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 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.
Happy Valentine’s Day! It seemed rather appropriate to write about the heart today. Heart health is important and should not be ignored. This post is not going to be one which is full of facts, spouting all the do and don’t guidelines for the organ’s health. Consequently, you are wondering, what am I going to write about?
The heart for me is a complicated topic. As a creative, I am very in tune with my emotions, which also relate to my heart. Every single beat of my heart wants to spread love and positivity far and wide. I have a strong heart, I am lucky. It can take a lot of use in its various functions, traditional and non-traditional. Let’s explore what I am writing about.
The heart pumps blood to every cell in your body and back in an impressively short amount of time. Constantly. When your heart is physically healthy, it is powerful. I like to think of mine as strong. I have had concerns, especially since I am morbidly obese. As a result of my concerns, I do have it checked when something feels wrong. I have been assured that my heart is not the source of any medical concern when I do get it checked. This tells me it is strong, physically.
Regular exercise is something I have been slack – a- lacking on in the last few months. Several, if I am being totally honest with you. I used to go to Zumba on a regular schedule, twice a week. The location has moved, and with my previous work schedules, it wasn’t always possible to make it in time for the class. The summer was very hot and humid, the price of gas was another reason, and I just stopped going. Once in a blue moon, I would have all the stars align to allow me to go, but it was painfully clear that I am now really out of shape again. I may be in the worst shape of my life as I write this.
It’s not like I don’t know what I have to do. I have to actually do it.
I have to stop making excuses, and just exercise. Last week a good friend encouraged me to walk 20 minutes a day. I countered with a plan to dance in my living room instead. Then I didn’t take action. That is on me. I let one excuse become two and then I had seven days of excuses, with maybe five minutes of dancing in the bathroom the other day. I play music when I am in the shower. It helps to keep me on track, and starts my day off a little happier because I add in music. My feet don’t move when I dance in the tub, for safety reasons. Before I get into the shower, however, I may be moved to dance to a whole song.
My husband even gave me a deadline to get the living room cleaned, which I have held in my mind but not really acted on yet. I have started. I have puttered at it. But it is still an excuse. So I need to take action on this also. Any movement at all counts right now. I know it is important. It is time to change the tune inside my head, to maintain the healthy heart I have. It works hard, so I need to honour it by taking better care of it.
The emotional side of me is all heart. I want to help people, I want people around me to be happy. When I am working on this and focusing on the needs of others, rather than on my own, it can be exhausting. This is the type of person I am, and I am learning that I need to also be a protector of my own heart, so it stays strong, emotionally. It might sound odd from a scientific point of view, but it is my truth. My heart is connected to me, and to everything around me.
I have been known to go above and beyond what is required on a project. I am an overachiever. It is in my nature to put the needs of others ahead of my own. This is a common issue for me and for many other people. We want to make sure everyone else is taken care of before taking care of ourselves. This can cause me to lose sleep, and become difficult to be around if you are not the person I am working on the project for. When this happens, I should stop and take a break. If there is a deadline, even a self – imposed one, I am not always able to stop.
I need to be more aware of this so I am giving my best all of the time, instead of focusing it on one project and letting the other areas of my life fall aside; as if they are not important. As if I am not important.
She wears her heart on her sleeve
One thing about being in touch with your emotions and embracing them means that if you are a heart-centered person like myself, we wear our hearts on our sleeves. I took red lipstick and black eyeliner to drew the heart on my arm to give a visual representation to what I know is my truth. I successfully completed the challenge, and have some remarkable photos I am very proud of taking as a result of participating.
This leads me to my final thoughts, back to emotions. I have been working on myself, and I am starting to see some positive results from the changes I am making. From the very heart of my being, I know I need to do more. It isn’t easy. If it was, we would all be healthy, active, emotionally balanced people. I embrace all of my emotions, and I need the full spectrum of what that means. I wouldn’t want to be any other way.
People look at me and assume that because I am morbidly obese, I am eating all the time, and lazy. I will admit to the laziness, I am working on overcoming it, in relation to my physical activity levels. This doesn’t mean I am not a hard worker, though. I give my all to everything I do work on.
Morbidly obese people who have issues don’t eat all of the time, however, we can eat our feelings.
It is not healthy, and I have done this to avoid facing my feelings. This is one very real thing that has contributed to my weight. It is not the defining factor, though. For me, it comes down to choices. I choose whether or not to be active. Choosing to eat a whole box of chocolates or a large bag of chips to eat my feelings away, instead of facing them. As a result of that choice, I may feel full, or even not well because of it, but I am not facing what is really going on in my life. Choosing fast food instead of taking an hour to cook. These choices add up. To one very important realization.
I am choosing the easy way because I do not feel like I am important enough to choose the better option. It is easier to avoid the issue rather than face feelings and deal with them. Choosing to do better is something I am working on. It is hard. There are so many choices available to me now that I am going to make the wrong ones sometimes. What do I need to do? Start taking action, by making better choices. This is truly the heart of the matter.
Let’s help each other to make better choices. How are you spending your Valentine’s Day? How are you showing yourself that you are important? Please, let me know in the comments.
I was supposed to write this story last week, but time got away from me. I have a lot on the go, and sometimes I have to decide what to prioritize. I am going to try and catch you all up on what has been going on.
I have made some changes recently, in the hopes of improving my health.
I have all but eliminated pop from my beverage list. I will still allow it from time to time, but Roy started this a little while ago, and I am supporting him. Even though Zevia is on the plan. I will still have pop with pizza, and sometimes at home, but we have reduced our intake. He has lost some weight. I have had improvements in my blood sugars, with this and paying more attention to what I am eating and remembering to take my medicine. Little changes add up to big results. My 3-month average was starting to creep up to a bad number. It was 9.6; 6 months ago. The doctors want is under 7. I am happy to say that the latest bloodwork had it down to 8.8. Yes, it is not where we want it to be, but my doctor was so impressed that she said not to worry too much about that awfully high number you see in the cover pic. It was my weight not that long ago.
I was participating in a 10 day, 30 photo challenge online when I took it. The camera did add 2 pounds ( really, it did). I took to my Facebook wall and asked what colour should I choose ambiguously for the challenge that day. Hot pink or Legendary Red. Hot Pink won by a landslide. I painted my toenails in pink, dug up the feather boa, and stepped onto the scale for a pic. I knew it was really hard to do, and sharing it was brave. I was scared, but for me and my journey, I needed to share this pic.
It will soon be amongst the 29 + other pics I took over those 10 days in an album or graphic soon. I want to have them all together, to show others what I am capable of. Take note of that ending of the last sentence. to show others WHAT I AM CAPABLE OF! I am learning more about myself and what I can do every day!
My weight is a concern to me. It is the highest I have ever been to, and I know I need it to change. With that in mind, I decided to reach out to a Health Coach, who was recommended by my Diabetes Case manager. I had a few things to check out for our first appointment.
I have taken on the Wellness Wednesday Project (WWP) as the Ambassador. I am trying to help people at work with contests, prizes and information. My boss offered this as something I could do when I asked him if I could write a blog for our workplace. I was going to be at work early in the morning for a couple of months, and I thought writing would be something I could do at that time. I cannot access my book online to work on it, there is only wi-fi in the mall, not in the call centre I work at. I am not able to work on it there, unless it is old school, pen and paper, on my own time. When I am not working on WWP, I do take the paper copy of my book in and edit or write stories for the Kit Sora Flash Fiction with Engen Books. In the last one I entered, I placed second with my story. I placed third recently in another one. They are fun, and I am glad I can enter them.
Rabbit hole. Sorry, I get distracted sometimes.
There is a point, though. 😉
I was researching the Health Coach idea in light of my own need, asking about options for a friend, and checking on what might be available for work. There are workshops, and that may be something that happens in the future. For now, I have some information and I am working on my own goals with her. I am able to meet with her for appointments and we are working on my sleep habits, first. I am not able to change them yet, but I am conscious of what I am doing that delays bedtime on work nights, and I am trying to do better. We are now lowering the goal from 5 nights a week to 2 nights a week, to see if I can find ways to sleep longer. 5 or 6 hours a night is barely enough to be able to function. I am managing, but not feeling like my best when I am following this sleep-deprived schedule.
In talking with her at my appointments, we decided that sleep is important enough as a foundation for achieving my goals that it should be the right goal to start with. I need to put a little more importance in my health and sleep patterns to live a healthier lifestyle. It will trickle into other areas, and I will have the energy for things that I want to do but am too tired to do.
Something I realized is that I am putting a lot of things in the way of going to bed, and I need to treat myself to the same level of importance by getting enough sleep every night. I am working on it.
Even though the scale is not being nice to me right now, I am making progress in my blood sugars, which is very important for a diabetic. Once I start getting the right amount of sleep, the scale will be nicer. I just know it.
The other thing I have done was start a weight loss support group tied in with #Tishspiration. I am trying to hold myself accountable. I am working with a small group to help them and myself, to stay motivated. I am getting great feedback, which helps me to know I am on the right track. It is good to have a place where friends are in the same boat with you, or as I shared in a gif, all kittens in the same roller coaster ride. Since it is a small group and kept secret, the people in it feel safe sharing what is going on. I am finding their stories inspirational to me. It is a place to share our journey, and I do think it is going to help us all, in one way or another.
Like I wrote at the start, I am very busy these days. I am enjoying it as long as that is still a side effect, I will keep on keeping on!
#Tishspiration is the word I finally created to describe what has been going on in my life for the last two years or maybe even longer. I have been aware of it for the last two years, this I am sure of. I have been telling my husband for years that I am full of surprises. It went from being a saying to becoming what my superpower is. The best part of all of this is that I am using my powers for good. I am constantly surprising people around me with what I am doing. The best part is when I surprise myself. That is the true meaning of Tishspration, the part I want to share with the world. It can happen to you. I am going to try to explain it, and then give advice for what YOU should do when Tishspiration happens to you!
I have been on a journey for the last 2 years. It started when I watched that inspirational video, where I took away the message that I need to live while I am alive so that when I die and I think back on the life I lived, not filled with regrets and what ifs. I want to live life to the best of my ability. That includes trying things and doing my best. It means not dwelling on what might or might not happen, because I have done something to make a change. I am pushing my limits. I am trying new things. I am chasing my passions. I am surprising myself.
Where do you start? Well, asking me is one way to find out more. Waiting for my book about Tishspiration is another option. It will be a few months from now before it is ready. What do you do in the meantime?
Think about what you want to do with your life. What is something that you are really good at, something that you get so involved with that before you know it, several hours have gone by. It should be something that comes really easy for you, even if you don’t think it is your passion. If it isn’t it might be a clue to where you are supposed to be going on your journey.
People are starting to pay attention to what I am up to. Some of them are curious. Some of them want to say they knew me before I started my journey, to be a cheering squad from the sidelines. There is nothing wrong with either of those reactions.
There is a small group of people that are watching me, and thinking about their own lives. They have seen me change and start to grow into the person I am now, and they wonder what if it happened to them? To me, the answer is simple. I would simply ask them, why not? Why not take one step in the direction you want to go in? Why not prepare yourself for what could be, instead of hating the way things are and doing nothing?
What is stopping you?
Fear of failure.
Fear of not being accepted for being the unique and wonderful being that you are, from the inside out, the one you have buried inside for safe keeping.
Want to know a secret?
I am scared of failure too. When I try something and it falls flat, I let myself lay there for a while. In the melodrama of despair.
I cannot do that for very long, anymore. I have a drive in me, fueled by passion, bursting at the seams with stories to tell.
I am a Lyricist, with songs I cannot sing.
I am a Blogger, because I need to write.
I am an author, with some small published works, who is writing her first novel, and planning 5 more.
I need to let my stories out. If I keep them inside, they hurt me because I am selfishly not sharing the gift I was born with. By writing my books, I will be accomplishing my lifelong dream of becoming a published author. Surprising myself and others with how good I am at this writing thing. Most importantly, I will be sharing this gift with the world.
Because deep down inside, all of us know what our purpose is. We just have to be listening to our hearts whispering the answers to us. Then we need to make a plan and act upon it. One step at a time, on this journey of life. If you smother a spark, it will extinguish in time. Don’t smother your passion. Let it trickle out until you feel like opening the dam and letting it flow free.
Friends, I am standing in front of a lever, preparing to open the floodgates. The next step for me is getting my book published. I hope that you are 1% as excited as I am about it. I can assure you, I am the other 99% on the excitement scale, and then some! I cannot wait to be able to share this book with the world. I sincerely hope that you all will agree that it is worth the wait.
So what do you do if #Tishspiration strikes? Congratulate yourself on a job well done, then move on to the next goal. That is what I do, and I am an expert at #Tishspiration. It has gotten me this far…