Archive for March 31, 2013

Shopping Sunday – Things I ordered today

Over the last week a lot of stuff I ordered recently and returned has gotten credited, so my spending money bucket was refilled.  I used the opportunity to do a little shopping.

aubriella-frontI am hopeful that this dress (Aubriella from Igigi) will look every bit as amazing on me as it does on her, but you never know with these things.  It’s an expensive dress, so if it doesn’t work it will go back.  However I thought it was too pretty to NOT order.

(I always worry about this shape.  Right under my bust is my smallest part, but it’s not wide, so the wide waist on this could require shapewear to lay correctly.  I hate that.  We’ll see though…)

My biggest worry, though, is that they had 18/20 or 26/28.  No 22/24, which is my normal size.  I ordered the 18/20 on the theory that it is my hips that usually require me to go up and that shouldn’t be an issue with a full skirt.


I ordered the cardigan off BeyondTheRack in both black and white.  They look lightweight and easy to wear  for the summer (although the white one is long sleeved).  We’ll see.  At $17.99 each, it’s kind of hard to go wrong.

bestieskit_3pc_1I placed an order to Julep that included 4 new nail polishes.  Three are in the HelloGiggles Tickled Pink Ombre Besties kit, although I won’t use them in that way.  I was just looking at my polishes last night and realized that I didn’t have what most would consider to be pretty basic colors.  Along with that I will be getting a coral/orange color called Georgia for free using the discount code SPRINGCOLOR; you add the color to your basket then enter the code at checkout.  4 colors for $28 = $7/color, which is a very reasonable price.

My big focus right now is on shoes; my closet purge last weekend involved a lot of shoes, and I need to replace them.  I’m OK on basics, but don’t always have the fun, colorful ones I might want for certain outfits.

CSH-W-UW00699-050411I also ordered two pairs of shoes from Cushe.  The first was a pair of wedge heels with arch support that looked kind of fun and sporty.  Called Entwine, they come in several color combinations and are currently on sale for $59.99.  This is actually their Black pair, but I love the colorful accents.

CSH-W-UW00857-092811The second is a pair of closed toe flats that looked cute and had the arch support I need.  We’ll see if they are as comfortable as I think.  They are called Koa Suade and are on sale for $55.99.  When I work at the shelter I HAVE to wear closed toed shoes, but no one says they have to be trainers.  This is far cuter!

images (1)I also ordered a pair of Trotters Kristin sandals in Pink off Zulily.  Zulily is another flash sale site, but focused on Moms and Kids.  I’ve been particularly impressed that they always have at least one plus sized gallery, often get neat stuff (like overstock from SWAK), and carry a lot of what I would call “comfort” brand shoes.  (These are brands that focus on cushioning and arch support, which is what I need these days.  I discovered Cape Clogs through Zulily, and they have the navy polka dot shoes I’ve shown here before for sale today.)  They also focus on more reasonably priced lines; no $1000 purses.  I think I order more off Zulily these days than any of the other flash sites.

So that was my weekend.  No guarantee that some or all of them won’t go back, but those that don’t are certain to show up on here soon enough.

Science Saturday: Weight Loss Edition

I was reading through my RSS feeds today (oh google reader, what will I do without you) and came across a post by another statistician who had written up some studies she had read recently.  I’m going to pull an entire section, including quotes from the study, because it’s important.

Diets don’t work

This one is called “Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer” and it was written in 2006 by Traci MannA. Janet TomiyamaErika WestlingAnn-Marie Lew,Barbra Samuels, and Jason Chatman.

Here’s the abstract:

The prevalence of obesity and its associated health problems have increased sharply in the past 2 decades. New revisions to Medicare policy will allow funding for obesity treatments of proven efficacy. The authors review studies of the long-term outcomes of calorie-restricting diets to assess whether dieting is an effective treatment for obesity. These studies show that one third to two thirds of dieters regain more weight than they lost on their diets, and these studies likely underestimate the extent to which dieting is counterproductive because of several methodological problems, all of which bias the studies toward showing successful weight loss maintenance. In addition, the studies do not provide consistent evidence that dieting results in significant health improvements, regardless of weight change. In sum, there is little support for the notion that diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.

There are two things I love about this paper (commenters please take note).

First, since the goal was to understand whether something would be covered under Medicare, the point of the paper is to understand whether a treatment for obesity is effective for the general populationand not for a given individual. Because obesity is considered an illness but not a disease, there’s a pretty high bar for which treatments are considered effective.

Second, I love the way the researchers combed through the existing literature in dieting and explained the systematic bias that exists – the way the studies exclude people for whom dieting doesn’t work, the way they allow biased statistics in, and more. I’m pretty sure this systematic bias is due to the fact that many studies are paid for by commercial dieting plans. That and because people just want positive results. In any case, it’s super refreshing to see a paper written that isn’t telling you misleading stuff you want to hear. Here’s an excerpt:

Of note, studies always report the percentage of participants who manage to keep off some percentage of the lost weight, but only a subset reported on participants for whom the diet was counterproductive, even though this percentage is typically larger than the percentage who kept off substantial weight.

And another:

Even more problematic is that most researchers also subtract additional categories of participants from their original study totals (and their data analyses), and excluding these categories does not just make the follow-up rate appear higher than it actually was, but it also typically makes the diet appear more successful than it was. These additional categories of exclusions include participants who did not lose sufficient amounts of weight during the study, participants who left substantial portions of questionnaires blank, participants who had participated in a similar diet before, participants who refused to participate in earlier follow-ups for the study, participants who did not return calls, and participants who had gastric bypass surgeries (or other types of surgery) to induce weight loss subsequent to the study. One study reported excluding two participants from analyses because “inclusion of the two patients strongly skewed the results against weight loss maintenance” (Walsh & Flynn, 1995, p. 232).

These types of exclusions can lead to follow-up reports on fractured samples. For example, one study enrolled 426 participants in a diet program (Anderson, Vichitbandra, Qian, & Kryscio, 1999) and then excluded all but 154 participants from analysis for a variety of the reasons reported above. Researchers obtained follow-up weights for 112 of those 154 participants at their first time point and therefore reported a follow-up rate of 73%, even though only 26% of the original participants were included in the follow-up. In addition, the article is a long-term follow-up study, but the final four follow-up points only include from 15 to 42 participants each, a tiny fraction of the original sample size.

They also found evidence that dieting can be a leading indicator of major weight gain:

Among female adolescents who dieted, the risk for obesity onset over the four years was over three times that for nondieters.

I was put on my first diet at age 12; it was actually a hospital run behavior modification program where I had to go and get weight with other overweigh adolescents every week for a while.  Thing is, I wasn’t particularly heavy.  I was certainly a solidly built girl, but if I’d been a boy they would have been signing me up for the football team and talking about how I would make a great linebacker some day.

My first major diet “success” resulted in a loss of 50lbs  and landed me in the hospital.  I gained the weight back and then some.

My second major diet “success” was with phen-fen, because of which I now need to get EKGs on a regular basis for the rest of my life.  I gained it all back and more

My third major diet “success” resulted in a loss of 60lbs, and two minor mental illnesses; exercise bulimia (you can’t eat unless you burn off at least that many calories exercising) and OCD (counting calories to an obsessive level).  I gained it all back again, thankfully no more.

I am not explicitly dieting right now, because as the article above quite clearly states, diets don’t work.  I am not exercising to earn the right to eat.  I ride my bike to work to keep my heart healthy.

If I could go back to that 12 year old girl, I would tell her how much LOVE the freedom and power of riding my bike.  Not talk about food.  Not put her down. Just talk about how this was finally an exercise I could enjoy.  It took me until my 30s to find it.

But I hate the current “conversation” (really shaming of fat people, no dialogue to be had) around weight and childhood obesity.  People who are thin behave as though it’s the easiest thing in the world; just stop sitting on the sofa eating bon bons and you, too, will be skinny.  I had a dear friend who could just skip desert for a couple of weeks and drop 5-10 lbs.  He couldn’t understand why it was so hard.

But don’t you think, given the shame and prejudice overweight people face in our society, that if it WERE that easy we would have all done it by now?

There is nothing morally wrong with me that leads to my weight.  I do not lack will power; in fact I have far more drive and self control than most people I know.  But our bodies are complex and each is unique.  We do not all respond the same way to… well pretty much anything.  I can, and have, followed what the mainstream tells me the rules of dieting are.  And those rules have failed; as the study above suggests.

When are we going to realize that shame and one-size-fits-all solutions are not healthy for anyone involved?


Happy spring colors

Spring comes early in Arizona, which means that my spring wardrobe comes out earlier than most.  Today’s outfit was a personal challenge to not wear black and go for happy spring colors.  Of course, I managed to forget my camera (riding my bike tends to make me a little scatter-brained in the morning) so you get indoor pics today!  I’m liking my hair, though!

Photo on 3-25-13 at 11.58 AM

Old navy lists this tank as Grey, but it looks green to both me and my husband.  I played around with wearing it with both this dark hunter color and more of an olive shade, and both looked good.  The hunter won because they are a heavier fabric and it’s still a little chilly (by Arizona standards) early in the morning.

  • 41-O93h6yeLDark green (really) knit jeans (Coldwater Creek, old)
  • Peach cardigan (J.Jill)
  • Green and Peach tank (Old Navy)
  • Peach hobo (Penny Sue, purchased at LittleBlackBag)
  • Peach and tan Bracelets (Purchased at LittleBlackBag)
  • Khaki Earthies Larissa Sandals (purchased off ebay, mostly available on clearance if you hunt around a bit) Pictured here, since you can’t see them in the picture.

These jeans are an interesting case.  I remember them being too snug the last time I wore them, but today they fit perfectly.  Yet my weight hasn’t changed.  Here’s hoping I can drop a size or two regardless of what the scale says.

Here’s a closeup shot that will give you a better look at the bracelets:

Photo on 3-25-13 at 11.55 AM

I spent this past weekend (well, part of it) in my closet.  I went through all the clothing, put together a big bag of stuff that I took to good will, including stuff I didn’t like, that didn’t fit right, or that I just hadn’t worn despite owning for a long time.  I also donated a bunch of sandals that are cute but have no arch support; I just find them too painful to walk far in, and I’d rather focus on filling in blanks with shoes that meet my needs better.

At the same time, I pulled all my heavy sweaters and put them into a tote to go to the dry cleaners.  I love them all, but they need to be cleaned and put away for the season.  Right now they are just entirely too warm and that will only get worse.  Plus it’s like a huge shopping trip in the fall when I pull them back out!

Cardigans like this one stay; it’s a linen blend and very light weight.  I also keep the open-weave ones around for summer.  I love my layers, but nothing that will cause me to overheat!

My closet is still a bit overcrowded, though.  Primarily this is due to an unwillingness to let certain pieces go; tops I love but that have either shrunk or are looking worse for wear.  Also, I have a whole collection of “sitting-around-the-house” tees that I don’t wear out; they are soft, generally oversized and in all sorts of random colors, many of which just aren’t good colors for me but that I think are pretty.  I would probably have a lot more space in my closet if I let those two groups of tops go (or at least started folding and putting elsewhere the house tees).

Or I need a house with a bigger closet.  I mean, after all, my shoes are in a different closet and I have a bookshelf with doors for my purses.  Clearly I don’t have enough space 🙂

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A busy week calls for simple clothing

IMG_2775Last week didn’t get any less busy as it went on but at least by Friday I managed to get enough done to feel like the week had been a success.

  • Black slim-leg knit jeans (Coldwater Creek)
  • Floral A-line Tank (J.Jill)
  • Linen Blend Drape Cardigan (JJill)
  • Black sandals (Aetrex; old)
  • Black and white purse (Penny Sue, purchased at Little Black Bag)
  • Art Deco-esque Necklace (my boutique across the street)

The bag is a new one from Little Black Bag.  On the one hand, I think it looks really sharp – from a distance.  However it feels kind of PVC-like in a way I’m not entirely fond of.  The size and shape are terrific, though, so for now I will hang on to it.  With any luck, it will hold up in the way that only PVC can; forever.

Photo on 3-22-13 at 3.47 PM #3

IMG_2788Closer shot of the necklace.  I really like it; crystals in a few places, a very art deco feeling design, and just the right length for this type of top.  It wouldn’t be considered officially art deco, but it has that feel.  I like that era and the design aesthetic, so for me this was a great find!

As you can tell from the location of the full length shot, I rode my bike Friday and was on my way back to the bike shop.  (This is the best spot on my walk to take a picture; there’s a mail box to put the tripod on and enough shade that the light isn’t problem.

I replaced the tires with ones that are less sensitive to thorns and all the detritus on the sides of the road in Arizona.  The fastest way to ruin a perfectly lovely ride is a flat tire.  The 9 miles from home to work isn’t a hard ride, but a flat can take it from 40 minutes (stop lights; meh) to twice that.  What I love about riding is the feeling of motion; the wind, watching the ground disappear under my tires, all that.  (I’d say the wind in my hair, but I wear a helmet when I ride; my brain is my most valuable asset, so I protect it.  And I don’t trust cars.)  Overall, it’s very satisfying.

I rode twice last week.  The goal for this week is to ride 3 times, but the minimum is still 2.  Early meetings can throw off the schedule very easily.  Riding makes me feel good, although someone needs to explain why my weight keeps going up despite a substantial calorie deficit; I’m thinking I just need to leave the scale alone for a while.


Join us! Click the Spotlight stillbeingmolly WatchOutForTheWoestmansScreen Shot 2013-02-24 at 7.10.22 PM

Bad Blogger. No Biscuits.

This past week has been a little chaotic.  Not bad.  Just a bit crazy.

First, it’s been really busy at work.  Second, I’ve started trying to ride my bike to work a couple of days per week, and since I hate riding after dark if I can avoid it that has meant being VERY focused at work.  Thus the two outfits I have for this post are pictures taken on my walk to the bike shop when I suddenly realized that I hadn’t taken pictures of my outfits yet.  Definitely not my best pictures.

IMG_2711The first was an opportunity to show off a cool new purse I got.

This purse is too much fun – black stripes, pink almost everywhere, spikes, and a tassel as the icing on the cake.  How can you not love it!

These pants fit so well.  Comfortable and soft.  I actually have them in 3 other colors.  If I could buy them in a full rainbow, I would.

IMG_2745This outfit was one I saw immediately when I found the top at Marshalls.  My husband tells me it’s not, but to me this is about as preppy as I get.

  • Navy Cardigan (Marshalls)
  • Striped Top (Cynthia Rowley, purchased at Marshalls)
  • White pants (Coldwater Creek)
  • Pink necklace (old)
  • White sandals (also old and being replaced due to a complete lack of arch support)
  • Pink Purse (Vieta, purchased on Little Black Bag)

I had been looking for a navy cardigan for some time, one that was light and airy.  When I saw this I knew I had to grab it.  But the top was my real prize; great spring colors, great colors for me, and a nice loose cut.  I think I’ll go for my boot-cut pants next time.

I keep hoping that with the bicycling to work 8.5 miles in each direction, 2-3 times per week, I will lose some weight.  So far, I’ve gained.  I don’t quite know how that happened, so I’m just ignoring the scale for a while.  It hates me.

Anyway, I will try to get back into taking pictures this week.  I have some cute new ideas and outfits to show you.

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