1 Day At A Time

It’s so funny what a little self-discipline can do.

Not a major difference in terms of stats BUT mentally I feel like a million bucks. I feel like I am in control again, and that I am capable of reaching my goals both mentally and physically when it comes to my overall well-being.

Turning down cravings this week made me feel so strong. I know, I know – it was one week but I am going day by day so that is 7 days of me being in control. Whereas, the weeks let alone days prior I was a gong show consuming anything and everything.

I’d say eating was a win the past 7 days. I still have a long way to go with cleaning up my dietary habits, but I know I’m capable and on the right track. Just one meal or snack at a time. All the weight I want to lose didn’t happen overnight, so it’s not going to come off as fast either.

This week I indulged with pizza and cinnastix on Friday, but I don’t even feel guilty because I tracked it and was accountable to myself with what I put in my mouth. Normally, I would feel guilty. I think the difference was it was a cheat meal on 1 day rather than multiple meals over multiple days. Moderation.

In terms of working out, it was a win-ish. I walk-jogged 2 times this week, so not 3 times BUT it’s a start. I exercised formally once BUT I did go for walks everyday and sometimes twice a day SO I counted that towards my workout tally.

This week my goal is to be more intentional with planned workouts, but I know I’m going to struggle getting it done at home – I really don’t like working out at home, but you do what you gotta do. I’ve got goals!

Was it a perfect record this week? Nope, but that was to be expected. It was however, a week with more accountability and awareness.

I am happy with what I accomplished, it has helped put me in the right mindset for the next 7 days. I’m going to aim for the walk-jog 3 times this week, excercise with FitOn 3 times this week and continue tracking my food and keep the processed sugars at a minimum. No candy for the win.

I’ll pass on stats today, but I’ll do them with a photo next week. I’m trying not to get too caught up with the numbers and rather focus on how I feel and look instead. Apparently, I obsess not just with the scale number but also inches. I’m trying to find a happy medium – where I don’t jump off the deep end when I don’t see a number I want to see. It’s about a lifestyle at the end of the day – stats are just a bonus.

It’s Monday, and I feel like I am heading in the right direction.

– Steph

I Can Relate

Just a fun little meme to laugh about, because sometimes laughing really is the best medicine.

I feel like I am this switch in real life. I feel good and then not so good and it’s on and off without ever really being off.

My poor husband has been a trooper managing my moods lately. But as a quote I once saw said “Your mood does not excuse bad behaviour.” So I have been doing my very best to maintain good behaviour throughout my ups and downs. I never like losing control as a result of my mood (but it is inevitable) I don’t always win the battle against my mood BUT I try.

I have been trying to work thru the not so good days with productivity, which is the polar opposite of what my mind is telling me to do when I’m not feeling good. I have to say I feel like I have a bit more grip on myself when I do try to push thru. It’s as if I’m standing up to my bipolar saying “I’m in control – not you”.

That is the thing with bipolar, it can feel like it takes away your control. It dictates how you feel without always having a rhyme or reason. However, what I’m learning is I still have control with what I do despite my mood. How I react or don’t react that’s my choice. I may not choose how I feel, but I can choose how I react. Sometimes it’s too much to bare and I don’t even win that battle, but every time I do it’s a victory I cherish.

We are the captains of our own ship, waves crash, winds blow but we navigate the sails and ultimately what direction we go. Perhaps some people are in more vicious storms than others, but no storm lasts forever and we need to hold off for that clear sky because it will come.

With my bipolar – with my moods, I choose to move forward. I literally take it day by day. I plan in advance, but I usher myself along day by day. Some days I win, some days I lose. Some days I recognize myself and others I feel like a stranger in my own body.

On and less on, I think thats the story of my life living with bipolar. I have learned to roll with it, embrace it and even laugh with it.

Choose your reaction because if you live with bipolar you can’t always choose your mood.

Never let your mood become an excuse for the ill treatment of others and if you do lash out be the first to apologize and own that reaction. Owning your reactions, being accountable that is where self-control begins. That is where you take back the power. Be accountable.

On and less on is the story of my life. It is key word MY life, so I will make the best of it and own it for all that it is.

– Steph

Keeping it Real (De-Progress Pictures)

Everyone who has fallen off the fitness bandwagon before, raise your hand.

I may be wrong but I feel like I can see a few cyber hands being raised. Believe me, you are not alone! My cyber hand is raised high and is waving around for all of you to see.

I’ve failed with keeping it consistent. Not just in regards to posting about my fitness journey on my blog BUT in regards to being active in my fitness journey on the daily.

Because of a little discouragement and not seeing what I wanted to see I did then worst thing I could do and literally threw out all of my eating and gym habits. Add on the fact the literal gyms are closed and it equals me not taking the initiative to workout at home. It’s fair to say I’ve been failing at putting in the required effort to achieve my desired results. I’ve done a few workouts here and there, but nothing to write home about.

I will acknowledge however, that over the last few weeks my shoulder has been acting up; when I went to my doctor about it last week he said he thinks I may have torn something. No bueno (I have to wait for this covid situation to calm down before I can get an ultrasound). It’s fair to say that my shoulder pain has been a deterrent and blockade to exercising BUT where there is a will there is a way and I’ve literally had no will… if you get what I’m saying.

The idea of the segment “Bipolar Gains” on my blog is to illustrate my journey as I work towards my fitness goals and living a healthy lifestyle; who would have thought that if I didn’t post you wouldn’t have any idea how that progress is going – good or bad.

So I apologize, if I only post when I feel like I’m making headway that isn’t going to capture the real authentic journey. The journey where I succeed and fail and keep trying even when I don’t want to (which is the key to never failing). I haven’t been holding myself accountable to myself or anyone else for that matter.

This is a new week and I plan on starting from where I am – I am not “starting over”. I am picking myself up and moving forward. It might seem like I’m starting over when you see my stats and pictures BUT alas this is a journey and just because I stopped along the way doesn’t mean I need to tell myself to go back to the very beginning. Learn to rest not to quit, perhaps I rested a little longer than I should have and ate one, two…fifty many snacks BUT I’m back in it.

I am going to do what I can with what I have.

A. Monitor and track my eating habits so that I am more accountable and aware of what I’m eating. Whether I track with weight watchers or something else, I need to track what I’m putting in my mouth.

I have a serious problem, dare I say addiction. Sugar. It’s serious and potentially dangerous (diabetes runs in my family tree), when I was (or have ever been) on my fitness roll I had very limited sugar intake and when I essentially let myself go I went to town. It literally got to the point where I felt like crying because my husband told me I shouldn’t have a bag of candy…. because I’d already eaten a bag the day(s) before. It’s terrible. Perhaps on first glance you wouldn’t think I have a sugar problem. But I can literally eat a cake to myself.

A cake. No exaggeration, and not over the span of a week but in a day or two. I seriously go through withdrawls like an addict. I don’t touch sugar for weeks and then I get a taste and I go on a bender and relapse and binge.

It’s one thing to eat clean, which I know I am capable of and another to engorge myself senseless with the slightest touch of processed sugar. I know myself and I just can’t do it. There is no happy medium and thats something I have to admit and come to terms with. You might think to yourself “just don’t restrict and you’ll be fine”. It doesn’t work that way. I can’t just have a few pieces of candy, I’ll eat the whole bag in less than 5 minutes. I can’t just have a cookie, I’ll eat the whole bag in a day or two. So what do you do when you are an alcoholic? You don’t drink just a little bit. You just don’t drink.

My pledge for this week, no processed sugar. I am going to take it day by day but I will not be eating candy, or cookies or cake in the slightest or sugary beverages. I need to clear my system. Gain some control back and mentally break the unhealthy relationship I have with sugar. I don’t binge on any other type of food (if we can call sugary garbage food) – just high sugary sweets and now seemingly drinks.

I admitted that ugly truth, so there is nothing hiding my demon now. And if you admit you have a problem, that is generally the first step to overcoming it. I am a sugar addict, who will eat it to the point of being nauseous because I just can’t seem to get a grip.

Now that, that is out there on to the next point.

B. I hate working out at home BUT I don’t mind FitOn workouts. I will workout 3-5 times this week between 20-45 mins and continue to take my dog on her daily walks.

C. I will go for a walk-jog for 15-20 minutes 3 times this week. I will walk for a minute and jog for 30 seconds. Back story: I injured my foot and ankle in 2008 and only realized that after years of therapy this past month when I attempted a walk-jog my foot didn’t light up in pain as per usual. I used to love to run, so rather than be a hobo and not try, I will have the PATIENCE and CONSISITENCY to start slow and build up the strength in my foot to get to full-time jogging. Not do what I usually do and try to go a million miles a minute ( I don’t want to ruin it again). Slow and steady.

My original goal was to be the healthiest version of myself in 9 months from January 1, 2020. Like I said earlier in my post – I am not starting over. If my calculations are right I have until September which is just about 5 months away. Looks like I need to buckle down to make up for lost time.

I know I am capable of reaching my goals pertaining to my health and desired lifestyle. Whether that is a goal weight, or physique that I always wished for but was never dedicated enough to achieve, I can tell you this – if I am consistent there are no limits to what I will achieve by September. Anything is possible if I am not casual with my goals.

Now for the fun stuff. Stats and pictures…

Highest Weight: 198lbs

Current Weight: 181lbs

Goal Weight: 155lbs

Measurements

Jan 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Feb 1/2020 Bust: 40″
Mar 1/2020 Bust: 39″
Apr 20/2020 Bust: 41″

Jan 1/2020 Waist: 32″
Feb 1/2020 Waist: 31″
Mar 1/2020 Waist: 31″
Apr 20/2020 Waist: 32.5″

Jan 1/2020 Hips: 42.5″
Feb 1/2020 Hips: 42″
Mar 1/2020 Hips: 41.5″
Apr 20/2020 Hips: 43″

Pictures

As you can see, the numbers reflect poor decisions and literally throwing my hands and eating myself sick. Such a short span of time, but if you let your self discipline go … what do you expect? I will not get the results I want by sitting on my rear and downing candy by the bags

Not gonna happen.

I have so many reasons for losing this weight. The two I’ll share today are as follows:

1. I want to show myself I can shed the weight after years of struggling to.

2. I want to know my mind is more powerful than my cravings. I control the food I ingest, the food does not control me.

This is not the beginning, this is a continuation and that is what I have to tell myself. I should not expect the fitness journey to be perfect, because I am not perfect BUT I can be dedicated and I can be consistent even when the results are not.

I’m going for it. It is going to happen. I’m hungry for goals, and if I need to feed anything it will be my goals not my sugar cravings.

– Steph

Putting On a Brave Face

I hope everyone had a wonderful easter weekend. I was also going to say long weekend… except I feel like with everyone staying home these days it was kind of redundant.

I will try to make this post something you can have a take away with. But ooooo child! Do I have a crazy story about my Thursday and Friday leading into my easter weekend.

I have this weird thing where my heart hurts, it can be fine and then it will be in explosive excruciating pain and I have no idea why. This sensation happened again earlier in March and I went to emergency, because my sister insisted that this was not normal. I have to agree, it has happened one too many times to be coincidence.

Anyways, I go. They do an EKG, the doctor comes in and looks at me and says I’m a healthy young woman and this is nothing to worry about. My EKG was fine and it’s only happened a handful of times, “so don’t worry about it.”

This was not exactly comforting and when I shared it with this same sister who insisted I go to emergency, she followed up with insisting I go to our family doctor (we have the same family doctor) because he is way more thorough and will take it seriously.

So I go, I meet my family doctor and he says he wants to do some bloodwork, a lovely sample of you know what (so I drank water), another EKG and a chest x-ray – just to be safe. I appreciated his thoroughness and with work and life I just managed to go to do these tests at our local hospital on this past Thursday. Well my friends, I got more than I anticipated.

I did my x-ray first and then followed it with all the other fun bits. I cried when they took my blood and nearly hyperventilated because I’m terrified of blood and needles (a winner I know) but I managed. By the time I got back to my car my phone rang and lo and behold it was my family doctor calling me. He wanted to reach me sooner than later because he recieved notice about my chest x-ray and it was a bit concerning. He asked if I’d be willing to go to emergency for the doctor there to check me out and go over the x-ray with me.

So I go, and I wait. Surprisingly, the wait was not that long compared to normal. The doctor talks with me, assesses me and I seem fine (I felt fine), yet my x-ray said otherwise. He wants to be sure so he asks me to go to the larger city emergency. He called ahead, gave me a package of notes and said they’d be expecting me.

I arrive and they put me right thru to a room (this never happens). A nurse comes in and asks questions followed by a doctor. He assess me, again, I seem fine (I feel fine) and he thinks this may just be a blip in the x-ray from a bad angle. He tells me he’s going to review my x-ray and then I should be good to go.

Next thing, I’m told I’m having an iv put in my arm and more bloodwork. Now. Now. Now. Needles for bloodwork are one thing and needles for an IV which is like a permanent needle attached to you is another matter. Additionally, I was by myself because only sick patrons are allowed in the hospital because of covid. So, I was predictably beside myself.

The nurse came in and I felt like I was going to pass out, I stuttered as I tried to talk to her as she tried to distract me and shockingly enough I didn’t cry aloud. I was vibrating at the end and I literally felt like death – I couldn’t look at my arm without tears welling up; and then because life was having a chuckle at my expense I was told I’m going for an x-ray. I go, I have to undress, with this IV in the inside of my elbow. Painful. YES!

Then I get back to my room and I’m told I’m going for another x-ray! Different position. Again, unrobing and more pain and awareness of the IV. And then the doctor comes in and talks to me. He says he can’t explain why, but all 3 x-rays are conclusive and show the same thing. So he’s sending me for a CT scan. So 2 hours later after drinking a medicated beverage I go for my scan.

I’m not sure who has endured a CT scan before, but the injection into the IV made me cry out, so much pain in such an instant. The scan finished and a surgeon was waiting in the results room, he comes to me as I’m getting up and walks and talks with me back to my ER room. He can’t find an explanation in my results, however wants more time to look and asks of I would be willing to be admitted to the hospital.

So my friends, I was admitted. My poor husband who was waiting in the car from 7 pm – 1 am was told to go home. We couldn’t see each other. They gave me medication from their pharmacy at 3 am and I was connected to a drip. I slept the best I could… I tried not to think of the IV but it was so prominent and painful.

Eventually, I was woken up at 7 am by 2 surgeons who wanted to check in on me. They assessed me, I was fine (apart from the IV – I felt fine) and then I was left alone to sleep. So I slept. I didn’t get to take my Latuda because I wasn’t allowed to eat, so that was the one medication I missed at 3 am when they dished them to me… and to be honest I probably needed it the most.

By 6 pm on Friday, I was assessed 1 more time. More bloodwork, another x-ray and then I was told I could go BUT to come back if anything intensified. Also, I was required to book a follow-up appointment.

I was so happy to leave and see my husband! And my dog!

Fear. As I talked with my family (parents and sisters) and my husband I joked around a lot, made light of the situation. But in all honesty, it was really, really, really hard on me.

To be alone as doctors are poking and prodding you, telling you there is something wrong BUT they don’t know how it happened. To be told you need to be monitored. And to be attached to your biggest fear for 24 hrs essentially. It messed with me.

I’m proud of myself for not hyperventilating or crying audibly BUT from start to finish in the hospital I was emotionally overwhelmed and distraught. I essentially cried silently to myself, trying to keep a brave face on.

When I got home, I showered and slept. My husband probably wondered why, because thats all I did at the hospital BUT I was so emotionally exhausted. I had put the brave face on, because I needed to BUT I was terrified the entire time.

At the end of the day, I’m okay. They are calling it spontaneous and so long as their is no pain where they told me I should be experiencing pain – I’m golden. It should all go away with time and I’ll be in mint condition.

I have a follow-up with my family doctor on Thursday, so I’m sure I’ll get to hear a bit more of an explanation and ask some questions.

Life is so unpredictable. It’s so fragile. You can be walking around feeling fine and lo and behold there is something cooking on the inside of you that you had no idea about. I’m grateful for my persistent sister who told me to take my health seriously. I went in for one thing and came out with something entirely different. Who knew?!

A tender mercy, if I wouldn’t have gone for a 2nd opinion this problem wouldn’t have been brought to life and wouldn’t be monitored like it is now. The goal is better, not worse.

Take your health seriously. Go for a 2nd opinion.

Also, recognize that you are braver than you know. And there is a time and place for it and if you don’t back down you can do overcome anything you put your mind to – even a crazy long painful IV aka needle in your elbow for 24 hrs.

Also, after going thru something traumatic give yourself some time to heal. Don’t put pressure on yourself to bounce back and be uppity up. I wasn’t okay for a few days. I felt broken, and that was all from the mental exhaustion of my hospital experience.

We are stronger than we know, be brave when bravery is required and be tender to yourself and your recovery when you are able to put the brave face down for a rest.

Wishing everyone a peaceful and healthy week.

– Steph

Do A Double Take and Read this Again

Here we are again. Hello there, long time no see.

Thank you for bearing with me during my hiatus. I think I’ve gotten a grip on life again and I’m hoping to make up for some lost time. I’m not someone who generally writes posts far in advance, everything I write is relevant to my in the moment experiences. Perhaps, I’ll try to take a different approach to my content to leave some wiggle room for posts written in advance – I think it would be worth a try rather than leaving my readers high and dry when I dip low or lose my mind for a week…. weeks. Oopsies, sorry about that.

Before I get down to the good stuff, I recommend re-reading this quote. It is certainly worth a double take, heck I’m thinking of making it my screensaver on my phone.

Mindset = Profound Power

Let that sink in. What you believe, you can achieve, yes, I am a cheeseball for saying it that way BUT let me say it again. What you believe, you can achieve. There is absolutely no limit to the power of your mind and mindset, there is no stronger force that will impact your life than how you think. That’s right, YOU.

When I was first diagnosed with bipolar I was terrified, terrified about the life I was going to live. However, after reading and researching on my own, and intense therapy that I applied to my life day in and day out that terror turned to hope and that hope turned to confidence that I was not going to just live with bipolar – I was going to thrive.

I was going to find harmony and balance, I was going to overcome my struggles for stability and reach a level of normalcy in my life. I was not just going to exist as I had been doing for years – I was going to live, laugh and love. And have I done that? I like to think I have.

That all being said I still struggle, my life is not perfect, my diagnosis is not a cake walk BUT my mind is set and I know my life will only ever be as good as my mindset. When I am in the lowest of lows, when my anxiety is sky high and then when my hypomania is higher than sky high only I can talk myself off the ledge. Only I can choose to listen and apply the caring words of those who support me – me. It is the power of my mind that can change my life.

When we are our worst enemies, the villain that causes this rift is our mind and mindset. How we talk to ourselves, how we train our mind to view ourselves the narrative we have about our life and what it has been, what it is and what it will be – only we have the power to change that it; change the narrative and train – yes train – our mind to seek the good and to be the good that can change our life beyond compare.

It’s ironic that my last post was exactly the kick in the rear that I needed to overhaul my mindset. Writing out and the rereading my post I realized my life was in fact only going to be as good as my mindset and my mindset had been poor with little attempt to change it while I was in what we can call a funk. I was letting my emotions dictate my life, but hold up – I’m a lot more stubborn than that. My mind is far more stubborn than my raw emotions and I realized my emptiness and unhappiness was going to linger longer than it needed to be if I fed into that mindset. If I fuelled it – if I did absolutely nothing to counter it.

So what did I do, I read, I sewed, I cross-stitched, I exercised, I ate clean. I did everything that I didn’t want to do. Why? Because, I knew in my mind those are the things that contribute to the life I want to be living at my best and throwing them all out the window when things start to go sideways is only going to make me feel at my worst.

I gave my mind a little credit and acknowledged the mindset I was in and fuelling was getting me nowhere fast and did not offer happiness. So I changed it, I did the things I knew historically made me happy and I felt satisfied with myself. Eventually that satisfaction turned to a feeling of happiness and here I am. Am I completely in the clear? Nope, that emptiness has its claws dug into me BUT I am a lot more aware of my mindset and what it is capable of.

I’m not always this good at calling myself out when I’m not doing so well, but 10 out of 10 times when I do it is because I deliberately change my mindset.

Be aware of yourself. Be aware of the life you live and the life you want to live. Be aware of how you are contributing daily to achieve your desired life. Negativity only brings forth negativity, so take a deep breath and ask yourself what can you do that is positive even when you feel negative – what can you do that is positive that will shift your mindset and give you back the power.

I hope everyone has a blessed week.

– Steph

What to Say

I don’t feel “depressed”, I don’t feel “anxious”, I don’t feel “unhappy”, yet I feel a sense of emptiness. I feel like I have no motivation to start or finish anything –
I have a tons of things I could be doing during this time of quarantine yet I am complaining I’m bored … because I’m not doing anything because I have no desire to. Heck! I’m working from home so I even have an additional 3 hrs in my day because I am not commuting.

What to do?!

That’s another thing, I apologize for not posting. I’ve had ever intention to write and post, alas I have not had the motivation to. Perhaps I am lowkey depressed. I have things swirling thru my mind yet I’m incapable of formulating sentences. The times I have attempted to write I’ve scrapped the content because it was garbage. I am not even the biggest fan of this post BUT I know I need to let you know I’m still here – I just have writers block.

I feel like I’m on the brink of feeling happy, yet that emptiness is so prevalent. I feel stuck. Perhaps, this quarantine and isolation is doing more to my psyche than I realized.

On a positive note, a perk of working from home is I get to spend the full day with my dog Nutmeg and I’m pretty sure she is enjoying me being with her 24/7 considering she’s on my lap all day and showers me with kisses non-stop. #blessed

Everyone keep your chin up, this is a trying time in our lives but we will get thru it. I feel a bit discombobulated and I think that is why my mood is so hard to pinpoint.

I’ll try to gather my thoughts and compose something a little more insightful next week.

– Steph

News Flash

I don’t generally post two Bipolar Gains posts a week, however I’ve had a change of heart and wanted to share because my last post was pretty negative AND that does not embody the journey of self-love that I’m on as I try to be the HEALTHIEST VERSION OF MYSELF (key word – HEALTHIEST). Sometimes it’s so easy to get hyper-focused on one detail and it takes away from the whole experience.

I am no longer going to weigh myself – atleast not once a week. Maybe once a month or every 6 weeks, I’ll find a balance. I will take progress photos at the beginning of each month and measure BUT that blasted number is NOT going to ruin my happy vibe. I have seriously been getting so caught up with the fact my weight has stayed the same with all the effort I’ve been putting in that I have lost sight of how good I actually do feel in my skin. How confident I am wearing my outfits.

Maybe 155 lbs is not in my deck of cards BUT maybe being a size 9 is – even if I do weigh 170 lbs. The point is WHO CARES! I sure as heck need to stop caring about what I weigh. When I started this segment on my blog, I specifically said I didn’t want to focus on the number and with weight watchers that is a MAJOR CON because I weigh in every week with huge expectations on myself to see a lower number. IT IS NOT ABOUT THE NUMBER! I need to emphasize that for you and me!

From my highest weight I am down around 28 lbs – great. But how I see myself is so much more important than the figure I see on the scale. It’s an accomplishment, I don’t want to take away from that BUT I do want to remind myself that I am so much more than a number and even at my biggest I deserved to love myself and even now where I’m at, how I look, whether it is my ideal physique or NOT – I deserve to love myself.

Enjoy the journey, don’t get deterred because the “number”, is not what you envision for yourself. Trust the process, trust your body to change positively as you change your active lifestyle positively AND love and respect your body along the way. You can’t hate yourself into sustainable enjoyable change. That’s something I needed to hear again.

Happy vibes my friends.

– Steph