Category Archives: weight loss

2017 Resolutions and Prayers


2016 wasn’t a great year for me. There were some fantastic moments (like finding out I was going to be a grandmother!) but there were a lot more days full of frustration, anger, pain, and depression. I ran across my list of 2016 resolutions the other day and realized I hadn’t achieved any of them. With some I’d even moved further from my goals. So my 2017 plan will be completely different.

— 1 —

I will care my myself as I would a daughter, sister, or beloved friend. Remember the Golden Rule from Sunday School? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” That’s great for little ones, but when we are adults we need to stop the negative self-talk. I won’t call myself fat, lazy, or selfish. I’ll think about what I would say to someone I loved if they felt that way. And I’ll pray for help seeing myself in a different light and making changes where I can.

— 2 —

I will accept my limitations. I can’t stand for more than fifteen minutes. I can’t sit for more than thirty. That’s on a good day. Taking a shower feels like what running a 5K used to feel like. I’ve got a new medication patch I’m cautiously optimistic about, but even with insurance it costs as much as a week of groceries. So I’m using it sparingly. My disease process is never going to get better, only worse. Hence the first word: Degenerative. I can only hope to slow it, because at the rate it’s going I won’t be able to bend my spine at all by the time I’m sixty. So I’m going to paraphrase St. Teresa and try to do small things with great love!

— 3 —

I will stay authentic. When I was having a bad day earlier this month I posted on FaceBook. Yes, I’m one of those people who shares both happy and sad moments on social media. I’ve been accused of “airing dirty laundry” on FB, but nearly all the comments I got on this post mentioned something about how “genuine” or “authentic” I was. There is no higher praise as far as I’m concerned. I refuse to be caught up in other people’s lies. Perhaps I have just worn out my filter after all these years working with doctors, but I enjoy being honest in all my interactions. Perhaps that will keep me from earning a Lexus selling Nerium with my husband, but I don’t think so. It may take me longer, but I know I’ll have earned it honestly and made no promises I can’t keep.

— 4 —

I will count my blessings. I keep a prayer journal, but in the warm months my entries are sporadic. If I feel up to it when the dogs want a potty break at 8 a.m. (my first pain med and muscle relaxer are at 6 a.m.) then I’ll stay up to check email, and perhaps have breakfast. But on a stormy or cold day I may need some time to make my way out from under the covers after seeing to the fur-babies’ needs. In the winter I always need my Happy Light, and that’s a great time to write in my prayer journal. Blessings I’m thankful for first, then prayers. I want to make this a habit every day, not just the hardest days.

— 5 —

I will continue writing. Again, it’s difficult with my physical limitations to write a blog post, let alone a novel. But I enjoy it, and it’s an outlet for my creativity. Hopefully once I’m ready to publish my books people will enjoy them. Being able to entertain others would make me incredibly happy!

— 6 —

I will become more organized. This one is going to take lots of prayers for patience on my part. Having my life, my home, and my thoughts disorganized is incredibly frustrating to me, and only worsens my depression. But spending hours sorting and dumping things, re-copying from one calendar to another, etc inevitably leads to me overextending myself and ending up writhing in pain in my bed for a day or two. Even after all these years I still need to use my timer every single day or I pay the price.

— 7 —

I will simplify my life. All the “stuff” that surrounds me is distracting and anxiety-provoking. Living simply will be easier, healthier, and much more rewarding in the long run. Yes, I’m going to finally buy the “tidying up” book that I’ve had in my Amazon inbox for forever. Or perhaps I’ll see how long the wait is at the library. That would force me to read it promptly to avoid late charges 😉

For more Quick Takes, visit This Ain’t The Lyceum!

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Staying Cool

I know there are places more uncomfortable than the Ohio Valley in the summertime, but most of them are tourist destinations in the spring and fall and everyone goes somewhere else for August. The heat, humidity, and allergens would make a saint grumpy.

I started having hot flashes many years ago, but my OB/GYN insisted it was just stress. She worked at the same hospital I did and heard my name paged overhead 24/7. Once the hot flashes finally ended I had gastric sleeve surgery, and the rapid weight loss put my hormones into a tizzy and I ended up with teenage acne and hot flashes at the same time. SO unfair!

A woman having a hot flash using a fan to cool off.

I will be fifty later this year, so I didn’t have air-conditioning at home until I got married. I had air conditioning in middle school and high school, but only in about 2/3 of my college classrooms and none of my dorms.

I have multiple chronic spinal issues, and chronic inflammation should always be treated with COLD, not heat, no matter the time of year. So I’m a bit of an expert. Here are my tips on keeping cool:

Evaporation. Don’t dry off after your shower (unless there is a teen in the house who would need therapy after seeing his mother naked). And for the love of God don’t blow-dry or heat-style your hair. Put in some leave-in product and let it go.

Layers of cotton or “wicking” fabric. All loose, and in light colors. You may hate your upper arms when you start yard-saleing at 8 a.m., but you really won’t care by 10, and your bra will be in the back seat by noon.

Box fans. There’s a reason they still sell these – they work! In fact, they work much better than the high-tech, expensive fans. Buy several.
box fan
Alcohol-based cold packs. I like to combine rubbing alcohol and floral gel beads for an eight-hour cold-pack (no kidding). No matter how many ziplocks or other bags you put it in it’s going to leak eventually, though.

Gel-packs. These don’t stay cold as long, but they freeze back faster, remain flexible, and don’t leak. Great for errands with no AC in the car.

Hair away from the face, neck, and back. You can wear it down and styled when it gets cooler. Right now sweaty hair stuck to your face just makes you look more like a hot mess.
Messy-Bun
No makeup. Waterproof mascara if you feel the need, but anything else is just going to get sweated off. But wear some sunscreen, even if it’s overcast.

Cold food. Frozen grapes and bananas, chilled watermelon and cantaloupe, iced coffee, and gazpacho or other cold soups. Stick with plain water unless you’re really sweating like a pig. Then, alternate water with Gatorade or something else with electrolytes. Drink like it’s your job.
gazpacho
Ice water and hand towel. Not in the office or on your way to a job interview, obviously. But if you are working outside fill a small cooler with ice, add water, and soak a hand-towel in it. Wrap it around your neck, wipe your face, wet down your hair. Rinse, repeat. Once the ice has melted take a break and start over.

Take breaks. Make the timer on your phone your friend. I can’t sit, stand, or walk for more than 15 minutes on the best of days without expecting to pay a large price the next couple of days, so my timer is always set for 15 minutes. When it goes off, I go lie down (with water, in front of a box fan) until I feel like getting up again. It may be 15 minutes later, or it may be a couple of hours later. Listen to your body.

There were a lot of great prompts over at Mama Kat’s Writers Workshop this week. Go check them out (Tue post) and link up (Thur post)!

How Do You Define Yourself? (Final)

OK, here’s where the rubber meets the road. You’ve got my background and why I feel a need to define myself, and you’ve got all the circumstances I don’t want to define me. But lately  God has been almost literally bopping me on the head with a bat, insisting that it’s time to think and pray and do something to redefine myself and set my course for the rest of my life.

The first time was my first visit ever to a Chronic Pain Support Group. Better late than never, right? Everyone had known each other for years (or so it seemed). There were two other newbies besides me, and we all introduced ourselves and were greeted warmly before the guest speaker started.  Afterwards everyone stayed and talked for a while, and it quickly became clear that this wasn’t a misery loves company group of people. One woman identified herself as “the political one”, and I could 100% see myself spending time with her, educating the public, making calls, and sending emails about laws that need to be passed to protect hard-working people from some of the experiences I suffered. Another woman had suffered with Fibromyalgia for decades before being diagnosed, and now nearly 50% of her extended family has been diagnosed.  Her passion is early detection of the disease, and identification of those at risk. This is a powerful, positive group of people who have much loftier health goals than just “making it through each day”, which has been my only goal for a really long time.

Then I attended my usual Bariatric Surgery Support Group. (I had a gastric sleeve last August, hoping weight loss would help my low back pain – no luck so far). Our official topic for the day was Relationships, but we ended up talking about the frustration of how our culture defines and discriminates overweight people, and that it often continues even after the weight is lost. Then what should pop out of my mouth?  “Yes, our culture has some huge flaws. But the place to start making changes is how we define ourselves. How did we introduce ourselves today? By telling our first names, what surgery we’d had, and how many pounds we’d lost. We have to see ourselves as more than numbers on a scale or the size on a tag before we can expect anyone else to do so!” Yep, my filter is apparently permanently set in the Off position.

Then I went to see Stephen King speak (totally worth the incredible pain that night and the two days of bedrest afterwards!!) and the first thing he said was that he was actually three different people: the guy who took out the trash and picked up the dog poop, the guy who wrote all this crazy stuff and never knew how his books were going to end ahead of time, and the person brave enough to stand in front of a crowd of 2,400 people and talk.

The final straw was finishing a book by Lisa Wingate – part of the Moses Lake series. Yes, it’s romance, not literary fiction, but the clear theme of the book was defining oneself. So that’s what I’m up to now. I’m gathering all these scattered aspects of myself and deciding who I’m going to be for the rest of my life. And it’s kind of exciting! How about you? How do you define yourself and how has that changed over your lifetime? Does your definition need a closer inspection?

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