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 who have weight issues, on either end of the scale. If you would like to contribute to this series, please contact Tish. 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.
This week I am pleased to share the story of a friend. It is written in her own words, and she submitted it with her permission to share it as a part of the series.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Jane’s Story; Charting My Weight | Gaining Perspective
I have spent over 40 years in a love-hate relationship with my weight. As a result, I have many, many records of my weight at various times—weights were taken at the Doctor’s office, at various weight loss programs, and at home. An excellent record for purposes of analysis—after so many ups and downs over the years, I can look at my weight with some perspective.
I began my first weight loss efforts in Grade 9 (!) at the urging of a Physical Education Teacher. I weighed 118 pounds. She gave me the Mayo Clinic Diet of the day and my poor mother must have been frantic supplying me with hard-boiled eggs and grapefruit which is all I can remember eating.
The next weight loss effort was in Grade 11 with TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). My only memory from TOPS are fragmented bits of the motto: “I am an Intelligent person … every time I am tempted to overeat in private … my excess poundage is there for all the world to see … what a fool I’ve been.” In 1972, I left Grade 12 at 168 pounds.
Armed with these rather dubious wisdoms, I spent the next eight years in an upward pattern that would govern the rest of my young adult years. I joined Weight Watchers which did teach me something about eating behaviors, returned to TOPS a time or two, attended sessions with a dietician, and designed my own wellness systems many, many times.
Now, years later, I realise that my weight really started to climb when I had my own money, was preparing my own food, and was under work stresses I never encountered in school or university.
When I was married, I weighed 180 pounds.
I was fit and active. My work in those days meant hiking and climbing regularly to wilderness places throughout the province. I was fit and active, but I was fat. I could not shake the belief that I didn’t look as good as I should. And looking good was all-important.
That, I realise now, was beside the point. The challenge was to stay fit and active—to avoid high blood pressure and all its risks, stress on my knees and back, and diabetes. My goal should have been to live a long and able life.
When I was 30, I had a baby, the best thing I ever did for so many reasons! But I had a difficult pregnancy and spent most of it inactive and on my back and I gained weight. I topped the scales at 280 pounds and spent the next thirty years trying to get rid of the weight.
My Doctor tried to help me. My Mom tried harder than anyone, including me.
She copied out diets that might interest me. She sent me twenty dollars a month (I made a decent salary of my own) to buy healthy snack foods. She suggested things she thought might help me lose weight. I realise now, as a Mom, she wanted good health for me and, like me, had no magic wand to help her daughter be healthier. By the time I was forty, I had high blood pressure, and lots of medications to control it. By the time I was fifty, I had Type 2 Diabetes, and lots of meds to control it. And I had a trusty cane, the first hint of the osteoarthritis that now plagues me every day and keeps me from being fit and active.
When I retired from work in 2012 at 58, I lost a lot of the stress that ruled my life and I think I finally got a clue. I started a program of exercise, stationary cycling accompanied by seeing the world virtually (with Street View). Over the next years, I cycled through central France, southern Ireland, the Cornwall coast of England, and northern New Brunswick. This month I am ‘touring Scotland and the home of my ancestors. I got control of my diabetes with insulin and a wonderful medication called Forxiga which also results in some weight loss. And this past summer, I had a bout with salivary gland cancer.
During the process of surgery and radiation, I lost my sense of taste for a few weeks. At the end of that time, I find am no longer interested in food as a way of approaching life. I am more interested in building back the muscle mass I lost while lounging around the hospital between radiation treatments last summer.
I am now at 214 pounds, and still on the way down. The last time I weighed 214 was when I was 28 years old. I am not really aiming for any particular weight, but I’d really like to fit into my wedding dress again.
So, what is the ‘magic wand?’ Oh, how I wish I knew.
I know that human beings have one major fault: ‘the bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.’ So that slice of blueberry pie will always look more delightful than the bottles and bottles of blue blood pressure pills you might never have to take (since I started taking them in 1994, I have taken 19,656 pills of Inderol to control my blood pressure). That bowl of ice cream will always taste better than days and days of blood glucose readings under 7.0. And that chocolate bar will always smell more delicious than leaving the cane or walker in the closet where it belongs.
You can have good things to eat but only once in a while and in smaller portions. And you can spend as much time as possible walking and swimming and cycling. Save yourself a huge amount of misery down the road.
If you’d like to follow my progress on getting fit and active, have a look at my blog.
Thank you Jane for your honesty and for sharing your story here. I know it can be hard to put it all out there, but it is time that people like us speak out to try to help others. It is interesting to see your chart, and I love the artwork you submitted. Keep celebrating every little success, and be proud that your decision is certainly the right one for you. I am very impressed with your success and determination. Keep going, my friend, you are an inspiration!
Hello Beautiful Friends! This week I want to write a little about the business side of makeup. I started selling as an independent presenter. What does that mean? It means that I am able to order makeup from Younique for myself, and for my customers. This means a little more than just that, to me, though.
What it means is that I am learning what it feels like to have an actual makeup application technique, and I can practice. This is good because there are occasions when I want to put my best look forward, for interviews, and at other times when I want to look good for social events. It had been so long since I had tried to put on makeup that my skills were a bit rusty, but over time, I am gaining confidence in my abilities.
I can and will earn a commission for makeup sales. Building a team will also help me to reach my goals. We can grow the business together and have fun while doing it. I have sponsored a new presenter, and she loves the products as I do! It is so great to find a friend to share the love of these products with!
Skin Care is essential
Did you know that the state of your skin affects your makeup application? I didn’t. I have seen changes in my skin, and in my makeup looks after applying makeup. If I use the exfoliating mask, it helps to let the makeup application be smoother. If I follow my new routine, my skin is more hydrated. Skin is the largest organ on your body, so it deserves a little TLC whenever you can fit it in.
I am learning all of the time, the different techniques and products which will help me to look better with my makeup on. I look beautiful without makeup, which is my normal look. But something happens after I put makeup on. I feel like I look better, more confident. There is no price tag on this feeling, it is priceless.
Having the tools to work with makes things even better. Whether it is makeup brushes or skin cleansing products, having the right tools for the task at hand makes it more enjoyable, because you can attempt the look on a Youtube video, and have a chance to nail it for real.
Makeup is changing my life.
I am making new friends and expanding my network. The potential for earnings is lucrative, but feeling good about myself and what I look like is just as important to me. I think of it as a creative expression of how I want others to see me. If I need a day off, I take it, and I let people know that I need to rest. I need to keep working hard, though, because I can use the commission to pay my bills, and that is extremely important to me.
When it starts to become a reliable source of income for me (when not if) I will feel like it is okay to spend more time writing, because there is an income to support my household while I am writing. It is a wonderful revenue stream, and it brings me such joy to know that I am working towards my long term goals.
For now, I am aiming for pink status. It is a pay raise status, and it comes with a breakdown of 92 mascara sales per month. It might seem like a lofty goal, but I am going to apply myself to get there. I am training in groups to learn how to run my makeup business better, and it will pay off. Consistency is the key, just like it is with writing. It will come, as long as I keep showing up.
One final thought…
Have you ever found yourself wandering in your local drug store or a department store after going in for one thing, and finding deals in things you didn’t plan to buy? You just went in for milk and there was such a great deal on this lipstick… and the money you spent supported a chain store and a large company, right? Consider this, if you will. Planning your makeup purchases with an independent consultant like myself allows you to have one on one customer service, tailored to your specific needs, and supports someone who will be a trusted friend for life. Who do you want to support when you buy makeup? I made my choice, and I encourage you to give this some thought. Why support strangers when you can help your friend by buying the same products you are already buying elsewhere?
As always, I am only a message away. Stay beautiful, friends! #makeuphappens
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.
This week, I am reminding myself that minor setbacks are minor. I gained a couple of pounds after losing for a few weeks in a row. It is going to happen, and that is a fact of life. Fluids are going to be retained, no matter what plan you are on.
I am writing today to let you all know that I am still on the right path, even if I slipped a little. Some junk food made it into the house, and I am certain it is what caused this minor setback. It is okay, as long as I make a recovery plan.
It is summer. Ice cream.
I am human, and I will sometimes go for the ice cream. The trick is to make it a treat, and not an everyday event. I got bagels and cream cheese. I do like bagels and cream cheese and want them from time to time. It is better for the budget to buy them at the grocery store than at a cafe. I will do this from time to time. It is okay.
What isn’t okay is throwing my hands up into the air in a sign of defeat.
We all have those moments. The days when everything is going wrong and all you want to do is go get some fast food to make one thing easier on ourselves. Guess what? It isn’t true. If you give in, you are giving up on yourself when it becomes a pattern. If you get fast food every time things are not going well, it is going to become a bad habit, with some nasty side effects.
You will feel bloated, and you will retain fluid. Then you will get on the scale, and see it went up. What a nasty cycle of negativity.
One reason why I do not weigh myself every day is that I would become obsessed with my weight. It is not a healthy obsession, for me. It can cause a spiral of events that would have terrible side effects. Always wearing black clothes, and avoiding social events. When you don’t feel good about yourself, you want to hide. In case you haven’t learned this about me yet, hiding is not something I want to excel at.
While it is okay to have that treat once in a while, it is not okay to have treats every day, or more than once a day. Unless that treat is a salad. Fill up on healthy foods, and more than once a day is acceptable for healthy food choices.
What is working
I have been drinking a lot less pop, or for the south of the border readers, soda. I still have one every so often, but I am getting it less frequently than ever before. We are drinking more water, and of course, I am drinking coffee. I sometimes have a cold-brewed coffee or an iced coffee, and these beverages can be sugar-free. If I choose iced tea, it may or may not have sugar, depending on which one I choose.
I have cooked a bunch of boneless skinless chicken breasts today.
When I bake them in the oven, with greek and feta salad dressing, there are a variety of ways to make meals with chicken. I can then add it to a garden or pasta salad, casseroles( my favourite recipe is here) or make my own version of Buffalo chicken nachos. Not being a fan of anything super spicy, I add a smoky or hickory BBQ sauce and blue cheese dressing in place of the salsa and sour cream. Of course, I add chicken, tomato and green onion, but you can adapt nachos to include whatever options you prefer. It makes a nice change from ordinary nachos, and I haven’t made them often lately, but I do love my nachos. As long as they are mild.
When it comes to making casseroles, I stick to the Trim Healthy Mama recipes. They are found on their website, but if you search for them, many bloggers make their own THM recipes, and they are really great. I do need to focus more on cooking at home, and I have started.
What can you do?
It all goes back to doing what works for you. If you don’t know what that is yet, it might be time to try something new. I recommend checking with your doctor before making any serious dietary changes, to be on the safe side. Keto is really popular right now, but as a type 2 diabetic, I cannot eliminate carbs. That is exactly why THM is working for me, it is low carb, not no carb. I do not buy their products, except for the first book, I bought a while ago. I would buy all of their cookbooks before ordering their products. They do sell high-quality products, and I have no qualms about them. My reasons are that if I can find similar products locally, I will try to go that route first.
If you can make your meals at home, from scratch, it will make a difference in your health. I do enjoy cooking. The cleanup, not so much. Certain foods are optimal to batch cook to have leftovers, such as the chicken I cooked today. It will help me make better meal choices because it is ready to use. If I prepare food and have it ready to grab when I need it, I make healthier choices, and I do see results. If you aren’t a fan of buying chicken breasts in bulk, you can buy a whole chicken, and roast it in your oven or slow cooker with this recipe.
Start with one meal a day.
With THM, they recommend you start with breakfast. I am currently eating a smoothie bowl breakfast almost every day. A small container of yogurt, a small container of unsweetened applesauce and a raisin, nuts and seeds mix all together. I have been adding 20 almonds as well since we had bought some on sale and I want to use them up. There are plenty of other options out there, I also like eggs and avocado for breakfast. When I have too many meals in a row without carbs, I do notice a difference. So, I mix them up, to make things balance better for me. I choose to eat Silver Hills sprouted wheat bread. It is not on the plan, but I still use it. I like it, and that is important, too.
What changes can you implement to start your path or add variety to your journey to become a healthier version of yourself? Please share your thoughts in the comments below. I am curious, and always looking for new ideas.
I started a weight loss support group. It seemed like I was doing well at the start, with the weight loss. After the holidays, I gained more weight. I was very disappointed, but, I could only blame myself.
Things changed in my life around the same time. I changed jobs. I was a bundle of nerves, and I did it. After working at the same job for seven years, I took a chance. You can probably imagine how surprised I was to be unemployed three months later. Consequently, I am still adjusting. I am choosing to see this as an opportunity to write full time.
What I do have control over is what I eat. I have been unemployed for almost two weeks, and in that time I lost 10 pounds. I gained one back this week. My eating habits and my sleeping patterns need to be scheduled again. With a schedule, I will have more control.
I had an appointment with my doctor. She was expressing concern about my sugars. They were creeping back up again. One positive thing to note was my blood pressure was good we have been working to improve it. I was overwhelmed that day, and I told her I had nowhere to put the emotions I was fighting to hide.
I was having a hard time. There is no easy way to say it. I was struggling in many areas of my life, and I didn’t know how badly I needed help.
The doctor asked me if she could set up some appointments. With tears rolling down my face, I agreed. At the time, I was concerned about my work schedule. It is no longer an issue. I have had two of the appointments, and am working on the others. One is with the Diabetes Clinic. One is with a social worker. I did not know what to think about it.
The social worker was really nice. She explained that she meets with people to help them find the help they need, by connecting them with resources. If there is one thing I am learning, is that if you can use resources which are available to you. Use them to the fullest advantage.
We talked about the loss of my income. She recommended a community food program for fruits and vegetables. I am looking into it this week. She wants me to go to the career counselling center I had gone to about a year ago. In a few weeks, I will meet with her again.
An appointment with the health coach I had been working with back in the fall will be rescheduled. I had every intention to reschedule. Now I will make time. One would think that becoming unemployed unexpectedly would have left me with a lot of free time.
Why am I busier now?
I am working towards a freelance writing career. I am staying up too late and sleeping in. There is a need to make time for exercise. It will come. I need to catch up on chores. I am starting to work on them. We are eating more meals at home, as we have to be careful with our budget. Healthy eating will be a challenge on a tighter budget. I need to fight my way out of this to be able to take the next steps to managing my health, and my life.
I am making my own schedule. Today I went outside to shovel the snow. It was an attempt at a little fresh air and exercise. There had been a little snowfall today. I wanted to feel like I accomplished something.
Winter is hard on my mental health. I am susceptible to seasonal depression. I am adding vitamin D into my daily routine, to see if it helps. Today was a really hard day. I made myself get up, get dressed, and go outside. I didn’t want to get out of bed. Things will be easier in the spring. For now, I keep fighting.
This week, I accomplished a lot
I relaunched my website and I had some appointments. Today, I fought the winter blues and made my way outside. Tomorrow I am going to cook 2 healthy meal options for myself. I can keep working on my own goals, and stop being a victim of circumstances. I will. It might take some time to get things going in the right direction again. Once I make up my mind, things start happening. It is good to be blogging again. I think I need this part of my life to be active to help me to be accountable. Hopefully, this helps a reader one day too.
It’s hard to start over. How do you get things under control again? Let me know, maybe you can help me as I try to help you.