Fashion Week, part 1

Last week and weekend marked the spring/summer shows for Kansas City Fashion Week. I went to a few events, as I have the last few season, and there was some really great stuff offered this time around. The designers showed some great stuff, and it’ll be fun to see similar items in the stores come spring.

I was able to wear some new (and smaller) clothes to the KCFW events, and it felt really good! I continue to lose, slowly but surely, and keep the weight off, so I know these clothes will eventually be too big as well, and I CAN’T WAIT!
I went a little out of my comfort zone with a bodycon dress on Wednesday night, for the Runway on the Rooftop show, at the rooftop pool for Kansas City’s One Light Apartments.
It definitely wasn’t something I would’ve worn, or felt like I could’ve worn, even a year ago. And definitely not in 2013 when I started.

Fringe 1

DSC_0301DSC_0305

The KCFW shows have changed quite a bit since I started attending, and definitely for the better. They’ve always been good, but they’re so much better now. And the new twist of the rooftop runway show, with the runway set up in the pool. It added a really fun ambiance that made the night really relaxed and exciting.

Zafar

A few of the looks from Zafar Boutique in Kansas City

 

Some of the runway showings from The Garment District Kansas City.

Some of the runway showings from The Garment District Kansas City.

 

Measurements (-16.5)

Have I told you guys how bad I am at this blogging on a consistent basis thing before? Right.
I need to stay healthy, and I’d probably be better at it.

During the past year, I’ve had some crazy health issues, some that are chronic and won’t be going anywhere — ever — but I’d sure love to have managed sometime before the apocalypse, and some that were stupid and only temporary.
I’ve known I had some sort of inflammatory arthritis for a while now, but it has started escalating recently. The treatment, which has previously worked to maintain a manageable level of pain, is no longer enough. My doctor retired and the new one not only wanted to switch the treatment plan, but also the diagnosis. I’ve sought a second (err, third?) opinion, and gotten a different diagnosis still. All of the doctors agree there is something wrong, but none of them agree what is wrong — rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, psoriatic arthritis, something else. Who knows. It is annoying, and frustrating, and exhausting. I try to stay positive, but it gets to me sometimes.

I exercise, partly to lose weight and partly because it is proven to help with the day-to-day pain of all of these conditions. I don’t know which one I have, but I’m trying to do my part to help myself feel better.

I had my gallbladder removed in February. I think I talked about it briefly in a previous post, but after months and months of eating nothing but carbs, it was hard to retrain myself to eat correctly. I’m still not all the way back, but I’m still losing weight (just a little slower than I probably could be). I pushed through the pain and weakness a lot with the gallbladder and kept going to the gym, and even though I was stuffing my face with tons of carbs, I lost quite a bit of weight during the time the doctors were trying to figure out what was wrong, because I didn’t want to eat much.

Hips: 45 inches
Natural waist: 35 inches
Belly: 39 inches
R. Thigh: 25.5 inches
L. Thigh: 25.5 inches
R. Arm: 14.5 inches
L. Arm: 15.5 inches
Bust: 47 inches
Chest: 37.5 inches
Weight: 209 pounds

I haven’t posted measurements since last September, and I have lost 16.5 inches since then! I was amazed when I took those measurements. I didn’t expect to have lost that much, and I love it.

I have a couple recipes in mind to share, so I need to start cooking again.
I moved in April, and I have been just as bad at cooking for myself as I have at posting here.

Have a great Monday!

I’m alive!

Oh, hi.

I saw this BuzzFeed article that really hit home, and sort of inspired me to post, and I’ve clearly sucked at it since before my gallbladder surgery (I had it out in February), so today is as good a day as any, yes?

I was reading through the list of tips those 12 people had, and I was like, YES! Such good advice! Some of the things I’ve learned while I’ve been losing as well, and it felt worthy of sharing. Especially the part about starting slow. I have tried so many times to jump head-first into weight loss programs, and failed every single time. I know it is because I never actually changed my lifestyle, just my plans temporarily.
When I started this time, I knew I needed to introduce one thing at a time. I started with exercise. I got into that routine, got comfortable going to the gym, comfortable with the moves and with moving — then I added changes to my diet. It was frustrating because I didn’t see much difference on the scale for a long time, because I hadn’t changed my eating habits. I saw my body changing from the workouts, but the scale stayed about the same. Once I changed my diet though, I saw the weight come off.

I’m obviously still working, and there are still more changes to my diet I need to make (particularly when it comes to carbs). When my gallbladder went bad in November, I had to completely change my diet, involuntarily. I couldn’t eat much of anything, and didn’t, but what I did eat was pretty much strictly carbs. Prior to that I had done a pretty good job of cutting my carbs down, so now I’m re-addicted and am trying to teach myself how to eat correctly again. Definitely a big setback, but manageable.

The good news is, I lost about 20 pounds while on the “my stomach hurts so bad I think I’m dying” diet, and it has stayed off, even now that I am able to eat again, so, silver linings and all that!

Now that I’m completely healed, I need to get back into the full swing of things. I’ve been back in the gym, but only off and on (between crazy work deadlines and recovery, I have been slacking), I’m okay with things moving slowly, because I know I’ll get there eventually, and when I do, I’ll stay there.

Side note: I bought a plus size 0 swim suit yesterday. That is usually about a size 12. A 12!!!! That’s madness.

Top problems.

So, when you’re a plus size girl who wants to exercise without looking frumpy, you run into quite a problem — or at least I have. I’ve been able to find plenty of workout pants, but workout tops have presented me with some difficulty. Everything is either super tight or really loose and stretches out the second you sweat in it.

I also have a hard time with sports bras. I’m pretty busty (that’s an understatement), so finding a sports bra that fits and supports, and without needing a second job to buy more than one, is a lot like winning the lottery. Most affordable sports bras I’ve found are only for cup sizes up to DD.

I’ve scoured the internet to find a few recommendations, unfortunately I’ve not tried them all. I have, however added several of them to my various online carts to buy and try. I’m hopeful.

Tops:

I have a grey version of this shirt (I think it says, “I can, I will”), and I bought it a little big — an XXL in-store. I have only worn it once, and I hope it shrinks when I wash it, because I was way too big. If you’re sometimes between sizes at Old Navy, this is a loose-fitting tank, and I wouldn’t suggest sizing up.

Just My Size tank by Hanes

Just My Size tank by Hanes

I wasn’t expecting to find such a cute top from Just My Size, but I am really excited about it. So fun.

I don’t have this one yet, but I purchased it last night. I hope I love it. (Plus, it’s on sale, AND if you use your Kohl’s charge and the code HUGS30 you can get an additional 30% off your order.)

 

Sports Bras:

Lane Bryant convertible sports bra

Lane Bryant convertible sports bra

I own this Lane Bryant bra, and even though it is expensive, it is worth the money.

I ordered this last night from Kohl’s as well. The price tag is a little less offensive ($34 still seems steep for a sports bra, but if it is high-impact and works, I’ll pay it) so I’m going to try it out. Hopefully it’s a good one.

This one I haven’t tried, and didn’t purchase, but it comes in sizes up to 46 DDD, so that offers a few more options than most, plus is currently only listed at $39.99. Again, a little steep, but if it does the job, it’s much better than paying $62 for something similar (or $12 for something made of a flimsy cotton that does nothing more than a tight tank would).

Any other suggestions for places I should look? I’m so cheap when it comes to workout gear, though I know I shouldn’t be, and need to expand my selection (read:not need to laundry as often, lol).

Delicious rice swap

I think I’ve mentioned how I pretty much live on rice or quinoa and chicken. This is approximately 85% of my diet when I’m eating normally (well, normal for me). Problem is, I really like the rice/quinoa portion of the meal, and would prefer more of it and less chicken.

I read something (I wish I could remember what it was) that mentioned cauliflower rice. I thought it was going to be a type of rice I could buy at a store, and started searching for more information. I don’t like most vegetables, and don’t like cauliflower unless it is in a stir-fry with plenty of sauce and sauteed to the point it no longer looks like cauliflower. So, I don’t know why I was so interested in cauliflower rice (once I realized I couldn’t just pick it up at the store), but I’m sure glad I was.

During my search, I stumbled across this recipe by EverydayMaven. I followed her recipe pretty much to the letter, including her baking suggestion, but I added a little flavor to the cauliflower with some Wyler’s Chicken Granules. (I also add a sprinkle of the granules when cooking brown rice or quinoa in my rice cooker, just to keep it from being bland.)

What you need

What you need for prep

What you need:
Head of cauliflower
Large knife
Cutting board
Food processor
Large bowl
Quart-size freezer bags
Wyler’s Chicken Granules

Step one:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Remove all leaves from around the base of the head. Break as close to the stem as possible.

Remove all leaves from around the base of the head. Break as close to the stem as possible.

Step two:

Cut cauliflower into large pieces, leaving the core in tact.

Cut cauliflower into large pieces, leaving the core in tact.

Step three:

Throw core out (bottom right corner) and cut or break cauliflower into medium-size florets.

Throw core out (bottom right corner) and cut or break cauliflower into medium-size florets.

Step four:

Put florets into food processor in small batches. Make sure not to add too many, or it will not chop everything.

Put florets into food processor in small batches. Make sure not to add too many, or it will not chop everything.

Step five:

Once cauliflower is finely chopped, move from food processor bowl to a larger bowl until entire head is processed.

Once cauliflower is finely chopped, move from food processor bowl to a larger bowl until entire head is processed.

Step six:

Spray a baking sheet  with cooking oil (one with edges will be beneficial). Measure a 2-cup serving spread a into a thin layer on the baking sheet.

Spray a baking sheet with cooking oil (one with edges will be beneficial). Measure a 2-cup serving spread a into a thin layer on the baking sheet.

After you’ve measured your serving onto the baking sheet, you can measure the remaining rice into the quart-size freezer bags, also in 2-cup servings. Put these in the freezer and you have some ready-to-go for next time.

Step seven:

Sprinkle with chicken granules (or whatever spices you like), and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees. I bake it for 7 minutes, pull it out and stir it around, then spread back out into a thin layer and bake it for another 8 minutes.

Sprinkle with chicken granules (or whatever spices you like), and bake for 15 minutes at 425 degrees.
I bake it for 7 minutes, pull it out and stir it around, then spread back out into a thin layer and bake it for another 8 minutes.

I’ve been eating my cauliflower rice with grilled chicken and I’m loving it. I’ve made three batches now, and I’ve got several bags in my freezer ready to use! It’s a perfect single-serving side to go along with my dinner, and so few calories. I’m a big fan of that combination.

Have any of you tried cauliflower rice before?

Back at it.

Confession time: I’ve been out of the gym pretty consistently since early November.

2014 was a bad year for me health-wise, but also a year I made major strides toward a healthier body. It was a very confusing time. A previous boss put it best in my Christmas card when she said, “I hear you’re sick. It always happens when you’re attempting to get healthy.”
I’ve had some stomach/bile duct/gallbladder problems which have made it difficult to eat, therefor difficult to fuel my body, and in turn impossible to go to the gym. The doctors have run multiple tests and thrown a handful of new meds at me, but still no answers. I’ve been able to work some protein back into my diet though, so I’m working my way back into the gym.

I work out at 24 Hour Fitness, and take advantage of the Group X classes they offer (free with membership), as having an instructor-led class keeps me from taking breaks when I want one (rather than when I NEED one), and helps push me harder than I would push myself.

I work out with Ashley at Le Stylo Rouge, and we alternate between two workout schedules, an early week and a late week (all one-hour workouts).

Early week:
Monday — Les Mills BodyCombat (video)
Tuesday — Les Mills BodyPump (video)
Wednesday — Les Mills BodyCombat or BodyAttack (video)
Thursday — Les Mills BodyPump
Saturday — Treadmill or elliptical, depending on my mood.

Late week:
Monday — Les Mills BodyPump/CXWorx (video)
Tuesday — Les Mills BodyCombat
Wednesday — Les Mills BodyPump/CXWorx (split into 30 minutes Pump, 30 minutes CXWorx)
Thursday — Les Mills BodyPump

BodyCombat is probably my favorite class to take. It’s really intense (especially right now, since my cardio stamina is completely gone) but it is really worth it, and the instructors offer plenty of modifications throughout the class, if you need a lower-impact option.

BodyPump is one I have a love/hate relationship with — I love the way it has toned some muscles I’ve never been able to see on my body before, but hate doing the class. That’s not true, I don’t mind the class as a whole, I HATE squats and lunges. My body hates them too, they make me dizzy and it’s weird. Someday I’ll be able to make it through a squat track without a break and it’ll be amazing.

BodyAttack will surprise you. Just reading the description it sounds like it is going to be a pretty tame workout, but you get into the class and HOLY COW! It is not a tame workout. I should’ve guessed something with Attack in the name wasn’t going to be as easy as it sounded. Full-on assault on the whole body. Harder for me than any of the other classes I’ve taken.

CXWorx is fun, but difficult. It is a core training workout, and as someone who spent ages 14-30 as a couch potato, that isn’t something I have much experience with. It has definitely helped improve my strength, but it is still a struggle for me.


 

TBC Challenge:

The Blogger Collective is challenging its members to talk about their goals in January. And mine are probably a little silly and obvious, but they’re things I need to work on and toward nonetheless, so here goes:

  1. Post more often and on a set schedule. I currently just post haphazardly — whenever I feel like it. I need to set up a schedule and actually follow it in order to keep myself accountable and this blog active.
  2. Use more pictures. This blog is not visually stimulating at all. You visit and are simply hit with a wall of words, boring. There are some posts I am planning where I know adding photos will work well, but some I’m clueless on how to do so, but I know I want to include more.
  3. Expand my connection. I’m learning as I go, but I want to expand my connections to include bloggers who I don’t know personally. I love seeing comments and interaction from those I know, but I would love to also meet some new people.
  4. Keep up my hard work. I’ve come a LONG way since I started this blog, and the journey started long before I began keeping track of it here. I have had a few setbacks, but with the support of my friends I’ve pushed through and kept at it. This is a constant, long-term goal.
  5. Try new workouts. While I’m happy with my current workout routine, it can never hurt to try new things and expand my knowledge. Last year I worked with a personal trainer and found out that wasn’t for me. I also attended a class at The Bar Method with Jess from 26 and Not Counting. It was so much fun and really challenged me. I want to try more new things like that.

Extra long post for me today! Hope you all have a great Thursday!

Oh, hey.

I’m wearing pants today that I haven’t been able to wear in YEARS. Actual years.
Once upon a time they were my favorite work pants, but then I got too fat for them and I haven’t really had a favorite pair of work pants since. It’s a terribly sad story, isn’t it?

I read something a couple of months ago that said your brain has as hard of a time losing weight as your body does and I thought that was silly because, hello, I’ve wanted to be skinnier than I was at any given time for as long as I can remember. But now I’m beginning to think the person who wrote that article might be onto something (and, you know, probably knew what they were talking about). The article talked about brain chemicals and how when your body is used to being a certain size it sort of goes into shock and digs its heels in when you try to change things. So, even though everything about me is healthier than I ever have been, my brain says, “noooooooo! I like being chubby!” That’s rude.

I seem to have hit some weird block, and it isn’t because I can’t do it physically. I think the ol’ brain and I are sabotaging my weight loss. It’s SO DUMB.
I did so well for so long, keeping the “bad” foods out of my house, or keeping things I knew I would only eat in small portions (like dark chocolate — I love it, but can’t do more than two pieces, it’s so rich). Lately though, I’ve been back to buying things I know are bad for me (hello Halloween candy, I love you miniature KitKat bars) and keeping them in my house like a dummy.

It starts a vicious cycle because I get really mad at myself when I do it, but then continue to do it anyway, then feel guilty and want to eat more to make myself feel better. Such a bad plan, and it is getting to that season where there will be so much of it just looking me in the face.

Has anyone else run into this or am I crazy? I know I can get myself back to a goal-oriented mindset and I can overcome this little setback, but it’s frustrating when I know I’m doing it to myself.

But, let’s not forget about the pants! Small victories!
I’m still in the gym on a regular basis, so even though I’ve been eating badly, I’m still working SOME of those calories off. Thank goodness!