Hope Wissel, Recovery, Weigh to Goal

Jiggle Thighs and Acceptance

Once a month, I am doing a “me blog post”.  Basically, sharing my strength, hope and experience about something.  I looked back on past blog posts for inspiration when I stumbled on one I did in April 2013.

I am learning to accept me for me.  Not easy since I have had a negative self image for as long as I can remember.  Why is it the negative is easier to remember with my MS than the positive things?  A post for another time….

For as long as I can remember, I have had “bumps” on the top of my thighs and my thighs jiggled.  Yes, they got smaller with the loss of 105 pounds but they are still there!  There was even a time when I was working at WAWA where I think they were not as obvious – at least to me.  I mean standing on your feet and doing lots of walking (15,000 steps a day) had some benefits even though I usually felt like a MAC truck hit me.  As my MS reared its ugly head, I struggled with walking long distances.  I struggled with being on my feet a lot so of course working was no long an option. What is a girl to do?  I ride a stationary bike at least 3 times a week, I walk when I can but probably not nearly as much as I should. Opps, there is that word “should”.  I hate wearing my brace on walks because I am forced to accept my limitations due to my MS.

Since COVID and the move, I have been living in yoga/leggings.  I have maintained my BIG weight loss and am about 10 pounds from my original goal weight yet the “jiggle thighs” seem to still be there.  Of course, to me they are really obvious because my waist shrinks (the first place I lose weight) and nothing is in proportion.  So maybe this isn’t your problem area, maybe it is the “jiggle arms” or the muffin top or the roll our bra creates – no matter what we all seem to judge ourselves when we look in the mirror.

How about this thought….My jiggle thighs (or your problem area) are evidence of God’s goodness in my life! Sounds crazy, right? Mind you I never notice this or any other problem area on other people, just on myself.  Most people don’t mention it – okay maybe an occasional child who is curious but why wouldn’t they be – I’m curious as to know why God has blessed me with these wonderful thighs.  LOL.

 
I read something awhile ago by Jen Wilken who wrote The expectation of physical perfection hits modern females early and often”.  Expectations, OMG!  I have learned in my recovery journey, expectations are not good.   She goes on to say Increasingly, physical perfection is the legacy of womanhood in our culture, handed down with meticulous care from mother to daughter, with more faithful instruction in word and deed than we can trouble to devote to cultivating kindness, peacemaking, and acceptance that characterize unfading, inner beauty.”
 
I say all this to say – let’s not torture ourselves with lies about the need to have a perfect body or to be an ideal weight.  I am not saying – don’t be healthy, what I am saying is strive for a goal that is reachable for you.  I am learning to accept me for me – jiggle thighs and all – knowing I am beautifully made by God.  I am not less than because it has taken me a “LONG” time to reach my goal weight.  I am not less than because my body is not a perfect size 10.  There will be ups and downs in my weight loss journey just like there is in life.  Consider those “downs” as blessings where we learn more about ourselves and our relationship with our Higher Power. Learning to love myself is one of the hardest things I have ever done!  
 
Today, I am living in the hope, security and the arms of a Higher Power who loves me unconditionally.  Give yourself a break today and know as long as you are trying your best – that is all that God is asking of you.
 
For tips on healthy weight loss check out – Weight Watchers. This is the program I lost all of my weight on.  It took me longer than I expected. There are those “expectations” again.  I compared myself to others (guess that is a character defect I will need to deal with, LOL) and still do in many areas of my life.  Just for today, I looked in the mirror and actual like the person I am.  Give yourself a break.  If you can’t love yourself totally, find at least ONE area you can love (great smile, pretty eyes, great personality) and count your blessings.  Have patience, and think positive thoughts.
 
Have ThirtyOne-derful day.
Relax, Reflect, Recharge

When You Don’t Want to Go Back to the Way You Were

Thank you Sharon Jaynes for today’s  message:

I just got my braces off…again.

I have had braces on my upper teeth three times. Count them. One. Two. Three.

As the orthodontist explained, “Teeth have a memory. They always want to go back to the way they were.”

As soon as he said those words, I felt convicted. I have a tendency to go back to the way I was.

We all do.

Karen (not her real name) admitted to single handedly destroying her marriage with passive aggressive coldness, destructive words, and disrespect of the worst kind. After her husband walked away from the marriage, she had a Holy Spirit moment and realized what she had done. Karen’s heart softened and she vowed never be that woman again.

She immersed herself in Bible study and began to pray for her ex-husband even though the marriage was over. Karen took on the beautiful holy glow of a woman who knew she was totally forgiven and completely loved by God. Miraculously, her ex-husband saw the change, and the marriage was restored!

However, after a few years, the destructive behavior began to creep back in.

A word here.

A cold shoulder there.

A retreating into self for weeks at a time.

Ten years after the miraculous restoration, the marriage crashed and burned.

“Teeth have a memory. They always want to go back to the way they were.”

Jesus saw this tendency to fall into old ways when He cleaned out the temple. In the beginning of his ministry, after his first miracle of turning the water into wine at the wedding of Cana, He traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover.

“In the temple courts he found men selling cattle, sheep and doves and others sitting at tables exchanging money. So he made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle, he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, ‘Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father’s house into a market.’” (John 2:14-16 NIV)

Three years later, during his last week of life on earth, Jesus came upon the unholy mess again.

“Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. ‘It is written,’ he said to them, ‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it a den of robbers’” (Matthew 21:12-13 NIV).

How did the corruption happen the second time?I don’t think it happened all at once. After Jesus cleared out the temple initially, I suspect it stayed that way for a time. But one day, a money changer set up his table. Then another brought in a few birds, followed by a couple of sheep, and then here came a cow.

The next thing you know, the temple wasn’t any different than it was before Jesus cleared it out and cleaned it up three years earlier. In three years it had reverted back to an unholy mess.

And God whispers in my ear: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV).

Sometimes I am that messy temple.

Swept-clean sinful behavior, ungodly thoughts, and jump-off-the-cliff emotions are itching to creep back in at all times. It is up to me (and to you) to keep the temple clean.

Perhaps you’ve had a Holy Spirit moment at some point in your life—a moment that caused you to make a major lifestyle change.

But for the moment to maintain momentum, we need to be constantly aware of our tendency to revert…to go back to the way we were.

I am so thankful that Jesus went back to clean out the temple a second time. It lets me know that He will graciously return to my messy self again and again with broom in hand.

I don’t know about you, but I never want to go back to the way I was.If you’re willing to take a few moments and ask God if there is something you’ve allowed to creep back in, join me in praying Psalm 51 in the prayer below.

Then leave a comment and say, “I’m doing it today!”

Have a blessed day!

Unclutter Your Life

The Last 90 Days…

 

SURPRISE!!!  This is not about the actual past 90 days but about how I plan to do things differently in the next 90 days so I can end the year on a different note…

If you haven’t heard of Rachel Hollis yet, you must be living under a rock!  LOL!  I am reading her book “Girl Wash Your Face” again and loving it!  I was introduced (not personally) to this amazing women by my pink bubble sisters and I have to say, I wasn’t sure I could jump on the bandwagon…. WHY?

Damn MS has taken a lot of my processing abilities away along with my memory!
Occasionally, I get glimpses into the mind I once had, when things seem to be clicking again. These moments are reminders of a time (since passed) when my cognitive abilities got me  through grant writing, managing a non-profit, being a single mom and creating programs to help make a difference in the lives of others.  I was blessed to have those abilities and be able to share them with others.  Now, after years (yup memory loss has been going on for about 5 years) of battling with cognitive dysfunction (a fancy term for memory loss) because of Multiple Sclerosis, I have fewer moments when my brain feels like it’s clear and working like it did.  Of all of the symptoms I’ve experienced because of MS, the loss of memory is the the one which bothers me the most.

So what does all of this have to do with the last 90 days?  Instead of focusing on what should of, would of or could have happened, I’m taking baby steps into being the best me I can be right now!

I have told myself countless lies which I actually started to believe them about being less then and not deserving of good things.  WHY?  Because those nasty inner gremlins of my past addictive personality were raging their ugly head.  I couldn’t see the good happening around me because the trees of negativity were growing fast and furious.

Instead of beating myself up on the days I can’t get things done, I am embracing the things I can get done.  Some days, it is just getting up, taking a shower and plopping in the chair watching mindless TV.  Then there are days when I am awake at 4:30AM, ready to ride the stationary bike for a half hour before getting into my office to get to work.  Really, it does happen!

So, when the #last90day challenge was issued by my pink bubble sister, Hope Shortt, during a leadership call – I JUMPED in.  Not literally because I was filled with fear and doubt.  As others expressed their fears, I knew we could overcome them if we banded together – set goals and cast the vision out into the universe.

As you can tell, today is a good day!  The brain is running at full speed and I am rambling on about things which hopefully will help someone else.  I need to remember to not worry about tomorrow, and to stay in the moment.  I need to not kick myself with regrets for things not done yesterday, I need to stay in the moment.

My cognitive problems can either be my demise or I can consider them a blessing.  Honestly, there are days I beat myself up, apologize profusely and wallow on the pity pot because of my cognitive problems.  As I reflect on why I stopped working in a job I loved, the truth is the struggles were taking a toll on my health.  Could I admit it then, nope!  Who would have thought the memory problems I was having were related to the lesions on my brain?  Let alone end in a diagnosis of MS.

I am learning to embrace the  “fog” in my head when it happens.  Working my own business allows for those days.  I have moments when I’m not thinking clearly or logically (some would wonder if I ever did).  I do puzzles and games on those days to help stimulate my brain to think differently.  There are days when things flow smoothly – yup, it happens, but it’s unpredictable.

For the #last90days, I’m going to try each day to be a better version of ME.  I’m not going to get frustrated when getting interrupted means completely losing my thought process or what I’m doing. I will embrace my GPS even when I think I should know where I am going (yup, I forget directions).  I will stop thinking of the person who excelled at multitasking and embrace the person who sometimes can’t even have another sound in the background when trying to work or write.

Yup, I squirreled (maybe even a lot) but the whole idea is about making a change in the last 90 days of 2018!  Why is it so important?  Because when I set my goals at the start of 2019, I want to know I am already on my way to reaching them.  It is time to kick it up a notch to finish the year strong, meeting the goals I set in January 2018 so 2019 does not look like a repeat of 2018.

So, who wants to join me on the #last90days?  Don’t worry about the big goals, work on just these 5 things:

  1. Get up an hour earlier than you normally do and use this time for YOU!
  2. Workout at least 30 minutes
  3. Drink half your body weight in water
  4. Give up ONE food category you shouldn’t be eating
  5. Write down 10 things you are grateful for each day

When you do these things, you will be amazed at the difference in makes in your life.  Have faith and JUMP into this journey with us.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!

 

MS will Not Define Me

I Don’t Remember

As I sat at the computer thinking about what I wanted to write about today, I had a brain fog moment.  A moment when I couldn’t remember what I had been writing about the past few days let alone the past few weeks or months.  As I scrolled through the published posts and the scheduled ones, I couldn’t remember writing some of them.
So, why am I telling you all of this?  It has been awhile since I shared about my MS journey.  For some, you may tune out.  For others, they are curious.  While still others have been on this journey with me so they totally get it.
How often have you said “I don’t remember”?  Maybe you walk into another room and forget what you went in the room for?  Go to the store and forget to get things unless they are on a list.  Imagine if every day was like that – every hour even.  Welcome to my life with MS.  I don’t say it for sympathy, it is more about me starting to accept the impact it has on my life and others.
Most days, I just let things slide.  Family and close friends try to adjust to the fact I don’t remember things or even times spent together.  The hardest are the missing memories of childhood – mine, my daughter growing up, my wedding, high school and so much more.  Not to mention the frustration as I try to work my business remembering customers and hostesses or even the names of products or prints.
Those who meet me just think it is a “senior moment” when the reality is I honestly don’t remember.  I remember faces (most of the time) but names I’m not very good at.  I may know I “should know you” but don’t know how or why.
Today is Thursday and I can barely remember what I did on Saturday or Sunday even though I lived through them.  I think hard about the weekend but the only thing I remember is I can’t remember.  Thankful for my planner where I write down scheduled plans and even note things I have done in case I forget and try to do them again – like pay bills, make calls to customers, etc.
There are so many things which could have filled my time. It’s possible I might have buried a dead body in the back yard (nope, hubby is still here with me – LOL), I could have won a years supply of chocolate (now I’m stalking the UPS driver), or I maybe I robbed a bank and am now a multi-millionaire so I should have moved to a tropical island escaping the cold weather.  Who knows? I sure don’t.
The one thing I am blessed with I’m still breathing, I’m alive alive, and ready for a new day, It’s weird how my brain works. You have heard about selective hearing where people can tune out things which annoy them? Well I think I have selective thinking.  No, really at a talk last week, the doctor said “the most common symptom of MS is cognitive issues and memory loss”.  HELLOOOO!!! I have been saying it for years.  It honestly was nice to hear a medical doctor confirm it and say it out loud – or did I dream it?
What truly amazes me (and everyone around me) is I have no problem remembering the words to songs but easily forget Sunday is trash day or Wednesday is recycling.  If I didn’t have reminders on my phone or it written in my planner I’d probably not get anything done.
I forget to call people back, answer text messages and respond to emails. It’s not intentional. It just is what it is. If I haven’t responded to you…I’m sorry. If I forgot your birthday or anniversary…again, sorry.  If I can’t remember your favorite color, miss an appointment because I didn’t have it written down or forgot your name, trust me, it’s not on purpose.
Multiple sclerosis just has this way of scrambling my thoughts and at times turning them into mush. Sometimes I wonder how I get anything done at all.
Time to get some things done – now where did I put the list?
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!
Clear the Clutter

Make a Clean Sweep

cleaning-queen-with-a-crown-and-sweeping-broom-women-s-t-shirts-women-s-t-shirt-by-american-apparel

Okay, you can stop laughing now because for those who know me they know I am NOT the “cleaning queen”.  I am always amazed at the similarities between reducing clutter in our home and our weight loss journey.  The truth is when we reduce clutter – mentally and physically – we lighten our journey.  Who doesn’t want to be lighter, right?

Organizing your physical space – as well as your mental space – can banish distractions so you can focus on things which really matter to you.  What matter’s most to you?  For me, in addition to my faith, family and business…..my health and weight loss journey has become something which is in the top 5 of my “what matters’ most” list.

Did you know a chaotic environment can leave you open to making unhealthy food choices?  According to a recent study, disorder leads to stress and stress spikes your body’s cortisol levels which in turn may make your body hold onto excess weight.  Hmmm.. can I use this as a reason if I don’t loose any weight this week?  So, a clean sweep not only helps you to get organized BUT it also promotes healthy behavior like eating fresh fruits and veggies, moving your bike to the front of the garage instead of buried in the back and having a serene bedroom for a good night’s sleep.  Plus all of this moving around is exercise (yes, I went there) so you are getting double benefits.

Physical space is often easy to unclutter because we see it every day.  What about making a mental clean sweep?  This isn’t always so easy.  Here are some tips to help you on this project:

  1. Write Down Your To-Dos.  No matter how good your memory is, we all forget things.  Lately, I forget more often than I care to admit.  The thing is when we record tasks and reminders on paper or on a digital list (if you are tech savvy), you free up your brain space.  When you free up your brain space of your to-dos, you have space to get creative, dream and work on ideas floating around waiting to be discovered.
  2. Create Email Folders.  I know this may be a no-brainer for some but I know people who keep everything in one “general” folder then spend countless hours searching for things.  A waste of time and energy.  I have have become more specific with my email folders – bills (to pay & paid), upcoming events, follow-up, potential hostess, team news, and the list goes on.   When was the last time you went looking for an email only to find oodles of them and you couldn’t find the one message which told you what time to be at a meeting?  Make folders which work for you then as you read an email – delete, move to an action file or save.  The key is to not touch an email more than once, if possible.  I used to use this same theory in my office – it saved me moving papers from pile to pile and getting nothing accomplished.
  3. Speak Your Mind.  Yup, I struggle with this one.  In a perfect world, I would be comfortable telling others when I feel slighted, bothered or angry.  Since we don’t live in a perfect world,  I have a hard time speaking my thoughts especially if they don’t agree with others in the room.  If you are good at doing this – AWESOME!  Keep it up.  If you aren’t, why not try speaking your thoughts out loud in an empty room.  Sounds silly right?  The truth is when you voice your opinion, share your feelings and hear yourself out – you can let go of the feelings continuing on with your day.  Believe me, this does work.

a1c353598fba4274bbaa8284a73c0575

Now, it is your turn… what steps are your going to take to organize your physical space?  Need some help, ask me about an “organizing session” and let me help you with a difficult space.

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!