Lockdown Talks

We have some very interesting conversations in lockdown and one of the kids recently asked me what happened in my heart to cause me to change. (he was referring to my weight loss, new career, business etc) And I had to think about it for a while but you know what – I think it was the fact that I spent so many years of my life ignoring things that had happened to me and I gave away pieces of me until I lost the sense of who I actually was. I spent years of my life entombing myself in my very own prison! I spent years hoping that someone would see me, would help me, would rescue me but the truth was I didn’t need some other saviour, I needed to get up and realise that no one else could save me from myself except me! I had to find value in myself, I had to get up and do it myself! I didn’t get to be the weight that I was because of neglect, I got there through systematically abusing my body and treating myself so poorly because the truth of it is that that is all I felt that I deserved. I cannot even begin to explain how many times I withdrew from situations and from people, even from some of you because I was afraid of rejection, or afraid that I would be seen the way that I saw myself. Then one day in 2017, as I tried to walk across a stage in a graduation robe that wouldn’t fit me, I realised that no one else was coming to save me. I was going to have to do something different if I wanted things in my life to change. It has been the hardest, most confronting thing in the world to look myself in the eye and see myself how I was and then start to imagine myself how I could be. I now believe that process will be life long and I also believe that I am not where I used to be and I am so profoundly thankful for that but I also have a whole lot more mountains to climb!! I am so thankful for hope and for the fact that the knight in shining armour that I was waiting for was actually a brave brave big lady who could see in her mind what she wanted for her life and for her health so she got up and did something about it for herself! #beyourownhero

When It Isn’t What I Thought!

When I first had weight loss surgery I had a lap band. I can hear it right now, “why the heck did you do that Tash?” Well back in the day, the lap band was “the in thing”. It was going to fix my chubbiness and I was going to be able to finally be the healthy person that I had dreamed about being. In hindsight I rate that decision as one of THE worst decisions of my life. The lap band nearly killed me a couple of times. I had a total gut obstruction – repeat surgeries and complication after complication with it. After my original surgeon refused to remove it I was left wondering what was going to become of me. Thankfully my Gyne at the time took pity on me and he helped me to find a new surgeon who did remove the cursed thing. I feel sick that they are still promoted and that lap band is still performed 😦 … Anyway once that was done I swore off weight loss surgery – FOREVER! I had little children and I decided that I would rather be fat than dead. I had endured MONTHS of complications and hospitalisations and I didn’t want that for my kids, or Steve or my extended family anymore. I wanted my life back, so I decided to just get myself together and it would all be okay.

Fast forward 8 years or so and I was seriously regretting my vow of “NEVER HAVING WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY AGAIN”. I was growing fatter and fatter and had tried everything I knew to try to stop myself from gaining. My weight was tipping the scales up near the 150 kilo mark. Over those 10 years I had gained 70 kilos. I would diet and exercise and lose weight but inevitably the weight would come back – with a vengeance, and I felt like a failure all over again. I was stuck in the most destructive cycle. I was eating to cover my pain, to cope with shitty trauma and to hide from life.

We all have a tipping point. I have found that when I look back my tipping point was when I didn’t fit into the robes at my graduation ceremony for a course I had completed. My god the humiliation was intense. I was so ashamed of myself and on that night – I broke. The next day we increased our health insurance and started saving for me to have weight loss surgery again.

I had NO idea of the things that would unfold in my life once I had the surgery. I could never have predicted the life circumstances that would happen and the ways that I would change.

What I think I have truly learned is that

1. I did not know what moderation was and I had to learn that after my weight loss surgery.

2. I needed help to process past hurts and trauma to be able to learn better ways to deal with comfort eating – I mean professional help from a psychologist!

3. I would gain so much from the process of shedding the weight but I would also lose some things from my life that I didn’t want to lose. I would also learn what it is to be resilient and move on. Life is full of opportunities to learn, grow and move forward or we can stay, stagnate and become bitter.

4. I would become a passionate advocate for health post weight loss surgery.

5. I would, for the first time since I was a little child, feel like I can be myself and not care one jot what others may think of me because I know who and whose I am. It is one thing to say this but it is another thing entirely to believe it with all that you are.

As I was back in the day
Me today

A Sparkly Unicorn

When a was a child I had a favourite toy. It was the cutest My Little Pony and to me – well that toy was just the beginning and the end of all things. I loved it with all of my heart. In fact, I am fairly sure that I still have it somewhere in my garage. I think what I loved the most about it was that it stood out. Who doesn’t want a blue horse with a pink mane and tail right! I can remember taking it to school and no one else had the blue one! I thought “oh no! I should have got one that was like all the others!” and there began a lifetime of wanting to be like everyone else and never quite embracing my me-ishness!

Over the years I have been drawn to many sparkly unicorns 🦄 but eventually I put my me-ishness away in a box and decided that it was going to be better for everyone if I just stopped trying to be me. I shouldn’t want to grow my own food, and I shouldn’t enjoy making everything for my family from scratch. I should put away my long floral skirts and pretty mobiles that used to hang around my house. Apparently, so I was reliably informed – they were going to summon demons to my door 🤦🏼‍♀️ (Just quietly, I have always had one in our bedroom, given to me as a gift by someone that I absolutely ADORED when I was 15 annnnnnnnd no demons 🤷🏼‍♀️😂) Sewing was old fashioned and embroidery was worse. Why would I want to make preserves and why would I mix my own washing powder and why would I dream of a self sufficient life, on land – (with a mote and crocodiles to bite intruders – okay, okay perhaps that part was taking my introvert sensibilities a bit too far 😂😂😂😂) but seriously I spent so long trying to be someone that I wasn’t and I never quite managed to do it. It was not an authentic way to live and it was exhausting.

Then, one day I realised how stupid it all was. I realised that I was making myself miserable for other people. Those people didn’t expect it! I placed unrealistic expectations on myself and made myself miserable by trying to be something that I wasn’t. I wanted to be something other than me. I wanted to be a little less sparkly unicorn-ish and a lot more mainstream. I had fallen, hook, line and sinker for a story that brought me so much pain, misery and hopelessness. Comparison is a heartless bitch and I had been deceived by her narrative for decades. The day that I realised that, was the day that I decided to be me again. It was the day that I started allowing my dreams to bubble up in my heart again.

My biggest concern was, “would I be able to find her!” She whispered and sung and felt free among wide open spaces and lived right where quirky and mainstream collide! Thankfully my fears around not being able to find the real me were, for the most part, unfounded. After all, I think that in our heart of hearts, we do know who we truly are even if it worries us and even when we are afraid to dust off our inner unicorn and just be our own kind of weird and wonderful.

It took a while, but eventually I managed to locate the real me, she was buried under a huge pile of self loathing and pain, but she was still there, right where I left her. Still in love with the whimsical things, still a dreamer and still joyfully content with the simple life. It has been a revelation to find myself again. To find so many parts of me that I had lost along the way. To find the joy in being authentic has changed my life. This change happened because of an inner knowing that I am a better, kinder and more joyful soul now than I ever have been before and that I am responsible only for my own responses. There is a confidence that comes from knowing that I am loved as I am, imperfect, a bit broken and totally aware of my own failings but I am also wake to my own value.

I don’t expect anyone else to take care of me emotionally anymore. I know that I am responsible for the welfare of my own heart and soul and I do take responsibility for it these days. What a different life it is. My life is slower, more intentional and I listen to myself much more than I used to in the past AND I trust myself. I care for my body, I am kind to it in the most nurturing way possible. I have a small, tight circle of people that not only love me but see me. They are true friends, not people that stick around on our socials for the juicy goss! They are the flesh and blood people with hearts full of love for me and mine and purpose filled vision in their sights. They are the bringers of chocolate, gifters of meals, speakers of wisdom, value and purpose and offer a good slap of reality if I am in need of that too. When I stopped feeling like I needed to apologise for my very existence I learned how to live. Weight loss surgery gave me the confidence to deal with so much more than physical weight. It made me believe that I could deal with the emotional weight also.

Love always

Tash xx

No More Wallowing

There are a couple of things that have been on my mind lately and as always I am wanting to open up a dialogue about them. I can remember when I was first contemplating WLS again back in 2017. This was after my failed and horrendous lap band fiasco at the hands of a surgeon in QLD. I had my doubts that WLS was really going to be a good idea for me and I also wondered how effective it would be in the long term.

I do not jump into things without truck loads of research first. I read medical journal posts, I read the Monash studies, I read the US medical pages, I read THOUSANDS of posts from sites all over the globe (yes I am the info lover)!!! I read posts from normal people, like you and me, who typed things like “60lbs gone forever” “70 kilos gone for good” and I used to wonder, “wow is that true? What makes that true? I know people that have had WLS and regained……. so what is the difference? How do we define success?” On and on and on my questions would go. That rabbit hole does have a bottom but it probably isn’t always popular to talk about.

Eventually I got past asking my 56 billion questions because I was so tired of my life becoming more and more limited by my ever growing size! I also realised that no one, no surgeon, no matter how spotless their reputation, no WLS guru, no body could tell me that I was going live a complication free, thin life for the rest of my life after surgery! I wanted, for years, to not be responsible for my outcome. I was actually looking for some kind of reassurance that bypass or The Switch would be my “golden ticket” and I would be able to keep up my unhealthy relationship with food – just eat less of it. If I am honest, and it is only in the last few days that I have been bold enough to admit that my TOTAL reason for delaying having WLS again after my band was because I was frightened that I would have to change my relationship with food and I didn’t want to.

Finally I got to the point where I decided that any weight loss, however small, had to help! So in June of 2018 I bit the bullet, jumped up onto the operating table and had RNY. Since then I have learned a lot of different things! One of the most frustrating is that there isn’t a standard “one size fits most” approach in the way to walk the journey after WLS. Everyone has different thoughts and opinions – this makes it so interesting but it also can be very scary and frustrating at times. What I have learned is that I cannot eat the same diet I used to have and expect that my results will be good in the long term. What I eat has changed and will never be the same again. I have learned that for me – changing my relationship with food would transform my whole life.

I have learned that food is not my comfort, my treat or my friend, it’s just a tool to fuel my body and I have learned that I have to face my emotional shit and I hate that part!! I don’t eat my feelings anymore. This has been harder than I bargained for but I know it will pay off in the long run. I have also learned that sometimes their are complications that we just have to work through!! I didn’t plan to get as thin as I have so that has taken some adjusting to. But I am grateful for an amazing team and brilliant friend here that support me.

It is not about being a certain weight or a size for me. It’s about knowing how to work with my body, giving it what it needs to be healthy and how to be resilient when the challenges come. It is about keeping in mind the reason that I did this and understanding that I am not a powerless victim of circumstances. I decide how this story plays out so if I am knocked down then it’s on me to get back up. I have been knocked down for a few months now but I am back up again 🙂 I didn’t want to get back up. My heart has been broken and I wanted to stay down and stay hurting. What woke me is I have seen the way that my kids have been broken. The tears of my boys are the fuel that drives me and they NEED to see me get up, so I am! It’s okay to feel a bit lost at times, and it’s okay to say “I need help” it is also good when you can finally see clearly again. We got this guys and I refuse to wallow anymore.

On The Table

Motivation Monday! If you haven’t danced like a crazy girl in a pink wig on a table top and don’t have a rainbow wall and a disco ball in your dining room have you really lived ?? 🤣

You know, this isolation business is hard but for me, it’s the safest thing for me to do. That kick arse, beyond terrified of failing – but still brave enough to do it anyway, tired of being downtrodden, bigger version of me went through far too much to be here in this moment, for me to waste even a single day! I lived a shell of a life for the best part of two decades and I used my size to sideline myself from the fun, the crazy, the silly and the things that I wanted to do! It is hard right now but don’t let our current circumstances suck every bit of joy out of life. You are worth celebrating right now! You have breath in your lungs! You have the power to decide to make the very best of today. I may feel heart broken and I might be struggling but I will not let those things rob me of the joy of living in the moment. Life is full of mountain tops and valley experiences and if you are in a valley – well get on the damn table with me and let hope fill you up. Better days ARE coming xx

Real

I have contemplated writing this piece for a loooooooooooong time. I wondered if I actually needed to write this or if it was something that I felt like I wanted to put out there into the universe. After sitting on this for a couple of months I have decided that I need to write it so here goes………..I appear to live my life very much up front and authentically when I am recounting my experiences here, in blog form. I tend towards brutal, sometimes self depreciating honesty that can, in actual fact, make some people really uncomfortable. Authenticity and openness is a truth that I cling to and something that I struggled to live out for a very long time. The truth is, I can’t write if it isn’t my truth. There is an anti/BS filter that it would seem I have been fitted with or perhaps I was even born with – I just don’t do fake well. If it isn’t resonating with what I believe then I just don’t say anything. My writing will dry up when I feel like I am unable to be honest. I have a prior experience with the well of creativity drying up – I was silent via all creative mediums for years. These days, I refuse to be less than authentic – it’s just a stand that I have taken.

The facts are – I spent far too long bull shitting for people who would not even walk across the road for me. For a long time I was so sad about wasted years and berated myself for being loyal and valuing that more than my own peace of mind – but over the past few months I find myself profoundly grateful for those years! I am thankful and life-alteringly filled with gratitude for that moment of beautiful clarity, when I knew beyond a doubt, that change was needed but it had to start with ME! I am grateful for the struggles and the pain because of the changes that they have caused to take place in my heart and in my life.

If you are looking for a change because you blame others, if you are eyeing everything around you through a filter of criticism and fault finding – can I suggest that living life that way is like sitting down with a virus and then being horrified when you become sick! What is worse still is that once infected, we spread it to everyone that we come into contact with. That was me, that was my unhappy story. I allowed myself to be toxic and only I can change that and I have changed it. In those days I traded authenticity for a happy clappy, superficial fakeness. It makes me sad to think that I was once so concerned with the opinions of others and needed that validation so much that I was prepared to bastardise my own values to gain it. Things changed profoundly for me a few years ago and even more so over the last 12 months! I can say that what I do now is done out of love and not out of a misguided loyalty or a sense of duty. Being the person that we know we are supposed to be, being authentic, genuine, open hearted and loving will ALWAYS be far more attractive than being a stressed out mess, terrified of failing to adequately perform for all “the right people”. This is for free, if “the right people” don’t adore you as you are, see your potential and champion you, build you up and make you feel better about yourself ….. well I would question if the are “the right people” at all! Don’t get me wrong – being made to feel shame for who you are is NOT the same thing as being challenged to rise because your future is calling you. It is possible to be challenged to be more without being made to feel like you are a failure.

I didn’t write for years because of something that someone I really looked up to, said to me. He asked me “why would anyone want to read anything you have to say, who qualified you to write?” At the time those words plunged me into a mass of self doubt and endless questioning of my own abilities. I wish someone would ask me those things now 😂😂 I have such a passionate, life filled response that I am probably a little too eager to unleash! I even look back on that interaction and see less offensive intent and more of a question being posed that I needed to answer for myself. It’s funny how life changes us, its funny how experience makes us more seasoned and gives us understanding. Finding purpose does that! It bubbles inside of us, it motivates us when nothing else can and it empowers us to look beyond discouragement and all of the other things that stand in our way and gives us the strength to keep going. Don’t give up today.

Right now I am so profoundly grateful for my life. I am thankful xx

Hearts and more Hearts

Since my WLS I have a bit of a struggle getting enough protein into my diet. I have been HORRIFIED beyond belief to learn that generally there is quite a bit of misinformation and misunderstanding when it comes to food and exactly what we are putting into our bodies. I suppose I have become passionate about this particular field because, for so long, I was abusive towards my body. I did not fuel myself correctly and I certainly did not understand the sheer volume of food that I was mindlessly consuming.

Now that my awareness has changed and I am in a position where I need to be very careful to make each mouthful of food count for something I have become a lover of protein hacks! Hands up if you know that the weight of your protein source is NOT THE AMOUNT OF PROTEIN IT CONTAINS!!! I want to cry in frustration every time I read someone making a comment online that they “don’t know why you struggle with protein – just eat 90 grams of chicken and its all good” if that is your thinking please google the following “how much protein is in 90 grams of cooked chicken” and there in lies my problem – My stomach has the capacity of a small tin of tuna about three times a day. If I eat more than that I am sore, sick and uncomfortable 🥵 😣

When my blood tests came back that I was deficient in protein I had to act – that is malnutrition and that is serious. So I started using supplements. I have tried so many! The one that I like the most is Tasteless by Feel Good and I use it in most of my hot drinks, a lot of my cooking and I have started making myself other items that I can just quickly down, that are small, but contain a good protein hit.

I saw these protein Gummies on Bariatric Support Australia page on facebook and I have fiddled with the recipe until I have it working for me. So this is what I do.

For this recipe I used 125 ml of boiling water. The packet of Jelly (use diet if you are watching all of those naughty carbs) and dissolved it in the water, then two scoops of Tasteless Protein Powder and whisked it and then I added a spoon of gelatine and whisked it again. Don’t try to speed through the stirring – it takes a bit! And then into the fridge! Yum Yum

VALENTINES DAY EDITION When it’s not perfect

Steve and I fell for each other in high school. I adored him from afar for a long time and never expected him to notice me. Eventually he did and I felt like I had won the lottery. We probably both felt a little that way. The smile that man possesses should be banned! And just quietly his arse was always hypnotic too 🍑🙌🏻🌟👌🏻 AAAAAANYWAY it wasn’t long before we decided to make it official with wedding plans!

We met with someone for pre-marriage counselling. He gave us a questionnaire, compared the results and he told us “don’t do it – you are too different, it won’t last” so of course we did it anyway. This year, in August we will celebrate 25 years of marriage. So I guess ole mate the marriage counsellor was wrong. Well he was right about how different we are!!! Oh my goodness he was right about that but wrong about the “it won’t last” thing. I suppose everyone that expected it wouldn’t last was also wrong 🤣🤣 (let’s not kid ourselves because we all know that happened)

Hindsight is fabulous, it affords us a view of ourselves that hopefully empowers us to grow into better people. I believe that the person I was 25 years ago was far too hurt and broken to be in any relationship and good, well meaning (probably some know it all turds too) people picked up on that! In any case Steve and I did what we did and we made the choices that we did anyway! I regret nothing about choosing him. He has been the most incredible friend and loving Dad. The only regrets I have are the times that my brokenness has leeched into my interactions with him and hurt him.

WLS has made me examine myself like I never have before, WLS removed my excuses and WLS made me look at me and say “No Tasha – what happened to you has power over you as long as you allow it to continue colouring your interactions” It was the jolt I needed to examine my own self and make changes. I continue working on me because I deserve it but so does everyone I love and everyone who loves me. The best version of us is the authentic, honest, humble version of ourselves who is willing to admit to their mistakes and brave enough to first imagine AND then live a new life!

When I imagine those things, my every thought involves him. He has loved me in all my various forms and with all of my messed up baggage. I’m glad that I am fortunate enough to get to walk out my days with you Steve. Happy Valentine’s Day.

Love Tash xx

Cheer for Yourself!

Hey ho gorgeous folks – it’s been a hard weekend here. We have had a sick kid, hospital time and I continue to battle along with some issues that I have been having. I am tried and I feel emotional but guess what – I can choose how I am going to finish off this weekend. I can opt to allow myself to fall into despair and wallow here for a bit or I can GET UP and decide that I’m gonna cheer for myself today!

We can be problem orientated or we can become solution focused, we can look for the silver lining and choose to keep ourselves moving forward. Some days are hard and there is no two ways about that. Some days we wonder how the fuck we are gonna manage tomorrow and we feel a bit overwhelmed because eating is harder or easier than we were expecting. Honestly there is something to be said for proactively CHEERING for yourself on days like that!! I refuse to stay down today!!

So I am looking at this side by side pic and thinking – WOW me in the blue was 45 kilos lighter than my starting weight and I was so happy – me today looks a whole lot different again and both these pictures make me smile!! Yay little me!! You did it girl, you did it xx cheer for you today, pat yourself on the back or pull yourself up and get ready to go again because you are worth it and friends don’t let other friends wallow – Love Tash