a little Monday whining

I feel really “off” lately. I can’t quite put my finger on it, it’s not quite a full-blown depression or anything that severe, but there are a lot of small things that are adding up to make me feel like I’m not myself. Like:

1. I’ve hit the point of pregnancy where I can no longer sleep comfortably for long periods (examples: I have to pee, the baby is kicking, my hip hurts, whatever), so I’m really freaking exhausted all the time.

2. Pregnancy hormones are making me a weepy and grouchy mess, which I hate. I spend way too much time either completely irritable, or on the verge of tears. I like to be in control of my feelings, so I’m not a fan of this.

3. Related to the hormone mess: I feel puffy and fat, and even my skin feels stretched tight, like it doesn’t know what to do with these changes. I don’t feel like a glowing pregnant Earth Mother type. I feel ugly, and I feel dry and itchy all over. I don’t feel like I “own” my body, if that makes sense. It’s like my body has been hijacked by some mysterious creature and I just have to put up with it for several more months while things get progressively more miserable.

4. I miss Dave. We live together and work at the same company, but it feels like we don’t see other very much. Weird, right? Well, case in point: he had a massive deadline that was due today, so he worked all weekend. And I mean, like, he worked: he drank coffee and didn’t sleep for 2 days. (He took a two-hour nap on Sunday afternoon. That was the only sleep he had between Saturday morning and Monday morning.) I know it was stuff that he needed to finish, but it makes me worry about his health when he pulls all-nighters like that. We basically barely spoke to each other all weekend because I wanted to leave him alone to get his work done, and I spent a lot of time corralling Catie to keep her quiet so she wouldn’t disturb him either. It sucked.

5. The anxiety of “holy crap, this 2nd baby is really on her way, and how on earth am I going to juggle two kids and a full-time job?” is starting to sink in. Plus all of the stereotypical stuff that goes with that – the fear that I’ll be “less” of a mom to Catie once the baby is here, that I’ve maxed out my capacity for love and won’t bond with this new baby, etc. Stupid stuff that I know – I KNOW – isn’t true. But that doesn’t stop me from worrying about it now.

I had an OB appointment this morning, and I talked about a lot of this stuff with my doctor. I told him that I think that the majority of my issues are environmental and not physiological. I’m pretty sure most of it can be filed under, “This too shall pass.” He said that it’s good that I’m aware of it and talking about it, and he wants me to let him know if it starts to feel like something we need to address more seriously.

I don’t want anybody reading this to worry about me. I’ll be ok, and if it feels like things aren’t getting better, then I absolutely will discuss it with my doctor and take it from there. I’m not naive, and I know enough about depression to know when to ask for help.

Today, though, I just needed to vent. Thanks for listening.

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.

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.

just as she is

So, to follow up on that last post, I started the South Beach diet on Monday. (With a few tips from the “Fat Flush Diet” thrown in, because I actually liked a couple of her techniques when I tried them last year.) Just your basic low-carb, low-calorie diet, and I’m trying to use The Daily Plate to help me track my calorie intake. Which is difficult, because it’s tedious and I tend to be lazy about documenting things like the handful of granola I grabbed as I walked past the pantry. (How do you even document that? How big a serving is a handful?) But I think it’s a good exercise because it’s making me a lot more thoughtful every time I shove something in my mouth (heh… that’s what she said).

And so far, it’s honestly been fine. I haven’t felt deprived at all. I’m staying well within my recommended daily calorie allowance, and I’m not starving. So it’s good. I figure that if I can stick with that ideal “lose 1 or 2 pounds a week” target, I should be down to my goal weight in about 4 to 6 months. It sounds daunting, but not nearly as daunting as it did when I was 265 pounds. Four to six months is nothing compared to that. It’s a drop in the proverbial bucket.

I’d really like to start working out too, but I can’t right now with my sinuses still all gunked up with this cold. Hopefully by the time my Vibram Five Fingers arrive in the mail, I’ll be over the majority of this cold and will be able to get started on my couch-to-5K again.

One thing that’s been on my mind a lot lately is how much of my mom’s body image issues I adopted as my own as I grew up. When I was little, I remember my mom always complaining about how fat she was, and she was maybe a size 8 or 10 at the time (so NOT fat in the slightest). I worry about passing those sorts of hang-ups on to my own daughter.

Catie in my winter hat

My plan is that if/when she asks me about my new eating habits (and I’m sure that she will, because the kid notices absolutely everything), to emphasize to her that this diet is so Mommy will be strong and healthy, and I will absolutely not say anything negative about my body in front of her (even though I might be thinking it). I just don’t want to put those types of ideas in her head. I don’t want her to internalize any of my own negativity or hang-ups.

pretty Catie with her flower

I never want her to think that she isn’t beautiful, just as she is.

weighted down

[Warning: This is a little heavy for a Saturday. I don’t normally write like this, but I need to get it out of my system. Proceed with caution.]

There’s something wrong with me. Maybe it’s hormonal, maybe it’s my thyroid, maybe something has snapped in my head. I don’t know. All I know is that something has to change soon, because I can’t stay like this much longer.

I went to the doctor on Friday for both this latest sinus infection, as well as the pulled muscle in my ribs that made it basically impossible to raise my left arm. She gave me antibiotics for the cold and muscle relaxers for my rib, so that’s fine. But what isn’t fine is the number on the scale. It knocked the wind out of me.

I’ve written before about my gastric bypass surgery, which I had nearly 8 years ago. At the time, I weighed 265 pounds. (I’m only 5’5″.) I lost a little over 100 pounds after the surgery. My lowest weight was around 155 – 160 pounds, at which point I wore a size 10 and felt pretty damn hot. Eventually my weight settled around the 165-170 point, but that was fine. I wore a size 12, and I said that as long as I could shop in the regular clothing stores and not the big-girl stores, I was happy. And I was.

Since I had Catie, something has changed. I was so sick during my pregnancy, by the time she was born, my net weight gain for the whole pregnancy was 1 pound. So within a couple of weeks, I was not only back in my pre-pregnancy jeans, I was in my size 10 skinny jeans again. Which was, well, weird. Of course, all that weight I lost during pregnancy was muscle, not fat, so I expected to gain some of it back as I regained my strength. But I think I’ve gone a little overboard.

Essentially, in the past 2 1/2 years or so, I’ve gained 30 pounds. That seems excessive, no? And I get it. I’m not as active as I was. I eat too much crap. I have this mental block about throwing food away or being “wasteful” (no doubt instilled in me by my mother). But if Catie eats three bites of her peanut butter & jelly sandwich and then announces that she’s done, what am I supposed to do? Throw it out? Hell no, I scarf that bad boy down. Same goes for her leftover mac & cheese, and her leftover chicken nuggets, and, and, and…

There’s other issues here too. Like how my weight is connected to my self-esteem, and how that’s connected to my libido (i.e., if you feel fat and ugly, you don’t really want to get naked in front of anyone, even if it’s the person who’s vowed to love you forever). These things are all intertwined, you know?

And I hate it. I don’t want this. I don’t want to be one of the “gastric bypass failure” stories. I always swore that would never be me. After all, that only happened to people who were messed up in the head. And now, look, here I am, steadily on my way to that exact fate.

But, hey, this is not my pity party. I am not the type to sit around and moan about how miserable I am, and I have very little tolerance for people who do that. The point here is to get off my (rapidly expanding) ass and do something about it. Yes, ok, in the last two years I have started more than a few diets, and I have failed at all of them. So maybe it’s time for me to try a different approach.

First, I’ve decided that I need to see a therapist. Sure, the blog is nice for unloading some stuff, but there are also some things that I can’t really talk about here because a lot of people in my family read this site, and I don’t want to alienate any of those relationships. I’m also considering going to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting, because I’ve looked at their checklist of symptoms of compulsive overeating, and there are a few too many that ring true to me. (Of course, I do realize that by announcing my intent to go, I’ve pretty much shot the whole “anonymous” element to hell). I also need to make appointments to talk about some of this stuff with my OB/GYN, and maybe an endocrinologist, because I do feel like there is something “off” with my body as far as my overall lack of energy.

Second, I am going to start on another diet. But here’s the problem: with a three year-old in the house, it’s basically impossible to not have some junk food around all the time. That’s fine. But it makes it nearly impossible to do an intensely low-carb/all-organic diet. So I’m going to start working just on calorie restriction alone. Obviously I will try to make healthier choices during the day, but I also don’t want to beat myself up about it if I indulge in an 80-calorie cookie, either. I’m also going to start trying not to eat at night (after, say, 8 p.m. or so). That’s going to be the hardest for me. I’m a nighttime eater. I probably get a good 30% of my day’s calories after Catie goes to bed. But I’m going to work on cutting that out.

I also have to get exercising again, because I know that I will never feel “right” until I do. I started the couch-to-5K program last summer, and I really liked it a lot. But then we went to Mississippi for my aunt’s funeral, and then we moved to the new house, and then, and then, and then… You know, excuses excuses. I fell off the exercise wagon and landed back on the junk food wagon. So I’ll try it again. I ordered a pair of these crazy shoes and I’m gonna give it another shot.

And if I screw up, well then, I’ll just try again. And again. However many times it takes until I get it right.

I will NOT be one of those sad failure stories. I refuse.