Thursday, October 30, 2014
I didn't blog this morning because I was in a hurry to get out the door. You see, I've had the same Empowered Health Coach the entire time I've worked with one... part of my company's wellness program. All this coaching has been via telephone. A few weeks ago, I got an e-mail from her saying SHE was coming to town as one of the on-site coaches yesterday and today... and I jumped right on getting one of those time slots. Mine was at 7:30 this morning, before my normal work day.
And it was a wonderful experience. She's the same person, just as her photo on line shows, with the same supportive, informative, enthusiastic persona I've got used to over time. When we first talked, I told her I'd had success, and really didn't need anybody telling me what to do, mainly I wanted a cheerleader! And she's been that and more. She *does* offer suggestions, some of which I've used, some not so much.
It was great to be able to give this gal a hug... in fact we both went for the hug, first thing.
Second bit of news: not so great... got the test results back from the bone density scans. I'm still losing bone density. Another 5.7% since the previous test in 2010, for a total of 15% since the baseline in 2006. It's still classed as osteopenia, not full-blown osteoporosis... but even with the weight bearing exercise I do, and the calcium and D supplementation... I'm becoming more "frail" in the bone, and at higher risk for fractures.
That news came in the mail yesterday, and it kind of bummed me out... but I did my strength training and felt better. DOING something makes one feel better. In the light of the next day, I recognize that the rate of loss has slowed, at least. And the doctor *did* say to "keep exercising" and recommended specific doses for the supplements. So... following orders. Nice to be told to do what I would be very upset if he told me to NOT do it!
Which brings me back to the drift downward in scream weight. Bone weighs more than fat. It's entirely possible that with less dense bones I need to be weighing less. Moving my "upper" end scream weight down to 125 is probably all right. Over the summer I had become more used to seeing numbers like 117 (low end of 5 pounds if 122 is center)... and only a 114.x made me scream.
Finally, Halloween... what's everyone planning? I'm going to be having the lights off. Sorry, Jen, if I put the lights on it invites trick or treaters, and I have no intention of pushing sugar out the door, and passing out plastic toys ... a la our niece's no candy policy... doesn't trip my trigger either. I am becoming a grouchy old wet blanket, I'm afraid.
But, despite that... LIFE is good. It's so much better when I'm fit. It is at its best when kindred spirits cross paths on individual journeys to health and wellness. Consciously, consistently, and creatively making choices to support that journey, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Continuing with the thin little book by Barbara Berkeley, M.D. "Refuse to Regain! 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You've Earned", rule 4 is something it took me a LONG time to figure out how to do. At least four maintenance failures resulting in large regains, over the course of my adult life. So far, this time, I seem to have pulled off avoiding the 50 pound slips. The author outlines it for junior maintainers, and I look back over my own 2013, and come to the conclusion that what I referred to as "brinksmanship" maps into some of her rule 4 philosophy. I have mixed feelings about that... but more about my own feelings/pushback after a quick review of the previously blogged about rules.
Reminders of earlier rules
1: Be Tough, not Moderate.
2: Commit Yourself to a Three-Month Opt Out Period.
3: Weigh Yourself Every Day.
Rule 4: Reverse Small Regains Immediately.
With rule 4, Berkeley introduces the term "scream weight", the boundary at which one immediately takes corrective action! She describes this as "the scale number you don't ever want to see -- ever again."
Step one of Rule 4 is picking that scream weight. She suggests it should be 5 to 8 pounds above your lowest achieved weight, and a multiple of 10 as a more psychologically powerful Scream Weight.
Step two is to adjust that number (Scream Weight) with experience, if necessary. This part reminded me a lot of blogs from maintainers who talked about the difference between "lowest achievable" and "lowest sustainable"... and how they were debating over adjusting their goal weight. I think this may be where many of us who failed at maintenance in the past have slipped up... we didn't make the transition from losing or lowest achievable to an actual sustainable goal range! Adjusting the scream weight allows for this transition. For the perfectionists among us, this adjustment may have led to tossing in the towel (at least for a time, allowing for a wilder regain!)
Step three of rule 4 is to pay close attention to weight swings. She talks about the natural fluctuation of weight over the course of a week. I believe this is vitally important for those who are NOT counting calories, and experimenting with eating "normally" from a diet selection based on some philosophy, as opposed to "dieting" by portion sizes, weighing and measuring food and counting calories. Since Berkeley recommends NOT counting calories, this is a very important piece of her maintenance landscape.
Next, when that scream weight is approached, REVERSE course. She recommends going back to whatever method you used to lose the weight to begin with, until you are a couple of pounds under Scream Weight, then return to your "normal" plan.
OK, that's Berkeley's advice. Here's my 2013 learning experience: without even knowing I HAD a scream weight, I was sort of following this. I called it brinksmanship. The difference is that I truly had slides, and over the course of a year it added up to 9 pounds, net gain. I had crossed one of those "tens" lines, and it WAS 8 pounds above what I call my goal weight. Somehow without reading this, I implemented the Mental Toughness training, went back to the roots, and stripped off not just those 9 pounds, but got under my previously lowest achieved, and ended up having to deliberately regain a couple of pounds. Bottom line, if you catch it soon enough, this is the essence of maintenance: monitor and make corrections.
Things that DON'T work for me: binging and recovering, repeatedly. Things that DO work: finding a "normal" that does not trigger binging, that causes the scale to stay in a range. Still working on finding that "normal" in the context of athletic training.
So, you can see... mixed feelings. I don't think the mixed feelings/push back are to HAVING a scream weight, more to the "normal" diet... (back to her rule 2)... and the not counting calories (I don't so much, but I do track on Spark which tracks a range without my having to look at a food and do the math).
Second observation: last year my scream weight, not even knowing I had one, appeared to be 130. This year, with the increased training activity, I seem to have adjusted to having the second digit in my weight be a "1"... I believe my own Scream Weight has been unconsciously moved DOWN, not UP, during the course of this year, to 125. Which means my "goal" might have unconsciously moved down, too, as I've been calling my center goal 122 for over four years now. We shall see if that intuitive feeling lasts the Winter, for as we all know from the Game of Thrones, Winter is coming!
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It is at its best when I find kindred spirits on their own journeys, and our paths touch. Creatively, consistently and consciously making choices that support maintaining a healthy lifestyle, I remain GRATEFUL, for each and every day.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Continuing with the thin little book by Barbara Berkeley, M.D. "Refuse to Regain! 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You've Earned", rule 3 is something I have done for years, am totally on board with, and endorse for several reasons. I'll get to MY reasons in a bit.
But first, reminders of rules 1: Be Tough, not Moderate, and 2: Commit Yourself to a Three-Month Opt Out Period.
Rule 3: Weigh Yourself Every Day.
Weighing daily is something that is often discouraged during the weight loss phase, but this is all about maintenance. The importance of weighing oneself daily, according to the author is all about gathering data and LEARNING maintenance. You see, she is an advocate of "Primarian" eating, without limiting or counting calories. The whole idea of using the scale as a measure of how your body reacts to your choices of foods and activity the day before, or trends for longer periods is part of your scientific method.
How to do this, she says, is very similar to what I do:
a. Weigh ONLY once a day, in the morning, without clothing.
b. Use the right equipment. In this she follows what I've read elsewhere: consistency is more important than bells and whistles. She recommends a scale that measures in tenths of pounds, and ignoring things like body fat percentages, etc. and sticking to the same scale, every time.
c. Weigh bravely and daily. It's data collection, not judgment.
d. Don't count calories. I started out taking a little exception to this, since I do track, but she makes good sense (as MOBYCARP has often mentioned) in the argument that calorie counting is often inaccurate. So I can see her sense... and when you read ahead to rule 4 and beyond, you can see she's setting you up for the natural corrections one has to take in the sea of maintenance.
In short, with this rule, Berkeley is declaring the scale as a learning tool. I completely agree. And even after a so-called "bad" day, when I've made rebellious choices, getting back on the scale the next day, and the day after, and the day after tells me how I'm trending. All those little graphs I post on "the state of the maintenance" would not be possible without daily data.
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It is at its best when I find kindred spirits walking their own journeys to as healthy a life as our choices can create! Consistently, consciously, and creatively making those choices, I remain GRATEFUL, for each and every day!
Monday, October 27, 2014
As I have started posting excerpts from Barbara Berkeley's book "Refuse to Regain! 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You've Earned", I have found an interesting mix of push-back, both in the comments left by others, and internally, as well.
Some of the push-back as commented by others is similar to my own:
* Not a fan of complete elimination of food groups.
* Have something that works for me, going to stick with that.
Cool. Some of it is push-back against perfectionism. I have that, too, but have pretty much made peace with it, knowing that will be an ongoing issue with me. I am overcoming perfectionism, remember? Pushing Polly the Perfectionist out of the house, but she still camps in the yard at times.
I even heard a push-back that sounded a lot like my own devil-voice that a splurge once in a while is good for your program!
While blogging about the book and its rules, I found myself pushing back from the athletic lifestyle, and ended up hiding in my house-cave all weekend long. I heard the weather was gorgeous, but I was hiding from people, losing myself in finishing a really good novel (Falls the Shadow, by Sharon Kaye Penman) and binge-watching old episodes of TV shows (discovered The Black List on Netflix... violent and dark, so if that's not your thing, avoid...) And eating. I avoided going to the grocery store because I recognized the mood in which I would have potentially lost the battle and brought stuff into the house that I know better than to do.
I ate freely of what WAS in the house, but knowing I don't stock some of the most dangerous trigger items, I did some damage but not too much. Because I did NOT go to the grocery store, there were NO bags of Halloween candy available to fuel the rebellion. I ended up in the grocery store at 5:30 this morning, filling my cart with organic skim milk, freggies, and such (because over the weekend I ran myself out of milk). Monday is a good day, because it is routine... and today... it is back to that routine.
The lunch/snack bag is packed. My steel cut oats have filled first my breakfast bowl (along with a fresh banana), and now my tummy. And I am pulling myself back from the brink of rebellion... to what has become my normal, over the past few years.
Interesting side note? Since I *do* follow rule 3 (more about rule 3 in a separate blog, maybe it's tomorrow's)... weigh yourself daily... I know exactly how much damage my weekend of sloth (rest) and alternate choices has done. The TOP weight now, post-weekend... is still within my maintenance acceptable range, although scarily above where I was on Saturday morning.
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. It is at its best when I find kindred spirits and our journeys touch... to encourage one another along the road. Creatively, consciously, and consistently (not perfectly) making choices that will support a long-term healthy lifestyle, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day.
Namaste, my friends.
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Continuing with the thin little book by Barbara Berkeley, M.D. "Refuse to Regain! 12 Tough Rules to Maintain the Body You've Earned", I come to one that I both agree and disagree with.
Most of the focus of the book is directed at folks at the beginning of their maintenance journey. The rules are strategies to get off on the right foot. Reminder of Rule #1: Be Tough, not Moderate.
Now we come to Rule #2: Commit Yourself to a Three-Month Opt Out Period
Opt out of WHAT, one might well ask! Not sure I like the wording, BUT, her concept of opting out is not that different from Steve Siebold's Mental Toughness training, which asked for a commitment to 90 days of perfect adherence to your plan of eating.
Berkeley is recommending that however you lost the weight to begin with, start maintenance by striving for 3 months of perfect adherence to the "diet" you have determined is your way of eating for the rest of your life the majority of the time.
She advises this 90 days as a "detox" from the modern Western diet which is loaded with S-foods. She calls her particular take on this Primarian eating. She allows some wiggle room with a daily "allowable treat", allows low fat dairy, avoids sugars and starches (grains, potatoes, even yams). I'm not crazy about "primarian" eating, since I have a way of eating that is working for ME. Later in the chapter she notes that the choice of the diet is our own... not every diet is for every body. Given that, I'll accept the 3 month striving for perfection. Once the 3 months is up, she still wants 90% of the time avoidance of the S foods. And knowing how those S-foods affect MY body, I can mostly agree with that.
As to the "how": She advises the maintenance newbie to avoid words like "cheat" and substitute "choice" for slips in this perfection. We made a choice. We have to live with it. No self-abuse if we mess up. Just get right back to it. (Sounds kind of Spark-ly, doesn't it? One step back, two steps forward?)
To avoid the lure of tempting food treats and keep the excitement in our lives, she recommends we "Add while subtracting", meaning to take the focus off food and try new things in other ways. Pleasures of a non-food variety are encouraged - pampering ourselves with trying new looks in dress or hair, or glasses or whatever, to change the exterior.
After all, we've worked hard to lose the weight, now begins the adjustment to living with the new size and shape... trying out new options seems very reasonable.
Alternatively: try learning or doing something for the interior of ourselves. Reading (yay for us introverts), learning something new, like a language, an instrument, or taking a class you wanted to take but hadn't yet... joining a performing arts group (sheesh, that's got to be for the extroverts in the readership!)
Or: change your environment - declutter the house, plant a garden, remodel, downsize... whatever... you changed your body, perhaps now is a good time to change the environment in which it lives.
Or: work on your spiritual side. Meditate, take on yoga or tai chi, walk in solitude (works for us introverts!), reconnect with your religious traditions, volunteer for something you believe in .
In short, you changed one thing, stay firm with that and work on a different change focus, since weight loss won't be the numerical reward of your toughness on the dietary side.
Finally: think strategically. Set yourself up for success. Plan ahead for challenges, for how you'll make those all important choices. Find ways that will support making those choices easier: keeping trigger foods out of sight or even out of the house; wearing "revenge clothing" (WATERMELLEN's jackets and leather skirts?)... whatever works for you.
The whole idea of the three months is to settle you in a new relationship with food.
It may even change some of your preferences. I know that this kind of echoes what I did when I first hit my goal weight... I decided to just keep doing what I was doing with food and activity and see where my body would finally settle. No drastic changes this time.
And the 90 days of Mental Toughness I started last December worked just as well as a re-commitment strategy. So, here we go again... three months will take me to the beginning of 2015, just a month shy of my already committed Half Marathon in February!
LIFE is good. It's better when I'm fit. And it's at its best when I find kindred spirits whose journeys touch mine at points. Creatively, consciously, and consistently making those choices that support a lifestyle of healthy habits, I remain GRATEFUL for each and every day.
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