Nutrisystem Week Two

Week two was another great week for me! I lost an additional 1.5 pounds, putting me at a total of 4.3 pounds lost so far.

I’m noticing an increase in my energy levels and I’ve been feeling more optimistic and excited about things. And now that I’m seeing results, I feel confident in this plan and I’m so happy I decided to do this.

This week I had three off-plan meals: a work lunch with my team, and two dinners out with Bill. I don’t want to be so rigid with my diet that I never enjoy a fun meal out, and each time I just hopped right back on plan for the next meal. It was encouraging to see that I can still lose weight, even with a few splurges.

Nutrisystem Week One

My first week on the Nutrisystem diet flew by and I lost 2.8lbs. I’m thrilled with that number and I haven’t felt a moment of doubt that starting this plan was a positive thing for me.

I’ve never done one of these “buy the food” plans before and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would I like the food? Would I be starving all the time? Happily, I find the food to be tasty (with the exception of the butter popcorn – I am not a fan of it and won’t get that again), and although I do notice that I’m hungry I was fully expecting that to happen with throwing myself into a calorie deficit.

There are stricter ways to adhere to this diet, but since my whole goal was to reduce portion sizes in a way that’s easier for me I’m sort of making up my own guidelines. When I started last week, I set a daily calorie goal and I’ve been sticking to it pretty religiously. In addition to my Nutrisystem three meals and snack every day, I also have a Premier Protein shake, a Greek yogurt, and an apple if I’m extra-hungry. I’ve also been having a piece or two of Dove chocolate if I have enough calories leftover. To me, this feels like a sustainable way of eating while I’m working to lose weight.

I’m so, so happy I took this step for myself. I’m looking forward to another great week!

The Road Map

Since writing my last post where I recognized I would need determination to make lifestyle changes, I definitely haven’t found that determination. Calorie counting has always worked for me in the past, but this time it hasn’t helped…I log my food, but doing that hasn’t deterred me from over-eating.

A major issue I’m struggling with is portion sizes. I’ve gotten so used to eating more that I’m eating way too much even when I’m making healthy food choices. Ultimately, I decided I need more than just determination. I need a road map for success. A plan that would help me adjust to smaller portions without taking a ton of additional time and prep.

I started reading about different “buy the food” diet plans, thinking that it would be a good way to adjust to smaller portions and give me the road map I wanted. I read different food reviews and decided on Nutrisystem. I know people who have used it successfully and my plan is to follow it for a few months until I adjust to eating less food at mealtimes. Once I’m used to that, I can transition back to preparing my own meals.

Today is my first day on Nutrisystem and I’m excited to see my results!

Self-Reflection

Back in October 2012, I wrote a post talking about how I was losing weight after discovering Zumba and making some changes to my nutrition. I happened across that post this morning, and as I read my own words from ten years ago something stuck out to me. Long before I started seeing more favorable numbers on the scale, I noticed awesome changes in my attitude, self-confidence, and outlook on life, I wrote to describe the transformation I had experienced in the time between moving to the Northwest and writing that post.

Over the last two years, my outlook on life definitely hasn’t been the most positive and I know that my self-confidence has plummeted as I continued to gain weight. Like a lot of other people, I fell into eating too much to cope with the stress and anxiety I’ve felt since the beginning of the pandemic, but I can recognize that falling into that unhealthy habit and the subsequent weight gain just gives me more stress and anxiety because I don’t like how I look or feel. Even though the logical way to feel better is to make healthier choices, I’ve conditioned myself to crave comfort food (and too much of it) and so I end up stuck in this cycle where my coping mechanism also fuels the bad feelings that I need to cope with.

It can be extremely difficult to make changes to our behavior and how we show up in the world. It’s one thing to say that I know how I would like to live my life. It’s another to figure out how to shift my behavior accordingly. Motivation comes second to change, meaning that first I have to start changing my lifestyle and that as I begin to reap the benefits, I’ll be motivated to continue even when it feels hard. So where does the initial push to start come from? According to the Internet, the answer to that question is from determination. Being determined to make a change, knowing full well going in that it’s going to be tough.

I’ve found determination to make changes at different points in my life, with varying motivations. I’ve been known to achieve things just because I was told I wouldn’t be able to. Other times, determination came from a place of just being fed up with where I was and knowing that I couldn’t stay on that path. I think that this time, my desire to lose weight and be healthier is coming from a combination of being fed up with my current habits and also wanting to make life easier and more enjoyable for my future self. Often in life I have found myself grateful to my past self for sacrificing to get me where I am now. And yes, it totally does help to think of my past, present, and future selves as independent beings, even if it may sound odd.

I don’t know that I have any profound or insightful reasons for writing this post, but after re-reading my own words from 2012 I felt compelled, if for no other reason than to reflect in writing on the way I used to think and where it got me.

Changes

I came across this post on Instagram and I find it so inspirational! I love the way it reframes a lifestyle change – something that can be very difficult- into something to look forward to.

In July, I turned 38, and I’ve been contemplating what I want this year of my life to be like. Since the pandemic hit back in 2020, it has felt to me like my main goal has been to just get through each day, but I want more than that. I’ve spent the last two years waiting for Covid to recede and life to return to normal, but I’ve come to accept that the world may look different forever and I need to start figuring out my new version of normal. I can’t keep living like my life has been put on pause, because if I do I’ll end up mourning the wasted time.

I very distinctly remember feeling the most confident back in 2012-2013. I was really focused on health and fitness and I loved that lifestyle. I felt great and I was finally at peace with my body. I loved thinking of myself as an athlete. Being that self-confident helped me to make better decisions for myself, and overall I’m very happy with where I am in life.

Ultimately, although I changed my life dramatically and I’m happy I did, in doing so I fell out of most of my healthy habits. I still exercise regularly, but my nutrition is all over the place. Over the past several years I’ve tried lots of different things to get it back in check – following diet plans, briefly working with a nutritionist, logging all of my food in my LoseIt app and counting calories. I’ve had some short-term successes, but I always end up gaining back what I lose and then some. Today I’m only about a pound away from the heaviest I’ve ever been, and I know it’s not a healthy place for me to be and that everything in my life will improve if I can make some changes.

I’m fairly happy with my current fitness routine. I work out 5-6 days a week, taking dance, barre, and spin. I also recently tried a weight-lifting class and really enjoyed it! I know the key to sticking with my workouts is finding ones that I look forward to.

I’ve been faithfully logging all of my food in LoseIt, so I have plenty of data that tells me I’m just eating far too much and that’s absolutely the reason I’m heavier than I’d like to be. In order to be successful, I need to actually set a calorie goal and stick to it. And so this morning I set myself a daily goal and I’m going to work very hard to be mindful of my eating.

Instead of feeling intimidated by this process, I’m choosing to be excited about it. Yes, it’s going to be hard at first to change my lifestyle, and I know there will be times when I feel frustrated and want to revert back to old habits. I just need to keep my eye on the prize – a happier, more confident me who can’t imagine going back to living that way.

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.

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.

Friendsgiving in Paradise

Over the last several years, Bill and I have had a tradition of spending our Thanksgiving holidays with our good friends Ben and Jamie. We’ve dubbed it “Friendsgiving”, and we would alternate hosting each other from year to year (they’ve lived in both Texas and Colorado over the years that we’ve been doing it). After missing out on our get-together last year, we decided we wanted to make our Friendsgiving 2021 extra-special by planning to have it in Hawaii.

When we booked the trip last June, we decided on sharing a two-bedroom condo in Kihei, Maui. Bill and I have been to Maui before, Ben had been to Hawaii but never to Maui, and it was Jamie’s first time going to Hawaii. We picked Maui because we feel like it has a good combination of great beaches and plenty of local shopping and restaurants without feeling super touristy.

By August, Covid cases had spiked and the governor of Hawaii issued a message discouraging tourism through October. We were a little unsure that we’d be able to take our trip after all, but thankfully things got much better and by mid-November the guidance had been lifted and tourists were no longer discouraged from going. All four of us were also able to get our Covid booster shots in enough advance to be fully effective in time for our trip.

We flew to Maui the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and met up with our friends at the airport. After two years apart, we were so excited to see each other! The weather was gorgeous and a much-needed break from the gloom of Seattle in November.

On Wednesday evening we drove to Lahaina to attend the Feast at Lele Luau. It was really fun! We were greeted with fresh leis before being led to our table, where we were able to sip cocktails while we watched the beginnings of the sunset. Then we were treated to a five-course meal that we enjoyed while we watched the dances that accompanied each course. It was a tour of the islands for both our eyes and palates!

At the luau

We got incredibly fortunate to be able to find a condo through Airbnb that was right across the street from Kamaole Beach Park II. We went there every day to relax and swim. One of my favorite things was seeing sea turtles! The turtles love to play in the surf and we spotted quite a few of them every day. One actually brushed against Bill as it swam by us!

Kamaole Beach Park II

Bill’s favorite beach in Maui is at Makena State Park, so we made sure to spend plenty of time there. The beaches are breathtaking and the surf is usually good. Our Airbnb host provided us with an assortment of beach toys and equipment, including two boogie boards, and we had a blast taking turns catching waves.

Sunset at Makena

We ate way too much amazing food while we were there. Our favorite spot was the Kihei Caffe, where we began most of our mornings in Hawaii. Their breakfasts are beyond delicious and the portions are generous. We liked to eat there and then head to the beach, knowing we wouldn’t be truly hungry again until dinner time. Although there was always a line in the mornings, it goes fast and the food is well worth the wait!

While everything about being in Maui was amazing, hands-down my favorite part of the trip was enjoying such a beautiful place with friends we love and had missed so very much over the last two years. Hopefully this will be the first of many vacations we can all take together!