Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Going on a Break

The time has come to be totally honest with myself and with you, my few readers. I need to take a break from blogging. If I could write full time I'm sure that keeping three blogs wouldn't be such a challenge but the truth is that I work full time and I'm a wife and mother too.

So the honest truth is that I must take a break. I'm not taking the blog down all together because who knows, maybe one day soon something amazing will happen to me and I'll be able to write full time. If that happens then I will blog here too. And I'm not taking it down because I will still update periodically. I will still keep you up to date on my weight loss progress.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Argh!!!! And a Double Quadruple Argh!!!!

This is not going to be a pretty, positive, flowery blog entry today. I warn you. This is going to be one of the ugly truth kind of blogs. Yesterday I was so super angry and frustrated. It all started when I went to get a fill in my lap band. I was hoping for a tiny .2 or .3 cc fill that would help give me a little more restriction.  WELL, the nurse decided that she needed to pull out all the fluid to see how much there really was in there. On one hand I could understand the thought behind it. My lap band can only hold 10 ccs and since I'm getting really close to the maximum amount that it can hold it's important that they know how much is really in there. I'm guessing something bad can happen to the band if you go over the 10 ccs.

The problem is this. A year into having my band I got a bad stomach virus and I threw up for a whole day. I was so sick that I had to go in to have some fluid taken out. I went back and started having it put back in but ever since that time I stopped losing weight and I have never been able to get back on track. So yesterday was a big deal.

I couldn't believe she had to take out all the fluid to measure it. When she she started putting the fluid back in I knew all of it wouldn't go in and I was right. I was super tight and she had to keep taking more out until she could get me to a point where I wasn't too tight. (When you are tight you feel like you are going to throw up water.) Apparently I have a very sensitive stomach that can't take too drastic a change. So instead of getting a fill I left there with 4 ccs less than when I went in.

I was livid! I felt like I took 3 steps back instead of a step forward. I felt frustrated and angry. I'm better today but I'm hungry. After having them mess with the lap band that much, and especially because of my reaction, I have to stay on liquids for 4 days and then soft food for two days. I'm on Day 2 and I'm starving. I hope I can hang in there for two more days.

So that's the story. We'll see how this all works out. Hopefully the 4 days of liquids will give me a kick start.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

In Search of Chewable Vitamins

Ever since I got the lap band I have been in search of better tasting chewable vitamins. One of the challenges of having a lap band is that you can no longer swallow big pills, so I've had to take chewable vitamins. (and yes, I've had to break up big antibiotic pills) I must confess I do not take vitamins as regularly as I should because I just hate the chalky taste!

I really enjoy the taste of my kids' gummy bear vitamins when I tasted them, but of course I would have to take around 5 to get the dosage I need. I found these online on and they look just like the kids' gummy vitamins, except that they have an adult dosage, and they aren't shaped like bears. I have two bottles of unfinished chewable vitamins in my cupboard. I hope that if I buy these gummy ones they taste as good as I hope they do.  

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Living Strong

Bracelet from

This week I have really been sticking to logging my food on The Daily Plate of Three things that I believe help in weight loss, besides eating less and exercising: log what you eat every single day, weigh yourself every morning, and try on smaller clothes every week.

These are three things I'm trying to make a habit. I want to get to the paint where I log on to every morning, without having to think about it twice. Same thing with weighing myself. If I can stick to these three things I will also eat better and exercise. Seriously. Because logging what you eat every day on makes you aware of everything you are putting in your mouth. It's amazing.

Let's say for example, that you just get the urge to eat two breakfast taquitos from Whataburger one morning. Your daily calorie intake goal is 1,700. You buy the two bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast taquitos on the way to work. But before you eat both of them you decide to look up the calories on My Daily Plate and you find out that each taquito has 420 calories. So if you eat both of them you will have eaten 840 calories, half of ALL your calories for the day and it's barely breakfast. So unless you're planning on skipping lunch, eating both those taquitos may not be such a good idea.

The other great feature is the pie chart to the right of your daily log. It shows you how much protein, carbs, and fat you are eating. Something tells me the Whataburger taquito will be high on the fat side.

So I keep on with my challenge. To eat better and to exercise more. I'm not always successful, but I keep on working at it to make it a way of life and not just a passing fad. The Daily Plate has helped me keep up with that this week.

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Challenges of Eating & Not Eating

Design by Anne Taintor

I was on the phone with my husband today, right after warming up some soup for lunch. I told him I was about to eat lunch and while we were talking my stomach growled really loud. It was so loud he actually heard it through the phone line and he laughed. I told him I felt like I was starving so I hung up with him and started to eat. Well, either I started eating too fast (which I didn't feel like I did) or something just got stuck. I had to stop eating abruptly and now I feel like something is lodged in my chest and it's taking away my appetite, simply because I can't eat a thing now. So now I'm getting the sensation of being full, but really I'm still hungry. That my friends is a lap band experience sometimes.

Then there is the opposite of this kind of experience. Wednesday night I went out to eat with some friends and I was able to eat eight nachos with beef fajita on them. EIGHT! That's insane and shouldn't even be possible, but somehow on Wednesday I was able to do that. Then today I'm starving and this... 

The lap band is so finicky. On the day that I needed a fill I had to have some liquid taken out after the nurse filled me, because I was too tight. Yet after doing the liquids and the soft food days I could eat like I did before getting the fill. What happened that day that I went in for the fill I don't know. My body and stomach just decided that they didn't like that little bit of liquid tightening up the lap band so they decided to rebel. That and my hormones were starting to act up too, so the combination did it. That's the only explanation I can think of.

Yes, having a lap band is a challenge and yes I may not have lost all the weight I was hoping  and yes, sometimes I can eat a lot, but in the end I will never eat as much as I did in my past life. And that is what keeps me motivated.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Tofu, Exercise, and Trying on Pants

I had a fill last week and after two days on liquids and two days on soft I only lost two pounds. I know two pounds are two pounds, but I really hoped for a five pound head start. Unfortunately I also had a little hormonal interruption that always bloats me and makes me weigh a little more. I felt like that threw me off too. I'm starting to track my weight in writing.

I decided that even though I still need to weigh myself daily I should really concentrate on my clothes size. I pulled out some pants that I was able to wear a year ago that don't quite close now and I hung them outside my closet.

The thing is this. I was thinking about those pants the other day and how they are a size 14. I haven't worn a size 14 in YEARS, I mean since early college. When I was wearing those pants a year ago I feel like I took it for granted. I didn't think about how they were only a size or size and a half away from my size in high school. That seems crazy considering I hadn't worn that size in so long. It's funny how quickly we forget. Now they don't close. How did I let that happen? So now they are hanging outside of my closet and I'm going to try them on every day as a reminder of where I need to go. Once I'm back in them for a while I can concentrate on getting into a size 12.

I've talked about our new relationship with soy. We are still doing that and I've been eating a lot of Morning Star. When I track my food on I can see the difference in my calorie intake when I eat the soy/tofu products. I still need to learn how to cook tofu. I need to get my friend Jena to give me lessons.

So here's the plan. Work out regularly, eat tofu, drink a lot of water, track my food, weigh daily and try on my pants weekly.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

I Basically Can't Have Anything At All

Design by Anne Taintor

So much for transferring my food addiction to alcohol. I get e-mails periodically from and I received a link to this wonderful article.

Seriously, yes I know that drinking alcohol is not great for weight loss and when I'm tracking my calories on The Daily Plate (a tool on I always track the calories from alcohol too. I also know that alcohol is full of empty carbs. But when you give up bread, tortillas, rice, pasta, hamburgers, hot dogs, pancakes and big breakfasts forever, a girl's got to have a little indulgence. Not so... Not only is alcohol bad for me for all the reasons above, apparently it also slows down weight gain. Yes my friend, it does.

This reminded me of an article I read a couple of years back about women who don't eat so they can drink. I tried to find that article, but instead I came across this article. Interesting and how confusing. The article even says that women have been receiving conflicting messages about alcohol.

So basically from the two articles I've read I've come to this conclusion: if you're overweight like I am, yes alcohol will slow down weight loss. But if you're already in your ideal weight range chances are you won't be as prone to gain weight if you drink a drink or two per day. Other factors should also be taken into account. For example, a diabetic shouldn't really drink because of how high the carbs are in liquor. Carbs spike sugar in the body, etc.

So the safest bet for me is to cut down on my drinking. Something I've known for a while but... I have given up so much already. Or I can look at it this way. I've already given up so much already, what is one more thing? Yeah, sure that makes me feel better.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Lunch Time Liquid Blog

Design by Anne Taintor

Since I 'm blogging during lunch it's only appropriate that I talk about what I'm eating and that I bring you up to speed on my lap band and life in general.

First of all, it has been close to impossible to make a lap band appointment. Their clientele has grown so much! It seems like so many people are getting the lap band. Why not? It's the perfect way to control how much you can eat without completely restricting you like gastric bypass surgery.

So I finally got an appointment, but it was two weeks out, which was yesterday. The nurse x-rayed me first and she saw the white x-ray liquid go right down with no problem. I didn't think I needed a big fill, just a tiny tweak, so she put in .5 ccs (I think it's ccs) of liquid into the lap band. She x-rayed again and it looked OK and she gave me my bottle of water to drink in the waiting room while I waited to see how I felt. Well, a few minutes later I was right back in the fill room. Then I had to excuse myself to spit up the water that was stuck. She ended up pulling out .3 and I only ended up with a .2 fill. I was kind of disappointed because I wanted a little bit more restriction. I hope that .2 is enough and just the right mix, not too tight but not too loose. That is always my goal.

So what does that mean when I get a fill? That means that the nurse sticks a needle in the port under my skin on my midsection. This port is the top of the tube that goes all the way to my lap band and the liquid travels through that tube to the lap band to tighten it up. Yes, the port and the tube are in my body and they lead to the lap band and yes you can feel the port under my skin. It's very interesting. I don't feel it unless I press down and if I don't, I forget it's there.

After a fill I can only have liquids for two days and then soft food for two days. Two days of liquids technically goes through lunch time on Thursday and I can move to soft food at dinner continue soft foods through lunch on Saturday. If I can pull it off I’m going to try to extend the liquids through the end of the day on Thursday and then go to soft starting Friday to give myself an extra kick in the butt that I so desperately need. Today is a liquid day so I just had tomato basil soup and a liquid yogurt.

I could not believe that it had been six months since I had a fill! Unbelievable and very bad. Going in to the lap band clinic at least every 2 months is maintenance and I need that. I need to go and weigh in and I need to be accountable. That is something that I need to do in order to break this food addiction.

I read back on many of my posts here and I they encourage me to move on. I’ve done so well working out and I need to stick to that. It will all come together in the end.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Eating Better with Soy

Design by Anne Taintor

Not really. I'm not really one frozen entree away from a nervous breakdown but this was funny. We decided that we needed to make changes again. We had really strayed away from eating better. Back in September my husband started a vegetarian diet that he held on to until Thanksgiving when he received a free ham at work. After that we fell right back into our bad habits half the time. The other half of the time we tried to work on our diet by eating more soy products, like Morning Star Farms. Now we are trying to get back on that track. This morning I made soy bacon and sausage with eggs. This evening when we went to Target I bought some more soy "chicken" strips and I'm going to experiment with them tomorrow in an enchilada recipe. I'm going to substitute the soy chicken for the turkey.

The taste of these products is really impressive. My kids eat the chicken nuggets and enjoy them just as much as they enjoy those processed chicken Tyson kind. They have never blinked an eye since I changed us over to several Morning Star Farms products. They fully enjoyed the bacon and sausage this morning with their eggs and even asked for more. I even tested the chicken nuggets on my friends' kids the other night and they too ate them without a question or complaint about the taste.

I'm not getting paid by Morning Star Farms to talk about their products. I've tried them and I like them. I'd like to graduate to the point where I learn how to cook tofu myself but until then Morning Star Farms is my helping hand.

The best thing that has happened lately, besides my daughter getting straight As and my son finally getting it that good behavior = rewards, is that my son finally found a vegetable that he likes. Edamame! Hilarious, everything he likes is soy or tofu related. I'm so happy to finally see him eating something green!!

It's time for a fill. I still haven't had one. I don't know why. I know that I canceled that one a couple of months ago because I had too many activities scheduled that week, but I never went back. I asked my lap band buddy (my friend who was banded the same day) why she thinks I'm avoiding a fill. She said that it was probably for the same reason that she hasn't gone. It's that we want to learn, we need to learn, how to do it on our own. We don't want to always live a life of tightness in order to eat less. We also need to learn control and to eat the right foods on our own.

The truth is that we will never eat like we did before. I will never eat a hamburger again. I will never eat anything heavy or too much for lunch. I will never eat bread and rice again. Even at this level of tightness that's a fact. However I know that I can eat more, later in the day, and I do that. There. I said it. I know I need to stop doing that. I know I need to eat less chips and less liquid calories. If I can do that I can keep my weight down. But I still need to go in for a check-up and to have them tighten me up a notch for an extra kick in the butt.

Also, I need to stay committed to the gym. I need to keep going, even now that the kids are out of school. It used to be so convenient because it was down the street from my kids' after school care. Now that they aren't going there I don't drive right by that gym. So we just joined a newer 24 Hr Fitness gym closer to our house, so that should help make it more convenient. I'm committed to keep up the working out.
I continue on my journey of and goal to do what I should and not what I shouldn't. And I thank you for following me on this quest.

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Wonderful Food Allergy

Design by Anne Taintor

I haven't written here about my allergy. Yes, I have a food allergy. Imagine that! I am severely allergic to shellfish.

I first found out that I was allergic when I was eighteen. I won't bore you with all the details, but be assured that when I found out there was no doubt at all what it was. First there was the tiny reaction after eating shrimp in lobster sauce then the second medium reaction to crab on my prom night. Of all nights! Then finally the mother of all reactions! (all three in the same year) I transformed into a monster from head to toe. The whites of my eyes became swollen and red. My face was transformed into a monster's and the hives covered my entire body. I itched from my head down to my toes. I have never known such a horrible desperate feeling.

Fast forward twenty-two years. I had never been to an allergist and I just simply stayed away from shellfish. It was never really a problem, until recently...

In the past month I have had more shellfish incidents than I had in twenty-two years. In twenty-two years!!

First, my husband ordered calamari, which I can eat, and when I went to take some from his plate I discovered that they had mixed some mini-shrimp in with his order. Thank goodness some of the batter chipped off of one piece and I spied the pink tint of the shrimp or we may have had a disaster.

Second, a couple of weeks later I was at dinner with my family and a good friend. My friend offered me a vegetable that had been cooked with shrimp without even thinking about it. I spit it out but not before swallowing a bit of it. Within half an hour my legs were itching and my lip started to swell. We rushed home and I took some Benadryl immediately and the itching and swelling stopped.

The second incident was enough to prompt me to finally visit an allergist and I’m so glad I did. The doctor was so patient and knowledgeable. She reminds me of a college professor when she is explaining something. She explained that instead of Benadryl capsules I should carry Benadryl and Zyrtec in liquid form because if I really had a serious incident my throat would start to close and it would be difficult to swallow pills. She also prescribed an epipen, which I now carry in my purse at all times. An epipen is for a severe reaction and it’s actually an injection of medication.

A few days after my doctor’s appointment with the allergist I was eating at a popular Vietnamese restaurant and I ordered seaweed soup. The menu only says seaweed and I asked the waiter to be on the safe side. He said it didn’t have any fish. Well it turns out the waiter didn’t really speak English. I figured this out after eating around 4 tablespoons of soup with crab meat!

Thankfully I found out later that week, when I found myself back at the allergist and I had an allergy test, that I have the least reaction to crab, but a reaction none-the-less. I have a greater reaction to shellfish in general (which includes crawfish), shrimp and lobster. I am especially allergic to the crustacean family. The best part of the whole allergy test was that I showed the least reaction to the mollusca family, which includes clams, oysters and scallops. You do not know how excited I am to eat those three types of fish. Now all I have to do is go back for a final blood test.

There have been many times in the past when I have thought about my food allergy and I’ve wondered what it would be like if I had the same type of reaction to carbs and fat that I have to shellfish. Wouldn’t that be interesting? Maybe then I would stop eating from these two categories. But then I know that I need to eat right on my own. All these restrictions will not suffice. I have to set some boundaries and restrictions to myself and I need to realize that these other foods, the fat and the carbohydrates, can also kill me, just a lot slower.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Cut Hair & Working Out Goals

Kind of small, but you get the idea. I cut my hair! I've always been self-conscious of not going too short because of my round face, but this is a cut that always works for me. This time the woman went a little too short. Hair stylists never realize how much my hair will curl up when it’s dry. But I figure it will grow. My hair grows pretty fast.

If I work out today it will be very ambitious of me. I always try to work out on Friday, but I’m always lured away by other things, like margaritas. But today I am going to make it a point to go for at least one hour after I pick up the kids. So I’m putting it out here to make myself accountable.

I’m looking forward to this weekend. I have a lot of writing to do and I’m writing a piece on Girl in a Coma and their new cover album, Adventures in Coverland. If all goes as planned I’ll be hearing them sing those songs Saturday night too.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Working Out and Not Blogging

Here is an updated photo of me, up close & personal.

I haven't been blogging but I have been working out. One week, week before last to be exact, I worked out four times in one week. That's a record!

I took this picture and used it as an updated profile photo on FB, instead of that six year old picture I was still using, and I got a lot of positive feedback. Friends said my face looked smaller. Last weekend I saw some girlfriends who said I looked like I'd lost more weight. I didn't think so but it was nice to hear that.

Maybe the working out is making a difference! I hope so. The bad thing about working out so much is that I blog even less. I know this is the longest I've gone without blogging on here. Almost 3 weeks! That never happens and I apologize!

Onward march!

What else is new? I was gong to blog about how challenging it is sometimes to decide whether or not to have a fill. I never did.

The story is this. I was planning on getting a fill on a Monday but I kept debating if I should because I was going to a big luncheon on Thursday for an organization and both my VPs were going to be there. Whenever I have a fill I have to follow it up with 2 days of liquids and 2 days of soft food. The luncheon was going to fall on one of my soft food days, which means that the only thing I could have on the plate would be the mashed potatoes IF they even served mashed potatoes. That makes a luncheon kind of an awkward situation.

So I was debating back and forth when I received an invitation to another luncheon with all the consulates of the Spanish speaking countries for Tuesday. That did it. I went ahead and rescheduled the fill for another day. Not something I wanted to do, but there was no possible way I was going to pull off two luncheons on the same week that I had a fill.

I thought that this would make an interesting topic for this blog, especially for other lap band patients who could relate. I wonder how they cope with this challenge and I’d love to hear some feedback. But only positive feedback please. I don’t want anyone saying that I didn’t get a fill so I could just eat more. Because technically yes, I guess that’s the reason. I didn’t want to choke on my food in front of hundreds of people. LOL!

My goal this week? Eat better, drink more water, and keep working out and blog more often.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Misery Loves Company, otherwise known as, It's Nice to Work out with a Partner

Image by Anne Taintor

Yesterday my husband joined me at the gym. There's something comforting about having someone join you in your suffering. I don't know what it is but it presses me on.  Of course he was working at around level 10 and I was at level 4 or something (maybe not even that high) and I was on there for 35 minutes and he was on for a whole hour. He glanced over at me at some point, around halfway there, and I was huffing and puffing away like I was the one working out on level 10. He smiled in amusement.

Today my arms were sore and I told him, "Hey, if I'm sore I got a work out."

Misery loves company, or so the saying goes. Usually my husband works out at another gym across town but yesterday he had his workout clothes with him at work so he decided to go to my gym. It was a nice treat to have him there working out next to me, even though we were both lost in our own music.

I also made an interesting observation about myself. I set my iPod to play on "shuffle" and I was not as motivated to pick up the pace as I was when I set it on my "Workout" play list. Around halfway through my work out I set it to that play list and it made a huge difference. The music made me want to move faster and it put a pep in my step. (OK, I know that sounds goofy)

So dear friends, I bid you adieu for the night. It's late and I worked out Tuesday and Wednesday, twice in a row, and my body is feeling it today. I need to get some rest so that I can get up tomorrow and hopefully work out again tomorrow night.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My New Torture Device

Precor elliptical machine similar or just like the one used at 24 Hr Fitness gyms.

I've decided to bite the bullet and start using the elliptical machine. I've been avoiding it all along and I've been trying to run. I even called it the torture device. I've actually made a lot of progress on the running but the reality is, I’m still very over weight and the running is putting a lot of strain on my joints. Someone advised me about this and I know he's right. :)

I think the reason I was so afraid of the elliptical was because I felt that it was harder. I know that it was, because it gives you more of a total body work-out and that was harder before I started running. Now that I've been running for a while and that I went back to try the elliptical it didn't feel as "hard" as before. However, I totally feel like I worked out more! I used it this week and I can feel it in my arms and where my back fat lies.

I took my husband's advice and I'm going to incorporate the elliptical into my work-out. I think the point that convinced me was when he pointed out how well I would work out my arms. After seeing those pictures of my fat arms a couple of weeks ago that was an easy sell.

Once I lose more weight and lose some of this all-over body fat then I will start running again. My husband believes that I will lose more in less time on the elliptical. I hope so!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Back to High Heels

It's 11:41 Central time and I already have my gym bag packed and ready to go for tomorrow. A must do, despite the nagging pain on the back of my neck, ear and into my shoulder. Something is not right. I've been in pain since last Sunday when I felt something pull out of whack when I was putting my hair back into a pony tail before washing my face. Yeah, today makes a whole week since I've been in pain. It especially hurts when I wake up in the morning.

This weekend was really good. Yesterday I took the kids to Build a Bear as a reward for good report cards. And since we were at the Galleria Mama had to shop for some shoes. I was shocked when I couldn't find anything at Nordstrom. What?! That's unheard of. I always find beautiful shoes there and there were some beautiful shoes, but just not anything that was right for me. I ended up with a cute conservative pair at 9 West, but they are open toe. I was hoping to find a nice black closed toe wedge for work. Or not so high of a heel, if not a wedge. I didn't find that. I stopped in at Torrid and tried on a black skirt and I found these awesome faux snakeskin shoes. I loved them, but then I brought them home and they feel a tad too high.

There's a story behind these shoes. A few years ago I had some beautiful wedge open toed sandals with this same exact pattern. In fact, that purse matched my shoes. I went on a business trip to San Diego and spent the night with my sister. The next day when I left I forgot the shoes. Shortly thereafter my sister packed up and moved and my shoes were never to be seen again. I was so sad... So when I found these shoes yesterday I felt like I found a lost treasure.

The bad thing is that I stopped wearing such high heels a while back. It was a combination of gaining too much weight, being pregnant, and carrying kids. Now that the kids are past carrying age and I've lost weight I need to get back to wearing high heels again. I'm sure that as I lose more weight it will get easier. I've already started moving back up to higher heels, but these heels here are a little taller than my tallest pair. Will I be able to step up to the challenge?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Found the Ten Pounds I've Gained

Today I was motivated to work out extra hard despite the crick in my neck. I had plenty of motivation in the form of pictures! Pictures do not lie and no, I am not posting the picture here.

I met my husband for lunch and I was looking at pictures he took of me last night after our Memorial meeting. (the Memorial of Jesus' death) I found the 10 pounds I've gained! They were all in my face and in my arms. It's amazing what a difference 10 pounds can make.

So today when I went to th gym I stayed on the treadmill an extra 15 minutes to work off this fat. I needed it and I need to do it again on Friday.

So that's that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Quest for Attractive Plus Sized Clothing

I am the first to admit that I am no fashion plate. I dress for comfort and I dress in what makes me feel good about myself. One rule I have always followed even before I lost weight was this: It doesn't matter how big I am I will always make sure I look nice. That includes make-up, hair and accessories. Accessories, especially shoes and purses, being the most important.

When I was larger and even now, because I'm still on the larger size of things, I have always noticed how plus size clothes isn't the best looking in the store. Most plus sized clothing looks like it was designed for older women. This was especially a problem when I was in my twenties and I wanted to dress younger and cuter. It's been a challenge to find cute clothes.

Somewhere along the way I discovered Avenue. It was either new in my market or I just noticed it. I found that Avenue had a great selection of cute casual and dressy clothes that didn't look old. Sure, I had to pay a little more for it, but let's face it, you always have to pay more for better quality. Avenue is more expensive than Lane Bryant, but I found clothes that really suited me. The only complaint is regarding the way their slacks are cut. I am a top heavy plus size, not a bottom heavy. So the pants are usually big on the butt.

A few years ago I discovered Torrid. I loved a lot of their cute funky outfits but Torrid is sometimes too Goth and young for my taste. And what is this insistence on making the dresses and blouses sleeveless? Don't the designers understand that plus sized clothing requires sleeves to cover my big arms? Either that or I'm going to have to buy the sweater or jacket to match so I can cover up.  I bought around two dresses from them before and some really cute shoes. You can also order online.

My next choice for nice plus sized clothing is Target, but even they disappoint me sometimes. I've shopped there and found the cutest things and then I've gone there and everything looks dowdy, like something my grandma would wear.

My best wake-up call that an outfit belonged on a grandma was the time I went to a conference and a really elderly lady walked by in a much smaller version of an outfit I owned, but thankfully was not wearing at that very moment. I thought the outfit was nice and even now when I think of it I really liked the skirt. In fact, after that incident I put the jacket away and only wore the skirt with different blouses. But I wouldn’t wear the whole outfit together because I knew that an old lady had worn one just like it. It was eventually too big on me and I gave it away.

Now if I Google plus sized clothing I find several places that sell some really nice outfits. Some are expensive and some are reasonable. It all depends on your budget. Other than Avenue, Torrid, Target (sometimes) and some of these places online it's pretty slim pickings! I think there is a great market for really cute, attractive, young looking, affordable, plus sized clothing.

Right now I am still in the middle of plus sizes and regular sizes. Depending on how something is cut, and how small the top is, I may wear a plus size. If the designer was more generous on the top, or if I can wear a tank top underneath and keep the top open, then I can wear the larger size of the regular non-plus sizes. Although someone wrote online that anything in the double digits, like size 10 is already considered a plus size! Unbelievable but true! And forget about plus sized couture. It doesn't even exist. Not really.

I’m not going to lie! I can wait to wear a size 9 again one day and be done with this search for cute plus sized clothing. Because I know it will happen eventually! I have faith that I'll finally kick this food addiction and that I'll become a running fool. When that happens I can shop wherever the heck I want and when that day arrives it will be a very good day.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Mommy Badge for the Week I've Had

This is a Mommy Badge my daughter gave me a couple of years ago.

This week will go down in history as one of those times that one of us (or all of us in this case) got really really sick. You know, you always remember those times that were really bad. My husband and I always remember our honeymoon to Italy. I was deathly sick when we arrived in Milan and I spent the first 24 hours asleep. My poor husband had to go in search of medication and tried to communicate with the pharmacist. He also had to venture out alone looking for breakfast and coffee. Unfortunately I'm the one who speaks Italian and he's the one who doesn't. My husband never forgets that.

Then there was our first year anniversary. My husband was very sick and ran fever all night. I kept putting a cold washcloth on his head and on his body to bring down the heat. I never forget that.

Well this week will be one of those we never forget. It was a week when every single one of us has been sick. I have been sick since Tuesday and I still haven't been able to shake it. Part of the reason I haven't gotten better is because I had to fly to Albuquerque overnight for sales calls on Friday. I was miserable on the way there, through a three hour delayed flight, and the next day back. I can't shake all this phlegm in my chest!

It started with my son Monday and Tuesday, followed by me, and now my daughter is fighting a fever and the cough. My husband is also a little sick but it hit him more like it hit my son, touch and go. Whatever it is decided to camp out on me and now on my daughter.

I was joking with a colleague from Dallas that I haven't worked out this week but I probably lost weight from not eating. I hardly ate a thing Tuesday through Friday. My appetite just started to return yesterday.

Plus, one of the nasty side effects of the lap band is that I can hardly eat when I'm congested because of the mucous. I get extra tight and I can only get warm soup down. A good trick when you're congested is to drink hot tea before attempting to eat anything.

I am hoping and praying that my daughter is better by tonight and tomorrow morning. The kids are on Spring Break but unfortunately because of the week I had last week I can't take any vacation time. I had originally planned on taking two days. They will visit their old baby sitter one day (she took care of them when they were babies so they love going there) and I still need to figure out other plans for the rest of the week. I'm hoping work goes well enough so that I can at least take Friday off.

I also want to be better by tomorrow evening because my daughter has cheerleading and I'd like to go to the gym for a little while. Even if it's just to walk. I just need to run and move!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Life's Many Obstacles and Adventures but I Have a Mommy Award

My Best Mommy Award by my daughter

Today I think I deserve this award. Notice she's inside a margarita glass. How appropriate!

6:30 a.m. Started waking up. Felt son's body and he was really warm, too warm.

6:45 a.m. Woke up my husband and told him to check my son too. He agreed. We decided he would take our daughter to school.

6:50 a.m. Woke up my daughter to get dressed for school.

6:55 a.m. Son woke up having a coughing fit and said he had to throw up. He pushed my daughter out of the restroom and he threw up phlegm. Nice.

7:00 a.m. Encouraged daughter to get dressed for school.

7:35 a.m. Husband took daughter to school, Son was watching cartoons.

I was up and checked work e-mail, etc..

8:30 a.m. Convinced son to lie down for a little while so he could get some rest. He slept for one hour.

9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Washed clothes and did some work. Sister called to remind me my father had his pacemaker check-up this evening and I volunteered to go next.

Husband called and said he was bringing lunch.

Husband called back. Truck was broken down.

Drove to pick up husband and to bring him back home. We all ate lunch and then he went back to work in my SUV.

I continued to wash clothes. In the end I washed every single piece of dirty clothing in this house. A major accomplishment.

4:00 p.m. Started making dinner.

5:50p.m. Husband drove up just in time so I could go help my father with his pacemaker check-up.

6:01 p.m. Walked into my father's house. He had just hung up the phone with the pacemaker lady. I had to wait for her to call back. She never did so I called her and I was put on hold.

6:25 p.m. Left my father's house

6:35 p.m. Made it to my house and tried to eat some catfish, asparagus, and Portobello mushrooms. Just a few small bites of each. Big mistake. Why haven't I learned that I can't eat in a hurry. I'm especially tight, no matter how small the bite. I didn't even get to enjoy what I cooked!

6:45 p.m. Husband asked me if I was taking my son. He had to go check on his truck to see if he could get it running. (my nephew was taking him) I realized then that I was not going to run at the gym as planned.

6:50 p.m. On the road to take my daughter to her first cheerleading class.

7:00 p.m. Husband calls. He forgot jumper cables in car. I say I'll meet him back at his truck after I drop off my daughter. I do and then drive back to pick up daughter. I stop at TMobile on the way because I need a new car charger for my new phone. The old one doesn't fit.

8:15 p.m. Daughter gets out of cheerleading. She's ecstatic and loved her class. I'm so happy! She's obviously worked out and sweated. I'm so glad I found an activity that she'll enjoy!

On the way back home we stop to assist my husband. He couldn't get the truck started with the other person's battery. We try mine. Doesn't work either.

9:00 p.m. Finally get home. Son is still too warm. I'm out of Tylenol and only have Motrin. After eating a little bit more I head out to Walgreen's.

9:45 p.m. Walk into Walgreen's. Buy the Tylenol and a few other things we need for the house.

10:15 p.m. Get home. Daughter is still awake. I wake up son to give him Tylenol. He asks me to read To Kill a Mockingbird. I read a couple of pages and son falls asleep again.

11:30 p.m. I still need a shower and to make lunch. I also need to figure out what I'm going to do with the my son if he's still sick tomorrow.

No, I never worked out, but I sure feel like I did.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Just Forgot the Mammogram...How Convenient!

I turned 40 exactly 3 weeks ago and I conveniently forgot all about my mammogram. Just plain forgot!

Today I came home to find a little postcard with pink flower and a woman on it. I wondered what it was and I turned it over to find that it was a friendly reminder from my OBGYN. Same doctor I've been seeing for the past 17 years. The reminder was for my annual pap smear and then it hit me. "I'm forty now! Dr. Miro told me to schedule a mammogram around my birthday."

Yeah, well the thought of having my big ol'boob squashed up in that torture device just makes me cringe! No wonder I forgot! If you know me well you have to think about that one. Imagine my breasts squashed in that thing. I have a feeling it's going to be very painful. But none-the-less I believe in prevention and I know I have to do it. I know I do. So tomorrow I'm going to call Dr. Miro's nurse to schedule the inevitable.

Now that Odyssey of the Mind is over I hit the gym hard, three days in a row! I ran every day and I'm not even sore. It's amazing. I guess that's my body's way of telling me it's time to step it up! Next week I'm going to move up to the next step of running more than I walk. I will eventually get there!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Odyssey of the Mind is Finished!

I am so glad that my daughter had this great Odyssey of the Mind experience and learned how to compete. But I'm not going to lie. I'm so glad it's over with and that I can continue on my exercise journey. One of the bad side effects of trying to be Super Mom is that sometimes (OK, a lot of the times) you put yourself and your health on the back burner.

I went to the gym today and I ran. And the best part about it? I didn't even feel like I skipped one week because of Odyssey of the Mind practice all last week. (competiton was on Saturday)

Prior to last week I had been building back up to running. So today when I went to the gym I decided that I wasn't going to spend another week preparing to run. I decided to just do it. I started with the 60/90 run and I did quite nicely. Now if I can only go to bed so I can rest for weight training tomorrow.

So this is a very short blog entry, probably my shortest to date. It's 11:30 and I need to shower and go to bed. Just as way of an update. The kids are doing fabulous in their own beds and I wish I'd done this a long time ago. I loved co-sleeping with them the time that I did but all good things must come to an end. They are both old enough to sleep in their room and right now they are sharing a room. My daughter calls it "the nusery" like in Peter Pan. Good night!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Freezing in Houston!

This has been the craziest, longest winter in my life. What is even crazier is the snow we've gotten two years in a row. This is a picture from December 4, 2009.

"Since 1895, it has only snowed 33 times in Houston, about once every 3½ years on average. Until 2008 and 2009, it has never snowed two years in a row. In 2008, it snowed on December 10 and 24, in itself a rarity, with the first one setting a record for the earliest ever. This was quickly broken the following year by a major storm on December 4." - (Climate in Houston)

So today it didn't snow after all just north of downtown, as forecast, but it did in some of the more northern parts of the city and up in Huntsville. I picked up the kids from their after school program and we made a quick stop at the grocery store for some juice I had to buy for a teacher appreciation breakfast tomorrow. When we got off the truck we saw some little bits of ice falling. It was exciting for about a minute but we quickly realized it wasn't going to turn into snowfall. That's okay, it was cold enough.

We've been going through a lot of changes in the Ruiz home this week. I have believed in co-sleeping for a while now, and I still do when the children are younger, but we had gone a little over board I think and I hadn't been able to get the kids out of our bed. Last week my husband decided that enough was enough and that maybe at this age we were doing the children more harm than good.

So on Thursday the children moved into their own beds and room permanently. It's been painful for them and they are still waking up during the night and telling us they hear noises, but they are doing it. Even last night my little one came into our room and told us that he was hearing noises. I was ready to scoot over to make room for him, but my husband told him to go back to bed and I was shocked when he did. I was so sleepy I just turned over and kept sleeping, but in the morning I was amazed to see that he was sleeping soundly in his bed.

We are also putting them to bed earlier and I only read a little bit of To Kill a Mockingbird to them tonight. I am hoping that by going to bed earlier they are less tired after school, especially my son. Some evenings he's so cranky it makes it hard to go the gym. I go anyway but there have been a couple of times that he is just crying and carrying on OR that he falls asleep on the short ride from his after school class to the gym. This SHOULD help my working out! It's already helping my writing because they've been asleep since 9:30 and that gave me some extra writing time.

My husband just kidded with his Anglo friend, who has been shocked by our chidrens' bedtime and sleep culture, that we have finally acculturated and our kids are now officially non-Hispanic. (LOL) He told him that they've been asleep since 9:30 in their own beds and in their own room.

On another note, I met with my soon-to-be editor today and she's agreed to look at more of my novel. I'm excited! Forward on! Leap fearlessly! I can't wait to start getting more feedback from her. I told her that I am going to have to edit prior to her editing, kind of like I clean house before the cleaning lady. But knowing that I have to send it to her for editing will force me to edit. I'm excited!

Lots of changes! More to come soon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Leap Fearlessly

Kindle by

I made it to the gym again this week! Thank goodness! I even went at the end of a really bad day. Believe me, it was extremely difficult to do it, but somehow I made myself go and I did it. I'm working on building myself back up to running. I didn't want to just jump right back into running after missing my workouts for a couple of weeks. So I've been walking and building back up. I think today is the day I'm going to start back on my 90/60 running again. I was already running longer than I was walking and I set myself back. No, I can' think of it that way. Any move is a move forward.

I'm having lunch at my desk, a cup of Progresso Light chicken soup. I'm going to resist the Girl Scout cookies that are sitting on my desk right now and I'm going to eat an Adkins peanut butter fudge crisp instead of the very delicious peanut butter patties that are calling my name. Yes, this peanut butter fudge crisp is just as delicious! Yum!!

I've included a picture of the Kindle for y'all to check out. I'm sure most of you have seen it before or may even have one. These are really popular and so are the Sony Readers. I am moving forward with my plan and I have a lunch meeting with my prospective editor next week. She's my former journalism teacher from high school and she's retired now. She's agreed to take a look at a couple of pages for me and to give me some feedback. Then she'll decide if she can do the editing and we'll go from there. I'm scared and excited all at the same time.

I keep telling myself to Leap Fearlessly. I'm scared to make big changes, but I have to do it. Now is the time.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Forty and Goal Setting Time!

It's finally official! I am FORTY YEARS OLD!! I seriously think I've been experiencing a depression in disguise for the last couple of months. Turning 40 has been weighing heavy on my mind for the past month. On top of this big milestone I've been going through a lot of other stressful state of affairs in my life and in my career.

But that was then and this is now. I am moving forward and I am taking back the power. I refuse to be the victim in my career changes and I will be proactive and I will do what I need to do to take care of ME and my family.

I finally made it back to the gym, which was much needed. I broke in the new Nike running shoes and I JUST DID IT!

I've also made a huge decision for myself. I have decided to self-publish my first novel! It is a huge step to make and I will be very busy editing what I wrote three years ago. It feels great to make a decision like this one. It gives my life even more purpose. I finally have a goal as regards this book and I'm looking forward to working towards that goal.

Speaking of goals. There are three times when I make and review goals in my life. The New Year, my birthday, and Fall, when the school year starts. I'm two days into 40 and I haven't reviewed my goals yet. As a matter of fact, I didn't make any this past January. All I said was that I would do what I had to do and not what I shouldn't. That worked for a little while and then I slacked off.

So now it's time to review my life goals, my goals for the next five years of my life and my goals for retiring. Crazy as that sounds I hope I'm retiring in the next 20 to 25 years. Twenty years fly by as has been proved since my high school graduation. THEY FLY! I will be 60 in just 20 more years. Unbelievable.

Turning 40 also makes me really take stock of my life and what I'm doing. I found an awesome artist, Kelly Rae Roberts, this past week while working. I came across her work while out on sales call and I was blown away by her work. She has such inspiring quotes on her work! I bought a little art frame that reads, "Leap Fearlessly." This will become my motto. It applies to so many aspects of my life, but especially my career.

I promise I will start blogging more often. I’ll let you know how my goals are going and how the book publishing idea is going. My goals are definitely tied to my exercise and eating goals!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"Never Too Late to Have a Life. And never too late to change one"

My new Nike Shoes that I'm yet to break in!

I have had two very very bad weeks, personally, exercise-wise, professionally, you name it I had it. Two weeks ago my five year old son was really congested and he woke up in the middle of the night telling me his chest hurt. My husband stayed home with him and took him to see his pediatrician. Asthma. Yes, asthma. I was so upset! My poor little boy and of course he was congested the entire week. Needless to say I couldn't take him to the gym kid's club because they don't allow children who are sick. And not that I wanted to do that anyway. He went back to school the next day and it wouldn't be that fair for him to have to be at school all day, after school care, and then the gym in addition to that. I wanted to get him home and into bed early. In addition to him being sick I had a sore throat for an entire week. So there went that week.

The next week I was ready to go back to the gym again and that week I let life get in my way. I was speaking to a women's group on Friday and I had to prepare the class outline. My husband had a talk at our congregation (religious) and he likes my input when he's working on a talk, so we worked on those a little each night after work. We planned to do our family study on Tuesday so I didn't go to the gym, but he had to work super late so we had to move it to Wednesday and so Wednesday I didn't go to the gym. Thursday was our meeting and his talk. By Friday I was drained from a crazy week at work and I had a heck of a day on Friday, that included exchanging words and opinions with someone.

So that is how you can let two weeks go by with NO exercise. None, not even with the exercise class that I very well know is on Comcast On Demand. Sad I know... My only saving grace is that I have a decent fill that keeps me from over-eating.

I won't say that I will NEVER let this happen again but I can tell you that I will work very hard to never let it happen again. The results are so obvious on my middle section! Breaks are good but they can't be too long!So I will end this with one of Nike's amazing quotes.

"Sooner or later, you start taking yourself seriously. You know when you need a break. You know when you need a rest. You know what to get worked up about and what to get rid of. And you know when it's time to take care of yourself, for yourself. To do something that makes you stronger, faster, more complete. Because you know it's never too late to have a life. And never too late to change one." – Nike

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sixth Week of Exercise

This is my sixth week of exercise! I skipped the week of December 28 so these aren't consecutive weeks, but pretty darn close!

I have a confession to make. (do you want to read this Kimmi?) I haven't been logging my food or exercise on No, I haven't....

Why is it that I have such a challenge doing everything that I'm supposed to at the same time? I've been exercising like crazy but I'm not logging my food, therefore I know I'm eating a lot more than I should. Sigh...

Okay, on to more positive things. I am finally making some progress on my running after six weeks! (remember I'm not a runner so this will take me longer than most people) I am starting to run 90 seconds now and then walking 90 seconds. Yay! Not every single time but a lot of the time. I want to start building up to run longer periods of time.  Next goal will be to run for 2 minutes and then to only walk for 90 second in between.  I'm trying to follow the "Couch-to-5K Running Plan" somewhat.

I can not believe I'm going to be forty four weeks from today! At forty I am going to start a completely different phase of my life health-wise. On to new goals for the second half of my life!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Perfect Fill!

I think I'm finally there! I'm pretty sure I have the perfect fill!

I've been really tight, meaning I can hardly get any food down during the day, and I've been really loose, where I was eating way more than usual. I wanted to be just right. I wanted to be tight enough to feel that sign that tells me, "Okay, stop. No need to eat anything else." At the same time I don't want to be so tight that I can only have soup for lunch.

Today was a perfect eating day. I had coffee and a protein shake for breakfast. Then I had some soup and a fish taco, sans the tortilla, for lunch. Dinner was a "chicken" tofu patty and a black bean patty. I had a few tortilla chips as a snack after lunch and I think I'll have a protein chocolate bar as a snack in a bit.

I have worked so hard over the last couple of months to get here. I'm serious! I mean that I have inched my way here .2 ccs at a time! I didn't want to overdo it. I wanted exactly the right about of restriction and I really think this is it this time. I've lost SIX whole pounds since my fill on December 29!

I feel pretty good. I was exhausted when I woke up this morning after two days in a row of running. I'm taking a break today and I'm running tomorrow.

Then there's the balance in my life. Due to all my working out my house is a MESS. I've been too tired to clean. Besides tired I have to get dinner and go over the kids' homework when I get home! I won't have a chance to clean until this weekend, unless I can have the house cleaned tomorrow. Balance between working out and keeping the house clean. That's next on my goal list!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Locker Number 18

I have a funny habit I told my step-daughter Mandi about when we were Zumba-hopping last week. She laughed when I told her. I always use Locker # 18 in the locker room. I do this to keep my goal right in front of me. My goal is to weigh as much as I did when I was eighteen.

Okay, before you go thinking that's an unrealistic goal and that no almost-40 year old can ever weigh as much as she or he did in high school, you must know that I weighed a lot at eighteen. I also wasn't a size 6, like some teenagers. But I was comfortable at that size. I was a healthy size for my height and very close to my ideal weight. It's also 40 pounds less than I weigh now. That's not so unrealistic when you've already lost 40 pounds.

I thought of moving around to different locker numbers. For example, right now I would be using #25 because I weigh about as much as I did at that age. Then I would move down to #23 when I weigh as much as I did then and so on until I reach #18. That just seemed like too much work and I decided to stick to my end result goal, #18. I want to weigh as much as I did at my graduation.

It's kind of cool that 99% of the time the #18 locker is available at the gym. When I change in the locker room I put my clothes in my gym bag and I put everything in locker #18. As I lock my old fashioned high school-like combination lock on the locker I look at the number 18 before I head out to run on the treadmill and it makes me run faster.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vacation is OVER!

Desing by Anne Taintor

So here I am. It's the very last day of my vacation and I'm sad. One part of me is ready to go back to work and a very big part of me is not. The part of me that is ready to go back is the part that needs order and a schedule in life. The kids go back to school, thus it forces me to get up in early and to get the kids to school on time.

I don't write New Year's resolutions but I always write down my goals. This year I have simplified my goals to two. 1. Do what I should and 2. Don't do what I shouldn't. Part of doing what I should is waking up early and getting the kids to school on time. Don't ask me why I struggle with that simple rule but I do.

Another part of doing what I should is eating right and exercising. Doing what I shouldn't is eating food that is bad for me. Let's see how this simple approach works for me. Going back to work will keep me on the straight and narrow with my exercise routine. I'll be able to pick up the kids from their after school and then go running for half an hour before heading home. That's the plan.

My husband is going back on his no meat diet so that will make it easier to eat healthy. Back to fish and tofu, which is so much better for us, kids included.

New year, healthier me. New year, more organized me. New year, more disciplined me. New year, runner me!

But yes, I still wish I could stay home, exercise all I want and write all I want. But alas, I can't. I have to go back to work tomorrow and head back to the grind.