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Patterns of life, and detecting self-deception

Monday, February 27, 2012

As I sit here looking at the scale, I see that I'm up, compared to a year ago. I also see, looking at the broader picture, beyond the scale, that I'm back into a pattern. My patterns run really long, as I tried explaining to my doctor about three years ago.

He had asked me if I tended to gain in the Winter and lose when it got nicer out. I said to him, no, when I gain, I gain for a long time, and when I lose I take a long time doing it. What's hard is the maintenance of a loss... I'm usually doing one or the other. Losing or gaining.

Here's one of the problems with the beginning of the great slip and slide back into gaining: you HAVE been successful. You have met your goal (or got real close to it). And maybe even gone beyond it, which caused you to lower your concept of what the goal is. In my case, the original goal was 150. Then I found I was not ready to stop, kept eating at the same range and being active, and my body found 135. I said "it's time to stop", but it didn't stop. As I continued to be active, I got to 125, and even a little lower, to where my training weight was 122.

I was being quite the active athlete last year: 10 miles, half marathon, 5K, Mud Run, 5 miles, another 5K. Then I did something I can in retrospect recognise: I raised the expectations bar for activity.

I signed on for a half marathon this year, and have had my sights on a triathlon for this Summer. I hired a personal trainer, AND worked out a blended training plan to cover the two major events. Again, in retrospect, I can see this was a bit much for me.

Why? Because OTHER things in life make demands on the most scarce resource we all have: time. Work demands, body caving to the stress with illness... you know the drill. My activity dropped to give my body recovery time. And now? It's hard to start back. I know I have to drop the intensity and ease back in... but I recognize the patterns from years back.

Weight has crept up... back to the 130 range. Ouch. The urge to binge eat comes with the work stress. I know what I have to do, but I have a hard time making myself do it.

Then the little emoticon intervenes and tries to call itself "kind" when it says: your original goal, even your second original goal, are still here. Don't be so hard on yourself... maybe this is normal. Remember after you dropped all that weight in '89? You gained ten pounds the year after that... and dropped another dress size while you were at it!

But that didn't stay with me... and eventually it all came back. What I'm trying to do now is stop that regain. I think I have to do it better... I've been through this phase at least 3 times, where I over-extended, then gave up. I started "phoning in" the workouts, still did the events, but was truly wearing myself out.

Time to stop deceiving myself about several things: what the goal really is, for one. I am not out to be a top athlete. I am in this for a HEALTHY level of fit. I am in this for self-nurturing, not competition. Slow down. Draw that line in the sand. But don't cross it.

Let the body decide what the scale shall say... by eating within range, and keeping that moderate activity level. Thus we shall weather the storms of life.

Which, as I keep saying, is Good! Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEDDYPEDDY 3/1/2012 11:42PM

    Love your insights and it will be really interesting to follow your progress!

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COMETER 2/28/2012 10:22PM

    The pattern you describe sounds a lot like mine.

Right now, it also feel like I'm at a point of seeing re-gain happening, and needing to stop it before it becomes another long trend, so your post was great timing for me.

I'll be interested in your progress, and learning about what helps you.

Best wishes to you!

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MIZCATHI 2/28/2012 5:27AM

    Self reflection is a weapon in the destruction of repeating cycles. Just because you recognize a pattern, doesn't mean you are destined to repeat it. So you are in the 130 range and are up from a weight of 122, hmmmm... just because you got that low doesn't mean you are a failure for inching up from a fitness weight you were in the fighting spirit for. Like in all things, you relished your older body at peak performance. Fine. It sounds like you are in a learning curve - determining what is healthy both mentally and physically for YOU. My friend, you are in an enviable position, and have learned a good deal about yourself in the years since you lost the weight (and gained it back) YEARS ago. Now you are wiser and in many ways stronger, and you will ride this wave like the trooper you are.

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_LINDA 2/28/2012 1:40AM

    The yo yo diet, in slow motion. I was a little quicker with it as my life tends to be all fast forward. I wish you all the best in taking stock, and finding your true 'sweet spot' that you will relax and stick with rather then try to overdo. Unfortunately, we are past the age they consider prime (38), so we need to respect our older bodies and treat them with kindness, good food, moderate exercise as they do go a long way. My Mom was never into athletics and never ran a race, but she can hike ten miles in a day :) Consistent walking every day and lots of activity means she is one of the fittest 75 year olds around:) I hope I am the same way when I make it to her age.. Its a great goal to shoot for..

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WATERMELLEN 2/27/2012 8:07PM

    Detecting self deception: yeah. And knowing when to back off "overdoing" because it's counterproductive: yeah again.

You've recognized it. And now you'll figure it out. Because you are smart smart smart in the way that counts: using your brains to make your life work.

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MOBYCARP 2/27/2012 5:26PM

    It's always interesting to read your blogs wrestling with stuff like this. I wrestle with some of the same stuff, and don't have problems with some of the stuff you wrestle with.

The problem is recognizing which parts you write about echo in my life. It's definitely not all, but it's more than I would have thought when I started with SP. I wonder if I will have my own version of long cycles. Certainly I've done stuff like that with fitness; but I still on the first cycle of controlling what I eat.

It is a puzzlement, how to keep doing what is needed when Life Happens and more attention is needed for other things than diet and exercise. I hope you do will with figuring that out.

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WOLFSPIRITMOM 2/27/2012 10:34AM

    emoticon Sounds like you are doing all the right things.

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MSLZZY 2/27/2012 9:53AM

    If I were perfect, I would have skipped reading
this. But I needed to read it because I find myself
doing the same thing. This is okay, this works,
this is fine. No, I have to get my head back into
the game. Snacking will get to me in the end.
I need to focus. Be persistent and consistent.
Yep, better get to it. HUGS!

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SUNNY332 2/27/2012 9:51AM

    I so relate.

Hang in there and give it your best. That is what I intend to do.

Hugs, Sunny

Off of here and headed to the treadmill and bike. No Excuses today!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 2/27/2012 9:35AM

    I can see myself in parts of this blog -- mostly the trend to gain weight over a long period of time and then lose over a long period of time. Either gaining or losing -- never maintaining. I think, in some respect, that we can blame our all-or-nothing tendencies. If we're going to to do something, we're going to go all-out and do it well. Whether that be losing, gaining, or activity level. Today is my "Day 1" (again) and I had to force myself to get off the elliptical at the 20-minute mark. I felt motivated to do much more yet realized (and rationalized with my inner demons) that to do more would, in the end, result in sore/tired legs/hip and/or a good chance that I wouldn't want to get on it again tomorrow.

Marking the line in the sand and not crossing it are good words to live by. Here's to setting reasonable goals and doing what it takes to achieve them without pushing ourselves too far and beyond realistic limits.

Happy Monday!

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MAGGIE101857 2/27/2012 9:21AM

    Sort of a vicious circle, isn't it? We aim to get healthy by losing weight and eating right, then we start to feel so darn great that we decide to challenge ourselves and end up taking a step back. What is great about what you have written is that laced throughout the entire blog, is the overall sense that you have learned so much about yourself, your habits, your body (and it's cues), and you are listening!!!

Stay focused, continue listening!!! I am here for you!!! emoticon

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FROGGGY13 2/27/2012 9:00AM

    I think you hit the nail on the head - moderation is key here, not perfection. Time is our most precious possession in these times; we can't keep giving and giving in every area of life, eventually something gives out and we tend to completely give up on some areas. Trying for balance, rather than all-out commitment to some of our goals has got to be the answer.
The fact that you are blogging all this is wonderful, and you will get back to wherever your balance lies.

Comment edited on: 2/27/2012 9:01:04 AM

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MNTWINSGAL 2/27/2012 8:44AM

    Wish I had some words of wisdom, other than "hang in there!" But you are so committed, and so will figure out the right balance. Maybe it's not 122....maybe it's more like 130. Whatever the "right" place for you to be, you will find it. Stress wreaks havoc on the mind and the body....cut yourself a little slack and try to de-stress a bit. (I know, I know....easier said than done!)

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KALIGIRL 2/27/2012 8:22AM

    Here's to listening to the body - and mind.

I'm swimming and starting the couch to 5K - not sure my knees are meant for running, but we'll see. As soon as the sun rises early in the morning, I'll see the bike back. As far as the TRI this summer, I'm waiting for the last minute to decide - talked to too many folks who participated when someone drowned. Not a crowd person and as you said, am more than happy with "self-nurturing, not competition".

Namaste my friend.

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On being ready to learn

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Brother MobyCarp gave me the springboard for today's reverie, when he included these wise words in his response to yesterday's blog: "we all learn when we're ready to learn".

Yep. True words. So what can we do to prepare ourselves for learning those lessons that we might want to resist? How do we encourage open-mindedness in ourselves?

Well, for one thing, we allow ourselves the time to do so. Ever see the recommendations that you take half an hour a day for yourself? To center on what it is you want/need? Whether that is prayer or meditation or just plain "me time"... it's a vital part of being ready to face what life throws at us and being ready to learn those lessons. It's the time when we figure out what we HAVE learned, or start to put together the answers.

I don't know what everyone else's church services are like, but one of the parts of a service I'm fond of going to is "preparation for prayer". It reminds me of the starting steps of meditation, as well... quieting what's around us, so we can truly listen to what one's higher power or the universe or however YOU define the answering voice to be.

Truth emerges from this quietness. Even if I fear the answers, I need to hear them. But most of the time? The answers are kind!

Here is to quiet time... and to being prepared to learn.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LEANJEAN6 2/26/2012 5:46PM

    I like Quiet time-- I began meditation to-day-- hope it will help with thye Stress of life--Good blog!!! Lynda

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WATERMELLEN 2/25/2012 8:21PM

    Gotta prepare to learn. And also be prepared to learn over and over again! The tough stuff requires multiple lessons, at least for me . . .

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KARIDIAN1 2/25/2012 6:46PM

    This weekend is me time for once. Sharing it with my husband, relaxing and having fun.

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CONCHA77 2/25/2012 1:46PM

    Wise blog!

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_LINDA 2/25/2012 1:16PM

    So true. Hard to learn life's lessons when you are going through it full speed ahead, dam the torpedoes. For sure need to stop and smell the roses and let everything sink in! Otherwise its just momentum, which can come to a screeching halt when faced with an immovable object like sickness, death, work hassles, take your pick.
Enjoy your 15 minutes of reflections. Speaking of which, I am really missing that Healthy Reflections newsletter. It always seemed to have some timely witticism that spoke to me. That was my moment of reflection..

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APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 11:49AM

    I loved this blog! You are so right the "Me" time I am finding is so very important to me. Trying to get any can be the problem. I have just started making it my priority. I have discovered if I don't get it other priorities will just fall to the way side. Strength comes from this time! emoticon emoticon

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 2/25/2012 11:16AM

    Amen! Well said.

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MSLZZY 2/25/2012 10:20AM

    Quiet time to calm the soul and prepare the mind to
receive the wisdom. Only in the peace can you really
hear the message. HUGS!

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SUNNY332 2/25/2012 9:41AM


I could not agree with you more.

Years ago, I read an article about the most important 15 minutes in a day and it is the 15 minutes a person sets aside for quiet contemplation. It is a time for me to count my blessings, say thanks and make plans for the day. Without this time, I hurry into the day and sometimes feel frustration. With it, I feel more at peace about the day and what lessons lie ahead for me.

Here is to quiet time and being prepared to learn.

GREAT post today!


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Lessons learned - do they agree or conflict?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kaligirl speculated yesterday in her response to my blog over whether we have to repeat lessons until we learn them. Interesting aspect of human life.

I work as a programmer (short version... I could get specific, but who would care?). One of the biggest challenges in programming and analysis is getting the requirements right. Why? Because often they are unstated, or implied, and the hearer "doesn't get" them, because the hearer can't read the mind of the person stating the requirement... only hear or read the words he or she is given. This can lead to bad programs and unhappy users! We've all seen that funny picture of "What the user wanted"... a tire swing hung off a tree by a single rope... going through progressive warps before it becomes three boards linked too closely together for anyone to sit on them, suspended by multiple ropes. What happened?

I'm thinking that some of these life lessons are similar. We actually have multiple forces at work in our psyches!

Let's take the obvious: we set out to lose weight. We succeed. What did we learn?

1. We learned that we CAN change our body size and shape through changing what we do.

2. We may have learned that we felt pretty good throughout the process.

But we may have learned some unstated things that may lead us to be unhappy users of the product (healthy habits). For example:

3. We may have learned that losing weight and changing our body size did not solve ALL our problems. We may have learned that we still had an unhappy marriage. Or an unhealthy job situation. Or ... fill in the blank.

This can be a discouraging lesson to learn, and sometimes it leads us to "give up" for a while, because we had unrealistic expectations of weight loss / fitness.

Lesson from regaining:
4. We may have NEEDED to learn that you have to keep up the behaviors to keep the weight off. Losing doesn't teach that lesson. Regaining does. But sometimes it is hard to convince yourself to start again because during loss you learned:

5. It takes hard work and determination and constant vigilence to lose. It takes those same things to maintain.

6. Maintaining a healthy weight depends on behaviors. For some people those behaviors are natural. For others of us, not so much... and we have to be "obsessive" about the habits to get the results.

Lessons learned during loss/maintenance:

7. We may have learned that we HAVE emotions we didn't want to acknowledge.

8. We NEEDED to learn and practice healthier ways of dealing with those emotions. For some people, those healthier ways are natural. For others of us... again, not so much... we need to keep ourselves fit in more ways than the physical to feel whole.

In short, we learned some lessons that support being healthy, and some that can discourage us... and until we're ready to accept the discouraging ones, and "do it anyway"... we will repeat the experiences.

Life is good... we are learning... and as long as we never give up... long term success is ours. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNHUNT 1/9/2013 8:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TONISTRELEC 2/29/2012 9:53AM


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SISYPHUS_CLIMBS 2/27/2012 9:17AM

    Great blog!
PS - as a fellow programmer, I'd love to see this "What the user wanted" cartoon you're talking about!

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KATIE33MAHALA 2/25/2012 3:07PM

    Good blog Barb! This seems to be true for most of us, if not all! One thing I have learned, is by caring what I look like, or wt., does not solve my life problems, but it does however prove to myself, " I am alive". Keeping with that, my spirit grows, God Bless you Barb, hope you have a great wk. end!

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LJCANNON 2/25/2012 2:59PM

    "#5 It takes Hard Work & Perseverance to Lose.
# 6 It takes the same things to Maintain. Some of us need to be 'Obsessive' about these things."
emoticonThank You for letting me know that I am not alone in being 'Obsessed' about staying Vigilant and working harder to maintain the weight loss than actually losing it.

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LOGOULD 2/25/2012 2:38PM

    Very is just one lesson after another and each lesson we master just leads us to another.

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FOODIELOVER1 2/25/2012 12:43PM

  emoticon So true...

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APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 11:53AM

    A-men to this one. Life is an everlearning process! emoticon

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MSCRISPIN 2/25/2012 11:11AM

    Life is about learning from our mistakes and glories. Good blog. emoticon

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THINJIM1 2/25/2012 10:53AM

  Eccellent Blog, and right on. Im now 65 and things that were problems when young are now not even part of my thought process. Keep plugging, for me life has gotten easier, but I layed the foundation earlier.

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PENNYAN45 2/25/2012 10:50AM

    This is a great blog!
It is SO true that I didn't get all the learning about weight loss until I had started regaining some of the weight.
Now I am learning more as I start to lose again.

Also...I am shifting priorities. I'm balancing the benefits of being at a certain weight with the effort required to maintain that weight. But that's another blog!

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MOBYCARP 2/24/2012 5:12PM

    I've learned some of those lessons. I have an unpleasant feeling that I will be learning some of the less comfortable ones in the future. But I guess we all have to do the best we can, and we all learn when we're ready to learn.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 2/24/2012 12:04PM

    This was spot-on, Barb!

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WOLFSPIRITMOM 2/24/2012 9:44AM

    Yes, so true. Not only do you have to change your thinking about eating but also how to love yourself!

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SUNNY332 2/24/2012 9:42AM

    Very, very good! I do agree with Kaligirl on this.

Thanks for sharing the lessons learned.


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MSLZZY 2/24/2012 9:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRISZTA11 2/24/2012 9:35AM

    Thank you for sharing,
great blog!

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KARIDIAN1 2/24/2012 9:24AM

    Very good points and examples. You hit the nail on the head! I liked it!

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KALIGIRL 2/24/2012 9:20AM

    Here's to learning - to take the 'bad' with the 'good' as we complete our revolutions around the sun.
Namaste my friend.

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KANOE10 2/24/2012 9:10AM

    That is how I look at maintenance..a learning process..built on consistent small steps that keep me focused. Nice blog.

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CONCHA77 2/24/2012 8:20AM

    Excellent Blog, Barb.

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_LINDA 2/24/2012 7:53AM

    An interesting class that is being offered that I am very tempted in attending is learning why we eat the way we do. They are focusing not on exercise and weight loss, but the emotions behind eating. I am thinking that if maybe I had something like this BEFORE I began my journey, it might have been just a tad more easier. Its seems like maybe we need a little psychological training to go along with the physical. Much like athletes get mental training as well as physical to make them perform the best that they can. Do you think?
My goal with weight loss and fitness was to simply be able to move the best I can with my disease. Because I know not to move make the pain and disability worse. I wasn't expecting any life changing experiences. But I do feel a heck of a lot better and that is a great emotional boost!
Have a Fantastic Friday! (Day 3)

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Visiting the way back machine...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When it comes to significant turning points in life, do we recognize them at the time, or only YEARS, nay, in my case, DECADES later? The anniversary of one of those turning points is coming up for me.

Monday, February 27, 1989. That makes it 23 years, coming up. It was the day that I went to my first Weight Watchers at Work meeting. I was miserable. My husband did not want me to go, and in fact locked me out of the room where my winter coat was. I was angry and determined, swiped HIS coat out of a closet, and went, anyway.

The scale said something very discouraging: 224.5. During the next week, I was very strict in following the plan, the old one with exchanges, and limited eggs and cheese. When I went back the next week, I had dropped 10.5 pounds! Of course the losses were less over the following weeks and months, but by October, people I had worked with and not seen in a few months did not recognize me.

I never did reach my "goal" weight that time, and in fact, struggled with maintenance and regained, lost and regained, many times since. But today I look back on that date as the start of my journey of putting health higher on my list of priorities. It was in that year that I learned I could do it, and how. What I've struggled with since has been the maintenance of motivation.

Now, I examine carefully my slips and slides, seeking to learn whatever lesson is there for me. The motto of "Never give up" is a strong one. The motto of "it feels so good to be fit" is also strong. But sometimes it helps to look back at where one came from: from the days of not being able to take five steps across a room without becoming out of breath. From the days of knees hurting, back hurting, because of the excess burden I had put on them.

When tempted to give up, after a time of success... it is good to remember... that this journey is WORTH IT! Feel good about taking each step, even the ones that slip and slide... and go forward... into health. Into feeling good. Into the YOU that you were made to be.

LIFE is good. Choose LIFE. And Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 11:59AM

    I loved this blog! You have come such a long way! I loved the story about how you took your husband's coat and went anyway! That was determination! You are becoming a true inspiration to me. emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 2/23/2012 9:33PM

    You did it! What a success story and inspiration you are to others.

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LEANJEAN6 2/23/2012 7:40PM

    Wow! --You are so right--Great blog!!--- Slip sliding--but it's a journey and worth it---You have cxome a long way--I really do look up to you!--Lynda

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MOBYCARP 2/23/2012 7:27PM

    Once in a while, we have to look back to appreciate how good we have it now. Thanks for the reminder that what I'm whining about these days really isn't as bad as stuff I lived through a few years ago.

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KALIGIRL 2/23/2012 3:04PM

    Amazing where our journeys take us - I've always wondered if we 'have to' keep repeating things until we 'learn the lesson'...whatever than may be?
Namaste my friend.

Comment edited on: 2/23/2012 3:05:45 PM

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ANDI571 2/23/2012 3:03PM

    Amen Sister! You have had to endure so much, and are such an inspiration. You are awesome.

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REJ7777 2/23/2012 1:24PM

    “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” -George Santayana
That includes our personal history! emoticon

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MIZCATHI 2/23/2012 1:02PM

    it's good to reflect on the milestones in our life, and certainly the attempts at significant loss (even when we regain) contains valuable life lessons that help us eventually win the battle. The discomfort and pain are memories that I never want to forget.

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_LINDA 2/23/2012 12:15PM

    Wow! 23 years of heading in the right direction! I am so impressed! No wonder you can always get firmly back on track no matter what hits you! Well done!!
It really does feel better to be fit, even if it does take more work!
Keep up the great work! One day at a time!

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MSLZZY 2/23/2012 10:08AM

    You said it all. This journey takes time, effort
and there will always be slips but, in the end,
the work was worth it. Keep on smiling and
SParking! You make my world better! HUGS!

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SUNNY332 2/23/2012 9:05AM

    Awesome post today, Barb.

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." Walter Elliott

You are a Winner!


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MNTWINSGAL 2/23/2012 8:54AM

    Your determination is always inspiring. You Go, Girl!!!

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WOLFSPIRITMOM 2/23/2012 8:36AM

    emoticonGreat blog, thanks!

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KATHRYNLP 2/23/2012 8:15AM

    Very Inspiring!!! One Day at a Time!! emoticon

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Grab your fresh, hot motivation!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What gets your healthy motivation pumping? Seriously, what trips your trigger and makes you start really getting into taking good care of you?

Two things happened today: One, I got an e-mail from someone asking for some help. Two, my new swimsuit got delivered.

Which of these items would spur you to do well? Which would throw you into a tailspin?

It's all a matter of attitude. There have been days in my life when either one would have either a good or a bad effect, driving me further into bad behavior or rejoicing in good behavior.

So... where is the attitude today? I'm hoping it's in the good lean, toward health. Because I'm worth it. Bootstraps, Barb, bootstraps. Grab your motivation wherever you can... it surrounds you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 12:02PM

Thanks for the motivation and inspiration! I have got where I just love your blogs. They help me a lot! emoticon

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SUNNY332 2/22/2012 8:38PM

    It sure does....

Only 24 more days until spring. How's that for motivation?

Huggers, Sunny

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KATHRYNLP 2/22/2012 8:54AM

    Ummmm... what's a swimsuit? emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 2/22/2012 8:44AM

    Ah - now I understand the ONE....

Have a great day!

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BUGGYS 2/22/2012 6:57AM

    Motivation is found any and everywhere...funny, my new swimsuit arrived the other day also and now I'm on a mission! emoticon

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MAGGIE101857 2/22/2012 6:45AM

    You are worth it!!!! I'm still in sweater mode - guess I need to start thinking about bathing suits!!! emoticon

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KANOE10 2/22/2012 6:39AM

    Good blog..Grab your motivation where you can! Let's do it.

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JUST_TRI_IT 2/22/2012 5:22AM

    Tis interesting how an event on one day can have a different effect on you than on another day! Grabbing to motivation from where it might be is indeed important :)


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MIZCATHI 2/22/2012 5:18AM

    Your positive message this morning was just what I needed - seize the moments where you can! They are out there.

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KASEYCOFF 2/22/2012 4:10AM

    You're a braver woman than I am, kiddo - bathing suit? Not me, lol! But the written word? Oh yah, motivation all the way around... yes, that works.

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KARIDIAN1 2/22/2012 12:48AM

    Good thoughts!

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_LINDA 2/22/2012 12:23AM

    Sounds like a double whammy of motivation to me! Second that trying on the bathing suit, nothing like the bare facts facing you in the mirror ;)
Go Barb GO!

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WOLFSPIRITMOM 2/21/2012 9:30PM

    Great blog, thanks so much!

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WATERMELLEN 2/21/2012 9:22PM

    So: did you try on the bathing suit? And I'm betting you liked the way it looks!!

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MSLZZY 2/21/2012 9:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITFABJENN 2/21/2012 8:57PM

    Love this blog, Barb! Yep, "grab your motivation wherever you can," indeed!

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