Traveling: Then & Now

I’ve been lucky enough to spend a good portion of my Summer break traveling which, after years of a weekend trip here or there, has been truly amazing.

Last summer, my sister and I went to Key West, Florida for a few days at the very end of the summer. I ended up getting strep on the trip, and apart from that, I was generally sick and tired all the time. We walked around in the heat, and I ended up being 2-3 strides behind my sister the whole time. She told me that she was so worried about me. This was my favorite photo from that trip:

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This year, I spent a week in and around Portland, Oregon with one of my closest college friends. I told her when I booked the trip that I wanted to do “all the outdoorsy stuff I physically couldn’t do last visit”. That last visit was two years ago. This was me and Ericka on that last visit:

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So, Ericka planned all sorts of fun things for when I was in Oregon. We hiked miles upon miles in beautiful places, but there were two moments where I just stopped and appreciated how far I’d come. We were on a trail at Silver Falls State Park and we just kept going and going, up and down hills, taking photo after photo of gorgeous waterfalls. At one point, we took a short little dirt trail to a rather hidden waterfall, and I took off my shoes, waded in the water, and climbed up onto a rock to take a little breather. Considering I was breathless in that photo above after walking up a short flight of stairs, this was quite an accomplishment. We ended up hiking almost 9 miles that day!

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A couple days later, we took a short road trip up to Crater Lake, quite possibly one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever been. We hiked about 3 miles that day, and there was only one point where it was just “too much”. I mean, really, a 45 degree angle for miles at a time is hard for everyone!

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Just this past week, my mom, her best friend, my sister, and I all went to Barcelona, Spain and the Mediterranean coast. We’d spent months planning, and surprised my mom with the trip for her birthday back in May, and it was every bit as amazing as I’d imagined it would be. We walked a minimum of 12,000 steps each day (thank you FitBit!) and I was able to keep up with my sister this time! We even talked about how I wasn’t “scurrying behind her” on this year’s vacation. These are a few favorites from this year’s trip:

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And just so you don’t have to scroll up to see, here’s a comparison of last year to this year:

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Now, let’s talk food a minute. I’m a huge fan of food, obviously. On both my trips, I generally ate what I wanted, but the quantities were significantly different than in the past. In Oregon, keeping low-carb was really easy, as Ericka is gluten-free. We enjoyed amazing meals, I think I may have overeaten once, and I rediscovered my love for peanut butter.

In Spain, I was bound and determined to eat as much authentic food as I could, and yes, this included carbs. I had fruits, bread, desserts, wine at lunch and dinner, and enjoyed thoroughly every last bite. I ate a ton of seafood, sucked the stuff out of shrimp heads, drank Fanta Limón, and don’t regret a thing. The minute I touched down on US soil, it was back to plan: a salad at the airport during our layover, followed by a lettuce wrap for dinner before I went to bed at 8:45 p.m. I can say today that I’m proud of myself for indulging the way I wanted to without overdoing it, and I have no regrets about what I didn’t indulge in.

I do, however, regret that I didn’t bring back any jamón iberico… sigh…

Week 17: Weigh In

227.2

Down officially 57.9 pounds! WAHOO! I treated myself to some clothes that fit so I could stop looking like a shlub at work… and being me, I made a comparison photo:

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Speaking of, I’ve updated my “Progress” page to show a bunch of “before” and comparison pictures, which really keep me motivated.

The fun thing that’s happening lately is that I can truly shop at “normal” stores. I’m back to a 16 at New York & Co. which is almost where I was at our wedding. In the pictures above, the “before” is a 20/22 from Torrid, and the “now” is a 16 and XL from NY&Co… I’m feeling confident lately! It’s a rather odd feeling.

When hanging out with my sister on Monday, I noticed that people don’t get out of my way the way they used to. I actually got run into quite a few times. It was also quite lovely to walk WITH my sister (who walks at typical Chicago pace, a.k.a. really fast) and not be trailing after her, out of breath. And this was AFTER a run/walk workout!

We had such fun eating beautiful veggies at Eataly,

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It was really the first time I noticed how different I feel doing normal everyday things. And I loved it!

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Week 10 (the rest) & Week 11: The beginning

I spent the majority of week 10 worrying about what I was going to do about Thanksgiving.

I know, it’s silly.

I had these moments of panic envisioning myself taking one bite of real food and going completely ape-shit, eating everything in sight, then proceeding to get sick, and then deciding to do it all again over the whole weekend, vowing to “start over” on Monday.

I got a little more realistic and realized that, no matter what, I wouldn’t completely blow it. I would definitely eat something. I made an appointment with the dietician for after my weigh in on Wednesday, and planned out what would make for a sensible and satisfying first meal. She was wonderfully supportive, and heard every last one of my concerns and helped me visualize what a good serving would be. We decided on about 2 ounces of turkey, about 10-12 roasted brussels sprouts (not too many, so my stomach didn’t do crazy things) and a few bites of whatever was for dessert.

Oh, about that weigh in…

244.8

FREAKING 40.3 pounds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HOLY HELL!!!!

That gave me the push I needed to keep going with my plan, eat only a small amount of food, and not completely blow it. That’s exactly what I did.

My mom had made some remarkable (really, really amazing) turkey stock which I ate in addition to my 2 ounces of turkey, 10 brussels sprouts, 4 green beans, and bite of mashed sweet potatoes. Dessert was a few bites of pumpkin flan and a pistachio French macaron made by my sister. (Officially can cross that off the cravings list!)

The conversation was wonderful, the company even better, and I was completely satisfied with my choices to eat. The jokes were endless, because after over 10 weeks, I’d nearly forgotten how to use a fork and plate.

A few photos ensued:

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(me, my sister, and my mom)

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(Me and my sister)

I must confess, later in the weekend at a favorite restaurant during a surprise party, I ate one bite of tuna tartare, and one bite of Peking-style chicken. Totally worth it.

A few non-scale successes:

  • Bought a 1X down coat for the upcoming freezing Chicago winter, to replace the size 22 pea coat from last summer.
  • My mom bought me boots for Hanukkah. Knee-high boots. That zip all the way up my calf. This is a first.
  • Bought off-the-rack jeans from Old Navy in a size I haven’t seen (or worn) in years.
  • I had to return an XXL sweater for an XL.

And now, since I’ve been fighting a bad cold since a week ago, I’m going to bed.