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An old lady’s advice – the view from the far side

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My grandmother was 65 when I was born. She seemed old to me from my earliest memory. Now I’m 65 and I have 6 grandchildren ages 11-18. I wonder if I look old to them.

She arrived in the USA in 1900 alone at age 17 on a ship that still had sails along with an engine. I saw a picture of it at Ellis Island. Today I can see photos of outer space provided by astronauts on the International Space Station. “Baba” and I led different lives. “Baba” literally means “old woman” in Slovak – kind of loses something in translation, doesn’t it?

Widowed twice with 6 children, she worked “outside the home” as a cleaning lady – long hours, low pay. No wonder she never really learned to speak English. There was little time to “improve” herself. She did the best she could until her death at age 93 still living in her own home (rented), cooking on a coal stove which also provided the only heat.

I had it easier. However, my demanding job, 3 children and their activities, plus a stressful daily commute didn’t leave much free time either. I thought I did the best I could.

Looking back there were things I could have done better. I’ve written about some of them previously. 50 years ago Baba was warning me to avoid the new stuff they were putting in food. She didn’t know the word “processed” but she knew food was changing.

I spent summers with her as a child since my parents wanted me to get out of “the city” as much as possible. I walked with her to “town” everyday and to nearby “blueberry hill” to get the main ingredient of her pies. If you know northeastern PA, those “hills” are steep! We always picked more than we needed so we would sell the rest to a man from “the city” who bought them for commercial bakeries. 25 cents a QUART! I had $300 in my bank account by age 12. That’s a lot of blueberries!

When I was upset about something, she would tell me “nebudz taka” – don’t be like that. She didn’t mean I should just accept the situation, but I shouldn’t let it get the best of me. “Don’t stress your heart”

I have more time now to follow Baba’s advice. I regret that I didn’t make more of an effort to do it sooner. I well know how hard it is with competing demands on your time.

I hope all you young women (and men) will make a healthy lifestyle a priority. It’s not perfection we’re seeking, but each day to be better than we were. These years count too.

Related blog: Grandma said: “always get a fresh chicken”.
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5069977

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ROOSTER72 11/18/2012 3:12PM

    Grandmothers have so much to offer - if only we would listen.
Nice blog, thanks.


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MNNICE 11/18/2012 2:50PM

    I so agree that when we are busy with our jobs, children, husbands, homes, and all that goes along with it, we do NOT take time for ourselves. I see many young women in their 30s gaining weight, and I can totally understand why because I made the same misteakes with eating what was quickest and easiest and not taking time to exercise. It always makes me glad to see the young women on here realizing that their own health is important and finding the time to fit "themselves" into their busy schedules. I certainly wish I hadn't waited until i was almost 50 to take care of me!

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SUZYMOBILE 11/18/2012 11:19AM

    I think there's no doubt that 65 today isn't the 65 that we remember! And the good thing is, your kids and grandkids probably don't see you as old either. Just last night, Bill's oldest daughter said, "Sue sure doesn't look 65!" so she's still operating under the old perception that 65 is "old lady" status. Someday, though, that will change, and as they say, 75 will become the new 65.

(And this is the kind of blog I was talking about.)

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CELIAMINER 11/18/2012 10:59AM

    You really do write well! You could write a book from your blogs. Thanks!

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JACKIE542 11/18/2012 9:47AM

    Great blog, I wish I paid more attention to my grands growing up! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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COCK-ROBIN 11/18/2012 9:41AM

    Wonderful! And you're right. They have a lot to teach us if we'll listen.

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TWEETYKC00 11/18/2012 9:08AM

    Our elders do have the knowledge and their own unique ways that speak of their own years of struggle and it always seems that we take too long to listen to the wisdom they try to share. Better late than never, though.

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IDAHOFLOWER 11/18/2012 9:01AM

    It is nice to remember those wonderful times.
Keep sparking.

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SWEDE_SU 11/18/2012 8:49AM

    thank you for sharing! your grandma was a wise lady.

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KANOE10 11/18/2012 8:44AM

    Lovel blog. What wonderful memories of your gtrandmother and summers.
Good advice for the young people to live a healthy life now!

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MAGGIE101857 11/18/2012 8:41AM

    Don't you sometimes wish you could turn back the clock! When we are young, we think the wise words of our elders are "fool's talk" - now we know better!!!! She sounds like she was an amazing woman!!!

Thanks for sharing these wonderful memories!!!

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WONDERWOMAN 11/18/2012 8:38AM

    Just beautiful.

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JODROX 11/18/2012 8:34AM

    What beautiful memories!

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SAGELADY2 11/18/2012 8:25AM

    Thanks for the reminders we forget about. Grandama's are always special, no matter what the decade they come in.

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GOPINTOS 11/18/2012 8:18AM

    Loved this blog! Thank you for sharing!

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BOILHAM 11/18/2012 8:12AM

    What wonderful memories of your Baba. How much younger we are today than our peers of 50 years ago. I love your blogs!

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WILSONWR 11/18/2012 8:02AM

    Great story. We do learn a lot from our "elders" - hopefully we can pass that knowlege down to the youth of today.

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ONMYMEDS 11/18/2012 7:34AM

    I so hope you never stop blogging. Thank you, once again for starting my day with a good feeling.

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STORMIWEATHER 11/18/2012 7:33AM

    Enjoyed your blog.
The processing of our food these days has really taken away the healthiness of food and the taste. My mom always said "you can not make a good pan of Dressing if you can not make a good pan of cornbread" Well with the ingredients tthey put in cornmeal (or rather take out) leaves the wonderful taste of cornbread only a fond memory. We use to eat it like it was cake. And with a pat of butter , it was devine. Jiffy meal don't measure up.

The things our ancestors could teach us....

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DAWN14163 11/18/2012 7:27AM

    What words of wisdom - from Baba and you! "It's not perfection we're seeking, but each day to be better than we were"......how very true.

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GHOSTFLAMES 11/18/2012 7:26AM

    YOUR AS YOUNG AS YOU FEEL. ONE DAY AND ONE STEP AT A TIME WE WILL DO THIS WE ARE WORTH IT.
REMEMBER TO TRACK DAILY YOUR FOOD AND FITNESS TO BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE.
WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU IF YOU NEED ANYTHING AT ALL JUST ASK. TAKE CARE AND GOOD LUCK ON YOUR SPARK JOURNEY.

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FITFOODIE806 11/18/2012 7:24AM

    So glad I have found you on spark! Thanks for this great blg this morning. It sounds like ou have many good memories of a cool lady :)

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Waiting for that outside push – in health, weight and a clean house

Saturday, November 17, 2012

“No one knows our house is messy ‘cause when somebody’s coming we clean it up.”

That was my son’s observation many years ago as I mobilized the “troops” for a marathon effort to get our house “ship-shape.” Company was coming and not just any company – the in-laws. Remember the commercial with MIL and the “white glove test?” I don’t know if there would ever have been a test, but I didn’t want to find out.

Although our house would never be condemned by the Board of Health, House and Garden Magazine would never have us on their “must see” list either. To put it as kindly as possible, it had a “lived in” look. It took an outside push to get us moving.

The same thing happens with our health and weight. Maybe it’s a wakeup call from the scale or the mirror, a too tight pair of jeans or breathlessness at the top of the stairs. Maybe, it’s an annual physical, a school reunion or family wedding on the horizon. Some outside influence makes us put in the effort to get ourselves “ship shape.” Often we’re quite successful. The Sparkpages and blogs report years of pounds lost/pounds gained. Yo-yo dieting has become an American pastime.

I never had the yo-yo dieting experience. This is my first time through this and I do not plan to have to do it again. However, I do understand the concept because I am a “yo-yo house cleaner.”

I must add that my husband does the heavy cleaning, the stuff that requires serious cleaning supplies and I take care of the clutter and daily mop-ups. He once wrote “I love you” in the dust on a table in our guest room – seriously! Once I read it, he made it disappear. My desk has the quality of a geologic dig. I know the age of something by how far down I have to dig for it.

My daughters have developed a different mindset. They do a little bit everyday and never have to endure the whirlwind sessions they remember from childhood (the homemaking equivalent of a crash diet). I can learn from them. That’s my goal. That’s my goal health-wise too. Do my bit everyday to eat right and get my exercise. I’m on maintenance and it’s time to put the house on maintenance status too.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 11/19/2012 8:29AM

    Yo-yo house cleaner is very funny..and true. We tend to clean on the weekends and slack off during the week. I was part of that yo-yo diet syndrome. I am glad that was not a main part of your life.

Great blog.

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CELIAMINER 11/17/2012 9:38PM

    Yo-yo house cleaner...at least there's a better name than the one my negative self talk gives it..."slob." I think my less than stellar housekeeping is leftover rebellion at my mother's perfectionism and over-emphasis (IMHO) on cleanliness. I recall too well being handed a dust cloth and a can of Pledge and told to dust the family room. And I recall with total distaste my mother following me around and dusting behind me because I "didn't do it right." So the response in my generation was to enjoy life and put up with the mess. I never had kids, but I wonder if they would have turned into neatniks to rebel against me?
emoticon

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CAKEMAKERMOM 11/17/2012 12:06PM

    Yep, I have the husband helping my cleaning mode this week as there is a possibility that his brother might show up this week. I thought I had another month!

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ONMYMEDS 11/17/2012 9:14AM

    We just never have company. Problem solved.

This was good!!! Thanks, again.

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WILSONWR 11/17/2012 8:51AM

    We definitely can learn from our kids at times!

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MAGGIE101857 11/17/2012 8:16AM

    I do the same, and then wonder where the weekend has gone! So I set a goal to do 15 - 30 minutes a night, then I get home from work, make dinner and BURN OUT sets in. Your daughters have the right idea, so why is it so hard for us to do the same??? lol

Reminds me of the "poster" that said "the cleaning can wait, your babies can't....? I've taken that to heart even thought the babies are adults now! I didn't listen when they were little and now I'm making up for it!!!



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JODROX 11/17/2012 7:47AM

    I can relate! emoticon emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 11/17/2012 7:41AM

    After I'd been active in Spark for about a year, maybe longer, I branched out from setting weight and fitness goals, and started setting life goals--like writing a to-do list every day, doing the thing I least wanted to do first, etc. This has helped with the housecleaning. I just put down one manageable thing a day (like your daughters). It sure beats the marathon, 5-hour session before company arrived. Such as this coming Thursday!

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COCK-ROBIN 11/17/2012 7:18AM

    Keep on, and you'll succeed in all these goals.

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FITFOODIE806 11/17/2012 7:14AM

    This is hilarious! What a great connection. I'm about to do some crash cleaning this weekend. The in-laws are coming!

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BOILHAM 11/17/2012 7:12AM

    That was fun to read, I didn't wish it would end soon.

I bet you don't have varicose veins, either.

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BIGDOG18 11/17/2012 7:11AM

  emoticon

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LOSE4LIFE47 11/17/2012 7:07AM

    emoticon emoticon

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I used to be a hermit

Friday, November 16, 2012

Retirement can do that to you, although what I really mean is that I was an online hermit. I was online everyday and until recently very few people knew about it. I would read and learn in all areas of life including SparkPeople. After nearly 3 years, I had one spark friend – the guy whose job it is to be friends with me.

Then on Sept 11th South Fork gave me a Goodie. On Sept 17th MJZHERE became my first real friend. That day I found my voice and wrote my first blog.

Over the last 2 months I’ve realized how much easier and fun this journey is “with a little help from my friends.” So if you have been reading my blog, thank you so much. Sometimes I’ve been unable to comment to all of you individually, but I want you to know I really appreciate it. Often a comment or question will suggest to me something else that I want to investigate or write about. Your blogs and posts have led me to new sources of information and a wide range of experiences.

I hope that others will realize sooner than I did the benefits of being active on SP. Join a team and have company on your journey.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEDE_SU 11/18/2012 8:51AM

    it really does make a difference, doesn't it! emoticon

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MJZHERE 11/17/2012 9:50PM

    I, too, am glad you found your voice and so enjoy your blogs. I remember seeing that one friend on your page and reading that you had been a member for nearly three years. Well look at you going strong now and how much you make a difference to others through your writing. You left your hermit shell way back on the trail.

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JODROX 11/17/2012 7:49AM

    So true! I've never understood why people join if they're going to "hide," but we're all on our own journey. Some just aren't ready to be vocal yet. I'm with you though -- love the interaction with all my SP friends!

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WILSONWR 11/16/2012 3:56PM

    It was only in the past 3 months that I became involved in SparkPeople's "community" features, and I am so glad that I did. Not only does it provide support for someone like myself, going it on their own, but I also get to read some of your very well thought out blogs. Keep up the great work!

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SOUTH_FORK 11/16/2012 3:31PM

    Hey, that's awesome. There I was feeling like a doofus giving you a goodie (also guilt of hermitude). emoticon

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BOILHAM 11/16/2012 1:45PM

    Boy oh boy, can "onMyMeds" pile it on or what?? By the way, I absolutley agree with him. He's no slouch either when it comes to cohesvie thought processes.



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CAKEMAKERMOM 11/16/2012 1:14PM

    I'm glad we can be Spark Friends and go through this together!

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KARRENLYNN 11/16/2012 11:53AM

    I'm very shy and introverted offline, so I find it easier to "hide" online. I love being on SP while I'm on my latest quest to get healthier. It's a very positive environment for weight loss for sure, but also for general support as well. I don't always find that in my offline circle. I'm glad we met and glad to support your in your goals as well.

Have a great day!

Karen emoticon emoticon

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LEB0401 11/16/2012 10:23AM

    Me too!

I was on the site for 5 years before I set up my SparkPage and started adding SparkFriends and joining teams. I never stuck with SP consistently until I became active in the community. Now it's a joy to log in and see all my friends!

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JACKIE542 11/16/2012 10:20AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MAHGRET 11/16/2012 9:38AM

    emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 11/16/2012 9:28AM

    It also took me a while to join teams or start interacting with people here. Now I count my SparkFriends among my closest friends. I've even met several of them, and we have a little group down here in SW Florida that gets together, with hubbies, for lunch.

I look forward to your blogs every day. You always give me something to think about, along SparkPeople lines, but don't hesitate to start writing stories about your history and everyday life, too!

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KANOE10 11/16/2012 9:18AM

    Great advice. I did not know what I was doing either on Spark..but soon responded to wonderful support here.

I am glad you have found your voice. You write interesting blogs that I also reflect on learn from. Especially in the area of maintenance.

Congrats on having your blog chosen by the team!

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ONMYMEDS 11/16/2012 8:23AM

    I am so happy that you finally "found your voice" on Sparkpeople because your blogs are consistently some of the best. Your writing is always thoughtful, cohesive, well structured and just a pleasure to read.

In this age of instant, diluted, acronym obsessed tweeting and texting, you are a nice reminder that there are still intelligent, educated people out there who know how to communicate effectively and coherently.

I thank you.

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DEBBYNATION 11/16/2012 7:08AM

    Yahoo! :)

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COCK-ROBIN 11/16/2012 6:53AM

    Good for you! I'm proud of you.

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RIDLEYRIDER 11/16/2012 6:31AM

  Great advice! emoticon

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BIGDOG18 11/16/2012 6:28AM

  emoticon

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Diet as a “part of speech"

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I dislike the word diet when it’s used as a verb. “I’m dieting” brings to my mind images of deprivation. I imagine myself sitting at a banquet with everyone enjoying wonderful food while I turn down all the options with “No thank you, I’m dieting” and stare at a plate of lettuce.

“I have a healthy diet” has a different meaning to me. Then I imagine a cornucopia of different foods. Lots of variety in nutrients and taste, all of which taken together have the capacity to make my body stronger. I want to be stronger to accomplish all the things I want to do.

Of course, diet the noun, can be used in a detrimental way as well. “I’m on a diet” has the same ring of deprivation as the verb does. If I use it that way, I’m sabotaging my own efforts. I won’t limit myself like that. So if diet is going to be a noun, I want a positive adjective in front of it.

“I’m dieting” and “I’m on a diet” both sound to me like a temporary condition that will come to an end and the sooner the better. “I have a healthy diet” is something that I want to continue indefinitely.

It’s been a long time since I’ve studied “parts of speech.” However, words matter and the context of words matters too. I intend to use them to create for myself a positive atmosphere. In such an environment I’m more likely to succeed and thrive.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILSONWR 11/16/2012 3:43PM

    That is one thing I plan to make different this time - no diet, just a change for life!

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KANOE10 11/16/2012 9:23AM

    I was contemplating the same thing and may blog about it. A friend told me that she when she reached goal and was done with her diet, that she was going to enjoy the holiday season. What resonated with me was the done with the diet. This is a before and after concept of eating. I will stay on my diet and afterwards I can sit back and relax and enjoy myself.

My concept of reaching goal is that you are not done. You immediately step into maintenance by continuing the good habits you have developed. Maintenance is continuance..as you say indefinite continuance.

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TRAVELGRRL 11/15/2012 7:15PM

    Yes, I too like the ring of "I have a healthy diet." It is so positive and sounds rich in variety and taste!

Changing what we say to ourselves really makes a difference!

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ADRIENALINE 11/15/2012 2:22PM

    Great blog! I'm maintaining my super loss of 30 lbs and I feel great to be on this diet for the rest of my life.

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ROSEWAND 11/15/2012 11:21AM

    Your words are so wise. The idea of deprivation
diets has led a lot of us down a long dark path
of frustration. Restrict our intake; feel deprived,;
then overeat. and regain even more.

It is only when we get off this cycle, and
focus on healthy foods in moderate amounts,
do we regain our ability to reach a healthy
weight. Return the word diet to its original
meaning: what we actually eat.

I discovered that when I focused on healthy
natural foods in moderate amounts and focused
on the pleasure in eating at the same time,
I returned to a healthy, happy relation with food
and with my body. It works. emoticon

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LEB0401 11/15/2012 9:55AM

    emoticon You're so right!



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WILLOWBROOK5 11/15/2012 9:34AM

    Studies have looked at the difference between saying to yourself "I can't eat that" and "I don't eat that." People who said "I don't" were more likely to make healthy choices and do so longer than people who told themselves "I can't." Simply saying "I don't" may give you a sense of control over your eating and exercise decisions. So words can have power!

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SUZYMOBILE 11/15/2012 9:18AM

    "Diet" seems like such an old-fashioned word any more, doesn't it? You don't hear anyone using it all by itself very much. It's the "Duken Diet" or the "Atkins Diet" or the "Gluten-Free Diet," but hardly ever "on a diet" or "dieting."

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FITFOODIE806 11/15/2012 8:36AM

    Words matter! Our mental mind frame is a huge piece of this journey. It would be an interesting study to compare maintenance success of people with the diet deprivation attitude compared to the healthy diet attitude. I think we know the results.

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TINAJANE76 11/15/2012 8:15AM

    I'm really trying hard to undo my hang-ups with certain words and ideas that I had come to think of in negative ways due to my past failed efforts to lose and maintain my weight. The scale is no longer my enemy, I no longer lump the word "diet" in with other more unsavory four-letter words and tracking isn't a burden but something that's liberated me from a lifelong cycle of yo-yo dieting. Decluttering my mind of all these notions has allowed me to focus on the things I've needed to do to be and stay successful and that, to me, is much more important than the words I choose (or don't choose) to use to define my journey.

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WATERMELLEN 11/15/2012 7:35AM

    The connotations of words are very powerful indeed . . . I like Judith S Beck's "The Diet Solution: Learning to Think Like a Thin Person" because she tells us any (healthy) diet will "work", but what makes maintenance possible is changing the way we think. And: she's right!

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BOILHAM 11/15/2012 6:56AM

    I agree, ones words will plant the seed of success or failure.



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AZMOMXTWO 11/15/2012 6:53AM

  I agree the way it is daid makes it harder to stick to a weight loss plan but to say I am trying to heat a healthier diet makes it easier to stick with it

you can do it

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CHUM48 11/15/2012 6:49AM

    I feel like you those words, I use the words lifestyle change a lot. When I do use the word diet, I use it with a positive spin. Hang in there!

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Maybe I should rename my snacks as meals?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Just a case in point: Checking on one random day, I see that I consumed 1782 calories, near the very top of my maintenance range It was also a BIG day for exercise - running, walking, canoeing and even 2 short SP strength training videos. According to the tracker, I burned 522 calories. This was way out of the ordinary. I usually burn about 250-300 calories per day. Fortunately, the following day was my scheduled day off from exercise.

708 of those calories (40 %) were “snacks.” I think it’s time to face the fact that I don’t have snacks, I eat extra meals. I know that 6 small meals per day are recommended for diabetics. Fortunately, I’m not in that group, but their regimen seems to work well for my body too.

My husband says I’m eating all the time and I suppose it looks that way. I have this internal clock, my unique personal clock that expects fuel at certain intervals. What’s changed for me is what type of fuel I’m using. Greek yogurt with FiberOne cereal is one choice, not the donuts DH favors. Instead of Oscar Meyer “oven fresh” deli meat my sandwiches now contain chicken or turkey that I’ve roasted in my own oven. DH prefers that now too and even does a lot of the roasting himself!

I even LIKE the replacements. I don’t think I could continue if I felt deprived. Yes, my Greek yogurt is the organic kind with fruit. That sugar isn’t my problem. It’s the sugar from digging into the container of ice cream that used to sabotage me.

Now I find that I can eat a lot comparatively and still be within my range of 1460 – 1810. On days that I don’t workout I stay at the low end. If I’m active, I eat more. It’s becoming automatic – FINALLY.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIE871948 11/16/2012 11:44AM

    I eat when I am really hungry most of the time, unless it is within a couple of hours before I go to bed, then I don't eat. I really think it helps keep me from overeating.

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MOBYCARP 11/15/2012 12:52PM

    Automatic after 3 years of maintenance? You give me hope! I'm not automatic yet, but after one year of maintenance it's easier than it used to be.

On the meal tracker, I have breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and evening. I wanted a "morning" category to distinguish morning snacks from afternoon snacks, but back when I set this up the site was really flaky if I added more than one extra category. So I decided "evening" was more important to me than distinguishing between morning and afternoon snacks.

I wonder if I went back now to change it, whether adding another meal would work right? Doesn't matter personally, because I've done okay with the setup I have.

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KANDOLAKER 11/15/2012 8:50AM

    Great blog - and I love that SP seems to be so accurate with their calories burned versus the calorie range that corresponds. I find myself not having a lunch, but having three snacks spread out from 11:00 to 4:00. Seems to work for me too.
All the best - Kathy

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WATERMELLEN 11/14/2012 9:09PM

    Love the idea of preparing my own roast chicken for salads . . . will have to try that rather than using deli meat!

You can eat a whole lot more than I can: and you're obviously making great choices!

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CELIAMINER 11/14/2012 8:45PM

    I'm with you. A hefty percentage of my calories get logged as snacks, but individually, the snacks are healthy and don't have many calories, so I can eat more frequently and not feel deprived.

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BOILHAM 11/14/2012 7:33PM

    Good for you, you're doing great! That mini meals doesn't work for me, but some people swear by it.

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ROOSTER72 11/14/2012 3:56PM

    You are doing so well!

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SSUSMITA 11/14/2012 10:27AM

    emoticon

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COCK-ROBIN 11/14/2012 10:00AM

    emoticon I'm proud of you!

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COCK-ROBIN 11/14/2012 10:00AM

    emoticon I'm proud of you!

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COCK-ROBIN 11/14/2012 10:00AM

    emoticon I'm proud of you!

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SUZYMOBILE 11/14/2012 8:15AM

    I've added categories to my nutrition tracker for "Drinks," "Afternoon Snack," and "Evening Snack" because I wanted to be able to track what I was eating outside of regular meals. I eat at regular mealtimes but add between-meal snacks when I'm hungry. If I'm not hungry, I don't.

So, if I count up all my non-meal calories, that can come to between 200 and (rarely) 800 calories. That high count was Saturday at Disney, so it's out of the ordinary for sure! I guess it's good to know where the calories fall in the day, but I don't want to change my pattern either!

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KANOE10 11/14/2012 8:13AM

    Good job on finding what works for you and eating mini meals. I also use my own roasted meat and veges for meals. I love Greek yogurt!

I eat one snack outside of my meals but that works for me.

Great job of staying focused on being healthy. emoticon



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NELLJONES 11/14/2012 8:10AM

    Some people call them mini-meals. Some call them the "second half of" a previous meal. I personally hate the word "snack". I don't eat between meals, but then I am older now, and have trained myself to that.

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