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It’s easier to change than I thought – how I lost 25 pounds

26 Oct

I’ve never been comfortable showing my body off to the world, but here it is! The two pics on the left are my after pics in June 2012. The two on the right are my before pics in Feb 2012. It still floors me!

Weight loss was a long time dream of mine and getting to where I am today was a long process. My weight has yo-yoed through much of my adult life.

Through my 20s, as I rollerbladed, danced salsa, trained for marathons and then competed in triathlons, I stayed lean. I felt fit and great. Maybe I gained a couple of pounds here and there, but then I’d get super active and I’d lose the weight.

Then I met my husband. He’s active, but not like me. After we got married, I gained a couple of pounds. A couple of years later, I started working on my Master’s degree. I stayed active, running and cycling as much as I could manage with my school work. But it wasn’t enough to keep me from gaining weight.

I had thought that the ups and downs of weight gain and loss were normal until reality smacked me in the face; I was at the Pier to Pier ocean swim, a 2 mile swim from Hermosa to Manhattan (in the LA area in California), when I saw “the picture.” It was of me in my competitive swim bikini. The love handles spilling over the edge of the suit made my heart sink in sadness. I was heavier than I thought I was, and I had been in denial about how much weight I had gained over the years.

I had continued to see myself as I was before I got married, denying the reality of my heavier body. When I saw that picture, my heart dropped and it was then that I knew that I needed to make a change.

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Exercising the things that bring me happiness: A pledge

24 Feb

Epicurus— We must exercise ourselves in the things which bring happiness, since if that be present, we have everything, and, if that be absent, all our actions are directed without attaining it.

I have decided to take action after having read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, especially because I am unemployed and six months pregnant and less and less confident that I will find something part time to keep me in the work groove   In other words, I have time to kill.  What better way to use my time than to work on my happiness!

I have not figured out how exactly I’m going to work out my personal happiness project, but one thing is for sure:  the inspirations that I had while reading the book continue to percolate in my head, and I need to start getting them down and working them out.  From what I’ve learned about influence and persuasion from Professor Kelton Rhoads, if you make a pledge to do something, you are more likely to do it.

Thus.

I dream of one day being considered an excellent photographer by excellent photographers like I dream of being considered a great writer by other great writers.  Now I merely drool over the skills of other bloggers such as Kelle Hampton of Enjoying the Small Things and Ryan of Pacing the Panic Room.  I read clever bloggers like Mrs. Odie of Mrs. Odie2 and Tom Philpott of Grist.com and authors such as Barbara Kingsolver and Amy Tan and hope that by practicing I can rise to their level.

Natural vs LED, a photographic experiment

Alas, I understand that it takes more than mere practice.  I need to get out there, take a class and form a writing group.  My dilemma is the same dilemma I had when running and hoping to find running partners.  I need to find people who are in a similar enough pace group (or skill level) that we can keep up with each other but still offer practical and insightful advice.   I always hated running with people who were totally too fast for me because I felt that I was holding them back in the same way that running with people who are too slow can be frustrating.

Not having been formally trained in either photography or writing beyond compulsory writing courses in college and one black and white photography course in middle school, I know I need the help!  So if you live in the Bay Area, near Redwood City, and are looking for something similar, let me know.

Otherwise, this is my public pledge to make sure that I get out there and start doing what it takes to get better at these two aspirations of mine.  I know I want it.  When my dad told me that he was taking a photography class where they would cover lighting, my jealousy was palpable.  Yesterday, as I was contemplating my post, Week 25, I felt the heat of fear rise into my cheeks, and I wished that I had somebody besides my extremely helpful but sometimes gratuitous husband to run my writing by.

I’m guessing that every writer and photographer wonders if their post hit the spot with someone and if someone looked at the picture and thought, “Wow, amazing.”

Here’s to making my photographs and writing more satisfying to me and exercising my happiness muscles!

Week 25

23 Feb

Swimming to labor and delivery

What I look like pushing off the wall in the pool

I imagine that labor is a little like running a marathon.  In my experience, there is nothing that totally prepares you for a marathon.  No matter how many miles you put in beforehand, the experience ends up being singularly challenging.  You can’t predict what is going to happen mentally or physically in the 26.2 mile journey of a marathon, but you can set your mind to finish, and hope to finish well.

You can train for a marathon in a very tangible way.  And you can practice beforehand.  But labor?  It seems like a total mystery.  Soon enough, J and I will be taking our Bradley method course to prepare for some of what lies ahead during the grueling hours of labor.  It’s just that there is no way to really practice your response to the pain.  And what do you do physically to be ready?  Besides pain management, is being in shape helpful?  Some say yes, others say it doesn’t matter.

Regardless, I know that I want to be in decent shape, both mentally and physically, when I enter that hospital.  I want to know that I’ve done what I can to be prepared for the inevitable pain.  When my friends who have had children tell me that they pushed for 2 hours, I think about how sore they must be for days after.  Back, stomach, and of course the nether regions, must be completely exhausted.  Please correct me if I’m wrong, and tell me what you think it takes to be in shape for those final moments.

I was running religiously until week 10 of my pregnancy, when I completed a half marathon.  Then I started mellowing out on my training.  I was swimming two or three times a week until week 15.  But then we moved, and the pool I had gotten to know and love was 15 miles away, and I was busy moving into the new house.  We got a puppy and I started walking and doing a weight lifting routine.  There was a nagging feeling inside of me, though.  The pool has been calling me back to itself.  Not only do I need to be in shape, but I need to have a place to work out the turmoil of emotions that comes with having a baby.  Continue reading