Friday, December 20, 2013

How I lost 125 pounds

Before we get into everything I want to say two things: 1) I believe that this is going to be quite lengthy, and I apologize ahead of time. 2) I am NOT a physician, nutritionist or licensed in medicine. These are the tips and tricks that I discovered worked for myself.


I believe that it is important for me to tell you a little background about myself to put the following story and information in perspective. As a child, and teenager, I was heavy. Not significantly so, but enough for it to be considered a health issue. My top weight in my teens was 210 pounds and my low was 170 pounds. When I went to college I weighed about 180 pounds, and in three months I gained 80 pounds. This left me at 260 pounds.

About 4 years ago I hit a breaking point in my life. I ached everywhere, I couldn't walk to class without being winded, and I was unhappy. I started a new job (at which I am no longer employed) and without realizing it in about a year I had lost 60 pounds, which I attribute to stress, and is obviously not an ideal weight loss plan. Now, you may wonder how I did not realize it. To be frank, when you're that heavy it takes more than 60 pounds (depending on where you carry your weight) to see a difference in your body. In fact, after I lost 100 pounds I had only dropped a couple of pants sizes, which for a woman, is infuriating. SO, after the first 60 pounds of weight loss, I joined a gym. Planet Fitness. When I began I weighed 201 pounds. And this is how I started changing my life.

Step One: Love Yourself

I'm not even kidding here. This is absolutely essential. A lot of people like to have support during a time like this. However, I believe that true raw inspiration is going to come from yourself. Love you. All day, every day regardless of weight. It's a number, and you should really be doing this to better your health. Laugh with yourself, dance, sing, talk to yourself. Who cares, be amazing to you! Life is too short to spend hating yourself for any reason. Gaining a ton of weight is actually what spurred my massive amount of self confidence. I was fat, and I OWNED it. I owned everything I did. I still do. I think I am beautiful now, and I think I was beautiful then. Let us be honest, I get hit on the same amount now as I did then. When you love yourself, you radiate beauty and confidence to everyone around you!

Step Two: Slowly Change Your Diet

I personally think that this is perhaps what people think is the hardest part, but in fact, it's the easiest. "Diet" is a word that has many negative connotations. We are all on a diet. It's what you choose to make it that matters. I went grocery shopping every other week. I got paid bi-weekly, so this is just what worked for me. Every time I went grocery shopping I cut out something I knew was bad for me, and replaced it with a healthier option. If you do this slowly it becomes a habit and a lifestyle change as opposed to a crash diet. To see results and keep those results you need to stick with it, and for me this process is what helped.


Pop Tarts removed for cereal bars
Chips removed for snap peas, or celery
Yogurt removed for light yogurt
Cereal that I put extra sugar on removed for cereal that is reasonable

And so on. Now, I slowly lowered the number of calories I consumed daily. Here's where it gets a little hairy, I eat on average 1,200-1,600 calories daily. Men and women differ, men need more than women, and for some people it's not a calorie issue, it's sugar, or carbs. But, I tried different routes in my wanderings and found that for myself it is truly calorie intake and portion control that was my issue.

Eat a few small meals a day. I work 40 hours a week, so for me it's easy to not think about food all day, but if you're home frequently it can be a lot harder. Here are several snack options that I cannot live without!!

Fiber One Chocolate Fudge Brownie - 90 Calories. These things are amazing, they are small (compared to if I were to slice into a tray of brownies) but satisfying.
Old Wisconsin Turkey Sausage Snack Slices - 60 Calories. Who doesn't love sausage? Don't even lie! These are delicious, salty and cheap at .88 cents a pack, they are a great little snack.
Nabisco Lorna Doone 100 Calorie Pack - 100 Calories. I love these anyway, but the fact that there's a 100 calorie pack for these makes life good. There is nothing like satisfying a cookie craving!
Keebler Mini Fudge Stripes Dark Chocolate 100 Calorie Right Bites - 100 Calories. Again, a cookie or sweets craving can be quickly remedied with these, they're rich and tasty, and most importantly, chocolately.
Sunshine Snack Mix 100 Calorie Right Bites - 100 Calories. These feel super naughty, but totally aren't who doesn't love pretzels, Cheez-Its and Chex?
Special K Pastry Crisps Brown Sugar Cinnamon - 100 Calories. These taste like crispy Pop Tarts! They come in a few flavors, blueberry strawberry and chocolate as well. And there are two in each package, so you can have one and save the other for later if you wanted!
Emerald Dry Roasted Almonds - 100 calories. Nuts are an amazing snack. Protein helps to stave off hunger, and almonds are great for that.
Special K Popcorn Chips - 120 Calories for 28 Chips. These. Are. AMAZING. And their cracker chips are fantastic too!

I recommend all of these snacks, they are fantastic to keep you on track with eating healthy. I will admit that I eat a lot of prepackaged foods, but I have portion control issues so this helps me a lot. You can always buy a big bag of any food, and buy baggies and make your own 100 calorie packs!

Drink a ton of water, like, absurd amounts of it. A lot of hunger pangs come from being dehydrated. So before you eat, have a glass of water! Buy bottled water (or bottle your own) and use those flavor packs for water so you don't get bored of water. I drink the sparkling waters with no calories, sugars carbs or anything. Very filling because of the carbonation. I personally have not had a drop of soda since 2005. If you can cut it, I'd strongly recommend it. Beer or any alcohol should be cut as well.

Fruits and veggies are great, but stay away from the super sugary fruits like bananas. Strawberries, raspberries, apples, etc are great. A nice treat is strawberries dipped in honey. All veggies are great, dressing is tricky, but there are a ton of light options out there, just be sure to only use the serving size, which is almost always 2 tablespoons.

I eat a lot of salad, and snacks. Meals usually are fresh meat over salads, sushi, or frozen Smart Ones, and Healthy Choice meals. Chicken and Fish are preferable meats to eat, but pork and ham are not too bad as well. Beef is a treat, I'd stick to steaks, rather than hamburger. When I cook meats I always serve with several sides of veggies, or a small amount of rice.

Lastly, always allow yourself a splurge day. Splurge within reason and serving sizes. Let yourself have that craving for ice cream or pizza. Splurge days allow you to have a mental break, keep up morale and boost your metabolism!

Step Three: Exercise In A Way That Works For You
When I started going to the gym, I went with someone who had already been going for a while. I looked to her for some guidance as I stood in the gym fighting off my teenage flashbacks of being purposely bludgeoned with all matter of sports balls, being made fun of, and overall horror. It was a mistake. I mean, obviously she was more fit than I was at this point. I jumped on the elliptical with her, and after ten minutes I was in the locker room trying not to vomit from over exertion.

Start SLOWLY! If you jump right into an intensive workout you can seriously hurt yourself. And if you aren't sure where to start, that is why the gym has staff members! They can be an extremely useful tool for you.

When I started I ended up using a stationery bike, with various settings and used some weight machines. Cardio is very important. 20 minutes minimum is what is necessary to raise your heart rate long enough to burn calories. I always did my cardio first, and then moved to the weights. However, you will find a routine that is comfortable for you. My only advise is this: You should push yourself. You need some down time, but not so much that your heart rate lowers to a normal level. Keep moving!!

3-5 days a week you should do something outside of your normal activity to raise your heart rate. 20-30 is sufficient. It honestly doesn't take much. These days, I tend to work out 4-5 times a week. Usually for an hour. I do this for maintenance and to keep myself active.

DO NOT WEIGH YOURSELF EVERY DAY. You WILL discourage yourself. Your weight can and WILL fluctuate -5 - +5 pounds daily. Weigh yourself once a week or once every two weeks. I have heard of people only weighing themselves once monthly.

My Personal Journey

I don't feel like this would be complete without telling you how all of this went for me.

I'd be an absolute liar to tell you my journey was easy, fun, exciting, gratifying, or quick. This took me three years. Three years is a reasonable amount of time to lose this much weight naturally. I think the thing that discourages most people is how long this takes. The faster you lose, the easier it is to gain back.

At the beginning I was terrified. I hated gym in high school. I was bullied in gym, and overall for the way I looked to begin with. So I grew to associate physical activity with negativity. But once I realized that everyone at the gym was there to mind their own business, the more comfortable and enjoyable it became for me. I began to sing out loud, and even dance while working out. No one cares. Truly. Please never let this stop you. If you choose to work out, you are choosing to do more than a person who stays home and does nothing. And that is something to be extremely proud of!

Changing my diet became the target of much ridicule from friends. I stopped drinking. It's a ton of extra calories that are unneeded. I got the barrage of insults and comments. "You're so boring." "Oh I forgot, now that you're skinny you can't have any fun." "It's so annoying to eat with you." People are always going to knock you down for your personal choices. And I know for some people this is extremely hard to deal with. Your health is something that you should be selfish about. Ultimately what are you losing out on if you don't eat that slice of pizza? You can eat that pizza. The key is to have self control. When you get to this point, you'll start to realize food is not something you do for fun. It's something you do to live. This type of self control is so amazing and no one can take that away from you. Never let anyone talk you out of taking care of yourself. If they are true friends, they will respect your choices. And there are always healthy choices! I have brought my own food to parties, or eaten before we went someplace. There's no shame in it.

"Are you anorexic?" "Are you sick?" "You look really thin, I can't believe it!" "You need to stop losing so much weight!!" Losing weight (or being naturally thin) somehow makes it ok to make comments about someone's appearance. Odd, really. I am thick skinned. As I mentioned, I was vehemently bullied in school. But that is a whole other blog post that I am sure no one wants to read. I have not lost weight since I hit my lowest weight in my adult life. So when people tell me to stop losing, I think it's simply because they are expecting me to gain it back. It became ridiculously annoying to me. However, again. If you keep reminding yourself that you are doing this for you and you alone, it becomes so much easier.

My boyfriend has been my biggest supporter. He always believes in me no matter what I do, no matter how stupid it seems. He loves me as I am, as I was, and however I will be. He is the most beautiful human I have ever known.

I had many emotional ups and downs during all of this. I'll tell you what though. I still see the same person in the mirror. I still see a heavy person. I was heavy my whole life. I do see that I have lost weight. But it's ALWAYS going to be hard to see yourself as others see you. In the end, I feel better. No, being skinny does not mean that you will be the pinnacle of health. Skinny people get sick too. But, my back pain is gone. My knees don't hurt anymore. My headaches are less. But I have traded these issues for eczema and arthritis in my hands, one foot and hip. I also have a lot of extra skin. The bulk of it lies on my tummy and thighs. It does make moving around a little awkward, and fitting into clothes is a bit tricky. But, clothes shopping has always been my least favorite thing, anyway.

Maintaining IS just as hard to do as losing. It is a daily battle. You cannot let yourself become too comfortable. It's something that you need to be constantly conscious of. It is annoying. It is hard. It is tedious.

Was it worth it?
Hell yes it was.
Would I do it again?
Hell yes I would.

It was an amazing journey that has led me to experience so many awesome things in my life. Meeting new people. Inspiring people, and being inspired. I LOVE hearing about people changing their lives. I remember when I dropped below 200 pounds. When I hit 199 pounds, I cried. It was the most moving moment of my life. And hear that from others, and seeing it on the Biggest Loser sparks the same exact emotions. It's an amazing feeling. An awesome connection to another human being that I otherwise would not have if I hadn't decided to change my life.

I wear my stretch marks as a badge of honor received for a war well fought.

Love you. You are the only you you're ever going to have.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Jesse's Girl Penny Arcade

Happy Wednesday!
Today's product is Jesse's Girl Penny Arcade 2.5g for 4.99$ at Rite Aid.
Penny Arcade is an eyeshadow that I will readily admit needs help. To get this to be pigmented you absolutely need to use this with a sticky base. The swatches prove that. But you know what? I'm willing to work with it. It's just that phenomenal. This is such a glitter bomb, and it is indeed a mess. So when applying tap off all extra product, and pat, not swipe this all over lids.
At anyrate, Penny Arcade is a coppery sheer glitter. As I mentioned earlier, it's awesome over a base, or over a black eyeliner for a pop of glitter on the lashline. Even though it's a glitter, it's not chunky. It's almost like it's teeny weeny glitter flakes. Which could explain why this is so absurdly messy.

with flash

without flash
I love this shade, even though it isn't the top of their line. If you give it a try, let me know!
Until next time, have a good day, guys!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Wet N Wild Cashmere Lipstick

Happy Wednesday!
Today's product is Wet N Wild's Cashmere lipstick 3.6g/.13oz for .98 cents at Walmart.
Cashmere is a really strange bird. It's dark brown with a frosty finish. I found it odd and had to try it. I was a smidgen disappointed. Mostly because it isn't the same consistency as the other two of these I purchased. But, if you're digging the 90's lately like I am, you should probably pick this up!

This lipstick is not smooth, and doesn't particularly -glide- onto your lips. It's a little dry, I'm guessing because of the finish. Apply some lip balm first. Staying power is decent. I reapplied about 4 hours after I put it on initially. I didn't experience any feathering or bleeding with this lipstick. Overall I think this is a great way for someone to try a funky color without breaking the bank, and without remorse if you hate it.
If you try it, let me know!
Until next time guys, have a good day!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Hard Candy Night Out


Happy Wednesday!
Today's product is Hard Candy's Night Out eyeshadow 2.3g/.081oz. for 3.00$ at Walmart.
I've been looking for a drugstore black eyeshadow that has some oomph. And this is it. Night Out is a charcoal black that has gold glitter shot through it. The glitter doesn't stay put, and hardly transfers to the lid unless it's packed on. The shadow itself is a bit dry and stiff. But, for a drugstore 3$ eyeshadow I think it's worth the money.
 These "Single and Loving It" shades have a pretty decent range. I haven't tried any of their other colors, but I'm thinking of grabbing a few more just to have.
If you try it, let me know!
Until next time guys, have a good day!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Hemp Chocolate Cherries Body Moisturizer

Happy Wednesday! (It isn't Wednesday, but you get the idea)
Today's product is Hemp Chocolate Cherries Body Moisturizer 2fl. oz for 2.59$ at Sally Beauty.
I love all the Hemp lotions. I have far too much lotion for one human being to possibly go through, but these are so irresistible!
With hemp seed oil (NO THC in this product, I get asked this frequently at work so I thought I'd throw that in for you) in this lotion, there's no way this could be anything but moisturizing. These lotions aren't thick and goopy, but of middling texture. So they aren't runny either. This goes on smoothly and absorbs into skin like a dream.
As for the smell. The SMELL. It smells like those Queen Anne chocolate covered cherry cordials. And if you don't know what I'm talking about, you're seriously missing out. This is very sweet smelling. It does linger on the skin, in such a good way that you might find yourself sniffing your skin. If you don't care for "fake" chocolate smell, this probably isn't for you. BUT if you love chocolate as much as I do, you should probably get this.
The size is perfect for your handbag, and traveling. They do offer bigger sizes (and I do own the full size bottle in addition to the small one) and run about 8$. Totally worth it!
Thanks for reading, and until next time guys, have a good day!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Jesse's Girl Antique Green

Happy Wednesday!
Today I bring you one of many posts about Jesse's Girl. I love their loose eye shadows, and want to share them with you all!
Jesse's Girl Eye Dust Antique Green 2.5g for 4.99$ at Rite Aid.

Antique Green is exactly that, an antiqued shimmery greenish color. It's almost a dirty dark teal, and what this really reminds me of is that cruddy buildup on antique metals. Especially copper. Don't let the description put you off, this is a must have! It swatches true to shade, and morphs when over a dark base. It almost becomes brownish over a sticky black base.

Without Flash
This shadow is very smooth, and easy to work with. I think sometimes people are put off of loose shadows because they seem like more work. I personally love them. I think they are much more flexible than a pressed shadow, and can truly be used for anything.
With Flash
If you give this color a whirl, let me know!
Until next time guys, have a good day!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Three Lip Balms Under 5$ Combined!

Pucker Ups Coconut Lip Balm- 4.2g/.15oz for 1.49$ (On sale for .99 at Sally Beauty)
Chap Stick Apple Cider- 4g/.15oz for .98 at Walmart
Chap Stick Chocolate Truffle- 4g/.15oz for .98 at Walmart
Sooooo, You might be noticing the ounces... Yeah I don't know how 4.2 grams = .15 ounces and 4 grams = .15 ounces at the same time.
Moving on!
Ok, I go on these ridiculous kicks where I buy lip balm like it's the currency of the new world. Either way, the weather has been absurdly brutal in my small part of the world.
Pucker Ups Coconut Lip Balm. These little gems are on sale at Sally Beauty until the end of this month for .99 cents. You really can't beat it! They have a decent assortment of flavors from coconut, watermelon, aloe and pomegranate.
The coconut is my favorite, and is super moisturizing. This has aloe vera and vitamin E in it. The scent is light, so it's not super overwhelming. The product itself is fairly soft, but not so much so it leaves chunks all over your lips. It lasts a long time on my lips, but honestly, I reapply a lot. :-) I just love the smell! 
Chap Stick's Apple Cider is from their seasonal release, but I spotted a ton of these at my local Walmart. I love Chap Stick. I've been using their mint medicated balm for a bazillion years, and I absolutely swear by it. But THIS. Oh my. This is delish! It's a light apple cider smell, again not overwhelming. The product is a little on the stiff side, but works into the lips nicely. Since this balm is a little bit stiffer it lasts longer on the lips. I adore all this fall, as I am a fall baby!
Chap Stick's Chocolate Truffle is also a seasonal product, but again, I saw sooo many of these left over. They also have Candy Cane, but yuck. However, if you love peppermint, you better scoop some! Anyway. The scent on chocolate truffle is like the smell of hot chocolate, not really truffle-y.  This is also a little stiffer, but works nicely into lips, and last a long time.
I apologize for the late post, and I hope that three balms for the price of one blog post makes up for it!
Thank you for reading, and have a good day, guys!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Bodycology Fragrance Mist Spiced Caramel Cider

Happy Wednesday!
Bodycology Fragrance Mist Spiced Caramel Cider stats: 3.97$ for 8 fl. oz. of product. Available at Walmart. Bodycology does not test their finished product on animals.
I love body sprays, so when I saw this I was stoked!
This scent is very spicy and sweet, have I mentioned before I like to smell like food? Yeah. ;) There is something slightly creamy and apple scented to this spray as well. I've honestly even used this as a room spray before, it just smells so good!
The scent lasts most of the day, but does fade after about 6 hours. Which is to be expected as it is a body spray, not a perfume. The packaging says it's moisturizing. I can't really attest to that. I used moisturizers when I'm feeling dry and yucky. The ingrdients do have some moisturizing properties, but the first listed is alcohol... so yeah. 
This is still available at my Walmart, so if you see this you might want to grab it as it will probably be replaced soon!
Thank you for joining me for another installment of Frugal & Fabulous! Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Bodycology Vanilla Cupcake Nourishing Body Cream

Happy Wednesday!
Bodycology's Vanilla Cupcake Nourishing Body Cream Stats: 3.97$ for 8oz. of product and is available at Walmart. Bodycology does not test their finished product on animals.
This. Lotion. Is. Divine.
No really, this smells exactly like vanilla frosted cupcakes. There is a slight synthetic sugary smell to it, but after it has been on your skin and smoothed in it doesn't retain much of the synthetic scent.
Overall this cream is very moisturizing, and makes my hands so so soft. It's thick and creamy, and the scent is a huge bonus. I love smelling like food! Is that weird? Oh well. :P
The ingredients contain natural oils and butters, but as with most things, there are some man made properties to this product. Honestly, that isn't something that deters me from a product, but with items like this I will have images of the ingredient listing for anyone interested in it.
I'm not 100% sure if this is limited or not, it's gone from my Walmart, but to be honest, it's always a mess there anyway. So if you can get your hot dry ands on a tube of this, I highly recommend it!
Thank you for joining me for another edition of Frugal & Fabulous! Have a great day!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Frugal & Fabulous: Wet n Wild Comfort Zone

Welcome to my first installment of Frugal & Fabulous!
These posts will essentially be mini-reviews of things that I love that will only set you back 5$ or less!
The first product I'd like to cover with you is Wet n Wild's Comfort Zone Palette. This drugstore gem is 4.99$ at most retailers (and is cheaper at places like Walmart). And let's be serious, eight eyeshadows for five bucks is a steal to say the least. You get 8.5g/.3oz. of product.
I'll cover the shades left to right, top to bottom.
The first color is a light peachy champagne with subtle shimmer. This is marked as "Browbone" and I do use it in that area, but it does make for a nice wash over the entire lid.
Next is a silvery taupe shade that has a shimmer sheen to it, this is also marked as "Browbone". Now, unless you're very dark complected, I would not reccommend this for your browbone. This is one of my favorite shades in the palette.
The next shade is a light/medium goldy peachy shade. This is also shimmery, and is marked "Eyelid".
Next is a light mossy green with subtle silver shimmer. Marked also as "Eyelid", this would be a gorgeous wash of color all over the lid.
The first "Crease" shade is a light creamy brown that reminds me of coffee with milk in it. This is shimmery, and velvety.
The second "Crease" shade is a dark golden olive-y green with a lot of sparkle. LOVE this shade. This does best over a primer and a sticky base.
Next up is a "Definer" shade and it's a reddened chocolate brown with a lot of sparkle, similar to the last shade. I also LOVE this color. Go figure. ;) This also does best over a primer and sticky base.
Lastly we have the second "Definer" shade and this is a brown with a blue-green duochrome. This is a dupe for MAC's Club eyeshadow. It's a very interesting shade to work with, and can seem daunting, but it's totally gorgeous and would be bangin' on blue eyes.
Alright! That concludes my first installment! I'd like as much feedback as possible about the formatting and content! Thanks for reading all, and have a great day!