September 25, 2012

The New Girl Syndrome

I am now 3 months into my new job and still very much still the "New Girl".

I'm not sure when I will shed this title, but I long for the day it will go away. While I am no longer crying my eyes out when I get home, I am still in that phase where I feel uncomfortable and... stupid. I'm surrounded by people who have worked for the company for a decade or more so they are all very knowledgeable and know just about everybody.

Most days I am able to take being the new girl in stride. I use it as an excuse for some of my incompetence; however, I also use it as an opportunity to create how I want to be viewed as a professional within the organization. It's exhausting. I often wish I could fast forward to a year from now when I know I will feel much more confident, competent and happy.

I am in that place where I am wondering if this is the right position for my skills. I feel as though the position was created to dump the busy work that my colleague hated onto someone else. Trust me, I get it. I did the same thing at my last job when someone new was hired to help the team. I confess. I gave her all my garbage work. So as the new girl, I kind of have to accept my lot and pray that these duties get shipped off to another world. The rest is just waiting. I hear a lot of, "You are going to own this in the future," and, "You will be responsible for that eventually." WHEN, I ask. WHEN??!!

I also dislike working in Downtown Minneapolis. I have heard from many that you either love it or hate it and I am sad to say that after a few months (not to mention an upcoming winter looming ahead) that I am leaning closer and closer to the hate side. While I sometimes enjoy my 30 minutes of glazed eyed zoning that takes place on the bus every day, I also dislike many other humans. Particularly those with bad breath, bad odor and uncontrollable bodily functions. I even had a girl fall asleep ON me last week. If you know me well enough, you know I have issues with personal space. I like my bubble. I dislike sharing that bubble with strangers. I miss being able to run errands in the middle of the day. Yes, there is a Target here in downtown; however, I am limited in space. I am not going to be able to carry loads of Christmas gifts and toys onto the bus. I miss being able to go to Medifast for a weigh in over lunch. I miss the MALL. OH god how I miss going to the mall. I often feel trapped when I am down here as though I am stuck here until that 4pm bell rings and I can escape back to my real world. For about a week, I felt incredibly cool walking among the corporate elite but now? I'm just annoyed by it. I long for someone to meet for lunch. I long to find a way to make this feel right.

I know it is early in this job and I seem to be asking a lot. I know I sound whiny.

I am.

Change is freaking hard and this was a big one. I wish I was adjusting better. No, I'm not giving up. I am one of those people who when they make a commitment, they stick it out for better or for worse. I don't feel like this was the worst decision I have ever made. The work I am doing is adding a skill set to my resume that was lacking.

I just need to learn to be patient. I need to see this thing through and know that I am not going to feel like the new girl forever. A year from now I'll look back and chuckle at it and WISH that I was the new girl again knowing that I will be bogged down in a pile of work.

September 24, 2012

The Great Bedtime Battle

Since becoming a mom, I have learned a level of patience that I had no idea existed within myself. I'm not certain my husband has quite grasped on to the concept yet, so for now, it will have to be my "thing".

Some of my virtual mama friends out there have entered into the potty training phase and have expressed their frustrations. OH the frustrations. I often imagined that my son would still be in Pull Ups going into Kindergarten as I really saw no light at the end of that tunnel for a good long time. My strong-willed child put up a good fight. Just like everyone said it would happen, suddenly he would be potty trained and we woulnd not even realize when it happened. I look back and cannot pinpoint an exact day  or even month when it happened. I have not forgotten how frustrating it was. The accidents, the excuses. We tried everything from rewards charts to candy to toy bribery. We are still working on overnight accidents and he hasn't gotten the whole wiping thing down yet, but we aren't stressing over it either.

Just like everything with our son, he chose to do it in his own time. In his own way.

Like many parents, bedtime is definitely a battle. Our child has no off switch,  so getting him to shut off for the night is one of the most insanely frustrating experiences. It's THE main reason my husband and I take turns putting him to bed. If it were an easy process, I wouldn't need every other night off from this duty. Just like potty training, he is taking his own sweet time when it comes to going to bed on his own. We have established such a flawless routine that attempting to break it in any way is proving disastrous.

Out of the blue, he decided he was big enough to go brush his teeth, go potty and get his jammies on by himself. If we DARE try to interject, he gets ANGRY and tells us to leave. He wants to do it by himself! Also out of the blue for the first time, he got out of bed on Saturday morning, came into our bedroom and declared, "Mommy and Daddy, it's wake up time!" He proceeded to explain that the bunny is awake so we all need to be awake now too. Now, the bunny clock has to be just about the best invention ever:


We were having issues with Jack waking up in the middle of the night thinking it was time to wake up for the day. He didn't seem to understand that it was 2:30am. It was a battle. So, we bought him this sleep/wake training alarm clock from One Step Ahead so he would know when the bunny is sleeping, he should be sleeping too. Holy crap. It actually worked. Yes, he still wakes up with bad dreams and needs a hug or needs help getting to the potty, but he knows to go back to bed because the bunny is still sleeping. We noticed on our video monitor (yes... he is 4 and we still use it... don't judge me), that he will wake up before the bunny is up but sit in his bed and play with dream lite or his stuffed toys until the bunny is awake. This this is like magic and we love it.

However, this magical clock did not cure his bedtime battle struggles. He WILL NOT let us leave the room and we must painfully wait until he is fast asleep before we can slip out. We thought maybe with all of his newly discovered independence that he would suddenly decide he can go to bed by himself too. So, we asked him if he was willing to try and if he would do it, we would reward him with a shiny, new light saber. Both nights we attempted this, we failed. He is dependent on our nearness and obviously thinks we are abandoning him if we don't lay by his side. Cradling him in my lap while he shook in fear with giant alligator tears rolling down his eyes, I reassured him over and over that I wouldn't leave him. My patience nearing its breaking point as I longed for my "me" time, my stomach grumbling for my next scheduled Medifast snack, I took a deep breath and snuggled in next to my sad, little boy. He fell asleep quickly, holding my finger in a death clutch that said, "Please don't leave alone, Mommy." As I freed my hand and tiptoed out of his room, I blew him a kiss and promised myself that we would no longer try and push this issue with him.

As with everything we've "struggled" with along the way, he will learn to go to bed by himself in his own time. It may be a month, heck, it could be a couple more years. I do know for sure, it will be in his time. When he is ready. Truthfully? Despite the sometimes frustrating push back he gives us (i.e. I need to go potty again, I'm thirsty, my tummy hurts... etc etc etc), I have learned to love this quiet time. Most of the time we snuggle and read books on my Nook and then just talk. I've learned more about his day in the 10 minutes before he falls asleep than dinner and playtime combined.

I selfishly treasure my time with him, so why be in such a hurry to get him to grow up!?

I was not compensated in any way for promoting the sleep training clock. It is just that kick ass that I had to share it with all of you. 


September 21, 2012

Fabulous Fit Friday: A Fresh Start

Since I hit my goal back in June, I have gained about 10 pounds. Fuuuuuuu...

Here's the thing... I don't know why! I followed the stabilization plan. Even when I did stray (ahem... Disney World), my food was accounted for. I have stayed around 1300 - 1600 calories per day and continued to exercise moderately. By all measures of science and biology or whatever, I should actually be losing weight.

I have been beyond frustrated.

A few weeks again, I met with a wonderful counselor at Medifast who felt my pain. I saw her the day after I came back from my vacation and she chuckled a bit that I was so flabbergasted by my weight gain. Bloated and vacationized, she told me to give it another week before I hop back on Jump Start. One week later, no change. I saw a different counselor who seemed to be unsympathetic and actually made me feel pretty shitty about my situation. She basically said no way to going back on Jump Start (WTF people.... don't you want my money??) because it would mean starting over with stabilization. Why this bothered her, I don't know. If it should be bothering anyone, it should be ME, right? Who the hell wants to start over?? I was so frustrated and put off by this session that I got into my car and had myself a good cry. I paid these people to help me come up with solutions! All I got is negative back talk. No support. No options to try.

Fast forward one week later. Sitting in the Medifast lobby, I was PRAYING I wouldn't get this same girl again. I was not in the mood to have to defend myself (despite working my ass off all week... I somehow still felt like I would have to justify everything in my journal). Thankfully, I got a different gal (and for the life of me, I don't know any of their names except for the one I don't get along with). She sat and LISTENED. I told her how frustrated I was and how I didn't understand the weight gain. I all but begged her to let me go back on Jump Start to lose these stupid 10 pounds that wiggled back in. Thankfully, she agreed.

Why was this a big deal to me? Losing 10 pounds in my world is all but impossible. Eating regular food, I tried to implement some of my old Weight Watchers tactics, but with no luck. My weight had stabilized. I guess that is kind of the point, huh? Thing is... my clothes... my beautiful new clothes... were starting to get tight. Isn't it weird that when my weight was at this weight on the way down, I felt awesome, but now that it jumped up to it I feel frumpy and gross?

Regardless, I am hoping to lose about 12-15 pounds over the next 4 weeks. I will then start the stabilization process over in which I will gain a little back (about 3-5 pounds is average) and that is where I should stabilize. We have discovered that I am likely lactose intolerant (a possibility for the bump in weight) and my re-start of birth control pills to control my endo is another reason. The stress of starting a new job (not to mention being surrounded by fabulous food) is yet another. Vacation. I could go on. Regardless of the reasons excuses, I am going to take care of it.

Look. I know it isn't always about the number on the scale. A colleague told me she didn't understand why I was fretting over 10 pounds and that I looked fantastic. Another colleague guessed me age- he thought I was under 30. Holy hell. He made my whole day! You would think the stupid 10 pounds wouldn't be a big deal, but it is. Yes, my beautiful new clothes are getting tight; but, more importantly, there are bigger issues with food that I am struggling with. Being back on Jump Start exposes those issues and puts me in a place where I have to deal with them head on. I needed this.

This is my fresh start for autumn. I needed exercise motivation so I signed up for the Monster Dash 5K with a good friend of mine and am officially in training again. I am super stoked to have discovered a BEAUTIFUL park, just a quick 5 minute drive from my house: Cleary Lake Regional Park. It's about 3.2 miles round trip around the trail so it is a perfect training location.

Be happy. Be healthy. Get out and enjoy the amazing fall weekend to come!

September 10, 2012

Medifast: A (Long) Testimonial

Before Pictures (notice most of these are from the waist up??):
That's me on the right. Taken in summer 2010.
The photo that inspired my healthy journey. November 2010. 
From January 2009


AFTER PICTURES!!



I am still hoping to do more "official" after pictures but I couldn't do a testimonial without some photo proof!

When I started my Medifast journey in January, I was skeptical. Let's face it, I had been working another program on and off for 6+ years seeing varied levels of success and was basically ready to accept that a 188 pound Joanne is who I was supposed to be. Medifast promised results. I was skeptical.

MY STORY
I have always had issues with my weight dating all the way back to 10 years old when I "developed" faster than the other girls. The truth is that 10 year old boys don't find curves sexy and the other girls don't envy you for them. They call you fat. Enduring nicknames from the boys such as "thunder thighs", I developed a thick skin. Involved in sports, I was able to keep my weight somewhat in check throughout middle school and high school; however, the college freshman 15 hit me hard. Fairly mortified, when I moved back home halfway through my freshman year, I took my health seriously. I took a tennis class and started working out regularly at the community center. When it got warm out, I started inline skating with a girlfriend nearly every day. I was a lean 135 pounds heading into my sophomore and junior years of college. I was grateful to have landed a job working at the front desk at Life Time Fitness my last couple years in college and to me, being fit was an important part of the health club image that I wanted to live up to.

I then entered the workforce and my first career job as an IT Recruiter required a LOT of lunches with clients and consultants on a nearly daily basis. Not taking into account the effect it would have on my body, I steadily gained weight throughout the year I was at that horrifically stressful job and found myself up from 135 in college to 179. Yikes. I even had a boyfriend dump me because of my weight gain. Back to fighting the weight battle. I was able to get down to about 165 and hung out at that weight for a good couple years and that was the weight I was at when I met my now husband. Low and behold... I gained what I like to refer to as "relationship weight." You know, the weight you gain when you start dating someone because 1) You eat out all the time and 2) You don't care as much anymore because you landed "the guy". When we got engaged, my weight had soared to 185 lbs. I joined Weight Watchers but was afraid to lose weight in fear of not fitting into my dress and having to make costly alterations because of weight loss. So, I focused on toning up, doing pilates and making healthy choices and holding my weight steady.

Married and blissful, we wasted no time in starting a family. I got pregnant 5 months into trying and sadly miscarried. Devastated, I began a steady weight climb thanks to emotional eating mingled with fertility treatments. By 2007, I was at 211 pounds and SHOCKED at my weight and mortified at the pictures of me at my sister's wedding. I rejoined Weight Watchers online and was able to lose around 15 pounds before I got the joyous news (after 2.5 years of zero luck): I was pregnant! Too sick to eat most of the time, I didn't start gaining weight until well into my 20+ weeks of pregnancy where I put on a startling 30 pounds in the final half of my pregnancy. The day after I gave birth to Jackson, my weight was 240 pounds. Now, I know... you can't really count the day after giving birth as I was pumped with IV fluids and medications. I was down 20 of those pounds within no more than 3 weeks. It was a slow go of weight loss after that. Exhausted and suffering from postpartum depression, I honestly didn't care about my weight. I didn't care what anyone thought. I kind of just wanted to sleep. All the time.

My brother got married in November 2010 and I had lost very little weight for his wedding. When I saw the pictures, I about died. Was that me? Those pictures are going to be on Facebook forever. Ugh. My weight still high at 211 pounds was a wakeup call. I rejoined Weight Watchers (do you see a pattern here??) but this time I got a Monthly Pass and started to attend meetings. You can read more about my initial inspiration here. It took 6 months, but I was able to lose 20 pounds on Weight Watchers. But 6 months after that... I had still only lost 20 pounds and to say I was frustrated is an understatement. I'm sure there were many reasons for my stall: lack of portion control, too many carbs, hormone therapy but most of them really just felt like excuses. I had been following a gal named Erica on Twitter and she had been losing a massive amount of weight on the Medifast plan. I was more than a little jealous of her success at first and of course, Weight Watchers blasts all of "those" programs. But, Weight Watchers was no longer working. Let's face it, a 6 month plateau isn't really a plateau is it?

Medifast promised results. I was skeptical, but willing to give it a solid try. Starting my Medifast journey at 188.3 pounds, I put down the money and made the commitment. The first week, I lost 7 pounds. 7 POUNDS! I knew that wouldn't happen every week, but I also knew after just one week that this was a plan that was going to work. My losses slowed down to an average of 2 pounds a week (totally healthy weight loss by any program standards). Although I didn't make my goal weight loss of 38 pounds by my  original goal date of April 11, I wasn't far and for the first time EVER on a weight loss plan, I knew that I would make it. The last 10 pounds were a bear, they didn't want to let go but I persisted and WON.

Throughout the program, as I kept getting smaller, it was kind of surreal. These little milestones like losing 15, 20 and 25 pounds went by so quickly that I didn't even have a moment to celebrate them. My celebrations have been kind of ongoing: replacing my entire wardrobe, running 3 miles a pop without falling in a heap of sheer exhaustion, WANTING to have my picture taken and enjoying eating healthy (as in, grilled zucchini is the BEST THING EVER). Probably the craziest part of all of this? My husband has never seen me this small. I can tell he's checking me out and I know he's proud. My Medifast journey has inspired him as well. Even though he is not doing Medifast, he has committed to taking his own healthy journey and his habits will help carry me through my transition and maintenance. I am kind of hoping he'll ask me to marry him again so we can renew our vows as the new and improved US. 

I will shout it from the rooftops: I LOVE MEDIFAST. I would love to tell you that it has been easy, but that is not true. I have been tempted. I have even fallen off the wagon. The support I get from my Medifast counselors on a weekly basis has been the key to getting me to my goal weight. Yes, they scolded me for my discretions but we moved on and worked on finding ways to helping me through those challenging moments rather than dwell on mistakes that were made. They never stopped believing it was possible for me.

I have received a lot of flak for joining this program.
* It's not a "real" weight loss program and is unhealthy
* I'm just going to gain the weight back when I start eating real food again
* I did something similar once and gained the weight back. You will too.

It shocks me how unsupportive people can be but it is also eye opening- some of these comments came from people I know very well. They are basically saying that I will fall back into my usual patterns and gain weight again. They were simply calling my bluff.

I am counting on Medifast to be there for me through my transition and maintenance. Despite my desire to jump head first off the wagon into a juicy pile of hamburgers and french fries, I know that is no longer my reality. Part of my resolution, starting back in 2011, was to lose the weight and keep it off for good this time. Medifast is giving me the tools I need to succeed; however, it is up to me to make sure I use them.

I want to prove everyone wrong.

I am either donating or selling all of my "big" clothing so there won't be anything to wear if I gain weight. My husband is embarking on this journey with me and I am counting on him to help me stay accountable. I will need to journal. I will need to continue eating healthy. Medifast was my catalyst to get me to the weight I need to be at and it is up to me to keep it there. I'm not a fool- I know it will take hard work and determination but I am ready for the challenge. I have no excuses to not lead a healthy lifestyle- I want to be around for my son for a long time to come and I will do anything to make that happen. Frankly, I don't want to ever see 240 pounds again.

It's not all about the weight. In November 2011, I went in for a general physical with my GP (my weight was around 190 at this time). Here were my numbers back then:
Cholesterol: 202
HDL: 36
LDL: 140
Triglycerides: 132

Here they are NOW:
Cholesterol 165
HDL: 46 (this is the good cholesterol- you want this number to be higher)
LDL: 99
Triglycerides: 97

To say I am thrilled with these numbers is an understatement. It is a total testimonial to the importance of weight loss and a healthy diet.

Need proof? It's in my numbers.

Could I have really lost 90 pounds over the last 3.5 years? Yes, I did. While I did a great deal of it on my own and with the help of Weight Watchers to get me started, Medifast helped me get rid of the last 40 that I wasn't sure would ever go away. I am so thankful that I found them and didn't give up. I am thankful they weren't the gimmick that everyone thought them to be.

I am no longer staring at a light at the end of the tunnel. I am outside in the light and it is bliss.

 
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