May 282015
 

I mentioned earlier that I was going on vacation; I went to Tucson for a friend’s wedding.

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Unfortunately Michael wasn’t able to go with me but my cousin Anna was up for a girl’s trip so that was good! We flew out of Portland early Friday morning for the holiday weekend and went up to Seattle (a quick 45 min flight), waited less than an hour for our flight from Seattle and then we were in sunny Tucson! The bummer? It was REALLY windy that day and the turbulence was truly awful. Nothing like feeling like you are dropping out the sky for 30 minutes to think “oh my god we’re going to die”…

We checked into our hotel, the Marriott right by the University–which I really recommend. It was a great location, right on the street car line (only cost $4 for a 24 hour ticket and the street car runs every 15 minutes), the hotel was pretty cool and our room was huge and had a balcony with a view. The interior of the hotel was also pretty cool looking:

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Our food schedule was a little screwy because of traveling. It was Friday afternoon, too early for dinner, too late for lunch. We stopped into Gentle Ben’s Brewing because it was right by the hotel and had outdoor seating. It was decent pub food. We split a salad and the giant pretzel and we each got a glass of wine while we tried to shake off the turbulent travel jitters and just relax a little.

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We had some time to kill before our evening plans so after that we walked around the University shops and did a little sightseeing.

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Anna wanted to take a nap (she wasn’t feeling well) and so I went down to the hotel pool to do some swimming. The wind had scared everyone off so I had the pool to myself. It was a small pool but large enough to swim some laps. I did about a mile, maybe a little less, in 40 minutes. Then went back up to the room to shower and change for the evening.

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My friend Christine was getting married to her fiance Jeremy and they were hosting a post-rehearsal dinner drink event at Reilly Craft. Anna and I ended up taking a cab there because we didn’t know the area well enough yet to risk exploring at night in heels.

Reilly was SO COOL. What an awesome place! If you’re ever in Tucson you have to check this place out. We wanted to go back later that weekend and really explore it but never got the chance. Dang it!

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Okay so Reilly is in a building that was apparently an old mortuary. The place is huge. You walk in to a super modern restaurant with high ceilings and exposed beams and brick and a chic white marble bar. Then you walk outside to the alley way and there is a super cool space with picnic benches, fake grass on the walls and ground, exposed brick and romantic lights.

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Then you walk to the beer garden, that is inside but completely open without walls. It had such an awesome vibe and I’m bummed we didn’t get a chance to explore the basement cocktail lounge!

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Anna and I ordered something small for dinner. I got the Ninkasi Tricerahops beer (beer from home) and probably one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Delicious greens with chicken, cranberries, some kind of toffee brittle, chopped green apple and goat cheese. It was divine and it hit the spot. Anna got the meatballs (I had one). They were really good. This place was excellent and I highly recommend it!

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We chatted with the bride and groom a bit and then decided to head back to the hotel.

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This time we were able to figure out the street car (it was like 2 blocks away) and took that back. We ended up using it for most of our trip and it worked well.

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Saturday we took it pretty easy. We had the wedding to go to in the evening. We slept in and then I went to the hotel gym for a workout. For some reason I just could not get my heart rate up (no idea why) but I was glad I got some exercise in!

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We decided to check out a local place for breakfast and took the street car to downtown (about 10-15 min away) to go to Nook. The restaurant was super cute–very modern and chic. We ended up sitting outside because HELL YEAH. We’re not in Oregon anymore! I LOVED that most everywhere in Tucson had outdoor seating.

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The outside patio was enchanting. It had Christmas lights, bistro tables with umbrellas (if you wanted them), big comfy outdoor couches, and there were a few hummingbirds flitting around the garden area.

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I got the BLTE: bacon over medium egg, arugula, tomato jam in housemade crumpet. It came with cottage cheese and Anna and I split a side order of fruit. It was one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had. It was messy and gooey and the egg dripped on everything but it was to die for and I could have licked the plate it was so good! Their tropical iced tea was fantastic.

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Anna got The Godfather Benedict: crumpet, prosciutto, arugula, poached egg, hollandaise, balsamic drizzle. I had a bite and holy cow was it amazing! She won at breakfast.

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We spent the rest of the day walking around 4th Street. It was a trendy area with bars, shops and restaurants. I’ll write more about that later. We did stop in for a “lunch” beverage. :) Vodka and pineapple juice at the Surly Wench.

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Finally, back to the hotel where we spent the next three hours poolside lounging, reading, napping, relaxing in the sunshine!

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Stay tuned for more!

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Apr 282015
 

It’s been awhile since I did an “Ask Me Anything” Post. I get a lot of emails, usually with similar questions. I’ve answered some of the usual ones before. Here are some of the old posts:

Ask Me Anything

Busting that Plateau

Email Q and A

Challenge Your Mind

How to Count Calories

Now on to more reader questions!

I’m 17 and I weigh 205 pounds. I’m a female. When you were on your journey to losing weight, did you have a good support system? You give me hope.

To answer your question, I did have a lot of support from family and most of my friends. There were definitely people in my life that were NOT supportive and even tried to sabotage my efforts to lose weight. Those people didn’t stay in my life very long. I don’t think it’s worth it to keep people in your life that aren’t going to bring something GOOD to your world. The emotional vampires, the self-centered people that are just your friend when they need something from, the person that breaks you down instead of building you up…who needs that in your life? Life is short and that time should be spent with positive people that enrich your existence.

I think what helped me when it was time to lose weight was that I’d been overweight for so long that my family and close friends were concerned for my health and they were happy to see that I was making a legitimate effort to lose the weight. Once the weight started to come off, I got even more support. It definitely helped keep me motivated when things got hard. Having positive re-enforcement from people around me helped me make better choices.

Don’t give up. Trust me when I tell you it is so much easier to lose the weight when you’re younger than when you are older!

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I’m a new listener to Half Size Me (loving it!) and I recently listened to Lisa’s episode, which was so motivating and interesting.  In it, Lisa mentioned that she has read a lot of weight loss memoirs and that got me wondering—can you share what some of the best weight loss memoirs are that you’ve read?

Here are a few of my favorites:
The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl” by Shauna Reid

Passing for Thin” by Frances Kuffel
Half-Assed” by Jennette Fulda
The Fat Girl’s Guide to Life” by Wendy Shanker

When you swim, how often do you breathe and do you only breathe on one side?

When I swim at the gym I get a lot of comments and questions from people when I’m done. Sometimes it’s when I’m relaxing in the hot tub, but usually it’s in the steam room when I finish up my workout. The most common question I get is how far I swim and how do I keep track of laps? I usually swim a 1.25 miles, sometimes 1.5 miles. I’ve gotten pretty good at counting the laps as I swim. I can do it without even thinking about it. Sometimes if I do space out and forget my laps, it’s no big deal because I generally swim 45-50 minutes at a time and so I can guesstimate how far I’ve swum because of the time.

When I swim I usually breathe 2-4 times in one length of the pool. That might not seem like much, but keep in mind that I’ve had to work for that. When I first started swimming I had to breathe a LOT more often in order to make it to the other side of the pool. As I got more fit, lost weight and became an efficient swimmer I didn’t need to breathe as often and I can often hold my breathe for the entire length of the pool.

If you are just starting out with a swimming workout don’t put too much pressure on yourself about the breathing. Breathe as often as you need to and honestly, you should probably take a breathe BEFORE you think you need it. Until you get good at it. The better you get at swimming, the less you will have to breathe while you do it. Also, if you hold your breathe for too long, that will actually wear you out quicker and your muscles will fatigue and make it seem a lot harder to swim than it really is. So build up to it slowly. Listen to your body and you’ll get there.

As for the breathing. When I learned to swim as a kid they did not teach bilateral breathing. After I learned how to swim the new “thing” was to teach breathing on both sides but it was too late for me. It felt unnatural and no matter how much I try to do it (even now I still sometimes try to retrain myself to breathe on both sides) I can’t do it. My neck and back muscles just don’t work that way when I’m in the pool and I end up floundering and sputtering and will probably drown. :)

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When or how do you go from wtf am I doing to gee, I enjoy the gym?

Good question! When I first decided to lose weight I started swimming a few times a week. For one month (I hadn’t started counting my calories yet, and I hadn’t weighed myself either) I went swimming about 3 days a week. It was really, really hard. I was fat, out of shape, slow, and could barely swim to the other end of the pool. Once I got to the other end of the pool I had to rest for a bit before swimming back. I’d say this was the case for a few months. Once I was swimming consistently 3-4 days a week (probably around 30 minutes each time), the less I had to rest before swimming back the length. It just took some time. The better I got, the easier it was to breathe while swimming and the less I had to rest. Once I got to the point where I could swim the length of the pool and not have to rest before swimming back I LOVED it. I felt proud and excited that I was seeing obvious progress. I think seeing progress and being able to tell I was GETTING BETTER made it fun and easier to stick to it.

I made goals for myself. Things like, “I want to swim 5 laps without having to rest.” Then it was, “I want to swim half a mile without having to stop.” Each landmark I reached made it easier to push myself further. That first time I swam 1 mile without having to stop to rest I felt like I’d won the lottery. I was SO HAPPY!

So to answer your question, in my experience I enjoyed the gym once the activity I was doing got easier. Short answer: I’d say about 2 months.

I kept at it, I practiced everything and set goals for myself. Reaching the goals made me proud and I enjoyed going to the gym. Not only that, the endorphins from exercising improved my moods and I started to get addicted to that “high” from exercising. To this day, I know that the exercise high is a big part of what keeps me going to the gym. I notice the significant difference between my moods on exercise days versus rest days. This is a natural stress-reliever and anti-depressant for me, so I stick with it!

Finally, I think it’s VERY important to pick an activity that you like and will stick with. If you hate running, don’t start running. If you have knee issues, maybe cycling is a better option. Hate the gym? Try taking your workout outside and go hiking or play tennis. Basically find something that give you joy and you’ll stick with it!

Do you have any questions I can answer? Ask away!

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