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Posts Tagged ‘Swimming’

*This is a post from three years ago, but it is one that is relevant to ‘swim families’ past, present and future. I miss such regular reminders of grace and love that swim people show.

Well, like a bowl of bad clams (I just love this saying) we’re back! Back to what? Early morning practices, afternoon practices, wet towels, broken goggles, last spring (where I live there has been little ‘spring’ anyway) and summer weekends … SWIM CLUB.

About nine years ago, our family entered the world of competitive swimming, through our oldest daughter, then nine. With the exception of a year, SHE has been part of the speed swimming community, as a swimmer, and as a coach. Her younger sister, took a longer hiatus … about four years. But she’s back … therefore WE are back.

I was rudely reminded of what I haven’t been missing on Saturday morning, when my alarm went off at 6am … I was so hoping it was just a bad dream! And, really we were lucky … it could have been (and will be in the weeks to come) earlier … much earlier!

So, off we went, for her 7:10am warm-ups! (Yikes, throw me into a swimming pool at that hour and ‘cool down’ might be a more accurate reflection of what I’d be feeling). I drop her off, and go in search of swim meet survival tactic #1 … coffee! And once that essential need is met, I am ready to cheer, towel off, and sign up for timing races (this has two benefits .. one is it makes the time go faster, and two is it gets you involved).

The meet begins … late (I sometimes have thought that is part of the meet … starting late), and the first race is IM (Individual Medley). Now in IM there are four strokes that are to be done in a particular order, and this is how I was taught the order … butter (butterfly) your back (backstroke), your breast (breast stroke) is free (freestyle, or front crawl, for those who are old like me). So, depending on whether it is 100m (one lap for each stroke), or 200m (two laps for each stroke), the number of swimmers, and the age of the swimmer (could be as young as six years old), this race takes a long time.

There was one heat that reminded me of why I love swim club. There were boys swimming the IM, and they were about thirteen years old. When the second to last swimmer touched the pad, to complete his race, there was still one swimmer left slogging away. And he was only halfway through backstroke! So we watched, and we waited …

Watching him swim was … painful! My first thoughts were, ‘he must be a new swimmer … poor guy … how humiliating.’ But then, as I watched his arms and legs flail (and I do mean flail), I recognized how VERY uncoordinated his movements were, and I wondered, if the boy struggling in the pool (with all his might, I might add) might be one with a disability.

Then … it happened … the thing that happens at EVERY swim meet I have ever attended, when a particularly slower swimmer is coming to their finish … the crowd began to cheer. No, the crowd began to chant … his name. The building was booming with the chant of this boys name, over and over … to the finish. The crowd of family and friends and strangers, his teammates and all the team, the officials … everyone in the building was chanting and cheering him on. When he finally touched the pad, you would have thought that Michael Phelps had just broken another world record! The smile on his face said that he felt as though he had just broken a world record (and that he had given it his all). Fellow swimmers were giving him high five, and patting him on the back.

I spoke to the mom of this boy, later in the day. Indeed, he was new to competitive swimming, and indeed he lives (and she, who lives with him) with asperger syndrome. He told me he loves swimming, as he headed off to marshalling for his next race.

It was all worth the early morning practices, afternoon practices, wet towels, broken goggles, lost spring and summer weekends … just to have that taste of being part of the lives of others who struggle … not that we all share the same struggles, but that we are all struggling to give it our all.

And that boy, and all cheering him on that day, gave it their all!

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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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Swimming has always been a big part of my life. I remember biking every day of the summer to the local swimming pool, to meet with friends and cool off from the summer heat. The public pool was a place of memories and fun.

It was also, for a short time, a place of total and utter humiliation.

I was about thirteen when my parents signed me up for swimming lessons the first time. Imagine a five foot giant surrounded by half a dozen preschoolers and you will get the full image of my experience.

Thankfully, within a week of lessons, I had progressed to a group where I was not the tallest in the pool (other than the instructor). I had never become an exceptional swimmer, but I loved the water.

When our children were born, swimming was a skill that they learned about the same time that they could walk. I never wanted them to be in water and not be able to stay afloat.

When we bought our current home, complete with a swimming pool, I went out and bought a life jacket for our youngest, who was not yet a swimmer. The nightmares that I experienced over purchasing a house with a pool, kept me sleep-deprived for weeks.

Within a week of being in our pool, our son with swimming like a fish.

My eldest daughter teaches swim lessons, at our pool, as well as at the swimming pools of her clients. She also coaches for a swim club. Swimming has been a huge part of her life.

She often speaks of how young children (toddlers and younger) are eager to enter the water, but it is the non-swimming adults who experience and express fear of water the most.

I was recently speaking with someone who is fearful of the water, and showing them how to float (ah the starfish float, my first swimming lesson). The person (adult) responded, “I have tried, but it is impossible for me to float.”

It is true that this person cannot float, but it is not her physical body that cannot float, it is the fear within her mind, because she has not committed to learning to swim that makes her sink. And there is no reason for this fear to continue, as adult-based swim lessons can be very appropriate and beneficial.

Recently, near our home community, two people died due to non-swimming. One was a young child (under the age of two), who jumped or fell into a swimming pool. The child’s grandmother jumped in to save her grandchild, but, as a non-swimmer, she herself also drowned.

Now a family mourns not one, but two people.

Do yourself, and those around you, who you love, a favor, learn to swim.

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