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Lifetime: It’s A Long Time

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.

Happy Goal-Day to Meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!


Party day

Originally uploaded by j_jyarbrough

Today is a big day! It’s a celebration day! I’m bringing a bunch of balloons to my WW meeting tonight. Because ONE YEAR AGO, on June 23rd, 2009, I got to my goal weight!

AAAAAAAAND……(drum roll) I have maintained it a whole year! A year of maintenance. But this also means that I have ACHIEVED one of my big New Years goals for 2010: to be eligible to join the National Weight Loss Control Registry, a group of people whom all the weight-loss scientists study when they want to know how and why people lose weight and keep it off. Yahooooooooooo!

I really did not believe I would get to this place. I kept anticipating bumps and holes in the road and kept expecting to fall off. And I did, more than once, but I always got back up on QUICKLY and recovered. Thanks to the amazing supportive community/family that has surrounded me this whole year. Both online and in person.

I’m making a speech now! I’m wearing a tiara! I’m getting up to the podium with my little slip of paper and nobody is going to drag me off this stage until I’m done!!!!!

(ahem) I would like to thank first of all my amazing ONLINE friends who were the FIRST ones to ever meet Foodie McBody. Who embraced me and supported me when nobody else even knew I existed. Shannon (and Angie!), MizFit, Dinneen, Dr. Mo, Pubsgal, DailyKat, JeninRL, Karen, Mary and Kepa, Jack Sh*t, Trish, Josie, Kenz, KathyK, Sweeter, Marsha, PatBarone, Mara, Mrs Fatass, Hanlie, Diane, Lavagal, Fitarella, Miche, HealthyLoserGal, shrinkingjeans, WorkoutMommy, PhatBFF, Tisfan, Damon, Lori, SweatingItOff, Ryan, Bookieboo, Terre and Roni. You all are AMAZING and I truly could NOT have made this milestone without you. And for any of you who want to be healthy and are NOT on Twitter yet, join the party. It is one of the most incredible weight-loss, fitness and healthy living tools out there. I am not kidding.

I would like to thank my awesome Weight Watchers family: my BFF and buddy (and first mentor who taught me how to tackle those insane paper tallies!) Bethany, my boss and friend Stan, my roommate from leader training Roz, and Roger Z and Lori H, Linda and Julie and Jiggs and Creamie and Lynn. Y’all are the best and make me so glad to be part of this organization.Oh yeah and BIG SHOUTOUT to the BEST CEO in the universe, the one and only Dave Kirchhoff, aka Mr. Man Meets Scale! Thanks to the awesome members who show up to my meetings and inspire ME and keep me going.

I would like to thank everyone who has ever walked, run, lifted weights, danced Nia or otherwise sweated with me. Starting with my amazing trainer Doug Jones, who not only trains my body but my mind and heart as well. My workout buddies Ericka, Lisa Marie and Christine (when she can). Then Team Penguin: Mary, Kathy and Michael-David. Thanks for an amazing experience at the Oakland Marathon. Nia people! Alexandra, Terre, Danielle, and Alexis.

Thanks to my family. I’m doing this with you and for you, so we can all be together a really long time. Love love love to my mom, Mr. McBody and my girls.

Thanks to Martha and Kamau for helping me develop my solo show. Thanks to everyone who CAME to my solo show (part 2 is in the works right now!), and to all the other awesome solo performers who inspire me so much. Thao, Nicole, Sarah W, Enzo, Paolo, Ericka, Lisa Marie, Coke, Julia, Mz Debra, Kim, Deirdre, Benjamin!

I’m getting carried away. It’s kind of corny. But it’s my blog and nobody can stop me! I’m just incredibly happy and grateful for this year. I know this post should include about a thousand links but I just don’t have time for the linkfest this morning.

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EPILOGUE:

So I bought these beautiful balloons! and was so excited to bring them to my meeting bc there are often a bunch of little kids there with their moms. But as I was unlocking the door, I was fumbling with my key and they just… flew away! I stood there with my mouth hanging open, watching them fly off into the sky. WAH!

I got in there and Bethany was in there playing Kool and the Gang “Celebration!” very loudly. She gave me a present: a REAL TIARA! That lights up and blinks! So I dried my tears and forgot about my lost balloons.

Right before the meeting, I said, So Bethany, when is YOUR Goalaversary? And she says, with a straight face, “June 24th.” Uh huh. Like, TOMORROW!!!!!!? We laughed and laughed. Our goalaversaries are one day apart! How cool is that!  Only she has been at goal for THREE YEARS so she is even awesomer!! We had a great time at the meeting.

Anatomy of a Wedding Weekend

I knew this weekend would be challenging, but I was not exactly sure how. In looking back on this past few days, I look at the ups and downs, the many small choices and challenges I faced, and what I learned from it.

I went into the weekend feeling I had not much wiggle room to spare. I wanted to come out of it maintaining where I was at before I went in. I’m not going to weigh myself until tomorrow or maybe even the next day.

Friday morning: Got up in the dark to get to the airport. Had coffee. Got to airport and headed straight to Starbucks for my new favorite breakfast, Perfect Oatmeal. It was perfect. Good way to start the day. Got onto plane #1. Slept. I am grateful that not only am I “able” to sleep on planes; in fact, a plane seat hits me like a tranquilizer gun and I immediately pass out into a deep, drooling coma the instant I feel the wheels lift off. I think this has something to do with a period when I was deathly afraid of flying and I literally learned to hypnotize myself into sleep so that I would not freak out. I don’t freak out so much anymore, but I think it’s because I’m passed out.

Layover: Las Vegas airport. We only had 10 minutes before boarding the next flight and I ran around frantically trying to find something suitable for carry-on lunch. Seemed there was nothing but Burger King and chocolates. Finally found a place that sold sandwiches. Whole wheat baguette turkey sandwich. 470 calories. With nothing on it! Blech! But I was desperate. Grabbed it. Ate half of it on plane. It was awful but I was very hungry. Had a packet of Ritz cracker cheese sandwiches courtesy of Southwest, which immediately transported me to my children’s unfortunately unhealthy childhoods, where they and I consumed mass quantities of those things. I am addicted to them.

Arrived at destination.  Went to hotel gym and spent 45 minutes on elliptical! I was so sweaty and proud of myself, especially after having spent all day in vegetative state on airplanes. Went to awesome hotel restaurant and had a wonderful dinner of 2 deviled eggs, a spinach salad from heaven, and a little bowl of polenta and spinach. That would have been quite fine. It would have been perfect if the evening had ended there, but alas, it did not.

Went to post-rehearsal-pre-wedding reception thingie hosted by groom’s parents. LOVELY home, all catered event. At first all I saw was wine and some platters of strawberries, brownies and cannolis. I was full from dinner and not tempted. I took a teeny nibble from my mother’s brownie & cannoli; both were way too sweet and thought, good, I am home free! Big basket of potato chips. Not tempted. THEN they brought out the gourmet cheese tray thing. I faltered a little. Then I got into a conversation with some relatives who asked some very kind but probing questions about the state of my Writing; something I am NOT feeling good or confident or happy about these days, and the cheese dam just broke.  Gorgonzola and Muenster and Brie and baguette slices and some salami rounds and it all just VANISHED into my mouth. I lost my mind. I lost it completely. I actually could not quite believe it, but there it was. Kablooey!

The next morning I woke up with a cheese hangover and….. a severely throbbing ankle. Apparently it had not been super charmed by my killing the elliptical like that, brace or not. I was very sad. I decided not to return to the gym but instead went to  a street arts festival with my sister in law. I walked around for several hours, but at a relatively slow pace. Better than nothing, right? Still, my ankle was throbbing even more after that. I took a very brief trip to the gym and tried to find something that did not make it hurt. I did not find anything. I was sad.

I had another spinach salad. (sooo good) Felt fortified for the wedding. Got dressed. Squeezed self into Spanx and then into dress. Went to wedding. Short and sweet, followed by reception. I resisted all appetizers, including another cheese plate (this cheese was not nearly as good as Friday’s). How did I do this? I constantly texted my WW BFF with the choices that lay before me. I sent some pictures. It was actually easy. If only I’d done that during Friday night’s cheese debacle! I gleefully reported how I passed up some deep fried raviolis in little dishes of marinara. Yay me! The wedding dinner itself proved quite easy: seared tuna and snow peas, which I’d pre-ordered. They came with wasabi mashed potatoes, which I did not eat, because that sounded like a horrid combination. Lucky me. Then the cake!! At first I wasn’t going to eat any. Then a little bit. Then I decided that the dinner had been so healthy I could go ahead and have a piece. It wasn’t a very small piece. Later, in the hotel, I looked it up: 16 points! Sixteen points for carrot cake! If only I’d know. Oh, the power of knowledge. Next time I will use my WW iPhone app and figure this out before I lift fork to mouth. If I’d known, I would have had like two bites. Which would’ve been fine.

People told me to DANCE at the wedding, but I really didn’t. This was the first wedding in which I was of the generation older than the wedding couples, and I felt weirdly old fogeyish, my ankle hurt, and my mother (even older than me) realllllly wanted to get out of the loud loud loud venue and go back to the hotel. So we left when the dancing began.

Oh well.

So, today: more drugged sleep-of-the-dead on the plane. More Ritz crackers. Another missed lunch. I was so happy to get home to beautiful unmuggy weather, I pledged to go out and walk. But I did not. I just…… didn’t.

Thus, the weekend got away from me, and I pulled it back, and it was a tug of war back and forth. I don’t know how to score it overall. An overall failure? Overall victory? No. I’d say it was a learning experience.

As we say at WW, it’s either a losing week or a learning week.

I learned:

  • prepare/bring lunch for plane ahead of time. Go to grocery, bring something from home, whatever. Make like a Girl Scout and be prepared.
  • When in a highly charged emotional situation, TRY to have a moment of consciousness and reach out: Twitter or text a friend who can keep you grounded and away from large quantities of cheese.
  • Look up calories/points values of items BEFORE eating so you can at least make an informed decision. I was assuming the carrot cake was about half what it was.
  • Get out and take a walk before catching up with Facebook and blogs, or you’ll never go.

So… I probably got a C- in the weight loss/maintenance arena, and maybe a B+ for learning. And, it was a lovely weekend, a beautiful wedding and great to see family for a brief little time.

EPILOGUE: I did not get a C-!!!!!! Just weighed myself (Monday morning) and my weight is…. UNCHANGED! to the ounce! from when I left. Which was my goal. It’s a new day! It’s a new week! YAY!!!!

A Year Ago… (aka Living Maintenance)

Mother's Day dinner, 2009

I’m at my daughter’s annual big crew race this weekend. I think about last year. I went running along the lake during down time at the races. Many people were beginning to remark about my lost weight, and I was wearing new shorts and tank tops for the first time. I was moving close towards my goal weight and really feeling like it was going to happen. (and it did: in June? July?) It was all so new then. I had completed my first 5k race and was feeling pretty giddy about the whole thing.

But also I had no belief it would last.

I feel like when I’ve said “a year ago…” it was a way of demonstrating how far I’d come. But now “a year ago” does not look dramatically different than where I’m at right now. So this must be maintenance! and in a way it’s even more stunning to realize that I’ve been in this place for almost a year, than the fact that I made the change(s) in the first place.

Recently in WW we had a meeting topic about habits.  There was a chart about the “Stages of Change” with a series of nested circles. On the outside was “Environment” which is the most superficial thing to change, and the first way we make a change. We clear out our cupboards, we start purchasing better foods. We join a gym. The next circle in is “behavior.” Because it’s one thing to change the food in our kitchen, and another thing to actually behave differently in relationship to it. In and in and in and in, and the innermost circle is “Identity.”

A year ago, I felt like my identity was A Person Who Had Lost Some Weight, for like a minute. I had NO experience or belief that it would endure. In fact I used to have feelings of deep sadness and grief/loss for that person, whom I was sure was going to vanish at any moment. Well, I’m amazed that I’m still here. But my identity is gelling, and I’m beginning to believe that it’s not as transient as I’d feared.

May I have another year like this. And another.

(photo above from last year’s Mother’s Day dinner – that’s my cute Mr. McBody!)

The Other Side of the Scale

I had my first mentoring session at the New Job this weekend. It was so interesting. Pretty much all I did was Observe, but tonight I will begin weighing people in for the first time! (I have to admit I am slightly nervous about this) It’s a big deal, folks!

I went to a center where I don’t normally go, and was mentored by a leader and receptionist who are new to me. They were both really impressive, especially in their handling of people on the scale.

You know it makes such a huge difference when you step up there, and the number is UP, and the weighing person makes a funny noise or groans a little, or just has a regretful look on their face. It’s like a zinger of shame. It feels bad. Sometimes it makes you want to take a running leap off the scale, out the door, and into the nearest ice-cream shop.

Neither of these women did anything like that. They were warm, concerned, kind, matter-of-fact. They didn’t respond with great hoopla over losses, just kind of a restrained “good work!” kind of thing, and they absolutely did not break stride at all if there was a gain. I really did feel as if the members felt cared for. They were both excellent role models.

It was also a meeting with not a huge number of people, and they were able to give everyone their undivided time and attention. The meeting where I normally go can often be a mob scene, and the staff people there often appear rushed and overwhelmed.

Overall, it was another positive experience, and I am looking forward to more.

After I left that meeting, I went to my “home” meeting and.. ta-da!!!!!! MADE MY GOAL WEIGHT. I was happy. I got the little star bling for my keychain, and the booklet about maintenance, and a nice round of applause. I have to say that I am feeling a mixture of excitement, nervousness, apprehension and curiosity about this whole Maintaining thing. We’ll see how it goes, shall we?

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