Monday, April 21, 2014

Let's get close in the closet

Anyone ever feel like they LOST space after they moved to a BIGGER house? Somehow that happened to me in the form of closet space. Both houses were built between 1950-1954 and both had his and her closets. Somehow our his and her closets shrunk in the new house. Hello closet issues. 

I've managed to fit most of my things in my new closet but it was just not efficient. And you know me, I live on efficiency and organization in a small house. I just couldn't take THIS anymore: 

I mean how is a girl supposed to be inspired to look cute if it's all crammed in there like this!?  I kid you not I found a box of wallets and clutches when I started emptying this sucker for a makeover. I've searched for them practically since we moved in. They were buried deep. Deep. 

The picture above is actually after I cleared some things out as I started the project...

Oh and I should also mention it's after I donated a bunch of stuff when we moved in. I had a little "come one come all" Facebook post that offered extra shoes, bags and accessories to anyone who wanted to come by. I also donated all those clothes I haven't worn in over a year (OK let's say 2 year seems so short). Plus after working from home for the past 3 years I don't need as many work clothes so no need to keep them. 

I of course enlisted the help of one Anna M. for this project. It killed two birds with one stone 1) kids could play together (all 5 of them) and 2) we had a fun project to tackle! 

Here's a little preview of my bedroom after we emptied the closet out. SCARY! Good thing Daniel wasn't home. This would have sent him over the edge. I can hear it now "Anna Schrall, see this is why you don't need another accessory! Is this going to be cleaned up before tonight? Oh, I gotta go." (or something along those lines)

sorry about the blur vision! Camera was in overload!
The first order of business was to raise the top shelf. I'm a tall person and the closet has tall ceilings. I needed to capture as much space as I could get. Then we moved the clothing rod back. It was placed in the center of the closet so there was all this space in the back being wasted. Here's me getting started with the tiniest screw driver while striking a pose. 

We realized that we didn't really have anything to hang our shelf so we searched outside. To be sure I had some spare wood from previous projects...oh wait. That would be at our old house. I haven't actually done any woodworking projects here yet. Hmmm...then Anna M had a brilliant idea. We used spare wooden stakes from the yard sale as our shelf ledges. Not pretty but it works! We at least put the pointed edges facing in so you don't see them (you can see them in the top right corner holding the shelf). 

The walls are plaster so it was a bit of a mess trying to pre-drill holes and then getting giant screws in the walls. Plus let's face it, the Anna's aren't much on measuring. We are more the "fly by the seat of our pants, eye ball it" kinda gals. Not going to lie...the first rod might have been a little crooked on our first attempt. At one point both of us are trying to stand on one small stool so we could put up the top shelf. If only we had someone to capture the picture! 

We tried to use as much of our old materials as possible. We took an extra board from the top shelf and turned it in to a fourth shelf for the side. Here I am using the circular saw to cut the notches to fit around the molding. (Anna M is standing on the board to hold it still...stand back. We're women with power tools and we're not afraid to use them!)

In the end, after I put back all my items and donated this stack...

I heard ANGELS SINGING! No seriously...I open my closet door and hear beautiful organizational angels singing each and every time. 

Here's the new and improved version (keep in mind it's small so pictures are hard to come by)...

Here's how we improved it: 

  1. raised the top shelf to better use the height of the closet (used for baskets of small purses and other larger accessories)
  2. moved back the top clothing rod and added another below it for more hanging ability
  3. added an extra shelf, again to better use the height 
  4. added a shelf underneath (removable) to hold the green cubes where I store flip flops and sandals, plus it's handy to put additional shoes underneath
  5. moved the shoe rack to the other side so I can now use the top rack for boots (I put old magazines in them to keep them standing upright and they used to be underneath my bed)
  6. added hooks to the top left to hold belts and larger hand bags

I'd say not too shabby to have done this in less than 2 hours while watching 5 kids and feeding them lunch! 

In case you're wondering, I organize my clothes by style (sweaters, jackets, sleeveless, etc) then by color so it's easy to coordinate outfits. I do my shoes the same way (wedges, boots, flats, etc)

Do you hear the organizational angels singing? 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Table of carbs, please! My first week seeing a nutritionist.

Enough is enough. I had a breakdown last Sunday when once again, my little bit of weight I've lost was gained again. You see, I’ve been on Weight Watchers for the past 8 weeks (online). Since they switched to the Points Plus Plan, I've never really been successful but was willing to try since it wasn't expensive. I used to do the “old plan” and lost 20+ lbs each time. I was determined that I needed to try and get this last 10lbs of baby weight off plus I had the camaraderie of two friends joining me. But after 8 weeks, I bounced up and down and in the end only lost .6 lbs. Yes, that’s point 6 pounds. As in not even a full pound.

I've come to accept my changed body after pregnancy. It only took me 2 years (I’m a slow in acceptance and learning in some areas). I’m not striving for skinny. I’m looking for a healthy weight and one where I’m comfortable with myself. I could stand to lose more than 10lbs but 10 is where I’d feel really good about myself and likely more maintainable. A “low size 12” as I call it. I already work out consistently (my husband is a wellness coach/trainer) so fitness isn't my problem. I knew it was diet.

So enough was enough. I finally decided to ask the nutritionist at the gym to help me. I knew my insulin resistance (I have poly-cystic ovary syndrome or PCOS) was having an effect and well…my age. Big difference between 34 and 38.

She graciously saw me quickly and gave me a general rule “If God didn't make it, you shouldn't be eating it.” Think about it…no processed foods, no breads, no sweets…wait. That was a lot of my diet. Apparently because of my PCOS/insulin resistance, my body hates me and fights against all efforts to lose weight. Super. So it will be doubly difficult for me to try and get this last 10lbs off. But it also felt good for someone to validate that PCOS is having an effect on my weight loss…well that and all the processed foods. Calories for me are very different than calories for someone without PCOS.

Armed with some recipes (that I wasn't so sure about) and general rules in addition to the “If God didn't make it, don’t eat it” rule, off I started immediately. My exercise goal was to be 30 minutes a day. Every Day.

Day 1: It’s not so bad. I was prepared for severe limitations in my diet. OK I know that’s not the outlook I’m supposed to have. I’m supposed to say “I was prepared for a HEALTHY lifestyle change” but if I’m real…its limitations. Well actually its denial. I don’t do well with limitations or denial, let’s face it. I eat well today but am not prepared because I need to hit the grocery store. I’m hungry. (1 hr of training at gym done)

Day 2: I still haven’t gone to the grocery store yet so I’m scrounging for food. Eating what fruit I can find (apples), cheese and deli meat. Sort’ve a Parisian Diet if you will. I’m grouchy. I walk by and the Easter dark chocolate eggs scream “EAT ME!”   I’m pretty sure they follow me around the kitchen tormenting me because everywhere I turn, I see them. When I open the pantry every processed food option starts vying for my attention “look how delicious I am!” – “no wait! Over here! I’m filled with all kinds of yumminess!” It’s. Torture. But at least I made it to the grocery store. I keep repeating “weight loss is more important than …weight loss is more important than ” But not so important that I don’t have a small martini. It was worth it.

Day 3: Second day of eating 2 hard-boiled eggs for breakfast (which I doctored with a little sour cream, salt and pepper). Not very satisfying but it holds me over. Feeling proud that I’m doing this. I can do this, right? Might be obsessing a little bit. I've told anyone who will listen that I’m seeing a nutritionist. My husband is a wee bit tired of it already. Or is he just tired of me being grouchy? I didn't feel as hungry today because I made kielbasa-bean soup and it tasted really good and kept me full. I also now have food in the house that I can eat. Tonight I broke down and made another martini. I needed it mentally. Oh and I ate three of those M&Ms that were stalking me. That’ll show ‘em! It fixed my craving for chocolate though and now I can have the discipline to forge on. (1 hr of training at gym done)

Day 4: I want to cry when I wake up thinking I have to eat another egg and I’m STARVING. Then I realize that I can eat oatmeal. I even put in a little brown sugar (whoops). Best oatmeal I've ever had. I have serious addiction issues. Addiction to processed foods, especially carb filled ones. I’m not making this up. I really feel like I’m in detox. If there was a Betty Ford Center for carb addictions, I should be checking in right now. My body is completely revolting against this new lifestyle. Cole (2.5 yrs) wants a bite of my oatmeal. My first instinct is to growl at him but I refrain. I’m his mother. I’m supposed to love and nurture. He wants more. Oh no! He wants more! Is there no stopping this child!? I manage to let him share with me without biting his little fingers as he eats each bite from my bowl. I feel better. Healthy carbs have stabilized me.   (I later learn I wasn't supposed to have the brown sugar and it was feeding my addiction. Honey or fruit would have been better. Not sure she knew my true mental state so maybe brown sugar was better!?)

I talked with my nutritionist too. She tells me I have 11 days until the detox is complete and the cravings subside. SEVEN (7!!!) more days to go. I give myself a pep talk…and look forward to popcorn. It’s all that’s getting me through the day. I’m counting down the minutes to see the movie tonight. Not because I want to see Noah or go on a date with my sweet, adorable husband but because I get popcorn for dinner. No, it’s not technically part of the nutritional plan but there’s nutrition to lose weight and there’s quality of life. I need this in order not to kill someone. Oh and the movie was awful…but the popcorn was heaven. (1 hour of training at gym done)

Day 5: I feel fantastic! Tons of energy – my cravings are less now that I’m in day 5 and I even feel inspired to go for 30 minutes of cardio after I spend all morning cleaning the house and watching the kids. Today is a good day!

Oh wait. I open a new box of Whonu chocolate chip cookies for the boys. The smell that transcends my nostrils overtakes me. I ate one. But man! was that a good cookie.

We go on a double date to a new restaurant. I’m prepared to have a salad, baked potato with limited toppings and a steak. I’m actually looking forward to it. Low and behold it doesn't work that way here (it’s the Cowboy Brazilian Steak House where they bring slabs of meat to your table). I check out their salad bar. Heaven. I see all kinds of foods I like and not just lettuce and toppings. In fact, it’s mostly not those items. I pile shrimp, cheese, olives, and artichoke hearts on to my plate. Plus I have a martini. Ahh. Great food – great company. Feeling better. And I’m stuffed…

I learned later that I felt so good today because of the extra calories from the popcorn last night. I need to increase my calories a little next week.

Day 6: I have a horrible headache. Day 5 was the only day I haven’t had a headache all week. See? I told you my body was in full detox mode. I decide to take a nap while the boys are down instead of workout after church. I’m just too exhausted and my head is killing me. I’m also making homemade marinara sauce minus the cream for dinner.

I skip the pasta tonight. The raviolis we cooked weren't very tasty and I realized not worth the processed food calories. Instead I opt for another Parisian Meal since it’s what I have on hand – olives, mozzarella cheese, salami and roasted red peppers. Meeting with the nutritionist tomorrow. I’m a little nervous. This week was hard. I mean HARD. And I wasn't the most pleasant person to be around. Please don’t let her be disappointed I ate M&Ms, popcorn and a cookie! Plus I weigh tomorrow.


I lost 1.8 lbs this week! 80% is probably water weight but I don’t care. Weight is weight. I also have a little more energy and feel much less “puffy”. Plus my nutritionist gave me goals that were realistic to work towards for next week. 

  1. Eat less salt. (yeah, yeah, yeah. I gave up wine and sugar…salt was the least of my worries last week!)  
  2. Eat ½ cup beans every day (hmmm…must think how I can do this. Need more recipes.)
  3. Eat 3 fruits a day (Ok, almost doing that now)
  4. Prepare my foods in advance. Food prep. Food prep. Food prep. Especially for lunches at home so I’m not tempted.
  5. Increase my leafy greens, maybe in the form of a smoothie. (I think I can, I think I can!)

Week 2 here I come! 
(as I try to hold my head high and not think about carbs)