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I'm not going to be a success story.

Monday, July 18, 2011

That is because I already am a success story.

Over the past year or so, I learned I wasn't fed up with the fat on my body--I was fed up with myself and with toxic people in my life. Rather than start a weight loss plan fueled by self-hatred and sadness, I conscientiously worked on learning to like myself better by getting to know myself better. I needed to learn some basic self-respect. I was finally able to--guilt-free--cut toxic people from my life. I mistakenly poured my self-worth was into my body, and allowed toxic people to create a void in me that further convinced me that I would be a lot happier if I lost weight. I have realized that healthy living is so much more than weight, or even eating and exercise. I am a success story now because I finally love myself, after a lifetime of hating myself.

Losing weight is a bonus throughout this journey, but the long road of attaching my self-worth to my body is finally coming to a close. I think it is common for us to get "fed up" with our weight to the point of hatred, and then to start trying to lose weight. The weight needs to come off RIGHT NOW because we will be so much happier being thinner. Some of the pounds start to come off, and we feel like we're "finally" on the road to happiness. As I learned the hard way the first time I lost weight, this does not bring on the flood of happiness, self-love, and self-respect that I was expecting. My mind and body were separate entities, both being shaped by people in my life who I never should have allowed to get in. One of the biggest problems with having no self-respect is that I allowed toxic people to shape my life. They were bad when I was fat, and they were still bad when I had lost weight before. I needed to lose a couple thousand pounds--and it wasn't from my body. Whether it was a jab from a co-worker, a bully pointing and laughing, or a "friend" remarking how I should be living, they had to go.

Learning to dump the toxic people and overall living a fuller life meant building up some self-respect and confidence. After months of learning what my body and mind really wanted, I was finally able to say, "It's time," and started eating more healthfully and following the SparkDiet. Fortunately, I have used exercise as an outlet for several years, so I have had no problems adhering to an exercise plan. However, I have dropped the black-and-white thinking about exercise and have a much more balanced approach to exercise now. I have a more balanced approach to my life in general, which has been a challenging adjustment from living a life of extremes.

Don't get me wrong, I am NOT satisfied with my body right now. I feel slow and worn down, and I fully recognize how much more healthy I will become as I lose weight. I am sure I will also think I am more attractive. As exciting as all that will be, I have separated the entirety of my self-worth from my the state of my physical body. For most of my life, my entire identity had been tied to my body. I was constantly “dieting”, and I finally asked myself WHY it is that I had poured so much of my self-worth into my body size, and at first the answer was, “Because...ummm, because...uh, 'cuz...” Funny how I had spent so much time and energy on hating myself because of my body size, and I couldn't even muster a valid reason why I felt that way in the first place. It was outside forces that manifested this hatred.

Not to be dramatic, but my childhood was shaped by trauma (can see the blogs about the car accident when I was a kid from the week of June 20th), and then by bullying. However, I know a good thing when I see it, too. My family was wonderfully supportive of me (always). Although I was bullied, I did (and do) also have close friends. KVARNLOV is one of my favorite people, and we have been friends since we were 13 years old. There are very few people in our lives with whom we can truly "be ourselves," but I always feel like I'm myself when I'm with her. I don't feel like I have to mold myself into something else in being her friend. The lesson I have learned from her is that I'm okay the way I am. I finally took that feeling I have when I'm around her and tried to apply it to the rest of my life. I needed to stop trying to be what other people think I should be. That required getting to know myself on a more basic level.

I've had a recurring dream over the past couple of years where I'm staring at my reflection in the mirror, and I feel like I don't recognize the person in the mirror. I start backing away, and instead of retreating, my reflection lurches forward toward me. I don't think the dream is meant to scare the crap out of me (although it is horror-movie scary--thanks a lot, subconscious!), but rather, it is my brain telling me that I need to get to know myself better. Ironically, these dreams started after I lost weight, when I thought I should have had total satisfaction with my body (and therefore, with my life). It's not that I was worthless, I just didn't know myself very well. It was easy for me to hate a body that I didn't know very well. Combine that with a mind that was disconnected to that body, and well, no wonder I was confused. How could I know how much I was worth when I didn't know myself?



"To free us from the expectations of others, to give us back to ourselves--there lies the great, singular power of self-respect."
-Joan Didion



Whereas before my approach to weight loss was to be fueled by the stupidity and cruelty of others, it now comes from having enough self-respect to take care of myself. Whereas before each step I took was powered by "I'll show all of them," now I take the step out of sheer enjoyment of movement. Whereas before I felt guilty for overeating because I was afraid of being judged (which, ironically, led to more overeating), I now usually eat healthfully because I don't need food to fill a void any more. That void is filled with good friends, walking, swimming, cycling, boxing, weight lifting, playing the saxophone, writing, and thinking up new things to try. Actually, I think the void is starting to overflow. That's fine, there' room for more now.

A major part of learning self-respect has been connecting my body to my mind. I have not only gotten to know my mind, but my body, too. Part of my problem when I lost weight a few years ago is that I had no body awareness. I still felt worthless and bad about my body. I was proud of some of my athletic accomplishments, but the fact that I had a different body just wasn't sinking in. It seems odd in retrospect how I could on one hand be so excited about being thin, yet be incapable of accepting it. My self-worth was so tightly bound to my body size that I had nothing else upon which to build a sense of self. I could see the numbers going down, and I could put my hands over my body, but it felt like touching a stranger. No wonder I couldn't maintain my weight loss--I couldn't recognize myself any more than I had before.

However, other people recognized the "new me." Co-workers were nicer to me. Guys hit on me. Strangers smiled at me. "Friends" told me how much "better" I looked. I did not revel in the attention; it downright pissed me off. I wanted to scream at them, "Why couldn't you show me some respect before?" I see it now that I am overweight again--the sneer as I walk down the street, the eye-widening from the person who hasn't seen me in a long time (because I cut them out of my life), the stares, the head-shaking, the avoidance of eye contact... that's fine, they can judge. It's their problem. I only have control over my reaction to them. I don't react to strangers at all, and as far as the bad people I used to let into my life...how do you say it? Buh? Bye? I'm really glad I had a friend who gave me a reality check, because I don't think I ever would have seen it.

One of my favorite people is Lisa, who is in my triathlon training group (she's really the "leader") and had helped me learn how to run. She also taught me that I don't have to allow toxic people in my life. One day while we were on a walk, I was talking about how I feel bad when people come to my house and make comments about what I "should" be doing to my house or yard, or how I "should" keep my house cleaner, or how I "should" be raising my animals. She looked at me and asked why I allow those people in my life, let alone in my house. I had always worked so hard to try to "fit in" and to impress others that it had never dawned on me that I don't have to do that. I had been living my life essentially thinking, "Gee, I would feel so much better about myself if I could just win over this jackass of a human being." I allowed these toxic people to control, manipulate, and shape me. I have been successful at cutting toxic people out of my life. I couldn't be a whole person when these people were in my life.

The other area where I know I've been very lucky is having a wonderful family. My family has never been mean to me because of my weight. My heart aches when I hear about people's own family being cruel to them because of their weight, and I know I was very fortunate to have parents and family members who did not berate me. It is probably the only reason I was able to develop any self-esteem. My mother is about the kindest person on the planet, and although she was always supportive if I expressed interest in weight loss, she never "put me on a diet" or told me I was bad because of my body. And as we watched my aunt yo-yo diet with an 800-calorie liquid diet, she always told me expressed concern for what she was doing to herself and explained that it was not a healthy approach. She always supported me being more active and eating healthfully, without ever judging me. My mother has genuine pride in me and I know that I am damn lucky to have her in my life. She never gave me the impression that my weight was an important consideration in how much I deserved to be loved, but I allowed other people to teach me that.

The problem I had was focusing too much on my weight while I was trying to lose weight. This time, I am focusing on myself as a whole person. On one hand, I am now capable of acknowledging dissatisfaction with my body, while at the same time taking a matter-of-fact approach to changing it. I treat myself like I would one of my good friends--if I wouldn't say it to one of their faces, I won't say it to myself. It took me a long time to recognize that I am okay the way I am right now, and that I am much, much more than just my weight. I have been shaped by my friends, my family, and by bullies...for better or for worse.

I am a success story now because I have finally learned to take the good with the bad, to recognize people who should not be in my life, and to recognize myself in my own skin. All the pounds and inches lost in the world can't measure how much better I feel about myself. Maybe I will have more self-confidence as I continue to lose, but all I know is that I have more confidence now than I ever have in my entire life. I'm done waiting. I'm not revealing Erin as the fat melts off; she has already burst forth, and I love her.

Are you waiting to tell your success story? Perhaps you are already living it.





"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These people have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep, loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."
- Elizabeth Kubler Ross (thanks to SP user AMPERSANDWICH for sharing)

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHOOPETTE 7/31/2011 12:10PM

    very inspiring

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HEALTHY4ME 7/24/2011 9:58AM

    Amazing blog and so true, I was reading it and hubby said what are you reading... read some and he said that is enough, same story all the time. you women. he doesn't understand the "toxic" people... Little does he realize that some of the stuff he says sometimes is toxic. sort of ironic as he has had a bad childhood, severe bullying and is now on so many meds for depression/anxiety.
So I totally understand, commiserate with some of your blog and totally commend you on the rest. YAY !!!!! you are doing great and are a success story!

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HEALTHYZAZA 7/22/2011 5:15PM

    What an amazing post! It inspires me even more to be a better friend to myself and to not let myself get caught up in others' expectations. emoticon

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NAMAARI 7/22/2011 11:53AM

    Beautifully expressed post, Erin, and I think it really speaks for a lot of people. I think addressing the whole person is the ONLY approach to health that works. Good for you, and thank you for sharing your journey and the wisdom that you've gleaned. I am so happy for you.

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LOGOULD 7/21/2011 10:53AM

    I consider getting the toxic stuff out of my life as important to my journey as getting out the processed and unhealthy foods. I know that from time to time, they will creep in - in limited amounts and as I allow them, but for the most part, they have little or no place in my life.

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CDGOLDILOCKS 7/19/2011 10:29AM

    No one will ever be as cruel to us as we are to ourselves, though some people sure do try. Getting rid of the negative energy and toxic people from out lives definitely makes a difference in our journeys.

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KKINNEA 7/19/2011 10:00AM

    Getting rid of the toxic stuff is so much more important - it will make it far easier for you to stick to your goals and get fit. Even though I'm now fairly fit, the toxic stuff still gets in my way - wish I would have cleared it first like you have. Congrats to you!

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OWENSAUNT1 7/19/2011 9:57AM

    We all have nothing but respect for you. It takes such strenght to realize that you are capable of standing on your own and to cut out all of those negative folks. I alwasy say your friends can either bring you down or lift you up. I prefer to only "keep" the ones who lift me up. Live your life FOR YOU - no regrets!

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HEALTHYL1 7/19/2011 9:53AM

    Great post. I have often felt like I need to fill a void and am learning to enjoy more activities and not looking to other people for approval. Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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ASIRUAM 7/19/2011 8:46AM

    emoticon

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AMPERSANDWICH 7/19/2011 1:01AM

    This is a fantastic post, and you're very welcome for the quote. :)

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CANNIE50 7/18/2011 11:12PM

    Erin (lovely name, by the way) - you express yourself so beautifully. I am happy to read that you have begun treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated. I am a big believer in being more selective about who we spend our precious time and energy on or with. I am glad you learned this at a young age. "We teach people how to treat us." Eleanor Roosevelt ps Since some people are not very teachable, there are people we must simply avoid.

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MUSICALLYMINDED 7/18/2011 10:53PM

    "I treat myself like I would one of my good friends--if I wouldn't say it to one of their faces, I won't say it to myself."

That is such a great way to treat yourself. I wish I could do this. I am such a positive person usually, but I still allow that negative self-talk to happen. And to think, if I said these things to someone else, I'd probably get slapped!

Like you, I am lucky to have a supportive family who has never berated me because of my weight. I have heard of the horrible things people hear from their families and I really can't imagine being in a family like that. My mother has told me that she was concerned about my health and as I get older I need to be more conscious of what I'm eating and try to exercise...but I know she does that out of love and not to make me feel bad about myself.

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ANJII7 7/18/2011 10:53PM

    THANK YOU. Im going to practice your amazing mantra. Bless you!

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TINYFRIEND615 7/18/2011 10:18PM

    A lot of this resonated with me. Thanks for sharing.

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BECKYSRN 7/18/2011 10:08PM

    Wow, Erin....while reading this I kept wishing that you could share what you've learned with my daughter. She is so full of not liking herself at all that she has retreated from life--she has lupus and fibromyalgia, and has gained weight from her meds, and doesn't do anything except stay on her computer. And you made me think as well....I'm always on her to clean her house, to take better care of herself etc...but I think I do it because I know how toxic clutter and mess can be as well. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that it made me think.
Blessed be.
Becky
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ABB698 7/18/2011 9:23PM

    You are super amazing and refreshing! Love you! emoticon

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HIPPIECHIC68 7/18/2011 8:33PM

    I'm working on toxic people in my life, too...thanks for sharing!

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EMRANA 7/18/2011 8:21PM

  We need a "I loved this" button for your blog. I would use it regularly.

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ROYALTY1022 7/18/2011 5:48PM

    Great blog, well said! I know the that negative ppl just dom't deserve to be in your space!! Thx for sharing. Peace... emoticon emoticon

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ANDREA409 7/18/2011 4:56PM

    Very, very, very well said, my friend! I could empathize with so many of your statements. It was like you were in my head and verbalizing my thoughts (much more lyrically than I'd ever be able to do, btw).

I still find myself getting caught up in sometimes thinking that it's my fault if someone is a jerk to me. WRONG. It's not my fault. It's the fault of the person doing the sneering, so forget them. I have to say, when I realized that for myself, it was incredibly liberating.

You rule!

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NINJA_SMOO 7/18/2011 4:38PM

  I wish I had something more poignant to say, but... Wow. This resonated so deeply with me. Thank you for writing it.

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HIPPICHICK1 7/18/2011 4:29PM

    Power blog! Thanks for sharing.

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SUNFLOWERSAVAGE 7/18/2011 4:10PM

    Geat blog...you have such a great attitude. emoticon

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ARCHIMEDESII 7/18/2011 3:56PM

    emoticon

You always write marvelous, thought provoking blogs. I wish I could click "like" multiple times.

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Comment edited on: 7/18/2011 3:57:02 PM

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APLUSGURL 7/18/2011 3:43PM

    I really like this! I can relate in a lot of ways. I understand detaching mind from body. I am a bit opposite in that I have always seen myself as a beautiful woman both inside and out BUT I also lied to myself.I was also more verbose and apt to fight but that was not good either I often wore clothing that was too revealing and it just looked bad.. I never even dream that I look like myself. I feel that getting off the weight is step one of becoming the woman that I want to be. My next step is college degree! I think we reach that point where we know we have get real about ourselves and break down those lie barriers that we face. I can tell that you are heading in the right direction! You are a SUCCESS!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/18/2011 3:47:23 PM

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CAALAN23 7/18/2011 3:26PM

    Beautiful blog and very well said.

Tina

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VINNIELOU 7/18/2011 3:09PM

    This is really a great read. Thank you for taking the time and effort to put it so eloquently into words.

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GABENSEBSMOM 7/18/2011 3:00PM

    Wow. I'm typically a more verbose individual, but this blog really has rendered me speechless. I can absolutely relate to developing a sense of self-respect. It's amazing how other people treat you when you know who you are and you demand respect from others because you demand respect, first, from yourself.

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IDLETYME 7/18/2011 2:53PM

    Truly inspiring blog. I'm glad you were able see your problem wasn't you but the people you thought you could trust. A lot of times those people are really jealous of you. You've figured out who your true friends are, and there are always spark people who will help you whenever they can.
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ESILBO 7/18/2011 2:48PM

    LOVE YOUR BLOG...THANK YOU...I CAN RELATE TO IT AND FOR ME THE MOST TOXIC PERSON IN MY LIFE IS ME...I NEVER FEEL THAT I AM UP TO THE OTHERS, LIKE I NEVER FIT IN, EVEN IF I HAD A SUCCESSFUL CAREER..I LOVE THE IDEA OF GETTING YOUR MIND IN LINE WITH YOUR BODY...YOU ARE A WINNER AND I NEED TO HAVE A GOOD REFLECTION ABOUT SELF-ESTEEM....THANKS

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LISE

Comment edited on: 7/18/2011 2:49:41 PM

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FREECANDY 7/18/2011 2:43PM

    Awesome. I would like this blog twice.

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FLYINGTOFREEDOM 7/18/2011 2:27PM

    what a wonderful blog. I enjoyed reading it. It gives me something to work on thank you.

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LAVLEI 7/18/2011 2:21PM

    love it

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COMINGBACKTOME 7/18/2011 2:14PM

    Gorgeous blog! It is so important to love yourself! I, too, believe in shedding 'toxic people' - it's the easiest way to shed the weight that is holding you back (not your body weight).

Thank you for sharing!

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JSALERNO 7/18/2011 2:13PM

    emoticon emoticon You are the kind of emoticon that makes the rest of us better.

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*tsk tsk* Naughty, naughty!: The Week In Review

Saturday, July 16, 2011

And that's a “*tsk tsk* Naughty, naughty!” full-on British nanny style, with waggling finger and all.

I could probably simplify this blog to this sentence: Holy overeating, Batman! So...yeah. This was not the most spectacular week for eating. Well, not for eating correctly, at least. The upside? I've exercised a lot. Probably too much. I've burned at least 5,000 calories this week, most of it concentrated in the earlier part of the week. I don't think I ate adequately on those days, thus making me more prone to overeating over the past few days. I try not to have more than a 500 calorie deficit on any given day, so for instance, on Monday I should have eaten an extra 800 calories or so. But I didn't.

I've had a theme this week, and that is being overworked. I've been working almost every day to try to get ahead on my finances. The good news? I'm pretty much caught up as of this week. I still have a ton of debt, but for the first time in about a year, ALL of my bills are paid, and on time. The bad news? I have a stressful job doing poison control for animals. Talking to frantic pet owners all day on the phone is exhausting. And our call center is NOISY. It isn't so much the sound of people talking on the phone (although that is still loud), it's the conversations from across the room that make me feel like I'm going to go insane. Sometimes the noise triggers vertigo because I have inner ear issues, yet I need to try to calm people down on the other end of the phone while working in an environment that sounds like a loud bar. So that has been my other theme for the week, feeling like crap at work. Needless to say, I need more than 3 days off in a month. Fortunately, I can count down the days until I get a week off starting August 8th. No major plans, just going to have a staycation.

Anyways, I digress. The point of that was, my job is stressful and I haven't had enough days off to recover, so I've been doing some emotional eating this week. Additionally, TOM starts over the next few days, and I usually try to be conscientious of the carb cravings. But the other night, on a whim, I bought a whole loaf of french bread. And then I ate it.

The whole thing.

Oh no, it didn't stop there. I had some veggie corn dogs and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Half-Baked Frozen Yogurt that night, too. And the past couple of days, I've just been eating off-plan. I've tried to go back and track, but I'm so bad at remembering everything, which is why I usually track first, eat later. I HONESTLY cannot recall all the food I've shoveled in my piehole over the past couple of days, but I can sum up the number of calories:

DAYAM!

Okay, now that I've carefully calculated that out, it's time to get back to work. How about some things I've done right this week? I had once worked through Dr. Judith Beck's “Beck Diet Solution,” and I took away a lot of good points from it. One thing she recommends is to record “Small Victories” every day. “Small Victories” are simply any little thing that is done right, no matter how insignificant they may seem. So I will list some “Small Victories” that I can think of from this week:

*I was at Walgreens last night and was tempted to buy a bunch of crap to come home and binge. I didn't do it.

*I exercised a lot.

*I went swimming for the first time in over a year, and I swam twice this week.

*I've been improving on my saxophone playing.

*I had the one horrible binge night, and I wanted to do it again, but I didn't.

*I didn't beat myself up over binging.

*I have stopped myself from a lot of mindless eating.

*Despite overeating, I still ate lots of fruits, veggies, and whole grains.

*I drank a lot of water and green tea.

*I did not murder any co-workers.

*I “only” gained 0.2 pounds (the overeating still could catch up with me, though).

So here I embark on a new week. I need to scale back the exercise just a little so I don't get overly-hungry, and I need to work enough treats into my food plan so I can stay on track. Perhaps next week the all-mighty scale will even reward me for my efforts, or at least I can be pleased with doing better. I know I'm capable of it.



“Lead me not into temptation; I can find the way myself.”
-Rita Mae Brown

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GEMINIAN1 7/18/2011 2:25PM

    emoticon British Nanny ... you ever see that show?
Holy exercise, Batman.
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emoticon job stress.
I'm glad that you have outlets for stress.
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I hear you; jeezoman, 3 days off a month! Yikes.
Stay-cations are the best ... :-)
I have TOM cravings too. I usually have to make sure I eat really "filling" foods because I'm "extra" hungry and set aside chocolate calories ... seems to be the only time I even care about chocolate.
Funny, I don't even think about it otherwise.
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I emoticon your list of victories.
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PAMELA6289 7/18/2011 10:57AM

  Honestly? 0.2lbs is NUTHIN! You didn't derail as much as you thought, right?

I am glad to see that your plan is scale back your exercise a bit and remember, it's 80% what you eat and 20% how you move that will get you to your goal. You can do this!

Swimming twice last week? I call that a MAJOR victory, especially since you were sort of conflicted about working out with your tri friends.

Girl, you are ROCKING this! Keep it up!!

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CAPTAINCOOKIE 7/18/2011 1:06AM

    Loved the Didn't murder any co-workers part, and I understand your occupational hazard with the pets. I come from a family of pet lovers. My stepdaughter Is going to be in veterinary research medicine in some sort or another.

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EZJAMES 7/17/2011 4:48PM

    Really like the blog; found this post helpful too as I'm battling some cravings, though I may have to treat myself to a bit of French bread. Added you as a friend, hope you don't mind.

Good luck with this week!

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AMPERSANDWICH 7/17/2011 12:06PM

    This post was a realistic, relatable breath of fresh air - subscribing now!

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CANNIE50 7/17/2011 3:45AM

    I hear you on the noise overload. I don't work in an environment like yours (though I once worked somewhere full of stress and cubicles and competing phone conversations so I know your pain) but I have become less and less tolerant of too many sources of noise coming at me for too long. Good job on catching up with your bills - money is such a stressful area for most of us. I think you hit the nail on the head about eating too little and working out a lot being a recipe for over-eating. You are an athlete, darlin'-eat like one! Oh dear, sorry to be bossy (but at least I didn't yell, right?)

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DSRTDRIFTER 7/16/2011 11:00AM

    I love your honesty and sense of humor!! I really needed this to get over my horrible week. Even though I've started to lose a couple of pounds, I've gained it back and am trying to get motivated to do more exercise. And I'll take your lead and start focusing on the things I've done right this week so maybe I'll feel better and not so disappointed in myself. BTW, I made some home made oatmeal bread and have no idea how to count the calories, etc. per slice. On the upside it was homemade, on the down side, I pigged out on it as well as on a bunch of crap food. emoticon

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EMRANA 7/16/2011 10:57AM

  Love the "I didn't murder any co-workers" part! Kind of puts the French bread in perspective!

Bread is a big love of mine too, and sometimes I go a bit overboard. It's just soooo good! I eat tons of veggies and a couple of fruits every day since I'm vegan, so I don't stress about the bread too much. I'm just careful how much bread I have in the house at any given time. I often take my work lunch box with 4 tbsp of hummus, raw cauliflower, carrots, cucumbers, snap peas, and then a piece of bread. If I eat the whole loaf at once, I won't have bread later. I'm like you, I usually track first, then eat. Keeps my mindset better.

TOM will get any of us in trouble. I'm in my second year of perimenopause and it throws me for a loop sometimes!

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LINDAJ0621 7/16/2011 9:41AM

    Sounds like you are doing just fine! I will also try not to murder any co-workers... emoticon I work at a call center also!
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BIGGIRL2082010 7/16/2011 7:10AM

    Well, DAYAM! :) Sounds like you did great despite your best efforts to sidetrack yourself - your small victories definitely sound like you had a successful-despite-stress week!

Congratulations! :)

Now just keep going!

And yes, CONGRATULATIONS on being caught up on the bills. That is the first step towards paying off that mountain. :) Have you read any of Dave Ramsey's books? They're a little bit on the holy side, but the principles he explains really do work, are really easy to wrap our heads around, and usually are things we already know, but he explains them in a way that makes me go "DUH. Of course! Now why am I not doing that?"

Keep up the great work!

-Maya

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MARVEEME 7/16/2011 7:09AM

    Great, honest review! Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and head forward to your vision, my friend. You're on your way to success, and the fact that you didn't throw in the towel speaks volumes about your character and commitment.

emoticon "Ya had a bad day" emoticon

Ok, maybe more than one, but you can turn this one around, I know you will!
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Blessings!

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APED7969 7/16/2011 4:37AM

    "I did not murder any co-workers." - That definately deserves a emoticon

It is amazing how easy it is to have the exercise thing down but still fail at the eating side of things. I think it is partially because exercise is something you do (and feel very good about) and eating healthy usually involves NOT doing something that you really want to do but shouldn't....

I also love bread, I could easily eat an entire loaf right now. So far i've only bought sliced bread from the grocery store which isn't as appealing as a nice crusty bread roll from the bakery. I hope someday i can have enough self control to buy a loaf of really tasty bread and have a resonable amount. At the moment i know that is highly unlikely!

emoticon on all the positives last week and good luck on the eating next week and enjoy the vacation when it comes :)

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AMM12076 7/16/2011 4:28AM

    Well it sounds like you have everything worked out. Although you did have a couple eating binges, it sounds to me like you didn't completely loose control, you were able to rein yourself back in and not do it again the next night.
Sorry about the stressful job. I can't imagine working in that environment. One suggestion (although I have no idea what the phone system is like, so I don't know that it will be a good one), could you get ear plugs, and just put it in the ear that is exposed to all your annoying co-workers? I love ear plugs when I am trying to tune certain things out. I work nights, so they come in handy when I sleep during the day. It was just an idea i had while reading.
Good luck to you this week. I have no doubt you will have a GREAT week! emoticon
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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

"Negative" Blog Posts

Friday, July 15, 2011

Following suit from SANDIEGOJOHN's post a couple of weeks ago about apologizing for "not Sparking enough," I wanted to address all the recent posts where people are apologizing for being "negative" when posting or blogging about struggles or challenges. I'm just going to say it: It is abnormal to be happy all of the time. It is abnormal to embark on a journey for healthier living without struggling sometimes. Posting about struggles is not "negative," it's normal. If you told me you spend every day skipping through the meadow in the sunshine while singing a song and carrying a basket of kittens, I would say I don't believe it for a second.

For instance, this week I have rocked the exercise, but I have been overeating almost every day. No excuse, I just wanna, and I have made inadequate efforts to stop myself from overeating. I'm not sorry about it, I just need to knock it off. Overeating has been my struggle this week, but I know I don't need to apologize for it, nor do I need to apologize for talking about it. Is it "negative" that I am overeating? Yes, technically it is going against what I am trying to achieve. But am I a negative person for talking about it, or would I be a negative person for asking for support? No, a friend would not say that.

I WANT to know when my SparkPeeps are struggling. I WANT to feel their frustration and try to help them through it to the best of my ability. I WANT to know the real person behind the username, both the happy and sad. Perhaps what people mean by "negative" is that they feel disappointed in themselves, and are afraid that SparkFriends will be disappointed, too. SparkFriends, you could never disappoint me with your struggles. I want you to laugh, I want you to cry, I want you to scream...I want you to feel. I think acknowledging and working through ALL of our emotions is a true sign of change.

This journey will not always be rainbows coming out of puppy butts, and there are some times when "WOO HOO!!!!!!!!" will come out "uh, woo hoo? I...guess?" Sometimes it takes more than a simple, "C'mon, you CAN DO IT!" to work through a struggle. Sometimes you have to stay down for a bit so that you can get back up.

GINGERRA1980 had a great post last week about posting about problems; I love Ginger because she tells it like it is, doesn't sugar-coat the truth, and is an awesome SparkPeep through the good and bad: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4354282


And there is ERLYWA's beautiful blog about falling down and staying down for a bit. It is wonderful: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4354821


No one ever needs to apologize for struggling. So bring it on, SparkPeeps! What's bugging you?

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAMAARI 7/21/2011 12:37PM

    Very good blog post...transparent and true. When we are struggling, we need support, not judgement about being negative. I hope I can be someone who encourages when people post their struggles, and celebrate when they post their successes.

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NATRONA32 7/21/2011 11:36AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon this blog!!!
emoticon for sharing!!

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DEBTOLOSE 7/20/2011 8:18PM

    That was Fabulas thanks for posting it emoticon

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WINDANCER99 7/20/2011 6:59PM

    I'm so glad you wrote this blog. You're correct, everything isn't going to be wonderful all the time. In trying to write an upbeat blog, I only received 1 comment. I don't think many people like reading good things. I struggle with a lot of things and to not be able to write what is really going on isn't being the real me.

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REOVERMAN 7/20/2011 4:04PM

    Nice blog...we are all human here...gonna make mistakes and gonna have some mood swings. It's why I love the support on SP-it's REAL!

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KUSHIEL1 7/20/2011 3:22PM

  Great Blog! It's nice to see that it's ok to struggle and say that we are struggling!

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LETTINGGO85 7/20/2011 12:57PM

    Great blog, we all struggle and we shouldn't feel guilty about acknowleding that.

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SHUTRBUG1 7/20/2011 10:55AM

    Good blog!

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STARSAPPHIRE57 7/20/2011 10:49AM

    Well said! (Really love the "rainbows coming out of puppy butts...) Life has hills and valleys and we must experience each of them to know ourselves, learn new skills, andbecome a whole person! Thanks! emoticon

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INSH8P 7/20/2011 9:31AM

    That's what I like about SparkPeople - it is very real. And there are plenty of teams to allow you to find something that is a good fit.
The negative bit, is just a snapshot of experience, at one moment of time. Fortunately, what we express here is usually accepted from that point of view. One drop of water, contributing to the stream - one grain of sand, part of the beach. It is courageous that some people are able to "let it all out" and know that they will get the support to really work it through, and find their own way - through struggle, through breakthrough, by giving up, by finding a different way. There are no overnight turnarounds here, just one by one picking up, and moving on.
A good blog. Thanks. InSh8p

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BAZOOKABOBCAT 7/20/2011 8:59AM

    Honestly, the blogs full of struggles and admissions of defeat motivate me more than the ones that are all "I'M THE MOST POWERFUL DIETER OF ALL TIME AND I LOVE EVERY SECOND OF MY LIFE!!"

And the reason is that I can relate more to the struggles. Sure, a positive blog is great. But I like to see the reality more. I like to see that others go through what I'm going through.

So thanks for this post!

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HEATHERJOYRIDER 7/20/2011 8:39AM

    Thank you so much! I needed to hear this today. A couple off days left me wanting to drop my heard in shame... Thanks!

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IMEMINE1 7/20/2011 6:46AM

    here's a emoticon to make your day go positive.
Good blog.

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HUNGRYWOMAN2 7/20/2011 6:42AM

    Well Said! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAFETYSUE 7/20/2011 6:20AM

    I love your blog and agree with it one hundred percent, and you expressed it so well, you deserve to be recognized!!!
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NIKKI_COLE91 7/20/2011 12:46AM

    keeping it 100% is cool. :)

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KITKAT2010 7/19/2011 9:17PM

    Love it!

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FILARECKI1 7/19/2011 9:02PM

    Great blog. it really brings the point out that everyday is not always roses. Hope you got yourself out of your binge.

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ANGIE121 7/19/2011 5:37PM

    Love your blog and your point! I too have been sticking to my exercise but also snacking tooo much at night. I've been thinking about all day....but reading your blog, its like well yes your overeating acknowledge it, stop it, and move on. Not ignore it keep doing it and not deal with it. No matter whats going on, I at least log onto this site and read blogs because it feels good to know how many people are so real on this site and do let the true side of our struggles know to one another...makes us feel human! This is the longest I've stuck to my healthier choices and daily exercise in a very long time and thanks to Sparks and good friends on here its sure makes life easier knowing we are all in it together!

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BREEZEBEE 7/19/2011 4:34PM

    Learning to allow ourselves to be imperfect, to accept that life doesn't always go to plan no matter how much control you squeeze around it, is so hard! But I find it so much easier to get back on track now that I forgive myself & don't go round in guilty circles.

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DOODLESMAMA1 7/19/2011 4:10PM

    I loved reading this - I had one post where I was maybe whining a little bit, and someone responded in a scolding way, which made me not want to put ANYTHING on here for a long time! I agree that it is the working through stuff in an open and honest way that will truly help other Sparkers on their journeys. I still have a lot of trouble admitting that I am not always up and positive! But, in the end, I am still down 192 lbs. one month shy of 7 years after my bypass surgery! I think that I am doing something pretty good! Yes, I would like to lose the 18 lbs. I have put back on, and maybe about 5 more after that! But I am still way healthier than I was, and nothing would induce me to go back to that NON-LIFE!

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LAURIEMN 7/19/2011 3:03PM

    Thanks for this post! We SHOULD be sharing our struggles! Really feeling our emotions and dealing with them is what we SHOULD be doing, rather than burying them under unhealthy food choices. Thanks for telling it like it is!

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BEGOOD2YOURSELF 7/19/2011 1:35PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Great blog...very true...and the more we accept that we are going to have challenging days as well as good days, the more we don't feel the need to emotionally beat ourselves up for the occasional slip up....which makes it easier then to just accept it, put it behind us and keep moving forward.

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MAMAFEELGOOD 7/19/2011 12:01PM

    But puppy butts are awesome!
Also-with the eating badly and exercising-I totally get you. I can't seem to snap out of it either.

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TEACHEROF4TH 7/19/2011 9:52AM

    Loved your post and the words of wisdom. Thank you!

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PONDERFUL 7/19/2011 9:13AM

    what the heck is the point of being on SP if you can't tell it like it is? Isn't that what girlfriends--and guyfriends are for? Whine on, my sisters, Whine on!

P :)

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WYNTYR1 7/19/2011 9:04AM

  amen sista!!

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SPINNER520 7/19/2011 5:42AM

    Sharing frustrations as well as successes lets the SP community know that they are not alone on this journey!

Comment edited on: 7/19/2011 5:43:27 AM

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DWILCZKO 7/19/2011 3:05AM

  so true!

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HONEYFULL 7/19/2011 2:04AM

    Great blog ! I too used to feel like this - I couldn't bring myself to share my struggles with anyone - on or off SP. But now slowly I am easing into real life, and want to open up in SP. It will still take some time though before I get used to the idea.

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PENNYE42 7/19/2011 12:28AM

    Your post is great, and very true. You're right - we live in a real world, not a fantasy world. And blogs and posts should reflect that.

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KATHIERAE 7/19/2011 12:20AM

    Thank YOU! I appreciate genuine-ness (Is that a word?) more than anything else and know I need to practice it too... emoticon

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REMODELINGPAT 7/19/2011 12:17AM

    emoticon emoticonblog!

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LISADAVIDSON68 7/18/2011 10:53PM

    Love it!! I understand the plight of the "negative". I WANT to be uplifting and encouraging for my sparkpeeps, but sometimes it just aint happening.

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LIFEASAFATGIRL 7/18/2011 10:46PM

    A to tha Men.

I have FAILED at weight loss because of the pressure from feeling like everything needed to be rainbows, bunnies and butterflies. Shoving my negative emotions down my throat have kept me fat. And I WON'T continue. Not everyday can be a bright, sunshiney day. If it never rained, we wouldn't appreciate the sunshine.

Excellent post.

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ANJII7 7/18/2011 10:26PM

    thanks. makes me feel better :)

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BOBF15 7/18/2011 10:22PM

    emoticon

Great companion blog to one I ate today at ELIZARN's Blog. It was about Secret Eaters. I have a new mantra. I am a deceitful, disorderly eater.

Now good question as to the negative or positive. I think both. It is a matter of balance. Negative is fine as long as it is taken in the context of made a mistake, that is normal and now move on. Get over it. Nature itself teaches us what to do when wounded, we build scar tissue, and then move on. Most of the time scar tissue returns to normal and we can never even tell, there was an injury there.

As I look inward, and read and understand human nature, I am more convinced of the duality inside of us. We have an inner higher self and an inner lower self. One missionary described this to a Native American as having two dogs inside of us, a white and black dog. "Which one wins? The Native American asked. The answer: The one you feed the most!

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TINIERTINA 7/18/2011 9:40PM

    Oh, God, yes!!!

I haven't lived over half a century and expect to hear just about moonbeams and rainbows anymore ...

If you are from the Planet Delusion, maybe ...

but not here on Earth ...

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PAMNANGEL 7/18/2011 9:22PM

    Uplifting blogs can be inspiring, but reality is sometimes we just need to unload some negatives to move forward. I'm struggling with my exercise and I've had some days where my eating was totally out of control. Can't blame it all on TOM, although TOM didn't help.

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NORASPAT 7/18/2011 9:06PM

    Great points made! You cannot help a happy person anywhere as near as much as you can a person who needs support. People who need help must be encouraged more than happy healthy people who need no help but do need a little praise now and then. We should all be tolerant and aware of the needs of others. That is what it is all about. THANKS Pat in Maine. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOSTMOM1 7/18/2011 9:01PM

    Yup, gotta live in the real world.

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JADUNN68 7/18/2011 8:23PM

    Thanks for the post. It cannot be puppies and kitties all the time.

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BERGIE8771 7/18/2011 8:17PM

    I agree, thanks for this post. I hope those apologetic people read this, and remember we would rather "hear" it than have them eat their emotions.

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ANDREWS_MOM 7/18/2011 8:11PM

    Spot-On!
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PURPLESPEDCOW 7/18/2011 7:44PM

    I think that blogging about what is bugging me helps me make sense of it all.

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TAKINBACKMYBODY 7/18/2011 7:29PM

    Exactly - you're bang-on with this blog - if we didn't have roadblocks to overcome once in awhile and goals to work for -it'd be pretty darned boring - and, there be no need for this site.....let's hear more of the good, the bad and the ugly - we've all got our 'days' !! -Shanna emoticon

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HIKETOHEIGHTS 7/18/2011 6:57PM

    I agree positive blogs are the best no doubt about it. But reality is not always rosy. We have got to keep it real! I rarely post negative blogs, but they are necessary once in a while.

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LYNNVERSION2 7/18/2011 6:22PM

    I needed to hear this. emoticon

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SRHALLIN 7/18/2011 5:21PM

    The downward strokes are the ones that often propel us forward. This needed to be said. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Best wishes to you on your journey to good health and personal happiness!

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FABN50S 7/18/2011 5:01PM

    Thanks for the blog. I am one of those that will post negatively read what I said then not post again for fear I will be constantly saying the same thing. I am ready for the positive!

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Changing the Way I Think About Losing Weight: "Body Composition Change" versus "Weight Loss"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

"Our own physical body possesses a wisdom which we who inhabit the body lack. We give it orders which make no sense."
-Henry Miller




I am now on speaking terms with my body, but it took me a long time to get to that point. Part of what has been helpful in getting to know my body better has been to learn how it works. Nothing taught me more about how weight loss works than my anatomy, physiology, and exercise physiology courses. In particular, exercise physiology showed me how the energy systems in the body work, and how the muscles and the cardiovascular, endocrine, and nervous systems respond to changes (especially exercise). I also explored the physiology of weight loss and had many discussions with professors about the specifics of how the body loses weight. Most of all, this drilled in my head that there is a bigger picture when it comes to losing weight, and that is that the body composition is changing. Body composition simply refers to the percentages of lean mass (bone and muscle) and fat mass in the body. A major part of my mental transformation has been shifting my focus from the vague term of "losing weight" to thinking in terms of "body composition change.” When we “lose weight,” it might be water, fat, or muscle (hopefully not bone--yikes!). But thinking in terms of body composition change, I am aiming specifically to lose fat and gain muscle (but of course, one does not "replace" the other, per se). I believe that building lots of muscle mass primes the body to maintain a leaner body, too. Essentially, I don't want to be skinny, I want to be lean and muscular. I believe I will know it when I see it, hence why I am not particularly hell-bent on a particular goal weight.

I think it really helps to have a basic understanding of what is actually happening in the body during weight loss, as it helps explain why certain things such as exercise and eating the right foods are important. I don't have a background in nutrition, but I am educated in exercise physiology and psychology. I will be doing a some entries called Nerdrageous Blog! where I will address some of the technical and academic parts of weight loss and weight maintenance, with regards to exercise physiology and mental changes. I covered a variety of areas in school, and some of my favorites included exercise psychology, metabolic flexibility, adaptations from strength training (muscle, nerve, cardiovascular, and endocrine adaptations) and their contribution to weight loss and maintenance, and anti-obesity tendencies in health and exercise fields.

I have been trying to apply some of the principles I learned to myself and my own weight loss journey. I started using SparkPeople actively in August, 2010, and for a long time I kind of felt like I was getting nowhere. I didn't actually start SparkDieting until January, 2011, but I now realize that the small things I was working on prior to that prepared me to be ready to lose weight. I still tried to weigh regularly prior to January, and I really appreciate that SparkPeople simply logs the number without giving any “feedback” on that number. The WeightWatchers online tracker gives you a big smiley face if you lose, and a sad-looking face if you don't lose. Oooh, I hated that face. My normal losing pattern is that I lose for a couple of weeks, then no loss or a tiny gain for a week or two. It took me a long time to realize that this pattern is perfectly acceptable and it does not mean that I'm doing something wrong. If I am truly overeating, than I aim to fix it, but if I have small gain when I'm doing everything I should, I don't worry at all.

I've talked about my previous weight loss with WeightWatchers when I lost 95 pounds. Unfortunately, I have no other measurements from that journey; I didn't measure myself and I didn't take pictures. Part of what prevented me from reaching my goal was the frustration of getting stuck in a plateau for several months after losing 95 pounds. However, I was training for Olympic distance triathlons, and my body composition was probably still changing (I looked more ripped than I ever have). My brain was glued to the scale, though, and I felt I was not getting “results.” The stern look of the weigher at my WeightWatchers meetings also told me that I wasn't progressing as I should. I really wish I had taken pictures and other measurements--I think it would have made the difference between keeping going and giving up. I let the scale be the sole feedback on my progress; it ruled my life, and ultimately won. Being in school for kinesiology helped me learn to have a different relationship with my body and to think differently about what to expect from weight loss.

One of my professors talked a lot about ideal body compositions in athletes (high % of lean mass, low % of fat), and that got me thinking that perhaps I should be approaching my weight loss in the same manner. To me, weight loss means, "I don't care where it comes from, just get this weight off of me." To me, it matters greatly what weight is being lost. Just like eating whole foods will produce better results than eating junk, even when eating the same amount of calories, I focus on muscle mass versus fat mass when losing weight. This is the principle behind why I try not to lose more than 2 pounds per week on a consistent basis. Anything beyond 2 pounds is likely to be lost as muscle mass; losing muscle mass not only throws the body out of whack now, I think it makes it much more difficult to maintain weight later on. Although at my weight I could safely lose up to 1% of body weight per week, I am aiming to lose no more than 2 pounds per week (preferably closer to 1 pound). Yes, the "weight" is coming off slowly, but I believe this allows for building more lean muscle mass, which will (hopefully) make me more successful in the long run.

The term “body composition change” makes me think of a more continuous process, rather than the separate steps of “weight loss” and “weight maintenance.” I do have a goal weight set, but I am aiming more to have a nice and lean body composition, so that number is not particularly set in stone. I may find I want to go lower or be comfortable at a heavier weight, but I probably won't know that until I am closer to that weight. I have been taking measurements including weekly weight and monthly pictures and measuring inches; I should really be measuring my body fat with calipers as well, so I will be starting as of August 1st. Additionally, I consider my weekly weigh-ins to be mini-measurements, with my overall monthly loss being the true measurement. Thinking in terms of body composition change has helped take the emotion out of the scale, and it has been very freeing to not be afraid of the scale.

Another major aspect of considering body composition change is to think about the ways in which we can increase our metabolic flexibility, which will be the focus of my first Nerdrageous Blog! entry. It helps me to write these things out, because I get more ideas about how I can focus on my goals and come up with new ways to approach my goals.

I love seeing SparkPeeps' progress blogs, especially when they demonstrate that the scale doesn't always tell all. For an excellent example of body composition changes versus weight loss, check out APIRLRAIN888' blog:

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=3926473


She has sadly been MIA, but she has lots of great posts where she shows how the scale may not be moving, but visible changes can be occurring.




“If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.”
-Jack Dixon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CDGOLDILOCKS 7/19/2011 10:35AM

    I like the term "body composition change". Since body weight lost is what most people cheer and celebrate, it can be frustrating not to see that number decrease every week. I wish I had a better understanding of what is going on inside my body when the scale doesn't move.

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CHEEKY1000 7/15/2011 6:31PM

    Thank you! Now if I could just see body comp changes. lol I've only lost 10 pounds and evidently no inches because my measurements haven't changed in 6 weeks. That's not entirely true. I've lost 1/4 inch from my neck. So apparently, I lost those 10 pounds from my neck. Was I a freakin' bull frog? lol Anyhow, thank you for the information!

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DARKTHOR 7/15/2011 11:18AM

    I love your blog here, lots of important things for people to think about. I have been consciously working on losing weight slowly, to help maintain my muscle mass (or even increase it). The scale is just a number, our health is the reality.

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ABB698 7/15/2011 12:53AM

    You nailed it! Love your writing! Even though this is a numbers game of sorts, it's about SO much more than that. It really is a learning experience of all sorts. And that's what makes them lifestyle changes, being educated about our bodies!
Happy Friday!!

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HIKINGSD 7/15/2011 12:21AM

    Great blog, thank you!

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1HAPPYWOMAN 7/14/2011 11:26PM

    Thanks for this blog! You keep on inspiring me to be more active! I'm really looking forward to learning about how to increase metabolic flexibility....
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MUSICALLYMINDED 7/14/2011 9:44PM

    Where's the "Get your Sparkpoints" button at the end of this article? LOL Very informative!

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SHARON-MARIE 7/14/2011 4:21PM

  What a great and very interesting blog!

I'm looking forward to the Nerdrageous series.

Be blessed,
Sharon-Marie

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OWENSAUNT1 7/14/2011 4:10PM

    Looking forward to Nerdrageous!

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HVSOAP 7/14/2011 3:58PM

    I know the feeling having just broken through a plateau myself. But I have to say I LOVE shopping for new clothes and the fact that I can now purchase clothes in the regular ladies department now rather than "women's" just makes me want to cry tears of joy.

You keep on sparking! You are my inspiration!

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SYZYGY922 7/14/2011 3:57PM

    I also care mostly about my body fat/lean mass percentages. That's why my goal weight is 150 lbs and not something like 120. I'm only about 5'0" (just under 5'1" if I stretch up as high as I can) but I'm about 120 lbs of lean mass. That would put me almost in the overweight range even if I had 0% body fat!

I'm trying not to get hung up on numbers, but it's so hard. I have some calipers and I have had bioelectrical impedance analysis done twice (but not recently). I want to stay as close to my current lean mass as possible and just get rid of the fat! I wouldn't mind being heavier if it was muscle.

At my absolute lightest, I lost a lot of muscle mass due to unhealthy eating. I weighed little, but it was NOT a pretty sight!



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FREECANDY 7/14/2011 3:31PM

    I too have been trying to think of my changes in terms of body composition instead of just weight loss. And while I fully admit that seeing the scale move sooo slowly when people who have been on SP for a much shorter time than I have are blowing by me in terms of weight loss can be frustrating, I'm seeing changes in the way my clothes fit, in the way I look in pictures, etc. and that keeps me motivated. I don't want to lose muscle, I want to gain muscle. And if that means losing weight much more slowly, so be it.

I can't wait for the Nerdrageous blogs. I love nerdy stuff.

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Lessons Learned from My Saxophone (and releasing the song)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”
-Vincent Van Gogh




I had my second saxophone lesson yesterday, and I was more self-conscious than I would have imagined playing in front of someone else for the first time in over 12 years. Last week, we mostly reviewed things and I didn't have to play much. My teacher wanted to evaluate my skill level yesterday, so he had me bring in some of my old books to have me play some music. He would then decide what I needed to work on.

He opened one of the books and pointed to a piece. "Go ahead," and waited for me to start. I played the piece, then he shook his head and grabbed the book. "You're too good for this book."

"Uh, no I'm not."

"Yes, you are. Hmmm...let's see..." We walked out into the store and he got a book that was filled with music that made my heart skip a beat and my eyes widen; my immediate thought was, "No way can I play that". The music looked harder than anything I remembered playing in the past, and there were pages upon pages of daunting scales. Smiling, he said, "Here, this is better. We'll work with this."

He reviewed some stuff and has assigned a Handel piece for me to work on. I couldn't imagine playing it. He told me to play the first few lines. I concentrated as hard as I could, and started playing. The notes sputtered out, just individual notes floating in the air with no connection. I thought maybe he would say, "You're right, let's try some simpler stuff," but he shrugged. "You'll get it, just keep working on that."

Today I put my sax together to practice, and stared at the music for a second. "Okay, here's goes nothing." With steel-faced determination, I started to play. I stumbled over the notes and barely got through the past few lines. The little "This is too hard" voice whispered in my head. I tried again a few times and was getting frustrated.

Then I stopped and took a deep breath. I told myself to just let go, not think so hard about it, and let the music come out. "It doesn't have to be perfect," I told myself. I started to play, and it actually sounded somewhat like a song. I played through it again and it sounded even better. It is the first time since I've started playing that my practice has sounded like actual music. The deep joy that I used to get after putting my soul into a song came back; I didn't want to put my saxophone down. The muscles and nerves in my hands and fingers remember how to play, and are ready for more.

So the next time I have doubts about my abilities, I'm going to let go. The song will reveal itself. It may have been trapped for a long time, but it has been released. I'm learning that the less I think and the more I simply do, the more I discover. My body already knows what to do; perhaps I need to let it guide my mind more often.




"You see things; and you say 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say 'Why not?'"
-George Bernard Shaw

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHAITEAKITTY40 7/15/2011 11:41PM

    Love this blog! Glad you are getting your sax mojo back. I love that Van Gogh quote!

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GEMINIAN1 7/15/2011 8:23AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I think this is *so* cool. I'm a HUGE fan of all kinds of music.
(I don't play anything; but, people have told me that they see me on piano or drums?)
I'm going to nick name you "Lisa" (after Lisa Simpson) just kidding.
(Although, I do emoticonLisa S.)
Wonderful way to keep the hands and mind busy; makin' music.
I like the lessons that can be taken from the last couple of paragraphs and applied to other parts of life.
Have a music filled day my friend ... :-)
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FANGFACEKITTY 7/14/2011 10:04AM

    emoticon
I used to play sax long ago in another life. I stopped after college when I injured my hand and had some minor nerve damage. My fingers didn't always do what I wanted, I got frustrated & sold it. I sometimes wish I hadn't. I may now borrow my son's sax and start playing again.

"The only failure is in not trying at all."

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HIPPICHICK1 7/14/2011 9:57AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CANNIE50 7/14/2011 12:21AM

    "the less I think and the more I simply do, the more I discover" - lovely & wise. I envy your ability to play, especially the saxophone - I LOVE the saxophone. emoticon

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MILLISMA 7/13/2011 9:21PM

    You did it!!!! Wish I could hear you play.

emoticonMary Anne

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EMRANA 7/13/2011 8:20PM

  Sometimes all we need to do is get out of our own way! YAY YOU!

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HIKINGSD 7/13/2011 8:08PM

    Excellent blog!

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SHARON-MARIE 7/13/2011 8:03PM

  What a great encouragement - to you and to all who will read this blog entry!

Thanks!
Be blessed,
Sharon-Marie

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SMILINGTREE 7/13/2011 7:34PM

    When your body remembers something your mind does not, the feeling is both surprising and amazing.

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MUSICALLYMINDED 7/13/2011 7:18PM

    That's wonderful!

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