The Plan Moving Forward

Today I stepped on the scale at my parents’ house. It read 170.5lbs. I’ve gained almost 5lbs since I stopped pumping, which totally shocked me since I SWEAR I’ve been eating WAY less. I was hoping to have lost 2lbs, though the way I had been looking, and feeling, suggested the gained weight the scale confirmed. Still, I was incredulous.

Needless to say, I had a pretty significant freak out. It was really bad. I cried. A lot. I may have hyperventilated in my car, in my parents’ driveway. It was not pretty.

I just don’t feel like I have any idea what is going on with my body. I know I’m 3.5 years older than I was when I had Osita, and I’m closer to my mid-thirties now, instead of just on the cusp of this metabolism dampening decade, but I don’t understand how last time I lost 55lbs without any concerted effort and this time I’m only ten pounds away from my highest pregnant weight (with Monito). WHY IS IT SO FUCKING DIFFERENT THIS TIME!?!?!?!

I feel like I don’t recognize my body, not how it looks and definitely not what it is doing.

So I have thirty pounds to lose. THIRTY FUCKING POUNDS. I’m the heaviest I’ve ever weighed, not pregnant. And I have no money to buy any clothes, so this summer is going to, well, suck.

At least I can still fit into my maternity swim suit, because I’m going to have to wear that this summer. God, I shudder just to think about it. I just hope no one asks me when I’m due.

Anyway, enough dramatics over how much I weigh. It’s a sad, tired song that every woman (well almost every woman) has sung at some point in her life. The important thing is what I plan to do about it.

I talked to Mi.Vida about all this. Actually, I called him and HE talked ME down from the ledge I was hysterically wailing over. He’s awesome like that. (Seriously, he handled it like A BOSS.)

So moving forward we’re going to make better choices about what we eat at home. We’re going to cook at least two healthy meals a week, and make enough during those cooking sessions to last for two meals for both of us. That way we’ll have four healthy, home cooked dinners a week. These meals will also have to be relatively cheap because we’re trying to cut our grocery bill by $100 and order in hardly at all (I know this will help our healthy eating efforts in and of itself). This will require some intense meal planning and strategic grocery shopping. Some how I doubt we’ll be very successful this month, but hopefully by the end of summer we’ll have a system down.

As for me personally, I’m going to figure out a quick and easy breakfast and lunch and stick to them pretty consistently, so I know what I need to buy and I know how much I’m eating. I’m also going to be tracking ALL my calories to make sure I’m really eating as little as I think I am. I really do think I’m not eating that much–I was truly shocked by the number on the scale today, (and I’ve tracked my calories enough in my life to have a pretty good idea of portion sizes andΒ how small snacks add up and so on) but obviously I don’t know for sure until I track, so track I will. I’ll also start wearing my FitBit again and trying to keep my step count over 10,000. That is going to be really hard but I’ll give it my best shot.

The final weapon in my arsenal is exercise. IΒ want to start working out on the PreCore again. This is tricky because it’s currently housed in Monito’s room (there is absolutely no where else to put it, I’ve considered this endlessly). I purchased a used Pack n Play and I plan to set it up in Osita’s room twice a week during his afternoon nap so I can use that time to work out. I also hope to do a little 30 minute intensive yoga routine that I have an audio track for two times a week to keep me flexible and work my core and upper body a bit. I tried it not long ago (specifically so I would be sore for a massage–yes I’m a weirdo who likes to be sore for massages) and I could not lower myself to the ground without my knees on the floor, which means I’m not only the heaviest I’ve been in my life, but most probably the weakest. I need to get my body back.

This is a lot to try to take on all at once, changing the way I eat and upping my active movement from nothing to four times a week, all while attempting to stay on a very strict budget. (Oh, and finishing up the school year too.) I know I need to cut myself some slack, and I plan to. But I also plan to try to implement all this because, frankly, I HAVE to. I can’t stand how I feel in my body. I can’t stand the way I look. And financially, we absolutely have to make changes. So, it’s going to have to happen all at once.

I just hope I don’t go crazy doing it.

Any tips for eating healthy (or at least healthier) on a budget?

Mindful Mondays: Reconnecting with my body

I’ve really let Mindful Mondays fall by the wayside. I’ve really let mindfulness, in general, fall by the wayside.

I’m trying to change that.

In May I made an investment in myself. I spent a considerable amount of money on a six month pass to a yoga studio not far from my apartment. The start date for my six month membership was a week ago today. I finally made it to a class yesterday.

Yoga used to be a big part of my life. I went quite frequently when classes were available at the climbing gym near where I worked. While I ceased other forms of exercise I’d once loved, I kept going to yoga for a long time.

Then even yoga became something I wished I did instead of actually doing it.

When I was pregnant I found a prenatal yoga class at the studio where I just recently bought the six month pass. Going to those classes were my favorite part of being pregnant. Every session twenty or so pregnant women and I sat around discussing our experiences and connecting with our new and ever-changing bodies. It was an amazing experience and I still see some of the women I met there.

Walking to class last week, for the first time in almost a year, I wondered what it would be like to return to yoga now, alone, without my daughter nestled safely inside me. When I was pregnant connecting with my body was miraculous, magical. Now I worried that I would feel empty, unrecognizable.

And while there were moments when my body did feel unrecognizable, and somewhat empty, I remained me, fundamentally.

Pregnancy has changed me in so many ways and generally the physical differences between my pre and post pregnancy body concern me the least. Maybe that is because they are easiest to ignore. I have my ten or so outfits that fit relatively well and I don’t have much time to look at myself in the mirror. Luckily I almost never have a reason to dress up or look nice.

At yoga I was forced to see body for what it has become. It’s softer, fleshier. It’s shaped differently. I carry more weight in my thighs and butt. I can grab whole handfuls of stretch marked flesh around my midsection. To say I was sporting a muffin top over my stretchy yoga pants would be a considerable understatement.

I knew all of this going in. I wasn’t really surprised to see how different I looked, though facing it in public, with others watching, chaffed more than at home. While how I looked wasn’t so shocking, I was surprised to notice how distinct my post-pregnancy body felt in the poses. I’ve lost strength almost every where. The balancing poses were especially challenging as I struggled to find my center. My mind was all over the place and my body felt tight and unsure of itself.

In the end I was glad I went. The longer I held the poses and the more sun salutations I completed the more familiar I felt inside of myself. I’m sure after a few months of weekly practice I will once again recognize this new body as my own.

In the meantime it’s interesting to become reacquainted, once again, with this vessel of mine. I have so much to thank it for and I hope it will perform many more miracles in my lifetime.

Thank you yoga, for helping me not take my body for granted.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Choose carefully

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time prioritizing, or attempting to. All mothers need to do this, as there is way too much to do and way too little time to do it. I’ve heard that motherhood makes you faster, more efficient. I cannot yet attest to this. What I can confirm is that motherhood requires you to choose carefully and with confidence.

You could say that our choices define us. What is life but a series of choices and their resulting consequences? Some choices are substantial and have lasting effects. I chose to go to graduate school and now I Β am more marketable but have loans to pay off and feel beholden to a job that rewards me for that effort. That choice may affect me years from now, possibly by giving me more opportunities when looking for a new job, or whittling possibilities when I feel obligated to pay off my debt with a steady income.

Other choices don’t seem to make such a lasting impression on our lives. Whether or not I eat ice cream tonight is probably not going to affect me much in anyway. I’ll enjoy it while I’m eating it or I won’t. Luckily, for me, that is as far reaching as a decision about ice cream is.

But even with the smaller choices, what we do and don’t do define us. Or rather, who we are influences the choices we make. I might not eat ice cream because I don’t want to consume the processed sugar. Or I might feel guilty about the calorie tab. Or I might, gasp! shock! horror! just not want ice cream (this actually happened to me earlier this week and I’m still reeling from it). I might chose to eat ice cream because it tastes good. Or I had a shitty day at work. Or I happen to see it when I’m putting homemade baby food into the freezer. Or Mi.Vida wants some so I have some too. No matter why I do it, the choice says something about me.

So do other choices, like who I see on the weekends, what I do, where I go. And I realize that now that I’m a mother, every choice is even more important because, well, I don’t have as many choices to make.

Actually, what I don’t have is time. And when there is not a enough time, you have to choose wisely when using it.

Take the evenings for example. In the few short hours I have to “myself” what should I do? Throw in a couple of loads? Write a blog post? Sweep the halls? Hang out with Mi.Vida? Read a book? Comment on blogs? Grade papers? Fold clothes that were washed weeks ago? Revel in some yin yoga? Email a friend? Do dishes? Peruse Facebook? Learn Adobe Illustrator? Make homemade baby food? Get to bed early? “Hang out” with Mi.Vida πŸ˜‰ ? There are literally dozens of things I could do, many I want to do, even more I should do, and very few that I can do.

The other day Mi.Vida and I were rushing out the door to meet a fellow blogger and her family at the zoo. Even though, an hour earlier, we thought we’d be arriving early we were, of course, running late. As we stepped out the door, Mi.Vida laughed. “Have you had anything for lunch?” Not only did I not eat lunch, but I didn’t eat breakfast because I was getting my legs waxed. My response. “In parenthood, something’s gotta give and usually it’s the parents.”

When there are so many things you need and want to do, most of them won’t get done. So how do we decide what does?

I’ve been thinking about this so much lately. Ever since I started tracking my goals on my iPhone, I’ve seen clearly, with an app that gives me visual confirmation, something I already knew; only one or two of the things I want/need to do will get done on any given day. If I’m going to practice mindfulness meditation I will not get to exercise. If I exercise I will not have time to work on my book. If I learn Illustrator I can’t blog. If I blog I won’t get to bed early. The list goes on and on.

After a month of tracking my goals I saw that “getting to bed early” consistently fell by the wayside. So this week I decided to push everything aside to make that happen. And it has – at the expense of pretty much everything else. I have been reading blogs and commenting on them, that is something I never seem to neglect, but basically, besides some limited time with Mi.Vida, that is all I’m doing this week.

And frankly, I feel great. Getting 30 to 60 minutes more sleep a night suits me just fine.

But… not practicing mindfulness or exercising or working on my book, doesn’t.

And so that is where I am. For the first time since my daughter was born I’m having to make some really tough choices about what I want to do. I’m seeing that I had too many goals lined up for this year. I took on too much. I know why I made each and every one of them though; they all speak to different aspects of who I am.

I want to exercise because I love to be active and know that endorphins tame my errant anxiety. I want to practice mindfulness because I long to follow a path of spiritual awakening in my life. I want to work on my book to express myself creatively and have a long term goal to work towards. I want to spend quality time with Mi.Vida because my relationship is incredibly important and I know it takes work to sustain the closeness we cherish. I want to grade papers and plan lesson because I’m proud of the teacher I’ve become and don’t want to lose the professionalism I now expect from myself. I want to blog because I long to belong to a community that understands me and accepts me for who I am. I want to cultivate friendships, both new and old, because giving and receiving support and validation nourishes my soul. Each goal speaks to a different, but integral part of me. So when I’m forced to let certain goals fall by the wayside and in doing so let those aspects of myself languish, what do I jettison?

These are very difficult decisions indeed and I don’t yet have the answers. I think, in the coming weeks and months, necessity will force me to make the tough choices. It already is. I’m seeing, more and more, which things feel best when I do them and which have a palpable absence in my life. I will probably focus on one goal for a little while and then let it rest while I take up a new charge. As I become more comfortable in this new role of working mother hopefully I will find a balance that nourishes all parts of me. Until then, I’ll just have to be patient, observant and open minded.

What goals are most important to you?

How do you guarantee that they happen?

What parts of you do you feel don’t get the attention they deserve?

aMAAAAAAZing!

I just went on a three mile run and I have to say, I feel FAN-fucking-TASTIC! I really do.

I need to exercise. It keeps me sane. I truly think that some of the difficulty I had while TTC and being pregnant had to do with how little I’ve exercised the past few years.

In my early twenties I worked out all the time. Like 4-6 times a week all the time. Like I only read books on the Pre-Cor all the time. Like I went to yoga every Saturday morning and ran many nights a week and climbed with my sister and my mom all the time.

I’ve ran one marathon and ridden in over five centuries (100 mile road bike rides).

I used to be an exerciser.

And then I met Mi.Vida and he didn’t exercise and so I didn’t exercise and I let it fall by the way side.

That is the one thing I like less about myself in my relationship with him – that I don’t work out, ever.

But that is about to change. I’m going to start running again.

I hope to run with Isa but currently my running stroller is veering strongly to the left when I lock out the front wheel. They sent me a new front wheel but it is still veering left. I don’t know what happens now – they send me a whole new stroller?

I was actually really upset about it this morning. I had waited a week and a half for that wheel and it finally came and it didn’t do shit. I was pissed.

But then I put Isa down for her nap and went out anyway and it felt great. Really, really great. Super great. Fabulously great. Amazingly great.

And that is how I know I need to start running again. Because I left a frustrated, fuming fool and I returned an ecstatic, enthusiastic woman.

This feels so good.

I can’t wait to go again.

Weekend Resolution Round-up

Okay, my resolution was to actually keep checking in on my goals and I promised I’d do it every week or so. Of course it’s already three weeks into January and I haven’t posted anything about my goals, but (surprisingly?) I have been keeping track of them. I’ve actually been using an App on my iPhone to mark when I’ve been achieving my goals. To make things easier, I will be rating myself with smily faces for each goal. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ means I did great, πŸ™‚ means I did well, πŸ™‚ 😦 means I did okay, 😦 means I want to do better and 😦 😦 means I go to jail, I do not pass Go and I do not collect $200.

Eating my fruits and veggies. 😦 I had some good days but I also had some horrible days and the horrible days out numbered the good ones.

Cleaning the house. 😦 While I did do some work around the house it was never more than basic maintenance. I am planning on cleaning the shower today but I can’t count that when it hasn’t been done.

Practicing mindfulness. 😦 😦 I did absolutely nothing for this goal. I’m really disappointed about that.

Exercise. πŸ™‚ 😦 I didn’t do much walking but I did go on my first post-pregnancy run. It was fabulous actually and I would have gone again on Friday and Sunday but my running stroller has a defect and is veering left really strongly when the front wheel is locked so I’m waiting for a replacement in the mail. My plan is to run 3-5 miles on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. We shall see!

In bed by 10:30. 😦 😦 Epic Fail on this one. Seriously. How hard is it to get my ass in bed at a reasonable time? Evidently really hard.

Plan/grade papers. πŸ™‚ 😦 I did okay on this one, mostly because I used time during my Study Skills class to grade papers and asked other teachers if I could borrow their Peer Helpers to do the mindless stuff. Still, I’m behind on my grading so I can’t say I did great on this one.

Mi.Vida time. πŸ™‚ We’ve been making “time for each other” once a week and in my book that is good stuff! I’m sure we could do better, but I’m pretty happy with this so far.

Saving money. 😦 We hardly ate out at all this month, which I’m very pleased about. But I did buy some things here and there that weren’t necessary. I still need to work harder on this goal.

Working on my book. 😦 I almost gave this two sad faces but I realized I have been reading through the one book on writing children’s books and last night I finally started sketching illustration ideas, so I guess I deserve some recognition for that.

So far I’m trending towards 😦 for my goals overall and that is okay. It’s a work in progress. Many of these are life-style changes and I don’t expect them to happen over night, or even over the course of three weeks. I talked to my therapist yesterday about how the state of my house causes me anxiety and she suggested I just do 15-20 minutes of work every day. I think that is a great idea, and I’ve thought of it myself, but I’ve never followed through. Still, seeing how badly I did with that goal I’m more motivated than ever to give it a try, so we shall see.

I think what needs to happen is I need to let go of the idea of having so much “me” time at night. I also need to cut out some things. Right now my Creme de la Creme Attempt is taking up a ton of time. The thing is, I read so many posts from there on my phone throughout the day and then I need to catch up on the commenting when I get home, or I forget what the posts were about. So I’m still trying to figure that out. The reality is, there are only so many (few?) hours in the evenings and something has got to give, especially if I want to do 20 minutes of work around the house, practice mindfulness and get in bed by 10:30 while still keeping up with the laundry and getting some papers graded every once in a while. I’ll start experimenting with new schedules this week. Wish me luck!

Resolutions

Every year I basically have the same New Year Resolutions. And so does the rest of America. Eat better. Exercise. Keep my house clean. Save some money. It’s so boring and obvious. I’m also like most people in that I focus on them for a few weeks and then sweep them under the bed with my gym card, my credit card bills and all the laundry I’m avoiding.

So this year my resolution is to actually keep checking in on my goals for the year. Every week (or two) I will spend a weekend post updating myself (and all of you lucky readers) on how I’m doing with my goals. Hopefully, by forcing myself to follow through with the follow through I will not let my goals flounder like I have so many times before. So, without further ado, here are my goals for 2011, in no particular order.

Eat fresh fruit and vegetables on the reg (every day). I feel so lame admitting this, but there are days when nary a fruit or vegetables touch my lips and many days when all my fruits and vegetables come in the forms of soups or sauces.

First steps: We’re still getting the CSA box so lots of organically and locally grown veggies there. I will also grab more berries to put into my yogurt or oatmeal at work every morning.

Exercise at least twice a week (or more). I used to exercise almost every single day. Now I can go weeks or months without even walking at a brisk pace. I want to find a nice place in between. I hope to at least walk briskly twice to three times a week. I’d be thrilled if I were running that much.

First steps: I have my running stroller ready to go and I’ve been breaking in my new tennis shoes with a few brisk walks. I plan on walking Wednesdays and Fridays when I get home and one weekend day. I also plan to start running one time a week.

Put $200-$500 in savings every month. This one seems impossible but I really, really, REALLY need to get my finances in order. I need to stop spending so much. I need to start paying off my student loans. I need to start contributing more to family bills. I need to do so much more to make my life financially viable. I feel like I’m sinking in quicksand if I don’t get out soon I will die.

First Steps: I downloaded two finance apps onto my iPhone. One actually has access to all my online accounts and tells me how much I’m in the red every month. The second allows me to input expenses so I can track how much I’m spending where.

Keep my house clean. If you read this past Confessional Friday Post this one will make perfect sense. I already have to keep the common rooms (i.e. all rooms but my bedroom) looking presentable for my SIL during the week. I’m also hiring a cleaning woman once a month to do a deep clean (my MIL is paying for this for us, and I am very grateful).

First Steps: I’m making a schedule for light cleaning and laundry during the week. I’ve requested the cleaning service recommendation from my SIL.

Practice mindfulness. I want to do yin yoga at least two times a week. I want to read works by Buddhist authors. I want to practice being in the present moment with my daughter. I want to write Mindful Monday Posts. So much I want to do here and so easy to let it fall by the wayside.

First Steps: Schedule days to do Yin Yoga and/or sitting meditation.

Make my relationship with Mi.Vida a priority. This one will be tricky to write about because it involves relations of the private variety. But besides the obvious, intimate ways, I want to reconnect with Mi.Vida, I also want to share in his interests and enjoy his company.

First Steps: We both have copies of Baby Makes Three and plan to read it and discuss it together. We also have some other plans in the works that I won’t speak of here. πŸ˜‰

Work on my new (top secret) project at least two hours a week. This one I’m keeping under wraps for right now. Frankly I feel kind of silly pursuing this dream of mine but now that I’m done with graduate school and I’m coming to some realizations about how I can be happy professionally, I feel I owe it to myself to at least give this a try. As I become more confident about this final goal I will tell you all more about it. Until then, you’ll just have to be patient.

First Steps: I bought some informative books on Amazon and look forward to reading them when they arrive.

I know this is a lot of goals but the truth is I’ve always had them and will always have them and they continue to be works in progress. My resolution is to actually check in every week or two to see if I’m actually making any progress on reaching them. Hopefully I will, probably I won’t. We shall see.

Thoughtful Thursdays: Weight

I don’t want this to be a long post (mostly because it’s 10:38 and I PROMISED myself I’d be in bed by 11pm tonight.) Another reason I don’t want to make this too long is I don’t want to spend too much of my precious time thinking about this particular topic. In fact, I’d rather never think about it again.

You see, I lost a lot of years to the “weight” topic. More specifically, I lost a lot of years to food obsessions and body image issues and feeling like I’d always be thinking about food, my body, exercise and the numbers on the scale. The only time I ever understood suicide was in the throes of my eating disorders, when I saw my life as a series of days, stacked before me, each exquisitely centered around what I would eat and how much.

I absolutely thought that I’d spend my whole life dealing with my eating disorders. I thought I might be better but I never really thought I’d be well. Then, I went to Spain for my Junior year abroad. I hated the food at my dorm and had no money to buy anything else. I ran and exercised a lot, not to mention all the walking I did around Madrid, and I ended up buying size 6 clothes at the local boutiques. I went home for Christmas and everyone told me how awesome I looked. I finally had the body I wanted, the only problem was I was miserable. It was one of my darkest years and my depression got really, really bad. In that year I learned, first hand and the hard way, that being skinny did not equal being happy. Somehow I took this lesson very much to heart and over the next two years I got over my eating issues – completely. I never thought I’d say this, but now I have a very healthy relationship with food. I eat what I want, when I want it and I NEVER think about how many calories something is. (The only think I could improve on is fruits and veggies – I still don’t get enough of those.) Somehow, despite my laissez faire attitude towards food and even exercise, I’ve hovered in a size 8 and felt very content with my body.

Until I got pregnant.

Now I don’t want this to be a boo-hoo story about how I lost my figure when I was pregnant and want to get it back. Really, that’s not how I feel. But I have noticed, more frequently lately, that when I catch a glimpse of myself Β in a mirror I don’t feel so good about what I see. I lost most of my 45 pound pregnancy weight gain already and have been oscillating between 8 and 12 pounds above my pre-pregnancy weight. I wasn’t going to try to lose that last bit while breastfeeding because I’d heard that, while breastfeeding burns calories and helps you lose a lot of weight at first, it can also make your body hold onto those last pounds. And while ten pounds is nothing to laugh at, when you were up 45, it doesn’t seem so bad.

And I don’t want to feel like it is that bad, but then I catch my reflection and I look, well, big. I look very big. I think I’m actually gaining weight again right now and maybe I’m noticing that. Today I had a skirt on and all day I could feel the elastic cutting into my stomach, reminding me of the extra “me” I have collected there. It made me feel uncomfortable and kind of down on myself. And I HATE feeling down on myself because of my weight.

So now I have to figure out what my game plan is. I’m terrified to fall into the weight loss game again. I NEVER want to be that person again, the person who lost almost a decade of her life to weight obsessions. At the same time, I want to feel good about myself and find myself attractive. Lord knows I have enough working against my relationship with Mi.Vida right now, having a piss poor self imagine might hurl me (us) over the edge. So something has to happen, the problem is I’m not sure what.

I have to admit, I exchanged the svelte, city-friendly stroller I’d been coveting for months for a bigger, bulkier, heavier jogging stroller because I hoped that running would be in my future again. I used to love to run and it would be great to get some exercise with Isa at my side (or in front of me) while allowing Mi.Vida some precious time to himself. While I haven’t even begun contemplating actually putting on a running bra (or two?! these tatas will probably not be contained by a single over the shoulder boulder holder these days) and hitting the pavement, it’s nice to know that I have that option should I want it. In the meantime I have to decide if I walking is good enough for now or I want to start “watching what I eat” (Ah! I hate even typing that!)

Again, I want to reiterate that I am not complaining about this weight gain. I’d never lose this weight if that were the cost of my healthy daughter. But I would be lying if I didn’t mention here that weight is on my mind and causing me angst. This blog is meant to be an honest account of my experiences and I would be remiss if not mentioning the weight stuff along with everything else.

So I guess that’s all I can say about it now. When I come to a more definite conclusion I’ll let you all know.

BUENAS NOTICIAS – I met with a friend today and walked well over four miles. I guess that’s a start!