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30 questions challenge: 21-30

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Iíve joined in on TANYAP71ís blog question challenge.

I donít often manage to post blogs daily, so Iíll be answering questions here when I can and posting them en masse.

Itís been fun reading the responses from others, and to help me keep track of them, Iíve made a spreadsheet, here:

(this way Iíll be able to find those posts in the future, even after theyíve been buried by more recent ones)

21. Did you or do you have any disordered eating habits - binging, purging, excessive calorie restriction or excessive exercise? How did develop (or how are you developing) a healthier relationship with food?
I have occasional bouts with binging, maybe 3-4 times a year. Although the frequency of episodes is sparse, the behavior itself disturbs me. I have developed a number of strategies that help me avoid triggering binges:

Iíve also begun working with a dietitian and therapist to prioritize my strategies and see if I can re-wire my inclinations so that food is not a default way to deal with anxiety.

22. What is your current workout/fitness routine?
For most of the past two years it was cardio-heavy and looked
something like this:

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- Rest, stretching, sometimes a deep tissue massage
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, XC skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside

In the past few months I've been experimenting with a greater emphasis
on lifting heavy and building muscle (New Rules of Lifting for Women)
and so recently it looks more like this:

M - Lifting weights in the evening
Tu - Sea kayaking in the evening
W - Lifting weights in the evening
Th - Tae Kardio at lunchtime
F- Lifting weights in the evening or rest, if I'm driving to a weekend
kayaking destination
Sa - Playing outside (kayaking, XC skiing, snowboarding, road cycling, etc.)
Su - Playing outside

I have an Olympic barbell set-up in my basement that I bought on Craig's List and that's where I do the lifting. So far I'm quite pleased with the results. I'm getting stronger, I have more definition in my arms and legs, my body fat is slowly dropping, and I am actually spending less time working out!

23. What are your current fitness goals?
I would like to get below 19% body fat.

24. When did you incorporate fitness goals into your healthy lifestyle? (Before starting to lose weight, during weight loss, after goal weight, etc.)
I started walking at the same time as controlling my food, so they happened together. The type of fitness I did changed over the process of the weight loss. See the next question for specifics.

25. Is there any form of fitness/exercise that you tried and gave up? Is there any form of fitness/exercise that you would like to try?
I started eating less and walking a half-mile loop around the block. When I got up to about 4 miles per day an old knee injury began to cause pain and stiffness. I was diagnosed with severe arthritis and switched from walking to deep water aerobics 2x/week, eventually increased it to 4x/wk, and then substituted spinning for the lower-intensity water aerobics class, and BodyPump for the higher-intensity water aerobics. In addition I added weight training with a personal trainer once a week and alone once a week.

Now Iím weight lifting on the New Rules of Lifting for Women program 2-3 times a week, alternating with kayaking or other things such as Tae Kardio classes.

26. Do you like to exercise alone, with a partner, in a small group, or in a large group? Why?
I prefer white water kayaking, which needs to be done as a team for safety reasons. I enjoy exercising with others in group fitness classes and on long bike rides. I enjoy the social aspect of fitness. For convenience, though, Iím weight lifting alone at home in my basement.

27. Have you ever hired anyone to help you with your journey? A personal trainer. A dietician/nutritionist? A wellness coach? A life coach? What worked and didn't work?
Iíve hired all kinds of people. Getting the weight off and keeping it off is a Big, Hairy Deal, and I can use all the help I can get! Iíve had a personal trainer for a while, until our schedules diverged. Iíve attended group fitness classes in water aerobics, spinning, and Body Pump, so in a sense you could say that I ďhiredĒ the instructors, since I paid for the classes. As I mentioned in question 21 Iíve recently hired a dietitian/therapist team to work with me on my relationship with food. Iíve paid for a membership at www.leighpeele.com so in a sense you could say I ďhiredĒ her for advice on her forums and the ďmembers onlyĒ materials (which are fantastic, by the way). I recently paid a sports physiology trainer to assess my lifting form to make sure I was doing the New Rules of Lifting movements properly.

All of these solutions have been helpful, in different stages of the process. Iím sure Iíll continue exploring new avenues and looking under rocks and turning over leaves in the future. Iím definitely not too proud to seek help with this. I will do everything in my power to maintain my fitness. If I regain, it wonít be for lack of trying. I'll give you my nutrition tracker when you pry it from my cold, dead hands! LOL

28. What do you do for wellness? For example, to increase emotional, spiritual, or intellectual well-being?
I find yoga helpful, and I need to make more time for it. When Iím doing it regularly (2-3 times per week) everything just seems to go so much more smoothly. My attitude is more relaxed and I take better care of myself. Massages are also very helpful. Not only do they un-knot my muscles, but my brain shuts off and goes elsewhere, which is a welcome break. I get a lot out of attending church on the rare Sundays when Iím not out kayaking. Connecting with a Power greater than myself helps adjust my relationship with the world.

29. There is so much MORE to you than your wellness journey. Please share 10 facts about yourself that aren't related to your weight loss journey, how you eat, or how you exercise.
1) I have two cats, and they walk all over me (especially while Iím trying to sleep).
2) The Holland Tunnel in NYC is named after my grandfather.
3) I like learning foreign languages.
4) I like traveling.
5) I detest housework and weeding.
6) I like blowing glass at a furnace.
7) I have 13 Revolutionary War ancestors and 1 Mayflower ancestor.
8) I have a PhD in genetics.
9) My first email address ended with ď.arpaĒ (pre-ĒinternetĒ as we know it)
10) Despite my dislike of weeding, I love iris.

30. What are you most proud of about your journey towards healthy living during the month of September?
That I didnít throw in the towel or give in to all the cravings I had. That I continued with the New Rules of Lifting even though I did it alone at home in the basement with the support of online friends. That I still fit in my Happy Jeans.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JENNYR0506 9/29/2012 6:16PM

    Following all of the blog entries was super easy with the spreadsheet you managed. Thanks again. I was also happy to see how many of us kept it up.

emoticon Jenny

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ILOVEMALI 9/27/2012 11:08AM

    This was a great way for me to start my day!

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SWEDE_SU 9/27/2012 4:37AM

    thank you for sharing - it is so interesting reading everyone's responses, especially people like you who have accomplished so much!

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ANDASI 9/26/2012 5:08AM

    emoticon I also read New Rules of Lifting and really liked it. Thank you for the book sugestion. I am lifting at home also 2 times a week and really enjoying it so far. I do feel stronger allready after 4 sessions and increasing my protein.

emoticon emoticon

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DALID414 9/25/2012 11:36PM


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BLUE42DOWN 9/25/2012 6:03PM

    These are such a great way to see more than the simple formulas - to see how living the lifestyle works for each other.


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MKELLY72 9/25/2012 1:14PM

    Your blogs are so thorough and insightful. I have really enjoyed reading them, and I've had to start my own spreadsheet to keep track of blogs that I like and address areas of concern for me, so I have resources easily at my fingertips.
Thank you!

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NEW-CAZ 9/25/2012 12:38PM

    emoticon emoticon

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NEW-CAZ 9/25/2012 12:38PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KATHIC2 9/25/2012 10:49AM

  Your insight and success inspire me. Thank you!

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LESLIELENORE 9/25/2012 9:07AM

    emoticon emoticon Getting to the gym to lift weights has fallen by the wayside for the past two weeks for me. I have to get back there and restart lifting!

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SPARKLINGHOPE 9/25/2012 8:19AM


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The year of brushing monsters out from under my kayak

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In my first season of white water kayaking (2010), I kayaked 95 days. Three of them, on three different rivers, were bad ones, where I got significantly hurt, shaken up, or both.

I spent most of 2011 in shoulder rehab, healing after surgery repaired a snowboarding injury.

This year, 2012, I went back to all three of those rivers, and ran them without incident.

One of those rivers was the Dryway section of the Deerfield in Massachusetts. I blogged about that, when it happened. I revisited that river this past June and blogged about it here:

The second river that spanked me in 2010 was the mighty Ottawa in Ontario. I'd run it earlier that summer with no problem, but the second time I went there I had trouble with my roll and was exhausted by swim after swim. I re-ran that river in July and blogged about it:

In 2010 the third river that taught me a lesson gave me a hematoma the size of a grapefruit requiring an ultrasound and I still have a scar on my shin from it. My swim that day was on the first rapid and it was so bad I just got out and went back to the car with my boat. I never even ran it.

That river was the Lower Gauley in West Virginia.

In 1999 someone died in that spot where I swam, because there is a rock you can get stuck under and drown. Fortunately I'd been instructed to swim to the center of the river if I came out of my kayak, and that probably saved my life. This is a dangerous river, in general. One of the rapids I ran three times this weekend killed someone as recently as April.

You don't mess around with the Gauley. You either Bring It, or you Go Home.

Here are some pictures. I'm the one in the pink helmet.

To get down to the river on Friday and Sunday we had to take a set of rickety stairs down a 1000 foot cliff. Carrying our boats.

Here are some photos from the section where I got hurt two years ago:




There were also some calm spots on the river where we could turn around and watch other boats coming down:

Overall it was an excellent weekend, even with the 10-hour drive on each end. It's a beautiful river, and a big white water festival where you are guaranteed of seeing old friends and making new ones.

My scorecard for the weekend? Two runs in my big creek boat (74 gallons). One run in my little play boat (55 gallons). 5 combat rolls. 0 swims. AND NO INJURIES. (I'm most pleased with that last one, actually.)

I'll definitely be back again when I'm an even better boater, and run the more challenging (and even more fun) lines. I'm in no hurry to push myself beyond my limits. I don't have anything to prove.

And also very fun from a Spark People perspective is that I got into a conversation with Stephanie at the hotel desk, and she ended up joining this site!

She would like to be able to do more outdoorsy stuff and she lives in the perfect area to do it. Maybe next year I'll see HER in a kayak, too!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MKELLY72 9/19/2012 3:53PM

    You seem so fearless! Love reading about such adventures!

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LESLIELENORE 9/19/2012 12:17PM

    I think the stairs would have finished me off! I have run anything above a Class II in a kayak, and those made me nervous (but exhilarated), so I am very impressed with your adventures. So glad you didn't get hurt!

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BOOKWORM27S 9/19/2012 9:14AM

    Amazing photos! You're awesome!

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DDOORN 9/19/2012 8:56AM

    Whew! Kudos to vanquishing demons!! Such amazing stuff!


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FARRAH511 9/19/2012 8:50AM


ī®®)) -:¶:-
ł.ēī .ēī®®))
((łł.ēī ..ēī - -:¶:-
-:¶:- ((łł.ēī* Farrah -:¶:-

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SUZYMOBILE 9/19/2012 8:47AM

    Good Lord! The rickety staircase alone would be enough to send me packing back to my car! My hat's off to you!

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CMCBRIDE37 9/19/2012 7:19AM

    Wow my dh kayaks here in FL...my biggest fear with him is alligators and the few times he goes in the calm ocean....don't know how I would feel with white water kayaking (but he has a bunch of weight to lose before he would be in good enough shape to do that). Right now kayaking is relaxing for him and not adrenaline producing.

Loved your feature on the daily blog today. Inspiring for me.

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DRAGONFLY02 9/19/2012 6:48AM

    Very impressive!!! I'm not sure I'm as brave as you, even though I'm an outdoorsy person. I've been white water rafting before, but not kayaking like that. Happy for your accomplishments and NO injuries.

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NEW-CAZ 9/19/2012 2:59AM

    I am impressed, I am not at home in water so I take my hat off to you emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 9/19/2012 2:19AM

    Amazing! I would really like to try it some day but, to be honest, it all sounds so freaking scary to me!!! But the pictures look awesome! It's really impressive! Well done!

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BLUE42DOWN 9/19/2012 2:02AM

    So cool that you spread the Spark on top of all the river-riding!

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SWDESERTLOVER 9/18/2012 9:47PM

    Wow! That is so awesome. I love the pictures. I'm new to kayaking and loving it, but for now I'm not doing anything more than a strong class II (I've done one class III), but maybe someday when I'm more experienced. Looks like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing.

Cindy emoticon

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KATHIC2 9/18/2012 9:41PM

  You are awesome! Having done a little kayaking, I am so im-
pressed and so jealous. You rock!

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SPARKLINGHOPE 9/18/2012 9:40PM

    Impressive! Wow!!

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SNOWYOGA 9/18/2012 9:08PM

    Those are amazing pictures it's like we got to go on the trip with you, but no geting hurt or bug bits! I loved them thanks so much for sharing! You are just emoticon

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Rockstars of Maintenance, Revisited

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just about a year ago I wrote a blog post about a list of successful maintainers weíve been compiling in the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team.

One of our team leaders, TINAJANE76, suggested that I do a new blog post about this list, as a reminder to all of us that not only can maintenance be accomplished, but that weíve got a list of people doing it, right here on Sparkpeople.com. Last year there were 71 people on the list. Now there are nearly twice that number!

It all started in an attempt to celebrate maintenance anniversaries. According to the scientific literature, the rates of regain follow a pattern like other forms of rehabilitation such as addiction treatment. In such cases, the length of time someone has already ďstayed cleanĒ is one of the best predictors of them being able to make the change stick in the future. The same is true in maintaining a weight loss:

- 80% - 95% of people who reach goal weight regain.
- After 2 years of maintenance the frequency of regain drops to 50%.
- After 5 years the frequency of regain drops to 27%!
(see this paper, for example: clinical.diabetesjournals.org/conten

So the point was to keep us focused on those anniversaries - looking ahead to the next one, and then the one after that. Because figuring out maintenance can be challenging. And contemplating doing all this work FOREVER, for the REST OF YOUR LIFE, can be overwhelming.

Itís much more manageable to think about doing it for a week, or another month. Or just another year. And in the process of making it work in these smaller steps, you start to implement the mental shifts and accept the lifestyle changes over longer time periods. And slowly, almost without even realizing it, you reprogram your habits, and over time it actually becomes less of a struggle. Itís the same principle as a Spark streak, but on a scale of years.

In the process of collecting dates to celebrate those anniversaries we ended up with a list that can be sorted in terms of how long people have maintained. You can see it here:

Years Spark ID

24.04 SHIRLEYD1959
8.12 RLC6765
5.29 PEGGYT3
2.91 CAROLZ1967
2.78 LAURIE5658
2.68 MEXGAL1
2.37 LISAW/3
2.24 LEVERB66
1.98 62NVON
1.40 G1NNY7
1.33 MIRAGE727
1.25 MLB570
1.13 NAVYMOM133
1.08 LYNNE118
1.03 JENNYR0506
0.99 2010_IS_MY_YEAR
0.97 KRISZTA11
0.94 BARB_48
0.89 TANYAP71
0.88 KANOE10
0.87 AILEEN5K145
0.74 SUNSHINE20113
0.65 NICOLEVAR5886
0.56 MKELLY72
0.45 PCASEY7
0.33 ABBETG22
0.28 FROGGGY13
0.18 HOLLY255255

This list is tremendously helpful - itís a way we can find members of the Sparkpeople.com community who are living proof that maintenance is achievable. People who can inspire us, and serve as role models.

These people may be a minority here on the site, but they have a huge amount to offer, because they have mastered the one thing all weight losers aspire to - KEEPING the weight off. They have life throwing them curve balls too. And they have setbacks. And they overcome them.

I think if we can figure out how to stay engaged and focused and learn from these people, we can beat those depressing published odds.

85 people on the list (65%) have maintained less than two years.


In the outside world, only 42 of them would manage to keep the weight off. But I think we can beat those statistics, here, with the support of each other.

There are people from a wide spectrum of weight loss. From those who have shed 200 pounds, to others keeping off less than 10. People who just reached goal, and people who have kept the weight off for over 40 years!


(hover your mouse over a dot to see more information)
I just love watching those blue dots march off to the right, one day at a time...

There are other tabs at the bottom of the screen to explore - some of us have been curious about our other stats as a group, such as waist to height ratio, for example. So we have a way for people to enter optional data about their current size and shape, for anonymous graphs.

Group BMI distribution


Group waist to height ratios

Group waist to hip ratios

Group BMI vs % Body Fat

In order to ensure the data are current, we ask everyone to update their information once a year. Sadly, there are a few folks who have stopped checking in:


Every month we email people whose entries are coming up for renewal and those whose have expired, and ask them to re-enter their data. This is an important step with maintenance, too. Because regain does happen, and we want to catch people and help them turn around the trend before it spirals out of control.

A very common response to regain is to feel shame and retreat from the community. This is the worst thing you can do, however, because youíre hiding from your friends and support network just when you need their help the most! Many who have regained according to their own definition are surprised and happy to learn that they are still successfully maintaining according to a scientific definition, ďkept at least 10% of the starting weight off.Ē And sometimes that one piece of validation is all it takes for them to recover their confidence and pull things back together.

If you are maintaining and would like to celebrate YOUR anniversary with us, sign up here!

I also encourage you to join our vibrant team of maintainers and people preparing for maintenance:

And if you'd like to make maintainers more visible and celebrated, one thing you can do is "like" this post so more people will see it (and them).

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUPERSYLPH 8/24/2013 11:56AM


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LAWANDMUSIC 10/22/2012 3:33PM

    I love the records you posted. Congratulations on your analysis, as well!

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POMELO 9/23/2012 8:23PM

  This is a list I want to be able to belong to. Bad grammar perhaps but a good plan.

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CELIAMINER 9/21/2012 7:46AM

    Loved clicking through all the tabs. Thanks for doing all the analysis...seeing the numbers in black and white (and in multi-colored charts) makes things seem more real.

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    great post

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MAUREENV2 9/18/2012 10:58AM

    Wow. thanks for doing all this work. You are amazing. Between you and TinaJane76, you are motivating me to become more active in this team. Thanks again

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EFFRAYECHILDE 9/18/2012 8:54AM


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TRICIAE2 9/18/2012 8:20AM

    I hope to add my name to that list soon!!


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MAMA_CD 9/17/2012 7:30PM

    Very interesting statistics, well done!

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BANDMOM2012 9/17/2012 3:53PM


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IRONBLOSSOM 9/17/2012 2:25PM

    Wow, you guys have put so much work into this! That's amazing! I aspire to be on your list one day too...keep it going for a while, aiiight?

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MISSB8604 9/17/2012 2:08PM

    Absolutely amazing.

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JO28352 9/17/2012 8:38AM


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    so proud to be a member of At Goal and Maintaining. The team is a great source for maintenance and support. Thanks for the excellent blog! I can see there was a lot of hard work put into it. With gratitude, Pat (Self_Respect)

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JEANNIENOKLA 9/17/2012 1:33AM

    emoticon I can't imagine the work it took to compile this Blog, and the Lists that you have included!! Thank You for gathering all of the information in One Place!!
emoticon I reached my Goal Weight in October of 2010. I will be filling out the form and joining the NWCR soon. I just want to get my measurements from the records at Curves.

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_CYNDY55_ 9/17/2012 12:37AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon Maintainer's You All emoticon ROCK!

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NKOUAMI26 9/16/2012 9:38PM


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CAROL494 9/16/2012 9:31PM

  Maintenance is the key for success to become life-long! emoticon

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    Great post

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HILARYMM 9/16/2012 8:26AM

    I don't understand the scientific definition: what does kept at least 10% of the starting weight off mean?

Is that ten percent of your original high weight (in my case, 170 pounds) or ten percent of your weight loss, or what?

Otherwise great informational blog. I think that I need to reconnect with all of you in maintenance. I'm seven pounds from my goal (again -- I slipped up after the last time I lost all my weight.) I need to figure out how to keep maintaining.


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MIRAGE727 9/15/2012 9:50PM

Thank you, Anja! 69 maintenance weeks and going strong! Stay strong and keep living the dream!

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SERASARA 9/15/2012 9:24PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PCASEY7 9/15/2012 9:24PM

    Great blog! I'll come back to it to check out all the other links.

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CAROLISCIOUS 9/15/2012 9:08PM

    So HAPPY to be on this list!

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TERID816 9/15/2012 8:19PM

    Great encouragement for those of us still trying to reach our goal weight.

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MARYJEANSL 9/15/2012 7:34PM

  Sounds like a great team! Someday...

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HYATTI1 9/15/2012 6:03PM

    That is an impressive number...great that they are able to succeed in such a way as to set an example to the rest of us.


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PRESBESS 9/15/2012 2:29PM

    Absolutely Awesome! I love this blog! I must say... I also love seeing my name on the list as well!

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PERIWINKLE88 9/15/2012 2:10PM

    Very well deserved recognition for you this week!


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PACKERMANN 9/15/2012 1:44PM

    wow! i am impressed at the support Spark gives that other programs don't. can't wait to lose the rest of my weight and get to goal so i can join the Maintenance Team!

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60NLOVINIT2 9/15/2012 11:21AM

    just read your blog about losing so much weight... i saw that segment on the today show but did not realize you were from romulus... i grew up in waterloo.. i went to your fingerlakes team but did not see much recent activity... would love to have joined it just to stay in touch with that area... best of luck to you for keeping it off.. i am struggling with my 100# emoticon

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CICELY360 9/15/2012 11:05AM

  Good encouragement

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OHMEMEME 9/15/2012 10:50AM

    Thanks for sharing! My focus from my start has been maintainance and hope to join you soon! I appreciate all the time and effort you have put into this blog and the Spark community. I admire your weightloss and more so, your maintainance. Keep Sparking!

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TDWANDD2MYK9 9/15/2012 10:13AM


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MANILUS 9/15/2012 10:11AM

    Great look at success and support!

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BABYSTEPS123 9/15/2012 9:42AM

    Still losing ... but can't wait to join you! So happy to know you are out there since I fit into the "lost but regained" category. Not this time ... thank to better tools and people like you! Keep up the good work!

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-SHOREIDO- 9/15/2012 9:30AM

    Forgot to subscribe : ) emoticon

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-SHOREIDO- 9/15/2012 9:29AM

    This is so great it should be kept somewhere!! Like a mission statement for Sparkpeople!!
Good job!!

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GOOSIEMOON 9/15/2012 9:17AM


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PENOWOK 9/15/2012 8:53AM

    Wow! That's amazing!! Thanks for all of the work making this blog!

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    emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon

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LEANMEAN2 9/15/2012 7:19AM


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THEIS58 9/15/2012 5:00AM

    Love the maintainers group!

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NEW-CAZ 9/15/2012 2:55AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 9/15/2012 1:34AM

    emoticon emoticon

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CORINA-MOMOF4 9/14/2012 11:16PM

    Great blog! I reached my goal and maintained for 2 full years - only to have a set back (had several procedures and I wasn't able to workout for almost 3 months - well, not working out = picking up the bad eating habits) I gained about 15 pounds - and have since lost it again and now maintained the last several months!! Maintaining, in my opinion, is almost harder than loosing the weight!!

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TREYONE 9/14/2012 11:10PM

  What an inspiration! Thank you!!!

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ROCKYCPA 9/14/2012 11:04PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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CRAZY_KAT_1984 9/14/2012 10:57PM

    Wow! That list is overwhelming and inspiring! I will join it one day!

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BLOOMING52 9/14/2012 10:25PM

    This is great, Thank you,

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30 questions challenge: 11-20

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Iíve joined in on TANYAP71ís blog question challenge.

I donít often manage to post blogs daily, so Iíll be answering questions here when I can and posting them in clumps of 10. In this case, since I won't have access to a computer until next week, I'm going to post some of these ahead of when they're "due."

Itís been fun reading the responses from others, and to help me keep track of them, Iíve made a spreadsheet, here:

(this way Iíll be able to find those posts in the future, even after theyíve been buried by more recent ones)

11. What do you like most about your body? Has what you like most about your body changed as you've progressed towards your goals?
I like the muscles. I like the fact that it can drive me through white water with strong, sure strokes (when Iím focusing on my form, anyway). I like how it can roll a kayak back up when I flip upside down in the water. I like how it looks in the mirror. I like how my favorite pants fit on it. I like how it can lift Very Heavy Weights. These things have been pretty consistently the things I like the most when Iím maintaining successfully.

12. Post a picture of your inspiration. Thinspiration if that's your thing. Fitspiration if that's what you're after. Heathspiration if that's your primary goal. Why is this person inspiring to you?


Dara Torres was 41 when she BROUGHT IT to the 2008 Olympics, winning three silver medals. If she could do that, why canít I, in my mid-40s, lose 186 lbs and take up white water kayaking? Someday I hope to have the skills and strength to run some local class V rivers cleanly and with relish. Indeed, age IS just a number.

13. What has been the hardest life style change you've made for the sake of losing weight, getting fit, or becoming healthier? Any tips for making that change easier?
Staying vigilant, and facing down the occasional creep up in my weight. I have an amazing and unfortunate ability to ignore the writing on the wall until Iíve regained 10 or more pounds above goal range. Iím working on that. One of the things that is helping me is the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team challenges that focus on maintenance. They provide accountability and external pressure to keep on top of my fitness and do something about it soon when it drifts.

14. What life style changes have been easier than you expected? Why do you think that was?
I didnít expect that my depression would be so reduced. For most of the past 20 years I took low levels of Prozac to help control my PMS symptoms. After reaching goal weight I gradually stopped requiring it altogether. Perhaps peri-menopause is helping too, although Iíd expect that it would actually make the symptoms worse, given how hard on the system that transition can be.

15. What is your favorite weight loss, fitness, or wellness blog (or website or magazine) outside of sparkpeople?
I like LeighPeele.com - she has well-written, scientifically accurate, no-nonsense advice about nutrition and fitness. Her free podcasts on iTunes are fantastic. The Binge Series really spoke to me.

16. Do you follow an eating 'plan'? (Vegetarian, paleo, South Beach, Atkins, yada yada yada) How has this helped you live a healthier life?
Iím not sure how youíd characterize what I eat. I get about 30% fats, 30% carbs, and 30% protein. I settled on this via trial and error, based on how I feel and what foods minimize my binge triggers.

My general daily targets are:

150g minimum protein
50g minimum fats
40g minimum fiber
100g maximum sugar

I eat very little grains and added sugar. I like lean proteins, nuts, seeds, Greek yogurt (both with and without fat), leafy greens, and fruits. I eat a fair amount of protein bars when Iím on the road.

17. Do you have any meals/snacks that you repeat over and over? What are they?
For breakfast I almost always have Greek yogurt with some chia or flax seeds, and maybe some textured vegetable protein and/or fruit on top.

18. Do you have a go-to meal for days when you have to be on the go, no time to stop to eat and no refrigeration/cooler available?
Protein bars. Hard boiled eggs. Envelopes of tuna. Toasted almonds. Carbs are easy to get on the road. But the protein can be tough, so I focus on having that available in a pinch. I once wrote a whole blog post about road food:

19. What 'unhealthy' food(s)/drink(s) do you refuse to give up? Any that you have given up completely?
I canít have cheese in the house. Itís just too tempting. I like ice cream, so once a month I go to the local place cayugalakecreamery.com where they make their own from scratch and get a kiddie scoop in a homemade waffle cone. I eat it there, and then Iím done. No ice cream calling to me from the freezer when I get home. I pretty much canít have any snacks or fruit or peanut butter or breads or starches or anything easy to eat at home. Night eating is a particular downfall for me. So I make sure I have exactly what I need around and no more.

20. What are your favorite healthy foods? What healthy foods have you 'discovered' along the way to better eating habits?
In case you havenít noticed, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Greek yogurt. The real stuff, with just milk and lactobacilli in it. Not the stuff with pectins, gelatin, and other junk that some of the commercial brands add. Most of the time I go for the plain flavors because then I can control how much sugar Iím getting. If I want full fat I prefer Simply Greek brand. If I want nonfat Iíll get Wegmans, Fage, Siggiís, Oikos, or Chobani. When I can find it I sometimes get the kind made from sheepís milk. Lowfat (2%) Fage and Chobani are good, too.

Low-fat, and non-fat varieties both often have a great amount of protein in there. Which one I choose depends on whether I want my fats from dairy that day/meal or whether Iím going to go for fats from nuts and seeds. It depends on my mood. I donít like to decide until the day or even the meal Iím eating, because I like to indulge my whims within my allotted calories. It helps keep me from feeling deprived or too regimented.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

1GODGIRL 9/24/2012 12:58PM

    Great blog!

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MINSOSTER 9/18/2012 5:28PM

    I am so impressed with your diet plan. You must fit a lot of plant protein in your diet with quinoa, beans, etc. in order to keep your fats so low. I struggle with that part of it and my protein intake is about 60 g a day. Did your current diet evolve gradually to where it is today?

Off to track my food from today to see where I am. . .


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OHMEMEME 9/15/2012 11:22AM

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for taking the time to share. Inspirational and informative! Please don't ever tire of sharing and repeating yourself...

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MJZHERE 9/14/2012 7:41PM

  I really like reading how people who are maintaining figure out what works for their body and have their own plan. That so encourages me that I am on the right path by listening to my body and doing what works for it.

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MARGARITTM 9/14/2012 10:48AM

    Should kick up the protein and lose some carbs

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BLUE42DOWN 9/13/2012 2:20PM

    I love reading these too. It's just so fascinating to see all the variations amongst us Sparkers.

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BOOKWORM27S 9/13/2012 11:56AM

    Wow, I only get about 50-70 grams of protein a day. Maybe I need to pay more attention to it.

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MKELLY72 9/13/2012 10:01AM

    Such great information! It's great to be reminded from others some of the things that we already know, but kind of wander away from- like easy, go to, portable protein. I forget about tuna packs- I need to stock up again on those!

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WATERMELLEN 9/13/2012 8:54AM

    Such helpful tips. Liked particularly what you said about the reduction of depression with the loss of weight. Of course carrying around all the extra pounds cannot make us feel upbeat and good about ourselves. It helps so much to like what we see in the mirror! The "embodiment" of the "eternal vigilance"!!

Thanks for passing my name along to THESLOWESTLOSER: I did respond and was flattered to be asked!!

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TANYAP71 9/12/2012 8:19PM

    Thank you for the quick food ideas. I need to look at your road food blog too. I've never see anyone eat more protein a day than me. Do you have a hard time getting 150? I aim for 125. I tried for 150 for a bit but it was just too hard to hit. (I'm 30f/30c/40p and try to net 1500-1800 calories a day.)

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LESLIELENORE 9/12/2012 8:12PM

    I just committed myself to training for a sprint triathlon next summer. If I can do that you can tackle those Class V rapids! Age really is just a number. I want to go into my 40s as healthy and happy as possible. You inspire me to reach out and grab the possibilities.

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30 questions challenge: 1-10

Monday, September 10, 2012

Iím joining in on TANYAP71ís blog question challenge.

I donít often manage to post blogs daily, so Iíll be answering questions here when I can and posting them en masse.

Itís been fun reading the responses from others, and to help me keep track of them, Iíve made a spreadsheet, here:

(this way Iíll be able to find those posts in the future, even after theyíve been buried by more recent ones)

1: Your stats. Starting stats, current stats, goal stats. Are you currently trying to lose weight, gain weight, or maintain weight or something else? Do you have a goal for the month of September?
Started at a BMI of 52.56, not sure what % body fat (highest measured was 54.2% after Iíd lost about 30 lbs)
Currently at a BMI of 24.22, approx 20% body fat

Iím right now just outside of my +/- 3% range around 150, so I want to get back in there.

My goal for the rest of September is to get my eating back under control (it occasionally goes off the rails).

2. How did you pick your goal weight? Did you pick an ultimate goal weight at the beginning of your weight loss? Did it change? Did you set smaller goals along the way?
At the beginning I just wanted to get my BMI under 30 (obese). Then I wanted to get it under 25 to see if I could (160 lbs). In the past 6 months Iíve reset my goal weight to hover around 150. When I lost the weight I aimed for a 5% reduction. Then another 5% reduction. And so on.

3. Who have you shared your weight loss goals with? What has been good about sharing your goals?
When I was losing weight I shared my goals with anyone who would listen. It was helpful to have everyone on board. Since hitting goal over 2.5 years ago Iíve slowed down on telling people about my history. Most of them met me after I lost weight and it really doesnít come up unless weíre discussing food or exercise or something like that.

4. What are (or were) your fears about weight loss?
That I wonít be able to keep it off. Over time Iím starting to believe more and more that this process can be learned and is achievable. Iíve stumbled, but Iíve also gotten back up.

5. What is your weight history like? How old where you when you first 'went on a diet'? Have you lost and regained? How is this time different from others?
My first diet was probably when I was 8 or 9. Iíve gained and lost a lot of weight. Most notably I gained and lost over 100 lbs in my 20s, only to regain it all plus almost 100 more. I lost it again in 2009. This time is different because I saw how easy it was to regain before, and Iím determined not to do THAT again!

6. What has been most challenging about maintaining a weight loss (now or in the past)?
In my 20s I was unprepared for the difficulty of maintaining. There is a critical mental shift that needs to happen in order to make it stick. And it takes vigilance and work to keep myself focused, engaged, and doing the behaviors that help me stay fit. Iíve set the bar pretty high for myself, and itís not easy keeping my food and exercise on point. It takes a lot of work.

7. How do you measure progress towards or maintenance? Scale weight? Body fat percentage? How your clothes fit? Other?
Mostly I rely on weighing myself every day and tracking the moving average trend. I also track my % body fat to get a handle on my composition.

I have a couple of pairs of favorite pants that let me know when the number on the scale reflects more than just water gain. And I can tell how Iím doing strength-wise by whether Iím increasing the pounds Iím lifting, over time.

8. What do you think will be different when you reach your goal weight? If you are in maintenance, what did you think would be different? What actually was different?
I wasnít sure what, if anything would be different. It turns out I can eat more. But as I said earlier in #6, I knew it would require a mental shift. I tried preparing for this shift while still in loss mode, and that helped. But over time Iíve had to experiment with maintenance strategies just as I had to experiment with loss strategies. Iím still fiddling with it, trying to figure out what works best.

9. How old are you and do you think your thoughts about weight loss, fitness, and wellness have changed over time?
Iím 46 and with age has come a level of discipline and maturity that I didnít have in my 20s. It is a lot easier to carry through with things when youíre sure of yourself. I was very unsure of myself the last time around. Something about just going around the sun a bunch of times seems to have helped provide the spine and inner strength I lacked before.

10. Why are you working towards the goal you talked about on Day 1? Particular health goal? Size goal? Activity goal? Vanity goal?
Simple survival. I donít want to live my next 40 years the way I lived my previous 40 years. I was suffocating inside a coffin of my own flesh and couldnít physically do things I liked and didnít like how I felt, and didnít like what I saw in the mirror. Life is too dang short to live like that, so Iím going to take the time Iíve got left and live in a way that I like.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKIIBUNNY 9/16/2012 5:02PM

    Thanks for your candid comments. You ARE such an inspiration! emoticon

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SNOWYOGA 9/15/2012 5:09PM

    Great blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 9/13/2012 8:50AM

    That critical mental shift which says you don't want to suffocate within the coffin of your own flesh: powerful words!

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TANYAP71 9/11/2012 3:54PM

    Great blog! I'm glad you've joined in.

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MKELLY72 9/11/2012 12:08PM

    I love your responses to these questions! Very inspiring for a fellow maintainer! I've been inspired to join in the challenge myself.

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BOOKWORM27S 9/11/2012 11:53AM

    Thank you for posting!

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62NVON 9/11/2012 11:52AM

    Awesome, Anja.... You are my hero!

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JENNYR0506 9/11/2012 11:13AM

    So glad you joined us on the blog challenge! Catch up whenever you get the chance. Love hearing your perspective based on experience.

emoticon Jenny

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ANDASI 9/11/2012 12:52AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 9/10/2012 10:13PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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