Monday, January 31, 2011

Temptation Island


Those miniature Delilahs.  Those tiny evil minions.  Those petite sirens with their irresistible song.  Those cute little Girl Scouts...standing on my front porch.

For some it's the Thin Mints, others the Samoas.  For me, the Tagalongs.  Oh, how I love thee.  Let me count the ways...chocolaty, peanut buttery, conveniently packaged in individual serving size boxes.  Hmmm.  Perhaps I have a skewed perspective on serving size when it comes to my favorite of the Scouts' confections?

I was thoroughly unprepared when those minxes rang my bell.  There they were, all pink coats & green sashes & glitter nail polish.  Surely I've come so far that I could get some & stash them in the freezer & dole them out appropriately.  Fresh on the heels of my brownie fiasco, I realized that I didn't really want the cookies more than I want my goal & you know what I did?  I wrote those little imps a check for $10.50 (the amount for my usual three days/three box supply) & told them it was just a donation.  And then I refrained from telling them where they could shove their crack-laced cookies because they are kids & that would probably, rightfully get me arrested.  No cookies & no felony arrest.  Talk about a good day!

Saturday, January 29, 2011



Take that, Brownies!  I am Super Mommy (or at least that's what Link says).  Able to work off 14 brownies in a single week.  Able to scratch out a 0.6 lb loss on top of that.  Able to not let one bad choice lead to a whole multitude of others.

Here's to hitting the reset button & a great first week of February.  My "anniversary" is on the 17th & I've got 3.2 lbs left to hit 100 lbs gone.  Sounds like a challenge to me!

Bring it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ladies' Night


Rockin' the Casbah
Oh yes it's Ladies' Night, oh what a night.

The boys in my house are gone for the weekend, excepting the dog & cat who are, at best, half boys.  Me and my girl are gonna get our freak on.  We're going buck wild.  We're going to try to distract me from eating everything in the house.

I did our taxes.  I organized the coupon drawer.  I made a photo book of Lincoln from his 1st to 2nd birthdays.  I wiped down the kitchen.  If I'm not careful, I might end up tackling the dreaded junk drawer. 

Sadly, this has made me realize how much I depend on Dave & Lincoln to keep me on the straight & narrow.  Without the natural accountability of a supportive spouse or the defacto accountability of impressionable youth, I feel a lot more Old Sara than I'm comfortable with.

So far, so good as far as not acting on the lacivious foodie thoughts that are running amuk in my head.  I had planned on cooking a meal, but that just wasn't going to happen.  I broke into my stash of portioned-out-frozen leftovers & then steamed the better part of a Costco tub of spinach (which cooks down to about 1/2 a cup...grrr).  Now I'm sitting here just wondering if this will ever get any easier.  Will I have to be on terror alert orange for the rest of my life?  Probably.  It's a pretty down thought to end a down week. 

***Unrelated Side Note #1: Speaking of orange alerts, for a giggle, check out this opinion piece on Terror Alerts.  Dave & I giggled ourselves to sleep last night.***

***Unrelated Side Note #2:  As I was writing this, I got my "IPR Connections Newsletter" in my inbox.  Just another kick in the teeth as far as I'm concerned.  Nothing makes me want to eat gas station food like IPR.  I hear the "All Things Considered" theme music & I'm on auto pilot to the nearest place with gagantuan Swiss Cake Rolls.  Harkens back to my days of commuting & eating my way from DSM to Ames, but knowing that doesn't make those dirty hippies' mystical pull any less.  Dave asked me recently why I don't listen to the news anymore & I told him I just couldn't stand the temptation.  Left wing politics & witty reparte just say processed junk food.  And now they're after me without me even tuning in.  Buttheads.***

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Transparency in Eating


Like a crack-head with a new pipe...
I can't believe I ate the WHOLE thing.  *sigh*  If you've never had an unhealthy relationship with food, I'm likely about to gross you out.  Truth be told, I'm a little disgusted myself.  Sitting here writing this is one of the harder things I've done in a while, but I know that is precisely why I have to make myself do it.  Afterall, this isn't all about the rah-rah-rah.  Some of the process is the blarg-blech-yuck.  That being said, here's a truth-bomb to give myself a hard dose of accountability.

I had a seriously Old Sara moment over the weekend.  The long & short of it: brownies were made, brownies were eaten.  No justification here, but the problem started with the fact that I purchased the low-fat mix.  What was I thinking?!?  They were just begging to be abused.  "I can have two, they're low-fat..."  Then two turned to four & so on until the math became too much for my capabilities...or at least that's what I told myself. 

Yesterday I went back & figured it out.  It reminded me of college days when I would count the bottle caps in my pocket from the prior night to figure out how many Miller Lites it took to make my headache the next morning.  How many brownies did it take to fill my gut with fudgey goodness & regret?  Of the 18 (exactly even & perfectly cooked due to the magic of "The Perfect Brownie"), I ate 14 over the course of Sunday.  Translated into Weight Watchers speak: 55 PointsPlus Values.

It would have been really easy for me to not go back & do the math & acknowledge what I had done.  But that wouldn't change anything, all 14 of those low-fat jerks would still be festering in my gut (& on my hips).  So, now I know & I will NEVER do that again (though I know I will probably do something similar...once a junky, always a junky).  Knowing what I did helped me get into the head space to do something about it & I've kicked up my work-outs accordingly. 

This week, my mini-goal is to have a loss.  Any loss.  I will not let those brownies do any more harm--completely stripping my pride is quite enough. 

Monday, January 24, 2011

Little House in the Suburbs


Today I am longing for the life of Ma Ingalls.  She had the most lovely & romantic name, Caroline, & she got to wake up next to Pa Ingalls (whom I had a crush on as a line say nothing of the Michael Landon iteration).  But, today it is neither of those things that is making me wish for a magical switcheroo.  I want to be Ma Ingalls because I didn't want to go work out this morning.

Ma Ingalls & her prairie companions didn't have to go for a run...they had to run to catch food.  They didn't have to do squats...they had to squat down to pick up tubs of water, heave it onto a stove & boil it so that they could wash their nineteen layers of clothing by hand.  They didn't have to do crunches...they had to build their own houses & furniture out of trees & mud.

Today, I'm longing for a life that's not so easy, where the work out is built into the work of survival.  Oddly, this desire for a hard life is springing from laziness.  I didn't want to make a special trip to go do something extraneous to burn calories.  Down the rabbit hole I spiralled & I realized that the need to specifically work out is heightened by our desire to make life easy.  I have a car, a roomba and a dishwasher.  I bought my bread & didn't have to gather the eggs I will eat for breakfast or butcher/pluck/clean the chicken that I will eat for supper.

Those lucky pioneers weren't burdened with the guilt of missing a morning work-out because just going to "the store" meant lacing up & doing a 10K, then doing another on the way back while carrying 20 lbs of flour. 

I'm going to turn this envy into productivity.  This week, while I acknowledge that I am not going to forgo my washing machine, I am going to try to look for ways to make my life a little harder.  I'll park in the far spot.  I'll take the stairs instead of the elevator.  I may even vacuum my house without the help of a robot.  And if all of that doesn't get me off of the hook, maybe I'll build a buckboard (whatever that is) & start out on the Oregon Trail.  Diphtheria, schmiphtheria.  Think of the calorie burn!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Chuckle at Sara's Expense


It is rather fortunate that I have always held to the idea that if you can't laugh at yourself you're just out of luck...because someone else will be doing it for sure.  Last night I had a marvelous opportunity to laugh at myself in the company of my entire Zumba class.  Care to join in?

There is a spot on the Curves circuit which positions you smack in front of a glass exterior door.  I'm sure the purveyor would try to tell you that it is tinted, mirrored glass & thus privacy is maintained as you move your way around the circuit.  The rest of the windows are nicely & opaquely frosted, but despite tints & mirrors, the door remains a nice window to the booty shaking, grimacing fun on the other side.

I have accepted the door a a necessary evil.  I understand that it is there & likely there are people on the oher side that are pointing & laughing.  As long as I don't see it happening, it's fine. 

There I was, smack in front of said door.  Imagine my mortification when, in the middle of a particularly epic display of jiggly parts, I found myself not only aware of the presence of an observer, but making eye contact with him.  I am fairly certain that Mr. Observer was all of 20 years old & was likely a server, bartender or other employee of the new Mexican restaraunt next door.  Not only did I make eye contact, I was physically incapable of averting my eyes & maintained the gaze long enough to see his most smart-a** grin & snicker.  Not that I blame him.  I've driven past similarly exposed work-out places & laughed openly at the raucus rumps emblazoned in a bright room against a night sky.  But I certainly don't make eye contact with the owners of said rumps. 

When the instructor finally called for us to turn (in reality all of 10 seconds, but it felt like hours), I had flushed to match my bright pink top & let out a yelp "I just made eye contact with a man outside."  More laughter at Sara's expense & jokes about finding him after class to make him buy me a margarita.  It's the least he could do.

*sigh*  I suppose I should just focus on the silver lining: I will NEVER feel compelled to go into Viva La Bamba & make bad dietary choices...I'd rather die than show my face (or anything else) in there.  In fact, I'll probably have to swear off Monterrey & El Rodeo, too.  Mr. Observer surely has friends, & I know if I were him I'd be laughing & telling this story to anyone who would listen.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Here's What Happened After I Got Funky


When I hit my wall a few months ago, I wanted to throw in the towel.  With a "wow" amount gone, it seemed quite reasonable to say enough is enough & rest contentedly on my laurels.  I was tired of having to try so hard to be thin--something that seemed to come so easy to so many of the women that I know & I was overwhelmed by the enormity of the task before me, when I had already done so much.

At that point, I regrouped mentally & started setting really small mini-goals & blogging along the way. 
Getting my head in a place that refocused on ME & what I could DO helped me continue to get the job DONE. 

Now, quite firmly on the other side of that funk I have realized two completely unrelated things:

1) The idea that "it comes easy for some women" is a complete & utter fallacy.  When I stopped & watched those women who's bodies filled me with a most non-sexual lust, I realized that it wasn't easy at all.  I realized that "yeah, she eats like crap...but she eats only two bites of crap, not the whole crap."  Or, "yeah, she's super thin...but she works out...every day...really hard."  Those girls that have got it, got it for a reason.  Shame on me if I belittle their efforts & minimize them down to good genes or good luck.

2) In the face of a big task, I must realize that time marches steadily on, with or without my participation.  When I was in high school, a friend's mother went back to school.  I remember her saying that time was going to go by whether she got her degree or not, so she might as well use the time & finish her education.  All dewy & unaware, with nothing BUT time ahead of me, I didn't get it.  Now, I understand.  The hours to get me from my hospital bed on February 17, 2010 to today at my desk would have been exactly the same, regardless of any of the choices that I made in the interim.  Today would still be a cold day in January & I would still have been at home with my kids asleep in the next rooms.  It would have taken 11 months to get here no matter what, so why not make the most of the time in between?  All I can do is make the best choice possible at each fork in the road (or in my mouth).  

Looking back on the last few months I have had some really great successes, not the least of which continues to be the daily decision & commitment to make the best choices I can at each decision point.  I'm firmly convinced, now more than ever, that positive thinking & bite sized (te he he) goals are the lynch pins of my efforts.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Does Size REALLY Matter?


I recently fished a "new" pair of jeans out of the box of misfit clothes.  Aside from being truly hideous, they made me giddy, as each reclaimed item does, to be putting on "that size?!?"  Inevitibly, as I put on the jeans, the first words out of my mouth were "I can't even remember the last time I was 'that size.'"  And then, I took a minute, as I always do, & tried to remember when I last wore the item.  These particular jeans are so ugly, & so crisp looking, that I am quite skeptical as to whether I EVER wore them.  In fact, I feel quite certain that they were denial jeans & that at the time of original purchase, they didn't even fit.  I didn't take them back because it was more painful to admit that I couldn't fit into "that size" than it was to just lose the money.

Thinking about these particular jeans made me think about "that size," which is really just whatever size I am at the moment or wish I was or wish I wasn't or know someone that might be.  There is such an aura around size.  It comes to mean so much more than just a number & a convenient solution to finding clothes ample enough to cover my naughty bits.  I am having a real struggle reconciling the idea that a size that once made me sob (on the way up) is now making me dance (on the way down).  It really has made me think about what a thing of perspective size & body image really are.

Though I realize that there are issues of health & well being that very reasonably should have upset me as I was gaining weight, it wasn't my blood pressure or increased risk of developing diabetes that made me so upset.  Conversely, it's my skinny jeans & not my resting heart rate that are now making me giddy as a school girl. 

The actual number on the tag is really irrelevant, "that size" is all about what's going on in my head & it makes me so sad that I spent all of those years berating myself over being "that size."  Even now, "that size" still runs rough shod over my thoughts in a mix of pride/shame/regret/anticipation that I struggle to reign in.  Nearly a year of trying to make a better life for myself & it's still coming down to "that size." 

In all of their ugly glory...

Mildly related tangent: I don't know what psychotropics I was on when I was gaining the weight & deciding what clothes I was going to keep in the hopes that "someday" I would wear them again.  Such a mis-matched, hodge-podge of crap has never been accumulated in the same place.  I don't know where I thought I was going to be going "someday," but from the looks of things it was some sort of cold-weather, hoochy bar where I may or may not need a Rainbow Bright t-shirt to wear with some wool, herringbone trousers.  And you wonder why I'm in a steady rotation of the same three outfits.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011



Fake lashes?  Red heels?  On a Wednesday morning?  No, I'm not starting a cottage business, I had a photo shoot!  Ok, photo shoot might be a bit of an exaggeration, but a photographer for the Register did come over this morning to snap my pic for an upcoming article about me. 

Yup, I'm going to be in the paper & I didn't even have to die to do it!  Next month's Q Magazine insert (in your Des Moines Register on February 18) will have an article about little old me & my efforts to shrink my rump to a more manageable size. 

I'm super excited, but there's a weird element that I hadn't anticipated when I agreed to do it.  I'm afraid of people looking at the picture, not reading the article & saying, "Yeah, but she's still fat."  I would probably do the same.  As a work in progress, it makes me nervous to put myself out there & have strangers judge me as a final product.  But I guess that is no different than when people judged me before I had shaved off some pounds, an idea that I am very comfortable with.

Ultimately, it will be nice to have something to send to my grandma to show off all of my hard work, & in the mean time, I'm in heels again!  Obesity doesn't mesh well with impractical footwear & now I can spelunk the depths of my closet for all manner of ridiculous options, made more ridiculous by the fact that I will be wearing them to "work" with yoga pants & a hoodie.

Monday, January 10, 2011

NSVs #2


It's been a while since I sat down & reflected on ways other than the scale that my life has improved or changed. 

*My BMI has decreased 16 points.
*I can run for 15 minutes straight (possibly lap ended on WiiFit & I got distracted by unlocking a new balance game, but I didn't feel like I HAD to stop).
*I think my blood donation went more smoothly because they didn't have to snake though as much fat to get to a vein (absolutely NO medical info behind this statement, just an observation I had...maybe it was all mental, which is good enough for me!).
*I have "the gap" between my thighs!--ladies, you know what I'm talking about.  It's small, but if I'm wearing yoga pants, it's there.
*I've got guns, clearly necessitating an entire rack.  This makes both my husband & son giggle.
*My posture is MUCH better.
*My house is cleaner--I've got more energy & that has gone toward me making a chore chart for myself & all of a sudden I have a clean house.  Yes, I am such a child that I have to have a chore chart.  I stopped short of cutting out pictures from "Better Homes & Gardens" & making a poster with sticker chart.  I figured that would be excessive.
*My husband & I have a new shared interest.  As one friend put it, we're "fitness enthusiasts."  Me?!?  What?!?!  I would have sooner said that Dave & I would start a local chapter of the Numismatist Association than sharing an interest in fitness.  But it's true, we now enjoy this together.
*I'm just plain happier.  This one is tricky.  I don't want to say that skinnier=happier.  What I will say is that the very act of dedicating the time & energy & money on myself has had a very unexpected & wonderful effect on my self esteem & self worth.  I never would have said that I was a self loather, but in retrospect, I was.  By focusing on my body & making it the strong, healthy machine that it wanted to be, I gave myself permission to view myself as strong & healthy.  Now I just can't get over the miracle that is the human body & all that it can particular my human body.  I now think of my body, health & life as a gift & a resource--how can I not be happy with a perspective like that?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Biggest Loser Post


With a new season just begun (no spoilers here!) & it being Wednesday, I'm thinking about "The Biggest Loser."  Wednesdays at our house, along with being known as the weekly holiday of "Garbage Truck Day," are "BL" days.  With two little kids & a Zumba addiction to feed, 7-9 on Tuesday night just doesn't cut it.  Through the magic of Hulu, we can wait to shill out 2 hours (cut down to 1.5 without pesky TV commercials) until after the kids are in bed & we should be doing laundry or cleaning something--or just talking like grown-ups. 
I'm not going to lie, I'm a total fan-girl.  I love just about everything about BL, probably because it came along at just the right time for me.  Not only does it make for great Reality TV, but it's motivational, too--just look at how many of your FB friends posted something about making a healthier snack choice on Tuesday night because they couldn't watch BL & eat cake.  This will be the fourth season that I have watched.  I got hooked last fall when I was pregnant & tired & TV was a good way to pass some time while I watched my ever expanding belly.  Ironically as I got bigger, the contestants got smaller & somehow it gave me hope. 

I have spent a lot of time thinking about that season.  I am firmly convinced that when the stars aligned & I found BL while pregnant, it freed me from the guilt that I would have felt if I watched under other circumstances.  I am ashamed to admit that I probably would have turned it off & passed the contestants' success off on Jillian, Bob, & some mysterious ability on the part of the producers to cast super-heroes cloaked in the bodies of obese individuals.  Instead, I watched & gave the show time to show me that these people were absolutely ordinary & while they were in an extraordinary environment which accelerated their progress, the results weren't entirely out of reach.  I've since read that a week on the ranch is comparable to a month of intentional hard work at home & my experience tells me that is about right. 

By the end of the season, I was so excited to get the baby out & get started.  I had always intended to resume Weight Watchers once the baby came, but I hadn't counted on being so excited, inspired & motivated.  In particular, Rebecca Meyer (that season's At Home Winner & Des Moines native) really grabbed hold of me mentally & just wouldn't let go.  I thought about her & her journey & her success constantly.  I even became one of "those" people: last August, I wrote her a fan letter.  In all actuality, it was probably my first blog post--my first attempt at putting into words all the things that were changing in my life.

Here is the letter, one of many many like it that all BL contestants probably receive, & for this & reasons I can't even articulate, I will be forever thankful to "Biggest Loser."

Dear Rebecca,
I hope this isn't horribly inappropriate, but I wanted to take a moment to thank you.  When you went on Biggest Loser, you not only got your life back, but you helped others do the same, & I am one of them.  I'm sure you hear things like this all of the time, but allow me to bore you one more time.  I had never watched the show prior to your season.  I had been obese most of my life.  When your season came on, I was pregnant with my second child.  Being pregnant allowed me to watch without the guilt that surely would have pushed me away.  Without the guilt, I was able to see the journey from start to finish, which helped dispel the myth I had lived with my entire life: some people just can't be thin/healthy, some people are just destined to be obese.  In a family where obesity is the norm, I remember learning to expect obesity in my life by the time I was in middle school.  I can vividly remember the moment when I had the thought that my mom was fat & I would be fat when I was a mom.  Watching the show, & specifically you, brought me to a point where I began to realize that any body can be pushed & reshaped & reclaimed. Your determination, spunk & hard work were such an inspiration to me.  The fact that we are close in age & both from Des Moines made you identifiable.  For the first time in my life I saw someone real kick the weight & regain a healthy life.  You showed me that it isn't impossible, it's just hard.  And then you showed me that even though it's hard, it's worth it.  I'm worth it.
I had my baby on February 16 & weighed 269 lbs when she was born.  I gave myself six weeks to recover & then hit the ground running with a revamped & healthy eating plan.  Since then, I've lost 55 lbs & a month ago I started something I've never done in my life: I started working out.  Five more lbs & I'll reach my pre-baby weight, but I can't wait to start working on all of the extra lbs that I can't blame on my kids!  I've never felt physically or emotionally better in my whole life & for that I really needed to thank you.  Not only did you help save me, but I'm excited to break the obesity cycle in my family & give my new daughter something that I never had: an expectation of health & wellness & life.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolution to Plan


Yesterday, a friend asked me the very benign & New Year appropriate question: "What's the plan for next year?"  My brain immediately went into scope creep mode.  Plan continued shedding of pounds?  ...necessary improvements on the house? kids? exotic vacation?  ....a million dollar idea?  ...convincing Dave we need another dog?  ...saving for kids' college?  ...planting a garden?  ...cutting my hair short?  ...organizing my closets?  ...learning how to knit?  ...becoming an astronaut? 

When I finally rerouted my brain back to reality, I'm sure we had been sitting silent for the better part of a minute & I sputtered out something about training for my first 5K in the spring.  Which, yes, is part of "the plan."  Since then I have been thinking about plans vs. resolutions.. 

I've set resolutions nearly every year & they are always broken by the end of March.  "I'm going to lose weight."  "I'm going to drink more water."  "I'm going to walk to work."  The problem with most of my resolutions is that I had the what, I just didn't have the how.

So, this year no resolutions, only plans.  My plan for 2011 is to continue with the lifestyle changes in eating & exercise routine that have gotten me this far & add running to the mix starting in the first week of April.  That gives me a few more months to continue shedding pounds so that I don't hurt my knees & ankles by running on excess weight (& hopefully winter will be a thing of the past by then, but this is Iowa so that isn't a guarantee).  With these steps, my plan is to achieve & maintain a healthy weight in 2011.