Thursday, December 29, 2011

Moscow Filet


Last night we went out to dinner with my dad & step-mom prior to our annual viewing of Jolly Holiday Lights.  There's nothing more magical to a car full of littles than Christmas lights as far as the eye can see.  But that has nothing to do with dinner...back to dinner.

We went to a local Russian restaurant that is simply wonderful & simply decadent.  We had appetizers (which I sampled moderately) & drinks (which I enjoyed reasonably) & I had a beautiful steak for dinner.  When the food came out, my dad jovially commented, "You're not going to put THAT on your blog."  Ha ha, dear Father, little did you know that in saying that you secured a starring role in today's musings.

I immediately responded, "Of course I am--why the heck not?"  (As a completely unrelated side note, Lincoln has taken to saying "What the hex?!?!" & I think it's too funny to make him stop.  Bad Mommy, so bad.)  I then proceeded to tell my dad exactly why I had ordered what I had (a lean center cut of beef stuffed with veggies with a plain baked potato & grilled asparagus) & that even in its opulence, there was no need for hiding food. 

A negative side effect of "going public" with a lifestyle change is the unwanted critiques that follow--from family, friends, strangers at the gym--everyone has an opinion on what & how much I should eat.  I've learned through this process that there are actually THREE topics from which one should remain clear in mixed or uncertain company: religion, politics, & food.  Food is so personal & so linked to our sense of home, safety, happiness, security, status--really everything important.  When people feel called to task on what they are eating (whether genuinely or just perceived), they get all up prickly & poufy like a spooked cat.  I'm no different.  I rushed to justify my meal choices when no defense was needed.

So, if you would like to know what I ate at Irina's last night, you can see it here.  It was delicious--& even more delicious as I ate the leftovers for lunch.  I'd love to say that fillet is a normal lunch food at Chez Sara, but in reality, I probably would have had some form of leftover out of the freezer, because that's how I really roll. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"We Were On a BREAK!"


Taking a page out of the iconic Ross/Rachel "Friends" break-up, I gave myself a break.  And made some bad choices.  Apparently I'm Ross in this analogy. 
  • I took a break from writing.
  • I took a break from tracking.
  • I took a break from Facebook (for the most part).
  • I took a break from the treadmill.
  • I took a break from beating myself up.
  • I took a break from guilt.
  • I took a break from accountability.
  • I took a break from psycho analysis.
  • I took a break from not eating fried foods.
  • I took a break from the four food groups.
  • I took a break from meal planning.
  • I took a break from cooking.
  • I took a break from measuring portions.
Today, break is over.  I'm not sad that I did it.  In fact, I'm kind of happy.  I failed miserably at my plan to get to goal weight by the New Year, but failure isn't the end of the road, it's the beginning of a new road.  I gained a couple of pounds, & will likely see more gain on Saturday, but that also isn't he end of the road.  I feel revitalized.  I feel refreshed.  And, oddly, after all of my largely unfettered eating, I feel...HUNGRY.  My body needs some real fuel.  Frosted sugar cookies don't have as much nutritive value as I had hoped. 

Last night I cooked a real dinner & this morning I ate a real breakfast.  This afternoon I'm going to go downstairs & get reacquainted with my treadmill & later today I will work up some menu plans for the coming week.  Break is over & it feels good!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Auld Lang Syne


As the year is winding down, I think we all find our selves reflecting (if only briefly) on the past year & waxing poetic about our hopes for the new one.  I've been writing up a storm over the last few days as I was furiously trying to finish two time sensitive writing projects.  Ever one to take a deadline to its most extreme application, I only just finished them both & am breathing a sigh of relief. 

The first, our Christmas letter, was unusually hard for me this year.  After finally coming up with the perfect picture, I realized I had to write a letter.  It's been an enormous year for New Sara, but it's been a pretty great one for the rest of the team as well.  Dave completed his first Half Ironman, Lincoln started school, Coraline honed the gift of small tasks.  Christmas letters are usually a 20 minute task on my Holiday To-Do List, but this year it took the better part of three afternoons to get it right.  Don't get me wrong, I still love doing it, but it was HARD this year.  The pic is forthcoming after my hard copies have a chance to make their way through the Postal Service...don't want to spoil the surprise for the recipients that are kind enough to read my ramblings here, as well.

The second (& what has really got me reflecting) was an essay for a contest.  On the heels of my $100 Weight Watchers winnings, I decided to ante up & enter a contest through "Ladies Home Journal" asking for essays on personal growth...yup it was that broad.  I took it as an opportunity to cobble together some thoughts on my journey as a whole & it was a nearly insurmountable task, but I am so glad I did it.  My chances of winning are slim to none, but when it all shakes out, I am so happy that I took the time to put "pen to paper" because now I have a moderately cohesive snapshot of what I've done to date.  It was worth the DAYS I put into it if only for me to read the final product & be reminded of how far I have come & how worth the effort it has been.  When someone else is announced as the winner, I'll post my essay here & I'll feel like I've won.  Looking back on the last two years makes me just googly with excitement over the prospect of the next 50+ & that is something that Old Sara would never have even thought of.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Holiday Moderation


With a lofty goal on the horizon & holidays licking at my heels, I had to do a little planning when it comes to holiday indulging.  I believe in the idea of moderation.  I have to have "permission" to eat what I want in order to avoid feeling like I "have to" eat what I'm "not allowed" to have.  It's all part of the big game I play with myself when it comes to framing my thoughts for success.  Here is what I came up with for a game plan:
  1. I will not drink my calories.  By this I don't mean that I won't have some wine or spirits (doesn't that sound festive!).  I'm talking about the specifically holiday drinks that are mean mean mean.  Cider & cocoa & the nog of eggs...what is nog, anyway?  The crazy thing about all of those drinks: I don't even really like them.  I know for some they are the epitome of holiday spirit.  For me they're just kind of out they go.  I'm saving my calories for the things I really want, which brings me to...
  2. I will only eat one cookie in a sitting.  Tomorrow night, my book club is having our annual cookie exchange.  I will eat one tomorrow night & then I will come home & put the whole lot of them into the freezer where I will be able to exercise a smidge of self control--since I will have to go out into the cold garage to get them.
  3. I will not eat treats that don't make me drool.  This time of year is FILLED with baked goods & confections--the loves of my life (or at least my taste buds).  But not all baked goods are created equal.  I will not eat something, no matter how lovingly prepared for me, if it's not making me weak in the knees with desire.  Everyone has special holiday treats to share.  I don't luurve them all.  Therefore I will not eat them all. 
  4. I will recognize that not every meal is a "special" occasion.  Just because it's got the stamp of "Holiday Party" on it, doesn't mean that it is actually a special event in the grand scheme of life.  Old Sara thought any Tuesday at Wallaby's was a special occasion & reason to whoop it up with a three course bonanza of fried fare.  While I've come a long way, it is so easy for me to slip into the mentality that something is "special" or a "treat" when really, the part that is special is the company or the setting...not the food.  Prioritize & budget.  My food is like currency.
As a reward for practicing moderation through all things holiday, I prepaid myself with a reward: a new dress.  I've always loved sweater dresses, but they were mighty unforgiving on my former figure.  I splurged on a soft grey cowl neck from Banana Republic that will be my permanent fixture for all things holiday this year.  I'm a big believer in having one great outfit in each new size as you work your way down & this is certainly mine.  When you look good, you feel good.  Hopefully when you feel good, you make good choices.

In completely unrelated news, The Treadmill has a name...but she hasn't had a proper christening or ribbon cutting, so I'm keeping her under wraps, but I have to say that it is perfect...not at all "unfortunate"...& that's all I'm going to say about that.  To be continued...

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Treadmill


The Treadmill is a tricky mistress.  First off, & most importantly to me, I just can't find a suitable name for her. I've never had a "tricky mistress," so I don't know any names that would imbue the right feelings...the longing, the repugnance, the guilt, the elation (yes, this is really how my mind works & yes, I've been struggling to name my treadmill since Tuesday & yes, I've been wracking my brain to find just the right famous mistress or hooker & nothing sticks...yet).  I asked Dave & he's never had a tricky mistress either, a fact that makes me happy in real life but is useless to me now.

First Date Jitters
So, she's still just The Treadmill, but I think I love her...& hate her...& need her.  This morning was our 4th date.  Our previous three, we kept it on manual & I just tried to survive & not give into the intense desire to quit early.  Today I ventured into one of her programs.  I did 30 minutes of varying inclines at a pretty manageable pace.  It felt good.  The time actually went quickly, although some credit must go to an engaging episode of "Firefly." 

I've always been awful at "home fitness."  DVDs, video games, resistance, plyometrics...I make big plans & I ditch them after a couple of days.  Maybe I just needed to buy a DVD that was worth more than our car.  The investment is certainly a motivator.  I'm chalking it up as worth it because (don't look now) I'm looking forward to running & I'm getting value out of time that would have been wasted, or at least not used for exercise.  This was my first morning run, all of our other dates were during nap time!  Nap time!  That time of day when I half love/half loath the fact that I'm chained to the house.  What a thrill to be able to use that time for something that is just for me.  I'm still working to find the routine that works best, but I am very excited about the process & feel very good that this is a step in the right direction toward goal.  I think The Treadmill feels good, too.  I can only imagine all of the treadmills in the factory pining after their forever homes & hoping for a family that uses them for more than just a drying rack.  You are more than just a drying rack to me, my dear.  You are _____.  It will come...

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Deep Confession


I have a confession to's a pretty big one...

I don't like Trader Joe's. 

I know that's kind of sacrilege coming from someone who's into healthy eating, but here's my thing.  Yes, Trader Joe's has a lot of great stuff.  Yes, Trader Joe's has a lot of organics.  But you know what Trader Joe's has in spades?  A lot of processed organics.  Here's my take:

If I'm eating a BUNCH of processed foods, the USDA Certified Organic status of that processed food is the least of my concern.  Just because it's organic processed crap doesn't make it less crappy.  So I'll save my pennies & buy regular processed crap when the occasional mood strikes & stay away from Trader Joe's because it seems that I always come out of there with Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups & Vegan Oatmeal Cookies wrapped in a Healthy Halo because they came from Trader Joe's.

Maybe I'm being unfair.  Maybe I shouldn't say that I don't like Trader Joe's, maybe I should say that I don't like how I check my better judgement at the door right next to the reasonably sized carts...which I also dislike. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Lightening the Mood


And now for something a little less heavy...well actually it ended up being quite heavy...different kind of heavy...oh, just look at the pictures, you'll see what I mean.

For my son's birthday, I wanted to make him a workbench.  I scoured Pinterest for a couple of reference ideas & decided that the best route was to customize an existing piece of furniture.  We had a castoff, press board microwave cart that had been filling in as an entertainment center until we customized a dresser for that purpose.  Instead of donating the cart to Goodwill, we took this:
And turned it into this:

The best part: Lincoln played with it on his birthday for the WHOLE DAY STRAIGHT.  
And while this seems completely unrelated to the topic at hand, I will say this.  Old Sara lacked the confidence to take an idea (which she had scads of) & try to bring it to fruition.  New Sara has picked up a little self confidence that ripples beyond the shape of her rump to the shape of her goals.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Schlock...


I came up to my desk prepared to write about my inaugural treadmill run, complete with lousy pictures of sweaty Sara to offer up as proof that I put my money where my mouth is (apparently my mouth is at Push, Pedal, Pull...because that's where ALL of my money & some of my dad's is...oof, treadmills are pricey).  In lieu of what would have been mediocre & not that edifying to me personally, I offer this:

Real-time crying pic...thank goodness it's back lit!
"Sara, I have been reading your blog for a little while now. Megan told me about it and I was interested to see what you had to say. Usually I just read what you say and (through laughter or tears - which happens a lot) I think "How is it that she knows exactly what I am thinking/ feeling?". Then I go about my day as usual until the next post. But today I really felt like I had to leave a comment. 1. It was so great to see you last weekend and see in person how ridiculously amazing you look (I am still coveting that sweater coat!) 2. Thank you for congratulating me on my own weight loss without going so over the top that I got uncomfortable 3. But mostly, just thank you... thank you for being brave enough to say everything that you are feeling and allowing the rest of us to feel like there is someone else out there that is going through the same crap and feeling the same way and that it is totally normal. I am coming up on my own 100 lbs mark and I know that I owe it to you, if you hadn't started your journey then Megan wouldn't have started when she did and I know that I would be sitting here eating a super sized value meal for lunch instead of my protein bar and fruit. Apparently, I just decided to save up all of my posts for one long post now. Sorry about that, but I wanted to make sure that you know what a difference you have made in my life and I am sure other lives as well. Again, THANK YOU!!"

Excuse me while I go get a SECOND fistful of tissues (also, as an aside: this made Dave cry at his cube at work--sucker!).  I'm not posting this to brag on myself & hopefully the commenter (who is someone that I know in the "real" world) doesn't mind, but I was absolutely knocked to the ground with emotions & I knew I had to say this...

I would lose every pound again, I would have this process take two MORE years on top of what I have already done, I would struggle & slog through every bad habit & every bit of negative self-talk to think that I could really have had even a fraction of that impact on another person's life.  Across the board, the comments & encouragements on Monday's post have overwhelmed me with joy & hope & something brand new: purpose.  Yup, I'm about to lay down some philosophy. 

I believe that individual lives have purpose & finding that purpose--that thing that lights your fire & sparks your soul--that's what life is all about.  Everyone has a different purpose & most people have multiple.  This is one of mine & I just had that a-ha moment this very second.  Thank you (all of you who have waded through this with me) for giving me the gift of purpose.  I can't say enough how much it means to me...& there I go crying again.  At least in my line of work my "office mates" think crying is part of a regular workday.  Chalk it up as a rather unglamorous albeit appreciated perk of being a stay at home mom.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I Swear to Tell the Whole Truth...


I'm struggling.  You know how you can tell I'm struggling?
  1. I haven't been blogging.
  2. I haven't been tracking.
  3. My peanut butter jar shows the stabby marks of diving into the jar rather than the smooth surface of one that has been carefully scooped with measuring spoons.
  4. I missed a month of being measured & skipped my monthly picture on Saturday (even though my hair was awesome).
I'm tired.  I'm the kid in the back of the van whining an endless chorus of arewethereyets.  I'm blue about my progress over the last year & even more specifically over the last couple of months.  I am angry at myself for rallying & falling--yet again.  How many times can I have an epiphany & think I'm ready to push through to goal?  I have been at this for so long & I'm still. not. done.

Before the harpies descend, I know that I'm never really "done," this is a lifestyle, blah blah blah. Heck, I preach that all the time.  But sometimes, on a cold November night, it just feels like there should be an end.  A rest.  The grind of working toward an illusive goal is wearing on my heart.

On Friday night, Dave & I did our duty & "cleaned up" some of the leftover Thanksgiving wine.  After a couple of glasses I started flapping my gums & my eyes started leaking & I opened the floodgates.  I told Dave that I am angry that I lost 100 lbs last year & have struggled & clawed my way through less than 25 this year.  I told Dave that I have contemplated changing my official goal so that I could just be done already.  Most importantly, I told Dave that I have been avoiding my blog because I felt guilty for harboring ANY negative feelings about my progress.

Lately I've held back, & when I didn't think I could hold back, I just stayed away.  I love Old Sara.  I remember how her heart ached when she heard a "skinny" girl say that she wanted to lose 10 lbs & while I knew it wasn't personal, it sure felt that way.  If Old Sara heard New Sara say that she had only lost 25 lbs this year, she would have been puce with envy.  If Old Sara knew New Sara was wanting to change her goal to achieve artificial success she would have thought that New Sara was an ego maniac.  If Old Sara read New Sara whining about the last 10 lbs she would have cried for days.

But, this is my truth.  It's where I'm at right now & for all that it appears selfish & cold & unfeeling, it is how I feel.  I'm just plain angry.  At myself, at life, at genetics, at Krispy Kreme, at pants sizes, at loose skin, at shiny new treadmills being delivered to my house tomorrow, at well meaning people who ask me if I'm at goal, at well meaning people who give me a compliment, at perfect strangers who don't know where I've come from, at twisted ankles, at people on their own journeys who are having success, at cold weather, at myself. 

Here's what I'm left with:
  1. This is a great reminder to me that shedding pounds doesn't "fix it."  Life can still be slimy & gross no matter what your body looks/feels like.  This is a mental process with a physical manifestation.  I need to mind my thoughts with the vigilance of last year if I want last year's results.
  2. As Olivia from last season of BL said, "This isn't about a number on a scale, it's about finishing what you start."  The goal is so much more than a number.  This whole process has become one of me learning to be a do-er & ceasing to be a quitter.  Recognize, New Sara.
So I have to/want to slog through this.  My preference would be sooner rather than later, but I guess I can wish in one hand &.........or I could just do something about it.  The leftovers are gone, the treadmill will be here tomorrow, it's game time--again.  I guess it's most important that it is game time one more time than it's rallying time.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living History Farms (or Have I Lost My Blinking Mind?)


This is my friend, Ryan:

He & I have known each other since we were young pups of 16 (ish) & became good friends in college.  You'll never meet a warmer, louder, or more genuine person in your whole wide don't even try.  I think he's the cat's pajamas, even though he nearly killed me on Saturday. 

For reasons all his own (& completely separate from anything that I like to prattle on & on about) it was a big deal for him to run Living History Farms this year.  When he asked me if I would join him (Dave was a foregone conclusion, but I took some convincing) I said yes (click here to see what I was getting myself into), but secretly hoped that everyone would just forget about the whole thing.  No one forgot. 

As time got closer, I failed to get nervous about my impending doom, which was a really bad thing all around because I was kind of cavalier about the whole thing.  Then Saturday rolled around & the reality hit that I had to do 7.2 miles, let alone 7.2 miles sprinkled with creeks & 6 foot banks & hay bales & Iowa-style mountains that required ropes & tree roots to maneuver.  I wasn't as prepared as I should have been.  It was miserable. 

I've put off writing about the race because I wanted to be able to say, "It was awful, but I would do it again in a heartbeat!"  However, that would be the tallest of tall tales.  I wouldn't do it again--once is plenty for me to say, "I've done it.  Period."  Everyone said that this year's conditions were the absolute best this race has had in years; I simply won't risk that it could be WORSE than what it was.  I was floundering & flapping & I completely flopped myself across the finish line in a manner that can only be described with the adage "what the cat dragged in."  If you don't believe me, see for yourself (big thanks to my brother-in-law for snapping this picture & not immediately dropping to the ground in uproarious laughter).

However, here comes the big but (snicker, snicker): BUT, when Ryan gave me a hug at the end of the race (he ROCKED it, by the way) he whispered to me, "No way either one of us could have done that a year ago."  And he is absolutely right.  It was cold, it was wet, it was muddy, it was hard, but once again, I proved to myself that I can do hard things that I never would have thought possible.  And for all of my distaste for the cold, wet & muddy, there was one good take away from the race.  In the last mile I had the realization that if I didn't have to worry about all of the shenanigans & stopping & starting through obstacles & being wet (I can't overstate how much I hate to be wet--I don't even like to take showers), that just maybe longer distances wouldn't be out of the question for me, with a little more dedicated training.  Perhaps that epiphany is enough to make it worth it.  Nope, it's not...but this is:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

New Sara Becoming...Sara


After I got married there was a surreal moment when I realized that I had made acquaintances & grown new friendships with people for whom I would always be known by my married name.  When they heard my maiden name they thought, "Huh, that doesn't seem like you."  Given that my prior name was a pretty ingrained part of my existence for 25 years, it was very odd to me that it wasn't just apparent that I had been called something else prior to being married (side note: this is in no way any sort of commentary on the merits or downfalls of changing your name at marriage--I don't give a flying Fig Newton what other people chose to do with their monikers & can't imagine why anyone ever would care about any person's name other than their own...& their kids'...& their pets'...& the stage names of drag queens, but that is just a form of art appreciation). 

I've found myself in a similar situation again.  Lincoln started preschool this fall.  Along with being his first large group experience it also happens to be my first new group interaction in which no one knows Old Sara.  No one knows that I've lost nearly 125 lbs.  No one knows that I've worked so hard to examine myself & cull out the toxic habits, thought patterns, & choices.  No one knows that I used to be the woman on the peripheral who was simultaneously hoping that you would talk to me & ignore.  No one knows that they are meeting New Sara...I'm just Sara (on a good day, let's be honest I'm really just "Lincoln's Mom").  It is bizarre.

This process has been/is the single most defining event in my character to date.  That's not to say that being thinner is my most defining character trait, but the process of working toward goals, achieving goals, pushing on through struggles, & constantly reexamining myself & my motives has made me a different person.  I used to balk at the idea that I was somehow different because I've lost weight, but I've come to realize that it's not the pounds but the process that has changed me.  That being said, I was still me before all of this & I love that me because she is the me that got me here.  She was pretty brave & more than a little smart (at times) & she made some tough choices that got me into this body & more importantly this head space...& all of these new preschool people don't know her.  They don't know that Old Sara ever existed. 

There is an odd sort of grief in that knowledge.  I don't want to BE Old Sara--ever, ever again!--but I don't loath her & I certainly don't want to forget her.  If people don't know she was there, what does that mean for New Sara--or as new folks call her, Sara?  It's like meeting a new person & not telling her that I'm a mom.  It's that integral to who I am.  But who sticks out their paw for a handshake & says, "Hi, I'm Sara.  I've lost nearly 125 lbs.  I like your sweater."?  I'll answer my own question: freaks. 

Just as when I got married, I'm sure this is a feeling that will abet with time.  I'm sure as I become comfortable in my body (which I certainly am not yet) I'll forget that I ever gave this a second thought.  For now I'm stuck in a world where I have to constantly self-censor for fear of alienating myself & others & bringing shame on my son in the highly political world of preschool.  No one likes the kid who's mom greets you with "Oooh, cool Thomas the Tank Engine shoes...did you know I used to be twice as big as I am today?"

Monday, November 14, 2011

Getting Carded


My Favorite Card Photo: December 2007

It's the most wonderful time of the year...time to write my Christmas letter.  I'll be the first to admit that I am an absolute nut for the good old fashioned, annual recap Christmas letter paired with a dopey family picture.  I adore everything about them--getting them, sending them--the whole process is a thrill.  In hindsight, our 2005 (the year we were married) Christmas letter was probably my first blog post in disguise.  That was the year I hatched the idea to do a Top 10 list in lieu of a traditional letter.  It was an idea born in laziness (as all of my best ideas are)...why write a whole letter when I can just write 10 little blurbs?  Also that year, I stumbled upon the generic holiday cards that have a little sticker spot to attach a 4x6 photo--another lazy win.  Thus our card tradition was born.

I start writing our letter in January.  I've got post-its & scraps of paper & un-sent email drafts to myself with ideas & phrases that I find amusing (to heck with everyone else, I do this for my own enjoyment).  In November I start gathering all of my tidbits in one place & see if I can patch together 10 interesting things from the past year.  Order 100 prints of a passable picture of the family & it's done.  I've got it down to a science, but this year I'm hitting a bump in the road...the picture.   

I feel like this year's picture is my cotillion.  There are quite a few people on the list that I haven't seen in a long time...there are quite a few people who haven't seen the fruits of my labor.  This picture has to be just right.  A body shot, but not OBVIOUSLY a body shot.  A hot outfit, but not so hot that I look like the woman who forgot that she's a 30-something with two kids, a mini-van & a Costco membership.  Oh, & I guess the other three people in the picture should look ok, too.  It's a tall order.  Dave jokes that we should just send a picture of me & get it over with--we can catch people up on our kids next year.  I laugh, but only because I secretly think it's a swell idea.  I can't focus on sucking in & smiling the right smile to minimize my sagging face skin when I also have to make sure that Lincoln isn't sticking his finger up Coraline's nose (true story). 

I realize that by posting this, I am opening myself up
to being put in one of those email forwards about bad
family photos--please be kind.
I feel a little bad about my narcicism, but not bad enough to try to curb it.  So, until further notice, I will be subjecting my family to all manner of weird photo ideas until we come up with the right one.  My last idea (at left) had me sitting the kids on a dresser like some sort of weird tchotchkes.  There's a story behind the dresser, but it's not good enough to warrant this creepy photo.  Back to the drawing board...or dark room...or perhaps I need the Cave of Wonders & Robin Williams.  *sigh*  Sounds easier than just taking a simple picture.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Goal Goal: Weekend Update


I've been quiet this week, but let me start out by saying that I was quiet with was a 3.6 lb week!

Here's what I was doing while I was being quiet:
  • taking a multi-vitamin every day
  • Bless you, Ikea, for making shoe storage fun!
  • drinking 90 oz of water every day
  • going for my longest run ever on Monday...5.14 miles!!!
  • turning my ankle Monday evening
  • ignoring my turned ankle & walking Ikea all day on Tuesday
  • eating meals out of our freezer so I wouldn't be tempted with the excuse that I was too busy to cook
  • tracking every B.L.T. (bite, lick & taste)
  • visualizing my mini-goal of 1.875 lbs for the week to keep me on track for The Goal Goal
  • overseeing the assembly of my newest love, Hemnes the shoe cabinet
  • re-purposing a previously re-purposed microwave cart into (what I hope will be) the best birthday gift my son could ever want
  • eating a reasonable/pre-planned meal at Hu Hot with good friends
  • focusing on good food choices while I nursed my ankle
  • staying surprisingly calm about my impending 7 mile off-road race
  • measuring everything I ate
  • eating a reasonable treat (half of a king size Snickers with Almonds...4pps!)
  • organizing my junk drawer
  • organizing my bulk grains, beans & pastas (it's ok if you think I'm a geek)
  • day dreaming about what I will wear on New Year's Eve when I'm at goal
When I was in sales, on months that we had a big goal, we would try to be about two thirds to goal by the half way point in the month.  I don't know if that is realistic, but I would like to be more than half way to my goal by the end of Week 4.  That would be less than 141.5 lbs by the end of November.  With the good start I gave myself, I think that's attainable, I just have to stay focused & keep planning ahead when it comes to all of the upcoming social events engulfed in food.  Planning & mentally rehearsing are the name of the game.  Week 1, I owned you.  Week 2, welcome to the jungle.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Goal Goal


Another 2.4 lb gain...not nearly so hard to swallow as my previous turn at the same gain.  I think by the time I stepped on the scale I had already faced the music & the weigh-in was just a formality.  I've been mulling over my plan of attack for the last few days & here is what I have come up with:
  1. Though public, timed goals make me queasy with anxiety & fill me with fear & raise my obsession level to an unhealthy level, they also work.
  2. In retrospect, most of my major milestones have come at the end of a goal with a specific time limit.
  3. I am 15 lbs from goal.
  4. New Year last year was absolutely magical, marking the end of obesity.
  5. There are 8 weeks until New Year's Eve (which just happens to fall on a Saturday/weigh-in day).
Any guesses where I'm headed with this?  *gulp*  I want to be at my final, end, glorious goal of 134 lbs by New Year's Eve.  This breaks down to a weekly goal of 1.875 lbs lost per week.  Lofty?  Incredibly.  Impossible?  No.  I'm calling it The Goal Goal--because it's the goal to...goal.

Over the course of my journey I have had SCADS of mini-goals that have propelled me over the bulk of the 135 lbs that I will have lost by the time I get to goal.  Those are the bread & butter of this journey.  However, the magical milestones (end of obesity, 100 lbs gone, healthy weight range) were all at the end of a push where I gave myself a specific timeline & declared it publicly. 

So here's to The Goal Goal, may it be challenging but not impossible, focusing but not all consuming.  Cheers!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A BAD Recipe


Recipe for disaster:
Mix 2 parts stress with 1 part complacency.  Shake well.  Serve chilled in a sudden cold snap.

Blurg.  It's awfully hard for me to keep my motivation up these days.  The nagging feeling that I've done "enough" persists & on top of that I've found myself in a stressful situation that I don't know how to fix.  Then the weather got cool & I got munchy...then scroungy...then bingey. 

So, this is me, fessing up to some abysmal food choices & assigning myself some motivational self-reading as seen here & here & here.  Then, I'm defrosting a dinner out of the freezer rather than go out to eat (since my original dinner plan was an epic fail).  And finally, I will go for a run after the kids are in bed. 

I don't know if any of the above is the recipe for renewed success, but it certainly can't hurt.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Voodoo Tuesday: Know Thyself


Voodoo Tuesday: My effort every week to remind myself of the million pieces of voodoo (also known as good habits) that are progressing me on my journey.  Today's voodoo...

Know Thyself
This is the companion to last week's "There Are No Off-Limits Foods."  The condensed version of that idea: if I forbid myself from ever eating something that I really enjoy, the desire for it will consume me until I consume waaaaaay too much of it--whatever "it" is at the time.  There are no off-limits foods, just off-limits portions. 

Unfortunately, I'm still a food addict.  I still have the ability & propensity to over-indulge in the blink of an eye, set off by a bad day, a good day, a mediocre day, or a full moon.  *sigh*  So, while I give myself the latitude to eat anything I want in moderation, I also have to be realistic about myself.  I know that certain foods make me all giddy & tingly inside to the point where I throw caution to the wind.  Those foods (trigger foods) do not have the key to the club.  They do not get to be in my house.  They are not welcome to live in my cupboards. 

That is not to say that I won't eat those foods.  I just purchase them in single servings & don't allow a big package or whole batch to linger in my home--because the lingering would be just a brief layover on the way to the bingeing. 

Now for the Lasso of Truth: This Halloween I did an abysmal job of knowing myself.  As I did last year, I bought candy that I don't like to pass out to the neighborhood ghouls & goblins...unfortunately my neighbors did not consult me before making their own treat purchases.  My kids came home with far too much of the good stuff (read: chocolate, chocolate/peanut butter, chocolate/caramel, etc).  I am very thankful that they are still so little that they don't have the eye of the tiger when it comes to trick-or-treating, so their haul is somewhat limited, but still dangerous.  What I PLANNED to do was let them have unfettered access to candy for one night & then toss the remainder.  What I ACTUALLY did was let them have unfettered access to candy for one night & then forgot to tell Lincoln that I was tossing the rest, so I justified keeping it around in the name of good parenting.  Over the course of Monday I fished out all of the delectable bits in a steady stream of chocolaty madness.   Monday was a Know Thyself Fail.  Today I made the remainder go away but for one treat for each of the kids--what I should have done yesterday--& made myself write this as a part of my penance.  Now time to go say my Hail, Spinach.

Sunday, October 30, 2011



We're that family.  You know, the ones with the themed Halloween costumes.  Dave & I started the tradition in college:

Kept it going when we were just a couple of young married kids:

And then dragged our kids along for the ride:

Last year, the Pirate Year, Lincoln had two loves that we contemplated when making our costume choice, the obvious pirates &...superheroes.  In the summer of 2010, Lincoln started to enjoy the idea of supers.  The kid "flies" everywhere.  He can "sing" the Superman Theme.  There's something about the idea of good guys vs bad guys & supernatural abilities that just resonates with him (& now Coraline too, since she is his little shadow).  At the point that we started talking about Costume 2010, I had shed about 50-60 lbs & I was starting to feel good about myself, but not Lycra/Spandex good about myself.  So we chose pirates (thanks to this spectacular book) & I called my shot: "Halloween 2011 will be the year of Supers."  I kept it close to the vest.  There weren't many people that knew the plan, even the people that knew of Lincoln's Superman were largely in the dark about New Sara's plans.

I'd be lying if I said that this silly costume idea hadn't motivated me over the past year & a half.  We started talking up a Superman costume to Lincoln early on (just like I did with the garden, I knew that if Lincoln's heart was set on it, I would make it happen).  We mulled over the options.  My nerd lovely husband had to come to grips with the fact that we were going to have to mix superhero universes (I just couldn't put my baby in a catsuit, so that eliminated most of the traditional female options in either the DC or Marvel canon).  After much contemplation & debate, I present you with:

Wonder Woman, Superman, Bubbles & Wolverine

I planned & plotted the Wonder Woman year carefully.  First, I found a version that included a skirt (New Sara still has her limits).  Then I worked hard.  Key to me feeling comfy claiming Wonder Woman: the demise of Opal.  In the absense of surgical intervention, I don't know that she'll ever be gone, but I'm content being a middle-aged mom of two with a little jelly on the top of my muffin & I think Wonder Woman understands that concept.  Afterall, she is an Amazon can't tell me that in a community full of strong women there weren't a few bearing the proud scars of motherhood.  Knowing that Lincoln was counting on me to hold up my end of the bargain was just the kick I needed to send Opal to the curb & I can honestly say that I'm pretty comfortable in MOST shirts now. 

Once I started feeling like Wonder Woman could be a reality, I had to start gathering materials.  I'm NOT a sewer, but I'm a maniac with a glue-gun.  The key for me & costume making is to find the base materials that I can customize with felt (no frayed edges!) & glue.  Here are the non-weight related deets on the costumes:

Wonder Woman's Skirt: two clearanced window valances star stamped with potatoes
Wonder Woman's Bracelets & Tiara: clearanced cuff bracelets & a cheapy headband spray painted gold
All Boots: polyester socks with shoes underneath (they only have to last two wearings!)
All Badges: traced & razored out of cheap felt squares
Superman's Cape: clearance pillowcase
Wolverine's Belt: a strip of the red flat sheet from the clearanced set I got for the pillowcase/cape
Superman & Wolverine's Briefs: Victoria's Secret (probably some of the biggest splurges, but so worth it!)
Bubbles' Belt: a women's felt headband

Add a couple of leotards (yep, that's Dave in a women's leotard), some tights, & a blue dress along with some purchased details that were above my paygrade (wig, claws, Wolverine mask) & ta-da.  The great thing about all of this stuff is that I know my kids will play with it a TON, so I don't really feel that I've wasted anything.  And my kids were over the moon when they saw the finished product all put together. 

And me, I am over the moon that in a year's time I've gone from scallywag to Wonder Woman. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Put a Ring On It


Yesterday I got to be married again. 

I've been wearing string on my wedding/engagement rings for about a year (as seen here) to keep them from falling off.  Over the course of the year, I've added to the string (but never changed it--I know, I'm disgusting).  Prior to the addition of string, I never took my rings off, but in the post-string world I took them off all of the time, because who wants moldy, rotting string hands on their bread?  I've got hooks or dishes by all of the sinks & often I would forget to put them back on.  I've caught more than a few askance glances when I've been out ring-less with my kids (which is a sad commentary on judgemental strangers, but that is completely off topic). 

After a year of string & being within throwing distance of goal, I decided that my fingers will likely not get that much smaller & I took the plunge to have them sized.  It was an extremely exciting moment.  Here's what they looked like (the beautiful sunshine on that day doesn't do them justice--they were so disgusting that when I handed them to the fellow at the shop, I think he actually cringed):

The rings were purchased at a small local jeweler (if you're in central Iowa, check them out, all of there stuff is a-maah-zing).  When we went in to pick out our bands as dewy eyed youths, I had a vision of what I wanted: a wide band with small diamonds inset around the whole band.  I went to school with the woman that helped us pick them out, & she advised against putting the diamonds all the way around because, "it would be difficult if it ever needed to be sized."  I distinctly remember thinking, "when they need to be sized, I'll just stop wearing them."  Thinking about that girl, Old Sara, who was resigned to not wearing her precious wedding rings before she even had the state's permission to wear them breaks my heart.

Well, check out my precious now!  It's even so shiny that you can see the camera reflected if you look really closely.  I'm glad I took Katie's advice about not putting stones all the way around & am glad to put a ring on it & be married again.  And as a completely superficial side benefit to shedding pounds & getting thinner fingers: my rock looks bigger.  It's like getting a free upgrade.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bridge to 10K


Monday I started my B210K training.  I've been dreading it, digging in my heels & making excuses why I couldn't start.  The scary reality is that I'm signed up for a 7 mile off-road race the weekend before Thanksgiving & it's happening whether I'm ready or not. 

Monday I ran 4.07 miles, but subsequently realized that I had cheated some of the time & not done the full workout.  Today there was no scrimping & I dragged my carcass 4.75 miles.  I'm flabbergasted.  I've always resolutely maintained the use of the word "run" vs the pejorative "jog" (in PE they taught us that running requires a brief moment of time airborne...I will stake my claim to that regardless of how slowly my feet are moving in the process of achieving that airborne moment).  That being the case I wouldn't necessarily say I'm a "runner."  I usually say "I run," instead of owning the title of runner.  More evidence of the lag between mind & body, but today I'm feeling pretty confident about the mileage of the race (the creeks & ice & mountainous hay bales are another story). 

And as if that wasn't enough to get me feeling good about myself & running (still can't really call myself a runner), check out how I found my daughter last night:
...wearing my running kicks & all snuggled up with "Runners' World."  There's no better feeling as a parent than when you realize that you've engaged in a little piece of positive modeling.  Maybe that negates the fact that my son says "Oh. My. Gosh." like a 15 year old his mom.  Nope, that's still awful.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Voodoo Tuesday: There Are No Off-Limits Foods


Voodoo Tuesday: My effort every week to remind myself of the million pieces of voodoo (also known as good habits) that are progressing me on my journey.  Today's voodoo...

There Are No Off-Limits Foods
In prior lifetimes of "dieting," I would get hung up on the idea that I "can't have that" or that certain foods are "bad."  The obsession would become crippling until I was forced to choose between breaking out of my self-imposed food imprisonment or living deprived (which would only last so long until I was ready to sell myself on the corner for a Swiss Cake Roll).

Food cannot be bad.  You don't see Mac & Cheese knocking off convenience stores or pushing little old ladies down in the street.  Pizza won't take your sister out on three dates & then never call again.  Fried Chicken can't call in "sick" & then go golfing.  There are foods that are better choices than others, but there isn't one single bite out there that is "bad." 

This time around I have worked really hard at ending the temptation to demonize food.  I try to focus on eating for fuel & making the best choices that I can.  Sometimes the best choice is a Krispy Kreme--not because it is nourishing to my body, but simply because those little minions tickle my taste buds.  New Sara knows that the entire box of Krispy Kremes is never the best choice, but sometimes one fudge iced, creme filled is.  Outside of medical reasons or religious/moral choices, I believe that there are no off-limits foods, only off-limits portions.

It's hard to shake the diet mentality.  Food packaging & social pressure has conditioned me to look for the light, reduced, or diet option if I want to lose weight--but I don't want to live a light, reduced, or diet life.  So I choose moderation with a focus on eating mostly real foods.  That way, when the Krispy Kreme urge hits, I can enjoy one rather than feel miserable (physically & emotionally) after six.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lil Manilow Power


Yesterday I put on my ruby slippers fuzzy boots & said with fervor, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home."  Our week-long trek across the Midwest came to a close & as I dragged my weary body out of our jam packed van & into our house I was hit with a wave of appreciation.  Of course there was the usual post-trip euphoria over the prospects of sleeping in my own bed, having access to my whole closet (such that it is), & peeing in my own toilet (yup...fills me with joy).  But new to this trip, in fact new to my whole life, I didn't feel like I was coming out of a food free-for-all from which I would need to spend the next couple of weeks recovering.  Talk about a reminder of the changes in my life. 

Previously I've used trips as an excuse to get buck wild & dreaded the return to reality for both the gut check of consequences & "giving up" vacation freedoms.  Parts of me that were less tuned in to the joys of sleeping in my own bed were always fearful of facing the music at the end of a trip.

But this time there just wasn't any music.  Something funny happened last week.  I ate a LOT of my grandma's lemon bars (ok, that's not funny), but I made adjustments in what I was eating the rest of the time to help compensate--subconsciously.  I wasn't really thinking too much about it, just listening to my body.  Eventually my body told me that if I ate any more lemon bars I was in danger of turning into a Lemonhead.  And then I stopped.

I think this week MAY have been a taste of life after goal.  I've been terrified that I won't be able to make a graceful transition into maintenance.  This season of life has been a very selfish & self-centered one in which a large percentage of my brain power & emotional resources are funneled straight into me.  My family bends to me (what does Sara want to eat, when does Sara need to workout, where does Sara want to go out) with the idea that this is a temporary situation to achieve a long term goal that is in the best interest of all of us.  Sometimes I worry that I will never be able to relax the hyper-focus.  This week proved otherwise, & while I did gain, it was a reasonable gain of 1.8 lbs...not an Old Sara 10 lb Vacation.  I felt in control.  I made choices as opposed to giving into impulses.  And 1.8 lbs?  I can swing that between breakfast & bedtime.  No sweat.

To capitalize on feeling in control of the moment, I FINALLY took the plunge into Bridge to 10K that I've been promising myself/putting off.  Turns out, it was awesome & I rocked out 4.07 miles with nary a hitch.  A new playlist on a new iPod (thank you, Sam!) had me flying.  And I know you're wondering, so I'll let you in on the secret: yes, I have Lil Wayne & Barry Manilow on the same playlist & yes, I think that is appropriate.  Bring it, Living History Farms...I've got Lil Manilow Power.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Normal (Insert Air Quotes Here)


When I get my measurements done at Curves every month, after the good old-fashioned tape measuring, my (now) good friend Peggy whips out a little gizmo that measures BMI & body fat percentage.  I squeeze the handles & hold it out in front of me & I assume it uses some sort of electric or magnetic pulse to work its figures.  I've read that such devices are only marginally accurate & BMI in particular is quite a controversial gauge of an individual's progress, but for right this very second, I'm going to suspend such nay-saying because...the gizmo says I'm "Normal."

Talk about validation.  It's sad, but true.  That little plastic thing-a-majig made my day.  Inaccurate or not, as a reference point against itself, it's progress.  When I started at Curves I was 43% body fat (keep in mind that is AFTER I had already lost 40 lbs) & had a BMI of 37.9 (down from my highest at 45).  Today, Senor Gizmo wasn't blinking "Very High" at me.  He wasn't flashing "High" in my direction.  He called me "Normal" at 27.2% body fat with a BMI of 24.4.

With curiosity piqued, I did a little comparing of my March 2010 measurements to my current measurements.
  • Waist: down 19.25"
  • Hips: down 16"
  • Thighs: down 12" (total, not each)
  • Arms: down 11.25" (total, not each)
I don't really believe in "Normal" as pertains to size, shape, or beauty.  There are too many variables in the human body to try to pigeon-hole anyone to a small set of numbers or standards.  I believe in healthy & I believe in comfortable & self-possessed, both of which can look all sorts of different ways.  However, I also believe in measuring my personal progress in a multitude of ways, both traditional & non-traditional (yes, my markedly decreased desire to stick-up a Krispy Kreme delivery truck is a measure of progress).  Today, a very traditional (albeit flawed) measure called me "Normal" & I'll take it at face value & appreciate it as just one sign that I'm moving in the right direction.  Maybe I'm not actually normal...but a little closer to fine.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Voodoo Tuesday: Pack Some Heat


Voodoo Tuesday: My effort every week to remind myself of the million pieces of voodoo (also known as good habits) that are progressing me on my journey.  Today's voodoo...

Pack Some Heat
By heat, I clearly mean food--a healthy girl's secret weapon.  My family is getting ready to go on a pretty big trip.  Luckily, I will have access to a kitchen at all stages of our trek (minus road time), which is a big help, so I'm planning on packing everything but the kitchen sink.  If I have a selection of foods that I know are good & good for me, I'll be better able to maneuver the inevitable vacation pitfalls & try to find some balance between splurges & fuel.  Planning is power. Here's a list of the food & supplies I'm taking (as of right now...I know there will be more once I go to Target tomorrow):
  • Fat-Free Coffeemate (I know, it's not real food, but gas station creamer isn't either & it's NOT worth the points)
  • "Squeezy"-sauce (my son's name for unsweetened applesauce that comes in a pouch for easy slurping)
  • Reduced Fat Triscuits
  • Cheese sticks
  • Grapes
  • Grape tomatoes
  • Water bottles
  • Homemade granola bars
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Dried blueberries & cherries
  • Bananas
  • Whole wheat pumpkin bread
  • Beef sticks
  • As much coffee as I have Thermoses for
  • Milk
  • Measuring spoons, measuring cups & plastic cutlery
  • Lots of baby wipes, empty grocery sacks & a small bottle of dish soap to help clean-up
Good thing we have the van...we need it to haul all of my provisions!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Mawage is What Bwings Us Togethew Today


Saturday was our sixth anniversary (side note to Dave because I know he will read this: I accidentally typed "sith" anniversary initially...are you Vader or the Emperor?).  Grandma & Grandpa watched the kids overnight, we went out downtown, I ate delicious seafood & creme brulee, we sipped coffee outside on a beautiful night.  It was marvelous, but all fairly boring for the interwebs, so I'll skip to the good, not that...

This is me in my wedding dress on my wedding day...

This is me in my wedding dress last finally fit again (& was a little baggy on top)...

This is me in my wedding dress this year...had to put a cami under it so that it wasn't NSFW...

Every girl, at every size, deserves a dress that makes her feel beautiful, & my wedding dress certainly did that for me.  Even though I was married at a size with which I wasn't comfortable, I felt beautiful that day.  However, this dress, at my current size, doesn't make me feel so hot (or maybe it was the schlumpy hair...).  Anyway, I got a new dress to make me feel beautiful at this size....

Someday I'll learn to use a photo editor, but for now, we'll just have to look past the off-center pic taken by hotel cleaning staff.  The shoes are a particular source of joy for me.  They were to have been my wedding shoes, but a weight related issue caused me to have foot surgery two months prior to the wedding, so I scrapped the pretty heels & went for more sensible platform flip-flops (so that I didn't have to get my dress re-altered).  My wedding shoes got their first use on our anniversary, awww...& then I nearly wiped out because the bottoms were still slick.  I may be all gussied up, but I'm still the clumsy bull-in-a-china-shop that Dave picked on purpose. 

Sunday, October 9, 2011

5K Strong


Who's run two 5K's & feeling strong?

This girl.

As I said on Friday, food choices may be the engine of shedding pounds...but nothing beats the feeling that you've "leveled up" physically & can accomplish anything you put your mind to. 

We had a super-busy weekend that kicked off what amounts to a super-busy, fun-filled, crazy sprint all the way to Christmas...who cares?  I do, because I know my strong body can handle it.  Old Sara would get stressed looking at a full calendar & wonder when she would find the energy to pee, let alone make Halloween costumes or go Christmas shopping or catch a musical (can't wait to take Lincoln to "Beauty & the Beast!").  New Sara is still a little stressed, but not because I worry that my body can't handle all of the brew-ha-ha that the next couple of months entail.  Running has taught me that I KNOW my body can do long as my mind cooperates.

While beating my prior 5K time by 6 whole minutes certainly doesn't hurt my feelings, the biggest rush (& still novelty) is in the idea that I did it at all.  I love that I feel like my body is worthy of all of the things that I have to do, want to do, & need to do.  For so many years, my body betrayed me & failed me & limited me.  Now my body is 5K strong.

Friday, October 7, 2011

It Starts in the Kitchen


Since we're going to be busy tomorrow morning when I typically would go to my weigh-in, I went this morning.  My goal: lose the 2.4 lbs I biffed last week. 

Speed Bump on the Way to my Goal: my left knee has been hurting pretty steadily this week.  Monday was the only day that I exercised at all.  At all. 

So I was ultra conscious of tracking.  Even when I splurged on animal crackers with frosting, I counted & measured.  Who does that?  Freaks like me.  And this freak, was treated to a pleasant reminder that the effort to shed pounds starts in the kitchen--not in the gym.  Down 2.6 lbs.  Not only did I kick the 2.4 lbs from last week, but I lost 0.2 "new" lbs as the cherry on top. 

It's so easy to get hyper-focused on the exercise component of weight loss.  It's exciting, it's action packed, & it yields a sense of accomplishment that just can't be found in choosing celery over Krispy Kremes.  Imagine an episode of "The Biggest Loser" where they showed nothing but food journaling & meal prep & menu planning...snooze.  It's boring, but it's essential.   While exercise is vital to HEALTH, the foundation of weight loss is good food choices. 

Since my goal is both weight loss & health, I'm glad that my knee is starting to feel much better & I'm itching to get out & do my second 5K (get the blow by blow on my first 5K here) on Sunday.  The mother-in-law & I are going to rock us some arthritis research fundraising.  Watch out, 38'55"...I'm comin' for you!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Voodoo Tuesday: Plan to Succeed


Voodoo Tuesday: My effort every week to remind myself of the million pieces of voodoo (also known as good habits) that are progressing me on my journey.  Today's voodoo...

Plan to Succeed
Planning ahead is probably the single best/hardest habit that I have built.  Here's what works for me (read: what I should do & yet I sometimes still fight it & think I'll do fine "wingin' it"):

On Sundays I like to sit down & plan the meals for the rest of the week.  Mondays are always veg & Fridays are usually seafood of some sort (aw,'re such a sweetie).  When I'm REALLY firing on all cylinders, Saturdays & Sundays are pulled from the freezer which just leaves Tuesdays-Thursdays to have to really think about.  I use Weight Watchers' eTools for menu planning/tracking since I'm already paying for them, but I've heard great things about free software such as MyFitnessPal & SparkPeople.  Once I've picked my meals for the week & entered them on my tracker, I go through the recipes & figure out what I have on hand & what I need to buy.  My GOAL is always to go to the grocery store one time per week & Costco two times per month.  I rarely achieve this goal, BUT thanks to menu planning, we're not going to the grocery store every night like we previously were. 

Having my dinners planned allows me to work backwards on the day & know how many points/calories I have left for the rest of the day.  In the evening, after the kids are snugly in bed, I sit down & plan breakfast & lunch for the next day, working with the things I have on hand.  If we're going to be going out to eat the next day, I will take a few minutes to see if I can find the restaurant's menu, or better yet nutrition information, online so I can plan what I'm going to order.  Planning out-to-eat meals in advance of sitting with the menu in my lap & all eyes on me while yummy smells are hitting my nose is soooooo important for me.  If I've already decided that I'm going to have a salad without cheese & dressing on the side, it's much easier for me to actually order a salad without cheese & dressing on the opposed to a blooming onion & fried shrimp. 

My last big plan ahead endeavor involves produce.  If I have it on hand & it's readily available, I'll eat it.  And if I have it in large quantities, I'll be even more likely to eat it to keep it from spoiling.  To that end, I've always got Costco sized quantities of produce in my house.  At this very moment I have a 3 lb bunch of bananas, a 4 lb package of grapes, a 2 lb box of spinach, a 2 lb bag of asparagus, a 3 lb bag of carrots, 4 lb flat of peaches, a 2 lb bag of Brussels sprouts, 6 bell peppers, 4 bunches of celery, a 5 lb bag of onions, a 5 lb box of sweet potatoes, & a 3 lb box of plums in my possession.  That's called pressure.  There's a lot of cash tied up in all of that produce & if I don't want to dump all of that cash directly into my compost bin I better find a way to eat it & feed it to my family.  To get it all gone, I pre-wash & cut as much as I can on the weekends or right after I get home from the store.  One of the biggest hurdles to healthy eating is making healthy foods as easy as lousy foods.  If I've got a bowl of plums on the table that are washed & ready, it's just as easy to grab one of those as it would be to grab a Snickers. 

Menu planning & prepping takes a LOT of time.  But I've found it takes me progressively less time as I get better at it & as my kitchen has become better stocked for preparing fuel food rather than storing junk food.  The rewards are worth the time.  When I KNOW what I'm going to eat, I'm less likely to wait until the last minute & forage for crap because I'm starving & pressed for time.  And if that's not enough, I get to look forward to the great food I'm having tonight & on into the week.  I've been looking forward to tonight's Slow Cooker Roasted Chicken & Baked Garlic Brussels Sprouts since Sunday.  And no McDonald's ad or Ruby Tuesday flier is going to con me out of that.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

25 Reasons I'm Changing My Life


Last night I was so blue that I was cerulean.  Going to my weigh-in this morning was the hardest thing I have done in this process, hands down.  I hadn't really kept tabs on my weight with the scale throughout the week, but I had kept tabs on my behavior & I knew it wasn't going to be pretty.

In bed last night, I tried to think of every conceivable excuse to NOT go.  This list included such classics as "it's too late, I'll be too tired," & "we don't have Lincoln tonight so it might be nice to spend some time with just Dave in the morning before Coraline gets up," & (my personal favorite) "I probably have Bordetella & it's probably catching...better not infect anyone else."  I cried all the way there & sat in the parking lot contemplating all of the errands I could run while I was pretending to go to my meeting.  But I did go in & I faced the music, to the tune of a little ditty I like to call "The 2.4 Pound Waltz."  But then, wouldn't you know the meeting topic was "Motivation"--just like bathing, it doesn't last forever, so you just have to keep on doing it.

Pam encouraged us to think of a list of 25 reasons that we want to shed pounds & I knew immediately that I had to do just that.  So here, in no particular order, are the 25 Reasons I'm Changing My Life:
  1. I want to model healthy womanhood for my daughter.
  2. I want to kick my back pain to the curb.
  3. I want to feel worthy of walking into a sporting goods store.
  4. I want to achieve longevity.
  5. I want to achieve longevity with quality.
  6. I want to wear tall boots & high heels.
  7. I want to decrease my risk of breast cancer.
  8. Speaking of boobs, I want them to have a higher profile than my stomach.
  9. I want to order food in a restaurant without feeling judged by the server.
  10. I want to decrease my sky-high risk of diabetes.
  11. I want to wear tank tops.
  12. I want to shop for clothes in more than two select stores.
  13. I want to walk into a room of new people & not wish for a sink hole to swallow me.
  14. I want to sit in my favorite chair & not feel my hips rubbing both arms.
  15. I want to ride on an airplane without swapping butt sweat with strangers.
  16. I want to watch my hubby's races without feeling like I'm unworthy of being his wife.
  17. Speaking of my hubby, I want to stop worrying that others feel we're "mismatched."
  18. I want to maintain my awesome blood pressure.
  19. I want to try new foods.
  20. I want to set my children up with healthy habits.
  21. I want to get dressed without tears, the wiggle dance, or laying down to zip my pants.
  22. I want to wave & not worry about arm jiggle.
  23. I want my children to be proud of me.
  24. I want my husband to be proud of me.
  25. I want to be proud of me.
This week wasn't pretty, but it wasn't the end of the world.  As I turned off the car & wiped up my tears to walk inside, I said (out loud) to myself, "I am not defined by one s#!^&y week."  And I'm not.  I'm defined by 25 awesome reasons that I'm changing my life.

Friday, September 30, 2011

And the Crazy Just Keeps Getting Crazier


Ha ha ha.  Just when I thought I had me all figured out...I pulled back a hidden curtain & found another layer of cuh-ray-zee.  Y'all ready for this?

I don't want to get to goal. 

I've really struggled with this for the last week.  Why in the world would I pour so much time & heart & energy into a task to not finish it?  Why would I work so hard to crave failure?  It's so crazy that I didn't want to write it out because 1) it confirms that I'm truly certifiable & 2) it's offensive.  Offensive?  Yes, offensive.  I'm most assuredly offending myself with this attitude...& quite possibly also the people who have read my musings, shared in my story & cheered me on, in particular those who are marching on to similar goals themselves. 

On the heels of two spectacular weeks, I repeatedly & purposely made bad choices this week.  A little more sleep, a little less running.  A little more frosting, a little less spinach.  It was one fail after another & it was conscious self-sabotage.  At one point I remember thinking, "Yup, I'm gonna do that even though it's stoooopid."  At least Old Sara was ignorant--aaahhh, the bliss.

I've built a life over the last 20 months that I really love.  I'm more outgoing (not in fact ACTUALLY outgoing, but more-so), I try new things, I work hard & I lose weight.  They're all tied together in the crazy-soup that's in my head.  I don't know what happens when one of those is gone.  Might it all go away? 

And what about my little slice of internet in which I bear my soul for the purposes of staying off the couch (both literally & figuratively)?  I absolutely adore blogging.  It has become one of my favorite leisure activities, but isn't "A Weight-y Life" predicated on a weighty life?  The thought of losing my voice terrifies the point of actual tears.   

This is definitely a "To Be Continued..." arc in the story of New Sara.  Quite frankly I don't know what life as New Sara 2.0 will look like & I have no idea what New Sara 2.0 will have/want to say, but I guess that's not a good reason to not give New Sara 1.0 her finish line.  So, I can't offer you a resolution, but I can offer you an apology for not giving it my all & honoring your readership with my best.  I'm sorry, to myself & to you.

To Be Continued...

Thursday, September 29, 2011



This morning while I was running, I crossed paths with a fellow who was walking.  His sides were heaving & he was sweaty & he had the typical runner's build.  And he gave me the international sign for this-is-my-cool-down-walk-I-swear-I-was-hauling-hiney-a-second-ago: arms lifted up & wrapped around his head.  It was awesome.  Even before he flashed gang signs, I knew he had been running, but he wanted to make sure that I knew because I was currently  He wanted respect from ME.  This is a crazy, mixed-up, turn of events.  Or is it?

I have become comfortable with myself as someone who has largely conquered the food beast.  Oh, I still slip up to be sure (Exhibit A: the extra frosting in my fridge that I have not left alone this week), but as general rule I believe to my core that I am in control of what I eat & when I eat & I have the knowledge & tools to make the best choices possible in any given scenario.  What more can I ask for?

However, I certainly have NOT come to grips with myself as someone who is athletic...let alone an athlete.  Geesh.  The very thought of that word sends me straight back to high school.  Picture it: band uniform, braces, 90's glasses, overweight, under-encouraged.  I didn't play a single sport...ever, not even T-ball.  I was the kid who mysteriously developed whooping cough whenever it came time to do Presidential Fitness tests.  My only sports-related glory as a child was winning first place in the Third Grade Track & Field Day...wait for it...Shoe Kick.  I still have the ribbon.  So sad.

When people ask me about running or working out, nine times out of ten I'll make some sort of joke or dismissive comment & gosh durn it, that isn't fair.  It isn't fair to the person I'm talking to, it isn't fair to my husband who has sacrificed so much to let me have all of the time & resources I need to exercise, it isn't fair to my son who clearly idolizes BOTH of his parents as "racers," & it most definitely isn't fair to me.  It's not that I'm not "there" physically, it's that my head hasn't caught up with this new stage of me.  *sigh*  More mental work to do, which goes to show that this whole process is so much more about what's in my head than what's in my mouth--or what I'm doing with my feet.