Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sweet 16

First, I must update all on my last post, which dealt with my foot injury and the blood test that showed I was positive for Rheumatoid Arthritis. The good news is that I visited the Rheumatologist on Monday of this week and she said I do NOT have Rheumatoid Arthritis. Woo hoo! Apparently some lucky people like me test positive because they have extra antibodies in their system and, since I've always been a bit of an overachiever, the fact that my body would provide more antibodies than I would need seems to make sense to me.

That doesn't explain the random foot injury, but I'm going to make an assumption that the shoes I workout in are too old and don't give me the arch support I need when I work out.  Just another reason to go out and buy new shoes!

Now, onto the weight loss challenge....

I hit a major milestone this week, earning myself another award at Tuesday's Weight Watchers meeting. This week, I celebrated my 16th week attending Weight Watchers.  (Actually, it would have been 17 weeks if it hadn't been for last week's foot fiasco). They give a 16-week "clapping hands" award when you complete four months attending Weight Watchers meetings. This is a milestone because, as their research shows, if you make it to 16 meetings consecutively, you are more likely to make your goal weight. Come to think of it, in ALL time times I've gone back to Weight Watchers, I have never received the 16-week award, so this truly is a milestone.

Plus, it marks another reason to get an award and a round of applause. Because, for those who know me best, it is all about the prizes. Although my husband's hopefully-soon-to-be-completed Master's Thesis would argue that extrensic motivation is not as important as intrensic motivation (at least in the classroom), I disagree. It's all about the 5-pound star stickers and the 10 % keychain, upon which my 25-pound weight loss ring and 16-week clapping hands are placed.

My Weight Watchers weight loss bling

As I write today's blog post, I'm in a bit of a hurry. I'm leaving for Honolulu on an 8 a.m. flight out of Oakland for a business mixed with pleasure trip. Unfortunately, Christian and the kids aren't able to join me because we're saving our vacation money for a big trip to Disneyland at the end of July. I'm heading to Honolulu because the Training Ship Golden Bear, the training vessel of The California Maritime Academy (where I work) is going to be arriving on Monday and I'm going to be staffing an alumni reception and major scholarship fundraiser there, as well as coordinating logistics with local television crews that want to interview our students who will have just completed a two-month international training voyage.

But, as an added bonus, I get to visit my brother, Geoff, and his wife, Girlie. Geoff is currently stationed at the Army's Schofield Barracks, which is just outside of Honolulu. He is being deployed to Iraq next week. The fact that his deployment coincides with my trip to Honolulu is perfect and I'm really looking forward to spending time with him and his Girlie before he leaves.

I'm so proud of my brother. During a time when the industry he was working in tanked, he decided to make a move that would provide a more stable source of income, retirement, and a host of other wonderful benefits for him and his wife. He joined the Army at the age of 41. To answer your question, "Yes, you can join the army at that age!" Forty-two is now the cut off.

Geoff endured many grueling weeks at boot camp in Ft. Knox, at twice the age of many of his fellow enlistees. But he did it. And boy was I proud of him when Will (who was then 8-years-old) and I flew out to see him graduate from boot camp at Ft. Knox. He looked amazing and had a renewed sense of confidence and focus.

This is one of my favorite pictures.  This is Will (almost 2 years ago...I can't believe how much younger he looks) and my brother at the mall in Louisville, KY just after we attended his boot camp graduation at Ft. Knox.

And next week he'll deploy for a year. He says he'll have Internet access, so I'm hoping he's able to follow my blog because he's been a great cheerleader for me during this weight loss process. Geoff, please take care of yourself and know how proud we are all of you for turning your life around. And when you come back in a year, we'll have a big party and won't count our points at all! Deal?

Ah, now, onto counting points and going to Hawaii.  I'm very very nervious about this trip and keeping on my diet. I'm already packed and have packed my workout gear and my brother says there are plenty of places on base to work out. I've also packed my favorite Weight Watchers "Almond Sensation Bars", which are simply amazing and have been a staple for me pre-workout and for breakfast. My strategy is "fish and fruit"...if I can stick with those, I should be good. We are going to the Hula Grill, my favorite restaurant in Hawaii, as a send-off and, yes, I may very well have some Hula Pie and a Lava Flow. But, I will do my best to repeat my fish and fruit mantra as best as I can and work my butt off at the gym there.

I had a good week of working out and eating right. I was successfully able to take the four pounds back off that I put on mysteriously last week after my foot injury. So, I'm back at a 24-pound weight loss and feeling great.

I won't have a blog post next week since I'll still be in Hawaii.  So you'll have to wait two weeks until my next update, which will hopefully be a good one.

Here's this week's picture!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Got Thrown a Curveball

To follow up on my last week's blog post, I'm pleased to report that our son's baseball team -- the Benicia Minor A Cardinals -- won the championship game last Friday, earning them the top spot for the season, not  to mention a photo in the Benicia Herald.  To make a great week even better, Will's All-Star team won the all-star game!

Cheers to the Cardinal's for an exciting season...

Will (second from the left in the back) and his Cardinal's teammates and coaches.

..and cheers to Will, our handsome little All-Star!

To carry on with the baseball theme, I had a bit of a curveball thrown at me this week. I'm sharing this against my husband's wishes. "No need to worry anyone unnecessarily," he's told me. But, heck, I haven't been "obeying" since the Baptist preacher at our wedding threw in the whole "honor and obey" bit during our vows (the look on my face and smile on my husband's face at that point in the wedding video is priceless).

The way I see it is this blog chronicles the ups and downs of weight loss and life as I approach my 40th birthday. I can't hold back now. So, here goes...

I woke up Tuesday morning with the alarm clock buzzing at 6:00 a.m. That's the time I set it for the night before thinking I'd actually squeeze a workout in before going to work. It was clear that going to the gym would be out of the question, given the intense pain in my right foot. I couldn't even walk on it and literally had to hop to the bathroom. It got worse and worse and was reminiscent of a similar incident I'd had about six years ago following a faculty/staff  vs. students softball game at the college I work at.

After that game, I'd gone home only to discover a couple hours later that I couldn't walk on my foot. I hadn't injured it during the game, so it was a bit of a mystery. I drove myself to the emergency room (not one of my better ideas) because it was Will's bedtime and I thought it would be best if my husband stayed home with him. I tried to hop to the ER entrance until a nice lady brought out a wheelchair for me. The x-ray taken back then didn't show anything broken, and I was told it was just a sprain. So I hobbled home with the crutches they gave me and my tail between my legs feeling like the old, out-of-shape, former high school softball player that I was. The next morning, my foot was fine.

The episode this Tuesday felt the same. And I was cursing myself for getting rid of those wooden crutches from six years ago as I hobbled, hopped and held onto my husband's arm as we arrived to the doctor's office along with our kids.

Fortunately, they had a set of crutches, even though they were mismatched and had seen better days. I gladly took them and did my best to maneuver myself around with them while not breaking my neck. The doctor was a bit perplexed by my sudden onslaught of pain. He asked if I had had an abnormally hard sleep the night before. I hadn't. He poked and prodded various parts of my foot and ruled out gout and planters fasciitis. I was pleased because they both sounded pretty nasty.

Then he said, just to be sure, he wanted me to get some lab work done to test for rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and lyme disease, and also to test the general percentage of swelling in my body (or something to that effect). Then, he wanted me to get an x-ray and prescribed an anti-inflamatory.

And before we knew it, there was our plan for Christian's and the kids' Summer Break: Day 7. We went to the lab, got my blood drawn, drove to John Muir in Concord, waited in the waiting room, got my x-ray, drove to Raley's, and picked up my prescription.

Trying to navigate around on crutches with the most excruciating pain you can imagine was brutal. And the  simple bumping on the freeway in our car jarred my right foot enough that it nearly brought me to tears. When we got to the parking lot, the thought of having to make my way on crutches all the way across the parking lot, down the long corridor to the radiology department did cause me to have a brief meltdown. Fortunately, a nice man in a red polo shirt, I believe he was a volunteer for the hospital, wheeled out a wheelchair and pushed me to the radiology waiting room. Bless him.

After a bit of a wait, we finished the x-ray and Christian wheeled me out with our three-year-old daughter Piper on my lap. She sucked her thumb, like she does when she gets tired. It had been a long day already, for both of us.

The next day, I stayed home from work again. My ankle/foot was still swollen and hurt, but I was able to walk without the crutches. The doctor called late that afternoon and told me that the x-ray turned out fine, but that my lab work turned up positive for rheumatoid arthritis. Of course, he added, sometimes these tests turn up false positives.

I could joke about how I'm falling apart the closer I get to 40-years-old, particularly given the theme of my blog. But I can't quite bring myself to make light of it. I think I've spent too much time on Wikipedia and WebMD, not to mention the message boards for those dealing with rheumatoid arthritis. If that ain't enough to scare you.

Hopefully the doctor is right, maybe it is a false positive. But somehow, with the knee issue I was having and my other foot incident six years ago, I'm starting to wonder if there is something to it. I'll learn more after my first visit with the Rheumatologist on Monday.

With all that's gone on the last few days, the impact of a 3-pound weight gain this week hasn't hit me as hard as it might have before. Perhaps some of it is water ankle is still pretty swollen. I kept on track with my diet this week, so the weight gain is a bit of a medical mystery as well.

I told myself I was going to get back to the gym tonight since I haven't gone since last Sunday. But, I think I'm going to feel sorry for myself for one more evening. Instead, I'm going to kick my feet up on the couch, put an ice pack on my right foot, watch the NBA Finals with my family, and have a glass of 2-point Chardonnay.

Here's this week's pic.

Until next week,

Friday, June 11, 2010

An All-Star Week

Gummy worms = 5 cents each
Gatorade = $2.00
Frito Boat with chili and nacho cheese = $2.50
Losing another 1.5 pounds this week = Priceless.

It seems like many of my blog posts have a bit of a baseball tie-in, primarily because I started my diet just about the time my son's baseball season started. So bear with me for another baseball-themed blog, but this one might be my favorite yet.

I volunteered for six hours, three different days this week in the canteen at the Benicia Little League baseball field. Why, you ask? Well, the truth is that the Whitty household's mandatory six-hours of volunteer service per child participating in the league fell between the cracks. This is due primarily to the fact that our 10-year-old son Will was "called up" from his Minor B Padres team to the Minor A Cardinals team early on in the season. We hadn't yet fufilled our canteen duties on the Padres team because our shifts hadn't come up yet at the point when he switched teams. And by the time he joined the Cardinals, they already had their canteen/snack parents schedule completed. So, in order to save the $75 we would have had to pay for not volunteering this season, I decided to be Benicia Little League's Volunteer of the Week, staffing the canteen at Maria Field three times.

The truth is, I've ALWAYS wanted to work in the canteen, but never needed to because, up until this season, my husband always fulfilled our volunteer hours by coaching. I have so many fond memories of playing softball when I was a kid and getting to go to the "snack shack" after the game to buy Fun Dip, a hot dog and a Dr. Pepper. In fact, the trip to the snack shack was as much of a highlight as the game itself. Truth be told, it actually may have been better than the actual game. So, it was honestly really fun to volunteer this week making young kids' days by counting out their gummy works, smothering their nachos with cheese, and grabbing their Gatorade.

Workin' it at the canteen

Don't get me wrong, I was nervous. Really nervous. I wasn't quite sure how I'd handle scooping up creamy nacho cheese and pouring it into the "small boat" filled with round tortilla chips. (The "small boat" is then placed inside a "big boat" to capture any overflowing cheese.) The truth is, with each serving of nachos I dipped up, it never got easier. Nachos have always been a weakness of mine. Nevertheless, I stuck to my guns and never once partook in anything more than a Diet RC Cola from the soda fountain.

As proud as I am of myself, there's another member of the family who has me beaming with pride -- our son Will. As I mentioned, Will was called up early in the season from the Minor B league Padres team to the Minor A league Cardinals. When it happened, he was beyond thrilled, but I was a little bit worried that he'd have trouble adjusting to a new team when the season had already begun. He has always been a more reserved, shy boy, and really, really sensitive. So when he struck out each time he was at bat for the first few games, I worried he'd get discouraged.

One of the things he mentioned to us when he was called up was that he wasn't as good as the other players and that would mean he wouldn't make the All-Star team like he did last year. My husband asked him if he'd rather play with a higher caliber of teammates, or be the best person on the team. Will agreed he'd rather be playing with a more competitive team.

So Will kept at it and kept at it until he began hitting in-field triples and doubles and quickly earned the nickname of "Will Power." Every time he goes to bat, you'll hear the parents in the stands chanting, "Will Power!" That's not to say he doesn't occasionally strike out. In fact, each time he does, it's hard for him to fight back the tears welling up in his eyes. We keep reminding him that in the big leagues, when a player gets one hit out of three times at bat, that is considered good.
 Will Power!

Will's team finished the regular season in 2nd place. They won their first two games in the single-elimination post season tournament, earning them the right to play in the championship game tomorrow night. (By the time you read this, it will actually be "today"...the game is Friday at 5:30 p.m.) The first place team lost their second game of the tournament, so the Cardinal's are going into tomorrow's game against the A's with the better record. We are very excited and encourage anyone who reads this and is in the area to come on down to Benicia's Community Park to root for the Cardinals!

And tonight, we had quite another surprise, aided in part by my volunteering in the canteen. When Peggy, the former bartender turned Canteen Coordinator, and I were cleaning up the outside table displaying ketchup, jalapeno peppers, mustard and other condiments, I noticed a group of parents and kids huddled around the bulletin board. Curious about what they were looking at, I walked over to see what all the interest was about. The players who were selected to the All-Star team in the varoius divisions in Benicia Little League were just freshly posted. I casually looked through the names, not thinking too much of it, when Will Whitty's name appeared as one of the four players selected from the Cardinals to play on the All-Star team. When I was sharing my excitement with Canteen Coordinator Peggy, one of the league's board members happened to hear me and asked who my son was. When I told him Will Whitty, he said, "Oh, sure, I know him. He was actually the only player who was called up from Minor Bs to make the All-Star team."

I was bursting at the seams (fortunately not due to my weight, now that I've lost 24 pounds so far, leaving me with 16 more to lose by my 40th birthday on August 15th). I couldn't wait to go home and tell him the exciting news! He is over-the-moon excited! After the news sank in a bit, I went into his room and sat down on the bed next to him and asked what he's learned through all of this. 

He said, "I learned that even if you're called up to the next league and you think the other players hit better than you and play better than you, you just have to keep on trying and practicing, and never lose hope."

Talk about priceless.

Until next week,

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Working (Out) Mom

It's not easy being a full-time working mom with two kids. But to be a full-time working mom trying to lose 40 pounds by her 40th birthday finding time to attend weekly Weight Watchers meetings while also working out at the gym at least four nights a week, chronicling it all in a blog, well it's darned near impossible.

That's why I'm pleased to report that this week I lost another two pounds, bringing my total weight loss to 22.5 pounds!

I'm writing this blog during the very brief break I have while my husband goes to the store to get some items for his last day of work for this year's school year.  He teaches a 4th/5th grade combo class and he's doing his annual all-nighter finishing up report cards. The only time I get to work on this blog is the amount of time it takes him to drive down the hill to Raley's and then to Starbuck's to get gifts for the parents who helped out in his class this year.

While I write this week's blog, our son Will is writing thank you notes to his teacher and the two daycare ladies who have watched him every day after school since he's been in Kindergarten. He's also writing his final thank you note for his birthday gifts, this one to my dad and his wife, Debbie.  I'm doing my best to crank out this week's blog with constant interruptions, like....

Will: How do you spell terrific? It is T-E-R-R-I-F-I-C?
Me: Yes

This week was extra challenging to get to the gym.  But I'm pleased to say I was able to four times, despite my son's baseball game that went into extra innings (sooooo exciting!) and an evening my husband spent at the Giants Game, which resulted in me hauling the kids to the gym so they could play in the daycare room while I got a workout in.

Will: I wrote a B when I meant to write a D. Does it look like a D?
Me: They're not going to care."

Will: How do you spell Debbie?
Me: D-E-B-B-I-E

I kicked my workouts up a bit this week and tried to vary my routine a bit to keep my body guessing, hoping the uncertainty would kick up my metabolism. Each day I did my usual 33 minute workout on the elliptical machine, but kicked it up on the level so by tonight I was on Level 10. (Oh no, my husband just got home, I'll have to hurry this up so he can get back on the computer.) On top of that, one night I did the treadmill, running 10 minutes and walking quickly on a steep incline for 5 minutes.The other three workouts I did the recumbant bicycle on Level 10 on the random hill setting (NOT easy). The worst is when the bicycle pauses for you when you're having trouble keeping up. It makes you feel like such a failure.

Me: Will, you also need to write the envelopes for Mrs. Wida, Teresita and Leslie.
Will: Why do I have to write envelopes?
Me: Because it's nice.

Will: How do you spell Leslie?
Me: L-E-S-L-I-E
Will: Ah, man, I spelled it wrong in the card! I wrote L-E-S-L-A-L-I-E.
Me: Just cross it out and fix it.

The great thing about working out is I get to add Weight Watchers points to my daily diet, which you can use to eat more each day or bank and add to your weekly 35 bonus points. The duration and intentisy of my workouts earns me 3 extra points each time I work out. So far, this week, I already have 9 bonus points banked. That may come in handy given that I'm working the canteen this Saturday for my son's Little League Game. I'm worried about the endless supply of nachos I'll be in charge of during my shift. You know how much I love nachos!

Will: Mommy, I'm done.
Me: Ok, go brush your teeth.

Will: Are you going to tuck me in?
Me: When I'm done with this.
Will: Okay

Well, both my son and my husband have been patient enough waiting for me to finish this, so I'll close with this week's picture of me, taken by my son while my husband was doing report cards. 

Until next week,