Author Archives: Danielle R.

Stressed – spelled backwards is desserts.

We all have stressful days. Some might even have stressful weeks, months or years. I don’t really know anyone who is stress free. But I believe that, like mourning, everyone deals with stress in different ways.

Some might be passive; hiding their stress until they erupt like Vesuvius. Some might be aggressive; letting out their frustrations with a hair-trigger and quick response. And as with most everything, there are those who are in between.

While I don’t consider myself to be an angry person, when I am angry, it can flash, but I think I’ve learned to not allow it to 1) define me; 2) let it take me over and hold onto it for too long, and 3) mostly important, I do whatever I can to never hurt someone in anger. And with stress, I tend to push it down; pretend it doesn’t exist and try to humor my way out of it.

After all, they say laughter is the best medicine, right?

No matter how stressed I get, I do try to deal with it. Not always in the most productive ways, but at least I try. But note that I said “try”.

I often joke that if I was any sort of a drinker, with all the stress, I’d be falling down drunk all the time. Thank goodness I’m not. So how do I deal with stress? That’s a good question. And sometimes I feel like I really don’t have any idea how to deal with it.

If you’ve been reading the postings in this blog lately, you’ll recognize a pattern. When I named one recent blog “I don’t know what the hell I’m doing”…I shit you not, I wasn’t kidding. So like with what seems like everything in my life, I don’t have a good answer for what I do to deal with stress. Most times, it seems, I just get to the point of frustration and end up crying it out. Which I hate. I absolutely hate crying about anything – good or bad. It tends to make me feel physically worse. So I’m not one for “crying it out” – at least as a remedy for myself.

So, I did some research to find out what “others” recommend for relieving stress. Some made me giggle. Some made me roll my eyes. A couple even had me picturing myself looking like a rolly-polly Buddha, as I attempt to find my “calm”.

I wish I could say I was inspired. I can’t say I wasn’t; but I’m still not sure. I have been wishing I could do yoga over the past couple of years. Hell, I even have a mat. Mind you, it’s still rolled up and hasn’t been removed from the cardboard that it holding it rolled up. But good intentions…

I’m not really made for yoga. Again, I wish I was. I have friends who swear by it. And I admit I had to look up what “hot yoga” was, but the end result is that I’m really just not very yoga-like in body right now, even if my mind is.

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As with most everything else in my life, I’m not very disciplined. I often wonder how I even made it this far in life with such a hap-hazard way of living, but here I am…all the hamsters spinning on their wheels in my mind, trying to get to the finish. Here’s hoping my finish isn’t for a long time.

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But I digress…

Discipline. Err…no…Self-discipline: the correction or regulation of oneself for the sake of improvement.

It’s really mind-boggling how much self-discipline can be, and should be, applied to so many facets of my life. From weight-loss, to house-cleaning, to exercise, to dealing with anxiety, stress and frustration. I wish I could say that I’ve mastered it in at least one thing in my life, but I’d be lying. So, no big pearls of wisdom from me (again. sorry!) on how to be more self-disciplined, but I will offer some things that can be done to deal with stress and anxiety that others have suggested, and some of which I will try to do for myself.

First…here’s a chart to help:

50 Ways To Cope With Stress

But for me…these:

  1. When you feel the stress/anxiety or frustration building, step out of the situation and take deep breaths…and count to 10. Repeat several times until you can recognize you are calmer.
  2. Realize you’re not perfect so stop expecting yourself to be (and others). Do what you can and be happy with the results. Try.
  3. Exercise is a great way to deal with stress. Even if you do 10 minutes more movement a day, it will have a great effect on your well-being. But certainly, try to get at least 30 minutes a day.
  4. Eat healthy and get enough sleep. Filling yourself with junk is only going to make you feel like junk. And if you’re tired from lack of sleep, you’ll only feel that much more worse. If you’re able, try taking a short nap during the day when you’re feeling a bit more tired than usual.

And the two biggest ones that I have to deal with (besides all of the above) are being positive and putting the things that stress me out into perspective.

I’ll start with the perspective one first. As I can be sometimes – big shocker I know – a bit over-dramatic or in many cases, over-think a situation. I easily jump to conclusions, thinking about the “what-ifs” and just add even more stress and anxiety to myself. I am a huge “feeler”. I live on emotions – good or bad – and I can quite easily send my own into a tizzy faster than you can say, “But-” I’ve talked before about the emotional roller-coaster and I’m one of its regular riders. I wish I could say that I’ll change but I’m not sure how or even if, so I deal with it as it comes. And often not very well.

So it comes down to asking myself, “does this really matter?”  Is what I’m stressing about that big of a deal? Did I make it out to be a bigger deal than it really is? In the grand scheme of things, will this matter in an hour, tomorrow or next year? Most times, the answer is, of course, “no”. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that something stressed me. It’s just a matter of understanding that if it’s not as important as I made it out to be, I need to let it go (and quickly)…because life is too short to dwell in shit that doesn’t matter. Right?

And then there’s being “positive”. I’ve been trying to do this for so long. Invariably, it doesn’t last. I get sucked into the “pity party for one” vortex (by myself) and the next thing I know, I’m Chicken Little and the sky is falling. I hate that I can’t just be positive all the time. I know people that really seem to be. And I do hope that they really, truly are and that they aren’t “faking” it. And I really hate that I forget just how blessed I am. Too often I forget and need to be reminded. Nothing is wrong with that, per se, but I think people who are genuinely more positive more often, are the happiest.

When I said I live on emotions, I also meant that I take things personally. I don’t like when people don’t like me. I want people to love me. I want people to want to be my friend. So I take it personally when they don’t. Yet at the same time, while I know I shouldn’t live to please anyone but myself, I’m not wired that way. I tend to care more for others than myself.

And I’ve been told before that this is wrong. Yet, that’s what I am. That’s what I do. I spend a lot of time trying to help people I care about in different ways. I don’t always do it as often as I wish and sometimes that makes me feel guilty, and often, selfish. Which I know is absurd, but alas…we’re talking about me here.

So, for example, my birthday was recently. Without sounding egotistical, I did expect to see some Happy Birthday wishes on my Facebook. And I did. And I want to say before anything else, I was grateful for each and every one of them because it meant that those people took the time out of their busy/hectic/stressful/happy lives to send me their best wishes. While it might have only taken them 10 seconds to do so – I appreciated it more than they could know. Then there were those who wrote me longer messages, and those were so appreciated as well.

But the “feelings” part of me…as ridiculous as this might sound, was disappointed somewhat that some people – some “friends” – didn’t say anything. No acknowledgement at all. Yet, I know they were on Facebook because I saw their posts, their comments to others’ posts etc. And I felt a little hurt. Then I felt foolish for feeling that way.

I don’t have friends because I expect something from them. And I do try to do my best to give some attention to everyone, but in all honestly, more so to those I feel closer to. And yet, just as when I lost my beautiful Ginny last month, or announced I was moving back home to Canada…my birthday passing with none of those three somewhat life-changing events being recognized by some, it felt…hurtful.

On top of that, many who did send me best wishes…some were from people that I’ve only just met (and most not yet in person), and they were more than kind. In some cases, those people acknowledged all three of those life events, yet as I said, there were some that I expected to hear from (or hoped) and got nothing. After the loss of Ginny and that happened, I told my therapist that I guess I have to realize that some people might be more selfish than others.

Now I’m sure there are many reasons they didn’t “say” anything. Maybe they didn’t see the many posts from others about my birthday, or Ginny passing, because they have many Facebook friends. Or maybe, just maybe, they don’t consider me to be a friend at the same level of friend that I do of them. I considered this and realized that if that’s the case, there’s nothing I can do about it and I have to accept it and move on.

So, one of the many things I need to learn, which adds in my stress levels, is that not everyone is going to see my worth. I have difficulty with this for myself, but I stress as much as I can to others that I care about, how much they are worth. To me. And to others. And maybe my expectations of others is too high. Or maybe because of my self-esteem issues that I feel this need to have as many people like me as I possibly can because it’s the only way I can feel worthy.

But how can I expect others to see my worth, if I don’t see it in myself?

And that there is the rub.

I posted this today on Facebook with the caption “Man, I wish I could just let it go. Not sure why it’s so important that I even care. But I do.”

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And I do care. Probably far too much. About everything. About wanting to be liked, loved, admired, and seen as a great person. And some people will never see that in me; never feel that about me. And I have to learn to accept that. And to not care.

The absolute funniest (ie: ridiculous) part about that is that I am well loved by a very close knit group of people that I wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, and I’m eternally grateful for each and everyone one of them…but my own feelings about myself won’t allowed me to say “that’s all you need” so I get emotional when someone might not like or love me back.

I’m suddenly hearing Barbra Streisand’s “Feelings” in my head. Grief. I’m losing it! I don’t even LIKE that song!

Till next time…

Blessings and love to all.

Dani

 

 

 

 

 

How crazy can one life be?

It’s been about six weeks since I last posted my tirade about not knowing what the hell I’m doing. All I can tell you is that I still don’t, but I’m more comfortable with that knowledge than I was six weeks ago.

This is the post I had started prior to the last one. But alas, you know how the saying by Samuel Johnson goes…”Hell is paved with good intentions.” In this case, no matter how often I wish to post, it just doesn’t seem to happen. And lately, I’ve felt like I’ve been a bit in Hell anyway. So, the quoted reference to Hell is quite apropos.

As I tend to do, I always start these posts with one specific topic in mind. If you’ve read any of my posts before, you know that I don’t always follow that topic very strictly. Be it the crazy roaming hamsters in my head, or that I just stumble upon a more pertinent subject, I really do try to stick to one topic.

This post is intended to be about getting back on the horse, so to speak. That is, when you feel you’ve failed or have been unable to continue with your journey and lost your way. Fall off the wagon. Fall off the horse. Whatever idiom you want to use – I know you know what I mean.

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It’s not even to say that I’ve fallen off the wagon. I liken it to merely dangling over the side, where occasionally my ass hits a railroad tie. So there I am, holding on, bouncing around and unable to get a grip.

Yep, that about sums up my life of late. I wish I could say that I was only talking about my weight loss journey but I’d be lying. So aside from the wagon adventures, my life of late has been something akin to trying to thread a needle, while diving out of an airplane without a parachute, all the while trying to sing Puccini’s Nessun Dorma aria in key (which would never happen).

Normally my excuses for not writing as often are lack of a subject, lack of enthusiasm or general forgetfulness. Pick one. Pick them all. But I believe that for the first time since I started this blog that my “excuses” are actually more valid than those in the past. So, I’ll briefly (haha!) explain what they are before moving onto the actual subject of this posting: getting back on the horse.

So, those who know me personally have found out that I recently announced my intention to move back to my hometown in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been living in the US since 1998 when I married an American. I won’t get into that any more, but I’ve been alone now for 10 years and am without my mom, family and my longtime friends – many of whom have been friends of mine since elementary school and/or high school. Once the decision was made, I had to start the logistics of when to move back, what to take back with me or not, what to do with those things that I’m not taking, and what is all involved with moving back to your homeland. One would think that it wouldn’t be that hard; one would be incorrect.

Okay maybe “hard” isn’t the correct word. Let’s say, confusing. At least to those of us who already have a head full of hamsters who are working overtime. I nearly broke down in a panic attack a month or so ago when I checked on what I need to do about moving back, including getting my car over there. Thankfully a longtime friend who works in the customs brokerage business has been a Godsend to me (thank you Susan!) – helping me with paperwork, what to do and when. I am honestly not sure if I could have gotten this far without her help. It probably wasn’t that hard but I was already feeling overwhelmed (re: my previous post).

On top of preparing to move – going through nearly 20 years worth of stuff by myself to see what I’m keeping and what I’m not – and only being able to do so when I could actually find the energy and my feet weren’t revolting. So, for what most people could probably do in a weekend, it has taken me months. While I’m not moving back until July, I need to have a yard sale to get rid of nearly everything so I have had to push myself to get through everything to be ready for that as well. Thankfully I have a friend who is going to help me with that as well.

Add to the pressures I’ve felt to finish my book with the fear that if I didn’t keep working on it, I would let it lapse once again and that terrified me so I’ve been plugging away at it when I can, knowing I still had so much more to do.

Then in mid-April, my beautiful kitty Ginny who had been dealing with diabetes for 6 months, fell ill and I had to make the hard decision to let her go. I didn’t want her to suffer any more – she was having seizures more often and it broke my heart to let her go.

Ginny:

Lastly, my job. I won’t get into the details but I have given my notice and my job has now been posted for candidates. While it’s my choice to quit my job and move back home, it is a bittersweet time for me since I’ve been with this university for nearly 20 years.

So, it’s been a rather emotional 2017 for me (on top, of course, many other things going on in my life and the world, but those were the highlights). This is, for the most part, why I feel partially off the wagon. All the overwhelming feelings I’ve had with everything that I was going through, the idea of trying to also be more strict with my weightloss felt like it would be just too much.

Now maybe that’s another excuse, but if you’ve ever gone through several things at once, you know that you’re not in the right frame of mind to concentrate on everything. I felt as if I was being pulled in a hundred different directions and so I made the choice to go a bit lax on the weightloss. With that, I also made the choice to not berate myself for my decision – no matter the result.

I haven’t stepped on a scale in some time. Mostly because right now, the damn scale is covered in stuff for the yard sale – as is most everything in my apartment – but I do intend to step on it tomorrow or Monday. Regardless of the results, I’m going to try to be more conscious of what I’m putting in my mouth from now on, but I still have two months of mega-crazyiness to get through so all I can do is try and not freak out while doing so.

If only it was this easy:

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Now having just had another birthday, it’s another year filled with some regrets but also some blessings. I do hope to check back sooner rather than later, but I do hope you’ll understand if I don’t. Till then…

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Love and blessings to all.

Dani

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know what the hell I’m doing…

This actually isn’t the posting that I started a week ago and didn’t get back to finish and post. But I feel that this post should take precedence over the other right now.

The title says it all. I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

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Maybe before it seemed like I knew, or I actually maybe I did know…or more likely, I was delusional enough to think I knew what I was doing, but I’m come to the conclusion that I really have no idea. Not one bit. Not a single iota.

And I’m frustrated as all fuck.

For people who have weight issues, the struggle with trying to lose it can be overwhelming, daunting, frustrating, maddening and sometimes…all of those things at the same time. It’s also confusing. Unless someone is going to strictly eat just, for example, salad all the time (which apparently eating the same things all the time – even though they are healthy things – ISN’T healthy (!) – trying to figure out what is good for you to eat versus what isn’t, isn’t always that easy.  Add legumes to your salad, they say. What the fuck is a legume? Eat oatmeal in the morning with some berries – this is very good for you. Unless you eat the wrong kind of oatmeal. What’s that now? Did you know that prepackaged instant oatmeal, even if organic and contains NO sugars or flavoring – is something you shouldn’t eat?? The why’s can make you nuts. I know they do to me!

Throw in things such as physical impediments such as my nerve-damaged feet, lack of mobility and over all exhaustion, it can make losing weight even harder.

I know some people are thinking that if it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be worth doing. Or that if it was easy, everyone could do it. All valid thoughts. But it doesn’t take away from the fact that despite our good intentions, and our willingness to try, what we want to happen isn’t necessarily what does happen.

I stumbled upon a video on YouTube that was shot over a year ago of an actor friend who was doing an interview against bullying (you’ll find the post I wrote about that video in the archives). In the interview, this friend mentioned me – and this blog. He went on to say how brave it was to do this, and for me to decide that I needed to save myself. My life. And you know what hit me as I watched him say those words:

That I’ve wasted a year.

I am no better with my health now than I was at that time; maybe I’m even worse. So I’ve lost nothing but more precious time. And I’m a year older. And sure, I haven’t given up and I keep trying. But at some point, my body – my life – is just going to say “Time’s Up”. I will run out of time.

But I’m not saying all of this to whine about how hard it is to lose weight. Okay, maybe a little. It really wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t bitching about something, right? But it’s also about just how overwhelming it can feel. How helpless. Despite knowing what I have to do, why can’t I just do it? For fuck’s sake…why!? And I don’t have the answers. I can’t find the answers. Even talking to my therapist, I’ve not gotten any answers as to why I can’t just do it. Even when it severely affects every fucking thing I do – or limits what I can do – it’s never enough to just be able to do it.

I can’t follow a diet plan for very long. I can’t record my food for a full day. I can’t eat well for an entire day. And even if I manage a day, or two…it doesn’t last. Invariably, I mess up. And sure, I get back up and try again. And again. And again. And I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’m tired. Mentally and physical. But mostly I’m tired that I’m not getting anywhere.

So that would suggest I’m not trying hard enough. And you can bet your behind I’m not. No ifs, ands or but(t)s about it.

But the entire point to this post – yes, I know…all that yammering and I still haven’t even gotten to the point!…where I’m going with this post is now let’s add in yet another thing to make my trying to lose weight even harder.

Diabetes.

Up until a few months ago, I’d been doing twice-daily injections of Byetta which is NOT an insulin – it’s only to help regulate my sugar and keep my A1C in check. On top of that, I take Metformin daily. But I got into a period last year that I got lazy about taking my meds. I admit that it was a colossal brain fart and quite stupid but as with everything else I do, I messed up and now I’m paying the price. A doctor visit a few months ago showed my A1C which was at 6.8 the last time I was there about a year ago, skyrocketing to 11.3. So she put me on insulin. Oh yay!

First she told me that I need to get my daily glucose testing to under 150. To start with 15 units of insulin – injected at night before bed – and testing my blood levels in the AM before I eat breakfast. I was to increase the dosage by 5 every 4 days until it got steady before 150. The only problem is that it rarely went below 150. The first reading after starting it, my reading was 278. Gradually over the next 14 days it went down to 161. But still too high. From then it fluctuated up and down as I continued to up the dosage as instructed. Finally after a month I managed to keep it under 200 but still would have days of up in the 180s.

I finally contacted my doctor again and said that I was now as injected 70 units (remember I started at 15) and did she really expect me to keep going up by 5 every 4 days because at some point I would be injecting an entire pen of insulin each night. Now keep in mind that all during this time I still couldn’t figure out what I was doing right or wrong. The levels seem completely random. It was frustrating and mind boggling. Talking with a few diabetics, NONE of them had any idea why their own went up or down – it all seemed random to them as well. Not to mention that my doctor then said, hey, keep it under 180 but 140 would be best. What? Make up your mind!

The doctor then said she was switching my insulin. It’s supposed to 1) be less in volume even at the same dosage and 2) spread out the insulin slower throughout the day/night. I don’t know if it’s strong or not. I do know that I did my first injection this past Saturday night (I will say that the pen used for this insulin made injecting 70 units much smoother ie: less blood) and since then my sugars levels have been ridiculous high. Including 287 this morning. I haven’t been that high since I started with insulin!

Clearly I need help with figuring this all out but again…it’s so frustrating, overwhelming and I feel completely helpless. Not to mention a lot stupid.

So that entire oatmeal thing I mentioned…oatmeal has a lot of good-for-you things. In fact, when I was working with Maria, she wanted me to eat it most mornings (though not the instant stuff). Oatmeal regulates blood sugar, is high in fiber so it’s good for filling you up and taking care of your tummy. And it may help reduce the level of insulin needed to be injected. But it’s got a lot of carbs. But apparently it has a lot of good carbs – it has what they call a low glycemic index. BUT, what you have with your oatmeal obviously matters. Just as piling your salad with a bunch of crap that isn’t good for you, putting stuff in your oatmeal isn’t either. I normally use a small banana or some blueberries which are supposed to be good. But then there’s the oatmeal itself. Apparently instant oatmeal = bad. You’re supposed to cook it on the stove – which is inconvenient (sure, say lazy if that is what you’re thinking) for me to be before I go to work (I barely can get out of bed to get to work on time, let alone be up early enough to sit and eat a cooked breakfast!). So I went out of my way to buy the organic, vegan, no sugar or salt added, whole grain hot oatmeal instant packages. It’s just rolled oats. That’s it. No additives. No nothing. No flavor! And now I’m hearing that it’s not good for me.

Holy fucking hell!

So all of this up and down, and all over…oatmeal. Just fucking oatmeal. Can I eat it or can’t I? So imagine then, trying to not only eat healthier to lose weight, but trying to do so by not eating too much of this or that – just say no to high carbs, high sugar, high fat, high calories – and then add in trying to eat in a way that your healthy eating doesn’t mess up your glucose as well. Or knowing if what you’re eating, while high in carbs, isn’t actually bad for you because it’s the “good carbs”??

Like I said…

Frustrating as ALL FUCK.

So while I obviously can’t throw in the towel and say “fuck it” or I could actually die from this, I feel like the added pressures of trying to know what to eat that won’t mess up my sugars, on top of trying to figure out how to eat healthy and lose weight…

There are a million books out there all claiming to be able to help someone like me know what to eat or not eat. It’s like when I was a teenager and trying to figure out which maxipad I should use, trying to find information that will help me, not overwhelm me, seems to be nearly impossible. As someone who has done a lot of research on self-publishing on Amazon, and am in a lot of writing groups, I see people put out books left and right – in only a few weeks no less – on every subject under the sun. So it makes me a bit gun-shy to just go into Amazon, search for a diabetic and dieting book, and feel confident the person who authored it even knows what the bloody hell they are talking about. Even a book by the world-renowned Mayo Clinic has reviews where their high-carb recipes are questioned as “are they really healthy for a diabetic?”.

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Am I overthinking this? Probably. I do that often enough. But I don’t know how not to either. I remember how crazy it was to just try to follow a meal plan like the USDA Food Pyramid.

So yeah…

I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.

My frustration level this morning has me on Defcon Level 4 “Orange”. Near tears and felling heavy in the chest (among other places). So excuse me while I go look at videos of puppies and kitties so calm myself.

Dani

 

What are you grateful for?

Pardon me for ending the title with a preposition. “For what are you grateful?” always sounds so proper, and I’ve never claimed to be so proper. At least, most of the time.

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As I write this, I’m thinking of a person who entered my life when I first moved to the U.S., way back in 1998. He went out of his way to welcome me, to listen to me and most especially, he always encouraged me to go after my dreams. For many years, he was, in a way, a mentor to me. I was grateful for his encouragement, but also for his belief in me. In my abilities.

For the past many years, this man has struggled with his own health issues – fighting the pain and issues associated with Parkinson’s Disease. It forced him into early retirement. At the same time, he and his wife’s youngest child has dealt with his own health issues – since his birth – and tonight I heard that this young man is in the ICU and the prognosis isn’t good.

No one should ever have to suffer in pain due to illness and disease, but unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. That this happens to even the best of us is very disheartening and heartbreaking. I pray that God looks over this family tonight and can only hope for a miracle.

I often feel that despite my attempts to try to help my family and friends as much as I am able, I can and often am a selfish person. I easily forget other’s problems, forget to ask them how they are – take the time to consider others. I’m guilty of that, for sure. I’m also guilty of forgetting how fortunate I am.

So this posting – while this is my weight loss blog – will not be about my journey and how I’m doing. This is going to be a post about the things for which I am grateful (see…no ending in a preposition there). So, here is my list of the things for which I’m most grateful:

  1. My mother. Having lost my father when I was 11, my mom became my savior and she’s been my rock every since. I don’t know how I could have gotten through some of the things in my life without her.
  2. My father. My dad Gerry meant so much to both my mother and me. I’m very grateful that I had him in my life, even if it was for such a short time. He adopted me as his own after he married my mom, and he was the best father – and man – that I could ever have in my life.
  3. My cats. I don’t have any children and likely never will. In my years alone since my divorce, my cats have been there for me unconditionally. They have made me feel like I am important, and they’ve helped me out of the darkness on more than one occasion.
  4. My family. Like Tula in My Big Fat Greek Wedding, I have a lot of cousins. More so than Tula, in fact. I come from a large extended family, and I actually am fortunate to have three families that I’m a part of – my mother’s side, my father’s side, and my biological father’s side. I have a great love for my family – no matter how crazy some of them are. But you know what, they’re mine. And I would protect any one of them from anyone that would do them harm. 5ab214406d8e3024452a05466bd3f97f
  5. My friends. I have been fortunate to have some of the same friends in my life for over 30 years. People who have been right beside me in some of my darkest times – and never left. I know that they would have my back, just as I would have theirs. I also have many newer friends – people who entered my life for one reason or another over the past many years – who has proven to have kind, gracious hearts and who have welcomed me into their lives.
  6. My freedom. I’m proud to be a Canadian. I’m proud that I am from a country where my ancestor chose to move to and raise their families. I’m especially grateful for those who fought, were injured or who died fighting for our freedom.
  7. My intelligence. I often joke that I can be a dolt. And there are many times when I do question not only my sanity but also how I managed to get this far in life. I like to think that for what I might lack in sheer intelligence, I at least have a modicum of common sense. Be that as it may, I do feel like I have a lick of smarts. And I’m grateful for that.
  8. My talents. It’s not always clear to me what I should have done with my life as I grew up. The earliest memories regarding a career go back to when I wanted to be an archaeologist. Those that know me would find this a humorous paradox – because while I love anything relating to ancient history, what I don’t like is digging in the dirt. Especially if said dirt had bugs in it. I kid you not. In any case, I do believe that I have some writing talents, and considering that I’ve often questioned what else I might be good at doing, I”m grateful, at least, for those.
  9. My health. It’s almost funny that I state this – given the struggles I have every day with my health. But my grateful for two things:
    • that I’m still healthy enough to do something about getting healthy, into shape and doing what I need to in order to extend my life, and
    • that I’m still alive. I’ve come to be truly grateful every morning when I wake up – that I woke up.  So now I’m working trying to appreciate every day to the fullest. Given the things that other people in my life are going through – it’s a cold wake up reminder  that life is too short and we need to enjoy it and life it to the fullest. Every. Damn. Day.

Might I suggest that whoever is reading this also take a moment of your day – right now – and think about what you’re grateful for. You don’t have to write them down, but if you want to – please do.

Lastly, I’m grateful for you. You – the person reading this. Why? Because even if you don’t know me, you took time out of your life to read this post (or any of my others). I appreciate you spending your precious time – with me. And, of course, I’m grateful to all of my family and friends who continue to support me – through all my ups and down.

So thank you, my beautiful peeples. Bless you all.

Love,

Dani

Do you know Kate?

I know, and am friends with many people in the “entertainment” industry. Actors, actresses, directors, screenwriters, editors, producers, playwrights, singers, songwriters, bands, etc…

I also watch a lot of movies, some television and pretty much anything I can find on Netflix or Amazon Prime. If any of my friends are acting in, have written, produced or been involved in one way or another a project, I watch them and as often as I can, plug their projects.

I recently started watching This Is Us through my On Demand with my cable company. I’d never seen even a bit of it, had no idea what it was about, and I think at some point I actually wondered if it was like other ensemble television shows that I didn’t enjoy.

But I love it! I’m actually binge-watching several episodes each night to catch up to the new episodes that started back again last night. Now, I’m bringing all of this up not because I have ran out of weight-loss things to discuss…on the contrary. It is this show that has me wanting to write to you tonight.

If you have never seen the show, I encourage you – if you’re able – to give it a view. If you have seen it, especially if you really enjoy it, you’ll have a better understand of where I’m coming from with this post.

One of the main characters in this series is Kate (played by the stunning and talented Chrissy Metz). The other characters are wonderful as well – I’m especially fond of Randall – but it’s Kate that I resonate with the most.

This is Chrissy Metz. Stunning.

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The reason it’s so significant is simply because there is a lack of characters like Kate on any show right now.  You see, Kate is obese. She’s not a little overweight, and I’m not exaggerating her size – Kate is obese.

Think about many of the shows you watch (even movies). How many have obese women on them? Probably not that many. Is that because obese women aren’t talented and can’t act? I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s likely for a couple of reasons. Much of society finds obese men and women to be unattractive and the networks, producers and such (most of them, not all), want to fill your television screens with attractive people. Is this because they think we’re all too sensitive and wouldn’t be able to handle seeing obese actors and actresses (and don’t get me started on the double-standard that men can be obese and it’s not seen as harshly than if it’s a woman)? Do they think that obese people cannot act? Is it unrealistic to expect that television serials based on “real life” characters would actually have some different shapes, sizes, colors etc?

Yes, there have seen some women of size on television. Melissa McCarthy comes to mind. What I find interesting is that her character – Molly – did the entire “I’m fat” things during the series: struggled with her weight, weightloss, joined a weight loss support group etc. Yes, that’s part of that “real life” I mentioned about but I’m also wondering why. Why does an over-weight character on a television show have to even address her size? or the struggles of a fat person?

I ask this because it seems to be a pigeon-hole for over-weight women on television series. Of course, that’s if there are any over-weight women on a television series. There really aren’t that many. But I digress…

Kate on This Is Us is obese and like those pigeon-hole items I mention above, she struggles with losing weight, getting healthy, dealing with self-esteem issues, and generally struggles every day with many of the things that I do. I felt an instant connection to Kate. From the first episode where she stands naked (save for her panties) and fights to step on the scale, I felt a kinship to her. I saw the back of her body. I saw her rolls of fat. I saw myself and my first thought was – my God but that actress is brave. And then I thought, thank you to the producers, writers, and everyone else on the show for bringing this character to us.

Four episodes in, Kate has already dealt with many things that I have. In one, she’s at a party, one she originally didn’t want to go because of her self-esteem issues. The man she’s just started to see – Toby – is a clown-and-a-half and he convinces her to go. And for a brief time (before the booze), she feels happy – until she “sees” people laughing at her, talking about her. Now it can be perceived that she is imagining it, or that people really are laughing and talking about her. But I get her. Man, do I get her.

Most times when I go out in public, if I’m alone, I am always imagining people are staring at me, talking about me…and can run through all the dialogue I think they are saying out loud or thinking. Am I imagining it completely? Sure, sometimes. I do, after all, have an over-active imagination. And I don’t really consider myself to be so important that I imagine that I’m the talk of the town. But there are time, I know – I’ve heard them – where people are talking rude about me and staring. So, at that moment in the episode – I felt it. I knew exactly what Kate was feeling and thinking.

I’ve said before that while many people can sympathize with me about the struggles of dealing with my weight, many cannot empathize. And as I’ve said before, if someone has to lose 20, 30 or even 50 pounds – their struggles are just as real as other’s are – but it’s also very hard for them to truly understand what it’s like to be this obese.

So while yes, Kate is a fictional character, the writers have written a very real person. A person that is showing others some of the struggles I face all the time – whether they be physical ones or mental ones. And while she won’t break down many stereotypes or prejudices against obese people, I’m hoping she will open some eyes to the fact that we’re not all lazy and fat, eat 25,000 calories a day and are unclean. The people that think like that – the people who think ugly things about anyone, whether they be obese, mentally challenged or any other physical challenges, or even just because they are bigoted and ignorant – those people rarely have their minds changed.

I don’t know where the writers will go with the character of Kate – but I do hope they continue to be honest and true to her character – her struggles and all. There are far too few “real” characters on television nowadays – she’s a breath of fresh air.

Sending peace, love and joy to all…

Dani

 

 

 

 

Trying to find the Zen.

We’re nine days into 2017 and while I didn’t make any New Year’s Resolutions, I did state that I would try – emphasis on “try” – to be more positive in 2017. Of course, when you are naturally pessimistic and have a “bit” of a sarcastic streak, it can be as much of a challenge to be positive as it is it lose weight. Trust me – I know this.

So we’re nine days in and I’m not doing well in the “being more positive” part. Though not really relating to my weight loss journey but more on just the rest of my life. So, if I’m successful at losing weight but not so much the be more positive thing, well…I’m just going to take that as a “win”.  So there…there is a bit of an optimist in me after all. Even if I struggle to be more positive.

Although, I am positive that I just might kill someone before the end of the month. Does that count?

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That’s not to say that I’m giving up or anything. On the contrary. But as you all know, life can be a bitch and sometimes, the bitch wins. And while I understand the concept of being positive, I’m really honestly not sure that I can or ever will be positive all the time. As I believe I said in a past post – sometimes I look at people who are positive/happy all the time and wonder what’s wrong with them. How can they possibly be that way?

Maybe they are good a pushing it down, letting it out or whatever…maybe they are really good at doing hot yoga and being Zen. I don’t know. I’m not even going to suggest that sometimes being negative is a bad thing. I hear all the time about how damaging being negative is. I get it – I do. But there are times when it can’t be helped – at least, that’s what I’ve come to realize. For me.

And trust me, I’m far more positive now than I was a year ago or even five years ago. But I’ve come to the realization that I will never be a completely fulfilled 100% positive person. After all…who would then provide all the witty and sarcastic comments that fulfill you lives and bring you so much joy? Hmm?

So pucker up, buttercups!  Take my positivity as its revealed and revel in it; but please do accept that I always won’t be so. That’s just who Dani is.

So to end this on a more positive note (ha! see what I did there?), I’m going to Ohm the crap out of my current stressful situation and hope I become Zen enough to not kill someone.

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Peace!

Love,

Dani

PS: By now you’ve figured out that I can contradict myself many times, even within the same thought. That’s those bloody hamsters, my friends. Don’t question; go with it…

Welcome 2017! Glad I could make it!

First…

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I wish all of you, my faithful readers, a 2017 filled with much success, promise, joy, good health, peace and of course, lots of love!

I made it to another year. I’m grateful. The older I get, the more I realize that I can’t take each day for granted. So I’m looking forward to what 2017 can be for me.

As with most holidays, I understand that people fret and worry about not only surviving through them, particularly if having to deal with drunk ol’ Uncle Bill or crazy Aunt Ethel, but more so the worries of gaining weight from over-indulging. As I stated in last year’s post regarding dealing with the holiday blues and over-consumption, it’s probably the worse time of the year for someone to try to lose weight or to stick with a weight loss plan that had been working.

The New Year usually means Resolutions. I, personally, don’t believe in Resolutions. Mainly because they set you up for disappointment when two weeks later, you’ve already broken them and really…where does that leave you? Pissed off at yourself? Believing you’re a failure (again)?  So why put yourself through that?

So like me, I hope that right now, if you’ve made any Resolutions you simply throw that shit out. Right now. Do it!

Instead, just vow right now that you will do your best. You will keep trying. You will try harder. You will have faith in yourself. But most of all, if you mess up – you will forgive yourself, toss out those negative thoughts and keep going.

As my buddy Brandon Auret says:

keep

I know it’s not easy. No one knows that better than me. But now that the holidays are over – whether you’ve put on weight or not – if you still have a goal to lose weight and get healthier – for any Resolutions and just vow to do it. To keep on…keeping on.

I, thankfully, did not gain any weight this Christmas. I’m grateful for that, sure, but I also know that I probably could have lost some weight if I had just made better decisions. But that’s behind me now and I’m not going to dwell on the past.

So this is my vow to keep going, try harder and never give up. Live is too short and it’s time to turn it up a notch. And as Brandon said recently:

“Find your purpose, get off your ass, don’t expect anything from any one and become the reason your purpose is a reality. #ROYL #keeponkeepingon“.

I’m hoping Brandon won’t mind me quoting him; so often he just says the right thing. The one thing I admire about him is that he doesn’t bullshit. So while he wasn’t talking directly to me, I like to think he was. Because I know he cares about me and my success. So thanks, B.

I know I can always count on his support, and a kick in the ass…

So here’s to a great 2017 filled with much success!! For all of us. No matter what our goals, plans and dreams might be. We all deserve to find our purpose and LIVE it.

Love,

Dani

 

 

Screw You 2016. Welcome 2017.

Last year I posted several posts during this time of year about not over-eating, dealing with the stresses and blues of the holiday season, and how not to be one of the January People (go to the Archives for December 2015 for a refresher or if you’re a new reader – check them out).

Typical of this time of the year, most people start thinking about what they can  change about themselves in the New Year. In the past, I was always guilty of making New Year’s Resolutions. I was also guilty of never keeping them. Then, the entire guilt and self-deprecating talk came out. Over the past several years, I vowed to not make any resolutions because frankly, while the concept is:  New Year – New You…what I’ve come to realize is that there isn’t and shouldn’t be a set date for when to start making your life better. Whether it be to get healthier by losing weight, getting through an addiction, or even just to become a better person over all – whatever the reason – why do we feel we have to wait until a new year to do so?

Why not simply start now? Right now. Not later today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. And certainly not on January 1st.

Right now.

Because of my physical limitations, particularly the nerve damage in my feet, and just the fact that I struggle with the simplest of physical tasks, it has been very difficult for me to many things. One thing I’ve been pushing myself to do is to just do as much as I can, even if that means taking breaks. I’ve been trying to downsize everything in my apartment – get rid of stuff I no longer need, use or want. It’s been a chore for sure. It’s amazing how much junk you can accumulate over the years and not even realize it.

So I’ve been pushing myself to sort/organize my things. And when I take a break, to not decide that’s enough for the day and just veg on my ass the rest of the day and night. No, I’ve been talking myself into getting up and going to do “one more thing” and lately it’s been working well.

Of course, that it’s only 60 degrees in my apartment helps. But as I’ve said before, the cooler it is, the more alive I feel. So as long as my feet cooperate, I’ve been able to get more physical things done of late. And it feels great. I’m proud of myself for – for lack of a better work – talking myself into getting up and doing something.

So back to the title of this post. 2016 has sucked. From what I’ve heard from many people, it has sucked for them as well. My family lost several of its members earlier in 2016 all within a short period of time. For me, work has become more stressful and something that I’ve struggled to just get out of bed and deal with. And, as you know, the summer this year was horrible for me physically to the point where I often wondered if I wasn’t dying. There’s been other things here and there as well. So yes, 2016 sucked and I’m hoping/praying 2017 will be better.

But 2016 had some good moments too, so I can’t just complain about it.

I got back into writing my book and it’s nearly done. While I had intended (and hoped) to have it done by Christmas, working full-time and just so much else going on, I unfortunately didn’t get it done. The last thing I want to do, especially for my first book, it to put out a rushed, inferior quality product, so I’m not going to rush to get it done before the end of the year. It will happen, when it happens, though I am aiming for before Valentine’s Day. We’ll see…

I also met some amazing people this year – some have become good friends, and other friends I’ve had for some time I’ve gotten closer to. I have been blessed with having so many wonderful, caring people in my life. They’re the type of people you want in your corner no matter what; those who won’t leave you when it gets rough.

Last year, some friends did a unique thing for the new year. They called it a Shine Jar. Recently another friend posted a similar suggestion for the New Year. The idea is that you write down one thing every day in 2017 and put it in the jar – something that was good. Maybe you got a compliment. Maybe something made you laugh. It doesn’t matter. Just put something good that happened on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. Then on New Year’s Eve 2017 open the jar and read everything you put in it. Reflect back on the year with all of the good things that happened; it tells you that no matter how awful you think 2017 was, perhaps it wasn’t as bad as you thought. Concentrate on the good of the year and not the negative.

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I’m going to do this because with all of the bad in the world – the ugliness that weighs heavy on my heart – I want to celebrate the good things that happen to me.

So that’s my only New Year’s Resolution:

A 2017 Happiness Jar. 

The rest…the get healthy, lose weight thing…well I’m not waiting. It starts now.

Love and blessings to all. Whatever you celebrate this holiday season, I wish you and your family much love and joy, peace and safety – and all the best for a wonderful and amazing 2017!

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Dani

 

 

 

Season of Change

Well, once again I’ve been remiss in writing more often. Life has a way of getting in the way of the things that we really want to do. Case in point, I had planned (hoped) to finish my first book Kiwi Kiss and have it published by Christmas. That is more and more likely not going to happen. Working full time (and often extra time), preparing for my trip home for the holidays, etc, all just seem to get in the way of finishing the book.

And unlike some writers I know, I am not yet quite disciplined enough to force myself to find the time and just write. Honestly, some of it is mental for me too. If those crazy-assed hamsters in my mind don’t slow down, it’s very hard for me to sit and concentrate on writing my story. Regardless of my excuses, it has been some time since I’ve written and for that, I apologize.

I know I have probably mentioned in past postings the fact that during the summer months here in North America, I suffer. Greatly. I don’t do well in the heat, especially when there is a lot of humidity. I can’t explain why – I’ve always been like that. That I’m covered in layers of fat probably helps with that as well.

But this past summer in New York State was atrocious. The heat and humidity were so bad that as I stated in my last couple of posts – I felt like shit. October turned out to be a much better month for me; ditto for November. I managed to drop 10.5 pounds in 4 weeks – the first time since late Spring that the scale was finally going down.

The cooler weather meant I could breathe better, albeit whenever I exert myself in the slightest, I am breathing heavy – but at least I can breathe better just merely sitting, whereas in the summer I couldn’t do that. Of course, I had a cold 3 weeks ago – the cough is still lingering and I’m not able to rid myself of it yet. I’m on antibiotics for the oral surgery I had a month ago but they are not helping with the cough. I swear sometimes I feel as if I’m a smoker.

But I digress…

While I’m still tired often, I’m not as exhausted as I was in the hot summer months. I’m able to move a bit better, feel a bit better physically but also mentally. Clearly I need to find a place that is relatively cooler all year long and move there. I don’t know how many more summers like this past one I can handle.

So Winter is my friend. I hate the snow. Someone as clumsy as me is never safe in snow or slippery conditions. I mean, I’m the person who fractured two bones in her foot just from bowling. Bowling!  But I feel 115% better in the Winter than I do any other time of the year and while most people hate it, it’s really the only time I feel alive.

And I can wear big winter clothes and not feel so “fat” and exposed.

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So I continue making baby steps, doing what I can without overburdening myself so I don’t lose the momentum. The best thing I can hope for is that I drop enough this winter that by next Spring when it starts to warm up, I’ll be down enough that the heat of the summer months won’t affect me as bad as they did…but more importantly, it would be a great start to continuing on my journey and having it be a successful one.

I am continuing my fight. I have the best supporters in my family and friends and people around the world I’ve never met – and I’m grateful for them all!

I’m never giving up. I’m going to keep on…keeping on (Thanks Brandon).

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Peace and blessings to everyone, especially as we enter the holiday season. May you all find your joie de vivre.

Love,

Dani

The Joy of Living

I have to give mega kudos to people who have had to deal with physical disabilities who still manage to not only get out of bed every day, but live their lives to their fullest, and are often accomplishing so much more than the rest of us mere mortals. No joke. I’m in awe of these people. Their immense strength. Their never-give-up attitude. Their abilities to overcome so much.

I envy these people.

That’s certainly not to say that they don’t have their bad days, but their spirit just doesn’t allow them to pity themselves for very long before they are up and moving again. I sit here and think about the pain I’m in right now, which realistically I know is nothing compared to others who live every day with even more pain, and I feel sorry for myself. And I really shouldn’t.

Not just because I don’t nearly have the physical problems that others have, but also because unlike so many others, I can actually do something about most of my pain issues. By losing weight. By moving more. By fighting through the pain, which in most cases is temporary, and just do it. I’ve been told there isn’t much I can do about the neuropathy pain in my feet (nerve damage from diabetes/hereditary), but I certainly can perhaps alleviate some of the pain by having much less weight for these tiny feet to lug around on a daily basis.

Yet instead, especially of late, I’ve chosen to do nothing about my weight and it shows. Both on the scale, but more so how my body feels. And honestly, it feels like shit.

I can barely move most days. My knees scream. My lower back revolts. Getting up out of my office chair or the couch is an endeavor of great strength – of which sometimes I just don’t have. This morning I feel back onto the bed (in a sitting position) when I stood up and my knees said, “Yeah…nope.” And boom…back on my ass on the bed. Thankfully I landed on the bed. And don’t even get me started on how something as simple as taking a shower or going to the bathroom turns into an Olympic-like event whereby I end up sweaty and out of breath.

Two weeks ago I hit the highest weight I’ve ever been at. I’ve been wallowing in the shame of letting myself get this bad, to the point where I’m so aware of trying to breathe, trying to move or heaven forbid, trying to sleep – which has eluded me most nights for months.

So this week, I (again) renewed my resolve to keep going. I am very tired of “trying” because that’s worked so well for me up until now [insert sarcastic facial expression here] but I also know that I have to keep trying. No matter how much I want to swear to high heaven whenever someone says that to me. I know they mean well. I do. But my frustration at myself doesn’t alleviate by such words of encouragement, no matter how well meaning they are.

So this week I’ve been eating better, trying to move more but it seems that whenever I do this, I invariably have to deal with something “extra” that really makes it hard to keep going sometimes. In this case, besides the usual aches and pains, my sciatica has been acting up for the past couple days. Shooting pain from my butt down my left leg like someone is pulling on the muscles in that leg, whether I’m sitting or laying.

But I have to be honest. This morning the pain was enough that I wanted to just sit and cry and had thoughts of “why bother”. But then I see people like war veteran/hero Derek Weida who is missing one of his  legs. He’s a hulking big man who works out regularly, does video posts on FB and tells it like it is. [https://www.facebook.com/derekweida/?fref=ts}. He often posts about his “down” moments but then he kicks himself in the ass and gets going. I’ve watched his work out videos and I shake my head in amazement because he does so much, despite missing part of a leg. Things that I probably couldn’t do even if I was in shape. He’s an inspiration, but he seems humble enough that he’d say he wasn’t.

Photo credit: Derek Weida

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So going back to what I said about envying those people with physical disabilities who have had to deal with so much more than me. I’m talking about people like war veterans who have missing limbs (like Mr. Weida I mention above), people who are born with issues that prevent them from walking, talking, seeing etc. There are so many inspirational people out there who, despite whatever their “issues” are, they don’t let it define them. They don’t let it beat them. They continue to fight, especially when they have their moments they don’t want to fight anymore. But they do.

Another great example of someone making the most of their life is BT Urruela. [https://www.facebook.com/BTUrruela/?fref=ts]. BT is a very handsome man, but also a war veteran and hero, who lost part of his leg. He now writes books, models, and travels the country on speaking engagements. He’s also a personal trainer.

Photo credit: BT Urruela

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I want to stop wallowing in my own self pity and take a page from their book. Because as I said, unlike them, I can do something about my issues. Yet despite both having lost a leg, they don’t let it stop them from doing anything. They’re both so inspirational in their own ways.

I do also hope that neither of them take offense of my using them in this blog posting in any way other than in my admiration of them. I know they inspire so many others and wanted to give them the credit they deserve for their tenacity and inspiration.

I was told that I need to work on being more positive. In some ways, I think that is probably nearly as hard as losing weight, especially when I really have no idea how to do that. I can say the words. I can post the “positive” quotes and want to believe them, and maybe for a brief time, I do believe them, but then something happens and I invariably fall back into the negative vibes.

And I hate it. I really do. I don’t like to be so negative. I want to wake up every morning and look forward to the day. Look forward to another having lived through the night. To look forward to just living.

And I hate being this big. I hate not being able to do such simple things. And most of all I hate that I can’t seem to do what I need to do to fix myself. But I’m trying. Again.

My tattoo says “Joie de vivre”  The Joy of Living.

Because that’s what I’m really striving to do.

Love,

Dani