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My Slow Return to Crunchy Granola

18 Sep

No, this is not a post about making granola. (Although if y’all are interested, I’ve got some interesting recipes for some yummy granola. And trail mix. Although should trail mix really need a recipe? I mean…it’s trail mix.) This is a post about my return to the outdoors. I had a GREAT Girl Scout troop. I know so many gals who said they did a couple years and thought it was boring and dropped out, or they didn’t get along with the other girls, or the leaders were lame, or whatever it was, but I LOVED Girl Scouts. I think that was in large part the incredible work of my friend’s mother, our troop leader, Mrs. Stahlheber (Yes, I’m 27 years old and I don’t call any of my grade school friends’ parents by their first names. It would just be…wrong.). She was organized, creative, and committed, and I believe she genuinely enjoyed the activities and instilling female strength in us. That’s not to say that we didn’t spend a lot of time also driving her nuts. I mean, we were a group of giggly, social girls. Some of my best friends from grade school, I’m STILL in touch with and talk to and/or see somewhat regularly. These are all girls I went through Girl Scouts with.

All these beautiful women I’m with? We were all Girl Scouts together :)

 

Our troop did other amazing stuff like a 5 day trip to Savannah to see the Juliet Low house, and take in the local culture. I can’t even imagine the kind of planning that must have taken. I LOVED camping, hiking, and just generally being outdoors.

I think Mrs. S really worked hard to instill in us a love of nature and we did some amazing trips: camping, surfing, skiing, hiking. A lot of the things we learned stuck with me. But somewhere along the path to adulthood, I stopped playing outside. Frankly I stopped doing much of ANY activity, but I you REALLY wouldn’t have caught me outside. So when we decided to cruise to Alaska, I figured it wouldn’t truly be a trip to Alaska without taking in at least SOME of the natural beauty. As a result we signed up for some hiking related excursions, and I figured I’d probably need new hiking boots because well, the last time I was in a pair of hiking boots I think I was in like 8th grade. And since hiking boots require some breaking in, I figured it couldn’t be much more convenient than hanging out in Eaton Canyon. So Dad and I started hiking Eaton Canyon about once a week (before it got so crazy hot that it just became unreasonable) and I started remembering that I really liked doing stuff like that!!

The problem with going up to Eaton Canyon (and the falls that are at the top of the trail) is that it’s a fairly easy hike, and the park itself is quite accessible, so it gets A LOT of traffic. And not all of the traffic is nature loving, former Girl Scouts like me. While there is the vast natural beauty of the area, much of it is marred by litter, graffiti, and remnants of the fires of the homeless who take shelter in the park after dark. The park is crowded and I question the intelligence of people who hike up in flip flops, or who let their toddlers hike up in flip flops. It’s incredibly frustrating.

David and Jeanette: While I’m sure your love will be everlasting – the stuff of legends, really – I think the park could have done without this very, um, classy and tasteful, expression of your union.

So to help relieve my intense frustration we started bringing trash bags with us and packing out trash. I wish I had gotten a picture of the giant Coleman cooler filled to overflowing with garbage that was up there one of the first times we went. We didn’t even know what to think. That was really the impetus for our new mission to help clean up the park. It was disgusting and sad. I think what people don’t think about our parks is that really, they belong to all of us, and as such, we are all responsible for taking care of them. One of the things I very distinctly remember learning in Girl Scouts was to always leave a place cleaner than we found it…so that’s what we started doing:

It’s not much, I realize. But if everyone did a little, “Not Much,” it would add up to something great. And then everyone can REALLY enjoy all the beauty that is hidden under all the garbage, and it will be around for future Girl Scouts to enjoy!

Happy Trails!

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Starting my Weight Loss Journey

2 Jul

I have a confession to make. I’m fat. I mean like BMI of 37.6 fat. Like uncomfortable to move around fat. It could be worse, I guess. But I have finally realized, I’m not healthy.

I wasn’t always fat. When I started college in 2003, I actually looked like this (sorry for the poor quality – this was before I ever had a digital camera):

Skinny enough to wear a bikini, and still feel good about myself. These days you wouldn’t even catch me in a one piece. And I definitely wouldn’t let you photograph me.

At the end of college it was pretty noticeable that I’d put on weight. But still I was just “kinda” fat:

And frankly, I could still suck it in.

Now, five years after my time in college (the first time – the 4 successive years), I’ve gotten so fat, I can’t stand myself anymore. In fact, I had a hard time finding any pictures of myself because I avoid being in front of the camera like the plague. Granted I realize those graduation gowns aren’t really flattering to anyone, but I REALLY don’t look good:

I know most people post something after they’ve lost a little weight. But I’m just at the beginning. I only started exercising some what regularly at the end of last year. Granted I’ve lost 10 pounds which feels like a HUGE accomplishment to me, but not enough to warrant before and after pictures or a party or anything. The bottom line is that I’m posting this because I feel like if I put it out there for the whole internet to see, it gives me some accountability.

What prompted me to do this was that I don’t feel healthy. At all. I was doing so great exercising and I had started a cleanse/diet thing (more on that later), and I was feeling amazing. (I have edited this in response to a comment I received. I think previously it  made me sound like I got sick because of the diet, which is not the case…getting sick was a completely separate entity. For more info see the comment section)

And then I got sick. Really REALLY sick. I was having heart palpitations, and chest pains, and then one day in the middle of last month, I got such bad stomach pains, I had to go to the emergency room. They pumped me up full of morphine before it stopped hurting. My stomach hurts with surprising severity on and off now almost every day. I’m not working anymore because of it, and I spent almost 2 weeks without exercise and my diet has gone to shit. So a lot of the work I did at the beginning of the year has kind of been undone.

I’m trying to get back on track. I downloaded a calorie counting app that I’m trying to use regularly, and I got back on the road last week to get some exercise. But the thing is, I am feeling like crap. I felt great while I was dieting, so once I get back on track there, I’m sure I’ll feel much better.

What scares me is that the ER doctors and two other doctors don’t know what’s wrong with me. I have an appointment with a GI specialist on the 16th so we’ll go from there.

As for my diet/cleanse thing? This is something chef gave me while I was still working at the restaurant. She played college level soccer so she’s all smart about fitness and diet and stuff. And I lost weight doing this, and I felt GREAT, which was the most important part. I’ll be honest though. It’s more or less low carb, high protein…and the first few days that I cut out simple carbs I thought I was going to die. The sugar withdrawal was the worst thing ever. But once I got past that bump I’d never felt better. And I had my first case of “morning skinny”* in almost 4 years!!

AM:
cranberry water with 2tbs psyllium husks (16oz fluid)
1tbsp flaxseed oil
1 cup coffee if needed
2 omega-3 enriched eggs

PM:
cranberry h20 w/psyllium (same as breakfast)
1 tbsp flaxseed oil
Herbal tea

All day:
lemon water
Cranberry water
Water
Moderate meals/snacks of protein and vegetables

NO:
Carbs
Dairy
Sugar
Root vegetables
Alcohol
Fat (bacon, butter, oil)

YES:
Lean protein
All other veggies
Fruit
Eggs

Supplements:
Evening primrose oil
ALA – alpha lipoic acid
Omega-3 or fish oil
Multivitamin
Flaxseed oil
Psyllium husks
Unsweetened cranberry juice

I did this as a hard core cleanse for 2 weeks and then added like brown rice and quinoa after the two weeks so I wouldn’t go insane. And then I fell off the wagon completely. This past weekend was the worst so far.

So the point is, that I am now beholden to the interwebs to stay on track, and keep you appraised of my progress. Wish me luck.

Also if you haven’t entered my book giveaway yet, make sure you enter! There’s only 4 days left!! Enter here.

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