Ready for My Close-Up…Not!

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Neanderthal Dyane 

(Painted by my beloved father, the violinist Richard Leshin, 1927-2009)

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Here I am, looking slightly less like a member of the Homo neanderthalensis species

(Thanks to Crystal Crafton of rap.ture photography)

 

I hate having my picture taken. 

I posed for pics at my wedding only because I drank two bottles of Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque champagne. Ever since that day, I don’t advise any gal to hit the booze a few hours before she gets married. Please allow me to explain…

Our wedding took place six years before my postpartum bipolar diagnosis. However, because of my alcoholic brunch, not eating, and not sleeping the night before our ceremony, I became hypomanic as Craig slipped the wedding ring on my finger. Ugh. Luckily I was able to get a full night’s sleep the following night, and the hypomania quickly subsided.

In keeping with the tradition of this blog, I digress.

Some of you know I turned in my manuscript on October 1st. Until the editing phase begins, there are other tasks to do, such as scheduling a headshot. 

Craig volunteered to take my picture, but I declined because this snob  wanted a professional. I know it’s possible for amateur photographers to take great headshots. One example is the shot my friend, the bestselling author Dan White (Under The Stars, The Cactus Eaters), took of his wife Amy Ettinger, also an author. Check out Amy’s beautiful headshot and what her upcoming book is about, that lucky gal!

Through a friend in my local Facebook group, I was referred to a reasonably priced photographer named Crystal Crafton and I booked her. I refrained from telling Crystal about my aversion to being photographed until we met, for I didn’t want to scare her off! We got together on Tuesday, and I immediately felt at ease with her.

The weather was sunny and clear, so I suggested we shoot at the beautiful Highlands Park across the street. As Crystal snapped away, I gritted my teeth while I emitted the sound the character Mini-Me makes in the Austin Powers movies. The intrepid Crystal had photographed far more challenging  situations, so my freaky noises didn’t faze her.

I was very happy with Crystal’s work! It’s a basic headshot – there’s nothing fancy about it, but I could always use these jazzed-up versions for publicity purposes.

Like this one, which I like to call the “Juice Newton”:

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“Just call me angel of the morning, angel!”

I couldn’t resist adding a link to Juice’s video. It has gotten almost 15 million views. (If you watch it, let me know if you think that’s all her real hair!)

Then there’s “The Bellah”:wp-1476983506051.jpg

“Bellah!” is a nonsensical word my high school BFF and I made up. We used to yell it out in the middle of Ms. Shirley’s 10th-grade math class to shake things up.

Option No. Three: “My True Self”:

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“Oh yes, I’m a Princess at heart, and you will wait on me hand and foot!”

When it comes to my book, I think about it often and I freak myself out with the dreaded “What If’s.”

What if they cancel my contract?

What if I relapse?

What if someone I love dies over the next year? 

I think my subconscious was trying to get me to lighten up the other night. I had a vivid nightmare in which my editor wrote me an icy email that said, “Your book will need a lot of work! We’re going to need plenty of time! Plus, we’re going to change the title to BRAIN HAMMER.”

I loathe the title BRAIN HAMMER! I love my title. I found BRAIN HAMMER pretty funny, and it felt good to laugh about it. But if it turns out I’m psychic, and my nightmare comes true, well, I’ll find other means to get my story out into the world. I’ll keep you posted! 

Quick Lose It! Update

My friends Bradley (Insights of A Bipolar Bear), Marie Abanga (Merry Marie) and I are using the Lose It! app & website to shed pounds. Thanks, in part, to Lose It!, I lost 40 lbs. Hopefully none of those pounds were taken from my hammer brain. It helps me to stick to Lose It! so I don’t yo-yo. Bradley and Marie’s encouragement helps me to no end. You can sign up for free at www.loseit.com – to join our group, search for the Wondrous Writers group at the website.

Thanks for reading, thanks for your wonderful comments & support, and I’ll see you next week, my friends.

Love,
Dyane 

p.s. Please don’t get mad at me if you listen to Angel of the Morning and it stays in your noggin waaaaay longer than you’d like!

 Facebook Birth of a New Brain Book Page – please visit & like it!

My new Twitter handle: @DyaneHarwood 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder with a foreword by Dr. Carol Henshaw (co-author of The Modern Management of Perinatal Psychiatry) will be published by Post Hill Press in October 2017.

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A Dose of Summer Fun After Bullsh*t-Induced Bingeing

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Avi and I chillin’ on the outdoor patio at Pono Hawaiian Grill

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The large patio was the perfect place to relax while Avi & Rilla enjoyed Da Lanikai Poke Stack. It has sashimi-grade ahi tuna, avocado, seaweed salad & more from “da poke bar”

Thanks and Mahalo to those of you who read my last novella post!

Special thanks to everyone who offered helpful insights. I’m extremely grateful for your support, wisdom, and humor.

I binged last Thursday and Friday night because I held my anger in for too many days in a row. I waited a week without expressing my rage until meeting with my counselor. (Um, that was not the greatest coping method!)

Before last Thursday, I had been binge-free during the past four months; it was a personal record, and one that was deeply meaningful.

After literally working my derrière off to lose 35 pounds, I was relieved I stopped bingeing after the second evening. I even told my family I binged – that was a first. (Previously, I was secretive about my compulsive overeating.) They encouraged me to go easy on myself, which I’ve tried my best to do since then.

What has helped my mood immensely is keeping busy and having fun with my two girls. 

I’ve been making up for all the summers I was unable to do a thing because my hospitalizations for bipolar depression. Those agonizing separations from my little ones will always haunt me. So you can understand how I can’t begin to explain how good it feels to get out and spend time with my daughters despite my social anxiety/generalized anxiety. (These natural lozenges help me when I’m really freaking out!)

I took Avi and her friend to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk while Rilla was petting snakes and tarantulas at Science Camp. (!) If you glance at these shots I took on their monitor (sorry for the blur), you’ll see that the girls had a bit more fun than I did on the Boardwalk’s famed, ninety-two-year old wooden rollercoaster, The Giant Dipper.

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What was more my style was driving an hour to gorgeous Pacific Grove to meet one of my best friends. (She plays a memorable role in my upcoming memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder.) 

Just before we arrived at the beach, I drove by Monterey Bay Urgent Care. That was where I used to go for my required physicals so I could receive my ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). As the great 80’s band Naked Eyes sang, there’s always something there to remind me!

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We caught up on life while the girls enjoyed all the beach had to offer…

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 Rilla was only a few feet away from a harbor seal!

Yesterday we strolled around Santa Cruz’s outdoor Pacific Garden Mall which is full of tourists, college students, yuppies, street performers, and sadly, many homeless people. We visited the indie Bookshop Santa Cruz to pick up our Harry Potter Festival tickets. (Yes.)

This “Staff Pick” display cracked me up!

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Bookshop Santa Cruz holds many positive memories for me. I’ve been visiting it since I moved here to attend college in 1989. Yesterday I watched their staff set up chairs for Julie Barton, the evening’s featured author. She was there to promote her bestselling memoir about her depression experience: Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself. (Yes, I’m jealous of her!)

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This topic has been covered years ago by BP (Bipolar) Magazine blogger Bruce Goldstein in his book Puppy Chow Is Better Than Prozac: The True Story of a Man and the Dog Who Saved His Life.

Sometimes I wonder if my book’s cover should have a big picture of my photogenic Scotch collie Lucy – who cares if she’s not central to the theme – it would sell a helluva lot more copies than if it had my visage on it! 😉 A SocialMediaToday article, “Put A Dog On It”, proves my point! 

Julie Barton’s book cover reminded me of a book I bought last year at the Catamaran Writing Conference titled The Wrong Dog Dream. I heard an acclaimed author/writing instructor speak named Jane Vandenburgh – she was incredible. Check out her book cover:

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Recently our most famous local author Jonathan Franzen spoke at Bookshop Santa Cruz about his latest book Purity. (He does not have nor needs a dog on the cover – he wrote a little book you may have heard of called The Corrections.)

Franzen’s longtime partner Kathryn Chetkovich was my college writing teacher, and get this – she actually liked my writing when I was nineteen and didn’t think I could ever write professionally! Chetkovich wrote Envy, a famous essay for Granta Magazine about how she reacted to her partner’s skyrocketing writerly fame – you should read it.

Now I wish I kept in touch with her. I admit I’m shameless when it comes to finding those who could help promote my book! Oh well.

I’ve seen quite a few amazing authors speak at Bookshop Santa Cruz over the decades. Who knows, maybe one day their picky staff will allow me to speak about my book. (I’ll bribe ’em!)

Apart from browsing bookstores, screaming on rollercoasters, and soaking up the sun at the beach, I have two items for the “Miracle of Miracles” category.

I took the girls roller skating (let me tell you….that’s a workout!)

The little, out-of-control skater kids who raced past me were the epitome of scary! And speaking of scary, I cleaned our decrepit fridge. (And no, I wasn’t manic. I was groggy as hell, LOL! I’m groggy every day!)

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It’s no lie! Hopefully it’ll stay clean for longer than two weeks!

Today I’m taking the girls to see a matinee (Ice Age: Collision Course in 3D – yikes! But they’re begging me to see it – I can’t resist their soft, little hugs – I’m a sucker!)

I also plan to catch up on your blogs and your comments sometime today and over the weekend – hurrah! Now you know why I haven’t had time to do much besides gallivant about town.

Sending you my love, & see you next week!

Dyane

I want to send a special shout-out to Bradley of the terrific blog Insights From a Bipolar Bear. We’ve been encouraging each other in our free online Lose It! group as we work on our weight loss/exercise goals. If you’re interested in joining us, mention it in the comments and I’ll send you an invite.

Thank you Bradley!!!

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

Losing A Mirror Carp Feels Good

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Soaking up the sun with my John Cena-worthy 3-pounders. 😉

 

     30 lbs is the equivalent weight of this mirror carp!

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Whoa! 

 

Dear Friends,

I’ve been writing about my weight-loss journey, and I appreciate your sticking with me especially if you have zero interest in the topic. Rest assured, I’ll soon return to expoundng on other important subjects including Bigfoot and my Scoth collie Lucy’s career.

Now that I’ve reached my goal of losing a mirror carp, I’m proud of myself. I didn’t think I could lose 30 pounds, especially becuause I take lithium and tranylcypromine/Parnate, an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) for my bipolar one disorder. I took Seroquel from 2013-2015, and that med affected my metabolism, causing me to gain weight in the stomach area.

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve been a compulsive overeater for decades. During the past year I was downing one pint of Talenti chocolate gelato every night, so I couldn’t blame all the changes in my body upon my bipolar medications.

Anyway, here I am, feeling so much better despite my black hairy tongue, hoping that I can keep up my new lifestyle, especially when the sh*t hits the fan.

Weight loss veterans know that the truly hard work comes after one’s goal is achieved.

I can’t loop too much about the future. No matter what happens, it has been awesome to take care of myself. It’s even better being a positive role model to my girls and Lucy. 

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Where’s my treat?

Little efforts add up. I bring a big bottle of water everywhere I go. When I take my kids out somewhere to eat, I don’t order a bunch of grub even when I’m not hungry the way I used to do. I’ll drink water or order a black coffee, and joke with the server that I’m a great tipper. (True.)

I haven’t returned to my 30-45 minute-long workout yet because I’m not ready, but every other day I lift my fearsome Target dumbbells for ten minutes. Bicep curls and tricep lifts – that’s it. I put on Pandora 80’s music channels which makes the ten minutes go by fast.

Yes, it’s all about baby steps. 

 

The Groovy Ketogenic Diet Update

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I’m halfway through reading Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet and while I want to try it because it allegedly helps with bipolar disorder symptoms, I find the logistics VERY daunting. 

Despite my intimidation, I found an interesting article about this diet’s affect upon bipolar. Check out Dr. Georgia Ede’s website Diagnosis: Diet – Nutrition Science Meets Common Sense: “Bipolar Disorder and Diet Part II: Low Carbohydrate Diets”. There are almost 100 comments, and I’m curious about what they say. In any case, I’ll keep you posted about what I wind up doing.

Do any of you follow the ketogenic diet? I’d love to know about your experience.

Even if you’re not ready to make a major change in your lifestyle (it took me almost two years to stop eating junk) please know you can lose weight while taking bipolar meds. I’m not claiming this credo applies to every person under the sun, but I think it’s true for many people with bipolar disorder. 

The free app that helped me achieve my goal is called Lose It! which is simply a food tracking/logging device. It’s easy to use and it woke me up.

If you want to try it, I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment. You can also sign up for free at www.loseit.com 

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170 pounds and so unhappy that I couldn’t even look at the camera.

Most of what I ate back then was Talenti gelato, countless packages of the Immaculate Baking Company’s raw chocolate chip cookie dough, and Häagen-Dazs chocolate ice cream.

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Sorry for the blur – this pic has selfie-itis syndrome.

While I still have my Seroquel Spider belly, I can live with it because I’m feeling much healthier and happier. Three months ago I cut out 95% of the sugar I was inhaling. I began eating mostly organic food, and kept preparations as simple as possible. My husband supported me, thank goodness; he didn’t mind my doing my own thing. I stopped bingeing cold-turkey and started drinking lots of water and green tea. I also joined Scientology to follow my idol Tom Cruise. (Just kidding! Can’t get too serious about this healthy eating stuff…)

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You can do it!

 

As always, sending you lots of love, 

Dyane

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

Black Hairy Tongue, Earthquake Fun & Facing a Fear

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My yucky brown tongue & Avi’s healthy pink tongue

Avast, me hearties…yuckier photo ahead!

Greetings, my friends!

It has been an interesting week.

I learned something new, and you’re about to learn it too! Did you know that after one takes antibiotics (in my case, for walking pneumonia) it’s possible to get a case of Black Hairy Tongue? The answer is a resounding yes!

What on earth is Black Hairy Tongue, exactly?

WebMD explains, “The name black hairy tongue may sound scary, but the condition is harmless. Black hairy tongue is caused by bacteria or fungi in the mouth, which make the tongue appear black and hairy. It’s easily remedied by good old-fashioned oral hygiene.” (For more info. visit this WebMD link)

Thank the stars, not all cases are black-colored tongues; I got lucky with a coffee-colored brown one. I could’ve sported this look:

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I freely admit my case could’ve been much worse. The above shot is TAME compared to what else lurks out there. My advice: Don’t do a Google image search for “black hairy tongue”, ever. Yowza!

I’m grateful that my black hairy tongue isn’t black nor hairy! When my doctor looked at it she told me that I just need to wait it out for a month. It’s not contagious. There are no medications to take, but it’s a good idea to scrape my tongue after brushing my teeth daily. No problemo.

My yucky tongue experience brought me back to my childhood. I watched the following jingle a zillion times. It’s sung by the actor/singer Scatman Crothers who warns about a different kind of yuck mouth, but it’s so catchy and convincing that I wanted to share it.

Local Earthquake News:

We had a early morning jolt last weekend that freaked me out. At 3.6 on the Richter scale, it was nothing compared to the Loma Prieta quake I lived through back in 1989. (It registered a fearsome, deadly 6.9.) My entire family slept through the 3.6, except for Miss Lucy and yours truly.

There’s something about feeling this particular force of nature that cuts to the core. You’re out of control in a BIG way. It’s unnerving, to say the least. Hearing our house creak and shift wasn’t the way I preferred to spend the crack of dawn. But once again, this is another situation that could’ve been much worse. I was relieved a bigger quake didn’t follow the 3.6!

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The epicenter was less than 20 miles away from Chez Harwood

Facing My Festival Fears:

My first “grown-up” job was producing annual large-scale festivals in Silicon Valley for four years. After I left that position, I took a looooooong break from attending any festival, even the Santa Cruz Chocolate Festival. I thought I went to enough festivals to last several lifetimes.

Last week I was unexpectedly gifted with tickets to the Redwood Mountain Faire, a local, family-friendly festival that attracts great musicians. It would’ve been rude not to go, so I forced myself. I planned to say hi to my generous friend on their staff, and dash away shortly after that.

Rilla said she’d join me, and I thought she’d also want to leave soon after our arrival. But as fate would have it, she ran into some of her friends, and she begged me to stay all day! (We compromised at four & 1/2 hours.)

The event was well-produced, it was in a beautiful setting, and I had to admit it was fun, especially since I didn’t need to work and deal with angry food vendors, etc. While taking a breather in the shade I chatted with some cool, friendly locals; it turned out they were the parents and grandparents of Rilla’s ballet classmate. The grandma, who used to live on our street decades ago, told me about some fascinating musical history that took place across from our house. (I was flabbergasted, but that’s for another post!) My social anxiety took a backseat for a change.

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A festival isn’t a festival without a shaved ice booth!

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Rilla caught me in a particularly relaxed moment

Ketogenic Update: I’m still very curious about ketosis because of its purported  beneficial effects upon bipolar symptoms. I sampled a few books about ketogenic nutrition on my Kindle, and Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Diet by Jimmy Moore and Dr. Eric C. Westman impressed me the most. I couldn’t resist splurging on it, and I’ll let you know what I think about it soon!

I hope you’re all hanging in there. I appreciate your reading this blog so much! I’ll touch base late next week, and in the meantime, please take good care of yourselves. Happy Summer!

Lots of love, Dyane

 

p.s. You can still join our Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group on the website/app Lose It! Group member Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear has helped me with his encouragement! I’ve lost 25 pounds of “Serouqel weight” since I began using Lose It!, and let me tell ya, it feels good to carry around less poundage.

If you join us, Bradley & I will encourage you. Why not try it out? I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment. You can also sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

I Want to Tell The World

Tell The World by Dave Dobbyn, one of my favorite singers

(Of course he’s from New Zealand!)

Dear Friends,

I want to tell the world about two memoirs I loved reading…

I want to tell the world about my new favorite dessert…

and it’s not chocolate! 

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(Be grateful for my restraint – I resisted posting 10 more pictures of adorable animals!)

I want to tell the world that since I started using the free Lose It! app I’ve lost over twenty pounds! 

I’m no longer carrying the equivalent of this barbell around & that definitely agrees with me.

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When I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder at thirty-seven, I began compulsive overeating to self-medicate. I went up and down with my weight depending on whether I was depressed or manic.

Medications played a part in my weight gain as well – I tried 25+ meds and some of them played havoc with my metabolism. Repeatedly losing weight and gaining weight is a vicious pattern, but I’m trying harder than ever before to break that cycle.

I have a unique combination of reasons motivating me – some are old, but others are new. They are:

1. To feel better about myself

2. To serve as a positive role model to my children

3. To have more energy 

4. To be kinder to my knee joints. Lugging around the equivalent of a toddler every day has taken a serious toll on my right knee. I had ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) reconstruction done in 1991 after ripping my ACL playing  basketball at the tender age of 16. I had a 2nd surgery in 2007 only a few months after Rilla was born to repair torn cartilage. 

5. I’d also like to show that it’s *possible* to maintain a healthy weight despite taking meds that get a bad rap for weight gain: i.e. lithium and my  MAOI. I’ve heard of people who won’t try a medication if it means weight gain, even if the med could lift bipolar depression. Of course weight gain can be a totally legit side effect (God knows I found that out with Seroquel!) but it’s not always the case. 

And I’ll admit there’s a superficial reason lurking beneath the nobler ones:

6. I want to feel great when I take my author photo next year! Perhaps I’ll emulate this saucy unicorn’s expression.

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Strike a pose 

 

The power of bibliotherapy has strengthened my resolve. Two new weight loss memoirs inspired me, and I want to share them with you, even if you’re not out to lose weight. Anyone could benefit from reading about these extraordinary women’s journeys.

These well-written books have depth; they are much more than about weight loss. The authors’ intentions are clear: they want to help others along the same agonizing road. (There are no nice, neat, saccharine happy endings either!) 

Memoir #1

The Latte Years: A Story About Losses, Gains and Life Beyond the After Photo 

by Philippa Moore

Twitter: @philippa_moore Websitephilippamoore.net

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Book Description: At twenty-four Philippa Moore is overweight, unhappily married, and still living in her hometown of Hobart, Tasmania. After a wake-up call in a department-store changing room (DYANE RELATES TO THAT! 😉 Phil suddenly realises that she is on the wrong path. With determination she starts to shed the kilos, and makes a confronting discovery: she is in charge of her own life.

Starting over again in Melbourne, she launches an award-winning health and fitness blog, Skinny Latte, and finds the courage to leave her marriage. She then sets out on an international odyssey, travelling the length and breadth of North America and throwing herself into every new experience she encounters. An intuitive friend predicts that true love is in her future but, still scarred from her failed relationship, she can scarcely bring herself to believe it. When she arrives in London, though, she finds the life she has always been looking for, coming to realise that excuses for not doing the things you dream of doing are just that: excuses.

The Latte Years is the brave story of a life restarted, of the battles still to be won once the ‘after’ photo has been taken. Told with humour, insight and a great deal of coffee, it shows that we have the power to change anything, and inspires us to live our best, most authentic life.

Read Dyane’s Amazon review here.

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Memoir #2

Fat Girl, Skinny

by Amye Archer  

Twitter:@AmyeArcher  Website: www.amyearcher.com

Amye lets loose where other authors would hold back, but not for sensationalistic reasons. Her writing rings true and her candor is compelling. I admire her for “showing us the warts” the way she does. I discovered Amye’s book through a National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW) tweet. She’ll be speaking about writing and her memoir on June 9th for free at the NAMW Roundtable:

http://namw.org/2016/05/june-roundtable/

“Inventing the Memoir: Truth Can Be Stronger Than Fiction” 

4 PM PDT   5 PM MDT 6 PM CDT 7 PM EDT 

Amye explains, “When I first started writing my memoir, I was nervous that it wasn’t interesting enough. After all, I was only 33. What life experience could I possibly cobble together to create a memoir? Mine was a story about being unhappily married and divorced and fat, and nothing else really.  There’s no big plot twist, no tragic deaths. So when a publisher showed interest and asked me to change my story to fiction, I didn’t hesitate…What I realized was this: people stopped relating to the material as strongly as they did when it was memoir. As memoir, when I would read excerpts, I would have women and men approach me afterwards and tell me that they too have felt the heft of Fat Girl, Skinnyweight on their chest, the worm of self-loathing in their brains. As memoir, I was embracing the reader. As fiction, I was holding the reader at arms length.”

*You are never too young to write a memoir; everyone has a story buried somewhere inside.
*The strength of memoir lies in our ability to tap into the universal truth that connects us.
*Tips for writing that universal truth, finding truth in identity.
*Why memoir is different than fiction.

Book Description: After her husband leaves her for a skinnier, blonder, younger woman, Amye is forced to confront the food addiction that has been holding her back for most of her life and has left her weighing two hundred and sixty-five pounds. With the help of the gang of girls of Weight Watchers, and their fearless leader —former fatty and community college dropout—Pantsuit Pam, Amye spends the next year losing weight and learning to live in a skinny (er) woman’s body. Only being skinny is not as easy as it looks, especially when inside, she will always be a fat girl. Fat Girl, Skinny is Amye’s story, but it’s also the story of anyone who has ever been told: “You’d be pretty…if”.


Thanks for reading this lengthy post!

I appreciate your support and comments so much. Oh yes – that new favorite dessert? Slices of an organic Granny Smith green apple dipped in almond butter. Heaven. If you told me I’d fall in love with such a treat, even preferring it over my typical pint of double chocolate gelato, I would’ve scoffed at you. However, life is very mysterious. And on that note…

I wish you a great day!

lots of love, & see you next week,

Dyane

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p.s. I’ll keep posting this blurb in hopes that some of you will join us if you’re interested. I started a  Lose It! Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group.  The intrepid blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member. His encouragement has helped me more than I expected it would – it’s far better than going it alone! I’ll send you an invite if you include your email in a comment, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups. 

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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Feeling Better…Why Not Join Me?

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My “Before” Seroquel Spider Belly picture with Coach Lucy, J.D.

(I am not with child…I’m pushing 50!)  

Then again, age is relative, right? While surfing memoirs on Amazon, I saw  Dr. Frieda Birnbaum’s book. She had twin boys at age sixty! 

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I wish her all the happiness in the world, but I must admit that upon learning why her life began at sixty, my first thought was:

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Back to business…

In the past 3 weeks I stopped binging, I started using the free Lose It! app (described in my last post), and I started drinking water every day. I’ve lost about 7 pounds and feel much healthier!

If you’re tempted to join me, here are some ways to psych yourself up:

Pick up a ten pound weight or something that weighs around that much. Now imagine carrying that around all day long….or if you’re where I’m at weight-wise, imagine carrying three of them!

I suggest you visit Target’s dressing room, take off your clothes, and look at the full-length mirror. (I’m not kidding.) That was my wake-up call.

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Exercise

Before I got sick at Christmas, I followed “Dr. Alsuwaidan-style” exercise. If you’re ready to bring exercise into your life, get the okay from your doctor. Next, please take a look at my post about this awesome psychiatrist’s suggestions for working out for your mood, not just your bod. I plan on returning to Dr. A’s style of exercise in May.

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Psychiatrist Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan practices what he preaches!

Daily Water Intake

Of course you should talk with your psychiatrist before doing something new on the dietary front. When you start increasing your water intake, do it safely because you can mess up your electrolyte balance if you don’t. Keep in mind that if you take lithium like I do, you need to be extra cautious when it comes to how much water you drink. I know you know that!

I liked these Mayo Clinic & LIVESTRONG‘s links. They have 1-page (very) general guides suggesting safe daily H20 amounts, but they aren’t geared for those who take psych meds. So put your pdoc to good use and ask him/her about it!

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Lose It! worked for me before in 2012. It was awesome until I made the ginormous mistake of tapering off meds & relapsing. It wasn’t Lose It’s fault that I gained back the weight. Anyway, the good news is that it’s working again and it’s easy (and dare I say it?) fun & educational to use.

If you want to lighten up what you carry around, c’mon, join me! (I’m not being paid by Lose It! to write this. I wish!)

I created a Lose It! group called “Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group” and I really want some company there. Visit https://www.loseit.com to sign up – it’s free. Once you sign up, look for the group by that title.

You can also write your email in the comments, and I can send you a Lose It! invite. 

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So true

To be clear, I won’t be switching this blog to a weight-loss blog anytime soon. 😉 I wanted to share my good news with you, and double-check if anyone else wants to participate with me.

I’ll see you next week, and as always, thanks for reading!!!!

love,

Dyane

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Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

I’ve Lost It!

 

 

LoseIt Before

Um…Lucy ate the entire pint of talenti dark chocolate gelato in one sitting. Not me!

I never had a significant weight gain until bipolar disorder entered the picture. I was a high school cross country team runner until I blew out my knee playing basketball. I eventually had successful anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction surgery, and learned how to use weight lifting to strengthen the muscles around my knee.

Long before I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder, I worked at a local gym as a front desk attendant. I was responsible for opening the gym weekdays at the grisly hour of 5:30 a.m. and greeting groggy members.

At the front desk I handed out workout towels to the eclectic membership which ranged from the founder of Netflix (before he became a billionaire and built his own gym) to University of California professors, artists, high-tech employees and the homeless.  

A year into the job, weary of being known as the “counter girl”, I became certified as an American Council on Exercise personal trainer, which was incredibly challenging. Studying for the certification was as difficult as any university class I took. I cried with relief and joy when I found out I passed my A.C.E. exam! From then on I trained members how to use the equipment, designed their exercise programs, and taught circuit training classes for two years.  

My first major weight gain happened six years ago when I was in the thick of bipolar depression; hopeless and deeply depressed.

The semi-smile you see here is the fakey kind…

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Not feeling the Christmas spirit! 

Our house only has a few mirrors, and they all show how we look from the chest up, so you can imagine how easy it might be to ignore a growing weight problem. “Out of sight, out of mind” rings a bell. 

Yet I didn’t totally have my head in the sand about my body. I knew I gained a lot of weight once my Seroquel spider belly popped out and none of my clothes fit. 

Two weeks ago I had an epiphany in Target. (Where else? The Vatican???)

Accompanied by my oldest daughter Avonlea, I was in an extremely well-lit changing room trying on dresses in front of Target’s full-length mirror. After one glance at myself, I didn’t recognize the body I saw in the mirror.

It was apparent that if I kept up my habit of eating gelato (and a lot more sweets than that since the Italian Ben Lomond Baking Company opened down the street), my fatigue would worsen and I’d be asking for diabetes along with a host of other maladies. 

It was time to stop sabotaging my physical and mental health.

Avonlea reminded me of my success using the free internet program/app Lose It! in which I gradually and safely lost sixty pounds after that Christmas photo was taken.

Lose It! claims that its followers do better when a few of one’s friends use the program. There’s a rumor this popular blogger might join me in the Lose It! program. 

To that blogger I say, “C’mon, you have nothing to lose by trying Lose It! except for adipose tissue (a.k.a. fat)!”

images Adipose tissue – it’s what’s for dinner!

For the past three weeks I’ve eaten only low-fat, mostly organic, non-GMO-sourced food. I returned to drinking plenty of water – a good idea since I take lithium. I follow these water guidelines to be safe. The better-quality food I now eat doesn’t cost our family a great deal more because there’s a savvy shopper in the family. Craig worked in kitchens for years as a cook to put himself through school. He continues to cook at home and prefers to buy groceries. That’s fine with me!

I’ll be honest with you – I was eating a pint of talenti a night, okay? That volume of gelato adds up calorically and financially.

Can you see why I can’t blame my weight gain on my meds?

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I don’t miss my small mountain’s worth of gelato a week – it’s a miracle.

I feel much better, but it’s definitely challenging to sit with my emotions instead of distract myself with food. Reading Geneen Roth’s classic books about compulsive overeating and attending OA meetings once helped me grapple with compulsive overeating. Now I’m lucky to have my therapist to turn to; she’s one of the healthiest people I know.

Once I get out more this summer and face a few social situations, I’ll be tested, but I’ll figure it out.

My goal is to look like this:

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Don’t be jealous!

Just kidding!

Seriously, if you’re in the same boat as me, consider checking out Lose It! (Forgive me if I sound like an infomercial – I simply like their program, but I don’t work for them.)

You may be wondering where exercise fits in this regime. Well, I plan on returning to what I call my “Dr. Alsuwaidan-style exercise very soon.

Unknown-4Psychiatrist/ISBD Chair Dr. Mohammad Alsuwaidan

Ever since my Christmas illness cramped my cardio habit, I dropped my workouts to the wayside. I miss the way they make me feel, especially in terms of alleviating anxiety. So yes, I shall sweat again soon.

In the meantime, let me know if you want to try Lose It! by setting up your profile (it’s easy to do) and “friend” me under my name. I’ll be there to cheer you on.

I’m experienced in encouraging gym members to achieve their goals, so I’d be more than honored to encourage any member of our tribe to feel better.

Lots of love & see you next week,

Dyane

 

Dyane’s memoir Birth of a New Brain – Healing from Postpartum Bipolar Disorder will be published by Post Hill Press in 2017.

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