Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Busted, literally - signs from God

I'm back. I know I haven't been around much. We have been soooo busy, it's unreal. It seems to me that we tried to squeeze an entire summer's worth of activity into the last five weeks, starting with the last week of June and ending today. Wow, I'm exhausted. Since I've been away for a while, I hope you're settled in for a long post...

First, a quick recap. When last I left you, I had managed to make it through vacation bible school week relatively unscathed. In fact, it was one of the best years of VBS that I can remember. And I think the kids had fun, too. There were horses and pig kissing and WAY cool decorations. And yes, I am already annoying people by starting to talk about next year. Anyone who complains is going to go on God's shit list for sure, so watch it! The month of July has been filled with, among other miscellaneous things, the carnival in town, trips to Kokomo Beach (not a real beach, but an awesome - small, un-crowded, clean, cheap - water park, Steve's week off, a Police concert (more on that tomorrow), Camp Anderson, the new Harry Potter book, the county fair, Abby's last dance class until September (I am proud to report that we were on time!), an Indianapolis Indians game with people from church (which I coordinated, thank you very much), the Brickyard (for Steve and Andrew) and Abby's first trip to Club Libby Lu for a Libby Du both on this past Sunday (I don't want to hear any comments about makeup on my three-year-old - it was a special Girls' Day Out), and finally, today, Andrew's first day back to school. This is honestly the first year I can say that I feel relief at having that boy go back to school. Probably because this is the first summer where I have consciously worked to make Andrew feel like there is a difference between the school year and his summer vacation. I have been late to work (9 or 9:30 am late) almost every day the month of July so that he and Abby could sleep in a little more (okay, and so I could sleep in a little, too!); we've let them stay up late (hah, as if implying we actually have any kind of control when it comes to bedtime); we have not turned down any opportunity for parties or swimming or trips to the park or anything else. Like I said, I'm exhausted.

With everything else going on, I've slipped off of my diet plan over the last couple of weeks. I was holding on pretty well for a while, but then...well, let me say that I've learned some things about myself: 1. I am most certainly a stress-eater. I always thought this about myself, but getting myself to a pretty good place with food choices and then having stress rear its ugly head has cemented it. Work has picked up a LOT this month. Some of the stress that I eliminated when I left the Evil Empire and that I didn't have here in Eden while working in Finance has returned now that I am back in HRIS and working with Payroll again. And when I start to feel anxious and stressed, the first thing I want to do is grab a snack. You know, like when Payroll sends me tax balance reconciliation files Thursday afternoon and then follows up with a near-belligerent e-mail on Friday afternoon telling me that anything less than a perfect file by noon on Monday is completely unacceptable because they have to file by Tuesday and they have other things to do to the reports and never mind that they waited until THREE business days before that to look at the balances on a system they JUST WENT LIVE ON. Ahem. Let's move on, before I feel the need to look for some cookies. 2. I also learned concretely that when things with work and family get hectic and something has to give, what gives is me. I'm not saying that because I'm some kind of martyr or want sympathy points (though I wouldn't turn down a medal, you know, if you've got one you've been wanting to give me). It's just the truth. My stuff (tracking my food, exercising, sleeping, etc.) is the easiest to modify, reduce, or give up altogether. For the last few weeks, that's what has happened. And I have missed the little all-about-me life I had started to build: my blogging here and on the kids' site; tracking and (only slightly anally) monitoring my food, exercise, and weight on SparkPeople; walking alone or with Leslie, for no one but me. Sadly, though I didn't know it at the time, the day that marked the beginning of my tumble from the healthy lifestyle wagon was the day that I went for my best walk ever. We visited friends who live in the Illinois countryside, in what we now fondly refer to as Camp Anderson, and I walked about 2 3/4 mile in the middle of nowhere with just me and my thoughts. It was awesome. I did not want to come home. They have peaceful surroundings, five acres of land that is theirs, an inground -heated- pool, and three big dogs, one of which is a yellow lab who wanted to come home with me.

That was a week and a half ago. I had been faltering a bit before that, but since we got back, I'm not sure I've logged anything at all, and I'm pretty sure I haven't done any purposeful walking. I say purposeful because you know there has been plenty of walking, but no Walking, where I strap on my shoes and walk with the intent of walking a certain distance in a certain time frame at a certain speed. In other words, my walking has been running around after my kids, stepping over clutter and laundry and toys and crap in my house, or walking through the Wal-Mart or the grocery trying to remember exactly what it was I was supposed to be buying. The normal stuff.

But then, God looked down upon me and must have thought I needed some help pretty badly - and that I am pretty dense (He's smart like that) - because He started sending me some very clear signs pointing me in big flashing neon to get myself back to where I was before July happened. First, on Sunday, I tried to talk my daughter out of going to church. Yes, it's true. I know! God is going to be doing some serious smiting on my ass. Well, all that time my daughter spends in daycare - away from my horrible heathen influence - must be doing some kind of good because she wouldn't let me out of it. Steve and Andrew had already left for the race and we were running about 15 minutes late and I tried to say we just couldn't go and be that late because the service had already started and she cried. Tears. Because she wanted to go to church. Or maybe because she was sad because she had just realized that her Mommy is going to go to Hell, I'm not sure. So I took the oh-so-subtle hint from the Big Man that I should be getting myself some salvation and we went. And we stayed in the nursery the entire service, except for Children's Sermon and Communion, because she wouldn't sit in the pew and wouldn't let me leave her side. At least I got communion, so my soul should be safe for most of the week...

Then, Steve started running again. He's decided that he needs to lose 15 pounds between now and the Tuesday after Labor Day. That's 15 pounds in 35 days. So he hopped on the treadmill yesterday and again this morning. And he's now decided that the food he's been pushing on me for the last two or three months while I steadfastly (most of the time) resisted is now - now that I've given in to the chocolate chip ice cream calling my name from the freezer - evil. He reads labels. He reviews calorie and fat content. Not that he really needs to. He's a man, after all. He thinks about losing weight, and Poof!, it's gone. I asked if he'd think about me losing some weight, too, so we'll see if that works.

Finally, today, the light went on in my head. I wore my favorite blue pants to work. They've been snug for quite some time, and frankly, snug is being kind. It hurts to button them. But, I haven't worn them for a while, and I have lost some weight. Not much, true, but even over these last few weeks when I haven't been walking and haven't been logging, I haven't gone completely over the deep end. I haven't made especially terrific food choices, but I've still been having a SlimFast shake for breakfast (I actually like them), been behaving relatively well when it comes to portion sizes, and have still managed to lose about 1/2 pound each week. Not great, but at least the number is still going in the right direction. I didn't get my work laundry washed this weekend, so my selection was limited and I thought I could get away with wearing the blue pants. The pants were still rather tight in the waistband (they fit everywhere else, I swear!), but I managed. I brought my lunch today - being goodish with homemade lasagna and cottage cheese with pineapple - but it was our technical consultant's last day, so some of the guys here were taking him out and invited me. Now, I don't get many chances to hang with "the boys" here at work, so I accepted. We went to Bellacino's where I gave in to my longing for their baked ziti. Oh, it is quite delicious. And I forgot to ask them to bring one dry breadstick instead of the two pieces of delicious garlic bread, so I just went ahead and ate them anyway. But their portion of ziti isn't enormous - at least not by my standards - and I thought I would be fine. When we got back, I headed to the restroom (two Diet Cokes with lunch) and that's when it happened. My third - and trust me on this, FINAL - sign from God pointing me back to my path. My zipper busted. Broke. Unzippable. And I was headed back in to training class. Lovely. So I managed to find two safety pins and a rubber band and I put my pants back together so I could make it through the day. Luckily, I wore a relatively long shirt today, so no one noticed. Or at least, no one pointed and laughed when I walked by. Well, okay, maybe they did point and laugh, but that's kind of a normal occurrence when I walk by anyway. Point is, I get it. I'm there. I understand. I do not need to be hit on the head. Or popped in the eye with a(nother) flying zipper to get the hint. Tonight, I'm going home to a salad and a walk around the neighborhood.

Oh, and I know this was all God's doing. Because if it had just been life screwing with me, the zipper would have broken at lunch. In front of all the boys. God is holding off on that level of smiting until I do something really terrible, like have sex in the living room.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Doughnuts and noodles, back pain, Leslie, and me

I have this friend. Um, I really do have more than one friend, but right now, we're just talking about this one. She is pretty awesome. In the last several months, she has been working hard to change her habits and attitudes toward eating, exercising, and herself. And OMG, am I impressed! She, who was once snotty and hard to work with, is now one of the most positive people I know. Recently, she had some trouble at the airport. Not all that long ago, this would have been a MAJOR disruption to her happiness. Now, it's barely a blip - she mentions it, acknowledges the frustration, and then says, "Oh, well..." Wow. And her attitude toward diet and exercise should really qualify her for Super Woman status. I am completely in awe and incredibly proud of the work she's doing for her health. Now she'll live a nice long, healthy life so I can whine to her whenever I need to! If you didn't know that it's all about me by now, people, you should seriously have been paying better attention.

Anyway, because I like to just copy what other people do (increasing the all-about-me-ness), I'm trying to be just like her. I am struggling a bit here in the beginning. But I have signed up for SparkPeople - which I LOVE. I am tracking my food, exercising more than I was, and have started walking with an actual commitment to it. I feel better, not so much in the physical sense yet (I haven't actually lost much weight yet since I just started), but just because I have taken steps in the right direction. However...

...even with all of this good vibe energy, I have this problem. It's called Food. More specifically, my all-or-nothing-I-may-never-eat-again approach to it. I'm better. Really. Yesterday, for example, I refused a refill (a FREE refill) on my Diet Coke at lunch. Because I didn't need it. I can't even tell you how amazing it is to read that sentence and believe it. Right now, I have a Diet Coke sitting RIGHT NEXT TO ME on my desk. And it's unopened; I'm drinking flavored water. Seriously. But I still have issues. Issues with names like Mel-O-Cream Chocolate Long John. If you don't know Mel-O-Cream, that's because you've probably never lived in Springfield, Illinois. It's Springfield's version of Dunkin Donuts, but more homemadey. I visited my mom this weekend, who, after watching me struggle with food decisions all weekend, decided it would be a great idea to go pick up a dozen doughnuts for us all on Sunday morning. She left while the kids and I were still sleeping, so I didn't have a chance to beg her not to bring them back. She mentioned they were there and I thought "I can have one doughnut. It's not the best breakfast, but I'll eat well for lunch. It will be okay." And so I ate four of them. Yes. Four. As in three more than one. When I went to put them in my daily log, it made my stomach hurt to type it. I looked up the calories - over 1100 calories for my breakfast. My goal range for the day is 1200-1550. So that's bad. And combined with what I did on Saturday, that's REALLY bad.

We went to my grandma's for dinner on Saturday. Where she made all my favorites: barbecued chicken (I ate 1 leg without the skin, not bad), fresh green beans - with bacon (two big spoonfuls, no bacon), German potato salad (1 small scoop), and the "cherry" on top, chicken and noodles. Oh, when I die, I hope it's death by noodles. If I could wrap myself up in them, I would, except then I'd eat them, and be naked, and that would be bad. But you get my point. I love love LOVE them. Probably more than the Mel-O-Cream Chocolate Long John, if that's possible. And I'm not the only one. We fight over who gets the last of them. We gobble our servings so we can be first back for seconds (and thirds...). Yes, I ate THREE helpings. I knew it was wrong. I knew I should resist. I thought about it and tried, really TRIED not to, but the siren song of the Kluski egg noodle was too strong. I succumb. And apparently, relinquished any sense of will power I had been managing up to that point. Hence the three pieces of Angel Food Cake later that evening and the doughnut incident the next morning.

Even with that um, not-so-strong weekend, I'm not doing too badly. I'm making (most of the time) better decisions, and am least more conscious about what I eat. And there's the exercising! I'm walking, and liking it. I sent a daily 11am walking invite to a group of women I work with, and am excited about it. The heat right now is a bit of a bummer, but I think if I can find a conference room, we could just use my Leslie Sansone 1 mile DVD. Yesterday was Day 1 with Leslie, and she is so cute. Happy and perky, but not in that syrupy Denise Austin kind of way. Don't get me wrong, Denise is great. I'm just not as happy to be doing what she's doing as she is. Leslie is cool though. Very laid back in a, 'Hey, I'm walking, why don't you walk with me' kind of way that makes you feel like it's no big deal, it's just walking. And my favorite line from the DVD: "Woo! It's okay to say 'Woo' sometimes!" That just makes me happy for reasons I don't understand. My only issue is that I have developed severe lower back pain. I'm sitting here now with a WellPatch strapped to my back and Alleve coursing through my veins. The great thing about it (yes, great. about back pain. stick with me.) is that it doesn't matter. More than wallowing and whining about the pain (although there is still plenty of wallowing and whining, trust me), I'm kind of pissed off. I want to walk. Did you catch that? I WANT to walk. In the 90 degree, 90 percent humidity weather. I brought my shoes and t-shirt to work today, even though I didn't get here until 11am because I was having a hard time maneuvering this morning. If I can, I'm still going to walk later. Maybe just once around the building instead of twice. Maybe a lot slower than I'd like. But I am going to go out there and try. Or at least find an empty conference room and have my pal Leslie walk with me.

You'll probably be hearing a lot more about this journey. I'd like to tell you that my goal is to post here every day, diet related or not. But let's not lie. My real goal - and this is pretty sad - is to get more than six hours of sleep each night this week. Um, right. I realize that six hours is less than the recommended amount. I'm starting small. With a goal that I actually have a small chance of accomplishing. If that works, we'll up it to six and a half for next week. But for this week, I'm aiming for six. And as sad as that is, posting every day might interfere with that. Either that or posting will interfere with working (like right now). So odds are good that I won't make it here every day this week. But I will be around. Don't you worry. I haven't told you about Vacation Bible School yet!!

Friday, July 6, 2007


I got some bad news on Tuesday. A friend has been diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. I consider this friend a surrogate mother of sorts. She and my mom have so much in common, and are still so different. My friend has moved far away, so I don't get to see her much, but that doesn't make her less close in my heart. I haven't called her yet - I was told this news by another friend. I want to, and I will. But right now, I'm sad and worried. And I'm not sure what to say, or how to say it. She means so much to me and I want to say the right thing.

And I also got some good news to balance the bad on Tuesday. Another friend - who also lives far away - had her baby. A beautiful baby girl. She is so precious and cute and has soft squishy cheeks like all new babies should have. I wish I could be there to hold her and smell that sweet baby smell. Of course, that might create discussions at home that Steve is not ready to have...

Happy and sad. Good news and bad. It's the way of the world, isn't it? That whole God-works-in-mysterious-ways thing. Either way, if you say prayers, please include both of my friends. Both for thanksgiving for life and for hope for the future. The needs are the same, no matter the situation.