Bakery, Barbells and Bargains I own a bakery, and I like to lift weights and shop

October 31, 2017

Fitness, Food and Self Acceptance

Filed under: Life in General — shuss @ 3:28 pm

A little over a year ago, I walked into my local CrossFit box for my first Foundations class. Walking in the door was the hardest part, the short workout left me sore and I was hungrier than I had been in a long time.  The intense workout made me feel amazing, I was hooked.

Starting a scheduled workout program is one of the best things I have ever done for myself physically or mentally. I have struggled with food and accepting myself for years. I was a fairly normal sized but picky eater as a kid, and I can remember being worried I was too fat at just six years old. Looking back at photos, I was not a fat kid, maybe on the chunkier side now and then, but the 90’s were all about being lean.  As I hit my early teen years, I started to stretch out more in height and was a good average size.

In high school I dropped some weight fast without even trying and became about a size four for the first time ever. Compliments everywhere from everyone on how great I looked and I loved it, no one had ever complimented my weight before then.  I loved when people would comment on how “tiny” I was and how I had the “perfect figure.” Unfortunately, what people did not know was I hardly ever ate anything. I didn’t really stop eating intentionally to loose weight, but because I was just too busy during lunchtime in high school to take a break and actually have lunch.  I was also too shy to eat around boys, so silly but it is common with young girls.

This continued into college until about halfway through my second year.  I remained slim, didn’t eat enough and I was walking more now that I lived on a college campus.  About half way through college, I became interested in eating healthy and working out.  I kept a little book to log all my calories for the day and spent at least two hours a day at the gym.  I lived on campus and spaced out my classes to where I did the most walking possible around campus and I walked to my job on the far end of campus.  I steadily gained some weight through school but I was much healthier than I had ever been.  I graduated at a healthy weight.

I mostly stayed my “graduation weight” for several years, gaining  and losing some here and there.  About two years before my daughter was born, I got really paranoid about food and got so into healthy eating that it was obsessive and unhealthy.  I counted calories like crazy, not only calories but fat grams, trans fat grams, sugar, carbs, protein, sodium, ect.  Even on my “cheat days” there were foods I was actually terrified to eat.  Certain restaurants were off limits and I would look up the nutritional information before going out so I could log my calories ahead of time.  Before going to a party I would have a veggie smoothie to fill up so I wouldn’t eat too much party food.  Grocery trips took me extra time because I read all the ingredients of everything I purchased. I constantly searched for health information, often googling phrases like “most heart healthy foods” or “top foods to prevent cancer.”  I keep a list of “the world’s most healthy foods” in my calorie book and made sure I ate at least five items off that list per day.  If it were midnight and I had not worked out, I would still hop on the treadmill for at least an hour.  At work on my lunch break, I would do a workout video.  I saw my doctor and a nutritionist because I did not think I was losing weight fast enough.  My nutritionist told me I ate healthier than her and didn’t really have any advice for me….I failed to tell her how obsessed I was or she probably would have had more to say.

Finally, one day about two years ago I ran across an article written by a nutritionist about how there are no bad foods and you should never feel guilty for eating.  I wish I had a link to it because it helped me SO MUCH but I read it years ago.  Basically, it said to eat good 90% of the time and to just not worry about counting calories, listen to your body instead.  It also talked about how everyone is built different and not all people will be skinny, and that is okay.

I finally let go of my obsession.

I stopped counting calories.

I stopped lecturing myself when I ate cookies.

I listened to my body.

I didn’t lose weight but my relationship with food was improved.

Last summer, I had some hard times in my life come to a head.  I had some past hurts I just could not get passed.  My daddy had also passed away the previous December and I never really stopped to grieve his loss.  Basically, everything all hit me at once and I just did not feel good mentally or physically.  I had been using my treadmill when I could find the time to get to it but it just wasn’t working for me anymore, the walking alone for long periods of time was giving me too much time to overthink things.  So I made two key changes in my life.  Our family found a new church where I really reconnected with my faith.  I signed up to join CrossFit and gave my body a new challenge.  The new more intense workouts gave me a great endorphin boost and I did loose some weight……actually I lost around whopping 5 pounds but I dropped two sizes.  I feel a lot better and I am working to loose more (my weight is stubborn) but what I have gained is so beneficial.

Me with a barbell, drawn by my little girl

I gained confidence.

I gained strength.

I gained knowledge on how exercise works.

I gained more time with my hubby who had already been going.

I gained new friends.

The self acceptance at the CrossFit I attend is so refreshing.  Do our coaches push us to challenge ourselves?  Oh yes!  Do they encourage us to try hard and work towards our goals?  Yes!  Will they give nutrition advice?  Yep!  Will they give us advice if we are having a hard time meeting our goals?  You bet!  Will they celebrate when you reach a goal?  Oh goodness yes!

Do they tell us we need to be skinny?  Nope!  Do they shame you when you gain some weight or fail to loose it?  Nope!

My first day in class, our instructor told us he was not promising we would all have six-pack abs, because God made us all different.  That has really stuck with me and this is what I love the most about the gym and our coaches.  Some people that never work out are thin, some that work out all the time carry some extra fat.  God made you who you are and his design is perfect.  Focus on creating healthy habits and let the weight loss be a side effect.  So if you are struggling with weight. I encourage you to find a fitness program that you enjoy and a gym/trainer that will lift you up.  Talk to a nutritionist to make sure you are fueling yourself well.  Remember that your health is way more important that your size.  And finally, love who you are and remember you are worth love no matter your size.

October 27, 2017

California 2017

Filed under: Vacations — shuss @ 10:37 am

Last time, I shared the Disneyland portion of our trip and today I am going to share the national parks portion. Enjoy!

In this trip, we flew into Fresno and from there went to visit Yosemite and then the Giant Sequoias/King’s Canyon. This wasn’t my first trip to these parks but my first time actually staying inside of them. We spent two nights at each park before flying back to Los Angeles.

We first went to Yosemite and stayed at The Big Trees Lodge just inside the park entrance. The Big Trees Lodge is definitely memorable. It is a very pretty white hotel made of several buildings nestled perfectly in the woods. There is a golf course, huge porches and one large dining room for meals. I kinda felt like I was on the set of Dirty Dancing. It was also very historical, the rooms were small with antique furniture and fixtures. It had original 1920’s wiring (you could not use a hair dryer) and a claw foot tub…..that was interesting, for some reason I have a fear of claw foot tubs, shudder! Fortunately, we booked rooms with private bathrooms as many are shared and you have to go outside to get to them, yikes! The rooms had no WiFi or television. We actually kinda just stood in the room clueless when we got there, haha. It was all good, we were still jet lagged and all in bed by 8 pm those first two nights.

Outside the main lobby at the Big Trees Lodge

While in the park, it was about an hour drive to the main Yosemite area. While beautiful, the very high mountain roads gave me some serious anxiety so I am glad we only had to make the drive two times a day. What I really liked about Yosemite, was once you were in the valley everything was close by. We parked at one area where we all enjoyed playing on some rocks and fallen trees, Samantha really enjoyed climbing rocks!

Playing on the rocks

Driving from our hotel to the valley

Miss Sammie exploring


Next, we took a nice paved trail to see some waterfalls and then took the shuttle bus over to visit the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. This luxury lodge is right in the park and very beautiful, we were lucky enough to take a tour and check it out. We ended our full day in Yosemite with lunch at a pizza place, browsing the souvenir shop and just enjoying the scenery. My favorite things in Yosemite included the amazing views of Half Dome, the Majestic Hotel tour and the animals, deer and chipmunks were everywhere.

Sammie loved seeing deer so close


The next morning after breakfast at the lodge, we headed out for the Sequoias. While Yosemite was stunning, I think everyone in our group was ready for a hotel with more modern amenities.   When we arrived to the Sequoias, we stopped at a nice area near our hotel with nice trails among the giant trees and had lunch at a nearby restaurant.  After a nice long walk, we checked into the John Muir Lodge for the next few nights.  I was thrilled to see a hair dryer and normal bathroom, Sammie was thrilled to see a TV and we were all very happy to have WiFi.  We had a late lunch, so that evening we had a small dinner on the porch.

Enjoying the new lodge

Looking for baby chipmunks

Our full day in the Sequoias included driving to many different stops including the Sherman tree which is the biggest tree in the world and a hike up to the top of Moro Rock.  What a hike, 300 feet up!  I wore my CrossFit shirt that day and I am pretty sure I heard it laughing at me as I huffed and puffed my way up the steep and terrifying stairs.  The top view was beautiful and worth it.  Other sites included the Grant Tree which is known as America’s Christmas Tree, the Tunnel Log, the Auto Log and a lovely loop around a huge meadow where we saw lots of huge trees and a sweet family of deer grazing.   My favorite thing about Sequoia was just how incredible the trees were, how quiet it was and the cute deer.

The next morning, we headed back to Fresno so four of us could fly to LA for Disney.  What a wonderful few days of exploring all the natural beauty!

October 25, 2017


Filed under: Vacations — shuss @ 10:15 am

Hello all! We just returned from our very first time at Disneyland California and I wanted to share some stories and tips from our trip.

To start, we are East Coast people, so we normally visit Walt Disney World which I have written about previously. When we planned a big family trip to visit the Sequoia’s (more on that later) we thought it would be fun to spend half of the week in the LA area and visit Disney. There are a lot of similarities and differences so I wanted to write and share both. Hope you enjoy and find this helpful if you are planning a trip.

What’s Similar?

Well, it is Disney so you will find a clean park, smiling faces, helpful cast members and lots of Disney magic at every turn. The prices for tickets, food and merchandise also seemed the same. Both resorts have a Downtown Disney District, on-site lodging and resort transportation.

If you have been to Disney World, you will find that the Magic Kingdom and Disneyland are very similar. Both have a charming Main Street that leads to a beautiful castle, then various lands branch out from there. The rides are also very similar but we were thrilled to find some rides in CA that are not in FL like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride and the Matterhorn.

Both locations also had great parades and impressive night shows, I really enjoyed World of Color at California Adventure.

So what’s different?

The first big difference I noticed was the size. When approaching Disney World, there are multiple exits off the interstate depending on which park/hotel you are going to and a huge arch over the highway to welcome you.  The parks and hotels all have a large distance between them.  At Disneyland, you basically walk or drive down Harbor Blvd in Anaheim and you will see a sign that says Disneyland Resort, you just turn in and you’re there!  After walking past all the bus stops, you go through security and you are in this center area between the two parks and just turn left or right depending on where you want to go, easy!

The other big difference, on-site hotels!  I always recommend staying at a Disney hotel when in Disney World because there are so many options for different budgets, hotel parking is free and there are shuttles to the park.  Disneyland offers three beautiful hotels but they were on the expensive end so we opted to stay at what they call a Good Neighbor hotel.  Good Neighbor hotels are listed on Disney’s website and you book them on your own.  Our hotel was about two miles from the entrance, offered a shuttle, included breakfast and we had a nice roomy suite.  The cost was around the same as a moderate level resort at Disney World.

Dining was also a bit different in a few ways.  Disneyland seemed to have less table service places and less character meals.  We were able to book a princess lunch that was excellent but I think it was the only non-breakfast character meal.  Disneyland also does not have a meal plan.  I know you pay regardless, but that meal plan is just so dern convenient.  Somehow it stings less to use your snack credit to buy that Dole Whip rather than forking out the $14.  And this is not dining specific, but I did not see any Magic Bands at Disneyland.  I just loved those things at WDW….your room key, park ticket, meal plan and credit card all on your wrist.  No purse, no backpack, nothing in the pockets, PERFECT!

Since I like to write about budgeting, onto cost.  Cost is a scary thing at anything Disney but there are a few ways to save.  First all, you’re going to spend some money so just go ahead and accept that way before you go and save up.  Second, if you are a responsible credit card user, consider a Disney credit card.  We were able to use our points to cover almost all of our ticket prices, we all three got into the park for two days for just $85, that is less than a one day ticket for a child.  You can also use your points redemption card (a gift card) for purchases in the park such as food and merchandise.  It will take a while to earn a lot of points so plan ahead on this one.  Another way we saved was bringing our own bottled water and a few snacks into the park, Disney allows this and it will save you a little cash.  We also chose a hotel that included free breakfast.  Research and compare prices and you can get a hotel that includes breakfast for the same cost as one that does not.  We stayed at a Hilton hotel and since I am a Hilton Honors member (free program!) I got a lower price on the room and used some of my previously earned points to pay for the room.  To do this you will need to book directly through Hilton and not a third party site.  For even more savings, Hilton does own Hampton Inn which generally costs less per night and offers similar amenities.

The final thing I really liked about Disneyland ‘s smaller size was we really only needed two days to enjoy both parks.  This gave us the opportunity to spend the rest of our week exploring other areas of California.

So my favorite parts of Disney?  Guardians of the Galaxy Breakout (formerly Tower of Terror), Sleeping Beauty’s Castle, Matterhorn, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean and Peter Pan.

Overall, if you want to go to Disney, I would recommend going to the one closest to your home.  You will spend less money getting there and you will have a great time at either location.  However, if you are are visiting the Southern California area anyways and love Disney like me, it is totally worth the visit.  I have some pics from our trip below to share!


Powered by WordPress