Monday, September 5, 2016

Mt Tallac Summit Hike

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Ahh, the slow, deep breath that is a holiday weekend. M and I came up to the mountains and I enjoyed a break from the busyness of wrapping up summer. The kids are back in school (that sure snuck up on us!) and soccer season has started. 

Also, I've made a work-related change, recently starting a part-time job in addition to my private practice. I'm feeling really good about my career situation right now. The new job is well-balanced with my life, at least in terms of the number of hours and schedule I'm working. I sketched it all out, with time for exercise calculated in, before I accepted the position, and I know it can work. Now I'm just left to managing any stress from the job, but regular exercise goes a long way to taking care of that!

My eating and exercise are still going really well. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get to a WW meeting this week. But at home my weight is trending down, which feels good. I've had a few moments of feeling sluggish and not wanting to exercise, or like eating junk - but mostly I've been motivated to stay the course. 

This past weekend was my first big indulgence since getting back on the wagon. When we got to town on Friday we stopped at a restaurant for dinner. We shared a salad and then split a cheeseburger (with bacon!) and a margarita pizza for dinner. I also had a few sips of M's wine but skipped the martini I really wanted. I felt good about my choices knowing we were doing a big hike the next day. 

I'll write more about the hike in a minute, but first, the dinner we had after...woah. It was at a nice restaurant and I finally had that martini. And a few glasses of champagne. For an appetizer we had oysters and a scallop ceviche. For my entree I had another appetizer, bay scallops, because I had already decided on dessert. We ordered two, a peach pie with whipped cream and a chocolate tort with chocolate gelato. Holy sweetness! The whole meal was so good! It helped a lot that we had worked our butts of on the trails...

Mt. Tallac is located within Desolation Wilderness, west of Lake Tahoe. We've started the hike before, but never with enough time to actually make it to the summit. 

Near the start
The trailhead is at 6,440 ft elevation and lulls you in with nice views of Fallen Leaf Lake and only a moderate incline. After about a mile-and-a-half we came to Floating Island Lake and then a mile later to Cathedral Lake. After Cathedral Lake the hike went from easy/moderate to hard.

But of course the work is balanced out by the massive beauty of the surrounds, and helped by having a couple Shot Bloks. We took our first break at 4.3 miles, having reached 9,039ft elevation and .7 miles from the summit. I was hungry and had an apple. We'd packed lunches but saved those for the top.

An area called the bowl. Tough going here.
Pristine hiking weather, mid 60's, some clouds and a light breeze
The last mile of the hike was pretty tough! But we plugged along and after 3 hours of hiking and climbing over 3,000ft in elevation, we made it!! My sandwich of roasted turkey, swiss cheese, avocado, arugala on Alvarado flax bread was SO GOOD!!

I took a video at the top. Can you believe the view! 

Lake Tahoe behind us

Sitting on the summit. Thank you legs!
After pictures and eating our sandwiches, and before our muscles seized up, we started the trek down.

Panoramic of Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake
The hike down was almost harder than the hike up, definitely the case for my knees anyway. They were NOT happy. To give you an idea of how much up, up, up and then down, down, down there was, check out the elevation profile from my Garmin. Yikes!

We arrived back at the car a total of 7 hours after our start. We figured we probably spent 30-45 minutes resting, which leaves at least 6 solid hiking hours. 

So now you know why I had such an indulgent dinner. I figured I'd earned it! I'm pretty sure I ate more calories than I burned but that's ok, I have all week to balance it out. I never know how to track meals like that so I entered all my activity and then wiped out those points plus the weekly points I had remaining. I imagine my meal might have been even more than that but, like I said, I have all week to balance it out.

The next day, Sunday, we took it easy. Very easy, including getting a massage, which was painful but in a good way. I ate healthy all day, dinner was grilled swordfish, quinoa with onion and anaheim peppers, roasted brussells sprouts and a salad. Good stuff. I
stayed within my daily points (30), which I plan to do the rest of the week. Ok, I'm off to enjoy another day of not working too hard and avoiding stairs.  

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Major Victory!

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Yes! This is for real. I've had a few false-starts this past year at getting my mojo going but there is nothing false about this start. I'm in week three of exercising and eating better and I am seeing SO MANY results. I can't even believe how much better I feel. I should make a list.

Things that are better now that I'm eating better and exercising regularly (and getting more sleep):

1. My body already feels better, fewer aches and pains
2. I wake up feeling rested
3. I have energy to last all day, no need/want for an afternoon nap or coffee
4. My mood is better, fewer cranky/grouchy moments
5. My clothes are fitting better 
6. I feel more confident and optimistic knowing I'm taking care of myself
7. I am already seeing improvements in the gym. I did two sets of 10 pushups the other day.
8. I'm more relaxed about social functions knowing I can handle the food/drink temptations.

I would say I don't know why I waited so long but I know why, I wasn't ready. And you know what, I've been thinking, and this whole thing is a major victory. MAJOR. 

I went into a sustained period of low in months and months, maybe even more than a year, of not feeling it. And what's the worst thing that happened? I went 15 pounds over my goal weight and lost a lot of fitness. Totally. Manageable.

What didn't happen? I didn't slip into a totally sedentary lifestyle and I didn't give up and eat a bunch of crap on a regular basis. In other words, I didn't fall off the wagon into an all-is-lost, who cares anyway?, denial state of mind. I didn't stop weighing myself, I didn't hide from the issue, I didn't lie to myself and pretend it wasn't happening. That's what would have happened in my old life, that's what DID happen in my old life. But no more. Now, I can go through a rough patch and keep it sort-of together. I am choosing to give myself a HUGE pat-on-the-back for coming out of this with just a little catch-up work to do but no major renovation. YAY!!

I'll close with a few pictures. I made this blackened chicken salad with low-fat blue cheese, avocado, tomato and cucumber (no dressing) last night for dinner with my buddy Michelle. We got to hang out, catch up and enjoy this feast of a meal.

Soccer season is back! And Myra is WAY into it this year. Practices are in the late afternoon so this is a good example of my having energy. I don't sit there feeling exhausted. So fun! This is a picture from Myra's first game. She scored goals and was so happy and I loved watching her play.

And this is from Marek's first game. He's totally into it and it's a joy to watch. Both of them have great coaches. So lucky to have a sport they both love!

Ok, that's it from me for today. Thanks as always for all the encouragement.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Motivation, YAY!

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So much has happened this summer, including my annual women's backpacking trip, which I hope to write about soon, but the most exciting thing I have to share is that I feel confident in saying, my mojo is officially back. And not a moment too soon because the path I was on did not feel good and was scary and playing with fire. 

I appreciated a comment from Karen on my most recent post, what she called a cautionary tale, about not taking weight gain during maintenance seriously enough, how she wishes she had taken her initial 10 pound weight gain more seriously and maybe she wouldn't have gained so much. Maintenance is so tricky isn't it?

Speaking of comments, in my last post I wrote about not feeling like I had done something "wrong" by gaining weight, but also that I was unhappy with the weight gain, and working (mostly mentally at that time) on shifting course. This is such a fine distinction, and I responded to some of the comments that I'd interpreted as having a moralistic judgment of weight gain...I'm so careful with NOT doing that for myself that I'm quick to squash any hint of it in my orbit...BUT, in the process, I don't ever want to make a reader here feel like I'm coming down on them or calling them out for the way they say things. I love the feedback and have learned so much from comments and I'm sorry for the reactionary response to your comments on "admitting" to weight gain. 

So, as I said above, my mojo is back. What does that mean? It means I'm motivated, positive, means I've shifted from thinking about making changes to actually making changes. What changes? A lot. I've started tracking again. You might remember that I'm not a believer in lifelong tracking (for me. I know it works for others) but I do use it as a tool when needed. AND...I'm exercising. 

But the really big deal is, I'm doing both of these things because I want to be doing them. For at least the past 6 months, if not longer, exercising and paying attention to what I eat have felt like something I had to do, that nagging voice inside my head that tells me I need to, should be, have to....and I have never responded well to that voice.

Once I noticed, really noticed, the external voice had gotten hold of me, I started actively working my thoughts to banish it. What do I want? What feels good? How are my current behaviors affecting me? Do I want something to change? What is it I want to change? How might I go about changing it? What price am I paying for the choices I'm making? Where will this lead if I don't make a change? Is that where I want to go? ...and so on, and so forth. 

So I've probably lost about 5 pounds of fat, and gained a tiny bit of muscle. Going back to the gym was painful, both psychologically and physically. I've lost SO MUCH strength. I used to do 40 pushups, now I can barely do one. And I'm sore. I did legs/shoulders yesterday and, ouch... BUT, it feels so good to be using my muscles again, to be doing something I love, and feeling good about it, that the discomfort is worth it. I know how this works, if I keep going, I will get my strength back. I am lucky, I know what works. I talk to a lot of people who struggle to find the right formula to lose weight.

And I am mining this experience for lessons...what did I do right? Well, I didn't beat myself up, I showed patience, I did what I could to prevent a total free-fall/relapse, I weighed myself regularly despite the number going up, up, up, I never-for-a-moment gave up, etc. What could I have done differently? I'm not sure about this one yet. Maybe I could have changed up my workout routine, tried something new? know, this one will take me longer to understand. I had a slump that lasted a long time, but it wasn't a full relapse, but...I don't know. Maybe what I did was the best I could have done? And still, I want to learn something so maybe if this happens again I can not gain almost 20 pounds. 

I want to write more about what I've been up to this summer. Because even though I've been in a slump with eating and exercise, I've managed to keep living. The couch did not win. Most important, I want to write about my backpacking trip, because that helped light this fire. Because of my lack of fitness I suffered, not too badly, but more than I wanted to. What price am I paying for the choices I'm making? Plenty of time to think up in those quiet, pristine, gorgeous Sierra mountains.

I'll close with a few recent pics that say a lot about how I'm doing...

My first day back at the gym

A grocery store run.

An actual run. On the beach in SF. One hour.

How I handled a burger night at at friend's house

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

I've Done Nothing Wrong

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I haven't been writing much but in my most recent post, I shared that I've gained some weight (I'm 15 pounds over my official "goal" weight - even though I kind of don't believe in the concept of a goal weight anymore), that I'm not exercising like I used to, and that I've been struggling to find a way to address the weight gain.

For me, this wasn't something I was hiding, or felt/feel ashamed of. It just is. So that's why I was taken aback when a comment included now that I've "admitted" to the weight gain, I can begin to address it. I thought, woah, wait a minute...admitted? I generally think of needing to admit to something when I've done something wrong. For me, it includes a sort of moralistic aspect to it, inherently suggesting that whatever I'm admitting to must be bad. Maybe that's just me. And then another commenter used the word again. 

Which, me being me, got me to thinking. I have nothing to admit to. I can share, report, update...disclose even. But I was never hiding the weight gain and don't see it as anything that needs admitting to. Maybe I'm making too much of this but, for me, getting the right/wrong, good/bad thinking out of my head when it comes to my eating and exercise choices and my body, was a lot of work. Work that I think was integral to changing the way I thought about weight loss (and maintenance). 

So, my weight is hovering around 159 pounds and I'm not pleased with that truth and I'm a work in progress as to how to address it. But I'm good. I know I would feel better if I were exercising regularly and eating better, and I believe I'll find my way in due time. I also believe this type of episode might be a normal part of long-term maintenance for a person like me, who got what I call the "food gene."

I'm still doing some things that are very important to not falling entirely off the wagon. Most important, I'm weighing myself almost every day. It keeps reality in front of me. Without that, I could be in a major state of denial and just let the pounds keep adding up. And I'm still making an effort, here and there, to eat better and exercise. As I said before, all is not lost. I'm no longer wearing a size 4, or 6 even...most of my pants are a size 8. And I can still run a 5k at the drop of a hat. Most weekends I go on a run of some sort.  

Running, let's focus on that, because I still have a love affair with running. Last week I was driving through San Francisco, it was a gorgeous day, and I just so happened to not be in a rush. As I was passing over the Golden Gate Bridge I thought, "I should go for a run." I had my gear in my car, having packed it that morning thinking, "I'm a runner, and runners carry running gear." But my lazy brain said, "eh, running is hard." Yes, but I love it. I LOVE IT!

So I pulled over before I could listen to my lazy brain, changed in my car, and went for what turned into an hour run along the beautiful San Francisco coast. Glorious!

 Here's the route I took (highlighted in yellow).

Because I'm not running regularly I ran at a very leisurely pace, and walked up the occasional stairs, but it felt amazing. And when I came around to the beach, I just kept on going. 

I felt so good that I had a hard time turning myself around. Yet I knew I'd been running for 30 minutes and pushing past an hour could lead to pain, or injury even, so I turned around and soaked in the gorgeousness and the feeling of being a bad ass runner woman as I ran back to my car.

Ok, what else? There's been so much going on I can't even tell you. I think I said I had a job change, which was a huge source of disruption to my routine. And the changes are still coming. Life, right? Change, settle, change, adjust, least that's how it's been this year. Some days I have moments of fear and panic that it's too much, that I want everything to be predictable and easy but then I have moments where I am excited about all the possibility. 

Anyway, so the other thing is...summer trips! I met Mr. Mr in Munich and we spent five days in Europe. I landed mid-morning and one of the first things we did was...go for a run! I was determined to go on a run because I felt so bummed that I didn't run when we were in Sweden earlier this year. So we ran along the Isar river for I don't know how long, taking in the sights, and then went for dinner. We got up in the morning and started a road trip though the Alps and down to Milan. We stayed in a small town called Bormio, and ran along a river there too. And then made our way to Lake Como, taking in the lake and the beautiful small towns surrounding it.
On Lake Como
Oh, and we walked on water in Lake Iseo, taking in the artist Christo's latest exhibit. That was totally surreal, I could probably write a book about that day.

The other summer thing is Miguel and I took the kids camping. I unplugged so completely on that trip that I have almost no pictures. But here's a picture of my two bugs climbing lakeside on a tree branch. I'm so grateful we can do these things together, I know it feeds their hearts. They had a child's dream of a time, playing in the lake and building sand castles, roasting s'mores by the fire and waking up to birds singing. So fun!
So much happening and so much to think about. And, as you can see, so many opportunities to indulge. I know I'm eating more and exercising less than I'd like, and I know there's a path to feeling better about all that. I'm on that path, even as I feel a little lost, I'm on that path. Ok, that's all I have time for today. Thank you for all the support. It really helps to hear you cheering me on and know my readers believe in me, even when I don't know the way exactly.