Tracy Anderson Metamorphoses: Dynamic Eating Plan: Week One Recap...

In my previous post, I talked about restarting TA Metamorphoses, but mostly about the Dyamic Eating Plan.

I am starting Week Two of the Dynamic Eating Plan today.   This is a day late, for a couple of reasons:  

1.   Despite my careful measurements and conversions for the recipes, I wound up with several extra servings of the sweet potato puree, and the gazpacho, both of which I really liked.

2.   I wound up going out for dinner and/or drinks three nights this past week, as well as one lunch out.

It was much easier to stay with what I was already working with.   As of yesterday morning (Day 8), I had lost 2.5 pounds!   But this morning (after dining out late last night), I was back up 2/5 of a pound.   I think that's more from the late hour of dinner, and I expect that will be shed in the next day or so.  

Here are my observations, of the eating plan, so far:

1.   I never realized what an impact cutting out milk products would make for my appearance:  my skin looks tighter across my fat-hoarding areas:  abdomen, hips, and buttcheeks.  

2.   I did not cut out coffee, and I'm using coconut creamer (vanilla-flavored, and it is sweetened).   However... I find I'm drinking coffee more recreationally - I don't have the same caffeine cravings I had before I started this plan.

3.  Something in the carrot-parsnip puree (carrots, parsnips, chicken stock), made me ITCH.   Like, hands itching, eyelids itching, chin itching, random spots on my back and arms itching.   I ate this four days of the plan, and was able to duplicate the reaction on servings 2, 3, and 4.

I used the same chicken stock/broth in the protein soup (Better than Bouillon chicken flavor, and Swanson low-sodium chicken broth). So it's the carrots or the parsnips.   Since there were carrots in the soup, and I didn't get an itchy reaction, I have to assume the parsnips were the culprit, so I'm going to keep an eye out for this ingredient in the future, as it seems to be a popular ingredient in these hipster, southern-cuisine places that we like to visit.

4.  I hated the blueberry applesauce.   Haaaaaated it.   Not because of the apples and the blueberries - but because the daily serving was 11 ounces, and my god, that's a lot of blandness to choke down.   BUT.   I found that if I ate 8 ounces, all the 'sweet' cravings seemed to go away, and I could hoard the magic chocolate pudding for the end of the day.

5.  The magic chocolate pudding is what makes this plan work, in Week One.   Because I knew I had that pudding waiting for me, I was able to resist the temptation of chocolate or sweets in other places.   If I stopped for coffee at Starbucks (did this twice), I was able to gaze dispassionately at the cake pops, and shrug.   Because there was magic chocolate pudding waiting at home for me.

Dining out, I found it was much easier to choose better options - I made sure that a salad made up at least half of every meal.

Starting tomorrow, I am on week two, which is basically protein (eggs, turkey bacon, chicken or tuna) + fruit or vegetable carbs (berries, salad or spinach) for breakfast and dinner, and a ThinkThin protein bar for lunch.   At first, I thought this would be not nearly enough calories.  But...

Using this BMR calculator... for my ideal "fighting weight" (108-112 pounds), around 1050 maintains this weight.   And for my current weight (123.6 this morning)... 1111 calories maintains this weight.

Granted, this is under very restrictive, 'basic' activity.  Physical activity would up the amount of calories that I can eat to maintain weight.   In the past, 1300-1400 calories normally kept me feeling very energetic, and I stayed at 111-114.

So I am going to try Week Two, aka, "Body Reset" and see how it goes.   I've given myself permission to have extra chicken and extra salad if I feel like I'm hungry.

In truth, though, Louis CK really says it all, about hunger...

Undertakings: A Show, Choreographing, and Tracy Anderson Metamorphoses

Yesterday, I (re-)started Tracy Anderson Metamorphoses, in earnest - and the 'Dynamic Eating Plan'.

I did this for three reasons:

1.   I've gained 14 pounds since last June, when our WONDERLAND show closed, and a constant regime of flamenco classes and dance rehearsals, ended.   I resumed a social life, that was based largely around eating and drinking with friends on their 'cheat days'.

I have learned that alcohol is my gateway drug to non-stop grazing.   If I have a drink, then an appetizer sounds like a great idea.   What, we're getting dessert?   Okay, I'll have some too!   Yeah.  No.   I've gone back to my no-drinking-at-the-restaurant policy.  

Also, I found out in early December that there is alcoholic root beer, which is responsible for at least three holiday pounds.

2.   I have just been cast in a show!   I'll be playing Sweet Sue, in Sugar: The Musical.   We open in three months, and I would like to be a good fighting weight for stage.

3.   I've also just signed on for a nine-month series of private flamenco lessons in which I choreograph my own dance piece.   I'm super-excited about this - I've chosen to choreograph a farruca.  To do the kind of work I'm envisioning, I really need to be in much better cardio condition.

I have to say, I really love Tracy Anderson's workouts - even though I have not consistently followed them, since first starting them in 2010.   I started out with her book, and the accompanying DVD.   I was amazed at the difference that just a few workouts made in my arms and shoulders.   I bought Metamorphoses several years ago, and intermittently worked my way up to #41-50 (which happened a few weeks ago).  That workout, #41-50, is harder, and faster, than I can really quite keep up with, so I had the idea of starting over, and going straight through.   I'll talk about the workouts in a future post.

Today I want to talk about the 'Dynamic Eating Plan' that is part of the Metamorphoses.   My baby sister just completed the first week, and it didn't kill her.    So I thought I would go ahead and give this a try.

So what does the 'Dynamic Eating Plan' entail?

It consists of 'Nutrient Boost' weeks, alternated with 'Body Reset' weeks.   The best way I can sum it up is, 'Nutrient Boost' = lots of pureed foods that had to be chopped and/or peeled, then steamed and processed in a food processor or blender.   But it includes a Magical Chocolate Pudding made largely out of chocolate chips.

Seriously.   A diet that has chocolate EVERY DAY.   Yes, please!

Then there are the 'Body Reset' weeks, which is basically a pared-down, reduced calorie diet.   There are critics who call it crash-dieting, but I'm just gonna say it:   I have ample assfat right now, that I'm not going to starve.   And in truth, although I do it rarely, having a day of reduced calories, usually in anticipation of a big outing, helps me focus and kind of 'reset' my tendency to snackity-snack-snack.

As of this writing, I'm on Day Two of the first week.   I feel great, full of energy, and the recipes are quite good.  I feel like I'm being fed very well.

So here is what I had to do though, to prep for this week.  Not gonna lie, this was a time-sink...

Shopping the grocery list:    Alas, it does not seem to have occurred to Tracy Anderson and any individual(s) who were part of editing her documents, that a shopping list with everything you need to prepare these meals, in the amounts you will need, would be super-handy.   Nope.   Planning and cooking your meals, requires a lot of math.  The recipes yield either two or three servings, and you have to go through, ingredient by ingredient, calculate what you will need for seven meals (all of the week one recipes are eaten every day, 4-11 ounces depending)... and in most cases, the cups/bags of vegetables/containers do not come out evenly for seven servings, so you have to plan for eight.

No big deal, as you can freeze the extras, for week three.

So.   You do your math, and get your shopping list together.

Then you shop:   I spent 45 minutes wandering the produce aisle of Kroger, hunting down ingredients I don't normally buy.   I did find everything I needed at the middle-of-the-road chain grocery store.   I spent probably around $80.   If I had gone to the local farmer's market, I would have probably come in at around $55-62, but I needed non-grocery stuff too.

I hauled all this stuff home, and got started....

Food prep:   It took me 5 1/2 hours, in my super-organized, KonMari'd kitchen, to chop, steam, bake chicken, peel, run things through the food processor and blender, and to clean up everything.

I made:

Blueberry-Applesauce with cinnamon (I added apple pie spice)
Gazpacho (I forgot to buy cilantro, and after I made the gazpacho, I realized I forgot to put the bell peppers in.   Oops.   Still tasty)
Sweet potato and corn puree (I added salt)
Carrot and Parsnip Puree (I added coriander and some extra salt)
Protein soup (aka, chicken, broccoli, and carrot soup.   I skipped celery because celery is Satan's garnish.)
Chocolate Chestnut Pudding (chestnuts make me itchy sometimes, so I substituted blueberries, as indicated on the sheet)

You aren't supposed to make substitutions or add seasonings or extra salt, but I did.  Just being honest.

I will also note that I did not make the Power Juice.  It is largely made of kale.   Kale is Satan's lettuce.  The taste has to be very cleverly masked before I'll have anything to do with it, because in it's natural state, it smells like my feet do when I take my flamenco shoes and polyester-based pointe pads off.     My baby sis made the power juice, and choked down about half a glass before giving it up as a bad idea.   She bought a pre-packaged 'green juice', instead.   Her exact words for the recipe were "Chewy Straw Sips", which was all I needed to hear.   I bought a bottled green drink.   The TA version says 10 ounces, but I cut mine back to 8 ounces, because there is more straight-up apple juice in the store version, than the TA recipe.

The TA plan also indicates you should not have coffee, to which I say, that's a big ol' cup of nope.   I love my coffee.   Tray-tray does say you can have a couple glasses of wine every week.   I'll pass on the gateway-drug-to-snacking, but I'm not giving up my coffee.

Yesterday was Day One, and I drank my green juice an hour before a 90-minute advanced flamenco class.   I felt great, had lots of energy and focus.   I brought the applesauce with me, and had half of the serving after class.   I meant to finish it later, but forgot.   Yesterday, I also had the sweet potato-and-corn puree, the chocolate pudding, about half a serving of the gazpacho... and then I went out to dinner with friends, at FLIP.   (I put the link here, because omg, look at the menu.   I loooove this place).  I had the turkey burger, a casear salad, some baked beans (like 1/4 cup, and shared the rest) and some fried pickles.   I found that, because I had the chocolate pudding waiting at home, I was able to decline the Burnt-Marshmallow Nutella Shake, which I'm pretty sure contains unicorn tears and rainbows and has roughly 10,000 calories.

I had thought to wait until this dinner was done before starting TA, but the whole point - in my opinion - is to be able to function normally and socially.   If I waited to start this until a week where I don't have dinner plans, I would never even get this program started.

So it is 9pm, and I have had everything on the plan for today, except four ounces of the blueberry-applesauce, which I probably won't get to.   I feel really good - lots of energy, and no feelings of deprivation.

Next week is trickier, because the meals are just three meals, of a protein and a fruit/vegetable serving at every meal - but the servings are small.   I'm going to try the first day, and if I feel significant hunger or loss of energy, I'm going to make the salad stuff 'unlimited', and up the protein.   But we'll see.   I'd like to follow this plan closely, but it also has to work for the next 90 days, around a lot of creative work, and rehearsals.

So... I'll let you know how it goes :)   So far, so good!

Resolutions for 2016 - Part One, The Fluffy Stuff

I always want to roll my eyes at New Year's Resolutions.  I like to think I'm above all that frantic, frenzied, inescapable  "I'm gonna change everything about me and be a whole new different person" babbling that makes me look forward mid-January and its inevitable die-down.

Haha, I'm not.   Five weeks of orgiastic feasting and partying is done.  Everybody's packed up their toys and headed home.  What else is there to do?

I did a post on the You Look Fab forums last year, outlining my style resolutions for 2015.  They were pretty good, and I mostly stuck to them, so I'm keeping them for 2016.

In a nutshell, these were/are my style goals:

1.  My overarching goal is to continue culling and simplifying my wardrobe - CHECK! 

I did a massive closet purge this year (thanks, Marie Kondo!).   I'm going to continue this process in 2016:  go back through my closet, and tackle the other closet, which houses theatrical costumes, and formalwear.

2.   To be impeccably groomed - hair cut and color, nails, mascara, lip gloss, and perfume - CHECK!

I was very good about this, even on most days spent working from home.  Gonna keep up the good work.

3.   To keep my wardrobe in good condition, visiting the tailor and the cobbler as needed - CHECK!

I had half a dozen pairs of beloved shoes re-soled and repaired, and a handful of items altered.   I did clothing repairs myself:  darning holes, fixing ripped seams, re-sewing buttons.

Of the items I had professionally altered, I found that I wore skirts and pants that were altered, but ended up getting rid of altered dresses after one, or no wears.   I had three leather skirts repaired or taken in by a tailor, and I wear those regularly, so I can see where getting leather separates altered is well worth the money.

For 2016, I mean to take on some simple alterations myself, including shortening hems, slimming skirts and tops, and adding lace or beading to certain items.

4.  To stay true to my personal style, as outlined on my Pinterest boards - KIND OF.  

Until recently, I was still struggling to define and express my style.   That nut cracked open for me this past month, when I was introduced to Betony Vernon's jewelry line.   For 2016, I want to pursue Betony's theme of 'Sado Chic', expanded to an all-encompassing wardrobe concept.  

Under this umbrella of Sado Chic, I want to include a bit of safari + dieselpunk (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Chinoiserie motifs, and an Italian retro look.  Dolce and Gabbana best sums up my idea of Italian Retro, in their A/W 2015 line.

My other challenge for 2016, will be translating these ideas into hot-weather clothing.  Last year was difficult because JC bought a convertible, and I took up swimming.   I spent more time outdoors than I ever have, since childhood.  I have fair, freckly skin that burns fast.   I want clothing that will allow me to stay cool and covered, and resists damage and staining from sunscreen - AND aligns with my Sado Chic style concept.

5.   To take more photos of the outfits I wear, and to track these outfits in my Excel spreadsheet - KIND OF.

In my spreadsheet, I note the date, what I did that day, what I wore, my happiness factor, and idea tweaks for the next time I wear the outfit.   I do this for reference, so that if I need an outfit and I'm stuck, I can say 'Oh yeah, I wore this one outfit and LOVED it'.   It's pretty useful.

The only thing is, I haven't regularly notated these outfits, the way I have in previous years.  

I also tried on everything in my closet, back in August, and photographed myself, which helped me purge a LOT of items.   I also took photos of many of my outfits, but again, it was kind of sporadic.

And as it turned out, I lost all of those photos, because my built-in mouse on my laptop started failing and I somehow dragged and 'lost' the folder, either on my laptop, or in our shared network.  Which  is a compelling argument for why one should never allow someone to take naked pictures of oneself.

For 2016, I want to try and keep documenting my outfits in Excel and photographing, but I'm not going to make it priority.

I also have a few more things to add to my list for 2016:

6.   I want to build up a better dancewear/loungewear wardrobe.

7.   I want to learn to do more advanced sewing alterations.

8.  I want to design and sew three types of bras for myself:  

  •     A convertible front-plunge bra, that allows for a plunge-back dress or top.
  •     A strapless bra that actually lifts, instead of squashing my boobs downwards.
  •     A compression bra to sleep in, that looks like lingerie, instead of being sporty.   

I wear a 30-32DD or E-cup, and have not found anything that fits any of these categories for me.  I anticipate that this resolution will stretch into 2017.

What I'm not planning to do in early 2016:   Another capsule wardrobe.  I enjoyed the experiment this fall, learned a lot, but it took up a good bit of time in planning/agonizing.   I have other things to focus on right now, but I may repeat the experience later this year.

So what about you?   Have you made any resolutions for 2016?

Things I've learned with the passing of the year....

1. Not taking a cough suppressant made my cough go away. I wish I had a time machine so I could go back and tell Four-Days-Ago-Me this.

2. Drinking nearly an entire bottle of cheap Champagne for New Year's 1992, did not go well. Drinking nearly an entire bottle's worth of cheap Prosecco (in Kir Royales) for New Year's 2016, is similarly not.going.well. I wish I had a time machine, so I could go back and tell 21-Year-Old-Me to write a note, telling 45-Year-Old-Me this.

3.  Those little pink Pepto-Bismol tablets are nasty, then magical, in equal measure.

Happy New Year, y'all.

The Power Pause: How I decided whether to pull the trigger.


The Schutz "Nildy" pump in action.

This fall, I've been quite good about shopping deliberately and specifically, for my wardrobe. I've been very happy with my purchases, most of which have enjoyed immediate and repeated wearings.  

I would love to say my wardrobe is complete, but really, does that ever happen? I can't think of anything I need.

But I can think of many things I desire.

These shoes, for example.  

They are the "Nildy" pumps, by Schutz - one of my favorite shoe brands. I've been watching these shoes on a sales site for the past 7 or 8 months. I've never pulled the trigger because they were pricey. I knew that if the price came down, I would seriously consider buying these shoes.

The seller recently brought the price down.  

These are the actual shoes - all black leather, no patent or suede.

I want these shoes. I crave these shoes. I desire these shoes.

Do I need these shoes?  


Why would I buy them?

1. They fit in well with my current cool weather uniforms of jeans or pencil skirt + knit top and sleek topper. 

2. The ankle cuff, straps and hardware give them a very Sado-Chic vibe.

3. They are made by Schutz, which leads me to expect that they will be superlative, in terms of materials and craftsmanship.

4. With the shipping, they come in under $40.  If they don't work out, I'm reasonably certain I can sell them and make back those costs.

Why am I hesitating?

1. They have a 4.5" heel, and the platform is about .25", which kind of makes it not a platform at all. I can wear a 4" heel comfortably, but anything higher puts them into 'special event' wear, i.e., anything where JC and a valet pick me up and drop me off at doors, and I don't have to do quite so much walking. Whereas, I envision these more for regular going out, i.e. wear with jeans and a turtleneck while I down alcoholic root beer and shoot down older gents who fancy themselves 'playahs'.

You know, proper bitch shoes.

2. I have half-a-dozen pairs of black leather heels that fit the 'going-out' bill. But I like to split wears, because that's what keeps my feet and ankles in good, stilettos-sporting shape.

What to do... what to do...

I'm taking a Power Pause, where I take a specific amount of time and consider, dispassionately whether to buy an item. This can last anywhere from 12 hours, to a year or more.

Here is what I'm asking myself...

1. Do I already have something similar to these shoes? Not really. I have one other pair of ankle strap pumps, my Schutz Ellas. The Ellas are patent leather, and have a daintier, and more formal vibe. I feel that the Nildys can be dressed down into a more casual look.

2. Can I express myself fully in these shoes? Black leather, Sado-Chic, Stiletto Bitch Shoes. YES.

3. Do they compare in quality to a benchmark item? Compared to my Schutz Ellas and Gilbertas, and my Tom Ford tassel pumps, I would say very likely, although I have not yet seen them in person.

4. Are they multi-seasonal? Can they be worn with or without hosiery? This is very important, because May to October can be pretty hot in the south.

I believe I can wear these in the summer with skinny jeans or pencil skirt + casual tee. I think they will work equally well with or without hosiery.

I recently purged a pair of black 'summer' stiletto sandals, that started squeaking. These could fill in for those sandals.

5. If they don't work out, can I re-sell them and recoup my losses? I'm certain I can.

So far, this is looking pretty good. But here is the big-money question:

How can I make these wearable for the six-block walk from condo to car, and car to venue?

These shoes are half a size larger than my regular size. My cobbler carries really good ball-of-foot pads in his shop. I feel I can pad these up another quarter inch. As mentioned already, if they don't work out, I can always resell them.

I have not yet pulled the trigger, but I plan to sit down and make the purchase later today. I will keep you posted!

The Nildys, in grey, multi-media

Do you ever pause, before deciding on a wardrobe purchase?

What I'm Trying to Say, Is...

I have recently finished a remarkable book, "Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style", by Cintra Wilson.  

Amongst a wealth of fascinating observations and ideas, is this singular notion:   what we put on our bodies, every day, provides a very intimate snapshot of our inner selves - warts and all - to anyone who knows to look.

Mind = Blown.

In the book's introduction, Ms. Wilson notes, 

"Your style is your visual interface with the rest of the world... The way you dress reveals both what you know about yourself... and also what you don't.   When you compose an outfit, you are creating a statement that is, essentially, a shorthand mini-autobiography."

She goes on to add, 

"Your outfit can give the clothing-attuned eye a flood of semi-impressions - a peek into your bank account, an up-to-the-minute self-esteem update, and a periscope into your bedroom (to name a few). ....  an outfit can sum up a human being like a two-sentence TV Guide film synopsis".

I'm absolutely enthralled with this book.   I finished it about ten days ago, and I'm already re-reading it.  This book has changed how I look at people and what I notice about them, via their sartorial choices.   It is an exciting new language that I suddenly comprehend.

This book also prompted me look more closely at myself.  What am I trying to say to the world?  I've never quite thought of it in this way.   I knew that I wanted to 'appear' a certain way, but this goes so much farther - it is active, unspoken communication, via clothing and shoes.

Over the past two months, I have been wearing the same 'uniforms', over and over again:

1)  High-necked, fitted knit top + wiggle skirt + stiletto heels
2)  High-neck, very fitted knit top + skinny jeans + stiletto heels/low-heeled equestrian boots/low-heeled pumps

My topper is either a leather moto, a black knit jacket or a black zip cardigan.
Jewelry is simple:  pearl or diamond studs, a few matching bracelets.   
Hats are either cadet caps, a faux-fur Russian cossack, or a wool beret.
My bags are either large black handbags, or small colorful cross-body bags.
I always wear hosiery with the skirts, in the fall and winter.

The common denominators for my outfits, is that everything is covered up and very fitted.  Clothing is stretchy, for ease of movement.   Dark.  Sleek.  Spiky.    I think my love for sci-fi uniforms and sado-chic fetish is clearly presented.

What am I saying with my sartorial choices?    I was astonished at how clearly and quickly the answer presented itself...

"It's all here for you to see - but it is veiled, wrapped up, because I am a sacred mystery.   I'm not here for you to gawk at.   You're going to have to look me in the eye, smile, and speak clearly.    If you want to see more, you're going to have to 'see' me first, for who I am:  an intelligent, reasonable, human being, and you are going to accord me the time, attention, and respect that I deserve".

There is a societal trend to 'overshare'.   On social media, in conversation, on television, and in our collective manner of dress.   This trend makes me uneasy and uncomfortable.   I'm not that conservative, and I don't dress to hide my body.   Even though I am fully covered, my body is clearly outlined within the clothes.   I am happy with my figure, even with my weight gain this year.   However, I have a large bust, and I dislike that being the focus of attention when I first meet people.   I also dislike that many people - men and women both - seem to want to judge my intellect by my bra size, or the shape of my behind.

I go out frequently with friends and colleagues, in social situations.   Sometimes I know everyone in the room, but more often, there is a sea of strangers standing between me and the friends I'm meeting up with.

There is a clothing trend out there, that I see on women of all ages, where their 'going-out' outfit consists of a dress that is low-cut, strapless, strappy or sleeveless, and very short.   These little lampshades are inevitably paired with ridiculously high platform sandals, held precariously to their feet with inadequate straps.   There is usually a lack of hosiery.

I want to say there is nothing wrong with this outfit, but I cannot.   In my opinion, there are several things that are glaringly wrong.   In the absence of large amounts of alcohol, none of these women ever seem fully at-ease with themselves, in this attire.   Also, this is a chilly protoype to wear when it's below 65 degrees outside.   And this type of stiletto platform seems exceptionally heavy and awkward to walk in.

And need I say it?   Men don't seem to know how to behave or talk to women dressed in this manner.

What response do I get, in my fully-covered get-up?   With strangers, it's mixed.   For some people, how I dress is off-putting or intimidating.   On the surface, this isn't an open, friendly look.   For the person whose gaze goes past the outfit, to my eyes, the outfit doesn't matter, because I am an open, friendly person, and I wear that on my face.

For the people who know me, they are either complimentary, or non-committal, and we move on with our lives and have fun.

Have you ever considered your clothing in this manner?   If so, what is your message?   What would you like your message to be?    Do your choices reflect this?

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays!   I wish you a season full of magic...

... and glamour!

... may you always be the center of attention...

Here is hoping you have a lenient boss, when you stagger into work the morning after...

Bob Cratchit's Raise
"I am very sorry, sir, I am behind my time... It shall not be repeated.  I'm afraid I was making rather merry."

Crack open a cold one...

It's root beer, AND it's alcoholic.   MAGIC!

Have a wonderful, wonderful day today - and every day!  Whatever celebration you choose for your festivities, I wish you much love and joy this season!

In my world, every day is Festivus.

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