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Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Taken about two weeks after joining Weight Watchers
July 2010
When I started Weight Watchers over FIVE years ago I didn't actually think I'd stick with it.  It wasn't that I didn't believe in the program; it had much more to do with not believing in myself.  Having the encouragement of friends (Sheri & Bri) who started with me and then making friends with the members at my meeting kept me wanting to come back, week after week, even when I knew the scale wouldn't be my friend.

Taken last week
July 2015
Then two years ago when I started working for Weight Watchers I used the picture above as my "THEN" photo.  When I hit my goal weight I wanted a "REDO" at that photo but that required a trip back to Oregon and the Oregon Brewers Festival.  Last week we spent the week in Bend/Portland, Oregon and I got my chance!

I told my husband early on in the week that I didn't really have any expectations for our trip but that I wanted this photo.  We arrived at OBF (Oregon Brewers Festival) a little early and after we got our wrist bands and got onto the grounds the first thing he said was let's find the barrel and get your photo.  I was a little surprised by how important this became to him.  I asked a few volunteers if they knew where this barrel was and some shook their head and said they remembered it from past years but they didn't know if it was there this year.  Finally, we were pointed in the right direction and Dan took the photo.

Now I have a new "NOW" photo to compare to my "THEN" photo and while I knew that I was unhealthy then but to compare the two photos was shocking to me.  I know that my journey to stay healthy doesn't end.  It'll never end but a few thoughts kept popping into my mind last week while we were on vacation.  The first was that we chose to be active -- hiking, biking, walking when we could.   It was hot the day we spent in the city of Bend so we decided to rent bikes and biked all over sampling some of Bend's restaurants and breweries.  When we got to Portland we returned our rental car in favor of renting bikes and we biked or walked everywhere we went, with the exception of the airport on the day we flew out.  

My second thought was that even though I figured I would gain weight on vacation (probably more than I'm happy with but won't know until after weigh-in tomorrow) I realized that I wasn't worried because we were being active and I knew that when we got home I'd get back to my healthy habits of regular workouts/training, healthy choices and drinking more water than beer.  

How do you stay on track while on vacation or do you just pledge to get back to healthy habits when you return home?

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What do you surround yourself with?

This photo showed up in my Facebook feed yesterday.  I think it is absolutely perfect.  I think we can all agree that it's easy to fall into the trappings of negativity.  What happens if we reverse that?  If we get rid of the naysayers and negativity in our lives?  My husband did something crazy (at least to me) and got rid of Facebook because some people were making him crazy.  Yet, I continue to read the page and get angered by the comments.

I know that in some areas of my life I have made changes to do this - to surround myself with the dreamers and the doers and the believers and it has made a world of difference.
Instead of thinking I couldn't be a runner I found myself making friends with runners.  Some of them are my best friends who encourage, inspire and push me in ways that I don't think I can do things.  But they have faith in me until I can start to believe in myself.

I think this is true no only in activity but weight loss as well.  From time to time I feel the need to, at least temporarily, get rid of certain foods because they either don't fill me up or I just continue eating them.  It doesn't mean I'll never eat them again but I have to surround myself with the things that will help me reach my goals.

What are you going to surround yourself with to make your journey easier this week?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Product Review: Blue Diamond Almonds - Sriracha

Best mail day EVER!
We like spicy food there is no doubt about that.  Our garden is filled with spicy peppers so it was only a question of when we would try the Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds.  I looked at several different stores and didn't have much luck finding them so I am REALLY glad that I had the opportunity to have the company send me a couple of cans to try out.  That was the best day to get the mail!

We couldn't wait to crack those cans open.  And boy oh boy - they were DELICIOUS!  When I first heard about these nuts I immediately thought they would be a fantastic addition to a salad - that crunchy spicy kick would really add some depth of flavor to a plate of greens from our CSA vegetable box.  Except... I ran a triathlon before we got our first box and they made the PERFECT salty recovery food that Dan and I were happily crunching on while we drove home from the race.

Seriously -- FIND THESE!!
This is only half a serving

I still wanted to try them on a salad and I recently came across a recipe for a new-to-me salad.  The best part -- it's so ridiculously easy to make!

Spicy Broccoli Slaw
 - Serves 4 (or 1 if you don't want to share!)

Pour one bag of your favorite broccoli slaw into a bowl
Peel one tangerine - I used nugget tangerines because I sampled them in the grocery store and they were amazing and the size of it was perfect (the ones I bought were about baseball sized) and break it into its natural sections; toss into the bowl of broccoli slaw
Add 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Trader Joe's Spicy Thai Peanut Salad Dressing mix to bowl
Chop a few ounces of Blue Diamond Sriracha Almonds and toss on top

Serve and enjoy!

This post was sponsored by Blue Diamond but all opinions are mine (and Dan's).  While I was sent product to review for this post I am definitely seeking these out.  My grocery store doesn't carry them currently but I am going to request that they start the next time I go because they are too good not to have in my life more often.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Are you mindful or mind full?

Last week in the meeting room we talked about being mindful.  I know that normally I am more on the mind full side of that equation than the mindful side.  You know what I'm talking about -- you're having a conversation with someone and watching TV/reading Twitter/Facebook/a real book at the same time?  There are more times that I can count when I know that Dan and I are talking and I look at him with utter confusion because I have no idea what we're actually talking about.  Well, the topic last week hit me hard.  Being mindful.

Oh look, another TRI photo
(I can't help it, it's my favorite!)
I want to be more present in the moment.  Every moment.  During the meeting I was all 'oh yeah I've totally got this'.  Remember when I said that I wanted to enjoy my triathlon?  Well, just days before we talked about being mindful I kept thinking during the race -- just focus on this moment.  You did all the hard work and can enjoy this race.  People are clapping for you and you have a wonderful husband waiting for you at T2 so just have fun.  I did have fun and I was so proud of myself for being mindful of the joy that having spent months training really got me across not only the start line but the finish line as well.

Except that I find myself very quickly slipping into that mind full group.  So, my goal for this week is to be more present in the moment and enjoy the moments rather than worrying about what's next.

What's your goal for the week?

Monday, June 15, 2015

Post race thoughts: LITH TRI

In Eagle River, WI at Journey's 5K with Brenda
Yesterday, after my triathlon I went to watch Dan play in a pick-up hockey game.  As we were driving I said that it was a day for two firsts -- my first triathlon and my first race in the rain.  He disagreed and reminded me of this race from back in 2011 -- my first 5K.  It suddenly seemed completely appropriate that yesterday's weather was less than fantastic to complete my first TRI!

Checking out the water
We got up at 4 am so I could eat my usual peanut butter and banana toasts with some coffee after getting dressed in my tri kit and dealing with two very confused dogs (why are we up so early?  It's still dark outside so I can't see if there are any bunnies or birds to chase!) before getting in the car and heading to the Costco parking lot.  This was where they were doing the body marking and where I could pick up my packet.  Wheel Werks -- the store where we bought our fat bikes were the bike sponsor and on site for any last minute bike needs.  I saw Bob (the owner) and he asked if I was going to ride my fat bike (he asks me this every time I see him and I usually end up saying no) and with a smile as wide as the Grand Canyon I told him I was!

With Diane
We rode over to Transition 2 (T2) so I could drop my bag and check out where my bike was going to be parked after the run portion of the race and then rode to the beach and Transition 1 (T1) where we met up with Diane and I set up my bike and gear to be ready for when I came out of the water.  After a bathroom stop and picking up my timing ankle bracelet I got into my wet suit.  The race start was delayed a little bit but soon enough we were lining up to start.

My favorite photo
I tried to remember to just go slow and I ran out as far as I could before diving in and beginning to swim.  I thought I was dead on course but I was wrong, several times, and had to course correct.  I got kicked, I kicked a few people but I just tried to stay calm.  I got to the part of the lake where I knew it was shallow enough to stand, and so I did for a few seconds to catch my breath.  Apparently that is enough to alert the Cary Dive Team who immediately shouted at me to see if I was alright.  I said I was and then started swimming again.  Rounding the last giant triangle marker has always been the hardest for me because there is so much stuff to see on shore that it's hard for me to sight where I should be swimming.  On I went and soon enough I could stand again and I began to run up the beach.

Diane helped me get out of my wet suit, I sat down, got my socks and shoes on, grabbed my helmet and ran out of T1 and instantly smiled.  The looks I got for my bike were AWESOME and I proudly road and smiled for 15.5 miles.  Volunteers and Police Officers were cheering for me and I tried to thank them all.  There were hills but I stayed on my bike using every single gear that my Salsa Mukluk bike has and I was excited to be riding.  The rain continued, lightly, but I could feel the water sloshing in my shoes and I was thankful that I had a "dry pair" and fresh socks at T2.  There were a number of times when I stopped smiling long enough to have happy tears stream down my face but then my smile returned.  Soon enough I was heading back into T2, parking my bike and getting out of my wet socks and shoes.

I stripped off my tri top and put on a different shirt, put on (thankfully) dry socks and shoes and heading out for the run.  Which quickly became a walk with Diane.  I just didn't want to make my body go any faster.  I could feel pain in my ankle, in my quad and my knee.  I was just content to walk.  Diane encouraged me to run and we did until I'd feel pain.  I saw Dan near the finish line and started running.  I'd done it... I'd accomplished a goal that I never truly thought possible.  And I had the most amazing husband who got up at 4 am just to stand around in the rain and take these amazing photos of me.  I know that I'm truly blessed to not only have Dan as my best friend and husband but to be able to take on new goals and challenges and have his never ending support.  I'm also blessed to have received so many really fantastic and encouraging words these last several days as I was freaking out.  Thank you, to each and every one of you.

I'm a Triathlete! Here's how my race broke down: 
Swim: 0.5 miles: 22:53.35 --> T1: 3:41.05
Bike: 15.5 miles: 1:13:01.05 --> T2: 2:57.30
Run (or in my case walk): 4.0 miles: 57:56.60
Total Time: 2:40:29.35

So, what'd you do this weekend?  New goals?  New accomplishments?  Share!

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pre-race Thoughts

Five years ago (next month to be exact)
If you'd have told me five years ago that I would spend today making lists and checking things off so I was prepared for my first triathlon I'd have called you crazy and maybe a few other choice words.  I never imagined being a person who enjoyed being active or that I'd ever have the confidence to take swimming lessons.  I wasn't exactly happy being fat, it's just what I thought my life was going to be like.

It's not like that anymore, obviously, and tonight I'm laying out my tri kit (that's a fancy phrase for the shorts, singlet combo I'll be sporting tomorrow -- and I really hope I used that term correctly!) and packing a change of clothes for after the race so I can dry off as quickly as possible.  (Yes, I learned that lesson the hard way).

I've tried to think about goals for this race -- in the past 5 years I've always posted a long litany of goals.  This race is different.  I am doing this one just for me.  I didn't do any fundraising, I didn't really blog about it or share much about my training on social media.  Ultimately, I want to cross the finish line with a HUGE smile on my face.  I mean a legitimate smile and not because I'm just saying a word that begins with "S".  I'm going to try my best to be proud of the effort that I've put into my training and have fun.

I certainly won't be winning the race and even if I'm the last one to finish in my age group at least I got out there and tried.  I think my former self will be proud of me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pre TRI thoughts...

While going through my "One day in time" memories on Facebook I came across a post from 2011 (not even a year after I'd joined Weight Watchers and obviously still very obese) where I said that I was thinking of completing a triathlon.  At the time I didn't even know how to swim so that was quite the proclamation.

My inspiration to always be active
Last year as I cheered on my friend, Diane, as she biked past me like a mad woman I began to wonder if this was something that I could do.  However, since I still didn't know how to swim I put it out of my mind.  A few months later, during my half marathon from Napa to Sonoma I started having some significant ankle/foot pain.  When I visited the podiatrist I was told that I most likely had a stress fracture and running/biking were off my activity calendar.  Coach B advised me to take up pool running and Diane suggested I check out the pool at Centegra Health because with a doctor's note I could join for cheap... So I did.  That's when I met a swim instructor and this whole dream of a triathlon came back full force.

I have absolutely loved the training, though admittedly I didn't follow the plan I had exactly but more as a guideline.  Some of the terminology I wasn't familiar with and felt embarrassed to ask anyone.  A few days before the race I'm kind of cursing myself on that choice, in case you were wondering.

I'm nervous about the race.  I mean, I'm not nervous about drowning (I can swim now!) and I'm not nervous about the distance.  What I'm scared about... the thing I'm always scared about before a race is that I'll disappoint someone.  That I won't swim or bike fast enough and that I'll stop to walk during the run.  I thought that by not really talking/blogging about my race (if you've read this blog for any length of time you might remember that I used to blab about every detail of training and my pre-race goals, etc...) that I wouldn't feel like this because this race would be JUST FOR ME.

The truth of the matter is that I don't want to care about how long it takes me to cross the finish line.  How do I make my brain and my heart actually believe that?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Again? Yes, again.

This is not the post that I intended to write today but it's the post I need to write today.  I have to be honest with myself, again, because even though I woke up feeling bloated and puffy today I knew I needed to get to a meeting. I went to my Weight Watchers meeting and stepped on the scale to a 3.4 pound weight gain.  Joanne looked at me with empathy and I shook my head.  It's not that I was shocked because, as I mentioned, I felt puffy this morning but still... sheesh!  I said I hadn't changed anything... still active, still tracking, still eating within my Daily PointsPlus target.

After the meeting I stayed to talk to Joanne a little bit and realized that wasn't quite right.  Recently during my swim workouts I'd been having some muscle cramps.  I read that getting more magnesium could help and one of the places you can get magnesium is from whole grains.  I'd added some whole grain things to my daily intake -- a whole grain english muffin here, some of the Trader Joe's Harvest Grains on my salad, etc...

When I lost my weight I was a high protein, low carb kind of girl and it worked for me.  When Simple Start rolled out I tried it, twice, and gained weight both times because I added more starchy carbs into my day since they were power foods.  You'd think I would have known that basically tripling my intake of carbs was not necessarily going to work for me weight loss wise (muscle cramp wise it's worked fantastically well!).  I guess this means I'm going back to the drawing board ... Not that that's a bad thing.

How was your week?  What changes have you made that have worked well for you?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

I needed a push

With TRI training in full force (my race is now less than a month away -- EEK!) I was in the pool this week for a couple of work out sessions.  I'm swimming along and as I approach the wall I tucked, and got a really good push off.  I realized that in life I sometimes just need a good push.  I realized that to take a job in a state where I knew, literally, one person I got a push from Dad.  For my most recent job change Dan provided the gentle nudge. Let's be honest, those boys know what they are talking about!

On the activity front I've gotten those friendly pushes from Coach B and my sister, Brenda.  The push to pursue a triathlon came from my dear friend, Naomi.  Again, I don't know where I'd be without these people who not only inspire, encourage and support me but are just wonderful people to have in my life.

As I recalled (thanks to Facebook's On this Day function to be honest with you) what's been happening in my life over the last few years I realized how, sometimes, we just need the little push outside of our comfort zone.  To pursue the thing you didn't know you wanted but now desire.

What or who pushes you?  Who do you push?

Thursday, May 14, 2015

It's happening... again

Remember this?
Las Vegas 2012
For those of you who have been hanging in there with me for any length of time you know that the last few years have included quite a lot of training; there were 7 half marathons since December 2012 and after all that I was tired.  For the most part I absolutely loved training and loved racing but at some point it just got to be too much.  After running Napa to Sonoma last summer and ending with what I thought was a stress fracture and being forced to take time off I realized that there are other things that I love to do to stay active and maintain my weight.

I honestly thought that I'd be taking a year off training for any distance races focusing on 5K's, 10K's and this triathlon coming up in FIVE WEEKS!  Since I started my new job I've obviously spent quite a lot of time around people who run regularly.  Without really realizing I started checking the Tyranena Beer Run half marathon website; but registration hadn't opened yet.  For five days I kept checking; still closed.  Until Tuesday when I logged onto Facebook and saw an update from the race.  Registration was open.  So, I registered.
Tyranena Beer Run - 2013

But that's it.  I'm not registering for any other half marathons this year.  I think.  But for now I've got a new goal to work towards and isn't that what we really need to stay focused?

How have your plans changed without you realizing they were changing?  What new goal have you set recently?

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Baby Steps

Hey -- remember me?  I took a hiatus from blogging when I was leading a lot of Weight Watchers meetings and was struggling to figure out what to say here.  I mean, I spent the majority of every day talking about weight loss and when I'd get home blogging about weight loss or maintenance was sort of the last thing on my mind.  I'm not entirely sure that I'm fully back to blogging but I'm going to try because I feel like it's a great outlet.  For those who know me personally you know that I have now taken a hiatus from leading Weight Watchers meetings; though I still work as a Personal Coach and 24/7 Chat coach.  It's been a challenging transition but it feels like an amazing opportunity for me and it's really gotten me excited about running again.

To be honest my training last year was not as much fun as I know that it should have been and then finishing the Napa to Sonoma half marathon with a bum foot left me feeling like I didn't want to run.  Ever.  As part of my recovery my doc said that I could run in the pool.  I started that and met Ann who looks angelic while swimming.  It turns out she's also a swim coach and she told me that she could teach me to swim.  I signed up for lessons and started swimming.  I knew I needed to learn to swim if I ever wanted to even think about doing a triathlon.  Then, registration opened for the race that I really wanted to do -- it's small and close to my house.  I couldn't remember being this excited about working out and working towards something in a long time.

I found a training plan and started loosely following it.  The reason I didn't want to follow it to the letter was because I didn't really want to run.  Then I started spending a lot of time around people who run and I started getting excited about running again.  So, on a sunny, beautiful day I pulled out my Asics Kayano's and laced them up.  I started running without my watch because I knew if I saw my pace I'd be upset knowing I'd lost my speed.  I didn't care how fast I ran but I wore my Vivofit so I'd know how far I'd gone.  It wasn't far - only a couple of miles but it felt amazing to run again.

My point goes back to something I posted about YEARS ago.  Make the small changes because they'll end up making huge results for you if you just stick with it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When did THAT happen?

Back in November of last year I started taking private swim lessons.  I knew how to tread water and get myself out of trouble if I was in trouble but I didn't know how to do the various strokes properly and I definitely didn't know how to breathe and swim at the same time.  I was completely out of my comfort zone.  I loved swimming because it was something completely different from anything I'd done before but I hated it because it was extremely difficult.

An oldie but a goodie!  This race seemed
absolutely impossible.  Guess what?
Small goals and a coach who wouldn't
up on me got me to the finish line.
When I started I could barely make it down the length of the pool without stopping to catch my breath.  I doubted that I'd ever be able to actually swim laps and my goal of competing in a sprint triathlon (with a half mile open water swim) seemed to be getting farther and farther away.  However, I bought all the lessons so I didn't have any choice but to keep going.  My swim instructor, Ann, is very encouraging and keeps giving me new twists to keep swimming interesting.

So, I keep going and I keep trying.  I've been setting small goals for myself (does that sound familiar?!) to do the front crawl 6 or 8 laps.  Over the weekend my goal was to swim 10 lengths without flippers and without stopping.  I swam 12 lengths.  I felt so proud of myself and figured that I'd kind of hang out and swim 12 lengths this week and just keep increasing by 2 lengths every week.
In the meantime I've gotten some new swimming gear namely a swim cap and flippers.  The flippers have given me little blisters on my toes though so I wasn't terribly excited to put them on today.  So I just started crawling.  I knew I wanted to swim my 12 lengths before I put on the flippers to really fly but as I started swimming there was just something so peaceful about the rocking and rolling motion.  Listening to my breath.  Counting my strokes.  Before I knew it I had gone 20 lengths of the pool without stopping so I just kept going until I needed to get a drink of water.

I guess my point is that when we first start things the goal seems so far off and that we may never achieve it but we just have to keep going because as long as we keep trying we will reach the goal.

What is your big goal and what small steps will you take to get there?