Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’


NEWS FLASH: I did not finish the work on the new blog.  I didn’t even come close. I have, however, been assembling enough fodder for my West Michigan Bloggers presentation in June. I’m going to be talking about rebranding/moving your blog. So far I am well versed in what not to do.

Like don’t let your mom talk you into going out to lunch when you should be working on the blog. She will hold you hostage, drive you to Kohls and talk you into buying a purse the shade of Pepto Bismol, which I LOVE, by the way.

Part of today's score. I forgot how dangerous it is to shop with my mother.

Kohl’s had a more subdued black and white version that I thought was more my speed, but I worried about it getting dirty and opted for the pink. I know you can’t tell from the Instagramness of the pic, but that’s a really, really bright shade of pink and not at all something I’d normally buy for myself. It’s not neon, but I do consider it a risky purchase for a woman who buys purses in shades one normally sees in a Holstein or a Guernsey.

Right now I’m all about taking little risks like buying pink purses and wearing heels to work. I cheated a little and wore Crocs from my car to the office and changed into the heels once I got to my desk, but dang, I wore HEELS to work and managed to actually walk in them.  I also bought several fancy shmancy new bras from Lane Bryant that actually do the job bras are made to do.  It turns out all those bras I was excited about finding last year no longer fit. I was wearing bras with bands two sizes too big.  The band was riding up in the back and nothing was being supported well in the front.

Of course my back is killing me now that I’m finally wearing proper-fitting bras. I’m hoping this is just something my body needs to get used to as I develop hardy boob-supporting back muscles, but right now I could use some Aspercreme or an Icy/Hot patch not to mention a massage (hint hint, Nathan).

So last week wasn’t a total loss. I’m a little blocked with the blog, which I can’t afford to be for long, but I have a new purse and my girls now have a better view of the world around them.

Oh, and I’m planning on getting my nose pierced to celebrate my 100-pound loss.

More about that later.



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Saturday I weighed in and was very happy to record a 3.2-pound loss. I was actually blown away because not only did I indulge in half a piece of Cracker Barrel Coca Cola Chocolate Cake, I also ate half a chicken Parmesan sub and a generous portion of waffle fries at a local pizza joint Friday night.

I’ve been dealing with a fair amount of anxiety lately. It seems the times I’m content to be lazy and unproductive are most conducive to weight loss. If I have little stress, I am not not a stress eater. That’s pretty easy math.

However, if I start thinking I need to “do something” with my life, say like go back to school, and start questioning whether I actually have the stuff to be a parent, a wife, a full-time employee and grad student who still has 100 pounds to lose, that’s when I start strapping on the feedbag in an attempt to medicate myself into sublime ambivalence.

My last three weeks have been filled with poor, poor food choices and it’s starting to freak me out a little bit. I mean, if I’m this anxious about the thought of taking a graduate class, how stressed am I going to be when I sit down the first night with the syllabus?

I didn’t want to move forward in any other area of my life until I was sure I had my eating problems under control. I wanted the ability to make good food choices be so ingrained that I could withstand the rigors of academia without falling off the wagon.

I thought I was there, but I guess I’m not.

Last night Nathan went out to run errands and came home with the largest bag of smoked cheddar popcorn I’d ever seen.

“And if you don’t want the popcorn, I did pick this up for you,” he said and pulled a box of Cow Tails out of his bag.

I ate both. Not the whole bag of popcorn and not the entire box of tails, mind you, but enough.

“Why did you bring this stuff home when you know I’ve been struggling with my eating?” I wailed as though he had forced me into gluttony.

“I don’t know,” he said.  He was confused and I think a little scared. I was being unreasonable in blaming him for my own weaknesses and he handled it as any man in his position would; he left the room as soon as possible.

Later, after I had calmed down some, we talked about what’s been eating me lately.

“Remember Christmas?” I asked. “Remember all that CHOCOLATE we bought on clearance afterwards and how I didn’t have any problem with any of it and was able to limit my portions without going all crazy? What the hell happened?”

“I don’t know” he said.  “Maybe you just don’t care anymore.”

Yeah, I know. He does try, though.

I do care. I really do. I am two pounds away from 100 pounds lost. I am ten pounds away from being halfway to goal, but where I am now is where I’ve been every other time I’ve lost weight. I’m at the point where I start to gain it all back.

The stress starts to increase, the exercise starts to bore me, the menu planning becomes a chore and I am suddenly unable to say no to yeast rolls from Logan’s Roadhouse.

The thought of adding more to my life is stressing me out, but the thought of adding the weight back onto my body scares the hell out of me.  How I get through this block is going to separate this time from every other time I’ve lost weight. Yes, I’ve lost more than I’ve ever lost before and yes, I have stuck to the plan longer than I ever have before, but this time is not going to be any different than the others if the scale starts moving back up again.

I want my life to move forward. I want to feel productive and useful. I want to exercise my mind as well as my body and I want to be able to do it all while making that slow, slow progress towards my goal. I can’t put my life on hold while I try to lose weight. I can’t make my whole life be about losing weight because one of these days I may find myself in a position where I don’t have to worry about losing. What then?

Maintenance, yes, and I suppose that will be just as tough as losing if not harder.

I have been doing so well this time that I didn’t think I’d find myself back in this place, this vulnerable, gluttonous place full of insecurities and fear of failure.

There’s a word for that; COCKY.

I’ve been cocky and it’s now time for a generous portion of humble pie which, thankfully, is completely free of carbohydrates.

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I’m trying to get back into the groove of posting regularly, and by regularly I mean more than twice a month, so I figured I’d kick off the second post this week with some good news.

I have finally lost the baby weight.

Mind you not all the weight I gained was from the baby (who is now school age and technically not a baby), but I did gain a good bit during my pregnancy. Fifty-five pounds to be exact. I lost some after giving birth, as most moms do, but I never got back down below 300 until last year. I hovered just above that awful number until I stopped nursing, and once I stopped nursing, my body figured out I didn’t need all those extra calories anymore. Unfortunately I did not also realize the same.

Then there was the knee injury that was instrumental in getting me to my Highest Weight Ever. Thirty more pounds there.

Thankfully it is all gone. In December, on Christmas Eve no less, I finally found myself below the weight I was when I first discovered I was pregnant nearly six years ago.

At least I took it off before she reached high school.

This calls for a celebration so I decided to host a modest little giveaway. This is actually the giveaway I was supposed to do when I finally got below 300 pounds, but not being the most organized or driven person, I sort of…didn’t do it. I also had a little trouble figuring out what to give away because I don’t know what you people want.

So I figured I’d just give away things I like.

Like I said, this is a very modest giveaway package and it’s worth around $50. The package consists of three things and they’re all going to one reader so I don’t have to post prizes to three different addresses.

I’m lazy, unmotivated and cheap. But I’ve taken off that baby weight. That’s key here.

So do you want to know what’s up for bid?

Alrightly then.

Item number one is a $15 iTunes card.

I love iTunes gift cards. I don’t buy much music, but ever since getting an iPod touch, and then an iPhone, I’ve been spending a little too much time in the App Store. I’ve been very tempted to keep this for myself, but luckily for you I’m quite happy with my Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies for now.

Item number two is a delicious bag of Good Life Granola.

Folks? I LOVE this granola, and how I managed to acquire a bag to give away is kind of a funny story. Well, funny in a sad sort of way because it once again highlights my complete lack of motivation.

So Nathan and I were out at the Holland Farmer’s Market last May and Mike, the owner of Good Life Granola, had his table set up with his samples. I introduced myself as @oakhollowmom because we had conversed back and forth on Twitter, as much as two people can in 140 characters or less, and he wouldn’t have known me from Eve had I introduced myself by my real name.

Since I’m not very comfortable asking for freebies to give away on the blog, I figured I’d just buy a bag myself. Then Nathan told Mike I was going to give the granola away here and Mike very graciously offered me another bag to do just that. But when he asked me when I was going to do the giveaway, I told him it would be when I hit my next weight loss goal.  As it turned out, I didn’t hit that goal until the end of June and, as I mentioned earlier, failed to do the giveaway at that time.

So Mike, I owe you a HUGE apology for taking so long to introduce you to my readers.

Did I happen to mention how wonderful this granola is? If you’re not a raisin fan, you’ll be happy to know this granola contains all natural ingredients, none of which are raisins. Just oats, pecans, almonds, brown sugar, Michigan maple syrup, canola oil, cinnamon, sea salt and vanilla. It’s a wonderful, wonderful mix of flavors.

And I’m sure Mike will be happy to know I won’t be passing on the bag he gave me last May. While I do still have that bag and have confirmed it’s still very tasty, I could not in good conscience give away a bag of granola that’s been sitting on my desk for eight months. The bag you will be getting was recently purchased at a local health food store.

And the final item is a gro-pak starter kit from Blue Avocado.

I was introduced to Blue Avocado a couple of years ago at BlogHer and could kick myself for not taking advantage of the generous discount they offered to conference attendees back then. I love their little pod bags and had no idea they actually turned into pods until I saw roommate Amy with some as she was packing up her swag.  I was all, “Oh, those bags do that?” and proceeded to scrunch and fold mine into a neat little pod shape. I also wish I would have followed Amy’s lead and gotten a couple more bags from the expo hall. Ah, well. You can learn from my mistake. If you room with a frugal blogger, don’t let her out of your sight because she has an amazing capacity to scope out freebies.

The starter pack consists of one pod bag, one pak carry-all bag and one veg produce bag. I need to add a disclaimer here because the set I picked up was not purchased directly through Blue Avocado. I acquired my set on the farm last summer when I was picking up my CSA share. It was only after I brought the bags home that I realized they were a little dirty after being displayed in the farm store.

But now I can tell you the bags wash really well.


And now you know why I don’t do giveaways that often.

If you’re at all interested in this package, you may earn a chance to win it by posting a comment below. The comment should include one goal you are very proud to have reached. It doesn’t need to have anything to do with weight loss. Have you run a marathon? Graduated college? Taught a monkey sign language? Tell me about it, but please don’t go crazy by barraging me with your awesomeness. Too much boasting in multiple comments will only cheapen your efforts.

In other words, one comment per person, please.

You can post your comments until 11:59 PM next Wednesday, February 16 (because Midnight would actually be Thursday, right?)

Thursday I will draw a winner and hopefully post the results shortly after.

If I remember to, that is.

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Autumn has started to pay more attention to the physical differences in people.  I’ve wanted to write about this for awhile because a) she’s a girl b) she’s my girl and c) she recently called me “fat” for the first time ever.

I knew this was coming. Once Autumn was introduced to the preschool environment and a much larger pool of different shapes, sizes and ethnicities than she had ever seen before, I knew she’d eventually figure out I’m a pretty big woman.  Even though obesity has sort of become the unfortunate norm these days, I’m still the largest parent I’ve seen since we started her at the preschool.

So she called me fat. She said it matter-of-factly in a strictly observational tone and I thought, “Okay, there it is. That wasn’t so bad.”  And it really wasn’t. I told her yes, I am fat but that it’s not polite to say that to someone no matter how true it is.

I may let my kid watch too much TV and I may display my temper in front of her a little too often, but one thing I’ve made sure to never do is criticize my appearance in her presence.  For one, I don’t want to be responsible for building the foundation of an unhealthy body image.  Yes, I am a large woman but repeatedly calling myself such in front of my daughter would be just as damaging as if someone like Heidi Klum did the same thing.

The other thing is that I don’t need, nor do I desire, the kind of validation one seeks when she utters the words “I’m so fat” out loud. There’s really only one way to respond to that statement and that’s why women say it. They want someone to tell them it isn’t true.

But in my case it is true.

I was feeling pretty good about how I handled this thing and I thought the conversation with my daughter had come to its natural conclusion until she said, “Jacob told me, ‘Your mom’s not pretty’ and I got mad at him because you are pretty!”

You should have seen her face. It was as if Jacob had told her Santa Claus wasn’t real. And knowing the kind of kid this Jacob is, he most likely will be the one to detonate that bomb and destroy the innocence of his friends some day.

I have to admit it was awesome to be able see myself through my daughter’s eyes.  She thinks I’m beautiful and I couldn’t  love her more for that.  But there was also this other feeling, this little emotional punch to the gut knowing the Santa Claus killer was out there talking smack about me.  How many other kids were telling my daughter the same thing?

Still, I glared at Autumn and said, “Who cares what Jacob thinks? I certainly don’t and you shouldn’t either.”  We went on to discuss why people say hurtful things and how it shouldn’t matter as long as we feel good about who we are.

There was a part of me that knew what I was saying was crap. The ideology behind it was true enough, but I know very well what she’s in for in the years ahead.  My after-school-special postulating might work now while she’s very young, but eventually the voices of her peers will become louder than mine and she’s going to start picking herself apart.

Maybe that’s why the conversation was that much harder the second time around. Last night it came up again as I was putting Autumn to bed.  We were roughhousing a little bit and she said how some day she’ll be strong enough to flip me off her back like I do her.  I said, “You’ve got a lot more growing up to do before you’ll be able to do that,” to which she replied, “Yeah, because you’re fat.”

This time I got just a little pissed off because, hell, I’ve lost 60 pounds since October. Why can’t she notice that?

So there we were, launching into another discussion about the delicacy of making remarks about a person’s appearance.  It was rough. I found myself stopping and starting, fumbling over my words and trying not to sound like a fool as I again explained how some people might construe the world “fat” as being hurtful.

I think what was so hard about this was that I wanted to explain the negative connotations of calling someone “fat” without implying that being fat is some sort of character flaw.

Because it’s not.

Being fat is not ideal. Being fat is unhealthy. Being fat is unpleasant in many, many ways and can make life very difficult, but it’s not the hallmark of a sub-par human.

Not everyone raises their kids to believe that. I know because I’ve run into many of those kids over the years.

I have no doubt this is going to come up again, and I do hope that eventually Autumn will recognize my weight loss and see it as something positive born out of desire to improve my health rather than a desperate attempt to fit in with the soccer moms and the PTA crowd. But this may be one area in which I’m not great at communicating with her because I haven’t talked to her about the weight loss at all. I haven’t wanted to explain how being fat isn’t healthy, which in turn makes me unhealthy. She’s not a worrier by nature, but four year-olds don’t have the capacity to put things into perspective.  Their little minds are completely unboxed and their imaginations have no barriers.

Lately Autumn has taken to telling us she needs to work out. She’ll hang off the chair and do one or two push-ups before collapsing on the floor.  This irritates Nathan to no end.

“You’re four years old for cripes sake!” he says. “You don’t need to work out!”

But she sees me work out. She sees me leave and come home a hot mess from my time on the elliptical. She thinks she needs to exercise because I need to exercise. She pays attention and wants to emulate me, so I have actually taken the time to explain that grownups have to exercise because we work all day and don’t get recess anymore.

I hate having to tell her things like that. It makes me feel like the Santa Claus killer.

So how I’m going to end this is by asking for your thoughts. I think I need some other voices to chime in and I’d love to hear how others have addressed the mine field that is body image, self-esteem and teaching our daughters to respect and appreciate physical differences.  Sometimes I get the sense it’s all “kill or be killed” out there and that’s not really a world I want to send my kid out into.  Some girls are given armor and some are given ammunition.

Others are given boys.

Lucky bitches.

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When I was a kid, there was one day every year that I dreaded like none other. As it approached, the bile in my stomach would rise, my palms would sweat and I had no other wish than for the ground to open up and swallow me whole. If there was ever an antithesis to Christmas, that day was it.

Track and field day.

I do not come from athletic stock. In fact, I would bet that in the days of hunting and gathering, my ancestors were the large, lumbering folk who were frequently eaten by predators. That I am here today to tell the story of how much I loathed physical activity pretty much proves that the process of natural selection isn’t really about survival of the fittest.

Because I was not fit.

And at no time was this unfitness more gloriously showcased than during track and field day.

I really couldn’t tell you all the activities my gulag of an elementary school forced me to participate in every year. All I remember is the running. Oh, how I hated the running. I could do the long jump without humiliating myself too much and I even managed to score a third place ribbon in the soccer kick one year.

But the running, it killed me.

The sprint or the dash or whatever they called the hell that is forcing my legs to propel my body forward at unnatural speeds left me gasping like an 80 year-0ld asthmatic.  And I was always dead last. The stereotypical fat kid pulling up the rear.

I mean seriously, couldn’t they tell by looking at me that we were just wasting everybody’s time?

But no, those were the Reagan years and they took physical fitness very seriously.  As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t just say no.  I had to participate.

In fifth grade I participated with every other fifth grader in the district in a huge track & field event at the high school. I don’t remember anything about that day. I suppose if I were to dig deep down into the recesses of my subconscious, I might be able to pull up random snippets of agony and mayhem reminiscent of a Lady Gaga video, but it’s probably best for those memories to lay dormant.

Of course this aversion to running and every other form of exercise did not serve me well in the long run and I eventually found myself weighing over 350 pounds.  Now that I have matured, dropped some of the weight and have overcome a debilitating knee injury, I am thankful to be able to do any physical activity at all. I revel in it, actually, and hope to some day incorporate running into my fitness routine.

But that problematic history with track and field day still exists, so you can imagine how I felt upon dropping Autumn off at school last Thursday and seeing these words posted next to the door as I left:


I froze for a second and stared at the sign, a mixture of relief and pity brewing just underneath the uneasiness I felt at seeing the words “FIELD DAY.”

I was relieved I’d had the foresight to send Autumn to school in sneakers instead of the usual flip flops. Even though the school emails a calendar to parents every week, I don’t always read it and tend to miss things like returning books to the reading bus, which in turn leaves me driving through town on my lunch hour with two Dora books in the front seat and no idea where to actually deposit them.

The pity came from a deeper place, and as I read the sign I couldn’t help but think, “Dang, girl, your life is going to suck now. Innocence lost and all that. I have a space on the couch reserved for you.”

Don’t get me wrong, I really want nothing more than for my child to love activity. She has all this energy that lately has been funneled into driving us crazy, but I’m pretty sure she could physically excel in whatever sport tickled her fancy. It’s just that she’s my kid and that alone serves as a pretty significant handicap.  I don’t always lead by example, you know.

But get this.  The girl I picked up from school that day had a medal hanging from her neck.  Ok, so every kid wore a medal and that medal was probably purchased at the dollar store, but it was a medal nonetheless.

“What did you get that for?” I asked.

“Soccer!” she exclaimed.

Dang. Apple. Tree. Even if your skills are mediocre, it’s still awesome to see your contribution to the gene pool.

“And did you run in any races?” I asked, looking to see if that seed had been planted and taken root.

“Yeah, and I won!”

“Really?” I asked.

“Yep. And then we raced again and I won again and we raced again and I won AGAIN!”

“Wow! You’re pretty fast!”

“Yep,” she said, and though I doubted the veracity of all her claims, I did have to admire her confidence and enthusiasm.

The girl likes to run.

Thank God.

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Big girl britches

This week I finally retired the brown pants with the elastic waistband.

If you take into account the basic function of pants, meaning they need to cover my ass and the enormous white cotton granny panties I find most comfortable, then yes, I guess they did still fit and would continue to fit as long as the circumference of the elastic waistband remained less than the circumference of my hips.


But dang, those pants were baggy. They were embarrassingly baggy. These were pants I wore 60 pounds ago and they were pretty comfortable back then. I have a few items of clothing like that, things that more or less fit when I was at my heaviest and that I continue to wear now because they fit even better and do the job of covering what I want covered.

Like the purple shirt I’m wearing today. It’s been a frequent player in my weekly wardrobe rotation for a long time, but 60 pounds ago I could not button it. I also couldn’t hike the sleeves up past my elbow without unbuttoning the cuffs. Now I can button up the shirt and roll up the buttoned cuffs and when I do those things I realize this shirt probably did not fit at all 60 pounds ago. But I wore it anyway because I had exactly five outfits I could wear to work and those brown pants and the purple shirt were my Monday ensemble.

Last Monday or whatever day I last wore the brown pants, I passed my reflection in the mirror and finally realized they were no longer working for me. This morning I pulled them out of the dryer, folded them up and placed them on top of a pair of black capris I bought from Old Navy last year before my trip to Chicago. I had tried on the capris just for fun a few days ago. I knew they no longer fit and as I descended the stairs wearing them, Nathan watched in alarm as they slid down my hips.

“Those pants are falling down. You’re going to kill yourself!” he exclaimed.

“Relax,” I said, “they’re capris. I’m not going to trip over them.”

When I got to the bottom of the stairs I let the capris drop to the floor. I stepped out of them, folded them up and placed them on top of the dryer.

And so we have the beginning of my “fat clothes” pile.

I’ve been here before. It’s great to be able to discard things because they are too big as opposed to hanging them up in the closet with the hope they will one day fit again. In Weight Watchers they say keeping your fat clothes offers the kind of safety net you really don’t need. Get rid of the old clothes, go shopping and enjoy your new body, they say.

Seven years ago I did just that. I bagged up all my fat clothes and dropped them off at Goodwill. I went shopping and never once thought about the things I’d gotten rid of. At least not until after my pregnancy when I needed them again.

I’m never going to wear those brown pants again. I’m never going to wear the capris again. Even if I happened to gain all the weight back, I think I’d still rather go through the agony of shopping for something new than face the humiliation of becoming reacquainted with something that used to be too big.

So I should just get rid of them, right?


But…I’ve been here before. I know how this story could end.

I’m not trying to be a pessimist nor am I starting to fall back into old habits. This silly little problem concerning clothes that don’t fit and what to do with them is just one of many things on my mind right now.

That and a craving for a Hershey’s Special Dark bar.

As you can see, I lead a very complicated life.

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A funny thing happened after I wrote last week’s post.

I went and lost 4.2 pounds.

In a week.

That doesn’t happen very often and I certainly didn’t expect it to happen last week after my whiny diatribe about the gynecologist.

I guess I was so weighed down with indignation that I didn’t realize I was kicking ass.

The best part is that I now weigh less than 300 pounds.

298.4 to be exact.

58.4 pounds total lost.

You will probably never encounter another person so thrilled to weigh 298.4, but I have not seen that 2 in front of my weight in five years.  You know, since I was pregnant.

Nevertheless, I am wearing a maternity tank top today. It’s one of the few I own that is not stained.

Shut up. It’s tucked in.

Oh yeah, I’m tucking in the shirts now.

This is a huge victory for me and I will be hosting a giveaway to celebrate. I just have to figure out what I’m going to give away.

So stay tuned.

298.4, bitches!

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