September 27, 2011

Top 10 Annoying Habits of Other Drivers

1. Changing lanes without checking their blind spot

2. Changing lanes without signaling

3. Leaving their turn signal on with no intention of turning

4. Women who put make-up on while driving

5. Creeping up over the line when the light is red and then not going when it turns green

6. Leaving high-beam lights on when their is on-coming traffic

7. Not wearing a seat belt AND not having their children properly strapped in

8. Not accelerating and, in fact, slowing down on the on-ramp to a highway

9. Tailgating

10. Weaving in and out of traffic

September 25, 2011

Week Three

I had another great week. Added more water to my days and exercised a few times. I don't yet feel better physically, but mentally I feel great and excited about my progress over the past 2 weeks.

Week One: 225.0
Week Two: 222.0
Week Three: 220.4

Lost this week: 1.6 pounds
Total lost: 4.6

A friend of mine suggested that when I reach milestones in my weight loss that I reward myself with a pedicure since I'm photographing my feet once a week. I think it's a wonderful idea, especially after this week. Those toes need some help. Thanks E.H.  for the suggestion and motivation! :)

I am having fun trying new recipes and learning new ways to cook. I hope to be able to post more new recipes here soon.  I am keeping my same goals from last week for this week. I did well with the water drinking but it was still a conscious effort. I want to still focus on drinking water without having to chug a couple of glasses at the end of the day. Exercising went better, but not great and not where I want it to be. That will also continue to be a focus for me.

Who is Nancy Upton?

You may have seen her in the news lately.
Image from

She entered a contest for American Apparel called "The Next Big Thing." American Apparel called for "full-sized fannies" and "booty-ful models." Nancy entered the contest with a series of photos of herself almost naked and covered in or eating fatty foods. The contest winner was determined by fans who voted on which model they liked the best.

Nancy won!

But here is an open letter from Iris Alonzo, the Creative Director of American Apparel and the designer of the contest:

Dear Nancy Upton,

My name is Iris Alonzo and I am a Creative Director at American Apparel. Along with four other women, I conceived of the Next BIG Thing campaign for American Apparel. Firstly, we are very sorry that we offended you. Our only motive was to discover and celebrate the many beautiful XL women around the globe who enjoy our brand, and to promote the recent size additions to our collection. Nothing more, nothing less. We would also like to assure you that no one is getting fired over your stunt, as you expressed concern about in a recent interview. We are fortunate to have a great boss who trusts and believes in our instincts and ideas, and we are still very excited about all of our Next BIG Things and looking forward to meeting our new XL brand ambassadors.

It’s a shame that your project attempts to discredit the positive intentions of our challenge based on your personal distaste for our use of light-hearted language, and that “bootylicous” was too much for you to handle. While we may be a bit TOO inspired by BeyoncĂ©, and do have a tendency to occasionally go pun-crazy, we try not to take ourselves too seriously around here. I wonder if you had taken just a moment to imagine that this campaign could actually be well intentioned, and that my team and I are not out to offend and insult women, would you have still behaved in the same way, mocking the confident and excited participants who put themselves out there? Maybe you’ll find it interesting that in addition to simply responding to customer demand and feedback, when you’re a vertically-integrated company, actual jobs are created from new size additions. In this case, for the XL women who will model them, industrial workers that make them, retail employees that sell them and beyond. That’s the amazing reality of American Apparel’s business.

Though I could spend hours responding to your accusations and assumptions, this isn’t the appropriate forum for that, so I will only briefly address a few issues here. In regards to April Flores’ “that’s not our demographic” experience, I don’t recall the name of the confused employee credited with saying that, but he or she was sadly uninformed, and our company certainly does not endorse their statement. For as long as I can remember, we have offered sizes up to 3XL in our basic styles, and as far as adding larger sizes to the rest of our line is concerned, if there is the demand and manufacturing power to support it, we’re always game. There are thousands of brands in the market who have no intention of supporting natural - and completely normal - full-figured women, and American Apparel is making a conscious effort to change that, both with our models and our line. If every brand that tried to do this was met with such negative press, we may have to wait another decade for the mainstream to embrace something so simple.

In the past, American Apparel has been targeted for various reasons, many times by journalists who weren’t willing to go the extra mile to even visit the factory or meet the people in charge. Dov is a great executive director and American Industrialist, but there are hundreds of other decision-makers in our company, over half of whom are women. I suppose you have read a few too many negative pieces about us that have helped to form your opinion of who we are and what we stand for, and perhaps this has clouded your ability to give us a chance. I get it. I read some of it too. As a creative who isn’t always the most tactful and tends to stay away from the limelight, maybe I haven’t spoken up as much as I should have over the past 8 years that I’ve worked at American Apparel. Perhaps I could have shed some light on some issues that have been left cloudy over the years. However, sensational media will always need something to latch on to and success, spandex and individuality (and mutton chops circa 2004) are certainly easy targets. And who knows - maybe the PR ups and downs are all part of our DNA as a company. What I do know is that after all the years I have been working for this company I can wholeheartedly say that American Apparel is an amazing and inspiring place to work. I can’t speak for everyone, but I can represent of a ton of people I know when I say that we really like Dov and we passionately believe in his vision for a beautiful factory with sustainable practices. We are the largest sewing factory in North America, after all…10,000 jobs is nothing to sniff at. A lot of people would be very sad if this company wasn’t around.

That said, we realize that we are in no way perfect and that we’re still learning. We want to do better or differently in many areas, and we are actively working on them every day. You’re literally witnessing a transparent, sincere, innovative, creative company go through puberty in the spotlight of modern media. It’s not easy!

Oh — and regarding winning the contest, while you were clearly the popular choice, we have decided to award the prizes to other contestants that we feel truly exemplify the idea of beauty inside and out, and whom we will be proud to have representing our company.

Please feel free to contact me directly anytime. If you want to know the real scoop about our company before writing a story, I’ve got it (or if I don’t, I can put you in touch with the person that does!).

Best of luck,

Iris Alonzo
Creative Director
American Apparel

Nice one American Apparel. Nancy won fairly and within the parameters of the contest they designed. After all of the negative publicity that this has caused, I'm sure American Apparel with think again the next time they decide not to give the winner of their contests their prize.

What do you think? Should Nancy Upton be their next plus-sized model or did she make a mockery of the contest and therefore, not deserve to be associated with the company?

September 24, 2011

BMI Bunk

For years we've been told by doctors and other health professionals about calculating and watching our Body Mass Index (BMI) as a way to making sure our weight is in a healthy range with our height. I, myself, have followed to find my healthy weight range and as tool to know if I need to lose more weight or not.

But I wonder. How many of us have considered this situation:
Image from the CDC's BMI website

Not me until a few days ago when this article was brought to my attention:
CLICK here to read what NPR says are the Top 10 Reasons why BMI is bogus.

Basically what NPR is reporting is that BMI calculations are not scientifically based and do take take waist size into account, which is the main cause of weight-related health issues. They also go on to say that BMI was introduced by a mathematician, not a physician, who wanted to use BMI statistics as a way to measure the obesity levels of the general population in order to assist the government in deciding how to allocate resources. It was not intended to be used by physicians as a way to calculate whether an individual was underweight, ideal weight, overweight or obese.

There are other and better ways of measuring an individuals body fat and subsequent health related risks, but they are more costly and many physicians rely on the 200-year old BMI calculations instead.

I am by no means using this research as a scapegoat for my own personal body composition. I am overweight and there is no doubt about that. I was, however, using BMI ranges to determine what my goal weight should be. I had thought that 140-150 llbs. would be a realistic and healthy weight for me. Turns out by BMI ranges, it should be more like 125-130 llbs.

So what does this all mean? To be honest, I don't know. I'm not a doctor and have no background in the medical field. I do my research along the way but in the end, I trust my doctor. I guess if I ever look like the man on the left up there in the picture, then I'll have something to worry about.

For more information about BMI Myths, check out this site from LIVESTRONG.



September 20, 2011

Top 10 Reasons Why My Mom is Awesome

In honor of my mother's birthday today.

1. She is super supportive.

2. She is hysterically funny.

3. She is very smart and helps me though everything in life.

4. She is generous. I am a self-sufficient, responsible adult, but I know if life got the best of me she would be there to help me.

5. She let me figure out who I was on my own terms.

6. She helped to foster my love for coffee and books.

7. She watched me move across the country without too much guilt. :)

8. She brought me up surrounded by family; something that I treasure dearly.

9. She bought me 2 wedding dresses. One was a replacement after there was a problem with the first one.

10. She called a store to ask if their Christmas tree light up display dress was for sale. It wasn't.

I love you mom! Happy Birthday!

September 18, 2011

Roasted Vegetables

I lined a pan with aluminum foil and lightly coated the bottom with canola oil. Next I cut up vegetables and put them in the pan. This time I used potatoes, broccoli and zucchini because that was all I had in the fridge that I could spare. The next time I make this, I'm considering adding onions, sweet peppers, and maybe corn.

Next I sprinkled salt, pepper, Season All seasoned salt and garlic salt. Next time, I want to try thyme, rosemary or basil. It may take a few times of making this to find the perfect spice combination.

Then I carefully stirred it and sprayed the top with cooking spray. With the oven preheated to 400 degrees, the pan went in. After 20 minutes I pulled the pan out, sprayed the top with cooking spray again, and put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes.

It tasted so good. Easy, quick, and very tasty!

I've Discovered the Farmers Market

And I am in love.  There's a farmers market a few minutes from where I work. I never knew the greatness that comes from a farmers market. Everything is so fresh and colorful. And cheap too. Two bags full of fruits and vegetables for $12.07! Shopping here has helped me to eat more fruits and vegetables. I like to go there at least 2 times a week. After a little bit of reading about the Henry's I shop at, I learned they are merging with Sprouts. I hope everything else stays the same.

Week Two

Last week went better than I had expected. I wasn't hungry throughout the day because I added more fruit to my diet and ate smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.

Week One: 225.0
Week Two: 222.0

Lost this week: 3 pounds
Total lost: 3 pounds
A great start!

Last week I set 2 goals: drink more water and find time to exercise. I was able to drink more water. I'm not quite up to where I should be, but almost. As far as exercise goes.... *looks away* .... yeah, well, that will continue to be a goal for me.

This week's goals are to drink 8 glasses of water each day and exercise on the bike at least 3 times.

September 15, 2011

What Do Others See?

When I see people who are overweight I think about how they must struggle. I wonder how they feel about themselves. I feel sad that this has happened to them whether it was in their control or not. I think about how hard it must be sometimes to go shopping for clothes. I wonder how their loved ones feel. Are they sad? Are they happy?

What do other people think of them as they eat at a restaurant? Or walk through the grocery store?

And now, I wonder who thinks these things about me.

September 12, 2011

Water is Boring

It's hard for me to drink water. I can really only do it if I'm hot and thirsty. It tastes really good then, but sitting at my desk while at work, I can't do it.

I've tried 2 flavors of MiO Water Enhancer and it is really good!
I like Crystal Light also, but MiO is a liquid and not a powder and it doesn't have that sweetener taste behind. Even my husband likes it. They are a little pricey but you can control how much you put in; a little or a lot.

It's very tasty and helps me to drink more water.

How it all began...

I can't remember the last time I felt healthy. I've always had  something medical going wrong. Headaches, stomachaches, neck pain, weight gain, the list goes on.

In 2008, I was diagnosed with PCOS.
In 2009, I was diagnosed with food and environmental allergies.

Between those 2 issues, I was on meds, changing my diet and meeting with a personal trainer 2 times a week in addition for working out 5 times a week. My weight kept going up and up.

In 2010, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism which basically means my thyroid isn't working enough. Even after on meds I was still gaining a lot of weight. Meanwhile I was getting married and gained so much weight that I had to buy a new wedding dress. Talk about wedding drama. It took about a year until I found the right levels of meds and for my weight to remain the same.

That brings us to today. My weight has stabilized and even though I don't feel healthy (dizziness, headaches, insomnia, stomachaches) I am more than ready mentally to lose the extra weight. I don't know if it will work. My body is working against me. I don't know if cutting calories and exercising will be enough to lose. It's totally possible that I will gain .

I don't talk about all of this with most people but I'm letting it all out here.

September 11, 2011

Week One - Here we go!

This is going to be a painful journey for me. Read why here and here. My weight will most likely stay the same or go up more often than it goes down. I must be crazy for publishing this in a blog but it also makes me feel empowered on some level. Maybe there are other women out there who are in the same situation as me and will feel inspired or motivated to get better.

I weighed myself this morning: 225.0

Goals for this week are to find a way to use the exercise bike in with my work schedule and drink more water.