This is Trust Your Gut | What Did My Brain Just Tell Me? Trust Your Gut is a series of blog posts that began on February 2, 2017. In this first blog, I introduce the concept of the category and begin to share my own story. In this blog, specifically, I write about something very dangerous. Denial.
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.
Here is Trust Your Gut:Tish’s Story; Part 83.
In just about every online space you go, these days, at least in the platforms I use on a regular basis, people are talking a lot about mindset. The power of the mind is a miraculous thing when it is being used for a greater purpose. It can also lead people down the wrong path. I am not writing about the criminal mind, nor the mind of people who have mental health issues in this case, though. I am writing about how it can make you believe something that just isn’t true. In this case, I am writing about denial.
I love to read, especially fantasy and science fiction.
This love for reading has allowed me to expand my own creative horizons and write two books, with many other projects, and more to come, God willing. I love my imagination, and the way I can create worlds in my writing, with the hopes of fascinating readers with what I publish. When you read for pleasure, you also read to capture a bit of escapism from the real world.
I have been reading some books by Jim Butcher, who is the author of The Dresden Files. The main character, Harry, is a wizard for hire in these books, and I quite enjoy reading all of the trouble he gets into and manages to wiggle his way out of. It is a similar type of character that I have created more than once when I have been playing Dungeons and Dragons. Some of those characters have had fantastic adventures, the kind legends are born from. By doing the same thing as this wizard, in their own way.
Not too long ago, I was reading one of these books, called White Night. In this book, a character description made me pause and shake my head at what I heard myself thinking. The character was a mafia bodyguard, male, and he was described as massive, at over three hundred pounds. I thought to myself, “That’s not that big. I weigh over three hundred pounds.” It was at this moment I had to stop myself from reading, to process what I was thinking in response to that character description.
I then thought to myself, “Wait a minute. What did my brain just tell me?”
It was at this time I reread the paragraph and took a moment to process the amount of denial my brain has been feeding to me for the majority of my life. Three hundred pounds IS big. The distribution of the weight also plays a huge factor in this realization.
A person who is significantly taller than my five foot two and three-quarters of an inch in height would have the benefit of a larger area to distribute this much weight. Plus, it is a character described as a bodyguard, which would also have a different muscle to fat composition than I do. This character would be healthier, and not morbidly obese. Yet the weight of three hundred pounds is described as massive. I needed to proceed carefully as I processed this information.
I am still very mobile, even though lately I have had a hard time catching my breath. I can get up and down, walk and dance. I can sprint if there is a short distance to be covered and time to recover on the other side of that sprint. But I know that the distribution of my weight is all on the front side of my body, and it is more fat than muscle. And I got on the scale last week. I now weigh more than I did when I took that picture. It was really disappointing, but it is one reason why I am trying to do better.
I’m not going to make the mistake of thinking I am massive.
A part of last week’s story comes from the fact that people tell me I don’t look as big as I am, and that I carry the weight well. I am tired of not looking the way I feel. I do not see myself as massive, nor do I see myself as morbidly obese. When I look in the mirror, I just see myself. When I step on the scale, I see a number. Higher or lower than the last time, but nonetheless a number. This past week, it was 336.4 lbs. I am not in a hurry to get back on a scale after seeing this number, but when I do, I will share it for accountability. It is time to start dancing more every day.
On a positive note, I sang with the radio in the bathroom today to, “I want to dance with somebody” by Whitney Houston. I was done in the shower, and stayed in there to sing my heart out, and dance a little bit. When the song was over, I peeked around the corner at Roy and sang, “Don’t you want to dance, say you want to dance, don’t you want to dance?” His reply was, “Oh, I heard you singing.” He is not a fan of my singing, not at all. I said, “GOOD!” as I bopped down the hallway. We both laughed. I am doing better because I am trying harder. For now, that is what I am focusing on. Just doing as much as I can to be better.
When was the last time you had a reality check? #TrustYourGut
I have written before about emotional eating. I do it, and I am trying to change my relationship with food. It is not easy to change, but I am working on it, and I am making progress. Little by little, I am making changes and seeing results. Not too long ago, I wasn’t aware of how much I let food rule my world.
Living with type 2 diabetes; food is something that I can obsess about. It is easy to go for a quick and easy meal or snack when I tell myself I am stopping my blood sugars from dropping. Without testing, it is very hard to know whether the blood sugars are high or low. I know what to watch for, but it doesn’t mean that I can always tell.
I am working on taking my health more seriously this year. Since I have been testing my blood sugars more frequently, they are finally getting back to normal ranges. I am paying more attention, and my efforts are paying off. If I am going to do this, I need to remember to take my medications. It is good to be able to write that I am back on track with this.
On Being Kind To Myself
Choosing to prioritize my own health care IS being kind to myself. Making poor choices or slacking off is not. I saw the result of that over the holidays, and it was not pretty. Implementing changes like keeping track of taking my medicine or checking my sugars is a huge accomplishment.
In the fall, I bought myself some new clothes. Two new dresses, one casual and one for a special occasion. As I was in need of new dressier boots, I found a new pair and a new pair of casual shoes too. I don’t go shopping for clothes frequently, and there are times I go out and come home with nothing. When I find good sales on clothes or footwear, I usually get what I can; when the odds are in my favour.
Making a pointed effort to not go out and buy clothing regularly is telling myself that I am not worth the effort of going to shop for myself. While I can’t afford to buy new clothes every month, I should make an effort when I am in need.
How About My Dance More Goal?
I did Zumba at home 2 times last week. I have fallen behind on cleaning at home. Sometimes I switch it in when I need to get some cleaning done in place of the dancing. Recently I worked on switching the makeup area in my master suite by moving two storage shelving options around.
Dancing is the goal, but I needed to adapt it a bit to allow for any movement that is being done on purpose. Running errands, window shopping, even doing laundry and putting it away (not my favourite thing to do) is moving on purpose. Any activity is an extra activity for me now.
Being aware of the need to be more active means nothing if I am not actually making changes. It is not easy. Neither is shoveling snow, but it is necessary for the winter where I live. I also count it as an activity.
How Do I Stay Motivated?
One thing I learned a while ago when I was feeling bad about the state of my house is that if I watched the shows on TLC about Hoarders, it can inspire me to do more cleaning in my home. I am a packrat, not a hoarder. I can purge and throw things out or donate them. It isn’t always easy, but it can be done. I do need to be in the mood to tackle cleaning my home, and watching this show helps. It shows how bad things can get if you do not clean your home and consequently, it does make me feel like cleaning around here more frequently.
Some other shows I have been watching lately are My 600 Pound Life, and another one called The 1000 Pound Sisters. I am watching to learn how to help myself, with the same thought process behind it. I don’t want my weight to ever be that high. Watching the show is how I can learn about what not to do. The doctors on these shows have to be tough, and the people who are looking for the surgery have to commit to their health before they will get approved. I see their struggles, and I recognize some of the traits I have in common with the people on the show.
Emotional eating is a problem I admit to having.
Not in the same way the people on the show do, though. I have seen some really bad habits. Eating take out and going to more than one restaurant in a row, just ordering food, eating in the car, and going to the next drive-thru is something I have never done. Not for full meals. If I want things from different places to make up a meal, maybe, but this is a rarity for me.
One thing which really stood out to me is that more than one person relates their food to be their only friend. Not only does it make me sad to think that there are people out there who genuinely feel this way,l but it is something I have never had to deal with. I eat my feelings, but I do not rely on food to comfort me the way a friend would. It is not the same for me.
The good news is that some of those people succeed. It gives me hope that when I get serious with myself, I can make the changes needed to be healthier.
I 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.
Hi. It has been over a month since I last wrote anything at all in my blog. For those of you who have been patiently waiting for me to return, thank you. July has been a difficult month, along with being the good kind of busy. I am ready to start writing here again.
Yes, it is usually Thursday when I post, and it is in the wee minutes past midnight here; technically it is Friday. I have something to write about, and I don’t want to wait another week.
You see, the difficult part for me in July revolved around what I am calling the plague. Both Roy & I have been fighting it and we are finally starting to feel better. We aren’t at full health yet (gamer reference for the geeks out there), but we aren’t fighting brain fog from being sick anymore. The summer cold, sore throat, plague whatever we are fighting is a nasty bug.
While we were so sick, we realized that our water cooler had green stuff growing in it. Likely algae, possibly mold; needless to say, we stopped using it. I made an appointment with our doctor to verify if the antibiotics we were taking from a previous appointment were sufficient after this discovery. She advised that with no noticeable GI side effects, to stop drinking the contaminated water, we would be okay.
Even Jazzy, our new kitten was on medication in July.
Our going concern was hard to contain after she was spayed. Jazzy is a delight in our home but was so unaware of her surgery. She needed time to recover. The active kitten she is had ripped her stitches which caused her scar to become infected. So all three of us were sick and on antibiotics in July. It was indeed a difficult month.
With all the illness in our home, it does not surprise me that I had good news on the scale. The up and down battle is finally going in the right direction again. When I had gone on vacation, I peaked at around 326 lbs. This week, I weighed in at 318.5 lbs. I am working hard to keep this going in the right direction this time. I am making some changes.
My journey is leading me down a path of self-discovery.
It is no secret that I have been working on myself for a while now. I am trying to improve my life in terms of my health, self-confidence, and building healthy habits as I do the work. One thing I am doing is taking part in a challenge recommended by some friends. While all of the material is not all new to me, I have made some discoveries about myself while doing the work.
I was bullied as a child, and at different times throughout my whole life. Since I am an emotional person, and I have written before about eating my feelings, I have already shared my thoughts about this subject. You don’t get to be morbidly obese because you have normal eating habits. Something is broken inside of people like me who are more than overweight. It could be related to another health issue, but chances are, if you eat your feelings, it is because you are not dealing with the real issue.
As I am working on my own backstory for the challenge, which is called The Unstoppable Influence Challenge, I watch videos, and do assignments related to what I am learning. I made several discoveries, one of which I am going to share here.
When I met Roy, my husband, I was damaged goods.
He has never seen me skinny. I have been overweight, and that has progressed to being morbidly obese in the 25 years we have been together. We will be celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary in under a month. I had put on weight after having mononucleosis and tonsillitis in my first year of university, and we met the following year.
After being so sick, I had to make sure I was eating, especially because of the sore throat, and I did. As a child, I would eat my meals quickly to be the first one done to get dessert. My sisters were picky eaters, I was not. Eating was something I became very good at, in a home where we strived for approval to be good all of the time. My parents raised us well, and we were good kids. My stubborn streak is something I come by honestly, and I wasn’t a perfect child, but we all turned out to be decent human beings.
I realized something else while I wrote my backstory.
When we started dating, I told Roy that I had a protective shell around my heart, and he was patient enough to wait for me to let him inside as we fell in love and learned to trust each other. I used that analogy at the time because my zodiac sign is Cancer the Crab. When I took a long look into my past this week, I learned something else about myself.
I eat all of my feelings, including negative feelings from things said to me and about me to hurt me. Using food to build a protective layer around my whole body. I eat the negative hurtful feelings to surround me to keep more of them from getting to me. My weight is a physical manifestation (this term is new to me, from the challenge) of the negativity that I have been holding inside for my whole life.
The person running the challenge, Natasha Hazlett, said her weight was a physical manifestation of the hate she had for herself. When I heard her say that, I almost believed that this was my issue too. What I realized, is that it isn’t hate I feel for myself, but that I keep the hate I have felt from others in my life. As a result, I have held onto it because I didn’t know what else to do with it.
What does this mean?
It means I have to let it go. All of it. When you are a child and people say terrible things to you, there is no way to know how to handle those words. I cried a lot during my school days, and thankfully, most of those negative experiences are in my past. As a child, I didn’t know how to handle the negativity. If I deal with it now, to let it go, consequently, I will let the feelings go. The negativity I buried in me, from the inside out to be released with my excess weight.
As I am typing this out, I am shaking. It is hard for me to acknowledge this to myself, let alone the world at large. Since my word of the year is FEARLESS, and I want to lead by example, with integrity, it would not do me any good to keep this knowledge deep inside of me anymore.
I have a lot of work to do to lose the weight I need to lose. With this blog post, I am on the right path, finally, to be able to make the changes I need to make to become a healthier version of myself.
The biggest lesson I have been able to take away from this exercise is going to set me free.
I realized I don’t hate myself and that I never did. I love myself, and I always have. Now that I am an adult, and doing so much work on myself, it is a relief to me that my problem has never been how I feel about myself, but my reaction to how others wanted to hurt me. As a child, I did the only thing I knew how to do to protect myself. As an adult, I can face those negative feelings and chase them away.
In the challenge, we learn that we all carry metaphorical bricks in life, and they weigh us down. We learn how to deal with them, and of course, I put my own spin on this. Instead of following the imagery suggested, I have decided that I am going to grind every one of the bricks to dust, turn them to glitter, and let the ocean take them away. Sparkles in the sea, which are beautiful to me. What a way to release the things that weigh me down. Sending them to my happy place.
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.