Hot By Thirty

A few thoughts on Pants, Fit Of and the chances of losing children in the London underground

The FPC is here because we have a wedding cake tasting tonight and another tomorrow night and there are a lot of little cakes and bowls of fillings on all of the surfaces. And between this (passionfruit curd!) and the crazy meds and running errands instead of going to the gym, oh and also PLAIN TIRED, there is a lot of angsty sighing when it comes to choosing a pair of pants to wear each day. Oh, pants. PANTS. Or should I say "pants". What's really working for me these days is a nice sack on top and something soft and stretchy on the bottom. Like... pajamas.

But then this morning I saw a tall, slender, elegant looking lady in the Target underwear section, holding up a piece of shapewear and eyeing it critically. And I thought, Well. There's no hope for ANY of us, is there. 

I have probably never been in a more confident state of mind, happier with who I am and who my people are, how things are with my family, really, and my PANTS. MY PANTS have the power to take all of that confidence and happy-with-self-ness and make me want to crawl into a hole of shame and doubt. How does that even WORK? 


Katie has... (wait I have to ask, hang on...) Chocolate cake with a whipped ganache filling and chocolate sour cream frosting OHMAHGAWWWWWD. Cookies and cream filling. Passionfruit curd. Coconut frosting. Cream cheese frosting, raspberry filling, carrot cake, white cake, lemon cake... YOU WISH YOU WERE HERE DON'T YOU. EFF THE PANTS.

Europe is only going to exacerbate the pants problem, but I'm finally in the place where I can't wait to go. I need a VACATION. Right now it's a big spin of what we need to buy and what to pack and all that, but it will be SO NICE to get away from the stupid calendar for a bit. No bakery deliveries or pick ups to worry about, no back and forth to school, no homework, no piano practice, no who's working late or who has a dinnertime meeting... We've been go go go since the end of March and NOT going sounds SO NICE right now. So nice. (Except for the part where I GO to Paris sans children. Yes.) 

Thanks for the Matilda recommendation - I am totally buying those tickets ahead of time. HAVE MY HUNDREDS OF DOLLARS, WEST END! I AM COMING FOR YOU!

Oh, and Phillip told his parents the other day that if we were going to Syria, say, their level of panic over theft of both money and children would be appropriate, but since we are NOT, maybe they could dial it back a bit. Because they are wonderful wonderful people, his dad just sighed and smiled sheepishly. I shall still mentally prepare to ask my in-laws to allow my children to run free at London playgrounds and for regular anxiety attacks (THEIRS) whilst managing the kids in the underground. 

(I told my FIL this story about my brother getting "lost" in St. Mark's Square - he lost US (too busy feeding pigeons), but my dad had an eye on him and watched him feed pigeons while throwing up his head every few minutes or so to shout, "MOM!" Basically letting him get good and nervous until my dad "found" him. But my FIL did not think this was funny AT ALL. "You need to get LEASHES!")

Excuse me, I believe my tasting services are needed (PASSIONFRUIT CURD).



Conversation In Front Of My Mirror

"Hey, I look GREAT in this shirt! Sure, it's got a giant Captain America shield on the front, but it isn't see through, it's long enough, it doesn't completely highlight my jiggly muffin top - "

"Helps that you finally found some pants that fit - "

"Right, okay, but still, I can leave my house in something other than a dress and leggings. Yay me!"

"It doesn't really look that great from the back. Kinda shows off your mounds of back fat."

"Well, yeah..."

"Is that really your back, even? It's so... lumpy!"

"I HAVE gained a lot of weight in the last year or two. I'm just thankful it dispersed itself somewhat evenly."

"Yeah, I saw you in those pictures from Christmas. And you thought you looked bad in LAST year's Christmas pictures."

"I thought I looked... half decent in those pictures? My makeup was awesome."

"Makeup can't hide 40 extra pounds, dear."

"Oh shut up, I know, okay? I KNOW ABOUT THE EXTRA POUNDS."

"Then how come you're not doing anything about them? Don't you care? Aren't you ashamed?"

"It's just... it's not as easy to lose the weight as it was before."

"Are you blaming your crazy pills again?"

"......... maybe?"

"What about that ice cream you ate last week? What about the cake you ate last night when company was over? What about all the wine? What about that GYM YOU JOINED?"

"I couldn't go this week! Sick kids! I said I'd babysit Rosie! I couldn't go!"

"Right. Sure."

"I look good in this shirt. I wanted to feel good about looking good in something."

"If you feel good about looking like this, what's to stop you from feeling good about 10 pounds more? And 10 pounds after that? You can't ACCEPT yourself like this. You have to DO something about it."

"What if I told you right now that I am the happiest and most myself I have ever been in my life?"

"Even with all this weight you've gained?"

"Even with all this weight I've gained. Is not looking as good in clothes going to cancel out how well I'm doing? How not anxious I am right now? How happy I feel about my life? How much my husband doesn't care?"

"He's lying."

"Not being able to fit into my old jeans should not weigh more than all of the positive things in my life right now."

"WEIGH more, HA HA HA, good one."

"I'm not doing this. I'll go to the gym when I can. I LIKE going to the gym. And I'll try to eat better. And I'll just TRY."

"You've been trying for two years now. It's not happening. And you THINK everything is going well and moving forward in your life, but when other people see you, they see a Chubby Girl Who Can't Stop Eating Cookies and no one takes you seriously."


"People who knew you when you lost all that weight are secretly laughing at you now."


"And you think you can lead things. Be in charge of things. Be respected. Be loved. HEH."

"God doesn't care about my pant size."

"Everyone else does."

"What the hell is wrong with you?"

"What the hell is wrong with YOU?"


Promise I won't bring this up again for at least another six months

Phillip went out to drinks and dinner and dessert with his coworkers tonight while I stayed home and did homework word problems and practiced piano and washed shampoo out of eyes and read bedtime stories and cleaned up the kitchen. To make up for having gone on a date with work people instead of his wife, he brought home an absolutely majestic piece of chocolate cake. A huge piece of cake, all rich and fudgy with shiny satiny frosting, OH. Except I am on Day Two of Not Eating Everything In Sight and now I'm just sitting here STARING at a piece of cake. Willing it to disappear before I lunge for a fork. 

In late spring, having finally weaned myself off the last SSRI, I started losing weight. I felt SO. VINDICATED. I lost nearly 15 pounds without doing much at all. I wanted to burst into my old brain doctor's office and shriek, "I GUESS SOME PEOPLE *DO* GAIN WEIGHT ON THIS ONE, JERKFACE!" But I thought that might be a little undignified and also I wouldn't want him to think that I'd spent the better part of a year feeling indignant over something so shallow as my inability to lose WEIGHT so... yeah. I kept my thoughts to myself. But in late spring I was all, BOOYAH! And thinking the rest would take some work, but it would happen. Yay Me. 

Okay, so THEN Anxiety Episode Number I Guess I'm Not Really Counting Anymore happened in early July and in late August there was the week when it was so bad and things with Phillip were SO bad that I didn't eat for a week. Do you know how bad things have to be for Maggie Cheung to NOT EAT?! Like, really horribly terribly bad. But! I lost more weight! It was INCREDIBLY shallow of me to be aware of this fact, was it not, but I felt like the universe owed me a silver lining and I was happy to take this one. 

Oh, but THEN that week ended and Phillip and I went back to Coping Poorly instead of Not Coping At All and I started to eat again. But I wasn't really doing better anxiety-wise and I realized it wasn't that I was eating my feelings so much as I was aware that eating was something I ENJOYED. Does that make sense? So I felt like I deserved to eat. Everything else was terrible, but this here jar of Nutella? That would make my evening SO much better! I would LIKE that! 

I suppose it is not THAT surprising that I am now even heavier than I was before. Not that I've been brave enough to step on a scale and make myself certain of this fact, but I can tell. Sigh. 

There were a few weeks of promising myself that I would stop eating all the cake, but then we'd have a big cookie order and oh look, there's a few left over! It was like I just didn't care enough to care. Or something. And I'd think about what it took for me to be a size 8 and I'd say to myself, "Self? You don't have time for that. You don't WANT to spend your time on that. THAT WAS NOT FUN. Also! Cake is delicious!" And also being super busy with the bakery and still not having a good grip on the anxiety stuff and being verrrrry generous with myself. Space. Grace. Time. 

And now I'm at a point where attempting to treat my body a little better WOULD be grace. To eat foods that aren't half sugar. To try to find a schedule, or a work time/being with kids time balance. To make myself something for lunch rather than reaching for whatever is easily grabbed and eaten as I do something else. Cutting out carbs has been the one consistent way for me to cut the sugar cravings and fit in my pants, so that's what I'm doing again. Trying. (Failing. Then trying again. Then failing again. But going back to trying.) I've given up on getting my Hot By Thirty body back. That was more like a fun chunk of time where I could wear whatever I wanted! Now I just... want to feel a little bit better about myself. Or something. 

GOD I HATE IT WHEN I WRITE ABOUT THIS STUFF!!!! I go through these spurts where I'm like, "I'm never going to write about my weight or size or WHATEVER on the internet AGAIN! EVER!" For various reasons: no one cares, I don't want to hate on myself, I don't want to set a poor example for my kids, etc. Then I do this. Because it helps! It does! It helps to write it out and sometimes someone comiserates or says something nice and THAT HELPS. It also makes me feel like I'm accountable to something. "I told the INTERNET. I can't go give up on everything NOW."

I can say, though, that I DON'T hate myself. I am not down on myself. I would LOVE to fit into my old dresses, but I'm not MAD at me because I don't. Last year I was mad. So something is different (not sure what). I think some of it has to do with starting to believe that OTHER people don't need me to be skinny in order to love me, or even just hang out with me. That sounds terrible, doesn't it? That I might have believed something like that? I think that was the shady part of Hot By Thirty - absorbing the accolades from people who are important to me, the trap of thinking I was an improved human being for having lost over 30 pounds... and then feeling like I MAJOR FAILED everyone when I gained it back. Diminished worth. Ugh, let's not go too far down that road. 

You know, I was REALLY planning to sit down and write about Selfie. (I STILL AM.) But then something happened. Oh right. The cake. It's bad news when a part-owner of a baking company has to write an angsty four thousand word blog post about the deep and personal implications of a single slice of cake. 


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. 


For the bajillionth time: weight loss, my extreme dislike of

Okay fine. I'm going to write the effing Weight Watchers post. 

After going Low Carbish for weeks and weeks and losing and gaining the same three pounds, I decided I needed a change. Low carb, as I may have mentioned nine hundred times before, is a good plan for me, and probably the way I should normally eat. Not NO carb, but LOW carb. I think I take after the side of my family with a history of obesity and diabetes, and all the other times I've lost Serious Weight I did it by going low carb. It's a good plan for people who think chocolate cake is perfectly acceptable for breakast, lunch, AND dinner. On the SAME DAY.

Thing is, at a certain point, I get very lax. For example, cheese is low carb! So I will have fourteen slices! You can see how it stops being effective through that sort of user error. Also (and this happened before, when I was doing Hot By Thirty) the more weight I lose, the less effective it appears to be. And I don't think that's SOLELY because I get lax - I don't know if I just need to change it up or just start fresh with a new program or what, but WW worked when I got stuck in HB30, and I thought it would work again this time. 

And it has. I've lost 4 of the 10 pounds I would really like to lose. 

(Well. Then this weekend happened. I knew I was going to dinner and probably a movie with Phillip on Saturday, but he planned a whole WEEKEND DATE starting with lunch at a Chinese noodle shop where we seriously, I mean it, ate our weight in homemade noodles and dumplings and scallion pancake. We weren't hungry until late that night, when we shared a burger and fries. Shared. WE NEVER SHARE. EVER. So. You know. I'm thinking I'm going to delay weighing in for a few days. HEH.) 

But once again I am really super duper struggling with what happens in my head when I'm trying to lose weight. I'm either not caring about it and totally digging into my noodles, or down on myself and counting all my points. I haven't figured out how to be Okay With My Size AND Trying To Lose Weight at the same time. Which is where I want to be. 

I mean, is that even possible? Right now I am the same weight and size I was before I had Jack. Which, at that point in my life, was a huge achievement. I'd lost nearly 30 pounds and two sizes. I was crazy proud of myself and feeling all the things people say you feel when you lose weight: better about myself, more confident, less self-conscious, all that. At one time in my life this size was THE BEST EVER. 

Then I did that crazypants HB30 gig and wasn't satisfied to stay at this weight, and lost 10 more pounds. Then THAT was the best, obviously. I lost more and realized: hmm, maintaining that was going to require a little more work than I wanted to do, so I gained three or four back and felt like I had finally found the Holy Grail Of Weight Loss: the Maintainable Number. 

Then I had Emma. 

This time has been significantly harder. My life is much busier and my baby doesn't help with her unpredictability, but I also DON'T CARE AS MUCH. I DON'T! And I love chocolate more than I love arm muscles. I love chocolate and chocolate flavored things more than a human being really should and I don't WANT to give it up. Not all of it, anyway. Not even enough, apparently, to get back into my pre-Emma jeans. I got to a point after Emma where I'd just sort of lost MOST of it. And that felt, you know, FINE. I mean, I would have liked to lose all of it, but eh, it was time to make Christmas cookies. 

I gained weight over the holidays. I tell myself I'm still nearly 30 pounds lighter than I was when I got married. I don't WANT to worry about making a date to work out or run every day. I don't WANT to be super strict about what I eat. I take care of three different children on three different schedules and I want to read my BOOK. I've lost a couple of those holiday pounds and what if this was good? What if this was okay? What if I just stopped worrying about it? What if it wasn't something I felt compelled to talk about and write about and whine about to friends and all that? WHAT WOULD THAT BE LIKE?

Except I know. I know what it would be like. I would keep eating along with not caring and soon I would gain those 30 pounds back. I am absolutely sure this would happen. And I am NOT okay with that.

So I go back on Weight Watchers. I tell myself I don't have to get to the fit nearly-skinny point I was at the summer after I had Molly, I just have to get to a point where it's not a super huge deal if I have an extra slice of birthday cake one night. I want that CUSHION, where I can gain a few pounds but still feel within bounds of where I should be. I am out of that range right now. I need back in.

It makes sense, right?  

I read Elizabeth's posts about dressing well and feeling cute no matter what your size and I think HEY, I SHOULD DO THAT. I should totally stop acting like I'm REALLY a size 8 and I can't wear certain things when right now I'm a size 10 and WHO CARES? It's dumb. I've acted on this too! I've bought clothes that are a size 10 (or 12!) instead of a size 8 and I was (AM!) totally fine with it! The dress I bought for my Christmas party, that I absolutely ADORE, is a size 14. Did not care. Love that dress. Must find another occasion for wearing it. (Silver! Fringey! Lacey! LOVE!)

But the more I don't care and the happier I am with my size, the easier it will be to gain back those 30 pounds. I don't know how to do it otherwise. 

So I continue to care, I continue to feel bad about not exercising HALF as much as I did when I only had 2 kids, I continue to shamefully throw away half-full bags of chocolate chips so I can't gorge on them all night when Phillip is out. 

And even when I was a size 8 and had arm muscles and was just barely low carb because I'd found my Maintainable Number and I felt good about where I was, I still stayed just a little bit unhappy, still berated myself if I didn't exercise enough that week, because I didn't want to gain it back. 

What I am trying very very very hard to do is not be Publically Insecure about it. Like, I will write this blog post, but I don't want to write another one. Not unless I have something different to say (and I probably won't.) I am not texting my friend who does low carb with me when the scale is mean to me. I am not stepping on the stupid scale every day. I'm trying not to mention it every time I hang out with other moms. If I'm going to be successful, I have to award Weight Loss a prime upfront spot in my life. But I hate that. I hate how it makes me talk. I hate how I sound. I do not want to want validation from everyone else about my size and how I look and how my pants fit. 

SO THAT'S IT. That is the struggle. For me. The giving up certain foods, the exercise guilt, the frustration and embarrassment over the muffin top - all of that is secondary to this FIGHT IN MY BRAIN. 

On the occasion of the first #BBL weigh in

After my first week, in which I ate healthier and exercised more consistently than I have in months, I lost half a pound.


I signed up for Jennie and Regan's Biggest Blogging Loser round because I gained more weight over the holidays than I've gained since I first started lost a bunch of weight a few years ago. This is entirely due to 1) heaps and heaps of delicious cookies and 2) not particularly caring. I'm sort of amazed at the not caring, frankly. I cared too much for a very long time. 

So in that respect, I suppose, I'm a little bit pleased with myself. One thing I learned when I lost weight: as much as I liked wearing my size 8 pants (that's skinny for me!) I disliked having Weight be the thing that my world revolved around. I think, in a way, I was sort of good at losing weight? In the way that I decide to be good at things, which really only means making that thing my sole focus until it DOES work, even at the expense of other things. 

Except, there are plenty of other things I'd rather focus on. I did not especially LIKE myself with Losing Weight Tunnel Vision. So. 

I would like to lose 10 pounds. I THINK this would get me back in the pants I've stuffed in the back of my closet. I was pretty close to that goal this summer, but then The Cookies happened. So I'd say about two thirds of those ten pounds are Cookie Weight and the last third is Emma Weight. 

Losing ten pounds would not make me Skinny. I would not look as toned as I did when I was Shredding all the time. Even if I was, I suspect that third pregnancy shifted things so that I'd have to lose another ten pounds on top of the first set to really look the way I did in my most-focused Post-Molly weight loss days. 

The good thing is that I'm okay with this. I feel like I had my summer of feeling skinny and for someone who has never been skinny in her life, just FEELING skinny was kind of new and fun. But I know I don't have (and don't want to try to have) what it takes to get back there. I am older, I have more going on, I have a completely different schedule, and to make Getting Back To That Point the focus of my world sounds unbearable. Not worth it. I have a coffee shop to obsess over now! 

But I DO want to lose SOME weight and I am UTTERLY UNMOTIVATED. My subconscious refusal to choose pants with waistbands in the morning - not enough motivation. Pictures of myself ten pounds ago - not enough motivation. Hanging out with my forever-smaller-than-me sisters and friends - not enough motivation. Absolutely nothing sounds better than coming back to the house after the school drop offs, putting Emma to bed (if she'll agree) and flopping onto the couch with my Kindle and a handful of chocolate chips. I don't WANT to hand over my chocolate chips. You can have French toast and ice cream and thick slices of fresh bread and scones and cinnamon rolls and cake and my other favorite things, but I'm not giving you my bag of medicinal and mood-altering chocolate chips. 

And honestly, do I want to live in a world with no cake? Absolutely not. So that's hard too, to go from a place of shoving every cookie in sight into my gaping maw to, you know, Not. Especially when I look at myself in a mirror and go, "Yeah, you've gained weight, but it's not HORRRRRRRIBLE..."

I'm trying to think up some motivation. Winning the BBL money is not it, since even if I tried my hardest I doubt I'd win anyway. Usually what works is some sort of Upcoming Event for which I would prefer to look Fabulous, but I don't have any of those right now. Summertime is too far away to feel truly motivational. I'm thinking maybe a prize? New clothes? A new purse? Some of the not-cheap jewelry I covet on Etsy? I don't know. A PLANE TICKET?!

Anyway. I have to go make a kindergarten lunch and attempt to not lick the peanut butter knife. (HA. NOT GONNA HAPPEN.)

In which I would like to be a less self-absorbed person than the person who wrote this blog post

Sitting here staring at the computer because I think if I keep my fingers occupied I won't wander into the kitchen and tear into the bag of chocolate chips. Really I'm only prolonging the tearing into a bag of chocolate chips. 

I've had to have many conversations with myself lately re: God will not love me more if I lose the last five pounds. There is no prize for losing the last five pounds. The clothes I'm wearing right now will still be the clothes that fit if I lose five pounds. The conversations are only sort of working. So there are some days where I'm really happy with where I am and what I've done and hey I've had three kids and business travel is stressful and so much is going on and SHOOT I only have five pounds left! GO ME! Then there are other days when I am very down on myself, very depressed by my closet, very despairing that I will ever fit into my size 8 jeans again. 

Which is WEIRD FOR ME. Because up until now I have never ever EVER "tried to get back into my old jeans". I mean, I was doing that each time I lost the baby weight, but since I've been Somewhat Overweight my entire life, losing weight in itself was a totally new experience. With Molly and Emma, the weight I was immediately postpartum was my highest weight pre-kids. I lost 30 pounds before I had Jack, I've lost [almost] all of it all over again after each kid, and even right now at plus five pounds I am a smaller size than I was in high school. 

So this TRYING to get back into my "SKINNY" PANTS is really warping my brain. Especially since I've been trying to lose these last five pounds since JUNE and it's JUST NOT HAPPENING. Like, maybe that was just this singular time in my life, where I had arm muscles and a waist and I should just be lucky I got to find out what it was like to wear a size medium button down shirt without the whole thing busting open. Maybe this is how other women feel about their "wedding weight" or whatever. (My wedding weight was my highest. !) Maybe I don't get to be that way again. Maybe I don't have what it takes to get there. Maybe what it takes to get there is more than I can give right now. More than I WANT to give, more than I SHOULD give.

I have good, normal, positive body image days. Most definitely. The not-good days are just killer, though, and I hate them. I hate thinking that way. 

I am slowly stocking up on clothes I like. I don't have an EBJ-style Uniform, but I know what I'm comfortable in and what generally looks decent on me and I no longer buy anything that isn't Way Awesome. (So long, Old Navy! SIGH.) I also totally purged my closet and got rid of tons of stuff I either never wore or didn't fit. I kept a handful of too-tight pants and barely-fitting dresses, but all the other stuff I didn't love, so it didn't need to be in my closet taunting me. Some of it DOES fit, which is nice, but some of it doesn't and I didn't cry any tears as I tossed those things into a Goodwill pile.

I am running when I can. Some days it works out, some days it doesn't. Today EJ woke up so early that I couldn't get away with keeping her up until noon, but then she ended up napping in the car and refusing a morning nap ANYWAY. I could have run in the afternoon, but I was tired and fell asleep on the couch. SUE ME.

My biggest problem is an Eating Peanut Butter Out Of The Jar problem. Also a tendency to cheer myself up with snacks or feel entitled to something sweet when my day is rotten. I've heard that you're not supposed to reward yourself with food, but you know what? I like cake! I do not want to live a life without cake. Sometimes? I'm going to eat cake. SO BE IT.

And the reason why I have not lost the last five pounds begins to dawn on everyone...

Bah. You know, I think I AM fine with myself right now, but I'm afraid that if I decide to be ALWAYS fine, then my weight will creep up again. I don't have a "cushion". If I lost five pounds, then I'd have a five pound cushion for being fine. Does that make sense? The difference between gaining a few pounds and having tight pants and gaining a few pounds and pants no longer fit. 

I don't know. I also hate the fact that I keep writing blog posts about losing weight when I want to be ABOVE caring about how I look and caring about what others see. GAWD WHY CAN'T I BE A BETTER PERSON WITH MORE NOBLE GOALS!!!

I've Stopped Running (For Now)

I brought my running shoes to Vegas, but I never took them out of my bag. I've brought my running shoes on other vacations and used them daily, but this time I barely considered it. Honestly, just attempting to find the work out room in that vast hotel property sounded like something beyond my capabilities. 

I told myself I would run when we got home and I seriously had every intention of doing so. But it was a rough day or two when we got home and I didn't have time and I was so tired. I'd also told myself I would have a little self-control around food when we got home, no more of this pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner like I did in Vegas. But that didn't really happen either. I didn't have time to grocery shop until Saturday, so from Wednesday when we got home to Saturday morning I was, well, eating pastries for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Almost. 

Saturday is when I stopped all that. Saturday I went grocery shopping for a meal plan that was Super Low Carb. I busted out the South Beach Diet book for a few recipes and loaded up on the lunch foods and snacks that have served me well before. And eggs. A trillion eggs. Good thing I love eggs. 

A small amount of shame, a bridesmaid dress to fit into, determination, a little competitiveness, and just knowing that I CAN do it were my motivators here. I was just sort of tired of myself - do you know what I mean? Tired of not getting it together. So I decided that Saturday I would get it together. I also decided that I wouldn't exercise. 

I KNOW. However. Here are my thoughts. I have been struuuuuggling with weight loss since about March. I know it wasn't a plateau - I just wasn't doing what needed to be done. I was at a point where I wasn't back in my old clothes, but I was close and I was just sort of fine with it. And as soon as Lent was over I was back into my chocolate addiction, which becomes more of a madness when I'm not feeling so great, which has been most of this spring. I would step on the scale every morning and hate myself. I would plan my entire day around when I could get a run in, or when I could have 30 minutes to myself in front of the TV. If Emma didn't nap right or Jack bugged me all through quiet time, I stressed out, because I wouldn't get to exercise and I wouldn't lose weight that day. Then there were the days when I was doing my video in the morning and running in the afternoon. I was so proud of myself on those days! And some mornings I'd be down a pound or two. But I was constantly gaining and losing those same two or three pounds. I started to feel like maybe I should just throw those clothes in the Goodwill bag because this was NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN. 

Anyway, the not exercising part wasn't really a PLAN so much as space I decided to give myself. If I felt like running I would, but I wasn't going to make a big deal about it or feel guilty if I didn't. That article I linked to last week, about obesity and all that, reminded me that I have done this before without exercising AT ALL. Not that exercise isn't GOOD, clearly I am not saying that, but a bit of science lent some credibility to my own experience, and that gave me space to stop. 

The last few days I've spent my unpredictable nap times and quiet times with a book, my breakfast or lunch, sometimes an episode of Felicity. Often a nap, since the medicine I'm on has a drowsy side effect and I'm already not sleeping enough at night. And oh, it is wonderful. I haven't dreaded Having To Go Exercise Now, I haven't stressed about my schedule, I haven't worried about how I'm not running enough, I just STOPPED. 

I've also lost three pounds since Saturday. Do you know how long it took me to lose the previous three pounds? Like, at least a month and a half. 

Eating like this, which I'm used to and doesn't bother me half as much as it once did, is giving me a semblance of control, which I can really use right now. And choosing to let go of daily exercise has given me a break from giving my own self a hard time. 

I don't intend to QUIT running. I actually like it. I do. I especially have to get back into it if I'm going to do NaNoWriMo like I said I would at the beginning of the year. I've never written so much as when I was running on a regular basis (PRE-Emma, I should add!) But after I lost all that weight after Molly, I told myself that if I was going to keep it up, running couldn't be a weight loss thing, it had to be a mental health thing. And it was, for a long time, until it turned into just another thing I couldn't get done the way I wanted to do it. 

I'll get back to it. Maybe even tomorrow. But I'm not going to insist on it, not any time soon. And one day I'll get back to Jillian, because I really like those arm muscles she gave me that summer, but I don't have to do that right now either. 

So, you know I'm not ADVOCATING this, right? You do what works for you! And who knows how long this is going to work for me. Right now I'm super motivated to keep eating this way, which really is good for my particular body type, I believe. But I'm well aware that I'll always be a cakemonster at heart and there will be plenty of backslides. And there once was a time when I felt horrible if I WASN'T exercising almost every day. I think I would like to feel that way again, but right now I feel like I've made a good decision for me, backed up by those three lost pounds, backed up by the fact that I'm going to bed early and not stuffing my face at night, backed up by the no-more-berating-myself if I miss the exercise opportunity in my day. 

We'll see, right? 

Starting all over

Hey Internet, I don't think I gave you the conclusion of the Great Weight Check Appointment - although pretty much every time I do not Conclude a Blog Storyline, you may assume all ended well. Because what's the fun in writing about POSITIVE stuff, eh? 

The doctor was hoping for a gain of seven ounces and EmJ delivered ELEVEN ounces. That's my little overachiever! If you're interested, one week of alternating breastfeeding and formula feeding was enough for me to heal, and now we're up to 90% breastfeeding. We'd be doing 100% if I kept pumping, but let's face it, pumping is lame. Also, every time I sit down to pump one of the older kids needs something. (The doctor recommended I pump after every feeding, but realistically I was able to pump once or twice a day. But that was enough! Problems = solved to my satisfaction.) 

While the baby fattens up, my goal is to slim down. LONG DRAWN OUT SIGH. Yesterday was my first attempt at Not Eating Everything In The Kitchen. It went moderately well, by which I mean I ate LESS but not necessarily items containing any nutrition. But I lost two pounds, so there's that. (Yes, I am at a weight where just not eating that fourth bowl of ice cream seems to make a difference.) I plan to set up a weight loss blawg this week to keep me accountable (that's your job) and also figure out how to fit in exercise. 

So... exercise. YEAH. This time around it's not a matter of hopping on the treadmill and walking and then realizing I COULD run if I WANTED to and maybe I should give it a TRY... see, now I know exactly how much running hurts, so I'm WAY less inclined to start. Does that make sense? The last time I did this was kind of a See How Far I Can Go type of thing. Now I know how far I can go AND I know what it takes to get there. PAIN AND SUFFERING. 

It's not like I'm NOT going to do it, I'm just not as gung ho. Even though it would be in the best interest of my relationship with my closet to get going as quickly as possible. I still have the maternity stuff, but maternity jeans, in my opinion, are just as saggy and falling down after pregnancy as they are during. Shirts that looked fine when I was pregnant now show off a different kind[s] of bump. And of course none of the old stuff fits. 

I've been trying to find something to wear to E's baptism (next Sunday) that isn't a maternity dress AND I could possibly nurse in it AND won't embarrass me in pictures. Such a thing does not exist. I've ordered expensive nursing dresses and hid out in a Target dressing room - both disasters. I really do hate this part. I don't feel like myself, but this IS my Self. Bleargh.

Anyway, I am up typing this at Way Too Early, Even Before The Kids Are Awake, because the baby woke up to eat and I couldn't go back to sleep. Mainly because I've caught my first Preschool Cold and couldn't stop coughing. I should make myself some hot water with lemon and honey, but I got distracted by the computer and now I'm thinking I could just go back to bed. Maybe. Shove the baby over, ignore her snuffling and grunting (because she has a cold too) and try to catch another twenty minutes before Jack and Molly wake up all, "MOMMY IT'S SEVEN I HUNGRY CAN I WATCH A SHOW WHAT WE DOING TODAY MOMMY." 

The running equation

This morning my sister called to ask if she could come over and use the treadmill, and oh yes, she would sit in the house with a quiet timing Jack and a napping Molly so I could use the treadmill too. In other words, there was no excuse not to exercise today. 

The wireless wasn't working in the garage, so I was forced to trade Hulu for copious amounts of Glee and Ke$ha and Taylor Swift on the iPod, and wow have I missed running. Wait. Not the physical part of running, I'm talking about the mentally zoning out part of running. I even ran past my usual cut off point, that's how awesome I felt.

And then I did not fall asleep with a book this afternoon, which is the first time in, ah, many afternoons.

While I was running I was realizing just how much my routine - my LIFE - has changed since Jack stopped napping. I suppose that sounds extra super melodramatic, but for a while I had things figured out. I DID! I had two excellent nappers (as long as they weren't in the same room) and I could get in my half hour of exercise AND write or read or avoid chores, whatever I felt like doing. Nap time was MY TIME, and once I got into the habit of exercising at the beginning and eating lunch/playing around afterwards, I never felt tired, not really. And I wrote so much! I usually got at least two hours out of those kids and it was awesome. 

Then Jack started not napping. And I started not exercising. Ugh. 

It happened slowly. As you know, I spent a long time trying to get Jack to keep taking a nap. I'd have him down, be halfway through a Shred and he'd start whining. It was so frustrating. I know some people exercise WITH their kids, but I tried that a few times and no way. The one and only motivating factor for me is ALONE TIME. See: zoning out while running. Even if Jack stayed awake upstairs, I was constantly worried about him interrupting me or needing something or being loud and waking up his sister and I just didn't feel like I could "let go" and let Jillian yell at me. Let alone disappear into the detached garage for a run. 

For a while I tried running at night, especially when I was so anxious earlier this fall. That was okay for a while, but after I started to feel better, I managed to find any number of excuses not to exercise. Too tired, too sick, too cold, too busy. I've gained weight, which is annoying, but not horrible because I know how to take it off. This time I'm experimenting with the LoseIt app. I decided I didn't like being restrained by low carb, and I didn't want to pay for Weight Watchers. So far so good (and I've even convinced Phillip to try it with me! HA!) (Anyone want to be my "Friend"?)

But I knew falling asleep every afternoon was due to my activity level (nonexistent) and I hate that, and I hate that I still feel so far away from my writing projects and you know what helps with that? Exercise. Specifically: running. 

I have to figure out how to start doing this again, guys. And it will be hard, because I'm not willing to completely rearrange my life or change too many priorities. I'm not training for anything, I'm not out to lose the baby weight, I'm not trying to fit in smaller clothes - I want to do just enough. And Jack does not nap, period. He plays his computer, he does puzzles, he asks for snacks and water and help with the potty, he colors and paints. Now that we have some sort of nap time routine I think I CAN go downstairs and do a Shred without having to think about him. He knows that he's mostly on his own while Molly naps and rarely whines or begs (at the beginning of quiet time, anyway!) So that's a possibility. But I am not leaving the house to run in the garage, obviously. 

I am hopeful that I can talk myself into running in the evenings again, but even that isn't a surefire thing. Like next week when Phillip is away - HE thinks it's fine to leave the kids sleeping in the house while I'm in the garage 10 feet away. I do have baby monitors. But I don't know. I just don't LIKE that. 

But I also have a sister with a strange work schedule who wants to use my treadmill, and if she keeps bargaining to use it with free babysitting, that would be awesome. 

I think I'm just going to have to wing it for a while. I still don't really know how to do this no nap thing -seriously, sometimes I just wish Molly would give up HER nap already so we can go DO something - but my run today made all the difference. I don't know why I have to keep REMINDING MYSELF that running = BETTER. So much better.


P.S. Thanks for all your very flattering, very kind, oh-my-gosh-I-am-mortified compliments. I also have to add to my Lurker Theory, which now states: To bring out the lurkers on one's website, one must 1) announce a pregnancy 2) give birth 3) drastically cut one's hair. 

P.P.S. In case you were wondering, the stretchy headband I used to keep my hair out of my face on the treadmill today was TRULY a style nightmare.