Thursday, July 18, 2013
I started at 335.6 lbs in 2007, got down to 326.2 in late 2008.
I reached my initial goal weight (under 160) in early 2010.
I have been up and down both above and below 160 several times since then.
I eventually moved my target goal weight to 150 and made 160 my “scream weight.”
Currently my moving average is 12 lbs above my “happy range” between 145.5 and 154.5 (+/- 3% around 150), and 6.5 over my “scream weight” of 160. I haven’t lifted weights regularly in the last four months, and I can tell. This isn’t muscle gain. In fact, according to the BIA trends on my scale, I’ve been losing muscle mass.
While I still am technically maintaining according to some criteria, I’m not happy with where I am at the moment. I’m generally healthy, but not in the athletic shape I was in last year. I wrote last December about why I wanted to get back into my “happy range” and continue getting stronger.
The best laid plans of mice and men go oft awry. Unexpected things happened, some of them very positive. Plans changed. Priorities shifted. I briefly did get back into range this spring but did not stay there.
For the past six months I’ve been treading water, trying to balance my new distractions with moderate food control and a mixture of cardio activities, and it has lead to gradual gains. This "strategy" clearly isn't working. The time has come for action.
So what am I going to do about it?
One option is to decide to be happy right here, where I’m at, and try to avoid gaining any more weight. But I suspect that sort of approach will lead to denial and continued weight creep. I know myself. This isn’t my first rodeo. I gained and lost over 100 lbs in my 20s, and regained them plus almost 100 more in my 30s. That’s how I got to 335.6 in the first place. And deep down inside I am not liking what I see when I look in the mirror. I am not liking that I can no longer wear my favorite pants. My self-esteem is taking a hit here, and that can be more damaging than anything else, in the long run.
Another option is to drop the new positive things in my life and go back to the exercise schedule and food plans I had before. That would give me back the body I want, but not the life I want. I LIKE the new things in my life, and I want to keep them there.
My main problem with the way I’ve been trying to manage my food and exercise is that I have been easily distracted from doing the positive behaviors. There hasn’t been sufficient incentive to skip the cookies on the snack table at contra dances, avoid the chips and beer after kayaking all day, stay out of the dried cranberries and almonds in the bf’s kitchen, take the time to lift, etc. So I think the solution is to set something up to help me stay more engaged with the process.
When I lost 160 lbs in 2009 I did it by making a spreadsheet with a whole bunch of little milestones, such that there was always a new goal and reward just around the corner.
If this strategy worked in the past, then something like it will probably work now because mentally I’m still the same person with the same kind of psychology.
The difference this time is that I don’t want to over-restrict my calories. That leads to bingeing. Losing those last 10 lbs and doing successful body recomposition goes extremely slowly. And over the past six months I have been unsuccessful getting back into my “happy range” partly because the thought of continuing the effort for months is kind of overwhelming.
So my milestones are a lot closer, this time. This is what it looks like:
I have set a mini-goal of losing 1% of my body weight from my recent maximum (167.6). Then another 1%. And so on, until I get under my scream weight (160) and back within my “happy range” (between 145.5 and 154.5). I will use the trend weight from my moving average since that reflects where I actually am, smoothing out water fluctuations.
These mini-goals are measurable and achievable. They are the trail of breadcrumbs I will follow back to my “happy range.” The gap between them is small enough that there’s always another one, if I just go a little bit further.
My rewards will be a new Buff headband each time I get to or below a milestone. I like wearing them to control sweat and keep my hair out of my face during workouts and dances. They come in a bunch of different pretty designs and colors, which is fun.
I will eat between 1500 and 2000 calories per day on my plan:
I will continue the cardio I’ve been doing (a mixture of contra dancing, Tae Kardio, spin class, and kayaking) and add back in lifting 2x per week.
And I will continue to administer and participate in the maintenance challenges in the At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team. teams.sparkpeople.com/maintai
Although I’ve been out of range for the last few of these, the accountability is helpful to me, as is seeing so many of my teammates successfully staying within their own happy ranges.
The fat won’t come off overnight. But I believe the little goals along the way are achievable within every week or two, and that’s what I need to keep myself going over the long haul to get back to where I want to be.
Finding strategies that work is all part of the big process of learning how to keep the weight off. While I’ve definitely gotten better at it over the past 3 years, there is still a whole lot more to learn. I won’t even start to think of myself as a “successful” maintainer until I’ve passed the 5-year mark. And even then I’ll still have to stay engaged, because statistically about 20% of maintainers regain after that point. By that time I hope to have a lot more skills and experience under my belt. And kept less body fat under that belt, too!
Here is a spreadsheet of my progress
and a graph
To see more about using trend weights, visit the Hacker's Diet spark team: teams.sparkpeople.com/hackersdiet
Monday, June 03, 2013
Once upon a time, when I was over 335 lbs, I had a favorite pair of 4x batik rayon pants. The colors were subdued enough to work with my (then) very somber wardrobe of blacks, greys, and dark colors that I thought helped me blend into the background. (Which, honestly, is kind of hard to do when you’re that huge. But I did my best.) I loved them because even subdued, the colors were rich and in places even bright. ish. I got them from Junonia, and they weren’t cheap.
Here is a photo of me in those pants in 2006:
I loved those pants so much that when the inner thighs wore thin and tore I bought two more pairs. And I wore THEM until the inner thighs tore. My plan had always been to somehow cannibalize and mend them so I could have at least one pair of functional pants.
Then life intervened, and I eventually lost the excess weight and the pants lay quietly, forgotten, in a box of fabric. Which I opened about a month ago. And a lightbulb went off. I have taken up contra dancing.
Which means I now like twirly skirts. Which require a lot of fabric. Which isn’t cheap.
Soooo I took those pants and unpicked all the inner seams, leaving the outer seams intact. (The outer seams were securely stitched with Serger overlock, and rayon frays badly, so why undo a perfectly good seam?)
I patched the inner thighs with fabric from the pockets. I turned the legs upside down, made a wedge-shaped pattern that used the old hems as the new waistband, and the widest part including the old crotch for the new hem. I cut 6 wedges out of the repaired leg pieces, and added narrower contrasting wedges from a “blemished” rayon sarong I found on Amazon for $8.95 (it was the best price for rayon yardage I could find anywhere - I looked, and I couldn’t even find what was supposed to be wrong with that sarong).
I fed the appropriate length of “no roll” elastic through the waistband, secured it, and wore the finished product this weekend at a dance. And only a tiny segment of one of my new seams frayed after wearing hard and washing, so I guess I did a good job on that, too. (Combination of zigzag and straight stitch.)
Photo by Zoë Madonna
So how is cool is that? I once again get to wear my favorite rayon batik pants while celebrating the fact that they no longer fit!
UPDATE: If you've got 5 minutes, you HAVE to watch this infectiously fun video of the same contra dance from last year (I’m not in it. But the band and the setting and most of the dancers are the same, and the production values are phenomenal.) Check out the overhead shots of people twirling!
With music like that, how can you NOT want to join in??? LOL
If you want to find out more and try contra dancing, see my previous blog, where there are links
or a team we now have for contra, square, and folk dancing.
Monday, April 08, 2013
A little over a month ago XC ski season was winding down and the rivers hadn’t really thawed enough to kayak on safely. And socially I’ve been a bit of a hermit over the winter, not really getting out there and meeting new people.
So I forced myself to go to a local contra dance, as a way to burn some calories and socialize. There are videos from that dance on YouTube.
I had such a good time I’ve been doing them pretty much weekly, ever since. And I even MET SOMEONE there. We have so much in common enjoying dancing and the outdoors that we eventually decided to become An Item. So, win. It worked beyond my wildest expectations. LOL
A brief search on Sparkpeople.com for “contra dance” turns up no entries in the past year.
This is kind of surprising, given how friendly and inclusive the contra dancing community is - very much in line with the Sparkpeople.com ethic.
So perhaps an explanation is in order (because many may have never heard of it). It’s a form of social North American folk dancing similar to square dancing, but a bit more athletic, and done to live traditional music. It’s family-friendly and usually alcohol-free. You can get more information at this page. www.sbcds.org/contradance/whatis
There are some helpful tips here:
There are dances scattered all over North America, and other places too. You can probably find one nearby:
Or just go to Google and search for your state and the term “contra dance.”
It’s a fun way to spend an evening. Admission at the door is typically between $5 and $10, depending on the event. For some of them, if you bring snacks they will waive admission. You don’t need to know what you’re doing, and you don’t need to bring a partner. Just bring a pair of soft-soled indoor shoes to dance in (so you won’t scratch or mar the wood floor).
You typically pair up with a different partner for each dance (women can ask men as well as vice-versa) and end up dancing with many people, as you and your partner progress down the line (sort of like in the Virginia Reel).
It is a fairly low-level cardio activity (compared with something like spin class), but the calories add up - according to my heart rate monitor I burn about 500 calories at a typical 3-hour dance (including breaks). I try to stay away from the cookies at the snack table (I sometimes bring a protein bar or two), so it’s pretty safe food-wise. Perhaps I will start bringing baby carrots and hummus or sliced bananas as a healthy alternative.
The moves aren’t terribly complicated, and the events are always beginner-friendly, and people will show you what to do and help nudge you in the right direction if you get lost. Sometimes there are lessons half an hour before the scheduled dance begins, so arriving early can be helpful. If you can walk, you pretty much can contra dance. I have arthritis in one of my knees and as long as I wear flats (no heels) it seems to be OK.
And here’s an added benefit - I can get used to how my “new” body moves, and dress it up in fun twirly skirts I find at Salvation Army. As a tomboy most of the time, it’s neat to have an excuse to channel my Inner Femme. And I get used to physical contact with others, in a friendly, non-threatening format.
As someone who likes traditional acoustic folk music, I also find it enjoyable to hear (and dance to) live Irish, English, and Old-Time tunes played on guitars, fiddles, and other instruments (one recent band had a didgeridoo).
So, if you haven’t tried it before, I encourage you to give contra dancing (or any other form of folk dancing) a shot. You have nothing to lose, and you might find a new way to enjoy burning some calories with your friends and family. You might even make NEW friends.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
BREWMASTERBILL has been bugging me to do a 1 rep max test so I inserted one into my lifting schedule.
Since I usually lift at home alone in my basement, I generally do the 18 or 24 reps that the New Rules of Lifting for Women has prescribed.
I'm visiting my sister (HAVASUROSE) in AZ at the moment and this afternoon visited her local gym to get some real 1 rep max numbers, in a place where there were folks who could spot me, or at least call 911 if something went wrong. LOL
I used this form to estimate the numbers based on the last time I did any of these lifts in the NROL4W program: www.strstd.com
Here were the results:
1) Squat first.
6x 115lb as a warmup
175 (barely got up, so called it)
The original sheet estimated I had 158 in me. So, WIN.
According to strstd.com I'm intermediate at this.
2) Bench second
6x 75 lb as a warmup
95 (almost got it but the spotter "helped" so I tried again)
95 (almost, but just couldn't quite get it up)
90 (all me)
The original sheet estimated I had 103 in me. So, FAIL.
According to strstd.com I'm a novice at this.
3) Deadlift third
6x 135 as a warmup
190 (harder but doable)
195 (hard but doable)
I probably had 200 in me but the spotter said he thought I'd done too
many today to get a fair test.
The original sheet estimated I had 182 in me. So, WIN.
According to strstd.com I'm intermediate at this.
4) Overhead press fourth
6x 65lb as a warmup
80 (almost made it but weakness in repaired shoulder stopped me)
75 (all me)
The original sheet estimated I had 98 in me. So, FAIL.
According to strstd.com I'm a novice at this.
Not surprised at the results given a number of factors:
1) I used to carry around 250-350 lbs or so for most of the last 20
years so every time I sat down and got up was a squat. DL same
2) Repaired shoulder (rotator cuff surgery in 2011) is clearly still not at 100%
3) NROL4W just started having me do bench presses, and there have been overhead presses only once in the program so far.
These results make me think that the next time NROL rotates back
around to DL and Squat, I need to increase the weight by a LOT.
Also, I think it's pretty cool that I can now deadlift more weight than I've lost off my body.
Anyway, just thought you guys might think this was a fun idea too.
Sunday, January 13, 2013
Enjoyed catching up with NIMNIX, WOLFKITTY, and GEE-KNEE this evening after hours.
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