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Try to remember…

…you don’t weigh 398 pounds anymore, Dianne.

You don’t wear size 34 pants. Your feet and ankles don’t get so swollen that they don’t look like feet or ankles anymore. Taking a shower doesn’t leave you breathless. You can fit in an airplane seat. You can go to baseball games and drive your car without being choked by the seatbelt. You have lost more than a foot off of your waist. You’re a bad ass, girl!

I repeated all this in my head to myself this past Saturday as I sat in my car, parked outside a plus sized clothing store…after having had quite the “ah-hah” moment.

I’ve spent the past year wearing size 26/28 clothes and worrying about whether I was going to be able to fight my semi-frequent urges to eat all the pizza in the universe. I finally grabbed a hold of some divine inspiration earlier this year and I’ve picked up the fight again. In total, I’ve lost 131 pounds…but I gained 26 back. I’ve now spent the past couple of months losing those pounds. I have 10 more to go before I can shrug off the bad behavior of the past year, then I can fully focus on the future.

One thing that always trips me up is my damn auto-pilot. I go on auto-pilot and forget to give myself credit for everything I’ve done. This weekend’s shopping venture is a prime example. I had a coupon for $10 and went straight for the clearance rack…to the size 26/28 section.

WHAT?

“No, dork,” I scolded myself. I moved over the the 22/24 section.

Wait…WHAT?

“NO!” I had to pause for a moment and have a little giggle. Seriously, Dianne…give yourself the credit you deserve.

I fit most 18/20 tops now – yet, I went straight for the 26/28s without batting an eyelash. When it comes to covering my booty, I’m still a 22…but I tend to reach for the 24s first.

This is how I move through my life, most days. In my head, I am still the biggest version of myself. It nags at me in the back of my head, making me guilty…and less than…until I go to the ladies room at work and catch my reflection in the mirror. I have a collarbone now. That always makes me proud. My neck looks like a neck, not something inflated and awful.

What’s more…there’s a woman emerging from all this fluff. That probably sounds more harsh than I mean it. What I mean is, I’ve felt like a blob for years and years. But sometimes when I look in the mirror I see shoulders with definition, boobs (because my stomach doesn’t stick out farther than they do), and a woman’s shape. It gives me hope that…eventually…there will be some HOT emerging from this hot mess. 🙂

I still want to eat all the pizza in the universe. But I have come so far and fought so hard…the universe can rest easy today. For now, I will try to remember that I’ve come a long, long way…and I deserve some damn credit for that. #GoMe

Grab this cute top and support my blog in the process!

What a ride this has been!

Y’all…this is nuts. In a good way. I’m probably about to use A SHIT TON of words, so I apologize in advance…but there’s just no short way to share all this. Grab a cuppa and sit your ass down with me.

If you’ve been a fan of my blog for a few years, you know I had gastric sleeve surgery five and a half years ago. There are plenty of people who look at bariatric surgery as the easy way out. I was one of them not too many years before I had a change of heart. I could use all the words in the universe to explain the pros and cons of bariatric surgery, but that’s not what this blog post is about today…so I won’t. I will just say this: having surgery is not a guarantee that you will lose weight or keep it off. In order to do that you have to change a lot about your life…mostly the behaviors that led you to be so overweight in the first place (which starts the debate of “Well, if you can do that why do you need surgery?”). We’ll talk about that another time.

I had sleeve surgery in November of 2013. It was an experience of a lifetime for a lot of reasons, but it was also heartbreaking in many ways. Most patients are about 100-ish pounds overweight. I was nearly 200 pounds overweight. At 398 pounds I was rapidly squeezing my way out of a size 34. The elastic waistband on the hideous polyester pants I wore to work were leaving red welts on my skin by the time I got home. I was pre-diabetic. My doctor had put me on high blood pressure medication…and just taking a shower had me out of breath. Surgery changed my life in miraculous ways, but after a year the weight loss slowed down (as it usually does for everyone). I had lost 131 pounds and then everything just sort of…petered out.

Although I was so happy with my success and had so much more energy with 131 fewer pounds on me, I had grown used to getting attention for my ability to shrink so quickly. It wasn’t long before people stopped asking me if I’d lost any more weight. Glances were stolen at my plate during office potlucks and family gatherings. People around me were silently trying to figure out what was going on without actually asking. That was the heartbreaking part. I was barely squeezing into a size 20, which was awesome on many levels, but I wasn’t done yet. I didn’t want to be done. I wanted to keep going. But I also felt myself losing steam. I didn’t know how to get going again.

So I fizzled out in late 2014. I tried to focus on the joys that I’d achieved. I’d lost 131 pounds. I’d dropped 8 sizes in clothes. I’d lost over a foot off my waist. There was a lot to be thankful for, but the sniff of failure was always lurking in the back of my mind. Was I ever going to get to my goal weight? I still had a hundred pounds to go. How would I get there?

While I was floundering around, I got caught up in the fun of life…which is another miracle. I started to travel. I fully embraced my addiction to needlework. I had so much more energy…there was a lot to do, and plenty to keep me busy and distracted from the fact that I wasn’t losing any more weight.

Then it seems like I blinked and it was 2019…and OMG…I’d gained 20 of those 131 pounds back. What the hell?

I am many things, and one of those things is STUBBORN. I was not going to be one of those people who gained all their weight back after surgery. So…I turned to something that’s helped me reconnect in the past: something called a “pouch reset”. I have no idea why it’s called a pouch…because I’m not a damn kangaroo. Gastric sleeve surgery is just a surgeon removing 85% of the stomach and leaving it shaped like one of those tiny bananas in the exotic section of the grocery store that no one knows what to do with. It’s not a pouch!

Anyway, I dug up the patient handbook from my surgery…and I put myself on the post-op liquid diet. Protein shakes only, peeps. For a whole week. Then I graduated myself to the pureed stage…just like after my surgery. Another week. And then soft foods for a week. Then I allowed myself regular food, but I committed to logging everything so I didn’t lose track.

I also joined a couple bariatric surgery support groups on Facebook so I could reconnect with the fears, trials, and issues I faced back in the day.

It worked. I reconnected with the new me in a way that was highly motivating. I went from puffing my chest out in defiance when faced with the idea of humiliating myself by gaining all the weight back to actually believing that I could grab control of my emotions, reign in my bad habits, and steer the car back on the road.

Looking back, I’m super happy for the “Progress” section of My Fitness Pal. It reminds me of where I’ve been and when I was there. Here’s a snapshot of the road I’ve traveled:

398 pounds November 20, 2013. Highest weight ever.

299 pounds June 1, 2014. Two-derville at last!

267 pounds November 11, 2015. Stalled out.

293 pounds April 9, 2019. Yikes…I gained some back.

278 pounds June 18, 2019. Well on the way to losing what I gained.

I’m proud of myself…and highly motivated to continue. In the next blog post, I’ll share more about what I’m eating…and what I’m doing. People keep asking me. I don’t mind sharing, but please know that what works for me may not work for you. We’re different people. I have literally never said this sentence: “I’m dying for a salad.” My menu might be ridiculously gross to you.

Let’s leave it here for now, but I’ll be back soon to share those food logs and a bit more. I’m a big believer in doing what works for you…and there’s a lot that’s been working for me lately.

Day 1: Let’s Go!

Okay, y’all…if you follow me on my Facebook Fan Page or on YouTube, you saw yesterday that I’ve decided it’s time to finish what I started 5 years ago. It’s time to lose ANOTHER 100 pounds.

No idea what I’m talking about? Here’s the update I shared:

So there are only so many nutritional changes I can make. I haven’t gone back to my old ways (which is why I have kept off 125 pounds for 5 years). I plan to reign in the snacking and get back to basics, so I’m on protein shakes only through Friday. That plan, given to me by my nutritionist, always makes me appreciate healthy food a bit more by the time I’m done with it. 🙂

Exercise is also coming back into my life. Slowly. This week, I’ll walk once around my block and do 10 minutes on the bike. Next week, two laps around the block and 15 minutes on the bike…and so on.

Today is going to be quite a challenge. I’m weaning myself off Ambien and didn’t sleep a stitch last night. I dozed a few times…but that’s it. I feel like I could drink a silo full of coffee right now, y’all. Bring it to me.

I charged up the FitBit last night and I’m wearing it this morning. Seriously, can one of you just follow me around and hug me all day today…because I am so damn tired! LOL. I’m bound to need a little more encouragement for sure. Ugh.

If you’re doing your own challenge, feel free to share it here by making a comment. The entire Hot Mess community is behind you. Let’s do this!

Time to wake up!

Hey, y’all…

Well, first…I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted on this blog. It’s amazing to me how time gets closer and closer together the older we get. If that makes any sense. It feels like maybe four months since I wrote here. I see that it’s longer.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and it all stems from something that took hold in my head last year: the desire to beat my insomnia with something other than a pill. My quest for normal sleep has led me to a lot of places, but it first led me back to therapy. We all have that little voice inside of us…that gut instinct, intuition, or whatever you want to call it that rises up and just knows what is the right way and what is the wrong way. My voice led me right to my therapist.

I’m a strong believer in reaching out for help when you need it. I’ve seen many therapists in my lifetime, but I still had the phone number for the last one…and I like her a lot, so I picked up the phone. If you’ve never been to a therapist before, it feels like it takes forever at the start because you spend the first several sessions explaining why you’re there and what you’ve been dealing with. It was nice not to have to go through my own ancient history again. All I had to do was explain that I wanted to work on curing my insomnia without sleep medication.

I made huge progress in only our second session together. Through the questions she asked and the answers I gave, I finally realized where my insomnia is coming from. Believe it or not, I’ve never been able to pinpoint the WHY behind it all…until now. I realized that my insomnia is deeply rooted in fear, and that I…somewhere inside…do not feel safe. I haven’t felt safe in quite a long time, actually.

I won’t go into great detail here, but I can share that shortly after Hot Mess Hubby and I were married we moved to a new place together. I did not feel safe in this place. We didn’t realize the issue until we had moved in, and we could not afford to move. We lived there for nearly two years until we moved to Texas. It was more than enough time for me to learn to live with my ears open and my mind ready to react if I needed to. I started taking Tylenol PM to go to sleep…and the rest is history.

Now here I am, ready to fix it. Finally. Here’s the plan:

  • Gradually reduce my sleep medication each week
  • Continue with the meditation practices I started months ago (I totally thought I blogged about that!)
  • Continue to learn about the body’s chakras
  • Continue to learn about how energy from others and energy around me affects me…because it really does. Maybe not for everyone, but it’s definitely true for me!
  • Eventually get to a place where I can try yoga. But I can’t right now.

Why? If you follow my Facebook fan page, you know that I’ve been traveling a lot lately and I’ve really put my body through the wringer. Mainly, I’ve torn the meniscus in my left knee. Additionally, I’ve been suffering from mega painful muscle spasms in my lower back and right leg…and I fainted in a restaurant last week.  Seriously, it’s time to reel in the crazy just a bit. Jusssst a bit.

If you’ve taken yourself off sleep meds or have experience with anything I’ve mentioned here, feel free to weigh in. I’d love to hear about what you’ve done, what your tips and best practices are, and any tidbits of wisdom you have to share. Let’s hear it…because I need all the help I can get, and you’ll always be my tribe.

Sorry I took so long to check in.

More than 100 pounds, almost 5 years, and thousands of stitches later…

I love the Memories feature on Facebook, especially when it reminds me of something completely and totally awesome…like the day I finally hit the 100 pounds lost mark on the scale. That was yesterday. Well done, me.

Fast forward nearly 5 years later, and I’ve managed to keep off that 100 pounds…and lose several more…thanks, in large part, to my addiction to needlework. Yep. Stabbing a piece of fabric thousands of times is actually more therapeutic than eating a bag of Cheetohs after a crappy day at work.

I first learned to stitch in Girl Scouts when I was 9, thinking myself quite the badass for completing a fabulous needlepoint of a Monarch butterfly, embroidering some nifty designs on my Dittos jeans, and completing some other projects…including showing off my new stitchy skills at a Girl Scouts expo at our local mall. It was enough to earn my needlework badge before I got bored of scouting all together. While scouting wasn’t for me, needlework definitely stuck with me even though I wouldn’t pick it up again for a long, long time.

I’ll tell all those stories and more soon enough, but in a sort of video blog on YouTube. As my stitching addiction has grown, I’ve learned about something called Floss Tube. It’s a channel, for lack of a better word, on YouTube that features stitchers from all different parts of the world. Search for Floss Tube on YouTube and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

If you’re just finding my blog for the first time, welcome. If you’ve been here a while you know all about my journey thus far…thank you for sticking with me. After toiling for far too long on the perfect stitchy name for my future adventures, I’ve decided that there really was no need for all that toil…because I’ve had the perfect name for ages:

Hot Mess Princess. Boom. Done. Mic Drop. Why change perfection?

I’m less of a hot mess than I was before, but the name still suits me…and so I’m embracing it, just like all the change I’ve bravely (and sometimes not-so-bravely) forged through over the last several years. It’s time for some fun!

The next few weeks are going to be exciting in my hot mess world:

  • The State Fair of Texas Creative Arts competition results will be announced within the next 10 days…and I’m hoping my entry will win a ribbon (see my Facebook fan page or Instagram for pictures of this year’s entry!)
  • I have 3 trips coming up, all for work, but I should be able to throw some fun into at least one of them…and I’ll be bringing you along
  • I’m going to put up my first Floss Tube video on YouTube…stay tuned

 

Follow me on these social media channels to make sure you don’t miss the fun (and, my darlings, there WILL be fun):

Stay tuned for that YouTube channel…I think I need about another week or two to make this happen.

Have questions? I probably have answers. Or at least I can recommend a nice cup of tea and a biscuit or two. Or a damn good iced coffee. ♥