Friday, February 16, 2018

Week 1 Health Results

Last week I wrote about how unhealthy I was and how I needed to do something about it because my body was more sick than I wanted to admit. And so I decided to get to work. For the first time instead of trying to just lose weight because I want to look better in my clothes I have decided to lose weight for the health of my body. All of me - not just the parts that you see.

And so with the help of Gordon* (the name I decided to give my generic fitbit) and some good food & portion choices (thanks to these colorful food measuring cups I am using) I lost some weight and am already beginning to feel better.

What did I do this week to accomplish my goals to get healthy? Take a look:

Exercise: 5 days of the past week I walked more than 10,000 steps. Two of the days, one intentionally planned and one not, I did not meet that goal. Until I change my plan, I have decided to take one day off from trying to meet my goal. I need that mental break from checking Gordon to see how many steps I have taken and planning out what I need to do for the remainder of the day to meet my daily goal. On a high note - I ended up reaching 21000 steps one day this week after spending the day at the beach with the kids walking along the shore. That was a cool feeling although my legs were super sore the next day.

Food: Last summer I saw these colorful portion control cups online. I was trying to lose weight and knew that one of my biggest issues was portion control. (The other huge obstacle I have is damn carbs. God, I love those things.) I thought that these color coded measuring cups (which is essentially what they are even though they are all square) would help me to get my portions under control. Wow! They certainly did. Lo and behold, these cups are actually part of a program. I took a look at the program and knew it wasn't for me, and so I use these cups in my own way.

I also have decided to go vegan again (kinda). This week I had dairy twice. Going vegan (again) will be a work in progress. To some, this lifestyle choice is a bit extreme, but to me it makes the most sense for me. I feel better when I am eating a vegan diet both emotionally and physically. There are plenty of vegan sources of protein out there, and I plan on using those to make up for what I am not getting through animal sources.

So, what worked and what do I still have to work on in the coming weeks?


1.) There were three times when I was having an emotional issues (I was feeling sad or angry or bored or stressed) and I did NOT turn to food. Instead two of those times I walked instead and the third time I talked myself out of eating anything and facing my feelings head on.

2.) Getting through those first few days of carb withdrawal without caving in to the pressure to gorge on carbs. (Yes, this is a very real struggle for me mentally and physically.)

3.) Some days I did a great job planning out my meals in advance.

4.) Realizing that it is okay to feel hungry sometimes. Feeling hungry is not going to kill me. (On the day that we went to the beach, the kids and I packed our lunches. I left mine at home on accident and instead of eating the kids food - of which there were chips and some cold pizza - I just talked to myself about how I could have my food when I got home and it would be okay. I wouldn't die from feeling hunger this one time.)

5.) I made time for exercise. There were a couple of days where I just wasn't feeling it, but I went ahead and went on my walks anyway because I really wanted to hit my 10,000 steps for the day. Normally, I would have talked myself out of exercising, but having Gordon on my arm is helping to motivate me in the beginning of this journey toward health when the weight loss is not yet visible.


1.) Not being organized every day with my food choices. This was a big obstacle. I didn't end up cheating, but I cannot say that I won't ever cheat when I am not food organized. It is vital to the success of this health campaign that I make food prep and organization a priority.

2.) Withdrawing from carbs is painful for me. It is really hard for me to do. I am overweight not because I love sweets and chips, but because I love carbs. ALL carbs and lots of them. Portion control and limiting carbs has been very hard.

3.) Feeling hungry at night. you can imagine I am not used to feeling a prolonged sense of hunger. A sense of being stuffed, yes, but hunger? No, not really. I made a choice to not eat after a certain hour and I am really trying to stick to that time so that my body can have 12+ hours of fasting time from early evening until I wake up the next morning. Those belly rumbles as I am finishing up watching the Olympics with Bob and the kids or right before I get into bed are hard for me to deal with.

So, you may be wondering what the actual number of pounds I lost this week were...

And the answer is 5.5.

So, this week's results: -5.5 lbs. Total weight loss: -5.5

Now on to week 2!

*I wanted to come up with a name for my generic fitbit instead of always referring to it as 'generic fitbit'. I was going to name it Frank because that name seemed like a no nonsense name, but decided that Gordon would be a much better name. Gordon is my dad's name. If any of you know my dad, he is a man of very few words. And the words he does speak are cut and dry. There is no nonsense in his words. He means business and doesn't deal well with drama. (So, of course,  we got along great while I was growing up because my middle name is drama.) That is exactly what I need from my fitbit personality (because don't we all give inanimate objects human traits?) - no nonsense, shit or get off the pot, type of a mentality. That's my dad. And now that's also my fitbit personality.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Odds and Ends

A few weeks ago I took a weekend day to head to the beach with my trusty beach sidekick, Lily. We were drawn to the same beach that we have been visiting often lately - Arcadia Beach. We walked along the mile+ of shore line and sat on a rock formation overlooking the Pacific. The tide was going out when we arrived and the beach was still wet with the remnants of the high tide's water. It was a relaxing day enjoyed by both of us. 

It was neat to see this little piece of land that the high tide had not touched. It would have been neat to have stood there at high tide as the water hit the rocks all around waiting on this little patch of land for the water to recede. 

The sound of the ocean was more loud than normal this day as the waves were more frantic than usual. 

Moose is doing well adjusting to our family. We love him dearly - although Lily is not too sure what to make of him just yet. He has grown into the habit of taking up her bed, and this picture below was the first time she came over and sat on her bed with him sitting there first. We were all proud of her for not allowing him to scare her away from her own space.

This is more normal in our house than the picture with the two of them together. Usually Moose will sleep right in the middle of Lily's bed for hours. 

Andy came down one morning and greeted Lily with his usual morning petting and laid down beside her. I love, love, love how she wrapped her paw around Andy when he was done petting her and was instead just snuggling with her. 

The kids and I took a day off from school work this past Monday and headed back to Arcadia Beach. It was sunny, as you can see in the pictures, and pretty warm (about 50 degrees). I figured with everything about our future up in the air right now, why not take advantage of sunny warm February weather and head out to spend the day on the Pacific Ocean?

Elizabeth brought her Barbies to play with. She is really into making furniture for them right now. I love that she still plays with Barbies and has not gotten too old for them. 

A rare fishing boat out in the water. I think this is the second time in 20 months I actually saw a boat on the ocean. We were all mesmerized for a little bit watching make its way across our sight path. 

We, of course, brought our trusty companion with us. 

Making sand creations. 

Playing soccer. As if anything else was expected?

These views are always so cool to me. 

These seaweed things wash up on the shore from time to time. They are kinda gross looking. 

Trying to convince Lily to come into the water with her. 

She is so beautiful. I love it so much when she smiles a genuine smile. It is one of my favorite sights. 

Always the trusty pal - Sarah got Lily to go into the water with her. 

Fun in the ocean. 

Thursday, February 8, 2018

A New Kind of Journey

Bob bought me a generic fitbit. I wore it last night and was afraid that the Chinese government was downloading all of my personal information and hacking into my life. The directions to set up the thing were mainly in Chinese and very bad English. This made me incredibly nervous, but I wore the thing anyway because Bob took the time to get me this as a gift. I guess he is worried about my health.

You are supposed to wear this thing 24/7. It monitors your heartbeats per minute, steps taken, kcal (what ever that is), blood pressure, fatigue level, sleep, and some other things I don't really remember. I was nervous all last night while (trying) to sleep that I was going to get cancer from having this GFB (generic fitbit) so close to my brain. (I sleep with my hands either near my head or down by my sides.) Needless to say, I got a pretty crummy sleep. GFB said that I got 8 hours and 21 minutes of sleep of which only 1 hour and 9 minutes was deep sleep. That sounds pretty awful to me. No wonder I am always so damn tired.

While playing with GFB this morning I noticed that I could set a daily goal for the amount of steps I want to take each day. I chose 10,000 steps because I thought I remembered reading somewhere that that number of steps will help you lose weight. I really need to do that.

I feel like I am always saying this, but I am fatter now than I have ever been. I am obese, or so say all of the websites I have visited. I don't feel obese. I feel a lot of times like the girl from the movie in Shallow Hal. Inside of me I am a skinny person, so I don't really pay attention to what I look like on the outside unless I am going to buy new clothes and then I almost throw up when I actually have to pick out clothing sizes and then try them on in the fitting room. Then I realize how fat I am. But I try to avoid putting myself through that torture, and so I rarely buy myself new clothes.

I never in a million years thought I would weigh as much as I do. It's crazy how this weight has kinda crept up on me. And yet it's also crazy how quickly I have been gaining weight. I know, I know, those two sentences contradict each other. Welcome to my world. Since last May I have gained 20 lbs. Since moving to Oregon I have gained about 30 lbs total.

I have found that I am a much deeper emotional eater than I thought. I figured this out when I tried to control my portions for 2 weeks last summer. I lost 7 lbs in those two weeks, but was constantly stopping myself from eating because I had to be accountable to these colored containers I bought and I didn't want to eat more than my allotted colors for the day. That was a wake up call for sure - to see how much I use food as an emotional crutch. Combine that with how much I hate living in Portland and how miserable I have been here for the last 18 months and it is no wonder I have gained 30 lbs of emotional baggage called extra weight.

It is always so fun to see the "encouragement" from people on the web about their weight loss journeys. My favorite are those hard asses who see being fat as a huge weakness and cannot fathom how people cannot just eat right and exercise daily. How weak we are for being fat and kinda miserable and how we cannot just "get over it" and exercise and eat right. I used to get incredibly pissed off at these people, but now I just laugh.

Anyway, back to GFB. (I need to think of a name for this thing.) My heart's beats per minute and blood pressure were really high today. I measured my heart rate both in the morning and this afternoon. After googling my results and checking them against several websites I got scared because I am much more unhealthy than I ever thought possible. Maybe my headaches (I get headaches all of the damn time) are not from having MS or NMO (like my mother and daughter do), but rather from high blood pressure.

I have probably made my blood pressure higher all afternoon because I have been so scared that I am going to drop dead of a heart attack. (I am a bit dramatic. Been so all of my life.) I never realized how sick my body was until having this GFB. I think its time to do something about my weight for real. Because now I am scared. And I have never been scared about my weight before. Before I always wanted to lose weight to look good - it had nothing to do with my health. But now I want to lose weight because I am scared shitless that I am going to die or do serious harm to my body because I am so overweight.

Someone my height is supposed to be between 122-158 lbs. I have a lot of work to do. Like between 70-90 lbs of work to do. This is going to be so hard. But as Glennon Doyle says, "We can do hard things", so I know this can be done.

I just have no idea what I am doing. Well, maybe not 'no idea' because its 5:08 pm and I busted my butt today walking and have 11,952 steps already.

Monday, February 5, 2018

January's Reading List

I took a break from the self-help/self-discovery genre that I have been devouring these last few months and focused on a little history in the month of January. I love history, but particularly American history.  I would say that I am most drawn to the Americas during the 1700-1800's. 

This book was a great read because this is essentially right in my back yard right now. I have been to Astoria and loved it. I hope to go back again soon. It is such a cool place. Our family visited the place (at Fort Steven's) where the Columbia meets the Pacific Ocean. That was also a really cool experience. 

This is a great book. I highly recommend it. This was my third time through reading it. 

This book paired well with The Heart of Everything That Is because it touched base on similar topics. It was cool to see what similarities and difference both authors presented about the same time period in history.

I am currently reading: 
I cannot put this book down.

The kids and I read through: 

I cried while reading this book to the kids. It sparked some wonderful and thought provoking conversation among us all.

The kids and I are currently reading this book. We started about a week and a half ago and are a little more than halfway through with it. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

One In A Million

My mom is one of a kind. She is one in a million actually.

She is a complicated woman - as I am finding as I get older - all great women are. 

 It took me a long time into my adulthood to really appreciate my mother. For several years I was too busy being angry with her for all of the mistakes she made in raising me. Looking back now I know that she did the very best that she could with the tools she had. She was a young mom who tried very hard to do the very best that she could. She was trying to grow herself up while at the same time helping me to grow up. That is a tricky situation to navigate successfully. 

But for all of the mistakes that my mom made with me she has made up for that in spades with my children. From the moment she knew that Andy was on his way she loved him ferociously. And she has done the same for all of my subsequent children. 

My kids can count on my mom. Always. From the moment of their birth she has been there for each and every one of them. She has always been their biggest cheerleaders in life and has taken the time to get to know each and everyone of them as individuals. She has spent time in the trenches dealing with them as babies and toddlers and loving on them in ways that only a Nana can. She is now reaping the results of all of that early hard work and investment as my kids - all 4 of them - love her dearly. She is their special person.

Akron, Ohio
My mom has never had a lot of money, but she has had time. And when she didn't have time she made time. I know over the years she sometimes felt bad that she didn't have more money to bestow lavish gifts on my kids, but what she didn't realize was that my kids didn't need great gifts - they needed time. She has given my kids the gift of time that my grandfather gave me all of those year ago and her investment in them is worth more than gold.  I know personally the affect of having someone love you completely & unconditionally just as you are. This is how she loves my kids. And they know it because they feel her love. They feel it in the soccer games she goes to (still). They feel it in the horseback riding lessons she goes to. They feel it in the interest she takes in their jobs and their lives. They feel it when they read her cards and letters. They take her with them where ever they go. That's what happens when you invest in those you love. You become a part of them and they become a part of you. 

My mom is the kinda of Nana who would take time off of work to go to an awards ceremony to see the kids get school awards at the end of the school year. She would rearrange her work schedule to be able to make all of the kids soccer games (and there were several years when all 4 kids were playing). She is the kind of Nana who decided to teach herself how to use a braille writer so that she could still write letters to Sarah. And so she does. And Sarah writes my mom letters in braille and my mom reads them and writes her back. 

When we moved away from Ohio my children were worried about being forgotten by family. My mom promised them that she would never forget about them, and has shown them that her words were true by constantly sending them care packages, letters, and cards. She sends them stuff even though they are terrible about getting back to her. This doesn't stop her from sending them stuff anyway. She has also shown them that she hasn't forgotten about them by keeping good on her promise that she would visit them at least twice a year no matter where we are in the U.S. Since we have moved away a little over 3 years ago she has visited us 7 times and has already planned her 8th trip this May. She shows up for my kids. Constantly. Consistently. These action means more to them than her words and she knows this which is why she does what she says she will. And my kids have noticed. 
My mom is the most amazing Nana in this whole wide world. And while growing up with my mom was sometimes very hard for me I wouldn't change it for the world because she is such a phenomenal Nana to my kids. My mom is a gift to me because she is a gift to my children. 

My mom really is one in a million. She is a diamond in the rough. In my kids eyes she sparkles brightly and is cherished. 

I know how much you hate the internet, Mom, but if you ever have a chance to read this I just want you to know that I love you. And Bob loves you. And most importantly Andy, Josh, Sarah, and Elizabeth love you. In fact, they are crazy about you. 

I wrote this post in honor of you because I want as many people as possible to know what an amazing person you are, but most importantly what an amazing Nana you are. You are Super Nana. 

Thank you for showing up for our kids over and over again. Thank you for being their person. We all need just one person in this world to love us and believe in us unconditionally. Thank you for stepping up to the plate for that job not once, or twice, but four times. I honestly don't know what we would do without you.

White Sands National Park, New Mexico

Near Astoria, Oregon

Grand Canyon National Park

Tortuga Mountain Las Cruces, New Mexico

At Redwood National Forest with us.