Back to School

The return to work has been exhausting but good. The weird part has been my reaction to people’s comments of, “Wow, Tamara, you look great!” I’ve had enough people tell me that to see a pattern of how I respond. Instead of saying a simple ‘thank you,’ I start telling my colleagues how I look no different and only lost a pound all summer. What’s that bit o’ malarky about? For some reason I push their kind and supportive comments away.
I think two things:
1. I don’t feel deserving of the recognition. I feel like I didn’t lose more/enough weight to deserve it. But how can I argue with what people see or think they see? How can I argue with a summer where I ran my second hundred miles in three months? How can I argue with weight training, conditioning and toning? How can I argue with my skin shrinking back up into the right place? Why have I decided I’m not deserving of the kind words my colleagues generously share?
2. I have a hard time receiving compliments from people who are not strangers but are also not my immediate family. When Bradley says something flattering, I can critically explore why I’m cute, hot, beautiful, whatever to my heart’s content. Why am I cute? What makes me beautiful in this moment? Often the answer is unexpected, something I would never have predicted, often unrelated to my appearance at all, rather a feeling or social exchange we’ve just had. When a complete stranger gives a compliment I just accept it and move on. It’s unsolicited and I just feel good after that I caused someone to have a positive reaction towards me. But someone I know more casually? Why is that awkward for me? Especially when I roll around in those compliments like a dog in mud (meaning: I am a praise junkie).
Well, geez, Tamara, get over yourself! New goal? Receive compliments gracefully, quickly, then move on and savor the compliment later to enjoy like a pig in a Poke. Dog in mud. Bug in a rug. Seal on a rock. Ok. Enough!

As summer winds down I seriously get caught up with anxiety* about how the year will go, what my students will be like, how the curriculum will unfold, if I will be as awesome as my awesome sauce expectations are, what the district or state will want to change-a-roo this year. Then once I get going the pieces start to fall into place and I start to settle into the year comfortably. Today that started to happen. I feel kinda ready and, dare I say it? A little excited. Phew! I’m so glad. I haven’t been able to eek more than 3-4 hours of sleep out per night during the past two weeks before I start over-thinking whether or not I’ll get to school exactly on time or some other ridiculous concern. No, I’m not kidding.
The nights have been a big stink-a-roo (because of sleep, not because of a lack of snuggles from the kids and hubs) and the days have been long and boring (today I figured out that we have 17.5 hours of district and administrative meetings and 10 hours of room setup and curriculum planning. No comment necessary).
The good news is that my dieting and exercise have been spot on. I hit my targets for calories and exercise every work day and I’m seeing the results on the scale. I’ve been consistently 230-231 the past few days. I’m also hitting warrior week starting tomorrow (the week in my cycle where I can shed pounds like no other time of the month) so I’m hoping I’ll get to wear those boots and meet my 40 before 40 goal by mid September! Woot!
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned here how much depression and anxiety have been a mountain for me over the past few years. I’m better. Oh my, thinking back to last year at this time? Sheesh. I’m so so so much better. I don’t medicate, rather meditate, practice intentional positivity, love openly and deeply, exercise often and eat as well possible. So far it’s working. I slip and fall back into a depression from time to time (I slipped and fell a lot this summer), but each time the fall is shorter and the valley not as hard to climb out of. Life is getting really good again.
People at work read my blog. This blog. I said before that I didn’t know if anyone reads it… Well, they do! I know this because people know a lot about my summer before I’ve had a chance to tell them about my summer at all! It’s been fun. So…
Hi there fellow staff members! I’m glad you are reading my blog! It makes me so happy to know that you care enough about me to support me. I’d love to support you too! If you ever need someone to brag to about a health related accomplishment to, I am always happy to be your woo-hoo girl! Come on over to my classroom and holla away! Don’t ever be afraid to brag it up to me. Seriously. I love talking about how awesome we all are.


Sometimes I have to remind myself why I have this blog. It’s not just to share my charming personality with the masses. I know, you’re surprised, right? Beyond that, it’s not just to talk about my ‘journey’. Especially since I never ever call it ‘my journey’ because it skeeves me out for some reason. I call it my ‘body project’ or ‘weightloss project’ or ‘health project’ because that’s not awkward sounding at all.
Anyhow, I have this blog so I can brag. Well, not brag, so much, as have a place that holds me accountable. The place I report to. The place I go to shout madly and blindly into the wind the things that scare me, thrill me and make me proud!* Where I head to when I don’t want to be that guy on Facebook who reports each and every run to their circle of friends because it adds that extra cherry on top to be able to tell someone after you’ve done something that makes you feel really healthy and good.
Boy, now that I have all the pomp and circumstance out of the way it seems silly to share this brag. Ha ha!
I got on the elliptical and promised to stay on until the Biggest Loser ended. I thought I had about 20 minutes of my most recent episode but, no. I had 45 minutes left. Because I am impulsive and just HAD to finish the episode, I stayed on for all 45 minutes and burned a stunning 890 calories!!!!!
Today was day number two back to school. It felt really good to get my first two weeks all planned out and my room squared away. I’d like to brag that I have worked and worked out heartily both days – weights AND cardio. Boom!
I have no idea how many people read this site. I have no analytics and the comments are difficult for readers to access (you have to click over to the article page.I’m working on it.). 🙂


Today I went for my first run in seven days. I was glad because I made myself do it after my first day back at work- a day that would have been very easy to forgive myself of. I originally planned on going on the elliptical, but I knew I’d last about four minutes before I got tuckered out and hopped off. I knew today was a day for forcing a run outta me! So I decided to run the big loop, a great choice. The picture of the road is what I call ‘home run’. It’s the last quarter mile before I get home and I usually try to sprint it. Today was no different. I felt amazing after the run!
Something interesting happened while I was on my run today- I had someone yell, “Run, Fat Girl, run!” My initial response was to flip them off with some serious double hand action followed by a mighty, “FU!” But, fortunately, I brought my brain and remembered that I am a girl out running on her own while there were at least three guys in that car. So I did nothing. That made me mad as a feminist* because there I am all powerless to these stupid asses who, really, are just mad because the fat girl in question could most likely kick their asses in the running around the block for miles upon miles department and they didn’t like that. Or at least that is what I said to myself to make me feel better about getting bullied like that. Poo-poo heads.
Other than that I really enjoyed my run. 🙂
* This sounds like I’m making a smilie about angry feminist stereotypes but that was not the case. I meant to say that I was both angry in the moment and always consider myself a feminist. This was a funny sentence!


One year ago today:

Today I started back at work.
On this day, last year, I made the commitment, with Bradley, to start taking walks again. I wanted to enjoy the air with my kids. Feel the weather. Discover caterpillars, smell blackberries, get sticky with sweat… Walks have always been a part of our lives. Before we had children we were twice daily folk. After kids, a few times a week. There have been busy times where we don’t walk for weeks, but we always come back to the ritual of our hound on leash, kids running ahead, falling behind…
And laughing. There’s usually a lot of laughing.
But, today marks a year of walking in my grown-up, settled-down-finally neighborhood. Last year I remember the days growing shorter, then, illuminated by the glow of holiday lights, we would rehash our days and draw together again, hand in hand. Winter came and, with it, the rain. But more importantly, I started running. I’ve spent a year on the streets of my neighborhood, racked up well over 250 miles on my sneakers and discovered that my limitations are much different than I thought they were. My family banded together over fitness and athletics like a superhero team. Life on these streets has been amazing.

Happy anniversary to us. Life is better and we are so much healthier one year later.
I wish us many happy returns.


I’m tired.
Over the past few weeks we’ve been going at breakneck speed trying to pack the most fun we can in the remainder of the summer. We’ve also been trying to exercise a lot. Like, a lot. I wanted to make sure Bradley saw me using our new equipment often enough to make it worthwhile, while also keeping up with my running regimen while running all over Seattle having fun.
I was spending about an hour on the elliptical (ten minutes here, 20 minutes there), running and weights, clocking in 90+ minutes per day. My knees just feel swollen and stiff as all get out. My arms, shoulders and back are aching. Yeah. I’m TIRED! Ha!
Then, yesterday, we traversed those beautiful Vancouver stairs to that sacred beach again and, when I reached the bottom, my calves started spasming. After we lolled about in the sand and surf for a few hours, we climbed those same 400+ stairs and while I sweated in, possibly, the most humid forest EVER, my calves felt each and every step. Last night? I was awoken to several, very unpleasant Charlie horses. My knees ache. And did I mention how tired I am?!
Anyhow, I’m taking a break from it all for a few days- exercise, the blog, everything except watching my diet. My plan is to sit with my kids, kiss my husband, watch mindless television and recover before I go back to work on Tuesday.

At the Stanley Park Totem Poles yesterday- right before we found the vegetarian hot dog vendor.
***a few notes***
~I passed my pro-cert! I’m now a professionally certificated teacher!
~My package from Gap/Old Navy arrived today. Some of the xl clothes were (GET THIS!!!) too big and I had to exchange them for smaller ones. (Ha ha ha!!!!)
~I’m probably going to be exercising in a matter of hours. If you’ve ever read this blog before, then you know me. 🙂
~I know a few people who recently had bariatric sleeves put on/in/dontknowtheproperterm and they are doing great! Cheers for their continued growth (or shrinkage) towards their health!

Robots and Diet

Mmmkay. So, I’m not on the wagon very much right now.
Right now I’m exercising plenty. I’m serious! I was on the elliptical for an hour today, still doing the weights (yeah, Bowflex!) and I’m running pretty much every day.
But my food?
Laws have mercy!
It’s not that I’m doing that bad even, if I’m perfectly honest. I’m hitting right at my calories, then BOOM! Ice cream? Sure, I could go for some ice cream! S’more? Why, yes, I’d love one! I have this policy of letting myself have the treats in moderation, but lately I want treats ALL THE TIME and they are tipping me over the edge from losing to maintenance mode. PMS definitely has something to do with it, but so does my determination.
I’ve not been behaving like a person who is determined to lose weight. Ive been behaving like a seasoned dieter who is tired of the diet. That is not going to work. I’ve been buying into the myth that I’m losing weight and getting healthy, but really I’m just stalling. It takes two activities for me to lose weight- restricted calories and exercise with more exercise after I’m done exercising. I’ve been going like crazy with the exercise and letting the diet go because I think I can just run/lift/walk/ride it off. Obviously I’m working it off, but only enough to maintain. I need to be a good kid again. I need to start hitting the 1500 mark consistently again.
I’m so looking forward to returning to work next week for one reason- scheduled food times. Snacking is a non-issue for me at school. In fact, sometimes I even forget to eat while I’m there. Here at home I want to eat every time I’m near the kitchen and since our kitchen is central to our open floor plan, I’m always wanting a snack. Sheesh! I just want my boots! Go away seven pounds!!!!!!
Here is my adorable son because I have no pictures of anything relevant to put up here today. Enjoy!

I think of diet as what I eat. Not ‘a diet.’ I’m not on a diet, but my diet is full of food. You get it. I just wanted to make that clear.


A few weeks ago I let it drop that for my birthday I’d like to turn our garage into a gym with a treadmill. Maybe some other machine too, but after all this heat this summer my nice, cool garage on at 85 degree run day sounded really nice. I was planning ahead.
My darling husband quickly scrapped his dream of parking our car in the garage and started hunting on Craigslist for solid exercise machines. We needed to take into account that these weren’t going to be glorified clothing storage units, that we are big, tall people (I’m a hair under 5’10” and he’s 6’2″) with long legs and we were planning to RUN on the treadmill. Believe it or not, most treadmills are really just made for walking.

Well, our garage is nowhere near ready, but people are moving and clearing out their gear! We picked this elliptical machine up last week and, I’m telling you, it is a workout! Both Bradley and I have been spending about thirty minutes per day on it in addition to running. I didn’t think about how buying a new machine would extend my workout in a diverse and different kind of way. It is in our living room, for now, and I like it there. It looks at me and I think nothing of hopping on for ten minutes every now and then to burn a few calories.
After buying this machine we got to try a few models out at the hotel this weekend. I’m pleased to say that I love our machine. It has a bigger glide for taller people; the range of motion on the others was small and cramped feeling.
*this picture is hilarious to me. I hopped on the elliptical today, determined to get a picture of myself on it, but I had just returned from a run and the sweat was running into my eyes so bad that I couldn’t open them! Ha!

Yesterday we went and picked up this Bowflex from some people who just sold their house and needed it out NOW! It’s a resistance machine and it definitely seems different from the free weights so we are keeping those around. This thing is huge and, as our garage is not ready, it is in my kids’ rumpus room taking over!
You know how you don’t really realize how weak you are until you strain something? Ahem. That is so me on this thing. I’ve been a super good kid doing arms, legs, butt and gut, but this thing makes my neck and shoulders aware that they’re super weak. I find it very interesting that all of those bothersome, persistent, crampy, achy spots on my body are actually just places that are extraordinarily weak*. I’m presently on the lowest settings on the Bowflex and it is definitely a workout.
$$$Price tag for all of this craziness? $125 for the Bowflex and $150 for the elliptical all bought on Craigslist. A few years back we paid about 100 for the exercise bike on craigslist as well. We pretty much have a gym now! Ha! As long as we are using it, I’m thrilled as anything to own it. Our kids love it too, and, most importantly, we are keeping moving!
Oh, and regarding the treadmill? We are still looking for one that will support us that is in good working order. I think we will have to pay out a little more for this machine. I also want one of those stair climbers to build my thighs into chicken drumsticks, I suppose…
*I’d like to note that after carrying up to 340 pounds around and becoming a runner my legs are built up like crazy. The highest setting for legs and calves is not super easy, but it’s not hard either!

The Little Things

… Jumping on the bed not worrying about it breaking.
…Shopping with my daughter in the juniors section- she wears the smallest size while I can fit the largest.
… being able to take advantage of The Gap’s 40% off everything coupon code.
… crossing my arms
… crossing my legs
… sitting criss cross-apple sauce
… being able to set my hands on my lap and my arms being long enough to allow them to rest there without sliding off… Versus…
… not having to tuck my hands under my legs so they wouldn’t just hang down because setting them on my lap was uncomfortable.
… not worrying about whether or not I will fit on an amusement park ride.
… being under the weight limit as a family for shared rides.
… Not feeling guilty eating anything- I know what my body needs and is allowed. I used to feel unworthy of some foods.
… My husband being able to hold me and carry me.
… Not worrying about breaking furniture.
… Knowing the person I sit next to on my next airplane ride won’t feel crowded.
… Knowing I will fit any airplane seat now.
… Feeling like I fit with my husband (this was a mental/confidence hurdle).
… Going from a size 10 ring to a 7.5.
The little things feel big sometimes.

The Skin I’m In

Yesterday I told my husband, “I love my body.”
And I do.
I love what my body does.
I love being strong and capable. I love running. I love being able to run and run and run without stopping. I like being able to stand like a flamingo and tie my shoe without losing my balance. I like the muscles I’m seeing popping up through my flesh, reminding me they’re there, encouraging me to keep working. I like being able to go to quiet places in the mountains, losing myself in the beauty of it all, available only because I can walk. I love that I can breathe deep, catch my breath and keep going. I love my balance. I love going to the zoo and not getting tired. I love walking down a hill and not freaking out that I’m going to have to walk back up it. I love being able to carry my kids, on my hip, on my back- it doesn’t matter. I’m just glad I didn’t miss out on carrying them around.
I have gratitude for my body that I’ve never had before. I marvel at it, what it can do, what I can force it to do. I love that it is plastic, moldable, shapeable into the kind of body I want. I like that I can challenge my body to be healthier, better, more resilient.
I have reverence for myself. I know that I’m brief, youth is fleeting and this body is giving me everything it has. I understand now that my body will do whatever I want it to, I just have to respect it enough to make the right choices.
It surprises me to learn that I can love this part of my body to clearly, but my insecurities over being a non-standardly attractive woman have completely overshadowed my ability to appreciate even this one, compartmentalized version of myself. No matter what I look like, I can always be strong, capable and healthy. Focus there, right?
I love my body.
Perhaps not in the way that we typically desire, but I’m on my way there. And in the meantime, what I do love about my body is fabulous.