Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricanes and Halloween

Owly Images
Well the last few days have been very unexpected. I live in NYC and we've been weathering Sandy and trying to get back on our feet in the wake of the storm. I've been extremely lucky because the area where I live has been pretty much unaffected. We never lost power or had any flooding at all. Our stores and restaurants were open as early as yesterday. Compared to whats going on in other areas, I am counting my blessings. 

The last week has been very slow as far as trips to the gym. I had been sick and unable to go to work but I definitely used exhaustion from Halloween activities as an excuse to avoid working out on Sunday. 

I did end up doing a cool costume for Sindel from Mortal Kombat and all of my friends who saw it commented on my weightloss and were very encouraging. It definitely built my confidence. Thanks so much to my friend Agatha who made it. We took a bunch of pictures of our whole Mortal Kombat group. I'll share one when I get access to them!

My boyfriend and I battened down at my apartment to weather the storm and I don't think either of us thought it would go on as long as it has. His grad school classes have been canceled and my work has been shut down as well. We've spent the time playing video games, watching Game of Thrones, and finding ways go "get some exercise" (::wink, giggle:: Sorry, TMI... heeeheeeheee). I think we've both been tempted to snack on comfort food, but despite a few Oreos, a few mouthfuls of his icecream, and a small hot chocolate, I still managed to lose 3 lbs since Saturday. Today I got up and hit the gym with the goal to get back 100% on program. It just goes to show you that if you fall off the wagon, you can always hop right back on and get back on track without torturing yourself or making it even worse. Today my boyfriend tried to go home, but ended up giving up because traffic between Queens and the city is out of control. We'll both have to make the trek tomorrow, so hopefully things will be a little smoother by then.

My heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the hurricane. I really was blessed to have faired as well as I did considering what's going on in Lower Manhattan. I hope this city can remain resilient and that things will get back to normal over the next week.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


I know I'm usually so upbeat and positive, even in the midst of challenges... but I can feel my willpower starting to waver and it's really scary.

I've been experiencing severe abdominal pain that comes and goes over the last few days and I've totally stayed on plan, but after enduring this pain, all I want is something delicious and warm and comforting like a hamburger and french fries. This whole thing is coinciding with the scale just not moving at all. I'm 3 lbs from having lost 50 AND finally dipping below 200 lbs, so I know I should just stick it out... but I am really starting to feel deprived of comfort. I don't know if I'm slipping off the plan and going into starvation mode... but my body is just holding on to EVERYTHING. 

I've been doing Halloween stuff with friends for the last three nights and I've avoided any candy and only had one half glass of wine. I just don't know what to do. I'm completely wiped out and I just want a giant hunk of delicious meat wrapped in carbs and ketchup. 

Ugh. I just read that sentence and just thinking about it makes me feel gross and guilty... but I can't help it! Waaaagh! I really hope an alien isn't trying burst out of me!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Black Widow, Eat Your Heart Out!

I bought faux leather leggings for my Mortal Combat Halloween costume (that I hoped I'd get more mileage out of afterwards), but I was SUPER nervous they wouldn't fit. See, when you go around the city looking for leather leggings or shiny leggings, you can't really find plus size versions. Any place that sells that kind of thing "in the real world" is going to make them for "twigs" only. So I had to turn to "the other world," aka: THE INTERWEBS, in order to hunt down a pair I could only HOPE would fit. And dear readers, hope is all you have when you order clothes online. That always makes me really nervous and it's why I don't shop online for clothes pretty much EVER. I also didn't want to order too early and have them be too big for me when they got here. 

To make matters worse, they just weren't coming and the days were ticking down until my Halloween costume fitting and the party my friends always throw. So last night, I was at my wit's end and I checked my mail box in desperation. Lo and behold, there they were. So I ran upstairs and pulled them on, thinking the whole time, "Surely, these won't fit. There's no way." 


Owly Images

WABAM. I know it's a dark picture, but THEY FIT! I may not be a twig, but I'm gonna rock my rear off in these pants.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Overeating vs. Gym Defeating

Well today is weigh-in day and i'm down 3.6 lbs from last week, which is very significant to me because it's been a rough week emotionally speaking. I won't get into the details but I've been having problems in my relationship and it's really been dragging me down. I have barely slept this past week and my energy level has been really low.

I'm an overthinker. I try to think of every possible scenario for a problem to play out so that I'll be prepared for whatever pain or struggle I'll have to endure. Normally, this "thinking" and nerve-wracking heartache is accompanied by chocolate, ice-cream, and all sorts of other delicious, comforting yum-yums. In the past I would have binged on that stuff without a second thought. It would have been so second nature that I wouldn't have even considered the abuse I was putting my body through at the time.

Yet, as hard as the last week has been, I haven't done that. There have definitely been times when I wished for a bowl of icecream or a bag of Halloween candy that's on sale at the corner store, but I haven't taken the bait. 

In fact, I think I might be becoming one of those people who takes out their frustrations at the gym, which frankly has shocked the hell out of me. I've done a lot of that over thinking on the elliptical machine instead of on the couch with candy. It's even given me a chance to pump myself up for confrontations and take out my aggression about things that have hurt me in a way that doesn't hurt other people. It boils down to working out giving me a sense of self confidence. The gym is the only place that is completely about me- me being selfish about what I need and what I want for my life and my future. Because of that headspace, I've been able to get in touch with my more selfish emotions and desires without feeling the need to apologize for them. It's not a perfect system, but I am noticing that my coping mechanisms are changing.

I'm not in a place where I can definitively say that one of these coping mechanisms works better than the other, but I can at least say that I've made the healthier choice and stayed on track with my journey rather than letting myself get derailed. So as difficult as things are right now, I can be proud of that. 

Personally, I'm hoping I'll get into the 100s this week or next. One-derland is CALLING ME! Hopefully I can continue to keep my nose to the grindstone and get it done despite whatever else is happening in my life.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Behold Them!

Pinup Art - Felicia Day as the Naughty Fairy from The Legend of Neil - Close Up

Well, not so much "them" as me!

Yesterday I had one of those surreal days where everyone I saw remarked on my weightloss.

At work, I have to wear an ugly maroon tuxedo, so it's sort of hard for my co-workers to see the difference cause at this point I've lost 45 lbs and I'm still swimming in the same uniform because I'm waiting to replace it till I absolutely have to. Well I got in today and everyone was hanging out in their street clothes and I had my hair back and everyone's jaws dropped cause I guess my face is more defined and I was wearing more form fitting clothing. It was the talk of the town all day. It felt really good to get encouragement from my co-workers and to have them comment on how far I've come in my journey since I really have been sticking with it. 

I've also noticed that when I finish giving a tour, I get tips almost every time. I used to get tipped once every few days and now it's almost every single tour with the exception of school groups. My tour hasn't changed-just my body. I'm the same person giving the same tour, just 45 lbs thinner. I know I'm reaping the benefits now, but there's an aspect of this that makes me a bit mad at the way society works. Does anyone else think about this stuff? I'm really bothered by it. I hated the way I looked before but I still loved MYSELF/was proud of the work that I did and I think it's really sad that this kind of thing can make such a drastic difference in the way people see you/respect you professionally. 

Anyways, I went over to one of my best friend's houses to play video games and hang out last night and we happened to be riding the same train on the way there from our separate workplaces. He said he did a double take when he saw me (even though he's seen me steadily throughout this process). He said that the difference was very marked in my face and of course the rest of me as well. He has been really supportive of me this whole time, so I was shocked that I surprised him since he always sees me. 

The point of this blog is to express how awesome it feels to have people take notice of your progress, especially when you feel like things are slowing down or when you feel yucky about yourself despite your progress. I know that most of these people loved and respected me before the weightloss, but I also wanted to ask all of you about whether "weight" profiling still bothers or frustrates any of you? It makes me very uncomfortable and I know it's something that I cannot control, so I should just let it go... but it makes me so sad. Being fat doesn't mean you're dumb or worthless, or that you're any worse at your job than anyone else (unless you physically can't perform what's asked of you). Anyone have thoughts or ways you've been able to get over this aspect of accepting the changes in your body?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Yip Yip! It's My First Cosplay!

Well I had my weigh-in yesterday and I was pleased to see that I wasn't derailed by my weekend at New York Comic Con with my friends. I really did my best to stay on track. I packed a bunch of meals and looked at the menus for the restaurants we normally go to in order to prepare myself for what I might face. I did end up losing 2.8 lbs this week which is great. I was prepared for the scale not to move at all. Even though I brought Nutrisystem food with me every day for lunch and my afternoon snack, I was in costume, so I had to hunt down my friends in order to retrieve it since I didn't have a bag with me. The only day that went south was Saturday because a friend I was with got really sick and she had to stop walking around. I didn't want to leave her alone so I had to get a hot dog for lunch because that was all there was in the vicinity. It was one of those situations where I did my best to do the least damage possible with just a dollop of ketchup for flavor, but I felt kind of cornered and guilty about it afterwards. I ended up skipping my afternoon snack because of the hot dog and had a salad with grilled chicken, low-fat balsamic vinaigrette, and avocado when we went out for dinner. I guess I was just trying to minimize the damage while trying to enjoy a "special occasion" night out with my friends. 

All in all, it was a successful, healthy week and I still met my goal of at least 2 lbs lost per week WHILE having a ton of fun at the convention. 

I've always been afraid to cosplay because of my weight. I just didn't think I'd be able to become a character that would be recognizable. Most of our heroes and heroines in fandom are quite svelt and the idea of fitting my pudginess into that mold seemed like a lost cause. Plus the internet can be a cruel place where people lampoon photos of "bad cosplayers" or "fat versions" of characters and mock them mercilessly. I was really afraid of becoming a target for that. 

However, when I started this journey, I really wanted to plan a cosplay as a motivation because it's something connects my personality and my geekdom with my health (two things that have been in opposition or just not related at all for most of my life). I chose to create an anthropomorphic version of Appa, a flying bison, and one of my favorite characters from Nickelodeon's animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender. With help, encouragement, and advice from friends (as well as learning how to hand sew on youtube!), I think I was able to pull off a pretty great look. I wanted to share it with you all here! Some of my best friends agreed to reprise their Toph and Man-Toph costumes so that we could all go around as a group and enjoy the convention together. I really appreciated their support and show of solidarity. <3

Yip yip! Appa takes to the skies!

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This was the first Aang that I came across at the convention. For those who don't know, Appa is Aang's spirit animal companion and the creature that carries Aang and his friends around the world on the show. I made it my goal to get pictures with every Aang I could find (one of whom was 6 years old and ADORABLE), but this one turned out the best. Although, it sort of looks like "Appa and Aang go to the prom." Ha!

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Here's a view of the back of the costume. Appa has a very distinct look and people wouldn't necessarily recognize me from the front immediately, but as soon as I passed by, they would shout "Appa!" It was really funny. 

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Moreso than anything else I learned from this experience, I found that cosplay brings people together. We met so many other fans of the show we love, some were even dressed up as other characters. When we all posed for pictures together it stopped traffic. People swarmed us like paparazzi. We all got to talk about why we loved the show and how we made our costumes. Everyday as I passed through the crowd I just heard a continues melodic strain of "Oh my god! It's Appa! Appa, look! Wow! Look at that Appa! Dude! Amazing, it's Appa!" It was just such a rush to feel people's support for all my hard work and of course to get to share our common love of the show in the process. One artist in artist's alley told me a story about how Avatar brought him and his girlfriend together and how Appa was their favorite. He was telling me this like I WAS Appa and I was personally responsible for his joyous relationship- which was hilarious and touching at the same time. The whole time I was nervous that cosplaying with be a degrading experience, but now that the convention is over, I can not only say that we made a great impression (as evidenced by all the pictures I've found of us that are now floating and garnering positive feedback around the internet! Haha), but I can also say that my experience was completely positive and even empowering. After the con was over, my boyfriend and I started planning a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic cosplay for PAX East in March. Now I have another goal to achieve and the best part is that he's going to participate in it with me so we can share our love of the show with other fans. :) 

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And for those of you who know what "Gangnam Style" is, here's a "Heeeeey Sexy Appa" pic. You're welcome. This happened because my friend yelled at the other cosplayer, "Hey man! Hey! I need you to come yell at my friend's butt." To which he responded, "Sure!"

Owly Images

Monday, October 8, 2012

Plateau! In the Name of the Moon, I Punish You!

So I'd been sorta stuck in a weight loss plateau for the last few weeks. I'd been losing 1 to 1.5 lbs a week and it just seemed like everything was fluctuating a ton more than usual from day to day. I'm pretty sure it had to do with me starting on "The Pill" for the first time and my body was just adjusting. Considering many people report weight gain, I suppose I should count myself lucky that my body was capitulating to weight loss at all. I was sort of afraid I wouldn't make my goal for the "Hot by Halloween" challenge on the Nutrisystem community forums if it kept up. Needless to say, I was sort of stressed out about losing weight the entire week and I was nervous I was losing my edge.

Well, today was weigh-in day and I lost 6.4 lbs this week. That's BANANAS! I stuck 100% to my food plan and worked out 4 days with some physical activity on the others. I've heard of downward "swooshes" after a plateau, but damn! This was pretty swooshified. Normally I would have given up at a plateau, but this time, I persevered. I just kept telling myself,

"If you've done everything you can to be healthy with your diet and your fitness routine and the scale isn't moving, then just let it go! Science says that what you're doing will cause you to lose weight so stop being so dramatic and stick to the plan."
I also think, "When I'm sad, I stop being sad and start being awesome," but I digress. Science says it, guys. Science. The whole weight loss thing can be as much of a mental battle as a physical one and it's important to take stock of what you're doing and troubleshoot, but sometimes plateaus happen. Just stick to your guns. Maybe switch some dinners for lunches, adjust the times you eat, or try some new workout stuff to keep your body guessing, but at the end of the day, your body will only go as fast as it can and impatience will only drive you crazy. 1-2 lbs a week is a healthy rate. Sometimes you'll lose more, sometimes less. Just go with it. 

Yesterday I posted a quick celebration of some sports bras fitting that hadn't when I first ordered them, but what I didn't say was that I also tried on some T-shirts I had bought that hadn't fit before. It's been one of my mini-goals to be able to fit into these and I'd succeeded with two of the four so far. So I decided to try on the other two yesterday and BAM! They fit! The one below was especially exciting because there was a lot of shame attached to it not fitting before. You see, a group of friends and I all ordered the same shirts from (a site that releases a new design each day). The image matched the symbol for our guild in World of Warcraft (The Unicorn Alliance) and we decided we all just had to have them to wear en masse to conventions and events. Well I ordered the biggest size available thinking it would be fine, but when it came, barely even fit over my boobs, let alone my belly. I tried to laugh it off by making jokes about being the token fat-ass, but inside I was really hurting and every time they all wore them together, I felt really bad about not being able to join in. So yes, it meant the world when I pulled this on yesterday and found that finally it fit. I shared it on Facebook and everyone was super supportive and awesome. I was filled with warm fuzzies because my friends and guildies have been my rocks throughout this whole journey so far.

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Lok'tar Ogar! Boobies!

That's Victory or Death, in orcish- the war cry of the Horde in World of Warcraft and my personal battlecry when it comes to weightloss! Well, not the boobies part, but that's just applicable today in particular.

How's this for a victory? When I first started my diet, I ordered three new sportsbras and I'm definitely... ahem. "Stacked"... As they say, so it's always expensive and never easy to find good ones that offer support, are comfortable, and still fit.

Anyways, I ordered them when I started the program and when they came, ONLY ONE fit. I was really mad at the time, because I had ordered the largest available sizes in all of them and I had spent about $80 bucks total.

BUT BEHOLD (well not literally... hehe)! I just decided to try one on to see how far I had to go. AND IT FITS! IT FITS IT FITS IT FITS. Ahem. It. Fits.

So yes. I'm wearing my new Under Armor bra to the gym today. Suck it, fitness! BAM.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Throw Down the Gauntlet!

Did Daenerys Targaryen become of the Mother of Dragons by slacking off and letting her environment define her? 

Clearly not. 

I've been recommitting myself to the gym over the last few days. I realized that in order to keep improving, I needed to turn up the heat in terms of the difficulty. I've been doing the same thing on the elliptical for over a month and it has become easy. I increased the elliptical's incline and the resistance in my interval and weight loss program and was rewarded by a higher calorie burn than I've ever had before as well as keeping my heart rate in the right zone for more of the time. I felt like I was going to die the first time, but I think that's a good thing. I'm challenging myself again and it's good to know I can depend on myself to throw down the gauntlet for the first time in my life.

Are you doing everything you can to challenge yourself? If you're not, try something new today or do what you've been doing, only make it harder. This whole process is only going to be as intense and successful as you make it!


The Mother of Dragons

Monday, October 1, 2012

Cosplay Progress and Halloween Hullabaloo

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My Appa cosplay for New York Comic Con is coming along pretty well and I've also started preparing for Halloween too. Lot's of sewing, which I didn't know how to do before so hooray for learning how to do new things. Just need to attach the false arms to the bracers and run an invisible line between them so they'll move along with my regular arms, remake the horns a lot smaller, and then maybe sew an elbow joint into the arms to make them move more naturally. Lots of work but it will all be worth it! As far as Halloween goes, I'm lucky enough to be relying on the immeasurable skills of my friend Agatha who makes our group of friends themed costumes every year. This year's theme: Mortal Kombat. I wish I could say that I'm super into it. I love video games, but I'm not really a huge fighting game fan. I'm going to be Sindel, the banshee! She wears purple, which is my favorite color, so I was willing to capitulate to the overall desire of the group to do that theme. I know Agatha will alter the more naked aspects of my costume that make me nervous so that I'll be comfortable. It's not that I don't like nakedness. There are just still parts of my body that I'm really uncomfortable with exposing to the world! This is mostly about having fun with everyone and taking awesome pictures and I didn't want to be the thorn in anyone's side just because I was afraid of not looking like the character and not being able to show enough skin to do her justice. When we're all dressed up, I know we're going to look amazing. Agatha always makes sure of that!