Monday, December 29, 2008

The Great Food Purge

And no, I'm not talking about the stomach flu that ripped around our house in the days before and after Christmas! I started this post on Dec. 28, but I wanted to finish the thought before I move on to the New Year topics on my mind. After everyone in my house was finally feeling better last week, I was left itchy to get a head start on my fresh start. In preparation for a year of establishing healthier eating habits for myself, I decided it would be best if I went through all of the food to clear out, inventory, etc. It was an amazingly cleansing and refreshing process! My kitchen is tiny and I do not have a pantry, so our food storage has always been a frustrating Jenga-style system of stacking and stuffing food into a couple of cabinets with limited airspace remaining. This makes it very difficult to find anything, no matter how carefully it is stacked and organized. So, when I go to shop for or use food, things I have in stock often either get missed or forgotten, which aggravates the problem because then I am likely to buy them again.

I try to go through our food supply on a regular basis, or so I thought, but usually it is more for the purpose of reorganizing it rather than purging it. Likewise, the fridge and freezer get cleaned out periodically, too, but this time it had been a while and was for a more purposeful mission.

Bottom line, I ended up throwing out about half of our food. And before anyone goes feeling badly about such waste, I would never throw away any food that was good enough to be donated to someone needy. So, ??? HALF OF MY FOOD WAS SO OLD IT WAS EXPIRED, most for half a year or more!! Sounds crazy, right, because dry foods and cans tend to last for a REEEEALLY long time. But yes, apparently I had gradually been buying so much extra stuff that wasn't all getting used or remembered for so long, that it was past its date. Pasta, boxes of cereal, canned food, all kinds of stuff was done for. So, after throwing out several trash bags worth of frozen, dry, and canned outdated food, I felt a huge uplifting! I am beyond happy with the results. My cabinets are much more open now, and I can see the food I have and even get to it without draining the cabinet! I also made sure that the stuff which remains is healthy stuff, and I feel like it will be so much easier now to plan nutritious and light meals and snacks without buying extra stuff I don't need. Which considering we need to save money is also hugely beneficial. Definitely an important step for kicking off a healthier meal program- you should try it!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Strategy: Focus on the 5's

Ok, so, I am starting to write up my goals for weight loss in 2009, and one thing I have learned from a lot of reading (and some TV) on the subject is that the only way to make a big goal seem less daunting is to break it up much smaller. I've often done that in the past, but I definitely didn't go about it the right way. Previously I have always had very rigid goals for myself of a certain number of pounds lost per week, and then I have added them up to make goal weights corresponding to certain events that fall within that timeline. And by having had it so strictly laid out like that, I think I was setting my all-or-nothing self up for failure. Never did I make one of those exact event goals, by the way, and rarely did I keep up with the "plan" for more than a few weeks. And I'm talking about years and years of making plans to lose weight this way and not succeeding!

This time, I am going to break it up into 5 pound increments. Period. I will always be focused on the single goal of 5 pounds, and when I achieve it and celebrate it, I will again adopt a goal of 5 more pounds. Losing 5 pounds is no cake walk, but it certainly seems doable to me. There may be weeks where it is easier to make progress, and other weeks where the body is PMS bloating and makes none, but I think a nice, round goal of 5 pounds in a month's time is perfectly achievable without killing myself. I will weigh in and record my progress weekly, but will try to focus on the big picture achievements monthly, to allow for those fluctuations without getting discouraged. It may get harder to lose 5 pounds in a month as I do well and my weight gets lower, but if that becomes the case I can always adjust accordingly and slow the rate.

So, all I need to do is lose 5 pounds a bunch of times, specifically between 11-13 times! (My primary goal is to get to 150 pounds, but depending on my physique at that weight, 140 is a really trim but still perfectly healthy weight for my height and build, so I may try for that upon re-assessment...) However, if I can keep up the tunnel vision and only focus on each five pounds individually, I think I can avoid being overwhelmed about how far I have to go, and also avoid becoming too complacent about how far I have come as I succeed. Last time I really tried in earnest I lost the first 10 pounds easily, and then I felt so good I got overconfident. Once some family eating celebrations came up I easily fell off the wagon, and stayed off. That was about 8 months ago, and look where I've been since- I rapidly put it back on +5!

Yes, if I add up my hopeful rate of monthly progress, there is one very large milestone I'd like to be doing well for, and that is my 20-year High School Reunion in October. If I did well with 5 pounds a month I might hope to be approximately 50 pounds lighter, or most of my way to goal by then. HOWEVER, I am NOT going to set myself up like that this time around! Frankly, if I've lost 10-15 pounds by then I'd still look a lot better and have an easier time finding something to wear. But as I said above, and as I am going to keep saying to myself, over and over, as many times as it takes, I am going to look at one month at a time, and I am going to work on losing 5 pounds at a time, only.

So, for these last 2 weeks of 2008 (including Christmas and New Years Eve,) I am going to be recording what I eat, practicing making better choices, working on breaking bad habits, and beginning to add workouts back into my schedule. That way, the beginning of January won't have that huge, looming, start from scratch, cold turkey, all or nothing feeling to it. Much less scary that way. :)

Thoughts for the Week of Christmas

My husband and I are very excited to share Christmas with our three year old son this year, because he really understands Christmas now, unlike before. Not the religious part yet (I've been slack about getting him/us to church still,) but definitely the Santa and presents part. I am soo looking forward to seeing him light up when he gets what he asked Santa for, as well as a bunch of other stuff I hope he'll like. Actually, I know he'll like it all, I just hope it's not too much all at once such that he'll be over it. I tried not to spend too much $ in light of the finances still being dicey, but it ended up being a lot of stuff, anyway! :)

Generally speaking the Christmas season is a wonderful time of year, but as holidays go, Christmas is one that has always had a little too much riding on it emotionally, in my opinion. I greatly appreciate that the month with the shortest, darkest days are filled with bright, twinkly lights and happy music, but it certainly has its flaws. For most people, Christmas as we know it causes so much to do and so much pressure to get the right gifts for the right people without going broke, that the point of good happy times with friends and family can get lost pretty easily. I took it a little easier this season, not getting as much done as soon, but I've felt more relaxed in the process. Which was intentional considering I work full time now. Saturday was the only "tough" chores day, and even that was ok- I waited in line for over an hour to mail packages that took a long time to assemble and wrap, after a late night and long morning finishing the Christmas cards, but everyone was cheerful and chatty in the line and I'm thrilled with how the cards turned out, so it wasn't unpleasant. It's just weird to have that much buildup for a holiday, I guess. I've always felt there was a bit of an awkward "now what?" moment after everyone opens all of the presents. Christmas will certainly be a monster highlight for my sweet boy, but my personal favorite has always been Thanksgiving, and this year Halloween moved way up the list, too!

Looking at the bigger picture beyond this week, I shall return to the broken record issue of health, fitness, and weight loss. I continue to mull over my plans to change my life in the new year, and although I may not find any participants for a Biggest Loser Challenge as I had hoped, I will put it out here for all to see/cheer me on/learn from me if I am successful/counsel me if I am struggling. 2009 is filled with potential and an opportunity for new beginning, and I am continually reminded in so many different ways of how much better I will feel, thereby improving my whole life, if I just take better care of myself. This week I work Monday and most of Tuesday, will enjoy the holiday Wednesday and Thursday, and by Friday I hope to spend some more time hatching the details of my plan and begin implementation in earnest. Basically it will just be an aggressive workout schedule, back to strict adherence to the Weight Watchers eating plan that has worked VERY WELL for me previously when I stick to it, and a structured schedule of weigh-ins, goals, incentives, and strategies. I'm armed with everything I need, and I think my head is/will be in the right place. Merry Christmas, and stay tuned as I may recap/re-post some of my motivational stuff for myself before kicking it off!

(One other nugget- I am going to take a one-time sample pole dancing class next month, and may proceed with the classes on a regular basis if I like it. A pretty weird recreational activity, one might think, but I suspect it will be a unique combination of fun dance, fitness, better awareness of and attention to one's body, and of course a freeing fantasy experience without actually having to rip one's clothes off in public. I'll be sure to tell all, but I'm pretty confident I will love it after hearing my friend talk all about it. She got started earlier this year, and has gotten so serious they're hiring HER as a teacher now, too!)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Biggest Loser Inspiration

Every season of the Biggest Loser since I started watching it, I've thought "I'm going to do it with them this time." But, the time in my life wasn't right yet, and before I knew it these big fat people were weighing in at less than me, and the show wasn't even close to over yet. Michelle looked awesome Tuesday night, and I had a feeling she would be able to win it even before seeing her. But, after seeing even the people who I didn't think could do it do well (Heba and Jerry were the ones who struck me as least likely to lose enough weight to change their lives,) I am again realizing I can do it too. And THIS time, I think I have been taking the steps to have it be the RIGHT time in my life, and getting the holiday temptations out of the way will coincide exactly with the kickoff of the NEXT season of BL, which already starts on Jan. 6, much to my delight. I am going to do some planning this weekend, and I am going to hatch a challenge to make my own Biggest Loser contest with some people I know. I know two certain contestants to do it with me, and I hope to think of some others. I'm talking the works, food and exercise logs, contests, milestones, percentage weight loss goals and check-ins, etc. My "original, realistic" goal is now up to 55 pounds, or 27% of my current body weight (crept up from the nice, round 50 lbs/25% since I've gained a little more), but if I was going to go really hard core, I've been reading that an even lower goal of 140 pounds is apparently still healthy with a decent sized 5'8" frame, putting my goal at 65 pounds or 32% of my body weight. Whoa, a third of myself?! Seems outrageously unattainable. But, the people on this show consistently lose as much as half of themselves, and the whole point of the show, season after season, is to assure America that we can do it, too. Although it seems like it would be so much easier to be successful if one could actually get ON the show, I am quite grateful that I am not to the point where I would be recruited on the show, so I will count my blessings there. (If you know anyone who is big enough, apparently they are casting for Season 8 now...) Look out for the CBL (Cathy's Biggest Loser) Challenge, coming soon!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great Nuggets of Advice from Other Blogs

Now that I've been blogging more regularly, I'm discovering some other GREAT blogs out there, and have been enjoying following and learning from them. Two articles I ran across today are kind of giving me an "a-ha" moment, so I want to post them here so I don't lose sight of the concepts, as they are very clarifying and motivating for me.

The first one validates my problems with chocolate and sugar cravings, and offers some info and advice. As I have stated before, I am an addict, in the most literal sense of the word, to chocolate specifically and to sugary junk foods in general. This article talks about research into the fact that certain types of people legitimately react to sugar in the same way as a drug addict does. It verifies what I knew all along about myself. Although some (most normal) people can have 1 or 2 cookies, for example, others like myself (and my dad, and now it seems like possibly my kid) can have either none, of if I have one then I feel compelled to finish the whole bag of cookies, and eat anything else I can get my hands on that is sugary, all day long. That is me to a tee, but I've not ever heard others like that discussed this way. Not that it makes any excuse for it, but it does at least validate how hard it is for me to control my food urges, and makes me realize some ways I can fight it a little better. I already knew that starting early in the day on any sugar makes it worse. This is the article from Diets in

The second is one of total brilliance as well, also from Diets in My mom has been trying to tell me this for over 4 years since I got pregnant with my 3.5 year old son, but it just didn't stick with me until I read it in this eloquently phrased context: "Please secure your own mask prior to assisting children."

It is so logical and obviously correct, especially in the literal use on airplanes, but the fact that it should be applicable to all areas of life is a real eye opener, particularly as it applies to diet and health. I am very careful to feed my kid as healthy food as possible, to ensure that he forms good eating habits for life, but then I turn around and stuff empty, crappy junk food into myself that is slowly killing me! How ridiculous it would be for a kid to have healthy eating habits and a sick or absent mom. I am truly a dumbass! And not just in the arena of food, but it applies to everything. I foster an active lifestyle for him while missing most of my workouts, I work really hard to make sure his life is happy and enjoyable, but have to really try to find happy fun time for myself to relax often enough. I could go on. The bottom line is, the only way to have a good, happy, healthy family life is to take good, happy, healthy care of one's self. Thus far I have sucked at that, but I'm starting to see the light.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

186 Steps

Ok, walking up stairs has got to be one of the greatest forms of "not-really-working-out" exercise I can think of, so it's about time I started taking advantage. I work on the 8th floor of a 10 story office building. I used to work 3 partial days a week, but now I'm up to 5 full days (which allows me a lunch break, how novel!) It is 146 stairs up to the 8th floor, and 186 if you go all the way up to the 10th. I just walked up to 10 for a "refresher" attempt, and it only takes until about the 5th floor before I start gasping for air. But with a short rest, and some panting, I made it to 10 just fine, and was left only slightly glistening, not actually sweaty.

Therefore, I officially vow right here and now NEVER to take the elevator in this building again! (Unless I suffer some sort of catastrophic injury that prevents it...) Further, it is my intent from now on to walk up to 10 before returning down to 8 TWICE each work day. 186 x 2wice a day x 5 days a week = a whole lot of sneaked in workouts! Five days a week I will be walking up 372 stairs a day, not even counting the down ones, and that I will not allow myself to count as my workouts!! Heels and a lot of bags (as I often have) add even more challenge, but I need it and am up for it.

The lighthouse at the beach we go to is 200 stairs to the top, and it looks like the lantern is scraping heaven when you stand under it. So, as I get in better shape and the stairs get easier for me, I hope that will allow me to achieve a short-term goal and conquer my claustrophobia/heights fears to go up to the top with my sweetie to enjoy the view together. :) And in the process of getting in shape to handle the stairs, I might actually get small enough not to worry about getting stuck in the hole you have to squeeze through to enter the chamber at the top!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nifty Diet Tool for the Occasional Golden Arches Visit

I've always had a very soft spot for McDonald's. Of all the brands of fast food it is my favorite, and I believe I have been in one in almost every foreign country I've ever been to. Now, most people would NOT be proud of that, but as someone with a lot of food allergies, it is sooo helpful if you are somewhere else in the world where it's tough to communicate and/or figure out what in local food, and to be able to get a meal you are confident in.

Now, for the healthy minded, McD's has really only started offering healthier options since the brilliant movie "Supersize Me" threw them under the bus. Clearly the health status of some of their choices is quite poor, and although I thought he took it too far to make his point, I thought it was a brilliant and very entertaining/educational movie.

For a long time, McDonald's has offered some limited nutritional information and ingredients listings, but I recently checked back online and it has gotten a lot more sophisticated. In addition to the down-to-every-possible detail ingredients list, they now have a tool where you can choose your items, put them in your "bag", and it'll give you the tally of your calories, fat, etc. Not for the faint of heart if you love a large Big Mac meal, probably, but I was impressed, because if you don't like what you see, you can take some things out and replace them with other things until it looks a little better. The best part? As an allergy person I do not eat the bread on my cheeseburgers, and I always assumed that was only a few calories saved. With this tool, you can "take apart" the sandwiches and see what they would be without the sauce, without cheese, or in my case, without the bread. (And I was happy to find out that the bread I wasn't eating WAS a lot of calories after all!)

Now, the HEALTHIEST meal I should be eating is a 4-piece nugget happy meal with apple dippers and a diet lemonade. But I already knew that. :)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Full Speed Ahead in January, but Need Some Changes in the Meantime!

Ok, so now that I'm settling into a full-time work routine and the money worries will gradually ease as the paychecks flow in, I'm going to turn my focus back inward. I have some urgent health needs which need to return to the top of the priority pile, because I'd like to hang around a while, and my kid deserves a mom. As I've discussed in this blog before, I am 37 years old, I have high blood pressure and high cholesterol (for which I am medicated and somewhat lazy about taking it consistently,) I am 5 feet 8 inches tall, and I weigh 204 pounds. Now, I do have a solid, muscular frame and large bones, so visually I am not in the realm of looking like a round, fat person (yet!), but that is still a substantial 54 pounds overweight, and I am quite a bit thicker than looks good, wearing size 16 clothes. On Biggest Loser they sometimes make the contestants carry the amount of weight they've lost to see how much it was, and despite being in better shape it is always difficult for them to carry for long. I know for a fact that 54 pounds is DAMN HEAVY, and I would probably feel like I was floating on a springy feather if that came off of me. How can that not be enough motivation?!

Unfortunately, it took me until now to resolve some of the nagging stresses and problems that were tugging my focus away, and here we are in December, in the midst of the holiday season. Now, it is TOTALLY possible to have an enjoyable, healthy holiday season during a weight loss or maintenance program, but it is extremely unrealistic to expect to start one. Instead, I'm going to attempt to address some of the things that are the biggest problem for me, and those are: junk food intake, sleep habits, and inconsistent exercise. Sleep is just a matter of going to bed earlier, and it's only been a week and a half since I started my new work schedule. I am starting to get more tired which should force me to go to bed sooner as I want myself to, so hopefully that'll come. As that falls into place, I hope to be able to get up early enough to exercise, not just make it out of the house. My good friend is kicking some butt with the Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred workout, and I've only dabbled in it but it is brutal (in a good way, kind of.) I've also said it a lot of times, but I need to become allergic to the elevator, since I work on the 8th floor and it is 150 steps up to my office. If I leave for lunch every day that would be up 300 stairs a day, 5 days a week, surely that can't do anything but miracles!

Lastly, my biggest vice is sugary junk food, especially my dear nemesis and cryptonite, chocolate. (I see light and hear singing angels when I say the word. No, really.) :) I eat large quantities of really bad things, and find myself sucking on pieces of chocolate and letting it melt in my mouth ALL DAY LONG. It's staggering how many calories I must eat when I'm "letting myself go." So, I need to make some gradual adjustments to really break the habits and succeed in the long run. Without having to count calorie intake yet, I still think I would benefit greatly in the meantime from: drastic reduction in sugar and chocolate consumption, avoidance of high fructose corn syrup, and avoidance of hydrogenated oils (i.e. trans fats). Eating a lot of chocolate and sugar has an addictive effect for me- if I have a little bit I can't stop, but if I can avoid for a few days it I lose the taste for it quite as strongly, and regular food starts tasting better. Sugar and chocolate also leave me feeling a little cloudy and sleepier, sometimes, as it is wearing off. (Sound like a drug addict? It's really not that different if you think about it!) High fructose corn syrup, which is in EVERYTHING, has been documented to cause increased appetite. I tried cutting it out once (easier said than done) and I noticed a difference.

Last but not least: hydrogenated oil, aka trans fat. Now, a quick complaint about the trans fats issue- the laws were changed to require disclosure of them on food labels, but I think they goofed the standards. Supposedly anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated oil contains trans fat, but if you look at the labels on these foods, inevitably they have "0 grams" of trans fat listed. It is my understanding that this is NOT equivalent to none, so that is veeeery misleading. Cool Whip, which to my horror I have been eating with a spoon since it was leftover from a dessert I made, is pure hydrogenated oil, yet it still contains zero grams of trans fat. I need to read more to learn more about it, but I think you can have at least a half a gram of trans fat and still list zero on the label, but supposedly some small amount like 3 grams in a day is quite hazardous to the ticker. So, all day long you could be eating stuff with zero grams of trans fat, but have eaten several grams total by day's end. And yes, I do eat horrifying things like Cool Whip, Oreos, and other hydrogenated wonders on a regular basis. It's a marvel I have lived this long at the rate I'm going!

So, my plan is to try to do better for now, and then after the holidays I am going to kick some January ass!

Monday, December 8, 2008

My Friend is a Young Stroke Survivor- Please Read!

Ok, so my friend Shana is someone I've lost touch with a little bit in recent years, but she's back in the front of my thoughts now. Our husbands played softball together when they were just our boyfriends, and the girlfriends used to go sit on the bench and watch a little/talk a lot on Friday nights. We attended each other's weddings, and as our husbands faded from continuing to play, we weren't in touch as much. I've followed the birth and growing of her son Jack through forwarded pictures, and although we talk periodically about getting our kids together, we haven't.

Fast forward. I've gotten into Facebook this year, as have a LOT of my past and present friends my same age. I think of it as an extension of a collective mid-life crisis. :) Anyway, I found Shana on there, and in her comments noticed a status update about speech therapy. Because it is common for toddler boys, I didn't think twice about it. But a few weeks ago her status update astounded me, and I want to share her story with you. She posted that she was happy it had been a full year since her stroke. What the hell?! A lot of people write a lot of weird things on Facebook that do not mean what they seem, so I asked and she was serious. After reading her story, I was freaked out by the prospect of how horrible what she went through must have been, and a little bit concerned about how poorly I take care of my own health and what bad things I am not doing a good job of trying to prevent (Shana was always the picture of health!) I was also re-educated about stroke warning signs and urgency of fast treatment. But most importantly, I was deeply INSPIRED, by how this hardship affected her, how resilient she was/is, and how profoundly grateful and happy she is. If we all looked at our lives through the eyes of the "what ifs" I bet we would live a lot better and happier. She was thrilled to get to go to the mall in a wheelchair with her husband and son, and is happier in every way every day of her life since this happened to her. Shana, you rock, and to any who might be reading my blog, please read her story directly for yourself:

Saturday, December 6, 2008


I am feeling happy tonight! I made it through my first week of work completely unscathed. I didn't have an easy time adjusting to the waking up/morning schedule, but we were on time (or within 5 minutes) every day. Adam adjusted just fine to being in school more often and for longer, and it didn't disrupt his amazing potty training progress (only one pair of soiled underwear in a week!) Our house did NOT go into hurricane mode, and the organization and tidiness I have recently achieved is completely intact. We had home cooked dinners this week and everything! One small debacle with that I had to laugh about, though- I made a crock pot roast and forgot to turn it on after I plugged it in, so that was a big goof, and the room temperature brown roast bit the big one.

Even more surprising than my ability to cope was the fact that I didn't even mind the job itself- it is less boring than I expected, and already the stuff I have learned this week will benefit my career in the long run. It's kinda freaky- I miss my time with Adam and I hate how early it gets dark before I can spend time with him, (and I am not focused on weight loss for myself yet,) but all-in-all, I am enjoying Christmas lights and music, relaxing, and feeling happy. :)

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why Do I Think So Much?

Sometimes I think I get too much inside my own head. Is it just because I have so much going on to be thinking about? (But don't most people?) I went through a phase kind of like this in early high school, and another in mid-late college, but not really since then until now... And further, why do I feel compelled to blog about it and offer to let people read my inner thoughts- I feel like it is therapeutic for me and I enjoy speaking as if to an audience, but is it really just narcissistic of me, or am I perhaps just an exhibitionist on some level?

This week carried through some of the BIG, HUGE changes in our lives that I've been anticipating. Adam is now potty training, and is exclusively in diapers except for sleeping. I returned to full time work status with the county this week, but had to move divisions in order to do so. It's newish work that won't be too tough to pick up, newish people but who I vaguely already know, and still on the same floor but down the hall in a different area, with a much better cubicle. Not too bad, right? Adam was totally cool with being in his school/class a lot longer, or so it seems. Only one potty accident in 2 days. If he could just get over his poo fear that keeps him from going often enough to be comfortable, we'd be golden. I have been exhausted from my return-to-work experience this week, yet tonight I am also keyed up with a head full of thoughts to the point of staying up reeeeally late. That will hurt a lot in the morning!

For whatever million previously discussed and other reasons, I've been having a pretty weird year in 2008. I would categorize my status as having been in some sort of mid-life identity crisis. Not necessarily in a bad way, but definitely in a weird way. At New Year's Eve last year, I pledged to "get it together" this year. I figured since the kid was getting older and easier and I was at peace with (which has gradually morphed into being grateful for) having just one kid (and bucking ALL social standards in doing so!), I was definitely to the point of being able to handle my life at a more fine-tuned level. Lose some weight, get in better shape, get more organized, etc.

Instead, however, it became a whirlwind of worrying about family economics and running out of money, starting a business, seeking employment security and eventually full time pay, doing more things than probably realistically fit into a mother's schedule, worrying for a time about my kid's development, etc. As a whole, the year turned out nothing whatsoever like I could have imagined. January I had my month of unpaid leave from the part time job, and recently when I got caught up in my papers filing it was clear that was the last time I had done so. The security of my part time job was in question in January, April, June, and then continuously starting in July after the budget panic hit. Since July I have been scrapping to get a job spot full time while being wanted by each and every one of our supervisors, but our whore of a division director stood firmly in the way, for no good or logical reason that anyone could find. I started a business in April, which I now have little time for, but wasn't bringing enough cash in to support itself anyway, so it can continue to simmer on the back burner for a while. I do have 2 clients and plan to continue on with it, but proceeding with baby steps only.

The one thing I keep coming back to in my head, but failing to do anything about, is the weight and personal health issue. I started this blog primarily to discuss my weight loss journey. Have you read much about weight loss? No. I have stepped into the street a couple of times, but then hopped right back up on the curb. I occasionally feel motivated, but the majority of the time I prefer to abuse food to squash down other emotions, or tiredness, or whatever. "Abuse" food, you ask? Yes, I truly meant it that way, particularly in my case with chocolate. That's not even food, really, it's supposed to only be a tasty occasional treat that I'm pumping into myself all day long some days. I suppose I could say "self-medicate" and it might not sound as bad, but the result is the same. I have been trying to be a cheerleader for others in the same want-to-lose-weight boat, but my own head has only had brief windows of letting me feel like I've wanted to put out the effort and sacrifice of putting myself first. What the hell? Who actually openly admits that without it being a huge revelation that opens the door for drastic improvement?

So, this journal started as a rah-rah "help me and learn from me as I take better care of myself," and has instead become an exercise in full-blown self-therapy. Why can't I seem to care quite enough about myself to follow through? It seems it would take Superwoman to fit it all in. But everybody else seems to do it, and I only have half as many kids as most, and was working half as much as some until this week. What a sorry excuse, you damn slacker!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

I am SO Thankful for so much! :)

So, it was my intent to write and reflect yesterday on Thanksgiving Day, but as usual, it is such a fun and busy holiday, I didn't want to spend any time away from my family the computer, so I am here today instead (but didn't finish until Sat. pm 'cause no downtime.) I LOVE Thanksgiving dearly, and as I think I've mentioned earlier it is my favorite day of the year. This year was even better than usual!

We spent the week with my mother-in-law visiting us, who I enjoy spending time with and wish she lived closer. Last weekend we took her to my parents' beach house to show her around and had a great time, despite the premature deep winter weather. The cute little victorian town has a beautiful Christmas season of events that started last weekend, and it was a blast. I even got to go to what I think was my first tree lighting ceremony ever!

In addition, over the last 3.5 days, my sweet 3 year and 3 month old boy was FINALLY ready to make some real progress potty training, and it has gone so well that shockingly is already in underwear instead of diapers except for sleeping. I know, I'm STILL trying to find my jaw on the floor! He's been in underwear for 2.5 days, (now 3.5 since I started writing this) and only 2 small accidents! That is so like him, too- starts most milestones super late, but then learns instantly. Phew, because I was really getting a lot of outside pressure and wasn't confident of how it would ever go! The transition to school should be interesting, but I've done my job. In addition to school, public outings should be interesting too. He went fine at my parents house on Thanksgiving, but we haven't been to any "public" potties yet... (A day later he is afraid to poo after having had initial success, stay tuned or not...)

So, we have Thanksgiving every year at my parents house, who live nearby, and we also have every year my mother-in-law, my aunt and uncle, and my grandmother. I contributed my signature garlic redskin mashed potatoes, my apple pie (this year upgraded to Honeycrisp apples, there is NO going back!) and I added a new dish, mashed sweet potatoes. Cinnamon, brown sugar, fresh not canned, and NO marshmallows. Actually, I was never a big fan until having a kid who eats them, but I might have liked them BETTER than the white potatoes! Everyone was happy, the food was good, and it was a joy to show off how much Adam has progressed since the last time they each saw him. I thought all day about how thankful I am to have such an awesome family, despite split factions in my mom's side of a larger family that we don't get to see much anymore. And despite the reduction in time with my boy that is to come, I am grateful to have acquired a decent paying job in a poopy economy, and that I was getting paid already for the holiday. I am grateful to have a husband that I love, a sweet awesome son who I still can't get over how much he impresses me every day, and wonderful family and friends.

So, for a life's update: my house is still in marvelous order, and I am only a couple of hours worth of filing paper away from achieving perfection. We are going to put up our Christmas tree today, like we do every year, and we're having the family over for dinner tonight before my aunt and uncle leave tomorrow. Shopping at the outlets this afternoon, too. I'm feeling moderately ready to deal with going back to work full time, and we'll see what happens! (Update- shopping was MADNESS because they were overcompensating for the bad economy and practically giving stuff away. It was amazing, but a frightening mass of humanity!)

However, now amid all these big changes I STILL need to change my fitness and eating habits!!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One Week Until the BEST Day of the Year!

Ok, so I've been doing some reflecting this morning. In doing so, I re-read this whole blog. Good lord people, are all of your lives as insane as mine has seemed to have been this summer and fall? When I occasionally mentioned feeling like I was on a roller coaster, that was no joke. Fortunately, the key to making the ride stop (or, at least slow way down and skip the big hills and drops) seems to have been a secure job situation. I am wrapping up my part time position this week, taking the week of Thanksgiving off, then starting my new full-time job Monday, Dec. 1. As I mentioned earlier, I am ready. In the meantime, I have continued to get myself more organized, and continue to feel the great benefit of the results. (Of course, I read in my blog that I've gotten to this point before, then not finished and/or maintained it, so keep on, soldier!)

Friday my awesome sweet mother-in-law comes to town, and we are taking her to the beach house for a long weekend. I plan to work out, chill, get my computer and email files organized, finish refiling the rest of my recipe pile into the desserts section of my cookbook, and relax, relax, RELAX!! Then we get to come back and it will be Thanksgiving. For those of you who don't know me as well, Thanksgiving is hands-down my VERY FAVORITE day of the whole year, and yes, that includes trumping Christmas. Don't get me wrong, gifts are wonderful, the extended season of music and twinkly decorations is a good way to plow through some of the shortest and therefore darkest days of the year (Dec. 20 is the shortest day, the day after which the days start to get longer again) and the spirit of love and cheer is great. But, for whatever reason, for me personally, Thanksgiving edges it out. I love the gathering of our family and occasionally other people we warmly include, I love the food traditions, I love that there is football to watch as part of it, I love that it is right in the throes of fall and not into winter yet, and I love that all of the happiness and warm cheer does not have anything to do with material presents. Less stress for everyone, and I think more people travel to their families for this than for Christmas. I am grateful and blessed to live near my immediate family, and to still live in the area that I call "home." I also enjoy the fact that immediately after, the Christmas season starts, and we usually take advantage of the long weekend to get our tree set up and start decorating. (A note to you super-early Christmas people- the Christmas season does NOT start until Santa comes out at the end of the Macy's parade on Thanksgiving morning, dang it!!)

Anyway, I am hoping that over the next week and a half, I will continue to reach the FINISHING point of getting organized so I can more easily keep up with it and relieve more of my mental clutter, thereby helping me survive the transition to full time. I hope to truly live the next two weekends and all the days in between in the moment, enjoying the break fully, and restore that trend to carry forward in my life. Living that way into my job transition and through the Christmas season would also be an important achievement.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Random Flashes of Domestic Brilliance; Staring Down the Barrel of Big Change...

So. I finally have a full-time job lined up. Within my same county agency, but not within my same division. Translation: people I know less well, work I know less about, but still beneficial to my career long-term, and most importantly a full size paycheck and my foot gets more fully wedged through the budget-closing door. I will still be in a perilous position, because as the most recent hire I will be one of the first if not THE first person to go if they get down to cutting actual people, but that puts me on the third page of things that might happen, versus my current third item on the first page. Definitely an improvement in the long run, and a great financial relief in the short run. Phew!!

Now, what DOES mean, however, is the end to an era in my life, which I am sad to see go, but that I am resigned to and prepared for. Being a stay-at-home mother first full time and then part time for the last 3+ years has been, by far, the most rewarding, life-altering, important, and wonderful job I have ever had. The most difficult too, at times, for sure, but exceedingly worth it. I could dwell on the loss of time with my sweet boy that is to come, and it will be difficult to "fit it all in" without feeling I am missing his life or being too overwhelmed, but I don't plan to let negativity rear its ugly head and make things any tougher. We never thought we could afford for me to stay at home with him at all, so since we were right, I'm grateful for the time I did get, especially since it was at such financial sacrifice, and for the fact that it was ME who got the opportunity to lay the foundation for who he is. I will always cherish that. Plus, it was the home mommy life that helped me adapt better to the foreign concept of being a mommy in the first place, and offered both he and I the opportunity to meet some amazing friends who are important enough to us to work to keep through the schedule adjustment (and they have agreed that they feel the same way, which is a relief!)

So, with pending change in the air, and a huge weight of relief for the financial doom that has been at least for now, averted, I have turned my focus to getting my act together. And, for whatever reason, it is working. After I shook off an ass-kicking cold that ruined a fun getaway weekend with a friend, I have gotten to work. The house is steadily getting clean, dinners have been planned and executed, and domestic order has begun to creep in. Thank God, because it seems sometimes that chaos has been in the mix since the day we found out we were going to have our sweet boy just about four years ago! The biggest happy surprise, second only to an understanding and recently more helpful sweetie: I am NOT adept in the kitchen, and after organizing my recipe book back into a book from the mountain it had become, I tried a new recipe. One that required a little bit of clue, plus I changed it a little, plus I added a side dish that I dreamed up myself. The result? We were both in shock and awe at the yum factor of my performance. Definitely a confidence booster!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

See, it DOES help!

No sooner had I finished writing all that then I got my job offer!! Phew!

Pouting and Pessimism (an exercise in wallowing...)

Ok, so I generally try to post things on here in a positive light, because it makes me feel better when I'm done, and probably also makes for better reading. It has yet to be determined if I have regular readers, but assuming that I do makes the process of "telling someone" my thoughts and feelings a bit more real, and therefore more effective for MY purposes- cathartic revelation and therapy! And, of course, as the title lets on, it IS all about ME! A nod to my upbringing as an only child, although I sure didn't get the spoiling rotten treatment of one, regretfully at the time but thankfully later! :)

However, despite my generally positive outward persona, I've always been a glass half empty kind of person. No joke, it's true. I enjoy complaining and am quick to criticize, at least from a distance. Easily jealous, too, not in my relationships, because I am secure in my status there, but rather in what other people appear to have or achieve in their lives. Impossible, you say, if you've only known me since the birth of my three-year-old beacon of light and happiness. If so, you'd be partially correct, because becoming a mother was the single event in my life that has caused the most astounding change in the core of who I am as a person and what I care about. Definitely for the better, but it was still startling how sudden, dramatic, and permanent of a change it was. I have felt more emotionally raw and vulnerable, yet stronger, more empathetic, and certainly more caring about the situation(s) of others since then. I've also tossed my personal priorities up on their head, as I suspect most mothers do. It has even affected my view of the world such that I have gone from a lifetime Republican to a strong Democrat (the most recent administration didn't hinder that process any, but by no means was it entirely 43's fault.) My mom recently called me a bleeding heart liberal, and I laughed out loud at the bizarre sound of that, but it is completely true now!

Anyway, I'm feeling all bummed out, and I feel like whining about it. Here's your cue to tune out and exit if you'd prefer. The rest of you, stay and wallow in self-pity with me if you like! Certain audiences in my life do not react well to my whining or being down now and then, but I can say whatever I want here- and I hope to feel better by the end of my rant. Well, rants are more anger based, this is really just a pity-party...

I am tired of feeling like I am on an emotional roller coaster. My life is so filled with blessings, but also hideous pressure, stress, and difficulty. I'm tired of needing a job and money, and being utterly freaked out about both. I'm tired of being jealous of the people who don't have those worries, and who get to do what makes them truly happy every day. I'm tired of letting myself get so worn out by those underlying emotional stresses that I don't accomplish nearly as much as I could and want to in my daily and bigger picture life, thereby increasing my stress and feeding the negative cycle. I'm tired of being so unhappy with that situation that I CHOOSE to medicate myself with food and be fat and unhealthy. Yes, folks, a friend set me straight recently, and she is right, what I eat and how I take care of myself IS a choice. For the first couple of years of the boy's life, his care was a significant source of my stress at times, and I really did knowingly choose to remain fat and do nothing about it. Since then however, now that he's a million times easier, I THINK I want to put myself first, but I am apparently lying to myself. I don't necessarily FEEL in control of that choice sometimes, but technically I am. I wish I had the discipline to focus on care for myself without taking away from my all-important family. I wish I could get all aspects of my life under full control and just have to worry about maintaining it. I wish my sweet honey didn't have his own related and not set of stresses making HIM unhappy and unhealthy, because we seem to react to each other's negative energy in an unhealthy way, dragging us both a little further down. I'm tired of wondering why other people have what I don't- be it money, energy, drive, and I'm tired of being tired. I hate being so bad at saving and budging money. I hate having to take a ton of time and gas to get an allergy shot lest I break out in a miserable and persistent rash. I hate it getting so dark so early already, I hate the week before my period feeling like a miserable person, and I hate windy coldness. 'Zat enough?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Yes and No

Do I feel 100,000 times better and happier when I am here at the beach house than at home? Yes. Do I usually eat better, exercise more, relax more, and straighten out my head? Yes. Am I feeling like it will stick when I get home? Well... No, not really. However, I am having a really great time hanging out with our friends and getting to know them even better! I'm so glad they seem to be having a good time, too. I guess I just have to hope and assume that the weekends ALL MONTH that I will be here will be enough to get me back on track, just in time for Thanksgiving. Hmmm... Today I did a little exercise, and it's been awesome to spend some adult time, although I miss the boy terribly. Unfortunately I've been eating everything I find! Better luck next week...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Rainbow! And random musings...

I saw a rainbow today. It probably has been about 10 years or so since I can remember having seen one. And I got to show it to my 3 year old, which was cool, too. :) To get all goofy and philosophical about it, it signifies a new beginning for this country, having been a bit battered of late. I am so happy that sweeping change is hopefully in the mix, with newness and optimism thrown in for good measure. I was so moved by the concession speech of John McCain, also, oddly enough, it was back to the cool guy everyone used to like, and I loved what he said and how earnestly he said it- a truly classy and proud American. To imagine how far this country has come to be able to elect to the highest office an amazing person who also happens to be of minority race is fantastic. Of course, being white myself I can't truly know what people experience day-to-day, but I have to hope that this would blast away the last of any "victimization" people might feel from the past history of discrimination, and know now that the racist people who still remain are not of any relevance, and therefore should not be considered a hindrance to success and happiness for anyone. I hope that is the case!

I guess I didn't send out a news bulletin to some of my friends/acquaintances, though, when I changed political teams a mere 3.5-4 years ago. My best friend and I apparently don't talk politics much, because when she asked me what I thought of last night and I said I was happy, she was fairly surprised! Likewise, at work, the people who are known to be republican (a minority there) still talk to me like I'm "one of them" when stuff like that comes up. It's kinda funny. :)

On the job front- another good omen- my fate is not sealed, but rather rests in the hands of the County Executive. My agency and the division that is attempting to hire me back full time has apparently decided they can afford me, and management has agreed it would be a good idea. But, it must get approval from that "head appointed guy" since there is a hiring freeze of late.

Other random thoughts for today:

I'd like to start letting this blog live up to its name by making daily or nearly daily entries. I think it is good therapy. If I do have any readers, apologies if it becomes TMI.

I'd also like to have more to say in this blog about the weight loss journey, which caused its beginning in earnest but has never quite gotten off the ground for long enough to stay aloft. Stay tuned, I haven't given up!

Lastly, my tongue is miserably cut up and swollen from the new additions to my braces. I'm not quite to the home stretch, but at least I am in the fourth quarter, and supposedly this is the last of crap to be added. Now it is just to be a rubber band ballet to get the final moves needed. Oy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Now, to talk about me...

Ok, so I've been absent from this blog for a bit, my loyal self-therapist that it is, and I'm definitely noticing the effects. Apparently unloading on here really helps take some of the jumble out of the ole' upstairs for me, and I am in need of it more often than I indulge. The personal life of a mom is often pushed to the back of the priority list of her own accord, and although I know I shouldn't let that happen I can't help it.

I have had so many things to talk about in the last month that, stepping back, I'd say I've pretty much been riding a roller coaster. And I have no view of the end of the ride, either, which is a pain the ass. I suspect that this continued chaos of good and bad, stress and relief happening in my life accounts for the poor care I continue to offer myself.

The weekend after my last post was Columbus Day weekend, and it was a huge winner. Unbelievably gorgeous weather, and I spent the weekend at the beach house with my dear husband and sweet boy, plus my favorite aunt and uncle. Three days at the beach in a temperate early fall and a Wine Festival. Yes, it was heaven! I took one long run (in which I achieved my recent best of running 1.4 miles straight, and then walking 2 miles back,) and my head was filled with joy and peace. There was a fantastic breeze but it was warm, the monarch butterflies were migrating (I counted 125 on one-way of the boardwalk), and my heart was singing. This was in sharp contrast to the angst of not knowing about my job yet before leaving.

Follow that up with hectic but EXTREMELY FUN planning, decorating, and execution of dual (not dueling, hardy har) Halloween Parties! I could not have been more pleased with the outcomes of those- good turnout, kids happy, good turnout again, adults having fun, interesting conversation, loved it. THEN came the happy but pressure filled week finalizing the plans for and executing Kristie and Dave's wedding. Now,this marvelous, beautiful, touching wedding and easygoing elegant reception were a MARVEL of things going almost exactly as planned. Could it be that my own awesome self was responsible for that in some small or large part? Because, let me tell you, it is highly improbable for a wedding and reception to go THAT well. Funny thing was, though, that during dinner, while I was relaxing for a second and realizing the hardest parts were done, I had a nasty wave of anxiety wash over/out of me and make me feel quite nautious and weak for a bit. But I got over it. I'm such a pansy!

Weaving in to that week was further stressful delay in finding out about my job ststus, with the added information that my current boss was denied hiring a tech person that HE needs, so he suspects I will get hosed also, but they haven't told me. He did authorize a band aid if I need it of going up to 20 hours from 15. Which I WILL absolutely do as soon as I know if the full time spot is a no. I also had a few moments of pressure squeeze me while I was encouraged by my sweet and forward thinking hubby to apply for an outside Planning job that I am not qualified for on a longshot. But I DO plan to start applying for other stuff, if there is any. Ug, it's just not a fun process...

Another underlying stressor of the last several months was actually resolved yesterday, though, which was the BOMB. Adam's teachers are seeing the same improvement in communication that we are, and they not only said they do NOT think he needs speech therapy, but further they finally see how smart he is and think he's very advanced. We've always thought so, but I don't fully trust my own bias. The enormity of that joy and relief was indescribable!!!

Tonight I'm going to stay up all night and watch the fate of our country unfold historically, and I am spending the next THREE WEEKENDS in a row at the beach house. Can't go wrong there, hopefully it will drown out the negativity between now and my FAVORITE day of the year, Thanksgiving!! (The beach weekend I am most looking forward to is this coming weekend, which will be a couple's weekend with good friends and no kids!)

So, screw the county, I'm not even asking about that job anymore, it's embarassing to be a broken record with a matching response each week. "Any word yet?" "We hope to hear something this week..." Then the inevitable silence. Repeat next week. They are just going to have to suck it up and come tell me the verdict in their own time. Meantime I am hoping to gather the energy and focus to drum up more wedding business and seek out alternate full time employment.

Proud to be American on Election Day!

Is there anything more cool than the fact that our ENTIRE country of proper age is able to go out today and say who they want to be in charge next?! It only took me 5 minutes to vote, but I would have waited 4 hours if asked. I hope everyone else values this privledge as much as I do... I bet the world is pretty intrigued to see what happens, too. I never get tired of it, especially when it is NOT a done deal, and in this case, it's history either way!

You do realize that it's just dumb, karmic luck (or a gift from God, depending on how you feel about things) that you HAPPENED to be born in THIS country, and that you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want, and have more opportunity here than anywhere else in the world to make good things out of yourself and your life?! FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS YOU CARE ABOUT, GET YOUR ASSES TO THE POLLS TODAY!!! :)

Then, have fun tonight watching and waiting, and if you dare to go to sleep before the outcome is assured, don't be shocked in the morning. I personally will be glued.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Two Sides of the Coin (A Long One...)

So, I had a positive start to a healthier life over the last few days, and I will talk about that first. Then I need to bitch about some things that piss me off because I'm feeling cranky this morning. But I'll try to end on a positive note for my own good after that!

First, the good. I have gone through a zillion proposed "start" dates for achieving a more healthy lifestyle, and most of them come and go with only a few hours of success, at best. That's sad, but clearly I have a lot going on inside that causes me to be so strongly addicted to unhealthy bad food. I think I've said it before, but I clearly medicate myself with food to try to distract myself from other things. And the compulsion to do so can be extremely intense, leaving me feeling like it's not even an option or within my control. And sometimes I don't even notice that I'm mindlessly eating, or if I do am not always enjoying it. On rare occasion, when I have had success with doing better, it was like a switch had been turned on and I was able to do it almost easily, without any explanation of what might have tripped the switch. And then, eventually, the switch got turned back off. So, here's the thing- this time, maybe through all the prep and build up, as well as the public exposure of my plans, I think I must have forced the switch on. It's like the stroller I just got on Freecycle to replace the one I ran over and broke (yes, an embarrassing long story)- unlike many mechanisms that work well with a more gentle touch, this one only opens if you really put sudden pressure on it and jam it open. I think I may have succeeded in jamming on the elusive switch this time, and I am going to put on goalie pads and pick up a large stick to beat away any negative influences that may try to shut it back off before I get to my goals!

Monday and Tuesday I got plenty of exercise with long walks pushing the stroller (and had played a hard hockey game Sunday night too,) and I was easily able to eat within and even under my Points limit. I already started feeling better both physically and about myself, and I started to shed the first couple pounds of water weight already. Yesterday, Day 3, was a lot tougher with it being a work day. Sitting on my ass at a desk apparently makes me want to eat more! And it's also a lot tougher to fit in workouts on those days. I had planned another walk in the afternoon, but it got overcast and my newly exercised body asked for a break, so I caved. This combined with the extra snacks (albeit healthy) caused my healthy dinner to send me well over on the points, BUT- I did not throw in the towel! That is usually my classic mistake, normally once I "fail" it is a free pass to do whatever I want, but I only had a diet hot chocolate for dessert and called it a night. So, almost half a week down, and the switch is still safe. Considering it supposedly takes 21 days to form new habits, 3 days down, 18 to go!

Now, last night I fell asleep VERY early and slept hard, but still woke up feeling tired and cranky. That is is large part I suspect to hormonal issues commonly occurring the week prior to my period. I know, TMI if any guys are reading, sorry. But it is legit, and some months it's no big deal, but others can really bring me down a notch in energy. So, this morning I get up to a 3 year old already being a total pill (earlier than usual for him!) and a house that is back to looking like a bomb went off in it after focusing on me a little bit for a mere 3 days, and having relaxed for one evening. That makes me mad, and it's no WONDER so many moms end up fat and tired after they have kids! Everything and everyone else usually needs to come first. I am starting to believe that the moms who are slender, energetic, and seem to have their act completely together should be smacked (no offense to any of my friends who may fit this description.) I'm also pissed that the job I'm supposedly being fast-tracked for is still hanging. I was told yesterday that it would be another week at the soonest. So much for the interview just being a formality! And how ironic that I'm so desperate to get a job that will force me back to full time, will be a downgrade, is not what I've ever wanted to do, and will only marginally improve my status on the budget cuts list!

Ok, enough whining, I think I feel better. The good thing is, now that a couple of hours have gone by the feelings of waking up on the wrong side of the bed this morning are subsiding, and I need to get back to work. I am still feeling in control, and I'll have the next two days to get organized (again) and clean up the house (again) and do more laundry (constant) to be ready to get us all packed up. This weekend we are headed to the beach with my aunt and uncle for a wine festival, and as long as I can keep my eating in check and exercise a LOT like I don't mind doing at the beach, it'll be a great time and I'll continue to make progress!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

A Day of Success. I'm Cautiously Optimistic!

Ok, so I was afraid to even write about a successful first day until I actually went to bed and woke up again first, but I made it.  (I had nightmare visions of writing about a successful day and then finding myself up to my elbow in a bag of something before having made it to bed!)  The first day was great, and weirdly enough, I felt very energetic about it.  What a relief!  Got in a good walking workout, ate under the Weight Watchers points limit, and even got a lot done around during naptime instead of being lazy myself.  Sunday night's late hockey game didn't even enter the picture, but I am definitely feeling it today.  I slept long and like a rock, and I am still tired!  That will require some caution, because I tend to grab the junk food when I am either stressed or tired, but one solid day is a huge start in the right direction.  :)  Go, me!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Ready to Make a Real Change

So, this time, I think am ready to truly focus on me, and ready to do this thing and get healthy.  This morning I clocked in at 202, now 52 pounds away from my goal instead of the 50 when I first started writing about it!  Today I will prepare by making sure the tempting foods are away, planning an aggressive workout schedule, and reminding myself of all the good reasons to stick with it this time.  Tomorrow is the day I really will start down a healthier road.  I'm not "dieting" per se (so I am telling myself), just aggressively improving my lifestyle and health.  I will track what I eat through the Weight Watchers points system, and I will not give up every time I slip up as in times past.  Cumulative successes are enough to make a difference.  Major changes in routine take 21 days to become something of a habit, so perhaps by Halloween I will have a reliable program in working order and already be seeing success.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Some Deadlines I Want to be Slim for:

This is a motivational list to supplement the 50 good reasons posted last Friday. These are particular events I feel strongly about being at a healthy, slim weight in time for! They are:
(listed chronologically)

-Sprint Distance Triathlon(s) Summer 2009- For my 30th birthday in March 2001 I went a little nutty considering I was only in mediocre shape and I ran (well, walked a lot) A 10K race in DC, having never done anything like that before. Since then, I have previously dabbled in triathlons, while still remaining mostly out-of-shape, and not at all since having the kid. I finished the two events I actually showed up for (one Sprint, one Olympic,) but pretty much last place. (I was EXACTLY last in the Reston Olympic distance, what a hoot! They were closing the course behind me.) Unfortunately, for those two I did, I've probably registered and paid for 5 or 6 others that I've not gotten ready for and didn't show up for. They're expensive, too, that's a lotta cash. My goal is to get back into shape to really enjoy and do well in triathlons again. There are a number of local Sprint Distance options to consider, particularly looking for Reston.

***-20 Year High School Reunion October 2009 (oh my GOD, isn't that something old people go to?!?!) I might actually have more people to talk to than I did at the 10-year, 'cause a big contingent of my class have been signing up on and communicating through Facebook. Funny that we're all having a little burst of yearning for our youth at the same time. :)

-Halloween 2009- Now that I have successfully revived my "family" interest in Halloween by planning a party this year, I expect to have another costume party next year, and I'd like to wear one of the more suggestive looking costumes (which is all you see that's any good in the stores, anyway.) I'd like us to do the doctor with slutty nurse combo, and/or I've also always wanted to do a dominatrix outfit. Hehehe...

-10 year Wedding Anniversary and Beach re-wedding ceremony, Spring 2010. Yes, I am now a wedding planner, I adore weddings AND the beach, and now my parents have a house fronting on the beach. Good excuse to plan another wedding, just the way I would have liked it if I didn't already like the way we did it before. :) And want to be able to look awesome in a lightweight little sundress!

**-A Vegas second honeymoon- after the wedding at the latest, or possibly sooner depending on finances. I do NOT want to go back to Vegas until I can wear the cute, tiny clothes that I've always wanted to wear, there (that would only be appropriate there!)

-Triathlon season summer 2010- I want to do a couple of Olympic Distance races this year, assuming I've done at least one Sprint the previous year. Reston for sure, in September, and hopefully one other one. There were some newer options I read about this year, plenty of time to research once I really am working out and getting into shape.

****-My 40th Birthday, March 2, 2011! (Ok, that's a very long way off, but seriously, the ONLY way I can handle that without a complete psychological meltdown is to be feeling really good about my hot self by then!) The good thing is I have PLENTY of time for that one, but yet it looms for me mentally, already, only because I feel like such an overwhelmed tired out-of-shape mess now...

So, there you have it, in print, seven different timed goals for losing weight and being healthy. Put those together with my previously listed 50 good reasons to lose 50 (now 51) pounds, and that sounds like a recipe for motivation. I know I have had a LOT of "start dates" that haven't lasted more than a day (or a few hours), but the latest is going to be Monday, October 6. I'm trying to do the prep in advance, like getting used to writing down food points again (have been sporadically and have my notebook ready) and getting myself to the gym (planning to do so this weekend with the whole family, if not sooner too.) I also have a plan for working out at lunchtime sometimes if/when I return to work full time. Must come up with a full now as-is and later full-time plan incorporating all avenues: walks, gym, home tapes, Mommy Boot Camp, Rec. Center, etc. It's going to be pretty ambitious, but I think that's the only way for me to make a big change. I've been trying to sneak up on it the "Kaizen" method of a little bit at a time, but I'm not being able to partially eat much better, I'm kind of all or nothing when it comes to food.

The last thing I have to decide is whether or not to expose myself to more outside involvement/encouragement. I started this blog partly to be able to sound off about my feelings as I roll through life, but also as a means of documenting and sharing my weight loss experience. I posted the link to my Facebook profile, but I didn't announce it or anything, so it's probably not much known, I only know of one person who has looked at it. The question is, can I benefit from the scrutiny of throwing it more public, or is that TMI about me for most people, especially if I still fear repeated failure? I guess I don't have to decide today.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

You have GOT to be kidding me!

Commence self-therapy...  

Despite having written a burst of well thought out motivational nuggets for myself in my previous post, my resolve to be healthy in what I eat and in getting exercise and taking care of myself lasted all of SIX HOURS!!  Are you kidding me?!?!?!  Sometimes I feel like I'm not even the one driving my life, but it's completely self-inflicted.  You know those stress dreams where you're sitting in the BACK seat, trying to reach the pedals and steering the wheel with the tips of your fingers, and it's not quite working?  I'm living it.  And yet, I should be getting to the point where things are getting EASIER- my kid is three now, and he's been sleeping well since he was 18 months old.  That's a big opportunity NOT to be walking around tired all the time.  It's also a perfectly good opportunity to get things done and have my life in relative order while he's sleeping.  Now, I'm not downplaying the challenge of the mom-factor (translation: high-energy required all day) combined with the part time job (moderately brain taxing and draining) and trying to manage the household.  Plus the not quite so perfect timing of starting a business this year, which can and should be a full time job to be done right.  I'm merely pointing out that I can't even seem to let it go at all that.  I want to do it ALL, and I am clearly not cut out for it!  But, tell me about something fun or interesting going on that I can do or be involved with, and you couldn't keep me away.  If there's a white spot on my calendar and it works ok for the kid, you'd better believe I don't want to miss it and will cram it in.  So, instead of choosing which parts of my life to prioritize and savor, I'm zooming around "getting through" each thing, and "relaxing" (i.e. totally wasting time and getting behind) when I'm not busy.  And staying up late both as a means of fitting things in, and as a means of escapism- you don't have to face the next day UNTIL you go to bed and then wake up, right?

Richard Carlson, the guy who wrote "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff (And It's All Small Stuff)" also wrote a book called "Slowing Down to the Speed of Life."  That guy is a genius, by the way.  It is about living in and savoring the moments in your life right as you are in them, and slowing down your frenetic mental pace.  When I read it a few years ago it had a strong impact on me, that lasted for a while, and it also permanently erased the "road rage" rushing to get there mentality of driving permanently.  But in my daily life I seem to have gotten REEEEALLY far away from that in the last few years.  Today I had a blast in the morning picking apples with the boy and a friend, but was already thinking forward to the bridal meeting in the afternoon.  I just looked at my next week's calendar, and I already feel like there's a lot of stuff to "get through" again.  Several doctor/dentist appointments between myself and my son, a crucial job interview, a "tough budget times" status meeting at work that I have to get to on my day off, and another bridal client meeting.  It felt like a chocolate crutch week just looking at it!  And yet, tomorrow morning I have the whole morning (while most people are at work other than the very lucky full-time stay-at-home-moms I know) to enjoy life with my son, to watch him blossom in his gym class, to take the opportunity to walk there and back for a bit of fresh air and exercise, and to just be.  I can't afford to squander those chances since they are dwindling rapidly, assuming I do well in the interview.  Gotta change the mindset somehow.  If I could just reach those brakes a little better!

Friday, September 26, 2008

50 Reasons why The Time is NOW!!!!!

As I think I have mentioned previously (but still have not done anything about), I need to lose 50 pounds to be at a healthy weight. I am 5'8", and I weigh 200 pounds currently. (!!!!!!) For a decent sized frame such as mine, 150 pounds would be an ideal, healthy weight. That means losing 25% of my body weight!! Do you realize how challenging that is, but how significant the results would be?!?!?!

Here I have listed for myself one very good reason for each of the 50 pounds I need to lose. I want them to go away for good and leave me with a healthy body and life! Hopefully posting them here will let me see what I have to gain by losing, and perhaps I can conjure up some discipline somewhere...

50. Because I didn't recognize myself when I caught a sideways glance in the full-length mirror this morning. After years of up and down amounts of too much weight on me, it still doesn't look like me wrapped up in all that fat.

49. Because I seem to have lost some of the bloat that was pushing me up over my starting weight. I was at 201 this morning down from 204, close enough to my starting point of 200 and easier to try to continue going the same direction.

48. Because I have a closet full of cute and nice clothes that I look at wistfully every time I get dressed, and every time I have to do laundry to have something to wear despite having a full closet. I really looked good in a lot of those clothes, and most of them aren't even as small as my goal weight size. It would so rock to shop for small clothes that looked good on me AND made me look good!

47. Because it feels SOOOO good to be self confident. My naturally shy personality struggles even more when I am self conscious and tugging at my clothes to hide/adjust things.

46. Because I'm out of breath a lot lately with the way I've been eating and not exercising enough.

45. Because stress is much better at eating away at me when my body and mind already don't feel good. Exercise=endorphins=happy and relaxed. Right now I am a tense mess.

44. Because I actually ENJOY getting exercise and fresh air, when I'm not trapped by inertia!

43. Because I am way better at playing hockey when I'm lighter and faster.

42. So my hockey gear will return to fitting the way it's supposed to, instead of leaving big fleshy patched exposed to dangerous slapshots.

41. Because I'm spending 7,000 to fix my teeth, and it would be stupid to have this great smile if I still feel like a heavy mess.

40. Because people are more confident in hiring someone for wedding planning and organization help if they appear to have themselves pulled together really well. I agree that someone who's not looking and feeling their best is not projecting the image of a valuable investment!

39. Because major health problems would be resolved such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

38. Because other minor aspects of my looks and health would be improved, such as eczema, acne, allergies symptoms management.

37. Because I will be better able to function in high heat and humidity, which is a solid part of our summer environment here and at the beach.

36. Because it's easier to feel like losing a significant portion of your body weight is possible when "Biggest Loser" is in-season.

35. Because my kid is 3 years old now, and I'm not planning on having any more. All feeble reasons for being overweight related to being a mom and having a baby are long gone.

34. Because each decade of life is a lot harder to lose weight in than the previous. I can't afford to let the rest of my thirties go by without taking advantage of that. It only gets harder.

33. Because it sucked to feel like a cow in a bathing suit all summer at the beach and pool.

32. Because I have a great support network, just waiting to encourage me!

31. Because eating healthy foods is probably better for the environment on a lot of levels.

30. Because it's hard to take good family pictures when we're both unhappy with how we look. Adam will not be sure he even had parents at this age because the pictures are mostly only ever of him and other relatives/friends!

29. Because I have 29 Days to fit into a pair of pants that fit well 10 pounds ago, for a needed part of my Halloween costume. We are too broke for me to be buying new fat clothes.

28. Because in one month I will be quasi-in a wedding and want to look and feel better.

27. Because if I go out with a bunch of girlfriends now, I'm the "fat" friend.

26. Because we're spending the money for a gym to further out workout opportunities.

25. Because eating oversized portions and extra junk food all the time is expensive!

24. Because being preoccupied with my weight is distracting.

23. Because I'd like to continue learning other active sports such as golf, and it seems like my big self is in the way when I try to swing properly.

22. Because I'm lucky enough to have a great life, and it would be stupid to waste it feeling gross and miserable.

21. Because good habits and major life changes take 21 DAYS to stick. That seems like a long time, so might as well get going. 21 Days from today puts me at Thursday, October 16. Since time flies most of the time anyway, can't I just suck it up and be good for that long?

20. Because I'm less than a year away from my 20th High School reunion. Thanks to Facebook, I'm actually getting back in touch with a lot of these people, and it would be a royal suck to be heavy and uncomfortable for something like that. I am too shy not to at least look and feel great!
19. Because I will be a better wife/mother/daughter/friend if I am happier, healthier, more energetic, and as a result have my life in order and my head on straight.

18. Because I can hear Jillian's voice in my head if I try hard enough. How can I fail?

17. Because I'm lucky enough to have a fantastic figure under all the layers. I've got great legs, a generous rack, a good butt, pretty eyes, and nice overall proportions, just waiting to be uncovered. Not everybody does who is healthy and in good shape, and I shouldn't waste the gift/opportunity!

16. Because I always find inspiration in the success of others, but wouldn't it be great to actually use that inspiration to succeed, and go on to motivate someone else?

15. Because it stokes my ego to be noticed. :)

14. Because jogging is cheaper than therapy!

13. Because I am in a vicious cycle of staying up 'til midnight avoiding all the things I don't feel like doing, and then being tired all the time.

12. Because I will sleep better and wake up feeling refreshed. When my body is tired from exercise, I sleep great. When it is drained from being stressed and anxious, lethargic, and filled with unhealthy food, no sleep seems to be enough AND I avoid sleep to do slack things as an escape.

11. To be comfortable TURNING 40 in 18 months. I can only do this gracefully if I feel I am looking and feeling awesome!

10. To be able to celebrate achievements in my life (and re-capture my youth?) when I turn 40 by decorating my body with a tattoo and/or a piercing. No chance I'm doing that unless I look fantastic!

9. To be able to take a trip to Vegas and have some fun dressing a little slutty.

8. To be able to return to great physical challenges such as triathlons. I would like to do multiple races where I actually compete on some level rather than survive!

7. To live a more active life all around.

6. To be able to help motivate my sweetie, who is in the same boat as me. We are too nice to each other and end up being enablers.

5. To be better equipped to handle life's hurdles, physical and emotional.

4. To have more energy to enjoy the time I have with my family and friends, while still being able to DO IT ALL. I want to be one of those people who CAN.

3. To set a good example, provide a healthy environment, and foster good habits for my son to grow up with.

2. To live a long life and to be there for my son throughout his life.

1. Because I am worth it.

Note, it has taken me half the day to complete this list, and I've still been good so far. I hope I can do it!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I Survived September!

Ok, so at this point, since my last post, I have so much on my mind, have done so much, and have so many things to reflect on I don't even know where to begin! The Bridal Showcase was a smashing success, in my humble opinion. The booth looked great (thanks to the helpful design eye of my awesome assistant), I very was pleased with the amount of traffic/exposure, and I had a good time with networking and checking everything out, too. A few weeks later, I am starting to hear from people who talked to me and are interested in my service, and I haven't even begun to follow up with the greater list. I have one family ready to sign a contract and two more meetings this weekend. (But the boy will be there, crossing my fingers for good behavior!!)

I'm still waiting to hear about the status of my application for the full time job, and as sad as I have been at the prospect of returning to work full time, I am ready to embrace it, for a number of reasons. One, we are stone cold broke and the debt is starting to creep up past where we are comfortable. After we got married and erased our pre-wedding debt through the miracle of home equity, it had been a great relief not to have that spectre hanging over our heads, until now. Post-kid with first one and now one and a third incomes, we just haven't been cutting it. I'm SOOO ready to pay that off, build our savings back up to a less dire level, and eventually get back to considering the possibility of eventually moving into a house, once the real estate market (and the rest of the economy) emerges a little bit out of the toilet.

The kid is awesome, and despite some weird habits and the need for some extra language coaching from us, the County has deemed him a totally normal 3 yr. old, so no extra help needed from their perspective. Now, if only to learn the potty (PLEASE!!!) He also got to be spoiled by a recent visit to Thomas the Train, that was a real hoot, and he's definitely getting into the spirit of Halloween. I had him help me pick out a couple of party decorations, and he went for some really creepy images, ones that I was afraid would scare him. I was so pleased!

I'm not quite there yet with finishing up the computer transfer and returning to home organization, but I have made great strides. The computer just needs the drivers for the wireless card to be loaded, the anti-virus software loaded, and then I will be up and running, able to extract my calendar/contact files, among other things. I have in the meantime pieced together a paper calendar, but it is missing the things that my overstuffed mom-brain can not retain from year-to-year, like birthdays. The house is on the brink of tidy, with one last area of paper piles to attack, and then major filing and business paperwork catch-up. But if my cleaning lady does not make time for us this week I am firing her, it is becoming a biohazard and I am still resisting doing it myself!

So, I'm excited in the next few months to turn my focus to more fun, and hopefully more balance with all the other stuff I have going on in my life. Fall is my absolute FAVORITE time of the year, as it contains the best weather, the best sports, and my favorite holidays. I look forward to spending more time with family and friends, and I hope to be able to find the inner strength (or is it peace?) to be able to start taking better care of myself on top of all that. I tend to put myself last, behind all of my other obligations. The 'ole 50 Pounds has now become 55, and I need to place more importance on my health and well being!

Friday, September 5, 2008

No Dice This Week!

Ok, so I really took care of myself and a LOT of personal business on vacation last week.  You name it, I got it done.  I was at my parents beach house for 12 days, the longest vacation in at least 5 or 6 years, and in that time I finished up some of my work and sent it to my boss, paid the bills, did extensive preparation for the upcoming bridal showcase, (including roping in no less than THREE people to help me for free with the graphics/printing, my website, and help at the event-I feel very loved!), worked on potty training the kid, exercised a ton, and even fit in some beach time and relaxing with the family.  Shockingly, I also refrained from eating my chocolate cryptonite.  So what went wrong, you say?

Upon returning home, my life this week was a bit of a bear, as I expected.  I had set myself up for the Perfect Storm, and it delivered!  (In advance of Hanna, even.)  The pressure was on to get each of three printing items for the bridal show ordered from different sources, while being victim of hideous rush charges, praying to be received on time, all while my dear graphic volunteer is about to bust out a baby.  In addition it was a hideous week at my job.  I spent the whole morning today with the phone at full arm's length being yelled at by various representatives of an application over a verdict over which I have little control, and even less control of the schedule.  It is a church request, and this guy actually invoked the Bishop on me. My boss declined to intervene on my behalf.  In addition, I had two back-to-back nights of Fantasy Football Drafts, which I love dearly but would have preferred to be any week other than this one.  Too much brain space, and no time to get help with the kid to pay enough attention.  I overpaid for Ben Rothlisberger, when I surely could have had him for free and don't even particularly like him.  (I also promptly forgot to submit my lineups before gametime Thursday and accidentally benched a great player!)  

In addition, early in the week I experienced the 10th and 11th iterations of "What will become of Cathy's career?"  In this episode our hero learns that the job she reluctantly wants to return to full time so as to secure the right spot in the long run and to not be fired with the budget cuts will not be hers, despite being exceptionally qualified, having held it before, and being wanted for it by the boss.  5 supervisors for me, one division director against me, I lose. (I'm so tired of choosing between rock and a hard place, each time I pick one the other happens instead!)  Then just today, I am offered a different job, one which I expect to abhor, but will probably take, because we're going broke at a rapid clip and it also seems like the only way to guarantee keeping my foot in the door for the big picture.  

Lastly, the planets further aligned (or is it misaligned, in this case?) such that my dear laptop containing every scrap of my personal information, needed emails, contacts, and yes my precious CALENDAR with every appointment that my over-frazzled mom brain couldn't dream of retaining went belly up!  I had AGAIN to beg for discount help.  My dad, his office geek, and the Geek Squad delivered, at least I think they did.  I don't have time to search for all the drivers, instructions, etc. that I need to complete rebirth, but I have my data in some format or other on a portable hard drive.  Hoping it will be let out sometime soon like a genie in a bottle.  If I live through the bridal show with a good looking booth and muster up the energy to overcome my introvertedness for 4 straight hours while selling myself to total strangers, it'll be a damn miracle.  But, thus far I am staving off the nervous breakdown.  And I haven't turned back to chocolate-yet.  Stay tuned.  

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Identified and Survived Day One-

So, Monday morning I woke up at 6:30 to work out, as I have been while on vacation, and for some reason, everything clicked. I decided I was ready to start staying within the Weight Watchers Points system, in addition to continuing to ramp up my workouts. The other times I've ever succeeded in weight loss, I've had the same sensation at the beginning, like it was the right time and I was truly ready. Sadly, I can't seem to control the timing and get it to click on when I want to, but it seems to coincide with times of being on vacation. Guess I need to decompress from everything else before I can focus on taking care of me! Regardless, I felt it, decided today was the day, and I had a great workout. So, for controlling food intake, I have always done well with Weight Watchers as my "diet" program, because it is flexible, and it teaches you how to eat real food you can live with while losing weight and to continue on later. My perfectionist self has a problem with an all or nothing mentality, so I waited until this morning to report about yesterday, but I did sort of well with room for improvement. (My meat choice of a lamb chop was fattier than I realized AFTER I ate it, and I had a little extra desert.) But it was a decent start to improve on today, and this morning's workout was a breakthrough- I ran one mile straight. I thought I was going to croak, but I pulled some Jillian/Biggest Loser mind games on myself. I imagined that there was a game-affecting advantage at the end of the mile, and if you stopped jogging for even a second the buzzer would sound and you'd be disqualified. Hearing that in Jillian's voice was pretty effective! Back in the day I could run 3-4 miles without going to the hospital, and someday I'd like to dabble in triathlon again. So, all in all, a great start and today's another new day!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

It's Not Just About the 50 Pounds...

Anybody read Lance Armstrong's book, "It's Not About the Bike (My Journey Back to Life)"? You'd be crazy not to. This blog has nothing whatsoever to do with Lance Armstrong, or cancer, or even bike riding, but I think anyone in the world could gain some inspiration from that guy. (Never mind the weird celebrity-dating thing he's got going on now, he was just a regular guy once, in a superman body!) That's where I got the inspiration for my title.

So, here's the thing. I'm 37, I have a wonderful husband who I love dearly, and an incredible just-turned-three year old son who is the best. We have a townhouse that we like in a neighborhood we love, drive decent enough cars, and live the exurbs of a pretty interesting metropolitan area. My husband has a successful career that he finds fulfilling, I have a part time job in my career field that allows me some time at home with my son, plus I have started a new hobby business on the side. So far, so good, right? I even have local family support and lots of good friends. So, as happy as I am, why am I 50 pounds overweight, constantly tired and stressed, and feeling utterly out of control of my life on a daily basis? That is a hard question. I wear an awful lot of hats, and sometimes I feel confused by having so many different identities (mother, professional, wife, individual, friend, businesswoman, etc.) I debated about whether to start one blog or several, and whether to write about my journey as a mother, or about the plans for weight loss, or about the ins and outs of my career and starting a business, but it boils down to this: it's all intertwined.

Each part of what is going on in my life today is strongly impacting the other parts. Much of it I can not control, like the fact that my first career is at a major turning point, and someone at the top is hindering me from being able to take that next step; like the fact that no matter how fantastic a child is, there are tough things to deal with as well as the great stuff; and the fact that starting a business is both a pain in the butt and a little scary. Adding to the problem, I LOVE FOOD that tastes good, especially chocolate. I eat to enjoy taste, and I eat even more to soothe, and I DEFINITELY do not have an appropriate sense of portion control or restraint.

So, here I am, in the midst of a wild roller coaster ride, closing my eyes and even ducking my head down at times. My journey absolutely needs to include a new focus on my health, since that is one of the few things I can completely control and that would have the most positive impact on all areas of my life. This 50 extra pounds I've got on me is the primary obstacle. If I picked up a 50 pound weight right now it would be unpleasantly heavy and difficult to move very far, yet that is what I am toting around all day, every day. No wonder I'm tired! I am letting it slow my metabolism and energy levels, and raise my cholesterol and blood pressure. I just need to find that inner strength to give me confidence, 'cause boy is it easy to fail. And being something of a perfectionist, whenever I start to fail at something I seem to quit trying IMMEDIATELY, 'cause you can't fail if you don't try, right? Well, no, of course that's not how it's supposed to go, but I'm assuming that's the reason I do it. Not a good example to set for the kid, either! When it comes to weight loss/fitness plans, I usually end up picking a monumental day of some sort to start cold turkey, have some small setback within the first day or two, and then say "What the heck, I might as well eat whatever I want since I already blew it!"

This time needs to be different. This time, I can't throw in the towel each time I get tripped up. My kid needs me, my family needs me, and I'm too happy in my life to spend all this time feeling tired and unhappy. This time, I will continue to try through the failures, however frequent or large, to work toward overall success. Every day is a fresh start. I love roller coasters, so it's time to open my eyes and savor the moment!