"Though no one can go back and make a brand new start,
anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Anonymous

Monday, March 31, 2014

Weigh-In ... March Madness

Weight:  167.5
Loss/Gain:  + 0.5

"March Madness" ha!  I'm not a huge college basketball fan, but I couldn't resist.  In fact, my life could be described at "2014 Madness" this year so far... lol  


Compared to February's weigh-in I'm up 0.5 pound.  However, compared to the last two weeks I'm actually down 1.5 pounds.  Since I had hit 169.0 on the scale and stayed there for almost two weeks this past month I'm just glad to see the scale going back down. 

Last week was the closest to being back on track that I have been for a long time.  I didn't track my food every day, but I was more conscious about my food choices/portions.  I also got in at least three days of exercise last week.  

After posting on Saturday about my plans once again going awry I made the decision to go to the gym to get my run done for the day.  It had been pouring rain all day and I had accomplished many things, but having only exercised twice that week I was dying to do something more physical than clean house.  

My husband stayed home with our son and I got 3 miles done on the treadmill and then another 0.5 mile done on the arc trainer.  With the rainy weather the cardio equipment was busy with runners and walkers trying to get their exercise, so I pushed the 30-minute time limit to get and even 3 miles done and then went to another machine to finish my scheduled run for the day. (What a world huh...we can just run indoors now if the weather doesn't permit outside activity...amazing.)  

I felt so much better after exercising.  I told my husband later that I was grateful I could get out and he agreed that he was glad I could get it done too.  I can do exercise DVDs from home, but if I'm going to do a 10K I'm planning on in May I have to run at least three days a week.  Plus, it always feels good to run...slow as it is for me right now it still brings such a good feeling when I'm done.  I.  love. it.

So, anyway,  I had originally thought about putting out some March goals in the beginning of the month and now I'm glad I didn't because I would've failed.  However, I am thinking of making some for April.  

The other day I thought with my life as crazy as it is blogging would appear to be the first activity I could release from my schedule (and many times it seems as if I have); however, blogging is what keeps me on track with my health.  It's my place to come and get out what I'm going through and it's my accountability.  The encouragement I get from comments left or, more importantly, from reading others' posts is something I'm not willing to let go of just yet.  

And because of that I'm already thinking of some simple monthly goals I may come back here tomorrow to tell you about.  Knowing I commit to something on my blog sometimes makes it easier to make sure to get it done.  They won't be mind blowing, but they will be things to help me get back on track and get rid of these extra [stress] pounds and inches I've put on so far this year.  

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Again With Those Plans

What a week... without going into all the details let's just say my Monday didn't go as planned and that kind of threw my whole week off.  Add into that TOM starting mid week and two people bumping into my son's injured leg and causing him to go back a few steps, so to speak, in his healing and I've been in a whirlwind of emotions.  

I've been a bit all over the place and thus haven't blogged.  

My son also has an infection around one of the screw sites, which the doctor reassured us was common and blood work and x-rays (from our overnight ER visit) promised wasn't more than skin deep.  So, on top of hurting from being pushed into he is in pain where that infection.  

You know.... some people say they are working on x, y or z of their New Year's Resolutions and I'm just like .... trying to stay sane and saved now.  :)  

I came across a quote I've seen before that said, "Life is what happens while you're making plans." So, then that is good.  

I'm living life and learning a lot -- and it's the first time my healthy life has really taken a hit with the non-positives going on.  So weird, but at least I'm learning some things through it. 

I do have a nice post brewing about where my mind is with regards to fitness.  I am getting my act together in that area, and in the meantime just trying to keep everything else together as best I can.  

I will say the biggest lesson I'm learning through all of this is that when life throws curveballs the best thing I can do is take care of the basic necessities of life.  

My faith in Jesus, my husband and kids, my home, my health and even taking small moments to reach out to others who may be struggling are the basics that make up who I am.  When I keep those priorities in place I have the power to make it through whatever comes my way.  

It's not easy, but I'm taking things a day at a time.  One foot in front of the other and trying not to let the vex from one situation make me a monster in another.  

Life... yep, definitely what is happening while we are busy making plans, or simply remembering the plans we thought were gonna be just fine.  :) 

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Perfect Card for This Time

So, I have been a fan of Mary Engelbreit's art since high school and was very excited by this new card out in Michael's craft stores right now.
I thought it was a perfectly encouraging sentiment for what I've been going through lately.  There are some things I can not change -- accidents, death, to name a few -- but I can change what choices I make with regards to my health habits.

I even bought the matching notepad to keep on my fridge as a reminder that I can get back on track.

Thank you all for your words of wisdom and encouragement shared on my posts this week.  I truly appreciate the feedback.  It's nothing new, but it's always good to be reminded.

We are having some beautiful spring days here in my neck of the woods, so I'm going to enjoy them this weekend.  I hope you have a nice weekend!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

2 Months Post-Op - with Photos

I thought I'd take a break from posting about my current state of mind and give a little update of my recovery from abdominoplasty surgery.
Today is official two months since my surgery and things are healing up quite nicely.  Almost a month ago my doctor gave me the okay for light cardio exercise; including walking, jogging, elliptical and the bike.  He told me to wait two more months before doing any core work, "including squats and anything that requires core stabilization", he specified.   

I have stitches internally where he tightened up my abdominal muscles and that is what we're waiting on to finish up healing.  I can move about pretty normally now, until I need to do something that requires abdominal strength.  For example, lying down on the bed going directly backwards.  Oh yes... that is when I am reminded that there is still something healing inside.  owie.  Sometimes reaching for something high up brings some stretching sensations as well, so I try and be careful.

My incisions are healing nicely as well.  I've noticed if I forget to put cocoa butter on them they can start itching after a few days.  Actually, that is pretty recent and I'm not sure if it's forgetting cocoa butter or beginning to get sensation back at the incision site.  hhmm... 

For the most part I feel pretty back to normal.  I guess I'd say I'm about 80%.  I think I'm right where I'm supposed to be and that is good.  

Here's a few pictures of me before my run today.  You'll notice in one I'm showing off my Small Personal Items belt.  It used to sit below my gut down around my private area or it rode way up higher on my waist.  I'm a bit tickled that it sits on my abdomen now and stays there.  :) 

I go back to the doctor at the end of April, and by then I should be released to get back to core work, which also means doing some weights and getting better strength back in my core and legs.  I am looking forward to core and strength because it helps a lot with my running.  

So, day by day I am returning to my (new) normal self.  Glory!

My Current State of [Healthiness] Mind - Part 2 - Food

I have a confession...

Though I have succeeded at losing 65-70 pounds over about four years and maintained at least 65 pounds of that loss for over a year I have never felt like I'm a good example of a healthy eater.  

You know how you see some blogs and they post what they are eating daily?  I enjoy those.  The visual learner in me likes to see what people are eating to have the success in their weight loss or maintenance.  However, I've never posted my food for the same reason.

It would be proof that I am not consistently eating healthy.  

My weekly weigh-ins were all the proof I wanted to share.  With a change in weight at least I could say the scale was up or down due to x, y or z, but you [the reader] would never know for sure if I was truly doing all I could to lose the weight when you didn't know what I was eating.  (Which is actually pretty funny when it became obvious after losing only 30 pounds the first year that I wasn't sticking to healthy eating consistently enough.)

Don't get me wrong, I do eat healthier to some extent - both in portions and quality.  You don't lose the amount of weight I have and not have done something right.  The problem is I have fought tooth and nail to clean up my food to where I know I probably need to be.  

My motto has always been "everything in moderation" and I'll be honest that it's been basically because I didn't want to give up certain things.  To be blunt and honest, I wanted to "have my cake and eat it too".  

And I think this is still okay to some extent.  

However, even in my current reading on "debunking diet myths" I am seeing a trend that I was hoping not to find ... Even if we do not need to go through extreme calorie cutting to lose weight (as one writer has been stating-another post for another time) excess sugars, processed foods and basically un-satiating foods are not the best choice for good health.  

Darn it. 

Now, I refuse to jump on any kind of diet bandwagon to lose weight quickly -- my new ending in life has been about changing my habits -- but I am facing the fact that two major things have to change:

  1. My quality of food needs to improve; namely cutting back on the sugars.
  2. I need to be consistent with changing the quality to see the final result of increased energy and health.
Even though I've had success with weight loss I am not exactly looking forward to working on these two areas, but the desire to improve and not fall back into the vicious up/down cycle on the scale motivates me to press on. 

I understand that only time will tell whether or not I truly mean what I'm saying right now, so I don't expect you to even believe that I will change.  At least now you know a lot of where my mind is right now is taking care of what's going into my body.  I know how to move my body and that is coming back slowly but surely. 

Now it's time to dig deep and be honest with myself about how I'm fueling my movements.  *sigh*  True story.

Monday, March 17, 2014

My Current State of [Healthiness] Mind - Part 1

Where to begin?  There is no summing up in a few short sentences where I'm at right now with regards to my health, so this is going to be a long post.  Honestly, I don't expect everyone to have the time to read this, but I need to get it out.

My blog has always been a sort of journal about my weight loss journey, so I'm journaling...because some day I hope to look back and thank the Lord I got through this rough patch in my healthiness journey just like all the other times.  I feel I've fallen off my proverbial health path, but I am getting back up.  That is success in my book.  :)

You see...

In the eight weeks since my abdominoplasty surgery I have learned more about myself and my thoughts towards food and I'm not really happy with what I'm finding.  I don't quite understand it all, but I do know that "eating less and moving more" was easier when...

A) I could still eat whatever I wanted and as long as I ate less I lost weight
B) I could still eat [less of] whatever I wanted because I worked out hard enough that even cutting calories a little resulted in weight loss.  (And I might add training for a half marathon allowed me, even required me, to eat much more...and not gain weight, while also toning up more than ever before.)

Unfortunately, A + B is not really working for me right now.

Prior to my surgery I had sort of a plan so I wouldn't gain weight during my recovery and subsequent break from intense exercise.  I went as far as to set out my protein shake mix on the counter along with my shaker with the intention of making those easy and convenient meals while my family was gone during the day.  My husband and girls would take care of dinner and I even bought some microwave meals for lunch on days I wanted a warmer meal.

But then we had "inclement weather" which lead to my family all being home and my husband cooking more than just dinner.  Now, at first I ate whatever he made and I actually lost some weight after surgery.  I was thrilled.  I wore my body media band and saw that I was still burning a lot of calories even though I was recliner-bound for most of the day.  My husband made yummy, pretty balanced meals and I ate small portions.  I also wasn't snacking between meals, but I was also having dessert nightly.  It was really nice.

Then somehow my brain started reverting back to old eating habits.

Folks, I'm really not sure how it happened.  Was it due to the stress of my mother's death, planning her service, flying to attend her service all while trying to heal from surgery?  Was it eating "non-diet" foods and seeing my scale lower that made me snap?

I'm really not sure.  Seriously.  All I know is I went from eating these "regular" meals to adding in the extra snatches of junk as soon as I was up and about -- mostly upping my sweets and starchy carb intake -- and caring but not caring.  I knew I needed to be careful, but it's almost as if I lost my desire to eat healthy.

The few days I have exercised over the past two weeks I find myself wanting to eat healthier, so I think there is a correlation in there somewhere.  It's like the lack of exercise made me feel lazy with regards to my eating habits too.  At the same time, I have also had moments I simply did not want to return to "dieting", even though I knew I needed to get back on track.

It has been most frustrating.

For the first time since I began losing weight almost five years ago I have now seen what it is to become fairly fit and healthy and then begin to lose some of that.  My muscles have lost muscle tone from the lack of consistent, intense exercise, but more importantly I've really struggled with wanting to eat healthy.

It's almost as if I used the fact that I would lose some muscle tone from the exercise restriction as an excuse to overeat.  This is almost embarrassing to admit, but I found myself saying "I'll get back to regular, intense exercise by May, so I may as well enjoy these extra bits now while I can."

Fortunately, I have not enjoyed how I'm feeling beyond the temporary satisfaction certain food choices have brought.  I feel a bit out of control.

Let me rephrase that... I was feeling a bit out of control.

Over the weekend I made the choice to get back on track to lose the extra weight I've put on and gain back the confidence healthier food choices bring to my life.  There is no magic plan.  I will simply get back to the basics.

This week I plan on making some re-committments and sharing more about my hopes, plans and dreams as I continue on in my new ending in life.  Because as you all know...I refuse to quit.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Pro Runner Keeps It Real About Appearance

First off:  Thanks for the notes about my son...I am glad that as a kid he should heal pretty quickly.  He's hanging in there so far.  :)
I've been wanting to blog about this ever since I received the Runner's World article in my email inbox.  Apparently, pro runner Laura Fleshman was featured on a New York runway sporting fitness apparel and when she saw the shots she made a public statement about how unrealistic they were  -- when she knew she didn't look like that all of the time. 

She bravely wrote a post of her own where she posted pictures of herself from the same week without the "runway look" to show that she has lumps and bumps like the rest of us.  Now, my lumps may be bigger, but my 16-year-old daughters' lumps are about like this lady's, so I made a point to show this post to them.  

Since having my skin removal surgery on my abdomen I've made it a point to talk with my daughters about my motive behind the surgery.  For me, it was about getting rid of a lot of excess skin so I could better fit into clothes.  Yes, I'll be honest in admitting I do love having a flatter stomach.  I still have a little bit of a "belly" when I sit down, but nothing near the bulge that used to come over my pants.

I've done my best to make it clear to my girls that my choice was not because I felt like I needed to achieve a perfect stomach.  I don't want them to grow up, have a couple  babies and feel like they need surgery if their skin stretches out a little.  If they maintain a healthy and fit life like they do now, their stretching a little with leave them with nothing near the extra belly I had.  I try and encourage them to be happy with their body and expect what is realistic, not photoshopped.

Seeing Ms. Fleshman's proof that even the most fittest women do indeed have a bit of a tummy bulge when they are not flexing their abdomen was most encouraging to me.  The fact that she would share honestly about it was also encouraging.  In a world where our young girls, and unfortunately grown women as well, compare themselves to what they see on screen and in print I'm grateful for someone who shared real life.  

Feel free to check out Laura's article here:  Keeping it Real.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Broken Bone and Slow Running

No, I did not break a bone.  But my son did.  In a skiing accident last Thursday evening.  *sigh*  He is fine, suffering a break to his femur and damage to his tibia growth plate under the knee.  The femur has been repaired with a rod and screws and the knee is being stabilized in a full leg cast to try and allow it to heal without being jostled.  Thirteen-year-old boys do jostle quite easily. 

I planned on blogging Friday, but we spent Thursday night driving over six hours to get to the hospital they had taken him to from the youth group ski trip he was on.  It was a busy, sleepless weekend, but we returned home Sunday evening and have since been getting back to some semblance of normal. 


So far, my goal to use the word "plan" for 2014 is causing all kinds of things to go against my plans.  I told my husband I had finally had a normal week of doing all the laundry by myself and cooking and cleaning and now another emergency.  *rolling eyes*  

Don't they say, "The best laid plans of mice and men..." As one nurse said, hopefully the "things come in threes" rule will apply and we can relax now.  I've had surgery, my mom died and my son broke his leg.  Our three for 2014 are done this year.  *smile* (Except my surgery was self-induced, so I'm wondering if it really counts.... hhmm...)

Anyway, my husband took this week off of work to help out around here.  He has lots of time to take off and figured then he can be around to allow me to run errands or such since my son can't travel quite easily until they take this monster cast off.  (Hopefully two weeks)

I took advantage of my husband being home to go for a run in some lovely spring-like weather.  It was so nice, but hard all at the same time. 

Before leaving I told my husband I was going to run 3 miles, but I wasn't worried about speed so I may be later than he'd think.  I told him I'm still planning on doing the 10K in May, but I'm only going for completing it versus making any kind of time goal. 

Yea, then I started running and felt so slow.  It's funny how we can tell ourselves we don't care about the speed, etc., but when it comes down to it we really do care.  At least that's how I felt.  I am running about 12:30/13:00 miles right now and it can be slightly frustrating when I was finally picking up speed for shorter runs after training for my half marathon last summer.

However, I realized that I have to give myself credit because I. have. not. stopped. trying.   I may feel a bit "fatter" because I'm not as toned as I was when running so much last year, but I am still trying to eat better and I am slowly getting back into regular exercise. 

My last regular running was last fall; four months ago.  Combine that with having surgery seven weeks ago and it's no wonder I am a slower runner right now.  

And it's okay. 

I put my shoes on and I went out and ran.  I haven't given up.  In moments like these I have to remind myself of one thing I keep telling my son lately, "It takes patience to recover, but it will get better.".   :)  

Monday, March 3, 2014

Six Weeks Post Op

Today is officially six weeks post my abdominoplasty surgery.   Even though I reported at the one-month mark I felt I should pop in now as well.  :) 

I am walking upright for the most part now.  The stretching that I felt for a while when standing upright only happens when I reach for things up high.  I'm still supposed to be careful about reaching high or bending too much while my internal stitches are healing, but things are much better.  My incisions are healing nicely.  

The only new thing I have to share is that my stomach seems to have relaxed a little to the point that when I am sitting I have a tiny pooch now.  Of course, for the first bunch of weeks I had a binder garment on holding things in so I think my stomach seemed tighter/flatter even when sitting.  As soon as I stand up it is smooth, so I'm not worried.  I also think after I start doing some core work my stomach will tighten up.  For now I am working on holding in my stomach throughout the day for core exercise.  

I can't remember if I mentioned this, but the doctor tightened up my abdominal muscles as part of this surgery.  So the stitching that was placed to tighten things up is what we are waiting on to heal.

Today I went running and it seems to be getting easier every time I go out.  I'm not necessarily close to my previous normal pace, but I can endure longer.  Today I ran 2.60 miles.  I take the first mile to warm up and then allow my body to speed up as it feels comfortable.  For now it's about completing the distances, not so much how fast.  I plan on running a 10K race in May and I think I'll be fine, but I may be a tad slower than in the past.  

My husband commented that he still can't believe how different I look.  I'm not always looking in the mirror, but when I happen to see myself it is indeed neat to see what a difference having the excess skin removed from my abdomen made.  I have no regrets about going through with the surgery.  

A couple of weeks ago I felt like I was never going to be back to normal.  Having been able to go for a few runs and walks I finally feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things with my health and fitness and it's a great feeling.