So a couple days ago I posted a bit about my betterness journey. How I finally decided sitting around watching Dr. Who and eating junk was probably not the best for me or my family (shocking, I know). This whole journey really started after I had Urpling. Mainly because I gained a LOT of weight with her.
I have written about this previously so I won’t get into lengthy detail tonight. But basically, I gained about sixty pounds after I had her. Part of that was my thyroid being a douche…but part was my lifestyle. So for the first time in my life I started paying attention to what I was eating. It was shocking. Ignorance truly is bliss. I always knew this stuff wasn’t good for me…but I had no idea how bad it was in terms of calories, fat, sugar, etc. Now, I am not opposed to the yummy comfort foods. But I knew something had to change. So I joined myfitnesspal, and then decided I should start working out. When I was in middle school I started gaining weight, and stemmed the tide by joining the swim team. But this time around I had no gym membership, and no pool, so I decided to run. I registered for a half marathon as motivation…and the result was a massive weight loss. Not down to my goal weight…but I was no longer disgusted when I looked in the mirror.
Here’s what I’ve learned while trying to lose weight:
-Everyone is different. What works for one person might not for someone else. Don’t be afraid to try different things. If something doesn’t work for you that doesn’t mean you’re a failure, it just means you need to find what does.
-How I feel plays a huge part in how I look at myself. For the past couple of weeks I haven’t been working out. I gained no weight but I started to get a negative self image. But then I worked out this week and now I feel smokin’.
-It’ s a lifestyle change. I hear that a lot. It’s a nice sound bite and basically means that short cuts don’t usually work. I wanted to be able to maintain this for the rest of my life. So that meant I accepted the fact that I will probably never be someone who grows her own food, never eats sugar, and loves vegetables. But it did mean I started looking for ways to add more veggies in my diet, snacks that were proportioned so I didn’t engorge, or snacks that were healthy substitutes. It also meant I still give myself fun days. thanksgiving? I engorged until my pants were ready to burst. I did it, and felt no guilt, because my regular lifestyle has improved. If this is for life, I still want to have fun…or what’s the point?
-Small steps. Whenever I tried to changed everything at once, I lasted a week. But when I made one small change, it easily and quickly became a habit.
-Go by how you feel…not how you look. I finally had to stop weighing myself every day. I became obsessed and my mood would revolve around my weight and waist measurements. But after I get a good workout, I felt great about myself and the extra energy I got from it. This doesn’t mean you still don’t maintain goals and work towards them. But there should be a balance. This should be about your overall health…not just your weight.
-Never quit. I have bad days. I had homemade toffee for lunch…multiple times. But you accept the failure and move on.
- Don’t give excuses. If you’re overweight, you’re overweight. It’s not healthy, and it hinders from being able to enjoy life as fully as you could. I finally realized that I didn’t want to live this way, and that I deserved something better. Not only that I should lose weight, but that I COULD lose weight. I stopped blaming lack of time, lack of resources, lack of money, health issues, or genetics for my weight. That was the real turning point for me.
If you’re struggling with your weight, change it. It will be slow, long, and often frustrating. But it can be done! Just remember, you are worth the effort and sacrifice. You are beautiful, you are worthy of good health, and it’s not about looking good…it’s about having the ability to live life to the fullest.
So it’s been over a month since I last wrote anything. There were a lot of factors. I was having some minor health issues that were slowly being worked out (and finally everything seems to be working properly!). Also, for the three months between October and January, every single kiddo has their birthday, as well as Halloween (which we always have a party at our house), Thanksgiving for the family at our house, Christmas, and New Years. That has kept me busy, as well as a wonderful visit from my in-laws. Finally, for three weeks in a row I had my final races of the season. So for three consecutive Sundays I had an Olympic distance triathlon, a half marathon, followed by another Olympic distance triathlon. Did I mention I got a nasty head cold right after my half marathon…only to then develop Strep Throat on top of that the day before my final race? That final race I performed with a head cold and strep throat. So basically, in a nut shell, I’ve been busy, and the ol’ blog here took a back seat for a while.
I have been in a four year struggle with my health, weight, and self image. It’s been a long and slow journey…and I’m still not where I want to be. But I did these three fairly difficult races all in a row and I succeeded…and it has left me excited to see what the future will bring next. So I figure I will kick off these next set of blogs with my random thoughts on these areas…health, weight, and self image. (If you, for some inexplicable reason, want more detail on my slow journey to betterness…I have included links to three different blogs I have written since King Toot was born that talk about different aspects of my journey. You’ll find them at the bottom of this post.)
Tonight I’m going to start with self image. I do not consider myself an athlete. I never have. I swam on my swim team all through high school and even made sectionals several years in a row, and never felt like an athlete. I worked hard, trained hard, and that was that. I have always felt too tall, too gangly, too heavy, and definitely too accident prone to be an athlete (as proof, I ran into the side view mirror to my car today and have a nice big bruise to show for it. Sir Smiley has banned me from ever going on the roof or other high places for fear I will fall in some epic way…to my certain death). When I first started attempting to train for my first half marathon, I bought a decent pair of shoes, and that was it. I never bothered with types of training methods, drills, sprints, cruise intervals, hills, etc. I didn’t get any sportswear, or fancy gadgets. I had an iPod my hubby had won for me years ago in a raffle…it was the kind with the big circular button and the old school black and gray screen. I had to hold it in my hand. I didn’t bother with food nutrition or, as the sporties call it, fuel. That stuff was for athletes…which I was not. It wasn’t until I started reading The Triathlete’s Training Bible that my perspective started to change. I set up an annual training plan, and then actually started following it. I realized that fuel wasn’t just for athletes, it was to keep your body going when it works for long periods of time…no matter what you look like or how fast you are. I started trying different things, GU gels, accelerade, Gatorade, GU chomps, stinger waffles, cliff bars, protein drinks, etc. I found what I liked and started to improve.
The best part of tracking your workouts, is seeing what you’ve accomplished at the end. The author, Joe Friel, encourages the use of a training log. (no..I am not being paid to endorse his book. I just think his book is freaking amazeballs! It has transformed the way I think about myself and how I approach my workouts.) I tracked all my hours and distances that I did throughout the year. He compares training to climbing a mountain. You make a plan, and follow it as best you can…making adjustments for weather, health, terrain, etc. If you stick with it, you’ll reach the top, look back, and see how far you’ve come. That is what I experienced. Forget weight loss or pant sizes…I felt real success. Not only did I complete my first Olympic triathlon, I completed three of them. I dropped 24 minutes in 3 months worth of training from my first to my final Tri. I dropped 21 minutes off my best time in a half marathon. But even more awesome was the improvement off my last half marathon. I completed it six months after King Toot was born. It was awful. My lungs and heart were fine, but my joints and muscles were aching so bad that it slowed me down to a walk. I felt like a thin person trapped in a fat person’s body and I cried for the last two miles while Sir Smiley tried to encourage me along. I dropped 40 minutes off of that time. It was a feeling of redemption! Then I look at my total training. I swam for 2133 minutes, biked for 2293 minutes, and ran 3112 minutes for a total of almost 153 hours. I swam 47.5 miles, biked 1370 miles, and ran 240 miles for a total of 1657.5 miles. I feel amazing looking at that.
I am the the poster girl for “if I can do it…anyone can.”. I couldn’t even jog half a block when I started. I felt slow, awkward, and jiggly. The chafing….oh the chafing! Body Glide quickly became my thigh’s best friend, I ran at night so people wouldn’t be able to see me as clearly. I was also 40 pounds heavier. I knew nothing about running or biking, and it had been years since I had really been swimming. But I look at what I accomplished, and I want only one thing…for others to experience that feeling too. Nothing beats it. It doesn’t have to be triathlons (but I will say, triathletes are the most amazing, welcoming, and friendly people). But find a sport you really can get passionate about. Don’t worry what other people think. Research, read, and…most importantly…keep track. Keep track, so you can look back at what you’ve accomplished and get that same exhilaration…whether it’s your first 5K or an Ironman. Be proud that you did it!
Next time: weight…duh duh duh (say that in your head as an ominous interlude)
Reference 1: My thyroid problems: Click Here
Reference 2: My post on triathlons…which includes links to previous posts about triathlons. So my basic athletic journey: Click Here
Reference 3: My post on eating well as connected with weight loss: Click Here
Yeah, I was super serious and long last time. So I figured I would do super short, with some semi-funny moments over the last few days.
Urpling has been placed in the shower to marinate when I hear her yelling for me. I run in and she looks at me with a face full of wonder and says, “Mommy! My hands! They’re wet!”. To which I respond, “Why yes, they are!”. “Uh huh! They’re WET!!!”. (I swear, she has been bathed before)
I went grocery shopping and had to buy bouillon cubes. I have no idea what these things are. (I even had to use autocorrect just to figure out how to spell them). So I look around the soup aisle, since that’s what I’m using them in. Can’t find them. Feeling like a complete idiot, I look around and see that the only employees are young teenage boys. Great. So now, as I start to approach the nearest adolescent for help, I realize that I have no idea if they are even a shelved item or if they belong in the refrigerator section. Nothing like looking like a complete idiot as you’ve spent 15 minutes browsing the soup aisle looking for what was probably cheese or something. Thankfully the guy knew what I was talking about and it was in the soup aisle. Relieved that I only would have to look like an idiot 99 times that day instead of 100, I headed off to buy my purchase and celebrate victory (The Chicken Dumpling soup turned out fabulous…thanks for asking).
Picked up Sasquatch from school. She plops into her seat, sighs, and then announces, ” You know, I think I’m going to shave my head and dress up like an angel tomorrow.”
King Toot now waves bye and then says, “Die, die” in his cute one year old voice (I hope he means bye…but you never know with him).
My mom and I go to pick up Sasquatch from school. We then have to wait 15 minutes for Urpling’s class to get out. In the meantime, Sasquatch proceeds to draw squiggles and arrows in the ground. She announces that this is how to get to heaven and that when she dies, Grandma needs to make sure that she follows the arrows. Also, she made Grandma promise to tell Grandpa (So Grandpa, if Grandma failed in her mission, when you die you need to follow the arrows to heaven).
The next day Sasquatch was distressed that the wind made a bad choice and erased the map to heaven. So she then proceeded to draw the Ten Commandments.
Sasquatch announced to me tonight that she was a Ninja. “Ninjas are small wild animals”. Little boys everywhere are shuddering right now.
Hmmm…a blog like this could be one of two things…insightful or inciteful (or maybe both). I was one of those moms who read the blog post by Matt Walsh about stay at home moms. He’s a bit harsher than I would be, but I found nothing all that heinous in his post. But many of the commenters did. It seemed some felt he was personally insulting working moms and also dads. The whole war waging in the comments section got me thinking about this mommy war. My thoughts have been all over the map so it’s been difficult to pull them together in something even remotely followable (which is unfortunately quite normal for me…just ask my husband).
Introductions for these kinds of touchy subjects set the tone for how someone will read the rest of your blog so this is what I want to lead with (of course I’m already a paragraph in, but I actually haven’t said much of anything yet, so apparently I’m good at wasting time. This oughta be good.) Question: Do you love your kids? Another question: Do they know you love them? If you answered yes to both of these, you’re a good parent. Enough said. I don’t need to know anything else…whether you cosleep, cry it out, nurse, formula feed, eat McDonald’s drive through every night, or feed your children food you grew or slaughtered yourself. YOU ARE A GOOD PARENT!!! Have I drilled it in yet? Do we sufficiently grasp the concept? Well, either way I’m moving on.
My first thought in all of this was on mommy wars themselves. I have rarely been insulted about my parenting choices to my face. I may get a condescending look on occasion. But they are relatively easy to ignore (I just rant about them on my blog later). But no one comes up to me and tells me that I mutilated my son because we circumcised him, or that my bean pole kids will be obese because I gave them formula. No, that only happens online. Where the other person doesn’t have to see the face of the person they’re talking too. They don’t even have to humanize the other person at all so they can vent out all their frustrations at their choices freely without any hindrance of common respect and courtesy. This is what fuels the mommy wars in general, the SAHM (stay at home mom) vs working mom war is no exception.
Another problem is how different the two experiences are. Working versus staying home are very different. They both have their own rewards and challenges. SAHMs have more time. We get the whole day to complete basic chores, and still have time for helping in lots of other ways. We have flexible schedules (barring kids school and extra-curricular activities). I never miss the big moments in my kid’s lives (well…rarely. We won’t talk about how King Toot decided to take his first steps at the airport for everyone else while I was retrieving luggage. Even though I spend all day, every day with him!) Having more energy and time for my kids, more energy and time for my hubby, and time to pursue my own hobbies also top the list for me. But working moms get actual bathroom breaks. They need not fear that if they go into that bathroom, one coworker will hit the other coworker with a bat while a third one comes in to watch you and keep you company. My daughter yesterday brought in all her stuffed animals one by one while I was pooping to keep me company. She lined them up against the wall to all stare at me. That wasn’t creepy or anything. I sometimes would give my left arm to shower or poop or pee without fear that the house will be on fire when I finish. Also, working moms have more validation. Not because people think less of me for staying home, but because at work…out in the real world… you interact with other adults. People see when you do your job well. When I taught, I had parents requesting me, gifts from students, and PTA members gushing over me. Then I stayed home. I have three little ones who can barely say thank you, and then my husband (my hubby is great, but he’s just one guy and he kind of has to be nice. I cook his food.). My first valentines day I got nothing from my hubby. I had always gotten nothing but hadn’t noticed before because my students had always brought things in and basically covered his butt. Since the they are like two different worlds with different challenges and rewards, to try and say one is more important than the other is impossible. Mathmatically. I’m sure Sheldon from Big Bang Theory would agree with me.
My other thought was about how we view what makes someone important. In our culture, you or only important if you’re “busy”. Not busy doing small things either….it’s the busy that’s always running around, always doing something, never stopping. If you aren’t busy, you aren’t important. This is where the crux of the difficulty between SAHM and working moms comes to play. Often, in an attempt to prove their importance, SAHM put forth a martyr complex. They work very hard to portray how busy they are. How slammed with chores and errands and volunteering they are and this is what makes them important. It can often come across as a woe is me attitude. Bahumbug I say. Don’t ever feel sorry for me. I’m happy, and quite content with my choices. I have been caught in this trap of business too many times and it’s time to break this vicious cycle! Being busy doesn’t make you more important. It just makes you more tired. I chose to stay at home because I wanted to be less busy. I wanted plenty of time to spend with my kids, to maintain the home, and to maintain healthy relationships with my hubby, kids, and friends (not to mention myself) without running myself into the ground. This isn’t to say that when you stay at home that you aren’t busy. You are. But you’re busy with things you chose to do. I train 6-8 hours a week for triathlons, run the preschool area of our church, lead a bible study, teach in our church’s AWANA program, and am on the PTO board. I do stay busy, but it’s all stuff I wanted and chose to do to be helpful to my community. I LOVE it! I can do all that, and still have time to play games with my kids, read them stories, listen to them sing, go for walks and to the park, and have time for my hubby too. It’s fantastic. So no, I never want to make someone pity me for how hard I’m working in order to gain their respect. I want their respect because of the love and energy I pour into my kids to make them amazing little people. I want them to respect me because I made a choice that was best for my family. I want validation just like everyone else.
Which brings me to my next thought. Most of the moms who were insulted, were working moms. Why were they insulted? Because in his praise of moms who stay home, they felt that their choices were being invalidated. All any of us want, no matter where we fall in life, is for people to see our hard work, all our sacrifices, all our accomplishments and respect us for it. They felt that had been taken away from them. The truth is, no matter what you end up choosing, sacrifices will be made. Matt Walsh said that staying home was ideal. I agree. But before you jump down my throat with anger and vengeance, let me explain. For your kid, no one is better than you. THIS IS NOT A BAD THING!! Perhaps it is better put this way: You are so amazing, so wonderful, and so perfect for your child that no one else will ever compare. Don’t you see? No one will love your kid like you, be pierced through the heart when they cry, or melt when they hug you like you will. No one. You are their ideal. But we do not live in an ideal world. Every situation has an ideal, and sometimes you have to sacrifice one ideal in order to keep the other ideal. Like, for example, the ideal of being able to eat every day versus the ideal of staying home with your kids so they get more of you. One ideal probably trumps the other and for some that is the choice they have to make. In an ideal world, our kids would never scrape a knee, get sick, be bullied, have their heartbroken, or run away. But these things may happen. It doesn’t make us bad parents, it just means we live in a broken and unfair world where we have to choose what ideals are more important. Health insurance, getting out of the house for a few hours each week so that you don’t go insane, paying off debt, all come into play. Breast feeding is another good example. I firmly believe breast feeding is ideal for your child for at least a year if not longer. Ask me how many kids I was able to do that for? (Hint- it rhymes with zero). Other ideals came into play, and I made my choice. I still believe breast feeding is the ideal, but for the family as a whole I had to make some tough decisions between ideals. So basically, it’s one thing to say that staying home with your kid is ideal…which it is. It’s another thing to say you are a bad mom (or dad…hate to leave them out!) if you don’t.
Basically, we all make sacrifices. We all look at our choices and options and then choose based on what’s best for our families. I have many working mom friends whom I respect highly. One works opposite hours from her husband. They sacrificed time together so they could pay the bills and still be their for their kids. That’s fantastic! I have a friend who is a supervisor but is considering asking to be demoted so she’ll be able to come home earlier and be less stressed. She wants her kids to get more of her, and a higher quality her. That is true sacrifice. I have a friend who works from home two days a week. Not because it’s easier (don’t make me laugh!) but because she wants to have has much time with her little boy as she can. They are all fantastic moms and their kids are so incredibly fortunate to have them! So how about we stop trying to figure out who’s more important and instead suck it up. Embrace our choices instead of regretting or resenting them. Live purposefully. But most of all, take time to tell other moms that we see the sacrifice they make…whether at work or at home…and commend them for it.
Just so you know…if you call our house multiple times as a wrong number, Sir Smiley will take great pleasure in messing with you. Same goes for telemarketers. We received a wrong number call today. She asked for a doctor, and I informed her…nicely…that this was not a doctor’s office. She asked if I was sure several times. My answer never changed. End call.
Two minutes later I receive another phone call. I passed the phone to Sir Smiley telling him I couldn’t handle this woman again. He answered instead…pretending he could only speak Spanish. She promptly hung up…and then called back a minute later. Reaching the ridiculous by this point he answers again, only this time pretending to be an old man. He chats with her a bit, pretending to be senile. Then things get even crazier. She tells him that he owes her $200. Then proceeds to ask some probing questions about who lives with him (he said no one), was he alone (at the moment…his family is out running errand until this evening), and where he lived. He then gave her the address to the police station where he works. She said she’d be there in an hour and a half so they could hang out and chat…and he could give her the money he owes her. Oh, and at some point Sir Smiley threw in the little factoid that he likes to store large amounts of cash in his house.
So in an hour or so we’ll see what her reaction is to his “house”. If she buys his performance I’ll be amazed.
Note: She did call back, asking him why he sent her to a park (which is next to the police station). He then directed her to an address where the neighborhood watch was already serving a warrant. She said she couldn’t make it out that far today and maybe she’ll come visit tomorrow. He said anytime after 2 would be great (i.e. when he’s working). The saga to be continued tomorrow…
Once you have kids, sleep deprivation becomes an old acquaintance (I hate to say friend, as we are not on good terms). But I’ve also discovered there are many different kinds.
There is the kind that leaves you in a bit of a haze and makes you a little slower to think and remember things. Typically this is experienced with a new baby. You get snippets of sleep here and there. But every few hours you’re up and caring for a small little creature.
There is the kind that gives you a second wind and then leaves you dead on your feet. Just tired, plain and simple. This is most common in college after pulling “all-nighters”. You feel okay for part of the day and then it hits you like a truck. When it hits you, you could sleep practically anywhere. The floor, the couch, the bench at the library…anywhere.
The kind I’ve just experienced makes me feel a weird combination of drunk and sick. Sore and achy, with a strange detached feeling like someone else is running my body. I say things that sound brilliant in my head, only to find out later that I was making absolutely no sense. This stems from lack of sleep due to worry. My kiddos all got croup this weekend. Lovely thing, croup. Makes it hard for kids to breathe. My older ones just got the nasty bark-like cough and fever. But King Toot wasn’t so lucky. He woke up crying, and when I went in there to check on him, he was laboring to breathe. If you want terrifying, watch your precious baby boy struggle to get every breath in and out. I’m an old hand at croup, and Sir Smiley had just gotten home from work so we stuck him in the bathroom with a hot shower running and let him breathe in the steam, and then stuck him in front of the freezer. This helped, along with the humidifier. But by this point I had my heart pounding and even though I knew he’d be fine I woke up to every sound. That first night I had already gotten up with Urpling twice to calm her down from coughing fits, and then had to do the shower/freezer routine two more times for King Toot. I was up five times the first night and three the second. But I woke up more than that. During his nap time I had to do the whole routine twice. So no naps for me, no sleep really for two days. I was a zombie. I had multiple conversations on the phone with my parents but really only remember half of them. They were concerned that I wouldn’t make it through the day (whether they were more worried about me passing out and knocking myself out, or what my kids would do to themselves or me when left to their own devices…I’m not sure…)
King Toot is still a little wheezy and Urpling still has a cough. But at least they’re on the mend. I actually got half a night’s sleep and an hour nap so now I can at least act like a normal human being (or maybe it’s gotten so bad that I’m hallucinating it all). Here’s hoping that I actually get some sleep tonight. Sweet dreams everyone.
So two out of three kids are sick this morning. Sasquatch is fine, but Urpling has a mild case of croup and King Toot has a fairly severe case of croup. I was up much of the night with the two sickos and am a little tired so it’s a pajama day. I want to keep the small ones calm so they don’t get out of breath, but also keep Sasquatch entertained. She suggests playing Hide and Seek. Sounds good to me.
Have you ever played hide and seek with a five and three year old? Entertaining doesn’t begin to cover it. Sasquatch requests to hide first. So I cover my eyes and count to ten. When I finish I instantly hear shrieks and giggles coming from behind the couch. Hmmm….I wonder where she is? I pretend to hunt around a little bit and find her…which delights her. So now it’s my time to hide so I hide behind the door of the laundry room. But before she starts looking, the dogs come up to me, licking me and wagging their tails. So she found me right away (thanks dogs…now I can add that to my list of grievances in this post). Sasquatch goes to hide behind one of the chairs before I even start counting. Then she tells me, from her hiding to place, to go count somewhere else. I go to count and Sir Smiley tells Sasquatch to hide somewhere else and keep quiet. So she hides behind the other chair, and is quiet. I come in and announce grandly, “Where’s (Sasquatch?)?!” To which Urpling yells out, “She’s behind the chair!”. I find her, and then Sasquatch tells me I have to hide in the living room. So I pile some pillows on me and she finds me. I start counting and Sasquatch announces loudly that she’s going to hide under the table. I come in and hear her giggling…and then see one if the table chairs move on its own. I pretend I can’t see her and finally “find her”. I then go hide in a closet…with the door open. Both girls check the room multiple times but never even glance towards the closet. I finally have to start whistling. Urpling, who is carrying a bike pump, slowly enters the room with the pump drawn like a weapon…looking around cautiously. I have my head hanging out the closet by this time and she still doesn’t see me. So I finally whistle again and she slowly looks up…and squeals. So now both Urpling and Sasquatch go to hide. Sasquatch hides in a kitchen cabinet..and then proceeds to yell out commands at me from her hiding place. She tells me that she is hiding in the cabinet, so I’m supposed to go find Urpling and then check every place in the house EXCEPT the cabinet. Obviously. So I go in search of Urpling who is pumping her little air pump furiously so I hear a steady stream of *pfft *pfft *pfft. Then she starts giggling and sticks her head out and looks at me. I pretend not to see her and keep looking. Urpling can’t take the tension and yells out, “I’m right here!” so I oblige and “find” her. We go and eventually “find” Sasquatch after searching the house.
All in all it was the perfect sick day activity. Lots of fun without too much exertion.