Friday, November 20, 2009

it's the little things

Yesterday was a small glimpse of things to come. I know during the next few weeks it's going to be hard to stay focused on eating healthy with the holidays coming, but I also remember that the first few weeks after altering your diet leads to withdrawls. For me, sugar withdrawl is going to be the kicker.

A few months ago I purchased Jillian Michaels DVD 'Banish Fat, Boost Metabolism'. If you've seen The Biggest Loser, you'll know that she is intense. This workout is no different. It's roughly 60 minutes of hardcore cardio. I've only exercised with it 3 times in 3 months. Michael, in his infinite wisdom, told me that 60 minutes of an intense workout is a lot to expect of someone that hasn't worked out in years. True. So, after reading reviews and reading about a friend working out to this DVD, I went to Target last night to purchase the '30 Day Shred' by Jillian Michaels because each workout is only 20 minutes. I can handle 20 minutes over 60 any day. While on the way to Target, I reviewed how many calories I had eaten that day and determined I still could eat more. My sweet tooth was pulsing. I would get a candy bar! After all, being really good 2 days in a row merited me something sweet, right? Wrong. I got to Target, found the DVD (on sale for $9, by the way), looked at toys and clothes for Liesl and walked right passed the candy section. I decided I couldn't buy a workout DVD and a candy bar at the same time. However, it didn't stop me from driving, out of my way, to Wendy's. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't ruin the hard work I put in over these past few days. Instead, I went home, popped the DVD in to see what I had in store and ate an 80 calorie packet of Liesl's fruit gummies. Turning down candy or ice cream is just something I don't do. I guess it is now.

By the way, the '30 Day Shred' workout this morning was quite intense. Halfway through I had to pause it to go throw up. BUT-I went back in and finished it. I was nauseated for the next half hour, though. I plan on doing the Level 1 longer than just 10 days because I know I won't be ready to advance any further. This might become the 3 month shred, or even 3 year shred depending on how intense the next levels are, instead of 30 days. I love that it's a full workout in 20 minutes. It gives me much more "me" time during Liesl's naps than a 60 minute dvd does. I can't wait to do it again tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


This is supposed to be a blog about losing weight and becoming healthier, however, with Thanksgiving nearly here, my mind has been on my father. My friend has a website and she asked for people to share their Thanksgiving memories and recipes. I began to think and all but the last 3 Thanksgiving's have been spent with my Dad. That was his holiday-he shined on that day. So, in a way this is going to be about health. Instead of me running to food for comfort I'm going to share what's on my mind.

Regret, I guess, can be typical when someone dies suddenly. Dad was diagnosed with cancer in September. They found out it was Stage 3b Lung Cancer with a bleak prognosis in early October and I was in South Carolina by the end of the week. I had prepared myself for having 3 months left with him. Not less than 2 weeks.

Last Christmas, I made Michael's favorite meal, chicken and dumplings, from scratch and called my dad to brag. He was very proud of his newly domesticated daughter. Chicken and dumplings just happens to be his ultimate favorite meal and he was looking forward to sampling a big, fat bowl of my dumplings when I next visited. The day after Michael, Liesl and I arrived in SC, dad was admitted in the hospital and a week later discharged. His throat was burned so badly from the radiation that he could barely swallow. I decided to wait until he could swallow without pain to make the dumplings. I wanted him to enjoy it.

I never made the dumplings.

Saturday, October 24, Dad came out of the shower with a handful of hair. Radiation and chemo were finally catching up to him. I told him I'd give him a hair cut if he wanted. He told me that Sunday, after church, he'd let me take the clippers to his hair. His barely greying, slick, ebony hair was falling out so he was ready to be rid of it. I told him I'd knit him a hat, which I was already planning on doing, for him to wear under his baseball caps. It was going to be black and garnet-USC Gamecock colors. He told me he was look forward to wearing it.

I never clipped his hair or knit the hat. The very next day is when the ambulance came to take him away, never to return.

My sister and her husband were planning on coming up for Thanksgiving. Dad was prepared to make 2 turkeys this year: one in the deep fryer and one in the oven with the oh-so delicious, secret family recipe, stuffing. I was excited about waking up before the rooster crowed to shadow daddy while he prepared the "secret" recipe stuffing. I say "secret" because it's not written down. Dad knew exactly what went in the stuffing and he never measured anything. My sister had learned how to make it from him a couple of years past and it was my turn to learn. Funny, though, Dad hated onions with a passion and wouldn't touch the stuffing; mom was the taste tester, and growing up Charlie and I would taste test. Of course, I didn't always "officially" taste test- I usually sneaked a couple of bites. The making of the Thanksgiving turkey and dressing was an all morning and some of the afternoon process.

I never learned to make the stuffing.

I have always loved singing. Dad has always loved hearing me sing. Even when he wasn't going to church, if he knew I was singing and I asked him to go, he would be there. Living 500 miles away takes it's toll on a relationship. When I would visit, the last thing I wanted to do was sing at church and, call me crazy, but it's just weird sitting in a living room singing in front of your family while they listen. I know it's not that weird but it brought me out my comfort zone.

When dad was first diagnosed with cancer mom told me that he didn't want me to sing at his funeral. I've sang at my fair share of funerals but singing at my own fathers' is a bit much to ask; still, I wanted to know why. Dad had told her that if he couldn't hear me sing, he didn't want anyone else to hear me sing at his funeral. Little did I know how soon that would be. Dad was rushed to the E.R. on a Sunday and died on a Wednesday. When I went to see him on Monday I knew that no matter how uncomfortable I felt or embarrassed I was in front of the nurses that he would want me to sing to him. So I sang. Every opportunity I had to see him, I sang. After he was released from life support, his heart rate stayed steady in the 80's. My sister went to see him and sang to him and it dropped to the 40's. A few hours passed until I made it up to the hospital again and mom left me alone with him. I prayed with him and sang to him and his heart rate dropped to the 20's. The family gathered in the room and my sister and I sang all 4 verses of 'Amazing Grace' and then the first verse again while his heart rate bounced from 16 or 17 to 0. I knew I couldn't stop singing so I sang the first verse of 'My Jesus, I Love Thee'. Right after the lyric "If ever I love Thee...", his heart rate reached zero never to come back up.

I finally sang for my daddy.

This Thanksgiving day, I will try my hand at a far less superior stuffing, knit away at Christmas gifts and look forward to making chicken and dumplings for my family on Christmas Day. I wish I could have learned to make the stuffing from dad, knit him a hat and made him my homemade chicken and dumplings, but at least I sang.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

One Thing

...there has always been one thing about myself that I never liked and have always wanted to change. It's the one thing most women obsess over. That one thing is my weight.

All my life weight has been my biggest issue. I've tried to lose weight before and failed, and I've tried to lose weight before and succeeded...only to gain it back. This past year has been a rollercoaster for me. Adjusting to life as a stay at home mommy (with postpartum depression), living in a new house in a new town with no car to my name, finding a church and, most recently, being in South Carolina for an entire month to visit with my sick father and being slapped in the face with dealing with his death instead.

Food has been my comfort. My go to. There is no doubt that ice cream, Chinese food, Mexican food and many more personal favorites have helped numb the pain and stress that life has brought. However, I am starting to realize if I value and respect the life God has given me, I need to break this addiction because it's a slow suicide. Diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal diseases, high blood pressure and a laundry list of other ailments run in my immediate family. It's not as if I'm the black sheep obese family member; it's an ugly trend. But the cycle must be broken while I'm still young and before it's too late.

From blogging I'm hoping to stay in tuned with myself and stay accountable to others. My plan for this week is to truly watch what goes in my mouth instead of turning a blind eye, and to establish a workout regime. There is no time like the present...