Monthly Archives: March 2016

Making Your Mark

One of the things that I have been questioning as I’ve gotten older is what contributions have I made in this world; specifically, what GOOD or GREAT contributions have I made in this world?

And to be honest, I’ve struggled with this. As another birthday approaches, I’m reminded that another year has passed and what I have I really done to make the world a better place? When I looked for the answers, I was saddened that there aren’t any; that I haven’t done any such thing.

I almost feel selfish in this way. Someone told me recently that not everyone is meant to be an Einstein, a Newton or a Curie. While that may be true, I have had moments when I questioned why I was here. What “grand scheme” does the Universe have for me? And did I miss the “message”?

And I liken this to people’s “gifts” as well. What is my “gift”? Do I even have a “gift”? Other than the “gift” of not being able to be succinct, do I have talents that can benefit the world?

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not out to change the world. There are days that I can barely get out of bed and survive myself, let alone change the world. Do I wish I could? No. At least, not by myself. But I’ve always believed that if many people ban together, they can make changes – what might seem small at first, which then become bigger. And that’s amazing.

This has always been one of my favorite quotes:

margaret-mead

If you don’t know who Margaret Mead is, here’s the link to her Wikipedia bio: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Mead

1976 Nobel Peace Prize co-winner Betty Williams is another woman to whom people should admire. In Northern Ireland in the 1970s, Ms. Williams witnessed the tragedy of 3 children being struck and killed by a car driven by an IRA member. Her non-violent rally of 10,000 to march for peace was, ironically, interrupted violently by the IRA. Not to be deterred, Ms. Williams again organized a peaceful protest rally the following week – and this time 35,000 people showed up and it went off successfully. She then co-founded The Community for Peace People. And as I said, later won the Nobel Peach Prize for her creation of The Community for Peace People. Betty Williams was “just” a receptionist and mother at the time she took it upon herself to make a change.

I don’t mention these women as a lesson in history or feminism but only as examples of when people saw a need for change and did something about it.

But my own personal contributions to society have never been, and likely never will be of this magnitude. And I realize that maybe I’m not meant to be someone “famous” who did something to help the world. Maybe, in my own way – the things I’ve done – have helped others and I’m not even aware of them.

Maybe this blog and my weight loss journey has helped someone to try to get healthier themselves. Maybe it’s inspired them to not give up and keep trying.

Maybe my financial contributions to charities I’m passionate about have helped to make a change for the better, or saved the life of an innocent animal. That maybe I’ve helped stop a rhino or elephant poacher in South Africa or allowed a dog or a cat to live long enough to find their forever home because I helped the no-kill shelter in my town.

Maybe – just maybe – I’m someone’s reason to get up in the morning. To smile. To feel like they are special. To know they are loved.

So yes, when I’m gone, I won’t leave some huge mark on the world that will has a lasting legacy, but as I reach another year older, I’m finally realizing that that’s okay too. No regrets.

So however  you leave your mark in this World, make it one of honesty, kindness, and peace.

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And I hope that, in some small way, that maybe I’m making my mark on your hearts as you’re making on mine. Thank you all for your continued support, kindness and love.

Blessings to all.

Dani

 

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Is this an “Against All Odds” scenario?

While I am (finally) bound and determined to succeed at losing weight AND keeping it off, I’m sure that many other obese people have had some of the same thoughts as me in the past.

Why bother? Is it worth it? Can I really do it? Can I keep it off?

Is it an “Against All Odds” scenario?

That is, for all the effort that is spent in losing all this weight, will it all be for naught?

A Canadian publication¹ posted by the NIH which discusses the common misconceptions about obesity suggests that “approximately two-thirds of people who lose weight will regain it within 1 year, and almost all of them will regain it within 5 years.” As well, it states “Rather than a simple lack of willpower, the relapse of most individuals to their previous weight after otherwise successful weight loss is largely driven by the coordinated actions of metabolic, neuroendocrine, autonomic, and behavioural changes that oppose the maintenance of reduced body weight. The few individuals successful at maintaining weight loss (at least 13.6 kg for at least 1 year) generally have common behaviour and strategies that include consuming low-energy, low-fat diets; engaging in high levels of physical activity; consistent self-monitoring of body weight and food intake; eating breakfast regularly; and demonstrating a high level of dietary restraint.”

As I’ve stressed many times over the past 6 months, to me, what I’m doing is NOT a diet. It is a lifestyle change. I cannot possibly do any sort of short- or long-term dieting, drop the weight and expect it to not return. So my goal all the way along has been to (re)learn and (re)teach my body (and my mind) to eat healthier and to take care of myself.

While the idea of losing all this weight is daunting, it is the somewhat fear of trying to maintain it once it’s lost that is actually much more scarier. But as I’ve stated before, it is a concern I will address at that time (along with all of the excess skin I will undoubtedly have).

But it still can be said that it often seems to those of us dealing with obesity that we are trying to push a peanut up Everest with our noses. All of this hard work – is it for naught?

I do wonder if I’m going to be one of those “two-thirds” this article talks about. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t sit here and dwell upon it, but it does often come to the forefront that no matter how hard I work, in the end, it may have been a futile endeavor. Yet, I have enough to worry about in the “now” that I don’t need to worry about the potential future.

In the four weeks since I started with Maria (http://spoonoflife.com/home/), I have lost ELEVEN pounds and remarkably, several inches from both my waist and my hips. And I won’t lie and tell you it’s been easy because it hasn’t been. It’s been very hard. I went from being someone who rarely cooked and ordered in/out a lot, and rarely ate vegetables, to someone who eats veggies every day, several times a day. That’s not to say, however, that I’m enjoying it. But then again, I wasn’t expecting to.

I have never really enjoyed eating many foods. I am not, as I’ve stated before, a “foodie”. I don’t care about flavoring or presentation, or what the latest and greatest “super food” is. I eat only to fuel my body.

There are times in these past four weeks that I didn’t feel like eating. In the past, I would simply not eat. I have had to force myself to eat, even when I didn’t feel like it at all. And to be honest, I think I mentioned this before, I have grown somewhat tired of eating mostly veggies all the time.

Now I understand that under Maria’s plan that she has a set method to what I will eat and when, and I am on board with it, but if you know anything about me at all, you know that I’m going to bitch a bit about it. Because I went from someone who rarely ate veggies to eating them every day and several times a day, and I know that are doing my body good, but I get so bored of eating them. I wanted some variety. I wanted to be able to have more of a selection to eat. As someone who doesn’t like a lot of foods, it’s hard to not get bored with eating the same stuff all the time.

But like I said, I get that she has a plan for me and this is how it is.

So back to the topic at hand…

I want to believe that I’m not fighting a losing battle. That every hard step I take will all be worth it. That my sweat and many tears of frustration and angst won’t be for naught. That I will succeed. In the past I haven’t been very good with believing in myself. It’s so easy for me to look at myself in the mirror and already see failure – because I let myself get this big. And I shake my head at how stupid I have been.

But as my 50th birthday approaches in May, maybe I’m finally looking at myself in the mirror and thinking, “Fuck it! You’re still here. Get off your ass and do something about it!”

So I am.

So my goal is to be the “one-third” that does not only succeed in losing the weight, but will succeed in keeping it off. From now on, I will endeavor to work as hard as I can, to learn new habits and push the old ones aside. I will try to not dwell on the “what ifs” or “what might happen” and concentrate on the right now. And what I can do for myself at this time.

Thanks to Maria, my mom, my family and my many, many friends – all around the world – with all of their support, I’m going to be the “one-third”.

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As my buddy Brandon Auret says, “Keep On Keeping On”. And that’s exactly that I’m doing to do. Even when it gets to be so hard I want to give up…

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Blessings to all. Be safe. Be good. Be someone’s inspiration.

Love,

Dani

¹Widespread misconceptions about obesity Chaput et al. 2014 Can Fam Physician. 2014 Nov; 60(11): 973–975.    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4229150/

How “atomic” are you?

Caveat: I probably should have explicated this before. I am not a doctor. I am not even that knowledgeable in most things. I know what my personal experiences are and I do tend to research most things outside my purview, but in nearly every case, what I write on this blogs are my personal thoughts, suggestions and ideas. They are in no way meant to be a diagnosis for anything. If needed, please seek professional help for whatever ails you. 

In my last post I talked about mood swings, in particular, my mood swings. I also stated that I didn’t really understand what the causes of said mood swings were, but with all the research I’ve done pretty much everything I’ve read said that it’s not necessarily one thing. Nor is it necessarily an exterior cause; that it could be hormonal.

The bottom line is that there are many underlying reasons for mood swings. Both men and woman get them. More often than not, if it’s hormonal, it affects women more so then men. But it happens to pretty much everyone.

It’s when it happens all the time or are so severe that there is far more going on than the “standard” run-of-the-mill moodiness. I don’t believe that I fall into sweet-baby-Jesus-get-out-of-her-way category. My moods swing, sure, but based on everything I’ve read – I’m just normal.

Well, about that I’m normal.

Some of the causes of mood swings and grumpiness (and obviously some are not applicable to men), some of which would be considered more severe than others, and require medications, or some other method of control are:

  1. Stress
  2. PMS
  3. Perimenopause and Menopause
  4. Hypothyroidism
  5. Depression
  6. Being bipolar
  7. Lack of sleep / limited sleep
  8. Drugs and alcohol
  9. Caffeine and sugar

But after all of that, it could just be that you’re having a bad day. Maybe nothing has gone right since you climbed out of bed and stepped on the furball your loving kitty left for you to find. Maybe the weather is miserable and it’s reflective of your mood (for example, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)). Maybe your boss wasn’t impressed with your project or you got into an argument with your significant other.

The important part is to determine if your mood swings and grumpiness is a condition to which you need alternative support or if you’re just hitting a rough patch. If it’s the former, than I can’t stress enough to talk to your doctor and get to the bottom of it. As we all know, some of those causes I listed above are not only severe, but dangerous – to you, your state of mind and your health.

If you’re just hitting a rough patch, try to get through it by looking at the bigger picture. I forget to do this sometimes and all my woes become ridiculously well…ridiculous. Where later I look back and wonder what the hell I was freaking out about. Sure, at the time, everything seems ginormous and doomsicle (there’s a new word for you Dr. S 🙂 ) but once time passes, you realize that not only was it perhaps not as bad as you thought, but also that in the grand scheme of things, did it really matter and did you just waste x amount of time you have left on this planet worrying about that.

I think we’re all guilty of this, sure. Some more than others. As a person who isn’t usually an optimist, it is hard to not picture this in my head every time something goes wrong:

doomsday

Admittedly, I over-react often. There are even times I think to myself that I must be tripping to be over-reacting to some of things I do. It’s a SMH moment, for sure.

And the answer to some of the causes listed above are obvious. Get more sleep. Address and deal with your stress. Lay off the booze (and drugs!). Short of taking drugs for menopause or menstruation issues, there isn’t much women can do about what happens to their bodies hormonally because well, we’re women. Of course, some are easier than others. I, for one, am very stressed at my job. And I tend to bounce between an “oh shit I am so far behind I am going to die” mood to a “fuck this shit and the camel you rode in on”. Some days it doesn’t bother me that I’m behind, especially when I remember that I’ve been behind pretty much since 1998.

1998.

Other times, I stress because I feel like I’m not earning my pay and I feel like I’m a bad worker. Realistically, I know that there isn’t much I can do about being behind. No amount of organization (and I’m told I’m very organized) is going to fix that I am short-staffed and have been for five years with no hope of hiring anyone to help (other than Kimmy from her hire in 2014. Hi Kimmy!). I also realize then that I am working very hard and doing everything I can, but I’m not Superwoman.

And how goofy would this body look in that outfit??!

And after it’s all been said and done, the best things to do for mood swings:

  1. Drink plenty of water (add lemon if you want; it’s good for you too). I think this
  2. Do cardio exercise at least 30 minutes on most days. This increases your endorphines (your “happy” chemicals) and while you might be sore and tired (especially if you’re as out of shape as I am) but you’ll likely find yourself feeling better. Not just because you exercised but you stimulated your “happies”.
  3. Try to look for the positive whenever and wherever you can.
  4. Trying helping someone else with their problems/issues. By concentrating on them, you’re not only helping them but you’ll feel good about it as well.
  5. Take up a hobby. Or two. But for goodness sake, try not to pull a “Dani” and never finish them. But then again, you know what? If you don’t, I guess that’s perfectly okay too. I really shouldn’t be anyone’s measure of anything. 🙂 I’m just really quite easily bored (see posts on the hamsters) and tend to change up what interests me faster than most people change socks. It’s a sign of intelligence I’ve heart. *snort*
  6. Eat better. Even if you are one of those fortunate people (and I don’t know many) who can eat just about anything and not gain weight, what you put into your body affects it – and not just your weight. I am learning this every day. So even if you don’t need to lose weight, treat your body better and you’ll likely see your mood change. Junk food, fast-food, greasy type of foods including sugary soda/pop mess with your blood sugar levels and can cause moodiness. And alcohol is basically a depressant and can affect your sleep, which in turns can make you moody for the lack of.

And if after all of this, you still hit a rough grumpy patch, go with it. Don’t fret about it. Don’t stress about it. Deal with it in whatever works for you and move on. You’re human and it happens to everyone. And if you can (or are) one of those people who are perpetually happy even in some rough times, more power to you folks. That’s awesome!

Or…be a dog…

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Blessings for health, happiness and beating those moody blues into the dirt.

Keep on keeping on.

Love,

Dani