Friday, January 28, 2011

To Garter Belt or Not to Garter Belt

Yep. I am now on the hunt for a wardrobe for the Pin Up photo shoot. I plan to hit some vintage stores in Ottawa in the next month or so although I have a couple of outfits already. I also need to pick up one or two pairs of shoes that resemble the 1940's style. These styles are all back in so I should have no problem finding them.

 One thing that is for certain, I am going to have to get real nylon stockings with a garter belt. Secret Lace is a company that features a Bettie Page Collection as well as all kinds of authentic nylon stockings and vintage lingerie. I am not planning to pose in one of those crazy bullet bras and big ass undies.  The 1940's Pin Up's were sooooo discreet and so subtly suggestive that I am going to need more of a wardrobe in order to create some interesting shots. You never know, I might be so proud of my accomplishments that I may just strap on one of those big old bras and take a photo. For now, I am trying to figure out the poses, props and the clothing that I will need to pull this off.

 I am always open to ideas.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Reality Check

I just returned from working out at the gym. I had to take four days off due to teaching and then training a new person to help with our daughter. I am unable to leave her alone at this point but I think by next week, I will be able to zip out for an hour's work out.

I am grateful for having started this blog. I am  not really certain who reads it....perhaps just my sisters, my mom and a few friends. I know that had I not taken the leap and made myself accountable, I would be far less motivated. I suppose that being committed to something and writing about it serves a purpose. I really want the end result to be awesome and I want to be really pleased with my achievements.

I am not feeling pressured at all with this project as I might have been in my 20's and maybe even my early 30's. I was constantly bashing myself back then....never thin enough, never tall enough, never good enough. Ironically, I would love to even remotely resemble my physique from my early 20's! I have come to realize that likely isn't going to happen. I have also accepted that I will likely not look a whole lot like the 1940's Pin Up Girl. None of them were 5'1" in height and certainly none of them wrestled with a 35-pound child with cerebral palsy every single day. I also suspect that most had not gone through their childbearing years yet, many smoked and perhaps lived on martinis and cocktails and little food.

I was looking at my arms  the other day and I wondered how I was going to pull off creating slender, delicate arms by my 40th birthday. Seconds later, a little wise voice inside of me whispered, "You're not." Thanks, Wise Voice, always so blunt and to the point. And, as well, there is a good chance my legs aren't going to grow by several inches and I suspect they will never be slender and delicate. Not in this lifetime anyway.

But you know what? That's okay. I may not come out at the end of this looking exactly like a Pin Up Girl but I will still be a Pin Up............but maybe more of a Pin Up Woman. As I visit the gym more and more, I can feel how my endurance is increasing. I am seeing changes in my shape and I am attempting more challenging exercises (like squatting on a bosu ball while throwing a kettle weight above my head) and each time I do it, I get a little bit better, a little bit stronger. As I gear up for 40, I look forward to the woman I am becoming. 

"Phenomenal Woman"
 By Maya Angelou
"Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me."
Strong Arms~ Photo by Erin Egan 

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Getting Close to Half Way There

I successfully completed the cleanse and even did it for two days longer than I had to. I strictly followed it for 12 days straight which resulted in a 6lb. weight loss and some shrinkage in inches although I am not sure exactly how much. I did discover that I feel much better without flour-y products and dairy in my system and so will continue with this trend. I also feel that sugar is poison in my body and after being off of it for two weeks, I just don't want to re-introduce it as I know that the cravings will surely follow. And, well, we all know what that leads to. I will eat maple syrup and honey occasionally but no more white/brown sugar for me. With that said, I am not going to be an all or nothing type but more of a 97% of the time kind of thing. If my mom makes mashed potatoes and puts butter and milk in them, I won't refuse them.

One thing I have really gotten hooked on is my oatmeal/banana combo in the morning with almond milk. What a perfect way to start the day. And I feel full for so long and it is remarkably delicious. It took two whole weeks for me to start to see a change....ever so small.....but a change in my shape. I continue to work out 3x per week although I wish it could be more. My life isn't allowing it at the this time as I teach on weekends and I am training a new family relief worker on Mondays and Tuesdays. This leaves little time for working out. If the weather were just a tad warmer, I could run outside in the evenings but you won't see me running in this -39 degree, Canadian winter weather. Never. Ever.

One thing I have to start thinking about is how I am going to execute the final part of The 40's Project. This blog has mainly been about the journey but in the end, I do want to create a professional photo of myself as a real life 1940's Pin Up Girl. I need a photographer, a make-up artist and someone to turn my long hair into a gorgeous, 1940's up do. I also need to find the perfect outfits. I have decided that an entire calendar might be  too lofty. I think if I have two wicked outfits/sets, then that will be great. If YOU can help with any of the things I need, have suggestions of stores in the Ottawa area who may have vintage clothing or have any other ideas, I want to hear from YOU! I will most likely book an appointment at the MAC counter for the day of the shoot. I would like to have the photos done and processed by my 40th birthday which is April 7th. I am thinking this all needs to be done by April 1st.

I technically have only 8 weeks left. I am almost at the halfway mark. Still lots of work to do but I am starting to see the transformation ever so slowly but surely.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pin Up Girl's Cleanse

Since so many people have been emailing me and posting me messages on Facebook about my cleanse, I decided to give you "a day in the life" so that you can see how I am applying the No Wheat/No Sweet/No Meat/ No Teat cleanse into my life. I am going to break down each category followed by a couple of day's worth of meal/menu ideas.

No Wheat:

This section of the cleanse isn't overly difficult for me personally as I am gluten sensitive so I avoid wheat anyway. However, on the cleanse, the No Wheat section includes flour products of any kind (gluten or otherwise). This includes, crackers, bread, muffins, sauces, gravy, etc. I do allow brown rice cakes but just occasionally.

No Sweet:

The cleanse does not allow sugar of any kind except for the natural sugars found in fruit. I do not drink fruit juices, though, as the sugar equivalent and the effects on the body can be very similar to sugary sodas. The No Sweet category includes molasses, maple syrup, white sugar, brown sugar, Aspartame, sugar replacements and honey. I suppose Stevia would be fine occasionally but I am personally avoiding all sugars.

No Meat:

Although chicken and fish are allowed, red meat and pork are not.

No Teat:

I came up with this term for the No Dairy section as I liked how all of the words ended with "eet/eat" but the Dairy one just didn't fit so..............Some cleanses allow for plain yogourt and butter but I am avoiding ALL dairy for the ten days. Instead of butter I am using light tasting olive oil drizzled on vegetables, for example.

As well as the top four categories, I am avoiding caffeine, alcohol and anything processed even if it is "natural."

A typical day looks like this:

**First thing in morning I have either a cup of herbal detox tea or a warm glass of water with juice of a half a lemon in it
Breakfast at 7am:
1. 1/2 cup cooked oatmeal, sliced banana, some walnut pieces and almond milk
2. 2 brown rice cakes with almond butter and a sliced apple
3. 4 egg whites plus one egg yolk omelette with vegetables of your choice and a sliced apple.

Mid Morning Snack at 10am:
Handful of carrot sticks with 2 tbsp. or so of hummous

Lunch at 1pm:
1. Two cups of organic greens topped with either baked salmon or 3/4 cup of chickpeas, chopped peppers, sliced english cucumber, blueberries (if using salmon), sunflower seeds and 1 tbsp. pf light tasting olive oil with 1 tbsp. Balsamic vinegar.
2. Quinoa Tabbouleh  (a salad made with cooked quinoa, chopped red peppers, diced english cucumbers, chickpeas, loads of chopped fresh parsley and a dressing made of equal parts olive oil/lemon juice and fresh garlic. You can have a good cup of this for lunch instead of the salad above.

Mid. afternoon snack at 3pm:
Gala apple sliced with 1/4 cup of raw almonds or raw trail mix and a cup of herbal tea

Dinner at 5:30-6pm:

1. PC's Blue Menu Halibut steaks topped with halved grape tomatoes, lemon juice and fresh cilantro salsa served with 1/2 cup cooked brown rice and broccoli. I drizzle light tasting olive oil on the broccoli.
2. Baked 4 oz. chicken breast brushed with light tasting olive oil and sprinkled with a herb/spice roasted chicken blend. Served sliced with yellow beans, Brussels sprouts and 1/2 brown rice
3. Baked salmon fillet brushed with olive oil and lemon juice, salt and pepper and served with roasted sweet potatoes that were previously tossed in light tasting olive oil/sea salt and pepper and a vegetable f your choice.

Basically you want to make sure servings are not larger than the size of your fist. This is a good rule to follow. I measure my olive oil and one "drizzle" equals a teaspoon. Correct portions are very important and you will soon discover you were probably eating enough for 2 people :-) I never feel hungry because I eat every 3-4 hours so keep my blood sugar stable. I drink lots of water and herbal teas. I am feeling very, very good and I may continue with this cleanse for fourteen days. Once the cleanse is over the only changes will be occasional red meat, pasta, bread and natural sugar like honey and maple syrup. I still intend to keep my dairy intake down except for plain yogourt as I suspect my body prefers life without it. And I think I may kick my coffee habit for good.

I hope those of you who are making your own lifestyle changes are doing well.You really need to take it one day at a time and expect the first 3 days to be pretty rough. Soon, you will feel very good and your body will appreciate and work more efficiently especially your bowels :-)

If you have any questions, post them below.

Friday, January 14, 2011

It's Getting Better All the Time

Well, dear readers, I have completed a whopping four days of my self-imposed cleanse and I feel terrific!
The first day was rough, I will admit. I am have a habit of gulping down a big mug of coffee with cream and sugar every morning at 5:30am sharp. Instead I gulped down a glass of warm water with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Just not the same.

The headache kicked in about two and a half hours later. This is relatively early and made it very clear that I had consumed a heck of a lot of sugar over the holidays. I was a smoker back in the day and when I quit smoking cold turkey on January 1st 1998, I was slammed with a pretty gigantic headache. This one was not as bad but bad enough. The thing is, you can't take an Advil for a headache when you are cleansing. That defeats the purpose. So, I went to the gym instead and re-introduced myself to the Elliptical. I hate that thing. Have I mentioned that?

The only down side to this is the fact that you have to be on top of things. Meals and snacks need to be planned ahead. It is critical to have a large selection of fish, chicken and vegetables and fruit to prevent a moment where you are hungry and confused and can't figure out what to eat so you grab a handful of crackers or eat a hunk of cheese out of desperation.

The benefits make it well worth it. I feel lighter, clearer in the head, less agitated, calmer and my skin even looks better. If you want to do something like this, please be aware that the first three days are the hardest. You will want to give up. You will want to cheat. You will convince yourself that you're too stressed, too tired, to busy to follow something like this. Ignore those messages! Move forward! Each day you resist the urge to gobble down a bag of chips or eat a dozen cookies, each day that you persevere  and carry on, that :inner critic/saboteur will lose power and you will become more and more resilient to that harping and harassing. If the very thought of going without dairy, red meat, all sugars (natural or otherwise) and wheat/all flour products, frightens you, please know that there is a glorious amount of grains, vegetables, fish and fruit that you can eat. Lemon juice, olive oil (I prefer light tasting), herbs, sea salt, pepper, hot sauces and spices can turn a piece of salmon or a stir fry into a gourmet, flavourful meal. Before you know it, the cravings will pass and you will be getting excited about quinoa and salads.

If you have any questions, comment below and check back for my answers!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Back In The Saddle Again

I am going to be honest, this is not how I had planned the first month of Julie's 40's Project to go. A while back....seems like a lifetime ago.....I admitted that I would allow myself the joy of the holiday season and would indulge with everyone else. And did I! The problem is that my week long gorge fest carried into another week and then a third week. On December 27th my parents made a decision to being my ill Grandmother home from hospital where she had been for 7 weeks. I, along with my sisters and relatives, helped my mother in caring for this dear matriarch at home until her final breath was taken at 10:25pm on New Year's Day. I wasn't about to hit the gym nor did I give a rat's ass about what I put into my body. My heart was broken and I found myself shrouded in grief. It has been nine days since my Grandma passed on and I am feeling a little less heavy in my heart.

I am also feeling a bit of panic as I feel as though I have lost valuable time on this road to Pin Up Girl  and so I really have to get down to business. The good news is I haven't gained any weight over this last few weeks but the bad news is that I am back to square one in the exercise department. One thing I know is that I despise the warm-up stage of working out. D-E-S-P-I-S-E it. I hate treadmills and I hate the Elliptical.  The bottom line is that if I wish to burn off fat, I need to do some major cardio whether I like it or not. I think I may run outside tomorrow before reuniting with Jodie and the gym. I don't love running but I prefer the fresh air and the scenery of the outdoors to the repetitiveness of an indoor machine.

I start my 10-day cleanse tomorrow which is basically:
  • No Wheat (or an gluten-y flours/products)
  • No Meat (red)
  • No Sweet (all sugars, natural or otherwise)
  • No Dairy (or as I like to say: No Teat!! Ha!Ha!)
Since it is January and the clock is ticking away, I have a lot of work ahead of me but I am confident I can reach my goal by April 7th which is my actual birthday.Will report tomorrow after I shock my body with a workout and a day without sugar or caffeine.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

We Interrupt This Program

Since January 1, 2011, I have, along with my family, been processing the reality of my life without my dearest Grandma. I'll be taking a break from blogging to grieve and remember her. Being present at the moment of her last breath was a privilege and a gift. Read about it from my sister's perspective at her blog at The Knitty Gritty Homestead
Until later...