Saturday, February 26, 2011

Funk Dispelled



This morning at my weigh-in, I was sitting in my usual spot, sipping my usual non-descript coffee, feeling pleased with a reasonable (1.4 pounds) weight loss, yet still feeling a bit glum about the enormity of my task, when one of my Weight Watchers friends said (completely out of the blue), "I printed your picture from the article & I keep it at my desk to remind me that it's possible." 

I don't have any words to express what this means to me & how thankful I am for Sylvia who had the courage to say such kind words to me.  Little did she know that she helped me way more than I can ever possibly help her. 

On a completely unrelated note, Lincoln has learned how to use the camera & regularly requests "funny faces" to be the subject of his three-year-old art.  Feast your eyes on a one-of-a-kind Link original:

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feeling Funky


I'm trying to fight off the blues today.  It's chilly.  My laundry is out of control.  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. 
I have failed to take my own advice & I've been thinking about my end goal.  It's close enough to feel attainable, but still so far away.  Once again I'm left feeling discouraged by the fact that I have come so far & I'm STILL.NOT.DONE. 
I know I should be happy.
I know I should be proud.
I know that this is just a temporary feeling.
But no matter how many positive thoughts I think, mini-celebrations I concoct, or times I count my blessings, I'm just in a funk today.  
So, in honor of feeling funky...
So glad I have so many people around me who understand me.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Picture Perfect


This morning we got gussied up & had family pictures taken.  In the tradition we started when Link was one year old, we combined Cora's first anniversary of life with an updated family mug shot, our last being when she was just hatched (about 85 pounds ago).  In the course of getting ready & taking these pics, two totally unrelated--but equally shocking--things happened. 

Shocker #1:  Old Sara would have used a morning family outing as a justification for breakfast a la Mickey D's.  Not for Link, mind you.  That would be unhealthy.  He would have been munching on grapes & cereal & milk while I would have had some manner of pastuerized, processed grease sandwich.  New Sara didn't even think of drive-thru anything until Dave pointed it out.  Ironically I had a breakfast sandwich anyway, but with a whole wheat muffin & turkey sausage I feel pretty confident that my choice was far superior.

Shocker #2:  Old Sara spent any sort of picture taking event thinking about the complex geometry involved in hiding an obese woman behind a toddler.  Old Sara was mindful of the exact angle to minimize the number of chins caught on camera.  Old Sara had perfected the art of not breathing for a whole hour long photo session.  New Sara sat & took pictures & concentrated on the quest of getting one shot in which two small children & two big ones were all looking moderately happy--or at least not angry. 

What a difference a year makes.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011



Big day at my house yesterday!  No, my daughter didn't string together multiple words & yes, my son's preferred place to deposit feces is still his pants BUT...I threw away cake.

Some people "Cheers" with cocktails...
Let's rewind to last Tuesday.  I was making my daughter's birthday cake & I decided that I could make a fake cake since it was just for the four of us & my family has learned to deal with my cooking substitutions.  Egg whites & applesauce definitely make an inferior cake, but not a horrible cake.  Old Sara didn't even know you could make substitutions, let alone know how to make them.  Victory one?  Check.

On Wednesday, while covering the remaining 14 pieces of the previous cake, I had the thought that I should make myself a birthday cake for Thursday.  So I said to myself, "Self, you can stick a candle in a piece of Coraline's cake."  Old Sara would have rationalized the need for a second cake in the name of birthday fun--& then eaten it all with glee within a week.  Victory two?  Check. 

And now for the icing on the cake (te he he): yesterday I put the last four pieces in the trash.  In the trash!  I'm not evening using the word "trash" as a euphemism for my mouth, I really mean the can under my sink that is in desperate need of emptying as we speak!  There's an episode of "Sex and the City" where Miranda has an illicit relationship with a chocolate cake.  For most viewers it was a bit of comedy on TV...seemed more like reality programming to me.  While Old Sara never fished baked goods out of the garbage, eating the lion's share of a cake in a day wasn't out of the question.  Victory three?  Check.

The best part?  I didn't agonize over any of those choices.  Talk about a lifestyle change!

Monday, February 21, 2011

What is My Goal?


Now that I'm really "out" in my quest to shed pounds (hello, my weight was printed in a newspaper--eek!), a LOT of people have been asking me what my goal weight is.  My response: I stammer, I sputter, I shift uncomfortably & mutter something about wanting to be healthy.

The truth is that for the past year I have been a woman on a mission, working diligently goal at all.  I am starting to have the vague idea that I should change that & zero my sights in on an actual number, but for now, here are my current reasons for flying blind:

1.  My ultimate goal weight is too overwhelming.  When I started, I knew that regardless of my goal I had well over 100 pounds to lose just to get to the upper end of the healthy range.  It was too discouraging to have a 2 pound week count toward a 100+ pound goal.  BUT a 2 pound week toward a 5 pound goal?  Spectacular!  The biggest bite I have ever taken is the 15 pound "Overweight by '08" campaign & that nearly killed me mentally.

2.  I have no frame of reference.  In my adult life, I have been a healthy weight for exactly one year.  Unfortunately, at that same time I was at my least healthy in all other aspects.  I was smoking, drinking, & eating only one meal per day max.  I have consciously avoided using pictures from that time or thoughts of that era as motivation because I was extremely unhealthy & largely miserable--another big shout out to Dave for clawing out of that stage together, just wish we hadn't eaten so many Spaghetti-os & Garlic Toasts to do it!

3.  I'm scared.  Pinning down a number seems so set in stone & I don't want to set a goal that is "unattainable."  What if I tank?  What if Opal refuses to let go of anymore of her stores?  What if my knee becomes a perennial problem?  What if my body really just wants to be ___?  I realize that all of these worries are absolute garbage, but leaving the end goal open has allowed me to stay focused on small victories.  Setting myself up for success has been a big part of my mental process & I don't want to mess with it.

*sigh*  I do know this: I have always thought that I was 5' 3" but at a check-up with a new doc last year, the nurse actually measured me (they never measure adults, they just take your word for it!) & said I was 5' 5".  I'm a little suspect of her measuring capabilities, she seemed pretty daffy, so bottom line I'll be shooting for a goal that is within the common ground for both heights: 120-141.  That is as specific as I'm willing to get at this point, but I am still 28 pounds outside of my maximum so I have plenty of time to ponder.  In the mean time, my newest goal is a simple 5 pounds with no looming deadline.  That isn't scary & it isn't life changing--unless I keep getting rid of 5 pounds after 5 pounds after 5 pounds, which I intend to keep doing.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Standing by My Man


Let's face it, this past week has been all about Sara at our house.  February 14th & 17th typically mark what Dave calls "The Festival of Sara."  The poor guy has to suffer Valentine's Day & his wife's birthday in the same week.  As if that isn't bad enough, I had the nerve to have our daughter on the 16th.  For good measure, throw in all of this 100-pounds & article-in-the-paper nonsense & Dave has practically ceased to exist.  Except to me. 

He even does hair!
I have previously shied away from a much needed missive on the merits of my mister because the thought of it makes me a little queasy.  Not because I don't want him to know that he is appreciated or loved or needed or cared for or super-dee-duper.  No, it just makes me uncomfortable when there is a window into married life that goes much beyond Ward & June Cleaver & their cute twin beds.  The other day I felt uncomfortable & regretted tagging him in a Facebook post...about a snow blower.  A snow blower!  If that level of discussion is too exposed, how in the world am I supposed to talk about his many & varied contributions to the project that is me?  Clearly, my only option is a list.

Why I Love David Hurler by Sara

He didn't even flinch when I first told him my "numbers."
He silently & smilingly eats vegetarian meals & seafood that he hates.
He stays up with the screaming baby so I can get up early to work out.
He goes running over his lunch hour so that I can have the prime morning time.
He portions out the dinner leftovers  so that I have quick lunches ready to grab.
He unloads the dishwasher  because I hate it & I won't cook if I have to unload.
He reminds me to set an alarm every night.
He finishes dinner prep every Tuesday & Thursday so I can go to Zumba.
He makes a big deal of thanking me for cooking & has our son do it to.
He refuses to be trapped into answering a loaded question.
He takes treats to work with him to get them out of the house.
He is ignored while I'm blogging, tracking, meal planning, etc on the computer.
He doesn't complain when I make his birthday cake with applesauce instead of oil.
He lets me pick where we eat out so that I have good choices.
He doesn't complain that the only pizza we ever get is thin-crust veggie.
He force feeds me water because he knows I'm a big baby about it.
He talks to me about running & exercise like I'm a peer, not a nube.
He always notices when I'm in a new/old piece of clothing.
He smacks my butt.
He's always the first person to read my new blog posts.
He doesn't comment on my posts because he knows it makes me uncomfortable.
He tells me almost every day how proud he is of me.
He has never made himself one of the reasons that I wanted to shed pounds.
He gave up the Y membership with a pool so I could go to Curves.
He takes & retakes my progress pictures every month until I'm happy with them.
He loves me sincerely at any size & has never made me feel fat, even when I was.

For all of this & more, I am truly thankful to have Dave as my partner in this & other adventures.  I couldn't ask for a better person to share this process with.  I am so proud to stand by him as he stands by me.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Reflective Week


Today is the big day of my article in the Des Moines Register!  What a way to cap off an amazing week!  I'm in a little bit of a daze thinking about it all. 

In the midst of the hoopla, I took a minute yesterday to look at pictures from 2/17/10:

Then I flipped trough a few of my "progress" pictures:

June 2010
August 2010

December 2010

I realized that at the respective times of these pictures, I thought that each was the best picture I had ever taken.  I was proud of the accomplishments displayed in each of these images.  I can look at them now & pick apart things that I am glad have changed, but I was happy & appreciative in the moment.  As a woman, that is so hard to do & I am proud that I have largely maintained a positive attitude throughout this process. 

I also went back & read some old posts.  Re-reading my "origin story" & "aha moment" really brought be back to a place where I am excited to tackle the last leg of my journey.  It can be so easy to let an accomplished mini-goal metamorphosis into complacency, but not this time.  I'm not done!  I'm still outside of my healthy weight range & that's where my ultimate goal lies: health & wellness by the end of 2011!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Hello, Mr. Franklin!


No make-up, just a big-old grin!
In an extreme act of hubris, I made a shirt to commemorate my birthday/anniversary/centennial...lucky me it didn't end up acting as a reminder of failure.  Instead, I can proudly say I am down 100 (.4) pounds from this day last year.  Happy Birthday to me!  Now, where's my cake?

This milestone has a tinge of bitter-sweet to it (just a tinge!).  A couple of weight loss attempts ago, when my starting weight would have been below two bills, I actually gave up before I started because "I don't have 100 pounds to lose, so what's the point?"  Cra-zy.  I remember feeling like it wouldn't be an accomplishment to "only" lose 70 pounds, so it wasn't worth the effort.  Not that I was consciously trying to gain the extra 30 (40, 50, etc) pounds, but I wasn't willing to try to lose if I wasn't going to be able to have the glory of 100.  Looking back on that I'd like to slap Old Sara across the face...New Sara would have been at goal a couple of months ago if Old Sara hadn't been such a chump. 

BUT, I can't change the past & I sure as heck don't have anything to be glum about in the present.  I've even got a couple of unrelated NSVs that made my day yesterday:

1.  I was talking to my grandma on the phone & she said that in the most recent picture I sent to her that I looked TALLER.  Now, of course I haven't grown, but just like any short girl, I'll celebrate a good optical illusion any day!

2.   I was out in the street in front of my house (but not in my own driveway/yard) on the way to the mailbox & one of my neighbors was in his driveway.  I waved.  He didn't...& then he double checked me.  I don't know this fellow very well, but he is quite friendly, so I can eliminate the notion that he was just being grouchy.  That leaves me with the idea that he didn't recognize me.  Here's to winter & not seeing your neighbors for long enough to become unrecognizable to casual acquaintances! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sweet Coraline (whoa, whoa, whoa)


Sorry, Neil.  Your classic has been remastered & at our house there is no such thing as Caroline, just a beautiful little girl named Coraline.  In honor of her first birthday, a little on-topic love note to my girl.

Celebrating 1st Birthday/1st Anniversary with some little blue boxes!

Dear Coraline,

One year ago today you finally graced us with your presence.  Surely your tardiness was a sign of the opinionated, vocal girl you already were.  On February 16, 2010, three little words changed my life forever: "It's a girl!"

While you were growing inside me, I had often thought of how I was going to finally lose my weight "when the baby came."  In retrospect, those thoughts were no different than previous iterations: once it's summer, when I turn 25, when we move, when the moon is in the seventh house & Jupiter aligns with Mars.  Peace would have had a better shot at guiding the planets than me actually making good on the promises I was continuing to make to myself.

You changed everything, dear girl.  With three little words, there was so much more at stake.  It wasn't just about being pretty, it wasn't just about being healthy (though that should have been enough--for you & for Lincoln if not for myself), it wasn't just about being active--it was about being a role model.

Somehow I had been able to compartmentalize my responsibilities for Lincoln.  As a boy, I thought it was Daddy's responsibility to teach him how to be healthy & active & celebrate his beautiful body.  I now understand how wrong that was & I feel sorry every day for the behavior I previously modeled for your brother.  But, if Lincoln was Daddy's job, it followed that you would be mine.

What a magnificent responsibility it is to shepherd you from girl to woman; a weighty task for a weighty life.  My most sincere hope is that I bring you up with a modeled attitude of respect & appreciation for your body. You have a beautiful body, Coraline, perfectly created start to finish.  Within your body is promise, the promise of all of the wonderful things you will do: running, hitting a home run, tap dancing, digging, playing a drum, doing a cartwheel, walking across a stage to get a diploma, walking down an aisle to chose a partner, having your own perfect baby, becoming the fourth woman president.  All of these...none of's your choice & your beautiful body is the vessel to get you to these things & so much more.  Cherish your body, be it lumpy or lean, tall or squat.  Take good care & love every inch that it may grow & be strong & work hard for you, carrying you to your every dream.

Thank you so much for reminding me that I, too have a body that needs to be cared for & nurtured.  You helped me see what a precious gift I was squandering.  It seems odd to burden you with such a mantle, but you saved my life, sweet baby. 

Happy Birthday, Coraline Dara!  Mi vida.

I love you now & forever,

Monday, February 14, 2011

More Knee-ded Reflection


I can't stop blabbing about this stupid knee.
I was really scared to go to PT.  I was desperately afraid of looking foolish or being deemed unworthy of help.  As an obese person, there are things that I avoided for fear of drawing attention to myself.  Somehow, PT fell into my mental category of "things that athletes do" & was therefore out of my league.  I was terrified that the therapist would be disdainful, condescending or dismissive & that it would all boil down to "You have bad knees because you are fat."  So many things wrong with this thinking!

1.  I apparently haven't realized that I'm not "fat" anymore.  I am still overweight, but I'm not the obese woman I once was & I clearly haven't brought my head to where my body is at.  How long will it take for my brain to process what my eyes can see?

2.  Though I say it all of the time, I am clearly not living my own mantra: obesity is a medical issue, not a character flaw.  I believe that others' perception of me is based largely on how I present myself--not just physically, but emotionally & socially as well.  If that is the case, what am I "putting out there" if I expect to be dismissed based on my weight?  Why would I have that expectation in the first place?

3.  A sliver of me is still living in a jocks/geeks high school culture that is just plain toxic.  What 30 year old is still classifying cliques like that?

Despite all of my craziness, here's the reality: in the two times I have been to PT, the therapist has been nothing but great to me...& he's even given me a couple of tips on how to get into my running prep mode once the ice & snow recede.  There have been exactly 0.00 athletes in the office...just a handful of elderly people coming back from falls & replacement surgeries. 

Most importantly, I realize that I do deserve to be there getting help.  Regardless of how or why this stupid knee is causing me pain, I don't deserve it & I need to do everything I can to get it strong & healthy again.  Afterall, I need to be able to get up & dance on Thursday when the scale tells me that I'm down 100 big ones.  Here's hoping!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

It's a...Peanut Butter Addict!


I started PT yesterday for my knee.  I really liked the therapist.  He did a great job of not making me feel foolish & everything he said about my knee made perfect sense, so I have no reason not to think that his solution to the problem will be equally sensible.  Plus, he was middle-aged-man hot, so I've got that going for me. 

Despite having a game plan for rehabing the knee that seems clear & attainable, I'm still feeling very out of control when it comes to my overall goal.  I'm terrified of getting out of routine & not getting back on.  I'm stressing about not making my 100 lb mini goal.  I'm feeling a strong need to turn to food, specifically peanut butter.

I come from a long, proud line of peanut butter lovers.  My grandfather eats a gooey mess of it everyday for breakfast on toast with spun honey.  Eating peanut butter & honey with him on visits to Ohio as a kid was about as close to perfection as I can imagine--so long as it's the RIGHT peanut butter. 

Some people are picky about their laundry detergent, some people are fussy about their shampoo.  I'm choosy about my peanut butter & it has to be JIF or don't even bother.  It's creamy, it's not too sweet, it's perfect on just about everything.  New Sara is very good at measuring & using peanut butter appropriately.  Old Sara, particularly Pregnant Old Sara would dive into that jar with abandon.  It was practically the only protein I could stomach during chunks of both of my pregnancies.

Since I thought I had the passion pretty well under control, I was taken by surprise by yesterday's need to put peanut butter on everything from animal crackers to bananas to a spoon.  The urge was so strong & I was feeling so powerless...that I took a pregnancy test.  How wishful is that thinking that the only reason I could possibly feel out of control was pregnancy?  It was negative (whew!--not that I had anything more to go on than "I want peanut butter"), I'm just a girl with a powerful love for an easily abused food & a prediliction for stress eating.  Ugh!  It almost seems easier to be pregnant.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Knee to the Psyche


My knee is a bum...or just is bum.  Either way, I hurt my knee (getting the baby out of the van--lame!) & haven't been able to work out much at all this week.  It had started feeling better, so I went to Zumba last night & now it's an angry knee, "bent" on keeping me downtrodden & a couple of steps behind my racing children.

In pursuit of another big goal that is once again tied to a specific time-frame (why do I keep doing this to myself?), I've been a little depressed about it all week.  On top of that, I'm in the middle of another big Opal resurgence, which is always a kick in the self-esteem.  The funny thing: the depression is exactly what I needed to perk me back up.  How's this for bass ackwards (thank you, Mom)? 

I can't do anything about Opal.  I've figured out that as I shed pounds it comes from different places & my body seems to have a cycle where I lose some rump & I lose some boob & am left with some bump in the middle for a couple of weeks. It is what it is & I just need to power through.  BUT, as to the knee depression, Old Sara wouldn't have been depressed at all!  Old Sara would have been pretty darn excited to have a legit reason to stay far away from anything with any kind of impact, low or high.  Old Sara would have been only too happy to throw in the towel & let the process derail.  New Sara is depressed.  Huzzah!

Here's to depression & not letting it ruin my progress to goal: 100 pounds gone by February 17.