Wednesday, August 31, 2011



Dear Fog,
I'm not a science wizard, but I believe that you are to be comprised of water vapor, not in fact, Silly Putty.  Educate yourself.
Sluggish but Triumphant on W4D2 Remix

Since sluggish is no way to start a Hump Day, a little ruminating on motivation:

I'm a firm believer that my journey can only be successful if I'm doing it for myself.  I do the work, I make the choices, I'm the reason that I'm doing what I'm doing.  Doing this for someone else will never be enough for me to make a permanent change.  That being said, I know myself & as a mom my kids can be a powerful motivator.  Not a REASON, but a motivator.  I want my kids to grow up with healthy habits established through modeling so they can live long, healthy lives.  I can't say it enough that I am thankful that I found my life changes when my kids were so young.  They really don't know anything else.  In the past week, my kids treated me to two examples of ways that changing my life has shaped theirs:
  • While talking about the dad of a friend that was going to do a race, Link piped up: "And her mom is going to race, too--right?"  Thrill of all thrills!  Link's assumption is that everyone races, everyone runs, everyone exercises.  He's even talking about running & racing with us & I think next year's race season is going to see the debut of future Olympian, Linkovitch Chimovski.  Side benefit: if we can get Link hooked on running maybe he'll want to be in Cross Country & spare his poor mother the scares of Football!
  • After picking our biggest single day haul out of the garden, my kids mobbed me & insisted that we eat our garden tomatoes right there on the deck.  I thought they were going to riot when I made them stop stealing out of the basket long enough to rinse them off with the garden hose.  I guess a little bird poop never killed anyone...right???  At any rate, it didn't kill them & they were thrilled to have tomatoes for "dessert."  Be still my heart.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Then & Now


On the last weekend of each month I take a progress picture in front of my fridge.  Initially I chose the fridge because it would provide scale where a blank wall wouldn't & also because I'm still infatuated with my "new" (now three-year-old) fridge.  Someone once commented that they liked the pics because I was holding the fridge shut.  It wasn't intentional, but if anyone asks...sure, I planned it that way. 

Yesterday, I realized that I had almost missed picture day.  So, I did what any girl would do & I took off my painting clothes, put on make-up in the middle of the day, & put on a dress to be worn for exactly 37 seconds of picture taking.  But what a magical 37 seconds they were.  Not because the picture is that stellar (I actually liked last month's pic better), but because I inadvertently illustrated some great NSVs that sent me to the moon.  Along with wearing my first SMALL item of clothing in my whole-wide-life, I was treated to these discoveries...
  1. Look at my necklace.  It's the same necklace in both pics...hanging down at least 1.5" lower in the current picture.
  2. Look at my watch (fridge hand).  It's the same watch in both pics...sliding down at least 2" lower on my arm on the right.  Also of note in the watch department, I can now slide it off & on comfortably without opening the clasp.
  3. Look at my shoes.  Ok, not the same shoes, BUT--the shoes on the right are my favorite kitten heel pumps.  I was able to comfortably wear them at my heaviest & still feel sexy.  They're magic shoes.  When I put them on yesterday, I had to notch the straps two holes smaller than the worn hole that I usually wore.  The clasp of one of them promptly broke in protest, but I'm getting these puppies fixed, they're too magical to get rid of!
 Just a reminder that it's not all about the scale, it's not all about the tummy, hips & thighs.  Sometimes it can be about the neck, wrist & ankle.  Meee-ow.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

W4D1: Remix


Dear Neighborhood Vultures (no, not THAT kind, the feathered kind),

You are a valuable part of the circle of life.  As such, I would like to cordially invite you to a special luncheon in your honor at Chez Skunk Carcass on 72nd Street--I hear it's to die for.

Yours truly,
Sick of Week Old Roadkill Rotting on My Running Route

I'm posting this in the hopes that vultures are active in the blogosphere.  They certainly don't read my FB statuses because I already made this request once.  Maybe they get spotty coverage whilst circling the area & NOT doing their jobs.  Either way, that carcass is ALMOST enough to make my lazy self find a new running route...almost, but not quite.  It's been there so long that it doesn't even stink anymore.  Sad stuff.

What's not sad is how absolutely awesome I felt on my run today.  Everything just felt right.  I was moving & breathing exactly as I planned...which has never happened to me in my life.  Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was feeling like the king of the world.

Mercifully, I was spared the horror of an overinflated ego by the grace of my running shorts--my inside out running shorts to be more specific.  As I sat down on my front step to stretch my legs & bask in the glory of a beautiful day & a perfect run, I realized that my shorts were inside out.  For reals.  Maybe I should try some sports voodoo & wear them inside out tomorrow & see if that's the key to a good run.  More than likely it's just the key to getting odd looks.

And speaking of things looking odd, do you see what I see?

That's the tag off of my new (ridiculously clearanced) black dress that I wore today.  Yup, that's an S.  In the interest of full disclosure, there is no way that I can wear a small in MOST items, but this boxy dress fits perfectly & gets the award for my first item of small clothing ev-ah.  I might have to frame it...the tag, the dress, the whole enchilada.  Here's the dress: 

This picture pointed out a whole herd of NSV's that I'm excited to day dream about more tomorrow, but first I must night-dream tonight.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Office Nook


I moved my favorite chair today. 

I spend a lot of time at my desk.  From menu planning, to shopping lists, to this little rag, I'm sitting here in front of this little screen.  From the moment we set up a desk in our bedroom it was a practical place for me to do the things I need to do for both for my journey & our family, but I absolutely hated the way it looked.  And I still do, but I hate it a little less because I've got my favorite chair to rest my rump where previously I had a ratty old office chair.

Why is this relevant?

Because I moved the chair.  I didn't write it on a to-do list for Dave to do it later.  He has enough lists & I realized today that I can do it myself...or to quote Coraline, "I-SEF!!!"  I pulled it out of the corner in the living room where it wasn't getting used because it was too cramped.  I flipped it over & was aghast by the cobwebs that wafted as I unscrewed the legs.  I cartwheeled it up the stairs & up & over the corner of the bed to get it back behind the desk.  And I sat & enjoyed it while I wrote this post, realizing that it is too short for the desk...sigh.

So my office nook is still a work in progress, but it is better.  Along with the chair, I also brought up an unused ottoman from our veritable store of a basement to hide printer paper, stationery & other office supplies.  I made plans to skirt the open glass & metal desk that I have rather than pining after a cute wood writing desk that I don't need.  Most importantly, I reconnected with the fact that my body is capable to do the things that I want to get done. 

Bring on the glue gun & the spray paint, it's time to get my DIY on. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Value in a Single Serving Package


I'm a sucker for a deal.  I love Costco.  I love coupons.  I love stretching my money.  I hate feeling like I could have paid less for something. 

When it comes to treats, I have realized that I need to apply a little analytical thinking to my math skills to get to the real bottom line.  Gather round, children.  It's time for Miss Sara's Math Lesson (I can't even type that without snorting coffee out my nose.  Sara + Math = Great Big Joke).  Anyhoo...

Sara = Wants a Swiss Cake Roll
Box of 6 Swiss Cake Rolls = $1.19; $1.19/6 = roughly $0.20 per Serving
Single Serving Package of Swiss Cake Rolls = $0.50 per Serving
$0.20 < $0.50
Sara = Buying Whole Box
But here's the rest of the story...

As previously mentioned, namely here & here (& innumerable other undocumented misadventures), Sara has a little problem we'll call "Portion Control."

Sara + Box of Swiss Cake Rolls in Hot Little Hands - Portion Control = Eating 3 Packages as a "Serving"
New Cost Per Serving = $0.20*3 = $0.60
$0.60 > $0.50
Sara = Buying the More Expensive Single Serving Package in the Name of "Frugality"

Know thyself.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

13 Points of Guilt


13 PointsPlus Values...

For 13 PointsPlus Values I could eat: 1/4 c of hummus with 11 Kashi Pita Chips, a cucumber, a piece of string cheese, a turkey stick, a peach & 13 of the best animal crackers you'll ever find (thank you, Costco!)  OR I could do what I ACTUALLY did & have my daughter's leftover Panera Mac & Cheese, eaten cold & shoveled in while standing in front of the open if closing the fridge is what makes it a problem.  For perspective, I am allotted 29 PointsPlus for a whole day & this wasn't even a meal, mind you.  It was a "snack," eaten in addition to my regularly planned meals.  Budget blown.

Yesterday was bad (I've had worse, but it was still bad).  As is my norm, when I hit a goal I seem mentally obliged to do some backsliding to "keep it real."  At first I was blaming my eating on my exercise up-tick (today will be 9 days in a row--I'm throwing it out there to ensure that I don't flake out on my Zumba class tonight!).  "I need more protein."  "I've been burning a lot."  Or the perennial classic: "I DESERVE it."  blarg. 

Here's what I DESERVE: I deserve good food to fuel my body.  I deserve to be healthy.  I deserve to honor my hard work with pride in a job well done, not mindless binging. 

Lessons learned:
  1. When feeling weak, I need to stay out of the kitchen--physically.  If I walk in the kitchen I will forage until I find something & that something is never celery.
  2. The kids' Mac & Cheese at Panera is tasty, but NOT worth it...for me or my kid.  Apparently Coraline knew it was a horrible choice because she hardly touched it.  We won't be buying it.  Ever.  Again.
  3. The time to right the ship is with the next bite, not the next day.  The one thing I did right yesterday was realize the tailspin & clamp down on it in the evening...before the night-time nosh that I was busily justifying with the toxic idea that "the day was lost."  When I needed to go in the kitchen before bed to stir in my yogurt starter, Dave kindly went with me so that I wouldn't sneak eat.  Doing damage is never a reason to do EVEN MORE damage. 
Good thing getting to a healthy weight was so much fun--now I get to do it again. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Four Weeks For Health: Week 4


The final leg of my Four Weeks goal has come to an end &...

Week 4 Actions (what I did differently):
    Food-Free Fair Fun
  • I went to the Fair.  While this seems counter productive, I was very intentional with my food & beverage choices.  I stayed hydrated.  I chose treats that were really "worth it" for me (mmmm, cookies in a cup--to share).  I didn't feel cheated or bloated--a resounding accomplishment in the name of moderation.  I still had fun seeing fair sights even though I didn't eat my way through as I have in years past.  Another thank you to Jack Decoster & salmonella poisoning!
  • I scheduled my workouts.  I have long been a believer in scheduling my meals.  I plan all of our dinners for the week on Sunday & my breakfast & lunch are planned the night before.  When I plan my food, I make good choices & know what wiggle room I have for special occasions or surprises.  This week I decided to look at workouts the same way.  I put my workouts in my planner, in pen & I stuck to it.  For the first time EVER I got in a workout every day.  Not that I think that is a requirement for every week, but I had the time & energy this week, so I did it.  I think I will definitely stick to scheduling my workouts in the future.
Week 4 Results: Down 0.4 lbs--"healthy!"

There is a lot that can be said on the issue of healthy weights/bmi/body fat percentage/body image & all of the things relating to those controversial topics.  Bottom line for me: on one possibly arbitrary scale I am registering as a healthy weight for the first time in over 10 years.  Am I that different than I was last week?  Not really, but it is a nice mental boost to be able to say that I am no longer "overweight"--whatever that means.  Ultimately, I'm still not at my own personal goal, & that's really what matters. 

More important than the number on the scale, I've had FOUR STRAIGHT WEEKS of weigh-ins with positive results.  Mentally I needed that more than I needed the scale to say 150 lbs.  What I've re-learned from this process is that it doesn't matter how close I feel I am or should be to my goal, I still have to take it week by week just as I did in the beginning.  The big picture is comprised of all of the small pictures (each food choice, drink of water or workout) strung together.  I am 16 lbs from my final goal, but here's what I want right now: another week of positive results.  That is what works.  As proof, here is what week taking week by week steps can do over the course of a year:

State Fair Date 2011
State Fair Date 2010

Friday, August 19, 2011



Before Christina was a pre-school mom & a judge on a network vocal comp, she was just another trollop in hiney-baring chaps & booty shorts gettin' "Dirrty."  Story of my life this moring...only without the chaps & booty shorts (you're welcome, Neighborhood):
The photo doesn't do it justice.  I took a mud puddle with full force & didn't even break stride.  My shoes finally look like they've been used.  Filthy girl.

I didn't notice the mud until far too late because I was a)still a little asleep & b)in a dither.  I recently heard someone say, "Oh, well, it's easier for you because you're a stay-at-home mom."  The implication was that with all of my "free" time I could work out all day every day, a la Biggest Loser contestants.  This is what was rattling in my head as I was running at 6:30 AM so I could squeeze in a moment before my kids were up & my husband was at work.

Here's the deal:  I understand that I don't have to deal with working lunches or "food days" (quite possibly the worst contribution made by Corporate America to our culture) & if I were so inclined, I could pop in a workout video during nap time.  BUT, I'm also at ground zero for awful food choices 24/7 & I can't leave my kids at day care a little early/late to squeeze in a quick workout.  My son asks for PB & J for lunch every day & I have to either say no or exercise restraint in the face of one of my biggest trigger foods.  Everyday I have the free-&-easy schedule that causes many people to flounder on the weekends, where better choices might be easier in the stucture of a routine workday. 

My point: it's never "easier."  All I can do is make the best choices possble within the contstraints of my reality.  In any routine there are stumbling blocks & assists & obstacles & short cuts.  No matter what reality demands, it is hard to change a life steeped in bad habits, pre-concieved notions & a ravenous taste for Krispy Kreme.  Working, unemployed, stay-at-home, work-at-home: it's hard for us all, by gosh & by golly. 

And that is what caused me to get dirrty this morning.  Or was it the fact that I waved at the middle-aged guy that was clearly gawking at me as he drove by?  I figured I at least owed him a friendly wave since he had to have been sorely disappointed when he got close enough to see my paunchy mommy tummy, my flattened boobs & the delightful new flap of skin that rolls out from under my rump everytime I take a step.  Talk about dirrty.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

W1D2: It's Time for the Remix


I passed someone this morning!  Granted, it was a 60-something woman taking her spirited puppy for a walk whilst pausing sporadically to instill some instruction in his fuzzy little head, but still, I passed someone.  This achievement brought to you by dirty hair & workout clothes that moonlight as pajamas.

Last night I realized that I was in danger of jeopardizing my planned Wednesday morning run.  My hamstrings & quads had banded together & those little teamsters were on strike.  They didn't appreciate the labor agreement that I had previously imposed, specifically my little foray into sprints on Monday.  Each step brought a new shooting pain as if to say "heck no, we won't go" or "what do we want--a couch & ice cream!  when do we want it--now!"  As I was showering after Zumba, I realized I was at a cross roads.  If I washed my hair & my legs were still aching in the morning, there was no way I would run.  BUT, if I didn't wash my hair, thus forcing me to shower again in the morning, & I slept in my running clothes, MAYBE I would be able to convince myself that the pain would go away.  And I did...but it didn't. 

But it did ease up a bit & I went for my run this morning.  In my negotiations with my striking legs, I agreed that there would be no sprinting & in return, my legs would support my body weight & propel me forward at a moderate rate of speed with minimal wincing.  Both parties upheld their ends of the agreement in honorable form.

I can honestly say that I will never be that person who wakes up in the morning solely for the chance of getting in a great workout.  I will likely never choose a workout over any other worthwhile activity (like sorting my sock drawer or alphabetizing my DVDs).  I will rarely say that I really enjoyed my workout.  But here is what I will do: I will show up.  Sometimes just showing up is the best that can be done & that is ok.  If I show up, I will do it & if I do it, I will benefit from it.  If I need to sleep in workout clothes & filthy hair to get that done, so be it.  There's no shame in needing a few (albeit dirty) helps if the end result is progress. 

At the height of training for my 5k, I would not have run on legs that hurt like mine did this morning.  This is a NEW New Sara.  And look what I gained for it: the chance to annihilate a jolly baby-boomer & her wobbling puppy.  Winning.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Someday Jeans


Someday, Bloody Someday. 

We all have boxes of clothes that we saved for "Someday" when we will be able to wear them again.  I moved with my Someday boxes THREE times, clinging to the idea that Someday I would magically fit into all of those nice clothes.  And man alive did I have boxes.  I worked at Gap for a few years in college & I accumulated quite a collection of Gap, Old Navy & Banana Republic (thanks to the good old cross-company discount).  Add that to my out of control spending that coincided with my previous smallest adult size & I had boxes & boxes of stuff.  

When we moved to our current house, I decided to get brutal with the boxes.  In a fit of "reality"--in hindsight, it was more like surrender--I thinned the herd & culled it down to the "best" items.  Over the past year, as I have cracked the remaining boxes open to allow the saved treasures to have their Someday, I can't count the number of times I have said, "What the frick was I thinking when I saved THIS?"  If I didn't know that I was pregnant when last I opened those boxes, I would have to assume that I had been horribly drunk.  In any given size, I would have a collection that looked like this:
  • 2 hoochy bar tops
  • 8 pairs of Gap jeans
  • 1 frumpy corduroy skirt
  • 3 bulky sweaters
  • 2 pairs of dress slacks
  • 1 chain link belt 
Did I think I would be spending Someday on a job a Greenland?  To make matters worse, none, I repeat NONE of the items actually went together.  It was an atrocity.  As I've moved down in sizes, I've kept a few things out of my Someday boxes & cobbled them together with a few pieces that I've purchased & I'm not running naked through the streets, but that's no thanks to Old Sara who used zero perspective when saving the Someday clothes.  Turns out that Someday's arrival at age 31 after two babies makes the bedazzled, slit-up, safety-pinned tops a little impractical for trips to the park & story time at the library. 

Today is my last Someday: the day that I put on my final item of Someday clothes.  These are the jeans that I actually never put into a box.  They stayed in my closet because they were favorites--kept out as a reminder (or maybe a punishment) for 10 years.  Today, I'm wearing them & I'm done with Somedays.  From here on out, every day is just Today & Tomorrow gets to be a new Today to be fulfilled, not a Someday to be wished for. 

Even though they are dated, these jeans feel gooooood.  Now, to find a bar that caters to mismatched SAHMs with delusions of youth... 

Monday, August 15, 2011

W1D1: It's Time for the Remix


I've been talking about it & now that the weather is absolutely spectacular, it's time to do it: I'm going to go back through C25K & then transition into B210K.  Initially my plan was to start somewhere in the middle of C25K, but I decided to start at the very beginning...(sing it with me!) "a very good place to start." 

An illustration of how fast I FELT...if not how fast I actually went.
I was pretty nervous about running since I have been anything but consistent, another point in favor of starting at W1D1.  I decided that I would try to focus on speed during the runs since I wasn't truly a "couch-er."  It was an inadvertently great idea; motivated by fear, it ended up giving me something to feel really good about.  I'm proud to say that the first half of my run segments were at a 7 minute mile pace, with my top speed being a 6:38 minute mile pace.  Granted, I couldn't sustain that for any real period of time, but it feels amazing to know I've got a little giddy-up in my go.  There is absolutely no way I could have done that four months ago. 

At some point during my absence from running, my app released an update.  I can't tell what functionality they changed, but the prompter is either a new person or a much peppier version of my old friend Roger (the name I gave the prompter to make him seem more friend than foe).  Peppy Roger makes me want to cold-cock someone with my iPod.  Where Old Roger would have said, "Run," New Roger says, "RUN!!"  And don't get me started on his half-way-there prompt.  There were clearly "Double Dream Hands" involved.  In the course of this journey I have worked hard to revamp my pessimistic self, but apparently there is no room for the possitive as pertains to my early morning running cues.  When I'm feeling tired & trying to push through the pain, unbridled pep is just offensive.  I miss Old Roger.

Peppy Roger aside, it was a great experience to see how far I've come since my original W1D1 run & I'm excited to continue through the program & on to longer distances.  That's not to say that I enjoyed it, but I certainly appreciate it & that's enough. 

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Four Weeks For Health: Week 3


Week 3 of my personal challenge to lose 1 pound per week for 4 weeks straight is on the books.
Week 3 Actions (what I did differently):
  • I drank.  Chocolate milk, that is.  Studies have shown that people who drink chocolate milk after a workout rebuild & refuel their muscles better than those who drink sports drinks.  Who am I to argue with science?  My desire to believe in this particular discipline has nothing to do with the fact that I hate sports drinks, am a baby about water & LOVE chocolate milk, I swear.  This is actually something I started doing in Week 1, but didn't think to mention until now.  Not only does it seem to be helping (my body fat percentage took an absolute TUMBLE when I had my measurements done this month), but it motivates me to exercise.  Why?  Because I'm such a child that I look forward to the chocolate milk, which I only allow myself post-workout. 
  • I stayed focused.  This week, while not strictly related to my plan to shed pounds, I got pretty organized.  Rather than to-do lists floating around on scraps of paper & junk mail envelops, I kept my lists & menu plans in my planner.  Not only did I stick to the planned menus better than I have all summer, but I got more stuff done around the house because I knew I would be looking at those unfinished lists or unmade meals for the rest of the week.  A big thank you to the women in my book club for showing me the joys of the August to August Calendar--big enough to be useful but small enough to fit in my purse & be practical.
Week 3 Results: Down 0.2 lbs!!!!!

I try to be judicious about my use of multiple exclamation points, but I feel that the above truly deserves it.  No, I didn't hit my goal to lose 1 lb this week...but I did continue my streak.  At my weigh-in, the receptionist called it "the trifecta"--losing for 3 straight weeks.  Doesn't seem like much, but I haven't put together a string in well over four months, so I am pleased as punch.  Plus, with my overages from the prior two weeks, I'm only 0.4 lbs away from the overall 4 lb goal.  So, this week is a lesson in the merits of being content in the absence of perfection, & I am.  And so, I leave you with a moment of zen...

...ok, maybe not zen, but this pic makes me laugh at how unintentionally gangsta my wispy-haired girl looks, & I'll take a good chortle over a real zen moment any day.  Peace out, homeys!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair


Ah, the Iowa State Fair.  It's the stuff musicals are made of.  The midway, big animals, throngs of people in various stages of undress, vendors, peddlers & 

Whenever I think of going to The Fair, I think of the scene from "Charlotte's Web" where Templeton croons about the virtues of largess & gluttony.  For Old Sara, The Fair was a food-fest like no other, limited only by my budget, not my appetite.  New Sara has a slightly different take on Fair Fun, but sadly I cannot say that the changes were made as a conscious choice for health & wellness.  I owe my State Fair Food Overhaul to a man I've never met, named Jack Decoster.  With The Fair opening this week, let me tell you a tale...

It was August 2010.  The sun was shinning, the birds were chirping & we were having fun at The Fair.  I was six months into my journey & had lost about 45 lbs.  I was feeling good.  In fact, I would say that the pictures taken on that day represented one of the first times that I didn't feel ridiculously uncomfortable as the subject of a photo.  I had carefully planned in advance what foods were worth a splurge for me (SHARED funnel cake) & what I would pass on in the interest of calorie economy (ice cream, anything fried-on-a-stick, cheese curds & corn dogs).  In the evening, when my kids were safely nestled all snug in their beds with Grandma watching over them, I had saved enough points to have two beers (my first since being pregnant with Coraline) as Dave & I watched Vanilla Ice (yup, he played "Ninja Rap") on a free stage & I felt that I had balanced my desire for crap with my desire for results.  I was pleased. 
As we sat on the shuttle back to our car, I started to feel awful.  I chalked it up to a combo of greasy funnel cake & beer, both of which my body had grown a bit unaccustomed to.  I've never had a weak stomach, but I was willing to believe that the shock to the system had been great.  I started to get scared that I would be sick on the bus.  I started to make wild eyes at Dave, to which he could do nothing but say, "We'll be home soon."  You can pass that off on a small child, I was wise & worried.  But, make it I did & I shuttled myself straight up to bed.  By the time we got home, I looked like I had been on an all day bender.  Despite my sunburn, I was pale as a ghost & my eyes were swimming. 

It didn't take long before I was paying the piper...over & over & over again.  It was the sickest I have EVER been in my whole life.  All night & all the next day I was throwing up violently until there was nothing left, but my stomach didn't get the memo & just kept plugging along at the Dance of the Flying Puke Flecks. 

The only saving grace was the preservation of my family.  I was so worried that my hubby or kids would catch it.  Clearly it wasn't the ill effects of grease that caused me to be THAT sick, so I must have picked up an Amazon Death Plague.  When Dave got sick a week later, the poor guy was terrified.  At least I had gone into the ordeal with hope..."Maybe this is the last time I'll puke...?"  Dave had no such delusions.  And again we waited & watched our kids.  Again they seemed unscathed.  Dave was just starting to stop puking & enter the two week phase of utter exhaustion when a letter arrived in the mail...from Costco.

"It has come to our attention that you may have purchased eggs...(insert legal speak here). "  Bottom line: we had salmonella poisoning in last summer's egg fiasco.  Rewind to the day before the fair: I made a meatloaf for supper & handled a raw egg/shell.  A week after I got sick: Dave boiled some eggs & touched the shells.  Boom. 

And that is the story of how I will NEVER in my life eat another funnel cake.  The memory of it "the second time" has erased any desire I have ever had for fair confections.  Thank you, Jack Decoster for your shady farming practices causing me to take a closer look at where my food comes from & to swear off certain manners of fair food that I didn't NEED to be eating anyway.   

**Amusing epilogue: I had to write this post in three sittings because I kept getting queasy, sweaty & head-achy just thinking about the awfulness that was Salmonella Sara.**

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Magical, Mystical Interwebs


I started blogging because I wanted transparency, honesty & the accountability that comes with laying yourself bare.  I wanted to acknowledge my problem publicly & stop hiding in the shadows of embarrassment & shame.  I also knew that my battle was primarily a mental one (as opposed to a physical issue) & I needed to hash out my thoughts & pick apart my stumbling blocks.  At the time I was about 50 lbs down & in the middle of a slump.  I didn't care if anyone read a single word I ever wrote because I was doing it for me.

I maintain that my blog is one of the most selfish things I've ever done.  It's narcissistic, it's hedonistic & it's just plain self-absorbed, but it has been a HUGE tool in getting me where I need to go by giving me a "safe" place to have a brain dump.  Sometimes the act of writing something out makes an idea clearer than if I just left it rattling around in my head.  Just as I originally hoped, blogging has helped propel me through that initial slump & two more that followed. 

What I wasn't prepared for was how the online community would play such a role in bolstering me during hard times, cheering me on in good times & being an endless source of inspiration & motivation along the way.  So here, in no particular order (& in no way is this an exhaustive list) are just a few of the online people that I steal inspiration & ideas from daily:

12 to 13[.1]: formerly "Ashleyanne is Doing It," I think I love this because she represents someone reclaiming her 20's.  I started my journey on my 30th birthday & there are times when I ride the bitter bus whilst wishing that I had picked myself up by my boob-straps in my 20's & experienced youth AND health at the same time.  Ashleyanne is a non-stop fountain of determination & I LOVE reading about her tackling & achieving her goals.  Plus, she's a little sassy, which is ALWAYS a plus in my book.

Workout Girl: It's not a mistake that I've linked to her Facebook page as opposed to her blog.  While her blog is great & definitely worth reading (she's very no-nonsense & honest about her ups & downs), Tiffany's strongest asset is her ability to be a ceaseless cheerleader & coach to those around her & she uses her Facebook page as a fantastic tool to spread the word that "you can do it!"  I smile every time I visit her page...& then I feel like I should go for a run...while still smiling.  Impressive.

Inspired Chunky Mama: There are a lot of food blogs out there.  I wouldn't say that this is an exclusively food blog, but I will say that most of her food posts (along with their accompanying pictures) make me want to lick my monitor & are EASY to make.  That's a must for me.  When she's not posting her wonderful recipes, she's talking about her struggles & running & posting great play lists.  I find her incredibly relateable...possibly because we're in a very similar stage of life, but also because of her writing style.

Fat Girl Fights Back:  I love this blog because she is in the trenches, she is brutally honest & she is fearless.  She regularly is pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone in order to reach her goals (two words: roller derby).  I love that she is done letting her weight steal opportunities from her.

This is Not a Diet-it's my life: I have only recently found this gem, but it is absolutely speaking to me right now.  Authored by a woman who has met her weight loss goal, it's a nice look at life on the "other side."  I've been digging through her old posts & am struck by what focus & clarity she has.  She is incredibly well informed & clearly well read & a top-notch writer.  Her perspective on healthy living & clean eating as an attainable lifestyle for everyone is just what I need right now.  And she delivers it all without sounding preachy.  Wowza.

Sara-Use it 2 lose it: Another Facebook gem, Sara is the definition of supportive.  Feeling down?  She'll perk you up.  Her Facebook notes about body image, self esteem & team work remind me that there is so much good in the world, even when I'm having a pity party.

I could go on & on.  I expected the online portion of my journey to be very isolated & one sided.  Today I'm feeling overwhelmingly thankful for the community & support of the invisible people on the interwebs--a big thank you to you all! 

Monday, August 8, 2011's a Secret...


Well, actually it's not a secret...

This weight loss journey is so cyclical.  I've been at it for a year & a half & I can now see seasons & better anticipate the hard times--or at least cling to the perspective that difficulties are only temporary.  I'm busting through my third plateau & with it my third (serious) bout of wanting to quit.  Now, coming out on the other side & feeling in control & positive again, I've had a new spate of people ask, "What's your secret?"

I used to get a little frustrated with that question because I felt like a broken record saying "I am mindful what I eat & I get more exercise" or "Weight Watchers & Curves" or "Gosh darn it, you know those kooks that yap about diet & exercise?  Those jerks were right."  And while these simplified answers are true--the physical change is a result of watching what & how much I eat & moving more--I have recently begun to appreciate that there is a secret to my success, in fact, there are two.  They have nothing to do with food or pills or workouts or water or surgery or vitamins.  My secret is in my anchors.

This time around I have two very new, very personal anchors motivating me.
  1. I want to be healthy, not skinny.  Prior attempts to shed pounds had been inherently flawed as they were rooted in a desire to be thin & therefore pretty.  The crap thing about that is that beauty is fleeting & beauty is changing.  I was chasing an ideal that I could attain less & less with each passing day.  Tomorrow I'll be one day closer to wrinkles & gray hairs & I now appreciate that as an inevitability.  Without the struggle for beauty I am able to focus on the struggle for health.  While still a technically losing battle, there are so many wonderful ways I can influence my health & I am proud to say that I am in the best shape of my entire life & getting better every day.  Winning!
  2. I want to break the cycle.  Nearly every woman in my family is obese.  They struggle every day with the health & esteem issues that come from living the life fettered by excess weight.  When my daughter was born I KNEW that I had a "weight-y" responsibility to break the cycle & give her a model of health, well-being, self-esteem & longevity.  It may seem ridiculous, but I have realized that longevity on this earth is a very new concept to me.  I grew up with the notion that I would not live a long life.  I have changed that thought pattern & am modeling it for my daughter (& son) to the best of my ability because it is my duty to them as their mother & shepherd.
The physical work that I do every day, it is hard & it is time consuming & it sometimes appears selfish, but it pales in comparison to the neverending work that I do in my head to keep myself in the frame of mind that makes it worth it.  Ultimately this is about my health & the health of my kids.  There is nothing more important to me in the whole world--certainly not the box of Krispy Kremes that I could have eaten in my old life, before I grabbed onto my anchors.  Even then I could have told you that I needed to eat better & move more.  It wasn't enough to know what to do, I had to be motivated to WANT to do it for the rest of my life.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Four Weeks For Health: Week 2


I'm half-way through my Four Weeks For Health mini-goal: lose 1 lb per week in four consecutive weeks to put me into my healthy weight range.

Week 2 Actions (what I did differently):
  • I maintained progress.  I made a conscious effort to continue the positive steps I took in Week 1 while implementing some new strategies to keep the ball rolling.  That doesn't sound like a big deal, but for me it is.  Often I get distracted with new things & let the old habits slide.
  • I drank.  Ok, a bender would probably be counter effective, so I stuck with water.  I run hot & cold with my water consumption.  I've been in a cold stage, so I kept track of how many times I filled up my 30 oz hospital mug & shot for at least 2, sometimes 3 of those each day. 
  • I squeezed in some activity.  I spent a lot of time this week waiting.  While Link was at Dino Camp, I didn't want to drive all the way back home to turn right around again to pick him up, so I walked a nearby mall.  Old Sara would have gone to the mall & sat while Coraline played--it wouldn't have ever occurred to Old Sara to use the time for exercise.  New Sara realized that there was time for a 5K walk & playtime, too.  While I wasn't able to get my regular morning workouts in, I still found a way to be active & that makes me pretty proud.
Week 2 Results: Down 1.4 lbs!

I'm in striking distance!  With my overages from the past two weeks, I'm only 0.6 lbs away from healthy.  If I hit my 1 lb goal next week, I'll be a healthy weight for the FIRST time in my adult life.  This week I had a moment of appreciating how far I have come & how the possibilities in my life have opened up because of the changes I have made.  This picture (with horribly chipped nails & all) represents me sitting in the way-back seat of our van, smooshed between two preschoolers in booster seats.  We were able to all squeeze in (with two additional kids & one additional adult) & have a fun outing to the Balloon Classic, made more fun because the two families were able to ride together & share the car ride as part of the adventure.  Old Sara's rump would not have fit...New Sara's rump BARELY fit.  But it did fit & it was a nice reminder of all of the things I can do without being held back (either physically or mentally) by my weight. 
I'm flying high & ready for Week 3!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I'm a Little DPPS-y


I have never been good about in-home fitness.  In-home fitness could include any of the following (but this is by no means an exhaustive list): videos, calisthenics, video games, kettlebell, jump rope, hula hoop, sit-ups, push-ups or any other-ups, stretching, yoga, or anything involving hand weights or soup cans.

I have tried on numerous occasions.  I see a magazine article touting a fool-proof regime that you can do in your home in minutes to tighten & tone every muscle you never knew you had.  It usually goes like this:

Day 1: Read article in magazine.  Admire the butt on the woman in the pictures. 
Day 2: Go to the store to buy the gizmo that the article was promoting.
Day 3: Lay out article on the floor & awkwardly step through the 10 minute 30 minutes. 
Day 4: Move newly purchased gizmo to the closet & deem it a "rest day."
Day 5: Accidentally throw magazine in the recycling bin.
Day 6: Whoops!  Can't remember the routine & I certainly don't want to hurt myself.  R.I.P., gizmo.

I have done this more times than I care to count.  However, I know that I need to work some simple strength exercises into my routine if I have any hope of toning my excess skin.  A week ago, Dave instituted a personal rule that he can't touch his iPod or internet delivery system until he does sit-ups, push-ups & pull-ups.  It's motivational &, at least for starters, he's limiting it to very few reps so that he doesn't get burnt out.  He calls it his "SPPS Workout."  Brilliant.

While my arms could use work, my big problem areas are more south of the border, so I have introduced "DPPS" to my afternoons, to be completed weekdays before I can hop online to check Facebook or write about my latest fiasco involving baked goods.  DPPS:

Donkey Kicks
Peeing Dogs

And I'm only doing 10 (or 10 seconds of the plank).  I can always add on, but right now is just about building the habit.  In the past I threw out many great ideas because I sacrificed them to my all or nothing mentality.  If I couldn't do three sets of 30 reps, it clearly wasn't worth it.  If I didn't have time for 100 crunches, why bother?  But you know what...10 Peeing Dogs (ok, I know there is probably a better name, but it really just looks like a dog lifting his leg to pee) a day, five days a week, is 2600 more Peeing Dogs in a year.  Just as I've taken the pounds off in tiny increments that tally up to a big loss, so will I tighten this skin.  And if it doesn't work, at least I will have entertained Lincoln at the sight of Mommy "being Gimli."