Better without BC


To address the issue from my last post, I went to my Dr and I am now completely off birth control, to see if that helps my weight, mood, and sleep.

I’ve only been off of them for two weeks and a couple of days, but within the first week I started sleeping better.  I still don’t want to get up when my alarm goes off at 5:30 in the morning (who the hell actually WANTS to get up at 5:30?), but most nights I feel like I’ve slept deeply and once I get up and moving I actually feel rested.  This is phenomenal.

It’s amazing what actually sleeping well will do for you.  I’m more alert, I feel like I’m aware of what’s going on around me, my mental reflexes are faster, I’m happier, and I actually have energy.  It’s wonderful.  I still have a night or two a week where I don’t sleep well, but at least it’s not every night, and I feel like it’s natural to have a night or two where you don’t sleep well.

It’s not been long enough to see any difference in my weight, measurements or body fat, but I’m looking forward to those changes.

To my great joy, after a 1 month hiatus, I have gotten to go see and pole with Samantha the last two weekends.  The first weekend we didn’t do any real work, just played with basic beginner spins and slides to the floor on spin pole and in heels.  When I started pole, the American way to do it was with a fat 50mm static pole, barefoot.  But I’ve grown, and the pole world has grown, and most of the pole stars I admire now are Australian.  And the Aussie way to pole is on a skinny 38mm spinning pole in heels as high as you can find them.  I still like my 45, and love Samantha’s 40s, so I’m trying to, while I’m still rebuilding my strength, clean up fun beginner spins, tricks and floorwork, and do it in heels.  I love my heels.  And I love that my new home has all wood plank flooring downstairs, so I can actually wear my heels when I pole at home!  But I digress…  I wasn’t sore after that, but it was good to just play and ease my body back into the old familiar moves that I hadn’t done in a while.  I tried one day to pole at home a couple weeks before, but I didn’t properly warm up my body, I was tired, everything was hard, and everything hurt.  But that day last week with Samantha was a good day. It was fun, and I could do all those beginner/intermediate moves (cradle variations, apprentice variations) I was having difficulty with before.

Yesterday, we worked on floorwork – spin and slide transitions from the pole to the floor, and flowing different moves into each other and different ways to get back to standing or up on the pole.  Those slow, controlled floorwork movements (roll overs, elbow stands, body waves) take a lot more effort than I remember. I was hot and sweaty from it! I also tried some intermediate tricks on spin – inverts, leg hangs, I even attempted a Jade.  And I have to say, Spin pole is HARD!  My body did not want to cooperate, and even hooking into a leg hang and relaxing into the pose was strangely difficult on spin.  And the Jade simply didn’t happen.  I couldn’t convince my limbs to do what I wanted against the centripetal force.  I was able to pull off a half-assed one without spinning, but only barely.

And it wore me out!!  My biceps and pecs are screaming at me every time I move them today.  My shoulders, back and abs have a lovely delicious feeling to them today, too – not sore, but I can tell when I move them that I worked them yesterday.  Even my glutes protested a little when I climbed a couple flights of stairs earlier.  It’s wonderful.  I can’t wait to go back next weekend.

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Fat bottom girl


Life has been kinda crazy lately.
My personal goals got pushed by the wayside as I took care of other things. Things more important than myself, because my stuff can wait. But I realized recently that no, it really can’t. I’m all I’ve got, and I have to look out for me and put myself first, because no one else will.
So until September, I made no progress on my goals. My diet is pretty good, though I fully admit I need to eat more fruits and veggies. But in September, Samantha helped me move some extra furniture, and I put my pole up for the first time in over a year. I still only Pole on it about once a week, but I’m so glad it’s up.
Also in September, I got a workout buddy that convinced me to join her gym, and I’m loving it. I found a class twice a week that I LOVE, and both my friend and the instructor expect me to be there, so that keeps me accountable. I’ve been going for 4 weeks now, and I love it. I’m starting to love working out again, and I actually get upset if I have to miss my class, and make it up at home the next day. I love that. I love that I’m enjoying working out again, and I love that I WANT to work out, because for most of the last year I haven’t wanted to do anything but cry and sleep. I’m so happy to be happy again. Well, about life, anyway.
Last week, I was on Facebook, and in my “on this day” section, I saw a post from 4 years ago where I was upset about being UP to 120 lbs. I wanted to laugh. I wanted to cry. And I took a good, long look at my body. I don’t like what I see.
I pulled out the same swimsuit and took new photos to compare my body from then and now.  And overall, I’ve only added a couple of inches all over (thanks to this lovely blog, I have body measurements from then).  But I feel like my boobs are huge, my belly is swollen, I’m starting to get back fat rolls under my bra strap, and my butt looks terrible.  I went and got my body composition done earlier this week, and since July, my body fat is up 2%, and I’ve gained 2.5 lbs of FAT.
I eat well.  I’ve started working out.  I don’t understand.
My doctor did put me on a new low-dose birth control pill since my other brand is so expensive ($50 a pack AFTER insurance), and I started that the middle of August.  I don’t know if that may be contributing.  But I still don’t feel back to normal.  I feel better than I was on the generics, but not as good as before I started taking them.  I still have trouble sleeping, and I’m tired all the time.  I’m still having some issues with depression.  I have good days and bad days.  I refuse to believe that my weight gain is due simply to inactivity – if it was, the weight gain would be steady, because my workout schedule has been sporadic over the last year.
But I’m not letting that effect my gym schedule – I’m going to my class twice a week because I LOVE it.  I haven’t seen Samantha in a month, but that’s going to change this week. I’m going to see the Dr soon. I’m going to find out what the hell is wrong with me. And I’m going to totally smash this.

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Where did you go, my Lovely?

so It’s been a couple of months since I’ve posted.

and most of that’s because there’s not too much going on in my life, pole-wise.

In good news, switching back to the brand of my pills has cleared up all the problems I’ve had the last six months.  I’m happier, I’ve lost several inches, and I’m sleeping better.  I also started working 8 hour shifts at work the first of June, and having the extra couple of hours in the afternoon has made a world of difference – I can do whatever and unwind before I start doing the things I have to do, and even that is no longer a chore – I’m enjoying cooking dinner again, and that’s a big thing.  I like to cook, so when it became a bad thing, something was really wrong.

Now, I have this extra time in the afternoons, but I haven’t been doing anything constructive with it.  I spent a couple weeks just chilling out and vegging after work, and the week I decided I wanted to start working out again, I started having severe sciatica. I went and saw my dad that weekend, and he fixed me up, but all last week I was banned from any kind of exercise except power walking – which I did plenty of to help strengthen and stabilize my hip.  If you’ve never had sciatica, it’s horrible.  At its worst, it felt like someone had stuck a live wire in my leg and every step was painful.  It affected my hip, the nerves in my groin, and ran down the entire length of my leg in the back.  It’s literally a pain in the ass.  But I’m so glad it’s gone.  I got adjusted again this past weekend, and have been cleared to slowly start some body weight strength training.  Instead, I’ve been running up and down a ladder most of the last few days at work.  That’s on the schedule for the rest of the week, too.  Does that count as exercise?  Probably not as much as I hope.

So that’s pretty much it.  I have another project I’m looking forward to working on, but I have a wedding for a family member in a couple weeks, and then I’m moving the end of July, so that’s probably going to go on the back burner until August.  I’ll keep you posted!

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Yea, it’s pretty clear I ain’t no size 2


I’ve been having issues lately dealing with my weight.  Or more correctly, my increased size and increased body fat percentage.

April 15th was the end of the weight/fat loss challenge at my work, and I got another body composition test done.  In good news, I’ve gained back a ½ lb of muscle since February, and my hydration has gone up a little.  Overall, I’m better than I was in February, but a little worse than when we started in January (a little less muscle and less hydrated, and a tiny bit more fat).  I’m eating better, and I’m not obsessing over my food.  I make healthy choices (most of the time), eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m not.  I’m trying to be conscious about eating more vegetables and not eating carbs (bread, rice, noodles, etc) with dinner. I’m making an effort to increase my protein intake (yummy protein shakes!) because I think I wasn’t getting enough before.  I’ve not been great with my water over the last month, but I’ve remedied that the last few days, making sure I get in my 64oz a day.  On a small side note, I learned last week that pasta makes me bloat like crazy.  It was gone by the next day, but it was a really strange thing to see for the first time – I looked pregnant!  So no more pasta for this girl!

    After recovering from my injury and illness a few weeks ago (the end of last month), in addition to the diet changes above, I started to work out again a couple days a week.  Last week, I upped that to 4 days, even WITH my period (take THAT, Aunt Flo!).  I did 40 min Bendy Body one day, 30 min RLNA, some yoga, and a pole day with Samantha.  Part of me felt like I didn’t do much at Samantha’s but I was sore the next day, so I was working harder than I thought.  I really need to be nicer to myself.  And Samantha and I took progress photos because Brandi posted one last week.  She’s lost 22 lbs and I’m so happy for her.  She’s been literally working her ass off, and looks fantastic (and she’s got abs to die for).  It’s super inspirational, and has helped me kick things up this week.  We measured, too, and while some things have stayed the same, there have been losses in other areas.  I was on my period, which probably wasn’t a good time to measure – I’ll measure again this week.  In good news, I’ve lost an inch in each of my thighs, but gained an inch in both my hips and my butt (this may have been due to bloating).  Everything else has remained the same.

     All of this awesomeness, and my body fat percentage hasn’t budged.  Not one tiny bit.  On the upside, I haven’t gained any fat, but I haven’t lost any of that 30% either.  I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing wrong.  I know these things take time, and maybe I wasn’t working out enough, but to hold steady at 30% for…4, 5 months?  WTH?  I was really frustrated the evening after getting my body comp.  I was trying to figure out what I was doing wrong.  Boyfriend said I needed to do more cardio.  So I upped the cardio last week.  But if diet is 80%, and my metabolism has been roaring (I’m hungry every 3 hours) surely I should have seen SOME change?  I even compared my pictures from Friday with the ones from last Nov, and they look basically the same.

     So I started thinking about when things changed – when my weight and body fat percentage went up to this level.  A lot happened in August – a new job that has me not moving quite so much, moved in with boyfriend, so my diet probably changed a little, less sleep (early shifts at work).  In Sept or Oct, I changed my birth control to a generic.  And then there was the holidays, but all of this gain started before that.  I even checked out my previous body comps, and while my body fat was 28.5% the end of Oct, and 30% in Jan, it’s held steady since then.  Over the holidays I gained 2.5 lbs of fat.  No changes in muscle or water, just packing on fat.  Granted, I still wasn’t really working out then, because my back would flare up, and I ate a lot of stuff I probably shouldn’t have because I was stressed and depressed and frustrated (depression increases cortisol levels, which increases fat storage, too).

      I’m not sure what caused it, but sometime between the end of August and the first of Nov, my weight changed drastically and my body fat % shot way up.  My work pants fit in August, and even into September.  But somewhere in the fall, they started getting tight.  It may have been a combination of all of the factors above, but as my fat gains have been primarily in my butt, boobs and thighs (my waist is still the same measurement! Go figure…), I’m thinking that the change in birth control was a primary contributing factor. 

    So I’m running an experiment.  I’ve switched back to the brand of my pill this month (started this week), and going to see if that has an effect on my weight the next couple of months.  In addition to continuing to eat healthy and work out (more cardio!), of course.
     Samantha thinks part of the problem is also that getting up so early for work (5 am and some days earlier) had thrown off my sleep cycle and I’m not getting enough sleep. And I can tell you right now that I’m not. My body naturally likes a lot of sleep, and most work nights I get 5-6 hours. 7 if I’m really tired or lucky enough to doze off early.  So I’m working on going to bed earlier (boo) so I can get the sleep I need.

     Honestly, I’m excited to see my results in a few weeks.  I’m not going to watch the scale, or jump on every one I see – that would be stupid.  But I’m definitely getting my body comp done again in 6-8 weeks.  I want to see my side-by-side photos.

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Sexy, Flexy, and Bendy

A few weeks ago I posted about some small setbacks – a flare up of my back injury and illness.  And to make myself feel better, I ordered some pretties and a new DVD.

     In case you missed the post on my Facebook page, I got my very first pair of Flexy Legs leggings from Cleo the Hurricane’s website, and a pair of pole shoes I’ve been wanting since I started pole over 4 years ago.


    The leggings are definitely a darker pink than I expected – more deep fuschia than hot pink, but still gorgeous.  They’re also fairly thick, and fleecy soft on the inside!  I got a pair for my friend Samantha, too (because she’s awesome) and we both love them!  As for my Hot Pink UV 7” Adore-708s… well, I grinned like an idiot and stroked them for at least 5 minutes after I pulled them out of the box. SO STINKING HAPPY.  I danced in them for the first time last week, too.  I didn’t dare buy them before because they’re 7”, and I figured I should start with 6” before I moved on to 7”s.  But it’s really not much of a difference, and I love them.

     I also bought myself Fit & Bendy’s DVD Bendy Body.  I occasionally repost things from F&B’s facebook page, because the owner, Kristina, is a contortion trainer, and offers great explanations for things and awesome tutorials.  Plus, I saw a girl on FB post a picture of herself with her leg tucked behind her shoulder in a lying hamstring stretch (lay on your back, one leg straight out on the floor, lift the other straight up, toward your face, then pull it down next to your ear and tuck it behind your shoulder – still straight legged).  She contributed it to RLNA and Bendy Body.

     I have to say, I did the entirety of Bendy Body for the first time last Friday with Samantha, and by the end (1hr 10min) we were both sweaty, tired, and shaking.  Pole was not possible at that point.  And none of the exercises look hard.  Oh, no.  They look so simple, so easy, so low-intensity and relaxed…  and then you try to do them and your muscles are shaking and before you know it there’s a sweaty outline of you on your yoga mat.  It hurt SO GOOD.  And I was SO SORE the next day – I-can’t-move-without-ibuprofen sore.  It was awesome.  It took me two days to recover, but it was awesome.  But I got deeper into all my splits last Friday than I’ve been in years.  My front splits on both sides were 2-3” from flat with both front calves resting on the floor, and in my straddles both knees were touching the floor.  This DVD is all active stretching – meaning you stretch by strengthening the opposing muscle groups.  There are sections for shoulder and backbend flexibility, which I have tried only once, and worked to failure during both sections.  My muscles could not keep up and hold the contractions.  But the gains I saw were phenomenal.  I have to say this is one of the best stretching DVDs I’ve ever done.  The video was filmed at a few different angles, and these angles change to give you the best view of the poses and body alignment as needed.  Kristina does not talk while she does the exercises – it’s all voice-over. But the verbal cues are phenomenal.  I watched the DVD through once, but I could perform these exercises from the verbal cues alone.  She cues well on when to come in and out, what pace to maintain, and things to be mindful of, like the hip riding up in a lying hamstring stretch.  Some of her imagery is unusual, but it is vivid and precise.  For example, before starting shoulder and backbending stretching, she takes you through some neck stretching.  She tells you to roll your head back, lengthening the neck up toward the ceiling and “imagine the throat opening up like a PEZ dispenser.”  Odd imagery, but I knew exactly what she was talking about, and was able to make subtle changes to the way I was engaging the musculature in my neck and could feel tight muscles stretching that I couldn’t before.

      All in all, if you’re looking to gain flexibility that you can use (a standing split without having to hold your top leg in place, for example), or just looking to gain flexibility at all, Bendy Body is THE dvd to get.  I highly recommend it.  I will still use RLNA because it does build strength and gives a GREAT cardio workout, but if I’m looking for major strength and flexibility training, this is the DVD I’ll reach for every time.  It’s also available in a digital streaming video,  but I just like to have hard copies of things.

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Small setbacks


So I experienced a small setback last week after my last post.

My job requires me to occasionally move fire extinguishers, and doing a lot of this, especially with heavy 25-30 lb extinguishers irritates my back injury due to the repetitive lifting, turning and carrying (puts an extra strain on my back, which I have to use to carry them in front of me).  This happened to me last week.  I missed the first part of week 2 of my RLNA challenge over the weekend (I started on Friday) due to being out of town on vacation, and with the added irritation from work (seriously, I came home and put ice on my back – I haven’t had to do that in months) I decided it would be better to rest.  And wouldn’t you know the next day I came down with a cold. And started my period.  It wasn’t a good week.  Inflammation of my back injury, head cold, and my period, all at the same time.

So I spent most of last weekend in bed.  I’ve missed seeing Samantha 2 weeks in a row, and I miss her.  I miss my pole time and our girl time.

But this week, I decided I was going to get back on track.  I’ve started working on my diet again, cleaning it up and making more meals at home to ensure I have leftovers for lunch. 
And remember my personal trainer boyfriend?  He’s been raving about a protein powder for a while, and we finally got some on Sunday.  It’s called Syntha-6.

It’s super clean, pure protein (whey, soy, and egg) with no extra junk added.  And it’s DELICIOUS.  Mixed with milk, it tastes JUST LIKE A MILKSHAKE.  Even better than my Muscle Milk, which had been the best tasting stuff I had found before.  And 2lbs costs about $35.  Not bad at all.  I’ve been experimenting this week with different fruit and fruit juices (orange juice and a banana, banana and strawberries, apple juice…) and it’s all scrumptious. It doesn’t feel heavy in my stomach when I drink it, and it’s not made me gassy (which some protein powders will do).  If you haven’t tried it, get some!  It’s totally worth it.  And it comes in a zillion flavors.  I have the Vanilla Ice Cream flavor right now because I wanted to be able to customize it with fruit and juices, but my boyfriend says all the flavors are super yummy.

That’s pretty much all for now.  I did a mini workout on Tuesday that actually left me sore in a good way so I’m happy about that.  I ordered myself a couple new pole treats yesterday – I’ll post pictures when they come in!


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Slow and steady


I haven’t posted in a while because there hasn’t been too much going on.  I’m seeing slow improvement, and I’m really happy with that.  I’m still seeing Samantha once a week, and I’m still slowly getting stronger.  I’m dancing and doing tricks in heels, and becoming more proficient and comfortable with them.  Some things still scare the crap out of me to do with heels (body spiral/corkscrew spin), but I’m hoping the more I practice the easier it will become, and that eventually, dancing in heels will be just as comfortable as dancing barefoot.

About a week and a half into my new commitment to my personal trainer boyfriend’s eating plan, I found out I need to be working out 30 min a day, 5 days a week (cardio + strength) along with it.  I was rightly livid, because I needed to know I was essentially overeating if I wasn’t working out.  I’m still easing my body into this fitness stuff – I don’t want to go too hard too fast and reinjure myself.  So I quit it, but only temporarily.  I’m taking time out to get back in touch with my body’s natural eating habits.  I’m pretty much still eating the same way, just not as much or quite as often.  I still eat when I’m hungry, and make healthy choices, I’m just not stressing over quantities or macros.  I’m not even tracking what I eat.  I pay attention, but I’m not keeping a record of any kind. And I’m starting to feel a little more balanced.  I’m not stressed over food anymore, though I still make a concentrated effort to make healthy choices most of the time.

Another change I’ve made is that last week, I started Cleo’s Rockin’ Legs N’ Abs 30 day beginner challenge.


I’ve moved the days of the week around a little to better suit my work schedule, but it’s only 4 days a week, and each of the workouts only takes 30-35 minutes (and 8-10 minutes of that is stretching!).  I’ve lost a lot of strength and flexibility, and since I’m not working on crazy pole tricks, I figure this is a good time for me to take the time to work on stuff I want, but wasn’t patient enough to do before.  If you haven’t read my review of this workout, you can read it here.  The beginner challenge doesn’t seem like a lot, but it’s definitely challenging me!  I’m panting, sweating and failing during the workouts, and sore the next day, but I’m not experiencing any pain, which tells me that this is the right pace.  And my boyfriend is encouraging, telling me this is a good way to build myself up until I’m stronger and can do more intense, strenuous exercises.  And even in just the first week, I can already tell I’m starting to get stronger – I’m lasting longer during the exercises, and I’m not as sore the next day.  It’s too soon to physically see any differences, but I can already feel the changes, and that’s super encouraging.  I’m going to get my splits!

So here’s my starting point with the splits:


I’ll keep you updated as I progress, with a new picture at the end of the 30 days!

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