Posts Tagged ‘weight loss’

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Yoga Pants Are Professional, Right?

April 9, 2012

I wish I had a job where I could wear yoga pants all day. Mind you, I’m not interested in being a yoga instructor. I just want to wear yoga pants every day.

The Gos feels me.

Especially as I’ve been losing weight and trying to piece together outfits without having to spend a lot of money, the urge to wear all things comfy and yoga has been strong. I promised myself that the big shopping spree will happen when I hit my goal and/or I hit one year since I decided to make a major lifestyle change.

Between grad school and part-time jobs or jobs where I could work from home, I haven’t had to wear professional clothes five days a week in almost three years. And even then, I could often get away with a more casual look. And not only were those pre-Casual-Monday-through-Friday days long ago enough that my old clothes are pretty beat up or shabby looking, but they were from 30 pounds ago. Nothing makes you feel amazeballs like frumpy, shabby clothes.

With the phone call that I’ve been offered a new job that requires a sharper look, I finally gave myself permission (sorry, first forthcoming pay check, looks like you’ve been spent!) to buy new clothes. So, not quite at my goal yet, but…I can’t go to work naked. It’s not that kind of office.

My previous experiences with suits weren’t very good. Imagine trying to shove yourself into clothes that were too big in some areas and too tight in others…yeah, it wasn’t pretty.

It's cute to wear ill-fitting clothes when you're 8, not so much when you're 30. And with boobs. And hips.

Because I’m an idiot a bad blogger, I didn’t get a picture of me in my new wardrobe (will do, will do!), but I have to say, unexpected bonus of weight loss #46859281: I felt confident and like my clothes fit the way they should. I actually found myself lamenting that I wouldn’t need to wear a suit/jacket every day…although that may be more because that’s pretty mindless when it comes to choosing an outfit. I like not having to think too much. Especially if that thinking comes pre-coffee.

Anyway, I felt really great, and I credit the weight loss. And the ability to buy suits in separate pieces. I think I’m pretty proportionate, but my jackets and skirts/pants are definitely not the same size…enough so that I wear a petite jacket! Petite! Me! I am not a petite person, but it works. I had these hazy visions of totally remaking my style (whatever that means), but necessity and a time crunch has me just picking up basic, classic pieces for now. I guess the remake is that I’m not constantly furrowing my brow or looking incredibly socially awkward because I feel like a chump.

I also decided to get rid of what was turning into hippie-in-the-wild hair (I miss it…a little), and get a more professional cut. Bonus for a cut that looks good straight, too…although let’s be quite honest: I am too lazy to straighten my hair.

And I almost lost my shit on a dude at one of those kiosks in the mall where they try to sell you hair straighteners. Normally I just blow it off, but when a blind to all that is good in the world guy selling straighteners told me that I “could look so pretty if [I] let [him] straighten [my] hair,” well…it was almost too much. Could look so pretty? Sucka, please. I do look so pretty. I love having curly hair.

But I digress. Onto a more professional look. And not rotating between one pair of ill-fitting cotton slacks and one pair of jeans with a jean I keep trying to re-attach. Yikes. New job…new me…but no yoga pants at work. Sad. panda.

I kind of miss the unkempt look. Kind of.

Oh. Oh, no. I'm lying to you. Kempt is a better look.

This will not happen again. And by that I mean, the hair. The beers will happen again.

Long story short: I’m happy I lost weight and feel better in my own skin…and the clothes that must cover said skin. I’m not happy that those clothes have to have shoes, though. Barefoot would be amazing.

I’m also really lazy: Exhibit A – I’d like to wear yoga pants all day; Exhibit B – if I can’t wear yoga pants all day, I’d rather wear a suit all day so I don’t have to think about what other clothes serve as the female equivalent to shirt and tie; Exhibit C – fancy pants straight hair is way too fancy to actually take the time to do. Even though it’s probably not.

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I Broke the Scale

March 30, 2012

I knew it might happen. It’s a worry every person who’d like to shed some pounds has: am I going to break the scale?

 

Well.

 

I did.

 

So many little pieces...it's like someone threw a glitter party in my bathroom!

I’d blame it on the ‘roid rage, but Wednesday was my last day on prednisone.

And then I’d blame it on karma telling me that I should only weigh myself once a week and not be obsessed with the scale…but I wasn’t even trying to weigh myself! I was just moving it so that I could clean my bathroom. I picked it up, and only an inch or two off of the tile, it slipped and shattered into a sparkly mess.

Now I can say I broke the scale. Like, actually broke the damn thing.

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Getting Back on Track

March 27, 2012

It’s time to get back on track…the Weight Watchers track. For the week before the half marathon and the week after, I didn’t track anything except my weight. Four weeks ago, I weighed the same amount that I did this morning. In the grand scheme of the number of cupcakes I ate before the half (2.5), among other mindless eating choices, that’s not so bad.

But now I’m not training for a half marathon, and I’m also not trying to maintain my current weight…

It’s been ridiculously easy to slip back into some old habits. Fortunately not every old habit, but I know I’m not eating as well as I should. The obvious answer to regaining control is to just start tracking again, which I’m doing, but I also wanted to reflect on the things that worked well during the first 25 pounds that I lost, and get myself excited about eating well to lose more.

Things that worked

  • Less alcohol. No big secret here. I just drank less. It helped that I was also training for two races: I usually skipped drinking the night before my weekend long run. When I went out with friends, I drank fewer drinks, better quality.
  • Less cheese. Not necessarily less dairy; Greek yogurt and I have a fantastic relationship. But less cheese, and better cheese. The more flavorful, the less you need to make an impact.
  • I nixed French fries for the most part. They are truly a rarity in my diet now.
  • Less animal meat, more other protein. Lentils, lentils, lentils.
  • Small substitutions. Make an omelet with one egg and one egg white instead of two eggs.
  • Giving myself permission to eat a s***-ton of fruits and vegetables. I’m not sure why I ever saw them as luxury, but I used to see fresh fruit and vegetables as such…and as too expensive. I’m glad it dawned on me that it was costlier in the end to see them as a luxury.
  • One-pot meals. If I can just toss everything into one-pot, I’m much more likely to eat a balanced meal. Left to cook veggies separately, I usually get away with a salad, maybe some carrot sticks. Sometimes all that ends up in my mouth if I don’t cook everything together is whatever carb/protein I’m eating. But if I can make some sort of stew or frittata or other dish where you can really pack in the vegetables? I eat well, friends. So well.
Remembering the proper care and feeding of me
So the next step is to remember what got me here (not too far off from how I’ve been eating lately…just need to remind myself when I get off course), and then to remember that I enjoy cooking, I know how to cook, and there are fun things to make that don’t have to break the Weight Watchers bank.

Need a quick meal? Lentils. Vegetable broth or water. Onion and garlic if you have it. Canned tomatoes. Any green. Any other random vegetables you have around. Any ratio, really. Had it on the table and portioned out into work lunches in less than 30. This version was 3 WW PointsPlus per serving.

A go-to for me is any kind of lentil soup. I think I was originally inspired by Heidi at 101 Cookbooks and her recipe for Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup, but in the last few years, I make it with whatever random vegetables I have around. Last night I had kale and sweet potatoes from the farmers market and pre-chopped garlic, shallots, and onions from Trader Joe’s (amazing. Less than $2, ready to go). In the fridge? Random amount of vegetable broth. The cupboard? Random quantity of lentils. I’ve put together similar soups for anywhere from 3-5 WW PointsPlus.

It was good to poke my head around the farmers market and get inspired again. I picked up a small loaf of sunflower flax bread from a Baltimore-based (but they sell all over the DC area!) bakery that I love.

But this brings me to one of the things I really don’t like about Weight Watchers (and yet have a solution to, other than to guesstimate): how you track things that don’t have a barcode, you didn’t make yourself, or weren’t made by a huge chain store. If I want to accurately track bread, I’d have to: buy something with a nutritional label; bake a loaf myself; or go to a chain restaurant whose items have been included in the WW database. Not much room for accurately tracking the little guy… (Although, good news: Atwater’s actually does include their nutrition information on their website, but many places don’t have that information readily available.)

I suppose it’s just a reminder that what’s easy or convenient isn’t always better. I’ll continue to figure out ways to track the “good” stuff, it just takes a little more effort.

And now for my new favorite “splurge” item (OK, not really a huge splurge – it’s just 1 WW PointsPlus for 1 Tbsp.):

OH NO THEY DIDN'T! They did! And it's so good!

You could do a lot worse, folks.

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Three Things Thursday: Fashion for Losers Edition

March 2, 2012

Losers of weight, that is.

Disclaimer: I have very little good fashion sense. But I have been losing weight, and I do want to look presentable and nice…sometimes I even surprise myself and look pretty damn good. I also have been in career transition since starting my weight loss journey, and while I’m a good gardener, I have yet to figure out how to grow a money tree.

I remember emailing a friend and saying, “Losing weight SUCKS!” because I was frustrated with my wardrobe. Obviously, I don’t mean it. I’m really happy with my progress, and I feel better than I’ve ever felt. I describe the ill-fitting clothes and need for new ones as my good-bad problem.

Apologies to any male readers out there, but here are three things geared toward lady losers who aren’t sure how to tackle the good-bad problem. These tend to work when you’re between sizes or maybe have lost 10-15 pounds. Once you start losing more, you may need to just suck it up and buy smaller sizes. When that happened, I bought cheap: jeans from Old Navy? Yes. Running clothes from Target? Absolutely. [Who am I kidding? I’d buy those things anyway, but the point is: save your $$ for your dream jeans when you’ve hit – and maintained – your weight goal.]

1. Skirts and dresses > pants. YMMV, but for me, skirts and dresses seemed to “fit” longer and look less frumpy than pants did. It may be because skirts and dresses don’t do that terrible thing that ill-fitting pants do: give you saggy ass. I also noticed that I could pull my pants off without unbuttoning/unzipping them. Slouchy pants? Not cute. But dresses that were a little big? Belt ’em.

2. Shrink and deflect. I shrunk the hell out of whatever I could. If that didn’t work, but things seemed almost close to what I was going for, I deflected with accessories. I was the queen of scarves this winter. With a few basic, solid color, inexpensive tops, I could mix and match jewelry and scarves to have different outfits. And if some of my older shirts were a little big or frumpy, the fun accessories deflected attention from saggy shoulders.

3. Borrow! I’ve received overwhelming support from my friends, including material support. When I first brought up my good-bad problem, a friend offered that she had a ton of stuff in storage that she’d saved from when she was smaller. She lent me some good work pieces, and in the process, remembered how much she liked her old clothes, and is now on her own journey. Aside from her generous offer, I’ve also become bolder about asking. I needed some nicer things to wear for a work event, and I asked my roommate if she could help. Most folks usually have some extra things they don’t have in rotation now, and I’ve been touched with the help my friends have provided. You can also glam it up with a [healthy] brunch or cocktail hour at home and invite friends over for a clothing exchange.

Bonus #4: If you find a good tailor, have things taken in. This also tends to work best with skirts, or any item of clothing with simple seams. If you’ve got complicated waistbands or seams, it’ll cost more, and you may find yourself wishing you’d just bought something new. If blouses still fit in the shoulders, but have extra material below the bust, a tailor (or your mom…who gave me these pointers) can add darts, making the shirt fitted to your new rockin’ bod.

Yeah, I said it. Rockin’ bod.

For more tips, WebMD of all places has an article about it.

What are your tips? How have you fashionably shown off your in-process weight loss without breaking the bank?

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Surprise Wednesday Run

February 16, 2012

Life slowed down at work today and I cut out early. Best. decision. ever. It was in the low 50s and sunny, and there was a rail-trail calling my name, beseeching me to run.

I happily obliged and got in a nice 5 miler. I’m trying to get back into my training schedule, and today’s option was a cross-train or a 3 mile run. So…I overshot a bit, but after weeks of not hitting the mark, this felt like a big victory. I felt awesome, the weather was fantastic, and it was nice to run in the daylight and with nothing that I had to “run” off to as soon as the run was done. I don’t like running with the pressure that I have somewhere to be.

And, I realized that I really like 5 miles. It’s a nice distance.

And as a follow-up to yesterday, here’s the 23-pound difference. On the left: me in the dress I tried so hard to find because nothing fit, which then inspired me to try to lose some weight and generally lead a healthier life. On the right: me, today, just before leaving for my run. And wearing the super-cute headband a friend gave me, which so nicely goes with my favorite running shirt (oooh – glad I looked this up – they are on sale right now!).

I’m sure there are other pictures floating around out there that show the difference in my body, but frankly, I probably didn’t save them. I wasn’t too proud of how large or out of shape I’d gotten.

Anyway, going to spend the rest of my night basking in the awesomeness that was leaving work early and having an awesome run. I hope I don’t jinx it, but I think I’m…

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What a “Love”ly Surprise!

February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine’s Day! I woke up to a lovely surprise!

There was a gigantic pink stuffed teddy bear

Tuesday is my Weight Watchers weigh-in day (I do WW online, and weigh myself wearing the same thing – I’ll leave it up to you to imagine – at approximately the same time on the same day of the week). I suppose wearing winter clothing this wouldn’t be true, but sans sweaters…today’s weight was my first goal weight!

Perhaps someday I'll reveal the hard numbers, but, yes, that's 23 pounds lost. And, ignore the points averages at the bottom - there were some weeks of not tracking, and I don't track every activity....lazy Weight Watcher, right here.

So! Now what? Well, first, I’m really excited. See?

This is my new stock excited pose!

When you reach your goal weight, you get the option to start maintenance or set a new goal. I set a new goal. At the rate I’ve been losing, I should lose 16 more pounds just in time for my year WW anniversary. But that’s at the rate I’ve been going, which, lately, has been pretty comfortable. At the beginning, I was pickier about what I ate at restaurants, I fretted over food, and appropriate portion sizes haunted me in my sleep were something I thought about quite a bit. Now I’ve taken a more relaxed approach where I still track and pay attention to portion sizes, but I’m a slacker less precise and if I get off course, I try to gently steer back on course. If I want to speed up the weight loss a little (I averaged 0.7 pounds per week for the 7 months I’ve been on WW), then I know I can make some adjustments to get back on a steeper slope, if you will:

Yeah…so that looks like right around…November…that I started slacking a little. Makes sense.

Another day, when I’m not frantically trying to get to work, I’ll write about this milestone from the perspective of what’s changed. When I think back, honestly, nothing too drastic. I am proud and confident in this victory because it hasn’t compromised my lifestyle (too much). I’ve certainly made some sacrifices, but, truly, they’ve been pretty easy and 100% worth it.

Onward toward the new goal!

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Three Things Thursday: Evolution, Baby! Pt. 1

January 13, 2012

Since examining my eating and exercising habits in July, I’ve come a moderate way. I won’t say a long way, but I think I’ve evolved in the proper care and feeding of me. As I focus more on fitness and nutrition, I’ve noticed some changes in my life. Here’s a round of three of those changes.

1. Laundry! I do laundry with greater frequency. I’ll attribute this to two things: 1) I work out more, and I don’t have a ton of comfy workout attire, so…I do more laundry. And, 2) dropping 20-25 pounds has left some of my clothes dropping off of me! It’s a good/bad problem. Some clothes were OK to keep wearing, but some things just look funny or flat out don’t fit well. Since I’m not quite where I want to be weight/size-wise, I’m trying to make do with a few purchased pieces and the kindness of friends who have lent me things. That also means: more frequent laundering!

2. Music! This time last year my iPod most frequently spun the likes of the following:

I still love some good bluegrass and folk inspired rock, but it doesn’t get me in the mood to rock a run or workout quite like this:

3. Courage! I have more of it, for sure. I realized this last night when I was looking for the hip abductor machine at my gym. It’s in the basement, where I hadn’t really ventured before. Turns out, the basement is the Lair of Men Who Pump Iron, and at 9:45 last night, I was the only chick on the floor. I was waiting to be exiled, but the guys left me alone. Pre-racy Stacie might have been really intimidated but Racy Stacie really wanted to do some hip exercises, and ignored the looks. Pre-racy Stacie also would never have taken classes at the gym that she didn’t know anything about, but Racy Stacie is more willing to try new things. [We’ll ignore that the instructor at tonight’s new class called me out a little for not doing enough push-ups, but, in general, I’m more comfortable with progress and growing. If I’m not perfect at a class, I’m OK with it. If I push myself and feel like I’m hurting myself, I stop or take a modify. No fear, baby.]

If you’ve started a new routine or made lifestyle changes, what’s different for you?