Still on plan here, doing very well. It's amazing how much easier I'm finding it to just out my head down and charge forward without the scale. Time is slipping by and I'm not even bothered by the 'limits' of an extended induction most days. I would still like more veggies and some nuts, thats my ideal way of eating (well, in Realville - my ideal is actually eating whatever I want with zero consequences, but that's fantasy land ;) ), but I'm truly having an easy time of staying on plan and just persisting this way. Who'd have thought, right?
Victories abound this week. Here's the list:
I was able to zip up my smallest prepregnancy pants with zero overhang.
I zipped up the tightest skirt I own, which is a size ten and was barely ably to pull up over my hips previously. The zipper gapped a good few inches.
In order to not spend insane amounts of money on new bras just yet, I took some of my too-small cup and too-big band nursing bras and cut about three inches out of the band. The cups just fit right now, after weight loss, and the band is now nice and snug with all that extra fabric out. So I can get another month or two of wear out of them before it's back to Ewa Michalak's site for more.
I just took some quick waist measurements, since I look visibly slimmer and my skirts are loose, tight stuff now fits, etc etc. my waist was 32.5 in., my underbust was 32.5 in., and my hips were 41.5 in. Now - on May 4th, my measurements were 36, 34.25, and 42.75 inches, respectively. That means, in those areas alone, I have lost 6.5 inches in just over five weeks. It doesn't even count the spots I wasn't measuring, like bust or thighs. With visible progress like that, is it any wonder I don't care what the scale says? I'm on plan and my body is responding. Good enough for me!
By this, I mean the rapid and visible slimming in ketosis, especially when someone is keto-adapted. It may not be as physically noticeable on someone coming off a carb diet, even though they get impressive scale results compared to someone who isn't carrying all the extra water weight from a standard American diet. But for someone like me, who has been keto-adapted for months and months, it seems even the slightest restriction on calories turns me from 'easily maintaining' to 'drop it like it's hot'.
In two-ish weeks on plan my back, ribs, and face, in particular, are visibly slimmer. Like, dramatically. I have no idea what the scale would say, but my clothing says 'looser!' more every passing day.
And on the note of the scale, after not having it for a week or so I can say that the pain of its passing has eased (I'm only partly kidding). Breaking the habit of jumping on the scale for affirmation seemed like it would be easy for me. After all, I've been charting my weight for years, even through watching it climb with two pregnancies, working at maintenance stability, periods of rapid loss and slow loss and no loss despite my efforts. And yet it wasn't easy to let go and I wasn't as unaffected by the scale's data as I first surmised. But now that I've gotten out of the habitual weighing and charting I'm doing great. I might still have a tic that makes me look down at its empty spot ever so often when I enter the bathroom, but it's a *small* tic!
I still wish I knew what I weighed right now, but if all other metrics are accurate it is less (perhaps by multiple pounds) than when I buckled back down to get off my 168 set point. I'm really excited to see what happens at the end of summer or into the fall when I finally jump back on. It would be so nice not to just anticipate coming up on my low weight and then blowing past it, but getting into an almost unseen weight decade altogether? That would be immensely satisfying. I saw 158 on the scale *once* in high school. It was in the middle of ice skating, soccer seasons, cross country, and walking home every day. Oh, and then when I got home I roller bladed as soon as I was able to put them on. I really miss that actually - when things settle down with Holly I'm really thinking of budgeting back in ice time to skate (relearn, really, since it's been a decade off the ice now!). Splitting my time between that and the pool sounds very nice. So many possibilities! And back on the subject of weight, if I drop just ten pounds in the next three months I'll have hit my 'lifetime' low since childhood. How cool is that? I'm really hoping to settle in the 138 range, or possibly even 128.... But that seems like an almost impossible hope from where I'm sitting now. We'll see!
I just finished a T-tap Tempo workout and feel strong and energized, as opposed to wet noodles, which is a nice change. I'm also nicely on target for my daily calories and macros. Nothing to report, nothing to complain about, just chugging along on induction as long as it is comfy :)
I can't believe it, but I truly miss the scale! I don't miss weighing in, per se, but just having it available to check when I'm feeling bloated or skinny would be nice. I keep having a mental itch to jump on it, only to go into the bathroom and realize it isn't there. It's getting less persistent, but since I can feel the diet working well now that I'm back being strict, I want to check scale progress, too!
At this point, however, I'm officially keeping that sucker locked away until Labor Day. I may even do it until October, if I can stand it.
It's amazing when I keep a calorie deficit and eat on plan how quickly I look thinner. I don't know if it is water weight or just that my adipocytes empty themselves of their contents liberally and with great speed when I'm in ketosis, but even just under a week on plan and I already look slimmer. I can see it around my bra, chin, and even in my fingers (which have never been particularly pudgy).
On another note, those headaches kept coming. I had another two before I triangulated it to taking 5-HTP again. Something about it this time was giving me trouble. The headaches would start about three hours after I'd take the supplement, and were very nasty. It was the only thing I added back into my rotation recently, and that headache happened the first day I put it back in be repeated itself in the same pattern the two days following. I decided, upon reading that headaches are a common symptom of 5-HTP supplementation, to nix that pill and see what happened.
Well, approximately nothing happened. No headache of doom. Took the pill out of my pillbox today as well and, sure enough, nothing again today. Got it, 5-HTP won't play friendly with my body anymore. Duly noted.
Last random tidbit, in addition to being on plan perfectly (except for this evening, I had two extra slices of bacon and a tbsp of sour cream that put me over my daily calories by about 105... Hardly worth accounting) in both food choices and quantities, I did also get in more T-tap this evening and now feel like a wet noodle. Between eating and exercising as planned, I imagine the weight will come off nicely (especially with nursing burning calories, and I'm eating 1850 a day which is not high for Atkins at my BMR). That does increase the temptation to check on the scale for progress, but I think I actually do better staying on plan when that is my sole accountability - I can't mentally say 'it was a good weigh in, time for more salad dressing!' when the only thing I can count on is keeping a steady deficit of plan-appropriate foods.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to - but I'm pretty much decided to do an extended induction as long as I can stand it. I definitely prefer ongoing weightloss (OWL) for food, but I'm comfortable enough on induction to want to stick it out until the end of July. We'll see, but I'm not counting myself a failure if I have to transition upward a food list or three to make an event work!
I don't know if it is related to getting back to induction or just plain being out of alignment and tired, but I have developed an awful headache from late morning to now. Just in case it is diet related I consumed coco crack (butter/coconut oil/cocoa powder/stevia) to be sure I'm not consuming too much protein compared to fat (much of my dietary fat was from nuts and dark chocolate) and tossed back about half a teaspoon of NuSalt and washed it down with water.
The latter, in particular, should reveal whether this was an induction headache (seems unlikely since I'm well keto-adapted and my normal diet has been very healthful and not in excess in the carb arena, no including off plan foods) or something else. NuSalt has plenty of potassium and sodium, and that, combined with a tablespoon of my normal cal/mag/zinc supplement (which I've been lazy about taking lately) should take care of any electrolyte imbalance my suddenly-stricter diet may be causing. The pressure is rising here, too, and the barometric changes of the past day could also be guilty. Stress, lack of sleep, and just general bad luck might be culprits - maybe even the sole culprits, as these other issues could have been more antagonizers than instigators. But I have a headache and am nauseous, so I'm laying down after typing this. I should be doing dishes, listening to a sermon, planning lessons, and a number of ther tasks, but a nap seems most prudent after the salt pounding, eating, and ibuprofen.
On a slightly related note, I think I've decided to hide my scale and just weigh once a month or less from here on out. Since I'm not maintaining, but working to lose, I need to focus on behaviors more than log trend changes up or down in my weight. Last night I did a vigorous T-tap workout and woke up this morning quite a bit heavier than I should have been, given my eating and such. Sore muscles retain water, there's no helping it. And while I know this and it causes me only slight annoyance, I realized after the initial moment that I gained absolutely no insight or help from the scale - it just wasn't useful as a diagnostic tool, progress metric, or anything else at that moment. I'm generally a huge proponent of daily weighing, but it's less than helpful during a period like this where the scale will take care of itself in the long run, but the day to day fluctuations just aren't to be trusted. If I'm sticking to my calories and food lists as I plan, I WILL get smaller. It might take longer than I want, but it will happen. I can observe that in the mirror and my clothing, which are going to be more accurate for the time being than finding out how much I weigh at a given point.
So I'm packing the scale away in a very inconvenient place (in the window bench in my son's room, which is under a bunch of toys and heavy books) until July. Possibly until September or even October, when my weight loss anniversary roles around. I have no intention of ditching the scale forever - my adjusted trend line for weight has been going for years and I fully intend to keep it up, as staying in a tight weight window is a crucial maintenance check for me. But while losing, it is ENTIRELY behaviorally based, and I need to focus on making the correct choices, not on the number popping up. It might not hurt, but it certainly won't help, either. So a scale break has been declared.
As I noted yesterday I was on plan then, and have been on plan now. I'm packing away part of my lunch to eat for dinner because I'm not hungry/too nauseous and dizzy to eat it, but all choices and quantities are within induction guidelines. Yay me.
If I feel better tonight I'll do a lighter T-tap workout. If not, it will be a rest day. I'll report back in tomorrow, regardless. One of the upsides of losing as opposed to just maintaining is that it provides me with much more incentive to blog - maintenance, successfully undertaken, is about the most boring thing to try and document. That's the only reason for my blog silence - nothing much to talk about and the rest of life being busy. But when I'm losing, there's much more to discuss :)
So I am reasonably healthy again, though still extremely busy. We got back from a road trip to Homer where I managed to stay on plan despite endless tourist traps and faily high stress. Unfortunately I keep vacillating between 1500 calorie days and 2500 calories day, or more. It's kind of obnoxious to be perfectly on plan one day and then munching or in high calorie eating situations other days.
Some of that is just the nature of trying to diet while nursing. It's tough. But some is just plain laziness. I HATE losing weight. It is hard for me and takes a lot of mental and physical effort. Maintaining I do like breathing, it truly has become second nature for me and despite all the high and low days I'm right where I was at the beginning of May, at 168 pounds. It's a set point for me, and comfortable in size 12's, a few 14's, and medium to large tops. But it isn't where I want to be.
I can attribute at least a fraction of my current struggle to enjoying nuts, berries, and chocolate quite much. I can maintain indefinitely and with great joy on 30-50 net carb, and maintain or lose at a leisurely pace with 25-30 net carbs and strict calorie counts. But I am sick of being on this journey, where I've been losing weight for almost five years. I just want to get to goal (in the sub 140 zone now) and be able to do some of the things I've been putting off until then. Namely getting a custom corset (I really love them!) and a new wardrobe of signature pieces, rather than whatever is cheap and looks reasonably attractive and spit-up resistant. It's vain, but part of my lackadaisical attitude at this weight is that it's 'good enough' in a lot of ways. I'm no longer obese, I'm reasonably attractive and put together in clothes, my health is excellent, food is delicious, and I can balance it all without stress. Put simply, I'm just comfortable enough here to default/hang out at this weight, but not comfortable enough with it to want to stay here forever. Hence the internal conflict.
Solution? I'm back on induction and doing at least a week of it by the book, likely as many as I can stand, to she'd weight quicker. Induction takes away the temptations of chocolate and nuts, or overeating on heavy cream, etc. It's austere enough that I stop eating for pleasure and just go on autopilot. I can't stay on it indefinitely, but I can manage it comfortably and it sheds weight like mad, especially at my current target calorie level (around 1850).
Today was my first day back on induction and it was a great success. So now to build on this one day at a time, and no allowing extra carbs or foods unless I absolutely have no choice, like another road trip where a larger than needed Caesar salad or a bag of almonds is the best choice available. I'm working out as many days as I have time, too. That's more optional for me with how busy we are, but still a definite priority to get in the T-tap and maintain strength.
I'm still five pounds above prepregnancy at 168, but if I'm disciplined and stop putzing around it is entirely possible for me to make goal in a timely fashion, preferably before my five year weight loss anniversary in October. So I'm on extended induction, by the book except for caffeinated coffee and the occasional diet soda. And I WILL down below my high school weight (163, which I reached just days before conceiving Holly) and then smaller. Because I like 168, but I'll LOVE 140. And mummy tummy or not, I know I can do it. I just have far too much padding left for losing that much body fat to be a big struggle. Hormones do make it more challenging, my body may want to hang onto fat as long as long as I'm nursing, but I'm still going to try my hardest to make it all coalesce and get where I want to be.
And don't get me wrong - maintaining my weight through busyness and stress, coming out of a celebration season (pretty much all of May, for me) at the same weight I entered is huge. I'm very, very happy with my hard work and don't take maintaining for granted. But I want to get to goal more than I want to languish here any longer. So I will :)
I'm coughing my head off because I'm sick, and no posts thanks to being terribly busy the last week. But I had my seventh anniversary, my 27th birthday, Mother's Day, and a meeting with the state Board of Pharmacy. Other than this headcold I'm doing great - on plan just as I wanted, doing my TTAP (taking a bit of a break right now while I'm so sick), etc etc.
I'll post more at a future date but right now let me leave you with a 'gem' I found, while looking for a picture for my grandfather's 80th birthday. First, a picture from early 2006 when I was engaged to my husband (I was 19 and not at my high weight):
And this was me for our anniversary on May 6th, six weeks postpartum with baby #4. Mini victory - I was wearing no shapewear with the dress and it was a pre-pregnancy piece:
And as a bonus, the beautiful flowers he gave me for that occasion:
Still about six pounds up from pre-pregnancy. The scale isn't being kind to me since I'm sicker than a dog, but I imagine I'll see another whoosh soon.
Another insanely busy day, so still no time to recount the medical ordeals of the past week. I WILL get to it, I promise! Here's another set of thoughts that came to me when responding to someone else on a message board. I thought it was quite pertinent to record here as well, for my own sake down the road if nothing else.
While on plan, we can really struggle with walking through the store and seeing all the things we remember eating and used to enjoy, that are no longer on our plans or good choices for our body. How to manage that without caving and buying food that's off plan? Simple. That stuff is not what I eat. It's not food for me. No conflict, no struggle, no temptation, because I'm at peace with that fact. So I walk past it, tacitly observe the labels, take an appreciative sniff and say that 'yes, that's nice'. And then I move on and don't give it another thought.
It's a mental game, and food is only a temptation if you ALLOW yourself to be tempted. Enjoying your current way of eating helps so much, but it doesn't go all the way. Being iron-clad committed to the right choices for your body means there is NO mental wiggle room for justifying things that aren't in that choice subset (and if the occasional treat is in that subset, plan it out accordingly and don't let yourself see that random junk as a viable option if it really isn't).
We get into trouble when we allow ourselves to fall into thinking, consciously or otherwise, that we deserve that treat or could eat it. Then we fixate on it and it becomes 'temptation'.
The solution? Nip that crud in the bud right away by resolving yourself. Then there is no thought, no choice, no hemming or hawwing or imagining how much you'd like to eat it (or how good it might taste and ooooh, wouldn't I love a bite?!). Stop that thought pattern that leads to those desires when you look at junk BEFORE it starts. It takes practice, but in the end it isn't our ability to hold a stiff upper lip while really wanting to give in that makes us succeed - that willpower is finite. It takes reframing the entire thought process, so you don't even start down the path of needing to resist, that will likely prove most successful.
See, I don't need to be strong to turn down a dessert at Christmas, every bread basket, and my previous favorite candy and ice cream. Strength fails. I just know, at the core of my being, that I am beyond the time when I could eat and enjoy those and now do things different, period. End of discussion. Moving on.
And I tell you, it sounds silly but it works brilliantly! Almost like magic, in terms of the great mental burden it can remove from the process of losing weight.
We're back from the hospital and I'll give a more extensive update later, in the meantime I thought it might be nice to post this update on my organization system to the blog, since I've spoken about it in the past.
I use a schedule/routine system (from a brilliant book called "Managers of their Homes" that is aimed at Christian homeschoolers) to map out how to get all the chunks of activity done each day, and then a secondary of lists to dictate the specifics. While I use a system that is specific to my stage of life, even when I'm old and gray I doubt I'll get rid of having a written schedule posted in easy view - I can't believe how much more I can get done just by earmarking timeslots and learning the (not too painful) discipline of actually moving from one task to the next without dawdling ;)
Here above is my schedule, all nice and color coordinated. This helps me so much to get dinner done on time, everyone up at the right hour, and have time each day for the basic cleaning and chores that must fit somewhere.
And here are the sub-lists, one for chores and one for school activities. This insures that each week my house is reasonably clean and if something does come up, like the baby's birth, then nothing can get too gross for a few weeks of lapse because it all got hit recently. The school list is specifically so I can prioritize the major learning tasks each day while still rotating more fun/auxiliary activities regularly.
I have one more sub-list to fit the slots on the calendar, and that is my meal planning on my fridge. It helps me keep track of what is served for breakfast and lunch on a regular basis, as well as helping me keep my groceries organized and frequently used throughout the dinner menu. Breakfasts and lunches ideally do not change week to week, to streamline planning and take the mental energy out of the task. Dinners are written down WITH prep time so I can get things going in an orderly fashion and start things like meat thawing or a crockpot cooking in time to get dinner on the table (preventing the last minute takeout syndrome). I can't praise the system enough, it has saved my bacon SO many times!
Things not on the charts are the daily tasks like wiping down tables, several loads of dishes, sweeping under the table, picking up toys several times per day, etc. These tasks are accomplished by me (and more recently I've been using my 4 and 6 year old to take these over) in five minute bursts throughout the day as needed. I always try to make sure my living room is picked up and the dishes are done by the end of the night. It's kind of a non-negotiable start to the next day to have things in order. A messy kitchen and main area is a quick way to make me feel defeated before I've ever begun.
I tried using Flylady and other such systems for cleaning, but ultimately breaking up the bigger chores into one per day (which takes me only about half an hour a day! Yay!) and dealing with the bigger jobs on weekends has helped immensely. But none of that would be possible without the initial schedule SHOWING me just how to fit it all in. Doing that was a beast the first time, like a jigsaw of doom. But once it came together it was brilliant, and I refine it seasonally as our family changes or activities adjust. Having that sucker in paper, in the middle of the house, helps ALL of us stay on task throughout the day and leaves time for both organizing/cleaning AND sitting around chatting it up on the Internet.
And that's how I organize my day - not perfect, and most days I don't get it all done as I'd like, but getting even 70-80% of the way there on a given day is immensely better than even my best and most frantic efforts before I organized my time and worked seriously on self discipline.
I'm typing this from the ER with Holly and would like to ask for your prayers. She began nursing poorly last night and felt a bit hot, but I wasn't too concerned. However by morning she still wouldn't latch well and felt alarmingly feverish, and it turned out her temp was 101.5, which is far too high for a newborn. We took her into the pediatrician first thing and they were concerned about an infection (though urine screening was negative, no UTI) so we have been admitted to the hospital for a few days of observation and tests.
It is likely just a viral infection and will clear on its own, but any good thoughts you can send our way, prayers for her health and my sanity, would be much appreciated. Right now I'm engaged in the stress/situational fasting diet while waiting in blood cultures/lumbar punctures and the like. We'll be in the hospital the next two days or so.
Not much to say, or rather I've been too lazy to say it! We're back in the swing of things and adjusting to life with a six member family of mostly insane little people. It's been going quite well, actually! God has been so good to me - this has been my easiest recovery physically and mentally, and while I have frazzled moments I've not yet been overwhelmed or panicky, which was one of my fears. We just adjusted the family schedule and take activities one at a time, with lots of order and planning for an easier execution of events. Homeschool is back to normal and most night Holly is sleeping very well, so any sleep deprivation is entirely the fault of my husband and myself not being disciplined with heading to bed, rather than anything the baby might be doing.
I've been back in plan cleanly for two weeks with some notable exceptions. By and large I don't have a problem, but occasionally I get overcome by the hungries (whether they're head hungries or physiological has been hard to determine) and go over my calories. Last night was bad - I almost held onto my calorie budget but allowed myself a snack in the evening to curb the craving. Unfortunately I couldn't stop once I started and consumed an extra 900-ish calories I wasn't intending, when only 250 calories of ham was what I began with. I did manage to pour out some of what I was eating a regain control, but not as well as I would have wanted. This reassures me that my original plan is sound - eat all my food between 10 am and 6 pm, finish with a little chocolate and some tea, and declare the kitchen CLOSED. If I don't add anything in and eat my daily calories I do excellently, especially when I am being clean and careful with what I'm eating (my menus have been exemplary, including yesterday, until that snack entered in). But when I allow myself an inch I am tending to take a mile right now. So no inches allowed, just tighter planning until some of the mental struggle abates.
The reason for this is twofold. One, I have much more room, physiologically, now that I'm not pregnant. So all of the sudden the feelings of physical satiety I'd been using as cues have changed, because I have MUCH more capacity before I feel physical sensation of fullness. The second reason is that I'm breast feeding exclusively, so my calorie needs are higher. Keeping even a modest calorie deficit requires very careful meal planning or I am not full and nourished enough to resist more eating - that's what happened last night. I planned my dinner to scratch a mental itch and ended up not eating enough bulk or fat. Then I got hungry and couldn't control it well. It's not a character flaw, but rather a struggle of a very different set of metabolic demands that I have yet to fully grasp and find solutions for working with. This happens to me postpartum each time and if I'm not careful I can maintain when I want to lose, or even pile on weight.
All that said and done, I AM actually doing very well each day being on plan. No off plan foods for the most part, except a taste of porridge or soup to season it for the family. Thankfully, those tastes have not been causing me cravings or issues! I'm still sticking with my Atkins rung 4, between 20-30 net carbs (I've cut out much dairy and nuts to maximize the bulk of what I'm eating, so that's making it easier to keep my carbs lower), and 1950 calories or so as a target each day. Given that I'm likely burning at least 400-600 from nursing, I must plan meticulously to eat at that deficit and maintain both my milk supply and satiety. Otherwise, exhibit A from last night becomes a regular occurrence. For the most part I've not had snack binges. Maybe two in the last three weeks, since getting back on the wagon, along with some bigger meal days here and there because of restaurant eating.
The results of this are me being at 173.6 on the weekend, and bouncing up to 176.2 this morning from the salt of the ham last night. But overall my weight trend has been downward steadily from 175 last week to 174 and 173 before the 'incident'. That is exactly what I want it to do and I'm completely committed to getting down to prepregnancy as soon as possible, and then onward to goal. I have exactly 10 pounds left from Friday's weight until my all time low, and then it's all new territory once I reach 163. If I can get a pound a week of loss I will be satisfied with that, though I'd obviously like more it isn't going to happen if I keep letting in overeating in the evening. So at this point I am taking it one good meal at a time and focusing on reaffirming the habit of 'kitchen closed'. It wasn't necessary during pregnancy, and at the end I actually needed to eat a bit later or I got hungry again. But to make it to goal now will require sticking to that budget and continuing with my on plan foods. The foods aren't the issue, just the quantity. My goal this week is a perfect week on that count.
Exercise hasn't been resumed yet, though my bleeding has almost ended and I'm back in ONE pair of my prepregnancy jeans. They're a snug size twelve and my skirts in the same size will also fit better in five or ten pounds, but it's major progress. My belly is loose and hips are still spread, so that is contributing to the fit issues. I'm just going to have to lose a few more pounds to fit them well than I had to before the baby, when things were generally tighter. It all fits well enough that I boxed up the last of my maternity shirts, pants, and undergarments yesterday. So at 3 weeks postpartum I am officially back in a Misses 12-14 in all tops and pants, with the 14's only needed for tops that won't stretch adequately over my bust. VICTORY IS DECLARED!
Holly continues to be a total sweetie pie and the kids love her to bits. Overall I am doing excellently, better than I had hoped in kids, marriage, clothes, and food. The necessary tight control over snacking is the ONLY negative I have to report, and that will get easier and easier as I get back into a routine of losing as opposed to pregnancy maintainence. As always, I haven't given up and won't ever quit. I'm still here, accountable, and seeing success. I am also hoping life calms down enough that I can get back to some blogging about weight and exercise. I have another midwife appointment this evening and a checkup for Holly, so I'll be asking about resuming exercise and hoping for the best :)
After several weeks of contractions and braxton hicks, with multiple false alarms, Holly Charlotte Giessel (heretofore known as baby #4) was born at 11:46 pm on Friday, March 22nd. She weighed 7 lbs, 12 oz, and was 20 inches long.
Once it got going birth was quite uneventful here at home, though very intense. I only labored actively for about four hours, and transition/pushing was under half an hour and only that long due to an anterior lip on my cervix. Once we repositioned and got that out of the way she came quite easily, with no molding or bruising at all :). No stitches needed for me, either, for which I am VERY grateful!
My last recorded pregnancy weight was 198, so I DID manage to stay under 200 which I'm thrilled about! At my appointment today, with clothes on and a full bladder, I was at 181 (this is four days postpartum) so about 16 pounds to go until pre-pregnancy weight. I did indeed enjoy her birthday with Japanese and a Coldstone cake, my first off plan food in ages. If there was any reason to scratch that itch I figured birth was it. I'm back on plan without adieu now, so we'll see how long it takes to get the rest off. I wasn't planning on going back into induction unless I needed to, so I'm keeping my net at 25-30 carbs and calories in the 18-2000 range unless breastfeeding significantly ups my hunger or my milk production is deleteriously affected. No issues so far.
I did my Ttap as much as possible through the end of pregnancy, though now I'm on a break. I will probably start doing organs-in-place/half frogs in the next few days and work up to sitting/basic workouts as my bleeding tapers off. That's the plan, anyway. Right now I am napping and lounging around so I can heal, and generally enjoying my newborn. Hopefully things won't be too overwhelming when my husband goes back to work!
That's the update - glad to be done with pregnancy for awhile :)
Yes, that's me. Been busy, been lazy about posting, had nothing much to talk about. I cleaned my house top to bottom with very few spots left untouched in a nesting fit last week. It was excellent and needed to be done, though I hobbled around for several days after that!
Unless I've had a crazy busy day I still do TTAP four to five days a week and am feeling fine. More lighter workouts than heavy at this point, but it all counts for maintaining strength and dexterity.
Food is fine. Really, no issues. Some days I'm under my calorie target, some days I'm way over. I eat to hunger and just keep my carbs in range, and my weight and body fat are still stable. I'm up approx. 33 pounds from pre-pregnancy now, and am one week shy of full term (though my official due date is still a few weeks out we're in the end stretch!). Again, zero complaints. I'm tired and sore and my hips hurt at this point, but that's to be expected with a 7+ pound baby bearing down on me! Overall I am still active (though I waddle impressively), healthy, and very much in control of my diet. Some days, like today, I eat higher fat. Other days I'm higher protein. But still I am vigilant (but not insane) and very satisfied with my choices. And from all indicators we can observe, like swelling, blood pressure, blood panels, weight gain, fundal measurements, fetal heart tones, etc etc, I am an EXTREMELY healthy pregnant lady and so glad for that!
My issues lately have been sleep - not getting enough and waking a lot when I do. The waking can't be helped, it is bladder related or sore hips that require position changes. But my husband and I made the decision to cut back on the lateness we've been having lately and get into bed on time. It's no good for him OR me, to carry a sleep deficit into the newborn days. Thus far the effort at getting to bed earlier has been solid, but it's a daily temptation to stay up late and get things done (and we just have to battle it as it comes).
So that's my 36 week and some days check in. Not much to report, hence the bloggy silence. I do need to post another belly picture in here sometime in the next week or two, but beyond that expect things to be boring until a few weeks postpartum :)
I realize I lapsed into silence again - apologies! Last week was insanely busy and this one is slightly better. Diet is in line, exercise suffered a bit when I was busy every evening but I'm back on track with my TTap. I can't remember if I mentioned this but at my last appointment (last Tuesday) I was down two pounds, even after having eaten and had fluid all day. That puts me under my 24 weeks weight on their charts!
Blood pressure, vitamin d levels, all looked good. Baby's heart rate was at 130, right in range as healthy. Blood pressure was excellent to slightly low. I am having moderate pubic symphysis pain, though, which is just a consequence of relaxin and heavy baby. I'm grateful I put it off so long but I'm prone to it and was unsurprised to see it making an appearance. TTap and good posture is certainly helping.
I'm still getting comments that I barely look pregnant or just barely popped, which is slightly annoying given then my belly is HUGE and I feel quite pregnant. But I know these folks are trying to pay me a compliment so I'm working on taking this gracefully and not biting anyone's head off for implying I have just looked fat for eight months ;)
Off to make dinner for the family and me. Potstickers, rice, and stir fry veggies for them; rib eye and feta cheese for me. Mmm!
It's just as boring as it sounds - I got some new TTap DVDs and have been consistent on my workouts and feeling great from them, even if I'm still sick and can't shake it. That's a big yay - I'll take any comfort and flexibility I can get here in the home stretch. Interestingly the workouts I've been craving are NOT the new ones, but I'll do whatever my body is inclined to and not quibble about a lack of variety. So it's been a lot of Chair and Basic Tempo for me.
Eating has been fine, low carb as always. I'm perfectly comfortable with 25-30 net carbs per day and settling on Atkins Rung 4. No desire to push it or change it, so I won't. I had a few much higher days due to too much homemade low carb icecream (the Toasted Coconut Rum icecream is too yummy to keep in the house, I've decided) but beyond that I'm fine. I haven't bothered stepping on the scale but my face, bra, arms, etc, all look unchanged and show no signs of bloat or real fat accumulation, so I'm taking that to mean I'm holding steady except for baby gains. I've resolved that in the final two months here I will spend each day focusing on my basic nutrition, but I'm not stressing on-plan date choices or treats that might up my calories for the day. No stuffing myself for the heck of it, but if I'm hungry and choose an extra slice of cheese over a pickle it just isn't the end of the world. Neither is bearnaise on my asparagus when we go on a date, even if I know it's higher than my meal's target calorie range. Here in pregnancy, it all balances out. I will be more strict when I'm back in real losing mode, and have done really well so far in staying healthy - I am not going to stop that. But I'm also not going to drive myself nuts when I don't have to, and right now between working out and the extra metabolic load my body is being quite forgiving to the occasional overeating.
Mark the occasion (I'm really reaching for news, here) - I had my first truly painful contraction tonight, compared to normal Braxton Hicks that I get frequently throughout the day. I'm not in danger of preterm labor by any physiological marker I can tell, and have never had issues with it before, so while I took note (because it was way too intense to ignore!) it was a one-off and didn't recur.
My next appointment is on Monday, we'll see if they have anything interesting to discuss with me then.
Just checking in again - we made it back home in one piece, though unfortunately everyone came down with nasty colds/possible unconfirmed flu while in California, and my husband and I are still trying to shake it. My case was the mildest of the family, but the sleep deprivation in caring for throwing up/ear infection/coughing children made me go from improving to sicker again. Lesson - when sick, rest up, otherwise the immune system WILL suffer for stress :(
So. I was gone the entire Christmas break, eating at family's homes, airports, theme parks, and restaurants. I managed to not eat any off plan food at all, though I did eat ad libitum of the foods I was allowed. Yesterday morning I had my midwifery appointment, with a three week lapse between this one and the last. I hadn't gotten on the scale at all because who knew how much water illness and travel was making me retain? The answer? Apparently not much! I was up only ONE POUND from my mid-December appointment. That means that with a baby putting on half a pound a week and traveling/holiday business, I managed to essentially maintain my weight and/or lose a smidge of bodyfat, during the most diet-challenging circumstances I could undertake. Cue the party poppers and confetti!
As of this point in my pregnancy, I am STILL under my prepregnancy weight for my last baby, with only 10-12 weeks left to go. Woohoo!
To add to the immense pile of awesome that is my health? I got my results back just now from my midwife regarding my hemoglobin A1C - even with pregnancy funkiness thrown in, I was measuring at 4.9%. She said that is the lowest she has seen in a LONG time, and absolutely incredible for pregnancy. That means my efforts at controlling my nutrition and mitigating insulin impact of my food has worked and my blood chemistry in that regard couldn't be better. My blood sugar control is excellent, which for a metabolically deranged former fattie is about the best I could ask for ;)
The only results of concern for treatment were my ferritin levels. My iron (serum levels, I think) was at 11 mcmol/L, which is a little low but still within healthy range. But my ferritin levels were only 6 ng/mL, which is extremely low. So though I am managing well enough day to day my stores of iron are depleted, and I'm hitting the point in pregnancy where blood volume increases for the baby are massive. I've always struggled with anemia but haven't needed iron supplementation with the high amount in my daily diet. I didn't want to add that in unless it was medically indicated. In this case, in addition to my dietary iron sources, the midwives are asking I supplement 50 mg of ferrous gluconate daily and they will retest my levels at the 36 weeks appointment. That is the best assimilated and least 'binding' way of supplementing iron, so I'm on board and will be beginning that tomorrow.
All in all an excellent appointment and they are VERY pleased with my current health. Recommendations are to keep doing whatever I am doing and keep up my exercise, too. The iron supplementation is simple enough and since I have actively avoided iron in my supplements (it's SO easy to overdo when eating a diet like Atkins, which is rich in dietary iron sources) adding it in is no big deal. I would guess, based on my levels, that if I'm not nursing or pregnant my dietary intake would indeed be sufficient, but the demands of growing a person have depleted my stores a bit and more is needed, even with lots of dietary iron daily. That being my biggest health concern is a victory in and of itself, I can't tell you how much the minimal weight gain, solidly healthy blood pressure, and excellent A1C, made my week!
Furthermore, baby is in an excellent position (head down and left-occiput anterior) and not measuring as far ahead anymore - I'm at 31 cm fundal height, and since I'm a multipara it is considered completely normal to measure up to 2 cm ahead of gestational date. Even having fasted for 12-ish hours the night before (they asked that this be a fasted blood draw, so I went in at 9:30 am) the baby was kicking up a storm and moving around like crazy. Heart rate was at 130 BPM - perfectly healthy and the midwife speculated it would go up a smidge as soon as I ate. Really nothing of note, which is my FAVORITE kind of appointment.
Summary - by all accounts we can observe physically and through normal prenatal diagnostics, my dietary/exercise experiment here in the second and third trimester has been a total success. I feel great, my vitals are excellent even for a non-pregnant person, and the only area of even minor concern is easily corrected and not diet related (I have had low iron/anemia in every pregnancy, including the ones on the Brewer diet, standard American diet, and now Atkins). It's one of the few conditions I am prone to, and being a reproductive aged young woman with closely spaced pregnancies makes iron a bigger issue than for most of the rest of the population.
I'll be continuing on here in my happy spot of 1800-2000 calories, to my hunger, of low carb (rung four is a happy place for me) foods with my net carbs being in the 25-30 g range. I'm going to focus on getting in more iron rich food, I've been eating more fish and less red meat in recent weeks and I'll be making a concerted effort to have dark meat poultry and red meat for dinner, at least, each day.
Exercise continues to be TTap five-ish days a week. I took a break from it on vacation due to a lack of space in my hotel room, and my exercise vids disappearing off my iPad when it was replaced and content restored right before the trip. But I FELT the lack of workout and ended up doing primary back stretch almost every day, for the second half of the trip, just out of necessity. My neck and back were so sore from travel and the hotel beds that I had to add it in, and it made me feel notably better. But now that I'm back home I'm back to my normal schedule. I did MORE chair yesterday and that was good, I'm thinking another light workout today could also be beneficial, but I don't want to push too hard since I am still under the weather. So the TTap will happen, just with varying degrees of intensity depending on how I feel.
And that's my update for 30 weeks with baby number four, post Christmas vacation and maintaining. Sniffles and congestion aside, I really feel incredible!
In closing, here's a little picture from the vacation. My dad, kids, two nieces, and I'm the really pale one with boobs way too big for that swimsuit ;)
Hey all! I'm checking in from California, boring as ever. I made it through a red eye and the airport on plan, family get togethers on plan, and Christmas dinner at someone else's house - perfectly on plan. Not even the slightest desire to deviate. I even gave myself permission to have some dessert or a starchy side dish if it looked absolutely delicious. But I completely forgot - none of them were worth it to make me contemplate eating off plan.
We're at a (sunny!) park right now and then headed to the store for me to stock up on some snacks and breakfast foods for the hotel. Then it's nap time and dinner with my parents later. I can't complain, I have no news, and all is going very well. On the NSV side, I've officially been on plan for every get together and holiday in 2012, since getting back from Michigan in the middle of October. No Christmas cookies, no Thanksgiving pies, no Halloween candy. Not even airport food. And it hasn't actually been hard. I can honestly say I don't miss what I'm not eating, because I like my daily diet very much.
My goals for this trip are on plan choices. I can't weigh or measure food easily because of eating out or eating at someone else's home almost the entire time, but I CAN make sure nothing crosses my lips that isn't on my allowed food lists. And thus far, I've met with success!
Diane at 'Fit to the Finish' had a great topic on her blog today, in dealing with whether diets work or not. I agreed with her conclusion that they DO, and it is a matter of adherence. This is a complex topic and her intro to it, based on her experience, was well done.
What I was less happy with, however, was a comment down the page basically moralizing thinness. That if fat friends of this thin woman made HER food choices, they wouldn't be fat, and there seemed to be denial on that point that frustrated her. She talked of naturally desiring to make healthy choices and easily limiting consumption of less nutritious ones, while her friends consumed large quantities of junk. I am heavily paraphrasing, but this is the gist. And I do not deny her experience on this topic as true - but it ignores a HUGE issue with food consumption. Food choices are not made in vacuums, where all that influences choice is our will. Nutrition creates certain physiological responses in the body and different bodies respond in varying degrees to the food environment to which they are exposed. Nutrition choices aren't gluttony or moral weakness, but highly influenced by the feedback which they evoke in our systems. Genetics loads the gun and environment pulls the trigger, as it were, and actual commitment to change it is only a small part of the equation (and influenced heavily by that same feedback loop).
So my response to this poster, which wasn't appropriate to put on someone else's blog, is below:
The thing to consider isn't that you eat anything you want and just don't want the junk - it is why many folks DO want and eat the junk. The hedonism argument, that they are just weak willed fatties (not your words, granted) who make poor food choices ignores the complex biochemistry of hunger and satiety signalling in our bodies, and that some folks are affected by food differently than others, and to more significant degrees.
As a very successful, longer term maintainer (who still has twenty or so pounds to go), I cannot tell you how frustrating it is for ME when folks like you are telling me why I am fat and how to fix it - folks who have no metabolic issues compelling them toward excess hunger and a physiological response to food that is resistent to satiety. Some individuals can drink a regular soda and be fine. Some, however, find that precipitates three days of sugar cravings and compels real, physiological hunger in excess, because of the insulin response it provokes.
Diets DO work, but not all are created equal for all metabolisms. Someone who has gotten up to morbid obesity has a very different physical and mental response to nutritional stimulus than someone who has dealt with an extra five pounds around the holidays in midlife. Saying they are the same is like implying an individual with cerebral palsy ought to be able to walk as easily as someone with perfectly functioning limbs - it ignores that we aren't all built the same and there are different degrees of difficulty and specific challenges to manage with some bodies as compared to others.
Why is it that I can function as you do, eating controlled quantities of nutritious foods and not to excess, with a certain dietary composition; when previously I had eaten my way up to morbid obesity with an insatiable response to much of my daily diet? I'm the same woman, my brain and will and moral fiber hasn't changed. The difference between me now and me then is managing the food environment in such a way that it doesn't create a cascade of reactions in my body, lending itself to at storage and poor energy utilization. It wasn't even just eating less - I am infinitely more satisfied on the same 1800 calories of my current diet than on the 1800 calorie iteration previously. The nutrient composition matters, because my body does NOT process 300 calories of chicken the same as 300 calories of rice. And that is a fact in establishing healthy diets that should not be ignored - is the lack of adherence just a decision/choice of the dieter, are they all created equal? The evidence I'm reading and living points emphatically to NO!
That doesn't mean that you don't exercise self control and make choices, or that it is effortless, but it isn't as straightforward as a simple choice to eat more like your diet and less like theirs. There is biochemical feedback influencing and nearly controlling the selections of both individuals, and the first step to managing that is to be aware it exists and that certain foods affect the body's hunger more than others. In the end they will still need to implement a healthy diet for their body, but understanding what constitutes healthy and what does not is a huge key to success for long term compliance, and the answer isn't straightforward for many of the folks who need it the most.
I get awfully tired of metabolically normative, healthy people trying to tell me why my body isn't working like theirs, while ignoring that my body is NOT theirs and clearly doesn't respond the same way. It's so easy to boil it down to a choice, but reality is that if it were as simple as an equally tempting, equally satiating, but nutritionally diverse selection of a salad over nachos - most folks WOULD choose the food that tasted just as good but impacted their fatness less. It isn't so simple as that, and I get very annoyed when oversimplified arguments to the contrary are presented. It takes deliberate ignorance of basic endocrinology to conclude such a thing, and yet this is perpetrated at university level regarding nutrition, almost as a matter of course. Ridiculous.
I could get into specific details regarding this and cite evidence out my nose, but others have done more of that and better than I ever could. Suffice to say that disregarding the fact that insulin is required for fat storage and insulin levels (and individual sensitivity to them) vary wildly based on genetics and environmental choices, is a pitfall of nutrition that I am having less and less tolerance for. That's my rant on the subject, thanks to Diane for her conversation starter :)
Just a late night tidbit I thought I'd share -
Back when I was getting engaged, I was fat but not at my heaviest (I'd guess the 230-240 range) and my ring was sized as an 8.25, which fit comfortably enough. Toward my high weight the ring was tight, and quite uncomfortably so when I was in the 260-and-pregnant range.
It has been loose from the time I've been sub-180 pounds, but now it is ridiculous. If I tip my hand it falls off with pretty much negligible resistance, and I've actually had it come off in the washing machine while loading clothes and not even noticed. It's a gorgeous and expensive ring, in addition to being sentimentally valued, so I'm not wanting to damage or lose it because of the size discrepancy.
This week I went in and got resized. I wanted to put that off until I hit my goal but it just can't be delayed anymore. My new size? A perfectly dainty 6, which is comfortable and not tight. I went from having a ring almos as big as my husband's to one that looks comparably tiny. It's a great little non-scale victory to have it sized down so much and know I might even have to have it done again when I hit goal.
No other news to report, just chugging along with diet and exercise as planned. But I thought it would be fun to record for posterity's sake :)
Just what the title says. I'm really tired from an overly busy day yesterday (it was fun, though!) and figured a quick update was the best way to wake up my brain before the inmates begin running the asylum instead of me! Awake children and a dragging mommy is never a great combo.
My 24 week appt. on Monday went very well. Blood pressure was 119/70, weight was completely stable as it has been for the past eight weeks, baby was moving around with a heartbeat of 150 BPM, and my fundal height measurement had jumped up to 29 cm (very typical for me, I'm short with a short torso, to boot!). The midwife was thrilled with my vitals and my diet and exercise work, too. I hopped off the table before she had a chance to lower it and she was surprised I didn't hurt myself, but my strength and flexibility is excellent thanks to TTap and the normal hip and back pain I'm usually suffering by the time I measure this big hasn't come about. Not even a small amount of it. Other than moving round slower due to my balance being off, and getting fatigued more quickly, I really feel great. And my back is less sore now than it was at 14 weeks - entirely thanks to the exercise system, as far as I can tell.
I've been doing my TTap five days a week as planned and moving the rest days around a bit if I need them after a particularly strenuous workout. I began my skin brushing and have been regular with that, too. No complaints, I just wish I could get more sleep each day, and then the pregnancy would be perfect!
Diet is right on the money, I even managed to stick to my plan at a friend's house yesterday, after being invited over for an impromptu lunch when I was dropping some skirts off to her. I ate more nuts than I'd have liked, in place of pasta, but it was an easy substitute to what she was making and comfortable for both of us. I ended the day on plan and not exceeding any of my guidelines, and it has been that way consistently since I got on plan in mid-October. Even the days when I was eating more loosely to accommodate weird or stressful situations I've still been completely able to make good choices and not be off plan. And it has been no hardship, I feel great and genuinely enjoy my food choices. I was supposed to add berries this week and haven't even gotten around to it, it just hasn't fit with my tastes and I like my menus as they are. So that will come when it comes, but I'm honestly doing fine right now, just where I'm at.
As I mentioned briefly above my weight has been completely stable in the 183-184 range, which is up exactly 20 pounds from where my hCG round ended when I got pregnant. Considering I immediately bounced up five pounds my actual weight gain at this point in pregnancy looks excellent. It's really been more of a fat shift, as my clothes fit better and my face looks much thinner again. Knowing the baby is gaining weight and length like crazy right now, the scale holding still means I'm just losing at approximately the rate the little one is growing, which is fine by me. I am not hungry, don't feel exceptionally run down, and my immune system is actually more resilient than it has been during ANY pregnancy I've had. I usually catch everything going around and I haven't gotten a full case of anything, not even the vomity stomach bug or a cold. I can feel them trying to come on occasionally, but my body seems to fight off the infection before it takes hold. Optimal nutrition and a focus on getting sleep is likely what is helping.
So that's my 24 week update! No news is good news and everything is just progressing in its daily groove. I'll pop back in when I have more to say, but it's a fair assessment to conclude that I'm doing as excellently as a pregnant lady can. No health issues, habits under control, activity good, all indicators point to health for me and the baby. Woohoo!
I was on an online friend's blog today and she was mulling where to set her goals, as well as generally eager to make her target by the end of this year. She's doing incredibly, and almost there. It got me to mulling my own journey and goals more carefully, and the irony of having 'failed' at achieving what I set out to do thus far, while still enjoying where I am and whether or not one can 'fail' by not making a goal, if they're still vastly improved. Much of what I told her are things I, myself, have had to carefully consider. Thus, the response:
"Evaluate carefully - if you're not willing to do the work to maintain that the 120's might require, it is NO failure to maintain at an easier, more comfortable spot. I can understand the psychological drive to see your goal this year, I have a bit of that going on, too. But I'm not going to make myself crazy for it.
To put it in perspective, I've failed to make my original weight goal of 160 going on four years now. But while I know I'm not there and still too heavy for my liking, that doesn't mean I can't be content and even thrilled over how I look at this very moment. Even with the massive belly, I can see a huge difference from previous pregnancies in how the REST of me looks and it is great, goal or no. When you take the long term perspective of this all being for life, the time in loss mode vs. maintenance mode becomes a lot less crucial, and in some cases the two just blur together!"
I really believe this to be true. It is no failure of weight management to hang out at a higher scale number if it is comfortable and 'good enough'. This is the body we live in, and chasing after a number to the point of getting neurotic or falling off the wagon completely in self disgust is counter productive. I'm at peace with this now, thankfully, but it took some time to wrap my brain around the concepts of 'success' and 'failure' being largely dependent not on the physical state, but the state of mind. Change the thinking, the entire concept being evaluated is suddenly seen in a new light. In this way, mental talk and expectations are EVERYTHING in weight management. And life, in general.
Super Healthy Kids
Kath Eats Real Food
In Weigh Over My Head
My Daily Nosh
Weekly Weight Loss
ONEDERLAND! 3/3/10: 198.8
10/10/10: Baby born!
10/4/10: 232.8 - DUE DATE!
Highest weight: 257-260