Thursday, January 24, 2013

More experimentation.

This week marks a new round of trials. I had my test day for adding corn back into my diet early this week and tomorrow I try wheat! I have plans, major plans, for wheat day. Oven-fried chicken and mac-n-cheese with whole wheat noodles and oodles of delicious goat and sheep cheese.

I am slightly hesitant about embarking on this next trial given that I have broken out in a couple of spots with itchy bumps (low back and, ugh, in a body roll). I confess I feel ashamed of things like this, embarrassed, since I associate the outbreaks with a lack of control and also a feeling of sloth and fatness.

So what do I do? Keep trucking. Treat and cleanse and rest and drink water. And plot. Plotting exercise. And food. And health. I would like a bottom like this.

I found this fun Brazillian Butt Workout set on Pinterest. Last night I made my first foray into the world of round bottom shaping... and it was good. I feel it more in my quads today than my butt. I'll still take it. More tomorrow.

Even better than the butt will be the heart. Hopefully like the one below. All shiny and happy and surrounded by cosmic energy... Ok, maybe not cosmic energy, but definitely kid-chasing, trail hiking, faster running energy.

On the docket this weekend: wheat experiment. Purchase running bra and seek out advice on leg compression sleeves to get my running progress on track. Oh yeah. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

I crave the vintage.

I grew up surrounded by antiques, knick knacks and art. My family is full of artists and creatives, passionate, visual people. My mother has passed through many phases of collecting fervor over the year (pink flamingos, Billy Bob Thornton, jewelry, jewelry, jewelry...!) and frequently changed the overtones of her wardrobe to match. My uncle is a paragon of fashion and creative clothing consumption. Regardless of what each gravitates toward at the moment they maintain one consistent, key quality- they dress for their bodies.

Adorable face, exhibit B
 Since my teens I have experimented with a wide array of looks but for the past decade or so I seem to yo-yo around late-40's to early-60's fashion and looks. Partly, it's my face.  

Adorable face, exhibit A

The "vintage" or "retro" look works very well for me. Deep red lips, strong eye makeup and pearls. Spit curls, soft pink lips and button earrings. I adore cardigans, pencil skirts, circle skirts. Fortunately these things are fairly universal in how well they work on bodies. The things I really super bad have always wanted to wear are more a struggle. Swingy shirtwaist dresses, wiggle dresses, fitted woven tops are a rare addition to my wardrobe. Let's just say never store-bought. If I make it myself I can make it work.

So here's another goal, a dress that makes me feel like this looks on her: 

I pass by here on my way to or from work pretty much every day. And everyday I think, "I could do that." With short hair and a folding bike, of course!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Also, learning to run.

Never in my life have I had the yen to run. You know, other than the odd occurrence of running to catch a train/plain/automobile/thief/narrow window for a bathroom break. However, this past summer I was shoe-shopping with my dude and encouraged him to try on some barefoot-style sneakers. He is particularly fond of the color orange and when I found a pair in his size with orange accents I knew he'd at least give them a walk around the store. He slipped them on and it was like his whole body lit up. I thought they might be a hard sell, that he would argue against their light construction and thin soles. No. Love. Deep, instantaneous love. Naturally, it piqued my interest.

A few months later we were shoe-browsing again and I slipped into a lady pair of the same shoes my dude had snapped up previously. Oh my! Like ballet slippers but better for all the pokey-pointy prevention they provide. That is when the feeling struck. Prancing about in my new shoes, dancing up and down stairs I thought, "These might make it kind of fun to run..."

*shock face*

I didn't really know how the thought had happened. The more I thought about it the more attractive it was. I could take running shoes with me anywhere. I could run on vacation. It would make me fit, it would work different muscles than my other fitness pleasures (mostly dance and yoga). The biggest hurdle I saw in my path was that it was already deep into the fall and I live in Minnesota. Getting an itch to try running when you live in one of the coldest states in the US on approach to winter is not, well, practical.

My weird salvation came in the form of a friend making casual mention of the Metrodome hosting running nights on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the winter. For one dollar you can run around the concessions level in relative warmth and comfort. Excellent. Next, shoes. I picked up an inexpensive pair of Saucony runners from the nearby Marshall's. While I wholly believe in the idea that you should restrict running shoes to running alone, I do not believe that investing a heap of cash into a pair when I have no idea if this idea will stick. So now, armed with shoes I downloaded the Couch to 5k app for iPhone and set off for the Metrodome.

I admit that my first run was hardly a run. I walked the majority of the time. I stopped often to stretch. A lot. When I first downloaded the app I thought, "Great! This sounds super doable," and that my goal would be as the program laid it out, a 5k. Now, however, I see that my first goal is to get up to the level that I can follow the first workout. My shins and calves were on fire. I kept tugging at my pants and wishing my breasts would stop flopping around. But, at the end of it, I felt, good. I was sore and ached from shoulder to foot but I felt like I had done something. I felt quietly energized. I wanted to be able to do better. It's been awhile since yoga made me feel like that. I miss it terribly. Tomorrow I go back to the Metrodome for another try.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Elimination Diet

I started seeing my nutritionist with the goal of getting a handle on the crazy. I felt like I had lost sight of what made sense nutritionally. South beach made me see some foods as complete junk and others as only allowed in moderation. Some of these foods included bananas, white rice, potatoes, carrots. Making sure these things weren't in my diet became second nature. I didn't miss most of them. When the diet wasn't working so well for me I felt like I was cheating by having bananas and the feeling of the forbidden drove me to overindulge. No bananas? Wellllll, it's only once in a while, I can have this smoothie just this once... So now, instead of eating the damn banana I was eating everything else that went into that smoothie, too.

As I moved away from those ideas I had less and less understanding of what I was putting into my body. I felt like it was a "bad day" when I had had a smoothie and a chai and whole grain toast from the cafeteria at work.

Back to the first appointments with the nutritionist. We talked about all sorts of things: flipping my days to have the heaviest meal in the morning, bringing all the veggies and fruits back into the light, my learnings from regulating my blood sugar. She suggested trying an elimination diet.

What is an elimination diet, you ask? In this particular version I am eliminating 4 major categories of foods: corn (and all its derivatives), wheat, cow's milk dairy and nightshade vegetables (white potatoes, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant). I am starting by taking all 4 categories out for 10 days then will add each back in for a trial day, followed by a few days of basic elimination to note reactions. The whole process takes a little less than a month. I am currently a week in.

So far I think I'm doing ok. I find that I am sleeping much better. I also find that I am eating a lot more fruit and have had juice a couple of times, which still feels like a no-no. I know I get hooked on something that makes me feel like I've found a loop-hole (remember the gluten-free cookie debacle???) and I know I have to keep those things in check.

I've also taken to sharing what I am doing with those around me. Although I feel a bit like a freak of nature for telling them I have also found that the folks I work with and socialize with to be very supportive. And when I tell them what I am doing and why I feel supported, they ask questions and help me by not offering treats they might usually have done. It makes a world of difference.

I'm excited to see what more the week will bring. Soon I will share a post of one of my recent culinary explorations! Apricot-coconut energy bars!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Backstory

As you will learn in the coming days, weeks and months I have struggled with my weight for years. I come from stocky stock but I do not believe that it should be my destiny. I want to be healthy. And comfortable. And I am going to do it.

Two years ago I set out to conquer my bulge with the South Beach Diet. I was a great believer and set to making my lifestyle, workable, sustainable and enjoyable. I read the books. I created a weekly menu. I decided to measure my weight loss in clothing rather than the scale.

When my pants began to sag I was nervously excited. Nearly a year into the plan I walked into a dressing room at my favorite outlet store and stood crying over the array of things I had brought in which FIT. I had started the South Beach diet weighing nearly 225lbs and wearing size 20 jeans. I am just shy of 5' tall. That day, in the dressing room, I had brought in a stack of size Medium shirts, sweaters and other things. I was overwhelmed by how far I had come. I met with my doctor for my annual physical that year and she teared up at how my hard work was paying off; that my choice to make a change with hard work and a healthy diet had been working so well. I weighed 174lbs and fit into size 12 jeans.

Then something changed. I plateaued. I began to tweak my diet, trying to shore up my rules, increasing my fiber, reducing alcohol intake. The pounds I worked so hard to lose began to creep back on. After a couple of months without change I decided to try going gluten free. I gained nearly 20lbs during the time I tried to live the gluten free life. I made some big mistakes. Like cookies. A gluten free cookie is still a cookie. I wasn't eating them before, I shouldn't have allowed myself such laxity when I shifted my diet.

For months I tinkered. I kept the majority of my rules but I was slipping. I wasn't motivated. I was gaining weight. I felt helpless and so I told myself that as long as I stayed the size I was (back to a 14 at the time) I wouldn't worry. I had still made progress. When my pants kept getting tighter and I began to avoid the things I loved (short shorts, yoga nearly 3 times a week, some of my favorite clothes) I knew I needed help.

I sought out a nutritionist and it took nearly 2 months to get an intake appointment. Seeing her that first time and having to give her my whole history and relationship with food and my body... telling her about my family history and my fears about aging and what my weight could mean... I felt like I was laying my soul bare. But I also felt like she was listening. That I wasn't just a number and that this was the beginning of making a change. Again.

I like seeing her. The bared soul feeling has subsided and been replaced by hope. And determination. We've been talking about trying an elimination diet and this week I've embarked on this strange challenge. I look forward to sharing my progress and the effects. All the good and all the bad.

If you read any of this and it is helpful to you in any way, I am thrilled. If you have been here and made it to the other side let me know. I will do my best to be brutally honest with myself here and in the real world, too. Time to make my old self new.


Here's to new beginnings. How apt given we are in the first month of the new year! Let us not make resolutions but real, positive change.