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2023-03-28 7:57 PM

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2023-03-24 6:41 PM

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2023-03-18 2:20 PM

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Ashley -> Health Educator

2023-03-11 6:33 PM

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Social Isolation and Staying Active

a year ago 0 11140 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Shari,

It is so nice to read how well you are doing. I know the recent social conflict has been hard for you but it sounds like you are not letting it bother you too much. Although it is unfortunate that the stress impacted your appetite.

That is great that you found a helpful book and writing things down is helping you. I particularly love how you said, "I'm exactly where I want to be and I'm living the life I want to live." That is a huge statement! I am so glad you feel that way and you are reminding yourself of this when you feel down. You have created your life and now you are enjoying it. Fantastic.

Thanks again for the info on air plants. I hope mine blooms eventually!

Have a great weekend.

Take care,


a year ago (Edited a year ago) 0 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Ashley,


**Updated Part II

***Updated Part III

****Last update for this post

Re: air plants. Indirect sunlight is best. Sometimes they can take years to bloom. So, I think it's just a matter of time.

Re: weight loss. I've been losing 2 pounds per week. I lost a few pounds before I joined. I eat less in the summer, because it's so hot. And to be honest, I've lost my appetite with the friend and family drama. Before I struggled with portion control, but now my portion sizes are correct and I'm seeing results.

I'm doing well. I have peace about everything now. I slept really well for the first time since all of this nonsense that happened with the ex friend and family member. I just think about all of the good things in my life, stay in the present, and forget about the past. The only thing in my life right now that is bothersome is wanting to move. But, my husband wants to wait until retirement to move and that's 8 years from now, so that's a long wait. We have new neighbors who are noisy. And, post quarantine people have gone crazy. I went to the yarn store and an agitated man came in with a loaded gun. I won't go back to that town again. I don't feel safe. Since I have no choice and I have to stay, my solutions are to occupy my time and have patience. It's been a bit of a Twilight Zone episode for the past two weeks. I'm hoping things will settle down now. But if they don't, I'll continue to settle myself and keep my peace and remain calm. It will all pass.

*I've just decided not to think about where we will move when we retire. Or, be concerned about the next 8 years. Staying in the present means not thinking too much about the future, as well as not spending too much time in the past. I feel better in the right here and right now. The past can cause depression and the future can cause anxiety. In the present is where I have peace. Everything will work out the way it's meant to be.

**Now that my dad is no longer in my head, I'm able to think clearly about I want and not be manipulated into doing what my dad wants. I had great communication with my husband yesterday and we had an open discussion about what we want. I feel good about my future, because my husband and I are doing much better. I think my dad divided and conquered. It was like my dad was trying to plan my future with him. He would bully me to do what he wanted. During the 14 month stay at home order in Maryland, it brought my husband and I closer. He is dependable and that is one of the reasons that I married him. So, we've been back on track without interference from my dad. Sometimes things work out for the best, even if the outcome was different than I expected.

***A couple of things threw me off two days ago. My dad was giving me stuff back via my husband. Dad's still trying to make me feel bad and I don't. And, my bank lost a large deposit. I shook off my dad's shenanigans. And, I went in person to the bank to find the error. The bank deposited my check in a joint savings account rather than my individual savings account. So, the situation was rectified. Afterward, I decided to go grocery shopping and I started picking up comfort foods that I used to buy. I wasn't aware of it at the time. When I got home, I was snackish and I ate a little more than usual. I became aware of what I was doing and I portioned out the snack. The next day, I started snacking without portions and I called myself out on it. I asked myself why am I knowingly eating empty calories to sabotage all the work I've done and to keep myself stuck in a place I don't want to be regarding eating habits? So, right then and there, I took all of my snacks and threw them in the trash. Now, I can't eat them and now I can work on what's really bothering me. I came across information online re: deconstructing your life, so you can reconstruct it and design the life you want. Food isn't going to solve any problems, so I'm reading a book about how to make my life a life that I love. Why not? Today, I'm back to portion sizes and other hobbies to keep my focus off of eating. Although with no comfort food in the house, it's easy not to eat unhealthy if I don't have it in my house. I highly doubt that I will overeat the squash I have in my refrigerator. Lol. Anyway, I'm back on track, I didn't throw in the towel and give up, I'm continuing with my healthy lifestyle. And, I'm going to be kind to myself and wait a couple of weeks before I get on the scale again. I know a scale is just a tool, but it has been an issue in the past for me. It has made me give up at times, so why punish myself for two days of a few extra calories? Life isn't perfect and I am not perfect and that is okay.

****I solved my problem with problem solving, not with food. I read the book and it was fantastic! I did a life assessment and I feel better getting it down on paper rather than having it floating around in my head. I'm exactly where I want to be and I'm living the life I want to live. I thought I was lacking in love, but in truth and reality that is not the case. I have many people who love me and who are there for me. There are different kinds of love. And, there are different ways that people show love. Love is love whether it is long distance, or a text, or a phone call, or a pet. I wrote it down, so when I feel lonely I have it there in black and white. I have plans for my future and future retirement. The place really doesn't matter, it's what I do to make myself happy. I can be happy here, in my hometown, in Florida. When I get down in my thinking, it's a signal that I need to get out for a bit. Whether it's to go to the coffee shop, book store, retail store, or take a drive out in the country. Sometimes I've thought negative things, but when I write down the truth, the facts, they are irrefutable. So, whenever I feel something is not right, I will look at the facts and get my positive thinking back on track. I learned a lot today!

a year ago 0 11140 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Shari,

I am sorry to read what happened with your friend and your father. Both issues sounded very stressful. It read like you handled it as best you could. You deserve some new plants for how you handled it 😁 . Awesome work. Sorry you had to go through all that though.

Congrats on losing 8 pounds! That's amazing. Your routine and managing stress seems to help you lose weight. Did you do anything differently or do you normally lose weight this quickly?

Thanks for giving me all that information about air plants. I appreciate it. I haven't had an air plant flower yet. I am thinking the one I have is not getting enough sun where it is. Do you keep your air plants in direct sun? Mine is currently in a north/west facing window. Maybe I should move it...?

I hope you are still doing awesome and you are still not letting toxic people bother you. How you handle things is so inspring. If you have some time, stop over at the depression community. There is a member named asi there that I think could really benefit from your advice. They are a bit stuck right now and feeling depressed.

I hope you are well and I look forward to your next update. 😊

Take care,


a year ago (Edited a year ago) +1 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 1

Hi Ashley!


**Updated Part II at the bottom of this post

***Updated Part III also at the bottom of this post

Thanks for your kind words! I wish I lived closer too, I would love to receive cuttings from your beautiful plants! Propagating air plants is easy. An air plant will blush (turn color), then grow a stem from the center, and the stem blooms into a flower. After the flower has bloomed, there will be one to three pups growing out from the base of the Mother plant. When the pups are one third, to one half of the Mother's size you can hold the Mother plant and gently twist the pup at the base, counter clockwise, to remove the pup! I have a T. Ionantha Peach that had a pup that separated naturally from her Mother when I placed them in their weekly soak. You can leave the pups on the Mother and have a family clump as well. There are a few members in my air plant group that have raised them from seed pods. It's really an amazing hobby. I'm looking into cacti. It's fun to do research.

My week was certainly unexpected. Moving to Florida has changed for various reasons. I had it all planned out for the past eighteen months and then the rug got pulled out from under me. It was certainly a shock and it was a really uncomfortable feeling to sit with for a day, or two. However, I decided with Florida off the table, I would be happy to move to my hometown. I'm still adjusting to this change of plan. But, I'm doing well. I'm not going to food anymore and my current weight loss is six pounds! I don't have a set time for the weight to come off, so there is no pressure. Whether I lose three pounds, or one pound, the scale is still going in the right direction!

I've had to have truthful conversations with people and to set boundaries this week. In the past, confrontation, or even just communication would stress me out. What I've found is when you are truthful to people, guess what? The world doesn't implode and most people are quite amiable about it. Who'd of thought? Lol. I have times where I could remain overwhelmed, or just tell people that I'm tired and I will talk with them another time. Also, the most important lesson I've learned is that my happiness comes from within. It does not come from outside sources and other people. I make my own happiness. This way, when people change their minds, or change their plans, it doesn't throw me for a loop. It's like water off a duck's back. I'm flexible and go with the flow. And, I don't take anything personally anymore. Other people's moods and decisions have to do with them and what they are going through. It is not about me. Now if I called someone a name, then sure, that would have to do with me. But, a lot of things I used to put on myself was just unnecessary stress. I've decided that no matter what happens, I can handle it. I'm strong. People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. I've had people pop in and out of my life, but I remain steady and stable regardless. I'm not saying it doesn't hurt, but I'm not depending on them as my sole source of everything. I have many pots on many burners on the stove, so if one pot is gone, there are still other things going on in my life.

*I have limited energy to invest in people. If they are toxic, and they go against my core values of peace and quiet, I let them go.

Regarding weekend plans. I live twenty-six miles from D.C. The government was in the middle of planning a return to work protocol, but due to the Delta variant of COVID-19, they have not decided on how to handle it. Although California went maskless, masks have been reinstated as mandatory to wear indoors, because of the number of outbreaks, hospitalizations and critical conditions. A lot of people don't wear masks in my town and act like everything's back to normal. I still wear a mask inside and outdoors, because maskless people have coughed and sneezed around me and someone in a store turned around and exhaled in my face. I am not worried, I am fully vaccinated and will continue to wear a mask. There will be a COVID booster shot out soon. My high school reunion was rescheduled for this year, but I don't think we're there yet regarding groups of people who are coming from all over the US and staying indoors. It's common sense to continue to protect myself. So, I'll be wearing a mask to the grocery store to get out this weekend. But, I am enjoying crocheting a blanket, watching movies, and doing other creative activities at home. I enjoy my air plants and my Chihuahua, and chatting with friends on Facebook. My weekend plans continue to be at home home hobbies until it is safer. I did visit my hometown last weekend with a mask. I took my dog for a check up at my hometown vet. I went to Santoni's Gourmet Market and picked up a myriad of my favorite foods to take home. And, it was great to drive around without a mask on and just enjoy a day trip! I look forward to many more of those trips.

**Part II update

I've lost 8 pounds! I have 27 more to go.

I was sexually harassed on social media by a man who is friends with my girlfriend. She and I have known each other since we were eight years old. She told me that I made a severe accusation, she took his side, and she told me I was judgmental. I blocked her man friend from social media. And, I blocked her on my phone, in social media, and in email. Then, my dad called and told me he didn't want anything to do with me anymore and bye. So, you can imagine my day yesterday. My dad is an abusive person and he has done this to me over the years. I cried and sat with my emotions. Then, I thought, I can't calm the storm. But, I can calm myself until the storm passes. And, I thought, forgiveness is a gift I give to my dad and moving forward is a gift I give to myself. I love my dad, I respect him as my father, but I will not allow him back into my life to cause more turmoil and drama. My husband continues to take my dad on errands and food shopping and I'm grateful. Depression tried to take over my mind. So, instead of focusing on the relationships I lost, I took account of who I have in my life that I can depend on. It wasn't as bleak as I thought. I have an extremely small group of people I trust and I am grateful. Some are long distance and one is close. Today, I have peace.

***Part III update

I just had clarity on why I've struggled with weight loss in the past. To be honest, it was due to stress in my life. I've had other health issues caused by stress, backache, headache, etc. which are gone now. Stress releases cortisol in the body and makes it difficult to lose weight. Now, that I have eliminated all of the stress that I can, and I have reduced stress as much as possible, the weight is coming off. Prior to a toxic friend and a toxic family member, I couldn't lose more than 4 pounds. Now, I've lost 8 pounds! Stress kept me emotional eating, before I was able to manage it with CBT. And, stress kept me weight resistant due to the release of cortisol in my system. What a revelation! Another milestone!

a year ago 0 11140 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Shari,

I loved what you wrote! So inspiring. You have such a positive and healthy outlook on things. Nice work!

I didn't know you can propagate air plants! How do you do that? I only have one air plant. I let it soak in my fish tank once every two weeks. It seems to be doing ok. Too bad you don't live closer, as I could give you some cuttings! My favorite right now is my Watermelon Peperomia. Easy to propagate and easy to grow.

I am glad you havecsuch a good method of dealing with obstacles. You have gained so much wisdom over the years. It is so nice to read you are gaining joy from all your wisdom?

How has you week been this week? What are your weekend plans?


a year ago (Edited a year ago) 0 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Ashley!


I am prepared for obstacles! I know my triggers! When I was upset, I used to go to the fridge. But, eating doesn't solve what you're upset about, it only makes you more upset after you comfort yourself with food. When I am upset, I journal, I take a walk and get some fresh air, I problem-solve, I self-soothe and I accept things I can't change. Also, I got rid of my all or nothing thinking. If you eat a cookie, you haven't blown it and you don't have to quit. Just let it go, and continue on with your healthy lifestyle.

*It's important, when I feel overwhelmed, to reduce stress. My favorite part about my plant hobby is propagation just like you. With Tillandsia (air plants) I soak them once a week and dip them 3 - 4 days later. I ended up with so many, that I had to soak them in rotating shifts and it took 5 hours! So, I kept my favorites and decided to specialize in King Kong (Butzii x Ionantha). My Dad's neighbors had so much fun adopting over half of the Tillies that I had collected and raised from pups. Now, I can enjoy them and I enjoy caring for them in the number that I am most comfortable. So, anytime things become too much, I prioritize and downsize. It's good for your health, mentally, physically, emotionally. We can't eliminate all stress. But, reducing what we can will can really makes a huge difference. Also, I found great homes for my two Betta fish. I've enjoyed them for years, but recently it has become an unnecessary stress. The filters would break down and it was a constant financial drain to replace, replace, replace. I ended up having to do water changes, several times and my back protested. I feel freedom in that, when it is safe to travel within the States, I can travel again. I'm not tied down to fish at the house. And, I've shared the enjoyment of them with a friend, just like the propagated plants. Any time anything negative pops in my mind, I just say three things that make me shift my focus from the trouble of the world. I personalized it, so it has importance and meaning and it's effective every time. "The negative news of the world won't weigh me down. I am vaccinated and will keep up with boosters and I wear a mask. I will retire to Florida and I will spend time with my daughter." It puts everything into perspective. I can still be safe and have my plans in life and I will do them when the timing is right. I have peace and I'm content. No matter what. Lastly, I went through all the stuff I accumulated throughout 2020. Being stuck at home, I shopped online. It got me through, but yikes, the clutter. Now, that I can go out twice a week for coffee with a mask, and I'm not stuck in the house 24/7, I can go out and do things and I don't buy things online anymore. Clutter gives me a cluttered mind and it makes me uneasy and unnecessarily anxious. So, I did a spring cleaning in summer. I gave others joy by giving them what I enjoyed during quarantine. And, now my bedroom is more of that as a minimalist. I sleep well with less stuff and now I'm saving money for my retirement again instead of spending it. I don't think anything I bought was a waste. It got me through a difficult time. I supported many Artists financially with purchasing their one of a kind pieces of art. And, now I get to share their art with others. So, it's a win, win, win, situation. Sometimes you have to live your life and do whatever gets you through. It's all good.

a year ago 0 11140 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Shari,

That was so nice to read how well you are doing. It sounds like you are doing incredible. I am so glad you are allowing yourself to enjoy your accomplishments. I particularly loved reading this part:

"I remember when we were descending, I looked out of the window and told myself to soak up this moment of joy,..." - I am so glad you soaked up as much joy as you could. Conquring your fear of flying is a huge feat and you did it! Now you are reaping the rewards. Lovely!

Having hobbies is helpful when trying to lose weight. Many people eat when bored or as a means to self sooth. I really like plants as well. There is always something to learn with plants. I think my favorite thing is propagating plants.

Congrats on losing five pounds so quickly! It sounds like you have a reliable system in place. You are doing all the right things. It sounds like it is automatic for you now. Changing our lifestyle can be really hard. It sounds like, you have already done it. Now just keep doing what you are doing.

Can you predict any obstacles that might interfere with your healthy lifestyle? Since things are going so well, the only work to do is to keep doing it and prepare for any possible set backs.

I hope you are having a great week. Thanks for the extremely positive update.

Take care,


a year ago (Edited a year ago) 0 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Ashley!

Thank you for the warm welcome back!

My life has changed tremendously for the better since anxiety has been under control for 7 years. I have 100% freedom and there are no limits to what I can participate in now. I flew around the world and went to a foreign country by myself. I replaced negative self talk with positive true statements, so I didn't get off the first flight like I wanted to. When I landed at the first airport, after a 5 hour flight, my confidence went through the roof! I couldn't believe I flew, because the fear of flying was my worst fear. I talked myself through the second leg of the trip which was a 12 hour flight. I stayed in Korea for 10 days. I didn't know the language, but I was able to find my way around. When I hopped on the plane back to the States, it was like hopping in my car. I didn't even think about it. I was in a backward facing seat and I was fine. I had a great seat mate and we went to the galley and laughed with the flight attendants and it was extremely enjoyable. The time flew by. I remember when we were descending, I looked out of the window and told myself to soak up this moment of joy, because it may be a while before you can fly somewhere again. I flew 35 hours in 10 days! Once I got rid of the biggest fear, fear of flying, I wasn't afraid of anything afterward. All of the little fears completely disappeared. Now, the whole world is open to me. When the world has less of a COVID concern, I plan on flying to Stockholm, Sweden with my daughter for a two week vacation with a stop over in Paris! I know I can do it, because I've done it before. And, I'm excited about new adventures, not afraid. Getting through the world wide plague in isolation for 14 months was challenging. But, I got over being uncomfortable about being left alone with my thoughts and feelings. I learned a lot about myself. And, there were a lot of positive things that occurred that would not have if there wasn't a global pandemic. So, good came from it. I know I'm strong and I have self-love which is huge progress!

Forest bathing (walking in nature) is very soothing. During quarantine, I accidentally discovered a new passion. I bought a self-care gift box online and inside was a tiny air plant! I never knew that air plants existed prior to receiving the box. Once I held the plant, I fell in love immediately. I'm happily busy collecting various cultivar and continually researching and just enjoying life! The air plant hobby has helped me tremendously in weight loss. I'm so passionate about them, that I am in the zone. Time flies and I don't think about food, or snacks. I stop to eat three times a day when my stomach gives me signals of actual hunger instead of partaking in emotional eating. I have other hobbies that keep me busy too. I have Betta fish which are really easy care and they are very soothing to watch. I crochet, knit, draw, listen to music, sing, dance, etc. Limitless things to do. Keeping happily busy makes everything easier.

I ride my exercise bike 5 miles every day and first thing in the morning. That way I stay consistent. I reward myself with a cup of coffee after.

I have set goals around both exercising and eating healthy. Exercising has become part of my routine like brushing my teeth. I don't even think about it. I just turn on the TV, as a distraction, and the time flies. I would say that 97% of the food I bring into my house is natural and healthy: fresh fruits, vegetables, chicken, salmon, tuna, etc. I love naval oranges, so it's a treat to eat one daily. I look forward to it and they are such a sweet fruit. I eat fruit if I crave sugar and it works every time. I don't even eat candy anymore. I've been drinking water for the past 4 years, so it's another habit that I don't even think about anymore. I rarely eat out. I'm sleeping much better now and I feel much better.

I've lost 5 lbs. in two weeks! Yea! This is what's working for me: portion size, distracting myself from eating and thinking about food, soothing myself with self-care, not eating, reducing stress by trying to change the source of stress and if I can't change it, I accept it and learn how to calm my stress and self-soothe. I self-soothe with hobbies and meditation. I let go of tension in my neck, shoulders, jaw, deep breathing, exhaling and dropping my shoulders and letting my body sink in my chair (repeat).

I almost forgot! I have a fruit and vegetable garden! The tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, blueberries, melons, etc. are absolutely delicious when you pick them straight from the garden!

I'm so happy you will be checking posts weekly - yea! What great encouragement! I look forward to continuing this wonderful journey with you and with members.

Enjoy your week!


a year ago 0 11140 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Welcome back Shari!

I am so glad to hear from you. That is amazing you do not get panic attacks anymore! That is a real testiment to all the hard work you did. How has your life changed now that the anxiety has been under control for so long?

I love walks in the wilderness too. Did you know forests let off aerosols called terpenes? These terpenes have been proven to decrease inflammation and have other positive effects on our mood and health! Science is just starting to measure what people have known all along; forests are good for our health.

Having an indoor bike is also a great asset when trying to stay in shape. Do you have a schedule fot when you work out and for how long? Will you be setting goals around exercise or just diet at this point?

I am very glad you have decided to post here again. I always enjoyed reading from you and you were a great support to other group members. You can expect me to check in once a week. I am looking forward to being there for you through another journey. I really enjoyed the depression program. I use some of the information in that program daily.

Hope you ate having a good week!

Take care,


a year ago 0 63 logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo logo 0

Hi Ashley,

It's Shari. Just a quick intro and recap before answering your question. I've successfully completed the Anxiety Course and I have continued to manage anxiety well and I don't have panic attacks anymore. I can shut down the sequence and talk myself out of it. I've been practicing coping skills for 7 years now. I've joined Healthy Weight and I've joined the Depression Course as well. I will work each course at my own pace and one at a time. I know I will have success with these two courses, because I had success from the Anxiety Course. I'm thankful for Evolution Health Care and for you. Your support is valuable in success along with the community.

To stay active during the 14 month mandatory stay at home order, I continue to maintain three types of exercise. I have an exercise bike that I love. I turn on a movie and I ride 5 miles daily. It's about 20 minutes, but I burn 200 calories daily. The second type of exercise is nature walks. I'm fortunate to live on 2 and 1/3 acres. I have a half acre fenced yard and I walk laps for 20 - 60 minutes depending on the weather. The exercise bike is important, because I can still exercise when it's too cold, too hot, or when it's raining. I, also, love to dance with music too. When the US has herd immunity, I'd like to go back to walking at a park that's close by. It's 2.63 miles in an infinity shape, or shape of an 8. It loops around a lake with geese and there is a beautiful path through the forest. I walked with my husband there, before COVID, and will enjoy walking there again some day. It's one hour of walking at the park. I don't think of it as exercise. It's a stress reliever and soothing to walk in nature. And the exercise bike, helps with burning excess energy and stress.

It's so good to be back. And, it's so good to see your beautiful profile pic, Ashley.

P.S. I see this question was posted a year ago. I hope there will be more involvement of community and the Health Educators will be available. It helps a lot to have support. But, even if I have to do it on my own, I will.

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