Fitness Friday

I'm sure you've all had a week that has just been every kind of exhausting you can imagine. This week has been that for me. 

I've been dealing with some exciting (in one case) and tough (in another) things that have involved friends of mine (here's a fact about me - I'm like how Elliott was with E.T. in the movie - I feel what my friends are feeling). I'm also wrapping up one of my classes in my Master's in Adult and Continuing Ed, and I decided to wake up at 5:30 a.m. for three days to work out before work. 

This is what my car's clock looks like in a Planet Fitness parking lot at 5:31 a.m.

This is what my car's clock looks like in a Planet Fitness parking lot at 5:31 a.m.

It all started a few weeks ago when my friend Katie and I talked about how nice it would be to have a workout out of the way before heading to work. We postponed our plan for a while, but when she came over briefly on Monday evening to talk and watch Monday Night Football (go Pack go), we decided we were going to start Wednesday. 

I am NOT a morning person by any stretch of the imagination, but I woke up with the help of six alarms set on my phone. 

Katie and I decided to do the 30 minute circuit, for time's sake and for a full body workout. I've done the 30 minute circuit before, and I think it's great for ladies with PCOS, because you aren't working out so long that it messes with androgens that make you get bulkier than a lady would like to be. 

I wound up repeating this morning routine Thursday with the addition of our friend Amanda, and then Friday with just Amanda. By Friday afternoon around 2, I was really starting to feel the effects of my early mornings. It became very tough to focus, but I ate some grapes and caught my second wind. 

I kind of violated the rules of the 30 minute circuit - they say not do to it two days in a row, and to take a day between each time you do it, but it's so structured and you can see the end of the workout visually that I can't help but love it. 

I eat those step up stations for breakfast!

I eat those step up stations for breakfast!

If you've never been inside a Planet Fitness, I'll tell you a little bit about how the 30 minute circuit works. 

There are a total of 20 stations - 10 weight machines, 10 step up stations. There is a stoplight on the wall above all the stations that has two colors - red and green. When the light is green, you work out on the station where you are, and once it turns red, you move on to the next station. Each station lasts 60 seconds, with 30 second breaks between stations. There is a list of suggestions on the wall of what to do at each step station, but I'll tell you what we did: 

Station 1: Basic step ups
Station 3: V step ups
Station 5: Knee ups
Station 7: Butt kickers
Station 9: Front kicks
Station 11: Back kicks
Station 13: Calf raises
Station 15: Modified skaters
Station 17: Side kicks
Station 19: Wall sit

We repeated this on day 2, but on day 3 we took out the wall sit and did squats with a step up between each one. 

I'm hoping to continue this routine through this weekend and every morning (except Tuesdays - I have four hours of class on Tuesday nights). There is something so great about getting work and knowing that you've accomplished something already. 

Let me know what you do for fitness in the comments!


Shopping Spree

I've never been superbly fashionable when it comes to my own wardrobe. I think I'm fairly good at picking out clothes for other people, but my style has definitely never been the most important thing to me. 

I've gone through certain style phases, though. For about three or four months in 2002, I was all about Hot Topic. Yes, I wore raver pants with pointless zippers, and no, I do not have them anymore. 

After that until I graduated college and started a grown-up job, I leaned toward band t-shirts, hoodies, and Converse. This would still have been my free-time uniform if all my band t-shirts weren't too small now. I went to a lot of shows in what I like to refer to as my former life, so a closet full of shirts bought at these shows made sense. 

Since I started my job about 5 1/2 years ago, my weight has fluctuated, but my fashion has been somewhat stagnant. Most of the clothes I wore for a long time were from Lane Bryant, Torrid, and Target. I have had a very small rotation of outfits that I repeat each week. In the last year or so, I've become obsessed with Comfortable clothes I don't have to leave my house to buy? Sign me up!


My remaining band t-shirt collection. A few of my favorites are missing due to frequency of wear. Sad day.

My remaining band t-shirt collection. A few of my favorites are missing due to frequency of wear. Sad day.

Ahh, Converse on black and white film. I developed this picture myself!

Ahh, Converse on black and white film. I developed this picture myself!

Regardless, this left me feeling a little bit frumpy. My mom and I like to binge-watch shows on HGTV and TLC, and until it ended, we LOVED What Not To Wear. Stacy London came out with a new show early this year called Love, Lust or Run, and there were several plus-size ladies on the show who she made look amazing. 

I began to wonder if it was possible for me to look good in clothes that weren't super baggy. I started researching stylists in Kansas City, thinking I might meet with someone who worked for a store and go from there. In my research, I found Ladybird Styling

Molly Bingaman founded Ladybird in 2010, after getting a BFA in Fine Arts. She previously did some interior design, and started as a stylist after she realized she had a knack for it, and not all people knew how to dress best for themselves. She wound up being trained by The Queen Stacy London herself, which is INCREDIBLY amazing. 

The beautiful, kind, talented and wonderful Molly Bingaman - photo pulled from Ladybird's site.

The beautiful, kind, talented and wonderful Molly Bingaman - photo pulled from Ladybird's site.

I requested an initial appointment, and was contacted by her assistant to set up a time for a free consultation. We met at Headrush Roasters a few weeks ago, and after she spent some time getting to know me and asking about my size, lifestyle, and style fears, she discussed how we could work together and what kinds of options she had. She offers closet audits, closet remixes, shopping assistance, and shopping trips on your behalf. She even does style parties!

A shopping trip together seemed like the best option for me, so we booked it and she asked me to create a Pinterest board with the kinds of style trends that spoke to me the most. 

We met at Lane Bryant on Saturday, and she had a fitting room all set up and ready to go for me. I immediately was drawn to the layers and jewelry that I would never had picked for myself! It was so exciting, but I felt a sense of fear that the clothes would look bad on me. 

This is what the dressing room looked like when I got to the store! Molly took this picture and I stole it from her Facebook. Hope that's OK!

This is what the dressing room looked like when I got to the store! Molly took this picture and I stole it from her Facebook. Hope that's OK!

Guess what - they didn't! Did you know that blouses have secret buttons now that prevent you from popping open in the bust? I didn't! And it looked amazing! I never thought I could pull off a high-waisted ponte skirt, but I did! Molly even told me I looked like a fashion blogger, which are words I certainly never thought would be used to describe me. I was able to wear the heels she picked out without falling over. I wore necklaces that looked super cute and flattered my outfits. She listened to my feedback and picked out clothes that not only flattered me, but fit my personality. 

I decided to do this as a treat to myself to show that even though I am working on changing my appearance, I want to have a wardrobe that will change with me, and boost my confidence as I go through possibly awkward phases. 

I would recommend Molly to anyone. This experience was absolutely incredible, and I would do it again in a heartbeat. We were able to pick out clothes that work together really well, and I feel like I have much more insight into what works for me for when I shop again!

So, without further ado, here is my "haul" from my two-hour shopping trip with Molly!


So, I know I said I would talk about fitness today, but something more important has come up!

Aside from a quick photo session for a church directory in an empty classroom last year, I hadn't posed for a professional picture since the summer before my senior year of high school. 

Back at that session in 2004, I was asked to bring things that were significant to my high school experience. I brought a copy of the school newspaper, and my choir letter. 

Yes, I lettered in choir, and yes, I hung the letter on my wall next to a poster of Orlando Bloom from Pirates of the Caribbean. 

Yes, I lettered in choir, and yes, I hung the letter on my wall next to a poster of Orlando Bloom from Pirates of the Caribbean. 

For about an hour, I awkwardly posed with those objects, as well as an uncomfortable chair and a fake door in a photo studio. 

As I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the prints, I was sure that I would look like some sort of model wearing the respectable blouse my mom made me buy from Kohl's. 

Here's an example of one of my senior portraits. I call this one I Am So Over Wearing Nice Clothes And Posing.

I didn't look like a model, but I did look nice. I was pleased as I exchanged pictures with all of my friends. (Side-note: Does anyone still have pictures in their wallet? I kept a stack of about 12 senior pictures where money was supposed to go until halfway through my freshman year of college, then scrap booked them). 

Even though the experience was overall pretty OK, I had no desire to do any portraits until I got engaged or married. That is, until I decided to lose weight and saw the amazing skills of Lacey of Lacey Rene Studios.

Lacey moved to town a few months ago with her husband Michael, when he took on a family pastor role at my church. I remember being at church on a Wednesday night and being so excited when Ritchey announced the Morefields' impending arrival. He told us a little bit about the two of them, and mentioned that Lacey is a photographer. After I had met them in person, I felt comfortable Facebook stalking them and saw her work. I was totally blown away by her use of light and her capturing of real emotions. I could tell she made people incredibly comfortable during photo sessions. 

I had seen quite a few before photos that were mirror pictures or were not at all flattering. Even though I want look better than I do now, I also want to capture who I am at this moment where I've made a tough decision to change my life. I think there is a lot of beauty in that, and it warrants more than a selfie. 

So, on August 9, I messaged Lacey on Facebook, and said,

Lacey responded that very afternoon with enthusiasm and pricing options and describing how honored she was to do it. 

On Sept. 5, we met in the parking lot of Good Ju Ju in the West Bottoms of Kansas City, and she used her skills to photograph me for about 20 minutes. I am so happy with how these turned out! :-) Thank you so much, Lacey! I am so happy and honored to have you in my corner. 

The Beginning

So here's a random thing. I met Zac Efron a few weeks ago. 

I'm next to the love of my life, the Silver Fox from Catfish. 

I'm next to the love of my life, the Silver Fox from Catfish. 

I won a radio contest, and my winnings included a free flight to and from Chicago, a night in a pretty swanky hotel, a free screening of the movie We Are Your Friends, and a meet and greet with none other than Mr. Efron himself. I was perhaps more excited to meet the film's director, Max Joseph, but don't think I didn't get a little giddy about meeting the latest movie version of Link Larkin. 

Anyway, being in the line for the meet and greet made me painfully aware of how uncomfortable I am with myself. Being on a plane and having to ask for a seatbelt extender was even more heart wrenching. I've been big since I was a tween, but never big enough to need accommodations. 

My mom picked me up from the airport, and I cried in the car. I played my tears off as being due to a splitting headache, but it was a much deeper pain than that. 

I deal with a metabolic disorder called polycystic ovarian syndrome. It's like diabetes' distant cousin. I like to explain it this way (thanks to a very smart Rachelle) - in the average person, after consuming a slice of bread, blood cells absorb the glucose and send the absorbed glucose where it needs to go. In a diabetic person, the glucose arrives at the blood cells and is ignored, despite ringing the doorbell and knocking on the cell's door. The cell is looking through the window and refusing to let the glucose in. With PCOS, the doorbell is broken, and the cell is not aware of the glucose desperately trying to be absorbed. 

This makes it a lot harder for me to lose weight than your average 28-year-old woman (which is already hard enough). If I lose weight, I can get rid of or minimize the effects of PCOS. It's kind of like an unfunny joke. 

Earlier this year, I met with a dietitian (the aforementioned Rachelle), and started on a diet plan. Like every other time, I failed. I didn't fail quite as hard, but I failed.

Regardless, when my dietitian told me she was leaving the grocery store where she worked and going to a new weight loss company, I was excited. My initial appointment was Aug. 21, and it couldn't have come at a better time. 

I started initially immediately after my appointment, but I wasn't ready yet. I've gotten myself into a better headspace, and I feel prepared to tackle this challenge. 

I've tried starting a blog since I graduated with a journalism degree 6 years ago, and this feels like the perfect opportunity to have something to write about. 

I start Sunday, and I will be chronicling the entire journey. I'll let you know how Day One goes. 

- Sarah Bee