Thursday, January 26, 2017

Step-by-Step, Ooohhhhh Baby!

For a lonnnng time now, I've been so incredibly scared of hills and stairs. There's a bigggg hill on University Street between 2nd and 3rd here in Seattle. It's been daunting! 
Last summer, a hill much like the University Street hill did me in during the Color Run. It was at the top of that hill where I was completely out of breath. Heaving, couldn't catch my breath, gasping for air, lungs burning. It was baaaad!

Last week, I decided I would walk up the University hill. I was scared, but I was going to do it. I stood at the bottom, took a deep breath, and started up.

To my amazement, IT WASN'T TOO BAD! I was certainly breathing heavily at the top, but I was completely recovered by the time I got to the front door of my building! AWESOME!

Yesterday, I decided to do it again and guess what?! Same thing! I even got up the nerve to go DOWN the hill earlier this week! Equally scary, but I did it!

This morning, I decided to do one better. Don't walk up the University hill, walk up the University STAIRS...without holding on! WHUUUT?!

Sooo... I did. I walked alllllllll the way up those stairs without touching the handrail! I ALWAYS hold on out of fear of falling and needing to help myself up! To be able to do it without touching the handrail was INCREDIBLE!

These same stairs were a nightmare for me a little over a year ago! My car was in the garage and, for some reason I don't recall, we had to go down the stairs to get access.

I was soooo heavy, I was sweating and had to rest halfway down -- DOWN the stairs, not UP! This morning, I went UP -- no stopping, no resting, no problem!

So many accomplishments this week and facing fears! Feels sooooooo good!

All right, what's next...?

Sunday, January 15, 2017

My Healthy Plan

I often get asked, "What are you doing to be so successful?" so here's my secret: There's no secret. Sorry.

It's simple, actually! Eat well, move your body, see results. Period.

Not enough? Okay, fair enough. Here's how I do things...

When I started in February 2016, I didn't make radical changes. I started simply. One change at a time.

I had already made some changes in January with spreading my food out throughout the day, rather than eating a day's worth of food in one sitting. (see New me) By February, I decided I probably needed to make some better food choices. I started with a better choice here or there (e.g. skip McDonald's and get teriyaki instead.)

I continued to make small changes to my diet. I started watching calories and tracking my food. I stopped eating fast food and started eating more of a clean diet.

One change here and one change there has built up. If I had been radical about it -- gone through my fridge and pantry and done a clean sweep -- I would have revolted and quit!

Here's an example of a small change: Instead of eating enough pasta for three people, four times a week, I would have pasta for one, twice a week. Then pasta twice a month. Then once every few months. You get the idea.

I now eat about 80% clean and focus more on macronutrients than calories. I stay away from processed foods and foods with too many ingredients or ingredients that are impossible to read.

I eat primarily chicken breasts, yogurt, eggs, fresh vegetables, fruit, etc. I have a berry protein smoothie every morning and supplement with protein drinks and bars when I'm on-on-the-go or need some extra protein. (Protein is the ultimate super food!)

I keep rice, pasta, breads, starchy vegetables, etc. (unnatural occurring carbs, in general) to a minimum. When I do have those things, I make choices for whole grain and unrefined, as much as possible.

I still enjoy treats and "bad" food when I really want to, but it's now an occasional thing every few weeks or months, rather than a regular thing multiple times a week.

I also don't consider being away from home and having to eat out as a license to deviate. I've done research so I know what restaurants around me have healthy options. If I go out of town or somewhere new, I look up nutrition and know what I'm ordering before going to the restaurant.

I'm also religious about not drinking my calories. I exclusively drink water and coffee with only a touch of creamer. I have 1-2 cups of coffee a day and drink no less than 2 liters of water a day.

The other invaluable piece of the puzzle is moving. Get off my butt. Move. Move. Move.

I go to the gym 4-5 days a week and workout for an hour: 45 mins of cardio and 15 mins of Strength Training.

Even on my rest days, I try to at least do *something.* A walk. A few trips up/down the stairs. Nothing much. And not always, but usually.

This approach has resulted in an average loss of 2-3lbs a week. Sometimes more, sometimes, less, sometimes nothing (those weeks make me a crazy person!) There have even been a handful of weeks where I've been up a tiny smidge. It's all part of the journey.

There you have it! That's how I've been doing it!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Starting Here...

My commitment for 2017 is to continue my journey towards physical well-being and to also incorporate improved mental well-being. 

Part of my journey to improved mental well-being is blogging more regularly (at least bi-weekly) and doing some self-exploration. I'm 44 years old and -- surprisingly -- I feel like I don't know many things about myself. Years of being a mom, giving to others, working, going to school, you name it and I've lost myself.

Tiffany found a wonderful self-exploration journal. I've decided that's a good starting point. I know there will be parts that will be difficult. I know it'll mean allowing myself to be vulnerable -- scary! -- but I can do it! 

I'm about to take the first step to learning about myself. 

Here goes!

Playing Catch-up!

It's been entirely too long since I've posted! So much has happened and changed in the last couple of months!

For starters, I broke the halfway point of getting to my goal! 125lbs are now GONE! How did that happen so quickly?!

I also made it through my first holiday season as 'New Me' and -- I'm so proud of myself! I was able to maintain portion control and keep myself from going crazy with food. One plate at each holiday and I didn't overfill the plate, like I always have. There were tempting moments, but I managed to hold strong. *fist bump* to me!

I even made it through our cookie baking session with Jean without eating too many cookies. The temptation of four-bazillion cookies on the counter the next day got to me and I indulged in 5 -- yes, FIVE! -- but I logged them, owned them, counter-balance the rest of my day around them and moved on!

During the six week holiday season, I actually managed to lose 13lbs! So awesome! I think this really proves out my commitment to my new lifestyle and that it truly is a new lifestyle, not a diet!

The other way I've grown by leaps and bounds in the last few months is activity and exercise. I really struggled from the beginning with being active. I had finally gotten my groove and was starting to get in a rhythm when I got sick back in May/June/July. The 30 days of not being able to exercise really killed my motivation.

Once I was better, I struggled with getting my motivation back. I kept trying and wasn't getting far. I'd manage a day or two, then I'd slump it out. I didn't know how I was going to get there, but I was going to keep trying.

One day, I joined the Facebook Spark People group. When I did, I met some INCREDIBLE people! There was an exercise challenge being started and I figured that was just the push and drive I needed so, I jumped right in! It's been wonderful to have motivation and accountability!

I'm back to going to the gym 4-5 days a week and sweating my butt off! The best part is that I'm starting to find new muscle! I flexed my arm the other day and deep down under the fluffy layer was a nice little -- and I do mean little -- mound of muscle! There was also a little bump on my forearm! WHOOHOO! It's taking time, but it's paying off!

Some days, I can hardly believe my progress. I don't know who this girl is, but I like her! I'm really starting to learn to love myself -- something I often struggled with. I've been making conscious efforts to not be self-deprecating. Talk about a struggle! So many years of negative voices in my head and negative thoughts about myself is a difficult habit to break -- perhaps the most difficult I've faced thus far. I've even asked Tiffany to start calling me out, if I do it. I even promised her $5 each time, but I haven't paid out yet. haha I'm down to a few times a week, rather than multiple times a day -- progress!

I could literally go on and on to catch up what's happened in the last few months! I guess that's what I get for slacking for so long!

With the new year, I've committed myself to working on my mental well-being, as well as my physical well-being. I tackled my physical well-being in 2016; 2017 is the year of mental well-being, along with the continued improvement of my physical well-being.

... that's a wrap!