Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Still Going: Fitness, Food, and New Pants

Several months ago, I shared what I consider the beginning of my fitness journey. I say beginning, because it was the first time I have felt successful with changes in my lifestyle. I've tried in the past, multiple times, without any real results. But after getting serious back in the spring about my health, I've really made some progress.

I'm still on this journey.  After multiple starts and stops, I was starting to feel that I would never been able to change my body, that I would never be able to lose weight or meet certain fitness goals. But now, I'm seeing results and changes and am determined to keep going.

I'm still as in love with my FitBit as I was back then. I've only missed my step goal a few days in the last couple months. The competitive nature, both with myself and with other FitBit users, really motivates me to get out there and move to meet my goals.

I'm still logging my meals into MyFitnessPal. I've missed up couple days here and there, but currently have a 95 day streak going. With all the awareness on what I'm eating, I'm making healthier choices, adding more protein and less junk. It's much easier to pass on the doughnuts and rice crispy treats at work when I see how many calories they add to my day.

I'm still running. But I'm adding in new workouts. I found an online fitness group that has provided so much inspiration and motivation. Because of the great advice I've gotten there, I've added weights to my day (free weight reps and push ups while watching TV in the evening).  I can finally do a push up with my knees off the ground, which I was never able to do before. I've added intervals to my runs, which has increased my pace and endurance. I've started Bikini Body Mommy, which despite it's rather silly name, is a great, short workout. And I've convinced Hubster, Bug, and Monkey to do the workouts with me.

With all these changes, I was able to reach my first fitness goal of a normal BMI. I rewarded myself with a small little trip to Sephora.

I'm still losing weight. I'm down over 30 pounds since I started. I'm much stronger and am starting to see actually muscles on my previous noodley arms.

My pants, which I had previously had to jump and wiggle into, not only started to fit, but then got much too big and even a belt didn't make them wearable (but rather like I was wearing pleated, drawstring jeans.)

I finally gave into to the realization that I would have to buy new clothes (which I know sounds ridiculous, but I seriously hate clothes shopping.) I tried on pants and realized I fit into pants 2 sizes smaller! I haven't worn that size in 8 years!

I still have more work to do. I have a goal of losing another 20 pounds, which will put me at pre-second baby weight. I'm not aiming for pre-all baby weight, because I was actually underweight before I had my children.

But my goals are just those I can see on the scale. I want to do more push ups, a real pull up, run a half marathon, and maybe have some visible abs. I want to run around with my kids and not get tired. I want to set positive examples on healthy eating and body image for my children.

I want to make these changes not a temporary diet, but an ongoing lifestyle.


Posted, not just as an update on how things are going, but as part of the 12X30 challenge, hosted by Kenzie at Chasing My Extraordinary, and Angie at My So-Called Chaos.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Road Trip Recap Part 5: Arriving in Utah

September, and the end of summer, is now upon us, so it looks like time to wrap up this recap. About time, I know.

After our three wonderful, phone-less, internet-less, days in Yellowstone, we started heading south.

Our initial plan trips had included a day at Grand Teton National Park. However, we had used that day to spend extra time in Yellowstone. So our time in the Grand Tetons included a quick stop along side the road to change Duck out of vomit covered clothes while the older boys balanced on a rickety wooden fence over a ditch, neither of which didn't make me very happy.

After gazing at the stunning mountains for a few minutes, we promised ourselves we would return and give this national park its due diligence.

But breakfast at Jackson Hole was calling very loudly, so we headed on to the charming town, complete with it's antler arches and excellent pastries.

That afternoon, we crossed into our final state: Utah.

We took a small unplanned stop at Flaming Gorge to let the boys go swimming, since we had made excellent time.  The hot weather, red rocks, and water made for a great break from all the driving.

Our last night on the road was spent in Vernal, Utah.

The next morning, we back tracked a little to Dinosaur National Monument.

With the promise of fossils and petroglyphs, it was easy to see why our boys were looking forward to this stop. Even though none of us could have guessed that Duck's favorite part was going to be the shuttle ride to the viewing center.

The encased rock wall saturated with fossils was an impressive sight. The amount of preservation and detail awed my boys.

Getting to touch an actual dinosaur fossil was the cherry on top.

We then drove through the desert, stopping to view ancient petroglyphs (all while keeping a tight hold on the toddler who apparently had destruction of ancient history on his mind.)

With our last planned stop completed, it was time to head to Salt Lake City and our new home.

We hit the valley right at rush hour. As we sat there, stuck in traffic, with smoggy air partially obscuring the mountains from view, I had a small moment of tears, wondering if we had made the right decision. Everything seemed loud and busy and dirty and overwhelming.

Hubster, seeing my momentary distress, held my hand until we pulled up to our new address, a place we had only seen twice before.

We managed a quick family picture before the chaos of unloading and moving in began. One quick snap shot commemorating the end of the trip and the start of everything else.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Road Trip Recap Part 4: Wyoming (but mostly Yellowstone)

My recap of our summer road trip is taking longer than the actual trip!

After several days in South Dakota, it was time to head to our next state: Wyoming. Hubster was significantly less enthused about this portion of the trip, since he had been to different parts of Wyoming and been less than impressed. I was determined to show him how amazing this state could be.

Our first stop was Devil's Tower.

We arrived in the early morning, just after the sun came up and before there was anyone else there. With the cool temperatures, near complete quiet, walking through the Native American prayer flags up the the tower itself made for an almost spiritual moment.

And then our boys went screaming and yelling along the trail.

We didn't complete the entire trail about the base of the tower, but got a nice, small walk in. We finished up just as the crowds started showing up, so our timing couldn't have been better.

Our drive took us through Sheridan, over the Big Horn Mountains, and through Lovell. Throughout the drive through the mountains, I kept telling Hubster how beautiful everything was and didn't he just love the part of Wyoming.

And then we got to the other side of the mountains, and it was dry and flat and quite unimpressive. Hubster instantly got back on his "I hate Wyoming" kick. He kept saying the Yellowstone better be pretty impressive to make up for this part.

Well, we got into Yellowstone that evening, and even Hubster agreed that Yellowstone more than made up for any part of Wyoming he didn't like.

No matter how much we love each stop on our trips, each trip seems to have a main destination.  This trip, that destination was definitely Yellowstone.  Driving into the park and overlooking Yellowstone Lake, there was such a sense of adventure and wildness and we couldn't wait to get going.

Our first evening, we stopped at the mud volcanoes. I had tried to describe to the boys the smell of sulfur that came with the geothermal features of Yellowstone. Apparently, I hadn't done enough mental prep with them, because Monkey was in tears on how badly the mud volcanoes smelt. He wouldn't even finish the walk around them.

After that initial fiasco, we decided to do something more his speed: animal watching in Hayden Valley. Somehow we timed our drive through the valley perfectly and all the stars aligned, because we saw bison, elk, a grizzly (from quite far away), and a wolf!

We continued to make our way through the back up to our cabin by Mammoth Hot Springs. It was the cutest double cabin! I wish that we had been able to spend our whole time in Yellowstone at that cabin, but because it was one of the busiest times of the year, we had to split our time between two different cabins.

Our first full day in Yellowstone was focused on geothermal sites.  Paint pots, hot springs, geysers, and everything else hot, boiling, and sulfur-y.

Monkey (mostly) got over his aversion to the smell, and actually started to enjoy the amazing colors and other-worldly landscape.

Our last stop of the day was the iconic Old Faithful! We passed the time waiting for the next eruption by eating ice cream and chasing Duck through the crowds.

Then, just as predicted, Old Faithful put on a magnificent show.

Our second day in the first National Park started with a quick tour of Mammoth Hot Springs.

After that, it was a day of canyons and water falls.

We even braved the hike down into Yellowstone Grand Canyon to the top of the Lower Falls. The scene was completely majestic and worth every step.

Along the way, we continued to wrack up the animal sitings, adding moose, a family of river otters, and several black bears (including one with two cubs!) to our list.

That night, we made our way to our next cabin next to Yellowstone Lake.

We had initially planned to spend the next day at the Grand Tetons, but we were so caught up in the fun and awe of Yellowstone, we decided to spend a third, slower paced day in the park.

The boys spent hours throwing rocks into the Lake.

We drove again through Hayden Valley, marveling at all the wildlife and huge herds of bison, (adding a mule deer buck and a coyote to our sitings.)

A large storm came through in the afternoon, bringing hail and lightening, so our last evening was spent snuggling in our little yellow cabin, playing card games and reading stories.

It is worth mentioning that during our entire time at Yellowstone, we had no cell phone service. We were completely off the grid for 3 entire days. At first, it was anxiety producing and such an odd feeling. But I was actually grateful for the break from technology to just enjoy the beauty and wildness of Yellowstone National Park.