Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Panic: keeping the scales moving downward

During the month of June I worked my tail end off on the bike trails.  I watched my food intake and kept it under control, often foregoing dessert and other treats. Yet the scales didn’t move!  Then July rolled around and the scales miraclusly started to move.  (You can read my take on why the scales were so stubborn here!).   But as the scales started to move in the right direction a feeling began to invade my emotions....panic!

Why in the world was I feeling panic?  I should have been feeling utter elation and excitement to see my weight begin to drop!  While I certainly felt the elation, pride and excitement to have my weight drop, the experience was tinged with panic....panic that I would do something to stop the downward progression.   What if I did something that made me stop losing weight and go back to the horrible ‘no loss while working hard for a loss’ stage of this healthy journey?  Could I handle it if that happened?

I found myself second guessing everything I ate. If I splurged with some peanut butter and chocolate on my banana I would be filled with dread.  Why?  Because the weight loss may come to a screeching halt!    When I had an issue with my foot and couldn’t go on my planned long ride (aka 1500 calorie burn mountain bike ride), I sat on the couch with my foot propped up worried about the effects on my weight loss efforts.   Panic!

Every time I have stepped away from the ‘perceived’ diet (grrr I hate that word so much!) I have panicked.  I am only at peace and not worried when I am eating a handful of grapes.  (Or some similar food.). I can see how eating disorders such as bulemia and anorexia can happen so easily!  Luckily for me, I don’t like that panicked feeling and I am refusing to give into the emotion.  I am sticking to my plan.

My food plan is not perfect.  I don’t expect it to be perfect and am not aiming for perfection.  I am striving for a balance between living a life with no major restrictions and living a healthy life.   I am aiming for balance. That means that I still allow myself an occasional cookie when we order from our favorite sub/sandwich shop!  That means that I will allow myself to have an ice cream bar on a long hot day!  (The balance comes in when I opt for a 150 calorie ice cream bar instead of the 1000 calorie milkshake!  And some weeks the milkshake happens also...but calculated, planned for and balanced by healthier options for other foods that same day!).  I refuse to lose weight by total restriction.    I still monitor my calorie intake by tracking each and every day.  I DO restrict my calories...but no food is off limits and I do splurge and eat what I want. I just counter balance those splurges with really healthy foods that fill me up but don’t pack on so many calories!  And I only splurge in moderation...not all the time!  So I expect slower weight loss...but no weight loss?  Not expected and frustrating!

Should I throw away the scales and just hope for the best?  No, that isn’t the answer either.  For me not weighing daily has a greater negative impact than  weighing daily! I like to be in the know.  I like to know how I am doing, even if it’s poorly.  If I know that the scale has popped up, I can evaluate what I am doing and make adjustments as needed.   When I don’t weigh I worry that my weight is fluctuating in the wrong direction and that I’m not making the necessary course corrections to get myself back on track!  

The looseness of my plan is what makes it a plan that I can live with and actually excel at!  But that same looseness and freedom drives the fear. (And I just realized maybe a bit of guilt wrapped up in the panic!  Guilt because modern ‘dieting’ preaching restriction...don’t eat this, don’t eat that...and my plan bucks that mantra!) I don’t know how to handle the fear.  I know that I will not feed the fear with actions of desperation.  I also know that I like the path that I am on with my food because I really see this a way of life that I can manage for the rest of my life simply because if has minimal restrictions but a whole lot of balance.  I am hoping that as I continue to drop the weight and move away from the ‘dead zone’ of no weight loss that I experienced in June that the panic will die down and go away.   In the meantime, I’m just hanging on and staying the course.  

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A stinky active weekend on the Mountain Bike

Here we are sitting at the beginning of another work week!  That means that I have passed another ‘official’ weigh in day.  So I certainly have that to report!   I also had another really active I can share that exercise.  So here we go...let’s see what progress I have made in my weight loss journey!

I had my official weigh in on shouldn’t have been shocking.   I weigh myself every day so I always have a good idea where I am.   But last Wednesday my weight popped up a pound or two. (I wasn’t too worried because I know this fluctuation occurs...and as long as I am within 3 pounds I’m ok).   By Thursday I was within a half pound of my low weight.   On Friday I followed my normal weigh in routine. I turned on the shower to allow the water to warm up, I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale. I laughed out loud when I saw the number.  242.4.  I stepped off the scale and moved toward the now warm shower.  I was calculating the loss in my head.  No, that couldn’t be right!   I went back and stepped on the scales again! was right.  3.6 pounds for the first half of the month!!!!   I am well on the way to my unofficial goal of 5 pounds for the month of July!!!! 

Saturday morning I was even lower on the scales.  241.8!   After the intense activity (more on that in a moment) my weight has popped back up! I’m sure the jump on the scales has something to do with the exercise...the activity level has been pretty intense!  The last two weekends the intensity and level of exercise just wasn’t there (due to injury, heat, accidents etc) and I didn’t have the rise on the scale!!!  So,  I’m sure it will go down again though!  This is the cycle that my body seems to follow after a weekend of intense exercise!  

We had a busy weekend.  We started the weekend out with our errands (it was grocery shopping weekend which meant a few different stops).   We were home from the errands by lunchtime.  A quick lunch and then we were off with the bikes.

 We went to my current favorite park and went for a ride.   It wasn't easy.  I could DEFINITELY tell that I haven't ridden as much the last few weeks.  (Last weekend was short a ride because  I had a foot issue that kept me at home on the couch and the week before I had a rough shortened ride when I took a tumble and then about 20 minutes later suffered from heat stroke followed by a horrible ride the next day where I gave up and turned around after only 3 miles.)    I was determined to hit our favorite trail which has some pretty steep uphill sections.  I was also determined to nail the trail without having to stop to walk anything!  I managed it!  I was sooo hot though when we reached the top of the trail.   We stopped to allow me to cool down a bit.    It was just so stinkin' hot!   Bring on fall.....but wait, winter follows.   YUCK!    All in all we rode about an hour on Saturday afternoon.

We finished off Saturday with a quick trip to Best Buy as I look for some accessories for my computer and camera gear and then it was just home time and grilling time! 

Sunday we headed out earlier to the "Trail of Tears".   (In case you don't know what the trail of tears is, you can read about some of my experiences here and here.)  We tried to beat the heat by going early.  (Failing miserably if truth be known.)   We parked and quickly headed out on the trail.  I was flying!  We made it two miles and when I looked at my watch I was SHOCKED to see my time....I was on track for a SUPER fast (for me) run at this trail.  I was stoked!   But I shouldn't have been excited so soon.  About a mile or two later I started to fade.  By the time I made it 5 miles in I was determined that I was going to make it to the end of that stupid trail.  That said, I had no clue how I was going to make it back to the car from the turn around point.  I was afraid that it was going to be a LONG WALK out of the woods!   Undaunted I pushed forward because I knew  that I HAD to conquer this trail on that ride so that it didn't loom as some huge demonic place in my mind.  (Ok, it's already some huge demonic  place in my mind....but by giving up AGAIN the second time in a row that I attempted the trail would only make it worse!  And I have completed it twice before so I KNOW I can do it)

I made it to the end of that trail.  Did you doubt that I would?   I also RODE out of the woods on that same trail.  I may have  cursed a few times outloud...or maybe that was just in my head.   And I am totally willing to admit that while I may absolutely abhor that trail that I know that the trail is making me a stronger rider and a stronger woman.  I'm not convinced though at Jason's declaration that someday soon I will learn to love that blasted trail!

Jason told me in the evening that he gets a chuckle out of my moans and groans and mutterings of hatred.  (They aren’t toward him they are toward the trail or the bike or the temperature!). I laughed and said ‘oh so you’ll miss them when I progress and stop muttering so much?’   He just laughed and said, ‘Nope, I’ll just find something more challenging and harder for you to do, which will start  the moaning and groaning again’.  Really?  I have created a monster!!!!   Hahahahaha. (Probably the best accountability partner in the world for this type of thing!!!)

We rode home from the trail of tears.  Both of us stinking to high heavens after 2.5 hours of intense exercise in the woods!   Uhhhhh I admit I smelled worse.......why?   I went out on that ride and I had somehow forgotten (aka failed) to put on deodorant!   Only me!   We spent the afternoon roaming through the mall and an antique store before heading home to relax.  I was totally wiped out! 

All in all it was a great weekend.   We managed to get in 3.5 hours of intense exercise.  We also added in a few hours or strolling/walking.  We also managed to get all of our errands and 'to do' items knocked off of our list! I call the weekend a complete win!   Ohhh,  We are both off of work on Friday so we head into this week with only 4 days of work ahead of us.  Another win!

Friday, July 12, 2019

Run Buddy

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer for details.

It’s been an uneventful week.  Between rain (torrential downpours), a sore foot, training responsibilities at work (trying to stay ahead with printing, checking the practice work of these new hires, and my own daily assigned duties that I have to find someone to help me complete....on my breaks and lunch) and just the normal long days I just don’t have a lot to say!  Yes I walked outside on my lunch break once.  My foot is doing pretty good with only a tender feeling every once in a while. (What happened to my it here )  My weight is still doing ok.  About midweek it popped up a pound after a high carb meal and a day with minimal water intake but it went back down the very next day.   I have some thoughts in my head to write but they just haven’t totally formulated.  Sooooooo....I’m going to give you a review of one of my absolute favorite gadgets and gizmos!  Totally unsolicited by anyone....just me to you. 

A few years ago I decided to take up the hobby of running.  I dedicated a lot of time to it and found some really neat accessories to make the hobby even more fun and convenient.  Life took up residence and I stopped running for a while.  It wasn't until I decided to begin running again a month or two ago  that I realized how important one of these  little accessories is to me!   I didn't realize how much I liked it until I couldn't find it and absolutely panicked at the loss.  I wanted my Run Buddy!

When I started to run I used the method that most people use to carry their cell phones.  I purchased an arm band.  It worked and did the job.  However, my arm was larger and I had to practically cut off the circulation in my arm in order to use  it.  When I pumped my arms as I ran I could feel the arm band rubbing.  It just wasn't comfortable for me. Added to that discomfort is the fact that it is unwieldy to remove your cell phone if you want to adjust your music or take a selfie.  I tried numerous arm bands with the same results. This just wasn't working for me...but what other choice did I have???

I honestly don't remember how I found out about the Run Buddy. (Amazon Affiliate Link)  But I saw it and decided that it would be a fabulous purchase for me.  I ordered one immediately and waited anxiously for it to arrive.  Honestly, I was skeptical but hopeful at the same time.  It sounded like it would theory.  But would it work in a real life situation?

When I got my package from Amazon I couldn't wait to try out the Run Buddy.  I checked out the purchase. It seemed simple.  It is a heavy duty fabric flat pouch that will hold your cell phone (you can buy different sizes to fit whatever you need is).   Built into the pouch are heavy duty magnets. There is also a flat flap that folds down behind the pocket.  The flap also has magnets that are perfectly aligned to the magnets in the pouch.   The concept for use?  Slip the flat flap into the waistband of your pants and allow the pouch to rest on the outside of your pants.  The magnets will align and hold everything in place. 

I couldn't wait to try the Run Buddy so I threw on running clothes and I headed out.  I slipped the flap into my pants and felt gratified to feel the magnets grab hold.  I did a shimmy and a shake.  My eyes widened.  The run buddy was holding steady as solid as a rock!  It wasnt' slipping or moving!  Undaunted I headed out for a run to really test it.  Yeah, it's one thing to shimmy and shake but I wanted to  see how it really handled running!

OH MY WORD!  This thing didn't budge!   It was fabulous!  I could barely feel it.  In fact, I was afraid that It was going to fall off and I wouldn't know it. I calmed myself because I was listening to music and knew that if I got too far from my cell phone that my bluetooth connection would die off and I would know that the cellphone/run buddy was somewhere behind me!  But that NEVER happened.  This thing was attached, and attached well!  I was sold!  It is easy to remove and replace for those moments that you need a mid-run selfie.  It is painless.  It is fabulous!

I have gone running with other people and they have showed interest in my Run Buddy.  I have let each of them use the Run Buddy for a mile or so. (It really is that easy to switch and move).  In each and every case, they have gone online to purchase their own Run Buddy!

The ONLY issue I ever had with the Run Buddy?  I had one pair of  pants that were  a bit......loose.  The weight of the Run Buddy combined with a very loose pair of pants was not a good combination while I was running.  I had to keep my hand on my waistband the whole time!  It was either that or risk scaring the Squirrels (and whoever else may have been looking) with my bare bottom as I ran that day!  But even that problem was NOT the fault of the Run Buddy......I promptly threw those pants away!

As I decided to re-enter the world of running I went to get my Run Buddy.  I had used it for hiking only a month or two earlier so I know it was around.  But I looked EVERYWHERE!  I was in a state of panic!  I couldn't go running without the Run Buddy could I?  Well, of course I could.  But after a few days of continual searches, I finally just bit the bullet and went online and purchased a second one.  I know the first one will eventually show up, but a girl can't have too many Run Buddy's!  I did buy the new Run Buddy  with the pink trim (Amazon Affiliate Link), so it was a bit different from the one that was lost!

I have used the Run Buddy while hiking in pants that didn't have pockets.  I have used it on vacation while wearing clothes that didn't have a place to put my cell phone.  This thing is a life changer!  Yes, it is perfect for running....but in reality it is perfect for ANY activity where you have no place to tuck your cell phone!    I can guarantee that while I own two that if they are every both missing at the same time and I am unable to find them that I will promptly go out and purchase a third one.  This thing is that awesome!

Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Fat burning muscles

June was a difficult month for me.    I was eating right.  I was riding my heart out on my bike.  I was walking during my lunch breaks.   I was NOT losing weight!   It was like I was constantly beating myself up against the wall and going nowhere.  I wanted to give up more than once. But I kept clinging to a few facts about muscle growth and the way muscles work within our bodies.   I kept telling myself that this phase of working hard and going no where would end.   I believe it has ended (I hope).  But what in the world did I cling to during that phase that made me stay the course?

Fluid Retention
The first thing that I kept reminding myself was the fact that I know what happens to our muscles when we work out.    In a nutshell, when we work out we cause small micro tears in our muscles.  (This is what causes the pain after a workout.).  Don’t despair, the micro tears heal and actually in the process make the muscle stronger.   BUT, while the muscles are healing the body has a defense mechanism against further injury.  That defense is to surround the area with fluid.  AKA possible water retention.  Water retention can definitely mess up the numbers on the scales!  

I knew this!   That is why I am not overly concerned each week when my numbers pop up drastically (ok 2-3 pounds) after a weekend with heavy riding! Especially when  I was so SORE those first weeks of riding.   It wasn’t until the end of the month that while I could still feel the burn in my legs that I wasn’t aching and moaning each time I went to sit down!  My muscles were getting stronger and thereby suffering less micro tears each time I rode!  

Muscle weight Versus fat weight
Ok some people say that muscle weighs more than fat.   And other people get all up on their high horse and preach how that saying is wrong.....a pound is a pound no matter if it’s fat or muscle.   But add in mass to the equation.   A pound of fat has a much larger mass than a pound of muscle!  Don’t believe me...well look at this! 

I knew during the month of June that my muscles were sore!   I knew that meant that they were rebuilding stronger and leaner.   I knew that I was building muscle even though my weight was staying exactly the same!  Mid month I started to get random compliments.   Compliments from people that had no clue that I had kicked up my exercise and diet regime into high gear!   Random and disconnected from each other too!  One after another.....yet the scales were not budging!   Could it be that I was building muscle and losing even trade with the numbers on the scale but different in mass...which is what people were seeing?   I remained hopeful!!!

How our bodies burn fat
I also kept going back to something that a personal trainer had told me years ago. It gave me comfort!    This trainer had told me that cardio gives us a quick burst in terms of fat burning.  But it’s the muscles that you build that will give you a continual burn of fat.  

Confused?  Let me give you two examples that they gave me!   You are cold and want heat.   There are two ways you can generate heat (aka burning fat).  You can start a fire...every time you throw a log on that fire you are stoking the burn.   It will flare up and burn like crazy giving you a burst of heat, but the burn will eventually die down....and relatively quickly.  This is how cardio works.  We work out and we burn burn burn that fat away.  But an hour or so after that workout the fire has died out and we are back to normal and not burning fat like crazy until we add another log to the fire (workout again).  The second way to get heat (burn fat) is to turn on the furnace.  It  takes a bit longer to get warm.  You don’t have that flash of heat....but once you have that furnace running you are generating a constant heat source.  This is how your muscles work.  You build those muscles through stength training and they aren’t burning as much fat while your doing the activity...but those stronger muscles need more ‘food’ (fat) to survive!   They will continually burn...much longer than a brief burst of cardio!

So I took this to heart.  I knew that my actions were creating muscle and that eventually that muscle would start burning like mad!  And it appears to be so!

So while June was rough.   I wasn’t having the results that my actions indicated should have been there.  I held to these three small truths.  I knew I wasn’t eating crazy foods which would negate any benefits.  I was eating healthy.  I was splurging only minimally.  I was doing it right!  I just had to stay focused and on track because I knew that sooner or later my muscles would stop retaining so much water....or they would start burning fat eventually.....Or maybe the fat loss would start to  outweigh the muscle gain!   I didn’t care what it was...I just had to sit back and stay the course!    And toward the end of June I started to see changes.....and through the first week of July I have been near ecstatic with the changes.  My weight is dropping!  I stayed the course and it looks like it is beginning to pay off!!!!

Monday, July 08, 2019

A slight secret to share

Ok, so I have a bit of a secret and I guess it’s time to share.  It is something that has been on the tip of my tongue to post about for the last few posts but I never felt brave enough.  But it is time.   It is also time to share about my weekend and even another little secret that came up this weekend!

So first of all...the big secret!  Ok, so let’s start by saying that a week ago I posted about my June goals and how I did with those and I posted about my goals for July   I wasn’t as transparent as my goal suggests I should be.  You see, for the first time in a long time I have set a mini weight goal.  I stopped doing that a few years back because of the pressure to reach the goal and the panic and eventual shut down when I messed up and it was apparent (even if only to me) that I wasn’t going to reach the goal.  But, yes I have a goal of how much weight I want to lose this month. It isn’t huge...but I have a very definite goal for the month of July.   That number????   5 pounds.   That is 1.25 pounds each week.   Quite doable I think!  (And I seem to be on track this far).   If I don’t make it, that’s ok.   As long as I have lost SOMETHING I will be happy because my official goal is to weigh less....but my unofficial goal is 5 pounds.

So the weekend rolled around.   We ran some errands on Saturday morning and then headed out on our bikes!  It was hot again!   We said we were not going to ride hard or long.   Just a stretch of our legs..Sunday would be the long ride!    However, I had two secret goals for myself on the ride.

First....we hit a steep hill and I didn’t make it far up that hill but I came out of the saddle to try to peddle standing up. That is huge for me as I like to keep my rear end firmly planted!   I know to really do well in mountain biking that I need to get comfortable out of my seat.   Climbing while standing is my first goal...and specifically making it to the top of that demon hill while standing.   (Ok making it to the top at all will be a victory!)

The second goal for the ride was to go back to the trail that I was exploring last weekend when I wiped out.   Last week was my first time on that trail and in this past week the area of my tumble had become a huge twisted mass of tree roots and protruding rocks in my mind.  Because surely they had to be monstrous!   I also knew that the longer I waited to do the trail again the more those tree roots and rocks would grow in my mind!   So I headed straight for that trail and cleared it!   And yeah, I have no clue what made me fall...there was NOTHING monstrous!

After those two items had been checked off my list we headed to the creek.  The water was delightful and a wonderful way to cool off.   (The bike ride back to the car was not so hot either!)

You can tell that we were happy and having fun by the grins on our faces!  The scenery up stream was pretty nice also!

Sunday rolled around and I felt a twinge in my foot as I showered, but nothing out of the ordinary...I’ve had a twinge for the last week or so.  Not worrying about it (twinges are common in my feet), I carried on with my activities.   I flipped the laundry and took two steps out of the laundry room and I let out a yell.  My foot had a sudden harsh pain!   I hopped to the kitchen sink and standing on one foot I put the few dishes in the dishwasher, grabbed my drink and headed to the living room.  I made it exactly two steps.  Intense pain.  Tears of pain.  Double over in pain.   BAD!   (Now lets just say I have a pretty high tolerance for pain..hello I walked on what was most likely a broken foot when I was younger!)    It took me forever to make it the 15 feet to the couch.  I immediately elevated my foot.  I ended pretty much staying like that until about 1pm.  At about 9:30 am I did get up and ride my bike across the living see  if riding was possible.   And here is the other secret...I REALLY wanted to ride!   I wanted to throw caution in the wind and damn the consequences.   But I knew that if I needed to put my foot down that it would be harsh pain and quite possibly actually not hold me under the intensity of the pain and that very likely I would go down.    Not worth the risk.   So I stayed home while Jason went out and rode.  I laid on the couch with my foot elevated and watched you tube videos.  (I watched beginner mountain bike instructional videos  and then got suckered into watching crime scene clean up videos...yeah I’m sick and twisted apparently!)

After Jason got home I strapped my foot into a hiking boot and we went not hiking.....just to a couple stops.  The hiking boot gives more support to the ankle than a shoe! The intense pain had passed and my foot was just aching and tender.  We ran into a pet store (we are looking for a big tank so we can put all the crabs together) and into Aldis’s (bottled water..their bottles are BPA free) and Wawa for gas (need my tank full for my work week).   My foot was tender but it felt good to get out.  I also know that if my foot stays the same that I can drive my car and that I can make it into the building tomorrow at work!

So that is the secret...I am so upset that I missed Sunday’s ride!  But Shhhh don’t tell Jason!!!!  I am on a roll and seeing slow progress on the bike and the weight is starting to come off too....I didn’t want to stop the progress!  Jason has assured me that he will push me extra hard next weekend!

So there you have secret weight loss goal and my secret that a passion for mountain bike riding might just be growing within me! Bring on this next week!  I have some weight to lose and some trails to ride!!!

Thursday, July 04, 2019

Healthy living during a holiday week

I trust that everyone had a fabulous Fourth of July holiday (if you are in the States).  It was so nice to have a weekday off of work.   I wish I didn’t have to go back to work and complete this Friday work day, but I’m sure I will’s only one week and then it will be the weekend!  I’ve got this!   But since it IS Friday it is time to review the week and see how I did!

Lunch Break Walks
Walking on my lunch break.  Well, can I just skip this section?   In case you haven’t been able to figure it out, I failed miserably on this one!    I have been leading a training class at work.  They are still assigning me work to do on a daily basis (my normal workload) which I have to find someone to handle for me....I have to print my own training materials. (This class was a last minute addition so they didn’t have time to print everything before hand)....guess when I do these tasks?  On my 15 minute breaks and occasionally a lunch break.    There is no excuse.  My daily walks are important to my health!

Fallout From the Bike Accident
I am pretty sure I bruised a bone or sprained my wrist. Most likely when I took my tumble on the bike last weekend   My wrist has been tender since then...with occasional periods of a more intense pain (usually precipitated by some movement).   However, I can’t blame it all on the bike tumble!   On Tuesday night I was leaving the building at work and hauling myself up a flight of stairs in the parking garage.  I somehow managed to fall up the stairs.  I had my lunchbox and water hub in my left hand (because my right hand/wrist was sore) so you know what hand flew out to take the brunt of my fall.  Of course...the right already injured hand!  I need to be wrapped in bubble wrap I think!

Big victory
I was able to refrain and show restraint with the Reece’s Cups that were on the counter.  

I only ate one cup out of that package...there is probably more on the counter...unless Jason ate them!  They have been sitting there all week!!!

Now, let’s be clear, I didn have a small square piece of brownie on the fourth!  Yes I splurged and it was delicious!   No ice cream or other treats though!  I stayed the course!!!

Fourth of July Activity
Of course we rode our bikes on the Fourth of July!  We headed out somewhat early and we were back home by 11AM.  We didn’t ride too hard because it was hot hot hot!  We also didn’t push it because about 3 miles in my weisf was screaming!!  But we were out there!

We went home and homered and headed out to check out the all day July Fourth Festival in our town. We roamed around and listened to some music.  But it was hot and we knew we were not staying for the fireworks so we went home to relax inside all evening!  It was soo hot!!!

And of course we were in bed at the normal time because we knew the alarm would go off bright and early.(Well not bright...definitely still dark outside when the alarm goes off on work days!)

I have been pleased with my weight this week.  I did pop up like I always do, but it started to drop toward the end of the week again. So my official weigh in for Friday is 245.0.     That is a loss of 1 pound this week...not a bad start to the month!  Now I just need to keep the momentum going!!

So there you have it.  My holiday week  review!  The weekend is upon me and I’m planing on staying the course with my food and of course riding my bike!  So hopefully lots more progress to report soon!!!!

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

A Drop in the Bucket: small steps toward weight loss

I have been thinking a lot about my progress on my journey to get healthy, fit and lose weight.   It is so difficult to not get bogged down by the utterly slow pace.  It is so difficult to be positive when it feels as if I am not progressing.   It gets old.  But lately I have been thinking about my journey in a different manner.  And while I still want my progress to be faster, these thoughts really shed a new light on this journey.

We live in a society where we want things right here and right now. Instant gratification is the concept that we tend to live by.  And that’s not a bad thing...for the most part.  However, it sets us up for failure in ventures where there is no such thing as instant gratification!  Unfortunately losing weight and getting fit are some of the ventures in life where instant gratification is not usually an option.  It takes hard work.  It takes perseverance.  It takes continual effort.  Results don’t come overnight, even though I/we want them to appear like magic!

I posted my June goal results in my last post.  I didn’t want to post my weigh in results. I have a lot of weight to lose and only losing 1.2 pounds for the month isn’t exactly stellar.  It’s kind of embarrassing actually.   You see I would have loved to post that I reached my goal in the month of June.  I would have been tickled to post that I lost 20 pounds....but 1.2 pounds?   Are you serious?  But that is the instant gratification thought process working within me.   I lost 1.2 pounds.  Baby steps, small beans, not what I wanted.....but progress nonetheless.  Maybe the scales didn’t show a huge weight loss but my food tracker (myfitnesspal) shows that my food intake was solidly in the healthy range with healthy choices.  I was exercising and walking and moving as much as possible.  It wasn’t for lack of trying that I didn’t show a huge loss.  So maybe...just maybe I should be happy....tickled even with that 1.2 pound loss.  Sure it’s only a drop in the bucket as to what I need to lose, but enough drops in that bucket WILL eventually fill that bucket!

I want to be able to hop on my bike and ride the trails like a pro....or at least without huffing and puffing like a steam train!  But that’s not the way it is right now.  I struggle.  It’s tough.  It isn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination.  I want it easy though, I’m putting in the effort. I want it to be easy NOW!   It isn’t though, each ride is tough.  Each ride kicks my behind!  BUT, each time I go out I can see improvements.....if I look hard enough.  You see the improvements are not huge strides.  They are small subtle steps in the right direction.   Some rides it is so small that I really have to look to see the improvement.  It is is only when I realize that I only stopped to walk my bike up a hill 3 times during a ride...when the last ride it was four places that I have to walk that I realize that I made a small improvement.   Sometimes it’s hard to see the victory in completing a trail without stopping because I am breathing so hard and my legs are screaming in freakish agony.  I want to complete it with no major struggle.  But guess what?  While I want it to be a breeze, it is still a victory because I did it...and I did it just a bit better than the last time I tried that trail.  Small baby steps. 

Jason summed it up the other day when I was lamenting about how difficult it is and how I just want to be able to ride these trails without the struggle.    He reminded me that up until recently 99% of our rides were on flat trails....(and we didn’t ride much during the winter months so we were already at a deficit).  We have only been riding these difficult trails consistently for the last month.  One month.  He gently said ‘I didn’t expect you to be sailing smoothly along only one month in, it takes time.   But I can see you improve each ride.  I can even see the muscles in your legs come back to life!  You also ride faster, further and harder each time and I don’t see you struggling as much. The improvement is there....just look for the SMALL improvements because they will eventually add up to the result that you want.’ 

Hmmmm. Isn’t that the truth?   This goes for so many things.  My shoulder ache...I want it to be better NOW...but that’s not how things heal....they take time, but other than when I aggravate it (such as in a bike accident  I can see that it aches less and less each day.    My riding.....I want it perfect now...but I can see it getting better each time I ride (and I enjoy it more each time also!). Weight loss is the same.  1.2 pounds is still progress and movement in the right direction!   My  efforts will eventually result in the desired physical health that I desire.  But I have to be patient. I have to let the process work.  I have to keep pushing forward and stop lamenting about the slow progress.  I have to stop downplaying the 1.2 pounds in one month.   I have to celebrate each tiny step that I make in the right direction!   Those small drops WILL fill the bucket!

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Traumatic Mountain Bike Weekend

Hello July!   Where in the world did June go?  Seriously, I blinked and it was gone!   I did manage to work on my monthly goals and I feel as if I made some amazing progress during the month of June in some areas.  However in others I feel as if I’m spinning wheels and going nowhere.  We had another amazing weekend....even if it was a bit rough at times!  So lots to talk about it all today!!!

The weekend
Wow...Saturday was hot!   

We spent Saturday morning running our errands.  It was also grocery week so that took some extra time!  But by lunchtime we were ready to head out with our bikes!  Did I mention that it was hot?  Oh and did I also mention that my shoulder issue that I wrote about in early May had reared its ugly head again?  Why yes...the arm was aching more all week.   But even with these two factors, we were determined to get out there and keep up the trend that we started...the good habit of riding on the weekends.  I was a bit hesitant about the ache in my shoulder and the heat...but I am tired of being fat and unfit so out I went!

My legs were stiff and tight when I started but they did eventually loosen up and I had a surprise for Jason.  I usually lead the way so I led him to a new trail within the park that we were riding in.  The trail turned out to be short but really cool.  You climb for a short bit and then you ride a ridge for about a half mile. All was going well until.......yup, it happened!  I was traversing the trail and well...I don’t rightly know what happened. I know I skidded a bit and then I was flying through the air.  I ended up in on the side of the trail, tangled up with my bike!    I didn’t care about the bike at that point and just worked to untangle my legs and get the bike away from me!  Jason was by my side in mere seconds.  Honestly, I feel for Jason. I have gone down two other times in front of spectacularly on a trail with a drop off to my right!     Each time I can see the utter panic and terror in his eyes!  Anyway, back to this wee little tumble. I got myself to a sitting position. I had fallen on my right side and my bad shoulder/arm took the brunt of the fall.  But somehow my left wrist ended up scraped.  My right leg had brush burns from my calf up  to and covering my thigh.  And somehow my left ankle ended up with brush burns.  Literally all four quadrants of my body got mangled.  (I don’t THINK I went over the handlebars...but maybe I did!). I sat on the side of the trail a bit.  I may have cried....but not out of pity...out of shock and pain....remember my bad arm/shoulder took the brunt of this fall. The tears stopped and  then I began to moan!   Oh no, I wasn’t in any physical distress!  But I noticed my bike!  My poor perfect baby!  She is perfect no more!  She had a scratch on the front fork!

After whining about my scratch, I got back up on that bike and started riding again.  We rode awhile  and then headed up a big hill.  Halfway up that hill I knew I had a problem.  I stopped.  I started to walk. I didn’t know what the problem was, but I suspected that it was just a let down from the adrenaline rush I had experienced through my tumble off the bike.    I however knew I was pretty much done riding for that day. (Other  than for the return ride back to the car) I pondered my options.  We hadn’t seen a soul on any of the trails. (Did I mention that it was hot...REALLY other fools were out!).  I caught up with Jason who had stopped to wait for me.  I told him I just wasn’t right... he was concerned but I told him that I wasn’t sick or anything, just probably the after affects of my accident and my shoulder hurting.   I sent him up the hill to finish the trail that we were on/heading to. (It was an out and back).  I took his knife (I knew he wouldn’t leave me out there without some form of protection) and I sat down in the shade to wait for him.   It was exactly what I needed.  

Turns out I was suffering the very early stages of heat stroke. I figured it out while I sat there.  I have had some serious issues with this in the past...even to the point of passing out. But it has been quite a while so it took me a while to put two and two together.   Sitting in the shade sipping my water for the 20 minutes it took him to finish the trail and return was just what I needed. 

He returned to me and we set off back for the car....I was fine!    Well...sore but no longer feeling sick!

So on Sunday we headed out with our bikes again! I was still sore...all over, but I’m no sissy!

We headed to the Trail of Tears.  Yes, back there again.   I had completed it both of the previous weekends so I had no doubts about my abilities.  We also went much earlier in the day to beat the heat.  We started to ride.   I could tell that I was riding a bit more tentatively, I’m assuming due to my tumble from the day before.  About a mile or so into the ride my shoulder started to ache....and then that pain started to radiate into my chest.   Now, I KNOW that the muscle/nerve issue that I’m having will cause that chest to hurt...but when your chest hurts it is hard to NOT obsess about it!   But I kept going.   For some reason my feet would NOT stay on the pedals!  (I will be soon upgrading from the stock cheap pedals to a good pair!).  Then  my hands started to sweat and my grip was constantly slipping!   It was ugly!  My shoulder started to pound with each bump we hit!  And I was stopping constantly to take breaks.  Finally We decided to turn around.  The ride back was BRUTAL!   The pain in my shoulder and arm only intensified.   My right hand and thumb became excruciating pain any time I squeezed the handle bars, shifted gears or used my breaks.   I actually cried the last mile of the ride.  (Yes, I cried while riding...and at one point we stopped to rest and I just kept my head on my handlebars to ‘rest’ and hide my tears.). It was a bad ride all around!  The Trail of Tears took me down again!   But in all fairness...I’m sure a lot of that had to do with the aches and pains from my tumble the day before.  

Even with the two rough rides...between the accident and the bad ride, I saw improvements.  I saw myself get further up a hill than I have before.   I saw myself handle each and every stream crossing without wimping out and walking across.  I definitely saw improvements even amidst the ruin!

My thumb was in bad shape the rest of the in I struggled to hold Jason’s hand because my thumb was that tender.

It was a gorgeous day that we didn’t want to waste.  So after dropping off the bikes.  We turned around and headed out for a hike.  Yup....we were out for about two hours hiking.   Felt good!!!

So we had another active, even if traumatic weekend of exercise!

Food wise, I nailed the weekend!  I was within my target each day!

Monthly Goals

At the beginning of each month I set a few goals for my month.  I have them in the back of my mind during the month...but they are not something I have to think about each day.  (Well...maybe I should!). June was no exception.  I set some goals in this post

Here are my June goals with the results!

1.  Track every bite of food!   Victory!
2.  Put money into my savings.   I totally smashed this goal and put quite a bit into my savings account!
3.  Weigh less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!   As of the 31st of May that number is 247.2.    I managed this one also...maybe not a smashing success...but I managed of the last day of June my weight was 246.0 (I did see 245.6 on Saturday!)
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week and at least two runs a week.  I had to adjust my goals mid way through.  I decided that I couldn’t focus on biking AND running and have any success at both.  So running is on the back burner until a time when biking is easy and then I will jump back into running.  But in terms of exercise. I walked at work most days...and we got at least two HARD bike rides in each week!  So VICTORY!!  I have also seen some incredible improvements on the bike!  I have been mountain biking religiously each week and it seems as if each week I see some sort of improvement.  
5. Keep my eating in check for at least 6 days a week. I managed this.  There were a few days that I was higher but it was almost always totally in check!
7.   Walk at least  of 5 k steps a day at least five days a more average for the month!!!  This is the rough one. I didn’t make this one!!  But I came very close.  I will be adjusting this goal in future months!
8.  Transparency with my weight...even if it goes up!!! (Not gonna.. thisis my month!!!). I feel as if I have continued the trend of transparency!!

So what are July goals?
1.  Track every bite of food! 
2.  Put money into my savings. 
3.  Weigh less than I do now!  I don't care if it's a measly ounce...I want to weigh less!   As of the 30th of May that number is 246.0.
4.  Do something active (a walk suffices) at least 3 times a week and aim for at least two bike rides a week.
5. Keep my eating in check for at least 6 days a week. 
7.   Walk at least  of 5 k steps a day at least four of my work days.   Weekends...I need the steps OR a bike ride!  
8.  Transparency with my weight...even if it goes up!!! 

So there you have it.  My crazy weekend and a recap of my monthly goals.   July goals are quite similar with just a few tweaks!   But I am confident that July will see more weight loss and even more improvement on the bike!!

Friday, June 28, 2019

The Banana Binge: takes from a food addict

With the weekend just around the corner it, it is time to recap my week and see what I have done (or not done) in terms of my pursuit of healthy living.  So without further ado, here we go!

 My weight was at right around 246.8 last week at this time.   It popped up to 249 early this week but then settled back down to 246.0 around mid week.   I was ok with this because it is within my three pound ‘maintain range’ that I spoke about a while back in this post .   But then here on Friday morning I popped up to 246.6.     I am ok with that although I was certainly hoping to see 245!   

This little 0.6 pound uptake was  unaccounted for for....well......maybe not.... there may have been a banana binge incident on Thursday night.  And I DID wake up thirsty on Friday so that could have affected it too!

 I had an amazing victory early in the week in terms of my food intake.  I was right on target for most of the days.  Which is the first victory.   But the biggest victory was on Monday morning.

Last weekend I decided to forego the Chick Fil A milkshake when Jason picked one up for himself.  Instead I decided to make a half  (or even quarter) batch of edible cookie.  The smaller batch would give me just enough to have a sweet treat without blowing my caloric budget and it would be gone at the end of the weekend.  Perfect!   I laid out the butter on the counter to soften...the amount for the reduced batch size.  However when I went to make the cookie dough, I was talking and not paying attention and just was following the recipe as it was written.....without reducing the size of the batch.  Oooops!   It was either throw it all away and start over or just go ahead and make the full batch.  I made the full batch.  (Of course I did!).   I didn’t do too badly over the weekend but admit to indulging a bit more since there was so much extra cookie dough.   On Monday morning is when I had my victory though!  I got out small containers and packaged it up and threw them into the freezer.  Out of sight out of mind!   I did pull one out during the week but one is better then the whole tub!

And of course I had the great banana binge...which I will talk about in a bit!


Well....does it count that I walked on my lunch break 2 out of the 5 days?  (And I already know that I most likely won’t be able to walk today...Friday). Does it count that I am leading a training class for new hires and I’m on my feet all day??? (And that I spend my breaks and lunch prepping for the new hire training and/or reassigning my daily work to others...since I still have stuff being assigned to me to do?). 

Ok, so I didn’t set the world on fire with exercise this past work week. As for the walking...2 days is better than none!!!

Banana Binge goes!  Thursday night rolled around.  My weight had been sitting steady at 246.0 for a few days and I really wanted to keep it there!   But I wanted a treat sooo bad!   So I decided to have a banana!  A healthy snack right?   Awesome choice!  I discovered long ago that the attraction to a banana split was the banana and the toppings that mixed with the I actually enjoy a bowl of cut up bananas with some chocolate topping!   So that is what I aimed to do on Thursday night!   But,  my bananas were on the cusp of being too soft. I knew that it I wouldn’t eat them if they ripened any further.  So I cut up ALL of  the bananas into my bowl.  Ok, it was just two...but that is 210 calories!   Still not too bad.  But then we had to add the chocolate syup!  And after that there were so many bananas that I figured some peanut butter would be good.  A banana binge that cost me 550 calories!  Oops!  Healthier than a piece of cake...but still too many calories!

So there you have my week in a nutshell!   The good, the bad and the ugly!  I am not perfect. I don’t ever hope to be perfect.  My main goal is to make steps each and every week toward a healthier lifestyle.  Yes, I had some missteps this week but I think that I did make some healthy progress.   Next week is another oppportunity to take another step forward!  I will do this!!!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

FitBit Alta: my thoughts

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

It is widely accepted that the average person should be taking 10,000 steps a day.  Almost every  healthy lifestyle organization promotes this number.  But, how do you know how many steps you take  There are quite a few devices and gadgets out there to help you with the task of monitoring your steps.  The fitbit is one of the biggest names in step counters, with multiple devices on the market aimed to please any user.  Just recently I replaced my Fitbit Alta..and I upgraded.  However, my Fitbit was fantastic!  So while I don’t use that Fitbit Alta anymore, I wanted to stop and pay tribute to a great product that I actually highly recommend!  

The Alta  (Amazon Affiliate Link) was released in March of 2016.  It was just another trend setting device for this health minded company.  The alta was slim and operated as not only a step counter but it could also be used as a watch. I wanted one!  I pondered this fitbit for quite some time.  Would I even use it?  Were there enough features for my lifestyle needs.  Were there too many features for my needs?  I debated back and forth for months.  One minute I was ready to buy the Alta, the next minute I was saying "NO", Not yet.

Finally, during a celebration I was given some gifts.  One of my gifts was the Fitbit Alta.  Mine had the  Plum colored arm band.  I was so excited.  I couldn't wait to try it out!   The opinions listed below are solely my own and are totally unsolicited.  I have received no compensation for choosing to write this review.

Easy to Use
Straight out of the box, this device worked perfectly!  I did have to set up an account and download the application for my phone.  But that took only a minute or two.  Even better, the bluetooth paired up with my phone immediately with no issues!   The set up really was only a few minutes from start to finish!  Before I knew it I was prancing around the room ecstatically counting my steps!  The Alta is really that easy to use.  The steps count automatically without having to reset the device each and every day, which really does make this a device that you put on your arm and forget about.
Straight out of the Box and onto my arm
Syncing your Alta 
The Alta is designed to automatically sync up with the online profile. (If you have it set to all day Sync.).  I found this process to be a bit hit or miss.  I could never find a rhyme or reason to when my Alta would automatically  send the information over to my profile versus when I would need to log onto my phone app to manually sync the device.  Luckily, syncing the two together to upload the stored data is as simple as opening up the fitbit app on my phone.  Whenever the application is opened, it prompts an automatic upload/sync.  If it hasn't been done in a few days it may take a bit longer, but usually it's only a matter of seconds for this information to be transferred.  For me this is no inconvenience and has no effect on the usage of either the app of the Alta.

The Battery
I had absolutely no problem with the battery life when I first started using the Alta.  It held it's charge for a week and a half.  It wasn't until the Alta went over the two year old mark that I had to charge it more often.  But even then, it only needed charged every 4-5 days.  I definitely give the battery life two thumbs up!

The Phone App and Website
The phone app interface in which a user can interact with the gathered statistics is very easy to navigate. The stats that are gathered are informative and helpful.  The sleep cycle is particularly interesting as it notes your sleep patterns....usually quite accurately!  Navigation through the phone app is easy and very intuitive.  The website definitely shows more information and details.  Admittedly, I rarely went onto the website, simply because the phone app had everything I really needed right at my fingertips!

The Community
A Fitbit comes with a ready made community.  There are people, even random strangers that are willing to accept a challenge to step more.  You can participate in a weekend step challenge, a daily step challenge or a work week step challenge in order to motivate you to walk a bit more.  I was also pleased to see quite a few of my friends already within the FitBit community when I joined.  

If you are more of the solo challenge type of person, there are adventures that you can embark upon.  With each step you take counting as you virtually tour a location   Fitbit will also reward you with a badge for each achievement you make as you progress through various predetermined goals.  (I.E.  your first time stepping more than 25000 steps in a day, etc.....) I never paid much attention to these......but they can be found on the online website. 

When you set a step goal for your day the Alta will celebrate (vibrate and fireworks type graphics on the face of the Fitbit) when you reach your daily goal.   It is an easy neat way to celebrate reaching your daily goal!

The community and challenge area is very much designed to keep any and every type of person motivated to move more and to achieve step goals.

The Arm Band
I found that the arm band that arrived in the box with my FitBit Alta lasted about 6-8 months before needing to be replaced.  It was fine at first,  but then the latch that attached the band to the face of the Alta would not stay attached any longer.  I purchased a replacement band.  That one also only lasted about 6 -8 months.  I switched to an after market (non Fitbit name brand) band....simply because I didn't want to be without my Alta (I do love it that much).  The after market bands were the only ones I could find in stock at my local stores and were readily available...I would have had to order a Fitbit brand replacement band from online....and wait a few days to get it!   The after market bands lasted about the same amount of time before they needed to be replaced.  The cost was so much more affordable that from that point on, I used after market bands!  (In fairness, I did take a tumble at one point..ok maybe two....over the handle bars of my bike and the wrist that I had the fitbit on took the brunt of the fall, so that could have affect one...or two of the bands!)

The Alta as a Watch
This fitbit doubles as a watch.  The watch face actually remains dark for most of the day.  To access the time or your step count it requires a light tap on either end of the face of the device or a certain wrist movement that will wake up the face.  The  movement is described as just turning your wrist toward you to wake it up.

After a while I was an expert at awakening my Alta.  However, when I first started to wear this fitbit, I could be seen tapping the watch rather uncontrollably and with increasing frustration.  OR I would be moving my arm up and down trying to awaken no avail.   But as I said, with time, I did become adept.     I find that it takes a bit more of a swooping motion to get the Alta to awaken and as for the tapping...well, it just took some time to learn the quirkiness needed in my 'tap tap'.  Once again, minor issues and honestly, mostly user issues and not any issue with the Alta.

Jason, my boyfriend, was always teasing me and giving his wrist a double tap as he teasingly mocked me.  And when I did the swoop of my arm, he just about always fell over laughing as he lovingly teased me.  (Jealousy maybe since he didn’t have a cool watch...hahaha)

Smart Notifications
I didn't think I would like this feature.  Oh, I thought I would have fun with it as a novelty at first.  But I didn't think it would ever be a huge feature that I would never want to live without.  Boy was I wrong!  This became my most favored feature about this fitbit.  I LOVED that I could see my incoming texts and phone calls without having to find and pick up my phone.  It very quickly became something I relied on All. The. Time!   In fact THAT is the reason that I was also so desperate to get a new arm band when they broke....sadly not because I was desperate to count my steps.  But no, I was desperate for the convenience of my smart notifications!    Is this a necessary feature?  Of course not.   Is it a totally convenient and much appreciated feature?  Absolutely!  I'm hooked!

Overally, the Fitbit Alta (Amazon Affiliate Link) is a great purchase.  You get a lot of bang for your buck!  It is the perfect purchase for someone interested in taking steps to more closely monitor and improve their fitness.  The quality of the product has been amazing! I have absolutely no complaints and I have actually recommended this product to quite a few of my friends.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Is it growing on me: mountain bike update

Happy Monday!   Another work week is upon us.  I am totally blown away to realize that this will be the last week of June!   Where has time gone?   This year is flying by!!!!   I am sure some of the fast passage of time is due to the long work days and commutes...and of course we have kept so busy over the weekends...and that has added to the speed of time.

Before I go into the weekend of bike rides, I am proud to announce that we got out two times after work.  Why yes, we rode our bikes twice after work last week.   Not perfect, but a really good start!!!

This past weekend was no different.   We knew we had a few obligations so we planned out our bike rides.  Therefore, Saturday morning rolled around and we were headed out by 9 or so!   We headed to a bike trail that we have been doing pretty much weekly.  We knew that this was only going to be a lighter easy ride because of time constraints.   It was just that.  However, the ride winds us uphill...and then we go up a steep fire road to get to our current favorite trail in that park (ok, ok,’s the main trail we ride in that park...I’m thinking exploration of some more of that parks trail system is in our near future!). Once we get onto the trail we are mostly uphill until we get to the upper parking lot. I have managed to climb the fire road without having to stop to walk.  Just last weekend I managed to navigate that trail without stopping.   BUT, I have always had to take a break between the two sections.   On Saturday I climbed the fire road and I didn’t take my customary break.  I just turned right onto the trail and kept riding.  I rode my heart out and did not stop until I got to the upper parking lot.  I had a momentary thought of taking a ride  around the parking lot and heading back down the trail with no break.  However, I figured that I had already had a major victory....and that a little basking in my glory was in order!     Victory.....Ahhh it sure does feel sweet!

We ran our errands and completed our tasks Saturday afternoon.  My legs were a bit ...well I can’t even say sore.  They weren’t sore but they were tired.

Sunday morning we headed to the Trail Of Tears.  Oh yeah, apparently just conquering it last week was NOT enough. Noooooo, we went back!  (Jason is such a slave driver!  Shhhhh don’t tell him that I said this, but it’s good for me!). It wasn’t exactly easy.   But I had a few victories. 

Never in my life have I been fast enough to ride up on a group of riders.  But on Sunday I did.  We arrived at the trailhead and we saw some bikers heading out.  We took our time getting ready to give them some space and then headed out.   Within a mile I was nipping at their heels. What?   No....we slowed down and killed time and then started riding again.    Once again I was back to nipping at their heels.   It was a totally new experience.   They did leave us after about 3 miles...mostly because we stopped for a bit...but then again, maybe they took a side trail because this is an out and back trek and we never saw them again.  Hmmm.

The second victory?   I did have to walk a few times on the way to the turn around.   I think it was two or three times.  I also did have to walk up two hills at the beginning of the return trip after the turn around.  But about 3-4 miles into the return trip I realized that I had only had to walk twice since we turned around.  I started to think about the near impossible feat (for me).  Could I make it the rest of the way without stopping to walk?   Last week I had walked multiple sections...but I had already rolled those sections.  Could I do it?   I was going to try!   I almost failed twice.  The first time I was ready to give up...but then saw some hikers on the uphill section that I was struggling to climb.   Heck no was I going to walk with people looking!!!!  I somehow found the strength.   The last time was at the very end.   I held it together simply  because I knew how utterly close to the end I was!  And I made it at least 5.5 miles with no walking!

No that’s not to say that we didn’t break.   We stopped once or twice to let a biker go by.  We also stopped at one stream crossing to enjoy the scenery and drink some more water.  It wasn’t perfect...but I can see improvement!  It is still tough, but there are improvements

Sooo. At the turn around Jason asked if I was having fun.   I refused to admit any such thing!!!  (And that’s what I said...I admit nothing!).  It’s hard though...still sooooo incredibly hard.  But the fun times are starting to pop through!  Just don’t tell Jason...because I can’t admit it to him...I’m having too much fun calling him a slave driver or my personal favorite...I call him Hitler!    Don’t feel too bad for him though...I give kisses as I hurl my names at him!    But being honest...I’m finding it more difficult to come up with insults about the trail of tears.   I do refuse to acknowledge the beauty...I just say ‘I can’t tell, there is too much sweat rolling into my eyes’.  He knows the truth though.   And that truth????  It’s kinda...dare I say.... growing on me?

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Intermittent Fasting

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclaimer  for details. 

A few months back I decided to restart the process of  intermittent fasting into my life.   It has now been about two months and I thought it would be a grand time to discuss my methods and what I have discovered.

I actually learned about intermittent fasting quite by accident.  It started simply enough(and I wrote about it here ).   I leave my house super early and I just can’t stomach eating that early.  I was finding that by the time I got to work I just wanted  to get the day started and would forget to eat whatever breakfast item I packed.  It was purely accidental and I knew I would get a lot of slack for ‘skipping breakfast’ so I didn’t mention it much.  But one day, I mentioned it.  I had a few conversations and low and behold, I found that I was  doing something that is actually quite poplular.  Even better, it worked for me!  I followed the intermittent fasting plan for a few months and then somehow got off track.  Recently,  I picked it back up.  

What is intermittent fasting
Intermittent fasting is the method of fasting on a regular basis for a set period of time.  There isn’t a whole lot of testing and results on intermittent fasting. However some people say that it works because your body is burning fat during those regular times of fast. 

There are many variations of intermittent fasting. Some people will fast for 24 hours and then have a 24 hour period where they can eat.  In this way they are alternating days of fasting and eating.  Some people will do a 5:2 fast.   This is where they eat normally for 5 days and fast for two. Some fast all day and only eat once a day.  I could go on and on with the options. There are so many variations.

The method of intermittent fasting that I follow is the 16:8 method.  Simply put, I fast for 16 hours a day.  I allow myself to eat in an 8 hour window.  For me, I break my fast at lunch, which is usually somewhere around 12 or 12:30.  I typically am done with dinner by 8PM.  That works well for my schedule.  

If you read about intermittent fasting and specifically the 16:8 method, many people say that they love it because they can eat anything that they want within that 8 hour tracking involved.   Maybe someday I will get to that point.  However, I have an addiction to food.  I can do quite a bit of damage in an 8 hour window.  Therefore, I track every bite, regardless!   

Why Intermittent fasting works for me
Intermittent fasting works for me for variety of reasons:
**  The first reason is simple. It reduces temptations.   I have an addiction to food.  I can not walk away from my addiction and remove myself from the temptations of my addiction.  No, I have to face my addiction every time my body feels hungry.  And even more realistically, I face my addiction each and every time a meal hour is upon me. Three times a day I have to stare my addiction down.   I can lose control very easily  and let the addiction control my food choices.  But by eliminating one of those meals, I am eliminating 1/3 of the temptation each day.  I really enjoy the reduction of that worry....and my body certainly doesn’t miss the meal.

** The second reason that this works for me is that I do still count my calories.  By eliminating the breakfast I am freeing up those calories that I would have eaten and it allows me a bit more freedom within my caloric budget later in the day.  (For example.  A 1200 calorie budget...if broken evenly between three meals allows for 400 calories each meal.  With no breakfast involved, I can take those 400 unused calories and apply them to the other meals)

** The last reason this works so well for me?  I have never been a big breakfast eater and have only ‘forced’ myself to eat because I was told that I had to eat breakfast to be ‘healthy’.  I always struggled with this concept.  I’m eating breakfast to lose be healthy.   But that is just adding more food and more times to fail into a food addicts life.  I know the whole concept of ‘starts off your day and all that’ but I have always preferred to NOT eat and I have seen no diffeeence in functioning without breakfast.  So, this plan of intermittent fasting  works well with my natural tendency and schedule!

What happens if I am ravenous?

So what happens if I am just plan hungry and it’s. Or my window to eat?   Well, I am not sadistic!   There have been a few instances where I find myself so utterly hungry by 9AM.  (Real hunger...not just the thought that something would taste good at that moment....real honest hunger!).  I have no problem saying ‘I’m going to be  eating something before the 16 hours is up!” In fact I keep some individually wrapped fig  bars in my desk at work just in case this happens.  (Amazon Affiliate link).  They are delicious and really hit the spot.  But honestly, the kind of hunger that gnaws at your stomach making it truly ache, the hunger that gives me a headache...that happens very rarely during my 16 hour fast.

Furthermore, I also know that heading out for a long bike ride at 10AM on an empty stomach is probably not going to go well.  So by all means, I will break that fast earlier so that I can properly fuel my body, even though it is not yet time to break my fast.  I am aiming for health, not rigidity.  This plan is not set in stone and sometimes it does require a little shift of thinking and adjustment!

I am sure that intermittent fasting is not for everyone.  I am also sure that it hasn’t always been the perfect solution for me nor will it probably always be the perfect plan for me in the future.  But for right now, right here it is working well for me.   I like the freedom from worrying about one less meal! 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

I did it: mountain bike victory

What a tiring yet victorious weekend!

We managed to get all of our errands done.  We visited my mom and we also visited Jason’s parents.  But...we made it a priority to ride our bikes even amidst everything else.   We had a plan for our time at the beginning of the week and no matter how badly we each wanted to not follow through and not ride our bikes, we did it anyway.  So let’s talk about these bike rides.

On Saturday afternoon, after our weekends errands were done we headed out with our bikes.  Where did we go?   No where other than the Trail of Tears, the location of not one, but two meltdowns.  I figured I could at least make it to the furthest meltdown location.  Am I a glutton for punishment or what?   My goal was to make it af least to that 4.5 mile mark with no tears.  Well....I charged onto the trail.   I even hit the stream crossings like a champ! I didn’t end up with a wet foot either!!!   I also did not rip my pants like the week before!  I was slow at times...but the miles passed and low and behold I made it  to the END of the trail!  Really?   But yes, the trail marker clearly said ‘the end’.   I wasn’t to gung ho about the 6.2 hilly miles I had to ride in order to get back to the car(this trail is an out and back.). But I attacked them like a trooper.   I did have to walk a few hills on the way back, but for the most part I was in the saddle propelling myself forward on the bike. I did it!!!!!

I was sooo sore and tired! My body ached!   That night while I slept every time I moved I was cognizant of my body and the sore muscles.  I believe at one point when I woke I even though, ‘we have a bike ride scheduled for this upcoming morning shortly after we wake up......there is no way!’  I ended that ride completely decimated!   Did I mention that I DID IT?  

On Sunday I woke up pretty much dreading the scheduled morning mountain bike ride.  I knew we had to go in the morning due to plans to visit our families in the afternoon.  I luckily knew that we had planned a shorter ride.  But still, I sooo did not want to go.  When we started to watch a movie at 7am  I was secretly relieved because I was thinking that  we wouldn’t have time for the ride if we watched the whole movie.  But alas we did.  We went out to a trail  that is a bit closer to our place...the one I have  been riding as I have tried to avoid the trail of tears.  I got on the bike and immediately my legs burned like they were on fire.  I knew it wasn’t going to be a pleasant ride.  But I pushed on.   We headed up the hill and while me legs burned, it didn’t seem quite so difficult. It was really odd to be hurting more but handling the trail better than ever.   The trail kinda flew by.  Jason even mentioned that my speed had increased since the last time we were on the trail.  Before I knew it, I was at the top of the trail!  What????? I have had to walk a portion of that trail each time recently (I did manage to ride it once without walking last August....and I pretty much collapsed with exhaustion at the end of the trail!).   So I had a victory on Sunday, even though I was so tired and achy!   I managed to ride the trail without stopping...and it seemed, well kinda easier!!!

Two victories!!!!  Two HUGE victories!   I have also managed to continue making good choices with my eating.  I again passed up the chick fil a milkshake and  the cookie from Jimmy Johns.   I did have a small piece of cake that my mom made.  So I did splurge a bit...but it was controlled and only ONCE! Oh and did I mention that I burned mad calories bike riding?  And did I mention that my calories each day was only  about 1500 calories...kinda what my garmin said burned on the Saturday bike trip alone!  

So it was quite the victorious weekend.  Now it’s time to rock the work week.  I plan on focusing on the fact that what I do is a choice...and I can indulge with unhealthy choices or I can do the healthy choice that will bring me closer fo a healthier life.   Oh and yes...this week after work..I plan hope to exercise after work!