I’m All In

As I mentioned previously in another blog, I am struggling. I have the skills to lose weight. I am a self- proclaimed expert having a life time of observation, and experience. However, being sixty years old now requires more effort and an all out “war” on weight loss.

I must do it all. I must think it all. I must pull out all the stops to retrain and reprogram my brain.  And, above all, I need help. I need to immerse myself in the “all things and all tools weight-loss.”

Optavia/Lean Cuisine:

I had already become a member of Optavia so I’m continuing with some of their prepared foods. I like this because I don’t have to think about what to have or spend a lot of time prepping.

A note about Optavia:   I only do the food. I was turned off by the push to become a coach and use it as income driver. I did not like that I couldn’t be upfront about the cost of food and the program overall. That said, SO many people have had AMAZING success with it. Check it out on your own if you think this might fit for you.

Activated You:

A supplement that I put into my Optavia shake to give me nutrients that I need. They say I’ll notice that I’ll feel better in two weeks. Let’s see!

Jane Fonda’s New Workout:

My go-to workout. It truly is one of the best workouts still to this day. I believe it first came out in the early 1980s.  But I tell you it works everything and has cardio.

GOLO:

This is new for me. Have no idea what it really is or if it will work. To be continued.

Apple Watch:

I set my own goals for standing, exercise, and calories burned. It’s fun to watch the “rings” close when I have achieved one of my goals.

Vision Board:

My favorite thing to do is put my goals on a board. It’s creative and fun. I have about four others. I create new ones as goals are realized or I decide a different path.

Noom:

Weight loss app. Again, many success stories. What I like is that they really want you to succeed. In the beginning they give you payment options on a tier based on what you can afford. How amazing is that!?  They also are not afraid to have other diet program foods listed in their calorie count. Not sure if this will work but I like their company culture so far.

I’m curious what works for others over the age of 60.  Please share.   In the meantime, I will be a walking billboard for the weight loss industry.

Did You See? She’s Fat Again!

What’s worse than being fat?  Being fat, losing weight, gaining weight and being fat again.  Been there in the past and here now.

There have been many times throughout my life that I lost weight only to gain it back again.  The first time I lost weight I was thirteen.   I lost weight in the Spring to the point of becoming on the verge of being anorexic.   I would count every calorie and remember being proud that I came up with a 200 calorie a day meal plan for myself.  I was excited that it was so much better than my 500-calorie plan.  Obviously that was not sustainable, coupled with my young age and immaturity I was destined to fail.

The second time I lost weight I was eighteen and my senior year of high school.   I made it through the summer doing well and started gradually gaining weight into my freshmen year.  Following that summer and entering my sophomore year I had “successfully” gained all the weight back and then some.  It was tough going back to college being ashamed of myself and wondering what people were saying behind my back about my weight gain.  Little did I know that was said directly to me would be more hurtful.  

My first day back in Dr. Kim’s math class I took the front row center.   It was the second year in a row having Dr. Kim as a math professor.  As he took attendance and came upon my name he glanced around the room and his eyes found me in my seat.  He looked down and said in front of the class, “you got bigger” in a shocked Asian accented voice.  I sat there stunned and numb.

Hence the title of this blog.   You know they are thinking it because at times they actually say it.  For some reason people don’t think you know you “got bigger” and need to point it out to you.  It comes in many forms and people think they are helping you.  I have never lost weight because I was shamed.   I have lost weight because I wanted the happiness, I saw others having – the thin others.

Leading into my junior year I lost weight again.   This time I was able to keep it off until I gained the weight of having babies.   I gained more than the “baby”, but I was able to get that extra weight off eventually.   So, I give myself credit for staying “not fat” from the age of about twenty to my late fifties.  

Then came Covid.  With Covid and the shutdowns also came the unexpected passing of my brother-in-law and caring for my aging parents.   My psyche wasn’t ready for any of this.  I am a very regimented person and now my life was, and is, anything but.   I am up approximately 15 pounds above my lowest weight.  Granted my lowest was likely too low, but a solid 10 pounds is needed for me to lose to get back into my clothes and feel good!

Here I sit, assuming that people have noticed my weight gain and likely talking.  I just ask that you keep any thoughts to yourself.   I know I gained weight.  I have mirrors at home.  I have a scale.  I have clothes that don’t fit.   But I will lose the weight.  I know I will because I have done it in the past.  I have the skills.  The skills just need to be adjusted to fit my new regimen and while I grieve my hardest loss yet – the passing of my father who was physically a rock until the very end at the age of 88.  This next challenge is for you Daddy.

P.S. The photo posted is when I was my thinnest as an adult. You will never see me post a “fat” photo. I don’t believe in posting any photo that makes me feel embarrassed.

You Have No Idea What’s in My Head

People are often surprised when I tell them I have a food addiction. They say I don’t look like I have an addiction and I don’t talk about it. To which I reply, “you have no idea what’s going on in my head.”

This was the discussion while having dinner with a friend when she questioned why I say I have an addiction. I proceeded to tell her what I had been thinking during our dinner. I was wondering what she would order… would she order something fattening and question why I only wanted something small or simple? If I ordered something small would she feel bad about herself for eating something bigger (because that’s how I would feel.)   I never want anyone to feel the shame I have experienced. I also don’t want to be considered a “party pooper” either for eating healthy.

There are times I actually eat more as to not make the other person feel badly about themselves and overeating.  I know what it is like to feel that people are thinking that I am disgusting because I’m fat and I don’t ever want anyone else to have that feeling. Others time I am proud of myself If I eat less or “better” than the other person. I feel proud and happy that I was able to go to a dinner and stay in check.

I also pay attention to how fast the other person is eating. Am I eating too fast?  If I’m eating slower than the other person I’m usually surprised and proud of myself. If they order healthy, I’m thrilled because it takes the pressure off of me.  Sometimes I think of “excuses” ahead of time for why I’m going to order something small or healthy. I might say, “I’m full from eating lunch,” or “I am really dying for a salad” to deflect to what I’m eating and take the peer pressure off. There are times I’ll go home and eat afterwards because I’m exploding with anxiety from having to focus so much on the meal.

These thoughts in my brain can be chaos at times or just an underlying current, depending on the situation. If I’m one-on-one with someone I try to focus on the conversation because I deeply appreciate my friends and I love good conversation.  But my food thoughts are always there.

If I’m alone at home or taking care of my parents where the junk food abounds the thoughts in my head have a tight grip on me    Which of the junk food are the healthiest. If I have just a taste, would I be able to stop. Maybe just one cookie…maybe one more wouldn’t hurt… three, that’s a good number.  I’ll be sitting in one room and know what’s on the kitchen counter and be thinking about it.

This is the mind of someone addicted to food. I don’t spend the full scope of my brain on these thoughts. I appreciate friends. I appreciate that someone has taken time in their life to spend time with me. I do truly listen; I do engage in conversation and experiences. However, there is burned into my DNA hard wire memory deep within an undercurrent that takes notes and forms an opinion.

The struggle is real, and it is ever present. I am still a work in progress.

My Booster Shot

Many of us have received at least one dose of their Covid-19 vaccine.   I have received my booster shot as well.  The booster shot is to increase (“boost”) the effectiveness of the vaccine and increase your immunity. 

While attending a recent workshop the word “boost” came to mind.  The workshop was uplifting and empowering and just what I needed to stay on track with my weight loss battle.   I struggle every day to keep the focus off food and not let those food thoughts control my actions.

I am always on the search for a something to help me to be successful.   Sometimes I try a new diet, I’ll start a new program, I’ll buy new weight loss foods, or read a new book.  When I start something, I’ll be successful, but it won’t last.  I either get bored or have early success and then get “cocky” and think I can cheat. 

The workshop I was taking was weekly via Zoom.  So, every week I got this new “boost” of motivation and it had nothing to do with losing weight.   It was about setting goals, being positive, having confidence, self-reflection, and a myriad of take-aways for the following week.   I love great conversation with peers who are like-minded in philosophy.  This is where I like to dwell, into where I settle.

My life has been a journey of finding the formula for losing weight and keeping off the weight.  I have discovered that I need a booster shot at least once a week, if not more often.  Whatever form it comes in, conversation, positivity Instagram posts, new diet foods, or whatever new discovery is out there for me.

I hope this article has given you a boost and you find more to keep you successful.

Kind Regards,

Diana

P.S.  I hope you all get your Covid-19 vaccine as well!

The End of Covid-19

I have been wondering what the “end” of the Covid-19 pandemic will look like.  It will likely be different for each individual.  The first vision that came to mind for me was the iconic photo of the sailor embracing a nurse in the streets of New York City on V-Day.   One celebratory day in history.

I also could not help but think of the lives lost during the pandemic.  The overwhelming feeling of tragic and unnecessary loss.   If only the remedy, the vaccine, could have been here in time for them.  For those impacted with tragic loss, would the end be a quiet solemn remembrance and reflection? 

I think of those who have felt confined and isolated in the prison of their homes.  Quarantined and not interacting with humans, and the huggers who have had to stop in their tracks from embracing.  The image here for the end is that of Woodstock and the “love thy neighbor” attitude – whoever they may be.

Or perhaps the vision will be that of a sunset, so gradual a change that the horror of the pandemic will fade slowly from our days as we gradually remember what life was like.  Will there be days with continued mask wearing, not really confident that all is safe?  Perhaps mask wearing will continue to keep us protected from other illness, just as hand sanitizer became a common product to safeguard against the flu and colds.

For me it will be a combination of all.   I work in an industry highly impacted by the pandemic with closings and capacity restrictions.   I can vividly recall staff and customers silently standing and looking up at the lobby television, watching the Governor announce the closings that were to take place on St. Patrick’s Day.   At that time, we did not know what to expect, what would be on the horizon.   The day that comes removing all restrictions will be that one moment of jubilation and celebration for me.

I have experienced the loss of loved ones during the year of the pandemic.  A day does not go by that I do not remember them and ache for the grief and sadness being suffered by all who knew them.   I will surely spend time feeling a sense of being cheated on their behalf.   It will be something done quietly and with reverence.

I have never considered myself a “hugger” as I am somewhat introverted.   However, now when I see people, even from a distance, it makes me feel closer to them than pre-pandemic.   It is, as they say, a great equalizer, and barriers be them physical or emotional tend to soften.  I will greet people more exuberantly for sure and perhaps even become a warm hugger.

When it does end, I will never forget the time in history.   This like many other worldly events will be cemented in my memory.  I expect that there will be residual effects such as the mask wearing, or at least keeping them handy.   I pray I am here to witness what will be the “End of COVID-19” as well as all who I love.   I hope you will see it as well. 

Please be diligent to keep the cases down.   Move a kindness, not a virus. God Bless.

Food Addiction and Dementia

I continue to analyze and understand my food addiction.  It’s an arduous task to break down my thoughts and feelings, even after a lifetime of trying.  As I continue this journey, I observe many different types of behavior of others in addition to my own, to find solutions.

A recent observation during an impulse to eat reminded me of my mother.   My mother has dementia.  Her condition has rendered her personality to be, what I consider, childlike.  She does not have a memory of being my mother and cannot grasp the concept because she feels we are too close in age for that to be possible.  We have a twenty-five-year age difference.

One of my mother’s rituals is to pack her suitcase as if she is about to travel.  She also chooses unusual items to pack, they are random.  She will pack saved greeting cards, framed photos, jewelry in boxes, etc.  When I have witnessed this, I get the sense she is trying to keep as many items as possible that are part of her past close to her.  It’s as if she is gathering memories that bring her comfort – pulling her past close to her to bring forth those warm memories.

When I went to my cupboard to grab something to eat, I wasn’t hungry.  I physically didn’t need to eat.  However, I was pulled towards satisfying something in me.   Recently, while doing this, I had a flash memory of my mother standing in front of her suitcase packed with all her treasures.  My memory related to that vision of my mother while I was on my way to satisfy something I needed.  Perhaps I too needed to “gather” a memory.   A memory of a time in my life when I had fewer worries and a simpler life.  Many of life’s memories have to do with food whether it’s family dinner time or holiday feasts.

My mother has lost much of her memory and I believe there is a part of her that realizes that.  She is trying to bring something back that her heart and soul remember while her mind and memory cannot.  My overheating is me trying to bring comfort back that I remember from my past, even though for me my mind is aware that this is not the right thing to do.   My mind is in cahoots with memory and they are a powerful combination.

My mother also needs to feel she is in control and capable.  She does not want people to do things for her because she equates it with feeling “less than”.  When I am feeling that the events around me are not within my control I likely feel as she does.  I say “likely” because my mother cannot articulate exactly what she is going through, I am assuming based on her behavior and her irritation with us.  This feeling of lack of control in my life, as with many overeaters, causes me to make a quick fix by having the power to bring back my comforted memory by eating.

Please know that in no way do I think there is an association between food addiction and dementia. As I mentioned in the blog opening, I am searching to find the answers to my food addiction and my behavior.   As we all know, it starts with understanding before being able to correct.

Now the fun part begins with trying to replace eating with something that will be equally satisfying.  It might not bring me back to a place of memories from the past but enough to regain control and being present and content with feeling healthy.

As for my mother we unpack her suitcase when she isn’t looking.  We have also learned to suggest without telling.  There are many wonderful resources to help families and caregivers for supporting a loved one with dementia. 

I hope of have been a resource to help you with your health goals.  Please stay safe and God bless!

See Your Body

It has often been said to “listen to your body, it’s telling you something”. This meaning any number of things such as you are hungry and you need to eat, you are tired and need to rest, you are not feeling and need to go to the doctor. I recently had the experience of “seeing my body” and it showed me something that I had not paid attention to in the past.


I am a food addict and obsessed with my addiction’s impact on my weight. I have a morning ritual of looking at my body in the mirror with scrutiny and critical review. I focus on my stomach and I can tell what I will weigh. If there is the slightest change I will be able to tell the impact on the scale. That is my goal with this ritual; to see if what I ate the day(s) before will impact how I look and what I will weigh.

Then, one day I saw something different. I would not say it was “new” because it could have been there for quite some time, but this time I stopped to appreciate to see what my body was showing me. I saw muscles along side my waste. I saw muscles in my thighs and on my arms. These were not the kind of muscles one would see from a “body builder” but they were visible muscles, nonetheless.
I saw these muscles and I knew what they meant. They were from the exercise that I committed to do on a regular basis. They were from having an active lifestyle and choosing to move more, whether it was taking a parking spot further away from my destination or taking the stairs instead of an elevator.


This time I really gave pause to appreciate that I actually had muscles and I could see them. I reflected on what those muscles meant to me and the freedom they gave me. I could work in my garden for the day; much longer than the fifteen minutes that I could only tolerate before.
Even the simplest things for most used to be a struggle for me such as cutting vegetables or whisking a sauce. I avoided buying fresh beets or squash because I knew it would be a challenge to slice them. The worst was Halloween and having to carve pumpkins!


I remember having to cut vegetables when I had become stronger. I did not think of my newfound strength when I went to cut them and was in awe how easy it was. At first, I thought, “why did I use to hate this?”, and then I realized I had become stronger.

I still have my ritual because it’s who I am. There are some things I have worked on and continue to work on in my life, but we all must “pick our battles” and that’s not one of them. That said, I now appreciate what my body is showing me in my ritual and smile when I think of all the things I can enjoy by staying healthy and by continuing to move. I hope that you will include some kind of physical activity in your life. Wishing you happiness with your newfound freedom!!

The Not so Nice New Normal

I heard it once said the English were not as demonstrative as other cultures.  At the time I wondered if it was the result of the great plagues that were endured there and great loss of life.

I was reminded of that thought with what we are experiencing today with the COVID-19 pandemic and what will change for us in the future.

I thought of how life has changed in my lifetime following pivotal events and tragedies.  My first memory of one such event was the Tylenol scare. The Chicago Tylenol scare were a series of deaths resulting from package tampering and replacing product with poison.   Following this event was a sweeping change of how seals were incorporated into product packaging.  To the post Tylenol population, it’s a non-issue.   However, there is a little memory that resurfaces when I open my bottle of ibuprofen that now has a cover, a seal, and the familiar cotton ball.  There are many brands and products that were unaffected by the tampering, yet precautions were put in place to relieve worry and worse case scenarios.

The most significant event and tragedy in my life, as with many my age, was 9/11 when four commercial airliners were hijacked and crashed purposely in an act of terrorism.  A short month later the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was established forever changing the way we would travel across the globe.  No longer would you be able to walk to a gate to send off or greet your returning travelers.   A flight now requires extra time to check in and make your way through the long lines of security checks.  This year we will now need a special identification license or passport with which to travel.  It’s the “new normal” as they say.

The “new normal” is being said quite often these days as the result of precautions to stay safe from the COVID-19 pandemic.  The new normal is one of many phrases we have added to the popular lexicon as with the phrases “non-essential”, “social distancing”, and “flattening the curve”.

So, what happens next?  What will change for this generation either briefly or permanently?  Will we no longer greet people with handshakes? Or will the loss of social contact cause us to embrace even stronger and longer?  Will we reach for a face mask at the very onset of a sniffle; or “fight it off” because any common head cold will be “child’s play” compared to what we lived through?

As I sit here in semi-confinement, wearing my mask outside as I make basic errands and wondering if the person next to me without a mask is giving me germs, I want to break free from all of it.   I want to go outside as if the world was just scrubbed clean and look into the eyes of every person I see with gratitude and kindness.   I have missed people, people I know—and those I have yet to know.  I have never been demonstrative (it must be from my English roots), but I would like to welcome embraces and have mine be welcomed back.

I don’t know what the “new normal” will be, but I hope it is nice.   God bless and stay safe!

Social distancing

 

The Power of One

The current COVID-19 pandemic has crystallized the message of “The Power of One”.   I am awestruck that the world focus is the result of one action by one person.   The globalization of the world has created the condition for widespread permeation from a single source.

This current power of one has been tragic with insurmountable loss and anguish.  Profound grief that I have never experienced before.  It is unlike past tragedies such as 9/11 and others in that they were single events with response, recovery, and a grieving process.   This pandemic has been ongoing and fluid.   We hope for an end, but we are dependent upon each individual for the cure.   As Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, stated, “the virus isn’t moving, people are moving the virus”.   The power of one is perpetuating our condition.

While the power of one has caused pain, the power of one can also cause promise.   With the power of one we may achieve greatness and good.   If people can “move a virus” they can also “move a kindness”.   Think of those great heroes of the world who have made a difference.   I think of Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa, and so many others.

One does not have to have the intention to make positive change on the entire world.  Start with the power of one.  It is a blessing to have lived a life that made an impact on even one individual in the world.  I have been blessed by being the benefactor of much kindness in my life by mentors, role models, and influencers.  Be that one person who “moves a kindness” and makes a difference.

Who has shown you kindness in the world?  Who has been your “power of one” in your life and your community?  Let them know and honor them by being a power of one.

God bless you and stay healthy and safe!

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My Pandemic Perspective

Now more than ever I need to focus on my health.   It’s not easy for someone who is a “stress eater” and likes to self-medicate and pamper myself with unhealthy food and binging.   It’s usually times like these that I give up and it’s a “free for all” in terms of eating.

I have some challenges and events that are testing me.  Here is my rundown:

I have been working weekends to help our property company do an “abandoned inventory sale” due to a retail tenant that decided to give up on their business and walk away.   This left our company with a broken contract and several months of lost rent.

While working I received a call that my brother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly passed.  He was to celebrate turning sixty in just a couple of months.   It has been completely devastating to my entire family.   We cannot even grieve “normally” and with others during the restrictions surrounding the pandemic.

My job as operations director for the property company also includes a restaurant.   The restaurant is struggling with only doing take-out and I had to take myself off getting a paycheck.  I have filed for unemployment.

I am also caring for my elderly parents.  My mother who is 82, has dementia.  My father who is 87 and caring for my mother has proclaimed he is ready to die.  Seeing his wife deteriorate and having to listen to her childlike repetitive dialog has left him weary and depressed.  It is heartbreaking to watch a woman who was brilliant walk into a room with a cup a detergent ready to consume, and a man who could run circles around men half his age decide he is done living.

So, yes, I’m a little stressed.  I keep reading Facebook posts of people taking walks in their neighborhood and having lovely conversations from across yards.   They are reporting how they are making the most of the situation.  The was another post from a woman who showed her large box of toilet paper stock with her son perched on top with the message “make me an offer”.   It was meant to make light of the situation but it is difficult to laugh when you see posts of the elderly standing before empty shelves.

They say to “meet people where they are” and I get that.  We are all experiencing this emergency coming from different places.   Some panic, some use humor, some try to look at every situation with a positive spin.   I am trying to catch up with that spin.  More importantly, I am trying to stay physically healthy so my body can stay strong for the emotional impact.   My mind is currently in the state of being “unwell”.

To keep my health, I made sure I had my go-to items such as protein bars, dried fruit, and yogurt.   I have lots of water and I continue to take one tablespoon of Fire Cider every day as well as a vitamin.  The gyms are closed so I pulled out my Jane Fonda workout video from the 1980s.  It still is a great full body workout with cardio.  I started journaling, catching up on my reading and my dining room is filled with craft projects.  There is so many things I can’t control so I will focus on those I can.   It starts with taking care of me physically and mentally.

My sincere well wishes to everyone around the globe to make it through this emergency.  However you may be impacted, please do the best you can to make it through to enjoy the glorious celebration yet to come when it has passed.  God Bless.woman's hands hold the sun and its energy