Tag Archives: emotional changes

Let’s Talk About Some Good Stuff…

My son and I at our first Maker's Faire!  Staying on my feet all day is much easier with 94 pounds less on my body!

My son and I at our first Maker’s Faire! Staying on my feet all day is much easier with 94 pounds less on my body!

Here I am at Week 50 and up a pound. No, that’s not the good stuff. It puts my total weight loss from 95 pounds to 94 pounds so I won’t complain..too much. I think I’m still figuring out what my “real” weight will be so I’m going to put the numbers aside for today. Let’s have a positive chat about the good, no, the great things, that losing 94 pounds has done for me!

  • Staying on my feet all day and walking around is not a problem! This weekend we went to Maker’s Faire which basically is a science, computers, arts and crafts, techie geek festival. All day we wandered a convention center full of wonders for nerds of all ages. It was overwhelming, fun and interesting, but I know if we had gone last year I would not have felt that way. Walking all day and standing on my feet with another 94 pounds on my body would have made it miserable.
  • Having more physical stamina rocks! Not only is walking around and standing on my feet all day a really great feeling, but just being able to do more without it being an issue is incredible. I still don’t like doing laundry, but going up and down two flights of stairs is so much easier. Walking my kids back and forth to school is a breeze! And yes, having better physical stamina in other personal areas is really, really great, but let’s just keep that between me and the hubby…
  • Clothes shopping is a whole new world! I can choose from such a huge variety of clothes now that I’m not limited to one section of a store. I will admit it is still confusing and overwhelming shopping in larger stores like Macy’s and Nordstrom. Can they just have a section for 45 year olds who want to dress modern, but not too trendy? Not matter how much weight I loss, short-shorts will not be featured on this body!
  • Positive comments from acquaintances are great for my ego! Just this week, a school secretary and a parent at my children’s school told me how great I look. Now that I’ve lost such a large amount of weight, I think more people are comfortable commenting on my new appearance. I will honestly admit I love the positive feedback. It really helps during this fluctuating time in my weight loss journey.

These are just a few of the positive results I am feeling this week and I realize how fortunate I am to feel this way. Life can’t just be about numbers! I plan to keep my eye on the scale, but I can’t let a number define me. Feeling good about my accomplishments and keeping a positive attitude in life is the true goal in my journey Down the Scale…

One and a Half Pounds of Physical and Emotional Weight…

My first new dress in my weight loss journey!  And high heels too!  It was nice to feel confidant and comfortable wearing this on a "moms night out" evening.

My first new dress in my weight loss journey! And high heels too! It was nice to feel confidant and comfortable wearing this on a “moms night out” evening.

It’s hard to believe it has been 49 weeks since I had my gastric sleeve surgery. My total is 94.5 pounds which is good, but I have this one and a half pounds that keeps me going up and down the scale.  It’s not just physical weight, but emotional weight that is frustrating me. I have come to realize that emotional baggage can be as damaging and painful as the actually physical pounds.

I don’t want to be “Debbie Downer” completely. Physically I’m in pretty decent shape. I am still 17.5 pounds away from my goal, but my practical side thinks that’s OK. My perfectionist side is disappointed that I’m not at goal and that I haven’t lost 100 pounds. I know I look better as shown by the photo I’ve posted. I went to a moms night out and felt great. But you know even when I looked at a lovely photo of me with a few other moms, my first thought was “I’m the fattest woman in the picture.” Sigh. I need to get those thoughts out of my head. I worry that I will always think of myself as the “fat chick” even though I know I look “normal.”

So how am I going to get myself out of this “fat” mentality? Well, first I am going to take care of myself physically. I have an abdominal hernia from my c-sections that didn’t bother me in the past. I assume all the fat I carried around was supporting my muscles before, but now I am in pain from the hernia. I had to stop running because of the pain and I think it is keeping me from progressing in my weight loss.  It is also keeping me from the mental relief I get from running. I am trying to put the guilt of the time and financial burden this causes my family in the back of my mind. It isn’t easy, but I do have an appointment with my weight loss surgeon who can also fix this hernia next month. I promised myself that I will take care of this so I can move forward with my weight loss.

Another important promise I made myself was to get help mentally with the struggles I face as I lose weight. Part of the pre-surgery requirements was to be evaluated by a therapist. I felt very comfortable with the one I met and a few weeks I reached out to her for an appointment. Not being able to shove my feelings down with food has brought out higher levels of stress that I thought possible. I realized I need a professional to help me learn to cope with my stress in other ways besides eating. I have come too far in this journey to regain this weight. Mental and physical health go hand in hand and I need to focus on both. I hope to find a healthy and positive way to move forward.

So here I am at the crossroads. I’ve come so far yet I realize I will always be on this journey. Some days I don’t believe I deserve to spend this much time on me. The guilt of focusing on me haunts me. And while most of the time I feel supported by my family and friends, some times I still feel alone. But then I realize, if I don’t think I’m worth the trouble, how can they?

Yes, it’s time to get refocused on my journey and learn to appreciate the beautiful and amazing things that have happened. But I know it’s OK to admit defeat and reach out for help. Going Down the Scale (and yes, sometimes up) is full of drama, depression and chaos, but it is also beautiful, inspiring and full of hope. I look  forward to working toward hope…

My Weight Loss Journey: My Messy, Beautiful Truth

93 pounds gone in Week 44 of my weight loss journey!

Today’s blog is part of Momastery.com’s Messy, Beautiful Project. I am proud to share my gastric sleeve weight loss journey here at Down the Scale and now with other Warriors. In the Momastery community, everyone shares their truths – the messier the better. Life is Messy. Life is Beautiful. My weight loss journey is a perfect example of this philosophy. When I decided to take control of my obesity, I though I was searching for complete control and perfection in my life. What I really found is that losing weight and becoming healthy isn’t full of control or perfection. It is messy, painful and chaotic at times. But it is also rewarding, inspiring, loving and perfectly imperfect.

While my head knew that losing weight wouldn’t solve all my problems, my heart sure hoped it would. Being obese caused so many problems, but losing weight doesn’t solve them all. Sure, physically I am in the best shape I have been in as an adult. I enjoy exercising now. I can keep up with my kids at the playground. I can shop in the “regular” section at clothing stores. I don’t take high blood pressure medication anymore and I’m not pre-diabetic. Losing 93 pounds from my body is the best thing I have physically done for my body.

That’s not a messy part of life, is it? No, it’s pretty beautiful. What is messy are the mental hurdles I just assumed would go away with the extra pounds.

“If I’m thin, I won’t be as stressed as much.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be popular and have tons of friends.”

“If I’m thin, I’ll be a better mom and wife.”

“If I’m thin everything will be perfect.”

Pretty crazy of me to hope for these things, isn’t it? I don’t think I’m alone in dreaming of an easy, perfect solution to my stresses and anxieties. And I know some people felt by having my gastric sleeve surgery I was taking the easy way out on losing weight. My smaller stomach does make physically losing weight much, much easier, but it doesn’t truly affect your brain, your heart and your soul. I can’t stuff my problems down with food now. I have to acknowledge them and deal with them. While my body isn’t working as hard to survive, my brain, heart and soul have to take up the slack.

Sounds messy doesn’t it? Yes, it is, but I was surprised to see the beautiful side of my perceived weaknesses and vulnerabilities. When I started blogging  with my post “The O Word”, I was terrified to put my feelings on paper for the world to read. Would anyone really understand how it feels to be obese? Would anyone relate to the shame and feelings of failure my obesity caused me? Would I be judged negatively for my solution to my overwhelming issues?

Here’s the beautiful part….I am understood. My family and friends rallied around me and showed me more love and support than I could have imagined. Mere acquaintances became huge cheerleaders in person and online. Strangers found me and became new friends. Suddenly, people who I thought were “perfect” shared their own struggles with me publicly and privately. My community grew and strengthened when I shared my story. I finally knew I was not alone. I realize my weight loss journey will never really end. I will always struggle, always be emotional and always worry if I’m doing “enough.” But that is OK. I think these weaknesses are really a sign that I care. I care about life, my family, my friends and most importantly, about me.

I realize now that striving for perfection isn’t the solution. I want joy, happiness and love in my life. And by sharing my messy, beautiful life with others, I am finding those things. Who knew a weight loss journey would help find not what I wanted, but I really needed?

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Which Change is the Right One?

Week 43 and down 92.5 pounds!  Time to make changes like exercising more to reduce stress!

Week 43 and down 92.5 pounds! Time to make positive changes like exercising more to reduce stress!

Week 43 is here and I am down a half a pound and I am grateful for it. A loss is a loss and it does bring my overall weight loss total to 92.5 pounds, so it can’t be bad. The last few weeks of the scale going up and down is making me think of the changes I need to make to keep motivated. Unfortunately, I am not very practical at times when it comes to changes and the past few weeks have been no exception.

Let me honest and share that I am the queen of “let’s make big changes…NOW!”. In many cases, this is actually helpful such as having gastric sleeve surgery. Having your stomach reconstructed to lose weight isn’t a small change, but it was the big change I needed to get healthy. After years of fighting my weight and living as an obese woman, I finally came to the conclusion I needed this drastic change to be the person I wanted and needed to be for myself and my family.

This change was necessary for me and I am very happy with my weight loss and my new healthy body. But…I’m bored. I still have much work to do on my body such as losing another 20 pounds, toning up and having my abdominal hernia repaired. I need to get excited about the next part of my weight loss journey, but my head and heart aren’t feeling it.

So instead of focusing on the next phase of my journey, this “big changes now!” queen was focusing on other things, most of which aren’t truly productive. We’ve considered moving to the suburbs so I focused on that for a few weeks. While it is practical and positive option for our family, I was using it to run away from my anxiety and stress of my life now. I am overwhelmed with finances, the kids’ activities, lack of social life, little time alone with my husband and my slow weight loss. Instead of working on each issue on its own, I tend to come up with grandiose solutions, like “let’s move and change everything!” While moving might eliminate some stresses, in reality it adds another set of problems and issues. I can see that now, but for a few weeks I focused on making a big change to escape my issues.

Don’t get me wrong, big changes can be productive and just what you need, but when I focus on them instead of what really is bothering me, it isn’t productive. I’ve put aside the “suburban solution” for now and think I’m ready to tackle each issue on its own. Yes, I said I think because quite honestly I am terrified to face many of these issues. I’m not sure how to deal with many of my stresses and anxieties since they affect others. Being a parent is the hardest job I have ever had and finding the balance between my needs and my family’s needs is something I struggle with every day. My other stresses, like finances and spending more time doing fun things with my husband and children, have concrete solutions so I know I can find the solutions I need for my anxieties.

No change can be good. Small changes can be good. Big changes can be good. I need to figure out which changes are right and when to make them. Since I don’t have a crystal ball, it’s up to me to decide what solutions will work for me and keep me healthy, happy and sane. Wish me luck as I get re-motivated to go Down the Scale…

The “S” Words

Week 40!  While the scale has gone up and down these past few weeks, I am putting on a smile and working it out!

Week 40! While the scale has gone up and down these past few weeks, I am putting on a smile and working it out!

Forgive me, blogging world, for it has been two weeks since I last blogged here at Down the Scale. The last two weeks have been “the ugly” part of “the good, the bad and the ugly” of my weight loss journey so I resisted writing. Time to get back on the saddle and share my story here at Week 40…

Well, you’ve probably guessed that I’ve gained weight so that’s why I haven’t blogged. Week 39 I was up a half a pound and yesterday I was up a half a pound for a total of one pound gain. This morning I am actually back down to a half a pound under my lowest weight, making my loss 90.5 pounds. But I’m a stickler for rules and since Tuesday is my official weigh in day, I’m going with yesterday’s number and making it officially 89 pounds down since I started this journey last June.

Yes, I have tons of reasons and excuses for this weight gain. I think there are two main reasons for this jump: sugar and stress. They’re the “S” words in my life.

Sugar is an obvious reason. The past two weeks have been a good reminder that my new stomach, my sleeve, is just a tool. No, I can’t eat the quantities of food I could before, but I still need to watch my caloric intake. Sugar sneaks in so easily and since I celebrated my birthday last week it was easy to see how it snuck in my diet. That is easily fixed; the birthday celebration is over!

I also realized I was going back to some old habits like drinking sugar coffee drinks like my old favorite, the non-fat white mocha. I love it, but it is definitely not worth the weight gain. Back to my skinny vanilla lattes!

Instead of going to get those sugary or even the sugar-free drinks, I got back into my walking and running schedule. It was my ever supportive husband, who while I was having a breakdown, gently asked when I ran last. I’ve been back to running and adding in more walks with friends. It has made a world of difference this week and again, it was a good reminder to go back to the basics of weight loss: exercising and eating right.

The other “S” word in my life is stress. And I really should be honest and say my stresses are truly “first world problems.” I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing life! My husband and children are my world and I have great friends and family. We live in a beautiful state, we have a roof over our head and we’re healthy and happy. So why the stress?

I think I feel this stress and anxiety so deeply because I care so deeply. Now, that’s not really a bad thing, but I haven’t really learned to temper the stress to realistic levels. The issues I deal with wouldn’t seem so bad to other people and I’m sure some of my friends think I’m crazy about the things I worry about. I just am always thinking that I’m going to disappoint my family or the people around me. It’s usually about something that I can’t completely control such as dealing with a group or person. While I have tried and occasionally succeed in extracting myself from an unhealthy situation (for me), I can’t always do that. I end up feeling out of control and guess what I can control…my eating habits.

So in theory, I should control my eating habits by eating healthy, right? Instead I try to comfort myself and numb myself with unhealthy food. I realized what I was doing the past two weeks when I finally admitted that I was eating more than usual, especially sugar. I let anxiety, stress and depression control me. Obviously that’s one of the main reasons I became 100+ pounds overweight.

They say talking about your problems is the first step to solving them, so I hope that putting this out there is my first step. I am very proud of the progress I have made so far in my journey and I need to remind myself of all the positive changes and progress I have made this year. I hope, no, I WILL tackle my stress issues so that I will be healthy both physically and mentally. Time to kick the “S” words to street and keep running Down the Scale…

My Second New Year

New Year's Eve 2013!  Losing 83.5 pounds in 2013 was exciting and I can't wait to see the changes I make in 2014!

New Year’s Eve 2013! Losing 83.5 pounds in 2013 was exciting and I can’t wait to see the changes I make in 2014!

2014 is here and for me, this is actually my second new year. I consider June 4 of 2013, my gastric sleeve surgery date, the start of my new year. This is the day I made the biggest change to my body, both physically and mentally. More importantly, it is one of the most positive changes I have made to my life.

30 weeks in my new year has been emotional, rewarding, difficult, joyful and not completely what I expected. I knew I would lose weight, but I really did not comprehend before surgery how much losing 83.5 pounds would change me and my life.

Physically, I am healthier than I ever have been in my adult life. I weighed less than my current weight in my early adulthood, but I didn’t exercise regularly or incorporate every day activity like walking. I actually want to run for exercise; I want to be a runner. I want to be someone who enjoys walking outside and exploring new places on foot. I even told my husband I will try camping! OK, it has to be in a cabin at first. Let’s not go to crazy with the “outdoorsy” life just yet.

The mental changes have been more dramatic in this new year. While I still suffer from stress, anxiety and depression from time to time, I am more aware when I feel these emotions. I’m learning not to deny them, but to admit I am struggling and to find a way to handle it without food. I am far from perfect, but I realize that admitting I am hurting is the first step to dealing with it in a positive way. I am extremely fortunate to have an amazing support network who helps me everyday. Without my husband, children, family and friends, food would still be front in center in my way against stress and depression.

For the first time in my life, I didn’t make a New Year’s resolutions that I know I can’t keep. At a party on New Year’s everyone posted a resolution on a chalkboard. Mine was “to make my goal and lose 38.5 pounds.” In the past, I would not have shared something so difficult and personal. By blogging my weight loss journey, I have put my goals and myself out to the world. When I starting sharing my story in May of 2013, I had no idea how important it would be to me and how much it would motivate me to keep going.

Thank you for reading my blog and supporting me by reading it, commenting and sharing your own struggles in life. I have learned I am not alone in my weight loss journey, but more importantly, I am not alone in life. This is the best new year I could have and I look forward to another year of going Down the Scale…

Merry Christmas to Me!

week29photo2013

A year makes a difference! Last year, I stood next to Santa, but this year I sat comfortably on his lap. Ho, ho, ho!

Tuesday is my official weigh-in day, but yesterday I came up with my theme for this week’s blog, “Gaining Weight and More…”. Turns out I have to change my theme since I didn’t gain weight this week! I lost 1.5 pounds this week for a total of 82.5 pounds in 29 weeks. A Merry Christmas to me indeed!

I was sure I had gained weight since I admit that I am eating more daily than I have since my gastric sleeve surgery.  I thought there was no way I could not have gained weight. Losing weight this week made me realize that I truly have changed my eating habits. Every year I gain at least 5 pounds during the holiday season. With so many food temptations and with the craziness of shopping, parties and tons of kid activities, in the past I have let my guard down and would eat with pure abandon. The holidays are no less hectic or frantic this year, but obviously my eating is not the same!

Physically I cannot eat as much since my stomach is much smaller, but I realize that I am making better choices when it comes to eating. Protein is my priority with some vegetables and fruit thrown in for good measure. I haven’t given up on holiday sweets completely. One sugar cookie is satisfying this year instead of the two or three I would have eaten last year. I can still enjoy a glass of wine at a party, not two or three. I have not gained weight this year, but I have gained the knowledge that less is more when it comes to treats. I need to remember this for the year and not just the holidays, though!

Instead of gaining weight this holiday season, I also gained more insights into the healthy life I am now living. Shopping for clothes is fun, not torture. It is overwhelming now that I have more clothing choices, but it has been over 20 years since I tried on clothes and said “Oh, this size XL is too large.” I’ve gone from a size 22 to size 12 in pants and a size 3X to size Large in shirts. And since I still want to lose another 29.5 pounds, who knows what size I will be in the future!

I’ve also gained a sense of normalcy when it comes to physical activities. I don’t feel like I am the odd one out when I run. While I am pretty slow still, I don’t feel like I’m the “fat chick” trying to exercise. I now feel like just another person in the park who enjoys running. And this weekend, we took a tour of a submarine and I didn’t panic during our tour and going through the small openings. I would have finished the tour in the past, but I would have been humiliated and stressed the whole time. With my healthier body, I was able to go through the submarine and enjoy the tour with my family. Everything from special activities to just walking around the city is much easier.

Now, of course the holidays are still going on and there is a chance of gaining weight. Hopefully, this week’s weight loss and my acknowledgment of the positive changes in my life will keep the pounds off. But I’m not too worried. I am enjoying the holidays, time with my family and friends and most importantly, my new healthy body and mind. I can’t think of a better Christmas present I have ever received! Merry Christmas!

Running Toward Success

It’s Week 26 of my gastric sleeve surgery journey and Hallelujah, the scale moved! I lost 3.5 pounds for a total of 79 pounds! Naturally, I love seeing the scale move down, but a non-sleeve victory last week was even better – I ran my second 5K race!

Turkey Run 2013!

Turkey Run 2013!

Turkey Run 2012!

Turkey Run 2012!

Last year, I ran my first 5K Race on Thanksgiving. Here are my feelings after last year’s race:

Now that my first 5K is a few days past, I have a few lessons I have learned:

  • When they say you will get trampled if you’re too close to the front of the starting line, they are right. I blew my shins out in the first five minutes trying to keep up and not get smushed.
  • When you text your husband at mile 1 with the words “I Suck” he will text you back the most encouraging and loving words. Every runner should have a Dave.
  • Somehow you will be able to finish and that is good enough. Forget any preconceived notions of a finish time. Use it to work toward the next race.
  • When you get to the finish line finally, having a great friend cheer for you like you’re in first place makes a difference. Every runner should have a friend like Noelle.
  •  I will run more 5Ks! And I will do this race again next even while wearing a turkey hat!

Here this year’s summary:

  • Starting the race farther back does help, but more importantly, thinking of your own pace and letting the crowds run around you is just fine. I did keep my eye on a few groups of runners so I would know how my pace was, but I concentrated on myself.
  • I didn’t need to text my husband this year! I knew he, among many others, were supporting me and I didn’t need to text him to remember I had many cheerleaders, near and far.
  • I finished and beat my official time from last year by 4 ½ minutes! More importantly, I was able to run more of the race than last year (79 pounds less makes a big difference) and I had fun!
  • Again, one of my biggest supporters, my friend, Noelle, was there to cheer me on as I crossed the finish line. She is one of my friends who inspired, encouraged and pushed me into changing my life in such a positive way and I can’t think of anyone better to be at the finish line!
  • Same as last year, I will run more 5K races! And I did wear a turkey headband this year. I like having a goal to push me and keep me focused on my physical and mental health!

I never thought I would call myself a runner. I have never been athletic, but running is something I enjoy. I can do it at my pace, no matter what size I am. This is one of the greatest lessons I learned this year. Find something you love and do it at your own pace. Be true to yourself and you can find peace, happiness and success.

I am trying to keep in mind that success is what matters to you, not what anyone else thinks. Am I losing weight to look good and fit in our society better? Yes, I must admit I am, but I am also losing weight to be the person I want to be and the person that I know I am. This is my definition of success and I am excited to keep working toward this as I go Down the Scale…

Another Goal Bites the Dust!

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Here I am at Week 24 and 75.5 pounds gone!

Just a quick update as this is a crazy, but wonderful week full of activities for my kids and pre-Thanksgiving preparations.  On Week 24 of my gastric sleeve journey, I have met one of my many goals.  I have now lost 75.5 pounds!  When I started my journey last June I never could have imagined I would make this goal and how amazing I would feel.  The changes physically, mentally and spiritually are incredible!

Thank you to everyone for their support and encouragement!  With the holidays coming up, I know I will face more challenges, but I am ready for them!  Thanks for joining me Down the Scale…

Food isn’t the Enemy, but a Friendemy

Week 22 and 70.5 pounds down!  My and hubby and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary by walking in some of our favorite neighborhoods, having a light meal out and seeing a show.  And yes, it included my favorite coffee.

Week 22 and 70.5 pounds down! My and hubby and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary by walking in some of our favorite neighborhoods, having a light meal out and seeing a show. And yes, it included my favorite coffee.

My gastric sleeve surgery is the catalyst for many changes in my life, and my relationship with food is one of the biggest changes I am making. My smaller stomach physically restricts the amount of food I can eat at one time, but as I progress to Week 22 of my journey, I am able to eat more of a variety of food and I find I can eat more often. While it is nice to feel “normal” this is also giving me a bit of anxiety. With the holiday season here, or my other name for it, “the indulgent food season”, I need to really focus on my relationship with food. 

Food, in the past, has been such a huge part of my life. I used it to deal with depression, to reward myself for accomplishments, to fight boredom, and to celebrate holidays and anniversaries. I try not to use food in these ways, but it is going to happen. My anniversary weekend was a good test to see how I could handle food differently.

The ever-supportive hubby and I enjoying a night on the town to celebrate our 15 years being thick and now thin together. (A quick shout out to my hubby who has lost 50 pounds this year! He is amazing!) On these rare occasions when we have a date night, food would have been the focus. A dinner at a nice restaurant would always include appetizers for both of us, entrées and a glass of wine (OK, two) for me.

Now just because we’re eating better and healthier doesn’t mean we don’t want an enjoyable food experience. What we consider to be enjoyable, though, is now completely different! Instead of a huge, heavy meal, we ate wonderful salads at a café. They were delicious and left room for us to split a brownie from one of our favorite bakeries after we walked around the neighborhood! And there was still time for wine as we watched a musical show later that night. Such a lovely evening and it didn’t revolve around food!

So, food is not the enemy! Eating out is still enjoyable! But…yes, there had to be a but, I still struggle with some food. My body can handle tortilla chips and salsa very well; I’m afraid too well. Crackers are also easy for me to digest and I can eat more of them then I should. I don’t want to ban them from my diet because in the past that just makes me want whatever I say I can’t have even more. I am trying not to bring them in the house, but Goldfish crackers are a requirement when you have children. Healthy food is also another requirement, so that helps me when shopping for food. I am now finally eating like my children and it shows in how I feel and how I look. Oh, and how much weight I lose…70.5 pounds gone so far!

This is my latest challenge in my Down the Scale journey and that’s OK. I feel a bit like I have two personalities when it comes to food. “Normal Jen” eats healthy and small quantities, picks better food choices when she’s out and understands that small portions are satisfying. “Old Jen” thinks about fattening food, craves full sugar coffee drinks and wants non-fulfilling food like crackers in the pantry.

Fortunately, “normal” is wining over “old”, but I know that I will always have this struggle. And if the “old” wins sometimes, that’s going to be OK. I am human. I am not perfect. I am always trying to do my best and when it comes to weight loss and being healthy, that’s the best way to be, for me.