Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Re-engineering my clothes hanger

If you've seen my older blog posts, you will know two things: 1) I don’t mind looking a bit crap in photos (I prefer the term “natural”, hahaha), and 2) I'm not thin. These things still hold true! But number one now more so than number two.

Sports bra/bikini photos below the jump...


January 6, 2014 - about 5kg less than my biggest
April 25, 2014 - work in progress



















One of several reasons I haven't blogged about sewing projects this year is that my latest project has been to improve the clothes hanger instead of the clothes, so to speak. And with the glacial pace at which I complete sewing projects, I would change sizes before I finished anything.

I've never felt bad about my body. It's basically just a vessel for my brain. I truly don’t care what other people think – they can worry about their own bodies and I'll worry about mine. There were/are lots of good reasons for me to get healthier, but I can't say that any one reason jumpstarted me.

Yeah, this is totally realistic for my next goal
Today, my hairdresser was telling me how she has taken up Zumba for weight loss "but someone like you wouldn't need to do that". Ha, if only she knew! For those of you who are curious, or simply nosy (and that's okay too!), here's what happened:
  • I used MyFitnessPal. There are other calorie-tracking apps and websites, but I like this one. It's free, and has lots of useful functions. It also has welcoming and helpful web forums.
  • I had two months of online guidance from Mike Vacanti. He set me up with some good guidelines around eating and exercise, and he is very supportive of people still leading their normal lives! You don't have to commit to hardcore exercise, or eliminate food groups, or avoid nights out.
  • I ate regular food. Not “clean”, necessarily, but the majority of my foods were/are meat, vegetables, grains, dairy, fats… there is nothing wrong with a few processed things, but they just make it harder to keep within calorie limits. Thankfully, I ate okay before and I just needed to rein in the portions.
  • I increased my protein intake. It keeps me feeling fuller, and helps me to keep muscle while losing fat. Vegies also keep me feeling full, because the bulk and fibre take a while to digest. Carbs aren't the devil, but they do tend to leave me feeling hungry sooner.
  • I lifted weights. I go to a poky little 24 hour gym. They don’t even have barbells. So I do the best I can with dumbbells, machines, bodyweight, and dog-walking.
  • I was consistent. Yes, occasionally I overate. But each week my overall calorie intake was less than my output.
Just as importantly, here's what I didn't do:
  • Stress out about exercise. When you're really big, some things are physically too uncomfortable. Also, I hate running. I lift weights because I want to try and retain some muscle (rather than being smaller but flabby). But if I hadn't done weights, or even cardio, I still would have lost weight.
  • Remove any foods from my diet. I literally eat the same stuff as before. But the quantities and proportions have changed.
  • “Cheat”. Firstly, if you don't cut out any foods, there is no such thing as cheating. But when I did eat too much, I owned it, logged the calories, and moved on. No beating myself up.
  • Have an unrealistic goal (I picked a target weight in the middle of my healthy BMI range). I just wanted to see incremental improvement.
I'm now about 5kg from my original goal, but I want to be stronger and leaner. It isn't important whether I'm thin. By aiming for a physique, I shouldn't change size again so rapidly - I'll just be firmer. This might make my sewing efforts a bit more rewarding…

I took these after work tonight.

No kidding, it was about 4°C

I don't have abs yet, but if you squint you can see where they might be one day
Hopefully that's explained my absence and lack of sewing. Fire away with any questions!

16 comments:

  1. HOLY CRAP. High five, girl, high five. There's a 24 hour gym opening about a kilometre away sometime soon, and now I'm considering going there rather than to the gym I'm currently at. Because at the moment, I'm only going to two classes a week (if that), and it's costing me like $40 a fortnight, which isn't really worth it. If I can go at any time for as long/short as I want and go as hard/easy as I want, maybe I'll be more likely to go more often... Hmm...

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    1. Thanks K! In terms of the gym, whatever you will use the most is probably the best investment. My gym is about 1.5km from home, so I earn myself bonus calories by walking there on the weekends! I only go 2-4 times a week (4 is rare), and for less than an hour at a time.

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  2. Wow!! I'm happy for you. All the hardwork has paid off really well. You look amazing and strong! I'm inspired!! :)

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    1. Thank you Kay! I wouldn't have thought this was achievable at thw start of the year, so I'm just pleased to have a visible improvement this quickly :-)

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  3. You are doing well. An inspiration.

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    1. Thank you :-) I think I can make this a permanent healthy change, and that's what's really important to me.

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  4. Absolutely wow! You've apparently hit the tone and approach that's right for you. Clearly you've thought your way through it and it's working. You look so pretty and healthy. I hope you are enjoying all the rewards you set out for yourself when you established your goals. And thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story.

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    1. What a thoughtful response! Thank you. I really am enjoying my new lifestyle, and it will be even better to run around in skimpier clothes when summer arrives :-)

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  5. What you've done is really impressive and the way you've done it is even more inspiring - real food, building body function and muscle, about how you feel rather than how you look. You do happen to look great, btw.
    You've inspired me to start tracking my food again. How did myfitness pal work for you? Do you happen to know whether it can access data from both ipad and android phone (at home it's easier to input data on the ipad, but only if it stores it somewhere you can access from both devices).

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    1. Thank you Lyndle. I found My Fitness Pal was pretty convenient - it did everything I needed it to, and worked fine on PC and my cellphone. I think you would be able to use the same account on all your devices, as long as you use the same login? Feel free to "add" me on there if you like - I'm KatJ_NZ

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  6. Well, I said it before - but you are looking amazing. You're naturally blessed with really lovely proportions, but all your hard work is definitely showing. Weights have always been my exercise option of choice - I enjoy doing it and my body responds well also. Nice work, Kat :) x

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    1. Thanks Mel :-) I have been fortunate to both gain and lose weight fairly evenly, so I've never felt too disproportionate or uncomfortable. The only thing I'm sad about is that I didn't discover weightlifting earlier!! x

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  7. Thank you for sharing such a personal part of your journey - your hard work has paid off, but more importantly, you have such a healthy and positive attitude about yourself and your body, regardless of which side of the before/after you are on. I think I admire that most of all :)

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    1. Symon, it's my pleasure. I hope it's useful to other people! I've had plenty of struggles with healthy thoughts over the years (perhaps that's a story for another post!)... but at the moment I'm lucky to be healthy, surrounded by good people, and in a stable living situation. That all helps.

      Thank you for your kind words!

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  8. You look great, Kat. Well done.

    KathleenS

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  9. What a great job you are doing! I'm a bit the same with not caring what others think and although I'm classed as 'overweight', I'm healthy - exercise and eat well (but too much). You are a real inspiration. Funny I read the post after that first and thought you looked like you'd lost weight. Brave to put the photos of yourself in the bikini... oh not because you are half naked (and looking great I might add) but because it was so cold!

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