Biking Birthday

Does time ever fly! On Presidents Day, (Monday the 20th,) I’ll be biking every other day for one year! I am both excited and shocked at what I pulled off. I didn’t miss many days and I never felt like quitting but there were some very low points where I didn’t want to bike.

Looking back there was so much blood, sweat, and tears. I fell more than once getting bumps and terrible bruises. I not only hated hills but had to walk my bike up some of them. My face would be so red when I got home and looked in the mirror I used to look like a heart attack walking. I would collapse on my bed until I recovered.

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When I started riding my bike I had already lost 30 pounds but I was still plenty chubby and out of shape. You can see it best in this picture. I was on a diet of 1,200 calories which helped get me to where I am today. My bike, however, was like new then without the battle scars of today.

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Above, you now see a healthy woman at her target weight since last August. A woman who didn’t gain weight through the holidays or down times. A woman who’s in, and stays in shape. It’s certainly something to celebrate!!

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I feel like a movie star and so can you! I’m a real person who’s done this without any expensive diets, fads or help. You just need to do it, don’t give up, and don’t give up.

There are a few things I couldn’t have done without:

  • Myfitnesspal is an application that will help you keep track of your food calorie intake and nutrition needs. You fill out a profile and it uses your info to help you know how to eat. It’s easy to use, has all the foods, a bar code reader and you can enter your own meals. It also connects to various health bands, and exercise apps reporting your meals (calories) to them. It will also import caloric burn from other apps (including Mapmyfitness) and add it to your day’s calories.
  • Mapmyfitness is an application with GPS that keeps track of calories burned during various different exercises. I use it for my biking and it maps my ride keeping track of everything. I enter my type of bike, wheel size and profile info so it’s pretty accurate. It gives me my average speed, fastest speed, time biked, calories burned, time of day, altitude and much more. It compares my rides with other members in my area which is very interesting. It works with your phone, shoes, or fitness band including Myfitnesspal. It’s a free bike computer that’s easy to use and will announce your stats to you out loud while riding.
  • Jawbone’s UP3 is a fitness band that measures sleep cycles, steps, exercise activities, resting heart rate, food intake, and more. I’ve been wearing one since Oct. 2015 and found it has many features that are very helpful. It features a digital coach that crunches your data and gives you personal help and great articles to read. I’ve become addicted to monitoring my sleep, having this helped me with my insomnia to become a champion sleeper. It connects to Myfitnesspal and Mapmyfitness trading food, caloric and other info.

I use these apps for free with plenty of features that helped me out. Connecting applications together is easy, all these applications talk to each other which makes logging and keeping track a snap.

There are wonderful tools to use when improving your health but it’s really up to you. If you don’t take the first step you won’t get in shape. If you’re in bad health most of the time you will be obese and feel unhappy. Lose the weight and some of those medical problems will disappear. Add biking to that and soon you might be celebrating your own Bike Birthday and living a longer life.

You just need to do it, don’t give up, and don’t give up.

I’m A Jawbone Ambassador

I have worn a Jawbone UP3 health band since Oct. 11th, 2015, (see my wrist) and lost (as of now) 40 pounds. They had a contest to tell your story about how owning a Jawbone band has improved your health and I entered. I was thrilled at the beginning of the year when Shannon Sweetser called and told me I was picked!

Jawbone’s main office is in San Francisco so most of us picked already live in the Bay Area. We were invited to come in for a photoshoot, get videotaped, lunch, a tour and more. I was so nervous!

This was before I started biking I lost the first 30 pounds by logging my food every day, staying on 1,200 calories and counting my steps. I am disabled so walking was my “go to” exercise. I needed a stronger heart, I was a fat ass that had insomnia, depression and was always feeling sorry for myself. It had to stop!

I wasn’t always like this before my knees were bad I jogged and did a lot of sports including outdoor roller skating. I was living in Madison, Wisconsin when outdoor skating (showing my age) became popular. Before these new skates for outdoors it was rink skating indoors and there were no inline skates invented yet. I remember as a kid I had “steelies” those metal skates with metal wheels that you clamped on your feet with a skate key. Not the same experience at all!

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My now X husband bought us the skates on my birthday and because there weren’t many people out using them yet the newspapers got interested in us one day when we were skating through the zoo. It was pretty cool.

Of course around 1990 I had to give up skating and my options for exercise were few by 2015. I decided a health overhaul was the answer so I bought my UP3 to help me track. I picked the UP3 because it does heart rate, monitors sleep, steps, exercise, weight, food and more. The smart coach crunches numbers and gives me an overview of how I’m doing along with suggestions/articles that were a big help. When I turned in my application to be a Jawbone Ambassador and told them my story they liked it enough to use me.

When I got to Jawbone’s office in San Francisco they directed us (I brought along a friend) upstairs where a makeup artist/hair stylist was waiting for me. We had a whole floor for this day. It was so awesome the woman was very reassuring and made me look amazing!

Next, I was taken to wardrobe where they picked 2 outfits for me to wear adding a UP3 band. I was ready for my interview and photoshoot. At the interview, Shannon asked me a series of questions about how I use my UP3 and I felt stupid answering them. Let me say here that I never did anything like this before and had stage fright. The guys doing the videotaping were very sweet and made me feel at home telling me not to worry they can make me look great in the final take.

It was time for lunch so I sat down with some Jawbone employees and we talked. Everyone at Jawbone I had contact with was supportive and I had a good time with them. We talked about social networking and all kinds of things. We watched another ambassador having her photoshoot (we could see the output on a screen) it was good to see what to expect. Soon it was my turn.

It was intimidating but the photographer was very good at her job telling me how beautiful I looked, talking me up and even playing music that I picked out. Once I relaxed it was fun. I could see my photos on a screen and some of the faces I made were really bad. I was embarrassed but the crew made me feel like a million bucks and it started to show. I looked like a movie star! They took a lot of photos.

They gave my friend and I brand new UP bands of our choice and the day was over. I was told the promotion would last a month and it would come out in March. Shannon Sweetser, heading up the promotion said that there would be a main story and maybe soundbites and quotes later on the Jawbone site and social networks. It was an amazing, positive experience and I’m so glad I was one of the people they choose to use.

Shannon emailed me in March telling me my story would come out in April and that it was such a good experience for Jawbone that the promotion was extended for more time, maybe permanently. I’m going to include my story here but if you want to read it and the other Jawbone Ambassador’s stories on the site here’s the link: #GetUPTogether.

Here’s my story:

REBECCA FINDS HER STRIDE WITH UP3™

Rebecca Sanchez

UP3 Silver Cross

I’m disabled, and it’s very important for me to stay active. I don’t have much of a medical support system—that’s why the UP means so much to me. The UP is my doctor.

“I don’t think I could have lost 30 lbs this quickly, and I am still losing weight,” says 61-year-old Rebecca Sanchez, a writer and UP3™ wearer since October of 2015. She finishes her thought with a smile, “As a matter of fact, I just lost about 3 more pounds recently. I couldn’t have done it without the UP. It just gives me the information I need.”

Living with a bone and joint disability commonly referred to as windswept knees, Rebecca was crestfallen to give up her favorite outdoor activity: rollerskating. Fortunately, she’s found a new way to fill the void and stay healthy. She’s been using UP® to track her steps. “Because of my disability, I walk a lot,” she says with emphasis. “That’s my best work out. Every day I get up and go out somewhere really pretty to walk and just be at one with nature, I love nature.”

With her positive outlook, Rebecca has lost 30 lbs, and doesn’t plan on stopping there. “Now that I have lost 30 lbs, what a difference. I can move better, I have more energy, I feel better—there’s not one negative thing about it,” she says laughing, “The fact that I haven’t gained anything back and I am still losing—it keeps me hopeful for the future.”

As a writer and avid reader, Rebecca was immediately drawn to the data-inspired health tips Smart Coach gave her in the UP® App. “I had such bad problems with sleep and insomnia,” she explains. “But, by going to bed at the same time every night, and doing things that I learned from reading all the great links [in the UP App], my sleep has improved so much. I get enough deep sleep that repairs the body, and I get enough REM sleep that repairs the mind. I just can’t believe it—UP tells me how much time it takes to fall asleep now, and it takes no time whatsoever. I’m out like a light.”

It’s all a journey, and Rebecca acknowledges the ups and downs, “Failures are hard to bounce back from,” but her positivity always triumphs, “I say, ‘Well, I failed on this day, but tomorrow I don’t have to fail. Tomorrow I can correct it.’”

Want to become a Jawbone Ambassador? You can share your own story just follow the link for mine and you’ll see the offer on the same page along with all kinds of info about the different UP bands, what they do and the Jawbone company in general.

I hate talking about my age but now I’m rather proud of looking and feeling so good at 61. I tell my friends 60 is the new 50, maybe even a little younger. Good health is the key. I answered a group of questions that tell you your real age and mine was 59.7.  I’ll be 62 May 11th, so I’ll take all the help I can get.

My biking has done nothing but put icing on the health cake and besides being totally enjoyable, aerobically it’s a really good way to lose weight and tone the whole body. Even my waistline has shrunk it’s not true that it only helps the legs but you will get stunning legs in the deal.

No matter what tools you use to help you in your quest for better health and fitness you must want it bad enough for it to work. Wearing a health band is not magical, you have to put in the effort, log in results daily, and do the exercise! No excuses, you will fuck up but when you do, you start again and do it right the next time. It will add up to sweet success.

Enough rights will overcome any wrong.

Dealing With Sickness

The trail ahead finally came to an end as the sign clearly said, “No Bikes” causing me to turn around and head home.

Little did I know that when I biked this new trail on March 29th going 23 miles round trip, that the very next day I would become deathly ill with the creeping crud that’s going around. My roommate was already complaining about coming down with it from his work-mates, but since he wasn’t staying home from work or acting very sick I just ignored his warnings. I’d had my flu shot like I get every year and I never get sick! Famous last words.

I woke up the next day with a small cough. I keep a glass of water by the bed because I get a dry mouth at night so that’s what I was thinking that morning as I gulped some water. I felt fine and was proud of my 23-mile ride, even bragging about it to my best friend.

I bike every other day come rain or shine and today was an off day so I planned to get some steps in between my writing and bragging. As the day went on I felt bad and it overcame me so fast that by nightfall I had a fever of 101.5, a headache that wouldn’t go away and was coughing so hard I thought my head would explode. I actually saw lights inside my head and immediately all my new-found energy was gone. For the first time in years, I was sick and all I could do was crawl into bed.

I felt betrayed by my body, after all, everything I’d read told me that people who sleep right, eat right and exercise don’t get sick as often as the average person. In fact, I read that a healthy person only gets sick half as much as the rest of the population. I was angry that I couldn’t get on my bike and felt that all of my hard work of the last 6 months was being lost. I was angry and felt depressed for the first time in ages.

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After a few days of this negative thinking while laying in bed it came to me. I had become part of the problem. There was nothing I could do about getting sick, I had done everything right and still caught the bug. All I was doing with my bad attitude was making things worse for myself. I stopped my complaining and refocused on taking care of myself.

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Just as I’d learned how to be healthy again after decades of bad habits I relearned the importance of  patience and acceptance. Once I did, my week of sick time passed, my fever broke and I felt ready to get back on my bike.

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On Tuesday, April 5th, I got dressed to go biking for the first time since being sick. It was a sunny, windy day nothing unusual for the Bay Area in the springtime. I was weak but feeling happy.

The first thing I noticed was the wind gusts hurting my ears which never happened before. I pulled over and used my ear buds without plugging them in which happened to work. I was puzzled since I had no ear aches and on the way home I was able to remove them with no further problems.

After the first half of my ride, I noticed a lack in stamina and my back was hurting. My endorphins never kicked in and I wasn’t enjoying my ride. I still had plenty of strength for hills but wasn’t feeling it. I had to bike against the wind gusts on the way home and as soon as I got in the door I peeled my clothes off and fell back into bed.

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After sleeping a few hours I got up had something to eat and started hydrating myself. I’m not young anymore and had a private laugh at how silly I was expecting to just fall back into my biking routine after being so sick. Instead of getting upset this time, I made sure my choices the next day were well balanced towards good health hoping to have a better outcome.

On Thursday, it was a gorgeous day with high temps, low wind gusts and sun. I did my normal route this time, it was much better and more enjoyable. I finally felt that it was all coming together again.

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Yesterday it was lightly raining when I went out and the weather report said rain so I expected it but by the time I got to the San Mateo Bridge it was pouring and I was soaked. I usually go under and past this bridge but I had 4 and 1/2 miles to ride to get home so I headed back rather than take a chance on catching cold. There were no wind gusts so I made good time.

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Before I got back home I stopped to photograph 2 jackrabbits that were chasing each other in the rain oblivious to me. This is the best picture I got of them and all you can see are the ears sticking up on one and the head on another. Bad weather brings the animals out they feel safe because people aren’t out in the rain. I see more animals during bad weather it doesn’t keep me from biking.

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When I got sick last week I felt that my body betrayed me, that all of my hard work biking was lost and that I’d have to start over again. Then I rediscovered what I already learned, that balance is the key to good health, mental and physical, and the weakness was in my mind not my body.

With the right balance of sleep, healthy food, exercise, and water, with a little fun thrown in, you won’t have time for depression or unhappiness. We all get sick but the better you treat your body the more resources it will have to protect you and your mind in times of stress.

Treat your body well and your mind will follow.