POOKASLUAGH's SparkPeople Blog http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal.asp?id=POOKASLUAGH POOKASLUAGH's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community SparkPeople.com http://assets2.sparkpeople.com/assets/nav/logo_spark.gif http://www.sparkpeople.com/ Getting stronger! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5773156 I've mentioned before that my big strength goal - the one health-and-fitness-related goal I have yet to achieve on this journey - is to be able to do 5+ pull-ups again. Back in high school, I could do 20+, and I would love to at least be able to do 5 nonstop again one day. I got really close before my surgery in January, getting up to 4 pull-ups. Post-surgery, with my abdominal muscles surgically altered, I lost core strength completely. For weeks, I couldn't even sit up from a laying down po... Thu, 4 Sep 2014 08:06:18 EST Reached a milestone this week! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5768580 Today marks Day 9 of my 100 Days for Me Challenge. I've thus far done very well: exercised daily even if only a 10-min walk, counted calories daily, had no sugar at all since August 19th (though I still put a little stevia in my plain Greek yogurt in the morning). I've been doing my positive affirmations and personal tasks every day as well. Some of my favorite tasks so far have been attending a wine tasting, asking for a neck/back rub, and Skyping with my good friend Stephanie (INEEDACAT9). ... Thu, 28 Aug 2014 08:50:26 EST 18 months http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5764074 Today is technically 18 months from the day I met my goal weight, but I'm not really sure I can honestly say I'm "maintaining." The last four months have been mental hell, as I was saying in yesterday's post, and consequently, I've regained roughly 17 lbs since the beginning of May. Periodically I manage to lose a pound or two, but then they just come back, plus friends. I'm doing what I can to get myself to a better mental place (see yesterday's challenge), and to get back to where I was 18 ... Thu, 21 Aug 2014 07:55:27 EST 100 Days For Me http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5763381 Originally, this new challenge started as a fitness-only challenge. My friend Stephanie (INEEDACAT9) began a 100-Days-of-Exercise challenge, posting a picture of her fitness daily on Instagram. I loved the idea so much that I decided to copy her, and invite other friends to join a secret facebook group dedicated to the 100-day challenge. My hundred days of exercise start today, to end on Nov 27th - both Thanksgiving, and my 5-year weight loss anniversary. <BR> <BR> But this challenge has com... Wed, 20 Aug 2014 07:47:13 EST Stress vs Depression http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5744031 One fact about me: I'm extremely susceptible to stress. Actually, chronic stress is pretty much a way of life for me. And chronic stress? It doesn't make me gain weight. Because it is my state of being for 90% of the time, it's the place when I'm most stable, the place when I maintain my weight without trying, and when I can lose weight very slowly and with a lot of effort (more than losing normally takes - losing at about half the rate of my calorie deficit). It's my "neutral." <BR> <BR> T... Tue, 22 Jul 2014 08:40:32 EST I need a new me...or, Day 1. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5717129 "I need a new head. I need new teeth. I need new eyes. I need a new me. New head, new teeth, new eyes, new me, new face, no trace. Where did I go?" <BR> --from "I, New" by my favorite band, Stiffs Incorporated <BR> <BR> I am tired of the old me. The old me has spent far too long wallowing in depression, angst, and paralyzed fear. She has stopped moving forward - or even holding still - and has started falling backward backward backward. She hates her body and has no motivation, drive, or wil... Fri, 13 Jun 2014 10:02:29 EST Long Overdue Update http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5715649 You guys already know that things have been difficult for me over the last 1-2 months. I'm struggling with a lot of stress and some personal things, and that has resulted in gaining back about 10 lbs. I'm now about 5 lbs over that magic healthy-BMI line, and nearly tipping back into the 160s again - AND that's on my home scale, which is always about 6 lbs lower than a doctor's scale. This is not okay, but every time I try to rein in the damage, something happens: a night where I only sleep 3 ... Wed, 11 Jun 2014 10:14:02 EST Done. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5699038 May has been a very bad month here. I think it was pretty obvious in my last blog that I was in a really bad place, mentally. I won't say much about it, but I'll say that Bad Stuff has been happening in my life for almost a year now (since July 2nd), and that Bad Stuff has stressed me out and worn me down for so long that I have almost no energy left. Recent extra stresses have made the situation worse. We're moving cross country in the next two months, prepping to sell our house, saying good... Tue, 20 May 2014 08:46:59 EST Good Enough http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5693183 For the last 15 months or so, I've been in a strange position. I hit my original goal weight of 155 lbs on February 21, 2013. My goal had changed, by then, to 135 lbs, but no matter what I did over the last 15 months, I couldn't get any lower than about 149 lbs, and I usually stayed right around 152-153 lbs. There were times when I worked my butt off to try to lose more, and times when I gave up and just ate at maintenance level. Either way - eating more or less, exercising more or less - my ... Mon, 12 May 2014 08:34:57 EST Enough is Enough http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5691781 So, I'm done with Whole30. I didn't HAVE to give it up. I didn't slip - I wasn't even tempted to slip - but I know when something isn't good for me. Every day that went by, I felt worse. My sleep got worse, my skin got worse, and I started feeling awful. Lethargic. Very heavy limbs. Unable to move. Depressed. It feels an awful lot like the last time I took iron supplements - I have a high blood iron disorder, so iron supplements are BAD for me! I worried about that, before I started, because ... Sat, 10 May 2014 08:53:34 EST Whole30: Days 1-5 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5688735 Well, I'm on Day 6 of this Whole30 thing, so it's time to check in! <BR> <BR> So far, Whole30 has been pretty easy in terms of food. I'm not really having cravings, and while I'm adjusting to a new schedule for eating, I'm not having TOO much trouble. I had some trouble with hunger for the first few days, but that's dropping off. I feel like I'm eating a LOT more than normal, though, because I'm afraid of getting hungry before I'm allowed to eat again. Instead of stopping when I'm satisfied ... Tue, 6 May 2014 08:42:30 EST Whole30 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5685793 All right. I actually hadn't planned to tell more than a handful of people (privately) that I was doing Whole30 this month. My original idea was to gather a month's worth of data and then present it with all my reasons, reactions, and results once it was over. However, in just one day, I can already see that I will have WAY too much to share at the end of May, plus June is already going to be super busy for me, plus I need a reason to majorly stay connected in the upcoming months as I prep fo... Fri, 2 May 2014 13:02:32 EST News and Announcements http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5684862 I know I've been pretty quiet for the last few weeks on Spark. There have been some really crazy big things happening in my life, and I'm finally ready to talk about some of them. <BR> <BR> First, I'm super happy to announce some writing-related news. I've been writing my whole life, but I began my first attempt at a novel on May 1st, 2006. Yesterday, eight years to the day later, I finished the fourth draft/rewrite of that novel, and finally have a version that I'm happy with. Each draft ha... Thu, 1 May 2014 11:29:36 EST Race Report: YOSA 5K http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5671789 On Saturday, I was scheduled to do a 5K to benefit the Youth Orchestra of San Antonio. I did this one last year, though because I had bronchitis at the time, I had to walk instead of run it. The course is extremely hilly, so I'm not sure exactly why I decided I wanted to run it this year. I don't like running hills, and frankly, I haven't done any real running since August last year. I've literally run a mile three times (one in September, one in January, one in March) and a 5K once (in Decem... Mon, 14 Apr 2014 08:13:30 EST April Thrifting...or, Why Scale and Measuring Tape Don't Matter http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5667162 After a couple of bad days this weekend, I decided to get out and do my April thrift store trip. I'd promised myself one thrift store trip per month during my 35th year, and I really needed some cheap-but-fun retail therapy after those few really awful days! I had fun picking out some new skirts and tops, plus some books I've really wanted (Brandon Sanderson's The Way of Kings, and the first three books of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer - Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress). As usual, I took p... Tue, 8 Apr 2014 08:33:40 EST I WANT to exercise! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5664155 I had a bit of an epiphany yesterday. All throughout this weight loss journey, my main focus has been on fitness, rather than on cutting calories. I'm a huge believer in eating at end-goal maintenance level and taking the weight off with exercise, and that has worked really well for me, even if the loss has gotten slower and slower as my body weight approaches my end-goal weight and maintenance level. Over the last few months, while I am far more satisfied with my body post-surgery, there is ... Fri, 4 Apr 2014 09:46:37 EST Struggling http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5662481 Friends, I will tell you the honest truth. I am really, really struggling right now, and have been since mid-March. I've tried my best to get my head above water, but it's just not happening. I made it through March - the vacation to Portland REALLY helped - but now I've crashed into April, and entered the part of the year where I am most depressed. <BR> <BR> I despise April. For much of the country, it's a time when spring is opening up. For San Antonio, it's a return of the dreaded six mon... Wed, 2 Apr 2014 09:58:05 EST Vacation! And meeting Sparkfriends! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5660705 Last week, Jason and I traveled to Portland, while my mom came to watch the kids. Jason had a conference to attend, and I got to go along for the vacation aspect (yeah!). We were only there for 2.5 days, but I fell in love with Portland nonetheless. It was just so beautiful, and the weather was gorgeous - even though it rained two of the days we were there, it was in little spurts, and I had plenty of time to explore the city! I wish we'd had a few more days to explore! <BR> <BR> <img src="... Mon, 31 Mar 2014 10:09:04 EST Hydrostatic Body Composition Analysis http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5653017 That's a pretty technical name for the test I took yesterday afternoon, haha! If you've never heard of hydrostatic weighing before, basically it means determining your lean mass and body fat percentage by total submersion in water. It's a VERY accurate method for determining how your body is built, more accurate than any other method out there except DEXA (Duel-energy X-ray absorptiometry), and I've wanted to do it for YEARS. Unfortunately, there isn't a place around town that does it - only ... Fri, 21 Mar 2014 08:46:40 EST Bikini?!?! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5652187 One of my 35 Goals for my 35th Year is to try on a bikini, now that my belly-skin has been repaired. I did NOT make it a condition of my goal to BUY a bikini or wear one in public - just to try one on. Well, over the last month, I've started swimsuit shopping for the summer. All my former swimsuits had gotten too large - despite my weight not really changing since last year - so it was time, especially as it's already starting to get hot here in south Texas. Unfortunately, the shopping has no... Thu, 20 Mar 2014 08:31:58 EST Nearly said something negative... http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5650573 Yesterday, I started writing up a blog - twice - that was whiny and negative and depressed. That's how I felt. In the 9 days of spring break, I somehow managed to get exposed to gluten 4 times, breaking a 72-day gluten-free streak. That, of course, led to insomnia, skin rashes, bone pain, severe hunger, binging, fatigue, and major depression - so I FELT whiny and negative and depressed! Both times, I deleted the blog draft before I posted it, because I knew it would do no good. I knew WHY I w... Tue, 18 Mar 2014 08:52:07 EST Hello. My name is Amanda, and I'm a sugar addict. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5644235 Confession: I eat a LOT of extra sugar. More importantly, I didn't realize just HOW MUCH sugar I ate on a regular basis until a few days ago. <BR> <BR> Late last week, I didn't feel good. I had been recovering from a cold, and I had this inflamed feeling in my nose, throat, and lungs. It's a similar feeling to one I get when I've had too much sugar, so I felt very sweeted-out. I started looking back through my food logs to evaluate how much sugar I'd been eating. <BR> <BR> What I found appa... Mon, 10 Mar 2014 08:38:41 EST Belly: A Saga, Part V (After) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5641097 Originally, I'd planned to write a recovery post for weeks 4-6, but not much has happened since my last one. My scar grew a little purple there for awhile but has mostly calmed down. I've been putting silicon-based scar cream on it per doctor's orders, which has helped it to lighten a bit. I still have belly-numbness, but my cat can sit in my lap again, which is nice. Also, in my 6th week, I started getting a lot of internal pain on my upper right core muscles. I worried that I'd developed a ... Thu, 6 Mar 2014 08:09:24 EST 35th Birthday Weekend Fun! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5638360 I don't usually do a whole lot for my birthday, but there are some years when the day feels significant for some reason. This was one of those years, and so my husband put together a full birthday weekend for me! It was very sweet of him. :) <BR> <BR> The weekend started with a walk with fellow sparker and IRL friend Stephanie (INEEDACAT9). Got to get the party started right, with some fitness to balance out birthday treats, right? Jason planned a day of treats I don't normally get to have a... Mon, 3 Mar 2014 09:08:42 EST Fun Goals for my 4th year on Spark http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5635861 The end of another month! February went okay for me. I'm keeping up with my 10% goals, and I'm still at 100% for keeping gluten out of my diet this year, at least when it comes to food. I have some suspicion that an OTC medicine I started taking early in the month might have had slight traces of gluten (the company won't say either way), and after a few weeks of mild gluten-related symptoms, I finally switched brands. That's made some improvement in my sleep and skin and such already! For the... Fri, 28 Feb 2014 08:32:25 EST 3 Year Sparkversary! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5633215 Three years ago today, I joined Sparkpeople. I was already 15 months and 27 lbs down on my weight loss journey, but I was starting to slip up on my own. I knew I needed a support system, or I was going to fail spectacularly. A few friends of mine had mentioned Spark, so I decided to give it a try. My first day, I nearly quit! The site had so much on it, I felt overwhelmed and trepidatious. But then, a whole bunch of people from my local San Antonio spark team came by my page to welcome me, an... Tue, 25 Feb 2014 08:51:13 EST Race Report: Run 4 Hope 5K http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5631408 Yesterday, I walked in a 5K that benefits the Rape Crisis Center here in San Antonio, which helps men, women, and children who have been victims of sexual violence (rape, assault, abuse, etc). I walked it with my friends Stephanie (INEEDACAT9), Sarah, and Zach, and I represented a 15-year-old female survivor in the walk. I love 5Ks like this, ones where I feel that I am really making a difference with my contribution! <BR> <BR> Last year, I ran this 5K with my dad and stepmom, but this year,... Sun, 23 Feb 2014 09:05:32 EST Celebrations (& Confessions) from my 1st Year of Maintenance http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5629871 On this day a year ago, I stepped on the scale to see a number that had eluded me for almost a decade: 155 lbs. It had been my goal for years, and was exactly 100 lbs lost from my highest weight in 2009. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/9/l298838486.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I won't lie. My first year of maintenance was ROUGH. It wasn't the actual maintaining that was difficult, though. In the last year, I've been as high as 157 and as low as 148.6, but for most of the year,... Fri, 21 Feb 2014 08:15:13 EST Learning what NOT to do. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5627156 Everyone's weight loss journey is unique and individual, and each of us have to figure out what works for us and what doesn't. As I've been on this journey for over four years now, I've pretty much figured out what does and doesn't work for me, but it was interesting to see my hunches about how my body works proved by the numbers I played around with last week. I will NOT go into numbers again in this post, I promise, but I did want to write about the things I've discovered that I should neve... Tue, 18 Feb 2014 08:59:45 EST Seeing the Bigger Picture http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5626196 All of you who have known me for a long time know that weight loss, for me, is not easy. My body rebels against losing quickly. Even when I was morbidly obese, I never lost more than a pound per week. Even in my first week, when you're suppose to lose all the water weight, I only lost two pounds! I've long come to accept that I have to lose slowly. It took me over three years to lose 100 lbs, and trying to lose the last 20 lbs beyond that proved so impossible that, nine months ago, I decided ... Mon, 17 Feb 2014 08:29:15 EST Triple Valentine's Celebration http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5624590 I had a fun Valentine's this year. Jason and I decided to spread it out over several days, something we usually do, because who wants to fight to get a reservation to go out on Vday itself? <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/9/l1905730826.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Our first night of Valentine's was Wednesday the 12th, when Jason pulled out a bottle of chilled champagne that he'd gotten specially. We don't drink much in our house, so we don't have any of the glasses one ought t... Sat, 15 Feb 2014 09:29:25 EST a healthy BMI (lots of pics!) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5622897 The other day, my kids and I were talking about what a healthy BMI meant, and I realized for the first time how huge that weight range is. For me, at 5'6, the range goes from 114 lbs to 154 lbs - a full 40-lb difference from bottom to top. I have, in my adult life, been at almost every weight in that range (though my lowest was around 118), and so I thought I'd do a comparison spread to show how different - or not - the bottom and top of a healthy BMI range is. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://ph... Thu, 13 Feb 2014 08:28:53 EST Yesterday was a brilliant day. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5620227 Weekends aren't my favorite - as a stay-at-home-mom, I work far more on evenings and weekends than I do weekdays - but so far this February, I've had one really brilliant day each weekend. Awesome! Last week, I wrote about my great Saturday playing dress-up and eating yummy Whole Foods lunch and going on my first post-surgery run. It was a really fantastic day all around. <BR> <BR> Yesterday was that kind of day. <BR> <BR> I woke up after sleeping for ten whole hours. Woohoo! <BR> <BR> I w... Mon, 10 Feb 2014 10:01:47 EST Whoa...skinny jeans? http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5618776 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/3/l1392125987.jpg"> <BR> <BR> Um, who is this girl? Sat, 8 Feb 2014 16:09:41 EST Belly: A Saga, Part IV (Recovery - Weeks 2-3) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5616661 Recovery is still going really, really well. Every day, I feel a little bit better, and my abdomen heals just a bit more. Jason went back to work on Day 8, and I've been 100% able to take care of myself since he did. For the first few days, I moved slowly, but by that point, I was able to get in/out of the recliner, walk around the house, get my own food, etc, as long as I didn't have to bend over too far. It took me until about Day 14 to be able to bend over and touch anywhere below my knees... Thu, 6 Feb 2014 08:40:41 EST The Girl Who Hated Dresses and Salads http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5612865 February 1st was an unseasonably warm day in San Antonio, TX. My middle child left early in the morning for a full-day extracurricular activity, and the rest of us prepared for the various errands we had to run. <BR> <BR> First up on the list was Target, as my oldest is growing at an alarming rate (he's 13) and needed new shoes (his feet are bigger than mine now). We had a few other things to grab, too, and at one point, I wandered over to the clearance racks in the women's section. Let me j... Sun, 2 Feb 2014 09:34:44 EST A Perfect End to January http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5611883 This was a good month in just about every way possible. My 90% goals are going great: <BR> <BR> - I tracked my calories every day this month, even my surgery days. 100% success! <BR> - Exempting the 5 days surgery and post-op, when I barely ate anything at all, I've had 5+ freggies all but 3 days. That's a 90% success rate. <BR> - Exempting the post-op days when I was not allowed to exercise, I've exercised every single day this month. (And frankly, just walking around post-op got my heart r... Sat, 1 Feb 2014 09:03:01 EST Ring and Gown http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5606941 Several of my biggest NSV goals on this journey have been wedding-related. I wanted to fit into my wedding ring and my wedding dress again. Both of those goals came at different sizes, because I was very differently-sized at my wedding and at my fifth anniversary, which is when Jason and I got rings. <BR> <BR> --Ring <BR> <BR> Jason and I got married on December 22, 1999. I was twenty and he was nineteen, and of course we didn't have a lot of money. We put off buying rings until our fifth a... Mon, 27 Jan 2014 09:05:08 EST Updated After Photos - 105 lbs lost http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5605238 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/3/l232182617.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I'm nearly two weeks post-op now. I still have some swelling - especially around my incision - but my body is settling well into its new shape. Yesterday, I took new measurements, which delighted me to no end: <BR> <BR> - Waist (above belly button): same as pre-surgery, which makes sense because that part was above the pregnancy damage and not affected my surgery. <BR> <BR> - Belly Button: down almost three inche... Sat, 25 Jan 2014 12:17:08 EST "After" photo-taster http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5602318 I don't normally put up two blogs in one day, but GUYS I just tried on a few shirts/dresses/pants today to see how they look, even though I'm still VERY swollen, even though I'm still wearing an abdominal binder, and I could just cry. My size 10 pants fit the way my size 12s fit pre-surgery, and that's with massive swelling still around the incision/lower belly area. My dresses all have a defined waist. And just look: <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/1/1/l115692383.jp... Wed, 22 Jan 2014 12:28:56 EST The 10% Rule http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5602111 I like built-in fail-safes. There's no point in asking me to do something daily, because eventually I will rebel against the task or fail to complete it in some way. Then, instead of continuing on the next day, I'll declare myself a failure, declare the task a failure, and give it up completely. So, back when I got serious about losing weight at the beginning of 2011, I used a system I had read about that I really loved: Make daily goals, with a mandatory day off every week for each goal. Thu... Wed, 22 Jan 2014 09:26:10 EST Belly: A Saga, Part III (Recovery - Week 1) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5600213 Note: This post will get into some of the specifics of recovery, so if you're squeamish, you might want to skip it. I'm writing this mostly for those who are considering a similar surgery, so that the might have an idea of what to expect. <BR> <BR> *** <BR> I'm now one week out from the surgery and feeling much more human! I thought I'd go ahead and post about the first week of recovery. Recovery is a six-week long process, so I want to split this into several blog posts. Already Week 1 (the... Mon, 20 Jan 2014 14:18:32 EST Belly: A Saga, Part II (Surgery) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5597855 Note: This post will get into some of the specifics of surgery, so if you're squeamish, you might want to skip it. I'm writing this mostly for those who are considering a similar surgery, so that the might have an idea of what to expect. <BR> <BR> The surgery I went in for was an abdominoplasty and panneculectomy - basically, a tummy tuck that would cut off the overhanging fold shown in my last post and repair/reposition the stretched rectus muscles (the ones you see in a six-pack). The surg... Sat, 18 Jan 2014 10:31:51 EST Belly: A Saga, Part 1 (Before) http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5591005 When I recently posted my Truth About a Body: Scarred blog, I said it was the hardest and most terrifying post I'd ever published. The big reason for that was because I posted the following picture of my belly's pregnancy scars, and I am VERY self-conscious about this scarring. This post is even harder and scarier for me, because it explores those scars in more detail, as I prep for tomorrow's surgery. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/5/0/l50686434.jpg"> <BR> <BR> As... Sun, 12 Jan 2014 09:20:46 EST Truth About a Body: Loved http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5587782 While I still struggle with all the scars, stretchmarks, and other signs left all over my body from my 100+ lbs weight gain and loss, I have worked very hard over the last couple years to love and accept other aspects of my body for the first time in at least a decade, and in some cases, for the first time in my entire life. I never really had a lot of love for my body, having grown up alongside siblings who were built very differently than I was. It's hard not to feel fat even at 125 lbs whe... Thu, 9 Jan 2014 08:18:31 EST Truth About a Body: Scarred http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5583997 Note: This is one of the most difficult and terrifying posts I have ever written. All I ask is that the comments stay kind. :) <BR> <BR> Last fall, a Facebook friend of mine linked out to an article in New York Magazine that talked about the reality of bodies after weight loss. The truth is, when we gain and lose a lot of weight, that process leaves its mark on us. How much of a mark depends on many factors - age, amount of weight lost, speed at which the weight was lost, how long we were ov... Mon, 6 Jan 2014 08:43:09 EST Reevaluating 2013 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5580612 Two days ago, I pronounced 2013 to be a complete and utter failure in terms of health and fitness. But you know what? I'm rescinding that statement. No, I didn't lose the weight I wanted to, and I either didn't quite hit all my goals or barely hit them, but that doesn't mean I failed. I need to take stock of all the things I DID accomplish in 2013. <BR> <BR> - I hit my initial goal of 155 lbs early in the year. Sure, I changed my end goal to be lower, but I did hit my original goal, the goal... Fri, 3 Jan 2014 10:54:24 EST 2014 Starting Fitness Level http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5579147 Late last May, I took a full-body fitness test. Originally, I planned to go back and repeat the test every quarter, but I never did. Yesterday, however, I decided to start the year with this extensive test, and I WILL repeat it every quarter in 2014. These are the results from my first test of the year: <BR> <BR> 1. Pull-ups: 4 (up from 1.25 last May) <BR> <BR> 2. Vertical leap: 13.5 inches (up from 13.25 last May) <BR> <BR> 3. Push-ups (full real push-ups): 31 (up from 15 last May) <BR> ... Thu, 2 Jan 2014 09:37:34 EST Welcome 2014!!! http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5577632 <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkpeople.com/nw/2/1/l2106470273.jpg"> <BR> <BR> I can't say just how much I've looked forward to today. This year is going to be fantastic, and I can't wait to get it started! Thus, I am starting it properly. They say that you should, on January 1st, do the things you want to be doing for the year, and so I will. Today, I will: <BR> <BR> - participate in some writing sprints, starting a new manuscript. <BR> - look up a few agents that I want to submit an old m... Wed, 1 Jan 2014 10:15:41 EST Surgery, Anniversary, Christmas, and the end of 2013 http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_journal_individual.asp?blog_id=5572915 Just a quick ramblings post here! First, to follow up on my last post, I wanted to let you all know that I'm scheduled to have my belly-surgery on January 13th. Eeek! I'm excited and nervous! I'm very much hoping it all goes well, and I have some good body-related blog posts planned pre-surgery. :) <BR> <BR> Second, the weekend before Christmas, my husband and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. We went up to Austin for the weekend while our kids stayed with my mom. Austin is so much ... Fri, 27 Dec 2013 10:22:56 EST