FAQ – Part One

I love getting mail from readers! I get a lot of emails with the same questions and realized I never wrote a FAQ post addressing a lot of them! So here goes. ๐Ÿ™‚



How tall are you and how much do you weigh now?

I’m 5’5 and I currently weigh 144 pounds. My goal weight was 150, so it makes me pretty happy that I was able to lose a little bit more and maintain it. I like having that “buffer” between my goal weight and what I weigh now.

How much did you weigh at your heaviest?

At my heaviest I was about 255 pounds. I started tracking my weight loss progress a month after I started swimming, so 250 was my first recorded weight.

Do you still run?

Not really. The IT Band injury I had in 2010 was a big setback. I eventually got back to running after months of rehab. I was consistently running about 5 miles at a time with no injury until November of 2011. My knee started to bother me again and I quit running. I want to get back to it. I’ve been slowly running 1 mile at a time when my knee feels up to it. I don’t know that I will ever really get back to running like I did before the injury.

What is your favorite fitness activity?

Probably swimming because it was my first love and it was the activity that helped me lose 100 pounds. When I was obese, I did not start doing any other fitness activities until I’d lost about 40 pounds. Then I added the elliptical and eventually started running.

How many calories do you eat a day now?

It varies. My base is 1,600 calories. If I exercise, I eat more calories. For example, on heavy fitness days when I burn 700 calories, I will eat between 2,000-2,100 calories. I’m not trying to lose weight right now, just maintain, and don’t restrict my calories on days my body needs the fuel. On rest days, I try to eat between 1,600-1,800 calories.

How did you start to lose weight? And where do I start?

I knew it was time to make a change. I started by swimming. I swam a few times a week for whatever I could handle. It wasn’t much and I had to rest a lot in between laps. Eventually I built up my stamina. I swam for about a month before I started counting my calories. Doing those two things separately helped me a lot. I didn’t get overwhelmed with trying to tackle both. Eventually my new lifestyle was fairly easy to maintain. Counting my calories will always be part of my life.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, start by reading this series I wrote:

Week One,ย Week One Check In

Week Twoย ,ย Week Two Check In

Week Three

Week Four

Week Five

My suggestion is to use a system that works for you to record your calories or Weight Watchers points. There are websites, phone apps, or write it down by hand. Check out this guest post:ย The Battle of The Calorie Counters.

What was your favorite race?

This is a hard one. I liked a lot of races I did and they each had unique challenges. While Hood to Coast was a challenge (Why I Wouldnโ€™t Do Hood To Coast Again), I don’t regret doing it and it was such an amazing event that I am glad I can say “I ran Hood to Coast.”

But honestly, I’d have to say that the Portland Century was probably my favorite race to-date. First, I trained better for it. I was more prepared and I recovered quickly, without any injury (bonus!). Second, the weather was absolutely perfect–sunny and warm and just a really fantastic summer day. Lastly, it was an event I did with Michael and that made me happy. I love that we can do activities like that as a couple and cross the finish line together! It just makes it all more special. ๐Ÿ™‚

Any advice for choosing my first race?

My advice is to start small. Don’t expect to run a marathon your first try. I did a 5k for my first race and built up to it. Consider the time of year and the potential nasty weather when choosing a race. And have fun!

Have you ever gained any weight back after losing it?

I have struggled. After losing 110 pounds and keeping it off for almost a year, I started taking a medication inย conjunctionย with also running a lot (i.e. also eating a lot more). I didn’t realize that the medication I was taking was causing the weight to creep up on the scale. I gained about 15 pounds and realized what was going on. I stopped taking the medication and the weight came off.


I want to buy a bike. How do I get the right one?

I have the perfect posts for you. Read these:

How to Buy a Bike โ€“ Part 1

How to Buy a Road Bike โ€“ Part 2

Bike Buying Mistakes

I want to start commuting to work on my bike. Any tips?

I have lots of tips! My suggestion is to practice the route you are going to take on the weekend and time yourself so you aren’t late for work. And check out this post: Tips For Commuting By Bike.

You eat a lot of meats. How come?

I was actually a vegetarian for over a decade. I was unhealthy and when I started running I found that I was craving meat. I tried to trick my body with the faux meats but it didn’t get rid of the craving. I am a full-fledged meat eater now and I feel a million times better. Our meals rotate. We eat a lot of fish (salmon, shrimp, scallops) alternating it with things like chicken, ground turkey, pork chops and on occasion steak.

How long have you been with your boyfriend? Do you ever struggle with staying healthy together?

Michael and I will be celebrating our 4 year anniversary this June. We were friends for about 5 months before we started dating. It’s hard to believe it’s already been 4 years! Michael is a wonderful addition to my life and I am so happy that we are together. He challenges me, he supports me, we have fun together and it’s just nice to come home to a smiling face that makes me happy.

We’ve lived together almost 3 years. Moving in together posed some challenges for me. I realized pretty quickly that my eating habits would change because I was living with someone else who also had a say in the food we bought. There was a transition time and we eventually worked things out. Compromising helps. If he wants pizza, we get the deLite thin crust (lower calorie) pizza. He’s more open to eating veggies. ๐Ÿ™‚ We work together to enjoy our dinners together, eat healthy and have fun too!

This concludes the first FAQ post. Keep the questions coming! Especially from the new readers. ๐Ÿ™‚

QUESTION: Do you have a burning question you need answered?

A Jazzy Kind of Day

Saturday morning I had to get up earlier than normal to hit the gym. Michael and I had some plans around noon so I busted my butt as fast as I could at the gym. I was rather shocked when I rolled into the gym around 8:45 and found a full parking lot and garage. I realized it was so crowded because of the 9am yoga and spin classes. The rest of the gym wasn’t too busy, which was nice.

I did the elliptical, ran 1.20 miles without issue, and then kicked my ass with a full body weights workout. I did a few new moves that I’ll write about soon. It felt awesome!

Time: 1:36
Calories Burned: 889

After my workout we headed downtown for the day to enjoy some of the free events for theย Portland Jazz Festival. We had to grab a quick bite to eat on the way in order to get down there in time. Unfortunately there was nothing to write home about with our lunches, it was quickie mall food court food. Blech! But we literally had 20 minutes to grab something and then get to the event.

We went to the Art Bar next to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. It was a blustery, rainy, then sunny, ugly kind of Saturday afternoon but we made it to the show.

It was a really cool place. There was art all around the room and there was a stage set up for all the musicians.

The first speaker wasย Bill Frisellย from the bandย Naked City. The jazz music of Naked City is way different than anything most people associate with “jazz.” There are elements of metal in it (which why Michael loves the band so ย much!) and there’s definitely some progressive sounds to it. But it’s cool.

Bill Frisell was interesting and talked a lot about his career as a musician. I guess he also did a new album that’s a tribute to John Lennon. I’m anxious to hear his interpretation of John Lennon’s music. You like his socks and shoes? Ha!

He was interviewed on stage and talked for over an hour. It was interesting to hear and it was really cool to be so close up to musicians. He was definitely a quirky character! He also talked about a project he did with Hunter S. Thompson that totally intrigued me.

After Bill Frisell was done speaking, they did a Q&A and then he left. We had about 15 minutes to kill before the next speaker arrived, so I walked around the PCPA taking some pictures of the cool art around.

The above sculpture was totally awesome in person and the photo is just the top part of it. it’s actually part of a really tallย sculptureย in the shape of a chair. It was so cool.

The next speaker was guitarist Charlie Hunter. Charlie was a way different interview and I could have listened to him for hours. He was funny, his stories were intriguing and he was a pretty compelling speaker.

It wasn’t that Bill Frisell was uninteresting, but he’s what I’d ย call a “slow talker” and he kind of meandered through the stories in a slower way than Charlie.

Apparently Charlie Hunter plays guitar in a unique way. He plays a 7-string guitar. Michael tried to explain it to me while we were there but he’s the musician, not me! It is cool to see, though.

I loved the Jazz Speaker events! I wish I had discovered them earlier and taken advantage of ย the opportunity but the Jazz Festival was ending the next day. Since Michael is unemployed and money is tight, we are getting pretty creative at find cheap or free things to do to spend our time. It’s also been a pretty fun way to take advantage of the unique things to do in Portland. I wish weย couldย have afforded to see these guys perform live! Maybe next year.

The Jazz Festival free events took up most of Saturday afternoon and then we headed back home to relax and dry out from the rain.

QUESTION: Are you a jazz fan? What cheap or free “artsy” things to you do in your city?