Friday Flashes

I used to love participating in 7 Quick Takes on Fridays, but I must admit, I am not even sure they have those anymore?!?! But I love the format idea and I don’t care to link my blog anywhere, so I’m just going to do my own thing over here.

I’m not sure I’ll get to 7, but we’ll see.

  • It’s been quite a week! The kids were back in school after Spring Break and I also worked a full week. I had taken quite a few PTO days during March and now I don’t have any scheduled until the last full week of June. So I’ll be grinding out the work weeks for awhile!
  • Want to hear something way cute? about two weeks ago, Vincent came home from school and told me the following: “Mom, Mrs. XXXXX called me up to the front today to tell me that…” (sideways glance and hint of a smile) “…because of all the hard work I have been putting in…” (sideways glance the other way and hint of a bigger smile) “…that I get to go have lunch at Pizza Ranch. And I have a form for you to fill out to say I can go.”

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  • Dani was in her school’s musical production of High School Musical, Jr. It was awesome! She looks so happy when she is on stage and performing. I enjoyed watching her both nights! What was really special was some of her friends from our parish (Catholic school) came to watch and they hooped and hollered for her. It was seriously one of my favorite things ever.

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  • Helen was accepted into the A.V.I.D. program for our district that starts in middle school A.V.I.D. stands for Advancement via Individual Determination. Some of my more tenured readers may remember when Helen was struggling with school. I wrote about it a couple of times (I can’t find the time to grab the links right now, though.) Well, we’ve been working through a lot of things with Helen, namely anxiety, but also including school work and things. She has worked so hard and I have to admit I was very surprised that she wanted to apply for A.V.I.D. However, she filled out the application (all on her own) and obtained my signature for my acknowledgement. She also had an interview. She was excited when she got word and I know that it will be an excellent program for her.

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  • Dominic will receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time on Tuesday next week. Then he will receive First Holy Communion a month later. Exciting times around here. I bought him this suit. Isn’t he handsome?
  • Sarah has Regional volleyball tournament this weekend. I’m looking forward to watching her play. It’s been a bit of a rough club season for her, just in terms of handling things more on her own and understanding her role with the team and things like that. This year, when she griped about things, I suggested she work with the other captains on the team and talk with the coaches on her own — she’s getting to an age where she needs to handle things like that. I haven’t ever been one to step in and advocate for my kids without including them so they learn how to advocate for themselves and it’s been a good thing for Sarah and I am sure it will be for the other kids, too. I’ll have to write more about this sometime because I can feel a blog post brewing!

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  • What’s the weekend got in store for you? Sarah and I have volleyball, but I think it’s just a typical weekend for everyone else at the house. We’ve gotten so much rain that I am hopeful there will be some time for Craig to mow in between rainfalls.

Week 1 (A Weight-Related Post)

It’s Wednesday and that means we had our At-Work meeting and I had a weigh-in. The good news is that I was down 4.4 pounds from last week! It’s always good to see a loss, no matter the size.

The Good:

  • I tracked most of the days this week (Going to have to get my weekends tracked going forward)
  • I tracked my activity and got 50 activity points (my goal is 43/week)
  • My husband successfully hid the scale, so I didn’t weigh myself between meetings
  • I lost weight

The Bad:

  • I kind of went crazy Friday-Sunday and also didn’t track it.
  • So that means I probably could have had a better loss if I wouldn’t have done that

My running tally then shows:

188.0 – 4.4 = 183.6

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This is me after 1 week back on track

How do I feel? I don’t feel all that different from a week ago. My pants don’t feel any looser yet and I still notice pudginess in my middle. But it’s only been a week. I think paying attention to how I feel, though, is important. I’ve been trying to get enough sleep so I don’t feel so tired and that has helped. I know it takes 3-4 weeks to start really noticing the bigger differences, but I want to log what I do feel even after a week.

I think the biggest difference I feel is emotionally and in my confidence. When I am not tracking anything and eating without planning, I feel defeated. When i plan things out and buy healthy choices to have in the house I feel better about myself in general. Additionally, forcing myself to stay out of the kitchen after dinner is huge (I’m a late evening/night-time snacker). Avoiding the snacks in the evening helps me to feel more in control and I am even proud of myself (yes, that is how bad it can get…)

I didn’t try anything new this week, but I went back to some old standbys. I make this parfait for breakfast that I love — 1/3 cup of Kasha Go Lean Crunch cereal, 1/3 cup Fage 0% Greek Yogurt and as many strawberries as I can fit in the bowl with it. I add a couple packets of Splenda. It’s yummy!

The other thing I did was stock up on some high protein meal bars. I have always liked the Special K Double Chocolate Meal bar. It has 12g of protein and the Smart Points are 7. But I recently found these meal bars called Think Thin and they have 20g of protein, so SP value is only 6 and they are really good! So I have a stash of those at my office for the days I don’t get breakfast in a parfait. I also like to eat a banana with the meal bars. It’s a way for me to feel more full at breakfast and adds zero points to the meal.

I’m glad we hid the scale. It was nice not to have it staring at me daring me to step on it all week.

Today I got off to a decent start for the week in that I only used one extra smart point in my tracking for the day. I missed my workout, though, so that’s not good. Hopefully I’ll be able to make it up the rest of the days.

UPDATE: I had some time this evening and I sorted my blog to show me all my Weight Watchers Wednesday posts. Click on this link to read them if you like. Wow. Mind-blowing. I have to say it gave me some motivation to keep going again. I was worried it would make me feel bad, but it didn’t. It just showed me that I did it once and I can do it again.

The Past Does Not Always Indicate Future

Something about my personality I have noticed as my children grow up is that milestones in their lives become times that I reflect on my own life at those ages and what was going on. It’s often a source of anger or sadness and sometimes longing for what should have been.

As my children approach the age of 8, it seems that is the time they ask why they have three sets of grandparents. My own parents separated when I was 7 or 8 and the divorce was final when I was in the third grade. Whenever I explain that my parents were divorced, my children ask the inevitable questions about “why” and “did that make you sad, Mommy?” Of course, they often have asked if that would happen in our family. It’s a heartbreaking question to entertain. And I hate that I even have to qualify my response. Because the truth of the matter is that both of my parents assured me when I was in the first grade that a divorce would never happen. That turned out to be a big fat lie. So, when I answer the kids, it is usually goes something like this: “Your dad and I intend to stay married. I think everyone intends to stay married. You just never know how things will pan out. My own parents didn’t set out to get divorced, but they still did in the end. So, just know that no matter what, your dad and I are always going to try as hard as we can to do the best we can to keep our family together and safe.”

Sarah is the only child of mine that has reached the age that I have explained more about the divorce and how my life was impacted. Things like the fact that my dad lived many states away and that our situation did not include me getting to see my dad on Tuesday-Wednesday and every other weekend, the way other people’s arrangements always seemed to work out. Every now and then, Sarah will ask me, “Did you do X, Y, Z (insert any regular old teen-girl pastime here like looking at prom dresses and shoes) when you were my age?” And usually it is something I never did. Because my life was nothing like hers.

I see the amount of organization that goes into keeping Sarah’s high school life on track — all on her, by the way — and the ONLY reason she is able to think about everything she needs to do to keep her path going toward her goals is because she doesn’t have to worry about feeding younger siblings dinner and ensuring they all get to bed on time. She doesn’t have to worry about whether she will get to her volleyball tournaments on the weekend without asking for a ride. She is able to rely on me providing her time and space to study in the evenings or getting her to the extra study sessions on the weekends that one of her teachers provides. While Sarah is aware that anything considered “extra” (some makeup items, brand-name clothing, outings with friends) will come out of her own money she has saved/earned, she can feel confident to know her necessities will be purchased and provided to her by her parents. She takes the time to attend Life Teen at our parish and also the young women’s group that meets on Wednesday evenings. This provides her very regular and routine opportunities for confession and prayer and another adult female role model (the youth ministry leader at our parish) from whom to learn and receive encouragement. All of this is possible because she has an intact family at home, both parents committed to providing her the time, space and means to have an academic, social and spiritual life that keeps her headed toward her goals.

I’m keenly aware nowadays, of how extremely neglected I was as a high school girl. Even typing that, I feel as though I must be ungrateful and complaining. But no! Seriously, a girl should be able to count on having her parents maintain a stable environment at home that she can count on. I did not have that. I didn’t have anyone following up on my school work. I was on my own for too much time. While I helped ensure my younger siblings didn’t starve, I can look back and see that for the most part, we were all on our own. College applications? Pshaw! right! I am pretty sure I didn’t apply anywhere during my senior year. I only entered college the fall after I graduated high school because I was loopholed in as a resident of Kansas and my dad was still active duty military (living on the east coast) and claimed me as a dependent. Even then, it’s a minor miracle because Board of Regents universities in Kansas HAD to accept residents into their programs (at least that is how it was explained to me). None of this takes into account the ways I was getting the attention I needed — you know, the bad kind. Without a father in the home to give me the affection teenage girls need from their dads, I was searching for affirmation of my worth in not-so-good ways.

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This is me in high school (1992)

I have spent most of my life “getting over” the fact that things were hard. I forgave my parents (what choice do I have?) I forged on with regard to sports because I have a competitive spirit and I could lose myself in the contest. I refused to waste time thinking about the mistakes I had made and chose to simply move forward trying to make fewer mistakes and justifying the ones I made after that.

But the truth of the matter is that a high school girl has so much “hot mess” going on inside that adding all those other things to the mix made for a perfect storm. I shouldn’t have had to “get over” growing up without my dad. I shouldn’t have had to “get over” dealing with a neglectful mom who was emotionally abusive when she was not being neglectful. I shouldn’t have had to navigate high school all by myself without any support from a parent. You see, while I don’t do any of the work for Sarah, she has both of her parents available to bounce ideas and thoughts off of. If she has a question, she can trust that we’ll help her find the answer. When she needs to be somewhere, while it’s her “job” to take the initiative to communicate her needs, she can rely on both of us to help her get where she needs to be. And in the process, she can count on us to teach her what she needs to know so that when the time comes, she will be able to do it for herself.

When I think about the time and effort I spend educating and helping Sarah with logistics, I can’t help but feel cheated all over again for the things I didn’t get. It’s so weird. Every now and then, I feel like I need to have a little pity party for one and vent to myself. I think about the relationships I see between my dad and my siblings that lived with him for their high school years. I recall how lost I was in high school. But what’s really sad is I was so freaking lost that I thought I knew what I was doing! To remember how completely clueless I was about so many things back then, sometimes makes me angry! But it always provides me the resolve I need to ensure I never leave my kids hanging.

Obviously, my experiences are what made me the person I am today. Perhaps if I hadn’t had the experiences I did, I would not be so keen and sensitive to what I think my children need from me. It’s almost as though I am hyper-aware of being able to provide a stable home environment for them. Because I can look back and see what was lacking in the areas of emotional support and familial stability, I am able to work with Craig to ensure we do not lack in those areas.

I know the world is different now than it was in 1992. There seems to be a lot of pressures on kids in high school that I don’t recall there being when i was there. But often, I wonder if that was my experience because I didn’t have anyone to help me be aware of those pressures. Interestingly enough, I found the program from “Awards Night” at my high school for my senior year and my name was listed among the “academically fit.” I’m not sure how that happened because I recall “sweating it out” whether I would pass a couple of classes to graduate. (I had a VERY rough senior year in many ways.)

While I would have loved to change the economic background from which I came, I do think the fact that I never had any real money to speak of has helped me to accept that doing everything financially for my kids is not a requirement for them to have successful upbringing. It’s true that Craig and I are able to provide things for our children that I could have never even dreamed about when I was a kid. But, we’re not able to provide what many of their friends receive financially (for example, we will not be able to foot the college bill for our children). However, the lessons I had to learn all on my own about managing money — making it, saving it, spending it — have helped me get Sarah going on the right path. She doesn’t have a lot, but she understands the value of what she does have.

In the end, I often use my own experience as a way to help me understand my path with my own family. The example of my own upbringing is not an ideal one. Being aware of that has made all the difference with how we do things with our kids. I guess that’s the way it works for everyone — we all decide on things that we will “never do like our parents did” and those things that we hope we can do “just like our parents did.” Many times research indicates that what a child grows up with is what s/he perpetuates going forward into adulthood. There are some things in my life where I would agree with that, but thankfully in some of the really important things, it is not the case.

The First Day

Today is Wednesday and that is now the weigh-in day for our At-Work meetings with Weight Watchers. I chose today as my “new beginning” and requested a completely new weight record. I’ve been attending meetings since mid-November, but haven’t found the fortitude to stick with my plans until now. And since I am now re-committing and re-energized toward this goal, I wanted a completely fresh start.

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I’m sorry to say that I wasn’t all that happy with my weight today. I didn’t expect to be, but I think somewhere in my heart of hearts, I truly hoped I was lighter than I feared. That was not the case. And, because I am committed to full disclosure and accountability here, I’m just going to take a deep breath and type my starting weight.

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Ugh, it never gets any less painful to realize I let myself gain weight. Sigh.

In the meeting today, one of the flipcharts read:

Eating better got easier when “I can’t have that” turned into “I don’t want that.”

I get the sentiment, but I don’t know if this will ever be true for me. I mean, I think I am always going to enjoy food that is probably not the healthiest for me. And, I think that on some level, I’m going to justify eating or overeating or whatever you want to call it, at various times in my life. What I think I need to get a handle on is exactly how to live my life in a healthy state without going whole-hog on the less healthy options. How to be satisfied with just a little bit.

When I was successful losing weight before, I followed Weight Watchers Points Plus program and now it’s Smart Points. The Smart Points takes into account the nutritional value of food in a much more common sense way. Protein is valued over sugar and carbs and fruits and vegetables and “real food” is much better than the processed stuff and that is reflected in the point values. What I think worked for me before and I expect to work for me this time is that I can mess around with the points values and decide what I want to eat and avoid feeling deprived.

In the year or two since I was at my goal, I have tried a couple of other programs to try and lose weight quickly and i would lose weight quickly — but I would cut something completely out of my diet. I tried a Whole 30, and I WAS feeling good and noticing the difference in my mid-section without any sugar or processed sugar or artificial sugar and only ingesting protein and vegetables. But I was hating life. I’m not kidding. Hating. Life. So I just said, “Eff it” and had myself a diet coke and a donut. And it probably would have been fine if it had just stopped there, but….it didn’t.

I wish I had a hundred dollars for every time I went through that cycle in my life…

During the meeting our leader asked us what was one small change we could make this week. Well, I had already made one change that I knew I would make when I decided to start blogging again. Besides the accountability with blogging that made me successful before, I had asked Craig to hide our bathroom scale and committed to only weighing at weekly meetings. So this morning, I sent Craig a message and asked him to hide the scale again. The only place I will step on the scale will be at meetings.

Avoiding the scale between meetings helps me make choices on their own merit. I had this habit of thinking, “Hmmm,, I’ve been good for a couple of days, I wonder what my weight is.” and getting on the scale. Whatever I saw seemed to impact my choices that day and the coming days. If it was down, I would think, “Oh! I’ve done well, I’ll have that third piece of pizza!” or if it was up, ,I would think, “Ugh, I was being good and I still don’t see the scale budge, I might as well eat a donut!” It was a HUGE positive thing not to have the scale in my bathroom my last time through weight loss. So, now I will no longer see a bathroom scale this time around either.

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My other commitment is that I will track everything. Every. Thing. Tracking my food is my biggest key to success. I need to be accountable to myself, and remember that just because I didn’t track it doesn’t mean I didn’t eat it.This photo shows that of my 36 daily points, I used them all plus 1 of my weekly points. And, I am done for today. I came here to write and then I am watching movies with my kids. And I’ll shower and go to bed and it will all be ok.

I did get my workout in today. And I had the opportunity to work on pull-ups. Some of you may remember when I actually got pull-ups the first time. But of course, with my lapse in healthy choices, etc., I lost my ability. But I recently regained it and I am very excited about that. 🙂 I also got up to 135 pounds on our weightlifting complex today (Clean/Power Clean/Jerk).

I have begun (again). It’s just day one and I know I won’t be perfect every day. But I am at least committed to trying every day: tracking, making healthy, positive choices and owning up any time I fall short.

 

Find The Courage To Begin (Again)

How to start….well, I just have to start.

I’m going to be blogging a bit more regularly. The past couple of years have seen me take extended breaks. I’ve wondered what it is that’s kept me away and I’ve decided it’s been a number of things.

  1. Job changes and schedule changes and life changes caused me to lose my newfound confidence and commitment to my health and I gained weight again. Even though I remained active, I did not maintain my commitment to mindfulness with my eating habits. Of course, the spiral was complete with emotional eating, stress eating and just simply … eating.
  2. The landscape of our world is scary. I mean that politically speaking but I also mean that in a “oh-my-gosh-my-kids-are-going-to-be-adults-soon and…What the actual F—?.
  3. I lost my voice — whatever voice I thought I had. We made some changes in our family that I wasn’t comfortable discussing publicly on the blog. I’m not sure I’m 100% ready for that now, but I’m getting there.
  4. I lost the feeling of connected-ness I had once felt within the blogging community. Some of my favorite blogs went underground. Others morphed more into video or radio programming. And honestly, I simply didn’t have time anymore.

So here I am now. What’s the difference?

To be honest with you, I’m not sure there is all that much that is different right this moment. I’m overweight and find myself trying to re-commit to my healthy eating habits and drop this 30-35 pounds I put back on, so I am looking for an accountability outlet. I doubt I have much to say politically speaking because too much that is out there is far too angry (and honestly, seems completely irrational) for me to try to be a part of anyway. The changes we’ve made within our family are public and I am finally figuring out how to speak about them in a way that pleases me and honors the work my husband and I did in making them. I’m not sure I will feel as connected as I once did in the online community, but I’m going to try.

When I went back to Weight Watchers in the fall of 2013 and stayed committed through the next 8-10 months, I remember my weekly update blog posts being a huge source of support for me. Many encouraging words were written in my comment section and I received e-mails and text messages that kept me motivated throughout the process.

I’m not going to lie, I’m embarrassed to be in the situation where I need to lose 35 pounds again. It is difficult not to feel like a fraud and a failure. But at the same time, the rational part of my brain keeps me informed that life is messy and sometimes that means we mess up the things we worked so hard for. And it’s okay. Finding the courage to begin (again) has always been worth it before and if this accountability outlet was so helpful before, it can be again.

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So this is me these days…

Perhaps with regular writing on my return to a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle, I can find my voice again with regard to other things that are important to me, like raising my kids, working outside the home and balancing marriage and family amidst everything else that goes crazy with five growing children.

I hope if anyone out there is still reading this blog when a post pops up, that you’ll join me for this journey once more. I can’t promise I’ll be witty or charming, but I can say that my emotional health is quite a bit better than it was a couple of years ago and I think it gets a bit better every day. I’d like to share things like recipes, weight loss strategies and life hacks that seem to work as I chip away little by little at this weight loss thing. I’d love it if you’d share with me as well.

If you have stumbled upon this blog and this is the first post you have ever read, I welcome you to join me again and let’s get to know one another. I love to meet new people, experience new things and learn from those who think differently than I do. While I don’t anticipate much of what I write to be all that controversial, I can tell you that every now and then I get feisty and something opinionated comes out on my blog and I stress about who will hate me for writing it.

If you remember me from the days of Natural Family Planning posts every day during NFP awareness week or from my discernment on family size days, or the grief-filled months following the intra-uterine death of our youngest child, I also welcome you to continue reading. So much from those experiences shapes who I am and how our family has grown, that those topics are sure to surface from time to time. But I also expect that until I get going again, Weight Watchers weekly updates are probably going to be the bulk of what you’ll see here.

Finally, for those of you who were with me a couple of years ago, I still do CrossFit for my fitness activity.

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Here I am in the bottom of an overhead squat

It feels amazing that even as my weight crept back up to the place I swore I would never let it go again, I continued to work hard at lifting weights and trying to accomplish things like pull-ups and push-ups and double-unders and things that I couldn’t do before. Granted, it’s been more difficult at a heavier weight and I look forward to losing the weight and being able to crank out the push-ups again, but I am still amazed at the things my body can do and that I am still strong.

I plan to do a CrossFit competition on a team in May and am considering entering a CrossFit competition as an individual (scaled) this summer, too. I am goal-oriented and need something to work towards. It will be fun to have a place to share my triumphs as well as struggles with CrossFit going forward.

If you’re new (or even if you’re not) leave a comment with your blog (if you’re a blogger) so I can get to know you! And thanks for coming along with me on this journey as I begin (again).