Saturday, August 10, 2013
When I was in school my interests, ability and intelligence were all taken into consideration when the guidance counselors and my parents decided which courses I should take. Because of that, I was surrounded by people with similar interests, ability and intelligence. We all worked hard, challenged ourselves. The kids in the "lower" courses worked hard and challenged themselves, but the material was slightly different. The kids in the "higher" courses also worked hard and challenged themselves, and their material was more rigorous than mine.
However, when it came to gym class, all bets were off. Athletes and the sedentary side by side, with the same goals and being graded in the same way.
I hated gym class. (Guess which one I was, the athlete or the sedentary.)
It taught me that I was inadequate. That physical activity was not enjoyable. That only the athletes performed well.
I remember wearing a gray Champion sweatshirt on my last day of running - in June - sweating profusely, but refusing to wear a t-shirt because I wanted to hide my body. I remember thinking: Nobody is ever going to force me to run again. I remember feeling embarrassed that I was sweating so badly, so redfaced, so dead last. Pushing myself unhealthily way past my limits, just to try to keep up with the more fit kids, to minimize the appearance of failing so badly.
Is this any way to educate kids?
It took years for me to move beyond the mentality that exercise was for gym class. To realize that physical movement can be enjoyable. That it is needed for a healthy life. That even though I am not a track star, a field hockey player, that I can compete against myself and be measured against my own ability and progress.
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Motivator of the Day, huh. What a way to feel simultaneously proud and guilty all at once!
My initial reaction was shame. If they REALLY knew how I'm not progressing, they'd take it back.
Then, I remembered this journey is mostly mental attitude. And I re-evaluated. And I thought, "Yes, yes I am deserving of this."
Am I at my goal weight? No. Have I made progress to the point that I no longer consider my everyday things to be "progress" but just everyday life? Bingo.
I started Sparking on January 1, 2011. Here are 10 things I've accomplished:
1) I was able to get pregnant naturally! Unspecified infertility - I always thought it was weight related. They said no. I got healthier. I got pregnant.
2) I participate in local 5k events. Just for fun. I left the house at 4:45 am to participate in the Philadelphia Color Run last weekend (in the disgusting heat!) I look at pictures of myself and think, "Ick." But, let's reframe that - I am looking at pictures of myself participating in a 5k - just for fun - with a smile on my face.
3) I eat vegetables every day.
4) Instead of meeting up for drinks and mozzarella sticks, I ask my girlfriends to meet up for a walk to catch up.
5) I don't have a pile of things at the bottom of the stairs that have to be brought up the stairs at the end of the day. It is not a burden to just go up the steps a few times during the day.
6) I made the transition to mostly-stay-at-home mom and did not find it overwhelming to be near my kitchen most of the day.
7) I can tend my flowerbeds out front without being embarrassed that a random neighbor is going to talk to me and I'm going to be red-faced and out of breath.
8) The other day I felt two soft spots on either side of my belly where the skin feels a little funny and it sticks out just a smidge, right where my baby's behind and feet nestled into me when I carried him in my womb. Instead of being grossed out by my body I smiled. My body did an amazing thing and I smiled from the memory of it.
9) When I think of "things I want to do", I think of experiences I want to have, instead of places where I want to eat.
10) I am happy.
Monday, April 08, 2013
As I write this it is 3 am and I haven't gone to bed yet. I have heartburn from eating yucky and Tums are not helping. I weigh what I did when I was 6 months pregnant. I have no energy. I have no healthy food in the house.
Rock bottom, you say? Yes, Spark-wise and health-wise.
I'm excited. I'm excited that tomorrow (today?) is Monday. That it's the 8th. (I quit smoking on the 8th of a month long ago, so I see it as a motivating number.) That it's going to be absurdly warm. I am psyched to walk back up to the starting line (ewwww, heartburn burp, gross) and jump back into the game.
I'm excited (and proud) that even though I completely lost my way for two months I still have the Spark deep inside. I still feel a connection to myself. I can feel that I am "off" - I know it's not about the scale. If it was just about the scale, I'd still be blissfully off track, as I have gained only 6 pounds. (I feel like absolute hell. It really isn't about the number on the scale.)
I am going to joyfully throw out the junk food tomorrow. I am going to take the baby for a walk. I am going to drink my water. I am going to buy fresh food. I am going to cook a healthy dinner.
I have been trying to get to this point for a few weeks now. Then BOMBCHELL23 and ON2VICTORY truly reached me. My son woke me up from a dream one night - I was dreaming about vacationing with one of my SparkFriends who inspires me the most - BOMBCHELL23 (who I do not know in real life and I've never seen her face!) and I felt so healthy and so happy. After the baby ate, I went back to sleep. When I woke in the morning I had two SparkGoodies - one from BOMBCHELL23. What beautiful timing. (She sent it 20 minutes after I woke up from my dream.) The second SparkGoodie was from ON2VICTORY, my Spark idol. His transformation, physically and emotionally, and the way he works through and manages depression/anxiety (which I have) inspire me. These two wonderfully caring and inspirational people took time to check on my well-being and (pun intended) it sparked something in me.
That day I updated my status for the first time in months. I reached out for help. I admitted defeat. I knew that I needed encouraging words - that the likes, the comments, the SparkGoodies would roll in. They did. I needed each and every one of them. I read them and re-read them.
It took a few days, but I'm ready now. I'm back. I'm pumped. Let's do this!!!
Photo from 2 weeks ago - baby and me :-)
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Is ventings even a word? I am a writer and a copy editor. Pre-baby I would have known this, or at least looked it up. And I wouldn't question myself if it's "copy editor" or "copyeditor" which I always did forget.
My baby is 20 weeks old. Just shy of 5 months. He sleeps like a newborn. Up almost constantly. My limbs feel like they are on fire I am so tired. I made a special appointment with the pediatrician for advice. Tried it all. That doesn't work either. Against my better judgement I introduced solid foods - "it'll help him sleep through the night" 'they' say. (I had wanted to exclusively breastfeed for six months, per AAP and WHO guidelines.) We have a solid nighttime routine. We have supplemented with daddy giving him a bottle of breastmilk as his meal before bed. Same result. He's up 2 or 3 hours later, no matter what. And wants to be fed!
He is a delightful, joyful little boy. All smiles, lots of laughing. Incredibly physical - started rolling over back-to-belly at 10 weeks and has got a mean yoga "downward dog" position (that is his way of trying to crawl, but he gets stuck, understandably so.) So he's not cranky from lack of sleep (mommy is!). He just doesn't sleep long stretches at night. He goes to bed without a fight, wakes up to eat, goes back to sleep and the cycle continues. In the morning he coos at me to wake me up.
My limbs are on fire. I am forgetful. At times I am downright nasty. I haven't cooked a meal in weeks. I still have a maid service come and clean my house every 2 weeks, despite the fact that I am home most of the time. (I do not share that with people in my real life, I am so embarrassed.) I struggle to keep my empathy toward others. I'm jealous of friends' whose babies sleep through the night. I don't have the energy to exercise - yet exercise makes me feel better. What a Catch-22.
I went back to work last week, part time. Thank God. I can barely survive day to day working just 10 hours a week, there is no way I could survive full time.
During the day I am getting nothing accomplished. At least if I feel like crud, I had been able to keep up with the house - it would make me feel better that things are in their place. Now the baby is clingy and crying during the day and wants to be held through a nap. Thank you, mother-in-law, for introducing that bad habit in the one week she's watched him. Now nightime and daytime are both unproductive.
I absolutely adore this little boy more than words can say. I don't like when people complain on social networks about their kids - won't the kids see it one day? People who have babies who slept through the night at 6 weeks, 2 months, 3 months, even 4 months just don't understand. I am going on five months. This is a special type of torture. His doctor can't help. My friends don't understand. My mom and hubby's mom are not helpful. In fact, they grate on my last nerve at times. No, mom, he's not starving and it's not because I'm breastfeeding. He has fat rolls and is in the 66% for weight. He's fine. No, MIL, it's not because he hasn't had cereal. In fact, after we introduced cereal he was up every 2 hours instead of 3!
I completely lost my train of thought in this ramble.
I never share my real name on Spark, so I feel like I can vent without anyone knowing exactly who I am venting about. I would never share this on FB. Two Spark friends know my real name, so when Tabby and Bombchell read this just forget you know who I am for a second. lol.
Monday, December 31, 2012
I started Spark on New Year's 2011, battling depression and anxiety, TTC (trying to conceive) with no results, 42 pounds heavier, buying the very last size available in the fat section of regular stores, and emotionally eating my way through my problems.
I start 2013 thrilled with the fact that I am starting the year at the same exact weight as New Year's 2012. Quite a personal accomplishment, considering I spent most of 2012 pregnant and am now getting used to life with an infant. I am 42 pounds lighter, healthier physically and emotionally. My instinct when I'm upset is to take a walk, not open the cabinets and graze. While I still enjoy food, I no longer emotionally eat or binge.
Looking to the year ahead, I still have a long way to go (probably 35 pounds.) But this is truly a journey - not a diet. I am finally in no rush. The goal is to live healthier and make sustainable changes over time. I look foward to challenging myself physically and being able to instill healthy habits in my son. This year I will take lots of walks around the block with my boy, introducing him to the world around him. I am going to sign up for a color run or a mud run with my brother, just for fun. I am going to swim this summer and not feel embarrassed buying, or wearing, a bathing suit.
I am starting 2013 happy with myself, whereas I started 2011 unhappy with myself.
For any newbies reading this, my journey is nothing special and I have no secrets. Follow the Spark plan, read the book, be active in the community and be kind to yourself.
For my friends who have been with me during this journey, thank you for all of your love, encouragement and support. Spark, and the Spark community, is the only approach to healthy living that has ever rang true with me. I attached a newer photo of my son!
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