Back on the healthy horse…

I realized it’s been a year since I posted. But, now is as good a time as any to come back and chat again. To be honest, I need the reinforcement. The past year was horrid. Food poisoning, flu, and playing home health aid to two dogs threw me off my game. Up 7 pounds, and that is after two weeks of working off 4. Yes, I hit 124 lbs. And I couldn’t be more embarrassed and frustrated with myself. It got so bad I was horrified to go for my annual physical and mammogram because I couldn’t face my doctor.

That was my bottom, along with the real possibility that I was going to have to buy new clothes a size up that fit. Add to the fact that we got an Australian Shepherd that could run with me on trails, be with me on my paddle board, and hike the mountains, and it was clear that I needed to get back on the horse before she hit a year and could be my running and hiking partner.

So, I picked up Myfitnesspal again, reset my goals, back-tracked through my past meals, and filled my fridge with veggies. I’m diligently tracking what I eat and in the past 2 weeks only had one day that I went off the rails. I found some new prebiotic fruit and vegetable pouches that are so yummy. WholeFoods now delivers to my house – finally! And I found some new recipes to mix things up.

Yes, I even went back and read my blog posts for inspiration. It was strange to lurk on myself, but the lists helps me realize that what I failed to do was stay accountable. Get on the scale regardless of the number. Track my activity level. Track what I eat. Diary to all of you. Read the daily Myfitnesspal blogs for inspiration on health, diet, and exercise.

It will be slow, but I’m crossing my fingers I’m back to 110 by end of October and in shape for the ski season and training up my pup for runs. February we go to Florida to visit my inlaws, so I need my bikini body too. I have two pairs of leather pants that also need to come out, and right now, they zip but don’t button. While vanity might be a horrible motivation to some, at 50 (yes, I also turned the big five-o in July), I liked when I looked like I was in my high 30’s only a few months ago rather than the softy I am now.

Wish me luck!

Now, about my furry girls…

Meet our new family member, Izzy. She is my darling fur kid. I am smitten and she is smitten with me. I never knew a dog could be so attached. I guess that’s why they call Aussies velcro dogs. She follows me everywhere, greats me with hugs, and generally wants to lay on me with all 50 pounds. Here is her beauty shot and her crazy belly pic.

We got her in January and immediately knew something was wrong. Leaking constantly and making no progress on house breaking, a test showed a UTI. 2 months later without a change and an ultrasound found she had an ectopic ureter. That is when the tube from the kidney bypasses the bladder. Then we found she had a completely abnormal reproductive system. $5000 after tests, surgery, and meds, along with living for months with pee pads and urine-buster mop, we hit 7 months old with a near perfect result. She is a normal dog, housebroken, a little delayed in obedience (but a quick learner) and on incontinence meds for life.

Next, the sad news. Our husky Sophie had thyroid cancer. We’d finally got the diagnosis after watching her significantly drop weight and seeing her calcium levels spike. She was in pain from her arthritis, had a pinched nerve, and was already living on carprofen and nerve pain killers. At almost 15, surgery seemed cruel and possibly dangerous, so we tried an infusion and keeping her comfortable. After 6 months, she would only pee on a pad a few feet from her bed and then finally couldn’t get up anymore. We had to put her to sleep the beginning of July. As Izzy is my last fur baby, Sophie was my first. My first running partner. My first snuggler. My first lovable lunatic. RIP girl.

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Find My Healthy Living Motivation – Got a Puppy!

After two years of what I call ‘the program’, I’m in a new phase that seems to be harder than the first. First it was hit my goal. Then it was make it last a year. Now I need something to keep it going forever. Even after all this time, old habits creep in and that immediately adds to the waistline. So, I need another goal post.

Puppy!

Alright, so staying healthy by having a puppy sounds like a bad idea. Almost as bad as having a baby to save a relationship. But, hear me out.

I have two beautiful dogs now Sophie (husky) and Kia (eskimo) who are my white fluffy old ladies going on 14 and 15. They can no longer go on walks and spend their time lounging at my feet, begging for scratches and rubs, and hanging out in our yard together for some exercise. The days when I’d have to walk them separately or be pulled like I was the sled are way past. And, to be honest, I am terrified of the day when they are no longer with me.

A new puppy adds another dimension of getting up and going out in my day that has to be routine. I won’t just be active for me, a puppy is going to be demanding that I keep moving. My old ladies only have so much in them, and while I know they will be great grandmothers and help in training, they are not going to give that pup the exercise it needs. In fact, without me getting on the puppy move-it program, Sophie and Kia are going to get a little worn out. That is the other motivator.

Lastly, with my youngest only a couple years from leaving the next, that leaves one big empty space in our home. We will then be official empty nesters. What better way than to add a fur kid?

Tom and I had a drawn out conversation about the next dog. What we are looking for. What breeds would be best. When would be a good time. My checklist was a running/trail running companion, snuggler, and partner in crime (doing stuff with me – all legal of course). My husband was looking for a companion and hiking dog. We both wanted a good temper and when the grandkids come, a dog that would be safe around them.

We finally broke down at Thanksgiving after another one of my online puppy picture looking sessions led me to an adorable Aussie mix. Well, Tom knew I was ready and it turned out he was ready too. After several links of breeders found and numerous emails and phone calls, we finally had our girl, born only a week before.  Here is our 3 week old wigglebutt (Australian Shepherd). Can’t wait to welcome her home and into our brood.

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And, since I mentioned my old dames and of course we also have two kitties (Essie and Bri), I may as well introduce them too.

Goal Weight: One Year and Beyond!

I didn’t really think it was possible. Really. I may demonstrate resolve and confidence in my blogs, but as with most (all) social media you always put your best self forward. I have shown some of my personality warts: paranoia, fashionista-itis, maybe a little judgement. Hopefully not too much. What I mostly tried to do was tell you, and myself, that all was great and that staying positive and motivated is the key.

It has been some time since I checked in. My trip to Europe certainly threw me for a curve and I’m still in recovery mode. Having also gone back to Europe this fall for work wasn’t helping either. I love German-Austrian and Eastern European food way too much. Brings me back to childhood. And a beer at every corner and park bend to cool off in 90+ degree heat and those hikes in the Alps wasn’t helping either. The beer garden is a way of life there. The only saving grace was keeping up my running, walking 25K steps a day and 20 mile bike rides several times a week, swimming in a glacial lake, and hiking up castle hills and mountains. And I still gained four pounds.

Back in the real world, all that activity is behind me until my next vacation.My typical week looks like:

  • 4 days running
  • 2-3 days alternate activity (swim, hike, paddle, bike, elliptical)
  • 1 couch potato day (unintentional or just plain lazy)
  • 1500 – 1800 calories per day
  • 12K steps per day
  • Mostly healthy diet with 1-2 splurge meals for date and friend nights
  • Beer almost daily – a habit from abroad that I’m not giving up

What I accomplished in body image:

  • waist: 31 to 24
  • chest: 38 to 34
  • pants: 12 to 00
  • tops: large to extra small
  • dresses: 14 to 2
  • shoe size: 6 1/2 (sometimes 7) to 6
  • boots: no longer need wide calf
  • Still 4′ 11″ – didn’t get taller as weight couldn’t pull me down anymore, but at least I didn’t shrink!

I swing three pounds and there are days when I’m so bloated I could just scream in frustration. But, I’ll never get back to 108 unless I get back on the strict program and that’s okay. Tom wasn’t that thrilled with me there and likes a little more on my bones. But, I also think some of the increase is from muscle. My skin is much tighter now than when I was the same weight over a year ago. There is also more muscle definition. So, 110 – 113 is not a bad place to be. (Although I secretly wish I could be 108 again, its just too much work)

Overall, every day is still a mindful day. I have good ones and bad ones. There isn’t a final destination but rather a method to living healthy. The benefits have outweighed the work to get here and stay here. Never could I have had as much fun on our summer vacation, skied as much last winter, gotten reacquainted with the White Mountains, or rekindled my marriage without being healthy and fit.

Do I want to…

  • just lie on the couch all day
  • stuff myself with gelato
  • slam through a juicy burger
  • have that extra slice of pizza

Hell ya!

Then I remember, I’m 49 and can do the same things I did when I was 19, and do them better. It’s my own Benjamin Button story. That’s what keeps me going…

2016 on the left, 1 month before I started my journey.  2018 on the right, this summer.

Summer time!

It’s been months, I know. So busy. But, it’s finally summer! And boy am I taking advantage of it.

The weather finally turned into warm sunny days and I’ve been able to take out my paddleboard a few times. It was a bit frustrating to have to wait for Tom before I could go because he has the roof rack on his Jeep and there is absolutely no way at 4’11” I can lift my board up onto the rack, even with a step ladder. So, as an early birthday present, he got me a rack for my car and yesterday I assembled it, put it on, and loaded on my board. I grabbed Emily and we went for a paddle at Hopkinton State Park (her first time – she loved it!)

This past week we spend July 4th in the White Mountains. A scenic drive with stops at the rivers and dips into the waterfall at Silver Cascade kicked things off. A hike up to Lonesome Lake and back was day two. While we were going to swim in the lake, leaches were visible and the lake was no longer inviting. But, Cascade Brook was and we put our feet in, sat in the natural spas, and overall enjoyed the cold water after a hot and humid hike. Day three we hiked up Liberty trail, which felt like 4600 feet of stairs, only to be socked in. But, coming back down and then handing out at a fire in the evening was perfect. Day 4, Tom went up to Artist’s Bluff in Franconia Notch while I hit the bike trail and ran down to The Basin where Tom picked me up. Why I thought running 5 miles after two days of hiking is beyond me, but it was awesome, especially when I was able to put my feet and stiff calves into the cold mountain water when done.

 

Tom and I are running together every other morning on the bike trail. I made a personal best of avg. 8:56 min/mile on a 5k. That beat Tom by 1 second that day. Since then I’ve taken a more leisurely pace while Tom pushes past 8:30. No races planned, but a friend of mine is doing couch to 5k training now and I just might convince her to do a race with me in the fall.

I did gain 3 pounds since March. A bit annoying but totally my fault. I’m still very active but I let eating out get the best of me for a while. I also was incredibly sick with the flu in the spring and stupidly tried to run a few times which made things worse. And, then there was a week where I barely did any exercise. So, for about 3 weeks I was a mess. I did lose  a pound just by going back to my routine. The harder part is that I actually like how I look now compared to being at a slightly lower weight. My knees don’t look like elephant knees anymore. And my stomach is a bit smoother rather than saggy. The only thing I’m not sure of is if less sag is the 3 pounds or because I’m more muscular under my saggy skin. My tummy is also getting a workout from paddling and SUP yoga. I was sore the first few times out. All in all, clothes still fit nicely and haven’t gotten tight at all. Still working off the 3 pounds, but not going to obsess.

It’s our last weekend before our anniversary trip to Europe. Can’t wait for the hikes in the Alps, spas of Budapest, beer gardens, ruin bars, and historic sites. I’m already looking forward to adding more runs to my international collection. I’ll post while galivanting so you can come along.

7 Tips To Overcome the Yoga Pant Wars

I love yoga pants. I loved them as a chubby girl. I love them even more now. That sentiment can also be extended to my skinny jeans, jeggings, and leggings. When you’ve worked hard getting in shape, are getting close to the 50, and your legs just look good, go for it. If you are chubby, so what, enjoy them. Wear thosWalmart Man in Yoga Pantse yoga pants!

Unfortunately yoga pants have got a bad wrap. We are yoga pant shamed by old men, airlines and now a New York Times reporter who thinks you shouldn’t even wear yoga pants for yoga. Really? What next, no bikinis at the beach?

I’m going to go all JLaw and say, I can wear what ever I want.

Okay, within reason. No one really wants to look awful and shamefully wind up on the People of Walmart site. (Although, I’m beginning to think the picture feed is starting to fill up with those that want 15 minutes of fame rather than this is really how they shop.)   There is a right way to pull off yoga pants and a wrong way. While we shouldn’t be judged by what we wear, we are. And, let’s be honest, when we get dressed in the morning or are getting ready to go out, we play by the rules most of the time to dress in something that makes us feel good about ourselves. Or, if we don’t, we most likely know we are a little down, not feeling well, or are getting ready to clean out the garage and garden.

Here are my rules for yoga pants that you may or may not agree with. But, they do keep me out of trouble with those side long glances and sneers most of the time – except the times when it comes from jealousy which I actually find amusing.

  1. Athletic yoga pants are for exercise. Those mesh cutouts and athletic pants are for running, skiing and the gym. I tend to not wear them any other time because I’m more concerned someone is going to think I’m covered in dried sweat and smelly than if they don’t like a little butt jiggle.
  2. Leggings, jegging, skinny jeans are best worn tastefully. I don’t wear sneakers but rather pair with boots or ballerina flats. It dresses them up and makes me look less like a teenager. My legs are in good enough shape that I will pair with a waist level cashmere sweater. But for work I keep it professional with a silk blouse and blazer. No over the knee boots for this 48 year old – then I just look like a couger.
  3. Get the right size. You wouldn’t buy a bra that was to small so it looked like you have 2 pairs of girls instead of 1 pair. Same goes with these skin tight pants. In the right size, you won’t create bulges. You won’t accentuate that cellulite in your thighs. You won’t see those panty lines. They don’t fall down. If you are a little on the cubby side, there are great yoga pants and leggings with a wide control top to help shape your curves.
  4. Throw out the pilly pairs. The great thing about yoga pants, leggings and jeggings is you can get them really cheap. But, they only look good for a few wears. When you see pilling and they are stretched in the knees, time to throw them away. There is no reason to wear them out and about when they look like the rag you wash your floor with.
  5. Leave pajamas at home. There is nothing worse than the loungewear look outside of your house. This is where many of you are probably going to roll your eyes at me. But, it goes back to what I said in first point. Don’t look like your rolled out of bed when you go to the store, restaurant or on a plane/train/bus. You look like you didn’t shower and probably smell. As you can see, I have a hygiene thing. Be gross at home, that’s your thing. You don’t need to share with me. Besides, it says something about how you respect others by how you respect yourself.
  6. If you don’t like them, that’s okay too. I was brought up to always put yourself together when you go out. Dress appropriately. Be proper. Dress your best. Follow the dress etiquette. Buy quality. My grandmothers would be rolling in their graves if they caught me in these pants. I can hear my mother in my head every time I put them on. I get it. It was a different time and compared to most, a different culture. But, be respectful and unjudging. If you don’t follow my rules, so what. I’m still going to be respectful and kind. I hope you can too.
  7. Be a rockstar. There will be one outfit that will take you a little out of your comfort zone but still makes you feel amazing. Mine is a pair of real black leather skinny jeans, suede tan calf skin halter top and a white fitted long sleeve tee. I put on a pair of Steve Madden cutout western ankle boots. I look hot and I know it. It is at once my rebel outfit and at the same time my, “I did it!” outfit. Everyone needs to look like a rockstar once in a while.

Finding Inspiration In Tucked Away Places

I posted the other day on tips to healthy living. A theme in the post was about finding your motivation. I was amazed by the number of people that liked the post. For a year I quietly posted on my blog as a way to stay motivated myself and if someone came and read it, great. If not, that was okay too.

To be fair, I’m a lurker. I quietly check out a few links, maybe I’ll comment, and there have been a couple followers that have commented back. But mostly, I just diary my days. It isn’t that I’m not interested. A better explanation is that I’m of the introvert type. Happy in my quiet space. Finding inspiration often in my quietest of times.

Thus, it was today that I was jumping through all your likes and inspired by your own journeys and POVs. In particular, there was one post I checked out from a visitor – Brett. In my notification of his like I saw a link and caught the words, “…winter on the prairie.” I clicked through to William Kurelek and Winter on the Prairie.

While I like art, I’m not a passionate follower of artists beyond my freshman year of college art history. So, I had no idea who William Kurelek was nor had I ever heard the name. But, sometimes that doesn’t matter. Art inspires, and his work inspired me.

Each painting, except one, showed a fun cheerful scene where instead of winter being an enemy, it was a friend and playground. Skating, sliding down snow embankments, skiing, and overall just having fun rolling in the snow put a smile on my face. It reinforced how getting through winter doesn’t have to be a hardship with the right mindset.

Thank you to Bret from our neighbor to the north, Oh Canada, where he shows winter is a way of life and not an interruption.

Ten Tips To Stay the Exercise Course in Winter

By now you’re a month into your weight loss resolution, working on getting through your first winter of maintenance mode, or you’re a seasoned healthy liver and the winter doldrums are kicking in. I hear your pain. I’m right there with you. A little honesty, I’m sitting in my hotel room killing time before heading to my meeting and didn’t follow through on my plans for an outdoor run (or any run) this morning.

To be fair, I did go to the fitness center after I checked in to the hotel last night. I even kicked my husband off the phone because talking to him was starting to give me an excuse not to go for my treadmill run. He’d already talked me out of an early evening run through NYC mid-town even though there are a ton of people out and about, perfectly safe, but not to him.

When I get stuck, in a rut, negative, or defeated, I turn to my internal motivation list. Thinking you could use the encouragement too, I’ll share my tips that help me move on and start moving on these short cold winter days.

  1. Create a habit: I have two habits that keep me running. When working from home or at the office, I go to the gym and hit the treadmill before I eat lunch. When I’m traveling, I check-in to the hotel, drop my bags in my room and throw on my running clothes and hit the gym. These habits are working as I can get in 3 of my 5 running days without too much thinking during the week.
  2. Set the right bar: Let’s face it, running outside can be more interesting as you can take in the scenery, especially if you trail run. I can easily run an hour. But, the treadmill is much harder for me as I can only stare at the wall with my music going or watch a TV show. It’s just not enough. So, I reset the amount of time I spend running to a minimum of 30 minutes. I may do more, but I won’t do less. I run slower on days I’m sore or tired and I push hard when my energy is front and center. I listen to my body and mind.
  3. Rest days are okay: In the warm weather I was exercising in one way or another every day. Sometimes I was running in the morning and paddling in the afternoon. Very active.  Winter, completely different. I have a 5 day rule and work at not losing it on my two rest days. It’s hard, but using machines just seems to cause me more aches and pains than outdoor runs and activities. Maybe it’s the cross training. Whatever it is, my two days off works to get my body back and make it easy to keep up my workouts without the excuse that I hurt.
  4. Clean those closets out: I have an enormous walk-in closet. I have years of clothes in all sizes and styles. My bathroom closets and linen closets are full. My storage closets and rooms are piled with old toys, books, furniture and things I never knew I had or wanted. I have spent hours cleaning house on the hoarding. All that walking back and forth, bending, climbing and lifting gives me activity/move minutes. It’s as good as walking to get my steps in and I am getting more organized by the day.
  5. Eat right: If you are slowing down activity wise, the worst thing you can do is increase what you eat or eat more unhealthy food and meals. If during the warmer months I had an especially large meal (my guilty pleasure is the Chinese buffet with dumplings) then I could always go for a trail run or bike ride and feel like I was burning off my gluttony. Keep up your healthy eating program so you don’t sabotage yourself during the slow activity period.
  6. Find a new activity: Never a fan of exercise classes, I did see a couple that looked like fun. No, I haven’t done it yet. But, I am considering hauling my butt to the gym for one of those HIIT workouts. Even if I don’t, I’m still thinking about mixing it up to hold back exercise boredom.
  7. Make a friend pact: I haven’t liked it in the past when Tom would get on me about exercise and eating right. But, that was when I was chubby and in denial. These days, with both of us on the healthy living program, its easier to prod each other if we see slacking. Tom’s even said to get on him. I am ambivalent, but we agreed how he could tell me without me getting annoyed. If it’s not your SO, get your besty or sibling. Healthy peer pressure is good for the heart.
  8. Get outside: I know, its cold. There is ice. While I’m not interested in running outside below 40 degrees, I do love to ski, snow shoe and ice skate. The difference with these activities is that I dress appropriately and don’t get cold because I’m moving. I won’t do this everyday or even every week, but it does break my sulky winter mood when I can get fresh air and a little winter sun on my face.
  9. Research races: Sometimes I just need something to work toward. My inbox started filling with announcements of races in the spring. It got me looking at what would be my first race. It also got me thinking if I could run a 10K or even a half marathon. I don’t want to “train” in the literal sense. But, as I looked at how I exercise and compare that to the training programs I could see how ready I was for these races. Turns out, that 10K isn’t going to be a big deal. That half? I just may be able to check that box this year.
  10. Talk the talk, walk the walk: The more I relate to other runners or tell my story to friends and acquaintances the more it drives my accountability to keep it up. It would be more than horrifying to have done all this work to only turn back into the chubby pumpkin by the spring.  Talking and sharing makes me more accountable.