The Good News

This is a day I was super happy. Swinging with my nephew. (Had to cut him out of the pic, that's an internet no no.) I am almost this happy today.
This is a day I was super happy. Swinging with my nephew. (Had to cut him out of the pic, that’s an internet no no.) I am almost this happy today.

September of 2013 I was diagnosed with diabetes. I was prescribed 1750 mg of a drug called Metformin and a Victoza injection every night. That day I cried on the floor with my husband looking on helplessly. In the two years since, I have gone through so much pain and setbacks. I have quit my job, my Dad had a heart attack, I left the friends and family I love so much and moved across country. It has been a really hard two years. Between the PCOS and Endometriosis, I have been in pain, depressed, on pain pills and frankly fed the fuck up.

Slowly I have been trying to take control of my health. First, I started eating all organic about three months ago. I have learned about all the chemicals and antibiotics they put in our food, and how cruel they are to animals in industrial farming. I have wanted to vote with my money for a long time, but finally put that into fruition three to four months ago. An amazing side effect of this choice is my PCOS symptoms have lessened. It was surprising but also very motivating, and so Brad and I decided to take it further. About a month ago we went to a mostly vegetarian diet. Ninety percent to ninety five percent of our diet is meat free.

I went to my doctor’s appointment last week, at the time I found out that I had lost twenty-nine pounds in just a month and a half of my last appointment. This is really awesome, but not even close to the best part. This morning my doctor called to give me the results of my tests. I am overjoyed with the results. I now have the A1C results of a pre-diabetic, not a diabetic!!!! Hard work pays off!  I am not out of the danger zone yet. I doubt I will ever be out of the danger zone truly, but for the first time ever…my numbers are going the other way!!!!!! I am only taking one Metformin now and no Victoza. My doctor wanted me to take two but said it would be okay if I waited another three months to see what I could do in that time to get my blood sugar down.

I have three months to get my sugars down .2 points in order for my doctor to feel good with my current medicine regimen. So that is where I must start. I can do this! I am of the fake it until you make it camp so I say that a lot. However, for the first time ever, I believe it. I am so happy that the choices that I have been making are finally the right ones. I feel like I should celebrate, but I will wait. I have many more meals to plan, and miles to walk before a PLANNED celebration. That’s how I do things now. I plan my indulgences. I make good decisions. That’s me, controlling my destiny over here.

Okay, so I might be having a mini celebration in my head which is pretty powerful these days.

We Need A Different Way Of Seeing Things

These two pictures were taken within two weeks of each other, neither photo shopped.  I was the same weight in both.
These two pictures were taken within two weeks of each other, neither photo shopped. I was the same weight in both.

I started this blog because I got tired of hearing how easy losing weight is. I got sick of hearing, “I lost weight like this and you can too!” This is typically accompanied by a picture of the happy smaller person in some sort of tight clothing, next to one when they weighed their worst. The worst picture is always of the person wearing something unfortunate and usually sitting down so their rolls are perfectly blatant or chin down, double chin emphasized. A picture like that could bring one to their senses and start a weight loss journey.

However, what really upsets me is the myth that is perpetrated by the media that weight loss is easy. If I did it this way– you can too. This is not true. In the most basic sense, yes, it is possible to lose weight a myriad of ways. It’s possible, but highly unlikely. It is even more unlikely that I will lose the weight the exact way anyone else has lost it. Everything I do, from waking up in the morning, to talking to my husband is different from anyone else. The most essential and basic relationship is the one with sustenance, and it’s a personal one. Not even my siblings like the same things or eat the same things I do and we are essentially genetically as close to one another as can be. We each have different emotional responses to food, exercise and will power. My own mother approaches food differently than I do, yet, the one stop shop method of weight loss is peddled from every media outlet possible.

One thing sadly missing from most weight loss programs or ideas is the emotional component. It seems blatantly ignored. If you look at other programs for addiction they deal with the emotional component. They ask questions like: How do you deal with stress, how can you get support, why do you use this addiction to cope, and how does your addiction affect the ones you love?

Here is the support food addicts get, jewels like: calories in/ calories out, eat less / exercise more, and nothing tastes better than skinny feels. The simplicity galls me.

What is worse is that over simplification can make failure all the more disappointing. By making weight loss seem easy then it makes it even harder not to internalize self hatred and pain. The fallacy perpetrated by most weight loss companies, that anyone can do their programs, does more harm than good.

For me, I didn’t realize how hard it could be until I had failed many times.  Each time I failed at a diet attempt or exercise venture, I would go into a deep guilt and binge for days. I am sure I am not the only one who didn’t realize that weight loss is a lifelong goal, and a very difficult one. No one admits they were deluded into believing that they could lose weight easily. I would say we are all patsy’s of the weight loss community. If you look at the statistics, you can see two thirds of Americans are overweight, I think that something is wrong with the system. There is a multimillion dollar industry out there, and it isn’t helping as much as we’d think. I believe the problem is the misconception that it is easy.

I want to show that losing weight and getting healthy is not easy. To weight loss professionals and to companies who provide weight loss assistance, I would like to offer this advice: don’t trivialize weight loss. If you want to be helpful, acknowledge the struggle it takes to change an entire lifestyle. Let those people, who do accomplish this great thing for their bodies, be even more proud because society could finally realize the difficulty. Even more, allow people who are having trouble losing weight be kinder to themselves so that it is easier to get back on a healthier path. Studies I’ve read show confidence and self esteem is an important factor in weight loss. It is time that as a society we started to work towards that goal instead of against it.

What to do about Sneaky Negativity

I turned this...
I turned this…

I am going through a renaissance of sorts, a life change, and it is exciting. The passion of my life is writing. I have written poems and stories ever since I could. I am so happy that I get this opportunity to write with abandon but have had so many stumbling blocks it has been a little disheartening.  Before this I could only write before or after work, between any personal engagements and while other people have done written a successful novel on the side I have not. Now I have a chance to go full on into my writing. I have the freedom to write most of the day, it is the exhilarating idea I have been dreaming about for years. When I first start things there is so much doubt, and sometimes it can come from external sources which doesn’t help. Quitting smoking, losing weight, and changing careers are all difficult endeavors and I have or am embarking on all of them.

I have uncertainty that I can accomplish my goals. I am sure I am not the only one. I ask myself is this a case that I am just scared or am I really not cut out for “working from home.” I guess this comes down to the fact that I really don’t know exactly what I want to do with my life and at almost forty it seems like a desperate and horrible position to be in. The uncertainty is damaging, but what is worse is the pressure. I want to write and be healthy now that I have the time to do anything I want. What if I fail? All this time I have been humbugging the fact that I didn’t have the opportunity to write full time. What if now that I have the opportunity and the time to do what I have dreamed of, I don’t succeed, which would be shameful, right?

Could fear hold me back? Certainly.

It doesn’t help that many of my friends and family don’t believe this move is right for me. People that know my heart and soul don’t think leaving a full time job is for me. When I think about change as a concept I believe it makes everyone uncomfortable. The concept of security is definitely safer. As a woman the idea of being financially reliant on my husband of eleven years even makes me uncomfortable and my husband is amazing, reliable, and the most trustworthy person I know. Everything in my being and how I was raised tells me I am supposed to be self reliant. Not only that, but I have never been good at the domestic stuff either. I sucked at quitting smoking, until I quit smoking. The thing is, when you try to quit thirty times, your family and friends both know you are going to fail on the thirty first and are kind of sick of you talking about it. They don’t understand that this new resolve is going to be the ticket. I remember once I told someone I loved I was going to quit smoking and they rolled their eyes. I don’t blame them. I mean it is hard to believe after the umpteenth time.

My total lack of domestic abilities my entire life is why some of my best friends and close family don’t think this is going to work, but seriously what is a little laundry when I have the chance to write the rest of the day. I know I will never be Martha Stewart. Although I do love making my house look beautiful, and what my friends and family don’t know is I daydreamed about having time to cook delicious elegant meals.

Sometimes I think I need a fresh perspective, with friends who don’t know that I have been domestically incompetent, less than graceful, and physically fitness challenged. (The last one you could probably tell by looking at me, but that doesn’t matter.) New friendships are usually pretty hopeful and there is a bonus if self improvement is the focus of the friendship.

My other friends and family, the ones who know me really well, and know I am not very good at the domestic duties; I will be gently reminding them that I can change and grow. Sometimes they don’t realize they are being discouraging, and sometimes I don’t know they are doing it. It could be a joke or a suggestion for a job I don’t want. When I realize the words have affected me later, it’s usually when my own doubts are plaguing my mind. So I have to remind myself and my loved ones: I may have been clumsy in the past but I get better sleep now and haven’t fallen in years. I may have smoked in the past but I haven’t had a cigarette in a year. I am fat now but I will lose the weight. I stink at laundry but some day I may come to love taking care of my home, and I have the tenacity. I have not always accomplished things quickly, but I roll the large stones uphill. I can do it; it will just take time and energy.

...into this.
…into this. I can do plenty!!!!

How do you pace yourself?

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This is what I look like relaxed.

Do you schedule rest time? Also, do you feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do what you need to get done? Do you feel like you don’t do enough to accomplish your goals? I am struggling with goal setting, and when to work on those goals and how to overcome the limitations of my body. If I can’t overcome those limitations, how do I feel good about taking the appropriate breaks?

Last night my husband and I were talking about how I didn’t do anything that day which put me in a very foul mood. It wasn’t anything I could point to and say was wrong.  As Brad put it “You’re grouchy.” I didn’t know why except that I didn’t do anything.  I took the day off because my leg was hurting from my walking the day before.  Brad gave me this really funny look and said “Oh, okay, that’s because you’re all go, go, go all the time.”

He was teasing me but at the same time he was being honest. He said you need to give yourself permission to just rest. I replied accusingly, “I did! I sat there all day and did nothing but Netflix!”  It isn’t my fault that guilt just keeps creeping back in. I just sat there all day ignoring other responsibilities that I needed to take care of. I sat there in bed thinking I should have been writing or cleaning the kitchen. It doesn’t matter that I wouldn’t have been good at any of those things because I was in a lot of pain. I felt I should have been doing something other than watching Medium.

I have friends who are athletes and I’ve read a lot of magazines where athletes state that they schedule rest time. I guess I haven’t figured out how to do that guilt free. Is this another “talk to myself” moment?  Do I need therapy to give myself a day of rest by myself? I have no problem resting when my husband is there as if I have permission to slack off when he is. I don’t know why.

I really hate it when people say I don’t know why I feel this way, I just do. It is as if my feelings control me. They shouldn’t and I am struggling with how to make my rational mind take over in all my efforts.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to schedule rest time? Do you know any way to unwind guilt free?

Have you heard of the phenomenon where people set a goal so high that they burn out because they are doing too much?  It is a January trend where chubby people everywhere get into the gym and push themselves.  As if all the physical fitness can be done in the first month of the year, we all lace up our sneakers and sweat more in that first week than we have the entire year before and then wonder why we hate exercise.  My husband feels I do that with everything.

Usually I have unpacked everything, hung pictures, and organized the entire home by the third day in my new house. I push myself to get things done as soon as possible when I really want them done. Goal setting is good but if I burn myself out, that’s not good for anyone. I have to think of my body, my mind, and my marriage. I am open to any suggestions. I could truly use any possible help you could give me.

My Mornings

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I have been having a hard time in the morning. I am foggy, nauseous, and mostly just in a bad mood.  I have read a lot about other diabetics having problems waking up as well. I get nausea as soon as I am conscious.  I have tried eating something right away and that helps.

The true problem is that I am just not a morning person. That fact has been what I scheduled my life around since I left my parents home. I have maneuvered my way onto the second shift at every job I have worked. Seven am has always been an abhorrent idea to me. That is until my husband got this job here in Philadelphia.  He has to be there at eight thirty which means we have to get up at seven. Ugh!

Well, Ugh has been my disposition for about a month. That’s how long we have been here, waking up begrudgingly every day.  Like a spoiled teenager, I hit the snooze button over and over until my husband coaxes me out of bed. Then I slowly grope my way over to the kitchen to silently make breakfast. It isn’t until husband and I sit down to eat that my normally sunny personality even cracks through the smog of my bad attitude and the deadening of my brain.

It’s not a pleasant way to wake up for me or the ever patient husband I live with. I have for many days not even gotten out of bed until after he left. Some days I have actually gotten my husband to buy me breakfast and bring it back.

To give you some idea of how unfair that is I have to tell you Brad has been cooking breakfast for me for the past four or five years.  He just got this really good job and the deal was it was my turn to make meals while he supports me.

So I have been feeling really guilty, and I didn’t really know how to pick myself up out of this fog. I desperately wished to be a morning person. You know the one that gets up at seven with a cheer in their heart and a spring in their step.

I did some research on how to become a morning person.

I don’t often believe in self talk.  It always sounds so self help-y. Tell yourself mornings are good, they say. Put your alarm far away, they say. Now that just makes me even more ticked off that I have to fall off the bed and grunt across the room to turn it off, and it doesn’t deter me from getting back into bed.

I found a list of anti nausea food and am putting some crackers and nuts by my bed to eat early in the morning.  But the biggest thing that helped me was telling myself the night before that the next day was going to be awesome.  I planned out the breakfast I was going to cook and told myself I was going to impress my husband.  I got myself really excited at the idea of making a good breakfast and getting my husband to smile.

The next morning I only snoozed twice and then I hopped out of bed and made smoothies, poached eggs and turkey sausage. I actually coaxed my husband out of bed this morning.  I even sang. Can I tell myself I am a morning person and then become one by sheer force of will? I don’t know. I felt better.

I felt like I had single handedly conquered mornings.  Of course I haven’t.  Tonight I asked my husband to describe me this morning and he said, “Forcefully cheerful.” In other words he could tell I was really trying.  I hadn’t just conquered mornings but I think I got a little closer to enjoying them.

This development has made me realize that most of the time when I have a problem it may not be an outside force. It may just be the song in my heart and I just need to change the tune.  I am thirty nine years old and I am still adjustable.  I still need to tweak the playlist sometimes.

I’m Back, From Outer Space

It has been a while since I have written. I am so sorry but I have a very good excuse. My life has turned upside down and across the country. Two very big things have happened in my life. First of all, because I went a year without a cigarette my doctor let me off a certain medication. This medication was causing me pain, and the withdrawal of that medication was even worse and went on for about a month. Secondly, right about the time I was feeling better my husband got a new job and we were off to Philadelphia. We had less than a month’s notice and had to pack, find a place, drive the u-haul cross country, quit my job, and move into the new place. Right now I am surrounded by boxes in my living room. It is sort of like living in a storage locker, with a kitchen and TV. We have moved from a three bedroom fourteen hundred square feet apartment in Boise, Idaho to a one bedroom, seven hundred and fifty square feet apartment in Philadelphia. The experience has been amazingly mind blowing and also exhausting.

My mountain of boxes
My mountain of boxes

My husband and I have been stressed and on high alert for over three months and I know it has taken its toll on our diet and our bodies. The month that I was in pain I spent most of it on the couch. I was still in pain while packing and trying to get rid of most of our furniture. It is hard to sell all your furniture in a couple weeks. We even had trouble trying to give items away. It was two weeks of packing and moving and trying to spend as much time with family and friends as possible. Quality time was impacted by the urge to get things done. While I tried to be mindful in the presence of my friends and family the “to do list” was always in the back of my mind and I am only just realizing that now. There were so many people I missed and so many people I just didn’t get to relate how much I love them.

The day of the move we were so unorganized and stressed. That night when we got to our first hotel with our u-haul packed with our things, I realized I had been wearing my casual dress inside out the entire day. After taking a long hot bath in the gigantic tub Brad surprised me with, I sort of scared him because I was so tired I was speaking gobble-dy gook and had to be put to bed. After two more exhausting days of driving we took a break at my parent’s house in Oklahoma. We had decided to visit for two reasons. I hadn’t seen them in a long while and I might not in a while. Also, Mom has been pretty upset we haven’t been home for Thanksgiving in about ten years. It might as well have been a spa. It was a refuge in the middle of the country. We slept a lot and ate my Momma’s delicious food and talked and joked with my parents and siblings. Also, I got to play with my nephew and what could someday be my nephew. It was so nice and restorative we were sad to have to leave after three days. We drove three more days until we got to Philly. Then after a night in the hotel I watched my belongings be loaded onto a busy city street into a hole in the wall between two dumpsters. That is where the service elevator was. I even watched a guy pee next to one of the dumpsters. After all my belongings were safely into my new place, Brad and I set up the air bed and then went to buy a new mattress on Black Friday no less. After a wonderful dinner at the pizza place across the street, we drifted off to a deep sleep. That was six days ago.

The hole we moved our stuff into
The hole we moved our stuff into

Today I am taking a strongly recommended day off. I have been moving boxes and furniture and sleeping on an air mattress which has affected my back. Last night my husband begged me not to do anything today because I could barely walk. I really wanted to get this apartment into shape because right now it feels like living in a storage locker. Being in a huge city without any friends or family I guess I am just struggling to make a home. I need one place to feel normal. However, I am taking a break for my husband’s peace of mind to write and reflect on what we have been through.

All of this leads me to the good news. In a big city like this we are walking a lot more. We gave up our car since it costs over two hundred dollars to park it here. We are going to be eating in more since I am not working and it is so expensive to eat out. I am hoping that is going to bode well for our health. Today I am taking it easy and am going to do some yoga. With a little de-stressing, I think Philly will become home.

The Best Advice is the One You Can Take or Leave

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My glorious and wise “Glamma”

I like reading. Magazines are my guilty pleasure. One of my favorite things to do is to lounge on the couch watching a TV show maybe even a marathon and read magazine after magazine. I read everything: Shape, Self, Eating Well, Cooking Light, Marie Claire, Better Homes and Gardens, and many more. I have a subscription where I get a hundred magazines a month and I sometimes even read Consumer Reports. Better Homes and Gardens will tell you how you can make your back porch look luxurious on little money. Some mags will tell you the best food to eat when you’re on your period.

The last couple months, I’ve been seeing the same article in many magazines. These articles say that you should keep your razor somewhere else other than your bathroom. Now, that makes no sense. Something about how the moisture wears the razor down easy and there’s bacteria in the bathroom. I was very small when I started shaving. I matured super early, my black leg hairs sprouting, around second grade. I have been keeping my razor in the bathtub vicinity since then. I have had no problems. My momma and her momma did the same thing. I know because I used Grandma’s to shave off the paint surrounding the tub.

Picture me lathering up my legs in a full bathtub figuring out I left my razor in the living room. Okay, not the most practical place to keep a razor but if not in the bathroom where would I keep a razor- maybe in the bedroom on the dresser? Either way, I would have to get out of the tub and go find a razor because there’s no way after 30 some years of shaving my legs I’m going to remember it is stored somewhere else. I’m just not going to.
What I am figuring out is that even though many educated scholars and doctors contribute to these magazines not all of their advice is for me. In fact, I find some of it to be pretty ludicrous. Maybe they just don’t shave their legs.

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My sister, the summer beauty

My Grandma, my sister Katie and I were at the lake the year before Katie graduated from college. Katie was telling Grandma every piece of advice she had gotten about what degree and school she should was considering. Grandma very gingerly patted her on the arm and said, “You know you don’t have to do any of that right?” Katie looked at her quizzically, her golden hair glistening in the sun. Grandma smiled patiently and said, “It’s just advice. No one knows what you want but you.” While I was a bit perturbed by Glamma’s wisdom there because I had been trying to talk sister into coming to live with me and go to Boise State, I realized what Grandma was saying was the best thing you could say to a young twenty something. Really, it shocked me so much, the simplicity of the statement, that it really hit home with me. It’s just advice.

Shrugging my shoulders, trying to affect a laissez faire look on my face, I say it again: It’s just advice. How freeing is that? Right now, I can go onto the internet, turn the TV to a certain channel, or open a magazine and get loads of advice. Personally I always want to improve myself: my weight, my reading list, my home, and love looking at recipes. Even though I know all advice is subjective and not always for me, it can still feel like I can’t keep up with all the advice. I still don’t have any art over the couch in my apartment I have lived in for over a year. I can’t cook chard to save my life. I will never get to finish all the books from Oprah’s book club. Don’t tease. They pick out really good books.