May 2018

Last month I shared with you my battle with regain and my feelings of shame associated with it. There was something really powerful about acknowledging to you all how I had been feeling. It was acceptance.

I decided at the time to implement a plan to address some of the complacency which had led to the regain; lack of routine around meals, exercise, self care and work. Now I realise a plan is just that and without action it just ends up being a rather wistful wish list. I used acceptance once again. I accepted, without shame or judgement this time, that I am the captain of my ship and it’s up to me to stay on course. Veering off in the wrong direction won’t lead me the way I want to be heading. And only 'me' can take control.

It seems simple enough and it is I guess; I’m responsible for my actions. No one else. Go figure! And that by gently and compassionately tweaking my behaviour which included the negative self talk, I felt in a better position to make healthier choices. I have been moaning for months how I had noticed I was gaining weight yet nothing about my behaviour showed I was actively doing anything about it. Lightbulb moment for me! And so I set about making a few changes.

Now I haven’t started running or anything rash like that. Heck no! But I committed to doing 10,000 steps a day. That combined with some meditation, journal writing and concentrating on three high protein meals a day, I have seen a shift. In weight, pain, mood and focus. I have clarity again. It feels a lot like when we spring clean the house. Everything is fresh, renewed and feeling great. That’s not to say I think I have it all figured out and am now bulletproof. It means I’m making decisions based on self care rather than punishment. It means me being the observer of my thoughts, feelings and beliefs rather than the persecutor. It means aligning my actions with my values and that feels wonderful. It means walking my talk. It means accepting myself as not perfect and knowing I’m still worthy. It’s really just about noticing how I care for myself.

I’m proud of the progress I’m making. Yes I have got to the weight goal I set but I think more importantly, I’m proud of the mature way I stopped, observed, recognised, accepted and committed to making some changes. My physical and emotional health thanks me for it. I feel whole again. And I feel like I am enough just as I am. And that people, feels pretty wonderful. I do hope this encourages some of you who are struggling right now. There is always hope. And choosing to do the next right thing.

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June 2018

Do you find dark, dank days depressing? Wet and windy outside; with no sign of reprieve? I often feel melancholy and unmotivated. In the past when I’ve felt down or depressed I have behaved in one of two ways; I succumbed to the black hole or I tried to push it away by numbing myself with food. Neither behaviour proved effective in maintaining a positive mindset. And this year as the winter days set in, again, I started to feel that familiar wave of melancholy. But...I made a choice to try something different. This year I took control. I accepted it. I didn’t judge the feelings I was having, nor did I push them away. I implemented the knowledge I have learnt with my therapist using Acceptance Commitment Therapy. David also teaches this valuable tool to our participants at the FOHL Retreat. I will share with you how I used ACT to feel more in control.

I actively visualised depression taking on a form and knocking on my front door. It’s often referred to as the Black Dog so it made sense to me to see it as a large black dog standing upright at my door. I opened the door to it and had an imaginary conversation which went a little something like this:

Oh hi! It’s you again. I notice round about this time every year you turn up on my door. Well, come in if you want and take a seat over there on the couch. I need to have a talk to you about a few ground rules I’ve made and that you’re going to have to adhere to if you’re planning on staying. You can stay if you want, but I have things to do and am too busy to sit here entertaining you all day and night. I don’t mind you staying, but I’m in charge around here and you’ll have to sleep in the back room and follow the rules. In the past, I’ve noticed that you like to take over and run the show around here. This time it’s different....

It sounds a little silly when I wrote it down and read it, but it worked for me; I was able to accept feeling melancholy without judging myself for it. I noticed it and adjusted my actions based on acceptance, compassion and self care. The difference has been quite profound to how I’ve responded. I actually feel quite powerful and rather clever. In accepting the existence of the black dog in my life, I was able to keep it at bay and not let depression control me. I have made positive steps in my day to day that I know keep my brain and body active which help maintain a positive mindset. Each adjustment I made has been a healthy choice and I feel proud of myself. 

Suddenly on reflection, my days don’t feel so dark and dank. I can see the light in each day, and I can be grateful. 

I hope you too are grateful and living each day with light and love. 

I can’t wait to see so many of you at our July workshop in Hamilton and I’m excited about us all dressing up for our Winter Wonderland Ball. 

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August 2018

I’m still revelling in the success of our Weight Management Workshop. So many wonderful people soaking up knowledge and the fun we had celebrating our weight loss surgery journey that night at the ball. It was lovely seeing so many people dress up and comment that it was a first time for them. That they had never been to a ball before and for some it was the first time in a dress. It got me thinking about how much we miss out on or exclude ourselves from, when we are overweight. It was a sad reminder of how unworthy I felt at my heaviest. How I never believed in myself or thought I wasn’t worth celebrating. I remember the panic I felt when I had a formal event to go to; what would I wear? What on earth am I going to get to fit? And then there’s the shoes! They were the worst as my feet were so swollen and literally nothing fitted; I had resorted to wearing jandals or crocs for years. The shame of it! 


So it was a magical experience for me to witness so many people celebrating themselves at our Winter Wonderland Ball, in their amazing outfits and everyone looked glorious. It will be a golden egg moment for me for sure. There were so many golden egg moments that day and I’m grateful to everyone’s amazing comments and feedback throughout the event. Every part of that day gives me the warm fuzzies. Delicious. I feel like I’m living my purpose and it’s all meant to be. Everything I have gone through has led me to where I am now and all that feels worth it and meant to be. I’m grateful for everything that I’ve learnt and to everyone that acted as my teachers. I get to pass on my knowledge and experience as a result. What seems previously random and accidental now looks to be a part of a bigger, well orchestrated plan that has me now working alongside Andrea and David. I’m so grateful to Andrea for having faith and belief in me. I’m grateful to David for being my surgeon and even more grateful to him for marrying Andrea. It’s been her vision that has built our post operative care package into what it is now.

There were many people that commented to me at our workshop that wished they had been ‘Schroederville’ patients from the start; that the care and fun we have is extraordinary. And that I think is worth celebrating. Along with so many other aspects of this weight loss surgery journey. So take a moment out of your day and reflect on all that you’ve accomplished since having surgery. How many non scale victories you’ve had as a result. Whether it’s being able to fit into a aeroplane seat without an extension belt; to doing a sky dive or like me, just being able to fit into shoes again. And then there are the life saving benefits we can celebrate. Adding years to our lives, going off blood pressure meds, no longer being a diabetic and being more physically mobile. While slim fitting clothes are nice, it’s the years added that’s the major turnaround for many of us. It has been for me and definitely something I don’t take for granted as I may not still be alive if I hadn’t chosen weight loss surgery nearly 10 years ago.

So I celebrate this journey everyday when I wake up and before going to bed. The lessons I’ve learnt and the people I’ve met have all been part of this incredible process and for that I’m truly grateful. So what are you going to celebrate today? Hopefully it’s you.

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September 2018

SEPTEMBER 2018

From my bedroom window I have a spectacular view. Right now the plumb pink plumes of the magnolia tree sway as the wind wrestles with each waving branch. Next to it; a bottlebrush tree stands proudly as two of our resident Tui’s perch in full sight. Each morning I wake to their symphony of competing tunes. A giant flowering Camelia acts as camouflage as it pushes against the fence to the neighbouring property. It’s been raining all night and there are puddles everywhere. Suddenly the bigger of two male Tui flies over to the guttering for a bath and water splashes onto the window pane. I’m reminded of the time my son and I stood outside arm in arm and watched in wonder as the Tui took his bath. 

It’s a beautiful view and particularly so mid morning when the sun sneaks through the trees and dances its way onto the walls and my bed. I sit here satisfied and grateful to be sharing this magical moment in nature. Spring feels hopeful as each bulb and bud opens from its slumber. I can see and hear so much outside my bedroom window. Nature has a beauty that when captured by the right lens is truly breath taking. 

I’ve learnt that choosing the right lens to see our lives through is vital when creating a joyous, precious and grateful day. 

I could have looked through my window with an entirely different lens and my perception would change too. I could choose to see the remains of a cold, dank and wet, windy wintery day. I could choose to see the dark, threatening cloud above the magnolia tree as sign of more rain to come. I could choose to look at my pyjama clad body complete with a soothing hot water bottle seeping into my side and see only its limitations. Moving is hard for me today. My planned cardio workout is making several trips to the loo and showering earlier felt like an endurance event. Today I have very little choice; I need to stay in bed. 

Now with all the dramatics that come with screaming nerve pain, I could have chosen to feel sorry for myself and hate the universe for dealing my body an unfair hand (excuse the pun) or I can see today as an opportunity. A wonderful opportunity to grow and learn and rest and reflect and observe. Sometimes I allow my lens to go out of focus and I fail to see the beauty in my present moment. I forget to smile and feel grateful. My mind is sometimes limited by the thoughts I feed it. My imagination is then dimmed by the glare of my limiting body and the world turns sepia with my darkening thoughts. It is in times like that the ‘I’m not enough’ channel comes on in my mind, singing that old familiar tune. 

But not today. Today my lens is clean, bright and smiling. Today I choose to focus my lens on the present moment and the joy it brings. I see the promise of warmth and light and movement in each waving arm of the branches outside. My partner brings me a fresh, hot cup of strong Kenya bold tea and as I take a sip I feel loved. I feel grateful. I look down at my body and know my pain is temporary and soon enough I will be outside picking flowers. Until then I sit here and enjoy the quiet contemplation my day allows. Many people yearn for the chance to lie in bed and look at flowers in bloom and Tui’s bathe. Some people might say I’m lucky to have such a day; to do nothing. I have a good book lying open; partially read beside me. And it’s in that moment I smile and tell myself that I am not lucky; I am blessed. Today is a good day and I am enough just as I am. x 

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