Tips & Tricks: Minimize Efficiency, Maximize Step Count

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  1. Park out in the back forty, but do it on purpose

Most people consider scoring a close parking spot something worth celebrating. I consider finding a spot at the back of the parking lot – preferably away from other cars – a win. I even like to park in a different parking lot whenever I can. For instance, today I parked in front of a different building on my work campus and walked over to my building. For me, there’s nothing better than a morning walk before having to sit inside at a desk for hours on end.

  1. Take the shopping cart back into the store

Don’t just use those convenient little cart corrals. Walk from your spot (in the back of the parking lot) back to the store and put it where it belongs. You’ll get extra steps and brownie points from the poor employees who have to traipse all over the parking lot gathering them up.

  1. Multiple trips

Seeing as I’m a woman, I was born with the ability to get all of my groceries in the house in one trip, no matter how much I bought. It goes against all of my instincts to not just load up my arms and go, but the multiple trips in and out of the house gets me some needed extra steps. Act like a man; one bag at a time.

  1. Don’t use the nearest bathroom

I’ve been informed that this might be a luxury only someone like me (i.e. young, never had children, etc) can afford but I figured I’d put it here anyway. If you can, don’t use the bathroom that’s closest. Most likely there’s another one around somewhere…go find it. The bathroom closest to me is 43 steps from my desk. The next one is 80. Don’t ask me why I know this, I just do.

  1. Pee break = lap around office

After I’ve wandered to the farthest bathroom and finished my business, I like to make a lap around the office floor. I’m lucky enough to work in a fairly large building, so it’s a decent amount of steps. Especially considering I drink at least 4 liters of water while I’m at work, so I’m constantly making these trips. Bonus: it lets me step away from work for a few minutes.

  1. Hour lunch break? 30 minutes for eating, 30 for walking

It doesn’t take you an hour to eat lunch, stop kidding yourself. Eat your lunch, then get walking. Walk around the building, walk around outside, walk to your car parked in a distant parking lot for no other reason than to say you did it. Just move.

  1. Make conference calls the playlist for your walk

You know…you don’t HAVE to sit at your desk staring at the cubicle wall while listening in on a conference call. Shocking, right? Plug in your earbuds and listen while you’re going for a nice little stroll. Multitasking at its most productive.

  1. Link your computer to a printer at the other end of the building

There’s a printer 3 aisles down from my desk. I never use it. I took the time to connect my computer to a printer at the other end and side of the building. I don’t print things frequently, but when I do at least I’m going on a little journey to get it.

  1. Use other’s unhealthy habits to encourage your healthy ones

Both my supervisor and manager are pretty heavy smokers. Whenever they go for a smoke, I go for a walk. My theory is that if people are allowed smoke breaks (you know, time away from work to do something TERRIBLE FOR YOUR HEALTH) then I sure as shit should get time away from work to do something good for myself.

  1. Walk to the mailbox

I never get my mail before I pull into my driveway. I always park my car, take my things inside (using two trips), then head back out to go get the mail. My driveway isn’t very long, in all honesty, but it’s still more steps than I would get if I got the mail from my car. A bunch of small habits can lead to big results.

Body Love and Dieting: They’re Not Mutually Exclusive

At the recommendation of a very dear friend, I have started reading “Things No One will tell Fat Girls” by Jes Baker aka “The Militant Baker”. If you’re not familiar with either of those names, here’s the SparkNotes version. “The Militant Baker” is a blog written by Jes Baker which is all about body love, body image, feminism, and fatshion. To be completely honest, I’ve never read her blog. Jes is, in short, one of the biggest voices in the body love world right now.

I’m currently twenty-seven pages in and I am struggling. I just finished reading a guest essay about diet culture and how it’s basically the root of all evil. The essay is called Living the Dream at 250 Pounds or “Why Diet Culture is Full of Shit and can Suck my Lady Dick” by Virgie Tovar of #LOSEHATENOTWEIGHT. Basically, the essay says that if you’re dieting, you can’t possibly love yourself. Which…what? I do agree that diet culture can be toxic when taken too far. When people cross the line between dieting/healthy living and pro-ana (anorexia) ideology. Eating disorders are incredibly serious and it’s very possible to cross that threshold from “dieting” to “disordered eating”, trust me…I’ve crossed it. But losing weight in and of itself, isn’t harmful. Wanting to get healthy so you no longer get winded from a flight of stairs isn’t harmful. Wanting to make sure you live a long life so you can see your nieces and nephews grow up isn’t harmful.

I’m currently eleven pounds shy of my highest known weight, actively following Weight Watchers and exercising, and I’m honestly the happiest I’ve ever been. When I look in the mirror, I don’t see something or someone I hate. I just see myself; a 25 year old woman who has a great job, a beautiful home, and an adorable but trouble making puppy. I see a woman who went on vacation this summer and wore several two-piece bathing suits and didn’t bother covering up. I have a boyfriend who treats me like a princess, and loves me exactly as I am, but also gives me his full support while I’m on this weight loss journey. A boyfriend who makes me feel beautiful even when I first wake up and have mascara in the corners of my eyes and ogre-like morning breath. Making healthy choices and going on daily walks, which I happen to love, doesn’t negate any of that. It adds to it. When I’m outside on a sunny day with my puppy’s leash in one hand and my boyfriend’s fingers tangled in the other, I feel incredible. I feel light, and happy, and truly blessed. When I make dinner and it’s mainly green beans and broccoli with a little bit of grilled chicken, I’m excited to eat because green beans and broccoli are fucking delicious.

I’m getting more and more heated as I write this. Because seriously…fuck anyone who tries to take my happiness away from me. Fuck anyone who says that because I’m following a certain diet I obviously hate myself. Fuck anyone who tries to tell me how I feel. This body of mine, this fat body with all its rolls and stretchmarks has gone through a lot with me. It’s gotten me through dance recitals and golf tournaments. It has taken me all around London, Paris, the Netherlands, Croatia…It has been broken, and bruised, and burned, and scratched but it’s still here. It’s still here to take me on walks, to be loved by my boyfriend, to be fed more green food than it has had in all its 25 years. I love this body. I love what we’ve been through, and I’m excited about where we’re going.

I don’t know if I’m going to even finish this book. As I wrote this little rant I realized I may not even need it. If it’s a guide to loving yourself, I think I managed to reach that point without it. If it’s anti-dieting propaganda, it’s two-hundred some pages of garbage. I’m done with things that try to dictate my feelings and my life. Fuck all of it. I love myself.

Tips & Tricks: Tried and True Tips for Ultimate Water Consumption by a Self-Proclaimed Water Drinking Pro

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First of all, I’m not going to insult you by saying you should set a water goal. You guys are masters at setting goals (and then crushing them). So, here we go.

  • Bring all the water you want to drink throughout the day with you

I hoard water bottles like a dragon and its treasure. I swear I have more water bottles than I do actual dishware. So, I utilize them. I fill up 4 one liter bottles each night before bed, stick ‘em in the fridge and then grab them out and put them in my work bag the next morning. Then I remind myself how freaking heavy that bag was on my walk into work and that it would be super great to have it be considerably lighter on the walk out.

  • Drink water you actually like

I HATE the water at work. I think it’s disgusting. Before I moved into my own house, I used to fill up a gallon milk jug from my parents’ house and take that to work. To this day, their water is the best I’ve ever tasted. I don’t like Dasani water, or Aquafina. I’m not even super fond of the water at my house (that darn city water…I’m a simple country girl who likes well water, okay?). I have a Sodastream though and that has been my saving grace. I only drink it with the diet lemon lime flavoring and it’s AMAZING. It’s also good to put in smoothies with pineapple and blueberries. Anyway, I’ve found that when you have water that actually tastes good to you, it makes it a lot easier to chug-a-lug all day long.

  • Figure out HOW you like to drink your water

So this sounds a bit weird, but I’ve found that drink water much quicker through a straw. I like to just sit at my desk with the straw permanently in my mouth while I work on my laptop. In fact, I’m doing it right now. So I have a really cute 1 liter cup that looks like a mason jar and it has a straw, so I pour my lemon lime water from my hoarded water bottle into my cute cup and away I go. If you like drinking it from a cup with crushed ice, then get yourself a cup with crushed ice. If you like drinking straight from the water bottle, then do it.

  • Don’t have other options in the house

The only thing I have to drink in my house is water from the faucet. So even if I wanted a Diet Coke (and trust me, some days I think I might kill a man for one) I don’t even have the option. It’s not like I’m going to go all the way to the store for one pop (or soda, if you’re WRONG). Remove liquid temptations and eventually the urge to go for something else will dissipate.

  • Think of the benefits (of having to pee all the time)

I’m serious on this one, guys! When you drink a lot of water it seems like all you’re ever doing is going to the bathroom. But think about the benefits. For starters, it gets you away from your desk for at least a couple of minutes. You get some GD peace and quiet. And, if you get up to go as soon as the urge strikes, you can take the long way to the restroom in order to get some extra steps! Lastly, I’m not a doctor, but I’m pretty sure that holding your pee increases the risk of getting a UTI, so going frequently can only help, right? But seriously, water helps with weight loss, clear skin, increases energy, prevents cramps, regulate body temperatures, etc. etc. etc. Does pop do that? What about beer? Sugary juices? That’s what I thought.

Vegan, Baby

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One day while at work, I overheard a conversation regarding a supervisor’s recent and significant weight loss. Seeing as I am constantly on the lookout for tips and tricks to aid in weight loss my ears instantly perked up. He was describing how he switched to a whole foods plant-based diet after watching Forks over Knives, a documentary on Netflix. Intrigued, I decided to join in on the conversation. Talk turned to how since switching his diet/lifestyle he has lost fifty-some pounds, and has more energy than ever. His wife, who made the change with him has lost around forty pounds. They just eat a plant-based diet. That’s it. No crazy supplements, no intense workout schedule, just simply eating whole foods. It seemed too good to be true, but it was obviously working for them.

That night I decided to give the Forks over Knives documentary a watch. I was FLOORED. The Western diet is so excessive and unnecessary yet we never seem to question it. We eat meat, eggs, drink milk and have no idea that these things are actually causing more harm than good. The documentary is filled with so much fascinating information, I had to pause it at least 7 times to call my mom and gran to tell them the latest incredible discovery. They honestly got sick of talking to me and said they would just watch it on their own. I was totally inspired to learn more, and adopt a whole foods plant-based (vegan) diet for myself.

I spent the next week or so following vegan foodies on Instagram, reading blogs, watching more documentaries, investing in plant-based cook books, etc. I cleaned out my cupboards, fridge and freezer, throwing away some and giving away most. I felt as though I was totally prepared to take on this new lifestyle. I ate oil-free, salt-free French fries, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, black beans, all the broccoli, peas, green beans, corn, carrots, and cucumbers I could get my hands on. I had giant bowls of whole grain cereals with almond milk, veggie burgers, veggie hotdogs, I thought I was totally killing it…until I stepped on the scale. In about a two-week’s time I managed to gain a whopping ELEVEN pounds by eating a vegan diet. I was devastated.

So I went back to my previous diet using the Weight Watchers points system, and researched how the hell I managed to gain so much weight in such a short amount of time, consuming foods that are proven to be better for me. Turns out, I wasn’t alone. If you Google the phrase “gained weight on vegan diet” you’ll get back over 600,000 results. Apparently it’s pretty easy to go a bit overboard when switching to a vegan diet. I wasn’t ready to give up on transitioning to a whole foods plant-based lifestyle, but I was scared to death of continuing to gain weight.

Enter Jordan David of Conscious Muscle; a vegan bodybuilder and online vegan fitness coach. It was through pure luck, or perhaps some sort of Divine Intervention that I stumbled across his Instagram profile one day. I got the distinct feeling that maybe this guy held the answer to my failing vegan lifestyle transition. A fair bit of research and some positive input from my sister-in-law later and I was purchasing his “Transformation Package”; a package that contains a personalized nutrition guide/menu, a training routine to compliment the nutrition guide, and unlimited guidance and coaching for the first month of your program. I recently received my personalized nutrition guide and training program, and it is a bit daunting…I’m not going to lie. However, I’m confident that having structure and a coach for guidance will help me succeed in transitioning to a vegan lifestyle and ultimately lose weight and insure I have a long, healthy life ahead of me. I plan to begin the program on June 1st, and am spending today and tomorrow preparing myself –and my fridge- for this change.

I will be documenting this lifestyle change via this blog and my Instagram. I hope to inspire others to adopt a whole foods plant-based diet, and become knowledgeable enough to answer any questions people may have. For now, I’d be more than happy to point you to reputable sources of information 🙂

Plus Size Musings

I find that I have a very difficult time separating body positivity from complacency. For me, being okay with my body means being okay with being fat. It means not wanting to lose weight. But I do want to lose weight. I don’t want to be fat. I guess it might just be the ironclad grip society has on me. Actually I know that’s exactly what it is. Despite knowing that there’s nothing wrong with being fat, I still don’t want to be labeled as such. Is internalized fatphobia a Thing? It must be, and it’s becoming increasingly more apparent that I’ve got it.

It’s such a strange situation to be in, knowing that what you think and feel is, for all intents and purposes, wrong, but not being able to change your way of thinking. It doesn’t help that I’m constantly reminded that I’m fat and that it’s Bad. I’m reminded every time I look in the mirror and see a curve or roll in a place it really shouldn’t be. Every time the store doesn’t carry an article of clothing in my size, or I have to pay extra for it, or I have to order it online and pray that it fits when it finally arrives 5 to 7 business days later. Every time an airplane stewardess asks me, in a hushed voice, if I need a seatbelt extension. Okay so that last one has only happened once, just this week in fact, but it was still humiliating.

The problem is that it’s always on my mind. My size is always on my mind. Even when I’m spending a day relaxing at home, and I’m sitting on the couch reading a book, I’m consciously aware of every roll, every single minuscule piece of skin that’s peaking out, how my neck must look; does holding my head like this give me a double chin? It’s exhausting. And that’s just an easy day. That’s a day where I don’t have to worry about what other people are thinking. On those days, it’s almost impossible to get myself out of bed in the morning. Walking down the hallway at work is a chore. Going to the cafeteria to get a salad is a nightmare. What all of those people must be thinking…look at that fat girl, getting a salad. What is she trying to prove? Does she really think we believe she normally eats like that? If she did, she definitely wouldn’t be the size she is.

Some days there just isn’t enough false confidence in the world to get me through. People tell me to “fake it till you make it”. Well I’ve been faking it for 24 years now. When do I finally get to make it? When do I finally get to look in the mirror and be happy?

I Wish I Wouldn’t Have Eaten That: How a Fat Girl’s Quest Backfired

Yesterday I posted what I suppose could be considered Part One of what I’ve just now decided to call the “Fat Girl’s Quest” series. It documented my less than healthy, but ultimately effective, start to my weight loss journey. The timing for posting that last night and writing Part Two today couldn’t have been better, for this morning while I was doing my daily social media scroll, I had one of those ‘Your Memories on Facebook’ things pop up. I took a screenshot for you:

Yupp, that’s right. On this day one year ago I was at the peak of my weight loss journey. I had managed to lose 50 pounds through a ‘diet’ of barely eating and obsessive exercise. To say that the 12 months since then have been less than stellar would be a colossal understatement. About a week and a half after that post, I went on the most amazing 11 day vacation to London. I’ll have to tell you guys about it sometime. Anyway, when I returned home from vacay, I had the hardest time getting back on track with my exercise. As in, I didn’t exercise at all. Sure, I had a few bouts of walking on the treadmill here and there, but it was nothing like I had previously been doing. I’m still struggling. I go through these weeks where I make exercise a priority and then suddenly the next week I’m just completely drained and couldn’t make myself move after work if my life depended on it. Which, if I keep these horrible habits up, it just might.

During my obsessive exercise stint I start having quite a bit of pain in my knees. Not only do they hurt, but they make this awful, crackling sound whenever I bend them. My nurse mom and PT best friend told me it’s crepitus. So I just forgot about. That is until I was attempting to do mountain climbers during one of my random exercise benders and my foot slipped. I almost cried it hurt so badly. After about a month of it hurting more often than not, I made myself an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon. Turns out the crepitus and aches in my knees is from being fat and that the number one thing I need to do is lose weight. No shit, Sherlock. I’m glad that I wasted the time and money to come here and have you tell me that. It’s not like that’s the one thought constantly running through my mind. But not only was that ‘diagnosis’ glaringly obvious, it was fucking embarrassing. I mean, while trying to not be fat anymore I hurt my knees because I’m fat. I cancelled my follow-up appointment. One, because I haven’t lost any weight and two, because my insurance wouldn’t cover the physical therapy sessions he wanted me to go to and I don’t have 500 bucks to shell out twice a week for the next 6 weeks. It’s cute that they thought I did though.

I still struggle with disordered eating. Or maybe it’s an eating disorder. But ‘eating disorder’ sounds too serious. Inaccurate. I mean, I eat. Obviously I do, otherwise I wouldn’t look like I do now. I have a close friend who suffered from an eating disorder for a number of years, and I talk to her about this stuff a lot. She tells me that on days that I binge (and wish I had the guts to purge) that I did it because my body needs the calories. She tells me that if I just ate enough to keep my body satisfied those binges wouldn’t happen. She tells me that recovery is great, but it only works if you’re ready for it, and that I’m just not ready yet. The thing is, I don’t think I need to ‘recover’. I don’t think I have anything to ‘recover’ from. Like I said, I eat. I probably eat too much. In fact, I know I eat too much. Those 50 pounds I lost last year? Yeah…well, I’ve found ’em. They dispersed themselves across my body. How can I not regret every single bite of food I take when I can feel it settling in my hips, my stomach, my thighs. How am I supposed to enjoy food, want to eat food, when all it ever does is fill me with regret, shame, and hatred. How am I supposed to enjoy food when all it’s ever done is ruin my life? Show up on the scale. Show up in the mirror. Show up in pictures. Make me feel like I’m undeserving of love, kindness, even basic human decency.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m actively trying to not eat a lot, actively trying to force myself to workout, and all I’m doing is gaining and gaining and gaining and I just don’t see the point anymore. I hate how I look, I hate how I feel, and I  don’t know what to do about it.

I Can’t Eat That: A Fat Girl’s Quest to Not be Fat Anymore

Note: This is old writing from about a year ago. It details the first 7 months of my weight loss journey. I will be posting an ‘update’ of sorts next.


6 (almost 7) months ago a morbid curiosity overcame me and compelled me to step on the scale at home, “just to see”. What I saw made my stomach turn to lead and my head spin. I knew I was fat, obviously you can’t miss something like that, but I didn’t know I was THAT fat. In all honesty, it made me want to die. Not in a “I want to kill myself” kind of way, but in a “Dear God, just strike me dead on the spot” kind of way. I have always been big, overweight. I don’t remember a time in which I wasn’t. But I also don’t remember when I went from being overweight to being obese. Just the word makes me cringe. It feels shameful. Disgusting. But, I guess I’m lucky that seeing such a large number on the scale motivated me to do something about it.

Continue reading “I Can’t Eat That: A Fat Girl’s Quest to Not be Fat Anymore”

Another Shit Day in Teatox City: The Dangers of Detox Tea

While it has been around for ages, there has been a recent surge of Instagram obsession with detox teas or “teatox”. With multiple celebrities (Vanessa Hudgens, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears…even Nicki Minaj is in on it) posting cutesy pictures holding up their mugs of tea and preaching about how it “flattens your tummy” and “makes weight disappear” all without having to put forth any effort, hundreds of thousands of young women have decided to give it a go. There are several problems with this, so let’s just start with the actual tea itself.

Detox teas boast that they are made from 100% natural ingredients. And it’s possible that they are. Doesn’t mean that side effects are nonexistent. I’ve found that all detox teas contain senna. Senna is an FDA-approved nonprescription laxative. Okay, so it’s FDA-approved. That’s all fine and dandy. However, there are very real dangers when it comes to using laxatives. First of all, you can develop a dependence. You can suffer from electrolyte and mineral imbalances, severe dehydration, and chronic constipation. There’s also a risk of internal organ damage and an increased risk of colon cancer. Another common ingredient in detox teas is guarana. This is a plant that is often added to energy drinks. Some side effects of guarana are: insomnia, nervousness and restlessness, stomach irritation, nausea, vomiting, increased heart rate and blood pressure, rapid breathing, tremors, delirium, and diuresis (increased or excessive production of urine). The caffeine content of guarana can also worsen diarrhea. Combine that with a known laxative and you’re in for a shit day…literally.

If you’re still not put off by the whole thing, read on.

Detox teas combine diuretics with caffeine (a known diuretic). This triggers the loss of water weight. I’ve read that two cups of water equals one pound on the scale – so while you might appear slimmer and feel lighter, you’re not losing anything of actual substance. Any fat that was there before you started pounding your detox tea is, you guessed it, still there. While the caffeine in the tea aids in the loss of water weight, can possibly suppress appetite, and give you a boost of energy, it can also lead to not getting enough shuteye. Insufficient sleep has been shown to trigger excessive eating, weight gain, and can even slow your metabolism.

Now, as detox teas are solely marketed towards (young) women, it’s important to know that it can mess with your menstrual cycle and birth control. While the scientific reasoning behind this period disruption remains unclear, there are several online forums and teatox reviews documenting the same experience. As far as messing with birth control, forgive me for being crass here, but basically if you take the pill in the morning, you’re gonna be shitting it out due to the laxatives. BooTea, a popular teatox brand fell under attack last year after a string of women reported unwanted pregnancies. While, in their online FAQ, it does state that it may affect the accuracy of your birth control, the warning is missing on the actual label/packaging. Irresponsible? Immoral? You betcha.

The whole “do nothing and lose weight” mentality is nothing but a perpetuation of sketch diet pill commercials. DoHydroxycut and Lipozene ring any bells? You wouldn’t take those pills, so why is detox tea any different? Is losing a couple of pounds of water worth all of the potential side effects? Especially since once you stop drinking the tea, you’re going to gain everything right back.

Listen. The bottom line is that nothing, not even seemingly innocent tea, is going to make you miraculously lose weight if you don’t have a healthy diet and regular exercise. If you want to detox your digestive tract, then make sure your diet contains plenty of plant-based fibers. Maintain a healthy balanced diet of at least 1,200 calories, drink plenty of water, and MOVE. It will naturally and safely ‘detox’ your system, while helping you lose actual weight, and keep it off. Put the tea down, and pick yourself up.

 

Challenge Update #2

I’m slacking on the updates, my bad. So the past two weeks (I think), I have been eating as organic and healthy as possible. However, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that ‘organic’ doesn’t necessarily mean ‘healthy’. Pay attention to your labels, people! The first week of totally organic and daily exercise I lost 5.5 pounds! I was buzzin’. I’m struggling to remember last week to be honest with you, but I do know that I exercised and ate well. I haven’t gotten on the scales yet, but I can tell you that I’m starting to feel…okay about myself. I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be happy with my appearance, but even a small step in the right direction is enough for me. You know what. I’m gonna go hop on the scales right now. Sit tight….

No change. Damn.

That’s okay though, all good things take time, right?

I’ll try to be better with the updates in the future. Don’t hold your breath though.