Sunday 17th February 2019

On Learning About Eating. Part One.10/2019.

On Learning About Eating.  Part One. 10/2019.

I have been eating my way through life for over 69 years now. As anyone does.

Yes, I “am” the baby. I also know my grandmother (left) and Dad struggled with weight issues too.

But, I still do not understand much about eating ….unless it is:

  • diet-based (fail)
  • managing to eat enough for nourishment after cancer surgery in my mouth (pass/fail/maybe)
  • how to moderate my choices for more than a day or so ( pass or is it fail?)

Why I am I writing about this topic?

It has puzzled me (and I am thinking many who read this) why I ate. Because I know it was often not based on sound nutritional practices and in fact was in some way disordered. I do not have an eating disorder but I do/did eat like this:

  • some secretive ways – late at night or when no-one was around
  • using stashes of chocolate to soothe me
  • having take-away food in the car

I have written a long post here about my “weight” and how I played “possum” about it. No-one could (or dared) mention it yet I was/still can be ashamed of my behaviour.

Since my cancer surgeries where I lost more weight through not being ABLE to eat much, I did enjoy the unexpected outcome of buying lovely clothes to fit me and to show my newly acquired physique…thanks to oral cancer…

And that was lovely and I will always appreciate that time in my life from October 2017 to around the same time in 2018.

Some examples of my pre-upper prosthesis meals. Mind you I cannot face any of these as a meal now I am post-teeth.

Then I began to eat more food from late August 2018 on. Because I could. Oh and it tasted so good, the senses were in over-drive and the fact that I could now BITE, CRUNCH and CHEW was amazing. This happened because “I got my upper prosthesis”. Yay.

And my weight has crept up. What did I do? I was glad I could eat from a wider (pardon the pun) range of foods but I sensed my retreat into anxiety about my appearance and that it would become noticeable to others. Early in 2019 my husband could see my emotional state had become less content since my early months of “having teeth” euphoria and we had a very frank discussion where I confessed I was worried I had not learned anything new about eating despite the privations of 14 months with no upper teeth. Because of cancer. If you want to read about my cancer, here is the page with the posts.

Organised and planner me took over for a while and this is what I came up with since that chat:

  • weigh-in once a month
  • focus when I go out on coffee part not the add-on of a food such as donuts, date loaf or muffin
  • eat more regularly: make specific time ranges for three meals a day. Add snacks.
  • plan groceries around my meals (my husband and I eat a shared meal a few times only in a week)
  • resist late-night snacking in bed by allowing hunger to be felt
  • speaking kindly towards myself in any times of difficulty (this is such a different me to old, punitive me)
  • look at the facts about my appearance rather than the perceptions aka mind-based ones
  • move more each day – it has been very hot so it has been better to stay home than to get outside BUT I can walk more when I go to a coffee place in a shopping centre

Then I heard about Mindful Eating. As someone who has practised mindfulness as part of my cancer recovery time along with when I am faced with anxious and scary times, I was very interested. So I bought the two books AND am now listening via CD to this program.

I KNEW I ate for more reasons than stomach hunger! The author who knows from experience of both an early eating issue, is a doctor and a mindfulness practitioner has opened my mind! I am doing some of the exercises and I now know I (we) eat to satisfy:

  • eye hunger
  • nose hunger
  • stomach hunger
  • mouth hunger
  • heart hunger
  • mind hunger
  • cellular hunger

The tracks on the CD are listed here. I am a work-in-progress of course.

Here’s what I am learning so far:

  • I eat visually: eyes it seems come first BUT
  • I also eat by the stomach so I recognise the feelings of fullness
  • I KNEW I ate from mouth hunger but had no idea why. It explains how much I (we) miss chewing, crunching, savouring and tasting….as I did in my 14 months after cancer surgeries.
  • I need to care for and about myself around this issue of eating. Not say anything negative about what I am doing. The inner critic needs to be back in her place. Doing well so far.
  • I need to eat at regular intervals but to also feel the stomach hunger too. I am very much into the early stages of making things around eating work for me but am proud now that I:
  • meal plan – and include some protein at each main meal
  • snacks are well & truly covered and are linked to helping my meet my mouth hunger, visual hunger and heart hunger
  • can look at my image in the mirror or photo and be proud of the body that has helped me overcome cancer 
  • am learning lessons about eating I wish I had known a long time ago

29 Jan 19 : Writing this post after going out for coffee and groceries.

Part Two will be an update. This is most definitely a project in health and head and neck cancer recovery worth taking my time over.

Is eating something you struggle with?

How do you make eating choices?

I would love to know more in the comments!

Denyse.

Joining with Sue here and Leanne for the Wednesday link up MidLife Share The Love.

 

 

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My Hairstyle History. #LifeThisWeek 34/52. 2018.78.

My Hairstyle History. #LifeThisWeek 34/52. 2018.78.

Hair is so important to we humans. It keeps our heads covered and warm…and we often hope, in some way attractive to others and to feel good. I know that many of us, looking for a radical shift in mood or life change, will “do something to our hair”. I have but never quite as drastic as perhaps when I was a very young mum.

I have seen people I know having life changes – a job is left, a partner walks out or just for the heck of it…and a new ‘do or colour means… hair is the way to deal with things. That is my take anyway.

About my hairstyle history. I had pretty strict parents who were practical. My hair was kept short but sometimes adorned with ribbons. I do not recall having a say in my hairstyle from ages 0 to around 10/12. Then, of course, it is hitting peer group importance time and a girl (that is the only perspective I can take!) will want to look cool but also follow trends.

In my teens until I left home at 20 I had a variety of lengths but no longer could Mum or Dad convince me to keep it short. It was at the height of teasing, big up dos and formals that I used to spend SO much time at the hairdressers prior to these. IF I was trying to do my hair at home, I would use rollers and then sit on the bed with the hairdryer bonnet blowing hot air onto my skull.

Married after my first year of teaching my hair was very long, almost down to my waist at the back. Very simple style on our wedding day.

Wedding Day 1971. Dad, Mum, Bro, Gran, B & Me, Poppy, Papa

Mum had a long-standing weekly hair appointment for a trim/blow dry and style from the time I remember. She also had her various hair dressers dye her hair and perm it. Until she was 82, this was her routine. She was dying of cancer then (we did not know yet) and did not want people to see her, so my SIL and I washed and dried Mum’s hair. It was a poor effort and I always regret not being more careful. Mum had ear troubles all her life and she could not get water into her ears so always washed her hair at home before going to the hairdresser. A really sad memory for me, is when Mum was in palliative care, a nurse brusquely put Mum into the shower, wetting her hair to wash it and water went in her ears. Mum was INDIGNANT…and it was one of the last times she would speak. She died 8 days later.

Mum and Dad – 60 years wed. 2.11.2006. Sadly Mum became very ill and passed away in March 2007. The last time Mum’s hairdresser did her hair.

So, I have been a teacher for eons. And if you did not already know, when the school photographers come to schools, teachers get a set of freebies. Individual photos and with the staff and the class. So, a lot of this next group are from those years. I too, like Mum, had regular appointments with the hairdresser but mine were spread out! Around 6 weeks for a cut, and a colour.  Sometimes I went to the blonde end of the “mousey brown which needs changing” or to the browner end. I let the grey in after spending far too much money and time having it covered. I used to have perms. Who didn’t? Oh. Not you?

Once I was into my early 60s I had less money to spend on my hair and to be truthful was over spending time to cover what grey was showing. It took some convincing of my long-time Sydney hairdresser to ‘grow’ out the greys but it was not only liberating, it actually suits me.

My hairdresser now, Tiffany, is the best I have ever had for my short style. I “hope” I can find a suitable replacement for a few months while she is having the baby or I might be back to long hair… LOL. Never. I return to her for a cut early September and she tells me she will let me know which of the two hairdressers she has in the salon during her absence “will be better” at my hair. One thing I did not mention is cost. I pay $20 as a pensioner if I get my hair cut on a Monday or Tuesday.

Tell me about your hair!

Denyse.

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Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 35/52. Share Your Snaps 7. 27/8/18.


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What I Wore This Week.1. 2018.73.

What I Wore This Week.1. 2018.73.

This introduction is to a blog post I will do most weeks.

I will not always do this long introduction but as a teacher…that is what I do….!

Some time ago I wrote here about the importance for me to:

  • have a purpose in each day
  • get dressed with a view to going out somewhere that day
  • having a photo taken – by my husband – adding it to my Instagram feed, personal facebook and twitter accounts
  • take pride in my personal appearance following a diagnosis of cancer back in May 2017
  • enjoy wearing clothes I may never have fitted in previous years because over the past few years, I have lost weight
  • finally believe in myself as someone who can look good and feel good rather than the person of the past who hid behind her weight
  • take better care of my inner self as the outer self is showing by doing some Calm meditation, taking myself into nature somewhere each day, and by creating something in the form that I enjoy.
  • believe that I not only can wear lovely clothes but that I need to as I have not ever previously given myself permission to do so on most occasions
  • some of the #hashtags I use on my photos are: #ootd (outfit of the day) #dresswithpurpose #everydaystyle
  • I buy all of my clothes from local Australian stores including Millers, Rockmans, Suzanne Grae, Noni B.
  • I do not have any items of clothing that are sent to me or are sponsored.
  • I tend to buy all of the clothes at sale prices.
  • I organise my wardrobe in colours….mostly reds/pinks/oranges….and blues/greens

If you are new here, the links I have provided above will give you more explanation of my points!

The photos are curated by me for Instagram. I have a private account as I was hacked last year. If you would like to follow me, just ask: @denysewhelan

This week, I wore:

I hope this post has been helpful and of interest.

Do let me know in the comments!

What are you wearing?

Denyse.

P.S….. a very important “what I wore”. Since cancer surgery in May 2017 I have been without any upper teeth. On Monday at my prosthodontist visit, I got to wear something I had not for over one year: MY SMILE!

 

 

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Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

Appearance Matters. 2018.11.

When I knew that Sue from Sizzling Towards Sixty and Leanne from Cresting the Hill were starting up a link up for the Over 50s I decided it might be just the place to be…for me!

I’ve been blogging for more than 8 years now and my blog has changed a lot in the past 2-3 years. It has become a personal space for me to connect and be in conversation with a range of readers who vary in age, interests and career status.

My audience till the past year or so has tended to be mothers of children who are at school or at the beginning of their school lives. I love that too because I am a parent of 2 adult children who have kids (our beloved grandkids) and I sometimes see the similarities of the life I had as a parent with what is happening now. The significant change though is SOCIAL MEDIA and PHONES. This is something for another time!

What do I mean by ‘appearance matters?’

In my case it has two meanings:

  1. that my appearance does matter to me
  2. that it matters that I take care of my appearance

But why should I?

In the past 2-3 years I have had to face mental challenges that came as a big shock to my system. They included selling a beloved family home, moving to a completely different area of NSW AND finally stopping the care of our grandchildren which had formed a part of my weekly routine for over 6 years. Oh yes, and I stopped my final professional role as an educator of pre-service teachers at University.

These events proved to be much bigger as a challenge to my feelings and mental well-being than I ever considered. I thought (yes, thinking is an intellectual move) that all the transitions we went through towards our longed-for retirement were well-reasoned and totally accepted by me.

But they actually were not well-received by my inner being.

My life spiralled down into a self-centred and sad one despite on the outside it seemed OK.

Here’s what transpired so that I did finally accept the changes emotionally and could move forward.

I got cancer.

What the??

I do not downplay this at all but my diagnosis of cancer in my upper gums came last May (read here if you would like to know more) after almost a year of troubles with my mouth and a bridge attached to my front teeth.

I literally had to step up and find emotional strengths and courage to manage myself as well as I could with such BIG news and a HUGE change in my life. And that of my husband’s. I was well-cared for by my psychologist who had already given me the tools to manage situations that were threatening to me and my then-new GP was also part of “support Denyse as she supports herself” team. I have since not needed the counselling and use my inner strengths and knowledge more over time with some top-up reminders from chats with my husband and GP.

Introducing Appearance Matters! 

I admit that when I was feeling down, even before cancer, I was not much into clothes. I was overweight for a LONG time in my life. Read my post where I confessed to my long-time weight issues. Yet, in 2015 and onwards something happened to me that has never happened before without diets and restrictions. I started losing weight (I did need to but it seemed too easy) and it became evident that my clothes were too big. I did see that and feel it too but as a decades long overweight person I thought it would all return. It did not and slowly I needed to give away the BIG sizes and down-size my wardrobe.

Me with my late Mum. I felt I could never measure up to her appearance-wise so I did not bother. Mum died in 2007. This pic well before that.

This was a chore. I had no interest in buying the clothes around late 2016 and into 2017 because I figured we could not afford new clothes for me (on a limited pension) and that I did not deserve new clothes. Again, my inner self was not a happy camper. I hung out in casual beach clothes and nothing which was tight nor showing off my shrinking body.

I had the cancer surgery in May. I could barely eat and that sure did prove to be a weight loss success that no-one thought I should be aiming for as I needed to become well via nutrition as well. I learned what I could deal with and what went down with virtually no teeth and a very restricted space in my mouth. I received on-going medical care for wounds and yes, loose beach pants and tops suited just fine.

Until they didn’t.

I made the choice to begin taking care of my daily appearance AND to add to my very limited wardrobe. I knew how to shop cannily and I began slowly as my physical body recovered to be able to shop and browse. I found to my delight I had missed this kind of self-care.

Now it was on.

Visits to the shops, finding my old jewellery stash which was packed, getting my wedding and engagement rings re-sized so they did not fall off me and finding some fun foot wear in the back of my wardrobe I had abandoned.

I began seeing the purpose of the Outfits of The Day posts here on Styling You and a blogger called Jan (who blogs here, had me write a guest post ) had been posting pics of her daily outfits for a while and I decided it was time to

Make My Appearance Matter! 

I may not have anywhere in particular to go to anymore but I decided from 30 October 2017 and onwards that my day would have purpose and getting dressed in something flattering and appealing to me along with added accessories was important. I also added a daily outing, even if it is only for a coffee to my day. It has been amazing! I have written about it here and here.

I am delighted that it is helping my recovery from cancer too as I am far less focussed on what is wrong and more on what is right with me!

Does Your Appearance Matter to You?

Tell me more!

Denyse.

It’s the Midlife Share the Love Linky and is the direct link to the Link Up. 

 

 

 

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