This is me...

This is me...
I'm having a mom moment....

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Truth Is, Change Sucks

I am procrastinating.

I just wanted to put that out there so that when you wonder what the point of this post is, you will know that the point is simply to postpone all of the crap I need to get done today -- going to the grocery store, getting on the treadmill, folding clothes, etc.  That and I need to vent about dieting so that I don't raid the candy aisle when I finally make it to the store.

Today I am seriously wishing that I could just be comfortable being fat so that I could get me a big ol' Route 44 Coke, a bag of Sweet Chili Doritos, and lay on the couch and stuff my face while I clear the DVR.  But all it takes to kill that inclination is for me to try to put on real clothes.  You know, clothes with buttons and zippers instead of elastic and stretch cotton.  I feel like I should convalesce until I am presentable to the world again.  I am doing well though, on the diet and exercise stuff.  I've forced myself to exercise, I am eating healthy, non-processed foods, and I tell myself that if I give up and give in now it will undo the torturous hell that I have endured up to this point and I will just get disgusted and want to get healthy again at some point and I'd have to start over.  I do NOT want to have to start over.  And standing next to skinny people on the beach in June keeps me motivated.

I think I will write a self-help book and call it "Change Sucks But You Are Fat."  It will be all about how to make healthy foods more palatable, how exercise won't kill you even if it feels like it will, and how awesome unhealthy food is but also how bad it is for you.  It will contain pictures of me on the treadmill looking like I am dying that have captions like "If I can do this, you can do this." or "Just remember that if you stop, you will be fat FOREVER."  I will reveal the truth about all of the lies people tell you about losing weight because the reality makes it all easier to bear. For example, all of my life I have been told that "once you get your body off of sugar, you will stop craving it and when you eat it it won't even taste good."  This is a lie.  Sugar is awesome no matter how bad it is for you.  Another big lie is "if you will get into the habit of working out, your body will crave exercise and you will feel worse when you don't do it."  Bull.  What they ought to tell you is that you will NEVER stop craving sugary stuff, but that it is a slippery slope.  Once you eat sugary foods, it is really easy to eat more sugary foods and then you are screwed because you can't stop.  And as for exercise, the truth is that you will loathe it unless you are naturally athletic (I am not).  You will have to make yourself do it so that you can occasionally have those fattening, sugary treats that you crave so very much.  I will also get real about "Healthy Weight Charts" because they are full of lies too.  I am 5" 8', I wear a size 11 shoe, I have a barrel chest and 7" wrists.  According to "the chart" I should weigh between 126 and 146 pounds.  I read that and I want to laugh, then cry, then go eat my weight in Oreos.  Those charts are crap and if you search the internet long enough, you can find one that says you are okay just the way you are.  I know because I found one that says that a large framed 40 year old woman could weigh up to 197 pounds and still not be overweight.  Ignore the charts.  Ignore the scale.  If you want to know if you are overweight, look in the mirror when you get out of the shower.  That is how I found out that I was slowly morphing into Jaba the Hutt.  

My weight loss journey began the day that I decided to take my measurements to see if what was reflected in that mirror was accurate.  Sadly, the mirror was being kind.  I measured my neck, chest, arms, torso, waist, hips, thighs, calves -- everything.  I wrote it all down and stared slack-jawed at what was before me.  With these measurements, I could probably shop successfully in the men's big and tall section.  That was the turning point.  That was the last day I had a Route 44 Coke and the first day I got on the treadmill.  

Writing all of this out has motivated me enough to get off of the couch and go get on the treadmill so that I can shower and go to the store (avoiding the candy aisle) and buy more lettuce.  No, avoiding unhealthy food isn't easy.  No, losing weight is not nearly as fun as gaining weight.  No, my body will never crave exercise and it will always prefer fatty, sugary, starchy foods.  Coke.  And bacon.  And buttered bread.  And THAT is why I must now go get on the treadmill.  

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Mommy Confession

Yesterday, I wrote about my battle of the bulge.  Today I am writing a confession.

A few weeks ago I met a mother who has 4 kids like me.  Her youngest will start kindergarten next fall and she asked me a question that sort of threw me for a loop -- "What do you do all day now that they are all in school? I just cannot imagine what it will be like to not have them at home, under foot, needing something every 5 minutes."  I stood there, looking like I had been caught in a lie.

What do I do all day?  The honest answer is "As little as possible."

I know that as a stay-at-home mom, I am supposed to argue that my job is just as hard as someone who works full-time.  I am supposed to talk about how I cook and clean and run errands and how incredibly busy my life is running a house full of 6 people -- and it is, sometimes.  But many days, I sit on my couch in my yoga pants and drink coffee and write or watch TV until noon.  I might put a load of laundry in to wash or dry, I might fold some clothes or load the dishwasher, but I relax a lot. At first, I felt incredibly guilty about this.  This woman was asking me a sincere question about how I occupy my time, and I stood there like a deer in headlights trying not to blurt out the only answer that popped into my head, which was "Nothing.  I'm really lazy."

I should feel ashamed or at least a little guilty, right?

But I don't really feel guilty.

I feel wonderful.

For 12 years, I wiped noses and butts, and breast fed, and fixed breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, and dinner for 4 kids.  I was an on-demand chef, driver, snuggler, referee, etc. every minute of every day and night until last fall when my youngest started kindergarten.  I was about to my breaking point.  I was seriously on the edge of losing it and not being a "good mom" because I was a little burnt out. The cracks in my armor were showing.  I would fly off the handle and yell about spilt cereal and I might start crying at the thought of a wet bed.  So for the past 6 months I have spent a lot of time doing whatever I want to do (which isn't much) while the kids are at school.

There have been moments of mayhem amid my new found oasis -- there was the dreaded lice and there have been numerous illnesses that required me to do extra cleaning and make extra runs to the doctor and pharmacist, but for the most part, I have been enjoying all of this downtime.  I still manage to accomplish everything that I did when the house was full of little mini-me's running around causing trouble, but instead of spending all of that time corralling the chaos, I spend it reveling in the quiet and enjoying the peace. I've read books, watched movies, napped, and I write whenever I want.

Sometimes the mood will hit me and I want to clean -- like, REALLY clean.  Scrub baseboards and such.  And if that is what I want to do, great!  But I don't want to very often.  And that is great too.

I love being a mom.  I love my kids more than anything in the world.  Our house is rarely spotless, but it isn't embarrassing (most of the time).  The kids' rooms are cluttered....okay, that's an understatement, they look like a tornado hit, but I try to get them to do their own cleaning of their own stuff, so I rarely feel like it's bad enough to intervene while they are away.  In fact, I tend to get more done when dad is home and the kids are here and we all work on an assigned task for a set time (like "We have 2 hours until company is coming, everybody 'panic clean!' Go!")  And it isn't like I NEVER do anything domestic.  Clothes get washed, but they may or may not get folded right away.  Bathrooms are clean, kitchen is sanitary, but we live here and the evidence of that is everywhere.

I think that years of being pulled in different directions while trying to maintain things has caused me to develop a sort of cleaning ADD. Years of being unable to finish a task uninterrupted has left me without the skills needed to stay focused.  before kids, I struggled with OCD, so the result is this weird hybrid where I cannot finish a task because I get distracted by the details of a much smaller, insignificant task.  When I DO try to get something done, it goes a lot like this:  I will go upstairs to collect laundry and notice that there is toothpaste on the counter, so I'll take one of the wet washcloths I just retrieved from the tub and wipe it up.  And end up cleaning the whole bathroom.  Then I will go downstairs and start the laundry.  On the way out of the laundry room, I will pick up a jacket, go to hang it up, and end up reorganizing the entire coat closet.  I will go to boil an egg and end up cleaning the kitchen when I only needed to wash the one pot to boil the egg in.  I'll walk out to the garage to grab a water bottle and start making a pile of stuff to take to the Goodwill.  On my way in from the garage, I'll stop in the laundry room and fold a load of clothes, and when I go to put away the clothes I folded I'll end up cleaning out a drawer...or two...or the entire dresser.  Then I have to go get a trash bag from the kitchen to put all of the stuff I pulled out of the dresser in and take it to the garage to add to the pile for Goodwill that I started earlier and when I do, I realize that all of the water has boiled away from my egg that I completely forgot about.  So I rescue the now very chewy egg and make a salad in my now clean kitchen and go sit down in front of the TV to eat.  (There is still a pile of clothes to be bagged upstairs, the clean laundry is sitting on top of the dresser, the wet clothes are in the washer, and the dryer is buzzing, but now I am sitting down...)

SOME stuff gets done, but it may not have been the most important stuff and it may not be completely done.

So my mommy confession is this:  No, I do not utilize my time wisely.  Staying at home now that the kids are back in school is not as hard as a full time job.  It could be (I'll even go as far to say it probably should be) -- but I have made the fairly conscious decision to take it easy (at least for now and for most of the time).  Anyone who has pictured me as Donna Reed or June Cleaver running around in heels making beds and vacuuming has grossly misunderstood who I am.  I do not live in a 1950's television show nor do I reside in the pages of Southern Living magazine.

Our family is real and we are messy.  If you happen to drop by unannounced, you will most likely find toys on the floor, piles of sorted laundry waiting to be put washed, floors that need vacuuming, dust on the ceiling fans, and a well-caffeinated friend who has plenty of time to sit and talk for awhile.  

Just move that pile of miscellaneous stuff on the sofa over and have a seat.  I'll go get you a cup of coffee.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The 24 Diet

I have been seriously waging the battle of the bulge for the past 2 weeks.  Well, that isn't exactly true. I've actually been battling my bulge for about 39 years, but I have been putting forth some serious effort for the past 2 weeks.  I have tried many things that work short term, but I am looking to make a total lifestyle change, not drop 10 pounds for a special event.  I have discovered that if I put on a show on Netflix, then I will walk on my treadmill pretty much like a brain dead zombie until it is over.  I never watched the series 24 when it originally aired and I picked it because there were 192 episodes and because it is returning in May with all new episodes.  I am totally hooked.  Yesterday, I got on the treadmill and I walked for 80 minutes (2 episodes) because I was completely engrossed in the story.  I could not imagine trying to watch this with a week between episodes.
My weight has always been an issue for me.  I am turning 40 in 60 days.  I has wanted to lose 40 pounds before my 40th birthday, but that will not happen.  See, when I was 20 and I wanted to drop some weight, I would watch it for a few weeks and up my activity for a little bit and drop 25 pounds in a month like it was nothing.  Not anymore.  Now I amp up my activity, drink only water, cut calories, try to sleep more, and in general do everything that I know I should have been doing for the last 39 years, and I lose a pound a week if I am lucky.  Getting old sucks.
The reason that I am so very focussed on this now isn't just because I am about to turn 40.  In June I am going to the beach with my family.  My family, my sister's family and my parents are renting a beach house for a week.  My brother in law is a fireman and a mixed martial artist.  My sister does Crossfit. My parents are both slim.  The thought of standing next to them on the beach in a swimsuit has prompted my urgency, but my weight is something that I needed to work on anyway.  I love everything that I am not supposed to -- bread, pasta, potatoes, Coke, cookies, beef, sauces and gravy -- basically everything that I need to cut to lose weight and be healthy.  Those things are all fine in moderation, but it's the "moderation" that I struggle with more than anything.
I read somewhere that when you are trying to lose weight that you should make your intentions very public so that everyone will hold you accountable.  I have no problem letting everyone know that I need to lose weight -- it isn't like it is a secret.  Anyone who looks at me can tell that I need to lose some weight.  My friend Christy and I are attacking our problem together by bragging about our successes and complaining about our setbacks and sharing recipes and tips.  While Christy is my confidant on this journey, I have let everyone know that I am trying.  The problem is that when you tell people that you are trying to lose weight, they all have ADVICE.  Advice is awesome if it is helpful, but the problem is most of it isn't.  So here are some of the gems that I have received over the past couple of weeks:
"Just eat less." (Wow, I never thought of that. Thanks.)
"There's this soup that was developed by the Mayo Clinic that I found online -- I lost 10 pounds in a week eating it. It has cabbage and kale and all sorts of vegetables that force your body to drop weight fast.  I'll send you the recipe."  (Can't wait.)
"Have you ever done a colon cleanse?  It can cause you to lose tons of weight by eliminating the excess sludge in your digestive tract." (Yeah, I did one right before my colonoscopy 2 years ago.  It is not an experience that I wish to relive.)
"You should get one of those neoprene belts to help you shed the water weight." (Why not one of those with the electrodes from late night infomercials?)
"Have you tried the Paleo diet?  Basically you only eat things that the cavemen would have eaten." (Do I look like a caveman? I'm pretty sure that if I tried this diet I would ACT like a caveman...)
"You should do Atkins.  You eliminate all carbs until your body goes into ketosis and starts digesting itself." (This sounds...pleasant.)
"There's this clinic downtown that gives you B-12 injections and HGC or something like that.  You lose a pound a day." (And gain a pound a day when you stop...)
"Have you tried drinking apple cider vinegar?" (No, that sounds disgusting...)
"Have you considered the grapefruit diet? You eat a half of grapefruit before every meal." (I have tried the one where you eat 2 cookies before and after every meal...)
"You should come to Zumba with me!" (This one is hilarious -- I cannot dance at all).
"My cousin's best friend took this herb that made her lose weight no matter what she ate.  I can try to get the name of what she took if you want."  (Um, no thanks.  Herbs are great, but they act differently for each person. I can pretty much guarantee it will not work.)
"You should try green coffee bean extract." (Or Garcinia, or green tea, or raspberry ketones, or the tears of kangaroos....)
Look, it isn't that I don't appreciate advice, I do.  I wish there was a magic soup or an herb pill that would force my body to completely morph into Cindy Crawford, but there isn't.  If there was, it would be a well known solution and I probably would have already tried it.  I have done some things in the past few months that sound gimmicky but seem to help me feel better even if they don't aid in my weight loss.  I have started taking "detox baths" at least a couple of times a week.  I do not know how much detoxing is going on, but they make me feel better.  I have also started doing something called dry brushing -- using a stiff brush and using long sweeping strokes toward the heart, you brush your skin before your shower or bath.  The theory is that it stimulates your lymphatic system and allows your body to metabolize everything more efficiently.  I have no idea if that is true, but my skin looks amazing.
I have begun telling everyone that I am on "The 24 Diet."  I love explaining that all that means is that I cut calories, drink water, and hit the treadmill while watching 24.  By my estimation, I should be good on episodes for at least 12-13 weeks at 2 episodes a day.  Of course, when I get all caught up, I will have to find another show...too bad Downton Abbey isn't on Netflix.

Monday, February 17, 2014

I Am Writing So I Don't Have To Go To The Store

I woke up all achy today.  2 of my 4 kids have had walking pneumonia in the past 2 weeks and I am afraid that I may be getting it.  My right shoulder is especially sore feeling, and I am not real sure why.  I think I may have just slept wrong.

Did you ever think of the absurdity of that statement?  "I slept wrong."  That thing, where you close your eyes and you're unconscious and all you have to do is breathe?  Yeah, I did that wrong.  So wrong, in fact, that I will be in pain all day because of it.  Nothing makes you feel like a winner quite like screwing up a natural body function to the point that you injure yourself.

I have to go to the grocery store today because everyone in this house wants to eat and I am running out of possibilities.  Even at my most creative moments, I cannot think of a way to make dinner out of mini-marshmallows, croutons, and ravioli.  I think that moms who plan meals for the week and take detailed shopping lists to the grocery store with their binders of coupons are born with a gene that I do not have.  I make grocery lists with some sort of idea of what we will have over the week, but not specifics.  My plan is more like 2 days beef, 3 days chicken, 1 day pork, and 1 day pasta.  Then I shop and try to use up what I bought before it spoils.  I'll use coupons if I have them (and remember to bring them to the store), but only if they're for things that I already buy.  I tried to do serious couponing once, but I ended up buying a bunch of crap just because I had a coupon and then it goes bad before I use it.  Nothing aggravates me quite like having to throw food away.  Not only is it wasteful, but it means that I have to go to the store again.  And, it is another ridiculously easy life function that I somehow failed to perform adequately.  You know, you must eat to survive, but you failed to do that properly and now your food is ruined.

I have been procrastinating more than usual lately (case in point -- I am writing this here instead of getting dressed and going to the store).  I find myself with grand plans to do something super productive but then I sit and drink coffee and write or Facebook or watch TV (or all 3) and then I am surprised to look up and realize that it is nearly 3 in the afternoon. So to avoid that happening today and resulting in a very odd dinner, I am going to wrap this up and go to the grocery store.  I really don't wanna.  I want to go back to bed for a do-over and see if it would fix my shoulder.