Any Second Now…

I’ve been close before, on the precipice, really, staring down the tunnel to that light that is in Onederland. You know; anyone who reads here with any regularity knows that I’ve been on the edge of Onderland for ages. Every time I get here I seem to just bounce right back up to 206… 208… 212… 221 (but only in December), but I have never been THIS close.

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{woo-hoooooo! 200.8}
I can’t remember the last time I officially weighed under 200. What I do remember is that I lost a bunch of weight in my junior year of high school and I remember getting down to my lowest adult weight of 145, realizing that I was ‘done dieting’, and then I stopped and I hit the buffet. The last under-200 weight I remember was about five months later when my baggy work pants felt tight and I hopped on the scale to read it at 173. Within an hour, my dad was walking behind me and noticed my weight gain as well, telling me that I was gaining my weight back. I knew, but I played possum and acted like I was being proactive… But I was seriously done dieting and thought I could just be a normal kid. I didn’t want to do that anymore, so I didn’t. I was 18 then, and the next thing I remember was weighing in at 220. From there I didn’t get on the scale unless I was at the doctor’s office so I have no idea what age I was at when I hit certain numbers. I know 235 when I officially got together with Bradley, I weighed about 255 when I got married, 320 when I got pregnant with Gigi, and 290 with Jude.
I do remember, however, the last time I was on the edge of weighing under 200. I was 16 and had just finished my junior year of high school. My friends and I headed out to a local festival/carnival near my town called Salty Sea Days. I was still losing weight and weighed myself before we left and saw 201. When I came home after a fun night of playing hard at the carnival, I weighed 199. It was that simple; my body didn’t know the significance so it didn’t alert me or anything. I just remember this very quiet, very private celebration in my bathroom, looking at myself in the mirror and crying with disbelief. I started out weighing 260 or so and never thought I could lose weight. But I did.
And I’m doing it again. Only this time I am playing for keeps. This time I’m going to do the work after I reach goal just like I’m doing to reach goal. I’m going to be forgiving of small gains, but vigilant about maintaining my exercise, solid nutrition as well as my commitment to never get over 200 and to panic and immediately slap myself back into life if I ever reach 220 again.
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I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard over the past couple of weeks. I made that deal with myself that if I work my hardest and get as close as I can to goal (185 by summer) before the concert on 5/6, that I get to do something fun with/ for NKOTB, and at this point, I think I am totally earning it. I’m losing weight like a boss (that’s a full 20 pounds gone since 1/1/15) and I’m exercising really, really solidly. I ran 19 miles last week and the week before that I ran 17. Yes, they are sloooow 11 minute miles, but still, I’m really pulling my mileage numbers up and I feel proud of that. I’m after that fat burn heart rate of the 130’s-140’s and I’m getting it. I’m problem solving, taking a proactive role; I’m seeing results. Those third- row, floor seats right next to the stage are making my tummy flutter with all the very right stuff that’s going to be in spitting distance of my flipping face. Gracious me. Maybe I’ll even buy a tshirt.
With that in mind though, I’m realizing I need to switch things up a little. Yesterday and today I had hard runs. All of this consistent exercise is great for the fat loss but my body needs a day or two of rest. My muscles are worn out. Today I ended up walking about a quarter mile of the run and yesterday I found myself stopping for any reason I could to hop off the treadmill and take a break. Tomorrow I’m going to try Zumba with two ladies who I work with at the LA Fitness they go to, I think I’m trying out Insanity at the same place on Tuesday, and from there we will see what I want to do. I’m hoping that just switching up the workout from a three plus mile run per day will give my body the break I think it needs, while still burning fat and calories.

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{Our homage to Dr. Seuss, and the end result of my green hair.}

Healthy, Skinny, Pretty… What?!

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It’s been an interesting trip from being morbidly obese to simply ‘overweight’. Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. Like, I’m all about the body positive movement while I’m also losing weight and trying to get skinnier… ‘To be healthy…’ Certainly, at first, my focus needed to be on health as the looks thing never was motivating to me and because it’s pretty unpredictable how you will look when you start lose weight. It doesn’t always net a more universally pretty body, once your clothes are off.

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As I’ve lost weight and grown more as a person, I’ve come to realize that I DO like the smaller body and, at least for me, it’s working a lot better and feels a lot healthier. When I lose pounds, I AM excited for the number shift, the size shift and for being smaller. I like the way smaller looks on me. If this is because of a more societally acceptable standard is presented or is simply my preference, I’m not really overly concerned about finding out why I feel this way. I think that as it became more tangible, losing weight for my appearance reasons became more and more ok with me, and I’m ok with that. I know that I started out this adventure with the right frame of mind, and I haven’t lost that focus, I’ve just started allowing myself to appreciate the the appearance benefits too. It’s ok to feel good about myself and about how I look.

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My focus is more health, but I have to admit that vanity also plays a role now. I feel ok about that, though, because I’ve accepted the ‘ugly’ parts of me- the saggy, baggy skin that is wrinkly and hangs all over my thighs and torso- I think it’s really pretty and interesting. Like evidence of my hard work. The museum walk, the giant scar that I wear. I don’t post picture of my saggy skin for two reason: students and ex boyfriends. But I want to. I want to share my saggy baggy skin but I imagine ex boyfriends looking me up online and making their way to my website, checking out my skin… Or just people I knew but don’t really anymore… It just feels too intimate and weird. And for my students to see it feels wildly inappropriate. Silly, it’s just skin on my body, but still.

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I also have to say that, for me at least, being lighter is a healthier thing for me. Being skinnier allows me to be strong. My size allows me to be more active with less stress on my body. The things I like to do, the exercise I choose benefits from weighing less… Not to mention the health benefits that come from weighing less. Had I not lost weight I would have type II diabetes right now, if my doctor’s prediction would have come true. I certainly wouldn’t have played tennis with my family today after taking the dog for a walk and running a little over three miles and I certainly wouldn’t have ended my day glorying in the beauty of the indigo sky, the tree blossoms, the bird songs, the soft springlike air or any of it because I would have probably been sitting inside.

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The water experiement has been interesting. As soon as I started drinking it, my weight rocketed up to 206-208, depending. I finally had to admit that part of my weightloss was due to dehydration as I hadn’t seen 202.8 since Valentines Day, but have been religious about exercise and nutrition. This week I dropped to a consistent 206, then 204 and now today, I’m back to a well hydrated 202.4. I know I keep saying it, but it feels more right than ever to finally cross over the threshold into the 100’s again and I’m ready. I feel it.

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Procrastination

I’m a teacher. The assumption is that when teachers go to work we are on our feet all day long, we are exhausted by the end of the day, and we always have to wear the most comfortable shoes because we are constantly on the go. As a kid, I assumed that tired feet and exhausted gams would be my life when I finally became a teacher. I thought that I would be one of those teachers who wears sneakers with her skirts so that she could just stay on her feet and keep helping those kids all day long. For me, at least, that is a myth- the running myself ragged with physical effort. Every day when I check my Wii fit meter to see how many steps I’ve taken, I’m shocked to find it consistently reads under 5000 steps! That’s just around two miles, if I break 4000 steps! So much for the theory that teachers are running around like crazy… Or perhaps I’m doing my job wrong… But I don’t think so! So generally, at the end of the day, I’m exhausted, worn out and still needing to work out. And these days, I am making myself run the balance left over that I haven’t met through daily life until I get to 10,000 steps.

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{I did it! I ran three miles on my treadmill today!!!}
So it shouldn’t amaze me that I regularly resist going for a run or exercising in any capacity after work, yet I fully acknowledge and realize how great I feel when I have consistent, daily exercise. I know as well how strong and accomplished I feel after I finish a solid run! Today was one of those days. Yesterday, Wednesday, I took a day off from working out after a really solid, consistent week and a half of daily, three-mile runs. It wasn’t a planned day off, it just kind of happened, but the net result is that today I’ve gotten just far enough away from my Tuesday run so that I don’t want to run even a little bit today! LOL!
So what am I doing? I’m procrastinating by writing… But now that I’m done procrastinating and whining? Right now I’m grudgingly pulling on my runner tights, putting on my runner socks, getting my favorite pink running shoes out and I’m hitting the trail. Or the treadmill, because that is what I have negotiated with myself on this very hard day for no reason whatsoever to get out and go running.
I’m sure I’ll have a totally different perspective in an hour… I’ll be shouting “I’m the king of the world!” From the front of a gigantic boat somewhere. Or from my bedroom window. Or into my bowl of ice cream. Whatevs. :)

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{Today we painted “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” in honor of Dr. Seuss’s March 2nd birthday, and I ended up with a little bit of green hair!}

Happy

I’m so pleased with myself right now. Things are going very well. Very well in that way that I feel really healthy about things. While I’m still not under 200 pounds, I am shrinking. My smallest jeans are fitting well, which is a good sign, and I’m smaller, in general, everywhere… While my weight is doing the opposite. In fact, today I woke up weighing 206. I’m irritated about it but patient. I’m seeing, elsewhere, the signs that I’m getting healthier, evidence of my hard work in my too-big pants and my graduation into my smaller ones. Im seeing it in my endurance; I feel like I can run forever, these days. I’m just not seeing evidence of my weight loss on the scale yet.

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My habits are solid and I’m proud. I’m drinking water like a camel. I’m drinking five, big glasses of water at work and 48 ounces at night and a huge glass with dinner. I feel like I’m stuffed full of water, lately! LOL! That’s helping me, though, because I’ve been less hungry. I’m realizing, in earnest, that hunger and thirst are easily confused. I’ve heard if you’re hungry that often, really, you are just thirsty, and a glass of water can quiet your stomach’s call. I thought that I was putting that theory into practice, but nothing like now. To go with the water, my nutrition has been really clean and spot-on over the past week-plus. I’ve been exercising really well, too. I’ve been running three or more miles, daily, and it feels so good to be so consistent again. While I’m not losing weight, I’m feeling really good and really strong.

Feelin’ Skinny in meh Skinny Jeans

Know what?
I like feeling skinny today. I feel like I’m not supposed to say that for a few reasons. One, because skinny is seen as a judgement that is equated with good or better. I’m not meaning that sense of the word. I also feel like I’m not supposed to say I like feeling skinny because of my fat sisters and brothers out there who are maybe having hurt feelings and it might feel like I’m saying skinny is better. I’m not saying that. Of course, as always, my body is my own, your body is your own, your version of happy is not going to mirror mine… I’m also not technically skinny. I’m not obese, but I’m still technically, medically overweight until I weigh about 170. But I think I’m skinny. I feel skinny. I’m skinnier than I ever imagined I would be. I like it.
Wanna know why I like it?

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Today I liked feeling skinny because I put on my skinniest jeans and they fit. These are the goal jeans I bought way back when that looked skinnier than skinny and thought there was no way I’d ever fit them… Today I fit them. SKIN-nay! SKIN-nee! SKIN-noo! SKINNY!
Today I liked Feeling skinny because I went for a run in my tight runner capris and a tshirt and afterwards I hung out in my front yard doing yardwork and didn’t feel self conscious even a little bit.
Today I liked feeling skinny because I went to play tennis with my family and I was freezing cold! I ran in place the whole time and chased as many balls as I could to keep warm. I was literally light on my feet! Shifting from foot to foot to chase the ball doesn’t torque my knees anymore because of all the weight I carried and I can move faster than I ever thought possible! Without hurting myself!
I liked feeling skinny today because I looked down while I was shopping at Target and instead of seeing all of my fat rolls sticking out I could easily see my shoes.
I liked feeling skinny today because I could climb up onto my husband’s back and he carried me around. It’s an amazing experience, being carried again. That hasn’t happened since before I was ten years old.
Today I liked feeling skinny because I bought new compression wear. In a size medium. That’s a size I’ve not worn since graduation from high school. Granted, it’s compression wear, but still. Medium.
I like continuing to get stronger and skinnier because every time I lose more fat and shift to another size I also gain a new sense of abilities. It’s like leveling up in a video game- lose five pounds, gain better balance. Lose ten pounds, make every mile easier and faster. Lose twenty pounds and… awwww, shucks… need a new wardrobe!
Speaking of, I like being skinny now because I can shop anywhere. I can wear a size large in most stores and I fit the pants, skirts and dresses most anywhere. For years I’ve been stuck at Lane Bryant and Old Navy. My clothing world has opened up wide… :)

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Mostly, though, I think that I really like my new life. By new life I don’t just mean the skinny life, I mean the whole thing. I lived for almost my entire adult life as a big, bigger, and really big girl. There were compromises, for sure, but I was pretty happy. I was loved and life was good then. It’s better now, but I could have gone through the rest of my life, literally, fat and happy.
What is fun is that about halfway through my life I totally remodeled it. I knew the heavy version of life and completely turned it on it’s ear and have an entirely new skillset and ability now. It’s like the witness protection program, I’m perceived as an entirely different person now by others and by myself. I’m accepted as an entirely different person now, too. I fit in or am accepted in circles now that I was never a part of before. Sometimes that is confusing. I have a different identity, determination, confidence – I’m so different as a skinny girl and it’s fun to be different.
Remember in high school how you always wished you could try something new, start fresh, do something over, have a different group of friends, play a different sport, belong to a different clique/club/group…? I’m doing that now. It’s surreal and I’m loving it.

Chit Chat

Water
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about stagnating and what to do. I seem unable to get below 200, and before I sit here at 202 too long, again, I wanted to get the ball rolling by offensively planning against the plateau. The first question he asked was how much water I was drinking. I reflected back to last month, you know, January, when somehow I lost a staggering 19 pounds, and realized I was drinking water like crazy. As soon as that conversation ended I drained my water bottle, refilled and continued to do it all day. I did the same thing the next day and the day after that. Immediately the bloat that I was carrying from my Valentine chocolate consumption came off, my face slimmed down and my skin looks better. Water.
Through that conversation I also realized that I was solid in January, with calories, exercise, nutrition, fiber, clean eating… No wonder I did so well. I got back on that horse and am expecting to see numbers shift any minute- I’m sure feeling it in my clothes. :)
But not enough to move down to my smaller jeans yet. :(
But, still… :)

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Popcorn
This is just an opportunity to brag: we went to the movies and got popcorn and a cherry coke. I ate less popcorn than ever at the movie theater and skipped the soda altogether. I was really proud of myself. It’s the small things, sometimes.
As a side note, I got to wondering what is the least of two evils: high fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners like aspartame. It turns out that new studies link aspartame to Parkinson’s, now and while high fructose corn syrup is linked to diabetes and heart disease, but that’s only with regular consumption. The other builds up over time. So anyways, I have decided to skip any artificial sweeteners for now, and am choosing the regular coke in that situation, but I find that I just can’t will myself to drink something like that anymore!

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Hip Flexibility & Strength
I was reading in my Runner’s World magazine about quick fixes for common injuries, and/or strengthening exercises and stretches to help prevent those injuries from happening. The first exercise, the one they recommend above all else, is for the hips. From before day one, back in the day of super heavy and plantar fasciitis I was going to physical therapy and measured a negative ten on hip flexibility. When I started running, my hips were the place I felt the most pain, and still, if there is a place I feel any pain, it is in my left hip. After reading the article I realized that my little hip problem has the potential to be a major hip problem, especially with my dreams of 13.1 miles lingering there in the near future. I decided to take stretching a little more seriously – I stretch my legs out great but had a hard time finding the right hip stretch.
My hips already feel better, and when they are aching at night I just do my stretch and feel, instantly, so much relief. The next step is to add the strength piece. I basically need to stand next to a table with a big rubber band around my ankle and the table leg moving my leg in and out, over and over. I’ve got the rubber band thing, I just need the gumption, now.

Every Weekend Should Be Four Days Long

(null)This has been a nice, long weekend. I’m tired in that good way that says I was nice and busy. I promised myself that I’d put in a solid workout each day this weekend, and I did. I’ve been trying to up my mileage a little; I mean, if I’m going to run a half marathon, I need to be able to push further than two miles at a go. Each day I hit at least three miles, if not four or more. I was pleased with my effort. Especially since I ate approximately 57 Hershey’s kisses on Sunday night. The running was kind of important. Lol! Other than my Hershey’s Kisses slip up, I was a good kid and stayed on target for calories all weekend.

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We headed to Olympia on Monday to attend the End Toxic Testing rally in protest of the common core state standards and the testing that accompanies it. It was a powerful thing for my kids to see democracy in action and to see how standing up for yourself can look aggressive but it’s really just standing up for what you believe in. Sometimes you have to create awkward situations and have difficult conversations when things are happening that you don’t support. Laying down on the sidewalk in front of the OSPI to represent a student scoring a two on the state assessment definitely forced my daughter out of her comfort zone, as did writing important sayings like “I am more than a test subject” and “where is the wonder?” on an actual school bus. It was a pretty amazing experience that definitely made an impression on our kids.
Last night I stayed up far too late simply because I am obstinate and willful. Plus, it was very important to watch the SNL 40th anniversary, which I actually enjoyed more than I do most SNL stuff. I didn’t want to admit that the long weekend was nearing and end so I should wake up on time in the morning. I wanted to stay up because I could! I assumed I’d be able to sleep in, but after finally crashing out around 2:00, I popped awake at 6:30, bright eyes and bushy tailed! For, like, one hour. Then I was dragging. So, today I was a sloth. I ran the furthest I’ve ever gone on my treadmill (3.6 miles- it gets too boooorrring!) then texted, surfed online, watched tv, cooked delicious minestrone and pretty much did nothing. It was an awesome way to spend the day.
Three days till my next weekend! Not too shabby… :)

Valentine

This year’s Valentine’s Day rocked! I like Valentine’s Day. I think it’s so nice to have a day where the primary focus is love, gratitude, kindness, appreciation… What a lovely thing to set a day aside for.

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Our day started out with a little cardio heart-love via a wander-run (and my derpy run face pic of the day, you’re welcome). We headed out the door, down the road and to the high school to jog on the play fields and the track. By the time we got home, we ran a little over 3.5 miles and ran a whole new route, for me, at least. It was invigorating to just do something new.

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When we got home, I showered and hopped on the scale to find that I was weighting in at the 2015 all-time low of 202.8! Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed! We decided to celebrate the day with our littlest Valentines AT the Father/Daughter, Mother/Son dance at a local high school. It was really fun to dance with the kids and one another at an actual high school dance. My son liked to charge me around the dance floor dipping me like mad and batting balloons around, while my daughter was quite territorial of Bradley when I tried to sneak a kiss in! She confessed that Daddy was hers, tonight, so I kept to my side of the dance floor after that.

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We came home from the dance, donned our jammies and settled in for the night. Two separate sleepovers and movie marathons were happening in our house- one in the rumpus room that was complete with a basket of blankets and snacks and a kid theme, and one for mom and dad with a romance theme upstairs, but all who were involved watched movies, giggled, loved and ate more recess peanut butter cup than anyone ever should… I think it’s funny, we watched Moulin Rouge and Titanic, they watched YouTube videos of some guys playing Minecraft. But in the name of Valentine’s Day we do these kinds of things, and I did, we did, and it was good! :)

Wander-Run

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I’ve coined a new term in my own head: The Wander-run. A wander-run is when I just start running all over the place without having a real distance, destination or speed in mind. It’s just me going and going and going for as far as I want until I feel done. I’ve really been enjoying it.

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I started the wander-run a few weeks ago when I was at a park with my kids and didn’t feel like standing around and watching them swing, nor did I feel like giving them an obligatory 20 minutes and then hustling them along. Instead I just started taking laps in the parking lot, running across the field, following random, surface trails and basically just didn’t stop running until they were played out. Then, the other day, I found myself running all over the high school while my family played tennis. I had put in an hour of playing tennis with my kids (they are not bad, but there was no sweat being broken on me) and needed to get some cardio. Add to that the large number of high school boys who started swarming the field directly near us for a game and I kind of wanted out of there; the tennis court started feeling like a fishbowl!
So I ran. I didn’t have anything in mind, I just started running. I ran one way to see what was down one hill, and eventually back up the hill, through a field, a parking lot and finally I ended up doing laps around and around the track because it was so easy and simple and I could actually close my eyes a little on the straightaways and zone wayyyyy out. I have to say, it was kind of awesome. Exciting. Awesome in that way that made me get all excited and start thinking about what it means… why I like it… what made me excited about it.
I realized I’m not scared anymore of getting stuck somewhere and being too tired to get back. I trust that my body is strong enough to get me out of most valleys and off most hills. I have decent endurance now, too… I can slow run for quite a while…LOL. But mostly? I’m bored with my regular running routes! They used to comfort me but now they torture me and I can’t wait for a run to be over! I need to mix it up and try something new. No wonder I don’t love running as much as I used to- I look at the exact same scenery step after step, day after day, year after year… It’s nice to see something new! They say that when something gets stale to change it. I guess I was at that point…

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Rethinking the Kitchen

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Look at that picture above. I mean, look at it. Doesn’t it look good? Like, don’t you want to plow into those chocolate pancakes like nobody’s business? I do. I saw them and wanted them for breakfast right now, yesterday, git in meh belly.
The funny thing about this is that I found the picture this morning when I was looking at random people’s Instagram accounts. The woman’s name was ‘strongisthenewskinny, and I always appreciate it when people focus on health and strength over losing weight and appearances, so I clicked over and started looking at her account, came across the pancakes and wondered what the heck they were doing on an account that was supposedly for healthy eating and living. Obviously I had to investigate further and when I did I found out that the pancakes are completely healthy, with spelt flour, coconut oil, rice syrup, cacao and all kind of other healthy food alternatives.

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My initial response was that of frustration. Of course the pancakes were going to be full of all those really hard-to-get ingredients that we don’t have in our cupboard. Upon further reflection, I realized that we do have a lot of those weird flours, sugars and grains in our cupboard, I just don’t know how to efficiently use them. I realized that when I learned to cook, I learned how to cook with the science of white flour, butter, water and sugar, not with the science of gluten-free, wheat-free and alternative sugar substitutes. I know what happens and can predict the outcome when I put butter, milk, flour and bouillon in a hot pan – I will get some gluten-y gravy. If I did the same thing but substituted almond flour, I would end up with a literal hot mess!
What I realized this morning was that if I’m going to actually change the way I eat long-term, and if I really do want to be a person who eats healthy foods- like those healthy, yummy, chocolate pancakes like it’s not a big deal- then I’m really going to revise the way I approach the kitchen altogether. I’m going to need to relearn to cook and become fluent with the science behind what happens with these newer-to-me cooking materials. I need to be fearless and I’ll need to take risks.
It was actually quite a relief to understand why looking at recipes like this can be an alluring frustration for me. They really are easy recipes that are simple to do, it’s mostly just learning how ingredients function together, trusting the recipes, being open to new things and making sure that I have supplies available in my pantry.

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Isn’t it nice when you kind of figure a puzzle out?