New Clothing Muse – It’s made in the US!

I’m in trouble. I found a new brand of clothing I **REALLY** like. And no, I don’t sell them and I didn’t get any free products to review or anything. I was just invited to an online boutique event and liked what I saw. Haha. It’s called LuLaRoe.

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Here’s why I like it:

1. All their items except their leggings are made in the USA.
2. With that in mind, their prices are very fair!
3. They carry most items from XXS to 3XL.
4. They make leggings that flatter and fit large ladies like me.
5. Their clothing is modest but fun.
6. The shapes and styles are forgiving if you gain or lose weight.
7. The prints are unique to 1,000 pieces.
8. It’s a small business opportunity that helps women gain a side or full time income.
9. Their items dip lower in the back to be most flattering.
10. The models on their site all look happy and healthy and show a good range of sizes.

Let me clarify that when I say modest, I mean modest for my personal standards. I like to be comfortable and part of that comfort is not having to stress about necklines and hemlines. I personally do not like attention drawn to those areas as I prefer to wear clothing to express myself. And I think despite size and stretch, it’s an unwritten rule that bums should be covered when wearing leggings. Which they also keep in mind. And my fellow plus sizers know the struggle of a dress being perfectly cut for the front but riding a bit high in the back because of a well padded behind. That doesn’t happen here!

Keeping the KonMari mindset, I appreciate the idea of clothing that sparks joy and one of those joys is knowing that my tall and curvy leggings will not stretch out and will fit me at my current size of 20W all the way down to a size 12. It’s something that will stay in my closet even if lose an impressive amount of weight…which I hope to do gradually! It’s priced well but still enough that I consider each item I buy an investment piece and cannot impulsively fill my closet all at once. The leggings will definitely last me the longest in my journey to weight loss, but the other styles work well belted or cinched or tied too.  My favorite dressy pieces are the Amelias which are dresses with sleeves and hidden pockets with a flattering box pleat, and the Nicoles which are mid length sleeve dresses with a full circle bottom for twirling or swishing or heck, even sitting indian style on the floor. The Randys are baseball type tees which I think are really comfy but feminine.

Here are some pictures from LuLaRoe’s instagram:


There’s a lot of prints, so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. I love prints but even some of the ones I’ve seen have been too funky for me. But with the variety they offer, you’ll also see stripes, florals, and solids in the mix. See how varied the ladies are in their features and actual branding? I LOVE IT.

Here’s a picture of me modeling one of their funky tights. Unedited besides being cropped so you don’t see my toes which are in desperate need for a pedi!

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What are some brands you’ve found work well for your journey? I found City Chic last year, and LuLaRoe this year, and am very happy with those two resources. They make me feel good in what I wear.

Fitbit Bits – Post #2

I kicked butt yesterday/last week!

Average workday steps: 3500-5000
Average weekend/days off steps: 7000-10000
Gym Routine: Not established yet but going when I can
Badges:  5k steps, 10k steps, 26 miles, 70 miles, 10 floors, 25 floors – New!
Short Term Goal: 3 gym days, tone up and lose weight/inches for flights
Long Term Goal:  5 workouts/week, fit into a size 14/16 and set second/final size goal
Weight Lost: 3 Pounds – New!


I’m not good at syncing every day but it keeps track anyway so when I synced yesterday I earned the 10 Floors that morning and went on to earn 25 Floors and 70 miles late that evening!

Take a look at my floors yesterday. The step count looks meager but that is because the stairmaster is a monster and 30 steps = 1 flight!

I’m suffering a little jello leg syndrome but my goal was to uncomfortably push my endurance. I activated some awesome leg muscles and pushed my lungs with the incline and not resting between several floors. I didn’t do 37 back to back. That WOULD be crazy. But I did about 7-10 and would rest.

I finally saw some scale victory this week – THREE pounds! I tend not to lose at all, but when I do, it’s usually a cluster and then nothing. We’ll see how it goes this week.

My dad hit a long plateau with his weight loss and I offered to help him do my eating style with him to see if it helps. That is going to keep me extra accountable and may even encourage me to try some new recipes now that it’d be for more than me! And my boyfriend went out a few weeks after I got my fitbit and bought one for himself [that was the plan all along, mwhahaha, to get him to want one] and so I have an accountability partner in a sense with us both owning trackers. He’s more active on the job than I am but less active outside of work. With his tracker he is now going out of his way to fit in walks. I love that we’re both working towards better health.

On Monday nights, my boyfriend comes over for dinner. I usually make a trim healthy mama dish and he doesn’t mind. Now we’re adding in walks and hopefully as it warms up, hikes to the mix.

I have a lot more to improve, especially in gym routine, so I’m excited to see potentially more progress as I work on my goals.

 

Heavier Than Ever. Literally.

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This has been a rough end of the year. I’ve had many good things come out of it and can’t say there hasn’t been happy times, but overall? Rough.

Moving.
New Commitments.
Depression and Anxiety.

I can’t use these things as excuses, but I can say they’ve played a part.

I have a big confession.

I’m the heaviest weight I’ve ever been my whole life. And I’ve given into emotional eating the last few months.

I’ve got to change. And not half-heartedly. This is an all time high for weight and emotionally an all time self-esteem low.

I got invited to a 10 week challenge and I can’t even do it. I can’t take a picture of my weight where it is. Even if it’s only that person knowing where I started.

I need to sit down with my household and let them know I can’t keep going on like this. I need their encouragement and accountability.  I need to schedule time to make food on the weekends and during the week. I need to define a workout schedule too.  And I need to be true to my desires and ACT on exercise and eating right rather than just acknowledging it.

First Ideal Goal: 28 pounds by my birthday in February.

That gives me 7 weeks. That means 4 pounds a week. Probably not ideal for long term loss as the aim should be 2ish pounds a week and I lose slow anyway. But I know I have some holiday and carb weight that should drop fairly easily (about 10 pounds) and will figure a tapering after that.

I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite. I don’t want to share health advice and seem like I’m doing great when I’m not. But I do know better and need to follow what I know is good for me.

Fitbits and Notions!

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Can you guess what I got as an early Christmas gift? I’m really enjoying my fitbit even though I was skeptical that it was just an overpriced pedometer. Every other article is about death and heart disease and my spirit animal is a sloth. I have several loves and hobbies – none which require much movement. It doesn’t help that I work a desk job.

Yesterday I clocked in a mere 2600 steps from morning until after work. Pathetic! We’re suppose to aim for 10,000 a day, and even with walking last night to see Christmas lights I only ended up with a grand total of 6500 steps. I like that this gadget will help me stay accountable for movement.

And as far as notions – I mean sewing notions! I am floored once again about things working out at just the right timing. One of my friends has been sharing about her sewing projects and I and a couple others voiced that we would love to learn so she opened her home and taught us a bunch! I thought I’d be going empty handed and just watch but I ended up spying a very basic Singer sewing machine for $26! NEW. AT TARGET. It was meant to be.

I don’t see myself getting super adventurous but I want to get a decent understanding! My friend shared a really cool tidbit:

Pin vertically instead of sideways so the sewing machine can “jump” the needles and you can pull them out later! That way the pinhead doesn’t accidentally get in the way.

Does anyone have any fitbit or sewing tidbits for this newbie?

Thick. Thin. Fitting in.

I stumbled upon this entry today:

http://www.unlockingthebible.org/thin-western-cult/

I thought it was a pretty good read. It was a good reminder to not let peer pressure or trends decide what is ideal for my body.

Two thoughts though –

1. In earlier times, plumpness was a sign of health or abundance. It was good to see one well fed and healthy. Thin might have been interpreted as underfed, or possibly not well.

2. The passages mentioned in the Bible are from a lover to his love. This is an intimate portrait he paints. In the same way, every man and woman has their own idea of what is lovely in the sense of personal preference.

Some may enjoy shorter, taller, thinner, larger…it’s not a one size fit all guide. And ultimately, other people’s preferences should not sway one’s opinion of self.

“How do you like you?” I want that question to be enough. 

I want to be sensitive to ladies who have the opposite problem I do. I tack weight on easily…some are unable to gain despite a healthful diet. I’m on the other side of the issue, but I get it. And while the world may cast different labels and judgements on us based on our sizes, the root of the above article brings up a good point: how do we let cultural idealism define our personal goals? If we let the ideals in, are they being harmful?

For me personally, these struggles come in the form of gym/health culture and fashion. I want to be physically conditioned for the benefit of strength and toning, not for show. I struggle with the model-type fitness gurus on social media teaching me new workout moves. I know that if I “keep it real” with myself I know I want to look like them but also that my results will probably entail loose skin and stretch marks. I look at fashion magazines and feel like I’ll never find myself at a size small enough to “pull off” a certain look or heck, even fit the sizes they carry. I’ll toss $100 at the health store pretending organic this and nutritional that will magically transform me because it’s “healthy.”  But those aren’t where my focus needs to be. So, my personal resolve was to stop fashion magazine subscriptions and look for more realistic health and fitness gurus on youtube rather than stick to just top names in the fitness world.

When I’m honest with myself and ask, “How do you like you?” What do I see?

I see a 180 pound gal, not the 125-135 I should be according to BMI. I see myself dressing relatively the same because I like comfortable fashion and more modest options. I don’t see prominent abs or a body built for a fashion magazine. I just see a feeling of efficiency and contentment from hard work.

And that’s when I remind myself, “Laura, that’s where you want to be. That’s where you like you.”

Weight Discrimination…from Both Sides.

Opinions from outside:

A lovely lady whom I look up to for her natural health knowledge wrote a beautiful article about weight discrimination happening to someone they love. It was really dear to my heart because it is written so thoroughly and from an outside perspective.

Opinions from Inside:

Yesterday I was at a bachelorette party and realized that while I’ve worked very hard at accepting myself and having body peace, I was still being critical of self. The rest of the girls at the party were typical sizes and I was the only plus size girl. I wore black slacks and a fun top and ruched jacket over it while everyone else had modest mid thigh black dresses and showed a little leg. First, I felt bad that I might have been underdressed, and two, I didn’t have the fancy heels and club-type apparel like the rest of them. I even spent an unnecessary 10 minutes debating what covered my arms best and realized I shouldn’t have felt ashamed to hide them.

We all carpooled, 5 of us total, in one car. And that’s where my self-discrimination started setting in. I panicked for a second wondering if they’d make me sit up front because I’m biggest or if people would complain if I was sitting in the back.

“Bride to be in the front!” The driver called out. She deserved the front passenger seat and they didn’t even think twice about her being up front.

I took a deep breath and slid in the back and tried to pretend I could take up less space. Nobody complained on the ride to our destination or on the way back home. Nobody called out my black slacks instead of dress. Nobody questioned my kitten heels when everyone else had stilettos. They treated me kindly. I was my worst offender.

Sometimes we are the worst discriminator. We make our weight a big deal when it’s not. I know this is something I need to work on. Yes, I am conscious that I take up more space, but I shouldn’t make it a bigger deal than it is. I rob my own joy when I self-consciously think about myself as being fat when I should be enjoying my time around others.

When the night ended, I was grateful that nobody made my size a big deal, and that I needed to worry about it less. I should reinvest those thoughts into encouraging reasons to exercise and eat right, if anything. And in hindsight, I wore kitten heels because I knew they’d be cute but comfortable with my top, and WE DID do a lot of walking and standing. I would have hated myself if I wore anything taller. And, I wanted to wear pants because I wasn’t in the mood to wear a dress. So, lesson learned. Be content of self. Have a good time. Don’t fret the details. Be grateful for people who see you as a person, not a large person, and treat you like everyone else. 🙂

Stress Eating Happened

This last week was a detrimental one. It was full of stress and difficult dealings and I let it get the best of me. Not only was I a grump at times, I let my feelings get a grasp on my meal choices. A burger one night, pizza the other, a night of chocolate overloading…and my body definitely felt it. I’m surprised and motivated by that fact, even though it sounds horrible. My body let me know it did not like the compulsive unwholesome choices I made and for the first time in a long time, I had gastric distress, tossing and turning, and even horrible dreams! I honestly thought I was coming down with the flu one day.

I may not have much control of what goes on around me, but I do have control of my feelings and actions. While I let myself down, I know that it’s not the end of the world, and that I can change my outlook again on food choices. In fact, in retrospect, I am proud of myself for remaining rather collected in other aspects and not resorting to anger and attitude issues. If I have moved over that hump, I can hone in better on food choices next time life gives me a heaping load of crazy.

I spent more of my weekend at my parents than my own place to try to resolve some things. Two sale site ads and two trips later, one truck borrow, hauling, bringing chairs in while it rained cats and dogs, and some higher decibel dealings and we have a couch and dining set and basic moving plan for my aunt and uncle and a solidified wedding guest list for our side of the family for my brother’s wedding. PHEW!

I’m hoping this week will bring some TLC for me. I’ve decided to hold off on Bible study until after my brother’s wedding and reunion are done for sanity. Instead I’ll be focusing on personal devotions and reading through Systematic Theology. This means I won’t have three nights back to back of rushing to events and getting home around 9pm. Yes, you read that right! This Friday and Saturday I have a ladies conference that I hope will be encouraging and motivational. And tonight, I try my hand at a wine and painting event.

First hurdles – 10 pounds gone

I’d like to pretend losing the first 10 pounds is a big deal, but while 10 pounds may be half, or a quarter even, of someone’s goal, 10 pounds is a measly tenth of mine and if I’m completely honest, I’d say I have more than that to ideally lose.

10 pounds is about all I lose when I try, and so instead of feeling accomplished, I feel trepidation and worry that’s as far as I’ll get. That’s where I cap off…that’s where my focus strays as the pounds get harder to peel off.

So, I’m scared. But I’m confident even though I worry. Instead of seeing a long line of hurdles ahead of me, I’m going to see myself as a person jumping each hurdle ten pounds lighter at a time…I can do this, and each time, there’s less of me going forward.

I’m ready to prepare for leap number two. I’m ready to stop feeling stuck. The truth is I’m comfortable with my body but my health is showing me that I’ve reached a point I can’t handle. I’ve had more breathing problems as of late and know dropping as little as 25 pounds might make a big difference. Can I get past the next hurdle and halfway to third for better blood pressure and breathing? I’m going to try…

Being Obese at an Age of “Good Metabolism”

I was an overweight kid, fat teen, and am an obese adult. I won’t sugarcoat my condition with “nicer” terms. Weight has been a struggle all of my life. I believe it’s a combination of things: hereditary (thanks, Dad!), poor exercise habits, a penchant for sweets, and underlying health issues. I’ve always eaten healthy – let’s be clear on that. My parents made sure to incorporate copious amounts of veggies in each meal and they were balanced. I had a tendency to overeat meals I really enjoyed, while other times I ate a very reasonable portion. We did not bake cookies and keep sweets around the house nor did I get processed snacks in my lunchbox. We hardly ever ate out.

As a working teen, I had the money and ability to drive myself around and eat/buy junk. Sugary coffee drinks and smoothies became a popular way of hanging out and catching up with friends. In college, starving student me sometimes cut corners and picked fries and a burger over the salad at the student cafe because frankly, I wanted to stay full and a burger+fry combo was $4.50 and a salad was $7.00. Add to that many sleepless nights attributed to projects and studying, and you have obese Laura.

What I didn’t understand as tween and teen was that the sluggishness I felt and intolerance for cold were tell-tale signs of a thyroid condition. It wasn’t until 20 that I was officially tested and found out I had hypothyroidism. That was the missing piece to the weight condition puzzle. Beyond weight, I need help with function to help my body work better. I was on medication for a few years and got to a point where my thyroid levels were about right. It’s been two years since I needed medication, but I feel signs that it is low again, so I will be testing my levels again.

This is my story. I understand that maybe Erica grew up getting McDonalds every day after school, also couldn’t care less about exercise, and enjoyed sugary drinks like me and made it into adulthood with a svelte figure. We’re built differently. I possibly even ate much better than her and more nutritiously, but we still have a 100 pound difference between us.

It’s rough having to be more conscious about your body at an age where many of your peers are able to eat whatever they want and don’t need to focus on weight loss. It’s rough when ads for your age group are for stores you don’t fit, and styles don’t flatter your body type. Sometimes it feels unfair knowing that having a burger and fries will affect my weight more than my friends. But I get it – I get that we are all different. I get that being conscious now means I will be making better body choices now as a quarter-lifer that hopefully save me from health problems midlife.

I’m glad that there is a plus size movement encouraging overweight women to be comfortable with who they are at their size. I have been grateful for the stores selling plus size fashion so I can wear flattering styles like my peers. I’m happy that people are taking a message of body positivity – to be happy being you at any size. And while certain bloggers and exercise gurus are wagging their fingers at a movement that encourages acceptance of an unhealthy weight, remember that I was eating chicken and broccoli while Erica was piling her plate with pasta. We each have a journey of health. Mine is losing weight and continuing to better portion and find what works for my body while maybe Erica’s is incorporating a more balanced plate but not needing any portion restrictions. I’m finding a new confidence in myself as I own who I am and see myself as more than just my weight. I’m making better food choices, making most of my meals at home, trying out new exercise techniques, and more committed to self-improvement as a whole.