Saturday, April 5, 2014

APRIL 5th Oh So Close to the Two'sies!

 "I didn't have any desire to shake things up, or make huge dramatic changes." 


That's from my last post, back in January. All I have to say about that is:




What a winter I've had! Seven different medical conditions, one piled on top of the other... good griefus! I'm better now, and truly thankful. 

But honestly, when in the middle of all that, it's hard not to get discouraged and start feeling sorry for yourself. At least, that's what I struggled with. 

One of the conditions caused me to have severe... ahem ... diarrhea FOR 75 DAYS!! Yes, you read that right. 2 1/2 months. I almost ended up hospitalized. We never did discover what set it off, but they had me trying everything to stop it. 

From the BRAT diet, to heavy duty prescriptions. NOTHING WORKED. I honestly wondered if this was the way I going to go out... cr**ping myself to death. :-O

I finally said phooey to all the doctor's guesses, did some research, and put myself on a special, extremely strict elimination type diet designed by a doctor, for people with intestinal issues.

Tough to follow?? Not if you are desperate enough and facing medical complications. The dehydration and electrolyte imbalance played havoc with my congestive heart failure, and it was dicey for awhile. So yeah... I was willing to get extreme. 

The program is for people who struggle with Crohns, Ulcerative colitis, Diverticulitits, Celiac disease,  and more. I don't have those, but it DID help me stop the cycle, and heal.

I have to admit, though, that I was ticked off for awhile. You see... I was originally ordered to go on the BRAT diet, which is TOTALLY HIGH CARB stuff. Um... I have been extremelly low carb for 5 years!! That was so hard for me to do. And I was even surprised to find that some of the stuff I secretly expected to enjoy (like potatoes, white rice, toast, juice, pudding, etc) didn't even taste good to me anymore. Yet the high starch diet, which turns to sugar in my system, set me up once again for powerful cravings that I'd been free from for 5 years. Soooo frustrating.

Moral of story: I can't ever say I am "cured" of being susceptible to cravings, if I am once again exposed to the sugar and starches. I had to go through actual withdrawal again. And yes, it was very hard. My mind played all kinds of games with me, just like the first time. sigh... And I STILL am struggling a bit with it, even now. Like a lingering scent, catching your attention when you aren't expecting it, and triggering memories and longings. Don't know if that makes sense, but... it's a powerful thing.

Another thing I thought about during all this: that super strict diet was difficult and exacting to follow. To start out you only eat about 4 simple, plain items, plus homemade electrolyte solution. But I was totally willing, because I was desperate and ready to try anything. 

Which made me I think about all the times over the years I had thought "Oh I am so desperate to lose weight", yet I was NOT willing to try something. 

I was willing to try SOME-things, but not ANY-thing. 

Case in point: about 20 years ago when I first heard about the idea of not eating sugar and starches, I was NOT willing. I made all kinds of excuses, and argued that it should be "moderation in all things." Yeah, right. Tell that one to an alcoholic. It might work for some people, but not for me. But I wasn't yet willing to admit that.

It wasn't until I got desperate enough, and nothing that I tried had worked, that I was finally willing to even consider giving up sugar and starches. I spent 3 months reading, studying, learning about it. I had to be convinced it would be healthy, for me. That this was what would be the healthiest way for MY body. I mean, it was the opposite of what had been pounded into my head for decades... so yeah, I was a little skeered. 

I figured I would use my old "all or nothing" tendencies TO my advantage. So once I was fully convinced, I plunged totally in. 

Against my husbands preferences.
Against the preferences of anyone I knew.
Against most of society's preferences.

I was determined, I was committed, I was willing.

It's not been easy. Heck, at times it's been VERY HARD. There have been times I was so discouraged, and wanted to give up.

But I didn't. 

I'm convinced God had mercy on me, and brought this information to help me.

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am to see the 2 hundreds getting close. My highest weight a few years ago was a humiliating 460 lbs.

When I weighed in on April 1st, I was 304 lbs.

That's a total loss of 156 lbs!!! I still find it hard to relate to that... it doesn't seem real. It's still hard to stand, to move, and still a lot of pain. Sometimes I wonder if I am imagining it??

But it's real. 

And on the journey goes. Day after day. Just doing the little daily stuff. Not perfect... not by a long shot. But just continuing on, no matter what.



Enjoy the journey,

Loretta

Updated to add: since some have asked about the diet that helped me recover, I thought I'd put it here.

The book I bought is "Breaking the Vicious Cycle, Intestinal Health Through Diet", by Elaine Gottschall, B.A, M.S. It gives her story (the amazing recovery of her young daughter, who the doctors basically gave up on), the science behind the diet, and recipes. It's on Amazon, and for me, was totally worth the price.

One site that was helpful to me was SCD Lifestyle.
Yes, they have books and programs for sale. But they also have lots of free info that cleared away some of the confusion for me. Good overviews, easy to understand explanations.

There is also an active Yahoo group called BTVC: the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. I picked up lots of useful tips here.

Hope this helps!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

JAN 4th Ain't Got No Rezolooshuns!


I'm still alive an' kicking!
And I finally have something to say. So... here I iz.

The one advantage of being sick ALL of December is that I had no energy or desire to get all philosophical and analytical, and make up a bunch of optimistic and high-flying New Year's Resolutions. Nope, not this year. Not interested.

They're great if they help you. But I discovered something as the new year rolled around, and I noticed all the pro and con resolution talk: that was I was content. I didn't have any desire this year to shake things up, or make huge dramatic changes. 

What I've been doing seems to be "okay". There is no drama, no angst. Me and my Lord are just truckin' along, with Him leading and me trying to stay on the right path. When I wander off into the weeds now and then, He lovingly helps me scramble back on track. It's the no drama part I'm enjoying... the peaceful part.



Okay, the weight thing for 2013?? My highest during 2013 was 366, my lowest is currently 340. So, net loss of 26 pounds for the year. Better than a gain... I'll take it. End of story.


"Detail from Moonlight Rendezvous"

More than that, I've found Peace on this journey. And had one big eye opening revelation a few months ago that rocked me. Okay, if you are one of those that roll your eyes when the fat person talks about "aha" moments that are obvious to all around her... well tune out now, cuz here it comes. ;-)

It's this: I REALLY saw that I've believed a LIE all my life. I've thought about it before, but now I SEE it, know it. I get it. I don't know how to put it into one tiny sentence, so here is how the LIE worked out into my life:

  • I felt had to lose weight to be taken seriously, to deserve respect, both personally and in my art business
  • until I lost the weight, which is how I believed "mature/responsible" people behaved, I felt I was not good enough
  • this LIE side-tracked me all my life, invading all areas, and holding me back from being who I was meant to be
  • I kept thinking "as soon as I lose the weight" I can <fill in the blank>
  • I allowed this Quest To Lose Weight to be number one, to get too much continuing focus

There's more, but you get the idea. The Weight Loss Thing sat on the throne. Got all the attention, all the energy, and drained me.

"Uphill, Peruvian Style"



These last few months when I've pulled back from the weight loss focus have so... NICE. I've already paid my dues to learn the physical/nutritional parts of what I need to do. I spent the time and effort to ask hard questions of myself, to look inside and do the Heart work. So to finally NOT make weight loss the Number One Thing all the time has been refreshing!

I asked God to help me see how to better spend my time; how to be who He meant me to be; how to not waste this gift of time; to learn to Love better.

"Time, Our Companion"


So, no big weight loss to brag about this year.

But there is one thing that I AM excited about, and proud of myself in a goofy way. At the beginning of the year I joined an online art group, the Virtual Paintout. I wanted to participate for the entire year. Each month we virtually traveled to a new place in the world, via google street view, and painted from a location there. And even though I was sick as a DOG all December, I finished December's painting in Venice, Italy!

"Are You Here, My Love?"

That was a big deal for me. It's as though something in me that I almost lost, that got buried and kicked to the side, and I almost gave up on, has come alive again. I have no allusions as to being some kind of "great painter", and changing the world or anything like that. But I do want to be who I was meant to be. To paint joy, and hope, and beauty, and put my Heart onto the canvas with that paint.  I almost lost that due to the LIE, believing that I had to do the weight loss thing first.

But the Lie has been exposed now. 

If I never lost another ounce, I will still paint. If I never sold another painting, I will still paint. I will paint with love, with joy, with passion and with hope. And with much gratitude, hoping that it can be a blessing to others.

May you all be blessed with a most wonderful and peaceful New Year!

"Hope and a Future"


Enjoying the Journey, 

Loretta

Friday, September 6, 2013

Time For To Make Art, saith the Cat

One of my favorite passages written by wise King Solomon says "There is a time for everything."

It goes:

There is a time for everything, 
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.


I know most will skim over that due to time pressures, but I've slowed down many times and read it carefully, thinking about each line. And I think I know why I haven't felt the need lately to write on this blog.



See, I've been here for YEARS, asking questions, searching for answers. And now it feels like I have no more questions. It's that simple. I feel at peace that I already have enough answers... now I simply need to DO what I know needs to be done. Sure, there is always more to learn, but that's not my point. My point is: it's time to DO.

  • I've done the search for Understanding, in regards to my past.
  • I've done the tough job of accepting TOTAL responsibility for my situation.
  • I've made huge changes in what kind of nutrition I eat on a regular basis.
  • I've made peace with the fact that this is permanent; I can't "use" food like a drug, and still be healthy.
  • I've learned that in order for this to be permanent, my Heart must change.
  • I've decided to accept "what is", and totally let go of "what could have been."
  • I've learned I need to embrace my goals and refresh the vision I have for myself.

And I feel at Peace about all that. Finally. 

So I really don't have a lot to say right now. I am enjoying reading and supporting some other health/weight loss blogs, but mainly am spending my online time over at my art blog. I feel the freedom now to put my energies there. I don't need to spend tons of time looking for my answers here: I already have them, and need to DO them. Hmmm.... I said that before, didn't I?

For totally unrelated reason, this morning I was looking up word definitions, and it helped me in writing this post.
Here are some of those words:
self-centered
self-absorbed
self-indulgent
self-involved

Hmmm... see a pattern there?? Now you see why I'm tired of writing about ME??!!

Remember, this is where *I* am, after years of blogging around the same mountain. If you are just starting out, don't think I am telling YOU not to explore your own life, mind, heart, past, situation, etc.  May your journey be filled with discovery and new understandings!

But for me, it's time to pursue my passions... the things that get me up in the morning, and fill my day with joy!



See ya sooner or later.

Enjoy the journey,
 
Loretta

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

JULY 30th Self-Pity is a Dangerous Thing!


It's a fact of life that some people insist on pointing out the flaws in others. Oh, they think they are helping, and are so sure about their insights. But the vibe can be one of judgement... a critical spirit. 

Then there are those who, while recognizing realities, still choose to UPlift others. To believe the best, to offer encouragement. They don't coddle, they don't enable. But they offer the one who struggles the sense that someone actually believes in them.

That's a powerful thing.

When we find hope and belief slipping through our fingers like sand... to have someone come along side and see potential in us is... well, it reaches down and grabs us, and pulls us back up. We stand again, shake it off, and go on. 

We stop indulging in self-pity, we stop playing the martyr, we stop acting like a victim.

We... as in... ME.

This is on my mind because I WAS indulging in self-pity today. The fires here in Oregon have gone crazy, the air is full of particulates, and breathing outside is hard for me. For a couple of days now I haven't been able to go outside and do my pool exercises. Boo hoo, poor me. :-}

So I was cleaning out old computer files, deleting stuff, and came across something that stopped me in my tracks. And it changed my whole attitude.

It was written for me in 2010 by my sister, Karen. She hadn't started her writer's blog yet , so she had left this in the comments on my blog:

Dear Sister:
I've seen you when you cried,
And when you tried to hide;
You'd always say you failed,
When the desired boat had sailed.
But that was yester-year,
After you shed many a tear;
A swan song now you sing,
Grasping on to everything!
You will not be put down,
Nor will you cast the frown,
You push away the strife,
And plunge straight into life!
For this you will prevail,
Though some might see a snail,
But the tortoise beat the hare-
On the race that was a dare!




Wow.... it felt like it was written for me NOW. Here. Today.

Thanks, Sis. I needed that.



Enjoy the Journey,

Loretta

Sunday, July 14, 2013

JULY 14th Where's That Delete Button?!!

If I went with how I'm feeling right about now, I'd delete about 85% of my past posts!!! 


WHY??

Because of pride. 

I wrote what I was thinking about at the time, but after just reading a fantastic post  by Marion at Affection for Fitness, I think I'd be embarrassed to go back and re-read them now. In fact, I just noticed one of my tags says "victim mentality". Aargh... I am NOT going to go back and re-read them!

It all started with a comment Marion wrote on another of her posts. I asked her about it, since I didn't really understand her thinking. 

That comment was: 

"Overeating is a clear sign 
of acting victimized."


OUCH.



Which, of course, made my pride bristle, since I never thought of myself as a victim! But I really DO want to be teachable, so asked her to explain. And Marion, being the caring person she is, DID!

I'm not going to recap her whole post here. It was just too good, and would not do it justice. But I will give you the main topics: 

  • What is a victim?
  • Do you think you are a victim?
  • Are you BEHAVING like a victim, even when you don't THINK you are one?
  • The negatives to living with a victim mentality
  • How NOT to think like a victim
  • The ultimate benefits of ditching the victim mentality
ha... even my bullet points kinda fall short.

Really, truly, honestly... if you are at all still struggling to get this weight thing totally figured out, please consider budgeting the time to go and read Marions post. I most definitely think it could be a huge piece of the puzzle for many of us. 

There is gold there!!



Loretta
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