Friday, December 4, 2015

Sizing and fit

We are all built very, very differently and I think those differences in build get exaggerated when you add extra weight in fat. Some people gain weight all over, well distributed. Some gain weight more in their butt, or gut, or bust, etc. I gain all over, but as I age, my middle section sees more and more of the weight gain and the weight loss, but I am lucky in that I have a fairly well-proportioned build, but I have a round rib cage and large breasts.

Currently, I have lost 50+ pounds, but I still am 40 pounds overweight. I'm in no rush. I'm taking one day at a time and just try to make good decisions for my health and my body. With good decisions, the weight should keep working itself down. But I am an overweight woman, so I expect that my clothing size should reflect that, but... amazingly, I don't wear plus size clothing in American clothing stores. Depending on the manufacturer, I wear between a 12-16. Most things that look good on me for my age and for my style, I wear a size 14 - that's in Calvin Klein, Jones New York, Ralph Lauren, etc. When I was at my thinnest I was just getting into size 8s in those same manufacturers, but realistically, a size 10 (12 in dresses) is my current ideal size at my ideal weight.  MIND YOU... that is in 2015. That same weight at 18 had me wearing 16s and needing to go to the plus size section when I was NOT overweight, but I am built large.

So, I deal with the inflated sizes. I don't get hung up on numbers and what they should or could be, but I do try to give reality checks to people who say plus size models who wear a 14 are not really plus sized - this may or may not be true depending on their body build, but for MOST people who aren't 6 feet tall with a large frame, a size 14 in today's sizes is differently plus sized.. UNLESS they are talking about European sizes. And now that makes me wonder, when I watch Project Runway, are they talking about pattern sizes or common sizes we see in the stores.

UK sizing (at least that I can see from my very anecdotal evidence) hasn't changed with vanity sizing.  At least I "think" US and UK sizing used to be the same - at least the same for me in my comparison to sizes I wore at 18 and at 43 at the same weight. In US sizing I wear a L/XL or 14 as the most typical size. 1X and 2X I swim in them. At my top weight (60 pounds heavier than I am now) I wore 2X (getting snug). In UK sizing? I currently wear a 3X. And really? that seems accurate to me. If I (a person who naturally is bigger by bone structure) have 40 extra pounds on me and look fluffy, I should not be wearing non-plus size clothing. I should be wearing 3X - not to make me feel bad, but for it to be an accurate reflection of range of sizes of people... There should not be a size of 000 to make up for the size of 0 of yore. Triple zero as a size???? Yes, there are people naturally that small and it's ridiculous to have sizes 000, 00, and 0.  Don't believe me? Check it out from JCrew's website.

That leads me to a dress I just bought. I am running desperately short on good clothes in this size for work, so I've picked up a couple new skirts and dresses at TJMaxx and Marshalls - all size 14s.  I wanted to get something special for our winter festival, so I did a search and found this on Modcloth. With a 30% off coupon, it was reasonably priced (found a matching sweater elsewhere as I would FREEZE in such a dress in winter): 

Now, I think I'm built very similarly (and similarly sized) to the model with white-ish hair (just not as hip, for sure). But I was skeptical if this 3X dress would fit. I thought it might be too small based on some review that the bust and arms are small for size. Fortunately, for fit on me, the waist is too big (I have the belt on the tightest hook and there is a good inch or more "extra' at the waist and the bust darts are SLIGHTLY too small and press me in a bit, but nothing terrible.  I'm still waiting for the sweater to arrive, but the dress came yesterday. Yep. 3X.

Remember, I don't get all dolled up for photos - This is Melissa au natural. I combed my hair for ya, and that's it.

If I didn't follow their size recommendations, I could have gotten the XL and cried, but instead I can realize that I am the size that I am and it's plus size and I need to forget the number and just buy what fits and in this case, that's a 3X.

Now about fit. There is this "thing" now of Rockabilly dresses in plus sizes. I think it's cute, but it's not overly flattering for fuller figures, imo. I think I look much bigger in this dress than I do in my every day clothes, but I will decide if I keep it or not once the sweater arrives and I can try it with that... Also wondering if I should go ALL out and wear a crinoline skirt under it (I have one in the basement). It's a non-stretch, crisp cotton fabric (wrinkled straight from the packaging it was shipped in).

Friday, November 20, 2015

So, I decided to weigh myself

Just when I said I wasn't going to, I did. I got curious. And... it's all good! I'm actually down a pound from where I was the last time I weighed myself which was about 6 weeks ago. AND that was with a couple of date nights out and two conferences - one of which I totally didn't watch what I was eating.

And there has been other bigger eating days, but, it seems, I've balanced it out to neither really gain or really lose as a 1 pound loss is basically holding steady. THAT is a huge, huge success for me. That means I'm finding a balance! Yay Melissa!

But... when I stepped on that scale and realized that I was actually doing what I thought I was doing (finding a balance) that gave me extra motivation (at least for now) to do more. I could  make it to under 200 pounds by new year's if I stick to it. And my goal, ultimately is to just stay under 200 forever - ideally getting to 175, but for health and mobility reasons, at least keeping it to under 200.  That would also get me fitting into more of my clothes that are all packed up and unwearable!

I think I decided to step on the scale when I pulled out a skirt from the wardrobe that I thought would be too tight, but found, actually it fit perfectly or almost too loose. Then I knew for sure I wasn't gaining even a little bit as I had tried that skirt a couple months ago. I knew it meant I was holding steady or slightly losing.

It might give me the extra motivation to stick to better food choices during thanksgiving and Christmas season. Who knows. I want to enjoy my Thanksgiving weekend meals, but perhaps I'll skip the desserts to eat the meal.

I'm dealing with a "possibly" new food issue too. That I'll detail more tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How I've decided to handle fall/winter - my blue months

I have decided that for the fall and winter - when I struggle DAILY with making good decisions and with fighting off the blues that I will not weigh myself daily or weekly or even regularly. I will just do the best I can do each and every day. That might mean that once winter is over that I have 10-15 pounds to lose, but that is better than gaining the 50 pounds I did last year. This is a lifelong journey - not a race.

So, I have no idea where I am with the weight. I don't want to know because I don't want any weight gain to depress me. And don't get me wrong - I could be losing weight too or holding steady. I have no idea. I do know I am making good decisions most days and most meals. I have not gone up in any clothing size. I'm solidly in a 14 in most brands and most clothes. (I was topping out - meaning they were getting tight a size 18 in May).

I am hungrier in Fall/Winter, so my caloric intake has gone up from where it was this summer, but I try to keep it so that I'm satisified, not super hungry. If I start to feel super hungry, I eat something and I try to make it a good choice food for me - meaning something that doesn't spike my blood sugar. Today I was out at an outlet mall. All there was for food was a vending machine. I was so proud of myself for choosing the roasted peanuts from all the offerings there. It held me until dinner where no candy bar or chips ever would for about the same amount of calories.

Some days are better and easier than others and I pat myself on the back for having a good day, but I don't beat myself up for having a difficult day. I just try to do better the next day. As I said... it's not a race and it's about lifestyle change. SLOWLY getting there!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Something different - my passions and how they drive me

I am a person who is driven by passions. My passions shift and change, but I usually have something (or somethings) I'm passionate about.  When I was in college, I was passionate about student life and student leadership. I was involved in a lot of things (though paled in comparison to some wunderkinds (wunderadults?) like Peter Adamson - still in aw of you!!!). So, I got married, went into the field of higher education and dove into my career (with a one year baby break in there). I was rising within the field. I was passionate about helping young adults transition to adulthood. I loved that career I really did, but then it ended. The passion started to die because I had a bad supervisor (after having a great one in the same position). I learned so much about how important WHO you work with is. A job could go from great to horrible just like that.

Also the passion waned because we moved, (more than once), my contacts and references got old and any interest I still had, I lost after that. I didn't have it in me to start at the low wrung of this field AGAIN to start over and I don't think I would have been rehired into the field either. So, then I was stuck.

During that time, I had another child, one with special needs, that did suck a lot of the extra whatever, out of me. I didn't have a passion any more. As my younger child was getting older, I needed to get back to work - for me - and for our family's economic stability, but what to do? My husband asked, "Well, what are you passionate about?" And I said, "Nothing. I just want to work." I got into baking for awhile and making cakes for people, but I couldn't make an earning with it and I definitely didn't have the mega talent to make it big on my own like one of these big time cake decorators. Plus, as much as I loved it, it also added a lot of stress (as cake as a medium is finicky!)

I just didn't know what I wanted to do. I was really enjoying teaching Sunday School at our ethical society and being on the Sunday School committee. I liked working with people and with kids and adults. I enjoyed helping build community and planning events. I was enjoying Ethical Culture period. I enjoyed the community so much. Then, a part-time Sunday School director position came available which was perfect timing for me. I could build my resume and get fresh references. Win. What I found though was that I absolutely loved it. It fed me. I became quite passionate about lessons and spending time with our children and passionate about growing the community and passionate about spreading the word about what we did, etc. That got me to looking at completing an elementary education degree, but that didn't appeal as much. I didn't like the confines of teaching (and it's what kept me out of it 20 years earlier too). But what?

Then I got lucky again as a full time job opened up to do the Sunday School thing. It was a dream come true practically and it's been a wonderful jump back into full-time work. The last year I've been learning this job and about this culture and I'm just as passionate about it now as then. This summer I went to a conference for Ethical Culture and I was so inspired. I felt (and still feel) such hope for the movement (still so small, but currently in a spike of energy and growth) and I want to do more. I have found a passion and it feels good. The Ethical Culture people, by and large, are my people and I want to continue my career within this group, if possible.

I don't know where or what that will lead to, but in a bit over a week I'm going to an ethical education conference and I'm excited about it. I just volunteered to be a curator for an organization wide video project too. It feels good and I hope this passion to help the movement grow and become more significant continues because for me, being passionate about something, makes me better at doing something. I'm not perfect about it, for SURE, but I think my enthusiasm not only drives me, but it pushes other people to do more too. And it's such a great movement.

Here's from an article by Randy Best, Leader of the Ethical Humanist Society of the Triangle,
For Felix Adler, human Worth and human rights are paramount. Everyone deserves to have their inherent worth respected and to be treated with dignity and compassion.
Adler’s Ethical concerns focused on right action – how to treat others and act to improve the human condition. He felt that the best way to explore these issues was in community.
Adler believed that exploring ethical ideals and acting for social justice led to improved social conditions and positive personal transformation.
Felix Adler’s maxim, Act so as to Elicit the Best in Others and thereby Elicit the Best in Yourself, contains the idea that personal development is fully realized through relationships with others.
Our sense of meaning and purpose is enhanced by our ethical connection to others.
Community examination of Ethical Ideals and Aspirations allows us to strive for a fuller expression of our human experience.
I guess I'm writing about it because it's making me a happier person to have something drive me. I feel better over all and when I feel good, I make better decisions. So, for now, it's helping keep the winter blues away too... so all of this is to say in a way, being passionate about something in life leads to a better life and that for me, also means taking better care of myself.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

This addiction battle

It's winter(ish) for my brain. I am feeling the sluggishness kick in. I am feeling the difficulty in doing things that two months ago I would have zipped through. Winter blues are here - boo-hiss!!!

But also, I am fighting terribly  the urge to eat carbs. Today was a very difficult emotional day. I had an IEP meeting for my 5th grader, autistic son... Seeing how the school and the teachers are at a complete loss in how to teach my son... Hearing about his anxiety driven behaviors... Realizing that we need to back track and start over with the IEP with all new approaches and new goals and needing many more IEP meetings..., and possibly just skipping all of that and realizing he needs to be homeschooled... All of that put me in a very bad head space. I quite literally left the school, teary-eyed, and wanting to eat. I wanted to eat gobs of stuff - sweet stuff - empty calorie carby stuff. Why??? Because for about 1 hour I will feel a boost to my mood and energy. For that short little window I will feel better.

The hour after? CRASH... and even more fatigue and even more blue - unless I allow myself another quick fix.

I was able to stave it off. I didn't eat (I had already had lunch). I drank a sparkling water instead. This time I was able to talk my brain into sense.

Next time? Will I have a voice of reason tomorrow?

If there were a pill to keep me from being tempted by the carbs for these quick fixes, I would take it.

This is why I was a human yo-yo the last few years. This is why I will be fighting this battle the rest of my life. I've been "good" for 5 months. Seems nearly impossible to imagine being on top of this addiction to sugars for 5 years, yet that is what I'm striving to do... more like 50 years if I'm super lucky.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Developing a healthier weight loss mindset and high carb day effects

And I am kind of surprised by it actually. I am not needing to write here as much. I am not needing to post on the weight loss forum as much. And I'm sticking with the program pretty closely.

There are days it's easier and days that it's more difficult, but I'm less obsessed about needing to seeing losses daily and less obsessed with NEEDING to see the scale every day.

I know if I keep doing what I'm doing, it will result in a loss on the scale eventually. I can't really do much more than I'm doing except up my exercise and what I'm doing is already resulting in losses, so all of that would be bonus.

I'm finding the mindset of thinking about the scale less is freeing. In the past I needed that check in to stay on my regime. I knew I would pay for indulgences and get rewarded for sticking to the program.

When I started this current journey, I just wanted it to be quick. I had gained the weight quickly, I wanted to be rid of the weight quickly.

I still have 35 pounds to go, but I've already lost nearly 55. I feel better. I look better and it's ok if it takes me awhile - as long as the trend is in the right direction and overall I'm making good choices.

This past month was mostly OK. I had some higher calorie days, but lower carb, so the losses were a bit slower. But I've still seen 5 pounds, so how can that be bad? Then, this last week I had one doozy of a week.

My husband was out of town. Our son was having issues with school. I had a talk to prepare. I have been happily busy at work. and I was dealing with monthly hormones. So, for two days I went on a high carb, high sugar snack fest as the stress caught up with me.

What I noticed with eating so much sugar and carbs in general: I felt lethargic. I felt blue. I felt weird twinges in my gut. I woke up with headaches. I woke up terribly congested. I really "felt" those things and realized that is how I felt almost ALLLLL winter last year and it was awful. I realized it was 100% diet and I had to drop the carbs way back down. I did.

I ate normally for two days after that... stuffiness is gone in my sinuses. Gut feels better with no twinges. No headache. I feel more energetic and happier. (Of course, having my husband home helps with feeling happier too).

Quick fixes for energy boosts - equals feeling bad overall. MUST. NOT. GO. FOR. QUICK. FIXES.

For sure though, my new eating time schedule has made the biggest difference for me. Allowing one meal a day (plus two high fat snacks) really, truly makes it easier to follow the low carb meal plan. Now if only I could make traffic better so that some days I didn't get home after 6:30 pm so that dinner isn't as last as 7:15!

And this picture is true. I'm not going to let the scale determine my happiness. While I do want to lose weight and to be fitter for a healthier me, daily fluctuations shouldn't not make or break my day and sometimes it feels like it will.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Hit a big milestone today!

In the past when there were big time lags in my posting, it meant I had fallen off the wagon (or was on vacation). Well, now with working full time, it means I'm just super busy that I don't even have 15 minutes to spare to write my thoughts!

Fridays are my day off. (which I wasn't even really taking time off recently as I was working to get things up and running at work in a new efficient way - while also trying to get home purged of junk at the same time!) This morning while Hurricane Joaquin is dumping rain on us and otherwise making life feel blah, I have a few moments to collect my thoughts and write before driving my son to class.

Today, I hit 50 pounds lost on this weight loss reboot. That is 62 pounds lighter than my all time high, but it is the 50 NOW that is huge. And it has been easy to lose - which is weird and scary to say as then why did I gain 50 pounds in the last year? It's even worse - between September and mid May of last year, so in 8 months, I gained 54 pounds. That is crazy, ridiculous!!! See how out of control my carb addiction can get me? Ugh!!!

But today, it's celebration day - 50 pounds gone. 4 more pounds and I'll be where I was a smidge over a year ago. I have a bit less than 40 to go. Do your math people - that means I needed to lose 90 pounds.

Yesterday I also ran into a problem - all my tops are too big for me. Last fall/winter I needed to buy a bunch of tops as I had gotten too big for what I had. Well, now that the weather is cooling down, I'm reaching for my tops and I'm finding they are swimming on me. My tops are 2x and a few 3x. I now need an XL. For pants I'm in better shape as I have various sizes all the way up and down - 10s to 18s. I'm now between a 14 and 16 - depending on the cut of the jeans/pants.

I never was at my lowest weights over fall/winter, so I should be about able to wear many things stored in my son's closet for this season, but probably not quite yet. I'll just have to make do with the least baggy big ones and the few smaller ones that I have already. It's a good problem to have. It feels much better than last fall when I was having to go out and buy a few larger pieces - dipping back into plus size clothes after not being in plus sizes for 3 years.

But, things are getting tougher. I'm more tired. I am more tempted by carbs. It's getting much harder to veer away from the quick fixes to boost my energy. I think I got my treadmill desk just in time. I was feeling all sorts of blah yesterday morning (3rd rainy day in a row didn't help) and I got my treadmill desk adjusted, and took off walking. Nearly instantly I felt better - less tired, more energetic and surprisingly, less hungry. The effect was short lived as I was famished by the time I got home and I started to feel blah again in the evening, but that also could be the weather and also the fact that my mother in law was returning after being away on vacation for 2 months.

Today's plan, tidying upstairs and doing some more purging of stuff. I'm trying to make progress, a bit every day that has a few moments. What else can you do on a rainy day???

But 50 pounds - it feels so good!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

4 months into this reboot

Hello everyone. I am here and I am still with the program, just that work has been super hectic as I totally redid my office, redid all our storage needs for work, etc. It's all good, but it just means I have like zero free time.

I'm still with the program and it's still super easy. With being so busy with physical work at my office job this past week or so, I've also had a lot more movement to my day which is great!

But, my update of 4 months into this reboot. As you recall, I had virtually a zero loss for last month which was surprising as I had been working so hard, but this month I made up for it as all that water I was holding last month was shed quickly as soon as the month rolled over.

Here is how this weight loss compares to a few years ago:

Do you see that HUGE jump from last month to this month???? That's 14.4 pounds. If I were to add in today's weight (which I won't as that counts towards next month, it would be 15.3 pounds). Basically now I'm eyeing that 50 pounds lost as a new mini goal. I should get there this month for sure and probably more.

Treadmill is set to arrive on Monday. Desk for the treadmill will arrive some time next week (the pope being in DC will probably hold that up for a few days). All the peripherals for the set up are sitting in boxes in my office, just waiting to be unpacked and put to use. Yay!!!

Now, off to run errands for work. One more hard, long day and things should settle down a LOT.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Dear fat people thoughts

So, yes, fat shaming is a thing and it's a horrible thing. That's like shaming someone who is suicidal. Or shaming someone who has a drug addiction. Wait... isn't it OK to shame that person? Well ask yourself, do you think that most people get addicted to drugs because they are just bad people or stupid? People who seek drugs to fix problems have mental disorders or chemical imbalances and they use the drugs to self-medicate In a way, food issues are similar. People need to understand that people metabolize food differently, etc. Some of us are more prone to gaining weight than others. Some of us are more likely to have mental battles with food than others and that is chemical related - quite literally the brain telling you to eat sugar (especially) when you don't need it.

In my experience, for me, and for me only can I speak for. I feel I'm most like a drug addict. And I can control my addiction or give into my addiction. Controlling my addiction helps me have better health, better relationships, better mental health, but those temptations are not just temptations, they are chemical wirings in my brain that speak to me to eat  bad things short term that will, in the end, make me feel worse long term. My body is only worrying about short term "feel good" fixes... like a drug. That sugar will boost my spirit, my energy, my mood... for an hour or two... then I need another hit which then leads to this sugar high and crash and leads to all sorts of "icky" lethargic feels, depression, and serious health effects - high blood pressure, blood sugar issues, heart disease, achey joints, etc.

So, my goal is to control my addiction by not feeding into my addiction. I need to monitor my sugar intake so that I can control those "voices" that are brain chemicals telling me I need to eat more sugars. I try to get good sleep and to keep stress low as controlling those factors help me make better decisions. But like all addicts, it's a tightrope walk. I managed for a year, slipped a few months, managed for a few months, slipped for almost a year... and now I'm managing again - always learning new ways to help me deal with my sugar addiction which led to obesity.

And while I say I can only speak for myself, I know I am not alone in this addiction and more and more research is supporting this understanding of why so many of us have a hard time with losing weight and keeping it off. And sugar is everywhere, so managing to constantly say no to the ice cream, cakes, cookies, breads, rice, potatoes, pastas, etc. Is very difficult. And while a non-addict can have a bit meal (or a swig of alcohol) and not feel tempted to have more and more. An addict never knows where the tipping point of when is too much that will lead to a complete falling off the wagon. Do you need to think about that when you eat a small slice of cake or a plate of pasta? I do, every. single. time. Now imagine how hard that is.

So, this new video that is viral about fat shaming is a difficult one for me. If you haven't seen it, here it is:

The comedian is crass, but so are many. That's not my style, but it has it's audience. And I have to say in the beginning, it's not crude, mean, fat shaming. "You are killing yourself" (True). "You are robbing your family from you by not being healthy." (True). Try to make better decisions. (True - though can be hard). It sounds a bit like she shows true concern for the well-being of an obese person (or at least I saw it that way). Later, it devolves into fat shaming - 100%.

As a fat person most of my life, I see how my fatness affects my loved ones. It's not the fat itself, but how it makes me as a person - moodier, tired, depressive, unable to take part in things, etc. And when I'm deep in the throws of the sugar addiction, even when I KNOW how it's affecting my family and my own self, I do not have the power to snap out of it. Shaming me on that makes it even harder for me to get out of those woes.  Loving concern does help.

That is where I have a hard time with the line of what is fat shaming and what is trying to help someone who is struggling with a food addiction.

Yes, 100% that a person has value, all of his or her value as a fat person as a thinner person. BUT... enabling an addict is not helpful. Shaming an addict isn't helpful.

What we need is understanding. Even many fat people don't have understanding or many formerly fat people. I know MANY thin people who used to be fat and some of them think fat people are lazy - all of them. Because now they can say. "I was fat. I got off my butt and started working out. I stopped stuffing my face. So can you." While this is true, it's forgetting how those mental battles work. And, it's assuming that every fat person is the same. We are not. I know why I'm fat and why I struggle. I can speak for me and me alone and even with saying that, it's hard for me to not pass judgement too. It's hard for me to watch people I care about dying slowly by not taking care of their body because that is/was me too.

So, let me say, I do not try to fat shame - now or ever. But I also have a hard time saying, "it's okay to not care about our bodies." I would want a drug addict to kick their addiction, so I would want a food addict to kick his/her addiction. But shaming them won't help. But enabling them to keep destroying their health isn't helping them either. So what do we do?

Empathize. Understand. Trying not to judge. Try not to make assumptions. Forgive.

Self-love is important and crucial. So, I understand the movement to allow and encourage even the extremely obese to show love for themselves and their bodies. My hope is showing that self-love will lead to self-healing and to taking better care of the body (which may or may not lead to weight loss) And why? Because even as this awful video said, "We only get one body."

And what I also don't want to happen (as a backlash to all the fat shaming) is to have people shame or put down obese people who are trying to lose weight (for whatever reason they are doing it). And that is happening! People shaming Melissa McCarthy for giving into the media's fat shaming and trimming down. It's her body!!! Who said she is trimming down to stop the ridicule? She is doing it for HER REASONS! (and as a former Melissa McCall - I would have been proud if ever someone accidentally called me her name instead).

I don't want people thinking I'm giving into the thin is best motto or giving in to fat shaming.  I'm dropping weight and eating healthier and moving more for my health and my mood and for my family because Melissa as a fat person is unhealthy, unhappy, depressed, and not overly nice person to be around. And it's not because I feel the world is shaming me. It's because of the brain chemicals that get messed up by too much sugar in my brain make fat, sugar hopped up Melissa.

My goal is to be healthy for me and for my family. I think that is what we all should be aiming for - our best health  - no matter the size and I think we need to stop ourselves from passing judgment and try to have better understanding of everyone's life struggles - period.

Friday, September 11, 2015


I finally decided on and ordered the treadmill and desk that I had planned on - and a better keyboard and better mouse and an ergonomic stool/chair. I will be set to be more ergonomically positioned when I sit and to be up on my feet and moving more and more of the day. Yay!!!!

So... after a lot of back and forth, this is what I went with.  I got an uplift scratch and dent bamboo desk that is the exact same size desk of what I have now (and it will live in the exact same spot in my office). Getting a scratch and dent allowed me to get a wood desk at a laminate desk price (saving me over $500). It looks like this:

And while walking, it will look something like this:

Except that I will use a monitor arm to get my monitor up at eye level so I'm not looking down.

Since my office space is fairly small, maximizing space is key. I will be doing with this guy does:

I will sit on the treadmill at the desk. I will stand on the treadmill at the desk, and I will walk on the treadmill at the desk. This man actually bought a desk wide enough to sit and stand but found it was more work to adjust the monitor(s), keyboard, etc than it was to just move the matt and stool.

I'm even getting the same ergonomic stool (That works the core), but in red fabric:

Lastly, I got an ergonomic keyboard and ergonomic mouse. Both bluetooth wireless so I can switch between my laptop and work computer easily and quickly (and ergonomically)

Cost the same as a pretty nice vacation, but it should last for years and should improve my mood and most definitely improve my health.

Now, it's just getting my office all together before the stuff arrives! Next is a trip to IKEA to get all the Kallax units to create storage for work (which I just removed from another area of the building).

Maybe I'll give a tour when it's all done!

Oh, and I'm chugging along with losing more weight and getting more movement. Down 45 pounds... my 4 month reboot-versary will be soon and we'll see where the weight loss ends up for the month.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I hate having BMI stuff shoved down my throat!

Once a week the app I use (Mynetdiary)  to track foods, exercise, and weight gives me a little "congrats!" notice. Last night this popped up:

Sure, it was great to see I've lost 6.6 pounds this past week after not losing hardly anything in over a month (water weight anyone!?!?!). And I'm ok with it showing how much farther it is for me to get to my goal - another 51 pounds basically. (today it is under 50 pounds to go!!!) What I'm not cool with is it telling me that I need to lose another 66.8 pounds to be within the BMI range that is considered normal for me.

It was trying to attain that normal status a few years ago, as I was close, but not quite there, that led to so much frustration. I was pushing so hard. I was doing super intense workouts. I was counting every single calorie that passed my lips. And I still wasn't there. I was going for a "athletic" goal for body fat percentage (25% or lower). I was so close! I was at 26%. I was working so extremely hard to achieve the unattainable goal. I got to my initial "goal" in 12 months and lost 90 pounds. It took me 7 more months to lose 6 more pounds and I was still 4 pounds shy of my new goal before my body succumbed to several injuries due to overuse.  It was 6 months of constant, intense workouts (6 days a week) and watching every morsel for 6 lousy pounds. And I was hungry all the freaking time. Every day was this intense mental battle to not consume more calories because every extra bit of food would mean it would take that much longer to get to my goal. BUT according to this app I was still 11 pounds over my "normal" top weight I should be. Grrrr....

Now, I do want to be more fit and I do want to push myself, but reminding me of an unattainable BMI for me is just cruel. That, and it's mean to say my goal isn't good enough. Isn't my goal of being healthy and fit and just a bit over the ideal BMI far, far better than being 100 pounds overweight? Do I need to reach perfection to be considered "OK"? That is ridiculous!!! Of course I don't!!!

So, I'm ignoring normal BMI as much as I can. I'm trying to put it out of my head. Then I get these weekly reminders that I have to lose this much more to get to a normal bmi. Well screw you Mynetdiary!!! (And I will be writing to the company). I love your app for everything else, but this sucks!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Still here - still chugging along

And slowly chugging is what it has been. I knew it would finally have to finally go down as I was doing everything right, but... hormones were messing with me.

I "think" what happened is that my body was gearing up for an ovulation and then it didn't happen, so it went down a bit and then stalled. Then a few days ago I noticed sure signs of ovulation again and sure enough, 2 days later I lost a pound, then next day two pounds, and then 2 pounds the day after. Over 5 pounds flushed away in 3 days. After bouncing around the same 3-4 pounds for over a month. I was frustrated, but I didn't give up and now that struggle is paying off! Woohoo!

So... at 3.5 months into this I've lost 40 pounds.  Which means I'm also back to the weight I was a year ago... before I went crazy and gained all that weight over the fall, winter, and early spring.

Woohoo! I still have a long way to go, but it's still easy and that helps!

I've also started adding in movement every day since a few days ago. I've been adding in a bit little by little, but now I'm ready to make it a goal to do something every day. And to help with that tomorrow I'm ordering my walking treadmill and desk.

Now that was another big struggle - which to get? I finally opted to get the true walking treadmill once I figured out that the running treadmill desk couldn't lower to normal desk height, which would necessitate standing or leaning all day and that just isn't going to happen! So... tomorrow is the big day to spend some big bucks!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

And the whoosh begins

If today were the 18th, thus marking 3 months of the weight loss reboot, I could had another 1.5 pounds to the weight loss. Sigh... Just means I'll show a big weight loss for next month (hopefully).

I could tell last night that things were changing as despite moving furniture around all day, my ankles were slimmer in the evening. I could tell there was less puffiness. My rings this morning were sliding around a bit where they were feeling snuggish the last few days. Sure enough, scale showed a 1.5 loss from yesterday. Thus, my monthly WHOOSH!!! has begun!

What am I going to do to stall it a day? I'm going to eat canned beans and salsa tonight for dinner which ALWAYS make me hold water weight! Yay!?!!? Looks something like this:

Super yummy, super healthy, a bit high sodium.

Then this weekend I'm going to a training where they are feeding us. That should be interesting. I'll bring my own lunch and just deal with their dinners. I have no idea what it will be, but I can keep it within calories if I don't eat their provided lunch.

I'm just ready to move beyond this weight.... 1 pound to get to a new low!!!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

3 months into this reboot and what a disappointing month

Quite literally I've lost .2 of a pound in this month. That is freaking ridiculous. Yes we had a vacation. Yes, I wasn't "perfect" but I was pretty darn good during vacation. I gained a few, I lost those few, then I started to gain again for my ovulation gain for the month, but to show only .2 loss for the entire freaking month? ARGH!!!!!

No worries... I know that my monthly weight gain will be passing soon, but I wish I had SOMETHING to show for the month besides .2!!!! That is so, so, so annoying!

Nothing to do but just keep on doing what I've been doing. And I have no doubt next month will show a good loss!!!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Never thought I would feel so happy about a weight gain!

I have been bouncing around the same 5 pounds for nearly a month now. I was going down, down, down... then vacation where I thought I had an ovulation (maybe?) and then I had a very, very slow loss from vacation time, but did finally manage to get back down to prevacation weight by a smidgen. Then, I got my period and then started to lose a bit and then stall and then slowly a gain.

I was hoping it was an old pattern returning of no weight loss between my period and ovulation, but because I don't ovulate regularly at all any more (I am 45.5 years old), I just never know. Well, I now know that ovulation is impending as all my old signs for ovulation are there - slow, steady weight gain (for no reason), increased sexual desire, change in cervical fluids. All of that points to hormones at work trying to get me pregnant. (Which aint happening!) So, as much as I hated, hated, hated my old weight loss pattern. Now I find comfort in it as it means I have an explanation of the last 12 days of no weight loss and some steady weight gains despite being 100% on plan with nary a stray meal. Even on the day we went out for dinner, I kept within plan!!!

What it will mean? A huge whoosh hopefully really, really soon. But what else it will mean is that for tomorrow on my three month anniversary of this weight loss reboot I'm not going to see a very big loss for the month, but that's OK. It's not going to be a consistent, steady loss. The body just doesn't work that way!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Why do we keep "stuff"?

Right now, at home and at work is all about purging materials/things we don't need. At home, a lot of stuff we are getting rid of is laziness of not getting rid of things in a timely manner. We had it, we used it, we liked it, but now we don't use it or like it or need it. Or, if it's clothing, we outgrew it (or grew too small for it in some adult cases). I am usually not guilty of keeping things just to keep things for "just in case". My husband will be slow to get new things, but slow to part with them too. His clutter is minimal in the house, but it's harder for him to say, "OK, let's toss it" if there is even a remote possibility he'll need it 2-3 years down the road. OR, if he can make a bit of money from it if he sold it. Hence, we have 3 turntables we've moved 3 times that he plans to sell, 2 boxes of cords that we don't need and a couple other electronic pieces and speakers. Though, that's it for his stuff. I'm far more likely to get stuff and then ditch stuff and MOST of the stuff we need to get rid of is from the kids rooms and from my stuff and kitchen stuff. I need to get better about not getting stuff in the first place! My husband needs to get better at parting with stuff period.

Other people, get really attached to things and have a hard time letting things go - especially if they fear the option is that it will go to trash when someone else could use it.

I have been the recipient of many, many, many gifts from other people's purgings. Some of it has been for my work (so not a gift to me, but to the Sunday School) and some other things have been gifts to me as they feel perhaps I'll use it and oftentimes I do! Much of the craft room die cut dies were gifted to me by a fellow crafter who was downsizing to a condo from a big house. She saw my interest and felt better about giving them to someone who might use them versus donating them and not knowing how/where they would end up. She also didn't want to bother with trying to sell them (as that really is a time suck and hassle), especially as she didn't need the money.  It was a wonderful, generous gift. There are many items I might never use and if I see that's so, I'll eventually give them to someone else who will, but at least their 'clutter' is small space taken. The giver, in this case, was attached to these items, so finding a proper home for them was important to her. I can understand that and appreciate that.

But people get attached to stuff that I don't quite understand. I'm not judging. or maybe I am, but I'm not trying to. Sometimes I think people just like to have stuff around them. It comforts them or something. Or, they find it easier to have things ready at the fingertips than to go and get it again or to be without. They feel guilt if they threw something out and then find, that in fact, they do need to go buy it again down the road. They feel wasteful.

I think a lot of people keep materials because they feel it's wasteful to toss things. It pangs them to see things being tossed. They will literally go through the trash to pull stuff out that someone else has thrown out to find another purpose for it. I've been gifted with several of these things too. Now... some of it is useful. I'm not going to knock all such gifts, but so often it's not useful and discreetly I will throw away (or recycle) the items the giver could not bring themselves to do. I was once gifted styrofoam that was from meat - like, you know, what your steaks and pork chops are sitting on, wrapped in plastic wrap at the grocery store. They couldn't bring themselves to toss them, so they gave them to me to use for a project - it was well meaning, but now what do I do with 20 styrofoam platters that used to hold raw meat? I was also gifted a dozen or so empty, flattened tissue boxes as perhaps I could make something with those. No. I can't use those - into recycling they went.

True the answer should be that we should reuse and repurpose as much as we can and I do that a lot!!! But there has to be a limit on how much and what we can keep and there has to be a specific plan to use it and by when to justify storing it and keeping it.

It's ironic I say this as I just installed a craft room with huge amounts of storage and I do have a lot of stuff in there - but it's all stuff I have plans for using. I have a stack of egg cartons, but I put a limit on how many I will store and I have a specific plan for using them. I have a ton of ribbon, but again, I have a plan for using it, etc. I do not store paper scraps or ribbon scraps or yarn scraps. Why? because how do you store that stuff and remember you have them? And how much time and effort and space (which is money too) is wasted on storing scraps you will never use?

The real goal should be to not buy more than we need and I'm working on that as it's a good goal, but my next goal is to not keep more than I need. And gifting someone else junk that you cannot part with, is, many times, passing on the problem. Now someone else is storing too much stuff and getting bogged down. So was that gift helpful or harmful?

I didn't realize I felt weighted down by having too much stuff around me, but I really do. I get overwhelmed when I see disorganized messes of whatever. And instead of dealing with it, I turn my back to it and do something else as I can't deal with the shear enormity of it. Once it's weeded through, is organized, and is easy to find, I feel free and more relaxed.

Maybe that's why my house is feeling stifling right now as we are mid several projects. (one done about 3-4 to go). I'm weeding through similar things at work too, but I have to take it in pieces/chunks and not all at once too as I just find it bogs me down.

So, note to myself - and it is weight loss related... Too much stuff around me makes me feel bad. A well organized, slimmed down space makes me happier. A happier Melissa makes better life choices - which includes eating better and exercising more, etc.

Therefore, let the purging continue both at home and at work. Once it's done, it will feel and look and work great!

Only took me 6 months, but my craft room is done!

YAY!!!! It's done!!! Sort of... I have to label all the boxes and bins, etc, but it looks about the way it will look except for labels. THAT will have to wait as I have a basement to do and I have to declutter the house! BUT... here's the super, duper heavy photo post all about the craft room/writing room ALL FOR ME!

So, here's the history of this room. We live in a big house and we needed such a big house because my mother in law lives with us and she wanted all her living space on the main level. In order to have a living room, bedroom, and bathroom for her on the main level, that meant we were very likely to end up with a lot of house - and we did. We live in a traditional colonial which has a full basement and an addition over the garage. Upstairs in this house were 6 bedrooms. We only needed 4 with one being an office. So, we made what was the master bedroom (the addition over the garage) into a big family room. And the room that is over my mother in law's bedroom (formerly the dining room) was the spare bedroom. What it should have been called was the junk room. Some people have junk drawers. We had a junk room. You'll see that fits when you see the photo.

Now, it was supposed to be a guest room and craft room. We put all the stuff in that room that was leftovers from our previous two homes. My mother in law's spare twin bed, or spare small bookcase, our now not needed buffet table, rolling drawers that had gone from kitchen carts, to my oldest son's toy/art cart, to now live in the craft room. And it housed all these striped fabric bins that used to hold out of season clothes. Literally everything put in that room had no home - but also no reason to get rid of it. It looked OK, but it wasn't overly functional. Here's a couple of shots of before the transformation:

Not too bad for a cobbled together room right? But... how useful is a twin bed for a guest bed? I thought about getting a trundle, but we almost never, ever have overnight guests, so for whom is this room? The guests we get once every 3 years? or us?

As I said, it became a junk room. Too small clothes waiting to be donated? Gets thrown in the room. Spare chairs we are too lazy to carry to the basement? get put in there. Papers we need to organize? Gets put in the room to do until later. Craft things people give me because they know I work with kids, goes in there. Boxes from deliveries - get set aside to get out of the way until we can take them out get forgotten, and then once the storage areas are blocked, things just start piling up. Unless we were having a party, that room pretty much consistently looked like this:

It didn't even have an overhead working light. It was truly junky. Ok, that was the junkiest it ever got, but it was my breaking point. We needed to find a way to make this not a junk room by making it into a usable room.

I have that wall of storage in the closet I was mostly satisfied with. But the rest of the room was a bed, a too small bookcase, a buffet table, a big chair no one ever sat in and a writing table and terrible lighting. I needed some storage for all the die cutting stuff I had been given by a retiree. I needed room to have stuff that didn't involve unburying 5 things to get to it.

Initially, I looked at a few secondhand shops, but no matter what I did for looking, it would cost about one grand just in furniture to get the craft room functional. I didn't want to spend a grand on craft furniture - and I would need things to organize it, lighting, etc. Plus, vintage stuff while cool looking, wasn't going to add as much space as I would like. For that, I would need to spend even more money.

For months I looked and then one day I went to IKEA and I saw all these cabinets hugely marked down because they were phasing out the Akurum kitchens to put in the new Sektion kitchens. And then it came to me - starting with these seven display cabinets.

They are 15" wide and about 13" deep and PERFECT for along the wall that is straight in through the door. And they were selling them for $10 a piece!!!! You know what these are, right? These are the display cabinets that IKEA has to show the different door styles. Like this:

I decided to change around all the drawers and then add eclectic fun knobs:

That night I bought just the display cabinets as they were the things that would tie together the old and the new in that room. They were the touch that would make this room feel OK to have IKEA mixed with vintage wood pieces and other eclectic items. AND they were great storage and horizontal space. I played around with my design software and then next morning I went in and got these cabinets and 3 wall cabinets with glass doors (shown later) all of it together for under $500:

Now, these cabinets were not in perfect condition. Internally, structurally, yes. But... there were cosmetic things. Scratches, a big drilled hole in the top corner of the one cabinet, small drill holes in the side of the other, but that was actually perfect for a craft room. And that they didn't have matching handles? WHO CARES? I was going for a miss-mash of styles and having nearly nothing match worked best.

So, I started to piece things together. I had a used Pottery Barn wrapping station to re-use. I had two wall cabinets I had planned to use in the mud room, but they could go here (also as-is purchases from IKEA).

On the opposite wall I hung the wall hanger and placed the cabinets for size. Yep! It was going to work!

I needed a few new things to make it all flow together and be organized, but mostly I re-used things I had from there on out.

Now remember what it used to look like when you stood in the doorway. That was my before. Yikes! Now when you stand in the doorway of that room, it looks like this:

Here's a tour of the room - night and day. The entrance to the room (reusing the sun that used to be the ceiling light, but it stopped working):

The back wall between windows.

Next is the far wall. I couldn't get it on one frame. There is the vintage writing/sewing desk and then the IKEA kitchen cabinets with wall cabinets above (3 with glass fronts and one with wood doors). Organizers abound!

Next is the closet wall - the shelves were there when we moved in. I just removed the closet doors years ago.

And then the wall with the mini cabinets.

And then details of the room:

This here is they only area that is 100% new and even that isn't completely true. The striped bins used to hold socks as our old bedroom set was too small for two people to share. I mixed three different styles of boxes and put them on the IKEA Besta wall frames. The frame can't hold a ton of weight, so things like this are inside each of the bins (all the black bins are currently empty and a few others are too):

Then I wanted to add a wall of picture rails to act as easy to see storage - punches, stamps, and small paints. So, those are new from Ikea too. Flanking them is the wall cabinet I had purchased a year earlier for the mud room but never hung (glitters and glues inside), the pottery barn wrapping station that used to sit on the buffet table, and paper sorters that used to be in my older son's room, but he didn't want them any more. I think it turned out pretty nicely!

Can't forget the hedgehogs - they are all over the room - there are NINE of them hiding about the room!

On the opposite side, the wall cabinets were for books and die cut shapes. One entire cabinet is empty. The others have a lot of space:

Then there was the need for buckets and bins. IKEA has this great (though hard to hang) rail system. I used 5 of them in the room. Three are here with different pieces, but mostly bins and trays. For more color, I swapped out a few plastic bins for red and robin egg blue tin ones.

A mirror on a rail and more hedgehogs!

The closet side I didn't touch much from before. Though I moved the tall cabinet (that used to house ALL my craft stuff once upon a time and even that was an IKEA as-is purchase about 10 years ago). This also gave me a neat way to tuck away the ironing board. Another as-is find was the alex drawers from IKEA. It now holds LOTS of card making materials and other paper stock.

The rolling carts with plastic fronts were bought for our kitchen for the house we bought in Canada 14 years ago. They've been in constant use somewhere in the house since then. This cubby shelf I bought used the same time I got the PB wrapping station. It needs to be re-organized, but it's functional.

I also added some picture rail for storage above the closet for two reasons - storage, and to hang more LED lighting. The room is FULL of light now with LED tape light under each long picture rail and every cabinet:

The rest of the paper is here. I've had those rolling ikea bins for probably close to 10 years too, but were initially used for toys. Oh, and these trash/recycling bins (there are two in the room) can double as stools:

What else is in the room worth looking at? Oh, yes these things! First is this cart (from ikea bought secondhand). It now houses all the components of the small die cutting machine. The large die cutting machine lives on the buffet table next to it.

And, all my beloved handbags, evening bags, camera bags and work bags will go here on this coat tree that used to be our coat tree in our previous house.

Of this area, currently empty on the left are stacking boxes on wheels (might go to my husband) and 2 stools new from IKEA. These are just great for sitting on for short projects and they take up so little room in the room. Big die cutter on the buffet table.

Oh, and this light! Well, this was a bit of creativity on my part. I had this Pottery Barn Kids mobile with paint brushes that I loved and have had for about a decade. Bought that new at the PB outlet that used to be in Leesburg, VA. However, with all the wall cabinets, it could only go in the center of the room, but I also needed a light there. So, I found a light at IKEA that I could hang above it that would make it look good. I think it's so fun and so completely perfect for the room. 

And, behind the door, a magnetic wall to hold all the thin steel dies. I might add something similar on the opposing wall or back of the door for cling rubber stamps, but we'll see! That can wait! It was hard to get this picture, but it's floor to ceiling. Here shows about 50% of the wall.

Now to the vintage wood pieces and why I didn't want to get rid of them. They're cool!!! And multifunctional. This buffet table is half storage, half table. It can extend all across the room if needed. 

Here are some shots of it open at different levels. This is halfway open:

Mostly open (one leaf still out):

The small writing table, the other vintage piece, also expands. First, it's a flip top - so it can do this. (Please excuse the support leg, I didn't both with fully engaging it for the photos).

But it also has two leaves that I store in the closet, easily accessible, that can transform it into this:

So, this room, with the tables expanded is now ready for some meet-up crafting and/or craft parties! Now to make time for that to happen????

Phew! There you go folks! My craft room and all said and done - furniture, furniture delivery. storage bins, lighting, trash cans and stools it came to about $1000. Sounds a lot, but it's a LOT of savings with the as-is items and a few second-hand items in addition to all the repurposed items. Just the new stuff I bought for this room, at full price, would have cost over $4000. I can handle the few nicks and scratches for a 75% savings.

And I'm oh so happy. I finally have my own space. First time since college when I had my dorm room when I was an RA.