Thursday, August 11, 2011
Now that I've figured out how to shed bodyfat, I realize I have done this before.
I was not overweight as a kid, teenager, or early twenties. I was raised in a meat eating family. Meat, veg, and rice or potatoes. We ate oversized portions of beef. I pretty much ate as much meat as I wanted. I used to order 6" Subway subs with double meat because I liked more meat on my sandwiches. And I stayed slim. I never paid much attention to what the dietary experts said about losing weight because I never needed to lose much weight.
I gained a lot of weight when I was 26 because I started eating oversized portions of chain restaurant foods. Chilis, Applebees, and Cheesecake Factory took the place of mom's home cooked meals. I became overweight, then obese, for the first time in my life. I figured it was 'slowing metabolism'. I started paying attention to the dietary guidelines, which said excess fatty foods makes us gain weight. So I cut back my protein portions and started a low fat diet.
I tried skim milk for the first time ever. Tasted like water. I switched to low fat milk and low fat cheese. I ate less meat. I did not lose any weight.
When I moved to Seattle right before my 29th birthday, I weighed 160lbs. I think my bodyfat was about 40%. Obese.
Once I got settled in Seattle with a new job, I decided that I was going to learn more about diet and nutrition. I learned about portion sizes, and how to properly prepare a meal. I made a few modifications to the dietary guidelines. I wasn't going to eat low fat cheese anymore. I was only going to eat REAL food. Whole veggies, whole meats, whole cheeses. I was going to control my portions.
I had success with this. I lost 30lbs. But I could lose no more. I stalled. Baffled, I again blamed too much meat and fat. I went "flexitarian", eating meat only for dinner.
The result? My weight stayed exactly the same, but I lost muscle and gained fat. I got fatter.
It turned out that I was eating too many grains and too little protein. Once I flipped that ratio - more protein, less grains - the fat is just melting off.
I eat 4-6oz portions of beef, chicken, or pork at almost every meal. Cheeses, eggs, and nuts for snacks. Plenty of veggies and salads. Fruit once or twice a day. Grain or starch zero or one meal a day. If I eat a sandwich, I order a half size with double meat. Exactly what I did in college.
I'm also doing exactly what the dietary guidelines say I should not be doing. I read an article on the CDC today about how the obesity problem is not an easy or quick fix. Well, if I had know all I had to do was cut back on bread, rice, and potatoes 10 years ago, I certainly would have done it with a lot less agony then suffering through skim/low fat milk and self esteem problems due to being overweight. 10 years of eating low fat diet with no success, versus 4 months on a low grain diet.
The result? This morning I am back at my college weight.
Monday, August 08, 2011
When I first started doing low carb, I thought the idea of low carb Mexican food to be an impossibility. Tortillas, rice, beans - Mexican food is a land mine of grains and starches.
This was really distressing. I grew up in the southwest US, and southwest style cooking is one of my specialties. Bobby Flay is my favorite celebrity chef because his cooking style is right down my alley. He uses flavors and spices that I am quite familiar with.
Now that I have settled more comfortably into a 'low grain/starch' diet, I still enjoy many southwest/tex-mex meals without the tortillas or rice.
I made pulled pork carnitas. Instead of eating with a tortilla, I stuffed it inside a bell pepper, topped with cheese. Served with two types of Mexican vegetable salads. Cucumber-lime salad, and a tomato salad. The tomato salad is made with salsa ingredients, but I left it with big chunks instead of a puree.
The other night, I had a craving for tacos. I love tacos. It was one of my favorite foods as a kid. I took some ground pork and browned it with taco seasoning.
Again, stuffed it inside peppers. A bell pepper and a poblano. Topped with cheese, and baked in a 375F oven until cheese is toasted.
For a veggie side dish, I put snap peas and carrots in a baking dish with chicken stock, lime juice, oregano, cumin, rough chopped cilantro and salt and pepper. Baked this along side the peppers in the last 15 minutes.
I don't have a picture of the finished product. I was so excited to eat it, I forgot to take a picture!
So bell peppers and poblanos have mostly replaced taco shells.
I LOVE salsa. Are there any replacements for chips and salsa? Sure. Cucumber slices and celery sticks are awesome scoopers for salsa.
Do I miss tortillas and chips? Not really. I'm nearly at my goal weight, something I had almost given up on. If this was all I had to do to make this happen, it is hardly a sacrifice, in my mind. It's a matter of priorities. Fitting better in my clothes gives me longer lasting well being than the fleeting crunch of corn chips.
I can't say that I have eaten zero breads, grains or starches, however, I am a lot more measured about it. At dinner the other night, I had a single slice from a demi-baguette with butter. I left the rest of the loaf alone. It is not a test of willpower for me anymore. I've broken out of the cravings and urges. Food does not control me. I am truly able to enjoy a variety of fabulous food, without feeling guilt or remorse. I know that eating too much starchy carbs will send me spiraling into hunger and cravings. I don't like that feeling. So it is easier for me to avoid as a conscious choice.
Saturday, August 06, 2011
I finished altering and sewing my dress fitting shell.
This is roughly how a dress fitted to me should look.
The front is a little bunched up because it is pinned, not sewn. Also drapes a little differently on the dressform than it does me because while I got my shape pretty close, it is not exact. I also made an error when transferring my pattern markings. I did not mark the waist line clearly enough, so I had trouble getting the seamline right when attaching the bodice to the skirt. I'll know to make better thread markings when I make the real thing.
I made all of my adjustments for the bodice just by transferring my measurements to the pattern. When I sewed it, I got it almost perfect! Very little adjustment was needed on the fabric.
My waist/hips, on the other hand, did not go so well. It was just as I suspected - my proportions are very different than "standard". I had to let out 2 darts, and still had to fiddle quite a bit to get the waist cinched in, and hips taken out. I really admire those of you who sew without a dressfrom. Getting the waist/hip alterations made was really tricky. I don't know that I would have been able to do it without the dressform. All of the alterations had to happen in the back. It was challenging WITH the dressform. I might have got frustrated and quit.
I didn't add the sleeves because all of the dresses I plan to make are sleeveless. It is currently summer, after all! I'll work on the sleeve adjustment in the fall.
All of my adjustments are recorded on paper.
This should serve as a 'blueprint' for my form. I should be able to put this over another dress pattern and see which adjustments need to be made. The alterations were definitely the most amount of time I spent on this, especially since I deviate from the 'standard' in several ways. Hopefully these adjustments I've done ahead of time on a very basic pattern means it will shave off time on future alterations. I got to learn a lot about how to alter a fit.
I just got the gemstone for the necklace I'm planning on making, so I may switch gears to work on jewelry today.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
I'm learning quite a bit about clothing alterations. Mostly about how my figure deviates from the fashion industry 'ideal' in almost every way!
I bought a pattern for a fitting shell. I'm attempting to make a base template that I make the majority of my alterations on. This should be pretty snug and form fitting. From the adjusted pattern, I should be able to put it over the top of any other pattern I buy and see what alterations need to be made. The shell pattern pieces should serve as a 'blueprint' for my body shape. That is the theory, anyway.
Well, the pattern pieces were definitely not made for me. The fashion industry makes the dress patterns for a model 34-24-34 and 5'9". I'm 5'0" and currently 34-27-37. (My measurements have changed again - I'm back to a pear shape.) My dimensions are closer to Shakira, Beyonce, or JLo than Giselle.
Shakira is 5'1 and measures 32-24-37. I don't have the super slim waist of Shakira, but I'm working on it!
Isn't that interesting? Shakira is not the 'ideal' hourglass, but she sure knows how to dress to rock her curves. This is what I was trying to say before about 'flattering' your natural shape. You don't have to be a natural hourglass to be beautiful and sexy.
I used the copier feature on my printer to make a paper copy of the patterns that I could alter. I took the time to do this simply because I tend to make mistakes - lol. I left the original pattern as the 'master'. I'm glad I did, because I did make a few mistakes in the cutting and altering.
I had to alter almost every single line on the pattern shell. Shortened bodice, redraw darts, raised waist, and adjusted bust/hipline. Now I'm having difficulty with the skirt piece. It does NOT fit my hips. The alteration instructions increase the waist along with the hip. So I'm having to figure out how to increase the hipline WITHOUT altering the waist. It's an interesting experience.
Here is the current paper shell. I fitted it on my dressform to roughly check that I got the alterations pretty close. Tonight I work on altering the sleeves. Then maybe at the weekend I'll cut fabric, sew it together, then alter the fabric form.
It is a lot of work, but I am having fun with it. I'm learning something new. I find the process to be parts drafting, engineering, and art. It's fascinating. I like figuring out how things work, and it never occurred to me how clothes work. By taking time to piece together the fitting shell, I'm hoping it will save me time in the long run when fitting other patterns that I want to make.
Like the wedding dress. ;) I won't be able to get to the wedding dress until after I get back from vacation. I want to make a dress for vacation, and I need to make jewelry pieces, so those are my priorities leading up to the vacay.
Tuesday, August 02, 2011
My new dressform arrived yesterday! I got the petite form that more closely matches my dimensions. I spent all last night adjusting it so it closely matches my size and shape. I had my fiance take pictures of me at various stages so I could see if I got my shape right. It was amused when dressing it with my clothes so I could check that it drapes exactly as it does on my body. It was like dressing a doll with my real clothes!
Except it was a doll with all my flaws. Arg. At one point I got utterly depressed, as I was stuffing the foam padding on my belly and thighs. I have come so far. I have lost almost 2 dress sizes. My bodyfat range is supposedly in the "normal" range. But yet, all these extra squishy parts remain.
Maybe my expectations are too high, and I tried to remind myself to remain positive about my progress. I mean, I'm fitting in clothes I could not at the start of the year. I could not have imagined that was possible 3 months ago.
Never-the-less, I have a dressform that pretty closely mimics my flaws so I can disguise things I don't like, and fake it where I can't make it.
I think I have pretty closely mimiced my form. I had quite a bit of trouble with the bust area. I had to adjust the dressform dials to match my upperbust, but that made padding my bust line difficult. I couldn't pad the bust too much, because that altered my cup size. I guess I have a large rib cage. I had to do quite a bit of fiddling to get my back width, cup size, and upper chest size correct. I'm still not 100% happy with it.
I haven't done any sewing, and I'm eager to get back to my projects! I've got so many queued up.
Lastly, here's a new photo of me checking out my latest weight loss in a summer dress.
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