Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Gifts

So it's that time of the year again. That magical time when all of us full-figured gals of the world unite in our self-loathing and think (vainly) that maybe this year, this time I'll actually stick with it. I'll actually lose the weight. Well, you wanna know something? It almost never works. And you wanna know why? Because we set our selves up to fail. We create these totally un-reachable goals. Like, I'm going to lose 50lbs this year. Or, I'm going to work out everyday. Or, my favorite, I'm going to eat better this year. What does that even mean?
Now, I'm not saying these goals are impossible. Not at all. It's just that they are unlikely. I knew all this. And yet I still made New Years Resolutions every freakin' year. Why? I don't know. Why do all the other little lemmings follow that one little suicidal lemming off the cliff? No one knows, they just do.
Until now.
I read a totally awesome post from one of favorite bloggers, Cranky Fitness - a weight loss blog if ever there was one, that seemed to make a lot of sense. The post said that it really all a matter of semantics. Seriously!
Instead of makinf resolutions we should all be giving gifts to ourselves. Well, I'm liking it already. You know I love a gift. Can we register somewhere.
Well, turns out it doesn't work that way. See instead of making these crazy resolutions that are usually given up on by at least Valentines Day, we are going to start making gifts to ourselves for weight loss or health or organization or any old thing. It actually makes a lot of sense. And I have used this tactic in my own life with out even knowing it. Like when I tell myself that by having yougurt for breakfast instead of that doughnut I am going to have more energy and no headaches for the day.
So this year I have a few New Years gifts to myself.
#1 I will give myself the gift of more exersise time and I will do it in unconventional ways. Such as dance-offs with the kids and snoe-shoeing at the lake house.
#2 I will give myself the gift of more vegetables by trying one new vegi a week. I am a notorious vegi-hater and try to get in my servings by huge salads every day, but come on. Even rabbits get sick of lettuce after a while. So I am going to try some of those weirdo vegis at the Whole Foods produce section. Maybe I'll find a few new favorites.
#3 I'm going to devote more time to my blog and give myself the gift of more promotion. When I first started it was purely for my own entertainement, but now I'm thinking I'm gonna go outside the box, so to speak.
#4 I'm going to give myself the gift of (and this is the one I'm most excited about) a cleaning lady. I am a bad housekeeper, not just don't like it bad, but really really bad. I used to be ashamed, but not anymore. I figure those who can't cook eat out. So I am not going to sweat it anymore. It will give me more time for my kids and cooking healthy meals.
#5 I'm going to give myself the gift of more time with my kids. Yes, I'm a stay-at-home mom, but with my husband working away I often have to be two people at once. So with everything else I have going on (see #4) I often don't have time for a lot of the extras that my kids want to do. So thanks to the new cleaning lady I see a lot more park time and Wii Winter Olympics in my future. Bring it on!
So there it is. Hopefuly this time next year I will not be so worried aboout my weight and I will be able to say that my New Years gift giving was a success. Happy New Years and remember to gift the most important person in your life. You!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

The Good
Cleaning out my closet recently I found a bunch of pants that I can now fit into. Yeah me! Plus I found several other pairs that if all goes well then I should be able to wear this spring. Just in time for their capri-cuteness to be wearable.
The Bad
I manned up to the scales yesterday. Yikes! I gained a bit (3lbs) over the holidays. I'm pretty sure it had to do with the gluttonous amounts of country (read: super duper salty) ham that I consumed. Well, that and the sweets that I tried not to over-do, but come on! I've drunk about 5 gallons of water over the past few days and detoxed with fruits, vegis, and fiber and I think things are getting back to normal. A few days of overindulgence resulting in a week or more of repairing the damage. Totally worth it.
The Ugly
The weather forcast calls for snow for the whole next week. No school + Husband out of town for work = no gym time for mama. Guess I'll have to dust of the workout DVDs and try to do them with two kids frolicking ( read: cabin fever has set in)  in the background.

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Honey Line

I have just found The Honey Line. To be fair, I have known about it since I saw it talked about on the Rachel Ray Show last year, but I didn't know they had a website until recently and due to a problem w/ my computer (isn't it always something?) I couldn't actually register as a user until today. So as of today I am an official Bee.
What is the Honey Line, you ask? Well it was begun as a project of pro-vollyball player Gabby Reece. You know, she of the mile high legs and yards of hair. She is one of the few strikingly beautiful women who manages to seem like your best friend and mentor all at once. She told Rachel about how she had this network of girl-friends who helped her stay connected and she called on certain friends to help with certain problems and her friends called on her to help w/ their own. They all encouraged each other and everyone just tried to be generally supportive. She called this her Honey Line. What a great idea, I thought.
I have a group of friends (there is about 8 of us) that have been friends for varying amounts of forever. We have been with each other through college, and first boyfriends, and weddings and husbands, and first jobs, first housess, and first babies (and second), and have been there for each other during family deaths and other difficulties. We are better than sisters because we chose each other. We used to get together every week for supper and TV viewing. Now that we're all married and starting families it is more like once a month, but we all try to stay connected through phone, email, and social netwroking sites. Now Gabby has prvided a place just for this purpose. Only expanded.
And best of all, Gabby - as the Queen Bee - provides help to the rest of us in her area of expertise. Health and Fitness. Yay, Gabby! And she provides a space for the rest of us to provide help in our own areas of knowledge.
In the end everyone is connected. Kind of like a . . .hmm . . . hive? You betcha!
My favorite parts of the site so far is the buzz - a place where all the bees interact and can get questions and answers and leave comments for other bees, and the recipe section. They have some great recipes for healthy versions of my favorite food and some interesting sounding new ones that I will definately be trying in the weeks ahead. There is an excellent fitness section, but I haven't quite braved that yet. I have a feeling that Gabby is definately more ambitious than I am. But we will see.
All in all The Honey Line is a great site to check out. At most, you join and find a whole bunch of new connections to bees all over the country. And at worst you come away with a few valuable recipes and/or fitness tips. Give it a BUZZ!

Reebok EasyTone Review

Yes, I broke down and fell for the hype. I was totally mesmerized by the girl in the commercial in her workout panties, I mean shorts, and glistening legs. And I will say it is a very sexy shoe. As far as looks go, in the fitness shoe department the Reebok EasyTone totally kicks the Sketchers ShapeUps ass. I liked that they looked like real shoes as opposed to the weird moon boot look of the Sketchers. Plus when my grandfather was recently in the hospital I noticed a lot of the nurses wearing them so I figured there must be something to them.
So I bought them. I went for the Go Outside varitey as opposed to the ReInspire because, even though they were about $10 more (at around $109 on amazon), like I said before - I like a sexy shoe. They are silver w/ hot pink accents. They are what I immagine Judy Jetson would wear to aerobics class. If her skinny cartoon ass had to go to aerobics.
But enough of what they look like. Do they really perform? The first day I was skeptical. I wore them to the gym followed by a trip to the hospital where I had to park like a mile away and then walk a long way once I actually got in the hospital (it's a really big hospital). I didn't really notice much of a difference. Until I woke up the next day. Holy Crap! The back of my calves were screaming and my butt didn't feel that great either. Not too sore to move, but close. It was like I had done an incredibly hard and new workout even though I had done exactly the same thing as I've done for months.
I have since worn the shoes for about a month. I even wore them for my pre-Christmas two-a-day workouts without any foot pain- which for me is huge. I also wore them for the week-long cleaning spree I did on my 3-story house before my family descended upon me. I have lost about an inch from my thighs which is more than double what I normally lose in a six-week period. (my gym likes me to get weighed and measured once a month, but I don't always make it.)
The only caveat I have with the shoes is that they tend to run a bit small and narrow. I normally wear a 9 1/2 in Nike, but I had to order a 10 in these. Also the balance balls on the bottom of the shoe are rather hard rubber and tend to make a definate sound on hard floors, unlike regular cross trainers which I have in the past employed as ninja devices to sneak up on my kids. Not so with these babies. But oh well.
All in all I give these shoes and A. I can't quite give it an A+ for a couple of reasons. #1 The price. At around $100, they are a bit pricey, especially if you workout a lot and have to replace your shoes often. #2 The small fit. I know every body's foot is different and we all have our issues. But I REALLY didn't want to wear a 10. And lastly, #3, I just don't give out A+s that easily. The shoe would basically have to workout for me before I could give it my highest marks. For all that that matters.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Need Holiday Detox

OK, so I technically knew all the things I was not supposed to do over the holidays. And for the most part I didn't do them. I did not eat/sample everything I baked or cooked. Much. And I tried to include some healthy options in my holiday feasting. Most of the time. I did!
But, it was still the Holidays. That time dreaded by every dieter since the history of, well. . . , dieting. I'm guessing that back in the day when everyone worked from sun-up to sun-down and every morsell of food was made from scratch gaining a bit of weight around the holidays was not that big of a deal. I'm also guessing that a bit of padding was not even neccessarily bad when you had to make that early morning frosty run to the outhouse. But I live in the land of Right Now. In Right Now things have to be done yesterday and because of this weird female frienemy competition I indulge in things must be done beyond perfection. So here I am working my chubby little fingers to the bone preparing things like bourbon balls and bourbon cake and bread pudding w/ hard sauce (are you sensing a theme here?) and ham and biscuits and hash brown casserol and, oh yeah, a stunningly beautiful vegetable tray. And I did all of this THREE TIMES. That's right. I'm insane.
Have you ever seen that movie "Four Christmases" with Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn? Well, my parents are divorced and while my husband's parents are still married they are from 'Up North'. Which creates difficulties every holiday season in that they are poor planners and no one knows what is going on until the last possible minute. Trust me when I say that three more dissimilar families could not be found in a National Lampoon movie. My thinking that having everyone to our house instead of having to lug the kids all over "Hell and half of Georgia" was not as inspired as I thought.
Now I am puffy and bloated and too scared to get on my bathroom scale. I'm thinking I couldn't have actually gained all that much, if any, because I put my regular jeans on (which, if you recall, I was very excited to actually fit into a few months ago) this morning and they fit just fine. But I just feel blah and sluggish, if you know what I mean. I've had a sugar headache for the past two days, or maybe it's the parental pressure (mine and his), or maybe it's just the damn bourbon.
Whatever the deal is or has been, it ends tonight. I have one piece of sauce soaked bread pudding which I intend to thouroghly enjoy in my big fluffy bed after my nice hot bubble bath. This will be my official I Survived Another Holiday celebration. Tomorrow it's back to the gym and a three day kick in the ass eating plan to get me back on track.
My goal for 2010? To make it the last year that I worry about my weight.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Sweatpants. . .

Ahhh, the holidays! The wide-eyed sugar plum bliss of every child. Remember when you used to count down the days until Winter Break with big red Xs over the days on your calender? Oh, the joy of waking up on Christmas morning to find that Santa had brought just what you asked for and wrapped it so neatly, too. And all your family came over and there was delicious food and delightful sweets practically flowing like water out of every corner of your house.
Well, yeah, of course we all remember it that way. We were kids. But I bet our mothers don't exactly remember it that way. In fact, now, that I'm a mother I'm amazed that we ever made it through any holiday much less the Queen Mother of all Holidays. That family fueled, cookie fed holiday known in my family as "Oh, crap! It's Christmas!"
Not being a particularly religious family we have always taken a pretty secular view of Christmas and that was certainly stressful enough. I always envied the Christian kids who would say things like, "It's not about the commercialism." and, "Jesus is the reason for the season." To me it just seemed like an easy way of saying, "my mom was too lazy to put up a tree this year." Now, don't get me wrong, I would never make fun of anyone for their beliefs, but not put up a tree? Come on.
In my family Christmas has turned into this crazy unspoken competition (for lack of a better word) where every one (women at least) try to outdo the other women in the family for who can produce the most Rockwellian Christmas.
My one grandmother whose birthday happened to be on Christmas was the cookie master. I have tried for years to master her "simple" butter cookie to no avail. My other grandmother is the decorating diva. She puts up a tree that while small can easily rival any florist's for it glittery coordination of color and theme. My mom, well, mom kind of dropped the ball on the holidays. She loves the flash and the glitter and her house always reminds me of Vegas at Christmas. But me, I feel the mantle of Christmas Greatness heavily upon my shoulders.
I have in my house no less than 5 trees, all themed and decorated with a precision of a military maneuver. My fireplace mantle and banister all drip with greenery and my front door is festooned and welcoming. I always make sure to have sweet treats ready for all our drop-by visitors and in years past I have convinced myself that calories consumed while tasting are not really calories at all.
This year, I know better. More's the pity, because this year is the year of my personal epiphany. I have discovered that all this self induced stress of the holidays has caused me to lose sight of my weight loss goals. Luckily I have caught myself before the lbs. started to creep back up, but still. All that means is that I will still be busy wrapping the perfect present and baking the perfect cookie all while trying to satisfy my stress-induced sweet tooth with a fat free mocha latte.
Whatever, it will all be worth it when my house looks awesome and my cousins all run out to try and out-do my decorations next year. But what they don't know is that next year, I won't care. I will be smokin' hot in Belize. Feliz Navidad!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I'm not OK, if you're not OK

What the hell is up with us as women being so competitive? No I'm not talking about who has the bigger . . .um . . .bag, or even the oft' debated Mommy Wars. I'm talking about the unspoken, but universally understood competition between all women as to who is worse off.
No one pulls us aside in Middle School as gives us that talk. "You know, Suzy, you really shouldn't be too proud of your body and you should take any opportunity to put yourself down especially when you are around other girls." Now, of course, no one says those things to girls, but we all understand them nonetheless. If your friend hated her nose, then another friend hated her flat chest, and of course you hated your ass.
Obviously everyone has something about their body that they are less than pleased with- I mean, we are women after all. But what up with the one-upmanship?
Typical conversation:
"Oh, my God! I hate my ____!"
"Please! I would trade your _____ for my _____."
"Your _____ is fine. Look at my _____. It is huge!"
Sound familiar? Sound like middle school? Of course it does. But guess what? This conversation took place just a few weeks ago at a girlfriend's house. There are a group of about 8-10 of us (at any given time) that have been friends for a long time and have a standing 'girls night' where we all try to catch up and revert back to high school. This year the majority of us turn 30, which has apparently triggered some sort of Valley Girl Ass Envy.
It reminded me of that Sex and the City episode where the women are all setting around eating pizza and discussing plastic surgery. Carrie, of course, hates her nose. Charlotte hates her thighs, and Miranda hates her arm jiggle, or some such shit. Then they all look expectantly at Samantha. Clearly she is supposed to inject her "I hate my ____." s here. But she just looks at them with a "WHAT?!" expression on her face. They are all surprised to learn that Samantha considers herself just fine just the way she is. In fact she deems herself- Pretty Damn Terrific! Samantha is, in fact, surprised to learn that her clearly beautiful friends are not satisfied with their bodies.
So there I was in my friend's living room, wishing I could be Samantha, while listening to every one lament this, that, or the other. Then it inevitably comes to be my turn. Normally I wouldn't hesitate. "God, I hate my belly!" and I do. But not tonight. While I do still wish my belly was less jello and more J-Lo, for the first time in a long time I am proud of my body.
Did you hear that, world? I am proud of my body.
No, it's not perfect. Far from it. But I have recognized that it will never be perfect. Even those Supermarket shelf Super Models do not have perfect bodies. Airbrush, anyone?
No, what has changed is my attitude about it. No, I do not have the tall lean body of Gabby Reece, but no amount of diet and exercise, or even plastic surgery, will give it to me. So why try?
No, I'm not giving up on weight loss. Just the opposite. I cannot give myself a perfect body. But I can give myself the perfect body for me. I have worked hard this year and I am stronger and leaner than I have been in a while and that is something I am very proud of. I have lost almost 40 lbs., I have more energy and better posture, and due to some serious weights my arms are now well-defined.
So the point of this little rambling is this: Maybe being perfect will not make you as happy as you imagine it will. But accepting what you have while working to make it better will definitely make you happier. The proof? Yes, I have belly jiggle but I do have a mighty fine ass!