Little Mama On The Prairie

A life and weight-loss journey.

Still At It!

With three little ones underfoot, spare time is scarce and hard to find these days but just an update to say I’m still at my efforts to keep at regular workouts and mindful, healthy eating. I am now down 21 pounds since re-boarding this bandwagon and I am happy with how things are going. Slow but steady and heading in the right direction. In 15 pounds I will be down to the lowest weight I reached before becoming pregnant the last time. Seems like a good goal to reach before setting my sights on the next one.

I had a conversation with my kids at lunch yesterday. We often talk about foods and whether they are healthy, not at all healthy, or okay to consume in moderation and still be somewhat healthy. This time we talked about sugar and butter. How our body uses both and why “fat” is good for us in the right forms and amounts and isn’t what actually makes us fat but how sugar really is never good for us except for our enjoyment sometimes and how our body converts sugar to fat. The fact that my son also has poor teeth, our sugar conversations serve a two-fold purpose! Helping them to understand that treats occasionally are fun but are purely for the sake of a sensory enjoyment, not nutritional in any sense of the word and that is why we don’t have dessert or sugar drinks with every meal. I am still completely honest with my kids about how my poor choices and lack of understanding of healthy eating led to my obesity and why it is important, health wise, that I now treat my condition with proper nutrition and exercise. Whether or not I ever get “skinny” is not the point.

Remember way back when I said my daughter didn’t notice I was overweight yet, I was just her mom and it was just the way things were? I know, that was ages ago. My baby girl is almost 6 years old now and let’s just say, she’s not so oblivious anymore but it has led to some great conversations about health and body image. I am already noticing the negative influence of peers and media and the emphasis on being skinny but hopefully the messages I’m sending her on healthfulness and how our value is not rooted in our weight or what we look like will take root and overpower the negative messages she’s already hearing.

After this conversation, I made sure to repeat to my kids, it doesn’t matter what size any person is though, everyone is special and everyone is beautiful. To see if they grasped the concept, I asked if God loved skinny people most or “fat” people the most? Who was most special to God? I am so thankful that both of my kids answered that God loves both the same!

Hopefully, so will they.

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Time To Come Back!

Hey! It’s been a while! Like a long while. Like long enough to have had a baby while. I admit, I’m disappointed I let myself get this far off track before coming back (stress + pregnancy will do that to you sometimes) but I am coming back and in the end, I think that is what matters.

Since I last posted, we have added a cuddly, cute little boy to our family. He has been a sweet addition and we love him to bits. Our daughter has almost completed a year of Pre-K in our local public school and the big boy keeps us on our toes at all times.

My three cutie-pies.

My three cutie-pies.

Today, I started my morning with my first official workout of the year and wow, yeah, out of shape doesn’t begin to describe it but that’s okay, a blob is sort of a shape and I’m committed to working on un-blobbing myself.

I have been mulling over the idea of gastric bypass surgery sometime in the next year or two, I’m still gathering information on this and welcome any feedback from any of you who have gone this route. I don’t relish the thought of another surgery (3 c-sections has been plenty in the surgical procedure department) but as I was working so hard to lose weight before giving in to the stress I was going through at the time, I had a few talks with my doctor and others about the lack of results from my efforts and this kept coming up as the possibly needed element in order to both reach my weight loss goals and keep them once I reach there. My genes are just not wired to get rid of weight once I have it, so my doctor tells me, hence I typically am rewarded half the results for twice the effort of my fellow weight-losers. So this is something I am thinking about, considering and might do after I am done breastfeeding the little man, so not for at least another 8 months or so – plenty of time to do what I can with the strength and willpower God has already given me.

So here I am, April 21, 2015, almost 3 months post c-section, back at 260 pounds (thankfully still 30 pounds away from my all-time high!) and wanting to get back into the jeans I was in before this pregnancy among other things, like having my lower back pain under control.

So who’s ready to cheer me on? Better yet, who’s ready to join me and get back into health? See you on the journey!

The three that make me "Mom"

The three that make me “Mom”

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Can obese parents raise healthy children?

My children are so precious to me. Yes, they drive me to the brink of insanity, occasionally make me contemplate becoming an alcoholic, and constantly have me second guessing what the heck it is I am doing being a mother. But I still love them. I want the best life possible for them. I want them to have the chance to live their lives to the fullest potential both spiritually and physically.

The most important thing I want my children to learn in this life, is to have a real and personal relationship with Jesus Christ. To know Him the way I have gotten to know Him and possibly even better than I have. To have an eternal perspective that things in this life are just things, they’re not worth holding onto with every fibre of our being but that we can live so much freer when we realize the things that are worth holding onto and the things to let go.

The second most important thing I want my children to learn in life is to look after their bodies. To take care of themselves so they can better use what God has given them to serve the people around them. Children do not possess the knowledge or experience to intrinsically know what is good for them and what is not. They need to be guided, they need to be taught. And the people they are going to learn from the most are their parents.

One thing that really, deeply saddens me is seeing my obese peers raise obese children. Every time I see this I hold back the urge to cry out that they do not have to be this way. Do they not remember what it was like to be the overweight kid at school? Do they not remember what it was like to have all the older relatives make they’re “clever” jokes of “do you get better food than your siblings or why are you so much bigger?” (Yes, many older folks have said that to me, usually in the romantic language of low german). Do they not remember the self-consciousness that came through the teen years when all their friends were wearing all the cute clothes and they were left in frumpy, baggy clothes to hide their figure? Do they not remember the nights of crying because they felt like no one was ever going to fall in love with THEM? DO THEY NOT REMEMBER??? And if they do, what on earth are they doing putting their own children through the same misery! Wake up people! Just because you and I struggle with obesity DOES NOT MEAN OUR CHILDREN HAVE TO!

When I started this blog, my daughter was still young enough to not really notice or care what the shape of my body was. She has grown up a little since then. She has asked why my tummy is so big. She has asked why my bum is so big. She has asked why my arms are so big. I chose to be completely honest with her and it has been beautiful. I told my daughter the truth. Mommy is so big because mommy did not eat enough healthy food and ate too much junky food like french fries, chicken nuggets, candy and cookies. Mommy also did not exercise enough when she was young. We then have had great talks about why we say no to too much sugary foods, why I tell the kids to turn off the TV and play outside, why we need to eat our fruits and vegetables, etc. I also always focus these conversations with my kids on health. Not beauty. Not self worth. Health. Obesity is a health issue. I have said it before and I will continue stressing, obesity is NOT a beauty issue. It is NOT a self worth issue. I think if as a society we could finally wrap our heads around this, people may have a lot more success at managing not only their obesity, but their issues with how they perceive their worth as a person. But that’s a whole different topic.

So how can obese parents still raise healthy children? Well, in my opinion, it starts with getting used to the word “no.” First saying no to yourself and the unhealthy choices you feel like making because, well, you’ve been in the habit of making them for years and it is hard to break old habits. Secondly, learning to say no to your child/ren. Children are experts at instant gratification. They want the things they want and they want them now. They want potato chips NOW. They want candy every second of the day. They want to eat meals that consist of fries, deep fried chicken nuggets and hotdogs. Every meal. They do not possess the ability to know that these foods CAN be eaten in moderation, on occasion and it not have a longterm effect on their overall health but that they cannot be eaten on a daily basis and not affect how their bodies function. When you say no to your child for the things they want, they very well may hate you for a moment (I know mine have) but they will love you for a lifetime. When you are tempted to give in to their screams (or whines) of “I want,” ask yourself this question, would you rather have a child momentarily angry with you now, or would you rather have an adult daughter/son who resents you for not teaching them to make healthy choices and giving them the chance to be the kind of person they could have been if they didn’t struggle with obesity?  Kids get over disappointment pretty quick. Adults tend to hold their resentments for life. What kind of relationship do you want to have with your children long term? What kind of life do you want them to live?

The flip-side of learning to say no to bad foods and habits, is teaching your children the healthy alternative to the things they want. Keep your fridge and fruit basket stocked with fruits and veggies that you know they like and occasionally introduce new ones. Most of the time (I’m not a drill sergeant, I do let our kids have “normal” snacks on occasion too), if the kids want a snack, they have to choose a fruit or vegetable. If they say no, the consensus is they are not really hungry and don’t need a snack. If they are truly hungry, they’ll go grab that banana and get over it. My kids hate cooked veggies. It’s a texture thing for them mostly. So if I am making cooked carrots for supper, I will save a few raw ones and allow them this alternative to the meal. They still have to eat a vegetable. They don’t get the option of not eating it when it is served. On the other hand, sometimes my kids eat so many fruits and vegetables from breakfast until afternoon that I don’t prepare a vegetable with the evening meal. I’m a busy mom too, I don’t like to make extra work for myself if I don’t have to either.

Sometimes, even healthy weight parents have children on the verge of obesity. I have the same message for you, especially if you’ve never struggled with weight and the associated health issues, please learn to say no to your child. Please teach them how to take care of their bodies while they are still young and forgiving. Please give them the best possible chance to live a full and healthy life. Remember to do it from a health perspective, not an image perspective. I have no idea if my son or daughter will struggle with obesity by the choices they make as adults, but you can bet your bottom dollar they will not struggle with obesity as long as they have me and their father to guide them through their growing years and that we will be watching carefully to nip in the bud any habits that would lead them down the road of a weight gain spiral.

I still struggle with obesity. I likely will my entire life. But I will not give up the fight to regain my health nor will I allow my children to follow in the footsteps that got me here, I will never wish that kind of struggle and pain on any child of mine.

One last side-note for anyone who has been curious of my long silence. It has mostly been related to not having the time or peace and quiet to be able to get my thoughts written down. I’ve written dozens of posts in my head over the past months but can never seem to find the time to get them out of my head. That, and weight loss is currently on hold as we are 24 weeks pregnant with baby #3! I hope to find time to share a few other of my thoughts in the coming months but the tracking and weight loss version of me is on hold until sometime next year, depending on how quick I recover from my c-section.

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Remember Me?

Wow, the New Year came and went a little fast. I didn’t intend to take quite this long of a break from blogging. In fact, I often “write” blog posts in my mind as I’m cooking, driving, washing dishes, etc. but they never seem to make it into type. The life journey is moving along. The weight loss journey is a long journey and it feels like I’ve been in a massive uphill battle for too long. The thing is, I’m still struggling with priorities. I’m still struggling to find balance and most days, it just comes down to the needs of the family, or my boss, coming before my own. I am struggling to stay on a regular exercise schedule though I’ve been trying to squeeze it in where I can…often a late night bike ride in the basement just before heading to bed.

Other areas of my life journey have moved forward like crazy. Thanks to our wonderful church ladies Bible study group and the Beth Moore study on David, along with our small group study on “Too Busy Not to Pray” by Bill Hybels, my spiritual journey has reached a new level. I am so thankful the Lord never stops calling us into closer fellowship with Him!

I have also discovered that I am a recovering postpartum depression victim. Right around my son’s second birthday, I noticed my depression begin to leave and that’s the point when I realized how very depressed I had become. Looking back, I wish I had sought medical attention for it more than just the once (my Doc convinced me I was not depressed at the time, just needed “better coping skills”.)  but I have also become thankful for the experience because it has taught me something about grace that I never fully realized before. I have now  experienced some of the exact things I was so judgemental to others about and let me tell ya, there is nothing like experiencing something firsthand to teach you a good deal about being compassionate to others. I hope I will never look at the mother of a screaming child with anything but understanding and compassion for the rest of my life! One of these days I will post about my depression in detail because I know there are many young mothers in the throws of PPD and you are not alone!

So that’s where things are at for now. I apologize for my long hiatus. I do not know how faithfully I’ll be able to keep up with blogging this year but as the Lord brings topics to mind, I will do my best to find time to share them with you.

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Beyond Appearances

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My 3 beautiful sisters-in-law with whom I had the privilege of leading worship through singing at my church on Sunday.

I realized something today. I realized that my weight loss focus has become even less about my appearance and even more about my overall health over the past months that I have been on this journey. Maybe because I’ve come to terms with the fact that, even when I reach my weight loss goal, my body will still hold the physical scars of the battle I am in; the stretch marks, the loose skin, who knows what else. But I am bound and determined that I will reach that weight because it is no longer about what I look like, or how I perceive others think of my appearance. Now its all about the stronger, healthier, happier-because-I-can-move-without-pain person I am becoming…and who I am LOVING! I seriously love how much more active I am and feel I can be. I have pushed physical limits for myself like crazy over the past months and I am going to keep pushing limits to find out how much more I am capable of doing.

A few weeks ago I told you I had an upcoming appointment with my doctor for a physical – that took place last week. I went into that appointment determined to find a cause for why my weight loss is happening soooooo slowly. I left extremely encouraged and even more determined to keep on doing this. My doctor showed me the numbers on his computer. I have lost 50 pounds in the last 2 years, the last weight my clinic had on file for me. 50 pounds. 50 blocks of butter. 50. Fifty. I still have a long way to go, but I have done away with FIFTY WHOLE POUNDS! At this rate, there will be nothing left of me in 4 years.

Somehow knowing that I have been able to lose those fifty pounds, makes the next 90 or so seem so much more achievable. Even if it takes 4 years.

 

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Keeping it simple

Hey! I know, its been a while again. Glad to say I’m mostly over whatever that was, still waiting for the sinuses to fully clear up but that may never happen given my history for sinus related stuff. I also re-lost whatever weight that was hanging around on the weekend.

So I’ve been thinking quite a bit lately about how the different fads seem to take over the weight-loss and health worlds. About 15 years ago it was all about Atkins and cutting all carbs from your diet because carbs make you fat. So you could eat a dozen eggs and a pound of bacon for breakfast but don’t dare go anywhere near that banana loaded with sugary carbs. Makes a whole heap ‘o sense, right?

These days, it seems to be all about going gluten-free. I have not yet had the desire to join that bandwagon. What is it about cutting out whole food groups that makes people think they are going to magically lose weight and keep it off long term? Only about 1 in 100 people have true celiac disease where they literally become sick and in pain from eating gluten and need to remove it from their diet. Most of the rest of us aren’t fat because we eat gluten. We’re just fat because we eat TOO MUCH gluten! We’re not fat because we eat sugar. We’re fat because we eat TOO MUCH sugar. We’re not fat because we eat carbohydrates, we’re fat because we eat TOO MUCH carbohydrates! Besides, many “gluten-free” products are loaded with extra calories and sugars to make up for the taste and texture difference of “the real deal.” Gluten-free, Carb-free, Calorie-free…none of those necessarily mean HEALTHIER.

Since working on losing weight, I have cut back on a whole lot of foods, but I can’t say I have totally eliminated them. I will steal an occasional chip when my hubby is snacking at night. Two weekends ago we went on a date and I budgeted my points to allow me to enjoy popcorn at the movie and pizza afterwards. In my personal experience, cutting out an entire food group, or depriving yourself completely of foods you really enjoy is setting yourself up for failure.

So before you consider hoisting yourself up on the next fad-wagon, maybe try simply cutting back on the sugars, glutens etc vs. eliminating them. That along with a healthy dose of exercise and you just might be surprised at the results.

You know, I would LOVE to see my weight loss tracker moving faster, I do want this weight gone. But at the same time, I know going at the slow and steady rate that I am, doing what I am doing is preparing me to eat and exercise like this for a lifetime. What I am doing is something that I can keep on doing and not feel like a failure when I give in to the occasional pizza or cookie.

 

WEIGHT-LOSS TIP OF THE DAY

When deciding whether to buy certain products, remember that a small amount of a “natural” product is usually healthier than any, especially a large, amount of a manufactured product. Example: Butter vs. Margarine. Sugar vs. Artificial Sweeteners.

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To my 12-year-old self…

I observe the people around me. Do you do that? Observing is not the same as judging though it can quickly change to that. I observe whether the women and girls around me are slim or not-so-slim. I wonder how the slim ones stayed that way their whole lives, if they did, or if they were once overweight like me. I wonder what got the not-so-slim ones on the path to not-so-slimness and if they’re happy or if they wish they were different. I never, never, ever think of another woman in the “Oh look, she’s going back for seconds…maybe she should just stick to celery” kind of way. I have felt judged about what I eat my entire life and I will never pass that judgement on to someone else. No way.

BUT…when I see people around me heading down the same road I’ve gone my whole life, especially loved ones, I do want to stop them and shake them and yell for them to turn around! Swim away! Don’t do to yourself what I did to myself! But I know I can’t do that. Because I would never have taken that warning from anyone when I was at the many crossroads that got me here. It has always felt “too late” for me and it took me until I was 30 years old to realize that it is never too late and I never had to doom myself to being overweight for life.

If I could go back and tell my 12-year-old self things I know now, that I wish I knew then, this is some of what I would say:

1. It is NEVER too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Someone told you a lie that if you didn’t lose weight by the time you were in your 20s, then you would probably be fat for life because metabolism slows down as you get older. Maybe it does, but that was no reason to give up, metabolism doesn’t stop altogether until you’re dead…and you’ll probably get dead faster fat than not-fat.

2. As hard as they are to give up, those cookies, chocolate bars and cheeseburgers? NOT worth the temporary pleasure they give for the long term self-loathing they leave behind.

3. Diabetes, high blood pressure and a number of other health issues are real and if nothing else scares you, lose weight for these reasons alone.

4. Someone WILL still love you, even if you are fat. Stop worrying about whether you’ll ever find that someone and just live your life.

5. How you look on the inside matters way more than the outside. But its no excuse for not looking after your outside too.

6. Getting yourself in shape by yourself is possible, but extremely hard. Its way more fun and doable if you have a friend who can do it with you.

7. Its ok to challenge your Mom, Dad and siblings about healthy/unhealthy eating habits, but you can’t make the change for them, only yourself. Of course it would be wonderful if the whole family got on board and everyone helped everyone along but no one can be forced to do it. It just doesn’t work that way. Don’t let their choices decide your choice. And I bet, if you had shared some of your fears and hopes with a sister or two, at least one of them might have helped you get on the path to a healthier you.

8. When you get older, married, and are pregnant, you won’t have the same cute baby bump as your slim friends. Some people won’t even be able to tell you’re pregnant when you’re a week overdue. And some doctors are going to treat you like you have a horrible life-threatening disease because of all the extra risks associated with being overweight and pregnant. Your body will ache even more than the normal aches and pains of pregnancy and over all, what should be a very joyous time in your life will become a rather depressing one. Recovering from a c-section when you have a big belly isn’t very fun either.

9. You will be a beautiful bride. Slim or not.

10. Even though it seems like so much of your life is out of your control, you do have the ability to choose today which direction your body is going to go…and your 30-year-old self is wishing you would have made a better choice. But she’s making that choice now and its all going to be ok.

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Do you have things you wish you could go back and share with your younger self?

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It’s a long road…

While I’ve known all along that losing the amount of weight I need to lose, over 100 pounds, would be a long journey, there are some days the road seems longer than others. I am looking forward to the day that I can look back instead of ahead – the road always seems shorter at that end!

This morning I spent an hour on my bike. I’ve been alternating 3 days a week exercising for an hour, 3 days exercising multiple (2-3) “short” sessions of 15-20 minutes on the bike plus 10 minutes of arm strength/weight training. To be honest, I’m not SEEING much benefit from all this exercise yet. I feel it, but I don’t see it. And some days all I see is the amount of work that piles up because I’ve made exercise a priority in my life. I wonder sometimes if I’m accomplishing much, if my priorities are in the right place. Should I be taking the time to exercise 6 days a week at the expense of household duties? Or should I be making sure my house is in order before I take the “personal” time to exercise? Some days it feels as though the only things I accomplish are getting my family fed and the exercise, then I feel guilty because my floor is covered with toys and crumbs. Although, this past Saturday I did a pretty thorough housecleaning and used that as my exercise for the day, earning 11 activity points by spending 1.5 hours with the vacuum, then mopping, dusting, cleaning windows and bathrooms.

Housework has its own challenges too, though. I may have the time for it, but I do have 2 small children in the house. Have you ever tried vacuuming when one child is sitting on the hose, “riding” along while the other is constantly trying to pull it from the wall and disengage the vacuum? How about cleaning toys up on the floor so you CAN vacuum and having two little people follow right behind and drop 2 toys for every 1 you pick up. They can leave a toy alone for an entire week but the moment you decide to clean it up it becomes the most prized possession in the house that must be kept on display…in the middle of the kitchen floor. Try sweeping the floor after breakfast to have your 1-year-old drop his plate of toast, deliberately, crumbs and all on the floor?

Crazy time with the little crazies.

Crazy time with the little crazies.

But exercise is really important to me. For one, it gives me at least one moment of the day where I can be completely by myself. Baby-boy is usually napping, baby-girl usually settled in front of the tely with something educational I’m sure. I get to watch non-educational-purely-entertainment-not-even-remotely-for-children shows/movies on my laptop and just let my brain rest while my body does some work. I honestly believe this alone time has been beneficial to my sanity in the last couple of months.

Another reason why I want to stay active is because being fit is as important to me in the long run as being slimmer. I don’t want to lose weight by diet alone because I’d be nothing but a bunch of skinny flab, not to mention it would take so much longer. I know if I continue to improve my fitness, the fat will follow. I don’t think a person can be fit and active and stay fat…correct me if I’m wrong on that one.

So I think I shall continue with my exercise, even if it means the house is messy. Maybe by the time I reach my goal the kids will be old enough to do the housework for me. Now wouldn’t that be nice?

Crazy #2

Crazy #2

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – Get active! Get moving! The best way to quit being lazy to have an attitude adjustment and just do it. If you’re waiting for the day when you’ll have more energy to become active, that day is never coming. The funny thing about energy is that you have be active to get the energy to be more active. So get up off the couch and do something that makes your heart pump and your pits sweat. Its so much more glamorous than it sounds.

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Changes

As slow as the scale may move some days, I have definitely noticed positive changes over all in the past several weeks. For one, back around Christmas time I was having significant pain in one hip which I suspected had something to do with the poundage I had regained leading up to and over the holidays. That has completely disappeared. My joints also are not getting as stiff and sore when I sit for longer than a few minutes. I have the energy to make it through the day without feeling the need for a nap or caffeine boost mid-afternoon. Mornings are still a struggle but I need to work on going to bed earlier for that to be corrected.

Losing weight when you are as heavy as I, is about more than just losing pounds, it is reclaiming your health. Yes, I want to lose weight so I look better to myself and to others. But I also want to feel better, physically better, than I have ever felt before.

I have started thinking of it this way; if I were diagnosed with cancer, would I just sit back and say, “oh, its just going to get me in the end anyway, there’s just no use in trying.” And then at the end of my life say, “I wish I had done something about that when I had the chance.” No. If I were diagnosed with a serious illness, I would do everything in my power to get well again. I need to treat my fat like it’s cancer. I need to do everything in my power to get well again because if I don’t, it will likely kill me as surely as untreated cancer would.

The good news is, God has given me an awesome source of power to make it possible.

 

*WEIGHT LOSS TIP OF THE DAY*

Make sure your weight loss goal is not just about appearances. Your overall health is worth way more than how you look to others, or how you perceive you look to others. Treat your fat like cancer and beat the crap out of it.

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I wish…

I wish I had always been slim.

I wish I had learned to eat a healthy diet as a kid.

I wish I had learned to play sports as a kid.

I wish I would have chosen to see where my physical state was going and changed course before it was “too late.”

I wish I would have decided to change that course even after it felt like it was too late, 10 or 15 years ago.

I wish I didn’t have such big arms.

I wish I could look at myself naked in the mirror with pride and not tears.

I wish I could feel free instead of trapped in this body.

I wish I could really believe I am beautiful in my husband’s eyes.

I wish I could have had a nice round baby-belly with both of my pregnancies, and not just an expansion of the fat belly.

I wish the snow was gone.

I wish I could shop at all the same stores as my friends and find great deals on clothes.

I wish I could get excited to shop for clothes.

I wish Starbucks beverages were all 0-points – the original versions, not skinny.

I wish there was no such thing as artificial sweetener.

I wish I hadn’t eaten so much of my brother-in-law’s amazing risotto last night.

I wish I could eat more of my brother-in-law’s amazing risotto now.

A year from now, I do NOT want to say, “I wish I had stayed on plan and kept losing weight.”

 

What are you wishing?

 

 

 

 

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