Healthy Happy and Sweaty

Fitness Journey of an empty nest mom and wife trying to balance a healthy lifestyle with a busy life!


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I didn’t hit my goal

So I had a goal number and a date in mind, 150 by May 7th. Random date, meaningless except for the fact that is the day I had blocked off for going shopping for my upcoming vacation. But here it is, May 9th, and I didn’t hit it. In fact, I managed to gain 2 pounds this last week.

It was a pretty lofty goal, 52 pounds in 7 months, but I was determined. Now I am disappointed in myself, and trying to stay positive isn’t always easy. But I need to look at the bigger picture, I am only 10 pounds from that goal. That is still 42 pounds in 7 months, and that in and of itself is something to be proud of. I have worked my butt off to get here!

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But still, I am really sad about this! I know that I am human and haven’t always been perfect with my food plan, but I really thought I was going to hit it. For every time I did screw up, there have been countless times I didn’t. I have hardly skipped any workouts, what the hell? Why didn’t it happen on my time scale? Where did I go wrong? Crap!

More than sad, I am mad at myself, I mean really at the end of the day, I screwed this up, all me. As I have said before, I am responsible for my own successes – and failures…It all comes down to me, and I have to accept that. Man, failure sucks, but what am I gonna do? Stop now? Give up on my goals? Quit after all the hard work I have put in?

OK Karin, let’s look at the positive side of things, you are a positive person, and have come so far – let’s review…

It was not quite two years ago that I was 220, with high blood pressure and was pre-diabetic. That me is gone, and my ultimate goal is that she never returns. I can honestly say that I am in the best physical shape of my life right now, and that is something else to be proud of. My cardio endurance is better, the visual shape of my body is the best it’s ever been, I am stronger than ever, and all of those things are just as important  – if not more important – than the number on the scale.

And while the disappointment is very huge, there is almost a small sense of relief too. I know, it sounds weird, but hear me out! For the last 7 months, my focus has been on losing the weight – what happens when I do? Do I shoot for a lower weight? I’m 5’8″, much lower and I will be too thin. Maintaining a weight sounds daunting and frightening, what if I screw up? I know I now have the tools to lose weight if I need to, but do I have the tools to maintain a healthy weight? For now, I don’t have to think about that.

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This is really one of those times when I need to remember that I am more than a number on the scale and look at the bigger picture. I need to remember how far I have come, instead of focusing on how far I have to go. Instead of being disappointed, I need to celebrate the successes I have had, both on the scale and off. I have still lost 42 pounds in 7 months, and probably closer to 65 since I started working out at Sweatmood nearly two years ago, and that and my health are huge successes!

I will hit my goal weight, it is going to happen. So what if it didn’t happen on some arbitrary time scale that was in my head, the overall goal is to get there and maintain a healthy lifestyle so that I am never that unhealthy woman again. Breathe, move forward, and keep working on it, it will happen…

 


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Good friends and Good Bras

Have one thing in common – they give us all great support.

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Very rarely can someone undergo a major life change and honestly say they did it on their own. Yes, they may have done the work – gone to the gym, stuck to a meal plan, graduated from college, gotten sober – what ever it may be, but I can almost guarantee you that 99% of everyone who has made a huge change and been successful will tell you that they couldn’t have done it with out the support of their family and friends.

Personally, there is no way I could have gotten this far on my journey without the support of some pretty incredible people.

Let’s start closest to home – my amazing husband. While sometimes I just think he thinks I have lost it, he is always there. If I run a race, he is at the finish line, always telling me how strong I looked when I crossed the line, and usually tracking my time too so he can tell me how much I have improved since the last race. He knows I am going to cry, and he is ready to hug me and let me let it all out. He’s a quiet man, always has been, so when he tells me he is proud of me, or that I look good, it means so much. While fairly silent most of the time, he really is my best friend, biggest cheerleader, and best supporter ever. Until he buys cookies or ice cream – but that’s a story for a different time.

And let’s not forget my amazing daughters. While neither of them live at home anymore, they are pretty incredible cheerleaders too. My oldest daughter has now joined Sweatmood with me, and my youngest is always telling me how great I look. They too have joined me at finish lines, and are always there to cheer me on. Little do they know that they are one of the big reasons I am doing this – so that maybe they won’t wait so long to take control of their health and their bodies.

My parents have always been great cheerleaders too, although tonight my mom told me I was being too hard on myself. But isn’t that what mom’s are for? We recently went on an adventure for the day with my parents, and I was probably 100 feet in front of my dad, and when he caught up to me he told me that if he hadn’t been watching me the whole time, he wouldn’t have recognized me from behind. It’s a little thing, but it meant more than he knows.

While family support is incredible, you almost expect it – I mean they are family, don’t they have to support you? Not all family is supportive, maybe I am just lucky – but as lucky as I am to have my family, I really feel I am very fortunate to have the friends I have.

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My closest friends have been my friends since we were kids, some I met in elementary school, some in high school, but without their love and support, I would be lost. I also have friends made more recently – especially my Komen 3 day walking team, the Golden Gate Pink Warriors – a bunch of women all different ages, ethnicities and backgrounds who support each other through everything. We have been there for weddings, deaths of loved ones, babies being born, divorces and everything in between. These people are the ones who encourage me to go to the gym when I just don’t feel like it, and they are the first to congratulate me when I hit a milestone or goal.

I am also so fortunate to have my Sweatmood friends – who really are more like a great big amazing family – by my side. From the trainers to the other members, you feel that support when you walk in the door. We truly have each others back, and not just in gym related matters. When people talk about group fitness, this is what they are talking about – yes, you work out in a group setting, but you come to rely on these people, this group of friends and they rely on you. What are relying on each other for? That high five when you just rocked a crazy tabata set, that smile and hug when you walk in, that eye roll in the middle of class when your crazy trainer says you are doing more burpees! This support is incredible, these people who you may not see outside of the gym become so important and so integral to your training – they mirror you and support you and your accomplishments are theirs. And that’s a great feeling.

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So say thank you to your friends and family, and don’t underestimate friendships that may just be built on working out together, all of this support is so important and each different type of support system fills a different, buy equally important, need. I know I would be lost without all of them!


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Dealing with disappointment 

Aka – how Asics screwed up my plan for the year
I apologize for the rant that is going to follow, I try to avoid sounding like a crazy person but sometimes situations get so frustrating that you need to vent, and I have this platform to do it! So if you don’t want to read my venting, feel free to go about your daily business and wait until Monday’s regularly scheduled posting.

Ok…here goes:

Part of my fitness journey has been to challenge myself, I can’t remember if it was late December or possibly earlier, but my goal for 2016 was to complete a half marathon each quarter of the year, with 5k’s and 10k’s here and there for good measure. Not only to complete them, but to improve my time with each race.

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My hard earned Star Wars medals

In January I completed the Rebel Challenge at Disneyland – 10k on Saturday and a half marathon on Sunday. I not only completed them, but got a personal record in the half. Next up was the Asics Vine Body and Sole half marathon in May and up until a week or so ago, it was the race I was the most excited about. I had posted about on Facebook multiple times and had even tweeted about it.

This race was going to finish in my hometown of Calistoga. My friends and family were going to be able to meet me at the finish, I knew the area, I had a general idea of what the course would be. My hope was to be at my goal weight by then, and to finish with another personal record to celebrate losing what will be 50 pounds in 7 months. I will still hit my goal weight by then, this was just going to be a great way to celebrate that milestone! This was also the most expensive race I had ever signed up for, and that includes the two Run Disney events I have run.

This was so much more than just a race, it was my way to celebrate my personal accomplishments, in my hometown, with people I love there to witness it.

My excitement changed to disappointment when the course got changed. The race now still started in St. Helena but was now a loop that started at one winery and ended at a neighboring one. Not only that, but the flat course now had a pretty decent hill at mile 10 which was going to make it difficult to improve my time. To add insult to injury, with the road closures that will have to be in effect, it was going to be very difficult for my friends and family to meet me at the finish. But I was still going to do it, I had made a promise to myself that I would complete 4 half marathons this year, and I wasn’t going to let myself down.

That all changed yesterday when I found out that not only had the course changed, so had the packet pick up time.  I had planned on leaving work an hour early to get there in time to enjoy the expo and pick up my packet, but now to do that I would have to leave work 3 hours early just to make sure I could get there in time to get my packet! Or, I could pay $50 to pick up my packet on race day.

This was the last straw for me. The race experience I had signed up for no longer exists, and I am done. With this many changes happening this close to race day, what was going to happen between now and race day?!?! All I want at this point is a refund of my money.

So I told them via their Facebook event page that I wanted my money back and promptly got on the website for the race to do the same. I sent an email which was promptly returned as apparently it didn’t work. I found a form on the website and sent the following request for my refund:

When I signed up for this race, I was signing up for a race that went from St. Helena to Calistoga, was flat and had a packet up that I could get to if I left work in Healdsburg an hour early. 

This race is now a loop that begins and ends in St. Helena, has an ending spot that with road closures will make it nearly impossible for my friends and family to meet me at the finish, as was the plan when the race ended in my hometown of Calistoga, and has a rather steep hill at mile 10!
To make sure I make it to packet pickup I will now have to leave work by 2:30 to insure that I am there before 4 with time for the packet pick up, or pay $50 on top of my $250 registration fee for packet pick up the morning of the event.
While I understand that as with most races, I am sure I said that I understood that there were no refunds, however what I signed up for and what is happening now are two entirely different events, and I respectfully ask that my entry fee be refunded. 
Perhaps next year if this race happens again, I will sign up, but wait until much closer to race day so that I can see what the actual details are and not hopeful details. 
I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter. 
Thank you in advance, 
After a couple of hours had gone by, I also sent a Facebook message asking what I needed to do to get a refund. I was told that they were working on finding an answer for me and that they understood my frustration. I explained that the only solution would be a full refund of entry fee, including the taxes and fees. I also pointed out to them that their own website still said that the race was ending in Calistoga. After 3 hours, they finally responded that they were still working on an answer for me, but could deliver my packet to my hotel room. Apparently they were unable to read the part of the conversation where I explained that I am local to this race and would not be staying at a hotel.
As I waited another two hours for a response, I also told them how disappointed I now am that my personal challenge to myself will not be happening due to their disorganization and lack of communication.
Around 9 this morning, I received a phone call telling me that I would not be getting my refund. They could deliver my packet to my home and give me 4 wine glasses though. Really? That’s the solution? I explained that the race I signed up for no longer existed and I would not be participating. The lady on the phone, who I will be polite enough NOT to name, would not listen, would not budge and told me that I was not getting a refund end of story, this was all she could for me. I told her that I didn’t want to publicly state my frustrations with the Asic’s and their lack of organization and cooperation with potential customers, but that I would if I was not told that I was getting a refund by noon.
A few minutes after she hung up on me – yes, I was short and not very friendly, but frustration will do that to a person – I received a Facebook message asking for an email address or phone number, I told them that she obviously had my phone number and gave them my email address.
At this point, it’s not about the money, it’s about the principle of the situation.
I signed up for a race that started in St. Helena and ended in Calistoga. I had made arrangements to arrive to the expo – which I consider part of the race experience – and pick up my packet while losing minimal time at work. All of these things have changed through no fault of my own.
Yes, I realize that when you sign up for a race, it always says no refunds.
Yes, I realize that course changes happen. But course changes usually mean it’s on a different road than you originally thought, not that it’s ending in a different zip code miles away from the original plan.
If I had suffered an injury, or had had something else come up, I would have never asked for a refund, that’s on me and that’s the chance you take when you sign up for something months in advance. But that’s not the case here – the entire makeup of this race, everything except the distance, has been changed, and that is on Asics, not me.
When I went to lunch at noon, I checked my Facebook messages and saw that the message I had sent with my email address had not even been read. Wow…way to actually care about what I am thinking. I let them know that I would be posting this to my website, both of my Facebook pages, both of my Twitter accounts and to my Instagram. While I was typing that they checked the first messages with my email address. I also called the lady back who had called me this morning and left her a voicemail asking if my refund had been processed, and letting her know all of the places that I would be publishing this. That was over an hour ago, and I have had no response via Facebook, phone or email.
I am afraid at this point I have been left with no choice but to publicly state how disappointed I am in Asics as a whole. The lack of organization and communication in regards to this event have been glaring and unprofessional. The fact that they didn’t even update the event website with the new ending location until I pointed it out to them yesterday says a lot about the level of professionalism and organization and level of care that they are giving this event and it’s participants.
This doesn’t even touch on my personal disappointment in not being able to finish a challenge I had set for myself. I may find a fourth half marathon to run this year, and I think there is one that ends in Calistoga, but I don’t know if it fits into my schedule. I put a lot of time into planning when and where I would be doing races this year, and it really sucks that this one isn’t going to happen. I will still meet my goal though, I won’t let them take that away from me. It just won’t happen according to plan.
I can and I will
But at this point, I have no desire to participate in such a poorly managed event, not to mention one that is run by people who don’t even care about the people running in it.
The worst part of all of this, when I get to the gym tonight, I have to put Asics shoes on, because they are what I have. Guess I will be going shoe shopping this weekend…


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The Difference Between Knowing and Doing

So my trainer, Kari, and I talk daily. Whether it’s in person, via text or Facebook message, even just my daily email to her with my calorie counts for the day, we are in touch in some way every day.

Every once in awhile, she will ask me a question, or say something to me that just sticks in my head, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Last week I was telling her how someone asked me what diet I was doing – was I doing Paleo? 21-Day Fix? It had to be something! I was honest with this person and told her it was just common sense – lean proteins, working out on a regular basis and really watching my calorie intake. For some reason, people have a hard time wrapping their head around that.

 

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This conversation had Kari and I talking about common sense as it relates to food, and how some people just don’t have it. Not trying to offend anyone, but come on, we all know that some people are lacking in the common sense department 😉 I told Kari that 6 months ago, that was me and I just needed a push in the right direction, and that’s when she asked me the question that stuck with me “Do you really think you didn’t know?”

I had to think long and hard about that one, and be honest with myself. Yes, I knew, yes, I had that common sense, but chose to ignore it. Which made me think, why did I choose to make poor food choices, and to live a sedentary lifestyle, when I know that I knew better?

Growing up, my parents were health food nuts – I could read nutritional labels by first grade, we didn’t have sugary foods, cake and ice cream and other desserts were strictly for special occasions and that was it. We weren’t allowed to buy cereal with more than 5 grams of sugar per serving (challenge yourself and try to find some of those, there aren’t many) we didn’t have sodas, I can’t remember ever having white bread, fast food was only on the rarest of occasions, my brother and I took vitamins every day and my parents were active – going to the gym and jogging – when we moved to the country we would all take 2 mile walks together every night, my brother and I walked or rode our bikes everywhere.  I had the tools and knowledge to be a healthy, active person. So why didn’t I stick to that path?   What happened to me?

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I could say it was economics, there was a time when money was very tight, and it is true that white bread and big bags of sugary cereal are cheaper than their healthier alternatives. I could say it was just easier – because it is much easier to buy the crap and keep the kids happy and not deal with crabby kids in the store. But if I am going to be honest with myself, it really boils down to two reasons – rebellion and laziness.

Let’s talk about laziness first – because that’s the easiest one to deal with. It kinda goes back to it being easier, just grab a box that makes the kids happy and move on. But it’s more than just that. That explains the food, but not the lack of exercise, that is just plain laziness. Life gets busy, and when given the choice between resting and exercising, resting just sounded better. There is no effort involved in resting, plop your butt on the couch with the remote – there is effort involved in getting off your butt and putting on those running shoes and going outside for a walk, or going to the gym. There is effort involved in challenging yourself and getting outside your comfort zone, and it’s not easy. It’s much easier to stay on that couch, open a beer or pour a glass of wine, open that bag of chips and embrace the laziness.

Now the more difficult topic, rebellion. Everyone rebels against their parents in some way shape or form, that’s just life, and it’s an important part of life. By rebelling we gain our independence, cut the apron strings and become our own people. It is necessary, but for me, I should have picked a different method of rebellion!

Growing up with such a restricted diet, being able to make whatever food choices I wanted was an independent move for me. I could eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. If I wanted to buy McDonald’s for dinner, or white bread to go with the super sugary peanut butter in my cupboard, no one was going to tell me no. If I wanted to have Brie and French bread with salami and spinach dip for dinner, well why not? Perhaps if I had made these choices here and there, not only a daily basis, maybe I wouldn’t have gotten myself to the state where I was health wise.

Did I know better? Yes I did. Did I still make poor choices? Yes I did. I could point the finger in so many directions – all the ads on TV for crap food, it’s easier to just give in to the kids on their requests, that box of mac and cheese is faster to make than something home made, I’m just so busy that I don’t have time to make XYZ…but at the end of the day, the only real place to point the finger is at myself. Because even when I wasn’t taking the easy way out with dinner, I was cooking crap!

I would hope that most people know what is the better choice; I mean if presented with a plate of bacon and a plate of grilled chicken, most people know that the grilled chicken is a better option. Most people know that you shouldn’t have dessert every night, or that fruit for dessert is a better choice than cake or cookies. And most people know that water is a better beverage choice than a soda or alcoholic beverage.

I knew better then, I know better now. But the difference between knowing and doing is huge. The last 6 months, I have been doing, and it has made all the difference. I always knew, I just didn’t do, and the responsibility for that is all on me.

 

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And accepting that I am responsible for my weight gain, I am responsible for my health, and that only I am responsible for myself, is not easy, because that also means accepting that I did this to me, and no one likes blaming themselves, or admitting responsibility for negative actions.   But just as I did this to myself, only I can change it. Yes, you need great supporters like Kari and my husband, daughters, family and friends, but at the end of the day, you can only rely on you.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Anyone can do this

The thing with losing weight is that unless you have some underlying medical condition, anyone can do this! Seriously, anyone who really wants to lose weight can make the lifestyle changes needed to lose weight and become a healthier, happier version of themselves.

The challenge in losing weight really is more mental than physical. When I started working out at Sweatmood in 2014, I was obese, pre-diabetic and on high blood pressure medication. I also have had asthma – exercise and allergy induced – diagnosed when I was 9, and arthritis in my knees and feet. This was not where I thought I would be in my early 40’s and I mentally knew I had to do something, so I did – I made the mental choice to start exercising and it helped, within a couple of months I was off blood pressure medication and was no longer pre-diabetic. Can’t do anything about the asthma and arthritis, but oh well that’s what inhalers and Advil are for right?

IMG_3172It took another year of working out for me to be mentally ready to get serious about the weight loss too. I needed to be ready to commit to it, I needed to stop making excuses, stop procrastinating and just do it – jumping in headfirst. No secrets, no special diets, no magic pills – just a good common sense healthy meal plan. I had to make the decision to do it for me. No joke, that’s all it took – the conscious mental decision to change my lifestyle PERMANENTLY.

Is it easy? No, it’s not; it’s a lot of work. It’s meal prep on Sunday afternoons so that the crap people bring into the office isn’t tempting. It’s working out, a lot. It’s tracking your calories and learning to say no, and changing your entire life. But you know what, it’s worth it.

And not just for the compliments, which are great when I really stop and think about it and don’t just get embarrassed by them. But for the stamina, the feeling that you get when you can do something you couldn’t before, the feeling of success when your doctor is shocked and you are no longer on medication – all of these little things that other people took for granted, are now part of your life – and that is amazing!

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42 pounds and 6 months later, all I can say is get out there people, because if I can do it ANYONE CAN!


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Me? An Inspiration?

I keep being told that I am an inspiration and that my fitness journey inspires people. And that’s great I guess, but I don’t know that I deserve that many accolades. When I think of someone who inspires me, it’s not a 40 something year old wife and mom who managed to let herself become obese and decided to change the course of her life. Someone who changes other peoples lives, and works for the greater good of the world, now that’s an inspiration.

But it keeps coming up – random Facebook messages from people who have seen my posts on the Sweatmood page, or who have seen my before/after pics there. I have people at the gym telling me they joined because of me. It’s one thing when it’s a friend of mine, but still a little odd coming from a stranger. I really don’t know what to think about it, I know it’s a compliment, but I am still not sure I deserve it.

 

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My before and after pics – or should I say before and during 😉

And to be honest, every person I see at the gym or when I do a run inspires me, because they are all out there, doing something to make their lives better. Making that decision is not easy, so I congratulate, respect and admire everyone who takes time out of their busy lives to make time for their health.

I was told today that if nothing else, I was an inspiration to the old me – that 40 something year old obese wife and mom who suddenly turned around and had gained 100 pounds since high school – and If my story can inspire people, that is great! I hope that it inspires them to make the mental decision to make their lives better. I still question whether or not I am deserving of the title “inspiration” but if my story helps one person make the choice to change their own lives, then I will wear that mantle.

Perhaps I am looking at inspiration the wrong way. Maybe inspiring one person is just as important as inspiring the world, maybe by inspiring one person, it will change someone’s life and work towards the greater good of the world. I never set out to change the life of anyone but me, but if someone else is happier and healthier because of me, that is a good thing right?

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I don’t know if I will ever be comfortable being labeled an inspiration – I am just a woman on a mission in my head.  Maybe I need to add proving to other people that anyone can do this to my list of things I want to accomplish on this journey, that and feeling comfortable in a bathing suit on vacation 😉


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Why I love my freezer

AKA – meal prep on a Sunday night after being out of town for the weekend…

My husband and I had a great weekend! We drove down the California coast to visit our youngest daughter at her college in Southern California, saw a play that she stage managed at her school, spent a morning with her in Disneyland, and then headed back home. It was nice to get away and just have some fun for the weekend!

The only problem with going away for the weekend is that my usual Sunday afternoon meal prep couldn’t happen…kinda hard to get lunches and snack ready for the week from the freeway. This is why I love my freezer! Often when I am meal prepping, I will make some items that make more than one or two portions.

Two of my favorites are Turkey Meatloaf Muffins and Asian Turkey Meatballs. The meatloaf muffins make 4 servings – 8 muffins worth, and the Asian meatballs make 6 servings – 24 meatballs total. I take the extras and stick them in my freezer just for situations like this weekend. The recipes are easy, and it is so convenient to just pull a pre-packaged portion out of the freezer and add some brown rice and put it in the fridge to defrost. I usually add a salad as well, but those only take a minute to prepare.

Here are the recipes – Enjoy! They don’t photograph well, but they are yummy!

Asian Turkey Meatballs – adapted slightly from Just a Taste 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/4 cup finely sliced green onions
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup hoisin sauce
  • 1/4 cup blackberry preserves

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 500ºF and spray a mini-muffin pan or baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together the milk and Panko breadcrumbs.
  3. Add the ground chicken, scallions, garlic, ginger, soy sauce and egg to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Use your hands to mix the ingredients just until combined.
  4. Shape the meat mixture into balls using about 3 tablespoons of meat per meatball. You should get approximately 24 meatballs
  5. Place the shaped meatballs into the prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
  6. While the meatballs are baking, whisk together the hoisin sauce and blackberry jam in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
  7. Place meatballs on a cooling rack and brush glaze on top.
  8. When completely cool, package and freeze any potion that you will not be using immediately.

 

Turkey Meatloaf Muffins – adapted slightly from Bodyrock 

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Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt/Pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a bowl, combine all ingredients mixing well.
  3. Pack mixture into each of the muffin tin slots.
  4. Bake muffins for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 165
  5. Let cool completely, then package up what you will not be eating immediately and freeze.