Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Trail of Tears: Mountain biking and running

This past weekend was set to be another busy one for us, as all weekends tend to be for us.  It was a weekend that would help me progress my skills on the mountain bike, lose weight and work on getting fit.  However, we set our goals and priorities for the weekend and we were determined to get not only what we HAD to do done, but also the stuff that we wanted to do!   We didn't exactly have success...but the control was out of our hands!!!

This past weekend was a grocery shopping weekend. (We only grocery shop every two saves SOO much time and surprisingly a fair amount of money.)   We knew that this was a non-negotiable task so we headed out early on Saturday to get this out of the way (and to beat the crowds in the stores).

Our plan was to shop in the morning and hit the trail of tears in the afternoon.  Our plan worked perfectly and by about 2:30 PM we were on the trail. (We got there later than we wanted, we got sidetracked by playing with a new purchase that we had stopped to get in the morning!)  I was honestly dreading the trail from the get-go.  I really do hate this trail....and no, the word hate is NOT too strong, it's honestly not strong enough!  Jason was not feeling the greatest but was determined to push through his headache to ride the trail. So off we went!

 I had been periodically asking Jason about his headache and he had made the remark that it was doing better than he expected.  But, at the three mile mark he announced that he just couldn't do it, that his head was hurting so bad that he was making stupid errors while riding (which can quickly cause an accident). I was worried about him for sure, but plumb tickled to turn around and head back to the car!  You see, I had started out strong!  But by the three mile marker I had totally ran out of gas!  Absolutely and completely out of energy!   I was done!

The Trail of Tears won again!!!!!!

We arrived home and set about showering ready to commence with relaxing for the evening.  Jason remarked that he felt feverish, but just assumed it was from the hot bike ride, cool temp car ride home followed by a hot shower.  Everything was ok and we talked about and were looking forward to our plans to ride again on Sunday.

Sunday rolled around and Jason woke up feeling awful!  He was hopeful that he would feel better as the day progressed.  However, I flat out said, "No ride today."    I sat back on the couch with a smile, because I was off the hook.....I had a VALID reason to not ride my bike!  However, I knew that his being sick was not valid for ME...especially since I have been thinking more about running again.    It didn't take me long to get my butt off the couch and get moving.

I went for a run instead!  No, I didn't burn as many calories as a bike ride would have netted me.  But it felt good to get out there, get sweaty and do something good for my body!   I was worried as I set out, because the last time I ran was at the end of May and it was.....well....really difficult, as in I couldn't even go more than 3 minutes without having to stop to walk!   It was actually pretty decent.  I ran 3/4 of a mile before I stopped to walk for a bit!

The rest of the day was spent relaxing.......and watching over my poor sick man.

He called off of work sick on Monday.  I knew that I would be absolutely worthless if I went to work due to one aspect of his illness. (He briefly passed out on Sunday....a couple factors contributed to it...and he is fine now....but I am still watching him like a hawk!) I knew that I would be worried that he was laying on the floor unconscious while I was working, and that I would be a wreck if I left him alone!  So I stayed home with him.  I deemed him ok for a few minutes while I went out for a quick run that day too!  I ran even an even longer time before I stopped to walk on this second day of running!
I was super proud of myself for not just sitting on the couch in peace those two days!  I was tempted....but the feeling of pride is amazing!    I am also pleased to see that my almost two months of misery on the trials riding has made a difference in my body, at least in terms of running (and I’m sure other places too)!

So now I am back to work and counting down to the weekend again!   I am pushing forward and ready to get this lose this weight and be fit once and for all!!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Scales are Stupid: A common conception during a weight loss Journey

What a crazy week it has been.  I have been totally working this healthy straight up rockin' it!  I have felt good about my efforts...but as always there is a reckoning on the scales each week.  And this week the reckoning wasn't good!   A weight loss journey is NOT for the weak hearted because it will chew you up and spit you out sometimes!

I set a goal for myself for the month of July.   I was really worried about this goal because I have shied away from making goals in terms of how much weight I will lose in a set period of time.  But I did it anyway.   I set a goal to lose 5 pounds for the month of July..   It honestly isn't an ambitious goal by any means!  However, it was a stretch for me.....afterall, I was on track with my food and exercise in June and lost less than 2 pounds. 

Something happened though and I started out the month of July with a bang.  I didn't do anything differently, but the weight was falling off of my body.  By the time the middle of the month rolled around I had already lost 4.8 pounds!   I was so excited!   I was on target to lose a heck of a lot more weight ....much more than my goal of 5 pounds!

I was on top of it!    And then this past weekend I had my official weigh in and BOOM, a straight up maintain!  Uhhhhhhhhh why?  I did EVERYTHING exactly the same!  NOTHING changed!   SOOOO......Here we are with 2 days left in the month and I have 0.2 pounds to lose.  I am feeling quite hopeless.......I know that my weight pops up at the start of each work week!  (However,  wouldn't weigh in officially until I guess I have a few more days to get that 'first of the month' weigh in)

Regardless of how frustrating this is.....I am clinging to the fact that my coworkers, people that had no clue that I had kicked my weight loss efforts into high gear have been constantly talking about my weight loss and how they can see it!  The first day that this happened, it happend about 4 times.  In my head I was thinking, "I'm wearing this outfit EVERYDAY for the rest of my life"  because surely it had to be the outfit right?  But no, the compliments started to come..from random unconnected people on different days.. So whatever I am doing IS working!

SOOO, this last week's review.  July 20-July 26


*We managed to get in some swimming  but only one bike ride (it was so stinkin' hot!) which I wrote about here.

* For the first time in ages my legs were not all bruised and scratched up (from this quest to become a mountain biker) and I celebrated by wearing a skirt to work.  Seriously, I haven't wanted to wear a skirt because people would probably start to wonder!
* The extremely hot weather broke and we had some nice days.  That coupled with the fact that I am back to my normal job at work (which means that I'm not scrambling on my lunch break to get work reassigned and/or completed while I am breaking from my temporary duty of training a group of new hires) was the perfect opportunity for me to get back to my routine of walking on my lunch breaks!  It felt great!
*  I have conquered the Reece's Cup!  They have no hold over me!  (more on this in a future post!)
*  I was  finally ready to announce my entrance into the world of chronicling my weight loss efforts through video  (and very shortly my efforts to become a mountain biker despite the obstacles in my way).
You can see this weeks episode right  below!   Click subscribe (and like) to get updates and because it will help me out (the more subscribes and likes I get the higher I move in the search engines!)  I am excited  about adding this extra level of support and accountability!

Other than the lackluster maintain on the scales, I had a fabulous week.  I made healthy strides forward.  My food was under control.  I was in charge.  I felt empowered!   This weight loss journey will have it's ups and downs.  There will be moments of frustration.  There will be periods of slow results.  I will not let that stop me!  I will keep pushing forward!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Changes: going with the flow as life throws new opportunities at me

Over the years I have altered and changed my approach to this blog/site.  I started writing and chronicling my weight loss journey for myself. It was just an online journal that I was keeping for myself.   I knew people could see it but I never expected it!  Wow how things have changed!

I have always journaled my life and have always been private about it.  But decided to try this online journal thing so many years ago  simply because I would have access to my journal at work, at home, on vacation...anywhere I had internet!  That sounded easier than dragging around a weight loss journal....another notebook.  (I still do write in a personal journal...old fashioned pen and is cathartic for me!).   It worked perfectly and I was happy as a lark.  I was writing for myself only and as a means to remember and learn as I embarked upon the task of losing over 100 pounds.

Sure I knew that people could stumble upon it and read it....but what were the odds.  And never my family...I was sure!    Well...imagine my surprise when low and behold people started commenting.   And by the time my family stumbles upon it...well I was fine with sharing!   Come one...come all!

I kept writing.  I still wrote for myself, but the comments helped.  It was a bit of accountability. But while I still wrote for myself (and still do) this site  has evolved over the years.  There was a major name change.  It went from ‘a new start’ to ‘belief in myself’. I have gone through periods where I barely post to periods where I post every day to now-a-day’s where I post regularly and on a schedule.  (Seriously, the schedule helps me stay super accountable for everything!) Lots of alterations in my handling of this site and in my health, fitness and healthy lifestyle beliefs have occured over the last 13.5 years since I started writing my thoughts here.

I am going through another change.  It’s a biggie!   I will still be posting on here and writing everything out....because that is my ‘safe place’...writing is my way to process my struggles and victories.  Probably the only thing that will change here is that I will be posting my weigh in results on Monday’s ....and talking about my weekends on Wednesday’s.  No big changes.  The big change is that I plan on starting to share a weekly vlog about my progress.  Yes, I am nervous about are bad enough...but video?  Yikes!  The vlog will be my baby....I have been part of the weight loss journey community for so long that I needed to do this.  But I will have two babies.  The other baby?  We plan on doing short videos of this mountain biking experience....sharing the ups and downs (oh dear heavens let there be no more meltdowns on the trial of tears once the cameras are rolling....or even worse...don’t let me rip my pants so badly again...also on the trial of tears...because I know I will show it ......cuz seriously, I wrote about it ...but how embarrassing!!!).    We are doing it for a few reasons.  Mainly because we want a video that shows our progression as I learn to mountain bike in my upper 40’s....and as an overweight a male dominated sport.  Seeing the progression is huge ..because honestly I say I can see progression sometimes but it is so hard to recognize it...most days while riding  I feel as if I am still doing as poorly as I did the first time we went out. But we are also doing this because we want people to see....if you want something, follow your excuses.  Will this be a long term thing?  Maybe...maybe not.  We may hate the time and effort it takes and we may end up with tons of clips stored in a folder for our own viewing pleasure and you may only see one or two crazy videos but who knows.  Let’s try!

So I will still be writing everything here....but stay tuned for some videos also.  (Weight loss vlog first, most likely....trail stories shortly thereafter).   Be patient as I learn and adjust and by all means, enjoy this ride of a lifetime with me! 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Exercise and Embarrassment

I have a long history of making plans to exercise but then talking myself out of it before the appointed time comes.   This commonly happens when I make plans to exercise after work..  All day long I am so committed to carrying out the plans but then somehow the plans get altered during my drive home.   Oh, I always have some really valid excuse.  Well, it seems valid to me.  I swear, I really saw that one drop of rain hit the windshield.  It really did look dark over yonder, it COULD have been a storm!   You name it, my mind has turned it into an excuse!   But it wasn't until recently that I realized that those really are just excuses.  The REAL reason is that I am embarrassed and it is easier to say "it's looking like rain"  versus saying, "I'm embarrassed".

What in the world am I embarrassed about?  Well, I am embarrassed about the pitiful physical shape that I find myself in. I don't want people to see me struggling to be active or to see my fat jiggle!   I don't want to face the fact that someone may THINK bad thoughts and ridicule me in their heads....or even worse do it  outloud to my face.   I don't want to be embarrassed!

You see, I am one that if I am working out and I see someone beside the trail I pick up the pace so that I look strong to try to negate the fact that I’m honestly just overweight and really working hard!   I don't care that mere seconds before I saw that person that I was ready to fall off my bike in a pile of tears.  I don't care that only moments earlier I was ready to stop running and crawl my way home.   If someone is  looking, I never want to be embarrassed of act weak.   I pick up that pace.  I don't give up.  I push through...all to avoid some ridicule that I fear I may face.

SOOO, in the past when I have been consistently running it has been in the mornings and in places that do not have lots of eyes watching.  I like to ride my bike on trails that are not inundated with people.  I like to be's a protective measure.    But when I run after work where I currently live, I have to face the fact that the roads that I will be running on are chock full of people arriving home after a long day of work. (Lines of cars wait at the stop signs!) The sidewalks are filled with people walking their dogs.  There are kids playing in the front yards.  There are, God forbid...other people exercising!   Whew...that's a scary prospect! 

I have been gearing up to start running now that I'm starting to get a slight hande on the biking thing and now that I know that this fear is what is causing my myriad of excuses, I hope to be able to avoid the pitfall of making them in the first place.  There is no getting around it.....someone may see me!  (Gasp!)

Finding a trail to ride has been the same way.  Ohhhhh  there are a ton of cars parked at the trail head.  I bet the trail is going to be BUSY!  It doesn't matter that it's only 5 cars and tons of acres in the park containing miles upon miles of trails, I see cars and I immediately dread the aspect of people actually seeing me exercise....and struggle!

It is a very real fear.  I can't say that it is valid, but it is real.   I have pushed through this to an extent while we ride.  On the nice days of summer  there is NO WAY that I can go on a bike ride and expect to be on a trail where there are no other bikers.  (Well, except the day that we went out and it felt like it was 220 degrees....we were the only fools out that day!)  I have therefore just groaned when I see a parking area full of cars but unload my bike anyway and prepare to head off on the busier trail.

And you know what?   I haven't been struck dead when we see another person on the trail.  I honestly don't even inwardly cringe..I am too focused on getting my bike off the trail and out of the way of the faster bike riders.  (And yes, I know the proper trail etiquette that uphill riders have the right of way, but I still move off for everyone since I am SOOOOOO slow!)   I haven't seen looks of pity.  I haven't seen looks of horror.  I haven't seen anything like that.  I have heard comments of "Have a great ride"  and "Beautiful day isn't it?"   Occasionally I'll even hear words of encouragement  (usually from hikers that I am slowly working my way past on an uphill section.) 

I know that years ago I was talking to my brother about exercise and being embarrassed.  He made a comment that has NEVER left me.  He told me that almost any biker gains a few pounds during the winter months and they dread the first few rides of the new riding season....until they get themselves back into riding shape and shave off that winter weight.  He told me that every biker knows what those few extra pounds feel like when riding a bike.  He said that most bike riders look at someone that is out there overweight and still 'doing it' with extreme respect because they know how 5 extra pounds feel and can only imagine the extra 50 that I carry is 10 times worse than even they experience! (And he went on to say that many people that he has biked with started biking because of a weight problem!)  It matches up perfectly with a letter that was written and went around the internet a few years back.    I wrote about it in March of 2014.   You can read it here.  Seriously, it's a GOOD letter.  I found myself crying as I read that post just a few minutes ago...and according to the post I cried when I first read it!   It really is a must read!

I can't say that I am feeling great about being so ‘out there’ while I go riding (or running again when that happens) and that the embarrassment is gone.  I still struggle with wanting to allow people to see me working out and allowing them fobseeing my struggles.  I don't like to put myself out for ridicule, even if it has never happened and only something that I perceive COULD happen.  But I can see how allowing that fear is only hindering myself.  So it’s time to set aside the embarrassment and move onward to the free and open MaryFran.   Damn the consequences, I'm heading out into the wide world and exercising where and when I want!

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Heat and Execise

What a weekend!!!  It was a weekend full of love and fun. (All of our weekends are loving and fun though!). It was also filled with activities and movement.    We did take  plenty of relaxation time to allow us to rest and rejuvenate ourselves for the work week ahead.   Did I mention the heat?  It was hot as....well it was hot!

We were both off of work on Friday and we were determined to enjoy every second of our day off together.   We had a few errands in the morning but they didn’t take long.  Before we knew it we were heading out for a little one night get-a-way.  We have gone to this hotel quite a few times.  It’s an old ‘motor court’ from the fifties.  It still has some of the vintage 50’s charm (and features) which I love.  True, some of it is older but the owner keeps it neat and clean..which is what I care about.  The original plan for the weekend was to hit the trails and go on some long hikes.  However, the weather was hot as Hades!  We headed straight for the hotel and spent the afternoon in the hotel pool!

We were smart and had on sunscreen...and thereby had a fabulous time in the pool!  I moved the whole time in the pool.   I was either swimming or treading water!  

We were wiped out that evening!    On Saturday we had plans to swim more, but we got sidetracked with tv in the morning and had some other ideas on how to spend a super hot day!  One of the things we did was head over to the Van’s outlet...not quite on the way home, but not too far out of the way.  Jason needed shoes....his Vans were looking rather ragged.  We hoped to find a pair that he liked and if we were lucky at a good deal.  Little did we know what deals we were going to find!

Six an average of $32 bucks a pair. More than half price!   And colors he likes and the size he needs!  

We got home and relaxed the rest of Saturday.   

Sunday morning....we really did plan on going super early!   I swear!  But we didn’t hit the trail on our bikes until 9:45!   It was already hot!  I could feel sweat dripping down my knees.  (Don’t ask me...but that is where I could feel the sweat...on my knees.). I managed the trail without stopping...even in the heat.   I also attempted the personal nemesis.  A hill that I can’t even make it 1/4 of the way up.  I try it each time though...persistence will get me there...right??

We stopped at the creek to go wading.  It helped cool us down!

We went home and showered and then headed out to pick up salads for dinner (to go with our pizza) and fresh fruit for the work week.   We relaxed a bit and then headed over to our communities pool.  It wasn’t too crazy busy so we enjoyed just shy of an hour lounging in the water.  Well, I didn’t lounge...I swam or treaded water the whole time...gotta stay active ya know!

I did splurge a bit with cookies while we were away.  But my calories have been in check.  (Even the cookies didn’t take me long as I added in the activity earned calories.)

My weight leveled off and it looks like this last week will go down in history as a maintain.  I’m ok with that...I wish I had a loss but a maintain isn’t all that bad!   

So I can add another fabulous weekend to the history books.   We maintained our trend of being active and it felt good!  We managed to be active even in the face of 100° temps (heat index 115° plus).  We are not letting excuses (even rather valid ones) slow is down!   We are going to rock this healthy lifestyle thing!!!

Friday, July 19, 2019


It is Friday...and that means it's time for a little review of the last week!   It was a week filled with some frustration due to the numbers on the scales.   It was/is a happy time.  And it is a week where I again made healthy choices for myself.   So here we go......

We started this past week during the weekend which I wrote about here. It was a good weekend and full of activity.

But, par for the course...when the weekend was over I found myself sitting 2-3 pounds higher on the scales.  I really do think that it is the exercise that causes the temporary weight gain!  (the two weeks that I didn't ride hard over the weekend my weight consistently went down!)   But while it is frustrating to see, I didn't let that deter me.  I stayed the course with my eating this week!  Oh, don't be fooled into thinking that I didn't WANT to dive head first into a vat of tater tots!  Don't think that I wasn't tempted to bury my frustration in a pile of Reece's Cups!  I wanted to!  But I didn't!
 I knew that if I stayed the course that my weight would return to normal!

Well......the is only SLOWLY returning to my low weight.  Usually by Friday my weight has returned to the previous low (and a little bit lower).  But not this week.  As of this morning (Friday morning) I am still one pound higher than I was last Friday.  What's up with that? 

Frustrating!!!  Annoying!  Maddening!!!

I could talk about a myriad of reasons why my weight is remaining higher.  It could be the muscle issue thing that I wrote about a week or so ago.  It could be the fact that the monthly 'ick' was visiting this past week (although it's over so shouldn't that water weight retention be gone?).   It could be the fact that I have a few slight injuries and my body is just holding onto some water weight as they heal.   Or maybe...just maybe my body is going to lose weight this way during this go with weight loss.  Maybe I will fluctuate within a 3 pound range for a a few weeks and then have 2 weeks of consistent losses before fluctuating in that lower three pound range again for a few weeks.  I don't know.  The only thing I DO know is that I am not giving up.  If I stay the course the weight WILL come off!

As for work, I was in training again all week.  (Leading a training class for new hires.)    That is good.  Number one, training is a good fit for me. (Hello...I used to be a teacher ...)  But number two, it gets me up and on my feet during the day instead of sitting at my desk doing my desk job.  But the bad part.......the whole time during training I take my breaks and lunch and I end up sitting at my regular desk working. (I still have emails and work and day to day things at my normal job that I need to ask to have reassigned or take care of myself.)  And ok, lets be's been weeks since I was on the floor at my desk consistently (due to training) so if I am caught up on my work the breaks are spent catching up with my coworkers!  SOOOOOOO...that means that lunchtime walks have not been happening!  OOPS.   Training is over this week and I should be back to my normal work......and that means that walking needs to recommence!

Today is Friday, a workday for most.  But Jason and I both have off work.  We couldn't be happier!  When we first requested off we had grand plans for a long hike on one of the three weekend days and two long bike rides the other days.  BUT the temperature is supposed to be ungodly hot.  Uhhhhhhhhhh.......maybe a walk through a museum instead?   The jury is still out on what we get into this weekend......but hopefully we can fit in some sort of physical activity.  But regardless....we are off work and it is a three day weekend!  I'm happy!

Have a great weekend!!!!

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!