Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 14

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Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 14

Getting back on track is easier said than done.  It takes determination and effort.  I have missed a few Zumba classes.  I went today.  I was eating anything and everything, the last few weeks.  I prep cooked earlier in the week.  My insulin is now working well enough to lower my doses again.  Some days it is a fight just to get motivated to do what I should be doing.  Other days I feel prepared to tackle everything.  I am gearing up for another run at living a healthier lifestyle.

Last week I was watching the scale climb.  This week it is starting to go down.  I am working hard to try and stay on plan as much as I can, and it is working.

The last few months I have been consciously trying to drink more water.  It is a good idea, not just for me, but for everyone.  It would be better if I enjoyed drinking water.  I have to force myself to drink water, sometimes.  I have a drinking buddy, my straw!  I need to get it in quickly or I won’t drink as much water in a day.  Straws certainly help with that.

It is time to get out the measuring tape again.  Still, nothing to report.  With the last few weeks of being sick, I will have to take the number on the scale moving down as my encouragement.  It is good that it is going the right way again.

My heart rate was steady in class.  I do love that I can check it.  Now I have to keep a better focus on what I eat and how much insulin I am taking because my body has come around to responding to it well, again.  That happens when I work hard.  I feel better so I want to do more and I do that and I feel even better.  It is possible.  Just not when I am sick. Everything goes out the window when I am sick.

I did go to the doctor last week.  He gave me a different antibiotic.  I bought a probiotic to take with it because we all know the warnings about what happens when you take one antibiotic, and now I have had to take two.  It has been a little challenging to keep track of when I have to take what medicine.  The good news is that it appears to be working, and worth the trouble.

This week I am feeling more optimistic.  When I feel like doing things, there is a better chance that they will get done.  I am finally feeling like trying again.  So lesson learned.  When my sugars are skyrocketing out of control, it is not me, or what I am or am not eating; I am probably sick.  Which is good to know, because I don’t remember this happening when I was off work with my infected knee.  There is a good reason for that. Painkillers.  I was on some heavy duty painkillers.

I am sleeping better this week.  Quality sleep is also important in the struggle to live a healthier lifestyle.  If you are well rested, it will boost the energy.  Again, you can do more.  It can snowball in the right direction.  It is happening for me right now.  It can happen for you too.  If you need help, ask. Don’t be afraid.  If you don’t ask for help, it might be too late.  We are all worth helping.  We are all worth loving.  Believe it.  When you believe that you are worth investing your own time and energy into, good things will happen for you too. One change becomes two, then three and so on.  What change are you going to work on this week?

 

 

Why I use a Pedometer in Zumba Class

Surprise at Zumba

A while back someone gave me a smart band to wear at Zumba Class.  I already had a pedometer, but this levels it up for me.  It also keeps track of my heart rate, which I also use now that I can.

It has been helpful to keep an eye on my heart rate.  I am able to work out a little harder because I know when I check it, the smart band will tell me if I am working my heart too hard, or not enough.

I report my steps on the Zumba page also.  When I started, I was told you can get up to 5,000 steps in a Zumba Class.  As there is a movement in the world to get a minimum of 10,000 steps every day and walk your way to a healthier lifestyle, getting 50% of those steps done in an hour is a HUGE ADVANTAGE.  So if you are thinking that it is just another dance aerobics class, you are setting your standards for Zumba too low.

I average around 4,000 steps in a class.  Sometimes less, sometimes more.  My goal is to have it increase to the 5,000 steps (or more).  Since I got the smart band, another member of the Zumba crew is using my pedometer in class.  She is averaging 5,300 steps a class.  I have got to say, she is definitely in the Zumba Zone.  It is absolutely possible, and realistic to aim for 5,000 steps while in a Zumba class.

What else do I love about Zumba?  The Zumba Crew, the music, dancing, and having fun!  I don’t do all the moves, I’m not always confident that I can do them all.  I am changing how much I do all the time.  Some days I push myself.  Some days just being there and going through the motions is all I can do.  But I go, and I participate, however I can.

Sometimes I have to stop and check my blood sugars.  Most of the time, they are normal.  If they are low, it means I have to drink a juice box before continuing my workout.  If they are still low after that, it means I need candy and to lower my insulin dose before the next class.

I have missed a few classes this spring because I have been sick.  Nothing serious, but I was not able to go in the last few weeks.  I look forward to going back this week.  Monday is Victoria Day so the next class will be Wednesday.  If I am feeling better, I may just push myself to hit 5,000 steps.  It is something to work towards, and when I get there, I will aim higher.

How do you motivate yourself to exercise?

My first Guest Blog, and a little more of the back story.

Pink Shirt Day

Pink Shirt Day 2017

Earlier in the year, Kirsty Allen, of her blog The Ramblings of a Madwoman posted an opportunity for guest blogging.  It interested me, as a newbie here, I wanted to give it a whirl and see what happened.  We were given a prompt, and I chose to write about a recent conflict.

I thought about it, as I am Always Thinking…

I replied with an idea about learning how to stand up for myself.  This is something that is a new skill in my life, and I have been improving it in the last few years.  I still have my moments, but I like to think I am more capable of defending myself than I was 10 years ago.

The last Wednesday in February is Pink Shirt Day in Canada.  I am all for raising awareness about the anti-bullying movement, and I shared reminders on my personal facebook wall the day before Pink Shirt Day, 2017.  It came as a surprise when I had negative replies in response to those reminders. I replied in the most constructive way I could, trying to turn around the negativity.  It didn’t go too far, and I did see that one person decided to express their negative thoughts on their own wall.  To each their own.  A good rule of thumb for social media.  If the discussion had continued to escalate on my wall, I would have had to take further action.  Thankfully, it didn’t.

In true Tish fashion, I had made a decision about the best way I could handle this.  I decided that I would use the anger and disappointment I felt as a result of what happened on my wall, and spin it in my guest blog post.

It was a challenge.  I started with the pantser approach I use, and just typed away.  The goal for the word count was 200 to 700 words, in short story format.  When I finished the rough draft, I had 1800 words, give or take a few.  So then I had to get really serious and edit the fluff out of it.  I have certainly had a lot of experience with bullies in my life, there was no shortage of examples.

After a furious editing session, I worked on it for 2 days or more, I had it down to just over 800 words.  I updated Kirsty with my progress and asked her about the size of the picture she needed for the submission to be complete.  With that information, I was able to send it to her.  Then I waited.  I am proud that I was able to send it in before the deadline.  That was important to me, as I am a procrastinator by nature.

It was hard to be patient, but I did that too.  I checked for a response several times a day, waiting for her reply.  I wondered if I missed the mark with the word count,  or if it was not going to be a successful submission.

When I saw Kirsty’s message, I was over the moon happy!  She told me that it would indeed be published, and that, “I really enjoyed reading your piece, it was so relatable and well written that I nearly cried. .” I quoted that at work and for a few days after that.  It validated my talents as a writer, and also really made me feel good that I accomplished the task at hand.

I am pleased to share this story here, in a link format.  There is a reason we Bloggers do this together.  We share stories on each other’s websites to challenge our own writing abilities, but also to increase traffic to each other’s websites.  It may not make much sense to those of you out there just reading my stories that I link to my wall, but in the blogging world, it does matter.  So if you like my story, and you take the time to read it, please take a few minutes to check out The Ramblings of a Madwoman by Kirsty Allen.  I recommend “It’s called Project Echo. We’re a top secret, select group of special people and we’ve been monitoring you.”, as I really enjoyed this story.  I was inspired when I read Motivation March, to leave a comment for her about this piece.  She is a talented writer, and I am liking her stories too.

Here is the link for my first guest submission on Kirsty’s website.  I hope you check it out.  I am proud of how it came together.

It’s not just about the pink shirt, it’s about changing your attitude

 

Dealing With Unexpected Grief

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Grief happens, because it is a part of life, and life happens.  We all experience grief in different ways, and at different times.  There are stages for grief, and they are well documented by experts.  My story today was inspired by a recent wave.

I have been lucky, to be 42 years old, I have lost some of my grandparents, and their siblings,and two of my uncles;  but most of my immediate family members are alive. I dread the coming days when that changes.  It will happen, and I will have to deal with it, unless I die before the rest of my family.  I don’t dwell on it, and I don’t live in fear of what will be.  We all have our time, and there is nothing we can do to avoid it.  What we can do is live, and try to follow the moral guidelines we hold dear to our souls.

In the years since I have moved to Fredericton, NB, I have experienced the loss of some friends.  It is a hard thing to learn to live with, the loss of a close friend.  There are two people in particular that I am thinking of.  They were my friends, and I still miss them.

I don’t focus on the loss, once time passes, and the funeral becomes a little less fresh in my mind.  I have a lamp that one of these friends gave me, at my desk.  It has an arm, and hinges to tighten to hold the lamp in the position I want it to stay in.

Every once in a while, the lamp tilts down.  I have always seen this as my friend’s ghost checking up on me.  It may sound silly, but I say hi to him whenever it has fallen down.  This friend became ill when a virus attacked his heart.  He had some time to prepare for the end, and we all knew it would happen.  We had all gathered in the hospital to show support for him and his wife, near the end.  It struck me hardest before he was gone, one of our mutual friends had gone in to see him, and he was not in very good shape.  I wanted to know if she had told him  that my husband and I were there, so he would know.  She said she had told him for us.  When this friend dropped me off at home, I was alone.  I leaned against my door, after I had closed it, and had my cry.  I cried off and on for a week, little fits here and there, but that was my moment when I let myself feel the pain of losing that friend.

On New Year’s Eve, 2016, I was with the same group of friends, celebrating the beginning of 2017.  It was our annual house party, and it is always a potluck.  We meet, have a few drinks, eat, talk, and play games.  If there is a World Juniors Hockey Game being aired, my husband makes our hostess turn on a TV, so he can enjoy what is notably the best hockey in the world, especially if Team Canada is playing.

When we came home, it was 2017.  I had enjoyed a lovely evening, and was in good spirits.  I walked over to my desk, and the lamp had tilted while I was out.  I said hello and happy new year, and did something I haven’t done before.  I sent a group message to the other friends that were at the party with me, and passed on the story, and a happy new year from our friend’s ghost.  It felt like the right thing to do.

The other friend died more recently, we are quickly approaching the one year mark.  We became fast friends when we met on a dance floor.  I had talked to her on occasion before that night. When my friends wanted to bail I asked her if I was welcome to hang out with her for the rest of the evening, and it started a beautiful friendship that ended way too soon.

It was the big C she was fighting when she lost the battle.  Cancer is awful, and she fought like a warrior; until she couldn’t anymore.  My friend was vibrant, beautiful, and had just started a new phase in her life.  She had moved away for school. She was an artist, and learning was something she was passionate about.  We kept in touch on facebook, and she was really enjoying the courses she was taking.

One day she confided in me that she had found a lump, and it was cancer.  I stayed in touch, and we chatted about school, her cats, her treatments, and her apartment adventures.  One day I realized that she hadn’t been saying much.  She was losing her fight. I started a conversation; that was the last one we were going to have.  I was trying to be supportive and positive.  It wasn’t working.  So, I did what I do best.  I got her laughing.  We went down a silly path in that conversation about her feelings about cancer.  She got to vent, creatively.  I like to think I helped her deal, in a very small way.

This week, I saw an ad for a band I like that is coming to town.  I always go to see them, and I don’t plan anything different this time around.  I was sharing it on my wall, when it hit me.  I had introduced my friend to this band before she moved away.  We had a blast, and she liked them, too.  She was a people watcher, and was confused by the mixture of people and styles of the other fans that were there.  We decided that they were Preppies, Hipsters, and Lumberjacks.  Plaid and beards and all mixed with a few clean-cut well dressed glasses wearing people.  An odd mixture, but all present enjoyed the show, as always.  I took her a little out of her comfort zone that night, but we had a lot of fun, and it was worth it.

So the other night, when the memory of seeing the band with her the last time they were in town hit me, I was sitting at my desk; overwhelmed with grief.  I let the tears fall.  It was completely unexpected, but necessary.  That’s the thing about grief, it has to run its course.  Things happen, and you feel sad sometimes.  It is what it is.  It is healthier to deal with the feelings when they arise, instead of bottling them inside, where they fester and grow.  Not letting your feelings out is toxic, and it never ends well, because instead of a healthy release, it could be an explosion, and the aftermath of that could be a bigger disaster than you are able to handle.  So focus on the good times, and the memories that make you smile.  When you need to express your grief, you don’t always get to choose when or how that happens, but it is necessary to help you move past the grief being so heavy on your heart all of the time.  There is nothing wrong with grieving, and I do cry when I am overcome with grief.  I try to be alone if I can, but you can’t plan it every time.  You just have to deal with it, and keep moving forward, until it isn’t so raw.  The important part is to let it out, so you can begin to heal.

It never goes away. I will always miss my friends, but I am still here, and I have to keep on living. One minute at a time, to a day at a time; whatever I am capable of in that moment. My first friend made me promise to take good care of my health, and I am honouring his memory by doing my best to be healthier.  My second friend was an artist, and I am working towards writing a book this year.  She would be proud that I am working on a lifelong goal, and as we had talked about many things during our friendship; she would also be happy to know I am working on my health and cleaning and organizing my house before getting the book started.  She had a preferred method for upkeep on cleaning styles, and I plan to get that method in place when the deep clean is done, so I keep up with it for the long-term.  That is how I am honouring her memory.  This is important too, it helps me keep them in my heart, without causing more grief.  If you don’t have a special way to honour the memory of a lost loved one, start one.

Random acts of kindness are a positive way to do good for someone else, and in your heart, it can be from your loved one, in their memory.  Take whatever time you need to decide what it will be, and follow through.  This way, it won’t just be yourself that you help, it just might help someone else cope a little better in their day, too.  Even if it only makes you feel better for an hour, it is a start, and by helping others, you can begin to help yourself heal in a positive way.