Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Why "I'm All About that Bass," no apologies

It's not surprising that Meghan Trainor's anthem, written on a whim and performed by the songwriter herself because other pop stars didn't want to touch it, has become a big hit.  It's fun, it has a totally different sound than anything else on the radio right now, and the bubble-gum-retro video is hilarious.

It's also not surprising that it is taking some criticism for being anti-feminist because it talks about attractiveness in terms of men's preferences, or for not celebrating all body types equally because it uses the phrase "skinny bitches" (even if she says she's "just playing" and wants all women to think they're perfect).

I agree that it would be nice if someone wrote a pop song saying that all women are beautiful, that beauty isn't the only thing that matters anyway, and that women have more important things to do than be decorative. Go ahead, write it. I will buy the single on iTunes.

In the meantime, go ahead and Google "promoting obesity." Then Google "Meghan Trainor promoting obesity." In a world where perfectly lovely (and quite thin, by human standards if not by Hollywood standards) women like Jennifer Lawrence (or Meghan Trainor herself) are expected to defend themselves for appearing in public without apologizing for not losing 20 more pounds, I think an anthem celebrating a curvy body type is okay. It's interesting that Trainor recorded it herself because other artists wouldn't want it. Just recently it made #1 on the Billboard list.

It didn't strike a nerve and serve a need, it wouldn't be such a breakaway hit. I think that songs like this take flack because they are swimming upstream in a world where it really is not okay to admit you like your body if it doesn't fit a narrow "ideal."

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Why I weighed in yesterday

I knew I would be up yesterday. I went not because I was expecting a great weigh-in, but because I needed to hit the reset button. Despite my great intentions, I let tracking slip again. I have been stressing out about my dad and was having a bit of an, "F--- it, I don't care" attitude, which was not helping. I also haven't been able to get to a meeting with the leader I like because of my schedule, which made it harder to feel jazzed about the program.

The gain was a bummer since if I had stayed on program, I could have gotten a 10-pound star, but that gives me motivation to do better for next week.  I have reason to believe that most of that gain was water weight so it's not totally out of the question to at least be back to where I was last week.

Interestingly, yesterday's topic was all about "A Simple (re)Start" plan, riffing on the Simple Start motif. I happened to run into a friend from work at the meeting, too, which isn't that surprising because the meeting location is a few miles from where I work. It was helpful to go and weigh in.

I noticed this week that the 3-month trackers like the one I am using were a dollar off, and there was also a sale on the Active Link. I would warn any WW members reading this to think twice about buying too much program stuff, as it is likely that they will switch up the program in October like they tend to do, and the fact that they are putting very basic stuff (and not just cookbooks) on sale and giving away Starter Kits suggests that it might be bigger changes this time.  The computer systems were down at my meeting and that also suggests that they are doing some technical stuff behind the scenes.  I have not heard any speculation about what the changes would be -- it could be just changes to logos and branding or just some tweaks to tracking. The whole "Turn the page and start over" theme of the meeting makes me wonder if they are going back to a system that would make that possible -- the weekly points really interfere with that ability to make a fresh start every day, at least to my obsessive-compulsive brain.

Edit: Here are some hints about what they might be changing: 
Weight Watchers executives have been considering an array of strategies to stop the declines, including making it easier to sign up members, offering more personalized weight-loss programs and courting corporations and health-insurance providers to subsidize memberships. (emphasis is mine)

Monday, September 08, 2014

Everyday life

I'm afraid it has gotten very all bras, all the time, around here lately, so I wanted to assure you that I will continue to post on a range of topics! A post from Vickie's private blog reminded me of how much I love Shauna's Everyday Life posts. I don't have a bunch of photos to share, because lately I have been taking mostly pictures of people, and I don't want to post those without permission, but I thought I'd post some of the everyday things going on in my own life. 

Up until now, I have only hinted about it here, but my dad has been in and out of the hospital a lot this year with very severe complications of diabetes.  I didn't want to trigger a flood of negative and judgmental comments about his lifestyle choices when he is in such a terrible place.  He was diagnosed about 30 years ago, so even if he had managed things better, he could very well be having complications by now.  I think in his case there was a strong genetic component too, as both of his surviving sisters also have Type II diabetes and so did his father. There was also a medical technology component: In the days when my father was diagnosed, the only way they could confirm diabetes was with urine test strips. By the time that sugar is showing up in urine, it has been progressing for quite a long time.  So there were a lot of factors. Needless to say this has been heartbreaking for him, for me, and for my whole family.

Of course, the health issues that he has been having have made me more aware of my own health. That's why I had a stress test and all those other tests recently. My doctor thought it was wise given my family history. I was happy to get the all-clear.  Obviously I would like to get to a healthy weight, which is why I'm tweaking the way I do Weight Watchers to make it work better for me.

As much as I can, I have been trying to enjoy and appreciate my own life instead of only dwelling on this awful situation. I'm especially reminding myself to enjoy the last bits of summer as we have threats of another cold winter ahead.  Saturday we went to an arts festival with two friends and their cute six-month-old baby.  Yesterday my husband and I took a 20-mile bike ride in perfect 75-degree weather. I also spent some time hanging out on the front porch with my cats and took two naps.  We experimented with an Eggplant Pizza recipe from our CSA, and even though they didn't turn out quite right (the eggplant was still too hard), we have ideas on how to make them work next time.  We need to draw more of the moisture out of the eggplant "crust" and maybe even pre-cook them.  I had just the toppings off the two smallest ones and that part was delicious. 

How's your everyday life these days?

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Why I wanted to be an Enell Ambassador

I wrote a little about being selected as an Enell Ambassador, but I didn't talk about why I wanted to represent them in the first place. I got my first Ambassador package yesterday, and there was a card that said, "This is for the Blessed and the Cursed." I have always felt a little of both -- blessed to have something to balance out my wide hips, but cursed when I went to go run or do other high-impact exercise. Over the years, I got a lot of disapproving looks in aerobics classes or out on a run.  I even had people say, supposedly helpfully, "Have you ever considered getting them reduced?" No, I hadn't -- I didn't have back problems, neck problems, or any other problems besides the bounce problem. I had lots of bras that promised to lock down my chest and keep it in line (including one that I called the "Battleship Bra" because it was so ugly and restrictive) but most of them never did quite do the trick. All I could do was cut down the bounce, not get rid of it completely.

I had never tried an Enell because I had never seen one in a store, and didn't want to special-order something that Title 9 Sports called its "Last Resort" bra. I didn't try one until Fitbloggin' last year, when I agreed to model it. I got to keep that one, and I also bought a Pink Hope one later so I could have a second one for my runs.  It makes me feel the way I imagine I'd feel if I had a breast reduction and lift -- everything is higher and nothing moves.  As Enell founder Renelle said to me, "It makes you feel like a boy." And then when I'm done with my run, I go back to my normal self. 

So this product is one that has genuinely made my life better, and I'm happy to represent the product. I'd like to arrange for every woman and girl who wears a C-cup or higher (with natural breasts, at least) to try one for herself, but since I'm not rich and famous, being an Enell Ambassador is a good alternative.  The basic range of shades that the Enell is generally available in was its only negative to me, as I like fun colors in all my workout clothes, so I was very excited to get the new color yesterday.
I wanted to wear it out on a run, but I took a new workout class yesterday and my hamstring was feeling a little achy. I went out for a leisurely ride on my cruiser bike instead so I could try my new gear and get some pictures.

The sun was very bright -- it was a beautiful late-summer-early-fall morning.  It was a little too warm to wear my jacket for long, but I wasn't going to stand out in the meadow in just my bra.  I got enough weird looks for taking selfies with my bike.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Old-School Weight Watchers

I just had my Week 19 weigh-in. I'm down 8.4 pounds total, and last week, I hit an all-summer low of 177.2 (I was up 0.4 this week). If I can lose 1.6 or more next week, I'll get my 10-pound star in Week 20.

That's roughly 1/2 a pound a week, which is not a bad rate, but I know that I could do better if I tracked every day.  With the online app, if I have missed logging two or three meals, it's easy to just let it go completely for the rest of the day, or worse, the rest of the week.

I decided to go Old-School: Paper and pencil using the twelve-week journal.  My goal is to be in the 160s by the end of the 12 weeks.

Instead of fooling around with the weekly points (which make me start to feel hopeless if I've used them up and I still have a few days left in the week), I'm going to track day-by-day like I did when I first started with Weight Watchers. That means that I count up from 0 instead of counting down from my target, and if I have a bad day, I just turn the page and start over.  That's how I got to goal the first time.

My first version of Weight Watchers was Winning Points, and there was a Points range for each day. You could bank points, but there were no weeklies. I remember that the high end of my range was 25 points (the old points, which were worth more food than the current ones) and I hit or exceeded it most days, plus whatever Activity Points I earned.

I'm going to do my best to stay under 33 (my target plus 1/7 of my weeklies) every day, plus whatever Activity Points I earn.  That should leave me with enough of a deficit to have a decent loss each week.  The important thing is continuing to track every day instead of giving up if I go over.

By the way, I noticed at my meeting that Weight Watchers is running a special for the rest of the month: A free Starter Kit (which includes the journal pictured above plus lots of other goodies) when you buy a monthly pass. I'm guessing that means they are getting ready to tweak the program again, but if you've been thinking about joining, it's a good time to get a lot of free, useful stuff for the current program.  Danica's Daily has a great review of the kit if you want to see what's in it.

Edited to add: This is what a day of tracking looks like.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

New Enell color: Don't wait to dive in to new Scuba Blue!


Enell Sport launched a new color today: Scuba Blue.  This makes five currently-available options: the core colors of Black, White, and Ecru, Pink Hope, and for a limited time, Scuba Blue.

scuba bluepink hope

You can find a list of online and brick-and-mortar retailers that have ordered stock of Scuba Blue at the Enell Blog.  Supplies of this new color will be extremely limited -- once they sell out, they sell out permanently.

I am still a little sad that I didn't get the last limited-edition color, Purple Orchid, before it sold out more than a year ago, especially since purple is my favorite color. That sadness is tempered by the fact that I have a Scuba Blue Enell on its way to me right now.

If you're ordering online, be sure to check out the special Enell Size Chart.  You will get the most accurate fit if you use your actual measurements and don't try to guess from your current bra size.  It's supposed to be very snug: I thought I was a 2, but I actually needed a 1 for my best support. Of course if you are already an Enell fan, you can just check the size tag of the one you have hanging on your drying rack.

I can't wait until my package arrives. Unfortunately, it will probably get here while I'm at work, so I might have to wait until tomorrow to try it on.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Blog makeover

I finally got around to my blog makeover.  I was home alone on Friday night and spent the evening playing around with Canva and different Blogger templates.

In the end, I decided to stick with the same Blogger template. I know a little HTML and CSS but I'm no web goddess, and I didn't want to break BlogHerAds or anything on my page. I experimented with background images but I didn't want anything too distracting.

I had a lot of fun with Canva and the images that Gerri from Serendipity by Gerri shared with me. BlogHer sent me a Canva promo a while ago and I had created an account but hadn't done anything with it.  It was nice to experiment with this when I was home alone and had no distractions. It was easy to use. Everything I did was with images I had and Canva's free elements, so creating these images was free. 

I also created an "About Me" page and might create some other pages later. What do you think? Any suggestions or feedback? 

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07