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Winter holiday started for me. Forest path is cleared from fallen trees.

Monday, December 22, 2014

My winter holiday started this Saturday, and I did my best to relax after my last hard 2 working weeks.
So I did deep relaxation in bet before getting up, then my long forest walk, then yoga with husband. After cooking and eating a healthy lunch, and afternoon nap with husband.
Then some sparking and web surfing, I listened to a dharma talk, then watched a movie with family (which turned out to be one of the worst movies we saw ever, but we didn't care).
The result was incredible, I didn't feel any fatigue or stress.

Sunday was great too. I had some shopping to do and dropped DD off at work at 9, so only had time for a shorter run around the park, rather than the normal long forest run.
But I figured a short run and time for some yoga and breakfast is better than a long run and a hurried morning.

Today, Monday morning would have been a short run around the park, but I upgraded to a longer (4.5 miles) forest run, and my brother in law came with me.
The forest path is almost completely cleared from the fallen trees, only the 5-6 largest ones block the road, and we could climb through. The damage to the forest is incredible.

We met a group of woodcutters, I told them I'm impressed they cleared the path in only two weeks, and thanked for their work. They said the finish cutting up the last large trees today, so the path will be clear tomorrow.

Eating went well. Now I pay close attention to urges to eat more than my planned meals.
I know surrendering will NOT make my cravings go away, but instead will just make them stronger. Knowing this helped me resist, and I did not overeat at all this week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOOFERCOALBOY 12/22/2014 1:48PM

    congratulations for realizing that a short run is better than none and Doing It. Enjoy the rest and the holiday.

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THOMASINA57 12/22/2014 11:59AM

    What a wonderful weekend, so relaxing, and peaceful sounding. Have a wonderful pre-Christmas week. emoticon

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HONEYBEESBLISS 12/22/2014 11:02AM

    That's wonderful that they are so quick to clear out the fallen trees! I'm glad you've been having a wonderful restful holidays! I've found the same that sometimes just waiting out the urge helps more than giving in. I think I do better if they are more planned treats and really mindfully savor each bite. And I never keep things in sight always put away in cupboards! That has helped me a ton over the last year too!

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JANTHEBLONDE 12/22/2014 9:57AM

    What an awesome blog! You are doing fabulous! I'm so proud of you walking, doing yoga and eating right! I hope you have a wonderful Monday!
Hugs and love,

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SMILINGTREE 12/22/2014 9:03AM

    They cleared your forest path quickly! It is amazing to see the damage that mother nature can produce -- awe-inspiring.

I hope that the remainder of your holiday is equally relaxed and that, if you do decide to enjoy some kind of "treat" or special food, that it does not make you want more, but that you fully enjoy it and appreciate it :)

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ROXYZMOM 12/22/2014 8:54AM

    Your weekend sounded so calm, what a great way to start your holiday!
Congratulations on getting your running path back - it looks like such a pretty area.

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ONEKIDSMOM 12/22/2014 7:50AM

    Sounds like a great week! emoticon emoticon And good for you, thanking the workers who cleared the path.

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My observations and insights about overeating

Thursday, December 18, 2014

I have been in maintenance in 3 years and 3 months, and most of the time it is easy for me to stay in balance.
I'm doing well for several days or weeks in a row, then something happens (or nothing happens) and I find myself overeating at dinner. Nothing horrible, I guess 3-500 calories over, but I certainly lose control. These are the only times when my weight starts creeping up.

In the past weeks I observed two things that I didn't notice before:

1. overeating feels bad, during and after.
On those days I'm wolfing down food, not for hunger or taste, just for volume. For the feeling of swallowing down something solid, and filling up, standing in the kitchen. This is not pleasant.
And being stuffed feels very bad.
Compare this to my normal dinners when I sit down with my nicely prepared food and enjoy the taste and texture.
Well, this is obvious in my normal state of mind, but now I observed this on the spot, and managed to interrupt the vicious cycle.

2. overeating induces more overeating
I realized I don't have any cravings to eat more when I manage to sit down and eat my planned portion. When I'm determined that the meal is over with the small square of dark chocolate and proceed to brush my teeth, and just do it - that is the end of the problem.
Compare this with going back to the kitchen for just one more slice of bread, or take just one more square chocolate - the risk goes up with every bite and I end up eating until I feel really stuffed yet feel still unsatisfied...
Again, this is not rocket science, but realizing right after finishing my planned dinner stopped me from eating more.

I didn't have any overeating episodes this week.
With emergency gone, I have reduced my evening ritual to just brushing my teeth immediately after dinner, and mediation went back to its normal time, before going to bed. And my weight is back to center.

I realize my problem is minor, and my little solution is insignificant for those who fight urges to overeat during the day, or even during night.
But it is very useful to me.
Even explains why I had the longest streaks of no evening overeating in the weight loss phase and early maintenance, when I ate 5-600 calories less then I do now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JERICHO1991 12/22/2014 12:07PM

    Thanks for sharing.

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SPINNER86 12/22/2014 11:12AM

  I agree with you 100%! It's not meals I overeat but snacks or snacking :( in between my planned snack. It's rare it happens anymore, but when it does on occasion it doesn't feel good, as you said. Slowing down and realizing WHY it's happening is a huge step. It all comes down to being more MINDFUL, which is helpful in all situations.

Thanks very much for the added insight.


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ISNESS 12/22/2014 5:06AM

    Congrat on your being persitently observant and thank you for sharing with us! And - well deserved featured article.

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MJREIMERS 12/21/2014 9:40PM

    emoticon I needed to read this now. I've been struggling a bit since I can't run and I've become frustrated, at time. This really hit home and I really appreciate the honesty.

Together emoticon ! I'll keep at it, just like you are!

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MELYROD18 12/21/2014 9:25PM

    You've got this!

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DEB9021 12/21/2014 12:20PM

    So true! I do well when I plan ahead and follow the plan. Issues happen when I either don't make the time to plan and end up "winging it" with whatever food appeals at the time, or when something disrupts the plan (schedule changes,mostly) and I end up going for convenience and quick eats instead of having time to follow the menu I planned with intention to focus on health and balance.

And you're right. It does NOT feel good. I truly enjoy the flavors, satisfaction and health benefits of a good meal, and this mindset of taking care of myself and my family carries over into wanting to follow through with exercise, good sleep and living with intention.

And yet ... At times it becomes so easy to block out that thoughtful brain and snarf down something that I don't really even want, let alone need. For me the triggers are stress and fatigue, but I am sure they differ for everyone.

Thanks for this thoughtful observation!

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RACHELMC80 12/21/2014 11:07AM

    Thank you!

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JACKIEWALKS4FUN 12/21/2014 9:13AM

    emoticon Thank you!

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HUGS2015 12/21/2014 8:47AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 12/20/2014 5:02PM

  Sometimes an 'obvious' insight isn't really obvious. There is nothing easy about losing weight, or about maintenance. But you have figured out what works for you - awesome!

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CAROL494 12/20/2014 12:49PM

  Thank you for sharing your observations. I will try some of your tips. emoticon emoticon

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RINGLETS888 12/20/2014 12:36PM

    Thanks...I certainly needed this today

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SUBMOM2 12/20/2014 12:33PM

    Congratulations on 3+ years of maintenance. Thanks for sharing your observations. Overeating does lead to more overeating -- I just never could put my finger on it, and now you've helped me identify it.

emoticon emoticon

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JUNETTA2002 12/20/2014 11:44AM

    I'm right there with you

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CHERYLHURT 12/20/2014 10:59AM

  Me too!

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CICELY360 12/20/2014 10:58AM

  Good blog.

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NVRGIVINGUP 12/20/2014 10:19AM

    I enjoyed reading this blog because now I know that there are others who go through the same thing I do. Lately I've been like, chop it up to another set back but now I'm encouraged to look at it a little more seriously. Thanks for sharing!

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BLUEJEAN99 12/20/2014 1:59AM

    Well said!

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JEANKNEE 12/20/2014 12:06AM

    Excellent work and self awareness!

Congratulations on the featured blog and wishing you many more years of maintenance successes.

emoticon emoticon

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ROCKYCPA 12/19/2014 11:27PM


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CAROLYNSUE17 12/19/2014 10:54PM

  Usually if I am stuffing myself, I am standing in the kitchen. Rule# 1. All meals must be eaten sitting at the dining room table, No exceptions.

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PATRICIAANN46 12/19/2014 10:32PM

  You have found what works for you and this is what you should continue to do. emoticon for your suggestions.

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JSEATTLE 12/19/2014 8:50PM

  I know you can overcome this place. We feel so bad about overeating and sometimes life just happens. Thank you for sharing, we have all been there!

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SUZMANNIE 12/19/2014 5:16PM

    This is very helpful information. Thanks for sharing it.

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CELEBRATELIFE 12/19/2014 4:19PM

    Very enlightening.

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PHHHISC 12/19/2014 3:06PM


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WORKNPROGRESS49 12/19/2014 2:28PM


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WOOFERCOALBOY 12/19/2014 2:26PM

    Congratulations on 3 years of maintenance.

I shall have to try brushing teeth immediately after eating - munching after dinner is one of my problems.

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NONNAOF2 12/19/2014 2:21PM

  Your minor problem is something you are able to catch, before it gets out of hand. There are so many of us that haven't made the connections to eating situations that occur as of yet! :-)

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1HOTFUDGEMAMA 12/19/2014 2:21PM

  flossing and mouthwashing didn't even help me one night last week! Argh

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REBESANCON 12/19/2014 2:06PM

    No matter where we are on the journey, it's great to hear what works for others - and not at all insignificant.

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 12/19/2014 1:38PM

    Your problem is NOT insignificant. It underlines how difficult maintenance is. I too have been in maintenance, after losing 178 lbs., for over three years, and it really doesn't get easier does it? Just last night, I went bowling with my husband. He bowls, and I watch. It was the last night of leagues before Christmas, and everyone brought treats. There was a table filled with yummy goodies about five feet away from where I sat. I struggled mightily. I watched others who seemed to have no problem avoiding the sweet treats, and yet I was fighting it with every ounce of determination I could muster. I just wanted to go over there and binge on everything. It is HELL being a food addict sometimes and last night was one of those times. But I MADE AT! I stuck a piece of gum in my mouth immediately, and chewed vigorously all evening. I never even walked over to that table of treats, because I knew I would not be able to resist a brownie, a peanut cluster, a handful of Chex mix. At one point, towards the end of the evening, I even considered taking those leftover treats home with me, since that particular table of treats (there were other treat-filled tables all over the bowling center), was actually left over from the league before us. I thought I could just take the leftovers home with me and serve them at our Christmas Eve party. But I knew they wouldn't last that long. Too much temptation. I am proud that I was able to avoid temptation last night, but it was SO HARD! Will it ever get easier? I know what you mean about over eating leading to MORE over eating! It happened to me starting at Christmas last year and led to a 32-pound regain by June, when I managed to get back on track (with Dietbet) and lose it AGAIN! I am another good example of how those 300-500 extra calories every day can lead to a major weight gain! Good idea with the tooth brushing after supper. I find myself chewing gum more and more often. Whatever it takes....

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BOB5148 12/19/2014 1:00PM


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DIANNEMT 12/19/2014 12:58PM

    Good information.

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JEANADOLL77 12/19/2014 12:51PM


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SUSIEMT 12/19/2014 11:44AM

    Congrats on your three years of maintenance...and beyond!! Woo Hoo you! Thank you for your observations. I agree overeating leads me to more overeating. It doesn't seem to matter what might set me off. I may be having a wonderful day making sure I get my exercise in etc. Then I find myself wandering. If I can catch myself doing this I can stop myself. Being mindful and in the moment means so much to me.
Happy Holidays!

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DEADCENTER 12/19/2014 11:38AM

    Spot on.

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TIMEHASCOME56 12/19/2014 11:27AM


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JIBBIE49 12/19/2014 11:18AM

    emoticon Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail.

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SHOAPIE 12/19/2014 11:13AM

    emoticon emoticon

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PATTYKLAVER 12/19/2014 10:51AM

    You're taking the time to get in tune with your feelings and writing it down. It's a habit I used to be in, but somehow it got lost. You have reminded me to do this. Thanks.

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GODDREAMDIVA1 12/19/2014 10:51AM


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GODDREAMDIVA1 12/19/2014 10:45AM


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NEPTUNE1939 12/19/2014 10:05AM


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DYANNE4293 12/19/2014 10:03AM

    Great sharing! Thank you!!

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PEGGYO 12/19/2014 10:01AM

    Interesting thanks

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IDICEM 12/19/2014 9:40AM


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HMBROWN1 12/19/2014 8:19AM

    I totally get it! Congrats to you! Merry Christmas!

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STEVIEBEE569 12/19/2014 8:03AM


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SUEARNOLD1 12/19/2014 7:49AM

    Way to go . . .

Great blog.

Congratulations on three years plus on maintenance!

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Another hard week, but I'm fine

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Peak workload continues, in addition we had to work on Saturday, so that we get 24th December off for Christmas.
But I feel fine.
Limiting work-related thoughts to working hours is really helpful: I concentrate hard during the day, but as soon as I'm off work, I turn it off.
This morning I went for my traditional Saturday long walk in the forest - made me calm nd focused at work. I made a lot of progress on the administrative front.

Last week I posted pictures about our forests frozen in ice, I want to clarify pics were not my own, but an online gallery shared on a public website, about a forest 3-4 miles away.
By the time I went up our hill, almost all the ice was gone, only the fallen trees, broken branches and blocked tracks remained.
I won't go there for a few weeks, hoping the path will be cleared.

Eating-wise it was an interesting week.
The first 3 days I did poorly: mild mindless overeating.
The benefit was that I recognized how bad I feel after overeating, and in the next 4 days I was more aware of how much I ate and stopped before feeling too full.
I modified my evening anti-overeating plan as it was too much fuss: tea is cancelled, meditation is moved back right after brushing teeth. It is working better this way.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILINGTREE 12/18/2014 9:05AM

    Do you think that the meditation practice has helped you be able to turn off work thoughts when you leave work?

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JANTHEBLONDE 12/14/2014 3:20PM

    That is wonderful that you have forest near by to walk in! I think you're doing fabulous! Thanks for sharing! I hope you have a wonderful day!
Hugs and love,

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KANOE10 12/14/2014 6:59AM

    That is hard working on Sat. I am glad you got a walk in and were productive. It is a sign of strength that you modified your daily plan to make it work for you. Get some rest!

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NEW-CAZ 12/14/2014 3:10AM

    Wonderful that you have such a beautiful place to walk and enjoy- connecting with nature.

Glad you're back on track, enjoy the rest of your weekend

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MRS.DOYLE 12/14/2014 2:17AM

    You are right to only think about work during working hours. I try to follow that method of sanity. I don't always manage it. But at least I am not wasting too much of my own free time thinking about what is a not very enjoyable part of my life!!

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BUTTONPOPPER1 12/14/2014 1:17AM

    That walk in the forest sounds divine! I used to walk very long distances in mountain forests, and I remember the wonderful feeling of being alone and at peace with everything. That was in the days before cellphones existed, so I really was completely and blissfully alone.

And you have reminded me today that I need to do what you're doing--pay attention to what I'm eating and remember why I joined Spark in the first place, which was to get healthier. It's so good that you're mindful of this, and that you're adjusting your routine to fit your needs.

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JEANKNEE 12/13/2014 10:07PM

    Glad you were able to spend some time in the forest. Time spent in nature can be so life supporting.

Way to go recognizing a need for fine tuning to your routine and making it. Keep up the great work!

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2BDYNAMIC 12/13/2014 7:49PM

    How wonderful you have a forest nearby to walk in; and your awareness of foods, amount and how they affect you .......... emoticon

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ROXYZMOM 12/13/2014 4:50PM

    I love the way you adjust your schedule and still manage to get everything in. That's nice that you can get that extra day off.

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PATRICIA-CR 12/13/2014 3:11PM

    So happy to hear you also walk in a forest near you. I do the same, actually it's a mountain where we live. Love it! No snow here but lots of rain. Hope the trail is cleared soon.

Glad you made the necessary adjustments to do better with your eating.

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Ice damage in the forest - my favorite running route is blocked

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Earlier this week there was horrible ice damage in our forests on the higher hills.
There is a temperature just above freezing point when rain drops are liquid all the ways down but crystallize into ice when they hit the ground - or a tree.

This time there was a lot of rain coming down, the critical temperature persisted and thick layers of ice covered the trees. Many huge branches and entire trees broke and fell under the heavy weight. A link to some pictures:

This morning I drove up to my favorite running route on the hill.
I saw many broken trees along the road, but still hoped I can run the route - but it is blocked. Practically the entire path is covered by fallen trees, so even walking is impossible.
It was so sad to see the damage, but I'm sure similar disasters are part of a forest's life cycle, and it will heal within a few years.
But I'm afraid the path will be blocked for several weeks.

I didn't expect this, because yesterday I walked on the other side of this same hill, and there were very few broken branches and no blocks there...
I decided to run up the steep asphalt road to the top of the hill with as many walk breaks as necessary. Many were necessary, as I'm not used to run all the way up.
Then from the peak I ran down a stony dirt road on the other side and back.
It was quite intense, and I can feel my calves - despite the very slow pace average of 11:30 min/mile.

On the eating front I did well during the week, but yesterday was DH's 55th birthday, and MIL brought wonderful crackers and cake, and I ate a LOT.
No afternoon snack and no dinner, of course, but I felt stuffed and bloated all evening.
This unpleasant experience was a good reminder before Christmas... there is already way too much chocolate and candy in our house, and DD and DS plan to make at least 3 kinds of cookies for Christmas.

It is interesting how I didn't recognize I was full while I was eating, only 1-2 hours later, and even then, feeling stuffed, I felt random urges of "eat more".
I guess this setup of the gastrointestinal system was a competitive advantage when there was no continuous supply of food. Like ancient hunter-gatherer tribes who had a lot to eat after successful hunts and very little to eat in between. But there is no advantage for me, only the risk of going into an overeating mode.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STRIVERONE 12/8/2014 6:14PM

    Those were interesting pictures. Even destruction can look beautiful. Was your running trail as bad as the ones shown in the pictures. 11.5 seems like a pretty good clip for hazardous conditions.

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SMILINGTREE 12/8/2014 10:40AM

    Those photos! There's one where the trees look like exhausted soldiers. Ice storms are scary. We always lose power during them.

I hope that your trail is cleared sooner rather than later. I had a pretty good loop in the woods across from my house (which are privately owned property, but FULL of awesome trails) and then a big spring storm came through and fallen trees completely blocked them.

Congratulations on noticing that you were stuffed. I tend to ignore that feeling and just. keep. eating. It's not good!

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MOBYCARP 12/7/2014 2:14PM

    We get those ice storms here, too. Most of the time they aren't as bad as the one you got, but there is always that possibility. When a bad one hits, things are messed up for weeks.

On the overeating . . . been there, done that. The best way I have found to deal with it is to get back to eating something normal as soon as possible, even to the point of eating my normal bedtime snack when I'm already over calories for the day. Thankfully, I haven't had to deal with that very often.

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JANTHEBLONDE 12/7/2014 12:40PM

    That is such a shame that your favorite running route on the hill was covered by falling trees! I'm so proud of you running yesterday 11:30 minutes a mile! I hope you have a wonderful day!
Hugs and love,

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JEANKNEE 12/7/2014 11:30AM

    Wow! The storm certainly took its toll.

Good job using your creativity to get your workout in. emoticon

Stay strong navigating the triggers/temptations surrounding holiday eating. emoticon

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KANOE10 12/7/2014 8:55AM

    That is too bad about your running path being blocked from the ice. It is frustrating when you want to exercise and you are thwarted. I am glad you found an alternative route..though a difficult one.
Holiday treats are everywhere. Have a good week.


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BUTTONPOPPER1 12/7/2014 7:50AM

    Sorry to hear that your favorite running path is blocked, but you seem to be quite philosophical about it.

And I had never heard the idea about the gastrointestinal intestinal system being designed to feel appetite even when full! That explains a lot! I mean, I'd heard about the natural tendency to store fat for future food emergencies, but I had never stopped to wonder why being stuffed often actually makes me crave a lot MORE food than if I don't eat until full! Thanks for the heads up! I'll remember that next time I experience this!

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NEW-CAZ 12/7/2014 7:17AM

    WTG for using your initiative!
What a mess the forest is in, the tree surgeons will be busy for sure.
Enjoy baking!

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ROXYZMOM 12/7/2014 6:47AM

    I love, and am not surprised, that you came up with an alternative plan when you literally hit a road block! And you ended up pushing yourself harder. It sounds like such a beautiful run - the pictures are awesome. I still don't know how you can run outside when it is that cold!! Brrr!! I don't like that "too stuffed" feeling either, I know what you mean. I have tons of food at my house right now and no appetite. Soup is my to go food.

Enjoy baking those cookies with your kids!

Comment edited on: 12/7/2014 6:50:04 AM

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IFDEEVARUNS2 12/7/2014 6:18AM

    Your very slow pace is my fastest pace!
Incredible pictures.....

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Heavy workload

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

With my projects coming to end or a least end stage, I volunteered for a temporary position that is mostly people management and will take half my time. December is the busiest time to in this area, and I'm already covered in emails and spreadsheets...
Except last month which was busy, my workload was somewhat low, and it was good for rest and recreation, but it is nice to use my full energy again.
I feel like a husky who gets to pull a heavy burden on a sleigh and runs happily on the snow!
On the other hand, long office days are so much more tiring for me than business trips!

Monday and Tuesday was like this, but I paid attention and followed my plan when I got home:
-drink water
-make fruit tea
-meditate 10 minutes (today it was 15 minutes, and recognizing the feeling of emptiness rise, the one that is so easy to misidentify as hunger)
-plan, prepare and eat dinner mindfully (today it was bacon and eggs, steamed broccoli and rye bread toast, and a square of dark chocolate)
-and now I'm off to brush my teeth

Paying attention really helps.

As opposed to Sunday night when I failed miserably after a fully relaxing and pleasant weekend ; )
Got home at 11 pm from visiting my best friend... and instead of brushing my teeth and going straight to bed, I watched TV, ate some snacks and read mindlessly...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BROOKLYN_BORN 12/5/2014 7:14AM

    I like the "husky" simile. Nice image to keep in mind.

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GOCALGAL 12/3/2014 10:54PM

    emoticon Love your plan and how you got right back to it. emoticon You have inspired me to focus more on developing a "mindful" nightly routine for myself. emoticon

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SMILINGTREE 12/3/2014 9:47AM

    Good luck in maintaining your energy levels during the heavier work period. Mindfulness is so important and you do such a wonderful job of sharing your thoughts about it. Thank you.

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KANOE10 12/3/2014 6:55AM

    Hope you enjoy your new work load for December. That was a good job of coming home, drinking tea, meditating, before dinner..then having a great healthy dinner. We all have days when we detour a little. The best thing is that we jump back on and soon are on the road to health.

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ROXYZMOM 12/3/2014 5:52AM

    It all sounds so calm to me. No drama.
I love the way you have a handle on everything.

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LESLIESENIOR 12/2/2014 11:33PM

    I have that happy husky romping in the snow stuck in my head. And a mindful husky, at that! You're awesome!

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JEANKNEE 12/2/2014 10:03PM

    Happy to hear that the workload is a happy thing for you. Liked your reference to the husky. :-)

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TIME-4-TINA 12/2/2014 7:37PM

    what is fruit tea?

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JANTHEBLONDE 12/2/2014 6:46PM

    Sounds like you're one busy girl and doing great with your plan! I'm really proud of you! Hope you're having a wonderful day!
Hugs and love,

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DEB9021 12/2/2014 4:50PM

    I also like to be busy and take on new tasks, rather than doing repetive work or having too much free time. I can enjoy being a workhorse for a time, and feel good about pitching in and how much I can get accomplished. But I have to be careful. If i don't catch a break periodically I end up overtired and cranky! Especially if work encroaches on my home life and goals for more than an occasional sacrifice.

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NEW-CAZ 12/2/2014 4:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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UMBILICAL 12/2/2014 3:45PM

  Hard work is helpful

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