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I still pinch myself occasionally to make sure I really do have THREE boys. Of course you’d think the stinky diapers and 3 am feedings would be enough proof! 🙂

Little Darth made his appearance on 10/1/10. The Tweenager is thrilled and The Manimal is adjusting. My body slipped easily back into the swing of a nursing baby and the 20 pounds I gained slipped right along with it, thank goodness!

A bonus with this pregnancy has been the additional weight loss I’ve experienced due to a wheat-free diet. This was not my decision, as I absolutely luurrrvvee pasta, breads, cereal, etc. Unfortunately, Little Darth displayed what the doctor calls a “sensitivity” to wheat/gluten products. In other words, the boy had some MAJOR gas. After I went without dairy for three days (UGH) and it didn’t work, I eliminated wheat and voila! Most of his gas was gone. Don’t get me wrong, the boy can hold his own with his older brothers. But at least now he isn’t crying out in pain most of the time.

And as much as I sometimes wish I could have  a slice of pizza or a crusty roll, I haven’t missed the wheat as much as I thought I would. I’ve been enjoying lots of salad, and made some cookies with gluten free flour (not worth the effort).

I’m down about 10 lbs from my pre-preggo weight and it’s a happy place to be. The goal now is to use this as a springboard. I really feel that the Lord has been calling me to something greater this year, and I think better health is part of that. One of my goals this year is scripture memorization and in choosing my first verse, I kept going back to Jeremiah.

“For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord. “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jer. 29:11, NIV)

Here’s to a year full of following God’s plans!

Well hello there InterWebz!

I’ll bet that you figured this baby just stole my brain and my blogging ability altogether. While that’s not COMPLETELY true (I blog here as well), I will claim a bit of baby brain (just because I can!).

It’s been a while since my big announcement here on SHMG, and now we’re in the countdown phase. That is, counting down the remaining ten weeks until our third son makes his entrance into the world. Yes, you heard me correctly.

My Three Sons.

As a classic TV show, cute. As my life, frightening! 🙂 I’m more than a bit overwhelmed at the amount of testosterone that will be present in my household.

But that’s not why I’m flipping out.

Ten weeks. Wow. Yes. Ten weeks and I will be the mom of three.

But that’s not why I’m flipping out either.

Why, you ask?

Clothing. More specifically, maternity clothing. Even more specifically, PLUS-SIZED maternity clothing. The biggest retail racket known to man (or woman). What else is an absolute necessity for just a few months, then obsolete in your closet? As a plus-sized woman to begin with, I guess I’m at a slight advantage over my non-plus-sized friends, because I actually have several pieces of clothing that still fit me. I’m fond of a particular style of blouse that ties around the waist and drapes flowingly over my belly anyway, and I have a few that still fit. I have a pair of summertime crop pants that are made from a nice jersey-type fabric with an elastic waist. They still fit too.

I have supplemented my wardrobe with several cute maternity tops. The bottom is where I have a problem. I have exactly three, yes THREE pair of maternity pants. Now, I work full-time outside the home. Our weekends are pretty full. This means that my three pair of maternity pants really get a workout.

As do my washer and dryer.

My meager maternity wardrobe (three pair of pants and nine tops) is the result of many frustrating trips to the mall, both IRL and virtually. When I was pregnant with The Tweenager ten years ago, I was pleased to find a good selection of plus-sized maternity clothes at stores like JC Penney, Carson Pirie Scott, and even a few Target stores. Now, we “curvy mommas” are limited to ONE store.

Don’t get me wrong, Motherhood Maternity is a lovely store and has a great website. Without them, I’d likely be relegated to muu-muus every day. It’s just that they have the same difficulties that every other retailer of female fashions has–inconsistent sizing. Just because three pair of pants are all size 3X does NOT mean that all of them fit the same (or at all, for that matter!). To me, it’s even more frustrating, because Motherhood primarily carries their own brand, and all three of these pants are made for them.

My frustration is compounded by the fact that non-plus-sized moms-to-be have a multitude of stores from which to choose. They can walk in to any Target, Kohl’s, heck, even Walmart, and find maternity clothing. They can choose from fancy little maternity boutiques or upscale department stores. They can even haunt local resale shops!

After The Manimal was born, I took some clothes to a local kids resale shop that also handles maternity clothes. I had a nice black semi-formal maternity dress and a few nicer maternity blouses that I figured I’d try to resell. I was told that they “don’t take plus-sized maternity clothes”. The sales clerk simply said that was store policy because they “didn’t sell well”.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I told her that maybe if they stocked them, they’d sell. Her response was simply “Well, we just don’t take them.”

I’m sure she had a few choice words for me as I walked out the door stating loudly “I guess fat girls just don’t get pregnant.”

That’s how I felt today as I searched in vain for comfortable, well-fitting maternity pants. Like the maternity clothing industry must just figure that “curvy mommas”, “fat girls”, “plus-sized ladies” or whatever you want to call us, just don’t get pregnant.

But we sure do know how to flip out.

This past year I was introduced to the Mitford books. I love the fictitious small town that author Jan Karon has set in the mountains of North Carolina. I love the people in the town. I want to live in Mitford.

The main character is a wonderful older pastor named Fr. Tim Kavanaugh. He has a wonderful offering of Bible verses and pithy advice for nearly every situation. When he is stuck, he prays “the prayer that never fails”.

Thy will be done.

It’s so simple, and yet so wonderful. And he’s right. It NEVER fails.

I started out with such great plans. Consistent exercise, posting, accountability. The best laid plans and all that. And I was doing pretty well, all things considered. I even discovered that my treadmill wasn’t the evil torturous device I once thought it was.

And then God laughed at my plans.

And reminded me in a small (or not so small) way that HIS will would be done.

Last week, my weight loss plans were put on hold.

For about the next seven-and-a-half months.

When He laughs, He laughs raucously. Joyfully. Reassuringly.

Oh dear Lord.

Thy will (not mine) be done.

I’ll continue to keep y’all posted on how that’s working out.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)

Yes, I’m still here. I didn’t get caught in some weird New Year time warp. Didn’t get stuck in the snow. Still here.

And it’s time to get to work.

We got a Wii/Wii Fit combo for Christmas. And I’ve got some BIG goals for 2010. I’m just gonna lay it all out on the line here people. Change is on the horizon here, people.

Our current sermon theme at church has to do with traveling through the desert and crossing the river. Basically, getting over what’s been holding us back; living out the life God has planned for us.

I’ve been feeling stuck in the desert for a while now, but I’m all about that leap of faith.

So here goes.

287 lbs.

Yeah, that’s where I am right now. Today, January 17, 2010. My long-term goal is to get down to 150 lbs. And since I don’t anticipate a trip to the Biggest Loser Ranch anytime soon, it’s gonna take  a while. As it should.

Change is hard and long-term change is slow. But change can happen, one step at a time. And it doesn’t hurt that we got a Wii Fit for Christmas, complete with EA Active.

So here’s the goal:

1/17: 287 lbs

2/17: 277 lbs

3/17: 267 lbs

At that rate, I’ll be to my long-term goal by March 2011. Ohmygranny. Wow.

I’ve been doing pretty well with one of my New Year’s goals of consistent posting on my other blog. And I’ve worked out on Wii Fit about 10 days since Christmas, which can TOTALLY be increased.

I’m starting the 30 day Wii Active workout tomorrow.

I’ll keep you posted throughout the month, and report back on 2/17 with my weight and thoughts.

Way to fly across the desert and dive into the river with both feet.

Overwhelmed much? Don’t know about you, but when I get overwhelmed, I pretty much shut down. My head and heart simply can’t handle the craziness, and I have to fight my urge to simply run away and hide.

Mind you, I haven’t exactly figured out how that would help matters in the long run. As a matter of fact, the few times where I’ve actually DONE it (either physically or mentally) have pretty much created disaster on that front.

Lately I’ve been very much in that danger zone. Stop the world, I want to get off. I feel like I’ve been holding on by a thread. Busy at home, busy at work, busy at church. Children fighting, dog barking, dishes piling up.

A real “Calgon, take me away!” moment.

Of course, it’s in the midst of this that God brings Beth Moore into my life, in the form of the Breaking Free Bible study.

And Ohmygranny! He is really kind of pushy.

Last week we talked about five benefits that God intends for us. One of them was “To Know God and Believe Him”. My initial reaction was, “Well, DUH!”

I know God. I believe in God. Those are no-brainers in my book.

Except that’s not what it said.

Believe God.

Believe that he was faithful yesterday and will be faithful today. To trust him. With everything.

Everything.

This week we’re working through the obstacles to those benefits.

Sigh. This is where I really see how my self-image and pride have SO gotten in the way of my relationship with Him.

Throughout my life, therapists and friends have pointed out that I would never in a million years treat others the way I treat myself. That I would stand up against folks who treat others that way. Why is it that I don’t see that, in God’s eyes, I am just as valuable as those whom I would protect?

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31)

It’s difficult to get beyond the “don’t trust anyone but yourself” mentality. But that’s exactly what God wants. He wants us to trust Him. With everything. Unconditionally.

This doesn’t mean we can run away and hide and “let God take care of everything”. I believe he puts people into our lives and puts us into situations that can help us if we trust Him, make educated decisions and act.

So I’m pushing reset on this weight loss thing. I’m pushing reset on a lot of things. I’m saying, “OK, God. Your move.” I’m using the people he’s put in my life and the situations he’s placed me in, and trusting that “…all things work together for good to them that love God.” (Rom. 8:28)

Today I (again) joined Weight Watchers. For a long time, I’ve been saying “Oh, I just want to learn to live healthier; I don’t want to count points for the rest of my life!”

What I really was saying was “I’m afraid it won’t work. I don’t trust myself. I don’t trust God to know what is right for me.”

An awful lot of “I’s” in there.

Push reset.

It seems like nearly every successful weight loss story (ie: where the person actually made life changes and KEPT the weight off) involves a change of self-image. That is, how one views their personal beauty.

It’s easy to say “God loves you just the way you are”, but how many of us have grown up hearing “Oh, you have such a pretty face”, or worse yet, “Oh, SHE has such a pretty face”, when others are talking about us, rather than to us.

I know, I know. It’s better to be beautiful inside than outside. True beauty shines through. I’ve heard it all.

Then just when I want to throw something, God very quietly slips a story in front of my face. One that illustrates the beauty of his creations. It’s like a velvet hammer, smacking me upside of my head.

“You there! Yes, you. The one who’s so obsessed with beauty. Check out this beautiful, wonderful creation of mine. She’ll put any beauty queen to shame with her incredibly gorgeous spirit, heart, will.

And yes. her stunningly beautiful face.

So buck up, buttercup. Get over yourself and move on.”

Go visit Mabel’s House today, and let her introduce you to Stephanie.

And make sure you bring a box of tissues. You’re gonna need one.

Or ten.

And then you’ll see just what true beauty is. And you’ll stop worrying about your own grey hair, too-big belly, junk-in-your-trunk (need I go on?).

At least I might.

Four days. That’s what it takes to “jump-start” things, according to my new BFF Martha. According to most psychology-type people, it takes 21 days of repetition for an act to become habit. In Martha’s world, that’s five linked wins plus one day.

So the exercise in Chapter 2 is to create a four-day win (FDW). She breaks it down to five simple steps so even if, like me, you tend to be a bit hardheaded, you’re setting yourself up for success.

“Step 1: Pick a Goal”

My daily goal is to walk 30 minutes. Seems fairly simple, and yet, a bit of a stretch for me, since I’m so damn fat that I clearly can’t follow specific instructions.

Wait. What was Chapter 1? Oh yeah, open up to hope. Right. Hope springs eternal and I have to be nice to my body because I wouldn’t treat anyone else like this.

OK. Walk 30 minutes. Check.

“Step 2: Play halvesies until your goal is ridiculously easy to attain.”

Using my goal, that would be 15 minutes, 7.5 minutes, 3.525 minutes, etc. I’d actually like to see results before I’m 50, so…

Ridiculously easy daily goal? 15 minutes. Check.

“Step 3: Identify a Reward.”

Here she talks about a daily reward. Not the “big picture”, like weight loss or lower blood pressure or anything, but immediately gratifying, pleasurable things.

Daily reward? Long hot bath with my favorite book and no child or canine interruptions. Check.

“Step 4: Identify a 4-Day Reward.”

This should be a slightly larger reward. In my case, trying to be somewhat frugal means I don’t buy pretty things like personalized stationery.

4-Day Reward? Some personalized stationery from my fave online store, English Tea Paperie. Check.

“Step 5: Make sure the action and the reward are linked.”

Basically, this means, if you accomplish the goal, you MUST give yourself the reward and vice versa. No cheating, no excuses.

For me this means that since I walked 15 minutes (actually 25!) today, I get a nice hot bath tonight! Check!

Any book that starts out with the question “Why are you so damn fat?” is bound to elicit feelings. My own feeling was one of stunned astonishment, and I was all “How the heck did Martha Beck get into my head?” As someone who has had more than a few conversations that began this way (with myself, mind you, not anyone else), it was both a relief and a fright to actually see these words in print.

“Not that I think you are. No, no, no. Why, in those pants, with the light behind you, you look positively willowy. But even if you were large enough to have a gravitational field involving four independent moons, and I happen to notice this (unlikely, since I’m completely blinded by the solar glare of my own self-consciousness), I would never, ever ask you a question as cruel as this chapter title. Nor would you say such a thing to me, were the tables turned. No, you’re only that rude and nasty to the one person you can never escape–yourself.” (The Four Day Win, p.1)

I love her sarcasm, but the truth is there. Why, then, do we insist on treating ourselves so poorly? I don’t know about you, but if my internal conversations were transcribed, and my self-treatment documented for posterity, I’d likely be jailed for assault and battery.

Since I’ve tried and failed at this weight loss thing forty seven hundred eleventy a few times and seen a therapist or twenty two in my day, I’ve can pretty much recite “positive self-talk” stuff chapter and verse.

But since we’re putting a whole new spin on things here, why not put a spin on the positive self-talk?

Who am I hurting when I beat myself up? Who am I hurting when I decide that I NEED that whole slice of cheesecake? Or that cheeseburger with everything? Or that I’m too tired to walk to the park with the kids and drive instead?

Yeah, I’m hurting my body, but it’s bigger than that. We were given our bodies as a gift from God. He dwells in us.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20, NIV)

OK, so Paul was really talking about sexual immorality, but the message is still applicable. These bodies, this life? Not ours, but His.

Each FDW Chapter includes an exercise. Chapter One’s exercise, in the author’s own words, is “paradoxically both easy and difficult”–Open Yourself to Hope. Basically, she says to open up to the possibility that, no matter your weight, there is nothing basically wrong with you. Whatever you’ve done to get to this point, can be undone or repaired.

That’s a difficult lesson to learn, both physically and spiritually, but what a wonderfully freeing thought. My physical mistakes can be fixed by future action on my part. My spiritual mistakes are forgiven by a past action on His part.

Open up to change and hope. Pray and act. Trust in Him.
Check out Kath’s take on Chapter One here.

The weight loss business is a multi-million dollar industry, and it’s no wonder. We as a culture are the heaviest we’ve ever been. If you’re looking to lose some weight, you can count points with Weight Watchers, meet one-on-one with a counselor at Jenny Craig, follow the glycemic index with Nutrisystem, enjoy healthy eating with Seattle Sutton, work with an innovative weight loss medication called Alli, and on and on…

Overwhelmed yet?

Then there are all of the other plans out there that are shared within the ranks of the dieters. Grapefruit, Cabbage Soup, Master Cleanse The list goes on ad infitum. There are probably as many plans out there as there are dieters.

It’s no wonder so many people simply give up.

Besides being long-time friends and former co-workers, Kath and I share a common struggle with our weight. We’ve both come to a point in our lives where we’ve simply said “enough is enough”. We’re tired of the plans that promise a “quick fix”. We’re tired of eating enough chicken breasts to put Perdue and Tyson out of business. We know that there is no quick fix, but we’re smart women.

We know the secret to weight loss.

Kath is the marketing queen of our dynamic duo, and if we really put our heads together, we could probably come up with a business plan that would make us rich and we’d be set for life. We could call it “The Fat Girls Diet” or some other such nonsense. We’d more likely be able to call it “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Weight Loss”, because I’m pretty sure that thin people sometimes think fat people are stupid.

You know the secret too. When your well-meaning family and friends tell you “just take the stairs instead of the elevator” or “just park in the spot furthest from the store entrance”, they think they’ve got knowledge that you don’t have.

The secret to permanent weight loss?

Burn more calories than you consume.

While healthy eating is important for a multitude of reasons, weight loss is really quite simple. You could eat solely Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey Ice Cream (or Land-O-Lakes Butter, or Gina Portillo’s Almost-Famous Chocolate Cake, or whatever your poison), and as long as you burned more calories than you ate, you’d lose weight.

Of course, you’d likely see a whole host of other problems, such as crazy blood sugar, hair loss, poor complexion, low energy…

You get the idea.

So it’s good to eat healthy. The dieticians I’ve worked with (in an eating disorder treatment program, no less) have all said basically “everything in moderation”. Follow the food pyramid and with rare exception, you’ll be good-to-go.

So here we are, Kath and I, two women ready for a change. Trying again for the umpteenth time. Ready to eat less and move more. But knowing that we already know the secret, we also know that there’s one more component, one more partner in this process.

Without Him, we’ll fail (and have failed) miserably. With Him, we’ll bow down and be grateful for this amazing life He’s given us, and pray for His guidance as we work to take better care of His wonderful gift. “The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up those who are bowed down.” (Ps. 145:14)

The blog will be a work in progress, just like we are. It will morph and change, and maybe by the time we’re happy with the blog, we’ll be a bit happier with ourselves.