Saturday, December 17, 2011

This Mom's Day Off

Originally, my mom and I had planned to meet Friday morning, but because I didn't want to miss my CrossFit class, and mostly because she is really sweet (and not-very-easily swayed), she agreed to meet me on Thursday instead.  So, on Thursday evening, we met for dinner somewhere between here and there (really close to the middle of nowhere, about 2.25 hours from 'here'; a little closer to 'there') so that she could take my newly-turned-two-year-old for the entire weekend.  We arranged this so that my husband and I could attend his work Christmas party on Friday, and then go out for dinner (and do a little shopping) in a nearby larger city on Saturday night to celebrate my birthday a few days early.

Friday morning was really strange...  I have become accustom to having a noisy house, filled to the brim with sounds of crashing HotWheels and tumbling blocks; but it was eerily quiet.  I kept thinking I was hearing the early morning stirrings of my little guy, only to remember that he was snug in bed at Grandma and Grandpa's.  I was stuck somewhere between feeling excited about being childless for a weekend and sad because I was missing my ornery little shadow.  I wasn't quite sure what to do, my husband was at work and I had an entire day to myself.  I am not used to being alone, I'm always in mom-mode (in fact, once when I was driving, I mooed upon seeing field of cows, expecting to hear a moo in response from the back seat, only to realize I was alone in the car).

Below you will find a photo-documentation of this mom's day off.

What am I going to do with all this free time today?

I'll work on my muscles at CrossFit;
Mill around downtown and buy a new gym bag;
Kick my feet up and relax;
Take a long shower in the middle of the day (complete with shaved legs),
followed by some facial exfoliation;
Read my library book;
Go to the grocery store, then take a nap with my
best girl Daisy (who, by the way, has been acting like
a very happy puppy while being relieved of her big-sister duties);
Get dolled up for my husband's work Christmas party;
Master couple self-photography;
Pick up our best friends;
Have lots of girl-talk at screaming volume due to loud music;
Go see 10:00pm showing of New Year's Eve...
With our best friends, of course.
Thank you, Mom and Dad, for taking the munchkin for a few days.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Better Today

As an adult, there are few moments when we can truly be proud of ourselves.  Don't get me wrong, I have many proud mama and proud wife moments.  Even lots of proud sister, proud aunt, and proud daughter moments.  But how often do we really get to feel pride in our own accomplishments, in our own abilities?

In case you were curious, I Googled 'pride' and came up with a bunch rainbows.
I do love my gay pals, but that's not the object of this particular post.
I'm excited to say that, at this moment, I feel proud of myself.  I am officially down 80 lbs.  I don't know many people who can say that (I am aware of the negative connotations of this; namely that I allowed myself to become obese thereby gaining the need to lose a large amount of weight).  I began this journey at 257 and am now down to 177.  I am getting closer and closer to my finish-line goal of 150.  When I step on the scale, I can hardly believe what it's telling me.  When I put on my formerly tight clothes, I am shocked that they now hang on me.  When I look in the mirror, I sometimes have a hard time recognizing my face.  I feel like I am finally able to see my leaner self for what it is, but my brain is having a hard time registering that it's actually me.

There are things that are different about being 80 lbs smaller.  For example, when squeezing through a small space, I always feel panic that there won't be enough room for me.  When polishing my toes, I still assume it will be difficult and the task will make me become out of breath.  I brace myself to bend down to pick up an item off of the floor, because I still feel like it will be difficult.  Upon approaching an upward flight of stairs, there is always a fleeting moment of dread and panic.  The good thing is that I generally have a sense of relief when I find that I can more easily squeeze through a small space, self-pedicures are a delight, and I can get up a flight of stairs in nothing flat.  It's just taking time to get used to my new energy levels, my new abilities, my smaller body.

Sometimes I like to get in touch with my
inner rock star when I work out.
I have had a few other moments of pride recently.  For my son's 2nd birthday party, I bought a party sized bag of M&Ms.  I was using the red, green, and yellow candies to create a stoplight-inspired treat to serve alongside his Radiator Springs cake.  Because I tend to over-prepare for things, I sorted the entire bag of M&Ms into two groups: red, green, and yellow; and blue, orange, and brown.  The prideful moment came when I closed both containers and realized that I hadn't eaten a single piece.  This may not seem like a huge deal to you, but this was a giant accomplishment for me.

What you need to understand is that there were times in the past that I probably would have eaten the entire giant bag of candy (resulting in a second purchase of M&Ms or altogether foregoing stoplight treats).  The difference with this moment was that I didn't feel like I was withholding anything from myself.  I didn't feel deprived.  I felt okay with not having any chocolate.  In fact, the sorted M&Ms sat on my counter for several days and went untouched (by me, at least... my husband's sweet tooth is a whole other story) until it was time to make the treats (I didn't indulge at that point either).  I allowed myself a small amount of dessert the day of the party, and I felt satisfied.

There was a time that my sugar cravings were so intense,
I would turn into a wretched beast until I had something sweet.
My participation in the CrossFit program at my gym has also given me many moments of feeling proud.  A month ago, I couldn't run for more than a minute (or at the very most, two) at a time -- you may even remember me saying that if you ever see me running, you should run too, or call the police.  But last Friday, I ran a mile.  A MILE!  It was split in half by a fairly intense 21-15-9 formatted (towel rows, push-ups, and sit ups) workout.  But I ran, nonstop, for a half mile at a time.  This is a big deal for me.  I still don't love running, but I feel proud that I can run.

Our CrossFit coach is continually pushing us to work harder, to challenge ourselves, to get stronger.  I appreciate that, and with the encouragement from him and my CF sisters, I feel like I am able to work harder, to challenge myself more each day, and I am definitely getting stronger.  I will admit, many of our workouts make me cuss.  I generally try to watch my mouth, but I turn into a sailor during our workouts of the day (WODs).

Today's workout pushed me to my physical limit.  After a physically intense warm-up, our workout today was 'Karen'.  Karen consists of 150 wall ball shots.  I hate wall ball shots with an intense passion that burns deep in my core (not only do you have to get the weighted ball all the way up to the 90 foot ceiling <I might be exaggerating>, you have to squat down until your booty hits a marker set by our coach, who believes in my squatting abilities much more than I do).  I nearly quit.  At about 25, I had myself convinced I was pregnant and that I needed to stop this workout immediately (it was too much in my delicate condition).  For the record I am not pregnant (I picked up an EPT on the way home).  At 50, the ball hit me in the face.  At 75, I thought I was going to die.  At 100, I started to cry (seriously) and almost walked away.  At 125, I was sure I was going to die (and told everyone "'Karen' is a b*%!@" -- I told you, CrossFit makes me have a potty mouth).  The other girls finished minutes before me and I told myself that I should just give up.  But that was my former fat girl talking to me.  My CF sisters and coach cheered me on, counted with me and helped me get to the end.  I completed the workout.  I could barely walk and it took me 10 minutes 58 seconds, but I finished nonetheless.  I was exhausted, I was wobbly, I was drenched in smelly sweat; but I was proud.

This is not me.  My squat marker was MUCH
lower than where she's squatting.
I might be exaggerating.
I guess the point I'm getting at is that it feels amazing to be able to say: "I did that."  It feels amazing to be able to be proud of yourself.  You don't have to do an extreme workout to feel this way, you just have to be able to say: "I tried hard, and I am better today than I was yesterday."

Be healthy.  Challenge yourself.  And thanks for keeping me In Good Company.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


I'm not certain, but I don't think that I have spent more than four weekends at home in the past four months.  Insanity.  Burning the candles at both ends.  All of that.  On top of all of the weekend traveling, it's deer season for my avid-hunter-husband, so I've been on my own with the munchkin quite a lot.  I found a sign that says, "We interrupt this marriage for hunting season."  How appropriate.

I learned of a woman whose husband sends her a dozen roses at the beginning of deer season each year.  Upon telling my husband this, he said "So you're saying I need to start sending you flowers?"  I said, "No, I'm saying you need to start sending me shoes."  Priorities, ladies!

Speaking of shoes... I was finally able to reward myself with a pair of Vibram Five Fingers!  I nearly bought them early when I was stuck at 181 for over a week, I kept telling myself 'close enough'.  But I made myself wait.  The day I got to 180, we took a detour in our road trip so I could get them.

I asked the sales clerk to try on a pair of his Vibrams (pronouncing it "VI-brums").  He promptly said "Okay, a little education for you... it's actually pronounced 'VEE-brums'."  I strained in order to keep from rolling my eyes at his Tim Gunn voice.  The style I selected was the Bikila (which, as I was politely informed, I was also saying incorrectly).  Bikila actually rhymes with tequila -- this I can remember.

Helpful-Harry was super impressed with my ability to get my new shoes on so quickly, without help.  This left me to wonder what kinds of people come in to try on shoes.  Aside from my husband calling my new gym shoes my "freak-of-nature-shoes", I've really been enjoying them.  Setting a goal for myself, with a reward at the end, was a great motivator.  Now I just need to figure out what to get when I hit 160.  Something tells me diamonds are in order...

Be healthy.  Reward yourself.  And thanks for keeping me In Good Company.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


Here is what I learned today: Fran is an ogress*.

*I am using the word ogress in place of a less-kind word for a mean lady -- gotta keep it kid-friendly, folks. 

No I haven't stooped to bad-mouthing my frenemies online; the Fran I'm referring to was today's WOD in CrossFit.

After a grueling warm-up (seriously, whoever invented Burpees is not my friend <although I think they would have been easier if my pants wouldn't have kept trying to fall down>), and some lessons on form and technique; we jumped into Fran.

My CrossFit sisters and I speculated that the workouts are named after people who died doing CrossFit.  Seems logical.  We learned, however, that there is a set of classic CrossFit workouts that are all named after women and are referred to as 'The Nasty Girls'.  This is a fun fact that I found to be incredibly amusing - and I laughed an inappropriate amount.

Anyway, back to Fran... Fran is a 21:15:9 format and is performed for time.  The workout consists of 21 Thrusters (I used 25 lbs), 21 Pull-ups, 15 Thrusters, 15 Pull-ups, 9 Thrusters, 9 Pull-ups.  My time was 3:41, which I am proud of, but I don't want to disillusion you.  I do not yet have the forearm strength to complete a standard pull-up (I performed jumping pull-ups, with the bar only 6 inches above my head) and the front-squat portion of my Thrusters is not nearly low enough.
Even though I know I am not where I want to be with my workouts, I can feel myself improving each time, not only in strength, but in endurance.  This is only my second week into CrossFit and I can tell a huge difference in body, the way I feel (I'm sore in places I didn't even know existed), and in the quality of my workouts.  I am addicted and I think I am becoming an adrenaline junkie.  When I leave the group training session, I am so pumped up about what I have completed that I find myself looking forward to next time.  Also, I ran -- yes ran -- following CrossFit both days this week.  My running didn't last very long, but this is a huge deal for me. My body is becoming stronger each day.  Even my Yoga form is improving.  And, I'm proud to announce that I am no longer plateaued at 183, today I weighed in* at 181 (this means I am one pound away from getting my Vibrams).

*I am not putting too much emphasis on weight, I am just really excited about seeing continual progress, and doubly excited about getting to reward my progress with new shoes.

Drenched in sweat following a WOD.
I know I mentioned this in my last post, but I so love the company of the girls who are on this journey with me.  Each time I go to class, I worry that I won't be able to do the WOD or that I might look silly (or worse -- fat).  I know that without those ladies (and our fantastic trainer, Chad) cheering me on, I would have already quit this program one hundred times over.  I would have deemed it too hard, said my body wasn't ready for it, called it for fitness fanatics.  And, you know what?  It is hard (Last Friday's WOD was probably physically the hardest thing I've ever done, aside from childbirth), my body screams at me during the workouts, and maybe it is a bit fanatical.  But it's fun.  So fun.  And I'm not going to let negative thoughts stop me from continuing.  I know that each person in class is learning something new about herself (endurance, perseverance, will-power, strength, coordination, etc.).  I am so excited to keep going on this journey, to keep learning, and to watch my CrossFit sisters grow along side me.

Our CrossFit class (minus Lisa): Me, Kerri, Olivia, Mary Kay, Shelly, Robin, Heather, and Chad (our trainer)
Be healthy.  Go do something that makes you sweat.  And thank you for keeping me... In Good Company.

--- Because I didn't mention it, and just in case you are curious, here is Monday's WOD.  You can view stats and times in the comments section on each individual post.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

CrossFit Day #1

I am not nearly as strong - physically - as I thought I was.  I have still been hitting the gym 5 days a week and loving the results of a more tone physique (although I know I still have a long way to go before I am able to call this body a 'physique').  Lately, however, I have felt like my workout routine is getting a little stale. I've been feeling like my body knows what to expect and that I'm not challenging myself like I should be. It's hard to want to stay at the gym when you are feeling bored with your workout.  I have also been feeling a bit discouraged due to a nasty weight plateau (I'm currently at 183 and holding -- time to start back up with my food journal) and, as always, the body dismorphia*.

*The body dismorphia does seem to be getting a little better, but I am still having a hard time not seeing myself as the fattest woman in every room.  I hope that, in time, I will be able to see the thinner person in the mirror instead of the 'Ginormica' who lives in my brain.  I want to be able to focus on how far I've come, instead of how far I still have to go.*

The gym I attend has recently adopted the CrossFit program. I have always wanted to try CrossFit (and have seen so many of my Yoga ladies have great success with it), but have been terrified and intimidated by the intensity of the workouts. Terrified. I don't like looking clumsy or weak, and I have been so afraid that joining would make me appear to be both. In confiding this to a CrossFit participant, she said, "I am terrified every day when I go, but you get addicted to the terror."  November CrossFit group classes are being offered at a special introductory rate, so I figured what the heck and signed up.  I asked the instructor if the classes would be very cardio intensive.  He said it depends on the day.  I told him that he should make sure to brush up on his CPR skills.  I'm not certain that he appreciated my humor.

This morning was CrossFit workout day #1.  I was so afraid when I arrived, mostly because I had no idea what to expect.  We began with some fun, yet crazy, warm-ups (which included: the inch-worm, the prisoner walk, the alligator, the crazy lunge side angle pose thing, skipping, another type of skipping which closely resembled The Running Man, sit-ups, full range push-ups, ring rows, and a few other types of high-knee marching -- I'm certain I'm forgetting something).  We followed up with some 'Squat Therapy' (which isn't at all like retail therapy... false advertising?  I think so).  Squat Therapy is likely what they used to torture prisoners at Alcatraz when they got out of line.  Probably.

I thought we were getting close to being done.  I thought wrong.  We heavily practiced proper form and technique (which, as a Yoga instructor, I highly appreciate) for Dead Lifts and Shoulder Presses.  This is all new to me.  Yes I lift weights 5 days a week, but I use weight machines, which is totally different from free-weights.  The form and technique practice was followed by the Workout of the Day (or WOD).  Today's WOD was a timed practice of our new skills, which entailed 21 Dead Lifts (45 lbs), 21 Shoulder Presses (20 lbs), 15 Dead Lifts, 15 Shoulder Presses, 9 Dead Lifts, 9 Shoulder Presses.  I completed this in 3 minutes 59 seconds.  I think the fastest time in our 8-person class was right around 3 minutes.

After class I had my body fat percentage measured for maybe the first time ever.  I knew that it wasn't something I wanted to know, but it was something I needed to know.  Body composition is so much more important than weight and BMI.  My BF% is currently 30.3 (I so wish I would have measured it at my heaviest).  I know I have a lot of work to do still, but I feel like I am on a great path to living healthy.

Shoulder Press
My favorite part of the whole CrossFit experience today, was the camaraderie between all of the ladies.  I've never been on a real sports team, but today I felt like I was part of something amazing.  Encouragement and clapping and you-can-do-its abound.  Even though my body aches, my legs are screaming at me, and my arms are twitching; I can't wait to go back on Friday, and then again on Monday.  I think my friend was right, the terror is addicting.  And so is the feeling of accomplishment, and knowing that my body can and will get stronger.

Be healthy.  Pump some iron.  And thank you for keeping me... In Good Company.

Click here to follow McPherson Family YMCA CrossFit on Blogspot.

Shopping Adventures

I've been MIA from Blogspot lately.  Sorry about that.  But don't worry, I'm not totally AWOL, I've been in proper attendance for all of my important Facebook and Pinterest meetings.  I've also been crafting up a storm lately (just in case you are curious about what I do when I'm not being mommy, pumping iron, or staring at my computer).

A while back, I told you about how miserable it is to shop as a fat girl.  I don't know what has changed (besides shedding 74 lbs, of course), but recently I had a really great shopping experience.  The first in years.  My husband suggested that I go buy a few shirts for myself, since my wardrobe is down to almost nothing besides my workout wife-beaters (which, while comfortable, don't seem to impress people at formal events).  *Question... do people still call them 'wife-beaters', or is that no longer considered PC?*  Upon entering the store, I wasn't sure whether or not to go to the 'plus-sized' department.  I decided against it and made my way to the fitting room, armed with loads of shirts sized XL.

None of them fit.  But not in the way I'm used to.  They were too big!  Holy crap.  I waved down a sales girl and requested size Large replacements.  She obliged and told me to let her know if I needed to go down to Mediums (nice try, princess).  The Larges fit great and I actually felt good in the clothes I was trying on!  I wound up with more loot than my husband probably intended (but I did shop the clearance racks), but I now at feel like I have appropriate clothes to wear on non-gym occasions.  Hooray.
Look Mom, they aren't all grey!

Treat your body well.  Who knows, you may get a new wardrobe out of the deal.  Thanks for keeping me In Good Company.

Monday, October 17, 2011

70 Down... 37 To Go

I have been getting requests for a blog post regarding my most recent success in the weight-loss department.  Recently, I told you about reaching a very important weight-loss goal.  I'm excited to say that I have reached another one.  I am now down 70 lbs.  Seventy.  Seven zero.  If you are math-y and have a super memory, you know this means that I now weigh 187 lbs.
December 2009 -- 257 lbs
When people see my results, or hear about my success, I get the same question: 'What's your secret?  How are you doing it?'  My response is the same every time: 'No secret at all.  A lot of hard work at the gym, making healthy food choices, and watching my portions.'  I get the feeling people are disappointed by my answer.  I have learned that healthy eaters -- and by that I mean traditional healthy eaters, in the form of non-dieters -- are a rarity, and most people aren't interested in putting in the physical work it takes to change their bodies.  I have received pleas for help and guidance, which I am happy to give, but seldom hear back once I divulge my 'secret'.
7/24/11 -- 207 lbs
I know that many of us are seeking an easy route.  Our lives are busy, our bodies are tired, and if we could just find something that worked yet required minimal effort, well then, that would be fantastic.  Believe me, I get it.  Just a week or two before the above picture was taken, I sat crying in my doctor's office telling him that I couldn't get below 200 lbs to save my life.  I was practically begging him for a diet pill.  That moment, I would have to say, was a huge emotional low for me.  Mostly because I do not believe in diet pills (my aunt had a stroke and died because of one that, at the time, was deemed 'safe and effective') and I am, down to my core, way too stubborn to take the easy way out on anything.  But at that moment, I was hopeless.  I blamed my hormones and had made myself believe that there was no way I could do it on my own.  All I can say is this... Thank God for my wonderful doctor who refused to prescribe a diet pill.  He told me what I already knew: diet pills are only temporarily effective (and incredibly unsafe), I needed to work out harder, and eat less.  I left his office that day filled with a new stubborn drive to make myself better.
08/07/11 -- 202 lbs
So I started treating the gym like an appointment I couldn't miss, even declining coffee invitations with friends, so to not miss my scheduled work-out time.  Each morning, Monday through Friday, I go.  Believe me, there are days that I would much rather stay in bed, but I know that I will feel amazing all day long if I make myself get up and go.  Staying in bed will only create a day filled with guilt and feeling lacking in the energy department.  I recently read that going to the gym is like making deposits into your body's energy bank.  The more you add, the more you have to use throughout the day.  I find this to be quite accurate.

So what do I do at the gym?  Well, I'm delighted you asked!  I lift weights 5 days a week (alternating each day with upper body and lower body weights).  I perform at least 60 reps at each weight machine.  It is not my recommendation that you start with 60 reps -- I suggest you meet with a trainer to properly assess where you are and what your body needs (my guess is that 3 or 4 sets of 12 reps would be a good jumping off point).  On these five days, I also sprinkle in some calisthenics, lunges, squats and ab work.  Twice a week I teach a Yoga class.  I rarely perform cardio... if I do, it's usually only 10-15 minutes on an elliptical machine.  This may sound like a lot of work, and it is, but I am not at the gym for hours on end like you might suspect.  You can get a great workout in 45 minutes if you work hard and stay focused.

'But you're a stay at home mommy, and you have time to waste.'  Well, um, gee... thanks?  Yes, I am a SAHM, but my time is precious, too.  I have a little boy who's mind I am molding daily, thank-you-very-much.  But really, if you have an hour a day to watch TV or check Facebook, then you have an hour to spend at the gym.  And isn't half the battle just getting through the door?  My new favorite quote is this: 'Exercise.  It's better to be sore than to be sorry.'
08/28/11 -- 196 lbs
As far as eating goes, I strongly urge you to begin keeping a food journal.  You will be amazed at where your calories are coming from.  I don't suggest counting calories, especially if you are active.  But know your serving sizes, understand ingredients (including good fats vs. bad fats, good carbs vs. bad carbs).  Don't fall for marketing schemes (ie: lite and fat-free).  Don't buy in to fad diets, no matter what the success rate claims to be -- or what celebrity of the month is endorsing it.  When I began paying attention to my portion sizes, I was shocked.  A family size box of Special K cereal used to last me only a week -- and I was the only one eating it.  Now that I changed my cereal bowl, and measure my portions, the same box lasts an entire month.  I eat healthy snacks.  I use whey protein powder (in my cereal, after a workout, and before bed).  Most importantly, I simply pay attention to what I put into my body.
09/13/11 -- 194 lbs
I feel like exercise and a healthy diet are important in supporting each other.  You cannot out-exercise a terrible diet, and you cannot out-diet a sedentary lifestyle.  To achieve results, you must eat healthily (this does not mean for only 12 weeks -- this means changing your lifestyle) and you have to move your body.  Some people will tell you to focus more on cardio than weights, but I know that, for me, weight training and Yoga have been the best for getting results (and isn't that what we're after?).  Building muscle turns your body into a calorie-burning machine -- even at rest.  People have been telling me that they think my scale is saying that I am heavier than I actually am -- that would be because of my muscle mass.  Your goal should be not just to slim down, but to change your body composition.  I have noticed that, even when I am not dropping pounds, I am dropping inches because my muscle-to-fat ratio is changing.
10/2/11 -- 190 lbs
My advice to you is this, pray a lot (God created you, and wants you to treat your body well).  Set small goals for yourself -- and treat yourself when you hit them (when I hit 180 lbs, I'm buying these gym shoes).  If you start out with a 100 lb weight loss goal, it will seem insurmountable.  Love your body, because you can't look after and care for something you hate.  Know that your body is a beautiful vessel to carry you through this life, appreciate it and respect it.  If you are the kind of person who needs continuous support, find a trustworthy accountability partner/gym buddy.  When people give you compliments, say thank you.  I have a really hard time with this, and tend to be pretty self deprecating, but my standard response is this 'Thank you.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I feel great.'  Which is true.  I do still have a lot to work to do, but I feel great for the first time in a very long time.  My struggle recently has been with body dismorphia -- I can see progress in my pictures and on the scale, but when I look in the mirror, I still see every single one of those 257 lbs staring back at me.  Even though 70 of them have been shed.  This is why I am focusing so heavily on how I feel, because I do feel amazing.
10/16/11 -- 187 lbs
You can accomplish great things.  You can make your body healthy.  You have to work for it, but it is so worth it.  Surround yourself with people who will love, support, and encourage you.  I know that, if not for my faith, family, and close friends, I would have given up on this journey long ago.

Be healthy.  Love yourself.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company

Thursday, October 6, 2011


I can't be certain when it occurred.  I can't pinpoint that one moment when it happened.  But suddenly I have been thrown into the role of Mother of a Toddler.  Suddenly, so much has changed.  My sweet little snuggley round cheeked little munchkin boy has turned into this rough and tumble too-tough-for-his-own-good toddler (who prefers a mixing bowl on his head to a hat).  He is voicing his opinion in his own language that seems sacred, as (usually) only I can understand it.  He is in love with anything with wheels, and squeals with delight when he sees any sort of construction equipment or hears a 'choo choo chain'.  When he holds still for longer than 5 seconds, I get glimpses of the sweet young man I hope he will grow up to be.  He gently sways to music, he gives kisses and tight hugs.
September 2010
It takes a bit of adjusting when you transfer from babyhood to toddlerdom.  I was used to fairly quiet grocery store visits, but suddenly my child has turned into the unofficial store-wide people greeter.  Which means that, at the top of his little lungs, he yells a two-syllable "Hiiiiiiiii" to each person we see.  My last shopping trip got me thinking about all of the funny things that little ones do, that adults can't (or at the very least, shouldn't).  For example, a few weeks ago we arrived at the chiropractor's office (I had thrown out my back), only to realize that he had pooped.  Awesome.  I quickly changed his diaper in the car, left the smelly evidence securely wedged by my front tire (because no outdoor trash can was available and I chose not to share the scent with my chiropractor) and went in.  But, we can't just discreetly walk in -- my son practically hops through the threshold with a loud belch.  So loud, in fact, that the doctor laughs and then compliments him on his abilities.  In the waiting room, an attractive college co-ed enters, and my little ladies' man decides that he wants to sit by her instead of his mommy.  He crawls up onto the bench beside her, stares and says 'HIII' three times.  Good thing he's cute.  On the way out of the office (as I'm trying to keep his hands away from all of the natural supplement bottles he is trying to rip off of the shelves -- certain I look a trite more disheveled and exasperated than I did upon our arrival) he is loudly quacking -- yes, like a duck -- because he happened to see a picture of one (who else besides a child can practice animal impressions in public places?).  The waiting room is full, and he makes a point to show off his quacking to each and every person before yelling a hearty 'BYE BYE' as we walk out the door.  When we finally reach my car, I remember that there is a diaper full of crap that has been sitting out in the hot sun, that now has to ride with us in the car until I can find a trash can for disposal (Dear Sonic employees: You're welcome).
February 2011
I guess the reason that I find all of his antics so funny, is because I try to picture the reactions I would get if I did the same thing.  I mean, if I quacked my way out of a doctor's office, I'm fairly certain that I would be involuntarily evaluated.

Right now we are fighting a battle against throwing.  If it will fit in his hand, he will throw it.  I even received a handful of spaghetti right in the face (thank God his hands are small).  When he is finished eating, instead of telling us he is 'all done' (which we have tried and tried again to teach him to do), he immediately begins throwing food -- much to the delight of our mutt, Daisy.  When I retrieve him from our gym's daycare he screams 'MOMMY' which is promptly followed by the pitching of whatever is in his hands.  Recently my husband was delivering a post-timeout lecture about how 'we don't throw food, we eat food and it makes Mommy and Daddy sad when we throw food'.  I peeked around the corner to watch the encounter, only to see him looking intently into my husband's eyes with the most serious look on his face -- all while running in place.  I almost choked on my own spit and peed my pants because I was laughing so hard.

Now imagine yourself getting a lecture from your boss, and deciding that that very moment was the best time for a quick stationary jog.  There's a plus side to being little -- and that plus side is called spontaneity.
May 2011
Our little mini human has also learned the art of being stubborn (I don't know where he gets it).  He will dig in his heels until it hurts before doing something (or, more likely, saying something) he doesn't want to do.  For example, he will repeat (or at least try his darnedest) anything you tell him to, but for some reason he will not say 'love you'.  Tonight, as per our usual bedtime routine, I read him three books, sang four songs, and said prayers (which includes him repeating, in two-word sections, the 'Now I lay me down to sleep' prayer).  This is part of our exchange:

Me: I love you, buddy.  Say 'love you'.

K: Night night.

Me: No, say 'love you'.

K: Bye.

Me: Say 'love'.

K: Wuf.

Me: Say 'you'.

K: You.

Me: Say 'love you'.

K: Jayhawk!

Me: No, say 'love you'


What's funny about this is that when he says 'Jayhawk', he tucks his chin way down into his chest and bellows the word in a very deep man voice.  Although my husband also always tries to get him to say 'love you', I think it makes him happier (and quite proud of me) that our son can say 'Rock Chalk', 'Jayhawk', and 'KU'.
July 2011
I wouldn't trade any of these funny (and sometimes irritating) moments for anything in the world.  Being a stay at home mommy isn't always all rainbows and butterflies, but it is the best, most important (and most demanding) job I have ever had.  I love that my son has a sense of humor and that he loves being downright silly.  He laughs when I break out in random dance steps (although, someday, this might really embarrass him), and he turns my piano solos into duets.  He is the reason I fall into bed exhausted each night -- yet often lay awake, plagued with mommy-worry.  For the girl who never wanted kids, I have found myself downright smitten with this sweet little boy.
September 2011
Thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

hCG Diet: Glorified Starvation

Recently, while working out at my gym, I participated in a somewhat heated discussion regarding the 'hCG Diet'.  If you know me, or have been paying attention to anything I write, you are already aware that I am not a fan of any extreme diet, diet pill, or any other unmaintainable lifestyle that shoots for skinny instead of healthy.
The point I try to drive home, whenever anyone asks me about hCG, is that it simply is not healthy or maintainable.  The diet consists of injecting or orally ingesting the hormone while only allowing yourself 500 (or less) calories per day.  It is generally very low-carb and very low-fat (P.S. low-fat and Atkins-esk diets tend to be horrible for you in the long run).  All in all, it's glorified starvation.  Your body needs at least 800 calories each and every day to simply survive.  More if you are at all active (as in you actually have to get out of bed each day and function).  When you send your body into starvation mode, your body will store fat and feed off of muscle.  This is not what you want your body to do, people.  You need muscle to give you strength to perform daily activities.  You need calories to give you energy to live -- and I mean this in both the most basic and most extensive form of the word live.
Fans of this plan (which to me sounds suspiciously like a concentration camp diet) boast that hCG is 'all natural'.  I'll grant you that.  hCG is a natural hormone produced by the body during gestation.  However, many companies are selling synthetic versions of hCG.  My other point... do you know what else is 'all natural'?  Grass, blood, marijuana, urine, dirt, tree bark, and bugs.  But I don't suggest you eat or inject any of those into your body for weight loss purposes.
Other supporters of this diet will spew information about hCG opening the 'garage doors' to your fat cells so that your body can eat up all your fat.  I'm sorry, but it doesn't work that way.  Have you ever seen a pregnant woman boast about her weight loss simply because of the hCG her body is suddenly producing?  And if (big IF) it did work that way, how do you explain the need to drastically reduce caloric intake?  It doesn't. make. sense.  If you only eat 500 calories a day, of course you will lose weight.  You are starving yourself.  It's called an eating disorder.  It's not fun.  I've been there.
People who participate in this plan are looking for that magic solution.  They are looking for the next cabbage soup diet or grapefruit diet, praying that this time it's the real deal.  But, I'm telling you from experience, starving yourself is not the way to do it.  It's not worth it.  You absolutely cannot maintain that sort of extreme lifestyle.  The side effects of starvation, both short term (hair loss, constipation, lack of concentration, irritability, sleeplessness, lethargy, etc.) and long term (infertility, thyroid disorders, slowed metabolism, higher susceptibility to eating disorders, etc) are not worth it.  If you want to lose weight and be healthy, you have to work hard and eat healthy.  The slower you lose it, the longer it stays off.  If you lose it over night, it will come rushing back on (plus some).  At some point, you will crash.  You simply cannot abuse your body with such careless abandon and expect to stay healthy.
Be healthy.  Love yourself.  And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.

Below you will find information from both Wikipedia and US NewsPlease feel free to educate yourself further.

Human chorionic gonadotropin or human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG) is a glycoprotein hormone produced during pregnancy that is made by the developing embryo after conception and later by the syncytiotrophoblast (part of the placenta),[1][2] but it is not known whether this production is a contributing cause or an effect of tumorigenesis. hCG is also produced in the pituitary gland of males and females of all ages.[1][3]

Human chorionic gonadotropin interacts with the LHCG receptor and promotes the maintenance of the corpus luteum during the beginning of pregnancy, causing it to secrete the hormone progesterone. Progesterone enriches the uterus with a thick lining of blood vessels and capillaries so that it can sustain the growing fetus. Due to its highly-negative charge, hCG may repel the immune cells of the mother, protecting the fetus during the first trimester. It has also been hypothesized that hCG may be a placental link for the development of local maternal immunotolerance. For example, hCG-treated endometrial cells induce an increase in T cell apoptosis (dissolution of T-cells). These results suggest that hCG may be a link in the development of peritrophoblastic immune tolerance, and may facilitate the trophoblast invasion, which is known to expedite fetal development in the endometrium.[5] It has also been suggested that hCG levels are linked to the severity of morning sickness in pregnant women.[6]
Because of its similarity to LH, hCG can also be used clinically to induce ovulation in the ovaries as well as testosterone production in the testes. As the most abundant biological source is women who are presently pregnant, some organizations collect urine from pregnant women to extract hCG for use in fertility treatment.[7]
Human chorionic gonadotropin also plays a role in cellular differentiation/proliferation and may activate apoptosis.[8]

Weight loss
A controversial usage of hCG is as an adjunct to the British endocrinologist Albert T. W. Simeons' ultra-low-calorie weight-loss diet (less than 500 calories). Simeons, while studying pregnant women in India on a calorie-deficient diet, and “fat boys” with pituitary problems (Frölich's syndrome) treated with low-dose hCG, claimed that both lost fat rather than lean (muscle) tissue. He reasoned that hCG must be programming the hypothalamus to do this in the former cases in order to protect the developing fetus by promoting mobilization and consumption of abnormal, excessive adipose deposits. Simeons, practicing at Salvator Mundi International Hospital in Rome, Italy, recommended low-dose daily hCG injections (125 IU) in combination with a customized ultra-low-calorie (500 cal/day, high-protein, low-carbohydrate/fat) diet loss of adipose tissue without loss of lean tissue. After Simeons’ death, the diet started to spread to specialized centers and via popularization by individuals, such as the controversial author Kevin Trudeau, famous for promotion of alternative therapies and treatments.
The controversy proceeds from warnings by the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition[16] that hCG is neither safe nor effective as a weight-loss aid.[17] However, recent studies in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism show hCG can have an effect on the lean body mass of older men with androgen deficiency.[18]
A meta analysis found that studies supporting hCG for weight loss were of poor methodological quality and concluded that "there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight-loss or fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being".[19]

Homeopathic hCG for weight control

Controversy about, and shortages[20] of, injected hCG for weight loss have led to substantial Internet promotion of "homeopathic hCG" for weight control. The ingredients in these products are often obscure, but if prepared from true hCG via homeopathic dilution, they contain either no hCG at all or only trace amounts.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has stated that this drug is fraudulent and ineffective for weight loss. It is also not protected as a homeopathic drug and has been deemed an illegal substance.[21][22]
According to the studies noted above, the weight loss indicated by individuals on an "hCG diet" can be attributed entirely to the fact that such diets prescribe a consumption rate of 500-550 calorie per day, or approximately one quarter of what is commonly accepted as the daily recommended value for a male adult of average build and activity. Further, double-blind studies note no decrease in appetite by those taking hCG versus individuals on placebos and have offered no evidence that individuals taking hCG are more likely to lose fat than lean tissue. Long-term results caution that unlike individuals participating in a diet of, for example, 1100 calories per day those on a 500 calorie per day diet are unlikely to develop more appropriate eating habits and will gain weight more quickly after the diet has completed.

US News:

HCG Diet Dangers: Is Fast Weight Loss Worth the Risk?

It's dubious. There's no good evidence it works. But hCG dieters insist they're dropping pounds fast
Angela Haupt