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Sep 9, 2014

So much to say

So much has happened since my last post. I've been so busy at my new job and life.

Part of my world collapsed just over two weeks ago when my husband passed away suddenly. We had been separated for a few years, and although I have never discussed the reasons behind our separation in a public forum, the people who know us and our situation, know us that we cared for each other very much and remained friends after our separation.

He was the father of my children and the only adult relationship I've been in. I met him when I was 17 and we were together for almost thirty years.

Now that the service is over and we are trying to find a new normal, I am feeling broken and lost. I know time heals all wounds and we (my boys and I) are blessed with the most amazing family and friends who have been supportive and kind throughout the last few weeks and they will continue to support and love us for as long as we need them.

We are just taking one day at a time. If I think of the past, I fall apart and if I think to a future without him, I fall apart. Sometimes I take it moment by moment. It is heartbreaking to have lost him. It's heartbreaking to watch my boys suffer and not know how to ease their pain.  It's heartbreaking to watch life go on and  not be able to bring him back.


May 25, 2014

A Day in the Life...

Seven days into my new job (my first two weeks were short weeks which was great!) and I am exhausted. There is so much to learn. This is a completely new field for me and although I have done a lot of Project Management/Coordination, Quality Assurance initiatives, Training and Manual writing - it has never been in this field or environment and I am finding that there is so much I need to know before I can even really start my own job.

That being said, I am loving the challenge and the people seem really great.  Very similar to when I worked at Aecon Buildings and was part of the team for the Corus Entertainment building, I feel honoured and proud to be part of this project - it's something that will be around for a long time and I will always have a connection to it.

In other news, I am not sure if Spring has arrived as it's still quite cold at night and we're getting a lot of thunderstorms, but Winter seems to have finally left us!  I've been walking more and hitting over 10,000 steps each day. I had two days in the last two weeks where I hit over 17,000 and one day over 18,000. I try to get out and walk at lunch for half an hour and I get off the bus 2-3 stops early and then I try and go out again after dinner.  At work, I take the stairs all the time unless I'm with my boss (who doesn't do stairs) or I am carrying a lot of stuff.  This past week, I topped 89,000 steps.  My goal is 10,000/day.



For calories, my goal is 1200-1400/day, although I sometimes have one day a week up to about 1700 but it does average to about 1300 over the seven days so I'm not worried about it. I weighed in at the diabetes clinic this past Wednesday (May 21) and I had lost 3 lbs in three weeks. I'm happy with 1 lb a week consistently. I still have a ways to go to get back to my lowest weight two summers ago, but I'm getting there and looking forward to having "new" numbers.

I have a great support group on FB and I have some FitBit friends who help encourage me to keep my step count consistent as well.

I wish you all wonderful, and healthy, week!


May 13, 2014

Tomorrow, tomorrow....

Thank you all for your kind words on my last post. Sadly, Elaine did pass away the morning after that post. The funeral was this past Friday and as you can imagine, it has been a stressful and emotional few weeks.

While this was happening with Elaine, I was also in the midst of being hired for a new role and had interviews and some medical tests to complete.

I start my new job tomorrow and I can't tell you how happy I am to be living and working in the same city. Although I still have to use public transportation to get to work, it is a fairly quick and easy route and I am looking forward to having 'normal' hours again.

The role is a year contract but it is a big organization and I will take some relevant courses at community college over the Fall and Winter this year that will put me in a good position for other roles at the end of the year. I am feeling hopeful about my work future for the first time in about 5 years.

Thankfully, through all this stress, I did not go off my eating plan and stayed within my calories and even managed to hit 10,000 steps 5/7 days last week. Yesterday I topped 17,000 steps. I am not sure how my walking/step count will be whilst working again, as I don't have a walk to/from work or train station. Once I am into the routine of getting up early again, I may walk part way in the morning since it is light now at 6 a.m. I will see how it goes. Since I should be home fairly early, I will be able to go out walking after dinner as well.

We had a lovely thunder and lightening storm last night and I lay in bed watching the lightening bounce off the building and hear the rain pound the windows. Everything was so green this morning and it smelled like summer time, you know? It is thundering again now and I think we are in for another storm tonight.


Apr 30, 2014

On Life and Death

This week I learned a dear friend has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. She is in the hospital but will not go home again.  This woman is a friend’s mother, but she is more than that. When I was 16, my parents had divorced and my mum returned to her hometown in England with my younger brothers and sister in tow. I could have gone with her, but I didn’t want to leave Canada, I had lived in England for a few years and hated it. Plus, England was in a recession and there were no jobs and I knew that we would not be able to afford post secondary education, my best chance for my future at that point was to stay here. I was estranged from my father, so once my mum and siblings stepped on that plane – I was alone.

But I wasn’t – not really. I had planned to live with my friend Karen’s family until I finished Grade 12. I was already close to all of them, Karen and I were like sisters and I adored her brothers.  Her parents were a little quirky, very different from my own, but they treated me well and were very kind to me. I worked part time and paid a token amount of rent and did some chores and helped with caregiving for the youngest child, I contributed as much as I knew how.

Her mum, Elaine (the friend who is now dying), was so exotic and glamourous compared to my mum, even though Elaine was about 3 years older than my mum. She wore jeans and red stillettos, died her hair red, wore makeup and bright lipstick, smoked, drank and swore like a sailor, danced around the living room to Duran Duran and Van Halen and didn’t cook much very much.  She adored her children  and showered them with love and affection. 

My own mum was the complete opposite. I know she loved us but she was not demonstrative or easy to talk to.  I could tell Elaine anything and everything and she never judged, she would offer advice if asked – but mostly she would tell a story about her own experiences.

She would ask tough questions, not to get answers, but to make us think.

Elaine helped me out of my very introverted shell and helped me realise that I controlled my future and I controlled my life. She taught me that heels always make legs look better and a pair of jeans that fit perfectly were worth a million dollars. She made me realise that it was ok to like boys, but not ok to like them more than anything else and never to put a boy on a pedestal higher than me.

She taught me so much.

Once I left her home to go out on my own at the end of grade 12, I lost touch with Elaine and her family for many years.  When we reconnected, she welcomed me, my husband and my children with open arms as if no time had passed at all.

As I sat with her tonight and we laughed about the ridiculous hospital gowns, the hospital window overlooking a brick wall, why hospital water tastes funny, her lack of a pedicure, her grandchildren and those who have already left us….I realised that I never realised before how much she shaped my young life, and in doing so, helped to make the person I am today. I don’t know if I ever thanked her properly for being there when I thought I had no one else.

She is comfortable right now, pain medications are helping her get through her remaining days and nights. She is lucid and funny and so full of grace.

She is concerned about the children and grandchildren she is leaving behind and wants to make everything as easy for them as possible. She is not shy about talking about her death. She is facing it, as I have always known her to face anything – openly, graciously and with humour and courage.

She does not have much time left here with us, hours, days…at the most weeks, but she is determined to make sure our last memories of her are of her smile and her love.

Apr 12, 2014

Oops…Here I am.

Well it’s a been awhile. It was actually an intentional absence.  I had started to write a few posts but I was in such a negative frame of mind that even when I read what I had written, it was embarrassingly pitiful and whingy…so I hit delete.

I have been job hunting and also exploring going back to school. There has been a lot of soul searching and many decisions made then changed then made again. I’ve never been in the position of not knowing what the best next step is. I still haven’t decided but I think I have a plan and until I know if it will work out one way or the other, I don’t want to mention it…so bear with me!!!

Finally, the Hamilton weather seems to have turned the corner into Spring.  Walking has been lovely and although everything is gray and brown, I am waking up to birds singing instead of snow plows and there are little peeks of green here and there.

I am still going to the diabetic clinic every two weeks. I’ll report next week where I’m at. I had a meltdown moment with one of the doctors a few weeks ago that was not pretty and not good for my emotional state of mind or anything else!  It took me a few days to get over it, I will admit.

I have been off all sugar and grains for 4 weeks now and am feeling good.  I can’t say it’s Paleo as I do eat some dairy in my whey protein shakes and sour cream or cheese as a garnish for chili or other meals.  But mostly I eat meat, vegetables (all kinds), legumes and fruits.  I am actually waking up full of energy instead of feeling hungover. I’ve tried to do this before and not had much success, I am not sure what has clicked this time around, but except for when I did Whole30, I have never stuck to it more than a week a time and thankfully, I didn’t binge when I went off, but those foods would slowly creep back in.  To give you an idea of my perseverance, I won a contest through my BookCrossing friends that was called “Chicklit and Chocolate” and the winner (me) received a book and a bar of chocolate from the participants. Eight packages from all over the world arrived with a fun novel and a huge bar of chocolate. Swiss and Belgium chocolate and my beloved English Dairy Milk bar!!! I left them in the freezer and eventually, Liam and his friends ate them.  I don’t think it was hard not to eat them, I just told myself that chocolate wasn’t going to make me healthy and it seemed ok, they were also out of sight so that probably helped.

I also started a local meet up group for BookCrossing. A few of us get together once a month to talk and swap books. It’s been a lot of fun and slowly our little group has grown.  I know some of my followers live in my city, so if you’re a reader and want to meet new people and some new authors, you are more than welcome to join us and bring a friend as well.  Being a BookCrossing member is not necessary but we hope you’ll become a convert ;)  Feel free to email me or leave me a message here if you’d like more information, or join our FaceBook Group at Hamilton BookCrossing.

March 30 I did the Around the Bay 5K (walking) with my friend Melissa. I woke up to snow that morning on our Mountain but when we got downtown there was no snow thankfully, and soon enough, the sun came out and we had lovely blue skies and sunshine for our walk. A bit of a recap at My Events blog. Here’s me, red face and medal!

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Feb 27, 2014

Diabetes Clinic–Visit 4

Just a quick update:

Weight: 210.8 (-1.8 from last visit)

BP: 114/72

The doctor I saw this time was another new one (to me) and I liked her. She explained my some tests I had a few weeks ago and was very encouraging. She said the clinic’s goal is to help patients lose weight and keep it off and she thinks, for me, 1 lb a week is a perfect rate of loss. She said I could lose more, and people do, but the goal is not to lose weight but to keep it off this time, which has always been my struggle. I didn’t ask her name, but I will when I go back in two weeks, I really liked her.

Not much else going on. Still job hunting. Still reading and walking a lot.

The job hunting has picked up, I’ve had a few interviews and am scheduled for second interviews for two positions, both in Hamilton, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that one of them works out. They are both good but there is one I would choose over the other, if I had a choice, but at this point, beggars can’t be choosers!

I’ve won quite a few books in the last few weeks from GoodReads and also through contests by BookCrossing members so I’ve not been short of reading material and I’ve been writing reviews, which gives me something other than cover letters and resume writing to think about.  My book blog is at: BookEnz and Bookshelves at http://www.bookenzandbookshelves.blogspot.com .

The weather is still crazy cold; –21 C again today and tomorrow and going out to the clinic in the cold yesterday triggered a flare up, everything hurt today, but epsom salts work wonders and I am feeling somewhat better tonight.

I won a pair of walking shoes as well, from Vionic. They are very pretty and extremely comfortable. I will write more about them later as well as the walking challenge they are promoting.  It was great to win them as my running shoes are quite worn out and I wasn’t going to be able to replace them until I was employed again.

I won a pair of Zen Walkers.

Feb 12, 2014

Diabetes Clinic - Visit 3

Today was my third visit to the Diabetes Clinic I am going to instead of Weight Watchers. It's basically to weigh in every week, check my blood pressure and get general weight loss/diabetes advice. The clinic also does weight loss surgery and the doctors there really, really push it.  There are a group of doctors and a group of educators and I don't always see the same ones. 

Last week I saw both an educator and a doctor who made me question if I even wanted to go back. They were both very condescending. The doctor actually told me that I had zero chance of getting to my goal weight and staying there, the only way would be with bariatric surgery.  I told her that I knew several people who had succeeded with diet and exercise and had kept weight off for over 5 years and some over 10 and she said they would eventually gain their weight back. I found her to be so discouraging and so negative that it took all my resolve to not get up and walk out. Today was to be my test of if I was going to stay with the program or not.

Today I saw the doctor that runs both clinics (he was the first doctor I met with) and he was wonderful. The first visit I told him I wasn't interested in bariatric surgery right now and he did tell me the risks and benefits and said if I changed my mind to let him know. He didn't mention it again today and he was pleased with my 4 lb loss in two weeks on my own (i.e. not following their program yet as I just received my caloric goals today).

Based on my lifestyle, age, RMR test and maybe the colour of the sky today, they want me to aim for 1500 calories a day based on 55% carbs, 25% protein and 20% fat.  

On my own the last two weeks I've been 1100-1300 calories, 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fat so it's not far off. I haven't done anything drastic. The biggest change was cutting out diet pop and ensuring I avoid wheat and sugar.  He did want me to increase my calories by having 2 snacks a day but I am honestly not hungry when I eat this way. Unless I let sugar tempt me - I don't need to eat every 2-3 hours. Every 5-6 is fine. I will try and increase my meals a bit to get closer to 1500 and see how it goes, but I know from past experience, I lose better around 1200 calories average/day.

He said that as long as I keep losing and my bloodwork comes back ok, there's no reason to change what I've been doing.  Even the educator was so encouraging and helpful. Hopefully if I get last week's doctor again I can just clench my teeth and let her ramble and ignore her. 

It's an OHIP run clinic and program so I can't pick and choose which doctors I want to see for this program but I am guaranteed to see today's doctor at least once a month as he's the head of the program.

Today's doctor also said that getting to a goal weight is not his goal for me. It's to get to a weight that is healthy and sustainable for the rest of my life and he said that may be 10 - 15 lbs over my ideal weight but that is better than 70 lbs over my ideal weight if I can sustain it rather than get to 130 and then go back up to 200 in six months. He said the statistics are that most people regain their weight in within 5 years, with 75% gaining back all they lost and more, in the first 24 months. He was encouraging though that I didn't have to be one of those people and that he was determined that he do all he can to help me be the successful statistic.

They also have classes and seminars about nutrition and cooking which look interesting and I may go because I always believe that being informed is a good thing.

I mostly signed up for the program because I just can't afford Weight Watchers while I am unemployed and really I do best when I can weigh in each week, this has the added bonus of them monitoring my blood work and my meds as well so I don't need to go into Toronto every three months to see my endocrinologist unless there is a problem or a major change is needed. 

As well today was a beautiful day, weather wise. No wind!!! It was cold for sure, but no wind which makes a huge difference and bright blue skies and sunshine. I walked several blocks instead of waiting for the bus and then walked a few more just because it felt so good to be outside and not be chilled to the bone.

I think I'll do a weekly recap here on my blog just to keep track.

Keep in mind, the 'weeks' aren't always full weeks and sometimes are more than week.

Visit 1 - January 29 - Weight: 216.6  BP 120/78

Visit 2 - February 7 - Weight 215.2 BP 122/80

Visit 3 - February 12 - Weight 212.6 \BP - Not taken.

Visit 4 - Scheduled for Feb 19.

Oh if you're on MyFitnessPal, I'm downwardtrenz - friend me!!!


Feb 7, 2014

Well it's a new year.

I haven't been blogging just because I haven't had anything to say really. Winter is always very hard on me, the darkness, the cold...and this year even more so because it is extremely cold this year compared to the last few years and being outside for even 15-20 minutes when its -20C triggers a fibro flare up that puts me in pain all of the next day, so there are time I'm a bit reclusive. Add to that, that there is nothing 'new' in my life to write about.....and well here it is, a new year.

That's not to say all is bad. Except for not having a job, life is going well. This job search is taking far longer than I comfortable with and although I know December/January are not great job hunting months, my benefits don't get extended an extra two months just because there were so few job postings for those two months!

Health wise, I am doing ok. I'm sitting about 215 lbs which is a gain from where I was before I became very ill with the first fibro flare up just over a year ago, but it is coming down from my highest last Winter when I went from very active to a couch potato almost overnight.

Since the cold is keeping me inside, I'm walking up and down the stairs in my apartment building for about 20 min each day and when it is warm enough, I walk outside for 30-60 min.  Food wise, I am still avoiding processed foods unless I am served them at someone's home and then I eat one or two mouthfuls to be polite and focus on the vegetables and proteins.

I am still in love with my FitBit but forget to wear it a lot of days as I've gotten out of the habit. I'm using MFP to log calories and I am weighing in at the Diabetes Clinic once a week to give me some kind of accountability and keep me motivated since I can't afford WW whilst unemployed.  Thankfully, my diabetes has remained controlled and there are no worries there.

I'm not sure what I want this blog to be anymore - I don't feel like writing about losing weight, when clearly - this is not my forte!  That doesn't mean I am settling where I am or am accepting this weight, it just means, I think I've said anything I (or anyone else) could ever say about this process and there's nothing new.

For now, I think I'll use it as a log like I did in the very beginning.

I have still been reading all your posts although I don't comment much and I know some of you keep up with me on FaceBook, which is awesome to see you doing so well ! I have to give a shout out to my Blogging and FB buddy, Cowgirl Warrior who never, ever ceases to inspire me with her positive attitude and her refusal to do anything but her best. Reading your posts brightens my day and gives me so much encouragement.