Sometimes I forget to spit out the seeds…

Archive for August, 2013

Focus T25, Hormones, and Hope

After baring my soul a bit in previous posts (Broken – Part 1 and Part 2), I promised to post an update on my weight-loss journey.  I never imagined myself on a journey quite like this:  one with no end in sight, when before it was just a quick jaunt to success.  But I’m on it, nonetheless.

I’ve completed almost three weeks of Focus T25.  The workouts are 25 minutes long (30 with the cool down), and very intense.  I’m loving it.  What I was doing before was basically just cardio, with a little strength training built in.  No agility or endurance training.  With T25, I am challenged to actually become more athletic.  There are moves that I can’t even do yet.  (Writing that sentence immediately conjured up Julia Roberts in “My Best Friend’s Wedding”…..”I’ve got moooves you’ve never seen.”  Haha……I digress.)  For at least half of the workouts, I’m using the modifications that are included.  But I’m excited about that, because I have so much room to grow, and I know I won’t get bored of it quickly.

I knew after the first week that T25 wasn’t the solution for my weight-loss woes.  Not yet, at least.  I stopped weighing myself altogether, but I most assuredly have not lost a single pound.  I can’t say that I’m surprised; I had allowed myself to hope, though, so I’m marginally disappointed.

I had a great pow-wow with a wise woman I know…..her name is Mom.  🙂  She reminded me that my body has been through the wringer.  Eight pregnancies in 12 years.  Breastfeeding for most of the last 14 years.  All of which is undeniably a huge blessing from God, that I would not give back even if I my body remains broken forever.  But my hormones have been on a colossal roller coaster.  Something is surely out of whack.

So I put in a call to my friendly family physician….actually, to his wife, which is a surer way of getting a hold of him.  I’m now waiting on a referral to an endocrinologist.  This is a situation where I’m hoping that something is wrong with me.  You know, like at the final Tribal Council of “Survivor,” when Jeff Probst says, “This time you want to see your name.”   I already know I’m broken.  But the cause of it is, as of yet, undefined.  It needs a name, and a remedy.

I’m also hoping that all of this work I’m doing…..this hard, sweaty, painful work of building muscle and increasing my endurance……will not be in vain.  When whatever is wrong with me is fixed, perhaps this work I’ve done will facilitate a quicker healing.  A quicker return to my real self.

In any case, I continue with my efforts to not obsess over any numerical measurement of my worth.  Pant size, a number on the scale, pounds to lose.  What are they?   My God has got this.

You Might Have a Big Family If…..

When I had my fourth child, I began getting some strange, intrusive comments from strangers, and I realized….I had entered the realm of “big families.”  I was a little surprised, because I didn’t feel like I had a big family,  But I got it.  In our culture, in our time, four is more than average, for sure.   Now I have eight babies.  Not all babies, of course, but as my 5-yr-old will quote me as saying, “Even when you’re a grown-up, you’re still your mama’s baby.”  So I may be a bit of an expert on big families.  🙂  Are you?

You might have a big family if you drive a 12-passenger van, 15-passenger van, or a retrofitted school bus.

You might have a big family if you buy condiments in gallon-sized containers.  (We do this with salsa.)

You might have a big family if you have ever been asked if you run a daycare when only your children are present.

You might have a big family if you have ever been accused of trying to “beat” the Duggars.  (Please….I’m not even close.  And I don’t pro-create for sport.)

You might have a big family if your children have ever been counted by a stranger as your family walks by them.

You might have a big family if you’ve heard, “Wow, you have your hands full!” and you only had half your kids with you.

You might have a big family if you can easily tune out a squealing baby, a toddler banging her fork on the table, knock-knock jokes followed by crazy laughter, a game of keep-away with your child’s hat flying across the table, and ranch-covered fingers gripping your arm while you have a conversation with your spouse.

You might have a big family if you can play a game of kickball without any guests.

You might have a big family if you’ve been asked if you know “what causes that,” or been told, “wow, you’ve been busy (*wink, wink).”  These people always think they’re hilarious and original.  They are neither.  🙂

You might have a big family (and a small house) if your children sleep in a pile like puppies; it’s even sweeter when they don’t have to, because you actually do have enough beds, but they love each other so much that they do it anyway.

 

Denim Adversary

I’m a jeans girl.  My daily life doesn’t require me to dress up.  I’m home most days, all day, caring for and educating my brood.  I’m not a yoga pants girl.  They feel just like pajamas, which inevitably leads me down a path of non-productivity.  Jeans make me feel somewhat put together, and ready to take on the day.

They’re also very versatile.  Different styles and washes make jeans appropriate for nearly every event short of a wedding.  I love jeans.

Also……

I hate jeans.  Shopping for them, that is.  That versatility means too many choices.  I rarely go shopping until I get to the point of desperation….either shop, or risk looking like a hobo.  The plethora of styles and hues, combined with the fact that I usually don’t know what size I am and have to grab two different sizes of each possible choice, means that I stumble into the fitting room with 50 lbs. of denim piled in my arms.  I pity the poor salesgirl who waves her little numbered door hanger at me and tries to make me take multiple trips in and out of the fitting room.  Right.

Then the endless cycle of:  pull jeans on, zip and button, stand straight, turn, look at my butt, sit down to check how much flab hangs over the waist, squat down to check for unwanted rear cleavage, stare at my reflection, sigh and say, “I don’t know,” take jeans off.  Repeat.  Forty times.

A great pair of jeans is the wardrobe pinnacle we all aspire to acquire.  What stands in the way of getting it right?  For me, it’s two main features.

1)  I’m short.  Not Munchkinland short, but short enough that my husband frequently insinuates that I must have shrunk in the last day or so, as looks down on me with a smirk.  At 5’2″, I fit the definition of “petite,” but somehow petite jeans just do not fit right.  If I can find a brand that offers different lengths (Short, Average, and Long), the Shorts are perfect for flip-flops or sneakers, and the Averages work for heels.

2)  I have a booty.  I’m bootylicious.  I’m Sir Mix-a-Lot’s type.  😉  Even when I’m thinner, I have that butt going on, which means that buying jeans to fit my rear end leaves me with a big gap at the waist.  So, belts, yes.  But can I please have some jeans that just fit?  In recent years, some brands have started making “curvy” jeans, that allow for ample backsides.  But as I said before, I hardly ever shop these days, so I have no idea where to find these magic jeans.

It’s almost back to jeans weather here in the Northeast.  (YES!)  Currently, I have two pairs of jeans that fit.  One has a HUGE waist-gap problem, which is unflattering even with a belt.  The other has several holes in the inner-thigh seam, which is bordering on obscene.

Jeans shopping is definitely in my immediate future.  Let’s all take a moment to pray for my sanity and success.  😉

Broken – Part 2

To borrow a line from Pink, “not broken, just bent.”  I prayed that this was true about my body.  That I wasn’t really broken, and that there was some way to make my body work again.  Yeah, I talked to Jesus about my weight.  I’m still talking to Him about it because, I’m sorry folks, but this story doesn’t have a happy ending.  Not yet.  More on that later.

There was a voice in my head saying, “You know, you’ve had eight kids.  You’re getting older.  You could just accept that this is your new body, and rest.  It’s not THAT bad.”  I fought that voice with all of my strength, put my fingers in my ears and used the “lalalalalalala” method to drown it out.  I wasn’t ready to give up.

It wasn’t vanity that drove me forward.  Well, yeah, it was, a little bit.  Who doesn’t want to look good?  Who doesn’t want to turn a few heads now and then?  There was some of that.  But honestly, I mostly just wanted to feel like me.  I think I have a pretty realistic expectation of what a body after childbearing can look like.  I have no issues with the stretch marks that cover me from knees to ribcage.  But 30 lbs. of excess fat makes me not recognize myself in pictures.  It makes me feel like I have a tumor around my middle, that gets in the way of moving how I want to move.  It makes buying clothes so incredibly hard.

So I didn’t give up.  I bought some Green Coffee Bean Extract.  Dr. Oz gave it rave reviews for boosting metabolism, and I researched it fully.  It was clear that it didn’t work for everyone, but I had faith.  After a month, nothing had changed.  I posted something sarcastic and whiny on Facebook about 34 being the age when healthy habits make you gain weight.  My sister messaged me that Dr. Oz was interviewing a nutritionist about “fast metabolism.”  We had recently given up cable tv, so a couple of days later, I watched the interview online.

Haylie Pomroy, author of “The Fast Metabolism Diet,” gave me hope.  Everything she said rang true….that years of cutting my caloric intake, and my extreme fluctuations in weight, had shut down my metabolism.  From a random post on her message board, I hooked up with some ladies who were forming a Facebook group to try and start the diet before the book even came out.  We were all thrilled when one of Haylie’s employees joined our group, and gave us the inside scoop on the details of the diet.  She did this with Haylie’s blessing.  It felt like a miracle.

What I learned could fill, well, a book.  But it all boiled down to eating LOTS of quality food, on specific days (phases), to heal my metabolism.  No wheat, no dairy, no sugar, no caffeine, no corn, no honey.  It sounds like torture, I know, but in 28 days, I would be me again!  Long story short, I did three cycles (months) of the diet, with very few “cheats.”  I lost a total of 15 lbs., but I had stalled for the last few weeks, and the extreme nature of the diet was starting to make me feel a little looney.  I decided to stop “phasing” and just concentrate on eating well.  I pretty immediately started putting the weight back on.

I began working out 4-5 days a week.  The FMD plan is very light on working out, so this was something I hadn’t done in a while.  That was six weeks ago.  And while I’ve learned that I actually kind of love 5:30 a.m., I have not lost a pound.  In fact, I have gained a few pounds.  I am closing in on where I was before the FMD.  How I feel about that, well, it’s beyond words.

Now I’m going to get spiritual on you.  I believe that Jesus died on the cross to save me.  He bore not only all sins, but all sickness, all disease, on His God-man body.  My body is sick.  I don’t know what specifically is going on, but it is not working the way that He created it to.  I am doing my best to take good care of this body He’s given me, but I’m still unhealthy.  So I am claiming my miracle.  By His stripes, I am healed.

Today I began a new workout, called Focus T 25.  It’s more concentrated, more challenging, and I hope it will be that jump-start I so desperately need.   I will keep you updated on my progress as I go along.  In the mean time, I have my life to live, outside of losing weight, and I will try my hardest to not let my obsession crowd out all the good things God has given me.

Broken – Part 1

It’s just a number.  It doesn’t define me.  I am worth so much more than that number.  So why does it hold such power?  You know what number I’m talking about, right?  I don’t even have to say it.  The number that I breathlessly, and with eyes averted, wait for each morning.  It can make or break my day, that number.  It’s been a long journey to here; to this place where I am, more often than not, broken by mere digits.

I remember as early as 7th grade, writing in my diary about wanting to lose weight.  I was NOT overweight.  I never really was until adulthood.  But my perception was so skewed….like I was wearing someone else’s glasses, or looking in a fun-house mirror.  I would do step aerobics in my room, or endless sit ups and leg lifts.  For a few days.  Then I went back to being my regular, un-athletic self, until the next time I noticed that a girl who was more popular than I also had a flatter stomach, or nicer legs.

I grew up.  I got married.  I had babies.  With my first pregnancy, I gained 60 lbs.  I hardly even noticed, until two weeks after I gave birth and I tried to pull my regular jeans on.  They wouldn’t even go over my thighs.  But, being only 21, I lost the 60 lbs, plus five more, in about three months, with no effort.  I know.  I hate that girl, too.  For my second pregnancy, smaller number, but same story.  It wasn’t until my 3rd child that my body decided to hang on to some poundage.  I kept waiting for it to magically fall off, like it had before, but I ended up getting pregnant again with an extra 15 lbs. to start.

In pregnancies 4, 5, 6, and 7, I also gained 50-60 lbs. each time, no matter what strategies I employed to reduce that number.  But afterward, I did all the “right” things….counted calories religiously, and worked out.  The working out got increasingly difficult to fit in as my family grew, but I managed.  And it worked.  Twice I lost all the preggo weight that way, and the other two times, I came within a respectable 10 lbs. of my goal.

Usher in pregnancy #8.  (I assure you, my children are more to me than just numbers, but they are not part of this story 🙂 )  After giving birth, I gave myself a few weeks to recover, then began my tried-and-true regimen.  The mode of working out had changed over the years…..Tae Bo, Slim-in-Six, elliptical trainer, Turbo Jam, treadmill, Wii Fit….but it always WORKED.  Until it didn’t.

I hit a wall.  When my baby was a year old, I hit a wall, further away from my goal than I had ever before hit a wall.  I redoubled my efforts, got nowhere, gave up, gained five pounds, started again, lost five pounds, then hit the wall.  It felt like literally banging my head against a wall, so fruitless was my effort.  After gaining and losing the same five pounds several times, I gave up in earnest.  Shut the door on all things health related, and turned my back on it.  It was almost holiday season, and the stress was wearing me down.  I gained another 10 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

I never made an actual resolution, but New Year’s inspired me in a very cliche kind of way.  I sighed, gathered up all my resolve, and assured myself that at least I would lose the additional 10 lbs. I had gained, even if I ended up stuck where I had been stuck before.  But my now 34-yr-old body laughed in my face.  I ate right.  I exercised.  And nothing.  I began to panic.  What was wrong with me?  I was broken.  Not just mentally, or emotionally.  I was physically broken.  I wanted to scream every time I heard “calories in, calories out,” or “if you do the work, you’ll get the results.”  They were all liars.  My body had betrayed me, and I was broken.