New Year… same me…

New Year same meI saw the meme on the left and it really spoke to me. I’m so tired of making goals to lose weight. It’s a never ending goal. I weighed 170lbs and was in a size medium and it still wasn’t good enough. This year I’m focussing on changing things to make life better and easier for me.

I’m joining a gym, not to lose weight but to keep flexibility and sleep better. It’s one of the healthiest choices I can make.

I’m eating better because I want to stay healthy. Diabetes runs in my family and I’d like to skip that. Plus I really don’t think junk food is going to help my depression. That being said, I have no problems with making easy food. I routinely buy boil in a bag rice and chana masala. That’ll be dinner tonight. Two minutes and a piping hot, healthy meal. My depression and anxiety makes eating healthy a challenge but I’m going to do my best to make quick, healthy meals to nourish my body and soul.

And I’m not going to push myself to the point of an anxiety attack. I don’t have to take out the recycling now, it can wait until tomorrow. Same with the dishes. And the world won’t come to a crashing halt if I sit in my swing chair for a half hour to unwind. It also won’t stop because I took a nap, and if that nap ensures I can function for the next few hours, all the better.

We live in a no pain, no gain society. Work hard… no harder! Train hard… where are your six pack abs? Diet to a size zero. We ask whether someone’s on keto or counting their macros but never how they’re doing mentally or emotionally. Where we are is not good enough when there’s someone else doing better. And we’re rapidly burning ourselves out in a futile attempt at being perfect.

None of us are going to make it to perfect. We all have flaws. As Leonard Cohen writes:

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

So do what you can… do what you must… but don’t forget about you. The only person you’re going to be with for your whole life is you and don’t you think she deserves a little respect?

me-on-new-years-day

Me taking a walk on New Year’s Day

Definitely not what I expected…

I bought myself six packages of dark chocolate peanut butter cups, figuring I could space them out for a month. I also bought a carton of vegan Haagen Daz peanut butter and chocolate ice cream and a bag of dill pickle flavoured kettle chips. I’d hoped they’d last the full month. They lasted one day. This has been going on for a while and just keeps getting worse. I’ve gained weight and am worried about not fitting my regular clothes. I don’t have the wardrobe money to reclothe myself, even if it’s all from Value Village.

I talked to my psychiatrist about my worries about binging and he suggested a dietician. So I made an appointment with one. We sat down and talked about what I eat and the general proportions. This was tough because I don’t tend to think about what I’m eating and because I have a foggy memory.

She listened to me and immediately told me the problem. I’m not eating enough, which seemed odd because I’m routinely turning into a human garburator but she explained. I’m not eating enough during my meals so when my body discovers high carb, high fat foods it immediately jumps on them. And, I must admit, I’ve been missing a few meals too simply because I wasn’t hungry. That can’t help. So now to work on having healthy meals, even when I’m exhausted or not hungry. This will be so much easier when I move and have the freezer space to store prepared meals. I used to make stews, chilis, and spaghetti sauce to freeze but I can barely fit a Haagen Daz container in there now.

Then I went to my Wellness Group where we’re doing a 5 part series on intuitive eating. I was reading through the pamphlet and came across this paragraph. This is so me.

note-from-carea

Now that I know what’s going on with me. I need to figure out how to go about changing most of my diet and especially how to keep up with my healthy meals when I’m too depressed to cook. Hopefully, by the time I move, I’ll have positive steps in place to support my eating habits.

And I’m off to figure out what to have for lunch.

The weight loss merry-go-round…

I was so hopeful on October 3rd. I had just found out that I was going on a Caribbean vacation the following March and I was going to lose weight. I was aiming for ten to 20lbs with an emphasis on the twenty. I even made a weight loss journal on my computer as an incentive. I figured I would track my weight loss journey, instead I watched as I gained and lost the same five pounds over and over (and over). The trip came and went with me still losing and regaining those same pounds.

Then I saw my psychiatrist last month and admitted that while my depression was mostly under control, my anxiety wasn’t. My lithium and abilify were increased along with my weight and it has. not. budged. My anxiety’s only a minute bit better.

I can’t do this anymore. I can’t struggle, depriving myself of treats, panicking because I didn’t get out for a walk this one day or that my walk wasn’t long enough. I can’t keep feeling like a failure, that if I just walked a little more… ate a little less… I’d do so much better. It’s not working.

From now on I’m only weighing myself once a month, not once a day, and I’m not going to panic if I don’t get 10 thousand steps every single day. I will eat healthy but allow room for some treats. Mmm mini vegan peanut butter cups!

I don’t own a crystal ball. I have no idea how this is going to turn out, but it’s got to be better than what I’m doing.

20190731_110917

Even with being overweight, I must be doing something right

Bobbing in the weight loss pool…

I went to pull on a short sleeved shirt today, one I’d worn in the Dominican Republic this March, and it didn’t fit. Like not even a tiny bit. The good news is I’ve only put on five pounds since then. The bad news is the effort at taking the weight off. Dieting while taking an antidepressant is akin to diving while wearing water wings. Once the pressure eases off, you’re bobbing to your original weight again. And I’m currently on three.

I have another issue, one I really don’t know how to solve. I regularly have days where I just don’t care about me or my weight. Feeling a bit peckish? How about a sleeve of Oreos? Really liked that ice cream bar? Have two. You know you want them. Deep down inside I know this is a really bad idea but the rest of me just. doesn’t. care. Right now I’ve limited the number of treats I have in the apartment to just one, salted caramel balls. The only problem is I can see the grocery store from my window, it’s no problem at all to nip over and buy something yummy and high calorie. How do I convince myself to eat healthy when I don’t care at all?

Meanwhile I’m still slogging along trying to get my 10 thousand steps in each day. I get it on most days, today I’m at 13,424 steps. I need to start using the treadmill regularly as well. I find my stride lengthens after using it regularly and I walk faster too.

The last thing I’m going to do is only go on the scale once a month. My weight bobs up and down (and up and down) which doesn’t help my mood. Hopefully ignoring the scale until the first Sunday of the month will help my “I just don’t care” days. Something’s got to.

Some of these things will resolve themselves eventually. It appears to be about a 20 minute walk from my new place to the nearest grocery store, making a spontaneous trip for ice cream not so appealing. Plus I’m signing up for a gym membership and hopefully will learn what some of the other machines are for and how to work them. And I’ll find cooking easier too. Colin rearranged the kitchen yesterday and I no longer have a counter (this isn’t unusual). It’s so much easier to chop veggies and knead dough with counter space. But for now, I’ll simply do my best and that will have to be good enough.

tomorrow is a new day

Turn around bright eyes…

I gently stroked my hands down Blackie’s back, paying close attention to the prominence of her spine and how her hips sunk in. And I thought to myself, “Oh no, not again.”

Last year my clue had been how awkwardly she curled up to rest. I hadn’t noticed the weight loss until then. Black fluffy fur hides a multitude of sins and she prefers head scratches, not over all pets. This year was different. I knew the vet couldn’t offer much other than an appetite enhancing injection and a can of food Blackie hates. Plus I was still feeding the cats wet food that she liked.

I immediately separated a portion of each can for Blackie, microwaving it for 15 seconds so she could smell it better, adding a tiny bit of water so she could lap up more, and serving it in a different room. At the beginning she needed to be coaxed to eat. I had to carry her bowl and her to my room, often after searching out her hiding place. Then I’d have to follow her around the room with the bowl until she finally got tired of running and started to eat. Every time she startled she’d bolt from the bowl and needed to be coaxed back. And she startled at the smallest things, a slight foot movement could send her running.

She’s still skinny but she’s moved up to eating half a can now and is hurrying to the room to be fed. She’s also eating her whole meal, something she wasn’t doing even a few days ago. I’m so glad she’s turned around. She’s 12 years old but she’s still feisty and I’d like her to be here for years to come!

20190103_102154

The cutest excuses for an unmade bed ever!

Cloudy with a chance of confusion…

Our language needs a word that means relieved and disappointed. I need that word right now but it’s not there. Bittersweet just doesn’t cut it. Maybe reppointed? Disalieved? Umm… nah for both.

Two weeks ago I asked one of the social workers from the Canadian Mental Health Association (I deal with a revolving team) where I was on their subsidized housing list. She didn’t know but would look into it and let me know the following week. Last week it wasn’t her and that worker hadn’t been informed of my question. She had, however, heard the housing manager mention me by name and thought she saw my name near the top of the list. Cue excitement and panic in equal amounts.

When I applied for the list last year, I was told there was a four to five year wait list, which gave me plenty of time to save up for a moving truck and any extra necessities. It also gave Colin a chance to get farther along with school and college. Now, suddenly, we were faced with an imminent move. How soon was soon? July 1st? September 1st? We had no idea.

What about my plans? We get what’s called a Trillium Benefit in Ontario and you can choose to get it monthly or in one lump sum in June. I was going to save this lump sum and next one for moving expenses then switch to monthly and start putting most of that aside too. I’m figuring I’ll get around $500 each payment. One payment is meh for hiring a mover and my closest friends are in wheelchairs (plus I don’t drive) so I can’t exactly rent a Uhaul and get friends to help out.

And what about Colin’s plans? He’s currently taking an accelerated program that crams all the core subjects of high school into a matter of months. He’s struggling already. Having to pack and move while going to school every day would be too much.

So the both of us have spent the past week alternating between excitement and panic, relief and disappointment. Our own places sound great. No clutter for me and no one nagging about the mess for Colin. No getting woken up at 5:45am because the sun was up already and it’s close enough to morning (seriously Colin?). I could put up the wall art I’ve been saving and use the dishes I have tucked away. But who would help us move? And would we have enough saved. Both of us had thoughts running in circles.

And then came my meeting today. Colin called right as the woman met me at the front door then begged me to ask her right now while he was on the phone. So I did. I’m 40th on the list so it should be a couple more years before there’s a place available.

So there’s a disappointment that my new apartment will not be soon. I will not be celebrating my birthday or Christmas in my own place. And yet there’s a relief that I will have time to save up for an easier move. Now to live with Colin and his clutter for three-ish years.

Also, you should be seeing less of me soon. Not less of me posting, just less of me. Last fall I started watching what I was eating and getting 10 thousand steps in each day and I lost 37 pounds. Then winter came and I gained 14lbs. Just a setback, right? I’d lose it quickly with exercise and healthy eating. Except I didn’t. It’s been over a month now and I have lost, zip, zilch, nada. What had changed? Nothing except my psychiatrist put me on Mirtazapine this winter. So I googled and came up with this…

Screenshot (60)

I’m already on three other antidepressants and an anti anxiety medication so I didn’t really need it. And I certainly don’t want to gain any more weight. I saw the psychiatrist yesterday and I’m being weaned off as I type. I’m down to half a pill a day for a week and then nothing. I am looking so forward to getting back to a healthy weight. I’ve walked 15 thousand steps today so I know I can do it.

20180518_143154.jpg

A pink trillium growing beside our building

Weighty matters…

When I first started gaining weight, I treated it like a fluke. Nothing had changed diet or exercise wise and soon the gain would stop and I’d go back to normal. Except it didn’t stop. One day my pants fit like usual then I couldn’t pull them up at all. The gain was rapid and relentless. By the time it stopped I’d gained 47lbs, all in half a year.

Emma took a video of me singing “Stay” at karaoke last night and I didn’t even recognize myself. Even my face has changed dramatically. I hate the way I look now. I miss my old self.

If I followed societies narrative, I’d be doing anything I could to lose weight. Restrictive diets, extreme exercise. Even medicine fueled weight gain must come off eventually. That’s how success happens, right?

I see the videos and before and after pictures of smiling, happy people… finally proud in their new skin. I also know the failure rate and the struggle and this is when I say “fuck it”.

Our society teaches us to shrink ourselves in so many ways. Physically is just one of them and from now on I’m refusing to shrink.

My Facebook flashback today showed a past me who bragged about only eating one crepe at work and I brought my own diet syrup so I could save 20 extra calories. This was a once only experience where our store owners came in and made crepes and pancakes, complete with whipped cream and strawberries… and I refused an extra crepe so I could lose weight. I didn’t by the way.

We only have one life to live and I refuse to live it in an endless cycle of trying to lose weight so society likes me more. And endless cycle of saying no and praising myself for punishing my body.

I will eat healthy food, exercise to keep myself limber, and treat myself when I need some kindness. And I will accept that I am no longer a size medium, average woman.

Maybe someday I’ll be that size medium woman again but I doubt it. I’m on too many psychiatric medications (including Abilify and Lithium, which are known for weight gain). I have a feeling the only way to lose this weight, other than starvation, is stopping the meds… which are keeping me alive. That’s not an option.

My life was not meant to be scenery. I was always more than a pretty face and now I’ll show it.