Sunday, February 26, 2012


Apparently, the desire to exercise does not come with the purchase of athletic shoes. Wouldn’t that be great? Though, I should re-state that. I “want” to exercise, but not enough to fit it in when my days get busy. I did walk on Monday – in the wind and rain, no less. But the remainder of my week was crazy busy and I didn’t think it through enough. I need to make a schedule.  Although cold, it felt good to be outside. Boys 1 and 2 ran ahead splashing in every puddle they could and chasing any poor bird that dared look for worms on the grass in the center of the track at the local middle school. I didn’t push myself too hard but I tried to keep a steady pace. When my nose was numb, I called the boys and we headed back to the car. I think this week I’ll keep it simple and just walk on my own street.

My sister has been going to the gym for over a year now. She works out most week-days and has a schedule for her day. She, and anyone that knows her well, knows when she’ll be at the gym and she doesn’t let just anything creep into that time. If someone asks her to do something, she just says, “Sorry, that’s when I go to the gym.” That’s what I need. I keep thinking, “When boy 2 enters kindergarten in the fall, I’ll have every morning (or afternoon) free to schedule as I need.”  But September? I can’t wait that long. That’s how I got into this mess – putting the good things off for too long. I would like to make my exercising about me and having the boy(s) with me makes that harder, but not impossible. I could wait for Lobster to be home, but knowing myself the way I do, waiting until the end of the day to walk is not a good idea. I’m tired and sore by dinnertime and walking will be the last thing I will want to do. Working around drop-off times for school, pre-school, volunteering, and church meetings will be tricky, but not impossible.

In one of my boys’ books, called “I Want to Be Somebody New!” by Robert Lopshire, is a story about Spot. Spot is done doing the same old thing he’s done before and changes into other animals to try them out. First, Spot changes into an elephant and asks his friends what they think. This part always makes me laugh, but at the same time cringe because I resemble their remark. They say:

“But being that big cannot be fun. Say! You must weigh at least a ton! You cannot walk up on this fence…or squeeze between these circus tents. The door of your house is now too small. You can’t get through that door at all! You can’t go here. You can’t go there. You can’t go much of anywhere! You cannot sit in your old chair. Your new rear end won’t fit in there.”

Spot eventually learns that being himself is the best of all and everyone is happy. It makes me wish I could just snap my fingers, 1 – 2 – 3 and change into something new.  But unless you are or have been big, you just don’t understand how hard some of the simple things are. Things like sitting in some chairs. My (not so) new rear end won’t fit some chairs. Showers are never a quick process. And putting on socks and shoes can be difficult. It’s embarrassing to admit that it’s hard to put on your own shoes, but the point I’m trying to make (and taking a long time getting to) is that the process of getting ready is inconvenient enough to make me not want to do it. Having well-fitting shoes helps a lot, believe me. And before I get offers to help me put on my shoes – I can do it. It sometimes just takes a while.  

If I’m ever going to make this big rear end get any smaller, I’ve got to put my shoes on my fat feet and get moving – which brings me back to my original point. I need a routine. I’ve got to know that at such and such o’clock, I will be walking and so nothing else can be scheduled then. Slipping it into my day is not working. It’s too easy to slip it right out again. A routine is not boring. It is a safety net. Just like I created the habits that got my health into this mess, I can create the habits that will make things better. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

One Foot In Front Of The Other

I was fitted for walking shoes at Gallagher Fitness Resources this week. I wouldn’t have chosen to go there on my own. I would have thought they were a bunch of fitness freaks who would judge me. I don’t typically set myself up to be embarrassed. So, I was pleasantly surprised at how welcoming and, above all, helpful Susan was. She looked at my legs and feet and the way I walked and then came back with several choices for me to try. She was incredibly patient and truly wanted me to feel good in my shoes. I can’t tell you how happy I am to have gotten shoes there (thank you, Kari!).

My typical shoe shopping experience is to go to a store with as much “self-help” as possible. I haven’t wanted a salesperson looking at my feet or legs (which are swollen, rough, and ugly) and evaluating my need. The idea of someone being grossed out by me is a something I think a lot about and I especially don’t want to come face to face with it. I think, too, to save money I have shopped at places where  the staff is not knowledgeable or experienced and so they would not be helpful even if they tried. I can see how flawed my thinking was. I may pay more for shoes, but my shoes will fit and feel good which means that I will wear them and probably exercise more.

I think I’ve forgotten how to walk right. I’ve been wearing flip flops just about exclusively for a couple of years now. They are so easy and convenient – no bending over, no tying. They fit my fat feet and they are so quick when running out the door. But with my fabulous new shoes on, I’ve noticed that I still clench my toes to hold my shoes on. I guess it will take a while to retrain myself how to walk. It’s silly, the things we do to ourselves.

So I’m starting to walk tomorrow. I know that being outside in the fresh air will be so good for me. I know that being active is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle. I think I won’t feel so old, either. Most importantly, if I'm outside walking, I won't be inside feeding my face. Lobster sent me this quote from an article on, written by Laurie Tarkan,
Exercise is known to help people cope with stress by improving moods and lowering anxiety.  Studies show that physically active people are less reactive to stress than non-active people, and people who exercise cope better with stress from all aspects of their life.
This is something I can sure use. I’m sure everyone at home will benefit from my exercising. You know the old saying, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” 

Monday, February 13, 2012

French Fried Stress?

I think I was a little cocky in thinking that I wouldn’t have to change much to lose weight. I thought that because I have so much to lose, that at first, it would just slide right off. I have lost a little over 2 pounds in the past month. It’s not so much sliding as oozing.

I have been eating better. I eat my salad for lunch most days and my eating at night has been cut down to only a night or two a week. But, as I’ve talked about before, eating proper serving sizes is really hard for me. I know it’s about re-training myself and just doing it every day.

I was thinking about when I put my weight on. In the past 6 years I have packed on about 90 pounds – 15 pounds per year. I can’t help but notice that it coincides with my becoming a mom. I’d been waiting and praying for children for over 10 years. Fertility treatments and artificial insemination didn’t work and adopting through an agency was taking such a long time. So we were trained as foster parents, hoping to adopt and we were blessed with the placement of a beautiful 13-year-old foster daughter and then, a few months later, with the cutest not-so-little 20 month old boy. There was a definite learning curve instantly parenting a half-grown child and a toddler. When our foster daughter (a supposed permanent placement), went back to live with her birth family, the stress and sadness over her leaving was overwhelming. During the process of her family making the required changes, I felt like I had to hold a lot of it in and be outwardly supportive of her choice, although I knew it would be so hard for her there. I also had boy #1 here who needed and deserved my best love and attention.

That’s when my night eating really got going. When the house was quiet and the kids were in bed, I ate my stress in my dinner leftovers. I downed my sadness with a bowl of ice cream. And I felt better for a little while. The routine turned to habit and here I am. The worst part (other than gaining the weight) is that the stress and sadness didn’t go away. I worked through nothing. I just buried it in food. Of course, pain can lessen with time. Stress comes and goes with life. My foster daughter and I are still in touch. She has chosen a rough road for herself. I love her just as much, but it has evolved to more a friendship than parental love.

Being a parent, as much as I love it, is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Losing weight is an extremely close second. My challenge is to find a way to work out stress and other emotional situations (happening DAILY) that doesn’t involve food or taking it out on my family. Exercise is going to have to be a big part of that. I was hoping to lose more weight before I added in the exercise so I wouldn’t hurt so much, but it doesn’t look like that’s an option for me. I hope I can squeeze my poor swollen feet into my walking shoes. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

He's My Lobster!

It has been a week! Lobster went out-of-town Thursday and well, all I can say is that being a single parent is hard. My husband has travelled for most of our married life. That’s the way of a salesman. Before kids, it was kind of nice having some time to myself, eating cereal (or a bag of potato chips) for dinner with no one to complain about the meatless meal. Or cleaning the house and having it stay the way I liked it since I was the only one there.  But now that the boys are here with me, it’s almost torture being the only one to feed, clean, clothe, and entertain. It’s exhausting and I don’t really know how actual single parents do it day in and day out. I have the utmost respect for them and the many hats they have to wear. Having Lobster gone does make me really feel grateful for what he does when he’s home. So it’s been a bit of a stressful week. We’ve already determined that I don’t handle stress well. It’s a good thing we don’t have any potato chips in the house tonight.  I totally lost it earlier. Boys 1 and 2 were doing what they do best and I just lost it. You moms out there – don’t you just hate that? I guess what I hate most is the guilt that comes when it’s quiet. As I told boy 1 when I kissed him (grudgingly) good night, “We’ll try again tomorrow.”

In April, Lobster and I will have been married for 18 years. Man that makes me feel old. It just sounds like such a big number. Just a five more years, and I will have been married for as long as I was single. We met in 1993 and married in 1994. It seems like forever ago, but at the same time just yesterday.  Do you remember the TV show “Friends”? It was THE show to watch and I liked it a lot. I loved the tension between Ross and Rachel and wanted them to get together. There was an episode in 1996 when Phoebe explained to Ross that he needed to relax and know it would work out because Rachel was his lobster. If I have figured out how to do it, there should be a link to the segment somewhere on today’s post. It’s one of my favorite episodes. Anyway, since then, I’ve called my husband my lobster. It’s an amazing feeling when love works out. Especially after all the times it doesn't. I knew pretty early that Lobster and I were supposed to be together. We, like everyone else, have had our ups and downs, but I have never, ever questioned my choice to stand by his side.

When we met and dated and married, I was almost half my current weight. I am still that same woman in my head. It’s quite a shock every time I see a picture of myself or look in a full-length mirror because it is so different from what I think I look like. It’s embarrassing to admit that to anyone, but I think it’s important to be honest and to know the truth. I’ve been fooling myself for too long. We have to know what is before we can change it.  I have never been skinny. I am a large woman and even at my lowest weight, I was what one might call curvy. I’m ok with that. I would be totally ok with that right now. But I can’t even think about it. Even that is too far away. I need to work on small, realistic goals. Maybe I need the 12-step program. I am an addict. I know that I need to step up the accountability. I’m feeling discouraged that I’m not doing better. But, I’ve been trying to remember what my sister wrote to me in an email a week or so ago. “Don't listen to those negative thoughts in your head.  Listen to Heavenly Father.  He tells you that you are wonderful and can do hard things.”  I need to take it one day at a time – because we can try again tomorrow.