Setting yourself up for health & wellness success

Whether you’re on a weight loss journey, a health journey or any journey that improves your overall health and wellness, the key to success absolutely lies in setting yourself up for it.

I’ve tried many weight loss journeys over the years and all of them ended in failure, only to gain back the weight I had worked so hard to get off; not only gaining it all back but never reaching my ultimate goal in the first place.

So why is this time any different from the rest?

It is different because I am different. I’m not the same person I was a year ago. After leaving a relationship that I didn’t know was emotionally abusive until I left, I realized how much of me was lost. For the majority of that relationship, I had been pulled in so many different directions trying to make someone happy that just wasn’t capable of being happy, that I lost the strong, confident, independent woman I had worked so hard to become. Ironic that those are the traits he initially loved about me. So when it ended, I was left with the question of who the hell am I and what do I do now?

Well first, I grieved the loss of the relationship, not the one I was in but the one I had fooled myself into thinking it could be. I grieved hard. It was bad. It was rock bottom bad. I had questioned everything about myself and everything I had allowed. I mostly blamed myself because I let him do that to me. I let him treat me the way he did. But then I stopped. I forgave him and I picked myself up and told myself that this has to end. The cycle of self abuse and self negativity has to end. I needed to get back to health. Not just physical health but emotional and mental health. I need to get back to the strong, confident, independent woman I was.

Ok but how? How do I do this and fight off that self sabotage?

The first step for me was to join the Ideal Protein Protocol (IP). It was the first time I found something that actually worked! It got me past the 30 pound plateau that I always hit and then gave up on. It got me down 47lbs! But then I stalled. Man have I stalled. It’s been nearly two months now and I’m down 1 pound!

So here’s where the work comes in and here’s where I start facing my demons and being truthful about who I am and why I’ve done the things I’ve done to keep me from living a healthy life, physically and emotionally.

I stopped doing the IP. This was wicked scary but I knew in order to knock me out of this plateau, I had to try something different.

I had noticed the commercials for the Noom app and was ever curious about it. It’s an app that helps you to reach your health and wellness goals by using psychology to back up your choices. So I decided to download it and give it a try because in the end, I have to learn how to eat real food in a healthy way. It’s the only way I will reach my goal and keep the weight off.

So far I am absolutely loving the hell out of this app. It’s made me see things differently. I’m finally realizing the truth behind my unhealthy choices and I’m learning new ways to counteract those in order to make the right and healthy choices. I’m looking inside myself and holding myself accountable. I’m planning meals. I’m planning days, I’m planning workouts, I’m planning everything.

Here’s the largest factor in making your health and wellness goals come true. Be accountable. Write everything down. Weigh everything, always. Eat balanced and healthy. And plan. Plan, plan, plan and just when you think you’ve planned it all, plan some more.

There is zero tolerance for being lazy about these things. You can’t expect true and lasting results if you let your negative, self sabotaging mind take over.

Do not let it tell you, “I got those measurements down pat, I don’t need to weigh anymore.”

Do not let it tell you, “I worked out extra hard yesterday, I deserve a break today.”

Do not let it tell you, “I can have that extra piece or I can eat that because I worked so hard”.

If I’ve peaked your interest in the Noom app, then seriously go check it out. Yes, there is a monthly fee to use it but anything that helps you reach your goals and make them last is well worth the money in my books. One of the nicest features of this app is that it connects you with a real live coach and after a few weeks connects you with a group of like minded individuals who will become part of your support system.

I know what your mind is saying, “I don’t want to share anything with anyone. I can totally do this on my own.”

Here’s reality, if you could do this on your own, you wouldn’t be reading my blog right now. So get out of your own way and get out of that damn comfort zone and connect with people who have the same ass struggles that you do and finally,

BE REAL.

FACE THE TRUTH.

WORK.

PLAN.

48 lbs down and I’m wearing LULULEMONS!!!

Part of my planning included turning my spare room into my home gym

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I Have Flaws and Sometimes I Loathe Myself.

Yup. I have loathed myself. Many times over. I still do here and there. It’s in those moments that I think why does anyone put up with me? Why do I even bother? What’s the point? If only the earth could just swallow me and poke me away in a little corner so I can’t influence anyone with my negative vibes.

But then, like the rising sun, the light hits my eyes and I remember how many amazing people I have in my life. My daughter (the most amazing of all) my family, my friends, my entire circle. They are all so amazing and so extremely supportive and so uplifting.

Thankfully those light moments far outweigh the heavy.

Here’s the thing; I know I’m not alone in thinking this way. So why do we do this? What factors do we take into account to explain these thoughts? I’m no psychologist and I for sure don’t have the answers; hence the flaws! (Insert ironic smile/giggle)

I can only attest to what I feel and to what my thoughts are. I’ve always said not to live in regret, rather learn from those not so attractive moments in life and become better for them. In fact my family motto is ’tis better to suffer’.

But that’s easier said than done right? Yup. I have many moments in my personal history that I do regret. Moments that I wish I could go back and change. Moments where I wish I was literally swallowed by the earth and tucked away. I know I can be argumentative, stubborn and a right fighter even if I’m wrong. What makes me this way? Is it a fear of looking stupid where I have two incredibly intelligent parents? Is it a fear of being less than they deserve as a child of adoption? Is it a fear of not being worthy of them? Yes, yes and yes.

This is a recent development in my personal assessments and it’s one that actually rings true for me. I cringe at some of the things I’ve said in the past in the effort to be worthy in the eyes of others. Some may argue that they’ve never looked at me in this way but that doesn’t matter when it’s something I’ve internalized my entire life. People will often say to me, “you have the most amazing parents with such generous, kind souls.” And I do, it’s so freaking true! They are two of the most amazing people in the world who have always deserved nothing but the best.

Therein lies my lifelong struggle.

One must appreciate the ease in which my best buddy can disappear! how I wish I could do this myself at times!

A Change in Direction

I’ve been stuck in limbo for the last month with my weight loss journey. I’m hovering just above my half way mark of 50 lbs and I can’t seem to break through. It’s gotten very frustrating even though I’ve been following the plan to the letter.

I recently got some blood work done to check my A1C (because I am diabetic) and my thyroid because I live with Graves’ disease. (Hyperthyroid). I went to my doctor yesterday to get the results (among other things, which I will talk about another time), and they showed my A1C is perfect and that my thyroid is reversing itself. The doctor has ordered me to stop taking Tapizole which I was of the understanding I’d be taking for the rest of my life.

😳

Wait. What? My thyroid is reversing itself and I have to stop taking a medication I was supposed to be on for the rest of my life. Ok. I’m not sure if this is a good thing; if I should be celebrating or if I should be scared that my thyroid might be going into hypothyroid… it’s a waiting game at this point since I have to stop the meds for two weeks, take another blood test and see what’s happening. In the meantime, this totally explains why I’ve been so dragged out the last month or so. I’ve been coming home from work so bloody tired that it was all I could do to not fall asleep on the couch. Some days I did. Some days I totally gave in because I was physically exhausted.

With all of this happening, I felt something drastic needed to take place… So I went to my Ideal Protein coach this morning and I told her I needed to take a break…

😳

Ok, ok let’s not panic here. I didn’t just decide to do this blindly. I have a plan. I started working out from home last week and I’ve been researching an app called Noom. It promises to be a great back up plan until my body decides to make its move. It’s backed up by psychology and nutrition experts. And it pairs you up with real live coaches who are there to guide you and keep you in check. The best part is you eat normal food and learn how to do it right.

I’d ask you to wish me luck but I’m ok and I’m excited to see how my body will react to these changes.

Here’s to the next phase of my weight loss plan and reaching health and wellness goals!

Deliberate Choices, Destinations and Overcoming Those Pesky Obstacles.

We’ve all heard the saying about choosing the right path when you come to the fork in the road.

But how do we know which path is the right one if we can’t see the destination clearly?

Therein lies the problem.

I’ve always believed we are a culmination of our experiences (choices) whether good or bad and that we should never regret them because in the end, it’s those choices that made us who we are today.

How do we know which choice will be the right choice? How do we avoid making the wrong one?

Well I believe we don’t always have full control. I believe we end up taking the paths we take based not only on deliberate choices but also on inadvertent ones.

So if we accept that as the truth then instead of focusing on the path, we should focus instead on the destination.

Let’s take my weight loss journey as an example;

My destination is ultimately to lose a total of 100 lbs. How do I get to that destination? By making choices that will determine the path I take to get there. These choices include following the plan to the letter and staying the course.

But… as we saw from my last blog, I made “choices” that jeopardized my destination. You could argue and say these were “choices” I consciously made and that I wasn’t necessarily destined to make them. But, if you know me, you know that when I set my mind fully to something, I work until I get there. So when I made the “choice” that led to me cheating, I can honestly say, it wasn’t a conscious decision.

I had hit an emotional obstacle that put me in a place that I had worked so hard to avoid. I blocked out the fact that I was making the choice to eat what I ate. I blocked out the fact that I had hit a fork in the path and that I was faced with a decision. All I could see was the fact that I needed relief from the depression that lay just behind the veil and instead of “choosing” to paint (which had become my new coping skill), I “chose” to eat (my old coping skill).

These choices were out of my control and so they weren’t true choices.

The next day however, I realized and acknowledged the obstacle that had been forced upon me had made me question my path, so I made the choice to again focus on my destination rather than the forks in my path. In doing that, I overcame the momentary glitches and realigned myself to reach my destination.

And so in the end, I choose to focus on my destination rather than the path because the path will always have forks and we must not allow those forks to completely derail our journey toward the destination.

Yes. I cheated.

…On my weight loss program that is.

For the last several weeks, I had seen a stall in my weight loss and my last blog may have explained the reasons for it. However, knowing that information did not change the insidious beast that creeps into your psyche and wreaks havoc on your determination and dedication to get this done.

I was slowly losing faith in the process which meant I was losing faith in myself. As happy as I am that I’ve come as far as I have, I had a bit of an emotional setback. I won’t go into the details of why this occurred because I don’t want to negatively impact anyone. But I felt diminished as a person because of the things I had gone through and hence I felt very much alone again. So I did what I do best to cope, I turned to food. I spent Friday and Saturday enjoying some of the things I’ve missed for the last 8 months and when it was all said and done, I felt worse than I did before.

I gained 1.5lbs.

I’m so angry with myself. I’m depressed. I dislike coming to work. My creativity is being completely stifled and I’m slowly losing my regained joy.

Sunday morning I woke up with the same dread I’ve been waking up with for the last few weeks; that I have only today before the work week starts but I was determined after the cheating fiasco that I would get back on track. And I did. Emotionally? Not so much.

That will take some more time. I just need some creative time and I will be fine. I will spend this next week painting. Mainly because I need to distract my thoughts but also because I’ll be participating in a show that highlights the relationship between mental health and the arts. I need to add to a collection that I am creating just for this. I will share the details when ready!

If you’ve listened to what I’ve said, thank you but if you’ve HEARD what I’ve said, THANK YOU.

Approval Dependancy? Well this explains a lot.

As part of the journey to a healthier me, I have to also look at my emotional health. Part of that involves a true and honest look into my flaws as a human. Yes believe it or not, I actually have flaws! (That was hopefully some obvious sarcasm!)

The most obvious ones are stubbornness, argumentative tendencies, and I can even be a bit of a right fighter.. (this last one is particularly troubling for me because it’s a trait I dislike in others.) I do try to catch myself from displaying this particular flaw and it has gotten somewhat better over the years. I’m learning just to keep quiet and fight the urge to be right. In actuality I’m more often wrong than I am right but who wants to admit that! Therein lies the stubbornness!

The worst trait I possess however is this approval dependency. I had no idea this was an actual thing until I was internally analyzing myself and felt I had had an epiphany about it. I decided to Google it and boom! There it was!

It may mean different things to different people but for me it means I work too hard seeking the approval of others. I’ve worked so hard for it that I’ve allowed others to take full advantage of my generosity and kindness. If I don’t get the approval ‘nod’ (recognition I’ve done something right or good), that’s when trouble sets in and I feel like I’ve failed somehow and I begin to overcompensate by doing more and more and more until I completely burn out. It’s a terrible thing for me to feel and it has led to some personally devastating moments. It may even be the root of my weight issues but these are things I’ll have to look into further before I can make that determination. It has at the very least contributed to it and has given me some real insight into why I am the way I am. The next step is to figure out why I feel the need for approval and why it’s such a determining factor in my happiness and self acceptance.

This journey into health and wellness is a complex one and it involves many different layers. In order for me to be fully successful with my weight loss journey, I have to figure out why I do and feel the things I do and work hard to overcome them.

Prepping Your Way to Health

I recently stalled on my weight loss to where I’ve only been losing a few ounces every week. I follow the Ideal Protein Protocol and it’s worked extremely well for me.

Until I started working… it’s then that instead of adding the usual 2 cups of spinach to my protein shake and having 2-3 cups of coleslaw mix with dinner that I stopped doing that. I ate the required breakfast, had the protein shake for lunch with no spinach and switched to a lettuce salad for dinner.. I was not getting the required 4 cups of select veggies every day like I used to and when my coach found out, she gave me a ton of flack (and rightly so).

I left that meeting ashamed that I had slipped and gotten lazy. So I came home with a renewed attitude having promised her I would do what is required and get myself back on track.

To that end, I prepped. I riced cauliflower. Enough to last me the week. I chopped peppers, enough to last the week, and I made the IP Jello for my snacks for the week.

Every day, I will enjoy the same breakfast and lunch but for dinner I will stir fry my 4 cups of veggies which also include mushrooms and bean sprouts along with the required meat protein, an egg and a blend of herbs along with some soy sauce.

The best part is that all I need do after a days work is go to the fridge, measure out my pre-cut veggies, stir fry them and enjoy.

I’m looking forward to my week of renewed energy and getting back on track with the right attitude!

My first “buckit”

So today I accepted an invite from a dear friend to go ice skating on a pond and enjoy a fire complete with a “boil up”. (For those of you that don’t know, a boil up is a traditional Newfoundland way of spending time outside and boiling whatever we have on the fire. So tea, beans, fish, shellfish, wieners, marshmallows, whatever we happen to have on hand is considered good to cook on the fire.)

When my friend messaged me with the invite, I literally answered immediately accepting because if I gave it thought, I knew I would make up some lame excuse as to why I could not go. Why would I do that, you ask?

Well the answer is complicated. Turn back time to ten years ago when I moved to BC to be with a man who I had fallen madly in love with. Fast forward from that to 9 years later having moved back to Newfoundland and I found myself in a deep, dark, sickening depression. The relationship ended for many reasons but mainly because I couldn’t give him the privilege of emotionally abusing me for one more day. Many things came from that abuse, the first of which was the aforementioned depression. The heartbreak, the failure, the loneliness, the fear, the anxiety, the loss of one of his daughters who lived with us and became my own, everything that comes with a traumatic breakup and loss, all rolled into one debilitating depression. I knew I couldn’t let this black hole engulf me so I began to paint. And boy did I paint. I churned out painting after painting after painting, learning as I went. I’m still learning but I’m at the point now where I’m actually selling some of my work! Painting saved me. One of my other dearest friends who is and has been a professional painter helped me with that and taught me many things. She came to me once a week and helped get me through some of the toughest patches. I give her so much gratitude and so much credit for helping me be here today.

Another thing that came from that abuse was a completely foreign and new thing to me; social anxiety. I now live with the never ending internal dialogue that seeks to keep me in. To keep me trapped in my comfort zone. To keep me from living my life the way I’ve always wanted to live it. It makes me excuse myself in new and inventive ways just so I don’t have to be around anyone. Just so I can stay in my cocoon and be me. I really didn’t think much of it until a few days ago when my work needed to give the office I was occupying to a new hire. I was asked if it would be ok for me to be on the sales floor with all the sales reps and administrative personnel. Not like I had a choice but the thought of doing my job (I’m on the phone all day speaking with potential clients) in front of everyone there absolutely and completely and utterly terrified me. As I lay in bed that night and thought about how anxious I was, it was all I could do not to go into a full blown panic. I went to work the next day and had to do something I vowed I would never take to work with me. I had to reveal to my boss, why I was so resistant to letting go of my office. Thank God he understood and we worked it out by moving me into a cozy little (storage room)! I’m so ok with that.

Here’s the thing about this; I don’t consider myself a victim because I ‘allowed’ that man to do what he did to me. I also don’t consider myself a survivor because again, I ‘allowed’ that man to do what he did to me. I could have left at any time. Yes it would have been very difficult financially and emotionally but I stayed because I continued to hope he would see what he was doing. The moment it was done however, I was out.

And here now is the benefit of having gone through those 9 years with him. Yes there is a benefit;

I’ve learned that I haven’t been living my life according to MY expectations. I’ve been living my entire life according to everyone else’s expectations or at least my perceived expectations that others had of me.

Hence, my bucket. Now that I’ve battled my way out of depression, I am ready to tackle the social anxiety. Part of that is continuing my weight loss journey but the biggest part of that is to get out of my comfort zone, stop making excuses, changing my internal dialogue and getting out to do the things I’ve always wanted to do.

Today I truly started. Today was an awesome day. Today I loved my friends. Today was me.

The Journey Begins…

Hi.

My name is Anne.

I am in the middle of my weight loss journey and I’m beginning this blog as a way to share my thoughts, my struggles and my successes. Eventually I will write about how this all started but for right now, I just want to write about where I am right now.

I began my journey 8 months ago with the goal to lose 100lbs. I have lost 46 and am well on my way. I am determined to make it  the entire way and I hope to reach it by the end of this year. I’m in no rush to get there since I was certainly in no rush to put the weight on in the first place.

The reason I’ve named my blog “This is my Bucket” is because I want to document the things I’m about to try that I have always wanted to do but my weight held me back.

So follow along! I hope I bring you a touch of inspiration.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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