Tag Archives: self-esteem

Over The Hump

Well, I finally made it over the hump! Or at least a hump.

Let me backtrack a little. When I first decided to lose weight and get in shape it was the result of a doctor appointment in September, and my goal was to lose 14 pounds by my next appointment 3 months later, in December. I didn’t make it, and while I had been feeling really good about the changes I’d been making (eating better, tracking calories, working out 3 or more days a week), I started feeling bummed that I hadn’t done better. I didn’t make my diet bet, and I didn’t make my December goal. I slowed down my progress after that… got busy and didn’t make it to the gym, stopped paying attention to what I ate.

Today I renewed my membership to the gym for another 3 months. Today I weighed myself and found I’d made it over (or would that be under??) the hump.

I’ve been a little depressed the past week because I’ve been sick, my kids have been sick, and I have missed a lot of work. I made some goals for myself to start the year with a fresh beginning. Many of the goals were work-related, and not being able to do much this week on top of being off the last 10 days before have me really stressed. I feel a little like I’ve blown my chance for a good start.

But seeing the scale this morning made me think. I didn’t make my goal in December, but almost a month later I did. I was so disappointed, but now… I’ve met the goal, so what’s to be upset about? A win is still a win, so I’ll call this one. I’ll start work off with a bang when I return this weekend, and who knows? Maybe I’ll meet some of those goals on time!

Now, onto my next health-related goal… Let’s go for another 10 lbs!

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I Challenge You… To LOSE!

A month ago I found out I was much more overweight than I had previously thought. It jolted me into deciding to do something, and since then I’ve been paying more attention to what I eat and trying to be more active. In the past month I’ve lost just under 8 pounds, though I’ve fluctuated and am right in the middle of that now.

One of the things that has really helped has been the support of my friends and family and the support of a special group of mom friends I have online. My mom group started a weight loss challenge that ends this coming Monday… we all contributed some money and whoever loses the highest percent of their body weight wins the pot. What a motivator that was!! I was determined to win.

What a great motivator friends and money can be! I’m not ready for the group support to end, so I’ve decided to start a DietBet. And I’d love for you to join me!

It’s simple…

  1. Visit my DietBet page and consider signing up
  2. “Bet” $10 that you’ll be able to lose 4% of your body weight in 4 weeks
  3. Lose that 4%!
  4. Split the money pot with all the other winners losers

The challenge will begin Monday, October 20 and will go through Monday, November 17. Please consider joining me. The weigh-ins are completely private, and the DietBet Referees appear to take our privacy very seriously. The Rules can be viewed here.

This is my new beginning

Please bear with me, as this is really hard to write. My life is going to change, starting now. 

On Monday I had my yearly doctor’s appointment. I stepped on the scale, as I always do, and couldn’t believe my eyes. I wanted to die. 

I have gained about 25 pounds in the past year. I am heavier than I ever have been (and I’ve been through two pregnancies). I surpassed the 200 lbs mark.

I’ve never been satisfied with my appearance. I’ve had moments where I think I look great, moments where I don’t care what I look like or what others think, moments where I’m comfortable… but none of those feelings come naturally to me. I’m not a confident person, and I’m not typically content with myself. 

In high school I hated my body. I wore a size 9, weighed about 125-135, and was (still am) 5′ tall. I did marching band (and don’t you dare tell me that isn’t considered a strenuous workout) and ate poorly, but I maintained my weight, mostly, though I wished I had been about 110. In college I was closer to 140, and after I got married I was around 160. I don’t remember what I gained while pregnant with Trent. With Atticus I got to 199. After I had Atticus I lost more than I had gained while pregnant… so I was around 180. That means that in the last 18 months I’ve gained 35 pounds.

Here is a picture of me a year ago, about 25 pounds lighter. I can’t wait to get back to that, and eventually even past it.

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My weight isn’t a surprise to me. It winds me to walk up my stairs. It hurts my feet to stand up and take the first few steps after sitting for awhile. My knees pop more than they used to. My boobs choke me when I lay down, and it’s a workout to clip my toenails.

It’s depressing when I realize that the reason I rarely take my kids to the pool is because I’m humiliated to be in my suit. It sucks to have to avoid skirts and dresses because my thighs rub together. It’s embarrassing to walk up the stairs with someone at work and be noticeably breathless. And worst of all, I hate that I’m not as active as I could be with my children. I want to sleep better, feel happier, play harder and look sexier.

And I’m going to. Starting now. This is my new beginning.

I have an appointment in three months to get back with my doctor and evaluate things. My goal is to have lost 15 pounds by the time I see him. That’s 5 pounds a month, and just about 1 pound a week. I can so do this! Once I reach that goal I’ll set another. For now I want to take small, reasonable steps by creating realistic and attainable goals. I’ve started using the My Fitness Pal app and have also begun using the Pacer app. Pacer will track my steps and link the info with My Fitness Pal. I’ll log what I eat and my exercise in My Fitness Pal and keep track of my progress there.

Yesterday was day one. I stayed under my calories for the day and did some activity. I plan on eating healthier meals and smaller portions while being realistic so I don’t get discouraged. I’m hoping to start walking for 15-30 minutes at work as I’m able via my breaks, and I’d like to walk with the boys when I get home in the evenings also. I think I’ll get the wii fit out again and try using it to keep it fun.

I want to look at gym memberships and see if I can make something work with my schedule and the fact that I am basically operating as a single parent most of the week.

I’ve talked to some of my closest friends and to Nate and I already feel very confident that I’ll have ample support. I’ll be tracking some of my progress here. I can’t wait to see what the next few months holds for me and my health.

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Confrontation & Being an Introvert

I am an introvert.

I’m not the life of the party, I hate being the center of attention, and I won’t be the first to initiate a conversation, if I can help it.

But if I’m at a party, you better believe I’ll have a good time. Possibly too good of a time. I want to make sure everyone else has fun, too. While I don’t want attention focused on me I do want recognition… doesn’t everyone? If you want to talk to me, just do it; I’ll listen until you have no words left, and then I’ll talk until the cows come home.

Have an issue? *cringe* I hate confrontation. If I have a reaction I’ll probably go to a friend and sulk about it and whine, a lot longer than a normal person would. But I typically don’t address things… or at least I didn’t used to. I’ve made great strides in the last year or so in working toward being a better person, a calmer person, but I’m not perfect.

Things used to bother me all the time. And what made it worse was that I never addressed things with people unless I couldn’t handle it… and if that was the case, watch out. It was like popping a cork, and I would go ballistic on people with no warning. That wasn’t fair, and it was exhausting. I have to say that while confronting someone is still an exhausting task for me I’m working on it and I think I’m getting better at it. I’m trying to become a happier, more productive person.

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That’s it, really.

Innovative Technology in the Library

In the library and technology world David Lee King is a true mover and shaker (in fact Library Journal named him on of the Movers & Shakers in 2008). He is the Digital Services Director at the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library (one of my favorite libraries to keep up with) in Kansas. He knows what’s up when it comes to emerging trends in libraries, particularly when it comes to technology and the social web. I don’t frequent his blog as much as I intend to, but each time I do I pull something really cool from it.

Oh, and he’s nice to look at, too. *grin*

When I decided to redesign our website last year a lot of the ideas I had for it (some of which are yet to come) came from hearing him (and others) speak at the Internet Librarian conference in 2012. I’ve also tried other social web marketing ideas he’s written about on his blog or spoken about elsewhere. He’s definitely an idol of mine. I would love to be as successful at marketing my library and doing innovative things, but I’d also like to be better at speaking and invigorating others in the field.

Anyway, I read a post he wrote about a month ago about submitting a speaking proposal at the Internet Librarian 2014 conference and it just got me thinking about being successful in my job, encouraging and exciting others, and being more active. I was speaking there for a very few years, and even though I’m a totally shy and awkward introvert I have to admit I really enjoyed it. And… I think I was good at it. I think. I hope.

I feel like I used to be more innovative and on top of things in my field. I’ve always taken pride in being a jack of many technology-related trades. Web design, graphic design, social media, marketing, video editing, teaching… I like all of it, but it feels like I’m not as valuable anymore. I think I’m just overwhelmed with the responsibilities I picked up at the beginning of the year. And don’t get me wrong: I love my new position. I feel like I’m learning things every day, but I don’t feel like I have as much time to try new things and read up on what’s going on in the field. I have ideas and even things that *should* be getting done but I have a hard time keeping up. I would love to take David’s advice and just submit a proposal. But what would I do it on? I feel like I’m not on top of or even close to the trends anymore. I’m just hanging on to the technology-in-libraries life raft while the speed boat is jetting away ahead of me.

Anyway, I’m going to make a goal of investigating and implementing two new innovative technology things in my library over the course of the next five months. I will have been in this new position for 3/4 of a year, and I think that’s more than enough time to have gotten comfortable and regained my position as the driver of the aforementioned speed boat. I am, after all, the Innovative Technology Manager. It is time to better live up to that title.

Awkward.

When and why did being awkward become cool? I’ve been trying to figure that out for the past two years. And though I really don’t have an answer, I’m incredibly thankful. For once I now have an opportunity to be funny and cool. Because damn am I awkward. In fact, I’m so awkward that I might just be the not funny kind. Like, I think I’m the uncomfortable not just for myself but for everyone kind.

Here are two awful and awkward things that happened to me today in front of real people.

1. The Taco Bell Employee

I helped a young adult man at the desk today. But first let me backtrack and explain something. People smell. Often. Like all kinds of things. We deal with people who might not be in a situation where they can (or remember to) bathe often, and we deal with people who are stopping by quickly after work or a visit to the gym. We deal with all kinds of people. So this particular young man smelled sort of like… my husband. I couldn’t place what specifically the smell was but I liked it. I kept thinking of how I could bring it up. In assisting him and conversing with him he at one point mentioned having to work. I couldn’t hold back. “Where do you work?” I asked. He replied “At Taco Bell.” And do you want to know what my response was? Of course you do. After all, who doesn’t want to feel a little better about themselves in comparison?

“Oh, I thought you smelled like Taco Bell. I mean, I like how you smell, though. I like Taco Bell. I was just talking about fajitas.”

Wtf.

2. First Impressions

We hired a new teen assistant recently. Based on my coworkers’ (her managers) reactions of her, I am sure she is interesting and cool. So our teen manager was walking her around giving her the tour of the place. Let me set the atmosphere: I had just smelled a Taco Bell employee and was hurriedly escaping the scene. I looked up from my feet and see the new assistant and the teen manager standing in front of me in the lobby. The teen manager says, “Oh, this is Laura. She does all the technology stuff, basically.” I replied hilariously with “Well, I try anyway,” and just grinned at the teen assistant. The teen manager, who’s quite funny, moves on and says “I’m just giving her a tour. The worst tour ever. There’s a closet, there’s the elevator.” The assistant chuckled because it was funny, because yeah… first day tours are the worst. I’m really smooth and suave in my responses. Which this time was… are you ready for it?

“Yeah. Uh, now what?”

What did I even mean by that? What kind of introduction was that, and why didn’t I just say “nice to meet you” and move on, or laugh at the manager? At least the new chick knows how weird I am right away.

Why can’t I be the funny, cool, geeky kind of awkward? Instead of the painful kind of awkward that’s like nails on a chalkboard? Good grief.

Suffering is Optional

I finished a book today (that hardly ever happens anymore) and I really want to review it here, but I just can’t do it right now.

I’m having a hard time lately. I’m less than happy in some aspects of my life and my anxiety is through the roof. I’ve always had depression and anxiety and they both come and go. Actually, that’s a lie; they never completely go. They are present and they’re really present. Right now both seem to be really present.

I try to remind myself that my happiness is defined by me. A wise woman (I wonder if she’ll read this?) once told me that suffering is optional. I am not suffering. I have a lot to be happy about.

  • I have amazing kids. They are funny, charming, and inspiring people.
  • My entire family is caring and supportive. Kids, husband, parents, sister, grandparents, in-laws, extended family… all wonderful.
  • I have a job I love in which I receive the respect I deserve. It allows me to practice my current skills, build new ones, and work my creativity.
  • My coworkers are fun and quirky and I love working with all of them.
  • I own my own wonderful home and it keeps us all warm and happy and we have plenty of space.
  • My dogs are hilarious. They’re currently alternating chasing each other and resting on their beanbags.
  • I have several really close friends in all areas of my life that make me feel good about myself, my decisions, and even about my mistakes.
  • I’m not sick or unhealthy, and neither is anyone close to me.

Life is good. What more could I ask for? I just need to repeat that until it feels real.

Wait Just A Minute

“Mommy, look.” “Mommy, would you play with me?” “Mommy, can I…”

“Wait just a minute.”

I find myself saying it all the time. And while I feel like it’s justified every time I say it, I still feel guilty.

I remember getting frustrated when Nick was younger, about four years old, because he constantly wanted me to watch him do things. Sometimes all he did was jump in place. Other times it was something else: singing, dancing, riding his bike. I find myself remembering those days (Six years ago… Has it been that long?) now when Trent does the same thing. He asks me to watch him pour water on himself in the tub, or chase Atticus around, or this or that. I feel like I give my kids plenty of attention. So why do I feel guilty when I just want to finish a round of Candy Crush in peace? Or when I just want to update my Facebook status?

Kids don’t ask much. They just want out time, attention, love, guidance, and discipline. They need attention so they know whether they’re doing right or wrong. They need our attention to help build their self-esteem. And it had taken me an embarrassingly long amount of time to realize that, while on the surface it may not seem like everything they want me to watch is amazing, it actually is amazing that they want me to watch. They love me and depend on me and that includes ending my attention and verification for…well, everything.

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I’m trying to give my kids quality interactions and I’m trying not to minimize what they think is important. I firmly believe in respecting others’ perspective; my kids’ perspective is very limited because their time here on earth has been limited. I have a few years on them.

Trent thinks Disney Infinity is the greatest thing ever. He thinks his big brother Nicholas is the smartest and coolest guy in the world. He thinks I look like a princess. Atticus thinks waking up alone at night is so scary, and when I disappear for a moment alone in the bathroom he only just starting to realize I’m not gone forever. Nick, at ten, is starting to see how he and his interests and me and mine and his brothers and theirs fit into a big picture. What a vast difference these three have in their perspectives.

Every interaction I have with my kids is meaningful to them and it should be to me, too. Today when Trent asked me to watch him pour water out of a cup it was initially just that to me: water spilling out of a little plastic cup. But to him it was something important, something worth showing me. Who knows what his imagination transformed it into? I have two choices: I can validate his amazement at the little things and let him know that, regardless of how important or insignificant something seems, if it is important to him it is important to me. Or, I can blow him off and give him the impression that what he has to say isn’t important.

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My kids are important and special. I will focus on making sure they always know that.

Friends: Natural Confidence Boosters

It’s good to have friends. I’m lucky to have several friends I consider close.

The Plainfield Arts Gala Starlight Reception is this Friday. Friday! I can hardly believe it. I’ve been so excited except for one dreadful thing… I have to wear something nice.

Anyone who knows me has definitely seen my entire wardrobe. At least the entirety of what I wear. Just met me yesterday? You’ve seen 25% of the clothes I own. I save money on clothing purchases easily: I buy one pair of jeans and wear them until there’s a huge rip in the thighs. Then I buy another pair. I typically purchase one pair of jeans a year. I own several (meaning 5) maternity t-shirts and 2 nursing shirts, and those all get the rotation weekly. It’s awful.

If I’m honest with myself, the reason I own no clothes that I actually wear is because I keep thinking that one day I’ll fit into everything that’s hanging dusty in my closet from my better, fitter, pre-pregnancy days. I wear the cruddy worn-out clothes that do fit because I don’t feel like I deserve to wear nicer things. I hate shopping. I hate trying on the 23rd pair of pants and crying because they still don’t fit. I’m short. Seriously short. I have wide hips, large thighs, a huge butt, cankles and enormous boobs. Clothes are depressing. I’m depressed with my appearance.

I asked my coworkers friends Joanna and Courtney to help me shop. I needed fashion advice, advice about what’s appropriate to wear to this event I’m not familiar with, moral support when things don’t fit or look awful, and mostly someone to actually make me go shopping. The three of us decided on a day. I alternately dreaded it and looked forward to it all morning and then suddenly it was time. Courtney picked a store for women built like me and made me promise to try on the things she found for me. I promised. We stepped into the store and Joanna “it’s okay”-ed me while I stumbled and bumbled sheepishly and anxiously around while, like a boss, Courtney pulled a few dresses off the racks and handed them to a saleswoman. “These are for Laura. We’d like to set up a dressing room.” These chicks knew what they were doing.

Courtney and Joanna had a rhythm and dance I’m just not familiar with. We went to the fitting rooms and after a few repetitions of “woosah” under my breath I put on a dress and came out. They had me turn and move around. Courtney listed pieces of fabric and Joanna told me to move about. I looked in the mirror and actually… *liked* it.

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I tried another.

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They oohed and ahhed again and I tried on another and another.

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Guy, listen, and listen closely because I never thought I’d say this, ever. I had fun. I had fun and I felt good. About everything. I felt okay about my chubby upper arms. I felt fine about my huge boobs and butt. I felt okay about my post-pregnancy (second pregnancy, mind you!) belly. I looked fine. No. I looked good. I liked it. I felt hopeless before I even face myself a chance to try on the first outfit. By the end I was having a blast.

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I liked shopping and I liked the clothes and I liked myself. And I loved my friends. They made me feel good. They made me happy. They made me realize that there isn’t anything to worry about. Some things look good and some things look bad. There will always be someone thinner, bustier, bigger, prettier. There will always be a dress that flatters and one that looks terrible. I’ll never be perfect to myself but I’m perfect to the people who care about me.

Monday I stopped by Grandma Anderson’s house so she could hem the dress up for me. I put the dress on and Trent looked up and his eyes widened. “Whoa… You look like a princess!” I guess I may not always think so. But someone, some people do. And that is what makes me happy.