Weight-Loss Wednesday – Week 4

I’m writing this post because I committed to myself that I would, but I’m also contemplating changing the title of this series because the last two weeks have actually been “Weight Gain Wednesday”!

There wasn’t much change on the scale this week – I weighed in at 156.5 which is up 0.2lb from last week. But, I’m giving myself some grace because it was a HARD week and I’ve been feeling incredibly anxious and emotional since my mom’s heart attack on Sunday. I also spent the weekend in Portland with Bill and my friend Jamie, so I was eating more than normal even before Mom got sick.

Right now, my calories per day are at an average of 1,621. There’s still a potential for me to get that number below 1,600 for the month if I really pay attention to my eating over the next week. And, now that my mom has had a heart attack, I’m even more motivated to adopt a heart-healthy diet and get my weight to a more reasonable number. Yes, my reasons for wanting to lose weight are partially rooted in vanity. But I also want to be healthy and live a long life. I’m in my thirties now and I need to establish a healthy lifestyle NOW to support myself as I get older.

I still haven’t figured out the perfect formula for remembering to do my daily plank, so that is definitely something I need to work on. But I am still ahead of my step goal, and I’ve kept my gym and Tunde Arm Challenge goals!

Next week I’m heading to Arizona to visit my parents, but I booked a hotel that does have a gym and my plan is to wake up each morning and work out first thing. I can still accomplish my goal of going to the gym at least five times per week, it’ll just be a different gym than I had in mind when I set the goal.

May definitely didn’t go the way I planned, but I’m determined to finish strong.

Health Scare

On Sunday, my phone rang at around 5:15am. It woke me up; I was in Portland for the weekend with Bill and my good friend Jamie and didn’t need to be up until around 7:30 to start packing to head home. As I rushed to answer, my not-yet-awake brain was slowly processing that what I was hearing was my ringtone and not my alarm and that it was too early in the morning for anyone to be calling me with anything but bad news. The Caller ID display showed it was a call from my dad and briefly I hoped that he was simply up early (as he often is) and had somehow dialed my number by accident as he walked the dog. But as soon as I answered, he was there on the line, telling me first that everyone was okay but then going on to share that my mom had suffered a heart attack.

When I think of the things that I might have worried about happening to my mom, a heart attack wasn’t really on it. She’s in her seventies and up until now has never experienced any sort of issues with her heart. My grandfather and uncle both had heart problems, so it isn’t completely shocking – but they both experienced those problems when they were much younger so I always figured Mom had dodged any potential genetic bullets.

Having a parent in the hospital when you’re far away from them is incredibly stressful, or at least it is for me. As I am not a heart surgeon and quite frankly get a little squicked out by just being in a hospital, I don’t entertain any sort of fantasies that my being there would help her recovery in any way, but it’s still hard knowing that she’s going through something pretty traumatic for her and that there’s nothing I can do to comfort her or make things better. As someone who likes to plan and problem-solve, feeling helpless is extremely difficult for me.

Heart attacks sound very scary, but in reality medical advances have made them a lot less so and heart attack survivors can recover very quickly. As long as there are no unexpected setbacks, Mom should be able to go home from the hospital by the end of the week, and with some time to rest she’ll be as good as new. She’ll have to make some diet and lifestyle changes, but it seems like there’s also the possibility that she’ll ultimately feel better than she has in a long time.

Heart attacks present differently in women than they do in men and I feel like that’s as widely known as it should be. It’s important to know the common symptoms:

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness, or heartburn.

5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

I trust that my mom is getting the best care possible and I’m excited for her to be able to go home from the hospital to get back to living her life.

Reflecting

I felt too discouraged yesterday to write my Weight-Loss Wednesday post. I ate absolutely terribly for most of the last week and that reflected on the scale, which as of yesterday was at 156.2 – a 1.7lb gain from last week. I was super bummed about that and just wasn’t ready to find a positive outlook about it until today.

This morning, I regrouped. I reminded myself that I’m doing great with most of my May goals – I can still get my average calories down below 1,600 again by the end of the month if I get back on track, and I’m on pace with my Tunde arms challenge, my goal for going to the gym five days a week and my step goal. I do keep forgetting my plank! I changed the reminder from 11am to 2:30pm which has helped a bit, but I need to do the plank as soon as the notification reminds me and not put it off.

All that to say, I’m not doing as poorly as I thought and even though I really did struggle yesterday with feeling like a failure, I haven’t failed at all! I think that the part of this I temporarily lost sight of is that I am aiming for far more than achieving the monthly goals I set for myself. I am making lifestyle changes, ones that need to stick forever. I was flipping through ‘The Skinny Rules’ by Bob Harper and something he wrote stood out to me so much that I actually created a note with the quote and saved it in my phone.

You’ve got to make a break. You’ve got to divorce yourself from the past and find a different way of living. And you can never go back.”

My body is the way that it is because of the way I’ve been living. I think I was trying to shoehorn changes into my life without altering my lifestyle, and it’s simply not working. I don’t know why I thought it was better to continue putting myself in situations where I’m practically conditioned to indulge in too many calories (like dinner at a Mexican restaurant where I always have too much food and margaritas), rather than finding new things to do so I wouldn’t tempt myself. But I realize now that it was never going to work, that I couldn’t expect myself to follow the same patterns but suddenly and swiftly make different choices. I know now that if I want to feel better and make improvements to my life, I have to step out of the patterns I’ve developed for myself.

I feel like I have hope again. Making a lifestyle change is hard and scary, but I also truly believe I’m going to be so much happier and healthier for doing it!

Weight-Loss Wednesday: Week 3

After setting tangible goals for myself, I had a much better week! So far in May I’ve averaged 1,550 calories per day, which I’m pretty happy with considering that my eating habits are my biggest struggle. I’ve averaged 11,900 steps per day which is way over my goal, and except for Sunday when I totally forgot I’ve done my daily planks.

Even with that progress, I’ve been enjoying plenty of splurges – a delicious Cinco de Mayo dinner that Bill made, and some fun meals out. I know that the trick to being successful is moderation, not cutting things out altogether, and so far it’s working for me.

Exercise-wise, I’m in a good mindset and I’m happy with my routine. Since I decided to skip the gym last night to go out for dinner with Bill (the weather was gloriously sunny and we decided we wanted to have dinner outside on a deck), I did an at-home strength training class today to make up for it. I got new cycling shoes so I’m excited for the spin class that I signed up to take tomorrow night.

All of the good things I’m doing for myself definitely showed up on the scale this morning:

This morning I weighed in at 154.5, which is down 2.3lbs from last week and 3.7lbs overall. I feel great about my progress and it’s motivating me to keep working hard!

Weight-Loss Wednesday: Week 2

As I mentioned in my May goals post, I didn’t have a stellar first week for weight loss. Setting tangible goals seems to have helped though: the last few days have gone much better!

I weighed in this morning at 156.8lbs, down 1.4lbs from my initial weigh-in when we returned from vacation. I’m pretty happy with that considering that I wasn’t terribly consistent up until a few days ago. Hopefully I’m on my way to finding a rhythm that will work for me!

Goals for May

I meant to write this post yesterday after taking a spin class with Bill, but I was so worn out that I ended up taking a nap instead! Even though I used to ride mh bike a lot, I haven’t cycled in years and spin classes are WAY harder than just riding my bike outside!

Last week I revealed that I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and that I wanted to commit to being healthier and losing some weight. Since writing that post, I haven’t really done much to actually make changes, which is why I decided to make some tangible goals for the month of May to help me get there. I need a plan to follow if I’m going to be successful. And so, here are my health and fitness goals for the month of May:

Average 1,500 calories per day for the month. I know that the amount of calories I eat every day will fluctuate, so by taking an average I can allow myself a few higher-calorie meals when I’m out with friends and on weekends. I have a spreadsheet that I keep so I can keep track of how I’m doing with my average daily calories.

Hold a one-minute plank every day. I want to do more core work and planks are great for that!

Average 8,000 steps per day. The weather is slowly getting nicer and I want to get back into the habit of walking daily. I know there will be some days when I can’t but I think this goal is achievable.

Go to the gym at least five days per week. This one is sort of a “gimme” because I already do this. On Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays, I go to dance, and on Tuesdays and Saturdays I take barre. I’ve added Sunday spin classes to my routine now too, and when we don’t have plans I’d like to take spin on Thursdays too.

Continue the Tunde Arm Challenge. Bill and I have joined some friends in the Tunde Arm Challenge on the Peloton app. The challenge has three ten-minute arm workouts per week for 36 weeks, all taught by instructor Tunde Oyeneyin. Bill and I just started Week 4 of the challenge and so far I’m liking it! Plus, doing it with friends helps me stay accountable.

Weight-Loss Wednesday: Making a Plan

Over the last two years, I’ve managed to stay fairly active even in the middle of a global pandemic. I used the Beachbody on Demand and Peloton apps to work out at home until I felt reasonably comfortable returning to the gym last October. I’ve resumed my beloved Red Hot Dance classes, and in March I also added Barre to my weekly routine.

Even though my fitness hasn’t suffered, I’ve gained a significant amount of weight since 2020 and at 158.2lbs I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever been. I realize that the pandemic was extremely scary and that I’ve endured a lot of anxiety from it, so I’m not upset with myself for gaining weight. But, now that things seem to be getting a little more back to normal, I would really like to improve my eating habits and lose some weight.

I feel like it’s kind of taboo nowadays to say that I’m focusing on weight loss. While I appreciate the anti-diet movement, I think there’s a difference between going on a diet and making changes to your lifestyle with the intention of losing weight. I’ve definitely tried my fair share of diets – Dukan, Medifast, Weight Watchers, and on and on – and what I learned from those experiences is that it’s impossible to sustain weight loss when it’s achieved with changes I’m not willing to make for the rest of my life.

For me, simple calorie counting is a weight-loss method that works, and one I’m willing to do for the rest of my life. I’ve religiously tracked my food since 2007, which was the first time I ever tried to lose weight. Once apps like My Fitness Pal and LoseIt came along, I switched to those from journaling and I literally have years of data in LoseIt about what I eat every day and what I weighed at various points in my life over the last ten years. I don’t mind calorie counting at all and although it’s certainly a possibility that I could change my mind someday, since I haven’t changed it in the last fifteen years I think it’s safe to assume it’s sustainable.

The thing I love about calorie counting is that no foods are off-limits. I just have to budget for them. To me that feels a lot more manageable than following a specific meal plan or cutting things out altogether.

West Coast Road Trip, Pt. 3

Friday morning dawned sunny and beautiful and it was time for us to leave Monterey behind for the next leg of our adventure. Bill and I both really wanted to see the Redwoods, and there were plenty to look at as we wound our way north toward Eureka. That stretch of highway has plenty of twists and turns, along with beautiful scenery.

I had told Bill that I wanted to find the stretch of road that runs right through a Redwood, but he was skeptical and said he was pretty sure that the tree I had been thinking of had fallen down. So I got super excited as we drove through Leggett and I spotted a sign announcing “Drive Thru Tree”.

Sure enough, we found out that there was indeed the Chandelier Tree, a giant Redwood that cars could be driven through. It’s a private attraction and it was $10 cash, which I happily paid. We bumped along a back road for a bit before coming to the tree. The sheer size of it took my breath away.

It’s actually kind of amazing that I was able to navigate my car through the tree – I get nervous driving into the car wash! But I managed it with no scrapes or incidents.

On the other side of Leggett, we followed the Avenue of the Giants detour and stopped at the Founders Grove trailhead to wander through the giant Redwoods, completely at a loss for words. I knew Redwoods would be tall, of course, but it was impossible to imagine just how overwhelming it would be to see the 346-foot Founders Tree. At the Founders Grove, we were also able to see the Dyerville Giant, a Redwood tree that is approximately 2,000 years old. It was considered the tallest tree in the area before it fell in 1991.

After staying the night in Eureka, we headed back out onto 101 for the last bit of sightseeing before we turned the car toward home. We found the turnoff for the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway and followed it. Almost immediately we drove by a meadow filled with grazing elk. I could have stayed there all day watching them!

Beyond the elk, we found grove after grove of Redwoods. We stopped at a trailhead and took a short hike into the forest to see the Corkscrew Tree, which got its name because of its unique intertwined trunk pattern. It’s difficult to get a good photo of such a giant tree but I did my best.

I could spend an entire day at least just taking all of the hikes along the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway. For this trip, we drove through slowly and enjoyed the views of the forest before eventually getting back on Highway 101 toward Crescent City. From there we took Highway 199 into Grant’s Pass, stopped for a quick lunch at In N Out, and then made our way home.

West Coast Road Trip, Pt. 2

Bill and I left Hermosa Beach on Thursday morning, after one more amazing breakfast at Martha’s. Our plan was to take Highway 101 on our drive north, which is decidedly more scenic than I5. Our first stop was in Venice, to see the iconic apartment building that was home to Romy White and Michele Weinberger in the movie Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion – one of my all-time favorite movies. It still looks pretty close to the way it did in the film!

Traffic was slow through Malibu but we were able to pick up the pace a bit and got to Solvang for a late lunch. It’s a Danish-style town in the Santa Ynez valley that’s known for its architecture and shops. The afternoon was sunny and warm so we took advantage of the weather and decided to take a walk through town. After stopping at Mortensen’s bakery to pick up some Danish treats, we split a sausage sandwich and enjoyed a pretzel with mustard and beer cheese at Solvang Brewing.

Our next stop was in Pismo Beach. Bill had read about a place called Dinosaur Caves Park and with a name like that we couldn’t resist checking it out. The day had turned cloudy, which suited me fine because I love a moody coastline.

We stayed the night in Monterey and I was beyond excited that we drove into town and to Beach Point just in time for sunset! The sky had opened up and dumped rain on us for the last hour of our drive, but right as the sun began to set the skies cleared just enough to treat us to a spectacular color show.

West Coast Road Trip, Pt. 1

As I write this, I’m sitting on a balcony at the Grandview Inn, looking out at the ocean while I breathe in the scent of the salt air. Hermosa Beach is one of my favorite places to be, and today as usual it has me in a calm, relaxed mindset that I can really only achieve by being near the ocean. I’m definitely a beach girl!

Truth is, even though Seattle is home and hopefully always will be, LA is a very close second choice. I am a SoCal girl at heart and being back here always just feels right. This trip, we drove down instead of flying. I love a road trip. We made it to Bakersfield the first night, then drove into Victorville on Monday for lunch with my Cali BFF Keri and her two girls, my Nieces Big and Small. Keri and I met back in our 411 days, then later became neighbors when she got married and moved into the same apartment complex I lived in. We went from being neighbors to long-distance friends when she moved to Arizona, only to come back to Victorville just months after I moved to Washington. We’ve always made our friendship a priority though, and when we get together it’s like we were never apart.

Most people have few if any nice things to say about the High Desert, but I honestly don’t mind being there. It’ll always be my hometown, the place I spent half my life so far and where I did most of my growing up. While we were there I tried to drive past the house I once owned, but the neighborhood has been built up so much that initially I got lost and had to go around the block and start over. The house looks the same as I imagine it would if I still lived there. The rose bushes, trees, and sage we planted are all still there, although much much bigger now. It’s kind of strange to think that fourteen years have passed since I bought that place. It was a beautiful house, but the time in my life when I lived there wasn’t the happiest. Things are far better for me now.

After lunch, we headed down to Hermosa Beach, where we’ll be until tomorrow morning when we begin our drive north toward home. I love being here. We’ve had a fun time enjoying the beach, shopping, and eating at cool local restaurants. We found a great piece of art for our room that I’m really excited about, and Bill and I both found some great new clothes and each found a fun pair of shoes at Vans.

Our normal breakfast place when we’re here is Good Stuff, but it’s closed for renovations so we’ve been branching out. This morning we tried Martha’s, and we absolutely loved it. We might even go back tomorrow for one more meal before heading out of town! Although I’m sad that our normal spot isn’t open right now, it’s been great trying new places.

While I love traveling to new places and exploring, I’m happy that we keep coming back to Hermosa Beach. And I’m so grateful that we got through the last two years without having to struggle with our health or finances and that we’re able to take vacations and spend time together doing things we love.