Monthly Archives: March 2013

52 Photos, Week 13

WEEK 13

This week’s story: I love blogging, you guys. I really really do. But sometimes it is really hard to stay on top of! Life happens- you take a trip for the weekend, you work a long day, you get distracted. Next thing you know it’s been almost a week and a half since you have posted. I know my absence has not gone completely unnoticed (hey Jer!) so I appreciate that people are interested enough in what I have going on to care (hey again Jer!) I’m getting back on track this week (with blogging, with running, with eating, with everything.) So, stay tuned. I have lots to share.

 

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52 Photos, Week 12

week 12

This week’s story: Y’all. I am getting tired of this winter weather. Today is the first day of spring and it snowed. I am wearing a flower in my hair anyway.

This week it has been a challenge to follow my commitment to Lent. I have found myself almost-sort-oh-kinda signing up to do more. Thank goodness kickboxing cut a meeting short on Monday night because I almost violated my sacrifice in a BIG way by volunteering to take on another project. I sort of did violate it earlier in the week by agreeing to take notes and send reminders for a committee I am on. I know that sounds silly because c’mon- that is not a big deal at all. But you have to understand what a slippery slope that sort of thing can be for me. My biggest priority right now is my marriage and my health and I want to be cautious of distractions (no matter how good the intentions). I am trying to be the Amanda that God created. The best version of myself, but His version, not mine. I am weary of blind ambition, achievement for the sake of itself, the pursuit of more. By giving up goals, projects, and new responsibilities, I am trying to seek peace. Within myself and without.

 

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A Good Husband

If I could offer another piece of useless advice to those who want to lose weight, it would be this: have a really good husband. I could devote an entire blog to how awesome Brett is, but for the sake of brevity, I will containing my gushing to the following post.

Having a support team is really important to achieve any goal. Humans are pack animals and we need our herd to be of one mind. Having that support team living in your house with you is even more important. Having a supportive spouse is something that I can take for granted. It is an element of our lives that we really only notice when it is not there. I have got it and I have been lucky enough to have always had it.

Last night, after kickboxing I came home to an awesome treat from Brett. I had mentioned wanting to eat mac and cheese when I lost 20 pounds and he hooked me up! We had mac and cheese with hot dogs and it was the very best junk food I have had in my life. He even printed up this great banner and hung it up in the kitchen, congratulating me on my success (complete with inside joke.)


hot dogs

junk food

One of my Valentine’s Day presents from Brett was a yearlong subscription to Brettflix! Brett plans a special movie and a dinner once a month. In February, he made jambalaya and we watched The Princess and the Frog. This month it was Flight of the Conchords and kabobs. (As in: “Let’s get in a cab, I’ll buy you a kebab! Now I can’t believe that I’m sharing a kebab with the most beautiful girl I have ever seen with a kebab.”)

kabobs

dinner

As you can tell by the pictures, they were amazing! We ate so much. (Can you tell we express love through food?!)

Brett is constantly cheering me on. He is always telling me how well I am doing. He eats what I cook and he rarely complains (even if he does not always comply!) Spouses have a big influence on your lifestyle. Like all things, it can be done without all the pieces falling perfect into place, but it certainly only helps to have their support.

Lately, even though I move at a snail’s pace comparatively, Brett has been running with me. He makes dinner on Monday nights while I kickbox. He cheers me on when I feel crummy. He is really the best and he deserves all my thanks and appreciation on this journey.

Progress (6)

four pounds

Pounds Lost This Week: 4
Total Lost: TWENTY POUNDS LOST!
Pounds Left to Goal: 30

As of this morning, I have officially lost 20 pounds. I don’t know about y’all, but I am PROUD of myself! Twenty pounds is a lot. It is six weeks of hard work. It is a good diet. It is frequent exercise. It is an amazing support system.

It also is not going hungry. It is not doing anything “exciting” or “trendy” or “amazing.” It is not working out for hours a time, every day of the week. It is not eliminating solid foods.

It is just doing what feels good for my body. It is what has always made sense all along. It is having the beer at dinner but not the french fries. It is the snack of frozen yogurt after the 2 mile run. It is biking back to work after lunch and dragging a friend to kick-boxing. It is enjoying the sunshine.

It feels good to have made progress. I am really happy about the changes that I have made and I have no intention of slowing down now. 20 pounds down, 30 to go.

Travel Bucket

tumblr_m0r1ehHJro1r8qarro1_500

Talking about having kids seems like a very adult thing to do and I do not feel like an adult at all, not even a little bit.

I am married.
I have a good car.
I have a great job.
I have health insurance.

Those are all very adult things but they do not add up to feeling like an adult. Most of the time I don’t think about “feeling like an adult.” I mostly feel like myself and that is enough. However, when you start to imagine what it might be like to throw kids into the equation, it inevitably brings up the question of being “adult enough.”

Brett and I have talked about having kids. (Has everyone?) We have talked about it a lot actually. We both want them. We both feel prepared to have them in many ways. But we avoiding talking about it in any material way the same way opposite ends of a magnet get close, but never actually touch one another. Sometimes I am enchanted by the idea of having a baby. I have been captivated by the idea of smelling baby hair, building bunk bed forts, reading pages of poetry, fantasy, fairy tales that aren’t quite yet understood. At times I am overwhelmed by the desire to begin writing the next chapter of my story, to begin editing the definition of “parenting” left from my own childhood.

Those moments aren’t particularly fleeting but they are certainly less impressionable than the moments when I look at my own face in the mirror, until my eyes cross and I wonder, bewildered, how I could even consider such an outrageous proposition. Outrageous not because of the sheer quantities of shit and screaming and screeching that are actually involved in parenting, but outrageous because it means becoming a principle player in a miracle of science and evolution and space and time and faith. I am a principle player in consuming Discovery Channel documentaries on the colossal squid. This is not a skill that qualifies me to engage in such primal, eternal matters.

I have a hunch that having kids is a much more organic process than I can possibly wrap my mind around, having never been a part of it. It likely has nothing to do with story books or the Discovery Channel at all. The best indication that I am not ready to have kids is that I don’t feel ready and Brett and I have yet to have a car conversation that has resulted in a decision to start trying for kids. (All of our best decisions are made in the car.)

Another indicator is this: A few nights ago Brett said, “Let’s put off having kids for at least another year and spend 2013 and 2014 taking trips together” and it sounded like the very best idea I have ever heard. Right then and there we drew up a travel bucket list. Here is what is on it:

2013 

Nashville, Tennessee
Buy this print at etsy.com.

Buy this print at etsy.com.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Buy this print on etsy.com.

Buy this print on etsy.com.

 

2014

Baltimore, Maryland/Washington DC/Princeton, New Jersey/New York City Buy this print on .

Buy this print on etsy.com.

Seattle, Washington
Buy this print on etsy.com.

Buy this print on etsy.com.

Estes Park, Colorado
Buy this print at etsy.com.

Buy this print at etsy.com.

Phoenix, Arizona
Buy this print on etsy.com.

Buy this print on etsy.com.

The next two years is a time for Brett and I to be very selfish. It is a time to spend too much money and to leave work early and to drive all weekend. It is a time for adventure. I simply cannot wait.

(PS. If you see your city on here, we comin for you.) 

Living Under Grace

The great thing about writing a blog is that it makes you look awesome. For one, there is a layer of awesomeness that comes from simply authoring a blog at all. Cool people blog. The other, more significant factor is, of course, that I control the creative content. Cool people blog about being cool people.

When I look back through my posts, I see the type of person I want to be. Curious. Introspective. Articulate (thanks spell check!) I have been running, kickboxing, bicycling, cooking, reading. I have shared real and actual progress toward my weight loss goals.

But I’m not always so spot on. Actually, most of the time I am flailing around, tripping over the uneven ground I have paved for myself, and reaching out at the last moment to be pulled up by the strong arms of the gracious folks around me (Jesus. My husband Brett. My boss. My parents. My friends.)

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52 Photos, Week 11

week eleven

This week’s story: Another good morning photo. Brett is traveling for work this week so I am holding down the fort with Stella and Fatty. Have you read any of the recent articles from The Atlantic about house work? (Here and here.) [<- For the record, I thought they were both good.] Anyway, at our house making coffee falls distinctly into the category of “Brett Work.” I am not entirely sure why but he makes the coffee every morning (or before bed, rather) and when he is gone, I typically cannot be bothered to attempt making it for myself. I know how. I can. I just don’t.

But I did today. Brett left Monday and was darling enough to get a pot ready for me to drink on Tuesday morning. Having a quiet cup of coffee yesterday morning was so pleasant, I could not resist having a second go-round today.

Yes folks, this week’s story is that I made a pot of coffee. Can you tell there has not been much excitement in my life lately? (Editor’s note: THANK GOD!)

 

When To Lose Weight

If there was a perfect time to lose weight (there isn’t) then I have found it (I haven’t.)

I have been getting some excellent compliments and encouragement lately. Most have them have sounded something like, “Amanda, you are quite literally the best person in the world. How can I be like you?”

Okay, not. But a lot of people have noticed my attitude, my progress, my honesty. Thank you. Please don’t stop (even when I’m being an ass. See: above.)

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On Running

I have started running. Again. For the third year in a row.

In both 2011 and 2012, I have trained for a 5K, had ambitions of cultivating a running habit, run said 5K (in March and June of those years, respectively), and promptly quit running for the rest of the year.

As such, I am on several mailing/email lists for races and many registration forms come across my fingertips every month yet, I have a 2 race career in as many years. This year, an email to register for The Hospital Hill Run (my June race last year) arrived in my inbox. It was promoting the finishing gift they are giving this year. It was this awesome track jacket.

Hospital-Hill-Jkts.3

I honestly couldn’t resist. I am a sucker for shwag. But as I was considering my registration, a thought flickered. “What about the 10K?” I accidentally said it out loud which was a bit of a mistake as I seemingly spoke it into reality.

I have done two 5Ks. They were not particularly easy for me, but they were finished and as such, I know I can do it. That is apparently a fact that bores me. I know I can finish a 10K but I have not ever finished a 10K and the idea of doing so is apparently so fascinating that I have got to try it. (I say “apparently” because I’m not sure I know this part of my person who is intrigued by athletic challenges. She is a new person I am just now getting introduced to, so I am being careful not to say too much on her behalf.)

I have made the joke that every time I run, it is a miracle of modern science. It feels true. I am tall. I am heavy. I am top-heavy. (Ahem.) Runners are slim and lithe and quick. Runners are antelopes. I would liken myself more to a moose. Tall. Clumsy. Large. (I’m not really trying to be self effacing, but you get the picture.) It just seemed to me that certain people are built to run and others are not. I believed myself to be firmly camped in the latter category.

And then I read Born to Run(I do not think I have properly thanked Rachel for sharing this book with me. It has done much for me. Not as much as the actual Rachel, but a lot.) You should read this book so I won’t give anything away, but suffice it to say that it made me question the notion that anyone would not be built to run. It made me think, “I ought to be running.” 

So I am taking some advice in the book and trying to bring it to life. I just bought a new pair of minimalist running shoes. (I still fell into the Nike trap, mostly because I had a gift card, but I opted for their newest line of Nike Frees.) I am trying to take short strides. I am trying to keep good posture. I am trying to implement a mid-foot strike.

I am also trying to run like Caballo Blanco. He advises the author of Born to Run, Christ McDougall to run “easy, light, smooth, and fast.” To focus first on easy and light. If he runs easy and light, he’ll be running smoothly. If he is running easy, light, and smooth, then fast will follow. During my last run, I chanted a mantra in my head: “Easy. Light. Easy. Light. Easy. Light.” I almost certainly failed to achieve it but it seems like a reasonable place to start.

I borrowed another piece of advice from a sport that stands in rather stark contrast to running, except when it doesn’t: yoga. My favorite yogi far and away is Tara Stiles and I recently downloaded a video of her Strong session. During a particularly grueling 2-minute plank pose (which I have yet to attempt with any seriousness), Tara advises to find the place within in the pose where you can relax. Focus on your forehead. Focus on the backs of your hands. Direct attention to the parts of the body that can relax. I have taken to doing this while running. Some runs I get very winded. Other times my feet and ankles and calves are sore. In those moments I think about my elbows. Or my neck. Or my ears.

By paying attention to what feels good, I worry less about what feels not-so-good. It is certainly not a plan for perfect running, but it is a plan for perseverance and improvement.

My hope is that by challenging myself to a longer distance, and through the necessary increase in time it will take to train, I will become a more regular runner. Through being more deliberate about technique and form, that I will still be running in September instead of quitting after the race in June. Of course the bigger lesson here is that life is inter-disciplinary. What is good in yoga is good in running is good life. Smart diet habits are smart life habits. I am starting to see a much bigger picture here.

Progress (5)

two pounds

Pounds Lost This Week: 2
Total Lost: 16
Pounds Left to Goal: 34

I felt like this photo was apt of my week because even though we got our Girl Scout Cookie order in, I still lost 2 pounds! Making reasonable choices is becoming more habitual for me. I have to think about it less and less. At dinner last night I had one small glass of wine and declined any more. It has been weeks since I have had second helpings of anything. I stocked up on a couple pints frozen Greek yogurt at the grocery store and have been surprised to find my sweet tooth satisfied after just a handful of bites.

I have started biking to and from work after my lunch break and have taken a couple longer (for me!) weekend rides which I think has help compensate for a not-so hyper vigilant workout schedule. I really like working out, but some days I just cannot get myself to make it happen so cycling has helped keep me active without much effort.

Brett has been really encouraging and is telling me that he can really see the difference. Which is a nice thing to say and I do not care if it is true at all or not. (He would interject here and say, “It IS true!”) We were talking about my recent lifestyle changes last week and I said something very confidently that I am not sure I have ever said before while trying to lose weight. I said, “will lose the 50 pounds. I have no doubt about that. But my goal is to have a healthier lifestyle.” I don’t know that I have been so assured of my success before and understood that achieving it will be a reality, not just a hope.

Yet here I sit, sure of my success. I know I will see the other side of 50 pounds (and ultimately my goal is more) and think, “Oh gosh, remember when I was doing all of that for the first time?” I know I will be the runner, hiker, cyclist, paddler, kick-boxer, climber, swimmer of my dreams. I am getting better and I am feeling better. Confidently.

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