Hi There!

370 Days since my last post. Are you ready?

I have wanted to sit down and write everyday for the last couple of months, but it was always a combination of concern, worry and anxiety that would have be not write a single word…. until today. I realized that I was always writing for someone else. I was always writing for you, the person reading this. I was always trying to make sure that what I was writing was motivating, moving, inspiring and it was hard to write on the days that I wasn’t feeling those things myself. I could never come online and share the bad days, the rough days as fully as they were happening, so I realized that a change was necessary. Change…. has a big place in my life at the moment. It is happening everywhere and for the first time in a very long time, I am embracing changes with open arms.

I love writing. I love sharing. I don’t care that my grammar is horrible, and I overuse punctuation and use it in the wrong places. I am not writing to be portray this perfect image anymore. I am writing to share my story. To share my journey. To share, the good, the bad, the ugly and to hopefully show just one person that they are not alone. That if I can fall down a thousand times and keep getting back up to try again, they can too.

Here is what I have learnt in the last year:

  • Change doesn’t have to be anxiety inducing or scary
  • Embracing your faults is a good thing
  • Going on adventures if mandatory
  • People you thought would be in your life forever, will no longer be there and that can be a good thing.
  • Motivation is fleeting
  • You can find inspiration in the oddest places
  • Humans are scary
  • Humans are a breath of fresh air
  • Loving yourself is the best gift of all
  • Finding your purpose in life isn’t this big A-HA moment like it is in the movies
  • Things don’t always go according to plan and sometimes that is the biggest gift of all

Change is hard work, it is a struggle in the face of no motivation and I have never wanted to do the work daily. I have never wanted to face the fact that all the insights into my personal and mental health mean squat if you are not willing to translate that into daily work.

In short, it is time to show the hard work it takes to change and go after what you want and pursue your passion and your purpose.

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Weekend Vibes…

Well I had the best of intention to write yesterday about Friday and today about yesterday and then the weekend happened so you are the lucky winners of a 2 for deal today!!!!

Friday was a good day, aside from the fact that my upper body was still being quite vocal about any sort of movement. The pain of lifting my coffee mug to sip every time, should show you all deep love and commitment to coffee. Then at around 3pm  I was informed that everything in my office needed to be up off the floor for the deep clean, floor scrub and wax that was happening over the weekend. I had a brief moment where I was going to shed a tear. I have a few heavy boxes, and some roller drawer units and then I remembered that I work in a warehouse with hundreds of employees including those in Shipping and Receiving, so you can guess what I did. YUP, I CHEATED! I asked a couple of the guys to give me a hand, know your limit is what I say! LOL. My body was that good sore on Friday.

I do my weigh in bright and early Saturday mornings at Weight Watchers and stay for the meeting if my schedule allows it. I should mention that due to the little voice inside my head, and some cheat days before I started this challenge I hadn’t been to a meeting in almost a month. I arrived and was greeted with a warm welcome back by the lovely lady that weighs you….shit she remembers me. I started with all my reasons and excuses about why I hadn’t been and then I realized, like my job, she has probably heard all the reasons and excuses for not showing up, so I looked at her and said “ Life happened, I cheated and I let the voice inside me head make a really big deal about it.” She smiled and said “Great, so let’s get our new starting point and move forward.” I remember stepping on the scale dreading the number. Thinking to myself that I am going to be starting all over again, back to square one, I am doomed to repeat the same patterns over and over again and then I heard a giggle. I was looking at my feet, so my head quickly turned to the scale….. .4 lbs up. I looked at her and she laughed and said “I have peed more than that, go to the bathroom and come right back to me.” I looked at her confused but followed her instructions and heard some laughter coming from a couple ladies behind me. I returned a few moments later and I am officially up .2lbs….point two pounds. In my head I had gained at least 10lbs….nope the voice inside my head LIED…AGAIN….Shocking!

I sat down in the meeting and I admit I didn’t listen much to what was being said. I started to realize that my connection to what the number on the scale and what the lady writing that number down might think. It isn’t about the number, it is about the community. Fighting for yourself involves changing habits and thought patterns that no longer serves the life you are trying to create for yourself. As I was deep in thought I felt a lady next to me nudge my arm and I focused back on the leader and she had asked me to share what had happened at the scale. The rest of the meeting was spent talking about the mental game that weight loss is. Looking around the room at the 50 odd people sitting in there and each and every one of them have a similar conversation going on in there head. Feeling like you are a part of something and feeling like you are not alone is a very powerful experience. I almost wanted to cry.

I was able to lounge in bed this morning, sleep in, drink some coffee and now I am going to go for my “cheat meal” with the bestie and it is gonna be so good!

Fat Shaming…

A girl & her lucky hat

A girl & her lucky hat

For the first time in a long time I experienced a blatant display of fat shaming.

It inevitable this holiday season that, if you are travelling, you will be, at some point, squished into a plane, train, or automobile. There will be trip delays, cancellations, and you will probably end up sitting next to someone that smells bad, wants to talk your ear off, or, like me, a bigger plus size person who takes up a majority of my assigned space.

On Sunday, I flew from Vancouver to Kelowna to visit my mom for Christmas. Thanks to the amazing arctic front that has been cuddling with a majority of North America, Vancouver has had the pleasure of experiencing an intimate relationship with snow and freezing temperatures. On Sunday, we got another heaping of the white stuff and the airport had forced cancellations and delays. Thanks to my lucky hat, which I wore ALL DAY, my flight only experienced a 20 minute delay, but because of all the cancellations earlier in the day, I was now on a sold out flight.

I was assigned an emergency exit row window seat. SCORE 2 points for the lucky hat! I was on cloud nine….until a very tall older gentleman sat down in the seat next to me and then a man next to him. I gave my usual polite smile, which was ignored. I thought to myself, no worries, perhaps he has had a long day full of lineups and cancellations, etc. He sits down adjusting himself, that involved a lot of heavy long sighs. Then out came his phone. As the lovely flight attendant was going over the emergency exit demonstration I was distracted by the ferocious typing happening next to me. Now, normally I mind my own business, but it was clear that he has trouble seeing because even with his glasses the text on his screen was quite large. What did I see displayed on his screen….comments about my size, my fat ass, my probable inability to open the door, certainly couldn’t fit through the door and how ugly I was. Further remarks, about my eating habits, how lazy I must be, how clearly I am single because who would want to sleep with me…..I can feel the anger rising again just thinking about it. …you get the picture. Thanks to being on a new plane, equipped with internet this went on a majority of our 40min flight. It even involved a social media update. Yes, I was a nosy parker, it was like a bad train wreck, I couldn’t not look! He was constantly adjusting in his seat, heavy sighs and he would look over and roll his eyes.

At first I was super uncomfortable. Yea, I know I take up the whole seat and surrounding space. I found myself trying to hide, pulling my hat down further, wrapping my hoodie around me, trying to hide my face. Then I thought to myself ” Eff you my friend.” I pulled out my iPod and put on some super angry type music and turned up the volume. I thought to myself, I am going to make his flight even more uncomfortable with some horrible music, because I am certain people AS OLD AS HIM hate that kind of stuff. All it did was make me angrier. I was certain I was going to say something. I came up with some really great one liners, some of them that would surely sting him and others that showed my humor. Yup, as soon as we were getting off the plane I was gonna strike like a snake or a scorpion.

By the time we were told to buckle up, because we would be arriving in Kelowna, I was just sad. It has been a long time since I had experienced something like that, so direct and in my face. As soon as the wheels touched the runway, I knew that I wasn’t going to say anything because there would be no point.  Trying to hurt or reason with a person like that is like beating your head against a brick wall. I choose to take the higher ground and put my faith in good ol’ karma….but it still stings a little.

It is Christmas, my absolute favorite time of the year. I should just let this roll off my back, but I don’t understand the direction that humanity is headed in lately. So, I am going to steal Ellen’s tagline “Be kind to one another folks.” We all have destinations that we are trying to get to and missions to accomplish. We can do it with compassion, kindness and understanding. I promise you will have a happier holiday season because of it!

 

It’s Not Easy…

2014_rosie_the_riveter_flexing_her_arm_muscles_we_can_do_itWOW! This is the only word that I can think of to describe this past week and a bit.

Last week I climbed into a taxi at 6:30am Sunday morning experiencing a level of pain I thought was going to kill me. I had gotten zero sleep the night before and no amount of Tylenol or Ibuprofen would touch the pain. The taxi driver was so sweet, he helped me walk into the ER at Royal Columbian Hospital where I spent the next 5 days high on a lot of pain medication and antibiotics, waiting for the surgery to have my gallbladder removed. To give you  a bit more perspective on the pain….I was in a room with 3 other people and talking with a lady who just had HER SPINE operated on and has given birth to 5 children said ” I would rather give birth, with no drugs, again or have this spine surgery a million more times than go through my gallbladder again.”

I was discharged late Thursday afternoon, with my irritated organ still intact. I was not allowed to eat or drink ANYTHING from the minute I walked through the ER doors till Thursday morning when the decision was made to release me and schedule the surgery for a later date. That’s what happens when you are placed on the emergency general surgery list. Nothing to eat or drink because you can go into surgery at any moment. I kept getting bumped. Wanna know what happens when you put a fat girl in the hospital, where a majority of humans are at their most vulnerable and take away food, her one comfort…. She discovers a new layer of strength she never knew she had.

There were days that I laid in that bed and just cried. The nurse would come in and ask me what was wrong and I would look at her and just say “I’m feeling overwhelmed, scared, frustrated, sad, etc” Whatever emotion was there I would say it. There was nothing they could do to help me, it was like an unintended session of extreme Exposure Therapy…..but I survived. I survived one of the most painful experiences of my life. I learnt that people that I previously would have bet money on coming to visit, didn’t and won’t. Also, people that you didn’t think would notice, call or text you everyday or they start calling every hospital till they find you once they find out you are in the hospital.

I learnt that I am one helluva strong woman that is loved, cared for and appreciated. Sitting on my bed just now reflecting on the past week and all of a sudden feeling that strength run through me, it made me smile.  It made me happy.

Damn Feelings…

img_0223Hi there ladies and gents….remember me?!?! Grab a drink because this post is on the longer side!

You guessed it, I did another disappearing act for a period of time, and we know this is what I do. I am here to tell you about how imperfect my life has been, how hard it has been and how I am still on shaky and uneven ground. Sounds pretty depressing, I know, but….I am also going to share about how I am feeling mentally and physically tougher than I have ever been.

Have you ever been stuck spinning your wheels? The same thought patterns keep recycling themselves and you seem stuck on this rollercoaster of events and emotions that, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t seem to get off of? I need to be intentionally vague on the timeline, but I once again found myself in an environment where I was the target of some pretty horrible workplace bullying, at the time I didn’t know it, but when it all came to a head….I remember sitting on the living room floor asking myself, why does this keep happening to me? Why can nothing ever go my way? Then I heard a voice in my head “Remember when you point the finger, there are 3 pointing back at you.”  I never stand up for myself. I take what I am handed, let people manipulate and use me, because at the core of my being I don’t deserve any better, or nothing better will come along. Insert an icky icky feeling here.

I have amazing support from many of my friends and family, but over the next few weeks I realized that I needed a different kind of support, a more professional level of support. For the longest time I was convinced that if I just focused enough, or wrote more, or believed more that it would happen.  When you start to not see a difference and you feel like you are at your wits end and nothing is changing, talking to someone who has absolutely no attachment to you can be a good thing. I started to see a woman, a register clinical counsellor that specializes in disordered eating, among a few other areas. During a session I couldn’t acknowledge a feeling, I couldn’t find it. This was quite common for me. It had been years since I experienced, processed and expressed an emotion. I didn’t know what different emotions felt like or what the proper names were for what I was experiencing. This is where my earth started to break apart.

I had become the master as leading people to believe that I was “great.” I got really good a plastering this massive smile across my face, being really expressive, funny, engaging and outgoing but if you were really listening to what I was saying you would notice that I was sharing very little about myself. I stuffed it all with food. Every feeling, emotion or small flutter of anything, I stuffed with food. On the ride to this appointment I was reading Shonda Rhimes’ “Year of Yes” and she calls this “athlete talk.”

“Good Athlete Talk is when the athlete goes before the press and keeps a smile on her face, voice bland and pleasant as she deftly shields one reporter’s question after another – never once saying anything of controversy or substance. My favorite Athlete Talker of all time is Michael Jordan. He’d stand there after scoring 5, 635 points in one game, sweat pouring down his head , towering over some tiny reporter: “I’m just happy to be playing the game of basketball,” he’d say smiling. But, Michael how do you feel about famine, politics, the WNBA , cartoons, HANES underwear, tacos, anything” “I’m thrilled to do what I can for the ball club . The Bulls are home to me”  ~ Shonda Rhimes~

I was really great at giving people surface level answers, but then glossing over them with an optimistic smile and a bright and shiny, happy answer that would be very believable. I would then go home and stuff everything down with a cocktail of food. I was sent home from that session with a three page list of feeling words. My goal was that when I wanted to eat I had to stop, grab the list and read through the words till I found something that resonated, stop, experience it and then process it.

Thus began some very uncomfortable and interesting weeks. I was cranky, irritable, short, angry and well…. Justbaby picture the face to the right on a daily basis. I would sit, try to figure out what was going on, get very frustrated, but there I would sit. Over time I noticed that I got very in touch with anger, anxiety, sadness, panic and worry. The physical sensations that would show up in my body became warning signs. Those five feelings were some of my closest BFF’s. I started to get very present to the impact living in this mental state was having on my health. Cue the tears.

I have been practicing this whole “feeling” thing for a few months now and my life doesn’t quite look the same. I speak up more, standing up for myself. I feel like I can see things clearer, people for who they really are, despite the words coming out of their mouth. Getting present to and taking responsibility for some choices and decisions in your life can be a difficult pill to swallow. When you start to share some honest feelings with people you thought were your friends and family, you realize that feelings don’t just make me uncomfortable, they make EVERYONE uncomfortable. There are very few people that like to face them. Some ignore them, lie to themselves about them, eat them, drink them, snort them or shop them away. I realize now that the only one responsible for my feelings is me. Your friends, co-workers and even family members will do and say things that will be hurtful. Finally being able to turn around and express whatever comes up for me in a healthy manner is a great gift I am developing for myself.

For a brief moment I thought that having this breakthrough I would magically drop 100lbs, weird how that didn’t happen….lol. But what has happened is food doesn’t have the same power that it did. The foods I used to crave don’t taste good, they taste quite….gross. A bag of chips that wouldn’t make it 2 hours once past my front door, now last almost two weeks. Ice cream or baked goods, which had a life span of minutes, now last days.  There have been a couple times where I have caught myself eating and when I stop and look it is purely out of habit, muscle memory.

No journey is perfectly laid out and what I previously thought was my destination is changing as I change. What I used to accept and be ok with no longer works.  Learning how to set boundaries and not be a push over or doormat.  Walking down the street looking up and smiling…what feels like…a genuine smile for the first time in a very long time.

I have started to get in touch with honesty and with honesty comes passion, freedom and even happiness and joy.

Tacos & Blisters….

Monday...DONE!

Monday…DONE!

Tired….that is the only word that I can use to describe myself right now. I know it is going to take my body some getting used to with these 5AM wake up calls, but holy moly…I just wanna climb into bed and sleep. Then I remembered that I owe you peeps a post!

I have a small confession….Saturday and Sunday were not spent completely off the wagon, more of a holding onto the reins as the wagon spins mildly out of control. Ok, yes I realize that that analogy is somewhere between a wagon, horses and a car. Wagons don’t drive themselves…oh bugger, nevermind, if you can’t sort that one out on your own you need sleep like I do.

Saturday was met with some fries for lunch, because someone didn’t pack a snack for her short shift at work. Saturday evening was met with Tacos and a margarita with one of the girls from work. In our haste to leave work and eat Tacos I left my runners at work. Sunday then involved a pair of very old runners that caused a really bad blister on my left heal… oh, and it also involved eating pizza. Refusing to skip the gym I took those old runners and headed to the gym yesterday morning were I absolutely crushed a cardio/weight session! It was an amazing feeling to accomplish that so early in the morning. I was quite proud of myself. I have a lot of work to do on my push ups and I still hate burpees with a fiery red passion, but I did it!

Here is what I got from the weekend. Excess weight is typically driven by an avoidance of dealing with an emotional issue or feelings, when you begin to process and peel back the layers to those issues and feelings you are left with the genuine choice of ” Do I want to eat that?” “Do I enjoy eating that?” “Does it taste good?” Did I eat perfect, no. However, for the first time I made the conscious choice to eat those foods. I didn’t eat them to stuff an emotion or avoid a feeling, which is absolutely what previously drove my eating habits. As I work on my mental game and peel back the layers of why I eat it is giving me the strength and drive to make conscious informed choices when I am presented with those foods. For the record I no longer enjoy fries, they are really quite gross, but tacos and pizza….yup those are keepers for sure!

This week I am going to add another gym session, bringing it to 4 this week with a good mixture of cardio and weight training. I have prepped all my protein sources for the week and meals, up until Thursday. I am feeling strong and looking forward to what this week will bring, who knows maybe I will actually complete a box jump this week…maybe…

Never What You Think…

This is my "meh" face lol

This is my “meh” face, taken Friday after the gym

It is Saturday morning…pouring rain in Vancouver….and I decided to step on the scale. Not a number I was hoping to see, but if I am honest, it has been some time since I have stepped on a scale. It is higher than the last time and I am struggling to not pick up the proverbial mental bat. It very well could be smaller than last week, but I don’t know because I have been avoiding the scale…..hmmm need to sit with this one for a minute.

35minutes later….

Ok….so I haven’t been doing all this work on my mental game to let a number dictate how awesome I felt this week. It isn’t about watching the number go down on a scale this time. It is about making better choices and eating mindfully. It is about moving more and getting to the gym because it is something I really enjoy doing. It is about building a relationship with my mind, body and soul. The number on the scale is only one tool to gauge how well I am doing that, not the only tool. You can read a billion and one articles and I am simply going to summarize with this…..that number does not define me or who I am. It does not define what I accomplished this week. Here is what I did kick ass at this week…

  1. After not having been to the gym in a couple months, I went 3 times… IN THE MORNING. I left each time with a sense of accomplishment
  2. I hit 10K on the ol’ Fitbit EVERY day this week and I haven’t done that IN MONTHS!
  3. I ate mindfully everyday this week. I was 100% conscious to every piece of food that went into my mouth. I made smart decisions. I made 90% good choices with 10% fun choices. Over the last couple months it has been a lot more of the fun choices than the good choices…LOL!

I have said this before and I will say it again….I am also not the first once to rip off this phrase….this is a marathon, not a sprint. Habits, patterns, and goals take time to develop and achieve. I am investing a lot in the mental game this time around to have a number take me off track.

Time to crush the weekend!

Thursday's walk with the bestie...we killed the 10K step goal after a healthy yummy vegan dinner :)

Thursday’s walk with the bestie…we killed the 10K step goal after a healthy yummy vegan dinner 🙂