New Year, Same Me, Old (Bad) Habits Dead

The new year is approaching, and in the past I’ve always attempted to make new year’s resolutions, usually related to weight loss. And while that’s all fine and good for some, I will not be making any resolutions, weight-related or otherwise.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to bidding this year adieu (because of COVID-19), but this year was transforming for me. I no longer feel the need to place restrictions or punish myself because I don’t look certain way. It’s good to have goals and I will always strive to improve and challenge myself, but I just can’t continue my obsession with my weight.

This year was so shitty in so many ways, and I’m surprised I haven’t suffered a mental break, to be honest. Instead I have risen to the occasion and been strong mentally, because damn, I had to. The added stress and uncertainty pushed me to my limits, and I started writing more as a release. I’ve had this blog for two years, and I’ve always tried to be candid, but the pandemic made me show my ass, about everything.

And I have loved every minute, even when I’ve been embarrassed or shamed. Writing about my eating disorder, depression, anxiety and a hospital stay has liberated me.

I’m free now.

I’ve pushed past the shame and have started to love myself. And I’ve also discovered that I’m kind of a bad ass. I’m proud of myself, which includes my mental disorders. I’ve even written articles for the local paper admitting my depression and my stay at a psychiatric hospital. The whole city knows, and that’s OK with me.

I’m free from the bondage of other people’s opinions I’m starting to free myself from obsessing about my weight and my appearance. It’s so damn hard, but I’m trying.

The goals I will make for myself in the coming days will focused on self-care. To be healthy, physically and mentally, you must practice self-care and make yourself a priority. Like everyone says, you can’t fill from an empty cup. And it’s not selfish to put yourself first. It’s actually really hard work to do so, but it’s rewarding — not just for you but those around you.

I wear a bracelet at all times that says, “GRIT,” as a reminder to do the necessary hard work, that I have what it takes and not to give up.

2020 was a terrible year for so many, but I’m so grateful that this different self of mine emerged and helped liberate me from all the bullshit.

I’ve called myself a black sheep all my life because of my differences among family, and even friends, but the black wool suits me now instead of reminds me that I’m an outcast.

Edit: I don’t mean this post to sound like a brag about how much I’ve achieved this year. Surviving this pandemic (no matter what coping mechanisms you used) is achievement alone.

Happy New Year. I wish y’all well

Stay in the light.

The Heavy Burden of Others’ Opinions

You’ll never lose more weight than the weight of others’ opinions of you. Let it go.

I’ve decided to lose some more weight. This time instead of worrying about what the scale says, I’m going to drop the weight of people’s opinions. It’s a heavy burden. Too heavy, if you ask me. And while I’ve begun the process of letting go, I have A LOT more work to do. I’ve come to terms with my depression and I’ve been fighting the stigma, which has been so freeing. So, why did I not let go sooner? And why do I aspire to other unrealistic or antiquated beliefs? 

I unabashedly talk about depression and it’s (usually) pretty hard to shame me these days. Why would anyone shame me about an illness that I can’t control? Because there are people who think that if you have depression you’re lazy, or that depression is solved by simply thinking positively. Newsflash — it’s not. Just yesterday one of my loved ones told me, “Don’t be depressed! Why are you depressed?” I answered, nicely, the only way I could: because I have a chemical imbalance. That my brain works differently than others’. She meant well but when you talk to someone with depression like that it only makes the one suffering feel even worse. Trust me. That’s why, up until a few years ago, I didn’t discuss my depression or anxiety. I didn’t want the judgement. But when I went to a psychiatric hospital in 2019, I simply didn’t give a fuck about hiding it. There’s nothing wrong with admitting you need help. With bettering yourself for your husband and kids. With teaching your kids to value their health — physical and mental. I regret nothing and I’ve written pieces in the local paper discussing my decision as well as other aspects of mental health. Was it easy? No, but what makes it worthwhile is that others have reached out to thanked me and told me that my words have helped them seek help. 

All of this has made me realize that there are other areas where I have subscribed to unhealthy, hurtful or judgmental beliefs, and I need to be free of that. If I had given in completely to the thought that having depression is because you’re lazy, I surely would be dead by now. Let me be clear — I’d be dead because I would’ve killed myself. The stigma surrounding mental illness is literally deadly. Normalizing it is the antidote, so I will never stop talking about it. 

But it’s not enough for me to disregard societal norms in dealing with depression. There are other things that also have contributed to my lack of self worth, mainly my weight. If I don’t get these toxic standards and behaviors out of my life, I might as well have never gone to the psychiatric hospital. For 36 years, I’ve been told — by society, family, friends, peers — that being fat means you’re ugly, slovenly, lazy, unworthy, unsuccessful. Before I even reached middle school I was called fat and I believed it. I developed an unhealthy relationship with food and declared war on my body again and again. Even when I was “skinny” I didn’t think so. I’ve 36 years old and I’ve never been the same weight for more than a few months. In fact, I got the gastric sleeve surgery last year because I was tired of my weight yo-yoing, but I’ve never hit my goal weight because I’ve never changed my behaviors and thoughts. I don’t know why I continue doing the same thing over and over again and expect different results. At first, I was ashamed that even though I got surgery I’m still not “skinny.” That I have an eating disorder.

I’m hardly the first woman to struggle but I am hoping that I’ll be the last in my family to do so. I certainly don’t want my daughter hating herself, because hating myself has only led to me learning unhealthy behaviors and those behaviors have only bred more unhealthy — and painful — habits.

Just like with the stigma of depression, I have to let go. Why do I need to be skinny for others to approve of me or like me? For ME to like me? Truly, the only thing holding my back is me. I might actually have different opinions about myself if they were unfettered by others’ judgement. I might even — gasp! — love myself. 

And while I’m at it, here are some things I’m no longer accepting opinions on: 

  • How much money I spend. I like nice things and I deserve to treat myself 
  • Just because my 4-year-old son wears nail polish doesn’t mean he’s a “sissy” or gay (But make no mistake, we’d support him if he were)
  • My family is going to hell because we’re Jewish 
  • My husband/son are less than a man because they don’t love sports
  • My nine tattoos. I love them and they make my happy
  • My use of curse words. I love those, too
  • My “bleeding heart” liberalism 
  • My passion for inclusivity….and pizza
  • My curly hair and how “it looks better straight” 
It’s ok if you sit and you have rolls. Embrace them.

I truly believe if I can let go of putting more weight on others’ opinions of me, I will become stronger and healthier, and that’s more important than being skinny or well liked. I mean, hey, I’m not everyone, and that’s fine by me.

I am a beautiful, smart, talented woman. I really want to love myself, so for fuck’s sake, let me.

I don’t want to leave this world thinking I’m not good enough. I’ve wasted enough time on that already. I’ve seen glimpses of the bright light inside me and nothing would mean more to share that light and encourage others to share theirs. So let’s normalize mental illness. And normalize normal bodies and normalize loving ourselves, no matter what type of packaging it comes in.

I’m done judging myself and everybody else should be, too. But if they aren’t done judging me, I have zero fucks to give.

Memories

Again, I have been remiss in updating my blog, so apologies. I have a good excuse though – remember I told y’all about start ECT (electroconvulsant therapy) at the mental hospital? Well, I have continued those treatments and it has caused me to forget, like everything. That may be an exaggeration but I have forgotten people, past events and little details about my life. It’s embarrassing. One morning I was having my nails done and the woman next to me started a conversation. No big deal, right? Except she said, “Heather, how are David and the kids?” I would’ve sworn that I’d never met her in my life but she obviously knew me. I faked it and talked to her BUT THE SAME THING HAPPENED AGAIN….and then once more.

ECT is known to cause memory loss but everything I’ve read about it says it affects your short term memory and any events that happen around the time of treatment. My memory loss goes way back. I should really have a sign on my back that warns people of this but David didn’t go for that idea, lol.

The ECTs are helping in terms of my depression. It’s easier to take care of the kids and I have more energy during the day….not a lot but it’s better than it was.

Another update I didn’t share before is that I had gastric sleeve surgery in November. With my binge eating, I had gained a ton of weight after leaving the mental hospital. I was pushing 200 again and was so miserable, so I went to see a surgeon and after some diet changes and giving up soda (I miss it so badly), they scheduled me. I obviously can’t eat like I was and there’s definitely no binging. I’m down 25 pounsd and I have 20 to go until I meet my goal.

So, overall everything is good. I’m stable. It’s a hard thing for me to say because I never really have been before. I’ll probably have to get ECTs done for the rest of my life but that’s a small price to pay to be able to truly life a good life.

That’s all for now. I’ll see y’all later.

Crash and Burn

Y’all. I have lost my damn mind. I stopped fasting. I stopped eating healthily. And I’ve been drinking at least one Diet Coke a day. The struggle is real.

I don’t even want to get on the scale because it would probably depress me even more but I’m guessing I’m around 179 again. I would say I’m surprised about this whole thing but I’m not. It usually happens when I change my diet and start weaning off Diet Coke but guess what? I’m going to turn it around and get back to where I was. I’m not going to be a quitter. I mean, I was a quitter for a couple of weeks, but that’s ok.

I still haven’t bought any Diet Coke for the house. I’m still buying healthy groceries. I just need to buckle down and back off the carbs, mainly macaroni and cheese. Delicious macaroni and cheese. And bread. Mmm, bread.

On another note, I haven’t been feeling well since I had that stomach bug at the lake house during the week before Memorial Day. I even went to the ER for fluids and to draw labs because I was sure I was low on iron or potassium or something. Turns out I wasn’t but when I went to see my primary care doc, he checked my thyroid and my thyroid numbers were low, so I got bumped up to the next dosage – 150 mcg. I haven’t noticed a huge difference, but it hasn’t been that long.

So anyway, I’m going to try and stop my shenanigans today but who am I kidding – it’ll probably be Monday. Or tomorrow. I’ll shoot for tomorrow.

Stay well, my friends.

Good Times at the ER

Y’all know that I had a stomach bug when I went to the lake house. It was a bad one and even though the throwing up ceased I cannot say the same for what was coming out the other orifice. So, I called me doc to make an appointment for last Friday. I feel asleep and missed said appointment and now I have to wait until tomorrow at 8 a.m. to see him.

On Friday, I go went up my kids but suddenly I start to black out. My vision starts to fade, but I’m able to pull the car over safely and I call the school. David takes me to the ER (which he never does because he never thinks I’m sick enough but then again I’m always sick).

We get in to see a doctor immediately and I explain my symptoms, not just the diarrhea, but the extreme fatigue and what feels like low B12. I also have memory problems and am just so tired. It’s worth mentioning again.

They run labs on me. The labs are fine. Plus my blood pressure is good, which surprised me because I started blacking out.  They can’t run B12 on me, so my PCP will likely do that Monday.

So they give me fluids and they pain medicine for the abdominal cramps I’m having. I did not ask what pain meds but after feeling really loopy, I ask what it is and it’s DILAUDID. In cause you don’t know, that med is used for severe pain. A few minutes into it, I start having horrible stomach pains – I can’t tolerate some narcotics and that’s one of them.

I was in so much pain from the pain meds that I was about to crawl out of the bed. I started sweating and there was just nothing they could do. I asked for a shot of Phenergan and to go home. The Phenergan helped a little and I came home to writhe in pain my own bed.

Long story short, I still feel fatigued and feel off – I don’t know from what. Diarrhea has stopped but maybe my thyroid or B12 got wonky during the stomach bug.

On another note, I ate really healthily last week and lost 2 lbs, making my total weight loss 10lbs.

I’m now 177, having started at 187.

And I did much better with Diet Coke. I went crazy at my parents’ house but this week I toned it down and I plan on cutting it out completely this coming week. It sucks I have to start over like this but thems the breaks.

I admit I’ll be upset if the doctor doesn’t find anything tomorrow. I don’t want to feel like this and I was feeling pretty good before the stomach bug. Hopefully, it’s just an imbalance somewhere and an easy fix. But I need something to be fixed and in a hurry. Feeling like this only adds to my depression, which I’ve been able to stave off for awhile.

The Gym. The Dreaded Gym.

I used to go to the gym everyday. I used to do high intensity interval training (HIIT) twice a week. I ran a 5K just to prove that I could do it. I did things that were hard but made me feel so strong.

I haven’t worked out in months and months. And maybe more months. I dread the gym. Why? I have no idea. It’s not just the gym, I don’t even want to go outside for a walk or jog. It’s very strange because I felt so good when I’m working out. There’s nothing better than getting all sweaty and knowing that you worked it out, you did your thing and took another step toward being healthy. Besides that, it helps my depression and usually I do whatever it takes to put that bitch it its place.

So, what is wrong with me? As for the dreaded gym, I could feel intimidated, sure. But walking around the block? I could do that. I could even stream videos of workouts at home while the kids are at camp. I really don’t have any excuses. I even have cute workout clothes. So, what is this mental block? Now that I’m writing this, maybe I don’t want to take care of myself but I do everything else to make myself better, as long as it’s easy I guess.

I could sign up for another 5K and let that be my motivation but the last time I did that, I didn’t train – yes I have to train to run 3 miles – so I just bagged it and felt guilty. And wasted my entry fee.

A lot of people are telling me to try Orange Theory, where there are all sorts of people – non-judgmental people – all shapes and sizes who go at their own pace. This is appealing to me, because I’ve heard it’s just like the HIIT classes I used to do but there’s that mental block again.

I just need to jump. My weight is stalling and I need help getting to where I want to be. I want to feel strong again. And I want to show my kids that I’m strong. I want them to be proud of me.

I’ve been mentally rehearsing either going to the gym or going to Orange Theory, so we’ll see how this plays out. Something’s going to change. I can feel it. Or at least I want to feel it. I need to start taking care of myself, no matter what the cost. I’m always willing to try a new treatment or drug but why not this?

Any of you ever felt this way?

Lake House Trip and Update on Life

Let me start by saying the lake house was a lot of fun. I learned to play corn hole and I learned that I wasn’t very good at corn hole – my sis in law replaced me pretty fast as her partner but I still had a blast playing. The best part of the trip was watching the kids have such a good time. They went swimming, riding on the mule, jet skiing, and playing with a bubble machine. The lake house is truly magical for them. There’s nothing like spending time with your cousins and I’m so glad they have that.

All of that was briefly interrupted by a stomach bug. It started with my niece, then my mother, my nephew, sister in law, my daughter, me, my husband, my aunt and my brother caught the tail end. It was pretty awful for the adults but the kids bounced back rather quickly. I was in a lot of pain, really dizzy and couldn’t eat for days. In fact, I lost 5 pounds which I was really excited about. If you’re going through so much unpleasantness, let’s say, you need some kind of award.

BUT GUESS WHAT. I seemed to have gained it all back despite not eating much since. My stomach is still a little queasy, so I really haven’t partaken in a good meal. I’m very disappointed but oh well. So….

Starting weight: 187
Current weight: 179

Now that I’m back home with my own food, I’m sure I’ll be able to eat my healthy meals and continue to lose some but I’ve been saying that for a couple of weeks now. It’s starting to piss me off.

Also, I feel off the wagon on the Diet Coke front. My parents have no shortage of Diet Coke and it’s in every fridge in the house and lake house. It practically poured itself down my throat, so I’ll have to start over with that. It’ll be easier because I don’t have any here. So, I tell myself.

That’s about all – I did see my psychiatrist while I was up in the Dallas area. She was happy with my meds, even though I told her some days I wake up and say to myself “is this as good as it’s ever going to get?” and she seemed to say yes, it might be. She said for me, depression is a life-long illness and I might never get better but someday I could get to a better place. That depressed me, because I used to see butterflies and rainbows most days. Now I’m lucky to see some moths flying around a light bulb. Not to say I’m totally unhappy with my life. My life is great as far as my family, friends and how fortunate I am. I just miss feeling happy most of the time. Now I feel like I’m just getting by and that’s surviving, not living.

Sorry to leave on such a negative note but that’s how it is sometimes.

Stay well, my friends.

Nutshell

The fam and I are out of town, so this will be quick.

We decided to go to the family lake house before summer camp starts and we’ve had a really good time. Hanging with the cousins. Swimming. Playing corn hole. BBQing. Then a stomach bug hit and that hasn’t been so fun. I haven’t caught it yet – about half the family has been struck down.

Speaking of stomachs, I did not lose any weight this past week. I have no idea why. I’ve been eating well and drinking more than 2 liters of water every day. I don’t think it’ll be hard this coming week because my parents eat healthily, but who knows.

I’m still 179, starting weight 187. I’ll take it.

Maybe if I get the stomach bug I’ll have a little help. Only kidding. My mom and SIL are in total misery.

That’s all for now. Stay well, friends.

Also, I’m writing this one my phone, so if the format looks crazy that’s why.

Week 2 Fasting: I’ll Take It

Week 2 
Starting Weight: 187
Current Weight: 179

So, I lost 2lbs this week, which is great, but after last week’s 6 I was expecting more. But 2lbs gets me out of the 180s and I’m grateful for that. It means I’m that much closer to my goal weight in the 160s. I sound obsessed with the scale but I know when my clothes fit the best based on my weight. Plus, I’m obsessed with the scale. Which you shouldn’t be by the way – you should have non-scale goals, too.

As far as the Intermittent Fasting (IF), I did go most days without eating past 2 p.m. but this was a crazy week with end of the school year parties and Teachers’ Appreciation Week, so I had to eat dinner a couple nights. I still ate healthily.

I’m VERY happy to announce that I had NO Diet Coke this week. Not one sip. Last week I had a few sips here and there – nothing close to a whole can. Now I can say I went the whole week. I’m so proud of myself. I’ve been drinking Diet Coke for almost 20 years (yes, I’m old) and for the past 10 years my doctor has been begging me to stop*. He will give me a gold star for sure. Right after he jams my B12 shot into my arm.

Speaking being B12 deficient, my depression has been better since I started fasting and losing weight. I don’t know if it’s my diet or the ketamine infusions I’ve been getting – I received one three weeks ago and one last week. Even though sometimes anxiety and depression start biting at my ankles it’s not enough to bring me down. This allows me to keep eating healthy, drink water, make healthy decisions for myself and not sabotage my progress. My depression would not allow any of this to happen.

Getting back to the subject, I know I can’t lose 6lbs every week, like the first week – it’s unrealistic – so I know I need to exercise to speed up my weight loss. (As I’m writing this, I’m saying to myself 2lbs is good and I need to chill.) But exercise is good anyway. I’m still too nervous to go to the gym, I don’t know why, so I’m going to try my husband’s stationary bike. I hope after a few days I’ll get bored enough to go back to the gym to my favorite treadmill and eventually lift weights again. Maybe I’ll just woman up and go to the gym, lol.

This week I will be positive and continue doing IF as best I can. What healthy decisions are you making this week, friends?

 

*Diet soda has links to weight gain and metabolic syndrome, which can make diabetes worse or increase the risk of it developing. Some sweeteners in diet soda even cause insulin spikes in the blood which worsens insulin sensitivity over time and can eventually raise blood sugar levels, according to MedicalNewsToday.com

Diet Coke

I can remember the day I took my first drink of Diet Coke. I was 18 and had been addicted to Coke but started a preventive migraine medicine. One of the weird side effects was that it made carbonated beverages taste different. Coke tasted horrible, so I figured I’d try Diet Coke, I was cutting the calories, right? That was 17 years ago. 

Before I recently quit, I loved Diet Coke. I drank up to 5 or 6 a day. Water always came second. It was such a treat to me and always what I needed in the morning – that taste of it burning down my throat and giving my the caffeine boost I needed to start my day. Then I’d get to work and have like 5 more. That burn in the morning and the feeling of “ahh, this day will be ok” is what I miss most. It’s almost making me want one right now, but I know if I took a sip it would let me down, it would taste badly and make me feel bloated and sick.

When I moved to Corpus Christi, I saw a new doctor. When he learned that I drank Diet Coke, he told me to stop. I didn’t. Next month (9 years later), I get to tell him that I’ve stopped after trying to stop that whole 9 years. Oh, yeah. I’ve tried before, always half-heartedly and never got anywhere past 2 weeks. But this time is different. I’m not going back. I have no reason to. 

All the findings of Diet Coke scare me: it’s linked to diabetes and heart disease. It’s also linked to depression and we all know I don’t need more of that 🙂 But seriously, it doesn’t cause weight loss, it’s not nutritious and there’s really no reason to drink it, besides it being delicious. And after quitting for a few days, it doesn’t even taste good anymore. I promise. 

It’s bittersweet writing this blog – a dumb blog about soda – but I think what makes me sad is there is no “treat” for me in the fridge anymore. Diet Coke became a comfort for me. I drink water and tea now but nothing can replace that feeling of grabbing a cold one at 3 p.m. when your kids are driving you crazy and you just need a pick-me-up until your husband comes up and helps you with your hot mess family. 

(And don’t even get my started on coffee – I tried it for weeks and nothing worked for me. You can’t convince me that any of it is good.)

Anyway, so long Diet Coke. You needed to go but that doesn’t mean I won’t miss our years together.