The Next Step

The last time I posted on the blog I was pretty stressed out, thankfully I have employed some healthier strategies for dealing with my stress and am doing much better, though there are still good days and bad days of course. During the time since my last post I have spent a lot of time working on myself and my relationships. I have also been re-evaluating what is important to me and what direction that I want my life to take in the coming year (and beyond). December is going to be a very important month for me and will be the start of my new transition.

One of the biggest things that will be happening in December is the launch of my new blog! My website is complete and ready to go! I will officially start blogging there on December 1st. If you would like to continue to follow along with me on this new journey, please visit my new blog Tales of a Fit Kitty Mama. Until then, I wish you all well!

Stress Strategies

I have been coping with an overwhelming amount of stress for a while and I will be the first to admit that I have not been using the best coping strategies, especially lately. In the past when I have been stressed its usually been work or money related (which is not the case right now) and I have learned a lot of strategies to help me deal with those kinds of stress. The stress I am dealing with now is different and is accompanied by a lot of anxiety, lack of sleep and, when I do sleep, nightmares.

As I am typing this, it is 3:50 am. I went to bed about 11:00pm tonight and slept until about 1:00am, this has become my sleep pattern for the last couple of weeks. I am getting anywhere between 2 and 4 hours of sleep a night. My best night of sleep was almost a week ago, and that was only 6 hours. I know that the lack of sleep is severely impacting my ability to cope with the stress, but until I get the stress under control, I am not going to be able to sleep… quite the catch-22.

I have found that I have resorted to an old stress behavior and have started stress eating over the past week or so… this certainly doesn’t help my weight loss goals! While I am not necessarily making bad food choices in content, I am certainly making bad choices in quantity and eating way more than I have been. I have also started drinking more alcohol than I usually do. I am not drinking to excess, but I have been indulging on an almost nightly basis, which is certainly not my norm.

There is one good strategy that I have employed in the last week, however! I have been running and that certainly helps to clear my mind for at least a little while. Unfortunately I am a new runner, so I can’t run that long or every day right now. On the days that I don’t run, I am still walking, but find that my mind is still too engaged to really decompress for any period of time.

In the past, I have found that meditation and stretching have helped me to deal with stress, so I want to bring those back into my life now. We do a “daily flex” at work every day and I find that helps me to relieve some of the tension at least, so I plan to fit stretching breaks throughout my day, starting now. I also want to fit in at least 15 minutes of meditation each day to hopefully disengage.

I just really need to find a healthier way to relieve some of the anxiety so that I am not feeling on edge 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, like I have been for the last few weeks. And while my lack of sleep hasn’t started affecting my work performance yet, I know its only a matter of time before it will. I also know that my anxiety has already had an impact on some of my relationships, and I really don’t want it to create additional issues. I’m at the point where something just has to give, I’m moving backwards right now and I need to put a stop to that and start moving forward again. And once I have a better control of the day-to-day stress and anxiety, maybe I’ll be able to diminish the actual triggers as well, so that what is so stressful to me now won’t be in the future. I hope so anyway.

I would love to hear from you! If anyone has any healthy strategies that you use to deal with stress and anxiety, please let me know.

What Happens Now

I usually love change and embrace it. I often seek out change every so often because I think it is great for inner growth. There is a lot of change happening in my life right now, and there has been for a few years. I feel like I have grown so much and really started developing into the person that I am meant to be. There are two things happening in my life right now that I can’t talk about here on the blog. One of them I really can’t talk about with anyone, so I have started keeping a journal again to deal with it. All I can really say is that if I survive the next six months (and please God don’t let it take longer than that), I will know that I can survive anything.

Other changes that I can discuss…

* I am buying a car! Its used, and I’m buying it from a coworker next month. I am really looking forward to having a car again and the freedom that it will provide!

* I got promoted again! I am already doing the work, and there is talk of a future promotion in the works, but I have yet to get the raise… they’re still discussing how much I will be getting. I am hoping that they will put it through retro-active, but I am not sure.

* I re-activated my Full Circle produce deliveries, so look for posts of the yummy goodness that comes each week from them. This week I ordered a Marco Polo cheese that is amazing!

* Running is back in the workout schedule! I have completed 2 running workouts so far this week and am still walking to and from work for the time being as well. I need to really ramp up my strength workouts again, they have slipped into nothingness lately.

* The new blog is coming! I keep talking about it, I know, and the launch date keeps getting pushed back, but it really is coming! I am really hoping to be able to launch it before December. This blog has kind of slipped from its original intent and design, so I am looking forward to launching the new blog in the way I really want it.

* The holidays are coming! This just excites me because I’ve always loved the holidays, though last year was really hard since it was the first time I was away from my family. I have absolutely no idea what is happening for Thanksgiving this year, but will probably be spending it at home (Seattle) with the kitties since I work late the day before and early the day after. As for Christmas, I really don’t have plans for that either, but I have some ideas for things I can do.

So those are some of the highlights on what’s happening now with me… What’s happening with you?

San Diego Part 3

Once I returned to my parents’ on Sunday evening, we had a yummy Chinese food dinner (one of the few non-Mexican food meals of the trip). The next couple days included more shopping with my mom (and my aunt). I ended up with some new work clothes out of the deal, so it was all good. On the last night I was home, we had dinner with another uncle, aunt and one of my cousins.

Pretty soon it was Wednesday morning and time to get ready to head back home to Seattle. I got my suitcase packed up and deflated the air mattress, then we hit the road to head to the airport. Of course we stopped for one last shot of Mexican food before we headed out.

Once we arrived at the airport it was time to say goodbye to my parents again. This was the hard part of course! There were hugs and tears, but since we were in the loading zone we couldn’t really linger too long. I checked my bag and headed to security, where I breezed right through. I ended up with almost 2 hours to kill in the airport because everything went so smoothly, so I spent some time reading.

My flight from San Diego to San Francisco was pretty uneventful, we landed on time and I headed for the gate for my 2nd flight. It turns out I was flying out of the exact same gate that I flew out of when I flew down the week before. Thankfully this time there was no delay and we took off on time.

There was some bad weather between San Francisco and Seattle, but the approach was utterly beautiful over the city. I had a great view of the Space Needle and Elliott Bay from my window on the plane. After we landed, I called to let my parents know I had arrived safely and headed to pick up my bag and wait for my roommate.

My roommate didn’t get off work until about the time I landed, so I again had some time to kill, but I mostly just people watched. Once she picked me up, we decided to go out to dinner. And what was she craving? Mexican food of course! So even after I arrived back to Seattle, I had one more meal on my Mexican food adventure. While dinner was good, Seattle Mexican food will never hold a candle to the Mexican food back home!

So that’s it, my adventure back in San Diego… I know it wasn’t very exciting in terms of activities, but I really enjoyed the time to decompress, relax and being able to spend time with the people I love. Here are a few last pictures of San Diego that  I took from the car on the way to the airport:

San Diego Part 2

So the second part of my San Diego trip started Friday night when I arrived at Jeremy’s & Tav’s place. Tav was at work, so it was just me and Jeremy to start. We went to the coffee shop across the way and had coffee (hot chocolate for me) and basically just spent some time talking and catching up. After that we took a walk to pick up supplies (ie drinks) for the weekend. After spending more time chatting at the apartment, we headed to a bar across the street for a drink where Tav met up with us.

We had originally talked about doing all kinds of things while I was there, but ended up really just hanging out all weekend. They pretty much live right across the street from Balboa Park, so we hung out there most of the day on Saturday before heading back to the apartment to play beer pong (I was simply a spectator). Later we headed downtown, forgetting that it was the Saturday before Halloween and it was insane with (drunk) people in costumes everywhere. The people watching part was fun!

Sunday we had a picnic lunch before heading into the area of Balboa Park where all of the museums are. We went to the San Diego Natural History Museum to see the Chocolate exhibit and wandered through the other exhibits as well. Finally it came time for me to head to the trolley to head back over to my parents’ place. I have to say, the 2 days I spent with Jeremy and Tav were the only days I really got anything resembling a workout in while I was gone! We walked everywhere.

Here are some pictures from Balboa Park, the museum & my boys:

San Diego Trip Part 1b

I already posted a “Hello from San Diego” blog that included  the details of my extremely long delay in San Francisco and the first day with my parents, but I wanted to tell you all a bit more about my trip, so I’ll want to pick up where I left off…

Basically my trip can be divided into 3 parts: my arrival and 3 2 1/2 days with my parents, the weekend spent with 2 of my very best friends, then 2 more days with my parents and my departure. This blog will pick up where I left off and continue through the point I met up with my friends for the weekend.

I had already mentioned shopping with my mom and my aunt on the second day of my trip, then we had dinner at my parents’… my dad’s amazing tacos. I will be completely honest and tell you that I did not focus on healthy eating during my trip home at all and I ate quite a few tacos. But they were incredibly delicious! My aunt and uncle were also there for dinner as well.

We had tossed around a lot of different things that we might do while I was in town including the beach and the zoo (we didn’t do either of these). On Friday we left the house planning to go to Coronado to the beach, but while I was in the bank getting cash for the weekend, our plans changed and we ended up going to Old Town instead (so I could have more Mexican food while I was there… good Mexican food was one of the themes of the trip). We did indeed have a terrific lunch at Casa de Reyes and wandered around the historic town that grew up around the mission on the hill.

After we wandered around Old Town, we headed back to my parents’ so that I could get ready to head over to my friends’ for the weekend…

Here are some photos from Old Town:

Back in Seattle and Catching Up

Ok, so technically I got back to Seattle on Wednesday night, but between work, unpacking and trying to get through the 350+ emails in my inbox, I haven’t had a chance to post a blog. And I’m still not finished going through all the emails either!

My trip home was everything that I hoped it would be. I spent time with my parents, ate lots of Mexican food, spent the weekend with my friends and relaxed. It definitely helped to ease a lot of the stress that I was under before I left, and allowed me some distance from some issues that I’ve been dealing with. I will be posting some blogs this week about some specifics about my trip… and pictures!

Now that I’m back home and settled in (for the most part), its time to get back on track with my blog, my studying and my workouts. I have plans to fit in an hour of studying tonight, but am completely exhausted so not sure if I can focus. I might have to add tonight’s study time onto tomorrow’s schedule! I am also re-commencing my running program tomorrow, now that I am recovered from my injury. Next week I will get my strength training back on track. I have a lot of things that I want to accomplish and now is the time to get my act together and get things moving in the right direction again.

I should also be launching my new blog/ website in the very near future. My computer guru estimates that he will have the site ready to go in about 48 hours or so. I am really excited and can’t wait!!

Hello From San Diego!

I didn’t get a chance to post before I left on my vacation, but I wanted to take a quick moment and post right now!

I left my house at 5:30 am yesterday morning to start my trip home. I arrived to the airport with plenty of time, went through security and headed to my gate to wait for my flight. Everything went great and we left Seattle on time headed for San Francisco. We even arrived early!

I had a scheduled layover in San Francisco of about an hour, so I found my gate and decided to just hang out there. I watched my plane come in through the windows and watched while they refueled and re-stocked the plane. Then waited for them to start boarding us… and waited… and waited. It wasn’t until our scheduled take-off time that they announced there was an issue with the plane, so our departure time was being pushed back an hour. Twenty minutes later they finally told us the issue was with one of the “forward lavatories” (ie first class bathroom). As we crept closer to our second departure time, it was pushed back again… for another hour and 15 minutes! At this point, I was wondering what the heck was going on in that bathroom that was taking two hours to fix! Finally, they announced that we could board the plane. Because of the long delay a lot of people jumped onto another flight that was leaving for San Diego, so our flight was actually pretty empty (it started out full). Our original take-off time was 10:59 am, we actually took off at 1:45 pm.

We finally landed in San Diego about 2:47 (20 minutes after the other flight people were jumping on). My parents were there to pick me up and then we went out for dinner (was originally supposed to be lunch) at Chili’s. There are no Chili’s anywhere near me in Washington so I had been craving their Chicken Crispers. Then it was on to home and some much-needed rest!

Today I spent the day hanging out with my mom and my aunt and we’re getting ready for my dad’s amazing tacos for dinner. So far the trip home has been exactly what I’ve been needing! Though I am missing my kitty! Tomorrow night I will be meeting up with my boys and spending the weekend with them, then will be back here with my parents for a few more days before heading back to Seattle. I will blog more about the entire trip later!!

The Blog I’ve Been Waiting To Write

This is the blog I’ve been waiting to write, and at times I really wasn’t sure that I would ever be able to write it! But now it is official, so I can shout it from the roof-tops and share it with all of you… I have officially lost 50 lbs and am halfway to my goal weight! Actually, I have technically lost 51.8 lbs thanks to a 2 lb loss this week!

Having been overweight or obese for pretty much my entire life, I never really believed that I could lose weight. I tried so many times only to give up quickly afterwards. At one point I managed to lose 20 lbs, but quickly gained all of that back plus more. Even with my interest in fitness and nutrition (and a minor certification), I still could not seem to find something that worked for me. I have talked about Sparkpeople before on this blog, and it was through using this site that I lost 20 lbs in the past. It has also helped me on this journey of 50 lbs lost (so far). But while I absolutely love the Sparkpeople community and everything they have done to help and support me, this has not been the key to my success.

I believe that the biggest reason I have been so successful this time around is because I completely changed my life. I stepped out of the old life that I lived before, where it was so easy to fall back into old patterns, and created an entirely new life for myself. Moving to Washington was the catalyst for the progress I have made in my life and my weight-loss journey. I was suddenly in a place where no one knew my limitations, so I was able to push them aside and redefine who I am. I was no longer the lazy woman who would rather snack on a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos than walk around the block. I had broken through my shell and was now looking at the world with new eyes, ready to explore new directions and try new things.

I still have a long way to go before I reach my goal, but I know that I will reach it. Even with all of my success, I am still technically obese, at least according to the BMI charts, but I am only 5 lbs away from hitting the overweight range of BMI. From there its only about 25 lbs to a healthy range. When I picked my initial goal, I picked a number right in the middle of the healthy BMI range for my height. I still think it’s a pretty ambitious number and I am not sure if that is where I ultimately want to end up. I will be happy to finish in the healthy range, but will work until I find the right weight for my body. I am not looking to be thin or skinny, I want to be fit and healthy… and I’m getting there!

Here’s a look at the numbers:
Starting weight: 215 lbs
Current weight: 163.2 lbs
Overweight BMI: 158 lbs
Healthy BMI: 132 lbs
Goal weight: 115 lbs

Choices

It doesn’t matter how small they are, the choices that we make in our lives define us and shape the paths that we take. While some choices seem insignificant, their effects are still felt and they impact every other choice that we make. I make choices every day about how I live my life… salad or burger for lunch? walk or take the bus? stay in or go out? While it may seem like they don’t have a lot of impact over my future, they do. Am I choosing to live a healthy lifestyle or an unhealthy lifestyle? Thankfully most of the time I choose to live a healthy lifestyle, but I also believe in balance, so I occasionally choose the burger or the night out.

Then there are the big choices, the ones that you know are going to change the course of your life. I’ve made a lot of those choices lately! The most notable was of course moving to Washington, though there were a lot of choices over the years that led up to that decision. Then there was the choice to go back to school, that one didn’t lead where I thought it would, but it certainly pointed my life in a new direction and brought a great friend to my life. And of course the choice to move from Marysville to Seattle was also a huge one. Every one of these choices was crucial in bringing me to the place I am in my life currently. I know each of these choices were the right ones for me to make.

Of course there are also the slightly stupid choices, like deciding to carry a 20 lb tub of cat litter 2.5 miles home from the store. I had to keep stopping along the way and my arms felt like jello by the time I finally got home. I am sure that I will be incredibly sore tomorrow!

Right now I have a lot of choices to make about my future. I don’t have to make them today or tomorrow, but they are coming up soon, so its time to start weighing what the best course of action will be. Do I continue in my current job or look for something different (with more money) while I prepare to move into a fitness career? Do I go back to school (yet again) for a degree in exercise science? Do I start looking for a place of my own even though I have a great roommate and like where I live (and honestly can’t afford to move right now anyway)? Do I pursue my writing or let that dream die out? Like I said, lots of choices to make in the near future!

What choices are you currently making in your life?

What choice has made the biggest impact on your life so far?