Tuesday, January 23, 2007
I was thinking again about my "stalled" weight loss the other day. It started off as patting myself on the back. Why? Because even though I haven't lost any weight since the summer ended, I haven't put any weight back on either. Which means that despite the fact that I'm not exercising and *trying* to diet, and despite the fact that I've "fallen off the wagon" food-wise more than once, I'm still getting something right. I haven't let go of the healthy habits I've learned (well, except for exercising...lol). I'm basically in maintenance mode.
Like I've said before, this isn't where my weight loss ends for me. It's just a pit stop. I've taken the scenic route for the entire 100 pounds I've lost so far, why should I sprint to the finish line now? Seriously, I got to think about my attitude toward these last 20-30 pounds or so that I'd like to lose.
And I realized that I have a mental block to losing it. I'm pretty sure that I can maintain my high school weight *and* keep the healthy habits I've learned. But I'm more than a little afraid that I won't be able to. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid that I won't be able to lose the weight. Like I've said before, I've already lost 100 pounds, there's no doubt in my mind that I can lose those last 20-30 pounds. What I'm afraid of is that I won't be able to keep the healthy habits I've learned.
In the SparkTeams I've maintained, and in my profile, I've mentioned that I've had some ED issues. In high school, I often joked that I was too lazy to be anorexic -- but the truth is, I had many of the other symptoms of anorexia. I obsessed about my weight and my figure -- beyond what is normal for a teenage girl. I starved myself to be thin, and no matter what my weight was, I could never be thin enough. I consider myself very lucky that I *was* too lazy to exercise obsessively! I couldn't understand why my stomach always hurt and why I kept getting dizzy spells and "brown outs" where the world would go all fuzzy and I'd almost faint. I even talked to a doctor about my dizzy spells twice. I looked healthy enough that they didn't even consider anorexia. Not all anorexics looks like MaryKate Olsen, Nicole Ritchie, or Calista Flockhart.
I'm pretty sure that it is physically possible for me to achieve and maintain my high school weight without starving myself. And I'm careful enough about my ED issues that I'm pretty sure I'll be able to put on the brakes if I see them cropping up again. But I'm afraid that I won't. I don't want to obsess about my weight the way I did in high school. I don't want my entire self-worth to be wrapped up in the number on the bathroom scale or stitched into the back of my jeans. I don't want to starve myself. If it comes down to a choice between being overweight for the rest of my life and being anorexic again -- if there *is* no middle ground for me -- then I'll take the size 14 jeans, thank you very much. I'd rather be *happy* than fit into my size 10s again.
I think I can do this though. I think that I can get down to a size ten without starving myself and obsessing about my weight. But I realized this week that maybe that's a big reason why I'm stalled. What if I can't?
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
In one of the communities I maintain, we've been talking about what appears to be a "plateau" or "stalled" diet. A few of us have been talking this out, and for myself, I've realized that my "plateau" is self-imposed. I've mentioned many times before, half-jokingly, that I'd be happy if I never lost another pound. The thing is, I think it's true. It's been over a decade since I've been under 200 pounds, and I actually feel comfortable in my own skin for the first time in more than twenty years.
I've been uncomfortable in my own skin since I was ten or eleven years old when a girl at elementary school started calling me "thunder thighs" for no other reason than to be mean (I was actually skinny at the time!) and my father started to tell me that I was "going to get fat" if I kept eating "like that." What he didn't understand, and what I didn't understand until years later, is that the way I was eating at age ten and eleven years old was PERFECTLY HEALTHY for an active, growing ten year old. But I internalized what he and that girl from school said, and started believing that I was fat until it became a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Now, I know that I could stand to lose another ten pounds at the very least, and maybe even up to thirty pounds. But literally for the first time in my adult life, I'm actually happy with my body now. On top of that, it's only been in the last year or so that I've actually STOPPED thinking of and seeing myself as fat, and actually STARTED seeing and accepting myself as I really am. I think part of me just wants to enjoy that for a while before I go into "diet" mode again.
Overall, I'm at peace with where I am right now though. I know that I want to lose another 10-30 pounds, and I know that when I set my mind to it, I WILL lose the weight I want to lose. After losing almost a hundred pounds, there's no doubt in my mind about that. Ten to thirty pounds is a drop in the bucket!
I love the SP community so much though that I'm not leaving. There are great tools here, and great people. When I'm ready to "get back on the wagon", I will. Until then, I'm just maintaining my weight, and practicing all of the good habits I've learned in my weight loss journey so far.
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
SparkPeople Experts Answer Your Fitness Questions
Question: I heard that when you exercise on an empty stomach (such as first thing in the morning) you'll burn more fat. Is this true?
In the morning, your body has gone 8+ hours since eating or drinking anything. Your blood sugar levels are lower at this point, and your body doesn't have adequate fuel to workout optimally. Usually, experts recommend eating something--even if it's just a small snack--within 2 hours before working out. When your body doesn't have proper fuel in it, many problems can result, the lesser being that your workout performance suffers, and the greater being something like passing out during exercise.
However, every body is different. Some people can workout on an empty stomach with no problems, while others would end up very sick and feel the negative effects of it. When I workout in the morning, I always eat (and drink) something first thing after I wake up. Usually by the time I start my workout it doesn't hurt my stomach to exercise with a bit of food on it.
Also, I think there might have been a bit of confusion here about metabolic rates in the morning. Eating breakfast in the morning has a positive effect on your metabolism, but exercising on an empty stomach does not. Some people say that it will burn fat stores, but overall, the number of calories your burn during a workout (regardless of where they come from) is much more important. Plus, fat burns in the carbohydrate flame. This means that exercising without eating (such as after "fasting" during sleep) your body does not burn fat efficiently, or sometimes at all.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
How to Assess the Fitness Levels of Your Kids
If you're wondering just how healthy your children are, you can find the answers yourself by taking a look at their eating and exercise habits. By establishing healthy habits in childhood, your kids will likely maintain these habits into adulthood. This can be a good thing if they eat well and exercise now, but if not, then they're more likely continue with poor eating and sedentary habits into adulthood, which leads to a host of disease risks and conditions. Ask yourself these questions (answer yes or no to each) to determine where you child stands now, and how you can improve as a family.
1. Does your child enjoy at least 30 minutes of physical activity daily?
2. Does your child have active hobbies & pastimes, such as playing outdoors, riding his bike, and engaging in individual or group sports?
3. Does your child seem comfortable with his body?
4. Does your child appear to enjoy being active?
5. Does your child have access to exercise equipment, such as a bike, jump rope, good shoes, balls, or sporting equipment?
6. Do you exercise and make it a priority?
7. Does your family get active together by walking, hiking, doing yard work, swimming, or playing outside?
8. Do you know how much exercise is appropriate for your child's age?
For every "yes" answer, pat yourself on the back--your family has done well with establishing some healthy exercise habits. For every "no," try to see how you can improve your family's lifestyle. Remember, as a parent you are in control. Your children will emulate your habits, so if you don't exercise, verbally express negative attitudes towards exercise, or if you don't encourage your children to be active, then maybe you need to work on changing your own actions; your family will follow suit.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
This is from the Ask the Expert Column. There's no way to bookmark it or mark it as a favorite, and I wanted to preserve the information so I'm coping it here.
The URL it came from is:
Can you explain to me in simple terms the concept of "burning more calories than you consume" in order to lose weight? If I'm eating 1400 calories a day, but only burning 500 a day exercising, how can this be making progress?
A It sounds like you’re referring to a "calories in vs. calories out" type of equation. One pound of fat is made up of roughly 3,500 extra calories. To lose 1 pound of fat, you need to create a deficit of 3,500 calories.
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the calories burned by your body on "idle". This is the minimum amount of energy needed by the body at rest in the fasting state. This includes the body functions such as circulation, breathing, generating body heat, transmitting messages to the brain, cellular metabolism, and the production of body chemicals.
A simple way to determine your BMR is using the basic "rule of ten". Multiply your weight by the number 10 and this is your BMR. For example a person weighing 150 pounds would have a BMR of 1500 calories. (150 x 10 = 1500).
This BMR number is about 60% of your total calorie needs for the day. The digestion and absorption of nutrients makes up 10% and the other 30% comes from your physical activity. This includes anything from blinking your eyes, getting dressed, washing the car, to running a marathon. For example, a person weighing 150 pounds would need:
Basal Metabolism…………... 60%……….1500 calories
Digestion and Absorption…...10%……… 250 calories
Physical Activity…………….... 30%……… 750 calories
Energy use for the day……. 100%……….2500 calories
Therefore to lose weight, one needs to consume fewer calories than are needed each day. (Your SparkPeople diet plan has taken your BMR into account IN ADDITION to your current normal activity level -whether you checked off sedentary or very active, etc in your preferences during setup. The caloric range you need to stay in to lose weight was given to you.)
Basically, you create a deficit of calories in 2 (or 3) different ways:
Eating Less Calories than you Burn each Day.
Eat anything less than what you use each day (1500 cal BMR, 250 cal digestion= 1750), consistently, and you will lose weight. So, if you eat 1200 on this day (a 550 calorie deficit), and all week long like this, you will lose 1 pound (3500 calories) in about a week.
Keep your caloric intake the same (1750) and create your deficit by burning extra calories. So, if you burned 500 calories through exercise alone, you will still lose 1 pound in about a week.
A Combination of Both Diet and Exercise
This is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
Say you cut your calories by 300 and burn 250 calories with exercise. There is your 550 calorie deficit—with much less deprivation and work.
You could speed it up by cutting more calories and exercising more—whatever works best for you. Some people hate to diet, others hate to exercise, so maybe you’ll do more or less of either one.
Of course, the example above was just for simplicity. You can cut any number of calories from your diet (more or less than the 500 in the example) and you can burn more or less than the example illustrates. As long as you are consistent, your deficit will "add up" over time…and you’ll slim down.
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