Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Another wetass hike

Wet camera lens = blurry photo!

Seriously, flashbacks to our last High Cliff hike. We started out hiking in a beautiful 45 degrees, overcast sky and no rain. 15 minutes into the hike we were putting on our raingear. That raingear stayed on for the remainder of our 20-mile hike. It did stop raining at one point -- when we were done hiking. Rachel and I are convinced we are being tested. When the hike is done, we might be wet and cold, but we're alive, we're well, and we could get up in the morning and do it all over again with a smile on our faces and a billion things to laugh about along the way. Test passed. But I tell you what... hiking in the rain is still hard, no matter how you look at it. But that doesn't mean it's bad. Not bad at all.

So it was another wet hike. Like I said, it's hard. It's harder to stop to do anything. Eat, sit, pee... especially that last one. All your clothes stick to you. It's hard to pull up 3 layers of wet clothing, and you end up wetter in the process because your raingear isn't in full-coverage mode when you're doing your business. Ahh such a rough life... :)

Parnell shelter snack bar.
We managed to stop and take a few breaks. Our first was at the Parnell shelter 3 miles in. It was the only covered shelter on our route so we had to take advantage. From there on it was short, standing breaks: take pack off, grab snack, eat snack before it gets wet and soggy, pack back on, continue hiking.

After 10 miles we turned around and ran into Randall. He braved the rain and met us on trail and hiked the rest of the way out with us. That was a nice distraction for us. Rachel and I don't really run out of things to say, but it's nice to have such good company and some fresh conversation. You can only talk about pickles for so long...

Yay! It's Randall!
When we got to the Parnell shelter we stopped in for another covered break. We met the only other hardcore backpacker on the trail, who introduced himself as Tony from Milwaukee. He was staying the night in the shelter and let us stick around so we could make some hot coffee and mashed potatoes. Much-needed energy for the last 3-mile stretch.

The last 3 miles were really cool, too. We experienced snow fog. There was still patches of snow on the ground and it was raining, so the forest floor was letting off this steaming, rolling fog. It was really pretty.

Snog (snow fog). It got super-thick once darkness settled in.
It got dark and we found ourselves trying to navigate some very hard-to-see trail in the fog. Our headlamps were only able to illuminate a glowing ball of light in front of us. I cold feel my senses were in hyper mode just to navigate the trail. It was fun and helped the last couple of hard miles go by a little faster.

 "This is what it would look like if you were stuck inside a marshmallow." -Randall referring to the fog.

Once back at the car, we jumped in, picked up Randall's truck and head back to his house where we decided against camping outside where it was still wet and cold. Camping on the warm and dry living room floor with our sleeping bags just seemed so much more appealing, so that's what we did. We ate pizza, had some drinks and worked on some wind screens for our stoves with Randall's expert help. :)

Brand-spankin' new Rooster/High Life Jetboil wind screen! Booyah!
All in all it was a great weekend. Hikes like that might be kinda hard but they are always so worth it.

Quote of the weekend:
"Wring us out. We're done."

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Weight struggles

I wrote an entry draft about a month ago and never posted it. I don't know why... because I wrote it to hold me accountable so I would stick to a health "plan" that I was working up. I've done pretty well sticking to this plan since I wrote it but I certainly did slack off a little more than I should have. Especially during Thanksgiving. So after re-reading it, I thought that if I had posted it, maybe I would've gotten a message or two of encouragement, and that might have been all I needed to stick to the plan better. Knowing someone read it... and then I'd have to prove to them - and myself - that I could do it.

Better late than never, right? New plan, round 2.

But first a quick update - I haven't lost a pound since I wrote the entry I'll post below. In fact I've gained a couple. I haven't fallen completely off track, so I don't know what to blame. Wait, yes I do. I need to be real and kick my butt out of denial. I've been eating a lot. [head cocked to the side, looking upwards] There was that pint of Ben & Jerry's Red Velvet Cake I ate in one sitting... the giant, 3-foot long bag of movie-theater-style popcorn I ate almost all by myself (in 2 nights, and there's still some left! Really!)... the Friday night Taco Bell binge (I didn't need to get the burrito supreme meal AND the quesadilla - oy!)... there's also the couple bottles of wine I indulged in over a couple of nights... and I'm sure if I sit here in this thoughtful position staring at the ceiling I'll come up with more. *Sigh* The list does goes on.

Reality check. Robin, stop eating like you have the metabolism of a Spartan. You do not.

So here's the post from last month. From here I will try to get back into those 5 pairs of jeans sitting at the bottom of my pants pile by March... so I don't have to go shopping!

Original entry, written November 11, 2012

Last week I was throwing out some old things that have been sitting around my desk at work for... years. I came across my old Weight Watchers weigh-in booklets from when I first joined. It was incredible for me to think that I lost all that weight, and I remembered how exciting it was to hit that first 10%, then the second. I am very proud of how far I’ve come in my battle with weight over the years, and surprised at how much I’ve grown up in that department. I now exercise regularly and eat healthier. I do tend to “fall off the wagon” from time to time and go on a binge-eating adventure, but I can usually recover in a week... sometimes in two, depending on how bad the binge-session was. So I still definitely struggle today, and I will forever be obsessed with food and its tempting taste. I’ve come to terms with that.

However, in the past year or so, I’ve convinced myself that this larger pant size I’m fitting into lately is just my age, and that it’s okay, and that I look alright anyway, and that I guess I feel alright with it, and this is just the weight I’m “supposed” to be. Well, I think I’ve been lying to myself to justify a slow, progressive weight-gain that wasn’t necessary for my age or any other reason.

After looking through my Weight Watchers weigh-in booklets, I realized that just 3 years ago I weighed twenty pounds lighter. I know I felt great then – my endurance was amazing, I could train for hours at the gym and on trails, I was light and jumpy and energetic. I now find myself feeling frustrated in my aerobic classes because I can’t kick it quite as intensely as I used to. Again, I blame my age. And maybe that does have a little something to do with it, but I’m not 80 with brittle bones. I am a healthy, 33-year-old woman, and I have no reason in the world to not feel like I did just three years ago. This was a kick in the butt for me. I can do better. That’s what this is all about.

I really don’t obsess too much over the numbers when it comes to weight, but it’s a much easier milestone to shoot for. “I’ll get to this weight and then evaluate how I feel compared to how I am at this other weight.” It really is mostly about how I feel, and most of the time I do feel great at my current weight. But I also know how good I felt at 20 pounds lighter – not to mention the 5 or so pairs of pants I’d love to fit into again – sadly that is mostly so I don’t have to go shopping, which I now dislike so much I can almost confidently use the “hate” word... but I won’t. Because I very-much-dislike that word. So, anyway, I’ve decided I’m going to try to get back to that 2009 weight and see if there is a difference in how I feel between the two. If there isn’t, I’ll feel much better about using my 30’s as an excuse and let my body just settle where it needs to settle. But for now, as I wrote in a Facebook status, “It’s GO time!” and my goal is set.

This week I’ve written my meals and food out on a sheet of notebook paper each night so that in the morning I could be sure to pack the right foods I needed at work to follow the menu. I’m trying to switch up my breakfast and lunches so that I’m not eating the same exact thing every day, which is what I tend to do on a normal basis. I figured I had to do something different to see a difference – I actually already eat quite well during the work day because of the structure of working in an office – one advantage to this environment! It’s at night when I usually can’t stop eating, and so far, the written menus have helped. I write out what I plan to have for dinner, along with a dessert “if I feel like I need one.” The dessert has consisted of plain greek yogurt with blueberries and raspberries – and I can add some almond milk and cocoa powder into a smoothie if I want. It’s a treat, and is almost milkshake-like, which is my favorite [unhealthy] food.

To shock my body, I decided to do something different with my exercise that I’ve wanted to do for a while, too. Mornings. Ouchy. I love mornings SO very much, but I just hate getting out of my comfy, warm bed. And almost always, the comfy, warm bed wins. But this week so far, I’ve gotten out of bed three days in a row and dragged my butt to the YMCA for a walk/run on the treadmill, stretching and whatever else I feel like. It’s not intended to be my main workout for the day, or a super-hard calorie burn... the intention is to get used to getting up earlier, and get my metabolism roaring right away. So far, so good, and I'm just hoping it might have some sort of affect.

Side-effects? So far, I’ve got sore muscles and a rumbly tummy. The foods I’ve been making for my lunches apparently have a lot of fiber in them. For example, I made a super-yummy Mexican dish with quinoa, black beans and corn. I also eat a couple servings of carrots with it, then a couple servings of Brussels sprouts for dinner. Then add in the oatmeal, pita pocket, raspberries, blueberries and apple... and my fiber count is rising. I plugged in all my foods into a calorie counting website and discovered my fiber intake yesterday was 50 grams! Wowzers! I know fiber is good for me, but I might be pushing it. So once I’m through this quinoa dish, which packs in about 13-14 grams/serving, I’m going to try to dial it down a bit. I don’t need 10 trips to the bathroom in one day – unless it’s because I’m drinking so much water. Water intake is another thing I’ve been working on, but not doing so great at. One thing at a time, though!

So there you have it. That is where I am right now with my fitness and health. Not like you need an update or anything, but I wanted to write this down to hold myself somewhat accountable. It’s so easy to say to myself, “I’ve been doing so well... I can have a burger and a milkshake this weekend.” Which I actually can – I believe in the “everything is okay in moderation” theory. It’s the snowball affect I struggle with. Once I eat that burger and milkshake my portions on everything else go out the window. It’s a vicious cycle. Not that I need to be perfect, but I just need to be aware and honest with myself so that I can be strong and make better decisions. Writing this out will help me with that.

Thanks for listening. You really didn’t have to. :)