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)...in 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 reason...it'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, vampires...so 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