My Weight Loss/Gain Journey

I was filling out a Weight Watchers profile the other day. It asked about how many times you’d lost 10 or more pounds, which had me thinking about how I arrived at the place I’m at today – weighing over 200 lbs and seeking a fresh start.

I was a skinny kid. I loved gymnastics, running, climbing (although not getting back down), and whatever other forms of activity I could find. In high school, I played basketball, volleyball, softball, kickball, and even ran cross country. My mom had always been a bit heavier, but I never really imagined I would get to that point. How could I? I was so busy!

During the winter before I turned 17, I had a sledding accident that resulted in a shattered vertebra. The treatment was a back brace for 3 months and limited activity for 6. Whether a result of the accident or just a natural progression of my learning, I decided to graduate that year and be done with high school. To be honest, I have no idea what I weighed at the time of my accident. I just know that by the time I reached graduation, I was a size 10.

My therapy was swimming at the local pool. When it closed down for the summer, I lost what felt like my last avenue to exercise. I think my late night snack habit kicked in around then. It may have been there before, but kept in check by my active lifestyle. I’m not really sure.

Two years later in 1993, I went away for college. I remember pondering the term “freshman 15″ as I gained weight that year. I ate too much at the cafeteria. I snuck food (mostly candy and Snapple) at my job. I was a bit adrift – spending way too much time in the music hall even though I wasn’t a music major as I tried to figure out just who I was, what I believed, and what I wanted to be. I have no idea what I weighed, just that I was gaining.

When I met my husband in 1995, I weighed somewhere around 230 lbs. I hadn’t actually weighed myself in so long that I don’t know for sure what my top weight was. I just know that it was a lot. I think that’s one thing I appreciated (and still appreciate) about Doug. He wants me to be healthy, but his main concern about my weight is how I feel about it. Through the subsequent downs and ups, he’s been constant in that.

Before we were married, I went on my first real diet. I signed up for Jenny Craig. I can’t remember if I started at 210 lbs or if that’s where I stalled out. I just know that I didn’t love the food, didn’t love the “support,” and didn’t feel very motivated.

After we were married, I joined a gym that had just opened a location near our apartment. I think it might’ve been Gold’s Gym. There, I met Linda Lyons who became my personal trainer. She was a spitfire of a women who had gone from weighing over 300 lbs. to being a competitive body builder. She helped me manage my nutrition, pushed me to exercise, and when going to the gym got tough, she found ways to keep me motivated. She even trained me at my work gym for a while just to make sure I stayed on track. Under her guidance, I reached the lowest weight of my adult life – 152 lbs. I felt great. I looked great. I was in shape. I wasn’t a “perfect” size by some standards, but I was a comfortable 8/10 and loved it.

In December 2005, we found out we were pregnant! I had turned 30 that year, and we were so excited to be starting our family. Our excitement was short lived, however, when we discovered that the pregnancy was ectopic and would have to be terminated. We were devastated, and I was depressed. I gained 30 lbs in the 6 months after the loss of our first baby.

In June 2006, we were pregnant again. It was thrilling and scary. We didn’t want to get too excited after our last experience. I didn’t have much in the way of morning sickness. I ate like I was eating for 2 or more. I worried every day that I wouldn’t get to have this beautiful girl. And I gained a lot during my pregnancy. I think I was around 235-240 by the time River was born. I really don’t know.

Between the time River was born and us discovering that Hazel was on her way, I had managed to get down to about 180 lbs again. I think. It’s all a blur now. I know it took a lot of hard work and a half marathon to get there. Then, I was in the midst of another pregnancy where I gained 50 lbs.

According to my wifi-enabled scale, my lowest weight since Hazel was born in 2010 was 185 back in March 2012. Since then, I’ve spent much of my time flirting with 200 up until my shoulder surgery in August 2013. After surgery, I think I let everything go. I ate more. I exercised less. And I ended up where I am today.

Perhaps that’s my biggest road block. I now drink wine and beer and cocktails on occasion. I love well-prepared food in nice restaurants. I have a hard time saying no to that voice in my head that says, “But it just tastes sooo good!” And the louder voice that says, “Do you really have time for a workout?” seems to drown out the other voice that whispers, “But you love being healthy and in good shape.”

I’ve spent the last year signing up for running races to try to reclaim that feeling I had back in 2009 when I trained for my first half marathon – the motivation to exercise, the healthy body, and the ability to enjoy food in moderation. Up until now, I’ve failed. I’ve trained halfway. I’ve kept on eating and drinking as much as I feel like in the moment. I’ve let myself ignore all the signs that my body is not happy with these choices. And I’ve actually skipped most of the races I’ve paid money to participate in.

In June 2014, I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 5k that was to take place on March 1, 2015. Yup, I signed up for a race 9 months in advance with the idea I would have plenty of time to be ready for it. Plus, hot chocolate! As March 1 approached and I realized my training was abysmal, I considered skipping the race. I had exercised just enough for it not to be a bad idea, but not enough for it to be any sort of “race.” Plus, I couldn’t seem to get anyone else to sign up for the 5k. People kept saying, “Sure!” but…

The day before race day, I actually went and picked up the packet. I still wasn’t convinced I was going to make myself get up at the ass-crack of dawn and drive alone to downtown Seattle for a race. Still, I had to at least pick up my cool hoodie that came with my race registration.

On race day, my alarm went off. I dragged myself out of bed. I put on the only “running” clothes I’d found that still fit. I tied my shoes and hit the road. I suffered through traffic. I found my corral for my approximated 15-minute pace (stated back in June 2014). And I did it. I walk/ran the race. I finished with just over a 15-minute pace. And I remembered why I had enjoyed training for that first half marathon so many years before.

When Candie mentioned that she was going to be running the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll half marathon in June and wouldn’t I like to sign up, I decided that I would like to sign up. I will be 40 this summer. I want to run into my 40s with a plan, a goal, an ambition. I don’t want to be a size 2 or 4 or even 6. I really just want to recapture that feeling when I completed a half marathon in just under 3 hours. That feeling when I weighed 152 lbs and could wear a size 10. It’s not about the size, but about the sense of accomplishment that the hard work brings.

And I want my daughters to answer this question the way River did so many years ago: “What does your mother do?” She’s a runner.

Do I have stitches?

It took about 4.5 years, but River finally discovered her scars. I had a feeling it would happen once someone else noticed and asked about it. Being involved in Annie has resulted in a lot of older girls around her paying attention to her Sure enough, someone pointed out her scars and she wanted to know about it.

River: Do I have stitches?
Me: You have a scar, yes.
River: Why?
Me: You had an accident when you were about a year old.
River: What happened?
Me: A dog bit you. He didn’t mean to. He thought you were another dog he was trying to tell to leave him alone, but instead he got you.
River: So I have stitches?
Me: Yes, you had to have stitches so now you have a scar.
River: Oh. Okay!

I always dreaded telling her about it. I never want her to see it as a bad thing or something to be worried about. Contrary to my expectations, River is treating it as a matter of fact. Of course she has scars. No biggie. It could also help that one of the more popular girls in the show has a large, dark birthmark on her neck. I think seeing that other people have distinguishing marks that don’t define them is important.

I stand by my opinion that she will always have the option to address her scar when she’s older, but I’m hoping she’ll continue to embrace it as just a part of who she is and nothing to really care about.

Goodbye, Ookla?

Early in 2012 I stated that I did not expect Ookla to survive to see 2013. He’s a very old cat for his breed and probably should’ve keeled over long ago. Still, he’s really never been sick, and he has that disposition that says, “F*** YOU!” Throughout this year, though, we’ve seen quite a change in behavior. He’s become almost friendly with people who come over to our house. He no longer hides under the table waiting to kneecap visitors. He’s obviously mellowed in his advanced age.

Now that we are in 2013, it seems his time has come. This past week has seen a rapid decline in his ability to get around. He pretty much sleeps all the time and hobbles his way around the house. Granted, he’s partially hobbling because of an unfortunate grooming accident earlier this week, but I don’t think that’s the only reason we’re seeing him decline. He started peeing in less-than-ideal places a few days prior to that.

From what we can tell, he stopped eating either Thursday or Friday although he’s still drinking water. He just ignores the food. Up until now, he’s had some pretty predictable sleep spots, but he’s started wandering off and hiding in corners. Tonight, he decided to try to go down the stairs. I didn’t see him, but I heard him fall down part of them because he’s so unsteady on his feet. I sat with him to make sure he wasn’t seriously injured. He eventually got up and wandered unsteadily off.

Doug went searching for him a bit later and found him hiding in a dark room. We’ve left him there in case he’s just been trying to find a quite place to die. We shall see if he’s still with us in the morning.

Ookla, you’re a bastard, but we love you! I hope your life has been as full and happy and full of surprises with us as ours has been with you. If you’re still with us in the morning, I promise to scratch your stinky little chin.

PHEW! We survived!

Not only did we survive the Mayan Apocalypse, we also survived the 2012 holiday season! Our trip to Florida was moderately uneventful. The biggest adventure was a delayed flight which caused us to have to reschedule the return trip home for the following morning which meant waking up at 3:00 am to be at the airport in time to catch our 5:30 am flight.

Since arriving home, our next big adventure was our annual NYE party. The food was incredibly good thanks to Dustin & Derek of Art of the Table. Plus, we had a bartender this year – Luke from AotT. It was a blast, although it was also one of our tamer NYE parties. Not sure if it’s the kids getting older or if it’s the adults getting wiser. Hmmm.

Tonight, River goes back to gymnastics where she’s trying out a pre-team class. She will get to learn routines and participate in gym-only competitions. I think it’s going to be a great test of whether she wants to take her gymnastics to the next level in the next year or two.

We also start our REAL Annie rehearsals tonight. I think the orphans kick us off, but there will be a lot to rehearse tonight. I’m starting to get a handle on my lines, but I know I have a ways to go before I’m off book. Gotta work on that much more.

Welcome to 2013. I have high hopes for this year. I am already planning a couple of family vacations. Hazel will be starting preschool in the Fall. OMG, really? That’s just… what? How’d my girls grow up so quickly?! Stay tuned for more information. I’m doing my best to stick with the updating even if it sometimes takes me a week or two to get around to it. :)

Florida for the Holidays

Tomorrow, we are flying out to Fort Walton Beach, FL to visit with Doug’s folks for the holidays. If memory serves me, this is the first time we’ve been to Florida for Christmas since River and Hazel came along. We’ve been out for visits, but we usually time them pre/post holidays or during completely random times of the year. I’m actually pretty excited that Nana and Papaw get to be a part of the fun in their own home. Hopefully, everything and everyone survives the experience.

I think I’m most concerned with the cats. The girls LOVE cats as they have three of their own. They actually do an exceptional job of identifying the quirks of each cat and acting accordingly. With Ariel, they both know how to call her over so she can get pets. With Camille, they know they can do just about anything and she’ll purr like crazy. With Ookla, they actually know when to pick on him (there truly are moments where he can take it) and when to be sweet and gentle with him. The main problem is they are normal kids and sometimes do things to the cats that do not make their daddy happy. Hey, I figure the cats can fend for themselves, but Doug hates when River disrupts Camille’s nap to drag her off to play somewhere else. And he doesn’t like when Hazel pokes Ookla in the nose a few too many times even if a resulting swat of the paw is the natural consequence. I’m just hoping they don’t terrorize Nana’s cats in a way that causes problems. I *think* they will be fine, and we’re pretty good at keeping them in line. Still, poor cats don’t know what’s coming.

So we leave tomorrow and only two suitcases are packed – the ones belonging to the girls. I think the best part of that, though, is they packed them. I made a list of things and River read through each one and put together the things she would need. She made complete outfits, adjusted a few things, found shoes she liked, selected her coat and everything. Tonight, we will be putting together our carry-ons. I figured they did so well with the clothes, they can be a part of the planning for what to carry with them including snacks and such.

It’s so fun how traveling changes as the kids get older. I have a feeling this will be our best trip yet!