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.

Rethinking My Methods

The facts:

I’m anxious, and regularly experience pretty drastic mood swings. My back, hips, and knees often feel inflamed, swollen, and extremely painful. Most mornings, my hips hurt so much that I have a hard time getting out of bed. I’ve outgrown almost all of my dresses and pants – I’ve gone up two sizes in the last year, and it doesn’t seem like it’s going to stop of its own accord. It’s not like I’m a blimp or anything – I’m being rational about this, and I’m still a good looking woman. Nevertheless, I don’t look like “me” to myself anymore. I remember being in decent shape, and knowing that I was just being nit-picky when I was critiquing my cellulite, or a slightly less than firm tummy. That’s no longer the case. I’ve expanded to the point where I’m giving up and wearing yoga pants to work. That is not OK. Most people don’t think that I’ve gained weight, because I’m tall, and the new fat is all in my hips and thighs. However, over the past year I’ve gained over 40 lbs.

Screen Shot 2014-10-27 at 4.30.32 PM

The moment of truth (also known here in the South as a “come to Jesus” moment):

I took a look at my finance trends today using Mint.com, and realized that this past month, roughly 30% of my spending went to food and alcohol purchases. I’m not going to tell you how much money that was, but let it suffice to say that I could have substantially updated my wardrobe with the amount of money I just threw away on food that I know I shouldn’t have been eating in the first place. So…

The decision (Part 1):

My gym offers a service where they make all of your meals for you, five days a week. Everything’s paleo, and all you have to do is swing by the gym and pick it up each day. I just did the math, and even though it’s expensive based on what I *should* be spending on food each week, it’s a massive savings if I compare it to what I actually *am* spending on food each week. It would leave me with two days a week where I’d be forced to fend for myself, but maybe I can start using my weekends to actually learn how to cook, and wean myself off of pre-packaged meals.

The major plus side is that it would mean that for the majority of the week, I’d be eating exactly what I’m supposed to be putting into my body to achieve optimum health. I wouldn’t have to stress about what I’m going to eat prior to finding whatever that thing is, and more importantly, I wouldn’t have to stress about I’ve already eaten after I eat the thing that I shouldn’t have (which is pretty much everything that gets poured down my gullet as of late). It’s not rabbit food, and from what I’ve heard, the options are pretty tasty. Best of all, a paleo diet, combined with four good workouts each week, would mean that the weight will start to drop off. I’d really like to be down by a pants size by the time I go home to see my family for the holidays.

The decision (Part 2):

I’m going to officially wean myself off of coffee and alcohol, and move into a phase in my life where drinking is for holidays and special occasions only. I love coffee, whiskey and wine so much, but that’s the problem. Mornings can’t = cup after cup of coffee anymore, especially with my anxiety issues. Likewise, evenings after work can’t = a few glasses of wine on the couch. I like drinking, and I like that it helps me through tough social situations, but I don’t like the way that it makes me feel the next day, and I definitely don’t like the thought that I’m adding even more sugar into a body that is crying out for help. Back to tea, water, and watching the weight fall off.

The decision (Part 3):

Yoga & meditation are a must. As I start getting my act together on the food & workout fronts, I need to figure out how to fit a weekly yoga practice back into my life. It’s not a luxury – it’s a necessity. Along with helping with weight loss, it will definitely help create a positive self image, as I see how graceful and strong my body can be if I let it. I love Anna the yogini. I miss her. If finding my heart self means giving up on something else – work, social life – then so be it. This is my journey. I can’t afford to skimp on the most important parts.

The bottom line:

I need to stop poisoning myself. It would be a little different, maybe, if I honestly enjoyed half of the food that I ate. But I eat absolute crap, and I feel like I’m doing it out of some perverse need to punish myself. That needs to stop.

As I start getting my body under control with food and exercise, the next step will be to find a doctor and see if I can get the thyroid stuff figured out, too. Hopefully this time the tests will cooperate, but it’s so hard getting a diagnosis, so I’m not holding my breath. While I’m doing that, I’m also going to find a therapist to help me get my head wrapped around loving myself. I’m too damned old not to. I deserve more from myself.

She’s So…Busy?

If you’re as weird as I am, hopefully you read that title to the tune of “She’s So Heavy” by the Beatles. But you’re probably not that weird. Good for you, you cute little normal person! Nah, just kidding – seriously, go get some Beatles in this morning. It’ll help ease those Monday blues a bit.

So it’s Monday, and I’m behind on blog posts, but I’m not going to get caught up any time soon at the rate everything is happening with work. I’m not going to blab about stuff that’s going on in the office, but let it suffice to say that there are tons of tasks, and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, but it’s getting better all the time. (Ha, see what I did there? Earworm!)

What I will go ahead and do is tell you a little about how Iron Tribe Fitness has been working out for me so far. Right now I’m still in a 101 class that meets three times a week. Each class, we go over two or three new (to me) exercises, and practice correct form, then do a WOD (Workout of the Day) that incorporates several rounds of reps of each exercise. We’ve learned how to do air squats, situps (a different kind than I’d ever done before), dead lifts, strict presses, kettle bell swings, pushups, front squats, ring dips (using those rings that gymnasts use), and double ups, which is a new way to jump rope that I’m still getting figured out. The workouts are broken up in such a way that each day feels challenging, and I’m worn out just enough from the effort, without overexerting myself.

Best of all, if I literally am not able to perform a certain movement, the coaches give options, like reduced weight for lifting, or using a modified movement that still works the muscles but doesn’t require quite as much effort. That’s great for me, since my arms are really weak. I’m able to do about 20 regular pushups before my arms give out completely and won’t push me back up, but if I move on to using a bench to modify the angle of the pushup, I can do a few more. Today during ring dips, I was pretty certain that I wasn’t going to be able to do any, but I got in about 10 before my arms refused to push me back up. Then I moved on to a modified triceps push up, using a bench. Same muscles, slightly less difficult, more reps accomplished in the end. Yay me!

Each day begins with a warmup, then instruction on how to do each exercise, and moves into a WOD, followed by a little lecture on nutrition or health/fitness subjects. The entire class is only an hour, but it feels like I get a lot for my money. Besides arms, the hardest effort thus far has been squatting. My hips and lower back are really out of whack, and have been for years. I can tell that squatting is helping get my glutes and hamstrings back in shape, and my back is benefitting from it, but it’s been years (maybe four or five) since I’ve been able to do a genuine squatting movement, and my hips are so tight that it’s a physical impossibility for me right now. There’s a lot of squatting happening in class (it’s tied in to most of the weight lifting stuff), so I’m constantly getting told to try for a little lower, just a little lower. It’s slow going, though. It almost feels like I’ve got rocks at the tops of my quads, making it impossible to get my hips any lower. But I’ll get there. And it feels good to have faith that that’s a real possibility.

I haven’t lost any weight yet, but it’s only been a week, and I also haven’t been a faithful adherent to the Paleo diet yet. I’m trying not to feel guilty and be mean to myself – that’s how all of my diet plans fail, and I’m tired of beating myself up. I deserve better. I deserve to be nicer to myself. So that’s what I’m doing. Every day I try my best to avoid grain, beans, sugars, sodas, and processed crap as much as possible, and in general I’ve been pretty good compared to before starting to try. Each week I’ll just try a little harder, and we’ll go from there. Eventually I’ll be doing it correctly.

Right now, even when I do mess up, I’m just concentrating on reminding myself that it’s not permanent, and it doesn’t mean I should just give up. It’s a cue to be kind to myself and try a little harder when the next meal rolls around. It really helps that I’ve been trying to note how I feel after meals, and without fail, if there’s any carby or sugary thing involved, I feel pretty bloated, slow, and icky afterwards. Trying to keep that correlation in mind at the beginning of a meal for optimum success.

The coolest thing to me is that there are so many great before and after stories at the gym. Iron Tribe doesn’t make a big deal out of how awesome their transformations tend to be, but I keep meeting people who’re really excited about being members, and have great stories about weight loss, increased stamina, and overall improvement in quality of life. I’m really eager to be one of those people one day. Hopefully before I’m 64. Hehehe…

Back to Basics

It’s a beautiful Sunday, a bit overcast, somewhat windy, and blessedly cool outside.  I have all of the windows open, letting the breeze flow through the house.  I was hoping that it would help me concentrate on my necessary tasks – so much homework to do – but instead I’m goofing around and shopping for free Kindle books.

Today’s Weight: 160.0 (surprise, surprise)

Today’s Goals: Finish laundry, finish homework, go to yoga, and have the house somewhat clean before I go to bed tonight.  I’d also like to go to the movies, but not sure if I’m going to have the motivation for that, given my present state of being.

I don’t think that my homework will be too time consuming, but first I’ll need to reread the assignment.  I read it briefly earlier in the week, and was slightly irritated by the premise.  I’m in a branding class for my marketing studies, and the idea is to decide who the perfect spokesperson for my selected company’s brand would be.  It can be any celebrity or well known character, or a combination of a couple or a few.  So far the only celebrity I can think of that I’d love to have as a spokesperson for my chosen company (a pizza place) would be Robert de Niro.  So maybe a mix of Robert de Niro and someone more rock and roll/crazy, like Alice Cooper?  I dunno.  I’m having trouble, and I also find it a little irritating to have to define an entire business with one made up person.  I guess I also find it irritating because I know the real brand (given current clientele and workers) would be closer to an annoying Pete Wentz kind of character.

Also, it needs to be someone tough and hard living, like Joan Jett.  Could I use Anthony Bourdain as a spokesperson?  Maybe a combination of Tony Bourdain, for his in-your-face attitude and ability to call it like he sees it, Robert de Niro for his versatility and thoughtful attention to detail, and K$sha, for her youthful, dirty girl, rock and roll persona.  Not that I’m a fan of K$sha’s personality, but she’s got the look I’m going for here.  Is there another female performer with that crucial mix, someone more admirable?  I’ll have to think on it.