Saturday, October 19, 2013

Just Angry


I'm a big believer in the idea that you get what you give.  You put out grouchy, you get grouchy back.  You put out shenanigans, you get shenanigans.  You put out rainbow unicorns, you get rainbow unicorns--and probably a cover on the "National Enquirer."  All of that is to say, I've had a whole lot of anger...& I didn't really want to put that out there because that's not the life I want to build for myself or my family.  The problem with anger is that even if you don't give it voice, it manages to seep through the cracks.  It's on your face.  It's in your body language.  It's in your voice, if not your words. 

I've been absent from blogging because I thought I could choke down my anger & get myself level-set without letting out the beast.  But in the past six months I've alienated myself & picked away at my relationships & hidden from my feelings & avoided everyone that wasn't in my innermost circle (which, being a hardcore introvert consists of approximately 5 people--4 of whom I live with).  I've been jealous & whiny & spiteful & mean. 

I'm just so angry.  Angry enough for a list...

I'm angry that I ate my fears when I was so sick while pregnant.  After all I tried to teach myself, when the chips were down, I ate.

I'm angry that I let myself wallow in being sick rather than doing what I could to be as well as possible. 

I'm angry that my body betrayed me after I worked so hard to take care of it.  I'm angry that I may be harboring an illness after I worked so hard to take control of my body. 

I'm angry that I know what "better" feels like.  Last time, every month was better than the last--now I know that this isn't better it's just slightly less awful.

I'm angry that I have to think so hard about food & work so hard to choose not to poison myself with junk. 

I'm angry that I hit "One-derland" today & with the exception of a brief happy dance, I'm still not pleased. 

I'm angry that I can't go work out or go to a Weight Watchers meeting without feeling like I have to make excuses for how I gained the weight back.

I'm angry that I snap at people who are just trying to be kind.

I'm angry that I default to making the joke...the classic defense.

I'm angry that Etta isn't enough.  Why was Coraline a motivation but Etta isn't?

I'm angry at pictures of myself, both old & new.

I'm angry at how nasty I am to myself.

I'm angry at how I can't seem to ever look in the mirror with accurate eyes.

I'm angry that I need a second chance.

I'm angry that I'm not there yet & at the same time I'm angry that I'm not patient. 

I'm angry that my knees are cotton-headed-ninny-muggins & won't hold up to running right now.  I'm angry that maybe I'm using that as an excuse.

I'm angry that I assume EVERYTHING is about my weight.  Seeing old friends, meeting new people, pitching in to help someone in all comes down to my weight & how it impacts my interactions with people.  I seek out ways to self sabotage to avoid a legitimate failure or rejection. 

I'm angry that I'm so narcissistic.  I'm almost 34 & the mom of three.  When is it time to get over myself already?

I'm angry that my kids don't really remember thinner mom & ask me why I still have a baby belly.

I'm angry that I'm back to looking for outs, living in a world of "no."

I'm angry that I can't stop comparing myself to myself & feeling like a failure.  I "should" be 30 lbs down from where I am if I was keeping the same pace. 

I'm angry that I've been wishing in one hand & defecating in the other...and now I'm sitting in a pile of poo. 

So that's where I'm at.  I don't have any pithy answers or fresh ah-ha moments or deep thoughts or golden ideas or anything useful...just anger.  Mountains of it.  And 95% of it is self loathing, so if I've been sullen or crappy to you, I'm sorry.  It's not you, it's me.  Oooh, I guess that's a little pithy...maybe there's hope yet.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Waiting for It vs Working for It


Holy Breakthrough, Batman!

Epiphany time: I'm done with goals I have to wait for, I will only focus & put my energy into goals I can work for.

And here's how I came to this.  It started with a fight with my husband (for clarity, my weight had NOTHING to do with our fight & Dave has seen & approved all of this...lest tongues start wagging about the state of our marriage).  It was a stupid fight about me not starting the dishwasher & neither of us putting the defrosted meat in the fridge & him not putting away the baby's bathtub.  See, stupid.  As all of such stupid fights go, in order to justify how irate we were getting with each other, we escalated dishes & meat & baby tub into a global relationship argument with words like "always" & "never," which prove utterly useless in 95% of fights because always & never are, in reality, mostly impossible.  The crux of Dave's argument was "give us some slack, we just had a baby."  The crux of my argument was "it's time to be done with slack, she's 6 weeks old."  Both (moderately) reasonable in context, but the context is unimportant for what I realized while doing the inevitable argument post-mortem in the the shower.

Like many who are overweight/obese/body conscious, I knew that *gasp* my weight kept me from doing things that I wanted to do out of fear of failure or ridicule.  The kicker for me is that most of those things that I stopped myself from doing were completely unrelated to my weight (like venturing out of my corner to meet other moms at kid activities or growing a garden or re-purposing bedraggled furniture).  And while I was busy longing for all of those things, a voice inside my head would chime, "You'll do that when..."  The "when" was always some nebulous time when I would lose the weight, something that sounded just plausible, but gave me enough wiggle room to back out & not have any skin in the game.  You'll do that when, you'll do that when, you'll do that when.  But at some point during my prior process of shedding pounds, the voice just started saying, "You'll do that."  Period.  So I did.

It wasn't a conscious choice at the time, but this morning as I was lashing out at Dave over the idea of allowing time to readjust & find a new normal, I realized that the idea of "give it time" has become absolutely abhorrent to me.  I spent 30 years giving it time, waiting on the sidelines...I've used up most of my sideline time.  It turns out that in a relationship that's a pretty unacceptable & unrealistic stance to take.  But for the purposes of my process of getting back to fighting weight, it's a really good thing to know about myself & a pretty useful idea to leverage in setting goals & making plans.  Plans that are based on the passage of time are just not useful to me.  I need to have goals that are based on actionable steps with finish lines defined by accomplishments, not deadlines.  I want every reason & motivation to work for my success, not wait for it.

In the past I've set a couple of mini-goals based on time, most recently my vow to be out of maternity undies in two weeks (which I did), but most of them left me frustrated, whether I succeeded or not.  Now I know why.  Simply letting time go by isn't something to be proud of.  Time passes regardless of what I'm doing.  I want my time to pass intentionally & purposefully because I previously let time & my life pass me by out of fear.

So, I'm glad that I started my morning sitting on the floor by the refrigerator boo-hoo-ing over dishes & meat & the baby's tub because it got me here.  And here is good.  I'm just thankful I was crying over spoiled meat--not spilled milk--because then I would look ridiculous.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

There & Back Again: An Obese Girl's Tale


If a picture is worth 1000 words, then two pictures must be worth this case, almost all 2000 of mine are unsuitable for civilized company.

Today was my last first day of Couch to 5K.  If it's possible, I think I was more proud of myself today than on my FIRST first day of Couch to 5K (I certainly had to work harder!).  I'm 50 lbs heavier than I was then.  I'm an obese woman.  And I huffed & I puffed & I blew that run down.  It was urgli.  It was painful.  And I did it.
Rather than dwell on how the disparity of these pictures (taken almost exactly a year apart) makes me feel like a disgusting failure, I'm choosing to embrace these images.  I'm choosing to use the picture on the left to remind me of what is possible--no, what is probable!  I'm choosing to use the picture on the right to remind me that a life's work is never done--thank goodness, I'll never be bored!  I waffled as to whether to post righty, but this is the process--warts & all.  I'm lumpy & bottom heavy but I did it--I went for my first post-baby run.

There was a moment during my last walk interval when my favorite running song ("Let it Rock" by Kevin Rudolf) came on & I nearly lost it.  I could barely keep up to the beat while walking; last year I could run it double time.  It was yet another concrete reminder of how far I've slipped in one year.  But just as the pictures above, it can be a negative or a positive.  Positive:  I have another great non-scale benchmark to gauge my progress as I head back again.  To thin, to healthy, to myself, to running the snot out of "Let it Rock."

Speaking of snot, check out my new gloves.  They have fleecy index fingers so you can wipe your nose when you're running in the cold.  Bizarre?  Yes.  Disgusting?  Absolutely.  Did I use them for their intended purpose on this chilly morning?  You bet your sweet bippy, I did.  Hawt.

Monday, March 11, 2013

A Plate Full of Progress


Like many husbands/boyfriends/partners before him, Dave  claims finishing rights to my plate when we go out to eat.  On my ornery days this prompts me to order things laden with tomatoes, mushrooms & seafood in an effort to protect my lunch leftovers.

Through most of our relationship I would insist that if Dave was going to finish my food he HAD to take the plate & set it in front of him, as a signal to the server that I hadn't eaten all of the food...because the judgement of a server that I would likely never see again was too much for this obese girl to bear.

This evening, while Dave was scavenging off of the plate while it was still in front of me, I realized that sometime in the not to distant past I've grown beyond that.  It's not a big deal, but it's a deal & I'll take it--evidence of mental progress.  I won't say that the server isn't judging me (I was a server for FAR to long to delude myself of that), but I will say that I don't give a flying fig.  Proof that my head has in fact changed though my tush is back to a size that I find regrettable.  Or maybe it's proof that I'm a mom of three littles & I don't have the energy to waste on judgmental strangers.  Either way, I'm not stressing about the unimportant opinions that others hold of me.  So I've got that goin' for me--which is nice.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Back in the Saddle


Yesterday at 6:35 AM I woke up with a start & the horrible memory of canceling my 5:15 AM alarm rather than snoozing that it wouldn't wake Dave up.  While that seems nicey-nice, I promptly fell back asleep (a usually useful skill in the era of middle of the night feedings) & missed my first weigh in.

Here's where I'm super glad I picked a winner, not a wiener.  Though it meant that he would have to get three kids ready for our morning plans without me, though it meant he had to get up earlier than planned, though he was sleep deprived, Dave kicked me out the door to go weigh in.  

It's so easy as a woman/wife/mom/human to put yourself on the back burner.  I goofed & I didn't want my family to pay the price.  Dave reminded me that when it comes to getting healthy, the sacrifices that we make as a family in the short term are insignificant compared to the suffering it could save us in the long run.  So he got three kids up & started pancakes & bounced a screaming baby because there was no bottle in the freezer & everyone lived to tell the tale.  And though I missed my meeting, I weighed in & started my new streak of accountability--something that was invaluable the first time around.  I have to prioritize myself & the things that I need to succeed--& listen to Dave when I fail to prioritize because he's a clever fellow.

See how clever we are...

We were rewarded with a 2.2 lb loss.  Would have been more if I had gotten up in time to feed the baby beforehand.  That's what I get for being lazy.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

"Before" Jeans


So much of my prior process was marked by my jeans (see here, here here or here).

Fresh start appears to be no different.  Yesterday I decided to rifle through my closet & come up with some non-maternity jeans--not because I have a problem with wearing "maternity jeans," but because I have a problem with WEARING maternity jeans.  They fall off.  And then I'm in a situation where I'm actually displaying my previously confessed, utterly disgusting maternity undies.  Since that's not a show for the young or feint of heart I decided to see what I could find that would actually stay hitched up for my trip to pick up my son at school.

Good news: I found ONE pair of jeans that fit.
Bad news: They're my "Before" pants.  You know, the ones that I wanted to hold up in front of me & drop them away a la Tommy Lasorda's mid-80's Slim Fast commercials.  I didn't get to my goal weight prior to getting pregnant, so I never made the video, but I tucked those jeans in the back of my closet knowing that I'd get there.  Little did I know I'd get to wear them again in a less comical, more practical manner.

One of the last times I wore the "Before" jeans (April 2010)...I was excited
to be back into them from maternity jeans last time...this time notsomuch.

It's a little discouraging that I'm 40 lbs lighter than the last time these pants fit & here I am wearing them again.  It's not even the size of the pants that bothers me, it's just the fact that they are THE "Before" pants (the fact that they are hugely flared & completely out of style doesn't help my ego any either).  I know that having a baby four weeks ago means that my body is a different shape & a lot will change with a little time...I just hope that time is as little as possible.

In the mean time, I might just take a couple of Target coupons I found & get a couple pairs of "Until Then" jeans.  Why-oh-why did I have to be so thorough with my Goodwill runs the last go-around?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fresh Start


Saturday was my last first day at Weight Watchers--the last time I will walk in for the first time & feel that twinge of guiltshamenausea that comes with feeling like I failed. Even though I know that's a load of hog wash--the failure part--it still gets me.  I firmly believe that weight issues are not a reflection of character & yet here I am feeling ridiculously ashamed at where I'm at (226.8 lbs & completely out of shape, in the interest of full disclosure).  As I've been chewing on the negativity & moving into my fresh start, I realized that I'm in a very different place than I was when I first start therapizing myself with the blog.  Not only do I have a fresh start for my tush, I have a fresh start for my online diary...& of course a fresh start fridge picture!

When I first started writing about my process, I had already lost 80 of my eventual 120 lbs.  I had done most of the heavy lifting--made good habits, built positive thought patterns, educated myself about my choices.  Fast forward.  The heavy lifting is right at my doorstep.  While I waxed poetic the first time around about the things that I had done, now I get to process in real time.  It's exciting & nerve wracking.  There's more on the line when there's a possibility of fully exposed failure.

But the flip side: now I get to be pragmatic.  I get to remind myself in the thick of things about what works & doesn't work.  To get the ball rolling I'm focusing on one key behavior & one mini-goal at a time.

Behavior:  Plan Ahead 
I spent my free time last week planning dinner menus out through the middle of March & prepping food.  I put dinner plans on my calender, along with alarms set for when I need to start cooking & "to-dos" the night before if I need to get something out of the freezer to defrost.  

Because I try to eat a largely "real" food diet, it takes a little work to make sure I have the things I need to be successful.  I scheduled time each day last week to make: 
  • bread
  • chicken stock
  • cream of mushroom soup
  • cream of chicken soup
  • yogurt
  • black beans
  • refried beans
  • northern beans
  • ranch dressing
This week's scheduled prep plans include:
  • zucchini muffins
  • pumpkin muffins
  • whole wheat bread crumbs
  • chicken nuggets
  • cream of celery soup
And here's the point that I want to remember in all of this flurry of planning & cooking & prepping:  this is how I prefer to do is by no means the only way to do things.  The key is in the planning ahead, in knowing when I have time to make things & when I need to rely on the grocery store. There will be times when my freezer is empty & I don't have all of my homemade staples...but I must still have a plan.  Running to McDonald's does not constitute a plan.

Mini-Goal: No More Maternity Undies  
In the next two weeks I would like to rid my drawers of maternity drawers.  Beside the obvious reason being they are hideous & the granniest of granny panties, they have also seen me through three pregnancies.  They are straight up falling apart.  We're not talking minor holes--we're talking massive holes & swaths where elastic is separated from the fabric & other problems too unmentionable for the world wide web (but if you've had a baby, you probably get the gist of it).  Anyhoo...I want them gone forever.  In two weeks.  I don't care what the scale says, I'm not getting bent out of shape about not working out.  I just want to wear real underwear that couldn't also double as the tattered & torn sails of The Nina, The Pinta or The Santa Maria.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

A Quick Reminder


In case I needed a real-life reminder that I've changed the trajectory of my life & my kids' lives despite how I may feel about the state of my state right now...

The Scene: wandering the grocery store with Coraline & Etta

Coraline (pointing down the cookie/chip/junk aisle): "Mom, treat foods don't have any nutrients, do they?"

Old Sara's kids wouldn't have even known the word "nutrients," let alone used it in conversation.  Score.  All is not lost.  Let's celebrate with Dr Coraline & the Avenger Monkeys (& if I ever start a band that is officially its name).

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Maybe It's the Pregnancy


When I was a kindergartner, I wanted to be a professional cheerleader for the Iowa State Cyclones.  When I got a little older I wanted to be a lawyer because my parents watched "LA Law."  Now I just want to let my dog out to pee without putting on a peep show while simultaneously nursing the baby.

That's right, the baby is here &'s a GIRL!  Interwebs, allow me to introduce the newest piece of my heart, the final installment of our Trilogy, Etta Emmeline.

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  When last I word vomited on the blog I looked (& felt) like this:

Dewey eyed, optimistic, rounding the bend on the worst "morning" sickness I had experienced with any of my three kids.  This was August.

Then came September.  If this were a read aloud blog (a concept I likely just made up), I would use Ralph Fiennes' "Voldemort" voice to say September in the most despicable  skin-crawlingly awful manner imaginable.  September is when the poo hit the fan.  It started with a sore ankle on a Tuesday.  By Friday both ankles & both knees were in searing pain.  By the next week I was an absolute disaster.  I'll spare the cornucopia of seemingly unrelated symptoms (because I don't want to bother to list them & I'm not looking for armchair diagnoses) but by month end I had seen seven different doctors & been to the ER twice & it all boiled down to this, "Maybe it's the pregnancy, maybe it's a one-time fluke, maybe it's the first signs of something chronic .  We'll have to wait until the baby comes to figure this one out."  

"Maybe it's the pregnancy"--four words I could have done without hearing given that I was, in fact, the pregnant one.  By the end of November the symptoms started to settle down enough that I was feeling cautiously "better," but blood tests were still irritatingly uncooperative & at the same time inconclusive.  I missed my blissful second trimester (to say nothing of missing so much of my big kids' lives in those three months!), I felt lousy, and worst of all, the pregnancy that was to have been a healthy & fun romp through procreation, unfettered by excess weight, was marred by the unbelievable terror of worrying that my body wasn't taking care of my baby...& the stress eating that came with it.

From September through February 4th, I was utterly convinced that my body, that had previously sailed through two pregnancies while being obese, was not up to the task.  I knew that every minute my baby was in me was more damage being done.  At 28 weeks I wanted to have an immediate c-section because if I could just see the baby & hold the baby & get it on the outside I could take such better care of it (proviso: I was coked up on stress & pregnancy hormones & I am fully aware that this is one of the world's worst ideas).  Was my baby in the pain that I was in?  Was my baby being disfigured or impaired by the drugs I was taking?  Was my baby going to make it to this side of my uterus or was this all some elaborate precursor to the most horrible outcome possible?  

The kicker was that I had worked so hard to be HEALTHY.  Through the last few years, everything I did was to make my body strong.  I hadn't been preoccupied with being thin or pretty...I was eating well & working out so that I would have health.  I spent the better part of the last six months feeling that it had all been a waste.  I tossed away all ideas of maintaining my health through my pregnancy--fat lot of good it had done us to begin with.  I joked that I was the anti-poster child for healthy living & weight loss, but as with most jokes, it was only out there to obscure the truth that I was terrified I that my body was betraying me & my unborn child.  

This story doesn't really have an ending per se.  In the delivery room, I cried (a first for me) & my first words  after her arrival were something to the effect of "Thank God!  I didn't kill our baby!"  Not only did I not kill her, but she is utterly perfect.  On this side of pregnancy, I still don't know what happened to my body or if it will happen again, but I do know that whatever it is, I need to be as strong as possible for as long as possible regardless of my ultimate diagnosis or lack thereof.  Once again, with the birth of a daughter, I am reminded that my body is, not only my vehicle for caring for my children, but the greatest object lesson I can ever give to my girls.  They will know what it is to be strong, healthy, women who love their bodies as the vehicles to propel them to all of their dreams--not because I told them, but because I showed them.  

I can't control my body chemistry or my hormones or my genetics but I can control what I put in my mouth & what I do with my feet.  Maybe it was the pregnancy, maybe it was a fluke, maybe I'll deal with this crap again.  I don't know.  What I do know: Saturday I go back to Weight Watchers.  On March 16th I'll restart C25K. At the end of March I have the first of my post-baby appointments with some of the doctors that kept me from going crazy through "the dark months."  I'll control what I can control.  I can't choose my diagnosis, but I can certainly choose how I respond to it & now I look like this:

Now, since I don't like to leave things heavy (bahaha), I'll leave with this: a meager THREE days after Etta was born, Coraline says this to me at the dinner table, "Your baby is out need to go for a run."  While perhaps a slightly unrealistic expectation, it did serve to remind me that maybe the last few years weren't a complete waste after all.