Monday, July 28, 2014

Am I only losing weight because I have money again?

Last week, I was quick to (kind of) declare myself potentially free from having an eating disorder (you can read that post HERE).  In doing so, I really just confirmed I'm still battling an eating disorder (no, I swear I'm not an alcoholic, I just had this *one* drink!).  I listened to another podcast from the Second Annual Eating Psychology Conference and it pretty much mirrored my life, so yeah...  I don't regret lessening the amount of sugar I eat, and I do still believe that eating less sugar has curbed a lot of cravings, but the demon is still lurking under the surface.

gimme all your candy!!!
A couple of years ago, I wrote about how filing for bankruptcy had made me fat (you can read that post HERE).  While listening to that second podcast last week, and then while chatting online with some of the members of my weight loss surgery support group, it really did hit me:  It is very possible the reason I have so easily transitioned into following Ellen's food suggestions is because my money situation recently became a little bit less stressful.  I didn't win the lottery or anything but I am no longer sweating over whether I can pay all the bills anymore.  And I have pretty much been sweating it for the last three years straight.  It is much easier to control my food choices when I can lean on my other addiction, shopping.  I haven't been going nuts or anything but I certainly have picked up some new clothes, shoes and books that I have had on my list awhile.  That also isn't to say that Ellen isn't giving me amazing advice, but it does explain why I have jumped right into this without feeling on the verge of being triggered at all. 
I have certainly written about this kind of thing before, so I shouldn't be shocked.  But I will admit I'm a little bummed.  Here, I thought I was almost cured. 







I knew it couldn't be that easy, but now I just get to hope that my realization isn't the catalyst into a low-grade binge.  I don't know why this anxiety seems to follow me everywhere.  I've told it that it is unwelcome but it likes to just hang around.  

How do you deal with set-backs?  I don't feel like I have actually had one but it is probably coming.  I can usually see it coming down the pike but can't always figure out how to stop it from happening.  For now, I can only stay the course, continue to eat the healthy things I have in my fridge and make sure I don't pick up fast food or candy from the store. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Sugar or Eating Disorder?

Let's play a game.  It's called "sugar or eating disorder."  I have been a compulsive overeater for pretty much my entire life.  I am more of a grazer than a binge eater.  No disappearing into the closet to consume an entire pizza and half a cake for me, thankyouverymuch.  It doesn't mean that I didn't/don't have disordered eating though.  For a long time, I just didn't realize that not being a binger didn't mean I didn't have food issues (that's a lot of "didn'ts" -- sorry!).  It does mean I would have the compulsion to put food in my mouth pretty much every other minute of every single day.  When I wasn't eating, I was deciding what I would eat next.  It literally took all of my energy figuring out all my food stuff.  [You can read more on my sugar adventure HERE.]

Silly monkey, eat the right food!
So fast forward to now.  I'm almost three months in to following Ellen's eating advice.  She never took anything away from me.  She just made some suggestions and let me follow my own path.  Sugar makes you tired?  Hey, maybe you shouldn't eat that!  Suddenly, less sugar was making me more tired.  Maybe cut down some more!  Then suddenly, now if I eat too much sugar, I get a blinding headache.  All in the span of about two months.  But I never felt like Ellen told me I couldn't eat sugar.  I just started making the choice not to eat something that made me feel like shit.  In fact, at Ellen's birthday over the weekend, I ate about one-quarter of a cupcake and it was too much for me (at least I only got sweaty and tired, I didn't get the headache, but I stopped because I knew my limit).  This coming from a girl who could at least eat one entire cupcake only three months ago.  It didn't take my body long to celebrate the loss of a "food source" it didn't need and start reminding me not to eat it whenever I did.  I've lost about 15 pounds, and that's all from changing the foods I eat, not reducing the calories I eat. 

Yesterday I was listening to a podcast from the 2nd Annual Eating Psychology Online Conference.  He was interviewing a woman about eating disorders.  Granted, they were mostly talking about binge eating disorder, but other disorders were mentioned, and I realized something I hadn't noticed before -- I don't feel that way at all anymore.  No constant compulsion to eat anything and everything at all hours of the day.  I'm not rabidly searching my shelves for sugary snacks at work.  I don't think about what I'm going to eat next as I am eating my current meal/snack.  I actually now have defined meals and snacks instead of leaving food on my desk and literally munching all day long.  I certainly still have A LOT to learn about what to eat and when to eat (just because I work so much and have too many side activities), but I am now eating because my stomach is hungry, not because my head told me I needed to eat.  I am also still making the majority of my meals at home, I have cut out fast food almost completely, and when I do eat out, I am making better choices for myself.  Also -- and this is huge -- when stress hits me, jellybeans are no longer my first thought.

I pondered whether I ever had an eating disorder at all, or if the sugar was just always controlling me. 

I guess that in itself is probably an eating disorder, or at least disordered eating -- whatever you feel comfortable calling it.  And I certainly felt like I transferred addictions after gastric bypass [HERE is another post you can read on the subject].  When I couldn't eat, I shopped.  When I couldn't shop anymore, I started eating again and gained weight.  I took anti-depressants and gained more weight.  I tried diet products and gained even more weight.  But all of that could still have been fueled by too much sugar and processed food in my diet (including the "necessity" of the anti-depressants, which are terrible for my body).  I guess I'll never truly know.  I have so many health issues related to gastric bypass and my food choices.  I can honestly say I probably would not have lived into my 80's or 90's like my grandmothers before me if Ellen had not intervened.  I realize none of us know when our time will come but now I at least feel like I have a fighting chance.  I will be forever grateful to Ellen for sending me down the right path in the food department. 

So saying I never had an eating disorder or have now been cured of one might be dangerous but I certainly do feel better about my life in general since cutting down on sugar.  If you have had similar experiences with sugar, please share them with me.  I love hearing from all of you!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes

The last few years, my eyelashes have gotten super sparse.  I don't know if it's age or years of abusing them by gluing false lashes to my eyeballs and then ripping my own lashes out as I remove them.  I have also been unhappy with mascara.  I used to love some basic drug store brands like Almay but I feel like they changed their formula ten-plus years ago and I haven't really been into it since.  I've used some expensive mascaras and some cheap ones, but none have blown my mind.

I was at Twirly Girls a couple of months ago and I saw a couple of girls putting on some magic mascara.  I thought it was pretty cool but I didn't buy it.  I kept putting on my crappy mascara and kept getting sadder and sadder about the state of my eyelashes.  I have heard people talk about some stuff you put on your lashes to make them grow.  Side effect?  Potential blindness.  No thanks.  I'll stick to my crappy mascara.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, I finally messaged Cindy and said I wanted to try her magic mascara.  It is called Moodstruck 3D Fiber Lashes.  I tried it last week for the first time and I LOVE it!  It takes me less time to apply the fibers (which are just on a mascara brush, so it isn't difficult) than it would false lashes (and only like a minute more than just putting on my own mascara).  Granted, if I wanted a truly crazy, heavy eyelash look, I would still probably use falsh lashes, but for a day-to-day look, or even for going out at night, Moodstruck is perfect for me. 

Since pictures spreak louder than words, you can check out my first couple of attempts using Moodstruck.

regular mascara

right side, no make-up - left side, Moodstruck

Fully finished make-up, although I could have done up the left side more

Fully finished eyes

The process
Cindy was kind enough to set up an online party for me.  The link below is valid for 10 days from today.  Full disclosure:  If you know me, you know I absolutely hate home parties where people beg their friends to buy things.  But I figured if I am going to share my experience with people, and people are interested in buying anyway, maybe I can get some product out of it.  ;-)

If you end up trying it, let me know by sharing some photos with me! 

Friday, July 18, 2014

My Sasja Lee Weekend

I wrote about Sasja Lee, aka Sassy, over two years ago.  We bonded over In-N-Out on Facebook and we have been FB buddies ever since.  Last weekend, Sasja came to San Francisco to dance at Volare Variety and teach some workshops, so we got to hang out a little bit. 

Cast of Volare
Sasja has been tearing up the competition circuit this past year.  I watched her win California Pole Dance Championship last year and she has been pretty much winning every competition since.  I really don't know what she can't do.  I understand she won CPDC just days after being in a horrible car accident!  Beast mode.  Seriously. 

Anyway, after Volare, Sasja and SeanMichael rode back on BART with Rita and me, where they gave BART riders a thrilling public trans shoulder mount experience.  It was so funny!  I got photos but I guess video would have been better -- maybe next time!  It turned out that Sasja was eager to ride BART after reading on Facebook about some of my "awesome" experiences. 

shoulder mount on BART
The next morning, Sasja did two workshops at Twirly Girls.  I pretty much judge my workshop experience based on how an instructor treats me after the class has advanced beyond my skills (which will happen in most workshops and I am okay with it).  We were learning a little routine.  After she taught each piece, Sasja would come around and watch each of us do the move.  We finally got to a point where you would invert, pike, then go into superman.  I giggled.  Time for me to check out!  So she gets to my pole and she says, your turn!  I said, yeah right.  She goes, no seriously, try it!  So I went to get my woody band seat belt and I got myself upside down.  She says, now let go and grab above your leg.  I said, you're crazy.  She said she's heard that before.  HA!  Look, once I'm upside down, I need all my arms and legs to hold on for dear life.  I'm not ready to let go yet.  I really, really appreciated her continuing to include me in the class, and I feel like I learned so much even once the routine was more advanced than I could do.  I really do appreciate those instructors who continue to include me even though I can't do all the moves.  It is a small effort and makes a dancer who struggles with moves like I do feel like I am still part of class.  I still got some pretty awesome bruises that I've been proudly showing off to anyone who will look. 

That being said, for the last 20 minutes, I did just go to the back room and start stretching.  Perhaps a brutal yoga class right before a 90 minute Sasja Lee workshop wasn't my best choice that day! 

I really wish I had been able to spend more time with Sasja during her trip.  I swear, I'm going to win the lottery someday and just start hanging out with these cool people who have such interesting lives!

Have you ever taken a workshop with Sasja?  Tell me about it in the comments section!

Covering up Sasja's amazing arms
Getting ready for the BART shoulder mount
Our class
My tiny sister
That's me!!!  This bruise is the most fantastic!

New Hair, New Me

I started dying my hair when I was probably 14 years old.  My mom is a hair stylist so I was a guinea pig for new coloring methods.  So playing with hair color or styles is not new to me.  But three years ago, I went dark with my hair.  Super dark.  I dyed my hair black once when I was a teenager, but for the most part, I have maintained some level of blonde highlights during my 20+ year hair-dying career. 

Don't get me wrong.  I LOVED the red.  I still love it.  I miss it.  But I LOOOOOVE the blonde too.  I feel like I dyed my hair red right as I entered a very dark period in my life.  After almost three years, I'm ready to come back into the light, so I'm blonde again!  I have been going through the process to lighten my red hair for a few months.  It has been a long process so that I didn't fry my hair right off my head.  But this last appointment, we finally got it!  And then we decided to cut it off!  I love it!  So many people have remarked on it and the feedback has been positive so far.  Bel and Jimmy both mentioned how it looks the way it did when I met them both. 

The last year has brought about a lot of changes for me.  A new job that makes me much happier than my old job.  No commute!  Rob has moved so he can finish getting his post-doctorate hours.  NCPP is becoming a reality (we're a month away!!).  And so I feel like a major hair change was necessary.  I feel better.  Like I recognize myself again.  It's so weird. 

So I enjoyed hanging out with that fun, redheaded stranger but I'm also happy to get back to feeling like myself.  Have you ever made major hair changes?  How does it make you feel?  I feel FABULOUS!! 

March 2010

July 2014

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 2014 Blog Hop: Mid-Year Review

It is time for the blog hop again and we are doing a check-in!  How is 2014 going for you?

My year has been fantastic!

I got a new job, have started gaining strength, and Rob is also working.  I am out of my dark place.

When I wrote about my intentions in January, I set four goals:

Flexibility:  I am hitting up yoga 3-4 days a week.  I still feel very inflexible but I can still tell the difference now that I am doing yoga so often.  I love how I feel!!  I feel strong. 

Deal with foot issues:  My feet hurt on occasion, but for the most part, I think my surgery foot is all healed up!  If I walk A TON, it will definitely be sore, but it no longer hurts.  It is such a relief.

Do more, do less.  Weeeeellllllll....I might need to work on this a bit.  I am doing too much and I'm exhausted.  But I feel like it is all stuff I need to do.  I have to work.  I have to work out.  I have to do NCPP stuff.  I have to foster friendships by spending time with people.  Sooooo....what do you cut out?

Be healthy.  I am on a journey and I am doing really well.  Ellen is literally saving my life.  You can read my latest post on that HERE.

 Anyway, there's my quick check-in.  Now you can check out a photo journal of the past six months.  I like to say that I'll sleep when I'm dead.  If I had more money, my adventures might be more grand.  But for what I have, I feel like my life is pretty fun. 

January: Volare Variety
February: Cowboy Wild's show at 1220

February: Yoga in Lake Tahoe
March: Volare Variety

March: Twirly Girls

March: Hey look, I'm doing yogini!  hahaha!
April: Twirly Girls

April: Stiletto Night at Twirly Girls

April: Fun night at Diablo Gym

April: Lovely Rita Fundraiser

April: Twirly Girls
May: Playing Candy from Chunky Girl Comics

May: Dressed up as Snow White

May: Twirly Girls
June: Twirly Girls

June: From Liquidpulp photoshoot

June: Horseback riding on the beach

June: AIDS Walk Fundraiser...Bitches be like...

June: Twirly Girls
July: Fly Gym at Twirly Girls

July: New hair!

June: Twirly Girls
I am looking forward to the next half of the year!  Tell me how you're doing with your goals!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Confessions of a Sugar Addict

I had a super active and awesome weekend.  On Friday, I got some alone time in the studio, which allowed me to get some photos and videos with my new hair.  Saturday, I did some yoga, had a great meeting with Ellen about NCPP, then went to Volare Variety for a fun burlesque/pole show.  Sunday, I did more yoga then had a workshop with the beautiful Sasja Lee. 

Then came Monday.  I had picked up a "fruit parfait" from Whole Foods.  It's from Whole Foods, so it's healthy, right?!  Oh man.  It was so delicious.  Dip in and it's clearly custard, not yogurt (basically, it was whipped cream, custard, cake squares and a tiiiiiiiiiiiiiny bit of strawberry).  I ate half of it before I even knew it.  I sat for a second.  I didn't feel too bad.  And then it started. 

First I started sweating.  Hey, that has happened to me a lot since gastric bypass.  I know how to deal with that.  Desk fan on.  I got crazy tired.  Then my heart started racing.  I got a huge headache and I got kind of dizzy.  I sat in a conference room for about 15 minutes, hoping it would go away.  It didn't.  I tried drinking water to push it through faster.  It just filled me up and made me feel worse.  I spent about 90 minutes at work, feeling like I was dying.  I felt like I was having a migraine and heart attack all wrapped up in one.  Today, I feel hung over.  I'm up two pounds, have a headache, and just don't feel good in general.  All from sugar. Fun, huh! 

I have been doing so well over the last couple of months.  I have not gone sugar-free, but I have gone WAY-less-sugar.  I do eat fruit but have cut out all the jellybeans.  Vitamin Waters are only making an appearance about once every other week (used to be one to two daily).  I am only picking up a couple of pieces from the co-worker's candy jar instead of ten.  And not every day.  I am skipping donut day more often than not.  I turned down a salted caramel brownie at Twirly Girls last night!!!  And if I needed any more reason to cut sugar, yesterday was it. 

I've written about sugar a lot more lately, if you want to read about my lower-sugary adventures:

My liver feels more cirrhosis'ed today for sure.  Anyway, I know sugar is bad for me and I'm mostly over the crackhead feeling of needing to eat it, so why do I do stuff like I did yesterday?  Guess it's just never that simple.