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Springtime

One of the many reasons I was excited about moving to Texas from Arizona is the change of seasons in hill country. Don’t get me wrong, AZ runs through the seasons too, but the summer lasts most of the year. Winter typically doesn’t get very cold. Spring in the desert is glorious but very short lived. It always leaves me wanting more and cursing the 100+ degrees that seem to appear as soon as I would get used to mid seventies. It frustrated me year after year while I lived there.

Springtime in TX has not disappointed. We’ve had some warmer days (high 80s) and then cool days down in the 60s. AND RAIN! This weekend we had badass thunderstorms roll through; all the rain makes everything bloom. I fall more in love with living here every week.

I’m also glad how willing people are to come visit! We’ve been here less than 2 months and already had visitors from AZ, plus all of my immediate family in Houston has come by to spend weekends in Austin. It is not hard to convince people to spend time here, this city has such a heartbeat. There is so much happening here all the time! Lot’s of great craft breweries, great venues to see live music, and amazing food trucks and restaurants. One thing I also dig about the food here is that so many places really like to rely on what is grown and found locally. Fresh local grub – right up my alley. And going back to the weather: by this point of the year in AZ many adventures would be harder to plan as it’s already getting close to triple digits some days there. I wanted to live somewhere that I could enjoy the outdoors for a greater portion of the year. I don’t want to feel trapped by my environment. It’s just like I wouldn’t want to live someplace that snowed all winter long.

I’m so happy! I’ve already discovered so many spots I love to explore. I’ve fallen in love with a couple of the local independent radio stations and discovered tons of new music, rekindling that somewhat forgotten passion. I really missed going to little rad shows here, I hated most of the venues in Arizona and I adore the fantastic locations here.

I need to get more hardcore with my fitness though. I’m not doing bad… I still run 3 times a week. I’m active at work. But there is WAY better food options here and that’s my achilles heel. I also drink more beer than I used to. As a result, my usual 125 is now up above 130. Usually about 132, 133. Now, I’m not stupid. I know that isn’t a huge deal and I can drop it. But even though I know that, I’ve definitely been beating myself up about it. I don’t look like I’ve gained much weight, but it is more obvious to me when I’m naked or in a bathing suit. I’m trying to find a good balance because I want to go out and have a good time here without worrying myself over every little thing. But at the same time I’ve worked so hard to get where I am with my fitness journey. It’s really driven home that idea that we are always a work in progress. I’ve found myself in a different phase now. It’s even more confusing when there are women at work who tell me how skinny I am, how “lucky” I am to be so teeny, or how they wish they could fit into my clothes, etc. I’m not a fan of being called skinny because it always sounds sickly to me but whatever – I know it comes from a nice place with these ladies. But as soon as these conversations begin, I want to tell them how fat I feel, how they don’t know how much I want to be about 7-10 pounds less. But of course there is no way I can say that, so instead I have this bizarre little freak out in my head and muster up a ‘thank you’ or find a way to change the subject. I know I am still healthy and other than a few extra pounds I really do look good, and I am in great shape. I just know that previously I got further than this, so the little backslide feels gigantic. I thought about using MyFitnessPal again but I’ve decided no. I know what I need to do, and I know how to do it. If I can’t get things back towards my 125 goal after some time then maybe I’ll consider it, but not yet. I want more freedom.

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Progress – December 2014 to January 2015

I have been in my weight range (120-125 lbs.) for most of the last two months. I jumped up a couple extra pounds during X-mas and New Years (no huge shock). I quickly dropped back down below 125, but the last couple of days I am up again to 126/127 pounds. The last week or so I have been eating more carbs for my calorie intake to prep for the half marathon on Sunday – TOMORROW!! Based on what I have read I knew I could expect to add a few extra pounds on with a heavier carb based diet even if I am eating the same general amount of calories overall. Once I get back into normal eating mode after the marathon I’m sure I’ll drop back into my normal maintenance weight range.

Maintenance mode still feels like a success, especially since I know why I’m temporarily a little heavier on the scale. I’m feeling really positive about this because I’ve done it without using MyFitnessPal as I mentioned in a post a little while back. I was worried there would be a major backslide, but other than the normal holiday enjoyment I think I’m doing really well!

My very supportive and awesome husband Matt surprised me with a gift after I signed up for the half marathon. He got me a massage roller. Holy cow, amazing. My muscles were a little sore from last weekend, I ran nearly 9.5 miles on the trail. I used it on my tired muscles and it felt great. I know I will need it after the 13+ miles tomorrow! I also made sure to have a box of Epsom salt ready to bathe in after the run. I’ve been pretty lucky so far to not have major joint issues, just muscle soreness. These items really help to alleviate that.

Last thing – I’ve been to plenty of marathons and cheered from the sidelines. I loved when people had names written on their shirts so the crowds could cheer for them as they ran. I decided to make my own shirt in the hopes that I hear a cheer along the way. Never know, that could come at just the right moment when I need it the most!

Homemade marathon shirt

Homemade marathon shirt

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Control

This quote is frustratingly accurate:

“When we try to control, we become controlled; when we release, we become free.” – Bryant McGill

I have control issues. It has been helpful to me in some ways, but I’m trying to let go of some control and that’s tough. I have been keeping tabs of everything I have eaten for about 2 years now. I diligently pick up my smartphone, open the MyFitnessPal app, look up then log every single bit of food. That truly helped – I’m not trying to knock the practice of self awareness and monitoring calorie intake. That being said, I have come to the realization over the last few months that I don’t really need to do that anymore. To say that my habits are sticking is an understatement; in fact I think the word habit is inadequate. I’ve adjusted my whole lifestyle.

Then why am I still counting every single calorie? Why am I wasting that time obsessing over it? I am controlled by my own need to control. I’m sick of it. I feel burdened by it, and I’m the one who has made the choice to do it. I have decided it’s time to let that go (cut to Frozen…)

I’m not cutting every fitness app. I like to know how much I am doing. I love my Fitbit, I get to compete with my friends and family and it motivates me to keep moving. I also like knowing details such as speed and distance when I go running or biking, or how far my husband and I wander on adventure hikes, so I will keep using Runtastic as well. But I am done logging calories eaten. I am so happy I found MyFitnessPal when I began trying to get healthy. It absolutely made me change my behaviors with food and helped to shine a light on what kind of choices I could make in my diet to lose weight. And I plan to keep the app so if I am curious about calorie content I can still use it for the food database. (It also cleanly synchronizes my exercises up to Fitbit from other apps. It’s easier to just keep it for that purpose than to reconfigure it all – I tried and failed.)

I logged my food yesterday. That was it, I told myself as I entered the food, the last day I’m recording it. To be perfectly honest, I feel weird about not using it today. I have to train my brain that I’m done with that task. I’ve only been awake a few hours and it already feels like I’m forgetting something I need to do.

I know that I won’t backslide. And god forbid I do, I clearly know how to log calories and go back to those behaviors. I just don’t see that happening. I love exercising, eating healthy, and the way my body feels now compared to the old me. I believe I can maintain and have a little more freedom away from that nagging side of my brain as well.

*deep breath*

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Breaking away from the machines

Typically I have done all of my exercise at the gym and on my bike. Since the weather in Arizona has cooled off recently I’ve added hiking into the mix more often as well. I decided I was ready for another big hurdle in my world: RUNNING OUTSIDE.

This has always seemed an impossible task. Now, I have no idea why this has been such a struggle for me. I’ve always just sucked at running. Even when I was a petite little school kid I struggled to run a mile in one go. There’s been a few times in my life I’ve attempted jogging outdoors with limited success, but even then I never could do more than a mile or a mile and a half before I felt like I was going to fall over. To be fair — I was a smoker during those later attempts, so I can only imagine my lung capacity was garbage.

I thought since I have had so much success with the long distance running on the treadmill and elliptical at the gym I was ready to take it outdoors. I started my first attempt a few weeks ago. I went to a high school near my home and did laps on the track to see how it felt. I did about a mile and a half before I quit. Not bad. The next week I did the same, another mile and a half, but this time lapping around a park by my house. I mentioned the lap running to a friend who basically told me that sounded boring. I had to agree – I might as well stay on the treadmill, there is no adventure in a circle. Last week I walked to the same canal path I ride my bike on and decided to go for it. Granted, this was no marathon run, but I ran down the path and back and loved it. I went about 3 and a quarter miles total that day, so technically I ran my first 5k… without stopping. This was a big victory for me. It helped me to once again prove to myself that I really can do a lot. I shouldn’t assume I can’t do things – it just might be that I can’t do them yet.

*** I used Runtastic (synchronized with MyFitnessPal and Fitbit Flex) for these outdoor runs to help measure both distance, steps taken, and calories spent.

 

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I love apps

I have found what works for me. And that is IN MY FACE accountability. I use apps to help me with my success. The number one app I use every single goddamn day is MyFitnessPal. I input everything I eat and drink as well as keep track of calories I burn while exercising. In a way it’s like a game for me, and calories are points. I “win” when I come in under budget. I love it, and the best part of that app is the database is huge! Almost every food can be found in there, you can even scan barcodes and create frequent meals/recipes.

I also use Runtastic (along with it’s sister product Road Bike) to track my bike rides and hiking/walking. They are perfect because they synchronize with MyFitnessPal. All I have to do is turn on Runtastic (or Road Bike) when I’m doing an activity, then when I’m done it uploads the calories burned automatically for me.

I have realized I need something that’s easy for me to keep up with. Like I said with the ‘in my face’ bit — I’m always screwing around on my phone. It’s really easy for me to log into the MFP all throughout the day to tally what I’ve eaten. I’m constantly reminded to do so because it’s right on my iPhone’s homescreen. I don’t even have to try to remember to do it anymore, it’s a habit.

MyFitnessPal does something else for me that’s brilliant – it speedily helps me to make smart choices. Before ordering a cocktail or food, I look it up and see whether it’s cool or not. It’s kind of gross when I realized some foods I used to order and think were healthy (like some salads) are over 1000 calories for a single serving. Unnecessary!  It leads to wiser choices and thinking twice before having one more beer… that is just empty calories.