My Year To Thrive

"My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style." ~Maya Angelou


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NIH study shows people with serious mental illnesses can lose weight, March 21, 2013 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The Frogman: Emergency Blog Kitten

Since the article has no images, it seemed like a good time to break out the emergency blog kitten.
(source: The Frogman)

NIH study shows people with serious mental illnesses can lose weight, March 21, 2013 News Release – National Institutes of Health (NIH)

People with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression can lose weight and keep it off through a modified lifestyle intervention program, a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study reported online today in The New England Journal of Medicine.

This is one of those studies I read that made my head a’splode.  Not because I don’t agree with the mentally ill losing weight, you know I certainly support healthy behaviors regardless of a weight loss goal, but because it is one of those studies where they draw their conclusions based on things that will never work in the real world.

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Shame-Loss Ads | The Nearsighted Owl

I am going to take weight loss ads and redraw them to be body positive. Instead of encouraging you to drop pounds, they will celebrate dropping our body shame and fat hate! It was satisfying to take a message I have been assaulted with since the holidays and transform it into something I am in love with.
~Rachele, The Nearsighted Owl

Happy being fat

All images are from The Nearsighted Owl & clicking them takes you to the source post.

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Weekly Update: Jan 7-13, 2013

I see exercise taking this perverted detour. The original intention of exercise was to heal and maintain health. Now I see it as having nothing to do with health. I see most exercises based on looking good. They actually make you less healthy. You overdevelop the obvious muscles. You take drugs to enhance that. You ignore the rest, and you become more out of balance.
~Bryan Kest 
(Quote Garden)

 Not going to break this week down because I’ve done a lot that wasn’t tracked anywhere.

I started my strength training & tennis classes this week..  The ST class was folded in with other classes that didn’t have enough students left after the drop period to be their own class, so it will be more general that just lifting.  She is going give me a personalized lifting regimen though & said I could just lift if that’s all I wanted to do.  I’m down for mixing it up though.  Tennis was just a “hey, how ya doing” class this week, so nothing to report there.  I have already informed a friend that she is going to be my tennis partner & I will teach her how to be a shitty tennis player just like me!

Said friend & I also joined a gym this week.  I went a few days.  Since it’s January it’s been extra busy this week, but I did the bike, a fusion class, & some treadmill intervals.  That was fun.  We have our consult with the trainer Tuesday & we’ll see what comes of that.  I have already told her I will not weigh or have my body fat percentage taken, & I don’t need to know what my BMI is.  She looked at me like I had two heads.  I want to focus on what I can do & how I feel.  What I weigh is irrelevant. Continue reading


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A Day Late: 2012 In Review

“Year’s end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us.”
~Hal Borland (Quote Garden)

Goodbye, 2012!

So the quote & the pic are a bit contradictory, but that seems to suit me.  I had intended to do this yesterday when all the good bloggers were doing it, but you’ve probably figured out by now I’m not one of those people.  One of my resolves for 2012 was not to let blogging become something else to stress over, & it has certainly made this the shelter it was meant to be.  I plan to keep that up in 2013, but I do have a goal of posting more regularly since I am still working on habit building & getting into schedules I can rely on when I feel like falling apart.  It happens.

Not to mention I plan on doing more career path type writing, so this is good practice.  I joined the Mental Health Writers Guild.  Hopefully I can get their logo up soon, since it just happened over the weekend.  I’ve also agreed to do a radio show for a friend who is starting an internet radio station.  It’ll be a fun chance for me to focus on my funny stuff & just acting stupid for people who can’t actually see me while I’m doing it.  Win – Win.  One of the things I want to try is stand-up, also writing & voice work so it was a perfect opportunity.

2012 was a pretty good year for me.  First & foremost, I didn’t kill anyone, including myself.  That’s always worthy of celebration.  Technologically I upgraded to a smartphone & was able to start using gps tracking during my runs & mood/med trackers, as well as others.  It’s still kind of new, but I plan to discuss the ones I’ve tried in a post soon-ish.

I got deeper into my running, & was finally able to run a mile.  I went on to pass the 5K mark, & “ran” my first official 5K.  The race didn’t go well for me, but it did help me identify some problems with my anxiety & discomfort with new environments.  I also did a guest post over at Salty Running about being a fat runner.  (I’ve been invited to guest post on another active lifestyle blog.)

A part of my running has been embracing Health At Every Size (HAES), so I focus on running because I enjoy it & because it makes me feel better mentally & physically, not as means of punishing myself for something I ate or simply for having the wrong sort of body.  It has made a huge difference in my enjoyment of movement & how I feel about myself.  No giving up because I’m not losing the weight I expected.

I survived another hospitalization right after the race where I was put on an antidepressant & my anxiety med was bumped up from prn to twice daily.  That has made a big difference.

I have become more social, reconnected with an old friend in the area, & have even started connecting with some single men in an effort to get back into the dating scene.  My self-confidence is way up, & I have shaken all but a few cobwebs of the worthless feelings off.  I’ve been taking more care of my appearance, even dressing up when I go out more, & documenting it in pics ^_^  (I bought a curling iron…)

And naturally I ended a really good year of taking meds & keeping appointments, & making good progress, by getting kicked out of the mental health center again.  le sigh  I have a post planned about it, but end of the year prep has kept me too busy to think much about it.

That’s the highlights of my 2012 as far as this blog is concerned.  Hopefully I’ll get back on tonight to discuss my plans for 2013.  In the meantime, here are some gratuitous pics of me behind the jump.  Hope you had a great 2012 & are looking forward an even better 2013!

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Epilepsy Drug Shows Promise as Weight-Loss Aid, Study Says | MedlinePlus

foot on a scale from NIH

Epilepsy Drug Shows Promise as Weight-Loss Aid, Study Says: MedlinePlus

Ugh, another diet pill story.  Usually I pass these things by, but this one just got under my skin tonight.  I wasn’t really in a blogging mood, but since I did a mini-rant on my personal fb page I figured I might as well go ahead & do this while I have my ranty pants on.

Patients who took 400 milligrams of the anti-seizure drug zonisamide daily for a year lost nearly 7.5 pounds more on average than those assigned to dietary and lifestyle changes alone, the new study found. But they also suffered more side effects than patients not taking the medication.

Emphasis my own to point out to you this medication only averaged an extra 7.5lbs IN A YEAR over lifestyle changes alone.  And what are some of those side effects?

But patients in both drug groups faced a higher risk for side effects, including diarrhea, headache, fatigue, nausea/vomiting, concentration and memory difficulties, anxiety, and depression-related symptoms.

Do any of those sound like fun?  Do any of them sound worth an extra 7.5lbs in a year?  Of course, that’s a subjective question everyone has to decide for themselves, but for me the answer would be a resounding NO.

Having struggled with Depression since I was 14yo, along with having IBS, anxiety, chronic headaches, & pretty much all of those things listed, I find it disturbing they would so easily shrug off the side effects over such a small amount of weight.  Diet pills in general make me want to puke, but as I said this especially gets to me.

If it’s really about health, why don’t we promote nutrition & exercise, & leave the bull shit like diet pills out of the equation?  (Not to condemn people who go that route.  It is a personal thing that’s everyone’s right to choose for themselves.  This is just my general opinion on the issue.)  And why don’t we spend more time promoting those for every body, not just the fat ones?  People talk about losing weight for our health, but if you can be a size 2 while sitting on your ass scarfing cheeseburgers all day no one says boo to you.  They think you’re a magic unicorn & wish they could be so lucky.  Doritos don’t count as health food just because your jeans are the right size.

I am going to close by stealing a comment from a friend of mine who is epileptic:

My seizure meds can be used as diet pills too if given the right dosage, but the side effects from something like Zonegran is far out and I wouldn’t be taking it if I didn’t have to.


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Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders | World of Psychology

Our current culture presents a confusing array of messages about eating and body image. We see media images which promote unrealistic (and generally unreal) bodies paired with headlines about obesity prevention programs; news stories about eating disorders alongside multiple supersize food options; push for perfection alongside marketing for indulgence.

Psych Central Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders

Helping to End Eating- and Weight-Related Disorders | World of Psychology

Man, does that first paragraph bring back some memories!  When I was a skinny teenager, after I had moved in with my dad, when I went to visit my mom the first thing she would do was try to give me a diet pill.  Next she would launch into trying to feed me & if I wasn’t hungry – oh, because maybe I had just eaten – she would tell me I was anorexic.  Granted, my mother didn’t take diet pills for diet reasons.  There’s a few reasons why she dropped dead of a heart attack at 60yo.

There are truths about eating and bodies which seem to get lost somewhere between childhood and teenage years. Young babies and toddlers generally find joy in their bodies, no matter what their size or shape, and they listen to their bodily cues such as eating when they are hungry and stopping when they are full.

Seven steps from NEDA (National Eating Disorders Association) to help prevent eating disorders are outlined in the post.

  • Everybody is different
  • Listen to your body.
  • No dieting.
  • Move often.
  • Reject weight bias.
  • Avoid comparing your body to your friends’ bodies or to the bodies you see in the media.
  • Handle life difficulties with healthy coping techniques, not through over- or undereating.

For more depth on the steps, I encourage you read the full post.

I think a recent post  by Ragen Chastain over at Dances with Fat, “Obesity & Eating Disorders, complements this well.  She discusses the ignorance of modern thinking about fat people & eating disorders.  People considered overweight or obese are not only ignored when they have eating disorders, they are actually encouraged because our society, & even our healthcare system, believe in weight loss at any cost.

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The HAES® Master Class, Sept 20-21

HAES Master Class

Welcome To The HAES® Master Class!

I received my Body Love Wellness email from Golda Poretsky the other day & in it was an announcement about the upcoming HAES Master Class, a two day online workshop with numerous speakers from the HAES-sphere.

In this HAES® Master Class you will meet the experts at the forefront of HAES® research and practice. Collectively, we’ve worked with thousands of people just like you, who have implemented HAES® principles and no longer face a daily battle with food, weight, and the scale. In this engaging two-day event, you will discover simple ways to improve your health and well-being without the stress of dieting.

Along with Ms. Poretsky, the list of speakers will include Ragen Chastain (Dances With Fat, Fit Fatties Forum), Marilyn Wann (Fat!so?, pictured above), Linda Bacon, Anna Guest-Jelley (Curvy Yoga), & Jeanette DePatie (The Fat Chick, Fit Fatties Forum).  There will be sixteen leaders of the HAES movement speaking in all.

Tickets are $97, or you can pay in two installments of $48.50.  I can’t do it, but if anyone does I would love to hear how it goes!