How I Beat the Heat

The temperatures in my area (Bellevue, WA) have been rising above what I’m used to. Eight years ago, I moved away from Arizona because I couldn’t handle the heat any longer. Imagine my surprise when we hit 90 degrees this week.

Masked and walking

My motivation levels have been low ever since. My house doesn’t have AC and our windows are positioned perfectly to catch the late afternoon sun. The skylight window is the worst late in the day and we have no way of covering it. This is a rental and I can’t make any changes. In the afternoon, our house can get as warm as 88 degrees. I just want to melt in those temperatures.

Is it fall yet??

My husband and I were discussing the heat on a walk last week. It’s been hard to get outside and walk because we have to wear a mask around other people and it’s so hot during the day. It doesn’t start cooling off until after seven pm and by then I’m winding down for the day. I tossed out the idea that maybe I need to do something completely different.

Detours – the story of my life

So, on Sunday night, I set out all of my workout clothes. I pushed my alarm up thirty minutes. Monday morning, I stumbled out of bed, climbed into my clothes, and immediately left the house. It took at least half of that walk to finally wake up. But once I did, I realized how nice it was outside!

Facing the sun

The past three mornings have found me out walking first thing. It’s not my favorite morning activity as I’m a night owl, not a morning person. However, something needed to shift because I’ve been gaining weight and I’ve barely been able to convince myself to exercise.

Clusters of beauty

I will admit that I’ve been enjoying these walks just a tiny bit. The air is fresh early in the morning. There’s less automobile traffic. There are less people on the sidewalks and I can actually remove my mask for parts of my walk when no one else is around.

Morning shadows

I am hopeful that I will actually see more squirrels or even a raccoon one of these days. I’ve been surprised that the bunnies haven’t been out but maybe I need to get out even earlier to see them. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the few minutes of quiet before I jump into my day.

Light rail construction progress

My husband made an interesting observation that turned this around for me. “You don’t think of exercise as productivity.” He was right. I’m always focused on increasing my productivity but exercise is never included in that category. Now it is! Now I’m finishing one productive task before I’ve even had breakfast.

Almost 1/3 done already!

I consider that a win!

August Goals

I’ve been thinking a lot about the goals I want to achieve in August. I’m almost afraid to write any. My girls go back to school on August 31st so the month of August is almost entirely summer vacation. We are slowly developing some better boundaries so that I’m able to get a few things done even though they are home all day. We do spend a lot of time together but mama still has work to do even if they aren’t in school!

I think my number one priority is exercise. My husband and I have been walking together every single day. The girls won’t come. They are invited but would rather stay home so we are finally getting daily alone time. It’s been a massive blessing this summer and is way more than I even dreamed of. Prior to this, the girls wouldn’t leave us alone in the same room. But if they have to choose between leaving us unsupervised and exercise, they’ll pick leaving us unsupervised. It’s wonderful!

After we get paid, I want to register for my first WA 5k. I should have registered several months ago when I first picked out the race but I was afraid to commit. What if things got explosive again in our home? What if something happened that sapped all of my emotional energy and left me without motivation to run? What if I can’t train to run the entire distance before September arrives? Well, I decided to register anyway. FlyLady keeps reminding me that perfectionism is detrimental in all aspects of life.. I don’t have to run the entire 5k. I don’t have to break my previous 5k record. I just have to show up and try. Just try.

So I think that continuing exercise, both for my health and to embrace the alone time with my husband, is my only real August goal. Other than that, I will keep working toward decluttering my closet, getting organized, and finding additional meals that my entire family will eat. But other than the exercise with its tangible goal of training for the 5k, I’m just going to do whatever I can. I am just going to show up and try.

Forgotten passion

I rediscovered this passion last summer but between then and now, completely forgot.

I. Love. Hiking!

This weekend I’m at my church’s women’s retreat. I’m grateful to be here even though I’m struggling with so many people in close quarters.

The lodge is out of town and close to hiking. There is a very short trail attached to the property and the Mount Si trail head is within walking distance. I invited myself along with a group of ladies who were headed to Mount Si. We only had time to hike to the first mileage sign but it was a beautiful hike. I fully enjoyed myself.

Sunday mornings, I spend three hours out by myself. I might have to take myself hiking instead of sitting in a coffee shop!

Two hours of exercise… for chocolate?

A friend of mine is a health coach and she invited me to join a 28 day health challenge. It starts today and runs for 28 days. The goal is to lose 4% of your body weight by the end of the challenge. 4% seems like a lot to me for only 28 days. That means I have to lose just over 5.5 pounds in four weeks. Doable, yes. A stretch, definitely.

The challenge took me a bit out of my comfort zone because it had a $20 join fee that goes into a pot. If you make the goal and complete a certain percentage of the participation points, the pot is divided between those who were successful. I couldn’t decide if this counted as gambling or if it was just a good motivation to make the goal. I thought it would be ok if I used my allowance money for this month and then will hopefully get my allowance back at the end of the challenge, plus maybe a bit more.

Well, tonight I decided to earn my dessert. I told myself that I had to burn more calories than the dessert. We decided to take the long route to Trader Joe’s. After an hour of walking, we arrived at Trader Joe’s to discover that it had closed 15 minutes earlier. Oops! We spent another 40 minutes walking home. Almost two hours of walking and no dessert!

Oh well. I definitely lost weight today!

Motivation techniques? Any advice?

I need some help!

You see, a few years ago, I was rather fat. I had let my weight creep up and up and up. I topped out at just under 190 pounds. Because I didn’t pack all the weight on at once, I didn’t realize quite how fat I was getting until one day I looked at some recent photographs. I was crushed.

That day, I made up my mind that I was going to lose weight. Weight struggles run in my family. Sure, my family tends to be rather skinny until 21 years of age or so. Once we reached that magic age, almost every single person in both my immediate and extended family gained a ton of weight. Myself included.

Over the next two or so years, I slimmed way down. At first, I just watched what I ate, meticulously counting every calorie. I lost quite a bit of weight that way but plateaued around 145 pounds. Then I started exercising, using the Wii’s Walk it Out video game and running 3x a week. That helped me lose the remainder of my weight and I dropped down to 118 pounds. I was quite proud of myself but it was hard to maintain that weight. I didn’t keep up with the exercise, nor did I continue tracking my calories. My weight slowly crept back up and I settled in at 124 pounds for a few months. I was happy there.

And then… I’ve had two pretty big bouts of drama in the last eight months. I’m an emotional eater. I also struggle when I lack control of my own life. I was out of town on two separate occasions, both of which involved very stressful events, and my weight has suffered. I’m now just ounces shy of 140 pounds and am very unhappy about it.

I’m sort of motivated to get back to 124 pounds. I WANT to get back to 124 pounds. But I cringe at the amount of work it took the last time I lost weight. I’ve been tossing around ideas with my husband, trying to find a way to get the motivation back. The last three weeks, I’ve run 2-3 times each week. It took a couple runs but I’m back at 1 mile per run. It’s a starting point. I used to run 5k routes every weekend. I ran a couple of 5k races and enjoyed it. Running is not a favorite form of exercise but it’s doable IF I force myself out the door. It’s not exactly fun, but it’s effective.

I want to get back to my ideal weight by the time we travel to Taiwan. I want to meet my daughter in a body that I feel comfortable with. I don’t want her to look at me and cringe at the thought of going home with “the fat American lady.” We travel in 6-9 months. Hopefully. It’s hard to guess how long it will be because the process can speed up or slow down. But I think it would be fair to say that I can reach 124 pounds by the end of October. Right?

15 pounds in four months. Now I just have to make myself do it.

Tell me… how do you motivate yourself to eat healthy? To exercise? To lose weight?

Small change making a big difference

Usually I exercise in the late afternoon while my husband is out for his run. Last week I decided to try something new. I started exercising in the morning after breakfast. What a difference it makes! I start the day off feeling productive and it carries me through the day.

Normally I spend way too much time in the mornings reading things online – Facebook, my RSS reader, a couple forums, my email, etc. For the last week, I’ve been allowing myself to browse the internet during breakfast but then I kick myself off the computer to exercise for 45 minutes to an hour. It really is making a huge difference. Because I’ve started the day off well, I continue getting things done. By three in the afternoon, I already feel like I’ve accomplished a lot. I think this is one schedule I will try to make a habit.

My running week

We had a fairly successful running week. I pushed myself out the door three evenings, even though I didn’t feel motivated to run. Last night’s run was the best. The weather was perfect and I was feeling great. I wish I could have run longer but had to come back home!

Sunday – 2.68
Tuesday – 2.02
Thursday – 3.12

Weekly total – 7.82 miles

Woohoo! Hopefully next week will be even better!


Several Sabbaths ago, Jeff and I went hiking with Bruce and Kiera. We were supposed to hike a new trail but got lost and decided to go to a trail we could actually find – Rattlesnake Ledge.

We’re hiking up there?

To the very top!

Hiking is very popular when it’s not raining!

Rattlesnake Lake

Hubby and I at the top

It was a great hike and I can’t wait to try a new trail!

Slowly getting fit

A year and a half ago, I reached my goal weight. Then I took a long trip due to a family emergency and ate whatever I wanted as a coping mechanism. Not the smartest idea! Then hubby and I moved and ate very cheaply (read: not very healthy) for awhile as we saved to buy pots and pans and recovered from our moving expenses. A couple months ago, we finally bought a scale so I was able to see what the damage was. Surprisingly, I was only 10 pounds over my goal weight. Not too bad!

A month ago, we started tracking calories and eating the correct portions. What a difference that makes! I’m now only four pounds over my goal weight but the weight isn’t budging. Time to kick the exercise up a notch.

I started running again. The first run was torture. I bought new shoes that will help transition into a minimalist shoe. My feet weren’t used to that and I could tell (very painfully) that I’m a heel striker. Bad! We’ve been running for three weeks now. Last night I ran a 5k. Woohoo! It feels good to be back into it.

We’re hoping to run a 5k race sometime next month. I honestly didn’t think that I would be ready in time but last night I proved that I’m stronger than I think. I’ll keep training and hopefully run a decent time in the race. It’s been almost two years since our last race and I miss the challenge. Races are so much fun! The crowd atmosphere makes me run faster than I run normally. It’s a blast seeing all of the runners out there, even ones who are just getting back into shape like me.

I’m finally starting to accept my body shape and recognize that I’m never going to be that skinny model. God gave me curves. I’m learning to embrace that! Hopefully the running and hiking will increase my fitness levels, even if I never do fit into those size four jeans.

Concrete Goals for 2013

Kat has been discussing goals recently and how important it is to create specific goals rather than general New Years resolutions. My second 2013 resolution is to become more intentional, to spend my time more productively. I thought it would prove useful to write up specific goals and completion dates for several of the most important areas of my life.

Abstract Goal – To improve my quilting skills.

Concrete Goals

  • Participate in the 350 Blocks Project. I have no intention of completing 350 blocks as that is way more than I have completed in the past three years total! But I am going to use the project as an opportunity to push myself to finish more (ongoing).
  • Complete four quilts this year. I am currently working on two, a personal lap-sized quilt (March 31) and a baby quilt (Feb 28) for my husband’s college friends’ baby. I also want to start and finish a quilt for my new nephew (April 30).

Abstract Goal – To become fluent.

Concrete Goals

  • 30 minutes of study time each and every day (ongoing).
  • Find a language exchange pen pal and write an email once per week (Jan 31).
  • Take the JLPT N3 exam in December 2013. The exam tests reading and listening comprehension and is only offered once a year outside of Japan. We have a testing center here in Seattle. (Registration opens in the fall.)

Abstract Goal – To lose weight.

Concrete Goals

  • Incorporate more fresh food in my diet by including at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal (start by Jan 31).
  • Start eating raw breakfasts at least three times each week (start by Jan 31).
  • Run at least three times per week and train to race a 10k by the end of the year (ongoing).

Abstract Goal – To become a better homemaker.

Concrete Goals

  • Finish organizing my recipe book so that I actually utilize it (March 31).
  • Try at least two new healthy recipes per week (ongoing).
  • Create and follow my daily chores list (Feb 15).

Of course, this does not cover all areas of my life. While I appreciate the challenge of tackling each of these goals, I am a bit overwhelmed by the number of changes it will require. This is why I will have to prioritize and revisit these goals often to make changes based on what is or is not working. I know that January is almost over but there is no better time than now to refocus!