Thursday, January 31, 2013

Right when you're about to get ahead...

So two Christmases ago, Chilidog got sick.  Not just sick, almost-died-sick.  His kidneys went out.  Dialysis and kidney transplants really aren't great ideas for cats.  We had to give him saline injections and medication.  First daily, then every other day, then twice weekly, then weekly.  A couple of months ago, we finally got to stop the injections.  He only needs some oral vitamins every day.  YAY!  Time and money saved.

You can read up on some of his adventures here:

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/06/hows-that-chilidog-doing-anyway.html

http://lolorashel.blogspot.com/2011/07/chilidog-update-hopefully-last-one-for.html

I guess Zeus felt left out.  Rob started working last September.  I got a job in October that no longer allowed me to work from home.  Zeus got anxiety and started licking his hair off.  We took him to the vet for some prozac in December and the vet decided to give him a steroid shot just to make sure he wasn't having an allergic reaction.  She tells us there's a one in a million chance that Zeus could get diabetes from that shot.  Guess Zeus should play the lottery.

Right around Christmas-time, pretty close to $1,000 was dropped to save Zeus.  He went from 17 pounds to 14 really quickly.  That's how we knew he was sick.  Then his body went into ketosis.  He dropped down to 12 pounds.  He to spend a couple of days in the kitty hospital.  Unlike Chilidog, who wasn't going down without a fight, Zeus gave up pretty quickly.  Had Rob not taken a day off work to sit with him, he probably would not have lasted the day (that's the day he went into the hospital). 

Trying to put a monetary value on a pet's life is really difficult.  Of course your pet is family and you don't just put down family.  But money is an issue.  We don't have $1,000+ hanging around waiting to be spent.  I really was just about to get ahead too...and then here we are again.

Zeus now gets insulin shots twice a day.  He's only a nine year old cat.  So I guess we're looking at many years of this.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy Zeus is doing ok.  We are about two weeks into his regular insulin shots and he finally has his appetite back and is playing like he used to.  He's also suddenly very cuddly with me (usually he's Rob's buddy).  Here are a couple pictures of him hanging out with me this morning.  Maybe this is how he says thanks.  :-)


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

My Biggest Fear...Pole Dancing in Public

This weekend I face my biggest fear (well, fourth biggest fear, somewhere behind being buried alive, falling out of a rollercoaster or my car falling into a river)....  I am performing in public.  What?!, you say!  This can't be my first public performance!  Well, I guess not.  But my previous performances have all been at Twirly Girls, amongst friends who love and support me.  This weekend, I am dancing to support Robert's AIDS LifeCycle Ride, in front of friends and family and complete strangers!  It really is a first for me. 

I am well aware that I am not the best dancer (or even the 100th best dancer) in the world.  I can't do a lot of tricks.  I'm not smokin' hot sexy.  But I have been working on my flow.  And I do have a cute routine mapped out.  I have been sick, and then I went on vacation, so I haven't had as much practice as I'd like, but thank God Mama Bel teaches her Twirly Girls how to free dance.  I am really excited and really nervous.  This is actually the jumping off point to see if I might compete later this year.  We have a great line up of other local dancers performing with me.  There will be raffles and auction items.  And tipping WILL be encouraged at this event.  We also have a couple of surpises up our sleeves. 

So, if you're in the San Francisco Bay Area on Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 6:00 PM, come to Club 1220 in Walnut Creek.  We will be pole dancing to raise money to fight AIDS and support Robert's AIDS LifeCycle Ride (500+ mile ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles).  If you can't attend but want to donate, HERE is his link. 

Otherwise, keep an eye out...videos and photos to come!  Wish me luck!  Please-don't-fall-on-my-face...Please-don't-fall-on-my-face...Please-don't-fall-on-my-face.


From Trick or Twirl in November 2012

From Trick or Twirl in November 2012

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Today is my third bloggerversary!

On this date in 2010, I wrote my very first blog.  I had no idea where this adventure was going to take me when I signed up for my first pole class in 2009.  I really am grateful for all of the new friends I've made and fun I've had due to pole dancing and blogging.  If you want to read last year's anniversary blog, it is HERE

What has changed?  Nothing and everything.

Nothing:  I am trying to embrace being a plus-sized pole dancer rather than fight against it.  I still can't do a lot of things I want to do and I have to be okay with it.

Everything:  My new job leaves me much less time and energy for either pole dancing or writing. 

The first big pole show of the year, Pole Show LA, was last weekend.  I was in Southern California but opted to stay at Disneyland rather than go to the show.  I don't want to say I am getting bored by pole.  But with less vacation time at the new job, and more responsibility, so I'm busier during the day, I am going to have to get a lot pickier about which events (especially out of town ones) I attend.  Currently, the only pole event I am planning to hit up this year is going to be Pole Expo in Las Vegas in September.  A bunch of my Twirly Girls are participating in the Pacific Pole Championship in March, but I am pretty sure I will be sitting that trip out as well.  We have another sick cat, so money is an issue.  Plus, I'm just tired and need a break.  Traveling is fun but kamikazi trips to LA drain me.

So how do my numbers compare to last year?

Last year, my pole profile had about 2,000 Facebook friends.  This year, I'm up to almost 2,300.  It's hard to follow that many people on Facebook, so I am trying to figure out how to reconfigure things so I can actually see posts from people I know. 

My Twitter followers are up from 1,200 to almost 1,400.  I think Twitter is an under-utilized tool that I am starting to spend a little more time on lately. 

My blog has had 164,925 views in the last three years.  That's 100,000 more views than last year.  Sure, in the whole scheme of things, it's not a ton of reads, but considering I'm just a regular old girl writing about pole dancing, I'm pretty excited about it. 

I want to thank everyone again who reads my blog and has been on this adventure with me!  Even though I'm slightly quieter, I do appreciate every single one of you and look forward to another poletastic year!





Thursday, January 24, 2013

POLE GOALS!

Time for a Pole Goals update.  This month, for the blog hop, I listed realistic pole goals that I can actually attain in the near future. 

I am already on track for my weekly class to learn and recently found out that the amazing Sean Michael will be teaching it!  That will help me with my second goal, which is to continue working on flow and technique as well.  And may also inadvertently help me with tricks since Sean Michael is great at tricks.  My third goal was exercise and I just joined a brand new 24 Hour Fitness within walking disance of my house.  So those goals are coming along.

As for my long-term pole goals, you can read up on some of those adventures HERE.  I feel like I'm essentially starting at square one with all of these.  So here are some photos to mark the beginning of my journey. 

Handstands/Bow and Arrow from a Handstand

Sure, I can do handstands.  But I need some serious work on my core so I can lift into them more gently.  I also need to work on flexibility of my hips and back to help with splits and bow and arrow.

These photos are from Twirly Girls just a week or so ago.





Splits

I don't even have any good photos.  My splits are definitely worse than they used to be.  Losing my yoga class really hurt me in a ton of different ways.  I have a new yoga place that I really like but money is always a factor, as is time.  Plus, I was out of the game for over a year and I lost a lot of flexibility.  I really wish I could afford to go three times a week so I could catch up faster. 

You can see my old splits pics HERE.


Interesting article: http://stadion.com/column_stretch01.html

Dancer/Backbends/General Flexibility

I just don't have a flexible backIt's one of the things I'm working on, but I don't know if I will ever be flexible in that way.  I know it looks like I'm just making myself into a table top in a couple of these photos but that really is me thinking I'm doing a backbend. 

backbend?

dancer

downward dog



look, I'm a table!

arched back


Climbing

I am still not a strong climber.  I really just need to get up there and do it.  I just find that if I don't get the climb the first time, I get upset and sweaty, which makes it harder to climb.  But the more I do it, the easier it will become.  Something else to work on.

points for climbing in stockings

Inverson/Inverted Crucifix

I have been making this goal since I started pole dancing.  I am still just as far away.  It's a core/mind-f$%* issue.  I see girls my size or bigger doing them, so I know I can do it.  Even if I can't invert, I feel like I should be able to back into a handstand and inverted crucifix.  My legs just don't stick.  I don't know if that's a real issue or a brain issue.  It's still a goal.  The first pic is from May 2012, with two people making sure I didn't slide.  I can go up backwards (in other words, directly from a handstand, not from an inversion, then coming down into a handstand) but I can't let go.




Cross-Knee or Cross-Ankle Release

Besides my other obvious strength and brain issues, this one is going to be interesting.  My friend pointed out when I do certain moves, I don't lock my ankles properly.  And I'm not sure if my legs have the flexiblity to lock right!  So this one may be a long time coming. 

Lying Lady/Plank

I posted THIS about wanting to look like Lo when I do Lying Lady or Plank.  Yeah the upside down (almost) thing still alludes me.  So this is another work in progress.



Half Iguana Mount

I am not strong enough to hold my whole body weight but I should be able to master half iguana mount.  I feel like it will be a good way for me to also start working on goals such as being able to pull myself up into a sit from a handstand.  As long as I am in yoga, I seem to have the shoulder flexibility for it.  I just need to work on that core strength.

Handstand/Iguana Mount into leg wrap and then sitting up to the pole

Someday this will happen.  Some day.  It will let me do all kinds of cool things. 

Superman

I had stockings on for my pole goal pics (not recommended) so Superman wasn't even a possibility.  I did do it from the floor once.  Bruised myself really pretty as well! 


Fan kick to a pole sit

This is another flexibility issue.  I also kicked the pole once and bruised the shit out of my toe.  Owie.  But it's so pretty and I want to master it!!!!


Jasmine (Marley...or whatever other name you want to insert here)

Poorly done since I don't want to kick out the top arm or bottom leg but here's my start.  I also am getting into it from the floor, not from an invert.  The first picture is from August 2012.  The other one is from last week.  In stockings again.  Dumbo. 


Iron X

Sure, I should be worried about inverting first.  Maybe doing some Ayshas or pencils, or other moves.  But I feel like I should go big or go home.  It's going to happen.

I believe this is Rafaela from Brazil

Long term goal of becoming certified

I talked about becoming x-pert certified HERE.  I had wanted to get certified this year, but money and time may be an issue.  Also, some of my favorite pole stars recently separated from x-pert.  So I am kind of waiting to see where they are going before I decide where to become certified.  I also want to be a little stronger before I go.  I don't want to waste money if I can't do 75% of the moves.

Grips

One last goal is to understand (truly) split grip versus twisted grips (and maybe I'm using the wrong words here).  I mean, I understand the hand placement and realize there is some benefit to using twisted grips.  But I also hear it torques your body in a bad way.  Can I monkey wrench my way into some of these moves before I'm ready?  I don't need anymore injuries thought (tennis elbow on left arm, healing hyper-extended knee on left leg, left hip issues leads to lower back issues, bone spur in right heel, along with plantar fasciitis, and on and on).  So I want to do some research so I "get" it fully.  If anyone has any ideas, I'd love help!

And I'd also like to hear about your pole goals and how you are reaching them.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

DerbySkinz for pole shorts

Awhile back, I was turned on to DerbySkinz, a brand of roller derby shorts, by my cousin, Heather.  I wanted to buy some to try out on the pole, since it can be hard to find good pole shorts for a curvier body.  Normally, I wear boy cut shorts (underwear) from Target in a 2X to pole class with another set of underwear underneath. 

I ordered two different types of DerbySkinz.  I got the original DerbySkinz (but added five inches to make them high-waisted) in a 2X (color - Shiny Black) and ordered the Cheekeez, cut a little shorter to show off the booty, in a 2X (color - Black Sparkle). 

First off, I love that these shorts go from a extra small to a 3X.  You can also customize them to raise the waist line or make your inseam longer.  And they offer so many colors, it's almost overwhelming.  They also offer styles such as 8Deez (80's style shorts), Ruffle Buttz and Hipsterz (in addition to skirtz, skortz, leggingz and a ton of other accessories). 

They do offer a High Waisted Skinz, but at a price starting at $34.20, I saved money by buying the original DerbySkinz and just adding five inches to raise the waistband, which cost me $27.50 (the shorts start at $20).  The 2X seems true to real life sizes.  My waist is 46-47 inches and my hips are 48-49 inches (lame measurements, I know). 

As for poling with these shorts, I love them.  They are very tight and the two fabrics I chose don't stick to the pole.  I actually love-love-love the high-waisted pair and will probably buy another pair soon.  I do wear the boy short underwear underneath.  I haven't gotten to the point of feeling secure enough to only wear shorts or bikini bottoms.

My only complaint isn't really the shorts' fault.  Thanks to my plastic surgeries, I am prone to the dreaded camel-toe.  I do try hard not to inflict my vagina on my pole-mates, classmates or students, but sometimes it happens.  These shorts are made to be tight, though, so sometimes the "toe" comes out.  For that reason, I will be sticking to the darker colors.  Although, anyone who poles with me has seen it all at one point or another anyway!

If you're looking for some pole shorts, give DerbySkinz a try.  They are very comfortable and cute.  With a base price of only $20, they are certainly reasonable and worth a shot!  I had heard they make shorts for boys, but haven't found the link yet.  If I do, I will let my Twirly Boys know.

As a side note, DerbySkinz are made in the good ol' US-of-A.  As I get older, I truly appreciate that.  Here are some photos of me tracking my pole goals in my original DerbySkinz in Shiny Black (these are the high-waisted pair, which reach to right under my bra line). 






Friday, January 18, 2013

Pole, Sweat and Magnesium

I have complained in the past about sweating.  I strangely associate it with being a fatty, even though I have been basically sweaty since I was born.  Yes, I've had my thyroid checked.  That's not it (supposedly...more on that later).  Some people are just sweaty.  Sweat isn't dirty.  It's just wet.  You'll dry after I hug you.  Get over it.  I sweat when I workout.  I sweat if I have anxiety.  My body just likes to sweat.  I remember starting a brand new job about ten years ago and my entire head was drenched.  It looked like I had taken a shower.  Oh yeah, that's basically where I sweat from -- my head.  I don't get ridiculous pits or clammy hands.  I mean, my body sweats, but my head SWEATS. 

I also have psoriasis, which is kind of like extremely dry skin.  Technically, it is an autoimmune disease that causes skin to grow faster and die in certain areas.  So, it's less just regular ol' dry skin and more like nasty ol' dead skin.  But whatever.  It's ugly and I hate it. 

So, which pole products will work for me?  I'm not sweaty everywhere and I'm not overly dry everywhere.  Products like Dry Hands or a spray on anti-perspirant might work for me if my hands were sweatier.  And products like Dew Point or shaving cream might work if my hands were even more dry.  I feel like iTac and Mighty Grip have stick factor that require my hands to be somewhat dry.  Honestly, I feel like I can get a good stick off my hands if they are dry, then I touch them lightly to my sweaty face.

But what about my body?  When I really start moving and my head starts sweating and it drips down to my body, when then?  I slip off the pole like a buttered pig.  God forbid I had any product in my hair and accidently ran my hands through it during class.  Double whammy.  So slippery. 

At Pole Expo, I met the girl who created Dirty Girl Poletice.  It is a product created for people who are sweaty.  And you don't just have to use it on your hands (but you do need to follow instructions because if you use it incorrectly, like I did the first time, you will slip right off the pole...it needs to be washed off after it dries...it also feels lovely as a mask on your face). 

Anyway, Summer mentioned to me that a magnesium deficiency can often cause excessive sweating.  So I did a little research and it sounds like magnesium deficiencies can wreak a lot of havoc in the body.

According to THIS article, here are the top five health benefits of magnesium:

1. Magnesium may reverse osteoporosis

2. Magnesium prevents cardiovascular diseases

3. Magnesium regulates high blood pressure (Hypertension)

4. Magnesium treats diabetes

5. Magnesium treats migraines, insomnia, and depression

And according to THIS article:

Particularly if you do not replace electrolytes and fluid lost through excessive sweating, you increase the possibility of developing an electrolyte imbalance. Hypomagnesemia, or a low serum magnesium level, is one of those imbalances.

So even if the low magnesium doesn't cause excessive sweating, certainly being a sweaty person could lead to low magnesium levels, which may lead to other issues. 

HERE is another interesting take when someone asks a question about whether a magnesium deficiency could cause excessive sweating (which can be found in the comments section):

So, I don't have a great 'Aha' type answer for you for your hyperhidrosis, but since you seem open to finding some solutions, I can recommend some things that have worked for other people that may or may not work for you.

There seems to be a LARGE relationship between hyperhidrosis and the thyroid. You said that your thyroid tests were normal, but doctors are NOTORIOUSLY BAD at UNDERDIAGNOSING hypothyroid, so anyone who tells me that they have been tested and their thyroid is normal, I don't believe it.


I also found THIS list of vitamins that may reduce sweating, which does include magnesium, among other vitamins.

The sweating thing aside, the fact that magnesium may help treat depression was enough for me to try it.  I have been taking a calcium supplement that includes magnesium, but have recently added additional magnesium pills throughout the day.  I definitely feel like I'm not quite as sweaty as I was before.  I mean, there are certainly some moments on BART when the air is broken and all the bodies are making me overly anxious, so I sweat.  But I feel like, whehn I workout, I'm not quite as drenched.  It's enough for me to continue taking it.  I also feel less depressed but the holidays are over and that is probably helping a lot too.

Does anyone else have any experience with sweating and magnesium?  I'd love to hear your advice!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Stelara For The Win

Last March, I wrote about switching to Stelara shots for my psoriasis.  I was worried about Stelara.  It is a pretty heavy immuno-suppressant, but as a pole dancer unable to use heavy creams or ointments to treat my skin condition, I was willing to give it a chance.

Well, eight months in, I have to say I like it!  I had my first shot in early April of 2012.  In the beginning, I got a shot every month.  Now I only go in every three months.  With Enbrel and Humira, I was able to give myself the shot at home with an epi-pen type device.  With Humira, I do have to go into the doctor's office, which is a little less convenient.  It also forces me to pay an office visit co-pay.  However, I have been able to qualify for assistance from the manufacturer of Stelara, so I haven't had to pay a co-pay for the drug at all. 

About two shots ago, my insurance changed how it handled the billing of the drug, so I was a month late in getting that shot.  I noticed a huge difference.  Even when I finally got the shot, my skin never fully cleared that round.  However, with the next shot, my skin went back to being clear. 

I haven't noticed being sick more often.  I do notice staying sick longer, though, if I happen to catch a cold.  So I try to be very careful around other sick people and I take echinacea to hopefully boost my immune system (although, one would wonder if taking something that supposedly boosts your immune system when you're taking something to purposely suppress it is counter-productive). 

I did find out the hard way how expensive a Stelara shot is if you lose your insurance.  I was told in September to look for a new job.  My former boss had offered to pay my medical insurance for the month of October.  He then "forgot" and canceled it without telling me.  The pharmacy mailed the shot to my doctor's office (waaaay earlier than it needed to be....Curascript mail pharmacy is really a shitty pharmacy; if anyone is looking for a mail pharmacy, I do not suggest them).  The claim was denied by my insurance company and I saw online that I was being charged almost $12,000 for that shot.  I opted for COBRA (with an over $700 premium) to avoid that bill. 

Anyway, these days my skin is pretty clear, and I don't have the lung problems like I did with past medications.  I am overly aware of people who are sick around me.  I also have to be super careful because I am more apt to catch tuberculosis.  But for the most part, I just live my life and am happy to have "regular" skin again. 

March 25, 2012
April 5, 2012
April 13, 2012 (after first shot)
May 3, 2012 (day of 2nd shot)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

January Blog Hop: Pole Goals

It is Blog Hop time again!  This month, we are talking about pole goals.  If you want to read about how other pole bloggers are setting goals for 2013, visit this link HERE.

So for those who have been watching my meltdown about my weight and life, you might be wondering if I will be setting any pole goals.  AHHHH the pressure!!  Tell people I'm GOING to do something, then face humiliation when it doesn't happen.  Well, I've been telling people for three years that I would be inverting on a regular basis within the year and it hasn't happened yet.  I haven't melted into the ground with embarrassment.  I consider inverting more of a work in progress than a goal I will realize very soon.

So which realistic goals can I set for myself?  

First, my goal is to make it to at least one weekly class to learn.  I teach on Mondays but I can't be a good teacher if I'm not learning new moves myself.  When I got this new job in San Francisco, it kind of took away from me taking my Wednesday class.  But I am making the effort to go to class on Saturdays and may actually hit up the Thursday night class every once in awhile.  

Second, my goal is to continue working on my flow and dance techniques.  It is quite possible I will never be a trickster.  But that doesn't mean I can't bust out a beautiful routine that might make people cry.  My handstands usually attract an "ahhhh" or two.  So, I want to learn new ways to incorporate those into my routines so that I don't become stale.  

Third, my goal is to stay on track with an exercise program to gain strength.  My yoga class is a pretty good one (which is helping with strength AND flexibility).  And I have been holding plank every morning before work.  The stronger my core gets, the better chance I will have of actualizing the dream of inverting regularly.  

I don't want to overwhelm myself, so those are my three goals for this year.  I don't do New Years Resolutions, so these goals will have to suffice. 

Have you set any pole goals?  I'd love to hear yours!


Friday, January 4, 2013

Coming to terms...

I want to thank everyone who took the time to read my rant yesterday.  I realize I'm known for over-sharing but I do feel like someone has been through "it" (whatever "it" is at that moment) and will have something to share about what I'm going through that might help.  I really appreciate all of the messages and comments I received.  I truly adore everyone who is on this journey with me. 

So I have been thinking of how to "fix" my situation.  Sitting around on my ass isn't helping.  I think I have let so many things be "out of my hands."  I had a job that wasn't particularly challenging (but allowed me to work from home, which was nice).  Now I have a very stressful job and a long commute (which I am not loving a ton either).  My weight.  My money issues.  My relationship.  I don't take responsibility for anything, it seems. 

I fully believe I should be medicated but hate how anti-depressants react in my body.  The ones that make my brain feel better make my body fat.  Then there are the ones that don't make me fat but make me unable to sleep or sweat so profusely that it looks like I'm constantly walking around straight out of the shower.  I have tried some "over the counter" natural type remedies.  5HTP messed with my dreams.  I am currently trying DHEA, but haven't been on it long enough to report anything.  I am also going to try increasing my magnesium intake.  I take GABA for anxiety.  I take a sublingual, which helps when I'm in the middle of a "freak-out." 

I don't feel like I'm a lazy person but I don't love exercise, that's for sure.  I don't get that "WOWWEEEEEE" feeling that exercise-addicts seem to report.  But I do know I feel better when I exercise, and I sleep better too.  I'm no couch potato either.  I get up at 5:30 AM on the week days.  Sure, I usually lay around and whine to myself about how I hate mornings for about 30 minutes.  Sounds like a waste of time but I just don't pop out of bed (Rob said the first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is frown).  I then have about half an hour to workout.  Lately, thanks to my plantar fasciitis, exercise consists of some stretching and massaging of my foot.  Then I get ready for work.  I am out the door by 7:45 AM so I can catch the train to San Francisco.  Sure, I could workout on my lunch hour, but I sweat like a pig, so I would definitely have to shower, and it seems like a lot of effort for a very short workout.  I get off work at 5:00 PM and walk back to the train.  I get home around 6:00 PM. 

This is where life gets fun.  On Monday nights, I teach at Twirly Girls.  So I have just enough time to shove some food in my face, change my clothes, then drive 25 miles to class.  On a "normal" day, I should be getting ready to get in bed by 9:00 or 9:30 PM.  However, my class is from 8:00 to 9:00.  By the time I clean up, drop off carpoolers and get home, it's usually 10:00 PM.  Tuesday nights, I have yoga at 8:00 PM (at least it's close to home).  Wednesday nights, I have a standing meeting from 7:00 to 8:00 PM.  Thursdays I do try to leave open (and have the option of taking yoga that evening as well).  By Friday, I'm toast.  I really try not to make Friday plans.  I do really enjoy Afro-Haitian class on Friday nights, but haven't made it in a few months.  I get off work at 5:00 PM in San Francisco.  I then have to find something to do for two-plus hours.  Class is at 7:30 PM (also in San Francisco so I can't go home in between).  It usually isn't out until close to 9:00 PM.  Then we have to hike back to BART and take the train home.  Even if we don't stop to eat dinner, we aren't home until 10:00 PM. 

So, I only get a few hours from when I get home until when I should be getting in bed to get a full night's sleep.  I need my full night of sleep.  I am not one of those people who can "survive" off five hours.  I survive off seven, but really need eight and a half.  I find it a huge waste of time, but haven't found a way around sleep (and, no, I don't drink coffee, nor do I intend to start drinking it as a sleep replacement).  If I do watch TV at night, I am usually multi-tasking, either writing blogs or articles, or playing Angry Birds. 

Saturday mornings, I am trying to get back into the swing of taking class at Twirly Girls.  I love Twirly Girls and wish I lived closer.  Twenty-five miles doesn't sound TOO far, but it's a 40 minute drive without traffic.  So, running over to the studio for class or to blow off steam is never a quick trip.  I have to plan it, and thanks to high gas prices and the fact that I drive a gas-guzzler, I can't do it as often as I'd like.  Sunday mornings, I take a great yoga class.  It's a good strengthening stretch class.  I like those multi-tasking classes.  I need a good stretch but I love building strength at the same time.  Then over the weekend, I get to cram in all the other stuff I no longer can do on work-at-home days, or lunch, or right after work since I get home later.  Laundry, groceries, vet visits for two sick cats, cleaning, organizing, cooking, writing, birthdays, socializing, workshops, etc.  If I had a dollar for every friend laying a guilt trip that I don't hang out enough, I'd be rich.  I'm hardly out there having social hour on the weekends.  I'm usually doing shit that isn't fun but has to get done, and I'm missing a lot of fun stuff because I have to get my errands and other chores done. 

Even if I did throw some laundry or errands on the back burner, and I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses, but there does become a point where I have to ask myself if spending ALL of my waking spare time trying to shove in exercise is worth it if that's ALL I ever do?!  I need to live at some point and I feel like I'm not doing that right now.

And, not to change the subject, but to get back to my issues with "dieting" and extreme exercise.  I really don't know if my crazy brain won't "allow" me to do that stuff or if I'm just making excuses.  You can't fail if you don't try, right?!  I guess I'm mostly just tired of everyone insisting that their way is the best way.  You know the best way?  The one you stick with.  I don't count calories and haven't for the better part of a year.  I do have a general understanding of how many calories I SHOULD eat and what food to eat to stay within that range.  I also have a desk full of candy, which is my downfall as soon as I feel a little stressed out.  It is why I am failing (it's not like I eat pizza and donuts all day, so it's the "snacking" that is getting me).  Don't tell me to remove the candy from the situation.  I will get my chubby ass out of my chair and walk across the street to buy some when I'm super stressed out, so I might as well make it convenient for myself so I'm not taking candy breaks with the smokers. 

I did receive a lot of great suggestions for different types of websites to check out.  Some to help with self-esteem.  Others to help with spirituality.  I am definitely looking into them.

http://www.eckharttolle.com/
http://thisisnotadiet-itsmylife.com/
https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Body-Is-Not-an-Apology/201907573156278
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Voluptuously-Yours/108770432490938

As most of you know, I already follow http://danceswithfat.wordpress.com/.  I don't agree with everything Ragen says, but I do agree with 95% of it, and I respect what she's trying to do.  At the end of the day, all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. 

Look, I know I'm crazy.  I know that 90% of my misery is created right up there in my little pea brain.  It doesn't make it any less real as I'm going through it.  I have to make myself come to terms with a few things though. 

1.     I have to work because I have to make money.  Sure, I may have picked an industry that gets off on mentally abusing their employees, but that's why I make the big bucks.  I am hoping for a lottery win but, until then, it's off to the BART every day for me.

2.     I have to exercise.  Daily.  No excuses.  Until my foot is better, running isn't an option.  And I don't want to spend a ton of money on a gym.  So maybe I just do yoga in my front room.  It has to happen though.

3.     I have to monitor my food.  No calorie counting, but the candy consumption needs to go down.  No joke. 

4.     I have to work on my relationship.  I am so wrapped up in my own anger and bullshit that I push away the one person I should be leaning on for support. 

5.     I need to kick the negativity.  It is literally ruining me.  I get bogged down in a spiral of hate and anger that can throw me into a fit of tears like a two year old. 

Again, I do appreciate all of the positive comments I have received.  I really am going to put some effort into being a more positive person, which I hope translates into a lot of this stuff fixing itself.  My first goal is to read a positive message to myself every morning, and truly embrace it that day.  If you have any great websites that you use for positive messages, please send them my way.

Thanks for listening (again).  :-D

P.S.  I realize that many of you are still receiving a notice from your web browser that my blog is associated with Vertical's worm/bug issue.  I have gone through all the Google webmaster tools to remove any potential threat, and Google's tools are telling me my site is safe and contains no viruses.  I have removed any links and banners related to Vertical.  Yet Google's browser is still catching the potential "threat."  From what I understand, no one has caught any viruses from my site, but I am still working on fixing whatever the hell is causing the warning.  Thanks for your patience, and for the notes letting me know that it's still an issue.  I am working on it!!  :-)

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two Faced

I'm really struggling here.  I know I've written about it before, but apparently it's bothering me again so I feel compelled to write.  I feel like I am being two faced and I don't know how to fix it.

Almost nine years ago, I had gastric bypass surgery -- completely scrambled my insides -- in order to be skinny healthy.  But, guess what?  I never got skinny.  I got somewhat "normal," if a six foot tall girl could ever be considered normal.  But I was never skinny.  I have gained back 65 pounds.  I yo-yo'ed before.  My highest post-surgery weight was 350.  I got down to 180.  I "settled" around 200 pounds.  I was comfortable at that weight.  I could kinda eat what I want, although I still needed to exercise.  But I didn't feel like I was over-doing the exercise.  I tried some depression medication that bounced me up to 222 pounds pretty quickly (Wait, what?!  AFTER weight loss, I was depressed?!  I thought it was all roses and puppies after you got skinny...).  I struggled to take those pounds off (mostly by over-exercising, but not truly controlling my eating), and sat comfortable around 200 pounds again.  In the last few years, stress, medications and just not knowing how to deal with life has rocketed me up to 250 pounds.

And here is my dilemma.

As I struggle to accept myself, my body and my weight, I have been spending time reading about Health At Every Size.  Some seem to poo-poo the movement as making it okay to "let yourself go."  I see it more like acknowledging that skinny doesn't equal fit and healthy, and "fat" doesn't necessarily equal unfit and unhealthy.  Also, human beings deserve to be treated with respect, despite their pant size.  I go around on Facebook telling everyone they should love themselves the way they are, meanwhile, I am a co-facilitator of a weight loss surgery support group that is essentially encouraging people to completely re-arrange their innards.  I am honest with the group about my struggles  -- to the point where one member actually told me that I needed to stop assuming that everyone who is overweight has a food addiction (although I do stand by my belief that most of us do have some addiction issues, which is why many just switch addictions after their ability to over-eat is taken away from them).  I also tell people that only they and their doctors can make the decision to have surgery.  I do not support the surgery, but I support their decision to have it, if that's what they choose (if that makes sense).  

Now, here's my issue.

Can I truly embrace Health At Every Size when *I* don't want to be fat?  No, I didn't say I don't want to be unhealthy.  I don't want to be fat.  My body hurts.  I get all sweaty and gross.  I feel ugly.  I have met plenty of "fat" people who are probably in better physical shape than I am.  But I have more pain and health issues now than I did when I was bigger (sure, age may play a part, or the fact that I'm way more active -- who knows?!).  I want women to know they are beautiful regardless of their size but *I* don't feel beautiful at this size. 

I can't diet.  Or so that's what I tell myself.  If I try to follow a strict diet plan, I fall off the wagon quickly, and the compulsion to overeat consumes me.  I don't want to diet anyway.  It's lame.  I have a co-worker constantly trying to police what I put in my mouth.  I don't need that.  I don't want to do extreme workout programs that boast more about their members' injuries than their success rate.  Why can't I just eat a sensible amount of food each day (notice I didn't call it a diet?), exercise daily and be a "normal" size?! 

I had fallen into a weight gain pattern over the last few years, but I ended 2012 weighing less than when the year started.  It was only by a couple of pounds, but that's a success in my book.  I have ended my free-fall (rise?) weight gain.  I don't need to lose all 50 pounds, but I would sure take 20.  Or 30.  Maybe I'd be happy if I lost 30 pounds.  Or maybe I'll never be "happy" at all, because despite all of the therapy and happy talk I spout, I truly don't know how to make that happen. 

I didn't ask for this screwed up brain, but it's the only one I've got, so I need to learn how to deal (or face a lifetime of misery?!).  I am putting this out there to ask for any advice that people have to learn how to truly accept themselves -- their body, their limitations, etc.  I am tired of wasting energy on all of this anxiety.  I need to change but I don't know how.  I am battling a lifetime of being told I'm not good enough and being fat isn't ok.  I'm sure many before me have done it, so please share your stories with me.  Thank you!!  :-)