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Monday, June 04, 2012

...or, Where I've Been & What I've Been Up To!

Mini Picture Update:

Me... July 1st, 2011
This picture hurts my heart in ways for which there are no words. I hate putting it here, but it haunts me. Never mind that I was squinting because the sun is my eyes... unfortunately the expression on my face very acurately describes the level of pain I was in on every level.

Me... TODAY (June 4, 2012)!
The circles under my eyes are still too dark, and my goitre is still too obvious, but I'm moving in the right direction. Don't you think?

Me... GOAL (last seen at age 30, 1991... estimated time of reappearance, January 2013)! My face is the first place any weight gain shows, so I will have to be at goal to look like this.

It seems my blog entries are getting further and further apart, LOL! For anyone missing them, I apologise. Besides being on a really steep learning curve with regard to solving my health dilemas, I also seem to be particularly introspective. I have dozens of blog entries rattling around in my head and heart (some have even made it into a 'drafts' folder), but the time and inclination to actually write remains elusive.

In part, I suppose, this is because so much of what I thought I believed, I do so no longer. My path strays further and further from 'conventional wisdom' in every area of my life, and it's been my experience here at Sparkpeople that sharing a less than conventional viewpoint often gets you more grief than you really want... or in many cases, more than you can continue to balance under.

Which leads me to another aspect of my current disinclination to engage more fully... so many of the people I appreciate and value have 'gone' (on?) or have been 'chased away' (the pockets of meanness on this site take my breath away). It's made me cautious about sharing my truths.... it's sort of like those times in your life when your circle of friends shifts, and you find yourself needing to replenish your associations. The older I get, the less inclined I am to put energy into new relationships. Does that sound antisocial, LOL? I suppose it does, but that isn't the way I mean it... I still love and enjoy people immensely, but I'm not as inclined to move beyond casual, social friendliness into deeper, lasting relationships unless the impetus to do so is particularly compelling.

I suppose I am also still needing to conserve energy... my health is improving greatly, but improvement is slow and easily undermined. Being the sort of SPARKling I'd still like to be takes emotional energy, and I don't yet have a lot to spare. My progress is still too easily undermined (like losing two nights of sleep to the neighbour's barking dog... fat elimination stopped COLD for the rest of the week... lack of sleep remains my greatest nemesis), though I rebound more quickly.

Speaking of improvements, my non-scale victories (always my more obvious) include:
• my daughter is now able to put her arms completely around my waist and clasp her hands together behind my back! (for details see my April 1st, 'How Do you Meaure Success?' blog entry)
• there is, once again, more water in the bathtub than there is *me*
• I've had to replace all of my underwear and pyjamas! (detailed in my blog entry back in February... 'I need smaller 'big girl' panties!!!' ...the 16th, if you're interested)
• I am wearing clothes I haven't been able to wear for at least 5 years (6 months pre Sparkpeople)
• young men flirt with me (I didn't realize they had stopped until they started again)... though I honestly do not understand why, LOL (my hair didn't get any less grey)!
• I am once again able to manage the daily doings of my life, and can even handle the occasional upheaval without ending up in bed for a day
• constant migraine-type headaches are a distant memory (last time I bought tylenol with codeine is in February, and the bottle is still full)
• no more heartburn, reflux, indigestion, or snoring
• my skin is clear, toned, soft and no longer flaking off my body
• my nails are stronger and growing, and my hair is glossy and no longer falling out by the hands full, or breaking
• I am up every day by 7:00am and GLAD to greet the day
• my daughter no longer asks if we can go out to eat, and excitedly looks forward to what I'm cooking (remember that 'You know you're a 'bad' mother when...' blog entry back in February... the 24th if you're interested)
• my insomnia has improved quite dramatically... it is STILL an issue, and is even more obviously related to hormonal fluctuations
• I can handle emergencies without falling apart from the stress
• I am getting twice as much done in a day than I was accomplishing nine months ago... last year I missed almost all of my daughter's soccer games and ballet open house events... this year I missed NONE and I even volunteered at her school
• I'm once again hopeful and making future plans
• I am making commitments and meeting them... I don't feel like I have to 'wait and see' never knowing if I will be 'up to it' when the time arrives
• my husband and I are playful and laughing together again (because my moodiness has levelled off and I don't feel/act 'psycho' anymore {my moods were all over the map and seemingly out of my control - I'd be laughing one minute and raging/crying the next without warning... I was scaring myself}... I am once again the woman he fell in love with... we spent Friday together without our daughter because he took a surprise day off work just to hang out with me... nice to know he'd once again rather be home than at work, LOL)
• I am no longer planning my funeral (I seriously WAS... doesn't that woman at the top of this page look like she's nearly dead?)
• I am once again able to analyse a problem/challenge, make a plan to address it and carry it out with energy left over, and without fear of physical/mental exhaustion
• I'm playing with my daughter on a daily basis and we are ACTIVE!
• even though I weigh more right now than I did five years ago (when some of the clothes I'm now wearing last fit me), my body shape is more balanced, and seems stronger and more fit... less jiggly and bulgy.
• no more bloated, sausage fingers... I can consistently remove my wedding ring any time day or night... my body is starting to process fluid as it should.
• I've started shaving my legs again... first time in 2 years that I can bend and reach all around my body to do the job without injury
(that was seriously difficult to say out loud, BTW)
• I am able to wear regular size pantyhose

As for the scale, and in light of conventional weight loss expectations, my progress is less than stellar (many of the 'most successful' SPARKlers would have lost up to 90 lbs in the last nine months), but I'm happy and feel encouraged for the first time since signing up at SparkPeople. My body composition is visibly shifting (less fat more muscle, so while my weight isn't changing by huge amounts, my BMI is).

Since September 1st, 2011 and as of JUNE 1, 2012 I have eliminated:
* 18% of my body weight (I'm .2 lbs. away from One-derland!)
* 45 lbs (5 lbs in May)
* 64.5 inches (10 inches in May)
* 15% BMI (halfway there)

...and this is just the beginning!

Considering I eliminated nothing - not even inches! - (and it's not for lack of trying) between the middle of November and January, or between the beginning of February and May (if you're doing the math, 4.5 out of 9 months I was at a standstill), I am delighted with my May results. As I hoped, as I fix my body (fat is a symptom, NOT the problem), the issue of my stored fat is resolving (dissolving, actually).

I updated my measurements, and wrote about how I've changed my program (substantially), here:

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED/rewritten: JUNE, 2012)

I'll update my pictures at the end of August. I don't see enough of a difference to justify them now, and frankly, we just don't have the time (taking my pictures would require DH and I being in the same room for an extended period of time.. hard to do when you're running in different directions), LOL!

I've updated my Sparkpage, and I've also added several pictures to my photo gallery with a library of resources listed in the comments section for each of them. If you've been working as hard as you know how (or even if you're not... and there is a lot to be found for people trying to address excess skin issues), yet are getting nowhere toward your goals, I invite you to check them out. There may be something there that can help. It takes a leap of faith to believe that 'fat' is not the problem, but a symptom of the problem, yet the leap can pay off in unexpected ways.

Breaking Through The Weight Loss Glass Ceiling
Be your own hero!
(THANKS, Cheryl!)
20 seconds of courage is all it takes!
(anybody see 'We Bought Zoo'?)
(Have you noticed that a hero's activities largely encompass the unknown?)

I believe IF is saving my life... "More effective than long-term calorie restriction, with extensive health benefits!"
It is my experience with IF (Intermittent Fasting) in particular that leaves me no longer believing anything I thought was truth with regard to 'dieting' and weight loss... and it's not about weight loss, but FAT ELIMINATION and WELLNESS.
Please, suspend judgement (and don't try it!) unless and until you've read all of the articles in the comments section under the photo... then we can talk, LOL! Women, especiallly need to approach IF cautiously and well-informed... it can make things worse depending on your specific considerations.
(I'm not interested in debating/arguing the point, or in being taken to task for what I believe... some things you just have to experience to understand.)

Oil Pulling Therapy

PRIMAL; adjective, fundamentals... with respect to nutrition, exercercise, sleep, enjoying life! I have gone primal for myself and my family.

An 'apple' a day keeps the doctor away.... Check out the blog and subscribe!
Best nutrition site on the internet... if you have the courage to be challenged beyond 'conventional wisdom'.

Discover the health and weight loss benefits of eating like our ancestors! My daughter is doing so much better 'eating' like a dinosaur (she's growing again and any fledgling mood disorder stuff is fast becoming a distant memory), than she ever was following a plate/pyramid model!

"Reprogram your genes for effective weight loss, vibrant health, and boundless energy!"

"If you want to REALLY know about how your brain and body work, read this book!"

I've spent the better part of four years working so hard, chasing wellness and weight loss, yet achieving very little by way of results with respect to a 'normal' BMI and wellness (and I have approximately 100 lbs of fat total to eliminate). At times I've felt quite desperate to just get the weight off already. The trouble is, the harder I worked at it, the worse my results.
What I've come to believe, in the last nine months or so, is that my weight is a symptom (of bigger problems) NOT the problem, and I believe this is true for very nearly everyone who carries extra fat on their bodies.
Until my body heals, I will carry fat. Once my body heals, it will release the fat. It wasn't until I took this approach that I began to eliminate the fat, and my belly fat is melting away at a greater rate than the scale would suggest (the bulk of my inches are coming off my belly).
Something else of which I am certain is that anyone with a weight problem has, to varying degrees, a hormonal problem. This book explains clearly and simply just how this can be, and what to do about it. This book is changing my life!

"Some diseases are contagious, but healing transformational experiences are ALL highly contagious!"

...And even though I'm not very vocal right now, I am still reading, watching, cheering you on and praying where required!

Each of you, in a variety of ways, are still helping me find the where-with-all within myself to be my own hero, and for that I continue to bless you!

A special THANK YOU to those of you who continue to check in on me and let me know you're paying attention, too (it's amazing how much something small like a 'like something' on a feed can brighten a heart and day).

You ROCK, and I love you, my dear SPARKlings!

May today and every day bring to you a ridiculous abundance of whatever you need. May all your concerns, struggles, anxieties and fears fall like ashes as you rise on eagle's wings, SOARING above all that would hinder you along this tremendous adventure of being and becoming all you are created to be. May the grace of God simply "overtake" you moment by moment. May the joy and victory of the risen Lord be yours in a very personal way... may you always be overwhelmed by the grace of God, rather than by the cares of life!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

P.S. My Divine Miss O celebrates her First Communion & Confirmation this Wednesday evening... perhaps I'll post some pictures of the happy event. I am beyond excited for the day, and ever so glad to have the energy to fully plan for it, and to enjoy it, now that it's upon me! I'm going to wear heels for the first time in over four years because my knees and back are once again strong enough to do so!

Here's the back of her invitation:
(too much personal information on the front, LOL!)

Here's her dress:
(the girl is a model... lovely as she is, my Miss is even lovlier, LOL)


...Because YOU deserve the best life has to offer!



'BEFORE' Pictures (May 31, 2009 - September, 2011) & Continuing PROGRESS (February 2012)! Next pictures September 1, 2012!

(I'm now keeping these right under my nose... in addition to being part of every blog I post, they are printed off and taped to my bedroom mirror)

Measurements, Musings & Motivation to MOVE!

(UPDATED/rewritten: JUNE, 2012)

I've Reached My Goal Weight!!!!!!!

NOTE: My weight tracker is NOT a truthful representation of my weight. Instead, I am using it as a tool to help me visualize my goal as though it's already been achieved!
(Tom Venuto)

UNTIL. (My 'Just Do It' blog)

DONE Girl Love...

(the footsteps into which I place my own feet)

Leaving NORMAL

Why I'm STILL here... my SparkJourney Saga www.sparkpeople.com/mypa

Words CAN Be Enough... page 2

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I really liked this blog. It struck a cord with me on so many points.

    The photo of "Me" last seen at age 30. I felt the same for so many years. The face I saw in the mirror wasn't mine, and for years I tried to avoid mirrors as much as possible without becoming obsessed with it. It just seemed very unnerving to look in the mirror and see someone else's face.

    I also know what it's like to have so many blog ideas going around in my head. They come at me faster than I can get them out. I need more hours to write, to study, to research, to write some more; and in between somehow I have to fit in living a life.

    I understand what you mean about wanting to pull back; though I have to say I haven't experienced a huge amoutn of it here on SP. It's mostly on Facebook. FB is so much of an addiction. It seems like it's getting harder and harder to associate with anyone if you're not on FB. But the more I am the worse my depression gets. To be happy on FB one has to be a very materialistic person; enjoying only worldly things, views and trends. If you have a negative thought or enmotion in your being at all, people will dump you from their lists. You have to be overwhelmingly unrealistically happy or your won't be liked. However, you cannot joke or play on there because no matter what you say you will offend someone. Which is well advertized by the fact that they 'like' something you said without replying. It's the other person's way of saying "all I have to say is something disagreeable with you, so I won't say anything. I'll just click 'like' so you'll think that I had something cheerful to say." It makes me nuts. You can't be human with any pain; you have to be happy, yet not too happy.

    I've experienced a little bit of negativity on SP, but not a lot. Mostly it's from people who like to live in the dark world outside of Christ. Personally, I can't go back to living in that dark isolated tiny room that the world thinks is so great. I've seen the freedom, light, and all the space in the world that comes from living with Christ. So many are afraid to venture out of their dark rooms into the light, and they lash out at those of us who have discovered that there is existence outside the dark room; and not only that it's wonderful. The other part of negativity that I've experienced here is because SP doesn't have any privacy settings at all (compared to a site like FB). For the first couple years I was on SP I shared my world, and all my feelings about everything. Then, an abusive roommate found out. He read my stuff, and got angry. I felt my safety was at risk so I had to go back and delete about 80% of all my blog entries. I transferred them to another private journal. It broke my heart that I had to pull away. It was my support for surviving so many things; and I still miss it despirately. That roommate is gone now, but I know he still could potentially see my stuff, and come to hurt me. It is definately within his capabilities. And it's all 'cause SP refuses to set up any decent privacy settings for us.

    Please Ramona, don't let the negative people chase you away from being the wonderful person you are; the one who inspires so many of us on here. We love you, and want to keep you on here with us. BIG CONGRATES & HUGS for the victories you've had. No victory is a small one! Thank you so much for sharing so much of yourself. HUGS. Forgive me for the long reply. :-)
    2773 days ago
    emoticon emoticon for sharing your journey! It is a life altering journey we have embarked upon with many struggles, and obstacles, But with commitment, consistency and taking back the control with determination it is a journey well worth the endurance.

    I too have had a long arduous journey fraught with many obstacles over the course of my lifetime and specifically these past four years. I have battled through wooden, concrete and finally the steel walls of hindrance and overcome every one of them. I still have a few milestones to reach but honey IT AIN'T OVER TIL IT'S OVER
    emoticon on your accomplishments thus far and with perseverance you will have many more!
    2780 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/7/2012 10:00:55 AM
    You are an amazing writer. Thank you for sharing with us. How amazing are your successes! Congrats! You certainly look amazing in your current photo. You skin is glowing!

    My boyfriend has tried the oil pulling method and has had much success. I've never tried it but should sometime soon.

    Glad you are feeling much better!
    2780 days ago
  • KNH771
    It's nice to hear from you! I haven't been online as much lately either. Sorry that you've bumped into some of the SparkTrolls. They can be vicious! Congrats on Miss O's first communion! You're both gorgeous!
    2780 days ago
  • no profile photo BUFFEDSTUFF--
    You my dear are the pot of gold at the end o the rainbow. Continue to do what is right for you and the heck with what anyone else thinks:)
    2781 days ago
    You have a captivating way of expressing yourself at times. Here, you're sharing your struggle in a way that I think each of us can honestly identify with and understand.

    It can get lonely here. And it is all-too-possible for a remark - well-intended or otherwise - to derail even the most motivated of us from our intended courses.

    Please take strength in your journey from those whom you love, and those who love you. Remember the saying, "Those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." It is - it has always been - ok to be precisely who you are, and to think what you think. Even when you are wrong about something, it is ok to have the thought. It is merely important to learn from a mistake.

    While I do not believe any one "solution" works for all people, I encourage you to continue to follow the things that work for you as long as you are making progress, staying positive, and achieving your goals in a healthy way, anyone who is finding fault with your process is not seeking your well-being, but the desire to be "right."

    Let their judgements fall like bad seeds on the wayside. Follow the path that works for you. And know that you are always loved and appreciated.

    Best wishes to you on your journey to good health and personal happiness, Ramona. You deserve both.
    2781 days ago
  • TINATC26
    oh dear, sweet Ramona..you are just awesome and doing so well. My pride in you is immense, and you are an inspiration from which to draw. I am thrilled for you with your incredible progress, and the sky is the limit for you. Yes, the woman in the first picture looks pained, but your today pic looks perfect!! And that 1991 pic has nothing on today's Ramona.. not a darn thing!!

    I am, sadly, pressed for time, and would like to say so much more, but suffice this: you are truly a hero to many of us here. Thank you..

    Enjoy that joyous First Communion tomorrow! Hoping for lots of pix!!

    2781 days ago
    I am hardly surprised you have blogs few and far between, because when you DO write a blog you put your heart and soul into it and I imagine it must be quite draining on you.

    I need to come back to this blog and give it the ime and consideration it deserves, and having just got in from work at 11pm shattered I'm not giving it all my attention and i really want to because it seems an extremely valuble blog to me.

    In the meantime I want to send all the love in the World to the gorgeous Miss O on her very special time. She's going to be stunning in her dress and I hope she has a wonderful time. Hope to see photos... emoticon emoticon
    2781 days ago
  • IAM_HIS2
    I have learned a lot from your blog...will re-read it because there is so much information that I want. Thank you.
    2781 days ago
    Thank you! I always appreciate your honesty - it's very refreshing!

    Hugs, Leslie emoticon
    2782 days ago
    *dang* keep missing your notifications! *pout* but..

    Whoo hoo!! Biiig huge happy dance for you!! SO proud of you!!

    I've learned lately that those other markers of "success" are WAY more important in the long run than what the scale tells me - the healthier I am on the inside, the better I'll look on the outside and the easier it'll be to stay that way!


    "My path strays further and further from 'conventional wisdom' in every area of my life..."

    As it should be... we're supposed to live in the world, not be infected by it. The road to true health is similar to another narrow path... it's not walked by the masses but the reward at the end is very sweet.

    (*My* thoughts on IF are mixed - I think it's a wonderful, powerful tool, and if you're eating the way you're supposed to for optimal health, skipping meals either conciously or because your not hungry, isn't any big thang, and is very beneficial for several hormonal,psychological and spiritual reasons. For folks just starting out and don't have that foundation, and are burned out, adrenal nightmares, it's a recipe for disaster. I like Mark's take on it - focus on your eating, sleeping and play for at least 3 full weeks, then dip your toe in the IF water and find what works for you.)

    2782 days ago
  • JASI27
    Awesome blog! Just what I needed today! Thanks for sharing!
    2782 days ago
    Wow, Great blog. You opened your heart. I also love most of the books you mentioned too. I'm adding you as a friend since I feel like I know you. Hope you have a most wonderful day! Suzanne emoticon
    2782 days ago
    emoticon Ramona!
    The eyes are the windows to our souls... your eyes are now clear and open!
    May you continue to grow and develop into who God wants you to be!
    We are all fearfully and wonderfully made, and you are taking care of the gift that you ARE!
    Peace be with you! You are in my prayers. One day you will emerge from your cocoon, and fly in Joy!
    emoticon emoticon YOU ARE emoticon
    2782 days ago
    Amazing blog Ramona. Lots of thought went into it.
    Love your pics and how you've progressed.
    Sending love to you and Miss O emoticon
    2782 days ago
  • BERRY4
    Yeah for "hope" and "humanness"!
    ...your reality approach is refreshing. Thanks for sharing your journey with all of us! You are certainly an inspiration to me!

    My own personal belief is that life is really meant to be lived "shoulder-to-shoulder," supporting one another in the "stuff" life brings our way. It is sad that often we hide behind our self-constructed walls and shoot arrows at fellow travellers. Really, we should each be out in the trenches, being a friend, and showing kindness to those around us--especially since none of us has truly walked in the other's shoes.



    Blessings to you! Thank you so much for sharing some of what you are learning, discovering, reading, thinking on...

    Happy Wednesday coming!! -- Your daughter is beautiful. Her dress & pictures are stunning. Definitely a day to be thankful and proud!
    2782 days ago
    What an inspirational and entertaining blog. There are so many things you said that hit home with me, but especially your comment about relationships. I have felt rather guilty about not having many friends anymore, but realize that I have out-lived or outgrown most of my old friends. Sadly, as political, religious, or social views change, I have discovered my own low tolerance of people who are narrow-minded and judgmental. I am a very outgoing person, and people tend to gravitate towards me, even in public places. Sadly, I enjoy fleeting moments of conversations with somebody in line with me at a grocery store more than I do with some of my friends. Well, you have opened a whole new envelope of personality problems for me to ponder. Thanks!
    2782 days ago
    Wow, you put a lot of work into this one didn't you.

    So informative though and really entertaining.

    Thanks for sharing your experience(s)

    Don't stop..... Keep 'em coming.
    2782 days ago
  • no profile photo EVIE4NOW
    Love your state of mind... pretty much where I am at.. and I just decided I am different then anybody else in the whole world. Thank you for letting me know I am NOT alone!
    2782 days ago
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