Monday, December 31, 2012
I was going to blog about something completely different this morning... but my thoughts were kind of disjointed and I decided I'd best let THAT blog percolate for a while before I write it.
Then my brother went and mentioned some real numbers in his blog about his maintenance range, and I figure I'd talk turkey to those of us small-framed women out here in Spark land trying so hard to lose the pounds and being frustrated at times.
Here's the deal. The weight maintenance game is rigged. Yeppers. Rigged.
First off, normal male body composition contains less fat and more muscle than ours does as the carriers of the progeny. When I see my body fat percentage in the 20% range, I'm doing very well. A guy? Would have to be below 15% to be as fit and healthy as I am at 20%.
This means, with a higher percentage of muscle mass, the gents burn more calories even if they are the same weight as me!
This is NORMAL, and it's OK. I like being female. Would NOT swap!
Second, guys "on average" are larger framed than we are. My son tops me by eight or nine inches. My brother by a similar amount. And lest we forget, they both work out, too. So, with a larger body mass, they require more calories to maintain.
This, too, is NORMAL, and it's OK. I like fitting into smaller spaces and being able to FIT in tourist class on an airplane without feeling my legs are being cramped!
But still, it is somewhat of an eye opener to realize that for them? A normal maintenance range comes out to a binge day for me!
Life is not fair. But it's still good. Weight loss for us ladies may take more work. But, it's still worth it! I love being me. I love being me at my "tiny" size. And if that means I can only have half the calories of my muscular male relatives, so be it... it also means I only NEED half the calories to thrive.
Sunday, December 30, 2012
My 2012 was dominated by my keen awareness of my son being offshore, keen awareness of my sister in law's illness, and my need to deal with my response to these two items.
I used the athletic outings and training for them as my ways to cope with a worrying / anxious nature. It really does help to be active. I feel better, as though I am *doing* something when I run, or swim, or bike, or even go for a walk. And there is something about the rhythmic activity and breathing that allows for meditation / prayer / processing of those feelings, and for thinking through problems. And as each of the events started, I invoke those two names as my inspiration to complete them.
A really great aspect of 2012 was the contact with several real live Spark people... I shared some time in real space with Mary (Love_2_Laugh), and with Becky (KaliGirl), both of whom I met for the first time in 2011. I ran in some of the same local events as Deanna (Hot4Fitness) who had talked me into my first half marathon in 2011. I look forward to seeing her at some point in the 2013 event, too.
In 2012 I met for the first time in real space Marsha (Slenderella61) when I traveled to Florida where she lives, and got as a bonus to also meet Monty (Mirage727) and his wife D (DSSecrets), and made a special side trip just to meet Debra (Debra0818) whose blogs I adore.
In 2012, one of my Spark blogs got featured for the first time (The Mud Run Story) and since then several have been so honored. That was rather heady, but I've survived it.
In short, 2012 has been a great Spark Year... and now comes the time to be planning for what kind of year I would like 2013 to be.
I hit a wall when I began to think about "what's next" prior to that Women's HM in Florida in November. I dragged my feet and refused to make a decision before I got home. When the Lincoln Marathon sign ups came around, it all came clear for me, and I have my anchor athletic goal for 2013. At this point, I have no desire to line up more than just that one.
Why? Because I have a tendency, I have learned, to commit to one bridge too far. This in turn results in burnout, and reversals. So for now, one single athletic goal: complete a full marathon, 26.2 miles, on May 5, 2013. I am already starting to train for it. If I run any events between now and then, they will simply be events that fit into the training plan and become a part of it.
My hope for 2013 is that it be a simple, unexciting year. I think I'm ready for that. Happy New Year to us!
Saturday, December 29, 2012
A few years ago I took a brief class on writing a business document, led by a professional technical writer. One of the things she told us was that good writing should be invisible. If all that is seen is the message, and the reader doesn't notice the words, you've done your job.
This morning as I made my rounds of my favorite Spark blogs, I came across one where the writer expressed her discomfort with too much focus on the physical aspects of weight loss process, on the body. She mentioned that she wanted attention, but didn't want the focus of the attention to be the body.
My mind went back to that class. We want to be seen as ourselves, we don't want the body getting in the way of relating to others. Too much focus on the body (medium, words), takes away from seeing the person who lives there (message).
It was certainly true of me that I used my heavy body to deliver a message. In my head, I thought I was saying "This woman is here for her mind and what she can contribute". I thought I was saying "This woman is not interested in anyone who is so shallow as to be attracted by purely physical traits, you must love her for her mind and soul." It was my armor to keep people at bay that did not want to get to know the real me.
I don't think that was always the message that was received on the part of those who saw me, and it leaves out some important things... like that I have to live in this body, and it gets physically difficult if you're carting around excess padding. We won't even mention the additional risk of certain kinds of disease.
What enabled me to trim down / edit the body size is a process. I tried many tools over the decades and they all worked until I would hit the wall of reversal. I think one of the reasons I kept regaining was too much focus did come onto the physical body. I would have to find ways to use my voice and my words to express the messages I needed to deliver. And while that still scared me too much? Saying out loud what I wasn't ready to admit to myself I thought or felt? Guess what? The pounds come back! Almost by magic.
So... the deal is... it's yet another skill set to be learned while we lose the pounds... setting our boundaries... establishing the beachhead of SELF... and using the voice to keep others at bay when they invade our comfort zone.
What was different about THIS time through losing (now in year 3 of maintaining the loss) is that I insisted throughout that the goal was NOT a number on the scale, NOT a body size. The goal was to find healthy ways of eating and being active, and the scale and the measuring tape would take care of themselves.
They did... I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. But I *did* have to fight off those who wanted to focus too much on the physical for my comfort. And find ways to use my words to do so.
Because in the end... we don't need to "lose weight", per se... we need to nurture ourselves and take care of our body... because it is the medium of the message... and the message (self) is our mission to the world!
I know this will not resonate with EVERY reader of my blogs, but for those of you who struggle with discomfort at compliments that focus on "how much have you lost", "you're a different person!", etc., we are sisters and brothers under the skin. We are the survivors of obesity. But there is so much more to each of us than body size.
From where I sit now? At my natural body size, and working hard to stay here? Life is good. I'm still me (as you will still be you, if you're still working on it). And we are all worth taking care of ... today and every day. Spark on!
Friday, December 28, 2012
Some long time readers have heard this story before, so feel free to skip this one if you have, but you know how it happens, someone asks a question and you realize there are folks who walked in on the middle of the blog-stream. So... as a reminder / reinforcement to myself, as well as to let the newbies in on this part, here goes.
In 2008 / 2009 the doctor showed me the results of tests showing significant bone loss in the two years he'd been monitoring. At the same visit, he observed that my blood tests continued to show high levels of calcium. In short, while I was getting enough calcium in my diet and with my supplements, it wasn't translating into bone. Very disturbing.
So he sent me to a specialist, who diagnosed a problem with my parathyroid glands. At the time, I was drinking five or six cans of diet soda a day, and trying to cut back. By the time all this diagnosing was completed, and I got scheduled for surgery to correct the parathyroid problem, I had managed to get myself down to three a day, but I loved my bubbles. Some people don't like the bubbles, but that was the attraction for me.
Anyhow, surgery was successful, and I was reading how the carbonation in beverages was linked to bone loss! Well, duh! My continuing to drink the bubbly stuff was kind of analogous to a lung cancer patient continuing to smoke. So... I cut back further. I allowed myself ONE a day. At work, after my first break, or after lunch was my special treat time.
I set myself a Spark goal, and gave myself a "goal met" for every day I had no more than 1. We all know about the stupid motivational tricks of Spark... they work. I found myself not drinking soda at home on the weekends. Days with 0.
At Christmas dinner, 2009, which was December 27th, due to a huge snow storm, I had what I was determined would be my LAST diet cola. And I started giving myself a star sticker on the calendar for every day I made it with none. At first it was easy... it was Winter and I was substituting coffee for my beverage treat.
I was concerned about the hot weather, but somehow I made it through. I debated with myself about allowing one on the 4th of July, but my Higher Power intervened and my sister forgot to buy any for the celebration that was at her house. Lemonade was just fine.
By the time I reached a year, I threw myself a virtual party, stopped using the stickers, and sometime in the second year I just became an ordinary person who doesn't do bubbles. BUT... I still celebrate the anniversary of becoming carbonation free.
Now, for the benefits, since you've walked through the process with me:
1. Bone loss quit happening. This is HUGE!
2. Surprisingly, I noticed during food lapses, when I got full, soda used to clear up extra space and extend the binge. I found my lapsy - bingy behavior stopped sooner. Maintenance of a healthy weight became easier... and keep in mind, what I gave up was not the sugary soda, but the diet soda.
3. And of course, there is the infamous grocery bill. Soda costs $. It's an expensive habit. So is coffee, but it was a fair swap.
Some people are sensitive to artificial sweeteners in bad ways. I have not observed myself to be one of them, but if you are, this could also be a benefit.
So, without the bubbles? Life's still good. In fact, for me, it's better. If you're considering this as a goal for 2013, it's a good one... Spark on!
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