I like to think of myself as a pretty positive person. In fact, sometimes I get picked on for that trait. Sometimes people will tell me that they just do not understand how I can always speak as if life were a bouquet of roses. Well, I never said it was! I just choose to react to life in a different way than some. OF COURSE I have bad things happen to me and OF COURSE I get raging mad sometimes. I AM HUMAN! Trust me, my face does NOT always look this happy. Just ask my family and they will tell you about my “OTHER” side!
Sometimes, not often, but sometimes, when I suggest to people who are contacting me about something bad going on in their lives to try to stay positive and remember things could ALWAYS be worse, some people get upset or angry with me and think I do not get it or do not understand where they are coming from. I promise I do.
Trust me my life is not all sunshine and roses. There is NOBODY out there with a perfect life. Recently, my life changed drastically in the blink of an eye, but we will get to that later.
If I had a nickel for every time I heard these phrases both via email, or in person at a conference or seminar, I would be a millionaire! Here are a few that I get often, as well as how I dispel the myths:
“But Erin, you just do not understand what it feels like to barely be able to make ends meet. You look like you live in a nice home.” Really? I don’t? I can tell you that at the moment this photo was taken, I had ZERO except for three days worth of clothes for myself and my three kids. Coming back from that was pretty tough, but I tried to remember that many lost more than their belongings, they lost their lives or someone they loved lost their life. That little bit of positivity kept me from going insane as I stood in line for 12 hours for a food stamp card to feed my family because my bank was blown away and I had no access to money AT ALL.
Sure that was almost seven years ago, but even more recently, starting my own business has been crazy. We have spent money to do almost every Bariatric Breakthrough Challenge we have done, BUT the rewards have been tremendous and the lives we have touched have made it all worth the financial loss. Now we have a new business plan that ensures expenses are met for each event and so things are much better. But instead of crying about how much we lost in 2011, we are thankful that so many let us into their lives and spent a day with our team. That keeps me positive.
Even something I love as much as the radio show has had its share of troubles. We had an advertiser bounce a very large check. It set us back quite a bit. Did I give up at that point? Of course not! I just knew that this was a learning moment and know to never do business with that company again and moved on. What good would it have done to sit and stew and cry? What good would it have done to rant on Facebook and call them out etc? That would have done ZERO for my show or reputation for sure.
Trust me when I tell you that I do know what it means to struggle. But I refuse to let it get me down.
“You do not understand how hard it is to not eat the things I crave. You do not understand my addiction. I just cannot beat it.” I promise you I understand 100% about food addiction. I am a food addict. My drug of choice was always salty things like chips, nachos, popcorn and the ESPECIALLY EVIL DORITOS! I literally could sit and eat a whole bag of Doritos before I even knew what I was doing. I medicated every bad thing in my world with food. I would go to the local fast-food drive-thru and order 6 cheeseburgers and think I was being slick by ordering them all differently so the cashier would not know they were all for me. I am sure the fact that with those 6 burgers I ordered ONE order of fries and ONE drink didn’t tip them off. Nor did my 325 pound frame. I know all too well how damaging a food addiction can be. I missed out on so many things as a teen due to my weight and my addiction. Let me just tell you, therapy is a good thing. I personally think 6 months of therapy should be part of ANY bariatric procedure. If we did not have some addictive behaviors going on, we would all have been able to put down the fork, push the plate away, and would not have become morbidly obese. There is nothing shameful about admitting an addiction. The problem with a food addiction is that you cannot hide it like you can an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The extra weight we carry is like a huge neon sign that says FOOD ADDICT. Yes, I get it and I sympathize fully with how devastating a food addiction can be in a person’s life. The day I admitted that I had an addiction felt so wonderful and actually made me feel a lot less confused. The thoughts of myself as a horrible person for not being able to control my weight were gone. I was not horrible, I was an addict! There is no real cure for being a horrible person but for addiction, there is recovery and cures. That was GREAT to comprehend. Knowing that my addiction is real keeps me positive and keeps me focused on recovery from that addiction and not on beating myself up for getting to 325 pounds! That is my form of positivity!
I urge anyone who thinks a food addiction may be part of their problem to find a good therapist. I always I wish Dr. Connie Stapleton was not my dear friend because she is an AMAZING therapist with so much knowledge about food addiction.
“I had so many complications. You had a perfect surgery with no complications so you do not understand how hard this is for me.” No my actual procedure had zero complications. I am very blessed with that and am grateful, however, about a year later I developed something called EPIPLOIC APPENDAGITIS. Read up on that little beauty. It comes back every so often and is extremely painful. It is also very hard to diagnose and I had to undergo so many tests before they figured it out. NOT fun at all. BUT I look at the whole thing and realize of course, it could have been worse. That is what kept me smiling when I could not eat, when everything that hit my stomach, including water caused intense pain.
“I have regained some of my weight. Nobody seems to understand how that feels. I feel defeated.” I truly cannot say i know one person who has not regained some of the initial loss after bariatric surgery. If you are reading this and have, congrats and I hope it stays that way. life just throws curves at us and many times those curves cause some regain. Back in March i had surgery on my head and was unable to exercise for 6 weeks plus I had to take steroids at that time as well. I gained 11 pounds. At first I FREAKED. Then i sat back and realized, this is manageable. Just do what you know how to do and it will come off again. Then just as I was able to start exercising again and off the steroids, this accident happens and I know I will likely gain 5-10 pounds before it is all over. BUT- instead of feeling dejected, I will remember how much better I am now after losing 130 pounds and will work hard to do what needs to be done to get it back off as soon as I am able. I am also adjusting my diet to compensate for my lack of exercise for the next few weeks. The pain meds I have to take make me VERY hungry so I am trying to be sure to stock up on high fiber, low-calorie snacks and lots of sugar-free Popsicles to cover that urge to munch. It will be rough, but I know I can beat this. I have to remind myself that I am worth it and that I deserve optimal health! It doesn’t matter how much you have regained, just decide to beat it and start over. You can do it just like you did at first. It will take a lot of work of course, but you are worth it and deserve good health!
This brings me to the title of this blog. My life literally changed in the blink of an eye May 18 when I took my little spill in Las Vegas. I had a ton of plans for the weekend and lots of meetings with potential sponsors that had to be cancelled. So many of my friends were put out and never complained. Cari De La Cruz and Connie Stapleton and her husband stayed with me at the hospital until after three a.m. and still got up at seven the next morning to give their talks. NOT ONE of them ever complained. Poor Frank Surace was helping me walk, carrying my purse, and helping me up and down steps all weekend and he never complained either! I felt terrible for putting them all out like that!
I have had to spend a lot of money on medical bills and co-pays since then that I did not plan to spend. I literally have pain almost 24/7 and HATE taking meds but have to do so. I cannot sit upright for long and have had to miss my son’s baseball playoff games because I cannot sit in a chair for that long. I had to postpone the Long Island, NY Bariatric Breakthrough Challenge which inconvenienced a lot of people. I had to postpone and change times this week for several consults for my Online Champion Program clients. That too, inconvenienced many people. I felt so bad about all of the changes.
For the second week in a row, I was not able to host my radio show and Ben went to the studio without me. That hurts for sure. I love that show and it is my baby.
I allowed myself about a 30 minute pity-party this weekend during which time I consumed an unhealthy portion of sour cream and onion chips. Then I snapped out of it and realized, this too shall pass, and I decided to stop the pity party and stop doing destructive things that will only make the situation worse. I have to remember daily that all of this is OUT OF MY CONTROL. That is the key. It is one thing to be in bad situations that we brought on ourselves and can change, but sometimes, we are in a bad way that is 100% out of our control. Instead I am looking at the positives. I feel like I can relate better to people with chronic pain and how depressing that can be and I am trying to focus on what I can do to make myself heal faster and prevent weight gain during this time. I am reminding myself how lucky I am to have a pool in my backyard that I can do therapy in as long as someone is here with me to help me in and out and babysit me while I am on these drugs. I am really trying to see all of the good things in my world and not focus on my temporary disability.
I am thankful that nothing was broken when I fell and thankful for my amazing friends and family who have been such a big help to me. My bariatric buddies took great care of me in Vegas and my friends and family at home have been driving me to PT and to my four- times-per-week doc appointments and have been so sweet about it all.
I just think that regardless of our circumstances, there is always someone who is worse off and if we waste time feeling negative and unhappy and moaning and groaning about the situation, how does that make the situation any better? Trying to be positive may not provide a solution to the problem at hand, but it sure does make dealing with the problem a LOT easier. Give it a try and see if you do not feel even a little tiny bit better!
BEING POSITIVE ROCKS AND I REFUSE TO GIVE IN TO THE ALTERNATIVE, REGARDLESS OF THE SITUATION!
That is my story and I am sticking to it!