When I wrote my very first Trust Your Gut, on February 2, 2017, it started with an intro like this:
Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues. It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on. Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real. The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people that have weight issues, on either end of the scale. If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog. I know there are people out there that want to help people like them, as I do.
The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name. If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story. The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors. I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.
Since then, I have written numerous entries into this category. Most of them have been about my own story and struggles. There have been a few guest entries, and I am still open to more in the future.
Somewhere along the way, I lost the urge to blog. I took a break, When it became a long break, I just focused on other parts of my life for a while. Then I moved my website. While I am finally getting back to work with my blogs, I wanted to revisit the original post that started them all, and drop that link above for anyone who wants to check out the very first one. I encourage you to read them all, of course, but I think a reflection on where I started to where I am now is a nice place to start.
In May, 2020, I experienced something that I have not had to deal with personally in a long time.
I was the target of a Backyard Bully.
It was a nice sunny day, and I was not yet working at my part-time day job. It was a Saturday, and I was wearing a pair of leggings and a t-shirt. I had no plans to go anywhere when I picked out my outfit, that day.
I remember Roy, my husband, saying he wanted to go run an errand. I decided I would like to go with him, but thought I should change. He assured me that I looked fine, and that we should just go as we were. So we ran the errand.
When we got home, I decided it would be nice to go out into our yard to take pictures of the different little flowers that had delighted me when they grew in the spring. They are wildflowers. Some are commonly referred to as weeds, but after being cooped up all winter, and trying to find things to do while being home, it seemed like a reasonable option to me. So, I got my camera, and out I went into the yard. It was so sunny and warm that I didn’t even need a jacket.
I started in the front yard. I found a patch of forget me nots, and some dandelions.
As I played with my camera, and wandered to the backyard, I noticed bags of garbage beside my neighbour’s shed. I don’t go out into the backyard very often, and I thought to myself that I hoped it didn’t always look like that. I shrugged my shoulders and found more flowers with my camera lens.
As I focused through the lens of my camera, I heard my neighbours in their shed. I was relieved to realize that they were doing spring cleaning in their own yard, and glad there was a reason for the garbage bags behind me. As I continued walking through my yard, taking pictures of the little flowers, I heard my neighbour make this comment to his wife, “Will you look at that.”
I didn’t hear her reply, and for a moment, I just thought he was commenting about the neighbour wandering around in her own backyard with a big fancy camera, taking pictures of weeds. Then, it dawned on me what he was really commenting about.
I was wearing my leggings and t-shirt out in public. It wasn’t a longer t-shirt, but it matched my leggings nicely.
He was referring to his own disgust at seeing a woman weighing over three hundred pounds in leggings and a t-shirt.
It took a few moments for me to regain my composure. I had my back to them. I took a deep breath, and took one last photo.
I felt about as small as that flower in the picture, the one all by itself.
The words of the backyard bully stung an old wound, one I have fought against ever since I encountered bullies for the first time as a child.
I may not have lost a lot of weight since I have started writing in this blog category, but I have spent a lot of time working on me.
Previously, I would have let those words into my heart, to pierce it like so many mean things people have said to and about me before. Just as I had let my self talk reveal the ugly nature of the backyard bully’s words in my mind, I had to talk myself out of letting them have power over me.
I told my husband and some friends what had happened. I was angry, but I was not sobbing quietly to myself from the sting of the words. I was angry.
Had those words been about someone else that I was with, the person I am now would have stood up for the other person. In those few minutes while I finished taking pictures, I talked myself out of running away to cry. I finished what I was doing, then walked to the front of my house and went back inside.
The joy of my afternoon was lost.
I still have the pictures, and shared them on my social media, without the ugliness of the hurtful words. I can still smile when I see them, but I also remember what tainted a beautiful afternoon.
One friend said that people who are that mean need extra kindness in their lives.
I still disagree. I see no need to reward a jackass for being an asshole.
Which is how I feel about what happened.
As difficult as it was for me to remain calm and quiet while I finished taking the pictures that afternoon, I realized in the midst of dealing with it that I was not reacting like I used to. My self talk had averted what would have previously been a meltdown.
I decided that I would not give the backyard bully the satisfaction of making me feel miserable about my body image. It is not the body of an athlete, but it is a body that uses layers of fat as a cushion against the harshness of the world around it. Becoming angry or upset and lashing out would not have ended well. I know that from my other experiences with bullies. Being quiet and walking away was difficult. But I did it, and I can be proud of how I handled myself and my feelings in that situation.
I have grown up.
Bullies still exist, and sadly, they probably always will. How I react to them is not in their control, not anymore. It is me who decides how to react to bullies. Although the occurrences are less in my adult life, they still happen. The difference is that I am in control of how I react to the situation and that I can choose to not hold the words in my heart where they will do the worst damage. I do not forget, but I do not let the words of bullies have power over me anymore.
A new year is approaching and I look forward to it with hope, as I have every year. I am also working on making better choices again. I decided to start now, instead of waiting for the new year to start fresh. By implementing small changes now, I will develop better habits to be already established by the time the new year begins. It seems different, this time, and I truly hope that I can see the results of my hard work as I create a new habit on a weekly basis to add up to a healthier version of me.
This week I am going to catch you up on the last three surprising weeks I have had. To start, we will go back in time to Monday, a few weeks ago.
As a person with diabetes, I need to see specialists from time to time to properly manage the disease and to take care of myself. Three weeks ago, I had an appointment with the ophthalmologist. It happens every three to six months, and it is to make sure there are no signs of diabetes progression in my eyes. I have been going to these appointments for a few years, now.
When I went into the room this time, there was a change.
I needed laser surgery in my right eye. It is to treat a protein leak in the back of the eye. A few flashes of green light and I was on my way. My husband was scheduled to pick me up after the appointment. When he arrived, I was on a bench near the door. I had my sunglasses on, and my hood pulled down over my eyes. I kept peeking up to look for him. He told me I looked pale after I got into the car.
After I told him that I had the treatment for the first time, he understood my reaction. This concerned me because my eye felt like there was sand in it. I was in mild shock because it happened so fast and without a lot of information.
I did not ask enough questions at the appointment. That was my fault. The doctor didn’t ask me if I had any, which was their bad. When something catches me off guard, it scares me. I acted like I was fine, but I wasn’t.
The next day I called the office.
The ophthalmologist called me back and answered all of my questions. I felt much better after we spoke on the phone. The following day they called again and asked if I could go back to the hospital, where the clinic is, to get a second look at my, to make sure everything was okay.
In the meantime, the doctor prescribed an ointment for my eye, as a precaution. It is fine, and the issue only lasted for about two days. I also have another hydrating gel to use when my eyes get dry, now. Although I feel like the doctor was taking very good care of my eyes, and did the follow up after I asked, I did not feel like they took good care of me on the day of the appointment. However, they are not the only ones to blame, as I am my own best advocate, and I should have asked more questions before leaving the clinic that day.
On Wednesday, in that same week, I was back at the treadmill for the medical study I signed up for. It started with another surprise. I was really not feeling it, but I had to do it to keep participating. They hooked me up to the machine that measures my oxygen, for a reassessment. It was only for the first five minutes of the walk, so it wasn’t too bad, but it caught me off guard. The good news is that the reassessment told them I was using oxygen better, and that I was going to have a lower threshold for my heart rate when on the treadmill. The next morning, I was told to bump it up. I almost called the person working with me a liar.
In week 6, I had my lung test.
It took about an hour. It was determined that I do not have asthma. I was previously diagnosed with environmental asthma. I do wheeze sometimes when I am exercising. When I asked if I should continue taking the Ventolin puffer during the study, I was advised to try without it, and use it if I need to.
The very next day, I had a milder attack. I didn’t use the inhaler before the treadmill, but I needed to after I was done, like the other time. Thankfully, it was not as bad of an attack, and I recovered much quicker. The next day, I woke up feeling ill. I was experiencing a blood sugar low. The exercise was finally making my body need less insulin, again. This is not a pleasant feeling, but it is good news. My body is responding to the increase in my activity.
I took that day off.
When someone misses a day, the minutes need to be made up. The last surprise I was given in week 6 was on the scale. I am finally losing weight. It thrilled me to see the change on the scale.
When we got to this week, week seven, things changed, but not just for me. For the whole world. I was on the treadmill on Monday, and then the study was postponed. They had increased the cleaning, and we were to wash our hands before and after the workouts, but it wasn’t enough. As I write, the world is holding its breath as we try to navigate through the most stressful staycation we have ever experienced.
I was really having a hard time on Monday after the news came out about the study being postponed. You see, I am willing to walk on the treadmill for science, and to help other people, but I was not convinced I would be willing to do it for my own health. I reached out to a friend through a chat.
I am so glad I did.
We have decided to become activity accountability buddies for each other, and I have walked 3 days this week. I share pics after my walks on the days since the study was postponed. I have not walked much yesterday or today, but I know I need to, and I know someone is counting on me to do it.
In accordance with the current guidelines, I am able to go out for fresh air and go for a walk. I am walking outside, around my mini home park. It is about 2km/lap, and I am walking for 2 laps right now. I was walking for 30 minutes on the treadmill. It takes me an hour a lap outside. As I turn on the treadmill tunes in my Spotify account, which is downloaded to work with no wi-fi, I go. I am not pushing myself, but I am using my tricks to get my heart rate up. I guess you will have to wait until next week to read all about what that means. For now, I am grateful for the support of my friend, and for those who are encouraging me on social media.
If you won’t do what you need to do for yourself, do it for someone else until you feel like you want to do it for yourself. Ask for help. Get the people who want to see you do well involved.
One last thing. I am changing the words in my head. Instead of saying:
In Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 79 | Medical Study Progress Report I am going to review how the first month of the medical study went. If you missed it, you can find it here. I did the testing for the study in January. The study started 4 weeks ago. I have had some things happen which I will write about, but please understand, I am also participating with the blessings of my doctor. It wasn’t required, but my doctor is aware of it, and yesterday, she told me how proud she was of me for taking this step. She also said that she wished more people would do more to be proactive in their own health care.
Yes, you read that correctly. I saw my doctor yesterday.
When you start any new physical activity, it is always the right thing to do. I saw her before I started, and I saw her again yesterday to discuss something that happened this past week. Before I get into this, I want to review my thoughts on the whole month. I will get back to the reason for the doctor’s appointment and the result of it in a bit.
I agree with her statements. It is a lot for me to just show up. Let’s explore this in more detail.
To understand how hard this is for me, you need to know that I weigh over 300 lbs. 318.9 as of this morning if you want to get specific. I have not seen a huge weight loss in one month of the study. This is not the most encouraging thing to think about at the moment, but I KNOW I NEED TO DO THIS. If I keep showing up, I might just save my own life.
There is no payment for this study.
It is completely voluntary. They are measuring the effects on people with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes (which if we are being honest, doesn’t exist) who exercise. They are checking my body muscle and fat density, taking oxygen measurements, and my blood sugars. The study will compare the H1AC (the 3-month average) blood sugar levels while it is happening. I signed up for 7 months. What was I thinking?
I know it will help me with my own health issues. However, if you have been reading these blogs all along, you know that I have issues with showing up for myself and have been wavering since I stopped going to Zumba class twice a week. It is a decision I made for my own reasons, and I love Zumba. I have tried it at home a bit this year, and I will continue whenever that mythical energy is here to stay. I have seen improvements in my energy levels, but they aren’t consistent, yet.
No, really, what was I thinking?
I was thinking that I need to move on purpose this year. I needed a reason to do something. Some days I feel strong, and others I can barely manage to keep the heart rate up to where they need it to be for the study.
They make us wear heart monitors every day. It can pinpoint if something happens, and most of the time they tell me I need to pick it up a bit. Which sucks. I did sign up for it, and I am doing my best to show up and do what they need me to do. It is not a leisurely stroll on the treadmill I am taking.
In the first week, I had to walk for 80 minutes.
We broke it down to 20 minutes a day for 4 days. I got to have Wednesday off, as a rest day. Did I ever need that rest day! I was so happy to be able to sleep in. Being unemployed for over a year has affected my sleeping habits, I had been in the pattern of staying up too late and sleeping in every morning. I am not excited about being on a treadmill at 8 am 4 or 5 days a week, but I am still showing up.
The schedule is flexible, so if I should happen to get a job, they will accommodate a different schedule if I need it. I picked 8 am so that I would be able to drive my husband to work, and then hit the treadmill, on weeks when he needs the car. He shares driving with a co-worker, so every 2 weeks he drives, and if I want the car, I have to be in the car to take it from his work and pick them up after work.
The one issue I had in the first week was sore calves. Did they ever express their unhappiness out loud to me in that first week. The first day was the worst for the calves. I wear compression stockings, and they help improve circulation in my calves. They did not like the change in my routine, at all. I kept going, and I got through the first week okay.
Setting My Own Goals
In week 2, I walked for 100 minutes, so the daily minutes increased to 25 minutes a day. I still had Wednesday off, and I started testing my body to see what worked to get my heart rate up. I also took the time to create a list on Spotify, called Treadmill Tunes. It is great on shuffle, and today I almost laughed out loud when this played in my ears…Mustard! There are 311 songs on that list… I have a hard time narrowing it down, okay? I haven’t heard all of the songs in a month. Variety helps me to stay motivated and change my pace to, “Bump it up!” as they keep telling me when my heart rate is too low for their study.
Sometimes I skip through a few songs to find the beat I need for that moment, but shuffle usually does a good job.
By the start of week 3, my calves weren’t the issue I had on my mind. My nerve pain in my right thigh sometimes kicks in. It is related to my hip flexors, and I have had this issue for years. All I can do is stretch it and work through the pain. I know it won’t last forever, and I have to push through it. By the end of week 2, I was using my Zumba stretches after walking on the treadmill, to make sure I didn’t get sore after going home.
My goals are to increase the intensity when I can, and keep the heart rate up high enough so I am not having to bump it up every day. I am working on this; I have good days and bad days.
There was a new concern in week 3.
I performed a very entertaining Bambi on Ice routine, where I slipped but managed to recover and stay on my feet. My hip flexor muscles on the left side were pulled as a result, and I was very concerned about how it would affect my time on the treadmill. I take painkillers when it is sore, and try to rest. It is worse after sitting in my computer chair for long amounts of time. It doesn’t hurt on the treadmill, which I was a relief.
Week 3 time increased to 120 minutes. I was walking for 30 minutes, four days a week. Dealing with the issues above, and starting to challenge myself with increasing the incline for longer times every day. I play with the speed, as I move with my whole body for some songs, and for parts of songs on a lower speed so I can get my groove on without face-planting.
It hasn’t happened yet but on a treadmill, the fear is real.
On Friday, last week, I noticed that my left knee was trying to bend the wrong way. I pay attention to my body because I need to know how to manage all the curveballs it throws at me. I checked with a friend who works in the fitness industry, and she advised me to take things easy on the weekend, which I was already planning to do; and to pay attention to what was happening. Later that day I felt like my hip was going to go out, and my knee did its funky thing shortly after this. I was cautious all weekend and rested as much as I could.
As the weekend progressed, week 4 was approaching.
I worried about week 4. This past week added 30 minutes to my walk time, which means I am now walking for 30 minutes, 5 days a week, for a total of 150 minutes a week. The good news is, there are no more time increases for me to worry about. The difficulty comes when I am needing to bump it up.
On Monday, I paid close attention to my knee, and my hip, both on the left side. The right side has eased off, and I don’t have the nerve pain every day, or for very long when it happens, now. I realized that my left knee is over-compensating for the hip muscles. This means I was able to correct it before things got worse, and I am feeling stronger by the end of week 4.
I started wearing my knee brace to walk, to support the knee, and it is helping. I only wear it on the treadmill, and I think just even knowing I have it on helps a lot. Monday and Tuesday were tough.
For me, it is all a head game.
I need to talk myself through it every day. Getting up, showing up, pushing through and relaxing when they tell me I can cool down. It’s my favourite part, actually, because I am done for the day. Whatever gets me through it.
I watch the timer. I watch the heart rate. It can be affected by the other people in the room, so I can’t trust the heart rate, but it gives me a general idea if I am working hard enough or not, most of the time. I tell myself, only so many more minutes to cool down, or I had the incline to 3.0 for a whole minute longer than I did yesterday. Woo-hoo! I have to be my own cheerleader, constantly.
On Wednesday, I fell apart.
I pushed real hard on Wednesday. Keeping the incline at 3.0 as long as I could and held it at 2.5 for another record-beating time. I was feeling like I was going to be able to keep pushing for week 4.
And then, it happened. My left hip made a twinge. This one little smidge of pain unravelled me.
I started to panic. I thought I would have to quit the study. My biggest fear is injuring myself and having to quit. If this happens, I would be letting myself down. I faltered and was told to bump it up.
When I bump it up, I can also bump it down when I arrive at the correct heart rate, as long as it doesn’t drop. I play with the speed and the incline while I am working out, as needed. I bumped it way down after I got to where I needed, and the panic running through my veins kept the heart rate high enough to not have to increase it any further at that moment.
Exercise-Induced Asthma is something I have been diagnosed with.
I have carried a Ventolin puffer around with me for years. I have wheezed when I push myself, and to allow me to complete the walks every day without needing to stop, I decided to take 2 puffs, preventatively before getting on the treadmill in the first week. It is helping me to breathe better while working out.
Wednesday was no different, I took 2 puffs before getting on the treadmill. Due to scheduling conflicts, it was a 4 pm walk that afternoon. I had coffee in my system when normally I just have water and my protein shake before the workout. My protein shake is made by mixing a scoop of chocolate protein powder into my unsweetened cashew with vanilla milk. I drink it before I leave the house if I am just driving myself, or in the car if Roy is driving himself to work.
The time of day was off, and my mental game was off. I had a complete panic attack by the time I stepped off the treadmill. What made it worse was I COULD NOT BREATHE! I went to the chair to rest, like I always do, and found my puffer.
Usually, I will sit after the walk and drink my water, do my stretches and head home.
On Wednesday, I had to get into my head and play hardball. It was very hard to talk myself down from the panic attack. It was so scary; I thought they would need to call 911 and rush me to the hospital. Not for the panic attack, but because I could not catch my breath.
When I took the puffer, it was just like you see others do with bad asthma. Inhaling the puff was loud, and it was hard to hold my breath while holding the medicine in my lungs. Breathe it in, count for 10, exhale. I had to do this twice, and all the while, I could not breathe.
Once I got the puffer into me, I worked on calming myself down. It took about 45 minutes before I felt good enough to go home. I did not stretch, and I forgot my hoodie. I was not feeling like myself at all, and when I change a routine, I am more likely to forget things.
Thursday morning, I talked about what happened with the students who are recording the data from the study. I was a little upset, still, and it helped to talk about it. I made an appointment to see my doctor as soon as I got home.
One good thing about a blizzard is that you can get a cancellation appointment easily.
The doctor’s office is not far from where I live, so I went to see her. She is sending me for tests on my lungs but agrees with me that the main issue was the panic attack. Fast forward to Friday.
I did it for a month, successfully! I am proud of myself. Today, I realized at about 8 minutes in that I forgot to take the puffer. It was okay, although it was a little harder for me to keep my heart rate up today. It does make a difference, and it does help, but I can do it without the puffer. I will have to skip it on the day of the appointment, and now I know what to expect.
I have written before about emotional eating. I do it, and I am trying to change my relationship with food. It is not easy to change, but I am working on it, and I am making progress. Little by little, I am making changes and seeing results. Not too long ago, I wasn’t aware of how much I let food rule my world.
Living with type 2 diabetes; food is something that I can obsess about. It is easy to go for a quick and easy meal or snack when I tell myself I am stopping my blood sugars from dropping. Without testing, it is very hard to know whether the blood sugars are high or low. I know what to watch for, but it doesn’t mean that I can always tell.
I am working on taking my health more seriously this year. Since I have been testing my blood sugars more frequently, they are finally getting back to normal ranges. I am paying more attention, and my efforts are paying off. If I am going to do this, I need to remember to take my medications. It is good to be able to write that I am back on track with this.
On Being Kind To Myself
Choosing to prioritize my own health care IS being kind to myself. Making poor choices or slacking off is not. I saw the result of that over the holidays, and it was not pretty. Implementing changes like keeping track of taking my medicine or checking my sugars is a huge accomplishment.
In the fall, I bought myself some new clothes. Two new dresses, one casual and one for a special occasion. As I was in need of new dressier boots, I found a new pair and a new pair of casual shoes too. I don’t go shopping for clothes frequently, and there are times I go out and come home with nothing. When I find good sales on clothes or footwear, I usually get what I can; when the odds are in my favour.
Making a pointed effort to not go out and buy clothing regularly is telling myself that I am not worth the effort of going to shop for myself. While I can’t afford to buy new clothes every month, I should make an effort when I am in need.
How About My Dance More Goal?
I did Zumba at home 2 times last week. I have fallen behind on cleaning at home. Sometimes I switch it in when I need to get some cleaning done in place of the dancing. Recently I worked on switching the makeup area in my master suite by moving two storage shelving options around.
Dancing is the goal, but I needed to adapt it a bit to allow for any movement that is being done on purpose. Running errands, window shopping, even doing laundry and putting it away (not my favourite thing to do) is moving on purpose. Any activity is an extra activity for me now.
Being aware of the need to be more active means nothing if I am not actually making changes. It is not easy. Neither is shoveling snow, but it is necessary for the winter where I live. I also count it as an activity.
How Do I Stay Motivated?
One thing I learned a while ago when I was feeling bad about the state of my house is that if I watched the shows on TLC about Hoarders, it can inspire me to do more cleaning in my home. I am a packrat, not a hoarder. I can purge and throw things out or donate them. It isn’t always easy, but it can be done. I do need to be in the mood to tackle cleaning my home, and watching this show helps. It shows how bad things can get if you do not clean your home and consequently, it does make me feel like cleaning around here more frequently.
Some other shows I have been watching lately are My 600 Pound Life, and another one called The 1000 Pound Sisters. I am watching to learn how to help myself, with the same thought process behind it. I don’t want my weight to ever be that high. Watching the show is how I can learn about what not to do. The doctors on these shows have to be tough, and the people who are looking for the surgery have to commit to their health before they will get approved. I see their struggles, and I recognize some of the traits I have in common with the people on the show.
Emotional eating is a problem I admit to having.
Not in the same way the people on the show do, though. I have seen some really bad habits. Eating take out and going to more than one restaurant in a row, just ordering food, eating in the car, and going to the next drive-thru is something I have never done. Not for full meals. If I want things from different places to make up a meal, maybe, but this is a rarity for me.
One thing which really stood out to me is that more than one person relates their food to be their only friend. Not only does it make me sad to think that there are people out there who genuinely feel this way,l but it is something I have never had to deal with. I eat my feelings, but I do not rely on food to comfort me the way a friend would. It is not the same for me.
The good news is that some of those people succeed. It gives me hope that when I get serious with myself, I can make the changes needed to be healthier.
I have done something new in the past week. It is time for me to be stepping it up when it comes to my health. I was sent information from a friend in an email, about a medical study at the local university. As a person with type 2 diabetes, I was able to apply. I made a call, and I am glad I did.
When I connected with the person working on the study, I was asked some questions on the phone. They needed to know when I was diagnosed, and what medications I was taking. I went through them all and made an appointment for the first session. When I did, the person I was speaking to asked me when I would like to do the second part of the qualifying session. I chose Wednesday and Thursday this past week.
Next, I was given a brief overview of what would happen. The first session was to fill out the paperwork and to get my measurements recorded. They needed my weight, height, waist and hip circumference. Two blood samples were taken, one by a nurse, and the other by the person I would be working with. The nurse used a needle to get a blood sample, similar to when the doctor sends you for bloodwork. They needed to establish some baselines for my sugars and lipids. The second blood test was just a finger prick, similar to what I do to test my blood sugars myself. It is for a 3 month average of my blood sugars, called an A1C test. We went over the numbers, but I do not remember them all. I was assigned a number for the study.
The Bod Pod
I was told on the phone that in the first session, I would need to go into something called the Bod Pod. It was described as an oval machine, shaped like a spaceship. Of course, I asked for the details of what it was used for. It uses changes in air pressure to get an estimate of the fat and muscle percentage in your body. It sounded neat, and then I asked one more question. With the description of the Bod Pod, I asked if they played any Lady Gaga music while the test was running. I made my contact person laugh, and he surprisingly admitted nobody had ever asked him that question before.
Since I am a blogger, and I have this category, I wanted to document the interesting parts here. We will start with some pictures of the Bod Pod.
As you can see, it has a seat inside. I was asked to wear something similar to a bathing suit for the test. My Zumba clothes worked for this purpose. There are magnets to hold the door secure during the test, and there is an emergency release button if for any reason a person would want to stop the test. It has never been used, and I did ask if the person who I was working with for the assessment wanted to test it after my test was done. My offer was declined, as it was uncertain if it would affect the calibration of the expensive machine. I did not test the emergency button.
For a few moments, I could pretend I was Lady Gaga arriving at a music award show.
The person who was assessing me to see if I would qualify for the study did agree to help me with pictures for the blog. They use the equipment for their job, so they are used to it, but for someone like me, it was worth documenting the whole experience.
Since the machine uses air pressure to record the measurements, I was advised of this. I was also warned that just like my ears, the machine may pop while the test was running. Thankfully, although I felt the pressure changes when it was running, it was not a huge difference, and my ears were not affected. For statistical reasons, they run duplicate tests for certain qualifying factors. This test was run twice and will be necessary again once or twice while the medical study is being conducted.
I had to wear a swim cap also, to help with the test. It was okay for me to wear my stockings in the Bod Pod. At the same time the blood tests were run, my feet were also checked. One side effect of diabetes is neuropathy, which affects the nerves, especially in feet. I have had this test before, and I usually feel the apparatus on my feet when it is lightly pressed on the sole of my feet. After completing these tests, I was able to go home, with a pedometer to wear for 7 days, to get a baseline average of my current activity level.
The fitness test.
Day two had a new test to run. First, I was given an explanation of what to expect. I would be fitted with a heart monitor to start with. I do not have a picture of this because it was put right under my sports bra (which I am SO glad I wore that day!)
Next, I was set up for the apparatus to measure my oxygen levels. If you thought the Bod Pod was glamorous, you haven’t seen the best parts yet. I had to wear this frame over my head, which would be attached to a tube that was placed in my mouth. The air goes in on one side, and out the other, to be measured in another machine. I was advised to drink a bit of water before it was in my mouth because my mouth would get dry during this test. The paper towel was there for me to use for saliva. There was a part of the tube made to catch any drool dripping around the mouthpiece. So attractive, I know.
There were goals to beat in the fitness test to qualify for the study. A speed was selected, and the incline was increased at several intervals. I was shown a clipboard with numbers on it. They ranged from 6 to 20, and since I would not be able to talk during the fitness test, I would point at the number which corresponded to the level of exertion I was feeling when asked. I was also advised to give a thumbs up or down as answers to questions and to move my hand back and forth by my neck if I needed to stop for any reason.
To get the most accurate measurement of the air I was breathing, I also had to wear a nose plug. I walked on the treadmill, and if you know me, and you caught the musical reference above, you probably guessed that I had a song in my head while I was walking my way through this test. I will reveal it soon. First, I want to assure you that my breathing was fine once I got settled into the test. I did feel short of breath near the end, but with increasing intensity for the duration, it was to be expected. When my heart rate was checked as okay, and the machine to measure the oxygen I was using as I breathed was full, the test began.
There was a short warm-up period, to adapt to the treadmill and the breathing apparatus. Once I found my groove, the incline was increased. It was increased by one increment until it reached 11.0. At this time I was asked if I wanted to keep pushing or stop, and I chose to stop.
I qualified for the study.
The good news is, although I will need to repeat the measurements and tests, it will not be every time. I will have to wear the heart monitor every time I go, but that is not an issue for me. It is the lease intrusive piece of equipment I have to wear. Except for testing and measurement days, I will be working with a trainer to help me work on my treadmill game. I will want to push myself as I get used to walking regularly again. It is going to be a good change for me, and my hope is that I excel while I am participating in the study. I will not be getting paid for my participation, but if I can lose some weight and increase my activity levels, it will be worth it to me.
The study is testing to see what the impact of regular exercise is on the A1C levels in people diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and people like me, with type 2 diabetes. As the study progresses, I hope to have more to share here. At this time, I am glad I Trusted My Gut and applied for the study. I needed a change, and this could be just what the doctor ordered.
The song I had in my head when I was on the treadmill on day 2 was Good As Hell by Lizzo. As I finished the test on day 2, after I was unhooked from all of the apparatus, I told the people in the room, “I would like to thank Lizzo for getting me through this fitness test.” My statement was met with laughter, as it was intended.
Happy New Year! Here we are in a new year, and in a new decade. I did not magically wake up skinny. 2019 had a rough couple of days during the holidays, and things got a little out of control. When things got bad, I was able to turn it around, and now they are better.
I’m seeing signs of going through the change. I’ve been having hot flashes at night. I am not sure if they are related to the next phase of my life or my sugars or a combination of the two. After a few restless nights, I got up and checked my sugars. They were very high. When someone with diabetes is sick, this is normal, however I don’t always do the right things for my health.
Sometimes I forget to take my medications.
Creating a health tracker helps me to remember, but I have not been using it. With a brand new agenda, I am ready to start fresh in 2020. I have worked really hard to create my health tracker, but I slacked off. I haven’t followed through with using it. So, I am getting it ready this weekend, and I will be using it starting today.
I haven’t been feeling well. I have had a stomach bug and more than one migraine in the last month. When I am sick, I am more likely to skip my medicine. When you have diabetes and you are under the weather, you need to keep taking your medicine. Just like you need to keep eating and stay hydrated. I know this, but I don’t always make the best choices. Especially when I am feeling ill.
Changes were made this week.
I started checking my sugars more frequently and I’m taking my medicine. I bought new vitamins, and have taken them for the last 3 days. The holiday treats are disappearing, and things are going to be getting back to normal. As I think about this, back to normal is not going to be enough for me. I need to do more, and I need to do better.
I bought a sports bra style workout top in November. The goal was to wear it at home, when I am alone, to do Zumba in my living room. So far, it is still in the bag, with the price tag still attached to it. I am going to cut that tag off on Monday and put it on with my shorts and Zumba sneakers. Then I will complete my look with my Zumba headband and dance by myself in my living room. I want to schedule it into my 2020 planner, 3 days a week. My only resolution for 2020 is to dance more. Now that I have put this into writing, I will have to follow through.
Accountability is something which I have learned is important when you are setting goals, but also for building online businesses. I need to get things accomplished to move on to the next tasks. The only person I am accountable to is myself until I have paying clients. Once this happens, I will be accountable to them also.
It is also a term that is immensely important to me and my health. It is so important, I decided to turn my weight loss support group from a beta to a membership group. This was a difficult decision because the current members are in it for free. Their participation means they are getting value out of the year and a half we have spent together.
It makes me sad that some have already left the group, and I understand why they are choosing to leave. I have also learned a term since joining the makeup industry.
Bless and release.
This is such a simple concept, and easy to apply. If someone does not want to buy makeup, let them go, and move on to the next person. It takes a rejection from being personal to being a manageable response.
The other thing I am learning to accept is that having people leave means they are creating space for the people who do need to be in the group. This is a new concept to me, and I am discovering how to include it in my thought process.
It is harder for me to let go of people in the beta group because we have built a connection. Therefore, we have a history. I have been preparing for new members by organizing the posts into topics. This allows for easier management and navigation within the group. I am refreshing the experiences of myself with the beta group as a whole during this process. It will help me to focus on what is working, what is not working, and what to change.
Each new member will be given a free, personalized health record (tracker). It will be designed on two pages, to fit in seven days. I’m planning to meet with each member online before the end of January to determine what they need help with, and what they need on their tracker. I create my own in my agenda, and it covers everything I need for now. I asked the beta group what they would need, and I have ideas on how I can modify what I created for myself to be useful for other members.
It is a customizable concept.
It has been useful at my doctor’s appointments. I have also had it in appointments with a dietician and at the diabetes clinic. I am not giving it the attention it needs, or rather, I am not giving my health the attention it needs when I am not using it. This will change today!
I opened the Membership group to new members for the new year. I am working hard to make sure that people get value out of the group for their membership fees. So far, it has involved a lot of housekeeping in the group. When it is organized, I will be able to create new content and schedule the accountability posts again. I find this so helpful, to just set aside a block of time to schedule posts for a month or two. It frees my time up to interact with the group and makes it more fun for me to be in there with the other members.
I’m not a medical professional.
This group is a support group, not for a plan or program, but for the members. I will not tell them what plan to follow, or what to eat or what not to eat. I am not the boss of the members. We are all adults and in charge of our own lives. Instead, I work on helping them to be accountable for activity, for drinking water; while sharing tips and recipes. It is general knowledge that staying active and hydrated promotes a healthier lifestyle. With the scheduled posts, it is something that the members will see every day, and it will remind them to work on these things.
All members are required to sign a confidentiality agreement, and the standard Facebook group rules will apply. Anything which goes against these guidelines will not be tolerated, and I am very upfront about this.
I have decided on 2 payment options. Members can choose a monthly payment of $54.00 CAD. It breaks down to each member paying for four hours of my time, at minimum wage, for me to run the group for the whole month. As the group grows, people may wish to pay a lump sum for the year. $550.00 CAD is the annual membership fee, and if a member chooses to pay annually, they will save $98.00 CAD on their fees.
I am working from home, and I need an income. It is not a decision I made lightly. It wasn’t easy to tell the beta group members that things were changing. I need to get the word out, and cannot afford to pay for advertising.
Sharing this blog post and sharing the posts from my personal Facebook account will help me to do this. It is going to be better than you can imagine, because I am right there, in the trenches with the members. Not telling you what to do, but reminding you that we are in this together, and we can help each other because of it. One of my goals for 2020 is to help people who can help me in return. I do have to stop doing everything for free, though. My heart wants to help people. I am asking you to help me by either joining the membership group, if you need the support or to help me get the message out to people who do need it.
This is my Facebook Profile for you to find the posts to share:
If you are not already a friend, you will see that my wall is a fun place to hang out. I am not only focused on business building. Sharing fun things I find, creating my own content, keeping it a positive enjoyable place to hang out online. Most of the time it is light-hearted. Once in awhile a dose of reality sneaks in, when I have something important to share. I have room for lots of friends in my life, and I have made some really great ones online.
Thank you for reading, and I look forward to sharing my future successes with you all, dear readers.
Distractions are all around us. No matter where you look, they are out there. Waiting for you. When I was talking to a friend earlier today about an unrelated topic, she pointed out the obvious. I need to focus, and to help me to do this, I need to be keeping my eyes on the prize.
In the business world, I am seen as a bit confusing, as I have been told I am too diversified. When we talked about this, I explained that I thought it was what I was supposed to be doing, because the moment I declared that my jewellery business, Tish MacWebber Always Blinging would now be officially a hobby for me, someone wanted to buy Book Bling. I took it as a sign, telling me that I was right all along. I thought it meant to keep pushing forward, full speed ahead in all areas.
My friend wisely pointed out I misinterpreted the sign. It wasn’t telling me to keep doing all of the things, but rather, testing my declaration.
Hang on there.
Maybe I was wrong.
In that moment, I realized she was right. The sign wasn’t a sign at all. It was a distraction.
How many times have you misinterpreted a sign?
I can assure you, it is very easy to do. One minute you are feeling great about the choices you have made for the food you have eaten so far that day and the next minute you are looking at the tub of ice cream in your freezer. You didn’t open the freezer to get ice cream, but now that it is staring you in the face, it is the only reason you should have opened the freezer.
Or is it?
What you really opened the freezer for was to get the bag of frozen broccoli out to thaw because you want to make a casserole, and one of the ingredients is broccoli.
But the ice cream is just there. Screaming at you. Insisting that it needs you to eat it right now, so that you can get the instant gratification it always gives you. You imagine yourself eating all of the ice cream, and how happy you will be.
Until you realize that you ate it all and feel awful because you were doing so well and the ice cream DISTRACTED you from your goal. Oh, it is sneaky and mean and it wants you to eat it all every time you open the freezer.
So do you lock the freezer and never open it again?
You could. It is not the practical choice, and truthfully it is not very realistic.
Should you declare to never ever buy ice cream again?
Maybe. But we all know the second you do, your favourite flavour is going to be on an incredible sale the very next time you walk into the grocery store.
What is the right answer?
When I open the freezer, I need to focus on the broccoli. The ice cream is only going to be a temporary distraction. Ice cream has its time and place, as a treat, not as an everyday splash into guilty pleasures. As much as I love a bowl of ice cream, I need to remember that I am on a new path where I am being kind to myself.
I need to love myself more than I love ice cream
That right there is a bold statement. The love I have for ice cream is right up there with lobster and pizza. It includes chocolate. To be perfectly honest, there aren’t many foods which I don’t love. The struggle is most certainly real, and when you put broccoli up against ice cream, the broccoli doesn’t stand a chance if I am not committed to my goals.
Broccoli has one thing going for it in this equation. Me. If I choose to get the broccoli and continue making the casserole, I will be preparing a meal which can be the reason I open the freezer for. Healthy food is how I show myself kindness. I need to focus on the short term goals to be able to claim the prize I am aiming for.
I know I will falter from time to time. Being human means I am not perfect, and I will make mistakes. I will be tested and distracted. The point is to not stay there. If you picked up the tub of ice cream because it was on sale, it is going to be there until you eat it. Unless you need to eat your feelings, which is never the positive choice to make but might happen if you get dumped or fired, it is not going to go bad before you eat it. It can stay right where it is because it will be there when you do decide that you want a bowl of ice cream as a treat.
Indulgences are a privilege of being an adult
You are your own boss of your life. So get the broccoli out of the freezer, close the door and act like it. Set your goals, keep your eyes on the prize and focus.
As I am writing, I am also recognizing that I have steadily lost a pound or two in the last few weeks. I weighed in at 313.6 pounds yesterday. I am getting closer to taking the new picture for this blog, the one where I show myself and the world I can and will reach my goals, one pound at a time.
I have had a few things on the go in the last few weeks, and I wasn’t sure how to tackle this story until the night before last. What I have been working on includes one part of the journey is from my childhood.
I call it the salt cod incident.
If you have never eaten salt cod, I consider you among a lucky group of people. In my opinion, salt cod is gross, and it was in our meal rotation when I was a child.
I have shared that I would strive to be the first one to clean my plate at the supper table to get the desired dessert. It became my thing. To me, it was a daily reward for something I could do well. When I would ask what was for dessert and I was told to have fruit, I felt disappointment. I would still eat it, but it didn’t qualify as dessert to me, when I was a kid.
One night, I was about four, we had company for supper. And salt cod was the protein on my plate. There was not enough green tomato chow in the world to cover the taste of the salt cod.
I made a plan.
My four year old self wanted to get dessert. She also did not want to eat the salt cod. She decided that she would stuff as much of the salt cod as she could into her cheeks, go to the bathroom and spit the fish into the toilet. Really creative for a four year old, when I think back to it.
My parents were not fooled by the chipmunk cheeks. I was not allowed to go to the bathroom. Instead, I was taken to a bedroom and yelled at to swallow my supper. I defiantly yelled, “No!” for as long as I could stand to. I was having a battle of wills with my father. He was rightly concerned that I would choke on the fish if I kept stuffing it into my cheeks without swallowing it. We also did not waste food in my home.
Eventually, a tearful four year old returned to the kitchen table to finish her supper.
Why am I sharing this story?
In the VIBE Method of Emotional Weight Release with Coach Elaine, we work on the emotional side of our journey. After having a breakthrough in August, and continuing to work while learning the VIBE Method, things are looking better than they have in a really long time.
A few weeks ago, it looked like I had lost a significant amount of weight. As a result, I am not focusing on the fluctuations right now. Instead, I am focusing on being kind to myself, and making smarter choices. I no longer eat quickly. Dessert isn’t an option every evening. I am not letting food determine how I plan my day. (This is HUGE for me).
After I expressed the feelings of turmoil, I participated in a private coaching session. When the weight climbed up higher on the scale, I wasn’t sure I handled week three the way I was supposed to. I knew I would need help to find out why I felt like things were in turmoil. I used this word to describe how I was feeling in week four. It was our last week, and I didn’t understand why I felt that way.
We started what was supposed to be a 45 minute session with my uncertainty. I shared this with Coach Elaine, and she wanted to run through all four weeks in a recap with me. Not in the detail of each week as we worked in the group, but to review what I had worked on to find out where the bump in the road was.
Putting it all together
After our two hour long additional coaching session, I am really glad we scheduled an extra session. It was the right thing for me to do, to ask for help.
Upon further reflection and discovery, we worked through one of the processes again. I realized that when I was four, the battle of the wills was when I started feeling like I wasn’t being HEARD. I was screaming, but what I had to say didn’t matter, because in this instance, I was wrong. When I have something to say, I give up when someone is not listening to me. This is something I am working on.
I wouldn’t say I have ever lost my voice, however I have had to learn how to speak louder so that I can be heard, and more importantly, taken seriously. For this to be effective, I have to believe in myself.
During our coaching session, the words VALUE and WORTHY became a part of the conversation. I needed to explore why the salt cod incident was so prominent in my mind. We were working with the first memory we had when our feelings weren’t validated.
The screaming match is what I remembered. Not that it was abusive, not that it was meant to hurt me, but because what I was expressing was not being treated as a valid reason for what I was trying to do.
Where does the dream come into the picture?
The night before last, I had a dream. It was what I was waiting for to help me to write this entry. I was dreaming that I managed to spend time with a movie star. I won’t put a name to him, I will leave it to your imagination. He was telling me that he wished I wasn’t married.
Even in my dreams, I remain loyal to my husband. I have had other dreams, and I always put a stop to things before they get carried away, even in my subconscious mind. I love my husband so much, I couldn’t ever dream of cheating on him. Not even with a movie star.
This movie star was put into the friend zone, in my dream. The next part of my dream had me telling Roy that I was elated because this movie star found me desirable. Worthy of wanting a relationship with. We were talking about my feelings, and the word JOY came to my mind. I was feeling absolute joy that someone other than my husband found value in having a conversation with me. The next words I received were: Isn’t it obvious? Everything was clicking into place. The work I have been doing in my conscious mind has crossed into my subconscious and into my dreams.
Before I woke up, Roy and I were trying to find this movie star at the end of my dream. Roy was helping me because I really wanted to express my gratitude to him for the messages I was receiving. I woke up before I was able to complete this, but it wasn’t a necessary step for my own progress. I got the message.
What I have to say does have value.I am worthyof love, just as I am.
I may not have all the answers, but I am open to the messages I need to receive to be able to grow as a person and make the changes I need to reflect on the outside the work I am doing on the inside.
I need to clarify that my recent success is not as good as it appeared to be last week. I knew something was off on the scale, and I tried to believe it was true. It happened at least once before. My scale had a false reading. One I happened to take a picture of, coincidentally, but I have not lost as much weight as I thought I did. Which is both more realistic in terms of healthy weight loss, and beyond frustrating, simultaneously. The last time I checked I weighed in at 313.1 pounds. Still better than July, but not as good as it looked last Friday.
In the second week of working with Coach Elaine, I have not been as diligent. I did what I always do when I have success. I listened to the inner gremlin, which I previously wrote about in Part 56 of the Trust Your Gut category. It convinced me that I didn’t have to be so strict with what I was eating. Old habits creep in when I am doing well, which is why I have such a hard time finding success.
Self-Sabotaging Only Hurts Me
To understand why this happens, I fear I might have to go really deep inside. This inner reflection will take time, more time than I have if I want to publish on time this week. I have begun the process, and I have seen the results. They are positive. So why do I slip up every time I get something good going for myself? This is something I feel a lot of people like me struggle with.
It’s like when you need to take medication all of the time, and when you do, you feel better, so you stop taking the medication. First, it is never advisable to stop taking medicine without medical supervision. Second, for most situations, this does not allow you to continue to feel better because the medicine is the reason you were feeling better in the first place. The medicine as a general rule does not make anyone sick, it makes you better. I do understand this is a general rule and does not apply to every circumstance. Consequently, when you stop doing things that make you feel better, you relapse or feel worse than you did before you started.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. ALWAYS check with your doctor before making any changes regarding your health. I also realize that side effects can sometimes seem worse than the disease. I am not advising anyone to make any decisions about their own health without discussing all of the options with their doctor, or without being your own advocate for your own health without including medical professionals in that discussion.
When I take this concept, which usually refers to the treatment of mental health, or taking antibiotics for less than the prescribed number of days, and compare it to people like me who are morbidly obese, there are similarities. I slipped and got back into old habits last week. More fast food came in. It is like I am testing my body to find out how much it can take before I start putting on weight again, to fail at this healthy lifestyle.
When I slip up, the inner gremlin laughs delightedly.
Maybe that is why I hear ringing in my ears constantly. I am kidding; although I do have tinnitus, and it is another irritation I am contending with. Will I turn down my music when I bounce the house? Not a chance. I love music, and the louder it is, the more I love it. Maybe it is so I can’t actually hear myself singing along. Whatever the reason, I will always crank the tunes when I am listening to them. My hearing is not suffering that I can tell, so I will keep on the way I always have.
What I do mean is that when I slip up and make poor choices, misery loves company, as the saying goes. One poor choice is not so bad, and then I make another one. Before I know it, I have picked the easy way more than the healthy way, and the inner gremlin is cheering me on! When it is in charge, I don’t make the right choices. When I don’t make the right choices, I am not being kind to myself. Which I learned last week, is something I need to learn how to do better. When you don’t know why you make poor choices, it is harder to convince yourself to make better ones.
And when you do choose to be kind to yourself, and you are kind to yourself, the inner gremlin is threatened. It starts acting up and throwing temper tantrums like wild cravings into your mind, and the next thing you know, you give in and go to the nearest drive-thru. Because it is easier to feed the cravings and the inner gremlin than it is to be kind to yourself and make the right choices.
How does this all fit in with what I am doing?
In Trust Your Gut Part 56, the one linked above, I wrote about looking at myself in the mirror. As my week 2 takeaway from the VIBE method created by Coach Elaine, I decided that I was going to practice looking at myself with love when I look into my own eyes in the mirror. I want to see me, not a morbidly obese person with type 2 diabetes, just me, a person who is worthy of love.
In the session, I talked about how I feel when my husband looks into my eyes. He has always looked at me as a person, and it was one of the first things I found attracting me to him early in our relationship. It stayed with me from then and still does, as something we have always been able to do, to be connected to each other by looking into each other’s eyes.
It has been such a profound feeling for me while being in a relationship with him, that I wrote about it in the song I wrote for our wedding. (Don’t worry, I didn’t sing it for him). When I think about how our relationship started, and how we have managed to be together for 25 years, 9 of them married, I know the love I see in his eyes when he looks at me funny holds the answer.
As long as I keep trying to do better, I am winning. Maybe not on the scale every single week, but certainly in my heart, where it counts the most.
This week I will do better.
Yes, it is Thanksgiving on Monday here, in Canada, so I am not going to have a perfect week. I will indulge, eat too much, and try not to regret too many food choices. The food will be homemade, not fast food, shared with family in combination with spending time together. I may not have pie with every meal, but I may have some in moderation. Followed by a short walk if the weather cooperates.
I challenge you to look into your own eyes with kindness and love, to start healing yourself in your heart and soul. Seriously, take a look in the mirror without judgement, criticism or hate. Leave the inner gremlin under your foot on the floor, where it belongs. It doesn’t love you. You do, and you need to let yourself know that you are beautiful from the inside out. When you do this often enough, it will not only become a good habit, but you will start to see changes. A phrase came to me in my sleep a few weeks ago, and I didn’t know what it meant. I think it belongs here.
Be Your Own Inside Out
Find the love in your heart and treasure it until it grows so big you can’t keep it inside anymore. Let it radiate and glow, to be seen by and shared with everyone you meet. I am seeing this in different areas of my own life, and because I know it to be true, I know it is something we all can do. I believe in you. Start with yourself.