Tag: exercise

Hey Friends and Summer Movie Report Card

So sorry I haven’t written in a bit.  I haven’t been feeling great and was a little bit blocked on what to write about.  Sometimes after 7 years of blogging it can be a little tough to think of new topics to write about especially when I have my separate movie blog.  I figured I would just give you a little update on what’s going on in my life like I used to do when I was just starting out the blog.

Summer is slipping by faster than it should and I’ve hardly gotten to the open water at all.  Next week I am going up to Bear Lake to swim a 1/2 mile swim.  It should be a lot of fun and at least I will be in the water for the weekend.

It’s not even that I’ve been that busy I’ve just had an upset stomach and been battling an infection that won’t go away and is very uncomfortable.  I don’t know if it is this infection but I’ve felt low energy lately, like I wish I could sleep all day and do nothing.  Do you ever get that way?

It’s hard feeling so tired because I need to get back into shape.  The whole prospect is completely overwhelming.  After being bedridden for a while last year I’ve had a hard time jumping back into my exercise routine.  I think I am going to try and make little changes and not do anything too drastic. My goal is to focus on eating right and swimming as much as I can.  That should keep it from being too miserable.  Do any of you have any suggestions?

Everything is going well at work.  Like I posted a few weeks ago I am taking a slower strategy- still working very hard but trying to wait on things and make them as perfect as I can instead of rushing.  It seems to be working out quite well.  (The one downside to telecommuting is I’m never 100% sure what people think of me but I feel like it is positive).

I’ve been learning a lot and we have a new giveaway for MagicCool cooling towels you guys should check out. http://gvwy.io/3u8zr6. It would actually really help me out if you did enter and it’s super easy to do.

I’ve had a fun summer watching movies.  As far as new movies here’s the summary:

Minions- cute but not that funny.  C

Terminator Genisys- Arnold is good but that’s about. Makes no sense, bad acting. D+

Me Earl and the Dying Girl- Cute if a bit derivative of other movies and filmmakers B

Inside Out- Completely brilliant. Best movie I’ve seen since Perks of Being a Wallflower in 2012  A+

When Marnie was There- Moving exploration of a tween girl with depression and the mystery of the marsh house.  A

Love and Mercy- Ambitious combination of 2 movies about Brian Wilson of Beach Boys.  I liked it but it felt kind of fractured and wedged together.  B-

Jurassic World- Stupid movie but entertaining in spurts. C

San Andreas- Rock can’t save the bad dialogue and special effects I’ve seen before.  D

Tomorrowland- Interesting concept, original idea but episodic in feel, miscast and to be honest kind of boring.  C-

Mad Max Fury Road- Visceral, insane war movie with great battle sequences like I’ve never seen before.  A-

Far From Madding Crowd- Loved 2 leads, beautifully shot, didn’t like Troy segments or actor. A little soapy at times. B-

Pitch Perfect 2- Same plot as original but taken international. Nothing special but I did like the songs and it did make me laugh. B-

Ex-Machina- Very well made AI thriller. I wish I was a little more emotionally connected to characters and ending a little predictable but definitely worth seeing. B+

Age of Adeline- Hated the narration and kind of soapy but charismatic cast saves it. Overall a fine time at the movies.  C

Avengers Age of Ultron- I loved it.  I liked getting my backstory on all the team. Liked they seemed vulnerable, Ultron and the ending was great A+

So that’s the movies for the summer.  Over all, I think last summer was stronger.  I can tell you one thing I am grateful to Mad Max because I am so tired of dopey action movies like Terminator Genisys that don’t give me anything new.  Inside Out is by far my favorite of the summer and year.  It blew me away.

If you are deciding what to spend the big bucks on I would say my As are the best movies of the summer- Inside Out, When Marnie was There, Mad Max Fury Road and Avengers.

What have you liked this summer at the movies? Make sure to check out the movie blog for reviews of almost all these movies

What else is going on…

Well, I have been enjoying Big Brother.  Audrey is the first transgender contestant and she is stunningly beautiful. I would never have known if she hadn’t told us.  Unfortunately, she’s also been a total train wreck in the house but she seems to be squeaking by somehow.  It’s been a lot of fun to watch.  I really like a guy named Johnny Mac who is a dentist from Pennsylvania.  He is so funny.  There is also a poker player named Vanessa who I think could win.  I wish they weren’t doing Battle of the Block again because it makes things very predictable.

Any of you watch it?

I guess that is a good update on things going on.  Let me know what is going on in your life.

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Exercise and Weight Loss Success

Many of you know I believe in a healthy lifestyle or the Health at Every Size Movement http://www.haescommunity.org/. 

How do you determine the success of a health regiment or diet? I would wager that 90% of you would answer “weight loss”  or if you didn’t you probably would be thinking ‘weight loss’ in your head but saying something more socially acceptable.

Here’s the thing- THAT IS WRONG!!

Every day there seems to be more evidence that the link between weight, even obesity, and actual health is not as strong as we once thought.  This defies the logic of the ‘war on obesity’, Michele Obama, scores of trainers/dieticians but that doesn’t mean it is not true.

Read this book.  It will BLOW YOUR MIND

health at every sizeThink it is just one woman’s crazy enabling antics?  No.  The book has 7 pages of detailed recommendations from doctors, leaders, scientists etc.  (see articles for more back up

US News World Report 

New York Times, and New York Times

The Today Show

To start the book Dr Bacon (I know ironic last name) shares her testimonial.  Here it is directly from the book:

health at every size 2This quote might lead you to believe the book is merely anecdotal but its not.  There is real science to back up what she says about eating healthy, being happy and not worrying about weight.  She leaves no stone unturned answering questions about diabetes, cholesterol, heart disease, bone density, and even has the most brilliant defense against gastric bypass I’ve ever read. I’m telling you it will change the way anyone, not just the obese, look at eating, health and exercise. Here is my favorite (this is also quoted in Amy Farrell’s brilliant book Fat Stigma):

UC Davis.

“In this study, a group of fat women was divided into 2 groups, one receiving coaching in restrictive eating (diet) and exercise, the other being encouraged to eat a healthy diet, listen to their bodies cues, to foster ways to engage in fun exercise and take part in a fat acceptance discussion group.

Significantly group 1- the traditional diet/exercise group- initially lost weight, but by the end half had dropped out; most had regained weight; blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had not improved and self-esteem levels had dropped.

In contrast, group 2 hadn’t lost any weight, but most stayed with the 2 year program; their blood pressure, cholesterol, and other metabolic measures had improved dramatically; their self-esteem levels increased substantially; and they exercised regularly.  Encouraged to pay attention to their bodies, to stop restricting calories, to fight the discrimination they experienced as fat people, and to enjoy their bodies through physical movement and eating well- the non-dieters showed significant health improvements.  But, and this is the key point, they never became thin.”

Doesn’t that blow your mind?

One of Dr.  Bacon’s patients describes her battle and realization of her own worth so beautifully:

health at every size 3

I recently have become aware of the activist Jeanette DePatie, otherwise known as The Fat Chick.  She gets it.  I wish someone had explained this to me when I started exercising (instead I went into it expecting to lose 100 lbs in the first year. Sigh…)

I am happy most of the time. I love  my life most of the time.  I have times when I’m more fit than others but I’ve basically looked the same since I was 17 years old and I was always ashamed by that, like it was this big failure I could never overcome.  Now I just make sure I have clothes that fit me in lots of sizes and work out at least 3 times a week.  Would I like to be skinny?  Yes, but I’m finally not convinced I’d be any happier if I was (or healthier).  The guilt is for the most part gone.

I hope this encourages all of you.  I started my journey saying I was the Only Happy Fat Woman in America and I had friends who fought me on it.  They thought I was just being patronizing or disingenuous but it was true then and today it is still true (I really had someone argue with me saying I was basically full of crap.  Not true).  TV will make you believe you have to be miserable if you are fat (biggest loser sorry)  but its a lie! Be healthy, be happy, be human, have bad days, eat cake and then work out for an hour the next day, find stuff you love, therapies that work and live the best life you can.

Every time Tanya and I swim together people look and have a surprised expression.  I know they think ‘I’ve never seen a girl that looks like do what they are doing’ and that makes me so happy.  It may be my greatest legacy of all.

So thats what I have to say on that.  Get active.  Be happy.  Love life and Follow God.

And just keep at it.
And just keep at it.
Do something you never thought you could do.  I love MMA (kick boxing) and I'm not too bad at it!
Do something you never thought you could do. I love MMA (kick boxing) and I’m not too bad at it!
Do a fashion show when you find a cute pair of jeans.  Who cares!
Do a fashion show when you find a cute pair of jeans. Who cares!
Find something you love.  Even after all the swims I've done it still makes me smile
Find something you love. Even after all the swims I’ve done it still makes me smile
My trainer who has stood by me for 4 years. She is why I go to treehouse and she is one of my rocks.  I really love her.
My trainer who has stood by me for 4 years. She is why I go to treehouse and she is one of my rocks. I really love her.

I would also just add that my times in the water when I’m at my thinnest and best trained is about 3 minutes faster than when I’m not.  My recovery is much better but my time really isn’t.  Funny. It just goes to show what your definition of success makes such a difference in achieving it.  If I was only focused on times I’d never be successful.

Deer Creek Clinic 2013

After I got home from the temple I went with my friend Tania to the Deer Creek Open Water Clinic which is held every year before the Deer Creek Open Water Marathon Swim that I am participating in for the 3rd year next week!  Last year I did the 5k but have less training and am doing the 1 mile this year.

For some reason there was a small turnout so basically Goody, Josh and Gordon put on the clinic for Tania and I, which was super nice.  They could have cancelled seeing it was just the 2 of us but they went ahead anyway and I was grateful (aren’t open water swimmers the nicest?). It was Tania’s first time swimming outside of Blackridge pond in Herriman and she was pretty nervous, but she did great!

I felt pretty good but my stamina is nowhere near what it was last year. 😦  However, I swam about 800 yards and it was good practice for Saturday.  Thanks to Josh and his boys for kayaking as I swam.  That was super nice.

I was thinking the other day- Doesn’t it seem like I’ve been open water swimming my whole life?  Its hard to imagine my life without it, and yet its only been 3 summers.  I first heard about it in July of 2011 and my friend Jim Hubbard took me to the Deer Creek Clinic and I was nervous just like Tania was and look how far I’ve come.  Pretty cool! https://smilingldsgirl.com/2011/08/05/deer-creek-clinic/

If you look at that post from my first swim it says it all:

“I did it! I did it! I did it! I swam in open water for a mile and held my own with people who had all done it before without a wetsuit. This is the best day of my life!”

I think Tania was feeling some of that as we left.  That’s what makes open water swimming or anything worth doing in life.  Its the people.  I know so many great people.  I always said I must have helped an old lady across the street in the pre-earth life because I don’t know what I did to deserve such great people in my life.  I watched my friends help Tania and was truly moved and thought of my long journey over 3 years and how great it has been.

Great people=A Great Life

Tania and me.
Tania and me.
Tania ready for her first big swim!
Tania ready for her first big swim!
Josh, Goody, Gordon
Josh, Goody, Gordon

How Mrs. Claus Relaxes

I mentioned the other day that I have a hard time relaxing and taking the day off. Well I do know 2 things that  I love and would do all day if I could and they couldn’t be more different- MMA (mixed martial arts) and massages

As my Christmas gift to myself I decided to do both and I did them with some Christmas flair!

I’ve learned some new moves since my last video.  I love doing the blocks.  I’ve also gotten faster and higher in my kicks.

Putting on my wraps before the training
Putting on my wraps before the training
awesome kick
Nice high kick! Ah ha!
gloves 2
Nobody will mess around with this Mrs Claus!
left hook
Body shots. I’m thinking of those cabinet makers slowing things down right now! 🙂

And then the massage.  I love massages.  If I was super rich I’d have a massage every day.

DSCF0924
Happy face. Little nervous at my eye alignment in this picture but don’t I look relaxed?

DSCF0920
Ready for the massage
DSCF0919
Merry Christmas!

Now that’s how you get it done!

Exercise and Control

I realized today what I have learned to like about exercising.  When I’m at the gym my success or failure is entirely up to me.  I am not talking about weight loss that can be entirely out of my control.  I’m talking about during that hour of work.  I decide whether I am going to kick butt or play it safe.

I cant get that kind of control from almost anything else in my life.  I can’t control my family, my love life (or lack of), my friends, my job, what deadlines are set for me without my say.  I think this is also why I like voice lessons.  It is entirely in my control.  (I’m doing Moon River this week. Hurray!).

This week I was under so much pressure because of a deadline set for work that even my boss had no input on.  I really thought it was going to be impossible.  I finished my end of the month 6 days faster than I normally do.  That might as well be an eternity in accountant terms!  So for each day to go to the gym and have a short sense of control makes a big difference for my mental health.

This is especially true when I’m kickboxing.  It feels so empowering and exciting to get the anger and frustration out.  I wish I could explain it. I feel like I can explode (maybe even lose control) in a socially acceptable way.

The strange thing about my anxiety is I actually feel tons of adrenalin during the anxiety.  I think that is what allows me to get through it.  I do a good job despite the tears when I’m under anxiety.  In fact, often it is my best work which is perhaps why I can’t seem to remove it from my life.   I remember my old boss saying he kept giving me more work because I did such a good job on them that I was the first person who came to his mind.  Each job I’d agree to because most of the time I had no choice but then I kept doing better and better with the increasing pressure.  Problem is my head was exploding bit by bit….Gosh it’s hard to explain.

At least when I am angry, or anxious my performance in the gym or pool is like nothing else.  Perhaps I feel challenged or my body gives off some chemical when it feels anxious that boosts performance?  I’m not a doctor so I’m not sure. In February I was very upset because of a personal disappointment but I had an appointment to swim so I went and my times totally rocked.  Has anyone else experienced this?

It’s funny because I generally don’t get adrenalin from exercising.  In fact, I never do.  I get adrenalin from anxiety and stress and then it helps me in exercise but it doesn’t actually cause adrenalin.   Maybe before races I just need someone to break my heart or tick me off?  (Please, no!). 😉

Anyway, I was grateful this week when working 12 hour jammed pack days and having my anxiety episode that I have built up a pattern of exercise to help me feel in control.  I don’ t know how I could have made it any other way.  Well, I know it would have been an episode a day earlier and much more severe. I’ve said it a million times but for me anxiety is all about fear and control.  Cognitive therapy has taught me a lot about rationalizing and overcoming that fear but I think everyone needs some control over their life.  For me, exercise does that.

Sometimes I feel like I’ve been forced into this mindset of control because so often in my life I’m in situations where if I didn’t do it, or lead it, it didn’t happen.  I remember even going back to Middle School and there was a craft fair for some club and I made nearly every craft.  (Still have the burn on my leg to this day).  In grad school I decided to give up control and went on a trip trusting my group for a project.  Came home and turns out they hadn’t read the assignment fully and in 3 days I had to come up with a survey of JWA employees, tabulate the results and turn in the assignment for the group.  That was the last time I took a back seat in grad school I will tell you that!

This is how it goes for me. Every job I’ve ever had has been one where I had no back up or substitute, total control. Funny because I think I’m a natural leader?  (I admit I’m a terrible follower…).  A side of me obviously likes this control or it wouldn’t land in my lap  so often (I certainly hate the reverse and being told what to do all the time) but the anxiety is an unwelcome side affect I’m getting better at dealing with.  (this is why a mission was so hard for me. You lose all control, but it was for God so I knew it was in His hands and had a great, if exhausting, experience).

This blog actually gives me control.  In the end it is my voice and I chose what to put out there.  No editors (but my own constant editing), no teachers, no collaborators to deal with.  Just me and my voice.

You see why I’m single.  This control thing will be interesting come marriage!.  Even in dating and relationships I feel I often have to take control but that can be obnoxious too.  Are you asking the right questions? Are they being real?  What should you say?  One time I went on a date and a guy made me ask every question or it was silent and then at the end I hadn’t finished my food I said ‘Sorry I’m a slow eater’.  He said ‘Well, if you didn’t talk so much’…Last time we went out!

I guess in the end it is all kind of silly because I don’t really have any control . That is in God’s hands. Believe me He made it possible for me to finish the impossible task this week.  He held my hand when I felt out of control and He helped me make the tough choices.  Some may look at my life and even express to me that I have nothing to feel anxiety about.  What a comfort to know that God understands and loves me no matter what.  He is all patience.  All love.  And He knows us and knows that in the midst of the hurricane I need an hour of control at the gym

(Thanks also to my trainers Michele and Ben for being so great during this crazy week).

I honestly feel like I did on my mission and I can’t wait for a relaxing weekend.  Wahoo!

Deer Creek- First 5k Race

The big race has come and gone and I finished!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  It was such an awesome journey.  I still can’t believe that I actually did it.  It was so exhilarating.

At the 5k Turn Around

The day started early in the morning.  Having taken some serious sleeping meds I actually got a pretty good sleep. Then I ate my traditional pre-race breakfast bowl and headed to meet Michele.  Michele is my trainer and kindly agreed to kayak for me at the race.  For having only kayaked a couple of times she did great and was very encouraging.

Michele and I at the lake. I got a new swimsuit for the race, inspired by the amazing Olympians I’ve watched the last two weeks. Too bad my cap wasn’t red. That’d be perfect 🙂

We drove down to Deer Creek Reservoir and met up with my swim family.  Some of them couldn’t make the race because of other commitments and some were overseas helping Gordon Gridley swim the English Channel (great job Gordon!) .  But a lot of my friends were there and I really can’t say enough about the bond I feel with so many of the other swimmers. They are just the best, cheering me on, waving in the water, hugging me when I finish.  It is so wonderful to be a part of.

Charlie’s Angels eat your heart out! Sue, Etsuko and me medals in hand.
Kate and I
Etsuko and I

It took a while to get everything started but at about 8:40 we were in the water and on our way.  I did better keeping with the main group than I’ve ever done before (and I didn’t finish last! 🙂 ). The water was like glass, beautiful and it is a gorgeous lake. The only challenge was it was hard to find things to sight to because the buoys were small and not a lot of large trees or formations to look at.

Isn’t that beautiful. I honestly don’t understand how anyone couldn’t love open water! It’s so amazing to be swimming in such gorgeous settings. So much better than a pool!

I made it to the 1/2 mile length fast and was surprised at how I clipped along the first half.  I’m not sure what my time at a mile was but I’m sure its the best I’ve ever done. There was a bit of confusion for me at the 5k turn around but Michele touched me with the paddle and let me know I was going the wrong way!

At about that point I got cramps in both my legs.  My legs felt tight the whole morning and I was honestly waiting for the cramp to come.  I could feel it dying to come out.  I was scared when both legs started cramping but I was able to wiggle the cramps out and keep on going.  Honestly swimming was the best thing for the cramps.  It was only when I stopped that their mischief started.

I did 2 feedings during the 5k eating gel packs.  They are so gag inducing but do help with the cramps.  I also had a vitamin water this time and I love that!  It was sweet enough to give me energy without spiking my blood sugar more than it already was from so much exercise.  It also has electrolytes and other vitamins to help with the race.  It definitely helped me finish.

At about the 2:15 mark I made it back to the 1/2 mile buoy and as crazy as it sounds that last 1/2 mile was definitely the hardest. There started to be more boat traffic and the big lumbering waves boats make are tough (tough both for me and Michele!).  I felt like the finish line was never going to come.

Race finished!

Then I saw it and I pushed and pushed, practically sprinting the last 50 yards.  To finish you had to smack the finishing buoy which I did in enthusiastic fashion.  Done!  I had done it.  Me the overweight girl from Draper had just swam most of a lake.  5k! I still can’t believe it!

It honestly was one of the best days of my life.  Every swim I do is one of the best days of my life.  I’m so grateful to have such an awesome sport in my life and to be considered an athlete.  Who would have thought?

Thanks to everyone for your love and support. It may not be gold but I guarantee you no Olympian has worn a medal with more glee than I wore my finishing medal today.  Hurray!

Finished, done, another one in the history books! Hurray!

Now on to Slam the Dam!  Next goal 🙂

Sue, Etsuko and me. Charlie’s angel redo? 🙂
Done! Such a great moment

This Fat Girl Kicks Butt

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I have taken up boxing.  This has long been an interest of mine ever since I took self defense at BYU.  It was such a thrill to be able to kick the tar out of my teacher (he had padding!).  Plus, it is the kind of thing that growing up big you don’t think you can do.  Not in a depressing, sad way but in a nonchalant, not even think twice about it way.  It didn’t even occur to me to try something like boxing let alone that I might actually be good at it.

Despite loving my class I let the hobby slip away and didn’t pick it up again until earlier this year.  Let’s be honest the last year and change has been tough for me and I can’t tell you how great it feels to get the stress out with each punch.  I started out going to boxing is for girls which I still attend and think is awesome but it is a bit of a drive from my house.  Still, I go when I can.

Fortunately I saw a trainer named Ben at my gym doing a UFC type of training and I was so excited! I asked him if he would train me and its been great.  He is such a creative trainer, always coming up with new tools and routines but my favorite is still the UFC, mixed martial arts routines. He’s also a super encouraging guy that makes me laugh.  We have great chemistry which is essential in finding a trainer or a friend for that matter.

I did it twice this week.  Make no mistake it is a hard workout.  I sweat like a marathon runner but it is so satisfying. I honestly never want to stop and only do so when my body revolts.

It’s also so exciting to see people watching me and I can tell they are thinking ‘wow, that fat girl can kick and punch’.  Booyah!  Everyone always sees me as this sweet smiling Mormon girl but there are other sides to me and how great to get that out in such a constructive and satisfying way.  I love it! It just goes to show that you should keep trying new things and thinking outside the box.  You never know when you will hit upon something that you not only like but are actually good at.  At the very least you will keep exercise interesting.

To me it the perfect contrast to swimming, which is all about fluidity and peace.  Boxing is tough, aggressive and exciting. The two makes for a perfect exercise life. Rahhh!

Here is a video of the training.  Doesn’t it look like fun? It’s so great!

Btw, I saw Warrior this week.  Loved it! Very inspiring with a good script and great acting.