All Entries For ~indygirl
Editor's Note: EMMABE1 has lost 143 pounds and counting with SparkPeople. Ann, who is from Australia, recently answered ~INDYGIRL's questions via email.
~INDYGIRL: What was your a-ha moment when you decided to finally lose the weight?
EMMABE1: As far as one single a-ha moment – I really didn’t have one! It sort of snuck up on me. There was a huge media blitz on "healthy living" and this maybe had some effect. I was also having problems with osteoarthritis in my knees and ankles, so my doctor was talking "knee replacement." The risks were too high at that weight; however I knew that one day the time would come. With weight loss, healthy eating and exercise, I have managed to stop all pain in my knees and at this time, replacement is definitely "off" indefinitely!
~INDYGIRL: How much weight have you lost?
EMMABE1: 65 kg (143 lb approx.) I had lost 35 kg (77 lb approx.) in the 7 yrs before joining SparkPeople, but was just "fiddling about" reducing the amount of food and calories I was eating, but not changing my lifestyle. Consequently I was still wearing the same size clothes despite the weight loss, and because of this I was totally fed up with what I viewed as yet another failed attempt. Read More ›
This blog is dedicated to my team, The ~Indygirl Challenge, who told me they wanted to know how to get past the desire to satisfy that instant desire versus stay track for a long-term goal. I’m not going to fib: This is a tough one!
I used to think I wanted to reach my goals more than I wanted anything, but obviously not. I wanted to cope more, as an emotional eater. The world is very full of emotion-causing events--some good, some bad. I needed to learn other ways to cope with my emotions. (I blogged about Dealing with Emotional Eating last week.)
I also had to want to reach my goals more than I wanted to feel the food in my mouth, taste its deliciousness and feel overly full. That last part is VERY important. I’ve discovered I can have the food and all the wonderful sensations it brings, but with portion control and rules. For me, certain foods can only be eaten when I'm away from home, such as candy bars, fast food, donuts, and anything else that would hinder my efforts and trigger a binge. Then I allow myself ONE small or standard-sized item, and leave it at that. Once I track it, it is added to my SparkPeople Food Tracker for the day and I move on.
Most of all, I had to want something worse than I wanted the food. In my case it was freedom from my room/house. I had been stuck in it for a few years and really wanted out and back to a life of going to movies with my husband, shopping with my girlfriends, and working again. I was very lonely. Sitting at home alone in pain is one of the biggest triggers for me to overeat. I desperately wanted out of the situation.
As my journey started, I gained friends on SparkPeople. They cheered me on as I wrote blogs and expressed exactly what I was going through. I now NEED SparkPeople more than I NEED excess food. The people on the site help me with my emotional eating by always being there and taking time to stop by my page, even when I don’t always have the time to reply back. When I’m coping with heavy emotions, someone cares. That makes a difference.
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Have you ever had a bad day and then headed home only to blow your calorie count out of the water? How about those days when you are so frustrated that you can’t even wait to get home and repeatedly hit the vending machine for a treat?
Emotions of any kind can bring on the cue to our bodies to want food. If we are joyful, we celebrate with cake. In times of sadness we take casseroles to comfort the grieving. In anger, we punish ourselves by eating everything in sight. Often times we console our own sadness, loneliness, or boredom with food.
Since times of old, there have been celebrations with food, and it has been at the center of a society. No wonder it is so engrained in us to desire it. Society as a whole is very centered on eating and dieting. How do you fight it? Read More ›
Before joining SparkPeople, I thought blogs were kind of silly. I mean, why would you want to lay your life out for everyone to read?
But, I discovered, blogging is a great way to get your feelings out. It gives people a way to anonymously, sort of, vent their feelings of joy, anger, grief, and whatever else they may be feeling at the moment.
Often times, those same emotions lead us to eat in isolation. We feel like nobody will understand and that we are alone in our feelings. Bloggers find that there are other people in situations just like their own and that they are not alone, they are part of something bigger. When I blogged about weighing 460 pounds and being bed-ridden with fibromyalgia, herniated disks, pinched nerve bundles, bad knees, arthritis, and clinical depression, I honestly felt like "I’m the only one with this many hurdles!"
I was so wrong.
People who have read my blogs have shared their unique but similar struggles with me, and it feels like we are kindred spirits. Read More ›
Being a larger or handicapped person is not easy. I won’t even go into the societal issues, but it is just difficult to find products that fit your lifestyle or assist you in ways that may be difficult to talk about. Well, I have researched sites for you and have come up with a few solutions to various needs and desires to fit the larger and/or less able lifestyle and make it a bit more active, comfortable, and fun. This blog will focus on products to help you have more fun in life. I also wrote one about products that help make life a little easier! Read More ›
I know there is a part of me dreading reaching my goal, because then what? I’ve been a dieter and the funny, creative fat girl all of my life. I don’t know how to be anybody else. It’s a good thing, in that particular case, that I have a lot of weight to lose. It gives my mind time to adjust. That’s such a change from my days of “I want it NOW!”
Maybe that’s why I never lost the weight before. Perhaps the speed I was losing at did not give my mind time to adjust to the new me. Heck yes, I enjoyed the compliments, clothes, and feeling smaller. In my head though, I was still the same fat person with low self-esteem. I was fighting the same emotional battles the same way--with food. I was still totally obsessed with what I was eating, wasn’t eating, or was going to eat in a given day.
This time around, I’m making small lifestyle changes and it has taken me since December 2005 to lose 150 pounds and counting. I don’t have that panicky fear that the weight is going to come back this time. I know it isn’t because I am a different person now. I’m still the funny, creative fat girl, but someday I’ll be the funny, creative girl. This slower weight loss has allowed me time to adjust and learn to cope, while reinventing myself. Read More ›
The day started innocently enough. I ate my healthy breakfast, and I really wasn’t hungry after that. A car trip later and I’m drooling like Homer Simpson at the sight of a Dunkin’ Donuts sign. Should I or shouldn’t I? One won’t hurt. No, usually one doesn’t, but it does cause cravings--mad crazy cravings! I find myself staring straight into the abyss that might be a downfall of super sugary and fatty portions. I control it by driving through and getting one and leaving. If I get any more than that, I’m in trouble.
Surely you know the foods you eat that cause cravings. They are the magical ones like chocolate that send you into another world with just a thought. Everyone has their personal favorites. We often concentrate on what we shouldn’t eat in large quantities or what triggers our hunger, but what about those foods that satisfy us? Finding foods we should be eating that are healthful, tasty, and filling can be fun.
Hunger sometimes has much to do with emotions and comforting, rather than true stomach hunger. (Stop emotional eating before it starts.)It has to do with what others are eating and what time of day it is. Hunger many times is just triggered by the setting of being somewhere or doing something. Smell is a very strong hunger trigger. So with all of these false signals telling you to eat, what do you do?
What I do is stay full. I keep water around at all times. I also eat every 3-4 hours, so I’m in no danger of real physical hunger ganging up on me with some false signal and sending me on a binge. I enjoy healthier comfort foods than I used to eat. Fiber and protein both take longer to digest than simple carbohydrates. Basically timing is everything. Your body breaks down carbohydrates within the first half to two hours after you eat them. During hours two through four, your body is working on proteins, while in hours four through six your body is breaking down fats. This is why it is important to get a mix of foods at every meal and not wait longer than every 4 hours to eat. I have many favorite hunger fighting foods now, but for the sake of time, I will tell you 15 of my basic must-haves. These foods are generally high in fiber, protein, or both and may have healthy fat included.
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Today I woke up, like most other days, in pain and wondering how I would make it through. I have chronic pain, so it would be easy to sit in bed and watch television all day. The problem is that, when you do that, real life passes you by, as it did when I ate my way to 460 pounds and ended up in a bedridden state.
Once bedridden, it was extremely difficult to find a way out of my situation and live again. I had to switch my thinking from what I couldn’t do to what I could do. It took a lot of feeling sorry for myself and grieving my losses to come to that point. I had to realize I could no longer do the things I once did, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t do anything. Then I came back with a renewed spirit.
Giving up my choices is actually about living an unhealthy lifestyle. I was giving up my choices by concentrating on what I couldn’t do. I set myself free by concentrating on what I could do.
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I’ve come a long way since topping out at 460 pounds. With SparkPeople, I’ve lost 150 pounds and gained Freedom. Freedom is my seated, wheeled walker. I went from completely bed-ridden to completely dependent on a wheelchair to being able to sometimes use a walker and now sometimes not even having to do that.
So what was it like? My first time walking without my walker or a wheelchair? It was WONDERFUL! It was all encompassing and so worth every bit of pain I felt. You see, I had been trapped in my room for so long and in my house for even longer. I had the occasional wheelchair trip out or walker trip, but those were few and far between. This walk meant my choices were coming back to me. Read More ›
Seeing the brighter side of things not only makes life more pleasant but can also help you lose weight. Emotional eating is one of the major causes of spinning out of control with food. If you could control your thoughts, maybe you could control what goes on afterward. Another thing about seeing the bright side of things is that it brings on far less stress. Stress causes the release of cortisol, a hormone known to hoard fat in the body, especially around the abdomen.
Here are 5 different ways that I use to try to look at the bright side of any situation and save myself a little stress. Read More ›
By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)
I honestly have very little will power and I’ll be the first to admit it. So, how did I lose 150 pounds and counting? How did I make it through a whole year of a plateau after losing 100 pounds? How do I get myself to the gym when I want to lie in bed under a heating pad and take medicine? I really had to dig to answer these questions.
My ah-ha moment was when I wanted some motivation. I was lying in bed on my lap top and looking for a picture of someone so fat they couldn't walk. Then it dawned on me that I was that person. My BFF was also getting out, shopping and going places and I was just lying in my room waiting to die. I wanted a life again. I wanted to shop with her, get mani-pedis, have a job again and feel like part of the world around me. It was definitely enough to get me started on my journey. I don’t know if this alone would have carried me through as far as I’ve come, however.
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By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)
May 21, 2011, marked the date of the first SparkPeople rally sponsored by E.A.R.P.S. (Exotic Animal Rescue and Pet Sanctuary) and SparkPeople members. I have never hosted a rally before, but the idea came about when I was corresponding with SparkPeople member, Ksigma1222, who was featured in the book, "The Spark." He told me “If we build it, they will come.” We were both very eager to have a rally because there is nothing like being around fellow SparkPeople members. There is a very positive energy in the air.
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By Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL)
Binge eating has always been one of my biggest obstacles to overcome in losing weight. For me, once a binge is triggered and I take that first bite, I’m farther from stopping a binge than before I took the first bite. That first bite puts me into a frenzy and I forget all of my good intentions, aiming instead for a blissful food coma. That feeling of everything being better, calm, okay, safe and warm washes over me and I forget the guilt that will ensue for a few minutes. Tomorrow is another day, I reason. I can do better then. Deep down though, I know tomorrow will be full of regret, feelings of failure and doubt that I can ever pull off this weight loss/ fitness goal of mine.
With the help of SparkPeople and therapy, I have learned to have more control over my binge eating. I have lost 144 pounds to date and it hasn’t been binge free. I’ve had my setbacks and struggles too. I’ve controlled my binges by using various techniques in this article and by using Spark Streaks. Streaks are consecutive days of doing something. I would like to share some of the things I’ve learned and gathered from SparkPeople and various forms of therapy with you.
How do you prevent a binge? How do you stop one once it starts? Those answers are very individualized, as not one answer will work for everyone. If you have tried different things in the past and given up, don’t throw in the towel yet. There are many more things to try.
I went to Over Eaters Anonymous, which offered the advice to “Avoid that first compulsive bite.” When I asked how I would know what bite was compulsive, I was told that it was the one I knew would send me into that frenzy that I was telling you about. Prevent the first compulsive bite and you prevent the binge.
Another technique I learned was called HALT. It reminds you to ask yourself if you are hungry, angry, lonely, or tired before reaching for food as a comforting tool. These emotions are strong binge triggers, so eating for the sake of eating while feeling them is not a good idea. Figure out what you are really feeling and distract yourself for a little while to address the problem mentally. Once you know why you want to eat and what the root cause is, do something about it or decide to not. Make it your choice, your decision; put things in your hands again. You are now in control.
With emotions and eating as well as anxiety, there is a pattern I learned from my therapist. First you start with an event that causes an emotion. That emotion can be dealt with, stuffed down or raised to panic or anxiety. As binge eaters, we tend to stuff it down with food. Then the binge upsets us and we feel guilt and shame. Those new emotions become a new event. That causes new eating behavior to cover the emotional overload and then we eat more. Once again the shame kicks in and we begin a spiral downward into a binge that leaves us feeling full of shame and remorse by the end. Compulsive overeating and binge eating disorder are finally being recognized as official eating disorders that can be treated just like anorexia and bulimia. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for help if you need it. These eating disorders are just as serious and as unhealthy as their thinner counterparts. The difference is that there is a stigma attached to them because society as a whole is still unwilling to see people of size as being little more than out of control of their eating or lazy. This stigma keeps people in the dark about the gravity of their compulsive overeating and binge eating disorder. If your doctor is not familiar with these terms, and you know you need help, ask to be referred to a therapist who deals specifically with eating disorders besides anorexia and bulimia. Mention the terms “compulsive overeating” and “binge eating disorder.”
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Beth Donovan (~INDYGIRL) wrote a letter to her younger self...
Dear young Beth,
I know you think you are ugly and a monster rather than a girl. Well, you aren’t. Dear girl, you have listened to others far too long. From the babysitter who calls you “Monster child,” to the kids at school, and even your own family, everyone else tells you who you are. Do they ever ask you who you are? They should observe rather than label based on your weight. They would see a girl that takes all of that and then some and is still standing.
You’ll come to realize someday that you aren’t ugly just because you are overweight. Weight and beauty have very little to do with each other. You’ll learn to appreciate the beauty you do possess when you stop listening to the negative messages of the thin obsessed world around you. So, young Beth, if you can get a handle on ignoring these messages and appreciating your body right now, you will feel amazingly beautiful. Read More ›