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Goal weight is NOT a holiday

Thursday, December 09, 2010

For those of us who have battled overeating (and weight) most of our lives, there may have been some baggage associated with the very concept of "goal weight". We may have invested it, in our minds, with some unrealistic expectations.

I've used the example of goal weight as a "finish line" before. The concept that you stop "dieting" when you reach it is a set-up for failure.

But how about Goal Weight as a holiday: Christmas morning? You wake up, and there, bright and shiny, wrapped in a bow, is the magic number on your scale! That means that Christmas has arrived... you can eat, drink and be merry, and open all those packages that you just KNOW Santa has left for you: love, success, happiness! Only... those packages don't have your dreams in them. Instead, you unwrap them to find... it's still your life!

What to do about this revelation? Give up and go back to old habits? Be honest, didn't a lot us do that? I know I did! More than once.

So, over the decades, I've had to adjust my thinking about Goal Weight. In the end, I decided I don't really have a goal weight. WalkingAnnie introduced me to the concept of "home" weight range in a blog sometime in the past year. Home weight is where one feels fit and healthy. Yes, monitored by tracking, to make sure we haven't strayed too far from home.

This change in thinking has made it possible (for me) to keep up the healthy habits, to stop the blame game for slips on maintenance, and to feel gratefully in recovery. One day at a time. I haven't really THOUGHT much about the numbers in a couple of months now, beyond the morning weigh-in, "yes, I had a lot of sodium yesterday, it's up a bubble", or "I was right, it's back down again", or "yikes that's lower than usual... am I dehydrated?"... then another, "that's more like it, got my water in". Weight fluctuates, but I'm more comfy... I'm "home" and have been for four months now.

Maybe if I start thinking about the bumps up as being the "HoliDAY" (not holiWEEK, or holiMONTH), and keep on coming "home"... this will be truly what I pray for: healthy living for the rest of my life!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 12/12/2010 4:51PM

    I like this concept that Walking Annie came up with and you blogged about. It is better than the term goal weight. I am rethinking a lot of my goals. I am pretty happy with my current weight. But this was not my original goal weight. So I am still trying to lose that 20 something pounds. Then I'll see what the home weight plan does for me. I really think it will work for me.

During "the summer of my plateau" (sounds like a book title) I realized being healthy and feeling good about myself is more important to me than constant mental anguish over the number on the scale.


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REJ7777 12/11/2010 4:30PM

    Thank you for writing this blog. Reality never quite measures up to fairy tale "happy ever after" endings. I know I've expected too much out of weight loss before, and the disillusionment led to regaining the weight. I'm not sure I'm completely free of those "fairy tale" expectations. Getting to goal weight won't give me a 20-year-old body again. I want my healthy choices (and results) to be balanced and based on reality (a fit 60-year-old). I believe that's something I'm learning on SP, and through blogs like this one. emoticon

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MSLZZY 12/11/2010 6:41AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/10/2010 7:59AM

    I like this concept. Thanks for the new thoughts.

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CAREN_BLUEJEANS 12/10/2010 7:58AM

    "Home weight" is an awesome concept! It's a place to arrive at, that meets my needs, filled with love & comfort, a reflection of my style. I'm going to adopt this.

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DEBRITA01 12/10/2010 7:31AM

    I, too, like your concept of Home puts maintenance in perspective. I will remember that when I get to maintenance some day.

emoticonAnd it is a holiDAY, not week, or month...making good choices each day and breaking it down will enable us to celebrate without overindulging.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 12/9/2010 4:15PM

    What a great blog, Barb. I've "been there/done that" too many times to count. And it was just a year or so ago when I decided that the number on the scale was just that: a number. What really mattered was how I was feeling. I know that I feel better when I eat more healthy foods and exercise. And, as a result (duh!) I lose weight. Who cares what the number is? In fact, this year, I put the quantum scale on my gift list. It's a scale that keeps track of your weight but only tells you how much you've lost or gained. A perfect fix for those who need to weigh every day but get caught-up in the number.

Congratulations on your success not only in weight loss and maintenance, but in the way you think about all of it. To me, that's the single most important aspect of it all.

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PENNYAN45 12/9/2010 2:45PM

    I liked the concept of home weight when Annie first used it. It is a positive way to view that 'end' weight.

I am forming a concept in my mind of a 'livable' weight. I see it as a weight that I can hold easily while not feeling as if I am 'dieting' or depriving myself every day. I don't want to expend a lot of energy in maintaining my new lower weight. I merely want to continue with good, healthful eating habits - and exercise. My livable weight may very well end up being a little higher that my original goal weight. We'll see.

You are so right, though, that the goal weight does not bring with it all the GLORY of success. We still must deal with our lives and whatever problems there are. It is important to understand that -- so we can avoid discouragement and disappointment when we finally reach our goal.

Thanks for blogging so regularly during this busy season. I find I only have time to log in with food and exercise -- but not to blog. It's nice to be able to read yours.

Penny An

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BUGGYS 12/9/2010 12:21PM

    Home weight...a great concept!!! I have alot of traveling to do before I make it home! emoticon

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JHADZHIA 12/9/2010 9:47AM

    I LOVE the concept of a home weight!! Well done to WalkingAnnie for coming up with that!!! Its very true that it is how you feel that really counts. Right now I have been hovering around 121 and that seems to be my happy weight, but I don't stress if it goes up or down a little because I feel good and fit and know very well weight fluctuates which is why I choose to weigh in only once a week. That is all the attention the scale deserves. My focus is entirely on my healthy lifestyle..
All the best getting through the holiday season with your sanity and most of your home weight intact!

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ANDI571 12/9/2010 9:45AM

    I like that idea of "home" weight also. I know when I lost before, it was always 5 or 10 pounds more. I got so focused on that, I didn't enjoy just being "home". I think I will adopt that concept too.

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TEACHINMOM 12/9/2010 8:32AM

    Great view on the subject. I'm not very serious about my "goal" weight at this point because I don't know where I will feel that "home" range, fit and healthy. I give a number because I'm supposed too, but this is just life now, not a goal to meet and then "go back to normal!!"
You are doing awesome ~ I think, so long as the thinking changes during the journey that we'll get to that "home" range and be able to stay!! That would mean since you've hit that range, AND your thinking has changed, you're there!! Keep up the great work and the awesome blogs!!

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LJCANNON 12/9/2010 8:30AM

    I like the concept of a 'Home Weight'. Since I had never even dreamt of reaching my "Goal Weight" before Spark, I really didn't have any plans for what was going to happen when I got there.
SparkPeople has been the key to learning that this is a Lifestyle. Although I am no longer trying to lose anything, I do know that I will have to monitor my Diet & Activity forever.
emoticonWith the Friends I have here and at Curves, Maintenance should be a Holiday every day.
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Confession: I'm not a dancer

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

I'm a complete klutz when it comes to choreography. I would NEVER have made it as a cheerleader. Or in dance class. This is one of the reasons when you see my exercise goals they aren't things like take a new aerobics class, or zumba or salsa or any of that sort of thing. Of course hanging with Polly Perfectionist so much of my life hasn't helped that attitude.

One of the worst exercise experiences of my life was attempting to do Jazzercise. My kid sisters, both of whom took dance as tots, were sold on this program and talked me into it. I bought a long term membership, convinced this would motivate me. Then I went to my first and second classes. Kid sis number two came to the same class as the second one. I departed in tears, people. emoticon An over-40 year old woman, weeping in anger and frustration.

The instructor used terms like "grape-vine" and "chaunce" and other dance jargon that I had no interest in learning. I felt incompetent and left out.

Remember a prior confession? The one about my competitive nature? Yep... this feeling of incompetence translated into "I'm losing this fight." And I tossed in the towel: I quit exercising for some time after that experience. I ate to compensate. After all, it's better not to enter the competition if you are sure to fail! (WRONG... don't go there!)

So what's the point of this blog? Well... yesterday my current Netflix selection arrived in the mail - a Richard Simmons Sweatin' to the Oldies DVD! Some of those same old feelings surfaced... except... not completely. Since kicking old Polly to the curb, I could enjoy the music and kind of do my own thing to it, even if I wasn't matching what was on the screen. And I kind of liked it.

So... can an old dog learn new tricks? Um... maybe? Sometimes? Just don't ask me to do this in front of other people, OK?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PATRISNA 12/12/2010 4:32PM

    I can empathize with you on this one. I have two left feet. But if you are dancing alone and you are having fun then go for it! That is the way enjoy dancing and also singing. LOL


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MSLZZY 12/9/2010 7:00AM

    Put those memories to rest and dance like the world isn't watching. Just have some fun!

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APRILLSCOTT 12/9/2010 5:48AM

    I feel the same way Barb! But I have learned that what happens at the house when no one is there but me "Stays at the house!" emoticon emoticon

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PENNYAN45 12/8/2010 7:26PM

    I also do not do well in a dance classroom situation. I prefer to do 'my own thing' all alone at home with just the cd and me. It's a great way to eliminate the embarrassment factor, and to still get the benefits of the exercise.

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REJ7777 12/8/2010 4:22PM

    I have some old Richard Simmons VHS tapes. I wanted to have them copied unto CD's but it would have cost 24$ EACH. Just as cheap (if not cheaper) to buy them! My sister told me that my nephew might be able to copy them for me. Anyway, that's the kind of dancing that's fun and easy to do. I have other dance CD's that I absolutely cannot keep up with, and end up frustrated. Kind of counter-productive.

Here's to being physically active and moving and enjoying it - whether in the privacy of our own home or on a public dance floor! emoticon

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GOHUSKERS2 12/8/2010 1:57PM

    Awesome blog!!! Whether you do it for yourself, or for others, just enjoy yourself. Just think about the enjoyment you get from the music and let 'er rip!!! Have fun!!!

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DEBRITA01 12/8/2010 1:36PM

    Good job straying from your comfort zone and giving dancing another try. To me, dance is an expression of one's right or wrong. Feeling the music and moving your body freely.But I, too, have trouble following structured and choreographed music or exercise dvd's. I figure if I am still moving (and haven't hurt myself or others), I'm doing o.k. I can also appreciate your feelings of inadequacy dancing in front of others. As I age, I find I care less about what others think or how I measure's one of the perks of aging, I guess.

Good luck with Richard...and dance your heart out ~ you ARE a dancer! emoticon

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LESLIES537 12/8/2010 11:03AM

    It'll make it that much easier to "Dance like no one is watching!" emoticon

Good job on getting into the groove! emoticon

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/8/2010 10:43AM

    My husband, a church school elementary teacher (one room school, grades 1-8), always asks his students HOW they are smart. They are all intelligent but in different ways. Bodily intelligence is one of those on the list. I am like you in that I feel very uncoordinated, and my strength is not in that area. However, I will dance around, when no one else is looking to music on my CD's or tapes. I have a good time without being embarrassed. emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/8/2010 10:46:38 AM

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BUGGYS 12/8/2010 10:13AM

    When I got my Zumba DVD I felt totally inept but I still dance to the music the best I can and I enjoy it anyway and could care less what I look like!

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JHADZHIA 12/8/2010 9:54AM

    Good for you!! I am not particularly coordinated either. When I first tried the grapevine, it was in an aquafit class where fortunately you can't hurt yourself when you fall LOL!!
Lucky you got that Richard Simmons DVD, I so wish I could find it as I love that music :(( As with any exercise, you have to modify it to suit your skill level and needs. I for one, love working out to music, and do not care what anyone thinks of my gangly miss steps. At least I put lots of energy into my workouts!!

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Ways to fight the blah days - #6

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

I think this is probably the last one, as Mr. Blah seems to have fled under the onslaught of reminders. To recap:

1. Keep a promise to yourself.
2. Kick Polly Perfectionist out of your inner circle!
3. Get by with a little help from your friends - Spark and real life.
4. Reward yourself for how far you have come!
5. Go outside, already!

6. Re-evaluate your goals.

Yes, re-evaluate your goals. Have you been bitten by the myth of continuous improvement? Did you think it was INFINITE improvement, in your inner voice? emoticon Now, that's a sly trick Mr. Blah likes to play, in conjunction with our friend Polly Perfectionist.

Especially when you've doing well! Under the influence of endorphins you might over-promise in your goal-setting... take this one, from a former blog of mine:

I wrote that goal in the flush of having run a 5K with my son and his saying nice things about my time at the two mile mark. What I'm finding in training for it, is that I may need to modify: military sit-ups to crunches, for example.

Is this a reason to give up on the goal? No, but I might get bored with just those three exercises! I might want to still try the test on those dates, but stop training specifically for the test after the first New Year's Day event.

In the end, it's important to remember that goals have to match our values... why did I set this particular goal? It was one of those mom-psych connection to her son things. Is it still meaningful to me? Yes.

If so, re-commit or slightly modify. If not, change it up. Just so long as you don't give up your overall goal of living a fit and healthy life... the in between ones can be adjusted.

So, again I say, take THAT, Mr. Blah! emoticon You are now officially out the door! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILLSCOTT 12/9/2010 5:53AM

    I loved this blog!!!! Heck, I really needed this blog! Thanks for the help, Barb! Mr. Blah is leaving and so is Polly... emoticon

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DEBRITA01 12/8/2010 8:56AM

    A good I needed to read today. Thanks!

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MSLZZY 12/8/2010 7:50AM

    Recommit and reevaluate! Time to step up my game plan! HUGS!

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MARENAMOO 12/8/2010 7:27AM

    This is so smart. I think that we live in an overly perfectionistic society. Why be a size 4 when you can be a size 2? Rather than asking ourselves what is a healthy size for me. I think we really need to do a periodic psych eval on ourselves and see what our priorities are. Thank you - I really needed this.

Comment edited on: 12/8/2010 7:28:32 AM

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REJ7777 12/7/2010 10:09PM

    Your blog made me think of the quote on Just_Tri_It's blog: "Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win." - Jonathan Kozol
If the goal doesn't fit that criteria, it's vital to adjust! emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/7/2010 10:10:24 PM

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PENNYAN45 12/7/2010 9:47PM

    I agree completely that realistic goals are very important.

Thanks for the tips on beating the blahs!

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KASEYCOFF 12/7/2010 3:38PM

    Sounds like the blahs are gone, over, done with, outta here - seriously, great coping techniques. Thank you for sharing them! :-D

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TURTLETALK 12/7/2010 10:54AM

    I love this series of blogs! December days can bring out the blahs in all of us if we are not careful.

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FITGRL124 12/7/2010 10:16AM

    Love this!!! I definitely needed reminded of a few things in your blog today! emoticon emoticon

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FITAT50 12/7/2010 9:12AM

    Take that, and that! Ha, ha...Mr. Blah is gone!!! Thanks for some wonderful blogs!!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/7/2010 7:37AM

    emoticonMr. Blah be gone! emoticon

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PARKERB2 12/7/2010 7:34AM

    Thanks for a reminding blog. We are as you say not perfect and mess ups will happen. emoticon

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Ways to fight the blah days - #5

Monday, December 06, 2010

5. Go outside, already!

Yes, I know it's cold out there (here) in December and January. Or hot in July and August. And it's dark before and after work! All kinds of excuses to hide in my cave.

Still, when asked what I do to manage my stress, one of the things I come up with is the five minutes in the morning when I open the door to the deck and step outside. Days when I never poke my nose out of doors just don't go as well.

Experience the weather. Listen for birds (in warmer seasons), look at plants growing, or mounds of snow, sunrise, sunset, clouds, whatever... dodge the raindrops, face the wind, feel your surroundings! Smell the ozone before or after a rain. Sneeze at the pollen. Whatever. Know you are alive on the planet.

Take THAT, Mr. Blah! emoticon This is survival. This is life. And it is worth it! We are worth it... and a new week begins.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REJ7777 12/7/2010 10:04PM

    Getting outdoors makes a whole lot of difference in my day too! I just feel so much better.

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PENNYAN45 12/6/2010 7:38PM

    I love the out-of-doors -- along with all of nature. I do the same thing - just open the door to the deck and BE outside for a minute or two! It is refreshing.

Thanks for sharing your tips!

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SWEETMAGNOLIA2 12/6/2010 7:09PM

    Yes, over the years I have returned to my childhood love of the outdoors. There's something soothing in the birds, trees, and flowers. And even though I am a creature of comfort on extreme weather days, stepping out, as you say, can make the day brighter.

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WALKINGANNIE 12/6/2010 4:06PM

    "Take that Mr Blah", will be my mantra for the week! Love it.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LJCANNON 12/6/2010 9:26AM

    This is SO True!! I used to NEVER go outside except to get in the car. Now I notice how much better I fee--even on bitterly cold days--after I have been outside for a few minutes.
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Ways to fight the blah days - #4

Sunday, December 05, 2010

4. Reward yourself for how far you have come!

Sometimes when I examine why Mr. Blah emoticon showed up on my doorstep, I find that I have been skipping the important act of patting myself on the back with small, incremental rewards.

This is every bit as important in maintenance as it is while on a long weight-loss journey. Little things that make me feel special and dignified, and precious as a human being is part of what keeps me going.

Yesterday morning, I pulled out an old favorite in my box of "things to make Toddler Barbie feel treated". A very simple device... a wine flute. I poured my morning fruit juice (which happened to be grape) into the wine glass, and savored each sip with breakfast.

Dressing a meal up is one device. Lighting candles is another. Adding spices to my morning hot cereal. Savoring and appreciating each bite.

A reward doesn't have to be big. A pen, stickers to put on the calendar, a candle, even a notepad can be a reward to me... it's all in the attitude. It only has to be recognized as "I'm doing this because I'm worth it".

Have you rewarded yourself today? How?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 12/6/2010 7:35PM

    Small rewards -- another great idea! Thanks!

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LINDAJOYWK 12/5/2010 3:33PM

    You are a pretty smart cookie!

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WALKINGANNIE 12/5/2010 12:14PM

    You're right on hand when I need good advice from one who knows the struggles and fixes.

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GOHUSKERS2 12/5/2010 11:38AM

    What great ideas! Thanks for sharing!

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KATHRYNLP 12/5/2010 8:54AM

    I totally agree.. and appreciate the Heads Up on something this important. Great Blog.. emoticon

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REJ7777 12/5/2010 8:51AM

    Pens and stickers! I love anything to do with writing, stationery, note pads, a real treat is a new pen! And stickers? I'm like a 5-year-old! (I'm glad to know I'm not the only one.) emoticon

I don't really use rewards, but I'm going to consider it. It's really challenging for me to get my 10,000 steps in. Just between us, I only got 1,008 steps in yesterday. emoticon Maybe giving myself a small short-term reward would be the added motivator I need.

Here's to taking care of ourselves, and rewards, just because we're worth it! emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 12/5/2010 8:44AM

    Good for you-- We all need to do thnat--little rewards to help us through the days which seem harder!!!Great ideas!--I enjoy yer comments that you postr alongside my Spark here--fun to read! emoticon

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ANG_LA 12/5/2010 8:25AM

    Cool...A little reward feels good too!
I like pedicures myself!


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MOONCHILD17 12/5/2010 8:22AM

    What wonderful ideas for little ways to treat yourself. I especially like the one about using a wine glass for juice. Instead of feeling "deprived" of a glass of wine, you can savor the juice! Thanks for the ideas!

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