Sunday, January 5, 2014

Blog Hiatus, Continuing - Extended

Update for February - my hiatus needs to continue.  I'll be back as soon as things resolve, but it may be awhile.  Thanks so much to everyone for your patience and understanding!   I hope everyone is doing really well!

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I'm afraid I need to continue my hiatus.  I miss blogging and talking with folks, but I continue to be in one of those times when life throws stuff at me, and I need to give my attention to handling it.

I will say that I am doing better, overall, and I am learning SO MUCH.   In the long run, this is giving me tons of blog post material, so there is definitely a silver lining.  :)

But for now, I'm hopeful that I'll be back by next month. 

In the meantime, Happy New Year!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful 2014 so far, and I hope that many blessings come to you for the New Year!

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.

 ~T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"


Sunday, November 17, 2013

Blog Hiatus

So, I'm going to take some time off from blogging until the New Year.  I've shared here that I've had some stressful things happen lately, and I feel like some time off would be a nice restful self-care sort of thing for me to do.  :)

I want to wish everyone the most wonderful holidays ever, and I will see you in 2104 - refreshed and ready to continue the journey.

Take care of yourself!  Stay warm, happy and healthy this Holiday Season!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Inspirational Video: Free Hugs

It's been awhile since I posted something inspirational, and since I'm getting back on track after taking a month off, this seemed like a good week!

I love these inspirational video posts, because they give me a chance to browse the Net for great videos, and I watch tons of them.  I end up feeling TOTALLY INSPIRED!  And then I get to pick one to share with you!  That's called a win-win!  :)

After watching those tons of videos, I marked several for later, and picked this one for today.  I'm not exactly sure just felt right.

Maybe.....because trying to lose so much weight is hard to do alone.  It's so helpful to get encouragement and fellowship from others.  And I have gotten some terrific support, including here - from some great blog buddies!  So, I'm feeling appreciative right now of human connection.  :)

This is a short (a little over 3 minutes) video about human connection - the Free Hugs Campaign.  If you have time, it's worth watching.  It brought tears to my eyes, it's very touching. 

If you'd like to know more about the Free Hugs Campaign, its website is here.

In the comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts. 

What did you think of the video? 
Did it bring tears to your eyes?   :)
Are you getting your regular quota of hugs!

Thanks so much for reading, and have a wonderful week!


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Losing Weight #22 - Letting Myself Off The Hook


I usually weigh myself the first week of the month, but I'm letting myself off the hook.  October was a tough month for me.  I had A LOT of stress at work, including having to hire and train nine staff members.  I had stress at home and may need to move.  I got sick.  And, as I mentioned last week, my computer broke, which threw me into a tizzy.

It happens to everyone - life sometimes shells out a bunch of stuff at once.  Fortunately, though, things pass and life gets better (as I try to remind myself).   And actually, some of the stress I felt was a positive thing.  I'm having growing pains.  I'm changing, so things that used to feel comfortable, don't feel as comfortable anymore.  That's a really good thing, but growing pains are a bit scary and can be stressful. 

*   *   *

So, what's happened with losing weight?  Well, I didn't swim at all because I was sick (which was terrible! It's hard to believe I used to hate exercise.  I LOVE exercise!   It's wonderful!.)  As for food, when I'm under a lot of stress, I fight against it, but it's hard not to fall down occasionally, and use food to soothe myself - an old coping mechanism.  Last month, I didn't do too badly, but I did have a couple of difficult days, and I didn't always make good choices.

I don't think I did much damage, though.  My body feels about the same.  Which is very good.

Still, I don't want to weigh myself.  I have enough on my plate, and I don't want to risk getting upset about numbers. So, I'm letting myself off the hook.  I did the best I could in October, and I'm on track this month.  I think it's okay to be easy on myself.   

People are different.  This may not be true for everyone, but for me, it doesn't work well if I crack the whip.  I respond much better to kindness, even if it's me being kind to me.  :)

So, no weighing.  Since I'm feeling better, I'll swim and eat sensibly and weigh myself the first week of December.

*   *   *

So, what about you?

How was your month?
How do you handle stressful times?  Do you tend to turn to old coping methods, or do you handle it differently?
Are there times when you let yourself off the hook?
Do you prefer 'tough love'?  Or does kindness work best for you?  Or both?

Thanks so much for reading!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Love My Computer

Today, I'm going to do something a little different.  I'm going to share about my week, because it was dark and difficult.  My computer died, and it took the computer shop six days to fix it!

Six days.


I don't know if you've ever been computer-less, but I was TOTALLY LOST.  I couldn't talk to people on-line.  I couldn't pay my bills.  I couldn't make appointments.  I couldn't look stuff up.  I couldn't even work on my new blog post! 

Occasionally, I would glance at the old technologies - paper and stamps and telephones - and vaguely remember that I used to use them.  But it all seemed so distant and far away.  How could I find a phone number without a search?  How could I find information without Google?  How could I write something without spellcheck?

I had no idea how dependent I was on computer technology.  But I am.  I am totally dependent on computers.  Good or bad, it doesn't matter.  I need them.  When I finally got my lovely computer back (I have now named it.  My computer is too important to be nameless.  I will call it Orville), and set Orville up, it was like the world was in its proper place again.  I could read my blogs.  I could e-mail my peeps.  I could tweet.  And I could spell check whenever I wanted!

So, this week was dark and difficult.  But like most dark and difficult times, it held a hidden gem of wisdom I could take with me into the future.  And what I learned was this:  the next time Orville breaks down, I won't take it to the shop.  I can't go through six days of hard drive replacement again.  The next time Orville croaks, I'll be heading out to buy a new Orville.  Orville 2.  Within the hour.  Pronto.  Lickety split.  Post-haste.  Chop-chop.

Some things are a luxury.  A computer ain't one of them. 
So, all of that was to say that I didn't finish my addiction post from last week, because my computer was kerfunked, so instead I will share with you a song that is now close to my heart:

I Love My Computer by Bad Religion

In the comments, perhaps you could share about a time when your computer broke and how you survived. 

Or, if you've never had a broken computer, this might be a good time to set up an emergency preparedness plan in case it happens. (although I hope it never does!  May you and your children always have fast computers, with infallible hard drives and flawless internet connections, for time untold.)

Thanks for reading!  :)



Sunday, October 13, 2013

Losing Weight #21: Navigating The Physical Challenges

Note:  Post from this week postponed.  I'm working on my next one in the addiction series, and it's taking longer than I thought!  Sorry, promise I won't make a habit of this, and I TOTALLY appreciate your dropping by!  :)


Last week, I shared that I had lost 11 pounds, and now weigh 385 pounds, which is a very big deal to me! My highest weight was 460, so I'm coming up to losing 100 pounds (actually I probably weighed more than than that, I stopped weighing myself at some point.)

For me to be losing weight is HUGE.  It means so much will change in my life!  But before I lose too much more weight, I don't want to forget what it was like to weigh as much as I have.

Many years ago, I lost weight and was almost a 'normal' size.  Whenever I thought about the person I was when I was really heavy, it was like a vague dream, as if it happened to another person. I lost the clear memories, and I lost sympathy for the person I had been...until I gained the weight back and more.

That's one reason I'm writing about my journey now.  It's  important for me to remember that I am the same person no matter what I weigh, as well as what it has been like for me to be so large.

I think what it's been like for me falls into three categories:

a.  The outside world's reaction.  I wrote about the discrimination and targeting I faced in this post here.

b.  What it's like emotionally.  I haven't blogged about this yet, but I will.

c.  The physical challenge of navigating myself through a world that is meant for much smaller people.  That's what I'm blogging about today.


So, this will be a very personal post.  But I think talking about the physical challenges is an important post for me to write.  I am partly writing this to remember, and partly because it is true.  People of my size, especially women, tend to hide, and I want to come out of hiding and share my reality with you. It's important to me, both for myself, and also to (possibly?) humanize the experience for other people.

One thing before I start, I want to say that I am very used to living this way.  I've been this size for over a decade, and  I've been doing this so many years, it's familiar and normal.  

On the other hand, I am definitely looking forward to having things change.  This is one of the reasons why my recent plateau was so scary, and why I am so glad to be on track with losing weight again.

What It's Been Like:  The Physical Challenges

Being an extremely overweight woman is difficult.  It's hard to be comfortable, and it's hard to make my way through the world.  As I was writing this post, I realized I do a great deal of planning and problem solving to function in my daily life.  I won't share about everything; some things are too personal.  But here are some of the basics.

Walking and Standing

I imagine that the following coping strategies apply to anyone who has mobility issues.  For example, it is very hard for me to walk long distances, or to stand for long periods of time.  When I go places, I drive, and I need to plan ahead about parking.

Whenever I am going to a new place, I try to figure out the parking situation and whether it is close to the place I am visiting.  There are many times I chose one store over another, or just don't go to a store, because there was no nearby parking.  And once I find a store that works for me, I tend to stick to it. 

In terms of walking, I plan routes.  For example, at work, I will plan my route to include chairs.  I will walk to a place where there are chairs, sit a moment, and then move on to the next room.  Or I will take two trips.  For example, if I need to go to both the staff kitchen and the mailroom, which are on opposite sides of the building, I'll plan two trips.  I'll include places that have chairs to rest, and then take a larger rest after one trip before I start another.

Sometimes, I just don't go places.  I love tea, but if my knees are hurting, I won't take the trip to the kitchen to get some.

Sometimes people at work want to talk while standing.  I've found that leaning against the wall lets me stand for longer periods of time.  I've also gotten very good at excusing myself, and later calling them from my office, etc. where I can sit and continue the conversation.

Also, stairs are definitely a problem.  I try to research the stair situation in advance, just like parking, and if a place has more than one set of stairs and no elevator, I tend to avoid going there.


I CONSTANTLY need to worry about chairs.  I can not fit into many chairs.  So, whenever I go to a new place, I am always concerned about the chairs.  I tend to go to the same places once I know they have chairs that are either large enough (or armless) and sturdy enough to support me.

I have broken chairs, which is horribly embarrassing.  The worst time was when I went to a 12 step meeting (I did that many years ago) and sat down and the metal chair started to crumple beneath me.  I immediately got up before the chair collapsed and left the meeting, which was ironic since it was a meeting for people trying to lose weight.

Now, when I walk into a new place, the first thing I do is scan the chairs.  If they don't look sturdy enough, or are too small, I cancel whatever appointment it is and leave.  Occasionally I'll ask for an armless chair, but that tends to make me tearful, so I usually just leave.

Lately I've taken to asking about the chairs on the phone when I make the appointment, which is helpful.

The chairs at work are a problem.  The desk chairs that swivel tend to lean forward over time, most likely responding to my weight, which puts pressure on my knees.  I got embarrassed asking for new chairs (I had my chair replaced twice due to that), and for awhile I sat in an uncomfortable plastic chair because the other non-desk chairs in the building were too small.  That was so uncomfortable I had trouble working, so I finally bought my own chair for about $200.  It's comfortable and supports me.

Getting Things That Fit:  Clothing and Other Things

Many things are too small for me.  Towels are too small.  Scales don't go high enough.  Seat belts are too small.  Exercise equipment is too small or won't hold me.  Medical supplies, like blood pressure cuffs, and braces are all too small.  And lots of other things.

And there are other times when I'm just too big.  Bending over or stretching to reach things can be challenging for me.

There are businesses where you can order items that will help.  Some of these items are expensive, but I'm very grateful they exist.  When I was young, they didn't, and larger folk just had to make do. If you'd like to see an example of a store like this, here is an example. 

In terms of clothing, I shop on-line because there are no brick and mortar stores that carry such large sizes.  I truly appreciate these stores!.  Again when I was a child, once I passed a certain size, I simply had to buy men's clothing.  There was nothing else available.  Nowadays, there are tons of on-line options, thank goodness!  (Although, at my largest size, I got worried I still wouldn't find anything that would fit me, and would need to custom order all my clothing.)

But it is challenging to shop on the internet with sizing.  I often order things that don't fit.  Once I find a shirt or pants that fit me, I tend to order the same things repeatedly.  Also, clothing for large people is expensive.  For example, I ordered a pair of pants yesterday, and it cost me almost $100.  So, I don't own a lot of clothing.  And there are some things that they just don't make.  I'd love to have a real nightshirt, but I've never found one in my size that would work.  I haven't found a pair of socks I really like, either.

Shoes are difficult to find.  I don't buy these on the internet, because sizing is such a problem.  So, I go to specialty shops for wide sizes and the selection is limited.  They're expensive, too.  One pair I have cost $200. 


Like many overweight people, I have sleep apnea.  I sleep in a recliner, to help my passageways stay open.  I'm comfortable, I finally bought myself a wonderful chair that I love (for awhile, I tortured myself by sleeping in a chair that was too small for me.  I wrote about that here).  But I do miss sleeping in a bed.


Because I carry a lot of weight, I get tired quickly.  At home I can rest whenever I like, but at work, I worked out systems where I can take regular breaks.  I'm really lucky to have a couch in my office where I can rest up and take some pressure off my knees and back for awhile.


I basically don't.  This isn't too much a hardship for me, because I'm not a real traveler, but travel would mean a great deal of worry and planning.  Walking, standing, chairs, parking, sleeping, these are all things that need to be negotiated in new environments.

Also, airplane seats are too small for me, so I'd need to buy two of them.  That can get really expensive.


So, basically, because of my size, I've made my world fairly small and controlled, so I can function comfortably within it.

Again, I am very used to this.  But, as I write this post, I can feel myself deeply looking forward to the days when I won't have to plan ahead just to visit a store, or I can accept an invitation to dinner without worry, or when I will have more energy, or could travel (just in case I ever get the urge).

And one nice thing:  Things are already changing for me.  Being 75 pounds lighter makes a great deal of difference!  It's easier for me to walk around, easier to stand, easier to do everything!


I just want to add that I am very grateful to have blogging buddies that I feel safe sharing all this with!  Thank you all!

If anything about this brought up something for you - maybe about your own experience navigating the world - I'd love if you'd share that, if you'd like to.

Thank you so much for reading!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Losing Weight #20 - Losing Weight Again!

When I weighed myself today, I saw that I've lost 11 pounds.

11 pounds!!  I am smaller than I've been in over a decade. It's wonderful!!

I can't tell you how relieved I am!  For those who are new to my blog, I hit a plateau for two months, and didn't lose even an ounce.  Even though I could feel changes in my body, it was still scary.  I was worried I'd never lose weight!

So, today, I have the wonderful feeling that comes when you look at the scale and it's suddenly over 10 pounds less (that must be one of the truly great feelings in the world!  I stare at the scale and can't quite take it in, it's so wonderful.  Then I always get right back on to double check and make sure the scale isn't broken.)

And I also have the deep relief that everything is working as it should.

This will help me the next time I hit a plateau.  It will help me trust that things are working underneath and moving forward even if I can't see it by the scale.  And it's true that I've been feeling much lighter.  My clothing is looser, and I can walk more easily.

But it really nice to have the number on the scale drop, too!

I noticed today that success is very motivating; I've been very motivated today.  I want to build on this feeling of progress!  

So, I think for today, I'll just share my happiness that I can see myself moving forward!  :)

In the comments, I'd love if you'd share about your goals and how they are going! 

Thanks so much for reading!