Where did I get that outfit? lol

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wednesday check in

Been a crazy few weeks for me but I'm doing ok. My Thanksgiving was spent at home, we didn't go to Kentucky.  We decided to stay home because of weather and Mike needing to work.  We ended up having dinner at Cracker Barrel, no mess or fuss, was great.  I made it through the day sugar free and was quite proud of myself.  I did have a bit of gravy on my mashed potatoes so wasn't totally grain free but close enough.  

I had started this post a week or more ago but never got around to posting it.  I had switched my cat castle day to Sunday for the month of November. It's definitely different working on a Sunday compared to a Saturday.  Saturdays is adoption day at our local Petco so they take the friendlier kitties over there before I come in.  But on Sunday all the kitties are there and so there were 23 there last week.  Can you imagine trying to sweep and mop the floors with 23 kitties around lol.  It was pretty comical watching some of the cats sliding down the wet hallway.  There were little kitty prints everywhere too I felt like I was cleaning up all day lol.  But it was pretty nice visiting with all the kitties at the end of the day after I finished up the cleaning.  They swarmed me for treats. I think my regular kitties were a bit jealous. This week I'll be back to Saturday.

I got to met the "bio feedback" lady last week at therapy.  She had done a session with Mike and the kids the Saturday I went to the fall rally and had given them a CD on relaxation that she made so I got to listen to that so it really felt like I didn't even miss a session.  It was pretty interesting, nothing like I had tried before where you tighten up your muscles first and then release and do it with each body part.  It was nice meeting her and actually getting to try the software. My hands were super cold though so it didn't work as well for me. I definitely think this will be a good thing for all of us.  Nick was a pro at being able to calm himself on command which was cool seeing in action. They have a teen group too that Nick hasn't really wanted to try but I think I'm going to take him eventually.  I really think once he goes he will enjoy being with everyone.  He really needs to work on his social skills. This week Nick will see the therapist on his own.  I just think he needs more one on one time.  

I really gave a lot of thought to all I have going on these days so I made the decision to back away from something as it had just become too much for me and was causing me a lot of anxiety.  I know it was the right thing for me as I've had more peace the past few weeks.  I have always believed it's best to follow your gut.  Something that is fine for one person may not be for someone else and we each have to decide things for ourselves.  I just think I've come to far to not make my own choices and decisions with things.  

I'm still doing my habits challenge with my TOPS folks, we are in week #10, just 4 more weeks to go.  Planning a fun day with everyone but still don't have a location so really need to get on the ball and try to get that all together.  It should be like a mini fall rally :) I'm looking forward to it.  Not sure what will be next for my local groups.  I will probably take a bit of a break from the weekly stuff and try to focus on getting back to a better routine for myself.

Think I mentioned that I'm going to do my own marathon.  Have 2 other TOPS members that said they would do it with me so I sure hope they are still willing.  I plan on doing it in May so will have to do part of my training indoors.  Going to print out my training schedule since I think I will need to start in January/February.  I must admit I'm SOOOO ready to be done with this marathon. I've wanted it so long that I'm just ready to be done.  I have no idea what will come after the marathon but it is something that has been on my bucket list FOREVER.  I'm going to plan a 5k, a half and then the marathon too so that I can have more people come.  I am hopeful I will have a good turn out.  

I joined another online challenge.  It has really re focused me and I'm feeling so good mentally the past week or so.  I just think for me having those set goals and having the connectivity to others is really important for me.  I will try to get back here more often as I miss it.  This was always my place to talk about things and I've missed that.

I called Dr. N last week, it was so nice talking to him.  He said he's making a park in the back of his yard.  I told him I will have to come for tea when he's done.  He lives on the water and I could picture us having a great chat out under the trees near the water.  I miss him but it sounds like he's doing well and enjoying his retirement.  

Well I better get to bed if I plan on going to spin in the morning.  

Till next time...

Friday, November 14, 2014

Friday

Feels like I've lost so much time here in the past 2 years.  I've still kept up with reading many folks but often look through my blog list and think how I need to update it and add some new folks and delete some links that no longer work.  I think about how many of us have hung around here all these years. I've been grateful for every one's blogs and comments and the people that have come along because of this blog.  I've definitely found being grateful is a great blessing as it helps me realize how good my life is.  

Family therapy is tomorrow.  Sadly I will have to miss it so Mike will be taking the kids on his own.  I had a prior TOPS commitment so will go to another fall rally up the road.  It might do the family good to have a session without me.  We've had 2 session so far and I can say it feels like we've accomplished a lot. It just feels like a good fit for us.  

I'm still talking to Gary too and I feel he has helped push me towards doing more things that in the past I've been fearful off.  But I know I still have fears about things.  I've lived a lot of my life in fear.  But I also know it's ok and I have to sort through stuff in my own time.  I've been thankful for finding such good therapists in my life.  

I can remember a therapist years ago when I was still married to my first husband. I use to think of her as a bit of a hippie :) Funny that when I looked her up a few years ago I saw she had started a wellness center that had "moon dancing" classes so maybe I wasn't to far off.  I've often thought about going there and seeing if she would remember me.  I've thought of Dr. N a lot lately too and feel like it's time for a call.  I've been feeling vulnerable lately and touching base with him always makes me feel like coming home.  

Guess I'm having one of those needy nights.  Guess that's why I'm here writing.  This definitely use to be my place to come and pour out all the feelings, maybe it's time to get back to some of that.  

On the food front, I was having a lot of female issues which was worrying me it would lead to kidney stone issues so I've pledged to go sugar/grain free for 30 days and see if things clear up for me. I'm on day 5.  I've been doing a semi gluten free diet the past several months and it's really helped my joints a lot.  I just think I need to move into a stage of working on healing myself with food.  I do know that when I'm sugar free I have peace with food and that always feels good. The scale is moving down again which also feels good.  

I talked to one of the trainers at the gym last night about starting a TOPS chapter there.  Feel like it's been something I've wanted to do for several years.  She asked me if I'd be willing to help with the biggest loser contest in February if she got a chapter together and I said I would.  It would be nice to have that community feeling again at the gym.  I still go to several spin classes that I enjoy but haven't been to a fitness class in a long time, usually just do my own thing.  Marie went with me a few weeks ago which was nice.  They have you can take family or friends there on the first 7 days of every month which is nice.

Well I better head off to bed since J will be picking me up at 7am.  Ekkkk.

Till next time...



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Letting things go

Well I've decided to just let things go concerning the "painted into corners" stuff.  I talked to my TOPS mom and she told me back when I first joined she did call TOPS headquarters and talk about my situation and so it was just left as is.  I wish I had known that back then.  I also found out that if you were to have had surgery in the past and it's no longer active then you are eligible to be royalty.  Just typing that makes me laugh to myself.  Goodness, I'm no queen lol.  But it did feel like an accomplishment back then and I was happy for the wonderful experience of it all.  

TOPS doesn't define my story for me and though I'm grateful to having it help motivate me over the years I will just continue doing what I do for myself and my TOPS folks.  It doesn't change who I am.  I think I will be less nervous about it all now and I will just move forward.  I won't see most of my TOPS folks till SRD (April 2015) so I will see how I feel then to see what I think about opening up more with the people I feel close to.  It's just like anything in our pasts, we decide who we tell what to.  

Going to write in the comments some to the people that were kind enough to comment on my last post.  I so very appreciate the time you took doing that.  
I've had a good few days, gotten in plenty of exercise and eaten well. It always makes me feel good when I'm taking good care of myself.  

I read a post on Vickie's blog that had me saying "yes, I need to re evaluate some things".  I do know as I move forward in maintenance I would like to drop a few pounds.  I know the reason I haven't so far is because I have food attachments.  I too want peace with food, it's what I've talked about for a very long time.  I also know that the sugar, salt, fat thing is very real for me as well and so I have to really buckle down on myself not only for the trigger issues but also for medical issues.  

I know that wheat is an issue for me too.  I never believed it but as I've gotten away from it these past few months I have felt a big difference to my joints and that's important for me long term as I would like to not have to take arthritis meds the rest of my life.  I find when I'm back on gluten and eating more carbs my joints definitely feel it and I feel the need to take the meds.  So I'm going to focus on wellness in the coming months and see if I can sort out some of my health issues.  I'm actually quite excited about the idea.  

Well I better hit the hay if I want to make it to the gym in the morning.  

Till next time...

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Painted into corners

Feels like it's been forever since I last posted.  I say that a lot here these days.  I miss it here though, a place to talk about things going on in my day to day life.  So I really think I need to make an effort to come and write more.  I still read my friend's blogs and they still bring me the same smiles and tears and all the other great emotions they always have :) you all are just great.

Today I just felt like I had to come write with all the thoughts whirling around in my head.  I feel like I've been eating like a crazy person all day too and though I know where it's coming from it doesn't seem to stop me.  I've realized now most of the time when I want to eat it's more related to wanting to beat myself up emotionally about something.  

The fact is I feel I've painted myself into so many corners and now I feel like I'd like to bring them together for myself yet I really don't know how.  I guess I just need to start taking the steps to do it so that I can move on and not feel the emotional strain of it.  

Here's the thing, I started this blog back in the summer of 2008, about a year into my weight loss.  It was my lifeline in so many ways over the past 6 yrs.  I've been more open here than I've been to very close friends even. It's been a place for me to process my thoughts and get some feedback from the many friends I have made here over the years.  I've been so very thankful for that, for all of you here that have supported me all these years.  

Some of you are older friends than others so some of the newer folks may not know that when I was 15 yrs old I had my stomach stapled.  I weighed 345 lbs then and honestly I think I may have ended my life had my mother not agreed to help make it happen.  I know my mother was scared and I just wanted something magical to change my life for me, to drag me back to life.  I had seen a commercial, jotted down the number and my mother not knowing what to do to help me made the call and we started a process to make it happen.  

Anyway, as the long timers know I lost about 100 lbs initially but from day one I tried to eat around my surgery.  I saw my surgeon all of once after my surgery and had no further support.  I threw up daily, many times a day for several years.  I eventually sometime in my 20's broke the staples fully loose, I honestly don't know when or how and there was no hospital visit or anything dramatic about it, was just a gradual thing that happened over the years of continued over eating.  

As the years went by I eventually got up to 378 lbs and even saw the 380's during my pregnancies.  So though I considered the stomach stapling a failure I was grateful for it teaching me some lessons, the main one, the mental work HAS to be done with weight loss.  Plus I think had I not had it I may not be here.  It was a really tough time in my life then and so I have no bad feelings in that way about it.  

In the past I have done a few posts on weight loss surgery and I can remember being quite bitter about people that had surgery and hid their side effect which I assumed all weight loss surgery patients had and how they raved about how great it all was yet many lived in a secret food hell of many unpleasant symptoms.  I will say today that I probably wouldn't have written the same posts as the past, as I feel much more compassionate about people that make the choice for themselves to have surgery.  As some of you know my sister had gastric bypass surgery and my TOPS mom had the gastric sleeve and I understood both their reasons though I did try to talk my sister out of it and she did stay bitter at me for several years.  She has since gained back most of her weight and I know it must be upsetting to her to have gone through all that for what may seem no reason.  But like I said I learned lessons and I'm sure everyone that has weight loss surgery learns their own.

Anyway about my title "painted into corners" when I joined TOPS I really didn't know the rules, how things worked.  I did share with J that first day that I had gotten my stomach stapled when I was 15 but that it was no longer active as she could clearly tell by the looks of me.  I never really gave much thought to it.  I remember she marked the box "no" to surgery.  Honestly, I still am not quite sure how all that works.  By TOPS rules should I have not been allowed to be TOPS Maryland queen several years ago?  I really am not sure.  I do feel I earned my crown fair and square yet I'm not sure others would feel that way.  But it has played on my mind all these years and as I've grown as a person and gotten closer to my Maryland TOPS folks I feel it is this deep secret hanging over my head.  I've talked to Mike about what to do and to J and to a few other people and honestly I feel like I'm between a rock and hard place.  They all say do what feels best to me. I feel the need to move forward with a clear conscious.  Of course the problem is it feels like I've held a BIG secret so long now and I honestly don't know how to figure my way out of it.  

It's kind of like this blog with my family and if they were to find it.  I even think about my children finding it and would I want them reading some of the stuff I've wrote here.  It makes me question several of the posts I've done here over the years.  So it's like I have separated my life into the people that know I had surgery at 15, my TOPS folks and then all the things I've written here.  As I move forward in my life and want to do more to help people I just feel I need it all to just be ok to tie together.  But honestly I don't know that it is.  Yes, maybe I could sort out my TOPS stuff and though there might be a few people whispering behind my back I think the people that mean something to me would understand though honestly at times I wonder how I could have let it all go on so long now.  

But I am just to old to keep caring about things that done really matter to me.  If I want to help others or be able to give real advice I need to be an open book as it's all a part of MY story.

I guess I came to write this tonight because maybe a few of you will have some words of wisdom for me, some thoughts on what you think.  On how you honestly view it all?  I value your opinions a lot.

On the home front we are headed into new territory too.  We had our first family therapy session on Saturday.  With the stuff with Nick the past few years I knew it was time he went to therapy, far over due really.  One night a few weeks ago him and I went out to dinner, just the two of us and had a heart to heart.  When I asked him what kind of therapy he would like he said "family therapy".  I think it will be good for us and I really liked the therapist. 

As for me, well I'm still focused on trying to help my TOPS folks.  I'm doing a 14 week habits challenge.  I remember a habits challenge that Lyn did several years ago that got me thinking and gave me some great habits to focus on.  I really have always believed changing my habits is what has gotten me where I am today. That and of course all the mental things I've worked on.  So I send out a weekly "habits" email and also try to point them in the direction of inspirational things I come across.  

I'm still searching for what's next for me.  I know if I want to move down the scale I really do have to re evaluate a lot of my eating ideas.  I am starting to have some female issues I think related to the little fragments of kidney stones I still have from years ago so I just think changing how I eat could help that.  I have some fear though of screwing things up for myself.  I sure wouldn't want to have to go through surgery again for kidney stones.  It's hard to think about giving up more foods though but I do want to stay in good health.

My weight is still up and as I've been focusing on others and more mental aspects I find myself not as motivated myself.  I know setting goals work and that's where I need to get back to.  So tomorrow is my new day to refocus.  I am just going to start moving forward in making some new changes and see how it goes.  

To end on a fun note :) I went to my first ever Halloween party :) I wasn't going to dress up but then at the last minute I got a $10 witches costume lol.  I didn't win any prizes but it was fun and I really enjoyed meeting some new people. 

Here's a picture of me with one of our new kitties, all black Petey :) and Mike in his rocker wig lol.



Till next time...

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Fall Is Here

Hard to believe it's October already.  I've had a busy several months but I'm feeling good :) I look at the title of my blog and realize I really am fixing myself happy.  It's a forever process but it's going along well these days.

September was a busy month for me.  My TOPS Fall Rally was really great, 50 people came and I had 34 million step challengers.  They inspired me and I'd like to think I inspired them too. My half marathon was a few weeks ago.  The day after Marie's 13th Birthday, hard to believe my little girl is 13 now :) Nick ended up not doing the half marathon with me, yes I was bummed but I understood it didn't mean as much to him as it did to me.  But I had Mike and 5 other TOPS folks do it with me.  
The total amount of weight loss between the folks in the above picture is 704 lbs, pretty amazing I'd say. The medals everyone is wearing is something I got to design myself.  I called my half marathon "I can do anything 2014 half marathon".  I also designed the shirt that the guy on the end is wearing. it says "It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think your not", I thought definitely fitting for where we've all come from :) 

I've decided that May of next year I'm going to walk a marathon on that same trail that we walked the half.  The father/son team next to Mike is going to walk it with me as well.  I'm excited and I'm glad I made the decision to just plan my own marathon.  I've come to realize that "official" just means setting a goal and doing it :) 

I'm trying to think of all that's happened in the past few months that I haven't talked about.  I saw my sister last month, Kevin's mom, who I hadn't seen in almost 4 yrs.  She had been in and out of the hospital and I was really worried for her.  It was hard showing up at her house unannounced but I told myself the worse that would happen would be she would pretend I wasn't there.  Which at first she did.  But Marie went with me and she hadn't seen her in all that time either and so she told Marie it was good to see her and she gave her a hug and after a little while she was talking to me too.  I did what I could to help her and we had a good visit.  I was so thankful for that.  Growing up we were often a team and I have missed her.  

I'm still volunteering at the cat shelter.  The kids haven't went with me in awhile but I'm still enjoying my time with the kitties.  I go most Saturdays for 2-4 hours.  Today I had a lot of visitors come in to visit with the kitties which was nice :)  We are fostering another kitten that Marie named Alfie.  He's a little orange and white fella with a sweet disposition.  Him and Petey are always wrestling but also they are buddies.  Petey has become more my kitty and has to wake me every morning with putting his wet nose to mine lol.  

As for my weight, well I'm up a few lbs (12 if people want a number) but nothing that I'm too worried about.  I'm back to more focus on myself and I'm sure I will lose what I've gained this summer.  I'm really focusing on eating more whole foods and continuing to work on my relationship with food.  I'm content with me and that really is the most important thing.  

Life is good.

Till next time...

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Mesothelioma 10th Annual Awareness Day

I know I've been missing awhile again.  But todays post isn't about me.  I had a woman contact me named Heather Von St. James a few weeks ago asking me if I could do a post about Mesothelioma because Friday is the 10th Annual Mesothelioma Awareness Day.  So I thought it best I do it when I was thinking about it so today is the day.  Plus I'm guessing some of my other blogger buddies may be posting about it too so maybe several of us doing posts will help Heather's cause more. 

Heather told me that eight years ago she was diagnosed with mesothelioma.  It's a rare and preventable cancer caused only by exposure to asbestos. She had just given birth to her daughter and was given only 15 months to live. After a life saving surgery that included the removal of her left lung, she's now made it her life's mission to spread awareness about mesothelioma and the dangers of asbestos.

September 26th, 2014 marks the 10th anniversary of Mesothelioma Awareness Day, and has been the driving force behind the movement to bring more attention and funding to this cancer. There is no more innocent victim than a person with mesothelioma, they are sick as a direct result of a product that is NOT banned in the U.S. This disease has a life expectancy of just 18 months after diagnosis, and symptoms may not be evident until 20-35 years after initial exposure to asbestos. 

Heather was exposed to Asbestos dust on her father's work coat. He would return from work for the day covered in dust, but she missed him so she would wear his coat and boots around the yard to do chores. Little did she know that she was breathing in the deadly fibers, and would be diagnosed much later in her life.

If you would like to watch Heather's video telling her story, click here.

My life was touched by Mesothelioma in a round about way.  My step father's wife (before he married my mother) died from this Cancer after having spent years washing his work clothes from a place he worked where he came in contact with asbestos. So when Heather contacted me I thought this was something I should do to help.  

Below are some ASBESTOS facts:

 Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral that is classified as a known human carcinogen, because of its association with mesothelioma. 

On average, 30 million pounds of asbestos are still being used in the United States today. 

The substance can still be found in many homes, schools, and commercial or industrial buildings. 

Even 30 years after the peak of its use, asbestos still remains as the number one cause of occupational cancer in the US. 

During the 1930’s until the late 1970’s asbestos was at it’s peak production and use. 

US Navy veterans who served during World War II and the Korean Conflict have the highest probability of having asbestos related health problems.  

Asbestos is used as building material in several developing countries throughout the world, including India and Brazil. Industrialized nations such as China, Russia, and Canada also continue to mine and use asbestos as material for consumer products. 

On July 12, 1989, the EPA issued a final rule banning most asbestos-containing products. In 1991, this regulation was overturned by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. As a result of the Court’s decision, only a few asbestos-containing products remain banned. 

This year 10,000 Americans will die of asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer or mesothelioma and 200,000 people will be living with asbestos.

To this day, asbestos is still found in many schools, homes,commercial and industrial buildings. 

Asbestos was once used in common household items such as toasters hairdryers, and over 3,000 other consumer products. 

The EPA estimates that there are asbestos containing materials in most of the nations approximately 107,000 primary and secondary schools and 733,000 public and commercial buildings.

Below are some MESOTHELIOMA Facts:

Mesothelioma is an aggressive cancer that attacks the lining of the body cavity called the mesothelium. 

The only known cause to mesothelioma is exposure to asbestos. 

80% of all mesothelioma cases occur within the lining of the lungs. There are two other recognized types; peritoneal mesothelioma occurring in the abdominal lining, and pericardial mesothelioma occurring in the heart’s lining. 

Mesotheliom incidence in women is on the rise because many women experienced second hand exposure from parents or spouses who worked closely with asbestos. 

Asbestos exposure was first linked to mesothelioma cancer in 1964. 

Worldwide mesothelioma cases are expected to reach their peak around the year 2020. 

Between 2,500 and 3,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed each year. On average, they are given 10 months to live. 

Mesothelioma commonly sits dormant in the body for 20-50 years after initial exposure to asbestos. 

Mesothelioma is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 50 and 70,but it is not uncommon among younger generations who may have experienced second hand exposure.

More info can be found at mesothelioma.com

Thanks for reading this today and I hope you will help Heather in her fight to get rid of asbestos in our world so no one else has to go through what she did or worse, die from this terrible Cancer.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Busy Few Weeks

Thanks for all the nice comments about my vacation pictures.  I really did have a nice summer.  

It's been another several busy weeks for me.  Hard to believe the kids are back in school already and it's almost September.  September is going to be a really busy month for me with my TOPS Fall Rally I'm planning and my own half marathon.  

Yesterday Mike, Nick and I walked 11 miles.  I won't sugar coat it, it was long and Nick complained most of the walk and I found myself feeling pretty depressed by the second half of it.  But thankfully by the last few miles we recovered and things improved between us.  I know he's scared about his future and not knowing what he wants to do with his life.  I honestly don't care what he does, I just want to see him happy in his life.  I sure hope he can figure it out for himself.  I know at his age I was in an even worse situation with no drive to do anything for myself.  Then my mother up and got married and I was on my own at just 18.  It was probably the best thing that could have happened to me.  Of course I don't want Nick to have it as hard as I did but I also don't want to coddle him.  We will just have to see how things go.  For now, I'm just really proud of him for following through on saying he'd walk with me.  I think it has definitely brought us closer together.

So this weekend was the Motley Crue and Alice Cooper concert on Friday, boy what a crazy show that was :) Alice is definitely a character :) Then I had the cat castle on Saturday and then yesterday was the 11 mile walk and then the Journey concert in the evening, which was great.  But boy was I tired.  I got in 30k steps yesterday.  So today Mike and I ended up taking a "stay at home day", it was great :)

With the kids back in school now it means I have to figure out a new schedule for myself if I want to make it to the gym in the mornings, I'll have to get up earlier again.  Tomorrow is the day of 4:45am up time.  But I've found in the past few years that morning workouts are good for me.  I still take walks often in the evenings and on weekends since I'm training for my half marathon and doing the step challenge but getting in my weight lifting in the mornings really helps.  

I find morning meditation helps me too. I just think as time goes on I need to work on permanent changes that help me on a daily basis.  I was reading some maintenance blogs (Lori was one of them) and they were talking about still needing to make on going changes as time goes on even in maintenance.  Really, life is on going with changes so why wouldn't we need to make adjustments with exercise, food, sleep, mental, whatever it takes to keep our weight off.  I've definitely been giving more thought to lots of things these days.

As of late I've really been focusing on the mental side of things.  Of course nutrition can use some on going work too so I've been doing some there too.  I've found focusing on others more has been wonderful for my mental health but I also see how I've falling back with food some over the summer.  I think there is a certain level of focus on myself that I need to keep.  But I don't need it to be "gung ho, a million miles an hour" either.  Yes, I'm still looking for that right balance for myself.

I'm feeling good about my work with my TOPS folks and the million step challenge.  I'm not sure how many I have doing it but the ones that are send me emails and fitbit msg and it feels wonderful to know I've helped them in some small way.  I wonder if any of my blog friends are doing it with me, let me know if you are I'd love to hear about how you're doing :)

Well it's late and I better get to bed.  I'll try to come back sooner than a few weeks :) It's been great reading your blogs so know I'm still here rooting you all on even if I'm not talking as much :)

Till next time...

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Vacation/Summer Post

Yes, I've been missing again.  But it's been a good summer so far and crazy that it's already August, where has it went?  June, consisted of Birthdays, mine and Nick's, Kevin and Mike going to New Hampshire to move his stuff, Kevin and his wife visiting for a week, then her for a week on her own.  Then July we headed off on vacation :) and what a vacation it was :) We drove over 2800 miles making pit stops in all kinds of places :) We drove to Kentucky to drop off the kids and spent a few days there with Mike's mom to celebrate her 4th of July Birthday.  Here's a few pictures of the Kentucky walks I've talked about many times.  It was just beautiful, the sky there just seemed bluer :)


Then we were off to Shenandoah, VA for a few days of camping.  As things sometimes go we had a few mess ups there lol.  First, we couldn't fit the queen size air mattress in our small tent so ended up ripping the tent a little.  Then found out that the air mattress had a leak lol and to top it off I didn't bring but one twin spare and the camp store sold everything BUT air mattresses so poor Mike volunteered to sleep on a 3/8" mat we bought.  Then if you can believe it, it rained lol.  But we did get in a few nice hikes before things went to heck.





The mountain behind mike is Stony Man and is the second highest point in the park and then that's me on Stony Man :) 

So we ended up making the decision to just head out a day early and ended up spending a night at a great bed and breakfast called Spencer House in Erie, PA. Joy and Fletcher were just great :) the house was built in 1876 and it was beautiful woodwork throughout the whole place.  We got to stay in the presidential suite too :)
Then we headed on to Niagara Falls, the Canada side.  I had never seen the falls so it was super cool to me.  I originally booked a room at one of the "on the falls" hotel but then I just couldn't bear the thought of spending so much so I switched hotels and this is a picture from our room, you could actually see a bit of the falls, so not to bad. 
We did the whole falls tour thing so got to go on the boat ride and then also do the "behind the falls" tour and also the rapids walk.  Here's a few pictures of that. I was awed with how many rainbows there were :) got a picture of one on the American falls and then another on the horseshoe falls.



Here's a picture of Mike and I at the rapids walk.  It was cool reading all the stories about the people trying to go down the rapids by different means :) One guy made it with just a life preserver :)
 Here's the "behind the falls" pic, you were almost close enough to reach out and touch it :)
After our Niagara days we headed on up to Meaford, ON to visit my girlfriend.  We had never met before so it was really cool to get to meet her after several years of friendship online :) Her and her husband own a farm so we got to try raw milk and ate fresh eggs and grass fed beef and pork :) 

We went to this cool farmers market and my girlfriend treated me to a character drawing.  I sure wish my face was that thin lol. There was a chef there too and we got to sample some :)
 The farm had fruit trees and bushes too which I thought was super cool to just walk around the year picking cherries, mulberries and raspberries :)
Got to go kayaking with my girlfriend on Georgian Bay, which was HUGE that you definitely couldn't see anything in the distance.  I got to see 3 otters too, my first otter sighting ever :)  While we were kayaking Mike was bailing hay :) I just got in the picture at the end of his hard work day lol.
Then we had a great family dinner out in their gazebo. I've never been a steak eater but I can honestly say their grass fed beef was truly the best steak I had ever had in my whole life. They home grown veggies weren't to bad either :) One of my new favorite things to put on my roasted veggies is balsamic vinegar, who'd a thought :)
Then my girlfriend and I headed back out for more kayaking.  I had never been at night.  There was fog on the bay but the coolest part was someone shooting off fireworks out over the bay in front of us. Then before we knew it, it was time to head on home.  I definitely could live in Meaford, the farm life could be for me :) If I actually knew how to farm lol.
It was a 14 1/2 hour drive home and then we got a few days to ourselves before heading to Beckley, WV (15 hour round trip) to get the kids.  To say we were beat after vacation would be an understatement, but boy was it a great one :)

Then Kevin's wife and the little one returned for a week and a half :) We went to an amusement park which was tons of fun, especially the water park stuff :) I didn't get any pictures since I wasn't the one taking them but here's one of the little one with our 2 foster kitties. Isn't she a cutey?
Then a few weeks ago Mike and I went to a KISS/Def Leppard concert if you can believe it :) I grew up on Def Leppard and Mike has been a forever KISS fan.  I had only been to one rock concert in my life and that was Heart when I was 20 yrs old.  I couldn't believe how much fun I had :) Here's Mike and I in our KISS t-shirts, wish I had a Def Leppard one instead :)
We are going to a Motley Crue concert on August 22nd and then to see Journey on the 24th. No, I haven't lost my mind lol I might have to wear ear plugs for the Motley Crue one. So that's been my summer so far.  

An update on the foster kitties, sadly the little orange tabby, Sunshine wasn't adjusting to our house very well at all so we had to send him back to his old foster lady.  The little hellion Petey, well he got fixed last week and Mike (the man that didn't want to foster any kitties) told me, "You can't take my Petey" when I told him it was time for him to start going to adoptions days at Petco.  Sooooo Petey has become our 4th kitty.  The family all feels we probably shouldn't foster anymore kitties so for now we won't :)

On the weight front, well I have put on a few lbs from all the vacation/house guest eating but I'm working on getting it back off.  

My TOPS step challenge is still going strong and I'm pretty sure I'll reach the million steps by the end.  I have 9 miles to walk tomorrow and Mike and Nick will be walking with me :) they both have agreed to do the half marathon I'm planning with some of my TOPS folks.  I'm very excited about having my very own half marathon.

Well it's going on midnight so I better head off to bed so I'm well rested for that walk.

Till next time...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Another Week Gone By

It's been a good week and a half.  Nick turned 17 yesterday, hard to believe he's that old :) It feels like yesterday he was just a little boy.

Here he is at the cat castle with Inky :)

He seems to have a way with the kitties :) 

The first week of the step challenge is underway and though I don't know exactly how many TOPS members or bloggers I have doing it, I'm enjoying doing it myself and looking forward to seeing how many finish :) 

Today was Marie's last soccer game of the season, they tied 3 to 3 :) 

Then I went for a great walk with my TOPS mom and then.....

I went and picked up this little guy.
His name is Petey and he weighs just a mere 1 lb 4 oz and is about 3-4 weeks old.  Mike has already resigned himself that the little guy will never leave now that he's here lol but I really am just wanting to foster the little guy but he is darn cute as you can see.  We are feeding him a mix of kitten food and kitten formula and he's a good eater and already using his litter box :) He even already figured out how to get himself up on Nick's bed as you can see :)

Tomorrow I plan on doing 5 miles with Mike and I've talked with him and he's agreed to do another half marathon with me.  I think it will be something good for us as we missed doing one last year together. I've come up with the plan to do a half one of my own with my TOPS steppers or whoever wants to participate :) right here locally.  I haven't planned the details yet but I'm excited about it.  I just think focusing on others is what I need right now :)

Life is good.

Till next time...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Cat Castle

Thank you for all your caring sweet comments about Nick and the kitten, so so thankful for all of you :)

Last week was tough, after Saturday then I had to spend the next 4 days stressing over did the poor kitten have rabies as the health department got involved, thankfully it didn't but it was definitely a lesson learned, a far to sad one.  

We still volunteered this Saturday though as usual.  The Cat Castle brings me a lot of joy even scrubbing floors and cleaning litter boxes.  When I sit with Casadia after I'm done cleaning I can tell she enjoys my company even though she hasn't allowed me to pet her again.  I think so many things in life are about making a difference and the kids and I make a difference to those kitties there.  

We decided to ask to foster kittens if any were to come along.  I thought we were going to get 2 this week but it didn't happen.  I think it would help the kids and I feel better about poor little Lilly (that's what we had named her).  Anyway, I will continue to volunteer at the Cat Castle for a long time to come :)

As for other things in my world, things are good.  I have been back to reading blogs on a regular basis again and just loving what everyone has to say.  I sometimes wonder if my dribble helps anyone.  I know I struggle just as much as the next person and I know it all boils down to my inner thoughts and staying positive.  

My call with Gary last week was a good one and we talked about how I lost my weight initially.  For me it was goals along the way with that big TOPS prize of getting a trip to Nova Scotia.  That really was what pushed me and I had an actual time limit.  I don't know that I would change how I lost my weight but I also know that had I not started working more on the head stuff I could have easily started to gain it back more than I did.  We talked about the weight I continue to hold on to, this 25-30 lbs and what meaning it holds.  It has been somewhat of a protection for me.  It allows me to feel safer around men and it also allows me to eat more food and still live in my food addiction at times.  I've mentioned here before how I want to just drift down the scale slowly as I work on inner things, tweaking my food more and just enjoying my life.  Is that possible?  I believe it is, as does Gary but I also don't know how long it will take.  I've not been in a hurry so far as you can tell lol since I've been sitting around this weight, give or take 10-15 lbs for the past 4 1/2 yrs.  

At this point in life, I'm good with me.  I love myself, I feel happy in my life, I'm nurturing my relationship with Mike and the kids and really there's not a lot wrong with my world.  Sure I wouldn't mind having money lol but other than that I'm content.  So if I weren't to lose another lb I'd be fine with that.  When I changed my blog to "Fixing myself happy" I really did mean that.

So where does that leave me with goals?  Well that marathon is still in my head and I still want that more than any other goal I've had.  I will continue to work towards it even though I'm finding myself having ankle and knee issues.  I've seen people without limbs do amazing things surely I can walk a marathon :) 

As for my long holiday weekend, it was super nice, there was a walk with Mike, the hours at the cat castle with both kids, an afternoon walk with my girlfriend and then dinner at her house, time in the yard reading and planting and just enjoying the beautiful weather, there was also kayaking on the lake with Marie on Monday.  I wish it could have lasted forever :)

Kevin called last night, he and his family will be moving to NH in a few weeks.  They will come to visit for at least a weekend which I'm very much looking forward to :) I won't like having them so far away, it's been nice them only being a few hours away but hopefully we will see each other on the holidays.  

We head to Kentucky the 4th of July to drop the kids off and visit a few days then Mike and I are heading off for vacation.  We are going to do some hiking in VA then off to see Niagara Falls then off to visit a girlfriend of mine in Canada, I can't wait.  It's going to be a wonderful vacation :)

The step challenge starts on Sunday, I'm going to shoot for level 2 as I know that is doable.  If I end up managing level 1 that would be great but honestly I'll take any level just to keep myself moving :)

Well I don't have anything much to really talk about.  Life is good.  Getting in some exercise and eating pretty well.  The scale is moving in the right direction again :) 

Till next time...

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Tough Lessons

Some things are just heart wrenching.  Yesterday was a day filled with so much good and bad.  I smiled a lot but I also cried a lot.  

I'll talk about my TOPS 5k I organized last since I want to end on a good not.  What had me sad was that after my TOPS 5k I came home and nick found a little kitten in our yard. It was injured and clearly in bad shape.  I brought her in the house and we soon realized that her little back legs were in bad shape and she had maggots in her wound.  Nick pleaded that we take her somewhere to be seen so we drove her up the road a hour to the emergency vet.  When the vet mentioned possible rabies and the poor thing having been attacked by something I hadn't even given thought to that which was very dumb on my part.  We ended up having to make the hard decision to put the poor thing down.  I'd like to think we gave the little thing a few hours of comfort at least before we went.  Even writing this has me crying again.  I really don't believe the poor thing had rabies but with something like that there really wasn't a lot I could do and the vet thought it was best since she was in such bad shape anyway.  Hopefully now she's roaming heaven pain free and happy, that's what I'm telling myself anyway.  Honestly I would have spent the $1200 the emergency vet said it would cost to nurse her back to health but with the uncertainty of rabies we had no choice Sad Nick and I felt heart broken and we both cried buckets. 

I'm glad I didn't eat over this as in the past I could have seen myself stopping on the long drive home and drowning my sorrows in sweets.  Instead when we got home we played a game of cards and talked.  Nick said that he thought this had helped him grow up realizing what tough decisions have to be made as an adult.  Goodness knows I hate the thought of my kids having to learn lessons this way but I know life can be tough.  He said that he thought he should stop playing so much xbox as a distraction and start trying to do better.  I was worried the experience would lead him in a bad direction of worse depression so I was glad to hear that isn't the case.  
 
Anyway, I will end on a good note saying my 5k with my TOPS folks was wonderful yesterday.  The weather was a cool 67 degrees and 25 people showed up.  I did my best to talk to as many of the folks as I could along the way and it did my heart good. I gave each person a big hug as they left and I'm looking forward to my next event with them soon.  Not sure if I mentioned I'm doing a million step challenge with them.  I will have 3 levels of steps, 1 million, 1/2 million and 350K, so that hopefully more will try to get more active.  It did my heart good to see several of the ladies out there walking with their canes :) Any of you blogger folks are welcome to join in the stepping challenge.  It will run from June 1st to Sept 19th.  I can send you the little chart I made for tracking if you want to email me at bbubblyb@gmail.com.  It's 111 days long, I liked all the 1's to show YOU ARE #1 :)

Hope everyone is having a good Sunday.
 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Just writing to write

It's been a busy week for me.  I went on travel last week to CT.  I went with 2 co-workers and we drove.  It was a lot of driving for just a few days of training but I had a nice time.  Can't say my eating was good but everything else was so I call that a win.  

I came home and Kevin's wife and the little one were here for Mother's Day weekend.  It was really nice having them.  My mother's day was terrific.  The little one made me a homemade card with a picture of me with yellow and purple hair :) and a big colored heart and it said "I love my Nanny".  All my cards were wonderful, to the point of tears.  Marie's was the one that got me the most.  It was the first "mushy" card she's ever gotten me :)  It said:

Amazing
Admired
Mom
Generous
Genuine
Loved
Respected
Remarkable

When I was growing up, it was the little things that amazed me, like the way you could fold, fasten, or fix anything. or the way you could make a good meal from almost nothing. Now that I'm older, I admire you even more for who you are and that's a woman who gives generously and loves genuinely. I guess I'm saying I'm proud of you Mom proud to be your daughter. Happy Mother's Day Love, Marie

Isn't that what we all want as parents, for our kids to remember the good things and to be proud of us and proud to be like us :) 

Nick's card had a picture of wonder woman on it and it said: 

Always had a favorite super hero growing up, Still do "That'd be you" Love, Nick

And my daughter-in law touched me too with:

On mother's day we celebrate the women who touch our lives with their wisdom, support, and encouragement.  She wrote inside: To the woman in our lives that is a better mother than anyone else could ever imagine being, we love you so much.

After reading all my cards I told them how I always wanted to be thought of that way and that if I do nothing else in life being their mother has been the best reward.  

Mike got me a beautiful card as well, he has always been the sweet card man :) he got me multi colored roses too and made us all a nice breakfast.  After that my daughter-in-law and I went and got pedicures with my TOPS mom and then we went over her house for dinner.  I just had an all around great day.

I've been back on track with food since Monday and just wondering where I want to go with it all.  I have given myself far to much permission to over eat lately and the scale has drifted up about 5 lbs.  I really have to figure out where I want to be. As I've said a million times really I just want peace with food. 

I think doing more mental work lately with Gary has been eye opening for me in many areas.  But I feel I'm back to an even keel and feeling good about where I am.  I know I still have work to do and I can see all the progress I've made in these past many years.  It really is just continuing to put one foot in front of the other mentally and physically.

I've organized a 5k with my local TOPS chapters for this Saturday so I'm excited about that.  I think it will be my biggest one yet.  I'm looking forward to seeing everyone.  Have to go pick up some fresh fruit and water for afterwards tomorrow.  

I've printed out my marathon schedule so I plan on starting training at the end of the month.  My ankle is much better so I'm hopeful I will do ok. 

Well if I want to get to the gym in the morning I better get to bed.  Hope everyone had a great mothers day too :) Hard to believe it's May already.  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Transference and Selfishness

That's what I've been doing lately, transferring my father issues onto other men in my life.  I hadn't really realized this till recently.  Then when my long time girlfriend said "I think if you continue to look to men to help 'fix' you, you will continue to have this idol relationship with them."  I did this to my poor trainer to the point of running him off, goodness knows I can't blame him.  He was really good at what he did but honestly how could he handle the likes of me with my forever neediness.  I am grateful for the quality coaching and the free coaching at the end that he gave me not to mention some really good life advice.  
 
I think my neediness got bad with the broken foot and falling in a depression after not getting to do my marathon. I talked to Mike about it last night and it did help a lot.  I'm so thankful for someone I can talk to, when I don't always make sense.  I'm thankful I do have people in my life that can help me sort myself out.
 
As for idolizing men, I did give a lot of thought to that and I wouldn't change having had my retired therapist, he helped me a LOT and though I will admit I looked to him as the father figure I never had I also think his 30+ yrs of experience really helped me greatly with much of my old baggage and it helped me down the road to loving myself enough to lose the weight.  I think that's part of the neediness the past few weeks too.  He always said I could call him anytime so I called to see how he was doing a few weeks ago.  I found out he was having health issues and it really made me sad.  Made me realize too that it's not all about me.  It made me wish I could be there for him.  But when you put someone in the position of the helper it's hard to turn that around when they could use some comfort themselves.  I did send him a card and I will call again soon to see how he's doing.  The fact is I miss him and feel worried for him. 
 
I still think there is more stuff in my head that needs to be sorted out.  After the broken foot and then losing my coach I was falling into another slump and that's when Gary came along.  I feel I've jumped into the head work so fast that I've not really given myself time to process the past several months. But with Gary and my friends and Mike I'm working through things and making connections for myself of why I do idolize men at times.  Why a find myself attached and seeking assurance and worthiness. But I can't say I want to go digging in my past anymore really, I've been there and I don't feel there's anything I really want to remember further.  But Gary talked about reshaping how I think of the past and I do think I've been working on that.  I want to think of the good things about my parents and just move on.  I just don't see a lot of purpose in dwelling on the bad.  But I do need to learn not to transfer old stuff onto new people as it's not fair to them.  It's clear I have abandonment issues, it's clear I have attachment issues, and clearly I'm needy as heck sometimes.  But I also know I'm a survivor and I'm someone that knows what I am capable of when tough times come along or I set my mind to do something. As I think most people are if they really think about it.  
 
So where does that leave me right now?  Well feeling like I need to focus on others, focus on seeing what I can offer them even if it's a smile and "you look nice today".  I definitely know that showing kindness to others helps me focus on something other than myself because I sure know everything isn't about me. I also know I'm tired of focusing on my weight.  Not that I don't want to better myself but I am content enough as I am so I need to just focus on doing healthy things for myself as there's far more in life than losing a few more lbs.  
 
This week I was clearly feeling needy and in feeling that way I transferred that to several people in my life to the point of feeling irrational, reactive and selfish as heck.  I can remember one of Karen's posts about feeling the negative emotions and learning to process them and be done with them, like a wave coming over us.  What a great way to think of it.  I often times send an email to someone instead of sitting and letting those emotions wash over me.  I need to work on that.  I need to give others peace from me.  I need to learn patience and care of others.  I'm sure everyone has someone in their life that just sucks the life right out of them, boy that has been me lately.  WHY?  I guess that's the question I need to figure out.  I never thought of myself as a needy person before recently.
 
But deep down that needy little child still lives inside me. I've learned not to stuff her with food as often but I'm finding I'm stuffing her with people lately and that is worse as it affects more than just me.  I also know that little girl has felt worthless at times and as I've grown over the years emotionally I realize that I am the one that gives myself worthiness not others. I need to rely on me, nurture myself and realize that I can't get from others what I need to get from myself.  
 

As for life these days, it's good so I really have nothing to be needy or upset about.  I need to get back to focusing on living fully. There's far too much good to be focusing on unhappy because we all know what we focus on persists.  So here's to happiness, contentment and peace.  I am enough, I am worthy and giving of myself to others will benefit me more than them.  I really do want a life of service not a life of transference or selfishness. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Another Challenge Done

It's been a busy few weeks for me.  My TOPS convention was last week and it was really good.  My workshop went well and then I talked a bit later on in the day about "regain".  It was mostly what I wrote here a month or so ago.  I got a standing ovation and I found myself really chocked up.  I feel like I've learned a lot of things about myself during this weight loss journey.  I'm starting to think maybe I could help others.  It's not about teaching them about nutrition or exercise though, it's about helping them to learn to love themselves and get rid of guilt and shame and to be happy with where they are right now.  

Funny though that some times I can stand so tall and feel so good about all I've accomplished and then other times I'm feeling like I still have a ways to go. 

I finished another online challenge this past weekend.   Below is the essay I wrote for it.

"Dawn's Final Mile", that's what I titled this thread because I wanted to get to a body I had never seen before, I wanted to "finish".  But as the weeks ticked by I realized that my final mile wasn't going to happen this challenge but I also realized that through these past 6 1/2 yrs and coming from 378 lbs, I've had quite a few detours, gains and pauses and I've learned many lessons along the way.  
 
So what did I learn during this 98 day challenge? 
 
I learned that recovering from an injury is harder than I thought it would be.  Breaking my foot 4 weeks before my marathon was a lesson in patience for me.  I was thankful to get back in the gym even if I'm not 100% back to where I was before the foot. 
 
I learned that asking for help was a good thing, that having that 5th element was a must.  I found the kindness of others 10 fold all along the way. Every person that stopped by to root me on meant something to me. (I feel the same way about the people here in the blogging world too)
 
I learned that nutrition has to be at the top of the list, especially when you're injured and not working out at your best. Through my weight loss I relied on exercise to eat more and I learned through this challenge that tweaking my food and eating within my calorie range was a must.
 
I learned to modify my exercise where need be to create a workout that worked for ME.  I did use Tom's TNB through part of this challenge and found it worked even with my injuries.  
 
I learned staying positive is EVERYTHING!!!
 
I learned nurturing my brain is of the utmost importance.  I definitely grew mentally through this challenge.
 
I also learned that self confidence can come in many ways and helping others is a big part of that.  Speaking at my TOPS convention this year and receiving the love from so many showed me that giving others hope will help me grow into the confident person I'm striving to be not to mention helping others is so rewarding and feels great.
 
I've learned maintaining is winning too.
 
I've definitely learned that I NEED to be proud of who I am and what I have accomplished over time.  Each day is a lesson waiting to be learned. 
 
Today I weigh 1 lb less than what I weighed this time last year finishing up the LYB challenge and I was feeling on top of the world and hoping to win (came in 3rd) so how can I be disappointed in myself to have maintained my weight through having a broken foot and other obstacles this year.  I lost some fat and gained some muscle and though I don't think my pictures look much different the inside of me sure does. I've realized I've just come to far on this journey to beat myself up anymore about anything.  It really is about how we look at things and ourselves and it really is about finding the joy in the journey.  
 
As for my goals from this point forward, boy I'd still love to do that marathon in November and 25% body fat and 155 lbs is still on the horizon Smile
 
But my #1 goal is to love myself each and every day and be so very proud that I've maintained a 200 lbs weight loss for 4 1/2 yrs now. 
 
So for each person reading this know...
 
You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection… - Siddhartha Gautama 

How true is it that we deserve our own love and affection.  I think that is the battle so many of us face, not always giving ourselves the love and kindness that we show others.  

While I've been working with Gary (weightpsychology.com) these past several weeks he's making me realize that for me it's about protecting my weight loss so far not about losing another 25 lbs.  In our first call he asked me to rate my self love from 1 to 10 and I gave myself an 8.  He was surprised my number was that high but I explained that I rate my love for myself how I rate my love of life, my happiness in my life.  We've talked about weight just being a symptom and I think we all know that to be true.  It made me think about when I changed the name of my blog from fixing myself thinner to fixing myself happy. I had finally realized that it really was about making my life all I wanted it to be not about how much I weighed.  

Anyway, I've had a busy but good few weeks.  I'm looking forward to starting to really look at my food more closely with Gary.  Maybe it's a dream but I'd like to think that if I could clean up my food more maybe I could just slowly drift down the scale.  It makes me think of Vickie and how she had a few years pause before losing her final amount of weight.  I do feel like I'm ready for the next step for myself.  But even if I don't lose another lb I'm very happy just as I am.

I took this picture on Saturday and I felt really good about myself :) Then I spent the next few days eating like a crazy woman feeling like I shouldn't have felt good about how I looked, how messed up is that lol.  But I think I will always struggle with that sort of thing.  I don't ever want my outside to change the person I am on the inside because just like I've always told my TOPS people "you aren't your weight".