4.02.2008

Despairagus

Calvin has a new-found love for asparagus, but he calls it despairagus. I love that and haven't corrected him because there are so few things that indicate that he is still a little boy. Plus, it's a fitting title for a post about losing weight. Which is what this is. Just want to put that out there, in case you want to click away without further ado.

In lieu of regularly visiting a willowy power-suited Jenny Craig "expert" who 9 pounds in two weeks and now wants to tell me how to lose 60, or visiting a WW meeting every week where someone weighs me and then gives me a "woohoo" pat on the back over .7 of a pound lost and an "everyone has setbacks" arm around the shoulder over every 3.6 pounds gained in a week, I thought I might as well put it on the ol' blog.

Maybe the fact that I don't want to seek counseling or weigh in publicly means I'm not sufficiently humble or serious enough for this undertaking. Or maybe I'll end up like most everyone who tries the D-word and quits after a couple weeks, then starts again after a couple months. Or years. I guess we'll see.

In an effort to get down in writing my reasons and commitment and also to air some of my thoughts on weighty subjects, and even to share some of the things I've confronted in myself since I started this big D on Valentine's Day, I decided to post the good, the bad and the ugly for your...er, enjoyment. I don't think I want this blog to be a diary of poundage, but I want to write about it today.

The Good

1. I have discovered healthy snacks that I love and actually, truly do prefer over the crap I was eating nonstop before. Guacamole with vegetables. Cottage cheese with fruit. Edamame!

2. The major step and one that I am most positive has contributed to what little success I have experienced is that I've turned into a water-drinking phenom. Coca-cola is out. Forever. Well, I tried it again after four weeks off and it did nothing for me - the burn that I thought I lived for was decidely less than thrilling and the taste was bleh. If nothing else changes in my life, this is the one that makes me feel the best.

3. And speaking of the water consumption, I think I am fully hydrated for the first time in my whole life. The best thing is that I see it in my skin, which is healthier and fresher than it has ever been.

4. I have stuck to this plan for 7 weeks! in a row! There have been a few flop days, holidays and family get-togethers where I didn't keep myself in check very well, but I've gotten right back on. That is huge for me.

5. I've really started thinking and feeling that it's much too early in my life to feel frumpy and tired, which I have for the last five or so years. Thirty-three is YOUNG! What am I doing with myself? I've got a lot of play left in me and I need to get the poundage off to enjoy it.

6. In high school I thought I was one of the "big" girls. I wore big clothes because I coudln't look the way I was supposed to in the stylish clothes. I've since realized that I was curvy. Big difference. I have boobs and a butt. That is not going to change. Luckily, my husband is not your standard guy who finds the 12-year-old boy figure attractive. (I'm asking for some killer Google searches with that one, I'm sure...) I'm happy being happy with what I have, and knowing that when I'm trimmed down, the figure I have doesn't have to fit the cover girl standard to be beautiful. It's going to be fabulous.

7. I have made some delicious dinners for our family. (This is my husband's comment - not mine.) I'm learning to cook really awesome tasty things with less fat, cholesterol, sugar and less processed stuff. And they aren't difficult, bland, or granola-y! And it's great!

8. What's more is that the boys are eating it up. Who knew Calvin loves salad? That they would devour broiled fish like it was going to get away? It makes me feel happy that they are eating healthier, too.

9. I'm actually enjoying the planning and thinking through, and I like the new habits of choosing the better for me/more filling options over empty calories.

10. A friend gave me a bag of Lindt lindor truffles and I walked by them every day for a whole week. I shared them with my children (I know - not so good for them, but...) instead of hording them or eating them all in one sitting. Again, giant change of habit. I do have will power!

11. Our finances are healthier and more predictable because eating out has been greatly reduced. Another huge change for the better.

The Bad

1. I took a "before" picture that was horrifying. I had no idea. And I'm not even sure that when I am sixty pounds lighter that I will ever show it to anyone for comparison. Ugh.

2. Bummer that my overweightness and sluggishness isn't entirely caused by hypothyroidism. My thyroid levels keep checking out normal for now, even though I do have a disorder. So I have to make lifestyle changes instead of just taking a nice hormone booster.

3. I am still wearing full-on or borderline maternity clothes. Because I weigh more right now than I did full-term pregnant with Charlie. That makes me ill. And I refuse to buy new clothing the size that I should because I don't want to get comfortable. So, I'm not comfortable. To say the least.

4. Nearly all the women in my family (with the exception of my sisters who have the tall svelt blonde metabolism of my dad's side of the family) have been dieting ever since I've been aware. Are any of them thin or healthy? No. This is one reason that other than a couple half-hearted efforts, I've never dieted in my life. I don't like the extremes that are sometimes taken and I don't like that it never lasts, even when it does result in weight loss (because it's usually followed by huge weight gain). I think about this a lot. In one sense, it's a motivation to keep me at this. But on the other hand, I find myself wondering if I'm not just meant to be heavy. I don't want to believe that, but...

5. It's a huge frustration to figure out how to celebrate without eating or spending money. We live on a budget, so gifting myself with stuff instead of feeding myself when I need a little perk or encouragement is hard to do. Plus, I think I'm addicted to food rewards. I don't like that I see that in myself.

6. I sometimes feel more obsessed and controlled by food trying to get thin than when I just live my fat life. This is probably a paradox that I just need to get over, but it feels unhealthy and I also have a huge apprehension of becoming one of those people who turns down a lovely dessert that a hostess just made because they're watching their figure. Or who talk about all the extra jogging thay're going to have to do in addition to their daily two-hour workout to make up for this night out with the girls. Frankly, I think it's pretty self-absorbed and a total kill-joy to be that way. I can't stand it when people do stuff like that, and I don't ever want to do it - so I worry when I find myself only thinking about what to eat and what not to eat and what that piece of cake is going to do to my weigh-in, nevermind that someone made it as a special treat.

7. I am strug-strug-struggling with the need to exercise. I know it would totally boost the weight loss and make me feel better in a million ways. I love to walk and want to work up to jogging. There are so many obstacles - time, kids, ability to push myself. You'd think 30 minutes in a day wouldn't be that big a deal, but all the getting ready and arranging for the kids that has to happen before and after, plus a shower and whatever else, it adds up. Between housework, school assignments, carpools, meal prep, and other mommy stuff, I have a hard time fitting it in. Plus, I hate the whole idea of a gym - I must GET SOMEWHERE when I exercise - stationery stuff drives me batty. Gyms stink and cost a lot of money, bouncy people in spandex flipping their pony tails gross me out. And I refuse to leave my kids in the under- and immaturely- staffed gymcare. Yeah, I know. Hangup city. I've got to get over it and that just makes me irritated.

8. The only time since high school that I have been thin was a time in my life when I was extremely depressed and not eating anything. There was some kind of sick pleasure that being so sad made me look better than ever, but now it's hard to translate eating less into a thing that happy people do. Weird, I know, but there it is.

The Ugly

1. All my food habits and attitudes related to food are surfacing like crazy. On the times I've splurged, when I've taken a good look at the calorie intake and realized that that was how I was eating all the time before, I seriously want to hurl. Unbelievable. But then the knowing that I can never go back to that decadent, outrageously delicious stuff is almost devastating. That makes all kinds of ugliness - and a weird hunger - come up in me. I've gotten really grouchy about carrot sticks a few times now. Definitely not pretty.

2. If there is a man reading this (besides my husband), sorry, but I have to add this definite ugly: PMS has struck with a vengeance since I started eating better. And it affects me like pregnancy does. I feel like I am starving and if I don't get serious food NOW, I am going to eat your hand off. Yikes.

3. I also experienced some pretty ugly rage at an article in a magazine a while back. The cover title was, "How to lose that baby fat." I expected something along the lines of a busy mom's workout or some easy menus or maybe even a great success story of someone who lost big. The article was about a mom of an eight-month-old. The first thing that appalled me were her vital stats posted in a little box. The woman is 5'9" tall (three inches taller than me). Her baby fat weight? 144 pounds (let's just say I'd be ecstatic to weigh that). I seriously thought it was a misprint. Nope. (Just for reference, this virtual model is 5'9" and 144 pounds.)

The magazine editors got her a personal trainer and a counselor for her obese condition, to help her lose eleven pounds so they could provide this helpful article. She apparently needed professionals to overcome snacking on crackers and cheese in the evening after the baby was asleep. (Seriously! There was not even one mention of a bad ice cream habit!) Presumably all this was necessary so she could feel good about life again and lose that ghastly baby fat that was making her small frame look positively rotund! Of course, the article was written in much more peppy, anyone-can-experience-the-same-kind-of-amazing-transformation verbage than I am representing it. Nauseating, really. On several different levels.

Ask my husband how I frothed. But I'm sure you can imagine. Please tell me I'm not the only one feeling ugly about this assessment of what having babies does to your body and what one needs to do to correct it. When people are calling in trainers and counselors to lose weight, especially when it is incident to having a baby, and when they are already within the healthy BMI range, I am one ugly beast and have some really ugly feelings about moms who can't look at the lives they just created and be more OK than they are with ten extra pounds. Not to mention the emphasis society puts on weight and looks.

***

But now for something that is good, bad, and ugly...The question I know you are asking, finally answered:

I've lost 10.2 pounds. Yay. But it's taken seven weeks. And I've lost four of those pounds twice. I've given up about eighty pounds of desperately desired crap food consumption and you can't see any difference on the outside. And David has lost 15 in the same time. This is a long, long road. Marked by despairagus.

18 comments:

Real said...

Good 6: When I talk about how I looked as a teen and how I'd like to look now, my husband tries to convince me that most men don't like the androgenous, skinny figure that most women think is attractive. He says it's always been about those curvy parts. After hearing this for almost a decade now, I'm almost tempted to believe him. I mean, I believe him. But at the same time I just can't give up on the idea that I'm "supposed to be" much thinner. And then he tells me that mother's bodies are just so WOMANLY and I believe him and feel good. Until I see some other mother's body who looks like she has NOT had children....

Bad 5: Yeah, that's one thing I noticed a while back. Because I can't easily get out of the house or do things by myself or food myself, food has become the quick reward system for me. A little downtime to enjoy just for me when all the kids are finally all down for a nap or after a really hard day or whenever you want to celebrate something or just indulge yourself after a week of sacrificing for everyone else. And it's cheap, too. And it doesn't require a babysitter. It's the same reason the teachers give my kids horrible candy and treats in school. It's an easy, cheap way to reward good behavior.

bad 7: All the types of exercise that I actually enjoy are extremely difficult. I like team sports--volleyball and basketball. Yeah, like you can get a team of mothers together for practices and games. I also really like to dance, but taking a dance class several times a week costs three to four times as much as taking an aerobics class. And then there's always trying to find a sitter. Or else feeling guilty for spending so much evening time away from the family.

Sorry, the comment's so long. I just wanted to give you a feeling of solidarity and share (hopefully it's not too much like WW!). And I would give anything to see 144 again or to only have 11 pounds to lose. Please.

S said...

Oh my goodness all I can say is DITTO DITTO DITTO! I too have been making life changes. It is unbelivable how down right awful mainstream food is. I have to hunt high and low for healthy food. I have saved sooooo much money not eating out, eating healthy and drinking H20. I get to weigh in on Friday so I will update you on weight lose. It has taken me weeks and weeks to even get a good sweat out of a workout. ( Which I hear means my metabolism has finally kicked in?) We are young and it is time to feel young. I can't believe how much you have read my mind on this post! Hang in there and get to a YMCA! Take those classes for free, they will kick your tush better than anything else. I hear you have to make working out a JOB, something that has to be done daily. (YUCK)
I am so excited to have a buddy now:)

S said...

Ps I feed anyone who will eat the bad in my house too, its not that my will power is low, I just want it out of here!!!

S said...

One more thing I promise: I read an article about a lady who was like the old me. Out of shape, lazy, unmotivated, sickly etc. She began to work out, eating right and created a new lifestyle. A year later she had a massive heartattack, which she was told would have killed her IF she had not changed. We need to be prepared physically for tomorrow, what ever that may turn out to be:)
Thats my motto!

GranolaGirl said...

Hey you go girl. It's so hard to find time to take care of ourselves when we're so busy taking care of our family. I just rewarded myself with 4 oreos b/c I got all 3 kids down at the same time.

This is what I want to do: Couch to 5K

An Ordinary Mom said...

I think the progress you are making is great. It is better to take it slow and to actually create lifestyle changes.

I love your assessment of Ugly #3. That gets me fuming all the time, too!

GK said...

FYI, when your body type is that of a boy, gaining a little weight results in the starving-in-africa look, thin with a pouting belly. I'd take the curves any day...
At the risk of sounding boring, all the positive things you mentioned deserve double points. You are eating and thinking healthy which will benefit both you and your family. Keep up the good work on that.
And on the bad side: Even boyish girls hate what they see in the mirror and want something else. Most of the time when you see someone and think they look great, you're looking past the body image and seeing the confidence/radiance or whatever. I know I'm annoying you, but it's true.
And, clothes will do a lot for you, making you both look and feel prettier. Something about new things. I once went to a stylist and got great advice on how to dress for my type. Those were the best clothes I've ever bought, and the advice didn't cost me anything.
I'm 7 months postpartum (3rd child) and am still resisting to buy new jeans, as none of my old ones fit me. I guess your pelvis just changes after 3 kids, but I get you on the not-buying-clothes-in-my-current-size-cause-I-don't-want-to-stay-there...
Keep up the good and healthy work!
GK

Michelle said...

I was diagnosed with diabetes a year ago and I am waaaaay overweight. The doctors told me to focus on getting healthy rather than worrying about the amount I weighed. Cutting out sugars and empty carbs is a huge part of my life, one I still have trouble with.

Try not to worry about how long it takes to lose the weight, but focus on all the awesome changes you have already made!!

Katrina said...

Good for you, Traci. Ten pounds is a significant accomplishment. And you have thought through things so thoroughly and are being so honest -- those will both contribute to your success.

I really need to get on track and lose weight myself...just don't have enough motivation/discipline right now, and I don't like that about myself.

And about the magazine thing -- I totally agree with you. Editors actually seek people out who need to lose "some" weight but are still "beautiful" enough (aka, thin enough) to grace the pages of their magazine. Which renders the whole thing discouraging and useless to those of us who need to lose more than 11 pounds!

Ambulance Mommy said...

Good job Traci!

I think you put into words what so many of us moms feel every day.

I see myself in pictures or in the mirror, and I'm horrified, and swear I'm going to do something about it.

I see myself still in some maternity clothes, or just not fitting right into clothes because I tell myself "why buy new things, I'm going to loose that weight!"

I try for a few days, and then reality kicks in. I work full time, my husband works full time opposite my schedule, we barely see each other, we never know what to cook, we dont have time to exercise unless its right as the baby needs to go to bed, and we live in a 1 bedroom apartment....

there is SO MUCH against us, so for you to take the initiative, thats absolutly awesome.

I just cant get hooked on water though. I would be constantly in the bathroom, and I actually really dont enjoy water. Any advice?

megachick said...

good for you! i'm jealous that your healthy eating habits have rubbed off on your kids. i WISH i could pooka to try some more vegetables or fish that's not a breaded stick.

Kristy said...

Good for you-for voicing what most women think and for having a healthier life style.

S said...

K I had my big weigh in today! Drum roll please................




14.5 LBS!!


Can I get a woot woot!
No soda, no eating out (k maybe twice a week lite, verses 10 times gorging), lots of H2O and working out!!

S said...

I might add no sweetners, no caffiene, no preservatives ( what i can help) and trying to keep around 1600-1800 cals a day.

Traci said...

s - you are my hero!!!! way to go, girl! (i'm gonna come tell you at your blog, too!)

Kris said...

I really think you should give the gym a chance... I had the same childcare hangup for so long, but now I've taken my (3) kids there since my youngest was 8 or 9 months - he just turned 3! Most of the sitters have been there that whole time and have been WONDERFUL to my kids.

It is so worth all of the hassle of working out, it truly becomes an addiction of its own! When I don't work out for a few days, I get cranky. I really miss it. It is so worth it and I think it helps me be a better mom... Go for it!!

NOBODY said...

Congrats on the loss T! That's awesome.

This is a great post.

And if that was baby fat the 144 pound woman was losing, I must be trying to lose sumo wrestler fat. Yeah, that's it.

Sheesh.

M. Jamal said...

Thanks for sharing your experience Traci. Some of the things you've covered may seem simple yet when done can be powerful. I thought my blog visitors could benefit by checking out your post so I wrote about it at http://www.funladyfitness.com/blog/

Keep it at '-)

M. Jamal