Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Early morning tempo run

Today, we are taking the kids to a Holidome for the night (courtesy of my mom) for a last hurrah before school starts next week. Since I do speed work on Thursdays, I figured I'd do it this morning instead--that way I don't have to do it on the hotel dreadmill. Running on the dreadmill just feels so much easier than outside, so I think I'd get the most benefit of speed work if I'm actually doing it outside.

I had a 40-minute tempo run scheduled. That means about 10 minutes easy running, 20 minutes hard running, and 10 easy. The hardest part about this is figuring out just HOW hard the middle segment should be. I always read that it should be "comfortably hard"--but running is NEVER comfortable to me! ;)  I decided to try and go just over my goal race pace, so about 8:50-9:00/mi. It was tough. I'm glad to have it over with for the week. At the hotel tomorrow morning, I'll just have to run 4 easy miles.

Speaking of running, a couple of people asked me questions that I figured I'd answer here in case someone else was wondering the same thing. 1) My runner's knee. I actually haven't had any problems with my knee lately. Probably because I cut way back on my mileage in June and July. And lately, I've been focusing on going EASY on my easy runs and saving my strength for my speed work. That has actually made a world of difference in my overall energy--I feel so much better all week, even though my mileage has more than doubled since I started 10k training.

And 2) Why do I prefer the compression fit running pants? There is a difference between the compression FIT pants and using compression sleeves or socks. I don't know much about the sleeves and socks. I choose the compression fit pants because of my loose skin. My belly bounces up and down and it's really painful unless I wear really tight clothing. Wearing compression fit spandex helps out a lot.




So I tried on my bridesmaid dress last night, and it's tight. I hate that there is a little bulge between my armpit and boob on each side. I'm really going to have to step up my game and drop about 10 pounds before the wedding. I'm feeling the pressure now!

I didn't intend on anyone seeing this picture, and I had Noah take it just so I could do a comparison later (for my eyes!)  So what do I do? Naturally, I post it to my blog. I have learned a lesson though, about taking "before" pictures. Even if you think nobody will ever see it, make sure you SMILE. Because someday, you might actually use it as a before picture. I have a before picture that looks SO HIDEOUS that I'll never show anyone of course I'll post it just to show you what I'm talking about.  (But I insist on putting it next to an "after" pic, so you can see that I'm not actually that messed up looking!)
See what I mean? It looks like a mugshot!
So anyways, my whole point was that I'm going to work my ass off for the next 6 weeks to look GOOD in the dress. I'm already doing the exercise 6 days a week to train for the 10k, so I just need to be super strict on what I eat. Count every calorie. Then hopefully, I'll be able to post a 6-week comparison pic in my dress :)


I've written a guest post for Krista at My Journey to a Healthy Berg--she just posted it this morning, so feel free to check it out here. Krista is super inspiring, so you should check out her blog as well! She's lost over 100 pounds herself, the HARD way (diet and exercise).


Do you have tons of "before" pictures on your hard drive? I've taken so many over the years, and never thought I'd actually make it to the "after" pic. It's kind of fun to go through them :)


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

F.A.Q. #3: How did you stop binge eating?

Ahhh, the million dollar question. If I had a *real* answer to this, I'd be rich!  As promised, here is a post about binge eating.

There is a difference between binge eating and overeating/overindulging. I found this in a magazine years ago, which simplifies it:
I believe this came from Weight Watchers magazine

To see much more specific details about binge eating, you can click here for the DSM-IV criteria for Binge Eating Disorder (BED). It's also important to note that not every person who binge eats has BED.

So first, I want to stress that I do not, in any way, claim to have all the answers. Because I don't. I still have problems with bingeing. I have more control over it now than ever before, and I binge much less frequently than I did at 253 pounds--but I still lose control once in a while.  I've had Binge Eating Disorder the majority of my adult life, and it's a constant struggle for me, even after losing 100+ pounds.

I did go an entire year without bingeing while I was losing weight, and I just thought I'd share a few tips that helped me get through that year of being binge-free. Maybe something will click with you, and could help you out as well. And I'm more than open to hearing suggestions from my readers as well--I can always use all the help I can get!

240-calorie S'mores Pie
#1. I ate dessert every. single. day.  My binge food of choice is always something sweet--ice cream, cookies, cake, candy, etc. So I made it a point to eat dessert daily, and not just a "healthy" dessert like fruit or sugar-free jello with cool whip. I made it something that I really wanted, something that I would eat whether I was dieting or not. Things like brownie sundaes, full-size candy bars, large cookies, etc. I reserved about 200-300 calories per day for these things, which sounds like a lot to someone who is trying to lose weight! However, considering the alternative--bingeing almost daily on thousands of calories of sugar--200-300 calories isn't bad. When I was struggling with binge thoughts during the day, I would just remind myself that after dinner, I was going to have something fantastic. I ate a pretty healthy diet all day, but I would allow myself that daily indulgence.

#2.  I kept extremely busy when I was feeling a binge coming on. Leaving the house always helped, and I enjoyed going to a store and trying on clothes (not necessarily to buy them, but it was fun to see sizes drop). When I was trying on clothes, I wasn't thinking about food. I did a lot of big projects around the house--organizing my cupboards and closets, painting walls, alphabetizing DVD's, etc. Anything to keep my mind and hands really busy helped me a lot.  I made a list of things to do instead of bingeing, and when I was feeling a binge coming on, I would pick something on the list and work on it.

#3.  I only ate foods I truly enjoyed. I don't like salad, so I didn't eat salad. I don't like yogurt, so I didn't eat yogurt. I found that I was much more satisfied with my food when I ate things I enjoyed. I found that I wanted to binge the most on the days that I ate something I didn't care for--so I learned not to do that. It's important to be satisfied mentally with food as much as physically.

#4.  I quit "hoarding" my points/calories for later in the day. My thoughts used to be that "If I eat my snack now, I might not have calories left for later, so I better wait..." and then later, I'd be starving, and I would usually binge. So this time around, when I was hungry, I used my points/calories for a snack at that moment. I usually found that once I used up all my calories for the day, I wasn't hungry after that, regardless of the time of day. It's much easier to refrain from bingeing when you're not starving.

#5.  When all else failed, and I was on the verge of bingeing, I would make myself measure out and eat ONE portion of the binge food and count the calories for it. Then I would wait 10 minutes, promising myself that if I still wanted it, I could just binge. And by eating the food, my blood sugar would go up a little and make me feel better--and in turn, I refrained from bingeing. My mind was much clearer when I wasn't hungry. While I was eating the food, I was 100% positive that after 10 minutes, I'd still want to binge... but it never worked out that way. I still use this trick (almost daily) when I feel a binge coming on. Measure out and eat one portion, then wait 10 minutes--and I rarely lose control after that.


So as you can see, the mental struggle is the hardest part about binge eating. And so much hard work can come undone from one single binge. But the longer you go without a binge, the easier it gets, and it's important to keep that in mind.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Perch

My weekend was pretty uneventful, with the exception of Saturday morning. My dad called at 7 AM to ask if we wanted to go fishing on the boat. I totally didn't, but my kids really did, and I didn't want him taking the kids on the boat by himself (for safety reasons). So I told him I'd go, and we left around 8:15. We put the boat in at the State Park and cruised out a couple of miles into Lake Erie. We started at a spot where there were a TON of other boats fishing--maybe 25 or 30? Nobody was catching anything, and my dad wanted to try a different spot. My dad is a really great fisherman--he almost always catches his limit, and people love going fishing with him because he catches a lot of fish.

We found another spot, without anyone else there, and we started catching perch. A lot of perch! We were there for about 3 hours and we probably caught about 100 perch, but we left with about 50 or 60 (the others were too small, so we threw them back).
This rainbow was hanging out over Eli's head for a long time
Did I mention that I live by a cloud factory? Yep, they make clouds. Oh, and a byproduct would be nuclear energy ;)
After we were fishing for a little while, I noticed that a bunch of seagulls started hanging out by us. When one of us would catch a fish, the seagulls started making all kinds of noise, like they were cheering. Of course, they just wanted the fish!
Seagulls wishing we'd throw them some fish
My dad said that's a good way to see who is catching fish--just look for the seagulls, because they hang out around the boats that are catching fish. I never knew that! I figured they just hung out on the beach bugging the picnic-ers.
Eli wanted to act like we saw a shark (because apparently we have sharks in Lake Erie)

Noah and my dad--Noah loves that he can drive the boat now
My dad took the fish home and cleaned them, and then he made a huge fish dinner that night--my dad is well-known for his fish fry dinners. Cardiac specials, as he calls them, because they are like a heart attack on a plate. I balanced out the grease with pie for dessert. ;)


So anyway, yesterday was uneventful. I went for a 60-minute bike ride, which is the longest I've ridden so far. I made it to double-digit miles yesterday--11.37, which is about 4 miles farther than any previous distance I've done. It wasn't hard on my body, but mentally, I was bored out of my mind. It's easy for my mind to wander when I'm running, but when I'm biking, I can't really zone out. Thankfully, my cross training doesn't exceed 60 minutes at a time, and it's just once a week.

This morning, I went for my long run. I headed out the door at 6:30. It was still dark, so I got to wear my reflector vest that I bought at the Ragnar last year. I love that thing!  I should've taken a picture, but I wasn't really awake yet. My run felt so good this morning. I love it when it feels like that. My legs felt strong, I wasn't winded, I just took it easy, and actually enjoyed it. I never thought I'd enjoy running!
I ran the same amount of time that I biked yesterday... the biking burned 349 calories, while the running burned 665. Which means I get to eat more when I run. That's why it's my exercise of choice :)


Did you do anything fun this weekend?  Have you ever been fishing?


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Answers to your questions (a long post!)

I had so much fun reading and answering your questions!  There were quite a few, so I organized them by topic. That way, you can skip over a topic if it doesn't interest you. Hopefully all this talk about me isn't TOO boring!

FOOD/DIET:

Q.  About bingeing: How is it defined? How do you manage it now?
A.  A binge itself is characterized by eating a much larger than normal amount of food within a short period (2 hours) AND lack of control over eating during the binge episode. The "lack of control" part is very important. Many people overeat (think Thanksgiving dinner!) but it is not a binge unless there is a feeling of having no control.

Binge eating disorder is diagnosed by more specific criteria, that you can find here. I had binge eating disorder (I still consider myself to have BED, even though I'm not bingeing as often as I did when I was fat).  Managing the binge eating is SO MUCH HARDER than losing 100+ pounds was. It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I've learned to identify binge triggers (stress is #1, usually when my kids are driving me nuts), and try to avoid them. I am constantly struggling with it, though. I've been working on an entire post about binge eating, so I'll hopefully finish that soon.

Q.  Do you and your husband ever eat out?
A.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times I ate out in the 16 months that I was losing weight. We used to enjoy eating out, but we were both fat--and I knew that restaurant food wasn't helping.  It was hard at first, but we eventually learned to enjoy home-cooked food much more than restaurant food. We save a ton of money, the food tastes better, it's much healthier, and you know what is in the food. We still avoid eating out as much as possible, but if it's for a social thing, then we will. If I had to put a number on it, I'd say we eat out once every two months or so (unless we are on vacation).

Q.  How do you manage a $100/week grocery budget?
A.  I'm still getting used to the $100/week budget, but so far it hasn't been too hard. Our breakfasts are very cheap--my kids like cereal (I buy the store brand, for about $1.50 per box) or half a bagel; Jerry and I like oatmeal (plain oats are much cheaper than the flavored ones, and they taste better too, if you add toppings), or toast with peanut butter.

For lunch, my kids love Ramen noodles--they request that nearly every day, which is super cheap. I usually have homemade soup (I make a big batch of soup to last the week, usually vegetarian). Jerry takes leftovers from dinner the previous day in his lunch.

I cook dinner nearly every day. We eat a lot of beans, lentils, and rice, which are all super cheap. If I cook with meat, I only use one pound per dinner. I buy meat at Sam's Club (they have great meat and it's the cheapest I can find it--usually around $2 per pound, more or less depending on what I'm buying). I buy it in bulk and then package it into one-pound bags and freeze it.

To buy my fresh produce, I go to the fruit and veggie market. I can buy a TON of fruit and veggies for less than $20. I only buy the stuff that is very cheap. Even though I love raspberries, I would never pay the $3-4 per container for them that they cost sometimes. I wait until they are on sale for $1. I don't pay more than $1/pound for apples, grapes, peaches, etc. Something is always on sale, and that's what I buy for the week.

One thing that I DON'T buy is pre-packaged stuff like Lean Cuisines or frozen pizzas, etc. Usually, the more work you have to do to prepare something, the cheaper it's going to be.

Q.  What are your staple food items?
A.  The things I buy most often:
milk (1% for the family, unsweetened almond milk for me)
eggs
coffee
carrots
onions
bananas
bread (sprouted grain bread for snacks, and sandwich bread)
Smucker's Natural peanut butter
Kettle almond butter
cheese (2% milk shredded cheddar and mozzarella, slices of Havarti or muenster)
whole wheat flour (and whole wheat pastry flour for baking)
Smart Taste pasta (it's white pasta with only 180 calories and 6 grams of fiber)
canned tomatoes (diced and crushed, and tomato sauce)
canned beans (black, red, pinto, garbanzo, Great Northern)
dried beans, split peas, and lentils
brown rice
canned corn (no sugar added)
prunes
hard pretzels (Kroger brand only--they are our favorite)
chocolate chips
Fiber One bars (oats & chocolate)
old-fashioned oats
lean ground turkey
smoked turkey sausage
lean boneless pork chops
canned tuna
boneless, skinless chicken breasts
beer
wine

Q.  Do you take any vitamins or supplements?
A.  Yes (when I remember to!). I take a (generic brand) children's chewable vitamin (like Flinstones), vitamin D supplement, and fish oil supplement. I take the children's vitamin because my stomach is very sensitive to adult vitamins (just since losing weight--I used to take them without problem when I was fat--go figure!)  If I take an adult multivitamin, or even half of one, I get extremely nauseous and sometimes even vomit, so I stick with the kids ones. I take vitamin D and fish oil because Dr. Oz recommends it! :)
October 2009

Q.  What are your favorite healthier snacks?
A.  As I said before, I go through food phases, but there are a couple of snacks that remain constants. Carrots and peanut butter (2 oz. carrot sticks, 32 grams of natural peanut butter). The combo is perfect--crunchy, smooth, sweet, salty, creamy. My other favorite is some sort of bread with nut butter--I like sprouted grain bread (found in the freezer section), or homemade bread--pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, banana bread, bran muffins, etc.
Carrots with peanut butter

Banana bread with coconut butter
Q.  What is your favorite recipe of all time? Also, do you have a recipe that even some who is lost in the kitchen can make?
A.  Wow, this is a tough one!!  But if I HAVE to choose... This isn't so much a recipe as it is a method, but I love to eat this for lunch or dinner, especially when cooking for just myself. This is for ONE serving:

Pick a starch (whole wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, barley, millet, whatever you like)
Pick a veggie (asparagus, peas, fresh green beans, spinach, broccoli, zucchini, etc)
Olive oil (about 1 Tbsp--I like light olive oil instead of EVOO, just a flavor preference)
Garlic (3-4 cloves, or go crazy with 5-6 like me!)
Parmesan cheese (or feta!)

Cook your starch according to package directions. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium to medium-low heat. Slice or chop the garlic and add it to the skillet. Cook the garlic very carefully to avoid burning it, until it is soft and just barely starting to turn golden. Throw the veggies in the skillet too, coating with the garlicky oil, and cook until the veggies are soft (a lot of times I'll put the veggies in with the starch instead--a handful of broccoli in with the pasta for a couple of minutes, so that it cooks faster than in the skillet).  When the starch is done, drain if needed, and add it to the skillet with the oil, garlic, and veggies, and toss to coat the whole thing. Pile it on a plate and top with parmesan (or feta) cheese.
Brown rice, peas, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan

Whole wheat pasta, asparagus, olive oil, garlic, and parmesan
Quinoa, spinach, olive oil, garlic, and feta
 See how versatile it is? Yum!!  And for a fool-proof recipe that ANYONE can make, check this recipe out. If you don't have a slow cooker, you can just cook the chicken separately (grill, boil, bake, whatever), then mix all the ingredients together and heat on the stove until hot.


EXERCISE:

Q.  Which workout clothes do you like for each activity?
A.  My running clothes consist of:
  • Under Armour Cold Gear $$ (for winter) compression fit pants (I only have one pair, so I use them for my longer runs)
  • Under Armour Heat Gear $$ (for summer) compression fit capri's (Again, just one pair)
  • Lots of race t-shirts that I've earned or bought second-hand
  • Sports jackets for winter (just cheap ones from Wal-Mart)
  • Under Armour compression fit long-sleeved shirt (got this at a garage sale for $2!!!)
  • Knee-length shorts (Danskin from Wal-Mart). These are a cotton blend, which most people hate to run in, but I use them for shorter runs or when my Under Armour capri's are dirty. I have about 8 pairs that I got on clearance for $3/pair.
  • Danskin yoga pants from Wal-Mart. Same as the shorts above. 
  • cheap sports bras from Wal-Mart (I have small boobs, so I don't need much support)
  • Moisture wicking socks (not sure of the brand), bought at the running store
  • Brooks Adrenaline 11 shoes
  • Under Armour visor, a gift from Jerry for my first half-marathon (visors are great for keeping sweat out of your eyes)
  • And always... ALWAYS my Garmin!! Cannot run without my Garmin
UA capris, UA shirt
Cheap cotton shorts, race t-shirt, GARMIN
     Q.  What kind of strength training exercises do you do?
    A.  I don't do a ton of strength training, but in a nutshell, here is my routine (I only do one set of these exercises):
    • squats (holding a 20 lb. dumbbell in each hand)- 12-16 reps
    • alternating lunges (holding a 15 lb. dumbbell in each hand)- 8 reps per leg
    • side lunges- 8 reps per leg
    • donkey kicks- 16 reps per leg
    • leg lifts- 16 reps per leg
    • crunches- about 40 (sometimes I do sit-ups instead, and I'll only do about 20 of those)
    • shoulder press (15 lb dumbbell in each hand)- 12 reps
    • chest flys (10 lb dumbbells)- 12 reps
    • bicep curls (15 lb dumbbells)-10 reps
    • tricep kick-backs (10 lb dumbbells)- 12 reps each
    • lateral raises (10 lb dumbbells)- 12 reps
    • back rows (15 lb dumbbells)- 12 reps each
    • push-ups-(Army-style)- as many as I can do! Right now, about 6 ;)
    I was going to try and link to a diagram to each one of these, but it was taking forever to find good ones. If you aren't sure of the exercises, you can google them. I took a weight lifting class in college and learned all about them there.

    Q.  Do you go to the gym or exercise at home?
    A.  I do all of my exercises at home. My family is on a very tight budget, so I don't have a gym membership. I do have a treadmill at home, but I mostly run outside. I have a limited set of dumbbells (2 lbs, 5 lbs, 8 lbs, 10 lbs, 15 lbs, 20 lbs).

    Q.  What made you decide to get into running, and was it difficult for you at first?
    A.  You can read my entire running story here. The short version? I was writing a bucket list, and included "Enter and RUN a 5k race". The ONLY reason I started running was to make it through the one 5k race, and then I planned on quitting the running after that--because I hated running. However, I eventually became hooked on it, and it became my exercise of choice. Running was VERY difficult for me at first. I can't tell you how many times I attempted the Couch to 5k program and failed (Week 4 is a bitch!) So I did my own thing, and it made much more sense for me. That can be found on my running page as well.
    After my first 8-mile run (it took 3 separate attempts to reach 8!)

    Q.  How did you educate yourself on running and all the running lingo?
    A.  I began reading some running blogs, but most of the info was from Runner's World magazine. I bought a few of them and loved them, so I eventually subscribed (it's a cheap subscription!)  I thought that magazine would be aimed at super serious elite runners, but it's aimed at ALL runners--even beginners. Love that magazine!

    WEIGHT LOSS:

    Q.  Did your shoe size get smaller with your weight loss?
    A.  Absolutely! I had to get rid of ALL my old shoes. I used to wear a 9 1/2-10 (wide), and now I wear an 8-9 (depending on the shoe, usually an 8 1/2).

    Q.  What is your "story"? Were you always overweight? Etc...
    A.  I was overweight my entire life. I remember binge eating when I was very young, before I even knew there was a such thing as a "binge". In 4th grade, a bully nicknamed me Shamu, and I was teased a lot for my weight. Throughout high school, I was about 175 pounds (I'm 5'4" tall, so that made me overweight). In college, I got up to 205. I lost about 50 pounds for my wedding in 2003, and then gained it back immediately afterward.  I gained a lot for each pregnancy--my highest weight was 271 before I delivered Eli. After my pregnancies, I got down to 218 pretty quickly, but it didn't last. I gained. And gained. Until I was a steady 250+ for a few years. In August 2010 was the first time IN MY LIFE that I was considered a "normal" weight.

    I think a major factor in my weight problem is the fact that I've battled with depression since I was about 10 years old (around the time some kids started calling me Shamu). I still have depression, and I take medication for it. Depression=eating=being overweight=more depression. A bad cycle!
    In high school... 175 pounds

    College... 205 pounds (That's Jerry--his shirt said "I LUV PUNKY", his nickname for me, lol)
    Q.  Did you have any health problems from being overweight?
    A.  I was actually very lucky in that I was pretty healthy other than being obese. I had high cholesterol, but my blood sugar and blood pressure were fine. Something that became prevalent about a year before I started losing weight was that I was getting numbness in my hands multiple times per day. I wasn't sure why, but it stopped when I lost the weight, so it must have been related.

    Q.  Do you enjoy life more now that you've lost the weight? Do you see life differently?
    A.  This is a really great question, because the answer may surprise you. While life is certainly EASIER at a normal weight, I wouldn't say that I am enjoying life more. My life is pretty much the exact same as it was before, on a daily basis--taking care of my kids, cleaning my house, running errands, very occasionally going out with friends.

    The one exception to this is activity. When I was fat, I hated anything that was active. Now, the thought of sitting around doing nothing all day doesn't sound appealing at all. I go for bike rides and walks for PLEASURE--so I definitely enjoy life more as far as activity goes.
    I never would have gone zip-lining when I was fat

    Q.  Was there a specific event or moment that made you decide to lose the weight once and for all?
    A.  I don't think I really had a defining moment like that. Seeing the race photos from the Indy 500 Festival (my "before" pic in the blue shirt) was a huge wake-up call, but that was in May 2009. I didn't start losing weight until August 2009, so I'm not sure what made me finally get fed-up.

    Q.  How do you wear a size 4/6? I weigh (a similar weight) but I'm a size 10.
    A.  This definitely has to be from the running. In 2003, I got down to 153 pounds from dieting alone. I was a size 12-14 at the time. Now, I'm in the high 140's, and I wear a size 4/6 (more like a 6 at this weight... around 140 is a comfy 4). The only explanation I can come up with is that running made me drop more body fat this time around.
    I weighed 152 in both pics... the left is from 2003 (size 12/14 jeans), right is from 2010 (size 4)

    FAMILY:

    Q.  Do you have brothers or sisters?
    A.  I have an older sister, Jeanie, who lives with her husband and two basset hounds in Illinois; I have an older brother, Brian, who is divorced (no kids) and is a pilot for Delta, living in Minnesota; and I have a younger brother, Nathan, not yet married, no kids, who just bought his first house here in Michigan after spending 3 years in Iraq (first as a soldier, then working as a civilian).
    Nathan, me, Jeanie, and Brian... the day after I came home from the hospital (Nov '10)
    Q.  How does eating healthy effect your kids? Do they eat healthier? Do they get upset by not having junk food in the house?
    A.  I don't know if my kids really remember what our food habits were like before. They certainly eat healthier now because we aren't ordering pizza or going out to eat anymore. I don't cook special "diet" meals for me and something else for them--I cook one meal for the family, and if they don't like it, then TOUGH. I do buy them treats (things that I don't like), but not very often. My parents live very close to us and they definitely spoil my kids with junk food, so there is no need for me to do it also.
    One thing that my kids can't stand is that I never ever take them to McDonald's. I honestly haven't eaten McDonald's since August 2009. Just the thought of it repulses me. I don't take the kids there at all, and they always whine about it. But my parents take them after church once in a while, so they get their fix that way!


    Q.  What does Jerry take to eat for work? Do you make it healthier for him?
    A.  Jerry takes leftover dinner for work. When I cook dinner, I make 4 portions. Jerry and I each eat one portion for dinner, the kids split a portion for dinner, and then there is one leftover portion--that's what Jerry takes to work the next day. Jerry packs his own lunch (I feel bad about that, because I really feel like I should pack him a lunch! But I honestly never think about it). We don't have junk food in the house (it would never last more than a minute if we did!) so he just brings leftovers and a couple of snacks--like Fiber One bars, pretzels, fruit.

    Q.  How did your family and friends react to your weight loss?
    A.  At first, they didn't really say much. I'd been on diets hundreds of times, so they probably assumed it was just another attempt that would soon fail. But when I was lost 50, 60, 70+ pounds, most of my family and friends were very supportive and encouraging. However, once I got to a certain point--less than 150 pounds--some of my friends made comments that I was taking it too far, and when am I going to stop, etc. I could tell that some of my friends were jealous of the attention I was getting for the weight loss. I really began to realize who my true friends were, and they were very happy for me.
      Most of my friends and family were very proud of me. I never mentioned my weight loss on Facebook until I made the video of my weight loss journey back in January 2011. I posted the video on Facebook, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. A lot of my friends reposted it on their own pages, saying, "Look what my friend did!" and things like that. Now, most everyone treats me like I was never overweight.
    My friend Adam has been nothing but happy for me since the beginning... go check out his Sparkpage and tell him how strong he is! He'll love that ;)

    Q.  How do you deal with eating during family get-togethers and/or holidays?
    A.  This is a copy and paste from my FAQ page:   I constantly remind myself that this party is only going to be a few hours... and in a few hours, I can go home feeling really happy that I'm still on plan, or I can go home and feel like crap because I let FOOD take control over me. I also plan everything before I go... if the hostess is a friend of mine, I'll even call and ask about the food situation so that I can plan my calories. If it's a restaurant situation, I look up the menu online and plan EVERYTHING I'm going to eat and then I stick to that plan. If I am going somewhere where I don't know what the food situation will be, then I eat before I leave or after I get home... or I even pack a lunch or snack to have to hold me over until I get home. I also make sure that I don't let ANYONE tell me how I should eat... and it never fails that people will tell me, "It's a party, you can splurge!" or "No dessert?! But it's Christmas! You can treat yourself!" etc etc. *I* make the decision about my food, nobody else.

    Q.  What were your kids reactions to your weight loss?
    A.  They really don't remember when I was fat. After I'd lost the weight, I showed my "before" picture (the race photo with the blue shirt) to the kids and said, "Look at this, do you remember when I looked like this?" They started cracking up laughing, and I thought it was because of my weight. Then Noah said, "Look at your hair! You look silly!" It's funny, the things kids notice (or don't notice!)

    I do remember when I was fat, it was just before Noah started kindergarten. He told me that he didn't want me to be fat. He said this out of nowhere. I cried about it. Maybe that was my defining moment!?

    ABOUT ME:

    Q.  Does your ice addiction cause problems with your teeth?
    A.  Surprisingly, I've been lucky so far in that my teeth seem to be fine with the ice chewing. My dentist told me I shouldn't chew ice, but I told him that it's unlikely I'll quit, and that was that. I have a couple of chipped teeth from when I broke my jaw, and the dentist put some tooth-colored stuff on them to fill in the chip... but it only lasted about two weeks. I was chewing ice and that part broke off. But as far as my actual TEETH, they haven't been harmed from the ice.
    Q.  What is your typical day like when the kids are in school?
    A.  We'll find out this fall! ;)  Eli is just starting kindergarten, so it will be my first time having every day, ALL day to myself. When he was in preschool, he went to school for 4 days per week, 3 hours each day. During that time, I did my running. I took him to school, then went to the State Park nearby and ran. Went home, showered, dressed, ate lunch, then picked him up.

    I'm not sure what my day will consist of when BOTH of the boys are in school all day long. I definitely will do my running in the morning after they get on the bus. Clean the house. Run errands.

    Q.  What are your favorite TV shows?
    A.  Fun question!!  My favorites:  Desperate Housewives, The Biggest Loser, Drop Dead Diva, Love Bites, House, Brothers & Sisters, Cougar Town, Parenthood, Modern Family, The Big C, Dexter.... do you think I watch enough TV?!  My top 3 of those would probably be Love Bites (a new show, just finished the first season); Brothers & Sisters; and Desperate Housewives (so sad this will be the last season!)

    Q.  Do you like being a stay-at-home mom and do you keep to a schedule?
    A.  Considering the alternative, I love being a stay-at-home mom. I have such bad social anxiety that I would dread working in an office or any environment that I had to deal with people. Until a year ago, I worked from home for a gynecologist--I scanned charts and uploaded them online (which most doctors are switching over to now). I did that for 5 years, and it was a great set-up I had (being able to work at home). However, all the work was finished and they didn't need me anymore. I don't plan on getting another job unless I absolutely HAVE to. Jerry understands my high level of anxiety, and he is fine with me staying at home.

    Q.  Do you plan to go back to work when the boys are older?
    A.  I guess I just answered that above!  :)  No, not if I can help it, but if my family really needs me to, then I will.

    Q.  Do you spend a lot of time looking for healthy eating topics, weight loss, recipes, etc, online?
    A.  When I was losing weight, I spent a LOT of time doing that--it was a source of inspiration for me. Now, whenever I'm online, I'm reading blogs. I love to read running blogs and weight loss blogs. I would read food blogs too, if they weren't a binge trigger for me.

    Q.  What blogs do you read for motivation, education, and inspiration?
    A.  I don't want to list my entire blog roll here, because I don't want to make anyone feel badly if I don't read their blog. But I will list a few that I find very motivating or inspiring...
    Exercise- Making Healthy the Norm, Sweat Once A Day
    Always makes me laugh- The Boring Runner
    Weight Maintenance- Fat Girl Wearing Thin
    Weight Loss- a small loss


    Q.  Did you ever have any embarrassing moments when you were heavy?
    A.  Yes! Once, I went to a restaurant and they took us to a booth. It never even crossed my mind that I wouldn't fit, but when I went to sit down, I couldn't squeeze in! I had to ask to move to a table. Another time, at the Mall of America, I was going to ride a roller coaster with Noah. I couldn't get the bar to latch, because my stomach was too big. The person who was working looked really embarrassed for me, and I told her just to push it down really hard. It latched, but it was digging into my stomach the whole time.  People used to make mean comments about my weight to me quite often, too.
    Me and Noah at the Mall of America in 2006

    Friday, August 26, 2011

    Tummy Tuck Consult!

    So today was the big day--I had my tummy tuck consult this morning. I was anticipating and dreading it (out of nerves). I don't know why I was so nervous, because it was JUST a consult, after all. I woke up at 5:15 (!!!) and couldn't go back to sleep because of my nerves, so I just got out of bed and ran 4 miles on the dreadmill instead of waiting to run outside when it was light out. I did my strength training after that, then showered and dressed for my appointment. Jerry got home from work at 6:30, so he just stayed awake and went to my appointment with me. The kids were at my mom's.

    Jerry missed the exit in Detroit, so we ended up going about 10 minutes out of the way, but we left early enough that it didn't matter. Dropped the car off for valet, and then headed up to the Plastic Surgery floor. I paid my co-pay ($134) and since I was the second appointment of the day, we didn't have to wait long. The nurse who took me to the room was super nice. She took my blood pressure and asked me a bunch of medical questions. She gave me a gown to put on, and said I could leave my bra on. The doctor, her surgical assistant, and the nurse were all in the room while I was talking to the doctor.
    Waiting for the doctor to come in...
    First, she asked me some questions about why I wanted a tummy tuck and questions about the medical issues it was causing me. She asked about my insurance, and said that the insurance I have is very likely to cover the cost because I met the requirements:  1) Had to have lost 100+ pounds; 2) Had to have kept it off for at least 6 months; and 3) Had to have problems with skin rashes from the excess skin. The doctor was VERY confident that it will be covered, which kind of surprised me. I guess I was expecting her to tell me that it's rare and I shouldn't count on it; then I could just put the whole issue to rest because there is no way I can afford to pay for this out of pocket.

    The doctor checked out my belly and she suggested that I would be much happier with a lower body lift instead of just the tummy tuck. With a tummy tuck, your incision goes from hip to hip. With the lower body life, the incision goes completely around, like a belt. I'm terrified of the thought of the lower body lift, and I told her I don't think I'm interested. She wanted to give me all my options, though, to be thorough. Yes, my hips, thighs, and butt would look much better with the lower body lift--but it's purely cosmetic, so I would have to pay extra for that, which she quoted at $2900. I'm going to think about it and research the lower body lift some more before I make a decision.

    From the pamphlet she gave me... this is the tummy tuck

    This is the lower body lift
     I asked her about recovery time, and she said I can't do heavy lifting for 6 weeks, but other than that, I can listen to my body as far as exercise goes. Obviously, I'm not going to be running my way home from the hospital, but I can do light, easy running when I feel up to it, and if it feels too hard, then I should back off. With the lower body lift, I won't be able to SIT for a week or so--I'll have to either stand or lie down, because she doesn't want me to put pressure on the incision on my back. I can't imagine not being able to sit!
    She said I would need to buy one of these to wear home from surgery... pretty, huh? ;)
    So as of right now, I need to wait to hear back from the insurance company. They told me it usually takes 4-6 weeks to get approved, and the doctor would like to schedule the surgery within a month of that. So I'm thinking the end of October for surgery, if all goes as planned. I still don't want to get my hopes up, but it sounds so promising. You all will be the first to know when I hear anything about the insurance.

    Thursday, August 25, 2011

    Intervals

    Wow, what a workout! I had intervals on the schedule today--8x400m repeats (which means running 1/4 mile really hard, then jogging a quarter mile to recover, then repeat that for a total of 8 times). I've actually never done intervals outside before. I've only ever done them on the dreadmill, and not very structured. So this was new to me, and it was TOUGH. But the time goes by so fast because you're only thinking about the next 1/4 mile. Four miles flew by and I was done. My splits:
    It was kind of neat to see the graph of my pace, too...
    Obviously, I started my first interval waaay too fast at about a 6:00/mi pace! Hahaha, I felt like I was going to die after about a tenth of a mile. I'm excited that my 13th split was under an 8:00/mi pace (barely, but it was!)

    I love using the interval function on the Garmin. I set it up to quarter mile intervals, so it beeps when you need to start running hard and then beeps again when you start recovering. You never even have to look down at the watch, so you don't get distracted--just listen for the beeps.

    I'm amazed at the response to yesterday's post--you've come up with lots of good questions! I spent a couple of hours yesterday answering them, and I'm still not done. I'll probably publish that post on Saturday. I'm also working on two other posts--one about wine, and one about binge eating, because I've had a lot of interest on those two topics. Tomorrow is my plastic surgery consult, so I'm going to write about that as soon as I get home.

    Yesterday, I spent nearly all day working on the t-shirt quilts for my kids. I cut up all their old baseball and soccer shirts, and sewed them to make quilts. I did them from start to finish yesterday in about 6 hours total. Each quilt is made up of 16 rectangles (front and back of 8 shirts). Then I backed them with fleece, and tied them rather than quilted them, to save time. I would post pictures, but the shirts all have the name of our city, schools, etc, and I'm not comfortable putting that online.  The quilts are not very pretty, anyways--just sentimental :)

    I took a break mid-day to go for a 3.5 mile easy run. I chose the worst possible time of day--1:30 in the afternoon, when it's the hottest. I haven't run in heat like that since I ran in the Ragnar Relay last August! I chose a route that went along the lake, hoping it would be cooler, but I was still pouring sweat. My head was throbbing after that (hot runs always give me a headache).

    Today I definitely need to get my house back in order. Spending so much time on the quilts yesterday meant my housework was put on the back burner, and now I have a lot to catch up on. It's amazing how one day of skipping chores really shows.


    Do you ever do interval training? Not just running, but whatever sport you choose... do it really hard for a set time or distance, then recover, and repeat? It's such a tough workout, but I love how fast the time goes by! I think I like intervals better than tempo runs.



    Wednesday, August 24, 2011

    Questions

    Yesterday, I put on my brand new shoes to go for a run, and I wasn't too happy with the way they were fitting. My toes felt really cramped. Yes, I had tried them on at the running store, so I don't know what happened, but I decided to take them back and get a wider shoe.

    Brooks Adrenaline 11's
    I called my mom from the car to tell her happy birthday, and she asked if we (the kids and I) wanted to meet her for lunch while we were out. So I went to the running store, and tried on some more shoes, and ended up buying the same damn shoes I always buy--Brooks Adrenaline's. There is nothing wrong with them, I would just like to try something NEW. And I was loving the lime green laces on the other ones I had bought. Maybe next time.

    We met my mom at a coney island place for lunch. She was wearing her ruby ring from my dad. It fit her perfectly, and she really liked it. She was impressed that my dad could have picked that out ;)

    When we got home, I woke Jerry up to watch the kids so that I could go for a run. I put on my new shoes and did 3 easy miles.
    Run stats from the Garmin

    After that, my dad asked if the kids wanted to come over, so the four of us rode to my parents house on our bikes (my parents live about 2/3 of a mile away). The kids stayed there, and then Jerry and I decided to ride our bikes up to the ice cream shop. I was a little nervous, because it's on a pretty busy road, and there are NO SHOULDERS on about half of the ride.

    We made it just fine, and it was actually a really nice ride. It was 3.88 miles from my parents' house. I got a Reese cup sundae, we was SO good--and even better because I felt I had earned it by riding there. Then we rode home. Because we were riding so long (over 40 minutes) I felt like we totally earned our ice cream. When I checked the stats, I realized that we had not, in fact, earned much more than the cherry on top of our ice cream.
    Bike stats from the Garmin
    Only 220 calories burned! I didn't wear my heart rate strap with the Garmin since this was a leisure ride, so it might be off a little, but if anything, 220 is an OVER estimate. Next time we'll have to get ice cream about 30 miles away to earn it!

    A lot of people have been asking me random questions lately, so at the suggestion of an annonymous comment, I think I'll write a post of questions and answers. So this is your change--if there is something you want to know about me, or the blog, or the topics I talk about, feel free to ask! You can e-mail me if you'd rather not comment. I'll put the questions into one post and answer them. I started working on it yesterday, so if you've asked me a question recently, then I'm probably already going to answer it.  (A couple of people also suggested I do a post about wine, which I will work on also--but that will be separate, because it's a big topic!)

    Also, a couple of people have mentioned in comments that the first comment of each of my posts gets "eaten" by my words... when I look at it, it looks totally normal. Could someone explain that to me? Was it always like that, or just since I changed layouts? I have no idea how to fix it, especially because I don't see any problems.


    So, any burning questions for me? ;)


    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Ruby

    My run yesterday was AMAZING. It was a cool 52 degrees outside, and a very quiet morning. Before I even reached a quarter mile, I saw a mama cat and her kitten, who looked about 5 weeks old--a puffball! We have quite a few feral cats that live in the land across the street from us. The mama cat was a kitten herself last year, and now she has two little babies.  At about 2 miles into the run, I saw a mama duck and her 3 little ducklings, who crossed my path. They were adorable.  My legs were feeling really good, and I think it's probably because I've been going really easy and slow on my easy runs, like I'm supposed to. Five miles flew by.

    When I got home, my dad called me and asked me if I could help pick out a gift for my mom's birthday tomorrow. He said she had mentioned a ruby ring, so he'd like to get that for her. (I knew she was hinting at a ruby ring for their 40th anniversary last month--the "ruby anniversary". I didn't tell him that that train had left the station a month ago! Better late than never, right?)

    I told him that Sam's Club is the way to go for jewelry, because they have really nice jewelry at good prices, and a fail-proof return policy. I've returned a leather couch and love seat after 8 months of use because I broke the frame! (Yes, I was 253 pounds, and broke the couch when I sat down on it too hard). I didn't even have my receipt, but they refunded a few thousand dollars to my credit card. Whenever I want to make a large purchase, I usually go there first.

    This is the ring he ended up buying, and I think it's GORGEOUS:

    So I took the kids out with me, and we first went to the running store so I could get some new shoes. I have about 400 miles on my Brooks Adrenaline 11's, so it was definitely time. I've always had Brooks Adrenalines, but this time I ended up getting Brooks Ravenna 2's. I never choose my shoes based on how they look--how they feel is MUCH more important--but I love the green laces on these!
    I just have an easy 3-miler on the schedule today, but I'm excited to try them out. I also bought a much-needed pouch to wear around my waist that is just big enough to hold my phone and car key. It's super small, but it can stretch to accommodate quite a bit. It's called a Spibelt, and I'm sick at myself for spending $22 on this tiny little thing! But I needed it:
    I can probably fit my camera in there, too. A lot of times I see things that I wish I could take a picture of--like the kitten yesterday morning!  After the running store, we went to David's Bridal so that I could pick up my bridesmaid dress.

    Then I took my bike into the bike shop to fix the issue I was having with it on Sunday. The man was extremely helpful, and he put air in my tires for me too (apparently they really needed it and I had no idea). He told me to check the pressure in them once a week. He said that my seat looked really low for me, so he put my bike on a trainer thing and had me get on it so that she could adjust it for me. He ended up raising the seat quite a bit, and I was surprised how much better it felt that way. The kid man who sold me the bike was supposed to do that, but he didn't. I think he must have been a new employee or something. I wanted to buy a bike helmet, because I still don't have one, but they were $45-60!! I couldn't bring myself to spend that much. I'll just buy a cheap one at Wal-Mart.

    Spent the afternoon with Jerry, because he was off work, and then I went to Renee's for wine. I missed her--it's been a while since just the two of us got together for wine! So it was fun to catch up with her.

    Jerry's off again today, and he has a softball game tonight that I'm going to.


    Do you spend a lot of money on exercise/sporting equipment? My bike and treadmill were obviously my biggest expenses at around $500 each, my Garmin was almost $300 when I first bought it, running shoes are $100 every 6 months or so, and my Under Armour running clothes aren't cheap! Definitely worth it, though, as expensive as this stuff is. Oh, and the cost of races? Yikes!

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    Improvised cross-training

    Yesterday, I had 60 minutes of cross-training on the schedule, so I decided to ride my bike. I got about 15 minutes into the ride when the chain kept making a clanking/grinding noise, like it was trying to shift gears or something. I went home and checked it out--not that I know anything about bikes--and when I turned the pedals, the chain was skipping back and fourth between two gears. I have no idea why. So I'll have to take it to the bike shop today.

    Since I couldn't ride the bike, and I had only done 20 minutes of cross-training, I decided to do incline walking on the dreadmill. I didn't do anything too hard--gradually increased the speed and the incline for 40 minutes. Today I have my "long" run, which is only 5 miles right now.


    Some of you mentioned that I always seem to find good deals at garage sales. It's true--and I learned from my mom how to find them! She's a very serious garage saler ;)  To find the best deals, you should always go on the FIRST day of the sale, as early as possible. If the sale starts Friday, and you go on Saturday, you probably won't find much. If the sale starts Saturday at 9 AM, get there at 8 AM while they're setting up, and you'll get first pick.

    Also, if something isn't marked with a price, don't ask, "How much is this?" Instead, ask, "This isn't marked with a price. Will you take $1 for it?" or whatever price you want to offer. I almost ALWAYS bargain the prices, too. If something is marked $5, I'll say, "Will you take $3 for this?" Most of the time, people just want to get rid of stuff and they say yes. Sometimes, they say no. It never hurts to ask!

    I like to check out whoever is running the sale, too. I love when I see a teenage daughter, because I know I'll score some awesome clothes. Teenage girls insist on wearing name brands, and of course they never wear anything twice ;)  It definitely helps that I've lost weight too. As a size 24W, I never found clothes at garage sales. Now, I find waaay too many!


    I decided to go through my craft stuff yesterday and get rid of the majority of it. I had a TON of yarn... check this out:
    Those 5 containers took up ALL the space underneath my bed. So I went through it all yesterday, kept the "good" stuff, and bagged up the rest to get rid of. I kept just one container, and the rest of the yarn was stuffed into three garbage bags. It's kind of freeing to get rid of that much stuff! I also went through my box of fabric and cut up my boys' sports t-shirts (soccer, t-ball) to make a quilt for each of them. Eli came in just as I was finishing the cutting of the shirts, and he FLIPPED THE FUCK OUT. Screamed and threw a huge tantrum, because he loved his shirts, and all that. I'm apparently the meanest mom in the world because I cut his shirts to make him a quilt.  Hopefully he forgets about it today!


    My cats have been cracking me up lately...
    Paolo showing off his flexibility

    Estelle thinks I can't see her when she sits there

    Phoebe loves rolling around in the grass

    Chandler always sleeps with his paw over his eyes


    What are some funny habits your pets have?  Estelle is the funniest cat EVER. She sounds like an elephant in a china shop when she runs around the house, because she's so clumsy. She loves to play fetch--usually in the middle of the night. She'll bring me a toy (with a bell in it, of course, so it wakes me up) and then annoys me until I throw it for her. She retrieves it and does it over and over about 10-15 times until she's satisfied. She also likes to hide in places where she thinks we can't see her. I've been collecting pictures of her doing this to make a "Where's Estelle?" photo book, kind of like Where's Waldo?  :)


    Sunday, August 21, 2011

    It's like Christmas morning...

    ...when I log on and read your comments on my blog! I mean it. Thank you all so much for the support, inspiration, loyalty, concern, advice, and laughs you give me on a daily basis.

    But I have one question:  Am I the ONLY person that peels my carrots before eating them?

    It's been driving me crazy for a while now. Every dieting/healthy living/etc blog that I read that shows pictures of carrots, the carrots are unpeeled. I'm assuming they are washed, but I had no idea that people ate carrots that weren't peeled. My mom always peeled them, and I never knew any different. I'm kind of repulsed by the idea of NOT doing it, because the carrots look so much cleaner when they are peeled. So I ask you, dear friends: Do you peel your carrots before eating, or just wash them?


    Okay, I have to address a couple of comments and questions from yesterday's post about me:

    Linda, I think it's hilarious that you asked who told me about the vitiligo on my lady parts. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it was just my gynecologist ;)

    About Camp Shane--MTV was actually there filming that show the summer that I was there! It was a Real Life episode called I'm Going to Fat Camp. I watched the whole episode, and I am not in it anywhere, so don't bother looking!  And yes, many most of the (older) kids there were there to hook up with other kids. The girls in my cabin were 13-14 years old, and that was ALL they cared about. As counselors, we actually had "Nookie Duty" on rotation at night to walk around with a flash light and catch kids making out and put a stop to it.

    The whole experience was actually really disturbing, seeing the kids that were there because their parents made them go. I don't think any of the girls in my cabin would be classified as obese. Maybe slightly overweight, but some of them were actually pretty thin. Almost all of them came from a lot of money. One girl told me that her mom made her go to camp so that she (the mom) could spend the summer with her boyfriend, sans kids. Another girl told me that she was a size 6, and her mom told her she'd better come home a size 2 or smaller. A celebrity's daughter was there, and she got a LOT of attention.

    Steph, I wish I could help with your frustration. I don't think I've ever experienced a TRUE plateau. Every time my weight loss stalled, it was because I was overeating or I binged or something like that. If you're feeling really discouraged and need a good mental boost, try lowering your sodium intake for a few days. That will make the scale drop a little and hopefully help you from feeling defeated.

    Allison, when you made the chocolate pb oats, did you include the chia seeds? The chia seeds are what thickens it so quickly. When chia seeds mix with water, they form a gel-like substance, which makes it thicker.

    As for all the comments about the book... I just don't know! Like I said, I'm super shy, and you already know I'm hypersensitive to criticism. I will think about it though.

    And about Eminem... I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who loves his music!


    So yesterday was a rest day, which I definitely needed. My body was pretty sore from strength training Friday. Today I have 60 minutes of cross training scheduled, so I think I'll ride my bike while the kids are at church.

    My favorite shirt that I got--$2!
    In the morning yesterday, Jerry and I went to the biggest city wide garage sale EVER. There were sooo many people and cars up and down the streets. We just parked and walked up and down each street. I spent about $45, and I got a LOT of stuff. I bought a bunch of clothes--6 Hollister shirts (4 hoodies, 1 t-shirt, 1 sweater); a few shirts and a couple of pairs of sweats from Victoria's Secret PINK collection; a pair of jeans; two pairs of shoes; a couple pairs of comfy pants; a handmade lap quilt, which I LOVE, and it was only a quarter!  I also got a handmade kitchen apron for a quarter at the same sale. It's amazing how many people spend SO MUCH MONEY buying things brand new, only to sell them a garage sale for dirt cheap.

    Another comfy hoodie
    Out of everything I bought, the lap quilt is my favorite! 25 frickin cents for this!
    I love handmade items, and it always makes me sad to see people sell them at garage sales. Some of my friends have hired me to make things for them (usually knitted or crocheted) and I charge a LOT for the--because it takes so much time to make! Someone on Sparkpeople asked me how much I would charge to make a jeans quilt, just like mine. I don't remember what I said, but I honestly don't think I'd do it for less than $200. I think it took me about 40 hours total.  If you're a new reader, I made a huge quilt out of all my jeans as they got too big on me. I cut them into squares and stitched them together, then backed it, and tied it. This is the finished product:
    The day I finished my quilt project... relief!


    Can you guess what THIS is???
    THAT would be my awesome packaging job for the Garmin ;)  I settled for duct tape instead of packing tape. It doesn't look pretty, but it got the job done. My Garmin is somewhere between here and New York right now! I decided to send it to the cooler climate states first, and we'll save the states like CA and TX for later when it's not hot enough to melt your skin off while running outside.


    Sorry this entry is so long!  Are you a crafty person? What do you like to make? If not, have you ever tried to learn a craft?  Also, I want to know about your carrots!


    Saturday, August 20, 2011

    10 Random Things About Me

    I don't have a whole lot to say today, so I think I will take the time to be completely narcissistic and tell you some random things about ME that may not come up otherwise.
    1. I have a very real addiction to chewing ice. I don't use the term "addiction" lightly here, either. I have to chew ice all day long. Sometimes, my ice maker cannot keep up with my ice chewing, and it makes me a complete wreck. I'm constantly walking back and fourth to the freezer to grab a piece of ice. When people learn this about me, they automatically assume that I have low iron or something, but my doctor has tested me time and again--and it's truly just an addiction. When I broke my jaw and I couldn't chew ice, it drove me CRAZY, but I was hoping it would force me to get over my addiction. However, as soon as I could open my mouth far enough, I was eating ice. I don't remember when the addiction started--I think it was when I was pregnant with Noah, and he's now 7.
    2. I don't believe in call waiting. I think it is incredibly rude to talk to someone on the phone and then say, "Hold on a sec, I have another call."  So I have the call waiting turned off on my home phone and my cell phone. If people call me while I'm on the phone with someone else, then they'll hear a busy signal--remember the busy signal? ;)
    3. Felted wine totes I designed
    4. I taught myself to knit when I was about 12, and to crochet when I was about 25. I'm really damn good at doing both, but since I started blogging regularly, I haven't made the time for it. In fact, my first blogger was for the purpose of posting patterns that I have written. I have a horrible habit of starting projects and not finishing them, however. I usually have at least 5 or 6 projects on needles at one time, and I just work on whatever project I feel like at the time.
    5. I know absolutely NOTHING about politics... and I don't care to. As soon as a conversation turns to something political, it's like my brain just shuts off. In college, my Political Science teacher gave us an extra credit question on a test (basically a freebie): Who is the president of the U.S.? And guess who was the only person in the class to get it wrong?! haha! In my defense, however, it was just after an election and I wrote down the former president's name instead of the new president :)
    6. I have vitiligo. What is that, you ask? It's the same thing that Michael Jackson had that turned his skin white. It's a condition that causes your skin to have no pigmentation whatsoever in certain spots. Obviously, it's not as noticeable on me because I'm pretty pale as it is, but I have spots on my wrists, fingers, around my eyes, and perineum (yes, that would be near my lady parts). Most people don't notice my spots unless I point them out, so it doesn't bother me that much.
    7. I'm an introvert, and extremely shy. In fact, some of my friends told me that they assumed I was snobby when they first met me, because I didn't make conversation or anything. I'm terrible at meeting new people, and even worse with small talk. Going to a party causes me severe anxiety. I almost always end up having fun, but the days leading up to it make me a nervous wreck. I'm even terrified of talking on the phone. I hate lapses in conversation, so I avoid the phone as much as possible. I prefer e-mail or texts. Strangely, I have no problem whatsoever calling customer service for something--go figure!
    8. At Camp Shane with two other counselors (I'm the one in green, obviously)
    9. I worked as a camp counselor at a "fat camp" in the summer of 2002 (the year before I got married). It is called Camp Shane and is in New York state. (For those of you that read the book I suggested, "What I Eat: Around the World in 80 Diets", you will find a Camp Shane camper on page 54). I was about 200 pounds at the time, and wanted to lose weight for my wedding, so I figured I might as well get paid for it :)  I was there 5 weeks (I was supposed to be there 9 weeks, but I left early). It was awful--not the food or anything, but I just felt like we weren't treated very well as counselors. I lost 15 or 20 pounds, and continued to lose when I got home. It was a really neat experience, and I'm glad I did it.
    10. No make-up, no hair style
    11. I have no problem whatsoever going out without make-up on. I probably only wear make-up two or maybe three days a week. And I rarely take the time to do my hair. My hair is really long and takes forever to blow it dry and then straighten it, so I usually throw it into a braid, a bun, or a ponytail and let it air dry. The only time I really take my time with it is when I'm going "out" out--to a party or Winers, or on a date with my husband. I don't know if it's a good thing or a bad thing that I don't take the time to wear make-up and do my hair--but it gives me more free time, which I like :)  I'm a little self-conscious of the scar on my chin, but I try not to think about it. (The scar was from when my jaw broke, and the bone punctured a hole right through the front).
    12. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an author when I grew up. I used to enter a "young authors" contest every year, and I would always win. I got A's in creative writing all through high school and college. I like to write because I have time to think about what I want to say beforehand. I'm really bad at quick comebacks when people talk to me, but it never fails that I think of something clever to say much later. When I'm writing, I can take my time to think about it first. My mom said she always dreamed I'd be an author, and I still think about it sometimes. I've actually written a book about my weight loss, but I don't think I'll ever do anything with it. It's collecting virtual dust on my computer. ;)   Besides, I really like blogging because I can write the same way that I would speak, and I don't feel too much pressure to write something good every time I sit down.
    13. I am a big Eminem fan. *Blush* I am not a huge music freak, and I don't know the names of many bands or what's current on the radio. But people who know me are surprised to learn that I really like Eminem. It's a GREAT motivator to me when I run--particularly the song Lose Yourself  (that one is pretty tame!)  Another song that I LOVE (and this one is NOT tame, so if you're offended easily at all by profanity or "adult" topics, don't click on it, lol) is Shake That. Try listening to that without shaking your ass! ;)  Another one that I like is The Way I Am (again, uncensored).  A lot of people ask me about my user name "SlimKatie", and assume I picked it with the high hopes that I would one day be "slim" :)  However, I chose it because it rhymes with "Slim Shady" (Eminem's "alter ego"). When listening to his songs I would sing along, replacing Shady with Katie: "I'm Slim Katie, yes I'm the real Katie, all you other Slim Katie's are just imitating..."  Hahaha, I'm dorky, I know. That can be #11--my dorkiness.
    So there you have it!  A random assortment of 10 11 things you may not have known about me!


    Do any of these things surprise you? Can you relate to any of them? Feed my ego, friends! ;)