why I do that

My allergies are still giving me grief, so I’ve been skipping out on running and doing the 30 Day Shred instead. That whole “holy crap I can’t breathe” feeling isn’t quite as awful during the Shred, I guess because the exercises are constantly changing and hurting you in different ways, as opposed to running where you’re just doing the same painful thing for 25 minutes.

And it’s weird, I like them both for different reasons. With running, I get this weird sort of endorphin head rush of, “f*ck yeah, I’m a RUNNER, man. I’m strong! I’m empowered! I can conquer ANYTHING in the WORLD!” So, apparently running gives me delusions of grandeur, because seriously, all I did was run barely 2 miles. We’re hardly talking Marathon Woman over here. But whatever, it’s fun.

Meanwhile, with the Shred, I don’t necessarily get the same rush, but I feel sore all over afterward, which I like because then I feel like, “ooh, I’m toning up these muscles, and these, and these…” So they each have their own perks.

Last night, I did the Shred after Catie got home from daycare, but before dinner. Catie said she wanted to work out with me, so she grabbed my 1-pound weights and jumped in (I’ve upgraded to the 5-pound weights, which make the workout infinitely harder). It’s hilarious because she doesn’t really do any of the moves correctly, but she was so excited that she was doing it with me, and she kept saying, “Mommy, look at me! Look at me!” It actually made the workout harder because I couldn’t stop laughing.

It’s funny, she’s done the Shred with me a few times, but she doesn’t really have the attention span to do the whole video. She does the warm-up, then she wanders off to play with her toys, then she sees me doing something that she thinks looks like fun (i.e., what Jillian calls “squat thrusts” and what Catie calls “frog jumps” – I think Catie’s term is probably more accurate), and she’ll run back over and join in again for a couple of minutes, then she’s off and playing again. Lather rinse repeat.

But last night, when she first got home from daycare & I was putting on my workout clothes, I told her I was going to work out, and she said, “Why you do that?” I have been VERY careful about not saying anything disparaging about my body in front of her, because I don’t want her to take on any of my body image issues as her own. In fact, when she’s jumping around doing the Shred with me, I get really annoyed with Jillian Michaels for talking about burning fat and losing weight – like, SHUT UP, I don’t want those thoughts getting into her head.

So when she asked me, “Why you do that?” I paused for a second to think about it. And I said, “Well, you know how we eat healthy foods like fruits and vegetables so we’ll be healthy and strong? I exercise for the same reason. I need to be strong, so that I can still pick you up and carry you, even now that you’re a big girl.”

She seemed to like that answer. She said, “Yeah, and I am getting sooo big! Right, Mommy?” I agreed with her, and I was feeling all proud of myself and sort of smug, like haha, take THAT, stupid American standards that beauty = thinness! Boo-yah!

Then Catie continued: “Yeah, Mommy. And you getting HUGE!”

Nice. Thanks a lot, kid. Jeez.

the exercise aliens have taken over mah brain!

Ok, so who’s tired of hearing me talk about working out? Anyone? Well, sorry, but it’s all I’ve got today.

My current plan is this:
1. Weight Watchers to keep the calories in check.
2. The couch-to-5K plan.
3. Other workouts (typically the 30-Day Shred, or maybe yoga if my knees are hurting) on the days when I’m not running.

And so far, it’s going ok. I’ve only lost 6 pounds, which is not much to brag about, but I also haven’t really been pushing the whole diet side of it as much as I should. I’m working on that. I can’t do sudden major changes if I expect to maintain it long-term.

But there have been these changes that I’m seeing in my body that are sort of strange. My shoulders have more definition. My arms have a bump on them that I think might possibly be the curve of a muscle under there, although I suppose it’s possible that I have matching symmetrical tumors or something. I’m also getting these… dents, I guess?… on my stomach. It’s not exactly like I have abs, per se, because there’s still a big ol’ layer of fat on top. But there’s definitely some sort of muscle underneath all that.

So, it’s weird. I’m still in my size 14 jeans, and the number on the scale is still uncomfortably high for me, but I really like all of these little changes that I’m noticing in myself. Which is motivation to keep it up, I guess. I love that I feel stronger, even if it isn’t necessarily visually obvious yet.

Oh, and about the couch-to-5k? I wish someone had warned me that things go crazy once you get to week 5. I had gotten pretty good at running the 5-minute intervals, but then it suddenly jumped to 8-minute intervals, which almost killed me. Then I see that for my next run (which is, um, later today), I’m supposed to run 20 minutes without stopping. TWENTY. MINUTES. When I first saw that, my initial reaction was to balk. There’s no way I can do that! Are they insane?

But then, this tiny little thought popped up the back of my head: “…but what if I can do it?” I have no idea where that came from, this notion that I need to challenge myself to do something more physically strenuous than I’ve ever done in my 34 years on this planet. It was sort of strange, because it’s totally out of character for me. But I think I might give this whole 20-minute run a shot. This weekend, not today. I’m really sore from doing level 2 of the 30-Day Shred last night, so I’m just doing to do another 8-minute run interval today.

P.S. Don’t tell me “You gave birth, you can do it!” Catie weighed less than six pounds AND I had drugs. It almost doesn’t even count. Plus I only had to push for 14 minutes to get her out. Not 20.

P.S.S. Dave just started working out this week, but he’s been eating healthier with me for the past couple of months. He’s dropped over 25 pounds already. The male metabolism is so freaking unfair.

Falsie FAIL

[Editor’s Note: If you’re a guy, you probably want to skip this post. If you read on, you’re going to learn more than you probably want to know about my breasts.]

I have always been somewhat under-endowed in the boob department. I technically wear a B cup, but I don’t fill it out all the way. I’m pretty sure that if you yelled into my bra, you’d hear an echo. Last month, my girls over at Room 704 did a “boob collage” photo (don’t get excited, it’s just cleavage, it doesn’t involve nudity). And I realized that I couldn’t participate because the only way I can get cleavage is if I put on a push-up bra, lean waaaay over, and then squeeze my boobs together with one hand and take the picture with the other hand. It’s just too damn much work.

The funny thing is that if you met me, you might not know just how tiny my girls are, because I only own super-padded push-up bras. They make me feel a little more equally-distributed. I’ve told Dave (numerous times) that as soon as we’re done having kids, I am getting the Mommy Lift, and I do not feel even slightly guilty or anti-feminist by admitting that I want plastic surgery. I don’t give a flip what society thinks I should look like, I just want to like what I see when I look in the mirror.

But I had whole new revelation of embarrassment about my boobs last night. I’ve been doing this couch-to-5K thing for over two months now, and one thing that’s always bothered me is how much my chest hurts when I run. It feels like I have a big rock in each of my lungs. The weird thing is that I never get that sensation when I do the 30-Day Shred, even though I’m breathing just as hard during that workout. I figured that maybe it was the difference between being inside versus outdoors – our house is air-conditioned, but there are allergens in the air outside, that kind of thing.

Last night, though, I went for a run and I didn’t have the lung pain at all. Weird, right? I realized during my second run interval, though, that I forgot to put my falsies in my sports bra. I never use them at home (i.e., when I’m doing the Shred), but if I’m going for a run or going to the gym, I use them because otherwise my sports bra flattens me out so much that I look like a 12 year-old boy. Or rather, a 12 year-old boy with a muffin top. Which is kind of disturbing.

So, apparently the source of my chest pain was NOT due to being out of shape, but because I essentially turned my sports bra into a tourniquet that was putting extra pressure on my chest. Brilliant.

If you need me today, I’ll be shopping for a pre-padded sports bra. And I guess I’ll leave my bra inserts for Catie to play with. She loves them – she calls them “Mommy’s Boobs” and likes to run around holding them on the sides of her head like Princess Leia hairbuns. She also likes to take my black Wonderbra and wear it on her head because it makes her look like she has Minnie Mouse ears. Strange kid, but you have to give her points for creativity.

putting a bullseye on my muffin top

I feel like sometimes I probably blog too much about whatever diet and exercise plan I’m currently on, but I guess that’s because it takes up so much of my brain space at any given point. So, I apologize in advance if this stuff bores you.

I’ve always thought that I know what diet I need to do to lose weight: low-carb works for me. Back in the old days (read: before I had a kid), I could just chuck all the bread, cookies, chips, and other starches from my pantry and I’d guarantee to drop a few pounds quickly. (The problem, before my gastric bypass, was that would be all I’d lose – a few pounds. That was all I could ever lose on any diet or exercise plan. Which is sort of frustrating when you need to lose 100+ pounds.)

In the last couple of years, I’ve tried to do a low-carb diet again on several occasions. And the longest I’ve ever managed to stick to it is about two weeks, tops. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I used to be really good at sticking to diets. I never cheated, ever, and I always stuck to the plan. What the hell changed?

Oh, that’s right, I had a kid. Who eats carbs for roughly 90% of her caloric intake. So I can’t get rid of all the bread and crackers and other carb-y snacks. My old trick of “just don’t have it in the house and you’ll be fine” no longer applies.

I had to find a new diet, one that would allow me to have carbs on occasion. Which is why I signed up for Weight Watchers Online. I am far too lazy to go to Weight Watchers meetings, and I kind of have a weird aversion to that whole support group environment anyway (don’t ask me why). But the online plan has a lot of information, and the whole “points” system is actually not as horrible as I originally thought. (There’s even an iPhone app so I can track my points while I’m out. Very nice. I guess they had to compete with the “LoseIt!” app.)

I’ve been on it for a week now, and I like it. I’ve also lost 5 pounds – I don’t expect to maintain that rate; in my experience, I always lose a lot of weight at first (because of the shock to your system, I guess) and then it slooooows down. Still, I’m not going to complain about 5 pounds. It’s a good start. And I still get to eat little sweets here and there, and I don’t have to feel like I’m cheating – or more specifically like, “oh well, I’ve blown it, might as well pig out now.” I just allow for those points out of my daily allotment, and I move on.

So, it’s good so far. We’ll see how it goes. I’m cautiously optimistic.

On the exercise front, I’m still working out most days. I typically either do the 30-Day Shred or the Couch-to-5K workout. But I think I have to give Jillian Michaels credit for massively increasing my endurance. I’d been stuck on week 3 of the couch-to-5K program for weeks, because no matter how hard I tried, I physically could not run for more than 3 minutes straight. I tried week 4 a few times, but I could never do those 5-minute run intervals. But this week, I finally did it. I ran for 5 minutes straight without stopping. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. And I know, I know, 5 minutes, whoopee. But trust me, it was a very big deal for me.

Yesterday I decided to mix it up and take Catie for a bike ride to the playground (meaning me on the bike, her in the bike trailer). And you know what? I know that this might cast a shadow of doubt on my genetic connection to some people in my family, but I haaaaate riding a bike. Seriously. I absolutely can’t stand it. I would so much rather walk (or run), I can’t even tell you. And because of my funky patella issues, it hurts my knees just as much as running. Plus, even though I invested in the super-cushioned gel/padded seat, it also hurts my girly bits. So what’s the point of THAT? No. Not a fan of the bike at all. I think I just like to have my feet on the ground.

and yes, we're getting a baby-sitter on Saturday night

Stuff from this week:

1. Mother’s Day was almost a week ago, and I sort of completely forgot to mention anything about it. But it was lovely. We went to Charlotte to hang out with my sister, and had a great time. We took Catie to a Children’s Museum on Saturday, which was a lot of fun, then went out for a fantastic dinner.

Catie playing at the kids' museum in Charlotte

And my sister, who is awesome, got me roses for Mother’s Day. It would’ve been nice if I’d remembered to take them with me when we left her apartment, but I forgot them at her place. Oh well. They were lovely.

On Sunday, we went out for brunch, then walked around downtown Charlotte for a while.

Tracy & Catie walking down the street in Charlotte

one of my favorite pics from our weekend

me & Catie on my fourth Mother's Day

It was a great weekend.


2. My stupid elbow still hurts from where I fell on it, and the scab on it is absolutely revolting, but I’m still working out almost every day. I’m just being careful not to do things (like certain yoga poses) that involve putting pressure on my elbow. I’ll be fine. It’s really the food part of the whole diet/exercise thing that I need to work on. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to tackle that. I have a lot of ideas and I’m still trying to sort them out. I’ll write more about it when I figure out what the heck I’m doing.


3. Catie is in this phase where she goes back and forth between being absolutely fun and delightful and amazing and wonderful, and a 37-inch tall hellbeast demon. And you never know which kid you’re going to get at any point in the day. I don’t really know what to do about that, other than just ride out the bad moments, implement discipline when necessary, and try not to lose my temper (that last part is the hardest one). It’s just difficult when she’ll go for like a week without needing to be put in time out at all, then all of a sudden we’ll have to do four time-outs in a single day. Which may be average for a toddler at this phase, but it feels like a lot to me.

But, you know, then she’ll say something that’ll have Dave and me doubled over laughing, because she’s an absolute riot. So I guess we’ll keep her, in spite of the occasional tantrums.

Catie next to (yet another) fountain in downtown Charlotte
She’s kinda cute too.


4. I had a little moment of panic there on Monday, when Teenie wouldn’t stop barfing. Everything she ate came right back up (and this was after she coughed up a big hairball). I called the vet’s office, they said to bring her in immediately. They gave her a shot of some anti-nausea meds and an injection of fluids under her skin so she wouldn’t get dehydrated, and they ran some bloodwork. She’s borderline hyperthyroid (she’s also dropped over 4 pounds since we left Washington in 2008, which seems like a lot for a small cat – she went from 14 pounds to 9.8), so we’ll keep an eye on that and address it as necessary.

The whole thing was pretty upsetting and scary, and it reminded me of this post I wrote a while back, and oh god, if something is really wrong with the cat, how on earth am I going to explain it to Catie? I had a pretty big freak-out about that. But it seems that Teenie is ok. She stopped barfing, so either the meds worked or she got it out of her system. And her bloodwork is otherwise normal. So I’m thankful that I get to postpone that particular horrible (and yes, inevitable, I realize) conversation for a while.

Of course, if the damn cat doesn’t stop pooping in random corners of our living room, she may not be long for this world anyway. Argh.


5. Dave and I are celebrating our fifth anniversary on Saturday. Five years. I can’t even wrap my head around that. It’s not that much time in the grand scheme of things, is it? It’s almost like, “Really? That’s it? Only five years?” Because in a lot of ways, it feels like we’ve been together forever. (In a good way. I promise.) So, I’m a little early, but happy anniversary, babe. Love you.

P.S. Apparently this is the “wood” anniversary. I swear I’m not making that up. And yes, I giggled when I read that, because I’m a 12 year-old boy.

where I've been

I haven’t blogged in a week, which is practically unheard of for me, so y’all will have to indulge me here and let me do one of these recappy things to cover what’s going on here at Chez PooBou.

* Catie hasn’t had a single potty accident since last Friday (as in, April 23rd). That’s 9 days ago. I think, I mean I’m reasonably certain, that this means she’s… potty-trained? Like, we’re done? Quick, somebody knock on some wood for me!

She still wears a Pull-Up to bed, but she wakes up dry every morning, so we could probably ditch that as well. But she asks for the Pull-Up at bedtime, I think it makes her feel more secure. And that’s fine. We made a BIG DEAL out of putting her diaper pail in storage the other day (no more putting stinky poops in here! All your poops go in the potty now, right? Right! YAAYY!), and she was pretty excited about that.

And on the one hand, I feel like, wait, that’s it? We’re all done now? That was too easy! But then I have to slap myself and remember that we started this process a full freaking YEAR ago. So, no. It has not been easy. At all. But I think she’s got it down now. Finally. Praise the lord.

Future's so bright...

Also? She is so proud of herself, y’all. Last night we went to TGI Friday’s for dinner, and she introduced herself to the waitress. “Hi! I’m Catie W[last name]! I poop in the potty!” Dave and I almost died laughing. (And thankfully, the waitress seemed to think it was funny too, she didn’t look horrified.)

* I’ve been exercising like a maniac lately. It’s bizarre because I’ve always hated working out, but now I’m finding that I actually look forward to it. The exercises for my knee that the sports medicine doctor gave me have really helped, and I’ve been able to really push myself to work out hard, which feels great. I’m doing the couch-to-5K (although I’m stuck on week three because no matter how hard I try, I cannot run for longer than 3 minutes without feeling like I’m going to fall over and die; I’ve tried to move up to week 4 on a few different occasions, and nope, sorry, my body cannot run for 5 minutes; hopefully I’ll get there someday?) and I’m doing “The 30-Day Shred” in there on alternate days.

Yesterday, just to mix it up, I did my “Weight Loss Yoga” DVD, which I haven’t done in ages (btw, that’s another “Biggest Loser” by-product, and I do not understand why I’m suckered into buying these things when I don’t actually watch the show!). And it was a great workout, so I definitely need to start working that one in more frequently.

So, yeah. I’m apparently becoming a workout nut. Bizarre. The diet part is trickier. I’ve lost about 5 pounds and I’m holding steady there. I know the foods I need to change in order to amp it up. I’m just having a hard time making myself walk away from the junk food. As usual.

* My job is busy. Trying to balance working full-time along with taking care of the house and the kid and all of that? It’s kind of kicking my butt. I think there are probably a lot of areas in which I’m failing right now – like, say, in the housekeeping division. But hopefully I’m going to be getting some help on that front very soon, because there is just no way I can keep this whole house clean on top of parenting my kid and working 40 hours a week. And Dave works even longer hours than I do. So I think a housekeeper is definitely in our immediate future.

* Spring means getting to hang outside more often, which probably accounts at least partially for my lack of blogging. Catie wants to spend every available moment playing outside with the neighborhood kids. And she’s too little to play outside by herself, so that’s where I am too.

Spring also means the return of Drum Night. The last Friday of every month, we go to see a band called Rhythmicity that plays at an outdoor mall near us. The kids love it.

Catie rocking the tambourine at drum night

Elizabeth boogies down with the belly dancer
(Catie & her cousin Elizabeth both liked the belly dancer, and I have to admit that she was pretty awesome. I admire anyone who can get up in front of a crowd and shake their stuff the way that she did.)

So, yeah. If you don’t hear from me as much on the blog here, don’t worry about me. We’re all good.

t-shirt headdress

In fact, I think we’re better than good.

couch-to-5 wha?

In my (seemingly never-ending) quest to get myself back in shape, I started the couch-to-5K this week. Only this time, I got a nifty little C25K app for my iPhone to help me along. (Thanks, Danielle!) So on Tuesday, I got up at 5 a.m., threw on some workout clothes, and headed to the gym.

Now, theoretically, since I’m just walking/running, I could do that outside, but I prefer the gym. Something about it makes me feel like I’m “officially” exercising instead of just going for a stroll around the neighborhood. Don’t ask me why my brain makes a distinction, I know it makes no sense. And I suppose that I don’t have to work out before the sun comes up, but I work during the day, and evenings always feel crazy to me (juggling cooking dinner, cleaning up, and then Catie’s bedtime routine, which seems to take longer every night because good LORD that child can stall). So, early mornings it is.

Also? I’m working out in Vibram FiveFingers. If you’re wondering why on earth anyone would want to wear such hideous things on their feet, this article from Wired gives the best explanation I’ve read of why “barefoot” running is better for you. For me, I have always had trouble with my knees, and if this can help me run without knee pain? Then hey, bring on the ugliest gorilla-feet shoes you got.

(Man, I’m just full of links today, aren’t I?)

So, yeah, I did it. And I thought I was going to die because it’s been about 6 months since the last time I worked out. But I didn’t die! Yay! I was all sweaty and red-faced and scary-looking by the time I finished, but I was also really damn proud of myself.

But here’s the catch: running without super-cushioned sneakers means that your other muscles – likes the ones in your calves, ankles, and feet – have to work harder. So after I finished out my workout, my knees didn’t hurt, which was awesome (yay for no knee pain!), but my calves? Oh lord, my calves, y’all. I’ve now done this workout twice (on Tuesday and again on Thursday), and I’m pretty sure my calves are trying to kill me. The stairs in our house have become my worst enemy. And as I’m sure Dave can attest, when I’m in pain, I whine. A LOT.

But you know what? I’m gonna do it again tomorrow. Because I’m still trying to pull myself out of that rut. (Hey look, another link!)

Oh, and I have an appointment on Monday to get some bloodwork done and find out what’s going on with the rest of me. I have a suspicion that my thyroid is way off (I’ve been on medication for low thyroid since I was 9 years old, and after 25 years, I can generally tell when something’s wrong with it), so we’ll see.