Where Did I Go?

Check out my before and after mug shots:

Me, Myself & Irene

Me, Myself & Irene

Say what? Where did the chipmunk cheeks go?

[Who cares? They’re disappearing!]

[No wait. I care. I care very much.]

But what about the rest of me?

Well, finding a true head to toe comparison was a lot harder to do. In digging through photos I recognize that an apple shaped Irene (that’s me by the way) prefers to lay (or sit, or hide) whenever possible. Somehow in my brain I thought this would help to diffuse the amount of displayed surplus.

Some examples of my expert lounging follow. This is me in July ’12 somewhere in Utah (I think). I’m impressed by the strategic way I artfully placed my right arm. The love handle on that side seems to have been subdued. My mega gut was hidden by a sea of black.


Then, during the same trip, I tried leaning left. That seemed to work somewhat, but wearing white was definitely a bad idea. I don’t care how hot (ok, sweltering) it was outside, wearing white only served to accentuate the positive. And in this case I mean the extra stuff. I am opting to not share the horrid close up shots of me wearing this shirt. My boobs look enormous. Out of control enormous. Cleavage on this scale is actually a bad thing. (My friend should have smacked me over the head and driven me promptly to a store, but I’ll deal with her one day:)


Fat people can choose to skirt the issue entirely, by refusing to be in photos (which I’m guilty of doing), or to hide however possible. (And yes, I used the “F” word. Do it, own it.) However, there are times where this is impossible.

Based on history I, apparently, like to use people as body armor.

Meet my Dad. I’m pimping him out August ’12. (Doesn’t he look great for 82? He gets so embarrassed when I boast about his age. I hope to be so quick on my feet in my elder years.)


Next is a combo tactic. I’m further away from the camera (that seemed to make it more logical I would be smaller in the picture – HA) and leaning backwards a bit. The boobs are out of sorts, but dressed in black it is…well, still pretty bad. I’ve attempted to block the mega gut with a really ugly, yet functional, purse to no avail.

What was I thinking?


After this post had hit Facebook I thought,”Oh fr@ck.” Up until that point I’d been the master of controling photos posted to my timeline. I use the “auto-approve” feature where anytime a person tags you it requires me to say yes. In this particular situation I thought i was saying yes to a picture of the Grand Canyon without me in it.

It is an innocuous photo to most, but to me, oh gosh. It was horrible.

“Oh no! No. What will folks from my last job/the job before that/college/etc/etc/etc think?”

Like that matters. But I was creating a bubble for myself at the time with body image issues and effectively cutting things out of life that I previously enjoyed. That, however, is a topic for another day.


Today I want to boast about being at the HALF WAY point of returning to a previous size. The number on the scale doesn’t really matter to me that much, but it is helpful in tracking progress. But I’ll get to that shortly.

Remember that bloody awful white t-shirt? I’m about to share the very worst of it next.

To the left I was miserably failing in an “optimal” pose trying to look thinner. I spent a long time looking for a clear picture that shows my worst. Why? Well, I kind of hate it when I see blurry before pictures. Yes, I’m a very odd egg. But if I’m going to be honest here, it’s got to be brutal.

On the right you see a person who is down many dress sizes.


Those shorts were stretched to the max. But I absolutely refused to buy up another size. Or I would have had to go online to find something that big. So I didn’t. (Boy did that make for uncomfortable shorts. And people wear shorts quite a bit in Phoenix.)

What Prompted Me to Share?

I saw this t-shirt and thought,


You wanna see it?

Ok, fine.


Not the best picture in the bathroom, as my makeup got washed out and my hair looks t-e-r-r-i-b-l-e. (Yes, I used a filter before posting that one.)

I got so excited by the concept I threw it immediately over what I was wearing. That did not bode well for a photo, but here is what originally came out.


Being unimpressed by the length of both the sleeves and the t-shirt itself, I attempted a mock apron to much amusement.


The t-shirt says …


So, yeah! I thought if someone – like me – can drop and shape her way down a few sizes it was time to start writing. Not only does it provide a therapeutic release for me, being more public could help me by stating, and meeting (WOOT) my future goals.

How The Heck Did This Happen?

Remember, I went from this:


to this:


In How Long?

Well, I joined in October of 2012. Mid-October.

[I know! Squee!]

Ok, right. How did I lose weight?

It was very simple. After attempting to lose weight by self tracking food (using a well known / slightly complicated program – again) I joined LA Fitness. They taught me that losing weight efficiently would need to include both weights and cardio exercise.

“Weights? What? I don’t know how to do that. Oh. No.”

Or more like, “Oh cr@p.”

I also diligently track what I eat, but I now use myfitnesspal instead. Bigger database, easier to find things and a quicker interface/response time on the droid platform.

Why Did I Pick LA Fitness?

Because they were the nicest. I felt comfortable. I could (and will) rave about them forever, but I knew in my heart I would be ok showing up there without having an anxiety attack. It’s intimidating walking into an unknown environment when you don’t speak the language.

I had called around a 15 mile radius trying to find gyms that had a partcular type of cardio equipment with no luck. (I still desperately want an Arc Trainer. Maybe one day.) So being the nerd that I am, I drove to the furthest gym from home (starting downtown) and worked my way backwards. I didn’t want to just pick a gym based on proximity. In the end LA Fitness (near 20th St & Camelback) is where I ended up.

It was the easist decision. I didn’t feel strong armed into making what is admittedly a sales decision. (I had just purchased a car a few weeks before and was O.V.E.R. being pitched anything.) I can’t really explain it tonight as I type, but my questions were answered and I was in. But for some perspective on me, I’m originally from New York and have a fairly low threshold for bulls–baloney. And will put a stop to it when I smell it. There wasn’t any [a n y].

Maybe They Shouldn’t Have Been So Happy to See Me

Oh, why do I say that? Because I had not been near a weight machine since college. Which, in case you want to know, was a LONG time ago. Like before the internet. (I know, I know kids. This thought is unimaginable.) Even though I was only scheduled to meet once a week with a trainer, (and I chuckle as I type this), the blessed crew at my location were more than willing to stop whatever they were doing to come and show me how to use a machine.

So not kidding.

And I asked questions often.

Ask Harold.The Director of Personal Training can decidedly attest to this.
[I am needy. He will agree.]

Measurements Matter

Ugh. And a caliper was brought out.

Not the way to start a broken sentence. I’m sure I’ve made many a woman shudder by the mere mention of a caliper. But don’t worry, it was painless. Thank goodness.

Having thrown my pride out the window the day I threw on elastic leggings and a t-shirt (like that was going to hide much) I was ready to be measured.

Measured you say? Well, NOW I appreciate the benefits of having almost every inch of my body measured. When you check in periodically you can see marked improvement. (I mean, provided things are going well:) That day I was trying to be all non-committal about it, shrugging the ginormous numbers off. Harold, the sugar pie that he is, made me super comfortable and had me laughing soon enough.

So I have three (!) measurements to share. Two are from LA Fitness, one is from a nutrionist (this week in fact).

Admittedly blurry, but the best I have at the moment. (My book is no longer allowed to leave the premise as I misplaced mine, once, for good.)

The first demonstrates the overall downward trend I have with my weight. I don’t know why exactly women are so shy to talk about the “NUMBER”. But it’s kind of cheating, in my book, if you won’t divvy up the full story. We’re all different. But it really helps others to see improvement.

I’m 5’1″. I started at 192 pounds in late October and now weigh approximately 152 (depending on which scale I use). December does not count as I went home to visit the family for three weeks. It was impossible to say no to Mom’s empanadas, but I did manage to not gain any weight. (Prior to LA Fitness I had lost weight. This is going to sound odd, but I thought I needed to lose weight in order to exercise first.)


Quick math there folks…that would be FORTY POUNDS!

I’ll beat my own my drum, thanks!

This next photo shows how my arms, my thighs, my buddha belly, etc. (even my neck!) have grown thinner. Wacky!


And finally we have my fat analyzed sixteen different ways I’m yet to understand. These numbers were calculated by using a supersonic scale that you have to step on barefoot. I have follow-up sessions with the nutionist and will definitely ask what on earth the breakdown entails.


But check this out, my Body Fat % has gone from 39.1 to 33.4.

My current BMI is 28.7

I’ll take that.


Dude, I’ve got more goals remember?

Nitty Gritty

I see a trainer once a week, who, as I affectionately like to say, tortures me once a week. We’ve modified my training routine from weight training 5x/week -> 3x/week. On those days I follow with 30 minutes of cardio.

The other days I take a class (Bodywork + Abs w/Gina!) and then mix up the cardio. Sometimes that involves scaling the stairmaster. I row if my neighbor’s form isn’t heinous and/or explore my limits in running. (It isn’t pretty – Yet!) My fun day of the week is Sunday when I have the pleasure of attending a kick butt yoga class (with John).

Summary (Fiiiinally)

So I went from a much heftier Irene …


to a lighter version…


That’s me! In leggings. And I’m happy about the situation! Once to go out socially and the other time for some yoga.

[I need to get better at this self picture taking. And maybe smile in pictures. Or try not to look constipated. Or both.]

I am such a critic.

Onward I go!


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