On a Journey to Wellness

Come with me on my journey to losing weight, getting healthy and going out to meet the world head-on!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

What I See When I Look in the Mirror

Ok, is this thing ready?

Do we have the angle right??

OK. Ready. So what do I see when I look in the mirror??

I see all my faults 

But do you know what else I see?

I see all the things that I love about myself and/or are getting better.

To tell you the truth right now, at 205 lbs, I'm in the best shape I've ever been.

And it's only getting better!!

It's hard to look past the faults sometimes. But sometimes I can embrace them because I know those things are what push me to get better, healthier, happier. I can then open my eyes to see the results. Those things that are evidence of my hard work. And that just makes me feel great!

Have a great day!


Monday, June 24, 2013

Weigh In: Food in the Land of Plenty

Happy Monday! I admit it took me a long time to get up this morning. I was awake... sort of... but every time I got up I kept going back under the covers. One of the times I got up though I weighed and measured myself. Here it is:

Current Weight: 206.0 lbs (-1.0 lbs exactly. Perfect!)

I lost the pound I wanted to lose! Woop! I admit the scale kept going back and forth between 205.8 and 206.0 but in the end it landed on 206 so that's what it is. I checked my measurements and definitely saw that I lost a quarter inch on my hips and a slight fraction of an inch lost on my arms. Nice!

Getting to 206 was a bit of a hassle last week since I ended up visiting friends and being introduced to food, food and more food that I did not hold back on eating. Eeek!

The food at Sunday's party. I provided the chili next to the apples.
So let's see the damage.


Starting with calories for the week.

Mon: 1467
Tues: 1547
Wed: 1498
Thurs: 1803
Fri: 2534
Sat: 1023
Sun: 2133

Things started getting tricky on Thursday when I had a craving for something sweet and I started snacking. It got worse on Friday when I went to visit a friend of mine who is known to eat like a vaccuum cleaner and cook like a master chef. Bad combination when I can't control myself over food. I tried to make up for it on Saturday and ate very little. I wasn't really hungry until 7pm! On Sunday I ate sensibly but I was invited to a party and later to a bar. Alcohol and mixed drinks. That's all I can say. Sigh. At the end of the night I went to bed dreading the scale knowing I'd consumed too much that weekend. So I was pleased this morning with the results.

On to work outs.

Mon: lake swim 25 minutes
Tues: Steep short hike 3.8 miles
Wed: toning work out by trying to fix my car
Thurs: jog/walk 40 minutes
Fri: 2 mile hike
Sat: 45 minutes toning work out
Healing bad sunburn. :(
Sun: 2.5 mile jog/walk

I didn't do too many strenuous work outs but I stayed active. On Wednesday I made a work out out of trying to fix a dent I put in my front bumper. It ended up being a rowing work out after a while of me trying to push the dent back out. That day was also when I got the worst sunburn I've ever gotten. My face not only got red, but irritated. It burned and I got bumps and what looked like acne. It took days for it to calm down. This morning it now looks like a slightly red face with peeling skin. I'm ok with that. Never leaving the house without sunblock and a hat AGAIN.

I'm doing well with losing 1 pound a week. I want to continue that and see if maybe this week I can lose 2 lbs.
I'm going to keep my goal to drink 2 nalgenes/ ~60 oz of water a day.
I'm going to continue counting calories and try harder to stay within 1200-1600 calories.
I'm going to continue trying to work out 5-6 days/week
I only did my toning work out twice last week so I need to keep that up and try for 3x/week.
I need to stay away from the sun as much as possible while my face cures. So most of my work outs will probably be in the evening or inside. If I decide to hike more I'm going to have to take extra precautions.

That's all for now. Have a good week and wear sunscreen!


Saturday, June 22, 2013


I wanted to share Deb's picture she posted. It is exactly what I've come to learn and have to remind myself of constantly. Check it out.

                                                          Debs Daily Life: wordless friday

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I think I'm allergic to the sun

Or sun block, or face scrub, or lotion, or a combination of things but since the beginning of June I've been getting periodic days where my face is having an allergic reaction, red bumps, rashy red streaks... It looks like a bad sunburn. I don't get it! But if it is the sun I'm screwed. I work outside. How in the world am I going to be able to avoid it? I wear sunblock hats, sunglasses. What more do you want?

I don't know but I hate how sensitive my skin is.

I'll figure it out! Go Wednesday!


Monday, June 17, 2013

Weigh In: Over eating, hiking, and losing weight

Another week gone. I can't believe it's the middle of June. This week was a disaster when it came to sticking with my calorie intake. My job as an outdoor educator requires me to stay with a group the week that they're here. That means that I stay overnight. I wake them up. I assign high school students to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner. I take them hiking. I make sure they take showers etc etc. In other words I'm like a resident assistant, educator and mom all at once. This also means they feed me and I have to eat whatever they cook. I think at the end of the week everyone had stomach aches.

I was so worried about weighing this morning, also because the time of the month decided to show it's face yesterday. So I was shocked when I saw the number on the scale.

Current Weight: 207.0 lbs

I lost 2.6 lbs! I know that this probably had something to do with water weight I'd been retaining and the fact that I hiked for at least 2 miles every day including two big hikes of 8 miles and 6 miles respectively.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.
One of the peaks we hiked. Nice ascent.

Work out achievement(s):
First, work outs:
Mon: 15 minute bike ride + 2.5 mile walk/jog
Tues: 8 mile hike
Wed: 1 mile hike (in the dark muahahaha)
Thurs: 3 mile hike
Fri: 2 mile hike and a quick swim in a cold lake
Sat: 6 mile hike
Sun: zilch

I also did my toning workout three times last week. It's getting a little boring I admit so I might mix it up. But I'd rather do it than not.

Second, calories. I didn't know how much I'd consumed because I don't have internet service when I'm with a group so I wrote down what I ate and plugged it in to my calorie counter this morning. Here it is:
Mon: 1530
Meal before the kids came. 
Tues: 1703
Wed: 1341
Thurs: 1740
Fri: 2030  (contributor of stomach aches)
Sat: 1874
Sun: 1989 (birthday cake. enough said)
I was surprised that I only went over 2,000 calories once last week. Although I went over 1600 calories nearly every day I felt the same type of bloated as when I used to eat over 3,000 calories back in the day. It's interesting how my body has adapted.

Despite being incredibly suspicious of the number on the scale I backed it up slightly with measurements. The results were interesting. I had lost here and gained there. It seems like my body is trying to balance itself out. My measurements were the same in my hips and waist so I'm not going to complain much there.

I'm going to continue my goal of losing one pound a week. I lost 2 pounds last week which is awesome.
I'm hoping to get to 205 lbs by the start of July.
I'm going to continue to drink more than 40 oz of water.
I'm going to continue to do my toning/strength training workout at least 3x a week
I'm going to try to jump in the lake again. That water was cold but not overly so. (If you know me you know I was screaming and complaining every step I took in to the water until I finally got the nerve to dive in. lol)
My walk/jogs are still as labored as ever but I'm going to continue.
I'm going to ride my bike at least twice this week.

Have a great week everyone!


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Benefits of Growing Up Fat

Barney Lake
I went for a hike today. Eight miles of beautiful scenery. Half of the hike was spent getting to a place called Barney lake. The other half was just going back to the trail head. A traditional out-and-back hike.

I wasn't surprised that I didn't encounter anyone throughout the hike so I was a little surprised when I saw a man once I reached the lake. He was wearing a white t-shirt and khaki shorts. He didn't have anything else with him. He was a bit older; late 40's was my guess. I walked up and said hello. He said hello back and immediately started walking past me back on the trail. I was fine with that since I wanted the scenery all to myself.

I found a spot to sit, waded my feet in the icy water and I got to thinking about my mother. About how she would love to see this but how unhappy (and un-surprised) she would be hearing I'd gone out in to the wilderness alone...again.
Scared of what? This? No way!

That then got me to thinking about all the places I've gone alone. Things I've done alone. Situations I've been in..alone. Most of the time when I talk to someone about this I get the same phrases over and over again, "Weren't you scared? A woman shouldn't go out alone. It's dangerous." I could only imagine that they usually think it's dangerous because I'll get assaulted, or raped, or both.

I then wondered WHY I wasn't scared of these things. I've been fortunate enough that not much has happened to me in that department which I thank whatever higher being is out there for. I also realized that my weight had something to do with it.

I became fat when I started puberty. By the time I was 13 I was obese. This meant that my self esteem was low from an early age and to this day I've noticed mens attention toward me to be well... not much. I've hung out with many gorgeous "traditionally" thin and beautiful women many times. I've noticed how mens eyes turn and follow my cohorts around. I've watched men trip over trying to open a door for them or run after them to invite them to an after party. I've seen an acquaintance literally go down on his knees and tried to unclog a bathtub with out even asking for a glass of water in return. For the pretty girl. All for the pretty girl.

I'm not saying that no one has ever done a favor for me, or held a door open for me, or complimented me on a dress I wore. However, most of the time they're holding the door open as a common courtesy not really looking to see who they're holding the door for. Or the person complimenting me is a friend, gay, or both. LOL. I'd love it if I could make a man look twice. I'd feel flattered if someone ran down a hall to invite me to something. But I have also noticed things I would never want.

I've seen my "traditionally" skinnier and beautiful women friends get harassed at a park. I've witnessed them getting cat calls and hoots from a guy in a car. I've met women who weren't lucky enough to be left alone at a club, or walking back from a grocery store. I've learned of stalkers and men treating my skinnier gorgeous friends as if they were dumb and didn't take them seriously.

As much as I'd like to once or twice to experience the flattering attention from men I have also thanked my fat for saving me from the unwanted attention as well. Now I'm not stupid enough to think that how much fat my body stores will save me from being harassed or assaulted, but I admit the probability (so far) has been a lot less.

I'm unexpected. It makes me feel free. :)
Men don't see me as much of a point of interest most of the time and that fact has actually made me feel free.  I feel more comfortable and therefore more confident than my tall, blond, long legged co-worker to go out and hike for a whole day alone. Or go to a convenience store at night. Or travel through train stations and airports by myself. That (maybe false) sense of freedom has allowed me to do what many women don't do because of fear.

 My self consciousness is less and so I have no problems walking up to the middle of a dance floor and start the party. I don't care too much what the masses think of what I wear because as long as I feel good and I think I look good the rest doesn't matter. Everyone will see that I'm fat. Trying to hide it is futile. I love meeting my bosses and co-workers for the first time (remember I have many jobs in one year) and seeing their reactions. I NEVER look like what they'd expect. I don't fit the profile of an outdoorsy person. Active explorers shouldn't be a size 18. LOL

I want and need to lose weight. It's for my health, for my love life, for my sense of being. There are more cons than pros in this situation. But today, as I lounged next to a gorgeous lake, fearless and thankful for my life so far, I couldn't help but embrace the pros. Being fat hasn't been all that bad. I'm ready to leave it behind and maybe work on getting that neighbor to clean my chimney (lol) but for now a sense of self love is upon me.

I am me. Not everything has to be depressing and self deprecating. I could be thankful for the things I have and annoyances I've avoided (I mean seriously, having that guy trying to strike up a conversation at starbucks when you can clearly tell he's just trying to get in to that size 2's pants...bleh).  Today I was just happy to be me.

Just me.
As ever,

Monday, June 10, 2013

Weigh In; Surprise surprise

I woke up this morning feeling great. I felt attractive (not looked attractive with the bed hair I'm sure I had, I said FELT). My skin felt smooth and healthy and over all I didn't feel fat! I love those mornings. They're not common.

I knew it was Monday so I went to the bathroom, came back, stripped and jumped on the scale hoping and wishing that it'll be less than 212 lbs. When I looked down I was surprised at the number I saw.

Current Weight: 209.6 lbs

Another pound loss! Woo! I quickly did my measurements and saw that I lost half an inch in my hips and one inch in my waist. So the scale wasn't just water weight loss. Awesome!

These last few weeks I've been losing a pound a week. That would be perfect if I kept it up. If I can lose one pound a week I would have reached ONEderland by mid August (my birthday!). I would make it to an Overweight BMI by the time I finish this job in late October/early November AND I would be 5 lbs away from my goal of 175 lbs by New Years. Perfect timing!

Now I have to actually do it. But first what have I done so far?

Work out Achievement(s):

I didn't count calories last week. Half of that time I was still in Southern California eating random things for meals and trying not to over indulge. It didn't always work since I got a horribly tasting muffin for lunch one day and doused it with honey. Or a day later when a friend of mine made me a giant mug of homemade espresso latte, steamed milk and flavored tonic and everything followed by a biscotti.  Two days ago I ate two and a half slices of pizza with my co-workers.... you can see I wasn't expecting weight loss this week.

Click here for the link to the toning routine I'm using.
I didn't do a ton of exercise. I tried stretching and doing a few push ups while I was still doing my WFR. Once I came back I started a new strength training/toning routine that I found online. It's perfect because I don't need any equipment. There are enough different routines that I don't focus on one section of the body and if I do them one after the other I spend a good 20 minutes with an elevated heart beat. You can find the link here. The way I'm doing them is I do as much as I can in one minute, then move to the next work out.

I also started walk/jogging again. On Saturday I did a 2.5 mile loop around the town that took me through streets, paved trails, unpaved trails and up a giant hill with big steps. I was walk/jogging it but when I finished I felt as if I'd run the fastest 5k of my life. That was the day of the pizza. I was determined to burn some of that off.
You can see the feet I climbed and my pace throughout. This kicked my ass apparently.

I also did my short volcano hike I mentioned yesterday and was re-learning how to paddle a canoe. At some point we went to a pool to practice capsizing a canoe and I got a chance to swim a couple of laps. Bliss*

So in the end, it was sporadic but I tried to keep myself active if nothing else.


I'm going to keep my goal of losing 1-2 lbs a week. It seems to be going well so far so I'm going to keep it up.
I'm going to re-start counting calories. Although it's annoying it really works.
I have a bike now but there is something wrong with the gears (so frustrating!) so I have to get that checked before I can start riding again.
I'm hoping to try swimming at the lake this week. It would be awesome to get in the water!
I'm going to keep my toning workout and try to do at least 5 times a week if  not daily.
The days are getting warmer I need to drink at least two water bottles a day.

My work doesn't have a fixed schedule and a lot of the days are long. This makes it nearly impossible for me to join the triathlon club I wanted. I want to contact them this week and see if they have anything that can help me do it on my own or meet them at least once to see how they work out.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Canoeing, Hiking and Bell pepper cooking

Today turned out to be a great day. Just how I'd like to spend a Sunday. It started with a small breakfast of honey greek yogurt, raspberries, strawberries, wheat germ and a little bit of granole for breakfast. Then we took out canoes to the lake and went for a canoe tour of the area. I'll eventually be taking my groups out conducting the tours myself so this was considered training. :)

Yes, I know those are kayaks but our canoes were soon to follow!
After that I had a home made lunch (a tray of bell pepper, lettuce and whole grain chips surrounded by a small bowl of hummus followed by a turkey patty sandwich with whole grain bread, onion and a little butter) and when I called my boss and asked him what I needed to do next his response was,
"Elina, have you ever heard of something called rest?"
"I've heard of it.."
"Do it."
Whatever you say boss. :)

I watched a movie, took a nap, stretched and then decided that although I was sore and bruised from canoeing and strength training from the day before I needed to do some sort of exercise. I opted to drive down six miles and go to the trail head for one of the volcanoes just south of the lake. I walked up a hill to the trail head junction and decided to take the rim trail rather than the plug trail. The rim takes you around the rim of the crater that frames the volcano. The plug takes you in to the volcano itself. I'd done the plug before so I opted for the rim. What a gorgeous view, and a nice work out since the pumice sand and up and down in elevation got my body moving.
What goes up must come down. You can see my trail descending.
Believe it or not the hike was exactly 1.5 miles. A nice short hike with a lot of oomph to it. I came back and took the longest shower. I came out, turned on my awesome scented candle and decided to look through my low GI cookbook to look for something for dinner. After going back and forth I found the page for stuffed bell peppers and I knew that was it. Probably because I bought a Costco supply of bell peppers and I needed to eat them before they went bad. LOL

I didn't have all the ingredients but that has never stopped me. I used the recipe as a guideline and made my own stuffing using an old handmade turkey patty as my ground meat, some tomatoes, onions, salsa, rosemary, cayenne pepper, garlic salt and sprinkled in some feta cheese on top. I made two bell pepper halves and stuck them in the oven. They turned out amazing. I ate 1 serving and half of another. The book explains that a serving is around 232 calories. I used slightly different ingredients but nothing too out of the ordinary. I would think I consumed somewhere in the 350-400 calorie range.
I ate this and half of another. Delicious!
I am now finishing my Sunday with a small glass of white wine. A great, half work-half lazy Sunday. Perfect.

I don't expect any weight loss after my hectic week. I'm hoping I maintained however. Monday will be my weigh in.

Until then,


Friday, June 7, 2013

Ups, downs and 12 hour days

 Tried on all and saw that in half size XL was too big. Go Large!
I'm tired. I just spent all of June so far and the last day of May up and working for 12 hours each day. This includes the 8+ hour drives to and from my WFR course and then each day of the WFR course itself. Today I walked in to work and after a couple of hours of hanging out with kids and getting ready to head out for the day I was told to go take a break and rest. I didn't feel too tired then so I went to the office and finally received my staff t-shirts. I'm between XL and L right now and I was happy to see that size Large is fitting me better! In a couple of them XL was still the better option but still! Once I finished and sat down and really spent some time relaxing I'm realizing how tired I really am.

I wasn't able to do a proper work out once this week. I did some stretching and some push ups/sit ups in the morning and tried not to eat too much junk but it was a hard week. I still have this weekend before my official weigh in so I'm going to do my darnedest to get some exercise and good food in.

But you know what? I got my Wilderness First Responder certification! This means I have a little card that says I've been trained to do a bunch of emergency procedures in a wilderness setting including but not limited to: using an epi pen, performing evacuations, setting dislocations and CPR. Using an AED (clear!) and oxygen tanks. I now know how to take someones blood pressure and I know what the numbers mean.


Let's do this!
We'll see how this hectic week worked with my weight loss goal. Good luck to everyone and happy weekend!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Weigh In

Last weekend I drove 8 hours to return to my old home in the southern California mountains to take my wilderness medicine course. Meals have been a little tricky since I didn't plan them specifically and I've been going back and forth on where I'm sleeping each night. Also last week I was dependent on the food that was fed to me (the groups I work with feed me since I literally don't have enough time to cook for myself AND be in charge of a group of 7th graders 24/7). Overall good food choices  have been kind of hard to find. But something hopefully worked a little bit.

Current Weight: 210.4 lbs

I ended up losing exactly one pound last week. I was hoping to lose 2-3 lbs but since my meal choices have been limited I'm actually quite happy with this result. A small loss is better than no loss at all!

Last week I started doing more walk/jogs. I had a goal to walk/jog 10 miles in a week and I achieved it by Thursday. This was perfect because the second I traveled to my course I haven't been able to work out at all. I've been keeping track of my calories for the most part and trying to keep between 1200-1600 calories.

Here are the results:
Mon: 1,301 calories
Tues: 1,587
Wed: unknown
Thur: unknown
Fri: 1,300
Sat: 1,669
Sun: 1,537

I dropped the ball in the middle of the week, but I've noticed I usually forget or don't feel comfortable tracking my meals on the days I overeat. I don't think I over ate too much last week but I specifically remember being very interested in graham crackers and doing little taste tests on cookies and what not. So I'm not too surprised at not being able to lose as much weight this week.

I'm definitely left a little hungry eating at 1200-1600 calories since I've grown re-accustomed to eating more than 2,000 calories a day. But it's ok. Most of the time I know it's just that my body is used to me eating until I'm stuffed and not just when I'm satisfied. I'll learn to get used to this.

 My goal again is to keep my 1200-1600 calorie range. I made this range broader than I used to because I know that restricting myself too much triggers a frustrating binge when I go over. This is a nice range that I can maintain relatively well.
My other goal is to try again and get to 208 lbs by next Monday. I'm sticking to losing 2 lbs a week. If I can keep a 1-2 lbs loss per week I can make it to an overweight BMI by the end of the year! Let's do this!

Have a great week everyone. Now it's time to pass out. My days are long and my eyes are closing. Good night!


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Quick Update: Working with diet plans and a WFR course

I moved to my new home two weeks ago. This week however I'm back in Southern California, in my old job's headquarters, because I had to return to do a Wilderness First Responder Course (WFR). If you haven't heard of a WFR it's a very advanced form of medical training (beyond CPR and First Aid) in a wilderness setting. This course is long. It's mentally and physically demanding. It's serious since you will be dependent on being the first to respond to an emergency in a wilderness environment, meaning no medics or ambulances near by. It's kicking my butt, but believe it or not it's fun too.

However, because I have to start classes at 8 a.m, only get 40 minute lunches and finish classes somewhere between 6-7pm each night AND I've been found unprepared with having my own food when I need it, I've been having to rely on buying random prepared food at the local grocery store or coffee shop. I'm trying to keep things as healthy as possible but this food schedule is really random and I know isn't the most ideal setting. I'm hoping I can have enough time to prepare some food and take it with me for the next few days of the course. I'm still set on losing a couple of pounds and I don't know if I was able to make it this week.

Hopefully I at least maintained. I haven't worked out since I got here on Friday. Check and weigh in tomorrow.

Optomistic and hopeful,