Thursday, May 30, 2013

Project Dreamcatcher

I am in love with this project and I am so excited to be a part of it. Except for one thing.

I have been so focused on just surviving that I don't even know what my dream is.

I want to own an actual house with a yard. As a young adult I thought I should be famous. I of course wanted to have a baby, but was unsuccessful. I would love to raise this puppy to be a remarkable dog (not as easy as it sounds).

I have looked at my 101 Things list, and the two things that currently stand out to me are photography and writing. I would love to be an accomplished photographer and a proficient writer. There are some other goals on that list that I would like to complete, but there are other summers (and seasons) to accomplish more. I am going to consider my options over the weekend and announce my dream next week.

I would love to see others join the Dreamcatcher project!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

NOT the secret to my success!

Wow, what a tough weekend for healthy eating and weight loss!

It all started with my husband wanting to BBQ. Not grilled food mind you, real BBQ - he made pulled pork. Uh oh.... He also brought home some of the sour beer that goes so well with the smoky pork. I only had a sip and I made a mustard based bbq sauce (slightly fewer calories than a sweet tomato based sauce) but of course I had to have it on a bun with cole slaw. Then of course we went to happy hour on Monday where I just about lost my mind in margaritas and chips.

Oy vey! I'm up a couple of pounds, which is probably mostly water weight (fingers crossed!). Luckily, I have been good at getting at least 10,000 steps a day which helps. Hopefully by Friday I will be back down to last week's weight, which then gives me two weeks to lose four pounds. Hard, but doable, right? This will require me to be on my game. My second dietbet starts Saturday but I can weigh in tomorrow - it might be a slight cheat, but I'm also hoping that I will still be a little bloated and retaining water when I get on that scale tomorrow. Hahaha! Game on! Here's to losing 10 pounds in the next month, and being 10 pounds away from my Weight Watchers lifetime goal by my 40th birthday!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

DietBet is the new Weight Watchers

Ok, not really. I still super pink puffy heart Weight Watchers and definitely feel WW meetings are the best option. However, I currently live in a small, very isolated town without a Weight Watcher meeting in a 40 mile radius. While Weight Watchers is a great program that really works for me, part of the reason it works is the accountability I get from weighing in at a meeting, which is why I haven't been so successful over the last 18 months.

Except now! A friend of mine posted on Facebook about a DietBet she was in. I was immediately intrigued! I considered it for a few weeks and then joined one. Best thing I have ever done. I was concerned about losing 4% in four weeks, but I actually exceeded my goal by more than a pound!

Since then I have joined another one, with a third DietBet starting on June 1. I have already blogged about it. So why my further gushing about DietBet? Because I am wearing jeans I haven't worn in years! AND they're baggy!!! Woot woot!!!!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Weight Watchers Success

I have tried a lot of weight loss programs and methods: Zone, Atkins, South Beach, counting calories, Clean Eating, and finally, Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers is the only thing that seems to work well for me.

Reason #1: I get obsessive about calories. Weight Watchers is an inexact science of points based on rounding the calories up or down, with the idea that spread out over the course of a day or week, everything will average out to a loss. You get “splurge” points and points for exercise. You get “free foods” that you don’t have to count. There is also a set number of points you get daily, weekly and for exercise. There is no “fudge” room at the end of the day.

When I count calories, I end up telling myself that the extra 50 or 100 doesn't count, mostly because calories is also not an exact science. It’s very difficult to get your exact calorie burn on a daily basis, just as it’s difficult to get an exact count of the calories you have consumed. You absolutely have to weigh every little thing that you eat, and while weighing is important even for Weight Watchers, it’s not as critical. Therefore, if I’m still hungry at the end of the day, I mentally justify eating a few more calories. When you’re out of Weight Watchers points, you’re out, so it’s easier for me to stop.

Reason #2: Weight Watchers encourages you to eat healthier. Counting calories is just that – calories. It doesn't take into account what kinds of foods you are eating. I know most people will say calories in versus calories out is what influences weight loss, and I agree, but only to a point. I firmly believe the quality of your calories also has an impact. Higher quality, more weight loss. How does it do this? Mostly by giving you free fruits and vegetables, but I have also noticed that a high quality nutritious food will often get rounded down in points, where a higher fat and sugar content food seems to round up.

Reason #3:Weight Watchers also gives you the freedom to splurge. By giving you 49 points a week to use however you like, you have the flexibility to do what works best for you. You also don’t have to use them! But if I’m craving a glass of wine and I've used all my points for the day, I can still have one. If I've used all my points and I’m still hungry, I have a backup. I also love that they adjust the points you get for active you are. I know of one well known calorie counting site which asks you to commit for a certain amount of exercise and spread out the additional calories based on the promise. But what if you get sick and don’t work out? What if you are way more active on one day than you planned? This earning points based on what you actually do really, really works for me because I don’t get more food for sitting on my butt, and I DO get more food for getting out there and being active!

A bonus for those who are in larger towns - Weight Watchers meetings. While I have had lots of success both with online and meetings, my best success comes with the accountability of weighing in.

I decided in January that I was tired of being overweight! Weight Watchers was running a special for longer term online subscriptions so I just signed up for the six months leading up to my 40th birthday. Now I’m about 6 weeks away from my 40th and will soon be having to make a decision. I don’t think I will be at my Weight Watchers Lifetime Goal weight by the time my subscription ends. My goal right now is to get within 2 pounds of my goal weight, and then start trying to get to the nearest Weight Watchers meeting (40 miles away!) once a month to maintain my lifetime status and get free online e-tools so I can successfully maintain using the tools that helped me get there in the first place.

However, that means I will probably be trying calorie counting again, so I’m going to have to figure something out. Those of you who utilize a calorie counting option such as My Fitness Pal, what are you big secrets?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The secret to my success: Coffee

I love coffee. I didn't really like it when I was younger, of course, just as I wasn't a huge fan of beer or wine. Of course, I am now, of all three!

While beer and wine are detriments to my weight loss plans, I attribute much of my success to coffee. I notice I am hungrier when I don't have coffee in the morning. I must be on to something, because Bob Harper (you know, from the Biggest Loser) included it in his book "Jumpstart to Skinny." I have read that caffeine helps you burn more fat, and I know the caffeine in coffee acts as an appetite suppressant for me. It also gives me a treat without impacting my calories too much, especially when I use low calorie almond milk and sugar free Torani syrup.

The two times I have been successful at losing weight, I was drinking coffee regularly, and that's enough for me!

What is your top weight loss success secret?

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

No Man's Land

Someone posted on Twitter asking if someone had any good child free blogs to recommend. I have been looking for new blogs to read, but honestly, I have not been very successful. I have a hard time reading infertility blogs unless I already know and love the person writing. It is almost inevitable that they will get pregnant which I won't want to read about. I see enough of that in my regular life. I also have a hard time reading any blogs where the writer describes themselves as a "mommie." I read plenty of blogs that are written by moms, but if you describe yourself as a mom, you are going to be posting about your kids, probably a lot, and I'm just not ready for that yet. I may never be. This also does not apply to people I already know and love. Sorry, it may not be fair, but it's how it is.

So I thought I would look for some child free blogs, since many of the health/weight loss/fitness blogs as well as the food blogs are written by self proclaimed moms. Guess what! People who blog about being child free are child free by choice.

Well, shit.

I feel like I'm stuck between worlds. I don't fit into either realm. No man's land, except there are a few of us in this limbo. We're just not vocal. We don't even try to attract attention, because we don't want to answer the questions, feel the sympathy. Very few truly understand.

So, if you have any blog recommendations, let me know!

Monday, May 20, 2013

DietBet Success!!

So, I have to say this was a success! I don't feel like I was doing anything different, but apparently I was! Apparently having money on the line is helpful for my weight loss!

I started my DietBet on April 19 at 182.5 pounds, and finished on May 16 at 174.0 for a total loss of 8.5 pounds in four weeks! I also won $45.56. Yeah!

So what am I doing with that money? Considering I turn 40 in six weeks, I used my winnings to join two more bets!

This DietBet starts today, and this one starts on Saturday, June 1, which makes the final weigh in right before my 40th! I'm hoping that by joining two overlapping ones, that I will be motivated continuously until my birthday. For the first one, my goal is to lose 7 pounds. I will be weighing in on Thursday, May 30 for the second one, and determining my 4% goal from there. I will be stoked if I can lose 10 pounds total in the six weeks, as that would put me within 10 pounds of my Weight Watchers lifetime goal weight.

I'm also betting money I'm going to work out with Gympact. I bet $5 per workout, and then get money back when I meet my weekly goal. If you use the link above, you get $5 to start provided you workout three times that week. You do need a smartphone with the app though.

I've found that money, not necessarily what I've spent (because who hasn't paid for a gym membership they hardly used) but what I might win, makes all the difference for me. What motivates you?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Giving Life

I wanted to write a post about something that is important to me - sharing life with other human beings. A few days ago I received a letter from the National Marrow Donor Program's Be The Match registry. I am a possible match for someone looking for marrow or blood stem cells to overcome a blood disease. This is the second time I have been contacted for this since I joined the registry 19 years ago. The first time, I wasn't a match. I don't really have any feelings either way this time - I don't care of I turn out to be a match or not, but I do hope that there is a match somewhere.

Unfortunately, not all patients find a suitable match, and those who don't likely die. That's why it's so important to have as many different people in the registry as possible. Joining is easy - all you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek, no needles! You can join in person at a registration drive, but they will also send you a kit through the mail. You also have full control every step of the way. If you are contacted about being a possible donor, you have the choice to say no right then, and of course the freedom to say no at any point in the process. I couldn't imagine having the ability to save a life and then opting not to. I never take sick days anyway, so this would be a good excuse ;)

Another easy lifesaving option is to donate blood. I never had the opportunity - used to be afraid of needles, and then never seemed to find a blood drive that I could get to with my work and travel schedule. Now, I have finally been able to do it! Unfortunately, there are only two blood drives a year in my small town, but because of my height and current weight, I was able to donate just my red blood cells so I could effectively double my donation. If you have the time to attend a blood drive every couple of months, then a really quick option is to donate a pint of blood, which usually takes 15 minutes or so and you are eligible to donate again in 56 days. Donating red blood cells has height and weight thresholds, takes longer (the actually take the blood, filter out the red blood cells, and then return your plasma and platelets into your body) and can only be done once every four months. If you need a reason other than saving a life, then here you go - you will burn about 650 calories just by giving up a pint of blood. See, your diet CAN afford the juice and cookies afterwards!

Last, I want to encourage you to be an organ donor. That is the ultimate gift. If something ever happens to me, I truly hope that my legacy will live on in others. I can think of nothing more beautiful than life out of death, hope out of tragedy.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Reinventing

I have seriously lost focus on my blog. Not that I have ever been single minded - I've always been a random blogger, just as likely to post about food as I am about weight loss, running or IVF. I post about my life, and whatever my brain is focused on at the moment.

However, I wonder if it's time to step away from Infertility.

I just feel so stuck. The same thoughts, the same feelings, the same situation. It's not healthy, and even worse, it's probably really boring. Nobody wants to read that day in and day out. Therefore it is time for this blog to move on. Even though my life moved on months ago, it's time for my brain to move on as well. This doesn't mean I will stop posting about family, but you probably won't see much on that topic until we are settled enough to start the foster and/or adoption process.

So, the plan is to start writing about other things in my life - the puppy, hiking, cooking, running races, camping, weight loss and life in general. I hoping this will get me out of the funk I feel every time I start to write in my blog.

Here's to the future.


Saturday, May 11, 2013

Awful Realization

I was doing a little more research on dog training, pack leadership etc. and came across this article.

Oh, fuck.

I realized almost immediately that I have never been the pack leader to O. Baby Girl was pack leader. I can totally see it now - she was so mellow and stable, older, and he looked up to her. She wasn't a dominant dog, but she was calm and unafraid, at least at the beginning of his life. This also makes sense as to why the dogs he knew when she was still alive are okay with him and why he feels aggressive to new dogs.

I, on the other hand, was weak. I gave him tidbits from my meals. I let him sleep in my bed. I loved all over him, giving in whenever he wanted attention. And I babied him. I consoled him when he was scared.

This is all my fault.

This makes so much sense why he was so much more confident with Baby Girl around. Why he started to get worse when she started to decline, and why he got a whole lot worse when she passed.

There was no pack leader, so he had to step up.

He is not confident enough to be a pack leader, so this is causing him way too much stress. This is why he feels the need to discipline the puppy constantly, and why he is always so fear aggressive on our walks.

I need to step up, and I'm not sure how far to take it. I kinda wish I could get Cesar's take on this, or at least a trainer that will school me on the best, least disruptive, and quickest method back to pack leadership. I have started not letting him walk ahead of me through the doorway or on walks. I have also stopped feeding him any of my food, and asked my husband to do the same. I don't let him eat before me, I'm making him work for his meals, and I'm not letting him into the bedroom unless I expressly invite him. I'm also attempting to withhold affection unless I decide to give it to him and not allowing him to jump up on me any longer. This is what I'm doing right.

But here's what I'm doing wrong and I'm not sure how to change it. He still sleeps with me in bed. I am willing to give that comfort up for his sake, but he cries when he's not in bed with us. This, I blame my husband for. There was one night, early in his puppyhood, where H decided to let O sleep in our bed. Of course, the next night when H wanted O back in his crate, O cried and whined until H couldn't take it anymore. At that moment a monster was born. Unfortunately, H doesn't have the patience to outlast a whining (or barking) dog, and that's not good for training. But do I want to even try to make O sleep out of the bed? There will be, at the minimum, a night of whining and we probably won't get any sleep. I will have a grumpy husband and whiny dog. Is it worth it? Is there any way to get around it? I'm not sure, but I know O will be better and happier when the pressure of pack leader is lifted off his shoulders. I hope that we can accomplish this so that O can be a dog again.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Puppy Training

There are two things that are disconcerting to me about dog training:

1. There are so many theories out there, it's hard to figure out which one is best for your dog.
2. There are lots of theories, but not a lot of actual advice with corresponding actions.

Case in point, Cesar Millan. Not everyone agrees with his style and theories, but I do agree with his basic theory of what a dog needs: Exercise, Exercise, Exercise, followed by Discipline and then Affection, in that order. Great! I can do that! Or can I? First of all, little Piglet doesn't walk. He's by no means getting enough exercise, unless I can take him out into the middle of nowhere and let him run after me. Guiding him by a leash doesn't work. He sits his butt down and just looks at you. He also tries to play with our other dog, O, incessantly, and O does NOT want to play. He tries to put Piglet in his place, but because Piglet now outweighs him by a good 3 pounds, he's not getting the message. Cesar says that he doesn't allow any aggression in his pack. Great! So how do you do that? There are no details. I have tried "growling" at them at them and separating them. Now I am using the squirt bottle and then time outs if the issue gets really out of hand. I do NOT want Piglet to grow up and eat O.

I also have to remember that Piglet is still just 10 weeks old. I think most training books say that you shouldn't start leash training until 12 weeks, so maybe the not walking on a leash thing is okay for now. He is just so high energy, and needs the exercise before we leave work and go to bed. Cesar also says that puppies don't even need leashes until 8 months old or so. Yeah, that's great, except for cars and coyotes and bears. I have been encouraging him to follow me in and out of the house with his leash trailing behind, but only for short potty breaks in the middle of the day.

Can you tell I just read Cesar's book? The first one at least. I'm looking for insight on how to be the pack leader, since Piglet is bossier than any other pup I've had. I'm also hoping it will help O, since he has a lot of fear aggression with other dogs and just fear with humans. Maybe he doesn't trust me as his pack leader because he's been bit a couple times under my watch. I just don't know what to do about off leash dogs. How do I prevent that from happening, especially since the last time was right in front of our house? So many questions.I don't suppose I have any dog trainer readers? My blogging has been so shitty and inconsistent for the last couple of years, I'm not sure I have any readers anymore. Hahaha!

Next on the reading list: Those monks that raise shepherds - they have a couple of books. And then my future dog trainer recommended "Dog Training for Dummies."

In the meantime, Piglet just keeps putting on weight and growing taller. Still no idea what size he will end up being. I sure as hell hope he still fits in his current crate for when we celebrate my birthday at the beginning of July. I don't know that I can transport a larger crate in my little car! I'm also hoping he will be far less than 50 pounds at four months. My vet said that if he is going to be more than 50 pounds at 6 months, we don't want to neuter him until 10 months. The extra testosterone helps his hips and joint develop better. That makes me so nervous - I don't want him to develop any aggression due to him still having his balls in his body longer. So many wait-and-sees. Hoping I can get Piglet to start walking on a leash soon - I'm looking forward to running again!

Friday, May 3, 2013

This is Exactly How I Feel

Thank you Furrowed Fox for this post about NIAW and the still childless.

That post is really the most perfect way my feelings have ever been put into words. Pretty sad that I didn't write it! It's been really hard for me to get lapped on the baby front. I started late and of course by the time I got there, plenty of people were already struggling. I was so happy for them when they conceived and gave birth. Then I started to meet more people struggling with infertility, people just beginning their journey and I was hopeful for all of us. Those people also conceived and gave birth before I did. The closer everyone else got to motherhood, the further I fell behind.

I've accepted it, albeit with much bitterness and self pity, and I have learned to move on. The sad part is that I no longer really feel part of the IF "movement" if you will. There was a time when I was surrounded with people in the same boat, and no I no longer feel that way. For the most part, those still childless still have hope. I can count my likely childfree for life peers on my fingers. I am glad to have them, but that 1 in 8 silent sorority no longer applies. Now we're like 1 in 50, or something ridiculous like that.

So for all those women who are at the end of their journey, have put aside the false hope, stopped the financial bleeding of ART, and are looking to move on with their lives, I am here for you, and I understand.