Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Working my butt off... but of course, that's the objective here...

It's been a rough stinking month for weight loss, I'll be honest.  I've experienced bursts of motivation toward working out which were undercut by an unhealthy diet, or good diet kicks which were never supported by working out.  Basically, I've been losing the same 3-4 pounds since before Christmas, over, and over, and over again.  At this point I'm back to the lower end of the swing (158.8 today), but have still been feeling pretty discouraged about this whole journey.  Wretched defeating thoughts haunt me.  Then, they try to feed me french fries and brownies.

So I'm taking a new perspective.  Again.  After a couple of good days with both diet and working out, I felt I needed a boost to keep on keepin' on.  There are a couple of places where I've tracked my weight (I can recommend, nice trackers and a good community), and I went ahead and checked those out today.  32.2 pounds.  I don't care who you are, 30+ pounds, well, that's nothing to sneeze at.  What that means is I can carry around my 15 month old daughter, and both my 5 lb weights and then be just barely above what I weighed this past summer.  That's a little bit amazing.  Carrying my 23 pound daughter alone is exhausting, how did I walk around every day with that PLUS an extra 9 pounds? Even thinking about that makes me want to nap.

So that helped.  Now I'll admit, thinking about losing the weight I still want to see gone is exhausting too.  But just when I may have started feeling down (FYI, exhaustion makes one want to snack on supremely unhealthy foods.  Don't know why, but I'm pretty sure it's science.)  I decided to take a shopping trip to splurge off of a left over Christmas gift card.  My mission:  New Jeans.  The last time I bought jeans was last April, and they were a size 14.  I felt like I was being slowly laser-beamed toward the nearest Lane Bryant.  Today, I was quite pleasantly surprised to find that I am back down to a size 8!

Now previously I made a self-promise to buy some skinny jeans once I hit size 8... I'm not quite ready for that yet.  We might have to make that wait till size 6.  Or maybe 4.  We'll see how it goes.

So for all of you weight loss dreamers out there, know this:  Weight loss, like anything that is really, really worth doing, is hard.  It takes sacrifice and serious life change.  Every time I try it without acknowledging those facts, I fail.  But it's also possible, and it's also really, truly worth it.

Have a good night y'all!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Without music, life would be a mistake.... I could only believe in a God who knew how to dance.

First off, it's late Saturday morning.  All three of us  (husband, M-pants and myself) are lounging around in pajamas, and I'm on my second very delicious cup of coffee.  So if I end up sounding a little too much like Bobby McFerrin through this post, I apologize.  Don't worry be happy now.

The title of this post is a  quote by Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher from the late 19th century best known for things like nihilism and the statement "God is dead".  I've been thinking a lot about dancing lately, which seems to be one of those little spoken about side effects of becoming a parent.  Since first developing even the slightest control of her muscle movement, she was dancing.  Before she was five months old, she would stand holding on to the ottoman, bobbing her head to any hummed tune, ringing phone, or commercial jingle that came along.  As she's gotten older, her dance has only become more complex, and more frequent.  Crouching with her knees, twisting at the waist and swinging her arms out to the side, Madelyn dances with abandon, with sincere joie de vivre that she can't help but express with her whole body.

As we get older though, dancing takes on new meaning.  Dancing can be a display of athleticism or elegance, sexuality or drunken inhibition.  But for most grown ups, on most occasions, dancing is something best reserved for solitary moments, moments which tend to include cranked up ipods,  feather duster microphones, and absolutely, positively no audience.  Because for grown ups, dancing seems to have become a shameful and open display of vulnerability that doesn't jive in an era of self-empowerment and self-respect.  But here's the deal:  dancing seems like it must be natural.  If my daughter has to dance, just has to, as some innate response to joy, shouldn't we be dancing too?  Shouldn't we respond to the beauty, wonder and majesty around us with our whole bodies, like David returning from battle, with no regard for our own dignity?

My daughter looks to me and her father for feedback.  When we laugh when she dances, she stops and stares, seemingly wondering if she's done something wrong.  I don't laugh anymore.

Apparently Nietzsche couldn't, or wouldn't see it, but I have a hard time looking around at this beautiful world, the wonder of creation, and my boogie-ing daughter, without seeing a God who knows how to cut a rug.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

An encouraging juxtaposition

Just saw these two pictures placed side by side on Shane's Facebook page.  Even on a less than awesome weight-day, it made me feel better.  The left is from our trip to Morro bay last April.  The second is one of our family pictures, taken in November.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kickin butt, takin names

So for the week, as far as weight loss goals are concerned, I've failed.  This could be discouraging (I've been hovering back up around 160-161, ugh)  but I've decided it's not.  Today also marks my 8th day of working out EVERYday, and today I've worked out TWICE.  That's right, I got awesome TWO times day.  (MY excitement is displayed by the excessive use of capital letters.)

I've decided something today.  I've decided to get "Gazelle-intense" about my weight loss.  This is a Dave Ramsey-ism, referring to the passion a Gazelle displays in doing whatever it takes to escape the stronger, faster, scary-faced cheetahs who try to eat them.  Dave uses this to describe the way we should passionately escape our debt, doing whatever it takes to improve our financial situations.  I'm starting to feel this way about weight loss.

To be honest, I've been able to lose my first 30 pounds with relative ease, cutting back on calories and occasionally (though not frequently) working out.  But lately, that's not been working as well.  I've been feeling less and less "in control" of myself, like I'm never quite sure why my weight is going up or down.  This has brought with it those old thoughts from, well, most of my life until recently.  Those thoughts that say, "for me at least, losing weight is impossible" or "this is probably as good as I'll ever look".  As discouraging as these statements are, though, I've got new statements now.  I've got 30 pounds of weight loss under my belt (waddap ching!).  I've got practiced calorie control, improved healthy, and increased energy and self-confidence.  And when I make myself feed these thoughts instead of the others, I get excited, because I know that with work, I can finally get healthy, and get looking a way I'm happy with.  So this weeks trip to the grocery store filled our home with fresh fruit and veggies, and the only junk food item at all (a bag of plain Ruffles) is one of the only junk food things I don't ever care to eat.

So here we go, a new year, a new 'tude.  I intend to keep up the once to twice daily workouts every day this month.  Gazelle-intensity, here we go!!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Bye bye Christmas!

Christmas time is officially done at the Miller house.  That may make me crazy belated, but one week after New Years seems to be when we always clear the holiday out of the house.  So no more lights, in or out, no more Santas and snowmen, no more tree dripping with its decorative nostalgia.  Bye bye Christmas, see ya next year.

The nice thing about waiting this long, I'd say, is that it isn't such a distinctly sad process.  By this time, we're finally ready to be done with Christmas and on to the new year.  Packing away ornaments though, will always be an emotional process to me.  There's the ornament from the year we got engaged.  The one from our trip to Alaska, that one we got to commemorate our move into an actual house, our fist Christmas married, Madelyn's first Christmas, and more.  I think my favorite of our traditions is the fact that we buy an ornament to commemorate our year, every year.  We've also decided to do the same for each of our children, so that when they move out, they'll have their own nostalgic collection to start off their own trees in their own homes.  Each ornament is specifically picked to best represent  a monumental and memorable part of the preceding year.  And man, I really hope my kids are as sappy as me, so they can enjoy this tradition too.

But like I said, mixed emotions here.  Because I'm already considering next years ornaments.  What will be our monument in 2011?  In 2010, we learned how to be parents, I graduated with my Master's, Shane published his first book.  What will 2011 bring?  New jobs?  New babies?  New trials or tragedies?  I feel I'm learning again to acknowledge that living for the Lord and less for myself means that I'm always on the cusp of something, always on the edge of my seat.  We need to have our bags packed, be ready to move, ready to follow the guidance of the One who knows our waking and sleeping, the One who directs our path.  And if you think about it like that, the new year can be an immensely exciting thing.

So here we go, starting off with our tentative goals and plans, hopes and dreams, yet with our bags packed, ready to change it all at a moments notice.  And I guess we'll see what ornaments God has for us next year!

Thursday, January 6, 2011


This is my last week of decreased work-load, and I am a lazy lazy sack.  I have worked out the last 4 days in a row, but have been eating things like, potato chips for lunch.  Today I SHOULD work out, restart my diet, read my Bible, clean house, play with my daughter, and get dinner made for my husband's 5:30 homecoming.

But I don't waaaaaaaaaaaanna!  What I want to do is eat junk food and watch TV.  That is gross.  I feel gross, yes, but also, I am lazy lazy sack.

So here's my accountability:  I will go work out and shower right now, while my daughter is still napping.  I will feed her lunch and stay on my diet.  I will possibly take her to Target or the library or somewhere so we can have a little adventure and the baby won't go stir crazy.  I will do some cleaning and read my Bible this evening and I will live this day in a way I can be proud of when I lay my head down tonight.  That's my commitment to myself and my readers.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolving for New Years- That sounds like something I'd do, right?

I have a problem with setting goals.  In my life up to this point, goals tend to feel a bit more like barriers, points or levels I can never hope to reach or surpass.  I had a MedHelp tracker goal to hit 140 by the end of 2010.  In that I'm still very near 160, that obviously didn't happen.  I later set a personal goal to hit 155 by the end of the year.  That goal really consisted of losing 1-2 pounds in about a week.  Reasonable? yes.  Unachievable? Apparently.  

It is for this reason that I fear setting goals.  I don't want to hear the tiny demon in my head convince me I'll never meet it.  However, I also know that no great thing is accomplished by accident.  (Except, say, the invention of penicillin.)  So I WILL set some goals for the year, I WILL wipe my slate clean of previous failure, and I WILL learn to achieve my goals through behavioral change.  Also, I think I will attach a weight tracker to this blog for regular updates.

So here we are, goals for 2011.  My first goal, is to work out every day this week.  When that's accomplished, I want to work out every day this month.  So far, this goal is within my sights, as I have already worked out today.  I want to be 155 or less (this number is recurring and important to me, as it puts me at a BMI of less than 25.  Translate?  I would officially be a healthy-weighted person again) by the end of this week.  Then, I want to continue to average 5-7 (currently, I'm at 7) pounds of weight loss each month until my weight goal is achieved.

Now that brings me to that big goal, the WEIGHT I'M ACTUALLY TRYING TO ACHIEVE.  The problem with this is that I change it more frequently than I do my socks (hey-o!!)  At points near the beginning, I just wanted to be a healthy weight.  At others, I say 145, or at least "under 150", because history dictates this is the time when people start to really notice the change.  I think that's where I go from looking "a little chubby" to looking "normal".  I carried 135 in college for a couple years, and it would feel really good to be back there again.  Also, that's a BMI of 22, which Wii fit also suggest for me.  And that's what I'm really talking about when I think of my goals.  But secretly, I also want to be down to the 120's, somewhere I've only been during my summer in Japan (at least at this height).  At that point, I would be thin, I could firm up, and look pretty stinkin not bad in a bikini.  At my goal rate, 125 would be achieved by the end of June.  Since I started this journey in August, that would made this an 11 month journey from "obese" to "pretty stinkin not bad in a bikini".  Then, of course, we can start trying to have another kid and start the 9 month climb back up. ;-)

Anyway, there it is.  In writing.  With the accountability of knowing that there's a good 20-30 people who read this relatively regularly, and will know if I get lazy and coast through this year.  So let's raise our glasses (of vitamin water)  and toast the new year, and how much less of us we'd like to see in it!!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

I'm not crazy, I'm a woman.

Or at least, that's what I'm going with.  Sorry if that insults anyone out there.  Oops.

The other night at around 7:30 I had an unquenchable, undeniable, and unending urge to run to the drug store and grab a pregnancy test.  I'd been feeling spontaneously and intensely nauseous for about 6 days, and once I thought about it, may have also been experiencing a few other symptoms of pregnancy.  And now I had to know.  Immediately.

This is where my husband thinks that I am an insane person.  "If you're pregnant, (which you're not, you complete nut job), you'll be just as pregnant tomorrow.  You can find out that you're not pregnant then."

Psh, what does he know.  He's not in my body, experiencing strange and inexplicable symptoms and just knowing, KNOWING that there may be a tiny life taking root inside of me.  And more than that, knowing that there is absolutely no way I'll be able to sleep tonight with that possibility hanging over my head.

So I bought the test.

And surprise!  I'm not pregnant.

No, we're not trying for a baby quite yet.  Yes, we are using contraception, so I guess the "absolute probability" I had gotten knocked up was... well, less than absolute.  But there's always that CHANCE, right?  And if there's a chance, and peeing on a little stick will give you the ANSWER with 99% certainty within 3 short minutes, how do you not make a mad dash for the drug store?  So mad, in fact, that you forget your purse and only realize when you're half way there and have to go back and get it because, well, pregnancy tests aren't free, and then must drive all the way back to the drug store, while wishing stop lights didn't take so cotton picking long to change, and what's with so many people being on the road all of a sudden at 8 o'clock at night?  So, you get it then.  Good.  How I manage to live at all without testing every morning is absolutely beyond me.

In my life so far, I've taken 1 positive pregnancy test.  In the bathroom at a Borders.  Because I needed to know, and I thought, well, if it's not true at least I can grab a coffee and peruse the books.  I have also taken three thousand two hundred and fifty eight negative tests.  This may be why Shane thinks I'm crazy.  But also, he doesn't know.  Not about THIS time.  And I'd always, always rather know, and be mocked, than continue to exist with the question.

Getting pregnant right now would not be the absolute bestest of the best timing.  If I am able to get a new job I'm trying for, health insurance and maternity leave would kick in and make this whole experience much much better.  But would I be off-the-hook excited to find out I was pregnant again right now? ::Sigh:: Yes.  Always yes.  A thousand times yes.  Because I don't have an angel and a demon sitting on my shoulders.  I have a nice, sensible person on one and that mom who's had like, two thousand children, and counting, or whatever on the other.  "Ashley, if you wait another six months or so, you will be able to get 3 months paid maternity leave and have your healthcare paid for completely." "Madelyn would really love a sibling"   "You don't want to be pregnant during the summer again." "Awww, remember how fun it is to be pregnant??"  "You're still trying to lose a bit more weight first. It makes wonderful sense to hold off for now." "MAKE'UM BABIES!!!!!!"  Yep, it's a tough battle going on inside.

So I guess I just want to see if the baby mama in me has won yet.  Like, has secretly poked holes in condoms or what not.  Because to be honest, I think that's possible.

Now I'm starting to wonder:  Does Costco sell those tests in bulk?  If so, it may be worth thinking about getting a card...
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