Looking forward…

Today feels like it should be covered in glitter and wrapped in ribbon… like there should be a hint of magic along with the optimism a new year brings. Instead we’ve got rain and chilly winds. Not that it matters because I’m cozy in my home, wearing sequined slippers and taking breaks to cuddle with the cats.

This is a day of reflection about 2018 while planning for next year and thankfully my reflections are happy ones. Kait’s pregnancy and subsequent birth have brought the two of us closer together. It’s not uncommon for us to have three hour long phone calls now. And I have the most adorable grandson too. I love watching his eyes light up with happiness when he sees me. Colin’s slowly maturing and has expressed an interest in being more organized. He also wants to go out more and join some groups. And I’ve spent quite a bit of time with family and friends. Woo hoo… karaoke! I can’t forget L either. I’ve only seen her once but I’m seeing her again soon and really looking forward to our second date… considering our first one was great!

One thing I have to work on in January and February is my weight. I’d lost 10 pounds by the beginning of December then regained six. Christmas Crack is so yummy but it’s also really high in calories. And there were other snacks and treats as well. January is a fresh start. I’m going to make sure I exercise every day. There’s no real excuse not to. I have a membership to the city’s walking track, I can go downstairs for a swim or some time on the treadmill, or I can use the mini trampoline I have under my bed. Plus on good days I can go outside for a walk on one of four trails. I am sure that I can get into the 180’s before our Dominican Republic vacation in March.

I’d also like to work on my writing. I haven’t written so much as a page in my current novel over the last year whereas pre-depression I lived for writing and would write a chapter at a time. I read an article, via Facebook, that said writing in Comic Sans helps boost creativity and I’m willing to give it a try. It can’t hurt and it’s not hard to change the novel back to Garamond.

I’ve been enjoying hanging out with friends but I’ve got local friends who I only ever see on Facebook and we need to get together too. That’s something for me to try harder to arrange this year.

2016 was one of the worst years of my life, 2017 was an improvement, 2018 was great, and I’m hoping that 2019 will be amazing! Happy New Year!!!

Start your year off right

 

Advertisements

A week of contemplation…

The time between Christmas and New Years seems almost like a holiday, even though it isn’t one. It doesn’t feel like a busy party with presents and too much food but a contemplative party heading toward the birth of new year.

20181225_202409-01We opened all our presents yesterday and I got the gift I was hoping for… a new scale that says “You are amazing”. I need that daily affirmation, I think most of us do. I also got two pairs of slippers, one unicorn and one with mermaid sequins and two hot chocolate mugs, one with a unicorn that says “be magical” and one is a white cat with legs. Plus I got an ornament for my tree, a round, pink pig with wings and a crown. I knew they were sold out at every Pier One nearby, I didn’t realize my Mom had picked up one of the last ones.

More importantly was the time spent with family. Kait, her boyfriend, and their baby came over for Christmas morning, complete with stockings and cinnamon rolls. Then we all went over to my parents’ house for more presents, conversation, and yummy meals.

But Christmas is over and now it’s time to look forward to 2019. I have my main goal, I want to get on track diet wise so I can be a decent weight for our family Dominican Republic trip. I’ve slipped up this month and regained four pounds (arguably it could have been worse).

I want to spend more time with my friends and family. I’ve been enjoying Saturday karaoke nights with my friends each week and Sunday visits with family. I need to make it a priority to see Kait regularly too. I was going quite often when the baby was born and now the pendulum’s swung the opposite direction. I’d like to see her once every week or two.

I also want to get moving consistently. I don’t have to reach 10 thousand steps every day but I do need to get physical. It’ll help both my weight and my sleep.

My contemplative self wants a peaceful year. No worrying about trolls, whether they’re on Facebook or anywhere else. They can deal with their negativity on their own. And more connecting with my online friends. A message means so much more than a like.

The hardest one will be getting back into writing. I just don’t have the concentration I used to have. I read that writing in comic sans can help with concentration and creativity so that’s worth a shot. I can change the book back to garamond later.

This week will be spent converting our apartment back to it’s usual appearance. The tree will unravel back into plain green and the village will abandon it’s spot on the kitchen table. Soon they’ll all be tucked away in rubbermaid bins and moved into our storage unit. Recycling will be sorted and placed into the outside bins and our big garbage bag of gift wrap removed from our front hall. And, all the while, I’ll be ever so conscious of the new year looming ahead with it’s promise of a fresh start.

Hello 2019. I think I’m ready for you!

20181225_183803

Me at my parents’ house on Christmas evening

Happy little thoughts…

20181124_205307I went to my friends’ house on Sunday with Colin and, soon after we arrived, their brand new TV was delivered. Colin was such a huge help. The physical set up wasn’t that much of a problem, it was the programming that was the issue.

Colin patiently read through the instructions then showed my friends, step by step, how to operate their new TV. There were so many instructions and steps that I figure I’ll never own a TV again. I can download videos right to my phone or computer a whole lot easier! But he got it all working for them.

I have my first date on Sunday and we’ve been chatting back and forth. I think she’s even more nervous than I am, which is a feat. I’ve promised I’ll meet her right at the bus stop and she wants to go for a walk with me after lunch, even if it’s raining, which is fine by me. We’re going out for Indian food. Mmm… aloo gobi! I so hope this date goes well. I’m sure it will but am still nervous.

I’m looking at my cats sleeping peacefully around my room. I’m so glad I have them. They bring such joy into my life from how Lara runs screaming to meet me when I open the front door and how Blackie purrs and licks my nose when she’s getting petted. People talk about cats being cold and aloof but they’ve never met my cats.

I’ve been working really hard to lose weight for our trip to the Dominican Republic and so far I’ve lost 10 pounds. I still have three months to go so I’m sure I’ll lose a decent amount by then. I want my summer clothes to fit comfortably, especially my two new tops. I was going to share a picture of them but I already shared one a few posts down.

On Thursday I get to see Kait and her wee one. He’s growing and changing so much. Every time I see him he’s doing something new… from smiling to grasping items like his rattle. I’m looking forward to his happy smile when he sees me and having a face to face chat with Kait instead of just talking on the phone.

And on Saturday we’re having a family dinner at a Thai restaurant. They make the yummiest food. I love their tom yum soup and golden curry with rice. We’ve been going to this restaurant for about a decade now and haven’t got bored of it yet.

I’m really enjoying the new season of Doctor Who. The Doctor’s great and the stories are entertaining. That being said, I haven’t seen last week’s yet because Colin keeps stalling. If he stalls tomorrow I’m watching it on my own. It sounds nice to curl up on my swing chair and watch it on my phone.

Winter’s coming and they are forecasting a long, bitterly cold one so I’m going to start buying groceries that are easy to prepare for the days I’m weary plus a few frozen dishes for the days I just can’t find the strength to even boil rice. I can’t make winter go away but I can prepare for it. I don’t want to end up back in the hospital so I’m going to do what I can now to make sure winter is as easy as I can manage.

And now Colin’s wanting to chat before bed so it’s time for me to go.

Living in the nineties…

I joked to Colin last month that I’m going to be eating like I’m living in the 90’s again but it’s true. I was vegetarian back then and, when I went out, often my only choice on the menu was a grilled cheese sandwich and fries, which isn’t exactly vegan friendly. The vegan option then was a salad. There were no Beyond Meat burgers, Ben and Jerry’s almond ice cream, Haagen Daz almond ice cream bars, or vegan cupcakes.

The grocery store across the street dropped the price of a  three pack of Haagen Daz chocolate peanut butter bars down to $4.99. Tell me that isn’t tempting. It’s far too tempting for me. They taste so good and I can easily down three of them over the course of an evening.

So now I’m eating more lentils, fruits, and vegetables and making sure I get out for a walk every single day. I have a once in a lifetime vacation in March and I want to make sure I can fit my summer clothes.

One thing I’ve done is started a weight loss scrapbook, not to print, just for inspiration. I make a page every couple of days and scroll through when I need encouragement.

blog page

Four of my layouts

So far the scrapbook has been a huge help. I have a tendency to look back and picture myself screwing up. Now I can go back and see that wasn’t the case, I’d done just fine.

Winter is coming early this year and it’s cold, yucky, and wet. I won’t be able to walk my favourite Cedar Valley trail for much longer and today’s walk was simply to drop off Colin’s ADHD medication at the drug store and stop in at Value Village so Colin could see if there was something exciting there. It was a miserable walk, windy and alternating between icy rain and snow, but we did get out of the apartment. I even found two tank tops that I love…

tank tops for Dominican Republic

The one on the left has silver glitter and the one on the right shimmers in gold, burgundy, and purple. They’re both light weight and will be absolutely perfect.

Now, since I didn’t get much of a walk outside today, I’m heading downstairs to the treadmill for a half hour of just me and my music.

It’s my life and I’m going to live it to my fullest!

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

A fresh start…

The winter months are the hardest ones for me and they have been since I was a teenager. Back then I didn’t know much about depression, all I knew was that winter sucked. I dreamt of having a small garden of grass (the green lawn variety) that I could simply smell and rub my hands across, something tangible to remind me of spring. And now I have my room to remind me of summer, with it’s teal walls, big windows, and lots of greenery.

I have depression and anxiety all year round but winter means colder, shorter days with less time for walking. Plus the cold is a good incentive to stay home. And then there’s the carb cravings. I’ve gained thirteen pounds this winter and I’m pretty sure I’m having a brownie baby. One studded with chocolate chips.

Right now it’s still blah, all greys and brown. It’s still chilly too and the forecast for this week is mostly rain. It’s not the first of the month or even the start of the week. It’s got nothing going for it to be a fresh start but it is, simply because I feel like starting again now.

I’m not going to track my food intake. I tend to get obsessed over what I’m eating and anxious that I’m eating too much or not enough. Instead I’m simply going to use my Fitbit to track my steps. I got my 10 thousand steps in yesterday and, depending on how hard it’s raining, will get them in again tomorrow.

I am determined to be healthier and feel healthy. This summer I’m going to be back in my favourite t-shirts. This summer is going to be amazing!

01

Weight…

Every night at dinner time my Mom would fill our plates then pull out her little white scale. Then she would carefully weigh each portion of her dinner before sitting with us.

“I’m fat,” she’d say in explanation. “I need to lose weight.”

Every Friday we would go to the local mall. My Dad would take us for an ice cream cone while my Mom wandered around the mall until we were done.

“Why won’t you have an ice cream cone?” I asked.

“Because I’m trying to lose weight,” she replied. “Besides, I have a treat waiting for me at home.”

The treat was frozen green grapes, which didn’t sound like much of a treat to me but adults could be weird sometimes.

I had losing weight pegged as an adult thing, right up until one summer when my neighbour complimented me on my looks. I felt a little uncomfortable because he was the parent of one of my classmates and I wondered why he’d commented now.

“You’ve lost a bit of weight,” my Mom pointed out. I’d been homesick and barely ate anything that vacation. “If you lost just 10 more pounds you’d be perfect”.

I’m not digging out any pictures but I weighed 125lbs at the time and was nowhere near fat. But teenage me knew what to do, at least I thought I did. I knew counting calories was a part of losing weight so I started looking at boxes and containers. A packet of Bovril soup stock was 13 calories. Was that normal? Too much? I had no idea. I made it anyway and drank it down with some water. Then I went to the garage and got my bike. Exercise was important too. And so I biked farther than I’d gone in a while; uphill and down, all the way to the local conservation area. I loved going there  but I was much too weak and dizzy to go in. Luckily I managed to get back home. Where my Mom lovingly berated me for eating too little and made me eat a real bowl of soup and a sandwich.

And that was how my weight loss journey began, later than my Mom’s journey which started in primary school.

Even now I know I have a bad relationship with diets. The moment I start one I become terrified of food and their calories. Is it too much? Not enough? What if I screw up? Then I snap and eat half a carton of ice cream or a row of homemade cookies.

Back in September I decided to start walking at least 10,000 steps a day and I’ve been sticking to it. So far I’ve lost 31lbs. My pants are pooling around my heels and my shirts are looser. I am not dieting though, that’s just not a good choice for me.

One thing I did when the kids were growing up is tell them they were pretty, strong, and brave… never thin. And I never talked about being fat, I was trying to get healthier. So far it seems to have worked. Hopefully the dieting cycle has been broken in our family.

We need to stop criticizing ourselves in front of our children. They are little sponges, absorbing everything. And we need to stop criticizing them. It’s normal for preteen girls to put on a little weight, they’re growing rapidly and need that weight as fuel. Yet I had other parents tell me I should put Kait on a diet and take away her baby carrots (one of her favourite treats) because they were full of sugar. She was perfectly normal and thinned out the farther she got into puberty. She’s perfectly normal now too.

And we need to stop linking weight with health. There are plenty of thin unhealthy people and fat healthy people. As soon as you correlate fat with unhealthy you start seeing fat as the problem and stop looking for the real issue. You can’t diet yourself out of Crohns or stomach cancer. As the saying goes, if you see every problem as a nail, soon you’ll see every solution as a hammer.

I wish I could go back in time and tell my Mom not to worry so much about losing weight, she looked fine the way she was. That one ice cream cone a week was okay. To pick out an activity she liked and get moving (the bonus being a child free evening).

You only get one life to live, make life count instead of counting calories.