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Talent vs. Skill

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Last week I was watching an interview with Will Smith, where they were talking with him about his work ethic. And he mentioned talent vs. skill. Of course my mind went there -- to losing weight.

Talent, as Will explained it, was natural ability. Something you are born with. My talents lie in the creative field. Some people are naturally thin. They seem to eat whatever they want, never exercise, and never gain an ounce. They have a talent, it seems, for staying thin.

Skill, Will said, is something you work damn hard to acquire. While I may be talented when it comes to drawing and painting, I've still had to acquire the skills. I can remember trying to paint as a kid -- on my own -- with less than pleasing results. But as an adult, I started to take classes and attend conventions, and I began to acquire the skills to enhance my talent.

Most of us aren't naturally thin people. We have to work hard to acquire the skills of losing, and most of all, maintaining our weight. We have to learn what reasonable portion sizes look like, we have to track what we eat, we have to learn to not eat for emotional reasons, and so on.

While it might be nice to be talented, even naturally thin people often end up gaining weight at some point in their life. They may not have the skills to help them take off the weight.

Everyone has to work hard to be skilled. But the payoff is worth it!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASTARB1 7/2/2008 9:01PM

    Great observation.

I think many of us are overweight because of behaviour(s) learned as children. It takes skill to learn (or unlearn) anything, healthy weight maintenance behaviours included!

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LILLIAN364 7/2/2008 12:17PM

    I think that's why I disagree with most people on the list about the importance of exercise versus eating healthy. I developed my skill for eating healthy awhile back so that part isn't hard for me. The exercise part makes the difference for me. emoticon

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30 Day Shred

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Here's one of the things I love about SP: I find out about new DVDs here. I'd never heard of Turbo Jam at all until I read about it on someone's blog, and had to go look it up (and now I'm about to order another Turbo Jam DVD as a reward).

Several people had commented on Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred. Keep in mind that I've never watched "The Biggest Loser", mainly because I think the way they have the contestants lose weight is unreasonable -- normal people -- even normal people like me without a job -- just don't have hours a day to exercise.

Still, it was a 20 minute workout. Short is good. I decided to get it (the fact that it was only $10 on Amazon with free shipping if you ordered $25 worth of stuff didn't hurt, either).

I did it for the first time yesterday. And yes, it's difficult. Because it's 20 minutes of constant motion, no rest at all. They do 3 circuits of 3 minutes strength training, 2 minutes cardio, and 1 minutes abs -- and each circuit is different. The first circuit is the hardest, at least on Level 1 I found that to be the case.

The one thing I found disappointing was that you're supposed to do the same exercises every day. As you get stronger, you move up to the next level, but the exercises in each level are the same . . . and I like variety. Plus even though it only adds up to 9 minutes of strength training, I don't think it's a good idea to do that every single day. So I'll be alternating it with Turbo Jam.

I do feel it today. Mostly in my calves, oddly enough, and I can't think of any exercise I did that targeted calves! My arms are just a tiny bit sore, too.

The photo above has nothing to do with 30 Day Shred. It's my finished tshirt for my catswap partner. Much, much better than the first one, even if I do say so myself. I'm really pleased with it. It's hard to give up, but I know she's going to love it. Anyone want a tshirt with their cat or dog painted on it? I also put a closeup of the cat in my photo gallery.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTER67 7/1/2008 6:42PM

    The T-shirt is beautiful! You are really talented! I bet it will be hard to send off, after all the work you put into it. Do you have a book of photos of your creations? I used to take photos of all the things I knitted, so I had a way to "hold on" to all the things I worked hard on, but gave away to others. Take care and keep painting!

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I know what hungry tastes like

Monday, June 30, 2008

When you have a dysfunctional relationship with food, often you're caught between two extremes -- or swinging back and forth between two extremes: denying yourself food until you're on the verge of collapse, or stuffing yourself so full of food you're ready to burst.

One of the keys to losing weight is to know what true hunger feels like. I think I finally have a handle on it. I eat every 2-3 hours, depending on how hungry I am, and usually try to go for a mixture of protein, fat, and carbs. An apple and peanut butter. Spinach-ricotta dip and baked tortilla chips. A smoothie with fruit and yogurt. And so on.

So most days I'm not hungry during the day, because I'm refueling often enough. Although occasionally, of course, I do get hungrier, especially around TOM. Even then I know I'll be eating in a relatively short period of time, so I might drink some water or have some baby carrots to fill up.

I do find that sometimes after dinner I am still hungry. True hunger, not psychological hunger (where you're trying to use food to fill some need). I now know what hunger feels like. I know that if I am still truly hungry and don't eat, I won't sleep well. I know the difference (most times) between just being not quite full and still really needing food.

If I am hungry, I eat. But I eat something healthy: a banana, a small amount of nuts -- something satisfying. I rarely feel these days that I am using food as something to fill a non-hunger need. Maybe that's why this time just feels different. I know it will get tough at times, but still, after half a year, I don't feel any less motivated.

Well, okay, I must say my motivation has been kicked up a few notches by the carrot of a cruise. It's nice to have a goal like that to really keep me focused. But even without the cruise, I'd still be making healthy choices.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASTARB1 6/30/2008 10:37PM

    This topic is near and dear to my heart. I've read (forget the source right now) that when you feel the desire to eat, you should evaluate whether the hunger is above or below the neck.

It's something I really have to work on!


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DONANDMARY77 6/30/2008 2:49PM

    Great blog!!!! I think you are so motivational. You should find a really nice swimsuit for the cruise and keep in mind that you are going to look great in it.
God bless you and thanks for all the encouragement.

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LILLIAN364 6/30/2008 12:53PM

    It's hard. A book that has lots of good tips is Intuitive Eating. I borrowed the old edition from a friend. A new edition is in the bookstores. It's a worthwhile read. emoticon

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MTER67 6/30/2008 11:52AM

    I didn't say you were a perfect eater--but you are definitely a better eater than most of us. The key is planning, I think. I have a tendency to become disorganized...so meals can be less than perfectly "balanced" some days, you know?

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NRLB75 6/30/2008 10:53AM

    Good for you. I've only been at this for a few weeks now (round 2 for me), but I don't think I realized how much I was eating out of boredom.
One thing I do miss is really feeling full- not stuffed, just full. I'm not necessarily hungry after I eat, but I'm definitely not full. It's kind of strange. I'm hoping my body resets itself and that eating a 300 calorie meal will give me back that full feeling.

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MTER67 6/30/2008 9:30AM

    I wish I could say I eat right all the time, or eat only when I am hungry! It's tough--especially during TOM! But, like you I find eating smaller "mini" meals more often really helps control cravings. It also encourages me to "plan ahead" for the next scheduled snack, so that I am not vacuuming up everything in the cupboard b/c I waited so long I am starving!

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A challenging couple of weeks

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My husband and I only see each other every 2-3 weeks, and usually not much more than 4 or 5 days at a time, due to his job at the moment. But he will be home for almost 2 weeks this time. Which is good, of course, but challenging, too.

We decided on the spur of the moment yesterday to go to brunch at Trudy's, a local Tex-Mex restaurant that is really close to our home -- and a movie theater, with the hope that we could get to a movie afterwards.

There aren't a whole lot of healthy options in Tex-Mex, although we did nix the chips & queso altogether. Our WW leader recently share her vacation philosophy: eat a good breakfast and lunch, then order what you want at dinner & eat half of it.

That's essentially what I did yesterday, only ordering what I wanted at lunch, and eating half of that. I had migas, which are eggs scrambled with corn tortilla strips, onions, bell peppers, jalapenos, and cheese. They came with sides of roasted potatoes, refried beans, and more tortillas (you can choose the type of tortillas).

I ate about half the migas, a few bites of the refried beans, a fair majority of the potatoes, and no extra tortillas (you get the tortillas so that you can scoop the migas into them and eat them like a breakfast taco, but I enjoy migas on their own).

We did have enough time to get to the movies, but neither of us were hungry (understandably), so no popcorn.

Then friends invited us to dinner tonight. Luckily before we had dinner last night, because I'd bought cupcakes at the farmer's market to share with my husband -- which I decided to hold off on. No idea what she'll serve tonight. I know she likes to bake, like I do. I still have my vegan brownies on hand, so I'll bring those, and I plan to make some chocolate-dipped strawberries. I don't know if they've invited anyone else, so I hope that I'll bring enough for everyone.

The good news is I've been able to unload a lot of the baked goods that have been hanging around our house in the last couple of days (freeing me up to try new stuff). The bad news is that I'm eating out a lot more than I normally do (which is basically never).

But that's life. There will always be a party, a celebration, an unexpected invitation. We have to learn how to deal with them.

And because there is no WW meetings on the 4th, I was planning to go to one on Saturday. But now I'm thinking maybe I'll try for Thursday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASTARB1 6/29/2008 2:20PM

    Sounds like you're keeping control and making great choices.


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SQUIRTZIE 6/29/2008 8:04AM

    Sounds like you're doing the right thing. Keep it up!

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The power of numbers

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Numbers are really funny, tricky things. My "skinny" jeans are a size 14, which on a petite woman, can't really be termed skinny, but they're a very dark blue & make me look as good as I can. I also call them my skinny jeans because I was a size 16 when I started SP.

Once a week I try on the few clothes I have that are still too small for me. Mostly a couple of pairs of shorts. I do happen to have a size 12 in my skinny jeans (same brand, same style, same color), and I thought what the heck, let's see where we are. And they fit. And were comfortable! I swear they were almost more comfortable than the size 14s.

The funny thing was that I was feeling really bloated and fat for most of the week (hormonal, nothing to do with what I ate), but that day it all seemed to go away and I just felt thinner.

Am I a size 12 now? No idea. But I know it made me feel good to think I am. I also know that I could wear a size 14 or size 16 even in another style or brand of jeans. But just the thought that I'm a size smaller made me feel good -- and the clothing industry knows this, and uses it.

My weigh-in was the next day. I just knew I'd lost weight. You can't always tell, but sometimes you can (if you're only weighing in once a week, that is); and sure enough, I had. Good-bye 160s!

In fact, my goal for the end of July was to be in the 150s. I've obviously got to come up with a new goal, and I have, but it only marginally includes a number. I want to be down one more size before we go on our cruise to Alaska. I have about 2 months, so for me, because I tend to lose weight slowly, it's a big goal -- but not unreasonable.

Another goal for myself was to have a 30 inch waist by the end of July. And even though I've lost several pounds, now my tape measure seems to be stuck. I'm not there yet. And that's the other side of numbers -- while you may feel elated when the scale moves, you're crushed when it goes up.

Numbers only have power because we give them power. Most of the time I might feel discouraged or frustrated over a number for a few minutes, then I shrug it off and move on (I'll hold on to the happiness from good numbers, though, for longer, thank you very much).

I pay a lot more attention to how I feel these days. I haven't lost a great deal of weight, but I really notice how good it feels. I'm much more aware this time around. I celebrate the non-scale victories, and there are plenty of them: a thinning face, smaller clothes that fit better, more energy, getting more done each day, belt notches moving over.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MTER67 6/28/2008 8:39PM

    Yea! I told you I was looking forward to the day when your skinny jeans were too big--that day has come! Congratulations on all your scale and "non-scale" victories. I hope they come fast and furious in the weeks to come, so that you step onto that cruise positively GLOWING. Another inspirational blog, Jlitt!

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KIMMERQU 6/28/2008 5:14PM

    You & I have so much in common...lol. I did such a happy dance when I hit 159 and went to buy myself a new pair of jeans but had a bit of a meltdown because of that "bleep" clothing industry. So I bought shoes instead emoticon. And being a petite little flower myself (almost 5'1") a few pounds lost can really make a difference. Great job!

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