My body doesn’t hate me! And other musings on life over the past 15 months.

Remember how last time I checked in, I was training for my first 1/2 marathon in foreeeeeverrrrr? And I promised I wouldn’t quit? Well guess what? I actually ran it, and I didn’t quit. I mean clearly, I quit blogging. But I didn’t quit running. I tortured myself with mid-day and after work runs because as we have previously discussed, I have borderline PTSD from almost a decade of rising before the sun for morning swim practices. So I suffered through 90% humidity and 98 degrees (both the temperature AND the boy band) in the summer months, and finally was rewarded with my first trip to Vancouver. I hung out with lots of really awesome new friends, I slept on a sidewalk, I shopped til I dropped the morning before the race, and then I got to do this:

SW1SW3SW4

Disclaimer: the first picture isn’t mine. I pulled it of the interwebs but it isn’t copyrighted as far as I know. The others I took and yes, Vancouver is that awesome. I won’t bore you with the minutiae about the race, other than this- I ran slow (by former Jen standards) and I enjoyed EVERY minute of that race. The first 8 miles were a breeze. The weather was phenomenal, the course was fun and not too challenging. I was averaging about a 9:00 min/mile pace. I really started to hurt around mile 9, as I didn’t run more than 9 during training because a) I didn’t carve out the time for long runs and b) my knee was giving me some grief the last couple months. Anyway, I made sure to just keep moving, no walking, no stopping. I had a smile on my face the entire way and when I crossed the finish line somewhere around 2:03, I was thrilled that I just did not quit. It was by far the slowest 1/2 I have ever run, 10 minutes slower than a pregnant half marathon I ran many moons ago. But it was hands down the best running experience of my life. And perhaps the pinnacle of the race? FREE BRUNCH AFTERWARD.

If I had recapped the race in the immediate aftermath, rather than 49 weeks later, then it would have been much more drawn out (yes, this is an abbreviated version), with many more details and gushing about the post-runner’s high that I had. But alas, the months have marched on and my memory has faded. Plus, I’m sure you’re not here to read about the last race I did. You want to know what else has so occupied my time that I couldn’t return to bless you with my verbal diarrhea for over a year. Well, this happened:

baby feet

Ahahahaha just kidding. The shop is closed.

I’ll tell you what happened. It wasn’t pretty.

Within a couple weeks after that race, I started dealing with a lot of “stuff” to put it mildly. I experienced some pretty traumatic events in my professional life. I won’t get into the details but that, coupled with the extreme exhaustion caused by ramping up my running, the travel to/from Vancouver, camping out in Vancouver, the race that I was ill-prepared for, being severely sleep deprived the whole trip, and some personal drama (save the drama for yo’ mama please) led to me suffering from some very severe fatigue, plus other not so awesome symptoms. The thing is, I didn’t hit “pause” throughout this. You can’t really do that when you have a job (that by the way, you HATE because you’re being harassed daily), three kids, and a very full life. So I kept on moving. I was going to Flywheel five days a week because at the time, I didn’t know what was going on with my body, and I knew that working out always helped de-stress me. But little did I know that this constant high intensity cardio was actually not good for me. So I gained 10 pounds (on top of the baby weight that I was still nurturing from 2014, oops), I was constantly fatigued, my blood pressure was high, and essentially left me feeling worse when it was time to go… than ever before. I felt like my body was attacking itself.

I started working with my endocrinologist to get to the bottom of my concerns, and he determined my body was over producing cortisol, also known as “the stress hormone.” It was in a constant state of “fight or flight” because of the physical and emotional stress I was undergoing daily. My thyroid was also acting funky again, so we adjusted my meds and he recommended taking it easy with the cardio, trying yoga and walking. Um what did you just say? WALKING? WHAT IS WALKING? Like that thing you do when you bring your groceries inside from the car? I don’t even understand these words coming out of your mouth, Doc! But at this point I was just so sad and frustrated, I was willing to do whatever he told me, besides give up Diet Pepsi. Sorry, it’s true. I have problems.

While it wasn’t that difficult for me to change my fitness routine, I had another problem: my career. I was so completely miserable in my job that it affected my interactions with most everyone in my life. Again, I won’t get into the gory details but I was desperate for a way out. When I was at my rock bottom, a wonderful friend/mentor linked me up with her friend. They counseled me through the situation, and eventually, helped me get a new job. The day I accepted this new job, it was like 10,000 pounds have been lifted off me. And I wanted to write 10,000 words to express how grateful I am to them, but I clearly cannot find the time these days, so this will have to suffice. THANK YOU GINGER. I am crying just typing this, because I was in such a dark place and assumed I would have to become jobless and then destitute and WHAT WOULD I DO WITH ALL MY LULULEMON????

Once I started my new job, everything changed. I had a beautiful on site fitness facility complete with a MASSAGE THERAPIST, a cafeteria that serves delicious sushi every Wednesday, walking trails, a commitment to wellness, a free nutritionist, rooms with treadmill desks, and hi did I mention the sushi day? Basically, it was everything I could ever hope for in a job, besides the fact that The Avett Brothers don’t play on site every Friday. That was an unfortunate downside of this company, but it’s okay, I got over it. My mental wellbeing changed significantly within days. But here is the thing… my weight/body did not. It was like I had permanently damaged my metabolism or something. And well, if you are a woman with a history of body dysmorphia, that kinda sucks.

So around New Year’s, I decided to start lifting heavy weight again. Mostly lower body, like squats, lunges, and deadlifts. Because who doesn’t want to turn their pancake butt into a peach? AmIright? I also began tracking my food intake, using the very nifty app My Fitness Pal. I calculated my nutritional needs/macro numbers at Bodybuilding.com, and then plugged all that into the app. PS- you may be asking what macro’s (macronutrients) are, and I would love to post a link, but most of the decent ones are tied to websites trying to sell you crap, so you can just google if you care to learn. Anyway, once I started tracking my macros and adding a little resistance training to my workouts, I started seeing changes in my measurements and my weight. Conservative but encouraging. Then I quit because well, I just have a really hard time sticking with stuff, as you have already seen many times if you have been following this blog. To those of you who have stuck with me, anxiously awaiting a post once a year, CHEERS to you!

I got down on myself again about the weight gain, because on May 8, 2017 I hit an all-time non-pregnant high weight. In fact, I *achieved* the weight that I was the day I gave birth to my first kid. I won’t share the number because that is unimportant to y’all, but it was completely demoralizing. I started in the mirror and thought “I don’t have a mom bod. I’m pretty hot, right? Where is all that weight hiding?” Oh right, I got that skinny mirror at Walmart and it makes my legs look long and lean, and all my selfies are taking with this miraculous phone that has a *slim face* feature. Wow, Samsung really knows what women want! And to dear sweet Super Dad, who said “but muscle weighs more than fat, right Honey?” BLESS YOU. But fool, I know my body fat percentage and I am not walking around with 3% or 13% or even 23% body fat my friend. That is not muscle. It’s fat. It’s a lot of fat. Oh sweet baby Jebus where did all that fat come from? Oh right, Bojangles. BISCUITS. FRIED CHICKEN. I’m hungry right now.

So how did I remedy this situation? How did I lose 12 pounds and 6% body fat in 8 weeks? Stay tuned, I’ll be back tomorrow. I PROMISE. No really, I have the post drafted and it is scheduled to post tomorrow.

Here’s a hint, and it doesn’t involve herbs or shakes or wraps or any of that other crap people try to sell me on the regular…

chang

 

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I’m quitting quitting

I’m a quitter. I freely admit it. I hope you have your reading glasses on, and don’t quit on me. Because this post is loooooong. What can I say? I have like 9 months to atone for.

It all goes back to my childhood. I quit trying to be an older sibling, so I ended up an only child. When I was a young swimmer, I switched events because my friend started beating me. I figured, if I’m not doing that event anymore, she isn’t really beating me.

Then in college, when I did horribly in Chemistry my first semester, I quit on my dream to become a doctor. Because it was too hard, and because I was no longer the best at schooling. I was used to basically just breathing and getting straight A’s. In college- not so much. So I just switched to a major that I couldn’t fail at. And I ended up in law school. Where all my greatest dreams came true. Ummmmm.

When I took up running, I was finally doing something that I felt I could succeed at again. Because I didn’t excel as a collegiate swimmer or a future doctor or even a future lawyer (though somehow I ended up with a JD and a job). I hadn’t ever run a half marathon before, so my first half was a PR. And then my second, and my third, and so on. Then I picked up marathon running, and that resulted in PR’s. Until one day it didn’t. One day, when I knew I hadn’t put in the work and I went out too fast, I saw a non-PR on the horizon. So I quit. I walked, and I jogged, and I walked, then I came up with some lame excuse. And promised myself I wouldn’t quit again.

Then motherhood came along. And I learned how you can’t quit. You can’t just stop waking up for your baby, you can’t lay down and cry when she is sick and needs you. You can’t stop going to work when it’s too hard, or let your baby stick her finger in an electrical outlet. It just ain’t gonna happen- unless you want someone to call the authorities on you.

I started training for a marathon when SuperGirl was about 7 months old. And guess what? I didn’t quit. I finished within about 5 minutes of my PR, which I considered pretty good for someone who had to pump then strap on two bras in order to go out for a long run. I felt like maybe my luck had changed.

But then I messed up my shoulder and had two surgeries in the first 18 months of SuperGirl’s life, and it all kind of spiraled down from there. I couldn’t get my groove back. Gosh, I so feel for Stella. I dabbled in stuff- bootcamp here, cycle there, running shorter distances. Then I got pregnant and it was like “YES, I have an excuse not to train as hard or an explanation for why I didn’t PR.” Can you believe that crap?

I ran a half when I was pregnant with SuperBoy, and it was so liberating running for a pregnancy PR. I had no real time to beat, so it was such an enjoyable experience. I PR’d a 10k at 28.5 weeks pregnant, because I had never run a 10k (that distance is the WORST bt dubs). I did not really run during my pregnancy with SuperToddler, because I was nursing a back injury and decided to take up Crossfit instead. Huh? That totally makes sense.

Doing Crossfit during that pregnancy was awesome because everything was so NEW! Double unders! Box jumps! Snatches! Thrusters (DEVIL!!!) Being pregnant, kicking ass and taking names- it felt so good. I was on top of the world again. I was THAT woman Crossfitting with a very noticeable baby bump, and everybody noticed my fat ass waddling around the building carrying a sand bag. It felt good to be the best at being pregnant and exercising. HOW DUMB IS THAT???

After having SuperGirl I was convinced I would bounce right back and finally do an unassisted pullup – because seriously, trying to learn how to do an unassisted pullup for the first time ever, when you weigh 20 pounds more than normal, it’s not that easy. I would crush my back squat and deadlift PR’s because those were pregnancy PR’s and everybody knows that you have to hold back when pregnant. Right? Well I let the proverbial cart get ahead of the horse, and injured myself again and again. Have we discussed where I can purchase a nice bubble to reside in? Preferably one made by Lululemon? I’ll even settle for Athleta. Or that Ivy Park crap from Queen Bey.

 

I’ve spent the better part of a year learning how to accept my body’s limitations. I’m not 25 anymore, I’m 29. Ok, not really, but the point is that I am no longer a nubile young 25-year-old. I am fairly certain that SuperToddler broke my body and she’s very VERY lucky she’s so cute and sleeps 13 hours a night, because otherwise I would be super pissed. My thyroid tanked, I am a good 15 pounds over my normal fighting weight, my other hormonal dealio things are whacked (I blame ‘roids- not the fun make you super ripped kind, but the “I have pneumonia” or “my neck is screwed” kind), and my spine is definitely a wonderland. So where do I go from here?

For starters, I have been channeling my inner competitor at Flywheel since last spring. There is this Torqboard that is fantastic/horrible for maniacs like myself. You can see how you stack up to your competition, or you can elect not to participate in the board, in which case you are only competing against yourself. That’s cool I guess, but I would rather see your name in lights (unless you are beating me). SuperDad is concerned that this is only further fueling the fire that is my competitive psychosis, but I disagree, sorta. Yeah, I get very wrapped up in my score. But I also try to learn new ways to improve. I listen to my body, and when it’s sore, I just do what I can. I figure out different ways to engage my abs, my hamstrings, my BOOTY, and even my feet! It has made me so much stronger in so many ways. There are SO many times I have wanted to quit, and I’ve only followed through with quitting like 20% 40% of the time. That’s better than 100%, right? Throw me a bone here.

Although the status of my neck is still up in the air (read: I may need another surgery. I know, I don’t want to talk about it), I have decided to give myself an attainable goal to work toward. I am going to Vancouver to run the Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon  this August. I will get to meet some amazing ladies that have helped me get through the past year. Seriously, some of the kindest, funniest, most incredible people I have ever had the pleasure of “meeting” in the way we 21st century earthlings meet. I can’t wait to snuggle them and braid their hair and spend alllll the monies on French pastries (do they have those in Vancouver? Because they should) and poutine and special edition Lulu goodies that we will camp out for. Because we are legit crazy.

And that is what is going to keep me from quitting. This is I want to experience so badly. Meeting people who I have laughed and cried with, running, partying, doing the yoga thang, shopping, and seeing THIS (that’s Vancouver right? Cuz I googled Vancouver and this image appeared)!

Van

Will I get a PR? Probably not. Will I quit? Nope. I’m done quitting. Which I guess makes me a quitter still.

 

An ode to the 21 Day Sugar Detox. Also known as, that time my body didn’t hate me.

in my last post, I casually mentioned how I had recently embarked on the 21 Day Sugar Detox. I didn’t get into all the gory details because I was about 4 days in and quite frankly, not 100% at all confident about my ability to follow through. I am not known for having the most self control (see e.g., Lululemon shopping). I don’t think Super Dad or anyone who is even remotely familiar with me, including Super Girl, had any confidence in my ability to complete the detox. Perhaps this is why I was actually successful?

The whole premise behind the detox is that you need 21 days to “break the chains sugar and carbs have on you – and help you find food freedom.” To call my addiction to sugar and carbs “intense” would be an understatement. I had the diet of a toddler: carbs, carbs, and more carbs. The only difference between me and a 2 year old is that I ate more, I drank booze, and I chugged Diet Pepsi. Shudder. Times a million. I was convinced that my chronic pain and another inflammatory condition from which I suffer were exacerbated by my horrific diet. After talking with some friends and perusing the internets (and more importantly, getting – and ignoring for 3 months – a free 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook from a friend), I decided to dive in. Here is the gist of what you can’t eat on this detox: grain, sugar (including sugar from molasses, honey, coconut sugar, stevia, whatever), artificial sweetener, fruits other than coconut, lemons and limes (oh thank God, because I eat like 10 a day… said no one ever), green-tipped bananas, and apples. And, YOU CANNOT DRINK BOOZE. AT ALL. I repeat: NO BOOZE.

After mentally preparing for months, I set a date to start the detox. I bought a bunch of coconut aminos, coconut oil, coconut milk, coconut water, and basically everything else ever made from coconut, and started planning out my attack plan.  I chose what I could make ahead of time for breakfast and snacks so I wouldn’t just grab a cereal bar or eat spoonfuls of honey-infused creamy all the sugar added peanut butter whenever I was starving. I set up our produce box so I would have all the ingredients to make meals that seemed simple enough, but tasty enough that I wouldn’t miss the Chinese Food I wouldn’t be eating.  Yes, shudder again. That is what I used to eat. Frequently.

I made sure to remove all things from the house that I would normally want: ice cream, chocolate, Korean pastries, American pastries, French pastries, cookies, that other carton of ice cream. I planned out our dinners and what I would eat versus the kids. I would usually have some 21DSD approved version of their meals. So I would feed them veggie pasta and make spaghetti squash for myself. And then, they would end up eating all of my spaghetti squash. Why does this always happen?

The first day, I made sure to fill myself up with eggs and have a nice big coffee with coconut milk. The taste of actual coffee, not covered with vanilla syrup or a bunch of Splenda (cancer sprinkles) was horrifying. People actually drink coffee black? How is this possible? Oh well, at least I can have my caffeine so nobody gets murdered at work. I snacked on pistachios and cheese at work. Dinner was some delicious chicken and vegetables I prepared the previous evening. I felt GOOD and it had only been 12 hours.

The next couple days were smooth sailing. I felt less bloated, less belchy, less gassy, and didn’t get my typical afternoon sugar crashes. I lost 4 pounds in a couple days. Obviously water weight. I was less rage-y with the drivers on the road. I didn’t wave to anybody but hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Around day 5, I noticed I was getting lightheaded and nauseous, and then I was like “oh duh, I have been working out hard every day, running in 100 degree heat, and eating maybe 50 grams of carbs a day. And I have no clue how much protein.” Instead of focusing on what I SHOULD eat, I was focusing on what I should not eat. I wasn’t timing my carbs right or eating enough protein. Plus, my body was going into ketosis, learning how to metabolize fat instead of carbs. I remedied that very quickly, and discovered my love of coconut water. Sooooo yummy, especially after an intense workout.

The weekend were particularly hard because I spend a lot of time at the pool with the kids, and the pool snackbar isn’t exactly known for having Paleo friendly or sugar free selections.  I once went without packing anything other than animal crackers and Goldfish for the kids. So yeah, that worked out well. I also love a nice ice cold Diet Pepsi when I am at the pool. I know, I’m gross. The 4th of July was not super amazing either. Why did I choose to have Day 11 of the detox fall on 4th of July? I know, because I’m a moron. I snacked on veggies with homemade dressing, burgers without a bun, and organic Applegate Farms hot dogs. And more veggies. And oh, I drank a lot of La Croix and plain water. I used to despise La Croix because it felt like it was a juice poser. Such a tease, like “here is just a hint of Grapefruit/Lime/Raspberry. Do you like that? Well that’s all you’re getting!!!” Now, it is a way for me to get my bubbly fix. I will say that tolerating my children while sober on the 4th of July was exceptionally difficult, but it did help to ensure that no sparkler injuries occurred.

I won’t recap the other 10 days because they were uneventful.  Eating the same things over and over got B-O-R-I-N-G but I had a lightbulb moment when I realized that my diet was super boring before. I ate the same terrible things over and over again. I had very little variety when it came to the fatty and carb-filled treats.  I ate a lot of pizza and Chinese Food and Jimmy John’s. So why was I so bored eating the same healthy things repeatedly? With each day, avoiding junk became easier. Watching the kids eat ice cream was not that hard. Driving by Bojangles was easy. I don’t know if is because staying away from sugar and most carbs just made me stop wanting them, or because feeling SO DAMN GOOD helped me plug on, or some combination of these things. But I really was surprised when all of a sudden, it was day 21. Super Dad was obviously surprised too. The “WOW, I am really proud of you for finishing the detox” was code for “I was absolutely 15927% sure you would eat a biscuit on day 3, so bravo.”

I finished the detox last Sunday and on Monday, I was like “hmmm what should I eat today?” I was hesitant to see what would happen when I “broke the seal.” I started with my typical breakfast that I had prepared a few nights earlier. I packed a salad for lunch as usual. But then I had a hot pretzel at the mall and a Diet Pepsi. I about spit the drink out. It was so.freaking.sweet. Like, disgusting. The pretzel though- it was glorious. But I felt like a steaming pile of dung within an hour. I was bloated, and I felt so full and gross. The next day I ate well again for breakfast but had a sandwich for lunch. Felt terrible again all afternoon.  And so on and so forth.  I ate cupcakes this weekend, and Chinese Food, and pizza. And last night I decided that eating all that crap is simply not what I want. I gained back all 5 pounds I lost and then another for good measure (lol, I blame weaning Super Baby and going on some medication, yup, right that is it) and some of my pain returned. You are what you eat. I have said it many times before. It is a cliche but it is so true. I eat crap, I feel like crap.

It took 21 days on the 21 Day Sugar Detox for me to kick my sugar cravings. It took about an hour for me to realize that even though I like the way cupcakes and donuts and pizza make me feel for about 21 seconds, I hate the way I feel for days afterwards. I need to find a way to make some version of the detox a sustainable part of my life. Today, I had not a drop of added sugar, no sugar substitutes, nothing. And I already feel better. So I am open to suggestions, and I encourage anyone who feels controlled by carbs and sugar to try the 21 Day Sugar Detox (no this is not sponsored).

I AM ALIVE

Wow, I am the WORST BLOGGER EVER. Seriously.

But I have a great excuse. Bear with me for a moment. I had another baby! neck surgery. Well, that only explains the last five months of inactivity. But the three months before that, I was dealing with some serious low back and neck issues which made running and being anything other than a sloth pretty difficult.  I think I averaged about 15 miles per week of running. That was pretty impressive, I know.

Anyway, fast forward to January 17, 2015. This happened. neck An anterior cervical discectomy and fusion at C5-6. They removed the C5-6 disc and replaced it with some screws, or something.

And this is what it looked like on the outside. neck2 I’m sorry, I can’t help that I’m sexy. My mama came to help me recover, which was very nice of her, especially during almost tax season (she is a CPA). We spent two nights in a fancy hotel with Super Girl, and I watched tv, read trashy magazines, drank stuff through a straw, and Vicodin-texted people. It’s almost as fun as ambien texting. Almost. Super Girl told me I needed to go to lululemon to get a scarf to cover my neck hole, so of course, I did.

The next several weeks were tough. I wasn’t allowed to drive for two weeks, or lift more than a gallon of milk for 6 weeks, which meant I couldn’t pick up my own kids, including Super Baby. Which also means that Super Dad had to ramp up his super parenting skills exponentially, which you wouldn’t think possible, given that he already does everything around here. He would go and get Super Baby from her crib in the middle of the night and set her down beside me in the bed so I could nurse her. Then he would put her back in her crib. Sidebar: WHY did my third baby decide to be the one who was a crappy sleeper? Super Girl and Super Toddler slept through the night at like 7 days old. Not really, but within the first three months of life. Super Dad also had to take them to daycare and pick them up every day for a few weeks. I eventually got to the point where daycare would help me bring the kids out to the car so that I could at least pick them up at the end of the work day. I also couldn’t really be alone with Super Baby because if she needed to be picked up, I couldn’t exactly rely on Super Girl to do it. Although she is freakishly strong for a 5-year-old.

Do you guys know about parenting points? It’s where one parent accumulates points (to be cashed in at a later date) by doing things like watching all the kids for a weekend, or getting up with the baby in the middle of the night, or what have you. Well, Super Dad accumulated about 749,204,573 points during my recovery. He has cashed in approximately 3,200 of them during a recent trip to Colorado. So I am still seriously in the red.

Another awesome thing happened in the winter. We got a ton of ice and snow. About three weeks after surgery, I slipped and fell on the ice, which is definitely  not something you want to happen when you are recovering from a cervical fusion. I was starting to feel a lot better post-surgery. I had regained much of the strength in my left hand which I had lost, and my thumb and hand pain were almost gone. But after I fell, I began having this horrible nerve pain in my right shoulder. I know, I should play the lottery because I have the best luck ever! Well, guess what? To this day, I am still dealing with that pain. I managed to herniate the disc below where I had my fusion. Why? Because when you have a fusion, the levels below and above are at greater risk for herniation. So, yeah, that’s fun.

I am treating with my orthopedic surgeon and a pain management specialist, and have gotten two epidural steroid injections, several trigger point injections, and am going to start physical therapy. I do electric stim at home too. In the mean time, my running has been virtually nonexistent because the jostling seems to bother me. And I am seriously boo-hooing because I haven’t been able to go to Madabolic Raleigh since the new year (seriously, if you are in Raleigh, Charlotte, Charlottesville, Asheville, Greenville, or one of those other ‘villes, you NEED to go. They have an awesome program going and the owners of the Raleigh location are the sweetest people ever). But I have been going to Flywheel a lot because it is low impact and it totally feeds my competitive illness. If I’m not in first place at the end of a class, I feel like I just wasted $20. It’s the only thing I can win at these days, besides eBay and “how many times a day can you yell at your kids?” contests.

I am also turning around my diet with the 21 Day Sugar Detox, which is basically Paleo. I think, I’m not sure. I never really looked into Paleo before because I was 100% convinced I could never give up bread. As we all know from my blog name, I am super into carbs. Like, the bad kind. I am hoping that putting the kibosh on gobbling sweets and swigging Diet Pepsi will help with my pain and some other health issues I won’t get into here.  More on that in my next post, which I PROMISE will not be in 8 months. I am only on day 2 of the detox and so far it is going pretty well. If by “pretty well” you mean “in a way that makes me wish I could be in a medically induced coma for the next 20 days.”  No really, it isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be, minus the excruciating amount of time I have to spend prepping food and cooking. Which is (how many times can you divide zero into one hour?) times more than I typically spend on those things each day.

But first, I leave you with two delicious things:

1) The Banana Vanilla Bean N’oatmeal that I had for breakfast this morning. To die for.

2) This baby. Who needs to be eaten, immediately. Babies are Paleo, right?

coco2

Half full

No, the title of this post doesn’t describe me after a visit to Gigi’s Cupcakes or any place that serves biscuits.  Because if so, it would be titled “TOTALLY UNCOMFORTABLY FULL.”

Several friends reached out to me after my last post, saying they were sorry about my back problems, and offering their support. I responded to one of them that it isn’t really so bad because I no longer have to stress out every day about how I am going to fit a workout in along with everything else I try to do in 24 hours, including keeping three small humans alive. She said it was a very glass half full way to look at things.

I am not usually a glass half full kind of person.  In fact, I am a glass mostly empty type of person. I am not very positive, as I assume that the worst will happen to me. Yeah, it is a pretty awesome way to live life… said no one ever. I just found over the years that if I don’t expect that much, I can’t be let down as much.  Sounds reasonable, right?

But with my newfound free slightly less totally frantic and mind-spinning time, I realize that taking a completely non-voluntary break from exercising is making me slightly less insane than I thought it would. This is because I have eliminated the total chaos that comes from trying to get to the gym or sneak in a run while having a full-time job out of the home, a part-time job on the side, breast-feeding, chauffering three kids to/from daycare, and attempting to sleep at least 12 hours a day (kidding sort of).  I am by no means saying that I am giving up on working out and devoting myself to blogging and competitive eating. What I am saying is there is a bright side, and maybe the universe was trying to keep me from having a nervous breakdown.

Here is how my days looked M-F with no kids:

1) Wake up when my alarm goes off.
2) Eat a bowl of hot oatmeal, or maybe some scrambled eggs or pancakes while watching TV that was DVR’d just one night earlier.
3) Go to work.
4) Come home.
5) Have a snack and read a book maybe.
6) Go to the gym or on a 7 mile run with the dogs.
7) Come home and shower.
8) Put on makeup.
9) Go out to eat with Super Husband.
10) Come home and watch TV.
11) Go to bed whenever.
12) Sleep 9 hours with no interruptions. Repeat.

Life with one kid (after three months):

image

1) Wake up to either hungry baby or alarm clock, depending on whether or not it is a good day.

2) Feed her.

3) Eat some cereal standing up while perusing Us magazine.

4) Prepare bottles for daycare.

5) Drop baby off at daycare.

6) Go to work.

7) Pick baby up from daycare and drive straight to the gym.

8) Come home from gym and shower while SuperDad feeds baby a bottle.

9) Eat dinner with SuperDad at the dinner table. Or take baby out to dinner. Unless she is over one year old. Then don’t even bother until everyone in your house is > 3 years old.

10) Put baby to bed.

11) Watch tv for an hour or so, or play video games with SuperDad, then go to bed. Heck, maybe you even get a sitter and go out to a BAR?!

12) Go to bed.

Repeat

Life with two kids (after three months):

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1) Wake up to either hungry baby or toddler who needs to pee or has had a bad dream.

2) Feed both children.

3) Make bottles for daycare.

4) Take both children to daycare (add 6 minutes to prior drop-off routine)

5)  Go home and get diapers because you forgot those for the baby.

6) Take diapers to daycare.

7) Go back home and get your pump.

8) Go to work.

9) Eat a granola bar at your desk.

10) Pick kids up from daycare.

11) Go to the gym.

12) Leave the gym because you forgot to bring snacks for the toddler. She is starving and refuses to go into childcare without a snack.

13) Put the kids in the double stroller and go for a run, after feeding toddler. And pumping.

14)  Feed both kids dinner, then bathe them (most nights).

15) Put baby to bed.

16) Watch Friends or New Girl with your toddler, while you eat a luke warm Lean Cuisine. She doesn’t know what they are talking about- she is only 2 1/2.

17) Put toddler to bed.

18) Take a shower.

19) Watch tv for 30 minutes with SuperDad.

20) Pass out.

Repeat

Life with three kids:

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1) Alarm goes off at 5 so you can pump then run or go to Crossfit at 6. Turn alarm off because you can work out at lunch. Uh huh, totally gonna happen.

2) Wake up to either a hungry baby, hungry toddler, toddler with a nose bleed, preschooler who has wet the bed or had a bad dream or lost her Hello Kitty or is concerned about her Halloween costume, or some combination of the above.

3) Nurse the baby while everyone else sleeps, assuming she was the first one up. Otherwise, nurse the baby while toddler screams, preschooler watches Peppa Pig in your bed, and SuperDad takes world’s fastest shower.

4) Go downstairs to make bottles for daycare, feed the dogs, pour some cereal for the older kids, grab any bills that need to be paid. Do not concern yourself with getting anything for you or SuperDad to eat. That is what vending machines are for.

5) Go upstairs and grab diapers for baby to put in diaper bag. Run downstairs and put in diaper bag.

6) Go back upstairs to get diapers for toddler. Put in diaper bag.

7) Get baby dressed.

8) Get yourself dressed then throw on makeup.

9) Pack your gym bag. Don’t forget clean underwear and a towel if you are going at lunch.

10) Leave SuperDad at home to deal with the monsters children. He has to dress them, feed them, get them in the car, and make it to work before noon 9 10.

11) Drive to work.

12) Realize when you are pulling into the parking garage that you forgot a sports bra for the gym. So yeah, that workout is not happening.

13) Get some overly hard boiled eggs from the cafeteria at work.

14) Eat hard boiled eggs at your desk aka stink up your office for the rest of the day. Who cares? It is protein and you are the boss.

15) Leave work to pick up kids from daycare. Don’t forget a snack or they will scream THE WHOLE WAY HOME.

16) Kids screaming the whole way home.

17) Once you get home, don’t let the starving, under-exercised dogs knock you over while you are carrying a baby through the door.

18) Be prepared to whip up a super cheesy, carb-filled healthy dinner in 14 seconds. Or the kids will scream. Or better yet, make sure SuperDad is already home and cooking.

19) Turn on the babysitter TV. Peppa Pig or Sophia the First. Top Chef if you are very very lucky.

20) Convince toddler to eat 1.5 bites of quinoa pasta and peas.

21) Nurse the baby.

22) Attempt to eat a delicious Caprese salad that you have been waiting to eat all day. Because kids hate mozzarella and balsamic. False. They will eat all of it even though they wanted nothing to do with their pasta. You have half a tomato slice and lick the balsamic off the plate, while standing of course. Super filling. And satisfying.

23) Bathe kids if it is Monday or Thursday. Wash hair if it is Thursday.

24) Put toddler to bed.

25) Nurse baby.

26) Take a shower.

27) Nurse baby some more (cluster feeding is AWESOME!) then put her to bed.

28) Read stories to preschooler. Answer 75 questions during two stories.

29) Put her to bed.

30) Go to bed 9 minutes later.

So needless to say, eliminating three steps from the routine these days has made it a lot easier for me to focus on important things like posting pictures on Instagram (@willrunforbiscuits– follow me!), watching Bravo, and hanging out with my tiny people.

In all seriousness though, because we know I am a super serious person, this isn’t meant to scream “look how awesome I am” or “life is so easy with one kid” but… no wait, I AM saying life was easier with one kid. I ran a lot. I slept a lot. I hung out with SuperDad a lot. But with each kid my heart has expanded more than I thought possible. You make sacrifices to have one, two, ten kids (don’t have ten kids- unless you are a kitten. In which case bravo, you are a blog-reading kitten). You sacrifice your figure, your time, sometimes your sanity. But it is oh so worth it. So if that means I won’t be running a sub 3:40 marathon again for 5 more years, so be it. Even though I love the endorphins and it keeps me level, it will never fill my glass the way these crazy kids do. I hope to get back to running and working out as soon as I can, but in the mean time, I will enjoy my precious “free” time.

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You are what you eat… part II

Since my last post, I got a lot of feedback from people who said they could relate to my story about my battle with eating issues.  I am so glad that I was able to reach out to people who may have struggled in the past or are struggling now.  That said, I really wish that I was not such a hypocrite.  I am really frustrated about the fact that my body has not changed since I wrote that post about 7 weeks ago. I know I am still only 3 months post partum and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, but I really am not used to having a jiggly belly.  I want to wear pants with buttons.  I still have to wear maternity pants to work because all my dress pants are really small.  Note to self: If you are not pregnant, and don’t want to look pregnant, don’t wear maternity pants. Yikes.  Getting dressed for work in the morning almost puts me in tears because I feel like I only have about 3 outfits that fit me.  Not to mention I can’t really wear dresses because I have to pump while at work and I don’t feel like being half naked sitting at my desk (in my office- door closed!) with my dress around my neck. Awkward.

I really didn’t worry about the scale for a while because as I mentioned before, the number isn’t all that matters to me anymore.  What does matter is how I feel and also, to be honest, how my clothes fit.  I really felt I was getting to a place where I felt strong and secure, but that all stalled out a few weeks ago and quite frankly, I know the culprit- my diet.  I don’t use the term diet in the sense of limiting what I eat.  Rather, I mean that my diet, or lack thereof, is holding me back in a lot of ways.

About a year ago, I posted about how you are what you eat.  I seriously wanted to commit myself to eating healthier and setting a better example for Super Girl and Super Toddler.  They are actually pretty good eaters.  They love broccoli, beans, squash, zucchini, and asparagus.  But, and MAJOR but here, they are also carbaholics like their mom.  I did pretty well sort of ok with the cleaner eating until I got preggo with Super Baby last summer/fall.  Then it was all downhill, which is exactly what you don’t want to do when pregnant.  You are supposed to nourish your growing baby with the good stuff, not Bojangles.

I continued eating poorly after she was born, and after I started legitimately working out again at about 6 weeks post partum.  In the interest of full disclosure, here is a sampling of my daily meals: Breakfast- Cinnamon Life Cereal mixed with Honey Nut Cheerios (not a trough full, just a regular sized bowl.  Still, probably about 3 servings worth if I was measuring out actual suggested servings) with 2% milk, a big glass of water, and a Diet Pepsi.  Stop judging me already! Lunch- A Beach Club from Jimmy John’s.  It has turkey, ham, lettuce, tomato, provolone cheese, and mayo.  I go easy on the mayo and cheese, so it’s probably only like 200 calories worth instead of 300.  Another Diet Pepsi.  Seriously, I know I have issues.  Snack- an apple, Cheezits, and maybe a 2% Fage yogurt. Dinner- whatever Super Dad makes (on a good day).  Most days- pizza, some sort of salad with Ranch dressing, or pasta.  Some days- a couple scoops of frozen yogurt. Or a bowl of grapes, strawberries, or blueberries on a good day. I am truly HORRIFIED actually reading this.  There is nothing good about this, except the days when Super Dad cooks tilapia, squash, zucchini, eggplant, and rice for us.  But with three kids and full time jobs, delicious gourment meals from my personal man chef are farther and fewer between.  I can’t complain because I squat, but I don’t do squat.

There really is no point in beating myself up over my terrible eating choices for the past, oh, 10 months. It’s water under the bridge. But my bad habits are rubbing off on the Super kids.  Super Girl pretty much expects dessert every day, even if it is just one small piece of chocolate.  I am pretty sure the first two words that Super Toddler strung together were “cheesy puff.” I am dead serious, but can at least sort of put the blame on my neighbor who ALWAYS has Cheetos around.  Man those things are good.  Anyway, I have had to put the kaibosh on the dessert and snacks which means that I also can’t eat that stuff every day either, because what kind of mom would I be if I tell them “do as I say, not as I do”?  I don’t want to set them up for having body issues like me, or an unhealthy relationship with food.

Also, I feel like CRAP. I mean, it doesn’t help that I can only sporadically count on a full night’s sleep and that I am trying to squeeze in the following on a daily basis: 1) raising three kids, 2) working out, 3) a full time job, 4) a new side job for an amazing company that I am totally in love with, 5) keeping up with the Kardashians, 6) hanging out with my girlfriends, and 7) not totally neglecting the incredible Super Dad. Phew, I am tired just reading that. Side bar- #humblebrag much? Beside the whole Kardashians thing.  I am 100% certain that the way I am eating is doing absolutely nothing to improve my energy level or the skin tightedness (I know that’s not a word) of my clothing. It’s a vicious circle. I’m tired, so I make bad eating choices, which makes me more tired, which sometimes causes me to skip a workout.  If I don’t skip a workout, it’s usually not a very good one.  And I’m even more tired, so I eat poorly again. Plus, don’t they say that abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym? If that’s true, then throw an apron on me because I need to get in the kitchen.

So it’s all on the table now.  I started my day with my cereal cocktail before my morning workout.  I mean, I burned all those carbs off right? I had a fresh pressed juice from Raleigh Raw after my workout, and I felt so incredible all day that I ran 10 miles after work.  Psych.  I know it’s going to take a while, and I don’t know if I am capable of giving up all my vices cold turkey, but I’m committing myself to it this time around because I can’t afford new pants.  And I can’t afford to continue setting a bad example for my family.