Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Spreading the Word of Self-Acceptance

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I have some fun news!!


They did an article, Health Bloggers You'll Love and my blog was featured! Wow, I was blown away by the mention and by what they wrote. Here are some snippets...
These writers offer passionate insight and smart advice on the subjects that matter to you most.

So many health blogs, so little time. That’s why we scoured the Internet and selected the healthy-living voices that are truly worth your clicks….these passionate folks bring unique perspectives and well-tested wisdom to their subjects. And, above all, their feeds are just plain great reads. Get ready to hit “follow”!

Best Weight-Loss Inspiration Blog (<-- br="" me="" s="" that="">

Divorce, raising two kids and the occasional fall into a vat of cheese puffs haven’t derailed Michelle Funez’s efforts to get healthy. What makes her blog so inspiring isn’t just her fitness feats (triathlons!) but her journey to self-acceptance.

Words of Wisdom: In a slump? Go to the gym and do nothing (or almost nothing). “It’s maintaining the routine that’s important.”
There's so much for me to love here. In just a couple paragraphs they captured several things that are really important to my message, like falling into cheese puffs and still being successful. And I really liked the "journey to self-acceptance" quip. I don't feel like I write about that in an overt way but the writer (Courtney Rubin) picked up on it and chose to highlight it. I love that. Thank you Courtney!

At the end of the day, in a more profound way than we tend to consider, eating choices that leave us feeling good about ourselves, moving on from slip-ups, choosing to believe we can reach our goals - it all comes back to self-acceptance which for me presupposes some other self- things, like self-love, self-worth.

In my youth and early adulthood I was accused of being selfish. For years I carried with me, still carry, the fear that I'm selfish. I won't get into the natural-ness of an adolescent or young adult - not to mention one who happens to be working through some heavy emotional childhood baggage - being selfish. But to assign a young person with such a label - especially a young person that is sensitive, introspective, highly self-critical - that can stick with you. And it stuck with me.

So I worked to understand what part of focusing on me is not about being selfish but about self-care. Oh my, this is turning into a whole 'nother blog post. I want to write this post. I will write it. Not today, maybe next time.

Before I close I'll share another fun bit of blog-news. I was once again included in Healthline's The Best Weight Loss Blogs of the Year for 2015. Thank you Healthline! The best thing about getting media attention is that it means I am spreading the word. What's the word I want to spread?

You don't have to be perfect. It's not about willpower or determination. I don't possess any more motivation than any other fat girl that really wants to be fit. We've gotten the absolute wrong instruction from the diet industry and it's not our fault that their methods never worked for us. There is a way. Change your thoughts, baby steps, never give up, find your unique way, grow, learn, think, do...slowly and as clumsy as you might need to. Dare to want something. I found my way and I was just as lost as anyone else out there.

I'm going to get all weepy if I keep going so I'll stop here. Thanks again to Health magazine and Healthline. I am honored to be noticed by these media companies who also share so much of my message. And to my readers, some of whom have been following me for the over 8 years I've been blogging - thank you the most. I couldn't spread this message without you.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

The Magic Kingdom of Food

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In the days leading up to our Disneyland trip I was all about "I'm going to make goal-oriented food choices and try to get in a run while we're there." Ha!

Road trip!
I'll back up. Miguel and I decided to take the kids to Disneyland together. It's one of those classic parent/child experiences that neither of us wanted to miss out on, so we did it together. Can I just say how incredibly grateful I am to have an ex-husband who can do something like this? There's a reason I married this man, he really is a good guy and I'm so proud of our co-parenting relationship.

We made the drive on Sunday and it was about 5-minutes into our 7 hour journey that I broke into the snack-size Oreos. Which weren't very "snack size" in that they contained six full size cookies. I think two would be more appropriate. Of course that didn't stop me from eating all six.

In terms of food, it was much the same for the rest of the trip. I chose something indulgent at every snack and meal, fish-and-chips, candy bars, chips, milkshakes...you get the idea. I made a couple slightly better choices, like a grilled chicken breast burger instead of a hamburger, but mostly it was all-bets-are-off eating.

We went to Disneyland two years ago and I went back and read that post, seeing I did the same thing back then. I guess it's unrealistic for me to eat clean in the magic kingdom. As far as going for a run, that's an even bigger laugh. We drove for 7 hours on Sunday, so no run that day. Then we spent 10-15 hours per day walking around Disneyland for the next two days...again, no run. And on Wednesday morning when we got up to drive home, my left hip hurt so bad I was limping. I think it was all the carrying of Myra.

I'll share some of my favorite pictures before going on.

The looks on their faces...priceless

Our brave Padowan


45 minutes in line, worth it.

Can you tell we're related by our expressions?

Our friends The Browns joined us on day 2, so fun!


Always a family

So, I'm home...nudging myself back into my normal way of eating. I got on the scale Thursday morning and I think I was up by around 3 pounds. It will take me a little while to work that off but I'm not too worried about it.

I went for a run today. I haven't run in a while so I decided to just head out the door and run until I didn't want to anymore. The desire to stop running came at around mile 7.7, so I decided to push on to close out 8 miles for a total run time of around 1 hour, 26 minutes. And then I was still two miles from home so I had a nice cool-down walk.

I have big plans for next week. I plan to put some good food in and get back into my gym routine, which I've been out of for weeks on end now. That's not good for my body, but more important, not good for my mind. Plenty of distractions in the air here but those are resolved now so I can focus on me again. Life never stops getting in the way. I've said this a million times but it's so true, this journey is not about figuring out how to always stay on track, it's about figuring out how to get back on track once we're off. Ideally, quickly and without too much negative consequence, like weight gain.

And in my next post - stay tuned for some fun news in the blog-fame department! Hint: if you have the current edition of Health magazine, look on page 82!

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Aloha, Hello and Goodbye

In Hawaiian language, as I understand it, Aloha can be both hello and goodbye. So this is my second Aloha post, finishing up my trip as I had to say goodbye to Kauai and return home. I attended the University of Hawaii for undergrad and feel a special connection to the islands. It was so special to visit and see the island of Kauai the way I did, and also gave me a bit of the blues to leave. But no gloom here, I want to tell you about the rest of my awesome trip!

My last full day in Kauai my friend Heidi and I had a very relaxing morning (during which I wrote my last blog post). We eventually got moving, heading out to the Waimea Canyon (also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific) to take in the natural beauty of it all. I have been to Kauai twice before and am embarrassed to say, I'd never been to the Waimea Canyon.


Look at that waterfall!
I stopped at the fruit stand and purchased some fresh coconut, so yummy.

So the drive-up vista lookouts were breathtaking, but that's not how we roll. Heidi had a plan for us to hike the Nualolo Trail out to Lolo Vista, a roughly 7.5-mile trek round trip.



The first portion of the trail was wet and misty with lots of large ferns and other greenery. Just beautiful.

Heidi on the trail
It was mostly downhill on the way out, which was tedious given my calves were sore from the other hike we did. After a mile or so the trail became more dry and dusty, but still lots of downhill, some fairly steep.


After about 3.5 miles and 2 hours we neared the vista point.


And then the trail and views started to take my breath away.


The sight of that trail above made me nervous to hike on, I get vertigo sometimes when I can see a drop in my peripheral vision while hiking and, also, I don't want to fall off the side of a cliff and die. But I just kept my eyes on the trail and Heidi distracted me so I made it just fine.

And then we were standing on what felt like the edge of the world, looking down the Na Pali coastline, and I was totally overcome with the beauty of it. And so grateful that I can do something like this. I was so taken away that I filmed a short cellphone video to share it.



Wow.




Heidi and I enjoyed a snack, a Clif Bar and a pear, before heading back. Check out the Garmin info from our hike.



Believe it or not, we were faster on the hike out (and up) then on the way in, even with the (very welcome) light rain that started falling on us. We made it back to the car muddy and soaking wet for a total hike time of 3 hours, 52 minutes. And of course, we were starving! So back to her house to clean up and head out for a nice dinner at Eating House 1849, a restaurant by famed Hawaii chef Roy Yamaguchi.

I was very happy to have a martini and we started our meal with a crispy fried cauliflower and brussells sprouts appetizer. Another martini and then I had the "kamameshi" entree, a hot pot rice bowl which I ordered with salmon. It was a very clean entree choice and I felt so good enjoying it. Of course we had to have dessert...the chocolate souffle was an easy sell on us.


And then, sleep, sweet sleep. The next day, my final day on the island, started with breakfast. I had an egg-white veggie omelet with hash brown and toast.


Then some gift-buying and another meal. I wasn't actually hungry yet, but I really wanted a bowl of Saimin, a Hawaii noodle soup dish that, when I was at UH, I practically lived on.

your basic Saimin w/ hot mustard.
And then to the airport to wait for my flight home. The return flight was, well, I was seated next to a couple with an 18 month old. Such is life. At least the baby helped me to stay awake so I could sleep well when I got home near midnight.

Back at home and up in the morning for my last day of vacation. I rode the ferry into SF for a Giants baseball game. The weather was perfect and I enjoyed the game. What an entirely huge change of pace, though, from the surrounds in Hawaii.

On the Larkspur to SF ferry

Go Giants!
Unfortunately the Giants didn't win, but I did. The weather was gorgeous and I was happy to sit on my duff for a few hours, also enjoying an IPA and a sheboygan hot dog for lunch. Yum.

Well, that's the end of my vacation. The welcome home hugs and kisses from the kids were so appreciated. I missed those little buggers. But the trip was so needed, I felt refreshed, revived, re-everything and ready to take on life, feeling a little less weight on my shoulders (no pun intended). Well, maybe not if I'm speaking literally. I think I'm up by a couple pounds. Yes, even with all that hiking. But I'm not too worried about it, I know I'll manage to get them off. I'm a maintainer, that's what I do.

I'll close with one more pic from my trip.

The Na Pali coastline and I taking a selfie together

Monday, June 1, 2015

Aloha from Kauai

I know what you're thinking, what?? Kauai?? It was a somewhat impromptu trip, coming together in just the past few weeks. One of my backpacking girlfriends, Heidi, moved here last year and she's had an open door since. Here's a pic of she and I on our Desolation trip in 2013.


Look at that smile, I just love her. Why did it take me this long to visit? No matter, I'm here now.

So Heidi is as crazy active and fit as they come. She's a yoga instructor, among other things, and road bikes, runs, swims...she does it all. I arrived on Thursday morning to beautiful weather.


Before too long we were sitting on the beach, Salt Pond beach, watching the waves.



After some time in the sun we headed to her house and had dinner with she and the family. Up and at 'em Friday morning to head out to Hanakapi`ai Valley for an amazing waterfall hike. Here's a description I found at www.kauaiexplorer.com:
Cool Because
You get a river, a beach and a waterfall in an ancient pristine valley
Topography
Trail begins at Ke`e Beach traveling along high ocean-side cliffs.  Narrow path passes in and out of several valleys with steep inclines and declines.  Trail conditions may range from muddy puddles to dry, crumbly rock.  Path leads to Hanakapi`ai beach with option to follow along Hanakapi`ai river to waterfall that drops into large, deep pool.
Not Good For
Those that do not have strong endurance and are not in good physical condition.
Hazards
Extreme inclines and declines on uneven, narrow footpath on high cliffs.  Loose rocks underfoot and from eroding cliffs above.  Trail is slippery when muddy.  Strong sun, little shade.  Heavy backpacks can cause overexertion.  Filter all water.  Strong currents and flash flooding can occur at the river.  Dangerous shorebreak and riptides at Hanakapi`ai beach - use extreme caution.
Oh my goodness...you can't imagine the pristine beauty of it all. The pictures just don't do it justice but I'll post some anyway.

The first vista point after 2 miles, looking down at Ke`e Beach

Heidi and I loving life

Glancing down the Na Pali coast
Girls on the move

One of the many river crossings on the way up the valley
The hike was challenging but not hard. I wore tennis shoes but changed into teva sandals at the first of 5 or so river crossings. And then, after 4 miles of beautiful hiking, we came to the falls.

And we made it! This is just a tiny part of the falls, they are huge!
It's hard to give you a sense of how tall this waterfall is but this pic comes close.

Look how tiny the man is in the foreground
After a lunch of PB&J, and a bag of lychee fruit we started back on the 4 mile return trek. It started to rain and the drops of water felt just perfect. And it made the trail muddy, changing the hike altogether. I was scooting along, stomping in mud puddles, feeling like a kid at Disneyland!

On the return trek 
My mud-covered legs
At the 2-mile point we stopped at Hanakapi`ai Beach to take in the scene and snap a few pictures.

Hanakapi`ai Beach
Cairns at the beach, this IS the way

Our muddy toes

After the hike we headed to Hanalei. As we pulled into the parking lot at the beach I was awestruck. I've seen some beautiful spots in my time but this really blew me away. So picture perfect, I felt like I was on a movie set.


Sunset at Hanalei


Heidi and I having fun!
We swam, sat in the beach chairs, solving all of life's problems by realizing we didn't really have any that needed solving. Just be. And in this moment, being is perfection.

After the beach we drove home, starving, and Heidi cooked up some black bean and cheese quesadillas while I made homemade pico de gallo. I wish I'd taken a picture but I think hunger took over. That and a shared cerveza and we slept like the dead that night.

So that was Friday...Saturday we packed up to head to Polihale Beach for a night of camping. Yes, camping on the beach. And I mean on.the.beach. Heidi's boyfriend has a truck and we drove right up and slept feet from the waves. The Polihale beach is on the other side of the Na Pali coast from where we'd hiked the day prior.

Driving in

Our setup. These people know how to do it.
Pupus (appetizers) on the beach.
Sipping tequila (thanks Andrew!)

The beautiful sunset

And sharing it with Heidi made it all the better

More sunset
We played in the waves, sat in the sun, sipped tequila and laughed. Life doesn't get much better than this. The moon was so bright and the company so good, it was hard to settle down for sleep but we did eventually. The next morning was more of the same before packing up to head home for a much needed nap! I slept like a rock for a couple hours before heading out to The Beach House for a martini and some food.

The view from our table
I had a wonderful evening, enjoying the moment just as it was. I am the luckiest girl alive. I could go on and on about how grateful I am to have made the changes I did, that I got up and did it, that I continue to live it every day, in every choice, with every step and every breath. If you doubt yourself, stop doing that, if you are afraid you won't make it, do it anyway. Just take the next step. And after that, take the next one. You don't have to see the way to start the journey. Like I said, I could go on and on, but I don't really need to, this post does it for me.