Not your average suburban mom. I’m more your typical, normal, commonplace, everyday, garden-variety suburban mom. With a thesaurus.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Out-Mommed by a 22 year old Dude

This girl? Just earned some new music for her iPod.

Three loooong months ago my sweet baby girl got me an iTunes gift card for Christmas. I promised myself I could spend it when I lost ten pounds, which of course I figured would take me about three weeks because I specialize in delusional behavior.

If you happened to have read between those lines, yep, I am totally down ten stinkin' pounds. (Also, this marks the first time in my personal history that I've ever lost weight while on my period. That's one for the books.)

This wondrous event was cataloged Monday night at approximately 8:05 p.m. Ten pounds off of my frame and my body fat has dropped more than 5% total. I can almost comfortably wear my old workout clothes to the gym. (Almost. I mean, it is Lifetime Fitness - home of the super model cardio queens who exercise in full makeup with their hair did) (while I rock a three year old Warrior Dash t-shirt and a killer mom ponytail) (what I'm saying is that all those ladies ain't got nothin' on me) (especially when I finally show up in my tank tops that display my broccoli tattoo)(#makingeveryonejealous).

Don't let this sweet teddy bear of a face fool you into
thinking he is a softy. (cue sarcasm font)
After I weighed in I sat with Kemper to pick every corner of his brain because I still don't fully understand what I am doing with food and lifting. This is mainly because The Internet has been waaaay too free in it's availability of information that may or may not really be helping my cause. Often a simple Googled question makes me suddenly want to move to Florida and be trained by Elliot Hulse at Strength Camp even though he scares the everloving bejebus out of me and would probably make me cry ugly tears out of pain and/or fear.

My main point of contention are dead lifts. This is primarily because I have to use free weights in order to do them, and I'm just really scared of that side of the gym free weights and also uncoordinated.*

*Story for free: Do you all remember when Trainer Tom used to call me Jay Leno? He would give me a twenty pound plate (to hold "like a dinner plate") and have me use it for squats with an overhead press. Without fail, every.single.time I would squat, as I came up I would smack myself in the chin with the plate. I would show up for our running class and he would look at me and just laugh, because my chin would be all bruised. Awesome.*

After I got some answers about dead lifts, I asked Kemper about food. Honestly, it's starting to get hard. Not my food choices, but figuring out how to feed the other five members of my family while I'm living the PROTEIN FEST dream. I asked Kemper if he cooked. (Truth? I was kinda hoping he would be all, "I totally live with my parents and mom cooks all my food," so I could feel better about myself.) What he did was talk to me about the importance of food prep and then took out his phone and showed me a picture of the fruit of his Sunday labors - an entire cookie sheet of seasoned chicken tenders that he could eat throughout the week. He food preps just like every fitness blog tell you to do. And? The picture was Pinterest-worthy. It was totally healthy and responsible. I felt entirely out-mommed.

I left the gym feeling a little more comfortable with some things and also super stoked because did I mention I'm down ten pounds?!

Now I just have to get some new music. Because I love my children (and am a complete sucker) I am getting Ezra "Happy" by good old Pharell. (He screams, "DIS IS MY FAVORITE!" whenever he hears it because Despicable Me.) I am getting the *clean* versions of "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us" for the girlies because we are nothing but current ;-) I know I'm going with some Lil Jon, DJ Khaled, and Kanye for my runs, and also some Artic Monkeys and Imagine Dragons for when I'm feeling like a giiiiiiirl.

Anyone else have any suggestions? I need something I can move to and also that acts as a soundtrack for the imagined movie I am starring in in my mind when I workout (because everyone fills their brain with fantastical grandiose fantasies of saving the world/curing cancer/running from dinosaurs a la Jurassic Park while they work out, right?)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Elephant Noises Optional

This poor guy spent his birthday at Urgent Care ruling out strep throat. I've since promised that we can extend his birthday as many days as he wants. I don't know exactly what that promise entails, but I'm sure I can count on the request for burritos for dinner for the entirety of the week. Also, because he's sick and I'm totally in loooooooove with the man, I will probably make him that pretzel/cream cheese/jello dessert thing he loves even though I totally already slaved away for hours over the Sara Lee frozen cheesecake we initially celebrated with.

Happy 36th Birthday, Babe. You are my favorite person in this whole world. There is no one I would rather laugh with. You've kept life fun from the moment I met you. Anyone whose first order of business as a married man is to declare we each need wrestling names (because of course there will be wrestling)(I still firmly believe you needed a sibling growing up) is a keeper in my book. Thank you for always supporting me, for being a wonderful papa to our little monsters, and for letting me spend your paycheck (#iain'tsayingsheagolddigger) being my best friend. Love, Captain Top Rope

As well as being Brian's birthday, yesterday was also another weigh in day. This was my first weigh in since adding in "lifting heavy." I did the same workout on Friday and Sunday that I did with Kemper on Tuesday. Because of Brian's work schedule, the only time I can make the gym on Friday is 4:30 a.m. This worked to my advantage as I was totally freaking out of my mind about being on that side of the gym by myself. I figured going in that early would make it a little easier. I was halfway right.

I started my workout with a five minute treadmill warm up. Since I didn't bring my iPod I could hear everything around me. Normally I am fully plugged in and channeling my inner rock star, but I didn't want to lug it around with me so I went au natural. I'm so glad I did.

This appeals to the mom side of me
so much. 
Lifetime Fitness in the evening is pretty busy. Consequently, it's a bit loud. They have music playing overhead, but you really have to purpose to hear it over the din of so many people. Lifetime Fitness at 4:30 a.m. is no where near as busy, but I was surprised to see around 30 people greeting the sunrise by breaking a sweat. There were about five men lifting on Friday. I'm calling them the Rack 'Em Symphony Chorus (SERIOUSLY?! THAT IS THE BEST DETROIT MUSIC SCHOOL NERD JOKE I'VE EVER MADE.)(I seriously had to take a blogging break because I had to make a mental list of everyone that would love that joke.)(All six of them are getting links to this post.)

The Rack 'Em Symphony Chorus is really a trio (and two quiet dudes) who are the most vocal lifters I could ever imagine. The first, obviously a bass, grunts in staccato bursts. He is not only picking the key, but keeping the beat. The second, in true baritone form, fills in with constant yells of "YEEEAAAAAHHHHH," just to keep the sound big. And the final man, my obvious favorite, is the tenor soloist who, I'm not even kidding, made sounds like an elephant.

I wished I had a program to see where they all studied.

My new mission in life is to see where I can fit in, making their trio a quartet. I think we could make big money doing weddings.

Mine are actually black
and pink. source
As far as the lifting goes, I did really well. I bought my own wrist wraps from some Crossfit type store on line and they are doing their job. My favorite part of the whole experience was when I was done waiting for the leg press, the guy who was finished attempted to take off his weights (because his mama didn't raise no dummy and taught the boy to re-rack that mess) and I was all, "That's cool. You can leave it all," because I am a rock star bad A who was lifting the same amount as him.

Then I traded all my cool points for poor form on my dead lifts, but don't worry, I youtubed dead lift form this weekend and also talked to Kemper on Monday, so I think I'm okay.

Weigh in verdict? One week "lifting heavy" - I lost FOUR AND A HALF pounds, and 1.7% body fat. Some of that is because I gained .5 pounds last week, but most of it is a solid loss earned this week. I'm a believer.

Friday, March 21, 2014

I thought I was in labor but I was just "lifting heavy".

Full disclosure: I joke a lot about how incredibly old Kemper makes me feel, but the truth? I freaking love that guy.

Even if he is fully a generation behind me and is totally adorable in his naivete about the realities of a mid-thirties mother of four (who used to weigh 100 pounds more!), he has been my favorite trainer ever. Simply put, he's really good at his job. He knows a lot not only about the mechanics of the human body, but also the science behind it all, and has a talent for explaining it in layman's terms. He is really positive in how he communicates. I don't know if this is purposeful, but he rarely says, "Don't do this." He tells me what I should do. It's never, "Don't eat carbs," it's "Eat way more protein, and eat your carbs after a good workout to refuel your muscles."

I didn't even make this ecard. Which makes it
even funnier to me.
Another reason I Love Kemper is that he is the first person at Lifetime that hasn't tried to sell me something. He is incredibly giving of his time and knowledge, and hasn't charged me a dime for any of the private counseling or the time in the gym working out.

And lastly, Kemper has fully earned my trust. I'm not big into fads, and avoid most fitness ideas that become buzz words. (You know, like "lifting heavy" and "high protein".) So when Kemper came at me challenging everything I know about weight loss, telling me to stop counting calories and focus on food that fuels me, to get more protein and healthy fat and a drink a crapton of water, I did it warily. Honestly I promised him one week because I was at the end of my rope and he was so good to sit and give me free nutritional counseling and I felt like I owed it to him to take his advice. But a funny thing happened around two weeks into his crazy eating plan: I felt good; really good for the first time in a long time. Food stopped being such a battle. And then, my Weekend Nosh Fest last week. It was seriously fun and delicious. But I am still trying to get my stomach to cooperate four days after returning to The Plan. I can not believe what an effect all that crap had on my body. (Although Kemper, I'm still not eating Ezekiel bread. Non-negotiable.)

Enough with the love on Kemper fest. I just feel bad that he has taken the brunt of my frustration at the (lack of) speed of my weight loss in so many previous posts, and I just needed to state for the record that Kemper is AMAZING. I want to adopt him and do his laundry and makes sure he is eating. (Sike. That last one I don't need to worry about because homeboy lectures me about food all.the.time.)

On to lifting heavy.

On Tuesday night I met Kemper at the gym. He had me do a quick treadmill warm up (I jogged for five minutes) before showing me how to wrap my wrists with his wraps he was letting me try out. (I have crazy bad wrists, to the point that push ups and plank position become bothersome.) The wraps were fluorescent green and totally inconspicuous, so don't worry if you thought I would stick out in the meathead section of the gym - I totally blended right in.

Kemper started me on chest press and row, alternating sets of pushing and pulling. I've done strength training before, but never at such an intense level. The weight was heavy (go figure), and I honestly thought, "Dude, I don't know if I can do this." Kemper had to assist me on the final reps of the last sets because my body just couldn't do it anymore. (If you want to know how Kemper trains he is HYPER FREAKING FOCUSED, and says things like, "Pushpushpushpushpush." This is awesome and will only make you think of being in labor because the feelings of contractions and heavy lifting are surprisingly similar.)(In fact, to further widen the age and gender gap between us, when Kemper asked how I felt after the chest press/row sets I replied, "I feel like I just birthed a fifth child.")

Next we moved to lat pull down and shoulder press. Kemper decided he wasn't playing around anymore and put on a weight so high I was all, "O.K." That was it. No smart aleck remark, no joke, just pure unadulterated fear. The bar for the lat pull down was so high over my head I had to climb the machine in order to reach it. About four reps in I was all, "HOLY CRAP I'M GOING TO ACCIDENTALLY DISMEMBER MYSELF," because I was pretty sure my arms were going to be ripped from my body. Kemper stood behind me and "helped". (*By helped I mean he guided the bar down with a teeny bit of force while saying, "keepiteven,pullpullpull,keepiteven.") He had me move straight into shoulder press.*

*Why is it that trainers can remember the minute details of numbers? I mistakenly mentioned to Kemper one time I could finally do 12 pounds on shoulder press - neglecting to mention that I had only done 1 set of 12 reps - so he brought me 15 pounds. That will teach me to lie exaggerate.

When I moved to my second set on the lat machine, Kemper lowered the weight because I was struggling after 4 reps of the first set. The second and third sets were much easier. Easier in the way where I could now do them thinking only that I might crap my pants and not that my arms would be ripped off.

As we prepared to do our final grouping, Kemper was all, "Hey, Dumb@ss, did you bring water?" (Ok, the name calling didn't happen. But it was fully implied.) I replied, "I'm just going to apologize now because I honestly thought I wouldn't need any because we were just here to lift weights." Kemper laughed and I deserved it after being such a PITA about changing my routine.

We ended with leg press and dead lifts. I'm not going to lie, this was both my favorite and the most horrifying part of the workout. Kemper started me with pressing 90 pounds on leg press and ended me pressing 230 with the pronouncement of "Your legs are really strong," which is a compliment I've clung to all freaking week. (Mainly because my love language is words of affirmation and I drink up that crap like it's iced coffee.) The dead lifts were awful and ridiculous and it had nothing to do with the physical aspect.

Being in the free weight section of the gym is hard for me. It is filled with huge muscley (totally a word) guys and a few tiny women that are always gorgeous. I have a hard time walking through that section to get to the yoga studio, and even feel weird walking through it with Kemper when I have to get weighed because I feel like a total impostor. Like everyone is thinking, "Look at how cute it is that that fat lady is trying," while they all know I don't belong there. (Can we take a moment to award me with a "The Most Vulnerable I've Ever Been On This Blog" merit badge?) Having to be in that environment and focus on dead lift form (i.e. Kemper telling me to stick my butt out more or telling me to watch how he sticks out his butt) I. just. can't. It was all too overwhelming. But the take-away is that I started to become aware that no one is looking at me and no one cares about my butt. (And that dead lifts are wonderful for your hamstrings and tush.)

I finished the whole workout feeling like I haven't felt since my first 5K. When I trained for my first 5K I was not convinced I would be able to do it. It was the hardest thing I had ever done in my life. Even childbirth doesn't compare because, well, the baby has to come out. I never had to do a 5K if it was seriously too hard, but I did it. That accomplishment changed my life. Forever. I've upped my game steadily over the years, adding mileage, adding triathlon, but those were just more challenges, and never had the same, "I don't know if I can do this" feeling about them. I knew all the new things would be hard, but I knew I could do them if I put my mind to it.

But in the gym on Tuesday it was like 5K training all over again. I was revisited by all those old emotions, and the euphoria after that workout was on par with the emotion of crossing the finish line for that first race.

It's a great feeling. I'm chasing it again.


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Stress Eating, Meningitis, and Taking It Back to 1990

Monday's post was meant to be the beginning of a weekend update, but I tend to forget that I'm a tad verbose and needed to cut it off at my Friday night wardrobe descriptions. So instead of offering the minutiae of the rest of my weekend, I've changed gears and now want to offer a completely helpful post about how I handle stress.

This weekend was a tad bit stressful. I fully handled it with an ample supply of tortilla chips and salsa at a Mexican restaurant while on a rare day date with Brian. I followed that Food That Didn't Count with three hard shell tacos and two diet Cokes. I totally felt better for the hour I was there.

Later that evening, when Chris and Stacy came over with their kids even though I had mistakenly planned that it was our turn to go out, (and consequently was completely unprepared for four extra kids after being out all day long) I soothed with a hot dog, dill pickle chips, and some diet Cherry Pepsi. Also, cookies.

At that point, I was all in for March Nosh Fest.

In the spirit of "Go Big or Go Home", I continued my streak on Sunday with iced coffee (of course I did), a microwaveable breakfast burrito, a Hot Pocket with a pretzel crust and filled with cheese and bacon tomato, and ice cream.

It was a lovely and delicious two days. Then I remembered my Monday night weigh in with Kemper.

Call me a lot of things, but I'm not a liar. I do however, joke about hard things in order to alleviate tension.

*minor tangent*

(*Case in point* One of the hardest things this weekend was that my sister was hospitalized for meningitis. The first three days of her admission were spent waiting for the labs to get back with us about what kind she had. I visited Saturday afternoon and did the following things:

Hey girl, this mask you need to wear to avoid
sickness could never mask your beauty.
1. I immediately renamed her day nurse. This was because when I showed up I was greeted by the signage covering her door filled with horrifying doomsday proclamations about her condition and the precautions I had to take in order to enter. I went in search of her nurse so I could get the run down on contagious diseases and the mask I needed to don. I was waiting at the nurses station when her day nurse walked up. At first I thought I was being punked because it was like JACKSON FREAKING AVERY was talking to me about medical type things and surely someone was messing with me by trying to convince me I was living in Grey's Anatomy.

I'm just sayin' the boy was attractive.

When I finally saw Cassie, I commented, "Dude, he's not too bad looking." She replied, "Oh, Dan?" I answered, "Dan? You mean D@mn, as in 'D@mn that boy is fine," which is probably my favorite joke of the whole weekend. We even varied it, calling him Lieutenant D@mn before dissolving in fits of giggles like twelve year old girls.

2. After several nurses commented on what an easy patient my sister is, I decided they were not complimenting her. Clearly, these statements were veiled attempts to communicate that she needed to up her game. So we put together a game plan to be the most fun patient ever that probably involved a lot of jokes about poop. It was hysterical and inappropriate and exactly what we needed to get her through to her eventual diagnosis of Aseptic Meningitis which was the kind we all wanted. Phew.

*end tangent*

So, back to dealing with stress by joking. I tend to get away with some things because I joke about them. On Monday night when I found Kemper to weigh me in, I didn't lie at all. I said my planned greeting of, "Dude, I totally ate this weekend like it was the only way to get into Heaven." I expected Kemper would laugh and give me a psuedo-serious lecture about good decisions and having a plan for dealing with stress, but instead he looked crestfallen and said, "What happened?" before drilling me about everything I ate and how I exercised. He actually groaned when I mentioned my Mexican Feast. I started haltingly editing my verbal food diary as he looked more and more upset. I felt like I'd let down The Master.

The damage wasn't as bad as I expected. I gained a half a pound but also 1.6% body fat. Kemper spent close to a half hour talking with me about my goals (it totally felt like I was back in high school visiting with the school counselor) (except I'm a 34 year old GROWN UP and Kemper is 22 precious years old*) before offering to train me (FOR FREE) on Tuesday because he really felt like I needed to "lift heavy". (And I, of course, am just as skeptical about "lifting heavy" as I am about this high protein/high fat diet that works amazingly well when I follow it.)

(* this is how I know Kemper is 22. When I was being scanned for weight and body fat percentage I made a joke about feeling like I was in Total Recall, and Kemper looked a little blank. I was all, "Tell me you've seen Total Recall", and he was all, "I saw a few scenes of the remake," and I was all, "Dude, that will not do," because the original Total Recall was so terrible that it is amazing. I was all, "How old are you?" (did you totally just think of Twilight and read that in Bella's voice because if not you're doing it wrong) and he said, "22," and I died a little inside when I did the math and realized I could have babysat him. He was nine when I got married. Because I was then fully off my game I voiced those thoughts out loud before stammering, "I mean, I don't mean I could baby sit you now... I meant back then, you know, when you were a kid ..." before trailing off in stellar fashion. Kemper smirked, so I punched him on his baby fine skin. (Sike.)(That never happened.)(The punching thing, I mean.)

I'll write next on my experiences "lifting heavy" in a post I've titled "I thought I was in labor but I was just lifting heavy." Y'all come back now, 'ya hear?

Monday, March 17, 2014

A velour jumpsuit and some house slippers

I really wish I was some kind of fashion blogger so I would have taken a picture of my "running errands on a Friday night" outfit. Because between us, I'm pretty sure I nailed it.

After a long day homeschooling the kids, a library trip, and an afternoon spent doing our Saturday chores because our Saturday was already spoken for, I fed the family dinner (the new way I'm describing telling Brian there was leftover pasta in the fridge) before heading out the door at 6:00 p.m. to handle some of the normal weekend errands that needed to be squished into a Friday evening.

My first stop was Wal-Mart to pick up Hosanna's meds, and I was reassured that my decision* to wear my old running shoes with a pair of bookcut jeans one size too big was spot on. Not only was this pairing a comfortable choice for the task at hand, it adequately communicated "Soccer Mom that has Given Up" in ways words would fail.

The only way I would wear this is if it wasn't a
cute little charm on a delicate chain but a pendant
at least six inches big that blinged out across my
stomach like a Run DMC clock.
(*my "decision" occurred without any conscious thought. These items were what I was wearing to scrub toilets and mop the hardwood floors all day, so yeah, I'm pretty sure I saw that look pinned on Pinterest.)

Next I made my way to Target to get wipes - because remember that we only use Target brand diapers and wipes? I am so thankful Ezra is now sans diapers, but we still use baby wipes for a myriad of things that have nothing to do with their intended purpose. Target was also the original home of my new kitchen towels, Eve's birthday presents, and a few odds and ends for Easter and Lauren's baby shower, all of which I adopted and brought home with me Friday night.

The only part of my look that had me a tad unsure was my t-shirt choice. While I originally grabbed my brown Ewok t-shirt from Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida (#designer), cleaning the bathroom got unintended Nasty on it, and so I made a last minute grab for my favorite grey boyfriend tee from Target. This is my most loved shirt, and can be recognized by the slight staining in the armpits from two years of faithful wear. On the positive side, it was the catalyst for the decision to go ahead and purchase an identical brand new grey boyfriend t-shirt from the stacks on sale for $5. I will probably keep both out of sentiment for at least a month.

My major stop for the evening was Meijer for groceries. As I caught sight of my reflection in the automatic doors as I was entering the store, I was pleased to notice my Mom Ponytail swinging blissfully on the back of my head with every step I took. It was the perfect hairstyle for the rest of my look, and I plan to do a step by step tutorial in the future. (I think the real way to master this particular Mom Ponytail is to need your bangs cut, and then commit to using your mouth to blowing them out of your face for a good twelve hours prior to leaving the house.) Stay on the edge of your seats for the coming of this life-changing instructional video, please.

Please file away this post so you can use it as a point of reference for getting dressed for this coming up Friday night, and please, feel free to share it with all your fashionista friends.

Monday, March 10, 2014

That Time I Got Mistaken for Kim Kardashian

I've survived another weigh in. After a second week of PROTEIN FEST 2014, I lost 1 pound and 1.5% body fat. I'll take it because I have to.

I wish I wasn't being such a crabby pants cry baby about this. But I totally am. I was fully expecting a "First Week on the Biggest Loser Ranch" type loss which is not only delusional but unhealthy. Kemper could tell right away I wanted to destroy the scale with my bare hands when the results popped up. I was all, "THE HECK?" And I maybe even dropped a baby swear when I described the way "I worked my AAAAYYYY off strength training this week. Dude. Seriously*."

*"Dude. Seriously." - You know I'm in bad shape when my verbal tick shows up.

Honestly, this isn't a weight loss issue. This is an expectation issue. These expectations stem from the realities of 253 Pound Kelly who could lose five pounds a week thinking about exercise. (Okay, it was never that easy.) But at 253 pounds I had to make very few changes to see immediate results. I could downgrade my large fries to a small and see a loss. I could refuse the second bowl of nightly ice cream. 160 Pound Kelly needs to realize that my body is used to regular exercise and a steady diet of whole foods and it is going to take a bit more (or a bit longer) to see any significant change in my body.

So today, when I have absolutely no accurate perspective of the results from the work I have been putting in, I'm turning to two outside sources. One is Kemper who said, "You lost a pound, but you lost 1.5% body fat. That's really good." So today I know I am stronger than last week. Also I am turning to my husband who, after listening to me whine for 45 minutes that "the scale at Lifetime Fitness was obviously broken and that has to be the problem and not the two three cookies I ate over the weekend", finally interrupted my ranting to say, "Kel, there are people in Africa who are starving to death." Which really snapped me out of it because Jeez-Louise I was turning into Kim Kardashian except that I look much better when I cry.

So from now on I am going to be happy about life. I am doing what I need to do. I am moving my body. I finally had my first post injury non-stop three mile run. My injured neck and shoulder lifted ten pounds in each hand for shoulder press. (Which is a huge improvement from a month ago.) I am choosing good foods to fuel my body (the cookies don't count)(because they were gift cookies)(bakery gift cookies)(which I'm pretty sure are calorie-free and have 100 grams of protein each), and I am drinking so. much. water. I have not had pop or coffee in two weeks and I don't miss them. My clothes are fitting better. Those are victories.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

What's Going In Your Pie Hole?

Yesterday I shared that the methods that helped me lose 100 pounds (and keep it off for two years) were no longer proving effective. Read yesterday's post to get caught up, because today we are sitting down with my new favorite trainer Kemper to talk turkey. Literally.

After that horrible weigh in, I sat with Kemper miserably recounting everything that comprises my usual diet. The conversation started in stellar fashion with this little gem:

"Don't judge me, but my big splurge happens first thing in the morning with 150 calories of iced coffee."

Kemper looked up from his notepad and said, "At what time?"

"Around 5:30."

"What's in your iced coffee? Do you make it yourself?"

"Nope. It's pretty much milk and sugar with a hint of coffee thrown in for caffeine's sake. But it's delicious and it's my treat." (*insert stomping foot*)

Because Kemper has amazing self-control he chose not to comment and asked me to continue. I told him I always eat toast with peanut butter for breakfast, a mid-morning snack of a Kashi bar or some fruit (a.k.a. always a Kashi bar), a ham or turkey sandwich for lunch, an afternoon snack of popcorn, and then whatever family dinner I prepared. He asked me about the quality of my bread. ("Whole wheat!" I answered proudly.) He asked what I ate after I worked out at night. ("Um, nothing really. If I have calories left I might eat cereal or ice cream.")

He sat back and said, "It looks like you eat a lot of carbs."

Dun - dun - DUN.

He went on to outline a plan that was partly brilliant and partly ridiculous for me to even consider. These are some of his suggestions that I took.

1. For one week (JUST ONE WEEK, KELLY) give up the iced coffee. It's a ton of sugar to start your day with, and leads to huge spikes in blood sugar that affect your body for the remainder of the day.

(We compromised with tea with cream. And? After a week of Kemper's diet I don't even want my iced coffee right now. WHAAAAA?)

2a. Replace whole wheat bread with whole grain bread, preferably Ezekiel bread.

(This is one of those things that will never, ever happen because I've tried Ezekiel bread and I hate it. I also have food allergy kids and am not spending a dime more on bread than I already do. We compromised with organic whole grain rice cakes that I already had at home - which I eat for fun because I love them.)

But not too angry.
2b. Never eat a carb by itself. Always eat a carb with a fat and a protein.

(This has led to food combining that makes eating waaaaay more fun. Instead of, "Ugh, I want to eat all the popcorn but instead I have to eat this sucky apple" now it's "This apple is amazingly non-sucky when you dip it in peanut butter!" Instead of suffering through a handful of berries (which are delicious but leave me seriously wanting) I now get a container of greek yogurt (which has a ton of protein) mixed with my berries. It's like a world of endless possibilities.

3. EAT MORE PROTEIN. LIKE, A CRAPTON MORE PROTEIN. A crapton is the amount where you think, "If I eat one more gram of protein I will yammy all over Lifetime Fitness" but add a chicken breast and a protein shake. That's close to the amount you should eat.

(This is actually my favorite rule and tied for the most effective guideline Kemper put in place. I think it's because it is about eating more - allowing more, not restricting. Also, I did a lot of Pinteresting research to find different sources of protein, which kind of felt like a treasure hunt.)(Rad.)

4. Drink more water. Focus on getting half your body weight in ounces of water everyday.

(For me that meant 80+ ounces of water every single day. This has tied for my favorite guideline because it had some unexpected effects. I am a diet pop girl. I drink it every day. I've tried to give it up but have been so afraid of weight gain (go ahead and laugh at the irony) that I've always returned to my calorie free taste fest. The craziest thing that happened when I started pounding water like I was Shamu without my pool (not a fat joke) was that I didn't have time to drink anything else. I was fully four days without diet pop before I even realized it.

5. Eat every few hours, and especially after you work out.

(This has been harder than expected. Sometimes I am still full from the last time I ate. But at least I don't feel deprived.)(Also, can we take a moment to appreciate that my biggest problem has been finding ways to eat all the food Kemper wants me to eat?

After my workouts I've been sipping some 100 calorie protein shakes. They a'ight.)

Now I am sure there are scientific facts and reasons to back up all this advice. I know it has a lot to do with blood sugar and muscle growth but honestly, science isn't my thing. When Kemper asked me to try it for a week (oh, and did I mention he told me not to count calories?!) I said I would but if I gained weight - "I'll quit my job," Kemper interrupted.

I followed this advice as best as I knew how. Here is a sample of my diet and what Kemper had to say about it afterward.

6:00 a.m.
 16 oz water
   tea with cream

7:30 a.m. 
rice cake with peanut butter
                two scrambled eggs (Kemper - can you add a third egg?)

8:30 a.m. 
16 oz water

11:00 a.m. 
Greek yogurt with berries (Make sure it's plain, not filled with sugar.)

12:30 p.m. 
                  salad (Throw on some extra olive oil for more fat.) (Emphasis mine.)
16 oz water

3:00 p.m. 
tea with cream
                ham and cheese roll-ups (That's good.)(I felt like I earned a gold star.)

5:30 p.m. 
BLT flatbread
16 oz water

6:30 p.m. 
32 oz water (4 mile run, Core 30 class)

8:30 p.m. 
protein shake (Can you add a banana?)

This day added up to around 1500 calories and 85 grams of protein. I also drank 112 oz of water (if you include my tea). 

Now, the moment of truth. The results.

After one week I lost 3 pounds and 2% body fat. I ate waaaaay more food (in volume) than normal, and never felt hungry-hungry. Even more interestingly, I'm not craving any of my junkie foods. Kemper gets to keep his job after all.

Now, I realize this is a really premature post. This is entirely too new to me to pretend I understand all that I am doing and why. I'm still really uncomfortable with not counting calories (in fact I cheated and totally did even when Kemper suggested I stop doing it). I am a 34 year old woman who has never known her hunger to dictate portion size. When Kemper says, "Eat some almonds and some bell pepper for a snack," I want/need to know exactly how many almonds and how much bell pepper he is talking about. This was kind of foreign to him. He suggested I read the serving size label and eat one serving. I still need these kind of rules. But so far Kemper has steered me in the right direction. So I'm following him.

My next weigh in is Monday night. I'll keep you posted. Have a great weekend!

The Weight Post You've Been Weighting** For

In September life was relatively normal. I weighed about 153, and was at week ten of my twelve week half marathon training. My week consisted of 1. not counting calories and maintaining my weight and 2. literally running my tush off in between swimming, biking, and weight lifting. It was divine.

Then Brian got sick. I didn't get any exercise for a solid month. None. I could try to blame this on how overwhelmed I felt trying to run our house, take care of Brian, and also get him proper medical care so he could be diagnosed and treated, but mostly there is no decent reason I didn't throw in a Jillian DVD or hoof it down to my basement to ride the elliptical. (*Therapist Couch Break* I'm pretty sure it has to do with working out being my "escape" from home. Since I homeschool my kiddos I am with them in the house all the time. Gym time is a mini vacation for me. Being alone is my incentive to exercise. Sweating inside my own home where I can still see and hear the chaos has little effect on the relaxation aspect of working out. *End Introspection*)

After Brian was well enough to be left alone with the older kiddos I headed back to the gym. I got almost two weeks of workouts back (and my month-long absense from Ab Lab really made itself known to my poor tummy) and then I broke a bone spur in my foot.

I was on crutches for two weeks. I was given the go ahead to return to biking, swimming, or even elliptical as soon as I could walk on my foot without crutches, but no running for six weeks. This was just a minor setback, right? Unfortunately I ended up messing up my trapezius muscle as a result of my posture from the crutches and spent the next nine weeks getting physical and massage therapy three times a week so I could turn my head and lift my arms. This injury meant not only no running, but no swimming and no biking. It meant no Ab Lab. It meant no significant upper body strength training.

This all happened within the trifecta of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Honestly, being injured and not counting calories was like the perfect storm. It was like a tsunami of fat washed over my body.

I noticed it for the first time on Black Friday. Nothing fit. Then I tried one size up and it was all good again. I had gone up an entire clothing size in less than two months. I was all, "Woah," (say it like you're Keanu) but since I've lost 100 pounds and kept it off for two years, I wasn't really all that worried. I knew how to lose weight, right?

Enter January 11, and my much anticipated return to the gym. I had an amazingly puke-worthy workout and it seemed brighter days looser clothes were coming.

Except they didn't.

No problem, I just needed to be faithful counting calories.

Except I wasn't.

Okay, I've been here before, it's simply a determination thing. I need some accountability. Lifetime Fitness had a 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge beginning February 8. That sounded perfect. I would pay actual money ($25) to be weighed in weekly by a personal trainer. They would record my weight, BMI, and my Body Fat Percentage.

The first week my eating was spot on. I prepared to blow away my personal trainer with my amazing weight loss skills that would surely net me at least a four pound first week weight loss. I was ready to be given a crown and hailed as the Weight Loss Master of the World. (I had no reason to believe this number; my home scale needed a new battery so I was honestly just pulling a number out of the air.) I was assigned an attractive young man named Kemper to handle my first weigh in.

"Well, you've lost .7 of a pound. But you've lost 3% body fat, so that's amazing."

What? Excuse me, I don't think you know how my body responds to weight loss mode. I lose. That's what I do. Eat less, move more. WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK, KEMPER?

So I settled down for another week of counting. I was eating 1600 calories everyday, and exercising 4-5 days a week. My workouts were a mixture of classes (Core Blast, Core 30), running, swimming, and strength training. I was really confident at my next weigh in. I probably had a humble speech already prepared in response to the accolades I would receive for my giant weight loss that was surely due me because LAST WEEK.

I hopped on the scale, the machine scanned me, and Kemper said, "You've lost .4 of a pound, but your body fat has gone up 2%."

This is when I punched Kemper in his young, sculpted cheekbones. Sike.

Instead I sat down to put my shoes on, glanced at Kemper and forlornly said, "Do I need to eat less?" (Imagine the most pathletic and broken voice possible. Not because of the weight loss fail, but because I really love food. And I really love eating. And I'm really overly dramatic.)

Kemper said, "Not necessarily," and then he sat down and went through my entire diet with me, which is awesome, because people pay him for that and he did it for me for free.

I'll post tomorrow* on his opinion of my diet, what he recommended I do, and the results of his way of eating. Stay tuned!

(*Sorry. I know this is bogue. My kiddos are starting to stir. I've got to go do the mom thing. Where does the time go?!)

**Did you see what I did there?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Directions to the Meth House**


Facebook Status: I just got carded while buying cold medicine because apparently you have to be 21 to make meth.

We've been a bit sidelined this week. Some unexpected house guests dropped by, and wanted to hang around for about a week. While I firmly believe being hospitable is a necessary part of loving others, I was ready to kick our visitors to the curb after a mere 24 hours. I'm giving you a heads up because they might still be traveling together and looking for a new home to invade  take down  destroy visit, so keep your eyes open (but DEAR LORD don't touch them, and then wash your hands for good measure anyway) and lock your doors if you hear from the trifecta of Pink Eye, Croup, and the Common Cold*.

-begin rant-

*Does anyone else feel like the common cold is the most underwhelming and inaccurate name possible? Usually it's even paired with the word "just". Like, "it's just the common cold." What a misnomer. I vote we rename it something worthly of it's characteristics and capabilities. Something like, "I've come down with a case of Wanting To Claw My Sinuses Out". Or, "The doctor told me it's just the Swallowed the Blades of Ten Thousand Samurai Swords sickness that's going around". Or even "I've been diagnosed with HAHA Good Luck Getting Out of Bed Today".  

-rant continued-

I also think that the tissue companies should be a bit more honest in their product descriptions. The Cadillac of Tissue (A.K.A. Puff's Plus with Lotion)(Not an affiliate link because I suck at marketing) has a tagline that reads "A face in need deserves Puffs indeed." On the first day of the Common Cold (I've decided that's the name it's PR team came up with to try and make it "family friendly") I'm all, "These tissues are like a down blanket of happiness against my septum." By the fourth day my nose was a red and raw chapped mess (#hot) and I was thinking of the movie Seven where that woman chose the pills over the phone because her nose was gone. Day four found me crying at the tissue box, "MY FACE IS IN NEEEEEEEED!" because I'm definitely not more of a Drama Queen when I'm sick missing my down blanket of happiness in the form of a lotion filled tissue. I've decided tissues need more of an accurate expectation for performance. Something like, "Lotion-filled tissues - great for a sprint - but not trained for endurance." I know, it needs some work. But, honest.

-end rant-

So, in case you missed the point, last week my house contained pink eye, croup, and the common cold all at once. I'm making myself a "I Survived the Illness Trifecta of 2014" t-shirt to layer with my "I Survived the Polar Vortex of 2014" t-shirt. (Have you seen the Time article yet about Detroit being hit hardest by the cold weather? No? Lucky for you I am linking it here. You're welcome. And please send electric blankets and boxes of Bigelow Vanilla Caramel tea ASAP.)

**Story for free - in our old house the backyard connected kitty-corner to the backyard of a house we lovingly referred to as "The Meth House." This was mostly a joke name only because the bushes were overgrown and the curtains were drawn all the time, so we weren't stereotyping at all. The grass was always barely within legal limit of length and the "foliage" in the back corner of the lot (that connected to our yard) was chest high and contained a lot of mint plants. (That was a clue for all you CSI fans.) We seldom saw people go in or out but we lived in a suburb of the Motor City - home of the third shift and people working on the line - so that could have been explained easily enough. What really cemented the name "The Meth House" is when the SWAT TEAM showed up. Best part of this whole story? IT'S A FREAKING CLIFF-HANGER. I never found out the true story behind the SWAT team. Welcome to my private pain. Feel free to speculate with me for the rest of your natural life. Happy Monday.
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