Week 39: Things Are Starting To Come Together

I got my extension to my extension! This means that I have an additional 10 months in the US legally, while waiting for my more permanent green card (10 year Green Card, as they are no longer permanent).

I did not want my blog to become too political but it is too hard to ignore the new administration that is completely void of integrity, moral and ethics. As someone who is going through the Green Card process legally, I am telling you, it is not easy. I am one of the fortunate ones. I am Danish, white and married to someone that is American and looks white (although half Venezuelan) and I have the option to legally find a way to stay in the US. Sometimes, I think, what if I was not Danish and white but Muslim and from Iran? What if I was staying in this country illegally because I had nowhere else to call home. Even though I feel the anxiety from waiting to see if I get my permanent Green Card and whether or not Trump is going to change the law/rules while I am out on vacation, I know that is nothing in comparison to what other people in this country is currently going through. My heart weeps for them and I am crossing my fingers that we all will get through these times unscathed and not too much damage to the foundation of what is the US (and quite possibly the world).

Even though I feel the anxiety from waiting to see if I get my permanent Green Card and whether or not Trump is going to change the law/rules while I am out on vacation, I know that is nothing in comparison to what other people in this country is currently going through.

With that said, and all of my anxiety, I am still excited that Mike and I are finally going on trip together. When I got my extension we finally agreed upon the destinations while in Europe. London, Porto, Lisbon, Paris, Denmark and back to London for a family wedding. I love to travel, learn, discover and go on adventures (hence the name of the blog). I know it will be a challenge to not gain too much weight while I am on vacation especially as it will be for 34 days. I will not have my scale with me but I will stay on track with the help of my measuring tape. It should tell me if I am going out of control, staying within my weight or perhaps even loosing weight. The Monday before take off I will make sure to list my dimension before I leave so we can all keep track of my progress while traveling.

I love to travel, learn, discover and go on adventures (hence the name of the blog).

I have never measured or kept track of my weight while traveling for this amount of time so this should be a first and I am sort of excited to see how all the walking, climbing, eating, drinking etc etc will effect my weight. There are definitely lessons to be learned and I can’t wait to see what I can do differently, better or all together stop doing while traveling. I am, also, excited to write about my trip, the adventures, the places and hopefully you will be inspired to go yourselves.

At the moment I have my head buried into several books Mike took out from the library about Portugal, Paris and England. I am trying to figure out my schedule in Denmark and I wanted to plan a few things to do and see there as well. I, usually, have more plans than I can actually do, especially, as I have to work from London and Denmark but the benefit of working New York hours is that there is room for adventure in the morning (before 1PM local time). I was thinking of doing “KattegatCentret” in Grenaa while visiting my dad, Aros when going to Aarhus and something else in or around Viborg, Herning or Holstebro when going there. Then at least Mike will not go insane from boredom. To my Danish readers, I would love some input and ideas of what could be fun to do or see in those areas while there. And for people who have been to Portugal and Paris let me know if there is something that we should check out that would not necessarily be in all the tourist books.

I, usually, have more plans than I can actually do, especially, as I have to work from London and Denmark but the benefit of working New York hours is that there is room for adventure in the morning (before 1PM local time).

I hope you can all help me stay on track and perhaps even drag me out for a workout while in London and Denmark.

About the past week. As you can tell from the image. I actually lost weight! I am super excited about that. Although, only 1.4lb from the past 2 weeks, I have been stuck in the 20’s for a while so it was good to see a 1 for a change. The past 2 weeks I have been staying on track with the gym, went to the Oyster and Beer Festival, played in the snow, took at stroll down the Highline after the show had fallen and baked the most delicous chocolate cake. I know I should not but I tried to make a more healthy version and it paid off. It is the best chocolate cake I have ever made (and that is counting my sisters wedding cake, which was amazing). Luckily, Mike ate most of it which is probably why I managed to loose a bit of weight. Check out the images below from the past week.

XoXo

 

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Week 37: Nerve Racking Time

Just to get the numbers out of the way. I gained 3.6lb from two weeks ago. I can’t say I am disappointed. I let myself have a wild night Saturday and I am pretty confident that alcohol is the culprit. I have been good with my diet otherwise and I am back in a good routine with my workouts. So if I can stick to my diet and my workouts I should be back in no time. Much of it is probably water weight. Alcohol messes with my system EVERY time. So stay tuned for next week.

As for my headline. As most of you know, I am in the middle of applying for a Green Card. We have a family wedding in London coming up in April but my extension is running out on March 17th. So I have been trying for over a month to get an appointment as I need an extension to my extension. Crazy, I know but apparently it takes between 1 and 2 years to get the condition off of the temporary Green Card.

With the Trump news, I have been an even more nervous wreck, even though I should not have anything to worry about. But the thought of traveling and then knowing that you have no idea what this man might come up with next and I might be the one in the airport not allowed back in is truly scary.

At my meeting today, I got to ask all of my questions. Questions such as, if they call me in for an interview while I am out of the country and I am unaware of my appointment. Then what? Technically, they could throw out my case, and I have to start over, but if I am traveling there are some leniency and I should be able to apply for a new appointment. If I get my permanent Green Card (permanent in the sense that I will have it for 10 years) while I am out of the country will my temporary one be invalid and not usable once I get back into the country? No, it will still be valid as long as I have my extension.

So with all of my questions answered and our minds put at ease, we have decided to go ahead with our travel plans. I am super excited. I should get thumbs up from my job tomorrow and we can go ahead and plan. The only downside is my sister, my nephews and her boyfriend and his kids are coming on April 1st while I will still be out of the country. I am hoping to be back early April 3rd though to be here with them for their last 4 days in New York. A bit of a bummer that things are falling around the same time but I think we can make it work.

If everything else falls in place, flights, job and the like we are most likely headed to Paris and Portugal this time around (besides our usual stop to London and Denmark of course). Super exited. Never been to Portugal and I have only been to Paris for 1 day (and a long time ago) so it will be great visiting places I have never been.

Let the planning commence and soon there will be blog posts about trying to loose weight while being on vacation. That is always a challenge. So should be good.

Most of all, I am happy for Mike. He has not had a vacation since Christmas of 2015. So about time he takes some time off.

If anyone of you have been to Portugal or Paris (or lives there) please send some recommendations our way.

So exited!

Xoxo

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Week 24: Grateful and now go VOTE!

It has been too long. No excuses really. Just been busy, sick and tired at around 7pm.

I am excited though. I had my first morning of running training (pretty sure this is incorrect but have no idea of how else to phrase this properly, feel free to come with suggestions). I have not been running in a really long time.

Two years I ran. 10K and I hurt my knees. I am not the lightest of people so running is tough on the knees. I, therefore,  took a break but the break became a bit longer than anticipated. So I am excited to say that I signed myself up for a 5Miler (8K) on January 8th. So I have 9 weeks to get back in running shape. I know it is a bit ambitious but I can always walk the last bit should I need to.

I must admit this was inspired by my friend Chelsea who just ran the New York City Marathon. She kicks ass. She, like me, has already been through her weightloss journey and has learned to skill the “maintaining journey”. I don’t say that I can or will ever run a marathon but I would like to get back to my 10K shape and then see where my weight is. Running a marathon with my current weight is not the best of ideas.

Since last time I wrote I have been in Denmark and have since come home. The image above (the scale) is from when I returned. Sorta proud that I only put on 3 pounds while I was away and I must say that I would not have been able to keep on track had it not been for my sisters support. It made me realize that no matter where I am in the world or in life I have great support around me. Which is everything. This weight thing I certainly can’t do on my own.

That being said. It is me that has to get up at 5AM in the morning to go work out and me that has to say no to fun with friends so I don’t get tempted by alcohol or sugars. I am so proud of my husband that he sticks by me even when it sucks and I mess up.

As you can tell, I have a week where I am simply grateful for the people around me and I hope friends and family read this and know how much I appreciate their support, love and words.

I am not an expert in loosing weight (clearly) and I am not sure where this blog will take me but I know that it is a great motivator. My husband is my constant blog reminder. Had it not been for him I probably would not have posted since June. I know this was not my intention with the blog but I have now dedicated a specific time during the week for the blog. It should help me get more organized and post more regularly.

Also, now I have my running training to keep you updated on. Very exciting stuff. Should be said it felt great being on a running schedule, again. Lets see how it feels when I have to get up tomorrow at 5:30AM to get my walking done before my day starts.

And people tomorrow is the big day so go vote. I don’t think I have ever been this nervous for an election. Sucks that I can’t vote this time around. All I can do is urge all of my American friends and family to vote and make their voices heard.

I know that I should not throw with stones when I live in a glass house myself (just look at the current racist Danish government) but America has a bit more power than small Denmark so this more than anything counts. Think twice before putting that dot and please elect someone you think is worthy for the right reasons. Check the facts. Read the candidates proposals for the country and fact check again. There is one day left so don’t vote with your heart but vote with that beautiful brain of yours that I know you all have.

Well that was my election rant. See you all next week!

Xoxo

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Week 11: Cholesterol

Week 11: It has been a while since last. Times at work got crazy so I prioritized my husband and my work outs in my spare time. It seems to have worked out. I am now at 226.4lb (102.5kg) which is a loss of 7 lb (3.2kg) from 3 weeks ago. The week after I got back from my mini vacation was a little tough so I must admit that the 6 of the 7 pounds have come off the past two weeks but hey nothing is perfect.

One of the reasons I started this journey was due to my health. I am not deadly ill but I do have among other things high cholesterol which is one of the main causes of heart diseases. The number 1 cause of death in America. I don’t want to be a statistic and looking at my family’s health I could very easily become one. My parents are not too healthy and I have certainly inherited some of their habits. Habits which I am trying hard to break but that is not what this post is about. I wanted to give some information about cholesterol. I do not think people are aware or want to be faced with what it means to have high cholesterol. And there certainly are many myths about it.

High cholesterol aren’t only seen in overweight/obese people. It can hit anyone especially if they have high amounts of fat intake. Because overweight and obese folks (like myself) would not get to our size without eating a lot of fats in our diet you will see an increasingly high number of overweight and obese people with high cholesterol.

I got myself into this mess by not controlling my binges, which was usually a combination of ice cream, cake, nutella on bread or cookies. So yeah, there you go. ALL sugar at fats. It tasted good though but those days have to be over.

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that comes from two sources: your body and food. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods. Cholesterol travels through your bloodstream in small packages called lipoproteins. These packages are made of fat (lipid) on the inside and proteins on the outside. Two kinds of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout your body: low-density lipoproteins (LDL) and high-density lipoproteins (HDL). LDL cholesterol sometimes is called “bad” cholesterol. A high LDL level leads to a buildup of cholesterol in your arteries. HDL cholesterol sometimes is called “good” cholesterol. This is because it carries cholesterol from other parts of your body back to your liver. Your liver removes the cholesterol from your body.

This is a great sum up of Cholesterol from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute but they don’t mention what the fat is. When you get your cholesterol measured by the doctor. They look at 3 numbers. The LDL (which should be less than 130mg), the HDL (which should be above 46 mg) and lastly the triglycerides.  Triglycerides are a type of fat (lipid) found in your blood. When you eat, your body converts any calories it doesn’t need to use right away into triglycerides. The triglycerides are stored in your fat cells. Later, hormones release triglycerides for energy between meals. If you regularly eat more calories than you burn, particularly “easy” calories like carbohydrates and fats, you may have high triglycerides. Triglycerides needs to be less than 150. I believe in Denmark the doctor usually only gives you one number, HDL Ratio which is a combination of 4 numbers. Your total cholesterol, HDL number, LDL number and your triglycerides. If you have slightly high LDL but still high HDL, you might show up with high cholesterol but since your HDL (the cholesterol that takes away fats) is high you are technically not at high risk of heart diseases so I urge you to ask your doctor for the specific numbers so you have an idea of what number you need to work on and how serious it is.

Personally, my numbers are not in my favor. My HDL is low, my LDL is not high but on the edge and I have a very high amount of triglycerides. Which means I have an excess amount of fat in my bloodstream but not enough HDL to take it away which means my LDL is on the rise (which is what can cause plaque in your arteries, and then lead to heart disease). I need to reverse this trend. That means, try and stay away from binging as best as I can and eliminate high fat foods from my kitchen. This of course, also, means that I need to loose weight so my liver understands that it does not need to keep feeding my body cholesterol.

When I learned about how the cholesterol makes vitamin D in your body and how cholesterol comes into your bloodstream, I had an aha moment. I have had a long period of depression, unusually long for me, I knew I had to check my vitamin D levels (Vitamin D is what helps keep us in a good mood, for example when summer comes around and the sun is out it lifts your spirits. You feel lighter and more happy. This is because the sun is feeding you vitamin D). And sure enough, I am almost at the deficiency level of (only 1 point off) vitamin D. So my binges have not been psychological as I always had thought they were but more likely they were physiological. My body was screaming for more vitamin D so I feed it high fats to create more cholesterol so it could create more vitamin D. Needless to say, I have now started on a high dose of vitamin D. Hope this will help on everything. Still have to go to the gym and watch what I eat but perhaps I can get a little more control over my binging. Crossing my fingers that I might be right. I might not have an eating disorder after all. This sorta excites me.

I recommend if you discover that you have high cholesterol. Do not hesitate to ask your doctor ALL the questions you can think off and perhaps they know of a good website to go to for more information. I am happy that my doctor is not the type that pushes for medication but rather more natural remedies (exercise, low fat diet, fish oil and vitamin D was her prescription). If I work hard at my diet and my weight, she will check my numbers again in 3 months and if I can prove that with some Vitamin D, fish oil (helps on cholesterol), exercise and a healthier diet that I can move the needle on my numbers, she is fine with not prescribing any medication. In fact it seems to be her first choice.

If you like me, can’t control your binges. You have worked on your mental health and feel like you have worked through most of your major issues then you might want to check your vitamin D levels. Especially, if you are in a location where there are more seasons. You might not get enough vitamin D from your foods or the sun. I was naive enough to think I did.

Feel free to comment or reach out if you have any questions. I am not an expert but I have gotten a good sense of where to look for helpful information. But always as your doctor if you can.

Want to give some credit from a few websites that I have been frequently visiting:

http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/AboutCholesterol/About-Cholesterol_UCM_001220_Article.jsp#.V6nCGq0-gsA

http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/hbc

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/triglycerides/art-20048186

XOXO

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Week 8: Support Is Essential

Week 8: If you think you can do it alone… Think again! I have tried so many times loosing the weight on my own and I would be so excited when people would notice the difference but once I got the compliment I would fall back into my old habits.

This time it is all about making my surroundings aware of my plan so they have a chance to support me and be my cheerleader when I need it the most. I am a person who does not have a lot of friends but the ones that I do have, I cherish and I don’t know where I would be today without them.

I love my family and I love my husband but there is nothing like having a friend – a true friend, who will be there for you even when you are being ridiculous, silly or in need of a good verbal spanking.

Claudia, Me, Shelley - Missouri 2016

One of my best friends here in the States moved from Florida to Missouri. She is the quintessential woman of strength. With other words, Shelley is AMAZING! Another best friend of mine, Claudia, fabulous and ‘I am not sure where I would be in life, if it was not for her’ kinda friend, and I decided to trek out to Missouri for a visit.

One of our better ideas, if I may say so myself. It has been a bit of a stressful time, with work, moving, starting the blog and I could go on. Not until I sat on the front porch of my friends, from now Missouri, with a glass of wine in my hand did I realize how badly, I needed a small vacation where I could shut off from the hustle and bustle from daily life and just kick back and enjoy.

Winery in Missouri IMG_41801 IMG_41891

I was on vacation and I was going to enjoy so I decided to have 1 day of just eating and drinking until I could not stand and another day where I would control my portions a bit more but still enjoy the yummy barbecue they have around these parts. It was close to Kansas City and summer time. Perfect for barbecuing. To not completely destroy my last few weeks hard work I also wanted to get a workout in (ideally two but that would have been pushing it).

Margarita for no money...

It is in those times that you realize how amazing your friends are. They went on a workout with me. How amazing is that. In the hot sun of noon they went to the local college football stadium and worked out with me. It was a tough one. The day before we had been merrily drinking and eating the entire day away and I must admit I was a bit hungover Saturday morning, yet they were dressed and ready to go.

IMG_62861 20160716_125155 20160716_124608 20160716_123629

THIS is the type of support and motivation you need at times. People, who are willing to do the hard work with you even when they really do not want to but they love you enough to do it and support you. To Shelley and Claudia, I know you are reading this blog post… I love you and appreciate you! Thank you for the talks, the support and your thoughts.

So my advise to anyone trying to loose weight. Lean on your friends and loved ones when it is tough and good choices are hard to make. And as you can see, just because you are traveling, there are no excuses not to work out!

xoxo

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