7,000-8,499 SparkPoints
ENGINEERMOM's Recent Blog Entries

Heading into another year!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Ok, so officially 2014 is over a month old, but it still feels new!

I've been thinking a lot lately about how much different this year is from last year. Instead of staring down the possibility of a triathlon, I've actually completed a sprint more than 6 months ago!

Instead of barely being able to eke out 30 minutes of jog/walk, I went out this morning and ran 2.5 miles in 30 minutes, including a couple of hills.

Instead of feeling exhausted after a 20-minute swim in the pool, I feel pleasantly exerted after swimming for 50-60 minutes.

Instead of feeling like I'm going to die after a 45-minute spinning class with the "easy" instructor, I hauled my kids 3 miles to the Y, did a 60-minute class with the "hard" instructor, then hauled them home yesterday.

Instead of feeling overwhelmed trying to cope with all the produce in my CSA, I'm regularly loading up my fridge with kale, broccoli, carrots, peppers, cauliflower, lettuce, and spinach.

Instead of beating myself up for every lapse, I look at them as opportunities to learn something new about myself.

Instead of blaming someone or something else for feeling crappy, I finally learned I just have to spend at least 30 minutes of every day in vigorous exercise for my mental health. Can't make it to spin class? Make the time to go running in the morning.

I may not have hit "the number" yet on the scale, but I've learned and done so much in the past year. Can't wait to see what accomplishments this year brings!

Some plans:

1. Ride Around The Sound - a 75- or 100-mile bike ride around Puget Sound in September. This is my stretch goal, something I started training for in December.

2. Run Like a Mother homegrown 5k - Inspired by the Run Like a Mother races that occur around the country, a girlfriend of mine and I ran our own 5k on the InterUrban Trail. We have our times from last year, can't wait to see how we improved!

3. An Olympic-distance triathlon. I don't know what triathlon I'm going to do this year, but I'd really like to do an Olympic distance, which will be roughly double what I did last summer.


Embracing the oft-dreaded Plateau

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

My body seems to lose weight in steps, not a smooth curve as frequently depicted on the Sparkpeople tracker. I hang out at a particular weight for weeks or months, and then suddenly 5-10 lb just sort of falls off. I then hang out at the "new" weight for a while again. The plateau.

In so many weight loss environments, the plateau is feared, reviled, dreaded, or seen as evidence of failure - failure to eat "perfectly", failure to exercise "enough", and, unfortunately, failure to be a good person.

I have a different interpretation: the plateau is my body's way of adjusting to my new weight, my new shape. Permanently. It's uncomfortable with letting the weight go, so it needs a period of time to adjust, to get comfortable again before more weight will come off.

So now, I love my plateaus. They mean this weight loss is permanent, not something that will bounce right back on. They mean that even if my "average" weight loss is less than 0.5lb/week, it's weight I will never allow back on my body. They mean the changes I'm making are permanent and sustainable.

But mostly plateauing means I'm giving my body the grace and space to adjust, rather than demanding it drop weight in months that it took years to put on. And that's a good thing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BOOKLOVINGGIRL 12/19/2013 3:24PM

    Wow! Thank you for writing this! This makes so much more sense to me. I have yo-yo-ed with dieting and my weight for the last few years. Reading this has given me a better understanding and improved perspective about losing weight. emoticon

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
PMRUNNER 12/12/2013 12:37PM

    Great attitude! Weight loss and your body's response to different levels of intake and exercise are non-linear. There are a lot of other factors which are not easy to control or predict. It is great that you have an objective view rather than an emotional view.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANES4EVER63 12/11/2013 12:05AM

    I'm the exact same way! I lost 80-85 lbs or so very steadily within 10 months. After that, it slowed drastically. I maintained for a little bit, gained a little, lost what I gained, then maintained for another 5-6 months. I then let my eating habits get completely out of control and gained 10-15-20 lbs (yes, it depends on where I was! Sometimes it was a 10 lb gain, then I would lose, then I would gain 15, but then lose 5, then gain maybe 10 - the 20 lb gain never lasted long, but compared to the lowest I was at, eek!), but right now, I'm back on track. I've lost those 10-15-20 lbs and am SOMEWHERE at 90-95 lbs lost (haven't weighed myself in a few weeks!). Even though I went through that 3 month period of gaining/losing, it was still part of the plateau (I like to think!). It was just my body adjusting to losing the weight so quickly. But now I'm definitely maintaining and I'm happy with that! Yes, I'd like to lose more, but I'm glad I'm not gaining!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Hacking up a lung...

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

All kinds of fun.

Bronchitis of some sort made a round through our family - first C, then B, then me, then K. So I spent the first two weeks of September unable to do much more than the bare minimum of required walking. Two weeks without regular intense exercise (fortunately bookended by running dates with my friend, A!).

On the plus side, this happened to overlap with our YMCA's yearly week-long closure. They did some pretty awesome stuff while closed, including getting the necessary staffing for the childcare so I can now drop C and K off for 2 hours instead of 90 minutes.

Now that they're open again, C and K have started swimming lessons, so B and I meet at the Y and lift weights together at least once a week, without fail. We've also started making a point of going up there at least once on the weekends as a family. My pectoral muscles aren't yet thrilled with the regular lifting, but I'm sure they'll come around in time!

I also signed up for a women-only Healthy Lifestyles support group. I'm planning to write a post about it in a couple of weeks when I have a better idea of how it's working. Right now we're supposed to be working on setting a long-term goal. It's challenging. Not because I don't have goals (I do!) but because we have to narrow it down to one thing - either exercise OR nutrition OR stress-related. And it has to be measurable - nothing nebulous like "get healthy" and nothing temporary like "lose X pounds by Y date". And for my own sanity, nothing over which I have little control like lose X pounds. I'm tossing around a couple of idea, from working on changing my hip-to-waist ratio, to aiming for a certain number of scheduled exercise minutes per week, to nutrition-based goals like increasing the number of servings of vegetables I eat per week.

Anyway, still here, still exercising!


Getting back in the groove

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Sunday - 4+ miles running with Angela
Monday - 2 mile run on my own
Tuesday - 5.5 mile bike ride (easy ride, a couple of gentle hills, more just getting outside first thing)

Monday: Did 2 complete loads of laundry (wash/dry, fold/put away), made a bunch of phone calls I've been putting off for weeks, played with my kids instead of leaving them to their own devices in the living room, spent the afternoon running errands after naptime instead of lounging around reading (running errands for us means bus rides and lots of walking)
Tuesday: Got some important financial stuff straightened out, started menu planning for next week, spent 45 minutes in the garden harvesting and pruning (onions! garlic! rosemary! tomatoes! kale! a cucumber! 1 lb of carrots! ripped out some horribly aphid-infested overgrown radishes! damn those things get tall...)

...and we're coming back around to the "doy, I just need to get my butt out the door every morning". :-) I've gotten more done in the last two days than I have in the previous two weeks. At least, it feels like that! I don't think it even needs to be a really hefty workout, just something that gets my heart rate up at least once in the half-hour I'm out there. This is a good lesson for the upcoming Seattle winter when getting up gets harder as the sun disappears and we get drenched. At least this year I have good workout gear that won't mind getting wet!

The me-time is helpful, as is the chance to wake myself up before I need to interact with my family.

About the radishes: they never actually made little radishes (the root part), just really tall (4') flowering stalks. The bees loved them, but so did the aphids, which were also trying to take over a few other plants, so out the radishes came. A couple weeks ago I cut my kale all the way back to the ground for the same aphid-related issue. Today I noticed it was coming back! So tonight we had baby kale with dinner. It's really weird-looking kale - all fingery, not ruffled like what you see in the grocery store. Heirloom starts donated by a fellow community gardener, so I'll take what I get! I'm just glad they came back - I hadn't harvested any before the aphids got to them, and I happen to really enjoy kale.


Gettin' Funky

Sunday, August 25, 2013

I have just been in a funk lately. Off and on, not continuous, but I'm getting sick of the mornings when I wake up and just feel like being a slug.

Using exercise as an anti-depressant can be fabulous as long as I have a good routine in place for getting said exercise every day. When my schedule gets thrown off for more than a day or two, then I start running into the problem of "need the exercise to summon the energy to go do the exercise". Kind of like coffee, only with more effort required.

Today was better - I had made an appointment for this morning to go running with a good friend of mine, and I couldn't weasel out of it. 3+ miles of jogging later, and some of the funk was starting to evaporate. DH and I had decided to skip church, since we were out late last night for fun times at a state fair with the kids, but the run had restored some of my equilibrium, so we managed to get all four of us to the Y. The kids got to burn off some energy running around in the kids' area, and DH finally got a start on weight lifting.

He used to be pretty regular about it, but when C was born 5 years ago, it started getting harder for him to get to the gym, and we realized it's been over a year since the last time he lifted weights, and several years since the last time he did it regularly. We made an appointment with each other for Thursdays. I have to take the kids to the Y for their swim lessons, and he will meet us there to do his own workout, then we'll all take the bus home. Since Thursday is our usual leftover night, this should still work with having a healthy dinner, too.

I know the key is to just push forward and make the best decisions I can about my food and exercise at each opportunity, and not dwell on poor decisions I've made in the past (forgive thyself!). Apparently I just need to keep relearning how important exercise is to my mental health by occasionally going without.

I've always depended on outside sources for my routine - schedules externally imposed by college, work, or a child's preschool. I'm preparing to homeschool C in kindergarten. Our school will start the day after Labor Day, and I'm realizing I will be totally responsible for our schedule. I can't depend on someone else holding me accountable for how I spend the hours of my day. As a SAHM, this has always been somewhat true, but becoming completely responsible for my child's education means that I have to be a lot more disciplined about how we spend our days.

Typing that, I wonder if some of my "funk" has been a subconscious rebellion against being responsible to my own schedule? I'm rebelling against the parent/teacher - problem is, that's me! It's hard to talk bad about "the man" when you ARE "the man". Hm.

Growing up is hard. I think especially when to the world you're already "grown up".

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ARIZONA33 8/26/2013 1:05AM

    We all have those days! But, you said it yourself...all you need is a bit of exercise and your world will right itself.

It is true the world may see a "grown up" walking around but inside many of us feel like we are not quite there yet...that we still have some growing to do. It's okay, this is a normal thing as we all grow up at different rates and it seems like there are parts of us that are forever the child. There are so many facets that seem to make up who we are as an individual and some parts grow up quicker than others. It's okay to be a "kid" sometimes. Embrace the childlike qualities and learn from them as you strive to become the grown up that you want to be.

You are doing a great job and setting a wonderful example for your kids. Life is not always easy but it is the experience and the struggles in your life that shape who you become. Each day is a wonderful gift filled with amazing experiences for you to share with your family. And, from what you have shared on Sparkpeople it appears that you embrace each day and receive great joy from the everyday things in life as you and your family take this journey called life together. You are very inspiring!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ENGINEERMOM 8/26/2013 12:37AM

    GENRE009, I really enjoyed school (well, high school and college, anyway!) and did very well - BS in Engineering at the end of college with only $5,000 in student loans I paid off in a couple of years. But the constant reset of the school environment didn't exactly prepare me well for the continuity of working in the "real world". No automatic reset at the end of the semester. No break to go off and do something completely different for three months over the summer. I'm hoping to teach my own kids how to be more self-motivated instead of just chasing a grade or class rank.

I think that's one reason I love reading the Ender's Game books, especially Ender's Game, Ender's Shadow, and Ender in Exile. The kids in those books learn for the sake and usefulness of the knowledge, not for the sake of a test or teacher evaluation. That's one of my goals in homeschooling - to keep the curiosity while challenging the ability.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GENRE009 8/25/2013 9:21PM

    I can remember hating school,skipping school, hating doing home work, hating reading, cheating at reading! The things I loved were playing basket ball with my friends, sleeping in study hall, taking cooking class just to eat. Yet somewhere in there, when I got my diploma I felt really sad. I don't think a lot of people like what is being taught in school today! Is it real history, or just written by rich? No matter, most people can't seem to pull off the amount of discipline needed, and studies because they themselves either don't know something, or like it, or find it necessary! No saying that is you! My mother just kept at me in school! So, now I love reading, and I did go on to further my education. Not saying it did me any good tough. We all don't want to be the man! An authority that is ignorant of what our needs are in living in this world. I am a 60's baby, and after thinking I could really change it. I realize from my short comings that the only person I can change is me! If you don't like what something is, then don't be that way! Not all people in authority are dictators, they're human just like you and me. And they make mistakes just like all humans. Good luck with ther amount of discipline you'll need for the work in teaching your child! I'm sure you'll probably learn a lot about yourself during this journey. eva

Report Inappropriate Comment
TRYINGTOLOSE64 8/25/2013 8:49PM

    I hope you get out of the funk soon!

Report Inappropriate Comment

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Last Page