Gretchen’s cute when she looks back…

I’m really not up for a traditional look back.  2011 wasn’t a bad year, but there were some really tough spots that I’d have to acknowledge if I look back, month by month so I’m not doing that.  You’re free to look back if you don’t remember the highs and lows…

Instead, I’m going to finally do that “Chanformation” post I’ve been toying with since I heard the phrase in September.  When I bit the bullet and signed up for Weight Watchers Online last December, I didn’t have a goal weight, but I had a host of support and knew it was time to reclaim the fit form that had always been so much a part of my life… except for the roadblocks and hurdles illness and injuries that changed everything.

“Chanformation” sounds ridiculously pretentious when I use it, but one of my dear friends coined it, a mutual friend loved it and shared it with me, and… it fits.

DSC_0644To get the full effect, we have to go back to September 2010.  This photo was an eye-opener for me.  Yeah.  I’m on the right, front.  Yes… for the sake of this post, I picked the LEAST flattering of the photos from that day, but it is important to be a little raw and honest here.

I was out of shape and overweight.  I lost a few pounds in 2010, even before WW, but given my stressful January, the weight slid right off.  No, I’m not going to talk pounds.  I will tell you that I’m now wearing sizes that are at least half of what I was wearing in that photo.  I have always weighed more than people might think, in part because I have what I hear is a coveted hourglass figure, a fairly large frame, and thanks to a very active youth, more muscle mass than a lady should mention!

182223_527163608368_62700009_31009426_3115506_nBecause I wasn’t happy with the gal in the mirror, there are no more photos of me until February.   Again, not the best photo from all that I have of that night, but it is a rare full-frontal view of me.

Note a couple of differences not totally related to weight/shape…  Granted, I had a fairy godmother who loaned me a dress she knew would flatter me, but regardless of how I fell into it, above you see me in drab colors that don’t necessarily do much for my own coloring.  This blue dress was good for me and to me, so while I wasn’t having a great hair night, it’s better than the flat, uninspired cut in the first photo.  I’d started to think about style again.

200458_832121060576_1503827_46043887_5921390_nFlash forward about five weeks, and you can see me really emerging, or the real me pushing her way into the world.  I should note that the creator of the word “Chanformation” is the tall beauty on the far right in this photo, and on my immediate right in photo #2.

Did I mention that a fabulous support system sustained me throughout this process?  There’s a reason you rarely see me pictured alone.  I have some of the best girlfriends this world has ever known.  I also have to note too that while they supported me when I decided to focus on my health and weight loss, they were quick to stop me and say kind things if I did wallow in self-pity in the months, even years, before I was ready to take charge of my … situation.

November 2011 004We have to shoot straight forward to November to get a photo of me at my goal weight/size/shape/fitness level.  I hit my goal weight over the summer and have maintained it – plus or minus two pounds – ever since.  The highlights arrived in late June and are here to stay.   New glasses – two different pairs – showed up before that too.

The “Chanformation” still isn’t complete.  I’m much more active and fit again, and heck, I have to confess that I no longer hate shopping.  But there’s always room for improvement.  I had to replace basically my entire wardrobe, from undergarments to outerwear, and some pieces still need to be upgraded, altered or replaced with something other than a stop-gap bargain.

Even my feet shrank a half size.

photo.JPGSissy is an uncompromising personal trainer, and I thank her for that, but I still need to find balance and get more yoga time in on a regular basis.  I also need to figure out how to get a good night’s sleep more than a couple of nights a week.

The next step I know I need to take is with cosmetics.  I’ve used one brand pretty much exclusively for about 15 years, but it’s time to change.  I’m not much on “war paint” as my father used to call heavy daytime makeup, but I do need more help re-creating the even skin tone I never quite took for granted but am losing anyway, and I need SPF, moisture and anti-aging protection in absolutely everything!

As usual, I have a question for you.  Are you loyal to one brand of makeup and/or skin care?  Or do you mix and dabble and try the hottest new products?  See…  I was a Mary Kay consultant briefly in another life, and they taught that one risked rather cynergistic results if she mixed and matched from different brands…  I have mildly sensitive skin to begin with, so I don’t need chemical reactions happening on my face.

Do you know The Cosmetic Cop?  It’s a great resource for all things beauty-related.

On that note, we’ll call this post, this year, DONE.  May 2013  2012 bring you peace, love and joy.

(I really am excited about the promise of the NEW year.  I didn’t mean to wish 2012 away!)

20 comments on “Chanformation

  1. Shelly says:

    Happy New Year to you, but what happened to 2012?

  2. Nancy says:

    Congratulations on your Chanformation! Keep up the good work.

    I’ve been working since July to transform myself, too, (I’m halfway to goal) so my battle wages on. I am dedicated and determined to develop new and lasting lifestyle changes.

  3. gMarie says:

    Love the look back. You look lovely in the all the photos. Unfortunately I don’t have answers about the make-up. What does the “cop” say? As I start thinking about the next decade of my life I am thinking about making a transformation of my own. 🙂 g

  4. Sue says:

    Your Freudian slip is showing. Tomorrow starts 2012. You’re looking too far ahead. I don’t do makeup, part of my feminist revolt years ago, but I’d advise to do what makes you feel good both regarding your appearance and your environment.

  5. SusanB-knits says:

    Great post! somehow I missed 2012?! I’ll just imagine I had a great knitting year, lol.
    I don’t wear much makeup anymore. When I do it is all the same brand.

  6. You were always lovely, however…I’m happy that YOU feel better about you now! I don’t mess with make-up much at all, and always break every rule, so….no help, as usual. Happy New Year to you and yours. ps…I actually posted something! That’s one for December…

  7. Mary says:

    May 2012 be a good year for you and the Haddon Woods crew. You do look terrific, but then you always did. It is just that now YOU feel good about you. That is important and not easy to achieve given the non-stop societal messages flung at females (e.g. must be thin, must be rich, yadayadayada). As for makeup, well, I have it and sometimes I actually wear it. Most days it is just blush and lip gloss (I actually forgot the blush the other day and one look in the bathroom mirror at work told me I should never do that again). I have used cl*n*que basically since it was first introduced. Lots of sensitivities so it was the first stuff that didn’t cause me to rash up. A DIL swears by Alima Pure (no animal testing, vegan approved mineral makeup) found online. Whatever you go for, just know that you are MAHVELOUS darling (even without blush)!

  8. Robin in VA says:

    Happy New Year! YOU LOOK FANTASTIC!!!!

  9. Amy says:

    I am a huge fan of Bare Minerals. A bit pricey, but I always get it when I can afford it. But most of the time, I used Almay.

    I’m so proud of you!!! You look amazing and I bet you feel better too. And thank you for helping me on my road to reach my weight goals. I really appreciate it!

  10. Katherine says:

    It was a very good year and you are looking wonderful!! I’m a great believer in Josie Maran’s Argan oil products. I dare say my skin is older than yours and the argan oil helps smooth out wrinkles and give the moist appearance I like.

    Gretchen is the cutest thing in her hoodie! The girl does know how to dress!!

  11. AlisonH says:

    That’s an incredible amount of work and determination. You did it! You look absolutely wonderful. I should add, I don’t mind the first photo, because I’ll take my friend Chan in any size you come in.

  12. kathy says:

    The pictures tell the story! You look amazing and so very confident too. You’ve done good!

    As for makeup, mine is fairly minimal too. Mostly Clinique but some Nars mixed in and l love lip color of many, many brands.

    Happy New Year!

  13. Kristyn says:

    Great job on your Chanformation. Happy New Year to all of you.

  14. Marjie says:

    I think you’ve done wonders for yourself. Ilve that outfit in the last photo (and I said so when you posted pictures of that skirt initially, too).

    Makeup is one thing I know. One word: L’Oreal. Very pricy. Very good for my sensitive skin. They even have a color that’s white enough for me, and you know I am the very definition of “white girl”. I use L’Oreal moisturizer, foundation and powder. Blush and eye makeup are whatever brand happens to have the color I like, but the moisturizer and foundation are the important part. And to avoid chapped lips, Rosebud Salve from drugstore com. It’s wonderful stuff (and it heals hangnails, too, as an added bonus)!

    Happy New Year, Chan; hope you and your Knight are snuggling up and enjoying a quiet evening together!

  15. Louise says:

    It just goes to show you, Channon, determination is a GREAT asset as are supportive friends. Kudos to YOU! If you feel better than I sure do too!!!

    The make-up question befuddles me. However, I too am considering it due to the fact that I am sneaking up, slowly ever so slowly to a milestone birthday in 2012. I’ll wait and see how you do, as usual:)

    A Very Happy, Safe & Healthy New Year to You, the Knight and those precious “babies.” Keep up the GREAT work!!!

  16. Jessica says:

    Oh…i loved this post! I loved chatting with you nearly every day this year, and having you become one of my dearest, most cherished friends. I think you and 3 others know i cannot even imagine how i would have gotten through this year without you. Time for 2012.

    You know i adore the cosmetics cop! I am pretty devoted to clinique, but sure do love stila. I am considering moving over to Bobbi Brown, too. So yeah, i mix and match a bit…but my foundation and powder are always clinique. Love that your dad called it War Paint, sounds like something a Marine would say, LOL!

  17. Blond Duck says:

    You look awesome! Kudos to you!

    My dad called it war paint too…

  18. Nichole says:

    Another great year end post… and you look FABulous darling! Amazing!
    As for cosmetics, I tend ot mix and match a few “go-to” brands… Clinique and Estee Lauder are always there, with a few mix ins from MAC and a couple other brands I find on

  19. jen says:

    you are lookin good my friend!!

    one sure fire way to get some sleep? after about 18 years of insomnia i recently started with a personal trainer at the Y and she put me on cardio 5 days a week. I do 55 min mon, wed, and fri and 45 min thursday and tuesday and let me tell you that alone makes me sleep like a much so i told her she managed to cure my insomnia!

  20. gypsyknits says:

    Wow! Chan, that’s awesome :D. Good for you.

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