When I am unhealthy, I can often look back and recognize a fog. A mental fog that weighs me down so much, it becomes a physical attribute. I don’t necessarily notice it every minute of every
Who knows what happened.
Excuses happened. A bunch of them.
I posted last about the 16 pounds that I fought for. And then, I lost all momentum.
As I was driving to work this morning, I started thinking about my struggles with healthiness. I feel like I’ve done better with my eating this week and while it’s not squeaky clean, whole30, rabbit food, it’s been significantly better than in recent months. Almost all week, I did not give in to excuses around my eating. I did not justify poor eating because I was running from meeting to meeting, was too tired, or other reasons that again would have been just plain excuses.
But I also think it’s going to take a lot more to get back to a healthy life, which includes a healthy weight. So then, the question popped into my head…
How bad do I want it?
How important is it to me to be healthy. Is being healthy more important than the choices I’m making now? What am I willing to do different? Am I willing to make what I may currently perceive as sacrifices now because I know once I get the healthiness ball rolling, it will be more of a norm, and won’t feel like a sacrifice. Right now, all my decisions have a snowball effect into one negative consequence. Being unhealthy. These decisions may seem individually small and unimportant (a poor choice here, a poor choice there) but they all add up to one big huge result.
Unhealthiness. It feels like I’m trying to move a mountain, but probably because right now, I am fighting against the current. Each small decision I make, each decision that is better than what I would have previously make, each decision that fights against the current, is what makes a difference. Because together, the collective whole, will get me to where I want to be.
So the question I need to continue to ask myself, every time I think this one choice may not be a big deal, I just have to ask myself how important is being healthy to me.
The weekend flew by, as does most weekends. It was so beautiful here in Milwaukee. I did a 20min home yoga video on Friday night and then Francisco and I met a friend and her boys at Harvest Fest on Saturday morning. We also took a lot of walks both Saturday and Sunday.
All weekend, I tried really hard to pay attention to my eating this weekend. I mentioned in one of my posts last week I know I not only need to focus on getting more movement in my day, I also need to work on my eating.
On Saturday, even though we were at the fair from 9:30am until 1:15pm, I skipped eating from any of the fried food vendors and instead came home to have lunch. Usually, I would have just allowed myself to eat there because it was “lunch time.” Small victory.
I spent a few hours on Sunday preparing food for this week. I roasted chicken, cauliflower, made an egg bake and made some meatballs for Francisco. I bought a few different Chopped salads from Dole which make grabbing a salad so easy during the week, I just add chicken and I’m done. I’m also back to tracking this morning using my trusty DietMinder journal.
I’ve gone through multiple of these over the years. But, one change I’m making is NOT recording calories. I really want to focus on the foods I eat, the quality of foods, not the calories. I don’t want to fall into a low-calorie diet mentality again.
Over the weekend, I fixed the blog so that my posts will show up on the front now. You can still find archive entries from other PriorFatgirls from the menu at the top.
Francisco was up every 3 hours last night so tonight will an early bed time for me. I’m looking forward to it already!
Every day I wake up with good intentions. Those good intentions last an hour. Or three. Or maybe until lunch time and then I get pulled into 4 straight hours of meetings. Today, I inhaled my lunch at 1:45pm in a 6 minute window of time between two meetings, while trying to answer questions from my boss who just got back from traveling.
Please tell me. How do you make this work? I have about 1 hour in my evening when I could possible sneak in a workout and that’s the one hour that I could possible sit down with Carlos and have some 1:1 time with him. Or I could clean a bathroom. Or read. Or play Candy Crush. Lord have mercy.
I just feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I feel like my cheeks are suffocating my face.
But, I have to admit my problem. By no means am I comparing my struggle to drug or alcohol addiction but I can learn from their recovery process, borrow best practices and leverage success factors. So, without further ado, please accept the next picture that admits my problem:
I am utterly, unequivocally, beyond embarrassment. 24lbs away from my all time highest of weight, 76lbs away from my lowest. I’ve gained close to 30lbs in the last 6 months since Francisco was born. Add that to the 20ish I gained during pregnancy and the other 20ish I had gained in the years since my lowest (which I wasn’t worried about), I am now at the highest weight I’ve been at in almost 9 years. I don’t want to lose all 76lbs.
I don’t want to go back to 140lbs, that wasn’t a realistic number for me to maintain. And, to be honest, it really isn’t about the number on the scale. I just want to feel healthy and confident again. I want to feel good about myself. If that means 30lbs or 40lbs lighter than where I am, so be it. But it isn’t about the number. It’s about what that number represents. It’s about the number being a symptom, my general unhealthiness being the real issue.
A comment on my post earlier this week made me stop and reflect. It read…
I do not remember how I connected with your blog years ago, but I have always admired you and your story has always touched my heart. Maybe it is because I have a daughter your age. I am going to give you the advise I have given my daughter.
In one word, it is stress.
It all boils down to we women are doing too much. Something has to give. There are simply not enough hours in the day to work full time, parent, take care of ourselves, be a wife we can be proud of, have a clean house, cook and do all the other things we women need to do . Even with the help of a supporting husband. It is just too much. Something has to give.
My solution to stress? Less Stuff.
We are working to have a nicer car, nicer house, nicer vacations, etc. Nicer stuff. We need to give up some of that stuff to relive the stress in our lives. There are 2 ways to do that. Work less (or not at all) so you have the time to take care of the things that are important to you. Or pay someone to do things that will give you more time in your day. Or a combination of both
Either way, you have less money for stuff. Another blog I found about the same time I found yours is Money Mustache. It gives a refreshing outlook on things we can do without. Dave Ramsey also has some great ideas on that.
Do without some stuff to relieve some of the stress. Get off that hamster wheel and enjoy your life. Can you downsize your life? I do not know your circumstances, but less expensive housing, and cars are usually the biggies.
I hope this does not come across too harshly. I just think a lot of us Americans have traded a more relaxed, less stress, happy life for more stuff and higher class of living.
My 2 cents, given with love in my heart.
Whether or not you and I agree on the sentiment that it is women trying to do too much, I do agree so much with the general message from Kaydee, that I need to work on stress. I can feel it in my jaw, many times throughout the day having to remind myself to un-clench my jaw. I can feel my blood pressure rise as I drive to and from work, rushing to get there or rushing to get to daycare. I know I need to work on lowering my stress.
I think the easiest way to do that right now is 30 minutes of yoga right before bed. I had originally been using this time to de-stress by playing Candy Crush and reading BuzzFeed in bed but usually fell asleep within 5-10 minutes. I think 30 minutes of yoga right before bed would be the perfect time.
Carlos is gone this weekend visiting a friend so this weekend will be a great weekend to start with my new routine. Francisco goes to bed around 6:30pm so that will give me enough time to make supper and eat, do my dishes, clean or fold laundry, and then do some yoga before bed.
Now. I don’t want to end this post with that picture. So I think it’s best to post photos of little baby Francisco. Except he isn’t really little, he’s in the 97% percentile for both height and weight.
Francisco is 6 months old. He has 2 teeth, is crawling everywhere and is already starting to pull himself up on things to a stand. He is hitting a lot of developmental milestones fairly early which at first I was like “go go Francisco” but now I get weepy thinking about it because he is literally growing way too fast.
He eats like a toddler, hating purees and cereal, and instead insisting on eating actual food. He eats banana pancakes, sweet potato, carrots, scrambled eggs, chicken, banana, and tomatoes. His teachers at daycare tell us often that he is a very busy baby, always having to be somewhere he is not.
I love him so much, you guys.
I need to blog.
Life is like WHOA. I have now gained MORE weight in the six months after the birth of Francisco than during my entire pregnancy itself. I am uncomfortable and want to hide. I hate getting dressed, I hate being social, I hate being seen by people who haven’t seen me in awhile. In fact, I avoid being social.
I have contemplated blogging for awhile now but there has been a little voice in side my head reminding me the blogging world isn’t what it was when I started blogging in 2007. People are quicker now to give their judgement via comments. People are more mean. To be honest, I’m scared of mean-spirited comments when I fall off the wagon. Or when I eat something someone doesn’t agree with. Sharing my struggles for the world to see. Opening myself back up to vulnerability.
And, does anyone read blogs anymore?
But Carlos reminded me recently that if I were to start blogging again, I wouldn’t be doing it because people read my blog. I would be blogging to hold myself accountable. Dear diary, I suppose.
Because I need to be back.
I need to blog.
I don’t know what my voice is. What I once was as Jen, priorfatgirl, is a memory. I am a mom now, our little guy is SIX MONTHS. We moved to Milwaukee a few months ago. I am now 5 hours away from my sisters, my best friends. 5 hours away from the healthiness support I could have reached out to. Still trying to navigate the stress of a huge move, starting a new job, going back to work.
I feel like I’m starting from scratch. Like I’m all alone. Trying to figure out how to balance work, life, a baby AND try to be healthy overwhelms me. Excuses become justified, food becomes my outlet. Same story, different time in my life. Funny how I find myself here yet again.
So, dear diary. Dear typing my emotions out. Dear blogging for myself, for my healthiness, for my emotional processing. Dear diary.
The scale shows 16lbs down and I’m feeling a groove. I am getting to the gym more and more in the mornings now that Francisco is FINALLY sleeping through the night. I haven’t gotten into hitting the gym every morning but progress is progress.
It’s been nice a couple weekends in a row now, so I’ve gotten in a couple runs in on the weekends. It’s such a good feeling going out for a run and then coming home to have coffee and breakfast outside. Francisco LOVES to be outside.
We are starting to explore Milwaukee a little more, now that it’s nice. A couple weekends ago, we went to the zoo and Francisco was memorized by the animals.
We have also started to explore parks nearby. We don’t have anyt within walking distance but luckily don’t have to drive too far. Francisco doesn’t really run around the park too much, he just wants to play with and throw the wood chips around.
I can’t wait until we are in a house later this summer – we are just starting to look now and there are so many amazing houses in the Milwaukee area. It will be great to have a yard again, to have space again.
We were supposed to go back to Minneapolis this weekend however Francisco is teething HARD. He is getting his canine teeth and these seem to be the hardest out of all of them for him. Poor little guy. He isn’t sleeping right, isn’t eating normal, is cranky and moody — all the stuff that comes with teething. I decided it was best to just keep him home in his normal routine, in his own bed and where we can try to keep him on somewhat of a normal schedule.
I got a Fitbit so it helps encourage me throughout the day, watching the steps add up on my weight loss journey. I don’t think I realized how sedentary my job really was. I’ve done multiple challenges with my sisters, who each also have Fitbits. I talk to my sisters often but the challenges mean we are in touch ALL DAY LONG, ha! Speaking of steps, I need to get up and get some water – catch ya’ll later!
Have a great weekend!
Francisco was born on March 12th. Delivering Francisco was the most intense, indescribable and surreal experience I’ve ever had. I received some pitocin at noon on that Saturday and mild contractions started fairly quickly. Within a few hours, I was laboring pretty heavy. By about 6pm, I asked for an epidural however when they checked me at about 6:45pm, I was too far along and they told me to start pushing.
Time goes so quickly in those intense moments. Every breath felt like seconds but last an hour. Encouraging phrases would wind through the room, in one ear and out the other. Carlos, standing right by my side, holding my hand, tears in his eyes.
As my doctor and the nurses began to coach me into preparing for the final push, every ounce of feeling Francisco flowed through my body. Emotions were exploding all over, every painful sensation is felt and then quickly forgotten. And then. That exact moment. 7:43pm. Pushing Francisco over the pelvic bone and feeling him rush into the world.
9lbs, 3 ounces of the most beautiful,
perfect baby in the whole world.
21 inches of amazing.
The first 5 weeks were insane – Francisco was extra fussy and we struggled a lot with breastfeeding. In the past week, the fussiness has calmed down and he is captivated with his surroundings. Despite trying everything nurses, doctors, the lactation consultants and the internet suggested, I was never able to get my milk supply to where it needed to be to feed our growing Francisco. I do still nurse however we follow-up every nursing session with a bottle. Not being able to breastfeed exclusively was horribly devastating. While I am thankful for being able to nurse what I can, I have had to grieve over what I am not able to do. A grieving process I never fathomed would have to happen.
Francisco’s fussiness has started to calm down and he has started to smile + laugh.
For being an unplanned pregnancy, it truly has changed our lives. It is safe to say both Carlos and I have developed the most intense level of love with this tiny little baby that neither of us knew we needed. This whole experience has been so much more.
It has been six weeks since Francisco came into this world. Six weeks of a lifetime we never knew we would love so much. Six weeks of seeing Carlos fall more and more in love with this little baby we created.
We ended up flying back to Boston on Friday, a last minute trip to visit Carlos’ family. Watching Francisco’s eyes light up when he hears Cape Verdean Creole, absorbing the words like he already understands their definitions. Dancing with his Grandma Julia, memorized by her sing song.
I go back to work in three weeks. I am both looking forward to the routine and adult conversation, and dreading the absence of someone who has become my whole world.
Life is so unexpected, so difficult, so emotional, so perfect. The unplanned becomes natural and comfortable. Carlos and me. And Iggy. And Francisco.
I am not going gang-busters like I once was. I wish I were, but I can’t right now. Part of me can’t because my life isn’t as flexible to allow for it. Part of me can’t because I need to avoid triggering binge-eating and deprivation mindsets. I need to avoid foods actively that cause triggers, without avoiding them purposefully.
If that sounds like a catch-22 it is because in many ways it is exactly that, and for most therapists and dietitians it means that you, aka ME the patient, need to figure out what it looks like and how I can find a balance of wellness and health. Because wellness and health are not the same thing when it comes to food and weight for me.
For ME, health is about the numbers. And my numbers, with the exception of that pesky relationship to gravity, have really rarely been better. My cholesterol, glucose, thyroid, and others are all on the really good end of normal. My blood pressure, while still medicated, is averaging 112/70 and not a medicated 140/90 (which it was as little as 3 years ago).
Wellness is more complicated. It is about keeping my depression and anxiety at manageable levels. It is about balance in my life, keeping stress low, getting enough sleep, having time with my family and friends, moving my body, food that is energizing and delicious, etc. Sometimes I do this well, other times I am struggling with one or more of these things, and if one part gets off base it is harder to keep the other parts on track too.
Today I wore a dress in public that made me feel like I was a stuffed sausage just a few months ago. Though it is still a dress that likes to hug the body, there are enough inches and slimming that I have done that I no longer feel that I am an eyesore in it.
To my surprise, I got a ton of compliments on it at church today. I mean a TON. I never get compliments on my clothes. It is a small thing, but a factor of the small changes and the slow progress I have been making.ana dress
Though I haven’t been here as much as I’d like I am out there fighting the fight and there is progress to be seen. Sometimes a disappearing blogger is a function of kids, work, and a schedule that has her running too much to find the words to share or a life that feels too dull or repetitive to share.
If you are here to read that’s great. If you’ve left I hope you’ve found a blogger to connect with. There are great ones out there. Ultimately my writing is a way to help process my own journey and I will continue to use this space to help me along the way whenever I can. You are welcome alone if you’d like to join me.
She was not fluffy and yellow like her brothers and sisters. Her feathers were dull and grey. She was tall and awkward. Her feet were too big. Her neck was too long. Her brothers and sisters looked at her and laughed.
Momma Duck worried. She loved her ugly duckling but what would could she do to help her child? Undaunted Momma Duck determined that she would raise all her little ducklings into the best ducks she could, just as she had been raised. So the ducklings soon found themselves following Momma duck and learning the ways of the world.
Up and down the narrow street and the quiet path, through the peaceful park and in the shallow pond, Momma Duck and her ducklings joined the other ducks in their daily activities. Momma Duck led the way, then 8 fluffy ducklings, and one ugly duckling with the other ducks laughing behind her back.
First job of the morning was the breadcrumb begging from the old folks who came to the park benches each day. Momma Duck taught her ducklings not to get too close, but to show their cutest sides to the humans to get the best pieces of bread. She encouraged her 8 fuzzy ducklings to eat their fill.
“Not too much now,” Momma Duck said to the Ugly Duckling, “You are already bigger than your sisters, you don’t need to eat any more carbs, besides, the cutest ducklings get the best bread for us all, best hang back with me and have a salad.” Momma Duck didn’t want the humans to laugh at her Ugly Duckling like the other ducks did, but her Ugly Duckling saw and heard more than Momma knew.
Next Momma Duck worked on swimming with her duckings. Unlike land, here Ugly Duckling felt graceful and beautiful. In the water her awkward legs felt strong and powerful and she could easily beat even her brothers in the duckling races. She loved to make herself fly across the water, and to dive deep down to the bottom to grab the tender seaweed that grew there.
She loved it….until, she heard Momma Duck say, “Dear Ugly Duckling, you need to slow down. If the mallards think you are better at swimming than they are they won’t want to share a nest with you. You cannot afford to be so bold.” Momma knew what was best. So Ugly Duckling choked back her strokes and her tears as she tried to be the best duck she could.
Finally, Momma Duck began to teach her ducklings to fly. Their larger feathers were growing in now, and soon they would be fully grown and ready to soar. Her brothers heads were turnings shiny and green. Her sisters were becoming mottled and brown, ready for important nest making. Ugly Duckling however, just kept growing. She was bigger than ever, no matter how much she listened to Momma’s diet advice. Instead of becoming a beautiful brown her feathers were turning white. Her neck was longer too. She was just so Ugly. They all knew it, and she did too.
Finally the day came to make a first “real” flight. Momma Duck planned to take her ducklings from the shallow pond accross the narrow road to the lake and back for an outing. One by one the ducks took off and flew to the lake for their day away. When they got there they were amazed by how many new things there were to see at the lake that they never saw in their shallow pond. There were new fish and birds. New kinds of ducks even! As they took a break for lunch, they watched all the different kinds of birds who lived there at the lake and along came a group of swans.
The Brothers and Sister ducks got up and laughed and pointed at the swans. “Look” they called. “There is a whole group of ugly ducklings here just like our sister! Why do you let so many ugly ducks in the lake?”
Then the lake became very quiet. Even the bees stopped their buzzing. The group of swans got up out of the lake and came over to the ducks.
“We are not ducks,” said the swan, “We are swans, and it seems that your sister is too, though she does not know it. Swans not the same as ducks. In some ways we are similar, but in many ways we are different as well. If we make ugly ducks, you would make ugly swans. How much better it would be if we just said we both make beautiful birds?”
With that the swan turned to the Ugly Duckling and said, “If ever you want to learn to be a Swan come join us at the lake, for you are a beautiful bird regardless of what you are called.”
Shaken, Momma Duck and all her ducklings went home. Her brothers and sisters were glad to see their shallow pond once more. “Swans think they know everything,” they said, “but they are still ugly.” They happily spent the remaining part of the day begging for bread and racing in the pond.
Ugly Duckling spent the rest of the day thinking. The narrow street, the quiet path, the peaceful park, the shallow pond, these places were all she really knew of life, but here she was the Ugly Duckling and would always be the Ugly Duckling.
“Come to the nest” Momma Duck called Ugly Duckling, “I made you a seaweed salad for dinner.”
Ugly Duckling turned away from the shallow pond, took flight and flew over the narrow street back to the lake of beautiful birds of all shapes and sizes.