Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The "After" Phase

Most of you probably already know, but I passed my dissertation defense.  I will be graduating in May with a PhD in English.  So that's one thing marked off on my life to-do list.  Next on the list is Everest, so this is going to be a fruitful year.  I've spent the past almost two weeks in what I've come to think of as the "after" phase.  My shoulders are slowly relaxing, and I've stopped having random mini-panic attacks that I'm not working on my dissertation non-stop.  I knew school was a source of pressure and stress, but I hadn't realized the sheer amount of it that I'd built up.  I'm happier every day because my brain lets me really enjoy the things I do for fun.  Now they're important in their own right rather than as procrastination tools.  I also enjoy playing with D more because now I'm fully engaged and not waiting until someone comes to relieve me so that I can get back to work.  I'm very proud that I've accomplished as much as I have in my studies, but I'm ready to not define myself as "an English major" anymore.

After much concentrated effort, Eli and I have come to the realization that we're not going to have any more kids.  We'd given ourselves until May to get pregnant, and May is here with no pregnancy.  I'm torn on the issue because originally we were only going to have one baby.  That changed during my pregnancy, so I got used to the idea of having two kids.  Now we're back to one, and I can't help but feel sad for everything we're going to miss.  The phase will pass because I don't like being sad.  I'll focus on the happy aspects of the decision until I've forgotten the sad parts, but for now it's a little hard seeing many of my friends pregnant or with new babies.

Something else I realized.  My intention to have another baby was sabotaging my weight loss efforts.  I spoke a good game, but when it came down to it, I wasn't as dedicated as I have been in the past.  The thought of gaining weight with another pregnancy just to have to start losing it all over again made my willpower less effective.  Now that I know I won't be gaining weight for a pregnancy, it's gotten a lot easier to focus on eating right and exercising.  Today was day 18 of 30DS round two, and I've noticed a nice improvement in the ease of the moves.  I'm 6 pounds from my WW goal weight, and 16 pounds from my personal goal weight (I like to leave a little wiggle room for the weeks where I just have to have a cupcake every day).  On top of that, I feel like I've toned some muscle where before I just did cardio to keep the jiggly parts a little less jiggly.  I'm really excited to fit into my extensive wardrobe of clothes that have been in storage for over two years now.  It'll be like shopping except I love everything and it's all free.  I keep a couple of pics in my workout space as motivation.  One is of me and Rocket in Mexico, and I love the way I look.  Clearly, I've gotten to that point once before, so I'll get there again.  I intend to be a fit, healthy, 30-something mom living the beach lifestyle with her best buds.  There's a lot to look forward to.

Some pics I've accumulated in the last two weeks:


This is my workout calendar.  One sticker for every day I did 30DS.

D likes to take all the milk boxes out of the big box and carry them around.  He leaves them all over the house.

This is how he watches his DVDs.

D holding a friend's turtle for the first time.

He loves this motorcycle.

D's Rules #6: We can have no pillows on the couch.  They are allowed on the arms or the floor only.

What up.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

No one will believe me.

I have few things to hit on today.  30DS.  Bras.  Everest.  Earthquake.  We'll even go in that order.  I'm on day 9 of the 30DS round 2.  It's still kicking my butt, but yesterday, I was able to get through the entire push-up section without doing any moderations.  That's right.  I did boy push-ups the entire time.  Even better, when Eli walked into the office/gym while I was in the middle of my work-out, he stopped, looked at me for a second, then told me that I looked skinnier.  He sounded surprised.  I restrained myself from smacking him for the surprise, and the compliment was nice.  I've found that I just don't have the energy to do 30DS on Sundays (even though it's only 25 minutes) after chasing D around all day.  Instead, I've started doing yoga on Sundays instead.  My yoga DVD is 30 minutes long and the stretching feels amazeballs after all the strain on my muscles during the week.  Also after the strain of a toddler treating me like a bouncy castle. 

Bras are not something I normally talk about a lot.  I have a philosophy that I love VS, and if I go into their store, I will come out broke.  Before the boob job, I thought I was a 32B.  After the boob job, once the swelling went away, I stayed consistent at a 32C (with the occasional D thrown in for good measure) until my pregnancy.  I was frustrated that most other stores didn't sell 32s in a C or D, but that was okay because I had VS.  Since D weaned himself, I haven't really been able to wear my VS bras because they aren't as comfortable as they used to be.  I blamed my weight gain, and I've been working to get back to my "normal" size.  This is just backstory so you understand my thought process.  Today, I read a blog post that made me do a bunch of research.  You find that post here at Epbot.  She writes about how she learned that her bra size was terribly, terribly wrong.  I was aware of the oft repeated idea that most women in America were wearing the wrong bra size, but since I'd had a doctor create my bra size specifically, I was pretty sure I was wearing the correct one.  On a whim, I followed her links.  After some research, I measured myself (several times) and found that I'm supposed to be wearing a 32G in American sizing.  I'm not convinced that this is accurate, but from what I read, I'm wearing my bras wrong anyway.  There's a British lingerie store/website that comes highly recommended (Brastop), so I might order a 32G bra and see what all the fuss is about.  Another option is a British department store at one of the malls here might have that sizing.  I'll check it out.  I'm posting this here because I want all my female friends to educate themselves about proper bra fit.  I'll do a follow-up post when I can confirm/deny the sizing difference. 

EDIT: I just checked the Marks and Spencer website.  They do offer the sizes I need, but the bras are plain.  The Brastop bras are cute like VS, so I may still order one.  Still need to go try one on though.

So, Eli and I are going on a trip to Everest Base Camp in late October.  We're hiking from a village in Nepal to Base Camp and back.  It's supposed to take 10-12 days, and it will probably result in the death of at least one of us.  Maybe not from the very challenging physical aspect, but you know Eli is going to be attacked by a yak or something.  This means I need to pick up my snowboarding gear from WI in May so that I don't have to spend an insane amount of money on stuff I already have.  Now I just need to remember where I packed it away.  Eli considers this great practice for his frozen river trek that the guys are doing for his 40th birthday in January.  I'm excited because we'll get to add "went to Everest" on our list of cool things we've done.  Bragging rights, check.

Eli experienced his first earthquake on Tuesday.  It was a serious one too.  I noticed right away because, hello, 8 years in southern Cali trains you for several very specific things.  Earthquakes and tan lines are two of them.  Also, how to not get shot in the ghetto.  Eli didn't believe me at first, but when I pointed out the tinkling coming from our living room chandelier shaking, he jumped up from the table pretty quickly.  He gathered D, the housekeeper, the nanny, and the Hindi teacher (we were in the middle of class) and insisted that we all tromp down 12 flights of stairs to wait in the lobby with the rest of the building.  I told him that if he was trying to get to a safe place, the lobby wasn't it.  He refused to listen to my logic.  The shaking went on for about 20 seconds, then stopped.  We didn't feel any aftershocks.  Nothing even fell off of any shelves.  I again tried to tell Eli that we weren't really in any danger, but he wanted to stay downstairs for a bit.  On the plus side, it was a convenient way to meet some of our neighbors.  Especially since I was in my penguin PJ pants.  It made for a good ice breaker.  After 15 minutes or so, Eli got hot or tired or something and allowed us to take the elevator back up to our apartment.  We finished class and that was that.  Later that night, I checked a couple of earthquake sites and found out that our little quake wasn't so little.  Apparently, it was centered on the Iran/Pakistan border, and it was a 7.8 that caused destruction and loss of life.  At least 35 people were killed.  What I find most interesting is that there appears to be little media coverage of a major natural disaster in comparison to the Boston Marathon bombings.  I'm not critiquing this, I'm just drawing attention to what the news outlets consider more important.  It made me examine my outlook on world events as reported to me.  The earthquake had a more upfront effect on me than the bombings, but I'm living on the other side of the world, so that makes sense.  If I were still living in WI, would I have even noticed a blurb about a major earthquake in Iran/Pakistan?




Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Full-blown, Rocky-style sit-ups.

I've finished the 30 Day Shred, and I am here to report results.  I want to start by saying that I feel better, stronger.  I'm proud of myself for finishing the full 30 days no matter the results.  With that said, the results weren't what I was expecting.  From the research I'd done before, I expected to lose inches but not pounds.  Turns out I work backward because I lost pounds but not inches.  In total, I lost 7 pounds over the last 30 days, but the only change in my measurements was in my waist and belly.  I lost an inch in each place.  Everything else stayed the same.  We did take before and after pics, but there isn't much of a visual change so I'll spare you all the view of me in a sport bra and shorts.  I have to say that I'm a bit disappointed in these results, but I'm really happy with the 7 pounds.  My end goal has always been to fit into my pre-pregnancy clothes again, not to have better numbers.  By the end of the 30 days, I could do the moves noticeably easier.  Because I'm not the type of person to give up after one try, I decided to do the program a second time, without breaks.  Today was the first day of round two.  In revisiting level 1, I confirmed that I was stronger because the moves I couldn't do the first time around were possible on the first day this time.  Even if the only change I see is a bit more weight loss, I'll be happy with that after another 30 days. 

This in no way means that the program doesn't work.  It just means that it works differently for me than it might for other people.  There is nothing about exercising every day that is bad for you; it can only help. 

I wanted to hit on another subject that's related to this one.  Weight Watchers.  I've been a member of WW since October of 2004.  I've been a Lifetime member since June of 2005, meaning that I hit my goal weight and maintained that weight for six weeks.  In all the time between then and my pregnancy in 2011, I've stayed at my goal weight.  Technically, I'm still a Lifetime member, but I'm sort of cheating because they have my account on hold at the moment due to me being in India.  WW doesn't have a presence here, so they can't require me to weigh-in once a month.  As long as I'm still within my goal weight range when I get back, I stay a Lifetime member.  There are two problems with this.  One, I'm not at my goal weight.  I was 13 pounds above my upper limit when I started 30DS, and I still have 5 pounds to lose to get to that point.  Two, India isn't exactly WW-friendly.  There isn't a lot here that is low- or non-fat.  All the foods that I depend on to keep my points down aren't available here.  You know what is available?  Butter.  Oil.  Chips.  Cookies.  Cheese.  Regular fountain soda (Diet is extra because it's always from a can).  We have a cook who now understands that I'm trying to lose weight, but she thinks I'm too skinny already and constantly pushes food on me.  Veggies and fruits are good, but the ones I normally buy are super expensive.  I've had to adjust to the higher points meals by not snacking during the day or eating after dinner, no matter how hungry I am.  Let me be clear, our grocery store is also a bakery.  I am within easy walking distance of bakery-fresh pastries at all times.  Every time I go shopping, I have to resist the urge to buy things that I shouldn't be eating.  To make matters more difficult, Eli insisted on bringing several huge, 3-pound cans of nacho cheese, chips, mac and cheese, etc.  The things he likes to eat, but I have to limit.  I have a hard time not having nacho cheese and chips for dinner every time I have a day off.  Trying to lose weight in India has been incredibly difficult for me, but I think I'm making some good changes in my life.  I doubt those changes will transfer to the States though.  We'll be back in Wisconsin for three weeks, and Eli and I are already having the "I can't wait to eat..." conversations.  If I gorge myself for three weeks, I'll erase all the hard work I've done here.  Hopefully, the memory of Jillian kicking my arse every day will be enough to convince me that eating at Sonic for three days in a row is a bad idea.  Also, I only need one cupcake at a time.  One.  I wonder if I can work something out with Gigi's so that they'll only sell me one per day.  I'll have to think on that more later.  There's something I keep repeating to myself when I find it particularly hard, or like today, when I'm faced with less progress than I thought I'd made.  Dani from the latest season of The Biggest Loser said it early on in the season.  "I'm not here to get skinny; I'm here to get strong." 

Since I'm not leaving you with pictures of my flab, I thought I'd give you something else to enjoy:

You're welcome.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Stabby tree is stabby.

We were outside playing with D (roll the ball down the hill, race after it screaming at the top of his lungs, bring it back, repeat), and he got going a little too fast for his flailing legs.  He tripped and landed in a patch of flowers at the base of a tree, but what we didn't see was the pointy trunk bits hidden by the flowers.  He damn near skewered himself sideways.  He was crying, I was upset because he was bleeding.  Eli was trying to calm us down by pointing out that it stabbed him through his shirt so there probably wouldn't be dirt in the wound.  It wasn't helping that much.  After a few minutes we both calmed down and played for a while longer.  D refused to go near any of the trees unless he was holding one of our hands.  Poor baby.

I make a to-do list every night before I go to bed because it calms the chaos a bit and makes it easier for me to actually do the things on the list the next day.  Today, my to-do list was thus:
  • work out
  • study
  • Hindi class
  • shower (I put this on here so I can always cross one thing off)
  • play WoW
It's both sad and awesome.  Awesome because that's really all I *have* to do today.  Sad because I want the list to be much longer.  Here's what my ideal to-do list would look like:
  • work out
  • shower
  • hang with Rocket
  • toddler play group
  • play WoW
  • craft project
  • lunch with the sis-in-law
  • shopping for new, smaller jeans
  • volunteer with D at the animal shelter
  • board games with Serun et al.
  • volleyball
  • free drinks at the sponsor bar
Busier, but more my style.   I like to stay busy, and I love spending time with the people in my life.  This is a totally doable list if us, Rocket, the sis-in-law, and Serun et al. all lived in the same general area.  I guess I'll just do what I can until the waiting period in India is over.

*Warning: if you've never played WoW, this will probably make no sense to you.*Actual conversation between Eli and me:
Me: Ding! "I leveled from punching Deathwing in the face!"
Eli (without looking up from his phone game): "Obviously.  You should get two levels."
Me: Nods in agreement.  We go back to our respective games.
This is why I married him.

We officially set a diss defense date for Friday, April 19th.  I'll know in two weeks if I'm actually graduating or not.  We're having a party either way, but it will be way more awkward for me if it's a "sorry that you aren't graduating" party instead of a "you now have to call me doctor" party.  Either way free food and booze.

Today marks day 28 of the 30DS.  During the first week, I started putting stickers on my calendar for every day I did my workout.  I'm super proud of looking at the March calendar and seeing all the stickers.  I plan to get even more in April.  While level 3 is still very hard, I've reached the point where I can finish it without collapsing.  Some might say that means I'm doing it wrong, but I choose to see it as a sign of growth.  I'm excited to see what happens when I go back to level 1.  Will the moves be extra hard again or will I be noticeably stronger?  I'll throw up an extra update this week with my measurements and maybe some pics after I've finished the full 30 days.

Earlier this week, D and I went on a stroll through the gardens so I could take pics of the flowers here.  I've included some of them below along with a couple of fun ones.






How do I get this thing in my mouth?





Olives are delicious, but only if I can eat them off my fingers.


We're gonna put this french fry right here in Daddy's pocket for later.