Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dorky or not, here I come.

I'm having a tough time, lately. No, I'm not talking about all the miss-spelled words in some of my recent Face Book posts. I'm having a hard time with this whole losing-weight-getting-fit-getting-my-ass-in-shape gig. The reasons are lengthy, boring and redundant and frankly, I don't want to whine today. I want to show you my birthday present to myself.

I'm having trouble envisioning the future me at my goal weight. Actually, I don't see it at all. All I see when I look in the mirror is failure - a lifetime of self-doubt. Jacobtrainer says I need to see what I'll look like when I reach my goal. He has me close my eyes, imagine my future self on a beach and tell him what I see. All I see is an empty beach. I can't see myself at all. (The fact that the beach is actually an island and there are no other people on it is probably indicative of other issues I have, but let's not go there, shall we?)

Anyway, rather than continue to be negative, I've found a way to see into my future. WA-LA! I made this for myself and hung it on the wall right outside my bedroom so I can see it dozens of times each day. If you look really close, you can see my future, too.

And yeah...I spent a LOT of time on this poster.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

"Bring me four fried chickens and a Coke."

The rabbit food pyramid


"So what kind of diet are you on?"
 A:  I'm not on a diet.

"What does your trainer let you eat?"
 A:  LET me eat?

"No, I mean, what do you eat now that you're, uh...doing this...whatever you're doing?"
A:  As much as I possibly can.

"You mean, like that food pyramid up there?"
A:  Not exactly.

As much as I possibly can. That's the best answer I can come up with. Short, sweet, to the point and most certainly accurate. I have a handy-dandy booklet that my trainer gave me in which I write down everything I eat. I keep track of calories, protein, carbs and fat. My caloric intake allowance is 1600 per day. Right now, all he/we are concerned with are my calories. (Which makes me wonder what's going to happen down the road, but I try not to think about it.)

My handy-dandy food log

I don't worry about high carb, low carb, low fat, fat free, no sugar, high protein trends that a lot of people seem focus on almost exclusively. I could eat a pint of Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream and one Snickers bar, and still have 89 calories to spare! I could have 4 1/2 Caramel Kreme Crunch donuts from Krispy Kreme and still be 25 calories shy of my daily allowance. I could have a double cheese burger, a medium fry and a small frosty from Wendy's and still have room for two or three mints.

(Right now, my eating disordered mind is suggesting that I stop writing, go purchase all of the above and have it for dinner. The voice tells me that it would be fine if I simply abstain from eating again until Saturday. This is the voice that got me where I am, though, and it's probably NOT going to happen. Stupid voice.)


I could have 53 1/3 large carrots, or 160 large celery stalks, or about 7 cups of chicken, or 7 1/2 frosted cherry Pop Tarts or 20 1/2 hard boiled eggs or 2 1/4 lbs of bacon or a whole box of Peanut Butter Captain Crunch cereal or... whoa, whoa,WHOA! Who in their right mind is going to eat 160 stalks of celery?

As much as I can might be a bit of an over-statement.

I make my food choices based on what I want to eat. Then I look at the numbers and figure out how to make it  happen. For instance, I love Mexican food. For some reason, I always feel like I'm "cheating" when I eat it. So I played around and came up with a recipe for chicken enchiladas that has 177 calories, 19 grams of carbs., 16.5 grams of protein and just 5.5 grams of fat. Less fat and calories? Omit the low fat cheese. Wa-la! I shred a bunch of lettuce and toss it with a little low-fat ranch dressing (2 Tbls., to be exact, for another 80 calories.) If I'm really hungry or if I just need to engage in hard-core eating behavior, I'll have 2 servings of the enchiladas and the whole meal is still under 450 calories. Tons of protein, very filling and it shuts off the stupid voice inside my head. Nice.

I still struggle with food and it's hard for me to write everything down. It's hard because the food log holds me accountable, and that totally bites. Especially when I have days like this:

Never said I was perfect, did I?


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My Bug in a Boy Suit, My Perfect Person, the Best Human I've Ever Known

Yep. That's him. My son, Andy. That's one of his senior year pictures, and the title of this post has been my tag-line for him since he was a baby. I've given him tons of nicknames in the twenty-one years he's been around: palooka-butt, monster, bother-boy, stealer-of-things-that-are-not-yours (like my Rolling Stone and Glamor magazines) and others. For some reason, "bug" seems to be universal for him. He's been called that by teachers for years. His data book at his developmental therapy program is labeled "Andy Bug." To me, he IS a perfect person and he certainly is the best human I've ever known. But it's not because he has Down syndrome. It's just because that's what he is to me.

Look, I'm his mother, so of course I think these things about him. The fact that they're true is beside the point. The point is that I never started giving him these nick names in order to excuse his disability or explain him away. My son has an extra chromosome. Period. He is not an angel sent from above to teach anyone anything. He is not a martyr, he is not any deity's precious gift. I was not chosen to be his mother because of any special attributes I may or may not have. He is not a punishment, curse or blessing any more than any other child.

Somewhere along the line, probably during my mitosis, there was a mis-copy. Not a mistake. A mis-copy. What this means is that when I was conceived and all my cells were splitting and making up all the zillions of parts of what would become me, at least one of the cells that became one of my eggs got an extra chromosome attached to it. That egg became half of Andy. That's it. And twenty-one years later, this is what he looks like.

There's no halo. He doesn't have wings and he's not surrounded by golden light. He's just a guy with an extra "y" and to try and make his existence into something more than that is demeaning to him. There's nothing "wrong" with him and there's no need to try and find a way to justify his existence.There's no more glory in Down syndrome than there is in having attached ear lobes or being able to roll your tongue.

There's been an awful lot of discussion lately about people like my son and this is just something I needed to say.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Waka Waka...ZUMBA!!

About a month ago, I started adding cardio to my training schedule. Jacob (aka Yoda aka my trainer) had been bugging nagging telling encouraging me to do this since I began training with him in December, but I refused thought I knew better hadn't done it. Part of it is that, frankly, I'm lazy. The other part is that in the back of my mind, I think I figured that since training three hours a week was about 1000 times more than what I'd done previously, it would be enough. It turns out that was true...for the first five days.

In my last post, I mentioned that half of my progress was made during the previous three weeks - about exactly the amount of time I'd been faithfully doing my cardio. Another reason I resisted following Jacob's orders advice is because I hate machines. Specifically, the treadmill, elliptical and stair-demon. But when my results became stagnant, I had no choice. So I joined the YMCA.

I hadn't really considered a gym membership before, because I knew I couldn't afford one,but for some reason, I stopped at the Y on my way home one day and asked about financial aid. The Y is wonderful about making sure that anyone who wants to become a member is able to do so. If you want to join, but don't think you can afford it, go talk to them. They'll make it work for you. (and to those of you who make donations so that people like me have this opportunity...THANK YOU!!!)

So I do classes there almost every day, and I've started swimming again, too. Fun, fun, fun! My favorite thing to do is Zumba. If you're unfamiliar with it, check out the video below. Every Saturday and Sunday, my son and I go to a Zumba class and I take two or three more during the week in addition to other classes I've discovered there.

There are two Zumba events coming up in April here in Boise, both to benefit Autism awareness. The first is April 13th from 7 - 9pm. The second one is called Light It Up Blue Autism Zumbathon, April 28th, 6:30 - 8:30 pm.  Anyone want to be my date?

By the way, this is EXACTLY  how I look when I'm doing Zumba. Exactly.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Walking on Sunshine

Some stats from today:

As of December 1st, I've lost -

24.6 lbs of fat
22.5 inches
6 % of my body fat

About half of that has been in the past three weeks!

I've also gained nearly 4 lbs of lean mass, a little more confidence, and I'm starting to find my voice. Nice.

I also jumped rope 300 times today. I totally rule.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Here We Go Again

I love inspirational stories and people. Reading about the success of others gives me hope when I'm feeling like I just can't do it anymore...whatever "it" is. Being an inspiration is something I'm still not comfortable with. When people tell me that my story has inspired them, it touches my heart. I wrote my book and sporadically post on this blog primarily because I don't know how else to release what's inside me, but it's also with the hope that my words might help someone else feel not so alone.

But what happens when your inspiration isn't being very inspirational? When people reach their goals, do they no longer err? Which is to say, are they no longer human? I think that when I read about people who've succeeded where I'm still trying, I assume they've become immortal, somehow. Such as: an addict with ten years clean must be fixed. No more cravings, no more using dreams, no more demons. Or: a fat chick who's achieved her goal weight must be perfect. No more cravings, no more eating dreams, no more demons. All of which leads me to assume that I'm broken beyond repair.
I have five years of sobriety, but I still have cravings and using dreams, and although I'm nowhere near my goal weight, I still struggle with my eating disorder in so many ways.

How can I possibly be an inspiration to other people when I'm completely fallible?

Then I started thinking - something I've been working on lately - and trying to knock what I hope is some sense into myself. It doesn't make sense that there's some magical brass ring and I'm the only one in the universe who will never have access to it. What does make sense is that people just don't talk about the flip side of reaching a goal. And maybe they're right. After all, we all know about the difficulties in life. What we want to hear about are the successes, the joys, the heroes, and we like our heroes to shine. I totally agree. My inspiration for weight loss looks like this:

                                                                   Not this:

But if there's one thing I am, it's human and frankly, if I only wrote on the days things were going great....well, you know.

Tomorrow is pinch and poke day. Every three weeks, my trainer weighs me and takes all my measurements. (I think he even makes up some measurements to take.) We go into a back room - my choice - and he whips out a bunch of medieval instruments that look like some steam-punk author's wet dream, and goes to work on me. Pinching and poking and saying things like, "Did you shave your legs today?" When the open wounds clearly indicate that I have.

I know tomorrow's results will be positive. I've been working so hard, there's no way they can't be. So why do I come completely undone the couple of days before this happens? Why do I go on tilt and let my eating disorder and old thinking patterns spiral out of control? It doesn't make sense. It's like running a race where just as you round the bend and can see the finish line, you pull out a gun and shoot yourself in the foot.

And that's where I think I'm onto something, although I'm not sure I'm fully in touch with it yet. It's about sabotage. It's about me sabotaging myself. Why? Well, if I knew that I wouldn't be sitting here typing snappy prose. I'd have my ass at the gym where I could be making myself feel better instead of....


I may not have it yet, but maybe I'm starting to get it.