Monday, December 30, 2013

DXA Body Scan

Trigger warning...I'm talking about weight-related issues.   


So, as I have been on the hunt to find the right balance between my weight and health, I decided to have a DXA body composition scan.  I recognize that this may be troubling to many in the HAES world, but there's nothing wrong with me deciding that I need to eat healthier food or exercise more, and wanting some way to actually track my progress.  The DXA scan is supposed to be a more accurate body fat measurement tool than calipers or water displacement.  I recognize that BMI doesn't tell an accurate story.  Weight alone clearly doesn't tell an accurate story.  Neither do my waist measurements.  So I decided to x-ray myself (don't worry, it doesn't give off any more x-rays than your cell phone).  Not just to find out the fat content of my body, but to see how strong my bones are, and to see if I'm carrying around the new enemy, visceral fat.  I also wanted to see if they could give me a more accurate basal metabolic rate so that I could figure out how many calories my body actually needs to eat every day.

Last Saturday, I went to the Bone Density and Body Composition Center in Redwood City and paid $85 for my scan and read-out.  It was a pleasant experience.  I just had to lay on a table while I was essentially photocopied for 7-8 minutes.  I so rarely sit still, it was actually kind of nice and I could have taken a nap.

My results were pretty much what I expected.  My body fat is 49% (I figured it would be around there).  The "healthy" goal for women my age is around 30-33%.  The news I was more eager to hear:  my bones are pretty strong.  They weigh 6.4 pounds.  So much for saying I'm "big boned."  Bones don't weigh as much as I had hoped.  I was explaining my bone spur issue and she said that bone spurs aren't always indicative of osteoporosis.  But it is good to keep an eye on things.  

I apparently have been misunderstanding the difference between the Basal Metabolic Rate and Resting Metabolic Rate.  When I asked the tech to give me my BMR, she corrected me to say RMR.  


"These two terms are used interchangeably, although they are not technically the same. Resting metabolic rate is really what most lay people mean when they say basal metabolic rate, and I talk here only about resting metabolic rate (RMR). Basal metabolic rate is a precise calculation with a precise definition; RMR is close enough for practical purposes.

Resting metabolic rate is the energy required by an animal to stay alive with no activity. Therefore, your real metabolic rate is always significantly higher than your RMR. Calculating RMR is a very useful first step in calculating your real metabolic rate.  Your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) is one of the main contributing components of energy expenditure (around 70%)."

Also from

"Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the amount of energy expended while at rest in a neutrally temperate environment, in the post-absorptive state (meaning that the digestive system is inactive, which requires about twelve hours of fasting). 

The release of energy in this state is sufficient only for the functioning of the vital organs, such as the heart, lungs, brain and the rest of the nervous system, liver, kidneys, sex organs, muscles and skin. BMR decreases with age and with the loss of lean body mass. Increasing muscle mass increases BMR."

So my RESTING Metabolic Rate, based on the measurements taken during this scan is 1,938 calories.  It's really not that far off from my calculations found in THIS blog post.  I think I was using something around 1,985 to estimate my daily caloric intake.  Now, to find out how many calories you should actually eat every day, I chose to use the "light" multiplier (exercise 1-3 times per week, even though I exercise more than that).  That gives me a daily calorie goal of 2,667.  I have been shooting to eat around 2,230 calories each day.  I am also not guilting myself if I go over, although most days, I am right on track.  This has lead to a loss of approximately five pounds in the last couple of months.  Like I've complained many times before, I don't lose weight quickly, and I am learning to be okay with that.  

Side note:  I did have a Facebook friend e-mail me after the blog post mentioned above to express concern.  Here is a paragraph from her e-mail:  "I read your post again, and everything screams «restricting». I feel sad for you because I understand all too well, and me too I am fucking fed up and I do think that this weight doesn’t work for me because my feet are always in pain. Yes, I miss being able to wear a size 11. But  you know what? Size 11, I wore when I was in Europe and I was eating full fat everything, occasional glass of wine, everything in moderation. BUT. I was training 4-5 times a week full intensity on machines and walking 3 hours a week, and I was 20 years old, not nearly 30. I had time to do that because I was on vacation and did not work, my guy was paying everything for me (this is a whole other story and I still hurt from the heartbreak I had to endure, 4 years and a half +a wonderful new guy later.) I had ideal conditions."

I do agree that I am restricting my calories.  However, I don't feel like I am doing it in an unhealthy way.  I don't believe that I should just be able to eat whatever I want whenever I want it, because my body would tell me to eat cookies all day.  So, yes, I am restricting, because if I just let my compulsive self eat every time I felt the urge, I would easily gain 100 pounds.  Even Health At Every Size can't agree that I should just pick up whatever I feel like shoving in my mouth any time I feel the smallest twinge of anxiety.  That's not healthy either.

Now, on to the evil belly fat.  That visceral fat that covers your organs and is reportedly more dangerous than subcutaneous fat.  Ummmm....I have some.  Whatever that means, I don't know.  Check out the diagram of my visceral fat to the left.  It's funny to me to see how my subcutaneous fat sits.  Since I had my lower body lift/tummy tuck, if I gain weight, it all has to go to my back because the scar is so tight.  This proves I have tons of back fat!  Stupid back fat. 

So I guess the purpose of one of these scans is to give you a jumping off point.  I will be checking again in six months after sticking to a healthy eating and exercise plan.  I am nervous and frustrated because I am possibly facing a bone spur in my other foot now, which might wreck my plans to workout more.  I have a doctor's appointment in two weeks to find out.  In the meantime, all I can do is continue what I'm doing.  Yoga, pole and cycling.  Those are what work for me and that's what I will continue to do.  I realize that talking about weight loss is uncomfortable for some, but this is my journey and these are the these choices I make for myself.  

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Why I say Merry Christmas

Today is Christmas Eve.  I am sitting here at my desk at work.  I'm grumpy.  Sad that I'm not out playing with my family or preparing for Christmas or sitting around doing nothing.  Around the holidays, I'm always pondering why some find it SO inappropriate for others to tell them Merry Christmas.  Even if you aren't Christian, don't believe in God, Santa, or you hate Christmas, Christmas still exists.  Even the government, who feigns a separation of church and state, gives Christmas off as a holiday.  In fact, the courts are closed today so I have no idea why I am sitting in this law firm right now.  

Anyway, "Merry Christmas" to me doesn't have to mean: Happy Birthday to Jesus.  I think it has been well-established that this isn't Jesus' real birthday anyway (whoever he is to you...God's son or just some dude who lived a long time ago).  To me, Merry Christmas is a happy acknowledgment from one human being to another.  So many of us (myself included) have our noses buried deep into our phones, so we don't even see anyone we pass on the street.  I can't even sit and watch a TV show without playing a game of Angry Birds.  So, if around the holidays, I make an effort to look up and say hello, please understand that "Merry Christmas" isn't pushing some shitty Hallmark holiday or crazy religious beliefs on you.  It's just another way for me to say, "I hope you're well."

And I do hope you are all well.  Here's a happy inappropriate Merry Christmas photo to go along with my inappropriate Merry Christmas post.  Thanks to Shirley in New Zealand for brightening my day with this pole-related photo! 

Hello, boys!

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Kickstarter Revolution

I remember first seeing Kickstarter campaigns.  People trying to get projects off the ground would offer perks for friends and fans to help fund them.  If they met the goal they had set for themselves, Kickstarter took a portion of the money and then wrote them a check.  If they didn't meet their goal, they didn't get the money.  They were generally artistic types who did cute videos to help talk you into sharing your money to help fund their movie/video game/whatever.  And they generally offered gifts in return.  Maybe you get a cool t-shirt.  Maybe a photoshoot.  Maybe a speaking role in their movie if you paid enough.  I have definitely watched some creative videos requesting money and have contributed to a few worthy causes.

Then I started seeing other websites.  GoFundMe.  CrowdFunding.  Indiegogo.  And the list goes on...  A lot of them no longer required you to have a goal in mind.  You would list the amount of money you wanted, but they would write you a check no matter how much you raised. 

I also started noticing that people were no longer asking you to fund their artistic projects.  There were families with sick children in need of help covering medical expenses.  There were sick animals requiring surgery.  People needed help moving into new houses.  Photographers in need of new cameras.  And there were vacations.

Yes, I said vacations.  (A girl on Facebook "needed" a vacation to Las Vegas recently because, well...she deserved it.)  We all deserve it, right?  We work hard, living paycheck-to-paycheck, so we ALL deserve a little something extra, don't we?  But life doesn't always work out that way. 

Something has happened with this revolution of asking for money.  Some people really started asking for money for every single extra thing they needed.  It's a little scary if you ask me.  Gone are the days where you saved for something or asked family to borrow money or threw it on your own credit card if you needed it badly enough.  Now you just take yourself to GoFundMe, write up your story and ask everyone else to pay for it.  I'm not knocking anyone who has used one of these sites, but I am just curious when this type of creative financing went viral. 

Look, I'm not saying that we shouldn't help people in need but there are charities for that.  And you will never know if said stranger actually has a sick child or if that money helped said sick child anyway.  I just noticed the huge rise in requests for money on my Facebook feed lately and wondered where this phenomenon came from.  When did we stop being shy about asking strangers for money?  

What do you think about funding websites?  Which projects and causes do you like to support most?  Post a link to your favorite in the comments below!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Setting New Year's Resolutions...

Just joking, I don't believe in setting New Year's Resolutions.  I do believe in setting real-life goals that you may or may not hit, regardless of the time of year.  But I don't believe that if I wish upon a star on December 31, that my goals will suddenly be met on January 1.  I also hate all the people who decide to start working out and make my gym trips miserable and crowded for the first month or two of the year. 

If you missed out on my pole recap of 2013, check it out HERE

I definitely feel like 2014 is going to be a year of change for me.  Rob is applying for post-doctorate positions out of our area.  Although I am not currently planning to follow him, I am certainly more open to the idea of a change of scenery lately. Either way, my living situation will probably be changing sooner rather than later. 

Merry Christmas from Boys, Girls and Twirls!
I have been struggling with teaching my class at Twirly Girls since my foot surgery.  I haven't recovered nearly as quickly as I had hoped (mostly due to the fact that I returned to activity way sooner than I should have).  I feel like I flounder in teaching lately.  I am lacking the strength/ability to do some simple moves and am no longer fluid in my dance.  I have contemplated taking a break until I am back up to par, but I also know that if you stop doing something for a little bit, you often never return to it.  And I don't want that to happen.  In January, I will be making a larger effort to take a class so that I can start to smooth out my moves and gain some more strength. 

I am working with Amy Bond on bringing a pole showcase/competition of sorts to Northern California (Northern California Pole Presentational).  There is so much going on in the pole industry in Southern California, and we hope to bring some of that excitement up here.  We do already have Poletential's Air Show in May and December each year but we wanted to offer an opportunity to those from other studios to showcase routines in a single event.  I also don't want to get hopes up but am hoping to include a section for Roz the Diva and her amazing competition designed for plus-sized pole dancers, Dangerous Curves - West Coast edition!!!  I can't announce anything officially yet, but I do want to start the buzz and hope to firm up some details soon so that people can start signing up in January.  But please pencil in a trip to Nor Cal for late July or early August. 

I have also been very excited to see some deals being offered to the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association.  I am so impressed by the dedication of these ladies and am honored to be part of this group.  I can't wait to see what the upcoming year holds for us. 

I have recommitted to working out and eating (somewhat) healthy.  (As I like to tease Sean Michael, I am vegetarian before noon and generally vegan between midnight and 6 AM.)  See, even though returning to activity has slowed the healing of my foot, my body is in pain when I don't work out, so I have decided that I will have to sacrifice the speed of healing in order to keep my body from hurting so much.  I am also finding I have all of these odd weak spots that I need to correct.  My psoas is killing me and my mid-calf muscle is super tight.  Apparently sitting all day at a desk job is ruining my psoas and the fact that I hate backbending stuff in yoga isn't helping me counter-act that.  So this year is also a re-commitment to bending backwards more often. 

I am also going to commit to doing less.  I did this a few years ago and it really helped my sanity.  I get invited to a ton of great events and parties but if I say yes to everyone, I am running from thing to thing without truly enjoying whatever event I am at or the friends I am with.  So I need to do less.  Maybe one event a weekend instead of five events a day.  Unfortunately, it often means hurting feelings by turning down invitations, but I am very certain that my attendance is not what "makes" any party. 

Do you set New Year's Resolutions?  If so, feel free to share them here!  Or you can just share some changes or life goals that you think you might be reaching toward in the next year!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

December 2013 Blog Hop: Best of 2013...

I have been avoiding this blog hop, mostly because I didn't know if I had a bunch of things I loved about 2013.  Did I love my foot being injured and having surgery and losing strength and gaining weight and feeling crappy?  Not really.  But when I look back, I really didn't have a terrible year.  So, I thought I would go through my posts for the year and pick some of my favorites to re-share with those of you who may be new or may have missed them.   While I will discuss some posts at length, others I will just list so you can decide if you want to read them or not. 

Random stuff about me:

I posted in January about sweating and magnesium.  Sweating is still an issue for me.  I sweat from my head, which can be gross when flipping around wet hair, and I can't run my hands through my hair otherwise I will slip on the pole.  It's not super sexy.  My hands and body, however, are generally overly dry.  I have Dew Point for my legs and Mighty Grip for my hands.  Just to make life interesting, if I flip over in some way, into a handstand or inversion, my body suddenly gets nervous, and then my legs will sweat.  It's super awesome to be a pole dancer with these weird problems.  I have been taking magnesium this year and I feel like some days it helps and some days it doesn't.  I have contemplated taking medication to help with hyperhydrosis, but am worried that it would cause more issues in my body NOT to sweat (we sweat for a reason!).  If you have any tips on this issue, I would very, very much appreciate it.

My foot injury made its debut in February.  

The mini documentary about me and pole dancing!

I joined UPA's Sexy Back Week.  Kinda.

Twirly Girls on TV! No really, we were on TV!

Defining myself in the pole industry.

Blog Hops:

My very first pole post for 2013 was a PDBA Blog Hop!  It was listing pole goals.  Did I hit my goals?  Yes and no.  I was on track until my foot derailed me.  Not only could I not take a class each week, I couldn't even teach my own class for a couple of months this year.  It has been a very frustrating year in the physicality department and I am very much looking forward to setting (and attaining) the same pole goals in 2014 that I set for 2013:  Take a weekly class, work on flow and get stronger.  I have not yet made it back to taking a weekly class on top of teaching my weekly class, but that is on the list for January.  I also feel like taking workshops with Tracee Kafer helped reignite my desire to dance again.  And I have been a beast at yoga so I am already feeling muscles in my arms and legs again.  I got this.  I know it.   (I later updated old pole goals with photos but haven't progressed in any.)

The February Blog Hop discussed our love of pole.  

The March Blog Hop was about pole products.

The April Blog Hop was about PPC.

The May Blog Hop:  Questions for a Pole Dancer.

June Blog Hop:  Things I wish I had known when I started dancing...

The July Blog Hop is about a day in the life of a pole dancer. 

The August Blog Hop is all about social media.

Perfect timing for the September Blog Hop.  We talked about wellness.

October Blog Hop...I had to do two!  First up:  stripping the stripper out of pole.  Second up:  the sanitization of pole.

November Blog Hop:  Gratitude.

From a business perspective:  

Music in the Pole Studio.  

How much does it cost to run a pole studio?  

How much does it cost to put on a pole show?

Pole in General:

If you share a pole at your studio, how do you find your grease-mate?  

I posted about Derby Skinz shorts in January as well.  Still my favorites because they are fully customizable!  I think I have three different pair now and I love them all for different reasons. 

Do you train on both sides?

Twisted Grip?

Pioneer of Pole:  Anna Grundstrom.

As I watch all of us age and get injuries, I many years can you pole dance anyway? 

For those who have never pole danced.

Pole dance is for everyBODY.

The History of Pole Dance, Part Three.

Discussing the crazy complex moves people are doing in pole lately...

Poletry in Motion - visiting other studios, pole events and/or meeting pole friends:

Studio Botan in San Francisco.

Entangle & Sway in San Francisco.

Nadia Sharif rocks!

Pole Expo.

Meeting Angela of Ascending Slowly.

Aeriform Arts in Hollywood.

Poletential's 7th anniversary.

California Pole Dance Championship in Los Angeles.

Roz the Diva.  Nothing else needs to be said.

Kitty Kats' Korner in Vacaville, California.

Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland.


Volare Variety, a burlesque show in San Francisco.

Cowboy Wild's Un-Pole-Lievable Pole Show in Walnut Creek, California.

So, did I REALLY just list every pole post I made in 2013?  Shockingly, no.  But I did list most of them.  You know why?  Because every single thing I do in the pole world makes me happy.  These are a lot of the awesome things that happened to me in 2013, and this post serves as a reminder to myself that I am blessed.  

I feel very fortunate to surround myself with a lot of amazing people.  I am so happy to be part of the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association.  Valentina, Sheena and Nina (ummm, do all of your names rhyme and I JUST figured that out?!) are awesome at pushing me into being more aware of myself and my writing and I am so happy to have been invited to be on the Board.  I didn't list any of my posts here, but I am grateful to be a writer for Vertical Art and Fitness Magazine, and although I haven't been asked to do a post in awhile, I appreciate that The Pole Dancing Shop gave me writing projects for a very long time.  Non-pole related appreciations include joining the Chunky Girl Comics family this year and having a job to pay for all of my adventures.   

Thank you to everyone who was part of my 2013 and I look forward to what 2014 has in store for me!  Please share your highlights for this past year in the comments section below.   

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Un-Pole-Lievable Show ROCKED!

If you missed Cowboy Wild's Un-Pole-Lievable Pole Show on November 30, I wanted to post videos and photos from some of the performances.  Check them out below.  Thank you to Liquidpulp Photography for coming back to the Bay Area and taking photos! 

Also, mark your calendar....Cowboy Wild's Good Old-Fashioned Pole-Down to benefit AIDS LifeCycle will be held on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at Club 1220.  All money raised will benefit Robert aka Cowboy Wild's AIDS LifeCycle ride!  If you are a local business or pole company that has gift certificates or items you would like to donate for the raffle, please let me know.  THANKS!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Volare Variety -- A burlesque show in San Francisco!

A couple of years ago, I noticed a local pole dancer on my social media feeds.  She seemed like a cool chick and she was on a crusade to create a pole venue that could be used for lessons and shows.  I now consider Kate a good friend and one of my favorite polers in the world.  Her routines are always extremely dynamic and interesting to watch. 

Kate has now created a burlesque/variety show and it will be unveiled in San Francisco this January 4, 2014:  "Taking Burlesque to new heights, Volare Variety is San Francisco's brand new variety showcase. Drag Queens, Pole Artists, Boylesque & More! Prepare to be amazed with visions of extreme physical talent and neo-Burlesque set to the sound of classic tunes.
For more information, please visit:"

While I will not be performing at this event, I will be there as an usher and to support Kate in her latest adventure!  Many of my friends are performing in this show.  I am so excited, I could almost pee my pants!  I'll control myself though.  I don't want to make a mess here at the day job. 

Please like the Facebook page HERE.  

The Facebook event page is HERE.

And you can buy your tickets HERE.   

Stage Werx is a very intimate theater, so don't wait until the last minute to get your tickets.  This show will be a sell-out.  Hope to see you there!  In the meantime, enjoy some photos from our awesome photoshoot (with only some of the cast, as a freezing early Sunday morning in San Francisco was not the bees knees for everyone) at a secret location in San Francisco.  Shout out to Jo-Jo Jones Photography

Friday, December 6, 2013

How does the lack of calcium cause bone spurs?

When I first heard I had a bone spur in my heel, the doctor told me it was a lack of calcium that caused them.  When I told other people that, they laughed at me.  Things don't GROW on your body when you LACK other things, silly girl.  So, then I thought maybe I misunderstood and bone spurs were from EXTRA calcium, so I did a little research.  

As many of you know, I had surgery to deal with my bone spur.  I am at four months out.  There has been little change since my three-month update.  My "good" foot hurts almost daily and my "bad" foot doesn't hurt much but is still swollen.  I am back to working out five to six days a week.  I have again recently confirmed with my doctor that bone spurs are from a lack of calcium, not an abundance of it.  So I decided to do a little more research (and by "research," I just mean I "Googled" it) to find out how bone spurs are formed.

Ice and rest after over-doing it
My assumption was that bone spurs were caused when calcium was somehow leeched out of the bones and then re-deposited when it had nowhere else to go.  I don't believe that is fully true, but the truth may not be so far from that.  Here is one explanation

"A heel spur is a hook of bone that forms on the heel bone, an X-ray will show a point of bone protruding from the bottom of the foot at the point where the plantar fascia is attached to the heel bone. The heel spur itself is not thought to be the primary cause of pain, rather inflammation and irritation of the plantar fascia is thought to be the primary problem cause by the tearing of the micro ligamentous tissue from the heal bone. The heel spur then forms because the body is trying to heal itself and has calcium deficiency. After the heel spur is formed and stress is placed on the plantar fascia from walking the heel spur just adds to the irritation and inflammation."

More interesting information:

"Researchers located the root cause. They found that calcium deposits are most common in women aged 35 to 65 – the group most prone to osteoporosis. Knowing that osteoporosis is primarily caused by calcium and mineral deficiency, they realized that two conditions share one cause.  Calcium and minerals are needed for every vital function of your body, from the pumping of your heart to cell division to DNA replication. If you’re not ingesting enough calcium to fuel these functions, your body robs your bones! This survival mechanism is the acknowledged root of osteoporosis, and now we know it causes bone spurs, too."

"Bone spurs are your body's cry for calcium and minerals. Ignore it – and you may become a prime candidate for osteoporosis, heart disease, cancer, arthritis, and more than 160 other degenerative diseases related to mineral deficiencies!" 

Information about absorption of calcium (and I don't know how to adjust for gastric bypass patients, but I assume we absorb even less):

The exercises and stretches help a lot
"Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body, but it may also be severely lacking. The amount of calcium that we absorb from our food varies widely. One factor that affects this is age. An adolescent may absorb up to 75% of the calcium obtained from foods, while in adults the maximum absorption rate ranges from 20% to 30%. Even though our bones feel solid and seem permanent, they're just like any other body tissue - they're constantly being broken down and formed again. In an adult, 20% of bone calcium is withdrawn from bones and replaced each year. Thus, every five years the bones are renewed."

So there you go.  Bone spurs are most definitely caused by a lack of calcium, AND it appears that I may be at higher risk for osteoporosis.  I get blood tests every year and I don't believe my labs have come back showing I was lacking in calcium, so I'm not sure if the test is flawed or if my body needs more calcium than the average person.  That's a whole other issue I'm not prepared to deal with.  I remember being told not to "worry" about osteoporosis because fat people don't get it....frail old white ladies get it (I believe I was told this by my previous (two doctors ago) tiny Asian lady doctor, who gave me bad medical advice on many, many occasions).  Apparently all the weight my body bears just walking around on a daily basis is literally saving it from ever getting osteoporosis.  I'm not really sure that's actually true, although perhaps it is somewhat more helpful than being tiny.  

It does seem like the exercising I am doing is probably the best thing I can do for myself.  Yoga, spin and pole appear to be great exercises for strengthening the body and the bones.   

What old wives' tales were you told that you believed, just because you didn't know better?  How did you find out it might be wrong? 

Thursday, December 5, 2013

December's Pole Photo Challenge for PDBA!

Please join us again for the Pole Dancing Bloggers Association's Pole Photo Challenge.  Take a photo and post to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #pdloggers (most photos on Facebook are private so using the hashtag still won't allow us to "find" it -- you may, however, post to our fan page if you'd like).  Let us know which week you are submitting, and we will pick it up and add it to the fan page on Facebook

Read the full instructions HERE, or see below for this month's prompts.

I already submitted my first photo: 

Week 1: Day Job (sitting on the phone for a VERY long time)

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Holotta's Un-BOY-Lievable Drag Show at Club 1220

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area and looking for a fun show, put down in your calendar the first and third Sundays of each month, along with the second Saturday of each month, and come visit Holotta's Un-BOY-Lievable Drag Show!

From classy to trashy, this show runs the gamut and has some of my favorite Queens in the world!  I truly consider many of these girls to be my good friends.  Although my "new" job makes it harder for me to show up on Sundays, I have a great time at every single show I attend.

If you have never met Holotta Tymes, you are in for a treat.  Having traveled the world as a child Broadway star, worked at the world-famous Finnochio's, and now one of the stars of Sunday's A Drag at the Starlight Room in San Francisco, Holotta is a true entertainer.

Check out some videos from the show below and then I hope to see you at Club 1220 soon!  This weekend is the big toy drive, which will include some performances from the Queens.  Then, the annual Christmas show will be on Sunday, December 22.  Don't miss it!  The theme shows are always THE BEST!

The answer isn't bashing skinny people

Yesterday, I wrote about Chrystal and Curvy Girl Lingerie's campaign to show un-photoshopped women in lingerie. 

Then last night, I joined The Militant Baker's campaign to break stereotypes when it comes to auto-complete sentences in Google.  Go to Google and try it:

Typing in "fat people are" gets you results such as gross, disgusting...and awesome.  

"Fat people can't" wipe, cross their legs, get jobs, get pregnant...

"Skinny people are" better, ugly, disgusting, annoying...

"Women are" from venus men are from mars, better than men, shallow...

"Gay men are" sexist, jealous of women, the new oppressors of women, worse than women...

"Chinese people are" rude, weird, cold, smart...

Seriously?  I guess I don't truly understand how auto-complete works...but either people are searching these sentences most or the people who created the algorithm are complete assholes and idiots. 

If you'd like to check out The Militant Baker's Facebook page, she has a ton of people using auto-complete to break the stereotypes and offer love and support to each other.  I really appreciate that she includes men and women, and people of all ages, shapes and colors.  This fight isn't about fat women needing attention.  And I don't feel like I need to bash skinny people to make myself feel better.  This is about everyone learning to love each other and themselves.  

There have been a lot of "real women" campaigns on Facebook, often saying that curvy girls rule and skinny girls drool.  It's not fair to anyone.  Fat people should not have to be at war with thin people.  Fat people can be at war with assholes who hate on them, but their body size should have nothing to do with it.  

This week, a fitness blogger posted a selfie of herself four days after giving birth.  There was a ton of outrage around the internet.  Is it personally frustrating to me to see that she looks like she was never pregnant only days after giving birth?  Sure, I guess.  Maybe I *am* a tiny bit jealous.  Do I hate her for it?  Certainly not.  She's not doing anything else the rest of us aren't doing -- posting our half naked photos around the internet.  Good for her.  She has different genes than I do.  I could never even pretend to compare myself to her because we are completely different people.  She's not better than me, and I am not better than her.  For those who think she is putting out an impossible image for other women to follow, I assume this chick was just made this way.  I don't feel like I have to BE her.  There are no special exercises she could be doing, or crazy diet that would make her body "snap back" in four days.  So should she be berated for embracing the body she was born with and continues to cultivate?  I don't know her personally.  Perhaps she spreads fat-shaming memes around the internet like Maria Kang and "deserves" to be skinny-shamed.  But I do know, just from seeing her one selfie on the internet, I'm not going to hate on her since I do the same thing. 

Please join the revolution and submit your photo to The Militant Baker and show everyone how you are breaking Google's lame auto-complete stereotypes!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

News at Poletential: Rock PPC and AIR SHOW THIS WEEKEND!!!!

If you are in the San Francisco Bay Area, and are planning to compete in PSO's Pacific Pole Championship in March, then Poletential is the place to be!  They have been hosting Rock PPC:  workshops, pole jams and other events to help local competitors get ready for the competition.  I got to attend one of the free pole jams recently and had a great experience watching everyone help each other with their pole moves.  Ellen even sat with me for a few and talked to me about my weight struggles and gave me some great strengthening exercises.  These are invite-only type events, so please e-mail the studio if you are interested in joining Rock PPC (not just for competitors...the workshops would be great for anyone wanting to strengthen their pole routines).  

 And...THIS WEEKEND...Poletential hosts their fifth Air Show at a brand new location!  In addition, there will be workshops all weekend with Tracee Kafer, Elaine Royter and Allison Wardwell from Body & Pole in New York.  I have two workshops scheduled with Tracee and am so excited to see the show.  Please note that downtown Redwood City has some events going on so come early and watch for road closures.  I know some of the Twirly Girls will be having dinner around 5 PM to celebrate Rita's birthday.  The venue doors open at 7 PM.  Show is at 8!

If you are in the Bay Area this weekend, Redwood City is the place to be!  Hope to see you there!

I am not at war...with anyone

It seemed like such an innocent request.  Chrystal, the owner of Curvy Girl Lingerie in San Jose, California, posted a photo of an un-photoshopped woman in her lingerie for all to see.  She received such a positive response, she asked the rest of us to get involved.

Side note:  Yes, I added my photo to the mix.  And yes, I get that with all my plastic surgeries, I may not look like the average plus-sized lady, but I am a size 18, which is definitely plus-sized and I still have many insecurities.  In fact, my original post to Chrystal's private group (not the public fan page) was to show off my back fat, which is my nemesis and to say that everyone has something they are insecure about, even if everyone else believes they should love the body they have.

Then here comes the shit-storm.

How dare fat women show skin on the internet!  We aren't "regular" people, we are horribly obese blobs of butter and fat who shouldn't be allowed to leave our homes!  There are these internet trolls out there who pretend they are concerned for people's health, when they really just like to say mean things and make people cry for a living.  They all clearly don't have jobs or other shit to do if they have time to attack people online all day.  I very rarely read comments on fat-centric articles or blog posts, as I know the trolls will be out in force and I feel like they only have power when we bother to respond to them. 

Maria Kang, aka Hot Mom, aka "What's your excuse?" lady, aka chick who also clearly has too much time on her hands (or who needed the free publicity), immediately jumped in to berate all the fatties for being unhealthy.  There are multiple articles on either side of the fight, which you can easily Google if you are interested.  I linked one for reference.


I really don't understand why larger people posting photos on the internet is so offensive to anyone.  If they don't like it, don't look.  You know they don't actually care about our health and/or well-being.  So do they just need to feel superior by putting us down?  I don't really know.

I also don't understand why everyone needs to fight about this.  I don't feel offended if a thin woman posts a photo of herself in her underwear and I certainly hope she wouldn't care if I posted a photo of me in mine. 

I am an overweight (arguably obese) person.  I am active (I work out five to six days a week, and walk to and from the train on work days).  I don't eat fast food all day.   I'm just big.  Who cares?  I'm not bothering anyone else with it.  I don't want to hear arguments about how I wear out my car tires and shocks faster because I'm fat.  Or that I cost more in medical expenses.  Guess what...thin people with medical issues cost money too.  Children with cancer.  Adults who smoke.  Are we all not spending some kind of money on medical care regardless of our size? 

I am not at war.  Not with myself.  Not with other fat people.  Not with skinny people.  Not with anyone.  I feel like everyone should do whatever makes them happy.  If what makes them happy is to shit on other people, well I don't agree with it, but they are welcome to do it in our supposed free country.  As long as they aren't being violent or actively harassing people, I feel like that is their right.  (Anonymous asshole note on the internet?  Rude but acceptable.  Sending nasty e-mails directly to someone?  Not okay.  Using someone's fat photo to make a meme about how stupid fat people are?  Most definitely NOT okay.),

#myfatwashere is still in full force and effect.  If you have photos of your large body doing things that everyone believes you can't/won't/shouldn't do, please post them!  I am on Instagram and Twitter under @lolorashel.  I can't wait to see what you come up with!  

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Josiah "Bad Azz" Grant and Twirly Girls

Last week, Twirly Girls had a visitor!  Josiah "Bad Azz" Grant came to town for some workshops and a pole jam.

I first met Joey at Pole Show LA in 2012.  He is such a sweet soul.  I have had the pleasure of running into him many times since then.  He came to visit Twirly Girls earlier this year, but BART was on strike, and my two-and-a-half hour commute didn't allow me to make it to his workshop.

Unfortunately this trip, I wasn't able to make a workshop but I did come to the pole jam, which kind of turned into a workshop!  He was showing everyone strength-building exercises and some cool moves.  He has these liquid hips that I certainly can't compete with.  I put some videos up on Facebook, which I realize won't do you all any good here.  I'll see if I can figure out a good way to link them.  

I did ask him to "choreograph" my routine for Robert's show on Saturday...which he kindly a song he'd never heard before.  It was pretty impressive.  I'll have to post his video next to mine so you can see how well I pegged the choreo.  lol!  Sorry, I hate using lol in a blog but once you see it, you will lol as well!

If you ever get a chance to take a workshop with Joey, you should definitely do it! Here are some photos from the pole jam and one of the workshops:

Monday, November 25, 2013

Cowboy Wild's Un-Pole-Lievable Pole Show at Club 1220

So both Twirly Girls and Club 1220 have been pretty awesome and understanding any time Robert and I want to do something crazy.  Throw up some poles in the club and bring on half-naked pole dancers?!  Of course!!  Up until now, we have always done it for charity.  And this weekend, we dance for the fun of it.

To show how grateful we are for the dancers who have donated their time to us in the past, we welcome the Bay Area to come to Club 1220 in Walnut Creek this Saturday, November 30 at 6:00 PM to enjoy our amazing pole dancers.  Unlike other pole showcases, we WILL allow tipping at this show.  There is NO nudity, however.  But, especially if you have not been to a pole show before, you will definitely enjoy the show. 

As many of you know, Robert, aka Cowboy Wild, has been involved with 1220 for years and his husband, Holotta/Dale is the hostess of Holotta's Un-Boy-Lievable Drag Show.  So, now we present: Cowboy Wild's Un-Pole-Lievable Pole Show.

We understand some of you may be out of town for Thanksgiving, but if you're around, and ready to get away from the family for a couple of hours, please stop by!  The show is at 6 PM.  Cover charge is only $5.  Tipping IS encouraged (please don't try to stuff the money down anyone's pants though).  The bar has 80's night afterward, so you can stay and dance the night away if you'd like!


Robert "Cowboy Wild" Carstensen
Grace Garcia
Kate Cotruvo
Amy Bond
Lori Myers
Yolanda Berry
Patrick Loranger

If you are on Facebook, the official event invitation is here:

Have a happy, happy Thanksgiving and I hope to see you Saturday!

Kinetic Arts Center's I Hate The Holidays Cabaret

Last Saturday, I went to Kinetic Arts Center in Oakland to watch one of my favorite people compete in the I Hate The Holidays Cabaret.  I purchased my VIP ticket so I could be guaranteed awesome seating.  Rita and I even arrived super early to be at the front of the line.  We took photos when we arrived, using the props to create our very own hateful holiday scene.  I joked with the ladies who worked there that I already knew who I was voting for.  Many acts walked around, interacting with the crowd, and setting us up for their upcoming performances.  It was really cute and fun and we had lots of laughs before the curtain had even been opened. 

Then the show began.  Mind.  Blown.

Seriously, every single performance was great.  I couldn't say one bad thing about any of them.  The kids were especially PHENOMENAL.  I almost felt guilty voting for my Sean Michael.  The hosts were so funny and kept the show moving, which can be difficult when you have different aerial acts using different apparatuses.  I really don't know how to describe it.  Luckily, I took video!  You should watch.  Literally every single act.  You won't be disappointed! 

I want to congratulate Sean Michael, who went on to win the competition on Sunday night!  I'm so sorry I couldn't come watch!  You are amazing, though, and deserved it!!!  So much love for this boy!!

Did I win?  Did I win???

If I won, this would be my "OMG, I CAN'T BELIEVE I JUST WON" face!
The Sugar Plum Fairy himself
Twirly family
The most amazing family...I love them and I hope this is their Christmas card

I die

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Why do I care about 100 calories?

So I'm entering this blog carefully.  It may be triggering for some, so please click out of this post if you can't deal with "diet talk."  I will be talking about food and calories and weight.  I'll be trying to talk about it from a bad science and I-don't-actually-know-shit kind of perspective though.  I am just curious about some things so I thought I'd throw this out into the universe and see what kind of responses I get.  Respectful responses only, please.  Unnecessary hater comments will be deleted.  Useful hater comments will be allowed.  

Yes, I really am trying to embrace Health At Every Size.  That is, I do believe that thin people aren't automatically healthy and fat people aren't automatically unhealthy.  I don't believe that anyone should be treated like they are a second-class citizen because they are overweight.  We all deserve respect.

However -- yes, I am going to be THAT person -- I don't believe THIS current weight is working for ME.  I have VERY QUIETLY been tracking my calories and exercise for the last week and a half, and after sticking to all the "calorie rules" and doing some kind of activity every single day....drum roll please...I have gained a pound (I got it, it's only a week and a half, but when I used to do Weight Watchers, everyone would lose 5 pounds their first week -- you know, all that water weight!).  :-D  Please don't tell me it's muscle.  Yeah yeah.  I get it.  Diets don't work.  Even "lifestyle changes" are just a marketing ploy so you won't realize you're on a diet.  I am a compulsive eater.  I have to be sooooooooooooo careful when choosing to modify my eating because it could very easily trigger a binge that could throw another 20 pounds on me in less than a month.

Since injuring my foot, I have put on about 10 pounds over a year.  Hey, not so bad considering how limited I was in my activities.  I was actually kind of proud of myself.  I did some math today.  Ten pounds over a year.  3,500 calories equals a pound, times 10 pounds equals 35,000 calories.   Divide that by 365 days.  That equals 96 calories.  So only an extra 100 calories per day will make me gain 10 pounds in a year.  Shit.  I don't even BOTHER with those 100 calorie packs because they don't contain enough food worth eating!  Bring me a 500 calorie piece of cake or bring me death!  So then, I guess I need to find out how exactly many calories my body should be eating every day.  I've written about this subject before...and you can check it out HERE

I am well aware that "calories in versus calories out" is NOT an exact science.  However, I have to start somewhere.  In order to determine how many calories I should eat, I first went online to determine my Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). 

According to THIS calculator.  My BMR is 1952.2.  That is, my body burns that many calories just existing every day.  If I would like to get up and out of bed that day, I will burn more.  Therefore, if I tried to eat 1952.2 on a regular work day, I would be very hungry.  So, now to figure out my daily caloric need, I need to determine how active I am.  Sedentary?  Maybe I'm being a little hard on myself.  Let's go with lightly active.  I might be able to make an argument for moderately active, but I don't want to go crazy yet.  I take my 1952.2 and I multiply it by 1.375.  My daily caloric intake to stay at a steady weight is 2,684.3.  

According to Scooby's calculator, which you can find HERE, the numbers are identical.  BMR is 1953.  My daily caloric intake to maintain is 2,686.  (And a 5% reduction in calories to lose fat would be 2,551.) 

My Fitness Pal is slightly more generous, giving me 1,985 as my BMR (2,729 calories to maintain).  THIS metabolism calculator is even more generous, estimating I can eat 2,734 calories and maintain my weight.  The Tap & Track app on my phone, however, is EXTREMELY stingy, and only allows me 1,842 calories per day, even though I asked that it calculate my caloric needs based on no weight loss.  Lame.

Anyway, the point of all of that was just to point out that there is no exact way to calculate TO THE CALORIE, how much I should eat every day to lose weight.  I don't think any single person in the world can give me the mathematical equation to figure out MY exact BMR. 

I find that if I DO choose to modify my caloric intake and my exercise, it is not so difficult to remove 250 calories from my diet and work out to burn about 250 calories more.  The result is a 500 calorie deficit that SHOULD cause a one pound weight loss every week.  

My daily caloric goal right now is 2,192 (and according to Scooby, that number is pretty low).  When I add exercise calories to my daily limit, I estimate VERY low (meaning, I tell my handy little app on my phone that I did 45-60 minutes of light yoga when I may have done 75 minutes of moderate yoga).  If I go back to the paragraph above where I talk about simply burning an extra 250 calories, I really burn way more than 250 calories in any workout I do -- pole dancing, yoga or cycling.  Any of them easily provide me with 400 to 800 calories burned in an hour.  Therefore, if I do the math, I should be losing at least two pounds per week based on the calories I am eating and the calories I am burning. 

So how is it I follow all the "rules" and gain a pound?  And if 100 simple calories can lead to a 10 pound weight gain over a year, then the website I choose to follow can mean the difference between gaining and losing this year.  Plus, we haven't even gotten to the problem of medications and metabolism.  I feel like I must be at least slightly genetically different than my siblings as I am the only fat one.  I mean, if I have a "slow" metabolism (very possible considering all the dieting I've done over the years), that might mean I don't get to have 2,684 calories to maintain my weight.  Maybe my body requires 2,300.  How will I know?!  

I have been playing the calorie game for a very long time, so I KNOW about how much I can eat to maintain.  But then I try to lose a little weight and it doesn't happen for me.  If I eat too much, I gain.  If I eat too little, I gain (or at the very least, I don't lose).  How does that work?!

It is a very frustrating game.  No, I don't eat perfectly every day, but I have been making sure I don't go over my calorie goal.  Yet, I didn't lose a fucking thing.  Oh yeah, I didn't lose weight because I was too busy gaining.  Even IF the calories I chose were still slightly high for me, I have cut a significant number of calories from my work day by removing snacks from my desk.  That alone should have resulted in a weight reduction.  It just reminds me of a post I wrote about people's diet advice.  "If you just gave up those vitamin waters...or those cookies...or cupcakes, you'll drop weight like nobody's business!"  Yes, I post a ton of cupcake photos, but you'd be shocked to learn I don't actually eat cupcakes every day or even every week!  And actually, when I was at my lowest weight and in the best shape, I ate Dove chocolate every single day. 

I am trying very hard to be upbeat about the health benefits of eating well more often than not and working out every day regardless of whether I lose any weight.  But yeah, if I am busting my ass, it is a bummer when I don't lose weight.  And no, I don't want to follow some crazy fad diet or exercise craze.  I know the minute I stop, I will gain it all back (plus some).  Been there, done that.  So I am trying to eat normally every day and exercise regularly.  

Last time I lost weight (post-gastric bypass), I did it mostly by exercising twice a day.  That isn't healthy.  I didn't lose it quickly either.  I averaged one pound of weight loss per MONTH.  And the minute my life changed and I couldn't do it anymore, the weight started creeping back on.  I would rather maintain some as-yet undetermined higher weight than get back down to an un-maintanable weight.  So how do I choose that number (both weight and calories)?

I don't know yet.  I really don't know.  There is SOME number of calories that my body needs to eat to be a healthy weight.  I don't believe I am un-worthy of the HAES movement by admitting that I don't want to be THIS weight.  I don't have dreams of being some ridiculously small size either.  I just want to take a few pounds off and let my back and feet have some relief.

So, please feel free to comment with your theories about calories.  I don't want any diet advice.  I'm carefully navigating that scene on my own.  I don't believe I have a gluten intolerance.  No, I don't want to try Atkins.  I won't take any diet products and won't follow any nutty diet plans, so please don't pitch them here.  But do please tell me about how YOU think calories in/calories out works with different bodies and how YOU determine the number of calories that your body needs to survive.  

Bam!  My big ol' body just did that!