Commit To Being Healthy|120 Days Becoming Healthy

There are only three to four months a year where people are not celebrating something with food. So technically you have to navigate through the rest of eight to nine months trying to avoid going over board. April isn’t one of those months, especially when you come off forty days of giving up something in the food category called Lent. No wonder when Easter/Passover comes around you are shoving hot cross buns in your mouth while taking out the chocolate Easter bunnies like Mr. Mc. Gregor in The Tale of Peter Rabbit.

hungry animation GIF

BUT…. I manage to contain myself when it came to those oh so wonderful little chocolate bunnies. I only had one and it was Cadbury.

How Was I Successful?

At the beginning of the month I had to move desk space at work again (cue eye roll, really??), but this meant moving far away from the candy dish full of mini Kit Kats and M&M (maybe a Snickers bar in there too) to a whole new section where the green juice and Raisin Bran cereal people hang out . Yep I’m counting this as a successful point in the month-don’t judge me! Also having a desk faraway from the the break room meant those left over lunch meeting stuff was never seen by me until the end of the day.

On the fitness side of things I started to get really into training for the 5k I will be running in July. Just walking during lunch along the trail behind the building and getting a good run in early in the morning has helped to bring back the running stamina needed to get through 3.1 miles around the stadium. I will admit it has been a few years since I last trained for a 5K let alone a half marathon. In the process of the last month I have seen a significant loss of weight compare to the first two months of the year. You can call it motivation when another 4lbs comes off. Along with walk/run training part, I have been back to weight lifting to help in the process of building muscle to replace the fat I am loosing.

Last month I talked about eating at my desk most days due to having so much work to slog through. Instead I take my lunch and a book to read when no one in the break room wants to talk to me (a common thing really. Is that healthy?) to the break room to get away. At one point I drove to Woodenville to get lunch at Shake n’ Go to get away for awhile. Not taking my work home with me and allowing myself time to unwind from a stressful day has helped so much. Just setting those boundaries has helped with having a weekend I can now call “me time.” Commit to being healthy is not all about diet and exercise, but also being healthy mentally. I wrote a post a week ago regarding me trying to be everything to everyone.

What Didn’t Go So Well?

With Easter comes BREAD!! I grew up as a bread kid. I would hide pieces of bread in my room to consume later. At one point my parents had to hid the bread from me or lock the bread box! Just as Oprah has said many times, I love bread and I could eat nothing but bread everyday if it meant I could not get fat (chocolate too!). I’m with you Oprah! The fact is every Easter comes hot cross buns, resurrection rolls, and anything with yeast in it. I may have over indulged in the baked goods at work, home and even church. Easter Sunday the church had pancake breakfast before both services. Yep I had a helping of two pancakes and shame on me because I knew better.

What Motivates Me?

Motivation is to establish healthy habits, and get myself ready for the 3.1 miles in July. But lets be real, its the fact I’m loosing “extra” weight that is motivating me to keep going. Having coworkers and friends saying I look more healthy than before helps during the moments when I almost want to give up on bad days.

What Can I do Differently next month?

The first few months this year I was on Whole30 for 90 days and in April I decided to take a month off from doing the program. In May I will be going back on Whole30 again to reset after Easter indulgences. With the local farmers markets starting to open around the area, getting fresh produce for my Whole30 will be easier and keeping with my goals of getting as much healthy fresh food as possible.

On the fitness side of doing things differently, I will be continuing with the couch to 5k training plan for July. If the weather becomes more sunny, maybe getting off the treadmill in the morning for a run in the morning would be great.

I Give Myself 4/5   Stars for this month!

Commit To Being Healthy|90 days In

Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.


Henry David Thoreau

Lent began in the month of March and for forty days before Easter (April) it all about finding the balance between exercise and being healthy. Which would have been lovely if I did not start the season of Lent off sick! In the spirit of being healthy, well… some times the cold virus finds you, and takes you down for a few days. I am thankful every year I do not get the flu virus and with being vaccinated every year, this is the reason why I bounce back from a cold as well. It meant having to put my 5k training plan on the back burner for a week and half to make sure I was healthy enough to start back on it.

Being sick sucks! Having a hot toddy tea and reading the latest book on the royals made it better!

This month had been one of those going from two extremes; stress and peace. After enduring one extreme after another in the month of February, March started out with an extreme of snow still falling, to ending with spring sun. Gave the whole meaning of March comes in like a lion and leaves like a lamb. Also another month of food with St. Patrick’s day full of the most unhealthy versions of Irish food and cheap green beer at restaurants. I some how made it through this month. Staying ninety days committed to making healthy choices is not a sprint, but a marathon at times. So here is the questions and answers to how the March- 90 days in all went down.

How Was I Successful?

With spring coming early in March, there were days when the sun was shinning and getting outside for a few hours helped with getting in the necessary exercise needed. With starting to train for my 5k this July, I started to go walking at least a few times a week after work.

Real authentic Irish food was made and consumed on St. Partick’s day instead the over hyped unhealthy food people associate the day with. This year I decided to make an Irish boxy with brown gravy to make my English Great-Nana proud, and Irish soda bread made with Guinness. May come across not even close to Whole30, but the ingredients are as wholesome as it get.

What Went So Well?

The fact there was a stretch of days of sunny warm weather in Seattle right before spring. After a few days of snow showers coming down, and the other crazy weather happening, just have a warm sunny day helped in getting outside for a few hours. With days becoming more spring like later in the month, the farm stands along the road started popping up selling fresh produce. Having a farm stand on my way to work and back home helped with those days when you need something healthy, but don’t want to drive to the grocery store.

What Didn’t Go So Well?

As I mentioned above, getting sick at the beginning of the month did not go so well. Getting older being struck down for a few days with a cold or flu just takes a whole lot out of you. Research as suggested when someone starts changing some of their unhealthy eating habits and looses weight, the immune system

Sick-in-office

I started to find myself keeping up with Whole30 plan slipping. When I came down with a cold, all I wanted was garlic bread, orange juice, and chicken noodle soup. Each of those are not completely Whole30 compliant, and feeling unwell I did not care! This I did not care went on for two weeks where I was fasting by not eating breakfast or lunch in order to speed up my weight loss. Great if you have a fast metabolism, but as we age or metabolism slows down.

What Can I do Differently?

Figure out how to balance all the stress happening all of sudden from work, and life. I am known to be a stress eater, so when times of stress happen it can derail me fast. With stress comes unhealthy sleeping habits and putting your immune system at risk of catching the latest virus circulating around. I realized taking my work home every night is not a solution to the mass amount of work needing to be done, and I need to set boundaries for myself to follow through on. With the days becoming longer and sunny, I should take a real lunch break and get outside for awhile instead of sitting eating my lunch at my desk while doing work.

Yep I maybe turning into a workaholic-please send help soon!

I believe this could be what I do differently next month. Stop stressing over not getting everything done in one day, and set boundaries in eating away from my desk. My mental health and sanity will thank me later for doing this.

What Motivates Me?

After the bought of sickness from a cold spreading around work, I decided to go through all my workout cloths and start fresh again. During a store closing sale, I picked up new workout bottoms to start training for my 5k run in July. Just putting these bottoms on gave the motivation to get out there an kick some butt! With three months to go before running 3.1 mile around the T-Mobile Park for a non-profit, and the fact summer is fast approaching, I need to be fit for all the hikes I want to take.

How Do I Feel?

I’m feeling the spring fever of a fresh start again. I noticed a little of weight has come off this past thirty days, but not nearly as much as last month. I feel better after being knocked down for a few days by a cold, and now with sun coming out, my goal of healthy habits started to really ramp up.

I Give Myself  4/5  Stars

Commit To Being Healthy|60 Days On Whole30

February is a short month, but judging by all the craziness happening in the short twenty-eight days, it seemed to drag on longer than expected. No, it was not getting bored with Whole30 meals, but the weather here in Seattle. What made February a crazy month was the two three winter snow storms that hounded the Seattle area. If you saw the post on the snowpocalypse you would understand why it was called an apocalypse. Sticking to Whole30 is hard when you really want to indulge in hot chocolate- real creamy hot chocolate- without falling off the wagon. Thank goodness someone figured out how to make hot chocolate Whole30 compliant. Other than shoveling snow constantly (hey exercise!), February was a month of dodging all that Valentines Days candy on sale or at work (and girl scout cookies too, ugh double whammy!). I somehow made it through without having the damn sugar dragon going on all-out war. Here is a recap of what commit to being healthy!

Progress Snapshot:

After all the snow shoveling I should have lost some weight. After stepping back on the scale after another thirty days, I had managed to loose 4.5lbs! Some of it had to do with starting to train for a 5k in July. Right now I have managed to average 10lb weight loss in two months.

How Was I Successful?

Have you ever struggled to drink enough water? I have! I came across an Instagram story by Brittney Aldean (Jason Aldean’s wife) talking about how she struggled with drinking enough water during her pregnancy. She recommended Liquid I.V. electrolyte drink mix as a way for the body to get more hydrated. Being the scientist I am, I did a little research and tried the stuff out for a whole week. I found it did help keep me hydrated during the day (science lab air can be very drying during the winter months) and did help in drinking an equivalent of three glasses with a single packet. The difference I found with Liquid I.V. does not taste like a sports drink, but more towards what Pedialyte taste like. After a month drinking the stuff I started to make a habit of drinking more water or tea to reach the eight glasses a day of water.

What Didn’t Go So Well?

All those Valentines Day candies on sale because of the snow storm. Yep, almost too a nose dives into a bowl of Hersey’s kisses and hugs because I need a hug after driving in the winter storms.

Also I noticed (TMI alert) I’m passing gas more frequently (not the stinky stuff) then before. This could be a side effect of my gut health being restored back to normal working order, and the rest of my body is still trying to catch up with the new changes. Who knows!

What Can I Do Differently?

One thing I could do differently is not stress about all the things I cannot eat! There has been times where the stress went through the roof when trying to find something to eat that was Whole30 compliant. I have to remember this is elimination diet of foods that are potential issues, and not eliminate natural flavor of the foods itself.

How Do I Feeling?

Feeling like I am slowly managing the sugar dragon, and making a dent into making a habit of eating healthy clean food.

What Motivates Me?

Image result for refuse to abuse 5k

I signed up for my first 5k run in a few years for July. Now $40 into this, I might as well get serious on being committed to being healthy if I want to run majority of this race.

I Give Myself  3/5  Stars

Commit To Being Healthy|30 Days On Whole30

For some of you reader may remember my failed attempt at committing to being healthy back in 2017. Then tried it again at the first part of 2018 and fell off the wagon after a stressful month in college. I bet you rolled those eyes when you read the title of this post! Alas! I have completed my fourth Whole30 (30 days total) and rocked it.

So here I am again posting about being committed to being healthy as a goal for 2019 instead as a New Year’s resolution (why? b/c goals are easier to obtain mentally). Also being in my early thirties means I no longer can eat all the crap my brain still thinks I can! Still, after meeting Melissa Hartwig two times at book signings (own all four cookbooks now with signatures!) I should put all those books to use). After all, I needed to put my old college lab coat to use, why not as an apron?

With my lab coat, and the Whole30 Slow Cooker Cookbook in hand, I started my Whole30 on January second (January 1st is just too hard after being sleep deprived) and went all the way to thirty days January 31st. Here is the rundown of all happened in a month.

A Partial Fasting For One Week:

You can say Whole30 is a partial fast because, in partial fasting, you generally omit a specific meal or refraining from certain foods in your diet. If you want to go further, you can work the Whole30 plan into a regular spiritual or prayer fasting routine. For one week during the thirty days, I decided to try my hand at fasting from intake of food between 8pm to 6am (you can say intermitting fasting as well).

Photo by Buenosia Carol on Pexels.com

How Was I Successful?

Success for the thirty days was due to a little phone app by Samsung. If it was not for Samsung Health tracking my food intake, how many steps I took, how much sleep, weight, heart rate and oxygen saturation, it probably would have made the process harder.

What Didn’t Go So Well?

Well… recipe wise, there was one recipe that was a major flop. The Shrimp Boil recipe (p. 228) for the Instant Pot in Slow Cooker Cookbook turned out to be a lesson in why they call them New England Shrimp Boils for a reason. Maybe the slow cooker would be better, but this PNW girl will leave shrimp boils to New Englanders or the local seafood restaurant. Also trying to recreate Old Bay seasoning may contribute to the problem as well (I have no idea what Old Bay seasoning taste like).

Male First World Problems meme

I caught myself almost shoving pizza in my face about five times after work started ordering pizza to use up their pizza subscription service with the local pizza place. I resisted in the end! It has been hard trying to stay on track with food around the office at some point. Even the salad bar was not completely Whole30 approved!

What Can I do Differently?

Besides sniffing the pizza fumes, I could be more consistent in logging exercise. It has been hit and misses with logging in how much exercise I am doing a day. At work, it is hard to bring my phone into the lab to record all the steps I take for fear of having something nasty happen to the phone in my lab coat pocket. Next month I hope I will be more consistant in logging my excersise.

What Motivates Me?

The days getting longer as the days march closer to spring. Even in January there were days of sunshine here in Seattle! Getting out for a short walk during lunch at work motivated me to continue to on my journey of being committed to healthy habits.

How Do I Feel:

How I feel is a little better. I am starting to take back control of what I eat, and how it is effecting my overall health. I haven’t reached the “tiger blood” stage after thirty days, but it could be subtle compare to first time Whole30ers.

Progress Snap Shot:

I started the thirty days at 160lbs with a goal to get back down to 130lbs. By the end of the thirty days, I was down 5lbs. Now in the past Whole30s, I was averaging almost 7-8lbs. This time it was different. Thou 5lbs may not seem much from the past, it a whole lot more when the body composition showed inches lost around the waist.

I Give Myself  3/5 Stars

I’m still continuing onward on the journey of commit to being more healthy. I will continue to be doing another Whole30 (Whole60) in the coming month.

Tanzanian Adventures| End of A Journey

How I feel about mission trips. Exactly.:

Saying goodbye is hard. Saying goodbye to those who had an impact on you is even harder. As I made my way back to the airport to start the thirty six hour flight journey back to Seattle, I realized this maybe goodbye for sometime. As the van drove pass by the same exact places I first saw Tanzania, I knew I had come full circle. The sight of poverty no longer made me pity people, but motivated me to help them in one way or another as I return home.

The airport was packed with people boarding flights, and it took awhile to get my boarding passes for all my flights home. Going through immigration again was not as easy as the first time. I think the lady decided to put me thought all the international security checks out there. Full palm print, full hand print, full thumb print, full face scan, full fingers scan and asking about my naturalization status in the US (I’m a born US citizen). The whole time one of the professors could see the whole screen from where he was standing and could not understand why she kept going when the screen kept flashing “clear” for everything. Finally she let me go on to board my flight.

The flight from Tanzania to Ethiopia was uneventful and I was provided with dinner which was not as good as I remembered. Once at Addas Ababa Airport, we all had to go through security again before we were allowed in to the terminal area for our flight. All of us went through without much problems, and even flip flops had to be taken off. Once in the terminal to wait to board our flight (which was at 9 pm) I realized there was no way to get any water! So if you needed water (clean water) you had to filter it from the bathroom! Thank goodness for snack with some form of liquid in them. Once on the plane we all pretty much were packed in (nothing like United flight) but there was leg room! And entertainment that was free! Win!

Here is a little physics for your brain. Since the airport altitude causes issues with planes disembarking, the plane can only take off with half the fuel for flight. This means there has to be another stop for fuel some where. So where did the plane refueled? Dublin Ireland. I saw Ireland from the window of the plane, and it was early morning with rain. I have flown over Ireland before back in 2006 on my way to England. The view is similar to the country side of England when flying over (all that green fields and moisture).  At this point I have flown over Egypt, Kenya, Sudan, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, England, and Wales. As I said in previous post, all those countries yet to be explored.

Image result for dublin airport from a plane window rain

We touched down in Washington DC (Virginia) to yet another warm sunny day. Getting through Customs and Boarder Control was easy this time. The Washington DC airport has the new customs and boarder control kosaks which speedily moves all US citizens and Canadians through the lines faster. The boarder control personnel just stamps your entrance stamp in the passport and make sure anything you declare is valid, then off you go to get your luggage. Then off through second TSA security check, which went off without a hitch this time! And then off to wait in the terminal for the flight to San Fransisco.

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The flight the San Fransisco was on United again and I got a window seat! The four hour flight from coast to coast was great. I saw from my window Virginia, Colorado, the Rocky Mountain range, and the Bay area before touching down at the airport. I only was in San Fransisco for forty-five minutes before boarding the flight to Seattle. I wish we could have had a little longer layover, but I can understand at this point we all just wanted to get home. The bay area was Cali sunny! To bad the Golden Gate Bridge was not seen from the airport or the plane ride. The flight to Seattle went off without incident, but I still dislike flying United Airlines! Still stuck in Y class (back of the plane where the toilets are), and no leg room what so ever. Two of the guys in our group had to trade people for aisle seats for their legs.

Once touche down in Seattle to a rainy cold welcome, we all made our way to the baggage claim where our families were waiting for us. My suitcase was one of the first ones off the plane (TSA checked it, so it was part of the last aboard) and off to the parking garage to drive home during rush hour traffic. My parents did get me Dick’s hamburger for dinner, and then I just crashed for a whole twelve hours to sleep and get rid of a cold that was forming while flying home.

The richness of knowing and loving people in more than one place -Want to Travel for FREE? Learn How To Beat The System. Click to find out..:

A week was not long enough in Tanzania, and leaving was hard. For the whole week I was disconnected and cut off from the outside world. My phone on airplane mode the whole time, and used as a camera only. A unintended digital detox. For once in a very long time I was focus only in the present moments, and in my surroundings. I really didn’t care what was happening clear across the world in US, and I didn’t care what was happening at home in Washington either. As one of my friends said it was like a paradigm shift had happened in that short week of being in the Tanzania. When I came back from Tanzania I no longer wanted to hear the political crap spewing from the news every time it news was on. Finding the strength to tell a professor they were interfering with God’s plan for me, and the needed step back when it came to my career path.

My heritage. Africa runs through my blood and makes my heart beat.:

Why Tanzania? Well….

ubuntu (n.) the belief that we are defined by our compassion and kindness towards others:

That is why Tanzania!

Asante sana kwa ajili ya kusoma adventure yangu katika Tanzania. Natumaini msomaji watapata Afrika kwa ajili yako mwenyewe siku moja. Asante!
(Thank you very much for reading my adventure in Tanzania. I hope you reader will experience Africa for yourself one day. Thank you!)

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Previous Post: The Bells Toll and Shopping

Tanzanian Adventures|Bells Toll & Bargain Shopping

Updated: 12/2017

Since it was a long drive back to Arusha from Ngorngoro, our team checked in to the Karatu Hotel run by the Lutheran Church of Tanzania in the town of Karatu. I would not exactly call it a hotel, but more like a hostel. The rooms are clean, there is a shower and bathroom, but the room I was assigned would have things left over from the last person who occupied it. The beds all have mosquito nets which hint at the fact there was a rather large hole in the screen of the windows in which these nasty insects could come in. For the first time on the trip I had to use DEET spray for the bed sheets, and put on my insect lotion before bed. At this point all those anti malaria pills I have been taking all this time better be effective since I did get two mosquito bites during the night (as of this writing I DO NOT have malaria!).

Image result for karatu lutheran hotel tanzania

After checking into the room, I found myself along with the rest of the group eating dinner communal style with the other guests in the large dining hall. Being college students we have no problem with this concept, but the other guests may have not. Dinner consists of a potato chicken broth soup with rolls, some Tanzanian pilau, cucumber salad and some Tanzanian dessert I don’t recall the name of. With dinner done, I headed back to my room and crashed.

My room-mate got the scare of her life in the middle of the night when she walked into the bathroom to discover a moth flying into her face and a rather large spider hanging out on the wall near the toilet. Earlier on the same day I too had a rather large insect attach itself onto me. I have never seen a grasshopper as big as the one who flew into the jeep window while at Ngorogoro crater. And it was black too!

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Morning was a real treat! I awoke to the sound of church bells clanging (it was Sunday after all) and the call to prayer from the local masque all blending together. The Lutheran church across the road treated us to a spectacular sounds of singing that when you listen to the recording of it, the sound is surreal. Breakfast was again communal style with the menu of toast, more Tanzanian pilau, omelet, and juice. After breakfast we all gathered our things, and headed for Arusha to do some shopping before leaving Tanzania.

Once in Arusha we were let loose on the Maasai market in town looking for whatever we wanted. I will say being American, bartering is not something we do much, and thus I am not very good at. The thing is it does turn me off when you have store owners trying to get you to buy something you do not want at all. It is considered to be rude in African culture to not buy something after viewing someone’s shop. I committed this offense and it was exhausting after all that shopping. I only got a few things for people, like a carved wooden giraffe, chonga for myself, African tea and coffee, and a shuka (Maasai wrap). One US dollar equals $2,000 Tanzanian shillings. So $10,000 shillings equals roughly $5.00 USD. So there was a lot of things we could buy with our American money, but mostly it was transactions in shillings since shop keepers would make a huge profit off you if dollars were exchanged. Also at one point all the street vendors gathered around one store waiting for us to come out so they could hawk their wears. A crazy adventure in itself trying to get back to the van.

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I would say shopping in Tanzania was a learning experience, and I wish I could have bought more, but when you have to keep in mind the weight and size of the suitcase, it just could not all fit in there. I really wanted to bring back a floor standing wooden giraffe, but it was not going to happen. Maybe next time I come back.

More Information:
Karatu Lutheran Hotel

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