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Shock It To Rock It: Cathe Friedrich's Shock Training System

Monday, July 04, 2011

I am a workout video addict, and I have over 100 videos. My favorite and my go-to instructor, though, is Cathe Friedrich. She is experienced, motivating, and most importantly, not overly-chipper. Her no-nonsense approach to fitness has kept me going when I haven't felt like doing anything. I have all of her DVDs and use them frequently. Cathe does both aerobic workouts and strength training, and I have mainly used her strength training workouts.

A couple of years ago, Cathe came out with a revolutionary strength training series called Shock Training System (STS). I will be starting STS today. It consists of over 40 DVDs, and each workout has its own DVD. The program utilizes the concept of periodization, which essentially means that the program progresses with each workout. Because each workout is a little different from the previous one, the muscles are "shocked" into changing. Programs like P90X utilize this concept, too, but are set up a bit differently.

STS is also divided into 3 month-long mesocycles. A mesocycle is simply a specific phase in a periodized program that has a particular goal. Mesocycle 1 aims to build muscle endurance, Mesocycle 2 aims to increase muscle mass and definition, and Mesocycle 3 increases strength and power. Another example of a program that utilizes mesocycles would be Chalean Extreme.

STS can either be followed as a 3-month or 6-month rotation. Cathe has rotations set up on her website that can be plugged into her Workout Manager application (actually, the Workout Manager is great even if you aren't using Cathe's workouts; it's free!).

Another component of STS that may seem intimidating is that it is recommended to find out a 1 repetition maximum (1RM) for many of the exercises. A 1RM is simply the heaviest weight that can be lifted to perform 1 repetition of an exercise. This is used to figure out how much weight should be lifted for the exercises. I am not doing 1RM testing; I have a pretty good idea of how much I need to be lifting (plus, I'm lazy like that). The 1RM testing is not too bad to do, but it takes some planning prior to starting the program. The 1RM testing is technically optional, but I would say if someone is newer to strength training, it would be ideal to perform the 1RM testing. The 1RM values can be entered into the Workout Manager and the amount of weight that should be lifted will be calculated.

So here I go to embark on STS again! I did it when it came out and enjoyed it, but haven't used the workouts much since. I will only be doing the upper body workouts, as my injured right knee is not ready for challenging strength training. I love lifting, so this should be fun!

As with any exercise program, there are pros and cons to STS:


*Unique and challenging program from very reputable instructor
*Can be customized to suit an individual's specific training goals
*Very specific as to how much weight should be lifted to achieve desired results
*Lots of uses for the DVDs; can be used as stand-alone workouts even when not following the program in its entirety
*It's Cathe!


*Cost: at more than $250, most people balk at the cost. I still think it's a great value, but it's best to make sure the series actually gets used
*Need a lot of equipment at home: a full set of weights, a weight bench, a stability ball, and resistance band are required. A pull-up tower is recommended, but a band or a doorway pull-up bar could be used. There has been some talk of an iPod series being released, which would be nice because then the workouts could be done at the gym; not sure if that is going to happen.
*Not especially suitable for beginners: I think STS could be adapted to all levels if someone is already familiar with strength training, but an absolute beginner would not want to start out with STS.

Despite the cons, I would highly recommend STS for intermediate to advanced exercisers who are looking to take it to the next level, especially if someone already has a lot of equipment at home. There is also an STS Cardio Series to go along with the strength training, if desired, and is sold separately. If nothing else, it is worth checking out Cathe's other workouts!

Information about STS can be found at:

The Workout Manager App can be found here:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALISHAB3 7/6/2011 4:34PM

    She smiles so sweetly but we all know that inside its: emoticon

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GEMINIAN1 7/5/2011 8:38AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Over 100!!!! Wow; that's awesome.
... 'most importantly, not overly-chipper' emoticon
(I hear you.)
Her diet *has to* kick ace. Can you say protein? lol
I don't know if I'm more jealous of her physique or what she's got to be eating.

I hope you rocked your first day.
This looks like a killer workout.
(I'd like it, I'm sure.)
Keep us posted.
You're emoticon

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FREECANDY 7/4/2011 9:22PM

    This is really interesting, though a bit out of my price range.

You also left one thing out when you described Cathe: ripped. Wow.

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BERRY4 7/4/2011 4:20PM

    I always find a good detailed description of something helpful in deciding if this will work for me & my goals, direction, needs, etc.

Thanks for taking the time to spell out what is involved. -- Due to the cost, it probably isn't a good fit for me right now. Mostly because I do NOT have room to work out at home. I pretty much do most of my ST at the gym due to space, equipment, and ease of use.

Good luck in your program! Way to keep with the variety and goal-setting! emoticon

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Intentional Passion, Unintentional Inspiration

Sunday, July 03, 2011

My brother John and I after Twin Cities Marathon, 2008. He did the marathon, I did the 10-Miler. It was his first marathon.

My brother would kill me if he knew I was writing this. John doesn't like being an inspiration, so no one can ever tell him to his face. Well, I can't tell him to his face, but I can tell you about how my brother inspires me.

My brother has an unusual disorder in which he has dozens of benign bone tumors on numerous bones throughout his body. The mouthful of a diagnosis is multiple benign osteochondromas. He has had the same team of orthopedists working with him since he was 2 years old, when the tumors were first noticed. His doctors were not sure the course these tumors would take, as they had never seen anything quite like it. It is still not known exactly why he developed the tumors. His doctors concluded that the tumors were benign and decided to watch them closely for evidence of changes.

There are 3 major concerns with the tumors: nerve damage, internal organ damage, and the possibility for cancer. It took years to find out that he actually was experiencing fairly severe pain from the tumors pressing on nerves, as he was so used to it that he stoically accepted the pain as a normal part of his life. He had a baseball-size tumor removed from his right scapula when he was 10 years old, because it was expanding into his thoracic cavity and may have eventually grown into his lungs. That tumor was not cancerous, but it had grown at a very rapid rate. He is now missing most of his right shoulder blade and has limited range of motion in the right arm, but he had no damage to his lungs.

After having seen the rapid growth of the tumor on John's scapula, his doctors became even more vigilant about watching for changes. The tumors did not stop John from becoming athletic, though. I started doing triathlons several years ago, and one day he said, "Oh yeah, you're doing a triathlon? Well, I'm going to do a MARATHON." I had never seen him be especially competitive against me, so I smiled a little and said I thought that was a great idea. We sometimes ran together, but his idea of "slow" made me feel like I was going to fall over. He is a fairly fast runner. A 21 minute 5K is "okay," and he has been averaging 3 hours and 45 minutes at his marathons, shaving some time off which each race. He has done several marathons now and has a goal to run Twin Cities Marathon every year.

Suffice to say, running saved my brother's life. He was training for Twin Cities Marathon 3 years ago, and he was having a sharp pain in his left side during his long runs. He finally went in to be evaluated, and they found a tumor on one of his lower ribs on the left side. The tumor on his rib looked suspicious, so he had extensive testing to determine if it could be cancer. His doctor thought the tumor might be a chondrosarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer as it is, let alone in a 27-year-old.

After several imaging tests, his doctors were almost positive that the tumor was a chondrosarcoma. The additional concern was that the tumor was starting to wrap around his left kidney, which was the cause of the discomfort when he was running. His orthopedist wanted to remove the tumor as soon as possible, within about a month. John asked about waiting until after Twin Cities Marathon, which was more than 6 months away. His doctor explained that although this was ultimately his decision, there was a much greater risk of losing his left kidney and for metastasis if he waited. John decided to do the surgery sooner rather than later.

He had his surgery in April, 2009, and was determined to run his second Twin Cities Marathon in October. The entire rib was amputated, and the pathology report showed that it was a chondrosarcoma. Fortunately, surgical removal was the only treatment needed. He returned to exercise as soon as he was able, and started training. Friends and family expressed concern for him pushing through pain to train. He said point blank, “I'm not going to stop running. If I can't run, then I may as well not even be here.” Being told "You can't/shouldn't do that" just made him train harder. His doctor told him not to beat himself up if he didn't run as fast as he has in previous marathons. He shaved 18 minutes off of his previous time, achieving a PR for himself.

I just wish that his battle was over and that he could run care-free for the rest of his life; unfortunately, it seems the tumors continue to progress. My brother has a prominent tumor on his right leg, directly below his knee, that has been of particular concern because it is compressing on nerves, causing pain and numbness. Over the past year or so, his leg occasionally becomes temporarily paralyzed when he's running. Now his doctors are concerned that the tumor may be a chondrosarcoma. The problem with the location of the tumor is that it cannot simply be removed if it is cancerous. His lower leg would have to be amputated.

One would think that this would be enough to stop running, but no, he signed up for his fourth Twin Cities Marathon instead. Although I knew he wouldn't have it, I couldn't *not* say anything:

“But you might have a spontaneous fracture.”

“Then I'll run until the f*****g thing falls off.”

The look on his face told me that he was serious about that. Running is his life; I wish he could run away from this affliction altogether. It has been frustrating to watch him struggle with the pain and the questions of what will happen. In the meantime, he will continue to fuel his passion and I know that nothing anyone says will stop him. He will run until he is physically incapable of doing so. I still hope he decides not to do Twin Cities Marathon this year, but if he does decide to do it, I will be there to cheer him on.

Sometimes I feel like an jerk if I bemoan doing a workout when I'm not in the mood, knowing that my brother, who should be backing down, refuses to do so. My worry for his well-being is mixed with sheer awe of his determination. He is not in denial; I know he is well aware of what the potential consequences of continuing to run--let alone training for a marathon--may be. He may face an emergency amputation if he has a spontaneous fracture from the bone in his leg being too weak. It appears likely that the leg will eventually have to be amputated either way, whether because of the structural damage or because of becoming cancerous. Knowing my brother, though, a little leg amputation would not stop him from running in the future.

My brother has taught me that if you want something, then just go get it. I can either focus on my problems, or I can choose to focus on my passions. A couple of years ago when my brother and I were getting ready to go for a run, I was whining about whatever was bugging me that day as we were tying our shoes and getting ready. He rolled his eyes and with a firm pull on his laces, he shrugged and said, “Who gives a s**t about all of that? Let's just run.”

And there it is. You want something? Forget about everything else and go get it.

"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero."
-Marc Brown

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VALERIEMAHA 10/3/2011 9:45AM

    Blows me away. emoticonfor that amazing brother of yours.

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CRABADA 10/2/2011 4:56PM

    That's so awesome. And I love his response to your whatever-whining - "Who cares? Let's run!"

:) Courtney

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CANNIE50 7/13/2011 2:09PM

    You (and your super-heroic brother) made me cry. THANK YOU for sharing this (and I really do hope you share it with him). "Focus on your problems or focus on your passions." Wow. emoticon

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CARTONIFIED 7/11/2011 9:47AM

    Wow, I'm going to bookmark this blog and read it whenever I feel like wimping out on some exercise.

Your brother is truly awesome, to keep going through all of that. Such an inspiration, thank you for sharing this with us.

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HARLOW10 7/9/2011 5:26PM

    This is a beautiful blog. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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CALLIKIA 7/9/2011 10:10AM

    This is beautiful! Thank you for sharing - and best of luck to your brother always!

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MRSSCHENCK 7/9/2011 8:01AM

    Wow, this blog left me speechless. I wish nothing but the best for your brother. He's truly an inspiration.

I hope he doesn't kill you for writing this blog. emoticon

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SUMMER_FOR_LIFE 7/8/2011 9:40PM

  I can't tell you how inspiring this is. Thank you sooo much, I love running and I couldn't imagine giving it up either. emoticon

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LUEYGIRL 7/8/2011 3:12PM

    Makes "Just do it!" have a whole new meaning. Thanks. emoticon

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DRB13_1 7/8/2011 12:36PM

    Thank you for sharing this tribute to your brother.
It's that "never say no" spirit that makes heroes.

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KAREN_NY 7/8/2011 12:01PM

    The beauty of the human spirit, for sure. Thanks for sharing, and G-d bless your family!

PS - One of SANDIEGOJOHN's old blogs has a fabulous picture of someone running a very muddy tough race...with a prosthetic leg. Every time I look at it, I think, "wth am I whining about??" :)

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AKAFIT 7/8/2011 10:28AM

    Thank you for sharing that. It does seem to put life in perspective. Sometimes we do pity ourselves over the least bit of resistance and here is your brother fighting through losing his leg. WOW, I feel like such a whiner in comparison.

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CARYNW 7/8/2011 9:26AM

    WOW! Thank you for sharing!

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DELERIOUS64 7/7/2011 7:32PM

    Thank you for sharing this with us!

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LINDAKAY228 7/7/2011 6:19PM

    You're brother is truly amazing and an inspiration! I don't think I would have his determination if faced with what he has faced all his life. We never know exactly what we will do until we're in a particular situation, but I really don't think I would be where he is. And you sound like such an awesome sister to him too!

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FITMAY 7/7/2011 3:33PM


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KRAWRS 7/7/2011 12:56PM

    Beautiful. Thanks for the inspiration, from you AND your brother.

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JANLEH 7/7/2011 12:24PM

    Wow! That's all I can think of to say. Wow!

Thank you for sharing your brother's story with us.

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SMARIE101483 7/7/2011 11:48AM

    Wow...good for him!

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MACEWOMAN 7/7/2011 10:50AM

    Your brother sounds like an amazing man. Even if he doesn't like it, he is an inspiration. All the best to him and you.

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BEST_LIFE_NOW 7/7/2011 10:10AM

  Wow! I'm in awe.

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MINNA72 7/7/2011 9:39AM

    What a touching blog post. Your brother sounds like an amazing man.
I wish him all the best in the future.

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TEMPEST272002 7/7/2011 9:33AM

    I've also lived with chronic pain since childhood - and I have your brother's attitude towards it. We might not be able to cure our disease, but our mental attitude has profound impact on our lives. Your brother is a superhero - a foul mouthed, get'er done, kind of superhero. lol Thanks for sharing his inspiration with the rest of us.

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KIJO0607 7/7/2011 9:30AM

    thank you for sharing such an inspiring story. Your brother sounds awesome and you are sure lucky to have him!

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STARLIGHT615 7/7/2011 9:01AM

    I was directed to your blog from a fellow sparker and boy I am glad I took the time to read it!! Your brother is a great inspiration to everyone!! I will keep him in my thoughts and prayers and hope all turns out for thebest for him!!

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MRSN1608 7/7/2011 8:52AM

    WOW! what an amazing person he is, so inspiring. I have saved this so I can look back over it as a reminder that we can all do great things and shouldn't let anything hold us back. I will think of you both everytime I go out on a run. You sound so proud and quite rightly so. He is an inspiration, so brave - amazing.

Thank you so much for sharing.

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HDHAWK 7/7/2011 8:31AM

    I can tell from your words how proud you are of your brother. Very inspiring. I have a feeling about you being right. He won't stop running no matter what the future brings. Thanks for sharing.

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    Wow--how lucky you are to have such an inspiration in your life. He is amazing.

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GAILSFITNESS 7/7/2011 7:17AM

  Thank you for sharing your brother's brave journey, he is an inspiration.

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SEABREEZE64 7/7/2011 6:54AM

I really love the line...."I can either focus on my problems, or I can choose to focus on my passions."

Thanks so much for sharing this. I am so sorry your brother has had to endure so much, but, you are right, - what an inspiration!


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CATHRINE2010 7/7/2011 6:50AM

    What a wonderful inspiration to us all,He should be so proud of himself.When you are a runner it is as much a part of you as breathing. I understand his compassion for it and your concern. Forget all the pain and live for the moment. YOu are a wonderful sister and friend.

Comment edited on: 7/7/2011 6:50:51 AM

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SHARON-MARIE 7/7/2011 2:01AM


What an awesome man!

What an awesome woman you are for the blog you have written.

And, what an incredibly awesome brother and sister.

THIS is, without a doubt, the best blog I have read today.

Be blessed,

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    Thank you so much for sharing your brother's story. He is a true inspiration and I will think of him every time that I tie my running shoes. I wish all the best to you and your brother.


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HOPERY 7/6/2011 10:59PM


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ERLYWA 7/6/2011 10:47PM

    Today I was told to lay off my running for a month or so while I go back to physical therapy for some hip pain. I will never whine about this again, after reading this story. My restriction is temporary and manageable, and clearly others remain positive through much more difficult situations than mine.

Your brother is a true inspiration. I will include him in my prayers. Thank you for sharing this story with us all!


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LOGOULD 7/6/2011 10:25PM

    WOW! If that doesn't makee me get up off my behind and get to the gym or do my run....nothing will. Your brother is amazing and an inspiration to all of us. Thanks for sharing his story!

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KATYMACK 7/6/2011 7:56PM

    Thank you so much for sharing such greatness. I was having my own little pity party for myself but that was very quickly silenced. Your brothers story has put something back into my own determination that was very seriously lacking. Hugs for both of you.

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REBECCAMA 7/6/2011 7:55PM


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LINDAJ0621 7/6/2011 7:39PM

    Thank you so much for sharing this inspirational story about your brother! I need to heed his advice "and just run".
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JECKIE 7/6/2011 7:27PM

    Your brother is awesome, and it sounds like you're an awesome sister! I have my own version of "look at what he's accomplished, so stop whining and let's go", and there are days I curse him for taking away my excuse, but mostly he just inspires me. :)

Thank you for sharing!

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LAURIE-RN 7/6/2011 6:55PM

    You are lucky to have your brother, and he is very lucky to have you. Thank you for posting his story. He is definitely an inspiration.

Laurie emoticon

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STFRENCH 7/6/2011 4:52PM

    Your brother's story is indeed inspirational - thank you so much for sharing it with us xx

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CAALAN23 7/6/2011 4:50PM

    Those who truly inspire are the ones who never even meant to. I wish you and your brother all the best! Somehow I don't think he'll ever stop running and that's amazing.



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GETFIT2LIVE 7/6/2011 4:28PM

    Wow--thank you for sharing!

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FREES1 7/6/2011 4:16PM

    awesome story about an awesome guy... good to know that there are prostheses made for running should that day come... I know your brother won't let a little thing like that stop him... and it does give our own 'problems' new perspective

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MAMADWARF 7/6/2011 4:05PM

    wow. I am speechless. What a fantastic guy and you guys are lucky to have each other.

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JBJAKUBEK 7/6/2011 3:52PM

    Great post. Thanks for sharing

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INFLATED 7/6/2011 3:52PM

    What determination! SANDIEGOJOHN wrote about the last part of your blog. It gives me a great deal to think about when I want to pity myself. Thank you for writing this.

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CBAILEYC 7/6/2011 3:48PM

    I really appreciate this blog. Thanks for sharing your brother with us. He sounds like a heckuva guy! Let's just run, indeed!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SKYWATCHERRS 7/6/2011 3:46PM

    This one made me cry a little. Thank you for writing this out and sharing it - I'm soooo stealing the brother quote.

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Fat Athlete

Saturday, July 02, 2011

"The vision of a champion is someone who is bent over, drenched in sweat, at the point of exhaustion when no one else is watching."
-Anson Dorrance

My brother and I after a duathlon in 2009. He ran, I biked.

A couple of months ago, one of my co-workers asked me how my boxing session was that day. I told him it was good, I did an hour of boxing followed by an hour of upper-body weights. He nodded and said condescendingly, "Hey, at least you're doing SOMEthing."

My response should have been, "Don't give that, 'Awww, how cute, the fat girl is trying' crap." There's been a very palpable difference between the way some people talk to me now about things like boxing, weight lifting, and exercise in general, compared to when I was leaner (albeit still overweight). There was no question when I was leaner that I was treated like an athlete. I was a triathlete, duathlete, runner, and kickboxer, and my entire schedule revolved around these activities. However, as the weight crept on, people stopped asking me about training. Then I injured my knee about a year and a half ago, and I've been taken out of all high-impact activity since. I continued to do what I could for exercise--swimming, biking, weight lifting, boxing, dance, kettlebells, Pilates, yoga, and walking, but I was big-time stress eating because of school. The weight kept piling on, and then I went into hiding.

I am ashamed to admit it now, but I had been avoiding seeing anyone from my triathlon training team because I thought they would be embarrassed to be seen with me. It hit me a couple of weeks ago when one of my triathlon training buddies told me outright that it was stupid that I wasn't training because I think I'm too fat right now. It was crystal-clear: she views me as an athlete, and was sad to see me missing out over something like my weight. She actually seemed to be let down that I haven't been training, and said, “I don't really care about what YOU want, I need you at training!” Not only have I been letting myself down, I've let down my friends by not being there for them during training. I made the mistake of thinking that weight gain discounted me as an athlete. I've spent so much time over the past few years trying to prove myself as someone who enjoys exercise just for the sake of exercise that I forgot what it feels like to feel like an athlete.

I had a hard time connecting with most of the people in my kinesiology courses when I was finishing my Bachelor's degree over the past couple of years. They seemed to think that if you're fat, then you're fat and that's that; if you're lean and engage in a competitive sport, then you're an athlete. I felt like I was channeling Sloth from “The Goonies,” following my classmates yelling, “Hey you guys!”, trying to prove myself as an athlete. I felt like I had to justify myself as someone who likes to exercise, as I was going against the norm for someone who is overweight. I was treated like someone who was new to exercise.

I was extremely disappointed while I was in kinesiology classes to see some of the prejudices against overweight and obese people. Unfortunately, the perception of seeing an overweight person exercising often seems to make people think:

*They must be exercising just to try to lose weight.
*They're probably not enjoying themselves.
*They must be just starting out.

A lot of people also seem to think that when you're overweight, the only reason you are exercising MUST be to lose weight (I addressed this in my “The Fat Girl in Gym Class--Revisited” post). It's getting easier and easier for me to tell people apart and to know who I should be paying mind to: my boxing coach treats me like an athlete, and so do my old triathlon training buddies. My friends and I often do active things together, especially my real-life BFF SP user KVARNLOV. Getting together usually means going for a walk or doing something else active (at least I don't think that she feels like she's just taking her fat friend out for a walk). Being active is simply what we do--and I think we'd both go batty without doing something to get our blood pumping. We move for the sake of moving, and because we would both get nutty without movement.

The other major misconception is that every overweight person must be a beginner. Sometimes this is the case, sometimes not. It goes along with that line of thinking that thin = in shape and overweight = out of shape. Being in shape ultimately has to do with how much one exercises and how long they have been doing it consistently. Right now I feel pretty out of shape because my right knee injury has really held me back, but thin people get injured, too. But I have not stopped being physically active on a consistent basis for over 5 years. Yes, my eating habits caused me to gain weight, but I've never lost my passion for exercise. I am a fairly advanced exerciser, especially when it comes to boxing and weight lifting. A thin person would not be able to walk into my boxing gym and stand a chance sparring against me simply because they're thin. Being thin does not automatically mean someone is an athlete. Being an athlete is measured by your achievements, not your body size. I had a friend who used to say, "If you've given 110%, then you're an athlete." We can be an athlete at any size, fat or thin, whether we're losing or maintaining, or anyone who has always wanted to strive to push themselves to the limit.

Ultimately, though, there is one person and one person only who is solely responsible for whether or not I am an athlete. I can internalize the stupid comments from some people--and these are people who also happen to mean precisely zilch to me--or I can hang with KVARNLOV, my other wonderful and inspirational friends, my SparkFriends, my triathlon training team, and my boxing coach. I think the answer is pretty obvious.

KVARNLOV and me (in red shirt), after a long walk

As of this moment, I am no longer a Fat Athlete. I'm an Athlete. Isn't a champion someone who never accepts “no” for an answer, who pushes themselves to the edge of their abilities, constantly seeking to push to the next level? Doesn't an athlete seek to improve and impress? If you want to see someone worth impressing, look in the mirror, preferably while your clothes are soaked in sweat and your face is beet red from a tough workout. You, my friend, are an Athlete, too.

"Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation. Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are."
-John Wooden

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 7/13/2011 2:31PM

    Okay, I am just going to admit that I wish, when your co-worker had spoken so condescendingly, you would have decked him with a nicely placed uppercut (or some sort of punch, somewhere). Sheesh. I have exercised way more as a fat person than I ever did as a skinny person. I once passed a perfect-bodied boot camp classmate on a run and I still remember the look on her face as she complained to the instructor "Cannie just passed me". Yep, I did, and I will do it again. Some of the fiercest athletes I know are either fat or used to be fat. Being fat and losing weight and getting stronger - none of these endeavors is for sissies - it's tough, and so we need to be tough.

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ALISHAB3 7/6/2011 4:22PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticonI always see my max hr, I think that means I'm an athlete too!!! emoticon emoticon

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1HAPPYWOMAN 7/5/2011 11:55AM

    It's so cool that you now have firsthand experience of the difference in how people treat thinner vs. heavier people! I'm guessing that you're going to use your kinesiology degree to help people, and your clients will be so lucky to have the support of someone who has that knowledge.
Some people are always going to be patronizing and small-minded, but that's THEIR problem! You are doing such amazing things, working through your injuries and being a FANTASTIC ROLE MODEL! Thank you!!!!

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GEMINIAN1 7/3/2011 4:58PM

    Love that opening quote.
Ok; and the closing one too :-)

Fat–Skinny–Fat– Skinny– Fat
Working Out - Not Working Out - Working Out
Eating Right - Not Eating Right - Eating Right
Anybody who’s gone through this yo-yo (myself included) I believe, can relate to ***everything*** you’re saying.
From the internal dialogue to the dialogue and perceptions from the outside world (always been thin people) coming at us.

Too many people see with their eyes and not their heart.
Some people, also, don't get; just because this is what I am "right this second" doesn't mean that's what I've been every second, up to this second.

And you’re right; the most important thing is what’s in your heart.
You *are* an athlete at heart and, like you said, by your achievements and that's all that matters.

I really appreciate you putting this out there.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/3/2011 5:04:07 PM

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DARKTHOR 7/3/2011 1:14PM

    Tremendous blog. This says a lot of things that everyone needs to hear.

I so wanted to shake your co-worker! An hour of boxing AND an hour of upper-body is an athlete, period. Then when I heard what your former triathlon training buddy said to you I wanted to jump up and say, "That's right!!! Get out there and be who you are supposed to be!" Hey, your blog made me emotional. Don't blame me.

This is your life, live it just how you want to live it, because in the end that is what you will look back and either be happy about or unhappy about. You deserve everything, make it yours. Yes, you sure are an athlete.

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    I love this blog! Makes me realize than I'm not a fat girl posing as an athlete, I am an athlete!

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UPSWIFE 7/2/2011 4:08PM

    I am SO glad I saw this in a SparkBuddie's Feed !! I LOVE this blog ! What an inspiration you are !! emoticon

emoticon for sharing !

P.S. Your opening quote from Anson Dorrance is so true ! I LOVE it ! Thank you, again !

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ASMITH3B 7/2/2011 3:50PM

    Awesome blog! So inspirational. I think that so much of what we are has to come from the authentic us instead of the messages that we've internalized from others. Also, that first quote is amazing! I'm going to steal it for my SparkPage. emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/2/2011 3:40PM

    emoticon blog ! Many people do make an assumption that if you're overweight, you mustn't be fit. Well, I was one of those fit, but still fat people. I've loved the martial arts most of my life. When I was around 39 years old, I found a kickboxing class that fit my schedule and my budget. So, I started taking the class. I was probably one of the biggest people in the class at 200+ pounds. But you know what ? I was good. I could do all the jumping jacks. I do even do most of the push ups. I wasn't great, but I did them without complaining. Just because a person is overweight does it mean they aren't physically active.

Admittedly, my eating habits were not healthy. However, before long I did decide it was time to make a change and eventually, I did lose the weight. Exercise wasn't my problem, my poor eating habits were.

That instructor was one of my favorites. He encouraged me to become certified and the rest as they say is history.

Great blog !


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ASIRUAM 7/2/2011 2:04PM

    You are doing great! There is no question that you ARE an athlete! In my opinion, an athlete is also someone who doesn't give up, and works through injuries in a healthy manner. You are a great example of the qualities I consider athletic! Keep up the great work! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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APED7969 7/2/2011 4:37AM

    Great blog! If my coworker said that to me I would have kicked him in the teeth in my best kickboxing style! I find for me it is more my perception of whether I should be talking about athletic endevours to skinner people. I have only recently felt like I can talk about my workouts with my skinny friends and coworkers. In saying that they have been very supportive, including my boss who just finished an ironman. He knew I ran in the local 5km and actually called me on my day off to see how it went.

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REDSHOES2011 7/2/2011 4:22AM


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Want to Write Good? Then pick up a pen and get started.

Friday, July 01, 2011

"The desire to write grows with writing."
-Desiderius Erasmus

I had been struggling with depression for months earlier in the year because of financial struggles, loss of identity, and who knows what else. I was in a deep hole and nothing was pulling me out. I should have turned to my old saving grace, writing, to help me through it (instead, I turned to eating). I've been writing stories and prose since I was 5, and writing has always been my escape. Now I hope not so much to escape through writing, but to share.

Writing was immensely therapeutic for me as a child, and my therapist at that time encouraged me to write to work through my trauma issues. But trying to write the standard journal or diary didn't seem to do the trick. Instead, I wrote stories. I filled notebooks with stories of being so many other characters. I had to become someone else to work through my depression and PTSD. I truly loved to write, and continued writing throughout college. I considered pursuing professional writing, but this seemed so "impractical." I did, however, take several writing classes, as I could not just give up my passion for writing. I took several creative writing classes, including poetry (I stunk), fiction writing (loved it!), and literary non-fiction (really really loved it!). I never liked the idea that my thoughts and feelings were being judged. In retrospect, I know it was not my thoughts and feelings that were being judged, but rather the way I was expressing them.

"Write down the thoughts of the moment. Those that come unsought for are commonly the most valuable."
-Francis Bacon

We tend to focus a lot on our bodies and pushing our bodies to the limit throughout the process of losing weight. As I've mentioned before, changing my thinking has been a major goal of this journey. Writing helps challenge the mind and bring the barriers we perceive to the forefront, slashing them with the stroke of a pen. I have returned to writing with gusto, and I believe that this introspection will help not only with my weight, but with all other areas of my life. Writing digs into the parts of my brain that I never think about, allowing me to explore the depths of my conscious mind. This concept has been utilized for a long time in writing.

In my creative writing courses, a common exercise would be to just write continuously for 5-10 minutes. Just take out a piece of paper, start writing, and don't think about what you're writing. Don't worry about grammar, punctuation, or any of those other technicalities. Just put it out there. This is called free association writing. Sound familiar? Indeed, it is not very different from laying on a couch in a therapist's office and doing it out loud, except the paper and pen won't set you back $150 an hour.

I often found that the words poured onto the paper, writing themselves before I even knew what was being said. Even if you aren't looking to write a blog, journal, or anything else in particular, this technique may help you work through a nagging issue, which simple speech or thought may not be able to express.

Most of my blogs have started from free association writing. I might have a page or 2 of random crap, but there will be one sentence that stands out, something I didn't even realize was in my head. I am way too anal to just sit down and post a blog without doing some editing (unless it's just one about my day, then I will), but I am posting this blog as a first draft, unedited. It's going to bug the crap out of the perfectionist in me who would normally never let anyone read anything that wasn't a 5th or 6th or 14th draft that had been pored over for hours. Okay, I'm doing it. I'm not going to edit it. It's bothering me already.

"Proofread carefully to see if you any words out."
-Author Unknown

I feel naked posting something that I haven't spent a lot of time looking over, but it will be good for me. Part of working through our problems is identifying what makes us feel vulnerable and snuggling with it every once in a while. Sometimes it's good to just sit down and spit it out. It doesn't always have to be that good; it's the mere act that is the accomplishment.

Even if you think it makes no sense, write it down.

Even if you think it stinks beyond all get out, write it down.

Go do it. Just write. Uncover what your soul wants to release, because there is no rough draft to life.

"I'm writing an unauthorized autobiography."
-Steven Wright

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CANNIE50 7/13/2011 2:38PM

    BLogging has been an important part of my committment to SP and losing 50 lbs. I so relate to your words. I have been feasting on your blogs. You are most definitely a writer. Now, rather than continuing to post comment after comment, I am going to write a blog! Thanks for the inspiration.

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GEMINIAN1 7/2/2011 2:17PM

    I love that you love writing ... :-)
How true about it, *not* setting you back a buck? lol
That proofread quote ... emoticon
Good advice. Thank you.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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UTMIZ_2000 7/2/2011 7:52AM

    Very poignant. I am just finishing up a writing degree. For most of my adult life I would get this feeling that I was going to write something. All of a sudden the thought would just pop into my head. At first I dismissed it. But then, poof!, there it was again.

I told some friends one day. Them: "What are you going to write?" Me: "I don't know." Them: "Maybe you should start writing down ideas."

So now here I am a few years from retirement, finishing up a writing degree, and I still don't know what I am going to write, but the feeling is still there.

Keep writing. Some things you need to make time for. I think your identity is WRITER. That's your voice.

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HIKINGSD 7/2/2011 3:18AM

    This is so true. I used to write poems. At the time I didn't realize how much it helped me.

Thank you.

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    At rough patches in my life, I have found journaling to be profoundly helpful. Last year when I was having what I thought were panic attacks, writing about it was the only thing that kept me from going completely bonkers. So I know what you mean about how therapeutic writing can be!

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TOASTIE 7/1/2011 10:37AM

    wow - you really nailed the power of writing on the head.

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REBECCAMA 7/1/2011 10:23AM

  Your story sounds similar to mine. I have been writing since I was a child too, and like you I did not pursue it as a career because it seems "impractical". I didn't really want a career in journalism, although in hindsight maybe that wouldn't have been so bad. I have also taken classes, been part of writing groups, etc.. but now I'm married, have a kid, and a full-time job and it's hard to fit it in sometimes.

I also think a lot about "Identity", and some of my teachers have told me that I need to "find my voice". I have 3 different blogs, including my Spark one, and they are all written under different names and cover different things. Still, I do not write enough.

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SHOOPETTE 7/1/2011 4:24AM

    I love writing too and miss it. I do also fear judgement but I like the idea of writing with characters instead of myself.
I might take up writing soon!

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GRAMMACATHY 7/1/2011 4:02AM

    Writing is sometimes more fun than watching a movie or reading a book. It is amazing what pops out of the brain when we are not trying to achieve anything but just the pleasure of writing.

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SYZYGY922 7/1/2011 2:03AM

    I used to write a lot, too. I always wanted to be a writer when I was a kid, but I backed away from it because of confidence issues and because I listened to people who told me that it wasn't a good career choice. I do regret that. Depression smothers my creativity. But I'm trying to be creative again. Your blogs are always well put together! I never write drafts of them or anything like that, at least not here! I always like reading yours :)

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Getting Ready to Stay the Same: Considering Maintenance While Losing

Thursday, June 30, 2011

"The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."
-Albert Einstein

Why the heck would I be blogging about weight maintenance? I am not anywhere near my goal weight, so I shouldn't have to worry about that right now, right? Weight maintenance is an afterthought, something that will take care of itself once I reach my goal weight. At that point, I should be so motivated by being thin that I will know what to do to prevent gaining the weight back. What's the saying, "Being thin is its own reward!"? Well, being thin is most certainly not its own reward, otherwise I wouldn't be here to lose weight again. There would be a much higher success rate of weight maintenance amongst all who lose weight if being thin were truly enough motivation in and of itself.

There is no glamor in maintaining weight. Now weight loss, that is sexy. A dash of willpower, a sprinkle of determination, and POOF, you're losing weight. The compliments abound, fueling your sheer determination to keep losing, to keep the comments coming. Can we really rely on that steel-cut determination every second of every day...forever? When the compliments dwindle down and you and everyone else are used to your new body...then what?

This time, I decided not to start losing weight until I had a plan for maintenance. You don't start a marathon without knowing where to find the start and finish lines, and you do a lot of preparation before race day. I've decided to take the same approach to weight loss. I spent months mentally preparing for weight loss and weight maintenance, preparing for the changes that were to come. I did not set a day to start losing weight--I let my soul tell me when it was ready. It took a lot of reflection on past weight loss to figure out how to make this time different.

It is fair to say that I had not been successful at weight maintenance before. I regained the 95 pounds I had lost on WeightWatchers several years ago; the weight crept back on over the past couple of years. Even though WeightWatchers really does give some good focus to weight maintenance, even during the weight loss process, I was not mentally prepared for the shock of being thin. When one of my uncles saw me for the first time since I had lost 95 pounds, he hugged me and said, "Much, MUCH better," as he patted me on the back. I should have said, "What the hell does that mean? I wasn't good during the previous 27 years?" How could he think that when I felt just as bad about myself as I did the day I walked into my first WeightWatchers meeting? My body had changed, but my mind was the same. I was certainly not much, MUCH better. That moment set off something inside of me, and I struggled to figure out why the "compliment" bothered me so much. Wasn't that why I lost weight? To be better than I was before?

I returned to school in 2008 to return to my psychology roots, and also wanted to study exercise science. I did a self-designed bachelor's degree combining psychology and kinesiology; essentially, I was studying exercise psychology. I wanted to study exercise motivation in weight loss and weight maintenance. Needless to say, there have not been many studies performed to assess exercise motivation in weight maintenance. Exercise psychology tends to focus either on elite athletes or overweight people, without much else in between. I was fortunate to work with some professors who thought I had good ideas, and they encouraged me to expand my horizons.

Most of the academic world that deals with health focuses on weight loss, seeming to forget that life often continues on after the weight is lost. Therein lies the problem of the forgotten group, the maintainers. Weight loss sells, and weight maintenance is just supposed to be something that will happen because you paid so dearly to get to that weight. The reality is, weight maintenance is hard. Damn hard. And weight maintenance has been neglected by the fields that should be addressing it, such as medicine, psychology, and public health. Weight maintenance seems to be brushed off as a passive process, when in fact, most people will proclaim that long-term maintenance is more difficult than losing. I think that having a plan for maintenance, and doing as much as possible to prepare to exist in a different body, are vital to long-term success.

Actively preparing to maintain weight loss is a part of my daily routine and is intertwined with the weight loss. In my eyes, they are the same journey, a continuation down the same road. Here are some of the things I work on to prepare for long-term maintenance:

*Take emotion out of the numbers.

Sure, some days I glance at the scale and growl, and sometimes I'm practically skipping to step on it, but I have worked very hard to detach my sense of self from the number on the scale. I have focused on taking emotion out of weight loss partially so that the scale doesn't trip me up, and because I can't rely on the constant thrill of losing to keep me going. We tend to get upset when the scale isn't doing what it is "supposed" to be doing. The scale isn't "supposed" to do anything. I step on it, it spits out a number, it has done its job. I have control over how that number makes me feel. It has helped me immensely to think of weekly weigh-ins as a mini-measurement, with my overall monthly net loss as the true measurement. I will continue weighing weekly once I am maintaining, but will only make adjustments to diet and exercise if the weight is creeping up over the course of an entire month (a "true gain").

It baffles and saddens me to see people feeling like they have failed because they are not staying within a pound or 2 of a particular weight they have in mind. I have found the scale to be so wacky that there can be up to a 7 pound difference from day to day. Not being bent on a specific number will help reduce stress, which in turn reduces the feeling of "failing," and reduces the chances of giving up.

*Find success in unlikely places.

AK_MILLER had congratulated me the other day on my 3-month plateau. Smart gal; she picked up that I wasn't beating myself up over cycling through the same 5 pounds for 3 months, but that I took it as a lesson in weight maintenance. A plateau usually brings on words of comfort, not celebration. I became frustrated enough with the up-and-down cycle that I finally "broke up" with the Same 5 Pounds and am ready to get back to weight loss, but I do not feel like I have "wasted" the past 3 months.

When I feel like everything is going wrong, I stop those thoughts and think hard about at least one thing that is going right. I mean, I woke up this morning, I'm still alive, so there has to be something positive buried in there. Even if there isn't a truly positive outcome to a situation, we always learn something. Embrace the experience, incorporate it into your being, and delve deep to find some meaning.

*Lift weights. Lift giant, heavy, un-girly weights.

Muscle mass is your friend. During the past 3 months of cycling up and down with the same 5 pounds, I still lost inches. Actually, I lost almost the same amount of inches as I had when I was losing 6-8 pounds a month. I can thank lifting heavy weights for this, and doing as much lower-body work as my right knee could tolerate.

This is where losing slowly comes in handy. Losing slowly allows for adjustments in muscle mass as body fat is lost. I will probably do at least 1 blog about all of the nerdrageous physiological reasons that strength training is vital to weight maintenance, and why strength training during weight loss primes the body to maintain weight loss.

*Track food--forever.

I know a lot of people aim to break free of having to track their food. But planning my food has been the key to my weight loss, and I know it will help with keepin' it real during maintenance. It takes five minutes out of my night to plan my food for the next day. I have taught myself that I can eat normally, so tracking should not be a big deal; not tracking would simply be me showing my denial of my eating patterns.

*Find at least one fitness-related hobby.

Having a fitness-related hobby helps fitness become a natural part of your daily life. Even if you think you won't enjoy a fitness-related hobby, give it a shot. From aerobics to Zumba, there are thousands of options and there's something right for everyone.

*Find at least one non-fitness-related hobby.

Health and fitness goals can be time-consuming, but I think a major part of having a rich life is having activities that bring out the best within ourselves. People tend to want to lose weight to make life better, so why not act on those, "Gee, someday I'd like to..." thoughts that drift through our minds?

What have you always wanted to try? Take the leap and go for it.

*Get new friends.

Being overweight is often accompanied by low self-esteem. I have tended to accept whomever shoved themselves in front of me, because hey, I should be so lucky that they're giving me the time of day, right?

Nah, not anymore.

I have been extremely fortunate in that most of my friends are awesome and supportive and they don't care what I weigh, but it took some work to get rid of people who were not good for me. I no longer allow toxic people into my life. I finally got to a point where I had enough self-respect to stop letting people treat me badly. If the friends you have don't love and respect you at whatever weight you happen to be, whether fat or thin, then they don't deserve you. They are shallow people. And it doesn't always have to be about weight--if they don't treat you right, they should be gone. Buh. Bye.

*Laugh. Seriously, laugh right now.

I love this quote from an unknown author: "The first thing you lose on a diet is your sense of humor." We allow ourselves to feel ecstatic when we lose, sad when we aren't losing, and anger when we have a gain. We tend to put on our game face, stopping only to smile when the scale shows a loss. During maintenance, are we doomed to feel mere relief when we step on the scale and have not gained, and angst if there is the slightest gain? Where's the humor?

I have a very crass and sarcastic sense of humor, and I couldn't exist without it. Finding the humor in an unfavorable situation is like seeing the sunshine through the crack in the wall in a dark room. You don't have to stay there; find something funny--damn funny--and break out into the sunny field.

I had to lose some fat in my head before I could get ready to lose--and keep off--the fat on my body. Weight maintenance takes very hard work, even before we're at our goal weight. The biggest thing I think we need to learn is that people are no "better" or "worse" because of their weight. We are who we are, at any weight, although the deep inward reflection that often accompanies weight loss may certainly make us radiate happiness.

"If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."
-Wayne Dyer

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GLORIAMAJDI 3/28/2013 2:42PM

    As someone who has lost it and gained it (more than once), I really appreciate the thoughts in this blog. I know that this time I am getting off the roller coaster and the ideas and thoughts here give me a lot of food for thought...excuse the pun!

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KELLYD2112 3/28/2013 10:22AM

    Great encourage for all of us contemplating maintenance yet again, but this time wiser and determined.

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PAM_COOPER 1/15/2013 1:14AM

    What a great article! You have the basic psychology of the process covered and skillfully put it into words and generously shared it with your readers. Thank you! I too, will be sharing this with my girls.

I just reached my goal weight of 135 in early December (actually I hit 133, but now teetering between 136 and 138). I totally agree with the plan for maintenance to be in your mind at the beginning. I lost 112 lbs. 20 years ago with no idea what "maintenance" meant. I just gradually started throwing in the butter again and eating ice cream, mac and cheese and other trigger foods again and within months I had regained the whole 112 lbs. I gave up --- for 20 years! I thought fat was a destiny, that I just was not capable of keeping it off. I reasoned it was easier on my body to just stay fat rather than yo yo.

But, this time I set out to lose weight 'for love' of my adult children who also have weight problems and the fact that menopause had added another 35 lbs. I suddenly realized that my poor example had affected my children's thinking, that they too thought they were destined to be fat. When my youngest daughter planned WLS because she thought there was no other way, I decided I would show her that it CAN be done without surgery, hoping she would join me on the journey. She still opted for the surgery and has done well. She and I have had great fun going shopping for clothes! However, my other daughter is now losing and has been my greatest cheerleader and I hers. She got my 'message'--that weight loss CAN happen w/o surgery.

As you indicated in your article, I think maintenance is going to take more dedication than merely losing. Losing is the easy part--there is a goal, a challenge, and lots of rewards. But, maintaining is the long haul commitment to be a stable, healthy weight after the 'glow' of weight loss and compliments subside.

Anyway, the maintenance plan has been in the making from the beginning, knowing that this is what went wrong 20 years ago. I also plan on logging my food for months or years to come. I may not always log online (I have most calories memorized)--but I will be logging and weighing in periodically. I also realize that the cooking methods and foods that helped me lose 140 lbs. should never be abandoned just because I am now thin. I still have trouble with trigger foods and trigger situations and will always need to be on guard to correct a slip up before I regain 20-40-100 pounds. It can happen quickly!

As far as friends, I have been fortunate to have friends who loved and accepted me as I was---except my always skinny husband who HATES fat people, especially when it was his wife. He has changed his attitude toward me and life has been much better at home. However, it does bother me that the person he was so mean to is the same person who he is now so nice to. I understand his feelings to an extent, but for many years I took extreme verbal abuse everyday and would resort to hiding much of my eating and just about everything else I did. Now, he says I am too thin and need to gain 20 lbs. (grrrr!) I think I am just right where I am and just need to tone up -- a lot. That is my second year goal which I am now working on.

I am determined to be that small percentage of people that keeps it off this time!

As far as fitness related habits/hobbies, I have a short workout routine 3 or 4 times a week and try to go hiking (or other similar activity) at least once a week. I've also got renewed energy and motivation to clean house more thoroughly and keep my yard and garden more manicured. I have always loved my garden, but after the last 35 lb. gain I just felt so bad physically and emotionally that I didn't even care if my flower beds had weeds or not. I've learned to keep the exercise expectations 'real' and reasonable so not to just abandon it (as I did 20 years ago when I walked and exercised 3-4 hours a day).

Anyway, thanks again for the words of wisdom. emoticon

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STARDUSTD 1/14/2013 6:45PM

  Speaking as someone TOTALLY unprepared for maintenance prior to beginning it, this blog is brilliant. It's just so spot on. I applaud your approach of emphasizing the maintenance mindset from the get-go, and thank you wholeheartedly for sharing.
Hope you don't mind my printing your blog for future reference.

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BECCAZEN7 1/13/2013 10:08PM

    I am bookmarking this for future use and rereading. Well said, well thought out. thanks. emoticon

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PHOENIX1949 1/13/2013 7:04PM


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CATMAGNET 1/13/2013 6:45PM

    Thank you for this post. I REALLY needed to read this today!

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NUFLIGHER 1/11/2013 11:08AM

    Keep up the great work!

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REDQT2 1/11/2013 8:35AM

    This is excellent and so what I need to read. Why can't people realize that losing weight has no effect on their personality, attitudes, and especially their false beliefs about the world... Excellent post! emoticon

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JSTETSER 1/11/2013 5:55AM

This is my one year anniversary of sparking. Read my blog!

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    An over the top awesome blog. You are SO smart!! Recently I reached maintenance with my body, but like you said, my head isn't quite there yet. It IS a shock to be thin again. There's such a huge psychological component to this journey. Also, you're's a never ending journey down the right path. It must continue on after the weight is lost. I see people & food differently in this new body and don't quite know what to make of it. Those I formerly thought were thin and in good shape I see with different eyes. Sometimes it's unsettling. I'm going to save your blog and refer back to it when necessary. All of these things I need to carefully digest and reflect upon. Thank you for writing it. emoticon emoticon

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MARCOSMASTER 1/10/2013 7:40PM

    Wow, great insights, blown away! Thanks emoticon

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MANDELOVICH 1/10/2013 6:59PM

    I love this blog. What great strategies you live by! Thank you for sharing!!

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MOBYCARP 1/10/2013 5:04PM

    What an incredibly well-reasoned blog! I'm glad I got pointed at it.

All the major points you describe resonate as true. I struggled with some, learned the hard way about others, and did still other naturally; but the important things are pretty much what you described.

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DOUBLEMME 1/10/2013 4:20PM

    Great blog!
From two friends you mentioned, I wish you:
“The only source of knowledge is experience”. (Albert Einstein)
“Begin to see yourself as a soul with a body rather than a body with a soul”. (Wayne Dyer)


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ADRIENALINE 1/10/2013 3:53PM

    Awesome blog. You are brilliant to incorporate a maintenance process into your weight loss goals because the maintenance phase is the same as the weight loss phase with all of the emotional lows and none of the highs. I never had to go through what you have gone through but I have lost 34 lbs to get to my goal healthy weight maintained my new weight since 3/22/2012 so I know what I'm saying.

I still eat the same healthy diet that I implemented for weight loss and do more cardio than I ever did before and weigh myself every day (the scale goes up and down all the time) but I get to have great fattening desserts every so often and my best reward is to know that I still fit into my skinny jeans and look marvelous.

I know you will get there too. This blog is full of major truths!

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GETFIT2LIVE 1/10/2013 3:18PM

    TRUTH! I hope that SP sees your blog and features it; this is stuff that people need to read and think about wherever they are in the process of losing weight. If you don't start thinking about maintenance *from the beginning*, you're going to have a much harder time keeping the weight off.

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PRESBESS 1/10/2013 12:43PM

    Great blog!

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THOMS1 1/10/2013 10:59AM

    Love it! I really needed this today as I stepped on the scale this morning expecting a loss and I stayed the same. I will look at things very differently from now on.

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MPLSLINDA 1/10/2013 10:01AM

    Of all the blogs and articles I've read about weight loss and weight maintenance, THIS is the one I'm saving to my Evernote collection. From the beginning--the unsexy maintenance--to the end--losing the fat in your head before losing the fat on your body--you wrote the unvarnished TRUTH. Thank you for writing so clearly and eloquently about the most important and most ignored aspect of weight loss.

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SUSIEMT 1/10/2013 9:58AM

    Very well said! Thank you! A mini novel for sure but so worth the read!

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KANOE10 1/10/2013 9:52AM

    That is a great blog. You are losing the fat in your head and will succeed in maintenance!

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GREASE31 1/10/2013 9:45AM

    Hi CATS_MEOW_0911,

Thank you, you have put this very well. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 1/10/2013 9:40AM

    Very well said and thought out!!! You would make an excellent life coach if that is in your schooling plans.
Tracking does rule and I plan on doing it forever.
Great point on the weight lifting, something a lot of women ignore or do very little of.
I hope Spark puts this on a Daily Spark Blog. It should be, or as a permanent article would be even better!
Keep on Sparking!

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KTISFOCUSED 1/10/2013 9:38AM

    Perfect blog and you are just like me. I have been at a plateau since June (10 miles from goal) but I too am doing all the things you talked about and it is a good reminder that once I get there, I have the tools to stay there. Thanks for a wonderful reminder and good luck on getting to your goal. Once there, you WILL stay there.

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POINDEXTRA 1/10/2013 8:56AM

    Wow - amazing insights. And, it meshes perfectly with something I read recently on the Dr. Gourmet site. Someone did a study where one group was assigned to maintain their weight before losing, and the other group went straight to losing first. Guess what. The people who practiced maintaining first kept the weight off longer! Especially for people with a lot of weight to lose, any plateus should simply be considered practice toward the ultimate goal of a never-ending plateau.

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DDOORN 1/10/2013 8:53AM

    Why oh WHY do I lose track of some of the SMARTEST, SHARPEST members of my SparkFamily?!?! I think it's because there are SO MUCH BRILLIANCE among us! :-)

Such a joy to read, nodding my head to EVERYTHING you've written...especially your reaction: "What the hell does that mean? I wasn't good during the previous 27 years"...which sparked my inner critic which I'm looking to exorcise.

My therapist and I have developed a positive INJUNCTION to counter all those negative INJUNCTIONS that I've clobbered myself with over the years. It's simple, it may change, but right now it works. It's my mantra during workouts, when I wake up, when I go to sleep and any other time of day when I stop, clear my head with some deep breathing:

I am special as I am.

Such a joy to catch up with you again! Saving your words to review, remind, rekindle, re-SPARK!


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SANDICANE 1/10/2013 8:25AM

    You're right...there's nothing sexy about maintaining...and yet, it is the NUMBER ONE goal on my list this year. Having gained and lost LITERALLY HUNDREDS of pounds in my life...I want to stay the same.

Cheers to you and I'm subscribing too.

Bless us all on our journey.


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TORTISE110 1/10/2013 8:14AM

    You have nailed this! Well done. Maybe the heart of it is that losing weight is not living a full life. And we need to figure that out as we lose and as we maintain. You are inspiring to read! Thank you!!!

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DIANNEMT 1/10/2013 7:59AM

    Wow--I am supposed to be in maintenance mode--but then Christmas happened. So--this really speaks to me! I will say good-bye to this extra weight and then will be doing the really tough job of maintaining.... Thank you--I will come back to this again and again!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 1/10/2013 7:33AM

    Great blog! We agree on so many things already, but thanks for the heads up on heavier weights. That's one area I neglect.

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SLENDERELLA61 1/10/2013 6:32AM

    Great blog! You are so ready for success! Thanks for spelling out lots of things that were just kind of formed in my brain. I count you right on every point!! -Marsha

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ANNIEONLI 1/10/2013 6:29AM

    "There is no glamour in maintaining weight" - truer words could not have been said.

I am SO glad that you are thinking this way because it will make maintaining easier in the long run. Every point you made, is valid in maintaining for the long long haul. You have your plan and KNOW for a FACT that is it solid and a good one.


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MAREE1953 1/10/2013 4:44AM

    Great blog! I am so thankful to have found the At Goal/Maintaining team here at SP. Lots of great advice and inspiration. Best wishes for your journey, my friend.

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NEW-CAZ 1/10/2013 3:05AM

    FaNTASTIC BLOG emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 1/10/2013 2:13AM

    You have put much thought into this blog and for me it is wonderful. Your perspective has really helped me look at several things in a new way. Thank you so much, emoticon

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POPSY190 1/10/2013 2:05AM

    Terrific blog. I especially like the section where you find good aspects of plateauxing- it's so easy to give up at that point rather than treating it as a landing before the next flight of stairs. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/9/2013 7:14PM

    Sheer brilliance! What a great blog!! Those of us at At Goal and Maintaining: Transition to Maintenance believe devoutly that the time to plan for maintenance is right at the start of the weight loss journey!! We'd love to see Spark focus on the MAIN thing: MAINtenance! Welcome!!

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NELLJONES 1/9/2013 10:38AM

    I have been maintaining for many years and I still track my food, just not on something as intricate as Spark's nutrition planner. It's true that the "motivation" from the outside disappears and we have to rely on whatever discipline we learned while losing. The scale doesn't bother me, it just tells me what my day should look like. The scale is a tool, an indicator, like a thermometer. You don't get up and look at the thermometer outside and freak out because it doesn't say what you expected or wanted. You dress accordingly. The scale is the same kind of indicator.

As for your uncle, you have no idea what he was referring to. When we were fat, we gave off unhappy or angry vibes all the time, daring people to say something. My son, the dietician, calls it "fat people syndrome". Because weight fills every thought every day, it feels like it fills everyone else's thoughts every day, too. It doesn't. I'll bet your uncle was referring to a job well done, or even the lifting of that invisible cloud all desperate people carry. A stranger? Yes, I'd be irritated, but someone who loves me? I'll bet he sees a change in you that you don't see in yourself yet.

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LITTLEBO 11/14/2012 7:50PM

    GREAT!!! I too started thinking about maintenance when I first started losing weight. And I jointed the maintenance team when I still had many pounds to lose. Gotta get that mentality early....

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TINAJANE76 11/14/2012 6:35PM

    Love this blog and so glad that you decided to join the 'At Goal & Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance' team. The points you mention are things that many of us continue to work on as we continue to maintain. The earlier you start getting ready to do all of these things, the easier (but not easy per se!) things will be once you get down to goal.

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BOOKAPHILE 11/10/2012 9:59AM

    I also followed a link from Watermellen to find your blog. I think this is the first time I've ever taken notes while reading a blog. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences! I'm on my second trip through the same 30 pounds, and this blog post is tremendously encouraging to me.

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TRAVELGRRL 11/6/2012 12:56PM

    I found your blog because Watermellen mentioned it in HER blog today, and you've made some wonderful points. I'm 16 pounds from my goal but I'm on the THIRD TIME losing the same weight. I think finally I'm a bit smarter. Thanks so much for sharing what you've learned.

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46SHADOW 11/6/2012 8:16AM

    thank you.

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TOASTIE 7/1/2011 10:47AM

    Another great blog. A weight maintenance mentality helps me keep a focus on the long-term healthy choices I am making. Even if my outside isn't changing, on the inside, where it really counts, I have to believe that good things are going on. And I am reinforcing the switches I am making from bad to better habits. And honestly? Maintaining my weight takes a lot more work than gaining does. Sometimes it helps me to remember that I weigh a lot less than I could weigh if I wasn't maintaining! Each week that I maintain represents 1-2 pounds that I didn't gain!

Congratulations on maintaining!

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GEMINIAN1 7/1/2011 1:42AM

    How brilliant are you? Geeeezoman.

My heart goes out to you regarding the comments your Uncle made.
I mean, really? Really? Maybe the up side to it happening is that, you'll be prepared for it this time. We both know that someone is likely to say something "off" ;-) Hey, maybe we can start mustering up some sarcastic, or otherwise, reactions to off color comments right now ... lol.

Start studies in weight maintenance; I'll be your first client. You're right. I have read blogs on SP where people are shocked at the reactions they get ... and I'm not talking about the good ones.
I've had that happen too; I think it's "mandatory" ... lol.

I'm with you on the taking the emotions out of the scale; but, I just try to take the bad ones out. I still allow the happy ones in. I agree about the overall month thing too. I, personally, don't understand weighing yourself every day; for me it would be "a recipe for disaster". The most, I weight in, is once a week. Different things work for different people.

Woo-Hoo muscles!!! Burn, burn, burn at rest. Burn baby burn!
I plan on sticking with SP after "goal" (I haven't really decided what that means; I just know I'm *not* there; lol), Tracking, maybe update My Status that 'I Maintained' or something, joining Maintenance Teams, pay it forward.

I love that, 'lose fat in my head'; you're so funny.
I love the quotes ... again ... :-)
I loved this Blog *so* much. Thank you for sharing it.
You are awesome indeed my friend; awesome indeed.

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CANNIE50 6/30/2011 8:36PM

    Another SPfriend directed me to this blog and I am so grateful she did. You put so much work and thought and wisdom into this post and I really appreciate it. I have subscribed to your blog, and will be reading those you have posted in the past. I agree with what another commentor said - this should be a "most popular blog".

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LHLADY517 6/30/2011 6:47PM

    Excellent. Very important.

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HIKINGSD 6/30/2011 4:25PM

    Excellent blog!

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LEONALIONESS 6/30/2011 3:53PM

    Agree with all this except tracking food forever. I, personally, can't do it without it being incredibly, maddeningly triggering. It makes my EDNOS just go CRAZY and I have to take numbers out of the equation entirely. This also means I don't weigh myself anymore - choosing to go by my clothing, how I look and my measurements. So far, so good.

I've been trying the intuitive eating thing and eating as much unprocessed or lightly processed food as I can. I probably have eaten more the last month of not tracking than I did while I was tracking - I'm just eating the right things when I'm hungry (mostly, I still love sweets and still give in to "mouth hungries" rather than stomach hungries!) and I believe the little bit of weight I regained is gone. Or my body has just shifted it. I look leaner and feel leaner, my clothes fit better (except now, post giant salad and no-oil added, homemade Indian style veggies with brown rice... ooof fiber foodbaby) and I feel really good.

Everyone's mileage varies here. You, unlike me, seem to have a much MUCH healthier body image and relationship with food and weight. For the nonED/EDNOS amongst us, tracking can be just another bit of information we have to use for planning. I just can't do it anymore, personally, without it having me spin off into a bad headspace.

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