Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Saved $2.25, Gained A Lot More

Tuesday, I decided to take my exercise clothes to work so I could walk from my office to my mother's office after work to carpool home. I saved the $2.25 bus fare and enjoyed the sunshine, but I gained so much more.

As you can tell from the gap in the posts, I have been very busy this month. I was offered a job. In Utah. I was continuing interviews with several other employers and waiting for their decisions. My boyfriend is shipping out to Navy boot camp in a few weeks. I went out of town to visit for several days and then house-sat/dog-sat for two weeks. Lots going on for sure and lots of stress.

At 3:30 I changed into my workout clothes, closed up the office and hit the road. At first I missed my usual music, but after a few blocks I was glad to be without it. I let my mind wander over recent events- the job offered, the jobs I didn't get, my boyfriend, my boyfriend leaving, what will happen to our relationship, moving to Utah...enjoy the sunshine. As I said in a previous post, Urban Hiking is more than just a walk it's a time to think.

On Sunday at church with my boyfriend and his family we were talking about the Patriarchs and how God gave them promises for their future, sometimes unbelievable promises, such as Sarai having a baby when she was old and barren. I jokingly said "wouldn't it be great if God would give us big neon billboards so we would know what to do?" On my walk I realized that I had gotten what I asked for. The school in Utah offered me the job. I held out on accepting the job while I waited for other schools to make final decisions. Door after door closed, yet the door in Utah remained open. Ok, God, I get the message from this giant neon billboard- You want me to go to Utah.

I continued to reflect throughout the evening and realized that I had let myself get so consumed by stress (see above situations) and by fear and anxiety about making a big move that I forgot to be grateful. Grateful that God has answered, in His perfect time and in His perfect way, my prayer asking Him to give me a classroom of my own where I can teach full time again, to be active in Lutheran School ministry full-time again.

During my Tuesday night Bible study group's prayer time I started crying. (I don't think I have cried more in any one place other than my home than I have at my Bible study.) I felt sad that I had been so consumed by my fears about moving that I forgot to be grateful. Guilty that I had spent so much time being sad about the things I would be giving up here that I forgot to look at what I might gain. Praise God that He is more faithful than I; He never lost sight of me even when I took my eyes off of Him.

I saved $2.25 by walking instead of taking the bus, but I gained a whole lot more.

Friday, May 16, 2014

No-Gym, No-Equipment, No-Excuses Workout = My Kind of Thing!

I can't afford the cost of a gym membership right now, so I'm on the no-equipment, no-gym workout plan. I stumbled across this video via a Facebook link from MyFitnessPal. I'm going to give this a try on my next legs workout day. What do you think?

Fast Fitness! The No-Gym, No-Equipment, No-Excuses Workout (with Video!)

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Milestone Reached!

As I mentioned in previous posts, I created a calendar of goals for each month. I also had some overall goals of things I wanted to be able to do again. Last night I reached on of those overall goals; I climbed a rock wall again!

The rock wall at REI
Over a month ago I signed up for an open climb night at my local REI and for various reasons had to keep postponing it. Last night I almost didn't go because it had been a long hot day, I was tired, my body wasn't well rested so I knew it wouldn't be able to perform at it's best, and I was scared that maybe I wasn't ready. I talked to a friend whom I hoped to see later that evening and he encouraged me to go and have fun. I'm so glad I did!

The instructors were great; very positive and encouraging and engaging of all the climbers. There were four climbers and two belayers (instructors from REI) so we all took turns climbing. I kind of got pushed into being first up. Since I was not sure if my body was ready for this I decided to tackle the easiest part of the wall (a 5.4, I believe, for those who know rating scales, that only went half-way up). I got so close to the bell at the top of the section, and wouldn't you know it- I looked down and lost my nerve.

I repelled back down a little disappointed and frustrated. I had almost reached my goal- to get at least half-way up- I was proud of myself for trying and for getting up there and doing it, but at the same time a little embarrassed and self-conscious as I watched the other three climbers scramble up the wall to the very top on harder sections. Of course, they also came with their own gear and have been climbing more recently than I have. It's been about 7 years since I last climbed a rock wall, so I was able to let go of that judgment and give myself grace. I had done my best. Or had I?

With a little goading/encouragement from the male staffer belaying us I decided to try the other 5.4 section that went all the way to the top. He said the grips were bigger and easier. I don't think I got more than 20 feet off the ground before I got frustrated. I didn't know where to go for the next grip and I was angry with myself. I hung out there for a sec and then in another moment of embarrassment asked to come back down.

I had some internal conversations with myself. My goal had been to climb again- I'd done that. My goal for that night was to get at least half-way up- I hadn't done that. So was I done, or was I going to try one more time? ...

I decided to try the first section one more time. I scrambled up quickly to about the point where I had
The section of the wall that I climbed.
previously quit. And then I got up one more step. The bell at the top of my section was almost within reach! And I couldn't find a good spot for my foot to give myself the final push to ring the bell! I was mad and determined to not quit! I found a spot that was where I wanted it but not quite as big as I would have liked. I put my foot on it, found some good hand holds and stood up. And there was the bell! I tapped it. It gave a little jingle. Not nearly enough noise to signal my accomplishment so I grabbed the thing and shook it again, hard! I climbed the wall! And I made it to my goal! I rock!

I repelled back down with a big smile on my face and restored confidence in my body. It has taken a lot of abuse over the years; all the crap food I've eat and the neglect I've given it, but it still was able to help me get up the rock wall and make it to my goal. Thank you, body!

I'm going to keep working on improving my fitness and next time I go back to the wall maybe I'll make it three-fourths of the way up- or maybe even to the top! Let's see what else this body can do!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Progress Towards My Goal

Doing my weekly weigh in this morning... With some fear and trepidation because I was off my normal routine for several days due to travel. So glad I did it though, because I'm only three and a half pounds away from my short term goal! I WILL be at under 200 lbs by my birthday!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Dinner for the UHG

My apologies for cutting short my last post and not giving many details about dinners. (I was running late and my ride home was waiting for me! Such is life!)

As I mentioned in my previous post, I will often have soup for dinner. Sometimes it's just a can of soup (in which case I prefer the chunk styles), or sometimes it's from the grocery store deli. We have a GREAT deli nearby that makes amazing homemade soups and there are usually about 6 different choices each day. I love their tomato bisque, but I've also tried their Thai coconut soup, beef barely, and a few others that weren't on my radar until I tried them there.

I do also make some homemade soups, stews, and chilis, but prefer to cook them in the fall and winter. One of my favorite soups started with a recipe from my Uncle Bryan. It's a vegetable soup with a V-8 base; I buy the low-sodium variety. Then I'll throw in whatever veggies grab my attention, either fresh or frozen. If using fresh I will sometimes saute them before throwing them in the pot.

When making chili I like to use red kidney beans and black beans. I also like to saute my veggies for chili before adding to the pot. I throw in mushrooms, onions, bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange), and sometimes celery (not that it adds flavor, but it adds bulk for few calories). When I make stew I also usually saute the veggies. A fun version I now almost always make includes sweet potatoes or yams in the stew and season with herbs de provence. Of course, a splash of red wine (or two) goes a long way, too!

This spring and summer will bring new adventures in dining as I still need to work on what the Urban Hiker Girl eats. Warmer weather seems to elicit cravings for other foods (not soups and stews). Please share your favorite warm weather healthy dinner ideas in the comments!

Friday, May 2, 2014

What Does the Urban Hiker Girl Eat- Lunch

Rochelle, my inspiration to start this blog, once asked: "What does an Urban Hiker Girl eat?" Well, ladies and gents, let me give you a peek into some of my favorite meals!

When I created my goals calendar, one of the first things I put on there was a protein-packed breakfast so I started with something simple: eggs! Of course, I also needed a healthy carb to go with it and what better breakfast carb than potatoes! One of my two favorite, healthy breakfasts is 3/4-1 cup of potatoes O'Brien cooked in olive oil and two eggs scrambled. I season with salt, pepper, onion and/or garlic powder, and herbs de province. Top it off with 1/4 c. of shredded cheese. Yum! Very filling!

Another alternative, favorite breakfast is oatmeal with chia seeds (not chai, like the tea, but like the clay pots, heads, animals that grow grass on them). If I know I'm going to have a busy morning I'll buy the ready oatmeal cups that you just add water to, pop open the top to add 1/2 T. of chia seeds, pour in boiling water, stir, steep, and enjoy. If I have a little more time I'll make homemade oatmeal and add a little brown sugar, some kind of nut, and maybe a little dried fruit, along with the chia seeds. And some mornings I'll put my chia seeds in a little snack bag to take to Starbucks where I'll add to their oatmeal. I often get their "classic" oatmeal, but recently decided to give their blueberry oatmeal a try. (I'm picky about how I eat blueberries and wasn't sure I'd like it this way; turns out it's great AND fewer calories than the classic version.)

I try to eat several small meals and snacks throughout the day to balance my calorie intake so that I don't become "starving" by the time it's mealtime. I keep my snacks a lot like breakfast- protein and a good carb. Usually for me that means fruit or veg and protein. I like a banana or apple and cheese stick or yogurt. Or veggies with hummus or guacamole is great, too; filling and very low cal!

Currently, my favorite lunch is a big salad with some seasonal fruit, nuts, goat cheese, and a vinaigrette. Today's salad was mixed field greens, goat cheese, sliced almonds, a small palm-ful of blueberries, two sliced strawberries, and a pomegranate blueberry vinaigrette. It was delicious! Look at all those yummy goodies in there!

Another snack in the afternoon to keep me full until a light dinner and to provide energy for my afternoon walk. Often I keep the afternoon snack similar to the morning snack, but if I'm on the go I'll often have a Zing! bar, or a Kind bar and piece of fruit.

Dinners have been light and quick lately. Often just a big bowl of soup.

So that's a peek into what the Urban Hiker Girls eats. Would love to hear your favorite meals and snacks!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Change In Routine

The sun has been shining in Seattle! I could hardly stand sitting in my office or staying indoors at the school all day this week, so most evenings I would get home and go for a walk no matter how tired my legs thought they were. My pace was about 20-30 seconds off last night during my 3.7 mile walk so I knew it was time to take a break from the routine, despite the "need" to be outside enjoying the sunshine.

Tonight I was on my way home from work and got a message from a friend that they were in the UDistrict and could I meet them to go to the Museum of Flight. The first Thursday of the month is free (and I'm not going to be available for several days and they are often busy) so I said "heck yah!" We got a bus to downtown, the grabbed a Zipcar (I love that- and Car2Go!) and zipped down to the Museum. Had a great time wandering around AND I'm still counting it as exercise... though I don't recommend exercising in high heels! Blisters started to come back.

What an amazing day and a break from the normal routine of gray, rainy spring days in Seattle and walks around the neighborhood.