Thursday, February 27, 2014
I've read many, many books about thru hiking the three major U.S. trails. While there may only be 7-10 rainy days on any given trail in the 5 months or so it takes to complete a thru hike, to hike in rain for any length of time is difficult to know how torturous it might be unless you have personally experienced hiking in the rain.
Getting out of a damp sleeping bag, putting on damp clothes and breaking camp in the rain only to head out for another 10-12 hours of hiking is not for this fair weather hiker. HOWEVER, today I was waiting for low tide at 3:31 PM and by the time I started my hike on Macklyn Cove Beach about 3:40 PM it had started to mist and within a short time it was raining hard. I was not going back in! I wore a long sleeve tee shirt and Capri length work out pants and over that I wore a wind suit with a hood. After 10 minutes or so, I was too toasty warm. In spite of the rain I pulled back the hood on my jacket. This helped and I was more comfortable walking a 20 minute pace alternating with a shuffle jog at a 17 minute pace.
I stayed out a total of 90 minutes and by the time I headed back up to the condo, pretty much all of my upper body was soaked to the skin. I started to feel a little chilly, put my hood back up and within 5 minutes I was at the condo door where I could get out of my wet clothes, take a hot shower and dress in warm pajamas and have a hot meal.
My experience today was nothing compared to thru hiking in the rain. Even though I think I would LOVE to thru hike the Pacific Crest Trail, I don't think I could make it through Washington State...that is if I even got that far. I would like to hear about your experiences of hiking, camping in the rain.
Oh, and by the way, I met my step goal and my goals for moderate and vigorous exercise for the day!
Friday, September 20, 2013
A small-town radio reporter was interviewing an 80-year-old because she had just been married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked about her new husband’s occupation.
“He’s a funeral director,” she said. The interviewer paused for a few moments and hesitantly asked the occupations of her three previous husbands. She explained that in her 20s, she married a banker; in her 40s, a circus ringmaster, and in her 60s, a preacher.
The astonished questioner asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.
She smiled and explained, “I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”
Saturday, September 07, 2013
CHAPTER THREE: Why Spark People Worked for Me
Surprisingly I was pretty excited to join Spark and I spent a lot of time exploring the website. I set up my home page and posted some pictures. (Of course the first pictures were head shots only!) I read articles and was encouraged. I started tracking my food and my exercise. Actually, the exercise tracker was motivating to me because I wanted those points. Then I wrote my first blog and was encouraged and horrified when other sparkers responded. Horrified because I could no longer hide in anonymity, scared to death someone would actually want to talk to me and not sure at all if I wanted to do this. I was also nervous about being accountable. After all, that child inside did not want anyone to really know all the dark secrets of binge eating.
But…I continued. I read other people’s blogs and gave encouragement where I could and found doing this helped me also. I updated my status regularly which was posted to Facebook and in return I received encouragement from family and friends. I found updating my status with what my plan for exercise was for the day helped in keeping me accountable to do what I said I was going to do.
And yes, my weight started dropping as I ate more healthfully and particularly since I was exercising regularly. Those early days at the gym were eye-opening as I became fully aware of what bad shape I was in. In those beginning days I varied cardio between the elliptical, the stationary bike and the treadmill. I also did weight training with free weights using exercises I had seen in magazines. I remember my first work-outs on the elliptical were on level one and I could barely finish ten minutes. At about 8 minutes I was going so slow the machine would keep pausing and shutting down. But I read similar stories on Spark People and how persistence and consistency paid off in the long run and people gained strength and endurance. I’m not sure why I persisted, but I did and Spark People was there to cheer me on.
As I logged in daily, I began to notice a change in my attitude. After years of dieting and yo-yo weight loss and regain, I was starting to notice small, subtle changes occurring. One of the biggest changes was fully embracing weight loss/weight maintenance as a life long journey. Of course I had known this intellectually for a long time, but it wasn’t until I had a real gut sense for this that it became easier when I was less than perfect. So many things learned along the way…like that whole problem with perfection and learning it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to forgive yourself and have a better day tomorrow.
I bought the ‘The Spark’ and found inspiration and hope. I was particularly interested in the goal setting sections. Setting goals and having dreams was intriguing as well as sad because I couldn’t recall having dreams or goals as a child, a young woman or as an older adult. For me life seemed to just happen and although I don’t have many regrets about how my life experiences have gone, it is sad I never dreamed about possibilities or reaching, stretching beyond what was comfortable.
In 1963, the year I graduated from high school, girls either got married, went to school locally to become teachers or nurses. Although I had a boyfriend there was something inside me that said he wasn’t marriage material and I was right. Twenty years later, I learned he was incarcerated in federal prison for white collar crime.
With the marriage option out, it was go to school to be either a teacher or a nurse. It was a very big deal when I left my little wide spot in the road called Mossyrock, WA and traveled to Chicago to go to nursing school. However, no one ever told me or suggested I be a doctor or a college professor or an engineer, or an architect or a dancer, or anything other than teaching or nursing. I’m very grateful for my nursing career and all of the opportunities it has provided, but what would my life have been if I dreamed of being a trauma surgeon, or a cardiologist or anything other than the expected?
I discussed this with my therapist and she said it was never too late to dream and asked what I would like to do and what goals I wanted to set. Those were very scary questions for me. Setting a goal meant being vulnerable in telling people what I wanted to do. It also meant the possibility of failure and OMG failure is not an option for me. After all, other than weight loss, I had been successful at most everything I had ever attempted. More about fear of failure later, but for now I was on the spot to pull something from very deep inside me about dreams.
And after some agonizing moments of really thinking about what was important to me, I blurted out in a frenzy of words what I wanted to do.
This blog will continue: Chapter Four: I Have A Dream
Monday, June 10, 2013
CHAPTER TWO: Finding Spark People
Okay, so losing 100 pounds could be done and I was encouraged. I started on my own without much of a program other than cutting down on portion sizes and trying to limit desserts. I didn’t think about losing 100 pounds as it would have been too overwhelming.
I struggled with deprivation; after all I was someone who wanted what they wanted when they wanted it and I looked at limitations as not getting what I wanted. I told myself I could have whatever I wanted but not all that I wanted all the time. I also used a physical mantra whenever I passed “casual food.” You know, that candy dish on someone’s desk, the Einstein bagels with cream cheese out in the break room, the birthday cake in the refrigerator…all those casual foods around me in my work area. Fortunately I had my own office so I could keep healthy food in my immediate area, but getting up and taking a break or going to the bathroom forced me to pass by all these foods. I struggled with the “one little bite won’t hurt” a lot until I started touching my middle finger to my thumb and saying, “It’s my choice.” The action that it took to do this seemed to stop me for a second and let me think if I really wanted what I was in front of me. That seemed to help with not feeling so deprived as it certainly was my choice and if I wanted to I could, but most of the time I stuck with what I had planned for the day.
Because I had been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, my doctor recommended I attend a Mayo program once a week for new diabetics (and pre-diabetics) taught by a dietician. The classes covered how to read food labels, the balance between protein, carbohydrates, and fat, exercise and how it affects blood sugar, meal planning, weighing in and a host of other beneficial discussions. I resisted. After all I was watching what I ate, making better choices, and losing a little bit of weight. AND, I was not diabetic!
My family history is very strong for death from stroke and heart disease. Of course as a nurse I knew obesity and lack of exercise are key risk factors for heart disease. But denial was a powerful component in making me think I was exempt from any heart disease issues. My blood pressure was low, and I didn’t smoke.
But when I got the diagnosis of pre-diabetes, I really swallowed hard and there was no amount of denial that would let me convince myself I was okay with my weight. I had to lose weight. I did not want to be diabetic! That was what prompted me to think about bariatric surgery and even though that was not an option, I was doing okay on my own. I was rather miffed that my doctor suggested a program for diabetes, because I was not one and I was determined to not become one.
Looking back on this time, I have to hang my head. My stubborn, hard-headedness can be my worst roadblock to good health. Here I was being offered a free program that would support me in losing weight, I would have support from a group and I had a chance to gain information on how to balance carbs, protein and fat. And I was resisting and giving every reason to my doctor about not signing up.
For the next month or so I stayed with my eating plan, I started exercising a little and I lost one pound in five weeks. Frustrated I hadn’t lost more weight, I realized at the rate I was going, I could be dead before I lost all the weight I needed to lose. I reluctantly signed up for the diabetic program.
I kept an open mind, attended the classes once a week for 6 weeks, learned a lot I didn’t know, (surprise, surprise, I thought I knew all there was to know about losing weight), and I lost 7 pounds over the six weeks.
The most important thing I gained from the classes was an introduction to Spark People. The dietician leading the class used the website regularly for herself touting the food and exercise trackers. In November 2009 I joined Spark People and a new journey began.
This blog will continue: Chapter Three: Why Spark People Worked For Me
Thursday, June 06, 2013
CHAPTER ONE: The Beginning
In March 2009 I was seriously considering bariatric surgery and pursued information at Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. I was morbidly obese, was using a C-Pap for treatment of sleep apnea, and had recently been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. And with at least 100 pounds to lose to bring my BMI into a normal range, I certainly met criteria for surgery. With a family history of stroke and heart disease, I felt I was a ticking time bomb ready to explode.
I attended several informational sessions on the lap band procedure. I was excited, thinking I could do this and it would be much easier than the lifelong roller coaster I had been on with my weight. My wishful, hopeful SELF whispered in my ear that lap band with the accompanying weight loss would be a magical cure and once the weight was off, I would no longer struggle day to day.
However, as a Mayo Clinic gastroenterology nurse, I saw patients regularly where bariatric surgery was not the answer. They came with serious complications, from short bowel syndrome to constant diarrhea and dehydration, to actual botched procedures. None of this really bothered me as I realized I was only seeing the failures and not the hundreds of patients who had successful results.
What bothered me the most were people I knew who had surgery and did lose weight, even 60 or 70 pounds and then gained it back. I saw the rolling eyes and heard the clicking tongues that talked in lowered voices behind closed doors. “Oh, did you hear, so and so, has regained all the weight they lost and then some.” That was my life story…losing, regaining, losing, regaining. It sobered me to think I could put myself at risk (all surgery, anesthesia has risks) lose weight and then regain it again. And I didn't want those rolling eyes and clicking tongues talking about me.
Somewhere in my deepest thoughts I knew as a binge eater, I would have trouble stopping when my stomach signaled it was full. After all, I had spent a lifetime denying my body signals. "No, I'm not hungry, I'm on a diet and I'm only eating 500 calories once a day." There were times I realized I was stuffed, but whatever was soooo good, and after all, I was starting a diet tomorrow, so I might as well get while the getting was good.
But the tantalizing thought of magic was very powerful and denial was very strong and I continued in the bariatric weight loss program.
It didn’t go well. Perhaps my rational self was working very hard underneath all the denial and wishful thinking, but when the program dietician told me I would never eat pizza again (not true) and explained the nutritional issues, how long it took to eat a simple meal, warning me about weight re-gain, I finally said, “This is NOT for me.” For me, it was a very good decision and I’ve never looked back. However, that being said, I do believe bariatric surgery can be very successful for the right candidates.
The next several months were difficult as I floundered in misery. I knew what to do, I knew that diets don’t work, I knew exercise was important, I knew what constituted healthy eating. BUT and I hate to say this, I’ve always wanted what I wanted when I wanted it and I’ve got a million excuses to justify whatever. “It’s too hot to go for a walk now, I’ll go later.” Of course later never comes. “One little bite won’t hurt.” And somehow the whole cake disappears.
And then the guilt, shame and self-beatings would come, spiraling me down, down, down onto the slippery slopes of the sugar-salt mountains. The more I berated myself, the harder it was to do anything positive.
I finally pulled myself out of my misery enough to call my endocrinologist for an appointment. Bariatric surgery was out, but what was I going to do to lose over 100 pounds. This very large amount of weight seemed like an impossibility. We talked for over an hour discussing how no food is really off limits, about portion control and frequency of treats, about exercise, and about my pre-diabetes. She told me she could practically guarantee I would become a diabetic if I didn’t lose weight now and begin eating healthfully. And she gave me hope! She told me losing 100 pounds on my own would be difficult, it would take vigilance to maintain a weight loss, but
IT COULD BE DONE!
This blog will continue
Chapter Two: Finding Spark People
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