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.
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.
Just over a month ago, I had a breakthrough. Which I shared here with you, and I have to say, it is still having an impact. After gaining a few pounds (okay like 5) since I wrote that post, I am recovering by losing, even more, this week.
The scale was at 322.7 last week. Ugh. Having the breakthrough and seeing 318.1 the previous week was so encouraging! I was sure I unlocked the secret to weight loss for me. Then I went back up. I didn’t give up, though. The breakthrough was powerful, so I kept working, and when I got on the scale this week, I weighed in at 317.6.
I know I am doing something right.
A choice that is helping is that I stopped buying ice cream. Summer is over, so that is a logical choice. I was still tempted when I ran out to pick up a few things. I know this will be an ongoing struggle for me, however this time I didn’t give in. It helped that there weren’t as many sales in the ice cream section for sure.
Cooking For Two
When I am planning what to cook, it is hard to balance what I am going to eat with what my husband wants to eat. He is not a fan of the healthier lifestyle I am working on, so he sometimes has opinions which don’t make me feel good about what I have cooked. Some recipes he likes. Others are not an option for future meals.
He doesn’t mean any harm, but he is a fussy eater at times who does tell me when he does not like something. Radishes in the beef stew were not something he wants to experience again. He wants potatoes. I can accept that. He tried it.
When I overcooked the asparagus in the oven, he surprised me. He liked it because it was crunchy. I could make that again, and he would eat it. He doesn’t speak his mind about not liking what I make very often if I am being honest. After being together for more than 25 years, and married for 9 of them, I do know how to cook the food he likes.
The trick is in the compromise. If he says he likes something enough to eat it again, I ask him what frequency he would like to see it in our meal planning. Every two weeks is a common answer, sometimes once a month means he isn’t a huge fan, but he would eat it again.
Head Games Can Be Positive
Remember the start of the blog today, when I was referring to the breakthrough I shared in a previous blog? If you missed it, here it is. I wrote about not knowing how to deal with negativity. I am working on making healthier choices, of course, but it isn’t the only thing that is working.
Tuesday night, I tried to think about the breakthrough, and about letting go, and imagining myself feeling lighter. I had a loss on the scale the next morning. It worked. Is there a scientific explanation for this? I am trying to incorporate this lighter feeling into every day. It is about letting go of things that are weighing me down. I know there are other factors involved in the number I am seeing on the scale, but this is new territory for me, and I am open to working on it, especially if I keep seeing positive results.
When I saw the number on the scale, I was pleasantly surprised. While I am making better food choices, they aren’t always the best all the time. We have been snacking on chips and dip. We both know that there are healthier choices, but sometimes you have to give in to a craving, to get it out of your system.
The chips and dip are all gone. We are going to avoid buying them for a while. This is something we are working on, keeping less junk food in the house. Lowering our regular pop intake. Drinking more water, and I am choosing Zevia when I can for the pop cravings.
Can It Really Be This Easy?
I am going to find out. This journey comes with all sorts of twists and turns as well as ups and downs. I know that realistically I am not going to think away the weight. I realize that sometimes the scale is not going to show a loss and that there are plateaus and gains in my future.
But what if I can increase my chances of success by imagining myself as a little bit lighter, every day? It won’t hurt to give this method a try, to see what I can accomplish by trying a new tactic. A positive mindset is an important tool in anything you do, so why not apply it to the biggest struggle of my life? Focusing on myself feeling better, lighter and weighing less might just be what I need to tip the scale in my favour for real. I wrote that I was ready a few weeks ago. Now I am open to the possibility of change.
What do you think about this? Have you ever tried this method? Did it work for you? Let me know, I am curious to see if this breakthrough is a solo act or if it can be a group effort.
The journey of #Tishspiration has been an adventure, with many twists and turns along the way. Right now, it really feels like an uphill battle. You know what I mean, you are on a narrow path, climbing a mountain one step at a time.
When this happens, you have two choices. You can stop for a rest, or you can choose a different path. I choose to rest when I need to but keep aiming for the top of the mountain.
I have been working towards the dream of launching my own business since January. While I am on this path, I am meeting people, in the areas of personal and business development. I have been in a constant state of learning for three years. Becoming an entrepreneur alongside of being a published author is the direction I must keep moving towards.
Here is the thing. For the last three years, I have been learning as much as I can from free online training programs. I have to confess, that first one with the pitch at the end really threw me for a loop. I had never experienced a sales pitch for an online program before.
In this realm of online training, you have two choices. You can choose a program to invest in to have professionals help you get your business idea up and running, or you can do it yourself.
If you only have time and energy to invest in your business, it makes investing money into your dreams difficult. I started with baby steps to invest in myself financially. Quite frankly, in the online business world, it comes highly recommended.
I have had good experiences, and I have had good results after paying more than I expected. There are lessons to learn as I work towards bettering myself.
What have I tried?
I tried an online coach hot seat. I would be able to talk about my business and the coach would ask questions and offer advice. The really cool thing is that participants like myself also offered help and advice. It may have been my nervousness which caused them to want to offer support, as I was visibly nervous when my turn came around.
The coach was gracious and encouraged me to talk more about my business plan. (It has changed entirely since this session). She knew from my application that there was more to my business plan than what I was saying when the spotlight was on me. Except for my nervousness about being in the hot seat with someone I follow who is confident and has an incredible sense of business, this experience was a positive one, which I would do again if the timing and price were right.
What else have I tried?
I took a paid online challenge. There is no disputing that I did indeed get value from working through this challenge. However, the cost of doing so from a financial point of view was more than double what I expected to pay.
The series of unexpected charges which kept adding up made me feel like I was not treated fairly. I was aware of the exchange rate and having to pay a little more because I live in Canada, not the USA. After the first unexpected charge on my credit card, I asked some questions. They answered, and I was okay with their explanation until the postman delivered a book to go with the challenge, and I had to pay more money.
The work done with this online challenge did lead to a breakthrough for me, and for that I am grateful. I didn’t sign up for their next challenge, as I had a bad taste in my mouth when the sales pitch came at me.
What Lessons Have I Learned?
Sometimes I get really nervous. It can impact my experience both positively and negatively. It positively gathered more support for me than anyone else in the group coaching session. My authentic self has the ability to surprise me in what it can do, even when my palms are sweaty and my words are not conveying my whole message. I will go for it again and be less nervous the next time because I have tried it before.
It is good business sense to set the expectations for your clients in all aspects of the services you are providing. If I had known how much that paid online challenge was going to cost me in the end, I may not have taken it. Or, I would have been expecting each charge, and not becoming upset when I experienced each additional fee.
Now, some of you may be thinking I should have refused the package. It was tempting, but I want to read this book to see if it is worth the extra cost. I went to my husband one more time, as he does our household budget and I explained that there was yet another unanticipated charge on a credit card. We were both ticked off at the financial consequences of my signing up for the paid online challenge. After our discussion, we also agreed that the lessons to be learned would not be easily forgotten.
Surprises are everywhere.
Regardless of the financial impacts, I have crossed a toe over the line into paid online training. The value of what I have learned outweighs the charges on the one hand. On the other hand, I had a breakthrough with personal growth and I was amazed when people started offering to help me from an unpredictable source.
Tishspiration is The Art of Surprising Yourself. When you push your boundaries and limits, even in a small way, you might just be surprised at the results. It will not be a big deal unless you choose to learn the lessons life delivers to you and you are open to the possibilities of success. When you find your own Tishspiration, please do celebrate it with me! It is a feeling like no other when you accomplish something you never thought you could do. I would love to celebrate with you, so please share your wins in the comments so I can.
Please Note: As a Type 2 Diabetic, I can only write this article based on my own personal experiences. Some of what I am sharing may apply to Type 1 Diabetes, but I am not able to confirm this myself. There are many complications of diabetes which are very well documented with scientific and medical proof, but this post is one I have been thinking about for a while, so I am going to go for it.
The epidemic of Type 2 Diabetes caused by obesity is a well documented topic. There are many campaigns to encourage healthier eating around the world. They are only effective, however, if they are based in medicine and science. The other factor is if they are actually followed as guidelines or not.
The Canada Food Guide has recently made some changes.
In 2019, Canadians were shocked when the old Canada Food Guide was replaced by the NEW Canada Food Guide. It is supporting a more Mediterranean based diet. More lentils, fruits, vegetables, protein and water are the basics to build on. While it is likely a healthier diet to follow, the dairy sector seems to be less emphasized in the new food guide. It is not on the landing page. It was a main food group in the previous versions.
In contrast to the lower focus on dairy products, the only one I have eliminated is milk. These days, I drink unsweetened cashew milk, with or without vanilla. I am not lactose intolerant. I do have cheese, cream cheese, plain greek yogurt and sometimes ice cream to make sure I have calcium in my diet.
The new food guide seems like a drastic change, but it can also be useful.
When I was first diagnosed as a Type 2 Diabetic, there was a panic.
The only thing I was scared of was the needles. I didn’t want to take insulin injections. Consequently, I put them off for as long as I could, and now I am taking 5 needles a day. When I am making the effort to take care of myself. On days when I sleep in, I don’t eat breakfast early enough to have the 3 meals, and the 5 needles. Sometimes my suppertime insulin doses are forgotten until bedtime. Some days and I am not wanting to scare my family or friends who might read this, but I forget to take it at all.
In reference to the title of this blog, Mind Games are a Complication of Type 2 Diabetes; it is a vicious cycle to fall into, but it exists. Furthermore, it is real, and it is something I am struggling with. I forget to test my blood sugars. I forget to take my insulin. As an imperfect human by design, I am a human with type 2 diabetes. I need to take control again.
I certainly do take responsibility for what I put into my own mouth. It is easy to blame a situation, or what someone is offering as a way to happiness through food. I do eat my feelings, at times. This means I am owning what I am doing to myself by the choices I make, but not taking control of my type 2 diabetes, and therefore my life.
The experts talk about protecting your liver, kidneys, eyes, heart and feet.
The experts have used these complications in their medical scare tactics for years. I have heard all about them, and sometimes my brain wanders while I am supposed to be paying attention. Other times I think not me, I am not going to be affected by this disease in those ways. What I should be doing is everything possible to avoid these complications now, because as a result of not taking control with better choices, when they happen, it may be too late to fix the complications.
This is the most important point I need to make here. I do know what I should do. Making better choices for myself, and taking control of my own life should be the most important priority for my health. I should listen to the warnings, and take them seriously, and more importantly, I should take better care of myself. Here comes the head trip.
It isn’t easy to always make your health your number one focus in your life when it requires a constant effort to do so. When I choose the easy way, or the lazy way, that too is a choice I am making. Should I exercise every day, for at least 20 minutes? Yes. Do I? No. That is a choice. It is easier to not think about these things, therefore avoiding them, than it is to focus on them and remain committed to a healthier lifestyle.
I have seen the positive results in my life when I do take control and make better choices.
So why can’t I do this all of the time? You may think it is a form of depression, which is also one of those complications the experts warn about. It isn’t what I am referring to, at least in terms of my own experience. Some days I do really well, other days not so much. It is not consistent with me at all. I might have a good plan, then three hours later realize I never bothered to try to get any of it done.
When left to my own devices, I will slack off to doing nothing about my health. It is a fact, I have proven to myself time and time again. I know what I should be doing, and I just don’t make the effort. My mind games involve my own feelings of self worth. I know I have self esteem issues. I know that I can overcome them. Again, we are back to choices and control. Without making the right choices, and taking control of my own health, I am leaving myself open for further complications. Consequently, this also opens the door to more medications to try and slow the damage I am doing to myself.
I am driven to succeed. I am striving to be fearless. The season is changing, and I am taking vitamin D, when I remember, to help me find a way out of what appears to be seasonal depression. I know what I need to do. I need to change my mind, for good. It is time to make more changes in my life. At this point, the list will unfurl to be a scroll which goes the full length of the mini home I am living in, and then some.
As a result of the mind games, I am starting to see what happens when I let them win.
Today I feel like I am really out of shape. I am having muscle pains in odd areas. My chin size increased. I am not able to move as quickly as I would like to, nor am I able to find the energy to do things. These symptoms have led me to the realization that the mind games have to stop. I need to take control, get a routine, and make some positive habits.
When you have spent your whole life being too hard on yourself, and become an all or nothing person, it is incredibly difficult to change the path you are on. Since I have come to the decision to start making some new changes, I need to take the time and write them down. If I just think about things, it is not as likely for me to take action. I need to create a new game for my mind. Only then can I truly win.
As always, please leave comments if you have any at the end of this post. I am working on something new for the website, relating to the Trust your Gut series, and your feedback may help me to find better ways to help other people with weight issues. If you would like to share your own story in this category, it is always open to submissions.