2014: A Year of Transformation

At the end of 2013 I was at the highest weight of my entire life. I couldn’t sleep, had massive headaches, digestive problems, carpal tunnel, bad knees, mysterious aches and shooting pains all over my body, and to top it off I couldn’t stop eating. Despite all my physical issues I realized for the first time that I actually liked myself as a person and wanted the best for me. So when I wrote my 2014 resolutions the idea was to become healthier and happier whether or not I lost weight.

2014 started out strong with an 11 pound weight loss in the first two months through gradual diet changes and increased activity (swimming lessons). The following months my weight loss came to a standstill due to loss of activity (lessons ended and I didn’t purchase a membership) and job stress. After experiencing several health scares due to my now “too healthy” diet, I gave up and comforted myself by consuming everything my stomach desired. It made me feel “normal” but the job stress didn’t go away, my appetite became insatiable and my physical issues increased tenfold. Over the next month I gained back 7 pounds.

In July I reached rock bottom and was absolutely miserable. It was then I started soul searching and praying to be released from this food addiction that was destroying my life and threatened my future. It was obvious that massive change was necessary but I had no strength or motivation. Needing to clear my head, I spent a few days away from home in August and through prayer gained clarity about my next steps. I returned home and released rent on my studio, donating everything that didn’t fit into my bedroom. I started watching Heavy and Supersize vs. Super Skinny every day and was encouraged by their stories. I came to understand that if I waited for motivation I would never start turning my life around. I also gave myself permission to set all my hobbies aside and focus on my health and wellbeing.

On September first, once again at my 11 pound weight loss, I recommitted and invited God to be with me during every step of my journey. That first week was really hard. It was so foreign to say “no” and walk away from food. It was tedious having to take it one decision and one day at a time praying constantly for strength. During that week I had several revelations which inspired me to call off of work the following Monday and sign up for a gym membership, swimming lessons and dance lessons. Also in that second week I decided that I was tired of looking frumpy and got my hair cut and layered, got fitted for a bra, and purchased an exercise shirt in my current size. A few days later I realized that I love the shape of my calves and wanted to show them off and purchased my first pair of skinny jeans. J

It quickly became apparent with swimming that I would need to practice outside of class so that I could get the maximum benefit of having an instructor. So at first I added one additional day and then another as I built stamina. Despite changing my diet and exercising, the scale was barely going down. L But I kept at it anyway.

In October after a long internal battle, I scheduled all my wellness appointments and finally ordered contacts. During my physical the doctor recommended the 1,200 calorie diet and gave a sample menu plan. I hated the idea but I knew that something needed to change so I committed it to prayer and slowly started adjusting my diet again.

On November 1st I started the 1,200 calorie diet. Relying on Smart Ones and other portioned healthy foods I also upped my produce intake, substituted almond milk and eliminated sugar and bread from consumption. Group swimming classes ended and I transitioned into private lessons where I learned the butterfly stroke and started working on stamina building exercises. Between the three days of swimming, one day of dance and 1,200 calorie diet I started losing up to 3 pounds a week consistently. I noticed that my carpal tunnel was gone and that I wasn’t getting winded on the stairs. Also I felt more energy and my clothes dropped a few sizes. Excited in these new changes and after completing a craftshow, I took it upon myself to crochet my grandma an afghan, my instructor a scarf, my brother, dad and favorite waitress a hat after making three dishcloths, two chibi teacups, two Tako-sans and a Tako-sama for my coworkers. :D:D:D

In December I renewed my gym membership and completed my dance and private swim lessons. Temptations around every corner, I prayed consistently for strength and had my starting point in mind. Despite having several birthdays and holidays I kept up with my diet with very few splurges. With swimming I had a few times where I could only make it to the pool twice in a week due to overtime, however when I’m there I push myself and completed a 600, an 800 and a 1,000 yard ladder on my own. It’s crazy to think that one year ago I could barely doggy paddle!

To summarize my year, lots of hard work, tears, prayer and soul searching but I lost 38.2 pounds, dropped 4 clothing sizes and I am getting my life back! 😀 God is so good!!! 2014 was truly a year of transformation and 2015 with God at my side is going to be an amazing continuation.

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

 

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First Swimming Class

Second session of Adult Swim lessons at the RAC!

Apparently each session doesn’t progress with your level but resets back to square one. Bummer.

Our class has a total of seven students of varying levels (Maru and I being the highest) and our instructor is a young woman named Laura who seems to have limited teaching experience. Her method is interesting which makes us continuing students wonder how adequately the new students are being taught… However just as every instructor educates differently, each person learns differently as well. That concern aside, my sister and I have already made our goals known to Laura, which is to work on our technique, build stamina, and learn new strokes. So we are headed to the lap pool next week! Can’t wait!

Thanks for reading!

-Anna San

6th week!

It’s hard to believe, but this Saturday is going to be my last swimming class! Where’d the time go???

I started swimming laps last Saturday and it’s not pretty. Even though I have made sure to breathe through my mouth, I still get water up my nose and the lap ends abruptly. Not fun. Dave has been giving some suggestions about humming or ballooning my cheeks when I swim. To be honest I’m really not that great of a multi-tasker. I will give it a try however I’m also going to bring along the nose plug that came with my goggles. (It looks sooooooooo weird!!!)

Fatigued Swimmer

Maru and I had our second swimming class today. I was determined to do better this week.

So I:

  • Had my alarm set earlier
  • Got hydrated
  • I packed my bag
  • I added minutes to my phone
  • I picked up my sister
  • I got us there early
  • I asked about drop-in rates at the center for my mom
  • I brought my goggles!

Everything was going great until I couldn’t straighten out of a front float. As a well rounded woman I have a lot of buoyancy and float quite easily. So floating in the water wasn’t the issue. When coming out of the front float my instructor asked us to lift our heads back and tuck our legs to our chest so our bodies would swing right side up so that we could stand. Easy right?

I tried again and again and again and again and again. I tried it with the wall, without the wall, tried to tuck my legs before lifting my head after lifting my head… Dave said that I was partially tucking my legs and then would stop and kept asking why I didn’t finish pulling them in. My response was they wouldn’t tuck. My legs and arms weren’t responding and were stiffening up and the weight wasn’t reallocating as it should. Sometimes I got my limbs to partially respond which the instructor would see and he kept saying that I was shaking my head like I was doing it wrong when I was doing it right. I know I was doing it wrong because I wasn’t able to replicate that fluke occurrence and I didn’t know what I did to make it happen in the first place. By the end I was seriously frustrated and exhausted and the instructor said that I can’t move on to the lap pool or to strokes until I master this. Bucket of cold water.

When I got out of the pool I was completely spent, could barely walk and had a cramp in my side that I hadn’t been fully aware of in the water due to my focus on trying to get it right.

Reflecting on this I should have trusted my instructor enough to understand that I was getting massively tired and I think we weren’t communicating effectively. I believe that my brain had also partially shut down. I know I can communicate better than what was happening today after all I coach 32 people at work for corn’s sake!

Reflecting even further I didn’t set myself up to win this morning which is probably why my body stopped responding to me. 

  • I got only 4-5 hours of sleep last night
  • I didn’t give myself time to eat or get caffeinated before class
  • I forgot to take my vitamins
  • I didn’t stretch or warm up before I starting swimming
  • I started panicking and trying harder because I don’t want to be held back (I want to get as much as possible out of these lessons!!!)

Although disappointing it is also an important lesson. I’m going to work on my core this week, get more sleep and I’m going to have a word with my instructor next Saturday. We’ll see who’s tucking then!

-Anna San

 

Swim Gear Has Arrived!

Despite the shipping delay due to the bizarre weather patterns my swimsuit and goggles have arrived!

DSC_0194

Speedo Vanquisher 2.0 Plus Mirrored Goggles

My goggles are all blue silver and shiny. I think I will like them better when I learn how to adjust the straps tomorrow. (Yay!)

My Endurance+ swimsuit however is nothing to brag about. Sadly its only applaud point is that it technically fits. Whoo… The rouching/shirring does nothing to slim down my tum and Speedo must think that my breasts hang down to my bellybutton because that is approximately where the support cups land. -_-||

I exaggerate of course – but how it looks on doesn’t make me feel very good about myself or my effort to change my lifestyle. However I don’t have the time to keep shopping around for the perfect swimwear. So do I suck it up and accept that this is where I am at right now and keep it, or do I return it? Decisions. :/

Getting Along Swimmingly

swimming

Maru and I had our first swimming lesson this morning at the Romulus Athletic Center. The facility is very nice and it’s exterior is similarly styled to Detroit Metro Airport’s MacNamara terminal. We arrived 10 minutes to 8, however with getting our gear on and stuff stashed in a locker we were late getting out to the pool… >_>;

The class was low key with only 5 students and lead by a young male instructor named Dave.  Just having his insight about swimming basics helped me understand what I’ve been doing wrong since I took lessons as a kid. (No wonder I was always getting water up my nose!) After trying out floats, glides and backstroke, the instructor said since our class is progressing fast we will start in the lap pool next week! Can’t wait!