Saturday, May 17, 2014
Hello fellow sparkies,
It's been 4 months since my last blog. Time flies! I have been somewhat regular on Spark. Here's whats happened. I received a reassignment mid-Feb which involved moving 4 hours away, nearer to the border Mexico (Northern Guatemala). I had two weeks to pack up, find a place and move. Hectic to say that least. Not to mention that the day before receiving the notice, I started a cold. Well, there was no time for cuddling. I spent the following month packing, moving, unpacking and getting settled in my new assignment. However, this took a serious toll on my health. My cold turned into acute bronchitis which lasted more than 2 months. It got to the point that I was coughing so hard that I would vomit. I bruised my ribs so badly that 2 months, my ribs are still very sore.
About 2 weeks after starting to feel better from the cold, I caught the Typhoid Fever which left me so weak, I could barely walk for days. During the following two weeks, I suffered two relapses. By this point, I was so physically and emotionally destroyed that I was ready to pack up and move back to Canada. My parents heard my distress and paid for my husband and I to fly to Mexico and spend a week with them at the beach. So 13 hours on 5 buses, 2 taxis, 1 plane later, we were by the Carribean, catching our breath. It was exactly what I needed. I was able to recharge, relax and regain my sanity! It was much overdo!
My mother said that I had lost more weight since the last time I saw her (Nov. 2013). This is encouraging considering that I wasn't able to exercise for three months with all the sickness I was dealing with. I know I have lost a lot of muscle which I'm working on regaining. I've reached my goal weight but I'm thinking of lowering it another 5lbs.
To be honest, I'm not super focused on pounds, more on how I feel. I'm actually more concerned with building up my immune system and taking care of my health. I want to feel healthy again and strong, not shattered and weak. So I'm working on doing exercise every day , even if its just 20 mins of sweating, but something!
Anyways, we're back home now and ready. We've decided to make sure we have 1 day a weak off, for resting, time to spend together. The next couple of weeks will be full of work to make up for our holiday. But starting June 1st, my goal is one day off a week. I'm going to call my sanity day! No more working 7 days a week!
So this is has been my life lately. Very, very busy but learning to find a balance.
Oh, and I hiked another volcano in February. That now makes two!
Here's a pictures from our trip. One is of the sunrise where we stayed.
Have a great weekend everyone!
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
3 years ago, when I joined SP in 2011, I made a goal of climbing a mountain. The first mountain was a figurative one, losing the weight that was stopping me from climbing a real mountain. On January 8th 2014, I climbed a 13,000ft volcano near my home in Guatemala. This volcano is called, Acatenango, which shoulders an active volcano named Fuego.
Fuego is the smoking one on the left. Acatenango has two peaks, on the right.
I had two fears about this climb. First, I was scared of slowing everyone down and being the one that everyone has to wait for, especially with the 40lb pack on my back. Second, I was scared that my breathing would not allow me make it to the top. The first hour was bad. It was a straight hike up in sand. I questioned my sanity but sheer stubborness and short breathing breaks kept me going.
I remember thinking at this point: what did I get myself into?
But I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. After about an hour, my breathing calmed down and I no longer felt like I was on the brink of an asthma attack. From that point on, I was at the front. It felt so amazing to have to stop for the others!
I've come so far! It was the most amazing and memorable experience. The beauty that surrounded us was incredible. And I realized that I am strong enough! If I just push through the tough times, nothing can stop me! This is one of the most challenging hikes in Central America and I made it to the top in 5.5 hours!
So yes, I was on top of the world!
Friday, November 22, 2013
Like most people, I've bought clothes for my 'estimated' goal weight. Over the years, I've accumulated a few, especially pants. And every once in a while I go through them and try everything on. Today, I did the rounds again and tried it all on.
I'm happy to report that I no longer own anything that is too small!!! Everything fit or was too big! What a weird feeling to not own any clothing that I'm working towards fitting into! WOW! What a feeling accomplishment.
This really highlighted for me the importance of strength training. In 2011, I weighed about 5 lbs less than I do now but couldn't fit into a certain pair of non-stretch pants (size 6). And yet, even with the extra weight, I can now. Just goes to show that sometimes the scale gives you grief, but it doesn't mean there aren't any changes!
On other fronts, still sick. It's really affecting my breathing which is made worse by living at high altitude. Still not exercising, trying to save my strength. My family arrives on Sunday and Monday. My parents, my grandparents, my brother and sister in law and my great aunt. I haven't seen any of my family in at least 1 year some almost 2 years. So this is a big reunion. We rented a beach house for the week. I'm getting all the groceries bought and organized before they come since there's no grocery stores near the house. Also, I made cabbage rolls today, my Ukranian great grand-mother's recipe. We might be making pierogies also while they're here. So food galore! But I plan on enjoying myself without going crazy. I see some pool exercises will be in order :)
Anyways, I hope you all have a great weekend! Rock on!
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
After completing my dietbet in October, I had decided to do a 5 week strength training and squat challenge. I have 3 days left to it and I wanted to share what I've learnt.
First, I've realized that I really need to work on my upper body strength. Don't get me wrong, I can lift heavy things. In fact, I lift 10 pails of 20 liters of water for every load of laundry I do. But I really struggled with the military push-ups. My elbows hurt afterwards. But I like the way it started to define my shoulders. So I really need to keep Upper Body exercises on my list.
The challenge I set for myself was 6 days a week of strength training, 6 days a week of squats (up to 250) and push-ups, on top of my regular 45-60 mins of cardio daily. I've realized that this is a bit much for me. I end up working out around 2 hrs a day, every day. Moving forward, I think that I will reduce my strength training to 3 times a week. Much easier to maintain long term.
I've seen a big difference in the month. I feel stronger and leaner. It has slowed down my weight loss but I've lost an inch each on my waist, hips and thighs. I'm now 1.4 lbs away from goal. It has shown me that losing weight isn't everything. You can stay at the same weight but lose inches and look a lot better, stronger and much more toned. I'm glad that I decided to up my weight goal. I won't feel pressured by the scale and can just focus on getting toned. Any other weight loss will be bonus.
Funny story: last night I wore a dress that was tight in August and fit fine in September. Its a tailored dress, no stretch. I had it made so it basically fit me like glove. Anyways, I asked my husband to zip me up and he says: the dress is kinda loose on you, honey. Actually, looks like you're wearing a paper bag. Haha! It now has about 6 inches of extra fabric. Anyways, others made comments last night about it too which is the first time anyone has said something. A great feeling! Perseverance pays off!
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