Monday, December 27, 2010


Monday after Christmas. And I thought the Monday after Thanksgiving was bad. I definately let myself go this weekend. I can forgive myself the yummy savory meals. I can allow for celebratory spirits. But, the overdose on Christmas cookies was a real problem. I have reaffirmed my previous blog comment. It is easier to eat no sugar at all than to eat a "moderate" (does such a thing exist?) amount. I really struggled to stop eating sugar and chocolate after I had indulged. Sugar cookies with icing were a real downfall. Peanutbutter cookies. Buckeyes. Apple Pie. Ferrero Rocher. Ghiardelli. They are my frenemies.

Enough. To the weigh in:

Weight loss this week: + 2 lbs
Total loss to date: 55lbs

(CORRECTION - I just scrolled down my blog. It appears I actually gained 2 lbs this week. ARGH. Even worse!)

Even sadder is that earlier this week I was down 3 lbs. So, I definately ate myself back into several pounds over the weekend. I would feel worse, however, if I hadn't excercised. I got back on the Wii yesterday and chastised myself with a Biggest Loser routine.

Ok, enough self loathing. Must think about the big picture.

My wonderful husband spoiled me with a lovely right hand right as part Christmas and part "you-lost-50-pounds" present. It is lovely. I will say that I had a little part in picking it out, but who cares? It is mine now! I intend to wear the ring every day as a reminder of what I am capable of, and what I am worth. That my goals are real, attainable, and only I can achieve them. That a little bit of icing isn't worth bling.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010



Heading into Christmas and needing some weight loss "pep" as I face the yumminess that is cookies, pie, egg nog and all things Xanthe refers to as "treats". My After collage is missing that full body AFTER shot. I had hoped to get a good shot this past weekend and was sad that the camera didn't seem to reflect the new me the way I hoped that the new me looked.

As for this week, any weight loss is good work. I've got the same goal for this week that I had for Thanksgiving. Keep at it and if I don't gain weight I've done well. At least I appear to be over the stomach bug I had earlier this week. That was no fun!

Merry Christmas to all my friends. I miss you dearly and wish I was better at keeping in touch. Would help also if we could just stop the clock and have a coffee, eh?

Much love,

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Monday, December 20, 2010


I am not in much of a celebratory mood, despite the impending holiday and continued success on the scale:

Weight loss this week: 3.5 lbs
Total weight loss to date: 57 lbs

Yesterday morning my stomach seized up. I spent the day fluctuating between nausea and cramps. Chills rolled like waves over my body. Each movement warranted considerable deliberation. I was down. I was out.

The last time I felt like this - I was in labor with Xanthe. Now granted these are not usual labor symptoms, but my experience was a bit different. I got sick in labor, fever, stress, nausea... well, and of course, cramps aka contractions. Yesterday ranked up there with labor and gall bladder attacks on the pain/misery scale.

I am still not 100%. I sort of feel like my stomach got punched, repeatedly... and now I am just sore, burning, achy and have no energy whatsoever. Any weight loss right now is because I don't have the moxy to lift a spoon, not cause I am endeavoring on some great aerobic adventure.

Ugh... time to return to the fetal position....

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010



Some very smart friends told me that I will regret not taking BEFORE pictures. They were right. So, as I sit here and watch the finale of the Biggest Loser, I have scanned my Picasa albums for the worst of the worst. These pictures are not only horrid in showing all the nasty nasty weight, but they are just horrid photos all together. Nothing pretty in these. But, I figure, that is what THEY do.... the THEY of makeover fame.

I will get all glam for some AFTER pictures... just haven't done it yet. I think I might even have to don my boots. Maybe I will start my AFTER collage now, and just keep adding to it as the new fabulous pictures keep on coming in..
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Monday, December 13, 2010

"You've been missing a lot of work recently..."

"... can't say I've been missing it...."

What keeps you going? Meal after meal? Day after day? Week after week? Month after month?

Weight loss this week: 3.5lbs
Total loss to date: 53.5lbs

Motivation has crossed my mind a lot this week. Beyond the obvious reasons, what is keeping me at this? Part of it is habit now. Part of it is that I am enjoying the success. Another part is wondering what else I could have accomplished in my life if only I had taken the time to try. I've been pretty accepting of mediocrity. I've also been very forgiving, to myself, for my short comings. Should I have expected more?

Along with the satisfaction does come happiness. But thankfully, my happiness isn't new. I've been blessed with many joys over the years and they haven't been lost on me, whatever my size. A very good motivation is the desire to be around to see what other joys might befall me in the future.

Oh, and watch this right hand... I've got my eye on a sparkler!
(Now, that IS motivation....)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Dove Diversions

I don't have much to report after last weeks hip-hip-horray-me, I've lost 50 lbs.

My official is:

Weight loss this week: 3 lbs
Weight loss to date: 50 lbs

Things that have crossed my mind recently....

It is awfully self absorbed to be contantly posting on here about my weight loss journey. I am amazed and sort of shocked at the bountiful support I have received. I don't expect anyone to read this as it is all for my own accountability, but wow, am I lucky to have such wonderful support. And if you don't read, and don't care, no skin off my back. I just got to keep at this. If I miss a post, something is up.


I wonder why I vascilate so wildly between knowing what I want in life and having no idea. Is this adulthood? As a young adult, it is perfectly acceptable to being living but not really sure what you are doing. What about now? Mid-30's and I haven't a clue. Some days I like my job. Some days I don't. I dream about doing something else - but ask me what? I have no idea. Maybe I should have finished law school. Maybe I should have gone on for a masters in education. Maybe I should work at the Lancome counter. And I have to wonder, will I ever figure it out? What will light my fire?


Some fantastic toddlerisms as of late...

"Wokels" (Waffles)

Mommy says to X: "If you are lucky you might get to watch Super Why on the IPAD."
"I lucky."

and so she was...

"What dis?"
Daddy answers - "prunes"
"Oh, frunes... I like dis. Not Applecot?"
"No, not apricots."


Oh, and I bought the boots. I also bought new jeans (size 16 OMG!). I have waterproofed the boots, which means, I suppose, that I am keeping them. I am just sort of still on the fence. My trouble is that we don't own a full length mirror (hello - does that just illustrate the state of my weight denial or what?). Thus, I really don't know if I like the whole ensam(ble) yet. I am threatening to have Erik take some pics of me. I fear I will look like a some sort of Fair food-on-a-stick, like a Dove ice cream bar or something (still got food on the brain).

.... and the brain continues off in other divergent ways...

Thank you to my husband for a lovely fodue dippin date on Friday night....

Thursday, December 2, 2010

I've surprised even myself.

Three months ago I wrote on this blog:

Short Term: create new habits, treat my body well, remember what a gift my body is for giving me life, love, and two beautiful babies, incorporate excercise into my life, realistic target size: 18/20

Today, I am declaring short term goal accomplished. In exactly 3 months and 1 day I have reached:

Total Weight Lost: 50 lbs

I am doing all the things that I wrote above. I have created new habits - excercise and diet. I am treating my body better and feeling amazed that not only did this body give birth to two amazing little humans, but also that it has been so forgiving to all the damage I have inflicted upon it. Despite my weight gain, I never suffered some of the issues a lot of heavier folks are prone to. That might have been one of the reasons that I was in such denial about how big I had actually become. Not so much now. I love that I have energy. Energy to jump up and run up the stairs... dance with my children to christmas carols.. walk my parents dog on extra long walks... spend all day shopping...

Speaking of shopping, although I haven't really figured out what size I am - each time I buy new clothes they fit in the store, and then after I wear them at home they are falling off my body... but I am definately down to a size 18, if not smaller. Right now I am sort of in another clothing rut - my last splurge jeans (as posted here) look like clown pants, and I am back in the market for ANOTHER pair of jeans - size unknown. This sounds more encouraging that it actually is. It is mostly due to how and where I've lost weight. It appears that the weight has largely come of my rear end, rather than my tummy... which isn't surprising as the tummy muscles have had the largest trauma of back to back pregnancies. The result is that the pants have to be purchased to accomodate my tummy, but are falling off my backside. I have the constant baggy butt. It is not attractive. Thus, I've really started to focus my excercise energies on my tummy region.

I will also declare my next goal today. I've spoken it around, particularly to my hubby... but let's put it in writing:

Next goal: Another 25lbs down for total 75lb weight loss.

That sounds totally unattainable, but heck, I've lost 50lbs in 3 months, so who knows what I am really capable of.... I suprised even myself.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Most Dreaded Weigh In

This morning I catalogued the things that I am proud of in the past week. I am proud of excercising 6 times in the past week. Adding lunges, plank and jackknife excercises have changed up my routine and I am excited about getting my core muscles into better shape. I am proud that I basically followed my previous eating patterns, with a few noteable exceptions.

Weight loss this week: None
Total Weight loss to date: 47lbs

The things I am not so proud of:

Despite being down 1.5lbs earlier this week, I appear to have gained it back over the weekend. I attribute this my consumption of scrumptuous apple pie that lived in my house over the weekend and which I could NOT decline. The pie and the extra helpings of a couple of key side dishes (sweet potatoes, my absolute favorite food), I over indulged. Being in my highly self actualized state, I realized that if I indulged a bit, I set off the sugar monster... and the harder it was to stop. I couldn't eat just a bite of pie, it would have been easier for me to not eat any at all. It was a good learning experience.

I am relieved that the pie is gone. Time to start a new week.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Note of Thanks

It is the most wonderful time of the year. In my quiet moments I reflect on the joys of my life. I say a little private thank you to God for all the blessings in my life.

I marvel in the spirit of my princess Xanthe and my Porter pumkin. I look at their little blue eyes and realize how awesome life is. They constantly remind me of the thrill of life - their enthusiasm for even the most basic things. Thankful for kissable cheeks, blown kisses and the laughter of sisters holding hands.

I am thankful for a husband who loves me for better or for worse. Who encourages me in all my silly endeavors. Who pampers me with the love, kindness and understanding day in and day out. He lifts me up when I am down. Makes me beautiful when he smiles at me. Brings laughter and joy to my life daily.

To my parents for showing me what a loving marriage and family life is all about - thank you. It is easy to learn what love is when you see in your family. Thank you for your years of love, support and encouragement.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Weight Loss this week: 3 lbs
Total Loss to Date: 47 lbs

Here comes the week I've been dreading. I have been waffling (mmmm waffles) about what we should do for Thanksgiving dinner, if anything. You see, normally, the meal would be hosted at my Mom's and we would prepare a portion of the dishes, and she would do the rest. This year, my retired and predictably golf-addicted parents have become sunbirds and flew the coop. They are on, what I like to refer to as, "Southwest Golfing Tour 2010" and consequently spending turkey day with my sister in Phoenix. That leaves a great big gaping hole in our plans.

To cook or not to cook? That is the question. I made the executive decision to eat out on Thursday. It is entirely non-traditional but it seems like an easy answer to a perplexing problem - that is - how to cook a huge meals with two toddlers under foot? Not to mention clean up? The overwhelming argument was made by the pricing - kids under 5 eat free. That means for the grand price of about $35 Erik & I can go, eat turkey and the fixing, bring the leftovers home, and not pay for the kids. We routinely spend that much for sandwiches at Panera Bread. That means that either this meal is going to be legendarily bad, or Panera Bread is seriously overpriced... I am rooting for the later. Come on Essen Haus!

So I head off to the grocery store yesterday, to stock up on items for the week/ weekend. My plan is that even though we are out for Thursday dinner, that we would still partake in some holiday food. Erik will make Gingerbread waffles. I might do a turkey breast at some point. I am laughing now, cause after the shopping I did, we will definately be eating. Apparently my dieting self does not translate into a healthier grocery bill. I bought all sorts of garbage that I can't eat. I bought stuff to make pies, and breads, cookies, bacon, sausage, potatoes, sweet potatoes, roasts, hams, turkeys, and on and on. Erik rightly asked" "Who is going to eat all this stuff?" I thought. I'd like to.

If I maintain my current weight this week, I will be happy. If I lose any, I will be thrilled. If I gain, I will chastise myself and work harder next week. Watch this space.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What Kind of Girl Am I?

In a fit of existential consumerism, I spent, oh, like 6 hours of my day off yesterday trolling the big box stores. First off, it was preview day at Macy's. I am not normally one to watch for mailed flyers for big sales, but seeing as I am housesitting/dogsitting the Eddy household, I couldn't help but notice my Mom's Macy flier - ONE DAY SALE. ALL DAY SHOPPING PASS.

Sign me up. I am that kind of girl.

Off I went, in my tight new jeans (down another size, check!), all day shopping pass, and mental list of items of possible purchase:

1. Mens Shoes (Erik has apparently worn thru his soles.... again)
2. Mens coats (my man wants a pea coat)
3. Misses (ALL OF IT. LOL)
4. Childrens
5. The Lancome Counter (cause, well, I am an addict)
6. Jewelry, shoes, accessories.

Conclusion: The whole store.

I hit the mens section first. Picked up new work shoes for Erik (included soles), and used my shopping pass. Chi-ching! Additional $10 off. Me Likey. The sales men helped me look for any pants in Erik size. Nope. Pea coat? Nope. Undershirts in tall sizes? Nope. Ok, what is it with mens sizes? Apparently you can be tall and skinny, and tall and fat (aka BIG & Tall), but there is a serious gap in options between 38/34 and 44/34. Poor Erik.

On to misses. I approached the misses department like it was my excercise for the day. I tried on more tops, sweaters, jeans, dresses, jackets, you name it, I had it on. And it was fun. Yep. You read that - FUN. And I bought nothing. Yep, nothing. There were lots of things that I liked, but, at this point of the morning, I was starting to feel frugal. I am sure you've had that happen. You go to spend spend spend, and then there is this little voice that says - "really? you really need that? you are going to spend that much money on that?"

I didn't care though, I was having fun.

Detour to the Lancome counter. Now, this counter is not my favorite. My favorire Lancome lady is Mary, and she works at the Boston Store - but nonetheless, I saw in the flier that if you bought a full price product you could get some amazing $300 value of products for $50. Gotta check that out. But my frugal self was thinking, I don't really have any product needs right now. And the Lancome girl (again, not my favorite) was trying to talk me into the $50 gift set that included the party colors and not the muted colors, when clearly, I am a muted color kind of person.... and that turned me off. I didn't want to pay $50 for purple eye shadow. Walk away. Just walk away. What kind of girl am I? The kind of girl that buys cosmetics depending on whether I like the counter person... yep. That is me.

Walk to the shoe department. Am I the kind of girl who wears knee high boots? The pre-weight loss Mara would be decidedly anti-knee-high boots. As Stacy London would tell you, they visually break up the line of the body, and given the need to wear tight jeans, they would accentuate the weight in the mid-section.

But what kind of girl am I now? With my smaller mid-section and my thin calves - I have always had thin calves.

I hook up with my nice shoe guy "Bo", and start in. My only criteria was brown. I want brown boots. But I am not even sure if I would want snow boots (practical, I do live in Wisconsin), sexy boots (cause sometimes you feel sexy), or some sort of every day run around town boot (and what would that look like?). I tried on rubber rain boots, faux sherling boots, flat knee high hobo looking boots, slough boots, buckled boots, field boots, you name it, I had it on. Except cowboy boots. You've got to draw the line somewhere.

And I couldn't decide what kind of girl I am.

Detour to Target. And Kohls. DSW. Marshalls. Famous Footwear. And then online at home - Zappos. In fact, I am still thinking about boots.

I am not convinced I am the kind of girl who wears knee high boots. Or Jeggings for that matter (which is a whole separate blog post all together).

I am, however, the kind of girl who believes that you can redefine yourself. You can transform your life. And you can do this without buying a thing.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How did I do that?

Coooooooooooooold Monday morning. No more denial that winter is here. Maybe it is the fact that I've been either pregnant or nursing for the past 4 winters (making me insulated, glowing and warmer) but this year it seems really cold to me. Like add another comforter to the bed and brrr... how about a comforter while I watch TV?

The news:

Weight loss this week: 4 lbs (not sure HOW I did that - I swear I've been eating)
Total loss to date: 44 lbs

A couple of minor accomplishments. This won't sound like much, but they are emotional victories. There is a local brewery not far from our house here in Madison. We like to go there. When it opened about 9 months ago, I wasn't sure I was going to like eating there, cause the tables seems short, and the chairs tall, and well frankly, I didn't fit under the table well. It was uncomfortable - and this was the table, not even the booth!

We headed over there on Saturday night to have dinner with the girls, and I was leaning back rubbing Porter's back, and realized - not only am I sitting comfortably at this table, but I am sitting comfortably with my legs crossed. I couldn't cross my legs like, what 20 lbs ago. It isn't much, but man, does it feel good.

And in other news, my black LL Bean field coat that I haven't worn in 4 winters, but couldn't bear to donate, fits again. It is big and comfy, just like it was when I bought it, at the LL Bean outlet in Concord NH, oh, like 6 years ago.

Bring on the turkey - I am soooooooooo ready for you!

Monday, November 8, 2010


It is Monday - and although I contemplated moving my weigh in date until Thursday given my off cycle post last week, I am sticking to my poor choice of days (at least, for the time being).

Loss this week: 2 lbs
Total loss to date: 40 lbs

Had my weigh in day been any day but today, this would have been a better week. But, Sunday is my bad day (game day chili is my downfall), and thus, Monday morning is always a bit depressing.

Wisconsin is flirting with winter and I am so thankful that Mom & Dad have let me confiscate their Wii Fit. At this point, I am not sure if I would have gotten so far without it. What can I say? Flying like a bird and waddling like a penguin suits me. Although my "Mii" is way cuter than this pic, swap out the mustache for some pig tails, and that is basically me.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

40 in 60

I started this journey on August 31, 2010.
Today it is November 4, 2010.

What is that? 63 days? This morning the scale rewarded me with the lowest number I have seen thus far. The lowest number I have seen since my pre-Xanthe weight loss push.

40 pounds lost.

That is a big number. It is a number that exceeds my own age. It is 10 lbs, 4 times. It is 20 lbs twice. When I wrote my full disclosure post 63 days ago, it was a number I couldn't fathom. I had goals then, but frankly, I had never actually met any goals I had set for myself. So, this is new. And it feels good.

I started to wonder recently how far I could go with this. Could I be the next Jennifer Hudson? Kelly Osborne? Could I keep continue losing 10 lbs at a clip, maybe 3 more times? Maybe 6?

I am not entirely sure where this journey ends or even if it does. I have met many of my short terms goals already. Feel better, have more energy, run around, play with my kids (or dance with my kids which is more likely). I was at the doctor for an infection a couple of weeks back and my blood pressure is back to normal for me - 110/70. I haven't seen it back in that normal range since delivering Porter with preeclampsia.

Although my weight loss euphoria has waned in the past two weeks, I have realized this. When you start something new, when you have a new idea. The initial excitement and enthusiasm is great. It is easy to embrace the possibilities. What is harder is to forge on with your goal once that euphoria has fallen away. To continue, day in and day out, to focus the energy and willpower, to reach the goal.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The shakes

Time to get down to business:

Loss this week: 3lbs
Total loss to date: 38lbs

My real hope was to hit that 40lbs mark. Earlier this week, the weight seem to be sliding off, a pound a day! This seems to happen to me about every 3rd week. My body revs up and with relative ease, I will drop those pesky LBs.

But, in case you haven't heard, we celebrated the sugar induced holiday, Halloween this week. And I specifically say week, because it appears that Halloween has become a multiple function event. There are fall festivals, zoo boo, mall trick or treating, trunk or treat, and then, the good old fashioned house to house bit that I remember from my own childhood.

This is not to say that we are big fans of Halloween at the Lewis house. We are not. But, I cannot see cutting out the ritual entirely, and thus, we did take Xanthe house to house last night. She LOVED it. I cannot overstate this. She mastered the knocking-look-cute-trick-or-treat-thank-you-happy-halloween scene with ease. The maniacal grin when her basket had two treats was priceless. "I have treats Mommy!" Makes the heart melt... (in you mouth not in your hand)

Clearly, Halloween, and holidays for that matter, are not designed for the dieter. I cannot tell you the self restraint I had to employ to walk past the basket of Snickers, Mounds, Reeses, 3 Musketeers and Whoopers that inhabited our house for the past 10 days. It was my fault, I bought it. Add to that, that I am home, alone, staring that that basket all week.... it was enough to give the girl the shakes.

I even baked cookies.

I ate 5.

2 Pillsbury bake at home pumpkin sugar cookies on Saturday. 3 in a sugar craze rage yesterday afternoon. But I did not, I repeat - DID NOT - open any piece of sugary goodness contained in a shiny foil wrapper. (Argh. Shaking!)

Next up. Turkey Day. A whole different type of temptation.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

You know I can't keep my mouth shut.

If you are going to come out, you might as well own it. It is no secret that I am a vocal conservative. There are, I am guessing, a lot of people that have blocked my facebook posts because of my politics. I know. Maybe I share too much. Maybe I offend my liberal friends by my very existence. I hope not. I hope they know me well enough to know that I am not a “bitter clinger”. I am not “without science or reason”. I am, just, well, unapologetic. And you need to hear why.

Here are the things I cannot get with.

I cannot get with legislating moral values. Debates on Roe v. Wade and other culture war issues do not get me excited. That isn’t my bread and butter. You aren’t going to hear me preaching on those issues.

I cannot get with legislating common sense. If you do something stupid, and you hurt yourself or someone else, you should pay the price. We’ve got a legal system to deal with it. If you want to ride a motorcycle without a helmet, and then you end up squished on the highway. You assumed the risk. You knew the danger. There it is. Call me callous, but unless you are a danger to the public, I don’t care what you do to yourself. Eat McDonald’s every day for 75 years. You pay the price.

But, what I can get excited about – what I routinely get excited about – is being told, by some almightly smarty pants government that they know what is better for me than I know for myself. That if I fork over 25% or 35% of my salary, that the government is better equipped to give it out to people who need it. That the government is more efficient at doling out health care than the private sector. That the government is going to secure my well being. That the government is more reliable than, well, frankly, I am.

My very sweet (and for what it adds to the story, immigrant and Russian) hairdresser asked me– “So, are you going to vote in the election?” the last time I was in her chair.

I sort of stopped mid-conversation. Politics is a whole different conversations than weight loss, fashion trends or the weather. I looked at her seriously.

“Are you sure you want to talk politics? I have pretty strong views.”

She laughed. Sure, she said. She doesn’t have any strong philosophy and went on to explain that there was a Russ Feingold campaign worker in her chair last week telling her to vote for Russ.

I explained that I don’t necessarily vote for a person. I vote for a philosophy. I believe in freedom and liberty. In small government. In state’s rights. I believe that as an individual with half a brain, I have the ability and should be the master of my own destiny. If that means buying a house and then ending up paying a mortgage that is $70,000 upside down, so be it (and so it is). I have a responsibility. I assumed the risk. I bought the house and signed the loan. I will pay the price. Ultimately, I am accountable. I don’t want a bail out. I don’t want a stimulus or a cash for my clunker. I will just try to learn my lesson.

I told her that I hear that Russ Feingold is a nice guy. A “maverick” even. In fact, he’s so liberal that he often times doesn’t vote with his fellow Dems because they aren’t liberal enough. Nothing against Russ as a person, I just don’t agree with his political philosophy. No big left leviathan for me. No thanks.

My hairdresser was quiet and contemplative. It is hard to engage in civil political discourse. Particularly if you are seen as backwards or just down right ignorant for not agreeing with the view that is being peddled by the mainstream media, the liberal university, the cool green crowd or the other influential voices in your community. She went on cutting my hair.

So, for any or all of my closet conservative friends. It is time to come out. It is time to say enough is enough. We live in American people, not western Europe (ps. Do you really want to live in France these days? Greece? England?). Get your hands off my wallet and my liberty Mr. D.C.

Let’s roll.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Foggy Fog!

Hallelujah it's Monday! ... do you hear the sarcasm? I had very low expectations this week given my general lack of intense excercise (surprise infection on Tuesday morning took me to urgent care and generally threw off my system) and the onset of HUNGER. I don't know why but this week was more difficult than any other so far. I craved cheesey, pepperoni pizza.. mexican... french fries, hamburgers... mac n cheese. I just wanted to eat! Alternatively I ate paper thin crust veggie pizza, tacos minus the cheese and sour cream, half of a portion of kid size fries and burger, and a spoonful of mac n cheese. Let me tell you, it did NOT quell the craving. It did seem to do the trick (or treat?):

Loss this week: 3 lbs
Total loss to date: 35 lbs

I've been anxious on many levels this week. Diet, work, even in my sleep I've had troubling and anxious dreams. I am thinking it is hormonal and seasonal. It is starting to hint at winter around here, with a thick Dora-like Foggy Fog this morning.

It is a nice metaphor for how I am starting to feel about my diet. Just malaise.... I am still at it, and determined, but I can see the long slog that it is going to be. I started this journey on August 31st. I have lost 35lbs so far (got to tell you, wasn't even capable of comprehending that number when I started), but I am dreading the real work ahead. Lets not even mention the hurdles on the calendar, Thanksgiving, Christmas....

Forgive me for my lack of enthusiasm. It is Monday. I am feeling lazy and full of dread for what I SHOULD be getting done this week. On all fronts!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Adios Lane Bryant aka shopping

It seems like a little thing. Going to the store. The mall. Target.
Looking at clothes. Trying clothes on. Deciding what looks good. What doesn't.

When you are, umm.... what is the politically correct term? Plus sized? fluffy? or lets just say it like it is - a BIG girl, shopping isn't so easy. There are a couple of options. The sort of middle of the road, over priced, and often times too boldly printed, Lane Bryant. Most American malls have one. There is the short selection at Target in the "Womens" dept. There are the higher end brands, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, at Macy's. Then there are the retailers that have extended sizes, but forget trying them on. Online only at Old Navy, J. Jill, Land's End, LL Bean....

In an effort to stay sane in my out of shape state, I have tried them all. And then, when you get really frustrated, you buy things just because you can fit into them. You are totally mortified that you've reached the point where finding things that make you look good is really no longer an option.

Yesterday, despite not wanting to buy anything, my jeans situation was getting desperate. The size that I had been wearing was just not staying on my body anymore, so it was time to bite the bullet and buy some new, even just cheap ones. My goal is to lose more weight.

Mom & I headed up to the Tanger Outlets, cause well, why not? I started at Lane Bryant, as I usually do, and lamented their cut and rinse and yheir $69 price tag. So, leaving that pair on hold, I thought I might have one other option, Old Navy. Then we fell into The Gap. Just for fun, I checked their jeans... huh, well, I could try some of these on... who knew they carried my new, lower, size?! 6 pairs deep in the dressing room, and the consensus - these jeans are too big!

I visited stores that I haven't seriously shopped in for years... trying on so many jeans, that by the end, I think I burned more calories than I do in a normal 30 minute work out! I finally decided on a cheap pair from Old Navy, thinking that soon, I will be in the jean market again. It is a good thing I did, cause having worn the new Old Navy jeans for a total of, oh, like 6 hours - I already wish I had bought a size smaller.

Are skinny jeans the modern day glass slipper? Did I mention that we hit the Disney Store... starting Christmas shopping early this year. I've got Cinderella on my mind.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Check Engine

Business first. Weigh in.

Loss this week: 2 lbs
Total loss to date: 32 lbs

As we hustled the girlies into the Land Rover this morning, I reminded Erik -
"Do you have something for lunch?" That is, did you take something so you don't spend $$ eating out?
"No, I was going to take the Land Rover to have the Check Engine light read."

What? The Check Engine light! That is bad! My mind starts racing, we've only been driving this Dave Ramsey beater since May, and we are going to have to put more $$ into it? I am envisioning weekends of Erik in the garage under the hood. $$ sinking into a vehicle whose life span is unknown. I even start thinking about that VW commercial I saw for the Routan.....

"Red? A red check engine light! Were you going to tell me?"

"I am going to have the light read.... R.E.A.D... it is yellow. Not red."

Oh, well that is a relief. And as I turned toward the coffee pot and poured another cup, I thought - wouldn't it be great if marriages had check engine lights? In fact, there are a whole range of thing that would be a lot easier in life we if we had check engine lights.

Bank accounts
Government spending (ok, I couldn't help myself...)
and on and on...

I've never actually thought to myself - Oh! Check engine on the marriage! But frankly, it isn't such a bad idea. And without consciously recognizing it, we basically did that this weekend.

With our favorite babysitter lined up, we headed down to State Street. We felt footloose and fancy free. I tried to avoid kid-related topics, you know, eating habits, poop, droll, lack of sleep. We talked about careers, and memories, and our first date, and things we know now that we didn't know before. We enjoyed a cocktail, and some italian yummy-calorie-laden food, and held hands and wandered into the Comedy Club not knowing if there were seats for us. There were. We laughed and laughed - and I asked Erik, "do you think people think we are married to each other or married to other people and on a rendevous?"

"Probably married to each other since we aren't in a seedy bar somewhere..."


Despite my headache (yes folks, I would qualify this as a proper hangover) Sunday morning, I was so thankful that we did a check engine on our marriage this weekend. You know, some day, our kids will grow up and move out (YAY!), and it will just be Erik & I again. Check Engine. I actually can't wait for us to be old somewhere (with palm trees please), alone, together and with lots of lovely memories shared between us.

Friday, October 15, 2010

So happy together!


A little Friday joy. And a random thought, why did I decide on Monday weighs ins? I am always my lowest on the scales on Friday morning. The weekend launches on such a fanastically scale induced high, that by Monday, I've celebrated my success by adding 2 lbs back on. I suppose there are worst things for a girl who likes to eat out and avoid her kitchen and subsequent dirty dishes on the weekend.

A big super huge THANK YOU to Leslie Ober, who took some amazing photos of the Lewis family. I think we were sitting still for oh, like, 30 seconds, and she still captured us. You are one talented lady! Thank you for capturing this day in our memory for years to come. If you are in Indy, Leslie Ober is who you want to see for your family photos... heck, she is WORTH traveling for!!!

And in other news... my wonderful husband is back in town, and seemingly more infatuated with me than ever. I am a LUCKY LUCKY girl. Thank you for the Lewis family for reminding him how gorgeous I am during his visit with you. Your checks will be arriving in the mail shortly.
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Monday, October 11, 2010


It was a successful week on the diet front, the official weigh in is (note to self, stop weighing yourself every day, now you are depressed that you gained a pound over the weekend despite losing 5 since last monday!):

Loss this week: 5 lbs
Total loss to date: 30 lbs

A couple of notes on my Mara makeover. My Food Diary is helping a lot. There have been a couple of days, particularly when I excercise, that I haven't been eating enough calories to keep my metabolism in the peak burning range. If you don't eat enough, your body will start to shut down thinking that you are starving. I am not starving so best I make sure my body knows.

My nuclear hair procedure on Friday was great. I was super excited and left proclaiming - "They're dead! They're dead!(the hairs on my chinny chin chin) Are dead!" The process itself was very quick. Cool the treated area. Wear some goggles. Zap zap. It was a little prick, like what you might think an acupunture needle feels like. I was totally fine until she did my upper lip. Holy mackerel! That was pain. My eyes started watering. But it was over quickly and I go back in a month to do it again. So far, so good!

Weighing on my heart is the news that we received on Friday evening. Erik's beloved grandfather left us in his sleep. Grandad was one of Erik's best friends, and formative in the creation of the man that I love today. As Erik said - he had a gentle strength - a quality that I see also in Erik. Grandad and Grandma had an life long love affair. I adored that she sat on his lap as she told their story to me (can't remember the last time I've sat on Erik's lap!)- still madly in love all these years later. That is a marriage to emulate.

Porter & Xanthe have another very special angel watching over them now. Peace to those who mourn for Grandad is now lving at the beginning of the road instead of the "end of the road" (as they affectionally refer to their place at the top of the mountain in Flintstone MD).

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Full Disclosure

Disclaimer: If you don't want to know the dirty dark secrets of women and their struggle with unwanted hair - stop reading now. This disclaimer may be particularly pertinent to those men in my life that read my blog. You might not want to know what I am going to tell you.


Ok ladies. Here we go. Back in my original yikes-this-is-me post, you know, the one with the face shot, I mentioned that I was going to have a couple of skin treatments done.

For that effort, I met with the aesthetician and went onto a Obagi regime of applying nightly Obagi Blender and prescription Retin A. Wow. What an amazing product. I need to take another face shot, but the Obagi blender, a skin lightener, actually did away with my two hormonally induced (I blame Mirena) melasma spots on my cheeks. My skin looks great. My pores have shrunk, I've had no acne, and I look good even without makeup (if I do say so myself).

That was step 1.

Tomorrow I start step 2.

Back in the 1990's Rosie O'Donnell pulled at a hair on her chin, had the camera zoom in, and showed the world the long dark black hair that was growing out of her face. I was an impressionable teenager, home from school in the afternoon, and I distinctly remember thinking to myself - "GROSS!" How does a woman have a dark black hair like THAT growing out of her face? (I have tried to locate a clip of that for this blog, thankfully, cyberspace wants to forget that clip as much as I do.)

Fast Forward to 2010. I am waging a war against those little black hair... hair... hairs. Ok. There it is. Hairs. I HATE them. I mean, really, really, really, hate them. I pluck. I bleach. I pluck some more. They keep coming back. They keep getting darker. Tomorrow, I am getting nuclear on them.

Welcome to IPL. That would be, Intense Pulsed Light. You may have seen this on the Kardashian reality show. I am told that one of the episodes showed the procedure. In my radical post-babies-new-Mara makeover, I have signed up. Tomorrow I will go where no Eddy woman (as far as I know) has gone before. I am praying for a radical permanent intervention so that a peace treaty between me and my tweezers can be achieved. I will put down the artillery for a permanent, even just 80%, hair removal. Done. No more. Don't grow back. See ya.

It is the 1st of 6 treatments. It is completely extravagant and I love my husband for letting me splurge on eradicating this little black secret, ahem, hairs, which will do leaps and bounds for my happiness.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My (new) Food Diary

Having reached my first goal (-25 lbs), I am taking a moment to evaluate how better to attack the next 25 lbs. Since August 30, 2010, I have been writing down every thing that passes my lips. I have been doing this in an elementary fashion, literally typing what I eat into a Word document. It is now 11 pages long.

After surfing some weight loss blogs, I happened across a well reviewed website, My Food Diary and I signed up for a free trial. So far, I like what I see. The food database is extensive. It is an easy way to count calories, and it even tells you how many more calories you can consume to maintain, lose 1.5lbs or 2lbs per week. You can also log excercise and body details.

Best part? Little smiley faces that the daily report gives you when you have a good day. I like positive feedback. Smiley faces work great, but if for some reason, they just want to start sending a "happy person paycheck" in addition, I would welcome that as well.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Indy 6 hour race!

Wow. I think a Monday morning has never hit me so hard. This weekend we drove to Indy to meet up with a group of families from all over the states (Vermont, South Carolina, Virginia, Ohio and Indiana) that have little ones born in Feb. 2008. The weekend was jammed pack full of toddler friendly fun, and Xanthe June didn't stop the whole weekend. I have no idea where this little child gets her energy, but she ran, and she jumped, and she laughed, and she climbed, and she ran some more, and she ate, and she... well, she woke up Porter ("Porter! Wake up!"). There were moment that I wished I had a tranquilizer gun...

All said and done, it was probably the most perfect toddler weekend one could have! Gymboree party with pizza! Children's Museum with dinosaurs and Barbies and sandboxes (Oh My!), swimming in the big pool, playing at the park. If Xanthe had planned it herself, it couldn't have been more perfect. Although, I am not sure Xanthe would have planned the Mommy nite out on Saturday that was the highlight of MY trip. It was awesome to laugh and talk with ladies who knew exactly where you were coming from.... it was nice to feel normal, social and immediately accepted... thank you ladies! (I wish we all lived closer..)

And my diet? you ask.....

Before we left, I sneaked an early peak at the numbers... and I had reached my first goal - 25 lbs lost.

The official weigh in for this week is:
Loss this week: 1.5 lbs
Total loss to date: 25.5lbs

I didn't lose any weight over the weekend (despite going to the hotel gym on Saturday afternoon), but that can hardly be surprising since I was eating and really just guessing at what options were tolerable. Fast food a couple of times, and an Arby's sandwich last night that totally blew my per meal calorie count out of the water. I am just happy I didn't gain any weight since Friday!!!! :)

On to the next 25 lbs.....

Monday, September 27, 2010

So close and yet so far...

Day 29

Loss: 4 lbs
Total loss to date: 24 lbs

Lessons from the week...

I am confident navigating dangerous menus. I have successfully eaten at Biaggis, Olive Garden, the food court, Panera Bread, Noodle Company. As an aside, every restaurant should post their nutritional information online (this message is for you Quaker Steak & Lube!)

Being thinner does not necessarily mean you are happier. Happiness comes from some other place entirely.

My clothes are starting to feel very baggy. Even my "skinnier" jeans. I donated the entire portion of my "smaller" wardrobe last year, so these jeans will have to do. Besides, I really want to wait until I am MUCHO thinner to go on a shopping spree.

And in other news, my maid failed to show up again this week. Me thinks I have to fire her. Oh, wait. We don't have a maid, oh sorrow...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mirror Mirror

I've come to the conclusion that I am backwards.

If you've seen Beverly Hill 90210, (or my fav 1990s drama - Models Inc.) or any ABC after school special, let alone, Oprah, you know that girls (and women for that matter) are hyper critical of their bodies. To the extreme of having unhealthy, skewed or totally warped body images. What they see in the mirror isn't what is. They gaze at themselves in the mirror and all they see are flaws. Girls think they should look like Gisele Bundchen. Women want Jennifer Aniston's legs. Julia Roberts' smile. Michelle Obama's arms (a nod to my liberal readers...)

Not me. The Mara teenager spent many days and night sitting at the dressing table mirror perfecting the eye makeup. Another coat of mascara. A curl of the iron. Don't get me wrong, I cared what I looked like - I just wasn't overly critical. I think (and my high school friends can correct me if I am wrong), I was always sort of in the upper echelon of the high school caste system. I was never the IT girl, but I was an acceptable girl. I took care of myself. I never wore the same thing to school twice. I had a brand name (at my school, Gap, The Limited, Laura Ashley, these were importanto) wardrobe. I had long blonde hair. I used Lancome makeup. I played sports. I was smart. I was in choir (albeit as a tenor). I think I was not completely embarassing to the male sex. Some dared to date me. (Of course, I did have one major stigma - I was Dr. Eddy's daughter - but that's a whole different post...)

I can count, probably off the top of my head, the times in my life that I fit into certain, umm.. lets call them, unattainable clothing sizes (the orange silk Laura Ashley shift dress in the summer of 1994 comes to mind). Ladies, you know what I am saying. I know for instance, the size and brand of the prom dress in this photo - I also recall the desire to wear styles and trends that I couldn't fit into for the life of me. I envied the girls in my class who could wear it all. I certainly did not think I was one of those girls.

Fast forward. College. Well, ok, so freshman 15 and all that. I definately participated. Late night pizza. Bar food. Alcohol. Yep. Yep. Yep. Excercise? Not so much. Junior year, I went back to England. I got skinny in Durham, cause well - I had no other option. I had to climb 4-5 flight of castle stairs to get to my room - Keep 44 - and get this - no phones, and I had no cell phone (so backwards American). So, literally, if I wanted to see my friends, I had to WALK around and find them. Isn't that just crazy? Walk to class (when I went), walk around the river, walk around town, walk up the castle, down to Dix Neuf... walk walk walk. By spring 1999, I was probably the skinniest I had ever been in the post age 18 Mara era. Somehow, I was able to pull off mini-jean skirts and skinny little tee-shirts. Darn. Hot is so wasted on the young. Ala.....

Mirror Mirror. What does Mara see? I still see this. Can you believe it? I mean, who looks in the mirror at age 32 and still sees their young 24 year old self? On first read, it probably doesn't seem like such a problem to have. But, the denial prevented me from addressing the long overdue growth of my waist line. Until now. Now, I see. And I feel. And the flab is very real.

20 pounds in, and the mirror is starting to reveal the self that I am. The flab. The leftover. I see what all those after school specials are about now. It is hard to accept all this extra me. I just want it gone. I need to reconcile the new Mommy me with the old hottie me. I need to find out who this body, mind and soul really is these days. And I need to accept what I see in the mirror and stop asking who's the fairest of them all?

And if you think this post is just an excuse to post some old awesome photos of myself... you might be right. Everyone needs motivation!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Big Two - Oh!

Super psyched this morning, Week 3 of tranformation Mara. Official weigh in!

Loss: 5 lbs
Total loss to date: 20 lbs

I am not sure what more I can say about 20 lbs. It doesn't seem to make that much of a difference. My clothes are fitting looser. My shape is less round. I feel flabby. I can feel the sore muscle under the remaining weight, getting firmer.

As for the hunger, it has pretty much dissipated. At this point, I've got to hope that my body has adjusted to my new diet. Each day this week, the scale went steadily down at least a half, if not a full pound.

Gotta keep at it!

Friday, September 17, 2010


More than one person in the past 24 hours has said to me: "You know, it takes 2 weeks to create a habit. You are well on your way." That doesn't really sound like a lot of time to me, but for the sake of building myself up, I will embrace my new habits.

Friends have been asking, so what are you eating? or maybe a better question, what aren't you eating? I will outline my daily intake further down this post. I did consider Weight Watchers. In law school, I did an online diet, I think it was EDiets. I have read Dr. Oz's book, "You on a Diet", and I have watched numerous other shows about how to lose weight.

The bare naked truth is, if you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Now, there are numerous ways to do this. You can eat all sorts of wacky stuff. You can drink shakes. You can take pills. You can be seduced by sugar free, fat free, splenda, low carb, whole wheat, whole grain, less this, less that. Or you can just try to eat less.

I knew stupidity wasn't my problem. I know better, I've just been grossly negligent when it comes to my own health. After contemplating joining Weight Watchers, and looking at some online programs, I realized - if this is REALLY going to work, I've got to do it my way. I've got to be able to get thru the day and consume less calories.

So that is what I am doing. In the past 3 weeks, my food intake has looked like this:

1-2 cups of coffee / coffeemate / sugar (that is my splurge)
3/4 c. Kashi cereal(or 1 c., depending on Kashi type and serving size) w/ skim milk and/or berries

1 Healthy Choice Steamer Meal / These range in calories from 170 - 320. They taste good. They are portion control. They give you no options and no way to fail.

If it is a 220 cal or less meal, I will have a Yoplait 100 cal yogurt or 90 calorie Granola bar. (What your labels people - granola bars can be full of calories!)

Dinner. This is where it gets hard. I cook for Erik & the girls. My default meal is usually a protein, a starch and a veg. Some examples:
Last night it was a soy/citrus marinated pork chop, some Indian inspired basmati rice from Target and peas.
The night before I did a basic whole wheat pasta with tomato/basil sauce w/ ground beef.
We've done veggie pizza. Turkey parmesean calzones. Tacos. Any number of normal family friendly foods.

With my dinner, my only goal is to watch my portions, particularly the starch. Rice, potatoes, bread can add calories quickly. I keep my protein portion to the size of the palm of my hand. And I load up on veggies. I figure I am ranging between 500 cal - 750 cals a night for dinner.

Oh, and the only thing I drink is water.

Sum total: 1200 - 1400 calories per day. Part of doing this requires you to figure out how many calories you have to eat to lose weight. There are a variety of calculators out there. I've found this site particularly helpful:

The second habit I have created is excercise. I think, if you want to lose weight, you've got to figure out a way to excercise. This is, in many ways, harder than watching what you eat. You've got to get excercise clothes. Shoes. You've got to change into them. You got to find an activity that you can do. You get sweaty. You feel lethargic. Huge. Less than fab.

I've been doing it 30 minutes every day. We've got a Wii. And I am doing Wii Fit. It is fun. It is silly. It works my body and my mind. I get sweaty. I get revived. I get more energy. And I get on it again the next day.

It has the added bonus of tracking your goals for you if you want.

At some point, I realize that the Wii might not cut it. But for now, this is working. I may want to join a gym at some point. But best to create habits before I go spending a bunch of money. I've learned before, spending money doesn't get you skinnier. It just gets you poor.

Whoops. I've been at this too long. More for another day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 2

Official weigh in for Week 2:

Lost: 2.5 lbs
Total Loss to date: 15 lbs

I worked out every day on Wii Fit this week and it feels good. My energy level is up and I am starting to feel my body change. I am sad to see how quickly my weight loss has slowed, but convinced I will meet my goal by Thanksgiving - to be down another 10lbs for a total loss of 25 lbs.

Most surprisingly, I am not that hungry. Occassionally around 4pm and 9pm, the stomach yells at me, but I just drink some water and get over it.

I should have done this years ago....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ode to Elaine

I am having a sort of affinity for Juila Louis-Dreyfus these days. I think it stems from her "spokesperson" role for Healthy Choice foods, and since I've been eating a lot of them recently...

I was on the Wii this morning laughing at my complete lack of balance. I mean, you know you are in trouble when the Wii asks you if you find that you trip alot. Frankly, it might as well have asked me if I routinely walk into walls. (Which I do... but whatever..) So, feeling completely uncoordinated and thankfully sequestered to my lonely basement (could you imagine this happened at a GYM? With real honest to God people looking at me?! ARGH!).. I thought of Elaine...

Actually, I thought of Elaine, dancing. God, that was classic. The Elaine dance. Proof that even skinny people aren't graceful. And I kept at the Wii and next thing I knew, I had mastered the advance step routine and I was sweating up a storm.

So, Elaine is my new inspiration. Cause, lets face it, she's damn good (to use a Raynor term). And just to cap off my little Ode to Elaine - a quote:

Elaine: David, I'm going to hell! The worst place in the world! With devils and those caves and the ragged clothing! And the heat! My god, the heat! I mean, what do you think about all that?

Can't help but smile. Dance on Elaine.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Investment

Hey, I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,
It's so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
But long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
And I'm running late,
And I don't need an excuse,
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes.
- Paolo Nuttini

Not the shoes I would have liked to spend $130 on, but I warned you - it is going to get ugly around here...

Monday, September 6, 2010

1 week down!

This morning was my official weigh in. I've been cheating all week, seeing the lbs come off the scale has been a major motivation.

I've lost 12.5 lbs this week.

Ok, I know that is crazy. But for all you skinny people out there going - that couldn't be healthy - just remember, when you start out with such a high number, it is easier to lose such a high number. I figure that 12 lbs is like a normal person losing 5lbs. That puts it into perspective.

Either way, it is a great start. I kept my promise. I wrote every thing down. I counted calories. I even ate out (when in doubt - eat vegetarian!). I excercised. My poor neighbors saw me run down the street.... will they recover?

Thanks to Kyle, Mom & Dad for setting me up with Wii Fit Plus, so I don't have to run in circles in my basement anymore! I know it is going to get harder, the real test of my will power is coming.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


All the gurus will tell you. If you want to lose weight, you have to figure out why you eat. There is a whole litany of psychological and behavioral mumbo jumbo out there about getting to the root of the neurosis.

So, Mara.... why do you eat? As you could imagine, this week, as the calorie deprivation set in, this question has been pestering me. Why? Why? Why? Why do I eat? Why don't I stop myself? Why did it get to this point?

There is a lot of talk about self-loathing when it comes to weight loss. Depression, fear, anxiety, not finding love from other places except from food. Heck, food makes you feel good. It tastes good! Like a drug, it is an addiction.

See, none of that really sits well with me. I don't hate myself. I don't think I am depressed (although, perhaps at times have had an inclination towards it), I have love in my life. I am (generally) a confident and happy gal. I am not afraid of the world.

My problem is: I like to celebrate. I want to celebrate every day! Hey! It is Monday! That's worth a brownie! I love Fridays in the summer! Lets get ice cream! I don't want to cook - how about Culvers for dinner?! Blizzard of the week? You bet! And on and on.... and soon, it was every day.

And then add a feeling that I deserved it.

In 2003, I quit a serious smoking addiction. I smoked. A lot. Most days, a whole pack. I smoked first thing in the morning. I smoked first thing at night. I smoked in the car. I smoked at 10am. I smoked at Noon. I smoked after lunch. I smoked before dinner. I smoked at the bar. I smoked. Friends at Bucknell will remember me as the girl sitting on the bench (every bench), smoking. It was an addiction for me. When I thought about quitting I would break into a cold sweat. The withdrawl dreams. The anxiety. I had lost control.

When I successfully quit the cigs, I celebrated! I bought a new car. I ate... and bought clothes, etc. etc. And I ate.. and celebrated. I mean, really - I quit smoking!!! That's huge... but now, all that is left, is me - huge.

My addiction transferred from cigs to food. For as often as I put a cigarette in my mouth, I now put food. I think a lot of smokers go thru this. But, unfortunately for me, add 7 years and 2 babies, I have a leftover. And it isn't in the fridge...

7 years ago I got serious about my health and cut Mr. Malboro from my life. Now it is time for Mrs. Dairy Queen to take a similiar exit.

(and all that psycho babble mumbo jumbo seems to be pretty close to the mark afterall)

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Before

It is obvious to anyone that looks at me, but I feel like I am confessing my biggest secret...

Hi. My name is Mara Lee Lewis. I am obese. I am 33 years old and I am carrying around an extra human being (and I don't mean one of my kids). I weigh 125lbs over the amount recommended by some very smart doctors for my weight and height. I will talk about it. I am going to force myself to talk about it. I have ignored it. I have rationalized it. I have laughed it off. I have lied to myself. I have lived in denial.

I am going to look in the mirror. I am going to look below my neck. It might get ugly around here before it gets better. Especially since this is only day 1 of what will be a long journey.

My Weight Goals:

Long Term: be a mom my girls will be proud of - ride bikes, swim laps, run without fear of all the jiggling, sit with my legs crossed comfortably - lose the muffin top, the muffin bottom, shit, lets just lose the muffin all together.
Dream size: 14/16

Short Term: create new habits, treat my body well, remember what a gift my body is for giving me life, love, and two beautiful babies, incorporate excercise into my life, realistic target size: 18/20

How I will do this:

Exercise 3 X per week either 30 Mins moderate exercise or 20 minutes jogging
2X week strength training

I will diary every item I eat.
I will cut out all sweets.
I will target 1350 calories per day.
I will be accountable for what passes my lips.

What else? I am going to take care of what God gave me. I have started an Obagi Nu Derm treatment including the Blender / Retin A products. I will be doing a couple of skin procedures to take care of some hormonal hangovers, ie. melasma spots.

That is the naked truth. Consider this my coming out party.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Swimming Lessons - Summer 2010

Xanthe is the youngest at Capitoland to attend the summer session at Kittleson Swim School. She was a bit scared at first but she's an old pro now! On her last lesson, she marched herself right up the ladder and down the slide into the pool. Mom about had a heart attack! Here she is doing her back float! Fall Season both girls will be enrolled.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On a Birthday...

I was sitting in northern California this week explaining my children to a long time, albeit, remote from every day life, friend.

"Xanthe," I said, "loves her green jelly shoes from Baby Gap. She's going to have a shoe fetish, Erik & I are sure of it."

"You know," my old friend added, "you should write things like that down, in letters or something, and give it to her when she's eighteen."

So, lazy me. I will blog it.

It is the eve of Porter's first birthday. Porter is cutting her 4 front top teeth. She's miserable, grumpy, eating a lot, sleeping even more. She hates to eat unless she is wielding the spoon herself. She's pushing the play stroller/walker, and scavenging cheerio cast offs from Xanthe's snack cup. Resourceful, cheerful and cuddly. That is our Porter Caroline. 1 year old today.

Xanthe is having a fitful night sleep. I've already gone into her room twice. She's told me that she wants her "bunny" and she doesn't. She's said she needs to use the "potty", and I've changed a perfectly dry Pampers diaper. Potty training is eluding us. She's great when she gets on the potty - uses it well! Dora stickers reward. Stars too. She falls down on the communicating the need to use the Potty. She also has little desire to dress/undress herself. "Mommy do it. Mommy help." Either she's lazy or just not interested. I mean heck, if someone was cleaning my bottom, dressing me on a changing table, lathering me with lotion, and generally making me look cute with none of my own effort - why change a good thing?

And what I told my old friend is true - Xanthe absolutely loves her "green shoes". She searches the house for them. Plops down on her cute little flat behind and analyzes them like a puzzle. At least 75% of the time, she gets them on the correct feet, and she's mastered their little ankle strap velcro. She's a pro.

Manolo Blahnik watch out. I would put money on green jelly shoes being popular again in about, oh, 25 years or so.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Life Moves So Fast

What is it that Ferris said? If you don't stop and look around once in a while, it might just pass you by? I am so thrilled that we splurged to have Christy Langheim come out to the house and take some pics of the girls before this time passed us by. In just the two weeks since thse photos were taken Porter has cut her two bottom teeth and started crawling with a vengance!

Xanthe is a little chatter bug and soon moving up a classroom at Capitoland. I am just loving their new interaction and can't wait what every day will bring. Sad to see the baby time coming to an end, but ready to start our new adventure in parenting two toddlers!
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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

If I were an automobile...

I was driving down Maple Grove Rd yesterday at lunch, windows down, music a bit too loud, hair flying, thinking I am cool... driving our new "old school" 1998 Land Rover Discovery...

Huh? How is that cool?

The mere fact that I think that is at least remotely cool says something about me. And all of a sudden the parallels between this sad vehicle and myself started to take shape in my mind:

1998 was a good year. It was one of my best years. I was studying abroad in Durham, living in a Castle, and sowing all the seeds of my youth.

Land Rover is English. As an aspiring angophile, it works, in the same way my Burberry glasses and Wedgewood cameo necklace work.

The vehicle sounds like it could take on mountains, it has a lot of say... but sure does take its time to go above 45 MPH. I sympathize. It is easy to have vision, it is a whole different thing getting there.

If ever there was a car that said shabby-chic-wish-I-was-a-world-traveler-but-actually-am-a-suburban-soccer-mom, it is probably this one. In Mara's favorite color to boot.

And then Xanthe's future teenage whine voice came to mind - "Mom, I don't want to drive a Land Rover.. it is sooooooooo last century."

It was at this point that I let my mind start to wander down another route.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hotel Play

When I was little, less than 10 years old, I used to play a "game". I would draw floor plans of hotels, the rooms, the amenities in the rooms. Some rooms had King beds, others had doubles. Some rooms had bunk beds and kitchenettes. Some bedrooms had whirlpools. My favorite rooms had pools. I loved swimming and thus pools. The rates of the rooms depended on the desirability (in my adolescent mind) and the floor. The higher the floor, the bigger the room, the greater the price. How I knew such secrets of the hotel world at age 10, I do not know.

I do know that I loved hotels. I particularly loved them because my parents would often choose to "drive straight thru" than to stop at one. I remember at least two trips from somewhere south of Virginia heading somewhere north of Pennsylvania when we would reach the 11pm mark and my Dad would declare, "we are too close to stop now." And on we would drive, as I pointed out all the hotel options by highway sign... Look a Holiday Inn! A Red Roof! A Super Eight! Oh, wow, this must be a nice area, there a Marriott! or a Ramada! My parents joked once that they thought I was getting a kick back from Ramada...

Nights like those would end with me asleep in the back, as my parents forged on down the highway. On at least one occasion, I think we pulled over somewhere around 4am to catch some zzzzs. I vaguely remember the comment that there was a "Penn State" game and every hotel between Mechanicsburg and Indiana was full. No Vacancy. I hated those words.

I remember the first time I stayed in a hotel myself. I considered this a coming of age. I was flying from Portugal (having stayed a week with a former Assist student and his family) to New York. The trip consisted of a charter flight to London-Gatwick. There I had to stay over night, catch the bus to Heathrow the next morning and fly out to New York in the evening. Between the multiple bus connections, my young gleeful expectation that I would be fine, and a passport declaring me a world traveler, I arrived. Checking into the hotel, I remember fumbling with the paperwork, my confirmation number, what time was it? where was I? should I call my parents? I had this internal voice telling me that I needed to report to someone because right now, I am completely anonymous. No one knows me. It was a glorious and terrifying feeling.

It was late that night that I embraced the freedom of the hotel experience. There is no routine in a hotel. You can do whatever you want. Brush your teeth twice - turn down the temperature to an insane chill - pile on the pillows, use multiple towels - who cares?! Not my problem. I set the alarm early and worried that I would get up in time. That worried kept me awake most of the night. And its no wonder. This was a single story hotel and I was in a room with double beds. According to my already proven hotel knowledge, this was the lowest form of hotelery.

The next morning, I had my second first, eating alone. A buffet no less. I wished for a corner booth where I could slink in, disappear with only the waiter knowing my solitude. I rushed to get my breakfast as if every suit in the room was wondering what this eighteen year old girl (not yet a woman) was doing alone. All alone. I rushed my breakfast and then the room.

After that first trying stay, I learned to love my solitary hotel trysts. The Embarcadero in San Fran, the Renaissance in Walnut Creek, The Ritz Carlton in Battery Park and Atlanta, the Harvest Inn in St. Helena, The Loews in Miami Beach, The Sofitel in Philly.. I loved each languid moment of escapism. In each hotel I adopted the decor as my own, lavished in the crisp linens, the pristine baths, the simple soaps, the remote control. I slipped on my sunglasses, held my favorite book, and slipped into whatever corner booth was available. I was living the visions of those childhood blue prints. Each window held a new view I had yet to see.

I sit in a new city. Alone. In a lovely hotel. The decor is modern and sleek. The bathroom is wallpapered in metallic red. The beds are covered with pillows and the view - well, it could be better, we got demoted to the 3rd floor. But, I am impressed by the offerings that hadn't occured to me at age 10, free walking tour kits with directional Ipods and pedometers, choices of pillows (down, buckwheat, magnetic therapy, sound, or Swedish memory foam), L'Occitane toiletries, and other goodies. I have tasted the room service (salted fudge brownie heaven) and snuggled in the bed of pillows. I have cranked the AC and ogled the luxurious shower. I have enjoyed the silence and made a dent in my novel...

It is the first time that I can remember that I miss the noise. I miss the ramblings of my toddler and the chubby kissable cheeks of my baby. I miss the half conversations with my husband as we talk to each other about our days. I did this - he did that - sometimes all that matters is saying it, not actually hearing. I miss my bed, its lack of pillows, its infestation of cats (sorta). The simple duvet and metal frame....

It is a joy to visit hotels. As an Aries, it makes me feel childlike and new. I love new. But, I must be getting old, cause I love home more.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

On this fateful day, 7 months ago..

Disclaimer - If you don't want to read a birth story, stop here!

It has occurred to me that I haven't blogged about hardly anything in the later half of 2009. There are myriad of excuses for this, but most of it starts with this fateful day exactly 7 months ago..

"So, do you want me to deliver this baby, or should I have my partner do it?" my doctor asked me in mid-July. Uhh... what?

"I am going on vacation the last week of July, so if I am going to do it, it has to be Friday July 24 does that work for you?" Yeah, I don't see why not. I mean, at this point, I am huge, uncomfortable, swollen, and still fighting a MASSIVE case of denial. Sounds like a plan. An out of body plan so to speak...

It was eerily familiar. Waking up at 4am. Excited, nervous and in shock. Erik & I quietly crept out of the house, leaving Xanthe and my sister asleep in our townhouse. We climbed into the Saturn and set the GPS. St. Mary's Hospital or bust!
Erik didn't say much but to curse the one car who dared get in his way on Fish Hatchery Road. It was the only car on Fish Hatchery Rd., and I remember laughing that even at 4am, he could find traffic to complain about.

Arriving and trekking down the miles of corridors from the parking garage to the labor ward, we arrived to news that there was no room at the inn. All rooms were full. But I had a reservation! No problem, we will just put you right in the recovery room, next to the OR.

Erik and I settled into the non-hospital room, sharing it with techs and nurses alike. I remember looking at Erik and knowing how hard he was trying to act brave for the both of us. Who was this little girl who had been hosting a utero dance party every nite for the past 3 months? Who surprised us by latched onto me the same week Erik and I learned we were moving to Madison and not letting go? Who seemed that even though she was just 35 wks and 4 days already had something to say?

IV in and meds on board, the anesthesiologist came in for a consult. I wasn't expecting this. Despite my medically induced haze, he explained that even though I had a minor heart condition and had received a specialist opinion recommending an epidural for better blood pressure control, that it was his opinion that a spinal was a better option. So, what you are telling me is, I paid to go 'out of network' to the tune of $2K and you aren't going to follow the consult's recommendation?
"So, Ms. Lewis, I think spinal is the way to go. Do you want to talk to your husband about it and then call me back in the room?"
Erik and I had our compulsory talk. I remember saying that the doc said that the numbness is a sure thing with a spinal. Blood pressure be damned, I wanted to be numb! A spinal we would have.

A couple minutes later than scheduled, I walked, IV, catheters and all, into the OR. Why do they keep these rooms so cold?! Man it was cold in there. I was guided to the side of the bed, although I would hardly call it that.

"Mara, we are going to need you to lean over, and put your head down between your knees."

"You guys know I have a baby in there right?" Good thing I hadn't lost my sense of humor.

I did the best I could and the anesthesiologist went to work. Now, I don't know what other folks have felt when getting a spinal but to me this was the most alien and bizarre feeling I had since my HSG. (If you don't know what an HSG is, you are lucky). I imagine that this doctor was drilling an electrical outlet in my back. Drilling a hole here, and a hole there... and ok, we are going to plug this outlet, and your leg should kick...

This slithery feeling ran down my left leg and WHAM! up it went.

Ok that was right.

And now, we are going to drill over here, and plug this in over here and you should feel warmth on your right side. Yeppers, warm, and tingley and oh man, I am going to fall over.
And then bam. Everyone was there, nurses, surgeons, doctors, laying me down, shifting me around, tying my hands, putting up the drape.

Dr. Bathke - "How are you doing today Mara? Ready to meet this little peanut?"Dr. Bathke was sure that Porter would be a little thing, cause of my pre-eclampsia I suppose. She certainly didn't feel little to me.
"Feeling ok. Ready to get this over with." Laughter. Lights. Movement. Erik by my side.

"Hi baby. I am here. You ready?"

Yeah. Lets do this thing.

"Everything is going well Mara. Deep breaths. Some pulling and tugging. Ok, there she is." Erik eyes were between me, the blood pressure machine and the drape.

And then we heard her - loud - crying.

"Crying before she's even out of the womb - great sign!" Porter arrived as annoyed with all lights, cold and attention just like I was.

"Look at all that dark hair!" Did we get the right baby?

Erik went to her then. Our beautiful new baby girl. Porter Caroline. 7lbs, 8oz and 20 inches long.

"And she's big!" Thanks Dr. Bathke for the update.

"Whats her name?" The anesthesiologist nurse asked me.


"Like the beer?" Oh dear. Not sure why I never saw that one coming.

They fixed me up and Erik showed her to me. She looked so different and yet so familiar. She was us, but in a different way than Xanthe. She was her own little self.

They wheeled me back into the recovery room where Mom, Dad and Lori greeted me. They settled me in and I put Porter to breast. I didn't care how Porter had arrived, but I wanted to nurse her as soon as possible. It would take some learning over the next 36 hours, but she would get it, and turn into the chubby little monkey we know today.
Oh yeah, and just in case you're wondering, she's still loud.