Watermellen at 230 lb before
Watermellen at 142 lb. after
Vanity moment: candid photo taken at golf tournament!
WATERMELLEN is a SparkPeople Motivator!
Watermellen is apparently really only 5'7" (so my doctor insists . . . but I would like to believe I'm 5'9", and not just because I'm almost always wearing heels!!). At 66 now, I'm a Canadian, married for 37 years to a terrific guy with two great adult kids and an interesting job -- all good stuff, and I'm grateful for all of it. Who could ask for more??? Plus: my golden retriever Charlie who is a wonder dog for sure: we're so conscious that he's now over 12 years old, and all of us cherish every single day with him, trying to be as good people as he believes us to be!
Weight management, however, has required life long attention and I know now that isn't likely to change. Eternal vigilance will always be essential, and in particular sustaining all the techniques I know and can learn to avoid the temptation I'm unable to resist.
A technique which I discovered in 2013 on Amy Cuddy's TED talk: the deliberate choice of body language to reduce cortisol. Yeah! Two minutes of "victory pose" in moment of stress! If, as Steve Siebold says (www.fatlosers.com) our minds affect our bodies, and we require mental toughness to lose weight -- then maybe power-posing our bodies can also affect our minds!
My own weight loss history? I went from 230 to 150 (size 18 or 20 to size 8) in 2001-2002 with healthy eating, cardio and strength training: I was inspired by Susan Estrich's fine book, "Making the Case for Yourself". And since 2002 I have steadily kept most of it off, with just a bit of up-and-down. However, I permitted some "pity party pounds" to creep on after a February 2009 breast cancer dx and was so exasperated that year when all my spring clothes were uncomfortable.
Discovering SparkPeople in May 2009 (after recovery from surgery and just before beginning radiation treatments) turned out to be a great move. I met my initial SparkPeople set goal weight of 155 BMI 22.9 during those radiation treatments and got back comfortably into my size 8s. Then I decided to lose at least another 5 lbs and reevaluate.
For a year or so my weight settled into a maintenance range of about 151-154. As treatment side effects (especially fatigue) receded, I did get back into the more vigorous exercise program I'd followed since 2001; what worked for me was three days a week at the gym, 30 minutes of cardo (about 400 calories burned per session) plus another 20-30 minutes of weights/abs/stretching. Although this resumption of exercise was less than my previous level, I felt well and in fact questioned whether my former level of 5-6 days a week at the gym was the optimal goal.
Rather than more gym time, I very much wanted to return to running. In the late 80s and early 90s before my massive weight gain (incurred during a stressful return to school) I had run 10 k a day and loved it. But as a runner, I foolishly neglected strength training and stabilization of hip and knees joints, and that's what eventually brought my running to a halt. In 2010 I did experiment with the PODRUNNER intervals free download running program and adopted the POSE technique (vertical posture, short rapid stride, mid-foot landing) to guard against injury. Once again, for a brief period of time, running could offer me a reliable source of euphoria. I completed the 5k program and got half way through the Gateway to 8k. However, the recurrence of persistent pain in my right hip and knee joints eventually persuaded me that running was no longer possible for me. This was very very disappointing.
Once I stopped running in 2010, I found that my weight maintenance "range" was becoming more and more "elastic". Throughout late 2010 my weight began to creep up, so that by December I was probably around 163 pounds again: I had stopped weighing myself regularly but my size 8s were snug and my 10s were no longer loose. My health and confidence were both taking a bit of a dive.
At Christmas time 2010 I began using a 10,000 luxe light box to stimulate production of vitamin D. Since I could not run, I also decided to resume cross country skiing, something I had loved as a younger woman but had forgotten about for some 25 years. Cross country skiing gave me that "outdoors" cardio without knee or hip pain, and I took it up with great vigour and pleasure, rapidly increasing my circuit to 6 km several times a week -- as a result enjoying winter more than I'd done for decades.
Beginning in January 2011 I also tried Judith S. Beck's Beck Diet Solution, the 6 week plan to train your brain to think like a thin person. This series of techniques derived from cognitive psychology has proved to be a marvellous find for me; my weight dropped from 163 to the mid 140s and feeling healthier, happier and slimmer than I had felt for some time. Even a three week "cancer recurrence" scare in 2011 (which, thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm) was not enough to derail me from my new Beck strategies.
Beck, I believe, has taught me how to take the yo-yoing out of my maintenance range. It's not automatic, though, and I still find maintenance much tougher than weight loss. I must regularly review my Beck cards to remind myself of the advantages of thinking thin. I must arrange my environment to avoid trigger foods. I must preplan my food and exercise, entering my plans into the Spark nutrition and fitness trackers a day in advance. I remind myself to sit down to eat everything, and eat slowly. I have learned but must remind myself that hunger is not an emergency, and that I can tolerate hunger. I have learned but must remind myself to identify sabotaging thoughts (chief among them, "This is taking too much time!") and deal with them ("Not as much time as lugging around all those extra pounds 24/7!").
What's my final goal weight? That's still (in 2015) not clear: I'm still "Becksperimenting" as to the relationship between "lowest achievable weight" and "lowest maintainable weight". But mid 140s feels good, and all my clothes fit comfortably. In late 2014/early 2015 I repeated the pink Beck 6 week program (once again blogging my way through it every day, once again while dealing with a breast cancer recurrence scare) and also read the green Beck "Diet for Life" book. My weight has been staying steady in the low to mid 140s, within a 3 pound rage, and I'm wearing size 8s and 6s comfortably.
I've also rebooted Mental Toughness several times (most recently in early 2015) by revisiting the terrific www.fatlosers.com program . . . blogging Steve Siebold's 21 day program in all his outrageousness. He sure is not for every one . . . but then he is not addicted to the approval of others (and gotta say: I'm not much, either.)
What I know for sure is that my MAIN focus will always have to be on MAINTENANCE. I am determined to stop yo-yoing, which for me means I must weigh myself daily and track my weight every day. Having lost that last 10 pounds at least 10 times over the past 10 years, I do not want to have to lose it even one more time. Yo-yoing is particularly contra-indicated for people like me who have had estrogen-positive cancer tumours, so that's an especially effective incentive to stick with the program.
Regardless of the maintenance "calorie range" generated by SparkPeople, in 2015 I've found that now I cannot eat more than about 1300 calories a day without weight creeping back on above my 3 pound permissible range: less if I indulge in refined carbs, no matter how diligently I track the actual calories eaten. Most of weight maintenance for me is calorie control: as important as exercise is for toning, cardio vascular fitness and sustaining my naturallly upbeat and generally happy outlook, I know that I can never exercise enough to be able to eat whatever I want.
After over 5 years maintaining on SparkPeople (and about 8 years prior maintaining before joining SparkPeople) I continue to appreciate more all the time the amazing SparkPeople site, all the terrific resources -- especially the nutrition tracker -- and all the highly motivated members who have such excellent suggestions and ideas to help all of us stick with our programmes to meet our goals.
On a frivolous and superficial and girly level, I continue to enjoy pretty clothes (particularly coloured leather jackets!), lovely shoes and boots, a sparkly lapel pin, a silk scarf -- most often purchased from a thrift store or ebay. Style is a frugalista hobby which also keeps me motivated in maintaining weight loss.
But it's been regaining the feeling of feeling well (after not feeling so well, and after enduring two subsequent cancer recurrence scares) which has jolted me into conscious gratitude. I don't take well-being for granted, and don't suppose that I ever will again. My capacity for taking pleasure in the ordinary small things in life -- flowers on my kitchen table, a bird at my birdfeeder, a sunset, a new moon, the sound of the wind through the trees -- all of that is free for the noticing, all of that is given, and all of that fuels my joy and enthusiasm and zest for life.
Determine what my lowest achievable and lowest sustainable weights may be: stick with the Beck cognitive psychology techniques to eliminate yo-yoing and master thinking like a thin person.
Get to the gym three times a week for cardio (usually 30 minutes/400 calories on the cross trainer) and strength training/abs/stretch. Supplement with lots of golf in the summer, cross-country skiing in winter. Track those calories and keep vigilant to prevent weight gain.
Proudly Canadian!! Love to read. Consider kindness the key human virtue requiring sustained moral imagination respectful of the otherness of others. Irredeemably silly, playful, frivolous and girly!!
The past was the best thing that could have happened to me. The present is the best thing happening to me. The future is the best thing that is going to happen to me.
Borrowed from JGRIFF2712's blog, "Change".
Secrets of Success
|317 Maintenance Weeks