Monday, January 30, 2012

Weigh-In Jan 30

A new comic strip to commemorate the new decade in my life. :-)

Well, thanks to everyone who listened to my ranting on Friday. Everyone has their up days and their down days, and Friday was a big down day for me. It's important to me to keep this blog very real, I want everyone to see the successes and failures. That's how we learn. And I tend to process things out loud, so it was very cathartic. Now I'm doing much better. I took Friday off and spent the day at the museum with my kids, and spent Saturday looking at houses with my family. Saturday we had a birthday dinner with my husband's family (French Dip Sadnwhiches, sooo yummy!) and then a family dinner on Sunday with my family. Three days of no exercising, no dieting, and no worrying.

It was just what the doctor ordered. I woke up this morning refreshed and ready to go. I did my shred, ate breakfast, worked, school with the kids. A good morning. And not to shabby on the scale either. I was 217.5 this morning, only up half a pound from last week. Considering the number of birthday dinners I've had this week, that's pretty impressive.

I'm making a change to my diet this week, I've been focusing on eating whole foods and portion control. This week I'll be focusing on carbs. I've been slowly reducing my carbohydrate intake over the last 2 months. Being hypothyroid and PCOS there is a very good chance I am insulin-resistant and possibly pre-diabetic. Several doctors have suggested I go a low carb-high protein route to lose weight. So I'll be focusing on lean proteins and getting the majority of my carbs from lots and lots of vegetables this week. It's all trial and error to find what works for you. Are you not a fan of low-carb diets? Maybe you believe some of these common myths?

If anyone has any good low-carb recipes I'd love to see them. I'll be heading to the library myself this week to check out some cookbooks. Check back in Wednesday and drink your water.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sackcloth and Ashes

I'm not going to lie to you guys, I am thoroughly depressed today. Not because I'm 30 now, strangely enough that doesn't really bother me at all. I had a quiet birthday yesterday. Kids and I played games together, I worked out, then I made myself a nice birthday dinner. I chose to cook instead of going out so I wouldn't compromise my weight loss. My menu was chicken cordon bleu (the skinny version found here), homemade bruschetta (yummy), and a mixed green salad. Then instead of a traditional fat-laden birthday cake I made angel food cake with a pineapple topping. I was so proud of myself for sticking with my exercising and my healthy eating even on my birthday! Until I woke up this morning and found out that my birthday dinner had given me the gift of 4 lbs back! That's right I was 221 this morning. :head desk::head desk:head desk:

So now instead of being down 8 hard won lbs in 7 weeks, I am down 4. And then, riding on a wave of what must have been complete insanity, I decided to try on my anniversary dress. You know the one here, to see how it was fitting now after 7 weeks of exercise and healthy eating. Yeah, I couldn't even button it. Now feeling a little desperate to give some validation to all the hard work I pulled out my tape measure. I mean if you're not losing weight you're losing inches right? Isn't that what they say? All my measurements are exactly the same. :head wall: :head wall::head wall:

So now after all the hard work what can I say? At least I haven't gained weight?! It's moments like these that I want to punch the face of every doctor/trainer/nutritionist who've told me that losing weight is about burning more calories that you eat. Once again I defy the laws of the universe.

I'm so frustrated and angry and sad today so I'm taking the day off. I had a leftover chicken for breakfast and I didn't exercise. Instead I'm packing my kids up and heading to the children's museum. Going to spend time with people who just love me.

Come back Monday for weigh-in...it should be interesting.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Xena Warrior Princess/Limp Noodle

Today is one day until my 30th birthday and 3 weeks until my 10th anniversary. I'm starting to feel a little old. Not old like in, "I'll never be in my 20's again" hysterical sobbing. But old like I should probably stop thinking about myself as a newlywed with young kids. The fact of the matter is that my oldest is turning 9 this year, I've been married for a third of my life, and I'm not a child anymore. Do you ever think about the generations shifting? Just a few short years ago I was the child, my parents were the adults, and their parents were the grandparents. Now my kids are the children, I'm the adult, and my parents are the grandchildren. Somehow I've shifted into the middle part of my life, and it feels strange. And good...in a strange way. How did you feel when you turned 30? Was it a hard transition for you?

I celebrated my newly found introspection by graduating myself to level 3 of my 30 Day Shred (read about it here). I have to admit I experienced a little trepidation as I pushed play. And I wasn't disappointed, after about 3 minutes (read: the warm-up) I contemplated going back to level 2 and staying there for 3 or 4 more months. Jillian Michael's is a CRAZY woman. But then half-way through walking push-ups I started to feel...strong. I felt this crazy compulsion come over me and I was grunting and sweating like a amazon. For 15 minutes I had this picture of me in my head like I was Xena Warrior Princess and I could do anything. I could feel my muscles moving and burning and it felt good. So now I'm thinking, heck yeah I can do this! Then I sat down to do the cool down at the end and suddenly I metamorphed from Xena into limp noodle Amy. Wow, 20 minutes later my legs are still shaking. I wonder if Amazon-Amy will come back tomorrow? (Wow that kind of sounds like a stripper name, doesn't it?)

Anyway, on that note. I promised you a progress picture today so I'll post one. It's not the best picture ever (note to self: have husband take pictures night before so 8 year old doesn't have to) and I don't see much change despite the fact that I've lost 8 lbs so far. But here it is:

What do you think? Can you see any change? What do you guys do that makes you feel like Xena (or Superman)? Go drink some water and come back Friday for another new recipe!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weigh-In Jan 23

Monday means I have a date with the scale. Monday also means, if you remember, that I take a small break from dieting and enjoy some less-healthy neaks. Which is why I'm typing around a bowl of spaghetti and garlic bread. And it tastes gooooood! I'm a firm believer in moderation in all things.

Anyway, as I wipe drool and spaghetti sauce off of my keyboard, this morning I got on my scale and saw the beautiful number 217.0! I wish I took a picture of it for you guys but I was too busy squealing like a teenage girl and dancing around my bathroom in my birthday suit. I wish I could take full credit the 2.5 lbs lost this week but in the interest of full disclosure I'll let you know that yesterday I had some kind of stomach bug and spent the first 2 hours of the day on my toilet. Still, it's the weight I am today so I'm celebrating 8 pounds lost! Woo-hoo! If I lose 2 lbs this coming week I'll have lost 10 lbs. So I have my eye on that goal this week.

It's a big week for me for another reason. Actually a couple of reasons. First tomorrow David and I are going to meet with a specialist to see if we can figure out why we keep miscarrying. I'd be lying if I said I was excited about it. Don't get me wrong, I definitely want more children but this feels like I'm admitting that I'm broken somehow. It seems like this is the sort of thing you should be able to do with just your husband and not with 3 or 4 PHD's, you know? Anyway, that's tomorrow. Then on Thursday it is my birthday! And not just any birthday, it's the big 3-0! I thought I'd be upset about it but surprisingly I'm looking forward to it. I feel like my 30's are going to be so much more productive and happier then my 20's have been. I feel like I have a better idea of who I am and where I'm going and what I want to be.

So come back Wednesday, I'll be posting a progress picture and I'll also be moving to the 3rd level of my 30 day Shred. I'm sure that will be an entertaining post. Go drink some water!

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Cost of Eating Out

Our family resolution for 2011 was to not eat at McDonalds for one whole year, after seeing how much money and calories we had spent there in 2010. I was so proud of my children for rallying around the goal and refusing to eat there, even when mommy wasn't around to enforce it. When 2012 rolled around a couple weeks ago and our resolution was officially over I found myself reluctant to go back there. However when I was grocery shopping this week and was surrounded by three whining, hungry children I got desperate and sent my husband and them off to the golden arches with $15 in hand. Then I enjoyed 45 minutes of blissful solo grocery shopping. Ahhhhh.

When we met back up my husband gave me $5 back. I was thinking to myself that $10 to feed 4 people was pretty good, when my husband asked me how much our dinner the previous night had cost. We had made Roasted Honey-Orange Chicken with roasted potatoes and butternut squash. A whole roaster chicken cost us $4, a bag of potatoes cost us $2 (of which we only used 4 potatoes), and the squash had cost us $2. Other ingredients (honey, cumin, EVOO, salt, and pepper) we had in our pantry. I estimated that the meal had cost us about $6, had fed 5 of us, and then we had leftovers for lunch for me and David for 2 days. All of the sudden the $10 we had given McDonalds wasn't looking so good.

One of the most common excuses for not eating healthy is that was can't afford it (I know, I've used this one myself). I think the real reason is we can't afford to eat healthy AND unhealthy at the same time. We can't afford a bag of apples, if we also buy a $4 bag of chips. We can't afford to buy good lean ground beef if we're also buying $7 frozen pizza. We can't afford to buy whole wheat bread if we're also buying doughnuts. And we can't afford to make Honey Chicken with potatoes and squash if we're giving (insert favorite fast food restaurant name here) $10, $15, $20 for dinner 3 times a week.

My family each got a cheeseburger, a small fry, and an apple pie for dinner. according to McDonald's website that was 780 calories per person and 36 grams of fat. Our chicken dinner the night before was 396 calories per person and 13.2 grams of fat. So now our chicken dinner is not only cheaper but has half of the calories and a third of the fat of eating out! So why don't we cook more? We don't know how to cook? We aren't good a making grocery lists? We don't have the time to cook? Let me tell you what saved the dinner meal at my house. I added dinner prep to my morning routine. Now while the kids are eating breakfast I look at what I have planned for dinner, take meat out of the freezer if necessary, do chopping if the meal has a lot of vegetables, or stick it in the crock pot if that's the way we're going. Now at 5 when it's time to make dinner I not only know what I'm going to make, but the meat is thawed and we're ready to go.

So what's your excuse? After today you won't be able to say you don't know how to cook a good meal, because here comes the recipe for roasted chicken! This was originally a Cooking Light recipe that I've altered to fit my family better. Feel free to do the same.

roast chicken Pictures, Images and Photos
Roast Chicken with Cumin, Honey, and Orange

1 (3-4 lbs) roasting chicken (this is one of the cheapest ways to buy chicken)
1/2 c honey
3 tbs orange zest
1.5 tbs ground cumin
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
3 garlic cloves minced

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Clean and rinse chicken, then starting at the neck carefully loosen skin from breast and drumsticks by inserting your fingers between the skin and meat.
3.Combine all the other ingredients. Rub the mixture under the loosened skin over breast meat and drumsticks.
4. Place chicken, breast side up, in a pan or on broiler pan. I use a casserole dish. Rub skin with a small amount of olive or vegetable oil. Cover loosely with foil.
5. Bake for 40 minutes, then uncover it and bake for an additional 30 minutes. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting. Discard skin for lower fat option. (Or eat it all before your kids can get there, like me)


Roasted Potatoes

1 small/med potato per person
A Little Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Seasonings like salt, pepper, garlic salt, rosemary, steak seasoning, ect

Chop your potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes (these do not have to be perfect! Just roughly the same size) I like to soak my potatoes for awhile to remove some of the starchiness. I cut them up and let them soak while I'm getting the chicken ready. Then I spread them out on a foil-covered cookie sheet. And drizzle them with a little oil, then toss them to distribute the oil evenly. Then season them with whatever you want. I used Montreal Steak Seasoning and a little garlic salt. These are also really good with fresh rosemary and a little lemon juice, or even just salt and pepper. They're your potatoes, do what you want!

Roast them until a fork goes through one easily and they are golden brown. 20-30 minutes. Keep an eye on them they vary in time. I put mine in with the chicken when I took the foil off.

So how much money do you spend not eating at home each week? How much do you spend on groceries? Next time you hit that take-out window think about what that meal is actually costing you. Now, go drink some water and check in Monday for weigh-in!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Perception

I remember going shopping for prom dresses with a couple of friends of mine in 11th grade. At this time I was around 150 which for being 5 feet 8 inches is well within the healthy weight range. I watched my friends trying on their size 0, 2, & 4 dresses and felt like a total cow in comparison to them. (Aw the curse of petite friends). When I tried on my size 10 dresses I cried in my fitting room and refused to come out. I wish I could go back and explain to my teenage self that 150 is a healthy (and slender) weight for a girl who is tall and (let's face it) well-endowed. I wish I knew then that my stick-thin friends would have killed to have my...hmmm...assets. I wish I could go back and hug her and give her the confidence in her own body. I wish I didn't spend half of my life feeling that way.

I think this is a problem all women face. How skinny is skinny enough? When you overhear women talking about losing 5, 10, 15 pounds and wonder where they would lose it from? Do you have a goal number in mind? If I was 120, 130, 150 then I'd be skinny. Is weight loss about a number or a feeling or a dress a size to you?

When I got married I was 160 and so disappointed that I didn't lose those 10 pounds I planned on before the big date. Here's a picture from my wedding almost 10 years ago.
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And here's one from my first year of marriage.
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At the time I felt grotesquely large, and now I look at that girl and think she looks healthy. Not too big, not too small. It makes me wonder if I got to be that size again would I still feel fat? Could I lose 60 lbs and still not be happy with me? Now what I want most is to be able to go hiking with my kids, to ride bikes in the summer, to fit comfortably in air plane seats, to run up a flight of stairs. When I can do all those things will I still be fat?

Our perception is definitely skewed when we look into the mirror. If we look at ourselves through the eyes of our family, our children, our friends would we still be too fat? Maybe what we need to change is not the number on the scale but the image in our minds?

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Glory of the Tens Place

So Monday is weigh-in day (it's also my eat like a normal person day which is why I'm writing this while eating enchilada casserole for breakfast). And today the scale was my friend showing a weight of 219.4! Woo-Hoo! That's right, one woman's- Holy Freaking Cow!-weight is another woman's WOO-HOO!

That puts me down 3 lbs for this week and 5.5 lbs total for 5 weeks. Maybe not where I was hoping to be but the weight is starting to come off which makes me very happy indeed. I passed another milestone this last week too...exercise is finally starting not to suck completely. I did my 35 minutes of cardio at the gym on Friday night and I felt strong and good work-out tired, not the exhausted and 'why the crud am I doing this to myself' tired I have been feeling.

Speaking of exercise have any of you tried Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred? I'm halfway through level 2 now and it's one of my favorite videos ever. It's a 20 minute workout which is great when you have kids (or a life) and it's intense. I used to workout with a friend who was in really good shape and by the end she was huffing and puffing as much as I was. Which was kind of depressing, you think it would get easier right? That's a subject for another post though. Anyway, the Shred combines 3 minutes of strength, 2 or cardio, and 1 of ab work into three circuits. If you're looking for a video to do in your home I would recommend this one. I used to work out to 80's step videos with leotard-clad women with high pony-tails and blue eye make up. LOL Do you guys remember those? Who invented leotards that snap in the crotch anyway?

It was glorious to see that scale tick down out of the 220's. I haven't seen teens on my scale in a long time. Makes me hopeful that that elusive hundreds place might not be too far behind.

Go drink a cup of water! No, I mean right now! Then check back in on Wednesday.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Home Cookin'

So I'm a firm believer that if you cook the majority of your food at home you can still eat your favorite types of food. Making a cheeseburger on your own grill is fun, more satisfying, and definitely healthier than hitting the drive-thru for a double bacon cheeseburger. When you cook your own food you control the quality and portion sizes of your meal.

But sadly cooking from scratch is becoming a lost art in America. But I'm here to tell you that with some basic knowledge you can whip up a restaurant quality meal with much healthier results. So today let me tell you how to make homemade mac n' cheese without the blue box.

So the other day I was staring at my fridge, it was the end of the shopping week so our larder was looking pretty bare. To be completely honest I was thinking about hitting Little Caesers (curse you $5 pizza!) But resolutions were still pretty strong in my brain so instead I pulled out a bunch of half-used items from my fridge and pantry. Half-empty bag of shredded mozzarella, quarter block of cheddar, half empty can of chicken stock, and a half-full box of elbow macaroni. So I decided to make homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner. Those pesky resolutions though reminded me that I didn't want a dish full of cheesy, creamy, fat-filled deliciousness. But I still wanted a lot of flavor so I decided to go for a chili-mac with a stock-based sauce.

First step: Cook your pasta. I was planning on baking it with the sauce so I went for al dente ( a little undercooked). Cook according to package and then drain and set aside. Use whole-wheat pasta to up the healthiness!

Second step: Make your sauce. Start with a roux. What's a roux you ask? It's mixing a fat and flour together to create a thickener for your sauce. In my case I went with 2 tbs of butter, melting it in a large skillet. Then adding 2 tbs flour and cooking it until it's a beautiful paste in the center of your pan (about a minute).

Then you add your liquid. I used chicken stock instead of milk to cut calories and fat. I added 2 cups of chicken stock, whisking the paste until it all dissolved into the stock. Bring that up to a low boil, constantly stirring until it thickens slightly.

Then I added a whole bunch of seasoning to make up for the fact that I wasn't putting in a ton of cheese and cream (sniffle). I added a tsp of chili powder, a half-teaspoon of cumin, a half-teaspoon of smoked paprika, and the salt and pepper to taste. Now my sauce is a lovely reddish-brown color and it's time to add the cheese.

Remove from the heat and then add the cheese of your choice. I went with a big handful of mozzarella (because it's naturally low-fat) and a small handful of shredded cheddar for flavor. If you use a sharper cheddar you need a lot less to get the flavor you want. Stir to combine and then add to your pasta.

At this point you could add a handful of broccoli or cauliflower to beef up the health index of your dish. Or add some cooked ground turkey to make it a more hearty entree. Or you can do what I did and dump it into a casserole pan and top it with some breadcrumbs mixed with a little butter and some shredded parmesan I found in the back of the fridge. Then I baked it at 350 for 15 minutes to brown the topping. Served alongside a salad it was healthy and yummy! What's your favorite home-cooked meal? Did anyone else make resolutions not to eat out as much in 2012?



Check back in Monday for weigh-in!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Salt Water Flush

Let me begin by saying that this is not for the faint of heart or the weak of stomach. Salt water flushing (SWF) is often used in conjunction with juice fasting or cleansing to stimulate bowel movements when you're not eating and solid foods. But I like to use it when I'm feeling run down, when I haven't been eating very healthy, and when I'm not having regular bowel movements. It's not healthy for waste to sit in your intestines for long periods of time, humans are meant to evacuate on a regular (aka daily) basis. The longer waste sits in your intestines the more is absorbed back into your system.

On that lovely mental picture here's the instructions.

Using a 1 liter water bottle and your teaspoon measure, mix a solution consisted of :

Sea Salt - 2 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon
And Pure Water – 1 quart of warm water

Water Pictures, Images and Photos
Mix a solution of sea salt and room temperature water.

And then here comes the fun part: Shake it well and move to the sink. I like to “pound it” – This is a challenge in itself, especially once it hits your empty stomach. Make sure your stomach is empty when you do this, first thing in the morning is best.

Most likely, you will feel full halfway through, but keep going! Stopping only makes you taste the salt, and will activate your gag reflex. While it is not required to drink the solution in one go, you will find that the taste is such that you will want to get it down as fast as possible.

Then go about your normal routine, but don't leave the house because in about 30-60 minutes you are going to need frequent access to one of these.
Downstairs bathroom Pictures, Images and Photos

You're going to feel a rumble in your belly and your bowels, give it a while. Let it brew! Yeah, I know that is weird to think about, but you should let it build up. You are going to have 3-7 movements, possibly more. Generally speaking, you will end up pushing out what you put in. The entire liter of sea salt water will be expelled over the next hour along with the contents of your bowels. No picture of that, sorry. A word of warning while you wait for this moment. DO NOT FART!!! You will most certainly not pass only air – if you know what I mean...

The salt flush will not dehydrate you because it is indigestible and will pass straight through you. This is not a pleasant process but I always feel so much better after I do it. It clears up my skin and makes me more regular. Let me know if you try it, and what you thought about it.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Weigh-In Jan 9th

So Mondays are 'do or die' days so to speak. And the results for my first weigh-in (this time around) is...222.5! Yay! Down 2 lbs this week. Also down 2.5 lbs for the last 4 weeks but let's stick to this weeks stats, shall we? Now granted the weight loss this week might have been helped along by the fact that yesterday was fast Sunday (in my church we fast for 24 hours the first Sunday of the month and then donate the money we would have spent on food to help the needy) but I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth. So....happy dance!

Maybe there's a small chance I actually will fit into the dress I bought for my anniversary. 5 weeks and 2 days from now David and I will celebrate our 10th anniversary, and 1 month ago I bought a dress from my favorite dress site Shabby Apple, to wear. Of course being the neurotic woman I am I bought it one size small and assumed I could lose enough weight in 9 weeks to fit into it. (Why do women do things like that? You never see a man buying a too-small suit or pair of jeans as a "goal"). Anyway, want to see the dress? Head over to Shabby Apple and check it out. It's the PHD dress, and while you're there browse their super cute clothes, fall in love, become addicted, order something and get 15% off for clicking through my link...anyway. Still holding out hope for that dress.

So I took a new before picture this morning. I told myself that the more hideous a 'before' picture looks the better your 'after" picture looks, right? So in that spirit I opted for a prison-style shoot with no make-up, hair undone, in my exercise clothes. The vapid expression and vacant eyes are more a result of trying to coach my 8 year-old to take a picture that includes my head, feet, arms, and enough space to crop out my messy bedroom. That's a lot harder than you would think.

Photobucket

All right, let me tell you the things I hate about overweight pictures.

1. Double Chins

2. Arms that can't go straight down so they bow out like gorilla arms.

3. Cankles (need I say more...ewwww)

4. The way my feet are always a foot apart even when I think I'm standing with them together.

5. Double Chins...wait, did I say that already?

In other words this is the perfect before shot, don't you think? Today starts with triumph and the vague and misty idea that next week I might be under 220 lbs (aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh) at weigh-in. I'm going to the doctor today to get my other health numbers, blood pressure, cholesterol, ect. to add to my progress chart. Because after all this is about getting healthy more than a certain number on the (%#@!) scale. I'll update those numbers when I get them.

I'll be back on Wednesday with a post on salt-water flushes, a lot of you had questions about them after Friday's post. And then make sure to check in on Friday for a yummy healthy recipe. Happy Monday everyone and drink some extra water today.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Never Say Never

Never thought I'd be posting on here again. It's been 2 and a half years since my last post but here I am fighting the same uphill battle. When I left last I was pregnant with my 4th child Maylee. She was born in a beautiful homebirth (read here). In the week after her birth I lost all 17 lbs I gained during my pregnancy. Then in the next 2 weeks I put back on those 17 lbs and 15 more to boot! I mean scientifically that's not even possible. If a pound is equivalent to 3500 calories I would have had to eat 100,000 EXTRA calories on top of my normal diet. Obviously there's something more nefarious at work here, right? RIGHT?! (she screams to the heavens).

SO here I am, 3 weeks away from my 30th birthday and 5 weeks away from my 10th anniversary and I'm exactly the same weight I was almost 3 years when I started this journey (225 lbs). No problem, right? I mean I lost 40 lbs last time, I can do it again! That's what I thought when I started trying to lose weigh 4 weeks ago (really wanted to be under 200 for my anniversary). And after 4 weeks of meal replacement shakes, and fresh veggies, and lots of grilled chicken, and exercising morning and night...where am I? I'm at 224.5. That's right I lost half of a pound!!!!

Sigh

Double Sigh

Deep Breath

I swear I'll never understand my body. I'm not asking for miracles. I'm not asking for a quick fix. I am totally willing to do it the hard way...all I want is for the hard way to work!

So I'm wondering what the next step is. Should I see another doctor? A nutritionist? An acupuncturist? Should I keep chugging along hoping things will change? I took measurements today because my husband swears I'm just gaining muscle and that's why I'm not losing weight. But eventually you have to lose weight, right? I don't want to be a 225 pound muscle woman! (ewwww...bad mental image)

What have you guys done to lose weight? I'm a purist at heart and never wanted to get involved with drugs or pre-packaged food systems or crazy phases of weird diets. But to be perfectly honest I'm feeling a little desperate to see the scale move. Today I'm going to do a salt water flush and clear out my plumbing, I always feel better afterwards and fresh foods always taste better. Weigh-in is on monday. I'll keep you all posted.

PS I tried to find a new "Before" picture to post but looking back through our photo album I found that I had cleverly posed a child in front of me in every single picture. LOL I'll take one this week and post it on Monday.