Friday, April 24, 2015

The Body Truth

Spring Break is Over...

It's that nasty time of year.  The slap in the face after Spring break that told us we didn't meet our first "hot bikini bod" goal of the year for that trip to Cancun.  The wake up call that one-third of the year has passed us by and we're just stumbling over our crash and burn off the wagon.  Now this may not be the case of everyone out there (gosh I hope so for the motivation that we all need!) but I can guarantee that these moods tend to come in waves throughout the year to hundreds of thousands and it shows very heavily in the articles and blog posts written.

Finding My Voice

A dear friend of mine recently posted an article to a weight loss group I'm a part of.  This blog post, found on, was written about swim suits and how we as women tend to look at ourselves.  How we react to our dressing room sessions as well as reacting to those out and about on beaches and at pools.  I have to admit that I read a lot of posts similar to this and nothing has really motivated me quite like this one.  Before you read on, I highly encourage you to read the blog!

After furiously nodding internally at this post, I decided to write a blurb in a Facebook comment on the post.  As I wrote, one word after another, I felt more and more sure of how I felt on the subject.  I'm still young to anyone that would ask, but I'm also 27 and I haven't had a "perfect body" since I was 20.  I have been through a lot of struggles that many can relate to and I just really felt an urgency to finally voice my opinion on the subject.

I've never been the person that responds as such before.  I have always wanted to write, but it's honestly rare for me to stumble on a subject that just hits me right in the gut and says, "say something."  The words that flowed from my fingertips are not ones I've heard often in the last several years through my journey of weight-loss and healthiness.  So I share my thoughts now in the hopes that they fall into the hands of those that could really benefit from hearing them.  And if the woman who wrote the blog post happens to read this, thank you for your words.  You've touched at least one person out there and made a difference.

Do I Have a Bikini Body?

Growing up, I loved spending every day possible at the pool during the summer.  I can't swim long distances and I never learned proper technique, but man I would be in the pool from open to close as many days as my mom would drive me.  After high school came the college girl tanning phase since I still couldn't really swim.  This phase is usually acted out with the skimpiest outfit available to minimize tan lines and maximize the tan.  And let me tell you, I had the body for it.  I'm 6 feet tall and back then I was a buck-fifty soaking wet.

Now that my age and wisdom have advanced a bit, I don't miss those days.  I've put on pounds, but most of them were comfortable pounds.  I remember a sweet old man I used to work with at at Wal-Martl.  A few years after I had moved on, I ran into him at a restaurant and stayed to visit.  I only remember one thing he said to me in the hour that I spent catching up.  He told me that I had put on some weight and it looked natural on me.  At that time I was still WAY smaller than I am now, but I had finally put on some curves rather than being the "Jolly Green Giant string bean" as I was so dubbed in grade school.

Everywhere we turn, women and even men are telling us that our size shouldn't matter anymore.  I wholly agree with this statement.  It's about who we are inside, what we strive for in our lives that defines us, not the number on the scale.  But when the topic of bikini season pops up, women still go scrambling for diets, gym memberships, support, and reassurance that they can fit in to the "itty bitty teeny weeny yellow polka-dot bikini" just in time for the summer months.

The article written sparked my thoughts on self image, goals, and confidence. Last year, after several summers on the sidelines and away from pools, I finally managed to find a suit that just filled in all the right holes in my confidence.  I didn't go with something that covered everything up like I have something to hide.  It was a tasteful two piece that still made me feel sexy rather than embarrassed at what might be bulging out.  That moment when I was putting on something that FIT, not something to wiggle into 20lbs from now, was the happiest I had stumbled across in a long time.  I had just taken a breath of fresh air.  I felt that for the first time in years, I was comfortable with what I was going to wear in public at a pool.

Who We ARE Vs. Who We're Trying To Become

We should all love our bodies and dress the part rather than degrade ourselves with negativity and never purchase what we could ROCK regardless of weight, BMI, lumps, wrinkles, thigh gaps, or muscles.  We as women tend to purchase outfits or swim suits to strive for in a goal rather than to actually wear right away.  When we don't reach the goal or the desired size, it's damaging to our confidence and our esteem.

I'm all for setting goals and buying an outfit now and then to reward or motivate weight loss, but I feel it has gotten out of control.  Women rarely feel comfortable in their wardrobe from day to day anymore; whether it be a lack of money to buy new clothes that fits just right or the stubbornness of not wanting to give into whatever our current size is, we as women are feeding the goal rather than showing off what we've got to offer.  Living happy every day in your skin, in your clothes, with your hopes, dreams, and goals...  That's what life should be all about.  If you think you look great, and act like you look great, then it will just ooze out of your personality and attitude.

We too often forget the here and now in a journey and only focus on the goal that may never quite turn out the way we hope.  We need to take back our image and be comfortable with what we've got every step of the way instead of just focusing on what the end game will bring us.  I honestly believe that the power of beauty and confidence lies in every person.  It's just waiting there to be discovered and used.

So here's to those that have an outfit in their closet they're trying to fit in.  Here's to those who've fallen off the wagon and are scrambling back up.  Here's to those who have supplied motivation in their goals and achievements.  And here's to each of you.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dear Me 2016

Dear Me,

Well here we meet again, strangers in the night until that fateful day you open this to read about all your hopes and dreams put down on "paper."  I hope to not disappoint.

2015 held a lot of promise at the beginning of the year.  You were geared up and ready to take on the world, or your own body I suppose.  But day after day, the struggles from 2014 kept sneaking in and taking back over.

A bajillion doctors later, you've gotten 2 diagnoses and 2 surgeries were done. By the time you're reading this, you should be just blowing it out of the water again.  You'll be 8 months post op on your hip and you know what that means?  That means if you haven't gone out for a walk today, you need to get your tush off the chair it's residing in and get out there because you were born to move.  The itch and passion of just simply getting out there and walking has never left you.  And I can only hope for the healing to go fast and successful so that you can enjoy the weather again.  Enjoy the time alone.

Your hand will probably still be a hot mess by the time this reaches you on the first of January.  It's a slower recovery than your hip.  Just remember that you're doing all you can to work on that movement and flexibility.

As far as eating habits go, I challenge you to keep up the healthy habits that have found their way into your kitchen throughout 2015.  Keep up with the veggies, and the healthy recipes, and the occasional cheat meal because let's be honest... I know you love the occasional homestyle, full of calories, meal. :)

I truly hope that your head is still held up high and you're proud of how far you've come.  It's not about the weight in 2015.  It's about getting better.

So with that, I bid you a farewell until the fateful day we meet again and I hope you know how much I admire you for the strength shown in 2015.


Too many passions.

Some days I overwhelm myself with all the different passions I have for things in life.  Now I don't want to make that sound bad at all!  I think it's great that I have so many likes and loves in my life!  But it becomes a problem real fast because I just can't juggle them all.  After a while they begin to feel like chores rather than a passion and I just get burned out on everything.  This is the cycle my life has taken for about the last 5 or 6 years.  I was perfect at it when I was younger, finding the time for what I wanted, when I wanted it? Cake. But not anymore.

Blogging and writing have always been a hidden passion of mine.  I've always wanted to write a book.  I thought about going back to college for an English major.  (just because I'm crazy like that).  But because of all my different passions (along with all my current struggles), my blogging has come to almost a complete halt.  I am going to try everything in my power to work on this.  Even if I'm posting one sentence, I need to get back into the swing of things!  It's already almost 2 weeks into March and I haven't done my Dear Me post yet (but that's coming right after this post let me tell you!). 

Life throws curve balls and I'm catching them all as much as I can but the ball is dropping more often than I'd like.  Things that are urgent aren't getting taken care of in a timely fashion.  But things that just take up and waste my time?  I'll do it all day long! (i.e. my video games).  But my struggles with my hip and now my wrist are really starting to eat at me.  My love for things are just less important because everything hurts.  Even leaving the house has become a struggle if I don't have to do it for my paycheck.

I have lost a lot of friends over the last year and a half because of what I've gone through.  But I've made even more who have cheered me on through thick and thin.  I wouldn't be in the state of mind I'm in without my Shrinking Jeans ladies.  It's very hard to rise above all the bad.  And I'm not always perfect at it, but I am aware of it.  I may only have one nostril above water sometimes but someone is always there to pull me up just a bit to keep me going.

I'm grateful for the friends that have been true ones.  I am not quite grateful for all my physical struggles but maybe someday I'll understand it better.  I've dealt with issues and surgeries my whole life.  This year will be surgeries 8 and 9 and I'm only 27.  I know there are lessons to be learned in everything that goes on in our lives.  I just wish I were a little more into all my passions to see above the muck.  So, here's to attempt #481618156 at blogging regularly.  And a very big, very sincere thank you to friends and family who have stuck with me and helped me along the way.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Back from Sabbatical!

Well here it is, February 5th and I have no idea where the time went.  I did very poor with my blogging last year because of all my medical road blocks but I'm still dealing with them today.  So, time to pick myself up, brush myself off, and batten down the hatches!  I miss writing terribly and I've had so much to say but just couldn't find the energy or heart to say it.

New day.

So I'm sitting here with 2 very hungry puppies in my lap thinking about what to cover!  What is important enough to blurb about to catch you up?  What really mattered to me?  What milestones have I not recorded since November?

So I shall begin.

November was a particularly difficult month for me and honestly may have been why I stopped blogging.  You see, my apartment had become horribly infested with cockroaches and November was the month where I had to literally pack my entire house up for a month in order to have 2 fog bombs done.  It's February and I'm still not done unpacking because the whole situation was so unpleasant and draining.  Long story short, we still have roaches but it's much better than before and now we have a much more knowledgeable person handling the situation.  I've already seen a huge difference in the last 2 weeks.  *here's hoping for bug free living*  I honestly can't express the feelings of never being able to cook, food going bad, eating out all the time, etc.  It was my own personal hell.  Getting my kitchen back was all I wanted.

My living room before I had to cover it with blankets...

December brought the normal holiday stress.  I, being the cooking fiend that I am, decided I wanted to put on Christmas dinner for my parents.  So I did!  And it was lovely!  I surprised them with my Grandpa's caramel recipe.  I made everything from scratch.  And I had a BLAST doing it all!  But heaven forbid if someone should offer to help!  My kitchen's not even big enough for me!  So I enjoyed the company of my mother talking while I did all the finishing touches for one of the best dinners I've ever put on.

 My super awesome dining room table!

 My HUGE 20lb turkey that didn't quite fit in the roasting pan.

 The yummo innards!  Sweet lemons, onion, thyme.
 The professional way to carve a turkey!  Much better than just hacking at it!

 My plate! Homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh green bean casserole, and a wild rice stuffing.

 My first pies ever. 

 It's just so darn pretty!

Caramel cooling... just begging to be cut and eaten!

January was fairly uneventful.  It blew right by me.  I tried a little harder on my weekly food prep.  I got a little more active in my kitchen on some nights and a little too friendly with eating out on others.  My challenge to myself for the year was to let go of numbers.  To be FREE.  I had originally planned on going a whole year without a scale and I decided that was a touch drastic.  But I will be sticking to the end of every month and no more.  It honestly wasn't hard to give up.  I told myself I was tired of looking at the number and that was that.  I didn't NEED to weigh myself at the end of January but I did out of sheer curiosity.  I didn't move a pound!  Down to the tenths!  Like I said... there was some eating out love during the month.  A bit more than I'd love to admit to.  but I was also finishing up 3 of my 6 weeks of physical therapy for my hip (more to come).  I'm not disappointed, but I was a bit shocked.

And so here we are.  3 months in a nutshell of vague but enough to fill in some blanks!

I will touch on my medical stuff but I don't feel like weighing the post down too heavily so I'll go easy!  I was finally referred to an orthopedist who got me a new MRI of my hip.  Lo and behold... I have a labral tear.  Now, if any of you were around when I first hurt myself (in late 2013!), I posted this little pic...

Now, I know what you're thinking!  How on earth could I have known??  Well, that's called listening to my body.  What I proceeded to do though... was let doctors walk all over me and tell me I'm fine.  Not so.  Thanks crappy doctors.  Anywho!  We got the MRI, I tried a steroid shot, that didn't work.  I was prescribed 6 weeks of physical therapy.  While I found muscle I didn't know still existed... It made my injury worse.  So here I am, with a hip surgery in the future (end of March) in hopes that the terrible statistics don't cast bad juju on my hip.  I have a very long recovery ahead of me, but I'm at the point where if I don't do anything, I'm stuck here as I am now.  This is the last attempt to repair it and from there, then I have to live with it.  Wow, didn't mean to sound so down!  I honestly do have my head up high and I'm looking forward to the surgery in the hopes that all will be well!  I am doing really well mentally with all my ailments which is extremely important.

All in all, there's a lot more to what's been going on, a lot more on my plate, but who needs the boring back story?!  Not you guys!  This post is dragging on as is!

So here I am.  February 5th.  Proud I've picked up the metaphorical pencil again to get my thoughts down on metaphorical paper.  Thanks for hanging in there and waiting for my next post!  I am going to try my hardest to stick with it this year.  It's a good therapy that I need to utilize with all that's going on around me :)

And so it begins again.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

It's November?

Well here it is... month 11 and man where has the time gone?!  It's almost time for me to go back and read my Dear Me letter at the beginning of 2015!!

Well let's just jump right in!

Medically I'm doing about the same.  The search for doctors and answers is frustrating but the search does continue.  I actually have 3 appts in the next two weeks and hopefully someone will have something for me!

That being said, I think I'm doing really well emotionally.  This struggle has me down and is just honestly beating the crap out of me but I'm still moving and I'm still searching.  I can't give up.  I won't give up!  So I'm just army crawling through all the crap to get to where I need to be.  It's been an extremely slow and limited journey for the last 9 months and I'm not where I wanted to be at this point in the year.  BUT that's not what I'm focusing on.

Even with all that has happened, I'm still down about 17 or 18 pounds for the year.  I'm not in better shape but I'm still getting the blood pumping with walking.  However I can get in at least 20 mins a day just to avoid being overly lazy!

I've snuck in a 5k or two when I really shouldn't be, but it makes me feel good to know that I can push through the pain to get something done if I really need to!

So for November, I'm going back to basics but I'm also challenging myself.

I've been told by a doctor that I need to strengthen my core.  Not with crunches or situps or russian twists, but with planks.  And how convenient is it that the Shrinking Jeans has their #planksgiving calender out for the month!

I'm going to try to do a 3 mile walk once a week.  This may be setting a bar too high but I just don't feel like my upper body is responding to the cardio since I'm only walking about a mile and a half over 2 breaks at work every day.

I'm going to go back to my dumbbells and work on my arms and back.  It takes 5-10 mins a day and it's something that won't hurt any of my injuries so let's get those weights back into my life!

And on top of it all, I've finally made the leap to commit to the NaNoWriMo challenge.  I DON'T have the time for it whatsoever but one of my serious life long dreams is to write.  What better opportunity??  I can't believe I've been passing it up for so many years but this is the first November I've not been in school!  So, I'm going to do what I can to get through it and make it aaaaaaaaaaall work out!  A friend posting on FB and my motivation ring talked me into taking this jump and I hope that I enjoy it as much as I'm looking forward to the challenge. I will most likely start a new blog just strictly about/for writing but I'm hoping in the process I'll be more active here as well.  I feel like my injuries have dampered my love of sharing and inspiring.

So thank you to all those who help me and keep me motivated in all things.  I hope I can continue to do the same for others.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Checking In With a Heavy Heart.

Well the last time I posted, I was about to go under the knife for an exploratory surgery and life just got real crazy after that!  I'll do my best to summarize and not blab on and on about boring stuff!  (warning, this is very medically heavy!) But first a few pictures!

This is the most recent picture I've taken for a weigh in but it's certainly not up to date.  I'm at about 190 currently.

Yay new car!  That's one stress off my back!

Spending some much needed time out of the house at a DiamondBacks game!

Now back to the medical crap:

The surgery itself went ok.  I am STILL healing from it 8 weeks later.  This annoys me but what can you do?  It's SURGERY!  They weren't able to find any indication of what is causing my pain whatsoever.  So that was a big bust and useless time away from a paycheck.  Yay!  But, at least I know, and some of my long time gynecological questions were answered by the surgery so it wasn't all that bad I suppose.

Where does that leave things? Up in the air I tell you.  My doctor is a nice man, but he's not on the ball about the next step or where to go or what we should do next.  The last 7-8 months have been all me making choices on where to go and who to see and I would just run it by him.  I'm currently just treating the abdominal/pelvic pain with medication and a pain cream.  This combination of stuff is helping but it's not fixing.  So big ? at the current dead end here.

Next, we have the sciatica I developed about 10 weeks ago.  The last I mentioned this, I was waiting for MRI results.  Those came in and *truly* showed nothing significant.  After going back for another month's worth of medication from my PCP, he actually suggested something!  Hallelujah! He suggested that I get an epidural shot in my back to try and knock out one of the two major pains I'm dealing with.  I was very welcome to the idea of trying something else rather than just sitting on the issue.

So I talked with the doctor that would do the procedure and after hearing all about the pain, he changed his mind and said we'd go with a caudal epidural to see if the pain is generating from my tailbone area.  So I showed up for the appointment, met a lot of amazing people (new hospital for me) and even though the procedure was 4 hours late, I didn't mind because I was being taken care of.

The shot was WAY scarier and painful than I ever imagined.  I mean, sure you hear how epidurals hurt for pregnant ladies, but I got it right in the base of my tailbone where everything is tender and super sensitive.  The numbing shot was the WORST.  Once it was over (took maybe 7 minutes total) they took me into recovery where everyone who I had started with came in and checked to see how I did.  The care was overwhelming (in a good way) especially since I came in expecting a little shot, not a full blown sterile procedure in a hospital.

This shot will take some time to kick in so I'm still not sure how helpful it will be but I am hoping it provides some answers.  If this shot doesn't work, I got a referral to an amazing back surgeon to see.

And last but certainly not least... I found out last night (while waiting for my shot) that I DO have at least ONE diagnosis!!!!  Can you believe that??  After all these months and tests and everything else.... A diagnosis (while terrible news) was the best thing to happen to me.  That's one less ? in my life.

Throughout the late months of 2013 and early months of 2014 I complained of hip pain when I tried to run.  I took the issue to my PCP finally and he immediately said let's get an MRI! And I'm like, great!  Let's do this and get some answers!  Well, when it was time to get the answers, I got a big fat "everything looks good, no problems with the MRI" from the doc.  So I turned away hurt and angry.  Not understanding how one person can keep hearing the word "healthy" with so many issues.  I didn't give it another thought because I was dealing with trying to get my abdominal pain under control so it sat on the back burner, as did my running and most of my walking.

Well, I happened to get my hands on my chart from my PCP that he sent to the doctor for my epidural.  I started flipping through.  Curious what he writes every time since my appointments last a grand total of 3-5 minutes.  I was horrified to see that most of my detailed complaints were missing.  Each page said pretty much the same thing, "pt complaining about pain and , asking for medication refills."  Anywho... skip about 4 months of pages and you get to my hip MRI results.  I skimmed it, stopped on a line about 2/3 of the way down.  I re-read it and finished the page.  I turned the page just to see if there was more and on THAT page, in doctor's handwriting WITH a signature next to it... it said "degenerative joint disease."  Now I spent a good 10 minutes flipping from those words to the line I have now read about 30 times.  I pulled out my phone and we googled the very large doctor words and came to the conclusion that my MRI shows "Moderate to Severe cartilage degeneration where my hip socket is."

Well, it's an answer right?  Certainly not one I want since this (like most of my other issues) runs heavy in the family.... But now I really know how much my PCP doesn't care about helping his patients. (by the way, that line was highlighted in my chart).  I will now have to proceed to an orthopedist to have someone look at it who specializes in these types of injuries to see what needs to happen next.  But hey, it's an answer and now it can be treated.   That's more than I can say for my other issues.

So as far as being healthy and active... I'm doing all I can which really isn't much but it's something.  I'm able to walk about 1/2 a mile most days for my exercise.  And I'm trying to keep my eating in check.  It's hard because I'm almost never in the kitchen with all my problems.  But one step at a time and I will not roll over and let my body get the best of me.  I may have put the weight back on because of my inactivity but I know that it was literally unavoidable with recovering from surgery.

I'm pretty much at my wits end with medical stuff and if I never saw another doctor, I'd probably be a happy person.  But, I will keep going.  I will make sure I don't get defeated by my issues.  I will stay as POSITIVE as I can.  I will move forward.

I have a lot of great people in my life helping me through all this and I wouldn't be who I am now without each and every person who has touched my life.  I thank you all.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Wed Weigh In, Day 218

Well here it was, the morning I've been both dreading and anticipating.  Surgery day.  It's been a long 6 months of doctor after doctor, test after test.  I was just ready for this to be over with.  The week leading up to it had me on edge.  But first!  I had to weigh in!  DUH!  How else am I supposed to keep track and make sure I'm doing all I can to motivate myself and others??

So Tuesday night, I took my parents out to our favorite Mexican place because who doesn't want Mexican for their last meal before a 13 hour fast??  We had the special (and Zach and I's favorite meal)  a shredded beef taco and a cheese enchilada with red sauce.  It was just as heavenly as always and I didn't regret one bite of it!

Stepping on the scale the next morning, I was a touch worried what it might read because dinner was so heavy, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the number on the scale!  Turns out that going back to the habits I had before all the medical disasters this year pay off, I just needed to put that dreaded EFFORT into it.

It's been rough and bumpy at times.  I didn't want to be in the kitchen because I couldn't stand on my feet for long, I wasn't prepping anything and veggies were just going bad in the fridge rather than me eating them.  But about 2 weeks ago I decided it was time to buck up and get back in that saddle no matter how much my butt cheeks hurt from the ride :)

In this last week I was able to buy groceries, restock the pantry, fill the fridge with prepped veggies and I cooked enough food for 6 of the 7 nights.  I also cut back on the nasty soda habit I have at work and went back to force feeding myself water in my favorite water receptacle because the wide mouth encourages large amounts of liquid with little effort!  #lovemesomeblenderbottle

So without further ado, I am pleased to say that I'm almost back down to the lowest weight this year.  Hoping for a speedy recovery so I can put my tennies back on and get some walking done.  I will also be getting serious with yoga again due to sciatic nerve complications and I'm looking forward to challenging myself with this.  It's going to be hard since it has to happen in my living room, but it's medically necessary at this point so what better motivator?!

Hope everyone had a great week and hope that this next week is just as great if not greater!  Let's see those scale numbers move down!!