On my way to losing a marathon!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

(Half) Marathoned my butt off!!!

So I did it!  And it's done!  So many reasons to celebrate today. 13.1 miles complete in a grand total of 2 hours, 32 minutes.  If you're interested in doing the math, that's average about an 11 1/2 minute mile, or about 5.2 miles an hour.  It was a smidge disappointing, I'd set out with the goal of finishing in less than 2 1/2 hours, and at mile 8, I was less than 90 minutes in, which would have got me to the finish line with time to kill.  Unfortunately, time rolls on, and legs, it would seem, fill up with lead.  But I made it, I never stopped running, and I believe there were a fair amount of people who finished behind me, so basically folks, I'm good!

The run was I believe what they call an out and back, meaning  we had about 4 opportunities to run up and down different country streets and past the people who were faster, and then slower than us.  All in all, there were tons of trees, loads of shade, breeze, tons of people clapping for and cheering you on, and to top it off, tiny cups of water you could drink and then just throw on the ground. Yay littering!!

Oh, and also, I'm in CRAZY amounts of pain.  On the way out of the park, I passed a girl I'd run with for a bit towards the beginning of the race and she recommended taking an ice bath to get rid of some soreness and cramping, so I decided to give that a try.  As a side note, submerging your already sore, achey, and chill-prone body, even just the lower half, into a nice tall glass of ice water makes breathing super difficult.  But in the end, if you can handle it, I believe it helps.  At least a little.  I don't have the cramping sensation running from my neck to my feet like I had all day, but my knees still feel like someone used them for a punching bag.  Or a tee, like in tee-ball.  But they're really bad at tee-ball.

In the end, they gave us all a medal, and I wanted to vomit.  Not because I was unhappy with the participation award... I kind of like the participation award, it made me feel good about myself.  I wanted to vomit because that's what your body wants to do when you spend all morning subjugating it to torture.

This is getting long, and I'm getting tired.  I must preserve my fingers, the last portions of my body which don't make me want to cry when I move them.  Pictures to come soon!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Un-nooo! I mean, yes!!

Back from the brink, I have exercised and calorie counted my way back down to normal, otherwise known as 147-148.  Whew.  No more terrifying 153 like last week.  But that's not really what's on my mind at the moment, to be honest.  Because I can't stop thinking about Saturday.

13 freakin miles, yo!!  And yes, I ran that much a few weeks ago, but no one was watching then.  Or timing.  And is it possible I've already peaked?  My old lady knees hurt, and my arches ache now every time I run.  Urg.

Yes, I'm excited.  Yes yes, I'm glad I'm doing it, and yes I'll be proud of myself for having engaged in and completed my first race since I lost my second grade Turkey Run.  It was rough.  I don't like talking about it.

So that's about where my scatter brain is these days, along with trying to solve the problem of the eternally dirty floors.  For heavens sake, I've mopped and vacuumed twice this week already, and I'd wager a bet I'm not done.  Kids are amazingly messy.  Kids should create and then win awards for messiness.  But they won't, because they're far too busy just being messy.

Have a nice, clean pain-free day!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I am my own fat sister

Fun lil' anecdote from today:

I had to run to Savemart for a few things this afternoon, not my normal shopping spot (I'm a WinCo fan through and through) but it's crazy close to our house, so in a pinch, it's where I'll go.  In fact, it's where I went quite a lot in the months after giving birth, back when my overall sanity was limited and time felt immeasurably more valuable than money.

Anyway, as I was loading up the car, I was approached by one of the bag boys, a guy in his early twenties who I chatted with a good deal back in those limited-sanity days.

After friendly hellos, as he begins to help me unload my cart, he looks up and asks, "Sooo... do you have any siblings living in this area, about your age?"  I tell him I have a brother about my age, not too surprised, I've been recognized as his sister by people who have known him before.  But he immediately tells me that, nope, that's not it.  He then, a bit more awkwardly, asks if I've recently lost, "like, a LOOOT of weight?" And I tell him that, yes, I've lost about 45 pounds.  He laughs, and says hello again, because well, now he knows who I am:  I am my own fat sister.

Odd to me that he guessed I was a sibling of my former self, as opposed to simply assuming I'd lost some weight.  Maybe the bangs (did I tell you I have bangs now?) made a difference.  Honestly though, it's really kind of wonderful to hear I'm now looking like the thinner sister to old me.  Maybe in another 20 pounds or so, we'll look more like 2nd cousins. :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

This is why, this is why, this is why I'm hot

I'm sick.  And I'm not very good at being sick.  I know some people are absolute martyrs who refuse medication and work like, twice as hard as normal when they're practically dead.  I am, in fact, very much not one of these people.  I'm really more of the curl up in a ball and cry into my tissues sort.  Certainly not as glamorous what with the red rimmed eyes and snot trails, but it has its own perks.  Pity, for one.  Cuz remember, no one pities you when you suck it up and seem just fine.  Pity is for the pathetic. Pity is for the snot trails.

A big part of this particular illness seems to be a pretty severe case of Tara Reid Voice.  Or at least, that's how it sounds to me.  I thought I'd roll with the raspy sexiness and sing for Shane, who then requested that never ever sing, or talk again.

So that's where I am this week.  Praise team practice Wednesday, a 1/2 marathon on Saturday, and then Sunday morning singing.  And for now I continue to have a pounding headache and a rattly chain smoker voice.  We'll see how that works out.  As for now, I'm thinking bed time would not be a horrible idea.  So good night, and grand tomorrow, and in the mean time, I hope you all find YOUR super-sexy voices!

Aw dang it all, my cat is licking a photograph she found.  Gall dang pea-brained cat.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Noooo!!!

Had an awful surprise this morning when weighing in.  Looks like my personal vacation from dieting has taken its toll, and I was back up to 153.  GAAAHH!!  Shane was happy to point out that he weighed 149.  I get it, you're skinny every single day.  How flippin nice for you.

In the end, this bit of weight gain will probably be a good thing.  I've started getting comfortable with myself in the 140s, and though I hadn't nearly hit my goal weight, I've really been feeling more and more like a skinny person.  Unfortunately, I don't yet know what it is to act like a skinny person.  Because I was getting comfortable, the tiny demon in my brain sounded more and more convincing.  This time, instead of insulting me, it's getting complementary.  "You can afford to indulge a little, look what you've done!"  "You'll be just fine if you don't work out, you're a skinny person now!" "Don't you think you're about small enough?  Here. Have a cookie."

In the end, it's almost terrifying how quickly all of my bad habits can come back.  Bored eating, tired eating, eating more than necessary and indulging on junk may always be my slipping points.  That brought me to another realization.  I'll be on a diet for the rest of my life.

This doesn't mean that I'll never eat another _____ again (insert whatevertheheck, really doesn't matter).  But it does mean that I need to be on top of it forever.  I believe that every fat person has this dream of "finishing" their weight loss journey, by which I mean getting down to their goal weight and then getting to do whatever they want.  I think that's one reason why bariatric surgery is so stinkin popular, and why so many people end up putting the weight back on.  It's hard to know that there's no end in sight to monitoring calories, to restricting portions and avoiding bad foods.  It bites.  But just the same, it's worth it for health, it's worth it for the ability to do more than you'd ever thought possible, and it's worth it to dump all of my size 10, 12, and 14 jeans at a garage sale and know that I never, ever, EVER have to go back there again.

So I picked up 8 boxes of SlimFast bars today, which should get me through the next few weeks.  No more instead ofs, I'm back on 2 bars a day and getting back to my exercise.  It's a pain, it's discouraging, but I want to see the 130s,  and I want to see the 120s.  I know how to get there, so as they say, ain't nuthin to it but to do it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Ipad? I-sad.

Thanks to those of you who heard my desperate plea and clicked my link.  I greatly appreciate the support, but unfortunately, it seems that our handi-capable friend will be winning this particular contest, and quite handily.  Yep, apparently losing makes me bitter, and bitterness enhances my tacky.

See that joy?  That pure, unadulterated happiness leaking out of every pore and exposed crevice?  I can't know that joy.

One day, though, I'll know the joy of a 10 inch touch screen.  And there will be much rejoicing.  I'm mulling over the idea of opening up a paypal account and asking people to sponsor me, like, per mile for my 1/2 marathon next weekend.  And of course, for anyone who say, doesn't believe in running or wish to support physical activity in any way, I'd also be willing to discuss being "sponsored" to do disgusting and degrading activities.  I wonder how many eaten worms it takes to get to the center of an Ipad?  Here's hoping it's only 3.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Tis the season to help a sista out

I really want an Ipad.  A lot.  To some degree this is a practical desire for a tool I think will further my business, and on another level, I just think it's awesome.  Wouldn't it be nice for me to have one?  I think so, don't you agree?

Well I hope you do, because you can make it happen.

If you click RIGHT HERE, you'll be taken to the LiveStrong facebook contest, where I am currently competing for my very own awesomely awesome-sauce Ipad II.  The contest is for the best picture of your "journey to a healthier you" or something like that, and any of you who have ever read this particular blog (yes, that means all of you) should have no trouble recognizing the picture.

Please please please vote for me.  Yes I'm begging.  Yes, it's desperate and sad and pathetic, but here are my reasons:
1) I really want an Ipad.
2) I think my picture with the cartoon landscape background and ridiculous fake running pose is not half bad.  I know there's another picture with a girl on a horse taken close up to his nose with a wide angle lens.  Please look at that picture and say awwww.  Then come back and vote for me.
3) I am on a strict pay-off-student-loan-debt budget and am not allowed to buy toys for myself
4) I think point three displays that I am both responsible and super needy.  And sad.  With big green puppy dog eyes and tear slowly glistening its way down one cheek.
5) I have a 1/2 marathon to run on the 30th, they announce the winner of this contest on the 25th.  Winning would boost by running skills.  I'm certain of it.
6) I get excited about things like the Bento database program and all of the databasing I can do.  In other words, I intend to use the crap out of this Ipad.
7) I've gotten myself very excited just thinking about it.  Now I think I might pout if I lose, and I hate to pout.
8) I really want an Ipad.

So there's my desperate cry of desperateness.  I hope you all hear it and say awww and take pity on me.  And then go vote.  Every day between RIGHT NOW and this Friday.  I also want to make you aware of the fact that you may be tempted instead to vote for, say, the girl currently in first place, who is missing an arm.  I understand that there's nothing I can say to dissuade you from this, and that this is EXACTLY the sort of contest that will probably be won by the weight-lifting girl who is short an appendage.  But for one tacky moment, let me just remind you how hard it would be to use a touch screen when you have a hook for a hand.

I'm going to acknowledge here that for saying that, I've accepted eternal damnation and the everlasting scorn of everyone who has ever been, been related to, or met once at a party, a disabled person.  I get that, but I still really want an Ipad.

So vote for me, dear devoted readers.  Super please.  I wrote you a song, couldn't you do this one, tiny little thing for me (every day between now and Friday)?  Thanks guys, in advance.  You're the awesomest.

The brain changer




I truly, truly believe it.  You don't get better if you don't see a problem, so hating your body is entire essential to changing your body.

Unfortunately, I don't hate my body that much anymore.  I mean, I'm not posing for any magazine covers here, and I'm not prancing around town in a bikini to show this off, but there's no more screaming when I look in the mirror. Well, there's some screaming of course, but markedly less, that's for certain.

I used to have this tendency to fiddle with the chub on my hips, absentmindedly throughout the day.  Instead, now I find myself flexing my stomach and playing with the muscles that run up and down my sides, where my waist has now, well, become a waist.  This is an unfortunate turn of events.  My hip chub is still there.  I know.  I just checked.  So what made me change my mind about what I think of myself, and how can I go back to loathing myself entirely?  Not sure.  But a nice long masochistic run sounds like just the ticket.  Because remember Ashley, you've got a 1/2 marathon coming up in less than 2 weeks, and at this point there are most assuredly people who will walk faster than you can run. 

Now if that's not a fact that should bring on absolute buckets full of shame and self-loathing, I just don't know what is.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Present for me!

I got an awesome present last night, a video message sent to me from two dear friends living half a world away.  These guys are 3 months in to a 7 month stay en la Republica Dominicana, working with Students International and serving the people there.  Apparently though, they're also getting time to hang out at a resort.  And apparently they're getting they're hands on some Dominican booze, judging by the nature of this particular video.

Anyway, for a bit of fun, thought I'd share with everyone who's been missing ol' Jeff and Christine.  And for anyone who's interested in checking out a bit more about their experiences overseas, be sure to read their blogs at the links below.

Enjoy!  We sure did :-)


Check these crazy mission kids out!
For Christine click HERE
For Jeff click HERE

Inspiration: The Musical (Number)

I've heard the same comment in response to my blog for the past few months, but it wasn't until this last day or two that I really HEARD it.  "Ashley, I've been reading your blog, and it's sooooo inspiring!"  Well that's flattering, thanks.  "Wow, I just can't believe you're running so much!" Yeah, it's a lot of work, but I'm enjoying it. "And you're looking GREAT."  Oh, yeah, thanks for noticing, it's been "So yeah I started working out lately.  I'm running all the time now because, you know, I thought, IF SHE CAN DO IT SO CAN I." Wait... What?  

Something just happened there.  Something went wrong.  It took months for this fact to penetrate my defensive wall of self-aggrandizement, but it finally hit me like a punch in the girl-nads this week.  IF SHE CAN DO IT, SO CAN I.   What is THAT supposed to mean??? It means no one thinks I'm awesome.  No one thinks I'm cool and impressive and neat.  I'm not someone to be inspired UP to, I'm to be inspired OVER.  Essentially, people have been telling me FOR MONTHS NOW,  that I have been shaming them into working out.  Because well, if that lazy sack of fat lady can go for a jog, geez, I should be an Olympic runner sometime next week.  Please excuse the excessive use of CapsLock, I get a little pinky-heavy when my head is about to explode.

So how do I respond to this one?  How do I proceed from here?  Because, it may surprise you to know that there is a real live person on the other side of all this inspiration.  I've thought about it, and I've decided it's cool.  I'll be your schlub.  I'll be your lowest common denominator.  And in dedication of this decision, I have teamed up with my dear and devoted husband and written a song for your listening (by which I mean reading) pleasure.  Play the music.  Read the lyrics.  You'll see how it goes.  From me to you, from you back to me, this is what we've got for you today.

So gear up Maestro, it's time to rock:


You know that you were meant to be
The kind of girl that’s fat forever
So here’s my praise backhandedly
Cuz you’re a 3 and I’m at least a 9
Even though, you’ve lost some weight I know
I still see your thighs, your muffin top, your belly rolls

CHORUS:
Lady,
You are why I exercise
You’re my inspiration
Your blog’s got me mesmerized
You’re my inspiration
You’re so stinkin’ chubby
I can’t believe you started running
But if you can do it Lady I CAN TOO

Look at you (look at you) Look at me and it’s plain to see
Just how vastly I am better
Now I know (Now I know) that your Mii has slimmed on Wii
But you’re a 3 and I’m at least a 9
Even though, you’ve lost some weight I know
I still see your thighs, your muffin top, your belly rolls

(CHORUS)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Kicking the butt of lazy-me

The scale hasn't been moving much these days, but it's not that disheartening.  Mostly because I know exactly why.  My diet is haphazard and my exercise has become a rarity.  The difference between a stagnant scale today and a stagnant scale 8 months ago is that I KNOW why the scale won't move today.  Also, there were 40 some odd more pounds on the scale then, so that makes a bit of a difference too.

Lately I've been battling with illness, other priorities, joint pain, disappointment, disturbing levels of exhaustion, and plain old laziness.  I've got my excuses, of course.  Like today:  I've got my daughter.  My husband doesn't get home until 7 at the earliest on Thursdays.  I've got other work today.  On and on and on and blahblahblah.  But I needed a reality check.  13.1 mile race.  2 weeks and 2 days from TOday.  This is not the time to quit.  I wanted to see myself hit 145 by Easter.  How am I going to do it if I don't keep working?!  So I ran today... in a manner of speaking.  Wii fit, jogging around the living room for 30 minutes.  No, it's not the most intense running experience, but it was getting up, and it was making my body move again, and I must say, it felt awesome.  My whole body feels cleansed and energized and just plain ol' awesome.

I must say I did have a little help, in a little package today.  Madelyn (who refuses to nap today) thought my running in place looked hilariously fun.  So she got down next to me and ran in place calling out "run!" and "fast!"  She ran circles around me and around the room, scrunching her shoulders up to her ears and pulling her knees up more than waist high. (Yes, her form could use a little work, we'll address that later.)  My tiny friend chased me around the room till she collapsed against the couch, pretending to breathe hard.  I love that I get to share things with her.  I'm amazed by how much she watches us and imitates us.  I know that the first things she cares about will be the things I show her I care about.

Just another little reminder that my health isn't just for me.  I may not raise my kids to be star athletes, but I can teach them to be healthy, and active, and to like it.  So go!  Run fast!!  Your babies are watching!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Why isn't it bed time yet?

I'm done with work today, but not done FOR the day.  Time to head off to Choir and Praise Team practice, and I just spent the last two hours yawning through an IEP meeting. OH MY GLORIOUS MONKEY BRAINS I'M TIRED.  Is this allergies, or just plain ol' it's almost spring break fever?  There's a pretty good chance I'll be taking advantage of the Keurig in the church library tonight, and the fact that Husband has a key.  See, some of the perks that come with working at a church can't be measured in dollars, cents, or medical insurance.  Some can only be measured in instant individualized cups of coffee-product.

Wow, just watching extreme couponing, I don't care how cheap it is, what the heck does anyone need with seven pounds of cheese?

Anyway, the net effect of my exhaustion:  Sorry Madelyn, I just ate most of your potty training reward candies.  I think it's fair though, since I already know how to go pee pee in the big girl toilet.  Yay me!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Super-Supports

I've mentioned my skinny lil' husband a few times here, but it's time to give him appropriate props.  Some of you know that it was his encouragement, gentle exhortation to keep trying and to pray, that got my weight loss going in the first place.  But through this whole process, I think I'm realizing something: Shane may actually be the absolute perfect kind of support for my weight loss.

Take a moment to think of what you would ENVISION to be the perfect spouse to support you through your weight loss.  What does he say?  What does he do?  Does he push you to keep on losing so he'll find you attractive again?  Or does he find you perfect just the way you are, and thus not need you to lose any weight?  Starting to see the dilemma yet?  Either he's encouraging, and he doesn't accept you as you are, or he accepts you, and thus doesn't encourage you.  It is for this very reason that most people will tell you to find someone BESIDES your spouse to walk you through this one.  But I didn't have another person.  I had my husband.  So there ya go.

When Shane and I started dating, I was at my "high" weight.  I always felt good about that, honestly, because it seemed like I had more security that Shane COULD be attracted to me, even if I weighed a bit more than I liked.  Of course, I went and put on 20 pounds in ADDITION to that after we got married, because well, why not?  Isn't that what wives are supposed to do?!?

Shane says that, even though he KNOWS I gained wait, he didn't notice it that much.  After I'd started losing weight, he responded by saying that, although he didn't feel he'd become less attracted to me when I was bigger, he definitely feels more attracted to me now.

My husband has somehow managed to downplay how bad I was, and at the same time reinforce that positive change that's happened now.  Does this make sense??  I'm not sure.  But it works for me.  If Shane had pushed harder, or in any way implied at the time that he wasn't attracted to me during the worst of it, I'm sure I would have spiraled into a black hole of self-loathing that would have in no way have helped me lose a pound.  But if he hadn't said anything about it, or implied that where I was health-wise was just fine, I'm not sure if I would have had all the motivation in myself to get started either.

Encouraging another person to take better care of him or herself is a terrifying endeavor.  It's way too easy to ruin a relationship, or crush a person's psyche, which makes it seem even easier to just say nothing at all.  I've watched my husband's tormented face as he braved the potential minefield of telling me to keep working at my weight loss.  Sometimes it looked like it was harder on him to say than it was for me to hear.  But he did it, and it became one of the strongest aspects of this journey.  I'm convinced I'm married to a someone who loves me no matter what, is attracted to me at 130 pounds AND at 190, and feels joy in seeing me better myself.  And because of that, becoming more attractive, losing weight, taking better care of myself and my family, well, these are things I can do, and WANT to do, for him.  Awww man, I just got a little mushy.  That's it.  I'm done here.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Quick update post:

Operation Wedding Dress was a supreme fail.  Apparently have developed disturbingly thick rib cage.  May have medical professionals look into this dilemma.  Will attempt Operation Wedding Dress again in 5-10 pounds.  In the mean time, Operation Cry-Self-To-Sleep is a go.

Goals

A couple days ago I was really struck by the benefit of having more than one goal on my weight loss path.  And I don't just mean lose weight AND say, look hotter.  Those are basically the same goal.  Also, one of the dirty little secret to weight loss is that it happens really slow in the mirror.  It takes a HECKUVA lot of lost poundage to start thinking you look better.  In the mirror, I still see chubby thighs and saggy belly.   Same basic components as I had 45 pounds ago, but in a smaller package, I suppose.  Something about your brain always seems a bit delusional.  It won't let you see how fat you get, and and it won't let you see how thin you get.  Your brain has a basic idea of what its host looks like, and it's stuck on that image.  Anyway, all this to say, simply "looking hot" will not be a successful or achievable weight loss goal.

I've mentioned before that I like running because when I'm doing that, I'm not thinking about how many pounds I'm losing, I'm thinking of how fast I'm getting, how far I'm going.  When I'm running, generally speaking, weight loss is gravy.  

Lately, I've found there's a flip side to that benefit.  After my big run last weekend, I recalibrated my Ipod, with disturbing results.  On Thursday I ran a short 5k, and pushed myself harder than nearly ever before.  Result: I'm running nearly 2 minutes per mile slower than I thought.  Ouch.  I'm getting pretty severely burned by running, the once-love of my exercise routine, as I realize I'm in much worse shape than I'd thought.  I'm slower than I thought.  I'm feeling more pain in my knees and the arches of my feet.  (I have super-high arches, prone to plantar fasciitis. It's awesome.) I am NOT impressed by anything I've accomplished thus far in my running, and I'm starting to wonder again how much more I can do, how much better I can get, and how soon till I'm in more pain that I can handle.  The 1/2 marathon coming up in a few weeks keeps me going, but will I still be running in May?  That, my dear friends, is a very good question.

So then, what keeps me going these days, when my runner-self is all grumpy and morose?  The answer is, weight loss. Cuz hey, I've lost almost 45 pounds.  I'm thinner today than I was when I graduated high school, when Shane and I met, when we got engaged, and when we got married.  This is the thinnest I've been as a married lady, and running has played a part in that.  

As I'm thinking about this, it occurs to me that I may need to find a third goal, for those days when the scale won't budge and I run like slow slow molasses, but I'm not sure what that is yet. I'll let you know if I ever figure that one out.

But as for now, I think I'm gonna go try on my wedding dress.  Pictures to follow, if I can get it zipped.  If not, pictures to follow when I CAN get it zipped.  In the mean time, happy weekend to you all!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Because self-respect isn't something I'm too familiar with.

Here ya go:  me in my new size 6 skinny jeans.  Submitted for your approval.  Or your unrestrained ridicule.    It's cool, I can take it.  Also, I'm pretty sure that this will allow each of you to see that yes, I DO in fact look every ounce of my 147 pounds.  The red shirt picture was somehow deceptive and ultra kind.  So no more stalling, pictures posted:

This is what I looked like when I went to work yesterday:
This is NOT what I looked like when I went to work yesterday:

The super long sweater helped hide my thickness, but I thought y'all deserved to see why my college roommates dedicated the Queen song "Fat bottomed girls" to me when I started dating my own "skinny lad".  It's also important to note here that my friends are CRAZY mean.  Who says something like that?  Jerkfaces.
 I like my awkward magazine clothing model pose on the left.  See how long my neck looks?? No.

*Side note:  I HAVE NO IDEA WHY I TOOK THESE LAST TWO PICTURES.  Even more so, I have no idea why I took them and then posted them on the internet.  Apparently, to me, self-disclosure means that you must essentially represent yourself as a crazy person with a Texas-sized backside.  That's right, right?

Anyway, there's the pics, now for the review.  Not bad, decently comfortable, for the most part.  As the day wore on though, I noticed something kind of annoying.  Probably due to all of the sitting, standing, and crouching I insist on doing in my daily life, the jeans did start to bag out a big after the first hour or two.  But not completely.  They got baggy from the knees to the butt, but the calf portion stayed firmly gripped to my legs.  This meant that I was getting a sort of saggy-bunched up look around my knees.  Anyone else noticed this, or is this another "Ashley has a bizarro body" moment?  My guess is that this could be solved by getting jeans with but of elasticity to them, I've noticed they tend to hold their shape better.

However, all-in-all, I really can't complain about the jeans.  I got very enthusiastic "Holy COW you've been losing a lot of weight!" responses from a couple people I work with, and tend to see every week or two.  These people were both men, who also seem slower to notice weight loss than ladies.  Oh, and then while visiting a local high school, one of the secretaries thought I was a student for few seconds before she realized who I was.  (She's another person I see on a weekly basis.)  I could have kissed her on the face.

So, I can't say I'm terribly in love with these jeans yet.  I did feel much more conscious of myself all day, specifically my thighs.  But if for whatever reason, these jeans make me seem extra thin and 10 years younger, well, I may never take them off again.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Metablog. It's gross, but it's here.

I've been thinking about blogging lately, mostly because, in a 1am fit of sleeplessness the other night, I started a second blog, as an aspect of my new company.  The reason I'm doing this is to add more features to that website ( www.agapeconsultation.com if you'd like to check it out) and to maybe give people a better idea of the kind of services I offer, as I probably can't legally advertise as "something like Supernanny".

But there's gotta be something else behind that, I know.  I've already been posting to this thing on a basically daily basis, and now I've given myself a SECOND venue?  WHY???

The answer's pretty simple.  Apparently I really really love to write.  I started weight-blogging as accountability for myself, but kept on doing it because to me, it's a lot of fun.

Not every post has felt worth my time.  I've written many more entries than any of you have read, because I found myself bored with them half way through, and chose not to finish them.  I'm assuming that if I can't find enjoyment in writing it, no one's going to be interested in reading it.  So you're welcome.  If you think THIS stuff is dull, just remember, it could be a LOT worse.

I love that there are people who read every stupid word I have to say on this thing.  I joke about my narcissism here, but truly, having readers is truly humbling thing for me.  It's kind of crazy to think that this activity which I find entertaining is for some way worth a few minutes of every day to some people out there.  Seriously.  Crazy-go-nuts.

My entire life, especially during those ridiculously emotional teenage years, I searched for a method of artistic expression.  I tried to draw, paint, write poetry, I'm not even sure what else.  To be honest, I felt cheated out of an emotional outlet.  What am I supposed to do when I'm sad if I can't write a beautiful song about it?  CRY???? Right.  So outside of my recreations of various scenes in Footloose (because every now and again, we could all use a good angry-dance), I guess I've finally found my outlet.  It's dirty, it's not artistic, and it contains periods of intense self-deprecation, but here it is.

Well, that's it for my metablogging.  I hope you all find your arenas for self-expression, and I hope even more that it in no way involves Kevin Bacon.  Buena suerte, and happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Because I keep my promises...

I had to make a trip to Target this afternoon.  It seems that it wasn't just a fluke, I have officially dropped from a size 14 to a size 6.  Woo hoo!  And as such, as I'd promised before, today I purchased my first pair of skinny jeans.  I'll have pictures posted for you in the next day or two, again, as promised, so y'all can be the judge of whether or not I'm yet able to rock this uber-fashionista style.  

That brings me to an excellent next point:  are skinny jeans, in fact, still in style?  

I typically live a life on the outskirts, maybe the suburbs, of "stylish dress", I try to present myself decently well without having to A) Purchase a new wardrobe every year. (In fact, these days, most of the clothes I wear are 5+ years old, since those are the ones that fit the best.) and B) Worry that because one season something was very "IN", the next season it will PROBABLY be very "out".  I've purchased a few items, or been given a few items that were supremely stylish during a particular season.  I always felt horribly conflicted later:  I'll feel stupid wearing this, now that "no one" wears this anymore, but I feel cheated out of a perfectly nice dress, shirt, belt, etc.  I still have a 50's-ish Black with pink polka dot spaghetti strap dress with exposed tulle under the skirt that was wickedly in style back in, oh, 2004 or so.  I wore it a few times when it was in style, and probably a few more when others had stopped.  So now it's in perfect shape, and it hangs in the back of my closet with no purpose in life.  I see it, and I'm frustrated, and I don't like to think about it anymore.

So, I avoid buying stylish clothes.  Skinny jeans won me over, not because I'm incredibly impressed by the stylishness of them, they don't seem to have the staying power of straight leg or boot cut jeans, but because, I guess, I CAN wear them.  This chubby girl may, JUST may, be able to pull off a style made exclusively for skinny ladies.

I might be able to pull them off, still need to figure out the how behind that.  I've learned about skinny jeans and stilettos, so I can give that a try.  Apart from that, I'll have to do some research.  I'm also open to suggestions.  And yes, if you're curious, this is how mega-nerds get dressed.  

My assessment of me in the SJ so far is this:  I'm certainly not the body type they're built for.  I put them on and my thighs and booty look, how shall I say, thick.  I do think, though, that they have a really kickin effect on my calves, so that's a balance.  I think, at the very least, with the right top and some decent shoes, I won't look bad in them.  The hubs says he "doesn't believe any one looks good in skinny jeans" but that as far as they go, I look nice in them.  He's such a sweet lil spin doctor. :-)

So there you have it, my next milestone completed.  Only about 10-12 more pounds down from here and I'm at my low end college weight, and about 20 from the lowest I've weighed as an adult. (I was 20 then, and it took going to Japan to accomplish that feat.)  

Oh, and 7 weeks from tomorrow till we leave on our anniversary trip!  Bikini body, don't want to scare you off, but you have exactly 7 weeks to show up out of nowhere!!  Good luck!


Sunday, April 3, 2011

From the mouthes of babes

While putting my daughter to bed to tonight, I said the little prayer with her that has become our custom. "Dear Jesus, I love you, Amen."  Sometimes she'll repeat the words, typically she folds her hands, squints her eyes, and watches me say the words.  Pretty commonly, she'll at least repeat "Maymen!" with enthusiasm, while she tears her hands apart and shoots her eyes open.  Tonight, as I said Amen, she refolded her hands, and asked to "Paaay" again.  So I did.  And then again.  And at the third request, I'm figuring it's a stalling technique, but one that I'm really pretty okay with.  So I say a longer prayer.  "Dear Jesus, I love you.  Thank you so much for this day, and for my mommy and daddy, and that I get to learn about you.  Amen."  When Madelyn asked to pray again after this, I said no, but let her know she could pray.  So she closed her eyes and folded her hands tight and said, "Tay-tew... dadda-y... May-men!"

This was her first independent prayer, and after my initial mushy-gushy heart warming mommy moment, it kind of got me thinking about prayer and faith again.  When Madelyn was born, Shane and I discussed what we'd do about prayer.  Should we teach the baby to pray, in order to guide her in the path we hope her to accept later in life?  Or should we avoid it, letting her know that this is something that only the children of God  get to experience, and she has to make that choice first?  This may sound to many of you like a stupid discussion to have, but in our marriage, well, it's par for the course.  But if it helps, this is the argument:  Madelyn has a sin nature.  Madelyn does NOT have a relationship with the Lord.  Prayer MEANS something, but it doesn't really mean anything to her yet.  We didn't want this to become simply a nightly ritual, something that comes after our bath and brushing our teeth.

In the end, we decided pro-prayer.  Very "as for me and my house" of us, I know.  But personally, I was a child that, at the tender age of 3, decided that Jesus was someone with whom I needed a relationship.  God has his own plan for each of us, I know, but I also know that my parents, who chose to teach me all they could about the Lord, who filled my mind with stories of a Jesus who loved me more than even they did, well, I know they certainly have credit for introducing me to this God I have come to love so much.

I can be pretty sure at this point that Madelyn doesn't have a strong theology at 18 months old.  I can also be pretty sure that this "Jesus" I keep her praying to and singing about doesn't mean much to her either.  But I'm also sure that I'm training her.  I'm training her that we have nothing that does not come from the Lord.  I'm training her to think of something else as greater than herself.  As my child, I'm teaching her love, obedience, justice, and grace.  And maybe more than that, I'm training myself.  I'm guiding myself to become the mother, the teacher, the guide, and the Christian that I hope to be.  Maybe Madelyn doesn't understand what "Thank you Daddy, Amen" means, but I do.  And it means, I think, that we're on a pretty good road.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Well, that bit the big one.

So today was the "big run" I've been building towards for a bit now.  As my mom's house is about 13 miles away from mine, I thought it'd be a fun practice at the 1/2 marathon.  So I tracked out a route, stuck some bandaides in my ipod armband (blisters have become a frequent problem), and hit the road.

Things did not start off well.  My ipod seems to be having some play back issues with podcasts.  When I attempted to listen to these, they would randomly stop, which would for some reason also turn off my Nike+ tracking.  That was annoying, and it meant I had to just random shuffle through my music, or choose to listen to nothing for like, a million hours.  I chose the music, but had a terrible time getting my mind of my discomfort.  Bleah.

The first 3 miles were rough.  Not sure if it was the running along side of traffic, or the intimidation of knowing how far I had to go, but it was rough, and felt  pretty impossible.

But then Mile 3 hit, mile 4, 5, 6, and so on, and it got a little better.  I got into a groove, a long slow run to be sure, but progressing decently.

Everything was going just peachy until about mile 9.  By mile 9, things got hairy.  My legs were already exhausted, my knees and ankles ached, and I had a persisting pain in my chest.  Don't worry, I thought, you've done better.  You've gone farther.

And that's how I felt until about mile 11.  By that point, the hard was getting harder, and I had a completely disheartening realization.  I was too far away from my mom's house.  There was just no way I'd make it in two measly miles.  And this realization was crippling for me.  My ipod calibration, which I'd thought was rather good, was significantly off.  I had no real idea how much farther I needed to run.  I hadn't actually run 11 miles yet.  In fact, I'd never run 11 miles.  And my speed, which was already disturbingly slow, was actually even lower than I'd thought.  Here's another thing about running, about most things, probably:  Most of it seems to be in your head.  Knowing that I haven't been doing even as well as I'd thought, knowing that I was wrong about how far I'd come, well, it was a pretty wicked blow to my psyche.  After that, all I felt was my pain, my exhaustion, and the fact that I was stuck out in the boonies with no help, phone, or water.  Suckage.

But I kept running.  I ran through all the pain and internal whining, right up to where the nice lady who lives in my ipod suggested I'd "met my goal of 13.1 miles".  About a minute after that, somehow I wasn't running anymore.  I'd slowed to a walk, a walk which I maintained for a few minutes, ran a couple minutes, the back to walking.  Total walking time was about 7-10 minutes, and that was it for the quitting.  The last heck-if-I-know-how-long-it-was, I ran.  Dang the end always hurts.  For so much of this trip, my body screamed to stop.  But eventually, I was there.  Collapsed on the front lawn while I regained my ability to stand upright, certainly, but there.

The total trip took 2 hours, 40 minutes.  That trip included 3 stops at lights, 2 stops at drinking fountains (the walking trail had drinking fountains, that was great) 10 minutes of walking, and well, 2 hours and 40 minutes of pain.  I don't really want to know how slow I run.  I am so freakin exhausted.  My knees are killing me.  The arches in my feet ache.  Oh, and I have the WEIRDEST looking sun burn I've ever seen on a human.  Pictures to come, but as a spoiler, I don't need to wear my armband anymore to get the cool prestige of constantly wearing my armband.  AWESOME.

So I guess I kinda did it.  I don't know.  I went from my house to my mom's house.  I tortured myself, and I can't say I feel great about it.  Far too much disillusionment for one day.

Ah well.  You live, and you learn.  And you've still got 4 more weeks to get a little better for that Half.  Oye.  Time for some aloe, ice, and a few days of rest before any running happens again.

And shoot, at least I'm getting skinnier.  That's a thing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Oh my achin' back

One year ago, I got fed  up with my back problems, and sought the help of a physical therapist.  I was in constant pain.  Sitting, standing, walking, turning over in bed.  Everything hurt all the time.  I had a heating pad that I kept plugged in near the couch, so that if and when I had to sit, I could sit on that, and relieve some of the ache.

I've never had a great back.  I started having some pain radiating from my lower back down through my feet when I was a freshman in high school.  Apparently, according to a couple of chiropractors and some physical therapists, my problem is weakness.  I have great muscle tone, nearly everywhere. The big fat exception to this is my waist, I guess.  My lower stomach and lower back areas are basically completely devoid of muscles.  This causes other things to over-compensate, and muscles and bones to get all weak and achey.

But this last round with pain, well, it was a doozy.  And I'd been getting really scared.  That much pain after just 1 pregnancy?  THAT much pain, every moment of every day, in my twenties?  Because then, what happens if I get pregnant again?  Do I give up walking? What happens when I turn 30, 40, or 50??

My physical therapist from last year encouragingly informed me that my problem was structural, just a part of who I was, and despite daily exercises, would never fully get taken care of.  I will ALWAYS have back problems.  Was it worse because of my weight?  No, he said.  It wasn't about that.  I should just keep doing the recommended stomach and back strengthening exercises, and for gosh sakes, don't try to run, that's just going to make things worse.  If you want to lose weight you can do so by walking (no I can't, for serious, I've tried) or swimming (because I have a pool, or gym membership).

So eventually I got serious about weight loss and did some safe exercises.  At 165 pounds, NEARLY healthy, my back wasn't better.  Exercise certainly helped, for that day, maybe the next, and life went on.  Against medical advice I decided to run because, well, I was lighter now and I felt like flying.  Because even though I'm a slow bird, it does feel a little like flying.

Against medical advice, running is my exercise of choice.  And contrary to what my PT thought, while running, and having lost over 40 pounds, my back is feeling better.  Not perfect, it's never been that great and it probably never will be, but I can stand and sit and lie down and turn over and walk and run and not wince in pain twenty times a day.

I guess the moral of this story is: fat hurts.  Carrying extra weight puts more stress on your body in many, many ways.  Yes, my main problem is muscular, and was with me from birth.  But having an extra 40 pounds was killing me, was making me feel like I may  not even be walking in my 30's, was making me fear that I wouldn't be able to endure another pregnancy.  I don't know if my PT was trying to be kind, or truly wasn't aware that my additional weight was exacerbating my pain, but it wasn't that kind.  Because, had I really heard that, and only that, I would still probably be in the same amount of pain today as I was a year ago.

I was overweight and sedentary a year ago.  But not today.

Today, I fly.
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