Category Archives: swimming

Almost Back to Normal

Sunday morning Michael’s family left to go home to Texas and we went out to breakfast with Jeremy. I’ve been wanting to try Hash for breakfast for a long time.

It’s a restaurant in Sellwood that seems to always have a packed restaurant. Since it was so early, we were able to get a table immediately. I got coffee and they brought scones with applesauce to the table. It was fantastic.

I wanted some eggs because it had been awhile since I had my usual breakfast. I got the omelet with Canadian Bacon, sausage, spinach and goat cheese. It was AMAZING! One of the best breakfasts I’ve had in a long time. The service was great too. I really enjoyed my experience at Hash and will definitely return to try other things.

My omelet came with fresh fruit (watermelon and blueberries) and brioche toast with freshly made raspberry jam.

I told Michael we need to recreate my omelet sometime. The crumbled Canadian Bacon and goat cheese were a fantastic combo. Originally the omelet came with truffle cheese but I asked for the goat cheese instead since I’m not a fan of mushrooms. The word “truffle” just turned me off. The goat cheese, however, went perfectly with it.

Michael got the steak, hash and poached egg dish and he said it was one of the best breakfasts he’s had in a long time too.

After breakfast I went to the pool for the first time in about a week.

It was such a wonderful, relaxing swim! I felt great in the pool and then I spent a long time in the steam room relaxing. It felt good to almost get back to “normal” after a whirlwind of house guests, trips, day trips, and lots of eating out. 🙂 Jeremy is here for another week before heading back to Ireland.

I really enjoyed having Michael’s family visit. I like them a lot and always have a great time with them. Texas women definitely have a “look” and I will admit that I felt like a big, frumpy cow next to them. It was a little uncomfortable…I’m a really casual dresser. I try to be feminine and try to wear skirts and dresses when going out, but I definitely don’t have a “look”. I also feel like I’ve gained 20 pounds in the last 5 days of over-eating. NOT looking forward to the August Weigh-In.


Pregnancy and Weight

Photo by Mercy McNab

Photo by Mercy McNab


Age: 39

Pre-pregnancy weight: 157 lbs

Height: 5’2

Size: 12

1. When is your due date?

The doctor said August 20th and my midwife used a calendar of my actual cycles and came up with August 29th.

2. Before you got pregnant, were you worried about the weight gain involved with being pregnant?

I started out overweight.  I wanted to lose 15 pounds before I got pregnant but it happened much quicker than we had planned. I was very worried about the weight gain. My sister had put on a lot of weight during her pregnancy and had a hard time losing it after. She also had gestational diabetes so I worried about that too. But once I got pregnant my concerns were more on the health of the baby.

3. How much weight did you gain during your pregnancy?

So far I have gained about 25 pounds. The last three pounds I gained recently. I actually have been worried about not gaining enough weight. The first trimester I did not want to eat. I didn’t have morning sickness; I just couldn’t stand the idea of food, especially vegetables. I worried my baby wasn’t getting enough nutrition, but the doctor told me it was normal during the first trimester to have strange eating habits.

4. Did you have any secondary issues arise because of the weight gain?

I had health issues before getting pregnant which include arthritis and IBS. Doctors warned me that pregnancy would aggravate these issues, but I had no problems with either the first two trimesters.  Now my knees are really hurting me. I cannot kneel or bend down too much. It is painful to take stairs. I am having digestion issues because the baby is bigger and my stomach is being pushed up so high.  I also hit the borderline of gestational diabetes. I didn’t have it but I was close so I changed my diet. Now I try to avoid sugar and when I eat carbs I make sure I eat protein with them. I’m back in the safe zone now; I don’t have diabetes.

Aside from health issues I am uncomfortable with the extra weight. I can’t cross my legs, I get easily short of breath, and my feet are very swollen. I went up a whole shoe size, from a 7 ½ to an 8 ½.

5. Are you worried about losing the weight after the baby is born?

I am actually not too worried about losing the weight after birth. The pregnancy has forced some good eating habits on me. I gave up caffeine from the start of my pregnancy and that has actually made me more energetic and focused. Watching my sugar intake has helped me see how much sugar is in everything. Since I have cut back on sugar my moods have been more stabilized and I feel calmer. I plan to breastfeed and I hear that will help my metabolism and help burn off the extra weight. If I keep eating the way I do now I think I’ll probably end up better off than I was before pregnancy.

6. What kind of physical activity did you do during your pregnancy? Was it difficult?

I am embarrassed to say I did very little physical activity other than working (I am a kindergarten teacher). I joined a gym before I got pregnant and after I found out I was pregnant I had big plans to work out through out my pregnancy, but, I had no idea of the energy a growing baby would take. I was exhausted all of the time. I think if I had a habit before pregnancy it would have been fine.

A few weeks ago my husband and I joined a community swimming pool and I started swimming. I plan to have natural childbirth and I heard that you should work out in some way not so much to control weight but to have endurance. I wish I had started swimming sooner. It feels really great, especially on my joints.  I tried long walks earlier but the pressure my baby had on my bladder made it hard to go far without having to use a bathroom. Swimming is the ideal form of exercise for me. We try to go three days a week.

7. What were the most surprising changes your body went through?

I am from a family of seven, all girls and one boy, I’m the youngest. I’m the last to have a child so I knew very well my body would physically change. I think the most surprising changes my body went through were internal. I imagined when I got pregnant I would eat everything in sight and my change of appetite was surprising. I also expected to have problems with my IBS and arthritis, and not only did pregnancy not complicate these issues but I actually lived the first two trimesters as though they never existed. I have a skin condition on my face and my dermatologist warned me I’d get brown spots on my face known as “pregnancy mask” but I didn’t. I think pregnancy has made me a healthier person.  I am shocked because like I said I couldn’t eat as well as I had planned, got little exercise, and started off with health issues.

8. What does your husband think about your body changes?

My husband is beyond wonderful when it comes to the changes in my body. I think it is just natural for a woman to feel less attractive when she has an extra 25 pounds on her and her body is being reshaped.

First of all, my husband loves curves on a woman and is always telling me how great I look. That is so wonderful to hear. I’ll be blunt, my breasts are changing shape and just looking very different to me, but my husband has this great attitude that my breasts are for the baby now and are being shaped for what they are naturally intended to do.  He has helped me find a different view of my body. Up to this point I related to my body physically as a sexual part of me. Now I see it as functional-almost as an object detached from whom I am inside. It is a bit freeing. I am about to turn 40 in a few weeks and I think this helps, accepting my body is just going to change no matter what. My husband is more accepting of it than me.

I went most of my pregnancy without stretch marks but recently they appeared and I was sad about it. My husband said “They will be there to remind you of this time when you carried the baby.” As I approach my last weeks of pregnancy I am beginning to feel a sense of loss, of not having the baby in me after all of this time. I love feeling the baby move and kick. It truly is a magical feeling for me, and seeing the stretch marks as a souvenir of this time puts a positive spin on things.

9. Any advice for women expecting, or wanting to become pregnant?

My advice to women who are expecting is, your body is going to change. Embrace it. I met a woman who told me she hit 300 pounds in her pregnancy and a friend talked her into having a photo shoot dressed as a belly dancer. She thought this was crazy but did it anyway and she loved it. Get a henna design put on your belly, wear clothes that show off your new breasts and belly, pose for a life drawing, or hire a professional photographer. Take pictures of your belly, your swollen feet and double chin, they are all part of having a baby.  Celebrate these changes.

To people around a pregnant woman, please be positive about our physical looks. We know we are “getting so big”. Tell us how great we look, that we glow, look happy, focus on the baby and not the extra weight.


Thank you Rae for answering these questions so honestly! I think a lot of my readers can relate to this. Many gained weight with pregnancy and are trying to lose it, and I’m sure there are others like me who want to have kids someday and worry about the body changes.

QUESTION: Moms out there, do you have advice for new moms about losing weight?

Sports Massage Monday


But before I get to the “ouch” I’m going to describe the YUM.

After work last night I went to the pool for a quick 1 mile swim. When I got home, Michael made turkey burgers.

I steamed some broccoli and Michael also made some fries in the oven.

Dinner was filling. Since I hadn’t swam my full 1.25 miles, plus hot tub, plus steam room/sauna, I had time to relax and enjoy dinner before our massages.

I had a glass of Sangiovese wine.

Instead of the relaxation massage I usually get, I asked my therapist to give me a sports massage focusing on my running muscles. I knew I was going to be tight.

The difference between a Swedish massage and a sports massage are basically relaxation vs. focused work.

He spent a lot of time on my legs. I told him about my recent injuries and my training. He worked on my calves and hamstrings for the longest. There was a knot in my right hamstring that had me LEAPING off the massage table when touched. He said that was probably a combination of the tiling we did for the kitchen remodel (squatting, bending, kneeling, stretching etc) and my sacrum injury. He said I probably overcompensated for my injury on the left side and that tightened my right hamstring. 😦

Jim, my massage therapist, mentioned that he’s also training to learn Thai Massage. He explained that it’s a massage that involves a lot of stretching and palm work. It sounded interesting and the stretching part sounded like something I might need.

He gave me a lot of good stretches to try. First, he said to stand up straight, then cross one leg over the other one and bend at the waist. That will stretch my hamstrings.

Second, he said to lay down and lift my leg. Rotate my ankle inward and then out a few times. Lower the leg to stretch and repeat it. It’s a really good stretch for the hips. I noticed that it worked immediately. It looked sort of like this:

It really worked! I will be incorporating those two into my stretching routine. He also showed me an ankle/calf stretch I could do.

My hips and legs feel MUCH better today.

My massage therapist recommended I do RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevate) when my muscles start feeling locked up. He highly recommended baths with Epsom salts.

QUESTION: Have you ever had a sports or deep tissue massage?

Curried Tuna Salad Lunch

Sunday morning’s swim was relaxing as opposed to being a strenuous workout; mostly because I woke up sore from Saturday’s weight lifting. I didn’t push myself and just let my body tell me how fast I could go. After 45 minutes in the pool, I relaxed in the hot tub, steam room and sauna for a bit.

I went to a friend’s house for lunch. She needed help unpacking after her move so she bribed me with yummy curry tuna salad. 🙂 Instead of a sandwich, we put the tuna salad on top of lettuce and a scoop of cottage cheese and called that lunch. It was delicious!

For dessert she got an “Extra Sweet Tuscan cantaloupe”. It’s really good and much sweeter than regular cantaloupe!

This isn’t the exact recipe that my friend used because she never cooks from a recipe and it changes every time!

Curried Tuna Salad

Canned albacore tuna (drained)

chopped green onion

chopped red pepper

chopped apple

chopped onion

chopped celery

mayo (or plain yogurt)

curry powder



I’ve recreated something similar on my own and I add shredded carrots and pickle to it too. I love the idea of just putting it on top of a salad instead of eating it as a sandwich. Saves a lot of calories! And it was so filling I really didn’t need the cantaloupe with it.

Is Tuna good for you?


  1. Tuna, like other fish, is full of omega-3 fatty acids. These help to eliminate erratic heart beats, and that lowers the risk of blood clots and heart attacks.
  2. Triglycerides

  3. Triglycerides are a type of fat that–when present in great amounts–contributes to high cholesterol. Eating tuna lowers the triglyceride content in a person to normal, healthy amounts.
  4. Stroke

  5. Since eating tuna helps prevent blood clots and also improves blood flow, it can help prevent strokes. Eating only 1 to 3 servings a month is enough to lower the risk of stroke in a person.
  6. Skin

  7. The omega-3 count in tuna is greatly beneficial to skin care. It helps to reduce inflammation, which helps reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.
  8. Liver

  9. Tuna is a good source of selenium as well as omega-3. This is important in liver health, which helps to promote detoxification of the body.

QUESTION: Do you have a really good tuna salad recipe? Share it!

Give Your Lungs a Workout

Walking IS a workout!

That seems to be the unanimous response from yesterday’s question about whether or not Walking is a Workout. I go back and forth on the issue because I happen to be a CARDIO JUNKIE. I run. I swim. I bike. I hike FAST. Everything is fast. I even walk fast. So it is sometimes hard for me to think of walking as a workout equal to those activities.

Do you hate running or working out because it feels like you can’t breath and your chest is going to explode?

This is a common occurrence for people just starting out their workout routines. When I was 250 I got winded pretty easily. I started swimming to lose weight and it was a difficult, tiring process. I couldn’t swim for very long before I had to rest and I was exhausted, breathing hard and my heart was pounding!

Practice, practice, practice. The swimming got easier. I could swim longer without stopping to rest, eventually I could swim 1.25 to 1.5 miles without stopping to rest or take a breather. My heart no longer felt like it was exploding and breathing felt natural.

I truly believe that because of the years of Swimming I was able to transition to Running without experiencing any breathing problems!

So here are a few ideas on how to improve lung health:

1. Swimming

Swimming is the single most effective activity in my opinion. Not only does it burn an insane amount of calories, it’s an excellent workout for the entire body. The other positive? One website claims Swimmer’s lungs  use oxygen three times more effectively than the average person.

2. Altitude Training

This is the act of training 5,000+ feet above sea level. Athletes have been using this to gain a competitive edge for years.

Why does it work? “At sea level, air is denser and there are more molecules of gas per liter of air. Because atmospheric pressure is lower at high altitudes, air is less dense and there are fewer molecules of gas per liter of air; this causes a decrease in partial pressures of gases in the body, which elicits a variety of physiological changes in the body that occur at high altitude.” [Source]

This is something I am really interested in experiencing someday. I have noticed that when hiking I don’t suffer from altitude discomfort. I attribute that to my swimming.

3. Yoga

An essential part of yoga is the breathing aspect. Often times this is neglected. I’ve been to many yoga classes where breathing wasn’t even addressed. I thought that was strange since yoga is all about the mind-body connection.

4. Don’t Smoke.

I think this is pretty self-explanatory!

5. Practice deep breathing exercises throughout the day.

This is something I need to start doing on a regular basis. Because of anxiety, I find that I hold my breath a lot. Sometimes I don’t even notice that I’m doing it until I feel lightheaded!

QUESTION: How do you give your lungs a workout? Is there any activity that is harder for you to do?

500 Calorie Dinner

After work last night I went to the pool and was happy to enjoy my swim alone! I love it when the pool is empty. 🙂 I was really hungry when I got home and wanted something quick and easy.

I was on my own for dinner and I was in a soup mood. I made the Beef with Country Vegetables (170 calories a serving) and a toasted Sandwich Thin with Chavrie cheese.

Dinner was good and very light on calories.

As my side, I had some cantaloupe.

Thanks for all the tips regarding insomnia! I slept okay last night. A few people suggested a certain kind of tea and I will be picking some up this weekend.

QUESTION: What is your favorite quickie dinner?

Bad Food Day

Saturday morning we got up and went to breakfast before starting up on the kitchen. I got the French Toast. Not the healthiest item I could have ordered but I was craving French Toast and I knew we wouldn’t be eating lunch.

I also loaded up on coffee.

The tiling didn’t go as well as we had hoped. The difficult cuts Michael had to make with the wet saw proved to be more difficult and more time consuming than we had expected. Our friends Erika and Charles came over  in the afternoon to help. Charles and Michael worked on cutting the tiles and I did the other stuff. I put the adhesive down and used the trowel to spread it on the floor (that was Michael’s job last time) and then I laid the tiles down. Erika helped a lot by handing me tiles, spacers, and paper towels to clean up the mess. We got almost all of the tile installed! There are a few left to do that we couldn’t do yesterday because of the cabinet legs. Today we’ll remove those and install the last few tiles.

I used knee pads another friend lent us and they helped but boy did they hurt my skin!

The front and back part of my knees were rubbed raw. Note to self: wear pants when using knee pads. On a cool note, the burn cream I used on my sliced palm seems to be a miracle cure! The gash is already healing and almost gone.

Since our friends helped so much we got dinner after we done tiling. Michael picked up two pizzas from Papa Murphy’s and some beer. We sat out on the deck and grilled the pizzas.

I was starving! Only eating two meals a day is not good. I ate two slices of the Hawaiian pizza and two slices of the low calorie thin crust pepperoni (not pictured).

And a few of these:

I slept hard last night and woke up feeling sore and stiff. I made Michael and I scrambled eggs, sausage and toast for breakfast (too tired to take a photo this morning) and then headed to the pool.

Best Swim Ever

I’m wondering if eating only carbs on Saturday lead to my fastest, best swim ever? I got in the pool expecting to be lethargic but was a speed demon instead! It felt effortless in the pool and I wasn’t sore or stiff! I swam for 45 minutes total but what I’m most excited about is swimming half a mile in 16 minutes. Half a mile = 18 laps = 36 lengths. I swam 36 lengths in 16 minutes. That’s my best time yet! It would have been 15 but I stopped once to fiddle with my goggles.

Honestly, I was upset about something and that fueled my swim. I tend to workout harder when I’m upset. I don’t know if it’s just that I’m not paying attention to the workout or what, but those workouts tend to be much more intense.

The guy I was sharing the lane with was a good swimmer too. I was much faster though. When he was done swimming and I had stopped to put on my hand paddles, he said, “Thank you for kicking my butt today!” I was a little surprised he was talking to me but then he said, “You are a really fast swimmer!” We chatted for a moment about how often and how long we both swim for. He thanked me again for putting a pace on him because he was trying to catch me. 🙂 That was cool. Honestly, he was a good swimmer too. He had the face of a 40-something year old but the body of a 25 year old. Clearly he swims a lot and lifts weights. It’s kind of funny being able guess what people’s primary sports are (swimmer’s bodies are a dead giveaway!).

I languished in the hot tub after my epic swim session and then decided it was time to get going (I could have stayed in the hot tub for hours today I think). Today we will lay the last few tiles…there are 2 that we can’t do today because there’s one piece of the hardwood floor in the kitchen entry way that needs to be fixed before we can do those two tiles in the entry way. But we’ve made a lot of progress and it’s totally awesome to see how it looks almost finished!