Good Health

Pregnancy: Getting Close To The Finish Line

We are now two weeks away from our calendar due date. And aside from a big giant belly, it's funny how I can tell we are close in little ways.

My sense of smell reset to "normal". This happened a little while ago and boy am I glad. Most smells were not a problem, they just were stronger in general: people wearing perfume, (I had to stop wearing any), certain foods, etc. I was only overwhelmed by one smell during these nine months, enough to make a major change. That smell was our previous cat litter brand. I could NOT stand the smell of it! I had no issue with any cat pee or poop smell at all, just the litter itself. I had to hold my breath going into the pantry where the cat box was. Kurt is hero dad-to-be and has been changing the litter this whole time, but I had to ask to change brands. That was a huge help. But now I wonder if that old brand would bug me so much.

Drinking black coffee again most mornings. The taste of coffee was off the table for about seven months. I could have lattes, no problem, as the milk diluted the coffee enough. But just in the last three or four weeks I've started drinking coffee again and it's been okay. I started with creamer and then weaned down to just sugar and have now weaned down to nothing. Amazing. (All of it being decaf, btw, as I switched from regular about two years ago. Funny thing with that switch, I never noticed a difference!)

Red wine tastes good again. Alcohol was another "BLECH!" feeling once I got pregnant. I was surprised at how easy it was not to drink, the idea of the flavor of alcohol was kind of vile for months. But starting at about five months along, I've had a glass of white wine or champagne here and there. Nice in the summer. But red wine or cocktails have still never seemed in any way delicious. I tried a sip of red wine about three months ago. It was a no go -- it just tasted rancid. But more recently I've looked at other people drinking red wine and think, mmmmm, that's going to taste so good! Then this weekend we were at a party and I tasted Kurt's glass of red. YUM! So looking forward to having a glass or two all to myself in the not too distant future.

Lastly, Bunny has a large comfy seat when I'm in bed reading. She'll soon be disappointed, poor kitty.


Pregnancy: Let's Check The Stats!

By the calendar I am at 37 weeks of gestation. My official due date is November 29, though I've had various people tell me I'll be giving birth on the 15th, on the 20th, and on the 24th. Honestly, I don't care when it is, as long as it's the right time for Sweet Potato. If it happens today, great! If not till the 29th, great!

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I am having a really good pregnancy (knock wood) with very few of the standard side effects that many pregnant women get. Oh I have a few, but they have all been very reasonable and easy to handle.

My side effects have been:

❀Heartburn: I have consumed over 175 Tums (and counting). I have chewed hundreds of pieces of gum (and counting). When I can feel the heartburn coming on, gum really does help. I can usually control the night time heartburn by not eating too late and eating smaller amounts. But some nights this just doesn't happen.

❀Pregnancy sinuses: This has been going on since about month four. They are worse at night, some nights worse than others. Generally lip balm and an occasional breathe right strip helps. However, these last few weeks have been quite bad. For Kurt. Apparently I have started snoring with a vengeance and he's had to go to the living room to sleep. I feel terrible! But at least it is temporary.

❀Swollen joints: About three weeks ago my fingers started getting sore and a bit swollen. My ankles have swelled slightly, but you can still see the anatomy of my feet. I suspect this will not be the case in a couple of weeks. My fingers hurt mostly at night and during the day they get better, but still achy. (I took my wedding rings off quite a while back.)

❀Shoe Size: This is different from swelling as the length of my shoes is an issue! I think my feet have become 1/2 to 1 size bigger. I have two pairs of slippers I can wear and two pairs of shoes that still fit. Some women tell me it was a permanent shift for them, others say the feet will return to their normal size. I am hoping for the latter, but if it is the former then hey! New shoes!

❀Weight gained: as of today I have gained 23 pounds. I've worked hard not to gain a ton or to "eat for two" because I want to be as mobile and agile as I can. I also want to be able to take weight off faster after baby is born. I have continued my 30-45 minute morning walks at least three, if not four times a week and that always feels good. Helps reduce back pain and helps keep my blood pressure nice and healthy.

❀Food cravings: the only really specific thing I crave and try to have in the house at all times, is Trader Joe's unfiltered apple juice. I don't drink it all day long but usually once a day I'll just jump up and have to suck down a big glassful. So refreshing!

❀Dreams: They ("they") say you dream more when you are pregnant. I don't know if that's true. I do know I wake up more at night to flop over from side to side, or to pee (luckily I only have to get up once a night to pee at this juncture). So I interrupt more dreams and remember them more. There haven't been too many strange ones. Mostly I dream about what's going on during the day. When the baseball post season was on, I dreamt about baseball a lot. During birthing class (and now still) I dream about bringing Sweet Potato home. Easy fun stuff.

❀Big Belly: okay, not really a side effect -- really that's the main effect! My belly has seemed to have gotten much bigger in the last 3-4 weeks. I bump into things more often with it, I forget that I need more space when getting in and out of cars, or sitting in a restaurant. I'm super grateful to live in LA because most of my maternity clothes are geared toward warm weather. Even as it cools off I can layer what I have and I don't have to buy all new maternity clothes for the last month. (Living in LA is also helpful for the above shoe issue as I can still wear slippers most of the time!)

I say it over and over. I am sooooooo grateful for the pregnancy I'm having. I'm healthy and happy and excited for the wee one to come!

Grateful For Good Health

On the Sunday before Thanksgiving I was invited to an event sponsored by Nintendo and The American Heart Association. It was held at the swanky W Hotel in Hollywood with a delicious light breakfast set out along with about 15 Wii Fit stations around the room. Later there was lunch and a few speakers who discussed heart health and good nutrition. It was a sales pitch for good health and I can take that pitch any time, especially because you know I love me some Wii Fit!

AHA_Logo The American Heart Association continues to work at educating people about good overall health and specifically heart health. And as I've known for some time now, there is no magic bullet, no pill to take to solve all your health problems. The secret is simply to take better steps to good health. The AHA calls it "Life's Simple 7."


1. Don't smoke. Duh. If you smoke, um, WHY? Anyone who smokes already knows the health risks. But have you done the math? How much money would you be saving if you didn't smoke? Let's do some simple figuring: 1 pack a day = 365 packs/year = 36 cartons (approx.). In California, cartons of smokes cost about $40. $40 x 36 = $1440. WOW!! That is a lot of money to suck down your lungs. And if you were a two pack a day-er? $40 x 72 = $2880. 

Consider this - if you had taken that $2800 and invested in Netflix in January 2010 instead, you would now have $9200. I'm not kidding. Netflix was at $60 in Jan and is currently trading at $200. Or you could have bought 14 shares of Apple (at $195 in Jan) which is now trading at $316 and you would have doubled your money. 

Your health is more important, but in these tough economic times, how can you afford to smoke?

2. Maintain a healthy weight. This is something I sometimes struggle with and I know it's challenging. Again, no magic bullet -- you have to just eat less to lose weight. A lot less food in your mouth = weight loss. That's it. Less food in the pie-hole!

3. Get Active. This is something else I've been working on. Exercising alone will not help you lose weight, so you might think, well why bother exercising? Because exercising keeps you fit - in your heart, your veins, and your brain. It improves your energy levels and your sex life. Plus I love it when I have worked out consistently and I can see defined muscles where before there was nothing. That feels great! And I've made that happen with the Wii Fit this year a lot. (No, I'm not being paid to say this, I loved using the Wii Fit way before I went to this event.)

4. Eat better. This will help with #2 and will make you feel better overall. I improved the kinds of foods I was eating over the last year (only whole grains, less meat, much more fruits and veggies) to lose weight. But BONUS! My cholesterol went down 20 points and I wasn't even trying for that!!

5. Control Cholesterol. All of the above will help you get to this one. Plus, how often do you get your cholesterol levels checked? You should do it yearly. And remember, high cholesterol is a combo of lifestyle and heredity so a very fit, lean person can still have dangerously high cholesterol levels. Get checked! (Mine is at 182 with excellent HDL and LDL levels.) (Yes, I do rule.)

6. Manage Blood Pressure. Many of you know me, I remain calm in just about any situation and I have the blood pressure levels to prove it. If you have high blood pressure, you can control it and lower it. Your loved ones will thank you.

7. Control Blood Sugar. This is something you have to check with your doctor. Honestly, I know mine is normal only because when I do the full blood panel screening annually, everything comes back normal. I should specifically check and know the number though. (Note to self.)

To me the amazing (and almost frustratingly simple) thing about better health is all about #s 2, 3 and 4. If those three things are high on your priority list and you are doing well with them, then #5, 6, and 7 will fall into line beautifully. I have more work to do on the weight loss, but I've lost almost 20 pounds this year and feel so much better overall and will be keeping it off!

Oh and for chrissakes don't smoke! Invest in Netflix instead.

Okay, I'm off to shake by booty on the Wii Fit. (The skateboarding and snowball fights are my favorites!)

Weigh in Wednesday


Weighed in at 176 today, down from two weeks ago but up slightly from last week. I'm aware of the amount of eating I've done as I have a colleague in from out of town and Halloween didn't help (though I limited my candy eating to the day itself and a couple more on Monday.)

A year ago this month I weighed 186. Progress is progress. But now that the holidays are upon us, my focus must be clearer. Luckily Thanksgiving is a minor eating day for us (we might do a restaurant with Kurt's mom which means no leftovers). But Christmas, most likely in Seattle, will be challenging. 

So I have to get going now. I must be committed to my self and my good health goal! 


Weigh in Wednesday -- Sigh

Libra I'm losing it. Not the weight, but my ability to find some balance.

I weighed in at 177 today, up two pounds again. I'm frustrated with myself and yet still eat over my limit with great gusto. (Okay, I had rice and beans and half a chicken breast so it wasn't like I ate a whole pizza, but I needed to be eating a lovely fresh salad instead...)

The 175 plateau is getting old and I'm wallowing in it. I realized this week that most of what is going on is comfort eating. I'm in a place of great discomfort right now, a place of my own choosing. I have chosen to follow a creative path and to (somewhat) avoid the FX work I normally do. That job provides great income and I'm really good at it. And yet, my heart is in the writing right now and I need to be with my heart. But it's not a comfy place. It's dark and uncertain and scary and hard. And while I love every minute of writing and meetings with my creative team, I am reaching for solace in food. Yummy yummy, always there, always agreeable food. Throw a couple of glasses of wine in there from time to time and I'm the proverbial (though lately I feel like the literal) pig in sh*t.

The freelance life I'm used to. It's been ten years of that and I do great with it, love it, actually. But this new path is waaaaaay different. Failure is something I've experienced very little of because I worked my ass off to be a success. But not having failed much in my life means I have not risked much either and that makes me fired up to take more risks. So that's what I'm doing, taking risks. And eating to make it feel better. 

I'm determined to get to my goal of 167 and stay there. That's ten pounds away from where I am today. Totally doable in a reasonable amount of time. 

Help me Libra, help me find that balance.

Weigh in Wednesday

Giant-dog-being-weighed-on-a-scale-peer-review-outstanding-stand-out-heavyThe number is 175 today. Much better than last week's 179. Hooray for trips to Maui but holy crap I can't seem to control my eating when I'm home. Plus lots of comfort eating after some stressful times last week with the parental generation.

I'm back on track, getting back toward my low of 174 and flying toward the 167 goal. My hair is getting long and I'm getting tired of dealing with it! A change up will be nice when I hit my mark.

I also haven't been exercising much as I pulled a muscle in my calf a few weeks ago and just couldn't risk further injury. Just couldn't! ; - ) But this week will involve more exercise.

The nice thing is, when I got to this 175 neighborhood, I really enjoyed feeling smaller than I have been for the last few years. But now that I've been here for a month or more without further weight loss, I'm feeling quite squishy and chubby again. This is good as it makes me want to not feel that way! Further motivation...

I want to be the big dog. I just don't want to be the BIG dog.

Belated Weigh in Wednesday

Noel 6 wk weigh-in-thumb-400x435 Yesterday I barely squeaked into 174 land. Today I'm on the low end of 175. So I'm getting down toward my goal. The weight has not been flying off and I'm focused on these next two weeks to get and stay well below 174.

My goal, remember, is 167. I didn't give myself a time limit on it, other than the vague "end of the year" plan. I will make it before then for sure. I'm feeling very neutral about it all, wanting to get down there, but not actually working super hard to make it happen faster. Silver lining is it's better for my overall health in the long run to do it slowly. Right? RIGHT? Ahem.

Last weekend was a tough one. Much sadness and angst which became much ice cream, pie and pizza. Hi, I'm Julia and I'm a comfort eater. But I woke up Monday morning and said enough now, let's get back on track. All I can do is move ahead.

So far this week I've stayed on my WW numbers plan and will be quite strict about it as I want next Wednesday's number to be 173 (or less). Totally doable. The fridge is stuffed with lots of fruits and veggies, ready for my devouring.

Forward, little kitty, ever forward.

Weigh in Wednesday

Snowleopard2Holy cow it's been two weeks since I've blogged at all! The weigh in number is not great, back up to 176 in these last two weeks. (Last time was 175.) The silver lining is: at least I know I can maintain my weight once I finish losing it! 

I have had my focus elsewhere and have also done a bit of comfort eating as frustrations came and went regarding various facets of my life in 2010. We also had friends in from Macedonia for a week and then Classic Eats was in there too. At least I didn't gain more than a pound, so I am glad for that.

The exercise is continuing well. I bought those "five finger" shoes and am loving them for my walk/runs. I plan on turning those into run/walks in the near future. The cool thing is, overall, I can see better muscle tone where there was very little. This makes me happy and keeps me motivated.

I bought a bikini! Though I am exchanging the top for a bigger size as my rack is still not small, but hey, I've been used to that since I was 12. When I tried on the bikini, I started to criticize myself (old habits die hard) then thought -- F**K that! Why not just feel good and wear a bikini and enjoy myself? No body is perfect and why waste time worrying about it. There is a quote from an Anne LaMott book (can't remember which one!) when she is trying on dresses for a first date and she's with her friend who has terminal cancer. Anne tries on the dress and says something like "My ass is too big" and her friend says, "Oh Anne, there's no time for that." 

Amen sister! We have to learn to live and love the bodies we are in at any stage. Life is too short NOT to wear a bikini if we want to!

Right little Snow Leopard?