Wednesday, January 25, 2012

My Diet Success Story - The Dukan Diet!

Once upon a time, a long, long, loooooooooong time ago, I was not fat.

And then LIFE happened. It happens to the best of us.

Which is so much better than death happening when you're in your early 40's with 3 kids - 2 of whom have special needs!

Truth be told, death came after me just last May. My big, bad wolf came after in the form of a cardiac arrest, and just to add a tang of irony, he showed up during Mother's Day dinner.

Luckily, I didn't die. More than anything, I wanted to... no... NEEDED to live!

To my credit, I had tried a number of other diets in the past. I was careful and I didn't cheat, but as much as I would huff and puff at the local gym, all too often I ended up hitting a wall - a plateau - and I just couldn't get my weight down.

It's hard when you're a mom. It's hard when there are lots of stresses in your life (see: having 2 special needs children - LOL). It's hard when you spend 2 entire pregnancies in bed and it's hard when your husband brings home Krispy Kreme doughnuts on a regular basis when you're starving! And it's so ridiculously easy to gain weight! (I've always joked that I can look at a picture of a cake and gain 10 lbs!)

While I am quite notorious for annoying the heck out of family and friends by taking hundreds of pictures, I avoided getting on the "business end" of the camera like the plague. I was not comfortable with my weight or my looks. I wouldn't wear a bathing suit in front of anyone who was not immediate family... and only wore one if I absolutely had to. Of course now 20/20 hindsight would suggest that having a few decent "Before" shots might have been nice, but going through the motions of planning out such a shot somehow felt like a set-up for letting myself down once again. Luckily for me, my son snapped a few lovely pictures of my on my sister's horse last August.

Then in late September, 2011, one of my friends shared a picture of herself on a social networking site. It was a good picture. It was a picture that made me want to scratch out her eyeballs and then crawl under a rock (like I could have found one *big* enough to hide my fat butt)! Instead of scratching her eyeballs out, I asked her what she had been doing. She told me she had been on the Dukan diet and had gotten down to her goal weight.

I'll have what she's having!

I started on the Dukan Diet on October 3, 2011. Over the next few months I did my best to get regular exercise by walking for 30 minutes a day, but LIFE kept popping up and throwing hurdles in my way. Stress hurdles. Hurdles that could have easily turned into another 10 lbs of fat on my butt if I had been on any other diet.

Instead, I stayed on the Dukan diet and ate lean turkey and ham, and sugar-free jello and Dukan cheese cake when ever I felt the urge to eat. I was not starving all the time. And even though my youngest daughter was in the hospital for 9 days with a severe case of viral pneumonia... and even though that daughter came home with enough medical equipment to fill most of her room... and even though that daughter needed round-the-clock care for a few more weeks...

I lost weight!

Around the holidays my weight loss slowed a bit, but I was already more than 20 lbs down and I felt better each day. I pumped up my workouts - not because I had to, but because I wanted to! (How weird is that?) I was *in* to working out and I was seeing a person in the mirror that I hadn't seen in far too long.

I'm now down nearly 40 lbs, and I'm still losing! I'm not missing other foods and I'm not starving all the time. I even asked for someone to take my picture so I could share so much less of myself. So I could share my own little fairy tale!

Before - Size 16 pants!                                                                  After - Size 4 jeans!

Updated Photos: (04/20/2012)

Am I keeping the weight off? You be the judge:

That's my story (and my diet), and I'm sticking to it!


Helpful links for Dukanistas:

My Dukan Diet - Diet tips and recipes
Dukan Diet US - FaceBook
DukanItOut - recipes and tips
The Dukan Diet - Book
Shiritaki Noodles - Dukan-friendly, low-carb noodle replacement (also comes in rice and other varieties)
Tone your abs, thighs and fanny with the Windsor Pilates 3 DVD set!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

My Kids Are More Prettier Than Yours and I Can Prove It!

There is just so much wrong with that title on so many levels, but it caught your eye, didn't it?

Have you ever watched that reality show, Toddlers & Tiaras? Does it make your stomach turn?

As I sit in quiet judgement of the edited commentary of a group of people I have never met, I find I am secretly jealous. It's not that I want to start spending $30,000 a year on pageant dresses, hair pieces, fake nails, entry fees and travel expenses. No... it's not that at all. It's that somehow these people, in all their *perceived* weirdness, have a little piece of normal that I don't really have.

Sure, their children are "pretty." After all, what child isn't pretty in his or her own way? Some of those kids (OK - possibly most of those kids) are spoiled to a degree of disproportionate disaster that they may never fully recover. Some of the parents come across as barely a step above Mommy Dearest... but they still live in a world where my children would not fully fit in. It's a world of airbrushed, technicolor (perceived) "perfection."

Sure - I could enter my youngest in such a pageant, but you know what? If she won anything, I would secretly wonder if she won based upon some kind of "pitty-points." How would my child fit in to a world where looking "perfect" is everything?

Truly, honestly, with all my heart, my child looks PERFECT to me! I look at the faces of other children with an extra chromosome... or for that matter any kind of difference, and I see a beauty I couldn't fully perceive or appreciate prior to the birth of my youngest.

You know what I want? I want my kid... I want every kid to have a chance to feel "Perfect" just the way they were created! I want them to have an opportunity to win a "title" and maybe even a trophy to show just how much they rock what they have. I want bald kids, kids who have survived burns and every other unique or not-so-unique kid in this big, beautiful world to have that chance to revel in their own awesomeness!

And I want to help save lives.

That's kind of a big order, isn't it?

I may be trying to move some mountains, but at least I can say I'm "trying," right?

So this is what I have done. I have set up my own Pageant, and anyone, yes ANYONE, can enter. And those entry fees? Well... they all go to a fund with a registered charity called Reece's Rainbow to help pay for the adoption of a child with different-abilities. In other countries, such children are often abandoned and put into archaic institutions where they never know what it is to be loved. They are given NO education and many die very young for lack of medical attention, food and love.

So... the pageant is for a GREAT cause, and on top of that, every child can have a trophy and tiara (or crown) sent to them for winning! Winning at being just who they are. (Yes - it costs a little extra for the trophy, etc. because this is a purely charitable event.)

Please consider entering your child. Please consider spreading the word!
Click the link below to learn more!


This world is already a beautiful place - so lets celebrate it for what it is!


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Tuesday Talk

Once again it's been a little while since I've had a chance to post. (I simply *must* stop meeting with my dear friend Time Constraints like this!)

Last week we took The Skink for a follow-up appointment with her pulmonologist. Severe pneumonia takes time to heal, so although she's been happy, energetic and going to school, we still need to make sure things are going in the right direction.

While the doctor said things sounded pretty good, he wanted to be certain and sent us for x-rays and some blood work to check on The Skink's TSH levels. Apparently hypothyroidism can hinder healing... Ooooo... alliteration!

I didn't take my camera to the doctor (it's a little bulky) so I got this cute little pre x-ray shot with my phone. No... I didn't take any pictures during the blood draw. Something like that might have earned me a "Bad Parent of the Day" award or something.

So. The good news is that The Skink's TSH levels were perfect! The not-quite-so-good-news is that The Skink's lungs are not quite perfect. We were all a bit surprised to learn there are still some "cloudy areas" in there, and the doctor says her lungs are a bit inflamed.

The Rx? The Skink has been having to do daily steroid treatments through her nebulizer.  (Spell correct on my computer just tried to change "nebulizer" to "neutralizer." Come over here, little Skink, so I may neutralize you!)

The doctor warned us that the steroids may give her "mood swings" and a yeast infection. Oh, joy. We've been giving her yogurt after each treatment, but...

He was right. It's been like trying to live with a menopausal 5-year-old with a yeast infection for the past week.

As Murphy's law luck would have it, the kids had only a half day of school on Friday, and had both Monday and Tuesday off, which has made my life hell delightfully challenging. So I did what any other mom-who-long-ago-lost-her-sanity would do. I took them to McDonald's... with a PlayLand!

Of course sans sanity, I also didn't think to bring my camera, and so out came my phone.

See? I turned my ancient LG Shine into an LG Sparkle :o)

While Iraq ran off the second we entered PlayLand, The Skink had no intention of going anywhere prior to enjoying her happy meal... though she was clearly thinking ahead when she removed her shoes and arranged them neatly on the table.

 When she was done eating, I opened her happy meal prize. Hmmm... I guess the McDonald's employees somehow misidentified my sparkly-shoe-wearing Skink with pigtails as someone who totally digs Captain America?

I have nothing against giving little girls action figures. The Skink, however, took one look at her "prize," nonchalantly tipped him over and said, "Oops! He falled in poo!"
Gee... now tell us how you really feel about getting duped out of a Hello Kitty toy, Skink!

With her nose still turned up at her "prize," off she went to join her sister in the labyrinth-like habitrail of multicolored wonders.

Iraq... rubbing her face in every germ known to man.


As seen during a fly-by.


And lastly, I found The Skink asleep on the couch like this a few days ago:

I thought to myself, "So cute! Asleep with an entire herd of cattle cuddled up with her."

And then I found out that this was not The Skink's attempt to include every last one of her cows in nap-time, but Iraq's failed attempt at suffocating her sister while she slept. Somehow that kind of kills the cute-factor, but oh well...


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I wanna talk about me, Wanna talk about I, Wanna talk about number one...

I owe the lyrics serving as today's blog title to the amazing Toby Keith, and my super-fun day to my husband!

***We interrupt our regularly scheduled blog subject matter to bring you this special MOM Bulletin.... ***

Yes, normally this blog is dedicated to my children... they provide me with a lot to talk about. SO much, in fact that the weeks since Christmas have become a blur of meltdowns (Iraq), medical issues (The Skink) and readjustments to the back-to-school schedule. My sanity (or what shreds were left of the poor, moth-eaten thing) ran screaming from the house at least a week ago.

So what do you do when your spouse has lost her sanity? Well, if you're my husband, you give me a pink pistol and take me to the firing range! Yes, seriously.

It... was...AWESOME!

And this from the mom who absolutely refused to allow her son to play with toy guns when he was little. (See? Some things improve with the loss of sanity and reason!)

Some time ago I let my husband talk me into going to a gun show in town. I did a great job of acting vaguely aloof, right up until I spied the cutest little hot pink and black .22 pistol. I'm kinda like a crow - - if it sparkles or is of an interestingly feminine hue, I flap down from my tree and stand staring at the object, mesmerized. My crow-like tendencies made it easy for my dearly beloved to talk me into purchasing an item that I truly believed I had little use for.

It's not like I was raised in a gun-less home. No. In fact my dad successfully made me insanely jealous by spending weekends with my older brother at the firing range. I talked them into taking me with them one time when I was 8 -years-old, and my dad let me fire a .22 rifle. They told me how to hold it and how to line up the sights. I managed to hit the target, and basked in the glow of being told I wasn't bad for a beginner. He has also brought his own 30 ot 6, and somehow I talked him into allowing me to fire it. LOL - he warned me the thing had a kick, but if my brother was going to do it, I was not going to be shown up! I fired it. It hurt... but heck if I was going to let anyone know it hurt!

As far as I can recall, that was the last time I fired a real firearm.

So today was my first time in 34 years to fire a *real* gun... and my second time ever to fire a gun. Now mind you - when I was young, guns were all my brother would talk about, so if I wanted to play with him, I had to learn to shoot at him with one of his toy pistols. (We participated in such health play in the 70's!)  So I suppose I "knew" how to hold a pistol from pretending to kill my brother a few thousand times as a child. Cool, huh?

So my husband took me to the firing range and gave me the safe-handling instructions for my very own little pink firearm.

I'll never look at the "safe-handling instructions" on raw chicken the same way again!

"Stand Back! I have a raw chicken breast, and I know how to use it!"

But I digress. So my husband takes his insane wife to a firing range and shows her how to use a deadly weapon. *insert maniacal giggle here*

My first target was one of those silhouette dudes. I named him "stress" and I took his 4$$ DOWN!
First I made sure his "X" was no longer beating...

And then I took one last shot for good measure...

After I got rid of "Stress," I settled in for some more refined target practice. Here are the results:

And just look how beautifully my .22 goes with my sweat shirt! (By the way - in this photo I'm making a terribly novice mistake by placing my forefinger in the trigger area. You should never do that unless you want someone to think you're going to shoot them. It wasn't actually touching the trigger, but you can't tell that from the photo... but don't worry - I promise I don't want to shoot you - - or anyone else for that matter... unless you happen to be a paper silhouette named "Stress.")

See? I caught my mistake and moved my finger. This photo says, "I don't want to shoot you. I just want to show off my cool, pink gun and the paper target that I killed today." Talk about subtle non-verbal communication!

 What does this photo say? It says, "If you break into my house and threaten the lives of my children or myself, necessitating my consideration of deadly force, you better hope you're more than 3 yards away from me!" I took 10 shots at this target. See that bigger hole just below and to the right of dead center? That was 2 of them.

What does this photo say? It says, "If you break into my house and threaten the lives of my children or myself, necessitating my consideration of deadly force, putting 7 yards between you could still be bad for your health!" I took 20 shots at this target. See those big holes? Yup! Clearly I need to adjust my aim slightly up and to the left.

 What does this photo say? It says, "If you break into my house and threaten the lives of my children or myself, necessitating my consideration of deadly force, you better hope there are some walls/trees/cars between me and you as you run away!"

How do I feel after an hour at the firing range? Well... Mr. Stress is gone!

And in other news...
I take really bad reflective self-portraits.

Yes - both those pictures are me. I started on the Dukan Diet on October 3rd and I'm nearly 30 lbs. down. Yay ME!

I plan to tone up a bit more and then make a blog post about my dieting journey in the next month or two. In the mean time, you can expect some more posts about my children... because after all, this blog is not generally about ME... its always about them...

*DISCLAIMER: The writer of this blog is not actually "insane," and the term is used in jest. If you happen to be an ATF enforcer, please do not show up at my door and take away my pretty pink pistol! I'm not crazy... at least that's what the little voices in my head tell me...