Hey interwebz, how’s it going?

This last year has been a difficult one…lots of struggles and changes. The biggest being that I was laid off from my job of thirteen years this fall. I’m only 31 and although I had several positions at the company over the years, it was the only company I had ever worked for. Though it is definitely a jarring change, it is a change that is long overdue and so I’m actually pretty pumped to see what the future will bring.

Aside from spending hours Netflixing Saved By The Bell (just kidding…sort of…), I’ve been sending out resumes. I don’t have a lot of experience looking for jobs or interviewing, so the whole process makes me very apprehensive.

I’m also nervous about my large wardrobe of clothes that are either inappropriate for work or simply don’t fit anymore.

(2 years of stress eating….really not good for the clothing situation. Two steps forward, one step back, eh?)

I realize that I HAVE  to do something about this so that when the calls start coming in for interviews, I’ll be ready.


I am completely incapable of dressing myself.

Seriously. If there are no stained tees or yoga pants involved, then I really just sort of freeze up and panic.

So I decided to jump on the bandwagon and give StitchFix a try.

What is Stitch Fix? I will try to give you a quick rundown:

1) Register with the website and fill out a style survey.

2) Schedule a “fix”, which can either be on a reoccurring monthly schedule or a one time only deal. Once you schedule a fix, your credit card will be charged a $20 styling fee.

3) A stylist goes over your survey and comes up with 5 items of clothing and/or accessories/jewelry, packs them up in a box with suggestions on how to wear them and sends them your way.

4) Once you receive your fix, simply try everything on, and return anything you don’t want in the prepaid priority mail envelope included with your order.

5) Check out online — You’ll be able to make comments about your items so that any future fixes will be more accurate. In addition, if you take all 5 of your items, you receive a 25% discount. Lastly, that $20 styling fee? If you keep anything in your fix, it will go towards the purchase (ex. You keep a $50 blouse, you will only be charged an additional $30 at checkout)

And that’s about it!

So I just got my first fix yesterday:


Cosie was pretty stoked about the whole thing. She figured she’d help me unpack….



Styling suggestions for the items I was sent.


Bensen 3/4 Ruched Sleeve Blazer

Heartbroken! I saw the awesome color on this blazer when I opened my box and I reached for it right away. The material is SO soft and I loved the look and style of this jacket. The problem, however, is that it was WAY too small. Even though it was no where near fitting, I tried it on a few times and kept wondering how long it would take for me to lose 25 pounds. Ha.

One of the problems with me and blazers is that I carry a lot of weight in my mid section…even when I was 40 pounds lighter I couldn’t find a blazer that fit right. Whoever can find me a cute blazer that actually fits gets a prize. For reals.

Verdict: Sent Back



Donelle V-Neck Button-Up Cardigan

Right out of the box, I noticed a problem. A hole! Bummer!

I knew I couldn’t keep the sweater, but I did try it on. It was way too form fitting for my chunky mid-section. It was a definite NO. That being said, the material felt nice. Don’t know what the hole says for the quality of the garment though.

Verdict: Sent Back


Mercer Houndstooth Print Henley Blouse

This blouse is a sheer material, but comes with a built-in cami underneath. The shirt fit, but it didn’t really do a lot for me. I sort of looked like a boxy rectangle. I did like the built-in cami though, as it helped smooth out my lumpy bits. I actually spent some time debating this item. Though I didn’t look great in it, it was something that is work appropriate and I really don’t have a lot of items that fit that bill right now. Maybe if it had been cheaper, I’d have kept it.

Verdict: Sent Back


Thisbe Colorblocked Open Draped Cardigan

This item, was a winner. The material is lovely. It also is fairly flattering on me and very comfortable. I almost skipped out on it though, as I do have another open draped cardigan, which is also gray. This one, however, fits me so much better, so I pulled the trigger.

Verdict: Kept!


Just Black Connely Skinny Jean

I also received a pair of black skinny jeans, which I didn’t take a picture of.

They were the most puzzling item for me out of the entire fix. Why? Because Alexa doesn’t do skinny jeans. Seriously, I don’t own ANY skinny jeans. I have a lot of weight in my thighs and my calves are huge. Skinny jeans have always just seemed like a big mistake.

But I gave ’em a go anyway.

I was actually pleasantly surprised….I could get them on! They were too long, so I had to cuff them. Then I looked in the mirror: I couldn’t figure out if I looked stylish and trendy or like a sausage.

I tried several different tops/sweaters/etc with them and I almost kept them. I mean, I wear yoga pants outside, which are skin-tight, and I don’t care about that, right? The deciding factor was that they kept sliding down in the back, which would force me to yank them back up. Maybe I needed a size up? Too much junk in the trunk?

If they had been cheaper, I think I would have kept them despite the fact that the fit wasn’t perfect. But when you’re unemployed, $78 is just too much for something that you’re unsure of.

These pants did, however, convince me of the fact that maybe I should try to find a good pair of skinny jeans that actually fit.

Verdict: Sent Back

Overall, I had a really good experience with StitchFix. Despite only finding one piece that I really loved in the box, I think the stylist got close to what I’d like to try. I’m definitely going to try this again, as the fixes are supposed to just get better and better as they get more information about what works for you. I’ve also made a Pinterest board, which I think will be helpful. If any of you have an interest in giving StitchFix a whirl, please use my referral link HERE so I can get a $25 credit and not have to go to any future job interviews naked!

NOTE: I am not affiliated with StitchFix in any way, shape or manner. I paid for this fix myself and am blogging about it only because it seems like the only thing I’ve had worth blogging about in months.

Life isn’t a full steam ahead, non-stop journey. There are zigs, zags and times when you don’t move at all. Even days when it seems like you are moving backwards. Every single one of those experiences and the feelings that accompany them are part of the process, so try your best to not lose perspective. Talk yourself down from being frustrated and don’t lose sight of your goals. And if you don’t have any goals, make some—that may be part of the problem.

I had to remind myself of that today. It sounds sooooo ridiculous, but I got all hot and bothered at myself today because I was having a set back in my bicycle practice.

Oh, yeah. As i briefly eluded to in another post, i learned how to ride a bike 4 months ago at 30 years old. I rented a bike 2 or 3 times, but finally bought a used bike off of Craigslist a couple of weeks ago and am trying to learn how to do more than fall down.


So anywho, I went out to practice today. I am still getting used to my bike…and biking in general, so I am totally not ready for the streets. The problem I am having is that I am also terrified of parks. Every place I go in San Francisco has a crap ton of people (also known as obstacles/moving targets…) and I get all wigged out. But last session I was doing much better, so I was excited to get daring.

And then I got all scared and wound up walking my bike all through Golden Gate Park.

I am a winner!

As I walked through the park….right next to the damn bike lane, I really started to beat myself up mentally. There are little 8 year old kids riding in traffic…why am I such a loser? Why can’t I do it? Why did I even buy a bike? It’s getting dark, I should just go home. Blah. Blah. Blah. Whine. Whine. Whine.

After about 15 minutes of feeling super sorry for myself, I started thinking about the above. About how when I learned to swim (at age 27…) how it took several sessions for me to not be scared to float on my back and how even after I learned to swim, it would still usually take me a couple of laps with a kick board before I became comfortable. About how it took me two times to pass the road test for my driver’s license because I pushed myself to take it before I was ready the first time and panicked because of it. About all of the runs I have done where I couldn’t even go a whole mile and those other days where I ran races and had fun….two of them being half marathons.

Learning is a process. It takes time. Sometimes you have a bad day. It happens. Then I thought about how the same is true for life in general. Then I found an unpopulated (except for a couple of really creepy people….I need to like, bring friends or something….anyone out there barely know how to ride a bike and want to be my biking buddy?) area and tooled around, working on gear shifting, turns, taking my hands off the handlebars to signal (still can’t do it without losing control. Darn..) and looking over my shoulder while keeping a straight line.

Then I felt better and headed home, riding in the bikeway (that I wouldn’t use on the way out) a lot of the time. Also rode back through the panhandle without taking out any joggers or women with strollers.

By the time I was locking up my bike, I thought about what a good practice session it had been and about how glad I was that I had talked myself down and kept going, even if I mentally needed to walk my bike half of the time.

Even a little time in the saddle is better than none at all.

Shame and guilt are fairly powerful emotions. Just this past week I was watching news coverage (or was it an episode of the Colbert Report? It all runs together… *cough* …) about strategies used in the Presidential election and it was revealed that campaigns actually used shame/guilt as tools to get voters to go to the polls. The person being interviewed said that they would actually send letters or make phone calls telling individuals how many of their neighbors had voted in recent elections, compared to the person’s own voter record. This would hopefully guilt the slacker to vote because they wouldn’t want any of their neighbors to find out that they don’t vote. I’m sure it was a lot more complicated and statistical than I am making it sound, but it is just another example of how these emotions can affect a person’s actions.

Now in the case of convincing someone to vote, maybe the results are good. I mean, people should vote…it’s a right that not everyone in this world has and we should all be happy to have it. What about if you are ashamed of how dirty your apartment is or feeling guilty you haven’t picked up the phone to call a friend? Acting based on shame or guilt might also be considered a good thing. I mean, if you are ashamed of your mess, you clean it up and then yay, you have a clean apartment. Or you call that friend and have a great chat and your friendship becomes stronger than ever. Another really positive outcome.

I’m making shame and guilt sound pretty awesome, no?

But what about when the affects of shame/guilt aren’t so grand?

Making fun of someone for how they dress or look isn’t so hot. Being ashamed that you can’t afford nicer, better clothes or that you have big ears because it runs in your Dad’s side of the family is pretty crappy. And being made to experience this shame on a constant basis would probably cause some pretty distressed emotions. Or what about a woman choosing to put her child in daycare? It’s something she needs to do to meet her family’s needs, but what if she is made to feel guilty for not taking care of her child? If constantly there was something making her feel like she was a failure or a bad mother because she needs to make certain choices? That kind of guilt could be devastating.

In my life, I suffer extreme bouts of shame and guilt over food.

I know it sounds ridiculous, right?

It’s just food.

But not to me it isn’t.

I don’t know precisely when the feelings of shame and guilt in regards to food started, aside from knowing that I started to feel anxious about food as a child. I can think of several moments as a kid where a big deal was made about what I was eating, my weight and what constituted a “good” or a “bad” food.

* The huge hissy fit over making me drink diet coke instead of regular.

* My Mom making a big deal over whether or not I was “allowed” to take my candy bag from Halloween to school. She told me that I could have two pieces in my lunch box, but I couldn’t take the bag. The problem was that my whole class always brought their candy to school to trade, so if I didn’t bring mine, I felt left out.

* The instance when I went with friends to the corner store to buy candy after school without permission and my mom found out and made a big deal about it. I at the time didn’t understand whether she was upset about the junk food or the fact that I didn’t come straight home. I just knew she was upset.

* My grandmother insisting on nonfat everything.

* Coming home from a trip to 7-11 with my mother when I was a teenager and watching her stuff all of the candy bars she had just bought in an out of the way kitchen drawer. I asked what she was doing and she responded that she didn’t want my stepfather to see them. I asked why, baffled about why a grown woman would have to hide candy. She just shut the drawer and said that she didn’t want him to know and walked away.

* My parents being on constant diets and being surrounded by Weight Watchers/Jenny Craig/Fasting Shakes/etc all of the time. My Dad used to let me have Weight Watchers fudgesicles or desserts when I visited him and no one ever made a stink when I ate diet sweets….just when I ate the real ones. The Weight Watchers ones were actually pretty tasty though. At least I remember them that way.

Now I’m not saying I would let my kid eat their entire Halloween haul in one night. Nor would I want them drinking tons of soda and I would absolutely be upset about them being an unreasonable weight at 8 years old. The problem is that no one ever discussed why any of these things were good or bad. No one ever talked about proper nutrition, why we should eat the right things, why my doctor was concerned…nothing. I was just told “NO!” a lot. I’m not blaming my parents, which I am sure is what it sounds like. Almost everyone in my family is a disordered eater and it is absolutely ridiculous to assume that they could have taught me anything other than what they did. I guess I just look at moments like the above and wonder if they had been handled differently, would I look at food the same way. I mean, I can look back and see what behaviors I currently have that stemmed from the above events.

Every single time I eat a food, no matter how hard I fight it, I think this food is bad, or this food is good. And knowing that it is bad doesn’t stop me from eating it. I eat it, and then I am ashamed for the fact that I did it. I tell myself that I am a horrible person, I have no will power, I am a loser, I will never be able to fix anything and I am unworthy. I feel guilty that I ruined an entire day of good eats. I feel worried that my friends will think poorly of me for eating. They will be disgusted by the fact that I ate bagel. They won’t want to be around me anymore. The individual I am dating won’t love me anymore.

And yes, I get that all from eating a few cookies, a bagel or some ice cream. Heavy, right?

Also resulting from the panic attack of, “OMGz I am awful!”, instead of not buying/eating the junk food, I start to hide it. Maybe I only eat it at home. Or if I am in a period of logging my food on a social site like SparkPeople, Eat Different or the Fitbit site, I will not log those foods. I will hide it like those candy bars in a drawer, those secret trips out with friends so I wouldn’t get yelled at or that entire bag of Halloween candy smuggled out in my backpack so I wouldn’t feel left out.

And then I become ashamed and/or guilty about hiding it. Vicious cycle.

I know full and well that there is no such thing as good or bad food. Food is just food. It neither determines your worth nor are your food choices what make people love and respect you.

Knowing that is important….but I won’t lie about it. Remembering is a constant struggle.

Being thin doesn’t solve your problems.

Yes, people told me that back during my days of being (nearly morbidly) obese, but I’ll be damned if I ever believed them. I fell right into that trap of thinking that if I were skinny, I could find love. That I would be happy. That all of the negative thoughts and feelings I had been carrying with me for the first 25 years of my life would just magically go away. I mean, intellectually, I understood that it couldn’t really be that way….but since I had always connected my weight with everything that was wrong, at the same time I just had faith that it would all get sorted out if I could get my weight under control.

But, it didn’t get all sorted out. I was still a total mess, just in a smaller pair of pants.

Now I don’t want to belittle the magnificent benefits to losing 95 pounds. The difference in quality of life is huge. Truly unmeasurable. For the first time in my life, I could shop at any old store I wanted. I didn’t feel like people were looking at me with disgust when I went grocery shopping or ate out at a restaurant. I did find the confidence to pursue a relationship. I wasn’t always sweaty and out of breath when doing normal things like standing on the bus ride home. I learned how to swim, I ran races, went on hikes, learned how to (half ass) cook and most recently worked up the nerve to learn how to bike. All things that I had never thought I’d ever be able to master. It’s unbelievable how different I became.


And also unbelievable how much I hadn’t changed at all.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve put about 30 of those lost pounds back on, which I think is part of the reason I have shied away from blogging. I just didn’t know how to face the world as a failure. I have become that statistic…that one that says that most people who lose weight gain it all back within X amount of years. Here I am, pants 2-3 sizes larger than they were in 2009 and I wonder, what happened. How did I go from this person that was getting all of this positive attention about the amazing feats I achieved, to one who is afraid to blog, feeling like a loser and struggling to keep herself squeezed into these size 10 Levi’s because she thinks the world might be over if she has to buy a size 12 and teeter on heading back into the plus sized clothing department.

What happened, I believe, is that while I learned about nutrition, exercise and health, I never cracked the nut on why I was ever fat to begin with. When I really started to focus on this question, I came to the conclusion that I have an eating disorder. So I started researching eating disorders…..and then felt even worse off. Why? Because it appears that most people don’t seem to recognize emotional eating, over eating or being overweight as an eating disorder at all. It’s like you have to be anorexic or bulimic, and if you don’t have the common decency to starve yourself or vomit up your mistakes, then you’re actually just a lazy piece of garbage who deserves the ridicule that you receive. Really, this mentality makes me want to run to the store for a pint of Ben & Jerry’s like nothing else.


Recently I’ve started listening to “Live.Love.Eat“, the podcast affiliated with the “Paleo for Women” website. While there is a paleo leaning towards the content, it is mostly about people telling their stories. What I immediately appreciated is that there are people who are expressing all sorts of battles with food, weight and body image. And for the first time I heard a couple of people discuss what it is like to live with disordered eating that involved emotional eating and over eating…and they were actually referring to it as an eating disorder. It was very empowering to hear about their struggles, not as people who had no self control, but instead, people who have had unhealthy relationships with food that they constantly have to work on. Something that isn’t solved by Weight Watchers, O.A., Jenny Craig or taking a trip to The Biggest Loser ranch. Something that is deep inside that has to be acknowledged and attended to.

I also loved how an eating disorder was defined in one of the episodes. It was said that you know you have an eating disorder when you eat/relate with food while alone in a manner that you would never allow other people see.


How last year I would wait until my boyfriend left the room to eat another cookie. The way I go an entire day eating clean and not overindulging with friends, then come home and eat an entire pint of ice cream with a side of cookies.

It’s like a skeleton in my closet. My big secret, which has never been much of a secret given how visible the aftermath is over time.

I don’t know exactly how it is going to happen….what I am going to do to change this situation. But my current goal in life is to figure out what the deal with me and food is. I’d like to see myself someday not be embarrassed, making excuses for what I ate because other people ate “better”. Someone who doesn’t associate eating 1600 calories when I know my friend only ate 1200 as something that is worthy of shaming myself over. Someone who doesn’t reach for food when bored, sad, alone, scared, happy or stressed.


As hard as losing 95 pounds was, I imagine this will probably be much more difficult.

On September 5, 2010 I ran my first 5K. It was a momentous occasion. Never in a million years did I ever think I could run a race of any distance. I felt very proud and even with all of the exercise time I had put in over the 3.5 years since I had started to lose weight, I considered it by far my most impressive physical achievement. Over the next several months I would run a handful of 5Ks, and slowly but surely running became something that I actually looked forward to doing.

At the height of my running glee I signed up for the famous (infamous?) Bay to Breakers 12K, a race that I had always wanted to take part in. I didn’t exactly train very hard for the race, but I did knock out my very first (unofficial) 10Ks and I was stoked. During the weeks leading up to B2B, I saw all of my Bay Area running acquaintances buzzing about the Nike Women’s Marathon lottery. Despite having never run more than 6 miles, I decided to sign up for the lottery. I figured I probably wouldn’t get picked, and if I did, it was 6 months away, which would give me tons of time to train. Also during this time period, I found out about the inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon in January 2012. I thought that if I didn’t make it into Nike, Tinkerbell would be a good goal to have for the future. If I did make it into Nike, well, I’d be at a training level that I could maintain until January.

I successfully ran Bay to Breakers, and though I didn’t achieve my desired time, I had a blast. I also found out that I had been selected in the Nike lottery, so I had two half marathons on the horizon. While some might get antsy and nervous about making TWO commitments to run a distance I had never even come close to, I felt jazzed. I was on a running buzz from my 12K, and I knew that with 4 months of training, I’d be able to nail Nike Women’s Half come October. I decided to give myself a couple of weeks off from running to regroup, then start up training for the new distance with fresh legs.

Bling, baby.

My first run post B2B went amazingly well. I felt strong, happy and alive as I tackled my usual route near Golden Gate Park. At some point during the run, I felt a slight twinge in my right hip. It went away shortly after the run, so I didn’t give it a second thought. My next training run, however, didn’t go so hot. About a mile in to the run, that hip pain came back…but about 5 times worse than I had felt it during my previous run. For some reason I tried to power through the pain. Instead of listening to my body, I plowed on for another mile and a half before It was too much. I headed home to ice.

The hip pain didn’t go away after the run this time. I limped around for an entire week, feeling the pain every time I walked or moved. It wasn’t unbearable, but I wasn’t a fan. Once the pain finally stopped, I tried to run again. A slow, very short run. No dice. The pain was not to be ignored and thus began my two month running hiatus.

I probably should have gone to the doctor, but every time I go to my doctor they try to convince me that whatever I’m feeling is all in my head. This really shouldn’t have been a deterrent for me, but being someone who tends to like to avoid problems, it was. I decided I was just going to take several weeks off and see if I healed on my own. I felt very bummed out to lose the form of cardio that I had come to rely on. I mean, how easy is it to throw on your sneakers and run for 30 minutes? No commute to the gym. No waiting for machines. It’s quick. And now for me, completely not an option.

To make matters worse, instead of doing other cardio or strength training while my hip mellowed out, I instead decided to be emo and sit around doing nothing, while letting my TV set and chocolate stash keep me company.

I may or may not have achieved mayorship of Powell’s Sweet Shoppe in Berkeley on FourSquare during this time. Cough.

I also fell off the face of the blogosphere due to feeling incredibly sorry for myself.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, when the going gets tough, I crawl into a hole and want to die.

Can you say, winner?

Sometime in August I realized that the pain had subsided quite a bit, so I went out and attempted a run. It was both awesome and miserable at the same time. On one hand, I was experiencing very little soreness and had no lasting effects after getting back out on the road. Yay! On the other hand, after nearly two months of couch potato-ism, I had lost all of my fitness and was winded easily. Plus, my casual pace had become painfully slow, even by my standards. Sucko.

I continued to build up again from scratch and as September hit, I finally was starting to get back up to 5K status. Coincidentally, at this same time, Maya was planning her annual visit home and she asked if there were any fitness related things we could do together while she was in town. I threw out that Race for the Cure would be happening the first Sunday after she and Eric arrived. I asked if she would be interested in running it. There aren’t as many chipped race opportunities in Tokyo, so like last year, she was into the idea of us getting in a 5K while she was in the states.

I was into it as well. I did the race last year, during which I achieved my current 5K PR. It seemed like a good way to get back into racing, which was an absolute must, given how fast October was sneaking up on me. I also figured it would probably get me to start upping my mileage. I’d get back into the running groove.

Either that, or I’d panic, sleep through almost all of my planned runs, stock up on junk food like it was going out of style and kinda pray that Maya had been completely kidding when she expressed interest in running a race and really  she just wanted to meet up so we could go out to breakfast and eat monstrous stacks of  all you can eat pancakes….

Next up: Race for the Cure 2011 Recap

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown our your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs, Commencement address, Stanford University, June 12, 2005


I am heart broken. Rest well Steve, we’ll all miss you.

10 Years ago today, I was 19 years old. My alarm went off and I rested in bed, trying to decide if I was going to go to my abnormal psychology class, or instead, play hooky, and go into the city to pick up my copy of “Love and Theft”, Bob Dylan’s new album. My mom kept knocking on my door, telling me to get up and look at the news…but I still didn’t get up right away. She said, “A plane has flown into the World Trade Center”, and all I yelled back through my closed bedroom door was, “On purpose?”

From my LiveJournal, 9/11/01:

“In general, I’m not terribly patriotic. I’m usually damning our government about all of the bad things they do to us, and more importantly to others in the world. Today is the first day in my entire life that I have felt patriotic.

I guess tragedy does that to people. I don’t know. For most of the day I kept saying we should blow the bastards up…take out a country…whatever. This is not Alexa-speak. That isn’t what I believe in. That isn’t what’s right. I do believe that no man who is the cause of thousands of lives lost should be allowed to keep his own, but is it our right to kill others? Does it make it better? Will it bring our loved ones back? No. It’s just more terror. More tragedy. More misery.”