Monday, 1 July 2019

Losing a friend

One of my favourite bloggers, LX, posted his last the other day. Cancer is taking its toll. He has many friends amongst those of us who are still slogging around the blogosphere, and will be sorely missed. He came to visit me about a decade ago. We spent a few days seeing the local sites and I took him to Gimli (aka New Iceland) just to the north of Winnipeg, where we had pickerel cheeks (which he said were good, despite not really liking fish) and vinarterta (aka Viking cake, as he called it, and which he really enjoyed). My heart is breaking that his service to his country is ultimately killing him. He is such a gentle soul. May your journey into the ether be as pain free as possible, LX. Much love to you. It has been my privilege to have known you. xoxoxo

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Well, this isn't bad!

An update on my progress of kicking my sugar habit, and dropping some weight. Adopting a keto WoE (Way of Eating) hasn't been difficult at all! I can eat bacon any time I want, I snack on whole avocados, I use lots of butter, and food tastes great!!

So in the first 30 days, I have dropped 13.8 lbs and a total of 8" (I am only measuring bust, waist and hips). I am rarely hungry and when I am, I eat. I still have a long way to go to get to where I need to be, but it took me many years to get heavy, so slimming down in going to take time too. I'm in it for life now, so I have patience.

On a completely different note, last fall I discovered a website called Icelandic Roots, where those with Icelandic heritage can enter their names, birthdates, birthplaces, and any family they know of, and have a whole new world opened up to them! Icelanders are very big on genealogy. I have discovered, also, the Icelandic National League of North America, an organization that strives to maintain strong ties between Iceland and those of Icelandic descent elsewhere in the world. This year, the 100th INLNA annual conference is here in Winnipeg, so I arranged a few days off work so I could attend. I am so excited to learn more, and to meet cousins! Distant cousins, but cousins all the same.


Sunday, 14 April 2019

Addiction

Hello. My name is Ponita and I am addicted to sugar.

Big time addiction. Sweets, breads, chips, donuts, fries... all those delicious high carb foods. I frequently eat those and forgo real food. I often have a voice in my head that screams like a toddler having a meltdown that makes me buy those cookies, or chocolates, or chips, when my logical brain is saying 'no! don't do it'. That voice often makes my logical self feel helpless. And it has made me about 60 lbs overweight (although being tallish means I can hide it a bit but the belly is getting pretty damn obvious when not wearing loose clothing and I am too old to be preggers). I have all kinds of aches and pains, I get completely winded if I have to move at any speed or am walking long distances at a pace faster than an amble. I huff and puff just bending over to do up my shoes (which is why I usually try to sit down, but even then I still huff a bit). I have a thyroid autoimmune condition and take medication for that, which has caused weight gain. Menopause has caused weight gain. Sore feet and a bad back, which limit my activity, have caused weight gain. I am about as flexible as a 2x4. And I am 61. I ain't gettin' any younger, folks. Time to bite the bullet.

So I decided enough is enough and began an internet search on changing my "way of eating" (also known as WOE) that doesn't involve an endless supply of rabbit food, caloric restriction, and exercising til the cows come home. None of those appeal to me, and they usually only work short term unless you are a mindless fanatic about sticking to it. Plus putting up with being hungry a lot.

Then I found a site called Diet Doctor. It is run by a real medical doctor, and has lots of science and medicine to back everything up. Not just another "diet", this is a way of consuming foods that keep you from feeling hungry, keep your blood sugar levels on an even keel (even if you are not diabetic, this is important) and recipes can be pretty easy to make with real foods.

It is low carb high fat eating. Yes, that sounds an awful lot like the Atkins diet, because it is. But not entirely. It is based on eating foods that keep our blood sugar and insulin levels as unfluctuating as possible, because that is what allows us to use our body's fat stores for energy, instead of the carbs we just loaded up on. It is not just all the meat and fat you want. It is how our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have eaten. I don't buy into the paleo thing simply because there are a lot of good foods around now that weren't way back then, and there is no reason to exclude them from our diet. There is a lot of healthy fat, moderate protein and very low carbs in this WOE. Atkins wat high protein and high fat. The fats do not affect your blood sugar or insulin levels at all. Keeping your carb intake really low also means they do  not have much of an impact on them and that is the key. The doc who started the Diet Doctor clinic (in Sweden) and website has been eating this way for over 15 years. As I said, there is a lot of science in this, the website has lots of videos from experts (read: doctors and scientists) given at medical conferences, not just made for the website, plus references for all that and that is huge for me. I need the science behind this kind of stuff. My medical training means I can understand most of what they are saying.

So I started 4 days ago. Let me tell you, when you start doing this, you pee... a lot! Switching from a carb burning machine to a fat burning machine generates a lot of water! That has already subsided a little bit, I weighed and measured myself on the first day, and then weighed this morning, because Sunday mornings will be the official weekly weigh-in day as I go. In those 4 days, I have already dropped 1.6 lbs. I know it is only water at this point, but the fact that I can pee that much out (and still be drinking lots of water each day, which has always been the norm for me), then I know all those carbs hang on to extra water within my body. Which is why a lot of people who have high blood pressure get off their meds and have their BPs normalize when they do this WOE. Even people who are type 2 diabetics can often come off meds too because with weight loss, blood sugars normalize. (I knew this tidbit already, and losing even 10% of your weight can make a difference for a diabetic, but keeping it off is key, right?)

I am sure I have metabolic disease, meaning I am a hair away from becoming a diabetic. I have had the occasional slightly elevated blood sugar with blood tests but my Hbg A1C (which shows blood sugar average for the past 3 months) have always been within normal (upper end, though) limits. I don't want to go there. I don't want diabetes to kick in. I don't want the health complications of that horrible disease and if I can get myself on track to lose the weight and get everything back down, then I will be improving my health and  life. I can hopefully look forward to losing body fat, feeling better, and having the ability to start being more active.

I have battled with my weight for decades. It's time to get a grip on it once and for all and get it down to a healthy level. And it's not even about what the scale says! It is about how my clothes fit, how many inches I lose, and how I feel, because those are the things that matter more. I took pictures at the start and I plan on taking pictures every month, wearing the same clothes. Some day, down the road, I may post pics for comparison.

Monday, 25 March 2019

An update on this lifetime

Some of you have asked if I have heard anything about the survivor's pension I had applied for, 27 years after the death of my then husband.

(And for the record, it *has* been a strange mix of emotions, completing the application and reliving, albeit distantly, that time in my life.)

Last week, I received a letter stating that starting January of this year, I would be receiving $365 per month... for the rest of my life. I was taken aback at the amount! We had been married for just under 2 years and I assumed it would be just a few dollars, but I guess that his Canada Pension Plan credits from the time he started working have been applied to this pension.

At a time when I am getting closer to retirement, this is very welcome! Once I am done my career, I will have a pension and coupled with my own CPP pension, my work pension and the Old Age Security pension the federal government supplies, this small addition will definitely make things a bit more comfortable. I certainly can't complain!

And because it is retroactive to January (sure wish is was retroactive to 1992) I will be getting a lump sum payment of 2 months' pension added on to this month's amount. I have a piece of artwork from a certain Ms. Blackthorn in the UK that is in need of framing, and I will now be able to get it done sooner than anticipated. A welcome bonus!

Friday, 1 March 2019

Several lifetimes ago

Some of you may know I have been married more than once. And some of you may know that one of those men I married took his own life. That was way back in 1992. It was a horrific situation to be a widow at the age of 34 after less than 2 years of marriage. But life carries on, and many things have transpired in my sphere of existence since then.

Imagine my surprise when, in mid January, I received a letter from the federal government telling me that I could now apply for the Canada Pension Plan survivor's pension benefit. They changed the rules. Way back in '92, you had to be age 35, or have kids, to be eligible to apply for it. Neither of those conditions applied to me, so my application had been denied.

So now, I had the forms to reapply. But I needed some information that I no longer possessed. Like his social insurance number and actual birthdate. I knew his birthday was in November of the same year as mine, but couldn't remember the exact date. And I had no idea what his SIN was. So I went online to the government's website and found out I could actually request this info for the whopping fee of $5! I received the requested information earlier this week.

Today, I went to the Service Canada office to get photocopies of our marriage certificate and his death certificate certified as true copies (they do it for free). The lovely agent who looked after me checked on her computer to find a time line for processing my application (~6 weeks) and then saved me the postage by taking the application and saying she would submit it through their direct channels.

I am quite certain that less than 2 years of marriage will results in about 10 cents a month, but hey... you never know!