Tastefully Trendy

A life and fashion blog by Sarah Beth

Category: Business Casual (page 1 of 17)

Self-Care: Part 3 – Weight Loss

Well, I’ve been putting this one off, but I guess the time has finally arrived to talk about what we all probably think about first when it comes to self-care: weight and nutrition.

If you didn’t know me in college or grad school, you might not know that I’ve lost about 30 pounds since I graduated in 2007. 30 pounds may not sound like a lot, but I’m only 5’3″ – a couple pounds difference on my frame is noticeable. 30 pounds at the time of my heaviest weight was 15-20% of my total body weight. Now, it’d obviously be an even larger percentage.

I’ve thought about talking about my weight loss for a long time, but I’ve always waited. I wanted to get to my “perfect weight” before I did a big dramatic reveal. But, perfect to me is Carrie Underwood, which will likely never be attainable, unless I suddenly have a job that literally pays me to look beautiful.

So, in the interest of being transparent, and with the hope that my experience can be encouraging or helpful or at least relatable to anyone, here we go. (Warning, this is long – I have a lot to say.)

In 2007, I looked like this:

I wasn’t morbidly obese, obviously. But, I was an unhealthy and uncomfortable weight for my frame. And, I wasn’t really happy with how I looked.

But, I was in school, and I was a good student and kid who did nothing but study and eat ice cream while watching the Bachelor with my best friend and her mom. There were no liquid calories for me all throughout school – it was very real, very permanent food calories.

Once I graduated, though, I had the time and interest to get a little more serious about being where I wanted to be, so I got to work.

Weight loss was not a new topic to me. I think I had my first Slim Fast shake in 8th grade. In high school, I packed my own lunch and took an apple, an orange, and carrots every day. That’s it. It was the early 2000s – I don’t think most of us knew a lot about nutrition then. Fruits and vegetables were healthy, so I thought I was doing great.

Part of my issues with weight at such a young age stemmed from a health class in 9th grade in which we learned about obesity, and the boys selected me to be the lucky girl they called an “obese fat cow.” I knew they were calling me that because I wasn’t fat – they weren’t quite mean enough to call the actual larger girls that. But, still – at 14, a nickname like that leaves a mark.

I can’t blame it all on them, though. Being worried about your body is an almost universal issue among American women, and as a girly girl who was way more into boys and shoes and school than I was running around the soccer field, I was no exception. I also come by it naturally. My grandmother – the mayor’s wife and the best dressed woman in Fort Thomas, Kentucky – was worried about her weight until the day she died, just shy of 92 years old.

Of course, none of my efforts had really been successful prior to this point. I did manage to avoid the Freshman 15 in college, but I made up for it with the Sophomore 20. I would try various fad diets now and then but was never very good at sticking to them. I’m still not.

But, at 22 years old with a master’s degree, I was ready.

The first thing I did when I moved to Virginia Beach was to join a gym. There, I had a few sessions with a personal trainer who helped me learn the importance of weight training, instead of just the cardio I had been doing. Apparently, lifting not only burns calories while you’re doing it, but muscles burn more calories than fat, even when at rest. That sounded very efficient to me.

She also helped me get on board with eating more frequently throughout the day. I’d always been afraid that eating 5 small meals would really end up being 5 large meals (portion control wasn’t one of my strengths), and I’d end up consuming even more calories. But once I started, I found that I actually wasn’t so hungry that I needed to eat that much in each setting.

I lost a few pounds over the next several months, and then I plateaued.

I wasn’t yet where I wanted to be, though, so I decided to change something up. This time, I joined a group training class. I didn’t have the money to continue personal training, but I also knew I didn’t know enough about weight lifting to really be effective on my own. Group training was a cheaper alternative.

I lost a few more pounds, and then I plateaued.

I was getting closer to where I wanted to be, and I was certainly much happier with how I looked and felt. But, every now and then I’d get a wave of motivation and decide to change up something else.

For a while, I was going to the gym two times a day, but that was mainly because I had a crush on a guy working there (shout out, Hot Trainer!), and I really just spent most of my time talking to him. The next weight loss came from me getting a little more serious about what I was eating.

They say abs are made in the kitchen, and while I doubt I will ever have abs…I do think what you eat is far more important than how much you workout, unless maybe you’re a professional athlete (or a “tactical athlete”, as the special ops guys call themselves (insert heart eyes emoji)).

So, I began shopping at Trader Joes and finding ways to incorporate more fresh foods into my diet, while still maintaining the convenience that I value most of all.

At this point, I was down about 20 pounds. It’d also been about 6 years.

I say that to emphasize that this was not an overnight thing for me. Sure, it would have been nice to lose the weight much quicker – to not have so many plateaus.

But, because my weight loss was so slow, I’ve never regained any of it. If I notice that a pound or two has crept back on (which I notice by how my clothes fit; I hardly ever actually weigh myself. It usually makes me feel worse.), I just readjust slightly and it’s gone again. I’ve never yo-yo’ed, which is something trendy diets usually can’t promise.

The next several pounds came off while I lived in Georgia. I had almost no friends, so I ate out a lot less, and worked out a lot more. I also was depressed, and while I can be an emotional eater, that emotion is usually happiness. I don’t advise living somewhere that makes you miserable for two years to lose a little weight, but at least that was one silver lining.

While in Georgia, I also really started focusing on eating more protein. My brother is a power-lifter and big on getting in your macros. I tried it for a while and hated tracking everything. But, it did give me a good idea of how to balance my meals better and the importance of enough protein when it comes to body composition.

And now we arrive to my current weight. The remaining couple of pounds I’ve lost have been since moving to Nashville. I had a personal trainer here for a while, who helped me immensely in working out more effectively. (I also was talking to Bradley Cooper during that time, who was in perfect shape. I was very motivated.)

I’ve become more aware of what my body likes to eat. I saw a naturopath for a while, and we discovered that I don’t do well with night shades (RIP, Chick Fil A waffle fries. I will forever miss you), or gluten. I can handle gluten – I don’t have celiac’s disease, so I don’t want to belittle the experience of those who really suffer. But, I feel MUCH better when I avoid it.

Turns out, eliminating white potatoes and flour from my diet makes a big different in my waist line. Imagine that.

So, tl;dr:

The secret to my weight loss is…diet and exercise.

I wish there were a magic formula we could all apply and immediately be the size we wanted to be. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works.

I have friends who have found success with strict Paleo or keto or counting calories or macros or whatever. But, for me, it’s really been a process of figuring out how my body works, and tweaking what I’m doing accordingly – while still maintaining balance so I can actually enjoy my life.

Currently, I try to eat mostly clean. I sub sweet potato fries for french fries – I don’t like them as well, but they’re the better overall choice for me. But, I love a burger, and it’s not the same without the bun. So, I usually get the bun – gluten and all. I’m currently drinking a frappucino, but every morning, I eat hard boiled eggs for breakfast. I don’t love them, either, but they’re easy and a good source of protein.

I try to make sure I go to the gym 3-4 times a week. Sometimes it’s 1-2. But, it’s a priority for me, and I chose a gym I enjoy going to, to help motivate me.

I still eat several times throughout the day, but I only buy snacks that are good for me – almonds, La Croix, apples, etc. It’s hard to make healthy choices when I eat out, so I make it as easy for myself at home as possible. I can’t choose poorly there.

I eat a lot of REALLY dark chocolate. Like 85% dark, dark.

I intentionally have not used any specific numbers here, other than the 30 pounds that I lost, because I don’t think the numbers are that important. A girl I follow on Instagram lost 20 pounds, but her starting weight was my current weight, and it made me feel bad. I didn’t think I needed to lose 20 pounds, but after seeing her posts, I suddenly thought maybe I did. I don’t want to do that to anyone else.

What’s most important is being healthy and taking care of your body in a way that will sustain it and allow you to enjoy life to its fullest. It’s being comfortable in your clothes and your own skin. It’s not the number on a scale.

So, now, 11 years and 30 pounds later, I look like this:

I’ve never regained any of the weight, and I don’t expect to. I’ve learned so much about my body. Maybe another wave or two of motivation will hit me and I eventually will achieve Carrie Underwood status. But, if not, I’m happy to say that I’m just that – happy. And I hope you are, too.

Thank you for reading my most vulnerable post I’ve ever written. I love you all.

<3,
SB

You’ve Lost that Writing Feeling

Well, it’s been a long time, y’all. Honestly, I’ve just lost my zest for blogging. For so long, writing my blog was one of my favorite parts of the week, but lately every time I’d sit down to write, I had no inspiration, couldn’t put two words together, and spent most of my time failing at editing my photos. My previous joy had turned into a chore, and that’s not what it should be.

So, I’m taking an official break. I am going to keep my blog active in case I get bit by the bug again, because I really did love sharing my life – and my wardrobe – with you all. And because I assume there will be major life changes, or dating disasters, that I just can’t keep in.

But, for the time being, Tastefully Trendy is on hiatus. Sarah Beth the person isn’t, though, so always send me your fashion (or dating??) thoughts, questions, and suggestions. I love hearing from my friends.

For some parting thoughts, I leave you with a summary of my recent dating history:

  • Bradley Cooper and I did start talking again for a long time and even got to hang out in person! It was pretty wonderful, but it didn’t work out, and I’m still sad about it, which I’m mostly just bringing up on the off-chance that he ever reads this.
  • A few weeks ago, I was in Florida for work and the Disney lifeguard asked me out. 14 year old me would have been ECSTATIC about this. 32 year old me was less so. But, I went because like a dummy, I’d already said I didn’t have anything to do when I wasn’t working. He was super sweet, but when he cheersed (is that a word?) to a “magical evening”, I knew Mr. Disney and I were not meant to be.
  • Last week, my bestie was in town, so naturally, we went dancing, and I met this very nice physical therapist. Or, at least I thought he was nice until he put his hand on my spine and told me my back was stiff and I should really see someone about that (insert eye roll emoji). I told him that I did have a chiropractor but I had asked him out and things got real awkward, so…
  • Speaking of my chiropractor, I recently re-downloaded Bumble (almost always a mistake). Well, not more than 4 or 5 swipes in, who do I see but the Hot Doctor himself. Obviously, I swiped right and we matched! Redemption!! (I thought.) Unfortunately, Hot Doctor apparently didn’t realize I was me, because when I messaged him and he finally did realize it, he responded about like he had the first time – an awkward laugh followed by radio silence. Oh well.

So, there you have it – not much has changed since we last spoke. My coworker always worries that I’ll run out of good stories, but the material just keeps on coming. Hope springs eternal, though, that some day soon, I’ll have a good, non-awkward, even permanent story. And when that happens, you better believe you’ll be among the first to know!

With that, here is one last poorly-edited outfit picture for you, and I hope to see you all again sometime soon, both in real life and through my blog.

Much <3, SB

On Wednesdays, We Wear Pink

In honor of last Friday’s showing of Mean Girls at a local brewery (seriously, if you want to sit outside, eat a delicious pizza, and watch a recent classic movie, come visit me! This happens every Friday. Because, Nashville is the best), here is my best pink outfit.

Pink striped pants, pink sweater, and some silver accents to keep me from looking too much like the girl’s toys aisle. The thing about my office is that there is no predicting whether it will be hot, or cold, or completely seasonally appropriate. So, I just wear whatever I feel like (a sweater when it’s 85 degrees outside. Sure, why not!), and hope for the best.

If you can, zoom in on the pants – they’re pink and white striped, and I love them.

Peaches and wine?

Unique color combinations are my favorite.

InStyle magazine (which I used to read regularly, because I also used to live at the beach and had an excuse to read magazines…sigh), always has a feature color which they show paired with some different hues. Three of the paired colors are normal; everyone would think to do those combos. But, then they throw in a “wild card pairing”, and it is always my favorite combination. There are some colors that just DO. NOT. GO. TOGETHER. But, really, I think that list is much smaller than we have been led to believe.
Do you have some unusual color combos you like to wear? Another I think of frequently is orange and blue – thank you, Florida Gators, for making these colors socially acceptable to wear together, because really, in the right shades, they can be quite lovely.

Happy Wednesday, y’all!

Preds Pride!

I need to learn hockey lingo, because y’all, Nashville is a hockey town, and our Predators are on fire!

I freely admit that I am a bandwagon fan. In my defense, though, I’ve never followed a hockey team before, except the US in the Olympics, and I think it’s perfectly acceptable to jump on the bandwagon of your home-town team.

So, disclaimer out of the way, since my boys are in the final games of the Western Conference Finals – just one or two steps away from the Stanley Cup games! – I figured I should go buy a t-shirt. Since I waited until the Western Conference Finals, though, the choices were a little limited…

After striking out at Target and one Walmart, I headed to a 2nd Walmart and ended up in the kids section. While I don’t normally like how kids’ shirts fit, since I am not, you know, a 14 year old boy…I did like the $12.88 price tag. And, I liked it even better when I got to the checkout counter and it rang up as $1!

I asked twice if that was the correct price, because honestly, even on clearance, how could it be one dollar? But, it was, and so for that, I could make anything work.

And, make it work I did by cutting a v-neck into the shirt to give it a more modern, feminine, less little boy look, and pairing it with striped pants and a jacket because I wanted to show my (newfound) pride at work. I swapped out the jacket and pants for shorts later, when I went to watch the game in the park, surrounded by 1000s of my closest friends. And food trucks, because this is Nashville!

Unfortunately, we lost that game in overtime, but it was a great evening nevertheless, and I’m sure this $1 purchase will be used many times over in the coming days/weeks and future seasons.

And now with the jacket…
Go Preds! Pluck the Ducks! Smashville! (That’s all I’ve got…)

That Time I Forgot to Give My Post a Title

It’s always a weird transition for me after a serious topic to go back to talking about my clothes. But, since that is the primary purpose of this little blog, I suppose we’ll make the awkward transition. At least I have a great outfit to help smooth things over.

I love yellow. I don’t wear it a lot, really, because it’s hard to find cute clothes in a good yellow (read, not highlighter yellow or too green-tinted).

But, when I do find a really great yellow piece, I tend to wear the heck out of it. So, expect to see a lot of this skirt this summer.
I got this top at Target for like $8 or something, and I was so excited about it. I still really love the bokeh pattern and all the bring colors that can be mixed and matched in a million ways – theoretically. The problem is, the cut of the blouse is oddly assymetrical, and the side is sheer from about my waist down. So, unless I wear it tucked in, it is a) not appropriate for work (which is unfortunate, because it’s definitely a work-type blouse), and b) it just hangs weird. Even tucking it in, I have to be careful to pick an appropriate waist style, or it is still quite unflattering.

So, despite the myriad of colors, I think this top may get limited exposure. Too bad, but at least I know I have one strong showing out of it.
Have you ever bought something you were really excited about, only to discover it didn’t work as you’d envisioned, after all? Hopefully, you didn’t spend too much more than the $8 that I did!

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Two-fer Tuesday: Jailhouse Stripes

It’s been a while since I’ve done a twofer Tuesday, but no time like the present!

I really like these jailhouse stripes (or maybe more accurately, train conductor – they’re probably too narrow for jailhouse). Regardless, I think these highwaisted, cropped striped jeans are the best.

However, I wasn’t sure about them when I bought them, because in the artificial light of the dressing room, they really played with your eyes. I mean, in general, I try to wear clothes that don’t make people want to look the other way.

In the natural light, though, they seem to be okay, so I think I’m good. Except the camera doesn’t love them, either…you might have to zoom in pretty close to get an accurate look. Oh well.

In this first look, I’m combining another one of my favorite spring trends – off-the-shoulder – with my cute pants and some flats that actually hurt my feet more than most of the heels I own, but they’re so cute and universally functional, that I keep them. I ran some errands on Saturday in this outfit, then popped on some black heels for dinner with a friend that night.

Oh, and let’s not forget to mention my pink lipstick; as much as I enjoyed the dark berrys and browns this winter, I’m seriously so happy bright is back in season!

Next up is another casual outfit (I did wear it to work, but in hindsight, it might have been TOO casual). Anyway, a simple soft turquoise tee (you’ll have to take my word for it being that color, I guess), with a black scarf (I don’t have a cat; that’s all just my hair…) and some silver accents to complete the look. Easy, but still put together. Scarves are helpful in that way.
So there you have it – the return of Twofer Tuesday, thanks to my new favorite cropped jeans.

Which of these looks would you rather wear? And what’s the verdict on these stripes – delightful or dizzying? Let’s talk!

Spring Forward!

Spring is finally here in Nashville, and there was no rain this weekend – you wouldn’t believe the impact this good weather had on my mood! I’ve never thought I had seasonal depression, but I’m starting to think I might have a little bit of it, because honestly, I felt SO MUCH BETTER in the sun this weekend.

Also, I have a lot of cute new clothes to wear in said sunshine, which definitely doesn’t hurt.

That smile is because of the glare on my face – sunshine!!!

Really, my favorite thing about this outfit is the back of my shirt. Apparently, “ballet backs” are in now, and I like it! I bought this top in 2 colors, because why not?

Cute, right? It’s just enough to take an otherwise standard t-shirt and turn into something unique and fresh.

Springtime also brings bright lipstick again. Hot pink, I’ve missed you so!

What fashion/makeup trends are you most excited about this spring?

Who’s That Girl?

If I could be anyone other than myself, it would without a doubt be Carrie Underwood. Or Kate Middleton. But probably Carrie Underwood.

If I could be any fictional character, though, it would be Jessica Day. If you watch New Girl, you know the greatness that is Jess. Sure, she can can be “quirky”, but she’s also very smart, kind, loyal, and dedicated – and just so gosh darn adorable.

Also, more than one person has said I remind them of her, so that could possibly be swaying my opinion.

I really love Jess’ style. I probably dress more like her than anyone else on TV – she’s one of the few characters that I feel like I could walk into her closet and feel right at home.

So, when I recently wore an outfit that was more Jess than probably anything I’ve ever worn before, I couldn’t help but pop on my glasses (even though I was already wearing my contacts), just to complete the look.


Seriously, have you ever seen a more Jess outfit? Bright colors, cutesy printed dress, a bow, and cardigan. All that’s missing is the bangs.

Do you have any TV characters (or real life people, for that matter) whose style you resemble – or would like to? Let’s talk!

I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags

Have I ever told you how much I hate thrift stores? Like I HATE them. There are several reasons for this:

  1. They smell bad. Honestly, this is probably the biggest reason. All thrift stores smell the same and it’s gross and I feel like I need a shower after.
  2. I’m not much of one for the hunt. When I shop, I head straight to the clearance section – there are either things I like there or not, and I move on. At thrift stores you have to sort through all the trash to MAYBE find one thing you like. It’s too much work. (On a related note, I refuse to eat wings or ribs or fried chicken for the same reason – too much work.)
  3. I don’t think the prices are actually that great. When I can buy new things for the same price or less (as I regularly do), I would rather. Of course, there is that chance you might find a high end label that is new/barely used for a steal – but, for my opinions on that, see #2.

However, because I do have a limited budget, sometimes I just have to hold my nose and go into thrift stores. This happened recently because I’m looking for a specific piece of furniture and just can’t bring myself to pay several hundred dollars for something I have to assemble on my own. And new, already-assembled furniture is out of my price range at this point. So…hey, Good Will!

Naturally, I did not find what I was looking for, but on the way out, I noticed a sequin dress on the mannequin by the front door. So, of course, I got sucked in by something sparkly. I’m glad, though, because $6 for a sequin dress is a good price, even by my standards

Since I was already hooked, I just gave in and started browsing. Most was nothing I’d be interested in, but I did find the pants below, which are destined to become a new favorite.
Light blue, silk, floral pants with multiple colors in the patternĀ  to mix and match, and a super comfortable drawstring waist that’s also not frumpy looking? Sign me up.
These pants are actually not my best thrift store find – one time I got a Louis Vuitton garment bag (which, I’ve never used, but I own!) for $10.25. But, I like them a lot.

What’s your best thrift store/yard sale find? Do you like the thrill of the hunt, or are you more of an efficient shopper like me?

Older posts

© 2018 Tastefully Trendy

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑