M&M Mars & said hello to the loving folks at Wonka.  Now, don't get me wrong, I do enjoy an occasional box of Nerds or packet of Smarties, but here's the difference: I also enjoy NOT eating those fruity treats.  If there is chocolate in the house, the rest of life stops & there is no enjoyment outside of gorging myself until my blood chocolate content is well above the legal limit.

I tossed fistfulls of fruity treats at my neighborhood children & I know that they were probably a little disappointed by the goods in my basket (I remember sorting through my haul & tossing out the sub-par peanut butter kisses, Almond Joy Bars & Twizzlers).  I'm hoping that maybe their parents are thanking me for being one less piece of chocolate temptation for them to have to withstand.  Regardless, I did it mostly for me.

So, as the Lady Gagas & Harry Potters wandered off into the night, I enjoyed the rest of the evening with my family knowing that I had done something good for all of us.  And then rewarded myself with a Three Musketeers out of Link's bucket.  Just one piece is a whole lot better than just one bag.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Things Might be Getting Serious


Together for nine years, married for five, two kids later I think the relationship might be starting to get serious.  I'm going steady with my husband. 

Dave finding his ring Geek Style
Or, perhaps my rings have gotten so big that I nearly lost them yesterday.  Since I don't want to have to pull a Dave & bust out the metal detector to find them, I figured I would wrap them old school instead.  What a great way to start a Friday knowing that even my FINGERS are getting skinny!  Do you hear that Opal?  Even my fingers.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Kid Who Wore a Frosted Flakes Shirt to the Dentist or How to be a "Bad" Mom Without Really Trying


Recently, Link had his first trip to the dentist.  We talked about it all morning.  "Yay!  We're going to see Dr. Amie!  She's going to look in your mouth!  She's going to touch your teeth!  She's going to put her fingers in your mouth & that is ok...but most importantly, you can't bite her!"

I was very positive & he was excited to go.  We loaded into the car & he was talking about the tooth doctor all of the way there.  He asked of Coraline got to see Dr. Amie & I said that it was just something special for big kids.  I was feeling very smug about my ability to communicate with my kid & set his expectations appropriately.  I knew that he would go in feeling unafraid & would understand what was happening because I had done such a brilliant job of preparing him.

I got a bad feeling as we walked in the door & I realized that I had dressed him in his Frosted Flakes t-shirt.  I bought the shirt because it was a) on clearance, b) had a cartoon tiger on it & c) because I love retro-look t's on him.  It never had anything to do with an affinity for that or any other sugary fact the cereal isle has caused many a marital spat resulting in Dave stashing Apple Jacks & Captain Crunch in his desk at work.  Link has never even tasted the stuff.

Regardless, I knew that the toddler at the dentist in a Frosted Flakes shirt was sure to raise some eyebrows.  I tried to explain it away, but as each new staff person saw him & then asked, "Oh, are Frosted Flakes your favorite?" Link graciously replied "yup" with an exhuberant nod.  I might as well have handed him a sippy filled with corn syrup.  Nontheless, the staff was really good & engaging & I was feeling optimistic that though my parenting skills were being sincerely called into question, Link was still going to have a stellar check-up.

The hygenist was great!  She slow played him & let him see her little mirror & showed him what she was going to do before she did it.  She played peek with him from behind her mask & made a big song & dance out of putting her gloves on.  He was ready.  With a little prodding he got into the chair & he opened up a couple of good times.  We agreed that this would be an exploratory appointment without a cleaning.  She had him help her count his teeth & he was cautiously enjoying himself.  Then as she was making some notes he peaked his head up over the back of the chair & said "What are you doing, Dr. Amie?"  My thorough preparation bit me in the butt.  I hadn't mentioned a hygenist.  In his world, he was done.  I tried to back pedal, "No, this is Brittney, Dr. Amie will be here in a minute."   By the time she got there he was practically foaming at the mouth trying to escape the confines of the chair.

I'd love to say that he eventually warmed up to the dentist, but alas, the only glimpse she caught of his pearly whites was a quick look at his front teeth--as he bared them at her & growled.  At least he didn't scream.  *sigh*  My dream of a perfectly prepped, perfectly behaved dental visit vanished & I was left feeling like the mom that you see in the store & secretly think "ha, ha, ha, sucker."

Two good things came out of the day.
1) I bribed him with "ice cream."  But it was really a fruit/yogurt smoothie.  The fact that he accepts & enjoys a healthy item as a treat is a treat for me!  It reminds me that every once in a while I do manage to do something right.
2) Link clearly listened to me as I tried to mentally prep him.  It's not his fault that I dropped the ball.  And he got the most important part--he didn't bite any of the fingers that were trying to get into his mouth.  Success.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hello, My Name is Opal & I am Your Muffin Top


I recently saw a bit with Wanda Sykes where she talked about her upper abdomen & how it had taken over her life with such a powerful force that she gave it a name: Esther.  Esther was drawn to carbs & alcohol & had been the reason for many an impulse munch.  But for the power of Spanx, Esther was running rough shod over Wanda's life--in a commical fashion as can be expected.

I would like to introduce you to Opal, round & full of fire.  She's mean, she's nasty, she's stubborn & she has laid claim to my torso.  Picture the scene in "Far & Away" where Tom & Nicole plunge their stake into the ground during the Great Land Race & you know that nothing will tear them away from that land but death.  That is what my fat is doing.  It has seen the writing on the wall & in an effort to hang on decided to band together to form Opal & stake a claim on my body in the Great Fat Race. 

Thus far I have been shedding pounds & inches in a pretty uniform manner (a new phenomenon for me: usually the boobs vanish & the hips stay around for the party).  Now Opal has dug in her heels & that b**** is pissing me off.  To be fair, Opal has always been there, but before she was part of an ensemble cast.  Now she wants her name in lights & her own dressing room. 

I've got shirts that I was wearing 10 pounds ago that look awful now because I'm less uniform throughout the torso.  When I sit, I'm starting to feel fatter than I did last month.  She's getting in my head & I can hear her nagging voice tell me that I should just drink the kool-aid (& eat the cake & the cookies & pizza) because it doesn't matter what I do, she's here to stay.

Old Sara: Opal, you're right.  You are going to be here forever & I'm just going to learn to love you & I'm really going to love the doughnuts that you need to survive.
New Sara: Dave, have you seen my pilates video?

Opal, consider the eviction process underway.  I know that it may be a long process, but I've got all of the time in the world & you don't.  Part of the reason I chose the name Opal is that it's an old ladies' name.  You know what that means, Opal?  Even though the mean ones always live a long time, you've got to die sooner or later.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Let Your Freak Flag Fly: a Parenting Core Value


My mother was a creative mommy.  We made our own holiday decorations, she wrote stories for me, & she could  fabricate costumes out of nothing more than a sweatsuit, some yarn & a glue gun.  She also was great about encouraging me to express myself creatively.  I spearheaded neighborhood talent shows (with just two of us planning/starring, it was really easy to get the plum parts!).  I sang, I danced, I crafted.  I dabbled in fashion.

Fashion as a pursuit rather than a means of keeping your bum warm was a completely foreign concept to my mom.  Not that she was a clothes disaster, she just didn't enjoy clothes the way I did.  From a VERY young age I wanted to chose my own clothes & would reject items that I found sub-par.  I was an eclectic child & had a fashion sense that was more obscure-runway-concept-show than eight-year-old-in-Iowa. 

All of this back story is to lead up to this: the day I decided to wear a shower cap to school.  In the old days, hotels would give cellophane shower caps along with their other garden variety toiletries.  I don't know what they were ACTUALLY used for, but at some point I fell in love with them.  I would put one on & my long, wispy blond hair would puddle in soft swirls in the bottom & I just loved it.  Looking back, what I really needed was a 40's era beautician to pin my hair up...but what I had was a shower cap.  I wore that thing all of the time at home until one day I announced that I wanted to wear it to school. 

My mother let me do it.  I know that it probably killed her to send me into the lions den looking like a cross between an 80 year old woman & an 8 year old girl.  I know that she probably had a list of nasty playground nicknames running through her head as she waved good-bye from the door.  As I walked to school, I know she was probably worried that I would get chewed up & spit out by the cruelty machine that is second grade.  But at the time, she didn't let me see any of that.  She let me make my choice because it was what expressed me at that moment. 

I'm sure this would be a much more entertaining story if I could remember the insults that were surely hurled my way.  But that isn't what made a forever impression on me.  What I remember, & hold dear, is the mother who let me make a choice that was ever so slightly non-normative (ok, downright weird) to express myself.  My mother chose to foster my imagination rather than make me conform.  When I was expecting my first child, this memory came flooding back to me & I knew that I wanted to do the same for my kids.  Letting my kids revel in all of the campy glory of Marlo Thomas as she sings "Free to be You & Me" is a priority for me as a parent & a value I hold dear.

Thus, I present to you our first jack-o-lantern.  He has one square eye & one rectangle eye because Link insisted upon it & I managed to keep my mouth shut.  I caught myself before I said, "but Link, eyes are the same shape."  Who am I to tell him how eyes are shaped in his imagination?  My job is say, "that's a super idea!" & try to keep his hands away from the knives as Dave made "Chair" the lopsided jack-o-lantern come to life.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Best "Bravo" Yet


For help with the food piece of the puzzle, I use Weight Watchers.  I love that I'm eating real food & focusing on controlling the quantities of consumption.  It's a plan for life: not on a diet, but eating a healthy diet.  I go to meetings at 6:30 on Saturday morning.  This started when I was working/commuting & it was my only option.  Now that I'm a stay-at-home mama, I could easily go any time I want...I WANT to go at 6:30 on Saturday mornings!  Life never gets in the way on Saturday morning.  I never have to choose between going out or going to my meeting, which eliminates the possibility that I would make the wrong choice.  The side benefit is that the other people who crawl out of bed (yes, we are all largely in sweats & I'm not the only one w/mats in my hair!) for an early morning dose of accountability are crazy-fun. 

This morning, our leader asked "who in this meeting motivates you?"  There were crickets at first, as is always the case during audience participation, & then it happened: "Sara."  One of my cohorts said that she enjoyed watching new people come & really grab hold & have success & I was doing that for her. 

I have figured out that this process is largely a selfish endeavor for me.  I hear lots of people say that they want to lose weight for their kids, spouse, dog, etc.  For me, I want to be a MILF...& I suppose I want to be healthy too.  I'm primarily in this for Numero Uno & that means that the work is mine, the responsibility is mine & the reward is mine.   No excuses.

That being said, I can't think of any better way to start my weekend than knowing that in the process of me doing me, I might have helped someone else take care of themselves, too.  I may be doing this for me, but I love the idea that the collateral damage of my selfish quest is that someone else might be spurred on in theirs.  As if all of those warm fuzzies weren't good enough, I got a little green "bravo" sticker, too.  Yes, I'm a grown woman who is still as motivated by stickers as I was in Mrs. Harold's 1st grade class.

Clutching my sticker, I cried a little, feeling completely overwelmed by the goodwill buzzing through the room.  Then I came back to reality & realized how thankful I was that I go to the 6:30 Saturday meeting.  Tears can't streak your make-up if you're too lazy to put any on.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Claiming the Big "O"


A couple of people have asked me why I started blogging NOW.  The idea of a blog always made me a little bit uncomfortable.  Mainly, it just seems incredibly exposed, but I also have always had a vague disdain for first person narrative.  Along came Carrie Bradshaw & we all became more comfortable with the inner monologue made public.  I still put it off until I hit 1/2 way through my trek--and I got pissed.   And so I wondered, why am I so angry when I have so much to be proud of?

I realized that I had shed a "wow" amount of weight.  I felt physically great, I was wearing clothes that I hadn't worn since college, I had more energy, people were starting to notice (& be brave enough to say something).  I should have been on cloud nine.  The problem was that I was acutely aware that I had an entire "wow" left to get rid of.  I cried for two weeks straight.  There wasn't anything that could be said or done, I just needed to cry.  I was angry at how far I had let things go.  I was mad at how long it takes to turn the titanic.  I was even mad when people gave me compliments.  I wanted to be able to wholeheartedly appreciate people's kind words, but all I could hear in the back of my head was "all of that gone & I'm still obese."

Yup, I'm saying it--the big "O."  And for the first time, I'm not afraid to say it.  Here is what I figured out through all of my tears & bitterness: hiding from obesity had walled me off from being able to appreciate how far I had come & kept me singularly focused on the end goal as opposed to the progress along the way.

According to the CDC, 34% of Americans are overweight & another 34% are obese.  While that is a (terrifying) majority, there is still an incredibly negative connotation to the words overweight & obese that go far beyond health risks.  Lazy, dirty & stupid are often synonyms for obese.  In my subconscious, perhaps if I didn't self identify as obese, I could avoid those associations.  The problem is that it isn't a secret that I'm obese.  It's written all over my body.  By shying away from the problem, I couldn't appreciate the success.  There's no solution if there isn't a problem.

I've now realized that the public nature of the problem requires a public solution for me to be able to work through it mentally.  Thus the blog.  It gives me a public medium, with enough perceived anonymity to satisfy my introverted tendencies. 

Distilled down, I know that I'm obese.  I'm not under the impression that I'm not & I know that you know it, too.  It doesn't matter how many V-necks, vertical stripes or black items I wear, it's still there.  I also know that I'm doing something about it & I appreciate that it is a long way from start to finish but there are great things that are happening from here to there.  Obese is a word that describes me for now, but it isn't a word that I will allow to define me anymore.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Cagematch: Oatmeal Raisin Cookie vs Nectarine


We have a second fridge in our garage.  It exists for two main items: my obnoxious amounts of Costco produce & beer.  Really, the produce just squeezes out whatever space is leftover from the beer.

Yesterday afternoon I was upstairs while the kids were napping.  I started having the vague idea that I was hungry.  In the freezer of said garage fridge there is a container of cookies (victory side note: the fact that I have to freeze cookies when I bake them is a miracle in its own right).  It occurred to me that an oatmeal raisin cookie could easily be justified as a snack...raisins, oatmeal, it's practically health food!  Then inertia kicked in.  The garage just seemed too far away for one measely cookie (victory side note 2: Old Sara would have powered past that by eating MULTIPLE cookies).  It simply wasn't worth it. 

So, where is the victory in being lazy?  Fast forward one hour, still upstairs & now feeling genuinely hungry.  I started to think about that cookie again, but it still didn't seem worth it.  That's when I remembered the nectarines that are also in the garage fridge.  The distance that seemed insurmountable for a cookie seemed appropriate for a nectarine.  Once I got to the fridge to fetch my nectarine, I had the fleeting thought that I had already made the trek, I might as well grab a cookie while I was there--but I didn't.  Holy crap. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cagematch: Ariel vs Iron Man


We have had some meager success at the potty training process.  What I mean by success is that I am quite adept at mentally spinning our latest debacles into some sort of positive progress.  I delude myself, Link continues to go about his merry way & largely we are happy.

While at Target yesterday, I decided that our small (fabricated) victories deserved a reward: new big kid underpants!  I had visions of him feeling proud to sport his favorite character on his rump & knew that his loyalty to McQueen or Thomas would surely motivate him to go in the potty. 

I pulled the cart up to the display & asked him which one he would like.  I started pointing out all of the choices: Mater, Thomas, Spiderman.  "Princesses."  Yup, there next to The Hulk were Jasmine, Belle, Ariel & Cinderella. 

I strongly believe in dispelling preconceived gender bias.  Link has dolls, sometimes he asks for a pink cup at lunch, he has a pink shirt--I'm all for it.  When Coraline becomes less susceptible to choking & gouging out her own eyes, she can play with cars & dragons & dinosaurs all day long.  But, given that we are on such tenuous ground with potty training & the fact that he has previously been a little bit afraid of underwear, it seemed a bad idea to stack the deck against him by giving him clothes into which his little boy parts just weren't meant to fit.  I asked him to pick something else, hoping he would just move on but he was resolute, "I want Princesses."

*Sigh*  I tried to pick my words carefully.  While avoiding "those are for girls," I tried to logically explain that those wouldn't fit his body & were made to fit girls' bodies better.  Wouldn't he be more comfortable in underpants that were made to fit big boys?  Unfortunately,  my logic & reason could scarcely be heard above his escalated pleas.  With much gnashing of teeth, he wailed, "I NEED Princess underpants."  Repeatedly.

I abandoned reason & tried distraction.  I started wildly waving McQueen & Percy in his face.  At this point,  I was having one of those parenting moments where I was absolutely 100% certain that everyone in the whole store was looking at me.  Due to the topic of conversation, I also knew that the looks were coming with a heaping helping of judgement as to how I was responding.  Half of the store was vilifying me for having a son that would even know who the princesses are...the other half was irate that I was raising another misogynistic male.

I had only one option.  I tossed a package of Superhero undies into the cart & then, like any good American, I decided to employ the ultimate distraction: food.  If there is one thing Link loves above all, it's food.  Thankfully it was clearly more fun to pick which color of grapes to bring home than to continue crying about Princesses. 

Now that we are home & out of the critical eye of Target patrons, I have to say that I am absolutely not above drawing a tiara on Captain America or a wand in Wolverine's claws...whatever gets us in those undies & out of diapers!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

non-scale victories #1


For the purpose of keeping me focused & reminding me of progress, a list of NSVs to be updated as the mood strikes.

watch me hop back up!
1. when i get down on the ground i don't need a hand or a piece of construction machinery to get me back up

2. less junk in the trunk means my pants & shirts are the same size

3. i can run up the stairs to catch link's hijinx

4. i don't feel the compulsion to eat when i am _______ (select any human emotion)

5. i get to "shop" my storage boxes

you can't scare me, jillian!
6. tax deduction for all of my goodwill donations that are too big

7. i can see my toes whenever i want...they often need to be painted

8. my kid is excited to eat tomatoes, lima beans & whole wheat bread

9. i feel exactly 0.00 shreds of guilt when i watch "biggest loser"

10. i can mow through costco flats of fruits & veggies like i used to mow through baked goods

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Poopy Goes in the Potty...or at Least Not in Your Bed


And now for something completely different, my other obsession (other than the size of my rump): my kids.   Here is a tale of Link.
 Link has found himself (dragging me along with him) in potty purgatory--not quite potty trained, not quite cluelessly soiling himself .  The mantra at our house is "poopy goes in the potty, not your diaper," "pee-pee goes in the potty, not your diaper."  I had hopes that the constant indoctrination would worm it's way into his sub-conscious & would result in a miraculous potty-training coup.

It turns out that effective communication requires two parties to interpret the message in the same way.  A couple of days ago I learned that Link had picked up on the "not your diaper," but was fuzzy on the "in the potty" portion of our platitude.

I heard him screaming from his bed during nap time.  It wasn't your garden variety boredom scream, it  intense & loud enough to wake Coraline in the next room.  Thinking I would settle Link quickly & then be able to take care of the baby, I went to Link first.  I walked into a grizzly scene.  Through tears, Link proudly held up his clean diaper & said, "I didn't go poopy in my diaper!"  There was my half naked kid standing in an epic pile of poo.  It was everywhere.  He had it smeared all over his legs, his treasured stuffed giraffe, his blankets, a book & the pack & play.  Standing there flabbergasted, all I can think is "who lets this kid eat so many vegetables?!?!" 

I threw him in the bath & proceeded to skim the chunks off the top of all applicable surfaces.  I wished on every lucky penny, birthday candle & shooting star for a can of Vapoorizer (the mythical product from "Envy"--a movie that only I & 17 other people bothered to watch). 

The book was deemed a casualty of war.  The pillow & giraffe came out of the wash a little lumpy, but feces-free.  I feel a touch of PTSD every time I go into his room.  All of that aside, I'm choosing to call this a step in the right direction.  He didn't want to put it in his diaper.  I just have to give him an alternative to painting the town brown.

Epilogue:  The next day, Link found the scrub brush I used to scour the pack & play & left to dry in the bathtub.  He promptly dipped it in the dog's water & used it to "clean" Dave's recliner.  A mother's work is never least not until there aren't any trace amounts of fecal matter on the furniture.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I Like to Move It (Move It)!


Holy Unexpected Outcome, Batman!  I started working out in July.  Sometime between now & then I apparently had a mental shift.  On Tuesday, I had planned to workout in the morning, but life got in the way & it didn't happen (poor Dave & his sprained ankle!).

Old Sara's Response: Yahoo!  I didn't have to go OR feel guilty about not going because it wasn't my decision to not go.  That's the same as going, right?  Sweet.  That means I should have a doughnut for breakfast to reward myself.  This is going to be a great day!

New Sara's Response: Blurg.  I was looking forward to that workout & now I feel sluggish & slow.  I really need to get moving the rest of the week to make up for it.

To be fair, I didn't have my epiphany until sometime Tuesday evening when I realized that I had wasted the whole day & moped around feeling lazy.  That was when it hit me that I have turned into one of those people that I used to think were nuts, one of those that don't feel like the day starts until after the workout.

I'm left with the ideas that a)spending energy actually gives me energy & b)I have the power to positively affect the scale & my pants size by moving more.  Funny how that's what any nutritionist, trainer, or thin person could have told me, but sometimes it just clicks better when I do a little hands on learning.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Here Comes the Bride


Five years ago tomorrow, I got hitched. We had a beautiful wedding, I wore a beautiful dress. Upon returning from a gluttonous honeymoon, I found that the beautiful dress no longer fit & hasn't fit for the entirety of the last five years. Not that I had occasion to wear such a dress, but a gal's wedding dress is one of those items that can either be an encouragement or an albatross. Mine was such a big albatross that I shoved it in a box, in a pile of boxes, on an extremely high shelf, in a closet I never look in--wedding dress maximum security.

It's not like I strutted down the aisle in a size 2. I wore a plus-size dress in a size smaller than I wore when we got engaged. On my wedding day I felt gorgeous & glamorous & for one whole day I didn't once think about whether I was sucking in enough (wasn't really an option, the infrastructure of the dress demanded it) or if my butt looked huge (again, the dress came through with its full skirt camoflage). But, the fact that my dress was a "reasonable" size & I couldn't even get it half zipped within a month of the wedding was disastrous for me mentally. I didn't have it "preserved" (or even cleaned--I'm pretty sure you can recreate our whole reception by following the stains on the dress) because I wanted my future kids to be able to see & touch a piece of the history of our family from the day it all began. Now my future kids are my real kids & the dress had yet to be a tangible reminder to anyone except me.

After I lost my baby-weight I needed a new mini-goal. Wedding dress by anniversary seemed very attainable & fun. Now, not only am I in the dress (as I sit here typing!), but it gapes in places. Some good (hips) & some bad (boobs), but all a testament to hard work! Not only am I less than the weight/size that I was on that day, but I'm a totally different shape.

Now I have an occasion to wear the dress: Thursday! Link just told me that I look like a "pwin-cess," & Coraline is picking at the beading thinking that she has never seen anything that looks so delicious. For my part, I think I can safely say that my albatross has flown the coop & I'm already looking forward to next year when it'll be a good thing that it isn't a strapless dress, because otherwise it would fall right off!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the Beginning


In my beginning there was a strong family history of obesity (perhaps that is a simplification--nearly ALL of the women in my family are obese) & a "can't-do" spirit that ran rampant through my mother & poured into me. I was raised to feel that there were athletes & then there were the regular people. We were regular people & as such, my physical education was limited to presidential fitness tests & games of Hoover Ball in PE. I remember the exact place & time when I knew (in sixth grade) that my mother was fat & I would be fat when I was a mother. It wasn't a question, it was a reality & I cried right there in the middle of back-to-school shopping, hidden in one of those old round clothing racks. And then I accepted it & didn't think anything of it for years. Rather, I ignored everything having to do with health, wellness & weight. In fact, in my mind, wellness & weight were two topics as connected to one another as pterodactyls & petunias.

I lost the freshman fifteen during my first stint in college. Lost a LOT when I dropped out. Gained when I met my husband & went back to college. Lost a little before I got married. Gained a LOT after I got married & had a baby. Lost all the baby weight while I nursed but gained it back when I weaned. And then I got fed to speak.

I realized that I was taking in more calories than I needed & calories unspent save up for a rainy day. All that saving left me with an Ark on my hips, but no sign of rain. I was depressed, I was tired, my back hurt like it did when I was 85 months pregnant & I didn't have energy to get down on the floor & roll around with my son. I changed my eating habits, lost 30 lbs & started my second pregnancy 10 lbs lighter than my first. I ended it up 60 with a new daughter in my arms.

Something clicked when I looked at my baby girl. I knew that it was my opportunity & my responsibility to kick my binge-eating, emotional-eating, boredom-eating self to the curb, to break the cycle of obesity that was ravaging the women in my family. I love my son, but my daughter saved my life.

That was 70+ lbs ago. I eat reasonable servings of real foods. I don't believe in forbidden food, but I do believe in portion control. I work out 3-4 times per week, more if my kids sleep. I try very hard to make sure that my food has the capability to rot & would be recognizable as food to my great-great-grandmother. Though I've had help on the food piece of the puzzle through Weight Watchers, I won't ever call what I'm doing "dieting," instead I eat a healthy diet. I'm not losing weight anymore, I'm getting rid of it. It's not that I "can't" eat those fries, it's that I choose not too because they aren't worth it to me any more. I believe in the power of those kinds of word games with myself. Semantics are a way of life. Choosing the right words to frame my thoughts is the first step into changing where I am to where I want to be.

With that in mind, I decided to put some of those words into text. Mostly for myself, partly for my family, partly for vanity. For too long my life has been defined by the big pink elephant that was my body. By writing about it, I'm choosing to pull back the curtain & let that elephant see the world. Since it hasn't ever been a secret that I am overweight (despite my best attempts to wear black & avoid horizontal stripes & photographs), it shouldn't be a secret that I'm doing something about it. My only regret is that I didn't start my catharsis in the beginning, but I was too scared of failure. I didn't want to commit to something that I couldn't deliver. Now I think about the time in the future WHEN I meet my goal & I will never say "if" again.