I Have No Thigh Gap, and I’m Okay

I keep seeing this talk about thigh gaps. I looked down, and I saw nothing but curvy thighs, and then I shrugged it off and had some pizza. I gained a few pounds on account of new medication, and now sit on the scale around 130lbs, up about 10lbs from before I was switched to this medicine. Still, 130lbs around my 5’3″ frame is actually still within the healthy range. Plus, I consider that an incredible feat considering I popped out 2 children and have a seemingly unbeatable pooch, as well as weighing around just over 200lbs when I was pregnant with my most recent bundle of joy.

Still, I see people talk about their gap like it’s a bragging right over people without one. As if they are part of an exclusive club that makes them better than me. News flash: it doesn’t. Would I rather a thigh gap or the ability to enjoy that bowl of ice cream that I want, or that heavily greasy and cheesy pepperoni pizza that makes me drool just thinking about it? I choose to enjoy my greasy and sugary indulgence, and I am quite okay with my choice. As long as I work out daily, as I do, and keep my weight at a reasonable and achievable but healthy goal, I don’t care that I have wide hips and thicker thighs. Because I’ve had them my entire life. I can thank genetics for them, and I refuse to stress out about something that I may not be able to change. Because I like me. And my husband doesn’t complain, and quite frankly that’s the only opinion that moderately matters to me.

So you can enjoy your thigh gap, because the trend will die out, and you will realize that you were just genetically blessed or you missed out on enjoying simple things in life. I will wear my big thighs, my 2 baby pooch, and my stretch marks with pride, because I’m 31 years old and I left high school long ago. Not that I cared too much what people thought of me then, either. Until my doctor, who I pay to make sure that I stay healthy, tells me to fix something, I’m going to keep doing what I do. I’m going to make sure that I’m healthy, because that’s what matters. Not how I look. Not anything but staying long enough to raise my family and be there for their kids, and if I’m lucky, their kids’ kids.

Next time someone tries to shame you for what you eat or how you look, remember that. Your parents were right when they told you that people who pick on you for things like that is really  just over-compensating for some deficiency in their life. Don’t compare yourself to supermodels or celebrities: they have personal trainers and nannies and personal chefs/dietitians to keep them looking that good. You’re setting yourself up for failure, that will eventually lead you to give up on meeting whatever fitness goals you may have. My goal? I just want to get back down to where I was before the medicine. Which is still a healthy and achievable weight, just one that I feel more comfortable with. No man wants a stick figure.

The Freedom of the Run

I remember watching people running by in mid winter with just a hoodie over their running clothes and a winter hat and thinking they were out of their minds. I’ll admit, I still think they are crazy. On a cold and icy winter morning, I want to be inside with a tea and heating not out for a run. The difference now isn’t them; they are still a little crazy my eyes. The difference is that now I get it.

I’m not an experienced runner by any means. I just started last week with the Couch to 5k app on zombie mode with a bottle of water in my hand and gasping for breath as if I were dying at the end of each jogging cycle in the workout. But a week into the program, I have a new understanding of it. There’s no one around but the music, Johnny Zombie telling me when to run and jog, and the baby in the stroller I’m pushing uphill while jogging. It’s freedom. It’s all freedom. And even though my muscles feel like they are detaching themselves from my limbs and my lungs feel like a grenade explodes in them after each jogging minute, it is awesome.

I look forward to my time out there moving. It clears my head, makes me a little saner even if it’s just for a little bit. It’s quiet and peaceful and out of the corner of my eyes I see a nice view and  scenery. I hear the sounds of birds chirping and dogs barking and children laughing over my music and my zombie trainer. I smell the freshly cut grass and the grills cooking what smells like delicious steaks. Unfortunately some times I smell the scent of freshly pesticided and fertilized lawns, but even then I don’t care. I smile at neighbors that smile at me and say “hello” in return to their greetings. I even give thumbs up when they make a commentary about me getting a workout in or how cute my boys are. It’s a great new world out there.

I wonder if it’s me that changed. I still feel self-conscious if I see people looking at me, but it’s fleeting as I’m more concerned with my goals that someone I’ve never met and probably never will. I want to be better: healthier and faster with more endurance. I want that feeling of freeing solidarity that magically erases everything that makes me miserable for at least a half hour of my day. I want to forget, without drinking or anything else people use to forget. Most importantly, I get it.

So will I still look at them as insane? Probably. But they have the right idea. Hell, next year I might even join them. I’ll be the one in baggy running sweatpants, parka, and my signature winter hat. I might even suck it up and wear my snow boots. Maybe not though, because I like my tea and bathrobe walking around the house on a cold winter morning. That’s too many months away to make these sorts of decisions now. I recommend the feeling of being out there though, even if it’s only for a walk. A nice peaceful walk on a nice day instead of wasting away in front of your television. Plus, it sends a great message to your kids seeing you active.

The Line Between Beliefs and Neglect

An article was sent to me about a measles outbreak in NYC and the rising toll of infected include infants who aren’t old enough to be vaccinated. Apparently this is becoming common in  some of the largest cities in America. A while back, there was a church that was anti-vaccination that suffered a massive outbreak amongst its church that resulted in many sick and some deaths. I bet you’re wondering what the church did. The answer is: they set up vaccination clinics and changed their happy little tune when their own fell gravely ill and died. Beliefs are awesome, until your children die and then it’s an “oopsie”.

I’ve considered arguments against vaccines. And I’ve considered ones for vaccines. So I would like to approach this topic logically, as I try to approach everything here. I will point out the opposing view and why I personally find them illogical.

We don’t know how safe they are. That’s a valid point. We really don’t know how safe they are. But, I absolutely know how unsafe not getting them are. They argue that getting vaccines can cause asthma, seizures, and death. There are other side effects or illnesses people believe are caused by vaccines. I’d like to see in those studies how many children were predisposed to these ailments to begin with. As for the death, I think I can say that not getting vaccinated can lead that way as well, so you’re really just taking a crap shot here.

But we don’t really know what’s in them. We could be poisoning our children.  This is true, so another very valid point. My argument to this is simple: we know what’s in Chemotherapy medicines and we still give those to our dying children. That is a poison. You are giving poison to children with cancer. And you know what? Since we started purposely poisoning our children, childhood mortality rates from the most common of the cancers have been dramatically reduced. What’s in that Epi-pen or inhaler you give your child? I don’t know what’s really in them, but I wouldn’t think twice about giving them to my children if they needed them to save their lives.

There’s all this evidence on how bad they are for you. This is one argument I can’t say I can understand. I’m sure if I Googled long enough I can find articles proving that Elvis isn’t really dead or that the sky is green. You can find anything to agree with you. Now I’m sure this argument can be used against me, but I have reputable science sources to back mine. Even still, math and statistics are on my side if you look at it through cost – benefit goggles. The few children that suffer the rare consequences from getting the shot versus the much larger mass that benefits from not having to suffer serious and miserable from exposure to these illnesses.

Vaccines cause Autism. I also can’t stand behind this one as well since this was also scientifically disproven. The truth is no one really knows what causes Autism. The people who blamed vaccines probably gained financially from saying that it does and allowed for a push of holistic medicines that benefits no one but themselves. The reality is people like to place blame somewhere, especially if it’s off of themselves. Instead of focusing on something that was already proven to not be the cause, the focus should be figuring out what actually is. All this does if cause fear mongering and risks the lives of children too young to be protected.

I think I’ve covered all the bases here. I think that if you can arrest a parent for denying treatment for an illness, you can reasonably do it for not vaccinating them because it still follows the same principle. I think if their sick child infects a baby and that baby dies, the parents should be held responsible. I know that it might be viewed as narrow-mindedness. I can say the same for not even considering, really considering, this. I’m concerned for the greater health concern at question here, not just illnesses that should be eradicated but aren’t because of not vaccinating children but what is the real culprit for Autism and whether it is as over diagnosed as ADHD. This would be the best use of everyone’s time and funds.

A Healthy New You For the Brand New Year

Every January, the gym fills up and annoys the usual crowd there. They’re used to finding parking and their choice of equipment. These limited run “resolutioner” that last a whole month or two disrupts this routine. Luckily I work out at home because I like the peace of exercising in solitude. The added bonus of hearing my children laughing while they get man time with their father just makes me happy.

There are a ton of blogs capitalizing on those people, giving informed tips on weight loss and lifestyle changes. Not to take anything away from people who do that out of the kindness of their hearts. I have none of that, only my own personal dealings with the struggle of weight loss and lifestyle changes. I was always skinny, until a time when I was just average thin. Then I became pregnant and saw the scale climb up to 200 lbs. At some point, I asked if I could face away from the scale because I didn’t want to see the numbers. The only advice I can give is find something you like and can stick with. Nothing else will work.

Now I am 60 lbs lighter. I didn’t do it because I didn’t love myself the way I was. I might have hated the number on the scale, but I didn’t hate myself. I didn’t do it because I wanted to make my husband happy, he loved me no matter what. I did it because I love myself and my family and I wanted to be healthy to watch them grow up and see my grandchildren. I did it because I wanted to teach my children the importance of living a healthy lifestyle of eating right and exercise. I did it to have more energy chasing my toddler around. If you want a healthier life, you need to make the necessary changes in your life to make yourself physically and mentally healthy.

There’s an important distinction here. Loving yourself as you are and changing for your health are not conflicting ideals. Lying to yourself and preaching self-love while picking yourself apart in the mirror isn’t true love of who you are. I’m not losing weight because I want to fit in some mold society has set for me as a female; those social norms were never my style. I bow down to no one. No one dictates what I look like or do. You don’t have to look like a supermodel. You can be chubby, as long as you’re healthy. Curves are average people. It’s more important than trying to look like . It’s your health. It’s more than a number on a scale or what size jeans you wear.

When Health Beliefs Conflict

Once upon a time, I wrote a blog here about vaccinations. I’m avidly pro-vaccination and think that more harm is done from not vaccinating your children than from getting the vaccine. I equate the people against vaccines to the people who choose their faith in God over modern medicine to help your child’s cancer go in remission. Not everything is in God’s hand. I’m sure he’s far too busy with worrying over the state of the world and people using his name to cause harm to others. That is the reality of it. Does that statement make you hate me? I wouldn’t bother reading on then, because if that offended you then the rest of what I have to say would probably not please you.

People should make educated decisions about their health and their family’s health. When I say educated though, I mean from reputable sources. This doesn’t mean research the sources that agree with you, it means reading everything. If you read only one news source, you are getting a biased report of only one author. You’ll have nothing to compare that too. You need this comparison to weed out the truths and biases. This applies to everything, not just health topics.

I wonder personally, how many anti-vaccination people use natural and herbal supplements. If the argument is that there is not enough evidence of the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, what makes the lack of evidence there more worthy of worry than the lack of studies on natural and herbal supplements. At least vaccines are tested and approved by health organizations and have to undergo strict testings before being put on the market. I could go to the bathroom in a bottle and pass it off as a magical herb to cure arthritis, and it wouldn’t have to be checked for safety or usefulness.

There is all these studies done on the effectiveness of breastmilk and they agree that it is the best for your baby. Now say I didn’t agree and started a viral “researched” article about how this was a giant conspiracy to make women into housewives that did nothing but nurse babies and cater to their husbands. Would I be accurate? Other anti-breatfeeding people could validate my arguments for no other reason than fuel the debate. There could be no truth to my statements and theories, but now they are all over the Internet passing themselves off as unequivocal facts and people would believe me without fact checking me. People read what they want to anyways and if it’s on the internet, it must be true. You can’t lie on the internet. Right?

98% of statistics are made on the spot. See, I just did. If you give you children herbal supplements and not vaccines, I personally believe you are a hypocrite. It’s all or nothing, folks. In fact, at the risk of sounding harsh maybe you shouldn’t trust chemotherapy or radiation for your sick child, because those are poisons being put in their bodies. There’s a reason why diseases that were basically non-existant are now back and killing children. Imagine if some moms back when polio was running rampant decided, “nah, I don’t think so”. It’s not just irresponsible, it’s selfish. My infant too young for vaccines could die because of your moral stance. And if situations were reversed, you would deem me an awful person because you had to bury your child because I didn’t feel like vaccinating mine. Consider those consequences.

If the Exercise Doesn’t Kill You, the Food Just Might

Since giving birth a year ago, losing weight has been a bit of a struggle. Okay, it’s been a seemingly impossible task. I have been more successful lately since no longer having to take in extra calories for nursing purposes. Now, it’s all on me without an excuse of “well I just had a baby”. That excuse sailed the minute my baby turned one. I don’t need to lose weight for my husband; that poor sap loves me regardless. This is for me so I can feel myself again. I never once stopped to think that I would never want to feel my limbs again. To assist me in this, I use Noom. This app on my phone can easily be a credit to my losing the 15lbs I have since my stalemate with the scale after the scale stalled when I lost the water weight and swelling. Not bad in a month and a half.. I don’t think so anyways.

Exercise helps, but the main culprit is the food you take it and how much of it you take in. I count my calories… well I log my food so Noom can count my calories. It’s hard sometimes to enjoy yourself though, as I’m currently writing this while suffering through a Healthy Choice meal consisting of whole wheat ziti. The rest of the food wasn’t so bad… but damn that pasta tastes like cardboard. The rest of the meal was barely tolerable, leaving me to realize that Lean Cuisine makes the more palatable diet food. But Healthy Choice was on sale… I’ve started with Slim Fast shakes, which once you get over the weird chalky feeling left in your mouth and the constant need to shake it if you don’t chug it in one shot otherwise it tastes vile, isn’t so bad. I’m finding half the time lately I’m eating less because the food is sometimes terrible and not because I’m starving myself to be an anorexic twig.

I do my exercise diligently, alternating daily with which routines I do. Yesterday Noom dared me to do 10 “burpees”, which I had never heard of but decided after watching the video that it couldn’t be that bad. Today, my legs feel like they are detached from my body and I cringe when the baby asks to be picked up because I want to forget I have arms. I am happy to report I did successfully accomplish 13 of them though. But at what cost? I didn’t need to walk or do anything with my arms anyways. I’m a glutton for punishment so after Zumba tonight, I will try to beat my record. In fact, I’m going to try every day to beat whatever record I have set because if I’m this sore the day after, it must’ve been good for me.

That’s the biggest lesson I have taken away from this: if it tastes bad or makes you hurt afterwards, you’re doing it right. Not really. You can luck out and have fantastic diet food. Lean Cuisine pizzas are better tasting than most of the frozen pizzas I have come across. But you don’t necessarily have to restrict what you eat, sometimes just not having as much of it. Portions seem to be the real key. I’m losing weight, and I’m feeling pretty well. I have more energy, which is great because on days like today I feel like I need more energy to try and move my muscles around. I hope to meet my targets I have currently set: I want to be back to my pregnancy weight by my husband’s work’s Christmas part; I want to be a few pounds less than that for my birthday; and I want to be back down to my weight in college by the summer. These are achievable goals, especially if I keep at this nearly 15lbs a month loss. Losing weight takes work and it takes a level of discipline and will-power. You can’t expect to live off of fast food and take out and lose weight. Starving yourself makes matters worse, not better. And exercise is great for your physical and mental health. Don’t give up though, imagine how much time it took to put on that weight and it’ll probably take that if not more to lose it again. I focus on that and how I want to be around to see my future grandchildren, and it helps keep me focused and determined to get healthy.

All It Takes is Some Effort

I’m not sure if it’s because of my age, or what, but I’ve decided it’s time to make some improvements in my physical appearance. Nothing like plastic surgery, if I was meant to look like Olivia Wilde, I would’ve been born that way. As I near 30, I realize that sometimes wanting to look better has little to do with how other people view you but how you view yourself. I hate to admit it, but at 30, wearing ill-fitting clothes from the Juniors department while hangs out is no longer an acceptable way to go about life. This has to do with how well you feel about yourself, and how you want to represent yourself to the outside world. If your goal is to look like a 30-year-old who’s trying to be 15 again, fine go for it. That’s not my goal, and it probably shouldn’t be yours if you want to be taken seriously or respected. Unfortunately, that’s a fact of life. Some day, it’s no longer cute to try and hang onto your teens and it because immature and trashy.

This was the standstill I still have trouble with. Thankfully, I know better than to shop in the Juniors Department, but I think we all get a little lost during this transition from our twenties to our thirties. I refuse to be one of those people stuck behind, because eventually I will get somewhere with my writing and I want to be taken seriously for it. I want to be taken seriously as a parent at school events. I don’t want to be that mom that looks awful and have my child be judged based on that. I don’t want my work judged based on that. As a wife and mother, my appearance reflects on them. I accept I need to look pristine at my husband’s work functions. Every decision I make in that account does affect them, and as parents we should realize this too. When a neighbor would come to the bus stop in her pajamas and a bathrobe, people looked at her like she had 3 heads. I then saw children on the bus laugh at her son for it, and the son looked embarrassed. It’s a sad reality we face, but we have to face it because society won’t change.

Most importantly, I’m doing this for myself. I gained a lot of weight while I was pregnant, and I wanted to lose the weight because I didn’t like the way I look, and with some effort, I’m already down 10lbs since I’ve come home from the hospital and nearly 40 since my son’s birth. I’m not starving myself, I’m eating better. I’m exercising an hour or more a day, and in the few days I’ve made this resolve I feel a million times better about myself and I feel like I’m succeeding at something. I’ve also dealt with acne since my teens without much success, and finally have found some and it’s slowly working too. My skin is looking fantastic, though I hear that’s a side effect from healthy living too. It’s a slow process, losing weight and adjusting to the upcoming decade of my life, but I can handle it. Bring it on.

That Time of Year Again

The blog today will be very short and to the point. Every year, the local sports channel NESN does a telecast to raise money for The Jimmy Fund. The Jimmy Fund is an organization that helps raise money for The Dana-Farber Institute, a place where children and adults fight cancer. They help support cancer patients, survivors, and their families providing excellent care and researches to hopefully find a cure someday. Hopefully with enough money, this cause will be seen through. Until then, every little bit help. I dare you to watch or listen to some of the telethon and not feel a little something for these people.

As a parent, I can’t help but to look at my own children and be grateful that I haven’t had to go through what some of these parents go through or watch my child go through what the children go through. It amazes me that every person, whether it be a cancer patient or survivor, feels lucky to have been through this experience. It humbles me. It makes me sit back and think that my worst day is still a good day to them. They are graceful and kind and absolutely perfect. As a person who has seen cancer take family from my life, I can’t help but to be angry at the disease and want to pay whatever I could to cure it. The Jimmy Fund gives us that chance.

Reports say that funding for cancer research is at an all-time low, when it really should be at an all-time high in my opinion. Change that. Visit http://www.jimmyfund.org/ to help a very worthwhile cause. Every little bit always helps.

Don’t Celebrate Too Soon

After I had given birth, I awaited with dread over the hospital bill. I knew I was close to our $4000 deductible, but I wasn’t certain as to “how close” I was. When the $12000 bill came back, I stared at that number in fear what the final “amount owed” would come to. I was elated when I saw that the bill was only actually $300. I looked at the itemized bill, and came to a conclusion I know will shock you: we are being royally screwed. I was glad I didn’t have an epidural, because I would’ve cried to see that number come back. Among the itemized list, I’ll share a gem or two with you. $60 for one Ambien. One. I was charged separately for a labor room, a delivery room, and a recovery room. Why is that so shocking you ask? Because I was in a LDR room, a joyful convenience of all the rooms in one tiny little package. Add in $20 per 1 pill dosage of Advil, and I couldn’t believe it. Seriously, I almost wish I had a c-section so I could see the total that would come up with, plus the added bonus of sticking it to my insurance company that I only had to pay $300 for something that would probably have cost upwards to $25000-$30000.

So when my son had his surgery, I waited and waited anxiously for the bill. I was expecting a full amount on my deductible, shelling out $4000 for the procedure. Nothing came. Finally upon return from vacation, I noticed a bill from the hospital. After a rough trip back, that included being rear “bumped” by at least a nice person who was just an idiot and leaving my pump at the vacation place, I just knew that I was going to want to cry and curl up into the fetal position in sadness over this. My heart raced, and my head was pounding. I opened the bill, and exclaimed profanities. My husband, who had his eyes closed the entire time opened them with fear. The bill said “$330”. Done and done. We celebrated over our dodged bullet. It wasn’t an itemized bill, but I couldn’t imagine what else that would’ve been for.

In retrospect, that was probably a bill for either his catheter removal, or a removal of his dressings in an emergency, as babies plus medicines equal “blow outs” that end up in dressing and catheters. (The week after the surgery was a very rough one.) I say “in retrospect” because on Friday, I received another letter from the hospital. This one was a tad bit more than $300. This one was $1700. Still, we came in under my anticipated $4000 but it’s still a very large amount that seems impossible to pay. I’ll call and beg for a payment plan, and hope a miracle happens where I either sell $2000 worth of books or win that much in the lottery. Or just sign my life away and chalk it up to bad luck. Isn’t that all life is anyways? A series of unfortunate events and bad luck?

So for people who argue that there’s nothing wrong with healthcare, there is. When you pay $60 for one pill or have to pay separately for each letter in an abbreviation, you know there’s something wrong. I happy accept that my husband pays $600 a month for dental and health insurance so in the end, I can still shell out a total of $4000 a year. Is the problem with the insurance companies or is the problem that hospitals and doctor’s offices are run like business and not something that exists to help people? I’m not sure. The problem is bigger than us, and it’s bigger than whatever healthcare law they put into effect to help us. Or rather “help us”. Whether it be Romneycare or Obamacare or Socialistcare or whatever else it’s called, I want to know who is actually being helped by these programs. Because it certainly isn’t the average middle class person.

And Tomorrow is Another Day

My post was missing on Friday due to being at a pre-op appointment for my baby son. Likewise, my posts for the next week might also disappear as I’ll be busy tending to the needs of my poor innocent child. I thank all that have wished us luck, hopefully we won’t need it. As far as surgeries go, this one is pretty routine and as far as medical staff we’re seeing among the best. It’s assuring that people have given us kind words to help us be a little bit stronger because no matter how routine the surgery is supposed to be, in life anything can happen. It’s those kind words that will carry us into tomorrow with that much more of a positive attitude. It’s that positive attitude that will make it a little easier to stomach seeing your 9-month-old baby attached to machines and IV’s. You don’t want to see your child in pain at any age, it’s just a bit more rough seeing a baby like that.

I will keep my readers posted both here and on my Hubpage. I hope someone was able to read my story that needed it, because I learned that this condition isn’t very discussed on forums for support. (My Hubpage link is on the sidebar, where I explain the condition.) Maybe it’s embarrassing, or just not as common as I’m told it is. But maybe I reached a few people who needed the support. At least I can bring that to the table now and after this situation.

I hope you all have a good week and a Happy Fourth. People fought for our country’s freedom so we could set of explosives while getting drunk and going to the hospital as a result of the mix. Don’t be stupid kids. I’ll see you when he’s all healed and happy. Thank you again for all the kindness.