My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

Revealing A Bit Of My Inner Self, So, Please, No Haters

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The main reason I store food and am learning all the skills that go along with it is to help my family be more self-reliant.  I’ve touched on a few aspects of self-reliance (or self-sufficiency, whatever you want to call it): cooking, gardening, canning, learning to cook, baking, etc.  One topic I’ve avoided is fitness. Why have I avoided it?  Because there are powerful emotions involved whenever fitness, health, weight loss, etc. are discussed.

 

DSCN6547

 

I’m not talking about weight loss here.  That’s something entirely different than fitness.  It plays a part in one’s overall fitness, but it is not the only part or even the largest part.  Some might argue that you must be slender to be fit (see here) while others argue that you can be fit and fat at the same time (see here and here).  I’m not here to discuss the merits of either argument.  I’m talking about taking care of my body, so I can perform the tasks I need to perform.   Eating healthier, homemade foods is a part of taking care of my body and so is physical fitness.

 

Today, I’m talking about the physical fitness part of self-reliance.  I’m sharing something quite personal which I guard very closely, so I hope you will all be kind and refrain from harsh judgments.  🙂  Or, keep your judgments to yourself.  That’s fine, too.

 

Not sure why I had my roommate take my picture, but here I am in my freshman dorm room before a dance.

Not sure why I had my roommate take my picture, but here I am in my freshman dorm room before a dance.

 

As a child and teenager, I was very active, had a healthy body, and was pretty fit.  Then, I got married and had my first child.  I thought it wouldn’t be a big deal to lose the baby weight, as I’d had no problem losing weight in the past.  Granted it was only 5 pounds, but how different could it be?  I soon learned that it was very different.  I tried so many different diets and ways of eating (low-fat, Atkins, whole grain, Zone, Ornish, and more), I worked with nutritionists, I taught step aerobics, I exercised on my own, I logged my food, and so on.  Nothing worked.  I was still fat.  I was pretty healthy, and I was fit for my size, but I was a big gal, definitely not what I was as a fit teenager.

 

After a lot of thought and prayer and at least 22 serious weight loss efforts over 22 years, I opted to have a vertical sleeve gastrectomy just over a year ago.  I didn’t tell many people, only family and close friends.  Why didn’t I tell more people?  I didn’t want to hear “You should just try _____!”  Or “If you just did _____, you’d lose weight.”  No, I didn’t try everything on the planet, but I am not an unintelligent person.  I spend hours upon hours researching and reading.  I tried many things that work for many people in the long term.  I wasn’t interested in short term solutions or anything that might risk my health.

 

If I didn’t want to risk my health, then why did I have surgery?  Without boring you with all my mental ramblings, here’s a summary.  I tried losing weight for 22 years.  It wasn’t working.  This surgery and others like it work.  The sleeve is not a magic cure, BUT it is an effective tool.  When used properly, surgery would allow me to lose some of my excess weight.  I knew I was at the point where I needed to lose weight, or it would affect my health in the long term.

 

You want a shorter reason?  I want to be able to walk when I am 70.

 

Why am I telling you all this?  There’s a chance you’ll lose all respect for me.  That happens when people find out someone they haven’t met is fat.  Everyone must find their own balance, to find what works for their body and their lifestyles.  Truth is, I am not as fat as I was, but I’ll never be my skinny teenage self again.  And I’m okay with that.  I still look a bit like an apple on sticks, but I’m a much smaller apple now.  I’ve lost 8 inches off of my waist and 2 inches off of my neck, and it feels good.

 

Allow me to get back on track…  Fitness…  What does that mean TO YOU?  To me, it means living a healthy, active life for as long as I can.  Since weight loss surgery is not a magical, instant solution, I exercise as I did before surgery.  Earlier this year, I found myself slacking off a bit earlier this year after a nasty cold that would not go away.  So, I signed up for a color run in Orange County.  It sounded like a lot of fun, and it would motivate me to try something I haven’t done regularly in almost 3 decades: run.

 

I am using the couch to 5K program.  I’m not starting at “couch” as I walk and exercise regularly, but I think it’s better to start slowly.  Especially now that I’m in my 40s.  But I waited a little too long to start, so I’m accelerating it just a tad bit.  I need to be done in 5 1/2 weeks rather than the 9 they schedule.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

 

This is not my first fitness event since my surgery.  I swam the swimming leg of a sprint triathlon last August.

 

I was not looking forward to getting in the water as it was COLD outside!

I was not looking forward to getting in the water as it was COLD outside!

 

But I did!  The water felt fine.  I am the one in the middle of the picture in blue.

But I did! The water felt fine. I am the one in the middle of the picture in blue.

 

 

Then my family and I participated in the Foam Fest 5K (which was a blast!) last September.

 

This was a muddy race!

This was a muddy race!  Not a great picture of me, but I promised I would be my real self in this blog, unflattering pictures and all.

 

But I didn't need to worry, because there was a lot of foam to clean off the mud.

But I didn’t need to worry, because there was a lot of foam to clean off the mud.

 

I had to "save" my youngest son, but we laughed the entire way!

I had to “save” my youngest son, but we laughed the entire way!

 

And I still had a smile on when I got home in all my muddy, foamy glory.  Look at those once white socks!

And I still had a smile on when I got home in all my muddy, foamy glory. Look at those once white socks!

Wish me luck on my journey. 

I’ll keep working to improve my health and fitness regardless of my size.  I hope you’ll join me.

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Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

47 thoughts on “Revealing A Bit Of My Inner Self, So, Please, No Haters

  1. Your story is inspiring. This is what I am trying to do now because “I want to be able to walk when I am 70.”

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  2. For me I had to slow down the C25K program, in that I am up to 2 minutes 45 seconds of running at a time with about a 1 minute 15 second walk break intervals. But I am slowly increasing it. I have exercise induced asthma and the running seems so much harder on my lungs than the walking or speed walking did. Good luck to you and don’t worry about what others think of you when it comes to weight. The point is to try and be a healthier person so you can live a long time in a state that one can still have quality of life.

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  3. Aw!!! I am overweight too, despite a healthy diet. I feel sad that one feels shame for that, or is made to feel shame because we are not society’s “ideal”. Good on you for doing something about it, that’s a great thing, but realise too that you are beautiful no matter what size you are x

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  4. Thanks for sharing! I think that this is an aspect we rarely talk about in preparedness circles- you can have all the stockpiles you’ll ever need, but a self reliant life style means that we will have to rely heavily on our bodies, and most of us (myself included) are not prepared for that. Good for you taking on the challenge head on and making the choices you needed not only to be ready “one day” but for whatever life hands us everyday. I look forward to hearing about your Couch to 5k journey- I think that will be the program I use to rehab, so I cant wait to see what you think!

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  5. There is nothing in this post that could be judged harshly! You are a person wanting to take care of yourself and your doing it!!! That’s amazing! I admire you for making a change in your life and not just ignoring issues.

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  6. Congrats! It is all about overall health and wellness, not physical size. While I may wish to be thinner, I am happy being physically fit. I am able to keep up with my highly active boys. I can enjoy a vacation that includes lots of hiking and walking. These are more important than what size I am!

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  7. Bless you! My late father had that surgery. He struggled for about 18 years and had his surgery on the down low. He only told my sis and I that it wasn’t gall bladder surgery like he told the rest of the family. 8 mo after the surgery, he was finally where he was in weight when I was born. For the first time in my life I could hug him and my hands met behind his back. I was proud of him and I am proud of you! Good for you for waking up and not letting your life be stolen from you by fat. I wished in vain that the surgery existed earlier so my father could have been more active with me.

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  8. “I want to be able to walk when I am 70” Best reason ever, thank you for sharing really helps knowing there are people out there that you can relate to. Wish you all the best on your journey 🙂

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  9. Good on you for sharing and using all the tools you can to live a healthy life. Sometimes an ongoing combo is what it takes as you’ve figured out. And I do like your sense of humor amongst it all too… ‘Apple on sticks’. Here’s to making progress 🙂

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  10. I am in awe of you. I am so blessed to call you my friend.

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  11. I did the couch to 5k on my elliptical – all the way up to week 7… and then the machine broke. Sigh. So, I had to take my exercise outside and dear Lord, is that different!! I had to down grade to a walk, but I walk at a min 30 min a day all 7 days – and usually i’m at an hour or more. Just now, after a couple of months, have I thought about trying to run again!
    So, totally sending you some good energy! Have fun with it!

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  12. Exercise is not to make you LOOK good its to make you FEEL good. Congrats for having determination to do it right! Also if you keep it up with the endurance events you should amass a pretty sweet T-shirt collection… Good luck on your journey, I’m sure you’ll do great!

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  13. It’s great that you can articulate your reasons for staying healthy so well. I really wish people would focus more on uplifting stories like yours instead of shallow, vain attempts to fit a convoluted ideal of beauty. You should want to be fit for you. Thanks for sharing your story.

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  14. I LOVE that Foam Fest picture of you, Laurie!!! You are an amazing person. *hugs*

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  15. Laurie, you’re an inspiration to everyone! I love your story and thanks for sharing. I, too, am heavy but I’m also eating right and taking better care of my body. You’re our “Rock” Laurie! Keep doing what you’re doing and never quit! You’re AMAZING!

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  16. Anyone who would think less of you simply for the numbers on your scale would need to take a real looong look at themselves. I am fortunate enough to have inherited my mom’s slim physique, but I also inherited her lack of *ahem* feminine assets. Boobs. Tatas. Whatever, our superficial society is a bitch! Luckily for all of us, it truly does take all kinds, and my hubby thinks I’m beautiful so that is a huge help.

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  17. Really great post. I DID walk until I was 70, when the advancing MS caused the fall just before 71 that broke my shoulder and ended me up in a power chair for the rest of my life. Since I’ve had MS since I was 15, I consider myself a lucky lady, and now am hoping my butt will hold out another 25 years. I was overweight until last year, when the MS acted up so bad I couldn’t swallow food, and lost 100 pounds. So now, my diabetes is under control and I can eat all the carbs I want. The problem now is that I still have occasional problems swallowing them, so am just trying to eat enough to maintain my present weight.

    You’re doing a great job Laurie. I especially love the photo of you covered in mud. Takes me back to my days as a farm wife, chasing cattle back in when they would break thru the fence, and I would have to run thru the mud to get them back in. Finally just told the hubs the next time they got out I was going to take the shotgun and start making hamburger out of them. Never had to chase another steer for the rest of our marriage.

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  18. Good for you, Lauren! And thank you for sharing with us…I am pushing 65 years old, and carrying about 25 extra pounds. Not a huge amount, but enough to get in the way of how I want my clothes to fit, and how healthy I want to be. As women, our job should be to encourage each other, not to be critical of each other’s choices. – Fawn

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  19. I admire you Laurie– I’m a reluctant exerciser –wish I had get myself going like you have! — (and fun to see your name is Laurel!! We have a daughter Laurel– and haven’t run across too many people with that name!)

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  20. You’re such a beautiful person! You seriously glow, mud, foam, and all. Thank you so much for sharing your self.

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  21. You have absolutely the right reason to enjoy exercise! I recently said on my blog that I am exercising to keep osteoporosis at bay. My mum is now under 5 foot tall. I would like to see my 70’s above the marker so I exercise. I am also overweight (and heavier since I started weight training – go figure) but healthy and happy.
    Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂

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  22. I like your blog and you must be so much fun! Great job!!

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  23. All the best to you! Cheers~ 😀

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  24. What an inspiring post! Cudos for not settling into the “current state of affairs” (or using it as an excuse to slouch away on a couch) but still being active as hell, in spite of it! I totally sympathise as I am currently about 10kg over my ideal weight, too. Plus, as you probably read in my post yesterday, I am also in a bit of a running rut (having slacked in my training, after a nasty calf strain). Like you, I also just registered for a 5K (and planning to do the same for another race, sceduled for one month before) just to get back into the swing of things…In fact I would love it if you kept in touch -we could definitely motivate each other, I think! In any case, let me wish you the best of luck in your journey…Hang on in there (& make sure you keep on smiling, no matter what)! XOXO

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  25. You are an inspiration. No judgements here, I think you are beautiful!

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  26. I agree it is very inspiring, as being Type 2 Diabetes and still only one metformin a day and want to keep it that way, I too am trying to get fit and lose weight if possible. Growing up like you I was active and often called the stringbean, well lets just say two kids, chemo and a bad back along with love of ice cream and french fries has now made me more into a pumpkin!! ha ha Since I started I lost 50 pounds and this past year although gaining very little back I have let a lot of things go because of the grief and everything that goes with it. But I am getting back on track and I hope to lose a few more to reach my goal. But if not that will be ok too, because my main goal is to be fit and active until the Lord calls me home no matter my weight. You go girl!! Keep up the good work and thank you for sharing this with us.

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  27. Laurie, I have nominated you for a Dragon’s Loyalty Award. To receive it, just stop by my blog, Kentucky Angel’s Train Wrecks, and grab it, and while you’re there, you can also grab an Angel Award that I created for the angels in my life. All of my blogging friends are my angels. Pass it on to your friends.

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  28. Thanks for stopping by my blog yesterday. I LOVE this! I am an avid foodie, but I’ve always exercised (marathons, triathlons, & more) not only so I can eat, but for the simple fact that it makes me feel good. Thank you for sharing that same idea so thoughtfully! Half the battle when it comes to taking care of your health is just showing up and being involved in it; sounds like you’ve more than mastered that!
    PS. I also garden, can, and all that other fun stuff too… 🙂

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  29. I love it! I’ve also had a problem losing the last couple pounds of baby weight, and it’s harder to exercise than it use to be since I got gout and had to have a bone removed from my foot. Needless to say it’s a nightmare buying running shoes. Since the charity race season is coming up, I had thought about training to run in one of them, thanks for posting the couch to 5k link…I may check it out. Do you mind if I repost that on my blog??? You’re an inspiration!

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  30. Thank you so much for sharing your inspiring story, and congratulations on your journey!

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  31. So please completely ignore my last blog post! lol. (Thanks for the add btw) My own personal epiphany there I know isn’t helpful to everyone. I just went from feeling helpless to believing I could actually change. One of my best friends just had gastric bypass after I watched her struggle for 15 years. My oldest (24) is hoping to have lap band in 6 months or so. She knows she isn’t going to win this battle already, in our toxic food culture especially. And I completely agree it’s about living life not being Barbie. I’m sure you will encourage many.

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  32. Wow you got a lot of traffic on this one… But keep it up, I just ran a 5k after twisting my ankle last year… I am seriously unmotivated to get back to the 1/2 marathon level ( i have run 3) but it is good for me, along with good food and healthy living. You inspire me to keep going. But the summer is coming and it is so hard to run outside here in the south.

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  33. Many many thanks for sharing and for the inspiration – had a sleeve surgery myself 3 yrs ago; so I know yr struggle 😉

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  34. Kudos to you for layin’ it all out there. That’s difficult and THIS is inspirational! Brava.

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  35. YOU INSPIRE ME!! I have just begun my weight loss journey and its important to see someone as a role model, someone whom I would look up to. Your journey has been incredible I hope I can achieve my target with the grit and determination that you portray!! more power to you lady…KUDOS

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  36. I am impressed by your ability to push yourself and do what it takes to stay healthy. Good luck on your journey.

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  37. I am most proud that you are doing something for YOU. We sometimes don’t realize that it is okay to put that on our “List.”

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  38. Laurie,
    I meant to respond when I first saw this, I think you are brave, and more power to you! I can relate to wanting to be healthier. As someone who has always had a struggle with weight and an unhealthy relationship with food, we all have our reasons for posting what we post on our respective food-related blogs, and so who am I to judge? I share your desire to be able to walk when I’m 70, so I too want to be physically fit and being fine with not having the body of a 20-something year old anymore! Thanks for this reminder! Have a good weekend and see you around.

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  39. You are amazing and such an inspiration! Keep up the great work XX

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  40. There’s just something I need to say.. I LOVE your story!! Love it,love it, love it! You are SO inspirational..and what you “revealed” is what a lot of people think about on the inside and don’t let out for other people to hear. Don’t be ashamed, be you, be your complete self, and continue to be beautiful inside and out! Keep working at it and you will succeed in whatever you wish to succeed in! Be PROUD of what you have already accomplished and keep chugging along. xoxo

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  41. Pingback: Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner! | My Foray Into Food Storage

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