Saturday, May 30, 2009

School's out!

Today is the last day of the school year! I don't know why it's on a Saturday, but apparently this isn't out of the ordinary in my crazy little town. There's no bus service and a 10 AM dismissal, so I'll be surprised if any kids actually show up. I can't say that I'd send my own kids if I had any.

We have a fund raiser for our school playground at 11, a memorial for a co-worker who passed away from breast cancer last week at 3 :( :( :( and then will be cleaning, cleaning, cleaning in preparation for my mom to get here tomorrow.

It's been a crazy-busy last few weeks of school. I've been scrambling trying to make plans to see a bunch of my kids this summer and get our files in order. It should be fun! So far I made plans to meet regularly with 3 of my kids going into 2nd grade. I gave them each backpacks filled with stuff that I want them to work with this summer and am going to see them once a week. Mostly, we'll go to the library, look at books and study, but I planned field trips to the zoo, a children's theatre and a minor league baseball game.
I'm trying to get in touch with the parents of 3 boys who are going into 3rd grade to ask if I can take them to the science museum/planetarium at the end of June, and I already got permission to take one group to the library when they're having a special animal-guy guest, another to the hands-on museum, and another to a picnic at a nearby state park with waterfalls.

I'm so glad I decided against continuing grad school this summer - I never would've been able to do this stuff if I hadn't.

I'll be in Chicago next week seeing some friends and family. I want to try this semi-fancy vegetarian restaurant I've never been to before (Green Zebra), help one of my other teacher friends out at her school, maybe see a play, get a pedicure, shop for makeup and a new bag or purse and go to a baseball game. Unfortunately, my Cubs are on the road, so it'll be a White Sox game (gasp!). At least they're playing the Indians which is the team a few of my favorite ex-Cubs were traded to this winter.

By the way - my garden (er...Ryan's garden) is HUGE! We picked broccoli last week, have been picking lettuce and herbs for a few, and just saw the beginnings of baby tomatoes, cucumber and squash! I'm such the proud mama!
I'll post pics later.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

been busy

I've had a very elementary school-teacherish week.
After baking up a storm Monday night, I set to work on these pinatas with my kids. They designed, planned and started them at school, and I just got finished making what we didn't finish (most of it). Whew!
I think they look pretty cute :)
They go with units on plant parts, weather/wind/energy, and shapes (round things)
We break them Tuesday.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

life gets in the way

I haven't fallen off the wagon. Everything's fine. But this week hasn't been as strong as last week on the eating and exercise front.

I've been crazy busy and keep forgetting to eat all day, getting exhausted and not feeling well, then eating so-so at best at night. No binges though. I picked up my M&M/Reece's bulk mix at the grocery store today but put to back before checking out. I haven't even really been hungry.

Monday grades were due and I spent all night getting ready for an ESL parent breakfast party Tuesday morning. I made 100 cupcakes, some lemon bundt thingies and a crumb cake, put together a slide show and generally worried a bunch...

Tuesday I had a doctor's appointment right after school so I didn't head to the gym, and I promised Ryan I'd help him bottle his 2nd batch of homebrew because he'd been my baking assistant the day before. So, there went Tuesday night.

Today (Wednesday)I've spent the night papier mache-ing the bases for 4 pinatas. I'm making the shell for my kids to decorate. They've each come up with an idea for a pinata that illustrates the theme for the books/unit we've been working on. In short, it's a banana tree and a daisy for the 2 groups working on parts of plants, a kite for the group working on wind (energy and weather), and a watermelon for the group working on shapes (our last book was about 'round things').

I'm beat! Next week is the last week of school and I'll be in a much better routine after that, hopefully. In the meantime I'm doing the best I can given crazy circumstances.

Monday, May 18, 2009


After losing every day this week (including yesterday, the day after being sick), I gained 0.8 lbs today. Oh well. It's still a total loss of 5.6 lbs for the week. I'll take it!
I didn't over eat yesterday and I went hiking for a couple hours, so I'm not worried that I did anything 'wrong' that caused a little gain - just a normal fluctuation combined with sleeping really poorly...I usually won't lose if I don't get enough sleep.

Victories for the past week include exercising every day, pushing my limits (even though that didn't turn out so well), no binging, no sugary snacks, generally eating well and drinking enough everyday, studying Spanish when I could, doing pretty well keeping up with the house, feeling like I was accomplishing what I wanted to at work and getting the grades back from my spring semester at UT that maintained my 4.0.

I didn't do everything I wanted, but I didn't get frustrated about that. Very successful week, I think! The only thing that's bugging me is that my anxiety is feeling a bit worse for some reason. I'd think the better diet and exercise would help. Maybe it's something physiological about losing weight that messes with my meds or anxiety levels. I plan on just keeping up what I'm doing, though. I see my doctor tomorrow for a check-up, so I'll ask her about that.

We have 2 weeks left of school and I'm ready to go! I have my lunch and breakfast packed, my clothes for the week laid out, and a to-do list a mile long. First item: average grades.
Better get going!

Getting active! Here I am at the bottom of the big waterfall at Fall Creek Falls, TN yesterday. Scary, rocky hike for me, but I did it!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

overdoing it

When I started eating healthily and working out this Monday I said "I'm doing this Biggest Loser style!". And what I meant was that I wanted to test out the idea that maybe my biggest obstacle is a lack of belief in myself and maybe what I need to do is push past what I think my limits are, work harder and have the experience of doing something I didn't think my body would do. I wanted to work out long and hard and know that I wouldn't die and that nothing terrible would happen.

So, yesterday I did day 2 of the C25K program. I extended it to 30 min. instead of 20, but my running pace is only 5.0 mph. Even though any running is hard for me, that's not a ridiculous pace at all. Then I went on the elliptical for an hour. I felt terrible. I was wiped out and lowered my resistance for the last 10 minutes, but pushed through. At the end I went over to free weights and did shoulder front raises, overhead presses and lateral raises. I felt tired but good that I'd done what I'd planned.

When we were just about to leave I got a little dizzy. Then I got so dizzy that I had to sit down for a minute. I didn't know if I could drive but I just wanted to get home. When I got home I threw up, ate some strawberries and toast (because I thought that might be what I needed), felt terrible for an hour, threw up again and stayed miserable for the next several hours. It was a really rough night. I drank Gatorade and later nibbled a few plain tortellinis and finally feel much better after a good night's sleep.

I know I over-react and am completely paranoid about my health. And I probably shouldn't have Googled the reasons behind post-workout puking and dizziness because I inadvertently came across warnings about having a heart attack. But, even knowing that I overreact and that a lot of people have that experience after pushing too hard, I think that was not worth it for me. If pushing my limits means feeling that terrible for so long after my workout, I'm going to take it a little easier until my endurance is built up again. I'm also thinking about breaking up my workouts into AM and PM sessions and maybe eating a little more before I head to the gym. (yesterday I had an apple and string cheese).

On the schedule for this weekend is walking and biking today (changed from an original plan of a more strenuous gym workout) and hiking tomorrow. I'll probably also do the leg workout section of my Cher tape.

P.S. - I weighed in just now and am at 169 which means I have (maybe) lost 6 pounds since Monday and reached my goal for the week 2 days early! I'm fully aware that it's probably a false low because of last night, that it's possible I'm dehydrated, and that it's likely the scale will go up a bit tomorrow, but it's still fun to see the scale out of the 170s again :)

Friday, May 15, 2009

not fighting myself

This week has gone really well so far. I already feel like the healthy choices I'm making are becoming a part of my natural routine.

Since I regained all the weight I'd lost, and the last part of that pretty rapidly, I set a goal of losing 6 lbs this week with a Monday weigh day. That's just for the first week back in this thing. So far I've lost 4.6 with 3 more days to go! I'm focused on making long term lifestyle changes, but also on losing the pounds...and I'm comfortable with that as long as I don't get obsessed or down on myself because of a number on the scale. But so far so good!

Every day this week I've had the same breakfast and lunch and that seems to be working well for me. I've had 5.3 oz. non-fat, plain Greek yogurt with strawberries and Ezekiel flax cereal for breakfast, a big salad with either tempeh or garbanzo beans, sunflower seeds and a dressing of 1 tsp. each olive and flaxseed oils, red wine vinegar, basil and pepper for lunch and a different snack and dinner. Monday through Thursday it's been...

Snacks: veggies and hummus, string cheese and apple, banana (and unplanned corn chips with salsa), rice cake with peanut butter and apple
Dinners: steamed veggies, rice and tofu; veggie, cheese and hummus sandwich; leftover steamed veggies and rice with tempeh; cheese and bean quesadilla with roasted veggies

I've exercised everyday too. I want to do about an hour a day but my most important goal is just to move everyday even if it's just a walk in the neighborhood.

Monday: 1 hour on Precor AMT; 20 min. walk around the neighborhood
Tuesday: 30 min. of C25K program day 1; back and biceps; step and abs class (This class nearly killed me!!! But I think I'm going to go back next week)
Wednesday: 53 min. walk in the neighborhood; chest and triceps (could've done better this day but I came home after work to watch the BL finale I'd recorded instead of going to the gym because I was worried I'd hear the outcome...doesn't make much sense - oh well)
Thursday: Cher step aerobics video
Friday: I'm planning to go do a 10 min. abs video now, then after work I'm going to do the 2nd day of the C25K program for 30 min., get on an elliptical for an hour and do a quick shoulder workout

I can't emphasize enough how much of a difference ending the grad-school semester and making the decision to take a break has made for me in terms of healthy decisions! I don't know how I feel about the idea will-power, but my sense is that it can play a small part in helping me to make good decisions in the moment, but that it's no match for feelings of shame, guilt, helplessness or being overwhelmed. I was fighting a losing battle trying to use will-power to push me through a situation that I just wasn't able to handle right now and because I was setting myself up for failure and more importantly, feeling like a failure, I was never going to be able to use 'will power' to have eating/exercising successes.

It's still spring and school's not out, but I feel like I'm setting the foundations for a great, productive summer :)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


As you know if you've read this page before, I've had a lot of ups and downs this year (mostly downs) and I'm trying to figure out what to do to set things right once and for all. My biggest obstacle is binging, and my biggest binging trigger is feeling shame. It seems to me like people who are happy and fulfilled in their lives and who stay productive and busy (but balanced, NOT overwhelmed) don't participate in those sorts of self-destructive behaviors. So what I've been trying to do is concentrate on being balanced and feeling together. For me, this involves being prepared for work, looking the best I can, being physically active, keeping the house clean and organized, being social, having a creative outlet and doing some sort of self-improvement/studying project.

After I turned in my final last week I went shopping and for the past week I've really been trying to pay attention to the way I look. I've been planning my outfits, which are now composed of clothes that fit me and are not falling apart, the night before. I've been doing my hair and makeup and wearing jewelry.

I've reconnected with some long-lost friends on facebook and through some overdue phone calls and have been trying to be more outgoing at work.

I've started my Rosetta Stone Spanish lessons.

The house is...well....getting there. Not a disaster zone.

Having these things in place sets me up for success. And I'm definitely ready for some success. I've regained the weight I lost last fall and when I weighed in yesterday was back at 175 - a nice, round, restarting number, right? It seemed like as good a day as any to re-focus, I guess! I set a goal of losing 60 pounds and feel totally ready now that I've decided to take the summer (at least) off from grad school. I got my grades from the spring semester this morning and miraculously maintained my 4.0! I have no idea how that happened, but I'm extremely relieved and ready to put the stress of that semester behind me once and for all.

Yesterday and today I planned healthy meals and have been doing well so far with not feeling snacky. Both days I had Greek yogurt with strawberries and Ezekiel cereal for breakfast and a salad with garbanzo beans for lunch. Yesterday's snack was veggies and hummus. Today's is string cheese and an apple. Yesterday's dinner was brown rice, steamed veggies, yeasty tofu and soy vey teriyaki sauce. Today either leftovers or hummus/cheese/veggie sandwiches.

Yesterday I also went to the gym for the first time in a looooong time. I did an hour on the new Precor AMT (?) (half in elliptical motion, half in step motion). Then Ryan and I went for a short (20 min) walk in the evening.
Today I'm planning to start the C25K program, maybe do some weights and then go to a step class at 5:15. It will be my first class ever at the gym :) I'm a little nervous that I'll look stupid, but mostly excited that I'm going to try something new.

Ryan's meeting me at the gym after work. Now that I've set myself up for success and with the two of us committed to a healthy lifestyle together, I'm feeling hopeful that a lot of great changes will take place with my fitness and health this summer.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Last Friday at 4:30 AM I finally crawled over the finish line of this semester, turned in my papers and collapsed. Whew! I'm so glad that semester is behind me. I was really getting sucked into some sort of abyss of fatigue, stress and self-pity.
I didn't quite start Friday with the lifestyle-makeover-bang I'd hoped to. But, you know, only getting 2 hours of sleep will do that to a girl.

But, Saturday! Saturday was much better. I made a decision that I need to start getting out there and just trying things that I've lacked the confidence to try so far. I'm talking basic things here....I pretty much look like a slob, or at least extremely plain and casual all the time since I've thought I didn't know how to/couldn't dress in a way that was flattering, do makeup, do my hair, etc. I've had a lot of negative self-talk going on for years and that's led me to give up on quite a bit. I think I'll fail at something, so I give up before I start. OR, I plan and plan and plan my life away waiting for 'it' to be perfect before I start. Maybe that means I wait to like my body before I buy clothes or wait to have figured out some magical, perfect meal plan before I change my diet. In terms of appearance, I think my hair will always be frizzy, so I just put it in a ponytail (like that's better?!). I'm a size 16 but also have petite proportions, so I think I won't find clothes that fit and look good, so I buy something with out trying it on and feel embarassed (seriously, that's better?!!)

So, Saturday I decided I wasn't going to wait anymore. I went on a bit of a shopping spree. This happens whenever I decide to bite the bullet and shop. Since I NEVER shop, historically, whenever I do I usually have some sort of revelation about how much I really 'need' and go overboard. Well, this was no exception. I have been rotating the same 3 pairs of ill-fitting, fraying pants day after day along with a pilling sweater, an old, faded zip-up sweatshirt with a broken zipper and miscellaneous other clothes meant for hiding in. So I needed a lot. I got several new jackets, shirts, pants and shoes plus a bunch of cheap, but cute costume jewelry. I had to buy most of it online because of the afore mentioned size conundrum, but that's okay. I went to the department store (best we have in our little town is Kohl's), found out my size and some brands and styles that worked, and ordered the rest at home. Everything should be here by Thursday and I'm super excited!

I got dressed up and went to a retirement party on Saturday, then went to work in another outfit I was proud of yesterday and felt immesurably better than I have been/would've wearing the old duds. I'm sure everyone on Earth has learned this but me, but it really is amazing what wonders it can do for confidence to wear clothes you like! The biggest difference for me is that they aren't too tight, reminding me of my weight gains every second. I can forget about feeling humiliated and down on myself which leads to happier me, which probably leads to less shame/stress-induced bingey behaviors.
I win! :)