Trampolines & Jump Ropes & Green Tea – Oh My!


The girls are great role models for how to use the trampoline for fun & exercise. Malena the chicken was hanging out with them until she started decorating the trampoline with chicken poop. 

(She wasn’t harmed in any way – she’s showered with more love than you can shake a stick at! She’s not destined for a stew.)


The trampoline is also a great place to stretch and chill after your workout. 

But it has been surprisingly hard for me to jump on the trampoline for more than a couple minutes. At that point I’m huffing and puffing. Meanwhile, my girls can jump effortlessly for a long time. Talk about humbling. I’m going to jump on it for a few minutes at a time and get used to it – that’s all I can do.

I bought a jump rope last weekend because I used to do a jump rope workout when I worked at the gym (um, twenty years ago), but until I can jump on the trampoline for five minutes without wanting to pass out, I’m holding off on jump rope antics.

Lose It! has been such a help. The website & app have given me an awareness of what I’ve been mindlessly eating. At long last, I’m feeling better about my health and my body, and my self-esteem is rising. I no longer hold in my Seroquel Spider belly because it’s shrinking! I breathe better because I got rid of that nasty habit.

If I sound a bit too unicorn farty, life hasn’t been easy since I began my plan. Over a period of three weeks both my girls took turns having walking pneumonia. Now, regular walking pneumonia is bad enough, but Rilla’s case was so severe that she baffled two pediatricians. (They’re 100% fine now, Mom!)

Normally I would’ve binged like mad due to my stress over seeing my little ones so ill, but I didn’t do it this time. This is huge progress for a compulsive eater like me.

In other profound news…I’ve been drinking Yogi Tea’s Green Tea Blueberry Slim Life, although I still drink a cup of coffee in the morning. I love the taste of this tea because the blueberry and organic hibiscus flower make it sweet. Yum!

I’m keeping up with my water habit (a glass every hour until I reach 70 or so ounces.) I love water, so it’s not a chore, but I know for some of you it is. It really is worth it, bathroom breaks and all, especially if you take lithium like I do and you want to feel better and perhaps lose some weight. If you’re not sure how much water is a safe amount for you to drink, visit this Mayo Clinic link.

Guess who just got a bath & smells like heavenly lavender & mint courtesy of Cloud Star Buddy Wash?

Not grubby ‘ol me!


As always, sending you all my love,


p.s. Want to join our fledgling Lose It! group Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group? C’mon, we’d love to have you. Please include your email in a comment and I’ll send you an invite, or you can sign up for free at and find us under Groups. The awesome blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a member, and his steady encouragement has been a joy.

p.p.s. Please let me know how you like to exercise or tell me your healthy tips in the comment section! Anyone who comments will receive a check, a Richard Simmons Chia Pet (designed by the creative blogger/mom of twins SuperMomMentality), a Susan Powter Chia Pet and Susan Powter DVD. Remember her?


Visit my latest Huffington Post article: “Why This Bipolar Mom Exercises  for Mood Stability” because you know you want to read it!

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…

Dyane Chunkers Two..JPG

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?


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:


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