Tuesday, July 17, 2012
I (half-jokingly) predicted that I'd post my next blog entry after my baby was born... well... now she's almost nine months old. I guess that counts.
Motherhood is wonderful (and sometimes overwhelming, and exhausting, but mostly wonderful). My daughter is a radiant, happy, strong little girl who is somewhere beyond the 95% in weight (!!) and is keeping my life very interesting now that she has mastered crawling, pulling up on things, and using her pincer grasp to bring anything and everything up to her mouth.
My physical recovery from pregnancy has in many ways been a lot better than I expected, which ironically I think has kept me from really taking care of my body in the last nine months. I was back in my pre-pregnancy clothes and down to my pre-pregnancy weight in just a few weeks, I was running 5Ks and almost hitting personal records within a few months, and all things considered came through the whole thing pretty unscathed.
A lot of the good habits that I had from my time Sparking, though, have started to slip... and now I'm starting to feel the impact. Thanks to breastfeeding, it seems like I can eat whatever I want without showing rapid weight gain, something I began to realize when I was gorging on cookies when visiting my family over the holidays. So while it sounds great to be able to eat whatever I'd like, this has led me to eat a lot more crap, which makes me FEEL like crap... and I'm getting in a bad cycle. I also know that breastfeeding is already starting to wind down (though I don't plan to wean for a long time still), and I can't hide behind the calorie drain of breastfeeding for ever. I also feel like my eating habits are getting worse and worse, and that's a bad trend.
This week I did some baking for friends who just moved or just had babies, and I don't want to admit how much of what I baked I ate myself. You know that nasty, headache-y buzz that comes from too much sugar? The really full stomach that comes when you eat AFTER snacking on crap all afternoon? Yeah... I'd kind of forgotten them. They're definitely back. Even when I'm not baking, I eat a lot more peanut butter and jelly sandwiches than is actually good for me. Or I've polished off a packet of tea biscuits in a few days, just because it was leftover from making something else and it's there. I wouldn't say I'm binging, and I still have a pretty healthy relationship with food... but I don't like the way this has been going. I'm no longer eating the food that makes me feel good or liking the way I eat.
My husband is back to serious food tracking, we're already doing the hardest part of the whole thing-- figuring out how to track dinner and portion out meals. So now I just need to be honest with myself and log my snacks. I like to use the excuse that I'm too busy taking care of the baby to track, but the truth is that I find time for facebook and blogs... I do have the time. I just haven't quite wanted to be honest about what I'm eating these days.
The other reason I need Spark again is that I need to do some serious strength training. A few weeks ago I finally checked all my measurements on Spark, including some fitness measurements. Here's what I found:
Pre-Spark ---> Pre-pregnancy ---> 8 months post pregnancy
138 lb-->127 --> 128 (my weight seems to range between 127 and 129 these days)
29.5"-->26" --> 28.5" (not too happy about this one)
39"--> 36" --> 36.5" (Yay! My hips didn't spread! But wait... that makes my waist-hip ratio crappy... hmmm)
Like my hips, my thighs and arms all shrunk a few inches since I started Spark and are now about a half inch bigger than before pregnancy.
None of this is that big of a deal, but it does tell me that, even though my weight hasn't changed that much since before pregnancy, I've probably lost some muscle (since I'm slightly bigger at the same weight), and I'd REALLY like to find a way to draw in my stomach again. 2.5 inches bigger there isn't cool.
The worse news came when I did the fitness tests.
24/min --> 34/min --> 25/min
(Oops... carrying around my 25 lb baby in the ergo all the time apparently hasn't quite given me the Rambo-like arm strength I thought.)
20/min --> 37/min --> 12/min
Yes... 12. In case you're wondering, 40/min is considered "good," 25/min is considered "marginal," and 10/min is nicely termed "needs work." Apparently I need work.
This shouldn't surprise me... obviously, pregnancy does a number on ab strength, and not doing pushups for, oh, a year will make you lose that kind of arm strength. But for some reason I thought I was fine... running has brought a lot of my core strength back (or so I thought), and I do yoga... oh... maybe for 20 minutes twice a month. Ooops.
Finally, lately I've been losing some motivation to run. Heat and humidity in my part of Israel has hit the "can cut it with a knife" stage, and I also think I set a rather too ambitious speed goal in my latest run. We took a vacation to Rome at the end of June and I didn't run that week, and found it surprisingly hard to keep up with my plan when I got back into it... plus doing those fitness tests left me sore! All this is to say that I think the community here will help me stay motivated.
So that's where I'm at.
Questions if anyone can help me--
What helped your ab strength come back after pregnancy? Do I need to be careful about doing traditional ab exercises? How do I know if my ab muscles separated during pregnancy?
While breastfeeding, how did you figure out how many calories to aim for in your tracking?
If you made it this deep into my rambling, thank you!! It's good to be back.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
I totally meant to start posting more regular blog posts, but it seems like I'm more a once-every-trimester kind of girl... which means that my next post will probably be when I have an actual baby! (Or more likely when I hit 40 weeks and don't have a baby yet and need to vent...)
My second trimester went well! It was a lot less eventful than my first trimester (you can read that in my last blog post), which is a VERY good thing.
I haven't exactly been zen (I've stressed out about a ton of little symptoms), but I only had one major pregnancy freakout and visit to my doctor, which turned out to be really funny. It's a bit TMI, but it went down like this: I was worried about an incompetent cervix and premature labor, because my doctor told me I might have a heart-shaped uterus at one of our first appointments (around the time he told me I was miscarrying with this baby!), so I've been really nervous about anything that could be a symptom of this. On my babycenter birth club board, someone posted that you could tell normal vaginal discharge from amniotic fluid leaking by the smell-- amniotic fluid smells sweet. Naturally, I went straight to the bathroom to check this out. I wiped and sniffed the toiled paper... and OH MY G-D IT SMELLED LIKE SOME KIND OF CANDY. Unmistakeably sweet. Bizarrely sweet. I called my doctor right away, but he was in an appointment and was supposed to call me back. So I went online, googled "leaking amniotic fluid"... not something you really want to do at 20 weeks (the prognosis is scary). Thoroughly freaked out, I DROVE to my doctor's office and sat in his waiting room until he could see me. Everything looked fine: closed cervix, perfect amount of amniotic fluid. He tested me for a yeast infection, which came up negative.
A few days after that, I decided to check the smell again, just to see if it had gone away. No... still sweet!! Then I had the bright idea to check the smell of some clean toilet paper.
Same sweet smell. Turned out that my husband picked out the toilet paper last time, and he chose vanilla-scented TP (which seems to be an Israeli thing).
After that, I had a new mantra whenever I was tempted to freak out and conclude my baby has just a few days to live: SMELL THE TOILET PAPER. It's saved me from many an emergency room trip. :)
I've kept up with exercising pretty well. During week 17, I participated in a 24-hour ultramarathon relay, running three legs (mostly downhill) that came out to 20 K total. The training was hard... I was having a lot of pubic bone pain when I ran, and back-to-back runs didn't help. The race itself, though, was incredibly fun. Here I am after finishing one of my legs:
Hot but happy. :)
I kept running (doing 5-6 K every other day) until about week 25, though I definitely got slower-- my 5K times drifted from sub-30 in easy training runs to 37 minutes on a fast day. :) But then summer and pregnancy caught up with me, and I decided that the heat and the pubic bone pain I was experiencing weren't worth it anymore. Now I've been swimming about three times a week instead, and it's a lot of fun... I've never swum much before, so doing 1500 meters (in about 50 minutes) yesterday felt like a true accomplishment! It's so nice to do exercise that doesn't leave me in pain afterward.
I'm a teacher, so I've been on summer vacation for pretty much the entire second trimester. I've become a sewing DEMON... I've so far sewed a bunch of maternity clothes for myself, a baby dress, two cloth diapers, a diaper bag, a changing pad, a wet bag, and a little robot doll that I was going to give to my friend's son but decided to keep for our little girl. :)
By far the best thing about my second trimester has been feeling like I'm getting to know my baby. We found out that she's a girl at my 16 week scan, and I started feeling her kicking around 18 weeks. Now it sometimes looks like my belly is going through an earthquake. :) I love feeling her nudge and roll against me... I always thought it would feel weird to have a human being growing inside me, but really it feels like being a mother and holding my baby... and I can't wait until I get to actually hold her in my arms and look her in the eyes!!
Some stats about my pregnancy so far:
Weight gain-- 12 pounds (from 127 to 139). I tend to gain in fits and starts and I think I'm due for another leap soon, though. :)
Pre-pregnancy (and actually about 4 pounds lighter than I started pregnancy... I decided I felt better at 127 lbs than 123, so 127 is also my future goal weight): 26
22-23 weeks: 34
28 weeks: 37 (I feel a lot bigger, and she's much bigger, though!)
Pre-pregnancy: 36 (though again, this was at about 4 pounds lighter than I was when I got pregnant or than I want to be in the future)
28 weeks: 37
28 weeks: 10
I've thrown up four times this pregnancy-- once in week 17 (the day before the race!), once in week 21, and twice in week 25. Never in the first trimester. Weird, I know.
Here's a collage of my weekly belly shots, from 10 weeks to 27 (I missed one week in the bottom row, I think week 25):
I know it looks like I "dropped" in Week 27, but I think that's just a trick of the camera angle and the waist of my shorts, and maybe where she was lying that day.
And I totally thought I was showing in the very first picture. HA!
Here I am at 28 weeks and 2 days, wearing one of the jersey dresses I sewed:
Here she is at 16 weeks...
Here's to a healthy third trimester!!
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
WARNING: this turned out to be super long... I guess I've never told the story in this much depth and I wanted to get it all out there. Feel free to scroll down and just look at the pictures. :)
Hi everyone!! This is my first actual pregnancy-related blog post, thanks in part to the fact that I'm finally "out" to my family about my pregnancy (and some of them are friends of mine on Spark). I'm also celebrating moving out of the 1st trimester and into the second!!
Our pregnancy started with a roller coaster of emotions. I had a non-viable pregnancy and missed miscarriage that ended in D&C at about 10 weeks last summer-- our first. It was devastating, but at first I believed that I wanted to get pregnant again RIGHT AWAY and that I was DEFINITELY READY... but when I found myself blubbering to my husband about how I didn't feel at all excited about getting pregnant again, just stressed out, and that I never thought I would feel excited again, we realized that we weren't actually ready. So after trying again for one month post-D&C (when I'm convinced that Yom Kippur falling pretty much exactly on ovulation day didn't help!), we took time off. I got my two-star scuba diving certification and started training for a half-marathon, doing lots of yoga, and generally trying to keep myself busy and enjoy NOT being pregnant as much as possible.
After a few months we felt ready to try again-- TRULY ready, excited-to-be-parents ready, optimistic ready. On our second month trying, on Valentine's Day, I took a pregnancy test a few days before I thought I actually had a chance of seeing a positive... but there was a faint second line!! We were delighted... and stressed out, and intimidated at the thought that I was supposed to run a half marathon in just a few days. Ok, maybe the stressed out and intimidated part was mostly me. I had this tape playing in my mind that said something like "don't stress, stress is bad for the baby, OMG I'm STRESSING OUT, I'm DAMAGING IT, NOOO I NEED TO STOP STRESSSING.... AAAAAH!!!! STRESS!!!!" I barely slept at all for the first few nights after getting that positive pregnancy test. While I think I had recovered from the miscarriage enough to be excited, it was obviously still playing with my mind... and for the record, telling a pregnant woman not to stress because stress can hurt the baby is basically the MOST stressful thing you can possibly say to any woman who is, shall we say, a bit high strung. I was also debating whether or not to run the half marathon, and I decided not to-- I didn't want to second-guess myself if this pregnancy, too, ended in a miscarriage.
Instead, I ran the 10K at the same event. It was great fun to feel super over-trained and to race without any pressure. Here I am crossing that finish line (white shirt):
The first person we said the words "I'm pregnant" to (ok, technically "Ani beheraiyon"-- we live in Israel so I said it in Hebrew :) was one of the race coordinators who agreed to change my registration to the 10K when we explained my "delicate condition."
On March 1st, I had my first doctor's appointment at 6 weeks exactly. We waited three hours to see him because I had the time wrong, and I sat in the waiting room with this growing feeling of dread. Last pregnancy, it felt like I got scarier and scarier news at every ultrasound... the baby was too small, its heartbeat was too faint, there was no heartbeat, it had stopped growing... now, seven months later, just after what should have been my first baby's due date, I sat in my new doctor's waiting room, getting up to pee every five minutes, fearing the worst.
And then it happened.
The doctor didn't see a fetal pole on the ultrasound, just a sac. He also started drawing pictures on his pad that looked kind of like deer antlers, explaining to me that he thought my uterus was bicornuate, and that I was carrying the baby in the left side. Yes, this could be the cause of repeated miscarriages. He sent me to get my HcG levels drawn: 38,000 one day, 40,000 the next-- high (so high that every website I googled told me that there should DEFINITELY be a baby and a heartbeat seen on ultrasound) but not going up fast enough. One website told me it would take something like 76 days for my HcG to double at this rate, while it's supposed to double every 24-72 HOURS at this point in pregnancy. I also felt a little crampy, convinced that my breasts were less sore than they had been the week before.
So when I went back for a second appointment four days later, at what should have been 6 weeks 4 days, and heard more bad news, I was expecting it. I had to ask my doctor specially to print a picture of the ultrasound out... I've found that they don't give you pictures when they think your pregnancy isn't viable. I also wanted to see what exactly this "bicornuate uterus" looked like. Here it is... the little black thing is what looked like an empty sac, and the white outline is my uterus (which didn't look quite as scary as the antler pictures my doctor was drawing on his scratch paper):
He diagnosed me with another missed miscarriage, and told me that lots of women have two miscarriages and go on to have healthy babies. It didn't feel that way. It felt as if getting pregnant (or rather, staying pregnant, since we got pregnant on our first or second try both times) was going to be this insurmountable barrier, as if something so effortless to so many women was going to be incredibly difficult for me. I felt as if I had plunged into a different category, the scary world of "multiple miscarriages," compounded by this news about my defective uterus.
The doctor printed out two referrals for me to take to the hospital the next morning-- one for a D&C, one for medically-induced abortion if that's what I preferred. I asked him if it would be ok for me to wait this one out to see if it would happen naturally. He said yes. I said I'd give it two weeks.
And then I went home.
I had cried so much in the days between the two ultrasounds that now I just felt numb. Even calm. My baby, my poor little nonviable baby was still inside me, which didn't bother me the way it seemed to bother other women on the Babycenter miscarriage support forum... I felt like at least I would get a longer goodbye this time, at least I could wait for natural miscarriage so that I would have no doubts that this had to happen in the end. I knew it could take a while; I read the stories of women who waited four weeks, with pregnancy symptoms churning along, before finally releasing their babies. I felt a kind of peace with this, a kind of confidence that waiting would be the best thing. I just hoped the miscarriage would happen on its own before my doctor would pressure me into getting a D&C.
In the meantime, I went back to my normal life. I ran faster and harder, intervals and tempo runs. I ate poached eggs with runny yolks, camped out all night on the rocky ground beneath Masada fortress when my parents visited and didn't worry about lack of sleep, drank a small light beer on two separate occasions. I didn't eat sushi, but only because our favorite sushi shop had closed. I reveled in iced coffee, hot "cafe hafuch."
And yet I felt I was living in a twilight zone between "pregnant" and "not pregnant"-- those jokes about how you can't be "a little bit pregnant" didn't seem funny anymore. In the Ein Gedi Spa at the Dead Sea, I decided to dip my toes in the sulfur water pool rather than go in with my whole body, thanks to the big signs prohibiting pregnant women from entering. When we took my parents on an introductory scuba dive in the Red Sea coral reef, I agonized about whether to go with them-- I had to sign that I WASN'T pregnant on the waiver before entering the water. But it was such a short and shallow dive that I decided to risk it.
I didn't want to give in to the "denial" that kept whispering in my ear about that bloat in my lower stomach, about the breast soreness that was back in full force, that light nausea in the evenings-- the "denial" that kept playing pictures in my head of going in for another ultrasound and seeing a developing baby on the screen. I felt that I had let denial string me along too much in my last pregnancy-- my doctor was gloomy about my prospects at every appointment then, but I had dismissed him as an Eeyore, and I told grandparents, second cousins, fellow theater board members, acquaintances, friends all about my pregnancy at just 7 weeks. And then told them the sad news at 10. This time I was going to face reality. It felt important to stop taking pregnancy precautions so that I could truly wrap my head around the loss of this second baby. But still, I didn't go in that sulfur pool, I didn't go on a deeper or longer scuba dive (even though I had the opportunity), I avoided any medication that could be harmful during pregnancy, and I kept taking my prenatal vitamins.
Three weeks after my last appointment, I called my doctor, ready for him to yell at me for waiting longer than I'd said I would. Instead, he wasn't worried. He scheduled an appointment for me in a week. I was grateful for more time to wait, more time to let this happen naturally instead of being pushed into making a decision to end this pregnancy.
I didn't bother to set the appointment for a time when my husband could make it. It would be at 10 weeks 3 days, so I knew that it was now or never-- if nothing had changed for the better on the ultrasound, I felt ready to take medication to end this pregnancy. My main question was whether I could wait until after the 5.7K field race that my husband and I had registered to run that weekend, back when it had seemed my pregnancy would be long over by this point. I didn't even look at the screen when my doctor inserted a wand to see what was going on with this pregnancy; I studied the gray curtain beyond my feet, ready to hear the worst.
"Maya, do you realize what we're looking at here?" my doctor said. And then I turned to the screen. And there was a moving, beautiful, heart-beating, perfectly-sized 10 week fetus.
I started crying-- maybe one of the only times in my life that I've burst into tears because of pure joy. This was literally my dream, this was that moment my "denial" kept playing in my head. This was my BABY, my actual kicking baby, there on the screen. At 10 weeks, my last pregnancy had looked like a smudge on the ultrasound, a little gray spot at the edge of the long, collapsing wedge of sac. This baby was waving at me.
The doctor also told me that he no longer saw signs of a bicornuate uterus on the ultrasound. He thought possibly originally there had been twins, leading to the high HcG numbers and odd ultrasound results, but I'd lost one early on. He was practically on the verge of tears himself.
The next few days felt more dreamlike than anything I've ever experienced in my life. I couldn't stop smiling, and while I passed one restless night after finding out the news (should I sleep on my side? What if something happened to the baby now?) but I found the calm that I'd felt when I thought I was miscarrying returning. This baby was strong. He (or she, but I felt like it was he) had thrived during the interval running, the sleepless nights, the-- *gasp*-- caffeine consumption. He was tough, and one nervous mother couldn't change that. I was pregnant!!
That Friday, I ran the 5.7K and didn't even bother going too easy-- while I made sure I was never overly out of breath, I also pushed myself just enough to pass a teenage girl on the slope down to the finish line. I finished just under a half hour, winning third place overall among women, thanks to the 11K race at the same event that siphons off the serious runners. Here I am on the podium, secretly gloating to myself about the fit-looking guys I'd passed while running uphill, 10 weeks pregnant (again, I'm in the white shirt):
On Sunday I went back for another appointment with my doctor and bloodwork, and he gave me another quickie ultrasound to show my husband our baby-- the baby who, despite the race, had even picked up an extra "day" of growth between appointments.
My pregnancy since then has been wonderfully uneventful. We did a nuchal translucency scan at 12 weeks to check for markers of Downs Syndrome (but more to get another glimpse at our little guy)-- and while it's too early to tell the gender for sure, the US tech did take a look between his legs and said he gave it 70% chance of being a boy. (Actually, it was at 11 weeks 6 days, but our little guy picked up ANOTHER extra day before that appointment and was now measuring 12 weeks!).
Here he (or she) is:
My favorite, the 3-D scan that the technician switched on at the end:
It was wonderful to see him wriggling around in high-definition ultrasound at that appointment, turning his back to the wand and making the tech's life difficult. He also "passed" these tests with flying colors-- our odds for Downs Syndrome and Trisomy went down from 1/1100 (according to my age, which will be 28 in October) to 1/10,000. Wahoo!
Now I'm waiting for my next appointment at 16 weeks, May 9th. I wish I could say that I've been totally zen and stress-free, but I haven't... After telling our whole family about the pregnancy over Passover Seder dinner at 13 weeks, I started freaking out a little about the risk of incompetent cervix associated with bicornuate uteruses (uteri?), and I began to convince myself that I felt some of the symptoms of a condition that, actually, is usually described as "symptomless." (A google search revealed just enough "symptoms" for me to scare myself.) On Saturday, I had a teeny bit of light brown spotting and then passed what looked to me like tissue, so we went to the emergency room. Everything was fine-- the doctor thought I'd lost just a bit of blood-tinged mucus, perfectly normal. We heard the thumping of our baby's heartbeat for the first time, saw him on ultrasound (already bigger looking, more proportional head). He checked my cervix: it's tightly closed, 5.1 cm long, perfect. He said it was fine for me to keep running and, as I was leaving the room, may or may not have muttered something under his breath about nervous first time moms. (He was very nice, though.)
So here I am-- still feeling dazed and blessed that I'm actually pregnant, that I actually have a baby growing inside of me, that the little flutterings I'm starting to feel in my abdomen may not just be gas. I've gained one pound so far (thanks perhaps to Passover gorging) and am eagerly awaiting the emergence of a genuine baby bump. Here are my "maybe bump" pictures so far...
10w3d (right after finding the baby on ultrasound... I think this was mostly bloat, but it had definitely made me start to wonder over the past few weeks):
13w3d (there's really something there, I swear!):
I don't know if a clear progression is showing up in the pictures yet or just in my mind... right now my "bump" kind of changes with the time of day... but I do definitely feel my stomach changing, and I can almost see the swell rising up toward my belly button. Also, I think I have freakishly large hands. :)
I'm still running, doing lots of yoga, and feeling grateful every day for this pregnancy. Let's hope my second trimester is just as easy and MUCH less exciting. :)
Estimated due date: October 23, 2011!!
Monday, April 12, 2010
First, I've made my weight goal!! It feels really awesome... I decided to go down to 125 after all, and I feel pretty darn skinny but also nicely toned and still rounded. :) Now I just need to buy some clothes that fit me... even the clothes that used to be too tight on me before are all saggy now!
But today I read the spark strategy article about posting about my "trouble goal," which is something that always seems to be an issue in our life, and I knew exactly what I'd talk about. For me, my weight has never really been an issue. Spark definitely helped me stop it from creeping up, get motivated to exercise more, and get more control over my portion sizes, but I never felt ashamed of my weight and I've always had a pretty healthy relationship with food. Still, I feel I understand exactly what people mean when they talk about crash dieting before vacations, being embarrassed to walk outside or see friends and family at their current weight, because I do these things in my own way... not with weight but with my home.
My house is not very clean. I'll come right out and say that. I'm pretty organized (most things have places, I don't have tons of clutter) and I'm even semi-obsessed with home decorating (I read the blogs, watch HGTV shows, and take on more projects than I probably should), but when it comes to keeping my house neat and clean... I can't seem to do it in a way that is healthy, relaxed, and balanced. I can crash clean before people come over, spending hours getting my house in shape, but like crash dieting, that's only a quick fix-- I still have grime in my cupboards, laundry shoved into the hamper (and possibly hidden by the bedspread), and oh, yeah, when was the last time I changed the sheets? I can get my house looking decent-- although I'm sure not as good as it would look if I was simply able to put a finishing polish on it before guests arrive. I also find myself engaging in all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to keeping my house in order and clean, even though I don't when it comes to my body... I'll keep everything REALLY orderly for a little while, and then a stressful period will hit and I'll let everything go. The state of my house is a pretty good barometer for my mood. If I feel good and in control, it will look decent. If I feel stressed... well... just watch where you step. And there might be something growing in the dishes.
I also feel a lot of guilt and shame about this. I feel guilty that my house isn't in better order, that I let dust bunnies accumulate in corners. That there are footprints in the bathroom. That there is a funny smell in the fridge that I can't identify. I work from home, and I KNOW I have the time to clean more (I waste plenty of time online), and I feel guilty if I ask for more help from my husband who has a 90-minute commute each way to work... especially because he's really consistent about doing his part of the bargain, which is laundry. My jobs are technically bigger than laundry-- cooking, dishes, changing sheets, cleaning out the litter boxes, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning bathrooms, cleaning kitchen, dusting-- but considering that I only consistently get to the first two items on that list, can I really ask him to do more?
But even more than the guilt, I feel a lot of shame. I'm embarrassed to have people over when I haven't spent a lot of time cleaning first. I have friends and family with very clean houses, and I can't help but imagine that they look at my house and see finger prints, dust, maybe a ring of scum in the sink and think "I couldn't live like that." I love to cook but worry that people are grossed out to eat my food. I once essentially forgot that someone was coming over, and she caught me with a truly dirty house (and sweatpants and a sweatshirt), and I've been too embarrassed to invite her over for dinner since then because I worry she wouldn't want to eat here.
Ok, before I should go any further, I should probably say that some of this is probably exaggerated in my mind. I guess I'm also like someone with an unhealthy body image, who looks in a mirror and sees more fat than there is. Yes, I could stand to lose a few "pounds" of grime from my house, but at the same time, I'm nothing like a hoarder and my house is nowhere near to being condemned. The worst thing on my dishes is usually a few flecks of dry food that I didn't quite manage to scrub off. (Ew, I know.) I have no vermin infestations and general nothing moldy in my fridge. I should probably also keep in mind that two cats are GOING to generate cat hair, and I can't expect the apt to be cat hair free. But I see every little flaw and hate myself for it, and that overwhelms me from doing something about it-- or rather, I'm not really sure how to do something healthy about it other than exhaust myself in a binge of cleaning.
The one thing that has worked for me in the past was to use the Flylady system (www.Flylady.net). I went through all of the Flylady "babysteps" in the fall, and for once I started to feel like I actually knew how to keep my home in order, that I could have people over at a moment's notice and feel proud of how my home looks. I think I fell off Flylady for a few reasons. First, I got very very busy in November and felt like I had to drop everything that wasn't essential... and that included the Flylady cleaning routines. Second, I think I hit the barrier that I've also felt somewhat on Spark-- it's easy to stay motivated when you're in the earlier stages of a plan and you're seeing a lot of progress, but it's more challenging to stay motivated when you're in the "maintain" phase. Third, I think I overloaded myself. Flylady is all about simple cleaning routines, and I think I added so many items onto my morning, mid-day, and evening list that they became time-consuming rather than automatic.
Another reason I think I dropped Flylady is that I don't think I quite had the support I needed from my husband. I mean, I can't blame him-- he didn't sabotage me, and ultimately I have to do all of this for myself, not for anyone else. Saying I didn't succeed because he didn't support me is a cop-out. His particular brand of lack of "support" would probably be welcome to a lot of women, anyway-- he has never criticized the way the house looked or made me feel bad about myself for anything to do with housecleaning. But what discouraged me when I was doing the Flylady routines was that he didn't really want to hear me talk about Flylady, and he kept telling me things like "the house looked fine to me before, I don't really see a difference." He didn't like it when I would be running around doing my "bedtime routine" in the evening. I felt like I was seeing results, but he kind of made me feel like I was wasting my time... this sounds kind of needy to say, but I really wanted to hear compliments and encouragement on how the house was shaping up, and I really wanted to celebrate the little triumphs I'd had that day and have him help me feel like they mattered.
Now, actually, I think things would be different in this respect. My husband has been on Spark with me since day one, and in many ways I did Spark to support him-- he's always been overweight (although soon to be in the "normal range" now). He has been very encouraging to me on all my small victories on Spark, and I think he has appreciated the ways I've helped him with Spark. I think he gets now that for me, house cleaning is a kind of similar issue, and that I need to be able to celebrate the loss of grime around the base of the toilet just as he celebrates running three miles in under 30 minutes. In many ways, I need Flylady like he needs Spark. I need it to give me the discipline and motivation to develop a healthy relationship with my house so that it stays clean but isn't something I beat myself up over. When I told him recently that I planned to pick back up Flylady after we moved (on Thursday!), he was encouraging, and I think he's been trying to notice the little things I do to clean. (And, er, I could probably stand to be more gracious in accepting compliments, especially when they have to do with the state of my house. I probably tend to respond to a compliment about my house with a criticism.) Some Flylady habits have stuck with me-- I use my "control journal" all the time, and I still follow the weekly "home blessing" cleaning plan.
Anyway, I'm going to pick back up Flylady, and I think I'll work my way through the babysteps once again, skipping over ones that I already do regularly (like the ones that have to do with setting up my control journal.). I'll also set up doing these babysteps as a mini-break goal on Spark.
So there it is... my trouble goal, which is going to stop pestering me from now on. I've probably never collected my thoughts about all of this before, and I've definitely never been this honest about it, and it feels good. No more shame! Clean, healthy, balanced!
Friday, February 26, 2010
As I close in on my goal weight, I've been thinking a lot about how I know what's a healthy weight for me. I have a medium frame, so I finally decided (especially after my ribs started to get more obvious than I think is attractive) that I should definitely stop at 127 rather than at my original goal of 125. To be honest, I think my original goal was 125 just because my mother used Spark and got down to 125, and I thought I needed to do at least the same since my mother is a little taller than me. But the reality is that my mother has a small frame, so 130 looks like more weight on her body than it does on mine, and my "happy weight" (and healthy weight) is going to be a bit higher.
But maybe it goes deeper than that. Before I started using Spark, I think I always had it in my head that 125 was "skinny." I didn't realize just how much weight is subjective... someone my height could look skeletal at 120 while someone much shorter could look a little chubby. One of the amazing things about Spark for me has been how honest people are about their weight on here. I was never overweight, but I was embarrassed to put down my weight of 140 when I started here, perhaps in part because all I really had as comparison was the fact that when my mom gets to 140 she feels she has really gained too much weight.
After a few days, though, I decided to be honest and post my weight and goals in my ticker. Seeing everyone else's tickers-- and looking at their spark pages and seeing just how awesome some people look at 160, and how my 140 doesn't look like the 140 of someone shorter than me, has made me really internalize the message that the number on the scale is just a number. BMI is better, but 130 on me is going to look better than 130 one someone with a small frame. In fact, I would probably look skeletal and scary at 120, even though that is technically within my "healthy" range. And yeah, I have moments where I wonder why I couldn't have gotten a small frame like my mother and my sister... why I can't have a body that can sail down into low 120s with curves left over. So yeah, I'll never be in size zero jeans, but I can look great in size four.
I think one thing that makes this number game tricky is that nobody really talks about their weight. I mean, yes, I do know the weights of some of my girlfriends, but when I would hear how much they weighted I think I would forget to calculate in the fact that they are taller or shorter than me. So maybe we all latch into some idea of what number = skinny and hold onto that when it isn't necessarily accurate for our body and our bones. Also, I frankly don't believe that some celebrities are as skinny as we're told they are. Maybe the camera adds 10 lbs, but I also think people love to quote incredibly low numbers for healthy-looking celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, which feeds into this idea that we have to have some amazingly low weight to be "slim." I doubt celebrities are any more honest about their weight than most of us, and besides, I think a lot of them are shorter than we realize.
Anyway, the original point of this post was that, for some reason, the height and weight of Olympic athletes are posted on the Yahoo website, so this is one other place where we can go to see how much real (albiet super incredibly fit) people weigh. I saw Spark articles about how olympic athletes weigh more and so aren't featured on the cover of magazines, and frankly I didn't really believe it... I mean, I think curlers and speed skaters aren't featured on the cover of magazines because, well, their sports aren't all that well-known. They're amazing athletes but not celebrities. I don't think skinniness is the secret to magazine covers that people like to claim it is... if it was, I bet we'd still see supermodels on the cover of magazines rather than actresses.
So here are some BMIs that I discovered when I spend a half hour looking at the Yahoo site:
US Skiier Lindsey Vonn: 5'10", 165 lbs-- BMI = 23.7, on the upper end of normal weight. (And she was not only on the cover of magazines, but posed in a bathing suit!)
US Skiier Julia Mancuso: 5'6", 141 lbs-- BMI = 22.4 (And she totally looks skinnier than that!)
Canadian Ice Dancer Tessa Virtue: 5'3", 110 lbs-- BMI = 19.5, at the bottom end of normal weight. She was the Canadian ice dance gold medal winner, and I was curious about her because she looks SO slim (and we hear all the time that figure skaters are under pressure to be unhealthily skinny). Her BMI is actually just into the normal range, and she probably has a small frame, so despite the fact that her body fat percentage is probably super low, I think she's healthy.
US Ice dancer Tanith Belbin: 5'6", 115 lbs-- BMI = 18.6. I hope this was BEFORE she gained the 10 lbs that she said helped her compete, not after... if it was after, I can see why she didn't have the strength to lift herself before! Yikes!
US Figure Skater Mirai Nagasu: 5'2", 110 lbs-- BMI = 20.1. And she's so cute!!
US Hockey Player Angela Ruggiero: 5'8", 190 lbs-- BMI = 28.1, which is technically on the upper end of overweight, though she totally doesn't look it (it's probably mostly muscle!). She also graduated from Harvard and was on the Apprentice, so she's pretty awesome.
US Snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis: 5'6", 146 lbs, BMI = 22.6. (She's a totally beautiful girl who looks great when she isn't in the baggy snowboarding uniforms, too!)
Anyway, I guess what I love about this is that these are real, beautiful, healthy women. And no, they aren't getting passed over for endorsements or magazine covers because of their weight... in fact some of the girls with higher BMIs are the most sought-after. And yeah, the figure skaters are really skinny (though mostly in the healthy range) and yeah, muscle weighs more than fat, but at the bottom line these are just examples how how great people look at different weights... and how powerful our bodies can be when they're healthy. How you don't need to have a BMI of 17 to be attractive, which honestly I think is one of the messages we get when we're told, over and over, about how painfully skinny celebrities are.
I don't know if this message has a real point except that I love our honesty about our weights here on Spark, and I love the images of beauty at all weights that we get from olympic athletes. I don't even buy into the idea that our culture only rewards people of tiny weight-- I think a lot of women weigh more than we realize. Just a few things I'm mulling over as I figure out my happy weight.
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