Thursday, July 2, 2009

The journey continues...

So here's the deal- I evidently have low thyroid levels, high bilirubin, high iron and high iron saturation. Today I have a nuclear stress test for my gall bladder and a genetic iron level test to rule out hemochromotosis. I hate needles, so I'm not too excited about this. Not to mention I can't eat until after the test which is at 1. Let's just say I'm not a nice hungry person, so today should be interesting. Oh and I also have to start a prescription today to raise my thyroid levels and have another blood teat in 8 weeks. Good times!!! Hopefully after all this we will finally figure out what's going on with my body.
Here's the good news though I'm feeling better and eating a bit more normally. Still really low fat, but I have started eating some normal things like chicken and sushi. I also eat bread and pasta. No problems so far with my gall bladder, so that's good. Also, yesterday I went back to the gym. I did my beloved Latin impact class and had a blast. It felt really good to work up a sweat.
I'm officially back on the wagon. whoo whoo baby!!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Progress Part Two...

Once again this is a post that I started about a week ago and never published. I thought it was important to publish it because it tracks my progress.

Today I went to the gastroenterologist(stomach doc.) because of my continuing stomach problems. My weight was 135. That puts my BMI at 23.2 for those keeping track.
I have not been to the gym for at least a week now and feel really bad about that. Despite that I have lost a lot of weight purely with changing my diet because of my weird stomach situation. The doctor thinks I have a bum gallbladder, but no tests are conclusively showing that, as well as I have a freakishly high bilirubin count. Right now until more tests come back telling me whether I should remove my gallbladder or not I am on a very low, close to non-fat diet. I eat the same three meals everyday and hate it. I feel good health wise, but miss real yummy food. In fact I have kind of become scared of food. I'm terrified that any fat will make me sick again and boy was I sick. Laying on the bathroom floor- not carrying to take a shower- worse then having a baby sick... I don't know if any of y'all have been there, but man I don't want that again. So I'm torn I really crave a steak or cheeseburger, but that beloved burger it seems right now is no friend of mine and will make me really sick. So here I am...
Now I realize I should be happy to some extent that I am so close to my goal of 130Ibs., but the strange thing is... I'm not. I don't feel I earned it... the weight loss I mean. I haven't been going to workout and I'm only eating this way because physically I have too. I feel right now weak and sick and not strong or healthy. Kinda ironic. I'm at my lowest weight in years and it doesn't mean much. Plus it's weird people make such a big deal about the weight loss... "Wow, Tam you look great!!! Keep it up, whatever you are doing is working!!!" I have realized it's not about just that number or some BMI equation, but feeling strong and healthy and empowered. Empowerment I think is really what I'm missing. I felt empowered when I was choosing to exercise... I was getting out there and doing something good for my body. I wanted to eat more balanced and healthy because I was taking control and getting my health back. Now I feel like my body is doing it's own thing and I have no control over it. I want to get back to that feeling of strength and empowerment. So that's where I am right now... thought you might want to know.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Progress part one...

I never wrote this down, but on June 4th I had a doctors appointment with my general doctor and I weighed in at 142. That's a BMI of 24 something, which puts me in the healthy range. I celebrated my acheivement by eating glutonously for a week and avoiding the gym which I believe led me to my gallbladder attack.
I will let you know about my current progress in the next post... stay tuned there will be pictures...


This was a post that I started a couple weeks ago when I was feeling better- I thought I would post it...

I had an epiphany during Latin Impact last week. Kristen was there with me and she was doing some kick butt hip shaking and I simply could not get it. I was doing great with the choregraphy up to that point, that is until it was full blown hip and booty shaking time, and then it hit me... I don't know how to move my hips. I mean I can move my hips from side to side like a little girl dancing, but sexy, hip- shaking, husband arrousing salsa dancing- not so much.
OMgoodness... I'm so not sexy!!!
I mean this isn't really shocking or new to me, I always have known of my lack of sex appeal. I'm not saying I'm unattractive, or anything self-depricating like that. It's just I'm Tami and I'm cute, not sexy, just cute and sometimes funny. At least I hope.
I was never that flirty girl who could hula hoop provocatively, or tie a cherry stem with my tongue. And I could never ever talk dirty, but that's a whole other post. I'm just not sexy.
Well, I've made a descision... I'm going to as the saying goes "throw my heart over the bar and let my body follow." I think that's a gymnastics or track cliche and I may have quoted it wrong. I'm also really bad with cliches, but once again that's a whole other post. The point is I'm going to fully try in all I do including hip shaking at Latin Impact and not worry that I look stupid or that I'm not getting it right. Who cares? The point is to try and who knows eventually I might get it. I have to let go of control. That's where the gym therepy comes in. I'm despirately afraid of letting myself go and losing control. So I'm letting go.
And who knows... maybe even me, Tami, can learn a new dance- a sexy one.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Gall Stones...

I'm going to be taking a bit of a break from my blog and the gym. I have spent the last two days in and out of the hospital and I have been diagnosed with gall stones and viral gastroenitis. Will keep you updated- right now I'm a bit loopy from the pain meds and not in the best state of mind to write- Lord knows what I might say...
Be back soon!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hip Hop Hooray...

So last Tuesday I went to Step Class Plus Abs, not because I wanted to, but because my kids were driving me crazy and I needed to drop them off somewhere safe, legal and away for me for awhile. Don't get me wrong I normally adore my kids, but on this day I would have sold them to the circus. Haven't we all been there?
Anyway, so down to the gym I went, kids in tow, headed to any class that would have me... step plus was my only option. Now I had never really planned on taking step plus before this day- it seemed a bit boring to me in theory(you're stepping to no where) and I could imagine it would be pretty painful on the booty, but it was that or the dreaded treadmill.
Guess what- when I entered the classroom and scanned the crowd of fit mommies and not so fit mommies and of course Jeri, Something struck me- there was not a step in sight. And then I met Ty. Ty is this little skinny guy with a lot of tattoos and a killer since of style. He informed me that yes I was in the right place, but due to a scheduling conflict he was going to be subbing in today and because he was the Hip Hop instructor that was what we would be doing this morning.
It was a gym miracle!!!
I had been wanting to try Hip Hop since I joined the gym, but because of choir practice being at them same time I never could go- but now in a wonderful twist of fate- Hip Hop came to me. Hip Hop Hooray!!!
This is by far the most fun I have had in any class. I even called Tammy who schedules all the classes and begged for her to schedule another class earlier when I could come and childcare would be available. I highly recommend this class!!! Super Fun, oh and a great workout too!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Age and Fitness...

Jeri you are amazing!!!
During last week's Cardio Boxing class I totally rocked it...
In class there were these two seemingly fit young women. Pretty and in shape... well, not really. They were pretty, but not so fit. I'm not judging, well, at least I'm not judging anymore. You see I left class and went into the weekend pretty cocky about myself. I was thinking- look at those girls- yeah they may look better in a bathing suit then me, but they can't keep up with my mad sprinting and boxing skills. I'm a cardio-boxing rock star!!!
Well, that feeling lasted until Monday's Bodyworks Plus class. That is were I met my new fitness role model, Jeri. Jeri is a this fascinating lady who is of advanced age. I'm not sure how advanced(felt weird asking), but I'm thinking at least 65. She is rock-solid in shape. During the class she out worked the instructor and barely broke a sweat. Talk about a rock star!!! Oh and you know the plank exercise that I talked about hating so much? She could hold that awful exercise forever and never even bothered to take the easier(wimpier) modification.
This made me realize that age and bikini readiness don't necessarily mean health and fitness. That being said, I think actually Jeri would look better in a bikini then me. Oh well. She's a true inspiration!

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Oh Jared...

So I think the personal trainer hated me. Or at least really didn't like me. Here's how it went down on Friday...

8:05- Arrive at gym 5 minutes late(I got there on time, but if you refer to my last post about parking and pack mule status you'll understand what happened.) Jared(the pretty trainer) is waiting at the front desk for me and visibly annoyed that I am late and still have to drop off rug rats(I'm guessing that's what he's thinking by mild look of disdain).

Strike One

8:15- Finally sitting down to talk with Jared about my fitness goals. He really seems frustrated that it has taken so long because evidently he's a very busy guy. Hey, I thought it was pretty impressive that I was able to drop off and sign in two kids at daycare, unload my gear in the locker room, go and recheck that I had indeed locked my car in the craziness of it all and get back to Jared's desk in a paltry 10 minutes. Jared is clearly not so impressed.

8:20- Uh-Oh... Just let on to Jared my obsession with cheeseburgers and my refusal to drink protein shakes. Do you blame me... I only get so many calories in a day... forgive me for wanting to chew them.

Strike Two

8:30- Finally beginning my work out with Jared. He's taking me to the treadmill, oh goody. Try to lighten the mood with my falling off the treadmill story. Clearly he does not think I'm funny, but rather stupid and a bit pathetic(once again I'm guessing this is what he is thinking due to continued looks of disdain).

8:40- Fun times- presses and curls. I'm now regretting sharing with Jared my goals of alleviating underarm flab and my need to keep "the girls" perky. I think perky boobs and flab-free arms are so not worth this pain.

8:45- Paging Noah's mom to Kid's Club... uh-oh.. Jared is definitely not happy. Evidently in his world toddler poop can wait until after the workout. According to the saints in daycare- it can't.

Strike Three

8:55- Poop situation resolved... more looks of disdain. Jared has informed me that we have worked that muscle group enough and it's time to move on to abs and legs. He introduces me to the plank... it's official Jared hates me. He actually seems to be finding sick pleasure out of my personal pain... how can I tell? I see Jared smiling for the first and only time all session as he says, "Oh does that hurt- hold it a bit longer." Squats are actually a pleasant reprieve from the plank.

9:15- Well, Jared says we're cutting it short due to the time I spent with my son. Like I had a choice- we're talking some major poop people- it was an emergency.

Oh well. Jared sits me down and asks did I have fun? Uh no. Well, he says, do I at least agree that strength training is vital in achieving my overall goals? Sure. He then informs me that cardio alone will not help me lose all the weight. This is fascinating considering that while I was on the treadmill I made a mental note as to where all the skinny, healthy-looking people were. Were they downstairs with the trainers on the free weights? Oh no... they were upstairs on the cardio machines or heading to the step aerobics class.

The final straw though came when I was asked if I was willing to make my goals and health a priority over all else including my beloved cheeseburgers? How dare he use my burgers against me. Jared then tried to do cheeseburger math to prove that I could indeed afford his services. Exchange 4 cheeseburgers a week for a half hour session with Jared. I refrain from telling him how much more joy a cheeseburger would give me then the time spent with him. I just leave it at... I know how important your services are and I wish I could, but it was a huge financial and emotional step and decision for me to just join the gym and maybe in the future my situation might be different and at that point I would love and be honored to train with you, but for now I'm just not in that place. Basically, it's not you- it's me.

He finished with a short... don't worry about it, it's not like I'm hurting I got plenty of work... speaking of which here comes my next appointment. Have a nice day and good luck.

She's out of there- Game over folks...

Listen, I have nothing against Jared as a person per say, but I don't think he got me or my real goals. I also really don't think he cared to understand what I wanted. He had an agenda and that was to get me to sign up for training, whether I wanted it or not. You see I don't want to be the Hulk, nor do I plan on competing on top model... I just want to be healthy. My cardio classes and swimming I believe will get me there. Jared's all or nothing approach is very offsetting. What else was offsetting was his condescension and looks of disdain. For the record I had an inkling this is what was going to happen at my appointment, but I did go in hopeful to learn something. I think it might have gone better if LA Fitness would have profiled me a bit. I needed to meet with a fit mom. Someone who would inspire me and understand my particular challenges. Someone who was fun and down to earth, who could laugh at the poop and relate.

Note to Kristen(you know who you are): You are that girl and I think you would be very successful! You need to do it- you must become a trainer. You inspire me. I would have gladly given up some of the cheeseburgers for you!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Bob Green and Parking...

So I was watching Oprah today(it was a rerun that I had DVR'd) and Bob Green was on and he was talking about diet and his "Best Life Ever" stamp of approval.

That's great Bob, I get it... eat fruits and veges... lean protein... eliminate sodium and white flour. It all makes sense.

But here's the deal, you're talking about living your best life Bob, well what if MY best life involves me eating a cheeseburger and McDonald's french fries. Oh, and the ability to wear a bathing suit at the beach without wanting to die... Even better, the ability to do both simultaneously. Now that's my "Best Life Ever!" How do I get that Bob?

Also you know what I have found to be a frustrating matter? Parking at the gym. When I go to the gym with my two kids in tow, schlepping their child and baby paraphernalia, and carrying my own gym gear... is it to much to ask for a parking spot up front?

I know I'm going to the gym to workout and the few extra feet of heavy lifting and walking, could be say, my warm up, but come on... Isn't it enough that I'm there. I got my sore, sleep deprived and most of the time hungry body dressed and presentable, kids dressed and corralled and all the accompanying accouterments together.. now you're telling me I either have to be a pack mule or I have to make a couple trips? Neither option is very enticing.

I vote for reserved parent parking up front. I think all gym mommies should unite and sign a petition or something.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Dietary Karma

Before I get any negative-worried commits- let me preface this by saying...
I do not actually believe in Karma...
On Monday I went to a really fun carnival and made a conscious decision to not worry about my food consumption for a day, I mean even the Lord rested on the seventh day and it was holiday for Pete's sake.
So all the food was free and boy was it yummy. Free cotton candy, and popcorn and cookies and chocolate and BBQ, and hot dogs and soda and so much more. Well, let's just say I kinda, well really, overdid it.
Guess what... karma.. what I put out into the universe came back and bit me in the bum. Or rather, what I put into my body came out and with a vengeance. I spent that night violently throwing up said carnival food with the stomach flu.
I have no desire to ever eat that food again.

Really LA Fitness, Really...

Oh and guess what else- today after I was all sweaty and gross from class I met the trainer I am supposed to be meeting with on Friday. His name is Jared.
Now before anyone worries- I am a very happily married women to the love of my life- to whom I am very attracted to. Did I not already mention he is hot? Also for the record, I am not into pretty boys, I like a manly guy with rough hands, whose not afraid to reach in the toilet after my wedding ring or eat a big ol' cheese burger. Perferably not in that order though.
Okay now that I have given that disclaimer, here's my point-
Why are personal trainers so dang pretty?- I mean really, this guy Jared is pretty. I can't talk to him about my jiggly bum or love handles- I'm sure he notices them, but really how can I look into his green pretty eyes and say I need to work off the chubbies that are flapping on my underarms as I wave to my son. Come on. I need a strong, averagely attractive, women who will understand what it's like to be a mom. Who will understand cellulite and stretch marks and the power leftover mac n' cheese on you toddlers plate holds over you. Some one who will not judge if I come in with baby food on my shirt or breast milk leaking through. Some one who is not pretty and buff and perfect.
I mean Seriously LA Fitness, Seriously!!!!

Latin Impact

So I went to Latin Impact class. Super fun class! I think I'm a bit rhythmically-retarded though. The instructor, God bless her, got her hips to move independantly from the rest of her body. And don't get me started on her bum. I have never focused so much on another women's bum in my life, it was mesmerizing. In dance there are 8 counts to move on, her bum moved for a four count all by itself and to the beat of the music. Very impressive!!!
Now my friend Amber was there as well and let me say that girl has some mad booty shakin' skills. Her husband is one lucky man! I will definately do this class again- very entertaining!

Come on clench alittle women...

So okay, today I went to Yoga- that's an experience. So many awkward body positions, so little time. And what's with lifting our hearts to heaven and releasing our souls- it's LA fitness people not a hippy commune.
I realized today I'm not a relaxed person and I cannot let go. And that's okay. You want to know why that's okay? It's okay because of farts.
We were about 30 minutes into class, in the middle of doing this really uncomfortable complicated hold called peeing dog or something. Basically you are in a push up position with one arm extended out in front of you and the opposite leg extended over you back in the wrong direction. Use your imaginations people. When this older lady in the back of the class, God bless her, let out the hugest toot I have ever heard. I almost died, but here's the crazy thing about Yoga... everyone remained deathly silent. It's like hello people... Huge fart right there.. are you deaf? Silence. Except, that is, for the guilty party who politely said in a yoga whisper to the man next to her, "excuse me."
I know yoga's all about relaxation, but come on lady, you need to clench a little.

Cardio Boxing

Okay, so yestorday's adventure in fitness was Cardio Boxing- Rachel is an amazing instructor- it really kicked my bum. I didn't know I had so much pent up aggression. Hitting the boxing bag is cathartic. A great release for this characteristically nice girl. I was taught that good girls don't hit, but in this class they not only hit, but kick booty and sweat like crazy. I definately recommend the class.
Oh, but the wrap thingies you have to wear under your gloves are nasty- wet with other people's sweat and stinky- SOOOOO GROSSSS!!!!
Lesson learned- Don't wear running pants with snaps down the side(you know like the basketball players wear)- during downward dog they will break open and expose your underwear. Take it from me. And if you do, at least wear cute undies.

I am so gym-challenged...

On my first day at the gym working out with my marathon-running friend Kristen, who by the way is in really great shape and quite impressive, I fell off the treadmill.

Oh and not gracefully by any stretch of the imagination. I was doing intervals and was on the 2 minute run interval when I started to get really winded and tired. You know when you're driving late at night and you start telling yourself, "I can just close my eyes for one second and feel so much better and it will all be okay as long as it's just one second." Well, I closed my eyes and it worked. Suddenly it got a lot easier and I felt like I was floating on a cloud, except that a second later I was running into the occupied elyptical machine behind me. I had thrown myself off and to make matters worse my brain was so foggy that I frantically tried to crawl back on. Not a good plan because the machine was still going at a running pace. People around me were saying let go, just get off, but it took a few seconds for my brain to function and for me to just let go. I have some pretty bad road rash on my legs, but other then that I'm fine. Bruised ego excluded.

Kristen is so good at training though, she made me get back on the machine and I did one more mile after that.

How embarrassing!!!

I'm going to keep at it though, and hopefully this will never happen again. Thanks Kristen for not laughing off your bum at my expense and continuing to let me work out with you even though I am obviously so gym-challenged.

Lesson learned- No matter what, never and I mean never, close your eyes while on the treadmill.

My Loves...

Just for all that might wonder here are the loves of my life. My husband Chris, son Noah and daughter Katie. Hubby's hot if I do say so myself and the kiddos couldn't be cuter. I love them to bits and couldn't be more blessed then to call them my family.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


I'm going to do it, so the weak of heart need to avert their eyes...

The bikini...

Don't we all have a love/hate relationship with the bikini.

I have a bikini that I love and will not wear.

So another perk to all this is maybe like good ol' Valerie Bertinelli(I think that's her name) or the Jenny Craig lady as she is more commonly known, I will get back in that precious suit and strut my post two-baby body on the beach or at least in my backyard running in the sprinklers with my kids. The suit is to cute to give up for good.
Okay, so here's what you've all been waiting for... here's the suit and here is me the last time I put it on. Now for all you mean folks out there- no, this is not my before picture- I was very pregnant with my son Noah when my husband took this shot. I also did not carry the baby weight so well, so let me just say it is very ballsy for me to share this pick and we'll see if I keep it up or chicken out.


First let me clarify that I am not calling myself, nor anyone else obese. I have a pretty good grasp on my body perception and up until now pretty average confidence. Indeed the very fact that I can be so candid with, well, the world, proves that I have conquered a lot of my body- hating demons. I also refuse to ever use the "F" word and I'm not talking profantity. If for some reason my daughter were to one day come across this blog I want her to maintain a healthy body image and know I wanted to be healthy and not skinny. Skinny is over-rated and to be completely honest not what my husband finds attractive. Real women have bums and boobs and curves. And I refuse to use derogative hateful words like that "F"word.

So what then are my goals? Well first and foremost, I want to never see a printout from the doctor that says overweight again. What does that mean exactly? Well for the sake of full disclosure I started this journey on Sunday, May 17th 2009 weighing 147Ibs. With my height being 5'4 and through the magic BMI(body mass index) equation(I don't know what it is,but I'm sure the curious can Google it) I ended up with a BMI of 25.34. The scale for overweight is a BMI of 25-29.9. So I barely squeeked by(lucky me). I want to be 130 Ibs. which would put me safely in the middle of the healthy range for my weight and still allow me in theory to retain my boobs. This also would help with my joint discomfort and potentially ward off some hereditary ailments like diabetes that run in my family. So that is my goal.

To achieve this goal I have started thinking about what I eat and making healthier choices and watching portion sizes. I have also joined a gym and started exercizing 5 times a week for 30 minutes to 1.5 hours depending on the day. I want to have fun with this and surprisingly enough I am. I also have found a bonus in all this, which is that I am beginning to find my sparkle again. I'm not refinding the old me, but rather a more grown, grounded and happy me. Basically, though it sounds cliche, a better me.

So it's official... I have let myself go.

I used to be a cute, sporty girl, and now I'm an overweight mommy. How do I know I'm overweight? Well that's easy I went to my doctor and received a printout which told me the awful news.

Tami Engel- BMI 25.34 - overweight female.

Just like that. I mean how rude! You think they could have sugar-coated it a little- I mean how about this...

Tami Engel - great mommy and wife, she doesn't have time to always exercise because she's sleep deprived and she doesn't eat that great, but that's because sometimes she needs the extra strength that only a cupcake can give. She is a tad heavy right now, but as soon as life slows down I'm sure that weight will just melt off, and after all she did have a baby less then a year ago, so we say give her some slack.

Now my psyche could have handled that. However that's not what I got- I did get to walk away feeling bad for myself and like I needed to take action and right away. So that was my marching orders and what lead me to this journey.