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Maintenance Goals

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

I have been struggling with the transition to maintenance. My BMI dropped below 25 in December and my moving average BMI at physicsdiet.com dropped below 25 on January 9. While I've reached two goals (body fat less than 25% - in fact it's under 20% and BMI under 25), I still have one goal to go and that's to get my moving average weight to 150. That will give me a comfortable buffer between where I'm trying to stay and the boundary of a BMI under 25.

On the one hand I don't have my weight LOSS goals as hard in my mind anymore, and on the other hand I haven't started the maintenance clock yet. So I'm in a sort of limbo. This is a problem because I am highly goal-oriented and now that I'm off the hardcore weight-loss fast track, I'm not sure what to do with myself. I've been halfheartedly trying to get to 150 but have been experiencing episodes where I eat more than I need to, and sometimes don't even log it.

Today I decided to declare myself officially on maintenance for the purposes of keeping my BMI below 25 in order to give myself a pat on the back for keeping it there for two months. And in two days I will get a REWARD. I get to pick out TWO of the buffs I've been saving for the purpose.

That's 56 days, 8 weeks, 17% of a year, and 3 1/3 % to my goal of keeping it there for five years.

In other words, I have 58 months to go on my 60-month countdown clock.

Why five years?

Because according to the research studies
(McGuire 1999 psycnet.apa.org/index.cfm?fa=buy.opt
that's when I'll have the opportunity to be among a fortunate 70+% in the NWCR who are likely to stay within 5 lbs of goal for another year. Below 2 years of maintenance only 50% of NWCR subjects are likely to stay at goal weight.

Of people who have maintained their weight for 15-20 years, 80% are likely to stay at goal in the following year. So you see, the longer you stay at goal, the better you get at it, and the more likely you will be able to stay there. And despite the odds, I plan on being one of those that do.

I am not in maintenance yet for the purposes of lowering my average weight to 150 and will get a big ole' reward for that when I get there - probably a wetsuit and a brand new sea kayak.

Once I get my average weight to 150 my "scream weight" will be 153 for the average and 155 for the actual number on the scale. I will continue to weigh myself every day. If I go over either of those numbers under any circumstances it will be time to punch the numbers down by eating more carefully and exercising more diligently.

And the maintenance clock will continue to tick. Every month that I maintain I will get another reward. At the 2 year mark I will get something Really Nice. Maybe a trip, or something. I will start saving now.

At the 5 year mark I'm going to get something really really really nice. I don't know what, yet, but it's going to be Good.

3/5/10 - woo-hoo! I did it! 2 months down. 58 to go...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

L3DESIGNS 3/16/2010 1:03PM

    Thanks for this! I am now reaching maintenance - although I`d like to lose another 10lbs, I`m definitely starting to thing about maintenance and what it means and how to achieve it.

Great work.

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PEGETSMALLER 3/7/2010 12:05AM

    Amazing thought process! Thank you for being a role model and sharing your thoughts.

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LKG9999 3/6/2010 10:58AM

    Thanks for posting this blog. Like you I am pretty close to my final goal weight and struggling with motivation for these last few pounds. Limbo is definitely a good way to describe it! Like you I want some "wiggle room" from the top of my BMI range, but I'm not aiming to go much more than 10 pounds below it. But I think you have a good point about maintenance starting when we crossed over into a healthy BMI.

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LAFTERSFREE 3/4/2010 9:56PM

    i really really like your strategy for the countdown for maintenance. it makes it very real that maintenance is CONTINUOUS hard work TOWARDS a goal. I'm a while away from maintenance, but I haven't heard anyone discuss it quite this way before. I've always thought of maintenance as the easy part when you don't have to work as hard, but as it turns out, maintaining weight loss can be the hardest part of the process. Being aware of those success percentages and viewing maintenance as a time-frame oriented goal definitely puts it into focus and makes it more concrete. Yes, yes, yes, u will certainly deserve something Really Really Good. Thanks for sharing this insightful post! emoticon

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GRACEFULIFE 3/4/2010 1:56PM

    I've a ways to go before maintenance but I suspect that there is a stronger (or at least more useful) correlation between commitment to monitoring than there is to time of maintenance, and the same with motivation. My feeling is that once you learn how to bring your weight / BF% down, you still need to track the output in order to know how much of those skills to apply and verify you aren't sliding. Higher time probably correlates well with those who are very committed to monitoring and to those who set up their lives to support their commitment and maintain their motivation.

Personally in the past, my weight slides down when I am watching it and usually though not always up when I am not. And I don't see how I could watch myself gain weight unless I'd lost all commitment and motivation - which has happened before. So I feel like my task now is to figure out how not to lose commitment and motivation, and to keep monitoring. The skills to support that are key of course, but should become pretty habitual by the time I get to maintenance.

Of course there is a huge discussion here somewhere about studies / numbers in the aggregate vs. individual cases, etc etc etc. That's a discussion for another place, but suffice it to say that when anyone says to me "oh that's normal" my answer is "my goal is NOT to be normal, my goal is to excel".

Thanks for posting the research, and great job on your loss, research, commitment, and all!

And might I say, hooray for the Oxford comma. *grin*

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FLYFIGHTER 3/4/2010 9:47AM

    thanks--i just learned something new!!!

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DAMOTIVATION 3/4/2010 8:09AM

    Hey, you have come such a long way! Fantastic achievement.

I share your desire to maintain for the long haul. I don't get too hung up on the failure statistics. Every person is different. I also like the "keep it in check" approach. It's so easy to let all that hard work slip away. Constant reminders of where I was are the best motivators for me.

I hope to waltz into my 50s right around where I am now (or even better!). Whatever works for you -- go for it.

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CARRIE1948 3/4/2010 8:02AM

    I love the fact that you're so focused. I need to start thinking about some of this and just can't bring myself to yet.

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MOM5INFL 3/4/2010 7:18AM

    Congratulations on reaching maintenance!!! I needed to stop the madness as well. Getting fixated on a number that is difficult to reach can lead to additional stress, which obviously not good for getting to your goal of 150. If 150 happens great, if not then it's ok because you are more than healthy!!! Again, congratulations!!! You ARE at maintenance!!! Yay! Birdie.

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BAGGYPANTS5 3/4/2010 3:41AM

    Wow! your before and after pics are fantastic! You should have a real sense of achievement. You look lovely now. You certainly deserve those wings!I look forward to being a maintainer. After all, we didn't do all this work for nothing.
Well done you!

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TELERIE 3/4/2010 2:08AM

    I love it! So good to have you leading the way for the rest of us! I'm going to borrow some of your ideas when I get there.

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JAY75REY 3/4/2010 2:07AM

    Good strategy and thoughts. Thanks for sharing them.

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KAELIE 3/3/2010 11:28PM

  Thank you so much for posting this. I'm a newbie on my healthy lifestyle journey, but I have noticed that a lot of research numbers and percentages get thrown around about maintenance - even though I have a way to go - my mind had gone to that place and I knew that eventually I would need to address a plan for maintenance. I'm highly motivated by the numbers on the scale going down right now, and by just how much better I feel, but I'm no dummy - I know I will reach a point where I'll be wondering "what next". I'm goal-oriented, and was wondering how to adjust and what to do then - again, it is not something I need to address right now, but I do appreciate your insight. I applaud you for reaching your goals *and* for addressing how you are going to continue to monitor, adjust, and reward yourself. I also selfishly hope you will stick around Sparkpeople to pass on your knowledge and wisdom to those of us who are where you have already been :)

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DDOORN 3/3/2010 11:21PM

    Great to keep setting one's sights on bigger and better goals and rewards...!

Maintenance is surely THE MARATHON to end ALL marathons...!

We're all in this to WIN, for SURE! :-)


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Be your own superhero!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

...my mother always DID say that I was impossible... LOL

Seriously, though, I actually put this image on my iPod's wallpaper so it's the first thing I see when I turn it on to log anything (food, weight, exercise). It helps me remember that I have a soul inside my machine (body) and that soul has an identity and it can soar.

The body itself can do a lot of things it couldn't before, not the least of which is sitting with my legs crossed! LOL

I can fit into a bathtub now, and have rediscovered the Long Soak as a non-food reward. I highly recommend Kneipp herbal baths - lots of fragrance and no weird residue on me or the bathtub. My favorites are lavender, hops, and melissa.
There's almost nothing better than listening to Pandora streaming new age instrumental while submerging in a hot, fragrant bath... Almost makes me feel like I'm back home in CA, LOL

I'm going XC skiing this afternoon with CARRIE1948 and DDOORN and maybe some others from the Binghamton and Finger Lakes teams. I couldn't have done that comfortably a year ago.

And I've got MUSCLE. Lots and lots of MUSCLE. Yesterday I was working with my trainer at the YMCA and we noticed that I have definition in my shoulders now that even SHE doesn't have!

So I've replaced the "security" of my fat suit with a muscle suit, and it feels familiar and protective, but SO MUCH BETTER. And it looks a whole lot better, too! hehehe

When I joined Spark People last March I never got around to creating a vision collage. So after reading the Spark Book (TM) I made an electronic one on flickr, in the form of a photoset.

Like my iPod wallpaper, it helps remind me of where I am, and where I'd like to be. And that helps keep me motivated to continue starring in my very own personal graphic novel.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 3/9/2010 9:52PM

    Traded a fat suit for muscle suit - - - I LOVE that thought.
You're awesome.

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GRACEFULIFE 3/4/2010 2:04PM

    Linda Hamilton from T2... love it! Great set!

I just made a collage yesterday, it's in my pictures! :)

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    Don shared this link with me. You're among his super heros! Now, mine too. I really resonate with your hot herbal soaks (thanks for that link!) and feeling MUSCLE and seeing DEFINITION! Even after I'd lost weight, for the longest time I was still as soft as the Pillsbury Dough Boy. No longer! emoticon

Your Vision Collage is fabulous. I do hope you consider joining the team, for you would benefit others, not only in who you are, but the process by which you made your Vision Collage. (I am continually impressed with the creativity on Spark!) I also wanted to share a SoulCollage card I made a couple of years ago, because it SO reminds me of your iPod wallpaper. Here's the link:
emoticon for sharing your journey!

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TDEMJANEC 3/3/2010 9:12AM

    Hi. Loved your success story. Kudos to you for such an accomplishment, that being such a transformative and wonderfully healthy lifestyle change! Not to mention that you look fab!

Came across your profile while I was searching for people in the Ithaca area. My daughter and I spent last summer up there and are planning to do the same this summer. Would love to meet up with a fellow Sparker!


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    That's a great title for a book!

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TELERIE 2/28/2010 8:16AM

    I haven't done a vision collage yet, but a slide show sounds like a cool idea! Loved yours! Thanks for sharing. I became The Amazing Whipped Lash! :) emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 2/27/2010 8:51PM

    I want to be like you!!! I've now replaced the fat suit with a flab suit, but I want a muscle suit like you!! Thanks for the inspiration. -Marsha

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KAYOTIC 2/27/2010 6:52PM

    What a fun blog! I got to make a superhero, and watched the slide show, great ideas!

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JAY75REY 2/27/2010 4:39PM

    the slideshow was awesome, just like you! thanks.

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LAFTERSFREE 2/27/2010 1:58PM

    ur slideshow was cool, thanks for sharing. and congrats to you on forming those shoulder muscles!! hard work pays off, definitely :)

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BAGGYPANTS5 2/27/2010 11:53AM

    Liked your slideshow. How do you go about growing wings? I've always wanted to fly.

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CARRIE1948 2/27/2010 10:16AM

    Cool slide show.

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FLYFIGHTER 2/27/2010 10:10AM

    thanks for sharing the herbal bath and flickr ideas! i loved your slide show.


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DDOORN 2/27/2010 9:46AM

    What a crazy cool way to do a Vision Collage!

Love your thoughts, love the idea of a slideshow collage...I think you might have given me an idea on how I might at long last attempt a vision collage for myself!



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GEE-KNEE 2/27/2010 9:16AM

    It's cool to have muscle, and it probably is better than a fat suit for protection. You are a superhero. Have fun skiing.

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FRECKS96 2/27/2010 8:09AM

    Awesome! I love your photos, especially the kayak one. Be sure to let me know when you plan a trip there!

Have fun today!

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Wow, I'm really dense!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yeah, we already KNOW I can be dense in the mental arena, LOL.

But what I'm talking about is my mass/volume ratio.

Because tonight I was swimming my laps after water aerobics and wondered why, sometimes in the shallow end, when I was slow on my flip turn, why I would sometimes find myself sitting on my butt on the bottom of the pool after exhaling.

So once I finished I did a little experiment. I laid on the surface and let out my air. Woosh. I landed on the bottom. I held my breath down there for a little bit to see if I'd come back up. Nope. So I stood up.

And then I told the lifeguard I was going to try this in the deep end, just to find out if I really was sinking.

And I went down there over by the ladder and did the same thing. And I sank like a stone. It was so fast I actually got a little scared and started swimming back up before I hit the bottom (12 ft). My ears were even feeling the pressure.

Dang. Now I think I understand why some people are afraid of water, especially deep water. It would be kind of scary to find myself at the bottom down there and what if I didn't have the energy to pull myself back up to the top and wanted to breathe? Yikes.

Last time I was that deep (about 18 months ago) I swam down to retrieve a piece of the underwater vacuum for the lifeguard. I was so buoyant that they had to put down a pole so I could pull myself down the last few feet using my arms, because I just couldn't swim against my own tendency to bob back up.

This time I think if I went down there again, I'd ask for a pole so I could pull myself UP, if necessary! Heck, if I could hold my breath long enough, I could probably walk around down there.

Bizarre. This whole physical metamorphosis is just bizarre. In some ways it's almost as weird as waking up one morning shaped as a cockroach. LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN_01 3/15/2010 1:26PM

    I am really buoyant and have always been. Always joked the reason being is that fat floats on water!! :P
I can't imagine reaching goal and going back into the water and finding myself sinking.

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ALYFITN 3/8/2010 4:31PM

    i went through swim lessons with my four kids and my boys had a dread of the water. the instructor claimed 'everyone can deadman's float' - but not my boys. i explained to them the instructor was wrong - they had no fat.

nice blog--archy and m

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STEVIECAT4 2/25/2010 4:18PM

    Hey! I never thought about that!!! Not enough fat to float. No wonder I had trouble floating in our pool when I was in my teens. I was very slender. You're amazing the stuff you figure out!!!

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GRACEFULIFE 2/24/2010 4:37AM

    Yeah! I had this for a long time in my life, including when I learned to swim! I never figured it out until I was in college, though, and someone didn't believe me when I told them I was darn near negatively buoyant. So I blew out my breath, and just sat on the bottom of the pool for about 20 secs (shallow end). It was uncanny how I could just blow out and sink like a stone.

In recent years it got so that I was just barely negatively buoyant if at all, and I had to expel all my air very hard to get enough out to be even slightly negatively buoyant. I may have turned that around by now, though - I rarely swim these days.

Another childhood memory of mine... at the YWCA in swimming class, where I had a rather rotund female swimming instructor who was trying to teach me to tread water. I was in single digit ages, a little runty kid. We went to the deep end and she held her legs motionless beneath her, fingers pointing up just out of the water... and floated with her entire face above water. "See? Look how easy.. no problem!" There I was... just barely able to keep my face above water if I didn't use my arms like crazy. That's why to this day I like to tread water with a frog kick rather than a flutter kick ... much more propulsive force to keep my darn head above water! I was always much more powerful at the frog kick anyway... who knows why. Then there's this whole matter of them telling me to do frog kick differently as an early teen... but that's a whole other story.

Congratulations on your transformation, and just remember that you might not float as well alone now, but you sure couldn't have done an endo in that boat before. Hooray for kayak tricks! Check out this crazy paddle throw move: http://www.youtube.com/watch#&v=KDn

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KAYOTIC 2/23/2010 10:29PM

    It is a strange feeling not to float easily! Used to be quite buoyant myself, not anymore!

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ISLANDGIRL2013 2/23/2010 9:30AM

    That's the first Kafka reference I've seen here at SP! Is it odd that when I hear the word metamorphosis, I think of cockroaches?

Hmm, I'm planning on going snorkeling when my DD2 comes down to visit later this week. It will be interesting to see if I can dive down to pick up a shell. I used to not quite make it to the shell before I would bob back up. emoticon

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DACIUS 2/23/2010 9:21AM

    You are sinking like a lead weight.

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GEE-KNEE 2/23/2010 7:54AM

    I know what you mean. I noticed last summer how much harder it was to float. I could have fallen to sleep back floating before, and it would all be cool. I had a really hard time with that during the summer. I get the how odd all these changes can feel. It's almost surreal sometimes.

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CARRIE1948 2/23/2010 7:30AM

    Funny the weird changes this brings about. Who would have thought about bouyancy?

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_RAMONA 2/23/2010 1:05AM

    Okay... I need an explanation.... I actually sink like a stone even now. Does that mean I likely still have pretty good muscle mass? If this is an acurate indicator, it supports what I've always believed... my BMI isn't as high as my weight might indicate. I need to get this professionally assessed!

Shaped like a cockroach?!!! How about a butterfly, or a praying mantis? Something lovely and colourful, lol!

I do agree with you about the journey, though.... it is one heck of a ride!

{{{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}

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DDOORN 2/22/2010 10:33PM

    Yep, noticed that very thing also the last time I was swimming. It is strange after a lifetime of being so buoyant, sinking like a stone....!


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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 2/22/2010 10:32PM

    LOL. Not so weird that Kafka didn't think of it first...

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MEESHPEZ 2/22/2010 10:30PM

    Hey body change is good and it sounds like you are working hard. Way to go. A cockroach would be weird. emoticon

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Dissecting the weight management literature at Second Helping Online

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

I've started writing columns over at secondhelpingonline.com, that will look at the scientific articles regarding management of weight post-loss.

With RUSSLANE's help the writing over there is much more polished and concise than the raw uncut versions of what you see here....

The first "intro" column just went up today!


Next up over there: a tour of the concepts and terminology of weight management and illustration of them using a sample dataset of former Biggest Loser contestants.

EDIT: You can read the column here:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 2/24/2010 6:47PM

    Great first column! RUSSLANE is a hero: he totally gets that MAINTENANCE is what it has to be all about. I'm determined to stay in the 6% group and want all the info I can get about how to do just that.

And: wish that SP -- as wonderful as it is -- devoted just a little more focus to MAINtaining (the main thing) and not just losing!

Comment edited on: 2/24/2010 6:48:18 PM

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WALKINGANNIE 2/24/2010 5:21PM

    Thanks. It's great that someone is writing about this issue. There's a real need for it. I'll be checking on updates and hoping that I never need to put the weight loss theories into practice again.

Congratulations on your achievements.

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CAROLJEAN64 2/23/2010 12:35PM

    I love that we have taking maintenance as seriously as we took weight loss. I realized that many of the focus and goal setting that was part of the loss needs to be revamped for maintenance. For instance, six months from now I will weigh between 125 and 130. Steps along the way: Alter my exercise routines so my body stays healthy. It's not just not eating the doughnut, it's maybe sometimes eating 1/2 of the doughnut and still loving yourself.

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RUSSLANE 2/23/2010 8:12AM

    Guys, I can't tell you how excited I am for Angela to be on board the Team. We've been talking all the time. The energy is just amazing, let alone the finished product -- it's a blast editing someone as driven as Ms. Angela. We've got something really special going.

By the way, if you're tired of the way weight loss is *usually* discussed, or realize it's not helping people's lives in the long term (which is what truly matters, IMHO), give Angela or myself a holler.

Second Helping Online was created not because we're internet/cooking/weight loss experts, but because it simply needed doing. And The Actual Experts, for whatever reason, just weren't doing it.

The Team is just banding together and pooling our individual skills toward a larger goal. It's criminal to us that there's so much support for weight loss, only then to be ignored when you've hit goal and you're "cured."

Maintenance is not to be trifled with. There's not only figuring out exactly *how* to maintain your weight, there's all the adjustments/transitions of thinking of yourself and your life differently -- and how differently even loved ones can treat you. Once you hit goal, where do you go from there?

So no matter what you think you can or can't do, give us a holler and come play. :-)

Grats to Ang, and thank you to everyone checking out what Second Helping is up to!

Comment edited on: 2/23/2010 8:30:18 AM

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4MYBOYSANDSELF 2/18/2010 7:58AM

    Thanks! I've bookmarked this site for when I do need it!

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DDOORN 2/17/2010 8:49PM

    Can't have TOO many maintenance resources...thx for pointing the way AND contributing to their collective efforts! :-)


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KIMBEEJ16 2/17/2010 10:26AM

    Interesting site! I signed up for it and will check it out. With about 10 lbs to go, I want to start thinking about maintenance NOW and getting my mind set established early. I am so determined to be in the 6% who keep this off permanently. Thanks for the extra help and motivation.

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KAYOTIC 2/17/2010 9:49AM

    Can't wait to check this out!

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DIAMONDFOOLER 2/17/2010 9:36AM

    This is great. Being just 20 pounds from my goal, i was wondering how I keep it off this time...maybe you can give me some insights and plans...
Can't wait!
emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 2/17/2010 8:52AM

    Fascintating! I'll go check it out. Best of luck with this undertaking. I want to know so much more about how to keep off this 80 pounds. I've reached goal 8 times, and want this to be the last time. Thanks for your efforts!

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The Demons are Still There...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

In my last blog I outlined my meal plan for Friday. CHANGEDIN09 asked why I chose a whey shake for dinner rather than a more typical meal.

The short answer is that I find it convenient to have a shaker bottle made up with everything I need in it so I can just add water, mix it up and drink it on the drive home (the sooner you get your protein after a workout, the more effectively it supposedly goes into rebuilding your muscles).

The long answer is that I do not trust myself to eat sensibly at home alone at night. Generally if I've had all my calories by the time I get home after my evening workout, I can consider the food in the kitchen off-limits and I'm "safe."

If I try to eat "dinner" it sometimes stretches into something else. Namely an uncontrolled binge. Sometimes this happens even if I have eaten all of my calories, as I did on Friday. This usually depends on whether there are eating triggers setting off the behavior.

In fact, it DID happen on Friday evening, with catastrophic results for Saturday. Inspiried by MOM5INFL's blog transparency, I am going to outline what happened. And the consequences.


When I got home on Friday I did my usual routine of shower etc. and found that I was home earlier than usual (around 6 pm). I began to plan my meal for Saturday, allowing for an estimated 3 hours of cross-country skiing with CARRIE1948. I was really excited about this, as I hadn't skiied in at least 15 years.

I don't think I've *ever* skiied in the kind of physical shape I'm currently in. My brother taught me in high school and we would go on trips in the Sierras. I even owned a pair of skis in my 20s. A friend at work recently upgraded to a longer pair so I bought his, and outfitted myself with poles, bindings, and boots. I was anxious to try my new gear and to find out if I still knew how to use it, LOL.

So anyway, back to Friday evening. I began planning my meals for Saturday. My iPod tracker automatically updates the daily caloric requirements depending on the exercise you put in. Three hours of cross-country skiing apparently burns a LOT of calories. So my Saturday calorie allocation was going to be freakishly high. I planned out all the apples, tangerines, whey shakes, protein bars, etc. for the day and was actually finding it difficult to figure out what *else* to add in.

This made me almost giddy, as it is opposite from my usual meal-planning experience of shaving calories here and there to stay within the limits. I think this mind-set contributed to what happened later.

It was still early in the evening so I made a pot of herb tea and settled in to watch an episode of Parks and Recreation on Hulu. It finished and I began watching the latest episode on there of The Office. Partway through I started getting urges to eat. Remembering that TV is an eating trigger for me, I turned off the computer and started reading.

After a point I remembered that I had some DVDs waiting to watch, and I reasoned that as long as I had the herb tea with me I would be OK. This was a mistake. Partway through It Happened One Night, I got urges to eat again. And the rationalizations started. "I'm going to need a lot of energy tomorrow. I've stocked up on apples. Surely it won't hurt to have an apple while watching this movie."

And I went and got an apple. And then a tangerine. And then I decided I needed some protein to go with it, so with the next THREE apples I had EIGHT Weight Watcher's cheddar pieces, an ENTIRE WHEEL of Laughing Cow Extra Light cheese (from the UK), some Laughing cow Light cheese (from the US), SIX protein bars, an entire unopened bag of beef jerkey that had been sitting in my kitchen since April, and most of a bag of dried blueberries.

I didn't put it in the tracker at the time. I wrote the weights of the fruits on a piece of paper and saved the wrappers from the packaged foods. That's part of this behavior. I know I don't want to be doing what I'm doing, and so I don't want to actually know what I'm doing in terms of numbers while I'm doing it. In fact, I only just now calculated the totals.

Final damage from the binge? 3411 calories. 503 g carbs, 83 g of fat, 241 g of protein, and 7330 g of sodium.

That does not include the rest of the food for the day.


And of course I felt bad about it, not just physically, but emotionally. Because I had just mentioned on my thread with STEVIECAT4 that I was going to try really hard to avoid binging this weekend.
And scared that I'd have a reflux episode overnight, because that's what sometimes happens when I overfill.

Fast forward to Saturday morning. No reflux episode, but I had what felt like a rock in my stomach and skipped breakfast. CARRIE1948 and I found the cross country ski place, got gear for her, paid for the lesson and trail passes, and started having a group lesson with two other people.

I rapidly discovered that my skiing chops were all there, and with my new athetic body I was stronger and more agile than I have ever been with a pair of boards stuck to my toes. I happily scooted around and around the oval-shaped practice area, sometimes doing diagonal stride, and sometimes refreshing my skating stride (remember, I hadn't skiied for 15 years. There *wasn't* "skate skiing" back then. Skating was just something you did to get around. In long skis. Like the 190cm ones I had on. LOL)

I was amazed to see how many calories my HR monitor said I was burning. I felt great. I took off my jacket I was so warm. I got some tips from the instructor to improve my skills. I started feeling a pang now and then in my stomach and assumed it was hunger and decided to wait and address it when we were going to break after an hour.

After an hour of this I was definitely a little fatigued, but I felt good and was ready for lunch. Put water into a shaker bottle and began to drink a whey shake. And suddenly my stomach just cramped up and rebelled. It felt worse and worse. CARRIE1948 asked if I felt OK, and I said "no" and shuffled off to the bathroom. Where (I hope this isn't too graphic) about half of Friday's binge exited rapidly the standard direction.

I shuffled back, still faint. Not only did I feel physically bad (it was sort-of like reflux but sort-of like something else, and it REALLY HURT), but I felt really sorry because this was going to ruin not only MY day, but Carrie's, and we'd both paid for an entire day's pass, and she'd paid for a day's ski rental. So I broke it to her that I felt like I needed to go, and did she mind driving my car (which is a stick), and this is the kind of situation in which you find out who your real friends are, because she was great about it.

We got back to her place, I rested a bit, used the facility, and at that point the OTHER HALF of Friday's binge exited, and it came back out the way it had gone in, which is always unpleasant. (Sorry about the graphic image) I felt terrible. The pain came and went in waves. I just wanted to be home, where I could curl up in my bed, and take periodic hot showers to distract myself from the pain. I felt cold. I was shivering. I felt faint. But I really wanted to be home.

So I eventually told her I needed to go. And the next 40 minutes felt like two hours. I'm not sure how I got home. I'm pretty sure I shouldn't have been operating a motor vehicle. The car in front of me was annoyingly slow, and I followed them almost all the way.

But I made it and basically collapsed. I alternately huddled in bed and took hot showers and baths and moaned in pain. At some point I suddenly felt really really thirsty and something clicked. I hadn't drunk any water during that hour of skiing. Jerky contains an insane amount of sodium. I was probably dehydrated.

So I made up a mug of Nuun, added some sugar, and drank it. It hurt my stomach, but I started feeling a bit better mentally. For the next several hours I slowly nursed water and electrolytes back into my system. The pain moved into a different part of my stomach. I kept waking up with pangs and growling.

At this point I realized I must also be hungry, but I was afraid to eat anything because of the additional reflux pain. Eventually around 5am I pared and sliced up an apple and microwaved it and ate it. It didn't come back up, but the pain was still there. I had 50 g of frozen pureed peaches, also microwaved. That also stayed down.

And so my system slowly recovered. I was able to eat half of a small pot of homemade chicken and barley soup today. As I write this the pain is mostly gone, although I'm still exhausted.

And I hope - HOPE - that this time the painful physical and emotional consequences of Friday's binge will make enough of an impression to stop me in my tracks the next time I get those urges. (The last reflux episode was in May.)

The urges to eat might always be there. But for now I know I am simply not ready to handle the challenge of evening TV viewing or eating. Because once I start I do not seem to be able to stop eating. And my new athletic body, finely tuned to a controlled high-protein low-fat diet, has indicated very clearly that it will not stand for such abuse any more.

UPDATE: Here is a later blog post I wrote about minimizing binge triggers:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAREN91 12/16/2012 9:22AM

    I too have binge eating problems but I never have physical consequences other then feeling too full and gaining weight. Even though its unpleasant I almost wish I did because it might stop me. I loved your posting about strategies to avoid bingeing which I have read and will reread. emoticon

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BAPSANN 10/22/2012 11:27AM

  This is exactly what I do, I do really well during the day but home is a monster and I do not know how to control it.

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ANDASI 8/29/2012 3:54AM

    Well i have experienced this for sure but have never seen it in writting and it really hits me as i read it seeing it in black and white the abuse we can put our bodies through and that is what it is.

Reading it brings me back to the feeling of such pyshical discomfort and how uncomfortable it is and that i did it to myself.

It sure brings things to light i have never spoken to anyone about binge eating but reading about an episode just opens my eyes.

I am thinking that the next time i binge i will write it all down for myself so as not to forget the feeling of sickness i create for myself.

It happened to me this morning at the gym waking up feeling so heavy in my stomach and then doing my run oh it was not fun. I could not eat for a few hours even after working out my stomach still had so much in it.

Thank You for the openess and honesty and transperency binging makes you feel so isolated sometimes at least it does for me because i am very secretive about it and would be terrified if people knew. And it also shocks me as to how much food i can eat in one sitting.

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TIFFANIE150 7/24/2012 4:24PM

    Best description ever of a binge Thank you for sharing!

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VIVIANJ5 2/25/2010 6:32AM

    I can empathize with both the physical and the emotional consequences of the bingeing, and am grateful that you are willing to put it all out here for the rest of us to see, and maybe, learn. Thank you for your honesty, and keep up the great work!

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JAY75REY 2/23/2010 4:47PM

    seems like skipping breakfast contributed to the "incident". Too much acid in the stomach?
BTW, I have binged mightily in similar fashion so you're not alone, except mine never comes back up. It converts to fat and finds a comfortable spot somewhere on my body!
I force myself to log it in so I will face the truth and be aware of what I am doing and I try to include something about how I feel so I can get to the "why".
Maintenance is a HUGE goal, so keep up the good work!

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CHANGEDIN09 2/21/2010 7:47AM

    Just found this and boy am I glad I did. THANK YOU . What great insight. I'm glad I'm not the only one struggling with "falling off the wagon". You are very inspirational. Keep drinking those whey shakes!! PS...glad I gave you an idea for a blog post :)

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DOLLIE6 2/17/2010 1:23PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog. It all seems like I have heard it before with me. I gather this is part of our mentality, gene pool or whatever. Its us and we have to stay in control or suffer the consequents. Keep on Sparking you will reach goal and maintain. I will subscribe to your blog and follow.
How long did it take you to lose 180 pounds? Did you follow just Spark or have your own?

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STEVIECAT4 2/17/2010 11:40AM

    Oh, honey!! I'm SOOOOO sorry this happened to you! If I was going to eat over 3,000 calories in one night, I would have at least made it Italian food!!!! I can't imagine overeating on diet food....what a waste of calories!! LOL JUST KIDDING...well, sort of just kidding.... I can remember a Weight Watcher leader saying to us one time that we are all in this together, this was the only place we could come where everyone understands everything you think and feel, then she said "Face it ladies, we're the only ones who can sit on the bowl with diarhea and have the garbage pail on our laps throwing up at the same time and all the while thinking "This better be good for 5 pounds!!!!"

So, in that mind frame....did you at least lose some weight??? I'm so sick, aren't I?

Umm, one thing though....could this have had anything to do with eating an opened package of jerky left over from 10 months ago? Sounds like something was spoiled/bad. Also all that fruit. I have to stay away from too much fruit because it gets my intestines in a knot like that.

Poor you!!! I feel so bad that this happened.

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SLENDERELLA61 2/17/2010 10:51AM

    You have done a great service in detailing your painful experience. We all learn from it. I've also had a great deal of success, but there are times....

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KAREN_01 2/16/2010 2:00AM

    So we live and learn!

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ZIRCADIA 2/15/2010 1:28PM

    My version wasn't quite as extreme, but I had some similar feelings this weekend -- eating too much/too rich over the weekend and then waking up early with a rock in my stomach. :P blergh. My body is craving for good clean eating this week and I am giving it to it!

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DACIUS 2/15/2010 8:05AM

    Just remember that those days where we struggle are not the normal. Before we would binge and not even consider the consequenses and then do it again the next day.

Now we know what is wrong with it and we make those days the exception, not the rule.

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CARRIE1948 2/15/2010 7:02AM

    Glad you're feeling better. Looking forward to another stab at cross country skiing.

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GEE-KNEE 2/14/2010 10:42PM

    Oh... and your excitement for the extra calories you were going to burn makes me laugh. I went out to dinner the night before my half marathon last week, and I said "well, I think I can eat whatever I want tonight. Shouldn't I be eating extra carbs?" Silly rationalizing, I ended up eating in my normal range though.

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GEE-KNEE 2/14/2010 10:37PM

    I am so sorry. That sounds like a terrible experience, and you were so excited about the skiing. Live and learn. You've changed so much, and this was one bad evening (which you paid for the next day).


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DDOORN 2/14/2010 9:31PM

    Ooof! Tough lessons in an experience like that! Gotta believe you got LEARNED bigtime and will be able to take the wisdom you need from that pain.

Yep, cross country skiing burns MUCHO calories...! I can see your eyes lighting up over that iTouch like you've just hit the jackpot in Vegas...lol!

So here we are on the tail end of the weekend and what do we get? SEVEN inches of snow beginning Monday night...! Grrr!!

There is something most decidedly WRONG that it should be so blasted difficult to get out and cross country ski in our area!


ps... certainly heartily second MOM5INFL's opinion, re: cleaning out of the house all trigger foods, but I'm sure you're already "there" on that account...! :-)

Comment edited on: 2/14/2010 9:34:03 PM

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MOM5INFL 2/14/2010 9:26PM

    I truly understand what you are going through. I've been through nights just like you described on many occasions. I am happy to report that these behaviors are improving with time, but I'm certainly NOT out of the woods. One thing that I noticed is that you had a little too much time on your hands that Friday night. I would have a hard time not eating away the time with nothing to do but read and watch TV. I have found that I need to keep my hands busy or they tend to lead me to the pantry. Also, I CANNOT keep protein bars in the house. I wish that I could, but I CAN'T. Protein bars are the same as Snickers for me. I have also had to on occasional get rid of apples as well!

I think you are doing awesome. One occasion is not a big deal. If it becomes a habit then consider cleaning house of ALL potential triggers. If you have to buy your food one meal at a time until the behavior is under control then do what you have to do. Binges come in waves for me. The quicker I clean my house of any potential triggers...the quicker I get past it.

These behaviors are part of the territory of losing a large amount of weight. Welcome to the club. We will get through this. I do believe that these behaviors will slowly pass away with time. In the meantime we have to be diligent and fight every single day.

I look forward to watching you practice and master maintaining your weight. It's a bumpy ride. Not seeing the scale go down plays with your mind!!! I'm here in the trenches with you and holler if you need me!!! Birdie.

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GR8CATSBY 2/14/2010 9:20PM

    Wow... I can relate to a lot of what you're saying - the binge, the feeling really crummy the next day... A few years ago I was visiting friends in Alaska and ate way too much at/after dinner. I was miserable all night, waiting for the inevitable to happen (what goes down must come up?), which it finally did about 4am. The following day I felt like a zombie most of the day. (Fortunately we didn't have anything big planned.) My friends were very kind about the whole thing, but of course I was embarrassed.
And the thing that really kills me to say - that was in 2007 and I still binge sometimes to the point of feeling sick to my stomach and miserable the next day. Not as often as I used to, but it still happens.

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BLUEINKPEN 2/14/2010 8:33PM


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TRACIEO3 2/14/2010 8:19PM

    Honestly, that much food after eating a full days meals is enough to make anyone puke the next day, especially if you have completed changed your intake of food, and the amount of intake as well. You have been very successful on your program at losing 180 pounds, why don't you trust yourself. YOU did this, nobody did it for you and even if you have to call upon every little bit of willpower you have you need to do it because this is a huge issue you need to work through and avoiding the kitchen is not a solution, it's a band aid. You really are doing wonderful though and I'm sure you can work through any situation you might come across.

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THINMAMAWARD 2/14/2010 8:05PM

    I know I might not be much help, but I have started eating my meals at the dining table then going in to watch tv.

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