Category: Health

How to find the balance between Yes and No – is YOLO the answer?

Yes (2)

 

As a card holding people pleaser I have had to learn how to say no.

After yet another week and weekend of non-stop activities a friend kindly pointed out that I may have over commitment issues.  I was a bit taken aback, but when I thought about it I realised that he had a point.

If I had plans for 8 in the evening, it was really easy to sneak another arrangement in after work.  A Saturday was fabulous and could be divided up into all sorts of slices.  Breakfast, housework, a craft class, and hour to work on my blog, drinks and dinner.  I found myself scheduling my life away.

Why did I do this?  After stopping and actually staying home for a couple of evenings and thinking about it I realised that it was a combination of being a people pleaser and a serious case of YOLO – you only live once.  I simply want to do everything.

I really do love life and love celebrating life.  If I have to choose between doing something exciting, meeting up with my friends or my sofa – I don’t choose the sofa, no matter how much I know I need it.  Now, there is nothing wrong with living life in the moment– in principle, but we have to have some downtime too.  Our bodies need to rest.

Rest and relaxation is as important as eating.  It is also as important as socialising.  So ultimately it comes down to balance.

I have had to learn to listen to cues from my body and know when a no is better than a yes.

What I have learnt is that saying no is not offensive and it is acceptable.  People do understand when you say no, and you can always reschedule  and plan for another day.

I live with a blood disorder called Pernicious Anaemia.  It is complicated to explain, but the bottom line is that I do suffer from severe fatigue from time to time.  Those are quite often the days when I have to simply say no thank you.

At my friend’s farewell, instead of saying goodbye, he reminded me about my over commitment problem.  Yes, I said and walked swiftly down the road to my second engagement of the evening.  His words stayed with me and when I finally got home at 10.30 that evening and received a text message to say that the party was in full swing and that I was missing out, I said no.

I think that this might be my balancing act that I will live with.  Good thing I enjoyed the see-saw as a child.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x

Learned helplessness – reaching beyond my limitations

beach1

Today I went for a walk on the beautiful beach at Carrownisky near Westport.  This has got to my one of my favourite Sunday activities, and this time it was even better because I had the company of my very wise son, David.

We walked as far as we could in once direction and then turned and walked as far as we could in the other.  It was quite rocky and I was walking barefoot.  I walked along, looking down to make sure I didn’t turn my ankle.  I was taking care, but I was also chatting, taking photos and simply  but also enjoying the day.  It was windy and a little wet but that didn’t stop us.

I remarked to David that years ago I wouldn’t have even tried to walk on the beach.  Since I was a young child I have always been told that I wasn’t sporty, fit or thin.  I was basically programmed to think that I couldn’t.  If I had visited that beach years ago I would have either sat in the car or found a bench.  I didn’t think I could manage a long walk and would have been conscious of getting back, every step I took away from the car.  I would have also been told, be careful, mind your weak ankle, don’t fall.  None of these things happened today (and any other day I have walked on the beach).

beach2David told me about a concept called learned helplessness.  You can read about it here, but basically it is a story that starts with an experiment with dogs.  (Not very humane, but huge lessons to be learnt)

The concept of learned helplessness was discovered by accident by psychologists Martin Seligman and Steven F. Maier.  Dogs that had been conditioned to expect an electrical shock when hearing a tone, became helpless even when there was an option to escape the shock.

I think many of us are the same.  We believe we can’t so we don’t.  Perhaps it is a case of failing a few times.  Or in my case twisting my ankle a few times.

Learned helplessness in humans can been seen in so many instances.  As soon as David explained the concept to me I could think of so many circumstances.  Imagine a child who does badly on a maths exam.  After repeatedly receiving low scores for maths, he will begin to believe that he will never master maths.

I am so glad that I have overcome the feeling of helplessness that was once a huge part of my life.  These days I act first, and think of my limitations later.  Perhaps, of course some sort of balance would be better.

I may not be ready to climb Croke Patrick, but I am not going to feel limited about taking a nice long beach walk.

Thank you so much for reading.

Kerry xx

 

The biggest weight loss lesson ever!

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The day I attended the most fabulous buffet, my relationship with food changed, and it has never changed back.

I was always the person who had to have the last biscuit, in fact a packet of biscuits, or a bar of chocolate never lasted more than a single setting. I wasn’t conscious that I had a problem with food.  I didn’t realise that I wasn’t comfortable around food.  Well actually food should have been uncomfortable around me – I was ready to eat it.

I have honestly probably tried most diets and eating plans before accepting that health and fitness was a better route. You can read about other parts of my weight loss journey here.

Twenty-five years ago I attended a course with a difference.  It was a psychological approach to weight loss.  We started off with some gentle group therapy talking about our relationship with food.  A couple of weeks in, we were told that the next week we would be having a party.  Each person was to bring a dish.  Everyone volunteered their favourite dishes.  I made a trifle – yum yum.

My excitement was at an all time high!  There was a buffet to beat anything you would see in a top class hotel.  Sweet, savoury, snacks, starters, chocolate, wine.  There was nothing up there that I didn’t want to eat, and nothing I was missing either.

But, the lessons were about to begin….

We were all asked to go up and choose our meals.  A starter selection, main meal, dessert, cheese and biscuits, drinks, chocolates – in fact anything we liked.  I think everyone took less than they normally would – we were conscious of our neighbours.

On returning to our seat at the table we were asked to look at our food and think about what we really wanted first.  There were no rules, so if you wanted trifle, then you had a few bites of trifle.  We then moved onto our next favourite item.  Soon the moderator asked us if we were feeling full, as it takes a good 10 minutes for your tummy to register if you are full.  Very often we don’t know when we have had enough.

With no pressure it was suggested that we walk away from the table and chat if we thought we might be full.  We could come back of course, but you know what?  I didn’t – I realised that I had eaten what I wanted and was full.  I hadn’t eaten that much at all.  The sneaky thought of course was that I might just like a bite more, just one more chocolate, or a little biscuit with a bit of brie.

Look away now, it gets icky!

We were asked to pile everything in front of us onto one plate, and mash it all together.  It was literally a small mountain on the plate!  And mixed up all together it looked disgusting.  Left to my own devices all that would have gone inside me, no question.  We then went up and binned it.  From 12 people in the room we filled a large bin bag.  We also then binned all the leftovers from the serving dishes.  Another bin bag and more.

The messages were simple:

  • Rather waste in the bin than around your waistline
  • Food doesn’t have legs – it won’t run away if you don’t eat it all in one go
  • Be comfortable around food, it is ok to eat a small bit of chocolate, just don’t eat the whole bar
  • To listen to your body and stop eating when you are no longer hungry.

I am not perfect and I continually have to remind myself of the lessons I have learnt along the way.

This was a big lesson for me and even after 25 years it is still a very strong memory, I still struggle, but the one thing I know is that I am more comfortable with food.  I am comfortable with chocolate or biscuits in the house and don’t feel the need to eat them.  Well, maybe just one square!

The programme was called Weight Winners, which I attended in South Africa.  In an effort to credit experience, that literally changed my relationship with food, I found this article.

Thank you for reading my blog, I so appreciate the feedback and comments.

Kerry xx

Arthritis to Zebra – the A-Z of me

A great idea for bloggers.  Thanks to Danielle LilliWhiteRose for the nomination.  It is a great fun way of taking stock!  I challenge you to do it.

A – Arthritis. It is in my hands, and although I deal with it the best I can, sometimes the pain does get me down.

B – Busy.  I keep myself very busy between my real job, my blog and my craft teaching.

C – Card making.  Teaching card making and craft is something I really enjoy.  It is a great hobby.

D – Diabetes.  Part of my life and my quest for better health and fitness

E – Energy.  I have been told I only have two speeds, go and stop.  Sometimes I have energy and sometimes I don’t

F – Food.  I love cooking and strive to create yummy healthy meals.  Love sharing food too.

G – Girlfriends.  I am so privileged to have some amazing girlfriends in my life.  They are my true wealth

H – Would have to be health.  It is a real struggle for me as I battle with a number of auto-immune conditions.  Keeps me focussed though

I – Inspiration.  It is like food to me.  I get inspired by people, by nature and by random things

J – Jeans – they joy when they fit.  I like to measure my size in different jean sizes!

K – Kindle – I love my little kindle.  Easy to hold and contains hours of escapism.  I have to read – it is like food to me.

L – Laughter. I love to laugh and make people laugh.  Trite but true, laughter is the best medicine

M – Motherhood is so important to me.  Even though my son is grown-up being a mother is the thing I am most proud of.

N – No.  I really need to learn how to say it.  I tend to be a people pleasure and I don’t want to let people down.  As a result I overextend myself – trying to learn moderation.

O – Oranges.  My favourite fruit.  My mom would make oranges in caramel as my birthday treat every year.

P –  Painting.  I love to paint – not sure I am very good at it, but I am happy with a brush in my hand and a day in front of me.

Q – Quiet time.  I am chatty, and bubbly but I really need my along quiet time.  It keeps me sane.

R – Relaxation.  I need to do more of this.  Sometimes I push myself too hard and need to learn how to switch off more.

S – Sex – I have a fascination with the psychology of sex.

T – is for Tea.  I drink far too much of it.  I love it – also love the ceremony of afternoon tea, my favourite is at the G Hotel

U – Untidy.  I am desparately untidy in most instances, and then I have weird quirks of OCD inside my wardrobe where all the tops must hang  together etc.

V – Voluptuous.  Say no more.

W – Writing and walking.  Writing is my passion and walking my goal

X – X-Factor – my guilty pleasure.  Used to have a tiny crush on Simon Cowell (I know!!) until he made rude comments about fat people in the press.

Y – Yellow.  My favourite colour.  It is such a happy colour.  My shop was called Siopa Buí (Irish for Yellow Shop) and my arty name is Kerry Buí

Z – Zebras are my favourite animal.  I think they are the most fashionable animal.  They also have a great sense of community.

Thanks for reading x

I challenge these bloggers to do their own A-Z challenge

Áine McManamon of Social Onya

Kerrie Burke of Bella and Vogue 

Rachel Burke from The Wholesome Nut

Zoe Behan from Day Dreamer Chic

And any other ITWBN member who feel inspired.

Postnatal Depression – My Story

I had Post Natal Depression pic

It was almost 19 years ago that I realised I had post natal depression.

I was obsessed with loosing weight (a bit of a song track to my life) and was visiting a Doctor who promised magic with a weekly weigh-in, some pills and a shot.  I am not sure that I lost any weight but I did take the first step towards getting out from under the dark cloud of postnatal depression.

I will always be grateful to the doctor who realised that uncontrollable crying due to a static scale was not normal.  She sat me down and talked to me – for far longer that the normal 10 minute session.  I walked out with a prescription for Prozac and a terrible feeling of guilt that I wasn’t a good mother.  That I couldn’t cope being a mother to my beautiful baby boy.

Over the years I have tried to reason out why I got postnatal depression.  Was it because I went back to work full time too early.  Was it because my baby had colic, and was honestly quite an awful sleeper.  I know now that there is no reason why anyone gets post natal depression.  It is simply something that happens.

I am writing this post to share my experience, and to let anyone out there who is suffering from post natal depression know that the key is recognising it and getting help.  Help comes in many forms.  For me it was through medicine, and meditation and the support of friends. Many years later I did quite a bit of counselling, and wished that had been an option 19 years ago.

I am not an expert at postnatal depression, merely a woman who has not forgotten the desolate loneliness and sense of helplessness.

The main thing for me was to admit I had it.  And then accept the help that was offered.

For me, and I think many other people, when I am in a bad place I tend to look inwards.  So many times people have said to me – why didn’t you call?  I just didn’t.  I should have though.

As I said medication did help me, but what helped even more was the support of my friends.  I remember weekends when I had help with David so I could go out for a little me time.  And then the many Sunday’s that I spent with my friend who not only cheered me up, but helped me to realise that what I was ok and normal.  May fabulous days where spent simply being together.

Depression is a funny thing.  It creeps up on you sometimes and by the time you realise you need help it has been a constant companion for a while.  Once I started to come out of the fog, I gave myself a few laughs.  I opened my bedside locker one day and honestly a whole pile of chocolate papers jumped out.  The scary part was that I didn’t even remember eating them. Imagine crunching on calorific chocolate to make yourself feel better and then never even remembering the moment.  It takes me a good while to eat a bar of chocolate these days – normally square by square.  Now I find folded down bars of chocolate I have forgotten in the freezer, the fridge and the cupboard.

Each person’s experience is going to be different.  I coped during the day at work and simply melted into a puddle of helplessness in the evenings and on weekends. I cried when my baby cried.  I slept a lot. And of course I ate – which contributed to a cycle of feeling bad about myself.

It does get better.  I know this now.  But  honestly believe that most people with post natal depression could do with some sort of intervention be it medical or counselling.

Happy to correspond with anyone privately, or respond to comments.

It is funny that there are things that you never forget.  I will never forget the joy of being a mother, or the time I suffered from postnatal depression.  Very proud of a talented young man now.

Thanks for reading

Kerry x.

The power of rest and relaxation

Rest and relaxation (2)

The importance of a sofa day

I am one of those people who try to pack as much living in as I can.  The one thing I seem to struggle with is how to include rest into this life of mine.  This week I learnt a powerful lesson.

I plan my life and try to pack in as much work, play, socialising and self improvement. I laugh about the fact that I have a real job and my hobby jobs (blogging and crafting).  I know I need to rest but, there is a part of me that simply loves life. The famous line from the Dead Poet’s Society lives in my brain – Seize the day!

I landed up at the doctor this week literally shaking with fatigue.  Four days later I still hadn’t stopped and gave myself a bit of a fright when I realised that I was literally too tired to stand up.  It is scary enough that it took four days for the penny to drop.

The Doctor  kindly explained that people who are dealing with what I am dealing with, couldn’t do what I do. The word she used was comobidity (I had to google it when I got home).  Basically it means dealing with more than one disease at a time.

I suffer from a number of conditions including diabetes, arthritis and pernicious anaemia, all which contribute to my tiredness. Methotrexate treatment doesn’t help either, nor pain which makes me tired too.  There are weeks where I am in pain every day.

Using my rational mind I can understand why we need to rest, however, I find it very hard to do.  I just have this burning need to pack as much life in as I can.  This week I learnt a hard lesson.  I pushed myself until I literally stopped.

So today, a Sunday I have rested.  I wanted to share a few lessons that I have revisited some thoughts about rest that I need to remember.

  1. We all need to rest.  Don’t forget that.
  2. True rest is for the mind, the body, the spirit and emotions.
  3. It is ok to switch your phone off and take time out.
  4. A TV marathon never killed anyone
  5. Meditation is a mighty powerful form of rest
  6. If you can, prepare for your day of rest by stocking up on snack (healthy is good, but a little indulgence isn’t the ned of the world either.
  7. Drink lots of water – it gives your system a rest
  8. An early night is a good idea
  9. Listen to your body
  10. Spend a little of your rest time contemplating the good things in your life.  Your friendship circle, your beautiful home and the joy of a day where you can simply do nothing.

I am sure that my day of rest will set up for the rest of the week.  All I need to do now is remember to include rest in my schedule.  Please feel free to share, especially if you know people who forget the importance of rest and relaxation.

Kerry xx

Berry crumble – that is raw, healthy and sugar free!

 

De-constructed Berry Crumble (2)I have a very sweet tooth, and since being diagnosed as diabetic it is a constant struggle to please my sweet tooth, but also my meet my health targets.  I love playing with food, deconstructing it down to the individual elements and then rebuilding it in a healthier way.  This is my take on berry crumble, with a tiny bit of naughtiness at the end.

Even though there is no cooking you want to prepare your berries a good hour or two ahead of time.

Start with your choice of berries, I had a punnet of strawberries, blackberries and raspberries.  Tumble them into a big bowl and add a chopped peeled apple.

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Depending on the quantity, add a good shake of cinnamon (approx 1 teaspoon) and the juice of a lemon. Mix gently so the berries don’t break up.  Depending on how sweet your tooth is, add some Agave syrup.  I am addicted to this cranberry version from Biona Organics.

Cover and leave to marinate.  The acid in the lemon juice will ‘sort of”cook the berries and the apples give you a gorgeous fresh tasting berry compote.

To serve simply layer up in sundae glasses (an essential ingredient for my desserts) and top with a little fat free yogurt (or coconut yogurt).  I added some sugarfree wheat free granola cereal to the top.

The final flourish if you are feeling naughty is a little grating of chocolate.  It is amazing how little chocolate you use this way, and you can still feel like you have had a treat.  Use raw chocolate for an even healthier treat.

Enjoy xx

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