#Mamavation and How it has Changed My Fridge

As we all know, one of the biggest hurdles to eating healthy is what stares at us from the recesses of our refrigerator. Sure, there’s fast food to avoid and healthy choices to make at restaurants…but the worst choices are the convenient ones we make in the comfort of our own home. You can usually find an overweight person in a restaurant to remind you what you are trying to change about yourself and that can spur you to make a better choice. Or you just think people are looking at what you’re eating and maybe you shame yourself into making a better choice. Whatever you do, most people are just more likely to make a better buying decision in a restaurant, where others are also making food choices.

At home, there’s no one to tell you what to eat, no one to look at and think, “Wow, I need to keep it in check or else.”

I’m not sure how most people get unhealthy food from the store to their homes. I don’t shop. I’m actually phobic of grocery shopping. I have panic attacks in grocery stores. I’m DEAD serious. My husband has done the grocery shopping during the entire almost-eight-years of our marriage. The number of times I have gone grocery shopping in the last eight years can easily be counted on one hand.

Which means I can tell him what to get. I can inform him of the label on bread that lets you know it’s really whole-grain. I can dictate my wish-list of healthy foods. Then, he just gets them. I’m not tempted to be lazy and just pick up a couple of “just in case” Lunchables for the kids. Thanks to him we discovered Amy’s Chocolate Graham Bunnies the kids adore.

And because he doesn’t mind shopping a couple/few times a week, we can keep lots of fresh veggies in our house. Buying the right amount of veggies has taken a while. People always OVERbuy veggies and then throw them out and think it’s a waste and too expensive to buy fresh. The key is buying enough and no more. Then you have to go out and do it again. Sure, it’s not as convenient as shopping once a week, but in most countries people buy dinner the same day, every day, so it’s really just a matter of making a small commitment. Just because your fridge is there doesn’t mean it should be packed.

This is what my fridge looks like immediately after grocery shopping:

The beer on the top shelf of the fridge and the top shelf of the door of the fridge has been there for probably six months. My husband likes it so it stays. His one vice is Pepsi, and since I don’t shop I really don’t have a leg to stand on when it comes to telling him he can’t have his ONE thing.

You might notice there isn’t one bottle of water in there. I drink my water room temperature. I heard it was better for you, but really I do it like that because it’s easier to drink more at room temperature. The meat drawer actually freezes meat that’s in the back so this weeks meat is ground beef (80/20) and Polish Sausage. (Again, you try telling my polish husband he can’t have polish sausage. I dare you.)

We will go through that yogurt on the yogurt shelf in a week or less. Probably less. The girls and I decimate yogurt at a rate of approx. three a day. I’m totally ok with this because we don’t really drink a whole lot of milk, and I drink NO milk because it makes me horribly ill (the same way eggs and cottage cheese do) so I avoid it.

If you have any questions, let me know.

Oh, my weight this morning was a whopping 304.8  -bah humbug – bloated much? Why yes, yes I am. So, I’m just hanging on to how awesome my eating has been and honestly not worry about being a hormonal, bloated mess. It’s a marathon, not a race.

Note: I am not advocating judging others in public places. If you do, please don’t openly stare at them or say something. Shame will not keep you on your weight-loss journey and self-hatred will not help you sustain it. Putting yourself up against others may work in the short-term, but you always need to make choices for YOU. Not because you’re sitting across from a thin girl eating salad or a fat man eating steak. This has been a public service announcement from “Jen’s Super-Special Hug Yourself Because You’re OK Foundation” – now go hug yourself.

I Almost Called This One Blogger’s Anonymous

It started as just a little header change. I was trying to do something adorable and Fall-related when I had that overwhelming feeling of just being done blogging – again.

I can’t seem to shake the feeling that if I just used a different domain name and started over I could start “fresh” or something. A thought that I realized was silly even as I was thinking it. But still, I entertained the thought.

Because I’m so many things. Really. From being smart to kind to giving hugs to people to understanding how to talk to shy people in person without making them feel overwhelmed and trapped – and that’s just the short list.

Flaws? Heck yes I have flaws! Oodles of them!

From my short tempter to my tendency to think people mean things more harshly than they do, I make all kinds of mistakes and errors and just get things wrong sometimes. I’m 100% Grade-A flawed human!

But I want this blog to be something better – something deeper- than it has been. Something I want to go back and read later. I keep having these weird growing pains and talking about them, but eventually I’ll find my voice and my groove and I’m going to start writing things I want to write.

So sit back and enjoy the ride. I’m not going anywhere.

Even if it does ruin my chances for a kickin’ graduate scholarship down the road.

“No Surgery for the Fat Girl” Update

I found a new surgeon!

He did a hernia surgery on a friend of a friend that was about a million times worse than mine and she weighed more than I did. He did gastric bypass on her at the same time. He did a phenomenal job. Like. Amazing.

I have a consultation with him next Friday right after Physics. I’m *so* excited.

A little nervous, too. I’m afraid I’m going to get the hard sell for bariatric surgery. While my friend and her friend tell me that he’s just not that kind of doctor and that he doesn’t push for the RNY surgery … I’m still nervous.

It’s kind of like in the cartoon where the one cartoon looks at the other cartoon and he turns into a hot dog or a pork chop – except I’m afraid when I walk in I’ll look like a big cartoon scalpel. Not as cute as a hot dog for sure. Not that hot dogs are cute…you know what I mean. LOL

I’ve researched so much about bariatric surgery – mostly the whole “no long term studies” portion of the program – and it scares me to death. Plus, I don’t want to contribute to the inflated numbers of health care in America for the Obese – a large part of which is a $20,000+ surgery all doctors are recommending to all fat patients. At $20k a fattie, those costs add up fast and make us all look like a total drain on the system. Well, also changing those BMI numbers…or using them at all…Ok, now I’m just going down a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down. It ends in anger and frustration and railing wildly against ignorance – and that’s not the prescription for happiness for my life. I may not have any problem with confrontation, but confronting raw ignorance is not something I would ever choose to do willingly.

There are too many people that want to change the world who are going to tilt at all the windmills. The world doesn’t need me to join in that chorus.

So I’m getting my surgery. From a surgeon with a fabulous reputation. The “I graduated from high school at 12 and never wanted to be anything but a doctor” doctor. The doctor with a “I wore a bracelet and added a bead every time my son got chemo then it got too long so now it’s a necklace” heart. Talk about a perfect combination. Caring and whip-smart. I might swoon.

Music for Working Out – Walk & Tone or First Day to 5k

Anyone who’s doing the Couch to 5k probably knows the music is the tough part. Well, it is for me anyway.

You can pick up FitCheerleader’s Walk & Tone mix here for $2.99 (use code LAUNCH for $1 off).

You can subscribe to the PodRunner free First Day to 5k podcast here.

I like the podcast because it’s just music. No lyrics, nothing to get lost in, just something to help me keep the beat and keep time and keep a steady pace.

Knowing where to get good stuff is handy when you love working out to music!

I just wish I could get some earbuds that wouldn’t pop out of my ears!! The default iPhone ones fall out and the SkullCandy ones I have do the same thing. I feel like I need smaller rubber-thingys but I’m already using the smallest ones and it feels like I’m about to pop an eardrum when I push them into my ears. Maybe I just need a tutorial on how to insert and use SkullCandy earbuds.

Leave it to me – the one super-skinny thing on my body – my ear canals. They’re SO svelte! LOL

Will My #Mamavation Post Include a Weight Today?

Y’all know I set you up so you’d come read the post this week, don’t you?

But I am going to tell you how much I weigh. I’d appreciate it – but of course it’s not required – if you would not focus on the number, whether you feel it’s good or bad. I’d much rather the number just be part of the post, not the focus of the post.

Does that make sense?

Ok, just so we’re all clear and happy and getting along. Really, if you could pretend I didn’t tell you that would really be awesome.

So, yeah, I’ve been working out and eating … less. I don’t know what the magic number is that will make the amount I’m eating “not enough” – Sparkpeople talks about a range between one number and another number. But those numbers are SO high. I’m also not telling how many calories I’ve been eating. So nyah nyah. LOL

It’s actually really ironic that I haven’t been sharing my scale number. It’s because this journey is a personal one. I spent 8 weeks being extraordinarily public about that number and I now weigh myself every morning again just like I did before being taken down to only weekly weigh-ins.

I like daily. I’m able to put it into my Excel spreadsheet and track how my weight fluctuates around “that time of the month” or around a full moon (no joke) and then looking at how much food was consumed and it’s actually creating a very personal pattern that is not anyone else’s weight loss journey, but just my weight loss journey.

Because everyone’s body is different. Everyone’s weight journey is different. Everyone’s final magic number is different.

Your job – your responsibility to YOURSELF as someone who wants to be fit and someone who wants to be healthy is to find YOUR number. To find YOUR pattern. To uncover YOUR barriers to a fit and healthy life. Basically, to figure out if you gain two pounds overnight to be able to look at the prior day and see that you – for example – added a different brand of bread. Maybe take a couple days off from the bread and try it again. If the scale freaks out the next day. VIOLA! You know you shouldn’t eat that brand of bread!!

Just because something is whole grain doesn’t mean it’s the combination of whole grains that works best for YOUR body. Just because something is low calorie doesn’t mean it isn’t high in sugar. Just because it’s low-fat, low-carb, high-fiber, or says healthy on the package – it doesn’t mean it’s something you should eat.

In Rachel’s post last week on what to eat, I have a simple, but impossible, answer. Raise your own meat and grow your own food. Of course none of us can really do that. Well, we could but it’s more than a one-person full time job, which means we’d somehow have to be homeless because nobody in the family works and somehow own land to grow our stuff on. See, impossible.

If you grew your own veggies and raised your own chickens you would find that you were eating the most of whatever crop really took off that season. It might be rutabaga, or squash, or pumpkins, or leeks. Whatever. It depends on the soil and where you live and what your winters are like. You’d learn how to can things and you’d eat pickled everything for winter. You wouldn’t get a whole lot of protein – because if you kill a chicken you’re sacrificing fresh eggs so it’s a balance.

Life doesn’t force us to balance anymore. Food is no longer about having enough and making decisions about food that can result in starvation over the winter. The abundance of food has led to us thinking too much about food which causes confusion about food. People didn’t make fun of fat chicks back then because it meant – and still means in some cultures – that you can AFFORD to eat that much…and that’s a big deal.

So, for those of us that are confused – and this includes me – I’m not coming at you from on high or anything…when you feel frustrated and overwhelmed that you just can’t figure all this out. Maybe step back and take a moment to be thankful you’re in a position where you can afford – not just monetarily – to be confused. Having the time, energy, and means to worry about how to live the longest life we can is a gift.

Cherish it.

p.s. I weigh 302.6lbs. (which is an overall loss of 17.2lbs. and %5.47 since June when I started)

Education Is Paying to Work – Yet I’m Doing It

I’ve always said I’m not the person to talk to if you want someone to work for free. But here I am working through school and not getting paid a dime to do so.

I know what you’re thinking…

The degree is going to allow you to get  job making way more money than you could work for right now so the education is an investment in your future.

I call shenanigans. From the unemployed people I know who have degrees to the young’uns in my classes I see being a train wreck waiting to happen…shenanigans. Total shenanigans.

So why am I doing it?

Because I’m a big dork and decided I want to work in a field that I need a degree to work in. Not because they ask me to show them my piece of paper, but because I need to actually learn this stuff and I don’t know anyone who has the job I want so there is no way to learn through conversation or pretty much any other way but school. The master’s degree is going to allow me to study deep into my chosen field and I’ll be able to really have a comprehensive understanding in both a macro and micro environment. I need that knowledge. Therefore, I need to pay for an education.

Which I’m okay with.

But I’m so tired of hearing the same old line about how important education is. How important a degree is. I want to jump in and tell them they’re about 70% correct, but I don’t. You see, education is the most important thing in the world. Learning should never end. A degree? Total waste unless it’s in a specialized field – one where knowledge backs the degree. Physics, math, those kinds of degrees.

I think the concept of making people get a degree to teach children for salaries lower than the person answering the phones for an 800-number is disgusting. But, while my kids’ teachers currently deserve to make 5-10 times that for the amazing service and learning and love they provide…I’ve known a bunch of teachers that deserve to make about as much as someone slinging fries at a fast food joint.

Without consistent quality, I don’t see how that can possibly pave the way to consistently higher salaries.

But it’s not like I can make either one of those things happen. I just pray like a madwoman every summer that my girls get teachers that are the ones that make you think all of them should make a bunch of money because your children benefit SO much from them. So far I’ve gotten lucky. But I have three kids, 13 years-ish of education left, with each child potentially getting a different teacher. That’s 39 potential new teachers before the kids go to college, beauty school, or an apprenticeship.

I just think about it sometimes because I’d be a phenomenal teacher. But I’d never, EVER work for so little money, so little respect, and dealing with parents and having to put up with complaints that aren’t my fault. Which is what teachers put up with. Having to teach kids who didn’t have breakfast, who aren’t listened to at home so act out in school, and that doesn’t even scratch the surface. I *shudder* when I think about myself as a teacher.

But it’s okay because then me and my brain change the subject and talk about something more comforting.

I realize this is a little all over the place. I’m working on a career speech right now so my education – as well as my professional goals – are at the forefront of my thoughts today.

Now I’ll go back to taking it one day at a time and write this outline and make the magic happen. Unlike most of my class, my biggest problem is narrowing down my outline so I don’t go over the 5-7 minute mark. I’m so used to doing 60-ish minute presentations that 5-7 minutes goes by faster than a blink.

W As A Vowel

5YO asked what a vowel was.

So I, as a rock star mom, do a stirring interpretive dance and sing, “a, e, i, o, u and sometimes y!”

I hear from behind me all quiet, “and sometimes W”

I look over at my husband and laugh, he gets all wide-eyed, “No really!” he says. They taught him that at the private christian elementary school. I say, “No…seriously?” He says, “Yes, I swear!!”

Whodathunkit. He’s actually kinda right.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled interpretive alphabet dancing…

Immunizations and Straight A Students

I’m up this early because my 5yo has an immunization this morning. We always get the 7am appointment because it means no waiting – I highly recommend getting the first appointment of the day no matter who your doctor is. During cold and flu season there aren’t a bunch of people waiting with you in the waiting room, either. It’s good times.

My husband is there with her. She’s totally needle-phobic and so is he so I figure he’s way better to comfort her through it – I’m more of a “suck it up” type – especially when she screams. A high-pitched, awful scream that you’re sure is going to break glass. So, instead of paying attention to the poor, screaming child, you’re staring at the glass cabinet just waiting, WAITING for it to shatter. It never does. I am usually disappointed it doesn’t because I think that would make the screaming worthwhile and make her feel fulfilled somehow. Whatevs.

Today’s educational journey is in Physics. More specifically, Conceptual Physics. It’s a non-math Physics course.  That means you’re given the formulas in the format you need them. As long as you can rock a formula all plug-and-play style you can rock out in the course. Of course, we have numbers and see weekly the numbers sheet that shows everyone’s grade – by number – so no one knows who anyone is but we can see where we stand in the course.

Yeah, I’m number one. Like, for real. In a mathematical way! LOL

My plan is, on this journey through school, I’m going to join every frikkin honor society known to man. I’m already part of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars from the last time I went back to school at DePaul. I received an invitation to join the Golden Key, which is an honors society for adult students…but I didn’t realize at the time it was a real thing you know when you get stuff like and they ask you to give them money to be listed in the Who’s Who of whatever? Yeah, I thought it was like that because I’d never heard of it at the time. Now I regret not taking them up on it. But I’ll get another chance, since it looks like I’m going to cruise right into a 4.0 GPA this semester. I’m going to be a straight-A student.

At the community college.

Life giveth, and life taketh away, yo.

Ruby – New Children’s Show I’ll Have to Pass On

I received an email about a new show that’s coming out for preschoolers.

It teaches them about their feelings.

I’m all about teaching my children about their feelings, so I decided to click the link and take a look.

“Ruby’s Studio: The Feelings Show” Trailer from The Mother Company on Vimeo.

I think it’s fun that she is a redhead and a little quirky and waves a little funny and seems totally overacted. I mean, it’s for my 4 year old, they’re not looking for oscar-performances, but adorableness. I think this delivers and then some. The opening sequence with the drawings that come off the page is whimsical and fun. I was thinking, “Hey, I could really get into this show!”

But something was bothering me. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first. Then, when I figured it out, I couldn’t STOP noticing it.

Ruby is wearing entirely too much makeup. Ok, it’s not blue-eyeshadow bad, but fake black eyelashes on that pale skin and the 1950’s lipstick? Too much. I don’t want my preschool-aged daughters to think that’s what normal grownups look like. If they decide to turn her into their new obsession, I know her trademark bright-red lips will be part of that package.

And I’m not even going to risk it. I’m trying to teach my girls that makeup is not something that makes you prettier and is a waste of money and time – beautiful, clean skin is all you need to be amazing. I can’t let something in the house undermine that. No matter how cute and quirky the rest of it is.

But hey, they could always wash her face, right? There’s hope. For those of you that want to learn more and don’t have an aversion to fake eyelashes and bright red lips on your preschooler’s television buddies, visit by clicking on the pic below…

Starting a PR Wish List – Mommyblogger Style

Updated: Here is the link to my public relations wish list. I look forward to hearing from you!

Honestly, you could call me a whatever blogger. I don’t limit what I talk about to parenting. I am focused on good food, good movement, fitness, education, learning, and a whole bunch of other things.

But now I’ve decided instead of doing product reviews, because products aren’t what drive me, I’m going to create a wish list of what I would really like to be an ambassador for. Since I have an amazing resume and track record when it comes to social media (I mean, I *work* in social media, for goodness sake) I’m thinking instead of waiting for companies to come to me I will do my best to woo the companies I love.

I think it will go on it’s very own page. They will be companies I use – or want to use – I will be free to actually do things like videos and other time-consuming strategies that have a better ROI for the company’s brand and bottom line. I will be able to be an evangelist – if I talk about a few companies that means so much more than doing random reviews all the time.

There need to be more experiences in my life that are truly fulfilling. Getting paid to represent a wonderful brand as a long-term ambassador and blog-spokesperson is going to be amazing.

Since my primary focus is fitness, don’t be surprised that the companies I want fall into that niche.

And about working in social media – I won’t take on or suggest companies that will even smell faintly of conflict-of-interest. I’m smarter than that. I don’t want to jeopardize my integrity or someone’s brand or my job!

So hopefully this strategy will work, we shall see. Now to find a theme that will accommodate more menu items, or shrink the size of the current text, or replace a menu item entirely to make it happen!