Sunday, November 12, 2017

10k30 challenge: week 1

Starting a new routine can be a challenge. In my case I'm attempting to get back to my old healthy habits that I know work, and the most effective way I find to do so, is to publicly challenge myself. It's accountability, and motivation. I tell everyone I can what I'm doing, so if they catch me slipping they can call me out, and cheer me on when I nail it. My partner thankfully does exactly that, as do many of my friends and family back home. So anyways, that's why I let everyone know about it. The reason for the challenge though, is repeating these actions daily for any decent length of time helps me to incorporate them into my everyday life- long term. If I've managed to take my ten thousand steps every day for thirty days in a row, then I know surely this can be an everyday thing. I do the same thing with my diet, if I'm doing a juice fast, I let everyone know I'm doing it [and why].

My utter lack of fitness really hit me when my partner had his kids come to visit. The kids wanted to bike down the road while we followed on foot. I realized how winded I was and we hadn't even made it to the end of the road.. it was almost a breakdown moment considering I used to hike miles of rugged terrain carrying a pack from 30 to 60 pounds depending on the season for days or weeks on end. Right now, I don't think I could even hike the smallest one of these hills out here without collapsing in pain and exhaustion.

When I first moved out west I'd lucked out on having a place to crash in East Van. No matter where you walk in that city, you're on a hill and in a matter of time, you get used to it. I did a lot of walking in Vancouver, and thankfully I was still carrying my fitbit at the time to reflect that. 25-40 thousand steps a day wasn't uncommon, and without even thinking about it. Even after my roof collapsed and I lived in a pickup truck for half a year [and on a couch for the other half ] I still managed to get enough exercise whether I was collecting firewood or working in the city. Now that I have a home again and in the country this time, driving to get places.. my step count had dropped drastically. But I didn't notice without my step counter, eventually the scale tipped me off.

...

Day 1: it was effing cold. Winter winds were whipping through the valley, but I strapped on my shoes and got out there. My face was a little frozen but I loved it, it felt good to be out there moving. It's pretty easy to get cooped up inside in colder months and stagnate, especially outside the city. I had found my fitbit in my basket of stuff that I haven't touched for a couple of years. I had been wearing it for a week before I started this challenge to observe what my patterns are like now... I was horrified to see that my average for that week was maybe 6 thousand steps a day, my lowest being just over three thousand. No wonder I was winded trying to walk briskly to the end of my road.


Day 3: I was really lucky that I had started on a long weekend because I could get into a step routine during daylight hours before having to get out there in the dark. This time of year there's only 8 good hours of daylight which can be demotivating at times. By day 3 I was out of bed and ready to get stepping before the sun. I felt excited to get out there and make it down to the creek [at the end of the road] so that I could adventure around in the woods before my walk back. I had been brisk walking that way every day, and also 'slow running' to the other end [a shorter distance] and back daily to make my quota.

Day 5: by the fifth day, I'm starting to get tired. I'm back to work and making time to get the rest of my steps in after, and keeping house and making it happen... but I'm tired. No above and beyond, but I did complete my goal.


Day 7: still tired, but starting to get my second wind. I only have Sunday off this weekend as opposed to the long weekend I started with. I got up early this morning to get my steppin' on before doing a half day at work, and it was a beautiful morning to get outside.

...

It's now the morning of day 9, and I'm sitting here writing while I wait for the rain to slow down. I've been pulling out the scale every couple of days to check if my weight has changed, and I have seen my weight go down 2 pounds and back up one. That's far better than a steady increase, like what has been happening this past year. I have only made minimal changes to my diet in the past week, doing my best to avoid breads and pasta, margarine and cheese, and chips and sweets. I've been brewing my own tea with honey and almond milk instead of grabbing Timmies, and having a smoothie with fruits and Vega to get me going and keep me satiated all morning. I'm hoping to squeeze in a 2 day juice fast the next time I have two days off, so I'm preparing myself for that as well.

That's about all I have to say for today, I'm going to do some kitchen calisthenics while I wait out the rain. Thanks for reading! And a huge thank you for cheering me on. I will get there, one step at a time. Cheers back at ya!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Where I'm at

Starting over isn't easy.. hence why it's taken me over a year to get back up on my horse.  As a very brief recap, I became very unhealthy in my late twenties and gained a lot of weight. In 2013-2014 I managed to lose almost 70 pounds total. Over the past year, I've almost gained it all back, and I'm sick all over again. So, here I am.. starting over.

One thing I'd recommend on any health and fitness journey whether starting from scratch or looking to reach new goals, is to find a coach. I was lucky enough that a wonderful coach found me.. so now it's time to take a look at where I'm at. I decided to share this info like I'm sharing everything else to keep my own records, and to hopefully inspire others along the way.

Here we go..


Stats

Age: 32 years
Height: 5'5"
Weight: 122.7 lbs
Size: 16

Health challenges:
Autoimmune disorder, hashimoto's thyroiditis, endometriosis, IBS, insomnia.
Injuries:
Tendonitis, carpal tunnel in right arm/ hand, sciatic nerve damage.

Diet

Mostly vegetarian. No milk ever, cheese sometimes, farm fresh eggs, garden veg [we grew a literal ton this summer]. Lately have been eating a lot of pasta and breads, and rice.

Guilty pleasures; our lunch snacks the past while included chips and the most chocolate laden granola bars you can even buy. Fast food maybe every 6 weeks we cave. Cutting back on the timmies. I buy cookies when the children visit... and partake in their consumption.

Exercise 

30-45 mins of brisk walkng per day
10-15 mins calisthenics per day
Minimal stretching


I'm currently challenging myself to take a minimum of 10,000 steps a day, and half hour of active routine. I like to mix some pieces of insanity and p90x for as long as I can handle with other calisthenics workout.

Environment

I'm currently living in what some lovingly refer to as a 'tiny home'.. which in actuality is a very small farm house out in the country. I do have access to long country roads, farm fields, and a waterway. I don't have very much space for indoor workouts and such, my whole house can be walked corner to corner in about eleven paces.

That said I am hoping to reacquire the gear that I had before moving west, as it worked for me by allowing me a variety of exercises with minimal equipment and space. These simple items include a yoga mat, small weights, and Lebert Equalizer bars.

 Sleep

The word sleep mostly exists in my vocabulary with the word 'can't' in front of it, I have had issues sleeping all my life. This week has been better than most averaging 6 hours a night, but I have had several weeks that average only 3 and a half. The amount I am active doesn't always necessarily mean more sleep, my sleeping patterns are often affected by weather, pain levels, the fullness of the moon,  and various stresses and occasional anxiety.

Stress

Speaking of stresses, there's far fewer in my life now in my life right now than there was say, 2 years ago. I'm no longer sleeping in the back of a pickup truck, or a tent or someone's couch, so there's that. My current stresses involve money and debt. Who doesn't stress about those things? I do lose sleep over it at times, but I'm grateful to be safe and warm and dry.

Lately my biggest stress though, has been about my health. I've been struggling with several issues that are exacerbated by not getting all the exercise I need for over a year, and the crappy diet I was consuming for the almost 2 years before that. I've only just begun to make some changes, but I often stress about the damage done.

Habits

I'm a non-drinker, and proud to say that as of this month I'm a non-smoker too. I did smoke about a pack and a half a day, and slowly weaned myself off using a vapor device.

Since driving and working long days on ladders, my daily step count is less than a quarter of what it was living in the city, walking and commuting. Not to mention my previous job involved pushing a mower or some various other small engine machine. I have become 'lazy' using my manual labour jobs as an excuse to do so.

Objective 

To regain control of my health through proper diet and nutrition, and improve my strength through exercise and movement. In short, I want to feel better so that I can better enjoy the life that I've worked hard for.


...


That's it for now. Stay tuned for challenge updates! I'll be writing about the ups and downs of my first week literally getting back on my feet. Thanks so much for reading, and your continuing support!

Friday, November 3, 2017

Starting Over: Take Two...

*Sigh*

Like, really?

The last time I hit this blog was in April.. I had every intention to get back on track with my health, but mostly failed. I did buy a scale, which may have squashed my motivation a little seeing what it read.. and I have been using my Nutribullet almost daily for breakfast. Besides that and [finally!] quitting smoking, that's about as far as I got. On the plus side, I haven't gained much more weight. Watching the numbers slowly but steadily climb for almost a year was telling me it's time to get my health in check. But I ignored the obvious.


It's not all about the weight, having gained weight is just a sign of how my health in general has declined. My body is pretty keen on accumulating weight when something isn't right internally. My guts kill me no matter what or how much I eat. I'm in some kind of trouble.

I can't take it anymore. I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm heavy. My partner, as amazing as he is, has the "beauty is what's inside" attitude... which kind of doesn't help. I'm beyond thankful for his presence, but he doesn't understand my "need to change".

First things first. 

I dusted off my fitbit for the first time in a while. I started driving regularly just over a year ago, and unfortunately no longer needing to walk my ass off to get to work has had a huge impact on my daily 'step count'. And I mean HUGE. Like I don't think I even realized... I thought I was still doing a lot of walking during my shifts, up and down stairs, up and down ladders, back and forth across the jobsite several times a day.. But it just isn't enough. I'm not even touching the 'daily goal' of ten thousand steps preset by the fitbit app, when before I drove, I'd get 30,000 steps a day easy. I almost crapped when I saw at the end of a work day I was only at 7 thousand steps.

So my first goal is.. ten thousand a day.  At least. I will have to become more conscious of my steps, and make time to take more if I haven't reached my goal.

Keeping track. 

I'm right back at my all time heaviest weight. I'm carrying it a little better this time than I did years ago, but that's not the point.. I'm still carrying it. So here I'm going to list my current measurements, no matter the 'embarrassment'. I know I'll appreciate it later. Plus it's more for my own records, but I'm sharing that if I may some day encourage someone else to push through the same struggles. So here it is:

Weight: 223.3 lbs [height 5'5"]
Pant size: 16
Waist: 51"
Bust: 48"
R thigh: 30.5"
L thigh: 32"
R arm: 13.5"
L arm: 13"

So there. Last time I was this weight, I believe I was size 18+ and I'd never bother to buy jeans to save myself the struggle of finding some that fit. At least right now I can wear jeans, because I need to for work. Sheet metal is sharp! Though I wish they were a little looser fit. My goal pant size is 8, last time at which I weighed roughly 160 lbs. I still have my goal pants from last time around.

Make the decision. 

One must decide first that they want to be healthy before one can become healthy. I'd made that decision once before, and that's when I had my greatest success. My mistake was not keeping up with my healthy lifestyle choices, for giving up when I hit a rough patch in my life. I admit it's not easy to eat healthy and plan for regular exercise when living outside, being healthy was not as much a concern as merely surviving.

When I finally got back on my feet about a year ago, I gave my health some thought, but that was about the end of it. I got comfortable, and complacent about the status of my health. It didn't matter as much as securing jobs, and finding a roof under which to live. My focus all year was purely external, knowing full well my health was continually being sacrificed.

I can't let that happen anymore. I must decide. One step at a time. Forever forward. I'm beginning again, from the start. All I ask from my friends and loved ones is for a little encouragement. Please remind me that I'm worth it, I tend to forget from time to time. Thanks, and lots of love.

xo

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Starting Over.

I look back over this blog that I [thankfully] kept, and I just shake my head. I mean, I'm glad I kept the blog, I'm just utterly disappointed in myself for letting go. I did so well for so long, even after my mother passed away. And here I am, eating crap food, sick all the time, almost back to my heaviest weight, and smoking. YEP.


The past couple years has been a rough ride. I wouldn't necessarily take any of it back, I've learned a lot about myself, but I let myself go in the process. I've been struggling with my mental health, with my sense of self worth, and with my highly addictive personality. All those things combined when not managed can be a recipe for disaster.

I NEED to get back on track before I can't anymore. The time is now. Should have been yesterday, but now is all I've got.

...

Two months later...

I've managed to almost completely quit smoking. I went from a pack or more a day to two or three cigarettes. I was able to make it a couple days without having a single one, then I let the stress get the best of me. I still haven't bought a pack in over a week.

My juice press is sitting assembled and ready to go on the dining room table. I've even used it a couple times this week. The nutribullet has seen fairly consistent action for my breakfast smoothies, but just about every meal has been (delicious, but) an assault on my insides. My digestive system has been in revolt for a few months now, but the stress and anxiety I've been dealing with was my huge excuse not to give a shit.

Oh, and I bought a scale. It's been a long time since I've stepped on one, and I nearly cried. Weight wise I'm pretty much right back to my heaviest. At least I still kinda fit in my jeans. Kinda. My weight is a good tell of how bad my insides are getting. The worse they are, the more I retain. If I don't get back up on it, I'm gonna get very sick very quick.

I'm worried that it won't be as 'easy' as it was last time to get into a routine. I'm a little nervous that maybe it will be much harder to lose the weight as I get older. I'm kinda scared that it might be too late. But that doesn't mean I'm not going to try.

There's a produce store in the nearest town that happens to be on my way home from work, no matter what city I'm working in. I have to pass it to get home. There's a vape place in the plaza next to that. I have no excuses to smoke or not eat the way that I should. There's a big-ass garden planted beside my house that in a couple months will be so abundant I won't know what to do with it all.

I don't need junk. I don't need sugary snacks or pizza. I don't need sammies every day for lunch, or meat at dinner. I don't need salty greasy fried things to be happy. I don't need to smoke to feel alright.

This is it. The beginning of the rest of my life. And I'd rather live in health than in sickness.