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Can You Fight Your Personality?

Monday, April 16, 2012

My dad mentioned something today, and it's something that'd been nagging at the back of my mind. He commented that I've been adding a lot more to my weight loss program a lot more quickly than he expected. And he's right. My original plan was to incorporate things in very slowly--take baby steps all the way. I wanted to add one new lifestyle change, or maybe two, and then once they became habit, I could incorporate new things. It sounded perfect. Lifestyle changes, fitness, health, and weight loss--all the easy way. And the important part--it would all be sustainable.

So what happened? I started out with several baby steps. Already, that's more than I had planned. Then I kept adding more and more. "I'm not going to count calories because I think that means I won't get to eat much" became "let's count calories AND stay within the range set for me", and that was on the first day! "Drink more water" became "get at least 8 cups a day in" within a mere three days! And since then it has turned into "drink at least 12 cups a day". "Run a 5k by August 2013" became "walk a 5k first, before running it" became "ZomgLet'sDoItNow" became "ZomgLet'sDoItNowANDDoItAsFastAsHumanlyPos
sible". I'm even (only slightly) toying with the idea of getting a personal trainer. And on and on it goes. Sure, some things are still in baby step mode (I'm only taking the stairs up one flight in each building and then taking the elevator, instead of taking the stairs everywhere; I'm only eating 3 servings of fruits and veggies a day; I'm only doing some pseudo-strength training so far--3 body-weight or dumbbell exercises a day; I'm still avoiding the gym; etc). But holy crap on a stick I'm doing so much so fast!

The problem? My personality. I'm naturally driven. I'm (sometimes) an overachiever. I'm a perfectionist. When I do things, I generally give it my all. So why is that a problem? Well, when it comes to health/weight loss, I've always jumped in headfirst, gone super hardcore with calorie restrictions and intense workouts at the gym, and then burned out in 2-3 months. Those things simply aren't sustainable for the long term, especially when you're not used to them.

So what now? I feel like I've opened a pandora's box. I've awakened something in me that can't be quieted. I think it may be too late to return to my original plan. I can increase the intensity of things in my program slowly, but I can't cut back on what I'm already doing. I certainly feel driven now. Something in me feels like this time is different, like I'm going to succeed this time. It's intangible, something I can't quite describe. Perhaps what another sparker called me the other day is the right word for it: I feel determined. But I can't help but have fear. This fear nags at me quite a bit, although I often try to ignore it. I fear that what I'm doing won't be sustainable. I fear that my enthusiasm will eventually wane and I'll slowly give up. I fear, I fear, I fear.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

REDHATSHAPELY1 4/18/2012 6:47AM

    I would agree with what the others have said. I know what you are saying about the fear. I have a tendency to treat life as a horse race. But I have managed to sustain annoying injuries due to overuse of muscles every time I started a fitness program and treated it like a 100 yd sprint instead of a 100 mile extreme marathon. Now I
realize I must take it slower this time. Rest is so important! The other thing that struck me was to ask myself if my life was in balance. I found that there are other
people and things in my life that needed my attention. So I re-cut the pie to give those a bigger slice of my time.

Comment edited on: 4/18/2012 6:48:31 AM

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VALKYRIA- 4/17/2012 10:12AM

    There's nothing wrong with determination or enthusiasm.. and personally I think that counting calories is a good thing (just maybe not OBSESSING over or restricting them TOO much). I also think that doing body weight exercises is a great thing, as long as you rest your muscle groups that you work out every other day.

I share your attitude about diving into things hardcore... and I have run into overtraining issues. The thing that I've found really helps is to make a weekly schedule and try to stick to it--that way I can make sure I am not planning too much, too soon. For instance, if you aim for just 10-15 min of activity per day (be it cardio, strength training, whatever), then you can slowly increase it by 5 min each week, thereby building the habit while easing into it and avoiding over-exertion.

Keep in mind, rest is just as important as exertion. During sleep, that is when our bodies actually make the changes that we want to see. Make sure you are getting enough rest, and always remember during your workout that, "I could work out harder, but I still want to be able to work out tomorrow, so I will hold back juts a little bit." If you adopt this mantra, I think you will be able to stick with your program in the long run and avoid overdoing things.

Good luck and best wishes! You are doing AMAZING!!! emoticon

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DOINIT4ME2DAY 4/17/2012 8:09AM

    Hana- you're doing great. Let me ask this, in the past when you dove head first and burned out did you have a support team? Or we're you doing it on your own? Remember you've got all of us in your corner!!

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ASHERAH123 4/17/2012 12:31AM

    I get where you are coming from because I also have the tendency to start too much to fast. I look at it as having it's own pro's and con's to using this approach.

Pro's: You start good diet and exercise habits that can then become routine over time. Drinking water is one of the best thinks for your body so just try your best to get in the 8 cups and if you still can fit more in then woohoo for you.
Con's: If you push your body too hard you could end up hurting yourself so you should try to at least start at a lower intensity and gradually increase it. As far as the motivation aspect of it goes I also have the same difficulties and I think it does help to challenge yourself so you have something to work for. Doing the BLC also keeps it interesting because you can challenge yourself in new ways and have the social support when you need it.

I think walking the 5K is a good plan and would help you to prepare for what running a 5K might entail. When you walk at those kinds of events you can go your own pace and even stop when needed so don't let the 3.1 miles get you too worried.


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NSV, I think?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Let me preface this by saying that I was raised on processed food. As a result, I found that 8 times out of 10, I didn't like homemade food. Make it *healthy* homemade food, and that goes up to 9 times out of 10. So something amazing happened today. I decided to have a cup of my homemade low-sodium minestrone soup to supplement my Smart Ones frozen dinner for lunch today. Since frozen dinners are known for having massive amounts of sodium in them, I fully expected it to be super tasty and to make my soup taste terribly bland in comparison. I started eating the frozen dinner first, dreading the blandness of the soup. After a bit, I took a bite of soup, and WOW it was so flavorful!! Sure enough, after having a few spoonfuls, I switched back to eating my frozen dinner and it was like eating cardboard it was so bland. I never thought I'd see the day when I actually preferred something homemade over something processed! **Dances**

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEDIEBEAR1 4/20/2012 9:26AM

    Little milestones are the best aren't they? If you haven't already tried raw sugar snap peas, I would highly recommend them. emoticon

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CONDA86 4/17/2012 11:13AM

    Great NSV!! Your tastebuds will change over time for sure. I became vegetarian a little over two years ago and some of the stuff that my boyfriend wanted to eat just the smell turned my stomach. Now I find that if I eat less processed foods consistently when I grab something that's not the best for me it doesn't taste the same. Who would have thought one of my favorite meals now would be whole wheat lasagna rolls with tofu & spinach instead of ricotta cheese!

Keep it up! I have some staple homemade soups I make if you'd like the recipes!


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ASHERAH123 4/17/2012 12:52AM

    I love flavor too which is why I am now addicted to my Asian hot sauce (Sriracha) which is great in soup, eggs, sauces, and I even marinate chicken in it to make it zesty and delicious. Dijon mustard is another great condiment because it's has tons of flavor and it's also naturally low in calories. One thing to keep in mind if your not used to cooking with lean meats is that you need to add a whole lot more seasoning because the lack of fat does affect the flavor so you just need to give it a little extra love.

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ANGELWENDYMAMA 4/16/2012 10:30PM

    Awesome NSV!

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BRANDIA03 4/16/2012 6:58PM

    That is so awesome!! I need to really work on eating healthier as well.

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GEEKYMOUSE 4/16/2012 4:11PM

    Definitely developing the taste for healthy food ^-^ OMG I got a shake from Coldstone today because I had like some $10.00 gift card for there. Got my FAVORITE flavor there. Tasted it...YUCK!!! It's too sweet! Threw it in the trash when I got home.

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VALKYRIA- 4/16/2012 2:54PM

    That is a great NSV. I think that the more you eat "healthy" food, the more your taste buds will grow to like it... it just takes time. Keep up the good work!

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HWNHMMBRD 4/16/2012 1:59PM


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HEATHERHUNTER 4/16/2012 1:56PM


Great NSV!!

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Benchmarks and Rewards

Saturday, April 14, 2012

(I posted this on my regular blog -- -- but I opted to post it here as well to get more feedback)

I've seen a lot of people on SparkPeople post benchmark weights along with rewards that they plan on giving themselves when they hit each benchmark. I really like the idea of knowing where your benchmarks are. But I don't think it's wise to tie rewards to the scale, especially since we have so little control over our weight (considering it fluctuates regularly, both throughout the day and throughout the week). So I'm not going to tie rewards to these benchmarks, but I am curious to see what my benchmarks are. So without further ado, here are my benchmarks:

(Starting weight: 280; Pounds to lose: 140)

266 (10% to goal) -- Accomplished 3/24/2012
252 (10% of body weight lost)
245 (25% to goal)
224 (20% of body weight lost)
210 (50% to goal)
204.5 (BMI is no longer in "Obese class III -- Very severely obese")
199.9 (One-der land!)
196 (30% of body weight lost)
178.9 (BMI is no longer in "Obese class II -- Severely obese")
175 (75% to goal)
168 (40% of body weight lost)
153.3 (BMI is no longer in "Obese class I -- Moderately obese")
140 (GOAL and 50% of body weight lost!)

*note* To reach a "normal" BMI and get out of the "overweight" category, I would have to drop to 127.7. I may end up doing that, but I recall being healthy in high school when I weighed in the 140s. Once I get to my goal weight, I will see how I look and feel and then decide whether I have room to drop some more weight.

Now, with all that being said, I still like the idea of rewarding yourself for goals hit. So these are the goals that I'm going to tie rewards to:

30 consecutive days of any of my daily goals
180 consecutive days of any of my daily goals
365 consecutive days of any of my daily goals

Right now, those daily goals include:

--Walking a minimum number of steps each day (current goal is 5,500, but it increases regularly)
--Doing a minimum number of body-weight or dumbbell exercises a day (current goal is 3, but it increases regularly)
--Eating a minimum number of fruits and veggies a day (current goal is 3, but it also increases)
--Drinking a minimum amount of water a day (current goal is 12 cups, and this may increase)
--Staying within my calorie range each day (current range is 1,830 - 2,180, but this decreases as I lose weight)

So far, I've hit 30 consecutive days of 3 of those goals, so I'm overdue on some rewards! Here are the rewards I've come up with so far (for each goal hit, I get to choose one reward from its respective category):

*30 consecutive days:
---Spend some time painting, without worrying about making something special or spectacular
---Spend $5 on anything I want (that's not food)
*180 consecutive days:
---Spend a day at the Great Lakes Science Center
---Visit the Cleveland Museum of Art
---Spend an evening at a comedy club
---Spend $40 on anything I want (that's not food)
*365 consecutive days:
---Spend a day at Cedar Point
---Spend $100 on anything I want (that's not food)

I'll add more reward options as I think of them. What do you guys think? Is this a reasonable goal system? Do you have any suggestions for tweaking it? Or do you think weight loss and health should be its own reward?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RACH_LVSLIFE 4/15/2012 1:03PM

    I agree with you on stopping at a weight where you are comfortable and healthy. Going past that is just not a good idea. I'm in the same boat. We'll see what happens when I get there.

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EUEK098 4/15/2012 11:49AM

    That's amazing, i love the your goals, keep up the good work, with time it'll be a no brainier

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AMANDA_C 4/14/2012 9:27PM

    I love it!

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I Smashed My Phone On Purpose

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Metaphorically speaking, that is. That's a reference to this quote: "Saying, 'Oh, I've already ruined my good eating today; I'll just eat crap' is like saying, 'Oh, I dropped my phone on the floor; I'll just smash it 'til it breaks.' " Yesterday, I fell into the trap of all-or-nothing thinking. It all started when we had a student worker appreciation lunch at work--my boss and coworker were urging me to have some of the pizza, and I obliged for fear of offending my boss, who had bought it for us. But I was super hungry--it was lunchtime, after all--so I had two pieces instead of one. I didn't even want pizza, and here I was eating two pieces of it.

I figured the damage would end there, and I would make good choices for the rest of the day. At that point, I had decided to pick up my phone, brush it off, and move on. Enter dinner time. My fiance gets off work at 7pm, and on the days that I have to train for the 5k, we walk right after he gets off work and then go home and eat dinner. But I had been cooking a batch of soup to last the week, and it was just getting finished when he got home. The combination of being hungry and wanting to eat the soup while it's fresh led us to eat before we walked. That was a huge mistake. I felt too full to walk after eating--I feared getting a cramp, and just felt miserable in general. Add to that the fact that I had been on my feet cooking all evening, and so my feet were killing me any time I was on them. I was in no mood to walk at that point, but knew I needed to do it. My fiance had had a super rough day at work and was so tired he kept falling asleep while we were talking after dinner. He decided not to go walking with me. Ordinarily that would be fine, and I would go walking on my own. But with my feet hurting and my stomach stuffed, that was all it took for me to decide not to go too. Although I rationalized it, reminding myself that I had a 5-week training program but a whole 7 weeks to train, I had picked up the hammer.

By this point, it was after 8:00. I have to get up so early for work and classes that I aim for a bedtime of 9:00 each night. I have a routine where I always start my 3 exercises about half an hour before bedtime, and then write my blog post chronicling the day's choices when I'm done (in this blog: ). I crawled into bed with my laptop, feeling even more miserable than before--after all, not only do I not like feeling full, but now I had decided to skip my 5k training for the first time. I definitely did not feel like doing my 3 exercises. I decided to take a nap, with the plan of waking up around 11:00, doing my exercises and writing my blog post, and then going back to bed. I've successfully done that before on evenings where I ate a bit too late, but I think I knew somewhere in the back of my head that it just wasn't going to happen. I did wake up around 10:00 and again at 11:00, but I just rolled over, ignoring the fact that I was supposed to get up to exercise. To top it all off, I hadn't had my minimum of 12 cups of water for the day, and my plan to remedy that during my exercise time obviously failed. My phone lay smashed in pieces by my feet.


I saw this quote on facebook today, and it's perfect timing: "Losers live in the past. Winners learn from the past and enjoy working in the present toward the future. -Denis Waitley

Yesterday was the first time in the nearly 7 weeks that I've been doing this that I had skipped my exercise. It's unrealistic to expect perfection, though, so I think I feel okay about yesterday. I mean, yeah, it sucks that I slipped up, but I'm not going to freak out about it. Today is a new day. Unlike the phone in the metaphor above, all is not ruined. I suppose you could say that overnight my phone magically pieced itself back together again, to full working order. I'm going to make lots of calls, text many people, and use it to its fullest potential. Okay, perhaps that's taking the metaphor too far. But I'm getting back up on the horse! (Hooray mixed metaphors?)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEDIEBEAR1 4/13/2012 11:32AM

    I have those days myself and lately they've been becoming more frequent. I wish I knew how to reset myself back at stage 1 on the sparkpeople diet. Keep up the good work though. You can do it!

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ERINSPGOM 4/13/2012 1:50AM

    I absolutely love that quote. It's hard to fall of the proverbial wagon, but it sounds like you're picking yourself up just fine. You're still focused on the future, and that's amazing, considering all the little things that can bring a body down in general, not to mention on one of the biggest journeys you'll take in your life. Good job! And glad you're phone is fixed.

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ERINSPGOM 4/13/2012 1:49AM

    I absolutely love that quote. It's hard to fall of the proverbial wagon, but it sounds like you're picking yourself up just fine. You're still focused on the future, and that's amazing, considering all the little things that can bring a body down in general, not to mention on one of the biggest journeys you'll take in your life. Good job! And glad you're phone is fixed.

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To Join The Biggest Loser Challenge Or Not?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One of the SparkTeams I'm a member of runs a Biggest Loser Challenge on what appears to be a regular basis. They're currently signing up for the next one, and I'm thinking about joining. I have a few hesitancies, though. I love pros and cons lists, so I'll organize my thoughts into one:

--I'm super competitive, so I like any competition
--They have challenges each week that are optional but could be fun
--I love anything that can get me more connected to the community here

--I'm super competitive. This is a con because my program is currently set up to help me lose just under a pound a week. If I join the challenge, I'll want to lose faster. If I continue with my current program, I will probably get discouraged because I won't be losing as much as many others.
--If I decide to switch up my program to lose faster, I run the risk of going too hardcore with exercise and burning out and ending up hating it (this has always happened in the past when I tried losing weight--I jumped into things super hardcore and then quickly burnt out)
--If I decide to switch up my program to lose faster, I think I will be at a greater risk of ending up with a lot of loose skin as I get smaller. I've been overweight for 10 years, so I'll probably end up with loose skin anyway. But skin is somewhat elastic, and part of me hopes that the loose skin won't be as bad if I lose more slowly.

My big fear is that going hardcore will make me burnout and give up on healthy living altogether, like it has in the past. But my fiance suggests that if I get burnt out, or even after the contest ends, I can just go back to "normal", with normal being what I'm doing now. He has a point, in that I really want these changes to become true lifestyle changes where it's how I just live. But I'm only six and a half weeks into the changes, and they don't feel like "normal" just yet. So I fear that after the contest or after burnout, I will go back to what feels like normal (an unhealthy lifestyle).

My other big fear is that not going hardcore (and thus keeping with my current program) will make me feel unsuccessful, as I lose less than my teammates and competitors. I'm already struggling with feelings of not being successful enough because I'm not losing very fast, so I really think this competition would exacerbate that.

Ultimately, I'd love to join the challenge. But these hesitancies are holding me back. Does anyone have any thoughts on this? If you think I should join, should I continue my current program or step it up a notch to lose more quickly? Why?

Thanks so much in advance for any feedback you might have!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEATHERHUNTER 9/13/2012 6:30PM

    I'm glad you joined :)

I know this is an old blog, but I was checking out every one's monthly goal blogs from the past...

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CLARKA6 4/10/2012 10:48PM

    I signed up on the "20-somethings" BLC and I'm super excited:) I'm like you- my plan is to lose slow, so I won't be losing absurd amounts like some other people might be, but I rationalize it like this: this website is all about doing things the healthy way. They aren't setting this competition up to see who will win, they're doing it to motivate people and help them get healthy. Their motivations are totally different from, say, the actual version of The Biggest Loser! They won't get mad at you if you lose a smaller amount than someone else, if that makes sense. Also, if you're really hesitant about the comparison to others, you could consider joining the self-motivating team. It's my impression that the people on that team are much more independent, rely less on community challenges, etc. That might help in your case! Anyway, let me know if you end up joining! I gave my preference as the Orange Tiger Lillies, so if you want a cheerleader who is taking it slow as well, feel free to put me down as a teammate preference:)

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AMANDA_C 4/10/2012 6:18PM

    I would say do it....but don't compare you to you to who you used to be....good luck!

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JUSTCHELLE75 4/10/2012 5:49PM

    I've done two BLC's. Pick the right team and it is great support. They are truly set up for everyone. However, you have to do what feels right for you

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SUCCESSN2014 4/10/2012 5:46PM

    I joined BLC 19 a few weeks ago. I'm going to do my best and not worry about what I lose in comparison to others. I know some people lose weight faster then others and I'm okay with that. I on average lose half a pound to a pound a week. Some weeks I don't lose anything or I *gasp* gain.

I'm doing it because it is one more thing that can keep me motivated. I like the challenges because it forces me to stay focused on what I'm doing. So then I'm less prone to fall off the wagon.

I say DO IT!

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