Wake Up Before You Go Go

October is Women’s Health month here on N&K. Today, nals will be discussing self esteem.

When I was heavier, I felt bombarded with images of thin, smooth-skinned, tall ladies as ‘beautiful’. If it was North American media, then tanned vixens. And if Bollywood media, then fair-skinned maidens. No one looked like me: pear-shaped, bespectacled, with frizzy unkempt waves & darker skinned… unless it was an actor who played an evil Bollywood mom. Or, was the star of a self-named comedy show (see posts on Tips 1-4, 5-8, 9-10). And I wasn’t any of those adjectives either!

And these thin women were portrayed as The Ultimate Show Ponies, dripping with confidence, promise, fulfilling lifestyles, happiness and sex appeal. Today, I say “Bravo!” to advertising and entertainment sectors for the deep ingrainment. They worked hard to get that image across.  At the time, it didn’t occur to me that I didn’t know anyone else that looked like that, either. Move over Manson² and Heaven’s Gate, Media is the Ultimate brainwasher.

Keep in mind, my teen years were spent poring over glossy magazines with shiny images, talking on the phone with friends, and watching TV. We didn’t have internet or cell phones. My escape was TV and staying up late reading books¹. So growing up with rigid ideas of what the perfect 2-D body looks like makes a regular 3-D girl feel less-than.

In all honesty I thought once I lost weight³, I would be happier. Things would magically fall into place. Of course this is real-life, not a fairy tale.

Happiness is something you attain. It is not bestowed upon you.

 

 

I had to really think about what would make me happy. I love reading, photography, the theatre

and writing. I love all kinds of dance. I am happy when beautiful things surround me: people, clothes, art, wine, food. And I am happy after I have challenged myself.

I try to do things to push my personal boundaries like co-writing this blog. (Yes, I love writing but it’s not easy to put yourself out there.) I’ve taken loads of pictures, in public. Then put up these up for you all to see.

 

 

And last week, I started a burlesque class with Kells. Yes, burlesque. I love how bawdy, welcoming, tongue-in-cheek, flirty, raucous it is. And we had no idea about its fabulously clandestine history

This is an intro class, with a lovely range of ladies across sizes, ages, shapes and abilities. About one third took the class to push themselves, have fun and become more comfortable in their own skin.  Some of the same reasons as N&K!

I would say I’m a happier person, having pushed personal boundaries and embracing all aspects of myself. Am I positive and happy 100% of the time? Of course not. Real life has ups and downs. But if you want to lead a more fulfilling lifestyle…
you gotta wake the F up. Self-evaluate and make a plan of change.
Don’t just chug along with life. Grab it by the horns and point it in the right direction!

Footnotes
1 Thanks Judy Blume, Stephen King, Danielle Steele, Isaac Asimov for keeping me up too late
2 Charles, not Marilyn
3 According to a female family member, all I needed to do in my teen years, was lose weight, get rid of unsightly zits and get toss the glasses. (She was unsure of this last thing, as presumably, there were attractive librarians with glasses.) This aunt was a solid support to me. She never lied. But, she encouraged my strengths and didn’t let me forget them. And I adored her. (She was the next best thing to sliced bread!) So when she gave me this unsolicited bit of advice, which came out of the blue, I was heartbroken.

90 Pounds: Helpful Tips 9-10

Whoop whoop! We are down to the last 2 Tips.


Here‘s how the series started, 90 pounds ago.  Read why I changed.  I tell you how I made my changes, using the ME method: Tips 1-4 (includes S.M.A.R.T.ening up your goals) & Tips 5-8.

Kells’s life situation was a bit  different. She is a lifelong athlete.  However, a back injury & years of schooling-and-sitting changed her body.  But, she used the Tips… and here’s how she uniquely applied Tips 1-4 & 5-8.


Let’s forge ahead with our last 2 Tips.
9) Plan  a    h   e  a d.

We all have busy lives with deadlines and schedules. But your body deserves better than junky ass food and a sedentary day.

Think about meal plans, groceries and your exercise regime a week in advance. That way when something unexpected slows you down, you are already prepared. Like a superhero. (But better cuz it’s real!)

Fuel your body.

  • Take advantage of slow cookers and insta-pots;
  • Make extra portions – to freeze or eat again the next day;
  • Remember you can utilize frozen veggies and pre-cut fruit trays.  Or, can it! But don’t forget to rinse off the salty liquid;
  • Have healthy snacks around like veg & fruit tray with homemade dips.  Pre-portion snacking bags of nuts and cheeses for your lunch bag or grab it when you’re running late.
  • Make a versatile dish that you can change up.  For example: veggie chili can be eaten several ways: the usual way in a bowl with toppings, or use it to fill quesadillas or serve with meat/rice;^
  • When making tonight’s meal, cut up extra veggies & onions for tomorrow’s meal. Or, freeze it with homemade herb/spice mixes for future slow cooker meals.
  • How about re-purposing those Mason jars with salads or yogurt parfaits?*;
  • Supermarkets often have healthy meal options like protein & veggie plates in their deli section.

Get (and then keep on)                    m o  v   i    n    g!

Yes absolutely do your dedicated workout.   But you can’t expect it to be as effective if you then just sit on your bum the rest of the day. Keep on moving!

  • Attempt chin-ups with your buddies (see video above for the N&K rendition);
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.  (Yes even if your destination is on the 10th floor.**);
  • Sprint up or take the stairs 2 at a time or do lunges in-between floors;
  • Park a few blocks away from your destination, so you are forced encouraged to walk a few extra blocks. (If taking the bus, get off a few stops early);
  • Lunching with colleagues is a great team builder.  Instead of the usual restaurant fare, have a work picnic!  Walk together to a nearby park (or greenspace) & chow down on homemade lunches.  You could have fun themes like having green and Irish foods for St. Patricks Day;
  • Take a romantic stroll after dinner;
  • Plank it! while you watch TV (let your food digest a bit first and warm up beforehand);

The options are endless, folks.

10) Don’t forget about your GD self care.

Kells and I will be posting a lot more on this so BOLO.

Remember I said that this is not a diet.  Diets are typically short periods of radical diet changes to lose weight.  These are not good for your psyche, metabolism, habit reversals or empowerment.

This is a changing-your-outlook on life endeavor.  And folks, life is totes more than just food and exercise!

It is important to do some self care every single day.

This can be as simple as:

  • Waking up early to enjoy your morning coffee in the peaceful silence of the sunrise;
  • Doing a bit of gardening! Spring Equinox was a few days ago. Though weatherwise the PNW is a bit wonky, the plants are sprouting up right on schedule;
  • Stopping to smell the roses or the fresh baked goods at your local bakery. (You can choose to just look and smell, and don’t have to necessarily eat it every time you walk by.);
  • Treating yo-self and yo pups to an unexpected long weekday walk in the park;
  • Paint, sketch, draw;
  • Knit, crochet;
  • Sing in the shower;
  • Sleep in on a day off;
  • Netflix (+/- the “and chill”);
  • Go to the spa;
  • Review that spa experience on your blog;
  • Catch up with an old friend;
  • Tinker with that old beater you’ve had sitting in the garage for years…

So today …

I feel pretty darn good. I have lost some weight and inches.  I have gained muscle, endurance & gumption.  I have found healthier ways to cope.  I have been pushing personal boundaries.  In fact, on March 17, I finished my first 5KM Run! I was 6 minutes faster than my practice runs (which must have been all that adrenalin).  I defo would not have considered doing that even 5 years ago. And we’re planning on doing another one in a month!

Kells and I are going to do a professional photoshoot tomorrow!  Even a year ago I would’ve said No way.

Sure, I still struggle with some stuff like eating too much junk during that monthly hormone change. Or if I’ve not prepared my meal plan a week ahead^^.

It’s been 15 years… and sometimes I get stuck on the thought that I should have lost all of the weight already.  But I know I’m moving forward and challenging myself in a lot of other ways.

I’m a sun-bunny.  I love warm bright days.  In the PNW, the weather may be mild but it’s damp which ≠ warm.  Some mornings I’d rather just stay snuggled in my down duvet. I don’t always feel like getting up at 5 am to exercise.

But at the end of the day I know I’ll feel less ache-y, more energized and closer to my goals if I just get my cantankerous arse out if bed.

And that’s it (for now) for the 90 Pounds and Counting series.  …. Stay tuned for how Kells broke down these Tips to suit her lifestyle.      And we still have reviews coming your way.

What did you think about my 90 Pound Tips?

Common sense?

Surprising?

Ludicrous?

Leave a Comment below!

Footloose footnotes

^ other versatile dishes: grill a whole buckload of chicken & veggie kebabs (protein can also be tofu or veggie ground round).  Use different marinades.  Or, keep the marinade simple but dress it differently at service with salad, in a wrap or other starch. Dressing=  tzatziki or raita style, cumin/oregano/lime, balsamic with fresh rosemary, Thai/Malaysian inspired coconut curry, Vietnamese bahn mi inspired sour-sweet-salty, French Provencal herbs with champagne vinegar or homemade Dijon.

How to MJ salads: starting bottom up: salad dressing, hearty items (beans, peppers, fennel), leafy tenders then top with cheese/seeds/nuts.  Keep upright until you are ready to eat. Then shake it up & enjoy. Use a similar idea for MJ yogurt: plain yogurt, hearty fruit, tender fruit and top off with granola/nuts.

** In our previous job, Kells & I would see clients on the 7th & 8th floors in DTES SROs.  The stairs were old AF, rickety crickety, slanted, with short landings and usually covered in some UFOs (unidentified fluids or objects). And if that sounds treacherous, you don’t want to see the elevators.

^^IDK but it never ceases to amaze me that our pattern (including my spouse with a forever healthy BMI) is that when we don’t prep/plan our meals ahead of time, we scramble when our tums grumble. Which is usually for takeout ⇒ bigger portions, more salt and fat than home cooking. Plus it eats into your budget like a hungry hippo! Take a look at your own household’s patterns.  Meal planning is not hard. It is not a chore.  It is something that helps you to align with your life goals.

90 pounds: Helpful Tips 1-4

S o . . . what are the secrets to healthy weight management?


In case you are late to the game, 90 Pounds and Counting is where my life was about 15 years ago.  I was tired, unmotivated and coasting through life.

The follow-up post is available in Part Deux.  Here I discuss my loss of 90 pounds and the other gains I made in life.  Weight loss isn’t just a lower number on a scale.  Meaningful weight loss is about changing your outlook on life.


So we’re going to give you The Secrets straight up.  And for free.  But first, a word from our sponsors.

Just kidding… Truth be told:

  • There’s no “secret”.

→→This is nothing new, and is mostly common sense.

  • You are unique.

→→Celebrities will tout the virtues of V-steaming* or a crimson-foods only diet or whatever fad is hot on the market.

 That is them.

You is you.

  • And no, we don’t have sponsors.  So without further adieu…

N&K’s Tips 1 to 10** for Healthy Weight Management

­

1) True motivation = YOU.

When I changed my motivation from

…i­mproving my looks 

Gotta: fit into those clothes

Gotta: be a certain size

Gotta: look a certain way

(translation: motivation was to fit in with everyone else)

⇒          ⇒       ⇒    ⇒ ⇒

choosing to live for myself

Must: improve my own physical & mental health

Must: improve the health of my future self

(translation: motivation was to make me better because I choose to do it, not because someone guilted me or told me to),

And I found that my behaviours shifted naturally.

This shift happened a few weeks after I was diagnosed with a serious and chronic condition.  (You can read about that in the first post of the series.)

2) Empower yourself through education & wise choices.

You’re a unique human being. But what makes you you?  Learn about yourself, your habits (bad and good), your family’s health history or your own diseases and disorders.

And, I’m not just talking food and exercise, folks. Surround yourself with like-minded supportive peeps.

Like attracts like. If you want to quit tobacco/caffeine/other drugs or want to train for a marathon or get into school… immerse yo’ fine self with people who are interested in doing the same. (Why do you think support groups are helpful!) If you only hang out with peeps who engage in the behaviours you want to change, how is that support adding value to your life?  We’re not saying replace your old friends by making new ones.  We’re saying… look up and see what other people are out there.

3) Aim for S.M.A.R.T. goals.

My overall goal was to lose 115 pounds. From my first post, you know I was intimidated by this number. Who the heck wouldn’t be!?!

So I broke this down into manageable realistic chunks. Click here to access my SMARTified goal template. In the doc, the gloomy gray goal is untenable.  I show you how I made the goals within arm’s reach (in blue).

4) Implement exercise. Keep it enjoyable & doable.

And try to have a workout buddy!

I started by dancing at home a couple times a week. And later on, when I joined a gym, my co-bootcamp babes kept me accountable when I missed a class.

I slowly worked up to what I do now, which is 6-7 days/week.

P r e v i o u s l y . . . On my workdays, I was on the elliptical, with weights in evening. Zumba on my days off.

N o w .  .  .  I’m training for the 5 km, I’m jogging 3-4x/week. (Mixture of treadmill and outdoors.)  On rest days, I’m swimming. Once weekly I’m at my dessert Zumba class.

That’s it for now, lovelies!

What do you think of our Helpful Tips thus far?
What are your thoughts on fad diets and celebrity toutings?
Please leave a comment below.

The footstuffies:

* yes there is a celebrity that’s advising ladies to steam their Vs.  We need to consciously uncouple from that shizen. You should only steam your food, blocked sinuses and your blackheads.

** We can’t put all 10 in one post. That’s ludicrous!  Why on earth would you be back if you’ve got all 10 tips in your pocket now? So we’ll feature Tips 5-10 over the next few weeks.

90 pounds and counting… Part Deux

A while back I talked about starting on my journey of self-discovery^.  

Click here to read that post.  

So, let’s cut to 15 years later. . .


Yes, it’s a sad state of affairs but c’est vrai. There’s less of me to hug… (not that I’m much of a hugger anyways)


 . . . I’ve lost: about 90 pounds, a few clothing sizes, some unhealthy habits and coping, some excessive anxiety and some of my self-critical automaton.

 

. . . I’ve gained:        

  • strength.  Initially, I struggled to exercise with 2-pound weights. And now I’ve got me some pipes, yo!* If it wasn’t for tendonitis, I’d be doing push ups left right and centre. Yeah and I’d be an old pro at those burpees.  (You know that unnatural unnecessary abnormal ‘conditioning’ exercise.)
  • endurance. I came across this interesting BBC article  Is Physical Endurance All In The Mind?   Yes I think a large part of it lives in your brain – different parts: making new synaptic connections, challenging yourself, improving your skills.

For example, I could barely do 5 minutes on the elliptical. And now, I can do 60 minutes with my eyes closed**. One of my initial goals was to run 2 straight minutes. And now? Different story. At last count I could run at 4.5mph for 30 straight minutes. That’s on a treadmill.  (Outside running is a different story grr… I’m still working on it.)


I’m training for my first 5k city fun run!  Kells -and Mr. Kells- will be there of course.  (They’ve done a few 5k runs, so it’s old hat to those 2 cute fit bits.)  In our cheering section will be Mr. Nals, mumsey, mumsey-in-law and Lil Kiwi!~  


  • gumptionI strive to push my comfort levels a little. On the last few trips I’ve been on, I’ve done something different. I’ve zip lined, spelunked, explored volcanos and hiked all over the world. For a lot of peeps, this is the norm.  Until now, it was challenging for me.

I’ve also embraced the camera and… have taken loads of photos (on our Instagram).  Previously, taking photos was extremely stressful and a negative experience.  Now: it’s way funner^^ to let go and take quirky pictures.  For our S. F. U. shots 1  2  3, we traipsed around with our photog gear, and vogued L, R & C.  (Good exposure therapy for me: People saw us, were mildly curious and watched for a bit, and then went on about their day.)

In order to take nice pictures, you have to put yourself out there both physically and emotionally. (Think of those photos you begrudgingly take at family gatherings.  Your eyes end up closed or your face is all contorted.  Next time – embrace the photoshoot.  I’ll bet yours will be the best-looking face in the group.~~)

  • a better outlook on life.  When you stop making excuses, see all the awesomeness out there and just do… It’s amazing how wonderful life is.  No, life isn’t perfect.  The world isn’t perfect.  But at least you’re trying to improve yourself.
  • greater self-awareness.
  • the skills to be more trusting and open.  Because of a whole bunch of reasons, I tend(ed) to be private. I’m trying to be more social and… open about me***.  And you know, it’s not too bad. (Not sure the people around me would agree lol.)

So what’s my secret?

 … Just add a pinch of cayenne!


Ha I wish cuz I love me my spicy food.
In all honesty, there is no secret. But I have figured out a few helpful things along the way that I’ll share with you over the next few weeks.  Kells will also weigh in with her thoughts.
Stay tuned, N&Kers!

The end bits and bobs:

^ yes this is cheezy AF. But it’s true.  Weight loss, like many lifechanging behaviours, include gaining self awareness, motivation and then enacting right plan.

* I still have a bit of chicken wing but I’m working on it.

** (though not literally cuz I’d lose my balance).

^^ yep that’s a word.

When I texted the invitation to mumsey, she said, “Oh this is so exciting!” LOL isn’t she too cute for words?

~~ and if not, then there’s always next time, right.

*** This includes more smiling. Apparently my smile is better looking than my RBF.  And hey the content of these last 2 posts were not totally easy for me to divulge either.

What do you guys think?  

RBF vs. Smiling?

Leave us your thoughts and comments on your experiences with weight loss, self awareness, motivation and changing lifelong bad habits.

90 pounds and counting…

Hold on to your skivvies N&Kers cuz things are about to get real. Miss Nals has a few things to say… so find a comfy chair and grab a big ass cup of coffee.

From the age of 6, I was referred to as “fat”. I would defo agree with this adjective. But news non-flash! Being “fat” does not equate to a good thing in North America (borrowing Martha Stewart’s catchphrase). It’s mind boggling how pervasive that negativity is, surrounding the word “fat”.  It reminds me of the static electricity ball, where moving witchy fingers of electricity reach out and nip you when you least expect it.  It shouldn’t hurt but it does.

You heard of, read about or saw a flick about… That friend who is hesitant to go to her high school reunion. Her high school sweetheart is going to be there and she doesn’t feel she looks her best. But she attends, and comes back elated, stating “He has a fat and ugly wife!” Or “That celebrity-du-jour is looking real nasty, cause she’s gained so much weight.” Or (my fave) when people say “You would be so pretty if you weren’t so fat.”

Sometimes it feels that society says it’s ok to be a mass murderer as long as the murderer is not fat. Someone’s snarky behaviour is tolerated because it comes out of the mouth of a mini skinny.

Let’s not get all negative as there are some delights of being fat:

  • People (often strangers) keep you honest by telling you that you’re fat. And, yelling out-of-the-blue if you’re supes lucky.  (Yes literally shouting out, “You’re fat!”)
  • People have no qualms about sharing their pro-skinny opinions. As a kid, I was watching Roseanne.  When my cousin walked in, she immediately said, “Why are there so many fat people on this show?”
  • People love to offer up free advice, which is always unsolicited. No hello, how-do-you-do or even come-here-often-? as a segue. No way. It’s the straight up dope.  “You know you should cut out ABC and then do XYZ.”
  • You learn to be self-sufficient: as salespeople ignore you or people don’t engage in courteous behaviours like opening the door.

Going across L to R: 2001 Convocation, age 3, 2009 mendhi night, 2009 Wedding Day, age 6 and finally, present day dress & orange scarf!

The start of something.  In my 20s, I was working at a bookstore when a customer called to see if a copy of Susan Orbach’s Fat is a Feminist Issue was available. I was intrigued by the title and read it. And boom my mind was blown! I never considered “fat” as a tool of rebellion. I definitely didn’t feel rebellious but… was I?

Regardless of subconscious rebellions, “fat” as associated with “fugly”, who deems it “unacceptable” and who keeps perpetuating these ideas… I was sick of feeling shitty. I was tired (lethargic yes, and tired of letting other people’s constant fat remarks get to me).  I was physically achey, had a low mood & excessive anxiety.  I had gone on all sorts of diets and they didn’t stick. (The weight stuck, not the loss part.) I was just fed up, and mentioned it to me mumsey.  She suggested that I speak to our family doctor*.  So I did. And he said he could help but first he wanted to do a work up. I thought “C’mon man, let’s just get on with it. I’m in my 20s what on earth can go wrong?”

But they found something… After some more tests and a biopsy later, I was diagnosed with a chronic disease. I was lucky they found it early. Most don’t seek help till decades later, when it’s too late to change. So, with a weird feeling of oddly-displaced luck, I toddled off to see my newly-appointed specialist*. She told me I had to lose 115 pounds, and it would take a couple of years.

Oh holy Murphy c’mon really?!? How many times did I try to but I couldn’t even lose 10?!  This left me feeling mighty frustrated and hapless.

But then there came a point where I had to choose: to sit here and pickle in my misery, or to move forward.

So, I started by educating myself on the disease. And then I made small changes.


Please consult a licensed health professional prior to making changes in your life. What is beneficial to me may not be right for your body. And, things that the media depict as healthy may not be appropriate for your needs.


And just like that Miss Nals got her groove back!
. . . I started to exercise. . .     

Some of my enjoyable childhood memories were learning to dance with mumsey (including watching Arthur Murray Dance Studio videos!).  As such, Zumba beckoned me but I wasn’t quite ready to join public classes.  So I started pin-ponning along with YouTube videos 2x/week.  It took some time to find good videos.  But I eventually found Linda Edler, Sid Vicious and Shani McGraham-Shirley.  (Thank you, lovely ladies!)

. . . and I paid attention to what I was putting in my body. . . 

I looked at portions and nutrition labels.  This can certainly be overwhelming.  So, I’d suggest focussing on a couple of values at a time, not the entire label.  (Your focus is decided by you and your health team, not the media or your skinny friend or me.***)


To my amazement, my weight dropped and… holy frig it kept dropping! It was exhilarating.  Like a roller coaster… But uh … actually enjoyable.  (Sorry Kells I know you heart the rollers.)


My specialist said that’s a great start but you need to join a gym, missy. So, I reluctantly joined one**, and got hooked on boot camp. My awesome bootcamp leader Miss Martina (now at Train on Main) knew when to push me and when to back off. I was also inspired by her weight loss story.  And my fellow bootcampers, though all lifelong slim shadies, were very supportive as well.  Ohhhh this was spectacular!

And so my journey continues… Stay tuned for Part Deux.

The footies:

* I must give a shout-out to my fam doc, Dr. H. He was and is wonderful – always gentle, respectful and kind.  And of course a shout-out to my specialist Dr. S.  Both docs are slim, well-dressed and clearly smart.  But never judgemental.  So thank you to you both from the depths of my now-conditioned heart.

** I was reluctant to join a gym because I was anticipating judgemental attitudes.  At the time, there wasn’t a huge variety of gyms.  It seemed like only those who appeared in Jane Fonda videos were at the gyms that I checked out. I have also experienced people shouting out their negative comments to me while I was exercising. A good combo, these did not make.

*** What I mean by this is that we often hear about things like cutting fat or increasing fibre.  However, if you have an allergy or digestive tract issue, increasing fibre may be harmful. Don’t take what you hear at face value.  Find out the what-why-who-where-when before you choose to apply it to your life.

What are your experiences with weight dysphoria? Care to share? Please comment below!

[contact-form][contact-field label=”Name” type=”name” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Email” type=”email” required=”true” /][contact-field label=”Website” type=”url” /][contact-field label=”Message” type=”textarea” /][/contact-form]