Starting over

  • Starting over today. I have been avoiding doing anything healthy for several weeks now and it is only making things worse. My husband and I had a heart to heart talk and I am hoping it will do some good. Here are the facts: My whole family is unhealthy and I have never ever been healthy in any way (physically, mentally, spiritually, or emotionally). My childhood was filled with unhealthy foods (fried in lard!), with unhealthy attitudes. There is no person in my family who doesn’t have diabetes, high blood pressure or other health issues. My Mom died when she was 63 from complications of heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. We also think she suffered from either manic depressive/bipolar mental health issues. Both my Dad and my Mom smoked like chimneys. My brother and I lived our lives in fear of what would happen if Mom wasn’t having a good day (which was often enough to be scary - even now). Although I loved my Dad dearly, I do have some anger that he allowed Mom to treat us the way she did (for whatever reason she had). My Mom had been the victim of at least emotional and physical abuse and we believe also the victim of child abuse.
  • While I was skinny when I went into the Navy, the only reason I stayed that way before I had my kids was because I was dancing like a drunken sailor (which I often was) several nights a week. After my kids were born, I was too busy working 50-60 hours a week shift work, trying to take care of my kids while my first husband screwed around on me.
  • To be truthful, the healthiest I have ever been was when I was dealing with cancer. Yes, you read that right. Because during my dealings with cancer, I danced or walked. I laughed, I wrote in my journal almost daily, I ate the healthiest things I could find to eat.
  • Now, I have been dealing with diabetes for over 4 years and I have made no progress. Instead, I have gained weight, lost self esteem, taken on a harder more stressful job, both my kids have moved out of the house, gotten more into debt and done nothing to take care of myself.
  • My doctor has put me on metformin (?) and told me to take it 2x a day. In the past 6 weeks, I may have taken the medicine 5 or 6 times and not consistently. My ankles and legs and feet swell often, it takes me forever to get from one end of the work building to another and I am tired all the time.
  • I could list a lot of excuses about why I have made changes, but the truth of the matter is that I have been unwilling to make changes, even small ones. I kept expecting things to change magically, but of course they haven’t.
  • Well, I am tired of being sick and tired all the time. I am tired of not being able to play with my puppy or have enough energy to clean my house or go for a walk with my husband in the evening. So, tonight, I have restarted. My 50th birthday is March 4th and I am looking forward to it! My birthday gift to myself will be the loss of 7-10 pounds. I know that isn’t much, but it is more than I have been able to keep off before. I only have two choices: I can choose to do nothing, to make no changes and gain more weight and be more unhealthy. Or I can have the courage to make some changes and gain more health. This is a new journey and I am scared, but this has to be done! Here I go!

I am not my mother!

Several years ago, I intensely disliked my Mom and the way she treated my brother and I when we were growing up. I wanted to shove the truth of the way I grew up into my relatives’ faces and ask them why they allowed her to mistreat us so much. Mother’s day is never an easy day for me. I still feel guilt about being angry at my Mom, but I am beginning to realize that she parented us the only way she knew how - with anger and meanness and bullying.During the past few months, not only have I been struggling with health issues (I threw out my back and then had bronchitis for 5 weeks), I have also been battling understanding and forgiving my Mom. MY brother and I have been playing amateur therapist with each other (the only kind we can afford) and we  have been slowly unlocking some long buried issues for the both of us. I have taken the step that I am writing my remaining relatives and asking them about childhood memories, starting off with easy questions and then I will move on to the harder questions. Each Mother’s day, I grieve for my Mom. Not because I miss her terribly, although sometimes I do miss her, but because I wish we had been able to have a better relationship. I have accepted that because Mom was such a “bad mother” to me, that I was determined to be the best Mom I could possibly be to my children, and by association, their friends who call me “Da Mamma”. I joke that I have 2 biological children and 15 or so “heart” children scattered all over the world!During the past year, when I have driven up to see my daughter, I have stopped at this little general store/visitor site and repeated what I did the first time I stopped there. There was an old crank telephone just like we used to have when I was growing up  and on a whim, I “called” my Mom to tell her I love her and that I missed her and that I wanted to just get on with my life. I have since repeated that stop several times and each time I drive back home, I sit in the campground area and look towards the mountains to a patch of land that could easily be my childhood home. And since I have been doing this, I have begun to loosen my anger towards my Mom.I have also realized that while my Mom and I share many traits, I am not my Mother. I believe now that she suffered from serious depression, possibly even bipolar disease. She refused to change  her diet or her habits and she refused to take her medicines. And so, she died from a heart attack/stroke when she was only 63. My son has only a small memory of her and my daughter never knew her. And while I may do things the hard way, I AM trying to change. I AM being more careful about what I eat and drink and I AM trying to take better care of myself. I am not doing as well as I would like, but I AM making progress.So, for this Mother’s Day, I am giving myself the gift of good health, of taking good care of myself, of being the best me I know how to be. I AM not my Mother, and I will not continue to beat myself up for the similiarities

Tired of being sick!

I have been dealing with bronchitis since the middle of March. Every time I feel the chance to get healthy and to start doing stuff, I get sick again and it sucks! I really am motivated to start exercising and get healthy, but I just can’t seem to be able to breathe enough to dance and do stuff. Hopefully, on Tuesday,  my doctor will give me a clean bill of health and I can start losing weight so I will look fabulous for my upcoming birthday in March (my 50th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. I will post again to deal with my successes!

2013 has not been my year!

This year has not been so good to me! It was supposed to be the year that I was able to not call in sick, to lose the weight and get healthy, the year that my bills could be paid off, and the year that things went well. So far, that has NOT been the issue! I have been sick since the beginning of the year with back and neck problems. Both my chiropractor and my regular doctor are concerned enough to have me do not only an MRI, but also a white blood cell count w/differential. I am tired all the time, often too tired to dance. While I really hate exercising, dancing has also been fun and destressing for me. I feel better when I dance and clean, plus it is a great exercise and keeps me happy. Any more, dancing or walking makes me feel so tired. I have been doing my best to eat anti-inflammatory or immune boosting foods to help my body heal with whatever it is trying to deal with right now, but I’m not making a lot of headway. I am just so tired all the time. This morning my husband could barely get me awake enough to call in sick. As soon as I finished the phone call, I went right back to sleep and didn’t hear him leave the house, sleep for 2 more hours, ate some breakfast, and laid down and sleep for almost 4 more hours. The last time I was this tired was in 2006 when I had breast cancer. My brain keeps worrying the cancer is back. I am just trying to keep myself busy and so when I feel worried, I organize things. It makes me feel better and I am thinking of what I want to do, so I can’t think of the fear. It is working and a plus side is that I am getting some projects done, but I am still afraid.

Last week I had my MRI or tried to. I didn’t realize how claustrophic I am until Friday. My doctor has arranged for me to use a WIDE OPEN MRI and I think I will be okay. RIght after the test, my husband is taking me away for a mini vacation. It is just to a local casino and then we will go hiking the next day, but I am looking forward to it.

2013 hasn’t been kind to anyone I know. My daughter is having financial difficulties, my best friend is fighting health issues as well as family issues, my heart mama is fighting age/health issues, and everyone at work I know has had or still has the nasty flu that is all over. I am doing my best to keep healthy and to exercise and eat right. Since I can’t dance or do a lot of stuff, I have been sitting on my bouncy ball and “dancing” to that. It looks so funny it makes me giggle and it is better than no exercise at all.

Well, I guess that is it. I’m off for another nap!

Resolving some old family issues

The holidays are over and life is getting back to normal. My daughter came down from college and my son flew in from the Navy for a late Christmas. It was really good to see them and I was so glad they were here. The bad part was that we had to put my beautiful dog Buddy down the day we were having our “Christmas” dinner. My husband and I tried to not to have to do that, but it came down to the fact that specialist and surgery and such was going to be over $3000, money we just didn’t have with our big medical bills, my husband in and out of work, etc. In a way, it was a good thing that it happened while my kids were down, because it gave them the opportunity to be tjhe ones that helped be strong for da mamma, rather than the other way around.

Anyway, the holidays were good and I loved having my kids down here! The only down side was that I wasn’t able to play my WII games as much as I would have liked. However, since I was baking and cooking most of the time, it did give me an opportunity to dance and clean and every once in awhile, my kids would join me in our small kitchen and dance with me. Fun!

I am slowly but surely getting the idea that I too am worthy of things. I am still trying to go through some family issues from the past, but it is a work in progress. I have been going back through some journals and writings for the past several months and I realized that when I went to see my daughter in October was actually a major wall/roadblock for my diet and exercise plan. As I often do, I had stopped at this small campground to write and journal. The place strongly reminds me of where I grew up and I have been able to work my way through several issues from childhood and adulthood here. This time, however, I felt my mother’s criticism of me all over again. Again, I felt as though I would never measure up, that I wasn’t good enough, I could never change and be healthy again - not just physically, but emotionally, spiritiually, any way. It was so painful that I just shut down and didn’t even realize it.

Thank God I reread my journals once a quarter, otherwise I would have missed this. Once I did, I could accept I AM NOT MY MOTHER and although we share many of the same difficulties, I am walking a different path. I have started a “bag of Joy” that includes successes, inspiration, great days, good moments, etc. My goal is to fill the bag before Dec 31st and then reread them to show myself I have been a success not just once, but often. Already, this idea has been helping me deal with my dog dying, my kids going back to their homes, etc. I am beginning to realize that I, too, am someone important and I can be a success!

Made it through Thanksgiving!

Okay, so I had hit some set backs and had gained back a few pounds. Not so good; however, I made healthy choices this whole Thanksgiving/Black Friday craziness week and weekend and I am so proud of myself. Usually, I make 3 or 4 pies and even though it is just a few of us, I bring out all the pies. Then I make candied yams with enough maple syrup and marshmallows and brown sugar to cause a hippo to go into a sugar coma. Add in the box stuffing, the white rolls, the green been casserole, the scalloped potatoes and plenty of soda and cider and I look like a blimp on feet!

In addition to all that craziness, becasue it is so stressful at work all week, I eat enough fried food to sink a ship and I do no more walking or anything that I don’t have to do. And then, I look back at the week and wonder why I gained 5 pounds!

Not this year! This year, I walked every opportunity I could. I parked all the way at the end of the parking lot and pushed a cart back up the hill walking as fast as I could. This year, I didn’t eat all the bad stuff. I ate half of what I normally eat for lunch - still had some bad food, but not as much.

And my menu? It changed too! Instead of candied yams, I had baked sweet potatoes with cinnamon and honey butter. Instead of green bean casserole and scalloped potatoes, I had red potatoes and fresh green beans, seasoned with garlic and tumeric and pepper. Instead of 3 or 4 large pieces of ham, I had 2 small ones and I enjoyed how flavorful my ham tasted.

Then, when my husband took my daughter to work, instead of taking a nap or reading, I helped out at my daughters house with doing laundry and cleaning the kitchen (yes, I had permission before I started!). I made myself climb the hallway stairs to go to the upstairs bathroom rather than using the downstairs bathroom.

And I didn’t stresss as much. I laughed about stuff. I took a nap after working a 10 hour shift on Friday, rather than trying to get the car loaded and drive up to my daughters house. We went up Saturday and had a great time! I chose not to be upset at how my daughters house looked - usually, it would really bother me - but this time when I felt upset, I worked on my crocheting. Since I am still learning just the simplest things and since I have to really concentrate, it helped me not to be able to stress or eat.

As a result, I lost 4 pounds in a week rather than gaining 5 pounds in a week! I am so proud of myself! I still have a long long way to go, but I have made good choices this Thanksgiving and that is a great start!

It’s almost thanksgiving in Crazyville!

I used to love the holidays! I used to love getting ready for thanksgiving and Christmas, making good food, having fun with the family.Now, I just dread it! I have been trying to make over my recipes and make them into something healthier and better for me. Right now, I could cheerfully just order a pizza to be sent to my daughters house and one to my house and call each other on the phone and talk through pizza mouth!

It isn’t bad enough that I work in retail and we all know what that means - it means that people will act like a pack of starving hyenas, anxious to get the best deal or that I will be working crazy hours all week. If these people who run these big companies had to deal with what we deal with so THEY can make more money, we wouldn’t have to deal with this crap.

So, on top of retail starving hyenas, weird work schedule, my husband’s upcoming surgery sometime next month, trying to figure out healthy meals. blah blah blah, I locked horns with my husband over something stupid.

In October, I had this grand idea that I would buy pumpkins and do the old fashioned thing of making pumpkin pie from scratch for Thanksgiving. Clearly, I was on drugs that day! Now, he insists we cook up the pumpkin and make pies with it. The stupid pumpkins have been cooking 3-4 hours, it took him an hour to scrape all the pumpkin off the shell and it still has to be boiled down into “mush” for the pumpkin pie AND I have no idea how it will taste. Add this to the fact I will be baking pies on Thursday after I get off work at 4 and will have to be up and at work for BLACK FRIDAY by 4 am!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!11111

When I suggested we just throw the whole sorry mess away, he got all offended that we are “wasting money”. Hello? We have already spent almost a hundred dolloars of “time’ on this project and it’s still not done. When I said I didn’t want to have to do this whole mess on Thursday, he told me HE would bake the pies. My husband is a good cook, but not a very good baker.

This seems to be a battle in the sand for him and I really don’t want to open hostilities about this, but this puts a lot of pressure and stress on me, on something that I usually enjoy. I LOVE baking for the holidays, I put on music and while stuff is baking, I clean and dance and have a good time. I just don’t want to deal with this extra craziness, but he is so determined that it is healthier for us.

ARRRRGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 steps forward and 1 mile back

I’ve been here before. It’s not a new place, just a place I am visiting again. I do so well, almost get to my 10 pounds and then WHAM! I am back to gaining weight again and going back to my bad habits. I can’t even figure out what it is that triggers my crumbling and then it goes crazy again. I have enough diet books and self help books to build a bridge, but somehow I just can’t figure out what needs to happen.

One of the people I work with has lost 45 pounds in 6 months. I used to really like her, but now every time she sees me eating something bad, she tells me I won’t lose weight that way. It jsut makes me want to smack her. Hello? I know this - I don’t need you to tell me what I should and shouldn’t be eating. I know I look 8 months pregnant. I know I am making bad choices. I’m not stupid, I just can’t make this work for me.

I am stressed about things much of the time. Money, how to help my daughter, my work and all the lovely stress that goies on there. They are cutting hours - again! Dealing with mean hateful customers every hour of every day, standing between the deli and McD’s every day, standing on a concrete floor that makes my legs ache no matter what kind of shoes I wear, prolbems with my marriage, hating weekends because I never get to do anything I want to do - even something as easy as watching a movie and then taking a nap on the couch becausee my husband is a tv aloholic.

Add this to the fact that I know even IF I lose the weight and look great, I will still need to have major dental work done- something I won’t ever be able to affor, even if I am able to deal with all the pain involved in getting me fixed up pretty. Throw in some serioius issues from childhood and adulthood and mix it all up.

I just can’t figure this out. Maybe I’m not as smart as I used to think I was. Maybe I am just lazy and don’t want to work hard enough to make this work. I just know that I can’t find a way to make this work. I’ve tried a bunch of diets, a bunch of suggestions, and a bunch of ways to motivate myself. Nothing seems to work and I am tired of trying, yet my alternative is continue to get sicker and unhealthier.

Maybe this is just depression. Maybe it is just stress. I just know I am so tired of trying and failing that I am just about ready to just stop trying.

Thanks for listening. Tomorrow will be a better day!

Why bother? No one cares anyway!

I am so frustrated right now! Nothing I do seems to be working! I’m so tired of losing the weight and poof it comes right back on! Every time I feel like I am making progress, somthing trips me and I fall flat on my face again! Everytime I bring up any mention of romantic/sex my husband acts like I’ve asked him to kill Bambi!

WHy bother? He isn’t going to think I’m sexy even if I DO manage to lose my weight and become healthy and skinny. And what will the excuse be then?

Ii’m tired of fighting and trying to make things work in a family that no one else wants to make things work. I just feel so frustrated and angry right now. Im just sick of everything!

The voices were WRONG! I could finish the 8k!

For the past couple of months, I had been practicing for an 8k (5 mile) walk. My best time was 3 hours and that was for 4.4 miles. I was afraid I couldn’t do it, I would be the last one in, all the people would laugh at me or be mean to me because I was fat and slow and they would be mad because the party doesn’t start until the last person arrives.

I gave myself every single excuse I could think of for not doing the race. The only reason I finally did it was because I had posted it all over Facebooka and I didn’t want my friends and family to know I was a quitter. My husband’s job was simple - tell anyone who was mean and hateful to me (except me of course!) to SHUT UP!

The day of the race was a beautiful day and I was still dreading doing this. The same voices made the same comments, only out loud where I could really hear them. Why was I even doing this? What did I have to prove? Who cared if I did this? My money had already been received as a race fee, so the charity had already benefitted, right? I didn’t need to do this. I was too overweight, too out of shape, I looked ugly in the race shirt, I was walking and everyone else would be running, what if I couldn’t finish, what if something happened to me and they had to come get me, what if I got lost, what if I saw a snake, what if………..

Well, my wonderful husband’s voice was louder than my internal voices and I knew HE beleived in me and was so proud of me that I was going to try to do this. With that in mind, I took my place at the back of the pack, waited for the whistle and took off like a herd of snails! I started out last and stayed that way all the way to the finish line.  I knew the only way for me to finish was to keep a steady pace all the way through and then bump it up when (if) I finished.

THe good thing about being the very last  person to cross the finish line is that you have the opportunity to encourage every single person who is coming back towards the finish line while you are still headed to the turn around point. In my case, this meant 149 people I could encourage (and be encouraged by!).  My wonderful husband met me at the half way loop and walked up the small hill and made the turnaround with me, kissed me and walked back through the field to wait for me at the finish line.

One of the volunteers’ kids had a “parade horn” and he was blowing it for all he was worth (where do I get one of those????). I was the only one to get the “personal marching band”, and it made me feel like royalty. I mean, other than the Queen and the President, who gets their own private marching band? Me, that’s who!!!!!!

The volunteers had started picking up the cones and were following me, accompanied by the parade horn. Each time I heard them encourage me and each time I heard the parade horn, I felt like I really could do this! Just before the finish line, I increased the volume in my MP3 player and listened to “Stronger” by Adele. The last of the volunteers came out to escort me to the finish line and by then, I was feeling so wonderful, that I actually RAN (reread that  = RAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) the last 50 feet or so. Everyone clapped and cheered, the personal marching band played really loud and they announced my “winning” time over the loudspeaker - just like I was the winner of the race!

Not even the first time I heard “you are cancer free” did I feel so overwhelmed and amazed and wonderful! I felt like the most powerful person on the planet! I actually had a runner’s “high” and it was amazing! For the past 24 hours, I have been telling myself how proud I am of me - something I rarely tell  myself, even though I do amazing things often.

The voices were completely WRONG! I could and did finish the 8k AND I did it in 2 hours 13 minutes, much shorter time than my “last one over the finish line in 3 hours” secondary goal (my first goal was just to finish the whole thing!).

Next stop: the very steep UPHILL 5k (and then the 10k the following year if not sooner!). I am so proud of me!