Saturday, July 5, 2014

Well, hello, blog world! I'm up from hibernation (translation: got through a heavy/intense/stressful set of classes in my masters program and am officially up for air) with a Mother Unload post.

First, because you might be wondering, my weight loss since January 21 is now up to 35 pounds! Couch to 5K is still going, but I may or may not be stuck in week 5...or 6.  Or 3.  One of those. The point is I'm still on the wagon, still moving forward, still working hard and cheating harder on my cheat days.

This was me about a month ago getting ready to leave a romantic hotel room after a night away for our anniversary. (I'd like the record to show that I spent every waking moment strutting around that room thinking, "Damn! I'm sexy!" It's very important for the record to show this because, Damn! I was sexy!)

Even that belly was sexy. 

So today.

Today we went to the Willard Bay reservoir and spent about five hours having a ridiculous amount of fun swimming, acting like complete goofballs in the water, and hanging out in the shade. This picture of the kids (sans Aaron who's not a fan of water sports) perfectly encapsulates the pure joy of the day.

So much joy.

I felt this same crazy, happy abandon the entire time we were at the lake, despite the fact that I also spent my entire time there as a 220 pound woman in a swimsuit and short swim shorts. I frolicked and laughed and smiled and played. And I didn't give two thoughts to who saw me doing it or what they thought of my body.

This is a huge departure from the older, less body confident me.

I went more than a decade, maybe even a decade and a half hardly ever swimming because I didn't want to be seen in a bathing suit. I didn't want to be seen in my imperfect state and didn't want to "make" others have to see me either. Baring my body in a typical swimsuit would be an insult to the senses of the other swimmers, right? I had no business wearing a swimsuit at my weight, right?

When I did swim, I'd get as close to the water as I could possibly get in my fully clothed state, then peel off my extra clothes and race into the water as fast as humanly (and fat-personly) possible to HIDE myself. I'd spend most of my time in water up to my neck because no one should have to see my fat arms, my fat belly, my fat legs.  At the end of the outing, I'd do the same race-and-hide maneuver in reverse.

And I'd hate myself.

I'm sad for that woman who didn't swim, for the peace she lost and the fun times she missed. I'm sad for the body hate and the hiding.  I'm sad to think of her hyper-focused on societal expectations, the incessant cacophony of "beach body" beauty articles, Hollywood infused comedic body shame, and an internet full of "weird" flat stomach tricks and cringe-inducing modesty blog posts.

Today, there was none of that. I'm nowhere near my goal weight, and I'll never be offered a modeling job for a beauty magazine, but I walked around that beach and through the holiday crowds, and I just smiled because I was happy to be there too. Happy to be swimming. Happy with my body and my life and my family.
Happy happy, joy joy.

I took the requisite momly number of kid pictures throughout the day, because moms gonna mom.

And kids gonna kid.

When I handed my phone to Richard and asked him to take a couple of pictures of me, I knew something very real had changed. When I uploaded them onto Facebook and Instagram, I knew it was here to stay.  Never in my life, not even as a well-proportioned 120 pound teenager, have I wanted anyone to see a picture of my whole body in a bathing suit.

Today, I welcomed the chance, asked for it, NEEDED it. These pictures are part of our family story, and I am a part of it. I was there at the beach today. I want to look back and see myself in the pictures, and not just in strategically angled selfies, but the real, living, breathing me who was in that lake feeling like she could conquer EVERYTHING.

If you think you don't have the body for bathing suit season, if you think you have no business in the costume of the swimmer, if you spend family swim days racing and hiding, just know that I get it. I was there. That was me.

But this is me today, and today's me lives more fully and more richly than I ever have. Today's me smiles big. I'm keeping her.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mom, today I got this, and I learned that it's better than chocolate, better than cookies, and better than the best high after a workout. I'm going to keep it and snuggle it and name it Handolyn and buy it a pair of Handerpants.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Mom, today I learned that there's no such thing as "I'm in a hurry" when you see something like this outside your local library.

Sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the 25 cent paperbacks.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

So, I'm down 25 pounds, and people are starting to notice. This is in part because I went to the local thrift store and traded the bigger shirts that were starting to drown me for cuter, smaller, better fitting ones. It's also because 25 pounds of weight loss is just noticeable.

Thank you, person who no longer needed my new favorite shirt!
It's especially apparent in my face. This is most likely due to better thyroid levels since a dosage change, but the overall weight loss helps too.

Admittedly, the better hair of the after photo plays a part...

In the past, this is the point where I start to feel the urge to sabotage. I've never been good at taking a compliment, especially anything related to my physical appearance. Some of that has to do with my "don't get a big head" upbringing, and some of it is just good, old-fashioned neurosis and sometimes low self-esteem. How do you manage to keep up the belief that you're fat and ugly (and somehow safe because of it) when you start to transform yourself and begin looking more and more trim and pretty?  You either have to change your belief or change your body back to fit your belief...and we humans? We HATE changing our beliefs.

For now, I'm trying to sit in this awareness and just keep shuffling along. When what may be sabotage happens, I'm just making a mental note and continuing on my way. I refuse to feel afraid or guilty. I allow myself cheat days, and I haven't really set any guidelines for how often they can happen. When they do, I manage my self-talk. I didn't do something "bad" or "wrong" or "harmful."  It wasn't "stupid" or "dumb" or "disastrous."  It was just a cheat day...and we're moving on.

This is not to say that every cheat day is on the same level as every other... The day I completed week three of my Couch to 5K also happened to be the day of Cate's 14th birthday party.

Look at me all happy from running. What a weirdo!

My kids' birthday parties always include a full meal, and it's always whatever the kid wants me to make (within their party budget). Cate wanted a breakfast buffet, and we went all out: french toast, pancakes, waffles, biscuits and sausage gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, fruit, juices, and homemade donuts instead of cake. There were carbs EVERYWHERE!


The next morning, I thought about how many small powdered donuts I'd ingested the night before, along with the two plates of various breakfast foods and the two (or three) cups of orange juice, and I realized I had a choice in how to experience that memory. I took a deep breath and said, "Man...that was fun...and I'm a really good cook!"

Moving on.

Last week, Richard and I walked down to Sitara India, which is fast becoming one of our favorite places to spend a date night, and I had this wonderful fusion biryani meal-o-carbs.

And I enjoyed every spicy bite of it!

And even though my carb count was already high from the naan and the rice (and the DEEP FRIED spinach appetizer whose name escapes me), I happily sipped warm chai sweetened with sugar and refused to stop smiling about it.

Now, unlike the birthday party food fest, I took most of the meal home with me, having enjoyed only one plate of it at the restaurant. Like the party, though, this meal was a cheat. And like the party, I look back on it and say, "Well, that was a lot of fun!"

The gift that kept on giving.

Now, I can point out that the green tea in chai has been shown by reputable research to have a protective effect on people with my liver condition. I can say the same for some of the spices in Indian food. But I didn't go to Sitara India for my liver. I went there because it was date night and I wanted Indian food, darn it! And because I had done really, really well all week and knew a cheat day would be all right.

Sabotage is still a possibility, and I'm working on the emotional me over on Sarah...Phenomenally. For now, I'm less worried about what it is when I choose to have a little more fun with a meal. Whether it's sabotage, taking a cheat day, or just a normal part of an otherwise healthy diet, it's okay by me. Obviously, the occasional treat hasn't stopped me from continuing to lose weight. As long as these rendezvous remain infrequent, I'm fine with them. If they get more frequent, I'll decide what to do then.

(Author note: Update on my liver situation: My CT scan showed nodules, so this means there is irreversible damage. However, my doctor says they are "small and slight," so it's possible I can stop the damage from progressing and still reverse the fatty liver altogether. Losing weight is the best fatty liver treatment, so I'm glad for the progress I've made already and looking forward to even more. I'll go back in 6 months for another scan, and we'll see how well I've done then. And even though I didn't go out for Indian food for my liver, I have begun to incorporate near daily chai and curry into my diet to help things along.)