Fitness Update: Post-Travel Edition

August 5, 2014

getting ready to run in Paris

It's been some time since I've updated you all on my fitness resolution for the year so I thought that it was due time! For those of you that have followed along, you might remember that my last update was just before my extended French holiday at the 120 day mark. I had planned to post an update while away, but clearly that didn't happen. Hey, I was on vacation!

So, today is August 5, making it exactly one day shy of a full 7 months since starting my resolution to get my health and weight on track. How's it going? Let's break it down.

macaron break at the Petit Palais = running afterwards

Before we left was quite possibly some of my busiest days ever. I was in the throws of two books, teaching, working 4-5 days a week as the manager of Sew L.A., plus trying to have a love life, cook for myself, and work out 2-5 days a week. It was hard, but it was routine. Anything routine can be done, even if it's hard, because if it's routine that means you've found a way to work it into your life. It's scheduled and on the iCal and it's going to happen.

Before we left town I did something that I now see to have been really helpful: I weighed myself and took my full body measurements. I did this because each year when we go away, despite walking miles and miles each and everyday, I still come home feeling like I've gained a few pounds, most likely due to things like bread, butter, wine, desserts, and other goodies I don't incorporate into my daily life when at home. But though I would feel softer and heavier, I never had proof since I wasn't keeping track of anything. This time was going to be different because I wanted real hard evidence of what these changes did to my body.

So, I packed up my running shoes, my new North Face running jacket, and one workout outfit into my carry on bag and off we went, fresh body measurements in hand...

running down Boulevard Richard Lenoir toward the Bastille

The original plan was to run as my main source of exercise with some at-home calisthenics thrown in for muscle maintenance. I brought along a soft cover book of at-home workouts with the hope to keep myself inspired.

Within the first couple of days I was off and running. My path varied from day to day, but I really enjoyed running along Boulevard Richard Lenoir, which is a wide green space with gardens and sitting areas and ping pong tables down the center which then leads up to the Canal Satin-Martin, bookended on either side with wide sidewalks (a rare treat in our Paris neighborhood). This path is only a block from our apartment and I would sometimes run south to the Bastille and sometimes I'd run north to the République.

running along the Canal Saint-Martin toward République

I ran about 5 times on our 5.5 week holiday, each time clocking in between a half mile to 2 miles. I'm not really a runner, so for those of you that really run, you can openly laugh at only running 2 miles, but for me, that is a record as an adult! It felt great and that coupled with miles of walking each day, I felt like I was moving along okay. I also made a point to take the stairs up to our 6th floor apartment most days, sometimes racing my man in the elevator to try to beat him up to the top. A race which I'm happy to say that some days I actually won!

I didn't end up doing any at-home workouts, so as I was indulging in bread and butter each day, I knew things were likely happening to my body as my calorie to output ratio was getting off for sure. But I didn't feel that bad either. I knew the proof was going to be in the numbers upon returning home.

And in my defense, I also ate really well on top of eating butter each day, cooking at home nearly everyday, making salads, tofu, keeping desserts to a minimum, and mostly just indulging in bread and butter and cheese. Things I only allow myself in small doses at home.

The day before we left my man and I sat in our apartment and discussed our eating, exercise, and potential weight gain of the trip. He guessed he had gained 5-7 pounds, and I guessed that I had gained 5 or less. Only time would tell...

The day after we got home, I got out the tape measure. I was so curious to see what the numbers said and how they reflected how I felt. I could tell that I had lost some muscle and was softer in general and the main culprit was that my posture was starting to worsen, returning to the pre-workout days of a hunchy sore back.

So, I took my numbers and you know what I found? I had gained only ONE POUND. Yep, one! But you know what's interesting? All my numbers had shifted. My waist was wider, my hips were about the same, my arms and thighs were consistent, though I could tell instantly that they were softer and had less muscle, and my bust was nearly the same.

this butter was worth every squat

Within the first three days of being home I had lost that pound plus two more, simply by not eating cheese, bread, and butter everyday, and now I'm faced with the hard fact that I need to rebuild my strength and muscle. I don't feel as strong as I did when we left, and my back has returned to being achey.

But I'm also faced with another curveball: a new routine. Upon returning home, I am officially no longer the manager at Sew L.A. and I'm completely dedicating my time to teaching, writing, and patternmaking. This is truly amazing and a moment I've worked toward for a decade, but I'm no longer in the same neighborhood as my gym everyday, as it is over by the shop where I worked but not by where I live, and my sense of routine is so different now that I'm working at home most days.

I haven't fully returned to my level of fitness and am honestly just getting back into it, though I've been home now for almost a month. I'm happy to say that I'm still sitting pretty at 15 pounds lost for the year (YES!), but now it's time for the second half of the year and while I'm excited about the changes in my work, I do feel like I'm starting all over again.

So, that's where we are. I am getting back into the swing of things and rebuilding some of the muscle I lost along my hiatus. But that's okay with me. Vacation is a time for many things, including rest and recuperation, of which I was in desperate need of, so there are no regrets from where I stand.


  1. I am SO impressed with you!! Fifteen pounds is such a huge accomplishment (which I am realizing more and more as I get older--dammit, I hate when people are right about it getting harder as the years go by!), and I am frankly envious that you've been so successful. And GIANT congratulations on your other big accomplishment--moving to designing and teaching full-time is so incredible! Hooray for 2014, Year of Christine!! :)

    1. thanks lady! and OMG it's so true that getting older makes it all so much harder. I wish those tales were false, but they are not! damn aging!

  2. You are so inspiring, Christine! I really love reading these posts.

  3. way to go! i always feel like a champion if i run for more than five consecutive minutes… my gym is 20 minutes away but it's by a target and a nice grocery store, so i use those things to tempt me over there. plus if i combine it with other errands i have to do anyway, it feels like less of a hassle.

    fist bump for fitness!

    1. love that idea! there are no good gyms by my place so perhaps I'll pick something near the grocery or the post office - places I need to go regularly anyway. FIST BUMP! and OMG yes, 5+ minutes of running = gold medal champion.

  4. I was wondering how you were doing, and agree these posts are very inspirational! I'm terrible at running, so I'm impressed you ran two miles! And congrats on the exciting work changes. :)

    1. thank you! running is a whole new area for me so I feel like 2 miles is a huge deal for me! thanks for the congrats as well :) it's pretty exciting!

  5. What an inspiration.... love your attitude: being conscious of your health, but not forgetting to live! I am sure you will succeed :)

    1. thanks! it's all about living life and learning to work in all the goodness! if I'm in France you better believe I'll be eating butter :)

  6. Way to go! to keep on track for so long and then not go overboard when you are on holidays (in Paris!) that's amazing. If you can do that you can build a new routine with your new found freedom of working only for yourself. Congratulations and good luck!

  7. wow! Way to go Christine--you inspire me too! thanks for sharing your fitness journey.