Fixing A Hole

I’m painting a room in a colorful way, and when my mind is wandering, there I will go. - The Beatles, “Fixing A Hole”

For those of you who’re just tuning in, I’m reading a book called Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self Acceptance, and answering the daily questions that the book puts forth. It might look like this is my second post of the day (and technically, it is), but my earlier post was written yesterday. There’s absolutely no reason to explain myself to you, but I’m doing it. So I suppose that’s a great place to start with today’s musings re: how body image has impacted my daily life and outlook…my negative self image has definitely made me much more apologetic about EVERYTHING. I should probably start counting how many times I say “Sorry!” to people who don’t need to hear it throughout the day. If I were to take a broad guess, I’d say it comes out at least once an hour on average.

But what am I doing most of the day? What are the hills and valleys of this issue, as seen throughout a day in the life of this particular Anna? Let’s explore a typical weekday and see if I can figure it out:

I wake up somewhere between 9am and 11am, depending on a variety of factors (working at home? stay up late night before? bed extra comfy? back hurt? cat sleeping on face?). Get out of bed and try to stretch my legs/backs/hips. Sometimes feel disgusted with whatever I wore to bed the night before. I’d prefer something lacy and/or silky, like a 1930s film star in her boudoir – maybe even with maribou feathers, just for shits and giggles – but have never bought anything like that because I feel like I’d just look like a feathered, silky monster. Also, if I’m being honest, because my last bf hated when I’d wear anything long and elegant, and I hated short and slutty, so I eventually just got confused and gave up since nothing I found that made me feel sexy was titillating to him in the least. That’s no excuse for now, but it’s the truth so I’m putting it in here. So I’m wearing a t-shirt or maybe lounge pants or something sloppy and I am comfortable, but instantly tend to be kind of disappointed in myself for looking like trailer trash.

I go to the bathroom, brush teeth, wash face, that kind of thing. I generally don’t do my hair or put on makeup. It depends, really. My hair is really short on purpose – I hate wasting time styling it. I love wearing makeup, but most mornings I just feel like it’s no use putting on warpaint. It’s a combination of the fact that it will melt off during my walk to work, or not be seen at all if I’m working at home, or that I don’t interact with clients at my office, so no one will see it there either. But there’s also an underlying current of displeasure with my face. Plus, I really want to go to Sephora and do their Pantone color matching service and have them teach me how to put my makeup on expertly. I feel like I’m just doing it wrong when I do it, and that’s just not true. My makeup application skills are perfectly adequate, and I don’t look like a clown or anything. I do the “no makeup” look pretty well.

Next up is getting dressed. I hate almost every stitch of clothing in my closet. Even the things that fit right tend to piss me off because they’re two sizes bigger than I want to wear. I’ve gotten rid of everything that’s too small for me, but the stuff that’s my size still doesn’t fit me the way I’d like to. And it’s not even the style I’d like to wear. I really miss getting dressed up for work. Like REALLY miss it. It’s the saddest thing ever to be the only girl in an office of three – even if you adore your coworkers. I also really miss wearing vintage clothing, and it’s hard to find stuff that works for my new shape. So I put on jeans and a shirt. I try to wear pretty shirts, but they all look like crap on me. I feel like a figure-less blob. I feel masculine. I used to have this long-legged strut that people would point out all the time. Now I feel like I’m just dragging myself around like a swamp creature. I grew out of my bras, so I have no beautiful bras anymore, when I used to have at least a few. My underwear fit me perfectly, and are comfortable and cute, but I long to wear lace and satin again. When I’ve tried, just to see if I can pull it off, I feel revolting and ashamed. So I don’t.

I make breakfast – paleo, delicious and energizing – and drink a cup of decaf. It’s the first pleasant thing to happen during my day, because I know that each time I make the conscious effort to eat something that’s good for me, I get stronger, and that eventually my (comparatively) small sacrifices will add up to big changes. I walk to work – 2 miles. By the time I get there, I’m in a great mood.

If I’m wearing jeans, I have to unbutton them if I’m going to be sitting for that long. That puts me back in a shitty mood. If I’m wearing yoga pants, I can feel the bulge of my stomach and that also tends to put me in a shitty mood, but at least I’m more comfortable.

I spend the workday working (obviously), but in the back of my mind I’m always thinking about my body (did I eat the right thing? am I craving something? why am I craving it? am I actually hungry? should I get a snack? have I had enough water? how much weight will I lose this week? do you think I’ll actually gain weight instead? did I have to unbutton my jeans when I was a size 8? are my shoulders fat? do I look fatter with short hair? should I get an under-desk exercise bike thing? will my boobs shrink when I lose weight? did I have more cellulite this morning than I did a week ago? is this deodorant still OK, or am I smelly? why can I not stop shaking my foot? am I that sensitive to decaf now? am I too hairy? i feel like my teeth are shifting back to where they were before Invisalign – can other people see that, too? blah, blah, blah…). It’s exhausting. Too many thoughts swirling in my brain. Too many of them negative. Too many of them all about me.

If I’m at work in my Chicago office (or getting ready for a trip there), I think a lot about the clothes I’m going to wear. The office is all ladies, most of them thin, young and stylish. On top of that, since I’m a senior member of the team, not only should I look more pulled-together than they do, I should also look more in control of myself (read: not fat) than they do. I’m only barely able to hold up my end of the bargain, and I feel uncomfortable. If I’m in Chicago, I’m not eating paleo because there’s nowhere nearby to go for something easy and within my limits. This, plus having caffeinated coffee while I’m there, are probably majorly to blame for not feeling/looking my best. At least in New Orleans I’m sticking with paleo lunches and decaf – they really seem to help.

Assuming I’m at home in New Orleans, after work I go home. Depending on how the day went, and how unhappy I am, I might buy a bottle of wine or some “bad” food on my way home to console myself. Fried catfish filets, mac & cheese, and mashed potatoes & gravy are my favorite treats. Most of the time now I manage to avoid these, though. I go home, drink water, eat a paleo dinner, and spend the night writing, watching TV, or hanging out with my boo. Four nights a week now I go to the gym before heading home. I feel great at the gym. I love lifting weights, I love the people in my class, and I love the feeling of accomplishment during and after the workout. It makes me feel better about eating a healthy dinner when I get home.

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So what I’m seeing (feel free to weigh in, if you’ve made it this far and have alternate views) is that my clothing is a major source of emotional upheaval for me. I have the power to wear pretty things and make myself feel better – maybe I need to get them tailored, or explore wearing more dresses, or make the leap and only wear screen siren nighties – whatever makes me feel good and giggly again. Maybe I should hire a personal stylist to help me out of the slump.

I feel inferior to most other women because I don’t feel pulled together in comparison, but I don’t pull myself together because I feel like it’s pointless because I feel unattractive. But won’t I feel attractive if I pull myself together? So maybe I should just put forth the effort to do the things that make me feel pretty every day. Though to do that requires an attitude of self-worth, and that’s going to be a tough one to scrounge up overnight. But I can certainly try. And I should definitely go to Sephora. Maybe this weekend. I deserve it.

I’m exercising and I’m eating pretty well. I could eat better. But I’m not a fat, disgusting bastard. I’m just a normal girl with a few extra pounds and some pretty big self acceptance issues.

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The other thing that I should talk about is being on stage. I love to sing. Or at least I used to. I mean, I still do. Just not in public. I’ve got a slightly nasty case of stage fright, but I’ve always been able to get over it in time to get up there and do my thing. I’ve been in a number of bands, and people who heard me on stage back in the day tell me that I’ve got a beautiful voice. I don’t know about that – I sound like myself to me, and let’s face it, who really likes hearing themselves talk (or sing)? But people like the way I sound, and I like the way I feel when I’m singing, and that’s really all that matters. I feel powerful on stage. Or at least I did.

But this year for my birthday I went to karaoke with a bunch of friends, and someone took a video of me singing on stage. I was shocked at how big I looked up there. My previously awkward stage delivery looks even worse with another 50 lbs packed on. I looked like an egg doing the hula (and I was singing ABBA, so really, it wasn’t that far of a stretch of the imagination). My secret ambition has been to get my shit together and get back on stage with a real band sometime soon. Now I’m not so sure about the “soon” part. It’s probably the most devastating issue I’m facing, but until now I’ve been facing it alone. Maybe now that it’s out on the blog I’ll be able to work it out in a less stressful manner.

 

Unconditional

I’m writing this from the Dallas airport, on my way back home to New Orleans and a brand new work week. I spent the weekend in Austin and San Antonio with my friends Trinity and Katie. Trin was my college roommate, assigned by the school for the freshman dorm. Despite the odds given our strange pairing, we ended up being best friends. A couple of years later, we moved in with a third roommate, Katie, and our sisterhood has survived so much over the years. They both became architects and moved away – Trinity to Texas, Katie to Croatia. Now they’re both married with small children, and our extremely varied life experiences are adding another dimension to our friendship dynamic.

To me, both of my old roommates/besties have always been so outgoing and fascinating. They have welcoming personalities that attract strange adventures and lots of new friends. You could sum us up pretty easily by watching us walk into a party at 20. Katie, golden hair, tight jeans, big Texas personality, and at least three coats of mascara, heads straight for the keg and conversation, ready to sling a few back and talk shit with the guys. Trin grabs a cocktail, makes her rounds to give everyone at the party her good wishes/seemingly unbroken attention (how does she do it?), turns up the radio, and starts a dance party that magnetizes the room. I walk in behind them and make a beeline to the drinks and the quietest spot at the party. I’m overwhelmed, but interested in dancing, maybe, at some point. As long as no one’s watching; these jeans don’t really fit as well as I’d wish, and my arms are jiggly. You know, let’s just wait for a better song. Or maybe another drink? Eh, we’ll see what happens later. The couch is really nice. Mostly I make my friends by staying in one spot and talking to whoever sits down next to me (it never fails – it’s really the best way to meet people if you’re terrified of the whole introduction process). Eventually Katie gets into dancing mode and comes out to turn the party up a notch with Trin. By then, I’ve had a few drinks and don’t really give a crap what anyone thinks, then we’re all dancing, and the party is golden. But the couch-sitting me has just been put on the back burner for awhile. She’ll be back tomorrow, if not sooner.

When we were younger, even though I felt comfortable in their presence in most ways, and certainly much more than I did with other people, I always felt a little awkward in comparison. It was a little like being the little sister who didn’t quite understand how to fit in with my cooler older sisters, but was still loved and accepted. Maybe it’s my age, or the length and depth of our friendship, but things are different now. I can’t quite place it, but I guess on a base level I’m realizing that everyone has their own issues to handle. Just the same, we each have something special to add to the conversation, as long as we find the people who’re willing to listen.

Gone are the days of getting extravagantly made up, in tallest heels and shortest skirt, and going out to make adventures. We’ve entered an era where we’re older, wiser, and starting to show a little wear and tear. And who knows why – age, maturity, less patience, more acceptance – but we’re also willing to talk about our body insecurities with each other in a little more detail. It’s probably that knowledge that allowed me to begin really contemplating what it would feel like to stop beating myself up about my body, and learn to love it instead. It made this weekend the perfect time to start my journey, since I could officially kick everything off in the company of two people who have always accepted me, flaws and all, without a second thought.

Today’s prompt in Beautiful You is to talk about how I feel about myself and why, and say what I think a healthy sense of self and a healthy life will give to me. Most of all, I want to love and accept myself the same way I love and accept my friends – fully, unconditionally, no questions asked. I have a handful of people in my life for whom I’d lay down my life without a second thought. I might have an uncharitable thought every now and then (who doesn’t?) but I’d never hold on to it for longer than it took to find another way to encounter the situation. Why don’t I do this for myself?

I’m hoping that I can eventually see myself not as an enemy to be corralled and controlled, but a beloved one for whom I wish nothing but the best. If I loved myself the way I love my friends, the way that they love me, I’d constantly be on the lookout for ways to show my love more. I’d ask myself if I’d like some water, carefully consider how my mood would improve with the right sustenance, give myself permission to find a quiet spot to unwind, stop picking on myself for weaknesses, celebrate strengths. I’d have no choice but to shine under my own care.

It’s not about being thin, really. It’s about not feeling constantly under attack, or constantly in need of a scolding for my behavior. It impedes everything. It makes me feel less attractive, which greatly affects my ability to be intentionally playful, powerful, confident, and sexy. My own guilt for not being perfect is the biggest problem in my life right now. I’d love to find a way to work through it. I’m going to. So thanks, Katie and Trin (and Jess and Amy). I might not have said it in so many words, but you’ve helped me kick off something big (yet again).

The World’s A Stage

What are your hopes – personally and for the world – with regard to body image and beauty perception? How can you begin to live your hopes today? Thinking about what you want most for yourself and for the world allows you to act on that information.

I’ve had a few realizations over the last week. One I’m still mulling over, and will share with you eventually. One is that I am way too stressed out, and it’s really taking its toll on me 24 hours a day. But the most important thing I’ve worked through and come to terms with is that instead of working myself up by constantly – and I do mean constantly – thinking how ugly and fat and stupid and worthless I am, and focusing all of my efforts to change solely on my diet and exercise regime, I should be concentrating a lot more on trying to love myself. The diet and exercise are never going to work – no matter how perfectly I attempt them – if I’m constantly in self-sabotage mode because I loathe myself.

So I’m going to start doing some daily exercises to get to know and love myself better, using the book Beautiful You: A Radical Guide to Self Acceptance as my guide. Luckily, the plan involves daily journaling, which I’m pretty much already doing here.

Currently it’s 7:51 in the morning, and I’m typing from a Starbucks in Houston. I just got off of a sleepless 6-hour bus ride from New Orleans, and will soon embark on another 3.5-hour bus ride to Austin. Fun fact about Anna: I can’t sleep in automobiles or on planes. I need a place to stretch out and lie down completely, not recline 4 inches. Typically, I’d have taken a sleeping pill, but I packed them in my suitcase that was stowed under the bus before we left. Joy. But oh well – the things we do to be with the people we love, right? Two of my best friends and I are meeting up in Austin today to have some much-needed girl time. I’m so excited to see them, even if I will be a zombie by the time I get there.

All that time awake on the bus this morning led me to this, though: My primary hope for myself in the realm of body image is that I’d learn to see myself the way I see my friends. All of my friends are attractive to me. I love their smiles, and the way their eyes glow when they’re being their authentic selves. I love their individual styles, and senses of humor, and getting to know more about each and every one of them. When I see my friends’ flaws, I see them as beautiful things that make them different and unique. When I see my own flaws, I see them as things that set me apart from the world in a negative way. I feel like a laughingstock. Or something less than a laughingstock, actually – I feel more like I should be ostracized in some way. I want to look at my differences and see how they could be perceived as beautiful. I want to feel comfortable enough in my skin that I can move freely again – physically and emotionally.

As far as the world goes, I’m not sure what I want for people to think/say about bodies, whether at home, in the media, etc. I know that I didn’t get the way I am because of the media – at least not directly. I was barely plugged in as a kid, and I remember feeling fat as early as 2nd grade. I do know that things are much worse now, and men and women everywhere are dealing with serious body acceptance issues as a result of peer pressure and unrealistic expectations placed on them by themselves and others. I do want people to realize that it’s not just women who feel shitty about their bodies, and we can’t keep talking about it like it’s something that only women can own. And that’s enough for now. I’m going to catch my Austin bus and go get mani/pedis with my lovely KT and Trin.

Random Thoughts: December Edition

Doing a back squat at the gym a few weeks ago.

Doing a back squat at the gym a few weeks ago.

Thought 1:
Tonight at the gym, I lifted 75 lbs over my head! I’m really proud of myself. When I started at Iron Tribe a couple of months ago, I was having doubts about being able to lift the training bar (15 lbs). Of course, I was able to do it, but at first I didn’t have the confidence to try that hard. But I did, and eventually I added on weight and saw that I could lift the bar + weight, and by the end of the first month I’d moved up to the regulation bar for women (35 lbs). I’ve done a back squat at a little over 100 lbs before, but tonight was the first time I tried adding weight on to a push jerk, and it was an incredible feeling of accomplishment.

I’m not crazy over-the-moon about lifting weights, but I do like the workout, and I love my gym. I feel like part of a tribe there. Everyone knows everyone else’s name, and people are accepting of your limitations. No one is a meathead, and no one’s trying to intimidate anyone into lifting heavy or being a badass. We’re all just trying to do our best there together. It’s by far the best gym experience I’ve ever had, though I still miss Bikram on a daily basis. Eventually I’d like to try to fit both into my schedule, but I’m not going to push too hard. One great thing at a time. I’ve got time.

Thought 2:
I was getting acupuncture about a year ago, and really liked it, but the community clinic I visited shut down and then there were no affordable services in my area. A week or so ago, I found out about a new one right down the street from me, and made an appointment for this last Saturday. Just like I remembered, I really loved the session. It’s hard to explain, but there’s something so relaxing about it. I typically pass out within minutes of having the needles placed, and wake up naturally about an hour later. The needles are barely noticeable, and there’s no pain, just a little bit of weird pressure at some points, more like feeling the weight of the top of the needle (the top is just a bit thicker than the shaft) as it quivers above your body.

I was the last person in the clinic that day, and when the acupuncturist came to take out my needles, her dog got out into the clinic, too. Or maybe she let him out, I’m not sure. I’m wondering if it’s the latter, because he ran in the room and instantly made a beeline for me. He was a pit bull mix of some sort, a beautiful, muscular black and white dog. I was still reclined in my chair, just letting that peace roll over me, and he sidled up to me and laid his chin on my shoulder, nose to my cheek, and stared at me. It’s hard to explain, but I felt like it was a gesture of solidarity and support. It was the best possible way to end the session. In hindsight, I should have asked if he was a therapy dog, because he was so calm, and stuck by me until I left (after about 10 minutes of kisses and chin scratches, of course – I love animals). I’m excited to go back next time – the acupuncture is great, but there’s nothing like getting in some dog time.

Thought 3:
While I was at the acupuncture clinic, I saw a sign for a Reiki healer. I’d like to see another one. The last one scared me a little. Or I scared me a little. Either way, I could really use someone’s help in learning how to ground, shield, and straighten out all of this energy. On Saturday, the acupuncturist told me that my aura was muddled. Though I didn’t necessarily trust her to tell me that, since it wasn’t her area of expertise, I know I’m not feeling much more than half OK most of the time – sometimes less than that.

Also at the clinic, I saw a sign for a new school that’s opening in the new year, that will have some new age-y types of health/spirituality classes. I felt like I was meant to see that sign. I can’t wait to find out what kinds of opportunities open up in the new year.

Thought 4:
Trying to figure out how to afford to go home at Christmas, but I’m really having trouble with it. My folks live in NC. I wasn’t able to get a flight ahead of time, so once I’ve got the money towards the end of the week (maybe next week), the flights will be really expensive. Add flight to car rental and cat sitter, and we’re looking at around $1k to go home – not counting the money I’ll lose by taking off a week of work, which is considerably more than the cost to go home. I’m going to have to tell my parents that I can’t afford the trip once again, and once again I’ll break their hearts.

But what’s really getting me down is that my uncle said that my mom was upset at me and talking about it during Thanksgiving. I don’t know what was said; he just said it in passing, but I can only imagine that she’s pissed that I haven’t been home in years. If I had to take an educated stab in the dark, I’d guess that she doesn’t understand how I can take trips to Chicago once a month and not be able to afford to go to NC. I really hope I don’t have to have a conversation with her about how business travel and reimbursements work. I think I’ll look into how expensive it would be to fly them both down here for a trip, instead. Except that they hate it here. Hmmm.

Thought 5:
I should go to bed. It will soon be time to start this whole insane mess over again…

Skin Deep, Etc.

I spend a lot of time acting like it doesn’t bother me that I’ve gained so much weight in the last year. If I have to be honest, I’ve been acting like it doesn’t bother me since I was legitimately in OK shape, about 30 pounds ago. I concentrate on things like inner beauty and finding my center. I work at getting in shape by eating correctly and exercising often. I try to wear pretty outfits that look good on the curves that I’ve grown into. I’m positive, positive, positive.

On the outside.

On the inside, I’m consumed with this. Why isn’t what I’m doing working? Why can’t I have more self control? Why can’t I just add a couple more hours on to my workout each day? Why can’t I live on carrots and lettuce, like a good little rabbit? Am I sick? Am I sicker than I think I am? Do I have a tumor? Could 40 extra pounds really be 20 pounds of stomach cancer? Do I have PCOS on top of my thyroid issue? Why can’t I be just be skinny and beautiful?

I’m shallow. And by admitting it, I’m aware that it places me squarely in a negative light. I should just be more accepting of my beautiful curves, blah, blah, blah. But I’m not. I’m fat. I can feel the newly-formed crease in my stomach fat pressing into itself right now as we speak. It feels disgusting. I feel disgusting. My belly button ring (installed in 2006, when I was a svelte 135 pounds following my inadvertent Hurricane Katrina starvation diet) hurts my naval. I refuse to remove it. I’m afraid that I’ll keep getting fatter and the fat will grow around it like a tree grows around a gravestone.

As of January 1st, my health insurance kicks in and I’ll be able to afford a proper doctor’s visit for the first time in years. I’ll get my thyroid checked and hopefully get on meds, and I’ll see if I have PCOS, and if there’s any other medical reason for my continued expansion.

In the mean time, I’ll keep eating correctly and keep going to the gym, and trying to run, walk, yoga myself back into a size 8. But I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to stop hating myself for not being beautiful. Honestly, I can’t even conceive of a future in which that’s an option.

You might be reading this and feeling sorry that I can’t just love myself the way that you do. You might be reading this and identifying. You might be bigger than I am, and feel like I don’t have a right to talk about this until I’ve added another 20 pounds or so. You might have trouble GAINING weight, and be jealous that you couldn’t have the extra bits that I’d like to get rid of. How should I know? It’s not like we’re ever truthful with each other about these things, anyway.

Green Beauty Review: Pachy by Rustic Maka (Part 2)

Patchy Deodorant by Rustic Maka (sample sizes)

Keep reading to get 15% off from now through December 10th, 2014!

If you were reading on Tuesday, I posted Part 1 of this Green Beauty review on Pachy Deodorant by Rustic Maka. I promised to post again yesterday, but I have a head cold that’s been getting the better of me this week, so I’m running a day behind – sorry. It might be a good thing to be running late, though, because I found out something so cool about Pachy in the mean time! It turns out that Pachy is pronounced something like “Pax-y”, and actually means “armpit” in Polish. If you’re a lingo geek like me, you’ll probably find this endearing. If not, well, keep reading to find out more about why you should love Pachy :-)

So you guys know that my typical go-to brand is Schmidt’s Natural Deodorant, though during the summer, there’s no natural product out there (that I’ve found) that can keep me staying dry enough to not get a rash within a few weeks of constant use. Most of the year, I use a natural deodorant and carry a jar of cornstarch or arrowroot powder with me to dust my underarms periodically throughout the day, and coconut oil to soothe skin irritations. However, by late August, when I received the samples of Pachy, I’d already returned to my yearly summertime habit of over-the-counter antiperspirant use (I know, I’m awful, but if it’s the choice between maybe getting cancer one day and definitely having red, burning, achey, and insanely itchy armpits today, I’m going to take the gamble).

Then it occurred to me: Let’s use this as a chance to do an experiment! I’d try Pachy in New Orleans’ hottest and most humid conditions, then try it again when the weather had cooled a bit and I wasn’t sweating buckets.

Trial #1: August 20th through 27th
Temperatures ranged from 94 degrees Fahrenheit down to a lovely, cool, 88 degrees (that’s a joke, btw), with average daily humidity levels in the 80% range. My daily activity level is pretty high – I walk about 2.5 miles to work every morning along a route that doesn’t offer much shade, walk another 2.5 miles back home in the evening, plus go to the gym for a few more miles’ run, weight lifting, etc. I also spend my day working in an un-airconditioned building. In other words, summer is an extremely sweaty affair.

Trial #2: October 20th through 27th
Temperatures ranged from 83 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, down to around 62 degrees at night. Humidity dropped a bit, too (thank goodness) – to only around 50% most days. My activity level didn’t change, but due to not feeling like I was trying to run a marathon under a heat lamp, I was sweating a bit less.

The results? I loved the way Pachy smoothed onto my skin. It’s not crumbly or dry, and it also wasn’t sticky and waxy the way a lot of natural deodorants tend to be. I love to be able to just put my deo on and go – no holding my arms up to let my pits dry out for a minute, like with a roll on deo, and no worrying about getting it all over your clothes if you’re getting ready to put a shirt on, etc. Pachy is perfect in that regard. I could easily put a bit on and walk out the door, and I loved it.

As far as smelliness on my part went, I found that the active ingredients in Pachy kept me from getting stinky for a long time. I’d put some on before leaving the house, get super sweaty on the way to the gym/work, then wash up a little and put on some more. I wouldn’t be stinky at all when I was reapplying, just sweaty (and sweaty to me means getting an underarm rash, so I always like to wash up, get dry, and reapply after an hour or so of constant sweating). Once the weather got cooler, I found that especially if I wasn’t doing anything strenuous, I could apply once and not have to “treat” for stinkyness for 24 hours or so. In other words, this stuff really works for odor prevention.

Pachy only fell short for me in two highly-personal regards. My personal preference is for spicy, musky scents. I prefer a scent profile that some might find more manly – sandalwood, vetiver, patchouli, amber, balsam – and though Pachy smells lovely and clean, I like to be a little spicier. It’s wonderful if you’re looking more for a “fresh out of the shower” scent, though. My favorite of all of the scents was the Rough Rivers scent, which is sold as the men’s version of the deodorant. I’d recommend that if you want to try Pachy out and you’re also into something stronger/spicier, take Rough Rivers for a spin.

Secondly, as I’ve already mentioned, I tend to get armpit rashes if I’m not really careful about keeping them dry and protected from chafing. For me, it felt like once the product soaked into my skin, it didn’t leave enough of a creamy barrier to protect my armpits from rubbing and creating a rash. Like I said before, though, I always carry around cornstarch or arrowroot powder for that, so it wasn’t that big of a deal – I just dusted some on. It’s just something to keep in mind if you’re also a delicate flower who has to pay way more attention to her armpits that she’d like :-D

Overall, I loved Pachy. I wish that they had a few more scents in the roundup, but the product itself was effective for long periods of time and generally felt great on. If you’re in the market for something new for your pits, try them out! Here’s an even bigger incentive – from now until 12/10/14, my readers can use code PACHY2014 to receive 15% off your orders at RusticMaka.com. Pretty awesome, right?

Success Is Paleo

It’s the beginning of my 4th week as an Iron Tribe Fitness “athlete”. I’m putting that in parentheses because they actually do call us athletes, and though I know they’re trying to make us feel strong and capable, I’m not really feeling it yet. But that’s not their fault – I’m loving being a member of the gym. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for all this time. I really just needed somewhere that would tell me exactly what to do, show me how to do it (probably multiple times, because I don’t pick up physical movements really well the first few times around), then give me specific goals to reach and times in which to get those goals accomplished. So far they’ve done all of this, while being amazingly kind, patient, and accepting of my flaws. I love working out there, and can’t wait to finish up with the 101 program and move into taking regular classes four days a week.

Even though I’m not yet working out at full power, I did start something new today at Iron Tribe – eating meals from the Inner Fire Grill. I should have taken some snapshots today to show you what I was eating, but I forgot and gobbled it all up. Maybe I’ll start showing you a weekly roundup of eats – today’s meals were amazing. I think I’m really going to like not having to think about what to eat anymore. I can just open my fridge and pick the thing that strikes my fancy that day.

From now on, each Wednesday I’ll place an order for my meals for the following week. On Monday, I’ll pick up lunch & dinner for Monday/Tuesday, and on Wednesday I’ll receive lunch & dinner for Wednesday through Friday. The meals last a few days in the fridge, so if it turns out that I have dinner plans or a lunch meeting, I can always just save that meal for a later date. Minimum effort, but surprisingly delicious and filling meals. Today’s lunch was a half of a sweet potato filled with braised beef ribs and onions, served with this amazing paleo chive mayo. Dinner was chicken salad (who knew I could enjoy a non-mayo-based chicken salad?) and a side of mixed fruit.

This Saturday marks my last day of drinking until Thanksgiving, so between getting strict with my meals, not taking in any of that extra sugar, and working out 3 to 4 days a week at the gym, I’m planning on starting to drop some serious weight over the next month. Thinking about seeing if anyone at the gym wants to put together a running group to start training for some distance runs. I’m really excited about feeling like success is actually attainable. I haven’t felt this sure about my health journey for a long time, now.