Friday, July 8, 2011

My Birthday Suit is Like, TEN Sizes Too Big!

Waking Up
copyright Eden E Hopper July 8, 2011

The dreaded time has come again

She sighs and groans, rolls out of bed
She stiffly walks her painful gait
She tries to clear her sleepy....
Heading for the bathroom now
She rushes past the looking glass
Can't even risk a passing glance
In case she sees her growing....
Aspirin and a Tramadol
She hopes will dull her throbbing pain
She drops her clothes around her feet
And steps into the soothing....
Raining down her screaming back
The scalding water numbs her skin
And warms her muscles pinched so tight
What's that?! Someone is coming....
Into the room sweet hubby comes
To ask her how she slept last night
To ask her if she feels okay
She thanks him and says, Oh….
          Alright  is how she’d like to feel
          But- He’s gone now, no time to waste!
          She’s scared he’ll see how much she’s gained
          Got to go fast! I’ve got to....
Racing she slams the water off
Shakes her limbs and whips the curtain,
Grabs her towel off the rack
There’s just no time to deal with….
          Hurtin’ spine and stabbing joints
          Reflect the burning in her mind
          Self-loathing is a bitter pain
          That eats her soul, no peace to….
Finding something quick to wear
Oh, no. That’s all I have that fits?
She grabs his t-shirt… and his jeans
And prays they won’t rip when she….
                             Sitting  just outside the door
                             She notices her girl and boy
                             She envies their sweet innocence
                             As they sit playing with their….
                                      Toying with her curling iron
She does her makeup and her hair
While wheels are turning in her head
How do I live without a….
                             Caring too much is wrong, she knows
                             How do I stop? Where would I start?
                             She knows her image matters not
                             Compared to what’s within her….
Heart,” my hubby says, returning
“You look so gorgeous in my clothes!”
My eyes well up with grateful tears
How he could tell, God only….
          Knowing with pure intuition
          Big brown eyes look up to me
          “Mommy, you’re so beautiful!”
          My kids say, and it’s plain to….
Seeing is believing, friends
I need to see me like they do and
Kick that voice out of my head
So God’s love can shine through and through

Woman at the Well
Lately I have been dealing with a strange phenomenon. Well, strange to me anyway. Ever since about March I started gaining weight. Not like "oops, I gained five pounds" kind of weight. More like "Oh. My. Gosh. What is going ON???" kind of weight. 

For a woman who has - except for during and just following both of my pregnancies -  never, ever weighed more than 135 pounds sopping wet, putting on well over 30 pounds in 4 months' time is... how shall I say it? Scary as hell.  Simply put, terrifying. (And so is the fact that I just announced my approximate weight for all of blogland.)

What's with all the pain talk in the poem? You ask? Well, I've also spent the majority of my adult life in (at least) pretty moderate pain, due to a crooked spine and arthritis. 

You wouldn't have known it to look at me, unless you looked a little closer. At least until a couple of months ago. I hid behind tall shoes, stylish hair (okay, sometimes not so stylish,) and as much grace as a klutz like me could possibly muster.

But then, one year ago, I started working graveyard shifts. And - surprise of all surprises - not getting enough sleep. Somehow at first, though, my metabolism had some kind of momentum going and kept on rollin'....

Until March when, like I said, I suddenly started putting on weight. I got increasingly lethargic. My spine and joints hurt even worse than ever. Which makes it very difficult to do any high- or moderate-impact exercise. I'll spare you the rest of the deets, I think you get the point.

Now, three things: (1) I love my job (2) I have to keep it for a very long time (years) and (3) I'm NOT sure it's the reason for all this. All I know is, when the moon and stars are aligned just right and I actually get eight, straight hours of blissful, unadulterated sleep? 

I feel awesome. Enough energy to.... No. Not do cartwheels or run around the block ten times. Silly! No, enough energy to do the dishes. Pay some bills. Cook a real dinner!  

So rather than draw this out into an even longer and more painful self-disclosure, I'd like to ask you: Do you have any tips for boosting a run-down metabolism? 

Remember, telling me "get more sleep" is, unfortunately, preaching to the freaking choir, yo. J So please refrain from the obvious (i.e., "caffeine!" or "stay away from caffeine!") and give me somethin' I can sink my teeth into! (Preferably just proverbial teeth though; I'm trying to lose weight. Hahaha.... oh.) 

Also, I'm hooking this post up to an awesome linkup called The Bigger Picture: Simple Moments. The poem I wrote above is based on a real-life simple moment - me getting ready for the day and struggling with my self-image - and the bigger picture: my wonderful little family reminding me what truly matters.  

Simple BPM


  1. Please excuse the format of the poem. The first half copied and pasted from Word like I wanted it to. The second half kind of fizzled out. :)

  2. Eden, this is fabulous!! I love how you did it. And I'm so sorry about your constant pain. I don't think I have any advice for the weight gain. You are a brave soul for sharing that with all of us! I hope you get some relief soon!

  3. Oh, my word, I'm loving this poem! Its format is so fun, but it describes such internal turmoil at the same time. I'm sorry you're feeling so un-pretty right now, but your last discoveries really are true -- see yourself as they do: a loving, generous, thoughtful mama. And that's always beautiful.

    As for the metabolism, I don't have much advice, but it seems to give me more energy to eat raw snacks whenever possible. The crunchier the better: apples, carrots, cucumbers, celery, berries...well, those aren't crunchy, but...:) Anyway, they make your body work to digest them so that's got to be worth something, right?

    Good luck, and thank you for linking up today!

  4. e!! Quick,, add this to the list -

    I have scoliosis, two back things that I cannot pronounce let alone write- they were diagnosed at Mayo, and it was there I learned that I have the back of an 85 year old woman - the arthritis is SO painful e, I can hardly walk from my car to my class on campus....

    Um,, I want a hov-around !!!!!

    oHHHHHHHH hunny - I get you AGAIN on this one!!! My metabolism went , well, let's just say it went and I have not seen it for twenty years or so. Today I am left with the metabolism that is not conducive to any type of weight loss. Add that I cannot stand longer than five minutes, nor walk,, that I'm generally sitting and studying.. Its a sad state of affairs..

    Oh e, and the feeling in my stomach when I'm TOTALLY NAKED and I hear my husband walking down the hall...... HELP!!!!!! I'm caught, busted, discovered!!

    ughhhh, and truth - he loves me no matter what, but oh, the pain somedays,
    Thanks for this fabulous piece.
    I'm feelin ya every which way
    this am!

  5. Your poem is so honest and beautiful. I love how your kiddos and hubby love you and show you how beautiful you are no matter what!
    Tips for boosting metabolism -- if you've been on restricted calories for too long, your metabolism will peter out. If you're not eating enough protein, your metabolism isn't getting the fuel it needs. Tryin aiming for 6,000 steps per day for a week. See if that pulls it up. {So says my alterego Curves owner self.} :)
    So glad to have met you through the link up, Eden!

  6. Dude, this rocks my socks. And I can relate to it so much! I've always had a kick-ass metabolism and I know what a blessing that is. But ever since I started an all-day-behind-the-desk job, I've been gaining weight and losing momentum, and i seriously need some help! I'll be checking here for good advice.

    Oh, and I adore your poem. The format is excellent, and the way you ended each of your stanzas with the word you began your next stanza with is sheer brilliance. Nicely done!

  7. This is my first stop by your blog and I like it! Thanks!

    I really like the rushed, playful pacing of this poem, but you're grappling with some major issues here. I'm sorry you're having such a hard time.

    As for energy boosting advice, let's see: Above all, make sure you get plenty of protein because that's how your body fuels itself. After that, try to cut out refined sugars. I've been reducing my sugar intake (slowly) and it's really made me feel better. (Not to mention, I've lost 15 pounds!)

    Hope that helps! Good luck!

  8. I love the poem, we all struggle through these moments.

    Have you had your thyroid checked? Because the rapid weight gain and the tired really sounds like thyroid issues which are pretty common (and easily fixed) post children.

    Hope your feeling better soon, thanks for sharing!

  9. For metabolism, your best bet is to eat fruits, vegetables (I do a smoothie) and some protein for breakfast. Eggs are great! No starches/carbs/breads in the morning. Drink TONS of water. Your muscles cannot burn fat if they are dehydrated and WATER is the BEST way to get them that way. Try drinking 8 or more ounces every waking hour if possible. I've noticed a big difference in my energy level since I've made these changes in my life. It works wonders! Good luck!

  10. You guys!!! To my faithful followers and newly newcomers: Thank you!!!! I was overwhelmed with gratitude to find all these wonderfully kind comments, and all this AWESOME advice!

    I can't believe so many of you have dealt with these issues yourself and/or do this for a living (what up, Curves owner lady?? What are the chances?)

    Anyway, you wouldn't know it from what you read here, but I have books and books on naturopathy, herbology and healthy living. I'm obsessed, really. And yes, I also have full-time access to the Internet. So why haven't I found these answers on my own? Well, honestly? Two reasons:

    1. I'm too overwhelmed by the information overload. Just try to Google the word "metabolism" and see what you get!

    2. I figured I'd ask real-live, breathing people.

    And look what I got! Wow, again, WOW. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. I am deeply honored.

    And so stoked because I'm following all of your advice! And a quick word in response to Melissa ~ I'm SO glad you said that, because I thought it was pretty dang rapid. I know I will do the rest of these things for sure, but having had nothing change in my diet or lifestyle and then to suddenly gain like this is... weird.

  11. Dang that was good, E!!! And I totally love your format. There are so many different fun poetry formats I honestly thought you were doing it on purpose only to find out you didn't really want it like that...well it's a happy the chocolate chip cookie! :D That poem rocks, so many women can relate (especially me, haha, your severe scoliosis ridden - generally skinny - weight gain conscious - sister) love it!

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  13. Well, all that I can suggest is what worked for me.

    I acquired a stationary bike and would watch a third of a movie everyday while riding it (about thirty minutes a ride). But when I started out I would only ride for 15 minutes. Because it was hard to just do that. After doing it for about a week or two I started to work my way up on the amount of time I would ride.

    I lost 60 Lbs., doing this. . I'm not exaggerating about the 60 Lbs. either. I got fat LOL

    The key is consistency though not intensity. I’s much more important to do it every day than it is to ride for a long time. Once I got all of the self-imposed pressure out of my mind, then it was fun. At first I had stupid thinking like “that my workout needed to be intense so that I would lose weight fast,” but eventually I got over that and just focused on having fun watching shows while I would ride. It became so fun that I would forget I was even exercising, because it was so entertaining.
    Riding a bike is low impact and doesn't involve your spine so it should be perfect for your situation. I chose biking because the impact of running hurt my knees really bad.

    The other thing I did was to become really conscious of how I ate. I eventually started a high-protein diet, with only whole grains, and produce for carbs. For example on average my daily diet through out the day would be something like this: two chicken breasts or two salmon steaks (lots of lean protein), a baked potato (no butter), and tons of veggies and fruit, no grain carbs (unless they were whole grain) and no sugar (at all). I also snacked on nuts between meals to curb hunger. I would do granola and fried eggs for breakfast, a good lunch, and small dinner, lots of vegies for snacks. I would also really avoid eating a few hours before bed.

    It took me about 5 months to drop the weight. But I was pretty extreme about how intense and long my workouts were (I only did this after slowly working my way up though). I also lifted weights. However this intensity was about two months into riding my bike every day. When I was just getting started i struggled just to ride every day for fifteen minutes. Intensity is a slow slow slow road to increase otherwise you get injured and then it takes a lot of time to recover before you can start again. Once I got going, then I just had to keep up on riding my bike daily as a lifestyle. Because whenever I fall out of my routine I start gaining weight again, so I have to stay consistent.

    I also used to have back problems and would go to a chiropractor; eventually I couldn't afford the chiropractor so I started doing yoga stretching for my spine. I started out super slow (I had poor flexibility) but with daily consistency it got my back to the point where I had no problems at all. I learned that my back needs maintenance otherwise it gets stiff and painful, so I do a series of spine stretches every day. It has changed my entire energy and made me feel normal and pain-free.

    If you do this start super slow and keep super consistent. Stretching should take about 10 minutes a day.

    Well those two things: the stationary bike and stretching saved me. I was starting to have a lot of pain when I would move around, and I got pretty heavy for a while, but these things changed that. I recently got off my routine and am now getting back into it. So I want you to know I’m telling you this as someone who is still in the thick of it too :-)

    I’m not sure if this is what will work for you, but it worked for me. Hopefully something in my story is helpful.

  14. @ Aspen ~ Hahaha guess what? The weird "format problem" worked itself out! It was supposed to look like it does now. Except for one line, but I'll take what I can get! ;) And I wish you couldn't relate, for your sake, but I must say it is very nice to have a sister who knows EXACTLY. what. up. :) I love you!

    @ Christian ~ AWESOME yo!!! I was so stoked to see you on here! I'm really sorry it took me so long to get back to you dude. I loved your comment, GREAT advice. It's cool, too, because the very day you posted the comment, Doug and I went and picked up our bikes from the bike shop! They were badly in need of overhauling. :/ Eesh. Expensive. But so worth it!

    Yes I am a HUGE (no pun intended) advocate of stretching. In fact, yoga and other stretching and meditating are all the physical activity (besides walking) I've been able to do anymore, it seems. That's why I was so stoked about my bike. And even more stoked to hear it worked for you!

    I had no idea you went through that. I'm sorry good buddy. That sucks. But you look great so even though you say you're still "in the thick of it" (haha! Another pun.) I think you're doing pretty darn well! :)

    Come back again now that you're online more often, yo! And thanks again!

  15. Oh, and Christian, p.s. Did I say I can't believe it was 60 pounds? You are amazing! Good. for. you. It is so easy to get discouraged. After both babies I was pretty dang heavy and both times I was determined to lose it all, but had my moments of discouragement. After Jae I lost 70 lbs and after Wes I lost 60. So I know just what you mean.

    Also forgot to mention that the movie idea ROCKS. Will be using that one when it rains (like, what, 75% of the time these days? lol.)


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