Independent vs Stubborn to a Fault

So today’s topic is a little bit off from my usual stuff but I want to put this out there. I’m in my mid 30’s with a birthday this fall that puts me closer to the 40 side than the 30 one. I’m not much for numbers and for the most part, other than wondering where the heck my life seems to have gone, I don’t mind getting older. I’m young at heart and I have a lot of fun without being stupid…most of the time. lol

However, while I enjoy my life and independence, I really hope that as I get even older, I won’t be like a couple of my grandparents or many of the patients I have. I hope I will remember the lessons that they are teaching me now that a younger person does not offer assistance to say that they can’t do some things or to make them feel bad but because the younger person sincerely wants to help and sometimes…well, we can’t do things without help.

Case in point: when my family talked and decided that it was no longer safe for my grandparents to drive anymore and took the keys to their car, they had a fit. They tried begging, threatening, wheedling, pulled the ‘I’m-your-parent-and-you-do-as-I-say’ routine, tried the ‘it’s-my-car-so-give-me-the-damn-keys’ so many times it stopped being surprising…everything they could think of to be allowed to drive. But here’s the thing, the last time my grandfather drove he almost hit somebody who was walking on the side of the road! And my grandmother was driving on the wrong side at least part of the way before she realized it! It just wasn’t safe for them to be behind the wheel anymore…not for them or anybody else. So we stood firm and even got almost mean about it when we told them no. I hated doing that to them but it was the responsible thing to do for society and them.

I hope that when I’m old and I really need assistance I will be humble enough to accept my limitations and accept that help. That could come in the form of another person or a walker or cane or wheelchair or whatever! I’m trying to take good care of myself now so that I’m not a burden on others in the future but the truth is, when we use these things, it keeps our independence. If an older person falls and breaks a hip, that makes them even more reliant on others for help. If they had used the tools and people they needed to begin with, so many things might have been prevented. Those who offer to help, genuinely want to and don’t mind.

That said, I also want to note that if you are a caregiver of someone with health issues or who is older, you need to remember to ask for help yourself. One person can’t do it all and you will burn out quickly if you try. Find resources to help you…friends, family, programs, whatever you need. But make sure you take care of you so you can also take care of those dependent on you. That’s one thing I am learning. I have to stop and take care of myself sometimes and that’s ok. I used to feel guilty but not as much anymore because I know I need that just like everyone else. We’re all human and we need rest and food and fun like everyone else.

Feel free to share your stories and advice with me! I’d love to hear from you.

Too Many Stressors at Once!

I know that everyone has stress in their life. I usually handle it pretty well but lately, I’ve been hit with a lot of huge stressful situations at one time. One of the only grandparents I have left is in the hospital and from what I’m hearing, it sounds like they are giving up on life and probably won’t be with us much longer. I am going to have to move soon because the house that I currently live in is going on the market. I rent at the moment. Also, still dealing with the ex-husband over money he owes and the house we owned, and that has a contract on it, underwent an inspection and appraisal this week. I’m supposed to get my half of the equity when it sells and then I can finally be done with the ex-husband forever if I can help it.

I could deal with any one of those separately and I could even handle two but all of them?! I’m really starting to feel it. Now while the ex and the house situation is looking like it will resolve itself soon, I am so afraid something will mess it up and I’ll have to keep dealing with the ex-husband for months to come.

As for my grandparent, they have had Alzheimer’s for a long time and I’m torn, even having been in the medical field for over a decade, between hoping they get better and get to go home and hoping they will go peacefully there in the hospital. I don’t want them to suffer any more and I know that their home isn’t really the best place for them at this stage of their illness. The guilt over which way to feel is an added stress.

Moving, for any reason good or bad and for any distance long or short, is always a pain in the @$$ because no matter how close or far the new place is, everything has to go with you! I just moved about 6 months ago and here I go having to move again. I’m good at packing and I like to do stuff like that myself but it does feel a little overwhelming right now with everything I have to do.

So why am I writing about all this here? Well for one thing, it is somewhat therapeutic to get it all out. But also because I think overall I might be handling it pretty good considering. Everything in my life that I go through makes me stronger and I see it. Do I believe that ‘everything happens for a reason’. No I don’t. Sometimes it just is. Sometimes it’s life. Sometimes it’s other people causing us issues because of their decisions or actions. I am actually able to sleep and go to work and while it is messing with my WW goals at the moment, I’m not doing as bad as I have in the past when faced with majorly stressful situations. And I’m definitely going to give myself credit for that. I am trying to maintain a positive attitude instead of a ‘woe is me’ one. I’m trying to remember that stuff happens. I’m trying to take deep breaths and a couple of minutes of quiet when I can to center myself and find peace before dealing with the next hurdle. Because I know I can.

Shout Out to My Weight Loss Aids/Tools

Ok, so this week I admit I had a small problem figuring out what to write about, but then I thought about what all I needed to do this weekend and one of them includes getting groceries and it led to the idea of this entry. I run into a lot of posts in various places (and have written my own) about the stumbling blocks for people to weight loss. So I wanted to talk about the tools and other aids I’ve found for myself in my weight loss journey so far. Here is just a quick list of 10:

  1. WW’s phone app – First and foremost, I love the WW app as I am doing Weight Watchers all online. The app has some issues and some features I wish were a little more smooth but overall, I love it. I did WW years ago and had to do it all on paper. What a pain in the…hand? 😉 lol Anyways, now tracking my food, fitness and weight has become so easy! The barcode scanner has become my favorite feature simply because it’s so handy when I go to the grocery store!
  2. Smaller containers, plates, etc – I am very much a visual learner and portioning out my food is one battle but as I was of the ‘clean-your-plate’ family, I have learned that eating out of smaller dishes and containers makes me feel less guilty about leaving food behind. I didn’t take as much so I’m not wasting as much if I don’t finish but also it helps me keep my portions under control.
  3. My WW’s digital food scale – Any food scale will do so I admit I’m not bragging just because of WW’s because mine is an older version anyway but I love that it comes with a bowl to put on top to keep the scale itself clean and is so easy to use. Measuring your food is essential when you don’t have the feel for portion sizes so my scale definitely helps.
  4. My digital person scale – I love my own scale that I use at home and I can’t remember who makes it but I’ve had it for a while. It’s one that gives you your weight with one decimal place, can track 2 people’s weight for you, and gives you the difference between weighing times so I don’t have to do math first thing in the morning when I don’t even have the lights fully on yet. lol With mine, for example, I step on the corner and hold it down until ” – 1 – ” pops up and it reminds me of my last weight. Then it goes to 0.0, I step on and it gives me my current weight and then the difference. So something like, “183.8”…”-1.2″. It’s easy, fast and seems to be fairly accurate.
  5. Kroger’s clicklist – Many grocery stores are doing something like this now but I personally love Kroger. Their online shopping feature is awesome! I shop from work or home and at all hours day or night in any way I’m dressed (or not) and when I’ve got the whole list down…Voila! I choose my pick up time and submit my order. The great things about this is: I can shop anywhere and anytime as long as I have access to a computer or my phone, I only buy what I need, Kroger saves what I’ve bought in the past so I can just add it quickly to my cart, I only buy what’s on my diet or what I choose to cheat with instead of impulse buying, no lines, no roaming aisles aimlessly, and I save time just showing up, picking it up and going home. I can plan meals and use the online sales add or digital coupons. I’m not perfect at it and it has a few glitches but overall I love this!
  6. Supportive friends/family – You will always have those people in your life who will tell you when you’re doing something wrong. I don’t let it bother me that much when it comes to losing weight and I truly appreciate the support I get from those who are closest to me. My boyfriends are super supportive of my goals and even though they aren’t on the plan with me, they keep me motivated while reassuring me that they love me no matter what size I am. That’s a hard balance to keep but they seem to do a pretty good job! lol
  7. Convenient locations – I had a super hard time with losing weight when I lived out in the middle of nowhere. I had to drive so much of my time away. Stores weren’t convenient nor was access to good food. So where I am now with so many good choices of places to get food, living closer to work, access to lots of public parks…it’s all conducive to living healthier and I’m learning how to take advantage of that.
  8. Low cal water flavor packets – I’m not a huge fan of water. I drink it and a lot of it but I miss flavor sometimes! So this is where those little flavor packets save my bacon! I get flavor without the empty calories and it’s helped me cut way back on the Dr Pepper especially!
  9. Exercises that I fit in through the day – I love hearing little tips on how to move more throughout the day instead of doing one big exercise routine. Yeah I take the stairs more often like a lot of people suggest. I don’t park as far from the door as I could but I don’t look for the first spot either. But I read an article that suggested doing like 10 squats and 10 push-ups every time you go to the bathroom. I can do that! That’s a good reminder for me and when I drink my water, I go to the bathroom at least 8 times a day I’m sure! lol That’s a lot of squats and push-ups!
  10. A love of food – This might sound like a weird thing to list but I’m so thankful that I really love a variety of foods and I’m not scared to try new things. I would go insane eating the exact same things all the time or if I only liked to eat a handful of things. It makes keeping my weight loss journey from feeling like I’m on a circular track! I love to try new varieties of foods or foods I already like/love in a new way. I think it’s so much fun and I have discovered new favorites!

So I hope that those points help you a little. Even if it doesn’t, I hope it at least helps you be a little more positive in looking for things to help you like it did me! Let me know what helps you in achieving your goals. I’d love to hear about it.

Challenges to My Weight Loss Goals

So this past weekend was Memorial Day weekend and I went off on vacation with West Coaster. We had a fun time, getting there Wednesday evening and I got home Monday night. The problem was that where I was there weren’t a lot of healthy food options in spite of the fact that there were so many dang restaurants and places to eat! Everything was fried, wrapped in or topped with bacon/cheese/creamy sauce, etc. Even the buffet where we stayed, there were almost no vegetables to choose from and those that were there were cooked in such ways that it took most of the nutritional value out of it or made it almost void because of all the stuff they added to them.

Now there’s a reason I gained weight to begin with. I was way too tiny in high school and shortly thereafter but, like a lot of Southern women I know (and I’m not trying to exclude people here but just using my own self-categorizing), I eat my emotions…happy, sad, angry or whatever. I absolutely love food and trying new things. I love the fats, cheese, creams, sauces, breads, sweets…you name it and I love it. Even in small doses this can be hard for me because of the number of terrible things out there for you. If you eat 1 piece of each kind of candy and there are 10 different candies, that’s still 10 pieces. So I have to fight and pick and choose what I eat if I want to keep going down on the scale and clothes.

So let me briefly look at some of the sabotages to my weight loss goal. 1. My own background. 2. No refrigerator/microwave + expensive restaurant = Feelings of having to finish all of my food no matter what. 3. Portion sizes everywhere! 4. Limited healthy options that also taste good when out and about, especially when on vacation when you want to enjoy everything. 5. (And this is a big one) Eating only until I’m full but still enough food to last me until I get the chance to eat again and can make good choices! My job and life rarely allow me to eat those small snacks during the day that can be healthy and stave off hunger so that I don’t get to the point that I’m so ravenous, I’ll eat whatever is right in front of me and until I’m stuffed!

So how do I combat this big problem I seem to have? Well, first I should admit that sometimes I lose that battle and just end up eating badly. However, I’m getting better at planning ahead. I try so hard to have snacks that are good choices within easy reach that are easy to eat and that I really love. I love chocolate. I’m not going to give it up unless it becomes a serious health allergy or something. BUT! I am going to try to have the sugar free chocolate pudding cup handy vs eating a huge slice of chocolate cake. So I’m trying to be realistic when I plan ahead. If I’m going to be in the car, I can’t eat a salad. That’s just not safe driving! But I can look up fast food choices on the Weight Watchers app so that when I go through the drive thru, I don’t need the menu and know exactly what I’m going to eat.

I really do try to plan ahead and I don’t beat myself up when I kinda mess it up for the meal, the day or even a week. I’m human. I will eventually get it mostly right or lose the battle because I gave up. But I can do this and I’m not going to drop into a deep depression because after vacation the scale says I’m 3 pounds higher. It happens. I’m not striving for perfection. I’m striving for different than the really unhealthy patterns that I’ve had in the past.

Facebook Relationship Status

Ok so in a couple of my previous posts I have mentioned that I am divorced. I have also alluded to my boyfriends…as in plural. So what does my Facebook relationship status say? lol “It’s complicated”. Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that this is sort of a ‘not for younger readers’ post. I’m not going to get explicit but some of you parents out there might not want to have to try to explain things like this just yet.

Perhaps I should start with a few terms that you might have heard before: polyamory, dominant and submissive, bi-curious…yeah I think that might cover it. So quick refresher on my personal background. I come from an extremely conservative family and I married someone in my very strict church who turned out to be a real narcissistic a-hole, divorced him and now I’m not living according to the way I was brought up and chose a different path for my life.

So what path are we talking about here? Well, I guess you could say I started exploring myself in all ways when I left my ex and that includes in a sexual nature. I’ve always had a little attraction to a woman here or there but never acted on it. I will admit to having wondered what it might be like to be with someone who understands how my body works more closely than the guys out there. I’ve never acted on it and who knows if I ever will. However, I’m not closed off to the possibility so therefore, I suppose you could call me “bi-curious”. In any case, even if I never end up exploring that side of myself, I will always be able to appreciate the beauty of the female form and certain females especially.

So on to polyamory… I have 2, count them 2, boyfriends and yes they both know about each other! lol And while maybe they aren’t ecstatic over the fact that they share me, they are ok with it and we are actually working towards, possibly, all living together at some point in the future. Whether or not that works out remains to be seen and is a topic for another day. BUT! Both know they are special to me and the other is special to me as well. Without giving their names away and exposing anything, we shall call them “West-Coaster” and “Native”. Take that as you will and I will talk more about them in the future.

For now, it’s enough to say that I actually started out dating West-Coaster online and we hit it off as just flirting and then he told me that he is very much a believer in polyamory. He had a girlfriend when we met and even though she’s no longer around, he was just as sweet and attentive to me as he was to her and I started thinking…well, maybe it is possible. I will be happy to talk about how that evolved more in the future and will but for now, I’ll just say that my view of polyamory has changed a good bit. I believe it’s absolutely possible to care for more than one person at a time and care about them both just as strongly, even if differently. Not everyone is cut out for it and I’m not talking about someone who just can’t control their sexual urges when faced with the next potential partner. I’m talking about real, true, deep feelings. I love both my guys and they know it.

Now for the last term…dom/sub. I have indeed a dom/sub relationship with one of my boyfriends. I am West-Coaster’s sub in matters involving the bedroom and usually when we’re flirting. I never really saw myself in such a position but I find I quite enjoy the change. I play at being more dominant with Native but for the most part that’s just on occasion and want to change things up a bit. So what does that mean? I divorced my ex because he was an arrogant, selfish dude and then I turn around and put myself as a sub and let a guy dominate me? Well sorta. I can say that it’s NOTHING like 50 Shades of Gray so don’t ask. lol I will go into more details in the future (not graphic details but a little more explanation of how the relationship works) but it’s nice to be able to say that I have two guys who love me and want to take care of me, in multiple ways. I’m happy that I’m accepted as a flawed human being who is still a work-in-progress and still exploring who she is.

So have I rambled enough to whet your appetite? Let me know what you’re thinking…what you want to hear about, know about, questions, concerns, comments, suggestions…well you get the picture. lol In the meantime, have an awesome Friday!

My Weight Loss &/or Yours

(I plan on posting more than once today so if this doesn’t interest you, maybe the other post will.)

So I joined Weight Watchers almost 4 months ago and I’m down a total of 21 pounds as of yesterday. I’ve still got about 30~ pounds to go to goal weight but I’m excited about the journey. Except that I am part of their online only plan and I keep having little irritating problems with their app and website. When you’re only doing the plan online, you kinda want these things to work! lol

Anyways, enough of the technical issues. Let’s talk about weight loss and setting goals, etc. One of the things that irks me about doing any kind of weight loss plan is that someone is always telling you that you’re doing it wrong…even when you’re seeing results. :/ The thing is, everyone is different! What works for you might not exactly work for me. And just because you think I should be doing more or trying harder, back off. I’m doing something and it’s working for me! Maybe not as fast or as well as for other people but I’m happy that I’m making changes that I know for sure I can sustain more long term than other people can. You wanna drink your food from now on, I suppose that’s your choice but I love food! I love different textures and tastes and I don’t want to live on smoothies the rest of my life. You want to cut out all carbs? Good luck! Not for me. I think we need grains and carbs for a balanced diet. I don’t mind if you want to share what works for you. But don’t do it in a way that you are judging me.

The other issue I have with people on weight loss plans is their goals. I won’t tell you that your goal isn’t important or a good one because that’s very personal. But if you’re trying to lose weight just to wear a smaller wedding dress or get into that bikini for the summer, what happens when the wedding is over? Or summer turns to winter and you’re wearing sweaters? Yo-yo dieting is definitely not healthy. So if those are your short-term goals, awesome! Something to work for! But make your long-term goals more personal and about taking care of yourself for life!

And if you have setbacks in ounces on the scale or even a pound or two, don’t act like it’s the end of the world! Our bodies are in a constant state of flux. It’s constantly trying to keep a balance inside and fighting the environment around us. So that might just be a bit of water retention because it’s a little warmer outside. Or maybe you’re PMS’ing or whatever. But if in general you are staying active and healthy, that’s what counts! Try to remember the big picture.

When I joined Weight Watchers, I had a goal weight in mind but I didn’t have a lot of ‘definites’ or unrealistic expectations or goals. I knew that if I was gong to make these changes permanent, then making them slowly might be ok. And little diversions from my regiment are ok once in a while. I don’t say things like, “I’m going to run 5 miles every day!” when I know I started out as a couch potato. If I had done that, I would have quickly quit and given up. Instead, I have increased my steps, taken longer routes, added walks here or there, added a few lunges or push-ups every time I go to the bathroom…stuff like that. Little things that I can change. I also take a day once in a while and do nothing but sit around the house. I will never be one of those people who gets up at 5 am every morning and runs 10 miles. Not my idea of fun at all! But I can see getting up a little earlier and doing yoga before work maybe, of putting my tunes on and getting up and dancing to a song now and then instead of just bobbing my head along.

So my only short term goals right now? Memorial Day weekend, I’d like to be under 180. As I am currently at 184.2, I’m pretty sure I can make that. If I’m off a bit and don’t quite make it, I’m not going to huff and give up. I’ll be a tad disappointed but I’ll keep going. My other milestone/goal? By the end of September to be under and staying under 170. That’s totally doable if I keep up the pace I’ve set so far or even do better.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m always open to tips and suggestions, stories of how everyone is trying to get healthier. But I know what I will do long-term and what I will do only while I’m trying to meet my ultimate weight and fit goal. I’m ok with both as long as I can see the difference. I’m on this journey for me. Everyone and everything else is a necessary secondary.

Change is a Part of Living

So this might seem a weird subject but I wanted to address the subject of change. Humans, in general, seem to hate change. We resist it and avoid it, make excuses and even sometimes flat out refuse to go along with it. I’ve heard people say things like they can’t change their circumstances, their physical issues, their financial status, their marriage, their job, the chronic illness they are fighting…and the list goes on and on. One of my favorite excuses is that the person is too old to learn something new now.

Here’s the problem: Life has to change! We have to adapt and grow to keep on living. No one can stop change. It’s all around us! Technology changes, the environment changes, the weather, seasons, buildings, people…everything changes! And you have to be ready to roll with the punches or you’ll get run over! Make changes yourself or adapt or you will no longer be ‘living’ but just existing. Does that mean we have to like or enjoy every change? Nope and lots of times you won’t. lol But the truth is, so much is out of our control that we have to concentrate on what is in our control.

So if you can’t change something that’s changing or that’s out of your control (like that chronic illness or financial circumstances) what can you do or change? Your attitude! Maybe a more positive attitude and acceptance is what you have control over changing! Maybe if you are aware of the situation and looking for ways to make the changes possibly down the road, it will keep hope alive for you and yourself moving forward!

Let me give you an example. I was in a pretty bad marriage. I didn’t feel that my ex cared whether I was around or not, we did virtually nothing together. I worked 2 jobs to support us and he spent money like crazy and kept our debt growing. I was taking care of family that lived close by and I felt so horribly stuck. Stuck taking care of family when I was exhausted with no support. Stuck in a marriage that I was terribly unhappy in. Stuck working myself into the ground not only at my secular jobs but in keeping the house clean and tidy since he wouldn’t help with that either. I drove over an hour to both jobs and I was a miserable person. I tried changing my attitude first. Maybe if I tried to be more positive and asked for help more I would get it or at least be happier. Nope. Didn’t get the help I asked for (in fact I was berated for asking and told to quit “bitching” all the time), and the positive attitude only kept me going so far. It helped but hard to combat the negativity coming at you from all directions when you’re exhausted.

So I tried talking to my spiritual support, my family, friends. None of them could really help me and I knew that. I wasn’t looking for them to change things for me, just to counteract the gaslighting that my ex was doing to me. (For those who don’t know, gaslighting is when someone makes someone else think there’s something wrong with them or their thinking…that they’re crazy, etc. Look it up if you haven’t heard of it. It’ll blow your mind.) They were supportive in the best way they could be. But finally, one day, I realized that I was heading towards one of two endings here. I had to leave the situation either on my feet or in a body bag. Yes, I seriously contemplated suicide for a few seconds here or there. Never attempted it and dismissed it quickly but I needed to do something.

So I told my ex husband I was leaving. I had had enough and I was tired of trying to change things on my own and him working against me. It was hard. I had married young and had never been on my own before. But I left and I never once cried about it or looked back. Did I immediately divorce him? No. I still held a small glimmer of hope that he might come to his senses and realize that I was serious. But finally, after many months of taking care of myself and growing as a person, I realized that there was never any going back.

Was it scary? Absolutely! I had been married for over 15 years! I had no place of my own and couldn’t really afford one at first. But it was the best decision I think I’ve ever made. I’ve grown tremendously. I have been able to make changes, big and small, that have allowed me to be a happier human being and healthier too. I’m truly happy now and I continue to make changes that are in not only my best interests but in the interests of all those I care about and am around. I have hope and can see a future where I don’t feel trapped anymore.

So embrace change. Find ways to adapt or make your own changes, even if it’s just in your attitude! I hate getting up early in the mornings but I embrace that as part of my new job that allows me to take care of myself and spend time with my bf’s who are also on day jobs. If you need help in creating new pathways in your life or even just your brain, share your story with me! Let’s see if we can figure out something, anything that might help give you some hope and at least a smile for today.