Get In My Belly!

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What a difference 4 months can make!  Documenting your progress with pictures is so important, even if you are the only one that ever sees them.  You might not notice any changes over the course of a month, which might lead to discouragement or a sense of failure and disappointment.  However, when you put a picture side by side, a month apart, you might just amaze yourself!

I’m so very late with this post, I meant to post last Tuesday…but life.  Better late than never though…right? We started homeschooling my 11 year old son 2 weeks ago, and I’m still trying to figure out both our schedules, but that’s a blog post for another time.  In my blog post, Believing Is Achieving, I disclosed that one of my major goals for 2017 was to plan and prep meals more consistently and eat out less.  So far so good, but the year is young.  One of the products I purchased for myself that has been a game changer in our household – meal prep containers.

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Seriously, these cost me $20 for a pack of 20 and they have been working awesome for us.  My husband can pre-pack his lunches with either leftovers or I prep some meat and veggies for the week.  It makes it so much easier to grab something healthy for lunch or snack and resist the temptation to eat out because I’m too tired or busy to cook/make something.  I ordered mine thru Amazon, but I’m sure you could find them anywhere.  I prefer the 3 way containers, but they also come in 2.

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I can’t stress this enough.  If you remember nothing else that I ever say, remember these 2 things:

  1. Throw out your scale!  DO IT!
  2. EAT EAT EAT – stop dieting

I’m an emotional eater. I eat when I’m upset, bored, lonely, happy, angry, etc… You get the picture.  I shared with my nutritionist that I don’t actually remember the last time I was truly HUNGRY.  Dieting just made me feel deprived and angry.  Angry at what I perceived to be my failings.  Anger that I couldn’t be the kind of person to eat whatever I wanted, never exercise and stay magically thin and fit.  Anger led to binge eating, losing control and hating myself.  A vicious cycle I couldn’t seem to break.  One of the key things my nutritionist and therapist taught me was that food isn’t inherently good or bad.  It’s a mantra I live by now.

FOOD ISN’T INHERENTLY GOOD OR BAD

It’s about choices.  Some foods are better for you.  They have better benefits.  I feel better when I eat them.  Sometimes you just need that slice of cake or that piece of pie or bowl of ice cream.  My life is now a series of choices.  I know that an apple is better for me than a ding dong.  I know I need to fuel my body.  Once I changed my mindset, and food wasn’t a series of things I wasn’t ALLOWED to eat, my eating habits improved.  Improving my eating habits, filling my plate with nutritiously dense foods, fueled my body in ways that I could FEEL.  I found myself with more energy, both physical and mental.  My moods improved.  I wasn’t constantly filled with self-loathing.  I didn’t feel like a failure when I reached for the mega-stuffed Oreo.  I enjoyed the heck out of that Oreo, but I stopped at 1, instead of eating 6 or more.  I started to learn to love myself.  It’s a process, one in which I’m still evolving.  I’ve found new confidence and joy in my body and what it can do now that it couldn’t do before at almost 300 pounds.

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I’m willing to put myself out there and be vulnerable in sharing my journey.  If even one person understands that they are not alone, that I understand how they feel and that I am here to inspire, motivate or just love them through it, then putting myself out here – the good, the bad and the ugly – will have all been worth it.  My goal is health.  Healthy looks different on everyone, and I think that is beautiful.  I think YOU are beautiful.  I don’t have a goal weight.  I just have goals.  Society doesn’t dictate what beautiful means to me, I define it for myself and I embrace every scar, every stretch mark, every fabulous flaw because it’s the roadmap in my journey, in my beautiful life.

So what do I eat?

Snacks

A big part of my daily nutrition comes in the form of Shakeology by Beachbody.  I usually drink one as my afternoon snack.  The long hours between lunch and dinner are my most vulnerable.  If I’m going to reach for the Oreo or bag of Doritos, it’s during the interminable mid-afternoon.  I prefer the chocolate flavor.  It curbs my cravings, gives me a boost of energy to finish the day strong and fills me up till dinner.

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I also enjoy fruit, granola and trail mix for my snacking pleasure.  I’m a creature of habit, so I’ll typically have the same breakfast, lunch and snacks every day for weeks until I get bored, then I change things up.

BREAKFAST

This is an easy one, because I eat the same thing for breakfast every morning.

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And coffee.

Lots and lots of coffee.

And eggs.  I love eggs.

I vary what I put in my omelets, but I love me some eggs for breakfast.  I always add spinach, I’m not a huge vegetable lover, so I get them in however and whenever I can.  I might add turkey sausage or diced ham.  I’ll throw in some peppers and onions, a little cheese, different kinds every week.  Sometimes I add an avocado or fruit on the side.

And yes I eat the whole egg.  Yolk and all.

Lunch

Part of my meal prep for the week is grilling some chicken for easy go-to lunch choices during the week.

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A recent favorite of mine is the turkey, avocado and red pepper roll up!  So good!  And no I’m not anti-bread.  I LOVE bread.  It’s important to meet my protein goals every day, and that’s harder to do if I fill up on carbs, as lovely as they are and as much as I love them.

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Another lunch favorite is the quesadilla.  I eat this one quite a bit, it’s easy and I love a hot lunch.  I’ll add grilled chicken, spinach and peppers/onions to a whole wheat tortilla, sometimes throwing in some cheese or avocado.  The quesadilla is great because it’s a versatile choice, there are so many directions and iterations you could try to shake things up if you get bored easily with food.

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DINNER WINNER OF THE WEEK

First, I will share my list of favorite websites that I use religiously for recipes/ideas when I’m not using Pinterest.  Pinterest is pretty much my one-stop shop, but these websites are beautiful and have deliciously wonderful recipes.

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Our favorite dinner last week came from How Sweet It Is.  It wasn’t too difficult to make, I did throw in some cheats and I was able to prep most of it ahead of time to reduce actual cooking time.  It was a hit with the family, even the man-child, and he’s impossible to please these days.  It tasted even better reheated the next day.  I can’t wait to make it again!

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I mean seriously, how good does this look?  And I’m usually a Pinterest fail, so when my food (or project) comes out actually looking very similar to the fancy picture, I’m super stoked! Even admiring how pretty it looked, I was still afraid to taste it.  I would have curled in the fetal position, crying for days, if it hadn’t tasted as good as it looked.  Luckily, it did!  Here is the actual recipe.  I didn’t grill corn on the cob and shave it off, that’s too much work for me.  I just bought the Del Monte Fire Roasted Corn (yes, in the can).  I made the bacon ahead of time, crumbled it up and stored for later use.  I also kept the grease in a bowl and reheated it for cooking per the instructions.

A small serving of this tasty dish filled me up, but not in that uncomfortable food baby belly wear elastic pants kinda way.  I love it when a recipe comes together from kitchen to table like this one did for me.  It’s just the best feeling, especially when you aren’t the best cook in the world, like myself.

Anyway, I hope some or all of my suggestions work for you and your family.  Meal prepping really does help control poor eating habits and choices, not to mention all the money we’ve been saving not eating out.  It takes a bit of organization, planning and prepping but it’s so very worth it.  Try it!

It’s a game-changer, I promise ❤

So, I’m Basically Moses

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My Bible study this week has been focusing on Moses and the Exodus from Egypt.  This study couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  When God tasked Moses with liberating the Israelites, he was full of excuses about how it would NEVER work.  Moses was a bit of a whiner.  I’m not judging.  To judge Moses would be to judge myself.  Not that I think I’m ACTUALLY Moses reincarnated or anything like that (although…), just that I completely understand his fear and reticence towards the monumental task set before him.  Moses basically attempted to dissuade God in three primary ways:

  1. Moses didn’t believe in himself or think he was good enough.
  2. Moses was afraid people would doubt his authenticity or credibility.
  3. Moses believed himself to be a terrible public speaker.

I am 45 years old and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I’ve always wanted to be a mother.  I’m not terribly ambitious.  I mean I can be super competitive, you probably don’t want to find yourself my adversary in a board or card game, but in the world of business, not so much.  I don’t have any desire to climb the corporate ladder or further my education.  I always knew I wanted children.  It’s the only life ambition I can ever recall truly wanting and craving.  Part of being a mother, meant helping to support our family, so working outside the home was a necessity.  I don’t have any regrets, but as I enter a new season in my life, I find myself floundering.

Our three girls are out of the house, adapting and thriving in a world outside of our little bubble.  We couldn’t be more proud of them.  Our son is only 10 and still living at home.  I don’t know where we went wrong with him.  I keep encouraging him to get a job and be a contributor in life, but he’s full of excuses (just like Moses).  Apparently, he’s under the impression that 10 is too young to work or drive.  I tell him he’s just not trying hard enough.

Obviously, I’m joking.

Or am I?

But seriously, most of the time, it’s just me and little man hanging out.  My husband (in addition to working 2 jobs) is in Seminary, completing his Masters of Divinity degree.  Unfortunately, we don’t see him as much as we’d like (never thought I’d say that!)  I’ve taken the last year off from working outside the home, choosing instead to focus on little man, my health, my faith, my husband and my girls.  We’ve focused these last few months on simplifying our lives.  We will be downsizing from 3600 square feet to 1300 square feet of living space in a few short weeks.  I feel like we are either selling or giving away our entire life and history, it’s both terrifying and exhilarating.  Like many people, we have entirely too much STUFF.

I’ve been looking into part-time jobs and opportunities, not having much luck or finding anything I’m truly excited about.  I feel lost and a little dejected if I’m being honest.  I’ve been channeling my inner Moses and whining to God about it.  I don’t do many things well, but I do think I’m a competent writer.  I haven’t figured out how to make money doing what I love, second only to motherhood.  I do feel I have a story to tell, and God has impressed this feeling onto my heart.  It’s scary to put yourself out there, metaphorically naked and under a spotlight.  I don’t like feeling vulnerable.  I’m embarrassed when I get complimented or even noticed.  I both crave and cringe that spotlight.  Maybe if I could keep my clothes on…?

As I read about Moses this week, I’m struck by his three excuses to God.  Why?  Because they sound so familiar!  Those same three excuses have been stuck on a loop in my head for months.

  1. I worry I’m not good enough
  2. I worry that people won’t like me or that I’ll annoy them
  3. I worry that I won’t be able to speak (write) confidently or authentically, that I will fall short and be judged harshly and found lacking

In short, I’m worried I will fail.

If you’ve followed my Instagram or Facebook posts lately, you’ll notice I’ve been posting more about my health and fitness journey. In my quiet moments of prayer and reflection, I feel like it’s this part of my journey that God wants me to share.  I keep making excuses and trying to ignore that little voice but it’s not going away.  I feel like there are so many people out there that have struggled with weight, poor self-image, terrible self-confidence and low self-esteem.  People who look at themselves in the mirror and feel shame, even hatred for the person looking back.  People who feel like they have tried EVERYTHING and nothing works.  People who have just given up, thrown in the towel, trying to convince themselves and others that it doesn’t matter anymore, that they don’t care.  People who are tired of failing.  Tired of feeling ashamed and judged.  People who find themselves spectators in their life instead of active participants.  People who just don’t feel good enough or that they measure up against the ideals of others, stuck in the perpetual cycle of despair and recrimination.

The other day, I shared my 21 day challenge group with all of you.  How it gave me new energy and focus, a sense of purpose and excitement.  My accountability group is comprised of an amazing group of women, who are motivated simply by helping and encouraging others.  I shared how in 21 days, I lost 3.5 inches overall.  I spoke briefly of how excited I am for my next challenge group to start.  In some ways, this group has given me a sense of belonging I didn’t even realize I was missing, a sense of purpose.

Over the last month, I’ve been reflecting and praying, listening hard for an answer.  What I didn’t realize was that it’s been in front of me all along, but I, like Moses, gave God a million excuses why I was the wrong person, at the wrong time, in the wrong place.  I will fail.  I can’t do it.  No one will listen.  No one will like me or relate to me.  I won’t find the words.  I’ll suck.  It will just be another thing in a long line of things that I’ve attempted to do that I’ve failed or given up on.  This time, I’ll fail publicly and spectacularly.  I’ll withdraw into myself again, gain all the weight back and feed on self-loathing, self-pity and cupcakes.

WOW.

For real though, this is the rabbit hole I find myself diving into, time and again.  I’ve worked so hard to change my thoughts.  Changing my thoughts has changed my behaviors.  Changing my behaviors has changed my perspective.  Changing my perspective has changed my life.

So I took the leap.

I decided to become a coach, a fitness consultant for Beachbody, run my own challenge groups, be a part of an amazing team,  and see if I can’t reach the people who struggle just like me, need the encouragement and motivation of someone who understands.  Someone who gets how hard it is.  Someone who has to fight for every pound or inch lost.  I’m living proof that perfection is not required, just a willingness to do the work, to show up, every single day.  Celebrating both scale and non-scale victories is sweeter when done with people who truly want the best results for you.  I love my challenge group because it’s not just about physical change.  There is a heart change, a mind change, a willingness to believe in yourself because other people believe in you and are walking alongside you, cheering you on.  Where I saw failure, I now see opportunity.  I’m excited to embark on my new journey, this new stage in my life.  I’m scared to share it.  I’m terrified of not living up to my own expectations.  I’m even more terrified of letting my team down. I feel I’ve found a beautiful way to share my journey, help others while doing what I love most, writing about it.  I will still write about other things, participate in my writing challenge groups, share my thoughts and insights, but I’m focusing my energies primarily on my health and fitness journey.  Even giving my blog and social media accounts a bit of a face lift, revitalizing my writing and sharing space with a new look and a new name.

I struggle with this concept that I could possibly know or understand what God wants for my life.  I know that in those quiet moments of prayer and reflection, this direction, this path feels right.  I feel God is telling me that I am the right person.  This is the right time.  And I’m in the right place.  ❤

If you are interested in hearing more about my next challenge group, please don’t hesitate to message me!  We have another one starting on November 14th (prep week starting on November 7th) and it’s going to be fantastic.  I’m beyond excited and I don’t get excited about exercise or eating healthy!  So you know it must be good.

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I hope I’m the mouse, not the frog 😛

HAPPY FRIYAY!  ENJOY THE WEEKEND ❤ 

Wickedly Fit – A Halloween Challenge

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“Take care of your body.  It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

On Halloween, I completed day 21 of a fitness challenge I joined called “Wickedly Fit.”  I’m all about the packaging, and the title of this fitness challenge group was just too cute to pass up!

My health and fitness goals have been stagnate for awhile now.  I hadn’t gained any weight, but I hadn’t lost any either.  I could see the old patterns of behavior, poor eating choices and a sedentary lifestyle sneaking back into my daily life.

It scared me.

But not enough to take action.  Yet.

I’d been creeping on this one girl’s Instagram account.   I didn’t know her.  I’m not even sure how I ended up following her to be honest.  I loved reading her posts and seeing her photos.  She’s adorable, motivational and inspirational.  I wanted to be a part of whatever she was doing.  It took me 4 months to get up the courage to message her.  Our stories are vastly different, but one thing I’ve learned is that unhealthy means different things to different people and it isn’t always just a reflection of the number on the scale.  In fact, I don’t even have a goal weight anymore and I’m seriously considering throwing out my scale altogether, especially after seeing the results of this latest fitness challenge.

I finally found the courage to message her.  She immediately responded.  Her excitement and enthusiasm were contagious.  Before I even knew what happened, I was signing up for her fitness challenge. For the first time in months, I was thrilled about the prospect of working out and overhauling our pantry and fridge.  I know.  It was crazy.  I didn’t even recognize myself.

I’m not one to get excited about healthy eating or exercise.  Ever.  The only thing working out has ever made me want to do is nap.  I get endorphins for chocolate or Chick Fil A but not from exercise.  It had been just over a year since my Gastric Sleeve surgery.  The surgery had taken me as far as it could, the rest was going to be up to me.

I knew this.

I just didn’t want to know I knew this.

My highest weight recorded was 297 pounds.  I’ve never told anyone that number.  It took me 6 months to lose 10 pounds and that’s when I decided to look into Gastric Sleeve surgery.  When I decided to go in for surgery, I was down to 287.5 pounds.  The date was July 21, 2015.  My surgery date was August 19, 2015.  By January 2016, I was down to 216 pounds.  I lost 71.5 pounds in 6 months.  Unfortunately, there were side effects.  My hair thinned out, at an alarming rate.  I lost muscle and I found myself feeling low on energy and motivation.  My periods, while much improved, were still bad and irregular.  I lost another 10 pounds over the next few months, but by May of 2016, I had stalled out.  I didn’t exercise over the summer and I was starting to panic that I was going to eventually put all the weight back on.  Gastric sleeve surgery gave me an internal control over portion size, but I was filling up on all the wrong things and wasn’t getting the vitamins and nutrients my body needed.  I felt run down and worn out.  Not to mention, disgusted with myself.  Did I really put myself through all this only to quit, to fail?

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Was I going to be THAT girl again?

I hope not.

No, I definitely did not want to fail (nor did I want to see my chins having chins)!

So I gathered my courage and messaged this girl to find out what this Wickedly Fit program was all about.

I received access to a Facebook accountability group (my favorite part).  This group of women kept me going day after day.  They were positive and encouraging.  They were open and honest about their struggles and challenges.  We celebrated non-scale victories, participated in daily challenge questions/activities and posted all sorts of wonderful food porn (the clean and healthy kind).  I wasn’t intimidated by this group at all.  Quite the opposite in fact. I found myself sharing and opening up about my own struggles and daily challenges and even victories.  I found myself bolstered and encouraged and being a part of this special group of ladies gave me the motivation I needed to complete this 21 day challenge.

I also received a 30 day supply of Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix workout program and eating plan, complete with portion control containers.  This whole program is facilitated by Beachbody.  I was familiar with their programs, and had used them to bounce back in shape after my youngest daughter was born.  I knew they worked.  I knew it wasn’t a quick fix.  I knew it would take hard work and dedication on my part.

I was ready.

Sort of.

I mean, I paid for it.  So I’d better be ready.  I was nervous though…

Failure.  My biggest fear.  Always hovering over me like the Grim Reaper.  Whispering negative words of discouragement in my ear, making me doubt myself.  This particular demon has always plagued me, but I was learning to fight back.  I was learning to stifle and smother those negative thoughts and feelings.  I have good days and bad days.  Days when I see all that I have accomplished and days when I only see the ways in which I have failed. Before my surgery, I would binge eat those feelings.  Now, I binge watch Netflix.  Not quite the trade I should be making.  I know.  But still…a slight improvement.

The “before” picture was taken on Day 1 of the challenge and the “after” picture taken on the last day of the challenge.  21 days total.  I lost 3 1/2 inches overall.  I can definitely see subtle changes and I hope you see them too.  Naturally, I lost the most inches in my chest. Just proving that my boobs are the first thing to go when I lose weight.  Actually, despite losing 3 1/2 inches, I gained 3 pounds.  I weighed before I measured and I was devastated.  I almost didn’t even take my measurements, but I’m so glad I did.  I’ve never been one to record my measurements, but this 21 day challenge made a believer out of me.  I could see noticeable differences in how my clothes fit and how I felt that just wasn’t reflected on the scale.

It was a dark moment, and one that in the past I would have responded to by raiding the pantry.  Instead, I chose to reach out to my challenge group through Facebook.  Post my results and reveal what I considered to be a failure, the gaining of 3 pounds.  I’ve since adjusted my perceptions and I’m super proud of the 3 1/2 inches I lost.  I can’t wait for my next challenge group to start!  Despite what my scale would have me believe, I am transforming my body, making positive changes, gaining strength and confidence.

I’ve got this!

Today.

Tomorrow might be a different story.  But I’ll deal with tomorrow…tomorrow.

The last year of my life was about losing the weight and finding myself.  This next year, I want to focus on living a healthy lifestyle, strengthening my body, mind and soul in new and different ways.  Yes, I still have weight I want to lose, but I want to focus less on the scale and more on building strength and flexibility, pushing my body in ways I never imagined I’d be able to do again.  I want to transform myself physically, mentally and spiritually.  I want to develop attainable goals and then smash through them.  I want to redefine what beauty and success mean to me, not measured by what others think or believe, but about what works for me.

One day at a time.

I want to share my journey and experiences with others.  I draw strength from putting myself out there, as terrifying as it can be.  I hope that maybe someone reading this will be inspired or encouraged, reach out either to me or someone else.  I hope that maybe they won’t feel alone or afraid.  Our goals might be different.  Our struggles, challenges and motivations might be different.  At the end of the day, we all want to be the best versions of ourselves.  We all have desires, wants and needs.  Things we want to accomplish.  Let’s do it together ❤

Weighing In

When last I left you, I told you about my decision to have Gastric Sleeve surgery.  My insurance company required a certain number of meetings between myself, a nutritionist and a therapist.  It took over 3 months from the time I decided to have the surgery and the date the actual surgery took place.

I met my surgeon, Dr. Russ Birdwell.  He put me immediately at ease, not too mention he was easy on the eyes and he enjoys Hockey, Football and working on his aquarium.  Or so I heard.  From a friend. Named Google.  It’s not stalking if you can google it.  I read that somewhere.

My starting weight was 287.5 pounds.  It doesn’t get any easier sharing that number.  On surgery day, I weighed 266.2 pounds.  I’ll be honest the majority of that weight was lost during the 14 day fast prior to surgery.  The weeks preceding the fast, I didn’t gain any weight, but I didn’t really lose any weight either.  I’ve mentioned before that I’m an emotional eater.  I eat when I’m bored, sad, happy or angry.  So, pretty much all the time unless I’m asleep.  I don’t remember the last time I ate because I was actually hungry.  It was important to make myself aware of these behaviors, work on my portion control and make better food choices in general.  I worked on eating more slowly and chewing my food thoroughly.    Practicing these habits now, would help during my recovery period.

I wasn’t worried about the fast once I learned the reason it was necessary.  During surgery, they have to move the liver to access the stomach.  It lowers complications if your liver is small and malleable.  Complications are bad.  I didn’t want complications.  My liver would have won Best Liver in a Laparoscopic Surgery award.  My doctor would have wanted to date me if I was single, that’s how slinky and attractive my liver looked.  Things just got weird.  Moving on…

During the fast, you can have 3 shakes per day.  They give you a list of acceptable protein shakes, and I picked EAS carb control in chocolate.  You could also have sugar-free clear liquids and broths.  I lived off jello, popsicles and protein shakes.  Also water.  Lots and lots of water.  I hate water.  Surprisingly, it didn’t suck, cause you know…liver.  Although, I can’t look at jello now without throwing up in my mouth a little.

I didn’t exercise during this time.  Honestly, existing on less than 500 calories a day, walking to the fridge felt like marathon training.  My iron levels were low, so he had me taking Iron Supplements as well as a daily multi-vitamin.  They take vials and vials of blood and run a battery of tests to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible during surgery.

Surgery day has finally arrived! I’ve lost 21.3 pounds and I’m both excited and nervous for this next chapter of my life to begin.  Hopefully, a thinner and healthier chapter.  I make sure to talk to each of my kids, just in case…  I don’t want to have these morbid thoughts, but one of the complications is death.  I wanted to make sure that if I was going to have last words, they were “I love you.”  Also, that Jerry knew I wanted to be cremated.  We don’t agree on this issue, so I was adamant he promise to cremate me, not bury me.  If he didn’t, I would haunt him for the rest of his life in a scary Poltergeist kinda way, not in a comedic Ghostbuster kinda way or sweet Casper kinda way.  Also, if he wanted, he could turn my ashes into a diamond and wear me.  What?  That’s a thing.

The surgery was successful, zero complications.  Yay me!  Yay my sexy liver for being all cooperative!

Then I came out of anesthesia.  My first thought was that something went terribly wrong.  The pain.  I’m having a heart attack.  Something isn’t right.  All I can do is cry.  There is a nurse.  She’s mean to me, tells me they just gave me morphine.  It’s not working.  I’m convinced I’m dying, I start to hyperventilate.  I start throwing up.  Or dry heaving really.  It’s horrible.

I wake up again in my room.  There is my husband and a nice nurse.  She tells me the pain I’m feeling is gas from all the air they pumped into my stomach and that the best relief would be to walk around.

Walk around?!?!  But I’m dying.  I know it.  No one ever in the history of the world has experienced pain like this.  Why is my husband just standing there!  He should be yelling at the nurses to DO something!

I’d whine and complain more but I’m too busy throwing up.  Again.  They keep insisting walking will help.  So I walk.  Throw up.  Walk some more.  The pain might be lessening.  Less of an elephant sitting on my chest, more of a hippo maybe.  Do hippos weigh less than elephants?  I think so.  Maybe the walking is helping.

I’m feeling slightly better.  I might have been a tad dramatic before.  Ignore me.  I’m not a good patient.  I have a very low pain tolerance.  Those poor nurses.  I’m afraid to look at my stomach, I don’t want to see the incisions.  I can’t stop throwing up, which although painful and unpleasant, does help alleviate the gas pains.

I’m kept overnight, to ensure there are no complications.  Apparently, pain, gas and vomiting aren’t complications, but side effects… Before I’m allowed to go home, I have to have a scan done to make sure everything looks good.  I have to drink this dye, which I can’t keep down.  I keep throwing it back up.  Somehow, I manage to keep enough down to do the scan.  I’ve lost all dignity at this point.  I just want to go home.  I’m a terrible patient.  They probably want me to go home too. The only thing I’ll miss are the leg massager things you get to wear to keep blood clots from forming.  Those things were awesome.

I’m finally able to keep down water.  I take teensy tiny sips.  I pretty much exist on water for the 1st 4 days or so.  Every week I’m allowed to add foods to my diet, starting with clear liquids and slowly adding solids.  They recommend you do it slowly so you know exactly what foods you tolerate and which ones you don’t.  Once I got home, the vomiting finally stopped and hasn’t been an issue since.  I’m careful to eat slow and stop when I’m full.  Jerry still asks me “is that all you’re going to eat?”  Sigh.

Two weeks post-op, I see Dr. Birdwell for my follow up.  My incisions are healing nicely.  I weigh 254.3.  I’ve lost another 11.9 pounds.  A total of 33.2 pounds lost.

As soon as I’m released to exercise, I begin walking and I join a boot camp, Camp Gladiator.  I hate exercise.  I’m never going to love it.  It will always be a struggle and I have to make myself go.  I’ve accepted this and it’s ok.  I like how exercise makes me feel.  I love getting stronger.  I love the endurance I’m building.  I’m much more active with my kids.  These are the benefits and what keeps me motivated.  It’s enough, for now.

My current weight is 220.2.  A total of 67.3 pounds lost since July 21, 2015.  The pic on the left is today, the one on the right is my DL photo from 2014 and the closest to my max weight that I could find.  Next time I do a gnarly close-up, I’ll have to wear makeup. I apologize.  First all the liver and vomit talk and now these pics…  I hope you aren’t eating.

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Here is a current picture in my workout clothes.  I’ll start tracking monthly from this point until I reach my goal weight with photos in addition to my weekly weigh-ins.  I wish I had the same photo taken here at my max weight, but as I’ve mentioned, I did everything possible to avoid cameras or mirrors.

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My goal is to reach 145 pounds (height is 5 ft 4 in).  I’m halfway there.  I know it’s going to get harder from here on out, and I’m hoping that posting monthly updates on my blog will help keep my momentum and accountability.  I’m still losing anywhere from 1-3 pounds per week.  I’ve been slacking in the exercise department with the busy Christmas rush, only walking 1-3 times per week.  Camp Gladiator starts back up in January, so I plan to hit the New Year running…or rather huffing and puffing.

I couldn’t post every detail of my surgery or recovery here, or this blog would be like 3,000 words and who has time for that!  If you are considering the surgery, or have questions for me, please feel free to ask.

Thank you for the encouraging words, you have no idea how much it helps keep me motivated on this journey ❤

Till next time…

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays everyone!

xoxo 

Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby…

I whined complained mentioned yesterday on twitter how I found myself suffering from the dreaded “writer’s block”, and it had been almost a week since my last post.  One blogger and fellow tweeter took pity on me and sent me a link to something called “Theme Thursday”. 

I suddenly felt inspired!  I don’t have time to read every blog, every week like I wish I could, so I have to be selective…especially during the week.  I try to catch up on all my favorites on weekends, but it can get overwhelming.  I try to read one or two before I go to bed each night, and I always like to end my day with  something funny.  I love finding the funny.  The blogger/tweeter who gave me this great idea for a post today, also happens to be redonkulously funny, whether she’s tweeting or blogging, she’s making me laugh.  Please check her out, follow her blog, find her on twitter/Facebook…I promise you will not be disappointed!  Would I lie?  Well…not usually.  Listen, just click the link, you won’t be sorry.  

What?  Oh, right…the link!

The Insomniac’s Dream

She was the lucky chosen one who got my Secret Subject Swap, and it’s awesomesauce!  Read it here.  And because I’m feeling like a linky whore today, read the full list of Secret Subject Swap entries here.  Oh and I’m not done with links just yet!  Apparently, this “Theme Thursday” idea is the brainchild of Something Clever 2.0, and now it’s a link-up and everything! 

This week’s topic is:

“How Having Kids Kills Your Sex Life.”

I can hear my husband groaning as he reads this topic.  He will hang his head, roll his shoulders a few times, take deep breaths and then soldier on through the rest of this post, come what may.  We’ll probably avoid eye contact, and engage in awkward hugging for a few days until we both recover from the intimacy of such a post.  Oh, and my beautiful daughters and faithful readers of mommy’s blog, look away.  Trust me.  Reading this post might actually cause blindness.  Help me, help you.  Move along now.  Nothing to see here. 

Why are you still here!

Ok…I think they are gone.  Whew.  I would love to be one of those women who brags about my awesome sex life.  When the topic of sex comes up with girlfriends, I decide it’s probably a good time to actually eat the food on my plate versus picking at it, or order another drink or maybe it’s potty break time.  I’ll laugh, make jokes, and pray the subject changes quickly and that I don’t have to suffer through any direct questions, because quite frankly, I’m not that good a liar, and I ramble when I’m nervous.  

The thing is…

The naked truth is…

Is it hot in here?

I need a drink.  Why did I think writing this sober while at work was a good idea…

Ok, ok…the truth of the matter is…

Are you sure your ready?

Geez…ok, you don’t have to bite my head off!

I’m nervous… <gulp>

<hand wringing>

Ok, here goes nothing!

The truth is I am part of a super secret government experiment to see if it’s true that after a while with no sexual activity, your virginity does in fact, grow back.  Seriously. 

Totally kidding.

The real reason for my lackluster, virtually non-existent sex life is because I’m saving myself for Adam Levine.  Truthfully, I’m a little concerned he will be concerned that after having a bazillion kids, sex with me will be like throwing a hot dog down a hallway…if you get my meaning.  Obviously, that’s a horrible myth…I mean maybe Octomom or Kate plus 8 minus 1 or whatever might have that issue, but I made sure my OB took care of things…down there.  I believe my exact words might have been along the lines of “hey, make sure you sew me up tighter than a virgin on Prom night”.  I blame the drugs.  

The Adam Levine thing is not true either…probably.  I mean I wouldn’t turn him down.  If I was ever in a position to turn him down…which I mean, obviously I would be…to know me is to love me, most certainly.  I’d bewitch him with my witty charm and snarky comebacks.  He’d be powerless to resist me.  He’s feeling the pull of my seductive charm right this very minute, he just doesn’t know it.  He’s doing this whole hard to get thing now…but it won’t be much longer until he falls under my spell.  The duct tape and rope…no, that’s not for him…most likely.  Doesn’t everyone keep that stuff in their car?  Anyway, I digress…this post isn’t about Adam Levine’s obsession for me, although it totally could be..but it’s not.  Quit distracting me.

I am going to share something of myself in a rare moment of vulnerability…all jokes aside.  The reason the life has been choked out of my sex life truly has nothing to do with our children or our busy lives.  It has everything to do with me, and how I see myself.  I wish I could be one of those women who views every extra pound, scar, stretch mark or cellulited dimple as a badge earned in honor on the Battlefield of Motherhood, but I’m not one of those women.  I don’t want to see myself naked, so why would I let my husband get a peek at the horror show.  It’s hard to even talk about this without resorting to sarcastic self-loathing and witty metaphors…both my armor of choice.  My self-image has taken a beating over the years, and I’m not entirely sure how to pull it back within the bounds of normal or even mostly normal.  My husband tells me I’m beautiful, and I know he means it.  The problem is me, not him.  Unfortunately, he suffers for it, because my lack of sex life is also his lack of sex life…or at least it better be!   

It doesn’t help that I work with Senior Citizens who think I’m the “older woman” in my marriage, when I am in fact several years younger, and like to make comments about it…all the time.  Or the time the clerk behind the liquor counter asked if my husband was my son.  True story.  She then proceeded to card him.  In front of me.  And pretend that she didn’t just ask me if my husband was my son!  I make jokes about that day, but it hurt.  It hurt bad.  I can tell myself it’s because he’s short or any manner of things, but deep down, in the darkest parts of myself, I allow it to confirm what I already know.  I’m fat and unattractive. 

I have three teenage daughters and the last thing I want is for them to ever suffer with poor self-image or a distorted body image.  The only thing I know to do is be honest about my struggles, and hope it’s not something they will ever struggle with as young women.  I know all the things I should be doing.  All the things I need to be doing.  Knowing isn’t the problem.  It’s the doing.  I keep waiting for that switch to go off, or that lightbulb moment…but it doesn’t come.  I’ll go on a diet, I’ll start exercising….and I’ll lose a pound or two and then….nothing.  I’ll get discouraged and depressed until my good friends “Ice Cream” and “Chocolate” come knocking on my door to make me feel better.  Then I’m ashamed that I gave in to these temptation sluts, so I attempt to numb my feelings by eating yet more and exercising less and less until I’m not exercising at all anymore.  A few weeks will go by and then I’ll be shamed yet again into dieting and exercising…and so the cycle goes.  Except every time I swear will be the last time.  

I wish I could be one of those women who shops for clothing at Baby Gap and feels confident in my 10 sizes too small t-shirt or jeans, but I’m not. 

I wish I could be one of those women who talks about how the weight just fell off running after all the kids, and how I never have to work out, but I’m not. 

I wish I had hollow legs, but I don’t.

I wish I was one of those women people think don’t eat, yet consume copious amounts of food every hour, every day, but I’m not.

I wish I loved to exercise, but I don’t.

I wish I loved broccoli instead of chocolate, but I don’t.

I wish I could take a couple of bites out of my favorite foods, and claim to be full, but I’m not. 

I wish I could look at food and feel nothing at all, but I can’t.

I wish I could love myself no matter what I look like and not rely on the definition of beauty as defined by other people, but I’m not.

I eat my feelings, whether I’m happy, sad, depressed, busy, bored…it doesn’t matter what I’m feeling, I’m eating.

So…I have to say, if I’m being honest, which I’m trying to do here…kids didn’t ruin my sex life, I did. 

The question is….what am I going to do about it?

Stay tuned….    

Now that I’ve depressed everyone with my tale of woe…let me tell you how to link up if you want with your own post answering this week’s question.  Click on the link provided below and follow the instructions.  Anyone can play.  It’s that easy.  In the immortal words of Nike…just do it.

Cloudy, With A Chance Of Wine

Kick the Bucket List

I’ve not been feeling particularly inspired to write this weekend, until I received the September 30th “Blog Dare” writing prompt tweet from Bloggy Moms.  I wouldn’t really say I was inspired, it was more of a twinge really, but I’m going to run with it.  The prompt instructed me to add an item to my bucket list.  Since, I don’t really have a bucket list per se, I decided to make one!  I remember standing at the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland (the pic shown above) and wanting to pinch myself because OMG, I was in Ireland!  I remember standing there looking out over the water, struck by the sheer beauty of my surroundings, thinking that anything should be possible.  I was in freaking Ireland!  IRELAND!  Certainly, a bucket list item.  Of course, it was freezing, and raining on and off, and it was a long, steep walk and I could barely breathe, and I didn’t have gloves or a good raincoat, and I never thought I would ever be warm again, and I seriously considered throwing myself off the cliffs versus having to walk all the way back down, but I was in Ireland people!

Thinking back on this day, I thought about other items I would place on my bucket list.  You know, the things I would like to do before I, well….kick the bucket.  I’ll start with 5 items, and build from there!

BUCKET LIST

  1. Trace one of Adam Levine’s tattoo’s…with my tongue.  Too much?  I’d let him pick the tattoo.  Still, no?  Okay fine.  How about a hug?  A full body contact hug, not one of those arm around the shoulder friend hugs.  And it has to last at least 30 seconds.  Wait, why am I negotiating?  This is MY bucket list.  Adam Levine is getting naked.  Or at least topless.  What do those Supermodels have that I don’t?  I probably have that backwards.  What do I have that those Supermodels don’t have?  4 kids.  A husband.  Excess poundage.  I don’t think the items on your bucket list are supposed to depress you are they?  Back to Adam Levine…naked (if you are concerned about my husband, ask him who he has placed on his “get out of jail free” card/bucket list).  

2. Bring on the boobs.  New ones.  This bucket list item assumes I’m down to my goal weight.  These boobs have had children.  These boobs have gone through many weight transitions, many times.  These boobs need a makeover.  Heck, these boobs need an intervention.  These boobs are the Courtney Love of body parts.  A strung out, droopy  out of control hot mess.  So yeah, I’m putting boobs on my bucket list.

3. Run a Marathon.  Eat my way through Italy.  My husband and I both want this trip to Italy.  Hopefully, I’ll be thin and sporting new boobs before this trip happens, so I can get fat again.  Seriously, if I don’t leave Italy 20 lbs heavier, then I didn’t do it right.  Of course, then I’ll have to lose the  20 lbs and my new boobs might suffer a bit, so a new lift might be necessary.  I’m not sure I’ll make it through the first surgery.  The thought of those drainage tubes almost does me in.  Have I mentioned I have a low pain tolerance (as in non-existent?).  So, maybe gaining 20 lbs and ruining my new boobs should be reconsidered.  The problem is that the first place I gain and lose weight is my boobs.  God forbid, it be my stomach.  Oh, now I’m really sorry I brought up my stomach.  Let the downward shame spiral begin….I need a brownie.  Or a cookie.  Or a Hershey chocolate bar with almonds.  Yummmmm.  FOCUS.  ITALY.  Bucket List.  Okay, I’m back.  So, yeah, the hubs and I want to go to Italy someday.

4.  Be a triathlete.  Write a book.  I feel like I have a book in me.  Someday, very soon, I hope I get the nerve to go for it.  There are so many fantastic people who were considered “late bloomers” in their successes.  Julia Child decided to learn how to cook after 40, and didn’t publish “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” until she was almost 50!  Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her 40’s before she decided to become a writer.  I loved her books as a child.  Joseph Conrad, Richard Adams, Kenneth Grahame, Marquis de Sade and Mary Wesley didn’t begin their writing careers until ages 35 or older, some even in their 50’s!  I’ve always wanted to be a writer.  I remember my great-grandmother telling me as a young girl that she thought I’d be a great writer someday.  She also gave me my love for bacon, which I can proudly say I’ve mastered.  Of course, I’m afraid of failing.  Who isn’t?  I’m debilitated by the thought of rejection.  I don’t know that I have the discipline to accomplish this goal, but I know that I don’t want to look back on my life and know that I didn’t even try.

5.  Become an Ironman.   Run a marathon.  Stop laughing.  I’m serious.  Really?  Yes, really!  My original goal was to complete a marathon before I turned 40.  I think we all know how that turned out.  I’ve decided not to put a specific date on this item, just before death…obviously.  I hate running.  I hate exercise.  So, why would I put running a marathon on my list.  Considering licking Adam Levine is number 1, I think it’s safe to say I’m delusional at best.  On the other hand, if Adam Levine was waiting at the finish line…

So there it is.  The beginning of my Bucket List.  Yay me.  I’m exhausted.  Number 6 is gonna be a nap.  No, seriously, I went to the gym today.

What (or who) would be on your bucket list?

Tomorrow I begin this blog challenge where I blog every day for 31 days.  Talk about exhausted!  Ya’ll will be sick of me by November 1st, if I don’t bore you to death.

Nap time….

Sweet dreams….

zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Fat Girl Running!

One of my many New Years Resolutions was to lose weight.  Actually, if I’m being honest, that one has been topping my list every year since my son was born.  I like to tell people that I haven’t lost the baby weight from our youngest child, but then quickly follows the awkward question:

“oh, how old is your baby?”

“six”

“six months?”

sigh.

BUT, this IS the year I do it.  2012 is my year!  Bob from The Biggest Loser will tell you to take it one day at a time, because if you look at how far you really have to go, you’ll give up before you even start.  I’m trying to take that advice, and also to figure out how I got here in the first place (making babies aside).  The good news is that my slim coach says I’m on track to meeting the goal I set for myself this year.

The weather is getting nicer and it’s not too hot yet, so I decided to take my exercise outside the house yesterday.  I think it is safe to say that self-esteem is one of my big issues, so to venture outside and work out is a major undertaking for me.  I’m convinced everyone is watching me, judging me, making fun of me.  Yeah, like I said, I have some issues.  I’ve convinced myself though that if I look down, and don’t make eye contact that I’m invisible.  Coincidentally, if I could have one superpower, it would be invisibility, so there ya go.  What can I say, I keep my therapist busy.

I decide I can handle 30 minutes of exercise.  I’ve been doing 20 minutes pretty consistently, and I decide I need to stretch myself a bit.  Plus, changing up the routine is supposed to keep you from getting bored.  Keeping it fresh and interesting is supposed to help you stick with it.  The jury is still out on that one.  I loathe exercise.  I don’t feel energized afterwards.  Endorphins?  What the heck are those?  Even when I was thin, I hated exercise.  It’s a necessary evil, I think accepting that I’ll never love it, is the key to my potential success.  Plus, I found something that feels worse than exercise, and that is being overweight.  I hope you understand my dilemma.  I guess it comes down to which one I hate more.  Right now, exercise looks more appealing, which is a testament to how far I’ve come in recent months.  A 30 minute walk may not seem like much to most people, but when you are carrying an extra 100 lbs, it’s excruciating work.  I feel like I’ve been walking for days, I’m sweating and I’m huffing and puffing (but I couldn’t blow a house down right now).  I turn around to look how far I’ve gone, I can still see the mailbox.  It’s been 1 minute.  Oh boy.  82 degrees suddenly feels like 102 degrees.  My face is hot, so I know its bright red.  Just keep moving forward, one step in front of the other.  Maybe it’s just me, but I think cars slow down as they drive past me.  Okay, it’s probably just me.  More than likely.  Right?  Yes, of course, I’m being silly.  At some point, I begin to feel a little dizzy, and I look ahead of me and I’m pretty sure I see my husband.  Is it hot enough to see a mirage?  Am I about to pass out?  I squint?  No, it’s not him.  Wait, yes it is.  What is he doing out here?  Maybe I’m not walking.  Maybe I’ve passed out from exertion and I’m dreaming this whole sequence of events.  I pinch myself.  It hurt.  I must be awake.  I squint in the direction of the man walking toward me again, it still looks like my husband.  Weird.  I find myself a bit annoyed, he was supposed to wait till I got back home before he went for his run.  He couldn’t wait 30 minutes?  At this point, I have a little internal argument with myself on whether I should be pissed or not that he followed me when I realize that I’m actually close enough to see him now.  He’s definitely not my husband.  He’s bald and grey.  He’s in good shape, but he’s definitely got 20 years on my husband.  Plus, he’s wearing a t-shirt.  That really should have been my first clue that it wasn’t my husband.  He runs shirtless (naturally).  Wow.  I really am tired.  This walk can’t end soon enough.

I finally make it home, grab a water bottle, and crawl up the stairs where I collapse on the floor of my bedroom under the ceiling fan, breathing quite heavily.  Hubby is standing there (shirtless) preparing to go for his run now.  I feel briefly guilty for the bad thoughts I had about him earlier, but that just makes me more surly, so I shoot him a dirty look instead.  He is naturally confused by my sudden hostility, and looks at me quizzically.  I roll my eyes, further annoyed by the fact that he’s not more sensitive to my inner turmoil.  Then he makes it worse for himself by asking if I enjoyed my walk.  Dude, I’m lying on the floor in the fetal position, sweat pouring off of me in buckets, and I can’t even talk and my hostility is literally rolling off of me in waves and you ask me if I enjoyed my walk?!??!?!?!?!?!!?  He wisely ducks out of the room while I try to move objects with my mind to throw at him.  Poor guy.  He never stood a chance.

I’m pretty sure this is what I looked like on my walk

And I’m equally sure this is what my husband looks like when he runs

Surely, you can understand my resentment.  By the time he comes back from his run, I’m nearly recovered.  I’ve at least made it downstairs in the upright position.  He walks in and he’s glowing with a sweaty sheen reminiscent of Edward’s glitter moment in the Twilight movies.  I sigh in disgust.  He asks “what?”  I ignore him.  He’s barely even breathing hard.  Bastard.

I should note here that clearly the problem is mine.  My husband is fully supportive of all my crazy weight loss efforts and schemes.  He finds me beautiful today, right now in this moment.  He has never made me feel ugly or fat.  My problems and issues with my weight  are mine alone, and even though he often takes the brunt of my frustration, he is never the cause of it.  He works very hard to look good and feel great, and I never want to take that away from him because I don’t feel the same.  I’ve had people in my life that have made me feel self-conscious about my weight, or have made my weight an issue, but he is not one of them, and for that I will never be able to thank him enough.  His support means everything to me.  So honey, next time I bite your head off for no reason, may you remember this post and take comfort.  But seriously, do you have to glow?  Is that really necessary?  Can you not at least fake exhaustion?  For me?  Just once?!?!?!  Oh and hey, I bought your favorite ice cream again (I’m not above sabotage, don’t judge me).

To be continued….