Monday, May 8, 2017

My Body - The War Zone

So I realized that I have not posted in this blog for quite some time!  Here is my latest entry from my new blog - Mothering, Marriage and Menopause.  If you enjoy, come one over and take a look!   Mothering, Marriage and Menopause

My Body - the War Zone
It’s happened – I’ve reached the age where I can’t deny the changes in my face and body.  They’ve come for me – like a free fall from a cliff but without the bungee cord.  I’m not young and cute anymore – but so not ready to be labeled old and wise (notice that old My Body, The War Zoneand wise people have no appearance commentary!).   My body has taken on a life of its own and while we can talk about aging gracefully, my body seems to want to beat the crap out of me and everyone else on the way out.
I’ve never been a thin woman – one of those who was born in the wrong time. While everyone was in leg warmers in the 80’s, I was still curvy and more JLo than Jane Fonda.  (JLo if she was a shorter, with whiter skin, straight hair and much less talent – other than that…exactly the same.)  Now in my 50s, those curves continue to curve, but all in the wrong direction.  I seem to remember having knees but now I have lumps of fat that have eaten my patellae.  In the day of seeking the thigh gap, my thighs seem to be seeking a second life as a mermaid.
My belly and I have been at war for the past decade.  I gave up Spanx a few years ago when I realized that the more I bound my abdomen, the more it would get back at me by passing gas.  Being thinner was not worth the number of times I had to quickly exit areas in hopes that someone else was blamed.  My husband caught on.  He now grabs me by the hand and says “Honey…is something not agreeing with you?”  I remind him that I have insomnia…and unstable emotions.  This is not a good era to cross me.
I feel bad for my husband for missing out on my younger years.  We married after my chest had permanently headed south.  A friend of mine wears no bra on the weekends since she had breast augmentation ten years ago.  No bra is not an option for me.  I might trip on those babies and end up with a broken hip.  As they lose form, however, they are becoming easier to roll up and tend to conform to whatever bra they are bound by.  Underwires are good.  Jogging bras are not….unless the wide uni-breast look is in.
My arms are the one area that has maintained some sense of dignity.  Those kids did come in handy for something -mostly for forgoing the need for weights.  I’ve seen women my age with full-on flying squirrel going on – mine are more like slightly overweight bats -just a little hang and they do stop moving fairly quickly when I stop waving.  God bless them.  At least one body part still likes me.
I got a glimpse of myself in my friend’s rearview mirror the other day.  It was not a reflection of my face but only my neck.  I wondered how my grandmother had entered the car…since she is no longer living.  Then I realized that it was me.  In my grandmother’s neck.  And I realized why people have face lifts.  I quickly brought my face in line with the mirror – not hard since I was in the back seat.  The hard part was keeping that position for the remainder of the ride.   I called shotgun on the way back.
Now is the part where I’m supposed to tell you that I still love myself…yada, yada, yada.  And none of it matters…and we all grow old, etc.  And we do.  And I do.  So I guess I will!  I do still love this crazy body that has decided to fight all sense and reason as it hit menopause.  It breaks into hot flashes at a moment’s notice like a fit of rage by a two-year old.  It keeps me up nights with aches and pains in areas where I didn’t even know had nerve endings.  The only time I find my missing patellae is when I’m walking up stairs and they start screaming, “Why didn’t you take the elevator???”
But my body is still mine and the only one I’ve got.  Those mermaid legs walked me all over Ireland on our last vacation.  That belly got a clean bill of health at the last colonoscopy.   And the breasts?  They may be long…but they have not turned on me.  One of my favorite shirts while walking in the the Breast Cancer 3-day - "Of course my breasts are fake - my real ones tried to kill me!"
So here we go – I could have another forty years with this cranky, non-conforming body.  Beats the alternative.  I will continue to push and pull it into some recognizable shape and it will most likely continue to fight every undergarment that steals its freedom.  In the end, that’s okay.  We’re in it together and secretly, I know we are still in sync.  Time to move on, however…apparently, my belly is angry about something.  My apologies.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Battle Still Wages

Ok...I'm down to 20 pounds within my goal weight.  This would be the same 20 pounds that has plagued me for the past 30 days.  I hear it's the hardest to loose.  I can attest that this is true.  Once you rid yourself of the lazy fat...that is, the fat that just sort of hangs on until you shake it off vigorously, the hard core fat remains.  This is the fat that is supposed to save you in a famine.  The fat that stores estrogen for an impending menopause.  This fat is very..very...determined and may I add...definitely not attractive. 

Now, this fat does at least behave itself while I'm fully clothed.  It tucks itself away when constricted by jeans or any other form fitting garment.  I think it knows I would resort to surgery if I had to deal with it in the daylight!  But at night...or in the morning when I'm dressing, it taunts me relentlessly.  I have lost close to 50 pounds and yes...I am happy with my body and no....I'm not becoming a closet anorexic.  But hey, why do something half way?  It's time to finish the job!

One little item that they don't tell you when you  are loosing weight is that once skin and muscles have stretched out, they really don't just snap back like a rubber band.  They sort of slowly amble back into the right size and hang out for a while to make sure your really going to keep the weight off this time!  I get body has moved between a size 7 and size 18 so many times that my skin is just trying to keep up!  I sort of feel like a deflated balloon.  Everything is smaller but it just...doesn't ...look...quite like it did prior to my getting big.  While my arms have maintained some muscle definition (thank you push ups and planks!), my torso has taken on a mind of it's own.  If only there was a little knob in the top of my head that I could just pull it all up with!  Remember Edgar in MIB?  Although, come to think of it, that didn't work out so well for him, did it?

Matt showed me some exercises to get my rear in shape.  My husband took a double take as I had my shoulders balanced on the couch, my knees bent and my hips thrust in the air.  This is definitely not an exercise to do when anyone is home!  I also started the Insanity videos.  I can make it through the first thirty minutes of the first video.  I plan on camping there for a while.  It seems much safer than plowing ahead and potentially having a heart attack.  I would like to enjoy my smaller size for a short time at least!  Shaun T is certifiably insane...I agree...but I can now do butt kicks, knee lifts and jumping jacks for a full ten minute warm up...yes...I said warm up!  That's just the warm up.  The first day, I warmed up after 45 seconds and just stood with my mouth open through the rest of the video.

I also have committed to two of my fellow nurses to run a half-marathon in February.  Pray for me.  If you have ever run with me, you know that I sound like a 79 year old with emphysema when I run.  Random people run up to me with inhalers.  It is better with the weight off, but my lung capacity is still lacking.  I may die in February.  I love you all...please say nice things at my memorial service!

So the battle still wages.  And I don't ever want to take a chance on going back.   I love being thinner.  I like clothes shopping again.  Even shoes are more fun now, albeit, I've made some very stupid shoe choices lately to  avoid hemming my new smaller pants.  This is yet another story to tell at another time.  Most likely when I finally fall off those heels and break my my self from the half-marathon! 

Love to you all!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

I'm Still Me!

I had the funniest interaction with a student recently.  One of my male students grabbed my arm recently and stated with concern, "Mrs. Saretsky....I'm soooo worried about you!  You need to eat!  You don't need to worry about those models out there.  You just need to be you!  Just be you!"  I smiled and let him know that I was not a) trying to compete with 18 year old models or b) on a hunger strike until people began telling me I looked like an eighteen year old model.  I was still me....inside and out!   To reiterate that, I reminded him that he was late for class....something the "old un-modelesk" self would have done also!   I had a good laugh and he has moved on to other graduating and becoming a nurse.

My sons have commented that they are proud of my weight loss but still haven't adjusted to seeing me as smaller.  I reminded Tommy that I was 15 pounds lighter than my current weight when Eric and I married eleven years ago.  He replied that he just doesn't remember me that way....I've been bigger in most of his memories.  It did remind me that we all make adjustments as we change or our loved ones change.  We did, however, both decide that I am! 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Losing Fast with Medifast

Ok...I'm a believer.  I've become a Medifast junkie.  After seeing advertising for this program for years, I finally opted to try it.  (Well, I opted to try it after watching my best friend lose 15 pounds while on it!.)   I have been on the program for 2 1/2 week and am down my own15 pounds.   Hallelujah....I may see my feet again at some point!

The program consists of eating (or drinking) five packages of Medifast product and one "lean and green" meal. The packages are mixed with water to create eggs, pancakes, shakes, pudding, etc. and the one meal a day is veggies and a lean protein.  Very limited brain power required.  I was staring into my pantry one evening and Tommy commented "you're going to get a blue packet or a red packet, shouldn't take that much thought!"  Ahhh...but my little packet can be turned into chili....or cappuccino....or a brownie...these are big decisions here!  

The most amazing thing is that I'm truly not hungry.  I eat every 2 1/2 hours and don't really think about food other than when it's time to eat.  This is a major victory for me.  Food has plagued my thoughts for....let me old am I?....48 years.  I began my relationship with food from an early age, having been reared by a woman from Kentucky that knew that everything tastes better with bacon...and fat...and salt.   My mother was an amazing Southern cook that taught us, among other things, that food was to be enjoyed.  And I excess.  Food has  been my friend, my confidant and at times, my significant other.  It feels incredibly healthy to put food in it's acquaintance that I interact with several times a day rather than the lost love that I perseverate  about constantly.  What will I eat next?  When will I eat next?  Is that a Potluck I smell?  Maybe I just needed a psych eval all along.

I reached the milestone of navigating Costco without nibbling on the free samples.  I participated in a pizza party pizza!  I went out with my coworkers to Cirque du Soleil, smelled the popcorn, and did not falter!  I nibbled on my Medifast cinnamon sticks and felt satisfied...and strong.

Other benefits....I'm sleeping... through the night.   This may have more to do with my decrease in caffeine than my diet but it is a related perk.  I like coffee.  I love flavored creamer.  Coffee and I have a precarious relationship when I can't sweeten him up.  I am down to about 1 cup a day that I drink with powdered creamer and Truvia.  Not the same as my Skinny Vanilla Latte's.  I stand corrected, however, on everyone that asked my to decrease my caffeine consumption when discussing my insomnia....apparently it does affect me that way. My Starbucks savings is going into a savings account for a Hawaii trip -for  when I can put on a bathing suit and actually venture out of the house in it.  (I will happily wave goodbye to the unileg!)

I also broke up with salt.  This could explain the 15 pounds in 2 weeks.  I salted everything...usually before I even tasted it.  I salted meat, fruit, name needed more salt.  I use it extremely sparingly now. My new best friend is no salt seasoning mix - I now use it on everything.  It's an illness I know...but at least I'm looking for healthier alternatives!

So...I will continue to post how it's going.  Someone asked me the other day what I will write about if I lose all the weight.  I thought for a moment....I doubt Medifast can cure the crazy thoughts that engulf my head...or make the antics of my three boys any calmer...or make me the perfect wife, mother and nurse...Nahhh...there will still be plenty to write about!

Love to you all!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Climbing up Coronado

Each year for one day, foot traffic is allowed on the Coronado Bridge.  Today was the day for 2012.  Each year the San Diego Navy MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) sponsors a race that takes participants from the San Diego Convention Center to Tidelands Park with some of the best views of the city atop the Coronado Bridge.  Eric and I have participated three times.  Each time is yet another great experience.  It is also for a good cause as it helps fund the MWR, which supports the off duty activities for our Navy personnel.

This four mile walk (each year I run about a total of about....hmmmm...six minutes) allows for great scenery,  camaraderie and a chance to see young families working together.  Many young Moms and Dads are running along side children of all ages.  Very cool.  (Makes me wish I had exercised with my kids rather than just watching from the sidelines!  I truly was the athletic supporter rather than the athlete!)

Eric and I walked most of the way with taking short sprints just to break out of the crowd.  I think it always surprises people to see me run at all...I am not a gazelle....much more like a rhino running.  It's not pretty, I've been a manner that I'm sure came from a good place (?).  We did have to run a few times, however, to avoid the women with the wild arm swing....she came close to making Eric hit a falsetto.  We also ran to get in front of a woman who, in spite of having my body, opted to wear a very short walking skirt that allowed us all to witness her thighs battle each other for space.   It was not pretty.  It also reminded me that my knee length walking shorts were a good idea.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Kreativ Blogger Award!

It has been two weeks since my return from the EBWW.  I came back expecting to jump into my writing with both feet, crank out a best seller and live off the royalties in Hawaii.   Just kidding...I actually expected to be doing exactly what I am doing...trying to figure out what I want to do with my writing!  I came to some very comforting realizations while at the conference:
  1. If I never get famous writing a novel, it's ok.
  2. If I never get famous writing a blog, it's ok.
  3. If I end up doing some writing that makes someone, somewhere laugh....I'm a successful writer.
  4. I may never know how many people enjoy my writing and that's ok too.
All of these realizations actually add to my overall contentment.  I write the blog because I enjoy it.  Nothing gives me greater pleasure that having someone say...I read your stuff and laughed out loud.  It's even better if they choked on some milk that spurted from their nose...then I know I really hit the mark!   My biggest wish is to have a moment like Erma when she read the words from her university professor stating "you can write". 

In that vein, I received a nod from a fellow writer that I was privileged to meet at the conference.  Darlene Sneden of Adventures of a Middle Age Mom fame, nominated me for a Kreativ Blogger award.  Darlene is one of many amazing writers that I was astounded by at the conference...each one at a different level of "success" yet continually accepting of every new face, conversation and question.  With the award, I am to give you seven facts about myself and nominate seven other bloggers for the award goes!

1.  A relatively unknown fact about me is that I once danced to "Ease on Down the Road" at the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.  I believe my shining moment was when I got off step and ran into the dancer in front of me right in front of a group of my high school friends.  This could have been the reason I gave up dance, Drill Team and anything that required me to move to music in front of 66,000 people.

2.  I completed my Masters Degree in Nursing Education in November 2011.  I have since thought I'd write a book entitled "How to make insomnia work for you".

3.  I was privileged to sing for several weddings and church banquets over the years until peri-menopause turned me into a tenor.  Now if I have a cold, I can sing bass.

4.  It always shocks the heck out of me when people state "I'm so glad you're here" in a crisis.  I teach my students to you feel anxious.  Apparently it has worked miracles for me over the years. 

5.  While I loved Psych nursing on the floor, I love teaching more.  I feel oddly at home in the classroom and absolutely get a sense of accomplishment when my students 'get it'.  As I get older, it just takes longer sometimes for me to 'get it' first!

6.  I am somewhat of the computer expert in my office which makes my husband and kids laugh hysterically since I usually need them to program my phone for me.

7.  We once had the police called to my sons 12-year birthday party when he and his friends staged a gang fight.  It is never good to meet a parent by saying "If your son tells you he was spread out over a police car, it is true...but not as bad as it sounds...."

Now that you know me, let me introduce you to my nominees....

1.  Heidi Koch Frazer from Heidi in Wisconsin is apparently my twin from another mother...and father...and family.  She has some hysterical blogs that do make me laugh out loud!

2.  Stacy Hatton is a pediatric nurse that writes about her adventures in parenthood in Nurse Mommy Laughs .  She has a great sense of humor and her musings on young childhood bring back memories (or nightmares) for me! 

3.  Ginger Truitt is a mother of five (I'm such a wimp with only 3!) that writes for several newspapers and is currently working on a book.  She can be found at Ginger Truitt and has a great outlook on life.

4.  I also met Rachel Webb Turner at the conference and she describes her blog as "all kinds of random things" Atlanta or being old and pregnant.  Her blog is Rachels Humor .

5.  Jody Worsham from The Medicare Mom writes about being having young children while being in the Medicare years.  Her recap of the EBWW made us all laugh!

I'm going to cheat a little bit and throw back the nomination to Darlene Sneden and the woman that nominated her, Lisa Tognola of Main Street Musings .  Both great writers and people I would love to learn from!

So...I have provided you with seven useless facts, tons of reading material and hopefully enough insight into my insecurities as a writer that you will leave a comment telling me that I have made you laugh at some point.   It's work here is done.

Love to you all!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Flying in the Fat Suit...again

I am back in San Diego after an incredible three days attending the Erma Bombeck Writer's Workshop.  Amazing time.  Amazing people.  Amazing acceptance of wherever you are as a writer.

If you know me, you know how I am about airplane seating.  If you know anything about the current airline industry, you know my anxiety can only be growing.  Planes are PACKED....each of my four flights this week had a body in each seat.  Ahhhh...this is the actual issue.  It's the bodies...not the seats.  Mine in particular.  I am currently feeling like the Mamma bear body in the baby bear seat.  This chair is toooooooooooo small.  I'm still looking for the airline seat that is jussssst right!  I've never been offered an extender (thankfully) and I still do have some slack on the belt but when I end up in a row with other bodies my size, we get much more up close and personal than any of us are prepared for.

This week consisted of four flights.  San Diego to Chicago, Chicago to Dayton, Dayton to Fort Worth, Fort Worth to San Diego.

San Diego to Dayton
First let me say that flying economy can make you feel like nothing less than cattle.  When they began calling boarding groups...I was number 8.  Seven groups were deemed worthy of boarding the plane prior to me.  I'm assuming that must be some kind of  Price Line punishment.  Most of us in group 8 looked at each other like "You're not independently wealthy either, huh?"  If nothing else, it did bond us as the lower class.