Monday, June 13, 2016

Do you know your BMR?

After the reports in the news revolving around some studies and people who have lost a great deal of weight (you can read one of those articles here), a fear shock wave was felt by some of us who have long said things like "My metabolism is probably so jacked up that I just look at food and gain weight".

The fear was..."Holy frosted cupcakes, what if my metabolism really DOES suck".

So, just to find out, my sister and I decided to go to my bariatric clinic (you don't have to be a patient or have had WLS, anyone can do the test for $50) to have our basal metabolic rate tested.  Your BMR is the amount of energy you expend while at rest.  For the test we had to fast after midnight and not workout before the test.

My lapband doctor actually recommended I have this done last year, but I have better ways I can spend $50 and also...I didn't really care.  I don't count calories anymore and don't really intend on counting calories in the near future, so it didn't matter to me what my BMR was.  BUT, my sister wanted to go and after the studies in the news...I was a little curious.

The test itself is simple.  You wear a nose plug and breathe into that little machine for 6-10 minutes.  Then, they upload your info in the computer and you get a little report that tells you things.

This is a totally wretched scan of one of my reports:

Basically-based on my reported exercise level, my weight, height, age, sex and my breathing machine report...I can maintain my current weight of 180 by eating a relatively generous 1640 calories a day!  If I want to lose 1 pound a week, without factoring in exercise calorie burn, I can still eat around 1400 calories a day.

In otherwords, my metabolism ain't that shabby!  Which makes me feel a touch of pride...because although there are many factors that can help increase your metabolism...the main one is STRENGTH TRAINING.

The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn.  

My sister's report was close to her prediction.  She is doomed.  Okay, not doomed.  But even though she and I are at the same weight, her daily allotment to maintain is around 1100 calories!  And if she wants to lose 2 pounds a week, she has to keep her calories around 999 (without factoring in exercise).  What is she supposed to eat?  ICE CHIPS?  But she is 16 years my senior and although she has been lifting for several years, she is still in the process of building her mass.

Where Heather works, they have a body comp scale.  I have been getting these reports for years, but this report was from the same day as my BMR test.  You can see over at the right, the BMR calculations from that report are pretty close.  If you have never done a body comp scale, I highly recommend it.  It measures your muscle mass, your fat, etc.  You can see that it recommends that I lose 16.3 more pounds of fat.  And it bases that off of your body comp, not a stupid BMI chart.
So there you go!  If you are a calorie counter, than knowing your BMR could be really helpful.  If you are starting a diet or exercise program, body comp scales are wonderful for measuring your progress.  That way, if you think "I'm probably not losing weight because I am building muscles" have a way to really check!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Skinny Dippers DietBet

Hello my lovely love buds. I am starting another DietBet.  It's a $35 "buy-in".  If you aren't familiar with DietBet, this competition will last 4 weeks, your goal is to lose at least 4% of your body weight, and if you DO lose at least 4%, you are guaranteed to win at least your $35 back.  You will split the pot with all other 4% or above losers.

Invite your friends and family.  The bigger the pot, the more we can win.

It starts Monday, June 13th!

Here is the link!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

If Your Pants Don't Fit...

I tried to think of something clever there, ala the OJ Simpson trial, but my brain is not functioning today as I did not get to workout this morning, thus could not drink any pre pre, and am currently off the soda hooch...

But it could have been:

If your Pants don't fit, you gotta quit [eating]


If Your Pants don't fit, you gotta diet a bit


If you pants don't fit, f@ck em.  Pants are stupid anyways.

But about two months ago my pants were on the verge of splitting. You know, your coot coot can barely take your pants off but they leave a sexy indentation where the waist line was squeezing your muffin batter...the are a little high water like because they have had to use the material in them to cover your girth and thus...don't hang as low as they used to.

That kind of pants tight.

So I needed some help and I scheduled an appointment with my primary care doctor.

I was going to have to go in a beg for a round of phentermine.

It has been about two years since I had my last round of the magical drug that suppresses my appetite. If you don't remember that experience, it was honestly the first time in my life that I didn't think about food non-stop.  That effect only really lasts in it's full glory for about 3-4 weeks, but while it lasts, it's SO helpful to get back on track.

My doctor doesn't like prescribing it though because she believes it is a short fix (truth) and that good old diet and exercise should do the trick (if only it was that easy).

SO our conversation went something like this.

Doc: Why are you here today?

Me: Um.  Well.  Yes.  I would like a refill on my phentermine.  I have gained about 30 pounds and need help getting back on track.

Doc:  Well, it doesn't seem to KEEP you on track does it?

Me: No

Doc: So what WILL keep you on track?

Me:  Hell if I know.  I had weight loss surgery and still struggle.  I think it is something I will have to fight every day for the rest of my life.

Doc: I will give you two months.

So there.  I won.  And she is right.  It is a short fix.  But it does help me and it gives me hope and it motivates me to do better.

So I went to the doctor that day at 197.4 (the doctors 1965 slide scale actually was at 200 but the sweet nurse took some pounds off for my clothing), and I weighed in yesterday at 177.4.

20 pounds down.

So what did I do besides the phentermine?  For the month of April I had two "give ups".  I gave up soda and alcohol.  And slap my butt and call me Besty, I made it.  We went "glamping" at the end of April and that was when I was going to allow myself beer again.
Here's me, sweet Honey Mae, the pups (look closely), Heather whizzing by, and Jon Jon (Rachel's husband), on the back porch of their tent.  

I upped my cardio just a little, I didn't cut back on weights at all, I tried to prepare my meals for lunch, and to have healthy snacks.

During the month of May, I decided to stick with the no soda, but allowed myself to drink in moderation.  I haven't had any fast food these last two months, but I still have had sweets from time to time, a little white bread if the situation called for it (hot dogs are so much better on white bread), and have eaten yummy meals.  I haven't felt like I was missing out.

My ultimate goal was to fit into all my pants again.  Because I had a habit of dieting and losing weight and going to buy new pants at my small weight and only maintaining my small weight for 1.2 milliseconds, there are some pants that may never fit me again.  But  for the most part, I have probably 7-10 pounds left to go until I am fitting fine in my britches.

Yesterday was my last dose of phentermine, so now the training wheels are off and I have to work on staying with healthier habits.  It's funny how it seems like "of course I'm not going back to getting a "snack" at Taco Bell before I go home to Heather and cook us dinner"...but I have said that before.  I don't know what changes in ones mindset to make us go either way...but I'm just going to try and stay the course.  

Keep fighting the good fight.

Love and kisses honey bees!

Friday, February 12, 2016

How to Get Back on Track

So, how do you get back on track when your healthy living passenger train has derailed?  Mine likes to take detours quite often...seemingly more often than it stays on course.  Perhaps I am a magical wizard, perfecting the wizardery required for...

I have no idea where I was going with that...

But, coming back to a point...

When I get off track with eating or drinking, I have a couple things that help me refocus.

One of those things is setting an intention for the week.  I really like making my goals weekly.  During my first year of weight loss, I had a goal to lose 120 pounds in 12 months.  I broke that down to 30 pounds every three months, 10 pounds every month, with a 2-3 pound weekly goal.  It totally worked for me.  There were weeks that I didn't lose of course.  And there were some weeks that I gained.  But they balanced out with the weeks that I lost more than 2-3 pounds.

So, you should have a stretch goal.  Like your master goal.
You should have milestones along the path to that master goal.
And you should have mini-goals...sort of check points on your path.
And 7 days of doing something or focusing on something seems like a do-able amount of time.  I mean's just 7 days right?

So this week I created a visual reminder of why I am choosing healthier foods and why I am not drinking my calories, and why I am working out.  This week I am focusing on loosing some of my fat so I can better see my enormous muscles.  Because let me tell you sumpin...underneath this protective layer is a professional fitness competitor.  SO, I wrote that goal down and taped it to my bathroom mirror.  It really has helped.

Next week I may choose a nutrition focus.  Water, or veggies, or fruits....we will see.

Other things that have helped me in the past is looking/finding pictures of myself at a lower weight that I really liked.  Reminds me of how good I can look.

Writing my target weight goal for the week on piece of paper and taping it to my computer also can help.  So if I weigh in on Monday and I weigh 190, and I want to weigh 188 by NEXT Monday, I will write that 188 on a post-it so I look at it.  That's from the book the Secret.  If you've never read it, you should buy it and have a perusing.

So there you have it!

x's and o's

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Cellulite, Fat Rolls, & Stretch Marks: Love Yourself Anyways

I've been thinking a lot lately about self love.  Not the naughty, "it's just a back massager" kind of self love, but the "'You is kind. You is smart. You is important." kind of love.  I have found myself lately keenly aware that many of my closest people might be lacking in their love of self...and it makes me sad for them.  And it makes me wonder why I am different.  And what makes someone confident and safe in their skin, while others spend so much time hating their bodies?

CLEARLY, I have been on the more confident end of the spectrum for awhile. my sister...may tell you that I came out of our mother looking for the camera, waving and winking at the medical staff. Unfortunately, my mother didn't film my grand entrance into the world, so we can never be sure.  And sometimes my siblings make things you have to keep that in mind.  But, I am sure that the fact that I had a family that made me feel precious and cute (with the exception of my brother for the first two decades of my life) helped in my self confidence.  And even over 300 pounds, I tried to live like AT LEAST  a slim 200 pound women.  If you've followed me for long, you've most likely seen the pictures of me hip hopping around on the beach in a big girl bikini, toe-pointed, modeling for no one in particular and everyone at the same time.

And now, hovering around the 190's, I am far from "perfect".  But sometimes I feel pretty darn good about myself. Here is an example.  

Down here in the south, Mardi Gras is something.  There are parades. Stinky beads.  Drinking.  Well my wonderful friend gave me these here pants to wear to the Beach Parade.  I didn't really want to try them on as they seemed miniature and I feared would not do much in the cellulite camouflage department. But I slipped those suckers on and turned around to look at my ass and rear thighs...and guess what?!  


 But...and here is the important part...I looked at that hail damage for all of 6 seconds, turned back around and PRETENDED LIKE IT WASN'T THERE FOR THE NEXT 6-8 HOURS.

I mean so what?  I have cellulite.  I have stretch marks.  I have fat rolls.  I can still feel sexy.   I can still look good.  I can still stand up straight, walk with confidence, and know I am something.  I try not to dwell on the "bad".  What a waste of time it is.  Hating your body adds nothing to your day.  It adds nothing to your spirit.  Hating your body doesn't make things better.  And you know what?  I got TONS of compliments on my pants.  And perhaps, oh I am sure there were a couple of people out there who may have noticed my lumpy ass and had a comment, but I didn't hear them and I didn't care.  

And you shouldn't either.

People often say to me "amy, you never take a bad picture.  You are so photogenic"!  Well, just to prove my point, I have pulled some less flattering photographic evidence for you. Do you see my saggy inner thigh?  Do you see my huge leg?

Look.  Another one of my huge leg.  Look.  A muffin top and cellulite.

And see those stretch marks and see that fat?
It's all there.  It's usually all there all the time.  But I would like to think that you also see my smile.  And my happiness.  And the moments that I would have had to sacrifice if I had let insecurities hold me back.

In closing, I want to say a few things to my people.

To my friend that compares herself to all of her skinny friends.  Know that size doesn't determine your worth.  How you treat people, how you make them feel...that matters.  So hold your head up high, swing your size 12 ass, and be happy.

To my friend that worries so much about what people think about him at the gym, or in the airport, or at work, or on the street...if you don't know them, don't sweat them.  You have come a long ways from the boy with his trumpet and striped sweatervest in his senior pictures.  Somewhere along the way you even grew a heart.  Keep working on your shoulders (inside joke), but know that you are pretty hot.

To my friend that thinks she has to drink to be fun . You are perfect sans drinks.  You are kind.  You are dedicated.  And you are my friend.  So automatically, you have street cred. I promise you are worth it.  And I promise you are worth more than you know. (granted...this one is not body related)

And to all of my friends in cyberland who hide from the camera.  I know that being the center of attention is not for everyone.  And taking gym selfies can seem slightly arrogant and tacky...but if you are hiding from the camera until you are thinner, or more fit, or skinnier...nah.  Life's too short.  Take the pictcha, slap a bitch up (sorry...Ludacris comes out from time to time).

And to anyone reading this thinking "If you love yourself so damn much...why are you always trying to lose weight...or get bigger muscles...?"

Loving yourself doesn't mean you don't want to improve on yourself.  It just means that in the process of improving, you aren't wasting your energy on hating.

Happy Tuesday Friends.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Lapbands and Wedding Bands

Sometimes, when I am feeling really deep or thinking deep existential thoughts, I think about the butterfly effect, defined here by google as: In chaos theory, the butterfly effect is the sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state.  

In other words, I think about how all the little (and big) decisions over the course of my lifetime have led me to that very moment I find myself in.  That's really why I don't believe in regrets.  I don't regret anything really...because everything brought me here.  And to Heather. And to my wedding. And to my current health.  

I know.  It's okay if you roll you eyes.  Sometimes I roll my eyes at myself.  But I wouldn't change my past because it has created my present.  

And getting the lapband certainly led me here.  It led to me to they gym at work where Heather taught fitness classes...which led me to the weight room where possibly inappropriate flirting took place.  And it led me to the workout room at our wedding venue...shoulder pressing 20's with my wife.  Life is crazy.  And most of the time, I really like it :)  

So welcome to our wedding!  I owe these pictures to Stephanie and her husband.  Stephanie is a fellow lapbander, and one of the originals from when we all started blogging over 7 years ago.  We met in Chicago during the first lapband girls meet-up, and after gay marriage became legal in all 50 states, her and her husband raffled off wedding shoot.  They drove all the way up from South Florida and we couldn't be happier with all the pics.  You can find their facebook page here.

I loved my dress...but had serious anxiety about it right up until the day.  I didn't think I wanted strapless, or a corset, or tons of ruffles, but the first time I tried this on, I fell in love with it...and myself.  My shoes were Betsy Johnson, on all came together.  
 I love this photo because I am peeking around the corner to see Heather.  Because it was our wedding and we could do whatever we wanted, Heather walked down first with her parents, her TWO besties walked down after her, followed by my SIX, and then my parents and I brought up the train.  I didn't want to I had the following pep talk with myself in the mirror prior to walking...

Me:  Get your shit together Amy. You are an ACTRESS.  What is your role?  What is your character?

Me:  I am a stoic bride marrying for money.

Me:  Good.  Go with that.
 At the last minute, Heather wrastled (that's how you say wrestled) her parents into walking her down  the they are both introverts and probably did not want to be the center of attention...

These are our wonderful centerpieces.

My parents don't mind as much...well maybe my dad...who appears to be sleeping.
 My beautiful niece married us.  I love this picture bc as I started reading my vows, my stoic bride was nowhere to be found and I was blubbering...and thus...Kaity started crying.
 But was over.  And we were free to party.
 This was my best man.  Travis.  All the way from Kansas.
 My matron of honor...who worked SO hard taking care of me and making sure everything went as planned.  I can't thank her enough.  Carmen is one of those people whose heart overflows with kindness and loyalty.  She came all the way from Alaska.
 Lisa is my oldest best friend...and I mean literally...oldest at 38.  Bahahah...just kidding.  But she has been my bestie the longest of all besties.  We met as camp counselor in upstate New York over 15 years ago...and although we only see each other occasionally (it had been almost 5 years), it's like we have never been apart.  All the way from Seattle she came.  Skinny thing.
 And Rachel.  You should be familiar with this little gem.  She is the other pea in my pod.  She has seen me at my worst and is beside me for my best.
 Kate.  Kate is sweet, sassy, and amazingly generous to those she loves and cares about.
And I have NO IDEA why there is not a picture with my sister!  Everything is kinda a blur...but my sister, 16 years my senior, is one of my best friends.  I love her and it was an honor she said yes to my invitation for her to be my bridesmaid.  I wish there were pictures of her from my bachelorette party...but that's another story for another time (someone who doesn't drink much found some a jug of rum punch....mmmkay)
And while I loved my sparkly wedges, those soon were shed for more comfy converse.  Here we are doing our best to Wobble.  
A couple of things I learned that night:

1.  For years, people have told me that I wouldn't have time to eat at my own wedding.  To which I said...OH I WILL EAT!  Turns out...not so much.  We invited 200 people, and there was barely time to catch my breath let alone eat.  On our way to the hotel that night I was starving (Heather was trying not to puke from copious amounts of Fireball and beer).

2.  Although Natalie and Gina SORT OF held up their end of the bargain and made sure that Heather's predrinking was under control...I should have assigned a baby sister for my bride for the after the vow drinking.  But it was kinda for the best, because even though she smelled of cinnamon whiskey, almost threw up in the hotel lobby, had to be put to bed, and woke up swearing off drinking for the rest of her life (that lasted 27ish hours), Heather had a wonderful time.  She danced, she laughed...she did a keg stand.  And for a girl who didn't want a big wedding....(her, not me), that makes me very happy.  And you ain't seen nothing until you see Heather do the Cotton Eyed Joe.

3.  We ordered way to much food.

4.  Everything goes by so fast.

5.  Weddings are exhausting.

6.  My mother worked too damn hard, but the fact that she hustled and stressed and planned and cooked and created just so I could have my dream day...well that means more to me than she probably knows.


6.  The day after the wedding, when you realize you never have to plan another wedding (because if this goes south I am moving to Maine, buying a little cabin to live in with all my dogs, and "entertaining" lobstermen and women when they come in to port) such a great feeling!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Happy Monday Dudes

Well...Monday has found us once again.  And I need a nap.  And possibly a full body bamboo stick massage.  It's a real thing.  I've never had it.  But one day I shall.

We had a little race this weekend...the Ho Ho Hustle.  And it was..oh...around 4,623 degrees here in Pensacola, but I pretended it felt like Christmas as my face melted off of my skull.
 Me and my grinch.

Our group, minus Jon Jon (Rachel's husband...he was at the start being a serious runner).

Signing up for races is about the only reason I keep running.  And I really do use that term loosely.  I'm kinda like the Michael Myers of the race world.  He might be faster than me actually.  But hopefully we will never find out.  My foot is still broke, and gets a smidge swollen after a day of racing festivities...but who needs two working feet? Tough Mudder is coming back to Pensacola again in April...and we have signed up.  It will be our 5th Tough Mudder.  Sigh.  So there is that.

It's also holiday festivity time at work.  Ugly sweater contest was Friday.  I am not sure why this picture makes me look 5'4" and 192 pounds.'s distorted.  

Made this little beaut at 5:30 in the morning the day off.  I know what you are thinking.  I should start my own line.  I know.  I know.
Bowling has also started back up.  I would like to introduce you to Sylvia Sparkles the Wonder Ball.  We call her Sylvia for short.  Sadly, she failed me last week.  I could have been the fact that Sylvia was a Christmas gift from my sister who is bowling AGAINST us this season...or the fact that I did too much pre-drinking and barely knew which lane I was supposed to be on.  I will let you decide.

Hope all is well with you and yours.  Christmas will be here next week!  WHAT?! I think I am done with almost all my shopping.  Now, to plan the meal.  Food.  mmm.  Food. sidetracked thinking of Stovetop Stuffing.  Don't you hate on me.  I love that magical box of whatever it is.

My family is coming down next Wednesday to begin our shenanigans.  Then, a few weeks later...


There are a million little details I need to get taken care of...but hell...there is still a month left.  Plenty of time.  PLENTY of TIME!