Sunday, June 28, 2009

I lost 7 lbs....Suck it, Weight Watchers!

Yes, I have lost 7 pounds in two weeks. Pretty good for someone not dieting and not really going out of her way to exercise, huh? Yeah, I'm pleased with myself. My pants fit better straight out of the dryer, and I feel a little better already. I'm especially happy because this is almost the amount of weight I lost starving myself on Weight Watchers. I lost a little more 8 pounds instead of 7, but I'm so much happier doing this than I ever was on Weight Watchers. I don't really feel that WW was a sustainable solution, in the end. I thought about food constantly, planning meals almost a week in advance. It wasn't fun to eat, and there was never any spontaneity when I went out to eat. Now I can make whatever I want, as long as I stop eating when I'm full and eat consciously. Yay! This rocks!

I'd still like to lose a few more pounds before I start gaining baby weight for the next pregnancy, but I'd still be happy if I got pregnant tomorrow because I'm at least starting a few pounds under my original weight.

I have to admit, my husband's become a huge motivator for me. He's exercising 5 days a week and has lost about 25 pounds so far. He has more energy, and is looking slimmer than I've ever seen him. I jokingly told him yesterday that I'm going into training as soon as I have the next baby so that we can hike the Grand Canyon as a family. Okay, I really don't want that to be a joke. I'd love to do the mule trail ride back up, and just hike down, and it might be possible if we get in shape. See, you have to be under 200 pounds including gear to take the mule tour, and my husband has just dipped under 200 pounds. He still has a ways to go, but I never really considered it an option before. Now it's conceivable. I better teach my baby how to ride a mule!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Lacey Schwimmer is a talentless, catty idiot

Yeah, I'm a huge So You Think You can Dance fan. I watched part of Season 2, and have been hooked ever since. I think Season 3 was my favorite. I was really attached to certain dancers, and I really loved a lot of the themed dances. Neil and Lauren's week 2 hip-hop and their Angel/Demon dance were both fabulous. I still think about Pasha and Sara's swing dance, Pasha and Lauren's hip-hop from week 2, Sara and Jesus' crazy bum dance, Anya and Danny's jive and Viennese waltz, Jaimie and Hok's hummingbird dance, Sabra and Dominic's slow hip-hop, Sara and Pasha's "suspenders dance", Sabra and Neil's "business suit" dance, and (maybe the best of all) Danny and Neil's "fighting princes" dance. Nigel Lithgoe needs to get off his ass and make a "Best of So You Think You Can Dance DVD" with these dances in it. I know I'd line up to buy it.

Anyway, through all this raving about SYTYCD, you'll notice that there was no mention of Lacey Schwimmer. That's because she sucked. My friends and I rooted for her to go home every week, and every week fans of her also-not-so-talented brother kept her afloat. It was SO lame that awesome dancers, like Lauren Gottlieb and Sara Von Gillern missed out on the top 4 so someone as mono-faceted as Lacey could be there. Okay, she can dance better than I can. But so can everyone who has ever made it to Vegas week on the show. But she didn't deserve to be in the Top 20, we were pissed that she made the Top 10, and I was beyond shocked that that ridiculous hack made it to the Top 4.

As you can tell, I'm still bitter about the whole thing. But I've come to terms with the fact that that season is over, Season 4 was amazing, and Season 5 is setting up to be (possibly) even better. I still have my awesome show to look forward to. But when that bitch Lacey decides to badmouth the show, the entire fourth season, and now the awesome dancers of this season, it's become personal. Here is the link for her rant:

How dare the most undeserving dancer on the entire show trash the more talented dancers who came after her, as well as the choreographers and staff of the show who gave her the opportunity to support herself doing what she loves? She was no one before the show, and now she's been on Dancing With the Stars, among other things, which would not have been possible without her appearance on SYTYCD. She's forgotten her roots, and she's shitting where she sleeps.

I guess I shouldn't be upset. At the very least, she won't pollute my show with her presence this season, since she doesn't respect it anymore. And hopefully she'll burn her bridges with the entire dance community so I won't have to see or hear from her at all. I'd love for her to be blacklisted from the dance community so that a more talented and less delusional dancer can live out their dreams in her place.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My Psychic Son

Does it mean anything when your almost-two-year-old puts his finger on your third eye, looks at you meaningfully and says "Eye," as if telling you what to do? That's what happened to me this morning. It gave me chills. Does this mean he knows what I'm capable of and that I'm kind of being lazy with my craft, or that he knows he has this ability too? Or is this just a case of a toddler pointing to the wrong body part while listing off a word he knows? I would be inclined to believe the latter, except that he really knows what eyes are and I've never seen him point to the wrong thing when he says "Eye."

I've never felt the need to overtly address my religion in my parenting. I was raised Catholic and my parents gave me no choices in the matter. My opinions and feelings were never taken into consideration, and I was resentful. I hated it, and I swore my children would be raised differently. My kids will be introduced to all religions and their opinions and choices regarding spirituality will be respected. Of course, my husband's atheism and my paganism will not be hidden, but there will be no forcing of our beliefs on them. They can see my rituals and participate in my holidays, observe my spellcraft and traditions, all without being forced to participate or believe. I would love my children to follow me on my spiritual path, of course, and they will not be told that they can't participate if they choose to, but I'm not going to make the mistakes my parents did.

Having said that, what does today's experience mean? Should I show him my altar, my cards and my stones? Should I talk to him about the sacred moon and sun, and tell him his first myths and legends? I thought this was something I could easily put off for another year or more, but maybe not. Guess I'm reading D'Aulaires Greek Myths tonight.

My husband thinks I'm crazy

Yep, he thinks I'm insane to try to get pregnant while trying to lose weight. I would agree with him if I was trying some fad diet or something unhealthy, but my weight loss techniques are really common sense and healthy. More fruits and veggies, take a prenatal vitamin and get some kind of exercise in every day (i.e. yoga, a 30 minute walk, gardening,) drink lots of water, and eat only when I'm hungry. Actually, there's more to it than just eating when I'm hungry. I'm following a hybrid of Paul McKenna's I Can Make You Thin techniques, advice from The Fat Fallacy by Will Clower and some non-diet weight loss tips from the internet. Here are the Four Golden Rules from I Can Make You Thin:

1. Eat only when you're hungry
2. Eat only what you really want
3. Stop eating when you're full
4. Eat slowly, putting the fork down between bites and really taste what you're eating

In addition to that, I've adopted The Fat Fallacy Diet which is all about eating whole foods and cutting out preservatives. So, if I read the ingredients on a food and there's something I can't pronounce, I won't eat it. Mostly, because of my corn-free diet, I make my own food anyway, so this isn't a big deal. I also eat organically as often as possible. I certainly buy everything organic from the "Dirty Dozen" list. This includes:

1. Peaches
2. Apples
3. Bell Peppers
4. Celery
5. Nectarines
6. Strawberries
7. Cherries
8. Kale
9. Lettuce
10. Grapes
11. Carrots
12. Pears

Really, anything with a thin, edible skin should be organic, since the pesticides can't really be washed off or peeled away on these types of fruits and veggies. Anything produce with a thick skin that I throw away is typically safe (i.e. avocados, bananas, mangoes, citrus fruit) although I still try to buy as many organic items as I can to support organic farming. I also buy only rBST free dairy products and cage free eggs and try to buy organic when they go on sale.

I've done this type of weight loss before, and I was successful as long as I kept it up, but I fell off the wagon. Why? Because school and a wedding and having a baby constantly put you in situations where you are shoving your dinner down so you can get on with whatever needs to be done next. I ate in the car, in front of the TV, and yes, even over the sink because I was in a hurry to finish. I thought of it as multi-tasking, but really it was just lazy. I didn't want to take the time to sit at the table and eat slowly, tasting every bite so that I knew exactly when I was full. So I overate, I tended to wait until I was starving before I served myself, and I actually started backsliding into eating foods laden with preservatives. It's also hard to guage how much you'll need to eat when you first start breastfeeding. I've never been so ravenous in my life (including during my pregnancy) as I was when my son was born. I ate like a fiend all week, and it tapered off a little as my son grew, but not nearly as much as it should have. In addition, I think a crying, anxious, or upset child makes me eat faster than I ever have before. I just want him to be calm, so I bolt my food down to tend to him. It's an awful cycle, because I'm not paying attention to (and therefore enjoying) my food as I'm feeding and fussing over him. He's done long before I stop eating, and I eat feeling angry/frustrated/anxious.

Knowing what I know now, I've decided to eat either before or after my son when he's being like this. I can eat while he plays or sleeps, for the most part. And when I can't, it's time to put him in the high chair with his food and learn to tune him out while I concentrate on eating at a more leisurely pace. I think it will be good for him, as well as my next child, to grow up in a house where everyone eats at the table and actually tastes their food over the course of 20 minutes or more. It's a healthy way to be. Come to think of it, that's how I grew up. I started gaining weight right around the time when this practice stopped being a regular thing. I also had half my spine fused, due to scoliosis, at that time, so it was probably a double weight whammy that caused me to balloon. Sigh...I have a lot of years of habit to break.

There is one thing I no longer miss: preservative laden foods. I thought I would truly miss Ho-hos, which were my ultimate favorite treat through middle and high school. So I had one about a year ago. Wow. It was bad. It tasted like plastic and chemicals, so I threw the whole package out after one bite. It's amazing how your taste buds can change after eating really good food and stopping to taste what you're putting in your mouth. I've had similar experiences with other foods that I thought I missed, but the Ho-hos were by far the most striking. Ew.

So, back to the whole"losing weight while trying to get pregnant" deal.... I see nothing wrong with it. I'm just trying to get healthy, really. Besides, if it takes me 7 or 8 months to get pregnant (not an unrealistic estimate) I have 7 or 8 months of getting in shape that I could be missing out on. Also, I love that I lost 10 lbs before getting pregnant with my so. Since I only gained 27 lbs total, I figured I really jut put on about 17 additional pounds. I only had 17 pounds to lose to get back to my weight from a couple of months before the wedding. It was a nice feeling, and I'd liek to do that again with this pregnancy.

When I do spellwork for this pregnancy, I'll have to be careful though. I'll only do spells under the waxing moon asking to bring in health and new life. I do want to be healthier, after all.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Book review: EnLIGHTened by Jessica Berger Gross

I was sidetracked from my regular reading (a book called Hyperion which my wonderful husband passed to me) and have been reading EnLIGHTened: How I Lost 40 Pounds with a Yoga Mat, Fresh Pineapples and a Beagle-Pointer by Jessica Berger Gross.  I have to admit, it's a fun and easy read.  The author has a good sense of humor, an engaging story (one that's familiar to all of us in the weight struggle) and some great tips on weight loss and exercise.  She's motivational, truthful and very real.  Having said all that, I think I'd have to give this book only 3 stars out of 5.

I love how she explains that we need to be truthful with ourselves.  We do know when we've eaten something bad for ourselves, eaten too much, or when we've been lazy and neglecting our bodies.  We know we should park the car further from the store, and make time for yoga or some other form of exercise in addition to walking most days of the week.  We should admit these things to ourselves so we can lift the veil of denial when it comes time to step on the scale.  However, I am NOT going to admit to my husband (or some other "buddy") when I have done these things.  Maybe her self esteem is higher than mine, and she can take the criticism.  In fact, that's likely the case.  But that doesn't change the fact that telling someone else how you screwed up every time you forget to tow the healthy line is demeaning and demoralizing.  I think a better suggestion would be to keep a journal and admit these things on paper.  That way, you're still being truthful with yourself, but you're not involving a third (possibly judgmental) person.

This woman is a bit diet crazy.  And when I say a bit, I mean a LOT.  She thinks whole wheat cheese pizza or (not and) hot chocolate made with skim milk is something to be saved for the rare treat.  She mentioned that homemade whole wheat pancakes with real maple syrup should be in the same category, and thinks that white bread should always be avoided.  Yikes!  I'm sorry, life without chocolate chip cookies, fresh artisan breads and chocolate ice cream with peanut butter is not worth living.  I'm not saying I should have these things every day, but relegating them to the "never" category just isn't happening.  I try to incorporate more whole grains in my diet, but I don't think I'll ever make a complete conversion.  I like her recipes with lentils and beans, but the idea of making this kind of food my every meal makes me a little ill.  I agree that we should try to have as many vegetarian meals as possible, and I love that she suggests buying organic, free-range and grass-fed meats as a green and responsible alternative to vegetarianism.  

Her advice on limiting portions was, in my opinion, the most helpful.  She says, "After your meal, your stomach should be 1/2 full with food, 1/4 full with water and 1/4 empty with room for air."  I love it.  In our country, the portion sizes are out of control and we should strive to be satisfied on the smallest servings possible.  With this little technique, you can eat much larger variety of foods than what the author portrays.

I loved her advice on exercise.  Stoking the inner fire, even when we're exhausted, is a great metaphor.  Many of us in yoga, and most of us who are truly in touch with our bodies, can relate to the idea of pushing ourselves on the days when we don't feel so much like exercising to give ourselves more energy.  We should all try to get in a little walking and some other physical activity every day, and push ourselves a little harder when we need to drop baby weight or a few excess pounds to kick-start weight loss.  

My favorite part of the book, though was her chapter on inner reflection.  Why are we over-eating?  What does your comfort food represent?  What feeling are you stuffing down an covering with food?  These are important questions overweight people seldom ask themselves.  Understanding that permanent weight-loss isn't possible without dealing with internal issues is something few people understand.  Kudos to Jessica Berger Gross for talking about her struggle so candidly.

All in all, I think she goes overboard with her diet, and she crosses the line from realistic to idealistic.  I would recommend the book to others, but only with the caveat that her dieting advice is too extreme, and that there are lots of other books with better, more sensible eating tips.  I love The Fat Fallacy, and others like it, which put forth the "un-dieting" and "slow food" methods of eating.  Eating whatever you want, but savoring it slowly, chewing more meaningfully and tasting every bite makes you really consider which foods you truly love and which ones aren't so great.  This method brings about a more healthful diet and smaller portions without restricting one's diet to rabbit food.