The 10 Pounds in 30 Days Plan Went Bust: I Confess

See, wha-haa-haappened wuz…back on September 9th I went on a mission to drop 10 pounds in 30 days with no diet or fake food and no boring crap.  The whole plan went straight to hell when I discovered a health problem and took action to correct it.  I will spare you all the gory details but I went through a minor surgery (which didn’t seem so minor at all) at the end of September.  Before that I had lost 3 pounds of fat.  After, I don’t know.  It looks as though I gained seven, but the doctor insists that this is water weight.  I my mind I know he’s right because just the same as how the body can’t get rid of more than 1-2 pounds a week, the body can’t manufacture more than 1-2 pounds a fat per week, unless it’s a Supersize Me situation but still, I had a few resulting cookie episodes.  I had to take it easy from all physical activity for 2 and a half weeks after the surgery, which kinda threw me off a little bit more.

So, here we are again.  These things happen because this is real life.  I’m back on the program because I want to slim down a little but also because I love the variety of foods and the exercise, well, is not just exercise.  It’s all fun and games.  (Yasmin unlocked some new songs on Dance Dance Revolution, woo-hoo!)

I don’t know whether I can lose 10 pounds in 30 days or not.  But I know I can slim down and look fabulous in 30 days, but it might take a few more weeks to total 10 pounds, or maybe not, who knows?  I’ve learned that this doesn’t matter.  I was wasting energy worrying about something stupid that just causes unnecessary anxiety and a fall off the bandwagon. I decided a while ago that I am not willing to make any drastic dietary or exercise changes that I am not willing to reasonably keep up forever.  However, I fully acknowledge and take into consideration that  to lose weight requires that we intake less and exert more than maintaining weight does.  But the difference between the two should not be drastic if I’m generally eating nutrient dense delicious foods and keeping my body moving.

The lesson learned:  do the right things and skip the arbitrary deadlines and quotas.  Motivation should not be found in a date on the calendar or a number on the scale, especially since the journey never ends there.  I’ve found some super motivation (besides the good feeling) though.  I’m dancing in a show in February.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need to work towards a certain weight or size.  The motivation is to get back down in that studio working on the most deliciously fantastic erotic tantric bellydance creation ever!  Stay tuned for details, dates, invites.  What’s YOUR motivation?

News Flash: Not all Black Women Wear Fake Hair

It’s weird, three people in the last month or so have said something to indicate that they assumed that I am wearing extensions, a weave, or a wig.  WTH?  Does my hair look fake? 

Ok, I realize that this is because of the terrifying profusion of fake hair being worn by my beautiful sistahs, and some women’s obsession with long hair at whatever cost, be it monetary or beauty.  Is it because of the movie “Good Hair”?  I was horrified by that movie too.  Before that film I had never seen a weave being applied either.

It is no secret that I can’t stand weaves and wigs.  Mostly because they have tainted the whole idea of black women with long hair.  I grew every single strand of these thick, luscious, nappy, long locs on my head from the follicles on my scalp. My hair is REAL.  It didn’t come from some poor Indian woman’s temple or a horse’s ass. Believe it.

I’m obsessive about the products I use and care I take of it.  I want it clean, fresh, and shiny at all times.  I’m glad you like it but please know that there are black women with beautiful (and long) hair, oh yes, there are others besides me!  Please do not automatically assume that some black woman’s hair cost a fortune or that she spends her days sitting up in a salon having it sewn onto her head.  Consider that some of us just might have real hair.

Rowdy Gray Hairs: A Good Sign?

I was running late this morning.  My excuse is that I woke up with a few too many gray straggly hairs around my hairline and I had to remove them.

I have nothing against gray hair.  Salt and pepper locs are beautiful and distinguishing.  But my gray straggles are strange, wirey, and like to party. The rest of my dark hair is (nappy) coiled tightly enough to display my ethnic African ancestry, which makes for luxurious locs and I like that.  But the gray straggles are not coiled, not curly, not straight, not wavy.  They are crooked.  They are new and short so they’re not contained in my locs and they don’t know or care which way to go.  They absolutely refuse to join the dark hairs in my locs in an orderly fashion.  For those of you who know me, you know that I’m fairly methodical about keeping my hair neatly groomed and smelling fresh at all times.  So you know why these little buggers are getting on my last nerve.

The gray hairs like to get down.  They throw their hands in the air and wave them like they just don’t care.  And they really don’t care!

So here’s what I was thinking.  I do not have a problem with growing older.  As a matter of fact, I look forward to the time when I can just say whatever and the hell I want out my mouth and act a damn fool and get away with it.  People will say, “Don’t worry about that crazy Miss Lisa, she’s just old”…  Maybe the hairs are just giving me a vision of what’s to come. I won’t be going with the other orderly old ladies to the church or whatever.  I’m probably gonna stick all out, get all crooked, and wave my hands in the air and not care.

What is Tantra? An Informal Explanation

I have been getting this question a lot more lately, “what’s tantra”?  Nobody wants to hear my well thought out and researched dissertation on the topic.  They want to know what it is, what it means to me, how it could help them, in 90 seconds or less.   So here we go:

Tantra is a way of life, a world view, and a spiritual practice that involves full and non-judgmental acceptance of self and the full integration of mind (intellect), body (senses), and spirit (heart, connectedness to all of creation) into one unified being.  So you see your whole self not as good or bad, but just as is.  Tantra goes against the Puritanical concept that the physical body is dirty or sinful, and instead views sensuality (the senses – hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting) and sexuality as inseparable from the spiritual self.  In short, tantra is like sensual yoga.  Tantra does not however, degenerate into the practice of hedonism, or overindulgence and irrational devotion to extreme pleasure.  The idea is that passion and desire are pathways to experience a higher state of spiritual consciousness, or pure contentment.  The practice of tantra, much like yoga, taps into subtle energies and moves them through meditation (both moving and still), visualization, and ritual to affect health, beauty, state of mind, and overall wellness.

Tantra does not require adherence to any particular religious beliefs, dogma, or rituals and rejects all forms of prejudice. The only required ideal is to live as a whole and authentic human being, without the exclusion of natural passion, creativity, enjoyment, and sensual perception in order to become and remain deeply connected with life.  Tantra is not all fun and games.  It is challenging in that you must remain “present” most of the time.  To be present means to be unattached to the past or preoccupied with the future.  The focus is on the here and now.

I originally sought tantra as a way to experience a new dimension to my bellydance.  It turned out to be an effective means of anger management, greatly developed my sense of intuition, enhanced my sex life, and helped me to be a more effective parent. In broader terms tantra is very useful in stress relief, living a lifestyle that promotes wellness, emotional stability, more meaningful relationships, and general success in challenging endeavors.

I teach tantra workshops and provide coaching to individuals and couples.  For more information see: LifeBliss Solutions.

THIN ≠ BEAUTIFUL, FAT ≠ UGLY!!!

It’s so simple:  Thin = thin.  Beautiful = beautiful.  Thin and beautiful are not opposites like (thin and fat) or (beautiful and ugly).

You can be thin and beautiful or thin and ugly.

You can be beautiful and thin or beautiful and fat.

Classifying fat people as ugly and thin people as beautiful is as ridiculous as the idea that tall people are dumb and short people are smart or that dogs are mean and cats are nice.

If someone who is ugly and fat loses weight but does nothing to become pretty they will still be ugly, just no longer fat.  Similarly, if someone who is pretty and thin gains weight, they will remain pretty even though they have become fat.

So, please don’t lie to someone and tell them that if they lose weight they’ll suddenly become beautiful.  And stop making beautiful fat women feel ugly.

I have already covered this topic before but a few weeks ago an old acquaintance was explaining that she felt out of place in a belly dance class, not because of her skill level, but because of the age and size of the other participants.  She repeatedly told me that those girls were so gorgeous because they were much thinner than she was.  The conversation bothered me and still does whenever I think about it.

This woman healthy and active, and has a voluptuous hourglass-shaped figure.  She is also gorgeous, and she would still be gorgeous even if she were fat.  She has pretty shiny hair, smooth olive skin, sparkling hazel eyes, and a smile that could foster world peace.

When are we going to stop this nonsense?  Do not blame this on men or the media.  Goddesses, we have the power to make this change ourselves right now.

On a Mission: Update

A few months ago I embarked on an adventure to focus attention on getting myself into fabulous shape and looking great, just in time for my 40th birthday.  I lost a few pounds, and plateaued on that, but I gained a much clearer understanding of what it means to be healthy and look great at any age.

I quietly watched other friends and acquaintances and their efforts and actions towards feeling better about themselves and I came to the lisacardpicconclusion that I needed to shift (but not lower) my expectations even more than I had originally thought.  For example, I have been regularly eating a wonderful variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with other healthy choices.  I enjoy moderate exercise and because business is beginning to pick up I just don’t have the time to work out the way I did last summer when I was able to spend hours a day at the local fitness center where I worked part time.  I made up my mind that I can sustain my healthy eating and moderate exercise habit.  I already knew and needed to be reminded that I am absolutely not willing to give up cookies for the rest of my life and thanks to a foot injury during workout boot camp I learned that crazified workouts are just not an option.  I have a few friends who are petrified of getting older and how vowed to fight it at any cost.  One of them has achieved a significant weight loss through an excessive obsession with gym workouts. She was never fat, and now she just looks thinner.  She looks sturdier but she doesn’t look happier or more delicious.   Similarly, a woman who works at the weight loss doctor’s office told me that she follows the terribly restrictive diet they recommend all week and only eats what she wants once a week.  She is skinny as a rail and looks like a miserable human being to me.  Her cheeks are sunken in and drab and she doesn’t smile very much.  If I ate like that I wouldn’t smile either!  Neither of these women look vibrant, enthusiastic, or content, which are all very important components to my idea of fabulous.  Meanwhile, the changes I have made get me lots of positive compliments from strangers and friends.  Lately, I have been hearing lots of comments about looking “glowy, peaceful, happy,  sexy, like a newlywed”…and I like this.  Conclusion:  be healthy, and don’t worry because 5-10 lbs is not all that important at all.

Although eating cleaner (fresher, less processed) diet has not really resulted in fat loss for me this time around, it has led to a definite clearing of my skin.  I have much smoother, clearer, softer, and more even-toned skin all over.  I don’t wear foundation regularly and recently I stopped using face powder on a regular basis as well because I have no bumps to cover up.  The sparkly bronzer I love is now just a little too much for me now because my color is great and I just don’t need that pick-me-up anymore.

As the weather finally warmed, I had to buy new clothes.  I had all wool pants and fall tops in the closet.  This time I really paid attention to creating a style, being comfortable but not opting for the commonplace.   I rediscovered my favorite clothing store, which by the way, I never would have shopped at age 20 because it’s just too darned expensive.  So the truth is, it is so much more exclusive (unique) than Gap or Target.  You’ll think I shopped at a little standalone boutique somewhere.  The clothes I am finding are not the typical cookie-cutter crap that you see worn on MTV.  I buy items that have flattering cuts that don’t attempt to hide me, but just look great.  I’m not keeping up with the teeny-bopper trends like those aging “Sex in the City” types.  Oh yes, and I wear dresses!  After all these years.  I love the carefree no-fuss style that is not frumpy-hippie but sophisticated and versatile because it reveals a different kind of beauty that satisfies me.

hammockshotWhat else have I been doing?  You would never believe how simple.  I just made a conscious effort at putting myself out there and being comfortable with it, in very simple ways.  When I get a manicure, I just have the high-shine buff instead of nail polish.  I took my sister Kelley’s advice on natural hair care and leaning more towards the clean, slightly tousled look for my locs.  I relax in my backyard hammock whenever I get a chance.  I enjoy wine and cheese in moderation.  I flirt with my husband in public.

Many of these things I have done before.  The truth is that you don’t just do a bunch of stuff and then one day be fabulous and have a “reveal” episode like in “Extreme Makeover”.  You do things and constantly refine and shift them as needed, not with the corporate-inspired trends and continue to get better and better with time.

The Most Important Beauty Product

I love beauty products.  I am sure I have done enough research about beauty products and makeup to earn a Ph.D. on the subject.  I could spend all day in the beauty store and only come out to eat.  However, when I find an excellent product I can stick with it unless something changes, unlike many cosmetics junkies who one day claim to have found the holy grail and less than a week later are on to something else.

The most important beauty product hands-down is sunblock.  It is imperative to use sunblock every day because it prevents skin cancer, hyperpigmentation, burns, and the breakdown of skin cells that leads to permanent wrinkles.  If you don’t want to look like a troll someday, you have no choice but to wear sunblock daily unless you never go outside.  But I HATE sunblock!  It smells bad, it is too thick and greasy, or, in the case of the nice mineral ones, leaves a chalky white cast on brown skin.  I have exotic brown looking but normal/combination sensitive rosacea-prone pale red-haired Northern European acting skin, which is hard to protect from the sun.  For YEARS I had been satisfied using Purpose Redness Reducing Moisturizer SPF 30, except at the pool or beach because it is not water resistant ( I have a different, thicker SPF 45 for that).  All of a sudden this past fall this same product began to break out my skin with a crunchy red itchy rash.  I stopped using it for a while since it was winter and my day job prevented me from seeing the light of day anyway.  But now with spring arriving and longer days I tried it again, hoping maybe my face forgot about the abuse it took from that sunblock before.  But no, the itchy rash is rearing up again, dammit!  I asked my dermatologist(s) to recommend a sunblock that is:

  • sunscreenfragrance free
  • lightweight and easily absorbed
  • broad spectrum
  • portable and sanitary–not packaged in a jar
  • moderately priced
  • gentle but not zinc or titanium oxide-only (because of the white chalky film)
  • does not leave a shiny sheen
  • SPF 20-30
  • doesn’t burn eyes or stink too badly
  • water resistant (ok- wishful thinking)
  • can be worn under makeup

but they seem to find this topic way too boring.  All they say is find an SPF 30 that I like.  But here are hundreds of them!!!!  Even the ones with the best reviews are horrible. Now I am hunting again.  According to my research this time, which consists mainly from reviews by Paula Begoun, I have 3 good viable choices:  Neutrogena Age Sheild SPF 30, Neutragena Active Breathable Sunblock SPF 30, or Ultra Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 30.  I am headed to the drugstore today to smell, feel, and read the lables of the products.  I am not in any way promoting these products.  I am promoting the use of daily facial sunblock.  I encourage everyone to find the right sunblock for themselves.  I do however, recommend my most reliable beauty product information resource, Paula Begoun aka “The Cosmetics Cop”.  Check out her website and books for  comprehensive objective information on hundreds of makeup and skin care products.

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