Friday, November 29, 2013

Argh! Diabetes and Thanksgiving

I fell of the wagon, y'all.

Like, I totally had good intentions for the longest time. I freaked out over carbs and checked my sugar a billion times a day to get it as low as possible.

But somewhere, bit by bit, my desire to control it slipped. Then, it stopped mattering what I ate. I mean, the food I ate was good food - unprocessed, home made, tasty and healthy - but I wasn't counting carbs anymore.

My sugar, however, didn't react. As long as I remembered my medicines in the morning and night, I was completely fine.

This wasn't my goal, when I found out I had diabetes. I wanted to get off the medication. Unless I get back into control, that's not going to happen.

Making this decision around the holidays is not the easiest decision. Of course, yesterday was a lost cause (because it was Thanksgiving, fools!).

However, today I woke up and took my meds, weighed myself (ugh), and at 1 cup of fat free Greek yogurt (10 grams of carbs), 1/8 cup of dry barley flakes (7 grams of carbs) and 1 tsp of organic peach jam (5 grams of carbs).

We'll try this again. My name is Trudy. I'm a diabetic.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Milk of Magnesia is Gross and Also Awesome

So, if you have oily skin and wear makeup, you've probably had to deal with foundation just melting off your face throughout the day (unless you stopped wearing foundation, like I did - outlined here) and feeling as gross as it looked.
While I still feel like I'm happy to go foundationless (and makeupless! I work at home, fools), there are times where I've wanted to even up my tone and be able to experiment with contouring and different colors of blush - which really do require a foundation. Not only that, but what about Halloween makeup? I don't want to worry about whether it's staying on my face in the middle of a party, yo.
So, a few internet searches on the best primers and foundations for oily skin turned up something really interesting.
Milk of Magnesia - that gross, thin, white liquid you may have had to gulp if you couldn't poop (not me. I can't take liquid medicines because they make me vomit) supposedly keeps greasy skin matte when used as a primer.
On multiple sites - Makeup Alley alone being a source of hundreds of testimonials - reported this, and there's real science to back it up.
However, there were also a few people out there who began suffering from cystic acne and dermatitis after integrating it into their makeup routine. Here's the science behind that.
"Because it was originally intended to neutralize the pH of our gastric environment, Milk of Magnesia is quite basic with an overall pH of 10.5.  Furthermore, the bleach found in MOM produces Sodium Hydroxide when it reacts with water.  And Sodium Hydroxide has a pH of 14 making it even more basic. The estimated natural skin pH is below 5 making it acidic.  When this pH is followed, the normal flora (resident bacteria) on our skin stays attached to the skin.  Now don't go "eewww" and "yucky" on me.  We actually need these resident bacteria on our skin.  They're not freeloaders on your face, they actually serve a purpose.  First off, the normal flora on our skin are good bacteria much like the lactobacillus shirota strain in your yakult.  They don't cause pimples or harm your skin, that's why they're called NORMAL flora.  Also, they serve as guardians and protectors of our skin.  When the normal flora on your skin is present it fights off other forms of bacteria that can be potentially harmful.  It competes for space on your face.  Now when the pH levels of our skin rise (above 5) we actually disperse the normal flora on our skin lighting up the "vacancy" sign and making it a playground for other harmful bacteria.  In using MOM, which is a very basic product, we actually increase our pH level making our skin more basic and warding off our friendly, protector bacteria."
So - my dilemma (really? This is my life's dilemma?) was whether I wanted to risk skin problems where I'd always had pretty healthy skin with just the greasiness factor or deal with never being able to wear foundation for longer than an hour or so.
However, let's go back to science (or what my pinky-gray mass behind my face says it science).
As you all know because you read every stupid word I write on here, I use apple cider vinegar as a toner. Acids cancel out bases - right?
Also, I work at home. How often am I going to realistically going to wear foundation just to talk on the phone with my agents?
This week? Apparently, every damn day.
That's right - I have been making up my face every day in an attempt to see the result of Milk of Magnesia. So that makeup doesn't go to waste, I've been forcing all of my employees to look at my mug on webcam instead of just talking to me like a normal person over the phone.
Saturday was the first day, and it didn't really work. I still got greasy after a couple of hours. I think I didn't wait long enough between toner/moisture/MoM/foundation.
Sunday was less greasy.
Monday and today have been AH-mazing! Like, really. You'd never know I was a greasy gal! I don't know if it's continued use or what, but my skin has been like someone else's. If I wanted a truly matte finish, I could probably maintain it with a little powder or blotting papers (or Starbuck's napkins).
Here's my face with MoM, foundation, sans any form of powder, 8 hours after applying makeup.
Compare that to my face about two hours after washing it, without foundation, a couple of weeks ago.
Using it is sort of self-explanatory. Clean face (baby shampoo is a super gentle cleanser!), use apple cider diluted with water as a toner (1/2 and 1/2), and moisturize (seriously, anything - I use Jergens). Let your moisturizer sink in while you do your hair or something.
Basically, wet a cotton ball or cosmetic sponge with the MoM and put it on your face, making sure to hit everywhere - even the crevices next to your nostrils. Let it dry completely. If there are white spots, just rub them out with your finger or a dry cotton ball. Then, apply foundation. I've been using E.L.F Studio Flawless Finish Foundation, so it's not like it has to be amazing or high-end (though this product is great, considering the price point!).
Then, just do your thing. That's it. For reals.
Alright - so will I be using it daily? Nah bra. However, when I want to wear makeup, fersher. I don't think I'm risking my skin health because of my apple cider routine, and I haven't found anything nearly as effective in controlling my oil as this $6 bottle of Milk of Magnesia.
Also, is anyone tired of my big ole hipster glasses? Ready for a new look? I'm really digging on a pair of brow-liners.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Rededication to Health

I have been a bad, bad girl.

I have diabetes, and I have only been paying minimal attention to my eating in the last month or so.

My sugar has been fine, which is almost worse because it's like my body is giving me permission to eat whatever I want. Don't get me wrong - I don't eat junk. I haven't been counting carbs, though.

The problem is, that this is under medication. My goal was to reduce and eliminate what I needed to take. I've learned from some accidental missed dosages that I can't eat what I want and not take my medication. It doesn't work. My sugar shoots up to diabetic and near-diabetic ranges (way better than when I was hospitalized earlier this year - over 300 when I checked into the ER).

I didn't fall off the food wagon all at once. It was little stuff that I excused. Once the little stuff was excused, things like mashed potatoes and ice cream became OK.

This was worse than when I was in the midst of my bottom-of-the-barrel drug days. Then, it was fully recognized that I was out of control. Anyone looking at me could have detected it. Now, it's food - and good food! I use unprocessed ingredients and everything is homemade. I not only know everything that's going into my mouth, but I can figure out the carb count per serving.

Patton Oswalt did a bit about how he couldn't end up in the cool rehab with the rock stars. Instead, he's in over-eater's anonymous with stories about waking up in a hotel room where the underage chubby prostitute took off with your Ritz crackers and how he needed to, "...Swim away from pie," (seriously, YouTube this - it's hilarious, and I totally ruined it).

It's not one decision, though; it's a million decisions throughout the day. This morning, there were cookies on the counter (homemade with all natural ingredients, y'all). I actually thought, "I should just eat these today and work on my food tomorrow. Just call today a wash." Then, I realized it sounded like me back when I'd have a baggie full of Adderall at midnight and work the next day. I could sleep, or I could just power through the night and tomorrow and sleep after that - knowing full well that I'd be calling in sick, but lying to myself about what would actually happen. If I'd eaten the cookies, I probably would have eaten more tomorrow.

But damn if that's now how it feels. I need to swim away from pie. I got my life under control once without having to resort to 12 steps - I'll do it again.

I didn't eat the cookies, by the way. Instead, one cup of fat free Greek yogurt (10 grams of carbs) and 1 tablespoon of homemade apple butter (8 grams of carbs) with two packets of stevia. That puts my breakfast total at 18 carbs. I could have had more (I'm allowing myself 30 per meal), but Greek yogurt is incredibly filling and the tartness curbs my appetite.

It would be so much easier if I was still trying to control my drug use.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

I'm Not an Orphan

I've called myself an orphan ever since my mother died, when I was thirteen. First, I did it to take the sting out of it - though not knowingly. I mean, I said it like it was a joke. It was never funny, though. Normally, it just made situations awkward. Later, I said it because it was the truth.

Even before my mother died, I didn't really have a normal family. My mother and I lived together, my sisters - both being much older - had already started their families, and my mother's fiancé was only around on weekends because he lived two hours away. My mom worked full-time, sometimes holding down two jobs. I was alone most of the time.

I'd look at people interacting with their families and only understand them the way an observer could. I studied them like an anthropologist, trying to analyze how they worked. They were interesting, but not anything I longed for. They normally seemed more trouble than they were worth, and everyone I knew was hiding most of themselves from them (that may have been more related to the hedonistic lifestyle we were all living, but it was still all I really knew or saw). It seemed like they claimed to love people simply because they shared DNA.

Also, I wasn't completely without family. I have a sister who has kids. But, whenever she said she loved me, I've never believed it. She doesn't even know me. I don't love people I don't know, regardless of relation.

Instead of relying on the fickleness of genes, I built my community from friends. While most of those friendships have drifted away due to life and time, I still have some solid connections. And I love! I love my husband, I love my friends, I love my pets. I'm not some emotionless sociopath.

However, family ties became real a couple of months ago (written about here). Now, I have a father. He's not what I thought he'd be at all. And my god, but I have a fucking father!

We've been chatting back and forth through email and have built a rapport. I chide him for eating poorly, he tells me how proud he is of how I turned out. I cry sometimes because I hate how good that makes me feel. I'm living a family dynamic.

Now, we're talking about meeting - like real meeting in meat space.

Is it too late to have a father? When he says he loves me (which he does), does it mean anything? I mean, like my sister, he doesn't even know me. Is love automatic with genetics? If it is, does it mean I'm missing pieces somehow for not feeling it?

Is it pathetic to want your parents' approval when you haven't had parents most of your life?

When we meet, I don't know if I'll hug him. I'm not good with people I don't know touching me.

Lower Carb Recipe - Eggplant Pizzas

Pizza is a carb-heavy food. While it's alright to indulge once in awhile, it's not something you can consume regularly.

However, if you replace the crust with something lower in carbs (there are options - here, here, and here), you can enjoy the tastes without having to worry about your sugar. With the eggplant replacing the crust, you also get a high-fiber boost.

1 medium - large eggplant (a whole eggplant will have somewhere between 20 and 30 carbs)
1/4 cup marinara or pizza sauce (carbs will vary, but normally less than 10)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (normally about 4 grams)
pizza toppings (take those into account when you're adding your carbs)

Preheat your oven to 425 and grease a baking sheet. Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick. I like to slice it vertically, but it doesn't really matter. If you wanted to use this as an appetizer, you could slice horizontally.

Bake your eggplant for 25 minutes.

When it comes out, move it with a spatula to make sure it didn't stick.

Top your eggplant however you like and bake for another 15 - 20 minutes.


Friday, September 13, 2013

The Abandonment Chain

Some things have been weighing heavy in the last couple of months that have been making me rethink family relationships.

So, a few things not everyone knows about me:

  1. I never knew my father. He left when I was less than two and my mother asked him to stay away - which he did. I had a few pictures and a sense of who the rest of my family thought he was.
  2. I had a baby that I gave up for adoption when I was 18.
  3. My mom died when I was almost 14, and I moved in with my sister.
  4. I moved out of my sister's house at 17, and haven't had much connection with any family since then.

I never really had a strong familial bond. While my mom was alive, cousins and grandparents and sisters and stuff - they were the world around me. There was no question of love, and I'm not even sure if children know how to feel that emotion. There was a bond, but not love as I know it now.

After she died, the family fell apart like petals off a cut flower. One by one until there was just a brownish center sitting in dank water. It's only as a teenager that you start comprehending emotions - at least in my case. By the time I started feeling them, family wasn't around to receive them.

At eighteen, I gave birth to a girl. While I didn't really know why, I knew I couldn't raise a child. I thought about it in terms of money and education, but it was really an issue of mental stability. I had years of work to do on my brain before I'd be ready to have anything of worth to offer someone.

I never felt torture about my decision. I gave the baby to a couple I chose, knowing she'd have a good life and would maybe not end up as messed up as I was.

So, scroll ahead 16 years. Here I am, this woman of the world with a (now) sound head on her shoulders and what should happen but a friend of a 16 year old girl asks me what I think of adoption.

What happened was the baby - who is not a baby anymore - got curious about where she came from, found some papers, and found me on Facebook. I mean, really - it's not like I was hiding, and there are only so many Trudy Smocks in the world. One of her friends contacted me - probably at her bidding.

But it hit me like Slap Bet (honestly, How I Met Your Mother is a highly enjoyable show, regardless of the typical sitcom tropes). Wham. I handled it maturely and cut off communication because she's a minor and I don't want to intrude on their family. However, I've spent the intervening time internet stalking her.

I don't know how I feel. Connection, definitely. According to Pinterest, she and I have similar interest. I pore over her pictures. I read her Twitter and realize she's probably struggling with some of the emotional problems I went through. But love? Something. I feel something.

Frustration over being mature and not reaching out to her led me to the other link in this abandonment chain - my father.

Family legend paints my father as a monster. Maybe he was - but I was feeling like rowboat in the middle of the ocean. Even if he was a monster, maybe he could be my monster. Maybe he could give me a reference point of who I could be.

I found him - nothing is sacred on the internet. We're emailing back and forth. I'm mature and accepting - he's loving and regretful. I doubt his love because he doesn't know me, but who am I

He praised me, and it brought me to tears. I HATE that it affected me. It's like I'm that therapy poster child with daddy issues.

It makes me afraid to ever talk to the girl I gave birth to - how badly could I make her feel about not being as self-actualized as she thinks she is? Would she have irrational anger that I'm not more of an obvious mess?

Will she abandon any children she has? Is it in our blood?

It's not all bad. My father is actually pretty brilliant, has a Master's degree, seems concerned, proud, nervous - all of the right things. My guess is that he wasn't a monster, or no more than I've been.

Maybe some people have to be cut out of the skin they're born in by the, "...slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," before they can become the people they want to be. And maybe it's best if they don't drag children down with them.

I don't have answers, because whether you stay or go, you'll cause pain.

I normally don't write about this kind of stuff. Sharing something on the internet... I don't know - cheapens it? This time, I feel like I want some sort of record of it.

Also, maybe the right people will find this.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Sex, Hooch, and Boardwalk Empire

I just started watching Boardwalk Empire, so I know I'm super-late to the party when it comes to realizing the genius of this show.

So, this show has been lauded for being sexy and dirty and violent.

It's all of that. The men swear and kill and beat. They work real jobs where they use their hands instead of talking on the phone and appeasing customers.

The sex isn't some ethereal, romanticized period piece Cinemax smut. This is hipbone to hipbone awkward, sticky sex. It's sex that leaves a room smelling like mushrooms and fish.

This isn't the F. Scott Fitzgerald's '20s. This isn't the roaring '20s. This is the growling, pissing, rolling in death '20s. This is the era that makes you want to fuck when you haven't showered in a week and there's alcohol burning out of your pores.

We have this image of men (and women) in our history being harder, almost sociopathic when compared to today's standards. Fights, death, and survival were much closer at hand than they are in our modern lives. Slowly, then all at once, we gentrified.

We sanded off our rough spots with cable television, followed by internet, with even more internet after that, with a side of internet. We're introspective (without development, often) and avoid conflict. We've all learned the language of customer service, stand-up comedy, and social media. We're all experts at marketing, and almost no one knows how to butcher their own meat or build a house. Instead of doing something useful, we've convinced ourselves that the only jobs worth doing are the ones that let us sit on our buts.

I don't pine for a simpler time. I want my times complicated, messy. I do pine for a time when people lived in their bodies instead of their heads. I pine for doing instead of thinking or talking.

Is this the evolution of our species?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

What to Wear to an Interview When You're Fat

So, inspired from this XOJane article, I decided to do a how-to of interview do's and don'ts for the plus-sized corporate maven.
I spent most of my adult life working for large corporations, and mostly rebelling against the standard uniforms. It took years of not being taken seriously and turn-downs for positions to finally get me to give in and play the game. Granted, I'm retired from it at the moment, but that doesn't mean I didn't become an expert toward the end.
The biggest obstacle for corporate wear - especially interviewing - is how big I am. The typical fashion advice didn't work for me. I had a hard enough time finding clothes - let alone tailored clothes! - that would actually fit me. Tuck my shirt in? There's no way I'm going to look like a lollipop for your amusement!
Once I started getting the hang of dressing myself and mastering the politics, I was given the task of managing a development program for our employees. 
One of the classes in that program was about interviewing. We had an amazing expert-interviewer come in to demystify the interview process as well as discussing what to wear.
The speaker had great standard advice - keep it simple, tailored, blah blah blah - but once again, the world seemed to be oblivious to the fact that fat people can't just follow the simple rules that the thin-privileged put in place.
Multiple times, I had larger women coming to me after these classes asking for advice on what they could, "Get away with," wearing for their interviews (don't get me started on why we have to get away with clothing our bodies!).
Fat women already have a harder time landing a position. Time, as well as many other sources, have studied the effect of obesity on employment. The thin have a number of automatic assumptions about fat people - we're lazy, disorganized, unhealthy, unable to handle day-to-day stress without a steady supply of chocolate - whatever! We have to work way harder to overcome our coworkers' and managers' innate biases, and interviewing can be much more important to us as a way of proving our ability to fit the position we want, regardless of preconceived notions. The last thing a fat person needs is to have their ensemble disqualify them before they have a chance to be heard.
So, here are a list of typical interview outfit rules, and adaptations for the pudgy. Please remember that these are just from my experience, and in a corporate environment. For those interviewing in a more creative or relaxed field, alter appropriately.
1. Wear a dark-colored suit
This is the hardest one to work with for a plus-sized lady. Without the aid of a tailor, suits don't work for most of us. A fat lady is not just a thin woman scaled up! Our bodies distribute fat in such different ways. For example, I have the fattest arms ever! If a jacket fits my body, it still won't fit my arms. If it fits my arms, it will hang off my body.
If you can wear a suit as a fat woman, more power to you. If not, then go for a dark dress or a pair of nice, crisp slacks/below-knee-length fitted skirt and a dress shirt.

This top by Lane Bryant is understated and professional.
This skirt by Old Navy (shock!) is also a good choice.

You can also pair a nice cardigan (plain, no frills, clean lines!) or scarf with any of the above to help complete the outfit. Three pieces is automatically a little more pulled together.

2. Tuck in your shirt

Only you can decide if it works for your body and comfort level. Tucking in my shirt makes me look like a beach ball, but not all plus-sized ladies are created equal. If it's more flattering and creates a longer line, leave it untucked. Just make sure the hem isn't dropping and you've ironed it.

I like to keep it simple and go with a dress; then I don't have to make this decision.

3. Wear dark-colored pumps, no higher than a 3 inch heel

You will not catch me in pumps. If the corporate compound is large, you have to walk around in those heels, which causes back and leg aches for me. You also won't catch me in oxfords, athletic shoes, or sandals.

If you can wear pumps, awesome. Wear those heels. If not, then go with some plain, dark-colored flats.

4. Keep jewelry simple

This isn't size specific, but it's a good one to remember. Wear no more than one accent item - be it jewelry, a scarf, or a handbag. An interview isn't the time to look like a Macy's float, but one accent item can help them remember you - especially if they're interviewing a lot of candidates.

"I really liked that one girl... The one with the red scarf."

5. If you question whether you should wear it, don't

Again, not size specific. When in doubt, don't wear it out.

Here are the don'ts:

1. Don't wear anything too revealing

This should be a standard for anyone, but especially a larger person. It's not OK, but some people just aren't comfortable with a larger person's body. Once you're hired, you can challenge the status quo. You can't make them rethink things if you aren't around, though.

2. Make sure your clothing fits properly and is comfortable

Nothing says nervous like fidgeting. Your potential employer doesn't know you're putzing around because your pants are cutting off circulation to your feet, and not because you're trying to think of an answer about how you promoted diversity in your previous positions.

3. Don't wear anything faded, pilling, with holes, dropped hems, or just worn out

Don't wear a favorite pair of pants or shirt in the hopes they don't notice the oil stain that's only visible in certain light. It's an interview; they'll notice. This is, like, the only time it's completely socially acceptable to scrutinize someone else.

Basically, your clothing shouldn't speak for you in an interview. It should be an empty canvas, and your resume, personality, and answers should be the main event. Don't give the hiring manager an excuse to turn you away before you've even painted a picture.

Monday, August 12, 2013

My Second Act

I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to do with my for-real adulthood.

The job I have now is what I spent my pretend adulthood working toward: calculated steps and moving with a drive like a teenager playing chicken, unwilling to pull away before the other person does. Everything was a competition, and I was definitely not a loser. In my struggle to not be defeated, I still haven't won.

I've somehow become a corporate leader who specializes in career development. I've helped people figure out what they want to do with their lives and how to get there, been a trusted mentor and supervisor, and become a master manipulator.

And I hate it. It started creeping up like shower mold. Just a corner at first, but eventually you're embarrassed to let anyone use your bathroom and can't believe you actually try to get clean in that filth.

I realized I hated how much of my life was spent working toward someone else's goals in an industry I didn't believe in, so I changed jobs; the new one let me work fewer hours and got me out of privatized banking. It was OK for a while. The only problem was I still hated the standardized coaching and punishment/reward system that infantilized everyone involved in it. I hated thinking of what the company needed, as if it were a sentient being whose well-being was in my hands.

Things have come to a head. I'm done with my job and just biding time until I can escape, for real. My dear husband is working on getting some training so we're not relying primarily on my job, which will give me the freedom to take a risk.

I have no idea where to go or what to do. You'd think I could figure this out, considering that's what I do for other people - but I'm a blank. Follow your passion? Do what you're good at? The only thing I know I'm good at is this - what I've spent my twenties and early thirties building myself into. I'm a corporate machine, and I want to break out of my metal shell.

I can make my life in this business world last a while longer; I could get a different position like training or projects or something - something that gets me out of management. Ultimately, though... I need an actual exit strategy.

What am I good at? What am I passionate about? What should I work toward being when I finish growing up?

Crush - With Black Eyeliner

I have a tumultuous relationship with makeup. I've gone through periods where I had to get fully made up to leave my apartment (hello Goth, 2001) as well as spent several years not even wearing it (corporate living, 18 hour days!). However, I've struggled with what actually looked good on me and tended to try to wear whatever and however my friends were.

Nowadays, of course, my on-again/off-again with makeup is in the honeymoon period. I like creating new looks even when I'm sitting in pajamas at home (like yesterday with teal and black eyeliners with a long corner rather than turned up cat-eye that made me feel like a 1960's Barbie - minus the flawless beauty and unrealistically small waist while hanging out on the couch all day with my husband). My biggest beauty vice, of course, is eye makeup - specifically, eye liner. In fact, there are days where that's all the make-up I have on and I feel perfectly made up.

I love a good liner, and they just seem to have gotten better through the years.

When I was a little girl, I'd watch my mother put her makeup on. She'd start with her eyes - blue shadow to match her blue eyes, black liner, mascara, blush, and lipstick. She used a powder liner and licked the brush between dabs in the pot. I thought it was the most disgusting thing ever.

However, unlike my own initial forays into the world of makeup, her liner was smooth, unsmeared, and bold.

Fast forward several years, and several incarnations of eyeliner trials - pencil, twist-up pencil, liquid, marker/pen, cream, and finally (my new favorite) gel.

Just like my mother, I get to sit in front of the mirror and dab my brush in a little pot (me, sans spittle) and feel like a fancy lady with my little glass jar.

Currently, I'm using L'Oreal Infallible Gel Lacquer - 24 Hours. I'm using Blackest Black and Espresso - depending on my color scheme. It's super creamy and smooth. It goes on like a dream. The brush that comes with it, unlike most complimentary brushes, doesn't feel cheap (but, you know, I have better brushes).

And this stuff - it completely lives up to its promise. I slept in it (don't ever sleep in your makeup!!!), and it was still sitting there, right above my eyelashes where it was supposed to be. I'm greasy, and it still didn't migrate or disappear.

The only drawback seems to be it's promise; it doesn't move. If you want to smudge it, you better catch it within a minute (if you don't catch it, use a fine brush and top it with some matching eyeshadow).

While I'm sure higher-end products may have better results (although, I'm not really sure how), and may end up lasting longer in the jar (cream eyeliners tend to dry up in the pot within a few months with lots of product left over - which is what I'm expecting here), but drugstore doesn't always mean crap product, and L'Oreal has a strong record of quality. I feel like it's what my mom used, even though I have no idea why I feel that way - must be their marketing.

Anyway! I haven't completely rebuked other forms. I use a pencil for my blue liner, use liquid when I need bold precision, pens are always easier to handle (though seem to dry quickly), and cream gives you nice smokey eye (and I'm using the dried up brown cream on my brows when I feel like filling them in - my desire for fat brows is a story for another day). However, this gel sort of feels like the culmination of my own eyeliner evolution and what will become part of my makeup routine.

Who knows, maybe someday I'll have a kid who will remember me sitting at my vanity putting my eyeliner on out of a little pot.


Friday, August 9, 2013

Oil Cleansing Adventures for a Greasy Gal

So, while watching Pretty Little Liars on Hulu (don't judge - their false eyelash game is SICK and I can't stop watching until I know who A really is!), I decided to finally try this age-old blahblahblah - it fixes faces - oil cleansing method.

Basically, you take clean oil and rub it into your skin for 15 to 20 minutes. The premise is your skin is greasy because you keep disintegrating the natural oils with cleansers, so your skin is over-producing to fight back. Also, liquid oils cleanse your pores because like dissolves like (as in, like, your pores are filled with oily ick). You want the full story, go here.

I went to my kitchen to assess my oil situation. It was pretty sparse. Butter - nope. If it came from an animal, I'm not smearing it on my face. Plus, it's a solid. That just left olive oil and coconut oil (extra virgin in both cases).

Now, the coconut oil has the same problem butter does, in that it's a solid. However, it has a super-low melting point (basically, body temperature). Also, it's anti-biotic and fungal and has a billion other benefits.

Olive oil is classic. Romans used the oil cleansing method with it before it was even a yuppie-crunchy thing. It's clean, and Sophia Loren swears by using it on, basically, every part of your body to stay youthful-looking.

My solution? Mix them up in the palm of my hand. The coconut oil melted with my hand heat and the olive oil kept it liquid.

I pulled my hair back and schmeared it over my face and started working it in. I worked small circles all over my face for 15ish minutes, until my hands got tired.

Now, my pores are pretty clear on a normal basis because I drink apple cider vinegar and use it as a toner. Even still, I noticed a few plugs of disgustingness plopped out of my face. Gross, but better out than in (hur hur hur!).

Afterward, I got the water in the sink as hot as it would go and wet a wash cloth (always use a clean wash cloth unless you like wiping your body with mildew and bacteria!), laying it over my face until it cooled down (to steam my skin, natch). Then, just wipe, wipe, wipe the excess oil with the wash cloth until you're not slick.

So, here's what I immediately notice - soft skin! Not at all greasy. It was like I'd washed my face and used lotion without leaving a residue. Also, my baby-wrinkles near my eyes are gone. My pores? Smaller.

The next morning, I found my face less oily than usual after a night of sleep. That's right - less oily. No blemishes as a result of the oil. I washed my face with baby shampoo in the shower with an exfoliating facial sponge (BuffPuff's descendant) and moisturized without my apple cider vinegar toner (though, I still drank it, natch). My fine lines are still gone.

I'm going to try it for the rest of the week at night. This may be the best thing that's ever happened to my face since it was placed on my skull.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Blue Hair? I Thought You Were In Your Thirties!

When my husband and I first got back together after our first attempt at dating (it's a long story, or a short one - regardless, we've been together ever since), I had pink hair. Lots of it. I'd been dying my hair various colors for years. Hair dye was just part of my life. He remembered pulling red and pink hairs off everything he owned.

Then, I worked at a bank and let it go natural - mostly because upkeep on pink hair sucks, but also because I worked at a bank.

Fast forward a few years, and I'm working at-home with a lot more disposable time. It was time. Jon made the demand.

"I miss your colored hair."

It took me almost a year to commit, but a few months ago I bleached out an ombre, then I covered it in Manic Panic Purple Haze. The first couple of days were great.

And, don't get me wrong - Manic Panic was my go-to color for-ev-er. Ferreal. But, the upkeep necessary was why I stopped dying my hair in the first place. I'm a greasy gal; skipping daily washes aren't an option for me, and spending a night a week in hair-dye-ville wasn't super appealing.

So, for the last couple of months, I've had a normal colored ombre. The purple washed out, and I couldn't be arsed to put it back. I mean, I did a few times, but when my tub of Purple Haze was gone, I chose not to replenish. I thought I was done with colored hair again.

Enter Pacific Rim.

The main character has a wedge-bob with blue peek-a-boos. Of course, that caught my eye (in the midst of the awesome robot-monster fight scenes (they had a fricking robot-sword!!!)).

During the movie, Jonathan said, "That's almost like your hair. You should put blue in."

After my haircut - especially because it was a little too short (which made me self-conscious) - I couldn't think of a reason why not.

At Sally's Beauty website, where I was searching for Manic Panic to find the right shade, it was suggested I look at Ion Color Brilliance Brights. The reviews were great, so I decided to try it. Plus, it was half the price of Manic Panic.

Some things about this brand - it's still considered a semi-permanent, so you need to pre-lighten your hair. Remember that pre-lightened hair still has a color (rust, yellow, whatever) that will mix with whatever color you put over it, so lighten to the correct shade.

I bought the Sky Blue - it's a really intense blue that stains anything it touches very quickly. Just be aware of that. This is some thick stuff. It comes in a tube (like toothpaste) and can be kind of hard to work through your hair. I used an old (clean) toothbrush.

Because it's a semi-permanent dye (which doesn't use developer), it's fine to leave on for hours (I like to wear my shower cap when I do this; it's classy!). However, I found 1 hour enough in most cases.

So, I started with some of the hair at the bottom, just to see how things went. I'd platinum'd it up already. I also had a tiny bit of ombre left at the ends, so I put some in there, too. The dye did not drip.

Two or so hours later, BAM! blue. But not enough, according to Mr. Sample.

So, I bleached out some more the next day (during work - I just took a couple of breaks for rinsing) and put some more blue in.

The second parts I bleached out had varying degrees of tone added. I have a strip on top and some in the middle. The one on top turned out the least toned, so it has some yellow left.

A note on the blue - I had some blue on the ends of my hair during bleaching. The bleach did not remove the blue. I have dark hair, so I know it wasn't wimpy bleach. Instead, this is some hardcore hair paint.

Everything is BLUE (not everything - highlights (low-lights? chunks)), and it's not fading. Granted, it's only been a few days - but it's had three hair washings in hot, hot water with clarifying shampoo (I don't play).

The streak near the top is more of a teal, but that's because of the yellowish hair below the dye. And I like that it looks sort of like seaweed through the rest of the dark hair. The rest are different shades of true blue. I'm actually pretty happy with my hair.

My coworkers and boss saw it on a conference the other day and complimented it. Score one for cool coworkers.

If this has even half the upkeep of Manic Panic, I'll keep it for a while (reviews say it does).

At least until I get bored. Then, maybe I'll see what the other colors of Ion are like.

Monday, August 5, 2013

My Hair Is Too Short

I finally did it. I cut my hair. Typical bob with bangs. The hairdresser was great - she asked a lot of questions to find out my hair goal (it's a thing) and made me really comfortable the entire time.

I wanted the ombre off my stupid head.

But it's slightly shorter than chin length! I feel like an ugly child with a bowl cut.

Then, I added a couple of blue peek-a-boos on the bottom (btw, Ion Brilliants is AWESOME for bold. I'll update on how well it lasts when we get there, but they have great reviews), but they're not really visible unless I pull my hair back WHICH I CAN'T DO.

I'm being a stupid baby, whining about my hair. Short hair grows.

Dammit if I'm not just going to add more blue until it looks purposely messed up.

I'm getting too old for this shit.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

I'm Beautiful on the Inside - and That's Not a Platitude

Life has taken a bit of a hectic turn. My work expectations have increased, my brain got turned inside-out (my fault, and nothing I'll talk about in a public forum), and my post-work hours are filled with relaxing in a way I haven't needed them to in over a year.

But that's not what this post is about.

My name is Trudy Jane Smock-Sample, and I'm a hard person to like. It doesn't have to be that way; I can fix it. Put others' needs before my own and don't make anyone take care of you.

This is a mantra that went through my brain over and over again when I was in a very weak mental state. Brain-washing myself.

And, it's alright. It was good to do this. I needed to banish the last of my youthful cruelty from myself.

When I was younger, I acted like a nice person. I did nice things, and said the right things. However, I wasn't actually kind. I was a selfish asshole who thought only about myself.

I spent years and years selfishly searching for something to make me feel good, taking more than my share, and obsessing over whether and how other people were thinking about me.

I don't know when it started waning. Over the last few years I've felt less manic need. I've felt more true empathy for others.

I'm still nice, but now I know why I should be nice. I see the consequences of my actions and hate the idea of hurting someone. I don't want anyone to be in pain, and find myself more able to see how other people are feeling. More than not wanting to hurt people, I want to help them. I see the things they allow to happen to them or are doing to themselves and want to prevent it.

I went from being a self-serving sociopath to being an empathetic, kind person. I finally started liking who I was, because I was someone worth liking.

We constantly hear people talk about how they hate themselves. Of course they hate themselves; they're probably somewhat hate-able. But so is everyone until they change - and they probably will change. Time wears away at our edges so we stop cutting each other when we bump other people.

I dreaded getting older for most of my life. I hated the idea of being thirty and was certain I'd die before I got there. Now, I'm thirty-four. I've just learned how to be human.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Low-Carb Chocolate "Ice Cream"

I'm trying really hard to behave, and I've found my weakness is ice cream. So... I'm faking myself out.

Popsicles are well and good, and fudgecicles are nice, but having a dish of ice cream is way better.

However, milk has carbs! Like, enough that you should drink a glass of it if you're having low blood sugar to help raise it.

Yes, there are dairy substitutes. Soy ice cream has made me weep in the past because it tasted like disappointment, and my husband and I stopped drinking soy anyway. Coconut milk is great, but it's saturated fatty. However, almond milk is pretty dope.

I've tried making ice cream from almond milk in the past - with real sugar even - but it turned into a brick. I knew I needed to add some stuff to make it creamy without packing in fat and carbs.

Gelatin was my first pick, but I wasn't confident enough in its abilities. Here's what I came up with.

3 1/2 cups almond milk
5 tbsp. cocoa
1 tbsp. vanilla
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup almond milk mixed with 2 tbls cornstarch
1/4 cup water mixed with 1 packet of gelatin
stevia to sweeten (I used about 20 packets)

Combine the first 4 ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the almond milk cornstarch mixture, whisking constantly. Allow to simmer for about 5 - 10 minutes until slightly thickened.

Keep an eye on it because it will want to boil over!

Add the gelatin mixture and whisk some more until everything is dissolved.

Refrigerate overnight.

The next day freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. My Cuisinart machine takes about 25 minutes.

8.25 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving!

I'm sure you could sub your favorite sugar substitute without problem, but your carbs may vary.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Low-Carb Fro-Yo

1 32 oz. tub plain fat free Greek yogurt
zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract or caviar from 1 vanilla bean
stevia to sweeten
1 cup of berries of choice, crushed or chopped

Mix together the yogurt, lemon zest, vanilla, and stevia. Make it sweeter than you would want unfrozen, as the sweetness fades some.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions. Pour the berries in during the last 10 minutes of freezing. Freeze for an additional 2 - 3 hours.

11 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving

Foundation Is a Lie

So, I get that some people have skin issues. I completely understand that, just like my insecurities are my whole body, some people hold their insecurities in their epidermis. Blemishes, scars, and huge pores... I get it.

But, not me. I mean, my skin is oily - like OMG, who dipped the girl in a the olive oil barrel. However, I almost never have zits, blackheads, or whiteheads.

When I was about 12, I bought my first bottle of foundation and compact of powder. It was Covergirl clean something or other. It smelled like Noxema. My mom didn't wear foundation as part of her daily routine, but I was obsessed with Seventeen magazine and thought both were required as part of putting on makeup. Spreading it across my face was like covering it in an even coat of flesh colored paint, and it would melt off through the day as my oils accumulated.

At fifteen, I remember putting powder on after gym class and one of my friends telling me it made me look like a powder puff. I laughed at her and should have listened.

Through the years, I've tried so many different kinds of foundation and haven't found anything I liked. At points, I felt so gross wearing them - because they inevitably made my skin feel like it was strangling and ended up floating on top of my skin's natural oils. Without it, I didn't wear makeup.

Then, I remembered my mom. Everyday, she would sit in front of her vanity and put on her blue eyeshadow, black eyeliner, eyebrow pencil, mascara, and blush.

I remembered my grandma, who insisted on drinking apple cider vinegar every day.

I'm oily, and I come from oily people. It's why we all look so much younger than we actually are. I should probably listen to what my greasy ancestors preached.

So, apple cider in, apple cider on the skin, and no foundation.

Here's what I'm noticing. My coloration is amazing. Without the chemicals soaking into my skin and by cleaning my body from the inside-out, my coloring is so interesting. It's white with a drop of gold, a gentle pink through my cheeks. Contouring? F'getaboutit! Who needs it?
No makeup anywhere but my eyes. Some concealer under the eyes. You know.

Also, my skin's oil is way less excessive. Yes, I get super shiny. However, without makeup, I can just wipe the excess off.

I think people are so inured to the idea that what they look like isn't what they're supposed to look like, that they forget to appreciate themselves and instead carve themselves away and cover themselves up until they're completely hidden by what they think they're supposed to be.

Anyway - that's what my stupid skin taught me. Enough insight for a beauty post.

Anyway, I do feel the need to try one of the alphabet creams AA, BB, CC. I don't know which one would be best, but everyone seems to love them. And I'll sometimes use some Hi Def powder if I'm going out to help absorb oil and set my eye makeup a little more.

Of course, everyone loved foundation and powder when I was growing up.

Low-Carb Fudgecicles

1 banana (30 grams of carbs)
2 tbls cocoa powder (6 grams of carbs)
2 tbls peanut butter (6 grams of carbs)
enough unsweetened almond milk to make 2 cups of stuff (less than 1 gram of carbs)
stevia to sweeten

blend until smooth. Pour into 4 1/2 cup popsicle forms. freeze.

10.5 grams of carbs each

I Hate Loving You (Food)

I started this whole blog because I wanted to be able to love food again. Mission accomplished.

So, now I'm all, "Food, I love you! Let's run away together and raise goats." And food is all, "OK, but first let's finish this Chinese food and Heath milkshake." And we do. Then, we don't go anywhere because we're fat and sluggish from all the junk food.

My food addiction - and carb addiction - is so much harder to kick than my problem with Adderall (and other substances) was. With drugs, you get it out of your system, then you get mental distance and clarity, then you appreciate being sober. Maybe you have some backsliding here and there, but if you can stay clean long enough you grow to feel like you'd rather grab some coffee or a fro-yo instead of doing lines in a bathroom. You may even get control to the point that you can use substances for fun once in a while instead of feeling driven to the point of insanity to escape your boring, non-Technicolor, sober life.

But food... You don't ever get to have that distance. You have to eat; not doing so isn't an option. Even if it was, not-eating doesn't feel better than eating (although, I guess anorexics would argue that and there is the whole brain chemistry euphoria of starvation).

You get through the worst of it when you go through carb withdrawal. Obsession. I just want a cookie. I just want ice cream. I want a biscuit. You get through that, though.

Then, you make a conscious decision to cheat. I'm going to have a just a bite of chocolate. One square. I feel good! I feel in control. I had one square of chocolate, and I can stop.

Then, it's an empty chocolate bar wrapper followed by a week of nightly snacks and five pounds gained back. Every morning I tell myself I'm getting back on track, and I'm good all day - then night happens.

And my blood sugar is in control! If it wasn't, it'd be so much easier, but I'm not getting highs. If I was, I'd be all scared, which would help force me back through the withdrawals.

Where is my rock bottom!

So, today I'm starting over. Back on track. Weighed myself, checked my sugar, took all my meds, wrote down everything I ate with their carb counts (it's just the first meal of the day, no biggie). Lunch will be something sensible. Dinner will be sensible. Tonight, I'll keep myself busy so I don't think about wanting a cookie or ice cream or something equally harmful as badly. I'll go to bed.

Tomorrow, I'll wake up and weigh myself, check my sugar, take my meds, write down everything I eat. Tomorrow, it won't be such a struggle to just not eat something I shouldn't. Then the day after, then the day after, each day easier than the last. Days all standing in a row, queuing up to my forever.

I understand one day at a time in a way I never understood when I was abusing drugs. No drug ever had the control over me that food has.

Diet experts argue over the merit of a cheat day or cheat meal. Maybe that works for some people, but it's the worst idea in the world, for me. Food junkie. One cookie is too many, and there's no such thing as enough.

Food is the lamest addiction ever!

My Hair Is Stupid and Will Never Change

My hair is jacked.

So, I cut bangs - which is fine. I got tired of growing them out, and cut them. Bangs frame my face correctly so the top widens, and I don't look like a pear on a body. It was impulsive, but - after a billion bad bang jobs - I finally figured out how to cut bangs perfectly last year (which is something I've found not all hair dresses can do). So, fine. Whatever.

Here's the problem: I still haven't done anything with the rest of my hair.

Historically, long hair with bangs has been HORRIBLE on me.
So, because my hair is thin (and FOINE!), length sucks any volume right out and hugs the hair to my head.

Right now, I have hair that's almost touching my shoulders. I also have an ombre that used to be purple and is now bronze-y and about a year past its expiration date.

The best part of the ombre is the damage it gave the bleached parts, which helps with the volume - though it's frizzy, dry looking volume (I don't use conditioner most days because of my fine and oily thing, just some spray detangler and a mask once a week).

I know I could and should get a cut, but with my length and the bangs, it'd leave me with the same style I've sported for almost a year: bangs with a bob. I was really hoping for a change.

On the bright side, I have tons of new growth - like everywhere!!! Thank you fixed thyroid!

I wanted to see if the new growth would make a difference in whether I could pull off long hair and bangs. I think it's still too short (about two inches) to make much difference.

I guess I'm off in search of a haircut today. Stagnation in hair in the pursuit of change.

Maybe I'll add in some thick, inch-wide, blue streaks. Maybe.

Monday, July 15, 2013

My Aunt Flo Hates Me

It's been well over a month (maybe two?) since my first/last epic period, but the bitch is back, and I've started again. Here's hoping it's not as insane as the last one.

Periods for women of size can be weird. So many of us have various issues - endometriosis (where menstrual lining forms in places other than the inside of the uterus) and Poly-Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS for short) being top among them - that either cause or are caused by weight gain, that when we bleed or ever stop bleeding is a crap shoot. Also, just like with our peers at the opposite end of the weight spectrum - the anorexics - our periods may just stop happening until we're a less extreme size.

So, my period disappeared for about a year this time. It happens (to me) on a regular basis (ha! regular). In May(?), I got my first period in a while, not surprisingly after I finally got on my thyroid medicine and regulated my blood sugar. It was the worst I'd had in about 13 years (the other time it was like that was also after I was put on thyroid medicine). It was severe enough that my husband and I debated whether I needed to go to the hospital.

I missed my period last month, but appear to have started again. I'm hoping it's not as bad as the one in May.

I'm also losing weight, which means I'm beginning to worry about pregnancy. My husband and I have both been wishy-washy about whether we want children, which has been a non-issue because I am so extremely fat and not having periods - which means pregnancy is way unlikely. Add to that the scars over my uterus (that's a story for a party!), and we've not really had to worry about protection or pregnancy.

However, with lowering numbers on the scale (I weigh myself everyday, and it's been my biggest motivator) and the resurgence of my menstrual cycle, it's something we might have to rethink (maybe - losing weight doesn't get rid of scar tissue).

Regardless, my period gives me the balls to issue myself a cheat day. I'm making chicken nachos (with homemade tortilla chips and fresh salsa because I'm not some insane person looking to ingest preservatives and shit) for dinner, ate some homemade shortbread cookies (11 grams of carbs each) and might even have a homemade fudge-cicle (11.75 carbs each with peanut butter, banana, and almond milk). I'm going insane!

Where You Been?

So, absentee blogger makes an appearance.

Laziness? Uninspired? Busy at work?


So, quick update: my dog eats cat poop like it's her job, and we only found out because she brought some in to share.

She found us somewhat ungrateful and decided to eat it herself. When we tried to pry her jaws open and get it out, we found it just smeared inside her mouth. We've since noticed that there's no poop in the litter box, so Goldie's doing her part to keep our apartment odor free!

I finally got a dangerous low blood sugar reading! Mission accomplished.

Lost 9 pounds in two days! I think intestinal issues (gross, not talking about it!) are to blame.

My job is once again challenging me, which is good. I spent a long time kind of coasting. I changed management, and am now being stretched. Means less Netflix time, though.

I'm looking through possible fall clothing purchases. The only time I get happy and excited about buying clothes is in the fall. Summer is more a time of wearing as few clothes as possible without being gross, and winter clothes are like fall clothes with more layers.

But Fall!!! Tights and boots and cords and jackets. More layers equals more fashion!!!

So, first up by SimplyBe.

While the description calls it a summer dress, I'm loving the look with a stiff white dress shirt (maybe with a tuxedo collar?) and some tights and a pair of creepers. It's completely something I'd wear in high school - and not because I went to a private school. I just wanted to go to one.
While the cut may be a little dumpy in the waist, it's kind of an effortless look. The description also mentions the ability to tie back to adjust.

SimplyBe's last new dress is this one:
OK - disclaimer, I would never wear this. Not because of the dress, but because of me. I would make a mess out of it. Stains and dinginess - it's not the dress for me.

But it is a great dress! Frothy white lace. Pair it with black tights and some ankle boots? Super cute.

I don't have any other new dresses I want, because other sites haven't gotten any new fall clothes. Get on it, guys! SimplyBe isn't just fashion-forward, they're efficient. Or maybe, since they're based in England, it's just already getting cold.

Also, working on some new makeup looks for fall to go along with my bangs. I'm thinking some smudged brown eyeliner and a dark lip. Yeah, no, been done to death?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Puppies, Exercise, and Ice Cream

Life gets hectic, and I want ice cream.

Last week, my husband and I adopted a dog.
Goldie's story is really sad. She was a rescue dog, and from wherever she came from (we think she was a breeder at a puppy mill), she was shuffled to two other homes before landing with us.

This is my first dog, really. I had a few unsuccessful puppy attempts in my past that made me really reluctant when it came to committing to a dog. Guilt and sadness and regret - it pretty much always ended that way.

But, browsing Craigslist, the ad jumped out at me. I sent it to Jon, and he immediately emailed.

So, she's a well-behaved grown-up dog, but I don't think I was prepared for the life changes that go along with having a dog. Guinea pigs and cats are a completely different world from dogs!

So, this may have been the best thing to ever happen to my diabetes. I take several walks a day. Which is causing my blood sugar to crash. I'm trying to not eat extra carbs to make up for it and, instead, to let myself get low-lows so they'll lower my dosages. Because, you know, I don't want to be medicated.

But, but, but!

All I want is ice cream. Specifically, pralines and cream. Or Heath shakes from Steak and Shake. Or! They have a new salted caramel and pretzel shake there. Yum.

So, my blood sugar is OK, but it could be lower. I could be lowering my insulin intake. I COULD BE LOSING WEIGHT.

Goldie is awesome, but sometimes I want to escape her. Jon and I take rides. To get ice cream.

I have a scale coming soon. Something that will tell me whether I'm putting weight back on, taking it off, or maintaining - instead of letting my paranoia reign.

The biggest struggle with eating is wavering from my routine. Goldie, Jon, and I are working on forming a new pattern for our lives. I just need to put healthy eating back into the equation.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cooking Will Save the World

It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to figure out that I love to cook.  I love to taste and create and recreate.  I like to make mistakes and fine-tune.  I love scents and textures and how your whole head experiences food.

This, actually, is not what led to me getting diabetes.

I love to cook, but I also love helping people and teaching and watching people develop and identifying and owning projects - this is actually what gave me diabetes.

Because the job I had that let me do all of these things ate my entire life.  I worked sixty to eighty hour weeks and would barely have energy left to eat large amounts of deep fried catastrophes from whatever fast food place  was most convenient and pass out. 

I had this job for almost four years.

Then, I got recruited for a new job that sounded almost too good to be true.  Work at home for a rapidly growing company!  They loved what I did at my old job and wanted me to do the same for them.

While it didn't turn out to be exactly as advertised, it wasn't far off the mark.

It was a total life changer.  If it's ever offered up, I highly recommend working at home.  I'm more efficient at home, which equates to fewer hours worked.  My coworkers are a mixture of names on my screen and my husband and pets.

The other benefit of working at home is cooking. 

Jamie Oliver, famous British chef and real-food advocate, gave a Ted Talk (available on Netflix) about the importance of cooking in people's lives.  He correctly identified how cooking has fallen out of the typical American life - which is directly related to the shortened life spans of the last three generations.  He connected obesity related diseases/death all the way back to teaching kids to cook and eat properly in school.  He also cried for social responsibility of fast-food restaurants and grocery stores.


So, I was basically killing myself with eating catastrophic disgusting sludge.  My body knew the difference as soon as I started making three meals a day out of healthy, fresh ingredients.  I mean, there was a lot of damage to clean up - but it was a start.

Then, BAM!  Diabetes.

I thought I was out of the game because of diabetes.  I was so irate at food because cooking was one of my great loves.  It was like, just when I got started again, it all ended.

So, yes.  I've had to deal with my white flour and sugar addiction.  Yes, that super-sucked.  But, once the physical addiction is gone, it's not so hard.  And the love of cooking comes back.  Just, differently.

Kevin Smith once talked about why Clerks was so much better a movie than Mallrats.  With Clerks, budget gave them constrictions, which forced them to think creatively.  With Mallrats, they were given tons of money.  A problem came up, they just threw some money at it.

Diabetes has done the same to me.  It's easy to make something with lots of carbs taste delicious (or at least pretty good).  My meal planning has had to become much more creative so I can feel satisfied. 

When I went to my diabetes classes (3 hours a week for 3 weeks!), they taught us about label reading and eating out.  When faced with those options, diabetes is a difficult life to live.  However, when we covered amounts of carbs in typical cooking ingredients and fruits and vegetables, I realized how easy this was going to be.

Yes, if all you do is eat in restaurants, drive-throughs, and packaged food, you will probably die of an obesity-related disease - because it's not possible to sustain yourself indefinitely.  You will break and over-eat because healthful amounts of that garbage are incredibly small and nutrient light. 

However, I don't feel deprived by the food I cook.  I'm also able to eat nutritious food that my body needs.  I'm able to have my senses be over-loaded by spice and aroma instead of chemicals.

I found my spark again.  It's pretty tasty.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

AMA Declares Chubby Chicks Diseased!!!

So, according to Leslie Kinzel of XOJane, the AMA (American Medical Association) has officially declared obesity a disease.

The goal behind the declaration is to remove the stigma around obesity and to convince doctors to treat the patient rather than just telling the patient, "If you'd just lose some weight, your life would be amazing and all problems would end."

Unfortunately for most of us, obesity was a choice (or series of choices) that lead you down a hole, you may have to deal with it.  I acknowledge some people have influences outside of their control that affect their weight, but that's not the case for most of us.  If obesity is a disease, maybe it's one of the mind (and mental health has its own set of socio-political rants).

I'm not saying that, because we're fat, we don't have basic human rights, deserve respect, and shouldn't be viewed as fully realized human beings.  I'm not saying we should pay more to see a movie, have higher insurance rates, or be guilted into losing weight (unless you actually want to).  However, we have to have some accountability.  While a disease is basically just an abnormal body condition (which does make obesity a disease), by calling it such we're allowing people to use the label as an excuse for their lives.  I'm struggling to see the positive side of the AMA ruling.

Here's the other part: Calling something a disease doesn't make it better in anyone's eyes.  Lepers are diseased.  People with herpes sores are diseased.  It's perfectly acceptable in society to look at the diseased with disgust.  They already do that to fat people.  If it's a disease, that just adds another layer of stigma to our condition.

I am a fat woman.  Fat is an adjective, but the primary word in the sentence is woman.  I'm a fat human.  Fat, yes.  But, primarily human.  By categorizing fat as a disease, we're just putting the spotlight on it, rather than the person behind it.

I am a woman.  I am a fat woman, an outgoing woman, a creative woman, a loving woman, and a lovely woman.

Even being obese and having diabetes, I don't consider myself a diseased woman.

My Lungs Feel Awesome!

I got out and walked today.  It's a crucial step in this whole diabetes thing.  I need to move.

I live a sedentary life.  I have a small apartment with cats and guinea pigs (no having to take those guys for walks!), I work at home, and my favorite activities are not extreme (unless you count extreme hanging out).

Even though I've lost weight, that's been a matter of diet change.  It's only going to take me so far.  Also, exercise makes my insulin more effective.

However, it sucks.

Plus, there's never a good time.  I mean, I work second shift and my neighborhood is the teensiest bit shady.  I could wake up early, but I like staying up late.

I've got a ton of excuses.

But all they are, are excuses.  I mean, it sucks and I'd rather spend time doing other things, but my body - the human body - wasn't made to sit around all of the time.  That's what causes them to get gummed up with disease and grossness.

So, this morning.  Got up earlier than usual and went to the farmer's market - which is way less crowded on Wednesdays! - to get a bunch of veggies so I could keep up my low-carb routine.  While that's not really exercise, it's more than just sitting around.

Then, I took my first lunch break since I got out of the hospital and took a walk around the neighborhood.  And it was uncomfortable, and the sun was bright, and I shouldn't have worn flip-flops.

But, you know.  I feel good.  My lungs feel good, my muscles feel like they're carbonated (in a good way).  I checked my sugar only a couple of hours post-food, and it's 104.  That's awesome.

I can't take a break every day.  I may not even be able to hit 5,000 steps every day (which is the minimum recommended amount, but you should really get 10,000 steps per day).  However, I can find some way to incorporate activity into each day.  I have to.  It's that or die.

Or be dramatic.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Fat Chicks Totally Get Laid

So, one of my best buddies is a thick girl.  Like, she's not an in-betweenie; she's a full-on plus size lady.  However, she has never had a lack of male and female attention (she's straight, but so cute that the ladies can't help but try).
Girl has gotten mad laid, and the guys interested in her are HOT (like, damn, that boy is FOINNNE!).
Until I met my husband, I never experienced that. 
I mean, I'd get the occasional suitor who I had little to no interest in.  But, nothing I wanted any part of.  I always attributed it to my girth, but I look at her - who has dates pretty much every week and is hit on daily - and question that. 
So, when I was a little fattie, I got crushes on boys just like every other girl did.  However, if the boys I liked ever found out I was interested, they were so disgusted (how many times do I have to ask you to CRY FOR ME - dammit!?!).  Through the years, I learned to never express interest in anyone.  Whenever someone did end up getting a hint that I was interested, I'd deny to the ends of the earth.
And I think that's it.  I never really learned the flirting stuff.  When I finally would express interest, it was done all weird and creepy-like. 
(me, being weird and creepy to the camera)

When Jon and I met, all rules went out the window.  I mean, I was totally creepy the first time we tried to date and completely ice the second time, but he was persistent enough to get through that.

But, it's not a woman's body that keeps men in or out of her bed, it's her.  It's everything about her.  My friend - regardless of her fluctuating size - has people doting on her continually.  She knows how to tilt her head, be cute, flutter eyelashes, put her hand on guy's shoulders - all of that stuff.  She knows how to wear sex like it's body spray.  She doesn't put up walls, and she uses her feminine wiles enough that they're not dusty or stiff from disuse.  Lessons I probably could have used in my single years.

Now that I'm married, I have more sex than I know what to do with.  So, maybe my awkward courting was more effective than I give it credit for.

Plus, he doesn't mind when I creepy flirt.  He maybe prefers it.

Fake Fat Lady Phenomenon

There's been a lot of talk in the last year of Hollywood's new acceptance of fat people, citing the popularity of actresses like Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy.

I call shenanigans.

While those actresses may have the lead role in several major studio films, they represent a fraction of a percent of working actresses. We have two major actresses in a sea of thousands who are supposed to represent 64% of American women who are overweight or obese.

OK, so maybe this is supposed to be exciting because it's an increase in women of size over previous years.  However, just from my memory, we've always had a few plus-size stars.

Hell, Oprah Winfrey is one of the most powerful women in the world!!!

Maybe the idea behind the phenomena is that these plus-sized superstars is that they're being viewed as sexual, fully realized characters.  Women who have the same wants and needs as any of their smaller counterparts. 
Instead, these ladies play goofy punch lines to their own jokes.  They both play characters that are so far removed from reality and represent the view society has of fat women: creepy girls who crush unattainably, masculine women, and women who are ridiculously over-confident.
Sometimes, I think Gwyneth Paltrow was a better fat role-model in Shallow Hal than what we're seeing in popular film today.
That is not to say that media is devoid of positive, full-figured females.  We see them in shows like Drop Dead Diva on Lifetime, starring Brooke Elliott and Margaret Cho or in indie films like disFigured about an anorexic and obese woman who become friends.
These women showcase characters who have sex, get flirted with, and deal with themselves as humans.  Of course, there is fantasy involved - it's fiction.  But they don't use their bodies as a prop for a comedy routine.
While I appreciate any representation of women of size in media, it would be nice if the percentages more accurately mirrored the population they were mimicking and the characters played had some basis in reality.  I don't begrudge Rebel Wilson and Melissa McCarthy their work, but instead would love to see them portrayed in a more positive light.
This isn't an explosion of fat acceptance.  However, now that we have some women of size becoming more powerful in media, it could be.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Gurl, How You Keep Your Carbs So Low?

I've hesitated to post about this.  Mostly because I have deep shame regarding my diabetes.  It's like saying my weight out loud.  However, I went to the doctor this week.

The good news: I'm down 15 pounds from my last visit.  The bad news: It wasn't 30 pounds.

I wanted to be doing so much better.  I mean, yes - 15 pounds is great.  It's a decline.  But it's such a small dent in such a big number I still have to lose. 

And I know it's my fault - like, totally.  I should be adding exercise into the mix, and I haven't.

I hate obsessing and shaming myself over this.  Six months ago, I wasn't freaking out about my weight.  I was accepting my size and realizing my body was no one else's concern.  I was learning to love me.  And I still know that.  But, I have these creepers of self-hate and shame that have been crawling through my brain ever since the diabetes diagnosis.  How could you have let yourself get so out of control?  How are you so unhealthy?  You don't even look human.

I hate that I have this shame infection instead of just dealing with the disease. 

However, let's focus on the positive - I lost fifteen pounds in a few weeks.  That's cool.  Also, my blood sugar is super under control and I may be able to get off insulin in the future with further weight loss.  That's my goal.  That, and getting in shape for swim suit season.

Just kidding about the swim suit season.  Haha! 

The biggest thing I'm doing to keep my sugar down is eating fewer carbs than the dietician suggested.  Where they told me to eat 45 - 60 per meal, I try to keep it down to about 30.

It's actually not hard.  Not really.  Non-starchy vegetables.

Non-starchy vegetables are normally 5 - 10 grams of carbs per cup (cooked vs. uncooked).  If you follow the diabetic exchange, they're free.  I say fuck that noise.  I count every carb in my mouth. 

Broiled, sautĂ©ed, boiled, raw, salad - I eat tons of veggies.  I fill up on veggies and have some fish or chicken.

Slowly, my cravings for other foods are calming down.  Of course, I've backslid.  Of course.

After I wake up with a carb hangover, I start the day with a measured cup of barley flakes or Greek yogurt and get back on track.

I mean, what's the alternative?  Losing my toes to diabetes?  Losing my life?

Whatever.  Veggies fo' life, yo.