Bio: My name is Emily Grace, and I was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Currently my family and I are stationed in Seoul, South Korea. I am married to a wonderful Army aviator and the mommy of a rambunctious and loving three-year-old. I like to keep busy, as if being a stay-at-home mom weren't enough, and volunteer with my FRG, Spouse Sponsorship Program, and the American Forces' Spouses' Club.
Posts by Emily:
“I’m fat.” Apparently I say that a lot. I mean, it’s true; I’m not a size 4, fishing for compliments, waiting for someone to say, “No, you’re not.” I’m a size 24. Yeah. 24. So, when I say I’m fat, I mean it, but I don’t mean it in a derogatory way. It’s more matter-of-factly, really. It is what it is. (I’m working on being less fat. I just get stunted occasionally when I decide to eat my weight in bread, because I had a bad day. Mmm. Bread…)
So, my family and I are stationed in South Korea, but we took a month of leave to visit my in-laws in the states. A month. A whoooole month. (I swear, if I didn’t adore my mother-, aunts-, and sister-in-law, we wouldn’t have opted for staying for a month.) One day, we went out to see the St. Louis Arch (or, the “yarch” as my son so sweetly puts it). Five of us were packed into my mother-in-law’s sedan, and, to put it plainly, I had to suck it in to shut the door.
Before I got it, Matthew dutifully climbed into his car seat. As he was doing so, he started to moan, “I’m fat. I’m faaaaat.” Okay, my kid? Is not fat. He is at an average height and weight. Listening to him say that stunned and stupefied me. “You are NOT fat,” I proclaimed. “Not only are you not fat, I don’t want you to say that ever again. You are perfect – PERFECT – save for the occasional tantrum.” “But I’m fat,” he earnestly replied. “No. No, no, no you are not. You are sweet. You are kind. You are funny. You are adorable. You are smart. You are Matthew. Fat? You are NOT. I don’t want to ever hear you describe yourself like that.”
During my diatribe, it occurred to me… he learned that from me. Me. His mother. I have never, ever called him fat, but he heard his mom say it about herself and therefore, he must be, too. It killed me. Then I thought, well, maybe I should stop calling myself that. If I don’t want him to identify himself as fat, maybe I shouldn’t either.
So, after I finished running my mouth for a few minutes to my four-year-old, I stopped and said, “Let’s make a deal. I’ll stop calling myself fat, because that is not WHO I am, and you’ll never call yourself fat again. Deal?”
I have always had in the back of my mind that whatever you call your child, they will live up to, which is why I never call my son “bad.” It never occurred to me that he would identify with what I called myself. It’s amazing what kids hear when you think they’re not listening.
You? You’re not fat. You’re amazing. So, start randomly saying, “I’m amazing” out loud and see if your kid starts saying that, too.
Update: I started saying I was gorgeous (aim high, right?), and Matthew took it to another level, saying he had “gorgeous bones.” :)
I have never been good at making friends. Like, ever. From as far back as I can remember, I have been told I “look mean.” Seriously. I never know what to say when someone I meet finally gets comfortable enough with me to say, “I thought you were mean.” Because, really, this face? Is nothing if not angelic (and fat). As a result, making friends has never been something at which I excelled.
My kid goes to an international kindergarten off post here in Korea. For seven hours a day, he is gone and I get to catch up on my crap television. (I do other things, like volunteer, but I’m rarely giddier than I am when I have a marathon viewing of Mob Wives or Mad Men.) The worst part for me as the most anti-social, anxiety-ridden mom ever is the bus stop. (The place, not the dance. I can totally rock the dance.) Waiting for the bus to arrive was something I dreaded, because if I was early or the bus was late, I’d *gasp* be forced to socialize with these people whom I didn’t know. (Okay, so as I write this, I am starting to understand the whole I “look mean” thing.)
There was this woman, Mary, who talked to everyone at the bus stop. Sweet, easy going, and funny, you could tell she didn’t want anyone to feel left out. One day, she approached me and she started to go into a diatribe about certain aspects of motherhood. And I? Felt like I met my female soul mate. As she put it so eloquently, “I love being a mother. Just not every day.” I knew I had to be her friend.
We are an unlikely pair.
She: Beautiful, hysterical, smart as a whip, teaches nurses how to be nurses, 40-something O6 Navy spouse.
Me: Fat, awkward, college dropout, teaches four-year-old son to fart on people, 20-something O2 Army spouse.
We ended up being friends. Best friends, even. We make each other laugh, and I think our friendship borders on inappropriate most days. Sending each other love songs via YouTube? Totally normal. When I was in therapy, I had a revelation that I was afraid of losing her friendship. After a session, I called her crying (biggest, fattest baby ever), pouring my heart out, letting her know how much her friendship means to me. That’s the kind of love I’m talking about.
Alas, she is PCSing in a few weeks. *insert hysterical crying/breathing into a paper bag here* I am not handling it well, because a.) I’m a big fat baby; 2.) Who is going to laugh at my jokes now? And iii.) Everyone I know is PCSing this summer, leaving me to fend for myself. How can I be president of the spouses club and not know anyone in it?!
PCS season, how I loathe thee. She will leave me on June 3rd, and I will be drowning myself in chocolate and crap television. When I’m done, I’ll put my big girl panties on, put myself out there for, like, the second time in my life, meet new people, and change the I “look mean” to I “look kind of nice.” We, military spouses, are on a whole other level of resilient.
On a positive note, we already have plans to meet up stateside in November. Our love will go on…
I live with crippling Social Anxiety Disorder. Social situations scare the crap out of me. If I am forced to interact with people I don’t know, there will be breathing into a paper bag involved before or after the encounter. When I tell people about my anxiety, most folks are shocked. It makes me laugh every time someone says they don’t believe me. I mean, really. Because I am making this up to make myself sound like the coolest kid on the block. (As opposed to the New Kid on the Block?)
I was nominated to be president of my installation’s spouses’ club. I was either drunk or took one too many of my meds that day, but I accepted the nomination. A person with Social Anxiety Disorder being president of a social club… I know. There’s something really strange about that sentence, and there’s a joke in there somewhere. (“A person with Social Anxiety didn’t walk into a bar…” Whatever. I’m working on it.) Anyway, I was banking on the person I am running against to win. (That’s not modesty you read; it’s realism. My opponent was way more qualified than I.) As it turns out, there is no one for me to run against; my opponent is PCSing. So, I win by default. (Hey. A win is a win.)
I am scared to death. And, no, I’m not being dramatic. I have to give myself a pep-talk to attend one of our luncheons. Why do I attend the luncheons? Why did I accept the nomination? Why am I choosing to be the president of an organization that is, essentially, a social club? Because I believe in pushing myself. I don’t want to live a life of I-should-haves. I want to live a life of oh-wells, because no one can ever say I didn’t try. I also put myself out there, because I want everyone else who feels the way I do to know they aren’t alone. I want to reach out to people who wouldn’t normally be a part of the spouses’ club and not only give us a chance but give themselves a chance. If I can do it, anyone can (cliche, I know, but it’s TRUE) and it is worth the leap.
One thing my pastor in Florida said that has stayed with me for years is, “All your growth happens outside the box.”
Who does, right? Well, I used to in September of 2011. By March of 2012, I made it all the way down to 230 pounds, which is still fat, but it’s the lowest I’ve weighed in my adult life. (My highest weight? 314 pounds.) I was working out, eating right, and doing the right thing. No pills. No shakes. No voodoo magic.
I lost 84 pounds which sounds good, but was exhausting being me. Really. I didn’t just hit a wall – I hit a building. The weight I lost? I gained back 65 of those pounds in one year. 65. Why? I burnt out. While I was doing all the right things, I was doing too much, too quickly. Instead of focusing on change, I was focusing on results.
On February 4, 2013, I restarted my weight loss journey with a new attitude, because weighing in at 295 pounds just isn’t okay.
Don’t eat more than 1,200 calories.
Work out every single day, twice a day, otherwise you’re a failure.
If you cheat, eat 4,000 calories and make it worth it.
Obsess over every crumb that goes in my mouth.
Count calories down to the peanut butter spoon I licked.
Eat between 1,200 and 1,500 calories.
Set up realistic workout goals – 4-5 times per week is totally reasonable.
If you cheat, have a cheat meal – not a cheat DAY.
Don’t obsess over every little thing. The weight will come off as easily as you gained it. (This seems to be the case for me, anyway)
Don’t count every single calorie down to the crumbs. Have an idea of what you are eating and how many calories it is. The only way to do that is by counting calories, but once you are familiar with how many calories are in what, take a step back and trust yourself. If this is going to be a life change, be realistic.
My best friend, Mary, was already on her own journey, so I jumped in on her bandwagon. I started running and kick boxing again. Yes, I run. Yes, I know I’m fat. But here’s the thing – you do not have to be a skinny bit person to run. I am doing the Couch-to-5K. (There’s an app for that.) I’ve done it before, and it eases you into running. The key is to jog. Jog as slow as you can to the point where if you jogged any slower, you’d be walking. Why? To build endurance. Forget about speed. With endurance comes speed; it just takes time.
As of this writing, I weigh 280 pounds, and I feel GOOD about it? Why? I am doing everything right, again, but this time, I took the approach of, “What can I live with doing for the rest of my life.” This is it. I’ll hit my goal of being Thin by 30 in a year and a half. And when I do, I’ll let you know how much I struggled with this journey, but I’ll also let you know how much it was worth it.
DEPARTMENT OF ARMY WIFE NETWORK
2d HOMESTEAD, 1st OFFICE TO THE LEFT
1316 NW SHERIDAN ROAD PMB 303
LAWTON, OKLAHOMA 73505
HH6-ABCD-EFG 5 March 2013
MEMORANDUM FOR BLOG READERS
SUBJECT: TARA CROOKS FOR MILITARY SPOUSE OF THE YEAR (MSOY)
1. Who: Tara Crooks
2. What: 2013’s Military Spouse of the Year
3. When: 5 March 2013, 0900-2359
5. Why: Top 5 reasons why you should vote for Tara Crooks:
a. She has spent much of her military spouse career empowering spouses.
b. Tara wrote the book (literally!) on 1001 Things to Love About Military Life.
c. Army Wife Network (AWN) is an interactive community and is more than 47,000 fans strong. It was opened in April 2009 as the umbrella that joined what was previously known as Army Wife Talk Radio (AWTR) and Field Problems™.
d. Because when you do, your mouse will make clicky noises.
e. If voting for Tara is wrong, you don’t want to be right.
6. How: Um, through the link.
7. The POC for this memo is Emily Grace at Emily@armywifenetwork.com.
Army Wife, Loving A Soldier
Assistant Blog Coordinator