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biking

Since I recently admitted my physical out of shape condition in the post What Doesn’t Kill You, I thought I would share about the last time I was on a bike, fifteen years ago. Perhaps it will provide understanding as to what might have kept me off the (dreaded, uncomfortable) bike seat.

My kids were three (B), five (C) and ten (B2). It was a sunny Friday morning, and we were riding our bikes to school, as we were a one vehicle family.

Actually, it was my oldest daughter and I who were biking, the younger two were in a bike trailer, facing each other. On this particular ride, I was in the front, with C & B trailing behind and B2 picked up the end.

The pair in the trailer (C & B) seriously loved each other, they also fought like banshees.  Which is exactly what they were doing that morning.

We were barely half way to our destination of school, when the memorable situation occurred.

“Moooommmm, B hit me,” said C (with a whiny voice).

To which I replied (with motherly wisdom), “B, no hitting, please.”

It continued …

“Moooommmm, B hit me again.” This time with more whining, more pleading.

To which I replied (with restraint), “B, hitting is not acceptable.”

“Moooommmm, B hit me again.” Now with cries of pain.

This time, with no restraint whatsoever, (but much motherly frustration), “hit him back!”

To which B2 cried out, “Mom did you just tell her to him?”

Now, you need to know that, though C was quite able to get her brother (B) in trouble, she did not, does not, have a physically violent bone in her body. So if she were to hit him back it would be the equivalent of whipping someone with a wet noodle.

We continued on.

“Moooommmm, B hit me again.” 

This time I could barely hear her words, for the belly sobs coming from within C.

In total and complete frustration (and the secret wish within me that I was dropping off the two of them to school, along with their sister), I yelled back, “Hit him back, and make sure it hurts!

We did eventually get to school, and drop off their sister (who, no doubt, was shaking her head as she went into the school, having lost any respect for me as a mother that morning).

I am certain that I found a private spot, got off my bike and threatened B to never, EVER, hit his sister again.

And that was the last time I rode a bike …

until last weekend …

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bike-lane

I am not sure that I am stronger, but I was certainly feeling like the experience might kill me in the midst of it.

A friend had been posting pics and details of her bike trip in an fairytale, far-away land. She and her sweetie were peddling 30-100kms each day, so I thought,

“I think I should go for a bike ride.”

About fifteen years ago is when I last remember peddling a bike (other than a stationary one).

So, I bribed my son to go for a bike ride with me … to get ice cream (really just to be there if I needed help … not that I would).

For the first time in 15 years, with not as much as a yawn for a stretch, in thirty degree temperature, I boarded my bike (you really don’t forget how to bike), looking classy in my sunglasses inherited by my daughter.

It was great! The feel of the breeze in your face, the power in your leg muscles, the feeling of freedom …

ok … that lasted, maybe, five minutes!

Then … reality … the salty sweat pouring into my eyeballs, the huffing and puffing, the feeling that my lungs were parched from inhaling so much dry air, the numb feeling in my hands with the igniting of carpel tunnel syndrome, the BURN in my legs and the work I had to do just to (sort of) keep up to my son.

When we, finally, made it to the ice cream shop, I realized that it was not really bribery for my son, it was ALL for me!

I am pretty sure that I was visually entertaining for anyone in the shop, as sweat poured down my forehead (when pressed, water poured like a fountain from the pads in the helmet). Even those classy sunglasses couldn’t improve my appearance!

With every lick of the ice creamy relief, the voice in my head kept saying

“we are only half way … this is impossible”

Sure enough it was time to get back on that horse bike. Oh my goodness, that hurt. What are bike seat makers thinking? Are they cruel? sadistic? Seriously, bikes have been around long enough that that kind of pain should not be necessary!

Away we went, teenage son peddling leisurely peddling in front, with puffing and panting, sweat pouring off of her, (leaving a wet trail like crumbs in a forest) manic mom following behind … way behind.

I think my son was a little worried about me, because he kept looking back (probably expecting to see me laying down, tapping  S O S  on the road). He kept asking, “you ok?” (which was kinda getting on my last nerve).

So I responded in the only way I knew that would keep him from asking me questions (when I didn’t have enough oxygen to breath, let alone answer redundant questions) … I sang:

What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Then we had hills ahead … up hills. I had been feeling the burn since … five minutes in. Now though was the biggest hill … a long forty-five degree hill. With each pedal I was certain that death was near.

My son stopped and offered to walk up with me. And that is when the monster inside, leapt from within. I stopped my bike, looked (through the fountain of sweat pouring over my eyes) at him, and said, in no uncertain terms, that I would NOT be walking my bike, because “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” AND I AM NOT DEAD (yet). I told him I would meet him at the top.

then I regretted every word, and wished I had had the strength to say what I really wanted to …

“please carry me”

Now, don’t you (reader) get so high and mighty … I pushed his massively big head out of my body and, as all mothers know, that means he owes me!

What seemed like tortuous hours later, I made it to the top.

He smiled … I did not … all energies were needed to get the rest of the way home!

I suggested he go ahead home, so that he wouldn’t have to wait for me … but to keep his phone nearby … in case the ambulance driver, who was surely in my near future, needed to reach him, to tell him what hospital or morgue in which to find me.

He peddled away, hesitantly.

The rest of the journey is a blur … because I couldn’t see through the waterfall of sweat in my eyes.

I reached home, crawled up the stairs (no, not literally, but my soul was crawling) to the front door, being held opened by my smiling son. I stumbled to the couch, where I dropped … without an ounce of grace.

I think that I resembled a dog who just had a bath, and feared that, if I shook, I would splatter sweat all over the house.

So, that is done.

And what did I learn?

Bike lanes are a brilliant addition to roads (I felt safe on them … except for the pending heart attack from the exercise). Bike seats are evil (and their makers are evil-er).

I am now in the market for biking shorts … with the most padding available!

I’ll get back on that horse bike, really soon (but not when it is thirty degrees out), cause what doesn’t kill you …

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This past week started with great enthusiasm to get back to walking, and to eat more healthy. Then I got sick … the walking didn’t happen much. One day when sick I did well to walk from the kitchen for more water then back to the living room to lie on the couch.

So, week seven and I have re-lost the three pounds that I had gained, and am now holding firm … well, actually there is little on me that is firm, but I am heading in that direction!

I was told once that we have two choices as we age, we can either be wrinkle free or thin, but not both. I am opting for the wrinkles (although if I actually achieve my  l o n g  term goals a little plastic surgery nip and tuck … heck, more like yank and fold … might be necessary).

As we have been experiencing a heat wave here in the Pacific Northwest, food is of little interest to me. I have preferred water, Jumbo Freezies (only 100 calories for a Jumbo one, and no fat), and raw vegetables and fruit. So, once it all digests I expect to be pretty much a stick person!

I am not sure about those of you who are in this lifestyle change with me, but I have reached a bit of a plateau. Not physically, but mentally. I feel a bit like my mental get up and go attitude has gotten up and gone.

What do you do when you reach this point? How do you get the desire to keep going back? I would love your input!

 

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Six weeks down and … what was lost has been found … in the form of 3 pounds … 😦

The effects of vacation, and more so, returning from vacation, have amounted to a gain … sigh.

It is not depressing me, as I was anticipating it. Just last night, after polishing off a bowl of Reeces Peanut Butter Cup ice cream (I didn’t buy it, it was just there in the freezer calling my name … I am SO weak), I remembered that the next day was weigh day … too late. I have not continued walking since getting home (much to the chagrin of my beast), and I have not eaten with awareness of what I am putting in my mouth. So, I now live with the consequences of my actions … and my ACTIONS must be better next week!

So, since my recovery from vacation (and bacon) is still in process, I thought I would spend the blog post today on a subject that is close to my heart, and still pertinent to the goal of moving from our old selves to our new self.

The subject is that of the self perception of women in regards to their appearance. Check out this video:

I do believe that this video, were it shot in another city (perhaps where you or I live) and with different women (perhaps with you or I … and our friends) the results would be the same. We struggle to see anything good about our bodies.

What I wish had been done is to include a portion of video of young girls (before the onset of puberty), and asking them the same question. I have a good feeling that their responses would have been quick and that they would have been able to identify numerous things that they love about their body.

What is it that changes in the self perception of females as we grow from child to adult?

See what these girls have to say:

So, how old do you think that first girl is?

How sad, how very sad. Especially since the place (school) that most teens spend most of their waking hours is the place where the negative messages are communicated to them on a regular basis. The pack (like a wolf pack) mentality reigns, and the weak can become trampled. For those of us who work within schools it is vital that we speak constant words of affirmation to the girls in our classes, and who we pass in the halls. Our affirmations might be the only positive message that a girl might hear all day, and we need to be the agents of change for the next generation. For those of us who know girls in any context (our daughters, their friends, at church, in community groups, at the grocery store, the daughters of our friends, etc.).

The self-perception of our next generation of girls could be one of the most effective ways to deal with weight-related health issues in the next generation. If a girl can feel comfortable with her body, she might be more likely to join in that sport, in that dance, in that swim.

How many of us refuse to bring our swim suit to someone’s home when they invite us for a swim?

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Week number four was one of cravings, and week number five was one of temptations!

I have to say I was so very excited by my progress … and a little scared, because vacation was coming, and this vacation location provides breakfasts (with bacon) and dinners created by a creative and talented chef …

I   a m   s o   w e a k    . . .

After four weeks of trying to change my habits, it has now become work … hard work! That said, I have still not become faithful with exercise. Oh, I have hopped in the pool, and spent hours walking the aisles of thrift shops, but not so much the daily walks and abdominal exercises.

And that was my goal this past week.

We come to Cannon Beach every summer to attend Cannon Beach Christian Conference Center family camp.

From our room to the famous Haystack Rock (above picture), is about one mile. My goal for the week was to walk there and back at least once every morning (meaning that I could have my bacon, and eat it too).

After two days of two, two-hour walks, I thought I might never walk again. But, alas, the reward of getting my bacon made the gain worth the pain (I only wish they served bacon EVERY day!). I did the walk at least once every day (and twice on about half of the days that we were there) that we were there, and felt great satisfaction for it!

I was also very faithful to myfitnesspal app. Even though there were a few days that I went over my caloric goals (despite my walking), I was still feeling like it was a complete success heath wise. And really the holistic perspective is what it is all about.

I do not have a weight loss update, as I was away from my scales (but feeling no sense of separation anxiety for it) on Friday, so I’ll have until this coming Friday to erase the sins of bacon-filled days past.

Let me know how the summer is making living healthy easier or more difficult.

Week 6

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Week number four has been one of … cravings! It all started with hubby bringing home … ice cream (it’s a good thing it wasn’t cookies, or I might have given in).

I tried a recipe for cookies that had no added sugar, butter or eggs.

The ingredient list included:
oats (I love oats),
cocoa (who could say no to cocoa?),
bananas (yum!),
peanut butter (so much for no butter … and peanut butter is divine),
and vanilla.

I was so eager for these little 47 calorie treats!

Unfortunately they were not so tasty. I don’t even think that the Cookie Monster would have enjoyed them! Plus, three days after I made them they started to grow that familiar hairy material known as mold (and I discovered the ‘hair’ AFTER eating one … blech)!

I considered adding an egg and sugar, but figured that would defeat the purpose … back to the drawing board.

Even with the cravings, I still lost THREE more POUNDS!

I have to say I am so very excited by my progress … and a little scared, because vacation is coming, and this vacation location provides breakfasts (with bacon) and dinners created by a creative and talented chef …

I   a m   s o   w e a k !

It is interesting to me that the people who have joined me in going from Old to New, have been so much more successful in their physical activities, and less so on the scales … maybe that is what is hindering me 😉 , I am afraid that if I exercise I will not lose anymore weight? Sounds like another excuse to me.

Oh, hubby did suggest a walk on my favorite trail the other day. It was sunny, it was warm, it was perfect. I am not sure who was grinning more, the beast or me. Unfortunately, the river is high, and the mosquitoes swarmed us as soon as we entered the wooded part of the trail. I thought they were going to literally carry us off. I had not experienced mosquitoes like that since I was a child and our family was on vacation on the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia. So, our intended hour-long trek lasted only thirty minutes.

After four weeks of trying to change my habits, it has now become work … hard work! That said, I have still not become faithful with exercise. Oh, I have hopped in the pool, and spent hours walking the aisles of thrift shops, but not so much the daily walks and abdominal exercises.

And that is my goal this next week.

Week 5

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“Another ONE bites the dusk
And another ONE gone, and another ONE gone
Another ONE bites the dust”
(Queen)

After three weeks I am now down six pound.

I have to say I so did not deserve to lose even that one pound this week. My little get-a-way with hubby/wedding celebration of a friend was not so good for the good eating habits I was getting into.

But I did discover a product that I love to have for lunch, that is super nutritious, and delicious. It is called “Texas Caviar” by a company called Pita Pal (who also makes amazing hummus).  The following are the nutritional facts for one serving … that is a whopping 3/4 cup! Heck, there are so few calories and fat, go ahead and have a larger serving!

Calories 70 Sodium 330 mg
Total Fat 3 g Potassium 0 mg
Saturated 0 g Total Carbs 12 g
Polyunsaturated 0 g Dietary Fiber 3 g
Monounsaturated 0 g Sugars 2 g
Trans 0 g Protein 3 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Vitamin A 6% Calcium 2%
Vitamin C 30% Iron 6%

Ingredients listed on the container are: blackeye peas, bell pepper, jicama, corn, onion, parsley, red pepper, cilantro, orange juice, canola oil, spices, citric acid, sea salt, potassium sorbate and a lot of love!

Now, you might be asking, what is a jicama? Well, it’s picture is to the left, and I would say it looks like a combination between an onion, a potato and a turnip. It’s delightful ‘crunch’ when you bite into it will make you love what little flavor it has.

Back to our progress …

One of you is biking up a storm, but a little disappointed to not be showing much evidence on the scales of doom.
I did a little checking, and biking builds strength and muscle tone, it builds stamina, it improves cardi-vascular fitness, it boosts your metabolic rate, improves coordination (hum, I should take up biking, I am the most clumsy person in the world), it reduces stress, and it provides opportunity to breath fresh air! It does burn calories, so keep it up!

Another of you is a faithful user of http://www.myfitnesspal.com.
YOU are my hero!

Another of you has re-defined fast food.
She uses a divided container like the one on the right, to hold prepared salad fixings, so that when you need fast food, a salad is almost completely ready when you, or one of your kids, opens the refrigerator door! Love it!

Another of you is struggling with eating and all right, and swimming for exercise, but not seeing the evidence on those scales of doom.
Well, do not thing that you are getting nowhere my friend. You are getting healthier, and those benefits are not necessarily seen on the scales! According to Health Canada, your increasingly “healthy habits may help you reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, certain types of cancer and osteoporosis while providing many benefits such as:

  • Better overall health
  • Lower risk of disease
  • A healthy body weight (it will happen, your metabolism is just hanging on for dear life)
  • Feeling and looking better
  • More energy
  • Stronger muscles and bones”

It looks to me as though living healthier is like an iceberg, much of the benefits are unseen (underwater), we only see the small, slow, numerical effects  (above the water). So, do not despair. Besides the fact that your kids can see you living healthier only increases that underwater part … as they have healthier living modeled to them!

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