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Mindfulness and Company on the Journey

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

I'm back. I've been away for months...and before that I wasn't really participating. My weight is now higher than it was the first time I started SparkPeople, and while it's not at an all time high, it's close. I'm two pounds away from the BMI "obese" category. That's a fact.

So, while the seasons say it's not an ideal time to lose weight (in Chinese medicine, this is a time of gathering and keeping resources), it's also clear that holding excess weight is not healthy for me. I'm going to reframe that Chinese medicine idea and instead notice that gathering and keeping resources can mean many things! Resources are things that are helpful...and warm, nourishing, healthy food is a resource! And so is being active and allowing myself to feel that sparkle that comes from moving my body.

I'm also aware that the last time I was here actively, I tracked my food for about a week (staying within calorie range) and the scale did not budge. I thought (ha ha!) that plateaus and middle-aged "stuck" were for other people, but that was wrong. A tool I'm going to apply to this is *patience* -- and awareness that eating healthy food is worthwhile, even if the scale moves slowly.

The next thing I want to bring into my awareness is...*awareness*! I am currently investing in myself personally and professionally by participating in a two-year program in Hakomi, which is a mindfulness- and somatic (body)- based psychotherapy program. My goal is to become a practitioner. Clearly, I am the ultimate testing ground for the principles of mindfulness. I have been an erratic meditator, although I practice the principles of being present when I am counseling, coaching, making music, and dancing. However, I have not been practicing mindfulness principles with myself or my eating habits at all, and that is a goal I am here to begin.

One thing I know about myself is that I can jump into jackrabbit panic starts here on Sparkpeople...and then let them disappear. I don't want that to happen. My plan is to *re-read this blog again and at least one other person's blog and write another blog tomorrow* (if my power does not go out...big storm on the way). I know that changes come one step at a time.

Because I am not certain of the electric power situation, I'm not going to commit to tracking today (no internet = no ability to access Sparkpeople) but will instead commit to *drink at least five glasses of water or herbal tea today and to eat at least five to nine fruits and veggies today.*

I'll also *eat at least one meal in mindfulness today* with no distractions.

Last, as my title indicates, I'm here for company on the journey. I am so thrilled to see so many of you still here and participating. I'm aware that both *offering and receiving support* is essential in this journey, so I'm here to do both. I plan to *log in to Sparkpeople at least once per day.* See you on the path.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BILLB000 12/13/2014 7:58AM

    Sorry this is late commenting. I discovered your blog a couple of days ago and have been thinking about it. i admire you in wanting to refocus, and begin again. I think it was Diana Nyad who said "...never, never give up." Patience , small steps, and being mindful along the journey are sooo important. You certainly have the right combination. I will be excited to hear of your successes as we move into 2015. My success, with respect to SP have been in being part of the ongoing 8 week challenges. Just knowing I have to report to my 'team' daily for 8 weeks seems to inspire me to try harder.
I have a good feeling this is going to be a good year for you. Blessings.

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DDOORN 12/9/2014 10:01PM

    Waxing and waning here...generally holding my own, but never with the confidence, always shaky in my progress...but at least the zig-zagging is overall going well.

It's OH-SO-EASY to be knocked off-center, to lose that resolve, that MINDFULNESS which confidently knows what works, what doesn't and enables us to steadily move forward.

I've done some powerful journaling under my therapist's guidance and have written some pretty insightful, smart stuff.

Too bad I don't "hold onto" all those smarts! I like the idea of re-visiting our insights, should dust off my journals and re-read. Thank you for that "nudge!"

How wonderful to see you back with our SparkFamily! :-)


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FOUNDER3 12/9/2014 1:22PM

    I find myself in pretty much the same situation. I am on the website and boards on a daily basis, but my resolve is gone.

One thing I am trying to do, is to let go of all of the preconceived notions of how I "should" eat, what I "should" eat, and to feel more comfortable in my own body.

I have always been so intent on "changing", that I have never taken the route to change from the inside.

I am definitely not sure of how I want to do any of this, but the first thing I am trying to do is to let go of all of the emotional stuff attached to food.

Not going to be any kind of a quick fix for sure, but what I have been doing is just not working.

God Bless and good luck on your now journey, and hoping to join you along the way.


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I thought plateaus happened LATER!

Friday, July 04, 2014

For five days I have been on track with food tracking, staying within calorie range (between 1,200 and 1,500 per day) and doing modest aerobic exercise every day and strength training (to ďfailureĒ) almost every day. Result? ZERO movement on the numbers on the scale, and I mean NADA. And, no, I donít feel stronger, either (muscle vs. fat).

Is this what middle age is? Is this insulin resistance? Grrr! Panic! In the past, when I have made efforts to reign in my eating and dial up my activity, the weight has started to come off almost immediately.

But, let me be more scientific about it: Hereís my analysis of my food intake:

ē Carb and Fiber: I am not overeating fact, SP thinks I am eating too little of them (around 90 or so a day vs. SP 135 minimum). But Ė My fiber intake is a bit low, so maybe some higher fiber carbs Ė like an apple, broccoli, chia seed, or oats Ė could help. Iím already eating beans almost every day and lots of green leafy veggies. The only sugar Iíve consumed has been in the whole wheat bread Iíve eaten (and tracked) which has some brown sugar in it. Itís almost gone, so I wonít buy it again. Instead Iíll find one of those sprouted whole grain breads that doesnít have sugar in it.
ē Protein: I AM getting enough protein Ė around 75 per day vs. SP 60 minimum. Sources are: mostly eggs, fish, beans, and some dairy and nuts.
ē I am eating more fat Ė olive, coconut, fish, and dairy -- than SP thinks I ought to, so maybe dialing it down to their maximums could help. Iím at averaging around 77 compared to SP recommended 60.
ē Fiber: I am not getting quite as much fiber as SP recommends Ė an average of around 22 vs. their recommended min. of 25, so maybe dialing this up will help. See carbs above.
ē Water: I have slacked off a bit on water intake, and will amp this up and will make sure at least one of my drinks is green tea (which I am told helps with lots of things, including metabolism) and will also make sure at least two are my medicinal herbal teas (which I have also slacked on).
ē Medicines: I take about 1 tablespoon (half ounce) of herbal tinctures per day in the form of alcohol and have not been counting that in my calories. Itís only 32 calories, but it should be counted, so I will. I should also count the fish oil I take at night, which adds to about 45 calories. What a drag that I have to count calories for things I donít even LIKE! Ah well.

Exericse: In addition, whatever it is, apparently, I need to amp up the exercise. I have been exercising every day, but when I ran the report, I noticed that my distance was on a slight decline, so Iíll focus on going a little bit further, rather than turning around earlier.

State of mind/stress: Iím aware that being stressed makes it harder to lose weight. Iíve been stressed my whole life, I think, and certainly have been stressed for the last several years in terms of career and relationship (or lack threof). More exercise will help, I think.

Emotional eating: I have tried to stay aware of triggers for emotional eating and make different choices when I feel the impulse. There are moments, hours, and spans of time when it is difficult, but I have so far stayed away from emo eating. Iíve substituted measured quantities of w/w bread and measured quantities of cheese for some of the nastier things I have an impulse to eat. Bread and cheese is not the healthiest choice, but itís kept me away from worse things for now.

Sleep: I seem to have a funny relationship with sleep these days. On one hand, I say that I *like* sleep and want to sleep more, but on the other hand, I tend to stay up too late, which cuts into the productivity of my day. Goal: REALLY get 8 hours of solid sleep. That means going to bed most days by 10:30 p.m. and being asleep by 11 and getting up at 7.

I feel better about eating healthy foods and exercising, but I am NOT happy that my weight is not shifting.

Thanks for listening.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 7/26/2014 9:45PM

    I'm not sure of your history, but I think it is not uncommon for formerly morbidly obese people to find that they need to eat slightly under the average recommended caloric range in order to lose. I'm not certain of this, but I believe I've heard or read this to be the case for some.

However, the other thing is to pay attention to non-scale progress. Numbers like inches, blood pressure readings, overall feelings of health, wellness and energy levels.

Sometimes folks experiment with shaking up the caloric range by eating more one day, less the next.

I had great success adopting an intermittent fasting pattern in which I eat from noon to bedtime, resulting in a roughly 16 hour "fast" in between. While it's not for everybody, seems to "work" for me. Of course I coupled that with a zero-sugar, zero-grain approach to my food choices. This eliminated all my trigger foods from my choices.

We are all our own best scientists on ourselves...ongoing tweaks and modifications in search of what works for ourselves.

Keep at it! You'll find your groove! :-)


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BILLB000 7/7/2014 9:13AM

    I am inclined to key in on two areas, as I read your blog.

One is exercise. By adding even a few minutes to each session you will burn that many more accumulated calories each week. It will also help with the whole insulin resistance issue, because exercise helps your body cells become less insulin resistant. That translates to less leftover glucose to convert to calories. Even if you don't have diabetes, if you have a family history, you are at high risk for Impaired Glucose Tolerance which results in insulin resistance.

Second is sleep. I have the same problem. I have trouble giving up on the day, and many nights I don't get adequate quality sleep. However, not getting adequate quality sleep keeps your body in a continuous low level state of stress, with your body continually producing stress hormones thus decreasing glucose absorption and increasing insulin resistance.

You are doing so well overall! You may not be losing weight but you are sure focused on health. I am impressed, Kathleen. I believe the weight loss will come.
Be well. Don't forget to think about the positives of what you are doing.

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FOUNDER3 7/5/2014 10:09AM

    Is it possible you are just overthinking it all?

There really is no accounting for the numbers on the scale. Your body will do what it is going to do, in a day, in a week, in 10 days, etc. You get my drift.

I know that the scale is an important tool, but please try not to let it ruin your day. You are doing the things you need to do, take a breath and think of or do something else.

I totally get the frustration of the scale not moving, but this is a marathon, not a sprint, and maybe you are just in training?

Just hoping to bring a bit of calm to your STRESS! God Bless, it will be ok.

TODAY, just try to enjoy your day!

I am not doing well with the weight either, but I know that when I stress myself, it just leads to depression and eating. So, I am trying to do what I have just told you. Let's give it a try together.

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HOLLYM48 7/4/2014 10:42AM

    Hang in there, it sounds like you know what may help and have a plan in place. One day at a time. DO your best and it will work out eventually!

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Day 3 on Track: Update

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Did 3 (count' em) days of staying on track with food (tracking and staying within limits).
Have I lost an ounce?
Answer: No.
Darn this middle-aged-ness!
Nothing for it but to continue.

I've been a bit of an exercise slacker because of the heat and humidity, but maybe I'll treat myself to a swim this afternoon....although, looking at the thunderstorm forecast, maybe not. Sigh: It's too hot for me already, so I'll just walk down the hill (1 mile) and back and call it done for today. I already did 20 crunches, Pilates 100, and my pathetic 10 modified pushups.

Update on my words to myself from my last blog:

A) Remember that drinking water is part of the plan! I let myself get dehydrated, and if I
had been drinking water that certainly would have helped

UPDATE: The heat helps with encouraging me to WANT to I bought bottles of "Runa Clean Energy Zero" on sale -- it has both caffeine and antioxidants -- and no calories or artificial sweetners. I like it!

B) if I really, really think I need something, let it be bottled water!

UPDATE: See above.

C) Keep driving PAST the grocery store and the gas stations. Yes, it only takes a moment of will power 'cause once I'm past the shop I'm on the way home to a glass of tea.

UPDATE: I DID it on Monday which is a day I teach and I have often let myself fall prey to vending machines at the schoool or stopping at the market on the way home at 9 p.m. -- but I DID NOT. I kept driving home. Yay me!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FOUNDER3 7/2/2014 11:49AM

    Good for you

Please don't make fun of the exercise you did get done. Modified pushups are a good thing.

Glad to see that you did all of that.

You will get the water thing. I worked for many years to make water a priority for me. Now, for the last 20 years or so, it is the only thing that will quench my thirst. I have one really good habit, drinking water, and lots of it. I drink a couple of glasses when I first get up in the morning, because I am very thirsty.

Celebrate the good stuff, and let go of the stuff you are not happy with. You will get there. One day at a time.

Good job my friend.

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MAGIK0731 7/2/2014 9:29AM

    emoticon You can do it!!!

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LHEFFERN 7/2/2014 9:26AM

    Wow! You are doing incredibly well! KUDOS!


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Stopping and Water!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

I'm proud of myself because I stopped eating the day before yesterday. Not altogether, of course, but I'm noticing that even if I eat a lot at one point during the day and feel freaked out about it, I can just stop and let that be enough for the day. I can also let myself wait to eat until I actually do feel hungry again (the old rules on never skipping breakfast are apparently out the window; new rules have to do with periodic fasting).

I did okay yesterday until...(drum roll) usual downfall, which is coming home late at night and thinking I need "something."

New solution: A) Remember that drinking water is part of the plan! I let myself get dehydrated, and if I had been drinking water that certainly would have helped B) if I really, really think I need something, let it be bottled water! and C) Keep driving PAST the grocery store and the gas stations. Yes, it only takes a moment of will power 'cause once I'm past the shop I'm on the way home to a glass of tea.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 6/22/2014 10:00PM

    Kudos to pushing through! The other thing that I need to remind myself of more these days is that "hunger does not = an emergency!" It's okay to go to bed a little hungry, especially if one knows, as I always do, that I've had at least "enough" calories for the day. I don't always heed my own advice, unfortunately...

The videos of Vermont looked just like rural upstate New York to me...felt very, very comfortable "riding" along virtually through Vermont...would LOVE to get up your way someday! Especially isn't is Lake Champlain between NY & VT? Isn't there an awesome bridge up there? It's on my list! :-)


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DOKEYOKEY 6/22/2014 10:00AM

    I guess even if it's an old journey, it's always a new journey, isn't it?

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HOLLYM48 6/22/2014 9:53AM

    Sounds like a great plan! Keep up the great work.

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FOUNDER3 6/22/2014 9:52AM

    It is tough to get started on whatever path you feel will work for you.

Do your best, and you will be fine. Best Wishes and God Bless. I am pulling for you!


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BARBANAL 6/22/2014 9:38AM

    having a plan of what to eat is important. keeping track is a real neccesary thing to do, good luck on your new journey

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LHEFFERN 6/22/2014 9:18AM

    Having a plan is so important for me.
Thanks for the reminder.


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Checking in, not checking out

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

It's clear that emo stress, perceptions of overwork, being alone, and evening are the challenge times for me.

When I'm feeling upset, angry, bored, stressed, and/or tired I have a tendency to reach "Stuff I Oughtn't Have." And just the fact that I am heavier than I want to be and and feeling kind of old and unattractive, and that I am worried about some health issues that are certainly related to eating makes me start with a baseline of stress.

I certainly understand why the Overeaters Anonymous folks say "HALT." (Don't get too Hungry, Angry, Tired, Lonely). I just looked up some ways to use HALT (i.e., if I didn't know!). Here's what I'm reminding myself:

So: On one hand I'm feeling like s*** and discouraged because it seems like it's going to take a very serious focus on my part to get the weight off (again) because this postmenopausal metabolism seems to have no room for error...and I'm not sure where I can find my "comfort" if I completely stop all the behaviors (i.e., eating behaviors) that I find take the edge off when I'm stressed.

What I've concluded is that I need to do MORE emotional comforting of myself when I am stressed (see article above) and also need to learn how to be with emotional discomfort without wigging out. Hmmm... This is also leading back to my Hakomi work where mindfulness is the key. I'll be focusing on being present to the discomfort without having to have it be different than it is. That, in itself, sometimes transforms the discomfort all by itself.

So my new commitment is to practice mindfulness in my daily life -- especially when I am feeling pressure. My new mantra needs to be "check in, don't check out." So I'm going to check in and do what I can to first notice myself and then, if needed, give myself something appropriate to help me (i.e., a break or a walk or a nap or a glass of tea or a call to a friend). I'm also going to make a practice of simply noticing and being with any of those HALT feelings -- leaning into the thorn -- without having to have them be different.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOLLYM48 6/22/2014 9:55AM

    emoticon emoticon The journey is not always easy, but you are worth the effort that you will spend getting there! Keep on pushing!

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FRANCESCANAZ 6/18/2014 11:01AM

    Nice blog amiga. Mindfulness is the key. Hungry, Angry, Tired, Lonely...I can add Content to that. Hell I even want to overeat when everything is going my way and I feel content. I just love food. Right now I'm on Weight Watchers (for the accountability and it really is a sensible lifestyle plan) and getting weekly acupuncture. I stay active and eat healthy, but am still struggling with portion control. Can't seem to move below 220...but hey it is better than the 260 I carried around for decades. Call me anytime amiga. If you are ever in the Burg....maybe we can meet up. Te amo emoticon

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FOUNDER3 6/17/2014 6:47PM

    I am right here with you my friend. I am doing the same. After the knee surgeries, I lost weight because when I was on the pain pills, I did not want to eat. I forced myself to eat so that I would not lose a ton of weight, and then try to keep it off. Well, I did lose about 25 pounds, which I put back on when winter because so bad here that I was not able to get out of the house at all, and I became depressed again. Yes, I too comfort myself with food.

I have begun working on portion control, and telling myself that I can have that ice cream, or whatever, maybe tomorrow or the next day. That has worked for me in the past, because then I don't feel deprived, I can still have it.

Also working on getting back to the negating all of the negative feelings, and trying to replace them with positive thought

I have realized that is what I did for the first 3 years of this journey, before the back and knees became such an issue. I had fallen back into all of the old habits.
It is an ongoing struggle, but one day at a time, we can do this.

God Bless and good luck. We can do this together.


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