Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Weight Loss Ideas from my Pinterest Obsession

Seriously, I have spent a lot of time on pinterest of late.  It’s super fun, and to me a bit more engaging than Facebook is right now with all its “I’m gonna change again” rules that come out of nowhere.

I’ve also been trying to get motivated to get in shape again.  I even go so far as to every once in a while wonder if I should just buy weights for at home since I am now part of the uncounted unemployed ranks in society.  It’s cool, I’ve prepped for this time to come – so while it’s austere, it's really not as bad as when I first lost my job.  
But when you’re on pinterest, there are a million weight loss tips that really work – and wraps and work out for 30 seconds a day and get buff photos.   So, I’ve decided to share my own weight loss tips here today.

1)      Pasta. Try not to eat the entire box of pasta yourself.  Really – it’s not necessary, and unless you are willing to run the 10 miles it will take to not make that crap turn right into sugar, just portion that crap so you can still enjoy it. 

2)      Cake.   Make it as often as you want – seriously.  You just don’t have to eat the whole thing.  This is a struggle I have taken a long time to learn myself.  But, let’s be honest, it’s all a learning curve. 

3)      Work out.  Even if it’s just breaking a sweat cleaning up after your nasty kids who enjoy leaving stuff under their beds and in their closets.  Take the time, don a mask and get on your hands and knees.  Don’t putter, really break a sweat cleaning up after boys who can’t aim when using the toilet.  Your waist will thank you in a few weeks. 

4)      It’s okay to walk to the bus stop.  Seriously.  I’ll even wear last night’s sweat pants so that I look serious about working out once all the kids are off to school.  Though we all know I will run out of coffee at the bus stop and be all – well one more cup can’t hurt….oh, look something shiny.  Fake it ‘til you make it, yo.

5)      Walk with the kids – all in the name of making them tired.  Sure, your glutes will hurt for the first few days, you will probably be taking advil® pm like it’s jelly-beans, and you’ll wonder where all those yoga pants in your closet came from.  But, the kids may sleep and your bum could seriously look ten years younger – when you’ve got a butt problem like mine, it’s better than any sleep you could possibly get from the equation. 

6)      Find an adventure to go on.  For us, last summer, it was picking berries.  We always had the full intention of making jam or making cobbler – but when we’d get home, we’d have some vitamin D and five berries.   Totally worth it. 

7)      Visit your farmers market.   There is nothing more conducive to wanting to be in shape than seeing all that fresh produce.  The whining from making the wee ones walk with you is just an added bonus. 

8)      Walk yourself to get your own coffee/breakfast/newspaper in the morning.  Seriously, I have not perfected this one myself and once the alarm goes off on my phone it is closely followed by a loud, booming “insert kids name here” echoing throughout the house.  I note however, that that kid is thin.

9)      When it’s raining, go ahead and walk around the mall.  I chose the biggest mall I can find – with three stories and two full “isles” loaded with stores.  I know I’ve done my job when I leave with tea, godiva and my calves hurt. 

10)   Get in some damn liquid.  Seriously – this should be a no brainer.  Make sure you take in a lot of water.  Nothing makes you feel thinner more instantaneously than drinking your full complement of water a day.  I mean it – I often feel like I’ve lost about ten pounds and my belly is nearly flat again when I counteract the amount of coffee I drink on a daily basis with water.  Or Passion Tea Lemonade.  Or fizzy lemonade found at my local grocery outlet. Or, well, water again because that other stuff gets pricy.

There you have it – Maggie’s weight loss ideas.  Really it’s not about depriving yourself – it’s about being willing to work off the crap you shouldn’t be eating if you want to lose weight.  And my number one tip – don’t bother owning a scale.  Really – is it about that number or about how your jeans fit – or if you HAVE to wear Spanx® with every outfit?


Saturday, May 26, 2012

The worst allergies I've ever had...North of the Mason Dixon Line

Yes, I know what the Mason Dixon line actually is.  And, for most of my life I have lived north of it.

Which, I suppose is why I didn't feel that much in allergies until I went to Texas for 18 or so, long, grueling months.  During that time I could not breathe on a daily basis--so, well exercise was so out of the picture.  I guess I got used to that excuse.

It's spring here in Washington state, late spring, but spring nonetheless. I got tested for allergies in Texas--the 60 most common allergies in Texas.  After finding out I was so allergic to certain things that they really couldn't decide if I was allergic to anything else--although they suspected--it was a relief to move back north and have "seasonal" allergies again instead of 24/7/365 allergies.

Then this season came along. Holy crap what is going on with the allergies this year--because I know I am not the only one who is suddenly taking any kind of allergy medicine I can get my hands on, just to get through the day.

But the real issue is, I am so used to using that whole post-nasal-drip thing as an excuse to not exercise that here I am, end of May and contemplating cancelling my gym membership.  But that's just all kinds of wrong, right?

Where is my allergy med of the week now, I should really at least take a short walk...

Monday, April 16, 2012

On The Ball. Then On The Floor.

I started PT (physical therapy, not personal trainer, dammit) about 2 weeks ago to see if we can't un-curve my scholiotic lower spine so I can stop feeling like Quasimodo every time I get out of bed in the morning.  First I had an X-ray to make sure it wasn't all in my head.  Because you know, that would totally be like my stupid body.  Listening to my head for how it should feel.  BAD IDEA.  Lucky for me I seriously have a twisted up old spine!  I wish I had my own x-ray to show you but this is pretty close:

Luckily my spine itself actually looks good as far as bone density and those thingies that jut out.  And my discs are good.  So now we are trying to coax the vertebrae that are trying to slowly escape to come back into alignment.  My biggest problem is I have zero thigh muscle.  Like, rock hard abs (when I use them) and calves but my thigh and booty are just a-flappin' in the breeze.  I swear I hear applause everytime I run down the stairs.  Anyhoo, my back and knees take over for my thighs being lazy and that is causing me great pains.

My PT is focusing on strengthening my core (OK so my abs were rock hard when I ran every day and did 200 situps morning and night), trying to carve some muscle into the back of my thighs, and hopefully lifting my ass cheeks off my leg.  The most embarrassing part so far has been when she had me do a bridge, which is laying on your back, bending your knees with a medium sized ball between them, and then lifting your butt off the table without using your back or upper body.  I just couldn't do it.  The PT grabbed the back of my legs and they literally moved like mud flaps.  Wow.  I am skinny-fat!  That explains why even though I'm at a pretty low weight I still can't fit into most of the jeans I fit into when I was pre-third baby at this weight.

My starting stats at the beginning of PT, three sessions ago:
Height: 5'6 3/4
Weight: 126
Body Fat %:  20.1

After three sessions:
Weight 127
Body Fat 19%
I lost 1 percent body fat already!  In 3 sessions!  And I barely broke a sweat.  There really is something to be said for this physical therapy stuff!

Not sure if my height has changed yet but I haven't had a chance to see.  It should get back up to normal (5'8" when I was in highschool) or at least closer to it when my spine untwists!

I had hoped to go again today, but out of nowhere I had an IBS episode that was a result of yesterday's stressors about an hour before I had to leave for it.  I really didn't want to have to do ab exercises in that condition, and they only have one bathroom so IBS won out today.  I get to go tomorrow at 10am to make up for it though.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

That was *super fun*

I walked out of the gym today to a beautiful, sunny, warm enough day to wear short-sleeves.  It was wonderful.  Glorious, made me want to climb the mountain I saw outside my gym.
Yeah, I get it, it's a crappy iPhone picture, edited to look better, but really, let's be honest, it's a cell phone picture. I have no business taking a cell phone picture of such a majestic mountain.

But, I am glossing over the point.

I said, "I walked out of the gym today,"  meaning, that at some point before that moment of lunacy about climbing that mountain--which, coincidentally is considered the most dangerous volcano in the Cascades region, and a massive monument reaching almost singularly into the sky at over 14,000 feet Wikipedia, Mt Rainier)--I walked in.

It's been about two weeks.  Two, long agonizing weeks, filled with kids spring break, insane insomnia, inability to do my homework--and what the heck happened to my living room and kitchen?  But I walked in.  I started again.

I called my Mom after the workout (because I am pretty sure hubby had gone to sleep, having worked a 24 hour shift, and well, he didn't answer the phone) and told her "I did a full 30 minutes FINALLY."

I then proceeded to tell her: "I wanted to quit at minute 6, 12, 15, 21, 22, 23, and 24-30."  Boy, did I.  Hubby called me at about minute 13, which tried to give me the quit excuse.  I had been doing an hour a day before this last two weeks, but goodness, that half hour was hard to mentally get through.

After a few minutes talking to my mom, I explained I had to do "cleaning, light to moderate effort."  Not because I want to burn more calories, but because, I actually have to clean that front area of the house the kids think is their rainy-day playground.  (Think Sleepless in Seattle here: "It rains 9 months out of the year there.")

Now, since I have spent the last half hour looking for youtube videos instead of taking a shower and getting started on my day--I suppose it's time.   But first, one more gem to get you going also:

Goodness I miss hubby.

<3 Maggie

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Will I ever make it back to the gym?

While I knew this would happen, here I sit, well into Spring Break for the kids, wondering if I will ever make it back to the gym.  Technically, my decision to not go to the gym is none other than my own, as technically, my kids are plenty old for me to leave them 3 minutes away for about an hour or two. 

But then again, technically, I do not relax and zone out as much as I could, knowing they were safely tucked away at school while I obliterate myself with fast-paced music and endless miles on the elliptical.
Photo Credit
So, this week the kids and I are working on reconditioning our eating habits.  I admit, I was as much a detriment to this as anyone--whatever you want to say leads to people buying crappola to put in their bodies.   I have been looking at ingredients on the items I have purchased with coupons--which, as I state I do out of necessity, but wowzers--what exactly is that stuff in those cans?

Let's look at it from this perspective:  if you go to a farmers market, buy a bunch of fresh food, and can it yourself, you don;t have to add anything really to make it last a year or more.  I mean seriously, that's what I see anyhow, through hours of research.

So why does industry feel the need to add "preservatives" to canned, or jarred food?

It's a conundrum.  Or habit, perhaps.

So I don't know, it seems it could be actually possible to keep a few things on hand--make your own jams and the like (that one girl on youtube who cans meatloaf was a little too much for me) you could in the long run save money.  Not by saving money on the food necessarily--but maybe in still providing whole foods to your family and thusly cutting down medical bills?

I don't know, personally, but it comes down to a decision this summer, I guess.   Maybe it will add to the level of health over the next year?  We shall see.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


I do know this is about getting in shape--or trying to be healthier, or staying sane I suppose.  I imagine it's a long journey I have started here.  But, what I didn't understand when I started writing about this is the absolute fear of laying actual reality out there on the table.

Yes, yes, I can tell you a little about what I learn in the process of re-conditioning myself.  I can talk about my crazy obsession with couponing--out of necessity really.  I can talk about my kids and I, starting to can our own food, about trying to eat more healthily. I can also talk about the psychological detriment trying to find a job in this economy is--and why I started working out--to clear my head really. 

But do I have the guts to really lay it all out there? 

Here's some background--my husband of almost 14 years is stationed 3,000 miles away.  He is stationed there based upon the needs of the Army.  I moved up here with the kids because I have severe allergies in the south--so bad that when they tested me they could only guarantee one allergy was a true, gods-honest allergy.  It was so bad, it inflamed my entire back.   I was stabbed (with tiny little needles, mind you, so not so bad) 54 times, and that one allergen engulfed my entire back.

It was dust-mites.  Something that exists everywhere--and only in cooler, more northern climates in a seasonal form. 

So, when a position became available, and was offered for a 13 month term position (that would no-doubt be permanent once I had arrived in the area, according to the hiring manager), I packed the kids in the car and headed north, to Seattle, Washington.

After the 2010-2011 budget fights, the position was eliminated.  So now, I live 3,000 miles away, with three kids, two house-holds, recently reduced unemployment compensations and a new bit of data--the emergency unemployment compensation extension I have will end after tier 3--in less than 10 weeks.   Meanwhile, the VA is fighting with me because I do not have an 'official' diagnosis, so they want to cut my benefits--really the one thing keeping the kids and I afloat during this time.(Female Veterans have a harder time finding work)

Add to that all the wonderful news we hear about people trolling the internet to cut you out of getting a job--really, Facebook passwords? (Is Your Facebook Password like your Mail, House Key or Drug Test?)  I mean Facebook is the one place I am semi-me, and there with my friends, honestly. So, really, I get a bit paranoid, wondering if anything I post online will dismiss me from getting a position. 

So when I post here, I am honestly very, very, very subdued.  Very unwilling to admit that I do have a personality and real opinions on things--because isn't that making a decision that could hinder someone from getting a position?  And, further, if I tell the truth about what this job search has been like--what I personally have gone through in this time off, doesn't that impact my ability to get a 'call-back'?

So where does that leave me and my children?  Well, it leaves the kids watching mom in an extremely high state of anxiety, stress and what my mother calls "balancing on a knife edge." And it leaves me there, on the knife's edge, wonder which side I will fall down next. It leaves me making decisions between brakes and food, between electricity and car insurance, between dog food and toilet paper.  Yes, it is THAT close and tight in the house.

So I work out--I work out hard.  I stop applying for jobs during the week when I start the downward trend toward self-loathing (don't worry all you guys who think unemployed people sit on their bumms collecting your tax dollars--I paid into unemployment a lot of money over the course of the last 15 years, and I usually have to apply for about 30 positions once I get to the top of the slope for downward spiral).  I work hard on being frugal--and remain healthy, because the last thing I need is to become a further burden on society by not being healthy and needing health-care that you feel you are paying for--when once again, let me reiterate--I served my country in uniform for over 6 years, I served in the civilian corps for another 6 or 8, and my husband (whose healthcare I fall under) has been down range 4 times, to Korea once, and has been separate from us based on the needs of the Army for the better part of 7 years out of our almost 14 year marriage.

So, saying that because I am unemployed with three kids and therefore a slug, reaping the benefits of a "welfare" state does not tell the whole story, and it does not help me, or society.   It does not help to say "get off your butt and get a job," either.  Because trust me, I try...day in and day out.

I am like desperately seeking Susan out there, pounding the pavement looking for a job I can support the kids on, while trying to get my husband stationed up here and therefore having one household. .I spend hours working to keep my skills current, hours keeping the house frugal, and hours looking for work.  Every.  Single.  Day.  

And that's all before I do the regular "keeping the household running" work, doing homework with the kids--and working on my own school-work. 

So, next time you make a judgement call on someone...make sure you have at least half the story---and no, this is not half the story either. 

The rest (of the half, that is) would truly make your skin crawl.

Friday, March 30, 2012

I Lean To The Left

As I was whining about in my last post, its still effing cold here in VT.  And ever since it swang (is that a word, prob not!) that way my back has been hurting more and more each day.  So today I decided to stop kidding around and get a back x-ray.  I love my doctor, she pretty much does what I ask without questioning me.  This is my REAL doctor not whoever is on duty.  She got me in for an x-ray within 10 minutes of me seeing her.

She came in with a gown and said "Pants and bra off please!"  Uhhhhhhh oops if I'd known that i wouldn't have worn my sexy black lace thong, but ya win some ya lose some.  Also might have thought about shaving my legs...thank goodness the x-ray room is nice and dark!  I rolled myself up onto the cold metal table and let the tech position me.  "Any chance you are pregnant?"  "Hell no."  "Good answer!"

She only had to take 2 pics total, one of me laying flat and one of me on my side "hold your arms like you are praying to God" she says.  I like her.  When I got back into the room my doctor said, "These are beautiful pictures!  The tech said it was easy because you are so thin."  WHAT??  I hadn't heard those words in a long time.  I look WICKED skinny in an x-ray!  Even after eating a bowl of cookie dough for lunch and some birthday cake and ice cream last night for my son's birthday!

Why did I eat those things?  As I wrote on a friend's note about weight loss trials and tribulations: You should ALWAYS eat that which you crave, even if its something nasty like cookie dough or peanut butter microwave s'mores.  That way you don't go eating healthy things like cheese, eggs, yogurt, and toast trying to fill that hole that is growling at you, and then eating a giant bag of M&M's on top of it because that's what you REALLY wanted in the first place!  You save a ton of calories by just giving in and getting it over with.

PB&F on double fiber multigrain bread and my vitamins, crying.

And I always save my vitamin downing for those times that I'm eating something horribly bad for me in hopes of at least making it a vitamin-rich pile of sugary fatty goo.

In conclusion my spine is indeed curved pretty bad to the left, which is what is causing this horrible pain.  So, I will be doing PT next week and probably for 6 weeks after to try to cope with it.  Maybe I can finally get some alone time!