Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Birthday Recap and Eating Everything in Sight!

So I think the birthday went really well. I have a constant sense of anxiety around birthday's and Christmas because I always want them to be extra special. He seemed to really enjoy his presents and his birthday dinner and he said he had a great day, so that's all I could hope for! I was totally worn out by the end of the day and we didn't even have a big party.

The rest of this week has been insane though. I have been really stressed out the past few days and so I have just been eating everything in sight! I have been craving salt which is really strange for me and so I expect tomorrow's weigh in to be horrible! I had my pity party yesterday and now I will face the music tomorrow and work on undoing the damage.

I've made some decisions about what I want to do with my life during this little pity party so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Eight Years Ago

One of the two happiest days of my life happened eight years ago tomorrow. My Nanner Bean was born!

My ex-husband and I had decided that we wanted to have our children two years apart. I still remember how that played out. There came a point where I said, if we want to have them two years apart, we better get started. Not very long after that I carried the pregnancy test out with a stupid grin on my face and told him that we must be the most fertile couple in the world.

On September 19th, 2002 and two we became proud parents for the second time. He was actually born on his due date which surprised me. I had a doctors appointment that day, but after having contractions the whole day prior to his birth I doubted we were going to make it to that appointment. Sure enough, just before four in the morning my water broke. I jumped up from a sound sleep, said "My water broke!" and ran to the bathroom. Pretty much the same thing had happened with my older son as well. Except that with him, the contractions stopped after my water broke. This time, they kept coming harder and closer together. We had switched to a midwife practice after a less than pleasant experience with our OB-GYN and she had told us to call when my water broke. So, I called and told her what was going on. She told me I could come in whenever I was ready, but that I could wait at home until the contractions got closer together. We called my mother-in-law and told her to come and get our older son and then when she arrived I decided it was time to go. I was going to attempt a VBAC and I didn't want to take any chances.

Everything about my labor was pretty similar to the first, except I had an amazing midwife to help me through it this time. She almost never left the room, let me move around just like I wanted, and I was even able to get in the whirlpool tub. I was pressing on without medication pretty well, but at eight centimeters I got stuck. The same thing had happened with my first and that is when the doctor had decided to do the c-section. My midwife looked at me and said, "You are going to hate me, but I want you to turn over on your left side. It is going to hurt so much worse, but we need to get him out." At that same time she called the doctor to have him make his way in to the hospital. When she told me she was going to do that because she thought he might need to use suction, I was determined to get him out! I turned over on my side and the pain that had been bearable became so intense so fast I couldn't believe it. I gripped the bed rail so hard my knuckles were white! At one point, my ex looked at me and said, "You can relax, your contraction is over." I looked at him and said, "No, I can't relax, it is one BIG LONG contraction! I don't care what that stupid monitor says!"

The midwife had been right, I wanted to kill her, but it worked. I went from eight to ten in just a few minutes and then started to push. I suspect that medication gives the woman a little more control over the pushing part of delivery. I had no control. They had told me that even though it was my second baby, I might still push for two hours since I had never pushed with the first. He was out in fifteen minutes.

I remember looking down and seeing his little body but not hearing anything. I sort of panicked and kept asking if he was OK. My midwife said he was fine. I said, "Why isn't he crying?" She said, "Here you go." and he started right up. He got to stay in the room with us for all of his tests and to be cleaned up and I just watched him and marveled at how amazing he was. He was a champion nurser right from the beginning and thanks to the kindness of the midwives we got to go home with him the next morning.

So much has happened in the eight years since that day. He's the same height as his older brother, but outweighs him by almost ten pounds. He still loves so many little boy things like playing with trucks and just digging in the dirt. He loves to collect things and he is still such the momma's little boy. He still crawls up on my lap (only now he takes up way more than my lap) and he still tells me he loves me all the time. Him and his brother are my whole world and I never knew how amazing life could be until they were in it!

Happy 8th Birthday Nanner Bean!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Perception VS. Reality

Today was a pretty good day for me. I was not expecting any sort of a loss at Weight Watchers and I ended up losing a pound! It'd been staying pretty well on plan, and early in the week I was able to get a fair amount of exercise before I came down with a cold and didn't feel like it anymore. But this was one of those weeks where I didn't really feel like I knew where I was with things and so I was still surprised by the results. This loss brings me back to being exactly ten pounds from my goal weight, and nearly a fifty pound loss. My one year anniversary with WW is coming up at the beginning of October and I would really like to be at goal by then, but I'd settle for hitting that fifty pound mark.

This nearly fifty pound weight loss has really driven home the concept of perception versus reality. The reality is, I have lost 48 pounds and almost five clothing sizes. The reality is that I can almost wear a size 10 which I'm not sure has ever happened to me. The reality is, I feel amazing and I know that while I still have a ways to go, I look better than I ever have.

But the perception is that I still weigh over 200 pounds. My brain still has the image of the way I looked almost a year ago stuck there like it has been etched on. Someone in my WW meeting said something very wise once. They said it's hard to get the old image out of your head, because your weight didn't just fall off over night. You didn't wake up one morning 50 pounds lighter and so shocked by the way you looked that you just jumped right into that new you.

I didn't get to be 70 pounds overweight by having a healthy relationship with food or by loving my body or the way I looked. Those things have improved nearly 100% since joining WW a year ago, but that has taken a years worth of work. I expected to be so excited about the way that I look that shopping would be a fun experience and I would just be thrilled to wear all of these things that I couldn't wear before.

But, the reality has been much different. The reality has left me standing in Kohl's for two days in a row looking at clothes that I would have loved to have worn a year ago and still not having the courage to try them on. The reality has left me thinking that I can't possibly pay any money for clothes that won't fit again in a few months. The reality has left me leaving with a pair of shoes and a purse (which I love, don't get me wrong) because those are the only items I can trust to fit me and look OK. The reality is, shopping for clothes still isn't that much fun.

But another reality is that I know it will get fun. I know that because this is the life that I have chosen for myself now and because I know I cannot go back to my old weight. So eventually my new body will become etched into my brain and I will enjoy going into the store and trying on those things I always admired. I will know that I can spend the money on something and have it fit in a few months.

I do know things are starting to shift though. I recently went to my favorite thrift store and found a brand new dress with the tags still on that I instantly feel in love with. It was a size 10 but I tried it on anyway. It nearly fit and since it was only $7 I bought it because I know it will fit very soon!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Things that annoy me

I feel like I'm reasonably easy to get along with. Maybe. Who knows.

But some things annoy me. Some things really get under my skin. I won't go into all of them because that could take a while, but I experienced one of them this evening. Perhaps I'm just sensitive, but perhaps people are stupid. I tend to think it's the latter.

I have a friend who owns a little burger joint and I created and maintain a Facebook page for him. I try to post his daily specials as often as I can and let him know what people are saying. Today his special was this amazing chicken salad that his wife makes. You have never had a chicken salad sandwich until you have had one of these. Before going veg I ate plenty of these sandwiches. In fact, since going veg I gave myself permission to have one the last time they were available. My body was NOT happy so when they became available again today I did not indulge. But, I did post the special on the Facebook page.

One of my friends commented that she was corn, wheat and gluten free now or she would be all over one of those sandwiches because they are so good. Another person (whom I admit I do not know) posted this "God gave us wheat, corn, gluten --- and MEAT!!" and basically told her to man up and eat the sandwich. Now, she did go on to say that she shouldn't if she was allergic, but come on! Number one, she is allergic, deathly so. The poor girl has a very limited diet because of her allergies. So while this woman did acknowledge the possibility of an allergy she only did so after basically saying if God made it, then you should eat it. But she basically said anyone who chooses not to eat those things has a problem. Notice the emphasis on meat?

So why is it not OK for someone to choose not to eat those foods for whatever reason? If it is OK to choose not to eat them, is it only OK if it's because of an allergy and not a personal choice?

This is not the first time I've encountered this type of reaction. I have had countless people act like I was some sort of lunatic for not eating meat. I admit to being a little militant about it. I still give my children meat when they ask for it, but I do find myself a little grossed out when I handle it or see others eat it now. Sure, I'd like everyone to go vegetarian for a lot of different reasons, but I know that's not likely to happen. From time to time, I'm sure I have my judgments about meat eaters. But, I don't try to force feed anyone green beans just because "God made them".

And if you believe that God made all of those things (which admittedly I do not) then why do you eat so much crap that God did not make? If you're so concerned with people eating what God made then you should probably look toward a vegetarian diet. Sure plants and animals have always been here, but plants were edible before we figured out a way to eat the animals, so maybe that wasn't their intended purpose.

Oh and I have to get my car worked on tomorrow. That may be more of the reason for the above rant than anything else.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Being Busy

When I was pregnant for the first time everyone told me that my life was getting ready to be insane. They told me how hard it was going to be to have this new baby and how I was never going to get any rest or any time to myself. Both were true of course. But, now that my children are older, I have to say that I think the baby part was a lot easier! Sure, they cried a lot and I couldn't figure out why and there were the diapers and constant sleeplessness, but when you sat them down somewhere, they generally stayed put.

Then came the walking, and then the talking. Now, it seems like there is a never ending stream of things to do. We have homework, field trips, golf, football, the list goes on. Don't get me wrong, I love it! I wouldn't change any of it for the world, but it seems like we never stop going!

Saturday we went to our farmer's market which we haven't been to in forever because we just never have the time. It was so nice to pick up some fresh local produce and have some delicious treats while we were there. Then it was off to two hours of football practice, followed by a quick lunch, then on to a local children's event that proved to be totally insane and not really worth the effort. Then we came home, got cleaned up and went off to golf.

Today I got a lot of things done which was good and now I'm looking on to the busy week ahead. Overall I think it will be a good week, with the exception of the car repairs I have scheduled for Tuesday. I've been having some problems with my car and I am just dreading the diagnosis of the problems and the bill to follow. I love having a car to get around in, but I do not love the repair bills!

The end of the week should be great though. My baby boy is turning eight on Sunday!! I seriously cannot believe it. I know everyone says that, but I really can't. I have friends who are having babies right now and it feels like that just happened to me. I still remember so much of the experience of having him and really truly thought I'd have more after him so it's a little sad that he's getting so big. It's also a little sad because now both of my kids can officially come out of their booster seats. I won't actually take them out, but they can. Both of them are still small enough that my seats don't fit them as well as I would like, so in my car and in their father's cars, they still use a booster. Call us paranoid...I don't care!

He's very excited of course and now I just have to figure out what I'm going to get him! I really want to find a toy golf cart. He is still really into playing with cars (which I love) and since he likes golf, I think that would be fun. No luck so far though. I also have to order a cake and figure out what else we are going to do! Then I get to repeat it all in a month when my first born turns 10!! EEEK!

I guess busy is good, it means I'm still alive!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 -Nine Years Later

Like most Americans today I have spent a little bit of time remembering where I was on September, 11th. My first born son was about to turn one-year-old and due to constant sleep deprivation we awoke after the first tower had been struck. The rest of the day was a total fog for me. I went about my daily routines but couldn't help but wonder what kind of world we would live in from now on. I wondered if I'd made a huge mistake by bringing my son into the world. I think this was a common thought around the country that day.

I have serious issues with anxiety. I worry way more than an average human being and I'm very thankful for the wonderful medications that exist to help people like me. I wasn't taking any such medication at the time however, and so for weeks after the event of 9/11 I obsessed over it. I watched every ounce of news coverage and read everything written about the day. I did this after watching the movie Titanic as well, and that had happened years ago. My obsession with the deaths of the people on that boat became consuming. The massacre at Columbine High School was by far the worst to date, including 9/11. There was something about that event that rocked me like no other of its kind. I needed to know everything about that day, those kids...everything. The last event I did this with was Hurricane Katrina. Since that I have gone on medication to deal with my paralyzing anxiety. But in addition to the medication, I've also learned that I cannot watch any coverage of these types of events on TV or read about them.

I guess that could be viewed as sticking my head in the sand, but I see it as preservation of my sanity. I read just enough to know what happened, and then that's it. My mind is simply not strong enough to handle it. Perhaps that's selfish given that so many people have lived through these things and I only watch them happen on TV. I'm sure that's true to some extent. But, I know how bad these things impact me, and I have two children who need me to have my wits about me every day, and I can promise you that during these events, I did not.

So my lack of attention and focus on the events of this day nine years ago does not mean that I don't care. It does not mean that I will ever forget what happened, or that I don't think about the victims. What it does mean is that I have moved on. I have learned how to process these awful things and see that our world is still a good place. I remember that we bonded together as a nation and that we joined with other nations who shared our grief. I also remember that people were born on this day, people got married on this day, the world did keep spinning and does continue to spin on 9/11 every year. While I remember those who lost their lives, I know that the only way we can honor their memory is to live our own lives. We can take the day to honor them and remember them, but we must live out the rest of our days looking for the good things in the world.

I no longer worry that I may have made a mistake by bringing children into this scary world. I don't live in fear anymore. I remember something a nurse told me once. She said, "This is the exception, not the rule". The horrors of our world sometimes seem like they are taking over, but if you stop and really look, you'll see that they are the exception and not the rule.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Worst Field Trip EVER!

I try to go on as many of my sons field trips as I can. This is partly because I know the teachers need help, and partly because I'm a very paranoid individual and I'm always afraid something will happen to one of them! The latter reason became a little more valid today when one of the students on the field trip was taken away by ambulance. The child was from a different school, but it made my paranoia worse!

That was just one part of the suckishness that was this trip. We went to our local fairgrounds for what was supposed to be some sort of farm safety/day in the life sort of thing. Luckily the weather was beautiful or it would have been even more miserable. Overall it might have been a nice experience but the organizers tried to cram entirely too much stuff into the day and so we were just herded around the grounds all day. We weren't able to spend much time anywhere and so the different presenters would often be in mid-presentation when we'd have to move on to the next stop. Most of the stops were very boring, and way over the heads of these fourth graders.

It was even more annoying to me for several reasons. There were several people there talking about animals and food related topics. The first stop we made dealt with chickens. One of the presenters was from George's poultry which is one of our largest poultry processors in the area. So here they are telling us about all the gear they have to wear into the chicken houses and showing us how they give the animals water. The whole time I'm fuming over the fact that these kids are being taught about the factory farming of chickens and not how they should live. Then they let the kids hold chicks. That wouldn't be so bad except there was no rhyme or reason to it so the kids were just manhandling them and I worried that all of those babies would be dead by the end of the day.

Fast forward through some other boring exhibits to the dairy exhibit. The farmer proceeded to tell us about all of the things the dairy cows eat...none of which were things any of them should eat. Then he quizzed the kids on what they should be eating. Thankfully my wonderful son looked at me and said "None of that is what they should be eating". If we'd had more time I would have asked him to repeat that to the farmer.

Then after a number of even more agonizing exhibits and lunch we were on to the Virginia Cooperative Extension's presentation on the food pyramid. I think most people, even non-vegetarians, would agree that the new pyramid is just insanely confusing. The lady did a pretty nice job of explaining it, but the old pyramid was more logical even if I didn't agree with it's breakdown. Aside from that, there were several other issues at this stop. There were two people there to present, but only one spoke. The one who spoke was quite overweight. She was certainly knowledgeable, but how can you speak to kids about good nutrition and exercise when it's clear you don't practice it? It's sort of like going to an overweight doctor (I'll post on that another time). In addition to that, it was clear that there was a very big slant toward the use of corn products. She spent most of the time talking about corn and where it could be found in our food. That's great...except she was making it sound like corn was this miracle food. Well, I enjoy some corn, but I don't enjoy the high fructose corn syrup that's in everything these days! So, I wasn't a huge fan of the way that presentation went.

There were a few good parts of the trip. The farrier was interesting and I learned a lot about horseshoeing from him. Of course, that just made me miss riding again. Overall though, this trip was a total bust. Both of us came home exhausted and with major headaches. I truly hope that they don't repeat this trip next year when my other child is in the fourth grade.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Weight Loss = Change in Vision?

I'm not talking about eyesight here, I'm talking about how you view the world once you have lost weight. I've lost nearly 50 pounds (it would be 50 if I could get myself under control) and I've found that since I have lost weight my vision of the world has truly changed. This may or may not be a good thing.

Being aware of my own weight has always made me aware of the weight of others. I think we, women especially, look for others who we feel look like us. We want to size them up, see how we feel about the way they look, and therefore form an opinion about how we must look to other based on that. What I've found is that when I was heavier I had a very distorted view of how I looked. I thought I was thinner than I was, or that I carried it better than I did. That's probably why I stayed that way so long.

I do the same thing to some degree now, but I think it's a little bit healthier. Now that I have a better self-image I tend to look at other women and think "I could wear that", or "I'm as pretty as she is". It may still be a little nuts, but the self talk is at least healthier.

The problem I have now is that I'm far more aware of the unhealthy things others do, and in particular, the unhealthy things people do to their children. This weight loss has not been easy for me, so I'm not suggesting that it is easy for anyone else or that I'm somehow superior because I have taken steps to lose weight. I could easily start my old habits back up tomorrow and go right back to where I was. That's the reason I know I'll always have to stay with Weight Watchers. I have a problem, and I'm always going to need help with it. Getting help is fine, and more of us should ask for it.

But back to my new vision. My children have always been good eaters and I've always done my best to make sure they eat healthy. They've always eaten healthier than I have because I was afraid of them ending up fat like me. I make them eat even healthier now because I eat healthier and see the value in those foods more than I used to. They play football now and we've been to quite a few practices already. The amount of obesity is pretty astounding when so many people are gathered in one place. It's one thing to look at it in the adults, I can see myself in all of them. But, from my new perspective it is very painful to see it in the children. Because my children have a healthy father and because I was so careful to keep my bad habits from spilling over to them, I have healthy kids. The only person I was killing was myself.

It is much harder to look at when you see these people killing themselves and their kids. One boy on my sons team is a good six inches shorter than my eight year-old and outweighs him by twenty pounds. He's a sweet kid and cute as can be, but I can't help but have an anxiety attack over what is happening inside of that little body. I want to say that I'm not judging his parents, who are large as well, but I guess I am to some degree. I could have continued to kill myself with food and it wouldn't have hurt anyone else for a long time to any serious degree. But, if my habits were killing my kids and I didn't stop it how could I have lived with myself? An eight year-old boy cannot go shopping for himself and isn't likely to make the request for healthier food on his own. Not only that, he's not likely to take too kindly to being asked to eat green beans when the rest of his family is eating potato chips. Healthy kids start with healthy parents, and even though my kids were doing pretty good, I see how much better they are doing now.

I know all of this must sound horrible, but the internal dialogue isn't what you might think. I'm not mentally abusing them and calling them terrible parents. My brain is searching for ways to help them. I'm searching for ideas as to how to get one of the parties motivated to make a change in their life and the lives of their family members. Could I get through to the parents in some way? Could I get the children to get through to the parents?

So I guess losing weight has made me a judgmental person, but I hope that I can take that and turn it into something good. I hope that if my mouth ever opens it's only to share my story and offer suggestions of they're asked for. I hope any actions I take are just offerings of support and that people know that I've been there and want to help.

Friday, September 3, 2010

This has been one of those weeks that you are happy to see end! When I worked a traditional job I looked forward to the weekend like everyone else. Now that I don't, it's still fun, but it doesn't have the same impact. Of course now I have the added stress of no money that comes with no job, but that's a whole different story. This week my part-time job required me to do something very time consuming, and very frustrating. It wasn't that big of a deal but on top of everything else I was feeling it just about caused me to go into a crying jag in the middle of Rite Aid.

I survived, it's Friday and I'm very happy to see the weekend! Today I have nothing on the agenda except lunch with my very best friend and I'm so excited about that. I love her like a sister, but our busy lives don't allow us much time together. So, I'm super excited to see her and catch up on her life.

I gained a little bit of weight again this week Grr! I worked out like a maniac and kept within my points, but I was still up and therefore farther away from the position I want with Weight Watchers. I think two things contributed to these gains. I could have been a little more careful on the diet. While I was within points, I had a lot of sodium. I also allowed myself to get my thyroid medication all screwed up so I didn't take it for a while and that might have something to do with it as well. My guy also pointed out that I really should be drinking more water and I totally know that to be true. I usually only drink water while I'm working out and the rest of the time it is diet soda. I'm addicted to diet soda like a smoker is to cigarettes and it's the one habit I still have that I would really love to break.

So, I'm going to do my very best to work on kicking my soda habit! Any suggestions?

Have a GREAT weekend!