Thursday, January 19, 2017

How Did This Happen?

It's January, which means it's time for my annual "starting a new diet" post. Except that this year, I find myself in almost uncharted territory. If I were a product on sale, it would be a good thing: bigger than ever! New, larger size! Everything I own, and I do mean everything, is too tight. I got on the scale last week and saw a number I usually associate with a college football player or heavyweight fighter (for the first time ever, I can add losing enough to fight welterweight to my goals). I know I've been enjoying some indulgences lately, but how did this happen?

In my defense, lying around for months with a broken ankle didn't help matters much. If you're supposed to feed a cold and start a fever, the modus operandi at the Stancil house was to gorge a broken bone. I can't believe that a huge bowl of Lucky Charms for breakfast, fast food for lunch, and takeout for dinner could contribute to obesity. I refuse to accept that Chick-fil-a, very aptly dubbed "Christian chicken" by my friend Jen, can make you fat. And the fact that the texture of my thighs now closely resembles waffle fries is just a strange coincidence. Plus, I had to eat ice cream whether I wanted it or not: for the calcium (duh).

Then came Christmas--well, really the entire jolly month of December. There's no better way to celebrate Jesus's birthday than with copious amounts of holiday treats and goodies. 'Tis the season for eggnog, after all. I enjoyed more than my fair share of Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes, sparkling cider, red velvet cake, Christmas cookies, and more...but Christmas calories don't count, do they? No, no, that can't have been the cause of this situation.

Once January rolled around, Clint and I realized the predicament we were in. As my willing accomplice nurse, it seems that my hubby has also eaten his way into uncomfortable territory. We vowed to eat clean, train mean...whatever those motivational health and fitness things say. But we had another obstacle: the college football national championship game (have I mentioned that Clemson WON?! Sorry, I couldn't resist). I'd like to point out that we did watch the game with a veggie tray, but you cannot expect game winning at the highest level of play if you are cheering with a celery stick. And so, because we are real fans, we also had buffalo chicken dip and pizza rolls. You know, because it's protein.
There was one more diet derailer lurking this month: snow. As much as we tried, one simply cannot eat rabbit food when there is snow on the ground (never mind that the forecasters got it all wrong and we only wound up with an inch accumulation barely dusting our yard). We went to the store for healthy snacks, and came home with white chocolate macadamia nut cookies and Chex Mix instead. I'm convinced it was our survival instincts that kicked in, but regardless, we had a weekend of Netflix and nosh. I wish I could say that with some semblance of regret, but I'm not that caliber of an actress.

I stepped out of the shower the other night and realized I look like a celebrity. Just not the right celebrity.

Yikes--or as my now-body-double would say, ay caramba. Without a doubt, it's time to take some action. I started the Advocare 24-Day Challenge this week, as a much needed jump start to get me back on track. As much as I love mail,  have to admit opening this package gave me little to no joy in my life:

I've got vitamins and probiotics and meal replacement shakes. What I don't have is processed food, white flour, or (gasp) Diet Coke. For a girl who hates fruit, enjoying a delicious orange as a snack feels a bit like punishment, but then again, so does trying to button my pants, so citrus it shall be. We've only been at it for a few days, but we've already learned some valuable lessons, like maybe cleaning out the cabinet and eating a crunchy taco kit the night before doing burpees at Crossfit is a bad idea (Clint), or never drinking anything labeled "Fiber Drink" and expecting to have a productive morning (sadly, me).

I've got two more weeks of "restricted activity" with my ankle, so until my doctor gives any kind of impact cardio the clear, I'll be pedaling my stationary bike from here to Timbuktu (and back again). Hopefully, the scale has no where to go but down and I'll be able to button my winter coat again before the weather warms up. And to all the delicious but diet-deadly food out there calling my name, I have but one thing to say:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Flat Susie and the National Championship Adventure

First, I need to get something off my chest: THE TIGERS WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP! Woo hoo! I'm still on cloud nine! Whew. Okay, now that I've gotten that out there, have I got some things to share with you.

Do you know about the Flat Stanley Project? It's been going on for several years now, and it's basically a classroom project that has kids create "flat" characters or versions of themselves and then mail them off to other pen pals and track their journey and adventures. With a still broken ankle (dang you, fibula!) and ticket prices soaring to over $1000 a ticket, I decided that I was not able to attend the College Football National Championship game this week. So I created my very own Flat Susie to go in my place and cheer on the Clemson Tigers.

My first order of business was to create a flat version of moi and get her ready to roll.

I'm embarrassed to tell you how long it took me to get this little poster board vixen up to par. Her hairstyle took as long as the real Susie.

The back of her shirt is an ode to perhaps my favorite Clemson player, Ben Boulware. #10 is not just an awesome linebacker; he's also passionate, fierce, funny, and clearly lives and speaks with zero filter. Like Flat Susie's shirt says, he's my spirit animal.

I am always one to accessorize, and now that my creation was almost complete and looking so fetching, I decided to add a diamond (a.k.a. aluminum foil) let the other paper dolls know she was taken. Sorry flat bachelors, everywhere.

Then it was time to send Flat Susie on her way and let her do her thing. Spread your wings and fly, little bird. Or in this case, little paper craft project that half my friends think is nuts.

I mailed her to my friend Despina, who possessed both a fantastic sense of humor and tickets to the playoff game. She agreed, undaunted, to show my little doppelganger a good time and report back with plenty of pictures. Side note: this is a heinous picture of real Susie. That is not a sweat ring around my collar, it's a shadow, my eyebrows are nonexistent, and I clearly did not fix my hair that day. It's what happens when you pour your heart and soul into a project. No wonder artists usually look like homely hell.

I asked Des to take whatever pictures she thought captured the experience. The pair started out the day tailgating with the Clemson family.

First picture of the day: in Tampa and getting into the spirit of game day.

High-fiving with a fellow fan at the tailgate.

Flat Susie noticed a definite onesie trend happening. Football and fashion collide?

Soon, the sun went down and it was time to head to the stadium.
She doesn't look nervous, but believe me, we all were.

As you can see, Flat Susie had a front row seat for all the action.
Here she is watching the Tigers warm up.

Raymond James stadium is the home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and there is a giant pirate ship in the stands that fires a cannon every time the Buccaneers score. Ahoy, mates!

ESPN was close by, broadcasting the pregame show. 
Flat Susie looked on (and was thrilled that Corso did not pick the Tigers to win).

And then managed to meet Peyton Manning! Wow!
(Peyton seems a little starstruck by Flat Susie. Just saying.)

The national  championship trophy. Eyes on the prize, Flat Susie!

Ben Boulware (who was the defensive MVP of the game, by the way) has been called the "emotional spark plug" of the team. The next time Clint tells me I'm being overly dramatic, I'm going to tell him I'm an emotional spark plug, too. 

This is not just any crazed fan with a Tiger paw shaved into his chest.
Coincidentally, this is my friend Ben Manning. Nice manscaping, Ben!

This Spartan didn't have a horse in the race, so to speak, but he said he attends every national championship game. I can't imagine how he can afford it, but I admire his commitment.

Flat Susie loves the Tiger band. Tiger Rag is "the song that shakes the Southland,"
and Eye of the Tiger is one of her top workout songs. 

Meeting Deshaun Watson's mom, Deanne.
I hope Flat Susie told her what a wonderful job she did raising her son.

The Tiger Cub wanted to meet Flat Susie, too. This little cardboard coquette sure gets around.

Joining the Tiger cheerleaders postgame.
I'm surprised they didn't ask Flat Susie to join the squad--maybe she's not quite flexible enough?

And last, but certainly not least, here is my one-dimensional counterpart with Kirk Herbstreit after the Tigers clinched the title. You two look good surrounded by orange and purple confetti!

When I came up with the idea of sending Flat Susie to the game, I had no idea what an adventure she would have! I wanted to find some way to feel included in the fun and festivities, and needless to say, I was not disappointed. I'm fairly certain that Flat Susie had way more excitement and adventure than real Susie could have managed--and I like to think she brought Clemson good luck in the process (but don't get your hopes up, Flat Susie...the next time the Tigers play for a national title, this Susie is the one who's headed to the game)!

I need to say a special thank you to my sweet friend Despina Lamas, who took Flat Susie for the ride of her life. You went above and beyond (as usual)! And of course, congratulations to Coach Swinney and the 2016 College Football Playoff National Champions. It's always a great day to be a Clemson Tiger!