Step 3,278…

I’ve been trying to lose weight pretty much all of my adult life. I’d try, then fail. Try. Then fail. And while most people would insist that I not use the word “fail,” given my current status on the scale, there really isn’t any other way to describe it.

And sure…as Thomas Edison said:

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So, in all these years of failure, what have I learned?

  • weight-loss gimmicks don’t work
  • there is no easy way to weightloss
  • “I’ll start Monday” is never a good thing, especially if it’s Tuesday
  • you have to be willing to make sacrifices

And sometimes…sometimes you need more help in order to succeed.

If you’re like me, you hate asking for help. You don’t want to be a burden to others. You feel that you should be able to do something on your own – if only you keep trying. I thought that way for a long time. That hard work, perseverance, sheer determination and a strong will was all someone needed.

And for some people, that’s true. But for those of us who no matter how much we want something, we invariably “fail” for one reason or another. I was severely lacking most of that, but I could never explain why.

I’ve had some people tell me that I didn’t want to lose weight. I’ve had others tell me that if I really wanted it badly enough, I’d “just do it.” And still, I’ve had others tell me that it “wasn’t meant to be.”

But I’ve never liked being obese.

I’ve never liked the limited “freedom” that being obese caused. Needing a seat-belt extender on airplanes (and god-forbid you need to use the lavatory) and in a car. Squeezing into public seating in movie theatres and sporting arenas, or on a plane or bus. The wonder if when you sit on a chair whether it will hold your weight. The stares of strangers whose looks make you want to crawl under a rock because you feel so ugly. The abhorrence to having your picture taken, or seeing your reflection in a mirror or reflective glass of a building or an elevator. Or even the constant need to keep track of which places had bathrooms in which you could comfortably fit.

Whatever the philosophy might be, the end result is that despite all of this, it never was enough of a sustaining motivator to me to lose the weight and keep it off. And to be honest, that is probably my greatest shame.

But it’s a new time now. I’ve decided I need help. And I’m asking. By deciding to have the bariatric surgery, I’m asking for help. I need help.

I don’t see this as a cure-all. I never have. And while I’ve never considered weight-loss surgery as the “easy way,” I did fight the idea because I believed that it wasn’t going to be that cure-all that many of us so desperately want. It took some time for me to fully understand that the surgery was just a stepping stone on the journey.

My 3,278th, if you will. I don’t know if that’s really what step I’m on, but it’s as good a number as any.

The steps leading to the surgery will not be easy, but they won’t be necessarily difficult either. I’ve already begun preparing so that the adjustment isn’t as difficult as it could be. The surgery itself can be difficult. There are risks, certainly. There always are in major surgery, but if there is ever a time for me to be positive – it’s now.

The post-surgery will have the greatest challenges. Drastic reduction in food intake. Limited ability to eat certain foods; complete avoidance of others. Again, I’ve already started to make the transition on some of this.

For me to succeed, I am going to have to work hard. I know this. And for the first time in a long time, I feel like I can work hard. I can do this.

And while I certainly wish I had made this decision years ago, I feel like I really needed to be in that place; to really believe it was the right time.

And that time is now.

My biggest fear with this entire process, besides the risks of death, are really – with the assumption of success in losing all the weight I want – is the inevitability of loose skin. And I will have a lot of it. As I’m not a spring chicken anymore, no amount of pleaded of my skin to bounce back is going to help. And in many places on my body, the skin has been stretched far too far anyway. And based on everything I’ve read of others who have gotten that far, the skin reduction surgery is actually worse to deal with than the bariatric surgery.

And I will deal with that step when I get to it.

First, I have to make it to the 3,279th.

Blessings to all.

Love,

dani1

PS:  As of this morning I am down 40 pounds since last Fall.  Yay me!

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Just keep going…

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Someone asked me if I was going to stop Weight Watchers since I’m on the path to the bariatric surgery, and while I had the quick answer of “No” for her, I realize the more I thought about it that her question was a blog topic in itself. So, let me talk about that for a bit…

One of the questions I asked the nurse at the information session on the surgery was, “Do you have to lose a certain amount of weight BEFORE the surgery in order to be approved for the surgery?” You see, I’ve been watching the TV show called “My 600# Life” and while I’m not near 600 pounds, I’m still greatly obese so given that the people on the show are attempting to have the surgery done, I watch it with keen interest. And on that show, Dr. Now (Younan Nowzaradan, MD) always tells them that they must lose x amount of weight before he’ll approve them for the surgery. I didn’t understand why. I just assumed that it was a standard thing that anyone wanting to have the surgery had to do – in order to prove that you could stick to a diet plan and lose weight.

Of course, that does sort of display a paradox, doesn’t it? After all, if you can stick to a diet plan and lose weight, why would you need to have the surgery.

I understand now that it was those people on the show – because of their size – had to show Dr. Now that they could adapt and change because as I’ve been saying all along, the surgery is not the be all to end all. If I don’t work hard and stick to the plan, I won’t learn how to live, lose the weight and keep it off.

In any case, the nurse’s reply was, “No, you would just have to maintain your weight. Certainly not gain any.”

So that was one reason I decided to stick to doing Weight Watchers until I couldn’t do so any further.

The other reason is that I’ve had some success with WW so why stop now? Why get lax or lazy, slip into old habits now, after that success and potentially see all that hard work go to waste.

Despite WW being a plan that you can eat quite a bit of different foods so it’s not boring and you are better off to stick to it, it doesn’t mean that you can go “whole hog” and eat whatever you want. I have hardly had any pasta since I went on WW. While I accumulate points for an end of the week special meal, I find the idea of blowing all those points on some foods not worth it. And certainly, the limited points that one has for meals during the day, it’s often not worth it to have things such as potatoes and pasta. And while it’s an “easy” plan to basically follow, it’s still not easy to adjust.

You’re still limiting your food. Tracking your food. Measuring your food. You have to review all the labels, determine if something is too high in points…and you have to keep going.

So, the other thing is that since I’ve been on WW, I’ve learned to make better choices, and I’m to the point now where I feel pretty good about how well I’ve done up to this point. Sure, there’s a learning curve – just as there will be one (or many) after the surgery – but WW has helped me a lot also. I’ve cut way back on my pop (vice #1) consumption to the point where I rarely have it, and if I do, it’s usually as a treat because I have some extra points at the end of the day. I haven’t had potato chips (vice #2) since I started WW except a single small bag one time when we were out and I felt it wasn’t worth the 9 points.

So as I prepare for the pre- and post- surgery, a lot of things that I’m dealing with through WW is helping me to better prepare for my journey’s next path.

So, no…I won’t be stopping Weight Watchers even though I’ve decided to do the surgery. I will continue to do it until I’m told by the bariatric center that I need to stop, which could be the two weeks leading up to the surgery when I’m just on a liquid diet, or it could anytime before then. I certainly hope I have some more time on it – both as a learning tool but also, in all honesty, because I paid for 6 months and I’d like to get my money’s worth.

On Weigh-In Monday (yesterday), I lost another 4 pounds last week (and lost a daily point in WW), so I am now down a total of 14.2 pounds since joining WW, and 36.6 pounds since last August. So, yeah…I think I’m going to just keep going…

Blessings to all…

dani1

Which way is the wind blowing?

I had intended to write this several weeks ago. In fact, I started it no less than four times. But, you know what they say about good intentions…

As it has happened so many times in my life, I have been thinking lately that I have absolutely no idea where I’m going in my life. What am I doing? Am I actually doing anything? If I am doing something, what the hell is it? Is it good? Bad? Indifferent? What?!

And I wish I had the answers, but as with the x number of times before that I have asked these questions of myself – well…the answer is:

I have no fucking clue.

I’m not getting any younger. The world is not slowing down. In fact, it feels as if it’s speeding up. I try not to have regrets, but it’s hard to not look back at my life and see the missed opportunities or changes. Whether I chose to ignore the signs, or simply wasn’t brave enough. I suspect it was usually the latter. Just a suspicion though…

In any case, today one of the more popular sayings is “as fuck,” as in I’m drunk as fuck or You’re as stupid as fuck. Though typically I think those younger kids are simply using “AF.” Okay, so…I had an AF moment hit me recently. As recently as yesterday, where I thought, I’m miserable AF. And, I have been the past several says. Off and on, actually, the past few weeks but mostly the past several days.

I know the “why” and I won’t be sharing it here. It’s personal to me, and me alone, and it’s no one else’s concern.

So, why am I mentioning it?

Because it’s only one of the things going on with me. And while it may not be the most prominent (but maybe it is), I also can’t ignore the rest. And that’s what I’m going to talk about in this post.

I’ve now been living back home for 8 months. There have been some adjustments. Cripes, what the fuck is with the TAX over here!?!  A friend said, “Oh I guess we’re all used to it.” when I complained about it. 13% on every stinking thing! Ridiculous!

“Free Healthcare” is a bit of a misnomer. I had to pay $300 in taxes to the Canadian Government for last year solely for a surtax on health insurance. The health insurance I had for 3 months. The health insurance that, while it covers doctor visits and some blood work, does not cover medications or dental. Of which I need the move coverage and cannot get private coverage of because of my weight/health.

But I digress…

So there have been some adjustments to living back home. But you know me…always looking at the glass as half full…

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Okay…Happy April Fool’s Day. Had you there, didn’t I?

In any case, the good things about being back home are that my mom, my family and my friends are nearby. I have people to “hang with”; I’m not so alone.

I’ve also been able to continue to work at my “former” job back in New York. My replacement did not work out – I tried to tell them I was irreplaceable but they didn’t believe me…

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So now I work remotely for the same office I’ve been at for 20 years, all from the comfort of my desk/bedroom in my home. In Canada. And there are many advantages to this, the least of which is simply rolling out of bed and sitting down to work. The disadvantages is that I feel I still have to get dressed – no working in my PJs for me. You know, in case I had a conference call. Then again, I need only be dressed from the chest up…

'Hang on a sec...I don't remember this being scheduled as a video conference call.'

Another change has been my health – specifically my weight, which you all know is the main reason for this blog. I’ve been on this journey for a while and I’m really trying to not be upset that I haven’t gotten to where I had hoped by now. I’m not going to make excuses, and I’m really trying to not dwell on it. What’s done is done and there is nothing I can do now about it.

Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda, Pal…

Just before I left New York, I was at my heaviest weight ever in my life. For two months it seems all I did was eat like shit because I was stressed and panicking that I wasn’t going to be ready for my move. And I nearly wasn’t – I only made it thanks to many helpful friends back in New York that got me through it. But I was struggling. A lot.

People didn’t understand. It was a major life change. Even though I was moving back to my homeland – back to my hometown where I had family and friends – it was still a difficult transition for me. Many people didn’t “get it”. They couldn’t understand what the big deal was. Some did. One in particular really understood. He understood and didn’t make light of my situation. I appreciated that.

In any case, at that point I wasn’t going to concern myself with my weight. I needed to get through the move and adjusting to my new life. At the time, I wasn’t going to be working after November 1st and I would be out looking for a job in a market that wasn’t very good. So I had decided I would address my weight at a later date and prayed I would survive to get to that point.

Here it is 8 months later and I’m happy to say that along with some of the good changes I mentioned above, another is that I’ve managed to drop 33 pounds in that time. And while it’s not as much as I’d like, I’m just happy it’s gone. And in late February, I joined Weight Watchers. I really needed to be able to enjoy some foods but still be within a sensible range to drop the weight. I’m only down 10 pounds since then but I’m still within their logical range of 1-2 pounds a week weight-loss.

But all of that is just a precursor. I had hoped to be able to get on a rhythm and keep going – dropping all of the weight I wanted/needed to but I’ve come to realize that I’m not sure I can. Not that much weight. And frankly, I’m been around and around on this subject extensively – both on my own and with friends and family – and at this point, I’m still asking:

Which way is the wind blowing?

I haven’t been an advocate of the weight loss surgery. I always had it in my head that if I didn’t learn how to eat properly and lose weight before the surgery, it wasn’t going to be the cure all to end all. It wasn’t some magic pill. The people I know that have had it are evenly split on success vs failure.

I got a new doctor when I moved back home. Of course, one of the first things she asked me was “Have you considered bariatric surgery?” and we discussed it briefly. She mentioned that it take up to a year before they will even do the surgery so that you get on a weight loss plan and learn to eat properly. You also have to see a psychiatrist, which I supposed is to figure out what someone’s triggers are for why they are the size they are. And let me tell you, a few episodes of My 600# Life is enough to get you motivated for sure. And I’m not even near 600#s but it’s an eye opener, especially on the “denial” part.

So she referred me to an information session that was to be in early February. My mother went with me and we were disappointed to find out that it was more for a 6 month liquid diet, not the surgery. It turns out that about a half dozen others in the room thought they were also there to hear about the surgery. Not great organization by the Bariatric Center, that’s for sure. In any case, they moved us all to the list for the bariatric session and that is going to happen on April 9th.

I can tell you that since I first spoke with my doctor about the surgery, I have gone from “I’m going to do it!” to “I’m not going to do it” to “I’m really going to do it!” to “I don’t really want to do it!” and where I currently sit…

I’m leaning towards “I really NEED to do it!”

After all these months, while I have had some success, this is not new. I have had success before. And invariably I don’t. And I gain it back. And then some. Then the next thing I know, I’m ballooned up like a humpback.

And I’m tired.

And while I still am quite aware that it’s not the miracle “cure”…I need the boost. I have zero energy most days. The pain in my feet is constant, to the point where some days I can’t walk because my toes feel as if they are being crushed.

And the idea of “missing out” of many things if I were to have the surgery, I’ve thought about it a lot lately and realize that there would be so much more that I would miss out on if I don’t do it.

I stood in line at the store today.  The person in front of me was buying adult diapers. And a thought hit me.

I would never be able to buy those.

And you know why? Because they don’t make them in my size. And you know why? Because no one my size lives long enough to need adult diapers.

So I’m still looking up as much as I can about the surgery that is done here in Ontario and will get more information at the session on the 9th. If I do it, it will be a huge adjustment. The first 6 months of nearly a complete liquid diet with maybe only teaspoons of jello and other soluble foods and in very VERY small quantities. No eating out. No splurging on popcorn at a movie. No chicken Parmesan (my fav!)…

but the alternatives are what?

Possible slow weight-loss but only IF I can work hard and to date, that hasn’t exactly been my forte. The surgery gives me no other choice. What the surgery will give me is rapid weight loss, potentially getting off nearly all of my medications including my diabetic medications, and renewed energy.

I mentioned knowing people that have done the surgery. Some have had success. The biggest one is my cousin who had the surgery 5 years ago and high recommends it. But I know others that have had it and it hasn’t been successful. Of course, the caveat is that it isn’t the surgery that wasn’t successful – it was the people themselves.

Remember: it’s not the magic pill.

And there are risks. It’s major surgery. There can be infections. Complications. Death. Thankfully that’s not a high statistic – I think.

So while it will still mean that I have to work hard and stick to the strictness that is required, it will also allow me the ability to drop the weight quickly and hopefully get me to a place where I can walk through the grocery store without feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck.

I would never advocate for doing it or not to others – whether I am successful with it or not. It’s a personal choice and whatever someone decides is up to them, and them alone. Whatever someone chose to do would have my support 100% because only they would know what is true to their hearts on what they need to do – for themselves.

I’ll keep you posted on what decision I make, but for now…here’s to more success!

Blessings to all…

dani1

 

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.

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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…

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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

I’m baaack…did you miss me?

Hello my peeples!

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I know it’s been some time. The usual “tune” to this blog is that I can, and do, often go some time between writings and I have apologized for that. Often. In this case, I do have a better excuse than not having anything to say, or I simply didn’t feel like writing…

I have had a significant change in my life.

Those that know me, already know this but many of you may not. So…I have moved back to my homeland Canada, back to my hometown in Ontario. I moved in late July and have been busy settling in, taking care of legal matters, and at the same time, have continued to work for my employer training my replacement (remotely). I’ll be doing so until the end of October, at which time I am officially unemployed – for the first time in a very long time.

In any case, the last several months (more prior to the move), have been challenging – both mentally and physically.

While it may not seem that moving back to your hometown is significant to some, keep in mind that I haven’t lived here in nearly 20 years. And a lot has changed during that time. I’m also leaving a job I’ve held for nearly 20 years, and now have to find a new one (at my age!) in a city that – unless you are capable of working in a tool & die/automotive-type industry, a physical labour (<—note the spelling; I am in Canada now) job or a part-time job so they don’t have to pay you benefits – this city doesn’t have a lot to offer someone with my experience. I have been looking at the job market for over a year just to see what was “out there” and I have to say, it’s slim-pickings for sure.

And don’t even get me started on having to relearn the metric system! Though, if I’m honest, I’m not sure I learned it well enough before I moved away! 🙂

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So my life has been in a bit of chaos the last several months. Packing up to move back here meant I had to deal with some challenges I’m sure any of you who have ever moved have faced: what to keep? what to donate? what to throw out? where did I get this? why do I have this? And then the physical aspect of packing. And as you all know, being on my feet and doing physical things is a huge challenge for me. And this was a doozy.

By the time I left my empty apartment on my last night in New York, as I headed to my hotel, I cried. I cried a lot those few months. But I cried that night because it was finally all over. All of the pain it took me – mentally and of course, physically – to get through it was finally over. I’m grateful to those friends who helped me get to that point. I couldn’t have done it completely alone, and despite the help, I was still physically and emotionally drained. And so the tears flowed.

But I was also reminded of how being this size impeded everything I did in preparing for the move. The physicality was a huge barrier for me, and there were times that I cried even more because of the pain I was in. My feet. My lower back. My legs. Everywhere. It was a constant reminder of just how out of shape I am. It was a slap in the face and a “you’re a fucking idiot” every time I took a step. I was an emotional wrecking ball and there were times, I admit, I wasn’t sure I could get to the finish line.

Some legal things I had to deal with when I finally arrived back “home” didn’t help either. They weren’t anything physical I needed to deal with, but mentally, I wasn’t yet healed from the few prior months, and I honestly questioned if I had made the wrong choice in coming back. But I really knew I hadn’t. It would have happened eventually, and actually should have happened years ago – after my divorce.

But I survived.

I always do.

So here I am, 72 days after my move back home. I’m settling in. It’s been some adjustments, and I still feel a bit out of sorts sometimes. Like I’m not really living here; I’m just visiting. I’m sure that will pass soon enough. In the meantime, I’m working, helping my mom here and there, spending some time with some family and friends, and preparing to find a job.

I haven’t done any writing and I need to. I’m trying to help a director friend with getting the word out on a project of his. I’m finally finished dealing with the last of matters I had to deal with for moving back here. Things are looking up. Sort of. Kind of. I mean…you know I can’t just be completely positive and say things are going great. Besides that rarely being true, I am a bit superstitious and don’t want to jinx myself either.

Regardless, I made the decision earlier this week that I needed to buckle down more on the weight loss issue. During the months prior to moving, I really wasn’t thinking of that at all – I simply had too much else going on – so I ate indiscriminately. And it showed on the scale. But I was allowing myself that reprieve. Since I’ve been home, I’m eating more veggies and way less “take out” but I didn’t feel I was being serious enough, so I made a few adjustments and so far it’s been a good week.  I’m still not physically able to do much, but getting one thing more under control is helping.

So I’m happy to report that I am down 5.8 pounds (ugh…2.63084 kgs – see it sounds like more in non-metric/imperial measurements anyway!) since Monday. Mind you, I did detox one day earlier in the week but that didn’t do much. And I’ve been dealing with an infection which required me to drink a lot of water (and stop the detox drink) in order for the medications to work better. But I haven’t snacked as much, have had more salad/veggies (and less meat), and even less soda pop.

So, yay me!

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If this move has taught me anything (besides, cripes Dani are you some sort of pack-rat??!), it’s that with my body being so out of shape, there are so many other things that I just cannot do. And that has to change.

I will be honest and say that I’m really tired of saying “this is it!” or “I’m back on track” only to fail. But I’m using that term only because it gives a sense of how I feel, not that I’m necessarily failing. At least, I’m trying NOT to feel that way. Because it’s going to take a long time, and it’s going to take a lot of hard work, and I’m not going to be perfect at its execution, just like I won’t be perfect when I reach my ultimate goal.

Thomas Edison has one of my favourite quotes:

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So I am going to fail.

But I am going to keep on…keeping on. Until I find the way that will work, and achieve success!

Thanks for your patience, support and most of all, your love.

Blessings to all.

Love,

Dani

 

A New Beginning…

I suppose it’s apropos that this blog posting be called “A New Beginning…” given that this blog’s name is of a relating nature called “Journey to a New Life.” I started this blog for one purpose – to share my daily…no, hourly…struggle with losing weight and getting healthy.

Now, I could spend an inordinate amount of time and blog space just writing about how poorly I’ve done with that “journey” and I’ve harped on those past failures before. But for this particular blog posting, I’m not going to talk specifically about my weightloss – or lack thereof – nor my failures to do so to date either.

What I am going to write about is a different journey of a sorts, but one that will eventually come back around to my weightloss journey.

At my age, I’m more than half way through my life. It’s a scary thought for me, really. I’ve shared little of this fear with very few people – I think only one actually. See, I can watch death on tv or in a movie and it doesn’t necessarily affect me that much. Likely because regardless of how well the actors perform, I still know it’s make-believe; I am still aware they are acting.

But there have been times – thankfully not that many – where my mind has drifted to death – mine, in particular. And it’s a deep thinking I’m talking about, not just a stray thought of getting old and eventually dying. It’s that moment when my mind goes incredibly deep into it and I physically feel fear. Fear of dying. I can’t even begin to describe it. I don’t have panic attacks, despite my anxiety-filled life. I don’t get so caught up in my worries that I ever feel this…fear. But it’s there, and my thinking of my own mortality scares me.

But I digress…

I bring this up because, as I’ve stated in past postings, up till now, no matter how badly things have gotten for me because of my weight, nothing has been incentive enough to keep going on getting healthy. I invariably fall back in the laziness; resorting back to the bad habits. It’s been a rough 6 months with this and that, culminating with the loss of my girl Ginny, and now continuing with other things.

So I am about to reach a precipice in my life, and it’s not one that is a surprise. Yet despite planning for this for some time, I’m still finding myself filled with trepidation. You see, after living in the United States for nearly 20 years now, I’m moving back home to Canada. It’s been a long time coming – longer than I originally had anticipated – but the time has come. In two weeks, I will be back living in my homeland.

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And while I’m happy that I’ll be back to where I have always considered to be “home”, and happy to be back with my mom, my family and all my long-time friends, I’m also terrified.

I’ve had a lot of people giving me advice on this lately. They mean well, I know they do. And while I know that they are right – I’ll get through this as I do with everything else – and it’ll be better to finally be “home”, I’m not sure how many truly understand how significant this actually is in my life. A couple have suggested that it’s not a big deal, after all, Canada is my country and I’m moving back to my  family and friends. And I can see their point. But they’d be wrong.

This is a major life change. I did it when I moved here albeit the circumstances are different now. I left the only home I’d ever known, my mother, step-father, my large crazy but loving family and my closest friends whom are as much family to me as those related by blood. I left a job I’d been at for nearly 10 years, and I left everything and everyone I knew.

Now again, I could dwell on the past and talk about what a mistake it was to marry the man I did – the one who eventually cheated on me and then left me for another woman. But I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to, even in jest, be reminded of what a mistake that was. It’s not funny. Even if I joke about it sometimes, if you know me, you know it’s my mechanism for dealing with a bad decision. And it was MY decision. No one regrets that decision more than me, believe me, but I don’t want to dwell on that mistake. We’ve all done them, so I’m not sure why I need to be reminded of it as if that one thing defines who I am. It doesn’t. It never had. It never will. Going through that taught me – about me. It taught me that I’m stronger than I ever thought, and it taught me that no matter how well you think you know someone, you never truly do. But it also taught me that some people just don’t deserve to be in my life; they don’t deserve my love. And that’s their fucking loss.

Again, I digress…

Once again I find myself leaving a job I’ve been at for nearly 20 years, living in a town that is familiar for me. I’ve been living on my own since my divorce; I’ve got a certain level of comfort here. But I’m lonely. I don’t have many friends here, despite my sunny personality – oh come on! I know you just rolled your eyes at that!

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But it’s a major deal to not only leave a long-time job, spend months going through 20 years worth of things to decide what to keep or not…to all the things I need to do before I move and after. There’s no checklist in your life for this. It just is. It’s been up to me to nearly single-handedly do everything, save for some help from some friends on yard sales and importing my car back home (which is so appreciated!!). I physically am not always able to do all the physical things required to do this. Nor was I prepared for just how MUCH stuff there is to do.

And for how much more emotional, and how much crying I’d be doing these past few months.

So while I appreciate the pep-talks and people’s unwavering believe in my abilities to get through this, I have had moments where I wasn’t sure I could. I’ve been stressed, overwhelmed with it all, and just completely ill at ease for months. Rarely does a day go by now that I don’t have a headache or a stomach ache. But I get through. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know I’ll get there. But I really don’t want to hear the obvious stated to me over and over again. It wears on me. First, because I’m not stupid, despite things I’ve said or did to the contrary. Stating the obvious to me implies I am stupid. Second, I, more than anyone, am well aware of what I need to do and how much time I have left to do it. It doesn’t make me feel better to be reminded of this. I have enough pressure put on me – by me – that I don’t need others adding to it. Well meaning, sure…but please… just stop.

What’s waiting for me on the other side is what else that’s so scary. Sure, family and friends will be there. I’ll have a place to live, be reunited with my boy Finnegan, and I’ll still have a job for 3 months while I get more “settled”. But the unknown of what I’ll do after that is really what scares me. My hometown is not well-to-do with the job market – in fact, it’s probably one of the worse in Canada. That’s what happens when a city is nearly reliant on one industry for so long – the auto industry.

My job that I have – it’s very unique and specific. It’s not likely I will find one in my hometown like it. And where do I start? At the bottom again? The idea doesn’t appeal to me at all. Not that I have any problems with the work or people who do the work – legitimate hard work no matter what kind is admirable. But it’s not for me. I need to be stimulated. My mind needs more to do than things I did 20 or 30 years ago when I was first starting out.

So I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. The idea of taking a job just for the sake of having a job doesn’t appeal to me either. Nor is being in a job I absolutely hate. But alas…just like everyone else, I have bills to pay. I will have to pay rent, or a mortgage, feed my cat, pay my car insurance etc. I am not the type of person who can be carefree and not know when their next check will come – but good on you if you are – because that takes some courage. So what do I want to do?

Again, I can hear some of you saying things like “A job is a job” or “No one likes their job” or “At least you have a job”. This shit…this is obvious. I’m well aware of it. I know all about this. But that doesn’t meant that I have to accept the status quo.

I really want to write. But until I actually do something about finishing my book and doing the others, which I’ve had to put aside while I get ready for this move – as I said above, I still have to support myself.

And therein lies the rub – the scary part – a new beginning for me. At this time in my life, I’m doing an about-face and basically starting over. Does anyone really think this is easy?

Having been so preoccupied with all of this, I haven’t even been trying to lose weight. And it shows. But the worse is that my summer fun of water weight gain is hitting full up. It’s actually disgusting how the heat/humidity affects me so badly. Others think that it’s not hot when it’s 80 or 90. To me, it renders me virtually catatonic. I have cankles. My fingers are swollen and sore. And I’m just a big bloated beach ball. Even the slightest exertion for me in this weather and I feel like my lungs are filled with water. This has also hindered me in my preparation for packing/moving. But I’m storming through. Whether I get done in time or not is another matter.

I have 12 days.

12 fucking days. See…I know how much time I have. Or how little time I have actually. Not a math person but this I’ve got.

But I do hope that once I’m finally settled back home, and no longer having so much else on my “plate” that not only will I get back to finishing Kiwi Kiss but also with the help of my mom, she and I can work together to actually have decent meals at home and have the weight start coming off.

It helps that she has air-conditioning. 🙂

So that’s my life right now in a nutshell. Okay…not really a nutshell. Remember…Dani doesn’t do succinct. But you get the gist.

Dani = crazy busy

It’s like my hamsters all had babies and the wheel is over-flowing. Bad analogy but you get the picture.

The next time I write I’ll be Canadian soil. Thanks to everyone who’s stuck with me through everything until now. The new journey is about to begin…and I promise you…

It won’t be boring.

Love and 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.”

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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