Hot Pink, High Heels, & Explosions

advocare

 

*sigh* so yeah. I know I know. This is a bandwagon. Everyone knows SOMEONE who’s tried SOMETHING from Advocare and usually that person is its biggest fan. Super fan. Fan of the Month. They chat happily about things called Slam, Spark, Catalyst, Herbal Cleanse (but only the Peaches and Cream, apparently universally everyone things the Citrus is gross), Max. And it comes on suddenly. BAM! They are a convert!

Usually I try and avoid things that faddish — yes yes I know I am a Zumba(R) instructor. Got it, and I’m retired people.  And I have had an iPhone since version 1….and. Okay okay so sometimes I DO adopt a fad. But when it comes to diet and fitness, I really do try to avoid faddish products. Wheat Belly, Zone, Adkins, blah blah blah. Really if any of these were the panacea they try to make them out to be wouldn’t all of us have been vegan, blood-type, gluten-free, low-carb, high healthy fat eaters by now? To me, the key with diet and exercise is that you MUST MUST MUST find what works for you. Because if you don’t like it, or believe it in it — if you slip up you will crash fast and hard into a pile of your favorite foods and a Law & Order marathon.

As a weight loss surgery patient, I know how to go to extremes for thinness er…health. Yeah. Health. *smirk*  I literally had life altering surgery, that installed a random piece of hardware into my body to try to achieve some source of dietary control. (and thinness, don’t forget the American dream of thinness)  More on that in later and previous posts (like say HERE).   So when I saw this whole Advocare mess, I just sigh and scroll right past it in my news feed.   Well…until a high school friend joined the bandwagon.  She’s one of the most honest and trustworthy folks I know…so when she started talking about it.  I kinda started to listen.  She had been really really tired….hey wait.  I’m REALLY REALLY tired (which could be due to said lap-band, but…).   She said this whole 24-day program had given her great energy, and on top of that she happened to slim down.  Hrm.  Really.  Now the key to this is that this girl is beautiful anyhow, and did not need to lose one pound.  But she felt better.  And that is what was very intriguing for me. Then I found MORE trustworthy friends who tried Advocare and loved it.  Both friends are Advocare distributors, but never tried to push a sale.  They just told me

I’ve felt like crap for a while.  I don’t eat horribly,  and even though I don’t teach fitness classes any longer I do still take my own butt to the gym to work out in ways that makes me happy.   But I just couldn’t shake the “I feel like crap and I’m tired” feeling.   I tried doing a regiment of supplements, and though I did feel better I also felt like I was eating pills all day.  And with a lap band, pills aren’t your friend.

So my friend had a few boxes at her house and I scooped up just a box of the Spark Energy Drink and the Herbal Cleanse which is the first 10 days of the 24 day program .  The website lists Spark as:

AdvoCare Spark® Energy Vitamin & Amino Acid Supplement.  KEY BENEFITS: Enhances mental energy and focus; Provides support for long-lasting energy; Helps fight occasional drowsiness; 21 vitamins, minerals and nutrients; Sugar-free and only 45 calories

They list the Herbal Cleanse as:

Herbal Cleanse Metabolic Cleansing System.  KEY BENEFITS: Helps rid the body of toxins and waste; Supports improved digestion and thorough internal cleansing; Provides 10 grams of fiber per day; Helps remove impurities from the body; Supports healthy weight loss; Recommended every 90 days.

Now for my one soapbox.  Yes I know the word cleanse is a fad word, and so is “eating clean”.  Both terms come with some nutritional mumbo-jumbo and lots of dietary shame (so if I don’t eat clean, I’m dirty?!).  However, just know I am aware of this while I try these products out.  Know I’ve read articles about this company (yep its a multi-level one, just like any other Direct Sales program (including one I am a member of), about the products (amazon.com is great to hear the real deal on products), and about nutrition (like this great article HERE).

SO, with all that being said — how about we get ready for my journey in seeing if this fad-appearing program works for me.  Word of caution — this will be about a real person taking these supplements.   A real person with a real lap-band.  I plan to modify the program when I need to, and I know I’ll mess up.  I have a real life — one filled with work meetings, lunch meetings, dinner meetings, conferences, angry lap-band days, and so on.  My life will never have 10 fantastic days where I can follow this to the letter, but I’m going to give it a try.

I’m done dieting and obsessing over working out.  Yep, I said it.  I know this will come as a shock to some people, but I usually do not get that euphoric high from working out.  I do not bound delightfully to the gym, excited for todays adventures in spinning or running.  If I am running, the Zombie Apocalypse is upon us and you should run in the same direction.

In addition, I enjoy eating the following on a regular basis: Bread; Cheese (Saga Blue Brie is my favorite); Butter; Ice Cream; Milk.  Normally regular Coke Classic would e on my list but I’ve been off the Coca-Cola Classic Crack for a week..and it is PAINFUL! #thestruggle

However, the point is that I don’t want a diet filled with only one type of food, that restricts other types that I really adore, or that fills me full of tastebud altering chemicals that mimic what I really want to be eating (Fat-Free Cheese is the devil….just saying).  In fact, it may be surprising to find out that I typically don’t even eat enough already.  What?!  A woman who is larger than a size 4 does not eat 500 thousand calories a day to get that way?!  Yes, folks!  It’s true.  I have to work to eat 1,660 calories in a day, which is what myfitnesspal says I should be eating.  Sometimes I make it, sometimes I exceed it, but most days I’m well under.

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Normally I am a worry wart about my weight.  I worry when I eat, I worry when I don’t work out.  I worry when a pair of pants fits a little too snugly.  I hate shopping some days.  However, what really bothers me is that I am NOT worried because of my health.  I am worried because I have learned to covet every scrap of real and faux approval I get due to my size.  Very murmur that I am thin, small, fit, pretty, so on.  Each and every morsel of approval I pocket and keep for a rainy day.  Since honestly, I’m a former fat kid — and its nice for someone to say more than “You have a pretty face.”

But kids, its HARD keeping up appearances.  When I go into Fall exams, I always gain weight — and get sick.  That time is the worse — so I’m fat AND sick. What?  I’m exhausted, I’m stressed, I’m worried about grades, and then someone comes up and mentions that I’ve put on a little weight.  Ya’ll better be glad that I want to run for office someday and can’t cut you….

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Wahhhh!   No seriously.  Wahhhha! What are we doing to ourselves women?!  After reblog of this post from Kate of “This Is Not A Diet” — this is so timely.

So raise your hand if you do this?   Raise your hand if you describe yourself as a hag — when you really are beautiful.  I know my hand is up.  When I look in the mirror most days all I see are the lumps of fat, the imperfections  the should be’s.  What are “should be’s”?  This “should be” tighter; this “should be” thinner; this “should be” smaller; I “should be” working harder.  But the thing of it is — I am healthy, I am strong, I am smaller than I’ve ever been in my life — but it still isn’t good enough.  I still am so ultimately critical of myself that I can’t see what others apparently do.  I can’t see how proud of me my family and friends are for my commitment to loose the weight I have lost; to be the person I am; to have achieved everything that I have outside of the size pants I wear.

Despite the CLEAR differences I can see when I make myself in the two photos below — I still see the 325+lb woman on the left when I let that critical eye wander down my image in the mirror– not the clearly thinner and trimmer person on the right. [Disclosure — the photo on the left was taken around 2005 during my first year in law school.  I’m pretty sure I got heavier than this.  The photo on the right was taken in Cozumel in March of this year — so yes it is recent, and its a pretty candid photo as well.  I have on no make up (which is my norm) since we were on our way to snorkel reefs — and the t-shirt features Baby Godzilla (from Threadless) in case you are curious!)

This negative eye is an epidemic, this is problematic — and I’m not sure how to solve it. How can we make women see their worth, in a world that mostly sees only their beauty as being valuable.  When all you hear about Hillary Clinton is how tired she looks or her bad dress pants, not how smart she is — we know we have issues.

But, what I can do is to  be honest about my own issues, and hopefully that will at least make someone feel a bit of comfort — to know that they are not alone, and that LOTS of us are struggling with body image issues.  LOTS of us are wondering if we will ever be satisified.  So you aren’t alone — don’t throw in the towel, but just work every day to give yourself and your body credit on being fabulous.  Whether you keep loosing or regaining those same 10lbs, no matter if you are overweight right now, no matter if you wonder if you’ll ever stop judging your worth by the size number in your pants — you’re fabulous!  Yes!  YOU!  Right there!  Someday I’ll believe all the time that I’m fabulous too 🙂

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So I am a southern woman.  I was a fat woman.  I was also a fat child.  When you are large, when you are fat, when you are already overweight …one of the benefits is that you eat what you like honestly.  Sure you have those crash diet moments, those “lifestyle change” moments.  But when you are off of those moments….you get real, and put food that taste good in your mouth.

Now lets clear up some mythology about food and fat people.  There are quite a few of us who do not “live to eat.”  There is this idea that all fat people are fat since they are sitting around eating HoHo’s and DingDongs with a Super Gulp of Coke and a side of butter.  Not the case.  Before my weight loss surgery I had never been able to loose more than 20 pounds off my frame.  I worked out, I was on Weight Watchers, I TRIED.  However, did I also indulge in foods that I liked though.  If you are going to be large, then you might as well not be miserable like everyone else.  Eat the cake, Annie Mae…..

So now that I’m off my soapbox, back to being southern.  I was on my way into my GA position, and I really really really wanted a biscuit from Hardees (which is Carl’s Jr. for those out on the West Coast).  A delicious, flakey, buttery biscuit. Nothing else on it ….just that luscious thing you see above.  It’s just….well it’s just a normal breakfast down here.

Do you know what that thing COSTS in Weight Watcher points?!  EIGHT points.  For ONE biscuit.  *passes out on top of her points tracker*  Now here is the thing — yes I CAN eat it.  That is why I am faithful to Weight Watchers even AFTER having weight loss surgery.  You can eat whatever you like — you just must track it.  Want a whole bottle of wine — sure thing…but track that sucker.  Know you are indulging, well working out will get you some extra points on TOP of your extra 49 weekly points.  So yes you really can eat real foods, tasty foods, “bad for you” foods on this plan.  [I am not being paid by Weight Watchers, as a matter of fact I pay them.]

However, I did not want to spend those points.  I wanted to keep that money in the food bank.  So I only got a diet coke, and tried to figure out what I could eat that wasn’t oatmeal (that’s another post for later on this week).

However, this is something that I struggle with.  Sometimes I miss being larger, because I never felt guilty for eating a biscuit every now and then.  I really did eat lots of veggies.  I lived off soups in law school. I actually put better food in my body when I was larger than I do now.  Is that partially because I never felt bad about making a kick-ass pot roast with gravy for my friends and I?  Is it because I wasn’t concerned with staying thin, so I didn’t feel bad when my friends and I would go to this awesome french bistro (Blue Talon — Williamsburg, VA.  Eat there, trust me!) and split a cheeseburger that was served with a fried egg on top, and their mac & cheese with Virginia ham — ending the meal with some decadent french mousse.  I saw that meal as a treat, and something I could do on occasion. Now I would worry about gaining weight, not looking as fit as I should, not fitting into my wedding dress, not meeting the worlds expectations.

Yes, one biscuit — one little buttery snack put me in that tailspin.  However, upon reflecting on it — should I be that caught up with my weight?   Should I be so paranoid that I am flipping out over ONE biscuit?

I’ve started following a wonderful blog/facebook page written by an inspirational woman named Kate:  This is Not a Diet — It’s My Life.  I’ve asked permission to link a meme that Kate created.  It spoke to me so much.

From This Is Not a Diet

From This Is Not a Diet

Kate is right.  I am a human being, and my weight SHOULD be the least interesting thing about me.  I should NOT need charts or measurements to validate me.  I should not need a certain number to prove my worth.  However, admitted at this point in my life.  I still do.  That number on the scale, and on my dress still defines me.  I still feel as if I would be judged if I decided to move from being a 12 to a 14.  What does 12 mean anyhow?!  I am so concerned that I flipped out about a tiny little baked good.  I was only going to have one.  Just one little baked good.

I think that this is a greater problem with the idea of fitness, thinness, and health.  I swear I had less health issues when I was heavier.  My BP has been borderline lately — it was always normal or even LOW when I was heavier.  My knees hurt now sometimes from working out — when I worked out as a larger person I was out of breath maybe but my knees were in tact.  I also — most importantly — had more confidence as a larger woman.  Now I’m just constantly worried about gaining weight, not looking the part.  And, I hate it.  I find Kate more inspirational than any fitness icon that exists.  Why?  Because Kate is real, she is inspiring others to be REAL, and she is actually happy with herself being herself.

I have to stop hating myself over a desire to eat a biscuit.  I have to stop thinking that a number on my dress or scale defines my worth.  I must stop worrying that I am meeting everyone else’s expectations.  This is not me giving myself leeway to gain 50 pounds, but so WHAT if I ebb and flow between one weight and five to ten pounds higher.  So what if I never can wear a steady 10?  So what?  My fiancé loves my thick thighs, he think’s I’m beautiful, and more importantly he loves that I am smart.  My family and friends who are really there for me — think I’m awesome.  So it’s time that I listen to them, and not others who want to define my abilities and my health through their arbitrary numbers and charts.

So — this is me.  In 2008 I weighed 350 pounds.  From 2009-today I’ve lost roughly 150 pounds.  That is an entire person.  That is a WHOLE person.  According to the charts, I am still overweight.  I am 5’9, and I wear anywhere from a size 10-14, size M-L — and I weigh around 208lbs currently.  No matter what that chart says, I am fitter than I have ever been.  I need to be happy with how I look, and I am working towards it.  I will still do Weight Watchers but that is only to get me to balance my food options better  not to focus so much on the scale.  

But you know what.  I recently had lunch with my fiancé at one of our favorite places.  You know what I ate…a biscuit.  And it was delicious, my pants still fit, I can still teach a fitness class, the sky hasn’t fallen, and I was beautiful before I ate it — while I was eating it — and now.  I’m working on being more like Kate, and I hope that anyone out there who hears the same voices that are negative in their lives use Kate as a wakeup call to real happiness and acceptance.