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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

10-Second Book Reviews

Gone Girl : I've read some complaints about this one because of the ending, which I can totally understand. Nevertheless, I loved this book. I don't normally read mysteries or thrillers, but had a book club for like one month and this was the book they picked, so I decided to read it. I was even reading it during the weeks that my dad was hospitalized, and I still blew threw it super-fast, so that is saying something. There are quite a few twists and turns, some are predictable, some are not, and I just had to keep reading in order to figure out where it was going. Really loved this book.

Outlander: This was recommended to me, and I liked it, but not as much as I expected to. It's a time travel romance, where a woman living in 1940s UK travels back in time to Scotland in 1743. She falls in love, etc, etc. This book is LONG, and it's one of a crazy long series. I thought parts of it, especially the beginning, were too slow. Other parts were just too much sex (yes, that is possible).  The last third of the book picked up quite a bit and I ended up feeling like I wanted to go on and read the next one in the series, although I have yet to do so. I actually set Outlander aside so that I could read Gone Girl and then came back to it, so that shows how long and slow it was at first.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven: I've had this on my to read list for basically 5 years or so, or whenever it was on the NYT Best Seller List. I decided just to read it - my dad had just passed away and I thought that perhaps this one would be cathartic. It was short and it made me cry, but I don't know that I really felt like it changed my life or anything. Regardless, it was an easy and interesting read and I can understand how it made the best seller lists.

A Clash of Kings: I knew I needed to read the next Game of Thrones book, since I had finished watching the first season of the HBO series and Todd was bugging me to move on to the next season. I enjoyed the second book much more than the first, and I think it's a must-read if you're a fan of the HBO Series. There are just too many things that you don't get from the series that you get from the books - additional characters, more subplots, and a better understanding of all of the characters and families. There were a few big things that happened in this book (which you know about if you've seen Game of Thrones Season 2).

A Storm of Swords: After I finished Book 2, I just had to go on and start Book 3, especially because some elements of Book 3 showed up in the second season of Game of Thrones. This is my favorite of the books so far. There are SO many surprises and crazy things that happen - and (small spoiler alert) it contains the 3 of the worst weddings in fiction EVER. George RR Martin never ceases to amaze at how quick he is to kill off major characters. Seriously, just a crazy book. I haven't started book 4 yet, because I've heard it's awful, so I am putting it off. I'll probably start it in January.

The Bogleheads' Guide to Investing: I like to read about investing strategies, and the philosophies of the followers of John Bogle (founder of the Vanguard Group) is my personal favorite style of investing. I had already read one of Bogle's books, so this was just more to solidify some of his concepts even more. It's written by a bunch of his followers (also called "Bogleheads"), and I really liked it. Another good, solid, investing book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn more about smart investing. Topics covered include retirement, taxes, saving for college, and more.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pregnancy, Body Image and Food

First, let's talk Pam Halpert. If you do not recognize the name, Pam is one of the main characters on "The Office." I love The Office, I've seen every episode. Pam has two children. For her first pregnancy, her baby bump was a prosthetic bump because Jenna Fischer (the actress who plays her) was not really pregnant. Then, she became pregnant in real life and that was when Pam had her second baby. The second time around, Pam's face was fuller. Her chest was bigger. She really looked pregnant. And, I liked the second, more genuine pregnancy Pam better.

The thing is, unlike in Hollywood, you don't just get a baby bump and stay the same everywhere else. You grow in all sorts of places. I admit, I'm not really sure how well it all goes back to where it was, and it is freaking me out a little bit.

I'm in my 16th week of pregnancy. So far, it's really hard to tell if I'm pregnant or if I am just really packing on the pounds. Earlier this year, I had put on some weight because of my thyroid acting up (as a result of going off of the pill), and so I was already in my "fat pants." I decided not to actively try to lose the weight that I'd gained since I had gotten my thyroid to stabilize at the weight that I was, and if I lost weight I would just swing in the opposite direction and be hyperthyroid.

So, I am wearing maternity pants. Holy crap, they are comfortable. I want to wear maternity pants forever. I will still occasionally wear non-maternity pants with a rubber band keeping them "buttoned", but maternity pants are the bomb. I've also really been rocking dresses, because they're the best fitting things right now. And when I wear a high waisted dress or shirt - woa, I really do look pregnant. I do wish that I looked pregnant all the time, though. It's still pretty easy for me to hide my bump if I want to.

So, given my normal struggles with food and body image, how's all of this going for me?

Like I said, I am struggling with the changes that my body is going through, just from the standpoint that it seems like it's just doing a bunch of crazy stuff all on it's own. I compare it to the movie Independence Day, where they had the UFO in Area 51 and they'd been studying it for years, but then the alien ships showed up and it lit up and started actually doing stuff? Yeah, that's my body. For 34 years, it has been what I know and love and been pretty standard. Now? Totally, it's off on its own doing its own thing. Parts of my body seem to suddenly have a purpose when they had none before. It's just... well, I'm just not used to it. And there's a lot more in store, I know. I thought since pregnancy is a natural thing and all, I wouldn't be as surprised as I am by all of this.

In the meantime, I'm doing my best to eat right. The great news is that I am not craving junk food or milkshakes or things like that. What am I craving? Nothing. I have been thinking for years and years that I have such crazy cravings normally, that, woa, what will happen when I get pregnant? Answer? I will crave the opposite and just generally not want anything, and yet be ravenously hungry at least every 2 hours. I dislike chicken and broccoli. My sweet tooth is basically gone, and while the first 2 weeks of not having booze was heartbreaking (sorry, it was), I've gotten used to it. I've also found a great winery that makes dealcoholized wine, which has really helped me out. Naturally, I found out I was pregnant less than 48 hours after buying 12 bottles of wine at the Maryland Wine Festival, but Todd's been taking care of those on my behalf.

So, with all of this together, I have found it so much easier to follow intuitive eating when I'm eating for two. Taking the whole pressure from society to be thin thing away has really helped. Now, if only I could carry this over to my non-pregnancy self... Still, eating has become the most difficult thing about pregnancy. Trying to figure out what I want, judge if it's ok for me and for the baby, and then actually acquire that food and then eat it is not easy. I've only gained 3 pounds (officially according the doctor, but that last weight was taken the day after Thanksgiving). I'm not even at my highest weight for 2012 (I weighed more in May when my thyroid problems were at their peak). But, my body shape has changed a lot.

I am excited to see where these changes take me, and I am pretty excited to see my family over the holidays. My sisters are super excited about the baby, and my mother-in-law is over the moon. :)

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Saturday, December 1, 2012

How Exercising is Going Now That I'm Pregnant

I've always figured that exercise once I got pregnant was going to be a huge question mark. I know that every pregnancy is different, so I really had no idea what to expect. At my first appointment with my doctor when I was at 7 weeks, he basically cleared me for any exercise that I'm already doing, although I'm to avoid anything where I need to lie on my back after about 16 weeks. He seemed not at all worried or upset that I'd run the Wineglass Half Marathon during my 6th week. So, I've been taking it a workout at a time and doing what works for me. Here's a rundown:

Yes, the real reason why I chose not to race the Wineglass Half wasn't because of my plantar fasciitis, but because I was pregnant. Besides the 17 miles that I ran 3 days before finding out that I was pregnant, this was the longest run that I've done during my pregnancy and probably will be the longest I'll run for many months. I did feel a lot more tired during Wineglass than I typically would during a half marathon, and I was also a LOT more hungry. By mile 10, I had eaten all of my food and I was starving. Not eat a gu or a packet of jelly beans kind of hungry, but more like a "let's go to a restaurant and eat a 4-6 course meal now" kind of hungry. And hungry during your first trimester is the equivalent of nausea. So, I was sick and hungry and tired for the last several miles of the race. Plus, during the final sprint to the finish line I suddenly became paranoid that I wasn't getting enough oxygen to my baby. Of course, the baby is fine.

Needless to say, I've dropped out of the Walt Disney World Marathon. I knew that it was a possibility that I would not be running that race when I signed up for it, but the funny thing about trying to get pregnant is that you really don't know how long it will take and what you should be planning for, so I had gone ahead and signed up. We've moved our Disney vacation to later in the year (and baby will be coming with us!!!).

Since Wineglass, 7 miles has been my longest run. I ran the Cold Turkey 10K, also at a slow pace. I would like to do one or two other 5Ks or 10Ks while I still can, but they're not all that plentiful this time of year. I'll keep running as long as I can. So far, I'm somewhat slower, but not terribly slow. I skip more runs than normal, if I'm tired or not feeling great. I am pleased to say that I'm feeling less nauseous now than I was a few weeks ago, so it's been easier to get my runs in. I wish that I had been 100% healthy and in tip-top shape, running wise, when I got pregnant, but it didn't work out that way. At least my PF allowed me a good excuse as to why I wasn't running fast and long...

Strength Training and Yoga
I had a coupon in early September and received 3 sessions with a personal trainer at my gym. I was looking to change up my workouts, and I really liked the personal trainer that I was working with. The first session was great, and I was sooo sore afterwards. We agreed to meet again 2 weeks later, and I did the workout on my own in the meantime, Then, the day before my second session, I got the positive pregnancy test. So, my two final sessions turned into pregnancy workouts.

Do you know how to get a personal trainer to not work you as hard? Tell them you're pregnant. LOL. The workouts were still great, though, and it turned out to be perfect timing to help me figure out what to do with myself as far as weights and strength go during this time.

The bad news, though, is that I became so tired that I would sleep too late, and not go to the gym before work. I would get to work a little late and leave work a little late, and then realize that if I worked out after work, I wasn't going to have the energy to make dinner. And, weight training made me super-nauseous. I don't know why, but running did not make me nearly as sick. I routinely felt like throwing up every time I tried to go to the gym. So, little by little, I stopped going.

Since then, I picked up a few prenatal yoga DVDs and I've been doing them pretty regularly. I'm hoping that they will be "good enough" from a strength perspective. I've also added some "mom & baby" yoga workouts to my registry, so maybe yoga will finally become a part of my life. Maybe, at this time, it's best for me to focus less on weights and more on yoga anyway. I don't think I'm going to be able to keep my gym membership after the baby is born.

Ok, I admit it. I started swimming about a year ago not because I wanted to do a triathlon, but because I knew we were going to be trying to get pregnant and I knew swimming was something I could do throughout my pregnancy. But... I haven't really been swimming. I've gone once since finding out I was pregnant. Sadly, that one time I just sloshed around in there a little because I found that my swim cap gives me a headache. My winter running hats and headbands have been giving me headaches also, and I'm so limited in what pain meds I can take that I am hesitant to do things that will give me a headache. So, I'll try again to swim, or I'll get a new swim cap or something, I'm sure. But, I've had the same problem time wise getting out to swim as I've had with weight training - I've just been too tired. So, we'll see.

Stuff I'm not doing
My bike is just going to collect dust. I have too much trouble running into things, so for safety reasons, I won't be getting on the bike. It's possible that I might ride it on the trainer, but I haven't thus far (I just hate riding it on the trainer). It's down in the basement if I ever want to ride.

I also attended one body pump class during my 11th week of pregnancy and ended up deciding that it's really not for me right now. I can't keep up and so much of the class you have to lay on your back, I just don't think it's worthwhile. Since I am thinking I'll have to quit the gym post-baby, that was probably my last body pump class for the foreseeable future.

Scuba diving... :( It's not allowed during pregnancy. I might help with an open water class or two in the pool, but I have to stay in the shallow end. I can snorkel, but Divers Alert Network says it's not ok to scuba dive. I miss it -- even though I probably wouldn't have gone scuba diving during this period anyway.

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