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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These Boots Are Made for Walkin’…Pneumonia

 

I started getting sick late last week with what seemed like a standard cold. Both my girls had recently suffered bouts of walking pneumonia, so to rule that out, I went to see my doctor on Monday.

She’s a great, down-to-earth physician and she has the perfect doctor name: Dr. Riddle. True to her name, she solved the riddle of what ailed me...

Lo and behold, I had walking pneumonia too!

My type wasn’t nearly as bad as Marilla’s. The poor thing had high fevers and was bedridden for days. Avonlea’s was a mild case, thank goodness. I was in between – I had a cough and fatigue, but I was able to function. While I obviously wasn’t going at full speed, I was able to take the girls to school, stop by the market, and care for Lucy and the chickens.

That was a good thing because my husband came down with walking pneumonia on Monday night, and he was bedridden. He usually does a million things a day, so it was unnerving to see him that way. When I was diagnosed with postpartum bipolar disorder in 2007, I was the helpless, bedridden one, and he was the caregiver. Talk about a role reversal…

Yikes!

The silver lining out of this was that I was reminded how capable I could be even when I was under the weather. Bipolar depression no longer ruled my life. But I’m no fool (Well, some people think I am, but that’s for a different post.)

What I’m trying to say is that if I needed to reach out to others for help, I would’ve done it, but I didn’t feel it was necessary in this case.

To decimate the bug, I immediately went on azithromycin. As long as I took it easy and didn’t run any ultra marathons, I wasn’t going to get worse.  

While the girls were at school, I did a lot of this:

 

I didn’t binge my frusrations away with daily and/or nightly pints of gelato as I usually would’ve done when sick. I continued eating well even though my appetite diminished because I wanted to keep my energy up. I continued my routine of drinking lots of green tea and water each day. 

When I read Dr. Riddle’s online summary of my visit, I saw that my weight dropped down from 166 lbs in March to 149 lbs! This wouldn’t be the case without my Lose It! plan. I wrote about my new commitment in the last few posts. I’m back to wearing my Target Denizen jeans, which were hidden away in a drawer the past year, and that feels really good.

Today is the first day I’m feeling my strength come back, and I’ll be catching on responding to some of your comments, blog posts, emails etc. over the next few days. Please forgive me for dropping the ball – now you know why!

Wishing you a healthy week!

love,

Dyane

p.s. Want to be healthier and shed some extra adipose tissue? Why don’t you join our  Lose It! Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group? Please include your email in a comment below, and I’ll send you an invite, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups.

The groovy, inspiring blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member, and his constant encouragement has helped me  – it’s far better than going it alone!

These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ was featured in the film Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. If you haven’t seen this clip before, please note it’s on the wild side & not “appropriate” for your tater tots. 😉

Want to join our fledgling Lose It! group Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group? You can try it and if it’s not for you, no worries. Please include your email in a comment and I’ll send you an invite, or you can sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups. The awesome blogger Bradley of Insights From A Bipolar Bear is a group member, and his encouragement has been a joy.

 

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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.

 

Trampolines & Jump Ropes & Green Tea – Oh My!

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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.)

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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!

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As always, sending you all my love,

Dyane

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 www.loseit.com 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?

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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.
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The Quest for a Happy Medium (A Cautionary Tale)

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***And Richard, I believe in myself too!***

 

Dear Friends,

Since I last wrote about feeling better I’ve continued following my new plan. I dislike saying I’m on a diet – yuck. If you’re a die-hard Richard Simmons fan like most everyone, you’ll remember he coined “Live It”. That sounds way better than diet, doesn’t it? But plan works well for me. 

Anyway, I can’t tell you how glad I am that I hit my rock-bottom in that blindingly bright Target dressing room. It feels so good to be proactive instead of inhaling pints of talenti gelato 24/7. I’m only having a small amount of sugar each day, which I’d like to cut down even more.

I was astounded to learn that there was three times as much sugar in my Pacific Foods organic tomato soup (12 grams) as there was in my Nature’s Path Heritage Flakes organic cereal (4 grams)! Tomato soup doesn’t even need sugar, so it looks like I’m going to have to make some, or better yet, get Craig to do it since he genuinely likes to cook. (I’d rather watch House of Cards.)

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I’m drinking my daily dose of water with my psychiatrist’s blessing. He said that amount of water wouldn’t affect my lithium blood level adversely (which I get checked periodically) and he said the same thing about my MAOI Parnate/tranylcypromine.

I drink a hourly glass of H20 until I reach approx. 70 ounces & have my cell phone programmed with an hourly chime to remind me. Yes, I visit the royal throne more often, but it’s worth it. I’ve also gotten used to always leaving the house with a big bottle of water – it’s not a big deal.

To add a little variety and excitement, I’ve interspersed plain water with hot tea, such as green tea (said to be good for weight loss and also depression – look at this article!) and Traditional Medicinals Cup of Calm tea to wind down. My big treat at the end of the day is an organic Granny Smith apple with a couple tablespoons of almond butter. I measure the almond butter because each tablespoon is a whopping 100 delicious calories. It’s super-pricey, averaging at least $10 a jar, so the less you use, the better. It’s worth every penny – YUM!

If you told me a few months ago that I’d prefer an apple & almond butter over chocolate, I would’ve sneered at you like this:

I also know not to take things too far with my plan.

In late 2012 I began tapering off my medicines, which, to put it bluntly, had near-fatal results. 

I researched how to taper the safest way, and I tapered very gradually. My former psychiatrist wasn’t in favor of it, but he didn’t fire me because I think he wanted the $ for his ex-wife’s alimony, which he used to complain about during our sessions. I should’ve billed him for therapy.

I used a scientific digital scale and gelatin caps to create lower and lower dosages of my meds.

When I began the process I weighed close to 170 pounds…

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In January, 2013 I did everything I could to be a health nut in the hopes I could live med-free. I worked out hard every day for at least an hour, I drank lots of water and ate healthy food. I was still on meds here…

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In March, 2013 I continued tapering and was clueless that I was losing too much weight. I looked almost skeletal and it’s hard for me to look at these photos – there are two that are even worse that I’m leaving out. Here I was probably around 120 pounds…

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In this shot I’m holding one of my books Coming Off Psychiatric Drugs by Peter Lehmann, which I ordered from his website. I contacted Peter in his homeland of Berlin, Germany via Skype. I wanted to talk to Peter because there wasn’t much in his book about tapering off lithium, my main medication, and he was open to talking about it. Turns out that he admitted he didn’t know anything about tapering off lithium safely. I was disappointed, but I figured I’d be okay because I was working so hard at being healthy and tapering so slowly.

Unfortunately it didn’t matter how badly I wanted to be med-free.

Some people can do it, but I’m not one of them.

I’m not aiming to be Skeletora.

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I want to be medicated and at a healthy weight, the way I was here not so long ago.

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Thanks for reading, and I’ll be back next week, writing about a completely different topic that will surprise and enlighten you! 🙂

Love, Dyane 

P.S. To join our fledgling Lose It! group Wondrous Writers Weight Loss Group please include your email in a comment & I’ll send you an invite, or sign up for free at www.loseit.com and find us under Groups.

P.P.S. Check out my latest Huffington Post article “Why This Bipolar Mom Exercises  for Mood Stability” and let me know what you like to do to work out in the comment section! Anyone who does it will receive a check, a Richard Simmons DVD, and a Chia Pet.

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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.