beach, enjoying family, Having fun, love, Outer Banks, vacations, Writing

The Day After Vacation

My husband and I desperately needed a getaway.  The first two times this year that we tried to grab a vacation fate intervened and distinctly told us “NO!”  First, we missed the Steampunk World’s Fair because my husband’s small umbilical hernia decided to go rogue and need emergency surgery.  Then, a  month later we attempted a camping trip, but I ended up with Norovirus, courtesy of my grandson.  Knowing that we still had our August beach trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina coming up, my husband and I guarded our health like the Hope Diamond.  It seemed miraculous that we reached our day of departure unscathed and  happily made it to the shore of Kill Devil Hills on August 12th, as planned.

We had our usual blast.  We scoured the beach for shells and joked that our shell overlord would punish us if we didn’t find the best and brightest shells on the beach. (Yes, we’re slightly silly!)  We visited the newly renovated aquarium in Manteo. We ate a ton of delicious seafood from all of our favorite restaurants (I’m not weighing myself until next week!). We swam and sunned with SPF 50, went to an arts and crafts festival in Manteo, and a drag queen brunch in Nag’s Head.  We saw four really good movies and viewed the eclipse* whilst on the beach (unlike our “president,” we managed to look ONLY with our little paper eclipse glasses).  While these were all wonderful activities, my favorite part of the trip was limiting our usage of all screened devices and just talking, reconnecting, and remembering why we’re so great together.

Today, my husband is back to work with a better attitude. I’m home, reinvigorated, knowing that by the weekend things will get busy again, but that I’ll happily embrace what comes my way.

Here are some delicious highlights from our trip:

We managed to take in the gorgeous sunset on only one morning–we managed to sleep in all of the rest!

I’m usually a wine drinker, but I just had to try the Lemon Grass Ale at the Outer Bank’s Brewery.  Their food is also quite amazing!

The two drag queens pictured are Jennifer Werner  and Naomi Black at J.J. Brewbaker’s Eggs, Bacon and Diva’s Drag Brunch.  Both were so naturally funny and  just lovely people inside and out!

The NC Aquarium has a sea turtle rescue.  The turtle shown in the specialized tank is Izzy.  She suffers from a balance problem and was unable to dive down to feed.  She’s fitted with special weights that allow her to regain her balance.

The Osprey nest was outside of where we were seated at Basnight’s Lone Cedar restaurant in Nag’s Head. Ospreys mate for life and they shared their nest with their juvenile offspring. The food and view were awesome!

*The eclipse pictures are courtesy of my daughter.  They were shot in WV. In NC, the eclipse had slightly more coverage at it’s peak, but I had no devices to film it with. The rest of the pics were taken by me.

Hope everyone is having a fabulous week!

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, enjoying family, finding balance, Finding old friends, fitness, following your dreams, Friendship, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, Mindful Eating, optifast, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wellness Center, Writing

Starting at Square Two

 

Being a stay-at-home Nana has been a joy 99.999% of the time.  I wasn’t able to stay home with my daughters when they were little, so it’s been amazing watching Baby C unfold from a tiny preemie to a big boy.  However, as triumphant as watching each milestone was, there was part of me that had to hugely adjust to being home with a baby all day.  After all, my daughter’s schedule as a resident physician can only be described as grueling.  Her 16 hour a day shifts, coupled with my son-in-law’s odd work hours, often left me watching him for much longer than a traditional work day. Things happened that I didn’t imagine.  Any sort of routine or self-care schedule that I’d established basically became non-existent. I became a greasy haired, yoga pants wearing woman, in an oversized spit up covered tee-shirt.  My food plan of five small high protein meals per day dissolved to grabbing whatever seemed semi-edible from my fridge or pantry  Exercise, beyond walking and bouncing a wailing baby, went out the window, as did, reading, blogging, hanging out with friends, crafting and most things that I’d used as a substitute for overeating.  I began speaking fluent Sesame Street  (not a bad thing) and forgot how to have an interesting conversation. Though my snuggle and love ratio increased, my weight management plan rolled out the door like a trashcan full of dirty diapers and I gained weight; 35 pounds to be exact.

I’d committed to watching Baby C his first year of life, however finding just the right daycare didn’t happen until he turned 18 months old.  As soon as he began his first week there, I scanned my closet for something non-grubby to wear and went directly to my weight management physician and to the weight management trainers at the wellness center. Last week, I entered a comprehensive weight maintenance program and yesterday my weigh-in revealed a 4.5 pound weight loss! I’m proud of making progress and even prouder that I’m catching myself before my weight spirals too out of control.  Having to lose 30.5 pounds sure seems more doable than my previous goal of nearly 100 pounds.  Fortunately, instead of starting at square one, I’ve glided on to square two!

Life is a constant recalibration to find the perfect balance. I’m still spending plenty of time with my awesome grandson, but it’s more quality than quantity.  I’m back to making glass art that’s more intricate than before. I’m back to having time to nurture my relationship with my husband and friends.  I’m also back to posting on WordPress and, oh-so-hopefully reconnecting with the wonderful friends I’ve made on here over the years!

So, friends, how have you been? 🙂 

 

 

blogging, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, grandparenting, Nana, sleeping baby, sweet baby, family, memories, blogging, Having fun, setting goals, Tips fot weight loss, weight loss journal, Writing

Taking a Stand

With just a few minutes before Baby C arrives to spend the day with Nana, I have just enough time for a coffee and a quick post.  Lately, sitting down has not been a part of my daily routine; and that’s a really good thing!  Anyone involved in health and fitness knows that being too sedentary increases the risk of cardiovascular problems (yes, dear husband, this post is for you).  Since losing weight, I’ve really attempted to spend the day moving as much as possible.  My grandson certainly makes that easy; especially since he seems to be seconds away from beginning to crawl!  Another thing that’s helped me keep active is the fitness tracker that my hubby so graciously got me for my 52nd birthday.  Most days I meet the American Heart Association’s 10,000 step goal before the afternoon.  Often, my goal is achieved by doing a little extra of something I’d normally do; like taking Baby C for a walk or making a few extra trips up and down the stairs while doing housework.  I also take advantage of Baby C’s naptime by doing abdominal workouts while he snoozes!

For those of you committed to staying healthy–what are some ways you add movement and exercise to your daily life?  I’m always looking for ways to stay on my feet.  For those of you who lead sedentary lifestyles, what would motivate you to move more?

 

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Sitting, Nana?  Yeah, good luck with that!!  I’m Baby Coach C!!!

 

enjoying family, honoring mother, Mother's Day, Motherless Daughters, Thankfulness, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Writing

Happy Mother’s Day

I am away from home on Mother’s Day, but my heart is satisfied because part of home is here with me; my eldest daughter and grandson.  I should more rightly say that I’m here with them.  My daughter has nearly finished her intern year as a physician and is rotating for two months at a major state hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit because our local medical center doesn’t have one.  I’m along as Nana, caring for “Li’l C”, as my daughter works grueling hours caring for children not as healthy as her little one.

Today, my thoughts are on the sacrifice that all that moms and their “villages” endure to make sure their precious offspring are healthy, happy, and sound.  My other thoughts are of my own mom, who died at 48.  Few days go by that this 52-year-old  doesn’t think of the special moments that she failed to experience.  Though they never met her, my own children share so many of her characteristics; perseverance, strength, kindness, and the desire to help others.  I may not have parented exactly like her, but my goals were the same; to raise people worth knowing.  Despite odds and obstacles, I know I’ve done just that.

Happy Mother’s Day to moms and their villages everywhere!

 

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It’s possible that my grandson is the cutest baby on the planet?!

 

 

Anxiety, Appreciation, blogging, Building self-confidence, cats, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, Food Addiction, losing weight, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, marriage, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wisdom, Writing

Snowy Sunday

We’re under yet another winter storm warning, but I’m not complaining.  I think my husband and I need a day to relax. I’ve realized, since my weight loss, that I’ve become quite accustomed to my days being filled with a constant flurry (no pun intended towards the falling snow outside my window) of activities.

In fact, with my birthday being a month away, I was mentally comparing my life now to a year ago:

  • Nearly a year ago today, I was excited to be wearing a brand new pair of size 18, skinny, jeans to my birthday party.  This was a welcome change from the size 24 pants that I’d worn to my first weigh in at the bariatric center.
  • As only a  three-month veteran of my weight loss program, I cautiously approached every sip, or bite, of food that I ingested and monitored every calorie I burned at the gym.
  • My self-confidence was a newly burgeoning entity experiencing so much for the first time.
  • My main goal was to get healthy and stay that way.

Now, my life is vastly different.  As a fit and healthy person, I look at life through new eyes, seeing every bright possibility.  It’s not just because my body is fit, it’s because my mind is clear and my soul is free of the baggage of anxiety and food addiction. I love my life and the people in it so much.  I quite honestly never imagined being so happy.

I think the secret to life is as simple and pure as the snow gently drifting in my driveway; see life as a series of possibilities and believe that the odds are in your favor, because they are. Take care of yourself. Feed and exercise each part of your body, mind, and spirit with good things, because that’s exactly what you deserve.  Practice kindness, caring, patience, and love daily. It just feels right, and you’ll mostly always get each in return.

Deep thoughts on a snowy Sunday! 🙂

Hope everyone is having a phenomenal day! 🙂

My kitty says, "It's time to relax!"  (Photo by me)
My kitty says, “It’s time to relax!” (Photo by me)
Bipolar II, blogging, emotional eating, enjoying family, losing weight, love, marriage, Medical Weight Loss Program, memories, mental illness, optifast, Self-Soothing, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wisdom, Writing

To Dispel the Shininess of the Aha Moment

Years ago, Oprah Winfrey popularized a nearly century-old phrase first coined in a 1939 psychology text-book; the “aha moment.” By 2012, this locution had became so popular that it was officially entered into Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary as:

 “a moment of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, or comprehension.”

I somehow pictured the great epiphany of the aha moment to occur in a flash of terrific fanfare and deep connection with the Universe.  Little did I realize that my aha moment would occur in the small hours of the morning, in the pitch-dark of my bedroom.

It was November 12, 2013, and I couldn’t sleep, though I certainly didn’t lack the general feeling of exhaustion. Every joint in my body ached and the only thing more pronounced than the rapid pounding of my heart in my ears, was my labored breathing.  At nearly 230 pounds, I was the heaviest I’d ever been.

The past decade had brought a barrage of changes and strife that began with appearance of my youngest daughter’s bipolar symptoms; psychosis, depression, hypo-mania.  Because she was too ill to attend school and had to be constantly supervised, I took leave from my job of 16 years to care for her. For six months, other than for medical appointments, I only left my home, once every two weeks, go to the grocery store.  There, I would fill up my cart with an oxymoronic combination of extremely healthy foods for our meals, mixed with a plethora of high calorie sugary snacks for me. In those horrible days, food was my replacement for all of the pleasures that it felt like life had taken away; sanity, personal freedom, healthy relationships, and general happiness.  In truth, my youngest daughter seemed like a stranger and my oldest was acting out. She’d shaved her head, pierced her tongue, and even threatened to quit high school.  My husband, who, at that time, had limited understanding and experience with mental illness, was constantly out of sorts.  Add the financial burden from me no longer working, my unexpected isolation as an extrovert, and a family history of addiction into the mix and it’s no surprise that I reached for food as my drug of choice to numb chaos of my situation.

Eventually, our tribulations passed.  My daughter was properly diagnosed and medicated.  Within two years she was back to her old, sweet self. Looking back it seemed that in the blink of an eye she finished high school, then college, and found the perfect job.  She also found a terrific guy.   My oldest, thankfully, decided to stick out high school, then college, and finally medical school; in five months she’ll graduate to be a family doctor. Last year, she married her high school sweetheart.  My husband and I joined NAMI (the National Alliance for Mental Illness) and attended their support groups. The hub became much better educated about mental illness and its effect on the family.  He’s not only one of my daughter’s biggest cheerleaders, he’s my complete partner in our happy marriage.

With the deviation of my tale passed, I return to the night of my epiphany with the thought that perhaps the old adage is wrong.  Perhaps things don’t feel brighter after the storm has passed.  Maybe the storm tosses us about a bit too long and makes us confused about who we are, and what we want, because on the night of my aha moment, I was certainly at rock bottom.  I tried one last time to finagle the mound of pillows behind my head, only to find myself unable to breathe from my suffocating neck fat.

“I hate myself. I can’t live like this anymore!” I mouthed in the dark, as hot tears exited the corners of my eyes and pooled in my ears. I covered my face with my hands to stifle my sobs. I wiped my eyes with the sheet and grabbed my tablet from the bedside table to type this:

THINGS I MUST DO TO CHANGE MY LIFE:

  1. Lose 95 pounds
  2. Regain my health
  3. Find something I love to do

The next morning I called the bariatric center to register for an informational session about Optifast on December 12, 2013.  After that session, I took their first available appointment.

January 16, 2014,  my very first day on Optifast, was the beginning of my new life.   The days, weeks, and months that followed were full of work, discovery, and living.  Nearly a year later, my days are exponentially as filled with happiness, harmony, and health.

My aha moment didn’t occur on the day that I’d won a great prize, or made a deep connection with the Universe, as I’d once suspected it would.  It happened under the shroud of night, on a pile of tear-stained pillows and twisted covers. In spite of my lofty visions of enlightenment, crushingly uncomfortable neck fat was my tipping point, my catalyst, and my spur.   I realize now that aha moments aren’t often those that sparkle.  They’re messy, dirty, gritty, painful, and even, fat. It’s that split second directly after an epiphany that life begins to twinkle, and once you set your change into motion it begins to shine.

Have you had an aha moment that’s changed your life for the better?  If you’ve lost weight, what was the catalyst that set your loss into motion?  Tell me about it in the comments below. 🙂 

 

 

 

blogging, Crafting to lose weight, dealing with food cravings, enjoying family, food and family celebrations, Having fun, losing weight, Maintaining Weight Loss, public relations, setting goals, strength training, the law of attraction, Uncategorized, weight loss journal, Writing

Goodbye, Sweet Sugar and Thoughts on a New Year

The clock is ticking!  What are your New Year's goals? (Photo by me "The Hugo Clock" @ MOMA)
The clock is ticking! What are your New Year’s goals? (Photo by me “The Hugo Clock” @ MOMA

Stevia-laced coffee and a healthy bowl of Fiber One cereal; this is my usual morning.  However for the past three wake-ups, holiday elves (let’s blame it on them) have been treating me to slices of pie or Christmas cookies and a lovely coffee topped with whipped cream.  Those silly “elves” have also been sabotaging my other meals, too, and “forcing” me to eat Christmas dinner leftovers.  Yesterday, I called their bluff and took the leftovers to my daughter’s house.

The good news is, that three days of feasting hasn’t taken much of a toll on my progress or success.  I decided to not give myself any restrictions this holiday.  Restrictions make you feel like you’ve failed when a sugar cookie “accidentally falls into your mouth.  Truth be told, given carte blanche in the kitchen actually helped me this season.  I can’t pack it in like I used to, and didn’t really end up eating the copious amounts of food that I thought I would.  It takes the consumption of 3,500 calories to gain a pound.  Fortunately, a health metabolism burns those calories, and as of this morning, I only weigh 133 lbs.  Holiday victory is still mine!

Today, it’s back to the gym and “so long” to sugar!  Will I indulge on New Year’s Eve?  Of course!

Speaking of New Year’s, I began working on my new list of goals for 2015 last night.  2014 was such an amazing year that I expect 2015 to be even better!  So far, I hope to:

  • Find an awesome job
  • Rid myself of debt
  • Get  physically stronger
  • Create my crafting business

So what about you, dear readers?  Did you thoroughly enjoy your holiday treats?  Have you made any goals for 2015?  Tell me about it! 🙂