Sunday, October 31, 2010
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.
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
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 cereal...in 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
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
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
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
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
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.
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
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.
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
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!|
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!|
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
And now for something completely different, my other obsession (other than the size of my rump): my kids. Here is a tale of Link.
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 done...at least not until there aren't any trace amounts of fecal matter on the furniture.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
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
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 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 up...so 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.