Friday, July 9, 2010
All About Becky
Hi! My name is Becky Allred. Some of you know my sister, Sue Richardson, really well. She's the funny one. I'm the quiet one, who is glad I have a great sister I can share bathroom humor with. Besides my husband, she's my best friend. We go waaaaay back. I am married to a wonderful man, Zen Allred, and we have five great kids, Gil age 16, Dani (she's soon to be 13), Connor (soon to be 5), Emma age 2, and baby Sammy age 3 months.
I've been fighting the bulge nearly MY WHOLE LIFE, seriously. I began getting pudgy when I was around 8 or 9, and gradually just kept gaining weight. When I was a senior in high school, I was over 200 pounds. I was very shy and withdrawn, partly due to family issues, partly due to moving around a lot with my Dad in the military, and also due to my natural personality, I think. I was very sedentary. Then in college, I found some independence and started dealing with my own issues. I became a runner, jogging about five miles early every morning. I remember the awesome "runner's high" I would feel, like I was on top of the world. The lowest I dropped down to was 155.
Then I met my wonderful Zen. I married a man who has NEVER made me feel fat or unbeautiful, thank goodness. He's six feet tall and built like a bear, so I have never been bigger than he is, except maybe when I've been pregnant. And maybe he's been too much of a comfort zone, because when I think about being fat like a hippo, it's not Zen who makes me feel that way. It's entirely something I do to myself.
Speaking of which, I have at times in my life dealt with depression, sometimes very deeply. It's my natural inclination to beat myself up like crazy. When I do something wrong, or something I think is stupid, I just whip myself inside. I remember reading The Scarlet Letter in college, and completely identifying myself with the guy who secretly went and beat himself with a whip in a closet, as a way of atoning for his mistakes and perceived sinfulness. Almost needless to say, I have been an emotional eater, wanting the comfort of food, as well as loving to spend hours and hours reading. I also have a weakness for buying craft supplies, which has led to financial troubles. I have deep issues, and this last pregnancy really threw me for a loop, both in circumstance (financial issues) and in biochemistry. I was taking an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant before I got pregnant, and quit taking it because the drug info brochure said not to take it during pregnancy. Couple that with our recent financial struggles, due in large part to some dumb things I had done with my second attempt at a scrapbooking business, and I spent a very rough pregnancy, emotionally. By the end, I was so constantly upset, that it was wearing on Zen and our family, and I decided to go see a counselor (Sue throws in an AMEN! here, because she's been nagging me for years to go see one.) Anyway, it wasn't just the advice the counselor had to give, it was really that step of admitting to myself that it was more than time to stop dealing with my issues with this constant self-castigation business I'd been carrying on for years and years. It was time to let go of my hurtful baggage and start trying to be a more positive, constructive person, not just for myself but for the wonderful people I live with.
Now, back to the tale of my weight issues. I have been building up a store of knowledge over the years, like most of us do, as we contemplate our weight and what we would like to do about it. I knew in the back of my mind that I should eat lowfat, whole grains, more fresh fruits and veggies, and cut out the unnecessary sugar. But it was easy to delude myself with, "Oh, I ate healthy today," if I'd had a salad, or if I'd not gone back for that second helping at dinner. But I didn't really know what was going on until I started counting calories a few weeks ago. It only took a day or two to acclimate myself to this system, and I gotta tell ya, a huge lightbulb went on, because it made me take a reality check about what I was putting into my body. I kind of go on and on about this sometimes on my own health blog, but I have an anal part of my brain that just loves working the math and manipulating the data. I took to calorie-counting like a duck to water.
For the first time, I feel like I'm in control of my body, instead of the other way around. I've got a much better idea of what is going on, and I look forward to eating healthy food instead of dreading it, because I know what effect it's going to have on me. I am very motivated to become healthy. I LIKE how I feel when I regularly exercise and I'm not weighed down by the bloated, slightly queasy feeling junk food gives you.
I'm excited also by the idea of teaching good nutrition to my children. I'm plotting out several Family Home Evening lessons in the back of my head all the time. But I've got to take this approach carefully, so no one feels singled out, particularly Dani, my teenage girl. She is a happy, bubbly, spunky girl, but she deals with food in an entirely emotional way, and while she is much happier than I was as a teenager, she is getting beyond the pudgy point, and often dresses to cover up the overweight parts of her body, particularly wearing long sleeves all the time, even in the heat of summer. While I'm definitely in favor of dressing modestly, it's gone beyond that, and I'm sad that she feels that way about herself. I want her to have a good body image, and to deal with food in a healthy, nutritional way. I know it starts with me, as the main food buyer and preparer in the house, to show her that it's possible to have a good relationship with food, and to use it for longterm health, instead of as a way to make her feel comforted for just a moment in time.
I credit my sister, Sue, for pursuing this own course in her life, and for being so willing to share her journey with others. For a while, I mentally rolled my eyes at the whole calorie-counting thing, but a few weeks ago, I just thought I needed to have a better idea of what my body was doing, and I looked forward to the data management. I'm weird that way.
Here are some links to more info about me, and some things that I like. My health blog is Battle For 200 & Beyond, which I keep separately from here, because you don't want my abundance of data clogging up your group blog, trust me (did I mention I majored in English in college?) Then, there is my regular blog with the family stuff at Randomly Odd Bits. I also dabbled in a craft blog at Becky's Craftroom, where I wanted to show off my card-making skills. That fell by the wayside, but I'd like to pick it up again, because I LOVE making handmade cards with lovely paper and rubber stamps. I'll stop myself there. I could go on and on. I've also got a spot saved for my recipes at Becky's Kitchen Creations, but I only got as far as creating the artwork. You'll have to let me know what you think.
Lastly, I want to mention the website I'm using to track all my calories, exercise, and daily weigh-ins. It's called My Food Diary at www.myfooddiary.com. Yes, I know it costs a little every month, $9, and I know there are several good, free sites that help you figure out calories, but it's totally worth it to me, because it has a lot of great features that are totally integrated. There is a huge database of food items, which they say they built themselves from the ground up, or you can manually enter any items you would like into your Fridge, like new products you find at the store. They give way more nutritional data than just calories. It's based off of the nutritional info you can find on the packaging of any food, like fat, fiber, sodium, cholesterol, and a list of vitamins. Really awesome! I'm always getting "yelled at" by the site's program for my sodium intake, but it's good to know. I keep thinking of ways to lower it. My favorite part of the Food Diary section is the Recipe Builder, where you input any ingredients out of the database and your Fridge section, and it will help you tabulate the calories. I'm constantly using it to "test out" recipes before I cook them, so I can pick out where to make substitues. There is a section for tabulating your exercise and calories burned, and a section for logging your weight and body stats. And it stores all your data for you, so you can go back and look at what you did on any day. Sorry, I know I sound like an infomercial, but I just totally love this site.
Yep, I'll try not to be so wordy in the future. But I'm glad to be joining your group. I gotta warn you, I secretly thrill to a challenge, especially when it's all about increasing my personal best. When I work out, I'm always imagining myself kicking some tail and overcoming impossible odds. I have to work out with my MP3 and some rockin' music. Okay, I'll stop myself now. See you on the blog!!