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What I WANTED to eat today vs what I actually DID eat...

Friday, September 16, 2011

I'm still using the trick of tracking what I want to eat and choose not to, alongside what I actually DO eat.

I got this idea from NELLJONES. More about that here:

The past two days have been particularly challenging. I've spent them in a training workshop where they had a big plate of brownies and cookies out all day. I didn't have any. I just didn't want to go there or even get started.

I stopped by the grocery store on the way home and didn't buy seitan or sugar free jelly beans or anything else with calories that could be a binge risk. I got some diet sodas I can drink if I really feel the need for a packaged treat.

I didn't stop and get an ice cream cone at the awesome local place that makes their own, even though I wanted to.

When I got home I didn't cook up 2c of quinoa with olive oil and soy sauce, although I thought about it.

But I did track all those things.

Instead I made a healthy salad for lunch from things I found in the grocery store on the way to the workshop this morning, had grapes and blackberries for a treat, and greek yogurt and a banana for a midmorning snack.

Here's my salad:

Here's what was in it:

Here is what I ended up eating for the day:

Notice that what I wanted to eat IN ADDITION to what I actually ate, was almost 2000 calories. It would not have been productive. I like that this strategy gives me a chance to see all the healthy decisions I'm making throughout the day that I would normally forget about. Yay, me.

This could easily have turned into a 3000 calorie day if I'd eaten whatever I wanted. Not good. And a clear picture into how I got to over 330 lbs in the first place.

One thing that is providing some much-needed short-term motivation is the desire to remain in the running for the title of "Scariest Loser" in a challenge I'm managing between now and Halloween.

You see, I gained a little this week. And I'm going to have to be on point with my intake between now and my weigh-in on Monday if I want my average over at Physics Diet to at least break even with last week if not be below it.

So I'm going to do my level best to stick within the program. And long-term I hope this will get me back down under 160 where I'm happiest size-wise. (At my usual food & exercise regime that usually tracks with body fat being close to 20% which is where I feel the most strong and comfortable.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAROLYN1213 9/19/2011 11:14PM

    Boy, it really is an eye opener when you track! I have drafted tracking again...diligently! I found that I was having more indulgences now that I'm at my goal weight. Tracking put me right back on track!

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KSNANA2 9/18/2011 10:46AM

    I never thought of tracking what I wanted to eat vs what I actually eat! What a great idea! This is going to help me! Thank you! emoticon

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LJCANNON 9/18/2011 10:03AM

    emoticonHmm, maybe a Great Idea, along with "Imagining yourself eating things you WANT to eat but know that you shouldn't." It at least makes you more mindful of the Decisions you are making on an meal by meal basis.
emoticonThanks for sharing!!

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    Wonderful idea! I might try this too. It's amazing to see how many calories are in all that stuff you're salivating over. You know what I've discovered--when you give in and eat that stuff--it doesn't even taste that good most times. Okay--sometimes it's wonderful and I savor every bite, but sometimes I think, "What was all the fuss about? This is nothing!"
More power to us maintainers. We never want to go back to that place we came from and with inspiration like you give us, maybe we'll make it! I'm betting on us!!

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LADYGWEN25 9/18/2011 9:35AM

    great job!

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KAYOTIC 9/17/2011 11:03AM

    That salad looks great.....I'm going to have to make some salad today, and I do like the idea of tracking what you didn't eat, but wanted too, very eye opening....

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PATTILYNN224 9/17/2011 7:18AM

    I like the idea of tracking what you don't eat. It is an eyeopener. Thanks.

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FENWAYGIRL18 9/16/2011 11:55PM


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Can you learn impulse control?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Binging and night eating are tough for me. When I get the urge to eat when I'm alone, it can be extremely difficult to break the chain between the urge and getting up to go to the refrigerator.

It appears I have problems with impulse control, or deferred gratification.

According to this article, skills in this can be taught, but it's not clear how long the delayed gratification behaviors persist:


It seems the key, at least in this article, is self-distraction. There are a number of techniques I've heard of that people can use to break the chain when the urge to eat strikes:

- Doing sit-ups or push-ups or going for a walk
- Logging the food in the "I didn't eat that" tracker
- Making sure that preferred trigger foods are inaccessible (locked or not there in the first place)
- Setting a timer and telling yourself that you can have it if you still want it after 20 minutes
- Meditating on the feelings you're having at the moment

When I'm successful at dodging the urge to eat, it's usually due to a combination of factors:

1) I've usually had at least 150g of protein
2) I've avoided starches and sugars
3) I've eaten enough fat and fiber
4) I'm not dehydrated
5) I've exercised in the past 2-3 hours

These things help prevent the physical sensations that trigger the urge to eat. And even if I do get the urge (and I do, believe me) it's not as strong if I've fueled myself in the above ways earlier in the day.

Once I'm alone at home if the urge to eat strikes there are things that have worked for me with varying degrees of success:

1) Engineering my environment so that tempting, easily eaten food is not there. My pantry at the moment consists mostly of dried beans, which take too long to cook to satisfy an intense short-term urge. I do most of my eating at work, where there are people, and I'm less likely to slip.
2) Logging what I *don't* eat in a separate tracker
3) Drinking a glass of water or Crystal Lite or having a diet soda if the urge for a treat is really bad
4) Not having cable in the house so if I want to watch TV it has to be streaming over the internet. (TV is a big trigger for me.)
5) Exercising after work. This minimizes the time I spend alone at home before going to sleep and also provides those appetite-suppression effects of exercise right when I need them the most.

Is this normal behavior? Probably not. But if I were a normal person, I never would have had a BMI over 50 three years ago.

I will do whatever it takes for me to continue to be a healthy, active size so I can continue doing the things I like to do (white water kayaking, cross country skiing, cycling, snowboarding, swimming, etc.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINZEE118 9/23/2011 7:36PM

    I loved this blog. Learned some tips that I am definitely going to apply to my eating habits. I can see myself in this blog. Love to eat sweets & love to eat at night. Portion control is key for me losing weight. Also liked what Salsify wrote on eating soup. Going to try that. Linda emoticon

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PONYFARMER 9/20/2011 7:39PM

    You are such an amazing inspiration.

The binge's you speak of have been in my life for a long time. I even had some scheduled binge's that I would go to the store and get my favorite binge food. It was easy to get to my highest weight with these issues rolling around in my head. At this time im my life I had given up any hope of ever losing another pound and my goal at that time (which I was not doing well with) was to NOT GAIN.

Then I found SP and that has changed my life. It took time and I have not gotten all my weight off yet, but I am working on it. I learn something everytime I read a great blog, like this one and/or read a SP article.

I just have to say you are helping to change people's lives with what you have done in your own life. To be honest, you could just take off and live your life and not stay here at SP and help others. Thank you for sticking around!

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TENACIOUSTIGER 9/20/2011 10:42AM

    yes I have been a late night eater, especially sweets, there was a time when the eating day just wasnt over until I had something sweet, it used to be a bowl of icecream. But the bowl has got smaller till now it is a teaspoon. I dont have it every night, now maybe only 2 x times a week. I dont eat desserts ever in restaurants (im a pastry chef and its always disappointing.) If I cook its only when there are lots of people over and I send them home with dessert or throw it in the bin.Total abstinance doesnt work for me, the cravings build up and I end up eating a whole portion and then feeling self loathing. I like your ideas it makes me reflect on what motivates me to eat. emoticonFrozen raspberries are good

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JULIE_76180 9/18/2011 10:39AM

    Very informative information!

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CMPEARL 9/18/2011 10:20AM

    I love the idea of a didn't eat it tracker!!! Thank you for posting and good luck!!

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DAWNDMOORE40 9/18/2011 10:00AM

    I have that problem sometimes. I have to keep stuff out of the house I know are my weaknesses! For example: cheesecake, potato chips, etc... those foods get the best of me everytime! I don't know if there is an easy answer. I believe you just have to have faith in yourself and like yous said, do things to distract you from having the urge to eat. You are on the right track! It's just that we don't learn those behaviors over night, so we aren't going to unlearn them over night either. I wish you the best and have a blessed day! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    I have regained so many things in my life from losing those ugly pounds. Like you, I need to keep the weight off so I can continue to do those things I'm loving again! And like you, I will do whatever it takes to keep that weight off. I like your ideas of how to avoid the binges--taking a walk is a good one. Sometimes if I just get up and out of the house while dinner is in the oven, and take a quick walk (and I tend to go even faster than normal especially if I'm trying to beat that oven timer) I avoid that period of time when I'm so hungry, waiting for dinner to be done, and am at my most vulnerable snacking-wise. I will try some of your other ideas too--thanks for sharing!

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SALSIFY 9/15/2011 4:21PM

    I hope I'm not out of line for thinking this (I'm quite new & it's my first comment on a blog) but I think that you must have pretty good impulse control to have managed to lose all that weight & keep most of it off. My skinny husband who has a completely normal relationship with food will binge occasionally if it's something particularly delicious (roast dinners, mainly).

Unfortunately I binge more than him - my days, pre the current weight loss, were slow-motion binges. I've been trying to redirect my urges to binge onto stuff which won't do too much damage. I make really good soups - I've got loads of good recipes - & I keep a big pot in the fridge & allow myself to eat as much as I want. The good thing is there is only so much soup I can take in one go & it's low or lowish calorie. If I haven't got homemade I have a cup a soup. As it takes quite a long time to eat as it's hot - often the urge has gone by the time I finish. Also a hot milky drink like hot chocoate helps me in the evening - the protein makes it satisfying and, like the soup, it's hot & takes time to drink.

I hope you don't mind me describing how I try & control my binges. I'm in my mid forties now & I don't think I'm going to change entirely my tricky relationship with food, I'm just trying to find a way to live with myself which will work.

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HEALTHYCALM 9/15/2011 1:54AM

    I like the idea of logging what you *don't* eat! And I'm with you on the protein. I know it's not necessarily the best or most sustainable way to manage weight but it totally works for me for helping with self-control, and I think on balance if it helps us maintain then that makes it a good strategy!

I just read about a new book that says that willpower is like any skill--practicing/exercising it makes us better at it! (The book actually also apparently talks about that people are better able to practice willpower when they have higher blood glucose levels, and uses that to explain why dieting is so hard.) The book is reviewed here if you are interested:

I can't wait to set aside some time to read the New Yorker article you linked to--it looks great.

emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 9/14/2011 11:26PM

    Great ideas...some "review" some new...ALL worth hanging onto! Thx for pulling these all together!


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MY_HEALTH_BABY 9/14/2011 11:06PM


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REDSHOES2011 9/14/2011 9:52PM

    emoticonuse every trick in the book to avoid what annoys you..

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TATTER3 9/14/2011 9:48PM

    The more I try to distract myself the more focused on food I become!!! Blaugh!!! Just keep Sparkin'!!

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Back to my regularly scheduled programming...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Now that I've been discharged from PT I'm going to try and resume my original exercise schedule:

M - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump Class in the evening
Tu - XC ski at lunchtime (if there is snow), Spinning in the evening
W - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Body Pump Class in the evening
Th - Tae Kardio at lunchtime, Spinning in the evening
F- XC ski at lunchtime (if there is snow), Cardio & lifting @ home (or kayak pool session) in the evening
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, XC skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside (kayaking, XC skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)

Since there isn't snow at the moment in this hemisphere there won't be any XC skiing or snowboarding for a while. And given that I prefer my rotator cuffs intact there won't be any snowboarding AT ALL anymore except in good (powdery) conditions.

According to my HR monitor I'm not supposed to train until Friday (because I rode 100 miles on my bike last Saturday). But given my personality I know it isn't a good idea to take lots of rest days in a row on purpose because they tend to lead to lots of rest days in a row not on purpose.

So I did my last PT session yesterday and a spinning class last night but I did it gently without going all-out. I definitely felt the fatigue in there. I didn't have as much oomph to draw on.

Today I can't go to Tae Kardio but I will do Body Pump in the evening.

Tomorrow I won't be able go to Tae Kardio or spin class and plan on paddling in the evening instead.

As far as food goes, I seem to be in night-time munchy mode again so I had to dump the rest of the cornmeal and corn flour because I ended up cooking it as cereal last night. I don't think there's much else left in the house that takes as little time to cook, so I should be safe, for now.

Yesterday I made the mistake of starting the day with mangoes and spring rolls, which was too much carbs and not enough protein and seems to have set me up for cravings the rest of the day.

Today I started with my usual Greek yogurt, wheat bran, and whey powder and I feel a whole lot more sated.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANNE7X7 9/16/2011 11:57AM

    You are a workout MACHINE! Love it! :D

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MOM5INFL 9/14/2011 4:27PM

    I'm still around dealing with stress! Thanks on the maintenance congrats! I hear ya on the nighttime munchies! That one gets worse for me during this time of year! I've got to do a pantry cleaning myself. Carbs have got to go! Keep fighting! Maintenance is no joke! Birdie

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TRAVELNISTA 9/14/2011 3:11PM

    emoticonI know you are just itching to go. Just please be careful, you may be released from PT but it does take at least a full year to recover 100%. That estimate is from both my Doctor and Physical Therapist. emoticon emoticon

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IRENEGS 9/14/2011 11:29AM

    Wow....go you!!!

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Discharged from PT! Finally! After 6 months!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

At the end of March I tore my rotator cuff snowboarding.

I started going to PT way back then.

After a month and a second surgeon opinion I decided to let them repair it.

They did the surgery at the beginning of May.

I continued going to PT.

I gradually got better. It was so gradual I almost couldn't even tell it was happening. I remember how excited I was when I could finally fasten my bra strap again.

Finally, as of today, my PT says I'm ready to quit going there and sent me home with some resistance bands. I have my rehab routine on my iPod. I know what to do. Somewhere I need to get a Roman chair so I can do my back exercises.

So here I am, 6 months later. What on earth am I going to DO with my free mornings twice a week?! LOL
(Or the $40/week I'll no longer be shelling out in co-pays? I've spent around $800-$900 out of pocket. Yikes. I am DEFINITELY claiming my medical expenses when I do my taxes next year.)

I'm sure I'll come up with something.

In the meantime, it's back to the Tae Kardio and Body Pump I suppose, supplemented with rotator cuff exercises. And of course more paddling in the lake to strengthen my abs and get ready for running rivers next month.

I almost never thought this day would come.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHATAGRL42 9/24/2011 5:16PM

    Congrats on your reaching the"end" of your healing journey! I am still in PT for my back surgery (July 14th), but am also getting the green light to complete much of it with bands, balls, and bike at home. I feel so much better! Never would have thought I'd ever feel "the same" again, if you'd asked me a few months ago!! Keep up your healing routines!

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    yay thats awesome and probably a testament to how fit you were to start with. I am so jealous my leg is still stiff, its getting stronger but complicated my back, glute and tail bone issues. Still soon I have a week off and I plan to spend some time getting back into the fun exercise I like to do, but slowly of course. Its on the way to spring here and Im looing forward to the beach. Congrats your very motivating

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ANNE7X7 9/16/2011 11:57AM

    YAY!! emoticon

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TRAVELNISTA 9/14/2011 3:09PM

    So happy you are finished! emoticon emoticon

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KAYOTIC 9/14/2011 10:27AM

    emoticongreat news! Funny how these things sneak up on you...

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WATERMELLEN 9/14/2011 7:21AM

    Hurray, hurray, hurray!! This is great news!!

I've been there myself . . . and found one of the best "rehab" activities for myself was range of motion exercises with the shoulder positioned right in front of the jet in the whirlpool at they gym. Made a huge difference. I still do regular rotator cuff strengthening exercises with free weights in hopes that any future FOOSH (fall on out-stretched hand) will not result in re-injury!

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SKYRUNHER 9/14/2011 4:22AM

    Yay!!!! Happy paddling.. so, are you going to do class IV white water kayking or wait a bit before getting to that class again? And wow... class IV.. at this point, all I'm doing is flat water.. I'm not quite brave enough to go white water yet.. but it will come!

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DDOORN 9/13/2011 11:48PM

    Celebrations are in order! Break out the kayaks and FLY! :-)


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JEANBAPTC 9/13/2011 11:04PM

    Congrats! You'll find something to do with that free time.... emoticon

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DDESERTDDAWN 9/13/2011 7:20PM


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DOWNTOWNJEN 9/13/2011 6:42PM

    Congrats! Rotator cuff injuries are bad news - I still suffer from blowing my shoulder out several times when I was a butterfly swimmer. Sounds like PT is a LOT better now than 30 yrs ago emoticon

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Intro kayaking trip

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My friend Peter and I led an intro kayaking trip today to the south end of Cayuga Lake for the Cornell Outing Club. We brought three undergrads with us.

Here we are, tying the boats onto my car:

Once we got to the launching spot we had them try attaching their skirts to the boat and practice exiting:

Next we got them into the water and had them practice flipping over and pulling the skirt off and demonstrate that they could get out without panicking:

After that we paddled over to a nearby park, chasing ducks and seagulls, practicing our forward and sweep strokes:

Then we stopped for lunch, ate, and returned in a light rain. Here's a GPS track of our journey with more pictures:

I felt mostly OK, although at one point one of my legs fell asleep. It was the same side that had the stiff knee yesterday.

Now I'm home and looking forward to relaxing the rest of the day with the cats. A storm just rolled in and there's a nice sound of rain on the roof. A perfect afternoon to stay inside and nap.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 9/13/2011 9:50AM

    Wish I was closer, I could do some kayaking....guess I really do need to look for something like this out here, or just rent them at the lake!

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    You are a true inspiration to all of us on spark people. I love you sharing blogs like this due to the fact that this is the life so many of us are craving to do!

You are amazing!



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DDOORN 9/12/2011 10:55PM

    Great way to spread your love of kayaking...I'm sure they could pick up your infectious enthusiasm!! :-)


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ANNE7X7 9/12/2011 1:44PM

    Can you move closer to me so I can take your intro to kayaking?

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/11/2011 5:36PM

    naw. I'm nice to the noobs. Peter was a noob once, and he got into it so much that he's better than I am, now!

I need a Krew to paddle with, and this is one of the places I get them - I MAKE them. LOL

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    Do you do a little n00b p0wning on the lake just for initiation?

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IMNAHA 9/11/2011 4:30PM

    That looks like so much fun! I used to river raft when I was younger and loved it. emoticon

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HOAGIE22 9/11/2011 4:27PM

  Git Er Done!!

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