Friday, December 28, 2012

192.0; The End and The Beginning

Have you heard about One Little Word?

Basically you chose a word to define you or your life for a year.  Weird, huh?  I thought so.  Who wants to think of something to define them for 365 days?  On the other hand, it's kind of like resolutions without big long wordy sentences or plans.

I decided that I needed to make 2012 a year of CHOICES.  Interestingly I found a bracelet that says "Dreams become reality one choice at a time."  It was like it was meant to be!  I put that bracelet on sometime in February and haven't taken it off.

My year of choices taught me a lot.  I have many small choices that add up to big things that are hard to see.  If I make a bad choice, there is no need to beat myself up, just make the better choice next time.  I do have may choices even when I think I have none.  I can only make MY choices, not someone else's choice.

Powerful stuff when I start looking back and reflecting.  And I realize how far that one little word has gotten me in 2012.

So my word for 2013?  GRACE. 

I want to live gracefully.  In beauty and kindness.  With poise and centered in myself.  I want to chose nice over mean.  I want to give myself grace and forgiveness and be ok with who I am at any given moment.  I want to be graceful in motion and thought. 


What do you think?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

1912: The Space In Between

I'm a bit frazzled.  The time between Christmas and New Years is always weird for me.  I feel as though Christmas is all run run run.  Then normal days after.  Then frantic decisions on what to do for New Years.  Then it's all winter depressing setting in.

I don't know what I can do to change this.  I try to keep a schedule, but honestly, it's hard to do.  Reality is that I haven't been to the gym in a couple of weeks.  Reality is that I miss it.  Gosh, who'd had thought that?  I can't wait to get back to it this weekend.

But the bottom line is that while my weight has fluctuated between a 1-2 pounds in the last month, it's not shot up or a significant gain.  And that I am most proud of.  Very proud.  So I'm going to be the traditional "new year, new fitness goals" person and head back to the gym in full force this weekend.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

193.0; Traditions

I'm the family baker.  It's a tradition (expected) that I bring desserts to every gathering.  Mostly because I love baking and cooking, but also because no one else in my family likes to bake.

As a kid, I remember sitting at my parent's kitchen table and frosting cookies at Christmas time.  It was a rule that if you wanted to eat them, you had to help make them.  As I got older, my Mom, sister and I would get together one Saturday and make cookies all day.  We'd split them up and enjoy them all season.  Somehow we stopped doing that and it was just me making cookies.

The first year I did this, I make up dough on Friday and spent literally all day Saturday and Sunday baking and decorating.  Then I gave them away to my family.  In the last few years I've spent a dedicated day baking and some evenings here and there with other recipes.

This year?  I haven't done it yet. 

Part of my reasoning is that I didn't want them sitting, all baked and ready to go calling out to me and Pete to eat them.  Part of it is that I haven't had time.  The other day I was having a conversation with my coworker, the one who had the full bypass surgery.  He challenged me to just change my traditions.  To not make all those cookies that I normally make.

So I've been thinking about this.  Do I really need to make the cookies?  No.  But I feel guilty that my eating habits are no impacting others.  Strange this guilt.  I call it Catholic Guilt, but really it's Michelle Guilt. 

So for this year, I am going to go through with the cookies and desserts and all the stuff that I've made throughout the years.  But next year, I'm going to challenge myself and my family to think differently about desserts.  Maybe all those cookies aren't it.  Maybe it's just me making a cake or cupcakes or a yule log?  Changing traditions.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

190.8; The Pain of Food Sticking

When I decided that I wanted a gastric band there were plenty of people who told me not to do it.  I heard their concerns and thought about them all.  But after discussing it with my doctor and thinking about everything, I felt it was the best decision for me.  For me.  That's the important part.  It may not be for everyone and in fact, it really isn't for everyone.

And it's no magic bullet or I'd be about 150 pounds by now.  Instead I work hard 4-6 times a week, at 5am at the YMCA and watch what I eat.  I get comments all the time from the same people, who watch me eat.  Comments about aren't I eating too much?  Aren't I eating the wrong things?  I'm polite and I smile.  Inside I'm pissed off.  I'm not commenting on how they eat.  But somehow because I've lost weight (whether they know about the band or not) my eating is open for vocal criticizing. 

Yesterday my family went out to celebrate my Mom's birthday.  She wanted TGIFridays so that's where we went.  We didn't meet until 6pm and by the time we ordered and food for 8 came out it was close to 7pm.  Pete and I shared a 10 ounce steak (that was more like 7-8 ounces without the fat), 6 tiny grilled shrimp, mashed potatoes and a tomato salad.  When the food came I gave Pete all the potatoes and took the tomato salad.

I started with the steak and I was hungry.  It tasted good, but wasn't the most tender.  I had about 2 ounces of the steak and started on the shrimp.  At that point, I felt something stick.  It turns out that I should have listened to my body.  But I didn't.  I dismissed it and at the 3 shrimp, chewing very carefully.  By the end of the 3rd shrimp I knew that I was in trouble.

So I excused myself to go to the bathroom.  Sometimes walking helps and I didn't really want to go through a sticking incident in front of my family.  I spent painful 10 minutes in that bathroom.  The steak was really really stuck.  It hurt like hell.  About halfway through it I wanted to go home, but was afraid to leave the bathroom.  Finally I texted Pete to grab my things so we could go.  By the time the check came and he paid, it had gone down.  We went home and my band area is still sore today.

So why did I post about these 2 things in one post?  Because I opened myself up to more criticism.  My family now knows that I get food stuck sometimes and it doesn't go down.  They know that it's painful and causes me to leave a celebration early.  I'm pissed at myself.  I'm mad that I don't listen to my body when this happens.  I'm mad that I had to explain to my Mom later that the band may not be too tight, that it's likely my fault for not listening.  I'm mad because I don't think she understands it, she just wants me to loosen the band.  I'm mad that I did this to myself.  But It reinforces to me that I need to listen to my body.  Not dismiss the signs and go forward.  And if I can't listen to my body then I really do need to have the band loosened.  Dammit.

Monday, December 17, 2012

192; Kindness

I follow/read MamaLaughlin, do you?  You should.  About 2 weeks ago now, she posted again about buying something from Kiki La'Rue Boutique.  So I went on my phone and looked at the site. 

I'm forever trying to build a wardrobe of clothes that I love.  I used to buy clothes that were ok, because it was all I had.  Now my criteria first includes the question "Do you love it?"  if the answer is no or that I just like it, then I don't buy it.  Kiki La'Rue had some pieces that were different from what I saw in stores that I was going into and the prices were pretty great too.

So I ordered.  I ordered Keep Calm and Sparkle.  When I did, I mentioned in the comments that I found her site via MamaLaughlin so she would know where I came from and I mentioned that I had lost lots of weight and was trying to fit my new shape. 

That was Sunday.  Monday I got a message from Becka, the owner on my phone.  She asked me to call her.  I was a bit down because I figured that my top was out of stock in my size or something and I'd have to reorder.  I was wrong.

When I called her back she congratulated me on my weight loss.  (I love hearing this.  It is such positive reinforcement to keep going.)  But then she made me cry.  She told me that she was putting my money in my account and sending me my top for free.  I was shocked and I cried at my desk.  With tears running down my face I thanked her profusely and told her how she made my day!  It was such an act of kindness for me.  It was more than just a free piece of clothing.  It was acknowledgment of my journey.  It was reaching out and sharing my story.  It was a connection through a blogger that I read for inspiration.  It was a whole lot more.

Friday I got my mail and found this: 

Sparkly Pink package!

My top!  It was beautifully wrapped in tissue and had a sticker matching this tag.  I immediately ran to my bedroom to try it on.  It's not something that I would have bought for myself in the past.  It's likely not something that I would wear to work, but I 'd definitely talk Pete into taking me out and wear this.  It makes me feel beautiful!

Ignore the weird angle and the mirror.  And I think there is toothpaste from someone at the bottom that makes it look like a bird pooped on me.  But...I love it!  And you can tell by my smile that it makes me feel good!

So this is my shout out to Kiki La'Rue.  I don't do this often, because it's not often that places I shop at make such an impact.  But go check her things out.  I'll bet there is something you like.  Try it.  Try her service and her shop.  Then tell her and me what your experience was like!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

191.0; My Goal(s)

Man I hate to say this, but at the same time I need to say it.

Goals.  I need more of them.  Nothing like the impending end of the year to think about goal setting, right?  I mean New Year Resolutions, 2013 Goals, Where Do You Want to Be in 5 Years?  Goals.  To be honest, until I started thinking about losing weight, I never really set formal goals.  That's not to say that I didn't think about where I wanted to be in life.  But I never sat and really wrote them down or told anyone.  Maybe this was the cause of my underachievement?

Pete and I had a discussion over the weekend.  About goals and trying new things and doing new things.  What it came down to for me, is that before him, no one ever encouraged me and I didn't have enough self confidence to try on my own.  My prior roommate did some pushing and encouraging, but I don't know that she did it for the right reasons.

So when I start to think about coming close to my 100 pounds lost...or my 53 pounds in a year...or my muscle definition, I get kind of teary.  Those are big accomplishments and big goals to reach.  Part of me wants to sit in the glory of those goals and live them and bask in the recognition of them.  You know, all safe.  The other part of me wants to really think about what else I can accomplish.  What can I really do if I put my mind to it?

Today I'm 191 pounds.  I've been steadily losing since my last fill in November.  I told Pete this weekend that I'm hoping to be out of the 190's by 1/1/13.  I have been mostly controlling eating and working out less.  I think I can do it.  I know that if I started exercising (damn migraine and exhaustion lately) I could be under 190 easily.  But I also need to know that if I push with unrealistic plans (going to the gym daily, eating only clean foods over the holiday...) I will burn myself out.  I don't need to do that during and already stressful time.

So my goal:  by 1/1/13 be 189 or under.

My 2013 goals?  I'm not sure yet.  I'm about 15 pounds from my goal weight.  I want to run 10K outside without stopping.  I need to get back to regular weekly strength training.  I need to eat better to feel better.  I need to think of some yearly goals for 2013 now that I've found my power. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

191.8; Coke

So remember how I have given up soda/pop?  How I've told you that occassionally I'll have some rootbeer?  My doctor actually told me at my last appointment to start keeping Coke in the house.

Let's back up.  I was a 5-6 can of diet dr pepper drinker for a long tme.  I loved the flavor, the bite of the liquid, the fizzy carbination.  Basically I loved it all.  As a kid my parents let us have pop a lot.  When I was a teen ager it was expensive so we started drinking Vita-Sun from Schwans.  Healthier Koolaid really.  Water?  No thank you.

In college and out of college I kept up my pop habit.  Water?  No thank you.

About 4 years ago now I decided to give up pop for Lent.  Really give it and all carbonated drinks up.  And despite some indulging, I've been successful.  Now when I have about 6 ounces I'm full.  Really bloated from the carbonation an it just doesn't taste good anymore; it tastes like chemicals.

So when I went in last week and explained that I had another episode of sticking food, they told me to drink Coke.  I told them they were nuts.  I couldn't and still can't imagine the carbonation pounding away at the food stuck and banging on the band area harder.  Honestly the thought of taking a sip of Coke while food is stuck makes me want to cry.  But the nurse and the doctor told me to give it a try.

Um, ok.

But then I thought about it and read up on it.  What I failed to remember is that Coke is like battery acid.  It will foam up yes, but it disolves things.  Lots of things.  Then I get all eeked out by the fact that I used to drink this stuff regularly and was really eating away at my body.  Yuk.

I digress.  The fact is I went out and bought a bottle of Coke to keep at home and one for work.  The next time food gets stuck, I'm going to take a small sip and hope for the best (likely with tears in my eyes).  I'll report back if I don't explode from the carbonation and crap.  (it's humor..)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

191.6;Where I'm At

I think (let's hope I don't have to retract this statement) that I'm where I should be with my band.  I think.  I did not get a fill in December so the last fill was from November. I'm also not scheduled to see her again until February.

All along I've been living with this band.  I've waited for the day when I realize that it's really working.  All along I thought that there would be some awakening from the heavens to show me that it's working.  I've wondered and waited for signs like Pete has, thinking that our experiences would be the same.

They're not.

Pete gets a warning hiccup when he's getting full.  I don't.
Pete has to cut everything really tiny.  I don't, but I chew more.
Pete can wait 5 minutes and eat more.  I can't.
Pete can use a piece of bread to get things unstuck.  It just adds to the mass of stuck for me.
Pete is hungry again at meal times.  I've got very little hunger, if any at all.

After the November fill I realized that the band is doing it's job and doing it well.  It's making me not have much hunger, if any at all.  It's making me chew more so that food doesn't get stuck.  It's making me fill up faster and be fuller for longer periods of time.  However,  can still eat more than 1.5 cups depending on the food I'm eating.  But in order to not have bad experiences I have to eat slowly and be mindful of the food I am eating and how I am eating it.

Where I'm still having the issue is the connection between my mind and my body.  My mind craves chocolate and carbs ALL.THE.TIME.  While I may only have 3-4 ounces of fish, 1/2 up of peas and 10 tiny tatortots (my actual dinner last night), by 8:30 I was craving chocolate and Trader Joe's Ginger Cookies.  Did I indulge?  Yes.  I had 5 ginger cookies (they're only an inch across).  I find that if I let myself indulge a bit, it helps from not obsessing and I eat less than if I let it build up to massive cravings.

Am I down a bunch of weight in the last few months?  No.  But I'm not gaining and I'm continuing to lose 1-5 pounds each month.  I'm not concerned about massive amounts of loss any longer.  I'm concerned about living a healthy lifestyle that includes foods good for me and good food.  I'm concerned about living an active lifestyle vs a sedentary lifestyle and one filled with activities and physical activity that I enjoy.  I'm concerned with maintaining the loss that I have and not returning to the bad habits that got me into this position in the first place.  When I take all that into account, I think that I'm doing a pretty good job.

Monday, December 10, 2012

191; The Geography of My Body

A Picture Post.

Just kidding. 

Every girl/woman should know their body.  Partly morbid curiosity and partly self preservation.  When I was younger I didn't want to know my body and by the time it became obvious that I needed to know my body, I was morbidly obese and couldn't see my body.  Neither of which is a good thing.

It occurred to me while I was shaving my legs that the geography of my body has greatly changed.  It took me almost 20 years to become morbidly obese, a day at a time.  It's only been about 2 years of losing close to 100 pounds.  I need to relearn the geography of my body.

The curves and rolls that were once there are gone.  In their place are much more angular and firm slopes.  I have to take care shaving my knees because they're no longer round, but rather boney and rigid.  I have to take care around my ankles because I can easily slice the back of them because it's linear, rather than curved.

I have muscles in my arms and shoulders and back, but still have hanging skin from my triceps.  My butt is much smaller and no longer shelf like, but I have a clear muffin top if I'm not careful about how I swear my pants.  I have smaller waist, hips and legs, but the skin from my thighs prevents me from getting smaller pants.

I still look at a certain top in my closet that is a Gap size large and think that I can't wear it.  Not because it won't fit, but because I'm sure that it's not long enough to cover up my butt.  I pull pants from the rack and can't believe that they will button around my waist. 

My geography is changing and I need to relearn it.  In some ways it's what I expected.  In others, it's nothing that I expected.  I expected less weight and slimmer body, but I did not count on my thighs retaining more skin.  I did not count on the wonderful muscles in my arms, but I also didn't thing I'd have that much skin waving long after I stopped.  And in some ways, I feel as though I learn my geography and in the next instant something changes it and I have to relearn what I have just learned.

So whether you're big or small or in between, I challenge you to think about your body.  Learn it.  Love it as it is and consider how you can change what you have the ability to change.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Fröhlichen St. Nikolaus Tag!

Pete is German.  Have I mentioned this?  His mom was German and his Dad was from Georgia (the state, not the country).  He grew up immersed in German culture and language for the first 20 years of his life.  While he went to school on the military base when he was in high school, he went to German schools through middle school.  He worked hard to lose his German accent and now he regrets it.  People would never know that he is German from hearing him speak.  His hears perk up at the sound of German and his eyes light up when he finds someone to converse with.
Today is St. Nikolaus Day.  You can read more about this tradition here. 
I never grew up with this and had no idea about it until Pete started telling me about his tradtions.  So every year since then, he'd had something in his shoes.  I love seeing the look on his face when he wakes up and sees that I've rememberd.
Last weekend we had the nieces & nephew.  Because it was so close to the day, we had St. Nikolaus come to our house Saturday night. 
Nico watching the girls with their shoes.
The kids put their shoe under the tree because we couldn't have them left outside.  They got a bracelet and some chocolates. 
Then we went to the GAI in St. Paul.  The kids got to see St. Nikoluas and got free advent calendars with chocolate.  They love those things!
Pete with Alison and Grant.
Alison wanted Pete to help her because she thought that St. Nikolaus would talk to her in German.

It was great to see how the kids learned about the German traditions and listened to Pete talk German with the people there. 

Grant, Alison and Allie had a great time at the Germanic American Institute learning about German Christmas.  (so did the adults!)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

192.8; Healthy or Yummy?

It's the holiday season.  A time of year that is filled with parties and gatherings and celebrations that mostly revolve around food.  Already I have a few celebrations to attend that require me to bring some type of food.  And it's dilemma.  Do I bring healthy or yummy?

In the past I made the things that I never make myself during the rest of the year.  Things like little smokies, dips with cheeses and mayo, sugary desserts.  It's no secret I love to cook and bake so this time of year is my favorite.

I'm struggling this year.  And honestly it's from external sources.  My admission is that I'm happy and ok with bringing the yummy but not so healthy items to celebrations.  I know that I'll have very little of it because there are other yummy things to have and because I fill up fast.  Yet, the people around me seem to expect that I bring healthy things because I've lost weight.

So I'm struggling.  Do I bring the things that I want, that I never make the rest of the year, that I can indulge a bit in?  Or do I find something healthy that people will expect from me?  I can't decide.  I hope my mind makes it's self up soon...

Monday, December 03, 2012

192; 1 Year

When Pete started losing weight he weighed himself daily.  I didn't. 

I didn't want to be a slave to the scale.  I didn't want to obsess about the number going up or down.  I didn't want to be tied to a number that may not appear.  I didn't want to obsess about eating too much or working out too little.

But a year ago I got serious about my weight and starting the process to get the band placed.  That meant knowing what my body was doing.  So I started weighing myself daily.  First thing when I get up I step on the scale.  I now understand my body's fluctuations more.  I don't stress out as much as I thought I would.  And looking at this record I am reminded of several things:

1.  It's a marathon, not a sprint.  Over a year's time I've lost 53 pounds.
2.  Even when I think I'm not getting anywhere, I really am.
3.  Goals are important.  As I reached one, I moved my goal further along to track progress.
4.  Little ups will come back down if I persevere. 
5.  I CAN DO IT.

53 pounds in a year.  I'm amazed and happy and shocked really that it's so much.  I'm proud and hopeful and excited to continue.  I'm happy. 

So what's your goal in the coming year?