Friday, August 15, 2014

NCPP is One Week Away

I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I told Amy Bond I was totally down with helping her put on a big pole showcase last year.  We are literally one year from around the date when Amy came to me and we went to the Pole Sport Organization people to ask for help.  We met with them at Pole Expo in Vegas last September to discuss our ideas.

No idea.


Thanks to our butt model, Seanmichael! 
Photo credit:
I also had no idea how many life changes would be happening.  My job change.  Rob moving.  Not that there's ever going to be a good or better time for big life events, but this past year has been quite a crazy time for an event like this to happen.  This new job is...non-stop.  That's the only way I can describe it.  I love it here, and I especially adore the people, but we work like dogs.  So there's very little down time for me to fit in short phone calls or e-mails.  To research things.  To set up appointments.  I am working.  All.  Day.  Long.  You all look at me funny and say, "Of course you should be working all day.  You're at work.  They are paying you to be there."  But it's hard to explain.  At most places there are slow days where you can play catch-up or work on small projects.  Those days are rare here.  They tried to warn me when I took the job, and they were right.  This is definitely the busiest desk I have EVER supported.  But this is also one of my favorite places I have ever worked.  There is balance in the universe. So the last couple of months have been stressful.  I work at my day job.  On lunches and after work, I do NCPP stuff (who knew all the stuff required to make a show of this calibre happen?!).  I try to keep up my workouts.  I'm still teaching and taking classes at Twirly Girls.  At the end of the day, I'm exhausted.  Don't get me wrong.  I wouldn't trade it for the world, but I definitely have some plans for how I will handle this next year, and it will start with some time off the day job right around the time music is due!

Anyway, I want to thank everyone who are already helping make NCPP a success.  Ellen has been amazing to work with.  And I am so excited that we are only a week away from the largest event I have ever been involved with producing.  I have planned another blog for after the show, but wanted to post this one to tell everyone "thanks for putting up with me."  I know I've been either completely absent from some people and completely psycho on others. 

If you are thinking about coming to the show, please buy tickets in advance.  It will make the check-in process SO much easier if we aren't having to ask our volunteers to collect money from people. 

To all of the dancers still working rabidly on their are amazing.  Just the fact that you are all ready to leave your heart on the stage is making me all teary.  And you know I don't cry easily!

I am ready to get this party started!!  See you in a week!!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Don't call it a comeback, I've been here for years!

I often say events are life-changing.  What I probably meant was, "that was SO much fun!!!"  So while I may have had a lot of awesome events throughout my life, not every fun event is life-changing.  However, one event truly was life-changing for me.  It was however I met Ellen Lovelace.  I know we met because of pole dancing, and through her former studio, but I can't even really name the exact time and place.  Nor would I have had any idea the path on which we were suddenly placed on.  Ellen is my partner with NCPP and has been coaching me about my nutrition for a little over three months.  I really do feel like she is saving my life. 

The last few years were really dark ones for me.  And I finally feel like I see the light.  Not just with my weight.  With exercise.  With food.  With my job.  With my relationship.  With life in general.  I think if Ellen hadn't helped me see what sugar was doing to my insides, I would have eaten myself to death in a very short few years.  Now that I am eating healthier, I feel better.  I don't feel as much depression and anxiety dragging me down.  I haven't had to take allergy medication for three months!  I may have only lost about 18 pounds but I feel like I've lost 50.  And again, I haven't changed the number of calories I eat, I have only changed the quality of the foods I choose. 

thank you butt model, Seanmichael
Photo credit:
If Ellen, like so many before her, had come to me and said, look, "you're going to give up sugar and bread and pretty much everything you like to eat, then you'll feel great," I would have told her to pound sand!  But she told me that I could start small.  I gave up the jelly beans in my desk at work.  Then suddenly, Vitamin Waters didn't taste good to me.  (I told people I would NEVER give up my Vitamin Waters!)  Then donut day at work wasn't as delicious.  These were all conclusions I came to on my own as I realized how eating crappy foods made me feel.  With the exception of a couple of times when I was really acting silly, she has never said, DON'T EAT THAT!  Don't get me wrong, I still pick up some sugar products on occasion.  But I am eating waaaaaay smaller portions waaaaaaaay less often.  And I feel great!

I am also excited about pole again and feel like I'm on the right track to do some of those moves I've been promising myself I will learn to do someday.  I am now only 15 pounds heavier than when I started poling four and a half years ago -- and I gurantee I have a lot more muscle this time.  Every year I claimed I would invert before the next Lovely Rita Fundraiser.  This time around, I may actually hit that goal.  Finally...only in time for the sixth event. 

So thank you again to Ellen for opening my eyes, and knowing the right way to do it.  My body and my liver especially thank you as well! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Seanmichael - PSO Men's National Champion

Our very own Seanmichael won the men's division of the Pole Sport Organization's U.S. National Pole Championships in New York a little over a week ago.  There really are no words for how proud I am to know this man.  He is very sweet and it has been so fun to watch him blossom as a pole dancer.  I want to congratulate Seanmichael on his win.  It was well-deserved!  And a shout out to his coach, Ellen!!  They make a great team!

Here is his official video:

Seanmichael had a theme for this routine...tell me in the comments what you think it is!! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Physical Limitations - Scars

One thing I have SWORN up and down since having my tummy tuck (and multiple other skin removal surgeries) is that it is so much harder to do certain exercises, like squats or pulling my knees to my chest.  I can't describe it.  It's just a feeling.  Like I can't do it no matter how hard I try.  I've always just figured I've gained weight so my muscles are weaker. 

But then I was talking to someone recently about how I felt.  And I described my scars and he said there is a very real possibility that between the way you are cut for a tummy tuck, the way the muscles are realigned and the way scar tissue forms, I may actually have an uphill battle while performing certain exercises!  Score!  I'm not crazy!

I did a little research about scar tissue and muscle repair.  I won't regurgitate it here but I did learn that I should NOT have hard spots and I definitely have those at the bottom of the upside down T of my tummy tuck.  I liked to attribute them to my rock hard abs, but apparently that is not actually the case.  I may ask my doctor if this is something he can work on after he's done torturing my hip with myofascial release. 

Anyway, that was just some interesting news to me.  Have you ever felt limited by scar tissue?

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!