Saying Goodbye to a Difficult Year

I wish I could say that 2011 was a fantastic year.  There were a lot of really good things that happened in 2011, which I will recap here. But honestly I have to say I am looking forward 2012 and hoping that it is a much better year for me, my friends and family that have struggled this year.


This past winter was a hard one for me. I was coming back from a running injury and that posed a lot of challenges for me in my road to staying fit. Not being able to run much depressed me. In order to maintain my fitness level I decided to switch to a new goal: cycling. In January I started biking on the trainer in the house.  I was able to find alternative activities while I couldn’t really run. I still swam, I was lifting weights at the gym on a regular basis, and we went snowshoeing a lot! I was glad that we were able to snowshoe and hike so much during the winter.

Not only did I find ways to stay active in the dark, long winter, I tried to distract myself from the disappointment of my injury as well.  I saw sports medicine doctors, physical therapists, massage therapists, I did exercises and yoga, stretching and Eastern Medicine. In the end, what worked was a $3 piece of rubber the doctor had me put in one shoe. Apparently one leg was shorter than the other and causing my IT Band issues.

I celebrated my 1 year blog anniversary. And I ended winter on a positive note: Michael and I went on vacation to sunny Arizona. I loved our vacation there! So much hiking! I swam outside! And the best part: I was able to run outside with no injuries. I was cured!


Spring arrived and I was happy to be running again. I took it slow and never really pushed myself too much when it came to running. I was just glad I was back at it. I was more focused on weight lifting, honestly. I grew to love it and I saw amazing changes in my body. I checked out Crossfit for the first time, and loved every painful minute of it!

I challenged myself a lot this last Spring. I did a much needed Sugar Detox, I tried the Slow Carb Diet (which didn’t work for me), and the biggest challenge: BIKING TO WORK. In order to train on the bike for the Portland Century I started commuting to work, weather permitting. I was tentative at first, and didn’t bike far. I was averaging about 15 miles round trip (driving half way there and then parking and biking to work).

Spring finished with us building raised beds in our yard and planting our first vegetable garden. It was fruitful and amazing to eat food straight from the ground. It was one of my favorite accomplishments of 2011.


June arrived, but the rain was still falling in Oregon. I was still able to bike to work a fair amount–but not as much as I would have liked. I got my very first pair of clip-in shoes and had to learn how to ride a bike all over again. I practiced biking all summer long, even biking to the gym, in preparation for the Portland Century:  Part 1Part 2The EndRecovery.

I went on a search for the best burger in Portland. My garden was thriving. I swam 2 miles for the first time, I was hiking a lot. It was a good, active summer.

I also celebrated my three year anniversarywith Michael. He surprised me with a surprise road trip, complete with clues! Mystery Road Trip: Part One, Mystery Road Trip: Part Two, Mystery Road Trip: Part Three. It was a wonderful time and the highlight of my summer.

One of the biggest challenges of the summer was going scale-free. It was hard at the beginning but in the end it was the best thing I could have done. It helped me get over my obsession with “that number” on the scale.

Summer ended with sadness, unfortunately. A coworker who had been battling cancer for less than a year passed away. The same day, another coworker’s young daughter was killed by a car. The whole experience made me question what was important in my life.


Fall was fast-paced and busy. It really did pass by in a flash and I felt like I missed it. Michael and I were busy traveling. My running was going great. I’d gotten my mileage up to a quicker pace and I was consistently running about 5 miles at a time. Then I started to have some issues again with my knees. I decided to try Spin class for the first time and fell in love with it! I loved the classes and being able to maintain my cycling fitness all winter was a huge bonus.


I welcomed winter with some happier thoughts. For once the winter months weren’t engulfed in rain. Portland was cold but dry in November and December. My hope is that the rest of the winter is a good one. I’m looking forward to the holidays, snowshoeing and celebrating my 32nd birthday in January.

QUESTION: How was 2011 for you? What were the highlights and not so great moments for you?

K is for Keeping Sane

K is for Keeping Sane

The recent #fitblog chat reminded me that there are some other really important aspects to the whole weight-loss journey-thing. It isn’t always about food, counting calories or exercising. A big part of losing weight and keeping it off is also the emotions behind it.

The emotions involved in our weight loss can be positive, negative, they can inspire us to keep going, they can sabotage our efforts if we allow them to. Who here hasn’t let a really bad day lead to an excuse to overeat/overdrink/fall off the wagon of good health? I’m the first to admit that my moods can sometimes be detrimental to my healthy lifestyle. Over the last three years of maintaining my weight loss I’ve come to use exercise as an outlet for frustrations and negative emotions instead of turning to food like I used to. This is not to say I’m successful 100% of the time, but I do my best.

Q1) Do you think that emotions play into your healthiness journey?

Emotions affect how I EAT more than whether or not I exercise. The one thing I can guarantee in my life: I will find a way to work out and that will always make me feel a little better. Food rarely makes me feel better anymore.

It’s so hard to avoid the food trap sometimes. When life is good, Michael and I like to celebrate special occasion with a trip to a nice Portland restaurant. Maybe celebrate with some nice wine, split a dessert we’d normally not eat…And when life hands me lemons I’ve often turned to comfort food to make me feel better. Happy or sad, food is often the choice. It doesn’t have to be though.

Q2) What do you do to take care of the mental side of your health?

I am doing much better with the mental aspect of weight loss and maintaining. I try really hard not to beat myself up if I “slip.” I remind myself that it’s JUST ONE DAY. It’s NOT the end of the world. It’s NOT going to derail everything I have worked for. This works most of the time (of course I have my moments).

Going scale-free helped a lot. I was less obsessed with the number on the scale when I didn’t see it every day or every week. It was on my mind less. When I go back to the scale it also reminds me how negatively it impacts my life. I don’t need to see that number. I know if my eating has been out of control, or if I’ve gained because of how my clothes fit. My strength and fitness are more important than that stupid number. And it’s better for my mental health if I don’t weigh myself often.

Q3) Do you feel healthier emotionally when you work out?

YES! As a reformed-couch potato that was morbidly obese and used food to soothe every emotion, I’ve grown to love exercise. Exercise was a healthier outlet for me and it worked. It got the emotions out that I was feeling and didn’t want to face.

Stress tends to build up in my body and do nasty things to me like cause colds, illness, twitchy eye-ball, insomnia…the list goes on. The biggest stress-reliever for me is swimming. Swimming never causes me stress or injury or anxiety, the water is relaxing and I can zone out. Perfect.

Also, when I was commuting to work by bike this summer, I noticed that whatever work stress I had that day disappeared on my bike ride home. It helped a lot.

Q4) Besides exercise what do you to to keep mentally “fit”?

This is where I struggle. Sometimes I wonder if I have substituted exercise for food as something to soothe/numb/fix my emotions. I also struggle with the fact that the medications I took for so long kind of stunted my emotional growth. My emotions are often right under the surface, ready and raw.

I don’t think there’s any shame in therapy; in fact I think everyone in the world should be in therapy to learn new tools for emotional/spiritual growth. Learning ways to deal with stress, how to communicate raw emotions more effectively can only make us better people.  Therapy helps me vent the emotions that exercise can’t exorcise and I’ve learned some good coping mechanisms that are not food!

QUESTION: So how would you answer these questions?
A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories * D-Vitamin D * E-Emergency * F-Fast Food and Fine Dining * G-Gym Bag * H-Happy Weight * I-Intervals * J-Jumping *