Just Losin It

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A History of Swimming

Published February 11, 2016 by sarcasmica

This has been kind of an interesting journey for me, this swim stuff. See, I never could swim as a kid. I tried. I remember having to take a class at the Y when I was elementary school aged. I didn’t do well, though. All I remember is endless kicks while hanging onto the wall. It seemed irresponsible, and illogical to then go from leg kicks to actually jumping off a milk crate into the water. This was their process in the 80’s, I guess.

Needless to say, I was not a swimmer by the end of that class.

My next memory is being at summer camp – again with the Y – and it was a beach day. I must’ve been around 10 or so. Everyone was in the water. This was So Cal, afterall, who DIDN’T go in the water at the beach?

Me.

So when I did, it was all fun and games until a wave took me out. And by “out” I mean “under”. There were no counselors around. This was a free-form beach camp day. I had the cliche` experience of being knocked under repeatedly until I managed to get to shallow enough water and I dragged myself wet and sputtering and spitting and coughing onto my towel. No counselors or campers were the wiser, either. I literally saved my own life. Remember, I still didn’t know how to swim and this was the 80’s. There were no helicopter parents or, by default, helicopter counselors. They were teenagers in Southern California being paid to go to the beach with a bunch of kids.

Next on the water docket, summer camp.

By the way, this whole post seems like an awful yelp review of any and all YMCA programs, and I apologize. It’s not. It was just the way things were back then and as everyone loves to say, “I still made it.”

I was sent to a week long summer camp every year with, you guessed it, the Y!
“YM YM YMCA CA CA CAMP YMCA CA MP YMCA CA MP Y Camp, Y Camp, yeeeeaaaaa!”
We had to do swim tests in the pool if you wanted to venture to the deep end. Since all I could manage was a strong doggie paddle and a decent water tread, I never made it. I was quite happy to stay in the shallow end, though. My only take  away from that experience was being teased for my “extra boobs”. Again, I was the fat kid. The “Boobs” to which they were referring was the armpit fat that gets bunched up between your bathing suit and armpit. I still have it, but i’m much meaner looking now, so if anyone is teasing, it’s behind my back where it belongs.

I didn’t learn how to properly swim until I was an adult. My husband can. He’s ridiculous. We are an oxymoron. He is Canadian and can swim like a large dolphin while the So Cal gal swims like a rock. We lived in Arizona and had a backyard pool like everyone else. It’s a necessity there. That is where I learned to swim. When we went on our honeymoon cruise to the Caribbean we did an excursion to swim along a reef. It was the only excursion I could sign up for since I was 6 months pregnant. (In my defense, we waited to do the cruise until the summer after our wedding)

I had to practice wearing the snorkel gear in the pool on the ship first… for like an hour. I had serious claustrophobia putting that crap on and depending on it for my life. We wont even talk about my shark phobia. It’s nearly debilitating. I’m often convinced that I drowned AND was eaten by a school of sharks in a past life.

Anyway, gear practiced, arms and legs cooperating, we head down to the beach in Cancun. There is a storm brewing, so we actually changed beaches. The guides warned us the current might get rough, but they had a backup raft if anyone had issues.

As suggested by the guides, since this was my first ocean swim, I stayed close to them and firmly on the beach side of my husband. This way, if a shark approached, I was sure the appetizer would satisfy the beast before snacking on me. It was a mile or a half mile swim out to the reef, then a mile down the reef, then a half or full mile back in…  I think it must’ve been just a half mile out to the reef, this was 10 years ago so I don’t really remember.

The swim on the reef was aaaaaaaahmaaaaazing! I quickly worked through my paranoia and fear and soon focused on the fish. We even saw a sea turtle. I thoroughly loved it. Once the reef swim was over, however, the storm moved closer. We had to swim back to shore against the current.

I’m 6 months pregnant. Have never swam in the ocean before this, and i’ve already swam a mile and a half at best. Swimming against a current proved 100% challenging. Everyone else in our group took the raft back to shore. Why didn’t I, you might wonder?

We tried! It was like loading a sedated elephant into a Prius.

I’m 5’10 and at the time weighed over 250lbs. Our guides were small Latin men maybe 5’6..? The raft was getting tossed around by the current and the waves, my husband literally went under the water to try and elevator me into the raft, but my belly and giant ass prohibited anyone from being able to pull me up.

So, die or swim? I swam. My husband the dolphin swam beside me. I did some of it on my back, but I did it.

I have never been so exhausted, aside from the 2 times i’ve been in labor.

I loved the snorkeling part so much, we did it once more on a LOCAL beach at our last stop. No marathon swimming was necessary, either.

So after all that you’d think i’d hate swimming, right? That just explains the lengths of hatred I’ve developed for exercise that this is the thing in the end I end up choosing as “fun”.

 

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Working On It

Published February 11, 2016 by sarcasmica

So foggy today. We have a sleep number bed, but damned if I can find the magic number that will eliminate my husband’s snoring.

He’s getting over a cold, so I can’t completely blame him … .but that doesn’t stop me this morning. I tripped on the bags under my eyes on the way to my Keurig.

This week I’m working on moi. This sounds so douchey, right? The whole “me time” thing is a little grating for this stay at home momma. Mostly because I have friends who are in a situation where this is not an option, so I don’t like talking about it … but hell. This is my life and I should just live it regardless, right?

It’s taking a lot for me to fix some stuff. Taking a lot of energy and money and time. I’m blessed to be able to be a stay at home mom and have these opportunities. I’m badass for taking the opportunity and making the most of it. .. finally… after seven years or so of being a SAHM. It helps immensely that my mom lives with us and is open to being a last minute and scheduled babysitter whenever we need it.

I’ve been working with a trainer for six months now. We had a rare sunny day recently and I dusted off a stretchy then-too-snug pair of capris from last summer. I was so sure of myself that they would finally fit nicely!

Spoiler: They didn’t. They fit the same. Needless to say I was kinda butt hurt. However, it was my own fault. I’ve been working out with a trainer for six months once a week… and most weeks that’s the only day I exercise.  I haven’t overhauled my eating habits, either. Just consistently have made minor tweaks. It’s my own damn fault, but i’m trying my hardest to use it as motivation to get to the gym.

Another point of sale is my new gym membership.

On one hand one could argue losing weight is hugely expensive and not realistic. On the other, paying for outrageously priced medication that is necessary to live everyday can be more expensive. With this in mind i’ve been also seeing a therapist to help work through some issues. Specifically food-related. .. well, that’s how it started anyway. It’s morphed into a lot more areas, but it’s all been for positive change and I thoroughly believe if you’ve been overweight your ENTIRE life, there’s more to changing habits and ingrained beliefs about yourself than just “exercise for 30 min/day!” and “eat the rainbow!” … which, loosely translated could mean “eat a pack of Skittles everyday!”

So I have it in my head that i’m a swimmer. It’s the perfect exercise for a fat chick. You are nearly weightless (hence eliminating all the daily aches and pains that go along with carrying a Goodyear tire or two around your body for 30+ years) and the best part; you don’t have to feel sweat! I love it.

I have swam/swum/swimmed used the pool twice and actually managed a good starting work out time. After a week of a sick husband, a sick kid, and 4 doc appointments between both children, I neglected to swim at all last week. Upon taking my daughter to her lesson this week, however, I felt the first pang of regret at an exercise. I actually missed swimming when I smelled the overbearing chlorine and saw the swim team practicing. 

It was a very surreal experience. I’ve hated all forms of exercise my entire life. To find the holy grail of something I enjoy is literally mind altering for me.

So today, despite having to pin my eyebags up behind my ears, and fighting the urge to fall asleep walking from one room to the next, I WILL fasten that new swim cap over my headache and strap on my new goggles, and I will head to the pool.

I may drown from lack of effort or motivation once in the water, but that will just look like I pushed so hard and worked so much that I died from exhaustion. Something I never thought my obit would say!

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Swim Meat

Published January 29, 2016 by sarcasmica

I am a tall chick. I’m 5’11. It’s not news that i’m big. This body and most bathing suits do not mix. The tankini, while probably designed for a slim marathon runner, is the ideal suit for me because one pieces simply do not work. They just aren’t long enough. We have pants that are “T” (tall) why can’t we have a one piece spandex body suit that is supposed to cover your nethers and your uppers available in a proper length as well?!

Truth be told, the plus size stores may have the right length, but the tops of those things are nowhere near fitting my body. Someone in the fat lady design department decided all plus size women are 5’2 and have 42DDDs.

This is not me.

The steel-lined, padded strapped, quadruple pronged fasteners simply hang on my inadequate decolletage. One could build a canoe out of the uppers of a plus size bathing suit in an emergency.

The point of this ramble is that my husband and I joined a gym. I’ve been on a quasi health kick since mid 2015 and needed an extra something to motivate me to do more than the once/week workout with a trainer. I told him I wanted to go somewhere with a pool so I can swim for aerobic exercise. You know … something where you don’t have to feel the sweat and smell the stink.

In order to properly swim in the pool, however, I needed a one piece bathing suit. My billowing tankini would just slow me down. I ran to Target today with my croupy congested 5 year old so she too could pick a suit. (I have also signed the kids up for swim lessons)

Finding a bathing suit in Washington mid-winter is challenging, to say the least. I had one option. One. The rest were all two pieces.

My daughter began screaming that her ear was hurting, so I didn’t have a chance to try it on. I grabbed it, grabbed one in her department, and we left as she was howling and crying and generally making a scene. People were offering her stickers, giving me ‘is she abducting her, or just an unfortunate mom’ looks.

I decide tonight would be the night to try out the gym swim routine.

I park and sit in my car in my stretched-to-the-max new suit underneath stretch pants and a sweatshirt.

My brain: “What the hell are you doing? You have some freedom right now after a week of hell. Why are you not at a bar?! DRIVE TO THE BAR!”

Me: “No. I can do this. I can’t wear flip flops, stretch pants and a Jack Skellington sweatshirt to a bar. Go. In. … oh look, an email.

Brain: “Ok, but make it quick.”

I enter the women’s locker room and find a gaggle of junior high girls all finishing up after some kind of practice or swim meet or something.

Like 20 of them.

Nothing is as intimidating to an overweight stay at home mom in an uncomfortable hideous Target one piece as this scenario. The only thing worse would be walking through the Sports Illustrated swimsuit shoot.

I almost left. Instead I hid in a bathroom stall and tried to work up the courage to just look at the pool. Afterall, these girls weren’t paying attention to me. One good thing about a mom in the midst of a bunch of barely-teens is that they are pretty invisible.

I found a locker, stashed my purse with my wadded up tank top and chonies to change into after and headed for the pool… just to see if a squad of high school swimmers was waiting out there.

Thankfully it was nearly empty.

I headed back into the locker room, stashed my sweatshirt, took a deep breath, and headed for the pool.

It was actually quite nice! The water was a perfect temperature, the pool was competition sized (since they have actual swim teams at this location) and there were 2 lanes available.

I was trying not to focus on the creepy old dude hanging out in the jacuzzi. What is it about the jacuzzi that attracts old creepy hairy chested men? I was also trying to keep my tiny ta tas from flopping out into the over chlorinated pool. It seems the Target designers also believe the tops of their one-pieces should allow space for a semi-supported pair of watermelons. Being as how I was only sporting small cantaloupes large peaches, every back stroke reach was a gamble.

After one length of freestyle swimming, I was feeling pretty smitten with myself. I can do this! Halfway through the swim back, my heart began telling me a different story.

But I kept going. I did a back stroke for another four lengths. I had to ignore the panicky water pressure feeling I always get in a big pool. I think in a past life I was on a sinking ship and was eaten by a shark. Sharks terrify me. Big and/or deep pools give me serious anxiety. Masks make it worse, snorkels require hours of rehearsal. But I get through it. I’ve learned large predators do not fare well in chlorine. … except the ones in the jacuzzi.

I ended my panting boob-gambling session with one more free style length and then a slow back stroke back. All in all the 8 lengths took me 15 minutes. I don’t think Michael Phelps needs to worry , but at least I did it!

As a reward, I headed over to the jacuzzi trying not to feel like an elephant in a loin cloth. I ignored the creepy dude and only lasted 5 minutes in the hot tub. My eyeballs were beginning to implode with all the chlorine fumes. I walked into the steam room, inhaled the eucalyptus, and turned and walked out after seeing the thermometer read 150 degrees.

I showered and left and felt very proud of myself for tackling the first maiden attempt at swimming for cardio. Next time I will wait 10 minutes longer in the parking lot and hopefully avoid the jr high gaggle, but all in all it was a great little workout! Go me!

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Food Demons

Published November 5, 2015 by sarcasmica

I have been working pretty hard on my food demons. I’ve been working out with a personal trainer since August, and simultaneously dealing with food issues with my therapist. A one-two punch, as it were.

I’ve been doing pretty well all around, actually. I’ve made some break-throughs with eating and habits. I’ve made some changes. We’ve eliminated a lot of carbs in the house which is difficult. My mom lives with us and having three adults be consistent is not easy.

We do still have bread. My kids will sometimes have toast for breakfast, or i’ll have it as a quick option for my own breakfast. Sandwiches are usually for the kids, but really they prefer home made ‘lunchables’. It takes us twice as long to go through a loaf as it did in the past, so that’s something. I’m a complete carb-o-holic. If I had a choice between a bag of candy or a loaf of fresh french bread or sourdough, i’d choose the bread every time. Every. Time.

So we went a little over a week without potato chips, potatoes of any kind, pasta, breads-with-dinner (rolls/biscuits/garlic bread) and I think it made a big difference.

Since Halloween, shit has been creeping back into the pantry, though. This whole week i’ve been shit about my food choices. I am working on sucking it up and moving along, but I keep getting stuck. We have managed to not do mashed potatoes with anything, and I have yet to make a pot of spaghetti. That’s something! We also haven’t ordered pizza.

Living on the edge here, people.

The latest f- up is the Halloween candy. I need to accidentally trip and have the bowl land in the trash can. I don’t know who will cry worse if we do that, my husband, the kids, or myself.

I’m out of ideas for dinners, and i’m in a place where I don’t really care. That is dangerous. Because you know when I do care? After i’ve eaten it. Like immediately after I eat it.

Why couldn’t I struggle with wearing too much make up or being addicted to triathalons like some lucky bastards?

Goodbye Carbs

Published October 6, 2015 by sarcasmica

I’m borderline diabetic. I’ve finally decided to start eating accordingly….. grudgingly.

Tonight’s new introduction is acorn squash. I went shopping the other night looking for replacements for our staple (i.e. every single day side) of potatoes/pasta/bread. I keep hearing how amazing spaghetti squash is, so while picking up one of those I got ahead of myself and bought an acorn squash also. I also picked up a bag of egg noodles thinking it would be a more reasonable replacement for pasta noodles.

Wrong.

Can you tell I have a painfully small range of experience with cooking? I can make a potato 18 different ways, but when it comes to sides and actual meat, i’m clueless! Thank goodness for pinterest and my crock pot!

Back to the squash, these things did not come in a freezer bag or can, so naturally i’m puzzled. Pinterest to the rescue!! Here’s what i’m trying:

Acorn Squash

First thing I notice: Most of the squash recipes call for 1. Butter 2. Brown Sugar 3. Cinnamon

None of these things are very healthy. The other filling/topping that was popular seemed to be quinoa / keen-wa /not keen on the wa

So I forged ahead with the brown sugar and butter because let’s face it, that’s what I know.

First I beheaded it, then I divided it. I scooped out the guts to which the kids immediately asked to plant the seeds.

One side effect of never cooking healthy – plants – is it’s all exciting right now for them. So they immediately ran outside to fight over who got to dig and who got to put the seed in the dirt, and who got to hit who with the shovel. I didn’t mind  because I was inside during the adventure.

So I baked it. It smelled wonderful. Next up, what to do with the chicken? I have this yummy lemon artichoke pesto that I thought, “What the hell? Slap some on in the pan.”

In the end we didn’t know how to eat the squash. I cut it up and we tried with the skin/without the skin. The consensus was “eh.. it’s ok.” (and def without the skin) I, for one, was not a fan. It was kind of a let down, but on the upside, the kids devoured the chicken and didn’t fight too much on the broccoli.

Next up? Spaghetti squash! Keep your noodles crossed it’s a hit, because frankly, i’m losing the low/no carb meal battle!

Fit By 40

Published September 27, 2015 by sarcasmica

I have exactly one year to get fit by 40. I’m not assigning a weight to that or a size. I just want to feel and be “fit”. Only I will know what that means, and only my body will tell me what that means. I’m gonna go ahead and assume the jiggle will be gone or severely lessened. I will no longer be borderline diabetic. I will no longer be on blood pressure medication. I will not get out of breath going up and down the stairs in my house, and further more, I will not use my children as farriers to send things up and down the stairs.

I will shop wherever I like, I will not feel like my life is instantly over if a bear were to chase me. I will not see food as the reward for all things. Bread will not live in my veins.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head.

Therapy has helped me put into words and say out loud that i’ve used my size as a barrier. Choices other people made when I was young will no longer hinder me from reaching my own potential. I will not use their bad choices as a reason to keep people away from me anymore.

I will still be an introvert, it’s where i’m happy, but my body will not be the barrier. Perhaps I will use a book or a steaming mug of coffee instead of a layer of pudge.

I will show my children that food is just that. It’s not an answer. It’s not “fun”. It’s not anything but fuel and sustenance and once in a while a reason to get together to share our lives. It’s not the reason we get together, it’s the background to the story.

This is my hope. I have a great trainer. A “normal” trainer …. well, as far as trainers go. Anyone who lifts their body weight and can outrun a cheetah is mental, but she’s a likable kook. She’s been on the path and she’s succeeded, so she’s a superhero to me.

I have working limbs. I am able to walk out my front door and walk my safe neighborhood for 25 minutes per day. I am not in a wheelchair. I am not on crutches. I have feet, so while i’m in control of them, I need to use them. I will not think about the bears that are in the area, or the bobcat that was spotted walking in front of our house. The coyotes that roam the yards will not stop me. … perhaps I will start taking the dogs with me for bait, though. …

This thing that i’m trying to do will only get more difficult the older I get. Waiting is not going to make it happen. Time will pass – God willing – either way, and i’d much rather at least be working toward a goal by the time I hit 40 than starting from the beginning.

Here’s hoping it sticks this time! Happy Birthday to me, and moooooooo(ve) !

Pain & Gain

Published July 13, 2015 by sarcasmica

I started with a personal trainer. Here are some revelations that occurred afterwards:

Throwing up during a work out seems like it would be painfully embarrassing. Especially since i’m certain she’d make me still complete the circuit.

I was SOOOOO happy not to be driving a stick shift. (I took a spinning class a couple years ago, and was not so lucky)

I need a sweat absorbing car seat cover.

My hot tub understands me, and takes care of me

Having my shower, clean clothes, and bed on the second floor of my home is not such a great thing

Ouch

Up hurts just as much as down… and down has so much more potential for compounding the problem

I hope the “feeling great” thing kicks in soon

One more reason standing up to pee is an advantage

Ibuprofen cocktail, please

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