If not for the skinny jeans…

Archive for February 2013

Well, I feel much better now that I’ve started recovering from my fast food relapse.  And to start things on the right food, the very next day I made my own protein bars.66916_10152522061588532_1151349131_n

PUMPKIN protein bars to be exact.  You can get the recipe here.  I was leery about trying out something like this, but I knew I needed something satisfying (and sweet preferably) as a fail safe for “those” moments.  I even processed oats so I would have oat flour!  And guess what… they are great!  I am so happy I made them.  The website that I am a member of has tons of yummy ways to add more protein into your diet, which is what I’m attempting to do.

299813_10152522133108532_544687775_nI have noticed that by keeping the protein up, I am consequently keeping my carbs down.  I’m focusing on eating more lean meats or beans, with produce of some variety.  I am limiting most grains to the morning when I have the ability to utilize them better throughout my morning.  I say all this, but that doesn’t mean I’m sticking to it 100%.

Today was a really good day actually.  I made myself a strawberry banana protein shake (with almond milk).  For lunch I had grilled chicken salad, super light on the dressing and for dinner I opted out of the family dinner and made myself a tuna salad (as in a can of tuna on top of a bed of lettuce/veggies with dressing drizzled over).  My snacks consisted of either almonds or the protein bars.

I have noticed when I look down that my belly is poofier than normal which means one of two things, or both of them.  (1) I’m eating too much sodium (2) I’m not drinking enough non-caffienated liquids.  I’m going to up the water tomorrow and see what difference that makes in how I feel.

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That’s right.  I caved in tonight.  Granted, these days happen.  I can only move forward now.

We were out later than planned and Ellie was getting (honestly) hungry.  I decided one of the better choices around was Chick Fil A.  Before I go any further, let me say something about fast food restaurants.  

FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS DO NOT MAKE YOU FAT!  YOU MAKE YOU FAT!  There are healthier options at almost all chain fast food joints.  You have to be willing to make those choices though.

Okay.  Off my soapbox.  Anway, I didn’t make those choices tonight!  LOL  I got a spicy chicken sandwich, WITH cheese, fries and a diet drink.  Ellie got her meal and then a shake for dessert.  I very rarely give in to Ellie’s request for desserts like that but I like to surprise her every now in then.  It restores her faith in me!  LOL

I ate everything.  I don’t know what got into me.  My tastebuds were so happy I think I just stopped thinking about anything else.  I even finished the third of the shake that Ellie didn’t finish.  And now… ugh.  I feel miserable.  Entirely too much of the wrong foods.  

Part of me is glad I did though.  It acts almost as a reminder as to why I don’t eat that way anymore.  Why I opt for the salads.  Why I only eat half the bun.  Why I don’t frequent the chains anymore (besides the money it saves me).  

On a plus though, I did get in a great leg workout this morning.  I forgot to eat something beforehand so my blood sugar dropped during it.  An apple and then (a balanced) lunch shortly thereafter and I was back to normal.  I love how powerful I feel while I’m doing these workouts.  

2013!  A brand new year!  It’s amazing how many resolutions involve losing weight.  I think I read somewhere that it is one of the most common resolutions for Americans.  Not surprising considering the obesity epidemic in our nation.

when I lost my first 25 pounds I got a special token from WW

when I lost my first 25 pounds I got a special token from WW

I have found that between the cardio and getting in all of my water (usually 64 ounces) that the weight does come off a little easier.  It’s not automatic.  I can’t eat whatever I want, but I do know that those two things are working for me.  I make sure to keep them a priority during this time.  I love seeing the numbers on the scale move down.  I love how my clothes are getting too big for me.  In the fall I started a visual project for my weight loss and believe that it has also contributed to my successes. of course the GS cookies come the same week as my "rough" week

of course the GS cookies come the same week as my “rough” week

I also know, the week before my period is a rough week for me.  I remember eating an entire roll of Oreo cookies with a glass of milk one day.  My sweet/snacky tooth seems to be insatiable during this week.  I hate it.  I really do feel like I have no self control during this particular week.  It’s ridiculous.  But the following three weeks, I am able to make up any weight gained (because I normally gain in that one week).  Some days I feel great and I can literally see the difference in my body.  So of course, those are the days I take pictures and post on Facebook.  LOL  I even started taking measurements again because I didn’t feel so horrible about what numbers might pop up!  I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had lost over 2 inches from my hips, 2 inches from my waist, and an inch from my bust!  It was just the motivation I needed to help me find the next step.

one of the "good" days

one of the “good” days

I had been going to the gym, and working out really hard.  I was burning anywhere from 500-900 calories every time I went, it just depended on the class I was going to.  The pounds were literally falling off!  It was great!  Unfortunately, I over-used my patella tendon and had to cut out everything but walking for roughly three weeks.  This created my first weight loss plateau.  I expected it, but it was still a little hard to deal with.  I realized I had become obsessed with that damn scale and the numbers it was telling me!

In February, I found a great website.  www.bodybuilding.com  This site has tons of great article and training programs to follow, all for free.  I found a 12 week program (Jamie Eason’s LiveFit Program) that fit in with what my goals are.  The first phase of the program consists of muscular endurance and no cardio.  This was perfect for me since I had just gotten cleared to start working out again, but to reserve my cardio to low-impact (i.e. walking or elliptical).  I started the program the second week of February.  I am already getting muscular definition in my arms and I can feel myself getting stronger!  It’s such an empowering feeling.  It was after I started this program that I realized what my real goal was.  It’s not just about losing the weight.  It’s about respecting my body.  It’s about creating a healthier lifestyle for myself, while setting a good example for my girls.  I decided that one of my fitness goals was going to be to run a marathon by the end of the year.  As of right now, I’ve got my sights set on the San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon, November 17th.  I’ve already found a training program to prepare me to run that distance, and to be completely honest, I’m excited about it!

I’m back to really watching what I’m putting into my body.  I thought about doing the “clean eating” thing that seems to be all over the place, and quite frankly, it’s not for me.  I love the convenience of have a processed meal when I’m just not in the mood.  That’s not to say I don’t like the idea of clean eating.  I think my diet right now is about 60% clean already.  That works for me… for now.  I would like to   e v e n t u a l l y  rid myself of my love of processed foods.  I’m working with what works best not just for me, but also the rest of the family.  In an upcoming post, I’m planning to write out what I typical food day is for me, just so you have an idea of what and how much I’m eating.  I’m coming to terms with the idea that what goes into my body is so much more important that how hard I can push it.  I can’t push my workouts any harder if I’m not fueling myself correctly.

This is going to be a life long struggle of mine.  It’s an adventure I’m ready to embark on.  This post was the entry that brings you completely up to date with my journey.  From here on out, it’s all current news!

the journey so far

the journey so far

Family picture taken july 2012

Family picture taken july 2012

It’s now the fall of 2012.  My husband has deployed, for the third time.  I’m living in Maryland with my family for the extra help and support.  Eliska is in morning PreK and I’m staying at home with Amelia…

I have still been losing weight, but nowhere near as quickly as I was when I first started the Weight Watchers program.  One of my saving graces was that since Ellie was in school, she wanted to eat lunch almost as soon as she got home, so we weren’t going out for lunch like we used to.  Another big saver was that I had agreed with my Mom that I would prepare dinners every night because she got home so late, so again, I’m not going out, eating fatty rich foods.  I signed up at the local gym and was going, but not on a regular basis.  I would allow any excuse to be good enough not to go.  Yet, I attended the WW meetings every Saturday.  With the holidays quickly approaching, I knew that I couldn’t let this cycle keep going.  I had to change something.  I spoke with my WW leaders and one of her best comments to me was that I needed to find out what was acceptable to me.  At first I thought that was strange.  As I sat down and thought about it though, I realized I knew what she meant.

The holiday season is the hardest time of year to test a person’s will power when it comes to food.  There are so many delicious foods that seem to only come out this time of year.  And I’m a fanatic when it comes to Christmas cookies.  I just love them!  To bake AND eat them!  I realized that the only thing that wasn’t acceptable was to gain weight.  I was okay with maintaining.  Of course I would love to lose too, but I know me and I know that I was going to have a hard holiday season if I had to turn everything away.  

After Thanksgiving had come and gone, I knew I was over the biggest and hardest hurdle.  The best part was I didn’t gain!  I said yes to some of the yummies, but was okay turning away some of the others.  I started making more healthy choices as to what was going in.  I’d find myself asking myself, “is it worth it?”  More times than not it wasn’t.  And I’m not one of those people who can have a bite and be satisfied.  If there is a piece of cake in front of me, I’m going to eat all of it.  Not just a fork full.  That’s just a tease to my taste buds!  I also started drinking a lot more water and really started going to the gym.  I told myself if I was going to eat the fatty cakes, I was going to at least try to sweat it back out.

I made it through the holidays without gaining or losing, and I was okay with that.  It was about this time that I realized I’m in this for the long haul.  It didn’t take me overnight to gain the weight, so it certainly wasn’t going to come off overnight.  I finished my associates degree at the beginning of December so I had one less stress to add to my life.  I felt more in charge and ready to tackle my weight loss.  My fatty buddies weren’t going anywhere without a fight, and I was ready to fight.

I guess I should be a professional by now.  I’ve been yo-yoing for the last 10 years, at least!  Yo-yo dieting that is.  I’d gain weight, get upset and frustrated, find a way to lose the weight, get happy (read complacent), start slowly gaining again, and so on and so forth.  I never really stuck with anything.  In hindsight, I think it’s because I’m lazy and I didn’t want to have to work at it.  I wanted it to be easy and effortless.  As effortless as gaining the weight.

Well, I don’t have that kind of body to be able to mistreat it like that and get away with it.  If I eat too many cookies, I feel it.  If I eat one pizza slice too many, my bloated belly shows it.  I would get frustrated because I’m a relatively active individual, and I like going to the gym and getting sweaty.  I don’t like counting calories, or fat grams, or figuring out how many carbs are in a serving of this, that or the other.  I don’t like having to base my life around specific number.

We had Amelia roughly a week after this picture was taken.  As you can see, I wasn't the smallest pregnant chick!

We had Amelia roughly a week after this picture was taken. As you can see, I wasn’t the smallest pregnant chick!

So I didn’t.  And the scale would go up, then down, up, then down.  (picturing the yo-yo aren’t you?)  After Amelia, I remember looking at myself in the mirror and feeling utterly depressed.  I didn’t have the energy to do anything.  I always seemed to be cranky.  Nothing fit.  I was worried about my husband still finding me desirable, because I didn’t.  Standing in front of that mirror I battle both superficial and internal battles in reference to my health and appearance.  I made the decision, while seeing myself in all my stretch-marked, post- second baby squishiness that I would get healthy.  I would work.  I would change my lifestyle.

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This was roughly four months PP.

This is where Weight Watchers comes in.  I had done WW on a couple of other failed stints, but I remembered the program was the easiest to follow, but was also a great path to teaching me how to treat my body.  I was excited to get started, and even better, my husband wanted to do it with me.  Although he didn’t have nearly as much to lose as I did, he wanted to support me and shed the 20 pounds he’d been fighting to get rid of.  I went to my first meeting and weighed in. 188.8 pounds.  Seeing those numbers cemented my resolve to get it off.

While I was visiting my family in Maryland was when I initially signed up. Of course I was gung-ho at the beginning.  I had tons of motivation!  I tracked every little thing I ate or drank!  I measured every. single. thing.  At first it was fine and I was seeing some good changes on the scale.  We visited Tom’s family and I maintained what I was doing more or less.  It wasn’t until the fall that I really started slacking, but that’s for the next post!

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I found out I was pregnant with Eliska shortly after getting to mine and my husband’s first duty station, Fort Sam Houston, San Antonio, Texas.  We had briefly discussed whether or not we would have kids.  We decided we would, but that we wanted to wait until after our upcoming deployment.  God apparently had other plans.  We got pregnant while still on birth control and had a very big decision to make concerning my military career.  We talked about it for a couple of months and decided we were too worried that our deployment schedules would be off from one another and our child would never have a really stable, comfortable home to grow up in.  I left the army in September 2007 and we welcomed Eliska a mere month later.

Haenke FamilyI gained a total of 35 pounds during that pregnancy, which brought my weight up to a total of 195 pounds.  I kept telling myself I would not go over 200 pounds!  I would walk, and luckily, Eliska had me craving fresh produce almost the whole pregnancy.  I honestly wasn’t upset at all with the weight gain.  I didn’t sit and eat whatever I wanted, but I didn’t stop myself from eating anything either.  Tom deployed three weeks after Eliska was born, so I moved back home for the help.  I started cosmetology school and swore I’d get back to my pre-pregnancy weight.

Fast forward three years.  I’ve FINALLY gotten to my pre-pregnancy weight (165 pounds).  I didn’t do anything long-term to get it off.  I would diet here and there, things like briefly joining Weight Watchers, trying the prepared meal system Nutrisystem (disgusting), and the ever popular SlimFast diet.  I would get some cardio in, but nothing ever stuck.  We had another deployment coming up and Eliska and I stayed in San Antonio to wait it out this time around.  Some family members of mine were prescribed Phentermine.  It’s a medicine to suppress your appetite.  I was able to get a prescription for myself and started taking them right away.  I noticed immediately that I wasn’t hungry nearly as often, and when I did eat, I would fill up on much less food.  I had a group of friends and would go out to the local country bar and dance for 3-4 hours straight.  Country dancing will really get the pounds off!

071It was great!  In roughly 6 months I had dropped my weight to 142 pounds!  I loved how I looked!  I loved how confident I felt!  I was so excited for Tom to come home and see the “new me!”  It was roughly August by this point and through varying circumstances, I wasn’t getting in my “cardio” like I used to.  I had also stopped taking the Phentermine for months at that point.  Slowly, ever so slowly, I noticed my size 8 jeans were getting a little snugger.  I noticed I was getting a wee bit hungrier.  But I didn’t do anything about it.

When Tom came home for R&R in October I was about 150 pounds.  I was still happy though.  We enjoyed our time together for the brief two weeks.  He came back on Valentine’s day and I had gained another 5 pounds or so.  Slowly creeping back up.  We agreed that we wanted another baby and started trying in May.  It was almost like a switch went off.  I didn’t care what or how much I ate AGAIN!  I would actually tell myself, oh it’s okay, its more insulation for the baby!  Making jokes out of my weight gain…

We got pregnant with Amelia in July.  I was up to 170 pounds.   Unlike Ellie’s pregnancy, this first trimester I was miserable.  I had morning sickness almost every day and to top it off I was attending college classes four days a week.  I was exhausted.  And the only thing I could stomach?  McDonald’s!  I’m not joking!  I ate McDonald’s or nothing.  It was ridiculous.  But I took it for what it was worth, and tried to pick healthier options, but I found myself eating a large fries with BBQ sauce for lunch on many days.  I think I may have taken real walks simply for the purpose of keeping fit, um, maybe 7 times during the course of the pregnancy.  I had so much going on in my life that watching what I ate and keeping fit were not the top of my priorities.  Until I met Salli.  My midwife.  An absolute icon for my sanity during that pregnancy.  She stressed the importance of watching my health in order to ensure the health of the newest member of our family.  I took her words to heart and started upping my protein, eating more fresh produce and lots of whole grains. I noticed a big difference in my energy levels and daily attitude.  I think I gave more credit than was due to the fact that I was finally out of the morning sickness phase and less than what was due to my dietary changes.  I still didn’t walk as much as I should have.  When Amelia decided to come a month early, I was topping the scales at 213 pounds!  No wonder everything hurt!  After she was born, I remember talking to Tom and telling him I was desperate to get the weight off.  I was going to join Weight Watchers and this time I would stay with it.  I had to.  There were no more options.

I’d like to point out that this is what brings me up to my current state.  I will talk briefly about joining weight watchers and some of the triumphs and failures I’ve had in the past 9 months.  If you haven’t noticed yet, there was a lot of yo-yo dieting happening in the past 10 years.  I wanted to make sure that this little bit of my history was known so that some of my current and future decisions make a little more sense.

An individual has to be within certain parameters in order to stay in the military.  A certain height.  A certain weight.  You have to be able to pass a “rigorous” physical test.

I was totally prepared and excited for all of this when I enlisted.  I had gotten my weight down to around 150 pounds through exercise alone.  I was able to pass the physical test and I made it through basic!  I went on to my Advanced Individual Training unit in Monterey, California.  At 152 pounds, for my height (5 foot 4 inches) you have to start getting body measurements to make sure you’re still within the body fat allowance.  I was 154 pounds.  Constantly.  It didn’t matter how hard I worked during PT.  I just couldn’t figure it out.  I always “made tape” though.

The measurements that were taken were my wrist, forearm, hips, and neck.  I always hated getting my hips measured.  My body shape is in between an hour-glass and a pear, so I’m “curvier” on the bottom half.  I had my own issues with how the military used the measurements, but that’s for a different post.

While doing PT in California, I ended up hurting my ankle.  I had to get a permanent profile which basically meant I could run, but only at my own pace, not the unit’s pace.  I took that to mean “don’t run.”  So I didn’t.  There are alternate events they give to soldiers who can’t participate in certain parts of the physical test.  So, instead of running 2 miles under a certain time, I had to walk 2.5 miles under a certain time.  I’ll be the first to tell you, the walk is so much harder on your body than the run.

I was getting lazier and as long as I made tape and passed my test, I didn’t put much effort to lose any extra weight or get any more fit.  I definitely had the mentality, no one else tries hard, so why should I?  I focused my military career on the other aspects of my job.  And I was good at it!  I even met a great guy and got MARRIED!  Bonus!  He was fit and handsome and never seemed to have to care much about what he ate.  Yes, I was jealous, and ridiculously in love with him!

And after being in, I realized the military’s “standards” can very easily be smudged if you knew the right people.  (I didn’t know them! lol)  One of the aspects of the military that had initially attracted me into joining no longer seemed as important, and my body was paying the price.

Image A picture is worth 1000 words.  And what this picture says to me is not something I like admitting.  I was 18 when I went to prom.  I loved the color red and I knew I wanted something that would make me feel beautiful.  My mom and I went to a couple of different stores looking for a dress that fit… in more ways than one.  I knew I had been gaining weight, but was in EXTREME denial about how bad it had gotten.  In two years I had gone from 136 pounds to over 175 pounds!  But, I had a steady boyfriend who cared for me.  I didn’t care much about anything else besides that.  Until I got our prom picture back.  I was in shock.  Did I really look like that?!  I was so embarrassed!  Not just for myself, but for my boyfriend.  To this day, I will say I looked like the big red Kool-Aid man, and everyone was too polite to tell me otherwise.  This picture is the only one left.  I burned the rest.  I hated looking at it.  I didn’t ever want to see it again.  I kept one.  One single picture as a way to remind myself that I would never lose focus again.  Because of this picture, I can only remember my reaction to getting the picture.  I remember very little from my actual prom.  This picture essentially ruined my prom.

That summer, I was a lifeguard, and joined Jenny Craig.  I made sure to swim laps every day during the down times.  I made sure to eat what was on their planned menu.  I had to get the weight off.  I hated how I looked.  I was going to college that fall and I was so fearful of the infamous Freshmen 15.  By the time I went to college, I was 155 pounds.  20 pounds lost in the course of the summer.  I was ecstatic!

One problem.  I hadn’t learned much.  Jenny Craig did all the hard work for you.  I knew I’d be walking a ton getting to and from class so I never made the effort to do any other type of exercise.  I also wasn’t paying any attention to what or more importantly, how much, I was eating.  By the end of my first semester I was back up to around 165 pounds.

I had already decided that college wasn’t for me, so I knew I wasn’t going back next semester.  In fact, I enlisted in the Army (after getting the support from my family).  I was scheduled to leave the following March (I believe).  I started working out and running to get ready.  I hired a former Drill Sergeant as a personal trainer and he was literally whooping my butt on a daily basis.  Unfortunately, I ended up hurting my back seriously enough that I had to drop out of my enlistment and go to Physical Therapy for a few months.

I finally started to feel better and enlisted, once again.  I was scheduled to leave in April 2003.  I have no idea what my weight was because I didn’t concern myself with it.  I only cared about getting myself well enough to get through Basic Training.  I just knew being in the Army would be what I needed to stay fit.  You never see military folks out of shape… or so I thought.

For now, that’s the backstory.  I know it’s long and I apologize to everyone reading this.  The next section will be about how my health was affected while in the military, and should be a shorter entry.  

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