Stronger Together

I just NEED, viscerally, to take a moment here to make a shout-out to every single special person that life, social media, mutual friends, the internet, and any randomness of fate who has been brought into my life. And every single one of you are special to me, so that makes you special, whether you feel that way/choose to celebrate it or not. So suck it up, buttercup. SPECIAL, you are.

I need you. You need me. We are better/smarter/stronger/wiser TOGETHER. We need to remember THIS FACT in our darkest moments of self doubt and fear and being overwhelmed and self-loathing and misery and all the BS in our lives…

Remind yourself of who you are, why you are HERE (literally, figuratively, metaphorically, etc.) in the first place, how our commonalities brought us together, how our differences make us a stronger and well-knitted, well-suited team.

We may need each other for a minute, an hour, a day, or a lifetime – or any measure of time in between, but we are here, together in this very moment, because we are both/ALL in need of the support, camaraderie, friendship, renewal of spirit/faith/hope, reminders, dose of reality, and laughter that will sustain us all through this crazy thing called life.

If you are in my life, it is for a reason, and no matter what that reason is, I choose to be thankful (and hopefully gracious) for whatever you are sharing with me and teaching me…

So, thank you. THANK YOU ALL. Much love. And all the hugs.

What IF?

I seriously just had an epiphany.

What if the reason most of us can’t/won’t accept that we need medication for mental STUFFS (or feel like lesser humans/abject failures) isn’t because we don’t want to be dependent on it or whatever?

What if it is a function of the mental disorder ITSELF that tells us we don’t need it, we shouldn’t need it, and accepting it makes us less of a person, etc.?!?!?!?!?

I mean, we all know that DEPRESSION LIES*. We all know that the hardest part of compliance for someone with a mental condition is medication/medical plan compliance, right? Because once someone is taking their medication regularly, they start to feel better, or normal. Once they start feeling better, they become convinced that they don’t need the medication/therapy/program anymore.

What if that is NO DIFFERENT than the mad sugar/starch cravings we get when healing our gut – from the bad bacteria die off? The bacteria is having a panic reaction at feeling starved and dying, so it send out those severely intense cravings to fuel itself and restore it’s condition.

What if that same reaction happens with brain chemicals???


For the first time, EVER, I realized that ^^ this link was actually inspired by this link:

And if you’ve ever struggled with mental afflictions or figuring out how to become who you want to be, the YouTube video at that second link WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

A wonderful read from the comments of the second linked blog:

Another link from the comments:

Another’s Words

I don’t know how many of you are on or are active on, but some of the stuff is a mess while some is the most inspiring things you’ll ever read. One I follow posts updates often. The following is an excerpt from today’s update. I found it particularly inspiring.

“In life, I feel like we need 3 things to be strong mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We need love. We need faith. We need hope. While rebuilding my entire mentality over the past 3 years, I had some painful but necessary realizations. I had felt hope and love together before. I had felt love and faith together before. Yet I had never felt love, hope, and faith all at the same time. It sounds so trivial, but I now know that is the triangle of being content and being genuinely happy. I now feel all three at once and I never want to be without any of the 3. This entire experience taught me to appreciate everything. It taught me from the time we are born, we have a certain amount of heartbeats in our life and we need to make the most of every beat. II am thankful for every breath I take because I know what it feels like when you think you have taken your last one. I have learned that nothing works on your time. Things happen when they are supposed to.”

-Chris Layne

Familiarity can be Painful

So, okay, many of y’all may know how I’m always saying I wish I had the terrible side effects from eating off plan or badly, so that it would help fuel my self determination and commitment to my plan?

(If you didn’t know before, well, now you do.)

I just had an epiphany that when you’ve felt so bad, been so sick, hurt so much for so long, that unless you actually get to a point where you’ve been pain free or well for an extended period of time…


Lately, I actually have noticed joint discomfort when binging on sugary crap, but I waved it off as common. Specific foods have triggered digestive pyrotechnics, but I accepted it as ‘just part of life without a gallbaldder.’ The trouble sleeping? I just don’t sleep enough anyway…. And so on and so forth.

Sometimes even as much normalcy as an old friend returning for a visit. There’s a certain level of comfort in the pain/illness, because it is FAMILIAR. It is comforting because we’ve learned to COPE with it…we know how to work around it…but fighting something new? That is truly terrifying…because it is unknown.

So in many ways, I now have to question, am I subconsciously seeking out the old familiar misery, so as not to deal with undiscovered country??

For someone who hasn’t truly been well or healthy in any memories I can recall offhand, not only does misery seem like an old friend to comfort me, I have no point of reference for anything to aspire to. It is a concept so foreign to me that I can’t aim for something I can see or even dream about… It’s a myth that happens to other people…

I think I’ll mull this one over for a while.

*** Out of F’s to Give…

So, apologies in advance for the language, but if you know me at all, you’re already expecting this…

Many times, my friends and acquaintances get caught up in that youthful game of caring way too much about what others think. I know exactly how it plays out – doubting your self worth, doubting every decision you have ever made, becoming convinced that nearly everyone you know/encounter hates you for any one of a million reasons you are convinced you suck, and just all around being miserable because life hates you, your family hates you, any SO’s (or at least their families) hate you, work/school hates you, and so on and so forth, ad nauseum.

I know all these things, because I was, EMPHASIS here – WAS, one of the worst offenders of all time. I think the worst incidence of this that always stands out so horribly in my mind was somewhere in the late 90’s. I was a young, insecure 20-something, relatively newly married, convinced ALL of my in-laws hated, well, every single thing about me, etc. My now former MIL had all 4 of her biological children home with her for … I want to say a holiday or something…maybe her birthday? I don’t really remember, other than they were all there. My now ex-husband, his three sisters, and any the associated children (as I can’t recall the exact year, I don’t remember which were with us and which weren’t yet).

Okay, so long story not short at all, my MIL had decided that she wanted a picture of all her children…for a Mother’s Day Gift or Birthday Gift or Christmas Gift or whatever. I don’t remember who was married/coupled, either – maybe everyone? So the girls all got gussied up, put their faces on, and off we went down to the “Wal-Mart” to take some pictures…

Now, I should mention, I am the UBER-low maintenance type. I rarely wear makeup, as I never feel natural or good in it. I don’t do my hair up because it never stays nice, being long and full, but super thin strands that resist styling. So, the three sisters were all fancy-haired and made up to look all pretty and crap… We’re at Wally World…and my MIL drops the damned bomb that maybe she wants a picture with spouses, too.

SCREECH TO A HALT. Like, WTF? You couldn’t have given me more heads up than 15 minutes before we were going to take pictures that we were even going – admittedly, it might have been more than 15 minutes, but I would have needed time to shower, style, and make myself up. We had traveled from out of state, and with 10+ people in the house, shower time was at a premium. So I felt like leftover refried horse crap anyway, then I don’t really have time to do myself up right, and she drops this bomb on us WHILE WE WERE AT THE PICTURE PLACE, 45 minutes from her house…

And of course, the other 3 people that would have been included in the picture are MEN. Who all they needed to do would be run a comb through their hair and they look fabulous, right? They’re all military men, if I remember right, and so yeah, they are well groomed by default. Knowing me, I’d been up all night helping care for whatever nieces or nephews were already with us. I tended to get baby duty because it came naturally to me, and I enjoyed it… For whatever reason, I just felt…inadequate.

So, today, I’d laugh my butt off, attempt to have someone help “tame” me as much as possible, and I’d take the damned picture, making a joke at how funny it would be, but also how completely snapshot of real life, with me never quite looking all Stepford wifely or put together or just whatever.

What did young 20-something me do? I literally threw a tantrum (not screaming or having a fit, but just…freaking out) and flat out refused to get in the picture. I was so caught up in being insecure that I really just didn’t understand. Years later, I would completely get over my loathing and hatred of the camera…when a younger than me best friend died unexpectedly, and due to her hatred of the camera, she left her children with almost no physical memories to remember her by. And by contrast, when my MIL died (way too young and within a week of getting sick), there were a million pictures of her enjoying every aspect of her life. They were both obese, both pretty happy people, but with completely different outlooks. My friend was embarrassed by her appearance and positively hated being seen that way. My MIL had been out of F’s to give – for as long as I’d known her…

But I digress. So like a petulant child, I blatantly refused to get in the picture. Inside my head, I had this scenario playing out, 3 beauty queens and the white trash trailer park ho…7 people looking all nice, and the token black sheep embarrassing ME staring right off the screen. I couldn’t see past my own insecurities then to know that my family saw me as I was, even if I didn’t like what that was then, to see that my MIL just wanted a picture of the kids she loved – and she considered all of us, even married in, her kids… In that moment, I allowed my insecurities to cause me to act like a embarrassment… Only later did I realize how immature my actions really were.

I decided in those moments following my friend’s funeral that I would never duck out a picture again. Ever. Even if my hair was a mess or I’d just woken up or I had paint on my face or I felt like a horrible fat cow, or any of it… NEVER. Because my daughter (by this point she was with us) and my now ex-husband, as well as the rest of my friends and family – they saw me exactly how I was EVERY SINGLE DAY. And even if I didn’t like that image, that would be how they would remember me… So I realized that not taking a picture, petulance or not, would just be like trying to stop the rain. The snapshots in their memories would hold me exactly as I was, fat rolls and messy hair and no makeup and all that, even if they didn’t have pictures.

So not taking/being in pictures was just an attempt to avoid acknowledging the truth to myself, to behave like a child, and to expect the world to magically make me something other than myself. I honestly think that it was my friend dying that woke me up from that fog I’d been living in and it made me realize that life is simply too damned short to worry about crap like that.

So, in that moment, somewhere in my late 20’s, I think, I stopped giving a F. About anything that wasn’t truly important. Dishes in the sink not done? That’s fine, I’m making memories with my kiddo. Hair not perfect for work? Oh well, I’m still as professionally dressed and groomed as I could be… And so on and so forth. Somewhere in the next few years, I realized that I also had stopped caring so much about what others thought of me in my … disastrously beautiful but wonky life…

So, when my best friend died, I ran out of F’s to give, and honestly, I don’t think that stock has ever been replenished. Please, before you have a moment of acting like a foolish child or petulant teen throwing a fit over a fleeting moment of drama, stop and give some context to the moment. Will you remember this thing in 5 minutes? 5 Weeks? 5 Years? In 5 years, will a single day of eating 5000 calories be something you remember? Really? Will what your Mom said that destroyed your mood be remembered? Will the disaster your child made right before a party or performance really matter? Will the fight with your SO/partner about the remote control or a missed oil change appointment really change the way the world spins? Will that coworker who hurt your feelings or the boss giving you an unfair review matter? Truly? Go further down the road if you’re still struggling. In 10 years? 25 years? 50 years? Because I cannot think of hardly a single thing in my daily life that isn’t already spectacularly important that will matter to me in 50 years… Not. A. Single. Thing….

So, just in case you need a few more words of motivation, here is a link to the article that sparked this mood today…and another of my favorites…about having no F’s left to give.

I’d include some of my favorite meme images, too, if I had ready access to him. But since I don’t, you’ll just have to use your imagination, and see if you, too, have too many F’s to give…because believe me, that is a waste of your time, your energy, your emotions, and your life to worry too much about things that seem to be EVERYTHING right now in this moment, but really, with some perspective down the line won’t matter.


Find your inner fairy (or biker, I suppose, is the corollary), and LIVE YOUR DAMNED LIFE.

Advice for Starting Out…

So, in another place, a friend asked for advice regarding her boyfriend, a mechanic, starting out in a high weight category, anything at all that might help. Specifically, it addresses some health concerns and lowering of carbohydrates and calories for health reasons…just to share the starting perspective. However, the majority of this information applies to lowering calories alone or lowering carbs alone, and I have perspective on this, too…

After I wrote it, I felt really good about it, some I’m going to pat myself on the back about it, and post it here. If any tidbit helps anyone, I’m happy to have shared it… Calorie and macro breakdowns based on calculators and his individual stats were provided, but I’m not including here, as it is about privacy and respect, etc.

“Nutritional breakdown sounds pretty reasonable to me. I still am classified as Severely Morbidly Obese, but a lot of that is because I am short. I have to get to 220 pounds or so to move down to just Obese, if I remember right. And right now, my thyroid is in chaos still, so my focus is on leveling out rather than weight losses at this point.

My biggest thoughts would be…for someone being overwhelmed, just creating a food diary – where he writes out what he is eating is a good start. Not calories, not carbs, not fats…not weighing food, anything. “Restaurant Double whatever…” with times, if possible. Eventually any notes (not filling, etc.). Just tracking for a week or so without changing anything gives you a whole perspective that’s foreign if you’ve never done it before. Honestly, when I was 319 pounds, I thought I knew what I was eating, but the mind lies to you.

Secondly, I would strongly recommend he focus on some tangible goals. Long term, and short term. Does he want to be able to run? Wrestle? Fly kids with kiddos/nieces/nephews/cousins/friends’ children? Do a sit up? Wrap a towel around him and see it close? Be able to shop in a regular store? Drop a belt size. Look down and see something other than belly? I mean, really, what are things he thought he’d never be able to do (or do again) that he misses? Ride a bike? Fly in a plane without needing a seat belt extender? Do a workout? Live past 40? I mean really, have him dig in. Because honestly, if he can’t even make a fantasy list and do some mental exploration at this point, this whole journey will be a very difficult run for him.

Focus on some short term goals? Want to drop a notch in his belt? Change shoe size? Be able to fit his hands into tighter spots in a car engine? Get under the car with a normal jack only? Cross his legs? Tie his shoes without awkwardness? Be able to skip a favorite food? Find new foods?

Also, make sure to get some health goals in… Get off a medication? Drop weight by XYZ? Drop BP by 10/5? Drop FBG by 10, whatever. Drop cholesterol. Pick several. Just kind of get him thinking. Also, you might want to cover the basics. Any lowering of carbs, even if he’s eating 500 a day now and only goes down to 450, will cause some water/sodium losses. Some nutrient deficiencies will surface that he probably didn’t realize before, especially dropping “fortified foods” that might have camouflaged certain issues.

A friend of mine likened it driving a car around without maintaining it, washing it, or doing anything to it except filling it with gas. Then, 5 – 10 years down the road, you get it and check out, start doing maintenance, and washing the mud off the car. Now you see the deep dents hail made, the flat tires, the engine needing a tune up and a dozen oil changes, the routine maintenance like changing the belts, and doing a detailed internal cleaning, etc. Since you mentioned that he’s a mechanic, I figure this might ring true with him.

Now that he’s weighed in, will you see him soon enough to help him take reference pictures and measurements? Because those will be critical. Tell him that once he reaches XYZ point that he can burn them if he wants, but all of us who’ve made progress at all wish we had pictures at all, more/better ones…because he WILL make progress. Let him know that he will probably make huge strides at the beginning of any changes, but that it will slow down. Let him know that some people have to gain BEFORE they can lose, even at his weight, because they have health issues that have to be treated before the body will tolerate the stress of weight loss. Show him pictures from folks like (other friends within our mutual group who have made massive changes in body composition while maintaining weight values) and Staci from Nerd Fitness… Let him know that weight is nothing but a number, because I can show you two pictures at nearly identical weights taken years apart, and I look 50 pounds heavier when I was carb burner than when I went lower carb – and a lot of this is related to inflammation or differences in body processing reactions. Let him know that things like testosterone and men’s health hormones require fat to exist…

Let him know that at times, this will be the easiest thing in the world, at times it will seem impossible. Remind him that everyone has different health, issues, DNA, requirements. He should evaluate if things are working well about every 12 weeks. Things may and very likely will seem worse before better. While I’m thinner than I was, sometimes I feel worse about my nude self, because I’m lumpier and floppier now since my skin hasn’t tightened any and I’ve still got a long way to go, etc. (Compression garments are said to help with this – if he has that option). Let him know that he might change sizes quickly – and that belts will be his best friend, as will clothing swaps/discount shops, etc., but that he will need to buy stuff periodically, or it gets really hard to see progress.

Let him know that his buddies will probably give him crap about it…because it isn’t consider “manly” to diet. He just needs to come up with some things to help his confidence when that happens… My responses would be different than his I’m sure, but with guys, focusing on virility, renewed vigor, testosterone improvements, and such….are probably good ways to go.

I could probably go on for days…but there are some men here, too who can probably help as well.

I would also say, start annoyingly slow with exercise. He wants to protect himself from injury so that he can work easily and all that… I’d recommend starting with weights. It’s where he’ll see the most improvement, particularly since he is man. After some of the weight starts coming off, walking/moving/standing/etc. get easier. Maybe challenge him to step competitions…most smartphones have built in ones even if y’all don’t have trackers. Encourage him to find things he enjoys. Maybe he’d like martial arts…or competition body building…or just anything. Don’t rule anything out…

Let him know that getting healthier is so much more about the mind that the body. I’ve spend six months at a time sometimes just getting right in my head first…there will be plateaus, there will be setbacks. Never question your intuition. Ask every question, no matter how embarrassing…because someone out there has probably already been there. And consider this a lifelong thing….not until XYZ goal, and then I’m back to normal…because it never happens well if you do that. Tell him it’s depressing and demoralizing, but he will find a new level that works for him, and occasional dips back into old behavior won’t be too detrimental down the road (some old indulgences may be allowable eventually, but you’ll bet they won’t feel the same), but slipping at first happens to nearly everyone.

Remind him that each bite, each step is a new chance to start over. A day is never ruined until it’s gone, and even then, if you learned something from the misery, it wasn’t wasted… Nutrition ALWAYS trumps any calorie or carb. Every time. Even if you screw up off plan, if your next bite is nutritious food, setting you up for a better next day or next minute, you are still winning. The whole health journey is about progress. Perfection, willpower, they are myths and will fail. Create backup plans for your backup plans… Don’t be afraid to try foods you used to hate as your body changes, your mind and mouth and such will change, too….

Okay, I’m stopping before this comes a novel…

Above all, be kind to himself, love himself, know that setbacks and failures will happen and they don’t mean anything long term. Step back and think about the fact that a year from now, 5 years from now, 20 years from now, you won’t remember what you screwed up last Tuesday. 80% compliance, 80% of the time…nearly anyone can see that perspective…it doesn’t give you permission to mess about with those off percentages… It just means you’re ahead of the curve if you beat it, but you’re stick in the pack with the rest of us if that’s your average…

Oh, and there will be hungrier days – and less hungry days. Caloric deficit – once he gets to that point – should bee looked at on a 7-14 day average…not every day. No two days are exactly the same. He doesn’t see the exact same cars for the exact same problems every single day in and day out, right? So his body’s needs will change. And often…adaptability will be his favorite best trait… And if dropping something like sodas seems impossible, trying watering them down a little bit at a time until you won’t even notice anymore…

Feel free to hit me up with ANYTHING ELSE…EVER.

Journal, Day 1 – 01-17-17

Who am I? Who have I been? Who do I want to be?

Of course, since via music is one of the easiest ways I process my thoughts and emotions, the first thing that comes to mind is song lyrics.

I’m a Bitch, I’m a mother, I’m a child, I’m a lover. (Meredith Brooks)

And while the melody and lyrics continue on in the background of my mind, I really pause to consider… Who AM I? Who have I BEEN? Who do I want to BE?

More lyrics, different songs…The Who? The Little Mermaid. Gloria Gaynor. And so on and so forth. Then, one of my patented lines comes to mind… Of course I have no idea who I want to be. I often joke that I don’t even know what I want to do or be when I grow up. Side note: I turned 40 in 2016. If I’m not “grown up” by now, I doubt I ever will be…or maybe it’s just that I don’t WANT to be grown up… Hmm.

So again…Who am I? I’m me. I’m not who I used to be. I’m the coal at the center of the diamond I will become. I’m already on the way, but I’m not there yet.

I go by many names or nicknames, but none of them speak as to who I am…though they may speak to things I do or passions I hold. But they are limiting, finite. They do not encompass ME.

I am a strong, fiercely independent, intensely loyal, and passionate woman. I believe in tough love, but kind words. I believe in treating others as I want to be treated. I fight for what is right, but I also hide behind myself. Who I am is who I want to be. Fake it until you make it? Maybe more believe you can be who you want to be, and assume those attitudes and behaviors until they are your own. I’m neurotic, and sometimes insecure, though I’m not the child I was a decade ago, still hidden beneath time, scared to be myself. Love me or hate me, though, now, I’m just me.

I love my family, even when I don’t like them much. I am much loved by my partner, even when we don’t like each other, much, and his passion, loyalty, and devotion mirror my own. This second match in my life fits me so much more cleverly than my first match…which fit us together more like puzzle pieces that seem to match and stay linked together until you get down to seeing the full picture, then all of the sudden, you realize those two pieces have nothing in common, that in fact, they belong in opposite sides of the picture from each other – and despite the seemingly linked colors and shapes, they’re each part of something entire different from each other…perhaps not even part of the same puzzle. I’m a proud mother, enjoying watching my daughter be such an original, unique soul, so glad to have taught her to forge her own path, whatever that entailed…even if I wasn’t to guide her all of the way. Soon, she’ll be that you woman, off on her own, touching the world in fascinating new ways…

I find, too, that the family we choose, the family of the heart, such as many of you who will actually read this are to me, that family binds itself deeper into ourselves and our souls than any family in name or blood only. And those that are both family by name or blood AND family by choice, why those bonds are doubled or trebled in depth and strength.

I am strong and I am weak. I am a paradox by birth. I am all things, and nothing… In some ways, I know NOT who I am. In other ways, I not only know who I am and who I’ve been, but who I am capable of becoming.

Regardless of all of those things. I am here. I am present in this moment. And for this moment, I feel hope, the endless potential furling out in front of me, as it a beautiful landscape painted by a loving hand, to capture dream, reality, and potential, all in one image, somehow without blinding me to the truth.

Who I was, who I have been in my past, well, they are just a part of who I am today. Without those painful steps, those blissful times, those trials and tribulations, I wouldn’t have earned the strength to carry me to who I am today. But, today is not then end.

Who do I want to be? I want to be me. Preferably a better, smarter, more loving, balanced me, but still me. I don’t want to change and become someone or something else. I want to add strokes of color and accent, to define who I am, not change it. I want to show folks the aspects of me that are still lurking, hiding in the shadows of who I’m trying to be now. But much like we build muscle and definition by putting our bodies through work, repair, and rebuilding in the gymnasium, so to am I formed though the events, trials, and joys of my life, all strengthening me, shaping me into the me I am to be…

And since we know I cope mainly by finding the humor and irony in all things, I know that I’m not the only one determining the path that journey will follow. The others I encounter will alter my path, as will those watching from above and below. I may be buffeted in the storm, swept under the current, or even blown of my projected course, but as I believe, I will arrive where and when I am meant to be, as well as as the person I am meant to be.

Am I perfect? Never. Am I flawed, absolutely. But the most unique of us sparkle the brightest when the light hits us just right. Perhaps the rest of the time, we linger, unassuming, in plain sight…rarely noticed – or perhaps we seek the limelight. Everything is about perspective. What may be brilliant and lovely light from one angle may be blinding from another angle and even utter darkness from yet another angle.

But underneath it all, all the dirt, muck, and mire, the trappings of this world and my own self-doubt, my neurotic eccentricities, the attentiveness to detail, the utter chaos within, the face I let the world see, the side of my only those I love see, the me under it all, is just, well, me.

I make no apologies for that, nor should I. I may temper my flame to better suit a situation, but I will not permanently dim my light for anyone else, ever again. Doing so before almost killed me, but instead, I emerged, stronger, different, and ever changing…

So what does it all mean? Honestly, who knows? Does it even matter in the end? I’ve come to decide that who I MIGHT be one day in the future really is meaningless…and who I was is history, and therefore unchangeable, and therefore, relatively worry-free. And since I mostly like WHO I AM TODAY, IN THIS MOMENT, does that have to be defined, named, limited, or explained? I rather think not. So we’ll leave the mystery to the detective, the beauty to the beholder, but the fun/scary/exciting parts of today? Those I’ll keep…just for me…and for any of those of you wacky enough to follow along from home.

Who I am doesn’t matter a whit more to me than THAT I AM. For today, that’s quite enough for me.

Who are you?

30 Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge

So a friend shared out to me a link, and other friends jumped on board, and I hesitated to do so, more so out of hesitation to commit to a timeline, which I might not stick to, allowing for life and all that jazz, but I decided to go ahead and at least follow along and see where this might take me. I’ll add the posts here as, I go, literally starting, somewhere (ha!), with who I believe myself to be: past, present, and future…

So, here goes nothing!