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Of Progress & Goals (A&I July BSG: Week 1)

Saturday, July 06, 2013

You know what ďtheyĒ say, right? ďFall six times. Stand up seven.Ē Or something like that. Anyway, thatís what the end of June was for me. After a hiatus of a bit over a year -- a year spent settling into a new house, enduring more stress than necessary at the hands of the Army (or more specifically, someone who didnít do his job causing us to suffer the consequences), taking a big family vacation with an extra kid (my little ďsisterĒ) in tow, going through a rough pregnancy, welcoming Squeaky to the family, bidding my husband farewell for another deployment, and finding my own ďnew normalĒ as a completely on my own brand new mom of two -- I returned to SparkPeople for yet another attempt at meeting my overall goal to shed the preschooler weight (the baby weight is gone; less than a month postpartum, I was over ten pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant) and set a better example for my kids.

That being said, another thing ďtheyĒ say is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, so I knew I had to make some changes. Thus, I shunned the traditional specific goals and decided to spend a couple of weeks just thinking about what had gone wrong in the past and making small changes to avoid those pitfalls. It was enlightening. Almost immediately, I learned four things.

-- I have always tried to fit my life into my diet and fitness plan instead of doing the opposite.

-- The minute I tell myself I canít have a particular food group or that I can have only, say, 1300 calories a day, my mind immediately becomes obsessed with food, and I become stressed out.

-- I cannot talk to the people I previously considered my biggest cheerleaders about losing weight because their approach errs on the side of policing me. They may not judge, but inevitably, the constant topic of conversation revolves around food, and the end result is that I am, once again, focused on the one topic that will cause me to stress and binge or will make me feel like a failure if I donít measure up to what they expect of me, what theyíve accomplished themselves, or my own idea of perfection.

-- I have trigger foods, and no matter how motivated Iím feeling, they absolutely cannot be in the house. (Sorry. LittleDude. This means youíll have make do with lollipops in your reward jar instead of mini peanut butter cups -- just until Mommy gets a little stronger.)

So that brings me to July. This is going to be a challenging month. Yesterday, my mom and little ďsisterĒ arrived. (By the way, I use quotation marks because while I consider her my little sister and while she calls me ďSissy,Ē she is not legally or biologically my sister. Sheís my cousinís granddaughter who comes from an abusive home, was raised for the first six months of her life by my parents, and who spends as much time as any of us can convince her biological parents to allow with my family.) My mom falls into that aforementioned category of people who are overly supportive to the point of stressing me out, so now I find myself navigating the rest of month trying to stick with my program without really saying, ďHey, Iím trying to lose weight and get healthier.Ē This is going to be a huge challenge because we tend to eat out a lot when my mom is here, there tends to be junk food in the house when my little ďsisterĒ is here, and if the past month is any indication, the weather is not going to cooperate for me to suggest a neighborhood walk, a game in the backyard, or any other outdoor activity every day. Itís a good thing Iím focused on covert fitness right now. Iím expecting a slight dip in my fitness minutes because I wonít be able to hit the treadmill while theyíre here (itís folded up in their room) but, honestly, the vast majority of my minutes and steps come just from my daily life. If I can amp that up with a few special projects around the house, do my ST at night once Iíve retired to my bedroom, and just make the healthiest choices I can make food-wise, I think Iíll be okay. So, here are Julyís goals.

-- Steps: 10k per day at least 24 days this month.

-- Strength Training: 3x per week

-- Cardio: 200 exercise minutes on FitBit at least 24 days this month.

-- Nutrition: Stay in range at least 24 days this month.

-- Nutrition: 8 glasses of water every day and 9 glasses at least 24 days this month.

-- Motivation: Do not beat myself up if a day doesnít go as planned. Forgive myself, and move on.

Good luck to all my fellow BSG participants!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MICKEYMAX 7/11/2013 8:41AM

    Sounds like a great plan! Way to know how to map it out and what works for you! You rock!

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    Mel, i forgot your DH was in the military. I just wanted to let you know if there is an American Legion Post around you. If you need some help with things give them a call. They can help you with all sorts of things.


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CJWORDPLAY 7/8/2013 2:02AM

    Your goals sound so practical and they are based on your knowledge of what helps and what hinders your progress. I say, Good for you. Go for it. Everyone part of a goal you achieve is better than one you never attempted. So there is no way you will not make it. emoticon emoticon

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KEAMOM1510 7/7/2013 7:22AM

    I can relate to some of your "diet" issues!! Moms!! They mean well, right? Just keep reminding yourself your an equal to your sabotager's and are allowed to have your own needs and to do things your way!

Good luck reaching your goals this month!!

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TONYAB2000 7/6/2013 10:54PM

    Great goals for this month! I have the same issues when certain family comes to visit as well so I know what you are dealing with. You can get it done! emoticon

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CANDOK1260 7/6/2013 10:27PM

    goal you can do this

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    You know your strengths and weaknesses so well and it sounds like you have steeled yourself for them. Good luck, I hope this is a great for you!

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BEFIT014 7/6/2013 7:36PM

    emoticon! You've set some wonderful goals and have thought things through! emoticon

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BARBIE176 7/6/2013 1:42PM

    What awesome goals you have set for yourself. Stay focused and you'll achieve each one of them! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RDEFASSI 7/6/2013 9:40AM

    I love the goals!!!!

I to was coming back yearly or more and trying with the same results- and doing the same things every time!

This time has been different, I viewed things differently and am not beating myself up! I find my trigger foods- but they have to be in moderation like everything else! I try to track every little morsel that goes into my mouth, and find new ways to exercise/ motivate myself to get moving! Good luck- I hope this time your mom and "sis" can support you in these new endeavors without the added stress!

Comment edited on: 7/6/2013 9:41:12 AM

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GHOSTFLAMES 7/6/2013 7:12AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Of Changing the Fight

Thursday, June 27, 2013

This is an incredibly difficult blog for me to write because it involves admitting one thing I've denied for years: something just isn't right with my son.

Please don't misunderstand me. LittleDude is a happy, energetic, incredibly smart 4-year-old boy. I love him (and his little brother and my husband and God) more than anything in the entire world, and whatever lies ahead will not change that. In so many ways, he's a perfectly normal little kid... but in so many ways, he's just not.

For years, one word has floated in the back of my mind, and I've ignored it, reasoned it away, and even berated myself for inviting trouble where it didn't exist. That word is autism. So many times, I've said, "When he goes to school, they're going to try to label my smart little boy as slow or autistic or something when HE'S NOT. He's just a smart, stubborn little LittleDude, and I WILL FIGHT FOR HIM." But what happens when you realize that all the things you've reasoned away as being normal for your kid might add up to something that's just a little different -- something that doesn't make him anything less than the stunningly perfect ball of energy that he is but that just means he needs a little extra help? What happens when you realize, as a parent, that the very thing you've been fighting against -- perhaps to the point of (unintentionally) hiding it from his pediatricians -- might just be the one thing you need to fight for in order to fight for your child? Well, what happened first was that I binged on a package of fun-sized Hershey Bars that I'd bought as potty rewards for said 4-year-old. Fortunately, it was a small package. But then I got busy.

To be fair, I don't really know if LittleDude will qualify as being anywhere on the Autism Spectrum. It's incredibly difficult to find good resources on what should concern a parent of a four-year-old. Of the few things I found, LittleDude exhibits very few characteristics. He exhibits more of the characteristics found on lists for younger children -- and exhibited them even more so when he was younger. What issues we have had, I've worked very hard with him to help him "catch up," so the differences aren't always so apparent. In fact, to most people, LittleDude probably seems completely normal.

So many things about him are entirely atypical of even a mildly autistic child. But so many things about him are entirely atypical of a child without any problems either. I suspect, if we are faced with an ASD diagnosis, we will see him diagnosed at the extreme high-functioning end of the spectrum, meaning he would probably be diagnosed as being very, very mildly autistic. Just as likely is that he won't be diagnosed as autistic at all. I'm not sure which possibility scares me more. I've spent so long denying there could be a problem with my perfect little boy, fighting against any label that might cause people to judge him, that I almost don't know how to feel now that my fear is that he won't be labeled -- at least not officially -- and get the help he needs.

So, it's time to do something. Today, I e-mailed LittleDude's pediatrician to inquire about a referral to a developmental pediatrician. Hopefully, I won't be waiting as long for a response as I waited when I last sent an e-mail about an issue with Squeaky. To say that all this sequestration/furlough stuff has messed with the quality of medical care military families are receiving is an understatement. (Seriously, it was two weeks before my last e-mail was even opened. By that point, I'd gone another route to resolve the issue.) Moreso, I'm concerned that I'll have to fight for the referral because I've denied such a referral before.

After e-mailing his pediatrician, I started researching techniques on helping an autistic child cope with some of LittleDude's delays. Again, I found it was very difficult to find information specific to a high-functioning autistic child, but in absence of another option, I'm choosing to be proactive and apply what I can to our situation while leaving the rest.

For tonight, I just want to play with my little boys -- sit nearby while LittleDude doesn't allow me to touch his carefully arranged trains and watch Squeaky as he experiments with his newfound ability to roll across the floor to get to whatever he wants. Tomorrow, I'll try to make a more detailed list of what characteristics LittleDude does and does not exhibit and continue to figure out how I can help him -- whether or not anyone else will. But tonight, tonight, I'm just going to enjoy my little boy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITGRANDMA120 6/30/2013 1:57PM

    I had a friend who went through that. Well actually her boy was perfectly normal but in rare cases the immunizations they get at about two can cause autism in a normal child and they are extremely rare but it was a very slow process that the changes took place and she now has learned to accept it. You seem like a great mom and God id powerful and equips us well. The joy you have in your children should be an encouragement to others

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    It's difficult to diagnose some of these things. My son and I both wondered if he has Aspergers and we still don't know. At any rate, he has learned to cope well with any problems he had and it sounds like your son will too should you find out he has a problem.

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4_MY_LIFE 6/27/2013 6:56PM

    Does your hospital have EDIS - Education & Developmental Intervention Services? The last base I was at had it. They do referrals, testing and all that fun stuff. Also since he is 4 you may be able to get testing through the school system. I was able to arrange for testing for my daughter when she was in preschool for speech therapy. Good Luck!

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COCHESE321 6/27/2013 6:41PM

    My heart just goes out to you. I have no advice, no wise things to say - just that you touched my heart and I know whereof you speak. My "little one" is 37 now, but it makes no difference at all. On some level, he will always be 4, and 15 and 21. And there is nothing, nothing he could do that would make me unlove him.

Blessings to you and your family.

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Of The Day I Would Have Given Up

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Today, the old me would have given up. She would have decided that three hours of interrupted sleep provided exactly enough energy for a raid of her 4-year-old's reward candy stash and marathon of her latest Netflix addiction.

Today, the old me would have given up. She would have decided that sore leg muscles and achy joints added up to a good excuse to swap a neighborhood stroll for a bubble bath.

Today, the old me would have given up. When her breakfast plans didn't pan out, she would have ordered the sausage burrito, the hashbrown, AND the high-calorie coffee at the drive-through and promised herself she'd start again tomorrow....whenever that might be.

Today, the old me would have given up. The shoulder she strained while loading groceries into the car would have served as the perfect excuse to skip strength training... even if she was scheduled to work on her legs.

Today, the old me would have given up. When her son asked for chicken nuggets as a reward for hitting a good habit milestone at school, she would have ordered french fries for herself...and one of those new spicy quarter pound burgers that probably has a day's worth of fat in it.

But I'm not the old me. I'm not the new me either -- not really, not quite yet. I'm just the changing me. And the changing me didn't give up. She turned to water and, eventually, a 20-minute power nap to boost her energy. She swallowed some Tylenol, utilized the treadmill for her walk, and kept the pace slow and steady. She worked her core instead of her arms or her already sore legs. And she opted for the grilled chicken sandwich (no mayo) and apple slices at the drive-through.

Tomorrow may be a different story (though I hope not). But today, I didn't give up.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

A10TIVTRTL 7/2/2013 12:57AM

    Not yet the "new me," but it sounds like you are fully embracing the "NOW me." Good job of hanging in there, and good job of giving yourself some much-deserved credit!
Your words are very encouraging. Every time I hear of someone else's success, whether large or small, my own hope and confidence grows. We can Do it!

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PRAIRIECROCUS 6/27/2013 12:01AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MELAMA210 6/26/2013 9:15PM


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BARBIE176 6/25/2013 10:55PM

    emoticon emoticon That is so emoticon Keep up the great work! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Of My April Goals & Getting Back to Basics (A&I Challenge: Look Here)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

When someone asked me how this month is shaping up, my first instinct was to say, ďCrazy!Ē But it seems like that answer is getting a bit redundant. Every month is crazy. In September, my husband came home from a deployment. We spent most of October on the road. In November, we were working on settling back in as a family unit, and we celebrated Thanksgiving. In December, the holidays took over, and we bought a house. In January, he was on the other side of the country while I nursed my mom through her recovery from major surgery. In February, he was still on the other side of the country, and I packed up all our belongings while navigating the final steps of the home-buying process (right up to closing). In March, we closed on the house, moved, and welcomed our first house-guests as we celebrated LittleDudeís birthday...before my husband left again. Now itís April, I havenít made any progress in my weight loss journey (unless you include reverse progress), and there are a million more things on the horizon. But at some point, the insanity has to stop (I just had a Susan Powter flashback). At some point, I have to take a deep breath, stop thinking of all the things about weight loss I just donít feel like I can handle right now, and start tackling the things I CAN handle. So this month is about getting back to the basics.

The goals...

1. Stay within my nutritional ranges EVERY day. Itís going to be hard. There are more days than Iíd like to admit when I realize we have no quick plan for lunch after errands took longer than expected. Iíll be visiting my parents, and thatís always a recipe for disaster when it comes to my willpower. And within that trip to see my parents, thereís going to be a trip to an indoor water part that will probably pummel my self-esteem into oblivion and put me at major risk for an emotional eating binge (or five). Which brings me to my next goal...

2. Think before I eat. Too often, I graze off Tobyís snack because the potato chips smell too good, or I reach for a cookie because Iím stressed out or depressed. Or I allow myself a second portion at dinner because my husband gets one and Iím darned jealous. I have to get in the habit of thinking before I eat and finding another way to deal with whatever is going on in my head.

3. Drink the water! I am so inconsistent with this one, and I KNOW it makes a huge difference. The good news is that I donít replace the water with soda. (I do drink caff-free Diet Coke, but a 12-pack lasts me a month and a half to two months.) The bad news is that if Iím not drinking my water, Iím either not drinking anything at all or Iím racking up a bunch of calories with milk. And letís face it, milk is a good thing...but the calories arenít.

4. Move! I need to do some type of exercise EVERY day. Thereís a graphic Iíve seen on Pinterest that has a Victorian woman sobbing with the caption that says ďDidnít make it to the gym today. That makes five years.Ē That is totally me. I hate the gym. Iíve tried to like it, but I donít. I just donít. I donít, however, mind exercise on my own terms. I kind of like my treadmill at home, I have some fun DVDs, I love to take long (and hard) walks with one of my friends and our kids in their strollers, Iíve recently taken up disc golf, and I think Iíd like Zumba and/or a dance class. I also donít mind light strength training that I can fit in between my daily chores. The problem is that Iím terribly inconsistent. Some weeks, Iím doing something all the time. Other weeks, someone should put a shock collar on me to get me off the couch and away from the TV. So, whether itís strength training, taking a walk, hopping on the treadmill, playing disc golf, learning Irish Step Dance, or whatever, I need to do SOMETHING every day.

5. Hang the pictures. This has nothing whatsoever to do with my weight loss journey. I just want to have the rest of the donations dropped off at Goodwill, all the moving boxes sent to the recycling center, and all the pictures hanging on the walls before my husband comes back home again.

Until next time...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMYBELLES 4/8/2012 11:19AM

    Sorry to be late responding to your goals blog, Mel. You have so much going on in your life, but I know that you can accomplish your goals if you keep working on them and don't give up. Doing things perfectly every day is very difficult, so just do your very best, and remember that you can start over again at any moment. I have many of the same goals as you, and can really relate to thinking before eating! Getting in enough water is challenging for me,too, but easier now that I stopped drinking soda.

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NICKI109 4/7/2012 9:43PM

    Yep, my downfall is when the kids have oreos in the house. I think I eat more than they do.

You will have a great month. Stick to the plan, or close to it, and you will be fine! There does seem to be quite a bit going on. Funny thing, it never really does slow down, does it!!

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ASHAIXIM 4/7/2012 9:23PM

    UGH! Do you ever want to sit down and beg the world to stop for 5 minutes?? I hear you!! I have lots of non-weight related things on my list. NOTHING wrong with that!! Besides, I think doing things like cleaning and hanging pictures are good for our weighloss journies because they make us feel better!! :) Best wishes!!

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CATHYGETSFIT 4/5/2012 4:19PM

    You have set some great goals to achieve this month! I really like how you went into details about your goals. You have to put yourself first and make your health / happiness a priority. There will always be a reason why you can't do what you need to do to make the time for exercise and eating right. You can do this! Just take it one baby step at a time! emoticon

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    It was so wonderful to catch up with what you are up to!!! you certainly have been busy. I'm so happy that you bought a house and moved. Good luck with all your goals and keep in touch!!

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48MYYEAR2014 4/2/2012 7:33AM

    great blog, it do`s you good to take a step back, reflect then start again sometimes

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JAMARIGOLD 4/1/2012 10:48PM

    emoticon blog! It's wonderful that you're concentrating on the things that you can handle. I think it's great that you have such good insight on the things that can throw you a curve. I think my goals this month are going to look an awful lot like yours! But I know that we CAN do it. Best of luck this week!

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BARBIE176 4/1/2012 8:07PM

    Great goals Mel. Your life definitely sounds hectic, but you have to figure out how to overcome the struggles to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle despite that. My problem areas are weekends and depressing weather so we all have our own difficulties to overcome. Good luck in achieving your goals!

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    Mel, you can do this. You have been busy now it is time for you to take some time for yourself. Remember if you are not taking care of yourself it will be harder to take care of those you love.


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SPHAPPYHIKER 4/1/2012 7:32PM

    Great list of goals! Isn't it funny how life gets so hectic and just when you think it will ease up it doesn't so it is finding a balance in our hectic lives that will make it through. You have a great set of goals that will help get you going on the right track.

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MISSA9 4/1/2012 6:03PM

    Mel good detail goals!! You can do it!! Posting this blog is just the beginning!!

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Of Putting My Nose Back to the Grindstone

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Iím back! (Donít have a heart attack or anything.)

I canít believe my last blog post was at the end of August. I really canít believe I gave into emotional eating BIG-TIME over these past six months and GAINED ten pounds. But it is what it is. I canít change it. I can only change the present and make a plan to change the future.

Since you last heard from me, my husband came home...then left...then came home...then left again. Such is military life. Iím used to it. However, in between all that coming and going, we took a nice long vacation to visit family, celebrated the holidays, bought a house, nursed my mom through recovery after knee/foot surgery, moved into the house (Did I mention he was gone for the whole buying a house process? He was here to approve the purchase and sign the contract, then he left, and he came back a few days before closing. So yes, that meant I packed up all our stuff by myself again. I swear he does this on purpose!), and celebrated LittleDudeís birthday. I also took up disc golf (which Iím terrible at), pulled LittleDude out of daycare (he was only going a few hours a week anyway, and it was more traumatic than helpful for him), made a new friend (big deal for me), adopted a new dog, returned the new dog (aggressive behavior), and booked a trip to Disney World for June.

And thatís where we are. Too heavy, crazily busy, but ready to get back on track. (And if, at times, Iím motivated solely by the idea of getting into a bathing suit in public in 11 weeks, donít judge me.) Hopefully, itíll stick this time. Time to outline my April goals...

Until next time,

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATHYGETSFIT 4/5/2012 4:24PM

    Most of us have something we want to look good for. Just don't get discouraged and don't give up. It's good to see you back in the BSG challenges! We are here for you if / when you need us!


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NICKI109 4/2/2012 8:45AM

    I hear ya, I have the same goal right now, to look good in my bathing suit. My timeline is shorter, I leave at the end of April. I can't wait, I so need a vacation. Sounds like you could use one as well. Well hubby be back for the Disney trip? So glad you are back, you were missed!

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SHERREMAC 4/1/2012 5:23PM

    Glad You made it back!

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