Monday, May 20, 2013
Even in maintenance, I find benefit in the new SparkPeople book "The Spark Solution."
Coach Steph has asked those of us who signed up for the two-week Spark Solution challenge to check in on some topics:
• What made you decide to try The Spark Solution Program?
I had been on work travel or vacation since mid-March and was showing the effects on the scale. I knew it was time to return to the basics that launched me on my journey, and the Spark Solution challenge seemed like a great way to do that.
• Have you seen or felt any results in this first week?
I have been more consistent with my exercise and have managed to eat within my calorie range most days, even near the low end some days to help balance the days I went over.
• What do you like the most about the program?
I continue to like doing my own thing with food rather than following a prescribed meal plan. At this stage in my journey, I know what works best for me, and a requirement to follow a rigid meal plan would have been a deal breaker for me.
• What was your favorite meal from this week?
My personal favorite centers around Dinner Done's turkey quinoa meatloaf, with Dinner Done's arroz con pollo a close second. We have been using meal assembly businesses for years to take the stress out of having to come up with dinner with our long work days and long commutes. The businesses are receptive to our requests to lower fat and sodium amounts, and the entree is ready to cook when we walk in the door...the time-consuming prep is already done.
• Which Insider Tip motivated you the most this week?
I don't have a favorite, but one of my team mates told me her new non-food reward is working jigsaw puzzles, since they keep the hands and mind occupied.
• What is your goal is for next week?
Weight: At or below goal
Food: Track 7 days this week
Fitness: Exceed 70,000 steps, yoga, strength training
Sunday, May 19, 2013
One year in maintenance. I wish I could say it has flown by effortlessly, but such is not the case. Along the way, I've read stories from many maintainers, some, like me, new to the idea, some who have kept weight off for one year or many years, and some brave souls who revealed they had regained their weight after maintaining for a year or more. I owe a great debt to those motivators who shared everything from confusion over what maintenance entailed to the hard truth that maintenance is work to inspiring stories to tips and strategies. In the end, though, the job of keeping off the 75+ pounds I lost has come down to me, and that has been the scary part given my yo-yo history.
It seems to be Spark tradition to blog on maintenance anniversaries, so this is my story. After waffling for a couple of months last spring, I finally decided to "declare victory" one year ago today. I had already joined the At Goal and Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team in preparation and read everything I could. Over the next six months or so, I played around with the calorie intake and fitness activity needed to stay at my goal weight, but I didn't approach the task scientifically, e.g., add "x" calories a day or increase fitness by "y" minutes a day. Instead, I just watched to see what would happen. At first my weight continued to sink slowly, going down another five pounds. I was happy with that, but I recognized that my lifestyle would not sustain the loss once travel and holiday seasons rolled around, and I was right. I gravitated back to my goal weight and have stayed within +/-5 pounds with rare exception.
So how do I approach travel and holidays? Mainly, I don't stress. Often, I consciously eat in weight-loss mode before big trips or major holidays and let my weight go down a few pounds (but still in range) in preparation. Life (especially the vacation part) is too short not to enjoy it, so I rarely try to keep up with food tracking during those times. Even so, the habits I've developed on my Spark journey have helped me make better choices. At these non-routine times, I try to start the day with a light, healthy breakfast, but if I choose an omelet, bacon and toast, it's okay, because I find myself still full at lunch, so I eat very light then, often just a piece of fruit. Snacks are mainly fruit or trail mix, and most often I choose smaller amounts of meat and copious amounts of veggies at mealtime. Fitness? DH and I love to walk, especially volksmarches (www.ava.org), so we frequently build trips around volksmarch event locations. On our most recent vacation, we walked and hiked in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. The miles helped counter the great food and drink, and the beautiful settings and companionship turned the walks into meditative times.
But what about the rest of the time, you may ask. That's the work part. I realize that a couple of years on SparkPeople can't entirely undo the mental and physical complacency that led to decades of overweight and obesity, so I maintain an attitude of vigilance. I continue to track food and fitness most days of the week, and on days I don't track, I can look back and know that even if I went over on calories that day, it's not the end of the world. I just try to be better the next day. And I go through food and fitness slumps, times when I snack mindlessly in the evening several days in a row (and yes, I know what my triggers are) or times when I just don't feel like exercising. Those are scarier times, and I've had days when I've awakened in a panic, convinced I regained all my weight. In general, though, those experiences have served as wake-up calls to get back to the lifestyle changes that have brought me to a better state of being. Finally, I continue to weigh daily, not as an obsession with a number, but to watch for trends that signal the need to act.
In conclusion, for me maintenance is a continuation of Spark habits with some tweaks to keep my weight steady. I'd love to say I've done miraculous things in the last year, like run a marathon, but I haven't (though I did run some 5K races). In my world, the miracle has been keeping off the weight, something that has never happened before. So, one year down
and time to work toward two years. Cheers!
Edit: Thanks, all, for voting this a Popular Blog!
Friday, May 10, 2013
Need some advice from you kayak enthusiasts out there.
The REI stores in my area have "learn to kayak" classes, and since learning to kayak is on my bucket list, I went to the website to see what it would take. There I ran into a bewildering array of clothing ranging from paddling gloves starting at $31 to board shorts (too skimpy for my taste) starting at $34 to "rash guards" (presumably to wear under a wetsuit?) starting at $37 to paddle jackets starting at $84 to wetsuits starting at $110 to drysuits ranging in the price range $800-1050.
Holy cow! That's a lot of money to commit to an activity I just want to try and am not sure I would stick with. Fortunately REI supplies the kayak, paddle, spray skirt, and dry bag, but what is REALLY needed to try kayaking?
Thursday, May 09, 2013
Yesterday, I read a Generation Y blog entitled "A Life of Comfort Will Kill You Silently."
While the blogger wrote about staying in relationships that go past their expiration dates and about becoming complacent in a less-than-rewarding job just for the comfort of the known and expected, the concept triggered in me the notion that I am "comfortable" in my messiness. So to follow on from my blog yesterday, I see I need to get UNcomforable with the possessions that own me.
Cleaning out isn't new for me. I started last year as a Flybaby ( www.flylady.net/ ) and went great guns for awhile, finally conquering my closet. Then the effort fizzled. I would set a goal of going down to the basement with an empty trash bag and not coming up till it was full. When I got to the base of the stairs and looked around, all the lofty intentions of taking even this baby step would flee in the face of the jumble of boxes, most untouched for over a decade, and I would turn around and go back upstairs feeling defeated.
Those feelings of failure rumbled around in my brain while I walked yesterday, and I realized I could use SparkPeople Fast Break techniques to help, so I set a goal to build one new habit by using the 21-day trick. I picked one spot to declutter, the breakfast nook table, which is a dumping ground for a multitude of things, since it's right in the path between the garage entry and the kitchen. I am going to clean off the mess, wipe the table down, and for the next 21 days, I will make sure the table is clean before I go to bed. Just one little thing that I hope will lead to bigger things.
Wednesday, May 08, 2013
I loved NELLJONES's blog today "Are We Entitled?"
The bottom line message is powerful: "We all know that people aren't automatically entitled to stuff, but we also aren't entitled to thin. Both take work."
Nell made me think hard about my own background. I was not raised in a wealthy family, so when I got out on my own, I felt a need (compulsion?) to amass things. Lots of things. Like I was addicted to things. Now I want those things out of my house and out of my life, but the task of getting them gone seems so daunting. The same thing happened with my weight, as I ate what I wanted when I wanted, especially foods I did not get when I was young. Lots of food. At some point, I reached my limit and had to reassess and reverse that process to get rid of excess weight. I hope the time comes soon when I hit my limit with excess things and conquer that addiction, too.
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