BE WELL WEDNESDAY: THE BIG M

Hello my fellow mid lifers, (give or take a few years).  Today we are talking about busting the weight loss myth about women of a 'certain age', the big M, and how to beat it at its own game, and the best sports bra ever created.
This is me.  I'm a Baby Boomer and this isn't your grandmas menopause!

So, how many times have you heard that you can't loose weight during menopause?  I even had a friend whose Gyno told her to just give it up, a man of course, himself middle aged and stuck in 1972.  Wrong, wrong, wrong, and don't let anyone tell you that you can't feel and look fabulous at this stage of your life, or at any stage of your life for that matter.  Being in the big M may make it a little more challenging but with so many resources available putting together a plan that works for you is totally doable.

First of all, let me just say that I grew up a size minus, my mother was told by the family Dr. to "fatten me up".  She would make me malteds every day after school, she bought a malted machine!  Nothing ever worked.  I finally broke 100 lbs in my 30's.  Then I got pregnant.  Although I only gained 26 lbs during my pregnancy and had a six lb baby (all grown up now) I kept not only the 26 lbs but the humongous pregnancy boobs that the Dr. kept saying would go back to normal.  "Don't worry most women get smaller after pregnancy."  And there it was, that term "most women" whenever anyone says "most women" to me, I know I'm doomed.  I am not like most women.  My perky 32B's morphed into 34 DDD and never returned to "normal" again.  I'm not complaining but that's a lot of extra weight to lug around.  But I digress, this will all make sense when you get to the bra part below.

So, here is what I've learned about lugging around those extra lbs.  You need to dump them.  DUMP THEM!  They are not good for your health, your self esteem or that half of your wardrobe you can no longer fit into.  And I'm sorry to tell you that there is no magic pill, diet, shake, potion or guru.  There is one thing and you're probably not gonna like it.  It's stinky and uncomfortable and makes you wash you hair more often then you want to.  It's sweat.  Good old fashioned, stinky, drippy, clothes staining, hair wrecking, extra laundry doing stink'n sweat.  And here I am actually sharing my ugly sweaty picture with you so you'll know I'm serious!  This is after a 4.5 mile run/walk.
When the first Covid quarantine hit in March I decided to try jogging with my husband, he's been a runner for years and I've tried joining him in the past but I never lasted.  I was always out of breath and could never keep up with him anyway.  And I'm curvy, I do not have a runners body!  But I've been a hiker now for a while and my endurance has definitely improved so I thought I'd give it another try.  I started out slow, more walking than running.  We live in a beautiful area with lots of mountain trails and scenic views making it an amazing way to start the day for both my body and soul.  I've kept it up, now in month 4, and I'm so proud of myself.  I can keep up with my husband most days although I still walk some sections that are very steep and I'm careful (cause I'm a klutz) and I listen to my body.  I thought the weight would fall off fast, it didn't, but the inches did, then came the weight making it even more motivating to stick with it.  This is a long post so I'll save diet for an other time, for now I'll just say I eat healthy, stay away from processed foods and incorporate as much plant based options as possible.

Find your own sweat, it may not be running, maybe it's dancing, biking, spinning, whatever, just find your sweat.  On my off running days I do Yoga but since I can't go to classes right now I came across a woman named Zoe, her brand is Yoga.Burn on Instagram.  I found her at the beginning of quarantine.  She was posting free 15-20 minute Yoga Burn sessions every other morning.  She's amazing and she will make you sweat!  Now I've been doing yoga since collage, all kinds of yoga, and I have never found anyone who combines routines like this and I've taken some pretty hard yoga classes but I sweat more with her 15 mins than I ever did in an hour long class.  You can find all her free classes on Youtube or buy her program which comes with a resistance band which I love using.  She's amazing plus she has a great body, which is inspiring and she's healthy looking, not super skinny or mussely.  Of course being tan, young and blond doesn't hurt either.  Her workouts combine yoga and HIT (high-intensity interval training) and are incredible, not hard, and you will see results fast.  Age not a factor!  I repeat AGE NOT A FACTOR!

So now that we've discussed sweat, let's talk about the things no one talks about when it comes to the big M like loosing your eye brows, really whose cruel joke is this?  And they have the nerve to disappear from your forehead only to appear on your chin.  Nights sweats, one of my friends denies her night sweats but her husband says she turns the AC so low that he has to sleep in a parka!  Why do women deny menopause symptoms?  I once worked with a women who denied it, we finally told her to make a choice, either admit it and do something about it or have us all believe she was just a cranky bitch.  And another cruel joke against our kind, south of the border dryness, no one warned me.  Trouble sleeping,  hot flashes and no, that doesn't count as work-out sweating, sorry.  But good news, you don't have to put up with all these things!  There's a ton of help and I'll put resources at the end of the post.  Except for the eye brow chin thing, there's just no stopping that, God bless make-up and tweezers!

With running came the challenge of strapping down the 'girls'.  Anyone else that's big busted, this one's for you.  I have tried all kinds of sports bras, as I'm sure you have, and never found any that could hold the girls in place, until now.  This is more than a bra, this is the ultimate sport bra, the Rolls Royce of bras, an engineering marvel of strategic workings from the locking zipper, yes it really stays locked, to the super wide velcro band and straps.   The zipper is major, the straps are adjustable with big velcro straps (or as I like to call them hoists) and the back bottom band is also adjustable with a thick sturdy band of velcro.  It's just amazing and once you get it in place those girls aren't going anywhere and on top of that somehow it's comfortable!  To get it on is a little work, but definitely worth it.  I loosen the back strap and then zip the front, there's a big flap in front to hide the zipper under a tight T-shirt, then I bend over and 'hoist' the girls up (those of you that are big busted you know this move) and then pull the back band to velcro close it tight, amazing.  And I love the way the straps adjust up with as much lyft as you want.  Comes in a vey cute bag and is made in America.  I'm wearing it in the top picture and in the sweat picture, the line in my blue top is from the top itself, not the bra, which is totally smooth.  The bra is called Shefit, I've linked it, (this is NOT an Ad).  I toyed with the idea of posting a picture of myself in the bra but I've already pushed the envelope with my sweat picture.

The Arsenal

  • Vitamins - I'm not a nutritionist or a Dr., I'm just sharing what works for me.  Do your research!  I'm a huge believer in supplements.  Vitamins and herbs can work wonders for all sorts of issues.  I know this first hand from dealing with an auto immune disorder in my 20's with the help of an amazing nutritionist.  Super important to take as we age are Calcium, Magnesium and Zinc, vitamin D, and a potent B Complex.  Also, if you have any thyroid issues, it's very common, there are amazing supplements to support your thyroid.  I take Para Thyrolate and L-Tyrosine.  COQ-10 is a great antioxidant helps to fight aging and support brain function.  If you have had anyone with Dementia in your family (my Mom) look at the supplements that support brain health, there are several. 
  • Support - If you can see a Nutritionist or a Chiropractor that is also a Kinesiologist especially someone who muscle tests that would be ideal to test what supplements you need, they start with blood work but look for different things than a western medicine Dr. looks for.  If you've never heard of muscle testing checkout this site for an easy to understand explanation.  Your body doesn't lie and muscle testing can tell what supplements will or won't work for you and also if you take any medication you can make sure it's right for you by being muscle tested.
  • For Meno Symptoms - As I said above you can beat menopause symptoms at its own game, and this one is a game changer.  It's called Selestro.  This was also recommended to me by the same nutritionist from way back when, two years ago, he said "take this if you want to save your hair and skin".  His word is gospel so I took it and not only does it work for skin and hair it stopped the nights sweats completely and did away with the mood swings.  Works so well that if I'm moody my daughter will actually ask me if I 've run out of my Selestro!  HA.  There is also one called EstroVive, same principle, different formulation of herbs.  I've tried both but prefer the Selestro.  Both of these are all herbal.
  • Dryness Down Below - Yes, no one wants to talk about this but if it's an issue for you ask you gynecologist about Estradiol.  It's by prescription and it is a hormone cream but it's localized and does not travel through your blood stream, works were it's supposed to.
  • Hair Loss - I'm not having this issue luckily but some of my friends are and they take Biotin and say it really works.
  • Sleep - I used to underestimate the power of sleep but not any more.  Sleep heals your body.  Try to get at least 7 hours.  Arianna Huffington wrote an entire book about it after she collapsed from exhaustion and hit a table on her way down breaking her jaw!  It's called The Sleep Revolution, Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time.
  • Your Brain - Remember that commercial when we were gowing up - This is your brain, this is your brain on drugs?  Well now this is your brain, and this is your brain on menopause.  It's time to take care of your brain.  Research some brain strengthening supplements like Ginkgo Biloba, Ashwagandha and Bacopa Extract. Yes, I take those too, I know it's a lot.  
  • Food - My fellow Baby Boomers, we grew up on can foods, Mallomars, anything made by Hostess, and fake cheese that we squirted into our mouths from a can.  It's a wonder we survivied. Read these New York Times #1 Best Sellers - The Grain Brain by David Perlmutter,  Life Changing Foods and Thyroid Healing by Anthony William (all of his books are amazing)
  • Sweat - Yoga Burn, here is her Youtube channel, there's lots, I'm linking the lockdown challenge day 1 but look around and check out her videos.  And if that's not for you find something else, experiment, there are so many options on line now.  Do not settle into a sedentary lifestyle!
  • Sports Bra - Shefit 

Whew, this was a super long post, did you make it to the end?  If you have any questions please do not hesitate to email me @juliefromdrabtofab@gmail.com.  I love hearing from you!

Be good to yourself and don't forget to take your MEDS ~ Meditation, Exercise, Diet and Sleep!



MOTIVATION MONDAY: AUGUST

Hello!  And Happy August!   Between Covid, the crazy in the White House, and regular life trying to worm back in when nothing at all is regular, I figure we can all use some motivation.  Wishing you a fabulous week.  We're all in this together.




ARM CHAIR TRAVEL: SANTORINI

Welcome to Santorini!  I probably could just post these pics without writing anything because they are so beautiful, and believe me, not because I took them, but because you cannot take a bad picture in Santorini!  It's sooooo gorgeous!

The peak season for Santorini is May - November.  We were there in November, the end of the season, due to the Marathon (see Athens if you missed it) and it was not crowded at all, in fact there were very few of us tourists.  (Hence an amazing free hotel upgrade).  According to 
our first cab driver during peak season, due to the cruise ships, 600,000 people pass through this beautiful island. That's a lot of people, he said the streets are jammed, the narrow path that goes through the island where we leisurely strolled, (and were able to take pictures without any people, would be a completely different experience had it been in peak season.  Something to consider when planning.  The residents of the island close up their shops, restaurants and hotels for 6 months of  'off season' as the weather turns colder.  I asked one of the shop keepers what she would be doing for those six months and she said relaxing.  Take a lesson over worked stressed out Americans (of which I am one.)  Then she sold me the most gorgeous painting for $6!  She said the less she had to pack and take home the better.  I quickly discovered it was like that in all the shops!  And no waiting at any of the restaurants.
When we walked onto the terrace of our room at The Canavas Oia , and I turned around and looked though the doorway, I realized this was a magical place.  The Canavas Oia Suites is all suites, but because it was so empty they upgraded us to a suite with a private hot tub and stunning views in every direction.  Swoon.
We took the ferry from Athens with half of our family while the others flew because they were leaving a day earlier. When people talk about seeing the Greek Islands I was always under the impression that they are all clustered together, well they're not.  Santorini was an 8 hour ferry ride from Athens. The flight from Athens to Santorini was only an hour.  Also to consider the flight was $150 and the ferry ticket was $35.  Plus the ferry was more like a cruise ship so we got to relax on the Aegean Sea.  And how often can you say that?!? "Oh sorry I didn't answer your e mail today I was relaxing on the Aegean Sea".  And we were tired, we had left for the ferry at the crack of dawn and as I said in my Athens post a sure way to get lost in Greece is to say follow that cab (with the rest of your family in it.)  Yup, off went, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and their two munchkins in one cab headed in one direction and us in another cab headed in a completely different direction.  We were to meet at the train station.  Well, we were taken to a train station all right, just the wrong one.  We realized this from some pseudo English of the man selling us the train tickets we were about to not use.  This train wasn't due for an hour which meant we'd miss the boat,  literally!  So we ended up taking another cab directly to the ferry.  
When we arrived in Santorini we were dropped off near our hotel, but we couldn't find it. Nothing like two Americans walking back and forth dragging their luggage on cobblestones.   With everything built into the hillside, we couldn't see it from the road.  Then someone came out to greet us and it was complete heaven from then on.
The first excursion we went on was to a volcano and to swim in the hot springs.  The cable car that was supposed to take us down this huge hill to the boat was broken and so we had to climb down.  480 steps to be exact.  I should mention the boat was leaving in 10 minutes.  And I should mention the pack of donkeys blocking the way.  And I should mention that my husband and his siblings average height is 6'2 and I should mention I'm 5'2.  As I'm hoofing it down my sister-in-law was already on the boat yelling they're holding the boat!  But no pressure, just a boat full off tourists waiting for me to climb down the 480 steps.  My very patient husband cheered me on down those 480 steps, and at one point I told him to go without me, save yourself!  I said I'd wait right there until he got back, it would take 3 hours to resume normal breathing anyway.  Of course he didn't go and I had to speed it up as my sister-in-law was yelling hurry!  I yelled back, (unprintable).  I realized she got them to hold the boat!  Finally we made it.   

As we climbed aboard I apologized and thanked all 75 other tourists.  Once we landed at the volcano I found out we had to climb it!  Did I mention I was wearing a skirt?  I made it 3/4 up and then claimed a very comfortable lava rock to sit on as my new best friend.  (This was before my current hiking and running life).  Back on the boat, and hopefully a few pounds lighter, we moved to the hot springs swimming area.  I was confused when the boat stopped several 100 yards away from shore and the captain announced those who wished to swim should jump off and swim to shore.  Wtf?  Obviously I had missed the memo about this day.  And as you may have guessed they all jumped off the boat to swim, those are my husbands feet in the pic below.  And I'm sure you can guess I stayed on the boat.  Hey, someone has to take the pictures.

But in the end we had a blast even though I was minus one pair of black coach sneakers that didn't survive the donkey poop. 
That boat wayyyy down there!
The afore mentioned donkey 
We stayed longer then the rest of our family members, explored the town of Fira and on our last day walked to the winery.  No irrigation, they use the sea spray off the Aegean and contain it by weaving the grape vines around the grapes into a basket to keep in the moisture, amazing.  There were still some cafes open and it was fascinating to be there when things were closing for the season, including our hotel!  Now I'm dreaming of going back, we'll take that same suite please ;)













ARM CHAIR TRAVEL: ATHENS, GREECE

Anyone else missing travel these days?  I sure am, but the thought of getting on an airplane gives me an anxiety attack!  Have you seen those animated pictures of inside a plane when someone sneezes and the little green germ balls fly everywhere and then land on someones head?  UG and I'm not even a germ-a-phobe, at least I wasn't, pre-Covid.  I was reminiscing over my old travel pictures recently while trying to take a break from social media and CNN.  Travel pictures make me happy, they carry me off to far away places and evoke memories and feelings and remind me of how much I love and miss traveling.

I try not to think of what it will be like to get on an airplane post Covid.  A mask for 15 hours to Greece?  Social distancing at sidewalk cafes in Paris?  Airport bathrooms are giant Petri dishes in my mind.  GAH.

But I'm holding on to the hope that things will be, not gonna say normal, but some safer version of what normal travel used to be.  So in re-discovering my pictures I thought I'd share them again.  Some will be re-posts, some edits, but all from the safety of your isolation.  So come along with me, first stop Athen, Greece!

Welcome to Athens! 
Some Fun Facts About Greece
  • Greek, as you probably know is based on it's own Greek alphabet, so when you hear the expression "It's all Greek to me" that's because it is!  There is no just getting by with sounding out words because the letters are impossible to figure out.  Carry marked maps with you and have a list of common things you will need to say like "another baklava please".
  • Saying 'follow that cab' when it contains the other half of your family, is a sure way to get lost in Athens. 
  • Many of the streets are made of marble, they're slippery, wear shoes with rubber bottoms.
  • The pastry is so good that you must pace yourself.  I thought I would literally 'plotz' when I took my first bite of an authentic Greek Baklava. 
  • It's easy to overload on olives when you can buy them on the street, and they're cheap! 
  • Olive overload = Big Fat Greek stomach ache.
  • You can't flush toilet paper down the toilet!  That's right, you heard me all you spoiled Americans with good plumbing. 
  • There is no hummus in Greece.  I know it's Middle Eastern but every Greek Restaurant in America serves it.  Really, don't ask for hummus.
  • There's no lettuce in a Greek salad in Greece.  Who knew?
  • Like in all European countries, they know how to sit and savor.  You'll never get thrown out of a cafe for lingering over your espresso.  Take a lesson.
Our Greece trip was in November 2014 and started when my husbands brother got the idea to run the Greek Marathon.  The real Greek Marathon, a 26 mile course that was the site of the very first Marathon ever, and the route went from the city of Marathon to the city of Athens.  He challenged one of his sisters and my husband, all of whom have done marathons before in some very cool places.  With three grand kids in the mix my step mom-in-law joined the party.  And so we came together from Southern CA, Northern CA, Minnesota and Germany, all 10 of us.

We stayed in an Air B & B in the neighborhood of Fokionos Negri.  Try saying that with a mouth full of olives!  And for some reason any time any of us had to say that to a cab driver we'd jumble it so bad it caused the equivalent of an international incident. 


According to our first cab driver Fokinos Negri 'used' to be a great neighborhood. He sacred us a little, but at least he spoke English. Turned out we liked the neighborhood.  The flat was in an incredibly old beautiful art deco building from the 1930's, on a greenbelt, no traffic, just a walk path and little park lined with cafes and a wonderful chocolate shop. The flat itself was fascinating, owned by two sisters who grew up there and have felt the need to keep it just as it was. That would be old.  If you like antiques, and a lot of charm, and are traveling in a pack of 10 this works well.  When we first got there we decided we could look at it two ways, charming or decrepit, we decided to go with charming.  

The thing about Greece that we had not read anywhere, is that the plumbing is so old you have to throw your toilet paper in the trash.  Sounds gross but we actually all got used to it fairly quickly.   However, there was that one incident at 3:00 AM when I forgot...oops.  I stood there for a few minutes waiting for the toilet to explode but it was fine.  At first I thought it was only this apartment because it was so old, but as we traveled about every restroom we visited had a 'no paper' sign over the toilet.  The exception was the National Archeological Museum which was very modern, although the toilets didn't have seats, very odd.  And it wasn't a mistake, it's just, who needs a seat? Well, turns out I do. The other thing about this neighborhood was that at night it was very noisy.  I was told that Greek people stay up all night and sleep in the morning, it seemed true.  I didn't mind the noise, the talking and clinking of high heels, I kind of liked it, it added to the flavor of the neighborhood.

We were able to walk to the Museum, the open markets, the square and Old Town Plaka. We found the people to be very nice.

The market places are wonderful and then came the moment... I squealed and an old Greek man standing next to us pointed and said "yes... Starbucks!"  Probably the only English word he knew.  It was not a mirage and we have our souvenir Greek Starbucks mug's to prove it!  Other than that, everything else was at least 100 years old.


Our first day exploring took us to the Acropolis, it was drizzly, which some how seemed appropriate for a place built in 5th Century BC.  It was a huge climb up and the steps were all made of marble.  As usual I got made fun of for wearing heels, but it was raining and they were Easy Spirit Booties, rubber bottoms and so comfy!  Yes, I climbed the Acropolis in 4 inch heels, which makes me fabulous! (I can say that because this is my blog ;)

There are tons of restaurants in the market place and every other store is a bakery.  But on our second day as the Marathoners headed off to pre-registration the rest of us found ourselves in a residential neighborhood, hungry and without a restaurant in site.  After a few charade type transactions with locals we headed down a few streets and found an amazing restaurant called, TouavponpoBato located at Appiavou 31-33, IIaykpati.  That's not really correct because my computer doesn't type Greek so if you're going to Athens message me and I will send you a picture of their biz card, it's a must to try and I am determined to go back.  In fact this is where I had my first Greek salad of the trip which ruined me for the rest of the Greek salads to come.  Oh they were all good, don't get me wrong, and I had one every day, but this one was amazing! 
The Marathon was an awesome experience, even as a spectator.  Sitting in the stands of the Memorial Stadium which, is completely made of marble, watching all of the runners approach the finish line was incredible.  There were those alone, those in groups, some dressed in Greek God costumes and the combination of determination, joy and pain as they ran to the finish line was amazing.  Some people looked as if they would fall over, some did and others saw that last stretch and broke into sprints which brought me to tears.  And then there they were, my sister-in-law, brother-in-law and my husband, they all made it the 26 miles! 
Old Town Plaka was my favorite, the living spaces have been beautifully renovated and mix seamlessly with this 100 year old town.  Destination, a 100 year old distillery called Brettos.  It was gorgeous with walls of colored bottles and 100 year old brandy barrels.  The owner brought me a glass of wine he promised I would like after I told him I was a light weight and didn't drink.  It was so good I drank it, all of it.  When we got up to leave I remembered why I don't drink.

He recommended a restaurant a few blocks away, and by blocks I mean narrow streets and hills.  But then, there it was this beautiful quaint place with amazing views and a fish that was big enough to feed us all.  It had more Michelin Star's then could fit on the door.  

Then we were off to Mt. Lycabettus at dusk to see the entire city light up from 745ft.  This time we didn't hike it, we took a funicular which is kind of a cross between a train and a tram.

Olives, spices, nuts and lavender tea from the market place.  I wish I had bought more.  I think I started dreaming of going back the minute I ran out of the lavender tea.  Oh and the afore mentioned olive overdoes. (I have no willpower). 

This Adonis at the National Archeological Museum, I thought we'd end on a bang :)  Join me next week and we'll sail over to stunning Santorini!