30 Day Shred: Day One

When I started this blog, I had decided that I was going to lose some weight. I have been very lucky in my life to always be at a naturally healthy weight. I am not too skinny (except for highschool but that doesn’t count) and not too fat, just naturally normal without really having to try too hard.

I maintained my wedding weight until I got pregnant. During my pregnancy I gained a ridiculous 50 pounds, but by my son’s first birthday I had lost it all. Breastfeeding is an awesome weight loss tool. I breastfed my son for two years, and from the time I weaned him in August of 2011 to January 2012, I gained 13 pounds. That’s crazy, right?

So in January, I decided I would try to watch my diet. And I failed. Then in February, I bought a membership to a mom’s only workout place. And I HATED it. I have never been good at working out. When exercise was in my life it was through dancing and cheerleading. I’ve never been a girl who does push ups and crunches and runs. But since I had the membership I thought I would try it out. The problem was, I could only go when my son was in school. He went to two-day a week preschool last year, so I would drop him off, drive to the work out place, do an intense workout for an hour that made me feel like I wanted to die, and then go pick up my son. Because my husband works all the time and we do not live near family, those two days a week were the only time I ever got to myself. By replacing my me time with an intense workout that I hated, I started to feel drained physically and emotionally. I came to the conclusion that I would rather be a little bit fat than lose my sanity.

So for the past four months, I have not paid attention at all to my eating or exercise habits. Then, the other day, in a moment of bad judgement, I stepped on the scale. Oh my gosh. My scale is a mean little thing.

Once more, I have decided I’m going to do something about this. I’m not trying to be super skinny like I was in high school. I’m realistic that my body will never look like it did pre-baby. But if I could just lose 10 to 15 pounds (ok, I’d really like to lose 20) and start to feel less “blah” about myself, I think I would be happy. After talking to a few friends, I decided to try the Jillian Michael’s 30 Day Shred. It’s cheap (only $9 at Target), it’s accessible (in my livingroom), and it might help me lose weight AND maintain my sanity.

So I went to Target, bought the DVD, and prepared for my first workout.

(photo courtesy of amazon.com)

Except I was totally unprepared. The workout went down like this:

Straighten up living room by putting away all of the toddler’s stray toys. Put DVD in. Press play.

Watch the introduction where Jillian promises you will lose up to 20 pounds in 30 days! Awesome.

Start warm up. In the middle of arm windmills, hear toddler yell, “Mommy! I pooted!”

Press pause. Go wipe toddler’s bottom. Try to get toddler to put clothes back on. He refuses. Allow toddler to run around naked.

Press play.

Move on to cardio warm up jumping jacks. Realize I am not wearing the right bra for this. Hold boobs while jumping so they will not hit me in the face. Watch toddler attempt to do jumping jacks and say, “Mommy! Why are you holding your nurses?” (Yes, he calls my breasts “nurses.”)

Move on to lunges and weights. Realize I do not have weights. The toddler notices that the ladies in the video have weights and I do not. He brings me two of his blocks.

Press pause to answer the phone. It was a sales call.

Press play. Continue to push ups. The toddler thinks I am in piggy back riding position and climbs on my back. I attempt to do push ups with a 32 pound toddler on my back. I do not succeed.

When Jillian asks us to get into reverse crunch position, where you hold your legs up in the air, the toddler thinks I am in airplane position and climbs on. I fly my toddler on my legs.

The toddler kind of gets into it. He starts doing jumping jacks and kicks with me. He really likes the cross punching part.

He even becomes my personal motivator.

Jillian says, “Up and squeeze.” “Up and skeeze, Mommy!”

Jillian says, “Almost there!” “Awmost there, Mommy!”

At the lunging part, the toddler crawls back and forth between my legs.

I have trouble doing jumping jacks as he holds onto my ankles.

The pause button gets pushed a few more times for such emergencies such as looking at play dough carrots and a piece of dirt found on the floor.

Finally, it’s time for a cool down.

As I sit down and lean over to stretch, the toddler again climbs on my back.

I decide laying down is a good idea.

Jillian says something like, “Good job! You are well on your way to get shredded!”

We’ll see, Jillian, we’ll see.

*Does anyone have toddler friendly workout/weight loss tips for me? This is obviously not my area of expertise.

Style Evolution

I just stumbled across this blog tutorial on how to do hair and make up and my first thought was, “This girl does not have kids.” It’s an adorable blog, with a lot of great tips, and I was memorized for hours a while, but who puts this kind of effort into their looks? Oh, women who are not mommies. And who have time. And who care about their appearance. Kind of like me, when I was 18.

I wish I could blame my lack of style and hair and makeup knowledge on being a busy mom and never having enough time, but that just wouldn’t be the truth.

The truth is, I lost my style long ago.

In high school, I was stylish. I was in the popular crowd, I knew what clothes were acceptable and what weren’t, and I even prided myself on never wearing the same outfit twice. I also spent hours doing my hair and make up, which involved a long routine of shower, blowdry, flat-iron, and curl. And of course, occasionally style up in some way, but only after completing the above process. My make up routine was equally involved with foundation, concealer (for what I don’t know…my 18 year old self would be appalled at my now nearly 30 skin) powder, blush, 3 different layers of eyeshadow, two different eyeliners, mascara, lip liner, lip gloss, and shimmery highlighting powder. Whoo, just writing that made me exhausted.

When I went to college, I discovered this horrible thing called the 8 am class. That meant I had to be up and ready to go by 7:15? Usually after staying up until wee hours the night before? That hair and make up routine got dropped pretty quickly. My college uniform quickly turned into jeans, a college t-shirt, a ponytail, mascara, and chapstick. I still knew how to get pretty for evening activities, but I never made any friends in classes. I was into sleep more than impressing co-eds.

After college graduation, I took my first job as a nanny. No need to dress up for a newborn, a 3-year-old , and a 5-year-old, right?

When I got my first teaching job, it was in a pre-school/day care environment where you could not wear jeans (oh no!) but you could wear scrubs or “professional sweat suits.” I don’t know what that means either. I took it to mean gray sweatpants, t-shirts and soaking wet hair ponytails, and got away with it. I am actually still terribly embarrassed that I went to work like that.

For many reasons, that job wasn’t a good fit, and I interviewed and got hired by a “real” school, a local public elementary school. There was a professional dress code here! You had to wear stuff like khakis and real shirts! (I also had things like a salary and benefits. I was a grown up!)  But I was still teaching Kindergarten. So my wardrobe became fitted with all things Old Navy and Target. Khakis and v-neck t-shirts people. Outfits of the stars. (Seriously. I think my class was the shining stars…or something like that.) I also upped my hair and make up routine by wearing my hair in a deep part, low side bun every day and actually wearing make up! But this time, the routine consisted of Bare Minerals foundation, mineral veil, eyeliner, mascara, and lip gloss. So quick, so easy, and I looked so presentable every day! Amazing.

A year and a half  later, the stay at home mom gig started. I would go for DAYS without putting on a trace of make up. Or getting dressed. Or showering. Or touching my hair. Yes, my husband is a lucky, lucky man.  Fortunately, the baby didn’t care.

As I started to feel better and get back into the world, I realized that I honestly forgot how to do this. This body was different. This hair did not style the way it used to. This skin does not conceal! Seriously, having this baby changed EVERYTHING!

Slowly, I found my way back to the deep part low side bun ponytail. Bare Minerals saved my life. And I only had to invest a million dollars use a few resources to get back to a wardrobe I’m comfortable with. Which now involves jeans, v-neck t-shirts, and the occasional print blouse. I know, my style is so enviable.

I have also discovered that I need to keep my hair at a manageable length. Although I love my hair long and styled, long with a baby just meant daily ponytails. But too short also means daily styling, which just doesn’t work. So a medium length gives me the freedom for ponytails often, but also the capability for a down do every once in a while. I also learned to keep make up in the car. Parking lot mascara anyone? The toddler even knows to wait just a minute after we arrive at a destination so “Mommy put on make up and not look scary.” He’s a charmer.

So I am not the most put together mom, and even though the morning ritual of lets-fight-about-putting-on-socks-and-shoes definitely interferes with my make up time, having a toddler isn’t the only reason I’m not so put together. My style has just been a constant evolution. My adult life has been devoted to the caring of children; often in non-structured environments. And it’s just so hard to put forth the effort to get all done up when you just don’t have to. (And when you have little people yelling at you. Like right now. The toddler needs juice.)

I suppose it is something that will continue to evolve and change as my life does. But it kind of also looks like I just might not be as girly as I used to think I was. A style evolution and a personal revelation; who saw that coming?

So, my friends, do you have any style advice for me? As long as I can still do the pre-school drop off by sitting in my car with no bra and sweat pants, I would love to take you up on suggestions. 🙂

My Scale Is An Asshole

I don’t usually use such vulgar words in my life. But unfortunately, there is no better word to describe my bathroom scale.

My scale is stubborn, brutally honest, and holds an unwavering poor opinion of me and my weight. It is, in short, an asshole.

I am working so hard to improve its opinion of me. I am eating better. I am working out 3 days a week, an hour at a time. I am constantly chasing a toddler. And yet, when I go to my scale for validation, it unsympathetically gleams back a mean number. It is not apologetic and harshly blunt in its delivery.

I know that a relationship requires the effort of both parties, and I am willing to do my share of the work. I am aware that changes in interaction take time and I will do my best to be patient.

I wish my scale would be like those you see on the Special K commercials, and instead of giving me a number, a show me a word of encouragement. For example, “strong”, “beautiful”, or “you-are-a-great-mommy-and-you-are-super-sexy-and-I’m-proud-of-you-for-making-healthy-life-changes.”

Is this asking too much?

Perhaps.

Even though the dates I have with my scale often leave me feeling defeated, I still continue to go back and strive for its validation. One day, it might change its opinion of me and show me a nice little number. One day, I might change my opinion of my scale. I am looking forward to a good relationship, but it looks like this is going to be a long road.

Reflection

My bathroom mirror was a thick fog of steam created by the shower I like to run almost scalding, so that it nearly burns as I stand under the flowing current that strips my skin of the days’ events. As I pulled back my shower curtain to reach for my white towel, a reflection of someone caught my eye in the mirror. It was someone I recognized mostly, but things had changed without my noticing. As I stared now, I watched water droplets drip from my breasts, which sit much lower than they used to. My nipples have darkened and there are stretch marks dirtying the cool white porcelain of skin that covers what used to be one of my favorite body features. Now they have become nothing more than a food source for the baby. While I pride myself on breastfeeding, I also grieve my breasts that I now no longer admire unless they are kept in an expensive bra that gives them the illusion of elasticity.

My eyes traveled down to my stomach, which used to be flat and jeweled with a belly button piercing, but is now like a map of squiggly lines leading to nowhere and a scar of a decoration of youth. I lifted my “baby pouch” with both hands and tried to remember my pre-baby body. Maybe I’ll get a tummy tuck one day, I thought. But a quick glance at my c-section scar reminds me of all the pain, and I winced at the thought of undergoing surgery ever again, for any reason.

As the steam lifted, I noticed circles under my eyes that I’m quite sure weren’t there a few years ago, and some stray eyebrow hairs. I’ve given up pedicures and waxes, and now resort to plucking when I get the time, but I’m surprised at how out of control my brows look. I guess I need to check the mirror more often, I think as I lift the tweezers for the first time in weeks.

At least I’m saving money this way. Not looking in mirrors allows you to forget that you have run out of concealer for the dark circles or chapstick for the chapped lips. It allows you the freedom to not care what you look like and not spend money on make up.

But I can not help but to feel trapped into a surprise when I can’t stop this mirror from reflecting.