Sunday, April 27, 2014

In Which I Fall Off the Wagon

I fell off the wagon.

I fell off the wagon and was run over by the wagon.

I fell off the wagon and was run over by a wagon train of wagons.

It's not that I'm sitting around eating sticks of butter and watching my stories all day long.

But somehow I have gained back so much of the weight I worked so hard to lose.

I can explain. You see, it all started with-


There is no good reason. The reasons are all the reasons for all the other times I fell off the wagon. And they are not good reasons. Sure, I'm tired and many days I don't feel good. Yes, my job is stress-inducingly binge-ariffic. Sure, my satanspawncats entice enslave me into hours of sedentary snuggles. Yes, there is packing and sorting and grading and homework to do.

None of that is going to change any time soon.

So, I can either continue with things as they are and start wearing sweat pants and tent dresses everywhere, or I can suck it up and do what I know I need to do.

As with anything in life, if it's truly important to you, you'll do what it takes to make it happen.

(Apparently, the last several months I have found Netflix and Girl Scout cookies truly, truly, truly important).

So, it's back to being thoughtful about my food choices. For the most part, I haven't been eating too terribly (except those wickedly addictive Do-Si-Do cookies), but I haven't been planning ahead for nutritionally balanced meals and practicing portion control.

Back to monitoring my water intake.

And then there's my old Nemesis, Exercise. Logically, I know I will feel better, physically and emotionally. Logically, I know this is when I see the weight fall off. It's not that I don't think about it. I think about it everyday. I think, I should exercise. It will make me feel better and my clothes will fit. Because it's getting scary, folks- like Hulk-out scary.....if the Hulk was a pasty white, flabby woman. But there's this nasty little Scarlet O'Hara voice telling me I should think about it tomorrow. And tomorrow comes and it says the same thing. Before I know it, 4 months of tomorrows have passed and here we are. I think of all the progress I could have made in that time. But I refuse to beat myself up over it. Wallowing and self-pity and recriminations are pointless, annoying, and destructive. It's okay if I mess up. I know I'll mess up again. But as long as I can learn from my mistakes, it's progress. And progress is good.

So shut it, Scarlet O'Hara.

Today is the day.

Friday, December 27, 2013

In Which I Probably Could Have Gotten to the Point Sooner. . .

Forgive me blog readers, for I have si-. . .not written. It's been 83 days since my last post. And, oh, what changes those 83 days have brought. Let me tell you a neat little story. (I'm lying. It's probably going to be long. And rambly.)

I love my parents. They are among my closest friends as well as being awesome parents. We were roommates for a long time. Actually, I moved into their basement once they became empty-nesters and they never figured out how to get rid of me. . .until my dad had the brilliant idea to "retire early" and buy an 80-acre farm in Kentucky. . .thousands of miles away. Expensive, time-consuming, but effective. It all happened very quickly. Dad found a farm on the internet around Thanksgiving, they flew out a week or two after that to check it out, bought it, put the house up for sale, and had it sold by mid-January.

Not quite sure where I was going to go with my giant Golden Retriever, I moved into my sister's basement. I loved being her roommate, too. So many adventures. I was looking to change schools at the end of the school year, and until I knew where I would be teaching, I didn't know where I would be living. Utah apartment-living is NOT pet-friendly. You have the choices of slum living and all the drug/crime-ridden shenanigans that go with it, or pay ridiculously high rent. That summer, I found a new teaching position, put down a hefty security deposit on an apartment. . .and then, suddenly, I bought a house instead. After all, I wasn't going anywhere for awhile. I had most of my siblings nearby, job security, good friends. I loved my house. And I filled it with cats. I didn't mean to. Most of them were accidents. Or fate. Or someone trying to kill me by anonymously sending me cute little assassins. . .but I digress. The point is, I planned on staying put for at least 5 years.

That was just last fall. Fast forward to the time of my last post, early October. 83 days ago. It was a happy time. My parents were staying with me because my brother was getting married to a seriously awesome girl. We had so much fun. I missed being around them. My mom gives me treats and stuff when I'm good. My dad kept hinting that I should move out there because I am his favorite. (I'm lying again. He's been telling all of us kids we should move out there. I'm pretty sure he wants to have a commune. . .not a crazy, fundamentalist kind. . .just a we all like to be together as a family kind. But I'm not lying about being the favorite. Shut it, siblings who are reading this. My blog, my reality.)

After they left, I did some serious thinking. Looking back now, I think, subconsciously, I had already made up my mind about a few things. If you've followed this blog since the beginning or follow me on Facebook, you know it's been a freakishly wild ride the past two years. Lots of fun, wonderful, awesome things going on, but also health problems, homeowner disasters, and job stress. I've mentioned in other posts that this school year has been a difficult one. I've had difficult years before, but still managed to love my job and take pride in what I do. Well, after 13 years of teaching, I've decided I'm done.

I will miss the children (most of them) and my colleagues (most of them) and the paper work (I'm lying). I won't miss the germs or the ridiculous demands or not ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever being able to leave my job behind when it's time to go home. Any real teacher knows that teaching is not just a job, it's a way of life. When you go home at the end of the day you're still thinking about what went right, what went wrong, that one kid that you're heart breaks because you know what he's going home to, planning the next day, figuring out how you're going to teach a math lesson to a class where the concept will be over the heads of at least 5 kids and bore the minds out of another 5 because they're ready to move on, trying to find the right words to respond to an angry parent so you won't get fired. . .oh, and the whole teaching a brand new set of core standards and finding the best materials to do so. . .none of that really fits into my contract time. And this year. . .is just. . .so ridiculously and unbelievably hard. The stories I could tell. . .

My body just can't handle the stress like it could 10 years ago. My heart- the metaphorical emotional center of my being, as well as my actual ticker- isn't up to it anymore. My resistance to germs has never been great, but lately, I just can't stay well. And being the logical person I am, I can see that germy children + megastress = unhealthy me. And if you've read this blog in its entirety you know my #1 goal. I don't want to die. It says it right there in the title's sub-heading. Look for yourself, Blindy McBlinderson.

So, as long as I'm making that tiny little change in my life, why don't I go ahead and sell my house and move to Kentucky?

That's the logical next step. . .right???

Apparently it was, because you won't believe what happened next.

So, here's the timeline of events:

October 15th: I e-mailed my parents and let them know I was coming to be with them forever and ever or whatever.

October 19th: Met with my realtor and got the ball rolling, posted the For Sale sign in the yard but didn't list the house yet.

For the next 10 days I feverishly cleaned and staged.

October 31st: I moved the animals and myself into my brother's basement (it's what I do).

November 1st: Officially listed the house.

November 2nd: 1st showing and offer on the house.

November 4th: House under contract.

The next 30 days I packed and packed and packed and packed and packed and fractured my coccyx and packed and packed and cleaned and cleaned and cleaned.

December 5th: Closed on the house and said goodbye.

So. . .here I am sitting in my brother's basement, biding my time until the school year ends. Not really biding. I've got a million things to do. I got rid of half my stuff in part one of the move and I'm determined to get rid of at least half again by part two in June. Cross-country moves are expensive. And I'm still teaching, of course. As hard as this year has been, I must say that it has made leaving teaching more sweet than bittersweet. I foresee a major case of senioritis hitting me about March.

Some people think I'm absolutely nuts to give up my house, my job security, and move to the middle-of-nowhere Kentucky. But this is my philosophy: Life is what you make it. If you don't like it, change what you can and move on.

Sometimes little changes are enough. Sometimes they're not.

Besides, if I'm going to do something, I like to do it thoroughly and throw in a little extra for good measure.

Hi, I'm Amanda. I'm 35, soon-to-be unemployed and living in my parents' basement (again with the basements!)in the Middle-of-Nowhere, KY. No fear, no regrets.

This is going to be freakin' awesome.

P.S. I've gained 7 pounds back, but now that moving Part I is done and my coccyx is healing, I'll work some more of my arse off.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Guess What?! Guess What?!?!

It's kept you up night after night, hasn't it? I know you've all been lamenting the past 3 1/2 months: Why?! Why hasn't she posted?!?!?!

Well, I just didn't feel like it. Gosh. Leave me alone.

No, not really. I just didn't know what to write. I had to give up on exercise. . .again. Bum ticker struck. . .again. Then school started and it's been an incredibly hard year already. AND I've been picking up E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. the germy kids are puttin' down.

It's been frustrating.

I gained back several pounds and was over 200lbs. . .again. I was guzzling Diet Coke (which I had given up months ago) like there was no tomorrow and stuffing chocolate chip cookies in my face like a chipmunk hoarding acorns for a long, cold winter. I finally came to my senses and gave that up.

So, I began really watching what I ate, since there's still not a lot of exercising I can do. And had a stomach virus and flu. All that combined gave me a lovely jumpstart and I am happy to announce that I have finally broken through my plateau. I was worried I'd gain back all my "sick weghtloss" but I've been able to keep it off! Drum roll, please. . .

Beginning weight in January:
210 lbs

October 5th:

I have officially hit the 20 pound mark!!!!!

I have lost nearly 10% of my body weight!!!!!

Exclamation points!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

In Which I Spend Time in the Depths of Hell

There I was, on the floor, lying on my back. Playing dead. Like a giant, sweaty opossum.

Waves of heat washed over my prone body.

Just. don't. move.


I was stalking perusing my friends' facebook pages when I came across this post on T's page:

"I'm excited to give Bikram Yoga a try -- this is a great deal! Who wants to do it with me?"

And this link to Groupon.

And I thought:

Hey. This would be good to get me back into exercise mode after my 2-month hiatus. And I'd have a buddy to keep me motivated. And it IS a great deal.

So I responded with alacrity. And several exclamation points.


I roll my eye over to where my friend is going through all the poses like a rock star. Then I close my eyes again and continue to perfect my Wilted Woman pose.

I think back, fondly, to when I first walked in and was merely. . .hot. I was so young then. And so naïve. And so dry.

I had started off pretty well. But then the heat and pretzel twisting of my body started going to my head. Brain fuzzy, I'd sit down for a bit and watch. Then I'd try again. And then I would lie down and listen.

Finally, it was time for the floor work. Great! I can do that. No standing = No dizziness.

Again, it was going pretty well. However, it was a little difficult to grasp things, being all sweaty and tangled up in my own limbs and whatnot. I'm not what you would call. . .graceful. Or coordinated. Or agile. You get the picture. The instructor came over to lend a helping hand. And then it happened. A little tug and twist. My shoulder gave a tiny pop. Fire spread down the muscles of my arm. I sat up, cussing- in my head, out of respect to the others, and fear that even several hundreds of miles away my mother would know. But not crying. Because my tear ducts had emptied themselves into a sweat gland reservoir 45 minutes earlier.

The instructor asked me a few questions to make sure it wasn't too serious, and then suggested I take it easy for the remaining time. That's when I began seriously practicing the Dead Opossum pose. I believe I have mastered it, should you desire to learn.

After an eternity (time being infinitely difficult to measure in the bowels of purgatory) it was time to go.

So, there you have it. The depths of Hell. It was hot. It was sweaty. It was uncomfortable.

I'm going back Thursday.

After all, I spent money.

And we all know how I feel about that.

And I did feel pretty good afterwards.

(Lesson learned: Hydrate properly BEFORE Bikram)

P.S. Thanks, T, for getting me out of my comfort zone and helping me try new things and being a good example of not giving up. I will try to emulate that next time :)

P.P.S. My shoulder will be fine with some ibuprofen and ice. Just a little strain.

P.P.P.S. I know my mother will be worried I'm putting too much stress on my heart, so: Mommy, I'm fine. I promise I will take it slow whenever I need to and stop if I get symptomatic.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Heartbroken. . .Literally.

Let me preface this post with, I am okay.

I've got some bad news.

But I'm going to sandwich it between some good news, so we can all feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Good News!

This week's stats:

195 lbs

2 lbs down from the last post

15 lbs down from January

Now, 2 lbs in one month doesn't sound super-great, but considering what kind of month it's been it's amazing I haven't gained back everything and then some.

Bad News!

So, I was born with a heart defect, a moderate form of Pulmonary Stenosis. This isn't the bad news. But you need some background.

Here's the Cliffs Notes version: My pulmonic valve is narrow and doesn't close all the way which creates two problems: blood carrying oxygen to my lungs is slowed down because of the narrowed valve and the faulty valve flap regurgitates blood back into my heart, building pressure in the right ventricle. Eventually, the valve will need to be replaced. Still not the bad news.

It hasn't bothered me most of my life, except getting out of breath faster than most people. Six years ago I started having more problems- chest pains, fatigue, etc. So, I had a balloon valvuloplasty where they stretched out the valve. Problems went away. Yay! However, it's a temporary fix- doc said I'd probably need to have a replacement in 10-15 years. Well, it's been about half the time and I'm becoming symptomatic again- not as severe as last time, but it means the valve is narrowing again. Still not the bad news.

Here's the bad news: I have to drop out of the Ragnar. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!! I'm so sad. But I've got to be careful about exerting myself to put off invasive procedures for as long as possible. Don't forget the subtitle of this blog: I don't want to die. That's still my main focus.

I'm hoping to be cleared for light exercise soon, though. And I am bound and determined to conquer the Ragnar. Just not this year.

While I'm disappointed I won't be joining W in June, the journey so far has been rewarding and I'm going to keep going. My focus is going to be more geared toward improving nutrition, strength training, and continuing weight loss.

Good News!!

Remember the t-shirt pictures from the last post? Befores:

Afters (don't look at the mess and my haggard appearance):

My clothes are fitting so much better- or, drum roll please, THEY ARE TOO BIG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've had to dig out clothes from my "these are too cute I know I will fit in them again someday so I'm not parting with them" bins of clothes.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Things Are Looking Up. . .and Down

The sun is shining. My body is on the mend. My house is on the mend. My cat hasn't tried to kill me in almost 48 hours.

Things are looking up!

And down:

This week's weigh-in: 197 lbs.

Down 1 pound from last post.

Down 13 pounds from January.


I was worried I would gain back most of the weight I lost due to braces/e.coli/flu once I started eating again.

Still working on getting more consistent with my exercise and training. I'm still easily worn out from being so sick and not able to eat real food. But I've tried to stay more active during the day- walking around the classroom more and during recess duty.

As long as the weather holds I'm planning on trying to fit in a few walk/run sessions wherever my crazy schedule will fit it in. I think that's another reason I haven't been able to be consistent- because I can't schedule a specific time everyday. I need to shift my idea of consistency. I can still schedule my exercise in, but it just won't be the same time each day. It sounds like such a small thing, but my day is filled with hour-by-hour and minute-by-minute planning, it's hard to shut that off.

So many mental roadblocks. They're definitely more difficult to overcome than the physical. Can I get an "Amen-Hallelujah!!"?

I kind of wanted to post pictures each week to show progress. I say "kind of" because, as my mother will attest to, I HATE having photos taken of myself. I'm sure that's all psychological, too. BUT I will post occasional photos when I remember and can think of a good motivation.

I have a good motivation.

When I got my braces on, I got a t-shirt. I love the t-shirt. But I can't wear it. Not yet. Because I look like Jabba the Hut or Slimer from Ghostbusters. Soooooooooo many fat rolls. I am so uncomfortable posting these pictures. But, at my next appointment I'm totally going to rock this shirt. Or at least not roll it so much.

Enough stalling. The future "past me". . .

My next appointment is April 9th and if I wear my t-shirt, I get a FREE smoothie. FREEEEEEEE!

See. Motivation.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The First Ten

It's been an exciting week.

E. coli-laced smoothie.

Roof leak resulting in walls, floor, and ceiling torn out.

Turning my expander for the first time- a bizarre throwback to medieval torture if there ever was one.

And ending with a lovely bout of influenza.

The latter being the reason I didn't post on Saturday.

But it's not been without it's perks. Food just hasn't been. . .appetizing. Applesauce and Gatorade have been the food du jour. Except I was really adventurous and had some mac 'n' cheese yesterday and yogurt today.

I weighed myself this morning:

198.0 lbs

12 pounds down from when I first started this blog.

I still haven't been exercising, though. And it's not going to happen this week either. I would say I'm "weak as a kitten" but my kittens are freakishly strong. . .but I'm sure you get the point. I know it's not wise to push when sick. That's just asking for more trouble.

It's frustrating, though. My head's finally in a place where I feel ready to follow through on my committment to excerise and I'm now two weeks behind in my Ragnar training. Ugh.

BUT. . .

I will not let it stop me.

I will return victorious next week.

I just need to remember "slow and steady". It may not win this race, but it will allow me to finish. Without dying.

Because. . .

I don't want to die.