Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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.