Saturday, April 30, 2011
Everyone's story is different, but I think we share some similar experiences. For me, the cycle of fat-to-thin has always involved having a totally unrealistic view of how I actually look. What do I mean by that? I mean that I've been fighting with my weight for so long and starting from such a young age, that no matter what size I am, I see myself as fat.
At my thinnest ever I was a size 6/8. I'm only 5' 1.5" tall, so according to BMI and height/weight charts, I'm supposed to weight between 95-121 pounds. I've never gotten close. When I was at a size 6/8 (which I'd LOVE to be now), I would literally break down and cry over my weight. I was eating well and working hard to achieve a 'healthy' weight and I seemed unable to do so. I look back now and see pictures of myself and wonder what was I thinking? I looked GREAT. I was eating well, I was active. I was healthy.
While I was at my thinnest, I traveled to New York to see my musician brother play a couple of concerts. I walked into a restaurant to meet him and his friends and he didn't recognize me, which I attributed to my new haircut. It took me months to realize he didn't recognize me because I was so thin. I look at pictures from that trip and wonder how that was ever me. And then I remember how I cried in the hotel because I was embarrassed to have been hanging out with his friends while I was so fat. Writing this down, I sound kind of crazy and unstable, but I think anyone who has gone through the dieting yo-yo understands what I'm trying to say. I showed pictures of the trip to Emily (the same Emily who is writing here!) and she echoed my brother's sentiment: she wouldn't have recognized me had she seen me then.
And then there is the flip side-- Even thought I couldn't properly understand and celebrate when I looked good and lived a healthy lifestyle, I also couldn't see when I was getting honestly fat again. It's like somehow this median view of how I was at one specific point gets burned into my retinas and it's all I can see when I look in the mirror. Sure, the number on the scale changes and I have to buy new, bigger, pants, but I never truly see how I look. So I get bigger. And bigger. And bigger. And eating and not exercising is fun, because it means more time to eat and hang out with friends, who also eat (but somehow don't get bigger). And I get bigger. And bigger. Until I'm here.
What snaps me out of it? In this case-- one photo. This photo:
You can't see it here because I cropped the others people out for their privacy, but I LITERALLY took up half that couch. I know some of you are saying, "It's not that bad, Julie." But it is. And not because of how I look, but because I let myself get out of control and become so unhealthy and, yes, fat.
I have a lot of excuses, some of them are even pretty good. But, the bottom line is that I have to do something, and this is why I'm running now.
Because of the allergies and being officially diagnosed with the 'short end of the metabolic stick', I may not lose a ton of weight. I've been told to expect that and I'm trying to be ok with that. I'm not yet, but I'm trying to be. Most days, if I'm being honest, I totally freak out before I walk into the gym because I'm not sure I can do this. I'm not sure I want to spend the time if I'm never going to look any better than I do now. I'm not sure I want to risk the public failure.
The bottom line? If I'm going to look like the girl in this picture, I at least have to know I can do whatever I want to do physically by being in shape.
That's how I got here. That's why I'm doing this. And this time I want to install some sort of backup default so I don't get here again.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Degree of Association or Prevalence:
Low or undetermined (33)
Pear, Mango, Sweet Pepper,
Peach, Rye, Cayenne Pepper,
Plum, Wheat, Shellfish,
Cherry, Hazelnut, Sunflower Seed,
Pineapple, Walnut, Citrus Fruits,
Strawberry, Soybean, Coconut,
Fig, Peanut, Chick Pea,
Grape, Buckwheat, Castor Bean,
Apricot, Dill, Lychee,
Passion Fruit, Oregano, Zucchini,
Nectarine, Sage, Persimmon
Helpful tips for I've picked up along the way:
- If you have kids, watch them for reactions to food. This could be a gastrointestinal reaction, hives/skip reactions or something as simple as redness around the lips and face. A sever reaction is easy to spot, but a less sever reaction may not be as obvious. As stated above, have a dialogue with your kids about what they like and don't like and why.
-Don't be afraid to feed someone with a food allergy.If you want to have someone with a food allergy over for a meal, don't be afraid! It is a good precaution to ask whoever it is if there is anything they absolutely cannot have near their food. If your guest offers to bring a dish, please allow them to do so, even if you have the meal under control. Often, if I'm going to someone's home, I'll offer to bring a dish so that I'm sure there is something I can eat without being totally rude. Don't be offended if your guest declines to eat something or asks for exact ingredients; he/she isn't trying to be rude, it's most likely and attempt to avoid a problem!
-Don't be afraid to ask questions. This goes for people with allergies and those without, alike! If you have allergies, do not be afraid to ask what ingredients are in food, whether it is at friend's house, a party, or in a restaurant. I often phrase my question like, "I have sever allergies, can you please let me know the full list of ingredients in this?" It is rarely a problem and, as long as you do it nicely, most waiter/waitresses are happy to help. If you don't have allergies, don't be afraid to ask questions of your friends that do. Most of us will never be offended and are happy to help explain why we can/cannot eat certain things. We appreciate that you want to know and that you are trying to feed us without killing us.
- Chain Restaurants May Not Be Your Friend: There are a number of chain restaurants that have their food pre-prepared. It arrives to the restaurant already ready to cook, and often cannot be altered to meet dietary needs. I have discovered that there are certain places I just can't eat for this reason.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Natural Rubber Latex Allergy (NRL) is an IgE-mediated, immediate type hypersensitivity reaction to one or more proteins in natural rubber latex (Hevea brasiliensis). Histamine is release causing symptoms. This reaction is systemic.
Type IV (delayed-type) hypersensitivity is a T cell-mediated, delayed response, and typically occurs 48 to 96 hours after exposure. This is frequently a reaction to the processing chemicals used in manufacturing natural rubber latex (NRL). This reaction is generally localized to the area of contact. This reaction is also referred to as allergic contact dermatitis, T-cell-mediated allergy, or chemical allergy.
- Walk through you house and literally touch/look at every item. (Only if it is safe for you to do so! If you have respiratory reactions or sever reactions of any kind, recruit someone else to do this.)Think in your head, “what is this made out of?” We sometimes forget about items in our everyday lives because they are so mundane—it’s those items (like pillows!) that can be secretly poisoning us.
- Ask questions before you buy a product.I email or call companies before I buy or use a lot of things. Companies are generally really receptive and quick in their responses.This includes food companies, which I'll discuss more in my post on how latex relates to food.
- Write things down and take pictures.Allergies are often hard to treat. I went to several doctors before figuring mine out. The problem is that you generally aren’t having a reaction in the doctor’s office. I started taking pictures of my reactions and keeping a detailed diary of where I went and what I ate. This helped me talk to the doctor, and it also helped me figure out where and what to change in my daily life.
- Talk. A lot. Talking to others with the same allergy is beneficial not only for tips on what to buy and not buy, but also it can help you find support. Anyone with any allergy knows that sometimes you feel frustrated and isolated, and finding others is key to feeling supported. Also, talking helped me discover more about my own allergy, its genetic roots in my family tree, and how it affects me.You also learn that things you thought were normal (like something making you feel tired or sick), is not normal.
Monday, April 25, 2011
Not only is it necessary that I maintain my food budget (it's no good for my wallet to hit vending machines for the mid-afternoon munchies!), but it’s also necessary that I have food on hand that I can cook easily, snacks that are healthy that I can eat at home and grab on the go.
Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks:
- Carrot sticks
- Sweet pepper strips
- Raw almonds
- Granola bars (although these can contain a ton of calories and sugar, so I try not to eat these all the time!)
- Plain yogurt with honey
- Smoothies (made with various ingredients, but usually milk, frozen strawberries, and plain yogurt, sometimes with the addition of fresh spinach or honey)
Saturday, April 23, 2011
Also Subtitled: Julie is the creepy lady in the gym with a camera.
Hi - it's Julie here!
I am working on a couple of posts that really detail how a latex allergy (and other allergies) work, but they aren't ready yet, so I thought it would be fun to start my showing you what exactly my workout looks like right now, including what gear I'm using. I have an appointment with a trainer at my gym next week, so it will be interesting to see what she changes. I'll update you with her report!
So- when I joined the gym, I had to buy new workout clothes because I was too big for the stuff I had. I hadn't been to a gym or on a workout in almost four years. My original workout was 30 min. 3-4 times a week on the elliptical and then about 20 min of weights 2-3 times a week. I've now changed to to 30 min of running/walking according to the Couch to 5K plan, which I do 3-4 times per week (I'm on Week 2, Day 3). I've kept my weights the same.
Weight wise, I wanted to focus on toning up my arms and my core. I have disproportionally large arms that have always been a source of discontent for me, regardless of my size, so I really want to tone them up. I put my weight plan together based on things that I'd been taught in the past by various friends and fitness professionals. For my core, I have been doing machines that build ab and back muscles. For my arms, I've been doing machines that work on biceps, triceps and shoulders. I also do the leg press, two hip machines, and the chest press. I'm curious to see how the trainer alters this.
When I go to the gym-- here is a look at what I'm bringing. I usually also have my ipod, but I dropped the headphones in the toilet at the gym last night (NO JOKE, I do dumb stuff like this more than I'd like to admit). Here is what the 'dashboard' of my treadmill looks like. (Right now, all my running is on a treadmill-- I plan to take it outside when I finish the Couch to 5K and can handle a move vigorous run).
First, I printed out the treadmill times for the daily Couch to 5K program in big print so it's easy to read and follow while I'm working out. This has been a big help for me. Not having to think about the timing and just being able to follow it and visually see on the sheet that I'm half way done, etc., is very helpful for me. Second, I always carry my epi-pen, emergency contact card, and topical Bendaryl. The gym is full of latex based things and I don't ever want to be in a situation where I don't have my epi-pen. Luckily, I've never needed to use mine, but I don't want the day to come where I do need it and I don't have it. The topical Benadryl is great for me because most the reactions I have start as hives or discomfort on the skin. Keeping the travel size spray bottle handy helps me keep a reaction under control once it starts. I do use that one quite a bit while at the gym. Finally, you see my sweat towel, because I sweat like a man. No joke. I just use a kitchen towel because it's a good size. I'm not sure if there is any particular benefit to getting a sport towel or not. So far, this works for me!
So that take us to what I'm wearing during a workout.This pic was taken post workout, just to prove I'm actually trying to run. :-)
So, I mentioned I had to buy all new gear-- what you are seeing here is $20 at work! I bought both the carpi pants and the shirt, as well as a package of cotton socks for $20 on the sale rack.The shirt is from the men's department. (Yes, I just admitted that on the internet.) As any lady with larger than normal arms knows, girl workout shirts are just SO tiny! I was not comfortable in something so tight as a lady's shirt, so I opted for a man's size. What I like about it is the wicking fabric. What I don't like is, now that I'm running, the extra fabric in the arm-pits chafes a little bit. The capri's are just 100% cotton, drawstring workout pants. I tend to opt for the 100% cotton, elastic free stuff because of my latex allergy.
What's on my workout wish list?
- New shoes. I know how important it is to have the right shoes to run. I'm still researching the best latex free options.
- Clothes made for running to prevent chafing.
- A water bottle with a straw or squeeze top so that I can drink while running.
- An MP3 player that clips to my clothes
- A running watch.
Runners out there: What's your workout look like? What's your favorite gear?
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Hi there! I’m Emily!
I never thought of myself as athletic. Ever. I played recreational soccer from age 5 to 16, but I loathed going to practice. I loved the competition, but the training always irked me. Running drills? No thanks - I’d rather just play the games on Saturdays! Running the mile? It was my least favorite part of elementary school gym!
So, why am I going to train for a half marathon? I have started fitness regimens with great gusto – even going so far as to hire a personal trainer for a few months on a very tight budget – and then I go back to my old habits just as soon as I face a setback. In the last 7 years, my weight has fluctuated almost 40 pounds… and I’m seeing the highest numbers on the scales that I’ve ever seen.
I need to get fit. I want to be a healthy weight. I want to feel confident in my clothes. I want to set a goal – a big goal like a half marathon – and accomplish it.
My parents trained for a marathon (the whole 26.2 mile shebang) over 10 years ago and while I was impressed, I didn’t understand just how much of a commitment that was! But I’m ready for this. I have great companions along the way and I’m going to go for this half marathon. Oh, and I will be wearing a tiara and a tutu during those 13.1 miles.
Why the blog? I want the accountability and, as Julie said, we need support and sponsors to do this. Since I don’t have the allergies that Julie does, my focus on the blog will be on healthy eating on a budget, finding the time to work out with a busy schedule, and, well, anything else that I feel like talking about!
Why the Disney Princess Half Marathon? We want to do it because their whole weekend promotes health and fitness for women and we love the magic of Disney. We want to celebrate our journey to a healthy lifestyle by running like princesses. Time to run like a girl!
Why does this matter? Why is this the first post in a blog about running?
Because latex is everywhere and in everything. It is in shoes, bras, clothing, gym equipment, and is related to many fruits and veggies. What does this mean for a girl like me? It means that in the five years since the onset of my allergy, I've gotten fat.
For someone like me who has struggled with he weight since I was 10 years old, a latex allergy was a license to eat junk and sit on the couch. Exercise has never been my thing, but cupcakes for SURE have-- mix this with being allergic to latex? BAD NEWS.
But now, I'm determined to get fit again.
At the time I developed my allergy, I was the thinnest I'd ever been and in the best shape of my life. I'm determined to get that back! Even if I'm never as thin as I was then, I want to know I can physically do anything demanded of me. Most simply? I want to go up the stairs to my apartment without feeling like my lungs are going to explode.
So here's what I've done: I re-worked my budget and scrounged up come cash to join a gym. I even had a special epi-pen pouch made so I can holster it onto my water bottle due to the ubiquity of latex in a gym setting. I was pretty content to settle for a few days a week on the elliptical machine...but......
My cousin proposed to me an idea that got me thinking......
She wants to run the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon. It's a half marathon through the Disney Parks in Florida where you dress up like a princess.
At first I laughed.
I thought a little bit.......
And though: WHY NOT???
And then I saw the price tag on the event...anyone ever looked at the cost of a trip to Disney that requires 2-4 nights in (they suggest) a Disney hotel during an event weekend? The registration fee alone is over $100 (last published fee was $120, but I haven't found the updated 2012 cost). Anyone looked at the cost of latex free sports gear? YEAH....it's sad and scary and makes my bank account cry itself to sleep.
So- this is my plan. I'm going to train like I'm going to run the race. I started the couch to 5K program (which I'll blog about soon!) as soon as we hatched this idea, and I have 10 months to get from zero to 13.1 miles. Can I do it? WHO KNOWS. But I sure am going to try.
I'm also going to look for sponsors who want to help make this happen. Looking for a fat to fit poster girl to advertise for you? I'm your girl. Do you make latex-free products and want a really loud mouthpiece to shout about them? I'm your girl.
I own an etsy shop with an accompanying blog and a twitter account with 400+ followers, and I'm happy to take part in any of your advertising.
So-- all you companies out there-- GIVE US YOUR MONEY. :-)
On this blog, Emily (my cousin), possibly another friend who may be training with us, and I will discuss:
- Who we are, why we want to do this, etc.
- Our training (none of us are runners, this is new to us!)
- Our eating - we will focus on healthy eating while cooking for one. We are both single ladies and all you single people out there know how hard it can be to cook healthy things for yourself, especially while staying on a budget!
- Budget friendly fitness and eating (I work admin, Emily is a grad student-- budget friendly is a very big deal. Especially considering my student loans *shudder*)
- Anything else that might happen along the way.
There are several ways you can help us reach our goal of running the Disney Princess 1/2 Marathon, 2012:
- You can sponsor us financially. If you are interested, please contact me at julievisiondesigns (at) gmail (dot) com.
- You can give us some gear, which we will use and review here on this blog.
- You can advertise with us! See that sad, empty space in the side bar and footer?? IT COULD BE YOURS! Contact me at julievisiondesigns (at) gmail (dot) com for prices and info!
- You can make this blog look better. Clearly, blog design is not our game. If you can make this blog look more appealing to potential sponsors, that would be amazing!
- Got a better idea? I'm all ears. Comment or email me! I started the blog because I can't run without sponsors. I brought the other girls in to write because it's more fun that way! If you have ideas or suggestions for one or all of us to obtain advertisers or sponsorship, give us a shout!
Most of all, we hope you'll offer us moral support as we get off the couch and try to run. We don't know a lot about this, but we do know that it's about time for us to get fit. It's time we felt strong. It's time for us to RUN LIKE GIRLS.