Sunday, November 12, 2017

10k30 challenge: week 1

Starting a new routine can be a challenge. In my case I'm attempting to get back to my old healthy habits that I know work, and the most effective way I find to do so, is to publicly challenge myself. It's accountability, and motivation. I tell everyone I can what I'm doing, so if they catch me slipping they can call me out, and cheer me on when I nail it. My partner thankfully does exactly that, as do many of my friends and family back home. So anyways, that's why I let everyone know about it. The reason for the challenge though, is repeating these actions daily for any decent length of time helps me to incorporate them into my everyday life- long term. If I've managed to take my ten thousand steps every day for thirty days in a row, then I know surely this can be an everyday thing. I do the same thing with my diet, if I'm doing a juice fast, I let everyone know I'm doing it [and why].

My utter lack of fitness really hit me when my partner had his kids come to visit. The kids wanted to bike down the road while we followed on foot. I realized how winded I was and we hadn't even made it to the end of the road.. it was almost a breakdown moment considering I used to hike miles of rugged terrain carrying a pack from 30 to 60 pounds depending on the season for days or weeks on end. Right now, I don't think I could even hike the smallest one of these hills out here without collapsing in pain and exhaustion.

When I first moved out west I'd lucked out on having a place to crash in East Van. No matter where you walk in that city, you're on a hill and in a matter of time, you get used to it. I did a lot of walking in Vancouver, and thankfully I was still carrying my fitbit at the time to reflect that. 25-40 thousand steps a day wasn't uncommon, and without even thinking about it. Even after my roof collapsed and I lived in a pickup truck for half a year [and on a couch for the other half ] I still managed to get enough exercise whether I was collecting firewood or working in the city. Now that I have a home again and in the country this time, driving to get places.. my step count had dropped drastically. But I didn't notice without my step counter, eventually the scale tipped me off.

...

Day 1: it was effing cold. Winter winds were whipping through the valley, but I strapped on my shoes and got out there. My face was a little frozen but I loved it, it felt good to be out there moving. It's pretty easy to get cooped up inside in colder months and stagnate, especially outside the city. I had found my fitbit in my basket of stuff that I haven't touched for a couple of years. I had been wearing it for a week before I started this challenge to observe what my patterns are like now... I was horrified to see that my average for that week was maybe 6 thousand steps a day, my lowest being just over three thousand. No wonder I was winded trying to walk briskly to the end of my road.


Day 3: I was really lucky that I had started on a long weekend because I could get into a step routine during daylight hours before having to get out there in the dark. This time of year there's only 8 good hours of daylight which can be demotivating at times. By day 3 I was out of bed and ready to get stepping before the sun. I felt excited to get out there and make it down to the creek [at the end of the road] so that I could adventure around in the woods before my walk back. I had been brisk walking that way every day, and also 'slow running' to the other end [a shorter distance] and back daily to make my quota.

Day 5: by the fifth day, I'm starting to get tired. I'm back to work and making time to get the rest of my steps in after, and keeping house and making it happen... but I'm tired. No above and beyond, but I did complete my goal.


Day 7: still tired, but starting to get my second wind. I only have Sunday off this weekend as opposed to the long weekend I started with. I got up early this morning to get my steppin' on before doing a half day at work, and it was a beautiful morning to get outside.

...

It's now the morning of day 9, and I'm sitting here writing while I wait for the rain to slow down. I've been pulling out the scale every couple of days to check if my weight has changed, and I have seen my weight go down 2 pounds and back up one. That's far better than a steady increase, like what has been happening this past year. I have only made minimal changes to my diet in the past week, doing my best to avoid breads and pasta, margarine and cheese, and chips and sweets. I've been brewing my own tea with honey and almond milk instead of grabbing Timmies, and having a smoothie with fruits and Vega to get me going and keep me satiated all morning. I'm hoping to squeeze in a 2 day juice fast the next time I have two days off, so I'm preparing myself for that as well.

That's about all I have to say for today, I'm going to do some kitchen calisthenics while I wait out the rain. Thanks for reading! And a huge thank you for cheering me on. I will get there, one step at a time. Cheers back at ya!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Where I'm at

Starting over isn't easy.. hence why it's taken me over a year to get back up on my horse.  As a very brief recap, I became very unhealthy in my late twenties and gained a lot of weight. In 2013-2014 I managed to lose almost 70 pounds total. Over the past year, I've almost gained it all back, and I'm sick all over again. So, here I am.. starting over.

One thing I'd recommend on any health and fitness journey whether starting from scratch or looking to reach new goals, is to find a coach. I was lucky enough that a wonderful coach found me.. so now it's time to take a look at where I'm at. I decided to share this info like I'm sharing everything else to keep my own records, and to hopefully inspire others along the way.

Here we go..


Stats

Age: 32 years
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 122.7 lbs
Size: 16

Health challenges:
Autoimmune disorder, hashimoto's thyroiditis, endometriosis, IBS, insomnia.
Injuries:
Tendonitis, carpal tunnel in right arm/ hand, sciatic nerve damage.

Diet

Mostly vegetarian. No milk ever, cheese sometimes, farm fresh eggs, garden veg [we grew a literal ton this summer]. Lately have been eating a lot of pasta and breads, and rice.

Guilty pleasures; our lunch snacks the past while included chips and the most chocolate laden granola bars you can even buy. Fast food maybe every 6 weeks we cave. Cutting back on the timmies. I buy cookies when the children visit... and partake in their consumption.

Exercise 

30-45 mins of brisk walkng per day
10-15 mins calisthenics per day
Minimal stretching


I'm currently challenging myself to take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, and half hour of active routine. I like to mix some pieces of insanity and p90x for as long as I can handle with other calisthenics workout.

Environment

I'm currently living in what some lovingly refer to as a 'tiny home'.. which in actuality is a very small farm house out in the country. I do have access to long country roads, farm fields, and a waterway. I don't have very much space for indoor workouts and such, my whole house can be walked corner to corner in about eleven paces.

That said I am hoping to reacquire the gear that I had before moving west, as it worked for me by allowing me a variety of exercises with minimal equipment and space. These simple items include a yoga mat, small weights, and Lebert Equalizer bars.

 Sleep

The word sleep mostly exists in my vocabulary with the word 'can't' in front of it, I have had issues sleeping all my life. This week has been better than most averaging 6 hours a night, but I have had several weeks that average only 3 and a half. The amount I am active doesn't always necessarily mean more sleep, my sleeping patterns are often affected by weather, pain levels, the fullness of the moon,  and various stresses and occasional anxiety.

Stress

Speaking of stresses, there's far fewer in my life now in my life right now than there was say, 2 years ago. I'm no longer sleeping in the back of a pickup truck, or a tent or someone's couch, so there's that. My current stresses involve money and debt. Who doesn't stress about those things? I do lose sleep over it at times, but I'm grateful to be safe and warm and dry.

Lately my biggest stress though, has been about my health. I've been struggling with several issues that are exacerbated by not getting all the exercise I need for over a year, and the crappy diet I was consuming for the almost 2 years before that. I've only just begun to make some changes, but I often stress about the damage done.

Habits

I'm a non-drinker, and proud to say that as of this month I'm a non-smoker too. I did smoke about a pack and a half a day, and slowly weaned myself off using a vapor device.

Since driving and working long days on ladders, my daily step count is less than a quarter of what it was living in the city, walking and commuting. Not to mention my previous job involved pushing a mower or some various other small engine machine. I have become 'lazy' using my manual labour jobs as an excuse to do so.

Objective 

To regain control of my health through proper diet and nutrition, and improve my strength through exercise and movement. In short, I want to feel better so that I can better enjoy the life that I've worked hard for.


...


That's it for now. Stay tuned for challenge updates! I'll be writing about the ups and downs of my first week literally getting back on my feet. Thanks so much for reading, and your continuing support!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Starting Over: Take Two...

*Sigh*

Like, really?

The last time I hit this blog was in April.. I had every intention to get back on track with my health, but mostly failed. I did buy a scale, which may have squashed my motivation a little seeing what it read.. and I have been using my Nutribullet almost daily for breakfast. Besides that and [finally!] quitting smoking, that's about as far as I got. On the plus side, I haven't gained much more weight. Watching the numbers slowly but steadily climb for almost a year was telling me it's time to get my health in check. But I ignored the obvious.


It's not all about the weight, having gained weight is just a sign of how my health in general has declined. My body is pretty keen on accumulating weight when something isn't right internally. My guts kill me no matter what or how much I eat. I'm in some kind of trouble.

I can't take it anymore. I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm heavy. My partner, as amazing as he is, has the "beauty is what's inside" attitude... which kind of doesn't help. I'm beyond thankful for his presence, but he doesn't understand my "need to change".

First things first. 

I dusted off my fitbit for the first time in a while. I started driving regularly just over a year ago, and unfortunately no longer needing to walk my ass off to get to work has had a huge impact on my daily 'step count'. And I mean HUGE. Like I don't think I even realized... I thought I was still doing a lot of walking during my shifts, up and down stairs, up and down ladders, back and forth across the jobsite several times a day.. But it just isn't enough. I'm not even touching the 'daily goal' of ten thousand steps preset by the fitbit app, when before I drove, I'd get 30,000 steps a day easy. I almost crapped when I saw at the end of a work day I was only at 7 thousand steps.

So my first goal is.. ten thousand a day.  At least. I will have to become more conscious of my steps, and make time to take more if I haven't reached my goal.

Keeping track. 

I'm right back at my all time heaviest weight. I'm carrying it a little better this time than I did years ago, but that's not the point.. I'm still carrying it. So here I'm going to list my current measurements, no matter the 'embarrassment'. I know I'll appreciate it later. Plus it's more for my own records, but I'm sharing that if I may some day encourage someone else to push through the same struggles. So here it is:

Weight: 223.3 lbs [height 5'5"]
Pant size: 16
Waist: 51"
Bust: 48"
R thigh: 30.5"
L thigh: 32"
R arm: 13.5"
L arm: 13"

So there. Last time I was this weight, I believe I was size 18+ and I'd never bother to buy jeans to save myself the struggle of finding some that fit. At least right now I can wear jeans, because I need to for work. Sheet metal is sharp! Though I wish they were a little looser fit. My goal pant size is 8, last time at which I weighed roughly 160 lbs. I still have my goal pants from last time around.

Make the decision. 

One must decide first that they want to be healthy before one can become healthy. I'd made that decision once before, and that's when I had my greatest success. My mistake was not keeping up with my healthy lifestyle choices, for giving up when I hit a rough patch in my life. I admit it's not easy to eat healthy and plan for regular exercise when living outside, being healthy was not as much a concern as merely surviving.

When I finally got back on my feet about a year ago, I gave my health some thought, but that was about the end of it. I got comfortable, and complacent about the status of my health. It didn't matter as much as securing jobs, and finding a roof under which to live. My focus all year was purely external, knowing full well my health was continually being sacrificed.

I can't let that happen anymore. I must decide. One step at a time. Forever forward. I'm beginning again, from the start. All I ask from my friends and loved ones is for a little encouragement. Please remind me that I'm worth it, I tend to forget from time to time. Thanks, and lots of love.

xo

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Starting Over.

I look back over this blog that I [thankfully] kept, and I just shake my head. I mean, I'm glad I kept the blog, I'm just utterly disappointed in myself for letting go. I did so well for so long, even after my mother passed away. And here I am, eating crap food, sick all the time, almost back to my heaviest weight, and smoking. YEP.


The past couple years has been a rough ride. I wouldn't necessarily take any of it back, I've learned a lot about myself, but I let myself go in the process. I've been struggling with my mental health, with my sense of self worth, and with my highly addictive personality. All those things combined when not managed can be a recipe for disaster.

I NEED to get back on track before I can't anymore. The time is now. Should have been yesterday, but now is all I've got.

...

Two months later...

I've managed to almost completely quit smoking. I went from a pack or more a day to two or three cigarettes. I was able to make it a couple days without having a single one, then I let the stress get the best of me. I still haven't bought a pack in over a week.

My juice press is sitting assembled and ready to go on the dining room table. I've even used it a couple times this week. The nutribullet has seen fairly consistent action for my breakfast smoothies, but just about every meal has been (delicious, but) an assault on my insides. My digestive system has been in revolt for a few months now, but the stress and anxiety I've been dealing with was my huge excuse not to give a shit.

Oh, and I bought a scale. It's been a long time since I've stepped on one, and I nearly cried. Weight wise I'm pretty much right back to my heaviest. At least I still kinda fit in my jeans. Kinda. My weight is a good tell of how bad my insides are getting. The worse they are, the more I retain. If I don't get back up on it, I'm gonna get very sick very quick.

I'm worried that it won't be as 'easy' as it was last time to get into a routine. I'm a little nervous that maybe it will be much harder to lose the weight as I get older. I'm kinda scared that it might be too late. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

There's a produce store in the nearest town that happens to be on my way home from work, no matter what city I'm working in. I have to pass it to get home. There's a vape place in the plaza next to that. I have no excuses to smoke or not eat the way that I should. There's a big-ass garden planted beside my house that in a couple months will be so abundant I won't know what to do with it all.

I don't need junk. I don't need sugary snacks or pizza. I don't need sammies every day for lunch, or meat at dinner. I don't need salty greasy fried things to be happy. I don't need to smoke to feel alright.

This is it. The beginning of the rest of my life. And I'd rather live in health than in sickness.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

things falling apart.


okay. alright... so the last time i hit this blog was in december of 2014, about six months after my life started falling apart. i promised i wouldn't let it all get to me, and i called myself out for slipping. here i am again, starting over. not right from scratch, i'm certainly not back to the state of dis-ease i was in back in 2012/13. but if i keep on this path i'll be back there in no time. i can feel unpleasant things unraveling inside me. and the weight is a sure sign of the sickness, my body always does a good job of showing me on the outside when shit just ain't right within.

so, where am i at? i'm not entirely sure to be honest. i lost my scale on one of the several moves the past year and a half. my jeans do not fit me arse. my guts aren't working right. my hip has been mildly disjointed for quite a few weeks now and it's getting uncomfortable. i have a doc's appointment tomorrow to find out what's all up with my thyroid function, and hopefully get on my way to seeing some specialists about some things. i haven't really managed to stay put anywhere for very long since i moved west a couple years ago, and i think that has had a huge impact on my ability to maintain my physical health. i get frustrated when i'm on the move trying to accommodate to uppity diet restrictions and fitness routines. which shouldn't actually be as much a problem as it is, but unfortunately our society gives zero fucks about what it consumes and how it lives so i'm far too often left to choose the lesser of various evils when it comes to eating. things are changing in that realm, very slowly, but it's happening.

for the most part, this blog has been reserved for keeping track of my physical health, and i haven't made much mention of the mental side of things. if you already know me, you know that mental health issues a] run in my family, and b] have been a part of my every day life since i was a wee one. my mental health i have been less willing to address medically, mostly because of my blatant lack of trust in western medicine, especially regarding these kinds of things. brain chemistry isn't something that i like the idea of messing with. but, it's a thing. and another aspect of my health that i have to take responsibility for. i will admit, when i was doing all that i could physically to support this vessel, i was doing far better mentally than i ever was in my past, and i know that by addressing one side of things it will help the other. this time though i have to take a sort of backwards approach to find the mental motivation to take better care of myself physically.

so i gotta start where i'm at with what i've got. i have a steady place to stay right now which is rad. makes sleep and cooking and hygiene much more of a thing. i have my nutribullet smoothie machine, a hand crank masticating juicer i gotta pull out of storage, some space to do some stretches, and a produce market store right across the street. i gotta reset my system, ease in as to not go into shock and fall over. i have to find the right amount of calories for what i do for a living without eating anything that hurts. the way i did this last time was start swapping out components for cleaner options and figure out how much of that food is needed to make it up. i need a lot of calories especially in the colder months, and decent hydration. oh, and i have this blog. sooo thankful i kept track of things. i know i can do this again, and better.

one thing that i don't have and wish i did, is the garden space. i was spoiled back home with a quarter acre to do with what i pleased, and it turned to a sweet little camp surrounded by epic food gardens. the produce was abundant and delicious sun fresh. i am grateful to have access to a wee balcony, which my flat mate and i are attempting to turn into a mini food jungle.

oh ya! and how many times have i quit smoking now? like 6? haha. i'm kind of that path again, i've been smoking on the weekends and vaping during the week for a month or so. i'm just about ready to drop the cigs completely. i feel kinda strange about replacing them with a vape instead of going cold turkey, but i know myself and the act of smoking is just as addictive as the nicotine. for now at least, i need that thing to do. with that little bit of nicotine in the juice.

...

my challenge for 2016 is still a health challenge, just one without numbers. i don't have a weight loss goal [although i'll certainly lose some], i'm not as concerned about inches, i'll know i'm there when my clothes fit again. there's that little black dress.. [not even shitting, i own but one 'dress', it's black, and rad, and i will get into it again].

i just want to feel better. i want my guts to stop hurting. and bleeding. and my joints to hold together right. and my head not to hurt all the bloody time. and my hip.. i want to be able to climb a hill and take a breath at the top of it. be a part of the world around me and fully enjoy it without some sort of stabbing/throbbing/annoying pain. and have the energy to get excited about it! and feel like i deserve it, i suppose that's key. i just want to be me.

so that's what i'm gonna do. one step, two...

it's over due.

xo

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

calling myself out..


me at my goal weight of 165 lbs, an entire 50 pounds lighter than last year.


i just did it. again.. that common mistake people make that i mentioned in my last blog post.. i managed to reach my goal, and then i stopped doing all of the things that got me there. maybe not entirely, as a lot of them have become habit, like the fitbit ocd i now have. and of course, the Shakeology. thankfully i actually enjoy it, which is a miracle, and it's super simple to make.. and just happens to have a boost of everything i need for the days i'm feeling too lazy to be healthy. which has been a lot lately.

last time i caught myself in the act. this time i let it go on... thankfully i didn't gain any weight back. permanently anyways. but i have been feeling like crap, and it's starting to show on my face. my skin hates it when i eat oily or sugary things, and i'm totally guilty of downing a bag of chips or two in the past week, loaded with both. a little break-out is enough of a sign for me to get back up on it.

it's not like i dropped my healthy lifestyle completely, as i said i do have healthy habits established now, the smoothies and dark green based salads have still been staples in my diet. but i have been a little over-indulgent on things i shouldn't have. and as much as i hate to admit it [but i'm calling myself out here, that's the point..] i started smoking again. roughly around the same time i started working the job that i've been blaming my life-hate on, a physically demanding, mentally draining, and shift-rotating job at which i can barely afford to survive at let alone thrive. i'm still debating holding out at this company for an upcoming full-time position, or finding something new. the stress isn't helping my situation, so i have to stop letting it get to me and get on with my life.

that said, today i dropped the excuse of taking 20-40 thousand steps a day as a reason not to work out, and restarted the PiYo challenge. i decided to become a BeachBody coach earlier this summer because i do have faith in their products, their workouts certainly give results if you stick with them and do them correctly. the Shakeology was an added bonus, i never ever like shake mixes and usually ditch them before finishing a bag, but their vegan chocolate option is actually amazing. anyhoo back to the coach thing.. as much as i enjoy their products, and even though i have seen results and proven myself successful in using them, i'm far too modest to put myself out there and sell this thing.

i should really give it a shot though.. i'm just not sure where to begin. i have my story, i have results, and i'd really love to help other people do the same.. but i know it's expensive [not really, compared to a daily starbucks and picking up a new video game], and i know it takes dedication, and i'm not sure if i have what it takes to coach others when i sometimes have a hard time staying on track myself. i suppose that's just another realistic dynamic of being engaged in such a challenge, changing your entire lifestyle to encourage health from a state of illness can be daunting. being and/or having a coach is a good place to start with accountability. sometimes you fall down. no reason not to get back up.. at least that's what i'm telling myself. time to get up.

i'm so thankful that i started this blog. it's almost hard to believe without looking back, how heavy and unhealthy i was, and how i could allow myself to get that way especially knowing all that i know. it's a reminder of the challenges and the lessons, and a motivation when i feel like giving up on myself. although i have been determined to change my life and regain my health, i wasn't always confident that it would work. it's time to take it to the next level, beyond just losing a few pounds and reaching a numerical goal. for 2015 my new challenge is to strive for super-fit, and put this thing to work for me. i wanna be a coach, for real! because if i can do it, i truly and honestly believe that anyone can. i'm stubborn, 'lazy' at times, and LOVE food, on top of having a pre-existing health condition that causes weight gain and fatigue. and here i am, fifty pounds lighter and in far less pain. impossible is Nothing. onward!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

getting the goal.. and beyond.

well, i made it for a minute there. i did the seemingly impossible, losing fifty pounds in about 9 months. weight that took years to accumulate due to ill health and poor choices. weight that i'd never thought i could lose. and here i am.. i crossed the 'finish line', but it's not over yet.


i think a common mistake that people make when they set a goal for themselves most particularly involving weight loss, is thinking 'hey, i made it' and then suddenly stop all the good things they were doing to get them there in the first place. the weight comes back, the individual becomes frustrated and claims that the program or whatever 'didn't work'. of course i've said it before and i'll say it again, maintaining good health involves life-long changes for the better. no matter what you're doing to get there, chances are if you stop and go back to doing whatever you were doing before, you'd end up right where you began. unhealthy and unhappy.

not gonna lie, i did exactly that. but i caught myself soon enough.. one of the reasons i insist on stepping on the scale daily is to keep myself in check. just as it's not easy to tell you've lost weight when you're stuck inside your body, it's also hard to tell you've gained it. especially if it's 'only' five pounds. that extra long weekend of pizza and ciders and and smokes and submarine sandwiches took it's toll. five pounds on, guts in a knot and a yummy cough. gotta love it. nah.. gotta take responsibility, suck it up and get back on that there wagon.

after being a couple months without, i finally had to bite the bullet [ha!] and purchase a new nutribullet. i'd killed mine before leaving home anyways, so i didn't feel so bad getting a new one. now i just have to get back in the habit of using it daily.. at the very least i make sure to have my Shakeology. i know it's a shake mix, but it's delicious and filling and vegan which is a million times better than grabbing a cheeseburger on the go. i still have my hand crank juicer somewhere, but not having a garden to feed the compost to makes me more conscious of the waste. one of my new goals is to try some of those 'super boost' green drinks in the recipe book. and do my best to make them taste as cream as the booster juice... i don't know how they do it! but i will figure it out.

and beyond..
now that i know what 166 looks and feels like, i know my journey to better fitness isn't over. i'm not sure what i was expecting, except maybe to not feel so heavy on my feet. this is true. now that i've achieved this, i'm fairly confident that i can move forward from here with some more specific goals. now that the majority of the pounds that were in my way are gone, i can work on toning muscles, tightening up and maybe even push a little further down the scale.

my main challenge at the moment is re-establishing a routine. i've been kind of vagabonding around since the middle of summer which certainly added to the challenge of maintaining any sort of ritual. now that i've finally decided to settle in somewhere for the winter, i can re-build my healthy habits and work on some new ones. i have to get back on the workout routine for sure, the hills of Vancouver have been quite a help but now that i'm adjusting i have to continue to push my body's limits.

i'm currently working the night shift, which is tiring and not usually a good thing when trying to establish a healthy way of life. but it's my reality right now, and i have to make the best of it. working the opposite of everyone else kind of forces me to have a lot of time to myself, and though that gets a little uncomfortable at times, it's probably exactly what i need right now, so the best thing i can do is embrace it, and make the most of every moment.

well, that's where i'm at right now.. excited to achieve and to move forward. thanks again to all my readers family and friends for your ongoing support and encouragement. without it, i likely wouldn't be writing an ongoing success story. love! until next time..