Wellness Wednesday…What?

Hey, y’all!

So I missed last Wednesday because, in true Hot Mess fashion, I started writing my blog post…then I got an idea…and then I spent the rest of the day overthinking about it. I know some of you can relate.

Today’s update is more of a “Hey, I’m alive and a bit sidetracked…” post.

I’m about a week and a half into weening myself off of sleep meds. It was a bit of a mental fight to get going on this one, to be honest. I don’t know why. I can say that when it came time to cut the first dose in half, I could feel myself beginning to panic at the mere thought of not being able to sleep. I really tried to bargain with myself about how this is just not the right time to do this. 2020 is awful. Covid. Quarantine. Stress. Not a great time. The fact that I was so emotionally resistant to trying this now made me want to push forward and handle it, not back away. So here I am after a week a half of a half of a dose…and I’m really rather proud of myself.

As for the rest, well…it’s been interesting. After taking some time off for myself, I attempted to tackle my joblessness like I handle assignments at work: attack them with organization, logic, and my larger than life can-do attitude. It turns out, though, that I am not reacting well to that tried and true method. In fact, my emotional side is just outright rebelling.

I decided to put it all on hold again and I retreated back into my pillow fort for a bit. I’m not giving up on any of it, but it became obvious to me fairly quickly that I wasn’t going to get through this the way I handle projects at work. I have a lot of emotion going on right now, most of it over the fact that I don’t have my job anymore…and my absolute worry and fear for the state of our world right now. It’s clear that I need to take a gentler path, and so that’s what I’m working on now.

To add injury to the insult of not being able to just barrel through this, I am back in a fracture boot again. I was really starting to enjoy my morning walks, but I didn’t take into account all of the barefoot walking I was doing around the house. While some of that is good, it’s not a great idea to walk around with no support for your feet when you’re still 100 pounds overweight. TOING!!! Something got tugged in my foot and I’m back in the boot for a few weeks. No more morning walks for now.

Finally…a reality check and an ah-hah moment.

I started off my wellness plans with a lot of focus on food. There was also some focus on moving more, but the main focus was getting my eating back on track. I’m not sure that’s the way I should go with this. When it comes down to it, I’ve already lost more than 130 pounds from nutritional changes. I’ve got that shit down. My real challenges come because I do everything in my power to avoid exercise – and so that is where I feel I should place my focus. Dig? I bet you do. Right now I have to let my foot heal, but when I come back from that I will focus more on moving more…and less on what I’m eating. That’s my reality check.

The ah-hah moment came just the other day when I was spending time in the rabbit hole that is Tik Tok. I’m swiping through videos and I land on one that had me all…WHOA! Basically, this therapist said that if you have some kind of negative behavior that you’re trying to work on you should picture it like a monster and give it a name. For example, I think this one person said her negative habit is called Brad…and he wears pastel shorts and is quite douchy. She made him a man because she would NEVER let a man tell her what to do, so this helps her. LOL.

I found it interesting because I do tend to regard my issues with overeating and exercise avoidance as some kind of personal defect that makes me less of a good person. I know that’s not correct, but I can’t help how I feel. So the idea that I treat these thoughts and behaviors as a monster that just happens to live with me helps me feel like I’m much more able to put this bitch in her place when she acts up. I don’t need to spend time blaming myself or asking why…I just step into protective mode and shove the monster away from me. I love this idea, but I have to think about it more and really take some time to explore it. And probably overthink about it, let’s be honest.

So that’s where I am with all of this…and I knew if I didn’t stop and give an update I’d be waiting another week to check in. I’m learning things about myself every day…and I hope you do too. Now please…if you’re out in the world, stay safe…keep your distance from others and wash your hands. Be kind to everyone – starting with yourself.

See you next week!

Adjusting the Sails

Hey, y’all! It’s Wellness Wednesday, so let’s get to it.

2020 seems determined to teach me some serious lessons. I am consistently being taught that my normal methods for attacking any problem are not going to work in 2020…and so I need to rethink every strategy I’ve ever used in my life. Whatever, 2020…I’m so over you at this point.

The truth is…I’m sad. I am still sad over having to leave my job, even though I took a package to save my benefits and wasn’t just arbitrarily shown the door. It still hurts to be away from the absolute best job I’ve ever had and all the amazing people that made it a great place to work. With my head, I want to move on…I want to push forward, but my heart is not making it possible. My heart is broken and my motivation and focus is just not where it needs to be for much of anything.

I had planned on an organized approach to all the plans I’ve made now that I have some time to myself. That’s what I always do. It has not worked, nor has it felt like the right thing to do as I go about trying to focus on the tasks at hand. I thought a week and a half was an appropriate amount of time to let myself do whatever I wanted before I planned out all my days and headed towards my new goals. It’s not. My heart just isn’t in much of it. My heart is still heavy and I am torn between pushing myself to move forward or letting myself have a little more time to grieve.

What’s the answer? At this point, I’m not sure – but I have a new approach to try, so that’s what I’m going to do. This week and next, I plan to stick to the same goals and plans…but give myself more time. I will not be as regimented as I thought I should be. So here’s an update of where I am in my wellness plans and what I intend to do over the next week:

  • I’ve lost 4 quarantine pounds this week.
  • I struggle with motivation in taking my morning walk and doing yoga every morning, so I’m changing that from daily to every other day…at least until I feel motivated to do more.
  • I struggle with wanting to eat junk food all day. I haven’t given in to that, but I think it will be helpful to me to go on a protein shake only regimen for a few days next week.
  • I haven’t even begun to tackle the insomnia issue, except for beginning to reduce my caffeine intake. I’m starting to feel like might be smarter to just tackle the Ambien detox sooner rather than later. I haven’t made up my mind yet.
  • I still struggle with practicing meditation as much as I wanted to.
  • My creative goals, which I haven’t even shared the details of yet, are pushing at me constantly…and my energy is drawn to those projects first. I feel like I should allow that to happen, which is why the idea of doing the Ambien detox earlier also appeals to me.

I feel like this is a rather underwhelming Wellness Wednesday post, but can we just take a minute to acknowledge those 4 pounds I lost? It feels good to see that number on the scale creeping back down to where it should be.

For me, in order to move forward with any kind of purposeful momentum, my head and my heart need to be in sync. They’re not right now. And no matter how many motivational memes I read or post on Facebook, my head and my heart are still not aligned. So I must adjust my sails and be content with gently coasting around the sea right now…until I’m ready for a stronger current.

This next week will be more about not heaping a long list of expectations on myself and more about making smaller changes. Later this week, I’ll be back with an update on ALL the plans I’ve been making…but today is Wellness Wednesday, so we’re talking about that project and no others.

I do plan to blow up the dam that’s been keeping my creativity at bay for years. That will certainly be interesting, so stay tuned…and be kind to yourself today. You deserve it.

Welcome to Wellness Wednesdays!

Here’s the deal: I only have two pairs of jeans that fit me right now thanks to quarantine pounds, and both of them have holes worn in the thighs because hey…it’s been a while since I’ve had a thigh gap. Well, I’ve never had a thigh gap actually – but when you don’t have a thigh gap you can hold more kittens in your lap, so as far as I’m concerned it’s a no brainer.

As promised, I’m back to share all the deets of my wellness plan. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, check my big post on gratitude and my following post about launching a new life. That’ll bring you up to speed!

My wellness plan is huge. Like, bigger than the obnoxious leggings in which I just trounced around the neighborhood in this morning. Wait till you see them…and you will. After that, you won’t be able to get the image out of your head. You’re welcome.

This is the perfect time for me to focus on wellness, which I’ve been neglecting for quite some time. As I was grieving the loss of my job, I distracted myself by making lists of all the things I would now have time to do. Here’s the list that started my wellness plan:

Weight Loss

  • Goal 1: Lose quarantine pounds
  • Goal 2: Hit 250 on the scale
  • Goal 3: Hit 225 on the sale
  • Goal 4: Hit 199 (OMG…first time in 100’s since I don’t know when)
  • Goal 5: Hit my goal weight of 170

Insomnia

  • Goal 1: Quit Aspartame
  • Goal 2: Quit caffeine
  • Goal 3:  Quit Ambien

Body Health

  • Learn yoga for flexibility
    • Be able to sit cross-legged on the floor
  • Use strength training to increase strength
  • Begin with gentle exercise to increase activity levels gradually

Spiritual Health

  • 7 minute morning meditation to enable better focus and increase positive energy
  • Wind down for bed using Headspace meditation
  • Get 20 minutes of sunlight each day
    • Create a peaceful spot outside where I can sit and enjoy it

Nutritional Health

  • Take vitamins and supplements
  • Learn about gut health and make positive changes to diet
  • Decrease the processed foods in my diet

That’s quite a list, right? You see why I have to be thoughtful about my approach, lest I go all Clark Griswold on myself again and go way overboard. I don’t mind failing, but failing at everything because I went for it all at the same time and didn’t plan…well…that’s just a waste of my damn time.

This week is all about starts. Here’s what I’m focusing on in each part of the plan:

Weight Loss:

To lose my quarantine pounds (29 of them, thank you): I cut out all junk food and am logging my food in My Fitness Pal. I’ll keep pushing forward with this goal until I’ve lost all 29 quarantine pounds – and then I can focus on the next goal for weight loss.

Insomnia:

To quit Aspartame and caffeine, I’m not drinking anything with either in it after 7 pm. Next week, that will change to 5 pm…and so on. When I’m done getting these out of my system for good, then I’ll begin my Ambien detox.

Body Health:

As soul crushing at it feels, I’m doing Chair Yoga for Seniors off of a YouTube video I found. This is a good lesson in accepting where I am with my lack of flexibility and being willing to work from here in order to improve it.

For gentle exercise, I’m taking an early morning walk at a leisurely pace…just to get some steps in and get my bones used to the impact of walking. It may seem silly to some, but just a slow, leisurely walk on the pavement when you have 100 extra pounds of weight to carry around is a lot. Honestly, I don’t know how I functioned when I weighed 398 pounds! My hips and legs are sore from the walk I took this morning and I promise you…it was not a strenuous walk.

Spiritual Health:

Although I forget about it some mornings, I’m trying to do 7 minutes of meditation before I really start my day. The challenge is that I go on auto pilot in the morning and I forget to do it. I make my protein shake and sit on the couch, start scrolling through my phone, and poof!

I’m also trying to get outside for 20 minutes a day. There are some challenges to that, which I’ll share in  a future blog post, but I have to admit it is nice to get outside and put my toes in the grass.

Nutritional Health:

I’m reading a book about gut health right now, which I think will help me to understand the why behind the shoulds and should nots of eating healthy – and I’ve already cut processed crap out of my eating. Yay me!

So what tools am I using in this giant wellness project of mine? I’m glad you asked. Here are some of my favorites:

My Fitness Pal

It’s an old friend, but I do love it. I especially love the feature that allows you to scan the bar code on any food with your phone so you don’t have to type it in and search for the right one. I did that with my Greek yogurt this morning. So fab. You can find the app in your app store, or online here.

Eat Yourself Healthy

I’m interested in learning more about gut health, so I grabbed this book. You can get a copy from Amazon by clicking the link below. Full disclosure: Amazon gives me a small commission if you click that link. They don’t increase the price for you, but I make a little money for sending you their way…which is nice right now because I don’t have a job – so if you’re going to buy it, consider clicking the link and send me some love!

Headspace

Tons of content for free (although I have a paid membership because I think it’s worth it). Lots of different courses of meditation. Insomnia. Mindful Eating. Happiness. You can choose a male or female voice to listen to. I’ve never heard the female voice, but the male voice is Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe and he’s British. His voice is lovely. You can find it in your app store.

Yoga with Adriene on YouTube

She’s pretty awesome and there are a ton of yoga classes on her channel. You can find her here.

My Backyard

No, that’s not a tool…but that’s what’s easy when it comes to getting a little sun. Here’s the problem: I’ve had a love/hate relationship with my backyard for a long time. It’s not very relaxing place to be. Future project? Yep. Future blog post? Hell yep.

This is launch week for this project, so it all feels very clunky right now…but I’ve already lost 2 of those quarantine pounds. I enjoy the chair yoga, even if it is incredibly humbling when I realize how flexible I’m NOT. And this morning I was so determined to go on my walk that I left the house in an outfit I’m pretty sure traumatized any neighbors who might be looking out the window. Check it out:

So there it is! I’ll be back every Wednesday with an update on my wellness project. Be sure to follow my Facebook Fan Page or my Instagram account to get little updates through the week on all the projects I have going on right now, including Home Sweet Home. Speaking of which, it’s time for me to go make another clean spot in my stitchy room if I’m going to stay on track organizing this love nest. I’ll catch y’all later!

Launching a New Life

Last week I shared that I don’t have a job anymore. I had a job I loved one minute and then Covid-19 rolled in and changed so much for so many, including me. I’ve spent the past week grieving, figuring out personal logistics for Hot Mess Hubby and I, and making plans for projects that have needed my attention for quite some time. There are soooo many projects to share, but I’m not quite ready to dive in to all of that. Today, I’m sharing the first two projects to be launched…and what this week will look like.

Project #1: Wellness

Quarantine pounds happen – but while everyone else is working off their “Quarantine 15”, it looks like I will be working off the Quarantine 29. YIKES!!!

Luckily for me, I know how to handle this since I’ve already lost more than 130 pounds. This little detour was brought on simply by the mental funk that quarantine has brought to so many of us. I can right my ship fairly easily by returning to mindful eating and getting more activity. I’m not at all worried about getting rid of the weight, just rather pissed at myself for gaining so much in the first place. It’s a detour that takes time to get around and it’s one entirely of my own making.

The FitBit is back on my wrist, logging my steps and tracking how many hours of sleep I get. I am back to logging every bit of food that goes into my mouth. Last night, I asked Hot Mess Hubby to take all the chips and snacky things that tempt me and put them upstairs in the Man Cave…a scary place, full of weird smells, mismatched furniture and total chaos where this Princess rarely dares to venture. The snacks will be safe up there and he can still enjoy them.

It’s not all about weight loss, though. I’ve neglected my own wellness for ages. This is just the start of the master plan, which is an all encompassing, bad-ass mission to return my mind, body, and spirit to wellness. I’ll share the whole scoop this week under a new theme called Wellness Wednesday. This week, I’m all about a gentle approach to change. But first…I need to calm the hell down.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever gained weight, made yourself sick eating junk food, felt guilty, went to the grocery store and bought kale and tofu, woke up the next day lamenting the lack of Pop Tarts in your pantry, forced yourself to eat crap you don’t really like, nearly killed yourself with 60 minutes of sweating and panting through strenuous exercise and then crawled into bed at the end of the day in tears because you were in such pain just trying to slip into your jammies.

Yep. Me too, friends. Me. Too.

It’s in my nature to get very “Clark Griswold” when I make a change, but I’m finally beginning to understand that overdoing something is not really the way to succeed. So this week I’ve been making lists and deciding the order in which I’m going to build my new universe. That way I don’t feel like I have to do it all at once. I can create gradual, gentle change that has a lasting effect.

My journey into wellness starts with meditation to help me bring some calm back into my life. I use the Headspace app, which is great for beginners and has a lot of courses where you can learn to apply meditation in various parts of your life. There’s a ton of free content available.

The past few months have heaped stress and uncertainty onto my shoulders like never before. That’s where the Tasmanian Devil-like snacking came from. When you’re trapped in your house because of a quarantine and you have to spend 8 hours a day on a laptop working from home, eating healthy and getting exercise can be a challenge. At least for me. So now I’m free of that work laptop for awhile…and this week I’ll make some simple changes that will be the foundation of my return to wellness:

  • Throw out all the junk food
  • Consistently log my food intake
  • Get at least 15 minutes of gentle exercise a day
  • Get at least 30 minutes of sunshine a day…and put my toes in the grass once in a while
  • Start each day with 10 minutes of peaceful meditation
  • Venture into yoga basics and strength training
  • Make a plan for my Ambien detox

If you’re wondering what the hell I mean by “gentle exercise”, don’t worry…I’ll explain it all on Wednesday. This list is just the beginning of a huge project to return to wellness. We’ll get to it all, I promise.

Project #2: Home Sweet Home

The second plan I’m starting this week is all about home organization. Clutter and mess really bother me, but I seem to have a real talent for creating them. It feels like the perfect time to create a little order…and maybe even a little beauty. Each week, I’ll focus on decluttering, organizing, and deep cleaning one room in the house. When that’s done in the entire house, I’ll work on the beauty part. This week is all about the stitchy room. Are you ready for a tour of one of the worst disaster zones in my house?

Here you go!

I know, I know, I know…there is NO excuse for this. This is not unusual for creative people, however. Bottom line: the disorganization and clutter drive me nuts. I can’t get anything done because there’s no space to do it, and I can’t find anything I need to complete a project because nothing is put away.

I can be very Clark Griswold with cleaning too, so I will focus on a different room in the house each week. No, every room in the house is not this bad. I promise.

I have a week to get this mess cleaned up. Will I do it? Yep. Can you follow along? Yep! If you follow my Facebook Fan Page or follow me on Instagram, you’ll see the updates I post this week. And I’ll be back next week to share the next steps in both the Wellness and Home Sweet Home projects…and maybe launch another. There are MANY projects, but I’m taking baby steps to get started in order to ensure as much success as possible.

So here’s to the beginning of launching a new life. I’m glad you’re here with me.

Looking Thru a Lense of Gratitude

Today is about gratitude and finding purpose, which may be surprising given my current situation.  

I am jobless and heartbroken. I’m afraid, not just for myself and my husband because I’ve lost my job, but for the world and the scary place it is right now. I’m worried because my husband has a medical issue that doctors are still running tests for…searching for an answer. I feel like a bad daughter, sister, aunt, and friend because I have been so overwhelmed with what has been happening in my own life that I’ve been unable to be the Dianne everyone knows and expects. There is a dent in my armor…and I have landed flat on my ass from the blow that the universe has dealt me.

Everyone gets knocked down once in a while. Everyone. First, there’s the impact of the fall…then maybe a bounce or two.

Ouch! That just happened, didn’t it? Damn it…

You lay there, stunned.

Why me? Why now? Oh no! What do I do?

Get up. Just…get up. If you have to claw and crawl your way back up, then do it. If you have others around you to help you up, accept it willingly. Whatever your situation, get up. It may take you time to get up. You may have to work out the best way to get your footing, but you will work it out. Call for help if you need to. If you don’t have friends or family, you have resources like these. Find your footing and get up.

Now stand.

Give it a minute. In today’s social media driven world, every influencer would have you believe they bounce right back up after a setback and immediately go back to work (with perfectly coiffed hair to boot). Don’t compare your life to someone’s perfect looking Instagram feed. Take a minute.

Stand up. Let your legs stop wobbling and catch your breath. The hard ground that your butt just landed on is already farther away than it was when you fell. Good for you. Take a breath. Be gentle with yourself. Resist the urge to think yourself stupid or point the blame at someone. You can look at the WHY later when you’re not feeling so hurt. For now, this is enough.

This is exactly where I am right now. I was knocked on my ass. I felt the impact. I was hurt by the fall. The love and support of my friends and family was like a thousand hands helping me back up…and now I stand. My legs were wobbly at first. This week, I’ve been taking the time I need to acknowledge that this is where the universe has led me.

Thanks to that pause, I can feel my feet under me again.

For me, gratitude is a miracle balm for any wound. Whether you’re dealing with too much stress, recovering from physical injury, or life just knocked you flat on your ass…find the gratitude. It’s there, I promise. Gratitude can help you reframe your situation from one that is dire and uncertain to one of possibility and hope.

I am jobless and heartbroken. I have the free time I need to focus on things I haven’t had time for.

I am afraid of the turmoil our world is in today. I have the opportunity to pitch in and help make a difference in the world.

I am worried for my husband and his health. I can now focus on being an advocate for him and giving him the extra care he doesn’t give himself.

I feel guilty because I haven’t been able to be there for my loved ones, as my own situation has been overwhelming. I can accept my own humanity, give myself the grace to be vulnerable and imperfect, and accept love and empathy from others.

Ever the geek, I’m reminded of a line from JRR Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” when the Fellowship is lost in the deep, dark caves of Moria. Frodo looks at Gandalf and says he wishes none of this had happened. Gandalf replies “So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”

I can use my energy to blame Covid-19, flail my arms up in frustration and wonder why this has happened, or sit on the couch and eat chili cheese Fritos until I am one with my yoga pants. None of that is going to do any good. It may feel good in the moment but it does not help me, and it will not bring about the things I need most: healing, closure, and new purpose.

I’ve taken a minute and caught my breath. There’s still an ache from the fall, but I’ve brushed off the gravel and tightened up my shoelaces. I’ve been making lists and plans. Where the pain of the fall once encompassed me, now the light of possibility is before me. All I have to do is step forward and move towards it.

I’ve neglected this blog for quite some time, so I’ll pay attention to some things that need fixing: dusting off the cobwebs, fixing broken links and making some long overdue updates. This is always where I’ve shared my journey, and I have a ton of new plans now…so I hope you’ll follow along and keep me company.

For now, I step forward onto my new path in gratitude. Life is full of lessons, losses, and possibilities. I’m ready to explore again.