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Oops…Day #2 of 31 Days of Gratitude

Well would you look at that…I forgot to do my 31 Days of Gratitude for Days #2 and #3. Ugh. My memory.

Every time I did think of it, I wasn’t in a position to be able to write one. And even leaving myself a note didn’t seem to work.

So…time to play catch up.

Day #2

I’m grateful for my mom.

This is likely a given but I know for many people, their mom’s are not in their lives, but my mom is.

She’s been there with me through every trail and tribulation, through the successes and failures, and while I’ve often questioned whether or not I’ve done anything remotely considered proud of me, her support has never wavered.

And I am grateful for that.

Always.

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Blessing to all for a great week!

Happy Monday!!

Dani

 

 

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31 Days of Gratitude

It’s been a good week, friends. Actually, it’s been a pretty damn good week. And I’m grateful.

Grateful for everything I have. Grateful for everything I’ve ever had. Even grateful for everything that has happened to me – good or bad – because those things have made me a stronger person. A person, I hope, people feel is a great, reliable and loving friend. Someone with a big heart, who would do whatever she could to help them. Someone who didn’t take them for granted, and appreciated having them in her life.

So starting today – December 1, 2017 – I’m going to post 31 days of gratitude. Certainly that doesn’t mean that I won’t be grateful after December 31st, but for now, let’s just start here.

If anyone wants to do this with me, please do. I’ll be posting these 31 days on both Facebook (my personal page), twitter @dani052566 and my IG account:  @danielle_reaume

Let’s do this…

Day #1 

I’m grateful I’m still alive.

I’m grateful I’m still alive…

  • to see another beautiful sunny day.

December 1, 2017

  • to appreciate the beauty of nature
  • to appreciate the beauty of the Earth
  • to be here for my family, friends and Finnegan

And most importantly, I’m grateful to be here for me.

Blessings to all…

Love,

Dani

 

 

 

 

No, this isn’t Groundhog Day…

Hello,

At the risk of sounding like a broken record (for those too young to understand that terminology, please Google it), I’m starting anew.

Again.

groundhog-1...

To say this journey has been a roller-coaster would be an understatement. For the longest time I thought that every “restart” was an embarrassment. As in, why can’t I just do it right the first time? Stick to it. Just do it. And while I won’t profess to say that I’m completely over that thinking, I have come to understand that like life, which is filled with so many things that interrupt your path, you can still be ON that path…there are just some detours that get in the way.

The key is to stay on the path, but if you sway off, get back on.

And while it does admittedly bother me that I haven’t been very successful up to this point, I need to keep trying. If I don’t, I won’t be around to entertain you fine people with my witty bantering. And how tragic would that be?

As I posted prior, I am now back home in Canada and I’m settling in more and more each day. It is still some adjustment for me, but I’m getting there. And the one thing I’m finally “there” for is to do something about my weight.

Again.

While I was at my heaviest in early July before the move, I had lost some since, but not enough and not consistently. In fact, I’ve lost and gained the same 5 pounds over the past few weeks and it’s very frustrating.

So why is this time any different? you might ask. Trust me, I’m asking myself. And while I am not going to make any promises, I’m also not going to think about the chance of failure. There’s nothing worse at trying to succeed at something and starting off with thinking about how you might fail.

Talk about setting yourself up for an epic fail!

But this time it’s mostly about frame of mind. And hopefully having someone close to me on the same journey where we can help each other out. This is hard enough to do, but to do it alone is even harder.

No matter what your “thing” is that you need to do – try to find others who will support you, help you, and maybe even walk through it with you.

After all, what is there (for me) to lose…?

Except this weight.

Never let a stumble be the end of your journey…

Broken Pot

So…here I go. Again.

My life is worth living, and I want to do so much more living before there’s no more life left. It’s time.

And it’s not going to be easy. Nothing worth it every is. And I will struggle. I will falter. I will even swear like a banshee…okay that’s a given no matter what…but I will try so very hard to do this.

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself – George Bernard Shaw

It’s time to create. Let’s do this.

Thank you for coming with me on this journey, and supporting me. It means everything.

Blessings to all.

Dani

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.”

Worth

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

 

 

 

 

 

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.

74th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals

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

 

 

 

 

Mother Nature Can Suck It!

First…

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^^^ That’s for my being remiss (again) in not writing sooner.

No excuses, really. But if you are a writer, or know one, you’re probably aware that while most of us feel we need to be inspired to write, many of us struggle to do just that – even when we feel that we have nothing to say.

It’s been 2 months since I last write on this blog. To my utter surprise, the hits on here have not only been consistent despite my not providing any new posts, but they’ve increased! Typically for the first day or two after I post a new blog posting, the number of visitors it receives is high,then gradually it fades. I don’t have a huge following; in all honesty, it was never my intention to have a large following. Not because I felt no one would want to hear what I had to say, but more so because I’m not really a well known person and I’m not actively marketing this blog. And frankly I wasn’t even sure if anything I was writing would even be of interest to anyone. I’ve since learned that people are indeed interested and that makes me very appreciative, but also inspires and helps me on my journey all the more. In fact, many of the visitors of late have been from all over the world, including places where I don’t actually know anyway.

But I digress.

Today’s post is dedicated to someone we all know. Someone who some of you might love, or if you’re like me, mostly feel like this:

fuck

Now I’ve dealt with some bitches in my life but this one…I’d like to punch her right in her ovaries.

For as far back as I can remember, I have never done well with the heat and humidity of summer. My favorite season has always been, and still is, Fall (or Autumn depending on where you live). Most people I know, but not all, prefer the heat. Love to be out in the sun, roasting to a savory brown tan like the last Thanksgiving turkey. Me? I don’t tan. I go from one-shade-darker-than-an-Albino to burnt and back again. Sure, my arms will somewhat tan just simply from being in the car driving, but rarely, if ever, will you ever catch me actually out in the sun during the summer.

Think of me as your vampire friend Dani.

Let’s be clear. This isn’t about a little sweating. This isn’t about some frizzy hair due to the humidity. This is about me being physically sick – nauseated, sinus headaches, rashes from sweating no matter how many showers or how much powder I use. This is about being so fucking uncomfortable that I often feel like I’m losing my ever-loving mind.

And then there’s the weight gain.

Unlike most people who are more active in the summer and tend to lose weight, I am the opposite. I wish I could say that it’s just because I’m a stubborn bitch and I like to be rebellious, but alas, that isn’t it. Not at all. This also has nothing to be with my being Canadian. Contrary to popular belief, not all of Canada is a tundric ruin. In fact, where I come from (which incidentally is the only Canadian city SOUTH of a US one – look it up), they pretty much have the same weather that we get here in Ithaca. The only difference is the topography – Windsor being a epic flatland and Ithaca being a hilly nightmare (in the winter).

So I wish I could say that my childhood growing up in the “Great White North” was filled with cooler summers and ridiculously colder winters but I can’t. Sure, it got cold in the winters. It got to be what I like to call…brace yourselves…”snot freezing weather” but for as much as I often felt I was wearing tissue paper for pants…

I FELT ALIVE!

I am in my element in the cooler weather. Give me 45-65 degree weather all the time and I would be in Heaven. And as I said above, most people are more active and tend to lose weight in the summer…I don’t. I put it on. And put it on.

The heavier I start in the warmer months, most often the heavier I will get until the tides shift and we welcome in October. It’s then that I am more active; more pep in my step. And I start to lose the weight. During the summers, no matter how much water I drink, I swell up like a dead body the CSI team found in the lake – that had been there for 6 months or more. My hands, especially my fingers swell up to wear I can’t wear my rings. And they ache – my typing such as this blog, to even just flexing them to drive or any sort of movement.

I also having trouble with eating in the hot months. The idea of turning on the stove, oven or even using the BBQ gives me fits. But I also struggle with just being able to move around. To do the normal things around the house – cleaning, laundry etc. And forget about exercising.

And then there’s my feet/ankles.

If you’ve read this blog long enough you also know that I have foot pain nearly all the time. Unfortunately, running shoes are the only shoes I can wear that are supportive and that I can walk in. No flipflops for me. No pretty sandals that would show off pretty purple painted toenails. I don’t even wear shorts out in public because of how “deformed” I become (and because of the self-esteem issues). So no matter how uncomfortable I am due to the heat, I wear jeans and running shoes. When I am at home in the evening from work or on the weekends, I wear Orthoheel slip-on shoes. I can’t wear them outside because I cannot walk properly in them due to not always being aware of my feet due to the pain and numbness. I’m clumsy.

This is what my feet look like every night (dry skin aside and my apologies – I do not have pretty little feet):

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The darker red band is the normal size of my foot. The swollen part above it (below my toes) is the open part of the orthoheel shoes. Below that band is all the swelling to above my ankle. This is just from sitting. With no compressing, hot running shoes on. I don’t have A/C in my apartment; I can’t have A/C in my apartment.

Worse is in the past two weeks or so, the humidity in the air has had me having breathing issues. I used to get slightly winded walking up my walkway, up the road and down the driveway to my car. Now I am only half way up my walkway and I’m gasping for air. The moisture in the air is so thick sometimes, not only do I get huge headaches but as I said, lately I’ve been having trouble breathing. It became most noticeable to me when I realized that I wasn’t having that issue in my office or like last night at the mall – until I go outside.

I liken that I have a harder time with the heat because of my size. After all, I have a lot of fat (blubber) on my body which acts as an insulator. Think of a whale.

And I’m by no means being derogatory to myself. It’s a simple fact of biology. And unfortunately, while I wish I could just sit here and wallow alone aboard the self-pity train, I really don’t think I can wait until the Fall. I will never succeed in losing all the weight and getting healthy if I can’t get through the summers. I just can’t.

I certainly hope people understand now that when I complain about the heat that I’m not doing it just for the sake of whining about something; that it’s understood that it’s something that affects every part of my life – my body and my mind – my health and my everything. I have the tools and know what I need to do but the weather is messing me up – big time.

And believe me when I say that the fact that I have a hard time breathing in this humidity is scaring the ever-loving bejeezus out of me.

So starting tomorrow RIGHT NOW,  I’m renewing my determination to fight through this. To do everything I can to get back on track and succeed. I have to. I’m feeling lost in this gigantic dome of weather-related health issues and honestly, I’m scared. I don’t like feeling like I’m suffocating. I don’t like feeling so swollen that I can barely move. I don’t like feeling that I’m failing. And I really don’t like feeling like I’m dying.

So…

Fuck you Mother Nature!

Its-too-hot-today

So here’s to another determined push to get through this and be successful. I could certainly use some words of encouragement from the masses on this one. I’m feeling so lost…

Thank you all,

Dani

The “masses” have spoken…

And by “masses”, I mean an enormous group of people.

And by “enormous group”, I mean a lot of people.

Okay, it was really just one person.

One person suggesting that she was “pretty sure” she wasn’t the only one waiting on a new blog entry. I don’t claim to be a wordsmith. Okay, maybe I do. But she didn’t sound very convincing. But given that I’d somewhat promised to not take so long between posts, and my last one was a month ago, I guess I deserve to only have one ardent “fan”. Er…reader.

Perhaps I have my first stalker!

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In any case, many posts ago I apologized for all of the future times that I would be remiss in posting in a timely manner so I will refrain from doing so again. We all know by now that I’m not fooling anybody. No matter how much I love to write, there are times I just don’t have anything to say.

Okay. You can stop with the laughing now. And don’t deny it; I can sense a disturbance in “the Force”.

So what, you might be asking yourself (or not) what I’ve been up the past month? I have to tell you, it hasn’t been an easy month and it does beg the question whether now was a good time to go off of the depression meds. But I felt it was time, and I also realize that 1) they were never that strong that they had that big of an affect on me and 2) they simply cannot stop every emotional “shit fit” I might have. They weren’t even strong enough to have dampened that down. Trust me. For the most part I’m convince I might as well have been sucking back aspirin.

I mentioned before in previous posts how hard this journey is. Some of you understand; others can only imagine. And if you’ve been reading this since the start, you also know that I’m upfront about my thoughts and feelings – warts and all – to some degree. That is, I’m not lying to anyone and I may leave some more personal stuff out, but the bottom line is that I have been struggling. There’s no easy answer for why. It just is. And I have to tell you, if you haven’t already guess from my previous posts, I don’t handle being “human” very well. That is, I don’t handle my mistakes very well.

I’m not a perfectionist. Far from it. But I have a degree of lunacy that is so ingrained in my mind that it’s actually harder for me to forgive myself when I make a mistake – or twelve – than it is to actually lose weight. I’ve been doing that yo-yo thing again and felt so disgusted with myself that I had to momentarily push some people away or hide it from those closest to me. I might have whined and bitched a bit but I didn’t have a full blown meltdown until a week ago. And I have to tell you. That feeling.

It sucked. It sucked harder than a Dyson.

I felt so helpless. But I also felt so ashamed. And sad. Frustrated. Angry. Alone. And then…

BOOM!

Around I went again. And again.

And it’s so very hard to be strong – to be the kind of strong that you HAVE to be to do this very hard thing (or any very hard thing) – so when you can’t be, you feel lost.

And I felt so lost. I felt so many things that I didn’t even know what to do. And it wasn’t just about my weight though that was a big part of it. Pressures from work have also been piling on. And I said this to my friends and family in my private Facebook group (the group is about my weight loss journey):

“I’m trying to not just be bitching and whining about everything because I don’t know about you guys, but I’m pretty sick of hearing me whine about something every time I mess up.”

The funny thing is that my group – that’s sort of what it’s there for. For me to express my feelings – good and bad – on my journey. To talk about my frustrations, my triumphs, the joys, the sorrows and the fuck-ups. Yet I sometimes feel guilty that I’m dumping on those family and friends. It’s then that I shut myself down, get quiet and suffer mostly in silence.

And you know what?

That’s just as messed up of a thought process as they come. Invariably I end up sabotaging myself and I find myself wondering if my friends and family aren’t rolling their eyes at me and thinking, “Holy shit, here she goes again!”

Maybe I’m right about that. Most likely I’m wrong. Most likely my over-active imagination and those damn hamsters are over-thinking it. But it’s hard. It’s really hard to express yourself without feeling you might be judged or worse yet, ignored. And that scares me because as I’ve said before, the importance of the support I receive from everyone cannot be minimalized or trivialized. If anything, it’s those times – when I’m feeling the worse about myself – that I need people that most.

Because I haven’t yet learned to treat myself well. To respect myself. To love myself.

When I have these setbacks, it’s so easy for me to use myself as the scapegoat. It’s absolutely easy. I want to stop it, I really do. And I really have to be honest when I say that I’m not sure I will ever get “there” until I give up the idea that I will not only make mistakes but I will make some mammoth ones. And it’ll still be okay.

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So until that time comes, I’m going to have “moments”. It’s during that time that I hope that people will still be there supporting me. And they know that no matter how I might feel about myself at any given moment, I will always be there for them.

Brandon told me once in my group: “I am proud. I said if one person got on board with me its all worth it. Thank you champ.”

And I feel the same way. I feel that if I can help even one person, even if for one specific thing or even as a continuous supporter of whatever their journey is – it’s worth it. So if my struggles help anyway, they make them all the more worthwhile and helps me to keep fighting. To keep going.

To keep on…keeping on.

So here’s your post my “masses”…er…Anne-Marie. Perhaps you’ll have to suggest that you’re “pretty sure” you’re not the only one waiting on a blog posting. I believe a fire has been lit…

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Blessings to all. Be back soon…

Mwahaha

Dani

Without a struggle, there can be no progress

Those famous words are part of a longer quote by Frederick Douglass. So as to not pull it out of its context, here is the full quote:

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In the end, the intent is still the same. One can’t expect progress, such as losing weight and getting healthy, without a struggle. Without trying. And in most cases, intense struggles. Even some “holy hell I’m never going to get through this” sort of struggles.

And there are times, just like with other instances in our lives, where something just seems to be impossible. That we won’t survive. But you know what? We do.

We survive.

I’ve had my share of some pretty awful things in my life. I remember many times when I though that things just couldn’t get any worse. Later, I’d realize they might have, but even if they did, I always survived.

Of course, as life goes, we know that not everyone believes they are strong enough to get through and they give up. On themselves. On their lives.

And that’s heartbreaking to me.

But for the rest of us, it’s that survival instinct that helps us. We learn from it. It makes us stronger. It proves to ourselves  (and others) that we are not broken. That we aren’t weak, or pathetic, or even useless. It is an enormous testament to the human heart; its drive to keep going, no matter how hard it gets.

And that’s sort of what it’s like to struggle to get healthy and lose weight when you’ve gotten so far out of control.

So while I might bitch and moan about how hard this is, I haven’t given up and I’ve kept going.

Et hoc transibit.

This too shall pass.

As with my many mood swings, I will have my good days and bad. I’ve been learning to not let the bad days take me so far out of the equation that I struggle to get back in. And with each passing day, the struggle – while never really ebbing – does somewhat feel easier. At least for that day. And you know what? That’s pretty great too.

Brandon Auret, whom I’ve mentioned often in other posts and is always so supportive (and it’s very appreciated!), always has the right thing to say to me that gets me going. That tells me to pull up my (literal) big girl panties and get to work. I sometimes feel like he’s the best kind of drill instructor. Imagine a deep, heavily-South African-accented voice telling you (and as I stated in my last post):

Hey chill shit happens we human. Ok!!!
Keep on ……..

To which I reply …keeping on.  And I do. I keep going. I keep on…keeping on. It’s become my motto of sorts. I could also hear him saying:

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But that’s not to say that the things that others have said to me have meant less, or have impacting me less. Every supportive comment is felt deeply and taken to heart. Even those that seem a bit scolding, like an unexpected spanking. It’s all good. It’s all chill.

The biggest take-away from all of it is that if this was easy, everyone would be doing it. And not everyone is. Do I wish it was easier? Sure. For the most part, I’m a bit lazy. But I’ve also learned throughout my life that if you really want something. REALLY want something. You work for it. You work hard for it. Or it’s not worth having.

So as I continue to struggle, I’m finding that my struggles, in part, are helping others. To keep going. To not give up.

To keep on…keeping on.

If I can help someone do that, well, it makes my struggles all the more important to me. And all the more worth every ounce of pain, frustration, heartbreak and heartache I go through. Because I also know that I’m not alone.

I’m never alone.

Blessings to you all.

Love,

Dani

Keep on…keeping on.

Wow. I am actually shocked to find that I started this blog posting 27 days ago. I am so very sorry that I’m not very consistent with keeping up with the posts. There seems to be an ebb and flow with me on just about everything I do – or try to do. So I do hope that I haven’t lost your interests in reading anything I have to say.

I also feel that if I blog all the time that you’ll be bored with it. Not to mention that I don’t want my posts to feel rushed or to be just “filler”. I want them to actually be productive. To mean something – both you myself and to you, my good people. So maybe I write shorter posts but more often, instead of just super-long ones every few weeks.

I wish I could say that I have a process down. I don’t. I wish I could tell you that I would or even could make more frequent shorter posts. But we all know that I’m not succinct. I apparently don’t even know what that word means most of the time.

I guess that means I was destined to be a writer.

But I will endeavor (no promises) to be more consistent and check in more often than I have of late.

So…

What do you do when your inspiration begins to wane? How do you keep up the motivation?

I shouldn’t have to rely on other people’s support in order to keep going but I’m finding that my attitude, inspiration and motivation all seem to be at levels in great proportion to the support and inspiration I receive. If it tapers off, I somewhat do as well.

And that scares me.

People’s interests change. As does their attitude. They also have their own lives.

I hate that I have to rely on others to be successful, especially for those very reasons but as I said in one of my very first posts – I need YOU!

I am struggling of late. My motivation is lacking. I can’t explain why really. What specifically it is that is making me less enthusiastic? What causes this ebb and flow of my feelings?

I can’t explain it. And I hate that.

I’m proud of how far I’ve come so far, sure. I’m happy I haven’t given up. You bet. But there are times when I just feel…

Meh.

That’s the best word that comes to mind. And I hate it. I hate it because I feel like I’m letting myself down, and you all down. And why can’t I just always feel motivated? The support I have received hasn’t gone away; it just ebbs and flows, causing my moods to do so as well.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not blaming anyone for those ebbs and flows. As I said, you have your own lives. And I shouldn’t have to rely on anyone else to keep going on this journey. To keep fighting. To not give up.

But I’d be lying to myself if I said that I didn’t need you. Didn’t need that support. Because after all these weeks and months – it’s painfully obvious that I do.

So I will make mistakes. I will falter. But I won’t give up. And I won’t stop trying.

We human. Shit happens. Keep on…keeping on.

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And chill.

Till we meet again. Hopefully soon.

Be kind. Be gentle. Be loved. Be safe.

Love,

Dani

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/