I (will be) Soldier Fit!

Dealing with body issues is one of my least favorite things to talk about. I hate being stereotyped as one of “those” girls who talks constantly about dieting and needing to lose weight. But…the truth is, I do need to lose weight. 20 lbs would be a good start. 40 lbs would put my BMI back in the healthy range.

When I got pregnant with Boo Boo I weighed 130 lbs. I was the “ideal” weight for my height. I was somewhat careful with what I ate. I counted calories, I ate a lot of lean cuisine, etc. I didn’t work out. I HATED working out. I was lucky enough that if I noticed a few pounds creeping on I could just watch what I ate and cut back on calories and the weight would just fall off.  So, I was thin, I had a somewhat flat stomach-but I wasn’t in shape by any means. And then came pregnancy. Pregnancy was rough for me in several ways.

To start, I left Boo Boo’s father and moved home from Germany (moving in with my parents.) I was depressed. My doctor started me on zoloft which helped the depression, but it was still a very difficult time for me, emotionally. I was lonely, confused about what was happening with my relationship, nervous about becoming a mother. I was also unemployed. The bigger my belly got, the more my job prospects diminished. So I spent a lot of time laying around the house, watching TV. And eating. I craved milkshakes and I indulged in them regularly. Mmmm, french fries dipped in a Frosty…heaven. I started developed Carpal Tunnel, Sciatica and restless leg syndrome. I was uncomfortable and by the end, just in pain. So, with all of this going on, by the time I weighed in at the hospital I was 180 lbs.

20 lbs was gone by the time I left the hospital. Another 10 fell off over the next couple weeks, probably from breastfeeding. (Did you know breastfeeding burns tons of calories?) My breastfeeding journey is for a different post but I’ll just sum up here by saying it didn’t work out for us. After 2 weeks I switched to formula. It was a very difficult decision and one I still question, so please, no judgement. That 10 lbs slowly crept back on and for the next couple years I stayed pretty consistent at 160. I was not happy with my weight or my body by any means, but I lacked the motivation and will-power to really do anything about it. I briefly joined weight watchers but didn’t stick with it.

Then, about a year and half ago, I got really depressed. I gained weight. Then I hurt my back. I gained more weight. I upped my Zoloft dosage. I gained more weight. At my last weigh in I was 178 lbs. So, I’ve realized that it’s time to DO something about my body. I complain about it. It hurts my self-esteem. I have back pain and heel spurs and all kinds of other health issues that are directly related to my weight gain. And dieting is not really working for me. One because I suck at dieting, and two because my body has changed over time and things have shifted and skin has stretched.

I started searching for that magic cure. You know, the one that lets me lose weight without really having to go on a diet or workout. In case you were wondering, that doesn’t really exist. I did try the It Works wraps. I see pictures posted on facebook all the time of the “miracle” results. Maybe I just didn’t do it correctly, but it definitely did not work for me. I also tried their fat fighter pills that you take with your meals. No results. And  yes, I did also change my diet. I completely eliminated fast food, which I had been consuming way too much of. I almost completely eliminated sweets, baked goods, etc. I tried cutting out all artificial sweeteners. I even went cold turkey on my Coke Zero. Which, if you have ever met me, you know was an amazing feat. But, like so many addictions, it didn’t last. I’m back on the Coke Zero now. Despite these changes I really haven’t lost any weight. I was getting pretty discouraged. But, I still really, really want to lose this weight.

I’ve come to the realization that the weight is not going to come off without drastic changes. I am going to have to, gasp, work out.Did I mention I hate working out? Like, for real. I hate it. I have exercise induced asthma. I get hot flashes (side effect of the zoloft.) I’m super out of shape. Working out at home is not a good option for me because I’m lazy. I am. At least I know it and can admit it. I am not very self-motivated to do things I dislike, so I will usually quit 5 minutes in, if I even start. But, I don’t really like going to the gym either. I hate all the machines. I never know how to use them. And, because I’m still on my own, I tend to quit way too soon, before I’m actually doing any real work. I’ve done classes before. Aerobics is okay-except I’m super uncoordinated. I am always going the opposite direction from everyone else. I think Zumba sounds fun, but again with the coordination. I have done pilates in the past and really enjoy it but that is not going to burn off these pounds.

So, I am taking drastic measures. I just signed up for Soldier Fit this week. Soldier Fit is a boot camp style workout that is becoming extremely popular in my area. It is exactly what I need. A group setting, a hard-core workout, and lots of motivation. I went to my first class on Monday. I thought I was going to die. Like, for real. I had to leave the room twice because I thought I was going to puke. The first time I left, I was thinking, “I can do this. I’m not going to let them see me fail. I’m going to cool down and get back out there.” And I did. The second time I left, I was thinking, “I’m going to die. These people are insane. I’m never doing this again.” But I went back and watched the rest of the class and then joined back in for the cool down. And when it was over, I went and signed a year-long contract. I haven’t been back for my 2nd class yet because I can’t really walk yet. But I’m going back tomorrow. I’m going to try to take it a bit easier on myself so that I don’t need 4 days to recover this time. Because I really can’t walk yet.

It’s not going to happen overnight. But, I WILL lose this weight. And I WILL be SoldierFit.

536858_10150693051945989_1761464015_nIf you live in Maryland or Northern VA and want to check out Soldier Fit, let me know and I will get you a free pass for your first class!

The History of Love

My History of Love! I was thinking back last night on all the dating I have done over the years. It goes a long way back. I thought  maybe I’d make a list. I’m going to skip high school. I was really shy, didn’t really date and didn’t have my first real romance until college. After that I was a serial monogamist for most of my early 20’s.

B: I was 18, he was my first real boyfriend. I met him at Woodstock in 1999. Turns out we were living in the same small town in MD and traveled to Rome, NY to meet while smoking a joint. Turns out, I was smoking a joint because it was Woodstock. He was smoking a joint because that’s what he did. All the time. 9 months later, he broke my heart.

M: Met at age 20 through mutual friends. Dated then lived together for 2 years. I broke his heart and still feel guilty about it. But I wasn’t in love with him. And he married the next girl he dated so obviously it was the right decision for both of us!

G: My first real love. I thought I would spend the rest of my life with this one…unfortunately, his alcohol and drug abuse ruined everything. After 3 years I finally had enough of the lies and ended it for good.

C: The one that got away. What started as a summer fling turned into a real friendship. Timing and circumstances have kept this relationship from ever realizing it’s full potential. We’ve lost touch again and I miss him a lot. We used to say that we knew we would end up together eventually and get married. I wonder if he still thinks about me.

B: Convinced me to move across the world with him, said he wanted to marry me, then dumped me. But, that’s okay. Because thanks to him I had the chance to live in Europe for 2.5 years. I have visited amazing places and met people who have changed my life in every way possible, all thanks to B. Wherever you are B, even though I still think you are an asshole, I am grateful for how you changed my life.

Singleton!!!! This was my year of being single. I dated, had a few flings, got my heart broken once…then I got pregnant. Ooops.

C2: The baby daddy. I met C2 at work. We began dating and it seemed to be going well at first. But, it slowly became clear that we were not compatible in the long term. He had a thing for drugs, weekend flings and secret text messages to other women. I think he was the type who wanted his cake and to eat it to…he wanted a nice girl to come home to but he wasn’t ready to give up the casual sex and partying that he so enjoyed. Unfortunately you just can’t have it both ways. At least not with me you can’t. So, we ended things after a few months in a mutually agreed upon fight with some not so nice words said. That was on Monday. Wednesday I realized I might be pregnant. And that story is for another post on another day.

So, that’s the history of my love life. Now I’m a single mom to a 4 year old, attempting to figure out how to date again in this new reality of mine.

p.s. did you know there is a book called the “The History of Love“? It’s a great book. You should check it out.

Single Mom…dating?

About a year ago I wrote a post about why I don’t date. To make a long story short, I just didn’t have the emotional energy dating requires. (Read the full post here.) Well, I went on a date last night! So I guess now this single mom is dating. I’m not sure what switched in my brain but recently I just really started to feel tug of loneliness. I am really tired of not having anyone to share my life with. So, I took the plunge and headed back into the world of online dating.

I’ve attempted online dating sporadically in the past. I usually never got past the first email or two. As soon as a guy mentioned the idea of actually meeting in person I just kind of backed away and pulled the old disappearing act. I went as far as texting with a few guys but still never went anywhere. One guy did a disappearing act on me and I suspect he may  have been married. Another was obsessed with talking about his ex-wife. Now, I totally get that if you are in your 30’s and online dating, you are going to have some baggage. But, let’s move on now, shall we?

I went on one date with someone I met online about  3 years ago. There was zero chemistry and I’m pretty sure the feeling was mutual since I never heard from him again. Even though I had no interest in seeing him again, it still stings a little to know he felt the same way. I mean, I think I’m pretty awesome. Obviously he did not agree!

So, back to the point-I went on a date last night. My most recent foray into online dating has been slightly more positive. I started talking to a guy and we seemed to really hit it off immediately. We have a lot in common, very similar situations with regard to our children and priorities. So, when he asked me to go on a date, I actually said yes.

And then, surprisingly, I had a really great time. We really just talked for hours and it seemed like we never ran out of things to talk about. And now comes the hard part. The part that goes with the post from a year ago. The waiting. The anxiety. The, “is he going to ask me out again?” feeling. The knowing that I could get hurt because I like this guy and he may not feel the same way. And then because I’m a woman, I over-analyze everything. Everything. It’s so damn stressful it makes me want to do my disappearing act again. It’s so much easier to just hide away with my 4 year old than to actually put myself out there and risk getting hurt.

But, I’m not running away this time. I’m out there. I’m going to risk it. Wish me luck, I might need it.

The hardest thing?

Someone asked me recently what I think the hardest thing about being a single mom is. I was like, wow, great question, but how could I even begin to pick just one? But after thinking about it I realized I do have an answer, and it’s hands down the hardest thing about being a single mom. And it’s not the obvious choices that probably pop into you mind when you hear the question.

It’s not money. The thing about money is, it’s just money. It really is. No matter how much I have or don’t have, it doesn’t control me our my life. Yes, it sucks to always be stressing about money. It sucks to know that I have to depend on child support from his father and that if it doesn’t show up one month, I might not be able to make rent. (And that has happened before.)  Really, compared to a lot of single moms, I am lucky in that department because I actually GET child support. My son’s father does have a decent job and the child support comes to me straight out of his paycheck so for the most part, it’s not something I have to worry about. Although it hurts my pride to need it, I am grateful to have it.

The hardest part isn’t loneliness. Yes, I’m lonely. It sucks not to have someone to share my life with. It really sucks not to have someone to share being a parent with. Being a parent is such an amazingly rewarding experience and I wish I had someone to share that joy with. And at night after Boo Boo goes to bed…well those few hours when I’m alone for the first time all day, when it’s quiet and there is no Mickey Mouse playing in the background, that’s when the loneliness hits. At least I don’t have to worry about sleeping alone. My 3-year old prefers to sleep with me and he’s a great cuddler.

The hardest part isn’t dating. I’ve posted before on how I feel about dating as a single mom. Although I’m sure dating as a single mom is hard, for me right now it’s easy. Boo Boo comes first and the rest will have to fall into place around him. If it doesn’t…oh well. I don’t have the time or energy to be sad about it.

The hardest part of being a single mom is the constant knowledge that somewhere, in the very near future, my son is going to ask me, “why don’t I have a daddy?” And I don’t know what to tell him. As he gets older the questions will just get worse. “so and so says that everyone has a mommy and a daddy,” or “why doesn’t my daddy want me?” or even worse, “why doesn’t my daddy love me?” My heart hurts and I get a sick feeling in my stomach thinking about these questions.

How am I going to raise a strong, confident young boy and raise him to be a man while facing these kinds of questions? I want to protect my son from every possible hurt in this world. I don’t want him to ever feel sad or rejected or unloved. How am I going to protect him from the hurt and pain of rejection from his father? Not to mention the fear that some day he will blame me for his father’s absence. Of course, I will tell him that not everyone has 2 parents, some kids have two moms or two dads, and some just have one or the other. I will tell him that his father does love him but he’s just really far away and can’t be here for him. I will tell him that his father loves him but doesn’t know how to separate that love from his anger at me for taking him away. Then I will have to explain to him why I took him away. (That’s when the blaming me will start.) Someday he will grow up and he will be able to understand how complicated it all is. He will be able to understand that I had to make the best choices I possibly could to protect him and give him the best life possible. Some day he will understand that his father really does love him, in his own, sadly selfish way.

Some day he will understand it all. But it’s going to be a very long, difficult road to get him to that understanding. And that is the hardest part of being a single parent.

Why I’m donating to the Autism Society

It seems like everyone these days knows someone affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder. There was a period not very long ago when we feared my Boo Boo may have a mild version of ASD. It turns out he does not. He does have some developmental delays and some sensory processing issues but we are certain at this point that he does not have autism.

I am so grateful to Boo Boo’s pediatrician for encouraging me to have Caelum evaluated and for trying to get to the bottom of his delays. There are too many stories I hear every day about another pediatrician who brushed off a parent’s concern about his or her child’s development. I don’t believe these doctors and professionals mean any harm to their patients. I believe they truly just are not educated or up-to-date on all of the research regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder. By being so uninformed, they do such a great disservice to their patients.

Autism is a disorder that is NOT a life sentence. With proper treatment and therapies, children with autism can be incredibly successful.  They can thrive in school, make friends, succeed academically. They can grow into accomplished, well adjusted adults. But the key is early intervention. According to the Autism Society, “Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes.”

The Autism Society, the nation’s leading grassroots autism organization, exists to improve the lives of all affected by autism. By increasing public awareness about the day-to-day issues faced by people on the spectrum, advocating for appropriate services for individuals across the lifespan, and providing the latest information regarding treatment, education, research and advocacy, the Autism Society is.

About Donations:

Jamberry donates $2 from the sale of every Autism Awareness shield purchased to the Autism Society. I will match Jamberry’s donation for additional $2 from the sale of every Autism Awareness shield purchased through my website.

These donations goes directly to the Autism Society’s efforts to increase awareness and change how autism is treated. Each day, families desperate for guidance, local support and service options turn to the Autism Society. Your contribution allows the Autism Society to be there for those who need their support – especially during this time of massive government cuts in services.

Single mom (not) dating

I’ve been on three dates in three and a half  years. And no second dates. The last one was over a year ago and that’s just fine with me. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t enjoy  being alone. Actually, I think the only thing really missing in my life right now is a partner to share it with. But I’m not doing anything about finding that someone and I have no plans to, at least for the time being.

Prior to my life as a mommy, dating was sort of the center of my world. Pretty much everything I did revolved around meeting a guy, going on dates and starting relationships (or ending them.)

I went on dinner dates, movie dates, drinks dates, concert dates…I even went away for weekends with dates. It took a LOT of time and energy. A bad date or blow-off by a guy I really liked could devastate me. Emotionally, dating was exhausting.  I spent a lot of my time thinking about and analyzing my relationships wondering if this guy might be ‘the one’ or what I did that made that guy not like me back. My world revolved around my dating.

Now I go on park dates, pizza dates, zoo dates, and last week I even went on a beach date for the weekend. I’m trying to get tickets to see the Wiggles in concert this summer. All of my time and energy is spent on Boo Boo. Sometimes my love for him feels so strong I think my heart might burst. Talk about emotionally exhausting. I spend a lot of my time thinking about all the things I need to do to take care of him and wondering if I’m being a good enough mom to him. My Boo Boo is my world.

Attempting to date as a single mom has so many layers to work through just the thought kind of exhausts me. And I don’t have time to be exhausted. My biggest fear is that I will be the kind of mother who makes the decision to put a man before my son. It happens so often it almost feels inevitable. Society certainly expects me to be out living it up while my son is home with Grandma. If my life were a book or movie, I’d marry a man who loved me but was jealous of my relationship with my son and would do anything to come between us. My vow is to NEVER let anything or anyone come between me and my Boo Boo.

When I found out I was (unexpectedly) pregnant, my world changed in an instant. Every thought, every decision immediately became about his needs first, mine second (before I even knew he  was a HE.) Today I am a single mother because three and a half years ago I made the most difficult decision of my life, to leave my son’s father and embark on this journey alone. I signed us both up for this life and now it’s my job to make sure it’s a good one. I remind myself of that every single day.

Not dating is not a sacrifice. It’s just what I signed up for. Boo Boo deserves a mommy who is one hundred percent emotionally invested in him. I only have so much emotional energy to give and dating would require me to take some of it away from Boo Boo and give it to someone else. That’s just not something I’m willing to do, at least for the time being.

As he gets older,  it will get easier (or so everyone tells me.) Boo Boo will become more self sufficient and require less of my time and energy. Maybe then I’ll have a just enough left over to try and share it with someone else. But for now, I’ve found my partner. All my dates are with Boo Boo, and that’s just fine with me.

 

Update: 1 Year Later