Chapter 5: Dating and Weight Loss

Dear Universe,

Thinking about finding that special, someone can really be a mentally and physically taxing process that will challenge your healthiest of eating habits.  Yes, I am talking about added stress!   My healthy eating habits have been challenged as I have entered the dating world again.  Not because of where I am going on the dates and the food choices I make while out but the mental stress/baggage package that comes with the dating scene has been the culprit.  I have detached more from the whole process and have begun thinking more “whatever!” and let things be as they are meant to be which is far easier said than done.  One of the beauties “I” like about the man more than “does he like me?”  That is a major mental shift for me and a real stress reliever in itself.

As a part of my dating “battle plan” I have purposely increased my amount of healthy snacks within easy reach and have added a couple extra different pieces of whole fruit to my snack repertoire. This is to increase the likelihood of continuing to eat healthy as I navigate the online dating scene.

Another part of the “battle plan” has been to read about when to tell the prospective men about my major weight loss early on in the meeting process or later on.   I have found this to be dependent on the individual and not to be any hard and fast rule.  You have to let the situation guide you.  I have found most men to be extremely complimentary and generally supportive.  After age 40, more are concerned about good health and quality of life rather than the superficial side of weight loss.

Attention  is a two-edged sword in the dating scene.  I have to choose not to focus on the amount of attention I currently receive when compared the past as an overweight/obese woman.  The choices? I could choose to be angry with men who would not have given me the time of day are now seemed to be suddenly messaging me and seeking me out to chat or to meet.  But on the other hand, I fully understand that obese women are not attractive to some men.  Can you really condemn someone for their personal preferences?  While I know some men will choose to dismiss me based on the fact I used to be obese, others are impressed with my accomplishment and think the accomplishment is wonderful and amazing.  Some men are understandably fearful I might become obese again which the research has shown to be true as a great deal of people do regain the weight.  If they would choose to get to know me,  they will see I am diligently working on preventing that from happening.

In the dating scene, there are many fish in the sea do not let one person’s choices, preferences or prejudices taint your experience or make you question your own personal worth.

Happy dating!

CHAPTER 4: “I would like to see you again”-What does this really mean in the online dating world?

Dear Universe,

I have met five men to date.  What puzzles me is that there were specific people who said they would like to see me again but there has been no move toward that.  Were they just being polite?  Is the ‘new’ “I will call you” and the call never comes is  now  the “I would like to see you again?”   I posed this question to a couple of the men I have met and one said he didn’t know, politeness perhaps, and the other said that many men just really want to serial date.  One followed it up with it takes time to meet the right one. I thought some of the 5 were worth having a second date, but apparently they did not feel the same way.

Maybe I am impatient? DUH You think so?!  I know so!  I HATE dating!  Did I use the word HATE, maybe LOATHE would be better.  LOL  I want to get to the fun side of dating as I hate this “first impressions” phase of dating.  I yearn for the comfortable fun side of familiarity.  Is that too much to ask?  This early it sure is!  I guess I am going through dating “growing pains” of sorts.  I just read that this is a very common experience in dating.  Having been out of the dating world for so long, I guess I forgot this one.  I do know me asking the guys out is a big ‘no no’ at this early stage. That is advice I will definitely follow!

I have noticed that with each meeting I seemed to find myself feeling more and more relaxed.  None of the meetings on my side have been stressful or caused me anxiety but I have noticed I feel I have a more relaxed approach with each passing meeting.  One thing I will note is that I laughed a lot with the fifth guy at our first meeting than I recall laughing at the other first meetings.  I think that is a good sign.

In my next installment, I will talk about each my first meetings and offer some first meeting tips.



Dealing with Holiday Weight Gain: Myths and Reality

Holiday Weight Gain:  Urban Legend or Reality?

In America the holiday weight gain actually begins in October and we usually reach our highest weight ten days after Christmas.

The average Christmas day meal is often to end up being around 6,000 calories, almost three times the recommended daily amount!  So what you normally hear that the average person gains between 10-15 pounds during the holidays sounds true and reasonable.

Is this really true?  

Six research studies conducted between 2005 and 2013, revealed that 90% of people gain around one pound between mid-November and January first.  The remaining 10% gain 5 pounds or more!  I know for me and others in the 10%  it is only wishful thinking (without planning) for such a small gain as a pound!  The heavier you are research has shown the more weight you tend to gain during the holidays. The sad reality is that the next holiday season rolls around and most people have not lost any of the weight they had gained in the previous holiday season  Yes they made the New Year with the resolution to lose the extra weight but it never happened!

What is it about the holidays that cause us to be so susceptible to weight gain?

  • Social Acceptance – It is “socially acceptable” to relax, eat whatever you like and not focus on your health during this time of the year. Sad, but true!  And if everyone else is overeating it “encourages” us to do the same!
  • Stress – This time of year there are high expectations, family obligations, extra financial pressures, strained relationships and  many people deal with stress by eating. All of these things pushing down becomes the gateway to an eating frenzy as a way of coping. Cortisol which we know increases fat retention is released during times of great stress. A one two punch for weight gain!
  • Changed Routine – When we get off our schedule/routine we tend to be over tired and our judgement becomes laxer and we just settle for eating whatever is there or convenient, especially when traveling. IF you are visiting for the holidays, you often have little or no control over what your host cooks as well.
  • Emotional History – If you have many memories associated with special people and certain foods, it makes it harder to pass up these treats when they appear at the holidays. We tend to want try to relive those precious memories through eating those foods.

All of the above are food cues or triggers as why we might end up overeating during the holidays.  The key is to find other non-food ways to respond to these cues/triggers without overeating.  To succeed you need to have a very deliberate planned strategy for handling these situations.  If you just try to “wing it” you will find yourself eating the whole super size order of wings and fruitcake before you know it!  The holidays present you with an opportunity to plan, strategize and react in a healthier way.  You have to choose and plan wisely.

Researchers say holiday weight gain is nothing to panic over and it isn’t a catastrophe.   I disagree to a point, if research shows that people do not ever lose their gained holiday weight that would mean on an annual basis a person’s weight would increase a pound year if you are average but if you are one of the 10%, your weight would increase by five pounds or more a year.  Think about that effect over several years!  It adds up!  And if you are a formerly overweight currently overweight person your average is set to be much higher!  If we do not make plans to stay ahead of the food triggers, we are setting ourselves up for health issues such as obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.  Through careful planning and monitoring we can keep from gaining excess weight and stay healthy all throughout the year despite those testy holidays!


CHAPTER 3: Who is really a click away?

Dear Universe,

I am still on my online journey in the dating world.  I want to share with you some people I have virtually “met”  but I will not use names to protect the innocent and the guilty.

Male #1 – Had a good picture and profile, appeared professional, intelligent and compatible.  We moved to emailing right away as he seemed to “fit” everything I was seeking in a man. I should have realized this was just too good to be true!  After beginning to email, in less than 48 hours, his “focus” had shifted from getting to know me and friendship to chatting about his sexual fantacies.  Boom.  NEXT!

Male #2-Had a goofy picture but a very well written profile.  In fact, his writing was very good and almost poetic.  The downside right off, he was very far away from where I live.  I do not mean 10 miles more like 3000 miles!  From this experience, I learned to set “filters” that allow only men from 50 miles or less from me to contact me. Male #2 and I emailed for a while and things then started to shift in his emails from getting to know me to wanting to know my every move.  He would constantly send me questions such as, “Where are you? What are you doing?  Who are you with?  Boom.  NEXT!

Male #3 – Was in my “filtered” list but I could not understand why as his profile said he lived about 35 miles from me.  His picture wasn’t anything special.  Why why do so many men on this website have ONE picture of themselves in sunglasses!  We want to see your eyes gentlemen!  Anyway, his message was asking me if I ever went to such and such a county.  I replied with a no, why do you ask.  His reply was because he wanted to meet me.   I replied with humor indicating there were roads in existence between his location and mine and I do not believe the police were blocking the roads.  Again, maintaining a sense of humor is paramount!  What would make a man think a woman who HE had contacted would come to him!?  I let my imagination lose on this one and thought perhaps an ankle monitoring bracelet was involved.  Another friend suggested perhaps the man did not own a vehicle!  I am not a taxi service! FLAG! In fact TWO flags on this play! Boom! NEXT!

Male #4- Had a great profile and picture.  Was age appropriate (More on this later)  and he was intelligent and could type and communicate very well.  He said he worked in the medical field, was understanding and seemed to be very easy-going.  He actually understood why women are not apt to give out too much personal information online to a total stranger.  YAY! We had great chats online and determined we had many things in common.  Someone I wanted to meet!

Male #5-Picture straight out of GQ Magazine! Movie star handsome but can we say FAKE? Not only was the photo fake he was a total fake.  He claimed to be a psychologist and lives about 300 miles from me and this was before I put on my mileage filter.  I thought that I would respond but I knew what I was going to encounter so I was ready for what I thought would follow as I knew this man was not “real” so this would be for giggles.  This mas demanded I give him my phone number in his first message to me. FLAG!  When I respectfully told him no and explained why, he came back with a retort trying to bully me into giving him my phone number.  FLAG!  This was my proof he indeed was not a psychologist and if he was really one he was a very bad one!  Boom! NEXT!

These first five males I feel reflect the types of men  you are apt to encounter on  dating website.  Statistics say one in six could be someone that is sincere and looking for something but I think it is more like one in five from my experiences.  I would summarize the males above as follows.

  • Male #1 – The man looking for sex is the most common type of man you will encounter online.
  • Male #2 – The man who is a dreamer and needs to face reality.  Not necessarily Peter Pan but wants to think beyond reality.
  • Male #3 – The man who seems clueless about women and dating and does not seem to know he is clueless.
  • Male #4 – The man who is a really what he appears, nice a good guy truly looking for something real.  This is a needle in a haystack but worth the hunt!
  • Male #5 – The man who is selfish, manipulative, controlling, bullies to get his way. All of this points to me that he truly despises women and is up to no good.

Only one of these five there was only one I wanted to meet, male #4.

Men have told me women message them and chat and ask them to send them money.  I have not encountered that with the males yet but I did have someone not age appropriate messages me and ask me if I was his mommy! Shaking my head on that one!  No, I did not bother to reply he was in my filtered list where he belonged as he was not what I felt was age appropriate for me!  The nice side of your filtered list is that you can read what messages sent to you even though they do not meet your age or distance specifications.  I have found a large number of people who message me in the filtered list suddenly do not have an active profile any longer either.  I wonder if they are married and about to get “caught” by their wife or maybe have met someone already or are one of those “fake” men trying to get someone who will allow them to act badly.

Stay tuned!

Below is a graphic I found online with some stats about online dating and tips for improving your profile picture.  Notice the “stretching” or “shrinking” of some of the facts!





Chapter 2: Online Dating: Perspective Ten Years Later

Dear Universe,

Yes, I am carefully negotiating the precarious virtual world of online dating.  Of course I am speaking from the female perspective but I know the same or similar experiences happen on the male side as well.  People are people and often possess the same types of flaws.  Nothing is exclusively male or female traits in online dating.

Having been in the online dating scene ten years ago, I wondered how much different the experience would be now vs ten years ago.  At first glance, I did not feel anything had changed but after stepping back and talking with a few friends, I did realize that while the experience has not changed fundamentally, I had changed dramatically.  I no longer accepted bad behavior as I had previously.  What had changed?  I finally realized and accepted my self-worth and understood what I to bring to the table (relationship).  In the past being overweight, I did not feel I had much to offer and therefore, I did not attract those who had much to offer either.

Now, I am noticing that there is a different general type of man who contacts me or I choose to contact myself.  THAT is so different, I take the initiative to send messages to those I feel we might have enough things in common to build a good friendship.

I have found that self-perception varies widely among males on a dating site.  There are the very typical “Fibs” about age, it seems common for males to subtract ten years from their age, embellish their body type choosing “fit” when it appears the only thing they have tried to “fit” into was a Lazyboy.

It seems more common in today’s dating world that men expect women to share their phone number after only having said “hello.”  CRAZINESS! I do not understand why men expect self-respecting, intelligent, internet savvy women to hand over their phone number so easily?  I hear “you can block your number”  “what’s the big deal?” a lot.  Why should I have to feel obligated to give a stranger my phone number?  In the modern online world, once someone has your cell number they can easily and inexpensively acquire your name, address and other personal information.  Talk about a stalkers paradise!  scary stuff ladies do NOT feel obligated to talk on the phone or text with anyone!

Online dating appears to have evolved into behaviors that used to only be observed in “meat market” bars and clubs.  If men cannot respect your boundaries, space and be considerate all I have to say is NEXT!   One of my favorites so far was a man (not from my area) who had a profile picture that was straight out of GQ Magazine and claimed to be a Psychologist.   He insisted that I give him my phone number up front.  I replied nicely that being a psychologist he should understand boundaries and that I was not comfortable providing such information so early in a contact.   He then proceeded to say that I had made a Freudian slip and that I really wanted to give him my phone number.  I shook my head and typed that he needed to check this slip as it was slipping!  He replied that I was “scared” and kept repeating this.  I replied to him that is passive aggressive tactics would get no where with me.  He persisted.  I had to block him.  Obviously a “fake” who if in reality he was a psychologist he was a very poor one!  I guess he thought his GQ fake photo was supposed to ‘excuse’ his bullying and poor behavior and lack of respect for others.  Sad, really sad.  But NEXT!

Then there was a man who messaged me and asked me if I got to such and such county which happened to be out of my area.  I responded with a “no, why?”  He said “I would like to meet you.”  I chose to deal with this response with a little humor,  “I do believe the roads between here and there run both ways and last I had heard, they removed the police barricades.”  No response back.  I am gathering there might have been an ankle monitor that prevented him from leaving his county.  NEXT!

I have managed to have some very good message exchanges with some men who seem to be very nice, honest and truly seeking something beyond a “booty call.”

Lesson #1:  Have a great sense of humor.

Lesson #2:  Do not accept bad behavior because you “like” the picture.

Lesson #3:  Do not allow anyone make you feel uncomfortable by their questions.  If they are too personal, say so and ask them to refrain from those kinds of questions.

Lesson #4:  Never give out all of your personal information too soon.  Protect yourself from stalkers and those who are just looking to get something for nothing.

Lesson #5:   Never assume the profile information/picture is accurate or the information is a real reflection of what the person is seeking online.

BE CAREFUL OUT THERE ONLINE!   Stay tuned for the continuing saga!










2016 My Year in Review:  My Top Ten Personal Lessons/Observations

Looking back over 2016, I see many good things and a few great things.  I am looking forward to what 2017 will bring.

  1. Maintained my weight within a four-pound range.
    • This is a victory but something I want to change for the New Year. I want to end 2017 at least 10 pounds less than I began the year.
    • Before Weight Watchers it would not be uncommon to have gained 20+ or more during the year. The year my dad passed away, I gained 31 pounds I was devastated but did not do anything about it.  I added more than 50 pounds to that 31 pounds over the next 6 years before I changed my lifestyle.
  2. Found out more about my inner strength.
    • When you are under pressure, that is when you really discover a lot about yourself. When I was in the hospital back in the summer, I found out that I could take a lot more than I thought possible without letting it ruin my attitude.
    • Also found out that when you are in the hospital it is good to have your mom there no matter what your age!
    • Changed supervisors again this year but was blessed to get another great supervisor after another great one who went on to bigger and better things. (I suspect this one will do the same soon too, she is great too!)
  3. Began writing my book.
    • I found time to begin giving my book some shape, I wrote both and outline and an abstract.
    • In 2017 I will make more progress toward a finished product!
  4. Learned more about the big picture vs the current discouragement at hand.
    • Suffered a major disappointment in my career but found ways to work around it learn from it. When you are disappointed in things in the present, it is a good learning experience to look at the bigger picture and put things in perspective.
    • When disappointed with people’s actions, I need to focus on my actions and step back from the moment before reacting. A delayed thoughtful response is better than no response or a rash response.
  5. Saw people’s actions that were sad and hard to witness.
    • This year I saw many people who I thought were intelligent thoughtful people became divisive, uncaring and mean-spirited toward others.
    • The sadness of seeing in the year so many people’s lives taken by others who were evil and filled with hate.
  6. Discovered happiness and satisfaction in my job again.
    • After suffering a setback in my career path, the changes that followed allowed me to find joy in my position again. I felt my creativity was once again welcomed and appreciated and I wanted to help and assist again just because I could.
  7. Learned some new computer software programs.
    • Taught myself a couple of new software products which will enable me to do some new projects in better ways such as: Dreamweaver 2016, Illustrator 2016, and PowerPoint 2016.
    • It was great that I was able to learn some new tricks and features of programs that I already knew that made it easier to do some things.
  1. Found great bargains in clothing.
    • I came to accept my love of shopping, and the high gotten from the “hunt.”
    • The best feelings come from when I find something I know someone else will like and can get it for them.
    • Because of the many great bargains, I had to get creative about using my spaces in more efficient ways and reconfiguring my budget.
  2. Stepped and forced out of my comfort zone on several occasions.
    • After nine years I decided to move to another studio for lessons in the New Year.
    • Joined an online dating site. I had not done any online dating in at least ten years.  What an experience that has been so far!  I could write a book about it already.  I learned that I have changed a lot since I did the online dating but most men have not changed at all.
    • Did I mention learning new computer software? Very uncomfortable at first but after some practice things have gotten easier and easier.
  3. Found that life goes on inside a hospital.
    • I had my first hospital stay in 50 years which also meant I had my first ever CT, MRI and hospital based procedures of the ERCP and Gallbladder Surgery
    • I learned that NPO isn’t any fun and your smart phone is a great distraction during these times!
    • I learned that an IV stand isn’t a good dance partner nor a good bathroom companion.
    • Found the 7-day hospital stay was not as traumatic as I thought it would be with a “rude” beginning in the emergency room.
    • Kept my phone charged and in touch with work and others via my smart phone and that made the time pass faster and they have movies on demand on the television too.
    • My mom stayed with me for 5 of the 7 days, she is amazing!
    • Tampa General Hospital, the nurses and doctors are all awesome!
    • Thought I was a bit uncomfortable at times the emergency room at Tampa General Hospital was not as horrible as I remember ERs being in the past when I was there with friends.
    • I learned there are people you can depend on when things are not going well who were great surprises!
    • Found out that I can handle general anesthesia and come out joking and feeling find. I was nervous about having General Anesthesia but luckily the two times I had it in three days, I responded well.

Overall, it was a good year and a year of adjustments, but I am looking forward to the New Year with new goals and challenges!