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Watermellen at 230 lb before

Watermellen at 142 lb. after

Vanity moment: candid photo taken at golf tournament!

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Watermellen is 5'9", 63 celebrated with a soft spring green leather jacket, Canadian, married for 35 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. Plus: my golden retriever Charlie who is a wonder dog for sure. 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 ...
Watermellen is 5'9", 63 celebrated with a soft spring green leather jacket, Canadian, married for 35 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. Plus: my golden retriever Charlie who is a wonder dog for sure. 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 new technique which I've recently discovered on Amy Cuddy's TED talk; deliberate choice of body language to reduce cortisol. Yeah! Two minutes of "victory pose" in moment of stress! The link to this brilliant video is in my April 6, 2013 blog.

I went from 230 to 150 (size 18 to size 8) in 2001-2002 with healthy eating, cardio and strength training. And I did keep most of it off. However, I had permitted some "pity party pounds" to creep on after a February 2009 breast cancer dx and was so exasperated when all my spring clothes were uncomfortable.

But: starting 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 programme 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.

I wanted instead to return to running. In the late 80s and early 90s before my massive weight gain I had run 10 k a day and loved it. In 2010 I experimented 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, running was a reliable source of euphoria. I completed the 5k program and got half way through the Gateway to 8k. However, persistent pain in my right hip and knee joints persuaded me that running was no longer for me. This was very very disappointing.

Once I stopped running, 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 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 has dropped from 163 to the mid 140s and I'm feeling healthier, happier and slimmer than I have done for some time. Even a three week "cancer recurrence" scare (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. I regularly review my Beck cards to remind myself of the advantages of thinking thin. I arrange my environment to avoid trigger foods. I preplan my food and exercise, entering my plans into the Spark nutrition and fitness trackers a day in advance. I sit down to eat everything, and eat slowly. I have learned that hunger is not an emergency, and that I can tolerate hunger. I have learned 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 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.

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, I've found that I cannot eat more than about 1500 calories a day without weight creeping back on: 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 three years maintaining on 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.

Regaining the feeling of feeling well (after not feeling so well) makes me profoundly conscious of a renewed sense of gratitude and optimism. I don't take well-being for granted, and don't suppose that I ever will again.
Read More About WATERMELLEN (Updated April 7)

Current Status:
WATERMELLEN is Back to Beck Day Eighteen: Redefining Full!
set 8 hours ago



My Ticker:

188 Maintenance Weeks

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Member Since: 5/10/2009

SparkPoints: 77,784

Fitness Minutes: 69,275

My Goals:
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.

My Program:
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.

Personal Information:
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!!

Other Information:
“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’s going to happen to me.”
Borrowed from JGRIFF2712's blog, "Change".

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Member Comments:
10/28/2014 4:04:59 PM

Thanks for the rotation suggestion. Technically, I'm supposed to rotate foods that I am allergic too once every two days, but haven't been tested in years, and quite frankly, feel worse before I get better with allergy shots. I haven't had any health issues that seem to be related to food sensitivities, so I don't have to be strict with rotation... I usually will drink a smoothies before work but will rotate in eggs and fruit for one breakfast, hot cereal for another, etc. I could see my health deteriorating, though, if I ate the same foods everyday.

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10/28/2014 9:56:19 AM

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10/27/2014 7:35:24 PM

Thanks for the reminder! I am having a hard time with this "credit" thing...I have never been one that patted myself on the back....but it is a part I will conquer too! I am a structured person and it is my best thing in this program that structure is THE WAY. I think EVERYONE should do this program...this is teaching me what I never learned as a child....

Have a GREAT night. Til tomorrow!

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10/27/2014 4:01:46 PM

I'm still around, but really have morphed into a different place. I finished marathon number six the day after you posted on my wall.

I PRed by 8 minutes and am about 6 minutes from a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. I also got into the London Marathon via the lottery, so will be visiting England in April.

Although exercise is good, I have let things go on the weight side. I'm about where I was when I started Spark back when.

So it's back to basics for me with tracking and ranges for calories/fat/carbs and protein.

Glad to hear you are still keeping on.


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10/27/2014 8:11:12 AM

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“We all have greatness within us that is waiting for us to believe. Once we believe, the foundation is in place for our greatness to take a foothold and grow.: Deidre Hughey
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