Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today I reached "Lifetime" at Weight Watchers.  I have been working toward this for the past 14 months. Looking back at my weight, I could have been done with this back in April.  In fact, I weigh only one pound less than I did in April, which is kind of funny to think about.

But the winter months are always easier for me. Life is more routine, scheduled, less social, and there seems to be more time to plan my eating and exercise. Summer is more hectic. We go to our cottage most weekends, and it always seems to be a "we're on vacation!" attitude.  It's not good to bring chips or treats every weekend!  More socializing, more cocktails, more s'smores.

Before I started WW, I took Glamour magazine's "Happy Weight" quiz online. My happy weight was 145.  Whoa! I thought.  I want to be in the 130s. You know, like I was in my early to mid twenties.  Before residency. Before children.

Weight loss wasn't difficult, but it takes time, planning and commitment. I readjusted my goal to 140.  Then I hit a plateau in March, 6 months after starting.  Stuck in the low 140s. Eat less, then eat more. Did not work. I was also increasing my running at this time, and wanted to be sure to fuel adequately.

It seemed like no matter what I did, I could not get to 140.  I got a little sloppy over the summer with portions and choices.  I gained a little weight, then easily dropped back down to 143. To stay.

So I started to think about this. What is 3 pounds more? Can anyone notice? Would I notice? If it is so hard to get to 140, how hard will it be to stay at 140? So I chose 143. And today I am 142.

This is MY happy weight. I have a normal BMI. I have more energy.  My physical fitness level has not been this good for a long time. Maybe ever!  I am just a couple of years away from 40, and my body has carried and birthed two children. It's never going back to where it was in my 20s!

Do I regret continuing as a paying WW member for the past 9 months? No. I really don't. It was 9 more months to focus on good choices, portion control, and understanding my  hunger cues (fatigue and stress).  This was not a diet.  It was a lifestyle change, and the more you do something, the easier it gets.

Well, I am headed to the TM in the dingy ol' basement to bang out 3.5 miles. Yeah. It's 10 pm. What am I thinking??!!  Have a good night!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Magic

I have been thinking about this post for a while, but I need to make a better effort to get it out of my head onto the computer!!!

The holidays are upon us.  My kids are now 6 and 4, and this season has been PURE MAGIC for them.  First, T. understands tradition.  Last month, John and I debated celebrating Christmas at our cottage up north.  Santa would know where we were. That wasn't a worry. But a couple days later, T. said to me, "Mom, I think I just want to have Christmas here."  When I asked why, he said, "I don't know. Because that is how we have always done it. " "Like a tradition?" I replied.  And he said, "Yes, like it's our tradition."   How sweet is that!

I had to work the weekend after Thanksgiving, and my husband and kids thoughtfully put up the tree, decorated (the front) of it, and strategically placed the rest of the decorations around the house. I'm still tweaking things.

When I put some lights out front, T. and C. found three more strands that worked.  They thoughtfully brought them outside to be hung. We don't look like the Griswalds, but it is definitely brighter than my usual monochromatic decorating scheme!

We have decorated sugar cookies. We made a gingerbread house. Two My Little Ponies have moved in.  We made the clay ornaments in the Family Fun magazine. We made a snowGIRL.  Note the skirt.

We have piles of presents under the tree that are amazingly still wrapped, although several are for the kids.  T. asked his dad to take him to Target to pick out presents for C., John and I.  After about a week of C. shaking her gift and dragging it around the house, she seems to have forgotten it.

We talk about Jesus and His birthday. We light an Advent wreath made from shredded wheat and glue each Sunday. We talk about people who need presents, food, shelter and clothing.

We have had lots of discussions about Santa and St. Nick.  How they get in the house. Is St. Nick alive or is it his spirit that comes?  In all his first grade wisdom, T. did point out that saints are dead. Yup, must be his spirit.

It has been a joy to watch them marvel at the holiday season.

A couple of weeks ago, we had our first snow. I went out for my first snowy run of the season. I left at 3:45 pm. Not dark, but as I was out for the 3.5 miles, the light was dimming. People were turning on the lights on their homes, trees were lit through the windows.  In the glow of the lights, the world under a fresh blanket of snow, to be outside running, it was MAGICAL.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Germs, germs, germs

With the winter season, along with the snow and the decorations and the holiday cheer, also comes all our little friendly viral illnesses. Upper respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, pharyngitis, bronchiolitis. And sometimes they invite their bacterial friends, that lead to little parties in your bodies known as ear infections, strep throat, pneumonia.

The average child gets between 6-10 colds (viral upper respiratory infections) per year.  This is your typical stay-at-home child.  A child who attends daycare will get 8-12 colds per year. Most URIs last 7-10 days, but can linger up to 2 weeks. So, therefore, a child who attends daycare may have some combination of runny nose and cough for 6 months of the year.  I cannot tell you how many times I ask a parent, "How long has the congestion and drainage been going on?" and then they snort and laugh and say "For months!"

There is good news to this. Over time we develop our immune system.  When we are young, all these illnesses are new to our bodies. When we fight an infection, our immune system has to start from scratch to develop antibodies to fight the illness. After the illness, we do have lasting antibody memory.  The next time we get exposed to the same or similar illness, we are better able to fight it off.  What might be a full force 10 days of congestion and cough in your 18 month old may be just a few days of mild congestion in you.  Kids in daycare, although they are sick more frequently in the early years, tend to have less illness when the become school age children than those who stayed home.

I think some of the best ways to stay healthy are adequate sleep, nutrition and hydration, along with frequent (but not obsessive) handwashing.  Although studies do indicate alcohol-based sanitizers are more effective than soap and water (if your hands are not visibly contaminated with bodily fluids), I prefer soap and water.  Using sanitizer before and every patient just does not FEEL as clean to me. Also, my hands get very dry in the winter, and that stuff STINGS!

So this brings me to the main point of the post. In the winter, how crazy do you get about staying home and away from crowds?

When my kids were younger, we avoided the hands-on children's museum in the winter, McDonald's playlands all year round, and any other possibly heavily germ infested surfaced. Now that they are older, they get sick less frequently, they are less prone to ear infections, and they are both in school with 19 other potentially infectious classmates each.

When I took my kids to a local indoor inflatable playplace about 1.5 weeks ago, I prided myself on how far I had come.

Until 36 hours later.

That's when they both woke at 3 am (within 5 minutes of each other!) vomiting. And everyone was up the rest of the night, except for the dog.

I'm not saying we couldn't have gotten this elsewhere (door handles, grocery carts, school, playground, swim class, etc), but it seems pretty suspicious to me.