Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A new, healthier me...

I have been contemplating writing this blog for awhile and trying to decide how in depth and how far back I want to go.  Today feels like a good day to sit down and write it with the end of Body Back.  It marks a monumental day and, as meaningless as this statement can really be, the first day of the rest of my life. 

So now the long history of Kate's fitness...  In elementary school/high school I was involved with sports, but never very good at anything athletic.  Where I grew up sports were pretty much the only thing to do that was extra curricular.  They took anybody to play because there weren't enough people to fill teams as it was (I graduated with 14 in my whole class).   My senior season of basketball, before the season had even started, I injured my knee.  I had an MRI and they didn't find anything.  I tried a couple of times to go back to playing, but the knee never felt right and I liked being bench cheerleader.  Skip ahead to college.  I had a membership to the gym, but didn't go a lot.  I wasn't really focused on my health in college, but I had fun!   After school I started working and it all went downhill.  About a year after my wedding I hit my all time high in weight.  It was a weigh in at a doctor's office that took me by surprise, there was no way I weighed that much!  Not only was my weight out of control, but I really wasn't happy.  My exercise routine was simple - we walked 2-3 times a week with the dogs, but we also ate poorly and had late night snacks all the time.  I have a picture I would like to share that is my NEVER AGAIN!

At that point I decided I needed to do something and joined a gym.  I did really good for about 3 months and along with South Beach dropped about 20 pounds.  A trip to Jamaica for a friend's wedding was my motivation.  After my motivation was gone, and at this point my knee started really bother me too, I slowed way down on the exercise.  Luckily I had made positive changes with eating and was able to maintain.  I went to see a doctor because my knee had started this annoying habit of popping out of place when I would put weight on it or bend down.  It turned out that I basically didn't have an ACL in my left knee.  Apparently my old basketball injury wasn't serious when it happened but after years of walking and some exercise the injury just magnified.  So in October 2008 I had ACL replacement surgery.  Then a month later I was laid off from my job.  I looked at it as a perfect opportunity to work on me.  So I got a personal trainer and worked out 4 days a week.  We did mostly weights with very little cardio and had a very strict diet plan.  I lost 25 pounds in 13 weeks.  Then came the move to Arizona.  I didn't know anybody and didn't have much to do so I decided I might as well go find another job.  I was so sure that I was going to keep up with working out and wasn't going to slip back into old routines.  But work, especially at a computer all day, is hard on my body.  I was tired at night and didn't get into an exercise routine right away so I lost momentum there.  I tried to stay healthy with food, but it too started slipping.  The biggest culprit was all the snacking that I do when I am bored, stressed, or just generally sitting at a computer all day.  I had gained back 15 of my 25 pound loss within a five months.

That brings us to pregnancy.  I was laid off again from my job and found out two weeks later we were expecting.  So I decided that instead of finding a meaningless job or leaving after a few month to be a stay-at-home mom, I would start early.  I didn't gain a lot during pregnancy, only about 25 pounds.   Which was amazing seeing as how I spent most of the pregnancy with my feet up or napping.  While pregnant I tried searching for a pregnancy workout class but didn't find anything.  What I did find was the website for Stroller Strides and bookmarked it for later (little did I know, but I would have been welcome at SS pregnant).  After Lilah came I lost 15 of my 25 pounds and got stuck.  Here is a picture from right after I started Stroller Strides.

Let me just tell you - Stroller Strides is the best thing I have ever done.  Not only are the instructors amazing, the workouts challenging, and the classes fun, but it has brought friendship and camaraderie, understanding and empathy, and a place I always feel welcome and accepted.  When I started SS I was barely able to run from station to station, always taking the low impact option during exercises and sore after EVERY class.  After six months I had built up my cardiovascular strength, gained muscle tone, and lost 10 pounds.  But I still felt like I wasn't reaching the level of fitness that many of the others seemed to have.  Being surrounded by lots of fit, confident mommas all the time left me feeling defeated some days.  But other days, when I was able to complete a hard workout, I felt so good about myself and I wanted more of that.  That's when Kelly announced she would be starting Body Back.  This program, also created by the founder of SS, was more boot camp style, no kids allowed, included a diet portion and was 8 weeks long.  Before we started I was scared to death.  What had I gotten myself into?  Was I going to be able to keep up or was this just going to be another case of trying my hardest to come in last?  It felt weird to be doing something that seemed so selfish and would take time (or me) away from my family.  From the first day this program was different.  Somebody was watching over my shoulder if I slipped, but it was mostly up to me to make it work for myself.  I put myself on a strict diet, followed instructions of working out at least 5 days a week, which included the 2 mornings of Body Back boot camp.  I shook my head when Kelly would say that a session of Stroller Strides wasn't enough for one day's workout (she had to be kidding - they were strenuous!).  Our early morning workouts included fun things like flipping tractor tires, running over 4 miles with a 4 lb ball in our hands, getting a taste of army life from a retired sergeant, and running up hills with boulders.  These sessions left me spent but somehow full of energy and drive for my day (ok, maybe not every day).  Each workout session also included some sort of meditation and reflection.  It was a roller coaster - an emotional journey shared with me by 10 amazing women.   But it worked!  I have never been in shape like this.  I now go to SS and (don't tell the instructors) but it is almost, dare I say it, easy.  I can go out for 3-4 mile runs, my heart rate is up, but I am not breathing hard.  I have energy that I haven't had in years.  I get things done.  I have a smile on my face more.  I face each day with a better attitude.  And finally, I lost weight and am seeing numbers on the scale that I haven't seen since high school!  I ended up losing 22 lbs over 8 weeks, over 12% of my weight.  And I did it for my family.   I did it for my daughter.  And I did it for ME!   I end with a picture from today.  Hopefully the next time you all see me, be it tomorrow or in a year, I will only be more fit, more trim, and happier!

Saturday, November 13, 2010


This past 9 days has been rocky to say the least.  Lilah is hardly ever sick.  She had one little virus this summer, a fever and congestion for two days.  I took her in just because she had been playing with friends and they had come down with strep.  But she was negative and recovered quickly. 

So way back two Thursdays ago, when she was cranky and moody, I figured she had a little bug and it would be a few days of getting her better.  Thursday night.  10 PM - cries out, back to sleep.  11 PM - cries out, back to sleep.  12:30 - cries for a good 5 minutes, but I am tired, why isn't she sleeping!   3:30 AM- really loud crying.  I go to check.  She is BURNING up.  I don't trust my thermometer because it seems to run low and it is say 102.7!  Holly cow.  Poor thing.  I get her out of bed and out of her sleep sack.  Her hands feel like they are on fire.  Wet wash cloth to the back of the neck.  A dose of Tylenol.  Lots of hugging, soothing, worry.  Finally the temp drops, but she is awake.  Shannon gets up a 5:50 to let me get an hour of sleep before he heads off to work. 

For the next 5 days we battled the fever.  It would drop to 99 range and just stay there, but every 4 or 5 hours it would spike back up.  Never as high as that first night, but uncomfortable for Lilah.  She was cranky, moody, uncomfortable.  I would set her down, she would cry.  I would pick her up, she would cry.  I would read to her, she didn't like the book she would cry.  I would read to her, she liked the book, it was over she would cry.  By this time I was sick too.  Shannon took the lead role with taking care of her over the weekend and I slept most of Saturday.  But crying baby, sick mommy is not a good combo.  I just wanted her to start feeling better.  I thought about taking her in to see her pediatrician on Monday but when I called 20 minutes after they opened they said it was going to be a 10 minute wait to even talk with the scheduler.  My goodness - lots of sick kiddos.  So I decided to wait one more day. 

Then Tuesday morning her fever is 101 again.  I take her in.   Ears look good, throat looks good.  Congestion nothing to worry about, lungs sound clear.  The swab her nose for flu.  Poor thing - it looked like it hurt.  Came back negative.  They were sure that is what it was going to be.  Ok, time for urine sample with catheter.  She was a wreck after that.  We wait 15 minutes for initial results.  In the meantime she is snuggled up on me and falling asleep.  Negative for infection.  That means fever for 5 days - no diagnosis.  They don't like that at all.  Better send her for blood work and lung X-Ray.  I am pretty sure I wasn't containing my emotion well at that point - YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME.  She is cranky, with a little runny nose and a fever that won't go away and you want me to subject her to blood draw and X-Ray!  She is sick - I am sick- Shannon is starting to feel sick- we have a virus. So they talk and if the fever hasn't broken by the next day I am to get her blood drawn.  But X-Ray has to happen today.  I go home, call Shannon.  He comes home and takes her to the Radiologist.  I go grocery shopping so we have something in the house.  It was a nice break.  But I am worried.  I just can't shake it.  That trip to the doctor's office left me in a funk.

Wednesday morning - I leave the house at 4:50 AM to head to Body Back.  Finally something for me!  It was great.  We got an early morning PT routine with a retired Army Sgt.  It was just what I needed and I finally felt like I was going to get better.  I got home to Lilah without fever.  She had woken up not hot!  Thank goodness.  That meant no blood work that day.  This day was going great.  Lilah was still grumpy, but things were going my way, and I was able to just roll with it.  She was going to be feeling better and I was going to get better and life was returning to normal.  Thursday morning - she wakes up super cranky and with rash!  Her nose is running worse than it had been in several days, she is congested and just not feeling well again.  I barely handle the day, but somehow make it.  Friday morning - the rash is worse.  I break down into tears.  I just want my happy baby back.  Not sick.  Not grumpy.  I CAN'T take it anymore.  I call the nurses line.  They want me to take her to the emergency room.  I don't think so.  I know from the last little bug that with the end of virus can come a rash.  It is not raised, it is not hot, it is not hives.  So I don't take the advice, I decide to wait it out.  Does that make me a bad Mom?  I don't know, but the last time I took her in left both of us exhausted.  Instead we literally screamed at each other all day.  Not good for either of us.  Oh, and I am still not feeling a 100% either.  This nasty bug just lingers.  Shannon knows how unhappy and worn out I am and makes it home by 4.  I get to go for a run.  This helps so much.  I realize now how dependent I have become on exercise to keep my mood up.  I don't quite make it the 3 miles without stopping, side stitches and knee ache.  I hope this is because I am still congested and just not getting the oxygen I need.  I have a feeling the next week at Body Back is going to be a rough one.   I need to make up for lost time.

Now it is Saturday morning.  The rash is fading.  She woke up at 7:45 this morning - slept for 13 hours.  And now has been napping for 1:40 minutes (this morning nap usually last 40 - 60 min on a good day).   I am cautiously optimistic that this the end and she will start getting back to her old self.  I need her smiles.  I need her independence.  I am not good with clingy, whinny baby.  Especially after 9 days! 

This is a picture taken after the doctor's office.  She was so tired she laid down on the carpet in the kitchen and wouldn't get back up.  So sad, but so precious. 

Monday, November 8, 2010


For those of you who followed Lilah in her adventures over the past year, I know that you are disappointed to no longer have her "take" on things.  However, I did that blog for her and am currently having the entire thing printed into a bound book so that she will have record of her first year forever.  I thought about continuing the journey in Lilah's voice, but to be honest it will be nice to write as me for awhile.  I am excited to be able to share the good, bad, and ugly and use this as a place to get things off my chest.  It will, of course, continue to be a place where I share our adventures and lots of pictures for family and friends.   So stay tuned, feel free to follow if you are interested, and I will do my best to remember to blog every once and awhile.