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Emily Jones offers you purls of Knitwit-icism

‘Life’ Archive

Who I am Now

Posted on January 28, 2012 at 12:38 pm, by knitwit
in Category Life

So I was looking back at my last post, from oh so many months ago and all I can say is:  Quit your friggin whining already!

Ok, so maybe that’s a little harsh.  But I think it goes to show how much has changed in the last seven months that I can even feel a bit flabbergasted with that mopey lady I was on that distant summer day. 

What’s brought on this change?  Well…a year ago I looked like this:

At my heaviest, March 2011

I was at least 50lbs overweight, almost completely sedentary and just plain miserable with myself.  I had been carrying around all this extra weight for more than 10 years. But that winter, the scaled had tilted at my highest weight yet.  I was floored.  I moped around about this for the next 3 months, wondering what on earth to do, if I could do anything at all. 

So….what did I do? Well, let’s talk numbers for a minute.  I stepped on the scale one day, probably around the time that the above photo was taken, and I realized my weight had crept up to 188lbs!  Clothes that I’d owned for 6 years no longer fit.  To add insult to injury, I had had the rare experience of actually weighing LESS after my pregnancy with L than I had before it.  I had bought a few nice outfits after he was born to wear for special events such as his baptism.  Those outfits no longer fit.  And that hurt.  Because it meant that I had lost some weight and not only gained it back, but gained even more than ever.  This was a huge alarm bell in my head.  And I realized that if I wanted to be around for my family in the future, I had some serious work to do.

This was a really hard step for me.  For 10 years I had been overweight–no, lets be honest, OBESE–thinking there wasn’t much I could do about it, believing that I had tried to control what I ate, tried to exercise and nothing ever worked.  I had to take a really hard look at the truth of those statements.  Had I really done all I could do? Had I really learned how to eat properly? Had I really given exercise a chance or did I just try to workout for a couple of weeks and then when I saw no immediate results did I just give up?  Yep.  I always gave up.  My brain wanted instant gratification and when it didn’t happen, I gave in.  Convinced that I just didn’t have the ability to change.  I spent an awful lot of time and energy looking at myself in the mirror and tearing myself down.  “Fat, stupid, lazy, disgusting, Jabba the Hut, repulsive, idiot, unlovable, undesirable, sick, revolting…” These are the words I used to describe myself.  And not to be flippant (because at that time there certainly was nothing to be flippant about): Fat lot of good it did me!

On Saturday June 16, 2011, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary.  I made him a dvd slideshow of pictures of us while we were dating and from the 10 years of our marriage.  After watching that with him, I promised him and myself that on Monday I would join Weight Watchers.  I had gained all of my weight during the year that we were engaged, In that year I had gained more than 40 pounds and had held on to it for 10 years.  I was not going to continue the next 10 years that way.  I didn’t even want to spend the next ONE year that way! 

So, true to my word, Monday, June 18, 2011, I joined Weight Watchers Online.  I have never made a better decision in all my life (besides the obvious choices that lead to my having a wonderfully supportive husband and beautiful and brilliant child of course).  Disclaimer:I am not employed by Weight Watchers, nor am I representative of the company in any way. I do not endorse their program or receive any compensation from them for anything I say or write about them.  I only want to share my story and because whenever anyone starts a weight loss program or loses weight the next obvious question from others is “what are you doing to lose weight?” that is why I am sharing what worked for ME.  What path I chose in my weight loss may not be the appropriate path for everyone and each person must decide what works for them. Moving on…

When I started WW, one of the things I often said to myself was “I don’t understand why I’m so fat, I don’t eat that badly.”  Boy was I wrong! It was  crash course in portion control from the get go!  Holy crap! I couldn’t believe that I was eating portions twice or even triple the size I should have been consuming.  And is it any wonder?  In our society where we want more for our money, extremely large portions at restaurants are not only expected but demanded.  We are taught to clean our plates as children.  We want quick and easy meals, time is so often limited.  Often those quick and easy meals are also high calorie, high fat, high sodium, high preservative foods.  While fast, prepacked, frozen foods, and fast food restraurants provide us with convenience, they also deliver us obesity, heart disease, diabetes and unhappiness. The media then sells us a bill of goods in the form of crash diets, diet pills, shakes, drinks, etc and we are told these will do the work for you and you’ll practically lose weight over night!  WRONG!  I learned very quickly that there would be no quick fix.  That the only person who could control my weight was me and that if I wanted to lose weight successfully and keep in off indefinitely, it was going to take a lot of work, a lot of education on what healthy eating meant and time…time….time….

If all that sounds unbearable, it really wasn’t.  Let me show you…

August 5, 2011, -11 lbs!

August 5, 2011, -11 lbs!

Here’s me just 6 weeks after starting the program and I had already lost more than 10 lbs!  You see, all it took was one week on my “diet” (which I prefer to call a “lifestyle change”) to see that I actually WAS capable of losing weight!  AND I was capable of exercising.  Even if it was only 20 minutes a day 3 or 4 times a week.  The change in my attitude and my body was almost immediate.  I felt so much better, I felt confident in my abilities and I actually looked forward to exercising because it made me feel so good!  Before I knew it, the pounds were just falling away.

See…

September 25, 2011 -20lbs!

September 25, 2011 -20lbs

 

Now, none of this was done without a lot of work.  And it wasn’t always done very gracefully. I’m sure B would tell you that there were plenty of days where I was whiny and irritating, grumbling at him for eating buffalo wings and drinking beer while I was eating a boring and unappetizing salad.  I struggled for at least 6 weeks to just manage my hunger, and it took a very long time to learn what proper portions were, and to develop a habit of grabbing fruit or fresh veggies for a snack rather than chips or crackers or other junk food.  It hasn’t been easy by any means.  But once I had a few tools in my toolbox, I found it was far easier than I’d ever thought it would be. 

But it wasn’t all done on diet alone.  Exercise has been a huge part of the process.  I started out just trying to get outside and play with my son more often.  We took lots of walks and went to the park.  And then I discovered Zumba.  Oh man, did that ever change my life!  It has to be, seriously, the most fun I’ve ever had exercising ever!  I started out just doing an hour long basics Zumba dvd.  The one where they break down the moves and teach them to you very slowly.  I was very glad that I was doing this in the shelter of my own basement and NOT in a class in front of others as I totally felt like the hippo on roller skates from Fantasia!  And it kicked my ass! As an almost totally sedentary person, just LEARNING the moves was exhausting!  But before I knew it, I was doing the actual workouts and keeping up.  And it made me feel like this:

November 2011, -27lbs

 

Happy, strong, empowered, confident.  I felt like I could do anything.  I still do!  Suddenly I wasn’t looking in the mirror, saying all those horrible, things to myself.  I wasn’t berating myself with loads of negative self talk.  I felt awesome, strong, beautiful, fantastic for the first time in such a LONG time!!!  Over time I increased the intensity of my workouts, I added kettlebells and free weights I have even started doing some of Jillian Michaels “shred it” workouts.  And lived to tell about it!  I’ve definitely come a long way from the tired, overweight woman who sat on the couch all day long. 

This new journey in my life is the culmination of 3 long years of hard work.  After I had my son, L, I was broken.  Physically, mentally, emotionally.  Illness, complications from labor, an unplanned and unexpected c-section and subsequent complications from surgery had left me completly broken down physically.  Add to that post partum depression and years of untreated anxiety and I was a gigantic mess.  I had spent 2 years trying to get my head on straight.  A wonderful therapist and a supportive family and a crap load of hard work had gotten me to a place of inner peace and strength I never thought I could achieve.  And this year, I chose to ice the cake, so to speak, by finally addressing the physical change.  Losing weight, committing to exercise, was for me like reaching the summit of an extremely treacherous mountain.  A lifetime of changes packed into 3 short years.  And all resulting in this:

January 13, 2012 -34 lbs.

 

Who I am now.  Someone who knows that change can, and does happen. Someone who will never again feel the oppression that depression, anxiety and obesity brings…or at least not for long.  I have built and arsenal of knowledge that I can draw upon whenever life hands me a challenge.  I know that I have tackled hardships in the past and will be able to again in the future.  And I’m not done yet.  I haven’t yet reached my weight loss goal of 148 pounds.  When I set that goal for myself back in June, I never imagined that I would come anywhere near reaching it.  As of writing this, I am 151.5lbs, 3.5 lbs from goal!  So, what have I done, I’ve upped the ante and decided that I can reach 140 by my 11th anniversary in June.  Shouldn’t be that hard, right? I’ve made it this far. I have a long way to go.  It isn’t something that ever will really end. I will probably always have to struggle with depression, anxiety and controlling my weight.  But I know I can do it.  I know that for the first time in many long, hard years, I am looking down a path that doesn’t look dark and scary, but bright and brilliant.  I’m strong enough to tackle whatever life has to throw at me.  I’m so much happier, healthier and stronger, I have so much more to offer myself and my family. 

It’s been a long road, and there’s a long road ahead.  But I couldn’t be happier with Who I Am Now.

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Whatcha got cookin’?

Posted on May 16, 2011 at 2:34 pm, by knitwit
in Category Fun Stuff, Just Chattin', Life

Here at Chez Knitwit, we tend to be people of the carnivore variety.  (I suppose we could technically be classified as omnivores, since we do in fact eat fruits and veggies, but meat is a huge staple round these parts).  Especially during the long (seemingly never-ending) winters.  All winter I crave comfort foods like roasts with potatoes and gravy, and my waistline is proof of this!  But as the weather improves and the temperatures rise, a girls fancy turns to lighter fare.  And I actually find myself craving veggies…all the time…I just have very little experience in creating meals based around veggies rather than meat.  As I said, we’re carnivores!

In fact, I was just talking to my oldest and dearest school friend the other day about this very matter.  She lives in the DC area now and her epicurean experiences have been colored by a boat ton of opportunities that she and I didn’t have access to growing up, as well as a lot of world travel which has brought new culinary experiences into her repertoire.  So when we were chatting, she was telling me about some Midwestern house guests who will be staying with her andher husband for the foreseeable future.  “Emma,” she wails, “they eat MEAT with every meal!”  My reply, “Um…and..??”  I could literally hear her rolling her eyes over the phone! 

So this weekend I decided I would take a page out of my veggie friends cookbook and cook an all veggie meal.  We’d just see if it really was better than eating meat!  Cruising the blogosphere, I came across these amazing looking recipes, for black bean burgers and spicy sweet potatoes.  Black beans are a well, loved staple food in our house and sweet potatoes are typically on hand here as well, so I thought, why not! 

Warning!: if you attempt these recipes, be prepared for a fair amount of prep time.  It took me 2 hours start to finish, though I do blame some of that on lack of proper equipment and the fact that I’d never made either recipe before.  Secondly: if you do not have a food processor or a very good blender, DO NOT attempt the black bean burgers!  I do not have a food processor, but this has never been a problem as I have always been able to accomplish what I needed to with my mixer or blender.  This weekend, however, my blender decided to give up the ghost…while fully loaded with black bean burger mixture.  *sigh*Talk about aggrivating! But I pressed on…all the while cursing the stupidity of not owning proper kitchen appliances as well as my own stupidity for trying something new and NOT doing my prepwork in the morning but saving it for 5pm when we needed to have dinner on the table at 6:30!  Let’s just say the manta being uttered in my kitchen was “This crap better be good!”

And…late as dinner was…it was a HUGE succes!  O.M.G.!!! 

black bean burgers and spicy sweet potatoes

 The hubby and I both agreed that the burgers, were awesome!  The clencher being the lime and cilantro mayo.  These suckers were to die for!  And it’s absolutely essential to have all the toppings: avocado, tomato and the mayo as well as the cotijacheese.  The flavors all blend so perfectly, it was like heaven…in a fat free, low cal, meatless burger!  The potatoes got …meh…maybe 3 stars from Mr. Knitwit, but they were 5 star in my book!  The perfect combo of sweet and spicy and as I like any fried potato crunchy, these delivered…crispy on the outside, andsoft on the inside.  Yummy!!! One note: The recipe for the burgers says it yeilds 4 burgers.  I don’t know if I added too much rice or what, but those 4 burgers: ENORMOUS!  One must remember that they don’t contain the fat and water that beef does and thus do not cook down!  The patties were the size of my palm and at least an inch thick.  I was so stuffed after eating one that I was wishing I’d stopped at half! Very filling! But so good!

So, has this recipe brought me over to the Veggie Side?  I would have to say no.  I know that this is a FAR healthier alternative to standard beef burgers, and it was delicious, but budget wise andtime wise, beef wins hands down.   When you figure with regular hamburgers, even using 90% lean ground beef andall the fixings, I can feed my entire family in 15 minutes for around $6.00 (and use only one pan as opposed to the overflowing sinkful of dishes that were the result of this dish)–sorry veggie friends, meat wins.  But having said that, this will stay on my list of wonderful treats to have when meat feels too heavy in the summer or when I have veggie friends over who would like the alternative.  I did make a double batch of the burgers, and froze half of it, which will of course, make cooking the 2ndtime around much faster and easier.  Oh–and this meal was NOT kid approved, but my kid is a total oddball when it comes to food, so that means very little! :)   Your kids may love it.  Especially the potatoes. 

Modifications:  I made very few mods to these recipes, except to eliminate the jalepenos from the burgers and the chipotle seasoning from the potatoes.  We are not huge fans of either so just didn’t include them.  Otherwise, I followed the recipes exactly. 

Final review:
Ease of burger prep: one star
Ease of potato prep: 3 stars
Quality of recipes: 4 stars each
Quality of final products: 5 stars each!

So try it for yourself, and let me know what you think!!

Sidebar as to how I found these recipes.  I originally found both on this blog, which is one of 4 blogs kept by Stephanie Nielson, a wife and mother of 4 who is recovering from severe burns to her entire body which she obtained in a plane crash she was in with her husband.  Her main blog is found here.  If you missed her story on 20/20 last Friday, watch it here.

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Funny stuff my kid says

Posted on May 2, 2011 at 7:52 pm, by knitwit
in Category Just Chattin', Knitting, Life

So today L and I were catching up on some episodes of of Upstairs, Downstairs I had recorded on PBS.  Agnes had just given birth to her baby and the baby was crying.  L, the sweet hearted kid that he is, reached out to the TV and said “Oh, there’s a baby! The baby is crying! It’s ok Baby!  Shhh shh…it’s alright now Baby!” 

Enough to melt a Mama’s heart completely.

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Where are you going, where have you been? *

Posted on April 26, 2011 at 1:52 pm, by knitwit
in Category Color work, Fun Stuff, Hats/Scarves, Knitting, Life, Mittens/gloves

This p0st is so long overdue! So where indeed am I going and where have I been?

Well our lives the past several months have revolved mainly around transforming this:

basement bedroom1

closets before demo

demo'd closets

demo'd closets

into this:

finished bedroom with carpet

finished closets

There were some bumps in the road like this:

the culprit: unsafe stepstool

 

Which led to this:

one unhappy guy and his little buddy

I also suffered a hand injury which greatly hampered my knitting for some time!  Sadly no pictures to share.

Along the way we celebrated this:

L turns 3, B turns...uh..old

L turns 3, B turns...uh..old

I did manage a bit of Christmas knitting (tho I didn’t manage any decent photo shoots) like this:

B's 2nd striped vest

 

and this:

Corrie Fair Isle Vest (KnitPicks) for my sis

 this,

Running Stitch Skirt from Interweave Knits

 and these:

Hermione's Deathly Hallows Hat

Hermione's mitts

Both of which I designed myself and gifted to my fabulous niece for Christmas.

And here’s a spoiler for my current project in progress, which will also be gifted to my fantastic niece:

Leah's sweater

(10 points if you can guess the inspiration for this sweater!)

So as you can see it’s been a very busy 6 months here!  We still have a lot of home improvements yet to complete and the knitting basket is always overflowing, but hopefully I’ll pop in more often to let you know where I’m going.

*Title mercilously stolen from one of my favorite short stories “Where are you Going, Where Have you Been?” By Joyce Carol Oates.

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And the leaves that are green…*

Posted on September 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm, by knitwit
in Category Fun Stuff, Just Chattin', Life

All summer long I had been planning on having L’s pictures taken in September when he turned 2 1/2.  Unfortunately, August was an incredibly busy month and that carried into a September that was just as busy; and now it looks like there won’t be a week of appointments or visitors or activities until late October. 

We get so busy, life marches on with all it’s copius activities, hindrences and toils.  We get in a rut where we focus so much on the big tasks, that the little moments of every day go by unnoticed. 

We grumble and gripe at each other, we get frustrated by work, bills, home improvements and repairs (a big one for us!).  All of life’s burdens weigh on us. 

And in the meantime…our children are growing and changing, sometimes before our very eyes. 

I have a million things on my to do list this week, some projects more necessary than others, but all taking precidence over one thing:

spending time with my child.

And that truly pains me.

So this morning, I ignored the “to do” list.  I fought off that nagging feeling that I needed to “do” something and chose instead, to document some of the moments that would otherwise, so easily, slip away.

I have a son who is funny and smart and silly.  He’s a tornado and a volcano wrapped into one.  You never have to worry about what he’s feeling or thinking because he lets you know…in all certainty.

I love him more than anything in the world.

And yet when life gets busy, his pleas for Mama to play are often met with a tense “Not now, Mama’s busy!”  How could I ever be too busy for this sweet face?

I can’t let these moments go by unrecorded.  L will only be 2.5  once. 

 

Life is so precious and so fleeting.  I just wanted to take a moment and play when I should have been working, to roll in the grass and not care about my clothes getting dirty,

to stop and smell the flowers,

to be silly,

and handsome,

and pretty,

and dorky.

To revel in warm Autumn days that will soon be gone.

Who needs professional pictures when I can capture the essence of a little heart all on my own.

I hope you take the time today to find joy in the simple things and reconnect with the loves of your life.  I wish L’s daddy could have been here to enjoy it with us, but we’ll be sure to share it with him when he gets home. 

*The title refers to a song by Simon and Garfunkel The Leaves That Are Green“.  Lyrics of the first verse:
‘I was 21 years when I wrote this song
I’m 22 now but I won’t be for long.
Time hurries on,
And the leave that are green turn to brown.’

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