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My beautiful, beloved niece

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I wrote my original introduction nearly 6 months ago. At the time I had lost 64 lbs in just over 5 months! I have since lost another 35 lbs, for a total of 99 lbs. My progress has obviously slowed. The last month has been the worst. From mid-March until now I have only lost 1.5 lbs! I am still sticking to my plan most days but it is getting harder for both physical & emotional reasons.

Physically, I had a cortisone shot to get my dermatitis under control, which historically has caused me to gain weight. Although I did not gain weight, I am certain that it was at least partially to blame for the recent plateau I hit. In addition, I suffer from Seasonal Affect Disorder (SAD), which causes me to have insomnia every spring and fall, which in turn affects my weight loss. Plus I am getting closer to my goal, so it is harder to achieve that calorie deficit.

However, I think the emotional reasons may have a greater impact. First of all, I was just informed that I would be laid off at the end of the month. Since my only source of income is my job and the economy/job market is so bad, as much as I am trying to stay positive, it is VERY difficult to do so. Yet the biggest hurdle I face is getting through the next couple of months because we are fast approaching the anniversary of my niece’s death. Next week is Easter. Easter was the last time she came to my house. Then there is Mother’s Day, the last day I ever saw her, followed very closely by the day she died. In a way, I am a bit relieved that I am not going to have to try to concentrate & work during May. On the other hand, with nothing to occupy my mind, I fear I may lapse back into not being able to get out of bed. Actually, one of the main reasons I started this weight loss plan was to try to give myself a “project” to work on to occupy my mind. But now most of the healthy lifestyle changes I have made do not take mental concentration anymore. Hopefully, I have been doing this long enough that the changes will stick with me and I will get through the next couple of months without backtracking.

I am coming up on the big 60 very fast and had been seriously overweight for many years. Two and a half years ago I suffered a terrible loss when my beloved niece, who was only 27 years old, and the light of my life, took her own life and it has changed my life forever. Although I had made feeble attempts to lose weight over the years, it wasn't until this past May, the second anniversary of her death, that I really started to change my entire relationship with food. I actually started this process for two reasons, neither one was to change to a healthy lifestyle.

The first was to lose weight to increase my chances of getting another job. I had been laid off and being female and over 50, especially in my field and in this economy, were two strikes, so I needed to remove the third strike, being obese, from the equation.

The second and actually the more important for me was I needed something to occupy my mind to keep me from becoming so terribly depressed that I couldn't even get out of bed. Since I am a scientist by trade, I needed something intellectual, so my weight loss became my "project"! I used the Sparks tools and created my own spreadsheets and graphs to analyze my weight loss "data."

I was and still am very depressed and believe I will be for a very long time, if not permanently. There is nothing that can fill the void that has been left and the awful guilt that I feel over her death. But now healthy and mindful eating has become a way of life for me. I am over half way to my goal and I automatically plan/track my food and weigh myself every day. I am still not very good about exercising, so that is still a conscious effort. I have been concentrating more on exercising lately because I needed another “project” to keep from obsessing about my niece over the last month and through the upcoming holiday season. I associate the fall with her because her birthday is in October and her favorite holiday is Halloween. Of course I cannot think about the holidays without thinking of her, which is why I don’t celebrate them any more; it is just too painful. But from a weight loss perspective, it will make it much easier to not overindulge!

In the last 6 months, other than 4 days when I was on a business trip (I have a temporary position, which will end soon), I have tracked my food every day. I have only gone over my calorie range a couple of times and even then, not by much. In the past, I have always gained weight over the fall/winter, partly because of the holidays, which are no longer an issue, and partly because I am hungrier for some reason (perhaps I am part bear?). I am hungrier this fall as well and I have been eating more calories than I did over the summer, but I am still staying within my range and I have increased my exercise to compensate. Therefore, although my weight loss has slowed a bit, I am still losing at a decent rate (1 to 1.5 lbs/wk).

At this point, I think I have changed my habits sufficiently that I will make my goal weight. I am not sure what strategy I will use to help my depression, what new “project” I can take on to help me with that, but certainly making my weight loss a “project” helped during the two worst times of the year for me, May and October. Plus, I think that in the relatively near future, weight will no longer be an issue in my getting a job. So I feel that both of my goals in starting this process have been, or soon will be met.

Member Since: 10/11/2006

Fitness Minutes: 15,712

My Goals:
To lose enough weight that it is not an obstacle in getting a job. ACHIEVED!!!

To lose enough weight to be able to wear the lovely and very expensive wardrobe I had when I was at my ideal weight. SOME BUT NOT ALL. WAIST STILL TOO BIG. BOUGHT "CORE RHYTHMS" TO HELP

To lose enough weight that I will no longer need to be on BP medication. BP NOW AT LOW NORMAL WITH MEDS. ANOTHER 10-15LBS & SHOULD BE OK WITHOUT MEDS!

My Program:
Keeping my caloric intake between 1200 and 1550, my protein at ~30% and my fat at ~20%.

Using Nutrition planner to plan & track my food intake.

Exercising an average of 3.5 hours a week.

Gradually adding strength training.

Personal Information:
I was born and have lived my entire life in Connecticut.

Other Information:
“Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.” Tom Wilson

“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed, easy to get into, but hard to get out of.” Anonymous

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  • v SMIDGET65
    Thank you so much for the great comments you left on my blog.
    3839 days ago
  • v DDOORN
    Welcome to Laid Off but Staying Strong!

    Wow! Look at what you've accomplished with your commitment to building a healthy and active lifestyle! Keep your focus on taking care of your health and wellness as you go through the tough times that this tragic anniversary and unemployment brings and you will prime yourself for opportunities which are bound to present themselves!

    Don, Co-Leader of Laid Off but Staying Strong
    & All Health Professionals SparkTeams
    3849 days ago
  • v LYNN323
    I know just how you feel with the anniversary of your niece's death coming up. Last month was the anniversary of my daughter's fiance's death, and every year I think it's going to get easier but it doesn't. This year was especially hard because she was in Iraq where he was killed. I like to think they are our angels watching over us, keeping us safe. And although there's nothing I can say to make it easier, please know my thoughts are with you.

    emoticon Lynn

    "When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure"
    3850 days ago
    Congrats on your weight loss!! emoticon emoticon
    3871 days ago
  • v no profile image MARYMW2
    I just read your your Sparkpage and have to say you are an inspiration to all of us. You can do it. I know how losing your job at this time can be scary, I have been out of work for a year, but it does give you more time to take care of yourself and you deserve it. You will do it. I was so sorry to read about your niece, but I am sure she would be as proud of you as we all are. emoticon emoticon
    3873 days ago
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