Outlook

It was another busy day at work. Fortunately things are starting to slow down now and sanity will soon make a reappearance… or so I am told. Anyways, I caught myself today in need of an attitude check. I was feeling tired and achy and wishing I didn’t have to go to work today. At work I was feeling sorry for myself because I had to work a little harder since one of my coworkers had called out sick. At some point I realized that I was approaching this day with a negative attitude.

When you are looking through “dark sunglasses,” everything has a dark tint. When you take time to focus on the positive things, everything gets brighter. I am blessed with a great job and wonderful coworkers. I get to meet and help lots of great people through my work. I have good insurance. (Insurance that covers a massage every other week!) I have a safe and spacious home to retreat to. I have an amazing husband that loves me dearly and will be asking me how my day went. He’ll give me hugs and kisses before bed. I have family. I have friends. I have my own health. I have a bright future ahead of me!

So when I take time to think how lucky I am in this life, those little worries seem so small. Life is once again my great adventure and not a nightmare or dull task. It’s all about my outlook.

Park to Park Swim

Ok, the swim that I’ve been excited for all summer has come and gone. On Thursday I was worried that I might not be well enough to swim, but after getting LOTS of rest over the weekend I was feeling up to the challenge. And I think I did pretty well.

The Park to Park Swim is hosted by Everyday Athlete (where Yancy and I get our running shoes among other things) and supports the Childrens Hospital. It’s 1.5 miles across 68 degree Lake Washington from Matthew’s Beach to OO Denny Park. The water was really choppy for the second half of the swim. My overall time was about 44 minutes 40 seconds. I’m really happy with that time since it’s the exact goal I had set!  🙂 I was soooo thankful for my full sleeve wetsuit! They had brunch for us at the end of the swim. I met a few friends from TNT there as well as one of my old coworkers Catherine. We were cold and wet after the swim, but happy. I do love swimming! According to MyNetDiary I burned just over 800 calories with this swim. Does that mean I get to eat french fries with dinner? Or maybe even ice cream?   😛

It was pretty funny getting into the cold lake just after 7:30am on a Sunday morning. I was listening to some guys chatting next to me and thought how hilarious it was that we were standing in the lake chatting instead of laying in warm beds. Athletes are pretty crazy huh?

Half way: My struggle with weight

As a child I was always thin and very active. I loved bike riding, tree climbing, and especially swimming. I think my problems with weight started around the age of 13 when I started doing teenage things like sitting around talking on the phone for hours. I started as just a little chubby, but steadily got bigger over the years. I don’t remember being aware of my weight until age 18 or 19. I had other things on my mind and didn’t care what I looked like. My mom had raised my sister and I mostly without secular influence. No tv, no magazines, only Christian music… We did watch movies and went to public schools, but somehow I missed the message that American culture works into the minds of most young girls. I didn’t have an ideal of what beauty must be; no belief that you had to be thin or have perfect skin or gorgeous hair. I have no regrets about this, but I think it explains how I let myself get so overweight. I just wasn’t aware.

When I started dating seriously I started caring about my looks. But like many people, when I got into a serious relationship (with the person whom I’m now happily married) I stopped caring as much. We both loved to go out to eat, to drink lots, to watch movies and unfortunately, physical activities weren’t high priority for us. There were a few dieting attempts and some unused gym memberships, but no real change happened. Our love is “as is” and doesn’t care about the weight. But as an individual, being overweight is hard. I started to become unhappy with myself. I was getting out of breath going up stairs. I had to shop in the plus size clothing sections. I was making excuses when friends invited me on active pursuits like hiking. I would sometimes have to take Tylenol for knee pain. I got discouraged with the failed attempts at dieting. Even though I had the unconditional love of my husband, I was still dissatisfied with myself.

I finally went to the doctor insisting that there was something wrong with me. I was 5’8″ and 262 pounds at the age of 25, which put me into the “very obese” category on the BMI charts. By this time I thought that I was fairly active and ate fairly well and just couldn’t understand why I was so overweight. I had the doctor test my blood sugars and thyroid and anything else she could think of. The results: I was a perfectly healthy, overweight young woman. The doctor sat me down, looked me in the eye and said “There’s nothing wrong with you. You just need to eat better and exercise more.” She went on to tell me about the South Beach Diet by Dr Agatston and how she herself had lost weight with the program. She urged me to try the diet and to simply exercise more. Something happened to me in that exam room that is hard to put into words. Basically I made the decision that my weight problem was just that: my problem. I am the only reason I got that way, and I am the only one who can change it. I took responsibility for my life and decided to DO something.

I bought the South Beach book and read it through. I took a week or two to mentally prepare myself and to get my kitchen ready. Once I put my mind to it I was able to loose about 40 pounds by diet and exercise alone! I started learning about the foods I was eating, the creamer I used in my coffee for example is terrible for you! I started enjoying the gym workouts too. And when I started getting compliments from coworkers I felt great. But as usual, I lost steam over time. I had a nasal surgery because of chronic sinus infections. After the surgery I wasn’t able to exercise for a month and got a little lazy during that time. I regained some of the weight I had lost.

Here starts the next chapter of my life. But first a little explaining. Even before I had my turn around with weight, I had been getting more and more interested in the athletic field. It started in March 2006 with a 5k walk on Mercer Island. I only signed up because my employer (Group Health) paid the entry fee and encouraged us to wear the company shirt at the race. I had one of those experiences that is difficult to explain, a definite fork on the road of my life’s journey. Yancy and I were meeting one of my coworker friends. Somehow she got caught on the opposite side of the street of us at the moment the half marathon runners ran past (just after the start of their race). I’ll never forget that herd of human beings swarming down the road between us and our friend. It was silent except the patter of their feet on the black top and the noise of their breathing. Many of the runners were smiling. There was an almost electric atmosphere… a type of positive energy in the air that is difficult to explain to someone who hasn’t witnessed it. Anyways, Yancy and I were sore and tired and had blisters after our first 5k walk, but we had a blast and wanted to do it again! This was the start of several years of walking events, most of which Yancy and I did together. In the Fall of 2008 I realized that I was starting to gain back some of the 40 pounds I had lost and decided I needed to do something bigger. I had heard of Team in Training and went to a meeting with the intention of singing up to train for a half marathon run. I met a guy who had done a triathlon in Hawaii the previous year and was doing it again. No offense to Steve if he ever reads this, but he’s a pretty big guy. I thought to myself that if he could do it, why couldn’t I? And triathlons seemed pretty impressive. So I signed up with the Team to train for an olympic distance triathlon. I did my first triathlon in Hawaii March 2009 and it changed my life forever!    (You can read the whole story here on my old blog.)

Sorry, I got a little carried away there. But that brings us up to date. I’ve done 4 triathlons now (one of which was a half iron distance) and two half marathons. I have another triathlon in 2 weeks and a half marathon in 6 weeks. I’ve lost more weight and am hovering between 205 & 209 right now. But I still have a long way to go. I’m honestly not sure what my ideal weight is, but I think 160-170 pounds would be a healthy goal. I do have a large bone structure and lots of muscles, so I’ll just have to wait and see how I look at that weight.

Every day is a challenge when it comes to loosing weight. I find that I often like to take the easy road… go out for breakfast or dinner, trade the hour of exercise for an hour of sleep or time with my hubby… I still catch myself snacking on things at work that I shouldn’t be eating. But being healthy is what is important to me. Even though it doesn’t always come naturally to me to do the right thing, I’m going to try to make better choices more of the time so I can loose weight and feel better (and preform better in my chosen sports).

Look what I did!

The little surprise that I hinted at on Thursday was a hair cut. I know, I know… I just cut it a few weeks ago, but there’s been something bothering me about the hair cut. I finally figured it out and went back to the salon to have it fixed. Just had the back shortened to do kind of an inverted bob… like a “pixie” as my friend Rochelle says. Yancy says it looks rocker-chick. I love my hair cut now! 🙂     (too bad I’m so bad at self-photos, can’t take one that I really like)

Chicken noodle soup tonight

I made it through the work week!!! Barely! I’ve been so exhausted from our busy schedule that I’ve come down with a cold… or maybe the cold is why I was so tired all week. Anyways, I played hooky from swim practice tonight to come home and eat my home-made chicken noodle soup. Yum! And now it’s time to curl up on the couch with a book (just starting the last of the Harry Potter series). Maybe later I’ll have some tea.

I’m going to take things super easy tomorrow because I’m hoping I can still do my swimming event on Sunday. It’s a 1.5 mile swim across Lake Washington and definitely wouldn’t be fun with a cold. Oh, and I have a surprise up my sleeve for tomorrow… will post when my mischief is done.  😉

Busy…

Yesterday and today have been insanely busy. Last night I made chicken noodle soup entirely from scratch: fresh carrots, celery, onion, peppers, garlic, chicken, home-made egg noodles, and frozen corn with lots of spices and some chicken stock. It was really good, but so darn time consuming. At least we’ll have leftovers for almost a week!  :O)

Today I pretty much worked a straight 9 hours… Lots of patients and a lunch time meeting. I ate ceasar salad and yogurt for lunch. The highlight of today was leaving work early to go out to dinner with the guys (Yancy, Mike, & Joey) at Fado’s Irish Pub in downtown Seattle and then go to the Sounders soccer game. This was a Concacaf league game against Mexico and the Sounders lost 2-0. But it was still a ton of fun and a beautiful day! Thanks Mike for the treat!!!

Off to bed now because tomorrow promises to be even more busy!

Just another Monday

The weekend went by too fast as usual. Work was seriously busy again. I work in ophthalmology, mostly doing exams, but lots of paperwork and running around. It’s the busy season where kids are coming in for their last minute eye exams before school starts. I’m hoping that means the schedule will ease up a bit in a few weeks. We can see up to 40 patients in one day, for only one doctor! The last 2 weeks have been so busy that I come home exhausted every night… well on the four days that I work my ten hour shifts anyways (Monday -Thursday). And on Friday all I want to do is laze around.

It would be so easy to use my fatigue from a hard day’s work as an excuse not to exercise or do other responsible things… like housecleaning, or cooking a healthy meal. *Seriously, I don’t know how mothers do it!* I have used that excuse way too many times and it’s part of the reason I have gained weight in the past. But changing to a more relaxing job or working less hours isn’t exactly an option right now. So what can I do to put that good day’s work in and give it my best and still have energy leftover to devote to other challenging pursuits? If anyone has some golden answer, please send it to me asap. In the meantime I am going to consider my lifestyle and see what I can change. I think I could benefit from more sleep, or at least a better sleep pattern. I could also work on my diet to help energy levels stay even throughout the day. Maybe setting a housecleaning schedule (vacuum on Fridays, laundry on Sunday…) would help be keep up with it better. Already I try to plan my more strenuous exercise days for the weekends.

Well, there is lots to think about and start putting into action. Which is making me tired now… ha!  🙂  I did go to the gym after work for some lap swimming in the pool. Did 60 lengths in about 35 minutes, a few short of a mile, but still felt good. I definitely prefer to swim outdoors now (since I’m mostly over my phobia of water plants). And I was really bummed that the hot tub wasn’t open today.

Yancy and I needed to do some grocery shopping tonight and I’ve learned from previous experiences to never do this on an empty stomach, especially after swimming! So we had dinner at the Mongolian Grill. Loads of fresh veggies with a bit of meat stir-fried on that huge grill. YUM! We bought ingredients to make fresh chicken noodle soup tomorrow all from scratch (except a little chicken broth). Looking forward to trying home-made noodles again. My last attempt didn’t really work out.  😛 I’ll let ya know all about it tomorrow night.

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