45-year-old mother of two human boys, ages 16 and 12; pet-mom to three rather yappy canines and two cats; keeper of the zoo; and wife to one incredibly tolerant man. Alternately babbles and rants.
Read on at your own risk.
Amanda - Me Choreboy/ Brent - The Husband The Elder Offspring - what it sounds like The Gum Zombie - the younger offspring The Nephew - see above, re: Elder The Divine Miss M - my niece Teddy, a/k/a Hound, f/k/a Toad - small hyperactive chihuahua/ yorkie mix Charlie - baby dog! chihuahua/ pug mix, or "chug" Daniel - large sedate male of the feline persuasion Emily - rounded homicidal female of the feline persuasion Bob, a/k/a Blob - interdimensional traveler masquerading as Felis silvestris catus The rest of the critters can be found over here.
Although I've been quiet on the blogging front recently, I've been reading. It's made me think about all the changes to my diet since 2006 when I finally got the big "holy cow, this is not what I want to weigh!" alert.
When the Elder, then age seven, first bellowed my 200-pound weight to the entire grocery store, I went with what I knew. At that time, it was one of those pre-packaged meal systems (I don't link to them, but its initials are NS). Oh god, it was awful. I wish I had some of the labels around because seriously, that is some of the most processed "food but not really" stuff out there.
But I did lose weight on it.
After a couple of months I knew I had to do something different because although the NS stuff was obviously working, I couldn't keep on eating like that. There were a few items that I found along the way that I could live with, but overall the stuff was just foul. I knew I liked Lean Cuisine, so figuring that NS had me on about 1200 calories a day, that's what I decided to do for myself.
I started reading the nutrition information on packages -- yes, it took me until I was thirty-six years old to figure that out -- and made sure my days were right at 1200, with about 30 calories on either side for mathematical issues. I ate Lean Cuisine, I ate South Beach wraps (mostly for breakfast), I ate sugar-free 10-calorie Jello cups, I chewed craploads of sugar-free gum. You know, that stuff does interesting things to your insides if you chow through an entire15-stick pack in a day.
So still more processed stuff. And I lost weight on it.
Then when I got divorced in late 2007/ early 2008, my household had a big drop in income. I couldn't afford all the pre-made food anymore, so I had to figure out what to do with a much smaller budget. I started looking at recipes more, because it's cheaper to cook from scratch.
I lost weight that way too. I got down as low as 133, and have maintained between 138-142 since then.
This past January, when I had my gum surgery, I got it in my head to track how much sodium I was eating. I'd bought some V8 vegetable soups in addition to the godawful Slimfast to get me through the all-liquid days following surgery, and I was absolutely stunned at how much sodium was in those suckers. Holy cow, it was insane!
That's when it finally clicked that cooking my own food was about more than saving money. It was about my health. Food companies don't care about our health; they care about their bottom line which is increased by using as many cheap, processed ingredients as possible.
And all that said, I'm still not a total convert. I love Fiber One brownies, although they're not the crack they used to be. You will pry my Diet Coke out of my cold, dead fingers, although I don't suck down quite as much of it than I used to.
Hmm. Interesting pattern right there.
The thing I see consistently is that my diet has improved over time, just as a natural part of me wanting to be healthy. First the focus was on scraping the weight off, then it became about what I could live with taste-wise, and then it became about eating what was better for me overall. I'm a work in progress. I'm not perfect, and honestly I'm not even trying to be. But I'm sure a hell of a lot better than I was, and I'm certain that process will continue. I work better this way.
I'm doing the best that I can, today. Tomorrow, that best may be better. I'm good with that.
Still here, y'all -- I've just got some mental craziness I'm having to juggle.
I'm a pretty high-anxiety person in general. I stress to a ridiculous degree, wake up at 3:00 AM and can't get back to sleep worrying about things that I can't do anything about (mostly because it's THREE-FREAKING-A.M.), and endless loops of The Shit That's Gone Wrong Or May Go Wrong play over and over in my head. It's a delight, in the "wouldn't it be nice to function like a normal person? Hah!" sense of the word.
Trying to manage the anxiety is one reason I gained all the weight I did. I was in a very difficult marriage, the details of which I don't discuss too much here out of respect for my children's privacy, and the constant churning feeling in my gut was momentarily calmed by food intake. The worse things got, the more I ate until I finally hit a weight that slammed me between the eyes when I heard it. Then I had to drop the food and in doing so I was forced to deal with what was really going on (the whole "what was eating me" thing)...
Remember my limited coping skills? That would be one aspect. It's not over my marriage anymore, thankfully. Choreboy rocks. But I still have it over other areas of my life, and the big one that's kicking me in the pants right now is the "graduation dance" for bellydancing.
The way things are set up, everyone takes the beginning class twice. After you've taken it twice, you're allowed to choreograph and perform your own "graduation dance" and move up to the intermediate class. Unfortunately, I am not creative. No, don't point to this blog and say I'm creative because nothing here is fictionalized other than my last name and the names of others. Everything else is based firmly in reality. This extends to all areas of my life. I'd love to write fiction, but the best I could manage would be rather stilted fanfic. I can't worldbuild or create my own original characters to save my life. Every MC I create is a total Mary Sue, and I end up throwing in the towel on NaNoWriMo on an annual basis. In the kitchen it's the same. Give me someone else's recipe and I'm golden. I can follow those suckers like a beast. Just don't ask me to create my own because it ain't happening. On those few occasions I've attempted to follow some errant inspiration the results have been less than palatable.
So needless to say, choreography isn't my thing. At all. I can't improvise, I can't choreograph, and even trying it at all in the privacy of my own home has me a shaking mess. Again, I can follow someone else's choreography just fine -- give me practice time and we're set! But to create something on my own, without a specific pattern or anything?
So I'm stuck. I can either stay in the beginners class forever or hope that sometime between now and the end of next term (there's no way I'll be able to graduate at the end of this term, less than one month away) I grow a creative bone and somehow make this happen.
We shall see. It's not like this is earth-shattering or anything; it's merely the symptom du jour of a much bigger issue.
Yesterday was one of those run-run-run days, with getting the Elder's new school uniform shirts (they're changing the dress code, thus rendering his shirts from the past two years utterly useless), getting pre-first-week-of-school haircuts done for both boys, and shopping for Choreboy's birthday. The most relaxing part of my morning was stopping by the pet store to pick up a ginormous bag of food for the three garbage disposals cats. While we were at the pet store, I also found the perfect shirt for Hound:
Poor dog... hee!
I did make a donation of a flat of cat food to the SPCA while I was there as well. I figured if I could buy a very silly shirt for my dog, the least I could do was make a matching donation to animals who aren't quite as coddled as mine.
I went to bed around 9:30 so I could get some decent sleep and wake up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Or at least semi-conscious. So what went wrong?
I asked myself that at 10:00...
and 11:30... this pretty much continued until somewhere around 1:30 AM, when I finally fell asleep. Basically, I managed to get so anxiety-ridden about going to sleep promptly because I was getting up early that I got almost no sleep at all. So when 4:45 finally hit, I smacked the daylights out of that alarm and swore I'd do my cardio that night.
Then I torqued my knee at work, scrubbing the bathroom floor behind the toilet. Oh the glamorous life I lead. Y'all, I'll work through muscle pain, but my stupid knee isn't something I trifle with. I baby that sucker, because my orthopedist salivates at the mere mention of that aging joint and I just don't have the sick leave or resources to handle 6 weeks of no driving. So, R.I.C.E. was on for Monday night rather than C.A.R.D.I.O.
On the plus side, my knee wasn't whining as much yesterday so after work I got on my recumbent for 40 minutes. Pounding the pavement wasn't going to work, but pedaling did. I made it 10 miles, which isn't awful considering how long I've been out of the saddle.
I'm aggravated because the only viable* time I have to work out takes away time from my family, and I hate that. I just need to figure out if I hate that more than I hate what lack of exercise does to me.
*Viable as qualifier because working out in the morning appears to be out of the question if Monday's anxiety is to be believed. Good grief. I can't believe that.
Tomorrow morning at 5:00 AM, I have a date with the great outdoors and my iPod. I've thought about doing this for two weeks, but it turns out thinking doesn't burn as many calories as one might suppose.
So here we go again with the "If I say I'm doing my cardio in a public forum then it has to happen" method. Oh well, I'm fully aware that my genetic propensity has me in the seated and reclined position, with remote/ mouse/ book in hand. Whatever works to get me into a more upright and mobile position is what it's going to have to take.
I'm still doing my resistance, and my food is on point. So is my weight. I just freaking loathe cardio. But it has to be done.
Still here, kids, still doing what I should do, even though I now have a smart phone which I'm pretty sure can do everything for me instead. There's probably even an ass-wiping app somewhere out there. I need to look for that.
School is about to start and ladies and gentlemen, I am about to freak. I'm not ready for summer to be over, but in 2.5 short weeks it will be. I hate homework.
I know it's my kids' homework. I still hate it. Even back in the dark ages when I taught, my theory was that my students should be able to finish the lion's share of most assignments in class because, again, I hate homework. I also hate hypocrisy. Ergo, my students won the "anti-homework teacher" lottery.
Yes, I still weigh the same. No, I have not suddenly (or slowly) ballooned to the size of a small island nation. My post-vacation bloat is gone -- thank goodness, because that was making me cranky -- and I'm still hanging right at 138 - 142. My goal at the moment is to move that more to 136 - 139, so I've changed my midday meal focus more to proteins, good fats (avocado is my friend), and reduced fat dairies rather than fruit, yogurt, and yummy, yummy peanut butter*. At the moment I'm having 4 oz. of chicken breast (I cook it at home in the pressure cooker -- I'm considering trying thighs next week for more moisture) on top of a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, topped with salsa, reduced fat sour cream, 2% cheddar, and avocado. It does not suck.
And as an added bonus, I haven't been to Chipotle since I started my latest lunch obsession. 720 calories for my burrito bowl vs. 330-ish for this salad. That'll do.
On the breakfast side of things, my father is again in prime weight-loss mode. Since I eat breakfast with my folks Monday through Friday, I'm getting a bunch more egg white in my eggs than I was (and less cheese, thank goodness, because the past couple of months Dad's been hitting the shredder HARD), and we're also getting interesting options like ground turkey breast patties. It's not boring, and my hope is that it also contributes to the "let's get Amanda so she's always on the 130's side of things" goal.
It's always a process. It has to be -- for me, stagnation means defeat.
Now I just have to decide if I'm going to drag the boys to the beach for Labor Day weekend. The hotel Choreboy and I stayed at for our little mini-vacation has openings still, and the boys haven't quite stopped grousing about how they haven't been to the beach in years (true), so it's on my radar. We'll see. Considering I barely got my ankles into the ocean on Choreboy's and my trip, I'm not exactly the biggest beach fan but it could work.
At any rate, all hail Wednesday! Halfway to the weekend, y'all. Have a good one :)
*We were having a slight peanut butter consumption problem, so it had to go away for awhile.