Out of Shape, Into Shape

Two years ago we were in GREAT shape! (Buenos Aires, Argentina; August 2018)

A BIG goal for Brett and me during the next two years is to get us back to as close to the great condition we were in when we set out on our Big Adventure in 2018. Besides being a bit older and developing a few more aches and pains lately, we have not been as diligent about staying in shape.

The views from the beach path made it easy to walk.

For nearly a year and a half before we left, we walked at least two miles (almost) daily out on Kauai’s eastside beach path. We were careful about what we ate and avoided carbohydrates as much as possible. We kept up with medical and dental visits, and our medications.

During our travels, we walked a lot, usually three to four miles a day. We continued to watch what we ate, although we did add carbohydrates back in reasonable amounts (what’s the point of visiting France if you can’t enjoy a fresh, warm baguette or a pastry now and then? Or fresh pasta or gelato in Italy?). However, we overate during our time in Japan in 2019, with frequent visits to our neighborhood bakery. In spite of all the walking we did there, we gained weight. We could still fit into our clothes, but they were definitely on the tight side for both of us.

I spent last summer in Portland avoiding almost all carbohydrates except for fresh fruit, a weekly slice of pizza, and a glass of wine on Friday and Saturday evenings. We walked every day, pushing ourselves to get to 10,000 steps. By the end of the summer, we were both back in great shape again, although I’d only lost six pounds for all my efforts, and Brett had injured his ankle on a long hike. We continued to walk, watch what we ate, and stay in shape while we were in England until we got to November when days of rain kept us trapped inside and we comforted ourselves with w-a-y too many scones, shortbread biscuits, ginger nuts, and cups of Cadbury hot chocolate. We were back on the path to where we needed to be during our stay in Japan at the beginning of this year, but the stay-at-home order and some depression brought all of that to a halt.

Leaving England, we were in a different shape from when we started our travels. (Bath, UK; November 2019)

We’re back to the tight clothes stage again, but have two years to whip ourselves back into traveling shape, mainly because we don’t want to purchase new traveling clothes again! The pair of pants I’m wearing in the picture below is going be my guide for knowing when I’ve arrived. I can still get into them, but they are currently very tight – I want them to fit again like they did when we were in Australia.

My goal is to have these pants fit like this again (Sydney, Australia; January 2019).

Once again, we’re:

  • Walking at least five days a week, at least two miles, with a goal of getting to daily walks of longer distances (weather permitting). Boy, do we miss having that beach path nearby though – the views never got old and it made walking so easy! We’ve found a good route to walk nearby for now, but it’s eventually going to get boring so we are going to need to find some different venues to mix things up a bit. We’re also trying to make sure we don’t sink into a sedentary lifestyle around the house.
    Our current walking path is lovely but we miss the ocean views.
  • Being careful about what we eat. While I am not going low carb or Keto, at least not yet, I am limiting my daily carb intake. I’m never going back to cauliflower rice, but these days I measure and limit the amount of rice I take if I have it, or I just go without. We are keeping all chips, cookies, crackers, and store-bought bakery goods (except for bread) out of the house – snacks these days are nuts, fruit, and vegetables. We continue to take daily vitamins, and I’ve added a prebiotic + probiotic to help with my stomach issues.
  • Taking care of our health. We are still looking for a new dentist here, one closer to where we live now, but I already have an eye appointment for this week with our former ophthalmologist. We did take care of health check-ups last summer but haven’t done anything since. My stomach issues have not completely abated, so I want to get that fully checked out first when I find a new doctor, and Brett still needs the surgery that he had originally scheduled in Portland this summer – he’s already found an endocrinologist here and is working toward that. We are blessed to have great insurance, including vision and dental, so we have no reason not to keep up with all of this.

There really is no excuse not to get back in shape now that we’re back in Hawaii. The weather and opportunities to get outside as well as the abundance of fresh produce (and the expense of buying and eating a lot of meat and processed foods) make it easy to create a healthier lifestyle here and stick with it. We’re back on the path!

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19 thoughts on “Out of Shape, Into Shape

  1. Walking is the key..started on that path when I had baby Ben. I realized he’d sleep as long as I kept moving. It is how I found the house on NE Davis St. where we lived when we met you. Anyway, I am like the USPS when it comes to weather…except hot, hot afternoons…I go out no matter what. Good Luck. You’ve done it so you know how it goes:) And how much better one’s clothes feel.

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    1. I agree, Joan – it’s the main reason we didn’t balloon up during our travels; at least, not until we got to the last month in England. Unlike you though, I greatly dislike walking in the rain (I did it for years with our dogs and hated every moment of it). One of the reasons we love it here is because the weather gives us more “good” days for getting out. We’ve had a lot of rainy weather though since we arrived, but that’s starting to change (the humidity is coming right along with it though). Unfortunately our neighborhood is not walker friendly either (no sidewalks, narrow winding roads, fast cars) – we have to get in the car and go somewhere else to walk, but I know we’ll figure it out. I always feel better when I’m taking regular walks.

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  2. What about making your walks an adventure, more than just something you knock off as ‘Done,’ by packing a snack or sack lunch, varying your routes, and slowly increasing your mileage week over week so that it fills an increasing larger portion of your day? Kauai has sooooo many gorgeous miles trails to walk, you’ll never run out of places to go and experience!

    Plus we always stumble upon little surprises when we are out doing something active for hours at a time, which helps motivate me to keep going. This past Memorial Day, for example, we were kayaking in Newport Harbor, having a wonderful time paddling and watching the boats go by, when all of a sudden 12 vintage military planes flew overhead and let loose with the traceable smoke paths. Wow, what a surprise that was!

    OK, I’ll dial it down now . . . being active is my passion, apologies!

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    1. One of the things we miss about walking on the beach path is that it never felt like something we were “knocking off” – we looked forward every day to going down there for the gorgeous views and the breezes, and every day what we saw was different depending on the weather. We’ve decided we’re going to head up to Kapaa at least three days a week and walk the beach path again, just so we can walk by the ocean. The other days we’ll walk a couple of other closer routes, beautiful but without the ocean views.

      Twenty-one years ago I fell and shattered my kneecap into multiple pieces. A very skilled surgeon put it back together so I could walk again (not a given when he began the surgery). It was a bit of a steep learning curve but I was able to walk again and came to love it. I have no problem going up – climbing steps or hills – but getting back down is another story. Lots of pain, and my knee still gets very wobbly. I cannot come down stairs without a bannister to hold on to, and hill descents are slow and difficult. I also need smooth surfaces as much as possible. We loved being in Lisbon, for example, but it was also a nightmare for me at times: cobblestones everywhere, and lots of steep hills and stairs (same for the Cinque Terre). Anyway, I’d love to get out and hike on the trails here but most of them are not really an option for me. I’m grateful for places like the beach path, or the path through Kukui’ula so I have places to walk that work for me.

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  3. What Tamara said! I’m loving the time to be more active, but could do without the heat we are having (100 in the bay area, which is crazy). I try to mix it up & a do a variety of things (yoga, strength, walking, running, etc).

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    1. The heat is starting to ramp up here as well, as is the humidity. Our house remains very breezy, thank goodness, but it got very hot out on our walk today. Thankfully the breeze picked up on the way back to our car.

      I would love to start yoga, but have never done it so would need instruction and our budget is stretched to the max right now. Hopefully one of these days though as I think it will help as I continue to age.

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      1. Laura, there are tons of free yoga videos on YouTube that you might want to look into. Every level, every type of proper form, proper equipment. You and YaYu could do it together, even, which might be fun.

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      2. That’s a good idea, especially since we can now access YouTube on our TV and there’s enough room in our living room to work out. I usually have trouble trying to learn something through video (totally not my learning style), but yoga might be the exception.

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  4. Having a bad knee can’t help.

    I had a good walking for fitness book and he program was about varying pace, length and hills. Sometimes short and fast and hilly. Other days long and steady.

    If you’re bored with the one walk, what about listening to audiobooks?

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    1. The knee injury changed everything, but I am grateful to be able to walk.

      We’ve decided to go somewhere different every day to walk so we don’t get bored with one place. Today we drove 30 minutes to the east and walked the beach path – it was lovely. Tomorrow we’re trying a new path in the town to the west of us.

      I have tried, but cannot concentrate on an audiobook when I walk – my mind refuses to focus. I love using the time to look around and think about things, plan, etc. . . . or just chat with Brett.

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  5. Same here on the aches and pains. And walking does help if we can just stick to a set routine! For us it requires a little more determination though being it’s all mountain roads that go up. Yesterday we walked a little over 1.5 miles that gradually rose to a level of 623 feet. My legs felt like mush! We HOPE to get up to a thousand feet before the summer heat/humidity rolls in.

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    1. Today we walked 2.5 miles! We drove up to Kapaa and walked the beach path like we did in the past. We’re going to try for that three days a week. There was a little humidity, but not too much – I am dreading its arrival this summer though.

      I could go up the mountain roads in your area (and hope to someday) but, coming down would take me a while. It would be worth it though, I think.

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  6. Good for you! My goal during quarantine has been to walk or run (slowly) at least five miles a day, six days a week, and it has kept me sane. I read once from a well-regarded psychiatrist that a daily 5 mile walk is more effective as an antidepressant than most medication! There are nice paved walking paths through the Poipu Kai resort if you are looking for additional places to walk!

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    1. Good for you too! I can do five miles, but not every day – my knee would start talking to me if I did. Back in the day, before the knee injury, I used to walk four miles every day and I know what you mean about staying sane. We are planning to check out Poipu Kai. Weather permitting, this weekend we’re hoping to go down to Barking Sands for a combined beach/walking trip.

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  7. Same here, clothes getting tight, so started some goals to get weight down – Walking, controlling portion sizes, stop eating when full & drinking water – are my things. Good luck, ya’ll.

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    1. These changes have always worked for me before. The biggest issue now is that it takes forever compared to how quickly I got in shape in the past. Staying motivated is the most difficult part.

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  8. These past few months have not been conducive to weight maintenance for me, either. Plus what fell off fairly easily in my youth takes forever now. My clothes are a bit “Covid tight”, as I’ve been eating mindlessly for a while now. And I haven’t taken time to walk my normal 3 mile loop while under stress. And this week it got hot and humid here – not my top choice of weather. That said, I know I CAN walk in the early morning and not really suffer. This weekend we’re supposed to cool back to the 60’s and 70’s, so I won’t have an excuse. I do find that I can only walk every other day or I end up with aching joints – my family arthritis gift. 🙂

    Once we get moved in the next month, I’ll have to find new walking options. We’ll be near some public trails and we can bike others nearby, so I’m hoping I/we can get back into something of a normal pattern while the weather is good. We are both ready for the stress of this sale and the move to end. And then I’ll eat a lot better and exercise more. Seriously. Promise. 😜

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    1. I am grateful that Brett likes to walk as well – if I had to do this on my own I would have already quit. But, I don’t like the way I feel and look right now so I very motivated to make changes. I do get sore from walking, although in my case it’s bursitis in my right hip. I do have a bit of arthritis in my bum knee, but it’s cold and wet that aggravates that, not the amount of exercise, thank goodness.

      Your being tired of the move at this point is a good thing – it means things are continuing along as they should and will soon be over. Even though we’re renting, Brett has already said we are never moving again.

      Now that I think about it, once we finished our last home sale, we started exercising again as well. During the sale period, all we did was eat, eat, eat, or at least it seemed that way.

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      1. We haven’t moved in 15 years and it’s a LOT more everything (tiring, annoying, stressful) than I remembered. I can really understand Brett’s position on this. I’ve been saying “last move before assisted living” all week. 🤪

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