Proskins–Week One–A Step in the Right Direction

Into every fibro girl’s life a little pain must fall.  I’m sorry for the delay on updating my Proskins experience but when the pain falls so do I but I am better enough today to write and I am so excited to share my experience with you.

 Just so we are on the same page my blogging is one week behind so I could allow for pain events like the one I am just coming off.  This post details my experience from Sept. 22-28…

Proskins makes a lot of claims about the wonders of their Slim Leggings–so many that it left me feeling skeptical but intrigued.  As other bloggers were joining the 28-Day Challenge to wear the leggings eight hours a day and blog weekly their results, I started reading those blogs with great interest.

Now it is my turn to share my experience with you.Proskins

First, let’s get part of scary part over with…one of the requirements to strike terror into my heart is to publically post my measurements.

*Shudders*

What Proskins did not know and could not have known is when they contacted me I was thinking back to other weight loss attempts and realizing publicly posting my stats is something I have never done.

With glee and gusto, I would declare, “I lost two pounds” but I would never reveal my body.

Fear.

Shame.

Remorse.

Frustration.

Disappointment.

They have taunted me through all past efforts to sculpt myself healthy.

I was already pep talking the hell out of myself to “suck it up buttercup” and that is part of why this blog came to be.  And now thanks to a giant cosmic push from Proskins here are my stats:

Sept 28

Weight: 269.4

Waist: 46

Hips: 54

Thigh: 31.75

Calf: 18.25

Ankle: 9.25

(all measurements are right side since I am right handed)

So there I am in black and white…or in this case black and orange 🙂

Proskins promises to help me shrink those numbers.

Since I recently decided against weight loss surgery and have found more struggle than success along the way I am grateful for all the help I can find.  However, I am skeptical of any product–weight loss or not–which claims any sort of “magic.”

How skeptical am I?

It took me a whole year to try Mr. Clean Magic Erasers.  I only finally tried them because my youngest son would not stop bugging me about them.

Every.

Single.

Time…we went to the store.  “Just try them mom…PLEASE.”

Oh and do not worry I remembered that experience and used it to erase some of my skepticism.  Once I tried Magic Erasers, I loved them and have never been without them.

Honestly when Proskins first contacted me several months ago, my waist was way too big for their biggest size according to the size chart on their website http://www.proskins.co/store/en/slim/15-full-length-leggings.html and I had the convenient excuse of pending surgery to beg-off of the challenge at that time.

When I changed my mind, I also decided to give the challenge a go.

“What can it hurt?”

I had lost a few pounds but still not enough to fit their biggest size but ordered that size, a 22, and hoped they would fit.

Proskins, your size chart is generous!  Woot, Woot!

I have to say, this is not something us bigger girls find very often.

To give some perspective, today as I am writing I am almost too small for my size 22 jeans and the size 22 leggings have been a bit loose at the waist since the first time I put them on.  As far as I am concerned, it’s not a bad thing though but just know the size chart is generous.  I really would have been devastated to return them because they did not fit.

As I mentioned on my fibromyalgia blog http://itsarealpain.wordpress.com/ It was love in the first 20 minutes as these magic leggings banished my edema.  Hop over to that blog for more details about the compression benefits.

As much as I fell instantly and madly in love with my Slim Leggings, I still wanted to know if they would help me slim.

I picked the worst possible week to give them a try–not on purpose–it just worked out that way when my edema decided to have an attitude problem and there was no way I was taking the leggings off for a week to wait for ideal conditions in my life.

You see the first week of this challenge it was also my hubs hunting vacation.  I already knew I would be off-plan and eating a lot more junk than normal.  On Chris Powell’s Carb Cycling plan, which I am following, this is the slingshot week but not only was it a slingshot week it was extra, extra calories.

How off plan was I?

*Gulp*

I averaged almost 400 calories per day above what I normally eat.

I felt like I was doing the weight loss part of the challenge a disservice but when the leggings banished my edema I honestly did not care if they helped me lose an inch this week so I resolved to go extra hard next week and take Chris’ advice to “Do your best.”

Let me take just a moment to interject, these leggings were an AWESOME layer against the freezing mountain air.  Last year on the same hunting trip under similar conditions, I froze the whole week.  This year I was so much warmer and more comfortable which also translated to LESS pain.

Oh Proskins, you keep me cozy, warm…now I am REALLY in love with you!

Do not think I was not experiencing conflict each time I put a cracker in my mouth.

Hey, crackers are portable and I needed easy to pack food.  My “best” choice under the circumstances.  But oh how I worried about what they would do to my weight loss efforts and I tried to not let those thoughts have too much of an audience because I wanted this time with my hubs to be fun.

It was!  We did not bag a deer but we had a blast!  Plus, I stayed warm and relatively pain-free for the whole week.

SCORE!

When Saturday morning rolled around and it was time for my weigh-in, I timidly stepped on the scale and this is what I saw: 269.4

Wait…what…no freakin’ way!

I ate enough calories to GAIN weight and my weight stayed the same!

What??????????

I was off plan, eating crackers, a fast food sandwich with 1580mgs of sodium plus other assorted junk, not exercising AND not gaining weight…Proskins Slim Leggings you are my new BFF like FOREVER and EVER!!

I promise you I have been trying to lose weight for over 11 years and this is NOT my normal without Proskins.

But wait…there’s more:

Waist: 45 for a loss of 1 whole inch

Hips: 53.75 for a loss of one-quarter inch

Thigh: 31.75 stayed the same…oy…these thighs are the bane of my existence

Calf: 18.25 not really a surprise because it takes a lot for my calves to move

Ankle: 9 for a loss of one-quarter inch…see I told you my edema was gone…I HAVE ANKLES!!

*Happy Dance all the way out to the yard to tell my hubs…woot, woot!

What I thought was the worst possible week to start this challenge, ended up to be the best week!

I didn't notice it at the time but I just love how the shadow makes me look bigger *sarcasm alert*

I didn’t notice it at the time but I just love how the shadow makes me look bigger *sarcasm alert*

And since one of my goals is to make my experience as close as this fibro girl can get to being on Extreme Weight Loss I decided to be really bold and have my husband take pictures of me in just my sports bra, hot pink of course…like you should be surprised, right…and my beloved Proskins.

See those awesome stretch marks. They have been there since my first pregnancy 25 years ago.

See those awesome stretch marks. They have been there since my first pregnancy 25 years ago.

If Proskins can do this under these circumstances what can they do when I am really focused, on-plan, and trying to lose weight.

What indeed….stay tuned next week to find out…I’ll just give you a hint the week’s not over yet and I’ve blown last week out of the water…oh yeah baby…Proskins I am one happy girl.

Just Remember This Confident Woman Has Feelings.

Just Remember This Confident Woman Has Feelings.

Cutting the Crap–How to Be Your Own Personal Trainer

Whether you are going it alone or working within some sort of support group, one of the hardest things to do is stay motivated when you would rather not.  How we handle those lonely, scared moments in our own heads is often the difference between success and failure.

Even though this blog is new, I am not new to the losing game.  As an adult, my first steps toward a healthy life started in 1998 but it took me until 2002 to finally get serious about health and fitness as a lifestyle and not just something I was playing around with.

My misguided youth taught me how to NOT be healthy so my first official act was to learn how to be healthy.  My first goal was to “Find Grace in the journey.”  I defined “Grace” as learning to love and appreciate my body as well as my success and especially my failures.

Why was this so important for me?

As a teenager I could box squat 227 pounds and run a 7-minute mile but all I could see in the mirror were my “fat” thighs.  I never saw the muscles that made both of those things possible.  I never appreciated the strength and the stamina it takes to accomplish things my very fit boyfriend could not do.

As an overweight, out-of-shape adult, I found myself wishing I could just go back and kick that little girl’s ass!

As unhealthy as my teenage body image was, my adult feelings about that teenager weren’t much better.  My adult conversations with myself about my current body were not kind.  After Grace, my next goal was to stop even thinking the word “cow” when I looked in the mirror.  I also wanted to at least make friends with my thighs.

Notice I have not mentioned anything about an “ideal” weight or a certain size because in the beginning and for the most part even now I do not have my sights set on numbers.  For me, that would be a danger zone.  It would set me back to the same “fat” thinking because my body did not conform to a certain standard.

One of the things I know with all the confidence in the world, is I am a non-conformist right down to the very cells in my body.  Just yesterday, I described myself as an “outlier” to a new doctor.  If you are not familiar with statistics, the outlier is the data which deviates so far from the standard it is eventually dropped from the data set and/or are considered an anomaly.  Fortunately, the new doctor appreciated my explanation and promised to figure out why my body behaves the way it does (more about him in another post).

So knowing and accepting my past and knowing and accepting my present also gives me an interesting challenge when it comes to losing weight.  To counter, I have had to really get inside my own head and quiet all the logical and rational concerns and fears.

One of my favorite techniques is to pick a person who I know would not let me get away with crap.  That person would be the one who would listen to my reasons and excuses and say, “Okay…so what are you going to do about it.”

Right now, my three favorites are Chris Powell, my counselor Jonathan, and my husband who I usually just call hubs.  They all are tough but fair and I admire and respect each of them.

When those little voices of doubt or laziness start to creep in I do a little check to make sure they are not valid physical or emotional concerns and then I imagine what they would say to me if we were having a conversation.

Let’s take my knee as a great example of how this works.  I have patellar femoralis syndrome in my right knee.  The truth is there are braces to help it AND my thighs are physically too big  to brace.  Of course, each time a doctor or surgeon has mentioned losing weight I become an irrational, crazy lady trying to explain my broken body and of course those learned men just see “fat girl = eats too much” and insists if I stop eating “bad” food the weight will come off.  The only thing that comes off is my head spinning in twelve different directions.  My hubs witnessed this one day last year and for the first time in my life someone outside of me said, “I believe you.”

This is my reality.  As much as I think all those doctors are total jerks and my husband is wonderful, I still have to function within this experience and without letting it bring me down.

But how?

On a day when my knee is flaring up, I close my eyes and think about that day.  My hubs’ big, strong arms help but I also need more.  That is when I need Chris.

On season three Chris had Bob Brenner on the show and if you saw it you know he started with ACL problems in one knee and tore the other knee while on the show.  He kept going.  Partially because he is a warrior but also because Chris used his creativity to figure out what Bob could do.

I am a warrior.

I am creative.

I can close my eyes and imagine myself telling Chris how much my knee hurts and every, single, damned time do you know what I see and hear back?  “Okay……so what CAN you do!”

It can be annoying when I am feeling weak but that is also what makes it such a powerful tool because it also helps me CUT THE CRAP!!! when I am really just trying to weasel out of a workout.

I can take an honest look at and admit sometimes I do want to weasel out of it.  Working out is hard work.  But, my real personality away from the size on the tag or the number on the scale is one who does not shy away from hard work.  Of course, fibromyalgia has tempered my ability to workout hard but it will never take my spirit to work as hard as I can.

I ain’t no weak girl–body, mind, spirit, and heart. My hubs says this is one of the sexiest things about me.  So, I have to play to this strength to increase my chances of success.

Chris put Bob on a bike to reduce the stress to his knees.  By the looks of Bob’s arms after the show–the man has some GUNS–he also did a lot of upper body work on days when his knees weren’t too happy.

I do not have a bike–yet.  Does that let me off the hook?

Nope.

There are days when that knee hurts extra, super, and a lot that the only thing I do at the gym is arms and abs.  It is what I CAN do…for that day.  I have decided, with their help, my knee is not a reason to avoid the gym.  And you know what?  Under the fluff, there are some muscles growing.  Even with over 100 pounds of excess weight, I can see shape and form and I can absolutely feel the added strength and stamina.

Having knee pain and having fibromyalgia and RECLAIMING my body is about what I CAN do and not how these things hold me back.

Cut the crap…get moving in whatever way you can!

All images and illustrations courtesy of Quality Stock Photos.

Announcing–Proskins Partnership

Those of you who follow along on Facebook might remember me being a coy announcement a couple of months ago about a being contacted via Twitter by a company with whom I would develop a partnership. I was mum about the details at the time but I am very excited to reveal Proskins is the company.

What is Proskins?

I am so glad you asked. They are a revolutionary fitness gear company based in the U.K. They have asked bloggers, including me, to use and review their gear. Most of the bloggers are pro or paid bloggers, but a few, like me, are non-pro or paid bloggers with a niche and a following. As far as I can tell I am the only blogger with fibromyalgia and all her special challenges so I am even more honored for Proskins to recognize my outreach efforts.  As someone in the thick of a stubborn weight loss journey I am very interested in how this product performs against its claims.

Proskins has several product lines but I will be reviewing their Slim line.

Honestly, at first I was skeptical about the company but I have investigated them and read the reviews of over two dozen other bloggers and I am very excited to share this company and my personal results with you.

Just so we are all on the same page, Proskins has given me a free pair of their slim leggings in exchange for my participation in their 28-Day Challenge of wearing the leggings at least eight hours a day and recording my measurements and providing a weekly blog post about my experience. I am taking their challenge a step further and reviewing the product here on this blog and on fibromyalgia THRIVER blog http://itsarealpain.wordpress.com/.

My reasoning for going the extra mile is we fibro people do have different challenges and expectations than the non-fibro population would so as much as possible I would like to review the product from these two very different points-of-view since the product claims to be helpful with issues that face most fibro patients including edema, fatigue, and temperature regulation. Then here on my weight loss and fitness blog I will limit my reviews to that scope only.  The Slim product claims include helping with cellulite and inch and weight loss so the reviews on this blog will focus tightly on that aspect alone.

I am excited to share this experience with you and I am grateful to Proskins for coming into my life at a moment when I needed to do something like this. It is rather difficult for me to be trapped–oh I know I rarely use such a negative description about my experience with fibro–by fibromyalgia and this partnership helped me see a whole new world of possibilities and new ways of THRIVING with fibromyalgia. Thank you Proskins! You have given me leggings but you have also helped given me new legs on which to stand.

Now for the truly terrifying part…

As you know, I am in the midst of a weight loss journey. What you do not know is how absolutely ready I am to increase the level of transparency about my journey. I have had many conversations with my husband, friends, and especially my counselor about my plans and they have all been wonderfully supportive. However, I would not be a good steward to my emotional and fibromyalgia selves if I did not at least consider the possibility of someone deciding to use my increased transparency as a new reason to mock me. It is never going to stop hurting when people no matter how emotionally close or distant decide to be unkind. Frankly if it ever did, I would worry because the truth is for as fibro tough as I am, I am still a sensitive, tender soul and this past year as been particularly difficult in that regard. And even as I say that I also know I would not be me if I let small-minded people hold me back so it is with great courage and a lot of faith that I push myself in this way. In other words, there will be pictures and it makes me every bit as anxious and ill as my first days as a journalist. Be nice people, please.

Sometime by Monday, my first official review will go up. I say “by Monday” simply because I need to get my husband to hold still long enough to take those dreaded photos so I can include them in my progress blogs. Then for I will continue to post weekly to both blogs through the duration of the challenge.

Proskins, all I have to say to you is you had better be worth it! And if what I have experienced so far is any indication you are! Thanks again for choosing me because it means more than I can ever articulate!

THRIVE ON!