Thursday, December 30, 2010

To Diet Pill or Not To Diet Pill

For years, women especially have been looking for a quick fix to lose weight. It doesn't help that pharmaceutical companies blow up the airwaves on television hawking their wares, promising super-fast weight loss. "Lose 10 pounds in ten days!" They promise so much but most people are on to their scams. Most of us know that there is no magic pill, no dieting panacea that will help us shed pounds without strict diet and exercise. Still, millions of people each year buy into the drug companies' false hope, praying that this time the pills/shakes/bars will really work.

What most people don't know is that there are often very harmful side effects to weight loss drugs.

First of all, these "supplements" are usually unregulated and largely untested. They are marketed as herbal supplements because the Food and Drug Administration does not verify the ingredients of these "miracle" pills. There could be anything in those pills.

Secondly, some of the herbal products can have interactions with prescription drugs.

These drugs usually contain some type of caffeine-like substance that raises blood pressure and heart rate. Unfortunately, a lot of people who take these drugs are already suffering from blood pressure problems, and the pills exacerbate the situation. This can cause severe blood pressure highs which can lead to stroke or heart attack, organ failure and even death.

And, as gross as it sounds, a lot of people use laxatives to lose weight, reasoning that the pills eliminate waste sooner and therefore less digestion and caloric intake is possible. In reality, most of the weight loss is water, not consumed food and you still retain almost all of the calories you've consumed. Long term laxative abuse can lead to organ damage, dehydration and death.

So, what do we do? A lot of us will fall for the next great celebrity hawked diet pill. It may or may not cause us severe problems.

What we need to be doing is seeing nutritionists and our medical doctors to undertake lifestyle changes instead of jumping on the next trend.

Remember folks, while curvy is beautiful, it isn't always healthy.

2012, Really?

Do the Mayans have it right? Is the world going to end on December 21, 2012? Do we really care?

I've had the great pleasure of talking to quite a few people on this topic and the general consensus is no, we don't really care. Well, at least I don't care.

Folks, the Mayans had a calendar. It dealt with astrological events and, well, dates. But the calendar's time telling stops abruptly on 12.21.12. This has recently thrown some people into a tailspin. Apparently the end of the world is going to be worse than the predictions for Y2K. We won't need to stock up on duct tape (another of Dubya's shining moments) or canned goods and we won't be eating our household pets for protein. This is supposed to be the real, end-of-the-world deal.

Unfortunately the Mayan 2012 sentiment also pops up in other civilizations, so now the end of the world is a big conspiracy theory. Joy. Why are we just hearing about this now and not ten years ago. Oh. That was Y2K's territory, never mind. Do we get only one extinction level event per decade?

Know what I think? I think that 2012 is the boogey man. Those who know me also know that I don't put much stock in religion. Although the Mayans were a race of people and not just a religion, most of the other 2012 ideas are rooted in religion. So, therefore,they have no credence. They're just stories meant to keep people in line, especially bad little kids.

But I'm game. I'd stock up on Twinkies and beer. Not going to eat Rover, though, not even with barbecue sauce.

Some people are, however, genuinely scared. Those that care, I mean. They think the world really will end in 2012. I have to wonder if, the closer we get to d-day, are there going to be even more people in the streets with their heads covered in tinfoil screeching about the end being nigh? (Remind me to buy stock in Reynold's Wrap.)

I have questions, though:
  • Is the world going to end on 12.21.12 00:01 Eastern or Pacific or are they going to air Maury first so I can find out if I'm the baby daddy (shut up, this is important stuff)?
  • Are the aliens coming for us, and will crop circles become more and more widely reported? Related: Will sales of Reese's Pieces escalate?
  • Will my Twinkies withstand whatever it is that's going to kill us?
  • It's the Smoke Monster from Lost, isn't it?
  • Are these snow storms, mudslides and fucked up weather patterns a precursor to 2012 or are they just El Nino? Or are they just really screwy weather patterns?
  • Are hospitals going to be giving special awards to babies born at 12:21 on 12.21.12 like they do New Year's babies? If so, does only military time count?
  • Was Nostradamus Mayan?
See, I'm not trying to trivialize people's panic (actually yes, yes I am), I just can't see how the world could possibly end in less than two years. (I did like the movie 2012, though.) Well, it could end if North Korea or Iran blows us out of our shoes. (That was worded wrong, I know it.)

I say forgeddiboudit. 

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Where We Shop

It used to be hard to find plus sized clothing that fit well and looked stylish, but these days retailers seem to be paying attention to customer's demands. Designers such as Liz Claiborne and Ralph Lauren are making plus-sized clothing for us curvy girls. (YAY!)

We here at SIZED UP have stumbled upon a plethora of plus-sized clothing retailers online and have decided to give you a rundown of the good, the bad and the ugly, not in any particular order.
  1. Hips and Curves offers plus and extended plus sized lingerie, sexy costumes and fetish wear. What we do like: It's nice to find little hot pink ruffled boy shorts in our size. We REALLY like that their models are curvy women. What we don't like: Their extended sizes do not venture into 30/32W territory and some items can be a little pricey.
  2. OneStopPlus is the holy grail of fat (yeah, we said it) wear. The two big companies for plus-sized clothing were always the Lane Bryant catalog (not to be confused with the Lane Bryant stores) and Roaman's. This site combines the two heavyweights (heh) with a few other notable labels such as Avenue and Jessica London. What we do like: This website has nearly everything a plus-sized diva could want or need. They offer a broad spectrum of affordable styles and sizes (including super-sized- 6x and up) in casual, career wear and intimates. They also always have specials such as free shipping and deep discounts for their return customers. And, let's not forget the wide-width shoes! What we don't like: Their clearance items go super fast, and some of the more popular sizes (which usually equals the more hard to find sizes) sell out quickly on non-clearance items.
  3. Ulla Popkin carries in-house label clothing. What we do like: Ulla Popkin's clothes are, in a word, delicious. Their clothes are comfortable and the sizes run up to 6X (38W). What we don't like: Again, we have to use the word pricey. Also, some of their designs seem to lean towards the cheesy instead of the stylish.
  4. Avenue has a good online presence as part of OneStopPlus, but we've included them here because they deserve their own mention. What we do like: Style, style, style... Avenue has it. Add in good value pricing and their Avenue Soft brand carries some of the most comfortable clothing we've ever worn. What we don't like: Their "special sizes" section runs only up to size 32 and consists of mostly jeans and pants.
  5. Sealed with a Kiss Designs is relatively new and offering very stylish clothing. What we do like: This site has some really cute clothes and some of their designs run up to size 6X (34/36). What we don't like: Again, price. Not much else, though,. These girls have it going on.
  6. Fashion  Bug's plus sized online store offers a wide selection of cute and stylish clothing. What we do like: Like we said, cute and stylish. Also, their prices are good. We've ordered from them quite a few times. What we don't like: No extended sizes and they are often out of stock on a lot of items.
As always, we are here to serve you. If you have a link to an online store you would like to share, don't hesitate to leave a comment and we'll review the shop and add it to the list!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

How To Survive A Blizzard Volume One

I feel for the folks on the east coast. As I sit here on the front porch in west Texas, no shoes, no coat, smoking a cigarette and writing a blog, most of the east coast is covered in snow. Not that I don't remember any of that... I did live in Pennsylvania for ten years. There was a huge snowstorm when I lived there and I remember being stuck at my friend Tina's house in Steelton, PA for about a week (not that it was a bad thing).

There are a few things that concern me when a big snowstorm is coming.

First of all, why do so many people buy bread and milk before the storm? What are you going to do with bread and milk? The power goes out and your milk goes bad, you're sitting there eating bread sandwiches.

My shopping list? Just the essentials:

  1. Beer. Always a fun beverage and, if the power goes out, you can stick your beer in the snow to keep it cold.
  2. Pizza. Ah, DiGiorno. Make mine pepperoni, please. I know, I know... I made a remark about the power going out. Here's the catch... Cook all of your pizzas BEFORE the power goes out. Cold pizza and beer go together real well. 
  3. Little Debbie's Swiss Cake Rolls. Except that, if they're in my house, they won't make it till the snow starts.
  4. Doritos. There is no hunger pang that Doritos won't cure.
And, while you're at it, stop at the ATM and get some spare cash. $20-$50 depending on the size of your sidewalk, driveway and car. Why, you ask? After a storm, there are always roving fellows looking for spare cash and they'll gladly shovel your driveway for some of that cash you remembered to get before the storm. Save your back, use your cash.

Me? I'm going to try and winter somewhere warm.
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