Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm smiling because...

I did it!

I did 50 minutes of continuous aerobic exercise--the Walk Away the Pounds DVD, 3 miles walk.

A month ago, I think the most exercise I got in a day was walking up and down our stairs a few times a day. Now I get at least 30 minutes a day, and I'm working towards an hour. 

I had plenty of excuses for not working out today. The dishes are piled up in the sink. There's laundry to do. Toys are scattered everywhere. I slept terribly last night and have pretty much been up since 2:30am. 

But as I sat on the couch to watch last night's episode of Teen Mom (oh, c'mon, we all have our guilty pleasures), I felt like a slacker for not working out instead. So I grudgingly walked to the kitchen for my tennis shoes, grabbed a pair of socks, and put the Walk Away the Pounds DVD in and turned the DVD player on. Normally I do the 2 miles walk, but today since I was feeling extra-motivated (NOT), I put the 3 mile in. Truthfully, Kendra took the 2 mile DVD off the shelf, and I couldn't find it. I guess she forced me into the 3 mile walk. Thanks, Kendra. 

I was sure I'd never make it all 50 minutes. But I did. And I even used 2 lb weights. I'm proud of myself. 

What does a 282.2 pounds girl look like after such a workout?

See...I'm smiling! Yes, that's sweat on my shirt...time for a shower. 

And at least now I can sit on the couch tonight and watch TV with no guilt because I got up and did it when I didn't really want to. If I can do it, you can do! Give yourself at least 30 minutes a day to be a better you!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Sticks and Stones...

We all know that saying: Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. 

It's a lie.

I've never had a broken bone from a stick or a stone. But I have had a broken heart from mean words spoken to me. 

I don't specifically remember the first time another person made fun of me for being overweight. I know it wasn't in elementary school (remember, my mom swears she bought slim jeans for me). When I started junior high, I was active in volleyball and basketball. I was a majorette in the marching band. And I played volleyball and softball in high school. 

I wasn't a star athlete by any means. I remember always being the slowest when we did our training runs for volleyball. I dreaded practices, but the love of the game is what kept me going. Somehow, though, even with playing sports, I was chunky. I know my diet was probably the culprit. I was never really worried about what went in my mouth--pizza, fast food, pop, candy bars--I loved (still love) junk. Despite physical activity from sports, I was still one of the heavier girls in my class.

Somewhere along the way, my male classmates developed nicknames for me--Thunder Thighs, fatty, Rhino (my maiden name is Rinehart). They had no issues with making fun of me as I walked by to give a speech in speech class. They would gang up on me at lunch. I hated, hated, hated free time after lunch in the gym. They'd always make fun of what I ate for lunch, and then they would shout their mean words at me. To this day, I still hear their voices echoing "Thunder Thighs" and "Rhino" at me. It hurt then and it still hurts now, over 10 years later. I cried myself to sleep many nights after a bad day at school. 

I'm a fortunate survivor of bullying, I guess. Yes, I had my feelings hurt and I cried more times than I can count because of peers making fun of my weight. What really gets me is that I wasn't even that overweight. I bet I weighed about 175 or so when I graduated. At 5 '7.5", that really isn't significantly overweight like I am now. If I could go back in time, I'd learn to love myself more. I know that being bullied created some serious self-esteem issues that I'm still dealing with today. Thankfully, though, being made fun of didn't keep me from falling in love with an amazing man. It didn't keep me from graduating college with a Master's degree in Education. It didn't keep me from having 3 beautiful children. It didn't keep me from living. Sadly, today too many adolescents don't see a life after bullying and they choose to end it once and for all. That's heart-breaking. No person should ever be made to feel worthless because of what the number on a scale says. Such a tragedy.

I'm still working on getting past the mean names. In fact, today when I weighed in (lost a pound, by the way) I still heard "Thunder Thighs" in my head when I saw 283.6 on the scale. I don't know if I'll ever forget the mean words spoken to me in high school. I don't suppose you ever really forget being bullied. 

But what I do know is that I can and will do this. In some ways, hearing those terrible names in my head is what keeps me going. I'm doing this for my girls. I want to teach them healthy habits. I want them to be healthy, active girls. I never want someone to call them Thunder Thighs or make fun of them for being overweight. I want them to grow up to be strong, independent women who love themselves unconditionally. And I know that I'll never lie to them by telling them that sticks and stones may break their bones but words will never hurt them. Words do hurt. More than people can imagine. 

Today I'm letting go of all the mean names. I'm letting go of the sadness. I'm letting go of the fear. I'm letting go of the hurt. Those words will no longer be repeated in my mind whenever I pass by a mirror or get on a scale. I have to love myself for who I am right now at this moment in time. I have to love myself for who I am on the inside. I'm learning that loving myself unconditionally is a key part of being successful on this journey I'm on to discover a healthy me. So letting go of the hurt is one step towards my ultimate goal. I can do this. Nothing will stand in my way. 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Say what? That burned 888 calories?!?!

When we moved into our house in Dec. 2005, we didn't really get a good idea of what the yard looked like because it was covered in snow. When the snow melted and the grass started to grow, we realized that we have a huge hard to mow. Well, huge for living in town anyways. The first summer we lived here was 2006, and I was pregnant with our first child. So there would be no push mowing the yard for me. I guess that first summer started the standard that Jason would be responsible for mowing the yard. In the summer of 2008, I was pregnant again, so my father-in-law mowed for me while Jason was deployed. 

I've mowed the yard twice from 2005 until today. Both times I cursed the entire time and swore I'd never, ever, never, ever do it again. It takes over an hour of pushing and pulling the mower, maneuvering around trees, a swing set and the pool. It's a work out, for sure. 

Today we were all outside. I had already gone for a 1.5 mile walk this morning with Kendra. Jason was working on the Bronco axle swap that he wants to finish before he leaves. I knew mowing the yard was on his plans for the day, but I could tell he really didn't want to stop working in the garage. 

So I got the key to the shed, put gas in the mower, and began mowing the yard. The lazy side of me was yelling at the ambitious side of me to cut it out and sit back down. I'm happy to say the ambitious side of me won.

It took me 75 painful, sweaty minutes to mow. I cursed a few times. I twisted my foot when I stepped in a hole. I hit my head on the tree branch that Jason has begged me to cut down for awhile now (guess what he'll be doing next weekend? Cutting down that darned tree!). I wanted to quit more than once. But for some reason, I kept pushing through the pain and I mowed the yard.

If you're not out of shape and you mow your yard a few times a week with no issues, you're probably thinking I'm just exaggerating. But for real, it was hard for me. I'm not in shape. I'm not an active person--well, I didn't use to be. I wanted to do this for Jason, so he could continue working on his project. The bonus is that it was also good exercise for me. 

How good? Well, I put the workout into My Fitness Pal as 75 minutes of push mowing, and for my current weight, I burned an estimated 888 calories. Holy sheep! As soon as I saw that, the sweat in my eyes didn't sting so much anymore. The blister developing on my foot wasn't as painful. And the ambitious side of me was saying, "Na-na-na boo, boo" to my lazy side. 

Best of all, Jason was truly appreciative that I mowed for him. I did warn him not to get used to it. He reminded me that he only has 3 more weeks of mowing before he leaves. Guess that means I better get used to feeling the burn of mowing the yard. I thought about hiring it done next summer while he's gone, but I think I'll hire someone to watch the kids while I do it instead. I could get used to burning that many calories just by mowing. Obviously, the calories burned will go down as my weight decreases, but still. It makes me feel good that I can take care of the lawn myself. Being overweight will no longer be an excuse as to why I can't mow. Instead, being overweight will be the reason I do mow the yard.

Watch out world, this fat girl is on a roll. First, mowing the yard. Next up, running a marathon. Okay, maybe not a marathon. But I feel like nothing can stop me now! 

Friday, August 19, 2011

I need a road map...

I think when I started this journey, I was at a breaking point. I needed to have that meltdown in order to jolt me into reality and realize that I needed to do something about my health and weight. I'm 2.5 weeks into my trip, and I'm liking the progress I'm seeing. I need a road map, though. Something to guide me and help me work towards my ultimate goal of losing nearly half my starting body weight and finally reaching an acceptable BMI. 
I've decided to set mini-goals. That makes the task of losing nearly 140 pounds a little less daunting. Looking at it on a timeline with increments should help me feel less overwhelmed. 

On Aug. 1, I weighed 298 lbs with a BMI of 46.0-- morbidly obese. I hate that phrase. Absolutely hate it. And I never want to be assoctiated with the phrase morbidly obese again.  

Monday, Aug. 15, I weighed 284.6 lbs, for a total of 13.4 pounds gone forever and BMI of 43.9.

My goals along the way...
Sept. 15 (deployment day)--278 lbs, BMI 42.9 

Oct. 31: 264, BMI 40.7

Thanksgiving:  256, BMI 39.5, no longer morbidly obese. Just obese. Hey, it's progress. 

Jan. 1, 2012: 246, BMI 38 (NO excuses for unhealthy eating over the holidays!)

Feb. 14: 236, BMI 36.4

Easter (Apr. 8): 222, BMI 34.3

May 28: 208, 32.1

July 4: 198 (ONEDERLAND and 100 lbs gone FOREVER!), BMI 30.6

Aug. 10: 188, BMI 29.0 NO LONGER OBESE!! 

Sept. 2 (my 31st birthday): 182, BMI 28.1  I'll weigh less than I did when Jason and I met just in time for his arrival home!

Oct. 1: 172, BMI 26.5

Thanksgiving: 160, BMI 24.7--A HEALTHY WEIGHT!

Originally, I wanted to meet my goal of 160 by September 2012 when Jason gets home from deployment, but after looking at a calendar and recognizing that I want to do this slow and steady so I can keep the weight off, I realized that might not be realistic. When he gets home, I will have lost over 100 pounds and I'll finally weigh less than he does. I'll take that! 

I'm not sure that 160 will be an ideal weight for me. I may adjust the goals as I go. 160 is still at the top end of a healthy BMI for my height. However, I know that 160 is so much better than the 298 I started at. I will be healthy, feel great and look amazing. Knowing that makes this journey worth it. I know there will be weeks of ups and downs. But having these mini goals along the way will keep me motivated to reach them. It's much less daunting to look at it as 10 pounds at a time than 140 pounds all together. This road map will be a guide to help me get where I need to be. I'm so excited about what my future holds. I can't wait to see what I look like at a healthy weight! I just know that great things are in store for me.  


Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Sometimes I wonder what it'll be like to be thin. Not really thin, I guess. Just healthy. I'm so used to seeing a fat person when I look in the mirror. I have a difficult time imagining what I'll look like when I weigh 160 pounds. I think the last time I weighed 160 pounds was junior high. I've looked at pictures of myself from those years of my life, but those really aren't a good comparison. I was shorter then, and my boobs hadn't made an appearance yet.

I'm afraid I won't like myself when I get to my goal weight. I guess maybe that's a stupid fear. Who doesn't like a thinner version of themselves? I've had the same fear in the past when I've tried to lose weight, and I think it ultimately sabotaged me. I figured why bother if I won't like who I am when I get there. I find myself feeling that way this time, too.

I worry about my stomach. Well, now I guess you could say stomachs. Will those two stomachs I've developed merge into one? Or will I still have issues with tummy hanging over my pants? I've had dreams that I lost weight--my arms were tone, my legs were lean, my face looked great. And then I lifted my shirt to check out my stomach. Much to my dismay, I still had 2 flabby stomachs that were the same size as when I started trying to lose weight. I know it was a dream (more like a nightmare) but it has me scared that my stomach will be that way when I get to a healthy weight.

Loose skin. That freaks me out, too. I've got stretch marks that aren't from pregnancy. I know they won't go away. So what will happen to my skin? Will it be all saggy and gross? If so, what's the point? I could never have surgery to remove loose skin.

What about my boobs? What will happen to them? I've had a breast reduction. I worry about if I'll have the appropriate proportions when I get to 160 pounds. I weighed over 200 when I had the reduction. What if I had too much removed and I'm like an A cup or something? I know that won't happen in reality, but I'm still afraid I'll look silly with whatever boobs I have left when I lose the weight.

Fears are a tricky thing. I'm trying not to let them hold me back from accomplishing my goal. Really, all I want to do is BE HEALTHY. I'm not sure that 160 pounds is the magical weight to attach to the word healthy. I might get to 160 and feel like I need to lose a few more, or I might get to 170 and call it good. Who knows. But these fears are trying to hold me back. I think I'm afraid to look good, mostly because I've never had much self-esteem. I've never put on a pair of jeans and thought, "Dang, I look hot." I usually put on a t-shirt and baggy pants to cover up the fat. What will I do when there's no fat to cover anymore? Will I like the way I look?

I still have a long journey ahead of me. I know in my heart that I CAN do this. I just need to crush these fears before they hold me back from doing what I need to do. I know that some day, I'll look in the mirror and love the woman staring back at me. And if I happen to look good in a bathing suit, then that's a bonus. I need to work on loving myself from the inside out. I'm getting there--one day at a time.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I've been a walkin'...

Well, not really walking. Not really running. I've been elliptical-ing.

My mom bought an elliptical over a year ago. I've never used it before. I did move it once to clean my son's Lincoln Logs up from around it, but it never occurred to me to try it out. This past Sunday we were at my parents' house, and I didn't get a chance to exercise before we went over, so I decided to give the elliptical a try.

At first, I thought I'd give it 10 minutes just to see how it worked and if I liked it, but since I really didn't know how to use it, I just pushed the button that said "Weight Loss 1." It's a 30 minute work out, and once I finished the first 10 minutes, I decided to keep going. Four miles and a bunch of sweat later, I decided that maybe I could learn to love the elliptical.

My parents live 40 minutes away from me, so going their house every day to use it just isn't feasible. My mom, who is an absolutely amazing person, agreed to let me borrow it so I could use it anytime I wanted to at home. Have I mentioned just how wonderful my mom is? She's the best!

On Monday, we borrowed my dad's truck to bring it home. Jason and I got it unloaded and situated in the living room, and even though it was 7:30 and almost bath time for the kids, I decided to give it another try. I did another 4 miles in 30 minutes.

I've used it 4 days in a row, 4 miles each time. I cannot believe that I have logged 16 miles in 4 days. I'm guessing if I added up all the walking I did from the beginning of the year until last Sunday, it might total 16. Not only that, but I've burned an estimated 2000 calories in 4 days. That is enough to motivate me to keep going. I even got up at 6:30 this morning to get my workout in before the kids got up. I'm hoping to make that a regular part of my day. It was actually peaceful to workout while watching the news without anyone yelling at me or for me.

Eventually I'll be joining the YMCA and adding some strength training to my routine, but for now I'm just happy that I'm exercising at all. For someone who's only form of exercise was lighting a fork to my mouth, I'd say I'm making progressing. And that's all I really can ask of myself. Baby steps. With each step, I'm one pound closer to my goal of being healthy and comfortable in my own skin.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Drum roll, please....the first weigh-in!

Before I share my weigh-in results, I'll start by saying that I began my journey to a new life on the first day of Auntie Flow, and I weighed myself in the evening with clothes on. That in itself is bound to make this first weigh-in look more impressive than it really is.

My weight on Aug. 1 was 298.

I'm one week into my journey, and I'm proud of what I've accomplished thus far. My only bite of "junk food" was a small (and I do mean small) slice of cake that we had for Kendra's first birthday party. Even at her party, I ate a turkey burger with a tbsp of lite Miracle Whip, 1/2 c. cottage cheese, and 2 pickles. Everyone else ate hamburgers, hot dogs, pasta salad, baked beans, chips and dip, and cake and ice cream. I'd say I did pretty good resisting all that not-so-healthy food. I stayed below the suggested caloric intake each day, and I exercised 5 out of 7 days. If vigorous cleaning is considered exercise, then I exercised 6 out of 7 days.

I've received so much support and encouragement this last week. My mom has been a major source of support. I've always known that she loves me unconditionally, and I know she'll love me no matter what I weigh. She just wants to see me get healthy and avoid complications like Type 2 Diabetes and high cholesterol due to my excessive weight. She even agreed to let me borrow her elliptical trainer indefinitely so I have a way to work out at home. I'm forever grateful for her encouragement.

I can already tell a difference. I put my capris on this morning, and they were loose enough to pull up and down without unbuttoning them. I couldn't do that a week ago. I feel better emotionally and physically, too. I've found myself smiling more than I did before.

One week down, a life time to go. All the sacrifices no longer seem like sacrifices to me. Giving up the junk food has been easier than I thought it would be. I still don't love exercise, but I'm learning to like it. Seeing results makes me want to keep going. Yesterday I did 4 miles in 30 minutes on the elliptical. I don't think I've ever walked 4 consecutive miles without a break. I find myself thinking I can't wait until I can go 5 or 6 miles in 30 minutes. It's motivating to see the miles tick by while I'm working out.

I'm saying goodbye to something today--I'm saying goodbye to the 290's! My first official weigh in was.....


9.5 pounds gone forever! I know next week's loss isn't likely to be as impressive because 1. I won't be retaining water and 2. I will weigh myself in the morning sans clothes.

Still, though, I've said goodbye to the 290's. I will NEVER see them again. And with each pound lost, I'm closer to my goal of being half my starting weight. The journey continues. I'm hopeful about what's in store for me. Slow and steady wins the races. The prize--a healthy body, mind, and spirit. So long 290's--you will NOT be missed!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

My Driver's License is a lie...

The other day I had to get my military ID card, and I had to bring two forms on ID, one of which was my driver's license. The weight on the card says 230. Yeah, it's off by a few pounds. I'm guessing that's what I weighed when I was 21, and I just never bothered to change it when I had to renew my license. I mean, really, who would say, "Oh yeah. I need to change the weight. Could you add about 60 pounds to it?"

Then I started to think about all the things I can't wait to do once I lose this weight and get healthy, so I decided to start a list. Some people have a Bucket List. Well, I have a "When I get thin" list.

1. Accidentally lose my Driver's License so I can get a new one with the appropriate weight. It will be less than the 230 that's currently on the license. Yes, I know I'll have to pay for a replacement, but it'll be worth every penny when they ask me if I still weigh 230, and I can say, "No. Make that 160, please!"

2. Wear my husband's clothes just because I can. I've always been heavier than Jason. I can't wait to steal his t-shirts and pajama pants.

3. Ride the rides at Cedar Point. I guess there's a 250 pound weight limit on all the rides. How lame would it be to pay all that money to get in and then not be able to ride anything? Some day my kids are going to want to ride roller coasters, and I don't want to have to say, "Nah, Mommy can't ride. I'm too fat." That would be awful! This time next year, I hope to be going to Cedar Point and riding whatever I want.

4. Jason is deploying next month. This will be our 3rd deployment. At the previous two homecomings, I've seen so many wives and girlfriends run and jump into their man's arms. It's like a movie--really, it is. There was never any running and jumping, though, because I'm too heavy to be held. I'd probably break his back and then we'd spend the remainder of the day in the ER or something. So this time when he returns home, I want to be light enough to be one of those wives running and jumping into his arms. I've got about 13 months to get there.

5. Wearing shorts. I refuse to wear shorts in public. Too much jiggle on the legs. I'm not saying I'll be sporting Daisy Dukes (isn't there an age limit AND weight limit on those?). But I will be thin enough to wear shorts in public without scarring anyone for life if they look at me.

6. Shopping in the regular part of stores for clothes. Don't get me wrong--I love stores like Lane Bryant. They provide fashionable clothes for those of us with a bit more to love. But I'd prefer never to set foot in there again after I lose all this weight. I'd love to be able to walk into Old Navy and buy whatever I want for myself. I can't wait to buy clothes. In a regular store. With a size that doesn't have an X in it.

7. Have professional family portraits done. We have some with me in them, but I'm so uncomfortable getting my picture taken that I avoid it at all costs. I'd love to have some beautiful family pictures taken without feeling like I have to hide myself with one of the kids.

8. Go the beach and be proud to wear a bathing suit. We went to the beach this summer, and I did wear a bathing suit with a cover up. I avoided taking the cover up off, even though I know it didn't cover the fact that I'm fat. I'd love to be able to take the kids up to the Lake Erie beaches on a regular basis and not be ashamed to wear a bathing suit and swim.

I'm sure there are more things I'll add to the list as I go along. I'm slowly starting to realize that I have so much to look forward to when I get healthy and thin. Maybe thin isn't really the most appropriate word, though. I just want to be a healthy weight. I want to feel good about the skin I'm in. Right now at 290ish (weigh in is tomorrow) pounds, I'm happy with my life and those in it. But I'm not happy with how I'm living it. My weight holds me back from doing so many things I'd love to do. That's not living life to the fullest.

So far I've been making healthy choices and I feel like my effort is paying off. I just hope I don't lost my motivation along the way. I've got some challenging months ahead of me with Jason being gone for an entire year. No doubt I'm going to want to fill my days of loneliness with food. It's going to be a struggle, and hopefully any time I feel tempted to feed my emotions, I can just reread this list instead and remind myself why I'm doing this.

On this list, the thing I'm looking forward to the most is the day Jason gets home. I really do want to look like a different person. I really do want him to be able to hold me when I jump into his arms. There are several days that I can remember like they were yesterday: my wedding day, the day each of my children were born, and the days that Jason came home from a deployment. I want to be able to remember this next "Coming Home" day as the day he saw me again for the first time. I want to have my own movie moment when I run to him and jump into his arms. That will be worth all this hard work and struggle along the way.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Take that, junk food!

Today was a day of victories!

Victory #1:
While we were running errands, we needed to eat lunch. Normally when we're out, we drive through McDonald's. My usual is a bacon and cheese snack wrap, double cheeseburger, medium fry and pop (yeah, yeah--no wonder I'm overweight). Instead, we ate at Subway. Now, I eat at Subway sometimes and I usually eat an entire 12 in sub on white bread with cheese and mayo. Obviously, that would be a bit much given my current diet. So instead I chose a 6 in turkey on flatbread, no cheese, lots of veggies and a bit of the sweet onion sauce. Much to my dismay, it tasted a-ma-zing! Perhaps even just a smidge better than that stuff I used to eat at McDonald's. Seriously. It was good. Take that, McDonald's junk! I don't need you anymore!

Victory #2:
My baby girl turns 1 August 10, and we're having her party tomorrow. I've recently decided I want to learn how to decorate cakes and make candies. Great timing, huh? Figures I want to take up a hobby that will just add to my waistline. But today I needed to prove to myself that I could make those tasteful sweets without indulging. I made 40 chocolate covered pretzels and a whole thing of chocolate covered oreos. I didn't eat a single one--not even the ones that broke or didn't turn out right. They went to the dogs, kids or into the trash. That's a first for me. A few weeks ago when I made cupcakes for Carlie's birthday, I think I ate 3 or 4 just to "taste test" them. I might allow myself one pretzel tomorrow, but truthfully it doesn't even sound good after making 40 of them. Take that, Sweet Stuff! I don't need you anymore either!

Victory #3:
This is perhaps the biggest victory of the day. I love pizza. I mean really, truly love pizza. Pepperoni and cheese--it just doesn't get any better than that! My mother-in-law brought our older two kids home this evening, and she brought supper--2 super, wonderfully yummy looking pizzas loaded with cheese and pepperoni. Now, in her defense, she doesn't know that I've changed my lifestyle and eating habits. Instead of pizza, I ate the tuna salad I made earlier today on a pita pocket and also had a low fat raspberry yogurt. I did look ever so longingly at the pizza as everyone else around me ate it. I'm pretty sure I cried a little tear. But in the end, the tuna satisified my hunger and it tasted pretty good. Maybe not as good as the pizza would have, though. I sent the leftover pizza home with my mother-in-law. No sense in having it tease me from the fridge. Take that, Pizza! I don't need you anymore, either! Okay, who am I kidding? I do need pizza, but just not not that really greasy pizza loaded with stuff that goes straight to my tush. I'll stick with the Lean Cuisine pizzas for now.

I think today I proved to myself that I do have self-control. I've probably had it all along. I just chose not to use it. Junk food and I have been best friends for too long. Instead of it being my best friend, I think it needs to be like that distant cousin that you only see a few times a year around the holidays. And even then, it needs to be in moderation.

Junk Food, you no longer have control over me. You may tempt me with your yummy smells and charming good looks, but you will no longer convince me that you're good for me. I'm learning how to make healthy choices. I can do this. I will do this! Junk Food, you will NOT win!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I think I must be sick...

"Mommy," he whispered, "I had a little accident," and he crawled up into my bed and pulled the covers over himself. I knew it couldn't possibly be morning yet. I felt like I just fell asleep. 5:45. Close enough to morning. Before I could say anything, Wyatt was already back asleep.

Now I'm in bed, wide awake and staring at the ceiling. I argue with myself about whether or not to get up and wash Wyatt's wet bed sheets or to go back to sleep. Then I think, "Well, I could work out before everyone gets up."

Yeah. I must be sick.

 I think the last time I got up before 7 to work was...well, never. Maybe in high school when I played volleyball, we might have had a practice that early in the morning. But as far as my adult life goes, I've never been up that early to exercise.
Exercise is pretty foreign to me. Beyond high school sports, I never did work out. Sometimes I consider the marathon days of shopping exercise. Does that count? If not, it should. Shopping with my mom and aunt can be hard work.

After convincing myself to get out of bed, I put the dirty bed sheets in the washer, grabbed a glass of ice water, and I turned on the Wii to Zumba. Monday, my day of revelation, was the first time I ever tried to Zumba. I've heard about it for quite awhile now, seeing my friends post on Facebook about going to Zumba class. It sounded fun, so when I saw the game a few weeks ago for the Wii, I decided to try it.

I'm pretty sure anyone driving by looking into my window thinks that there's a housewife gone mad if they're watching me. I lack so much coordination, and I feel like a big dork when I'm Zumba-ing. On Monday, I thought I was going to bust a hip. I certainly wasn't busting a move. I stuck with it, though. And this morning, I actually got my highest score so far. 402. I don't know if that's a good score, but it's my personal best. And what I'm even more proud of is that I did my exercise in the morning, before I could get too busy with my day and convince myself that I didn't have enough time to fit it in.

That's 4 days in a row of exercise. It might only be 20 minutes at a time, but for someone who considers shopping as my only source of exercise, I'd say 20 minutes for 4 consecutive days is an accomplishment. I have to do this in baby steps. Otherwise, I might get discouraged and want to give up. My next goal is to join the YMCA and finally get a personal trainer and be brave enough to exercise in public. Baby steps...

I'm learning the exercise shouldn't be a form of punishment for myself. It should be fun and something I enjoy. Zumba really is fun, even if I look like an uncoordinated goofball. I do sweat. My heart rate does increase. It makes me feel good! Honestly, I've felt really great emotionally and physically these last few days. Maybe that person I was always meant to be is finally making an appearance.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Junk Food Detox--it sucks.

I'm an addict and food is my crack.

It really is true that food IS an addiction. I'm sure people look at me all the time and think, "Geesh, lay off the Butterfingers and fries, fatty." A thin, healthy person who has never struggled with their weight probably thinks it should just be easy to start eating right and exercising. How hard could it be?

Well, I'm here to tell you that I'm only on day 2 of the junk food detox, and it sucks. It's hard. Last night all I could think of was a Butterfinger flurry from the dairy queen. I even visualized myself driving to get one at our favorite ice cream stand, and of course on this visualized drive, I had to drive right by Taco Bell. So then my mind was on a chicken burrito and nachos with cheese. It took everything I had not to go get them both. Then I actually contemplated digging the oreos out of the trash that I threw away the day before. Desperate? Maybe. Instead, I went into the kitchen and grabbed some grapes and a few cubes of cheese to go with my water.

The good thing is I mananged to squash the craving for the bad food, and I made a healthy choice. Me: 1. Junk Food: 0. In fact, I haven't had a bite of unhealthy food since the McDonald's I ate for lunch when my whole revelation occurred that I needed to do something about my food addiction and weight. I haven't even had a sip of diet pop in 48 hours. If you know me, you know that is just plain unheard of. Two days might seem like nothing, but to an addict, 48 hours is a looooong time to go without a drug. Yes, I know food isn't a drug. But I'm telling you, I feel like I'm going through withdraw. Food was my drug. Maybe it still is, but I'm learning how to overcome the addiction.

I know it'll get better in time. Maybe someday my dreams at night will revolve around running a 5K and eating some spinach like Popeye, but right now I'm dreaming of double cheeseburgers and burritos. And I'll have to settle for only tasting those foods in my dreams.

Wyatt keeps me straight. Yesterday morning he cut up a banana for my breakfast while I was letting the dogs out, and when I tucked him in last night, he said, "Now, don't eat anything bad, Mommy. Drink water and maybe have some grapes." God love that kid--he really does remind me why I'm doing this. He even offered to try a bite of carrots at lunch today because "they're healthy." He spit them out when I wasn't looking. But at least he tried. I think that is what makes this all worth it. The kids are already trying to follow my example. They were dancing around for exercise this morning, and then Wyatt made me promise we'd walk to the post office later.

Detox sucks. No doubt about it. But I know that once I get over these first weeks, I won't even crave the foods I use to crave. I keep repeating to myself that I'm in control--food is something I only need to eat to sustain my body, not ruin it. And I need to keep making healthy choices. I'm going to overcome this food addiction one healthy choice at a time.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How did I get here?

My mom claims that she bought me slim jeans when I was a kid. I think she's lying. I never remember being thin. I'm sure there are pictures somewhere to prove it.

I'm not really sure how I got here. Back in 2004, I did a brief stint with Weight Watchers and got down to 215 pounds. That's the lowest I remember my weight being for quite awhile. I'm not sure how much I weighed when I got married in 2002, but I know it wasn't less than 200. My wedding gown was a size 20.

So, how did I get here? How did I let myself get to ___ pounds. Someday I'll share my starting weight. I promise. It's my ploy to keep you reading. Haha! Not really. I'm still just so ashamed to say what I weigh. I'm borderline whale status. Really, I am.

As a kid, I remember feeling fat. Goodness, what I wouldn't give to weigh what I weighed on the day I graduated from high school. I'm guessing I was around 175. I was picked on in school. Boys called me "Thunder Thighs" and they'd point their noses up at me and snort like a pig when I walked by. Those things hurt, and instead of that motivating me to lose weight, I fed my sadness with food. I can remember thinking eating 2 cheeseburgers, fries and a Hershey Sundae Pie from Burger King was normal. I don't think I was ever able to shop in the Junior's section of a department store. I went from wearing the "plus size girl" clothes to womens to eventually plus size. I'm slowly inching myself out of even being able to shop in a regular store at my current weight.

So it's no wonder I find myself where I am today. Old habits die hard.

I think my first major downward spiral happened after I quit Weight Watchers in 2004. My husband had deployed for the first time, and I started graduate school. Not a good combination for someone trying to lose weight. I found myself stuck in front of a computer screen writing papers. It was easier to order pizza or drive down the street to McDonalds than it was to cook for myself. I kept telling myself I'd get back on the health wagon after I finished graduate school.

When I graduated with my Master's, I was pregnant with my first child (Don't worry. My husband was home from the deployment. Wyatt is most definitely his child. Haha!). The weight loss train would have to wait. Then I started working as a teacher. Anyone who has ever been a first year teacher will tell you it's stressful. Add to that having a newborn, and food became my friend again. When Wyatt was 14 months old, I got pregnant with Carlie. Jason was deployed again for all of 2008. I used being pregnant as an excuse to eat what I wanted, and I never did lose any baby weight from either pregnancy.

At the start of my pregnancy with Kendra in 2009, I weighed around 270. I don't know exactly because I'd never ask or look at the scale when I went for my appointments with my midwife. So from 2004 to 2009, I let myself gain over 60 pounds. That means if I continue on with my current lifestyle, I could easily gain another 60 pounds by 2016.

It ain't happenin'!

I'm ashamed of myself for letting my weight get this out of control. My love affair with food and my sedintary lifestyle are killing me. I don't know why food has such a control over me. I guess maybe because it has never let me down. It makes me feel better to eat when I'm sad. When I'm mad. When I'm happy. But at the end of the day, it's just food. I'm at the point where I have to decide what's more important--eating that Bacon and Cheese Snack Wrap from the Golden Arches or choosing a salad and being there to see my babies grow up.

My taste buds will adjust eventually. The first few weeks will be the most difficult. I know that I can do this, though. I have to. There really is no other option unless I want to die from obesity. I guess it's kind of like a detox from junk food. It'll hurt, it'll suck, but in the end, it'll be worth it.

I'm no longer going to dwell on how I got here. Making myself feel like such a failure for my weight isn't going to help me. Today I'm moving forward. It's a new day to be a better me, and I'm going to start each morning by reminding myself that I'm worth it. My kids are worth it. My family is worth it. How I got here no longer matters. It's where I'm going that is important.

Current weight: 298.
I told you I'd share eventually. And since how I got here doesn't matter anymore, I'm ready to say good bye to that weight that is just a number. It doesn't define who I am. And I can say with confindence that I'll never see 298 again.
Current Goal: 288 by Sept. 15
Current State of Mind: Confident

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mommy, why do your legs jiggle?

Today when I woke up, I wasn't thinking, "Geesh, I need to do something about this flab hanging over the bed, Stacey." If that line sounds familiar, think the movie Monster's Inc. It began like any other day. We ate breakfast--I had a bowl of rice crispies with sugar added. I did dishes and swept the floor. Normal stuff. Then Wyatt asked to go swimming, so we got on our bathing suits and headed to the pool. Wyatt was already in the pool as I was trying to hoist myself over the ladder. As I gracefully fell into the pool, Wyatt looked at me and laughed. Then he asked ever so innocently, "Mommy, why do your legs jiggle?"

I contemplated lying. After all, I've been lying to myself by hiding the jiggle under long capris all summer. Instead, I decided to be honest and tell him the truth. "Because I don't eat healthy and I'm fat."

Without hesitation he responded, "That's because you need to exercise," and he continued swimming like it was no big deal. Only almost 5, and he's already smarter than me.

The rest of the morning, I wallowed in self-pity, feeling bad about my jiggle legs and the rest of my body. You would think that in itself would have made me want to make a change right then and there. But instead I decided to feed my sadness with a trip to McDonald's after we went to the bank. Feeding my emotions is something I've been doing my whole life, so I knew my conversation with Wyatt that morning wasn't going to change anything instantly.

As the kids and I sat at the table, I looked down at the fries and cheeseburger in front of me. Then I looked at the 3 beautiful kids sitting next to me. My babies, the only people in this world that I would do absolutely anything for, including giving up my life for them. Then it hit me. I wasn't living for them at all. I wasn't even living for myself. I'm killing myself. Slowly. Painfully. I'm eating myself to death.

I threw the rest of my cheeseburger away. I wanted to cry, but crying in front of my kids would only upset them, too. I managed to get all 3 of them tucked in for naps, and then I came downstairs and cried. And I cried some more. I cried more than I've cried in a really long time. I finally admitted to myself that something has got to give. Ironically, I got Zumba for the Wii a few weeks ago, thinking that maybe I should give exercise a try. I opened it the other day and read about it while I enjoyed some oreos. Yes, I know. That's crazy. But it's true. And what's even more sad is that I really didn't give it a second thought as I stuffed the oreos in my mouth. So today, I threw away the rest of the oreos and then I put the Zumba game into the Wii and did 20 minutes of exercise. That's the first "real" exercise I've done since 2004. It felt good to sweat.

I still don't know how I'm going to go about this. I'm researching my options. I know I don't want surgery. That's too risky and too drastic. I want to find a LIFESTYLE, not a diet. I'm not into the fad diets that promise weight loss that sounds too good to be true. I'm going to start by making better choices and adding exercise into my life. I'm leaning towards Weight Watchers and joing the YMCA. Baby steps...that's the only way I can look at this.

I've got a daunting road ahead of me. I've got to reteach my body how to live. I've got to teach myself better habits. I only have one life to live, and I don't want to live it in the body I have now. It's not really living anyways. More like dying slowly. I asked Jason to dig out the scale tonight and I braved it for the first time in years. The number still hurts, and I'm not ready to admit publicy what it is. I will some day. I'm ashamed and I need to get over the shock first.

What I need to do to get to a healthy BMI and weight is lose half of my body weight. And though I AM doing this for myself, I'm doing it for my babies. For those 3 precious miracles who rely on me to do my best for them. They need me. Even when they're adults, they're going to need me, and I want desperately to be here for them. I want to be the mom who can help them practice their softball by pitching to them and chasing after the ball. I want to be able to help them with their dance moves. Their soccer skills. Their basketball. Whatever it is, I want to be there for them. I don't want to be the fat mom on the sidelines. I've lived life long enough on the sidelines. Enough is enough.

And so today begins my journey--I need to be half of my size and I'm doing this for Wyatt Eldon, Carlie Jane and Kendra Mae. I want to be a better example for them. I want to live my life to the fullest. Half of me, all for them!

Starting weight: ____ (Someday, I'll share. I really will.)
Current Goal: Lose 10 lbs by Sept. 15 (Jason's deployment day)
Current state of mind: Overwhelmed but hopeful