When Your Size Changes

I have a confession to make. I am a curvy sewist and I have been trying to lose weight.

This feels like a pretty bold statement to make right now. This article about obesity has been dominating my Facebook feed for the last 24 hours, and I identify with so much of what is said. I have experienced many of the examples from doctors blaming every health complaint on my weight to the judgement I feel at work being one of the largest people on staff. I’ve been the biggest ballerina in every dance class. I’ve been in stores where the largest size is too small. I feel uncomfortable being a fat lady with underweight kids.

Wanting to lose weight though has very little to do with my appearance. I actually like the way I have looked these last couple years. I’ve made some really beautiful clothing that makes me feel fantastic. My husband never complains. My kids think my softness is comforting. The truth is that I got out of shape.

I’ve tried various things to get more exercise, but nothing had stuck since I had my second child. I tried the gym, dancing, and walking. Then a little over a year ago some of my knitting friends started going to Orange Theory Fitness classes and they loved it. I tried it and fell in love too.

The classes kicked my ass. At first I couldn’t even really do the exercises. I had to modify everything. I couldn’t even walk on a treadmill with 0% incline. But slowly over the course of a year I got better. I got stronger. And by taking 4-6 classes a month I was able to lose 5 pounds. It was a start.

I’m not a huge fan of diets. I love carbs. I love baking. I love cheese. I also knew I needed to change things up. My friend Jeff started using Weight Watchers and she liked it. So I gave it a try and it turns out I’m largely enjoying it too.

I know there are a lot pitfalls to using weight loss programs so I’ve been trying really hard to stick to real food. It has mostly helped me eliminate fried foods, lessen the amount of beef/pork we eat, and most importantly it has helped me lesson the amount of refined sugar I eat. With growing kids in the house we still eat all full fat dairy, but we eat more beans, lentils, and fish than we used to. We also mostly stick to home made desserts.

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But the biggest difference has been my exercise habits. In addition to Orange Theory classes I’ve also been jogging and doing aerobics. I’ve upped my exercise to 4-5 times a week and that has made the biggest change. I am way stronger now regardless of my weight. I regularly run on the treadmill, with incline even! I can jog around my neighborhood and up hills. I can do the whole 75 minute Jane Fonda workout. Through all of my efforts I was able to meet my weight loss goal.

Changing my body has been hard. I’m about to see if it is a sustainable change.

I’m hoping to level out now and sew up some fall clothes. All this exercising has really cut into my sewing time! It’s been great, but I need some new things. I have some really great vintage fabrics and patterns to sew up and I’m hoping to dedicate some of my weekends to freshening my wardrobe. I think first stop will be that shirtdress I’ve been planning for years. I think a navy snail printed dress will be the perfect reward for all the time and effort I’ve been putting in recently!

I’m also doing a ton of knitting as I prepare to go to Rhinebeck this year. It’s a bucket list trip and I’m so excited to meet so many of my knitting friends. I’m especially excited to see my fitness cheer team. Erica, Jeff, Stacey, and Larren have had my back through this entire journey and I haven’t even met most of them in person. The internet is so amazing and I couldn’t have pushed myself this hard without their support. I also have to thank my husband for taking over the lead parent role while I get in my workouts.

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Still curvy! Now stronger and better than ever!

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Taming the Sailors Shawl

Well hello there! I’m back and feeling rested and ready to tackle some new projects again! My husband has been in Argentina for the last month and when combined with solo parenting and Stepbet I have been one exhausted lady! But now my husband is home again. I got two consecutive full nights of sleep and I’m a whole new woman.

So today I’m here to share a shawl I knit earlier this summer. I’m not much of a shawl wearer, but about once a year I get a hankering to knit lace just because I want to. Shawls are the best projects for random lace knitting!

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This is the gorgeous Sandpiper Shawl from Laura Aylor. I’ve had my eye on this design for the last year, but I just couldn’t decide on what yarn to use. Then as the warm weather set in I found myself in need of a small project I could knit on my lunch breaks.

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Plus I had a gorgeous single skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Jacaranda Bloom. This is a color Madelinetosh created at my recommendation and this skein was sent to me as a gift from a fellow knitter. How did I leave it sitting unloved for almost 3 years?!?!

The main body of the shawl is Astral Bath Spectra in the delightfully titled color Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash while the eyelet row is Spectra in Naked. Hmmm, this is starting to sound like an R rated shawl. Ha!

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And because my husband wasn’t home you all get to experience more photos from a 4 year old photographer. Lu took great joy in making me do all kinds of poses to show off the size of the shawl.

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As you can see it is quite generously sized. I used about 700 yards of yarn all together and this nicely covers my shoulders. It only took about 6 weeks worth of lunch time knitting to complete! Highly recommended pattern!!!


And now I’ll also talk a little bit about fitness and Stepbet. I have no intention of making this a fitness blog, but I thought it may prove useful for others to hear a review.

One of the groups where I hang out on Ravelry has been on a huge fitness kick in recent years, but generally I don’t participate in their contests because it is so hard to balance my personal life and finding the time to work out can be tough. However someone brought up the idea of all joining a Stepbet contest and I jumped at the chance to take part in something where I felt I could succeed.

The idea behind the app is everyone puts the same amount of money into the pot and all the people who make their own personal goal for all 5 weeks gets to split the pot.

Pros

  • Everyone gets their own personal goal. The goals are set by the game, but most people had achievable numbers. Mine were roughly 9,300 for active days and 12,000 for stretch days.
  • It got me moving! I did not realize quite how sedentary I’d become until I had to walk several miles each day, 6 days a week.
  • I won cash! I don’t know the final amount yet, but it is probably about $10.
  • It was fun to do with a group of other people and we all cheered each other on.

Cons

  • The biggest negative is that you are basically rooting for people to fail if you want to win any more money than what you put in. You need more than 25% of people to lose. Kind of sad.
  • 5 weeks of having no free time got me a whole $10.
  • There is no room for bad days. Like when my younger daughter decided to wake up for the day at 3am and I was a total wreck I still had to walk my ass off. 100F heat and extremely poor air quality from a wildfire? Still had to figure out a way to walk miles and miles.
  • When it started I didn’t own a Fitbit or other step tracking device so I had to carry my phone. At first it wasn’t so bad, but I quickly got really tired of carrying my phone every single place I went. It got even more annoying when I got a Fitbit and saw I was walking on average 1,000 steps more than my phone registered.

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But I won and it feels great! I plan to keep up walking, but maybe not quite to the same level. I’m still sorting out what I want my plan to be, but I’m thinking a goal of 10,000 steps 4-5 days a week. I’d also like to add more stretching to my day as my muscles feel really tight.

I think my Ravelry group is going to work on a new contest. Something where its a good thing if everyone wins, because who wants their friend to fail? Not me!