Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas....

I love Christmas.  The decorations, the music, the food, the giving of presents, the time with family.  I love absolutely everything about Christmas.  I remember when I was younger every Christmas eve my mother would read us "Twas The Night Before Christmas", we would also write Santa a note and leave him some cookies so he had a snack.  If we were really lucky Santa would write us back.  He has really messy writing!

From my family to your's, have a very Merry Christmas and a even Happier New Year!!


A Visit from St. Nicholas

BY CLEMENT CLARKE MOORE
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too—
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Monday, December 22, 2014

30, Flirty and Thriving?

OMG.  It is the day.  The day I have been dreading for pretty much the past 3 years.  As soon as I hit 27 I immediately started dreading my 30th birthday.  Why, because you are no longer in your 20's you are no longer a "young adult".  For some reason I took turning from 19 to 20 hard, that was not even as hard as it is going from 29 to 30, or so I thought, now that it is here....it is scary yes, but not as bad as I thought it would be.

I AM OVER THE HILL!!!! No just kidding!

I have a lot to look forward to this year, I am going to be getting my life back on track, I have some huge goals that I have set.  I am actually looking forward to my 30's because honestly my 20's were really not too memorable.  I went through a lot, but it has made me who I am today.

So here is to the start of my 30's and the change I am starting.  I am embarking on a new life.  I am going to leave the past in the past and look forward to the future.


Friday, December 19, 2014

You Really Shouldn't Judge a Book By Its Cover....

I have been thinking a lot about my life lately.  Mainly because I have just embarked on a huge journey.   I am trying to get healthy and lose over half my body weight.  I need to tackle things that I have not dealt with that have caused me to gain so much weight by turning to food for comfort.  I need to work on the mental portion of my journey just as much as the physical portion if I want to be truly successful.
My last post I touched on the fact that I absolutely cannot stand body shaming.  I should have said body shaming and not just obesity shaming.  But the reason why I chose to say obesity shaming is because of the fact that, that is what I have experience in being on the receiving end of (because I am obese).  But regardless body shaming in any form should not be acceptable by anyone.  Discrimination is ridiculous especially in this day and age.  Stereotyping is for small minds.  Until you know someone's story why judge them?  What does that serve you?  There is always something behind the reason why someone ends up gaining a massive amount of weight.  You don't get to be 604 lbs because you are happy with life and everything is sunshine and rainbows.  Most people who are obese are not happy that they are obese and do not want to be obese.  I can speak from experience because contrary to stereotypes (this is why I absolutely hate them) I DON'T sit around eating all day, I DON'T eat fast food barely EVER.  Yes there are times when I have eaten it but I can answer with sincere honesty that in the past 6 months I have had fast food approximately 2 times. I have used food as comfort and also punishment because I couldn't deal with my emotions.  I couldn't handle anything and I didn't want men in particular to find my body attractive.

I have always been a big girl.  I started gaining weight around the age of 8 years old.  I also developed depression around the age of 8.  I was sexually assaulted and raped at the age of 8 by a neighbor who was 16.  I had denied and denied for years and even blacked out the rape.  I remembered the sexual abuse portion, but the rape, I could always only remember bits and pieces even now everything is not clear, it is like having pictures running through your head constantly.  A staircase, a basement, dark, fear. You try to push through the blurry parts of the memories to figure out exactly what happened only to find more blackness.  You feel disgusting.  This person who assaulted me ended up living with us for a period of time because his parents kicked him out of his house, and my parents felt bad for him because he was young.  So for a period of my life I lived in fear every single day.  Scared to go to sleep, scared to be alone.  Often my mother and father would leave us (myself and my 3 brothers) alone with him he would babysit us when my mother would have to go run errands and my father would have to sleep during the day because he worked the night shift at work.  I want to make clear that I DO NOT blame my parents what-so-ever because they couldn't have known.  When my Mom found out about the whole thing she was so upset and felt horrible.  My Dad wanted to kill him.  It is NOT their fault.  But the point I am trying to make is this asshole had ample opportunities to assault me.

This asshole took my innocence away.  He took my dignity, my self-worth and my happiness.  He left me an empty shell.  I remember that first time when he assaulted me, in my own room that was supposed to be my safe place and threatened me, told me that if I told anyone he would hurt me or my family.  One of the best days is when he left.  He stole my mother's diamond earrings and left, ran away.  Never in all my life was I happier.  Scared that he may show up again, but happy he had left.  From that point on I started eating, food was comforting. As I got older I kept eating, food was now a protectant.  If I was bigger I didn't have to worry about guys taking a second look at me.  Then I fell for my first boyfriend.  I remember feeling dirty just kissing him.  Feeling overwhelmed and suffocated when we were making out.  I ruined that relationship, kept eating and packing on the weight.  In high school kids were cruel, I got made fun of constantly.  I was not small and these kids used to stand at the end of the hallway and yell rude remarks as you would walk by in between classes or at lunch.  In classes kids would say rude things, make rude remarks.  I ended up not eating anything while I was at school.  I would not eat breakfast before school and then at lunch time didn't want to be seen eating at school so I wouldn't eat then, and when I got home and my mom would put dinner on the table I would pick through that.  Sometimes I would binge when I would get really upset, but I wasn't eating a lot most of the time.  My depression was horrible in high school and at one point was admitted into the hospital for trying to take a bottle of Advil.  I didn't want to live anymore and deal with the fact that I was disgusting on the outside and disgusting on the inside.  I loathed who I was.  When I finished high school my depression was not much better.  My eating habits had changed to the point where now I was not fasting and binging I was just binging, so my weight continued to rise.  For awhile I was doing well and going to the gym and eating really, really healthy.  I did lose some weight but not what I should have lost for what I was doing, around that time I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) and also I had been on antidepressants since I was around 10 that can cause weight gain as well.  But the eating was both a comfort and punishment.  I would eat to the point where I was stuffed so that I felt as disgusting as I felt inside.  I didn't want men looking at me, touching me, getting close to me.

Anyways to make a long story short....I ate my feelings.  Food was there, available and the only thing that comforted me when I needed something.  I spent so many years not talking about the abuse, not wanting to admit to the stuff even happening, just pretending it didn't happen, waiting for the feelings to go away.  But they never went away, they never do go away.  This is why I don't think that you should ever judge a book by its cover because until you know a person's whole story....you really have no idea what they have been through.  I have said it likely a thousand times by now, and I will say it again now.  I didn't become 604 lbs by just eating because I "love" food or I want to be gluttonous, it was a source of comfort and punishment.

Maybe one day the stereotyping and cruelness against people of size will stop, but I highly doubt that because there will always be haters.

Obesity Shaming Is Disgusting....

I am so frustrated.

Last night while relaxing, like many nights I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and I happen to follow a local news station (CTV Barrie) well they posted a video about obesity being considered a disability.  I honestly don't know why I even read the comments because I knew that it wouldn't be pretty, but I wanted to see what people were saying as well as have my say on this.

Of course most of the comments are posting saying that if people are obese it is by choice, even obese people chiming in and saying that they are obese and they work so it should not be considered a disability because if they can work every other obese person shouldn't use that as an excuse.  Others posting and saying that there are 2 million starving people in third world countries and people here stuffing their face claiming it is a disability is disgusting.  Post after post of negative shit aimed at obese people.

Why does this bug me so badly?  I am super morbidly obese (Class III Obesity, which is a BMI greater than 40).  I am on ODSP (Disability). I am NOT on ODSP because of my obesity I do have mental illness (Dysthymia with Major Depression and also General Anxiety Disorder and PTSD) which is keeping me from holding down a job right now, but I went through a depressive episode earlier this year which lasted 6 months I could honestly NOT move off the couch or get out of bed my depression was that bad I could not move, think, bathe, clean my apartment.  So I gained about 75-100lbs I was eating to help deal with my emotions and to punish myself and not moving.  I was just so out of it. So now being at 604 lbs I cannot work partly due to my weight when before it was because of my depression, I cannot stand for more than 5 minutes or walk more than 5 meters.  Is it something I am proud of? NO.  However is it something that I could control? NO NOT ENTIRELY.  I cannot control my depression entirely, I do take my medication, however I can still have a bad depressive episode.  No matter how hard I tried I could NOT push myself to do anything at all.  I went to my psychiatrist and we tried changing my medications around and tried several medications before it finally pulled me out of the depressive episode.

So, back to people commenting and saying obesity does not qualify to be a disability, I say do your research and have some compassion.  There are several diseases that cause obesity.  Personally I can attest to that because I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which causes centralized obesity (obesity in the stomach region) which personally I do carry the bulk of my weight in my stomach region.  I do have larger legs and arms etc but my stomach is the biggest area on my body.  Another disease that can cause obesity is Cushings Disease.  There are also several other diseases that can cause obesity.  Also medications CAN cause weight gain.  I am personally on 4 different antidepressants for example and guess what all of them have the side effect of causing weight gain.  Does that mean that you will gain weight from them? No not everyone does, but some people do.  You can also say well then change the medication, well guess what if I find an antidepressant that works for me, I am not going to change it because it took me a long time to find a medication that makes me half stable.

Again like I have said before many, many times. I am not going to blame my weight totally on PCOS or medications because I DO emotionally eat.  I have used food as a comfort.  But that is the thing......I never used food because I "loved" it, or to be gluttonous it was because I was upset and needed comfort and didn't know how else to deal with it.  I didn't have another outlet when I was younger that made me feel as relaxed as when I ate. So I ate to deal with my feelings.  But I always felt guilty after I ate too much or ate something I shouldn't have.  So it makes me laugh, honestly laugh when people sit there and say that obese people are disgusting all they do is shove food in their face and make bad choices they don't care about their bodies and that is why they let them get this way.  Oh also that it is an easy choice not to put the food in your mouth and to make the "right" choices.
For some reason people (the obese shaming people) seem to think or be under the impression that we as   the obese population LOVE BEING THIS WAY........no, actually it is the opposite, we HATE being this way.  You don't get to be 604 lbs by loving yourself.  I loathe who I am and what I have become.  However I am learning to love myself again.  Oh and to the assholes that say it is easy to make a choice and just not put that sweet or food in your mouth, and you are in control of your diet and how much you exercise, well was it an easy choice for me to ask the fucker who raped me not to rape me and to not re-live that moment over and over again in my head.....NO.  Food sometimes can be used as comfort or as punishment.  Depression can cause you to not want to get out of bed let alone go out and get to the gym.  All I think is that people need to have more compassion because you don't know what that obese person has gone through.  They are using the food for something and in my opinion YES obesity can be a disability.


Thursday, December 18, 2014

It's a Number That WILL Go Down In Time!

So I finally did it.  I finally stopped and got off the train of denial.  I can't even tell you when the last time I weighed myself was, weighed myself where I actually found out what I weighed that is.  I believe it was when I was likely around 14 and at that point I was 220 lbs.  I remember my doctor getting really upset with me and telling me that I needed to lose weight, which yes I did but she was really frustrated with me.  But that caused anxiety and since that time anytime I have stepped on the scale I have stepped on the scale backwards and told the nurse or nutritionist each time that I DON'T want to know the number.  Well that isn't healthy.  When you don't know what you weigh you can't face up to the fact that you need to work on yourself.  You just live in the land of denial going along thinking everything is fine that you "Have a few extra pounds." but that overall it isn't affecting your health in the way that you can still do everything everyone else can do so why does the scale matter??

I will tell you why.....

I spent years and years denying what I weigh.  Now I am at the point where I can't do things that I used to do, I have built up all these walls and made myself a prisoner in my own body.  No not knowing my weight wasn't the only reason why I ended up the way I am but it is part of it for sure.  I am not going to get to the point where I am a slave to the scale and obsessing over my weight, but I am going to be much more vigilant now and get weighed more often especially now to check my progress.

I am at the point where I am over denying it.  I weigh 604 lbs!!!! I would have NEVER thought I weighed that amount, I would have guessed at the most 550 lbs.  But when that scale read 604 that was a HUGE eye opener.  How could I have let myself get to this weight?

For once I didn't cry.  I reflected.

The answer I came up with is this, it is like right now I am split in two.  There is a girl who is inside trying to reach the surface, that girl that is trying to get out, who wants to thrive is getting stronger and stronger.  She wants me to love myself. The other girl who weighs 604 lbs has punished herself for far too long.  Eating to deal with the emotional pain in her life.  She is getting weaker and weaker.  The excuses and denial are diminishing.  I am becoming more accountable for my actions.

Am I ashamed that I weigh 604 lbs? Yes.  Does it make me upset? Yes. But am I ready to change it? YES FINALLY!!  I am so done with this life of punishing myself.  I have made mistakes in my life but I do not definitely deserve to punish myself by putting huge quantities of food in my body.  I have had horrible things happen to me that I have had no control over, but putting food down my throat will not change that.

The journey is going to be very, very long.  But the rewards will be definitely worth all the hard work.
I am ready to change.  Mentally and physically.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Information Overload....

There is so much to learn!

I knew going into this that it is a lifelong commitment, but let me tell you yesterday was very informative.  I thought I knew quite a bit about weight loss surgery.  Well turns out I didn't know as much as I thought I did.  I also learnt that I need to toughen up mentally if I am even going to make it through this journey.  

Yesterday started out with a trip to my doctor to have her fill out the physician questionnaire portion of the registration package for the Humber River Regional Hospital Bariatric Program.  It is about 5-6 pages that your doctor needs to fill out asking questions about your health etc. I had to have blood work done (apparently I haven't had any done for over a year?!?!).  My doctor is not the best doctor so she didn't even fill out the paperwork fully, so hopefully there isn't a problem with that.  I filled out my portion of the questionnaire with as much detail as possible which was about 20 pages of medical history.

Once done at the doctor's office I had to rush back home to pick up my boyfriend so that he could come down to the information session with me (they recommend that you bring your significant other or a friend or family member.) By 11:20am we were en route to Toronto for the information session which started at 1pm.

So this next part is where I say that I need to toughen up mentally and also how I have mentioned in previous posts that I cannot do what I used to be able to do and it is so frustrating for me.  I am so ashamed and just upset that I can't walk as far as I used to be able to walk and that my legs feel like they are going to give out, and my back kills and the disc in my back pinches the nerve to the point where my legs go numb and feel like they are going to give out.

We arrived at the Humber River Regional Hospital around 12:40pm the Finch site.  We park (approx 30 meters from the entrance) I walked approx 5 meters and my legs wanted to give out.  I couldn't walk anymore and there was still so far to go.  I was so mad.  Of course when I get mad and angry nowadays  I cry.  So I am walking with my boyfriend and bawling at this point.  So he is like "Let me go get the car, I can take you to the entrance and then go park and come back."  I don't want that....I want to walk it.  I try to walk another meter and just can't do it.  It was all I could do to remain standing.  So Rob (my boyfriend) goes back and gets the car and picks me up. At this point I am broken down bawling I want to go home.  I don't want to go to the information session.  So after getting out a good cry, I get to the entrance and walk down the 6 steps into the foyer and sit and wait for Rob to come in.  We then proceed to find out where we need to go, it is a lot more walking down a long hall, I have to stop twice.  Once we get there I am relieved we are there.  I go to the counter to check in....We are at the wrong site.  We have to go to the Humber River Regional Hospital Keele site.  Well I start to cry again because it took so much out of me to get to this point.  So we get directions and I have to walk back out to the foyer and sit and wait for Rob to get the car and bring it around to the entrance.
I am totally frustrated, sad and upset that I can't walk far and am at my wits end before I even get to the other place and really thinking about turning around and going home, but I need this surgery and I want my life back more than the pain I am feeling. So on we go.

We get to the Humber River Regional Hospital Keele site Rob again has to drop me off at the entrance while he goes to park the car.  We follow the signs once we get into the hospital to get to the room where the information session is being held.  It is a long walk, and I have to stop 4 times because my legs are hurting and feeling like they are going to give out and my back is just burning. At this point I am an hour late for the information session because the lady at the other site said "Oh it will take 10 minutes to get to the Keele site." It does NOT take 10 minutes to get anywhere in Toronto especially in traffic.  So we get to the room where the information session is supposed to be held, there are two people in the room and they say "Oh the information session is downstairs." I bawl.  I am not only in serious pain at this point but I am an hour late and missing vital information that I want to hear and I can't believe that we can't get to this damn information session.  So we make it downstairs after another long walk and interrupt the whole information session because we are coming in so late.  However they were really nice and understanding.

This is why I am saying I need to mentally toughen up.  I was ready to give up 30 times yesterday.  I guess I should look at it that I didn't give up and I did push through, but I need to start really pushing myself and challenging myself more.  But I was so ashamed, sad and just mad that I have let myself get to the point where I can't walk any distance, that I have let myself get to this disgusting point.  I just can't believe it.  But I am 100% committed to changing it.  Yesterday was a huge eye opener.  Not just all the information that I learnt.  But the things I learnt about myself.  This isn't going to be easy, it is going to get a whole lot harder before it will get easier.  I need to dig down deep and gather up all my motivation and give this every fiber of my being.  This is the most important journey that I am going to take I am pretty sure.  

I learnt a lot about weight loss surgery yesterday, the information session was very informative.  They outlined everything from what to expect the process getting to the surgery is going to be like, to post surgery expectations.  One of my main worries with this whole process is the cost.  We are very lucky in Ontario, Canada to have OHIP, which will cover the cost of the surgery itself.  However there are still a lot of out of pocket costs that you have to come up with when you choose to have this surgery.  I am on ODSP and they do not cover anything at all.  Yesterday I found out that there is more cost than I initially thought.  I was worried about being able to afford the surgery before I went to the information session well after I went to the information session I was basically at the point where I was questioning if I could do it.  Which was very, very upsetting because I truly believe this is my last opportunity or chance to lose weight.  I have tried and tried to lose weight different ways throughout my life, and I think due to not only my health the way it is right now, but because of some of the problems I have that weight loss surgery is going to be the only answer that will allow me to lose the weight I need to lose.
Before I went to the information session these are the costs that I thought I was going to have to come up with:
Opti-fast liquid diet (pre-surgery 4-6 weeks) $200-400
Tinzaparin (Blood thinner needed for 8 days post surgery) $80-200
Parking for appointments- $200 (approx for all the time there)
Vitamins and supplements (for a couple months)- $200
Protein powder- $200 
Gas- $400
=$1600 before taxes.  (keep in mind these are estimates could be more or less and this is what I thought it would cost before the information session.)

What it actually costs:

Opti-fast liquid diet- (4-6 weeks at $110 per week) $660
Tinzaparin (Blood thinner it is based on your weight the cost) $280
Prevacid (an anti-acid that is needed for 6 months after surgery) $480
Vitamins and minerals and protein- $60/month so lets say $120 for 2 months 
Parking for appointments $200
Gas-$400 (if I am lucky I have a feeling this will be more after what it cost yesterday to go down.)
Scale and measuring cups I have to purchase $50
=$2190 estimate.  

The above doesn't include anything as far as food because you have to follow a special diet for the first month.  Even after the first month it is going to be more expensive protein rich foods and food with little to no sugar you have to eat which can cost more.  Mind you, I won't be eating nearly as much as I am now so it will even out.  So needless to say after the information session I was at the point where I was thinking I was not going to be able to have the surgery.  I just don't make enough to even save that amount by the time I have surgery.  Then I was on my way home and Rob and I stopped at the grocery store to pick up something for dinner when I got the most amazing news ever.
One of my dearest friends sent me a message stating she wanted to donate the $2000 I need to have the surgery!!!!!!  I was in complete and utter shock.  I am so grateful, she is an angel.  She is literally helping save my life.  But if that wasn't a sign that I am on the right path right now, I don't know what is.  

So I am getting the surgery!!!!  I am extremely committed to this new lifestyle.  I am going to start making some of the changes I need to make now.  Including starting to get some more activity in (walking, even if it is only for 5 minutes to start).  Also portion control and choosing better food options.

I am extremely blessed with amazing family and friends. Thank you to everyone who has supported me and is supporting me through this journey.







Monday, December 15, 2014

Information Session Day....

I have spent so long waiting for this day.  Today is the day my journey into weight loss surgery begins. I have been waiting and waiting for months to get this date, and now that it is here I am super nervous.
I think that it is because it is the realization that my journey is actually beginning for real.  I am embarking on this huge (no pun intended) adventure.  I am literally setting out to lose at least half of my current body weight.  That is major.

So my major concern going into this journey is that I won't get my disordered eating under control and I may lose some weight but not what I want to lose.  Or that I will lose the weight and then gain it back after awhile.  It is hard when you have been eating to deal with your emotions and all of a sudden you need to stop and find a different outlet for your emotions.  So I am trying to limit myself now hoping that, that will help out and I won't have as difficult a time when it comes time to have the surgery.  I am also going to check out the local Overeaters Anonymous group (which is something I have always put off in the past), as well as a group put together of Bariatric patients that are both pre-op and post-op.  This journey is not just about the physical but also about the mental aspects of how I got to be the size I am.  You don't become close to 550 lbs without disordered eating.  I have a food addiction.  Specifically to sweets (sugar).  It was something that always was there when I needed it.

This journey is not going to be easy.  I know that it is going to be hard.  But it is most definitely worth the work.  I have been thinking about weight loss surgery for the past 6 years.  I always said to myself "I want to do it myself because then I will feel more accomplished losing the weight."  But what I needed to realize more than anything is that the surgery is a tool.  You are being given a smaller stomach, however you have to choose what to put into that stomach, you have to work out and have a routine.  So really you are still doing what you would do even not having the surgery if you wanted to lose weight, you are just that much further ahead getting the surgery because you have that tool to use.

I don't know if anyone else who has been on this journey can relate to the fear that I also feel.  It is a fear of change.  As much as I want the change I am scared for it.  I am definitely going to face it.  But I am scared for it.  I think that I will mourn not being able to just pick up something and eat it without thinking about it.  Now everything I put into my mouth will need to be planned and thought about.  As much as I used food to fill an emotional void, food was also a part of some of my greatest memories.  The times when my Mother, who is a fantastic baker would make her Christmas shortbread for example, eating that and having that shortbread is such a memory for me of Christmas.  But I need to look at that also and see that it wouldn't be a problem if I could have a couple pieces of shortbread and be satisfied.  No for me it has to be 8-12 pieces before my sweet craving is satisfied.

A huge problem I have with sweets in general is the fact that if they are in the house, I can't stop thinking about them until they are gone.  If the sweets are not around, I am fine.  But sometimes the craving is so horrible and bad that I used to go out and get sweets.  I need to get control on this to be successful with this whole process.  I am starting to keep a food diary to hopefully keep myself more accountable as well as blogging here.

But I will definitely be posting an update later after I get back from the information session to relay what I have learnt and hopefully it will help someone out there who is in a similar situation as I am looking possibly at weight loss surgery as an option.



Friday, December 12, 2014

Never Ending Sadness....

Today sucked.  Literally sucked.  If you have depression you can definitely understand how I felt today and likely identify with how I feel every other day as well.  I feel like I was sucked into a dark, ominous. black hole.  You try to claw, climb and stretch to reach the light but every time you come closer to grasping a bit of that light because that light is there it is like the light at the end of a tunnel, you are pulled back into the hole further and further.  You feel like you can't breathe.  Everything is overwhelming and you can only see one solution, the only solution that makes sense to you.  To end it all.  So you start to think.  Thoughts run through your head like "I won't be a burden anymore on those who love me.", "I won't be in pain anymore." and the always there thought of "This is never going to end, these thoughts and feelings."  I hate those people that say "Committing suicide is selfish, it is the easy way out."  I say to that, you have not been in my head and felt the feelings that I feel, you say it is selfish because of the pain caused for family and friends etc. but you don't know the pain that, that person lives with day in and day out.  The pain that they constantly feel.  You don't know how much pain they have gone through to think that ending it all is the only option they have.  People grieve yes, they will always grieve for a period of time, but it gets better day by day.  Pretty soon you forget that person that passes away.  All that is left is the fleeting memory.

Depression never goes away.  It is always there.  Even during times where you think you are happy, depression is in the background letting you know that it is there, ready, willing to enter the picture at any moment.  Medications help you cope.  Counseling helps you talk about it.  But nothing cures it.  After struggling 22 years with depression I can tell you, it will never, ever go away.  Not completely.  Yes some days are better than others. But depression is there lurking in the background of every thought, every memory and every plan.

Today sucked.  But I made it out alive.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why?

A lot of times I am asked the question why?  I remember when I first was struggling with the decision of having weight loss surgery and people would always ask "Why?", "Why do you want to do something so drastic?", "Why can't you just watch what you eat and exercise to lose the weight?".

I have had a lot of support and a lot of people say nothing but negative things about the surgery that I am choosing to try for.  But in the end it has to be something that I can live with and something that I believe is going to get me to where I want to be because after all the surgery is a tool.  Even though you are having the surgery, you still have to train yourself to make better nutritional choices and also introduce an exercise plan that you are going to follow for the rest of your life.

But I personally believe I am long past the point where I can just watch what I eat and just exercise.  I am at a size where each day is crucial.  I need medical intervention to survive.  I am not saying that I couldn't just watch what I eat and start a slow exercising plan, however that would take too long.  I am at the point where I need an intervention and soon.  That being said I am going to be watching what I am eating and introducing some exercise.  To keep myself moving.  But I face challenges.

The problem with me is that I do have injuries that make it hard for me to exercise.  It is not an excuse, it is the truth.  In 2008 I was in a car accident where I flipped my car and it landed upside down.  I ended up luckily getting out of the vehicle, but did not end up getting any rehabilitation for the herniated disc in my back.  The best thing I can do to treat this is losing a significant amount of weight to take the pressure off the disc.  Right now when I walk, the herniated disc presses against a nerve that causes my legs to go numb.

Also in 2011 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).  Which is known to cause significant weight gain in your stomach area especially.  I am also on 4 different antidepressants that cause weight gain and also make it hard to lose weight as well.

All that being said is this the ONLY reason I am super morbidly obese? NO! I am taking my share of responsibility in this.  For everything I have put in my mouth over the years.  I have used food, especially sweets to fill an emotional void that I have never been able to figure out how to fill any other way.

This is something that I need to work on, my relationship with food that is.  Food has always been a source of comfort for me.  My mother used to bake constantly when I was younger I had access to cookies, bars and cake a lot.  Was it her fault? NO! She tried to limit what I ate but I, like a thief would sneak food from the tins that held the cookies and snacks.  It came to a point where I was addicted to food, I would be upset and go to the treat cupboard and take a row of cookies, sneak 8-12 baked cookies, eat half a tub of ice cream, eat four granola bars, then there was yogurt I would eat 4 of those it turned into binges and after that I would hide the wrappers downstairs in the garbage.  I would eat until I was so stuffed I couldn't fill my stomach anymore, and only then did I feel like it was okay.  But then that feeling never lasted.  It would be about 20 minutes later that the guilt would set in.  That voice inside my head that kept telling me: "Why did you eat that fatty?", "They are going to find the wrappers.", "You are disgusting!", "You don't deserve to live."

Being addicted to food, is really shitty.  Honestly, because with other addictions like alcohol for example, when you are trying to stop using, you can not have it around, you don't have to have it there.  Food has to be there, you can't get away from food because it is your fuel for your body to run.  No you don't have to have sweets around, you can limit what kinds of food that you have there.  But you are going to face the dreaded foods more often than you would face a bottle of vodka or wine.  If you are trying to not eat sweets, chances are you are going to run into them way more often then when you were eating them.

So I am working on my relationship with food and why I have used food to cope with my emotional problems my whole life.

But this surgery will ultimately save my life.  Not only once I lose some weight will I be able to move around more, I will be able to get some of my self-esteem back.  Right now I have basically lost all my self-esteem.  Which really does not take long when you are being ridiculed left right and centre.  I am at the point where I am so angry.  Angry because I honestly cannot do things that used to be so easy.  Things that I took for granted when I could do them without a problem.  I am angry that I feel like I can't leave my apartment without being stared at and laughed at.  I am angry that I can't go into a store anymore because when I have gone into a store people have literally pointed and laughed and said extremely rude things. I have feelings too.  I hate that I can't fit into the biggest sizes in the plus sized stores or the fact that when I went to go look for a vehicle, I couldn't fit into most of them, they were not large enough.  I couldn't fit behind the wheel. The fact that everything causes me anxiety because I have to think about how my weight is going to come into play for example going to my Best Friend's wedding this past weekend I had to worry about how I was going to get from the car into the church, and then if there were stairs which of course there were, how was I going to climb them when I got into the church it was worrying if there was going to be enough room between the pews.  Then I have to worry about people staring at me.  Which some of them did. But I was there for her and that is all that matters but NOBODY should have to go through this.  I am so angry, this is my time to change.

I am writing my blog again because I want to connect with people and put my story out there.  If someone can relate or can understand then that is all that matters.  My main goal is to also as I have said keep myself accountable and by blogging I am doing that.


Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Struggling to Survive.

Hello all my readers and friends.

I have not written for sometime, mainly because I have been lost.  I have not known what to say.  I needed to take a little time to breathe.  But I am back and embarking on a huge journey.  I am starting a weight loss journey.  I don't have a small amount to lose but a quite daunting 250-300 pounds to lose.  Quite literally I have to lose a whole person or couple people depending on their size.  I struggled with the decision to publish my journey.  The reason why is because of all the critics out there and the haters that will put me down along the way, because of the stereotypes of overweight people.  But I am at the point now where I don't care.  If my journey can help anyone I would be thrilled.  Most of all publishing my journey will help keep me motivated and accountable.  

I am attempting to be approved for weight loss surgery.  Mainly a Gastric Bypass.  In Ontario, Canada the surgery can be covered if you are approved.  I have my information session on December 15th, 2014 at the Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.

I am currently around 500-550 pounds I believe and I am 6'0.  I am going to be 30 years old this month.  I am so ashamed of myself.  Honestly, ashamed.  I don't even feel like a person anymore.  I feel like this big massive thing.  I can't work because of the size that I am and find even normal everyday tasks hard to accomplish.  Would I wish this on my worst enemy? Nope.

I am currently on ODSP because at this size I am unable to work, plus mentally I am a wreck.  I do not leave my apartment unless I have to take my boyfriend to work, or go to a medical appointment.  The reason? Cause when I am in public I have to deal with people making fun of me.  I understand that I am bigger than most people, however that does not give people the right to constantly mock or snicker when I walk by and say things just loud enough for me to hear.  I am a person and I do have feelings.

That being said I am lucky that we do have OHIP in Ontario, Canada and that my surgery could be approved.  However there are costs that will not be covered, that I cannot afford because I am on ODSP and get just enough to cover my rent and barely anything else.  

I have started a Go Fund Me account, should you feel that you can help me out.  Here is my story:

Hello, my name is Kat. I am currently almost 30 years old and weigh roughly close to 550 lbs. I am hoping to be approved for a Gastric Bypass which will ultimately help save my life. I am currently starting the process to be approved to have my surgery at the Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, Ontario. 


I have been overweight my whole life Well pretty much my whole life. From around the age of 8 years old on. For my whole life (pretty much) I have been trying lose weight. I have tried many diets (medically supervised and not). I have seen a dietitian and also worked out at the gym. I would get some results but never the results I should have been achieving for how much work I was doing. In 2011 I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). Which can cause you to gain weight especially in your stomach area, as well as some other horrible things like hair loss and facial hair. Is it the only reason why I am super morbidly obese? No. I am an emotional eater, I have an eating disorder where I binge and then restrict what I eat (sometimes I only eat one meal a day). At the age of 8 years old I was raped by a neighbor and turned to food for comfort, it was my friend, it wouldn't hurt me, or so I thought at a young age. I have severe depression and anxiety once again food was my best friend whenever I was upset or anxious. Am I constantly eating? No. But food was always there when I needed something. 
That being said do I realize I have a problem? Yes. Have I tried to work on my problem? Yes. I have been seeing a psychiatrist for years now to work on my mental health. 
What is so urgent about getting the Gastric Bypass now?
I have had high blood pressure for awhile, I have PCOS. But most of all my weight is restricting me. I can't work right now because of the size that I am. I hate not working, it is driving me absolutely crazy not being able to work and socialize and make money, I am on ODSP as my source of income. I cannot stand for any length of time (around 3 min at the most). Walking is excruciating (I can walk about 10 meters). My knees hurt all the time making standing and walking horrible. My back is in constant pain due to a car accident I was in, in 2008 where I now have a herniated disc which pinches a nerve when I do walk so my legs go numb if I walk for a long enough period, the only thing that can relieve this is weight loss. I am severely depressed and anxious to the point where I don't like leaving my house because of the cruel comments people make. They are constantly snickering or commenting on my weight when I am out in public, so I avoid being out in public at all costs now. My self esteem is non-existent. 
I want my life back. I want a chance to be human again because I honestly at this size do not feel like a human being. I realize that the surgery is a tool. It is going to help me get to where I need to be. I know it is not a cure-all but I am ready to do all the work required because I can't take being like this anymore. I know without this surgery I will die. It is a fact.
I hate asking for help from friends and ultimately strangers, but I am on ODSP and cannot afford everything I am going to need to have this surgery. I likely will not meet my goal of $2000 and that is okay, I just am at a point where I have to ask for help. When I am able to work again and am bringing in money you can believe I will help others! 
What am I asking for the $2000 for?
As most of you know the Gastric Bypass if I am approved will be covered. I am in the beginning stages and have my information session for the surgery scheduled December 15th, 2014 at the Humber River Regional Hospital in Toronto, Ontario.
What is not covered is the Optifast Liquid diet which I have to be on 6 weeks prior to surgery which will cost between $200-400 CAD. (**This is NOT covered by ODSP.)
Also after surgery I will be placed on medications to prevent Venous Thrombolytic Event (VTE). Possible medications could include Low Molecular Heparin (LNWH), Innohep or Tinzaparin to prevent complications related to (VTEs). This costs between $80-200 CAD. (**This is NOT covered by ODSP).
I will need to go down to Toronto which is about an hour and a half drive several times over the next couple months for appointments. I will need money for parking and gas. 
Also I will be on vitamins and supplements for the rest of my life. Which I am totally fine with, but was looking for a bit of help for my first month or two to be on them, until I lose a bit of weight and am able to walk easier and get a normal job again. 
I want to be healthy and feel half normal again. I would appreciate each and every dollar. I promise I would not be asking for help unless I needed it. Thank you in advance for your caring and support. Also if anyone has any information or knows of any at home job opportunities available please let me know! 



If you are able to donate I would greatly appreciate it, if you cannot donate and want to offer emotional support I would greatly appreciate it.  

You can read my story and donate HERE

Thank you for your continued support everyone.  





Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ellie

My boyfriend and I have wanted a dog for so long, but were not allowed to because our landlord did not want us to have a dog.  After a bit of time we broached the subject again with our landlord and he decided we would be allowed to get a dog as long as we picked a dog that was not a large breed and we agreed to clean up after it.  We were overjoyed that our landlord finally gave us the okay! We searched around for a little bit and that is when we found Ellie.


Ellie is an adorable ball of energy, she is constantly smiling! She is we think part Whippet/lab. We have had her for almost 3 weeks and I can't even start to tell you how much she has enriched our lives.  She loves unconditionally. We are so blessed to have her in our lives.


Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure

received these products complimentary for testing purposes from Influenster in the  #imPressManicure voxbox. 



Let me say I am impressed! Not only is it super quick, it is easy to apply these nails and they look amazing.  They are perfect for everything from a night out on the town to a business meeting. 

The only con that I saw was that I wish that the nails had a bit stronger adhesive as two of the nails did not want to stay on so I had to replace them with another nail whereas with traditional fake nails you can just glue the nail back on. With these you have to replace the nail. 

The nails come in various sizes I had no problem finding the correct fit for my nails. They were the perfect length for me, short enough to not get in the way when going about your day to day tasks but long enough to look elegant!

I give these nails a 5 out of 5 I would definitely buy them, especially with the amazing designs available! 

For more information follow Broadway Nails on twitter:
@BwayNails 


Tuesday, April 01, 2014

It's Juicing Time!

Awhile back I was going through my Netflix queue and found the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead which is an amazing piece of work put together by a fellow by the name of Joe Cross.  He was a bigger man struggling with a auto-immune disease of which he was on medications for.  He had been following a typical diet of fast food, carbohydrates, sugars and not too many fruits and veggies. He decides to go on a 10 day juice cleanse (medically supervised).  He then reaches the 10 days and decides to go for 30 and then 60 days. This documentary is something you need to watch! Just to see the transformation, I am not going to ruin it for you and tell you the whole thing.  However I am going to tell you after watching him juice his meals 3 square meals a day of fruits and vegetables and seeing this transformation I am a believer and ready to start my journey into the juicing craze.  I am going to embark on a 10 day juicing cleanse.  Is it going to be easy? Nope. Is it going to be fun? Nope.....but worth it? Yes. I am determined with my health issues to get on track, start getting better.  I have quit smoking, so this is just another step in the right direction.  I will keep you posted for the next 10 days on what I am feeling and also what juices I use everyday. I will be drinking approx 4 juices a day (one for breakfast, one for lunch, one for dinner and then one for dessert) and having 2 snacks of nuts (for protein). My goal is going to be to eventually do meal replacement with the juicing and after the cleanse re-introduce dinners (lean meats, whole grains and of course veggies).  But for breakfast and lunch I would have a juice instead of a meal.  I will definitely post the recipes all of which I am getting off Mr. Cross's website: Reboot With Joe  if you would like to read up more about Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, you can do so on IMDb: HERE

For updates on my cleanse stay tuned! All I can say is once you watch that documentary you are going to likely want to embark on a journey of your own! :)



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies (Gluten free, no sugar added)

How lucky am I to have a boyfriend who bakes me cookies here and there? Very lucky. On a kick to have a healthier year this year however my boyfriend found the following recipe which is a healthier version of cookie, which becomes the ultimate treat!

Oatmeal Raisin Breakfast Cookies
(Gluten free, no sugar added)

2 Cups Rolled Oats
2 Mashed Bananas
1 Cup of Peanut Butter 
1 TSP of Cinnamon 
2 TSP of Pure Vanilla Extract
9 TBSP of Raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, bake for 15 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

So there you have it, a super healthy, easy treat that is so good! Try it! You will love them! 


Friday, March 14, 2014

Things I Love....


Doesn't everyone have that list of things that they cannot live without.  The things that make you smile. The the reasons you are blessed? I am a firm believer that you need to have a list of things that you love so you can look at it frequently and realize why you are so blessed. Whenever I am sad or down I always bring out this list. To remind myself how lucky I really am!
So here are just some of the things I love:

1. My Mother- My Mom is my best friend, she has always been there no matter what! She is my idol.

2. My Boyfriend- I am so lucky to have such an amazing, supportive guy in my life who loves me no matter what.

3. Good Friends- I have a couple amazing friends that have been there for me through thick or thin, my grandfather always said that you can count yourself lucky if you can count on one hand how many true friends you have.  I am lucky.  

4. Not Smoking- Quitting was the best thing I have ever done! 

5. Deciding to get a Gastric Bypass- I was always saying I would think about it and skirting the issue but actually facing how unhealthy I am and committing to quitting smoking so I can get the surgery done is a huge deal! 

6. Eating Better- I am slowly but surely trying to eat better and cut out the crap in my diet!

I am constantly adding to the list! I am a work in progress!  



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Struggles

"To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting."
- e. e. cummings

It is hard to want to be yourself when you barely want to walk through the door to go outside. Anxiety and depression run rampant through your veins.  I know I'm not crazy. Just sick.  I read somewhere that 20% of Canadians will suffer from a mental illness in their lifetime.  I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.  For me it is like a roller coaster of emotions one day I feel half normal and the next I feel like I can't deal with anything. I go to bed with this, I wake up with this, it never goes away.  It has ruined jobs, friendships and pretty much my life.  But what people don't understand is what it takes to deal with it.  To control it.  I have struggled with mental illness for the past 22 yrs.  I have major depression and anxiety.  I am at the point right now where my anxiety is debilitating.  I can't leave my apartment without a huge fight that I have with myself pushing myself to get ready and leave.  My depression, bad to the point where I sleep in excess of 14 hrs a day.  I make excuses for why I can't do things and am constantly sleeping because mentally I can't handle another thing.  I don't have a job because I can barely get out of bed. People have basically said to me "Just snap out of it" or "You seem fine to me".  I promise you if you are sleeping in excess of 14 hrs a day and can't leave your apartment do you think I am "fine"?  

People have stigmas against mental illness because you cannot see the person is sick on the outside, no it all takes place in the brain.  So even though I may look alright doesn't mean I am not in horrible pain and mentally drained. It doesn't mean that depression isn't a serious illness.  

Thankfully I do have a great support system. People who are there for me no matter what.  Which has been irreplaceable this last year.  2013 was not a good year. I went from losing my job of 11 years, which became such a facet of who I was, to being so depressed I just wanted to end it all.  But my boyfriend and mom have been there for me through thick and thin and have been by my side. 

This year I have pledged to get healthier and things have been looking up lately.  2014 is going to be a way better year.  My hope and wish for anyone reading this blog entry would be to have a little more patience with people who suffer from anxiety and depression, to realize that they cannot help how they feel and that there is no quick fix that is going to help.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Why?!?! My Five Wives....

I was flipping through stations today and came across the show My Five Wives.  If you have not seen the commercial or are living under a rock it is about a Utah polygamous family, which includes 1 man, 5 wives and 24 children between them.  

I wasn't going to watch it.  But my curiosity got the better of me.  I mean to each their own, but even the wives don't seem too happy to share a husband with each other. Which I can't blame them! 

My question is why? Why is polygamy even legal anywhere? What type of person would want to get into a relationship like that? Why does this have to be the basis of a reality TV show? I believe marriage is between a man and a woman alone not between a man and women. 
Even the wives were saying things like "I don't like to think of him in her bed".  Why even sign up for that type of relationship? 

I just do not understand how this is a healthy family dynamic for all these kids.  Or how it is a healthy relationship dynamic for these women!!

I guess whatever makes you happy? What are your thoughts?


Monday, March 10, 2014

Getting Healthy in 2014....


"Happiness is not something ready made.  It comes from your own actions."  - Dalai Lama

This is the year that I have decided to not make anymore excuses.  I quit smoking (2 months ago) YAY me! I have decided to get a Gastric Bypass which will enable me to get where I want to be physically.  All in all I think this year is going to be a good one.  I have to be smoke free for 6 months before I can get the Gastric Bypass and go through various appointments first to get the green light.  It will all be worth it in the end.  I am going to be 30 this year, I am no longer a careless young adult. I need to get my life in order so that I can be happier.  My problem is that I always over think things, and then say "It is too hard".  Well this year I am taking a stand against "It is too hard".  I am going to kick "It is too hard" in the butt.  I must say that I am truly blessed I do have a very supportive family, who is there for me anytime I need them, a significant other who is right here beside me no matter what, and amazingly supportive friends who are there to listen to me when I need someone to vent to.  2014 is going to be a better year.


Sunday, March 09, 2014

Stereotyping....


I am so angry right now so here is a rant. Maybe a rant and a half. So who here has Twitter? Well @peoplemag who reported a story on a 12 year old girl who weighs 203 lbs and is unable to lose the weight as she has a hypothalamic disorder which prevents her from losing the weight. Medically she has an issue and they are raising the funds to have Gastric Bypass surgery done so she can have a normal life again. 

So some ass decides to write "I feel bad but no weight gain is uncontrollable" or something along those lines. So I decided to tweet back because seriously how can you be so ignorant regarding a 12 year old little girl. It really pisses me off how people stereotype that overweight, or obese people are sitting around shoving sweets and candy and food down their throats when clearly that is not the case I am sure this 12 yr olds mother is not doing that. So this guy writes me back and decides to say "It is basic law of physics burn off more than you take in" and that "nobody gains weight from air and water" so I fired back that maybe he needs to look up what she has and also something called PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). As clearly medical issues can cause weight issues. 
Want to know the best part of this that he reveals in the next tweet..........."I am a nurse......."
WTF are you fighting me for?!?!?!?!? 

I am not saying everyone with a weight problem has a medical issue, and that normally the recipe is "burn more than you consume". But honestly this guy was being so ignorant I couldn't stand it!

I personally have PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) which causes you to gain weight and even makes it hard for you to lose weight, am I saying that I am perfect and I have never eaten things I should not have? No! But I have honestly also tried very hard to lose weight multiple times and do watch what I eat and still fail to lose weight. I too am going to eventually be getting a Gastric Bypass. My main rant here is don't judge a book by its cover! Don't stereotype people because honestly unless you know the whole story under there.....how can you "think" you know everything!!



Here is Alexis's story (the 12yr old girl):

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Thursday, March 06, 2014

iPhone 4 Wallpapers!

Here are some more uber cute wallpapers I have come across!






Uber Cute iPhone Wallpapers Part 2....

I have been on a quest to find the cutest iPhone wallpapers, here is another set of uber cute options!

iPhone 4/4S Wallpapers:













Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Awesome iPhone 4 Wallpapers....


I have had an iPhone 4 for awhile and have recently been searching high and low for some uber cute wallpapers! I was always a Blackberry girl before this so I am so used to being able to customize my phone the way I want it which unfortunately I cannot do with my iPhone 4.  However I can get super cute wallpapers and change them frequently! 

Here are some awesomely cute wallpapers for the iPhone 4/4S


Stay tuned for some more cuteness in posts to come! :) 

Day 55 and Feeling Fine.....

I did it! Yes I actually have quit smoking! How awesome is that! Pretty awesome if you ask me! I am at day 55 and didn't think I would make it past day 6 like before.  It is not easy and I still get cravings every so often, but it is definitely worth it.  I am in the process of getting healthy! Honestly if I can quit smoking ANYONE can quit smoking because I made just about every excuse not to quit.  But I must say I am pretty proud of the fact that I haven't even though some days have wanted to but that I haven't turned around and bought another pack.  I have to be smoke free for 6 months to get a surgery I want to get and I am now closer than I ever have been to achieving my goal! I must say that anyone trying to quit smoking or wants to quit smoking, I would definitely suggest checking out the Livestrong "My Quit Coach" app that you can download on your iphone or Android. The community of people on that app have been a major reason why I have been able to quit. But I will definitely be updating you all on my process as I go along!