Thursday, May 30, 2013

Desert Hiking!

Having grown up in the Seattle area where there are thousands of wonderful, GREEN, beautiful places to hike and explore, getting used to hiking in the desert is a bit different. The sad thing is, most of my life I was overweight and didn't really care to do much of anything that consisted of exercise, hiking, or exploring. Now that I live in what my husband calls the "desert" (not really but close enough) I long for my summer breaks when I can get home to Seattle to explore and hike for a couple weeks. 

Monday being Memorial Day, we had the day off. Steve, my hubby, working in the medical field, had to work. Both my kids had several finals to study for, so my friend Tammy and I decided we'd  hike Tablerock. Lots of people in the valley hike Tablerock and always rave about it. In all honesty, I had never hiked it until last year and we've lived here 13 years! Part of that was probably due to the fact that I was nearly 300 pounds until a few years ago and hiking was nowhere near something that would be on my agenda. The other part was the idea I think of hiking up a dirt hill with no trees. Desert Hiking! 

It's a fun little hike no less. It takes maybe 30 minutes or so to get to the top and it's not all together terribly hard, yet you feel like you've gotten a good workout by the time you get to the top. It was fun and a great way to start my day.

They call it Tablerock because at the top, it's flat like a table.

I'm not a huge fan of heights or standing on a ledge so this one was a stretch.
There are several caves at the top. I had never really explored them much but we crawled around and checked them out. 

I love hiking with this girl! 

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Sunday, May 26, 2013

Testimony and Weight Loss

Today in church I was filling in for the teacher who normally teaches the kids 14-18. We were talking about what a testimony is and here are a few things they came up with:

A belief
Having faith
Something spiritual

We then broke it down and shared on many points. One thing we touched on was the idea that a testimony can be one of many things. Yes, it can be one of a spiritual sense, but also can be one that could have to do with an aspect of school, maybe a hobby, family, a sport...many things. I challenged the kids to search for something in their lives over the next couple weeks that they could nourish. That they could either strengthen or start the process of gaining a testimony of whatever it is they are seeking or trying to accomplish.

As I've been home this afternoon, my mind has been focused on picking an area in my own life to strengthen and improve, as I told the kids I would do the same thing I asked of them. It wasn't long in my thinking that I got sidetracked and found myself thinking about the journey I put myself on just a few short years ago. How in the beginning I had very little, if no faith, on what I was about to set out and do. (lose 133 pounds) In fact, I had attempted it so many times before, I knew it was nearly impossible. I knew the seed had been planted as the desire was there, I was just a bit uncertain on how it was all going to play out. In my eyes, I just knew this time had to be different.

The days, weeks, and months went by and that seed that I had originally planted was growing. It started out small as I learned what I needed to do and how I needed to eat, but the more I focused on nourishing it, the more it grew. The more it grew, the more I believed. Doors started to open, knowledge started to poor in, and I was learning things that before had never surfaced because I had let my seed dry up before any vegetation came to light. It wasn't long before my "Charlie Brown" tree turned into a full blown beautiful tree with many branches and greenery to boot. 

From that point on, I wanted nothing but to keep it alive and going. Better yet, I wanted to share it with others. Thus the reason I started journaling my thoughts, my journey, and sharing of this blog. This is a prime example of something in my life I did not believe in until recent years -- me. As sad as that sounds, when it came to my weight and becoming healthy, I didn't know it was possible. I couldn't physically see it or touch the results. Why would I believe it? Especially after trying so many times before. The truth of the matter is, the more I nourished that seed of desire, the more it grew. The more it grew, the more I started to believe and change. 

I am blessed to tell you today that I do have a testimony of gaining a healthy body. It can be done. Why? Because I did it. I've lived it. And just like the kids stated this morning, a testimony is one of faith, belief, hope, conviction, happiness, and spirituality. All these things can only make us better people.

I am so grateful that I have changed my life, have found true happiness, and was given the opportunity to reflect on it a bit today.

Bless you all as you continue on your own journey. You are worth far more than you will ever imagine. 

(It was a blessing to have my daughter in class with me this morning as I taught. Thank you McKenna for your sweet comments and participation.)

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Finding Love in YOU!

It's been nearly 2.5 years since I reached my goal weight of 145. Coming from being nearly 300 pounds, it wasn't always easy. I didn't always enjoy the journey. I remember the day, the week. I was in the best shape I'd been my entire life. I was averaging a couple hours at the gym by the time I lifted and did my cardio 4-5 times a week. I was the most toned I've ever been.
I knew that getting to 145 was a push for me. My trainer even warned me that my body would probably be happier at 150. At first I'm not sure I liked that idea. If I had gone to all this work, I wanted to be 145. Since reaching my goal I have fluctuated a bit but mainly by body sits in lower 150's and is happy. I know I could push myself and get back to a solid 145 but the reality of it is, I want to be able to enjoy my family, eat what I want in moderation, and just enjoy being me - someone who I was upset and unhappy with for most of my life.
150 is a perfect spot for me. I am happy, I don't have to spend 2 hours at the gym 4-5 times a week, I can eat what I want in moderation, and I just feel like a normal person. Finally! Don't get me wrong.  I still exercise, and the things I choose to put in my mouth have totally changed, but in the big picture of things, I finally am loving my life. Loving who I am. Loving who I've become. And I'm learning that I don't have to be smaller to be happy either. I am fine with having lost 133 pounds and where my life has taken me and what I can do these days.

P.S. Does this mean I have a perfect beach body? Of course not!(I'm not the bathing suit type anyway.) I still have many challenging areas to look at on my body that I'm sure I could work harder on making better. The sagging skin being the biggest. But one thing is certain, I am half the size I used to be and I know God did not put me on this journey to expect me to be perfect. I will be happy with how far I have come and where I am at and the fact that I have been able to maintain what I've learned. I love being me!

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pushing Through the HARD....

Have you ever felt like you just don't have any more in you to give? Whether it's with losing weight, getting to the gym, or tackeling another part of getting healthy? You're just tired, maybe you feel burnt out, or like nothing is working as you had planned?  I know this has been the case for me several times - last Thursday being one of them. (Click here for a Re-cap.) It was one of those days where I set out on a training run. I was scheduled 3 miles and couldn't even finish. It was hot, I felt de-pleated, and basically like I didn't have it in me. Somewhere just after I hit the 2-mile mark, my heart rate monitor went crazy high and I ended up having to slow it down to a walk in order to stay in my range. In some ways I didn't mind as it was one of those moments where I felt I had hit a wall and could go no more.

The next morning I was getting up at 5:00 am to run 9 miles. The thought entered my mind a few times, "If you can't even run three miles today, how in the world are you going to pull off 9 miles tomorrow morning?!" Needless to say, I got up and ran the 9 miles with no problem. It was easy! I could have just kept right on running. How crazy is that?!

Later that afternoon we spent 5 hours in the car headed to a dance competition for my daughter and it gave me time to really process and reflect on those two runs. What polar opposites they were yet they were less than 24 hours (more like 12) apart. Our bodies are amazing creatures and not every day will they perform the way we think they should. We can't let that get us down and discouraged. We've got to keep going. One foot in front of the other. Fight through those days. Here I was in a situation feeling very deflated and like I was not even cut out to run 3 miles until the next morning when I proved myself wrong and all those hopeless thoughts were dismissed. I was a runner! I could do it. I had just had a bad day. 

How often are we all in these situations with either eating, running, or what have you? One day goes bad, maybe two or three, and all of the sudden we have this feeling like we are not worthy? Wrong! I'm convinced we need those bad days to make us strong. To make us appreciate what we are doing. To make us understand and commit to something that will be a lifestyle not a diet. To make us learn sacrifice. To make us learn hard. To make us understand dedication. To make us learn to feel success. To teach us that giving up is never an option. Ever! Look how close I was to giving up, yet I got up and ran 9 miles the next morning. Surprise! 

Not every moment is always joyful. I am the first to admit that. In fact, I STILL struggle with my excuse button from time to time, but one thing I learned from all this and especially these two runs is that just because one day is "off" or seems to be out of balance, it will not determine your fate and/or what you are capable of accomplishing tomorrow.

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Thursday, May 9, 2013

Running in the Heat!

Yep, just got back from a run and it was not pretty. 84 degrees and humid. Yuck! Now I know I have a lot of fellow bloggers that run in much hotter weather on a daily basis, but when this girl isn't used to that type of heat on a regular basis, it's a bit of a shocker! Today felt different too. In fact I've been training with a heart rate monitor and running fairly slow to keep my heart rate under 140 but today I ended up having to walk the last mile and it still was up near 147. Eek! Good news is, I guess while training with a heart rate monitor I better avoid heat. (Just kidding.)

I'll be honest though, I truly do dread running in the heat. In fact it puts me in a bad mood. It seems so much harder.  You can't breathe. Not to mention your body feels like 1000 pounds hitting the cement each time you take a step. Most times I can adjust and survive but today was pushing it. 

Today was also a reminder of how important water is. I had a busy day at work and my water intake was near to none. Now if you know me, that is not good. I'm usually visiting the water jug and restroom regularly during the course of the day. I could feel the lack of water in my run today. I would have felt it I'm sure with any run but especially with the heat today, it stuck out in a big way. Water, water, water! Guess what I'm doing now? 

Praying for better results tomorrow when we hit the pavement for 9 miles!

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Eating on the Go!

It's one thing to have some protein bars or nuts stored in the glove box of your car, but what do you do on days when you need a quick meal? Most of the time I just eat what the family is eating, but there are those days or weeks that seem to be busier than others and I tend to make more quick-fix meals for the family - the kind I like to stay away from. In instances like these, I found that my best defense is to plan ahead, even if it means eating the same thing for a few days. (Honestly, I don't mind.) 

This week for example, between soccer, dance, church, work, and everything else going on, oh and training for a half-marathon...I decided to keep it simple but have things planned out. Often times during busy weeks like these I will make several meals over the weekend and get them portioned out, ready to go, and into the refrigerator. Then when I have a million places to be or no time to cook healthy, I have something that is ready to eat in 3 minutes in the microwave.

This week I went with one of my favorites! BBQ'ed turkey burgers with bell peppers and spices (Jenny O brand), 2 cups steamed broccoli, and a 4oz baked sweet potato. Honestly, this was one of my favorite go-to meals that I ate consistently when losing my weight. 

 Quick, easy, and it fills you up! Again, some people might groan at the idea of eating the same dinner every night, but like I said, I don't do it all the time and I like it much better than the alternative. We all know what happens when we are hungry, in a hurry, and have nothing planned as far as food, right? It turns into grab-n-go or stop at the drive thru and go, for that matter. 

Planning ahead has definitely been a lifesaver for me on weeks like these. Like I said, it sure does beat the alternative, which would consist of making poor choices, that then lead to deflation, to lack of motivation, to back to square one. What does all this mean? In order to be successful, you MUST plan ahead! 

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Friday, May 3, 2013

I'm finally FREE and FORGIVEN!

After my 4 mile run yesterday, I hiked up Table Rock (a short hike that overlooks the city where we live) with a group of young girls from church.  My daughter had my phone and was taking pictures with her friends as I enjoyed our accomplishment as well, as the gusty wind blowing against my body, when McKenna happened to capture this one of me. I'm not one to usually draw attention to myself in anyway, but for some reason this picture speaks to me in so many ways and on so many levels. It moves me to a very deep place in my soul.  (In fact, here come the tears again.)

There are many things that come to mind when I see this picture, but the two feelings that have filled my eyes with water more than once since last night are freedom and forgiveness. It's as if the heavens were opened and God was speaking directly to me. He wanted me to know, feel, and accept a few things, and by placing me in this picture at the right place and at the right time did just the trick.

Paige, you finally can feel freedom! Freedom to move about in a body that for so long has held you back from becoming the person you are today. Freedom from feeling trapped and alone and as if you were suffocating in your own surroundings. Freedom from disregarding all the negative things the voice in your head has trained you to hear for so many years. Freedom to try new and hard things. Freedom to eat what you want, when you want and not feel guilty because you know you are the one now in control. Freedom to be more assertive in certain situations because your self-confidence has changed. Freedom to finally be the person you have always dreamed and wanted to be.

And the second part, forgiveness.  Forgiveness for spending so many years of your life not taking care of the body that was so graciously given you. Forgiveness for the hours and moments you spent telling yourself you couldn't do it. Forgiveness for making bad choices when it came to putting food into your body. Forgiveness for not having the desire to be educated sooner. Forgiveness for being lazy and unmotivated. Forgiveness from robbing valuable time and years away from your family.

I know that there was never a time on my journey or even now that my Heavenly Father didn't believe in me and what I was fully capable of. These were just things I needed to learn and overcome in order to be who I am today.

How grateful I am that my sweet McKenna helped me capture this special moment. There are so many things that a person goes through when transforming their body that sometimes different parts of the journey hit us at different times. This one for me was very cleansing and just a reminder of what I've done, how far I've come, and what I deserve to be!

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Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Your Body is Just Under Construction.....

I like to think of my body as being under construction. Even though I have come so far and am half the size I used to be, there are still areas that bother me. (Like the thick roll of skin around my belly. The good news is, it's now skin instead of fat!) I think for a lot of us, when we see our bodies and how much work needs to be done it can get discouraging. It can get overwhelming in fact. It wasn't until later on in my journey that I adopted the thinking that my body was a work in progress. That it was under construction to become a better and more efficient tool that would help me to live a longer, healthier life.
For many months I was in cruise control, often thinking of everything I needed to do to just stay afloat. I remember starting my journey and how unhappy I had become with the shell I was living in that I was desperate to change. After the weight started coming off little by little, I just kept at it. I kept going. I was in auto pilot mode. With having as much weight as I had to lose I didn't know how long it was going to take me to get to where I was going and I certainly couldn't see the big picture at the end but I just kept going. In fact, I didn't even know if getting to where I wanted to be was even possible. One day at a time. One step in front of the other. Some weeks I saw progress. Some weeks I didn't. Regardless, I just kept going. Anyone else ever felt like this?
I think for many years my body had been an enemy to me instead of a friend. We hadn't gotten along for years. It liked and was comfortable eating a certain way that I didn't necessarily approve of or think was right, but I couldn't seem to influence it to do differently. For so long I felt like my body had the upper hand and was in charge of me instead of me being in charge of it. After living life that way for so long it took time, sacrifice, and effort to change things around. To reverse rolls. That is why I'm not certain these "quick fix" fads are going to do people any good. In fact, it breaks my heart having already been through it before, that people think that trying a "quick fix" will do the trick. Don't get me wrong, I know some people who have had to make drastic changes and do it quickly to preserve life, so a doctor may recommend a certain path for a short time to get things under way but it's not meant to have that turn in to a lifestyle. Anyway, I guess what I'm trying to get at here is that for so long I let my body control me instead of me being the one telling it what we we're going to do. I was scared of my body.  I certainly didn't believe in it. It did nothing but cause stress,disappointment, and a feeling of wanting to give up and just settle for the body I'd been given - fat and all!
It was the last six months of my journey that I wished I would have had from day one. Then again, I think I needed to go through everything I went through to make me as strong as I am today. It was within those last six months and then the past 2+ years of maintenance that I found the real person that has lived in my body for over 40 years. She is strong. She is determined. She is motivated. And she is willing to undergo as many years of construction as she needs to in order to remain healthy and happy.
Just remember, It doesn't matter how long it takes or what we look like in the process, as long as we are moving in the right direction!

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