Friday, August 07, 2020

More Hiking on the Appalachian Trail

The weather was hot again this past weekend!  We however, did not let that stop us!  We went out hiking.  We knew it was going to be hot, so we made a decision to not go long or hard.  We wanted to get out just enough to stretch our legs and get a bit of exercise and to enjoy nature a bit!

We decided to go to Gathland State park.  We had gone hiking here in January and  walked one way on the Appalachian trail and it was so cold!  We were mostly ok while we hiked that day, but it was cold!   It was time for a return visit, in nicer weather.  Well, nicer if you consider hot and humid nice!  What is it about Gathland that invokes us to visit during miserable weather?

This time we opted to hike in the other direction on the AT trail.  We started on the blue side trail that led us to the Crampton Gap Shelter for AT hikers and then from there we went upward to the Appalachian trail.  
Crampton Gap Shelter

We left the shelter and headed the rest of the way up the hill to the Appalachian trail.   Without thinking, we headed left.  For a bit it was great because we were walking on a relatively flat section of the trail, but very soon it began to wind us down....steeply!   Undaunted, we continued on!  But then, we came to the ruins of a barn.  It was a barn I recognized.
Barn at Gathland

The ruins of this barn stands right next to the parking lot at Gathland.  The same parking lot that we were parked at!  NO!!  We went the wrong way!  I looked at my watch.  If we gave up then, it would be a very short hike of only 45 minutes.  Oh well......we turned around and headed back up the hill.  TWICE I climbed up that hill!

We eventually made it to the top and things leveled out a bit...but only a slight bit!  They were still steadily uphill, or so it seemed!  But it was an enjoyable hike!  We saw lots of fun things like a red mushroom and a neat AT mark on a step/log placed for erosion.

AT mark on wood
Mushroom on the AT

This was a second opportunity to use my new Trekking poles. (Amazon Affiliate Link)  I can't tell you how much I am enjoying them.  Maybe it is all in my head.  Maybe the do not do anything for me.  But I feel more stable and confident.  I don't believe my knees hurt as much after a walk and after climbing up and down big rock steps.  I totally am loving them!  So far, I think that they are the best and wisest decision I've ever made!

We had a great time.  It may have been hot.  It may have been humid.  It may have been a lot of uphill climbing.   But we had a fantastic time out in nature!  Ohhh, and even better?  We got in 2.25 hours of exercise and I slept like a baby that night!
MaryFran on the Appalachian Trail

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

LEKI Trekking Poles

​I recently found myself in the market for some Trekking poles and started to do my research.  I had no clue what I was looking and therefore, I started this research blind.  I knew nothing about trekking poles, it had just come as a bright idea that it may help my hiking abilities.    I read some articles and I talked to the sales representatives at my local trail outfitter.  Eventually, I decided to purchase a pair of LEKI trekking poles.

Researching Trekking Poles

​I started my research online.  I had only a vague idea that trekking poles would help me with a problem that I had recently developed while hiking.  The problem?  I had been stumbling more frequently and while hiking was occasionally unable to catch myself from falling.   (I had first checked for other health issues, but everything appeared to be fine, I was just falling….a LOT!)   That is where I started my research.  Immediately I looked for guidance.  Would trekking poles help me with my stability?    The resounding answer was yes!  I was ready to really start shopping!  But then my eye caught some other things that Trekking poles are noted to help.  Trekking poles were supposed to help with balance and stability for those suffering with arthritis in the knees!  Perfect!  But, the clincher for me?  It also has been helpful for people who have hands that swell while hiking!  Oh my word.  I was totally hooked now!
There are a ton of different brands out there.  I am an Amazon shopper so I immediately turned to Amazon.  I found trekking poles for as low as $20!  Awesome, it wasn’t going to break the bank!   But then I started to look at the reviews.  Hmmmm, flimsy and break after the first use.  I was not impressed.  I knew that I was going to be using these to help give me stability and a trekking pole that broke while I was using it was NOT going to keep me upright!  In fact, that sounded downright disastrous!   I went back to the research table and started to look at the top trekking poles.  I was so confused and didn’t know what way to turn!

Visiting A Trail Outfitter Store

We decided to stop into our locally owned trail outfitter to check out their options for trekking poles.   I was excited to see what they had in the store.  I was hoping that they had something in stock!  They were easy to find and we made our way right over to their selection.  I immediately grabbed a pair or women’s poles.  They looked snazzy.  I extended them and did a few steps.  Hmmm.  They seemed to bow a bit with very little pressure.  That didn’t seem safe to me.  I grabbed a pair of LEKI poles and we extended them to the proper height.  They were stiff and solid and seemed to have no bend or bow in them when I put a bit of pressure onto them.     
The sales representative came over and started to talk to us about the different brands and styles of poles.  They did not push one way or the other.  HOWEVER, they did talk about the warranty of each product. They talked about the superior customer service of LEKI products and the ease of receiving replacement parts for anything that wears out or gets broken.  LEKI is a company that specializes and manufactures two types of products, trekking poles and camp chairs.  Their R&R is not spread thin, all of their attention is centered on these two products and they stand behind their products. LEKI seemed like a great company that stood behind their products!  I was sold!   It wasn’t until I got my trekking poles home that I  read the documents to realize that these trekking poles have a lifetime warranty on defective material and product.  Furthermore, warranty parts are available for up to 10 years after the product is manufactured.   EVEN BETTER!

Using the LEKI Trekking POles

We immediately took my new LEKI trekking poles to an easy trail so that I could experiment with them.   Getting the motion down is actually more awkward then you would think, but after a bit it became more natural.  But the real test occurred when we headed to a portion of the Appalachian Trail that is uphill and rocky.
I headed out with some apprehension due to my recent falls and right off the bat we encountered our first rocky climb up some steps that have no handholds/trees.  I put those poles to use and marched right up those uneven rocky steps.  The poles gave me the stability I needed and helped my arthritic knees by taking the pressure off of them.  Oh my word, they work perfectly!

I used the poles with the glove type strap.  I wasn’t sure if I would like a glove instead of a strap, but when my hand was in the glove, it correctly positioned my hands on the grips of the poles.  The design allowed me to now have to grip the poles tightly and it helped to spread any weight or pressure in an ergonomically and efficient way.  We hiked for 3 hours that first trip where I really put the poles to the test and my hands and arms felt as comfortable at the end of the hike as they did at the beginning.  It was a painless learning experience!

The grips are great!  We were hiking on a day when the temperatures was 95 degrees Fahrenheit  with a super high humidity. I was wondering how the grips would handle a hot day.  I shouldn’t have been worried.  I never once had any issue where my hands felt slick.  The grips worked fabulously and even after 3 hours of a sweaty hike, felt dry and new.

These poles are easy to adjust for different heights.  When we started our hike, it only took me a minute  or two to extend and adjust the poles to the proper position for comfort and safety.  After hiking up the mountain we turned around for our descent.  After just one or two steps down a steep part of the trail I stopped and quickly adjusted the height of the poles for downhill trekking.  All in all, that adjustment took less than a minute.   There is no long adjustment or worry.  It is quick and easy.  SO easy in fact that when we were done with our hike, I returned the poles to their small carrying size while I walked across the parking lot toward my car.  It really is that easy and quick!

​I am totally in love with these trekking poles!  They will be going with me on all of my hikes.  I am planning on getting some carabiner clips for my backpack so that even when I am choosing to not use them, that they are there with me.  I felt myself stumble and trip once or twice during this hike but the added stability of these poles made the stumbles just that, a stumble.

Trekking Poles at Weverton Cliffs

Monday, August 03, 2020

Weigh in Time

It is weigh in time once again and a review of my week!   Some weeks are fun to share, some weeks are tough to share and others, well they are just mediocre with everything.   This week is a mundane so so week where I am not dreading to share my results but I am not overly excited either.  

Let me start with the exercise.  We got out and hiked in the heat twice.  The first time was at a regional park where we do a lot of mountain biking.  I forgot my camera and phone so I had Jason take a picture of me for posterity sake (well and because I am a YouTuber and Blogger and need footage!).   
Hiking At Little Bennett Regional Park

The next day we headed out to hike again. This time we hiked on the Appalachian Trail for a bit to hike to the Weverton Cliffs.  I was happy to really give my new Trekking Poles a workout and I love them!  The view at the top of the hike was fabulous!
Weverton Cliffs (Maryland AT)
We finished our hike and picked up subs/sandwiches on the way home.  I had calculated my food intake before we even walked into the sub shop.  I was sooo hungry though that I bowed to the 'fat thinking' and ordered a whole sub.  I ate that whole sub too! (At least it was Turkey...and one of the healthiest options there!) I at the chips that I bought also.  And why did they have to be nice and give me two cookies (they were stuck together) because you know I ate them both!   Furthermore, I was still hungry and ate more chips and some strawberries!  I was ravenous!  The next day my weight was up.  OOOPS

The rest of the week I didn't falter too badly, but my efforts were only lackluster.  I was never off the rails, but some of my choices COULD have been a bit better!

I pulled out the stability ball and I have been trying to sit on that for a few hours a day at my desk.  Do people even use these things anymore????  I haven't decided if it's doing any good, but it breaks up the monotony of my day so I will probably continue!

And with my lack of true grit and willpower, I managed to regain the 0.6 that I lost last week.  So yes, a wee gain!  

Honestly, I am not upset about my gain.  NO, I'm not happy.  BUT, I can see that my efforts did not match the weeks before and I can see that I need to focus more.  So I had  a week gain to teach me a lesson....Lesson learned!!!!!

Friday, July 31, 2020

Think Thin

Over the years I have somehow managed to forget about one of the most important aspects of this weight loss journey.  I totally forgot to 'Think Thin".   How in the world did I forget this?   There is no telling why, but I remember now! 

A week or so ago, I was filming a segment for my youtube channel.  I was talking about my choices in this weight loss journey.  More specifically, I was talking about my question "DO you want to eat this food and be fat or do you want to not eat the food and be thin."   I immediately jumped in and said "ok, not thin now...but thin in the future, but thin up here in my head so that it will trickle down to my body.  That was enough for me to remember my old motto!

Yes, I used to have a motto!  That motto was "Think Thin"  and I wrote about it as early as February of 2007.   It was the concept of thinking as a thin person thinks.  You see, thin people do NOT think like a fat person!   This was startingly clear to me when I had a really thin manager who ate cheesecake for lunch quite a bit.  Ohhh yeah, I hated her to for a while because I would LOVE to be able to eat cheesecake for lunch every day!  But one week I realized what was really happening.

This manager arrived to work on Monday and talked about how she had brought some cheesecake for lunch.  I didn't say anything but  inside I was seething and asking myself why could I not have cheesecake and be a size zero?  On day two she left for her lunchbreak and once again talked about her cheesecake that she was eating for lunch.  REALLY????   Again?  Life is not fair!!!!!  Every day that week she talked about eating her cheesecake at lunch!   on the fourth or fifth day she brought her cheesecake down and eat it in the office.  THAT is when I realized that she was thinking thin.

You see, She sat down and opened her container.  Inside was a half eaten piece of cheesecake.  Half eaten??  Who leaves a piece of cheesecake partially eaten?  I watched my manager pick up her fork and take a tiny bite of cheesecake.  You could see the absolute bliss as the taste hit her taste buds.  She loved it!  She took another tiny bite and moaned in delight.  She took a third bite and her eyes closed as she reveled in the taste.  And then something crazy happened!  She closed that container and took it right back to the refrigerator! 

She ate three bites and stopped.  She thoroughly enjoyed those three bites too!  But she stopped!  For a whole week she worked on ONE PIECE OF CHEESECAKE!  Me, I would have eaten the whole piece in one sitting and licked the plate clean....literally!   And right there is the difference.  Thinking fat....thinking thin.  

Thinking thin is the art of making wise decisions.  Stopping after the bliss of the first taste dies away and putting it away for the next day.  Thinking thin is deciding to do what is good for your body versus what your mind tells you to do.  Thinking thin.  

Thinking fat....well that is eating something until you are sick, long after the good feelings and taste fade away.  Thinking fat is eating everything in sight, because you can, not because you are hungry or craving something....just because.  Thinking fat.

Which do you want to be?   I do not want to be I have to really work on making my thoughts and my actions match that of a thin person.  I need to THINK THIN!

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Hiking in the Heat

We have been allowing this heat wave to derail us from our outdoor activity.  We both love to be out in the woods on a trail (hiking or biking).  It has been a large part of our relationship.  It is where we go to unwind, destress and exercise.  But the heat this past month has been relentless! We have tried to stay inside as much as possible.  But this weekend we just got tired of it and we went hiking.....twice!

The first time we went out was on Saturday.  We had spent a portion of the day running errands and taking care of some of those mundane things that pop up in life, like grocery shopping.  We decided to head to a regional park, Little Bennett.  This park is a favorite of ours for mountain biking, but we were going to go do a section on foot.  It was hot!  But we didn't die. (Obviously)  We each carried a fair amount of water and it wasn't too bad.  I somehow left home without my phone, so I only have this one picture that I had Jason take!   We found some berry bushes that had a few straggler berries.  They were delicious!   We hiked for a bit over and hour and had a great time!
On Sunday it was just as hot (ok, maybe hotter) but we were feeling confident after our successful hike on Saturday.  We decided to get outside again!  We talked and I did some research and we finally settled on a visit to Weaverton Cliffs off of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland.  I knew it was going to be an uphill, but I was even more excited about that because I really wanted to try out the trekking poles I purchased a few weeks back.  (I wrote about the purchase here.)     
The climb was uphill and it was rocky.  Perfect to try out my LEKI trekking poles!  Oh my word!  I love them!   I did feel myself stumble a few times, but that extra anchor kept me steady as a rock!   Climbing up and down rocks was a cinch.  The poles helped take the pressure off my arthritic knees.  The decision to buy these poles was a good one! After one 'real' hike with them, I am convinced of their worth!!!

The climb up is about a mile and a half and at the top, you come to a fork in the road.  You can go left to stay on the Appalachian Trail or you can turn right and hike 0.2 miles to the cliffs. Of course we went to the cliffs.  
After we enjoyed the view at the top of the cliffs, we turned around and made our way back down the mountain and back to the car!  It was a great hike.  We may have only been our for an hour or two but it was exactly what we needed!!!!

Monday, July 27, 2020

Weekly Weigh Results and the word ONLY

Where does time go???  It feels like I was just reporting  my weigh in results last week and here we are on another week!!!!!  

Worried about my weigh In results

This week was rough.  I was worried and stressed about it from the very beginning.  I was worried because I broke from my internet fasting to go to breakfast on Saturday.  Even though I broke from my fasting schedule, I still kept my calories in check...but I did have pancakes for some extra complex carbs!     I made a pasta salad to have with our grilled dinner on Saturday night.  That pasta was delicious!  I swore it would be a one and done thing for me.  BUT, I got into the pasta salad at least 3 times for my lunches.  Once again, I stayed within my caloric range!  I SHOULD have been ok.  However, I was worried!

You see, I know from past experience that if I have too many complex carbs.....potatoes, bread, pancakes and pasta then I typically don't lose weight!  I've talked about it for years.  As early as 2006, my first year of this channel I was talking about 'lessons learned' in regards to carbohydrates!  

I have also been  a wee bit thirsty and the female scourge may be upon me shortly so I worried about dehydration and water retention.  But those are excuses...I was trending the same weight all week long on the scales so any worry was not due to water retention!

The Weigh in Results

So, what were the results?  How did I officially do???

This week I showed a loss on the scales.  Thank heavens it was a loss!  It was a loss of 0.6 pounds.  So just about a half of pound gone from my body!   I have to admit.  I was a bit disappointed.  I ate within my calorie range.  I kept my calories at about 1300 calories.  I SHOULD have seen a nice number on the scales.  That was a lot of work for a measly half pound wasn't it?  

But then reality hit me.  Oh yes, it was 'only' a half pound loss.  But how many weeks (especially recently) had I been posting gains? Quite a few if I want to be totally honest with myself!   How many weeks had I only been halfway attempting to lose weight.  Talking big but eating even bigger?   Way too many!  How many weeks had a squeaked by with a maintain????   Lots!   Sooooo, having a loss, even if it is "ONLY" a half pound is still a victory!

Plans for the Upcoming Week

First and foremost, I shouldn't have anything that upsets my intermittent fasting schedule this week!  Secondly, I will be a WHOLE lot more diligent about my intake of complex carbs!!!!  I know that is what caused it. And since I know what the problem is, I know how to fix it!  Here is to a fabulous weigh in for next week!!!

Friday, July 24, 2020

Taking my measurements during my Weight loss Journey

I finally broke down and did it!  I took my measurements!   I know, I know…this is so important to do during a weight loss journey!  You don’t have to tell me why I should be doing it, I know!  I actually got on the measure myself bandwagon back at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020!  I was doing great with it!  I was measuring myself every month like clockwork!    And then Covid happened.

Like so many people, my life was turned upside down when our world basically shut down.  I started to work from home, Jason was furloughed.  All of my normal routines were wiped away in one fell stroke.  And I gained.  Oh yes, I gained.  I came clean with that on Monday when I posted the results of my first week and a half.    I have been doing very well thus far with getting back on track.  But I was still nervous with taking my measurements.  Without measurements I could 'pretend' that I didn't look like I had gained almost 20 pounds....RIGHT????

Today I called myself out on my excuses to NOT measure.  Oh they were probably quite valid.  "Who knows where the tape measure is?"   "I don't have time!"  And my personal favorite, "I better wait and film it for youtube!"   Ok, so maybe they weren't at all valid!  OK, ok ok, so they were all me trying to delay the inevitable!   But eventually I just did it  Yup.  I did.

The results weren't that bad.  My legs have actually dropped inches almost everywhere.   My arms and my belly increased and all else remained pretty much the same.  It could have been MUCH worse!

I am glad that I faced the numbers!  I think Jason's words that morning gave me courage.  He touched my chin and said "skinny. You see, like so many people I drop my weight in my face.  I've been thinking that my face looked thinner, but I had been thinking that it was wishful thinking. I guess must be true!   So onward and upward......time to lose some more weight!  Here's to me not only remembering to do it but actually DOING my measurements next month also!!!!!