Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Did you know?

...that a cow has "gutters"?

They are also known as "milkers" or maybe even "squirters" or "hangy down thingies"?

I learned this today from my farmer-wanna-be son, when trying to figure out what he meant by "cows have gutters".

I could go all sorts of places with that one, but for your sake, I'll stop. Right now. And pressure wash my brain.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Confession time

Yeah, yeah... I can hear it now. WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?

Well it's like this. I've been all over, but I've still been here. Sort of. Ever get those times when you have so much to say that you're just not sure where to start? So then, I do what comes naturally to me, and I put off starting to say something so that I don't have to try to figure where to start and when to stop. That last part is what I find most difficult.

In the last post I left on here (3 weeks ago *gasp*), I talked about confession. Well now it's my turn. It really has taken me this long to sort through all this. I don't even know who sticks around to read this anymore, and really it would be fine with me if nobody did, because this is one of those moments that is begging for a purge. I'd really hate to get any on you. But... if you're reading, then here ya go!

All of my life, as far back as I can remember, I have struggled with my body image. I don't think I was overly heavy as a child, or particularly ugly, but I distinctly recall feeling the need to cover up and hide behind either extra clothing or a mask of humor to keep from feeling the hurt. One of the early images that sticks out in my mind in full color is from the 4th Grade. My Mom was pretty insistent that I continue to wear dresses or skirts a lot of the time, (and so was one Sunday school teacher in particular) which meant that my bare legs were left to show. Now 4th graders didn't wear pantyhose, and I don't recall opaque stockings being an option, but I had long socks. They were nice enough socks, and I always felt a weird sense of security in the fact that my socks went clear up to my knees. I thought I had huge legs so anything to cover them up was a good thing. Looking back, I often wonder what on earth I was thinking.

I hid behind those socks though, until I was allowed to wear pants to school all the time. Thankfully long socks weren't complete fashion suicide, or I might have just died. Eventually the time came that my parents were ok with me choosing to wear pants all the time. But unfortunately for me, it was also the same time that those itsy bitsy denim mini-skirts came into style. It didn't really ever matter what I wore, I always felt like a disaster. By the time the mini-skirts came around, I wasn't really into wearing them because I thought I looked good or I had body parts to show off, I wanted to wear one because everyone else did. Thankfully my parents didn't go for that. And even the one time I snuck a mini-skirt to school in my bag, and changed into it in the bathroom before the first bell, was one of the most uncomfortable days of my life. All the pulling and tugging just to make sure that all my body parts were properly in place was too much work for me. Looking stylish carries a bigger price, I learned, than just the tag on the clothes.

Many years have passed since those days, and I have perfected the art of laughing things off that hurt. In some ways it's good and healthy to be able to laugh about things and set them aside, but in some ways it means I'm not being completely honest with myself either. I am the first person to joke about my weight, and about other aspects of myself, and in all honesty I really can laugh about it. Particularly with those closest to me. But on the flipside, I also carry an intense feeling of shame and guilt over not being able to do something about it this huge burden I've been carrying around for years. It's heavy, and even though I've carried it a long time, I sure haven't built up any more muscles for carrying it than I had back in the 4th Grade.

Sometimes I think back to the times that people have poked fun at me or said something to maybe manipulate me into feeling bad in case I hadn't noticed what I looked like in the mirror. It didn't happen a lot, and it usually only came from well meaning family members trying to convince me to live up to someone's ideals of "healthy". It didn't matter if I played basketball, or volleyball, or rode my bike or rode a horse. It just mattered what I looked like to someone else. I don't like remembering those moments, because those are the times that I was hurt, but didn't dare say anything. Those are also the kinds of moments that take the longest to forgive, because the offending party most likely doesn't know they hurt me in the first place. I was always too chicken to say so - still am, for that matter. But it really hasn't changed that hot burn of shame that rushes to my face and ears when I recall those things. I have worked very hard towards letting that stuff go.

I'm going to change gears here for a bit, and bring up something that is bugging the HECK out of me. This past school year, we were given a heads up that our children would be coming home with a report card and a bonus. A BMI report. Now I understand the need for our schools and our government to feel that it's time to take a stand against unhealthy children, but I'm wondering if there isn't a more tactful way to send home a letter that tells you your kid is fat? My skinny little 9 year old is borderline. My active-so-much-I-can't-get-a-breath-EVER six year old is overweight?? What the????

Needless to say both my girls take things like this pretty hard. They are in the special years (11 and 13) where their body and their hormones are completely taking over and it adds all sorts of extra cuddly-ness in areas that they would rather not even THINK about right now, let alone get a letter sent home to Mom and Dad about. So what if they have a bummer metabolism that was handed down genetically (so sorry my sweeties) by BOTH sides of their family, and then they get a letter along with their report card that says they might be passing their classes in school, but their bodies get big F. Ugh! Puleeeeese, for the love of Pete, can't we just pat them on the head and say they are lovely, and beautiful and scoot them on through school like we do with their GRADES?? Gaaaa!!

Ok, so where was I? Oh yes. MY issues. I'll just lay it all out. It's not a rant, or a whine, it's just a reality check for me along with a call for help and for a tremendous amount of prayer and encouragement. And for (*gulp*) accountability.

I am sick and tired of being sick and tired.
I am unhappy when I can't participate in activities with my family like they need for me to.
I understand all that stuff about loving yourself, but I do not. And I really want to.
I don't want my girls thinking of me and my size as something to fear "being like" when they grow up.
I love that my sons think I'm beautiful (and they really do tell me that all the time) but I want them to have a Mother that is doing the best she can to be a positive role model.
I am not as close to God as I could be because I feel like I'm not doing the best with what He gave me. This body is a temple, and I've ransacked it.
I'm also not as close to my husband as I could be, because of years of practice at hiding myself.

There, I said it.

Now here's where I say what my goals are before God and everyone (obviously, I've planned this ahead of time. *giggle*)

Goal number one, is to tell someone each day what my goals are.
Goal number two, stop drinking my drug of choice, SODA for 2 weeks straight.
Goal number three, six glasses of water a day. (I'm working my way up)
Goal number five, journal my food intake
Goal number six, exercise more
Goal number seven, drop 100 pounds.

Ugh... that was so hard for me to put into words. BUT - I do have some comments to make about those goals that I just threw out there. I don't start things big time without hiding it from the public for a while (fear of immediate failure and all that) and I do want to share my success so far. Because I need to. So sit still.

I haven't been very good at telling someone every day about my goals. I'm afraid. And I'm honest about being afraid too. It took me a week just to be able to talk to my husband about it. Don't be offended.

I have not had a single drop of soda in 16 days, ever since I started this. (And I don't miss it too much either)

I have not managed to get six actual glasses of water into my mouth every single day, but I certainly am doing LOTS better, and it's becoming a habit to keep it nearby.

I AM taking a multi-vitamin (as well as an additional vitamin for eye health - thanks Mom) just about every day now. I forgot here and there at first, but the habit is forming.

I am journaling every single thing that goes in my mouth - and I'll tell you how I'm doing it here in a bit.

I am finding ways to exercise more. Took the kids swimming twice instead of sitting in the house all day. Took them to the fair and walked their legs off. Went on a hike at Silver Falls State Park and about died, but it's all good. I originally posted a personal goal of doing cardio 3x a week (after all, I DO have my own treadmill and stationary recumbent bike!), but I'm finding that a strained calf muscle that I injured at camp almost a month ago is going to slow me down for a bit. No biggie. I guess I gotta let it heal or face dire consequences - so they say.

Goal number seven? I'm six percent there. At least I was as of 2 days ago. (Only weighing in once or twice a week.) And really, I'm not on a "biggest loser" kick. I'm taking it slow and HEALTHY and have given myself 2 years to get 'er done and form life-long habits. If it happens sooner, I'm all for it!

So here's what I'm doing. And if you have ANY inclination whatsoever to join me, I would so so so so soooo SOOOOO think it was the best thing ever because I kinda/sorta feel all alone out here right now. I joined Sparkpeople over 2 weeks ago. I'm not sure exactly how I found it, or if I'd ever even heard of it before, but it's good. It's free. I like free. I'd still be doing Weight Watchers if I could afford it - that's a good program too. This sparkpeople thing is not a specific diet. I hate diets. I'm all about changing my lifestyle in bits and pieces. It's about building a foundation. On the website, I enter everything I eat (and it usually figures out the calories/fat/and whatever else I ask it to track for me- in my case sodium and some nutrients like iron and calcium I'm keeping an eye on for health reasons) then, I can follow my goals. I have my own progress page. They even have a message board with a gazillion people just like me who are there for support or to give support. Way cool. I give kudos. And free... did I mention free? I'm not advertising. I get nothing for it. But it's an idea, if you're out of ideas. And I'm on there. That's just a little bonus. Come join me. I need accountability and I need buddies like never before.

So there you have it. It's about time I fessed up, because I know some of you have been wondering what I'm up to. And now I feel a hundred pounds lighter just tellin' ya! Check it.