This Side Of The Fence

If you read this blog regularly you know that I’ve talked about my struggles to lose the weight I gained with Jamie.  It’s been a topic almost from the inception of this blog.  However, as much as I think about it, I post about it a lot less.  Who wants to read that anyway? Weight loss and fitness are decisions I made for me not anyone else.

But I have some things to say.

Weight loss has never been easy for me. Ever. I can’t say that I was always overweight or that I’ve never been skinny but I can say that I’m one of those people who carries her weight in such a way that most people don’t see me as obese or even overweight.  Since my teen years, I’ve spent a lot of time fighting my urges to devour delicious food, avoid exercise, and trying desperately not to grow to gargantuan sizes.  The only times in my adult life that I’ve been free of weight worry were during my pregnancies.

The older I get the harder it is.

I have been stuck in the same place for well over a year now. I lost about 18 pounds in the space of 6 months or so. Those pounds were NOT easy to lose.  Then I stalled out something fierce.  Life got in the way, I was busy, we had calamities, and my weight loss and fitness became the last things on the list.

This summer has been the most stressful I’ve ever lived through. Some of what’s going on is not suitable for blogging so I haven’t talked about it here.  It’s simply not my place.  But it has affected me profoundly and I’ve spent a lot of time eating my feelings.  As a result I’ve gained 8 pounds in the last few months – that’s nearly half of what I fought so hard to lose in the first place.

Let me be clear about something. I am painfully aware that this is my own fault.

Now we come to the crux of this post. From my side of the fence? Weight loss is the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do.  I struggle with it constantly and I keep failing. Worse, I know that it’s my fault that I fail.  I castigate myself all the time about how I eat and how I can’t make myself exercise after a long day with the kids.  I want so desperately not to be this person who fails and yet for all my good intentions – I fail.

People tell me I’m not fat. Right. But then I go to the doctor and get yelled at to lose weight.  My BMI is 29. I weigh 178 pounds. By all standards available, YES, I am overweight.

I feel like every bite of food that enters my mouth is judged by SOMEONE; that people look at me and think “yup, pretty clear why she’s overweight.” I think that about me, why wouldn’t someone else?

Little changes DON’T add up for me. Not weighing myself DOESN’T work (all I do is get fatter).  I am well aware that a number on a scale or my BMI are not fantastic ways to measure my progress but they are the only concrete ways I have to do so. It’s all I have to work with and I have to pay attention.  That’s just how it works for me.  I hate it intensely. But ignoring it doesn’t make it go away or make me do a better job of losing weight.  I’ve tried that, too.

I get it that skinny people don’t always have it easy, either. They get told to eat a sandwich or people assume they have eating disorders. Allow me to be honest though – in our society, it is far, far easier to be skinny than to be fat.  It’s annoying that people feel free to comment or make assumptions but skinny people don’t get little kids pointing at them when they’re in a bathing suit (yep, had it happen). Skinny people don’t get stared at in the same way. They are objects of desire, the goal to be striven for. Some thin people have worked damn hard to get there and some are lucky enough that they don’t have to work at it to stay that way.

From here? From the fat side? I would take all those consequences in a heartbeat if it meant I could just “throw away the scale” and “go by how my clothes feel.”  If it meant that I could dispense with feeling like the whole world judges me just by how much I weigh.  If it meant I could stop feeling like a failure every. single. day. because I hate how I look and I’m losing faith that I can change it.

From my side, that’s how it feels. That’s what it looks like. Maybe it doesn’t look that way for you. Me? That’s the hand I got dealt and I keep trying to shuffle the deck only to come up with the same stupid cards every time.

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A Shocking Development

Those of you that follow this blog regularly know that I’ve been fighting to lose weight for over a year.  I’ve been plateaued in the same place for 6? 8? months now. It’s frustrating as hell.  Life keeps making me want to eat all my feelings and I keep finding my feelings in the cheez-it box and the bottle of wine.  Clearly, this is not the way to go about things.  When Scot lost his job, I promptly gained 5 lbs. It doesn’t sound like much but those were pounds I fought hard to lose in the first place. It made me feel so defeated.

But that’s not what this post is about.

I always knew that part of the reason I wasn’t as successful at weight loss as I wanted to be was that I didn’t exercise on a regular basis.  The last time I did Weight Watchers, it wasn’t as necessary – the weight seemed to come off just by making better choices about food.  But I’m older now, I’ve had a second baby, my body is just different.  It’s not that I haven’t known I needed the exercise, it was finding the time, the dedication, and the motivation that was keeping me firmly stuck on square one.

Then, we were gifted with an Xbox and Kinect.  This meant that I could get up and moving right in my own living room and I had ZERO excuse not to do so.  Of course, that didn’t mean I didn’t find all KINDS of excuses to keep right on finding my feelings at the bottom of the cheez-it box. To say that the stress level around here has been off the charts would be a massive understatement.  I badly needed a way to release all that stress.  I knew that exercise would be a way so I started making a real effort to get off my duff and DO it.

I did some walking here and there.  I played silly Kinect games to get me sweaty every now then.  But consistency is key and I didn’t have it.

Something flipped a switch around my birthday.  I was given a Zumba game for the Xbox (I had asked for it) and a few days after my birthday, I tried it out. It was fun! I could look like a total ass in private! I got sweaty and worked off calories!  AMAZING.

In the meantime, I really stepped up my game in the eating department.  If I was going to exercise I really didn’t want to waste all that hard work by going back to the damn cheez-it box again.  I started tracking more carefully, making better choices, and drinking my damn water.

I don’t always do Zumba.  I’ve mixed things up by doing a day of heavy housework, or taking a three mile walk.  But I keep coming back to Zumba, too.  Between everything, I’ve exercised 9 out of the last 11 days.

Here’s the shocking (to me) part: I find I can’t get through my day anymore without it. I need it in a way that I thought I needed the cheez-it box.  Yesterday I had a really stressful day (it was mostly minutiae) and in the midst of it, 4 different people tried to hit me while I was driving.  By the time I made the last turn for home of the day, I was MASSIVELY on edge.  I got home and all I could think about was taking my rage out for a cleansing walk.  Scot happened to be home from work so I left him to feed the kids and took my twitchy self out to sweat it off.

I walked a 12 min mile.  Over huge hills.  I’ve never before broken 14 minutes.  My overall pace for 3 miles was 13:45.

By the time I was done, I was sweating like Nixon at the Kennedy debates and I felt better than I had all day.  After the kids went to bed, I snacked on fruit – FRUIT, OF ALL THINGS.

I find myself getting up in the morning and thinking “Ugh. I’m tired.  I didn’t get all the sleep I wanted to.  I don’t know if I can get in the exercise today.”  Then, by mid-day, I’m looking forward to Jamie’s nap so I can turn on the Xbox and Zumba my way to sanity.

Of course I know people who have talked about this side effect of exercise and while I never doubted them, I was absolutely certain that I would never be one of those people; sure that exercise would always be a chore for me.  Now, it seems that if I don’t do it, I get twitchy and restless and I just gotta go sweat.

I have no idea yet whether or not this will have any effect on the damn scale.  But it has had a huge effect on my mental health and my ability to manage my stress level.  At this point, that is way more important than the number on the scale.  I really do want the number to go down – significantly – but managing my stress in this fashion is turning out to be far more beneficial than a scale number.

It turns out that what everyone says is true – you have to find something that you like to do – REALLY LIKE TO DO – and do it consistently.  Before long, you’ll find that you don’t want to skip doing it.  Gyms will never be for me, I don’t think, but I think I could do this for a long time.  For this, Mama can put herself first.

Ten Percent

For all intents and purposes, I have lost 10% of my body weight.  When I say “for all intents and purposes” it’s because the scale is being bitchy.  I weighed myself before I left for my meeting and I was at my 10% goal weight exactly.  I got to meeting and I weighed in just 0.1 pounds over.  So, technically, according to Weight Watchers, I’m not quite there yet.

But then I came home and weighed myself again on my (weight watchers) scale and it said I was 0.3 pounds below my 10% goal weight.

So, yeah.  Given the vagaries of scales, I think I can say that I did it.

That means I’ve lost a total of 18 lbs since I started in March.  Frankly, I’m a little ashamed it’s taken me so long to get this far and the last couple of months have been a bitch where weight loss is concerned.  But I finally got here and that’s nothing to sneeze at.

I fit into smaller clothes now.  Clothes that were but a pipe dream hanging in my closet – the reminder of how much smaller I used to be before Jamie came along – are now beginning to fit again.  Not everything but some of them.  Some things are too big for me to wear now.  I shop for new clothes in my closet instead of at Target.

And then there’s the photographic proof, which really shows me how far I’ve come.

Here I am the day I signed up for Weight Watchers:

And here is a picture I took of myself this morning when I put on clothes that didn’t fit a month ago:

I’m not done yet.  I still have 15 lbs to go to get to my goal weight and if the last several months are any indication, it’s not going to be especially easy to get there. But I made it this far, I’m over halfway to my goal weight, and I’m not giving up now.

Starting Over

I’m stalled out on this weight loss thing.  I lost about 15 pounds and then just parked it there.  I’d go up, I’d go down, I’d inch a little bit further down and then it all went straight to hell.

I’ve had a bad few weeks with Weight Watchers.  Much of it is my own fault.  I’ve gone for weigh-in but not stayed for meeting or just skipped altogether.  I haven’t been following the program as diligently as I should – I haven’t been putting me first enough to do it.  I spend my down time on my ass instead of getting a little exercise first.

As far as the food goes?  Oh dear.  It’s not good.  My stress level has been high for a number of reasons and I find myself eating all kinds of thing I shouldn’t.  Donuts keep appearing in my house.  No, I’m not buying them but they sneak in and I have a very hard time saying no – especially at the end of a long, stressful day when all I want to do is eat carbs until I pop.  Yummy, delicious carbs.

In short, I’m slacking.

So, I went to weigh-in this last night and I stayed for meeting.  I gained 2 pounds but that was actually a victory because I expected it to be at least three.  Meeting helped me to recenter myself about what I need to be doing and I realized that I’m putting everything else ahead of this one thing I’m trying to do for myself.  It’s just as important as doing the dishes or cleaning up the toys or supervising homework.

With that in mind, I started today with a new attitude, a new outlook, and a determination to be stronger than my cravings.

Today was a good day.

I tracked every single thing I ate.  I even had lunch with a friend and the food was point-heavy but delicious.  I took that into account and ate a much lighter dinner.  Also, because Thursdays are one of my days without kids, I took a 2.42 mile walk after I got home from lunch.  The weather was perfect and I couldn’t resist getting out in it.  I pushed myself farther than I normally do and it felt great.

Between exercise and careful points management, I ate my exact daily points target today without touching my extra weekly points (which I’ll probably dip into while watching a bit of TV).  I got all my fruits and vegetables in as well all my dairy and all my water.  I ate a very balanced diet today.

I’m starting over and it feels good.

I Wore The Dress

Several months ago I blogged about a dress that I bought. It’s been months and progress has been slow but I can finally wear that dress.

Last night Scot and I went out to dinner for our anniversary and I donned my flippy blue dress for the occasion.  I don’t look like a dress form so it doesn’t fit me like it fits a dress form.  But it does fit.

So here’s the proof:

I swear I didn’t look that frumpy in person.

A Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day (Sort Of)

Oh what a day.

It started with me having to wake Liam up for school.  I never have to do this because the kid is out of bed, bright eyed and bushy tailed, at the stroke of seven each morning.  It’s like he stalks the clock in his room just waiting for it to hit 7 am before bursting into the hallway with a loud “I’M UP!”

Not so much this morning, though.  The boys got to bed late last night due to scheduling beyond my control and while Jamie handled it OK, Liam wasn’t prepared.  He woke up this morning with no spring in his step and bags under his eyes.

We got through the morning routine OK and made it to the bus on time.  I warned Liam that he had a dentist appointment this afternoon so I would pick him up early from school.

I got back to the house and noticed that my Mom had called so I called her back to find out what she called about.  A relative had passed away and she was calling to tell me.  The day was starting to take a downward slide.

After I got off the phone with Mom, I was sitting around with Jamie while he watched morning cartoons when it dawned on me that I completely forgot my brother-in-law’s birthday last week.  Not just missed it after thinking “hey!  That’s coming up!” but TOTALLY FORGOT.  It didn’t even occur to me that I had a birthday to remember.  I felt like a total heel.  We don’t exchange birthday gifts among the adults but we usually send cards and call each other.  I missed it entirely.  D’oh!

A bit later I turned off the TV and headed upstairs to sort out laundry for the day.  I needed to wash the jeans I was wearing so I peeled them off to throw in the pile.  I was sitting there sorting out loads of laundry – without pants on – when there was a knock at the door.

Crap.

I grabbed a pair of (dirty) jammy pants, hustled myself into them, and went downstairs to answer the door.  Who was there?  Jamie’s speech therapist.  Guess what I forgot?  Yep, Jamie had speech therapy this morning and I was standing there in what amounted to pajamas.  At least I was wearing a bra.

Batting 1,000, Cari.

The good news is that my house was not completely trashed so forgetting to clean before the therapist arrived wasn’t an issue.  Being a slave to the to-do list this week paid off and I didn’t have a family room sunk in dirty dishes and scattered toys.  WHEW!

After speech therapy we got lunch and I did laundry and then Jamie went down for a nap.  Things seemed to even out at this point so I thought the worst was over.  Not so.

I went downstairs to grab my now clean jeans out of the dryer so that I could get dressed to pick up Liam at school.  The washing machine was flashing an error code at me.  Aw, crap.  I looked up the code and it had something to do with a lack of water supply.  What the what?!  I hit the cancel button and it started to do something so I let it go to see what it would do while I went upstairs to get dressed and wake Jamie from his nap.  (I hate doing that but it was necessary so we could pick up Liam and get to the dentist on time.)

On our way down to the car to leave, I checked on the washer.  It had now shut off altogether.  Great.  It wasn’t working at all.  Lately, the dryer has also been on the fritz (sort of), so now I was looking at no laundry facilities at all.  Oh, this day.

The day finally seemed to turn a corner at the dentist.  There was no bad news at the dentist.  No cavities, everything in good shape, need a little work on the thoroughness of his brushing but otherwise good.

We got home and I turned the washing machine back on hoping that it had magically cleared up whatever was going on and decided to work again.  It did!  It washed the load with nary a hiccup.  Clean clothes!

The day ended on a high note when I weighed-in at Weight Watchers and lost another pound then came home and got the kids to bed early.

It was a hell of a Wednesday.

Life In Our House

People, my life is boring sometimes.  One day bleeds into the next and so on and so forth until it’s suddenly the last week in September and I’m not quite sure how that happened.
We’re now several weeks into the school year and it seems we’ve finally settled into our routine.  Liam has decided he no longer hates first grade and actually likes going to school.  Academically, he is already making progress from where he was at the end of last year and I’m pretty impressed with his abilities.
Jamie had both his 6 month speech evaluation and his 30 month check-up at the pediatrician on Wednesday.  As far as the speech goes, he’s clearly worlds ahead of where he was when we started speech therapy.  He’s made tremendous progress but he’s still going to need to transition to the 3-5 year old program in March when he ages out of the program he’s in.  In the meantime, he’s becoming a chatterbox and never. shuts. up.  
At his well-child check-up he weighed in at 36 lbs and is now 36 inches tall.  As his doctor says, “He’s a perfect square!”  I’ve noticed lately that he seems to be more difficult to cart around in my arms and now I know why.  Needless to say, he’s been getting around on his own two feet while holding my hand more often than not.  
I’m getting used to the new schedule, too.  Suddenly I have two days a week without the kids in the house and there’s so many things I want to get done I almost don’t know where to start.  I probably need to sit down and make a list so that I can pick one of those things when the kids are gone.  For now I’m just trying to keep up with the household chores – and doing my usual craptastic job of it.
I’m also still losing weight although very slowly.  I had a bad couple of weeks in there and I gained some back – welcome to eating your feelings, Cari.  But that has smoothed out and I lost what I gained so I’m sitting at around 16 lbs lost over all.  I have about 15 more to go.  So, I’m halfway there.  If I can just force myself to be a bit more dedicated to this, I’ll make better progress.
Scot is busy with work during the week and hanging out with us on the weekends.
So, that’s us in a nutshell these days.