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Lifetime: It’s A Long Time September 30, 2010

Last weekend we had a special meeting for Lifetime Members at our Weight Watchers center. Lifetime members are people who reached their goal weight then maintained it for a minimum of six weeks. Many Lifetime members have been at their goal weight for YEARS (one woman there has been at goal for 17 yrs!!!!!!!) and others for shorter amounts of time.  It was an awesome meeting. We talked about how exciting it can be to lose, and then, when you hit goal weight and maintenance, it’s: gain a pound. Lose a pound. Gain a pound. Repeat. You don’t get the same sense of celebration as “losers” do.

That is one reason that I jumped onto WW staff the second (and I mean the SECOND) I reached Lifetime. I knew it would be super challenging to maintain my weight loss. I knew I had to do it. And for me, to be on staff has been more rewarding and amazing than I ever could have imagined. I have gained an incredible community of friends who share the same healthy goals. I have the resources of this amazing organization. I am constantly learning new things: about health, and about myself.

People talked about feeling “invisible” in the mass of people who are primarily at WW to lose weight. On one hand, I know what they mean. But at the same time, I have to say that every single topic that we discuss in the meetings are JUST as relevant for maintainers as for people who are trying to lose. I personally reflect on every topic that we have, and each one is meaningful because they are all about living healthy lives. For good.

Another thing we talked about is this idea of maintaining being “hard.” Is it harder than losing? Yes and no. I think it’s hard when we realize that reaching a goal weight does not mean Immunity. Ha ha ha ha. You just have to keep doing what you’re doing, and do more of it, like, forever. I think it’s easy when we’re generally feeling better and healthier than we ever have. So it’s both.

I’ve made a personal vow to make sure the Lifetime members in my meetings feel just as welcomed and celebrated and honored as anyone else. They are inspirational! and awesome for what they have accomplished. And it also made me think hard about how important it is to constantly work to keep myself motivated. I have to keep changing it up.

On Sunday, we had the WW Awards event which was super amazingly awesome. It’s sort of like the Oscars of the WW world. I was proud to be part of some great accomplishments this year, especially for the Alameda Center. We also heard that the Northern California region, which was #14 in the country (for weight loss/maintenance accomplishments) last year – fantastic- has jumped to NUMBER TWO this year! Woo hoo! Go Northern California Weight Watchers!

I’m doing a bunch of things to change things up recently. To keep it fresh. I’ve made a new commitment to fresh produce. I’m going to go to the Farmers’ Market at least once a week (if not more). I’m going to keep reading new things and thinking about my health in new ways. Because there is no such thing as Immunity.

 

Guest Post: Pat Barone on Driving Permanent Weight Change July 26, 2010

I’m happy to welcome Pat Barone to guest-post for me while I’m away this week. She’s been a great inspiration to me and I had the pleasure of meeting her earlier this year. She’s a wonderful teacher and guide for many. Welcome Pat!

Driving Permanent Weight Change

After a lengthy destructive relationship with food, I set out to lose weight one final time.  I knew I had a lot of learning to do because everything I’d ever tried in my life, literally hundreds of diets, had not kept the weight off.

But I had put my cowgirl boot down.  I would do what was necessary to lose weight, but I wasn’t taking it back.  Ever.

The lessons turned out to be profuse:  jaw-dropping scientific data, mindbending “ah-ha” moments, and deep personal shifts in my attitude and beliefs.  Literally, everything changed for me while I was losing weight and during the 10 years I’ve maintained that weight loss.

One lesson that sticks with me actually involved my car.  One day, I stopped at a local gas station and filled up my gas tank.  A while later, my car started sputtering and acting as if the engine was going to die. The car wouldn’t accelerate and I felt as though I was put-puttering along while cars all around me sped by.

I immediately connected the lack of performance with the new gas. It would run fine for a few blocks, then start the hesitation/sputtering routine again.

It was pure frustration!  It just wouldn’t go!

I continued driving the car until it was about a quarter of a tank below full and refilled at another gas station. The problems lessened but were still there.  Again, I drove it until it was a quarter of a tank less than full and refilled again. The problems ceased.

I realized I never got emotional about the bad gas (probably mixed with water) that I bought.  I didn’t blame myself for it.  I made a mental note never to buy from that particular gas station again, I did what I could to solve the problem, and I moved on.

Deeply immersed in weight loss, it occurred to me that, if I handled my own poor body fueling as sensibly, I might not have so many issues around food.

After all, food is fuel for your body. It’s the gasoline of life. That is all it is.

It isn’t an emotional caretaker, a shoulder to cry on, or a best friend.

My own poor fueling decisions usually involve carbs or sugar that set off the carb craving cycle.  This craving cycle calls up too much insulin from the body, putting stress on it internally (even if you are not diabetic).

Would the way I handled my car’s gasoline work with my own fuel?  It might look like this:

  1. Take my energy down a quarter tank.
  2. Refuel with protein.
  3. Live life until my energy is down a quarter tank again.
  4. Refuel with protein.
  5. Rinse, repeat.

Separating eating and food from negative thinking and emotions turned out to be a huge step in changing my attitude about food.  Whenever I see myself becoming attached to a certain food, or I hear “an energy buzz” around it, I know I’m putting more meaning into that food than it deserves or I want.

Then, it’s time to take a step back and remember:  Food is fuel.

This doesn’t mean I don’t really enjoy food, all types of food:  rich and mild, exotic and tame, new favorites and old.

But I’ll take my meal without the extra helping of charged emotion, or the label of “good” or “bad”, or the guilt, thank you!

Pat Barone, CPCC, PCC

Pat Barone earned her title “America’s Weight Loss Catalyst” by coaching thousands of clients toward permanent weight loss.  Her status as an expert is heightened by her own personal weight loss success.  In March, 2010, she celebrated 10 years at her current weight, which is 75 lbs. less than her highest weight.  She regularly busts diet myths in her free newsletter “The Catalyst”, available at http://www.patbarone.com and blogs at http://www.stoprentingweightloss.com.

 

It’s Working.. And I Didn’t Even Ask It To July 16, 2010

Remember my “wish” to lose ten pounds maybe, like sort of?  Well, after much deliberation I decided to not sweat it or “try” to do anything; I’d just keep doing whatever I was doing, and whatever happened, would happen.

Then Mary came to visit and I watched her take pictures of all her food. For the first 3 days, I just watched her, and I ate all the yummy things she was eating PLUS MORE. The weight started creeping up. Then on her fourth day, I started foodblogging as well.

See what happened? That’s my weight up there. From the very first day. This was not on purpose, ie I wasn’t “trying” to lose weight, I was just trying to be more mindful and accountable for what I ate.

The one little uptick you see there is the day I forgot to take my medication which allows me to not look like a watery bloated sausage.

The difference between the top of the graph and the bottom of the graph (today) is 5.2 pounds.

Just sayin’.

I’m taking my camera with me EVERYwhere from now on. :-)

EDITED: Hmph. Facebook tells me that this blog post has been rated as “abusive” by Facebook users and so they have disabled the link. What is THAT about? Am I being boycotted by anti-scale people??

 

It’s An “Energy Imbalance” July 10, 2010


balance

Originally uploaded by hans s

Back in June, I went to a staff training for Weight Watchers; it’s part of a series on the science of weight loss. How awesome is this, I ask you? It was hard to get excited about a 12-hour work day especially on a Friday, but I was hoping to learn a lot and learn I did.

On one hand, it was simple and basic and nothing I hadn’t heard before, but on the other hand it felt totally illuminating. Or maybe confirming.

There was a lot of talk about metabolism. What IS “metabolism,” anyway? It seems like this mysterious and complicated mechanism that nobody seems to clearly understand. But as we learned, metabolism is actually a NUMBER. It’s the difference between the calories that one burns and that calories that one takes in. That’s it.

And if we are trying to lose weight, then we want the numbers IN to be fewer than the numbers OUT.

It was kind of stunningly simple. My mind was kind of whirling around like crazy, thinking of my own understanding of my own numbers in the past few months. I’ve been wearing this little gadget called a Philips DirectLife which measures the calories OUT every day. For the first few weeks, I was going gangbusters and burning 150-180% of my goal every day. I was knocking the socks off that thing.

Then I hurt my ankle. Again. Everything slowed wayyyyy down. I could see by the charts on the gadget that even when I tried to walk, I was averaging about 200 calories less per day (burned) than before. On top of that, at the same time, I started a new job that was kind of mentally exhausting. I was going out for coffee 1-2x a day more than previously. And you know, I put cream in my coffee. So there’s 100-200 calories more IN per day. Even if everything else stayed the same.

And suddenly it became glaringly obvious (in a way that just had not clicked before) that this was WHY I was unable to just shake off the last 5-10 pounds I was wanting to lose.

I mean I KNEW it, on some level, that walking was just not the same as running or banging out long sessions on the elliptical. But my little DirectLife was ticking away and showing me in very graphic terms exactly what was going on. Add the extra coffee and there you have it.

So now, my ankle is feeling better and I am able to do more again. AND I’ve been tracking my food carefully on my food blog. And… voila. Happy scale days again.

There was more good stuff in that metabolism lecture; about the different ways we burn calories, and metabolism as we age and metabolism in men vs women, but I’m going to save that for a later post.

 

Changing Goal Weight??????? June 8, 2010


Vintage bathroom Scale

Originally uploaded by totalrod2

So I’ve been virtually at the same weight for almost a year now. YAY.

And now that it’s been a year, I’ve been pondering/musing/obsessing over the idea of changing my goal weight. Ie, trying to lose the “last ten.”

I have some major ambivalent feelings about it. But it’s been on my mind a lot. It’s sort of like declaring a major, you know? It’s a commitment. And it’s not something I want to commit to unless I am sure.

Why do I/would I want to do this? Well. A few reasons. One, I’m beginning to realize that I’m not quite as fit and trim as I used to think I was. I mean, for much of the past two decades I would have DIED of HAPPINESS to be at my current weight. In fact, it did not even seem remotely in the realm of possibility. In fact, it did not even seem possible to weigh what my driver’s license says. (which is 13 pounds more than my current weight)

But now I’ve been hanging out here for a year. It’s good. It’s fine. I wear clothes that range from size 4 to size 12. (and yeah, I fit into all of them. How crazy is that) Also clothes that range from size S to L. I’m within a “normal” BMI. But that’s the thing. I’m very close to the ceiling of that range. Once or twice I’ve come close to hitting my head on it.

I weigh 10 lbs more than I did on my wedding day. I was hardly SKINNY on that day. I was like, regular.

I still have something of a spare tire. I still can grab large handfuls of belly fat, wayyyyy more than “pinching an inch.” I know that belly fat of any kind is not good for one’s health, and especially for diabetic people. So I think the less of that I have, the better. It’s never gonna be flat and i’m never wearing a bikini again. (those days were over 35 yrs ago)

Is it health? (a little) Is it vanity? A little. Is it a combination? Yeah.

That’s what I’m struggling with. I have problems with vanity dieting. Which I have said before. At the same time, I cannot deny the pleasure of shopping for and finding cute clothes that fit me. So vanity has become a weird part of my life.

It is weird when people MY HEIGHT come in to Weight Watchers. They weigh the same as me. Or LESS than me. And they are all, “UGH! GROSSSS! HOW DID I EVER GET TO THIS POINT!?” We are trained to be supportive of every member no matter their height or goal, as long as it is within the Healthy Range. But inside I am cringing and thinking, this person will never have faith in me. How can I be a leader or role model when they are so freaked out to be MY weight? I don’t say a thing. I support them. But still.

I’m never going to be at the bottom of the range. I don’t know if I will ever even be in the middle. No, I don’t think that’s in the cards either. But if I could get my head just a little fraction of a distance away from that ceiling, it would probably be a good thing.

The thing is, I’m nervous. (as if you couldn’t tell) I’m afraid of upsetting the apple cart, tipping the boat, you name it. I’ve actually gotten pretty comfortable with maintenance and I am afraid to get back onto the weight-loss road again. What if I fail? What if I try to lose and end up GAINING because I’ve put too much pressure on myself? What if I can’t do it? And my head goes smashing through the ceiling AND the roof?

All these things make me ponder. Should I let sleeping dogs lie? Should I make peace with my belly fat? Should I Go For It? (losing the last ten)

I know that people will probably have all sorts of ideas about this. And at the same time, I know that the only person who can ultimately answer this question is me.

 

Healthaversary!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Blogaversary! WOOOO!!!!!! January 15, 2010


Confetti

Originally uploaded by ADoseofShipBoy

One year ago this week, I got my blood tested and discovered that I had high blood glucose (prediabetes, then diabetes), high triglycerides and cholesterol. I already knew I had high blood pressure. I had been in denial for a long time.

I started this blog a year ago this weekend. Boy, was I in a sorry, scared and messed up state. I really did not think I could manage to pull myself into health. When I read that post now, it makes me cry, feeling so bad for that unhealthy, terrified person. But also a little good weeping too, knowing that I WAS able to pull her into health.

For a long time, I didn’t tell anyone I “knew” about this blog, including my own dear husband. I was so afraid and embarrassed. I knew I had to change but I felt safer sharing with strangers than I did with “real life” friends and family. That’s why Foodie Mcbody was born, because I was too mortified to use my real name.

I feel like all the parts of myself have come together this year.

I am so very grateful to the amazing friends, bloggers, mentors, teachers I have met on this journey. Dinneen at EatWithoutGuilt reached out to me on Twitter and I will forever remember her as someone who truly cared, and wasn’t just trying to sell me some stuff. Her way is a good way, people. Carla at MizFitOnline also threw me a lot of support, and I was amazed that she didn’t even HAVE stuff to sell, other than her awesome Tshirts. She has served as an incredible role model for me. Those two are at the top of my GREAT TEACHERS list. Marsha and the folks at Green Mountain At Fox Run are another great bunch of wise folks, doing it sane and healthy. (one day I’d love to get there!) Once I discovered the joys of Nia, Terre at HelpYouWell has been a fabulous cheerleader and Nia mentor. She didn’t even mind that I thought Nia was borderline ridiculous when I first went – but then I couldn’t stop going! Bookieboo over at Mamavation has started an incredibly inspiring campaign and I am thrilled to be one of her cheerleaders!

Learning that I had diabetes was frightening. But Biz over at Biggest Diabetic Loser has been a real inspiration, a support and has helped me figure out what to eat! Mimi at One Sweeter Life really got me thinking about running as a real possibility and not just a dream, and also got me hooked on fitness gadgets :-). Pubsgal at the Opposite Life is my mirror image in so many ways – a writer, recently diagnosed diabetic mom and runner, and we even got to meet up at a 5k race this year!

It goes without saying that I would be nowhere without the unending support and encouragement and butt-kicking from the World’s Most Awesome Trainer. I am thrilled to pieces that now SEVERAL of my local buddies have caught the butt-kicking bug and are now training with him (and sometimes alongside me)! SO GREAT.

I have not always been the world’s biggest fan, but I am now totally sold on Weight Watchers. This program has done wonders for me. It helped me reach my goal for the first time in my life, and more importantly, has helped me maintain it since July. I feel so happy and “at home” in this program and so fortunate to be working and sharing it with others. From the awesome CEO on down to my fabulous coworkers, I feel really really happy to be part of the WW world.

Then I discovered Twitter and have been amazed and thrilled at the friends I’ve made there: the fabulous and awesome and I-can’t-tell-you-how-I-love-them Shannon (and Angie!!!) at the Fabulous Fatties.  I love Karen‘s insight’s over at Why Weight? Bookworm Jen at Jen In Real LifeHilary at Tinyglow. Kenz at All the Weigh is a real inspiration. (she’s my buddy in the DK Fan Club!) Jack Sh*t has never failed to make me laugh out loud OR to motivate me. I think Mary at A Merry Life is great, and ditto on that for Mish at Eating Journey. I also love @Footdr69, Trish at I Am Succeeding, Shelley at My Journey to Fit and oh gosh the list goes on and on and on and on and I am running late for carpool!

This post is my way of celebrating all of my “invisible” friends and community. Tomorrow, I will celebrate with my up-close and local friends. First, we will take a hike in a beautiful volcanic (true!) park nearby, and do a little walk around the labyrinth there, leaving a small symbolic object for hope and health in 2010. Then we’ll come back to my house for a fabulous brunch. I am sooooo excited – about to do some grocery shopping for a beautiful Caramelized Onion/Goat Cheese/Sage frittata, some asparagus quiche and other yumminess. I’m also going to make some Prosecco Mimosas – yum!

I wish that every single person who has supported, encouraged and helped me this year could be with me this weekend. I am so very grateful and filled with love for you all.

Confetti on everyone! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here’s to another year!

 

My Scale, My Friend

I’ve been thinking a lot about my scale lately because it seems that several people I know have been breaking up with theirs. I was very very moved by both Mish and Shannon‘s recent decisions to destroy their scales (click on their names to read their stories).  They felt like they were in unhealthy relationships with these pesky machines that were torturing them. Believe me, if I felt the same way about mine, I’d be tossing mine out the window too. I totally applaud their decisions and their liberation from what felt like very unhappy relationships.

I don’t feel that way about my scale. I’m going to let mine stick around for a while. I know that the whole TOPIC of scales is a very hot one. Some people are very anti-scale, and I can understand their reasoning. But over here, I feel like the scale is my friend. A firm, nonjudgmental and honest friend who will tell me what’s what, because you know, a lot of time I really don’t know.

Mish talked about discovering that she gained a small amount (less than a pound?) and that it totally ruined the rest of her day, after she woke up feeling strong and healthy and happy. I cried watching her video. It sounded so painful.

Sometimes the scale surprises me but I have really never had this experience. For one thing, going up or down a pound virtually means nothing to me, because my weight can fluctuate up to 3 pounds in 8 hours, depending on so many things. If I’ve eaten or if I’ve had anything to drink. If I’ve gone to the bathroom (sorry if TMI). If I’ve exercised or what time of the month it is, or if I’ve taken my medication. So basically, a pound either way doesn’t really mean anything to me and I’d never be upset about a small gain like that.

I’m much more likely to live in denial. Take last weekend. I went out to eat a few times. I ran on the beach. I took some long walks. I made some nice healthy meals. But I also made some warm shortbread cookies. On balance, I had no idea what I had done, bodywise. When I got home, I was wearing some rather loose jeans that were kinda stretched out. I’d say I was feeling kinda “skinny.” But when I got home my scale told me I’d gained a few. And instead of crying and wailing and heaving my scale across the room, I almost kissed it. I thanked it for telling me the real deal (ie, that the cookies and restaurant meals had overbalanced the running and the nice veggies I’d cooked). I said, “Thanks. Thanks for telling me the truth, friend.” And then I set to righting my little ship this week, and every day I’ve seen it edge back down toward where I want it to be.

I’ve rarely felt shocked and dismayed by the scale. Normally I feel like, if it goes up, I know EXACTLY why. Sometimes I wonder, “What took you so long?” Over the holiday period, my weight remained steady and even dipped down pretty low about a week before Christmas. I felt like, wow, I was golden. I think I let loose a bit, and then New Year’s week, BANG, reality hit. See, I couldn’t get away with some stuff I was hoping I could.

All this to say that I am really grateful to my scale for letting me know when I start gaining a couple. Because it gives me the chance to U-turn before the couple turns into 5 and then 5 turns into 10 and then I can’t zip my pants. I don’t want to let it get that far.

But it’s easy for me to slip into denial, or to have some magical thinking like, I work for Weight Watchers! I’m immune now! (NOT.) Or whatever little loophole I’ve dreamed up.

My scale sits in my bathroom and it whispers to me. It tells me what I need to do, not in a mean way, but in a gentle, supportive way. I know that different scales have different Voices for their owners. Mine is my friend and I’m not about to give it up.

 

 
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