Category Archives: The State of the Fluff

The Importance of Happiness

Happiness is a key to being healthy.

Yes, this is my awesome insight for this week. No, it isn’t very profound. But, in my personal experience, it is true.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you’ll know that until the last seven or eight months months, my life hasn’t been a very happy one. It is true that I put on a good face for everyone around me. Trying to make it seem like I was happy with things when I wasn’t. But, the reality is that the depression that was rampant in my house was taking its toll on me.

64640_389799357763068_1872943124_nI learned a few things about myself as I was going through the process of figuring out who I was again. I figured out that I was an emotional eater. When I got angry or sad, I ate whatever I could find in the house. When my, then, husband came in he always brought sweets and sodas. When I was down, I couldn’t tell myself not to eat them. He certainly wasn’t helping my attempts to lose weight. His attitude, apathy, and emotionally abusive behavior toward me only added to my stress and thus my eating.

There were times I didn’t even know I was doing it.

For example, my biggest weakness is soda. I’m an addict when it comes to Coca Cola and Dr. Pepper. Even now, it is my biggest hurdle to try to overcome. My ex worked for one of the leading soda distributors. So, he kept cases of them in our refrigerator. He even went so far as to put a variety of the flavors all along the bottom shelf for me to choose from. Now, some people drink coffee to get themselves going in the morning, for me, it was always a cold Dr. Pepper or Coke. What was worse is that I would literally drink one after another all day long. I would simply keep telling myself, “one more and then I will switch to water the rest of the day” but, I didn’t. Then, the next thing I knew the case would be empty and he would be bringing in another to take its place. Even after I told him to stop bringing them in and tried to explain.

Make things happenChanging a habit is hard to do. We get set in our routines and when they aren’t working for our health sometimes it takes a jarring event to make us wake up and take note that it needs to change. For some people that is a health issue. For me it was the fact that none of it was making me happy. No matter how the epiphany hits you, changing to be happier is difficult.It is even harder when your efforts aren’t supported by the person you’re with.

I had come to a point that I nearly hated myself because simple tasks were far more difficult than they should have been for me. Things like washing the dishes, walking to the mailbox, going to the local Walmart for supplies were all too much for me to take. When that happened I had to fight with myself to keep going. There were days that it just didn’t seem worth the effort to even get out of the bed. I didn’t like the person I had become. I was not this depressed person who stared at her walls living vicariously through characters on a page all the time. But, I’d become that person and honestly, it was something of a relief that things fell apart the way that they did. It allowed me to find myself again and become the happy person that I am.

I haven’t really been dieting. There is no “skinny pill” or fad diet that melts away the pounds. What has truly worked for me is finding my happiness. I get out and do things with my family now. I go shopping just because I want to browse again. I take off and spend time with friends playing cards or just talking about whatever is on my mind. I take a little girl to the park, play games with her, and I generally stay busy. With that being said, I do eat less. There’s less emotional baggage to deal with and so, I don’t stress out and turn to food.

Finding my happiness took me a great deal of soul searching and pain. I had to lose everything I’d convinced myself I wanted in life. I had to start fresh, rediscover myself, and essentially reinvent the person I was into who I am now. Change is hard, yes. Being truly happy is its own reward really. Regardless of what size I end up; the important thing is to just stay happy. Life is just too short to let other people’s opinions of you weigh you down. 

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Gratitude

So many things are happening in my life that quiet moments to reflect on everything seem rare. Tonight, happens to be one of those nights. Charles is at work and I just put the munchkin down for the night. She and the pup are all tucked in and things are still for now. This is normally when I get some time in to write. Frankly, when you have a six year old at home who is super active, you don’t get a lot of time to sit still and just be. Add to that, the fact that she gets into anything and everything she can find and I spend more time cleaning up messes than I do anything else right now. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

thankfulI am so very blessed and grateful. For the first time in what feels like many years, I wake up happy to greet the day. You see, what many people may not realize about me is that for years I struggled to figure out who I was and how I fit into this big world. I explored many things, had questionable friends, put my family through a great deal of worry that now seems very unnecessary. I married someone I shouldn’t have, for reasons that I shouldn’t have allowed to affect that decision. I paid a hefty price for my naivety for about six years.

On the surface, I seemed confident and self assured. I bucked the system, fought my instincts, and tried to be a rebel for all that time. And I somehow managed to convince myself that it was all okay. In fact, I did such a good job of it that I was blindsided when that marriage fell apart. I didn’t think that I could go on from it or trust anyone again. Now, I’m thankful that it all happened. I did get something out of it. I got a relationship with a pretty awesome young woman who will always be a daughter to me and I got my little cat, Mariska.

291826_364783330281701_2094463518_nI think I got my self-confidence back because I had to fight my way through such a dark place. Before it was over I was depressed beyond anything that had happened to me emotionally since college and dealing with my biological father. Realizing that I married someone just like him was literally a slap in the face that jarred me into realizing what I needed to change about my outlook on things. I was tired of being emotionally beaten down. I realized that I had been abused during that time by someone who would never ever appreciate me as a person and that had to change. I was better off alone.

Then within a matter of two weeks everything was different. After a month and a half, I put myself out there to meet new people. It was time that I try to become more socialized again. I’d been a hermit for the better part of two years. It was then that I met Charles and a host of other people. And I’m convinced that people are put into our paths for a reason. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had in my life with people from various places. They’ve all helped me to come out of my shell in many ways.

But right now, I am most grateful for the way things are turning out. I can run down a list of things that are going amazingly for me right now. I won’t. What I will say is that I finally have an amazing man in my life. I’m doing something that I love to do and have become what I truly believe I was born to be. 

It is true that things aren’t perfect but, they never are. There are always things that could be better. But, we have a roof over our heads as a family. We have food on our table every day. We’re ready to home school our little one starting in September. We wake up every morning just thankful to be together and have our own lives.

I am so thankful that things have changed like they have. My life is completely different from what it was a year ago. I am happier and that makes a huge difference in everything.

Kids & The State of the Fluff

I am in a very different place than I was a year ago. The changes have been remarkable really. My level of happiness is through the roof. My energy level has its ups and downs but, overall I am going along just swimmingly. The move has been a big boost in motivation for me. There are just so many things going on at once that I have moments where I’m a bit overwhelmed. Adjusting to what is essentially a brand new life isn’t easy but, I have to say that this change has been pretty seamless.

I’ve gone from living with my parents to living in my own home with my fiance and our little girl. So, I’m not just part time momma anymore. In fact, we’ve had to seriously adjust to being mom full-time. There are things about being a full-time mom that are very different from having a kid a weekend here or there like I did with my ex. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t trade those weekends with her for the world. I always tried to treat her like she were my own kid – despite my ex’s constant reminders that she wasn’t mine or my responsibility. But having a little one in the house full-time is a very different experience.

Back on the 4th of June, I attended her Kindergarten graduation ceremony and her classroom party with her Dad. I was asked to be there and I gave up a trip to Florida with my mom to see family I haven’t seen in a long time in order to be there. Not to mention, the trip to Disney World. What was striking about this to me was that the teachers had asked the kids what they wanted to be when they grew up. Every kid gave an answer that the teachers told the parents and families as they walked across the stage to shake the principal’s hand. For Kat, her answer was that she wanted to be a really good momma.

I am learning that I have to be an example to her. She mimics everything I do. For example; over the weekend we had the opportunity to have my parents over for dinner. My mom had just come back from her trip. She brought a pretty sentimental piece of furniture for my new home and we wanted to unload it from the truck so it wouldn’t be in the weather. I had borrowed her steam mop to get the floors done when we moved in. So, I took the opportunity to use it one more time before she took it back home with her.

I had asked Kat to stay in the other room as I did the kitchen and dining room. And she was being good and doing as she was asked. What was funny was when I looked over at her, she had our broom. As I was mopping the floors, she was pretending to mop with the broom. Every stroke I made, she matched. I thought it was just her playing around at first and laughed it off. But then, there were other things I started noticing; like her copying my mannerisms at the dinner table. 

So, I am really starting to think about how I’m living my life. What do I want for her when she grows up? How can I show her what those things are and why they are better? And I came to a realization that the biggest thing I can do for her is set the example of living a healthy lifestyle.

I am already much more active than I have been in the past. Let’s face it though, writing requires me to be fairly sedentary for a great deal of time. I want to be even more active when I can. So when a family member suggested me coming two nights a week to do Zumba with her, I agreed. And I took Kat with me the first time.

Talk about a challenge! Oy Vey! We managed to get through half of the beginner set before we were all gasping for air and wanting water. I think it was a shocker for us all to see just how out of shape we really are. Yet, we were having fun while getting that mini-workout. I know it will take time to learn the moves. Frankly I want to get the DVD and do it at home. It was a blast and I can’t wait until I can actually dance like these people can who do it. I know it will help my coordination and I also know that if I cycle it out with yoga, I’ll likely get my flexibility back as well.

I’m excited though. I think I have found something that may prove to be my niche for exercise. More importantly I think I’ve found something that I can do that will allow me to help make physical activities fun for Kat as well. She had a ball trying to do the dance. So much so, that Charles and I are talking about how to get her into dance classes thinking that it may help with her coordination and balance. We’ll just see how things shape up over the summer. We have a lot to accomplish but we’re getting there.

Just continuing to plug along. And once I get unpacked and find my files again, I plan to get back to tracking everything like I was and posting the health sheets for you all to use as well. Just keep being patient with me. I just have a lot going on and I am still trying to stay on schedule to publish The Fallen One late this summer so I’m stretched a little thin.

On The Move: Big Changes Ahead

It has once again been a while since I last posted. I am happy to say that I have a good excuse for my absence. One that, in all honesty, I should have talked about prior to it all happening but, with everything that’s happened in the last two years, I was afraid of jinxing it. Considering how hard my fiance and I have been working toward this for a while, I didn’t want to speak prematurely. Then when it happened it was all so fast that honestly, my head is still spinning.

We got our own apartment finally. Not that the arrangement we were both in was all that bad, it wasn’t. It was just time for us to have our own space for a change and get on with our own family life. So, we’ve done just that. Yes, there are still things to work out. But things are all coming together finally. It seems like it has been a long time in coming honestly. I couldn’t be happier though.

Writing is, of course, going slow at the moment. Unpacking takes a toll on you. But, after next week it seems I will be back in the saddle on a regular basis. And let me just say that will feel pretty good. I am feeling very inspired in the new apartment though, I don’t think it is the apartment itself so much as it is the company within it. Having the ability to feel like I have my household again is something that I have wanted for a while. To actually have it is a little surreal right now. Things have become blissfully normal.

I am keeping this short to get back to work on things while I have a chance. Just know that I’m working on scheduling things. If you email me it may take me a week to respond. Just be aware and I’ll say thanks in advance for your patience. I’ll be back to posting regularly soon.

State of the Fluff….

First off, apologies to all of you dear followers and readers. If you’ve been following for the last couple weeks, you’ll know that I’ve been trying to keep something of a schedule here on The Writer’s Studio while finishing continuity edits and trying to juggle everything else going on. I have been slacking a bit the last few days though. For that, I do apologize.

You see, I am incredibly blessed. I have an amazing family that includes my fiance and our six year old. A whole group of extended family and well, because I enjoy it, I spend a good amount of time over there with them. The weekends are the typical time for me to spend all day but, Charles has had a few days off from his job and it is our little girl’s last week of Kindergarten.

We are all excited to be attending her graduation tomorrow morning. So, why am I sitting here at nearly midnight, when I have to get up at six in the A.M.? It would be an excellent question to ask.

BookCoverPreview1The answer is really quite simple though. There was more big news for me today. After more than two and a half weeks of waiting Amazon finally sent me the news that the technical glitch was fixed. That means, The Secret of the Storm is now available for purchase as a paperback edition as well as in ebook for the Kindle. It also means that I can finally start planning a book-launch event and booking signing events here in East Texas.

It is all very exciting for me. I’m sure that it will be something that I talk about often in the weeks ahead. Not to worry though, the blog isn’t going to become one big promotion for the book. There are plenty of other things I have to talk about and give my two bits on.

That being said, the state of the fluff lately is up in the air. I’ve been on the go, lost my voice intermittently thanks to some sort of allergy attack or cold, and haven’t been paying much attention to what I’m eating. So, we’re going to have to jump back on the band wagon at some point. I think I’m going go back to doing my “health sheets” to track and maybe that will give me some motivation. You’d think that a pending wedding would be enough, right?

Keeping it simple so that I can still get some rest. If you have ideas for book-launch events, how to get the word out about the book, or just words of encouragement (this is my first “major event” with our daughter as someone she calls Mom) I will gladly take them in comments or by email. If you haven’t liked my facebook page, feel free to. There is a box on the right for easy access. I look forward to meeting all the readers as time goes on. And yes, I do try to answer all my messages.

Wish me luck! And thanks for sticking with me. Share a link. My philosophy around here is; the more the merrier.

The State of the Fluff: A History

In my other blogging attempt, I did a regular piece I called “The State of the Fluff”. Because so many seemed to be getting something out of watching my journey and struggle with weight issues, it is something that I want to continue here. It isn’t that The Writer’s Studio is a health and fitness blog. And no, I don’t want it to turn into one. But, it is a big part of my world and since I’ll eventually talk about it anyway, its better just to make it a sort of column.

To those who were following before, I apologize in advance, I know you’ve read this story before. For those coming new, I want to give some sort of a background to my situation. So please bear with me as I tell my story.

I’ve never been skinny. Well, I haven’t been skinny since I was about 5. Ever since I was a child, I’ve had an issue with my weight and have always been on the heavy side. When I attended my proms back in the 1990’s I couldn’t find formal wear. My mother had to make my dresses. Even then I was in a size 22-24. My senior year saw me in a 24 when I graduated. That’s a “normal” size for me actually. But even then, I knew that it wasn’t good for me.

When I moved to Florida in 2000, I took it upon myself to try and lose the weight. I was living on my own in an apartment for the first time. I opted to go mostly vegetarian with my diet then. And the weight melted off. When I left Florida and made my way to California I was wearing a size 20. I felt good. I was more active. By all accounts things were going great and I was really proud of my accomplishment. (I still have that pair of 20 jeans actually.) Then, I fell off the health-kick band wagon.

Before I knew it, I felt trapped in a marriage that was falling apart. I was cooped up in a duplex apartment in a neighborhood that I didn’t feel safe walking in. I had no vehicle, food was brought into the house instead of me going to the grocery store. And my husband (at the time) brought home sweets and sodas like they were going out of style even when he knew I was trying to stay away from them or was asked specifically not to.

By the time I found out about his infidelity, I was already trying to lose weight but quickly realized that it was going to be a very hard task to accomplish. I had literally ballooned to somewhere between 460 and 500 pounds. Clothes hardly fit anymore even when I was buying the largest thing I could find on the rack. Jeans were nothing more than a distant memory for me; something I’d worn 6 years prior when we first got married. On the rare occasion that I got to go out and go to Walmart it was impossible for me to get through the store without stopping to rest every few moments. My back would go numb, my ankles would swell, and eventually I developed a case of plantar fasciitis that made it even more difficult for me to walk. It was just my life and it was the body I had allowed myself to create. For a while, I accepted that and embraced it. But as things continued to deteriorated in my relationship, I realized that I was worth a lot more than what I was allowing for myself or accepting from my ex. I started doing things for my sake and not for the sake of what he wanted, or my mom wanted, or anyone else for that matter.

The weight started to come off slowly at first. Truth is, that initial starting number is always going to be an estimate. I don’t really know where I began. I do know that when I first went to a doctor office for a physical after many years without any medical care at all, the doctor’s scales wouldn’t weigh me. They went to 350  and that was it. Then, I went to an OBGYN and they were able to weigh me. I was at 425 that day. I ended up having to go back for additional follow ups and at my last appointment (November 2012) I was down to 398.

When things finally started coming together in a positive way with friendships and meeting the man that is now my fiance, not to mention getting back my relationship with my family and being out and about more often, the big thing became realizing that my clothes are all getting looser. In fact I’ve had to buy some things in smaller sizes now. And I just recently was able to put on a pair of jeans again for the first time in over 5 years.

I’ve been so busy that I’ve let my habits slide again. I know this. So, part of doing this column on a weekly basis is going to be keeping myself accountable for my actions and my progress. But, I honestly hope that someone somewhere will find encouragement in my story and progress. It is something that you have to do for yourself but, it doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. Having a support system is crucial. I learned that the hard way.

I’m not going to turn this into a health and fitness blog. This is just another aspect of my life and my journey that I am willing to share with my readers. I hope someone gets something out of it, other than me. I’ll try to keep this sort of post to once a week. Barring hitting some milestone that I’ll mention, of course. But, my goal is to include what I’m doing or using so that people can see what my thought process and progress is.

My goals aren’t lofty. I’m not even willing to put a number on how much I want to lose that is definitive. I want to feel better. I want to be more active and look good in a pair of jeans again, maybe even wear clothes that have some style to them instead of just whatever fits for a change. My goal is just to improve my overall health and well being. I’m not looking to be a size 0, I would never be comfortable at that size anyway. I’m a plus size woman. I’m proud of my curves and I’m happy to be me, fat and all. I just want to enhance my life and feel younger. I’m sure that many of you can relate. So, I’ll share how I’m going to do just that for myself. Maybe it will help you too.