NYE 2015


 Recently a friend of mine asked how I can continue to be so bare, publicly, on my blog. She is trying to strike the balance of living honestly and sharing her stories without feeling like she’s bragging or dragging other people down.

I guess I feel like we all have secret lives. I know I have one. It involves feeling fat and disgusting and judging my fatness and then not seeing myself as fat at all, rather plump and sensuous and gorgeous! I have saggy skin and stretch marks and, yes, even more saggy skin because I was a big lady! And guess what? ALL WOMEN have secret lives where we lie to ourselves and binge and hate on ourselves and sometimes love on ourselves a little too much (is that possible?). When I started seeing courageous women posting their stories about their struggles with binging, the issue of fatness, exercise, saggy skin and scores of other issues, I felt empowered. Suddenly my goals seemed tangible in a way that they never had been before- here were women, just like me, who were losing weight and keeping it off. And running marathons and stuff. This was near my grasp. But what I wanted more than anything was to follow someone in progress. Most of the stories I found were of women who had already done the impossible and were citing skinny jeans and half marathon times while I could hardly squeeze into my 24’s or walk around the block. It looked so far away, fitness, health and a smaller body. I decided that sometimes you have to be the change you want to see and decided that my own story was going to have to inspire me. I decided that if I wrote my story for me, to motivate myself, to congratulate myself, that other people’s opinions wouldn’t matter so much. Any criticism I received could be shrugged off as people who weren’t in my target audience of me and, therefore, would not matter. So I started and promised to be bare, open, transparent and accountable. If I failed, I wanted to fail publicly and loudly and embarassedly. I wanted every motivation in place not to fail, so I shared, over shared, and shared more. There’s little I keep private.

I will fully admit, however, that there are some naked and bare posts that are hard to share. The ones that are mired down in self hatred and depression are particularly difficult to publish, but when I read Katie’s blog about losing control as a binge eater it changed my life. To understand that someone else feels like that, understands what a binge feels like, to hear someone else’s testimony about how she regains control- it was life changing for me. Her openness fleeced the shame away from having the issue of wanting to binge and made the monster much smaller and easier to recognize. That sisterhood was educational and healing. I share my depression episodes and dietary. ‘failures’ with a mixed feeling of shame and pride, with the hope that someone else might see a bit of herself in my depression-head and realize that she isn’t alone in those dark moments.

Want to know a funny thing, though? It’s hard to share the celebrations, too. It’s hard to be someone who others look at and assume I live this pure life of tofu and kale followed by my daily, vigorous, 4-mile run with my smiling husband and loving children in tow. I see people scurry away from me, feeling judged by the vegetarian weightloss warrior who shares her weight and story fearlessly. People confess their transgressions to me like I’m a priest, of eating poorly, of needing to get back on the wagon, of their lack of going to the gym… My successes alienate me, in a way, so it’s hard to be all shiny and full of crowing sometimes. I just lost a pound! And another! And, oh, guess what? I lost two more, tee he! I know it irritates people because they block my posts on Facebook. Ouch. But again, I think about that person out there who reads my blog and gets all jazzed up, just like Katie did for me. Somehow she sees herself losing ten, twenty, 140 pounds, just like me, and if my story can help someone else revise their life for the better, then I feel like it’s important to let them read my journal. And I will confess, I read it too. When I get low, I go back and read my own story with utter amazement at what this woman, I, was able to accomplish.  


Today has been a weird day. Do you ever have those days when everything just seems out of synch? You drop things, say the wrong thing, your words or intentions are misinterpreted, you get lost, spill glasses of water and altogether feel like a mess and a bother? I drove to Zumba this morning feeling just like that, compounded with the knowledge that this was likely to be my last Zumba class at the gym. I got to dance one last time with Camille on 12/26, and I wanted one last dance with Emily, too, so I jumped on the opportunity to go today. I was this close to not going with my foul mood, but not being able to dance one more time with Emily was too heartbreaking to miss out on. It was fabulous, too; I’m glad I went. I was on the verge of tears when I walked through the door, but within 30 seconds of joining in, a smile broke through and I was having the best time. It was like she knew and picked the playlist for me! My favorites, the routines I remember… Fantastic.  

On the way out the door, Emily said goodbye and I totally broke into the ugly cry.  I felt a little ridiculous, but on my way home I was reflecting on Zumba, the gym and the relationships I created with my cohort of ladies and the exceptional instructors I had the pleasure of learning from.  Zumba changed me.  Before Zumba, I didn’t think dance was for me at all, especially not hip hop or sexy shimmies and such.  The moves are fast and intimidating, but today we were going through the motions and I felt fluid and fluent.  I gained such confidence.  I’m more flexible now, strong in ways I never have been, toned in surprising places.  The first few times I danced I couldn’t believe how sexy the instructors lead us to be with the booty shaking and hip swiveling, but I credit those exact Zumba moves with the toning in my back and tightening of my waist.  Before Zumba I had a big gut that I couldn’t seem to ditch.  I don’t weigh terribly different than last year, but I sure look different!  I built muscle and changed my entire structure.  On top of that, I learned weightlifting skills and pushed myself in classes that that were outside of anything I’d ever think I’d be capable of.  On top of that, I was able to friend a few instructors in Facebook and they became important people to me who I reach out to and watch their lives.  They became part of my tribe.  Today I marveled at how fun Zumba is now and how incredibly sore I was after that first time with Emily!  I could hardly walk the next day!  I’m proud of the progress I made while I was a member and am so sad to be done with the gym.  

Racing into 2016!

That moment when you just finished a very generous and privileged holiday season and then you lay down your credit card to pay for a couple of race opportunities to run around with other people who have also paid to run around together without talking to one another.  It’s painful to pay for races right now…  But I did it.  I need a few races in front of me to motivate my running training!  I’ve been avoiding the cold and, thusly, avoiding running.  I’m still getting my cardio in, but I’m the first to admit that without a race in front of me I start avoiding running big time. 
{This is not a live link- just screenshots.  Use the links in the text below to access the races.}

First up is the My Better Half-Marathon that is happening on Sunday, February 14th, AKA: Valentine’s Day!  I’m embracing Matthew Inman’s, of the Oatmeal fame, strategy of just embracing an exercise opportunity that sounds like fun.  He says that when you think of going for a run, if y don’t just grab your sneakers and head out the door that you’ll talk yourself out of it.  True, true.  Oh, and perhaps, slightly connected to that is that the My Better Half-Marathon is another race brought to us by Matthew Inman and The Oatmeal.  While I’m sure nothing can quite top the Beat the Blerch race, I have to confess that I’m doing this race because I loved running the Blerch and, coming from the same producers, I’m expecting some clever, cynical fun.  And there’s a tunnel of love.  Did I mention that?  And I get to run with my bestie- Gigi!  We signed up together and are planning to dress up as a pair of famous besties in orange and purple.  Wink, wink.

The other ‘race’ I signed up for is less about a race and more about being consistent.  I’m putting my money where my mouth is and I’m taking the Run the Year challenge.  Initially I found it a little intimidating.  I’m supposed to hit 2016 miles in 2016.  If I make my 10,000 steps per day, there should be no problem in making the goal.  I thought that meant I had to, literally, work out and run that far in a year.  Eek, no way!  But when I found out it was any method- walk, run, crawl, gallop, whatever- I knew I could do it!  I’m pretty excited!

I have a few more races in mind that I’m considering.  There’s a half-marathon on Mother’s Day that follows the same route as my first half-marathon, and I’m totally in for the Beat the Blerch half marathon in September.  Lastly, there’s a Brooks sponsored run that is a 10k that lands in the middle of a gap in April when I don’t have any other events.  Brooks races are supposed to be fun, so it’s a thought.  I must admit that I am not really into 5k’s anymore.  In the beginning of my training to become a runner, running 30 seconds was a challenge!  Now, however, my short run is usually between 3-5 miles, so paying actual money to run that distance seems silly.  10k’s are really my ideal distance that still feels like I’m pushing myself a bit.  It’s harder than my regular run, but not so challenging that I need to train hard for it or worry about it.  The half marathon is my new 5k- the hard thing that I can do but takes a lot of mental and physical preparing.  It’s funny how things can shift so drastically, but I’m glad of it and excited for the challenge! 

Today was pretty fabulous.  Last year and this year my bestie from high school and I took our littles to Seattle to see all of the gingerbread houses that the Sheraton hotel hosts every year.  This was dedicated to Star Wars, and each ‘house’ was in the theme of each of the trilogy’s.  They were pretty amazing!  The details that go into those sculptures, made completely of sugar and candy, is just mind blowing!  After that, we walked to Pike Place Market, rode the carousel, visited the recently-cleaned-but-already-covered-in-places-again gum wall.  I added my bit of DNA to the wall before we headed back to the 522 bus to get home.  While the kids reintegrated their behinds with the sofa, I headed out to the garage/spaceship where I ran for 30 minutes and pulled on some weights for 15.  I went well over my steps for the day which made me all confident and I went and signed up for all of those races!  

What did you do to take care of yourself today?  😉

Adventures in Snowshoes

 My parents have decided that they want to give us experiences every Christmas, not necessarily things.  For us, this year, that meant that when we saw the family set of snowshoes at Costco, we got on the horn to my mom and asked if this would qualify.  She said yes, and as of Christmas Day, we are the proud owners of a set of snowshoes that should last us all the way until both of our kids weigh 250 pounds each.  😉

Obviously, we needed to try these things out.  We haven’t had snow worth mentioning around here for a few years, so we decided to head up to Snoqualmie Pass for a snow day.  Let me tell you, I used to downhill ski, and still would if it was affordable at all, but I used to decide to hit the slopes at the last minute without a problem.  Having children, however, makes snow a whole different enchilada.  First of all, they do this growing thing.  Since we haven’t had snow in a stones age, we haven’t had a need for snow clothes.  We dug out our gear from two years ago and it was a joke of trying to squeeze into zippers and camel toes galore appeared- on both children- through their snow clothes.  That was the level of tightness.  We needed to get out to buy some new things.  I always find it ironic that winter gear goes on sale in September and is clearanced by the end of November, before winter has even officially begun.  We were lucky that Fred Meyer still had a few pairs at 60% off because Eddie Bauer wanted us to buy 100 dollar pants for the girl.  Nope. 

  And what about me?  When I was 14 years old I used to ride the ski bus to Stevens Pass every single Saturday, January through March, with a huge number of kids from my school- we took five buses every week.  Side note- those buses were nuts.  On the way home it was pitch dark with 75 jr high and high school kids for an hour or two on their way down the mountain.  Let’s just say it got very experimental for some people in the bus.  Not me- I was a good little scaredy cat who sat right behind the chaperones!  I NEVER wanted to be in trouble and avoided it at all costs.  Anyhow, finding plus sized ski clothes in the 1980’s was a joke. (Another side note- Target doesn’t currently carry snow clothes for women in stores this year- only for men and children.  Apparently women don’t go outside in the snow, and when they do, they don’t need to dress the part.). One day when prepping for the ski bus, we were determined to find some new snow bibs for me, asked a sales associate if they carried plus sizes and they had one pair. They were black and ugly, not a cute neon orange or pink like my peers, but I got them because they fit and I didn’t have to do the fat girl shimmy into them on the bus in front of everyone while we changed.  They were a size 18, they fit like a tight 12 and bore the ironic label of Beautiful Skiier.  I felt anything but beautiful while wearing something that tried to make me beautiful by naming itself beautiful.  Anyhow, those things are still with me, except now I LOVE that I can wear my snow pants from the 1980’s and I’m so happy at I bought them in black, not neon!  I didn’t need to shop for anything for snowshoeing- I’ve been ready since 1987!  I even used my same gloves!  Lol!

So once we got the clothes squared away, there was the car to attend to.  Buy the gas, check the fluids, fill the tires, get the chains, pack everyone’s gear into it.  We woke up yesterday feeling pretty prepared!  We ate, packed food for four people, then got in the car and headed up the mountain.  As we got closer and closer to the snow, our kids started squealing with excitement!  Any misgivings or concerns about the icy roads were forgotten with their apparent joy!  They couldn’t wait to get out in it!  When we finally stopped and let them out, it was like common sense eluded them and they were covered in an instant.  Jude was flopping around in it like a fish out of water- it was nuts and so funny!  Then there was the issue of the state park sno- pass.  Gracious me, if Washington state hasn’t made the sno-pass an arduous annoyance!  I went online to research it and found out that we needed to buy a special addend pass to the discover pass we already had, except the online purchase option wasn’t available online, yesterday, so I thought it would be easy to find, just like you can buy a one-day pass at any hike station in the parking lot.  Sno-pass doesn’t work that way.  You can get one at the summit, one at Cle-elum, or one at places where they sell fishing and hunting licenses.  We ended up driving across the mountain pass a few times before we finally figured this all out, wasted two hours and a lot of emotional energy.  I mention this because it really does behoove you to buy it before you go, if you go.  Really really.  Learn from me.  

Once we figured out how to go in the snow with a family, bought the pass, parked at the much less crowded Easton Lake and geared up, the day was so much fun!  The snowshoes reminded me a lot of the paddleboard- the snowshoes gave me opportunity and access to somewhere I don’t usually go.  Without the snowshoes, I would have sunk deep down into the track.  With them, we were able to travel three miles through the snowy woods on a cross country ski track.  The woods were gorgeous and our kids were confident adventurers in it!  As a bonus, I learned that snowshoeing is actually a pretty solid calorie burner as well.  We all got a really good sweat on and had such a fun time that we can’t wait to return again later this week!  Now that we have all of our gear prepped, know how to work the pass and have an idea of where to go, the next trip should be a lot easier and more relaxing.  Score for a fun, new hobby!

Next thought: cross country skis.  😋

Making 2016 Amazing: Thinking About Goals

Oh my gosh!  It’s only the day after Christmas and already I’m yammering on about resolutions, goals fresh starts…  All of that malarkey.  Yep, it’s that time of year!  How will I make 2016 amazing?  Well, for starters, I won’t Hoover up food like I did yesterday…  It’s like a valve opens or something and I have to get everything through in time.  Yesterday I decided to let myself party and eat whatever, and party I did.  I ate a lot of cookies.  Cookies are my thing, after all, and I made sure to eat a lot of them.  Then there was the cheese plate with lots of different kinds of (heavenly) cheeses to try.  And the olives.  And the cheese ball.  And….  Eventually I had to come upstairs to my bedroom, deciding to be done with the eating.  And as I sat in my room watching A Walk in the Woods, my tummy had a little room appear and it seemed really important to fill that void.  I wanted to go downstairs to eat more food.  I had already eaten plenty; I didn’t need more, but my goodness if I didn’t want more.  Right then I decided that my holiday ‘eat anything I want’ moment had to end.  I decided no more cookies, no more indulging, Christmas was over.  It had to be.  Of course, then I turned to goals. 

It’s safe to call the bet now: there’s no way I’ll be weighing 190 by 1/1/16.  No way.  Yesterday morning I braved the scale and discovered that I’m either retaining a lot of water or I’ve gained five pounds.  The water retention is an actual possibility.  I ate a lot of salty and different foods, that makes me retain water.  I also started working out really solidly, again, which makes me retain water as my muscles adjust to the new routine.  But I also have introduced more sugar and fat of late, which doesn’t help anything.  And, while I’ve been tracking my food, I’ve been tracking it right past my target.  My intake has been exceeding my activity level by a significant amount.  So, yeah, it could go either way: fat or water.  I’ll find out soon enough, but I’m not going to weigh 190 when the chips finally fall.  That said, I knew it was a long shot to make that goal.  I’m just pleased as punch that I made it this far and I still am under 200!  Now that is something remarkable!  🙂

So that makes me think about what I want next.  After Zumba today, over coffee, a friend and I were discussing our goals for the upcoming year.  She wants to weigh less than her husband, something I understand very well. Bradley and I switch constantly, who weighs more and who weighs less, but I want to be the one weighing less.  Always.  Lol!  We are currently, always within two pounds of one another!  My goal is to weigh 170.  Right now that’s 28 pounds away.  That said, my goal always seems to be to lose weight in an attempt to be healthier, but health is, ultimately, always my goal.  At the end of the year, regardless of my weight, I want to be able to say I made healthy choices.  The weight doesn’t always come off of me, but I need to be able to say I succeeded, nonetheless.  The area I always need to push myself in is exercise, so I want to make a non-scale victory centered around that.  During our conversation we came up with a number of things we could work on for our goals:

  • Weightloss
  • Exercise consistency
  • Faster mileage
  • More mileage
  • Consistently integrate weights into workout
  • Food tracking/journaling
  • Making time for self-care more consistently 
  • Building a supportive community
  • Blogging/Diary goals
  • Accountability
  • Staying motivated/determined 
  • Honesty (about what you’re really doing versus what you tell yourself you’re doing)
  • Completing a specific exercise event (like a 5k, 1/2 marathon or hike or something)

That said, I don’t need to choose all of those, but for anyone looking to make a goal or two, that might help you start thinking about your goals.  I am a goal queen.  Early on, I found that anything I did to make a plan would drive my week in a positive direction.  I realized that the weeks I made goals were my most successful, while I would stagnate or gain weight during non-goal weeks.  When making goals to last the  entire week was too hard, I’d make goals for the next day.  When a whole day was too hard to get through, I’d make a morning goal, assess, then make an afternoon goal, then an evening goal.  I even make hour by hour/ 15 minute goals when things are really challenging for me.  The more opportunities I give myself to be successful, the more I build a habit of success and start to feel successful.  The appearance of success, even to myself, drives me forward, no matter how small the victory.  So, for me, goal setting is a huge component of any success.


*** Side note: I’ve written about goal setting before and how statistics show that people who set New Years resolutions actually are statistically more likely to be successful than people who do not.  Consider making a resolution- it could make a big difference where you want to see one.

Zumba Week & Christmas Eve

  I’m pretty proud of myself.  I went to Zumba every day this week and worked it out!  The one day I didn’t go to the gym I went running with Bradley instead.  It was kind of funny. I’m definitely discovered that not all Zumba classes are the same.  If you’re in a class with a lot of senior citizens, it’s usually because that class appeals to that population.  If you’re in a class with a bunch of ripped young’ns, there’s a reason for that, too!  I went to two classes this week that were exceptional.  One was yesterday with a male instructor named Nino.  He lead a solid and fun class without any stops.  Usually there’s a moment between songs, but non with Nino!  Today I went back to Northgate for the Christmas Eve dance party.  It was insanely crowded, but such a fun, energetic and worthwhile workout!  I realized that Camille is reliable and awesome, and a new instructor (to me) named Jessica was absolutely incredible.  She was precise, energetic and just as sweaty as me when we finished!  Macky, my partner in crime, and I both said it was a fantastic workout.  I’m sore, let’s just say that….  I love it.  The perfect way to start the Christmas holiday! 

 {You can see Macky and me in the back there.  She’s wearing the Seahawks hat and I’m next to her.}
I came home to the most Christmassy feeling I’ve felt in a long time.  I’m making the point to be grateful for my blessings in life, this holiday season.  I generally try to be like that, but sometimes traffic, work, minor inconveniences and all that can take the shine away from what this life really is: an opportunity.  A gift.  We finished up preparing for tomorrow’s meals, took a hot chocolate walk after dark to look at our neighborhood’s lights, played a few video games, opened our jammies, watched The Grinch, read The Night Before Christmas…  And now we are waiting for the babies to crash out so Santa can come in to make  his deliveries to them.  Happiness, always, friends, but especially right now.  Kindness, always, but especially today.  Especially today.  Happy Christmas, enjoy!  Much love❤️



  The other day, I posted that picture set from January to now, and I have to say, looking at it really surprises me.  Ever since I started my body project I always start the year with the best of intentions and end it in disappointment.  It’s silly, looking back.  Each year I end it lighter and/or more in shape than I started it.  Every year I get healthier.  My goal was always and still is focused on my health.  My bonus is being on the more slender side of the spectrum than before, being more capable using my body, feeling really good about myself…  So I should feel satisfied at any progress toward that goal, but instead I feel disappointed that I didn’t just bang it out of the ballpark and get it done.  Every year I make the goal of weighing 170.  I need to remember what I have done:

  • I lost 15-20 pounds.
  • I started Zumba.
  • I massively toned my stomach, back and thighs.
  • I ran a half marathon.   
  • I started feeling more resilient and happier than I have in a long time.
  • I gained muscle.
  • I tried a spin class.
  • I started lifting weights.
  • My palate switched to healthy.
  • I learned to love working out.

So, really, pretty successful, I’d say.  Then I looked at SkinnyMeg’s year pictures that she posted a few months ago, from when she started lifting and the anniversary one year later.  I realized my transformation wasn’t so different from hers; mine was just the year before that!  I was her ‘before’ picture this year, and who knows?  Maybe next year I can look like her after from this year.  If you know what I mean…

Skinny Meg– a huge inspiration for me…  

 To meet that end, today I woke up and hit the road by 8:30, in order to make it to Zumba by nine.  The last few times I’ve gone to the gym closest to my house it has taken me 20 minutes because I get lost.  Every time.  Seriously.  I’m good at directions when I travel to foreign lands, but in my own neighborhood I get lost nearly on a weekly basis.  Eyeroll.  Anyhow, I got there in just ten minutes and the instructor does some warming up while we wait, so arriving early bonused me an extra 15 minutes of Zumba!  Arriving early also meant that I was rushing so I forgot to eat before I went.  While I don’t like to work out on an empty stomach, neither do I like anything in there.  Food and water bounce around inside me and make me feel sick.  I like to be as empty as possible, but I usually eat a cheese stick, at the very least.  This morning it was just coffee!  Granted, it’s coffee with sugar and cream and fat and flavoring and, I suppose, there is some coffee in there, so I suppose it kind of acted like a meal.  LOL.  I made it through just fine and had a great time.  So far, I’m two for two for working out this break!  Yahoo!  Im still tracking my food and still staying off the scale.  I’m not sure why, but the scale is making me a little bit nervous, lately…  

Wahoo!  Winter Break!

We went out with a bang, yesterday!  My kids came into the classroom, set up their blankets and just read. Allllll day.  We wore our jammers, drank hot cocoa, and read.  Though I will admit that there was definitely a thirty minute fort-building window in there.  Sometimes as teachers we just have to go with the flow.  And fort building was definitely one of those moments.  I totally got involved and sucked in, too.  There I was, standing on a chair getting the tubs from deep storage down that had the sheets that I use for stage curtains in it and suddenly realized that life, instead of school, was happening with my students.  I felt like that was pretty okay right then.  🙂

So, that means that today is day one of my break!  Did I sleep in, you may wonder?  Newp.  I woke up with the chickens, manically wondering when the Zumba class was starting this morning!  I haven’t worked out at all in 12 days!  I may have gained a pound or two, but I can’t tell yet so I’m not going to worry about that.  Instead, I’m focusing on going to the gym!  Since this is my last month there, I’m going to make sure to get my last bit of money’s worth.  This morning I took a Zumba class with an instructor who I didn’t know at all.  Her name was Enny, and I’m really sad that I didn’t spend more time in her classes!  I loved her enthusiasm!  Unbeknownst to me, right next to me, working out, was her husband.  I just thought he was this really enthusiastic guy who kept shouting and clapping.  I like the shouters and clappers, so I was just going along, trying to keep up, while this dude next to me seemed to know every move perfectly.  Then all of the sudden he headed up to the front of the room and lead the class with her for the rest of the class.  Watching them as a team was lovely and entertaining.  I’d take their classes again in a heartbeat!  

When we got home we headed out for a walk to complete our steps for the day.  The kids played, climbed trees, rode scooters, the dog romped…  It was easy and fun.  At one point, we all got up on one of the cement walls at the school and walked across this narrow balance beam wall kind of thing.  It was alarmingly high one I got up there and was something I never would have done ‘before’.  It felt great to be that confident in such a precarious position.  Of course, it helped that I had my beau next to me.  🙂

I’ve decided to track my food during the break.  It’s a good thing I did, too!   Not only did I take off the past two weeks from exercise, I also stopped journaling my food and keeping track of my nutrition.  Instead, I returned to my intuitive eating patterns before I had established solid boundaries for myself again.  This was evidenced when I finally entered in the balance of my calories for the day and found myself precariously close to exceeding my calorie allowance with the deficit if my hour of Zumba factored in!  Oops!  I was checking in to figure out what I had left so I could eat something more and found myself much closer than I anticipated!  I’m looking forward to making lots of smart choices during winter break and proving to myself that I can do this season, this holiday, this month without gaining 20 pounds!

The Plan: Back In the Game

The upside of being on jury duty and spending two days just sitting on my can is that I’m so ready to get up and move, again.  I get more than a little paranoid that if I step away from my exercise routine for too long that I’m going to lose it.  It being that thing that propels me forward.  I’ve never been able to keep the flame lit for so long before and, while I have faith that I’m not going to let it go out now, I know that in the past I have easily let it all go and I don’t want to do that again.  If I go for more than three days without working out I start haranguing myself about being a slacker.  I think this time, though, my break was a necessity.  I was emotionally and physically overdone.  Somehow I ended up with a stiff, sore neck with limited mobility along with a compressed disc in my lower back.  I think they were both related to a cold that my family passed around, but I don’t like to mess with exercise when my back is messed up, so I’m ok with that.  But I’m so ready to start moving again!  Oh.  My.  Goodness!!!!  By about 1:00 and my fifth hour of sitting in the jury room yesterday I wanted to start running laps around the room!  Of course I didn’t because that would probably make the people around me have weird thoughts about me, but I wanted to.  Instead I made a plan.

 {Being in the courthouse is less than photograph worthy, so here are some January-December 2015 comparisons.  I can actually see the changes!}

 I am planning to drop the gym, come the 2016.  It’s a sad, sad thing for me, but the price has gone up ten bucks and, with my new hours at work being adjusted just a bit, the timing doesn’t work well for me anymore.  I get off of work at 3:25 and most of my favorite classes are at 4:30.  That hour in between totally deters me from going since I don’t like sitting around for an hour extra at school.  With my commute on top of that, I’m home late after a long day and it’s just turned into a proposition of guilt for me- guilt for taking time away from my family compounded with the extra cost and me not going often enough for it to make fiscal sense.  The final nail in the coffin was the news that one of my favorite teachers, Emily, won’t be teaching Zumba at my gym anymore.  I plan to look into the LA Fitness that is within walking distance of my house to see if that might suit me better when the gym bug bites again.

With all that in mind, I’m going to use the heck out of the gym over Winter Break.  I figured out that I can go to a number of fabulous body pump, Zumba, booty camp and spin classes during my two weeks off- and there are enough that I can almost go daily during my break.  After that, Bradley and I are going to start doing Daily Burn with our kids and I’m looking into a similar Zumba subscription available online that a good friend of mine has suggested called Shine Dance Fitness.  One of the biggest issues with the gym is how it excludes my whole family.  While I’m not personally responsible for their fitness, when I work out with my and in front of my family they are way more consistent and healthy.  When I do my own thing, Bradley doesn’t work out as much, Gigi and Jude become lumps on the couch and everyone gets grumpy and owly and crabby!  It’s better, I think, when they see me going and kind of guiltily realize they need to move, too.  It’s like, “Ugh.  There goes Mom, again.  Next she’s gonna ask me how I’m going to be active today.  Might as well…”  Or at least, when I see someone gearing up for a workout that’s for sure how I think!  😜 

 {January, September & December of 2015}

Imagine what the comparison pictures could look like between this and next year!  I’m giving myself the rest of this week, then, with break, I’m also hitting the gym.  It should be a lot of fun and hopefully I’ll get close to 190 while also bypassing all of the poor food choices that will be available!

Space Needle Love

In case you hadn’t heard it from one of the many bullhorns I’ve been braying it from, I’m doing my civic duty this week by participating in the criminal justice system’s jury duty!  It’s one of those things that I have always been curious about and, frankly, have wanted to participate in.  Now that I’m here I find the process a little unnerving, and having the responsibility of someone’s legal life in my hands has great gravity all of the sudden.  I suddenly realized that they try murderers and all kinds of crazy crime here.  Seriously.  No one is here because they found the last remaining pair of unicorns or something…

Anyhow, my family was nice enough to drive me down to the King County Courthouse this morning and it’s been the first time that I’ve been in a frame of mind that allowed me to see the Space Needle again.  Right now it’s all gorgeous with festive lights descending from the Wheedle on the Needle (the aircraft warning light) to the halo of the Space Needle, and as each strand connects in a perfect circle it makes the shape of a holiday tree.  It’s a beautiful jewel in the Seattle skyline during the holidays.  

But this time I saw more than a lit up Space Needle.  This time I saw triumph.  I claimed that thing in little over 12 minutes this past October.  I ascended that tower like an athlete- I conquered it like a badass.  I climbed that.  Me.  And suddenly I saw the Space Needle as more than a symbol for my beloved city of Seattle, I saw it as a symbol of my achievement.  Not only for the act of going from the bottom to the top on my own two feet on that day, but really just the fact that I can climb the Space Needle, now.  The Space Needle has become the physical manifestation of my project; my trophy.  The Space Needle became a little bit mine on that day and I love that building for it.  It’s funny how inanimate objects can come to symbolize so much.  I cried, this morning, looking at that weird version of the future, knowing it was there for my unexpected future.

I’m kind of going through a thing, right now.  I generally accept this weightloss thing like its no big deal, but holy cow.  Lately I’m seeing it, again.  I’m seeing the black and white of the before and after life I lead. I see the quality of life that I have now and am in awe.  Sometimes I’m particularly enamored of what I can do now, but other times it’s related to how I look.  Lately that’s where I am- appearances.  I keep catching glimpses of myself as I walk from my bedroom window toward my mirror and it shocks me to see how small I am.  My clothes don’t catch in fat rolls anymore.  I don’t find myself self-consciously tugging on my shirt hems or pulling the fabric away from my stomach.  My shirts don’t rise up and sit on my belly anymore, exposing my waistline.  I see light shining through the gap between my legs.  Muscle definition shows through my skin…  I just look normal in that normative way that we expect to look as a kid.  I’m not saying it’s better than I used to look, but it’s satisfying, for some reason, to look this way I always wished for as a kid.

More than anything I’m seeing the miracle that I made.  I suppose that since I made the miracle, it can’t necessarily be called a miracle, but ten years ago I would have called this a miracle.  I had hopes of losing 30-60 pounds and settling at 250 pounds or so, but I never dreamed that I would be this small.  So small that I’m considering buying a size 12.  It’s miraculous.  It was so absolutely ingrained that I was going to be heavy for the rest of my life.  I thought genetics had predispositioned me to being obese forever and I was all set not to fight it, to enjoy the life that I was given, so to flip that so entirely has felt miraculous.  It’s important to remember that and appreciate how far I’ve come instead of always looking at how much further there is to go.

Love that Space Needle ❤️   My Space Needle.  


A Whirl of Gaiety

This past week I let myself relax and partake in life.  I didn’t worry about working out and I made sure to enjoy my time with my students – though, come Thursday, I was sure finished with mother nature’s rain assault.  My second graders needed their recess, but it was so wet that the play chips were floating at my own kids’ school, and the field at mine was a muddy mess!  But it was a good week.  An easy week.  A happy week.  I kept an eye on the scale as well as my food intake and I’m pleased to report that I weighed in at 193 today!  That was a surprise because I’ve been to two parties between yesterday and today, and I was certain that all of my thought crime had done me in and undone my efforts.  I was feeling all puffy and swollen, so I was incredibly surprised!  But when I took inventory of my actual intake at the parties, I realized I made some pretty smart choices:

  1. I ate before I went.  In both cases, I ate a solid protein, whole grain and vegetable-rich meal which was intended to fill me up and keep me feeling satisfied while I was there.
  2. I shopped the food carefully.  At my work party I was pretty focused on the hummus made by a woman from our workplace who brought her recipe over from Iraq when she and her Muslim family emigrated here To the USA, recently.  It is the best.  Like, ridiculously, unbelievably good AND not bad for me.  I ate it with a bajillion carrots.  
  3. I ate raw vegetables with any of the dips rather than crackers or chips.  In the beginning I went for some crackers, but I realized what I was doing and, instead, dipped pea pods, carrot sticks, tomatoes and broccoli whenever possible.
  4. I avoided cake and cookies.  Once I start eating that stuff it’s like opening my own personal baked-goodness floodgates and I’ve realized that it’s best just to not open that can of worms in public, among triggers that get me going.
  5. I drank mostly water, and drank several glasses at a time, to avoid feeling hungry and filling up on poor food choices.  I didn’t drink because of the empty calories as well as the decision making issues that arise with a bit of imbibing on my part!
  6. Yes, I also ate one of my Dutch friend’s homemade caramel chocolate turtles, drank a glass of Christmas punch and even a glass of wine that tasted like the southern tip of Italy, to me, but I kept things in moderation at both parties.  Yeah, me!

I had a really nice time, today, at a baby shower for a friend and coworker who I’m particularly excited for with her impending motherhood.  You know how there’s some people who just feel like they’ll be marvelous parents?  Yeah.  While there, I had the opportunity to visit with some former colleagues who have retired or started teaching elsewhere.  It was just incredible to walk into the room to see all of those friends, familiar faces.  It was a kind of homecoming.  It’s been a few years since I’ve seen several of my old friends, so it was fun and a little embarrassing to reconnect and receive the admiration and compliments that come with a major weightloss like I’ve managed.  They were so kind and complimentary that it made me a bit bashful, but it was so kind of my friends to give me the feedback.  

They asked me a bit about the before and after life I’ve been able to experience.  It really has been like living two different lives.  A few things that I notice regularly…

  • I shock myself constantly with my appearance.  While I know I’m not a big, BIG girl anymore, I also am consistently surprised when I see my face in the mirror and I look so different than I expect and it looks pretty.  When I see the light between my thighs in the reflection of the mirror it still awes me.  When I see how slender I am around my ribcage I take a second glance, always.  I’m constantly surprised by my appreance and still haven’t fully adjusted to what I look like.
  • When you’re really heavy, you put yourself out there in a different, more forward, more vivacious way than the average person.  To be seen, to be valued, I had to be louder sweeter, funnier, more smiley and eyelash-batty than the average bear.  When you’re not heavy, all of that body language and feedback looks a lot like flirting.  A lot.  I have to watch myself in the store because sometimes I earn admiration from people, sometimes disdain or suspicion but often I get the lurid wolf-man, too, from my friendliness and that can be unnexpected and unnerving.
  • People really do feel free to assess my progress to me.  They judge me, but when I try to join them in patting my own back they often want to correct me.  I’m not quite sure why, but a definite before/after noticing is understanding that people have a hard time processing the change and, while you think they will be happy for you, it’s a hard change for them to accept and sometimes they are unintentionally and well intendedly mean.  It goes like this:

Them, ” Wow!  I can’t believe how amazing you look!  You’ve lost so much weight!  Good for you!”
Me, “Thanks!  I know!  I’m so skinny, now!”
Them, “Well, you’re not skinny.  You’re definitely lighter, but you’re definitely not skinny.”
Me, “Oh, I mean, compared to before…”
Them, “But you’re not skinny.  You have a while before I’d call you skinny.”
Me, “Ha ha.  Well.  Let me know when I’m skinny, then.”
And then I walk away feeling like a chump.  That didn’t happen today or last night, but you’d be surprised at how often I have to defend how skinny I am or am not with these semantics games.  I know it’s just conversation and most people mean well, but sometimes it can be difficult not to internalize their opinions.

  • I never got checked out or hit on as a heavy girl. At first I found male attention intoxicating. Like, wow. He actually looked at me. Up and down and all obvious, too. I’d take my secret in and savor it, shyly. I’d wonder why all the pretty ladies complained about such attention. It’s sweet, right? But now I’m a little more brazen with my eyes and I look back at people a little more openly. I no longer cast my eyes down and, instead, look proudly back. Sometimes men look and just appreciate, assess, smile and laugh at getting caught checking me out and the sheepishly move on. Sometimes men look and it’s different, though. Sometimes they look and their smile turns, creepily, they stare a little too long and don’t avert their eyes when you catch them. They linger, seeming to be unable to turn it off, perhaps enjoying the discomfort, and their look turns into a leer. I never had that happen when I was heavier and I don’t like this change very much; that’s what I mean by the lurid wolf-man.  
  • I’m more valued as a person by the general public. Perhaps it’s the people I’m around now, perhaps it’s my confidence in myself, perhaps it’s having had shed that thick, horrible skin that I wore for so long, but no matter what, now that it’s gone, I’m more valuable to the world. I share my ideas fairly fearlessly and assume that people do like me rather than the alternative. People pay attention to me in a different way. I don’t necessarily feel like it’s about my appearance, it’s just that I don’t allow my body to be an excuse for my failures anymore and I think that is something that is sensed by others.
  • *Bonus points if you know where this post’s title hails from.
    **And yes, I’m totally talking about my friend’s ethnicity intentially.  You would be shocked at the things that woman and her children are going through and tolerating.