Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ringing in a New Year

As 2011 is just around the corner, I have been slowly coming off of my sugar high after a high caloric Christmas holiday season! Last week was wonderful and relaxing and I enjoyed every morsel of every indulgent meal, appetizer and dessert I consumed. I paid for it, though, on the night of Boxing Day when my body rebelled against my minuscule gluten intake over the previous days. A bit here and a bit there was fine but after days of doing so, it caught up on me and I experienced an hour and a half of violent barfing. I should know better. Nothing a cold cloth, a couple of Gravol and sleep couldn't fix.  Needless to say, I haven't ingested one drop of alcohol or gluten since Dec. 26th. I am, however, having some difficulty weaning off the continuous sugar high I have grown accustomed to in the last two weeks.

In order to get back on track with The 40's Project, I am going to start off the new year with a two week cleanse. I will avoid everything containing flour, sugar (natural or otherwise), dairy and red meat. I may even give up the coffee since I can't have sugar and cream in it anyway. I will give my body a good rest from all of the junk that I have happily poured into it in the last couple of weeks. After the initial two weeks, I will be less strict but will continue to focus on a whole foods diet. I found this great website which I will use for interesting whole food/gluten free recipes along the way. And I am really liking Dr. Oz's "Just 10 Challenge." It is very straightforward and easy to follow and apparently very effective. Basically, you have 10 servings broken up in the following ways:
Protein and Fats: 4 Servings
Complex Carbs: 3 Servings
Fruit: 3 Servings
Vegetables: Unlimited
Dessert: every other day
You can learn more about it here.

And, I have completely bailed on my exercise program............but only temporarily. Reality sets in again on Monday, January 3rd. No more excuses, no more adjusting, no more transitional phase. This is where I get serious and where transformations take place. Anyone willing to join me?

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gifts Fit for a Pin Up Girl

Tomorrow is Christmas Eve Day and already I have received three spontaneous and unexpected gifts from three different friends reflecting The 40's Project. Isn't it a strange phenomenon how  when you start something, you suddenly see it represented or reflected everywhere? I was in a calendar store yesterday and saw three Pin Up Girl Art calendars. I can't recall ever seeing them before. That is what happens, though, your thoughts get reflected in the world around you. Either that or you just start paying more attention. Here are some pics of my Pin Up Girl gifts recently bestowed upon me by three sweet gals:

A cylinder of long match sticks received by mail
today! This Pin Up Girl is wearing skates and has
 fallen and can't get up.....
Awesome! Thanks, T......

This groovy necklace came by mail yesterday!
What a great surprise!
Thanks, K!!!

And, finally, this glass bottle of yummy mango awesomeness!
The tag reads:
"Bath and body treats that indulge the
girlish whim to pamper.
A compliment to the girls of the 40's and 50's
who unabashedly
shared beauty with the world."
 Thanks, S!!
 I have really bombed this week. Not only have I really gone off course with my whole foods/clean eating, I have completely avoided the gym like the plague. Okay, that last part is only half truth. It's not that I have purposely avoided it, I just haven't had five minutes to get in there. I have made four trips to Ottawa since Saturday (that's a 200km round trip for those from afar) and have been busy with not only the whole Christmas thing, I have also been visiting my 92-year old Grandma who is in hospital and is not doing very well. Life comes first and so I will do my best to survive the holidays and then resume Pin-Up-Girl-To-Be status early in 2011. I will be down to three months left come January so I had better get the lead out of my ass, as they say.
Oh, one more gift from my mother given to me after I launched The 40's Project........

A mug with my favourite saying!

Monday, December 20, 2010

'Tis the Season

With Christmas just around the corner, I am noticing more and more "treats" around the house. My husband made a batch of Hello Dolly Squares (a heavenly concoction of chocolate chips, coconut, walnuts and a graham crumb crust topped with a can of Eagle Brand Condensed Milk) for his co-workers and has left a container of the rejects in the freezer. I am making peppermint chocolate bark on a regular basis and soon my husband will come home with a selection of baked goods from work. I have made a decision to just cut loose this week. Get it out of my system and enjoy the holidays like everyone else. I am not going to restrict myself in enjoying the festive beverages and treats of the holiday season.

Last year at this time, I was diagnosed with sudden and unexplainable liver failure and so Christmas was a terrible time. Severe nausea and a strict no-fat/no alcohol/no sugar diet resulted in significant weight loss during a time when we humans usually pack on an extra 10 pounds. I was very sick and desperate to get well so I followed the doctor's orders and eventually I was back to normal.

I think I deserve a break this year and I am not going to be concerned with fat/sugar or alcohol intake for the next week or so. I don't think you should be either. Let's celebrate and have a good time!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Universe Provides

On Tuesday, the little gym that I am working out at celebrated its Grand Opening. Our small town needs this fitness centre and I see a new year filled with women (and men) of all ages getting their groove back by moving their bodies. Yours truly won the door prize which was a one month membership!

After two weeks of easing into the whole exercise thing again, I am now beginning to increase the times I go to the gym from three to four workouts per week. Come January 1st, I may have to let my one and only vice morning coffee with cream and sugar. When I was pregnant with our daughter, I would imagine her thighs were made form Haagen Dazs ice-cream and her cheeks from avocados. I am thinking my lovely, soft Buddha belly is created solely from the cream I put in my coffee. I have never been one to bash my imperfections as I am always reminded that my 5"1 frame managed to conceive and grow an entire person within it. Then it went on to give birth to that person and keep her alive for a year on milk produced by my body. However, one morning, not too long ago, I made a comment about my saggy breasts while hanging out bra-less with my husband. He quickly replied with, "Those saggy breasts kept Meredith alive for a year." Interesting how our terms of endearment change over the years.

As I begin week 3 on this 4-month journey, I am proud of my efforts so far and I look forward to the transformations that should hopefully start to take place soon.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

What is The Pin Up Girl Anyway?

There are several definitions of the noun Pin Up Girl but the most accurate/basic one I found was this:
~a woman whose glamorous qualities make her a suitable subject for a pin up. Many pin-ups were photographs of celebrities who were considered sex symbols. Other pin-ups were artwork, often depicting idealized versions of what some thought a particularly beautiful or attractive woman should look like. 

It is the playful and sensual nature of the 1940's Pin Up Girl that I find appealing. The photos/drawings were suggestive, of course, yet tasteful and there was something left to the imagination. My mother recalls, as a child, seeing the Pin Up Girl images on cigarette packages, for example, and remembers them being so risque. The Pin Ups of the late 50's and 60's were even more risque than the ones of the 1940's and that's why I chose the 1940's Pin Up. I am not interested in strapping twirling tassels onto these almost 40- year-old breasts. I think that leaving a lot to the imagination is the key to sensuality. I think that having intelligence and a strong opinion and a voice is far sexier than allowing oneself to be silenced or to constantly be striving for society's limited ideal of beauty. Of course, physical appearance has something to do with it but I really wonder if things like confidence, humour, strength, intellect, and so on have more to do with sex appeal than we think. Have you ever met someone who was a gorgeous specimen of a human being and then as soon as they opened their mouth, they lost all appeal?
I have found it interesting that since starting this project, I have been told things like, "You're fine as you are." or "You don't need to lose weight." along with suggestions that what I am doing is buying into the pressures of society and its ideals of beauty. While I appreciate these comments shared out of kindness, I do want to be clear that I am actually quite content with myself both physically and otherwise. I happily walk around naked and feel no shame whatsoever about my 39-year old body with all of its imperfections. This body has served me well.
With that said, I don't think there is anything wrong with moving towards a healthier weight or incorporating exercise in one's life. We are all very familiar by now with the benefits of daily movement for our bodies and our minds. It boils down to the reasons why one is losing weight or exercising. This project is simply a fun journey into my 40's and being the best I can be as I enter this next decade.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Successful Completion of Week 1

I did it! I worked this Pin Up Girl butt for three days in a row as ordered by my personal trainer, Jodie. I have to say, I almost bailed this morning after a rather painful and intense chiropractic adjustment. It was painful because not only did I have a rib out of place and a stuck lumbar vertebrae, I was also dealing with two days worth of stiff muscles from my exercise program. I asked of my Chiropractor, in an urging fashion, if I should skip my P90X session today to which he replied, "No, I think you should be fine." Ugh. Thanks for nothing, Steve.

As planned, I arrived at Inner Strength promptly at 1:30pm and began my warm-up which consisted of creative footwork with a Bosu. And then I was introduced to a version of P90X. It wasn't as horrible as I thought it would be and apparently if you follow the dvd, you also have to deal with the annoying instructor. I had gentle encouragement and praise from Jodie. Here's a description of the P90X Program for those who have never heard of it:  
"The P90X® workout program is a revolutionary system of 12 sweat-inducing, muscle-pumping exercises designed to transform your body from regular to ripped in just 90 days. You'll also receive a comprehensive 3-phase nutrition plan, specially designed supplement options, a detailed fitness guide, a calendar to track your progress, online peer support, and much more. Your personal trainer, Tony Horton, will keep you engaged every step of the way, and you won't
believe your results!"

Like I said, I am only doing a version of it. I am out-of-shape but I not interested in getting "ripped." There is a delicate balance to achieving the figure of the 1940's Pin Up Girl. I have to tone and get in shape while preserving my womanly curves. A friend pointed out that the Pin Up Girl was generally a smoker and probably invested in a good corset. Although this exercise thing is tough, having to quit smoking is something I never want to do again so exercise it is. A corset, on the other hand, is definitely a wardrobe accessory I will be purchasing in the new year. 

I have completed week one of The 40's Project and I feel like I should have only one week left to go. Onward I leg lift at a time.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Three More, Two More and Take It To The Right......Reach it Right......

The exercise regime begins today or I should say began today. Jodie, Personal Trainer Specialist and owner of a local gym called "Inner Strength," will be assisting me in my goal of Pin Up Girl. Jodie created a 3-day workout plan for me to get started. On paper, Day 1 looks relatively straight-forward. I had been participating in bootcamp on and off for the past 3 years so consider myself to be in relatively good shape fitness-wise. I did take 10 months off this year after I was very sick. I started getting back into it this summer, then took another month break and started back again in the fall. I enjoyed this particular class however, I knew it needed to be more challenging and that breaking a sweat would likely be desired if I wanted to reach my fitness goals.

I hiked down the street to the gym which is conveniently located about a 2-minute walk (literally) from my house. I started with ten minutes on the Elliptical and after 55 seconds I was certain I must be almost finished. I was dismayed to see that I hadn't even been going for a minute. Reminds me of first time mothers in labour when the early part drags on and they are convinced they must be at least 7cm dilated only to learn they are 2cm dilated. Very discouraging. I was annoyed, as well, that I had forgotten my MP3 Player as Jodie had Christmas music playing. Lovely and festive but not motivating whatsoever when you are ready to hop off within the first minute. I trudged on and imagined myself in four months feeling so proud of my accomplishment. I knew I wasn't going to get there if I bailed on Day 1. Soon, I was able to count down the minutes and finally I was warmed up and then some.

The rest of the time was spent doing a variety of bootcamp exercises with weights. Lots of lunging, squatting and strength training interspersed with bursts of cardio. I was sweating within five minutes and I knew I was in the right place. Before long, I had made my way through the list of exercises and it was time to cool down and stretch. I was finished about an hour and a bit ago and my legs continue to gently vibrate. Tomorrow should be equally as interesting since I have to attack Day 2 while dealing with the aftermath of Day 1.

Jodie has instructed me to do the 3 days in a row and then repeat Day 1 before taking a day of rest. I will do this until the end of December and she will create a new program for me with more intensity and focus. I have decided to workout at the gym for the winter months and then start running again once the snow melts or at least once the temperatures are above freezing.

Now time for lunch.............

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Plan A

Two days down and going strong.......

I am not really certain how I am going to pull this off. December 1st was upon me before I had a plan in place. I haven't mapped out the next four months as far as a program to follow. Just to be clear, I am not  going on any sort of diet. Absolutely not. I don't believe in diets. I also want to be clear that I have a healthy relationship with my body and do not have body image issues. Well, okay, I would love to have long legs and if they can't be long than I would love for them to look more like Madonna's legs. I have always admired straight teeth and women who have those perky, tea cup breasts. But, after a few cans of Slim Fast at the age of 13 (no kidding!) and after a rather rebellious adolesence, I recognized that no matter how hard I tried, I was never going to look like Cindy Crawford. Never.

So, back to to freeing my inner Pin Up Girl.....

I decided to start in December as I wanted to have a few transitional weeks from the carefree existence I was enjoying to the more disciplined one that will gently nudge my inner Pin Up Girl (PUG for short) into the light. For the first week, I am simply making wiser choices (reducing my portions), eating whole foods only and drinking lots of water. I am NOT giving up my one vice which is a mug of coffee with half and half cream and sugar at 5:30am. Starting next week, I will get back to bootcamp and some personal training. I am also going to do a program called "200 Sit-Ups in Six weeks." The trick is to tone without losing the womanly curves of the Pin Up Girl figure.

My plan is to do things gradually. I suspect Pin Up Girls go into further hiding if they are pressured so I intend on being gentle yet disciplined, consistent with moments of freedom. This isn't a competition afterall. This is a gift to my 40-year old self from my 39-year old self.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

In The Beginning....

 Today, marks the very first day of The 40's Project. As with any new endeavour,  I feel excited and optimistic. I am also aware that three weeks from now I may be a bawling heap on the floor cursing myself for thinking that unleashing my inner Pin Up Girl was a good idea! 
How does one begin such a lofty goal you may be wondering?
Well, one launches this insane adventure by having one's husband snap photos of her so that she a) has a "before" photo for when the project is complete and b) so that each time she looks at this particular photo, she is motivated to make the necessary changes that will lead her to the final goal.

To get ready for a photo shoot of this style, one must don the baggy, white, granny undies typically saved for  your period which worked out well for me this morning as my period started on launch day.....feeling like a Pin-Up Girl already (enter sarcasm). As well, you want to have on a shapeless, off-white (because it got washed in too many dark loads over the last year) brazier. Yes, I did say 'brazier.' Add to that, hair that looks unwashed and unbrushed and not one spot of make-up.

Photos are taken of the front AND the back and maybe even one side shot for good measure. Looking dumpy and depressed (no beaming smiles allowed!) makes for a better dramatic unveil when the time comes..........four long months from now.

For the sake of progress, I have also weighed myself and taken measurements of my chest, waist, hips and thighs.I know, as painful as it was, there's nothing like a good reality check.

And no, I am not posting the "before" pics here. Sorry folks, some things are better left to the imagination.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Eve Before the Official Launch of The 40's Project

Where I get these ideas is beyond me.....
I am a woman who needs a goal. Exercising, for example, for the sake of exercising, is not enough. I need to have a focus and a purpose. Running for enjoyment just doesn't interest me. Running because I have to run a 5km race in three months, now that is a whole different story.

I have been thinking about the fact that in a matter of months, I will be reaching the big "4-0." I am not one to dread birthdays. In fact, I am the complete opposite. I anticipate my birthday as though each year were my 8th birthday over and over again. I want phone calls, cards in the mail, special treatment, birthday cake ( money hidden in the cake is even better!!) and a special dinner. I want to blow out my candles, have "Happy Birthday" sung to me and to celebrate my health and another year living this glorious life. I have spent the last 12 years working in the birthing field as a doula and prenatal educator so I get excited about Birth Days!

As my 40th birthday approaches, I wanted to do something really special. I had been thinking about what kind of party I wanted: an all girls sleepover, a spa weekend with a couple of close friends, a trip by myself somewhere or maybe a big bash with live music and dancing just for the fun of it. Then it came to me...........

Since I can remember, I have always loved high heels and sequins and beads and lacy lingerie and red lipstick. At age 12, my older sister had to piggy-back me home after I went over on my ankle running down the street in 2 inch heels. As a young adult living in Whistler, BC, I fullfilled my heel wearing fetish (for lack of a better word) by vaccuming my apartment in a mini skirt and gold stillettos. You wouldn't be caught dead wearing high heels in, no, no......this was the land of Gortex, hiking boots and fleece pants. In the last three years, I started getting interested in the whole Burlesque movement but alas there was nothing available in our area when I went searching a couple of years ago. You could say that "The Pin Up" Girl is my alter ego. The ironic thing is that I am not much of a girly-girl. I prefer my hair pulled back in a pony tail and prior to letting it grow out for cancer, I wore my hair cropped really short. I like jeans and running shoes and long sleeve cotton tee's. Don't get me wrong, I can dress up and I have a wicked collection of the most beautiful high heels but generally speaking, you would never peg me as a Pin Up Girl.

Seeing as I have let myself go somewhat in my 39th year, I decided to have a project or a goal to work towards in order to get myself back into shape. It seemed appropriate that since I will turn 40 on April 7th 2011, that my goal would be to take four months to bring my inner Pin Up Girl to the surface~ Set her free once and for all. The plan is to gradually transform myself into a Hollywood 1940's Pin Up Girl with the end goal being a photo shoot with a professional photographer to create a 12-month Pin Up Girl calendar. This photo session will take place the last week of March 2011 so that I can have the calendar/photos in my hands for my actual birthday. It has been aptly named "The 40's Project."

Creating this blog came as an afterthought and although I struggled with making this journey public, I figured that I was more likely to be successful if I was held accountable. Once I make a decision to do something, I keep my word. I hope you enjoy the journey right along with me and perhaps, you, too, will discover your long lost, inner Pin Up Girl along the way.