Pick Two

Look how skinny I was! Makes me so proudsad.

Look how skinny I was! Makes me so proudsad.

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Erika. Erika had one child, writing novels was a hobby, and her husband definitely did not own his own company. In short, Erika was busy, but not too busy.

She was also overweight, so she decided to take a stand and do the whole weight loss thing right. Twice a week personal training sessions, fastidious calorie counting, and six workouts a week and five months later she was the skinniest she’d ever been. She kept that weight off for two whole months before breaking a bone in her foot and then getting knocked up again.

Now, Erika is a very busy mother of two. She’s right back to being overweight again, though now she has twice as many tiny humans to care for, a busy writing career that is very nearly thriving, and an entrepreneurial husband with his own busy work life. Don’t feel too sorry for her, though. Erika is chubby but she’s happy.

Though, sadly, way more woman than she’d like to be. Alas. And this concludes my tale of weight loss woe.

I’ve been thinking about juggling lately, and I’ve developed this theory about how parenthood gives us just enough room to do two things well. Like, there’s this whole spectrum of options out there, and when you have kids, you can pick two things to do well and that’s it. You can half ass a few things at a time, I suppose, but that’s never been something I’ve been good at and besides, it goes against Ron Swanson’s advice. I try to never go against Ron Swanson’s advice.


Here’s a list of things I came up with that you can choose from to do really, really well when you’re a stay at home parent:

  • Keeping a clean, organized house. A place for everything, everything in its place. Kids well dressed and presentable, laundry always folded and put away, dishwasher emptied promptly, clear counters, clean floors, sparkling toilets, handy lists in strategic places, etc.
  • Friends. Being a really involved, thoughtful, caring friend who intentionally makes room and time for important people. Throwing amazing parties for people, going out for regular coffee dates to keep in touch, dinners/drinks out on the town together, remembering birthdays and important anniversaries, etc. (Think Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec)
  • Fitness. Getting in shape, staying in shape, setting and attaining fitness goals, running races, training for triathlons, doing boot camps, cooking and eating healthy, balanced meals, sticking to calorie goals, no junk food, etc.
  • Hobby. Putting in the time and effort to hone your craft, perfect your technique, attend workshops, practice, showcase your work at local events, network with other people who like doing what you do, making a name for yourself, etc.
  • Kids. Reading stacks of books every day, regular trips to the library, planning out fun activities and play dates, being involved in school activities, researching child development and amending parenting techniques to reflect what you learn, intentional conversations, socializing your kids with other kids in a similar developmental stage, etc.

I’m sure you can probably come up with more, but for me these are the big five. I constantly feel like I should be excelling at all five, and yet, I don’t think it’s possible without either burning out, developing a Ritalin addiction, or half-assing some of them.

Every time I feel like I should be doing more, better, I’m reminded of that scene from The Office where Angela and Phyllis are trying to plan the launch party and Phyllis holds up her fingers with Post-It Notes on them and tells Angela to pick two, because she can’t do them all. And then, when Angela is a huge jerk about it, Phyllis wads the whole lot of Post-Its up and throws it in Angela’s face. Just like this:


Click for the .gif.

And so that’s where I’ve landed. I know I’m capable of being super skinny again. I loved it, and would be delighted to go back there again. I just know how much work and focus that takes, and it’s not possible right now. Not with my kids being the age they are and my writing career being where it is right now. And so, I’m chubby. I’m chubby, but my kids are thriving and my writing is improving and my husband likes hanging out with me. I have occasional coffee with my friends, I workout two-to-three times a week but still eat junk food when I’m stressed, and my house is occasionally a little messy.

I’m whole-assing my kids and my writing career, and everything else gets shoved in wherever there’s room. It’s not ideal, but it’s tenable. How about you? What are you whole-assing vs. half-assing?

Weight Loss Progress: Nil

Me at the end of December. Not much has changed since then.

Me at the end of December. Not much has changed since then.

Because I know you’ve all been frothing at the mouth for a typing progress report, I’ll sum the process up as such: It’s a long, laborious process, but I’m getting better every day. Impatient all the time, but better.

In other news, I haven’t posted anything about weight loss lately and that’s because there hasn’t been any since I re-tore my meniscus in December. I’ve managed to maintain my weight somewhat (give or take a few pounds) but no weight loss.

I’m still tracking my calories, and I walk for at least twenty minutes every day, but my weight isn’t budging. I suppose I should be happy I’m maintaining my weight, but it’s meager comfort. I’m happy with how I look and feel, but still technically overweight. Also, I miss working out. I really do.

I mean, yes, theoretically I could still go to the gym to do weight training for my arms and abs, but without cardio to balance it out I’ll never keep that regimen up. I loved the endorphine rush from a good session on the treadmill or elliptical, and I miss it all the time.

My only hope is to someday have access to a swimming pool that’s close by and affordable. I’ve tried swimming a few times and my knee seems to put up with it ok, but the pool is murder on my hair color.

Wes is optimistic that medical technology will advance to the point someday that a doctor will be able to inject stem cells into my knee and those stem cells will regenerate my meniscus. I’d be so happy. I’d be able to wear high heels again, play tennis, dance, and go up and down the stairs without pain or mortal fear of another injury.

Until then, I’ll just have to keep munching down on carrot sticks, walking, writing characters who run so I can still pretend to be a runner, and trying like crazy to avoid all the junk foods that instantly start their siren calls again as soon as I stop exercising.

Erika and the Knee That Hated Everything

I started my second weight loss adventure 75 days ago. During those 75 days, I’ve lost 26 pounds and countless inches from different parts of my body. Here’s me from May:

5-23-13 Side

And here’s me from two weeks ago:7-25-13 Side

As you can see, I’m shrinking!

There’s just one thing bothering me, though. It’s my knee. My left knee, to be specific. My trainer, Megan, (from Fitness Together in Issaquah, if you’re curious) has done an incredible job training me and helping me lose weight in spite of my bum knee, but I’m getting tired of hobbling around when I have so much energy and desire to exercise!

I injured my knee in October of last year, a mysterious injury that sounds like a meniscus tear but also sounds like it could be something else. My knee will be fine, but then out of nowhere acute pain engulfs my knee and shuts it down. No weight bearing, no pivoting, a continual, agonizing charlie horse for a few days and then back to normal.

I can’t pivot on my knee, or walk on uneven surfaces (like the beach), or wear high heels, or sit/lie in positions that put lateral strain on my knee. I live in perpetual fear of aggravating my knee. It’s become the cantankerous downstairs neighbor that may or may not poison my cat if I step out of line.

All this to say, I’m losing weight but getting tired of doing so in spite of my (literally and figuratively) lame knee. I’m going to go in for an MRI tomorrow to see what’s really going on in there.

My biggest fear is that they won’t see anything wrong. Isn’t that the worst? When you know something is up but diagnostic tests prove inconclusive?

I don’t know what to hope for. If there’s something wrong, my hope is it can be fixed. If there’s nothing wrong, I guess that’s good? It still doesn’t help solve the mystery of Erika and the Knee That Hated Everything, though.

Wish me luck.

I’m a Guest Today!

A few things very quickly:

  • Technically, I’ll be mostly offline next week as we go on vacation for a few days. Bye for now!
  • In case you’re curious, my weight loss journey is going really well. If you want to follow it more closely, check out my personal trainer’s blog here. I blog there every week. And there are pictures!
  • I wrote a guest post for fellow author Tom Avitabile’s blog today. His blog is pretty cool, it’s called It’s Only Fiction ‘Til It Happens. I wrote about how in my book PWNED, I imagined what would happen if the NSA snooped on a private American citizen. At the time, I thought that was pretty out there since that would be illegal. Oops…Anyway, check out the guest post here!

Weight Loss Progress!

It’s been four weeks since I committed to losing weight and I’ve lost a little over fourteen pounds total so far. Woot!

I’m blogging my way through my weight loss for my personal trainer, so if you want to follow along with my progress and hear my deep, tortured thoughts on cake neglect, you can check it out here.

My most recent post, from last week, talks about how it’s possible for me to exercise six days a week when I have a torn meniscus. Short answer? My trainer is a wizard.

Here’s to another successful month!