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Vacation in Puerto Vallarta

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October 2018:

Much has happened since I last updated here! In brief:

My kids are now 6 1/2 (first grade) and 4 (preschool). They're both great. And they're both in school most days, which is a huge relief for me, as I continue to work in tech consulting.

I've had multiple knee surgeries in the last 3 years, and gave up running and other high-impact exercise due to cartilage damage. The doctors said I could continue if I really wanted to, but I did a cost-benefit analysis and decided I'd much rather be able to walk when I'm 80 than to run now. So for now my exercise activities are mostly biking and weight lifting (I am fortunate to see a personal trainer once a week, which is fantastic). I'm pretty proud that I'm building up a visible bicep muscle!

For my knee, it's still not working right -- I've been diagnosed with a bone contusion/lesion, cartilage damage, and also a non-working VMO muscle. (This is one of the four muscles in the quads, so now on one side I have a quadricep and on the other side I have, functionally, a tricep.) I'm waiting on a special unloading brace which could take pressure off the bone and ease off on a bone contusion. I'm also undergoing ARP therapy for the muscle, wherein they basically electrocute you to the point of maximum pain and then have you do wall squats or other quad-intensive exercises. It seems to be working, but ...

In unrelated health news, I had to have surgery to repair a hernia. After putting this off for 2 years, it was time. So for the next couple of weeks, I'm completely off exercise, focusing on allowing my stomach muscles to rest and heal. (I also can't lift anything more than 10 lbs. I can walk up hills, though, but not too much at this point.) At the same time I'm between work projects (though that's starting back up again), and it's kind of a new experience to be resting and not feel like I should go exercise.

Other hobbies - I am trying to do more visual art like painting and drawing, and needlepoint. I love to read. I love spending time with friends. I bake sourdough bread, desserts, and make dinners. I enjoy entertaining. I volunteer at my son's school. In general I am busier than I can manage. So it's all very new to have a break, and I'm trying to make the most of it.

On the weight front - I recently celebrated my 10 year sparkversary. Which is awesome on the one hand, but it also makes me realize how little I've accomplished in 10 years. I'm not a weight maintainer; at best, I'm a minor yoyo-er. But on the other hand, I do believe I've made positive gains in my health. And I'm fortunate to be married to a husband who loves me, thinks I'm beautiful, and is contractually obligated to continue to do so :), so the main focus here is to keep on feeling good about myself and stay healthy.

Thanks for stopping by!

May 2017:

Great news! I'm cleared to jog (intervals for now, which is about where I was at anyway as a jogger). Goal is to do a 5k in 2017! I am going to physical therapy faithfully, and I hope soon I will also be cleared to do other exercises I enjoy like yoga and zumba.

So far I have lost 6.3 lbs in the 5% weight loss challenge starting April 1. I have 3 lbs go to go reach my 5% goal.

In reviewing my goals, I have not been great about upper body weights, but have incorporated abs. Need to put in more upper body weights - being careful of my tennis elbow.

April 2017

Inspired by the Spring 5% Weight Loss Challenge, I'm updating this to be more current:

The good news is, I mostly have healthy habits. I cook for myself and my family, using fresh produce I buy from the local farmer's market; I enjoy going to the gym, walking or biking on the beach, and doing yoga; and in general, I'm doing the right stuff. But I also love to bake, and to entertain, and to eat. So there isn't too much low-hanging fruit, which is hard -- I can't be one of those "I quit soda and lost 50 lbs" people because I haven't had a non-diet soda in years. I'm also having trouble in the exercise department these days because I'm recovering from ACL reconstruction -- doing well, but still not cleared to jog, do yoga, or do anything plyometric.

Other personal details -- I'm 38, married with a 5 year-old and an almost 3 year-old. I live in beautiful Manhattan Beach, CA, where the climate is just about ideal, and everyone (except me) looks perfect in a bikini. I work as a user experience researcher, meaning that I work with companies building digital products to help them make sure that everyone can use their website or app. And of course, I have all the challenges that come with this lifestyle -- not enough time to work out (including a long commute a few days a week). But what else is new?

I'm excited to have joined the Spring 5% weight loss challenge, and I think this will be the kick in the pants I need!

Member Since: 9/17/2008

Fitness Minutes: 107,498

My Goals:
For now, we're starting small. For the Spring 2017 5% Weight Loss Challenge, I'd like to lose 10 lbs and get from 187 to 177.

Ultimate goal would be around 155-160 lbs, which is lower than I have ever weighed in my adult life except for one short period after starting thyroid medication AND being on weight watchers. I was 165 at my high school graduation and 170 at my wedding.

My Program:
Here's what I commit to for Fall 2018

Upper body and core strength training - 2-3x/week
Other exercise (walking, biking, etc.) 2-3 days/week
Hit 10,000 steps 4 days/week

I am not following a particular diet, but I generally eat, and will continue to eat, according to the following tenets:

- Journal all food
- Stick to calorie range (apparently my resting calorie range is about 1550, so never go below that)
- Focus on protein, and some healthy fats. Lots of fruits and veggies.
- Limit packaged foods; focus on homemade foods.
- Focus on whole grains rather than grains. Limit or eliminate refined grain products (bread, pasta, cereal, etc.).
- Limit added sugars. Stick to honey or maple syrup over sugar when possible. 0-calorie sweeteners OK in moderation.
- Protein and fat with every meal and snack.

Personal Information:
When I was 18 months old, the doctor told my mother to stop feeding me so much. At 8 years old, I had my first memory of being told to say no to cookies. I remember multiple battles with my mother over food and weight - she'd find candy or bags of dried fruit under my bed, I'd cry, she'd cry, etc. I've been on weight watchers at least two different times. I've been to three different private nutritionists. I've journaled, I've exercised, I've done this and that.

Thank god, a lot of the external pressure to lose weight is gone. Turns out my mother was mainly worried that I would never find love (untrue; this has never been a problem for me, and I've been happily married for the last 8 years); that I would have major health problems (so far my cholesterol and blood pressure are good); and even that I wouldn't find a job (I have a great career working for myself now, which is much better than the jobs I had had in the past). But I still see the scale slowly creeping up.

Other Information:
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are
And listen to the wind singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, and the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are, right now,
Not who you would like to be.
Not the saint you’re striving to become.
But the being right here before you, inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You’re already more and less
Than whatever you can know.
Breathe out, touch in, let go..

John Welwood

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    Welcome back, Hilary! I'm so glad you had a good vacation -- it sounds wonderful!

    And, good for you for hitting the ground running. Your consistency is really impressive -- I always think of you when I am debating working out!

    Today I went back to work for a half day; last week I was out doing my thing and the next moment I was sick as can be. I've been in bed with a flu for a week now. I am still only 60 or 70%, so I am waiting before I start working out again. Instead, I am sleeping a lot and eating a lot of chicken soup and veggies.

    I am definitely up for registering for races. Totally motivational!! Hope you have a good day on Thursday and your week continues to be a healthy one!

    2919 days ago
    Thanks for visiting my angry birds workout blog. Hope you have a terrific rest of the week :) Keep sparking!!
    2920 days ago
    thanks so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. Hope you have a great week. I didn't go to the gym today didn't want to sweat and then freeze, i won't take a shower there because of the flu and other germs. so it was play time for me with p90x kenpo x i got my cardio in at home yeah. and it was fun like play. your wedding pictures are gorgeaus.
    2921 days ago
    Congrats on your 2.45 mile run, Hilary! emoticon

    Great job! I hope all is going well in Hawaii -- you're getting time to enjoy your family and the beautiful weather. And, I COMPLETELY AGREE that 9 flights of stairs count as cardio! Are you kidding me?!?

    I signed up for a BURN class on Monday nights -- 25 minutes of run/walking and 25 minutes of lifting/toning. So, Monday I had a good workout, and managed to run all the challenges and walk only during the rests. We did mostly hill intervals, so I was really proud!

    I am headed to the gym now. On tap: 30 minutes run/walk I'm going to try 2 minutes run/1 minute walk and increase my speed slowly. Then, I have a 30 minute weight workout focussing on large muscle groups. Wish me luck! emoticon
    2927 days ago
    Hi Hillary,

    So, new running buddy!

    I just wanted to let you know I tried running this past week. On Friday I ran/walked for 20 minutes. I did 2 minutes on and 1 minute recovery. It went pretty well. I had a very limited amount of time, and I felt like I got a good workout in during that short time. This weekend I am resting (trying not to start to do too much too soon -- I am still a sparks newbie).

    How was your weekend? Any running going on?

    2930 days ago