Backyard Coffee Talk #1

Hello People!

Yep, it’s me.  After a super long time of disappearance, I have resurfaced from the ashes.

Rather than go into a long explanation here, I’ll let you view my video and hopefully that will answer any questions. Since I made the video (about 2 weeks ago) I have been staying on track and doing well.  Hopefully, you are too.  If you are new to my blog, welcome and please join me on my weight loss journey to lose weight once and for all.  My intention is to inspire healthy habits for everyone.

Advertisements

The Optimist’s Creed

Inspirational Sunday: The Optimist’s Creed

images

I thought I would send you a bit of positivity your way on this Sunday evening.  My energy is way low today, one reason being that I’ve lost sleep over a very stressful conversation/argument I recently had, and it’s at times like this one that I look at this mantra to find my hope in life again.  I’ve been choosing a sentence a day to meditate on and think about all the meaning inside of it. Every person on the planet is living a different experience from the next, so your take on each of the sentences may be different from mine.  And it stands to reason that there isn’t a culture, religious person, nation, or peoples who couldn’t use a bit more optimistic thinking in their daily life.  No matter what, we all get down and out sometimes.  I found this in my Daily Teachings from The Secret.

The Optimist’s Creed

“I promise myself…

To be so strong that nothing can disturb my peace of mind.

To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person I meet.

To make all my friends feel that there is something worthwhile in them.

To look at the sunny side of everything and make my optimism come true.

To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.

To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as I am about my own.

To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.

To wear a cheerful expression at all times and give a smile to every living creature I meet.

To give so much time to improving myself that I have no time to criticize others.

To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.

To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.”

CHRISTIAN D. LARSON (1874-1954)

images-1

 

New, Old Plans

Hello People!

Unknown-3

Sorry I took a long break from the blog here.  It wasn’t that I lost focus on losing weight or exercising or reading anything and everything about health and wellness.  Those things are always happening in my life no matter what.

In fact, I began a rigorous exercise program 3 months ago and have dramatically changed the shape of my body.  I mentioned somewhere on here before that I would take photos to show a before and after effect.  I was doing just that, but then I started to notice something that was irritating me…I was changing the shape of my body by building muscle, but I was not losing any weight (talk about stubborn!).  You may also be aware that too much rigorous exercise can increase one’s appetite, offsetting the fat loss one hopes to lose while sweating and dying to such routines. So, I’m keeping my workouts to under an hour and a half.  But usually, it’s just an hour a day.  My long 2.5 hour Sunday walk is out.  Walking is great, for beginners, but if you want to really see changes, you must up the ante.

So back to that non-weight-loss problem.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhh!  Full Charlie Brown style.  I have become one irritated person and it is time for the big guns.  I was really hoping that I could lose weight by eating a sensible number of calories, thus not lowering my metabolism and causing metabolic damage.  Let’s just say I have, during my absence, taken every road for that plan and no weight has been lost.  I have maintained weight, which is great and useful for later on, but I need to drop these 25 pounds now!!! I don’t want to wait any longer (not that I’ve been waiting, it’s been more like an exercise in futility for 3 arduous years).

Therefore, I have gone back to an old flame.  The one diet that I lost considerable amount of weight on about 13 years ago, is now in my possession.  Since reading the book that was written about it, I have realized that this particular diet is now defunct across the nation.  Not because it was a bad diet or had problems with it’s requirements; actually, I don’t know why.  The phone number listed for more information connects you to a “Win a Cruise for 2!!!” hotline.  A website does not exist.  The only thing that keeps popping up on Google is about a “Fat Chick on a Diet” complaining that because she wanted a bite of fudge at Christmas, she wasn’t going to go on the diet and sent all the materials back (LOSER!, or, not really).  One of the main important features of the diet is to have an accountability partner or leader help you weekly with your lessons and progress.  This person checks your food diary and goes over your workbook answers and discusses anything that may need to be addressed.  That is the best part because the accountability holds you, the dieter, responsible and makes you think twice about eating that “forbidden food.”  The diet is called PRISM.

2a98cd_68d398a662212f051c57e911841245f6.jpg_srz_315_235_85_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srz

 

I will go into more detail about it in another post (I ordered from Amazon an incomplete workbook for phases 1 – 3, but there are 4), but for now I just wanted to inform you that along with my fitness regime I now have a rigorous diet plan.  It isn’t easy or flexible.  It does work though, and that is the bottom line.  For some of us, we need strict adherences.  Even a little bit517TAn-00PL of leeway opens the door to temptation which then leads to failure.  This has been my pattern and I want to end it as soon as possible.  For now, my accountability partner will be you all  🙂  and God.  I’ll share my weekly food journals with you on Thursdays from the previous week.

more to come….

Notable Quotable #1

Inspirational Sunday: Notable Quotable #1

Hello People!

I am following an exercise program (more on that in tomorrow’s post), and daily, I am given a quote to ponder.  I found this one particularly pertinent to me:

“Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’ “.                    -Unknown

images

The program is rigorous. My commitment to keep up the 6 days a week regime at the start, were solid, and then there were snags 3 weeks into it…I got raging sick, twice.  I was working so hard and following the plan so well.  Pictures were being taken weekly for a before and after sequence.  It made me so mad that I woke up one day not able to get out of bed, much less lift a dumbbell.  Not following the program was hard enough, on top of that, when I get sick, for some reason my appetite rages out of control (not surprised, I’m defaulted to overeat by nature; being sick just heightens that even more) making me crave carbs like nothing else.  I suppose this is because of the lack in energy the virus is stealing from me and my body needing to fight off whatever ails me.

Unknown

That Katy Perry song has nothing on me, my “Roar” sometimes is a deeper promise for tomorrow. You know my desire to lose weight has been haunting me for years, I’m not going to now let a temporary sickness get in my way.  I told myself, “take the time to heal, then jump back in full force when you are up for it.”  It took about a week and a half, and many carbs later, but I’m back in the saddle again.

It’s not just the big reasons that make me break my commitment at times, it’s also the small things that come up.  Today, I just had a lack of energy to follow through on what I planned to do this afternoon.  The plans made for the day were put aside just to listen to what my body wanted: rest and relaxation.  I don’t have a good reason why, that is just how I felt.  I did not waste my workout or good eating habits though.  These remain a part of the plan no matter what.  But if I plan a day to garden for 4 hours, but all I want is a nap, then I compromise.  Instead of 4 hours, I did 40 minutes of simple stuff out in the yard.  I’ll make up for those bigger plans another time.  No big deal.  Tomorrow is another day and I can always do more if I’m up for it.

I also want to re-state that old stand-by: Consistency is Key.  It isn’t about just today, it’s about the total addition of day to day, week to week, month to month commitments.  One, two, or even three days out of a month that get “ruined” for whatever reason don’t need to derail one’s plans permanently.  Get back on the wagon tomorrow even stronger than before. That’s my roar speaking in a quiet voice!

images-1

 

Workout (Past)

Exercise Monday: My Current Workout Routine

Hello People!

I wanted to update you all on what I’m doing in regards to workouts/exercise.  Nothing too crazy, as I try to stick to my old tried and true routines that I know burn calories and give me results when done in a consistent pattern.  This goes along with my New Year’s Resolution to lose my weight this year and not look back! I mentioned that I had a plan (I keep saying that, and I’m here to elaborate) and I want to share with you what the workout portion of my losing weight scheme looks like.

I wrote on a 3 x 5 index card Monday – Sunday.  On each day there is a workout that consists of cardio (the immediate calorie torching part of my workouts) and a strength training split.  I like to do upper body and lower body splits.  That’s just me.  This means that I will work out my lower body muscles intensely for two days with rest days in between alternating with two days of intense upper body workouts.  I want to change the shape of my muscles, so I am working as heavy and hard as I can during my sessions.  There are specific things that I want to develop and things I don’t.  Therefore, I tailor my workouts to create the shape I want.  The card looks like this:

Monday: Running Program & Legs

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Ballet/Dance & Upper Body with Abs

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Running Program & Legs

Saturday: Long Walk/Aerobics & Upper Body with Abs

Sunday: Kickboxing

You can see, there is variety.  Nothing new here, I’ve written posts on most of these types of activities as individual topics. Just check out my Exercise Category if you want to read more about the specifics. As far as the strength training routines go, I’m using a combo of YouTube videos, the workout App on my iPad, my own collection of DVD’s, and creating my own routines. Also, this in addition to walking my dog for an hour most days and being active during days that I am not working.  These two things have also been discussed in earlier posts.

The cardio is for about 40 minutes to and hour, and the strength training is for 30 minutes, average.

I’m after a shape that is toned, but not bulging in short, stocky muscles.  I am already short, and I don’t like that look on me.  For example, doing a lot of plain squats creates large quadriceps which is not a look I like on me.  So, If the routine asks for squats, I turn out my feet so that I do them more like Plies in Ballet.  I prefer the look of a dancer’s body over a fitness model.  But, to each his own.

I try to burn approximately 400 – 600 calories per workout so that I stay within my plan to lower my calorie intake burning more than I eat in a day. I write down every day my daily caloric intake and also my caloric burn through exercise. These two daily goals help me determine if I am on track to lose weight or not.  Again, the only way this will work is with consistency.  A few days off, and it’s back to the starting line again.  That is not part of the plan this time.

Resolutions 2014

Inspirational Sunday: New Year’s Resolutions for 2014

Unknown-1

Hello People!

Happy New Year as well.  It is indeed a new year, a fresh start for those of us who like turning a new page. Last year I posted my resolutions and I must say that I accomplished about 3/4 of them to great success!*  You can read about it HERE.  The other fourth, I attempted, but for one reason or another, were not completely accomplished; hence my 7 pounds out of a hopeful 28 pounds loss.  Not a total fail, but not completely done with. My list below is a basic outline of what I hope to “do” in 2014.  I left it a bit general for you reader, but rest assured, I have them written down in great detail and posted in plain view for me to see and think about each day.

This year, my plans that weren’t accomplished are more narrowed down to be more specific.  In other words, just saying “I want to lose 28 pounds this year,” I have made the job more of a weekly task to work on gradually with actual numbers and a plan.  More on that later.

I want to discuss, briefly I hope, the fact that even though my best-laid-plans of 2013 weren’t completely conquered, there were so many important things that I realized about myself that are important to point out.  Perhaps you also realized things about yourself through my journey.  Plans are good, but growth is the most important thing to me.  Becoming a better version of myself is always number one on the list.  So here they are itemized in no particular order of discovery or importance:

  1. I am gluten intolerant.  Well, this certainly cuts down on a lot of once available calories for me.  That’s been the plus side.  It is still easy to overeat (I’m baking my gluten-free birthday cake as I write this!), but regardless, this will be something I will have to contend with for the rest of my life.
  2. Lots of extraneous exercise will not help me to lose weight. You may remember my posts about marathoning and walking for hours upon hours only to gain weight.  I called it the “marathon effect.”  Cardio, strength training, and stretching are great in moderation, but are only 15% of the equation in losing weight…DAMN!
  3. Proper macronutrient ratio’s help me feel full.  I’m a person who needs equal parts of complex carbo’s to protein with some fat.  Too little of carb or protein and I am toast.
  4. Sugar is my enemy and creates binging problems.  This one sucks.  I love sugar.  But, it is a completely useless and un-needed “food.”  It triggers my blood sugar to rise and drop, sometimes to dangerous levels and then makes me frantic to eat the first thing I see…and then keep eating.  I turn into one of those spring caterpillars before they go into the cocoon.
  5. Binging can be dealt with.  Not completely done with this one yet.  The devil on my shoulder will always be there.  But I can learn to master those temptations by following the former two discoveries listed above.  Most of all, riding out the wave of greed, and always being prepared if it does strike, is key for me.

And now for the Resolutions:

  • Find a home church to meet new people, find ways to socialize and commune with like believers. (I am protestant Christian, if you didn’t know)
  • Find the best Baked Beans recipe. (I know that may sound weird, but I LOVE them)
  • Financial Responsibility (this is more detailed, but that’s all I’m going to list here)
  • Lose 4 pounds a month (this is also more detailed, but I’ll write more about it later)
  • Visit 5 museums
  • Attend 5 Art Openings
  • Make 5 artworks (more specifically written down, but again…)
  • Cook through the cookbook How to Eat by Nigella Lawson (sort of a Julie & Julia scenario)
  • Improve romantic social life (not going to give you more on this, but I have a plan)
  • Make a “Garden of Envy” (I’ll take photos all through the year for you to prove it!)

I wish you all the best if you also have set goals for yourself.  It is easy to give up and quit.  But then nothing ever changes.  If it isn’t working, what if you re-work the goal?  Good Luck!

* I successfully accomplished goals #3,4,5,6 & 7

New Supplements

Foodie Friday: New Supplements

Hello People!

You may be wondering how my “new diet” is going?  Well, I think swimmingly.  I am enjoying my meals and occasional snacks and not worrying whether I am eating 1200 cals a day or 2000.  I eat when I am hungry; stop when I’m full; and prepare well balanced meals that are portioned by eye rather than through rigorous measuring tools.  I’m trying to re-calibrate my system to eat like a normal person.  I mean, most of the world does not measure portions or worry about calories the way I did, why must I stay in that food prison for the rest of my life? I want to live like the normal people of the world, not like a food Nazi.  So far, my clothes feel the same, if not a teensy bit looser (it hasn’t been that long since I made this change) and that is fine by me.  I am exercising using the concept of intense interval training and combining that with riding my bike and walking my dog.

Now, in regards to my new supplements, I was reading in my favorite book about using nutrition as a healer to the body, Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Second Edition, by James F. Balch, M.D., & Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., that for folks who suffer from Hypoglycemia, such as myself, there are some supplements to add to the diet that may help in regulating blood sugar levels.  Now of course, the BEST and most obvious way to do that is with eating plain food, but I want to dig deeper and see if I can use additional items to help keep my insulin in check.

One of the problems of Hypoglycemia is that when one goes into states of such low blood sugar levels, the body will then send a red light warning to the brain to eat copious amounts of carbs and sugars to get back to an even keel. (Effects that I know my blood sugar levels are low are: dizziness, fatigue out of nowhere, energy lapses, ringing in the ears, fuzzy vision, hunger cravings even if I just ate and hour ago & blackouts)  This is partly why I have a binging problem, my hormones are out of whack in this area.  Keeping blood sugar level is the trick to not craving carbs of unusual portions.  Too many carbs equals insulin release which equals fat storage.  When the body is releasing insulin, the fat burner of the body is turned off.

Some supplements the book recommends that I am trying  are:

1. Chromium Picolinate (300 – 600 mcg daily); “Vital in glucose metabolism.  Essential for optimal insulin activity.”

2. Pancreatin (as directed on label); “For proper protein digestion. Use a high potency formula.”

3.  Vitamin B Complex (50 – 100 mg daily and up); “Important in carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and proper digestion and absorption of foods; helps the body tolerate foods that produce low blood sugar reactions. Also helps counteract the effects of malabsorption disorders common in people with hypoglycemia.”

Two that I have yet to try are:

4. Zinc (50 mg daily. Do not exceed a total of 100 mg daily); “Needed for proper release of insulin.  People with hypoglycemia are often zinc deficient.  Use zinc gluconate lozenges for best results.”

5.  Brewer’s Yeast (as directed on label); “Aids in stabilizing blood sugar levels.”

The book also suggests certain herbs and holistic methods such as Bilberry, Dandelion Root, Licorice, Milk Thistle and Wild Yam (sound exotic!).

The basic sound advice they are offer are (which I’m sure have been updated in more current editions; see my notes in parenthesis):

  • Remove from the diet all alcohol, canned and packaged foods, refined and processed foods, salt (!!!), sugar, saturated fats, soft drinks, and white flour.  Also avoid foods that contain artificial colors or preservatives.
  • Avoid sweet fruits and juices such as grape and prune.  If you drink these, mix the juice with equal amounts of water.
  • Eat a diet high in fiber and include large amounts of vegetables, especially broccoli, carrots (these are too sweet for me and cause me weird reactions, ironically), Jerusalem artichokes, raw spinach, squash, and string beans.  Vegetables should be eaten raw or steamed.  Also eat beans, brown rice, lentils, potatoes (again, too sweet and high on glycemic index), soy products (only organic!!!), and fruits, especially apples, apricots, avocados, banana, cantaloupes, grapefruits, lemon, and persimmons (yuck).
  • Eat starchy foods such as corn, hominy, noodles, pasta, white rice, and yams in moderation only (or in my case, not at all or only on special occasions; note: it’s weird to me that they recommend eating white potatoes but not yams/sweet potatoes).
  • Use a rotation diet; food allergies are often linked to hypoglycemia and can make the symptoms more pronounced (wheat and dairy maybe?)
  • During a low blood sugar reaction, eat something that combines fiber with a protein food, such as bran or rice crackers with raw cheese or almond butter (this works amazingly!).
  • Instead of having applesauce, have a whole apple, which has more fiber.  The fiber in the apple will inhibit fluctuations in blood sugar.  Fiber alone, found in popcorn, oat bran, rice bran, crackers, ground flaxseed, and psyllium husks, will slow down a hypoglycemic reaction.  Take fiber half an hour before meals (mix with aloe vera juice to get it to not clog up!) Spirulina tablets taken between meals further help to stabilize blood sugar. (I have a whole post on this superfood.)
  • Do not go without food.  Eat six to eight small meals throughout the day. (This does not work for me though; I like three medium and one small snack).  Some people find that eating a small snack before bedtime helps.

What’s Up?

Think It Through Thursday: What’s Up?

Hello People!

Again, I have taken a few weeks off.  This time I was deeply immersed in a home project to make vast improvements to my bedroom.  This was one of my New Year’s Resolutions and I really wanted to accomplish it.  I have been putting it off for 3 years, and knew that I couldn’t do that any longer.  Blood, sweat and tears later…it is almost finished.  I’ll show you some before and after pics perhaps next week or whenever I feel it is ready to be shown.  Maybe I’ll save it for a New Year’s Resolution re-cap.  Who knows?

I just wanted to drop in and say that I’ve been thinking about all the posts I want to do and have planned.  It is coming up on a year that I have been a blogger, and I want to up the ante with posting and improving the blog site. Lately, I’ve been toying more and more with not counting calories, but just eating normal food (healthy) and in small portions.  This is of course the French way, which I am so obsessed over.  I have been counting calories for 20+ years and where has it gotten me?  Nowhere fast.  Actually, it has gotten me to be a trained Binger, which is a post I plan on doing, perhaps tomorrow.  Food should not be analyzed so much.  Most of the world’s population do not count calories, nor do they have any knowledge of carbs or fat grams or cellulite or blah, blah, blah.  They just eat, and when they are full, they stop.  Why is this so hard to do in America?  Ugh.  Sometimes I think I am a freak of nature who is just meant to be fat.  But, I know that this is not true.  I will talk about this in a future post as well.

I hope this post finds you in the upswing of losing weight.  Don’t lose hope.  Even if it takes a lifetime (it won’t), keep trying and looking for answers.  Keep up your exercise and get enough sleep.  These things are crucial to a weight-loser.  It will keep your hormones in check and your feel-good chemicals running smoothly.  Also, continue to read my blog for more ideas to keep you in the game. Sail on!

Stop Being Negative!

Think It Through Thursday: Stop Being So Negative!

Yep, I’m talking to you friend.  You know you are guilty of this.  It is one of the main reasons, I think, people become overweight and then struggle for years and years to take off the pounds.  It’s not like losing weight is difficult or anything.Unknown  I mean, realistically, losing weight can be as simple as eating less and moving more.  But why then, is it so DAMN hard to do it after all is said and done? I think it is because we don’t really believe we can do it; we deserve it; and/or we are afraid of what may happen if we do lose it.

Believe and You Can Achieve!

I’ve often said this before: what you Think – you Become.  If you constantly think you are fat, lazy, chubby, ugly, worthless, sick, a failure, etc. etc., then this is what you will be.  We set up tomorrow (the future) with what we do/think Unknown-1today.  It’s not like tomorrow suddenly we will realize that we can lose weight easily or we magically find the strength.  Tomorrow will follow what we built the day before and so forth.  Today needs to be the focus, and if you aren’t thinking positive thoughts about reaching your goals, tomorrow will be like the hamster on the wheel. Find the strength today!  Stop the bad thoughts.  For example, when I put on heels and stand in front of a mirror, I often say in my head (these are the worst thoughts of all, the ones no one but you hears) “You look like a pig on stilts.”  Would I say this to my sister or my mom or my friend?  Hells no!  They’d slap me across the face too.  Why am I saying it to myself then?  When I feel those thoughts coming on, I replace them with something positive and try to ignore the urge to hate myself.

I Deserve the Chance to Live My Best Life

Maybe life has sucked up until this point.  Maybe there are legitimate reasons for it.  But does this mean you have to live the rest of your life in the wake of those bad times?  You can, certainly, but what kind of life will that be?  Brace yourself for being miserable for the next 50 years or more, because if you don’t change gears, you will always be hoping and dreaming of a better tomorrow.  Why not set your dreams into motion today? Start with still, small thoughts.  Repeat a mantra to yourself like: “I Can, I Will!” Replace evil, self-sabatoging thoughts with thoughts that uplift and build your esteem.  Even if in the beginning they feel fake and fabricated.  The mind will catch on and you will start to actually believe it.  Just keep at it, and don’t stop; especially when things seem to fall apart.  You are no different from any otherimages-1 person on the planet.  There is no such thing as a person deserving more than another – that’s a LIE.  Excuse me for being vulgar, but as an ex-boyfriend once said, “We all wipe our own asses.”  Go get what you want….today!

Buck Up Little Camper!

Whenever life would throw me a loop, my Grandma used to say without fail, “Stick a ram-rod up your back!”  Meaning, don’t be weak spined and cower at the first sign of hardship.  Really, what’s the worst that can happen?  Death? So be it, that’s going to happen anyways whether it’s now or later.  I’m going to assume it’s later, so for now I’m going to go after what I want.  Worrying about what happens after I get it is pointless.  Deal with today only.  Let tomorrow worry about itself, then.  I often worry that even if I lose the weight, I will still not be happy.  Maybe not, but it will be one less thing to accomplish before I die!  I also worry that men will take advantage of Unknownme…this is stupid thinking so I’m going to change those thoughts to “Get in line boys!”  Using my fat suit as a protective armor has come to an end.

What thoughts run rampant in your mind?  Have you even thought about it?  Maybe they are so infiltrated into your psyche that you don’t even realize you say them.  Think about it today.  Write them down, if you need to, and see how many awful things you say about yourself on a daily basis.  Replaceimages them with different, positive thoughts that are realistic.  Don’t believe the telemarketer in your head trying to sell you lies.

Start today what you hope for tomorrow.

My Battle with Anxiety/Depression – Part 3

Special Edition Post: My Battle with Anxiety & Depression / What Now?

Hello People!

Back with a final installment of this broody topic.  Sorry, it must be said.  Everyone has a story to tell and this one is mine.

So, I’ve come to the conclusion that anxiety and depression will be lifelong friends of mine, and that is just a fact.  I will never be “rid” of them but I can learn to deal with them in constructive ways and also not set myself up for them when I feel the tendency for them to strike.  That is the one good thing about them, I can usually gage when they will attack.  Once in a great while they come out of the blue, but there are coping strategies for those as well.  (PSSSST!!!…Exercise is a GREAT way to help alleviate symptoms of depression and work out anxiety).

One of the amazing tools I found during my worst years of struggle was Lucinda Bassett’s program: “Attacking Anxiety and Depression”.  I bought it back in the days before DVD’s and CD’s.  So they are all on cassette tapes and videos!  I have a stash of flash cards and various other paraphernalia to help me deal when life gets really bad.  Bar none, this was one of the best things I ever bought for myself.  My Dad actually discovered her on a T.V. program and told me about her mission and company.  What a blessing!

I am also a Christian, and a strong believer at that.  I believe in a Creator and that I am in His ultimate hands.  This is a taboo subject in the Christian community because it is generally thought that if you do really believe, one should not suffer from a mental illness.  Unfortunately, I know of someone who killed herself this past summer because of this ridiculous bias.  She was too embarrassed to seek treatment because she didn’t want anyone to know she suffered. Believing for me has been the number one reason I have felt a need to keep going and to find a purpose in life.  God put me here for a reason, and when He is done with me, He will be the one to take me – NOT me.

Another coping mechanism for me has been discovering and using a tool I call “The Secret.”  You may have heard of the movie and the books created and put together by Rhonda Byrne, an Australian lady (She didn’t invent the idea, but put it into words like never before).  This has been one of the biggest givers of hope to me.  It has helped me learn to dream, and dream BIG!  I am so in love with the concepts of visualization, envisioning your future, planning for success and expecting to meet the right people and opportunities.  It has done wonders for me.  I even use it on parking spaces and buying shoes!!! One may think it conflicts with Christianity, and I can see how it could become a “religion” of sorts, but I use it as though it is a law of nature that God created.  It is part of Christianity, I can see it all through the Bible: “Believe and you shall receive!” It is a philosophy, a fact of universal principles like gravity and motion.  I urge everyone to seek out “The Secret” and start living a life you only thought happened to lucky people.

And let’s finally address the losing weight part of all this.  Food is a great comfort for me!  I know you can relate.  I seem to have been blessed with special taste buds and a raging hunger to go with it.  Damn!  Losing weight is hard because I can’t use it a pacifier any longer.  I must place my joy in other things when I want to eat, though not really hungry.  Discovering when I am truly physically hungry and/or just emotionally hungry has been difficult (that line gets blurred when you do it for years on end).  Resisting treats, sweets, and sugary drinks is my Achilles Heel!  But, being fat has made my depression worse because it is a large defense against meeting and connecting to other people.  It keeps me “safe” from harm and pain that other’s could inflict on me.  Letting go of this defense is scary and a daily battle.  But I am ready to begin a new life.  I am 21 again, and I am ready to dream of my future and plan my marriage and live my life the way I have always hoped it could be.