Hello and Goodbye

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I’m finally at an emotional place of where I can once again transcribe my thoughts into syntax and structure. I’ve learned that in order to gain wisdom and knowledge in life you have to go through alot of shit. Growth doesn’t happen in the safety of complacency, it happens in the sticky mess called Life.

It’s my hope and desire to finally complete the creative process of a long-awaited project called Curvy Girl Unleashed. This book has been in the making for the last four years. Even after I commit pen to paper, the story will continue throughout the journey of my life. For those of you who struggle with addiction and/or emotional hangups, you know what I’m talking about. So before I go through the painful process of forever capturing the right words to express who I am, where I’ve been and what I’m going through, I have to get over myself and let go of the self-limiting belief system that was spoon-fed to me from infancy. I have to retrain my brain and tell myself everyday that “I matter,” that my words have merit and that I have something to say that others will want to hear. I’ve come to discover that the vilest of four-letter words is F E A R. I have to conquer fear through Love and Acceptance of myself – just the way that I am. I have to believe in my heart that I am a beautiful creation of God, inside and out. I have to speak my thoughts into the existence of my dreams and create the life that I’ve always imagined for myself. I have to be willing to be vulnerable and face criticism head-on. I have to find the tiny bits of courage within me and allow everything to flow as it is meant to be. I’m willing and ready – and I’ll do whatever it takes.

I won’t be posting much on here for quite some time as I will be focusing all of my efforts on the book. I haven’t posted much in the last couple of years so if any of you are still out there reading my posts – thanks for stopping by. This quick post is to say that I’m back to writing and I’m ready as I’ll ever be. Until next time………..goodbye for now.

 

 

 

 

 

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Weight Loss Surgery – No Regrets

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Weight loss surgery helps lose most of the excess weight, but it’s up to you to do the rest. I have steadily stayed about the same weight for the last year or so. I had worked out quite a bit and started to look really buff and then life happened. I stopped working out and everything that had been toned is now flabby. And it happened pretty quick, just over a few months’ time. It’s up to me now to lose the rest of the excess weight and there is no easy way to do it. I’ve got to roll up my sleeves and get my hands dirty, so to speak.

Next month will be 4 years since I had the gastric sleeve procedure. I couldn’t have imagined then where I am at in life now. So much has changed. These last four years have been like a roller coaster ride, but there is no way I could have done any of it if I hadn’t lost weight through surgery. I don’t have any regrets. I can pretty much eat anything, in small portions. I have to make smart choices and I am aware of my body’s limitations. I am careful with my diet. I have gained back 20 pounds since reaching my lowest weight two years ago. Let’s just say these last two years have been the most stressful of my life. I don’t care to go into the particulars right now, but one day I will share it all.

For anyone still out there reading my posts and considering weight loss surgery, I can tell you with certainty, I don’t regret it. It changed my life for the better and now I have a “tool” to help me lose the rest of the weight. This surgery was and is a tool. Now if I can just get up and off my butt and back to the gym…….

Until next time…….

 

Contemplative Pursuit of Happiness

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So I’m sitting on the edge of a springboard looking at the amazing yet terrifying view below me. I could sit there and view the world for eternity, wishing and hoping that I could interact with others, creating an amazing life for myself one day at a time. Or I could close my eyes, take a deep breath and leap into the air not having a clue where I might end up or what I might do, but hope for the best and forget about preparing for the worst. What will I choose?

I guess I should ask a more important question: what am I willing to risk for a life of freedom and deep abiding joy?

 

 

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Eating massive amounts of animal protein is not the answer to weight loss, at least not for me. I had a gastric sleeve procedure back in May, 2014, and I kept myself on a modified Paleo diet for about two years. I kept my body in a state of ketosis. I was so strict about eating carbs and sugar that I couldn’t eat more than 3 saltine crackers without experiencing dumping syndrome. So, I gave up trying. I didn’t eat any bread, pasta or rice for more than a year. I honestly didn’t miss the taste of any of it, however, I ended up having to take magnesium supplements for muscle spasms and weakness, and zinc for skin and nail problems.

About 3 or 4 months ago I finally gave up eating protein bars . When I stopped eating the protein bars, I consumed more meat and cheese. I thought that as long as I was eating mostly protein it wouldn’t matter how fattening it was. I was surely going to lose weight since I wasn’t even eating vegetables and fruit on most days.

Most of my meals consisted of meat and dairy and nuts. I was so strict with my diet that I would only allow myself to eat 6 raspberries in my morning yogurt. So most everything I ate was really fattening. As long as I exercised everyday I could keep my weight stable, but I couldn’t lose anymore. I had lost a total of 90 pounds and that was it. I was at a consistent plateau for about a year. Eating more animal protein has not been the answer for weight loss and overall optimum health for me. I experienced an entire slew of problems, including dealing with intense cravings for dark chocolate. My body was craving zinc. As I came to learn, I needed to eat a little from all the food groups, not just 2 or 3. My moods would fluctuate and seemingly out of the blue I would become so depressed I wanted to end my life. I did some research and found out that the human brain really likes glucose. I was causing myself to be depressed. I didn’t sleep very well. I experienced night sweats and would go weeks at a time without a full nights’ sleep. My skin was perpetually dry. I had pronounced dark circles under my eyes and it seemed like I had developed wrinkles overnight. I began to have joint pain and swelling and not to get too personal, but an INTENSE itch in netherworld that mimicked symptoms of a perpetual yeast infection. That was caused from my body being so acidic and my kidneys and bladder were working overtime. Basically, I put my body through hell trying to lose excess weight, but ended up causing myself more stress than need be.

So here I am today, writing this post after recently making the decision to completely revamp my entire diet. I’ve decided to get back to the basics of nutrition and choose optimal health and wellness rather than what the numbers say on the scales. I am finishing eating all the leftovers in the fridge and taking stock of what food is in the kitchen cabinets. I’ve developed a plan for the basis of my meals to revolve around vegetables and whole foods. I’m hoping to get to the point where I stop eating all meat, except fish. I’m drastically cutting back on cheese and opting for more nutritious varieties like feta. I’m sick of processed foods and eating out at restaurants. The very next thing to go is diet sodas. There is absolutely no nutritional value in drinking them, plus I could take the money I would spend on them and purchase better varieties of tea. I miss eating fruit so that will be the next thing that I make sure and keep on hand at all times.

Well, for those of you out there who are successful with whatever diet you are on, congratulations! I really believe that we are all unique and each of us have very personal dietary needs. To each their own. Until next time…….

 

 

Transformation

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Today is a day of transformation. My Mom died 10 months ago today. I woke up this morning with a new feeling from all the other mornings in the last year. Today was different. I woke up feeling like I need to purge. I want to sell everything I own. I want to live with less and be grateful for everything I have. I want to start a new life and truly transform the ugliness of death into a beautiful life for myself and those around me. I’m tired of all the anger, loneliness, sadness and fear that I’ve felt. There have been times over the last year that I wanted to die. But something shifted in me and it’s happened quickly. I’m over-the-moon happy to feel as if this life, my life, is just that, it’s my life and I can create it however I want. Like the proverbial butterfly, I created a nest for myself and I’ve stayed inside my cocoon for far too long, It’s become too warm and quite stinky, it’s time to open it up and leave it for good. It’s time to purge. It’s time to find what makes me happy and do more of that. It’s time to purge myself of whatever does not bring me joy and that includes “things” and people. I think it’s time to make a bucket list. Transformation is here. I finally feel free to pursue my life with a new purpose, a new beginning, a new passion.

Never Alone

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As I sit here pondering the title of this post I can’t help but wonder if I am all alone in this vast world. I mean, does anyone understand me? Am I a freak of nature? If this were an earlier time in history I might be described as having a man’s brain inside a woman’s head or I might have been hanged for a witch, either way would not have turned out well for me. But here in modern times I feel disconnected and utterly alone at times. I have delved deep into self-analysis over the last year trying to pick up the brokenness that used to be a vivacious, happy-go-lucky woman. I have endured more than I ever thought I could handle. The new growth of white hair since my last haircut is proof that I’ve survived. Maybe I’ve not thrived, but I am making it day by day. I’ve decided to channel my anger, frustration and overall distaste for the uglier sides of humanity through three things: music, exercise and writing. Music is my passion. Exercise is my therapy. And, writing…..oh….writing is something entirely different. It’s like rain in a desert, shelter in a storm and sweetness on my tongue.

Yesterday, I had a moment of clarity while driving home. I have heard the sentiment of how I can create my life however I want it for so many years from self-help books, videos, tv shows, you name it. It’s kind of redundant to even mention it, but for some reason, the actual meaning of the words slammed into the forefront of my mind and I finally understood the sincerity of the words. I truly can create the life that I want. In fact, I’ve been creating it all along. So, are we truly, always never alone?

 

Musings on a Monday Night

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I’ve begun to suspect that things are about to get even harder. My Mom is declining in health more and more everyday. It’s incredibly hard to face her impending death, wondering if it will happen today or tomorrow or the next day, never knowing how long she has left. I feel angry that others have not taken any interest in actually helping out in the care of Mom. It breaks my heart to see her get upset when they don’t visit or even call her on the phone. Yet, I am reminded of all the times in the past that I didn’t answer her when she called. I feel guilty for not being a better daughter to her. Mom has always had a youthful energy about her and I didn’t really know how to accept her until I became an adult and mother to my own children. Once I understood the circumstances surrounding her birth and childhood, I began to have great compassion towards her and my attitude changed. I accepted her “as is.” I guess I should feel grateful that I have been able to reconcile all of those feelings from way back in my own childhood. I wish I could do more. I feel like I am doing too much, but not enough at the same time. Why is this happening?

I feel so alone. I want to pick up the phone and call my Mom, talking about nothing in particular. I want to tell her about my day. I want to hear her tell me to worry for nothing and live one day at a time. I want her to reassure me that I will be okay. I want to hear her animated voice on the phone and imagine her facial expressions that I have memorized forever in my head. I want her to tell me that I worry too much and that things are not as bad as they seem. I want to hear the fieriness of her very practical advice in her matter-of-fact manner, her incensed indignation for all the wrongs going on in the world. I want her to remind me of what is most important in my life – being the best Mom to my boys. I want to laugh with her over all the silly little things that we’ve seen other people do or say, not in a mean, maniacal way, but a lighthearted and inoffensive way. People do and say some crazy stuff. I want to reminisce about times in the past, the funny moments, and the sad ones, too. I want her to encourage me to keep doing what is most important in life and that is helping people in need. It’s the small things, the seemingly insignificant things that matter the most in life.

But all of these things that I want are selfish. What I really want for her is to not suffer. I want to her breathe deeply and evenly. I want her to be able to enjoy drinking coffee, her “half cream half coffee” coffee. I want her to be able to taste the richness of butter and the sweetness of cake icing. I want to see her happy, with a smile on her face, as she decorates a freshly baked cake or the look of anticipation as I taste her latest dish after trying a new recipe. I want to see her fair Irish skin ruddy with the vitality of health. I want to see her mischievous smile as she is plotting a prank on someone. I want to see the excitement on her face as she shops for and finds the next bargain at her favorite thrift stores. I want to see the pride in her eyes after finishing another quilt. I want her to maintain her fierce independence and relish in taking care of everyone else. I want her heart to beat in a regular rate and rhythm. I want her walk circles around me with her infinite energy she has had all of her life. I want her to enjoy again all the years that she had without being sick, not so much as a cold. I want to hear her excitement about planning a get-together with all the family. I want to hear her ruminate about what food to fix. I want her to NOT suffer. When the day or night comes for her passing, I want her to go the way that she has always hoped for – peacefully in her sleep. I want to keep her with me always, but I know that she has to move on just like I will one day, too. I will have to remind myself that it’s not “goodbye forever,” it is simply “goodbye for now, I’ll see you soon.” Each day afterwards, the pain of losing her and missing her will never fade, but it will lessen a little until it is bearable to get through the days and nights to come. I will miss her terribly. I already do.

Own It

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However you feel, own it. Whatever you feel like saying, own it. Own up to your flaws, your imperfections, the things that you think make you less-than-perfect. Own it. Have flabby thighs, jiggly belly, double chin? Own it. Be who you are and accept yourself, flaws and all. You are more than your body. You are worthy of love. You deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. Be gentle with yourself and forgive yourself for the stupid things you did in the past. Today is a new day. Enjoy it. Own it. Be honest, be truthful. Be transparent in your actions towards others. Don’t allow others to abuse you or put you down. You are beautiful. Own that beautiful body. It is yours. Take care of it and treat it with respect. You only get this one body, create the body you want for yourself. If you want to feel good, give your body healthy foods and drinks. Own it.

Changes

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I don’t know even where to start. This blog was originally created for writing about health and wellness, specifically recording moments of my own journey. It was intended to inspire others who were pondering the question of whether to have weight loss surgery. I have had many ups and downs, stalls and progress. I am not done with my journey. In some ways, it feels like it has only just begun. This coming May will be 3 years since I underwent a gastric sleeve procedure that forever changed my behavior and actions towards diet and exercise. I told someone the other day that I am on a permanent diet. It’s true. There are still many different foods that I don’t eat. There are some that I can eat in small amounts, but it’s not even worth the trouble of worrying about how my body will react so I just stay away from them.

I have gone through so much in the last 6 months. I know I’ve said that before, but this time around the changes are so much so that I can’t hardly keep up. My mind is in slow motion while everything around me is moving at the speed of light. I’m not sure how long it’s been since I’ve written a blog post. It could have been a few weeks or it could have been over a year. I am barely holding the pieces of my brokenness together.

This time last year I was living in a large metro area in the South, in the biggest house I’ve ever lived in right on the lake. We were struggling to stay together as a family and feeling as if we were holding our breath for fear of what new crisis would present itself. My husband’s job had relocated and we were faced with either following his job or face financial ruin. We chose to follow the money. We pulled the kids out of school, away from their friends and family, and told them that everything was going to be better. I painted a very convincing picture to them and they became excited about moving to a place that had never even seen before. We were so unprepared . We hurriedly picked a place to live and didn’t spend more than a cursory glance at the school system before we embarked on a train wreck of a hasty decision. If I could give one very important piece of advice – don’t ever make an important decision during duress. Without going into all the details, the school system that had moved into was a disaster. I ended up homeschooling my kids for the rest of the time that we lived there. Everyone was miserable. We were living in a house that was actually too big with an even bigger rent payment. My best friend lived only 5 minutes away and looking back, it was either a huge mistake living that close to each other or it was a blessing in disguise. I have since learned things that I wish I didn’t know. About this time last year, I begin to feel quite restless and downright miserable living there. I began to plan a trip to visit family, only instead of packing a few days’ worth of clothes I packed them all. I stuffed my car as much as possible, drove home and never looked back.

After I moved back home, I began renovating my house. My Mom helped me with painting and picking out new furniture. We spent several weeks trying to decide how i wanted everything to look. She suggested I decorate my home with bright Spring colors. So I ended up surrounding myself with turquoise and coral red. I painted over the drabby walls with a fresh coat of ivory paint and everything seemed to be back on track. My initial goal was to come home, fix the house up and live in it until it sold. Then we would move on to another location where my husband could work. He went ahead to the new location and rented an apartment while we stayed behind and worked on the house. The kids re-enrolled in their old schools and everything was going along smoothly. It just felt right. It wasn’t long after getting things in order that my Mom’s health began to deteriorate quickly. I finally convinced her to let me take her to the hospital. That night we learned that she had stage 4 Lung cancer and didn’t have much time left to live. Ironically, I had just started working for an Oncology doctor a few weeks before. Mom had several hospital stays, underwent many tests, and finally was given 6 months or less to live. I had quit my job upon first learning of her cancer diagnosis. She entered into hospice care and I became her caregiver. Three months after her cancer diagnosis she passed away. I gave the hospice nurse permission to remove her oxygen mask and I turned off the oxygen tank. Mom took four more rattled breaths and then no more. As she lay dying I reminded her to visit me in my dreams. I told her to come and wait for me when it is my time to die. I will see her again one day.

Although I knew that she was terminal, I still wonder even to this day if I did enough for her. Did I give her too much medication at the end? Is there anything else that I could have done for her? I’ll never know. It’s been about 3 1/2 months since her death and I feel like I am just now coming out of shock. Even as I write this, it still feels like she has just gone somewhere and will be back sometime. When that feeling takes over I go visit her grave and that’s when it hits me. It’s devastating. I relive her death all over again. The grief is overwhelming. I can’t even write about it. It’s too painful. I can skim the surface of the retelling of her sickness and death, but maybe one day I will be able to write it all out. Maybe one day I will grieve a little less, but I will forever be changed.

Everything in my life has changed. I have a new job. My husband has a new job. I have begun to question my entire life. The one thing that I have learned about this entire experience is that life is too short and too precious to go around being miserable and putting off things that need to be taken care of today. Why does it always seem that you have to walk through hell to get to Paradise?

And all along this entire process, I have stayed on my post-weight loss-surgery diet, eating 5 times a day and counting how much fluids I have taken in throughout the day. I have just starting working out at the gym and it seems to help alot with stress and with getting my body back into shape. it is a painful process, but it is one that I must go through. I have questioned every part of my life over the last 3 1/2 months. I know one thing to be true: the result of your life is by the effort you have put into creating it. If you want to be happy, you create happiness. If you want to be successful, you create success. If you want peace, you create peace. You find the thing that makes your soul sing and you chase after it until you catch it. You don’t let anything or anyone deter you from what brings you joy. You keep yourself busy when you feel like giving up. You forgive yourself when you feel overwhelmed. Others treat you the way that you allow them to treat you. You don’t have the life of your dreams by just sitting around and daydreaming about it. You create your destiny. You get love by creating love and spreading it around. Our ability to love is not bound by size or amount. Love expands into infinity. It does not have a maximum capacity. No one ever said life would be easy or fair, but life can be the best it can be by our attitudes and actions. We can have the life we’ve always imagined, but how bad do you want it?

 

Grief is no excuse…..

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I have gained 10 pounds over the last 6 months. It has crept up quietly and stealthily like a thief in the night. I have indulged too many times, promising myself that I will do better tomorrow or when things calm down. I have no one to blame, not even myself. To blame myself would be to further propagate the negative feelings that led to my morbid obesity in the first place. The difference now is that I will not continue to play the victim or the blame game. Both of which are negative. My goal in life is to eradicate the negative and welcome in the blessings to come. And they ARE coming. I have to want them more than I want to hold on to martyrdom.

Here are some ways to help get yourself back up when you feel like you’re plummeting towards the abyss:

  1. Create and adhere to a schedule. If you are feeling low or depressed and are finding it difficult to get out of bed, make an appointment with yourself to complete the three most important tasks for the day, whatever they may be. They can be as small or as elaborate as you wish, but make yourself get up and complete each task within a 24-hour period. When you have completed each task, mark it off and hold onto the paper. (Create a notebook with all your completed tasks and from time to time, go through the book to remind yourself just what you have accomplished.)
  2. Go outside everyday for at least 20 minutes without sunscreen. That’s all the time you need to get your daily dose of Vitamin D. Your immune system will suffer without it and you will further complicate your depression by getting sick. Twenty minutes of sunlight everyday will keep the doctor away…..eating an apple helps too!
  3. Drink plenty of water. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty. Try to drink at least 4-6 ounces of water every hour that you are awake.
  4. After you have done the following tasks for a few days, dig out your most comfortable shoes and go for an easy, languorous walk, preferably in nature. Don’t worry about how far or how long, just walk and feel the breeze upon your face. Bask in the glow of the sunlight or if need be, the moonlight. Go during the time of day when you will feel the most comfortable.
  5. Stay away from negative places, people and things. This one might prove to be a challenge, but it can be done. Be very selective about what you allow into your mind. Find some relaxing videos on YouTube instead of the evening news. Limit the amount of time you are around negative people. Negative things? That’s easy, just stop doing, watching or hearing whatever causes stress or chaos in your life. Tell yourself that it must stop and stop it.
  6. Stop feeling guilty……for every little thing. Some guilt is healthy for your conscience otherwise there would be mass chaos all over the world. Forget about the past. It’s over and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t fret over the future, it’s not here yet. Practice living in the moment everyday. If that means meditation, do it. If it is prayer, do that. Find something that is relaxing to do and do it religiously everyday. It could be as simple as taking a bubble bath, painting your fingernails, listening to music, coloring, grooming your dog or cat, taking a nap.
  7. Slow down and smell the roses. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon. Your life is meant to be enjoyed everyday. It’s the little things that often bring us the most joy. Start out small…..buy yourself a potted plant. Nurture that plant. Take care of it. Give it the time and attention that it needs in order to thrive. Once you have mastered that task, consider getting a pet. After that, volunteer at a homeless shelter or a nursing home. Visit with those who have it worse off than you.

Whatever it is that you are going through, know that there is always someone out there who is worse off. You are learning a lesson. It’s up to you what you do with the knowledge and wisdom that you have gained. Don’t be a victim to your emotions. Learn to control them. Find a way to be productive with the excess energy. Don’t allow your emotions to rule you and create drama for yourself. Above all, be gentle with yourself. There is a reason that you are feeling the way that you do. Specifically, your mind and your body have disconnected. Maybe things have progressed too fast for you to process. Take your time and take one day at a time. If you can’t take a day at a time, take an hour at a time.

And last, stop blaming your circumstances for everything that has gone wrong in your life. Stop making excuses. Man up or woman up, whichever you may be, and do something with your life. You are only one heartbeat away from death. Live your life to the fullest. There is no time in life for regrets, shame or guilt.