Health Kick 2013

Lies. Or, Phillip Got Me A Fitbit For Christmas

In early November I went out with my two svelte, stylish, will-never-look-older-than-they-do-right-now Asian-American girlfriends. Over a massive plate of nachos I said, "I need to tell you guys something." But then I didn't. Because I really really didn't want to tell my two size nothing, impossibly adorable girlfriends how bad - how very very bad - I was feeling about myself. 

I eventually got it out, in between mouthfuls of tortilla chips smothered in cheese, and because they know me they said exactly the right things. And a few things I wouldn't have thought of on my own. We talked about my Hot By Thirty days, what kind of space is required in your brain for weight loss, good changes, bad changes, giving up, things you think about yourself, lies you believe about yourself, and one of them said, "Oh Maggie, I hope that you can at least get back to the normal hating how you look, like the rest of us."

It wasn't the normal hating how you look. I knew that. Hearing it from someone else sort of solidified the Wacked Out place I was at and then I was sort of like, ".... whatever." I continued to eat massive plates of nachos and not care because I was All Cared Out. 

But I think that night was the Apex of whatever self loathing I've had going on in 2013. I have very slowly stopped hating myself for gaining weight. Can you believe it? I wouldn't say that I'm happy with how I am (AT ALL) but I no longer spend half of every morning mentally berating myself for getting to this point. I still look in the mirror and think, "DUDE", but I can move on. I still hate the way all of my clothes look, but I'm not super worried about what everyone ELSE is thinking about my clothes (uh... NOTHING ANYWAY.)

I believed I was a better person when I was thinner. I believed people liked me better. More. I believed that I could control my body - there's truth in that, but I twisted it. I believed losing weight was some achievement that people valued more than my other achievements. I believed people loved my achievements. 

Those are my me-centric lies, maybe you have different ones, and I don't know that I'll ever completely resist the temptation to believe them. But I'm doing so right now. For the first time in months I feel hopeful for me. 

I haven't weighed myself in ages, but I suspect I am at Square One. Before Jack. Before I ever tried to lose weight. I might hide it better now - I think I've figured out what kind of clothes work on me and most of the time I wear concealer and I do my hair every day and HOPEFULLY I am not such a college-y mess pretending to be a Career Girl like I used to be. I know that I am so much HAPPIER with the life I have now, and I like myself so much MORE, that it HAS to rub off on how I present myself to the world. 

That said. I think I'm going to try and lose this weight again. 

Probably not all of it. I'm doubtful I have what it takes to get back to those size 8 shift dresses I bought by the dozen. My husband would prefer my boobs never be that size again, quite frankly. But I think I'm going to try and get back to the place where I didn't plan my outfits around muffin tops. I think that would be healthier. I WANT to learn how to be active again and not fuel my body with a steady stream of sugar. 

What's the most amazing thing about this, for me, right now, is that I think I can

Last year at this time I was furiously attempting to lose holiday weight, only to keep putting weight ON. I eventually started to wonder if the anxiety medicine I was taking was affecting my efforts. I honestly have no idea if it was - all I know is that I tried very hard and nothing worked. 

I'm not entirely sure what's changed, but after months of being angry and not caring, I feel like maybe I could try again. I'm on a lower dose of medicine (not completely off) and maybe that DID have an effect? I've managed my expectations a little better this time? I got rid of all the sugar in my house, but I'm not interested in chewing myself out if I don't get on the treadmill every day. I feel like it could be slow, it could be not terribly successful, it could be unnoticeable by anyone but me. And that would be okay. Because I have to stop NOT taking care of myself. If that makes sense. 

So when I opened the Fitbit Phillip got me for Christmas rather than feeling immediately defeated, I was kind of excited. I do love data, you know. And it's counting my steps whether I run or walk. Walking is good too.

I wish I knew what got me out of that pit. It certainly wasn't losing weight, as I'm certain I've just kept gaining. I think it was not keeping it all to myself - telling you, telling the friends whose opinions matter so much. I think it was other people validating my "giving up" with telling me they'd have given up too. I think it was trying very hard not to talk about it or make excuses for it or make jokes about myself or mention it in daily conversation. It was asking God to help me. It was meaningful people telling me I hadn't failed them. Because that was the biggest lie I believed - that by gaining most (all?) of the weight back, I'd failed my husband, my family, my friends, anyone who'd been proud of me before, and now they were disappointed and ashamed and loved me less. 

I KNOW! I know that's madness. And yet, that's my THING. Right? So it's just so good to know, so good to be affirmed that you love me AND my muffin top. 


Housework and losing weight: a reflection on two of my least favorite things

A while back I posted here that I was trying something new: cleaning the kitchen throughout the day, rather than waiting for the Point Of No Return, usually hitting it right before Phillip got home, throwing everything in the dishwasher, putting all the food and dishes away, but ignoring most of the clutter because come on. Clutter is a way of life. 

So that didn't last very long. I felt like all I was doing with my days was cleaning the kitchen. Feeling good about having a clean kitchen came at too high a price, it felt like, and I slowly (okay, quickly) returned to my lazy eh-I'll-get-to-it-eventually habits. 

THEN. Katie, the FPC, and I made the decision that our cottage food industry would use my kitchen instead of hers. And I started to get a little nervous. 

A few days after that decision I went full OCD on my kitchen, throwing out everything sitting on the window sills or counters that I could reasonably throw out, washing everything, wiping down every surface, sweeping, organizing, using half a container of those Lysol wipes. 

I haven't stopped. 

Just this afternoon while Emma napped and my kids played on my computer, I used up another half container of Lysol wipes. (I think it's the smell. The smell proves it's clean.) I think it's been about two weeks, which is longer than any cleaning promise I've ever endeavored to keep. And I feel GOOD about it. I can't really explain why. I am most certainly spending more time cleaning my kitchen than I did even during that couple of days I blogged about it. It just feels different. Even though I know everyone I live with is conspiring to dirty it immediately, it still feels WORTH it to keep it looking fresh and uncluttered and clean. It's IMPORTANT. It's POSSIBLE. I feel BETTER about LIFE.

(I have noticed, however, that the rest of my house remains an unholy dump. I've recently realized that at this stage of life I cannot have all the things clean at the same time. Ever. I can have a sparkling kitchen, but my living room will be a disaster. I can clean up the kids' room, but the playroom will be littered in junk. It's just not going to happen and I think I'm okay with that and what is most amazing about the last two weeks is that instead of moaning about just wanting a housecleaner for my kitchen and bathrooms, I've started thinking I only need the imaginary houscleaner for the bathrooms. SO. There is PROGRESS, at least.)

Anyway. As I was wiping down my hateful tile counters with the ancient disgusting grout (UGH! MY KINGDOM FOR GLEAMING WHITE QUARTZ!) I was thinking about my housework struggle and how it (kind of sort of a little bit) mirrors my weight loss struggle. 

BECAUSE. I happened to go out with my two beautiful, slender, stylish, who-knows-why-they-keep-this-chubby-white-girl-around friends and confessed, because confession is good, that I am Struggling. With myself. And how I look. And how it's beginning to feel less like hating how I look than hating that I let myself look this way. That maybe something happened in my Hot By 30 days and I started to believe something, maybe, that wasn't true, and now that most of that weight is back I'm some sort of Moral Failure. A Disappointment. A Laughingstock. Which sounds terribly dramatic and even a little silly when I write it out, but is TOTALLY the way it sounds in my head. 

I also confessed to not giving a flying you know what about what I eat these days, to the point where maybe something's Wrong. I asked my friends, "Am I USING food? Do I have that Twisted Emotional Relationship with food now?" But one of them said, "Hey, if *I* had spent an entire year doing all the things that had worked before to lose weight and nothing happened, I'd eat whatever I wanted too."

And that... that was helpful. That was REALLY helpful. I knew I'd given up, but she helped me figure out WHY. It wasn't hard to see, but it was helpful for someone else to say it. And they said all the right things too, the things you want your friends to say when you're having a rough time. I went home feeling like yeah, I AM in this place, but maybe I won't ALWAYS be here. 

Because it's happened with cleaning my kitchen. The caring piece suddenly matched with the possibility piece. Too simplistic? Awkward comparison? I don't know, it's working for me right now. What I care about, what feels possible, what IS possible, what is important, what needs to happen - those things are not at ALL lined up. Not in my brain, not in real life. But I keep catching glimpses of MAYBE and SOMEDAY and in the meantime I sign up for Stitch Fix and learn how to do a smoky eye and start a Christmas party spreadsheet and press forward.

Hoping for a third way: a Fine With How I Look update

Would you like to know how the Being Fine With How I Look is going? It is not going well. Now you know. 

It's HARD. I mean, you know this. I just... I think I expected to move forward and I'm not. I'm still mentally haranguing myself just about every day while not doing much of anything about it. I can say, "Hey, God, I don't want to think like this" for about three seconds and then I push forward to the upsetness with myself because... well, WHY? Is it more satisfying? Feels better? I just think it's easier. 

There are two positive things I can note. 

The first is that, for the first time in many months, the thought of exercising does not seem absolutely repulsive to me. As in, I think to myself, "Huh, I bet that would feel good." I've been thinking this mostly in regard to yoga (as in, maybe I should start going to yoga again) and running, but only running outside. I happened to visit a park with Emma a few mornings ago and it was one of those really glorious autumn mornings. Crisp, clear, red, gold, beautiful. A brand new park with a paved perimeter loop. Not crowded, not huge, quiet, and I kept thinking how nice it would be if I were on my own and wearing a pair of running shoes. So while neither of these things has actually happened yet, the fact that "exercising sounds good" is now interspersed with "I feel super guilty about not exercising" is, I think, an improvement. 

Also, first positive thing part 2, I've had moments of wanting to exercise because I love myself, not because I hate myself. 

Okay, so the second positive thing had to do with All Saints Day. I made it to church! Are you proud of me? I'm not really sure how you other Catholics do it, but I've had a REALLY HARD TIME hitting up all the not-Sunday-days since I've had kids. But Friday I took the big kids to school and Emma and I went to the church by our house for the 9am school Mass. And it was nice! All Saints Day might be my favorite "extra church day", I think because of a homily my old priest gave years ago. This priest at the church I rarely attend was all right, and it was geared towards kids (works for me), and then he started talking about Mother Teresa. Saint, right? Definitely. I am one of those Catholics who want to saint-ify everyone. The more the merrier! Yay Saints! And this priest, of whom I am not particulary fond and whose homilies have never spoken to me, starts talking about how beautiful Mother Teresa was. Even with her craggy face and sad eyes. She was beautiful. And I was thinking: she was! She was beautiful. She was amazing. 

And of course, because everything leads back to ME, I think to myself: would I rather be thin and modelicious or would I rather be saintly? And, because I am ME, I respond to myself: can't I have BOTH?

But it did remind me of the many many women I know whose beauty is enhanced by their faith. My first preference is to have both. I would like to be Sandra Bullock (she's my favorite) AND that Mary Ann lady I met at Urbana last year who seems to have God speaking directly in her ear. But if I have to choose, well, striving for a smaller pants size does not necessarily lead to faith, but faith always brings beauty. And a different, more interesting, more lifegiving, better beauty. 

When I'm this size, I spend so much time thinking about how I wish I was smaller, thinner, better looking in clothes. But I also know, now, that when I WAS smaller and thinner I spent so much time being afraid of getting bigger, of losing my motivation to work out, wondering what other people thought of me, and also congratulating myself on my clearly morally superior ability to lose weight. 

I don't like EITHER of those brain places. Neither one is good for my soul. What would it be like to knock What I Look Like off it's top tier position in my head? Maybe some of you have done this. Maybe some of you have never struggled with this. And honestly, I don't feel like this has been My Struggle, you know? Not to the extent that some women have suffered with body image. I know it could be so much worse, so the fact that it's so hard right now feels hopeless. Will I always feel this way about myself? Can I exercise and diet my way to a point where I never feel bad about myself? Do I just continue to be in this place of giving up and hating myself for it? 

I need God to provide that third way, that way where there is no way. I want to stop worshiping this idol of Pants Size. I want to go run around that park because it's beautiful outside and it feels good and because there's diabetes in my family and running makes my brain feel better, not because I hate the way I look in jeans. I NEED THAT THIRD WAY. 

Deciding to be FINE with how I look

Yesterday? I think it was yesterday. Monday I woke up and thought: Today is the day I decide to be FINE with how I look. (I wanted to write "happy" there instead of "FINE" but I also wanted to be truthful and maybe the all caps will make up for the lack of fervor.) 

And I'm serious. I'm as serious as I am totally baffled by how I will accomplish this. 

Here are the facts:

I have almost always been several sizes larger than most of my friends (and most definitely my sisters) my entire life. But I did not have an eating disorder or develop any worrisome thoughts or habits in regard to my size. I would guess I was no more and no less unhappy with my body as the average teenage girl and young woman. 

I lost weight for the first time right before I had Jack. I dropped about 20 pounds. I was DELIGHTED. I started wearing the size that I am currently wearing. This is to say: I am not at my heaviest. 

I lost the Jack weight just in time to get pregnant with Molly. 

And after Molly I did Hot By Thirty. I am wondering if this was just a particularly charmed moment in my life. I dropped all the baby weight plus ten more pounds. I was smaller than I was in high school. I was fitter than I'd ever been in my life. I had ARM MUSCLES. Everyone was proud of me, everyone complimented me, it was basically a Three's dream come true. I was STILL bigger than my sisters and I knew a size 8 wasn't going to get me a modeling contract, but DAMN I felt great about myself. I was also more obsessed with my body and my looks and how other people looked than I had ever been in my entire life. Which was not so great. 

I maintained that size until I had Emma. After Emma I dropped most of the weight, though I was never able to fit into my old pants. Even though I was only a few pounds over my goal weight I was light years away from fitting into those pants and felt muffin toppy and dumpy and frumpy and BAD. I felt very very BAD. I won't go into the length and breadth and miserable depth of my disappointment with myself, but it was very bad and THEN I gained most of the baby weight back. 

I am not entirely sure how this happened. (Oh wait, yes I do. Cookies.) But even with the cookies I did all the things I normally do to undo the effects of too many cookies and... it didn't work. I tried other things. They didn't work. I never found the right combination of diet and exercise that would equal weight loss and at some point this summer I think I gave up. I know I've gained weight since the spring. 

I am not at my heaviest. But now I know what it's like to be much smaller than I am, and my inability to get back to that place (and, at this point, my lack of motivation to even try) feels like an exquisite failure. Every morning I get dressed I remind myself that these pants are bigger than my old fat pants. I can't wear that sweater anymore. What won't show the rolls around my middle? Remember when I could wear a tight-fitting shirt and my pants didn't slide down over my love handles? 

But I am not UNHAPPY. My marriage is great. My kids are awesome. I just got back from a fantabulous weekend with amazing, lovely, hilarious ladies. I have wonderful friends. My family is supportive. I JUST STARTED A BUSINESS. 

Why am I constantly telling myself I'm a failure? 

Here are my excuses: 

  • Maybe my SSRI has the dreaded weight gain (or makes-it-hard-to-lose) side effect. 
  • I'm older. 
  • I actually FEEL older. 
  • I don't sleep well. 
  • My metabolism must be different. My body is TOTALLY WACKED OUT after Emma, in all different ways. Why wouldn't that be one of them?

But I've been thinking - seriously thinking - about what it would mean to Accept Myself The Way I Am. For the most part I'm not sure what that means. My entire motivation for Hot By Thirty was an unacceptance of the way I am. I don't know how to even TRY to exercise or eat healthy without a measure of dislike for my current status. A measure of disgust with myself. 

I can sort of imagine what it would look like. I would just get rid of those size 8 skinny jeans and buy clothes my current body looks good in. BECAUSE THOSE EXIST. I can see how I might emphasize the positives instead of constantly harping on the negatives. 

And I spent time this weekend with women of all shapes and sizes and colors and every single one of them was one of those Amazing Women of God. (I was at an NDCF alumni event.) And I was sitting there thinking: if that woman were thinner/smaller/taller/younger/wore different clothes/wore makeup/had shinier hair/looked any different - would I respect or admire or want to emulate her any more? 

The answer was no. Every single time. An honest no. Kind of a shocked why-would-you-even-think-that no. 

So I started thinking: maybe people think that about me. 

MAYBE my weight gain this year, my FAILURE, has absolutely nothing to do with how people feel about me, whether they love me, if they want to spend time with me. 

I think I've been in this place where I can believe those things as long as I'm TRYING to lose weight. Because everyone respects TRYING, right? 

But now I am seriously wondering: can I be okay with myself in this season of NOT trying? Of eating yogurt and granola for breakfast instead of eggs? Of walking on the treadmill instead of running? Of taking a nap instead of walking? Of making cookies with my kids, even though I know I will eat at least half the batter because that's JUST HOW GOD MADE ME? 

I don't think I can. I can do those things, but I will berate myself the whole time. Even though I have no intention of doing anything differently any time soon, I make sure to berate myself because then I know I haven't settled. I haven't become THIS person. I can still be the person with arm muscles. I haven't Become Okay With This. 

So... I was thinking about this last night and realizing that in other places in my life, where change seems impossible, or where I can't figure out the right way, I turn to God. Not all the time, and not well, but I mean to and try to and wouldn't you know, many times it works out. 

“Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV)

I think this is one of those things that I do not understand and maybe I don't HAVE to understand. God provides a way when there is no way. God parted the freaking Red SEA. 

I cannot part the Red Sea of disappointment with myself on my own. I can't. It's not going to work. In a few days I'll just go back to feeling bad every morning and worrying about what it means that I'd rather nap than run. I don't want to keep doing that. I don't want to see everything through these fat pants-tinted glasses. 

The answer, I know, is to pursue God with my whole mind, body, and spirit, and he will make me more like him, and I'll just stop caring about my pants size!

What's more likely? That as I turn to God every time I want to mentally whale on myself for gaining weight this year, every time I hate what I see in the mirror, he will gently turn me towards whatever it is that he would much rather I be thinking about. That the more times I can say, "God, I know this is not from you" he would respond with, "THIS is for you" and it will be something relevant and real and about who I AM and not what I LOOK like. 



40 minutes of half-dying, sponsored by Kerry Washington

So here's a nice view into my neuroses: Even though I used a treadmill yesterday AND today, as per The New Routine, I still feel guilty/like I'm doing it wrong because I'm using the treadmill at my HOUSE instead of the Y. 

Monday, Molly's first day of kindergarten, was kind of a crazy morning. Parents were welcome to stick around for a half hour and then attend an informational meeting. Which I did not WANT to do, but did anyway, mostly because Molly needed most of that half hour to get comfortable with all the new kids and the space. Then I went to the meeting because I felt like I should and after that I decided that Emma had already had enough weirdness in her morning without her mother dumping her in the Y childcare room. We went to the grocery store instead, had a lovely morning to ourselves, and as soon as she went down for her nap I got on the treadmill and took my mind off imminent death by watching Scandal on my Kindle. 

TODAY I already knew I wasn't going to the Y - I was going directly to Liz's house after school drop off because I hadn't seen her in FOREVER and I didn't know how much time I'd have if I went to the Y first. So after drop off we went to the grocery store (again) (for a dozen doughnuts) and went to visit Liz and Johnny and Fritzie and it was lovely. Then, as soon as EJ went down for her nap, I got on the treadmill and watched the next episode of Scandal. 

I've also been stricter about what I'm eating and YEAH SO it's only been two days, but I haven't had two days like this in a very long time. I don't feel proud so much as hopeful that I can get this started again. I am ALMOST looking forward to my next episode. (This is how I'm bribing myself: I only get to watch that (addictive) show if I'm also half-dying on a treadmill.) 

However! Because I am not dashing off to the Y after school drop off toting my gym bag and baby, I feel like I'm copping out. THIS MAKES NO SENSE. The entire POINT was to start exercising again and I have DONE THAT. (For two days. Still. Hush.) But here I am thinking about whether I will go to the Y tomorrow or if I'll just run at home again, and most of me wants to run at home because 1) I kind of like how an afternoon run ensures I am not a total slug all day and 2) I am not kidding about the half-dying and do I really want to put on that show in a room full of super fit moms in cute workout gear? Errr...

When Jack and Molly were babies, I would put them down for naps and then either run or suffer through a Jillian workout. Practically every day. It was just what I DID. I didn't eat lunch until after my workout, and lunch tasted SO GOOD. And I lazed around for the rest of naptime because clearly I deserved it. Yesterday and today I felt like maybe I could do that again. 

But here I am shelling out money every month for the Y. I could get my exercise out of the way first thing. I wouldn't have to take up valuable nap time with exercise. I would ALWAYS be able to work out because I would ALWAYS have someone to watch a kid for me. It was going to be The New Routine and it was going to WORK. 

Except... I like taking showers in the morning and getting ready and going shopping or visiting friends or taking my baby for coffee after school drop off. It's free to run at home. Emma's a reliable napper. I like how afternoon runs prohibit me from falling asleep on the couch in front of my DVRed news programs. The New Routine doesn't HAVE to involve the Y.

I'm sure most of you are sitting here wondering what the problem is, why I'm even writing about this. I just have this problem when I don't follow my own plans. I thought everything out SO WELL! I put all my eggs in THIS basket! To not go along with my very own carefully processed plan must mean something's off somewhere. I'm wrong. I'm making excuses or trying to get away with something. I mean, I TOLD everyone I was going to the Y and now I'm NOT?! That just LOOKS BAD. 

AAAAAAND, welcome to my brain! This is a fairly common occurrence around here, a strange circular warp of thought. I don't understand it myself, no matter how many external processing blog posts I write. The thing that matters is that I find time to exercise every [most] days. I can do that with or without the Y. I can do BOTH. My new routine doesn't have to be the exact same thing every single day. (OH! my brain is saying. THIS IS A TOTALLY NEW THOUGHT!)

One thing I think I've committed to is taking a picture of my running shoes every day. Why? you are asking. That sounds like a dumb idea. I know! But I think that can take the place of my blogging-about-exercise. It will sort of hold me accountable too. When I don't feel like running I will think of Instagram and feel guilty that I haven't yet posted my Daily Shoes picture. Stupid? Yes. Will it work? Do not underestimate my guilty conscience! Also, because I can't bear to bore the Internet (you are laughing), I am already thinking of ways to make my shoes pictures worth looking at. I am half ready to draw faces on the insteps with a Sharpie. 



These are elastic-waisted sparklepants


You: Super! We will now be subjected to the Obligatory Boring Trip Recap Post!

Me: Not yet! 

You: Awesome!

Me: No, it's worse. This is the Obligatory Oh Dear God, "None Of My Pants Fit" Is No Longer A Cute Exaggeration, It Is Dismal Depressing Truth, And What Am I Going To Do About It? Post. (Sorry.)

Cabo seems like a million years ago. That's what happens when you return from The Honeymoon You Never Had and immediately dive into your yearly couples retreat, which is basically your yearly dose of marriage therapy. We are talking intensity in ten cities, people. My kids, thank goodness, did great with their at-home babysitter while I was off picking apart communication dysfunctions. And making pina coladas for everyone. YUM!

And this week and next feel pointless to me, because it's just a holding period before school starts and what am I supposed to do with this time? I am MORE than ready to get back into a routine, but starting one when everything's going to be all upside down again in two weeks seems dumb. 

Here are things I would LIKE to accomplish during the next two weeks, but we shall see:

finish the elephant shades in Emma's room (I need to make two more)

pull off an awesomesauce Treasure Hunt party for Molly's birthday this weekend

catch up on all my emails

restock the fridge and pantry and start meal planning again

look at the bank account online and make sure I didn't forget to, you know, pay the mortgage while we were on vacation. 

That's not a huge or difficult list, right? I feel like I can do that. And then school will start (although Molly doesn't start until the Monday after Jack, which is ANNOYING) and I can - dum de dum dum - become one of those ladies who goes to the gym. 

Between no routine and the extreme difficulty I've had losing any weight I've put on this year, I basically gave up. Sometime in May or June. I just... it felt like too much. I was constantly upset with myself, constantly down on myself, and I was tired of it. The PROBLEM with choosing to not care is that I then begin to eat everything in sight. Namely cookies. And cake. I have no off switch, you guys. This is the problem in the first place. I have to watch my own self like a hawk, otherwise I will eat all the leftover birthday cake in one afternoon. There doesn't seem to be an in between place, or at least I haven't found one yet. Either I'm vigilant about what I put in my mouth and exercising, or I'm not doing either of those things and digging through my closet for the pants I wore at 4 months pregnant. 

Well, I suppose the in between place is being sort of vigilant and sort of exercising, while also digging around for the fat pants and beating myself up every day. Unpleasant. 

I need to work on what I'm eating. I've been Convenience Eating for so long I've forgotten how to do it right. I'm going to try protein shakes in the morning, as recommended by my hippie doctor. (Berries, yogurt, milk, vanilla protein powder. And ground up oatmeal.) I need to find some soups and salads that 1) I like and 2) ARE EASY TO MAKE and eat those for lunch and THEN STOP EATING. I've done this before so I know I can do it again. And the other thing is getting into an exercise habit again. I am very very VERY HOPEFUL that I can manage a School Drop Off then Head To The Gym situation, where Emma plays happily in the childcare room while I do my measly miles on the treadmill while watching Kelly and Michael. That would be enough! I wouldn't have to give up nap time. And it's not like I can do any shopping at 8:30 in the morning anyway, right? THIS IS A PERFECT PLAN. I just need Emma to cooperate. I think it will work. I do I do, I just need to START. And I can't start yet. So I'm frustrated. And eating cake. 

I did not feel bad about myself in Cabo and I'm SO THANKFUL. I was so worried that I'd hate myself in my bathing suit, or think about how I was wearing the bathing suit I bought 5 months post partum instead of the ones I wore when I was a size 8. Or that I didn't manage to get in shape for my husband on our big romantic trip. Or that I would feel bad around all the girls in bikinis. Buuuuuut, I don't know. It's not like I didn't care or didn't notice, but it didn't sit around with me and chisel away at my brain. I just told myself that life is busy and I'll start running again when school starts. And then order another plate of nachos. (OMG THE NACHOS.) 

I am not inclined to be nice to myself, but I am working on it. I've BEEN working on it. It just appears that being nice to myself means cookies for breakfast. A lot. So. 

Coming up on Cabo Recap, Houseguest Recap, Birthday Plans, Life Revelations, Etc. 



How I rationalized eating the cookie that I'm eating after writing this blog post

Every month I lose five-ish pounds and every month I put them back on (perhaps you are familiar with this cycle) and I am beginning to think, "You know? Maybe this is just how it's gonna BE." 

And really, is that so bad? Can I just stop comparing myself to the Me of 2009 because 2013 Me is a HECKUVA lot different.

  • I have three children on three different schedules. 
  • I am on a hefty dose of crazy pills. 
  • I moved and if I want to run in my new neighborhood I have to run HILLS.
  • I'm older. 
  • I'm much more fond of naps.
  • I am no longer super amazed by my ability to lose weight. It is no longer novel. It doesn't feel like an exciting challenge. It feels like TORTURE.
  • It's impossible for me to work out at the same time every day so it never feels routine.
  • Chocolate feels WAY better than skinny. 

I tell myself, "Girl? You're still thirty pounds and two sizes smaller than you were when you got married." And that helps. Pre-kids me would have laughed herself silly at the idea that post-kids me could run three miles in a row, without stopping, and without a basketball coach chasing after her and screaming about conditioning. I mean, not all is lost. 

Anyway. I'm just trying not to berate myself too much. Could I have more will power? More motivation? Could I do better? YES. Would my life be more awesome if I had those things? I'm not so sure. Napping suddenly holds premium value. Rest is a new requirement in my life. I feel super lame saying that, but DUDES. I'm TIRED. 

I can already tell that things are going to get simpler. The kids have something like seven weeks left of school. After that? I decide the summer schedule. We can go to the Y every single stupid morning if I decree it so. And when school starts again I'm going to have five days a week where I drop the big kids at 8;45 and pick them up at 3. I could have a routine again. It is entirely possible. Even LIKELY.

But these last two years, with the kids going different places at different times, with the baby who only recently started reliably sleeping through the night, with the husband who was traveling, with the always always tired... maybe it really isn't so bad that I am where I am. Right? MAYBE it's amazing that I'm even this CLOSE! No? Too much? All right, whatever, I'm going to bed.



Another Health Kick post (but I mean it this time!)

Easter is over. Phillip's family flies home today. Everyone is well enough to go to school. Even my parents are home from their road trip and coming to visit today. In short, there is absolutely no need to continue stuffing my face with every piece of chocolate I see. Or don't see, for that matter. I am valedictorian of finding the last chocolate egg under all the Easter grass. 

Since Christmas I've been losing and gaining the same five pounds. And that doesn't even begin to address the pounds I still had to lose to reach my pre-Emma weight. Biggest Blogging Loser was not motivation enough. An Easter dress wasn't enough. Not even my friend wanting me to go to the Korean spa with her (read: NAKED SPA) is inspiring me. 


Phillip and I are going to Cabo in August. By ourselves. In my ideal world I would be 1) ten pounds lighter and 2) better toned than I am now, which, as I am not at ALL toned right now, isn't saying too much. Wouldn't it be nice? To not feel like a giant pasty slug in my swim suit for an entire week? 

Also I've been feeling nervous about Health and Getting Older and Things Our Parents Are Dealing With That We Might Have To Deal With Too and ACK. 

ALSO also, I was thinking that in order to convince Phillip that he wants to go on a Health Kick with me, I need to come up with some super strong motivation. Beyond Cabo and Health. Something like: "what's one thing you really really really want to spend money on, Phillip Cheung? Because if you reach your goal YOU CAN HAVE IT." 

And that means I can think of something I really really want too. Because that's fair. And last night when I couldn't sleep I was making a list. One of the bazillion rings I've pinned from Etsy, a Boden sundress, a day at a [not naked] spa, a trip to visit an Internet friend. THIS COULD BE FUN, RIGHT? 

So here's how we're going to make it happen. 

EATING: I am sticking with Weight Watchers. Based on what I know about Phillip and his temperament and the crapload of junk food in his office breakroom, what I think will work best for him is low carb. It's SIMPLE - eat this, don't eat this. There's no counting anything. I am in charge of dinner so I can make sure he's not eating, like, three steaks every night. AND it worked before. He lost 10 pounds in, like, a week the first time he tried low carb. And him eating low carb will be good for me because I won't be tempting myself with the things I like to overeat, Weight Watchers or no. This is going to be the hardest part. Phillip and I dont necessarily love food as we love to snack, incessantly. And everything we do always seems to require a snack, or would be more enjoyable if we were also EATING. So. 

EXERCISE: Phillip is currently dealing with a foot problem and I... well, I have a nap schedule and a desire to hoard all of my free time. To combat this we have joined the YMCA. I KNOW! We are actually really super duper excited about this. When I was trying to figure out what to do for swim lessons this year it seemed like the best option, and dudes, the childcare? Is amazing. The childcare SPACES are INCREDIBLE at this Y, and I wouldn't have to waste nap time on my run. I am already thinking about next fall when Jack and Molly are both in school and I'll go drop them off, head directly to the Y, stick Emma in the baby room, and hammer out my exercise before 10am. How awesome would that be? And save nap time for TV the way God intended! As for right now it's a little more difficult. Because of the age requirements for each childcare space and how it depends on the time of day (it makes sense, just complicated) Molly can't be in the same room as Jack in the afternoons and this is, you know, traumatic. And the mornings are hard because I don't have a lot of time between drop off and nap time. I'll figure it out. For now it's just nice to have the OPTION and we're already looking forward to swimming with the kids on the weekends and signing up for classes. It's not the same as DOING the exercise, but I feel like I've at least taken care of the HOW to exercise dilemma.

My goal: 10 pounds gone by Cabo + arm muscles. 

There may or may not be a jointly written weight loss blog by Team Cheung. I don't know if that's interesting to you, whether Phillip would find it useful, whether I would commit to it the way I did with Hot By Thirty. (OH THAT SEEMS SO LONG AGO.) But it's an idea. 

Okay. I must get back to being a parent. Today's goals are simple: do not eat peanut butter out of the jar. Remember that even though you feel pudgy you are still two sizes smaller than you were when you got married. Remember that you looked skinny when you went out to dinner last night. Remember that the number on your jeans does not determine your worth. But also remember that you are a grown up, you can eat candy whenever you want, you do NOT have to scrounge through the kid's Easter baskets in desperation this afternoon because you are bored. FIND SOMETHING ELSE TO DO, SELF.