Today I enjoyed my workout

I do not always enjoy my workouts. That’s right, I’m openly admitting what most people just think and are slightly ashamed to admit: I do not enjoy working out. I don’t particularly mind getting up early, as long as I got to bed on time. Getting dressed seems a logical progression from there. Getting some water, check. But then putting on shoes and getting into the car while it is still DARK? Who am I kidding? I want to sit at my computer and drink coffee (oh how I miss coffee – only 17 days of BRIK left!) .Wait. Where was I?

Oh yeah, driving through the dark at 4:30 in the morning. Don’t you agree that this is, frankly, a little nuts? I mean, yes, it’s a nuts that is working for me – a lot. But sanity check here, folks: THIS IS NOT NORMAL.

So I’m not normal. Because this morning I SANG in the car – going and coming. I SANG out loud during my workout (Eye of the Tiger remake – our 5am class theme song) and I had the most amazing workout and the most amazing rush of energy and good spirits and whew!

I think I’m still a little high from that. It feels good. It feels GREAT.

I’m going to put on some shoes and go to work soon, but first, a little visit to the beforeandafterhelp.com board. Because I must share this feeling with the world.

Vikingsholm – Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Vikingsholm - Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Yesterday was the Saturday KAIA run at Coyote Trail. When I got up my knees were sore and I decided to skip trying to run. I took my son to Shabbos School for his weekly Hebrew lesson and Temple. After I dropped him off, I spoke to the Rabbi about the Vikingsholm trail. He said he wife was going to be running it that day and it was clear and beautiful, so I drove over.
I have to admit to a little trepidation. The last time I did that hike, was in 2004. I weighed over 300 pounds and my husband and I almost died trying to get back to the top carrying a 2 year old sleeping child.
When I arrived it looked like this picture (which I borrowed from newsdig.com because mine didn’t come out this good.) The sun was shining. The trail was wide and clear and dry except in two tiny spots that some kind soul had sanded. The birds were singing. Small snow melt creeks were tumbling musically down the mountainside. A gentle breeze was caressing the hillside. The 1 mile walk downhill was easy, even on my sore knees. I never even put on my headphones – I spent the entire 20 minutes drinking in the sights and sounds of nature.
At the bottom I walked around and admired the carvings on the house and the stained glass windows, the roofs with grass/sod tops (they plant flowers in the summer – must come back!) and spent some time standing on the edge of the lake, drinking in the beauty. It was fairly deserted. One couple taking duck pictures. Two women who jogged past onto the Rubicon Trail. I started along it, but it was shaded and a bit more icy and I promised my son I wouldn’t go on an icy trail by myself, so I headed back.
The trail starts to climb almost immediately. I took my time, one step at a time. I got my heart rate up. I stretch out my legs and knees and back and got a workout. But I made it in about 30 minutes, even with a stop for water and to enjoy a beautiful carved bench for a few minutes. It felt good to know that I’m 10 years older, but much, much healthier and in better shape.
I missed the company of my Kaia girls, but I think that hour and a half of hiking fed my soul for the whole week.

It’s Okay to Fail; It’s Not Okay to Give Up

I’m not sure I can count the number of times that I’ve started some weight loss effort. At least every January since I was 10. Later it was every May, too so that I could “be ready for summer”. In 2007 I felt like I was starting over or cranking up every month and then every week. After my RNY in 2009, it felt as if I started over every day. Each day a new opportunity to stick to the plan. Then I stopped doing that for a long time. I started over again in October. Every day a new chance to move my body. Every day an opportunity to try new foods that taste fabulous and make me feel good. I don’t know if I’ll ever make it to my “goal weight”. I don’t think that’s as important anymore. What I think is crucial is that I’m not giving up. So, it’s okay to fail; it’s not okay to give up. That’s my mantra and I’ve found that by using it in my exercise classes or when I eat, my stress level drops and then I’m able to do more than I thought I could. Because until you try, you’ve already failed. And giving up is just not trying again. So, repeat after me: It’s okay to fail; it’s not okay to give up. One more time – louder! It’s okay to fail! It’s not okay to give up! IT’S OKAY TO FAIL! IT’S NOT OKAY TO GIVE UP!

Whew!

That feels good, doesn’t it? Have a great day.

Back on Track in 2014

In October last year I was not only at a very high weight again (236) but was not moving very well. All the signs were there that my sleep apnea and my diabetes were coming back.

The HeathAhead team at work started a Fall into Fitness challenge which helped to get me started. I was walking 1, then 2, then 3 and then sometimes 5 miles a day.  Then a couple of weeks later I bought a Kaia FIT membership at a breast cancer fundraiser. I called to find out when it would start and the answer was TOMORROW. Wow. I did not feel read AT ALL. I’d only been walking again for a few weeks and I was more than a little scared. I had done the program before and it is a serious, kick your butt kind of workout. But – they do have three levels for every exercise: Balance (just starting) Strength (you can do this!) and then Kaia (extreme strength and balance and a real thing of beauty to watch).

So on October 15 I started working out at Kaia FIT in Minden, NV near our new home in Gardnerville. Well, not that near. It takes me 20+ minutes to drive there if I hit all the green lights. But it has been so worth it!  I was getting up at 5am to make the 6am class. At first, frankly, I was miserable. But I also REALLY wanted to get back on track. So I kept at it. When the CORE session was over (5 weeks of workouts, four times a week) I signed up for another one. In every class and for almost every exercise I was still making modifications to even the balance level version. But I kept at it and I was starting to see some improvements in movement, sleep, anxiety and even my clothes were a little looser. (My very, very large, size 20+ clothes. Sigh.)

Towards the end of December I hit a wall – blame it on stress, blame it on seasonal affective disorder, blame it on the holidays – for whatever reason, I was backsliding again. Missing workouts and not always eating as I should. Blast those holidays! I felt like I was spending too much time on the workouts, between the drive there and back and what not.

So I kept with it but I switched to the 5 am class. That’s right. In January I started getting up at 4am to go and work out for the BRIK. I have no idea what that stands for but what it means is 6 days a week, plus a nutrition plan, plus measurements, photos and goals all along the way.  The 5am class is full of teachers from the local school who come out to exercise before racing to school to be at work before 7am. These women are amazing. I’m two weeks into the BRIK and seeing amazing results. I’m eating vegetables, fruit, nuts and as much organic as I can. I haven’t lost that much weight, but I know I’ve lost a lot of inches. Since October I’m down 3 pants sizes and just fit back into a pair of size 16 pants. They are a bit tight, but they fit and hey, with a sweater over them, no one knows about the muffin top. (My son says Mom it’s not a muffin top, it’s a whole loaf and then laughs like a loon. I love that boy.)

Four more weeks of no meat, no dairy, no gluten, no alcohol and no caffeine. I should be in a panic and cheating like crazy but I’m not. I’m actually feeling really good and having a good time with the recipes in the Kaia Kookbook. I’m even getting my husband and son to try some of the recipes and Fred made a dinner the other night of brown rice cooked in vegetable broth and stir fried zucchini, onions and tomatoes that we all three fought over. They added some rotisserie chicken to theirs, but I was really happy with just the veggies.

It was Jacob’s birthday on Thursday and I did have a burger and fries and cake which tasted AMAZING. Fortunately for my plan, I felt like crap afterwards and it was easy to get back on track. At the birthday party yesterday I ordered a burger with no bun, no cheese and no meat. Ha! It was at Five Guys Burgers and Fries and they made me a lettuce wrap with grilled onions and mushrooms, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. I put a little mayo and mustard and salt on it and it was GREAT! I did have a few fries (a few too many) but I am not going for perfection. I’m going for life and life is about wobbling on and off the path and keeping on towards your destination.

I have new goals this year. They are a little different than previous years, but I’m feeling very relaxed and calm about them. Here goes:
1. I will give myself a break and not expect perfection, because it is not possible
2. I will give others a break because it’s only fair (see #1)
3. I will go outside every day and look at the sky and feel the sun or enjoy the stars
4. I will celebrate all the things I can do at 50+ that I never tried to do at 20
5. I will be grateful every day for all the wonderful things in my life
6. I will be less fearful and more peaceful
7. I will take care of myself by eating food that I enjoy that is good for me
8. I will take care of myself by spending more time relaxing and enjoying life
9. I will talk to more friends and not just on Facebook
10. I will not go back and move the indent over so this line matches the others (see item 1)
11. I will whine less and wine more
12. I will give myself permission to be happy and to do things that make me happy
13. I will not make New Years resolutions that make me frantic and feel like a failure (see item 1) (Ed. note: several items removed)

Well, that’s it. It’s good to be back to blogging. I didn’t realize how much I missed it.

Happy New Year to everyone and a peaceful, joyful year to all.

Work Your Own Hard

I’m lying face down on the mat. Sweat is running into my eyes and I feel as if I am gasping for breath. Everything hurts. A few muscles are spasming and I think my foot is cramping. Again.

And this is just the warmup.

It’s Day Three of the Kaia Fit Core Session. Designed to keep Kaia Girls in shape between Briks, this challenging and yet somehow exhilerating program was designed by Nikki Warren right here in Carson Valley, Nevada. Now a national program (see www.kaiafit.com for more details), the core program meets four days a week. Tuesdays are in the gym and the workout is never the same. The idea is to keep your muscles confused so they don’t get all complacent and stop developing. Wednesdays we do something on our own (I walked a 5k very, very slowly to try and loosen up from the previous workout). Thursdays we meet in a local park for some “play time”. Leapfrogging and other partner exercises; jogging and of course planks. Planks are a big favorite. The goal is to increase how long you can stay in a plank. I started at 30 seconds on Tuesday and today I held for one minute. Not bad. Not bad at all – for a 50 year old! Fridays we are back in the gym for Kaia Flow, a VERY high energy yoga based session. I pushed myself a little too hard and now I’ve got a funny pain in my back.

The problem is that I’m one of the oldest and most out of shape women on the team. Angela and Darnette – our coaches – keep telling me to “work my own hard”. Even though that means doing just what I can do and pushing at my own rate, I still can’t seem to NOT push myself to try and keep up with the rest of the class. The result is that I’m going to be sore, but I think I’m also going to make pretty fast progress.

Tomorrow is the last day of the first week. We’ll meet at a local area and run (or walk, in my case) for 1 hour. Sunday and Monday we are resting or doing stuff on our own again. I think I deserve a massage for making it through the week.  Or maybe a session at the local hot springs.

Because I am working, and I’m working hard, to get back in shape and back on track. I can do it.  I just have to keep trying as hard as I can.

Missed a milestone

I had my gastric bypass RNY on August 26, 2009. At the time I weighed 278 (down 50+ pounds from the pre-surgery diet).

Today it’s 3 years and two months later and I weigh in at a whopping 222. At my lowest I got down to 170. So I’m still down 99 pounds from my original weight, but as I start to get back on track, that extra 52 pounds really, really overwhelms me. I guess it will take about a year to lose it back. Which is only right – it took a year of doing the wrong things to gain it!

One of the things that I realized i wasn’t doing was writing/journaling/blogging anymore. I hated admiting that I was gaining and gaining and gaining. I was going to be the role model for RNY – the “Right Way” to do it. Sigh.

Reality is that life stress, which I thought I’d learned to manage with all sorts of other coping tools, finally devolved back to stress eating and comfort foods. Bread, pastry, sweets – you name it, I’ve been eating it.

So going to check out all the great back on track threads and get started – AGAIN.

But that’s okay. it’s giving up that is not cool. Starting over is okay. Staying on track is better, but I choose to forgive myself and get going again.

Today: I will walk 3 miles.

Today: I will have low carb, high protein and nutritious food.

Today: I will take all my vitamins.

Today: I will journal and think about my life – where I am and where I want to go.

Today: I will celebrate getting through the craziness of the last 18 months and having the courage and strength to start over.

I’ve missed you guys.

Taking Stock

I’ve been in Nevada just over a year now. In some ways, things have never been better in my life. I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world. My relationship with my husband and son is strong and good. We are making friends and finding our place in the community. I have a challenging and financially rewarding job with amazing benefits and opportunities for growth that stretch ahead of me for potentially decades. We have gotten almost all the way out of the debt that we ran up when I lost my job last year. We have found a house we love and made an offer and feel positive that we’ll get it. My husband and son are healthier and more active as a family than they have ever been. So what’s my problem?
Brutal Honesty
I have gotten further and further away from my goals and my plan for living. I don’t exercise. I don’t sleep. I don’t eat well. I don’t take my vitamins. Result? I have had to buy bigger and bigger clothes. I’m up to 216 pounds (from my lowest of 171). I can do that math. That’s 45 pounds. I lost 150 pounds and now I’ve gained back 1/3 of that.
Excuses, Excuses
There’s a long list of reasons why I got off track. I lost my job; I moved 2500 miles; I was in danger of losing my house; we lost all our savings and ran up thousands of dollars in debt. But when that first happened, I stuck to the plan, stuck to the exercise, kept eating well. For the first six months, I was still on track. It was only in October last year that I started letting all that go. When I hurt my ankle in December, I used that as an excuse to stop doing anything.
But the ankle healed. All the problems above have worked out fine. The outlook is really positive for us. We may even be able to get a great house and move (for the last time??) before the end of the year. I’m getting to travel again, which I love.

So what’s my problem?
There’s a part of my brain that says I just need a break. But I’ve really been “on a break” since October 2010. And that break has gotten bigger and bigger.

Tough Talk
I’ve been pretty lenient with myself. Poor me, I’ve had a hard time; have some bread. Poor me, you are working such long hours; have some chocolate. Poor me, you have no money; skip your workout.
How in the world are those things connected?? What does it matter if I’m going through a tough period or have no money or working long hours? Why does the comfort have to be something that hurts me?
I am dreading going in and getting my blood sugar tested. I am pretty sure it is back out of the normal range. I am dreading my eye exam because my vision has been cloudy lately and I suspect the blood sugar is behind that. Also, some neuropathy in my left foot. How many times do I read about diabetics who lose a toe? Then another? Then a foot? Then the leg? Then they die.
So what does poor me need to do?
Start walking again – TODAY! Then lifting weights. Then swimming. Then biking. Then running. Then some classes to push myself. I know how to do all that. Been there, done that, got the t –shirt.
Start eating right with the very next meal. Focus on vegetables and lean protein and some healthy, whole grain, low GI carbs. Do not drink 30 minutes before or 30 minutes after my meal. Stop eating BEFORE I’m full – when I’m satisfied. Measure my food. Track my food.
Stop working 14 hours a day. No one expects me to. I’m doing it to myself. Get some real sleep.
Go to support groups like Weight Watchers and WLS Group. I skipped the last month (part of that was traveling, the other part was guilt/embarrassment about where I am today and what I’m not doing.
Find a therapist. I might have to go over to Tahoe. Or into Reno. But find a therapist.

Move.
Eat.
Live.
Think.
And start to MELT away this fat I’ve gained.
Whew!
I feel better already.

Just for fun

Image

I created a t-shirt for my godson and his twin brother – and then I had to get one for my son. I’m calling it the Dam Shirt with thanks to Rick Riordan.

HOOVER DAM
Take the dam tour.
Eat the dam café & have a dam dog and some dam fries.
Have a drink at the dam fountain.
Use the dam restroom.
Buy a dam shirt.

Peace Full

ImageI feel as if I have recently returned from a trip to the dark side of the moon. It has been a wild and whacky year. Last year on my birthday (March 16) I lost my job. Thus began a wild, stress filled adventure that involved massive debt, a 2500 mile move and leaving behind friends and family.

That was the down side.

The upside is that right now I’m sitting in the Carson Valley, watching the sun rise over the Sierra’s, enjoying a fire in the fireplace and a cup of coffee while my dogs sleep at my feet. My family is sleeping peacefully, our bills are paid and we see light at the end of the tunnel of debt we accumulated during the transition.

I know I let the stress and craziness derail me, but this last week or so I’ve been getting more active again, paying attention to what I eat and working really, really hard at being “Peace-Full” which is my new mantra.

I am full of peace.

I am peace full.

Peaceful.

Just saying that several times a day seems to make my shoulders relax and allows me to take a deep breath and smile.

It’s been a long, hard and stressful time but now I can look forward to this new life we’re building. With new friends and old friends visiting. A new, demanding and interesting job with amazing team members – I can actually imagine working there until I retire. We’re going house hunting this weekend – nothing perfect out there for us, so we can wait, but sure is fun to start looking and dreaming.

 

Accountability – Day 2

This is boring, but helpful for me, so apologies to any subscribers who are still reading this!

Yesterday I made a big healthy pot of vegetable, bean and barley soup and when the snacking urge came on, I ate some of the soup or some fruit. Got in more fiber, a bit less protein and more carbs.  Good carbs, but still way too many.

Cals Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Protein Sugars
2238 89 g 480 mg 4933 mg 227 g 52 g 151 g 68 g

I did no exercise yesterday, unless a commando attack of the kitchen counts.  update: It does! At my current weight of 206 pounds a 60 minute cleaning frenzy burns at least 369 calories. I did put on music and I did work up a sweat.

But who am I kidding? It was a beautiful clear day outside. Never left the house and sat by the fire with tea and coffee reading one book after another.

Yes, I have to have down time. Yes I have to relax or my stress level is going to split my head open. Perhaps literally – an aneurism killed my grandfather. So today I’m just going to get outside and ride my bike. Maybe a couple of hours. So tomorrow I can post my intake and output and they might be even.

This accountability stuff is painful and not a little embarrassing, but necessary.  It’s clear to me that I can lie to myself and say that I’m eating really healthy. But when I actually write it down and add it up, not so pretty. Might be mostly healthy choices, but the portions are crazy and the frequency of eating is almost constantly.

Looking back at when I was losing weight, what I really need to be eating is more like this:

Cals Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Protein Sugars
1485 52 g 170 mg 898 mg 92 g 16 g 148 g 24 g

Doesn’t seem like much, but it’s 6 meals of about 200 calories each, very balanced in protein, carbs and fat. Dinner is a bit bigger at 400 calories but very low carb.

To get in shape again, I need to be working out really hard for 90 minutes at least 6 days a week. I just have one of those bodies that don’t seem to notice if I walk 5 miles. But walking 5 miles and lifting weights, that works for me. So why did I not make it to the gym a single day last week? I did pull a groin muscle (showing off in the gym – <sad shake of head>) but that was really over and done with on Wednesday. What was my excuse the rest of the week?

And a correction – on Friday I forgot about an extra breakfast I had after a stressful meeting. Sigh. I actually ate:

Cals Fat Cholesterol Sodium Carbs Fiber Protein Sugars
2832 130 g 916 mg 4390 mg 225 g 18 g 195 g 58 g