Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Adventure the 2nd - Sometimes, it's not about the weight.

I have a confession.  I have done something that I swore in a bazillion years that I was never EVER going to do.  I signed up for a health and wellness program.  GASP!!! I know, I know, I am the last one that you would ever expect to fork over my hard earned cash to buy some supplements to lose weight or get healthy.  I am Stefanie.  I am the champion of fat girls! I am the lover of my curves!  I am a cheap ass!   Great TARDIS of Gallifrey what is going on with the universe that it has come to this!!!! 

I am just as surprised as you are.  I first heard about Advocare when I was in Ohio and I kinda thought it was a cult.  A cult of hot athletic people mind you, but a cult nonetheless.  I'd see packages of Spark in the breakroom at work, and see bottles of supplements in co workers bags.  I was curious, but again, I kinda like my body and it looked like so much.... work.  Fast forward a year and a half later, and my life is much different than the woman who wrote that first blog.  I'm married now, we moved back East, and I'm back in school.  I am working a new job in a different field and a different shift.  I love my life and how I've worked so hard to get here.  However, it's all starting to get to me.  I used to have energy for days, being able to work three jobs, and be a single mom.  I didn't use to have pain in my knees, or stomach issues or migraines. 

 My life is perfect but my health is not.  

Doctor visits only lead to discussions about my weight and diet.  Physician after Physician tried to refer me for surgery and I will admit, I even went for an initial consultation with a bariatric surgeon. My problem, I knew so many close friends that had been through the surgery.  I knew the risks.  I knew that, yes, I would lose weight, but it was going to come with a price and possible huge complications.  I knew that in reality, that most people put most of their weight back on.  It just didn't feel right to me.  It is not about weight to me.  I love my body.  I love my softness and curves.  I love the meals and drinks shared with friends and family.  I like shopping at Torrid.  I have never been thin, and I have never been the skimpy clothes, bikini type of girl.  I just wanted to feel better.  I wanted a life with out pain.  I wanted energy.  

I work nights, and go to school during the day.  So as you can imagine, this involves oodles of caffeine and more than a fair share of fast food.  One night at work, as I am finishing off a Dr. Pepper, a co worker made a comment something like "Well, that is your problem right there."  It was harsh, I'm not going to lie, but the truth doesn't come wrapped pretty sometimes.  I gave my usual excuse of  "I know, but I hate coffee and energy drinks make me gag"  Well this particular co worker didn't buy any of that. He told me I should try a Spark instead.  All I thought was OMG THE CULT!!!  I dismissed him as a crazy jerk and tried not to think about how right he was.   

I feel that fate (or God or whatever you believe in) puts people in your life for a reason.  Al is one of those people.  We worked together at nights, and he (like my other co worker) had no problem pointing out that I needed a change in my life.  He didn't buy my excuses either.  He himself had made huge changes in his life, and was in his own right inspiring.  

So I drank the Spark.  I won't lie, I didn't really believe the hype.  It can't be that good.  I was wrong. It was.  I had to acquire the taste, but damn, it's effects were better than any coffee, soda, or energy drink I'd ever had. Best part, I didn't feel guilty drinking it.  I felt amazing.  Here is the thing, after every soda, every caramel laced espresso drink, there was just a hair of guilt mixed in.  I mean, I knew that soda was not something that was going to be adding years to my life or quality to my health,  so each and every time I drank one, I felt bad. Spark changed that.  

I consider myself a logic based girl. If there is science and facts to prove something, I am much more likely to get on board with it.  I knew these facts:  Even though I am overweight, I am malnourished.  I know that malnutrition leads to less than optimal organ and body performance and eventually organ failure.  One can easily conclude from this that even if I started the most awesome best diet plan in the known universe that it wasn't going to work because my body was malnourished and my organs were not doing what they were supposed to do.  This is why every diet fails and will fail. 

It's that logic that pointed me toward the Advocare 24 day challenge. Now, before I go on, let me say this. I am not a distributor.  I don't plan on becoming one.  I have nothing to gain if all of you run out and sign up for a 24 day challenge.  I am coming from a completely objective point of view.  I don't know if this product will work, but I know it is a start.  It is a jump start to feeling better and being healthy, which is what I want.  I did purchase products, but when I compare them to what I was spending on Starbucks, fast food, and soda, I some how SAVED money.  I have researched the science and facts behind it. The very most important thing is:  I got a team.  

I have people in my corner that aren't worried about how many pounds I lose, but how I feel.  That is refreshing.  I have Al and his wife, Kelly and Pam and all of my friends that are doing the challenge with me.  I have a plan. I have science. They say it takes 21 days to create a new habit, and I have 24.  

I am blogging about this journey not to sell something, but to share that sometimes it isn't about the weight.  You can love your body, but want to be healthy and that is ok.

I promise that I will give honest, objective feedback about this program and I would love all of the help and support you all can give me.  


**Please note: This is a place for positive comments ONLY.  I don't care if you had a terrible experience with Advocare or if you think the word diet should be replaced with lifestyle change. If you have nothing  nice to say, go somewhere else. I will delete you. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Adventure the first: Welcome to my Boudior.

I am a fat girl. Now chill, I am not saying that in a bad way, or even in a proud way.  It's a truthful statement.  I am curvy, bigger than some people think I should be, and a lot bigger than I used to be.  I go through these stages where I am cool with my size and others where I am determined to lose it all.  This story is about when I got over myself and actually had fun.

In May of 2012, an amazing guy actually asked me to marry him... for real.... All me. Marriage. Forever. Didn't matter I was fat, or that I have a little girl, or all my issues, baggage, mistakes.  He loves me and wanted to marry me... Go Freakin Figure.  So I did what any girl (regardless of size) does... I went on a diet.  Well, that lasted like a day or four maybe, but long story short, it didn't happen.  I honestly came to the realization that I wanted to enjoy the wedding planning and not worry about every calorie or getting to the gym at butt crack of dawn in the morning.  I wanted to test cake not do lunges.

This was a great plan until I realized that I was going to be my current size in a wedding dress. That meant arm fat, back fat, double chins, and my extra wide behind.  Crap.  Don't get me wrong, it obviously didn't bother me enough to stop eating pizza and cheesecake and go to the gym.  It just meant that I was having to start to deal with the elephant in the room: my size and how it was holding me back. I didn't want to buy a dress or a garter or take cute pinterest wedding photos. Why?  Nobody wants to see any of  that.  Truth is I didn't want to see that.  My Person (aka fiance) loves me, he wants to see that. My friends and family who love me what to see that.  I was the problem. That sucked.

Then one night on a real bad pinterest binge, I was looking at some really cute Boudior pictures. Boudior for those that don't know, are pictures that showcase you partially or scantily clad in various positions.  It is not porn. You aren't doing anything gross.  It's just romantic, a tad erotic, sexy pictures.  My Person looks over and says... Wow thats hot, you should do that. Now, My Person doesn't drink and I am pretty sure he doesn't have a closet crack habit, so it is safe to say he really meant that.  Was he insane?  Fat girls don't do that... But it did make me search a little bit into "Plus Size Pin Up" and I was actually surprised.  I love the look of curves on women, and I found tons of pictures of girls as big as or bigger than myself, that were photographed beautifully.  But with all of these "body issues" who would I ever be comfortable enough to get half naked in front of and let them take a picture of me?

My wedding photographer Heatherbee, had suggested a colleague that might be able to help me. She said had a very soft, artistic style, had a private studio, and to top it off, she was a nurse!!!  (which in my mind, meant there wasn't a body type she hadn't seen naked and therefore she would be less inclined to be grossed out by all of me)  That is when I met Andi.  I kinda fell in love with her..  She immediately put me at ease. She told me about her love of art and how she was proud of me for being open with my body.  She told me I was beautiful and there was no reason why I shouldn't do it.  Still, this was a huge leap for me. I don't even wear shorts.  I try not to leave my arms uncovered.  From that to naked.... was a kinda big deal for me.

This require some soul searching... I thought had accepted my body and my size. I have a man who adored me. I was at a point where I my self  consciousness was really holding me back. If I wasn't going to lose the weight, (which I had no real desire to do) I had to get over it.  I am the size that I am.  I got this way from eating great food with great people, making great memories.  I shouldn't be ashamed.  Besides, these pictures were for my Person, and he loved me.  I was going to do it.

I made a date with Andi that coincided with my hair and make up trial with Crystal from Eye Do Makeup & Hair and spent the next few weeks trying to figure out what the heck to wear. I asked my Person just what he thought I looked sexy in, and after keeping his testosterone poisoned mind on track (which is just as hard as you think that it would be) and took some cues from him. I grabbed some of his stuff and took a trip to my local Dayton Ohio Torrid, and I was set.

The day finally came and I was so nervous that I could puke.  What the crap was I thinking?  On what planet did I think this was going to turn out ok?  I just kept myself busy, I went shopping, I got my nails and toes done and most of all kept telling myself that if I didn't like them, no one but me was ever going to see them.  It was that thought alone that got me through until I got to Andi's Studio.  She didn't rush me at all. She sat with me and just talked,  not about the pictures we were about to take, but topics that would put me at ease.  She offered me a cocktail to help me relax, and we discussed my outfits and what I really wanted and what I was comfortable doing. She took me on a tour of her studio and the different props she had available.  Before I knew it, it was time to get started.

I won't lie, I was freaked out.  Andi sensed it and was able to ease me into it. By about half an hour into it, I was having fun! Andi put on music that I loved, that kinda help bring out my "inner stripper".  She made me feel like a model.  She put me into poses that accenctuated my good parts and down played the parts I wasn't so ok with. I was doing things and showing parts that I had never done or shown and I was having a blast doing it.  The two hour session flew by.

The next day, I was a little sore, but in a I kinda did Yoga good way.  Andi already sent me a couple of preview pictures and I was floored.... I don't know who that girl in the picture is.... but she was hot. She was me.  She was a girl in love, showing off for the person who loved her. She was comfortable and sexy, she was ok in her skin, ok with her rolls and stretch marks.  She is me.  I had photographic evidence.  HA!!!

So, my recommendation: Do it! Get over yourself. Have Fun. It is true what they say about the only people who have a problem with fat people are skinny ones. I found out later that me doing the photo shoot actually inspired several others to do the same thing, girls with much different bodies than myself, but gave them courage nonetheless. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I almost didn't do it because of my self perception.

A HUGE Thanks goes to Andi Wydman.  Without her, I am know they wouldn't have been half as good. If you can drive to the Dayton Ohio area, I highly recommend her.  Do some research into the photographer that you use, and make sure they are ok with photographing your body type and can help you with any body issues that you might have, it makes all the difference.

Until the next adventure....

All Photos are copyrighted by Andi Wydman Photography.