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.
Since I last wrote a Trust Your Gut blog entry, I have been trying new things. I imagine myself to be lighter before I step on the scale. You might say I am manifesting through God, a lighter, healthier version of myself. I imagine all of the negativity that I keep within my body in the form of weight to be released.
To my complete and total shock, it is working.
Not only am I doing this, but I have started a month-long journey in a group coach setting. We meet in an online Zoom room, and Coach Elaine guides our sessions. There are also followup emails and activities for us to work on for the rest of the week.
To my complete and total shock, it is working.
We are learning how to use her VIBE method to help us achieve emotional weight loss. It is Coach Elaine’s own program, and it doesn’t involve a diet. Of course, she encourages to work on building healthy habits, but the focus is not on food.
The focus is on our emotions. We talk about feelings and share our emotional responses within the group. As there is a confidentiality agreement, I may only share my own experiences here.
I made some promises to myself when I started writing this blog category.
If you have been reading as I have been writing, you know I decided a long time ago that I wanted to mark significant goals in my journey. Specific rewards for becoming a healthier version of myself. With chocolate. Not the kind you eat. Chocolate diamonds, and a chocolate brown coloured dog. Things I really want to do for myself.
When my weight drops below 300 pounds, I will take a new picture of my feet on the scale, to celebrate my success.
When I got home from vacation in July, I had let the weight creep up to 326 pounds. It was at this time I decided to work towards Twoville and take a picture when I got there.
Other than one week since then, I have been watching the numbers on the scale drop. I am making healthier choices. Drinking less regular pop, drinking more water. Eating more Trim Healthy Mama recipes for lunch. When I am eating out, I try to compromise with a balanced meal instead of a carb-heavy meal.
My focus is not only on food, anymore.
When you change how you think about food, and stop obsessing about it, changes are bound to happen.
I am not letting food dictate my days any more. I do eat, but I am finding joy in other areas of my life, instead of trying to capture it in every bite.
There are two possible outcomes as a result of what I am doing. If I completely stop caring about what I eat and eat whatever I want all of the time, I would not see the weight going down. I am happy to say that I am seeing the other result. My weight is going down because I am thinking about my food in terms of choices, rather than obsessing about it and what I am going to eat next.
I am working on me, as I have been all year. This involves many appointments and a huge learning curve in some areas. One of the things I have started doing since working with Coach Elaine is to start being kind to myself.
What does it mean?
Being kind to myself involves making choices which are positively going to reflect on me as a person. It does not mean always taking the easy route, in fact, it involves pushing my limits, within reason. For example, it means I set aside the time to cook a healthy casserole for my lunches. The time it takes to cook meals is not always what I want to schedule. However, if I make the choice to do this for myself, I will have easy lunches for several days. I am choosing to invest time into something which is important. Something which allows me to not waste time or energy finding another choice for lunch which would not always be healthy.
It also means choosing to walk more, to try to be more active. In the last few weeks, I have started telling my husband that I am walking to the next store we need to go to, rather than driving there. I am making a conscious effort to add more steps into my day, as I found my smart band, and I am remembering to put it on.
Most importantly, I am not holding on to negativity. I am looking at the positive side of everything I can and reflecting it outward. It means I am choosing what is going to positively benefit me and my health, not what is going to give me an instant gratification which would always bring along guilt and shame with it. This is what I believe I am doing to be kind to myself, and to my complete and total shock, it is working.
I am seeing results from my work.
I have lost 23.5 lbs since July 10th, which means I am almost ready to take a new picture of my weight for this blog. Now that I am actually seeing results, I am excited to keep working on my health. In fact, I released 8.5 lbs since my second session with Coach Elaine two days ago, and I had lost 4.9 lbs in the previous week. I usually weigh myself on Wednesdays. When I weigh again on Fridays, I have noticed that I am seeing amazing results. It makes me want to follow this trend to see if I keep losing weight on Fridays. I don’t know if it is because of the training I am doing on Wednesdays which is helping the weight loss, or if it is something that will continue when I am done the program.
I damn near fell off the scale when I saw my weight today. 302.5 lbs! As I have signed up for an accountability group with a small prize for the top three weight losses in the next 3 months, I was only getting on the scale to get a picture of my weight for the contest. If I didn’t take the picture, I don’t think I would even believe I saw that number on the scale today. The changes I am making are adding up to be positive experiences, even if they require me to work on myself to get to the other side. With results like these, I would be foolish to stop.
Next week I will share what I decided to do this week after my session with our group led by Coach Elaine. It relates to a similar topic I have written about before, but it steps it up to be a whole new level of how I look at myself.
Until then, if you have any thoughts about this post, I would love to read them.
When I wrote Trust Your Gut part 64, I was struggling. Immensely. I was having difficulty with managing my day to day life, and with controlling my type 2 diabetes. Since then, I have worked really hard and made some positive changes.
I have been unemployed for two months, and I was feeling lost, in many areas of my life, health included. I have had blood work, and the monthly average had gone up again. It was over 10 in the last 3 months, and that is considered high. The three-month average should be under 7 or lower, to be considered as under good control.
I was falling further and further out of control. This had me in such a state that I almost went into full panic mode. I knew I had to make some drastic changes or things would continue getting worse and worse. The complications of diabetes are well documented, and poor blood sugar control only exacerbates the issues.
I made a decision.
I had another appointment at the Diabetes clinic, that is when I found out that my blood sugars went up again. The first thing I did was talk about medications. I have had a prescription for a new medication since the last time I saw my doctor in January. With the job loss, and my husband in a new job, we did not have medical coverage for the new medication, and it was expensive. I had to wait before I could start it.
Meanwhile, my doctor is now aware of the increased 3 month average of my blood sugars. She may not know that I lost my job, and asa result of seeing my last blood work results, I will bet she will be planning to give me a stern talking to when I see her. I hope to distract her with the proof I have been doing much better since I was finally able to start the new medication this past Saturday.
I started to take Victoza. It is an injectable drug, taken once daily. At the diabetes clinic, I was asked if it would be better for me to take it once a week, which required a different prescription for a different drug, or if once a day would be manageable. I decided to stick with the once a day option, as I know myself too well. If I picked Monday for the once a week, and forgot, then as a result, I wouldn’t know what to do. I have been doing really well remembering to take it once a day, with the new system I have had some help to set up at the clinic.
In less than a week, things are SO much better!
Today, I had to call the clinic, only 5 days after starting the new medicine. I have had a blood sugar low, and this means that the new medicine is working SO well, that I have to lower my insulin amounts to compensate. Hallelujah! Progress in the right direction! What a relief!
There are side effects of the new medicine. They are not as bad as they were when I started it. My stomach is settling down, as there were a few upset days. I am hoping that I continue to tolerate it well because my sugars are stabilizing.
What else am I working on?
Furthermore, I asked at the clinic for help to keep track of what I am eating, and my medicine intake. Since I have 2 agendas, I am now using the larger one as a food/water/medicine intake journal. I have kept up with it, and it is helping me to stay accountable. Really, I wasn’t kidding when I wrote that I have proof to bring to my next doctor’s appointment. Sometimes it is okay to ask for help, as long as you are willing to do the work once you get it.
Until this year, I have been asking for help and not getting the right kind of support for my health. I have tried things and been told that I am doing fine, and the appointments would be less frequent, or just stop, so I am pushing harder for the help this time. It is still up to me to do the work, but it feels like I am going to have the right kind of support this time. I just need a little help, to figure out the best way for me to take control of my health. I am happy to say that having a plan, finally, is just what the doctor ordered.
Most importantly, I am working on a lot of things right now. I am not only working on my health, but I am also learning how to organize my days, to have more structure. I needed help with that. Next week I will be seeing a dietitian. I hope things keep going well. For now, I am celebrating a little bit. Something is working, and as a result, it seems like I am going to be able to keep progressing in the right direction for a change.
Have you asked for help and been let down?
Don’t give up. Keep asking. Maybe like me, you haven’t found the right person to help you yet. It only took me 20 years. Sometimes it pays to be stubborn.
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.
Grief happens, because it is a part of life, and life happens. We all experience grief in different ways, and at different times. There are stages of grief, and they are well documented by experts. My story today was inspired by a recent wave.
I have been lucky, to be 42 years old, I have lost some of my grandparents, and their siblings, and two of my uncles; but most of my immediate family members are alive. I dread the coming days when that changes. It will happen, and I will have to deal with it unless I die before the rest of my family. I don’t dwell on it, and I don’t live in fear of what will be. We all have our time, and there is nothing we can do to avoid it. What we can do is live, and try to follow the moral guidelines we hold dear to our souls.
In the years since I have moved to Fredericton, NB, I have experienced the loss of some friends. It is a hard thing to learn to live with, the loss of a close friend. There are two people in particular that I am thinking of. They were my friends, and I still miss them.
I don’t focus on the loss, once time passes, and the funeral becomes a little less fresh in my mind. I have a lamp that one of these friends gave me, at my desk. It has an arm and hinges to tighten to hold the lamp in the position I want it to stay in.
Every once in a while, the lamp tilts down. I have always seen this as my friend’s ghost checking up on me. It may sound silly, but I say hi to him whenever it has fallen down. This friend became ill when a virus attacked his heart. He had some time to prepare for the end, and we all knew it would happen. We had all gathered in the hospital to show support for him and his wife, near the end. It struck me hardest before he was gone, one of our mutual friends had gone in to see him, and he was not in very good shape. I wanted to know if she had told him that my husband and I were there, so he would know. She said she had told him for us. When this friend dropped me off at home, I was alone. I leaned against my door, after I had closed it, and had my cry. I cried off and on for a week, little fits here and there, but that was my moment when I let myself feel the pain of losing that friend.
On New Year’s Eve, 2016, I was with the same group of friends, celebrating the beginning of 2017. It was our annual house party, and it is always a potluck. We meet, have a few drinks, eat, talk, and play games. If there is a World Juniors Hockey Game being aired, my husband makes our hostess turn on a TV, so he can enjoy what is notably the best hockey in the world, especially if Team Canada is playing.
When we came home, it was 2017. I had enjoyed a lovely evening and was in good spirits. I walked over to my desk, and the lamp had tilted while I was out. I said hello and happy new year and did something I haven’t done before. I sent a group message to the other friends that were at the party with me and passed on the story, and a happy new year from our friend’s ghost. It felt like the right thing to do.
The other friend died more recently, we are quickly approaching the one year mark. We became fast friends when we met on a dance floor. I had talked to her on occasion before that night. When my friends wanted to bail I asked her if I was welcome to hang out with her for the rest of the evening, and it started a beautiful friendship that ended way too soon.
It was the big C she was fighting when she lost the battle. Cancer is awful, and she fought like a warrior; until she couldn’t anymore. My friend was vibrant, beautiful, and had just started a new phase in her life. She had moved away for school. She was an artist, and learning was something she was passionate about. We kept in touch on Facebook, and she was really enjoying the courses she was taking.
One day she confided in me that she had found a lump, and it was cancer. I stayed in touch, and we chatted about school, her cats, her treatments, and her apartment adventures. One day I realized that she hadn’t been saying much. She was losing her fight. I started a conversation; that was the last one we were going to have. I was trying to be supportive and positive. It wasn’t working. So, I did what I do best. I got her laughing. We went down a silly path in that conversation about her feelings about cancer. She got to vent, creatively. I like to think I helped her deal, in a very small way.
This week, I saw an ad for a band I like that is coming to town. I always go to see them, and I don’t plan anything different this time around. I was sharing it on my wall when it hit me. I had introduced my friend to this band before she moved away. We had a blast, and she liked them, too. She was a people watcher and was confused by the mixture of people and styles of the other fans that were there. We decided that they were Preppies, Hipsters, and Lumberjacks. Plaid and beards and all mixed with a few clean-cut well dressed glasses wearing people. An odd mixture, but all present enjoyed the show, as always. I took her a little out of her comfort zone that night, but we had a lot of fun, and it was worth it.
So the other night, when the memory of seeing the band with her the last time they were in town hit me, I was sitting at my desk; overwhelmed with grief. I let the tears fall. It was completely unexpected but necessary. That’s the thing about grief, it has to run its course. Things happen, and you feel sad sometimes. It is what it is. It is healthier to deal with the feelings when they arise, instead of bottling them inside, where they fester and grow. Not letting your feelings out is toxic, and it never ends well, because instead of a healthy release, it could be an explosion, and the aftermath of that could be a bigger disaster than you are able to handle. So focus on the good times, and the memories that make you smile. When you need to express your grief, you don’t always get to choose when or how that happens, but it is necessary to help you move past the grief being so heavy on your heart all of the time. There is nothing wrong with grieving, and I do cry when I am overcome with grief. I try to be alone if I can, but you can’t plan it every time. You just have to deal with it, and keep moving forward, until it isn’t so raw. The important part is to let it out, so you can begin to heal.
It never goes away. I will always miss my friends, but I am still here, and I have to keep on living. One minute at a time, to a day at a time; whatever I am capable of in that moment. My first friend made me promise to take good care of my health, and I am honouring his memory by doing my best to be healthier. My second friend was an artist, and I am working towards writing a book this year. She would be proud that I am working on a lifelong goal, and as we had talked about many things during our friendship; she would also be happy to know I am working on my health and cleaning and organizing my house before getting the book started. She had a preferred method for upkeep on cleaning styles, and I plan to get that method in place when the deep clean is done, so I keep up with it for the long-term. That is how I am honouring her memory. This is important too, it helps me keep them in my heart, without causing more grief. If you don’t have a special way to honour the memory of a lost loved one, start one.
Random acts of kindness are a positive way to do good for someone else, and in your heart, it can be from your loved one, in their memory. Take whatever time you need to decide what it will be, and follow through. This way, it won’t just be yourself that you help, it just might help someone else cope a little better in their day, too. Even if it only makes you feel better for an hour, it is a start, and by helping others, you can begin to help yourself heal in a positive way.