Friday, December 21, 2012

Bariatric Betty, Centurion, has a long week

It's for real this time.  After I stepped on the scale and it read 143.4 pounds this morning I didn't get excited.  I stepped off and let it recalibrate - because it's faked me out before.  Three times later, I believe it.  I have lost 100 pounds!  My BMI is down to 25.9 from it's high of 43.2.  So, today isn't really that different than every other day that I work the program, and nothing changes other than how I'll answer people when they ask how much I've lost and my new nickname for myself.  Centurion.  Wikipedia says it was a professional officer who commanded sometimes 100, but more often 60 - 80 soldiers.  I'm in command of my body, and I've discharged 100 pounds that were not fit for service.  :)

This is not to say the road has been easy.  Last Friday I had an epic fail - my first dump from knowingly eating something I shouldn't.  Damn glaze.

Like everyone else, the news from New Town hit me hard - especially because I work in an elementary school and I couldn't help thinking of all of "my kids" as well as my sons in such a tragedy.  So I thought I was handling it well when my first thing I did after work was take my dog for a 2 mile walk.  Then my 3rd grader son got off the school bus and told me he got in trouble for telling a friend he was "going to beat the crap out of" him.  What?!?  My first response to him was "I'm just happy you're home safe - give me a hug".  But then I spent the next couple hours talking with him about why "using your words" doesn't include threatening someone.  About how some children are not as lucky as him and come from homes where they get hit - sometimes so badly that they can't live with their parents anymore.  That while he knows he wouldn't actually beat someone up, that doesn't mean that anybody else should believe that.  I prepared my husband for the possibility that he could be suspended for threatening a student.  I prepared my son for that possibility as well, explaining that if anybody threatened him I would want them to have serious consequences.  The teacher gave some consequences and defused the situation, but she would still need to involve the principal, and we wouldn't know the outcome until this week.  Then we talked about his consequences at home.  After lengthy conversation, we decided that we would try to focus on something positive and use his saved allowance for December to go shopping for Toys for Tots on Saturday.  He picked out a toy that he hopes to get for Christmas himself and paid for it.  Then he put it in the donation box and we talked about how that was going to help a kid less fortunate than him have a happier Christmas. 

Back to Friday night, and I was finishing some cookies for a coworker.  Cookies that get dipped in glaze.  I licked my fingers, and then started scooping up the drops of glaze that dripped of the drying cookies.  About 2 tablespoons later, my stomach started to feel bad.  I threw out the rest of the glaze as soon as the cookies were finished, but the damage was done.  I had to call my 12 year old in to finish making dinner while I crawled into bed.  Owwwwwwwww.  My moaning scared the heck out of my husband when he got home.  I felt nauseous as well, but there was nothing to throw up - the thick sugar water had been absorbed and I was blessed to dump.  So that's how I celebrated the 7th night of Hanukkah - being thankful for the small miracle of dumping.  My guilt over my husband having to jump in to take care of the kids while I recovered was significant.  And then he came and talked to me.  He told me that he knew I got a lot out of baking, and that I seem to do really well controlling my intake except for when I get glaze all over my fingers...  He made me a wonderful offer.  From now on, when I make the cookies with glaze, he said HE will glaze them for me.  How cool is that?  Not only is he going to help me keep making healthy choices and enjoy my hobby, now he is going to turn something that I really enjoy doing into something every better - because he is going to do it with me!  I'm so excited!  I won't be making any more until next November/ December, but now we have a plan and I'm really looking forward to it.  His idea gave me control over this ever happening again.  I'm so lucky to have him as my husband. 

Of course, having a plan for cookie baking doesn't take care of the emotions that come with the death of innocent children.  We decided that our whole family should try to look for opportunities for random acts of kindness for the next 20 days.  So far we've donated some toys, given away closer parking spots, helped a stranger find something and opened numerous doors for others.  Last year we helped pay off someone's layaway, and we'll probably look into doing that again this year.  I'll keep looking for ways to help others, be grateful for the health and safety of my family, and keep working the program. 

Speaking of work, my job has shifted again.  I'm now working the same hours but instead of being a monitor for kindergarten, 1st, and 3rdd graders during lunch and recess daily I'm working with two special needs kids (one kindergartener, one 4th grader).  They both have significant issues that require 1-on-1 attention and help eating.  Some parts of this are very fulfilling, other parts are not - like chasing after them when they bolt/ have a tantrum.  Or yesterday when the 4th grader bit my arm (luckily not breaking the skin) hard enough that it's still sore with bruising today.  The main down sides are that (except for running after them if they bolt) I don't get my extra 5000 steps in walking around like I ued to checking in on all of the kids, and I also don't have the chance to help kids with the jungle of playground drama issues they have to figure out as they get older.  My major accomplishment this week is that I've gotten my kindergartner ward to actually eat most of his lunch without running away screaming 4 days in a row.  That's huge. 

When I see kids struggling whether with special needs like autism, or behavioral issues, or just normal growing pains ("...she said she was my friend, but now she says she's not!") I want to help.  It's easier and more fun when it's helping kids be better friends than helping someone toilet or eat.  But, in both cases I feel like I'm having a positive impact on others even if I don't feel it every day.  That's something I need to feel in my life - even if they're not able to verbalize "thank you".  Luckily, my bosses have reacted positively to my request for more training so I know how to handle physical outburst more safely for both the kid and myself in the future!

My son ended up working with the school psychologist on a social story/ plan on what to do when he gets angry, which I sincerely appreciate.  While part of me wishes they had given some additional punitive conequences so he understood how seriously the schools take threatening to beat someone up, I'm glad they took the opportunity to help him figure out how to deal with tough situations in the future.  When he was first diagnosed with developmental delays and a speech disorder, we never guessed that he would be ABLE to speak well enough to get in trouble for verbally threatening someone.  So I guess as long as he has learned never to do that again, maybe I should think of this whole thing as a reminder of how lucky we are. 

Christmas is around the corner (we're an interfaith family, so we celebrate a lot of holidays) and my boys are excited.  My third grader sent a letter to Santa in his elf's backpack last night (taping it closed to make sure it didn't fall out on the trip - so cute!), and I've been handing out packages of Christmas cookies to teachers and coworkers. I pray that the holidays find all of you with your loved ones, safe and healthy, warm and thankful for your own blessings.  Heaven knows I'm thankful for mine, most of which are in the picture below.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bariatric Betty's 5K with pics

Yesterday was the big day; 6 months after beginning Couch to 5k I ran my first race!  It was a lot of fun, and I was thrilled to have my 12 y.o. son jog it with me (for the first half anyway, then I left him in the dust because he hadn't trained as much and needed to slow down).  The Jingle Bell Run is for the Arthritis Foundation - an organization I loved supporting because my dear husband has had rheumatoid arthritis since he was 12.  Here's a pic of all of us before the race.

I had a great NSV (non-scale victory) before the race even started - I traded in my pre-ordered Adult Large race shirt for an Adult Medium!  Woo-hoo!

The atmosphere was wonderful - people were decked out in all kinds of holiday gear - I gave in and bought a Santa Hat that said "Jingle Bell Run".  Everybody was given jingle bells to tie through their shoelaces along with their tracker chip, so there was a constant faint bell ringing the entire run.  There was a singing group doing Christmas carols and other upbeat holiday tunes.  Lots of families jogged or walked as a team, and I saw dozens of parents who ran or walked with strollers.  Here's a pic of us at the very start of the race.

The course was a bit of a surprise - from the map we had been given at registration I guessed we would have one hill about halfway through the race, and it would be uphill on the first half, downhill on the way back.  Nope. There were four hills (two repeated ones) on the course and that meant that we had to finish on an incline.  One of my friends ended up running as well, and she told me later "Boy, this was NOT a good race for your first - those hills were killer!"

 I'm happy to say for me it was more a psychological challenge than a physical one.  All my training was definitely more than enough to prepare me for this race - even with the hills.  Who would have guessed???  I jogged the whole thing, running 3.1 miles in just under 36 minutes.  Afterwords I felt really proud and happy, but my body was like "So, that was pretty normal..." How wonderfully unexpected.

This is me crossing the finish line...

I was inspired by many people in the race - there was a whole team of people from the University Hospitals Medical Center running in honor of an 8 y.o. girl named Taylor with Rheumatoid Arthritis. There were people like the mom behind me in the picture above who ran up and down those hills pushing a double stroller!  There was a wonderful 76 year old woman named Jean that I chatted with on the second half.  She runs races every weekend, so she's well known by most of the regulars.  She talked about how she had ANOTHER race today, and I couldn't have been more surpised. "You run two races in one weekend???" "Oh, just when they're small ones like this..."  LOL!  It's good to see things from a different perspective.  She said that so many young people are all impressed when they hear her age.  I told her that they should be impressed with her running all of these races even BEFORE they hear her age and she laughed.  She said she's glad to be able to run when so many people her age can't even walk much, but also confessed she enjoys seeing youngster speed up when they realize she just passed them.  ;) 

My son crossed the finish line just a few minutes after me and I told him I was so proud of him for hanging in there and finishing!  He was exhausted, but said "Mom, we have to start training on HILLS" so I guess he might be willing to do this again.

Doing it again... yeah, probably.  I didn't hurt afterwards (or this morning) so I think I might start looking for maybe a race every month or so.  It's way more fun than just jogging with my dog :)  But I'm not feeling driven to start training for a half marathon or anything.

There was another woman I met that left me with mixed feelings.  She was a friend-of-a-friend and when my friend introduced her she said "She's lost 100 pounds, you know!"  I laughed and clapped for her and then said "Me, too!"(well, rounding up)  We chatted for a little while and I found out that unlike me she didn't have bariatric surgery.  I was very impressed - to be able to lose that much without having the help of a pouch as a tool... that's rare!  She said two years ago she started walking two 5ks every weekend.  Then she started jogging them.  Then she started running half-marthons, and now does marathons as well.  Whoa.  Cool!  Then she explained that she is just working on keeping the weight off, so she has added Zumba a couple of times a week and recently personal training.  OK, so she is running at least two 5k races (if not a marathon) in addition to daily training runs, taking 2-3 Zumba Classes, and having a personal training session every week JUST TO MAINTAIN HER WEIGHT.  Uhhhhh. Great?  For her, it's great.  This is a really good demonstration of what happens to the metabolism of a formerly morbidly obese person.  To lose this much weight, our bodies and metabolisms change a LOT.  In her case, presumming she eats healthy foods in reasonable portion sizes, it means she has to become a fitness machine.  I am all for being active and staying active, but I would never want to dedicate every weekend of my life to running races.  They're fun, but I want to have time with my family doing other things.  I can commit to spending 30 - 60 minutes a day doing cardio for the rest of my life and having a severally restricted diet/ calorie intake.  For her, that wasn't a good choice.  Either way, there is no easy way. 

So I'm looking into doing the "Color Run" sometime this spring, and keeping my eyes open for other fun opportunities.  I heard that Coco Key (a water park in Sandusky, OH)  has a Santa Run that I can imagine the family enjoying this time next year.  Today I'll just be walking my dog a couple of miles and celebrating my father's 70th birthday and other every-day miracles.  Happy Hanukkah to everyone celebrating!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Bariatric Betty's inspirations

Inspiration comes from many directions. I was thinking yesterday about a woman who inspired me when I was in college.  Her name was Deirdre Taylor, and she was a wonderfully fun, enthusiastic, and beautiful obese woman.  She traveled as a Chapter Consultant for my sorority - Phi Mu.  Phi Mu was founded in Georgia, and we were used to women coming to visit and work with us in Ohio having southern accents, charisma, and being perfect size 2s.  Deirdre shattered that last stereotype for me and many others. 

I was overweight (although probably not obese) at that point, and felt welcomed in my sorority.  Unlike the generalizations that sororities are intolerant of differences, there was never any pressure to look a certain way, or lose weight, and my sisters were always there with a compliment when I looked extra nice.  Even so, I was surprised when Deirdre showed up my Junior year to work with us on leadership, risk management, and other training.  Our national officers had picked her to represent our sorority nationally; to be the face of Phi Mu to thousands of women she would meet over her year term.  As I got to know Deirdre it made perfect sense.  Her intelligence, poise and beauty were evident to everyone who met her, and her weight was merely one part of her. 

As I talked more and more with her, I became very interested in her position.  Working with collegiate women and helping them have positive, supportive, and successful experiences in college.  Improving study habits and GPAs, raising money for Children's Miracle Network, presenting themselves well for recruitment (and future interviews), and enjoying the friendship and bonds of their sisters.  I was inspired to apply to be a Chapter Consultant myself, and was selected to travel around the country for Phi Mu for the year after I graduated.  That experience ended up being one of the formative experiences of my life.  I learned I could arrive in any city, set up a temporary home and within hours be ready to meet with college administrators, lead workshops, and help women who were struggling with various situations.  My confidence went through the roof!  It led to my next position - being a Clinical Trial coordinator for a Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. 

I was applying at The Ohio State University Medical Center for numerous positions - with my chemistry degree and enjoying the medical field, the location being hours away from my family, yet I had friends nearby... it was a good fit.  When I heard about the position I was asked "Do you think you could feel comfortable talking to older and elderly gentlemen about their prostates, urinary and sexual functioning?"  I didn't even miss a beat - "Sure!  I can talk about anything."  I had a two day window to learn everything I could about prostate cancer and make a presentation to the doctor who was the lead investigator.  Nailed it.  This was the beginning of my career ( until I became a full-time mom).  It was also where I met my husband. 

All of this because I saw a woman do something I had previously assumed wasn't appropriate for me.  She was a great example of how to not limit myself and my opportunities based on how I looked.  That carries on even now that I'm no longer obese.  Just last night I was jogging in preparation for my first 5k this weekend, and was joined on the track by 5 lovely middle-school/ high school girls.  Seriously, am I the only one who thinks 14 year olds look at least 18 these days???  When I jog, I try not to feel self concious about my appearance, but I am aware that there is a lot of jiggling and wiggling going on.  So last night as I jogged next to these young women I thought about Deirdre and about how these women probably didn't expect to find a middle-aged mom with more sagging and flapping parts than most joggers have jogging along with them.  And I thought "I'm proud to be here, jiggles and all.  I didn't even start to perspire until I was finishing my third mile.  And these girls can hope that they can jog a 5k when they're an "old mom" like me!" Then when I finished my workout I ended up talking to two older sisters who were trying the track for the first time and were interested in bariatric surgery.  It was a good night.

Today my hips and knees are a little sore, but I've got plenty of time to recover before the race Saturday.  Today my major accomplishment was throwing out the extra frosting after decorating the gingerbread for our tree instead of being tempted to eat it.  One day at a time...