Interlude (When I’m not making delicious food.)

Deliberate Consumption, Fitness and Diet

Uncle Bazel said to me, “Why you so fat?” I was eleven years old and at the yearly family reunion in the Appalachian foothills. He was of my grandparents’ generation, and this was the first time I really remember anyone in my family pointing out my size, or so pointedly, my failure. I was teased most of my childhood and adolescence by peers for being overweight. I have never felt comfortable in my own skin for any great length of time. I achieved my great weight loss after years on Weight Watchers, stoked by a personal tragedy, and literally running from my anxiety. I noticed that as I got smaller, the models in magazines got larger. It was bizarre, sitting in the bathtub, actively wondering if I was experiencing body dysmorphia, or if the fashion magazines had finally started hiring slightly larger models.

It’s still bizarre, because though I’m intellectually certain that the fashion industry hasn’t started using models above a size 2 in their magazines, I still remember that moment with a hint of doubt. Maybe they’re a size 6?

I want to print out a picture of one of the Domino Dollhouse models in lingerie for inspiration. I’ve been fighting, trying to lose weight for a year post-pregnancy, and letting myself feel pretty horrible. I realized that what I find beautiful and sexy in other women, regardless of size, is their chutzpah. It’s hard being a woman, regardless of size, but I truly want to high-five every large woman I see working and sweating in a gym, running down the street in athletic gear, or rocking leopard print leggings, short skirt, and sparkly bustier.

My smallest, stable weight of my life was 155 lbs. That was 2010, and I was running regularly, and by the end of the year, completed my first half marathon, running 13.1 miles in roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes. I wanted to lose another 10 lbs, at least. Twenty pounds would get me to the middle of the recommended BMI. You could see the sinews in my neck, my chin was sharp, my collarbones were defined and my ribs could be seen on occasion. I had loose skin from years of being much heavier, and I felt, still, like I was too big. The twist, though that while my internal dialog was still hateful, the outside world was more welcoming. Athletic people chatted with me more, people were more open with me, and attractive people treated me like a peer in a way I had never experienced before. Sometimes I wanted to tell them, “You know, I’ve really been fat most my life, are you sure you want to still talk to me?” I felt like an imposter.

Pregnancy made me have to lose the super-tight control I had over my eating, and daily pain towards the last part of my pregnancy kept me from even walking the usual distances I was accustomed.

I go to the gym three times a week. I don’t run much any more, and I miss it, but I just don’t have the time to do it during day light hours. I’m stronger, and I think I’m more physically stable than I was right after I gave birth, but I’m still 50 lbs from my “goal weight.” If I look at the fat % on my scale, I’m realistically 40 lbs away from what my weight should be at my current fitness level. It still puts me above my BMI (which is bullshit, I know, but some metrics are just burned into my head.

Lovey Tee in Purple - Domino Dollhouse

Lovey Tee in Purple – Domino Dollhouse

I went shopping this past weekend and finally bought some clothing that fit me, and looked good. Some of it was even a bit daring, in that “LOOK AT ME” kind of way. I’ve been waiting and working hard to become that magical person that can be sustained by smaller amounts of food and abstinence from all delicious fats and sugars, meanwhile punishing myself with an ill-fitting wardrobe, hoping I’d fit into my old clothes if I just worked hard enough. I’m hoping, now, that if I stop punishing myself, that maybe everything else will fall into place. I don’t know. I have come to the conclusion that maybe it’s not just me, but my Mirena BC that’s also impacting my weight loss. At any rate, instead of finding thinspiration in an anorexic model, instead I want to look at my beautiful, voluptuous kindred, some of which are larger than me, who have said (at least with their well-fashioned hips), “Today, this is me, this is my size, and I look fantastic.” I can’t wake up and be a size 8 for the day, but I can wake up and feel good about the size I am while trying to figure out how to get to the size I want to be. Right?

End of the Week

Fitness and Diet, Motherhood

Today ended my challenge to myself to do 10 minutes of a beginner workout for five days. Tomorrow is my Weight Watcher weigh-in, and I don’t expect any weightloss. This is because I’ve had a rough week with eating. Today was the worst. Let me tell you about it.

I’m new at being a mom. My kid is just over 2 months old, and days can vary from him being low-maintenance to needing extra love and attention (and constant guessing as to why he’s screaming.) Today was the latter. I was already tired from poor sleep last night, and by midday, when THINGS started needing to get done (washing bottles, making formula), he wouldn’t even settle in the Moby on my chest. Finally, as I was prepping for a feeding, the Girl Scout cookies I purchased the other day says, EAT ME. Samoas. My weakness.

So I ate 5.

This wasn’t terrible. What capped it off was when, after my husband got home, he asked me to check if a new gadget was working in the basement entertainment center. I go down, and a YEAR OLD BOX of Lemonheads was sitting there. Open. And I ate about half of what was left in the giant box. The giant, YEAR OLD box.

Then I ate a Sumo citrus upstairs, and realized I really should have skipped the Lemonheads and eaten the Sumo, which would have been 1) Free on the Weight Watchers plan and 2) provided the tart sweetness that the Lemonheads provided.

I guess, with a week that feels like a food failure, it’s not a total loss if I came away learning something. Next week, I’m going to try to eat lean protein and fruit instead of refined carbs, which I’ve grown addicted to (obvs. with the Lemonheads.) Also, I know the key to my success is exercise, and this week I proved I can make a plan and stick to it, I just have to start small and work my way up.

The other key is working on the emotional stuff, which is making sure I have the care I need, and making sure I have childcare covered so I can take care of the things I need to take care of (or go back to work.) But that’s another post…

Four for Four

Fitness and Diet, Motherhood

I didn’t post yesterday because I almost didn’t make yesterday’s goal of doing the 10 minute video. However, I realized before bed that one of the videos was stretching. 10 minutes of stretching? Before bed? Great idea.

So, I fulfilled my commitment and did the 10 minute exercise AND got a stretch in before bed. Score!

That left the lower body 10 minute video for today. Unfortunately, I totally gorged myself on Puerto Rican food (and barbecue earlier today.) Food is my vice, for sure. The thing is, when I was active, I started craving things less, or more in moderation. Exercise is the key.

I’ve also developed a sugar habit. I’m working on breaking that, as in, I’m thinking about it strongly. 🙂 It’s a start. I’m contemplating the change, which is a step to recovery!

This leaves tomorrow. It turns out 10 minutes is easy to do when you have a video that starts at a low fitness level. I finish thinking, “That was too easy!”, but it’s the stepping stone. Not to sound like a broken record, but affirmation is important.

I’m looking forward to telling my WeightWatchers leader about my challenge to myself. Even if I didn’t make my food eating goal this week, I will likely make my exercise goal, and that’s something.

You have to start somewhere…

Fitness and Diet

Since I’m trying to kick my own ass into getting into shape, I thought I’d hold myself to blogging my exercise this week. My promise to myself is to try each 10 minute workout on the 5 disks of the WeightWatchers PointsPlus Fitness Series with Jennifer Cohen.

Yesterday I did the Cardio Basic, which unfortunately did a number on my knee. I am planning on asking my doc for a PT prescription so I don’t make it any worse. I decided to do the Upper Body Boot Camp 10 minute beginner workout to give my knee a break.

So far, this video series is challenging, but not overwhelming. Yesterday’s 10 minutes left me with just a little bit of muscle soreness, but not enough to deter me from doing it again today. This, I think, is key. The program is a slow ramp-up process. I mean, seriously, after being sedentary for so long (thanks, pregnancy and injury!), who is going to be able to do a full-on 60 minute work out, even if it is “just yoga.” Yoga, even if it doesn’t hurt when you do it, if you just started, can make it hard to move the next day.

The reason I haven’t been going out on walks for exercise, or doing a 10 or 20 minute video, is because I figured it wasn’t worth it. I might as well be sitting down, watching TV. Perhaps just 10 minutes, even if it is only 10 minutes, is what I need to get back to my goal of being in better shape.

Then there’s the, “well, I plan on thinking about the next kid in a year, by the time I lose weight and get in shape, I’ll be pregnant again!” But then there’s the opportunity to make sure my next pregnancy is even more healthy than before. Also, I’ve become more concerned about health and longevity now I have the little guy in my life. I really want to cut down my sugar and refined carb intake (which is hard in Girl Scout Cookie season.)

But anyway, day 2, 10 minutes done, and maybe a walk later. You have to start somewhere… (and I started my training for a half-marathon at 10 minutes of running, so, there ya go.)

Dragging (myself out)

Fitness and Diet, Motherhood

Motherhood is hard. I did not have any idea what I was getting myself into. Mind you, I have no regrets, as that my son is pure awesome. I am, however, tired and finding my equilibrium.

The kiddo and I had a fall at about 6 wks, and that was quite a blow to my body and my mind. Within the next few weeks, my world shrunk. To say the least, I’ve made a lot of excuses as to why I can’t do whatever it is I need to do, including exercise.

I re-committed to WeightWatchers a few weeks ago – and when I say commit, I mean, go to meetings. I’ve been having trouble getting back into exercising for a few reasons, some being physical. Since my fall, my right knee (injured in high school, thanks color guard/marching band!) has been really painful, and my left hip (which went wonky during my pregnancy) is still wonky. And finally, I’m just not the superwoman I was. Mind you, I had a kickass birth, but I couldn’t run a half marathon right now.

I purchased the WeightWatchers PointsPlus Fitness Series with Jennifer Cohen 5 DVD set. It comes with (on each disk) a 10 minute beginner, 15 minute express and 30 minute full workout, and a plan to get started. This week, I’m doing 5 days of 10 minutes. I’m writing this because I just finished my first 10 minutes, which included a warmup and cooldown. I’m hoping that this may be a start of getting back on track.

We’ll see how it goes!

2012 Beginnings: An Update

Fitness and Diet

It’s been a crazy few weeks. A little over three weeks ago, I gave birth to my son – all natural! It was a thankfully short labor, but extremely intense. I don’t remember who told me it was like throwing up backwards, but let me tell you, it’s like the most powerful vomiting experience you can imagine – just through the other end. That being said, I wouldn’t have changed my decision to go without pain medication. Had it been a protracted labor, that may have been a different story. We’ll see what I do next time. 🙂

The first few weeks have been rather brutal, which is expected, though perhaps more so as that my son didn’t put back on his birth weight as fast as the pediatrician recommended. I’ve been on an intense schedule of feeding every 2-3 hours, supplementing breastfeeding with formula and pumping after daytime feedings. He’s healthy, which is what is important, but this is no easy task, let me tell you. He’s adorable, and worth it. I just wish I didn’t require sleep for sanity. I also wish I could drink caffeinated coffee, because man, I could use that in lieu of sleep.

I’ve started up again on Weight Watchers online, and hope to re-join my old group in the coming weeks. I have about 45 lbs to lose, which is more than I had hoped I would have to lose, but due to issues with my SI joint towards the end of my 2nd trimester, I stopped my regular exercise routine. I’m not sure what my schedule will look like, but I’m looking forward to trying out some Pilates DVDs at home, and then maybe hitting up one of the local gyms should time allow. Then there’s running, which I look forward to starting again. Most of the schedule will depend on when I return to work.

I’m still in a bit of a fog, and definitely homebound during the Snowpocalypse. I would love to hear from friends – and will do my best to get back to you. Phones are always tricky for me, so please text, email or IM.

Nitrogen Narcosis

Fitness and Diet

I have been thinking a lot lately about stuff I should post on a blog. You know, those deep thoughts that you think, “I should share that with other people.”

I just got back from vacation in Maui. It was our 5th wedding anniversary, and we spent 4 days diving, and the rest of the time playing in the ocean, eating good food, and taking a lot of walks.

We have only dove together in Kona before, which is a lot of diving just offshore, that stays fairly shallow. Looking at my log book, almost every dive day started with a deep dive at at least 85 ft. We were lucky that we had a great dive crew, and fairly advanced people on the boat with us, which allowed us to even do a deep, drift dive!

I’m definitely more a fan of dives around 60 ft, if only because it means I get more bottom time. However, all of the diving we did was pretty spectacular, even if brief. It’s the end of whale season, so we could hear whale songs under water. They were still a bit far off, as that our bodies weren’t vibrating (a sure sign, I’m told, that they’re near.) From the boat, we saw a whale tail, false killer whales (like giant dolphins!) and dolphins. Under the water, we saw so much! White tipped reef sharks, flame wrasses, tons of turtles (that was one dive), and so many other fish, nudibranchs, morays, garden eels – it was awesome.

Most noteworthy, though, was my experience of what had to be narcosis on our deep drift dive. My dive instructor, GirlDiver knows from my PADI Advanced Open Water dives that I’m a bit stupid when I’m narced. At 95 ft, I realized I didn’t under stand how my computer worked. Rather, it’s not that I didn’t understand, it’s more that I didn’t understand that I didn’t understand. I was completely without self-consciousness, and looked at my tally of bottom time so far, and the timer that tells me how long I can stay at that depth, and was confused. I wasn’t worried – not at all. That little voice that makes sure that I’m doing the right thing, though, was just really quiet. I was looking for it, and it just wasn’t there.

I showed Jon my computer. He was worried I was going to ascend too fast, meanwhile, I was completely unconcerned, but just wanted validation externally because I couldn’t find it within. He tried to explain to me, in crude diver sign, how my computer worked, and that I was OK. I decided, cleverly, that since I knew that the number allowing me to stay under water INCREASED when I ascended, I slowly started ascending. At about 87 ft, I realized – “oh hey, I’m stupid because I’m narced.” I spent the rest of my diving trying to make sure that even if I went below 85 ft, if I started feeling funny, I’d ascend back to 70-85 ft.

For me, narcosis starts around 65 ft, when I start relaxing a little more and get loopy thoughts running through my head. Those thoughts are met with that inner voice that knows I’m narced, and is able to point out to myself that I need to take care of myself.

The key thing I’ve learned here is what narcosis REALLY does to me – which seems to mainly relax me by taking away that ego that sits by and judges my every waking move. I think we all have that bit within us that helps us navigate the world, tells us what the “right thing” is to do, even if we don’t do it. It’s freeing not to have that critical voice, however, the down side is that when you’re diving, you need to have a bit of that critical voice to tell you “hey, if you want to be safe, you need to do/not do x,y,z.” You also need to be able to remember how your dive computer works.

This is why diving with a buddy is a good thing – and also, why diving with other advanced divers and a dive master is good. Then there’s the understanding what happens to you when you’re narced. It’s not something you can truly avoid, except by not diving past your threshold where you experience narcosis.

All in all, we had some great dives. I think I can appreciate deep dives, but prefer shallow ones more. We wouldn’t have seen the flame wrasses in shallower waters, though. The 65 minutes of bottom time I got on our shallower dive (last dive), was awesome. I got that long time, though I was chilly (77 degree water), thanks to a loaned hood coupled with my 5 mm Cressi wetsuit, and a 3 mm Henderson vest.

I hope to post more in the coming weeks. I’ve got a lot of posts percolating, but am also super busy. We’ll see….