Filtering by Tag: mental health

A long overdue update and a preview of the next chapter in my health journey

Back when I was reading weight loss blogs on a regular basis, I used to worry when someone who had been blogging about their weight loss struggles suddenly went AWOL. Were they okay? Were they still on track in terms of losing or maintaining the weight? Why had they suddenly stopped updating?

And now I've become that person! I just noticed that I haven't updated this blog in over two years. The good news is that I'm still very much on track. In fact, last month I celebrated my two year anniversary of successfully maintaining my weight loss. Sure, the scale jumps around a bit (generally within a five pound range but sometimes a little more than that) but because keeping a food diary and tracking my daily activity have become second-nature for me, I find it pretty easy to simply tweak what I've been doing and get the scale moving in the right direction again. This is the first time in my life that I've ever been successful at maintaining a significant weight loss, so it feels like a pretty significant victory. My game plan at this point? To keep on keeping on....

You see, here's the thing: the strategies that I learned on my weight loss journey have proven themselves to be essential for dealing with my other health challenges. Being active on a daily basis isn't just helpful in terms of maintaining my weight: it also helps to tame my anxiety (a pretty big deal for someone living with bipolar disorder) and it helps my vestibular (or balance) system to function at its best (again, a pretty big deal for someone living with Meniere's disease).

And, speaking of Meniere's disease, I'm going to be blogging about my journey to learn more about this particular balance and dizziness disorder. I was just diagnosed a few weeks ago (after an audiogram and an MRI), so my learning curve is pretty steep and I'm eager to share some of what I'm learning with my fellow members of Club Meniere's. I plan to share strategies for living well with a chronic medical condition because that's what I intend to do. (Sure, Meniere's disease isn't the best possible diagnosis, but it's not the worst either. Not by a long shot.)

What I Did With My Summer Vacation

I just had the best summer of my life. Seriously. When I was a kid, I was too busy worrying about, well, pretty much everything to have a truly great summer. (Yes, I was that kind of kid.) Rather than being able to relax and enjoy the moment, I had my gaze fixed firmly on the future -- on a time when things would be better, whatever "better" might mean.  

"Better" finally arrived this summer -- and it wasn't disguised as books on a beach, as I had long suspected it would. My summer was filled to the brim with activity, including tons and tons of work.

It also happened to be awesome.

As you may already know, I am busy researching and writing a book -- and I couldn't put that on hold for the summer. So I simply decided that I was going to make this the best summer of my life by making conscious choices about everything that was within my control, including my working location (I chose to work from my cottage), the food I chose to eat (healthy, whole foods), and the way I treated my body (lots and lots of walks, both on and off my treadmill).  

The result? I felt -- and continue to feel -- amazing.

Treating myself well has become a habit (a habit that took a mere 49 years to cultivate).

And now that I'm in the habit of fuelling my body with good food, giving it the exercise that allows it to feel less anxious during the day and to sleep better at night, I'm not about to stop.

I'm in the process of designing a new fall routine for myself that includes early-morning walks, lunch hour fitness breaks, and a pleasant new working environment. (My office has moved back home.)

Of course, it doesn't hurt that I spent my entire summer immersing myself in research about mental health -- poring through journal articles and other information in order to try to tease out what allows us to thrive (as opposed to merely survive). Officially, the research is for the book I am writing for HarperCollins Canada (for publication next year), but I'm already reaping the benefits of some of what I've learned.

I've always felt really lucky. (Well, at least since I became a grownup and escaped the clutches of the playground bullies.) And now I feel positively blessed, being able to do work that I love (writing and speaking) -- and to see my own health and happiness be so enriched by what I am learning.

A few years back, when I was experiencing my truly horrific depression, I couldn't imagine ever feeling this good again, let alone feeling fantastic -- joyful -- creative -- inspired -- filled with possibility and hope.

Life can be so good. *

* * * 

* Writer-buddies: Please forgive the totally over-the-top use of italics and dashes in this post.  

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And now for some stats on the weight loss front:

 

  • I'm now more than halfway to my goal weight. I've lost 83 lbs since early January (starting weight: 286 lbs; goal weight: 154 lbs), which leaves me with just 49 lbs. left to lose.
  • My BMI has dropped from 46.2 to 32.8. I am within spitting distance of being "overweight" as opposed to "obese."
  • I am now wearing a size 16/18 (XL) -- down from a size 26/28 (3 XL).
  • I've lost 7" from my bust, 8" from my waist, and 12" from my hips. 

What the numbers don't reveal is how fantastic I feel. The only way to measure that is by the smile on my face.  

Thanks for all your love and support, friends. I (truly) couldn't be making these changes without you. <3

 

Fall 2012: When I was at my heaviest (286 lbs.) A friend's photo, shared on Twitter. Inspired me to want to make changes. (Thanks, MM.)

Fall 2012: When I was at my heaviest (286 lbs.) A friend's photo, shared on Twitter. Inspired me to want to make changes. (Thanks, MM.)

July 2013: When I had lost 68 lbs.

July 2013: When I had lost 68 lbs.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
— Lao Tzu