Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Just Breathe

I have a new trainer-it's my dog. Since I started going for a walk every morning, he's decided that we CANNOT miss a day. Sunday morning I was relaxing, and he would NOT leave me alone. He followed me everywhere until Adam pointed out that he doesn't care what day of the week it is, he expects a walk every day now. So....I haven't missed a day. Sometimes we even go on two walks a day. It's been great to get out for a nice, brisk walk, and it's great exercise for our old fart of a dog.

I'm also doing better about not running to junk food every day. Not doing great on remember to actually eat real meals, but at least I'm not gorging on sweets all day long.

Today at my therapist appointment we talked about breathing, and the effect it has on our bodies. Basically, he said that when we are in a chronically high stress situation, our sympathetic nervous system takes over by constantly releasing cortisol and adrenaline (which doesn't help in the weight loss dept). It also starts taking over our breathing patterns. Instead of allowing our body to take deep, calming breaths throughout the day, we start taking more shallow breaths until our lungs aren't used to getting used anymore.

All of this makes sense to me and I've definitely felt tight as I've started running again (last week). So my new assignment is to take the time during the day and right before bed to take ten deep breaths with my eyes closed; counting to 5 for each inhale and exhale. It can be done anywhere, anytime (although if you do it when driving, don't close your eyes ;). He also added imagine being in a calm, peaceful place while doing it.

Another thing I've noticed as I'm trying to get back into running is the contrast in my mood already. I've gone three times in the past week and I can already feel a little bit of the resolve to eat better and treat my body right coming back. I like this feeling. I want it to stay.

I think another reason for me feeling better overall this week is how well Molly's appointment went yesterday. We met with Dr. Gooch in the rehab clinic at Primary's to see what the next step is as far as brain damage goes. She thinks Molly does NOT need any imaging done (mri, etc.) at this point. There are definitely some physical signs of something, but nothing so major that it would warrant further pursuit. So for now we'll proceed with physical therapy, gross motor therapy, and fine motor/occupational therapy through early intervention.

The next step will be to see how her speech develops and watch for signs of further damage. Dr. Gooch said that if there was any permanent damage done, it most likely will present itself as a learning disability. That won't be detected until she's closer to school age though. I was on cloud nine on the way home. (another thing I'm proud of is that I didn't have a massive anxiety attack driving back there like I did for the U2 concert last month)

I may not have lost any weight this month, but I feel like I'm on cloud nine and I'm getting my ducks in a row to start losing. So, I leave a challenge to remember to BREATHE DEEPLY every day! What are some of the calm, peaceful places you have???

Monday, June 20, 2011


This will be quick and full of typos courtesy of my phone. I just want to jot down some ideas I had today abd report on my progress this past week. I did awful on not stress eating, just awful. I can declare a small victory in that I did not succcumb to buying my favorite treat ever....the 20 below shake from coffe creations. I swear that shake is a slice of heaven on earth and has sustained me since christmas. So for all my failures, my restraint in one area was a success. Sleep wise, I'm getting there, and I have started a morning walk tradition with my kids as soonas my hubby leaves for work. So I'm improving with very small baby steps.

Today I've thought a lot about one word-anxiety. My therapist kept asking me how my anxiety was doing and I realized that I have never acknowledged feeling it in my life until the past seven months. Now im in a situation where it can very easily take over my life and I realize that ANXIETY has been the driving force of my eating, not depression. While in high school it was definitely depression, I couldn't quite pinpoint why all I want to do is eat once the kids are in bed every night. Now I can-its ANXIETY. Anxiety over molly, over my oldest, over how I am performing as a mother and wife, over how others see me, etc. I guess it should be an obvious thing, but for me its a huge epiphany.

I've also decided I agree with something else we discussed. When we hit a crisismode, we feel like all bets are off and simply try to survive, thinking it will go back to normal once life calms down. But here's the secret...life doesn't calm down. If were not careful, the fight or flight reaction becomes the norm and makes it impossible to reach our goals. So the trick is leaning to make the normal strong enough to handle the crisis/trama/stress. That's how to conquer the anxiety instead of the other way around.

One thing molly, and those like her in the support group, is really driving home for me is that life is meant to be enjoyed and lived, not just survived. Even during crisis mode, every day and every moment is given to us to thrive. We just need to wake up and realize it and choose to make our actions reflect that mentality.

So that's my goal for the next week-create our new normal to embrace the situation as it is instead of waiting for things to calm down.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

One Thing More, One Thing Less

I've decided that this blog is the perfect place for me to keep ideas and thoughts from therapy as I don't really know many of you, and don't interact daily with the ones that I do. So sorry if I bore you....

Today at my therapy session I decided I really like my therapist. One of the biggest things I'm seeing him for is to learn how to deal with the anxiety and stress of a chronically ill child. Our whole session today was about general health and how the body reacts to trauma/highly stressful situations. He said that one thing he really likes about European doctors is that the first appt isn't with a doctor, it's with a nutritionist. Then they speak to someone about 'sleep hygiene', not medication to help sleep, but getting the rest you need on a consistent basis without medication. Only after you have controlled those issues and addressed exercise does a doctor look at medication as a solution. How obvious is that? I mean, seriously!

So, his challenge to me this next week is to eat more fruits and veggies, get more sleep before midnight (he called hours of sleep before midnight a 2for1 deal), and start incorporating walking or something moderately challenging every day. When I told him about this competition he said it sounded like a great jump start because it was about being HEALTHY and making lifestyle changes, not losing weight. (GO KARILYNN)

Another thing he mentioned to me was to focus on 'one thing more, one thing less'. This means to find one thing everyday that I can do for myself to be healthier, and one thing everyday that I can eliminate to be healthier. With the discoveries made the past few days regarding Molly's possible brain damage (and the JACKASS of a doctor that didn't tell us about it), I'm right back in freak out, emotional eating mode. I'm learning even more (if that's possible) that there is no way for a family to be healthy(in every sense of the word) without help. Whether it's temporary or long term, the only way to survive trauma/stress is to learn to accept help and encouragement from other people. And to take the time to give it to others when we are able.

Today my one thing more is SUNSHINE! We are planting a 'friendship flower garden' for the kids and their friends. Molly needs it for her vitamin D levels, and I'm sure mine could use a boost as well. My one thing less is junk food. I'm going to try my hardest to chew gum instead. And remind myself over and over that junk food doesn't help the situation and food is not the perfect comforter I keep thinking it is.

I think all of this carries over to the competition perfectly. We are all striving to be HEALTHIER, not just losing weight. So what are the some of your 'one thing more, one thing less'??

Sunday, June 12, 2011

My (Baby) Story

So my only effort thus far into the competition is to work on my junk food addiction and stress eating. Starting this next week, I'll actually own my body again so things can (hopefully) pick up. I've started therapy and I'm hoping that helps with the junk food/stress eating. Here's the story of how it got so bad:

March of 2010-My seven week old spent 5 days in the hospital with RSV. Due to security and a sick husband, I wasn't allowed to leave the room. BUT, nurses were more than willing to bring me snacks and desserts whenever I wanted. All I wanted was a treadmill, but went for the food instead.

April 2010- Finally went to see a GI doctor regarding issues that had been going on for years. Was diagnosed as having post-infection IBS and was put a SERIOUSLY restrictive diet that consisted mainly of processed sugar, refined and processed flour, and flavorless, boneless chicken breasts. Made an appointment to have colonoscopy and endoscopy done. Stop living in my bathroom for the first time in years. Started living on sugar, literally.

May 2010- Call to confirm my 'oscopy' appt. Find out I'm pregnant(baby #5). Call and cancel said appt. Lose weight and get even sicker.

June to Ocotober 2010-Feel sick as a dog. We start surviving on pizza (not me). Discover I can actually handle some cooked veggies.

October to November 2010-come down with some freak infection that creates nerve pain everywhere. Ribs come dislocated daily, tailbone refuses to stay in place. Can't bend, can't walk, can't sit anymore. Gain about 20 lbs. in two weeks.

November 16, 2010- Go into labor at 30 weeks. Give birth to a very sick little girl on the 17th(babies are a few days shy of 10 months apart). She was septic and had clotting issues. Both were treated, then they discovered a bowel obstruction. She was life flighted to Primary Children's where they performed a surgery to remove between a third and half of her small intestines, and about half of her large intestines, then piece everything back together. This started an 11 week hospital stay that included dilated loops, severe infection, two blood transfusions (one of them SERIOUSLY botched), a second surgery, and reactions to several drugs. Because of how much intestine she lost, she is considered a short gut baby. (yes, that's the actual medical term) The cafeteria actually had yummy, healthy food. However, only packaged junk food could go into the NICU with me, which is where I spent most of my time.

Our baby came home with a feeding tube on January 31st, 2011. Because of her issues, EVERY single thing had to be completely rigid, measured, written down, and tracked. The only food she could handle orally and still digest was my milk until a few weeks ago. As far as her condition goes, she is doing fabulously. The feeding tube is out, she is actually on the growth charts, and we are down to only 3 supplements plus an anti-fungal when the thrush starts taking over.

As far as her development goes, we had another setback this week. Kids on the Move came and did an evaluation this past Friday. It did not got very well. They are wanting us to take her in to be tested for possible nerve damage due to the botched blood transfusion and multiple crashes (she had several episodes when her oxygen level drop into the single digits in the beginning). Her left side is struggling. Her scar is having some complications. And so on...

Needless to say, my stress levels have been through the roof. I've gotten little to no sleep for a long time, and two of our other four children have really struggled with everything that's happened. We have been blessed beyond measure, but reality likes to kick me in the butt every time I think there might be a window of time for myself. Each time I've tried to get exercise in, I've ended up spending the entire day in a rocking chair soothing a screaming baby.

But....there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I will no longer be pumping as of Tuesday of this next week. That gives me back 4-6 hours a day. I figure if the kids can survive all that time when I'm pumping, then there's no reason why they can't survive 30 minutes of me exercising. That's logical, right????????? This week will test my theory. I am so tight from the past eight months of no exercise (I ran until the middle of Sept.), that it might take a while just to figure out how to function again. I'm game though. I can't wait to feel like I might have some muscles hiding somewhere again.

That brings me up to the present. I pretty much just shove whatever food is on hand in my mouth if I get a chance to eat. Once kids are in bed, I'm wound so tight from the stress of the day all I can think of is eating. Although I think part of it is that I know I'm stressing about things I can't change, which just frustrates me even more and makes me stressed about being stressed.

Another thing I've learned-when taking a meal to a family in need of one, YOU DON'T HAVE TO INCLUDE A DESSERT!!!!! We were so well taken care of by friends and family for months after Molly's birth. But every person who brought us food brought a dessert. Not that it's wrong, but it completely destroyed my resolve at being good. It's something I'm trying to remember as I take meals to other people now. Once a week, it's great, but have it every night and before long your clothes don't fit.

I may be late in the game to get going, but I'm ready for serious change. I'm ready to own myself again. I'm ready to show my kids how to be healthier again.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Eyes on the prize

This is something I know I'm going to want to post on every person's blog that is struggling with loving who they are while motivating themselves to do better at the same time. Since I don't have time to post on everyone's blog, I'll do it on mine and hope that everyone reads it.

One of the things that my husband and I are always doing in our daily conversations with each other is quoting movies. The more random the movie, the better the quote. In fact, it is not all that uncommon for us to start breaking into some song or duet from a musical. One of our favorite lines to say to each other is from the new version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It's when they are doing the introduction of Violet and her mom. I think it's at her house. Anywhoo, the one line that I remember the most is when Violet's mom turns to her with a SUPER intense look on her face and says, "Eyes on the prize, Violet. Eyes on the prize."

While they look ridiculous and are talking about chewing gum, I love that quote. No matter what it is you want to accomplish, if you do that one simple thing the little pitfalls become minor bumps in the journey instead of major derailers on your path.

So, for everyone out there that's struggling with pitfalls, weight gains, or whatever, I just want to remind you.....