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This very hard thing we are doing, and why we need to be both vigilant and kind

Thursday, August 09, 2012

There was a discussion in one of my forums during which someone said that people fail at mainenance because they stop eating right and exercising. I think it's unfair and too simplfied to say that people just stop trying. There are biological components going on that make maintenance extremely difficult, and all the weightloss research in the world hasn't found a way to circumvent those yet.

No one wants to get fat again. None of us who have yoyo-ed hundreds of pounds are happy with that. Losing weight causes measurable metabolic changes that our bodies resist and try to "correct." Staying lighter is staying at war with our biological makeups, and that constant vigilance gets exhausting.

If there was ever anyone who had a million-dollar-a-year motivation to stay thin, and access to all the resources for doing so, it was Kirstie Alley when she was Weight Watchers' spokeperson, and that wasn't enough motivation.

Oprah Winfrey could PAY people to slap food out of her hand, and that isn't enough motivation.

To expect Joe and Jane Average, who have the daily stresses of life to juggle and the occasional life crisis to meet, to be able to do better than these celebrities who can afford every advantage is unreasonable. And to BLAME Joe and Jane Average for failing at something that 90-95% of people fail at is to deny years of science and research and about as realistic as believing that leprechauns are the secret to weightloss.

I've read numerous studies that conclude that weightloss is simply ineffective, and is more likely to lead to longterm weight gain and worse health because of lost muscle mass in the weightloss attempt--and then end with a conclusion that people should keep trying anyway. If that research had been for a cancer drug and the conclusion was that in 90-95% of cases it had no effect and might actually make the patient worse, but we should go ahead and administer it anyway, the authors would be laughed out of the scientific community. But because it's fat, and because we cling to the belief that somehow willpower is enough--despite all the scientific evidence that it isn't--we just keep on blaming the patient and hoping for the best.

We are playing a lottery with very long odds. I am playing it right along with everyone else here on Spark People, even knowing those odds. I am not focusing on being thin. I will never be thin. I am focusing on being healthy, and on being able to move around and do lots of physical activity that I couldn't before. I am focusing on eating healthy foods, and paying attention to when I am full, and not denying myself good food so that I feel compelled to binge. Weightloss is coming with that, and I'm pleased about that. But I am also aware of the issues that surround it. I can't deny or ignore those.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thanks for posting this! I lost 45 pounds last year, and this year I've been majorly backsliding and regained 10! Maintaining is so hard - it seems like I'm either working really hard at losing, or I end up gaining. I really appreciated your wisdom, and I friended you :)

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EUPHRATES 8/12/2012 1:41PM

    :: applause ::

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ATHENAPOWER 8/10/2012 9:05AM

    Yes, I've been dealing with this very beast - lost weight, not as much as I wanted, stopped working that hard at it but remained active (which, like a poster above, was curtailed by sports injuries) and now that I'm trying to lose it again, it seems a lot harder. But ultimately it's all about feeling good and being healthy - good blood pressure, eating good healthful foods, being able to be active - not being skinny. Thank you!

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ARTHURTOM 8/9/2012 5:47PM

    "I am focusing on being healthy, and on being able to move around and do lots of physical activity that I couldn't before"

Herein lies the key for the 90-95% of the people that fail.

If/when your weight hits either your target or near your target, nothing changes other than your physical composition. Your everyday responsibilities outside of the realm of your health do not simply vanish into thin air. If anything, the challenges become more intense, especially if you're not prepared.

Just as having a battle plan helps you win the battle, one needs to plan for contingincies to be successful in winning the war.

I had successes beyond even what I thought I could do in 2009. My nickname from my neighbors in 2009 was Rambo. I let that get to my head. I had executed my original plan from September of 2007 flawlessly. By September 2009 I changed my physical self from a 380 pound sedentery home body into a 193 pound "I'm able to do whatever I want to do when I want to do it" type of person.

The sky was the limit. I felt good. I looked good. I ate good. I worked out like a warrior and I ate sensibly.

What happened to change that? Injury.

I didn't have a plan for being injured. I had a few incidences in 2009 that should have given me a "wake up call" if you will, but I ignored them because of my excellent physical health. 4/1/2009 (which I believe was the catalyst for my problems) I ran into a concrete trash container on Cleveland's Public Square while running at a full head of steam trying to catch a bus. At first I thought I had been hit by a car as I was falling to the ground. My left side of my body took the brunt of the impact and spun me off of the container and I landed face down. I blogged about that incident http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_p

Compounding matters, about five weeks later I took a tumble off of my bicycle while traveling at a pretty good rate of speed on the towpath which I also blogged about http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_p

Setting me up for the biggie in November of 2009 when I injured my left hip and could hardly walk and that sent me into a tailspin that I'm still recovering from nearly 3 years later.

The most difficult thing I've found is that when I'm injured, I can't adjust my nutrition to my level of inactivity. I've gotten better at it as this year on April 15, I injured my gluteal muscle on the same hip helping someone move a whirlpool jacuzzi. This time I backed off on my intake and rested myself 10 weeks before returning to my workout regimen on June 24.

One of the problems for me that comes along with injury is depression. I get depressed because I cannot be active.

Not saying this happens to that 90-95% of people but can give others insight to be able to plan for something that I didn't.

Comment edited on: 8/9/2012 5:51:46 PM

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MUGGLEMUM 8/9/2012 2:51PM

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

I've left various forums because they seem to have forgotten that SparkPeople is about SUPPORT.

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DOTTIEJANE1 8/9/2012 11:47AM

    Great blog we should all be focused on healthily and not a number or size, fitness and eating good food and a active lifestyle .

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CHEFSOPHIE 8/9/2012 10:55AM

    Well said. I do think people need to separate thin from healthy and concentrate on the healthy.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 8/9/2012 9:57AM

    Anyone can do a study and even so there is the 5-10% chance we'll be the ones who easily maintain the weight loss!

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NICOLED40 8/9/2012 9:54AM

    Excellent blog! You make a lot of sense. It's difficult to sometimes separate "thin" from "healthy".

Thanks for the dose of reality!


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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

It sounds crazy, after a weekend in which I biked 125 miles, to say that I have to get myself rededicated to my journey. But in reality my weight has bounced up about 10 pounds because I was eating EVERYTHING in anticipation of this ride.

Now that the ride is over, and my whole life isn't focused around the bicycle, I have to sort of "detox" from the continual eating, and rebuild a more even workout schedule. Not that I'm not going to ride--I'm pledged to get in another 650 miles before the end of the year, and I'd rather not be doing them in the snow--but that I'm going to balance it out with weight training, walking, and ab work to get a more balanced me.

And get back to eating appropriate portions for burning 200-300 exercise calories a day, instead of 1,500-2,000. My eating has gotten really sloppy, as has my tracking. I have work to do in those arenas. And I will, because I am determined to end this year as healthy as possible.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EUPHRATES 8/12/2012 1:39PM

    I had the EXACT same thing happen with the marathon, and then added another 5 lbs in the mix somehow too. *sighs* Which is still hanging around, because with school I let myself make excuses regarding getting to the gym as regularly as I should have.

I rededicated last week. And today I'm up another pound, which is VERY frustrating. But I'm just that much more determined (and am off to the gym RIGHT NOW to take out my frustrations in a constructive way rather than eating my way through our already sparse and dwindling food stores). GRRRRR!

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CHEFSOPHIE 8/7/2012 10:47AM

    It sounds like you have a great balanced approach now that the ride has been completed, but don't forget to congradulate yourself for the work you put in for the ride. Getting healthy isn't always about the scale.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 8/7/2012 10:44AM

    I know you can do it because you said you will! We all get off track at times, but you will climb back on that horse (or bike in your case) and get everything back in balance!

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MUGGLEMUM 8/7/2012 10:02AM

    Yeah for you! It's always hard to re-dedicate. It's just not as interesting as the first time around was! Balance is the key, and I think you know that. I tend to get rather perfectionistic about it all---and then I go bazerko when it's not perfect. Don't do that! It's vastly ineffective! Good luck!

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Ride report - seeing success in the face of failure

Sunday, August 05, 2012

As many of you know, I participated in Pedal to the Point, the Multiple Sclerosis 150-mile bike ride.

Except it turns out that the race organizers mapped out a 165-mile ride for us to enjoy. Which didn't make any of us very happy. But, hey, you're out there with almost 3,000 people, you do what you have to.

Also, it was supposed to be 92 degrees and sunny. Not my favorite riding weather. In preparation for the ride daughter Erin and I started drinking Powerade and hydrating like crazy.

Then on Friday afternoon, Hubby and I had to get into our bee hives to add a new set of frames. The bees are usually very docile and I don't even have to wear gloves. But the bees were agitated because a skunk had been after the hive, so they came after me and stung me twice on the right hand, one on the index finger and one on the base of the thumb.

Plus, there is still the bruised tailbone giving me trouble. This was an inauspicious beginning, to say the least.

But I was game anyway. So Erin and I were at the start by 5:30am. Start time was supposed to be 7, and we were anxious to get some miles behind us before it got warm. Unfortunately, the "guest of honor" was late and had to make a long speech. The whole crowd was highly irritated at the delay, all of us knowing that the cool weather was crawling away from us.

Finally at 7:25 the event started. We pulled out as quickly as possible and headed down the long hill that we groaned at the notion of coming back up on the second day (this year the race start had been moved to a location that was much hillier for who knows what reason). The first part of the ride wasn't bad, and we reached the lunch break, 35 miles in, at 10:00. We ate quickly, but by the time we were done with lunch the cloud cover was burning off and it got really, really hot. With the heat, and the wind blowing into our faces, it got really uncomfortable really soon. By the time we got to the second to last break, SAG (Support and Gear) trucks were loaded down with bikes from people who were dropping out and two ambulances had passed by.

We were about 20 miles away from the finish line, and decided that this would be a good time for a long break in the shade. And man, were we going through the Gatorade!

We got back on the road and just about melted. But finally we turned north and had the wind behind us. We got in at just before 4pm with 80 miles done. With breaks, the riding time was just under 6 hours. We staggered off to the hotel, got showers, and went down to the pool to meet up with the rest of the team.

That's when we found out that it had been 103 degrees that afternoon. One. Hundred. Three.

I'm really glad we didn't know during the day, because it would have psyched us out.

This morning we got a decent start, but then rain came in. We got drenched, and at the second stop, which was at a little market store. We waited it out for about an hour and ate snacks. By the time the rain was slowing, though, the volunteers were pulling down the rest stop and we realized that we were really far behind. We got on the bikes and headed out and good clip. We caught up with and passed a lot of riders, and made the next 20 miles in about 90 minutes, pulling into the lunch location at 11:40.

But the ride was starting to tear up my back. I was in a lot of pain and couldn't get comfortable in the saddle. My tailbone was pretty much on fire. And then when I peeled my riding gloves off my hand was completely swollen, and my arm was swollen about halfway up the the elbow.

44 miles in, and I realized that I simply could not go on, not without risking really injuring myself. Erin, who is very much a cheerleader type, took a look at my hand and insisted that I stop. So I called Hubby, who was at the finish line, and told him that I needed to be picked up.

Then I put my head down and cried a little. Erin went on, because she still had it in her, and I waited, watching more SAG trucks picking up bikes, watching an entire schoolbus of riders loading up for the ride back to the starting line. I watched the volunteers pull down the lunch stop. When hubby arrived, I cried a few more tears, then we headed back.

I almost refused to take the medal. But the race veterans pointed out to me that people who only ride one day get a medal. In fact, people who only ride the 35 miles to the lunch stop get a medal. They also pointed out that only a third of the people who ride the first day also ride a second day. They reassured me that I had nothing to be ashamed of.

So. I biked 125 miles over two days. I biked through staggering heat and humidity. I biked wet and cold.

And I was smart enough to stop before I hurt myself. The one thing Hubby and I discussed before this was how important it was that I not let my obsessive nature overtake my common sense and end up injuring myself and losing the progress I've made. Calling it quits was actually harder than pushing through would have been.

I am not entirely happy with what happened. But I am satisfied.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKIRNIR 8/20/2012 8:56PM

    Sounds like you did absolutely the right thing even if it was very hard to do! Wish I could bike that far in two days. (Maybe someday.)

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DANA48131 8/15/2012 1:47PM

    Very proud of you!!!!!!!!!!!

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DOTTIEJANE1 8/8/2012 9:42AM

    PROUD OF YOU , and so glad that you took care of you.

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WANNABUNNY 8/7/2012 5:48PM

    Awesome! You did such a good job! Congrats, be proud of your work you are amazing and keep us all trying harder. emoticon

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CRICKET251 8/6/2012 9:38PM

    Wow! That is an amazing accomplishment! I cannot fathom riding that many miles ! You should be so proud of yourself and what you did! Job well done! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BARBARASDIET 8/6/2012 4:37PM

    Good call--and you had an amazing achievement!

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    Wow, what a weekend!
I think you are awesome for doing all of the miles that you did, but almost more awesome for knowing when to say stop... it seems wiser to have to be sidelined for an afternoon rather than for weeks because you did some serious damage. I really hope you are recovering physically and mentally in the next few days, that's really something that you rode all of those miles!
Great job on your ride, and I hope you're looking out into the future for your next big ride : )

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    125 miles is AMAZING! who cares if you didnt finish! I haven't even walked 125 miles this YEAR! even if you had only made it half way through the first day, you would still be an inspiration to all of us! HUGE emoticon and know that we are all proud to know you! emoticon

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PJOY17 8/6/2012 12:52PM

    Big HUGS HONEY!!!!!
I am proud of you!

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OPTIMIST1948 8/6/2012 9:26AM

    Nothing - NOTHING is worth permenant injury. You did the best that you could for as long as you could -- and honestly, you did more than most. You may have fallen short of your ideal, but sometimes your brain needs to listen to your common sense. You did the right thing dropping out. Next year will be better.

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LISALALA1 8/5/2012 10:50PM

    Wow you should be so proud of yourself. You did the right thing and you are no quitter.. I've done 2 century rides myself and I know how much training and anticipation goes into it. I'm impressed emoticon

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MUGGLEMUM 8/5/2012 10:26PM

    You simply must read "Unfinished Business" by Dex Tooke. It's on Kindle, and if you have a kindle, you can give me your email and I'll loan you my copy. Dex biked the Race Across America (RAAM) in 2010. He got to Maryland -from CA), and realized he wouldn't make the time cut-off, and had to DNF (Did Not Finish). He went back in 2011. He talks about struggles--heat, hills, weather, traffic, butt sores, blisters, etc.---and the need to persevere when you want to quit, and when to quit when you wish you could persevere. You were so right to stop when you did, and realize that you did what you could do without seriously risking your health. This, from someone who is struggling with a mile!

Pat yourself on the back--- You did awesome!

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TATTER3 8/5/2012 10:06PM

    Keep Sparkin'!!!

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EUPHRATES 8/5/2012 10:05PM

    As I've been telling you all day, I am so incredibly proud of you, for your strength, courage, AND wisdom! And remember how down I was about being nearly last at the Pig with no one there to cheer us on but our family, and how you told me I should be proud of the accomplishment? YOU TOO, okay?

Remember that "drop" is likely (and would be whether you'd done the whole 160 miles or not) - be super gentle with yourself over the next couple of days please?

Most people wouldn't have even contemplated doing it. Most people, when faced with the challenges you faced just getting started, would have sat this out out. The fact you got that far is fricken' AMAZING! Don't you dare forget it!
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    WOW WOW WOW!!!!!

You are amazing for even contemplating doing something, never mind actually finding the where-with-all within yourself to DO IT!!!

You should be sooooooo proud of what you have accomplished - could you have even envisioned being able to do this a year ago? I also think that you should really be proud of yourself for having the intestinal fortitude to know when to say "enough" and not injure yourself!

Well done, well done. well done, WELL DONE !!!

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CHEFSOPHIE 8/5/2012 9:48PM

    Well I for one am really proud of you. You did great and made the right decision.

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NATPLUMMER 8/5/2012 9:45PM

You did excellent!! Congratulations!!

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Tomorrow is the day!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Tomorrow morning, we get up at 4am to get to the starting line on time for the big ride.

Turns out the big ride is bigger than we thought. Someone did the route math, and it's 81 miles on the first day and 84 on the second. I'm a bit irked, but relieved that I learned that before the ride because I will be mentally prepared for the extra miles. But it's kind of irksome that they didn't route it better.

DD and I are eating lots of protein and carbs, and drinking sports drinks to get our electrolytes up for the ride. It will be an early bedtime tonight.

Wish me luck!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOTTIEJANE1 8/5/2012 5:32PM

    Can't wait to read about you ride. TAKE CARE.

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    I'm thinking of you now and sending good vibes your way!! I hope it's going well!

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SUNNYDAZE9 8/4/2012 3:17PM

    Best of luck on your ride.

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LISALALA1 8/4/2012 12:50PM

    Good luck I can't wait to read all about it

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OPTIMIST1948 8/4/2012 12:07PM

    Have fun. We expect an update when you get back...but listen to your body!

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BARBARASDIET 8/3/2012 7:54PM


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CAKEMAKERMOM 8/3/2012 5:02PM

    Sounds like you'll have fun!

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NATPLUMMER 8/3/2012 4:56PM

    YAY!! Have fun!!

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EUPHRATES 8/3/2012 4:39PM

    Luck? Aw, you got this!

So proud of you both!!!

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CHEFSOPHIE 8/3/2012 3:59PM

    Can hardly wait to hear how it goes.

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NORWOODGIRL 8/3/2012 3:59PM

    Good luck! Have fun and tell us all about it. That sounds like quite a challenge. emoticon

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Catching up

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Lots has happened in the last week-and-change, some of it good, some of it bad, but all of it keeping me away from Spark People.

First of all, last Sunday I took a bad fall and bruised my tailbone. I was in so much pain that I thought I might have cracked it, and wanted a doctor's okay before getting back on my bike. My doc wasn't available, so I went to an urgent care clinic where they x-rayed me. The tailbone was undamaged (though I have a pretty spectacular bruise at the base of it), but the x-ray revealed extensive arthritis at the base of the spine, just above the tailbone. This is not the kind of news that makes me happy, to say the least. The urgent care doc said he couldn't provide any kind of evaluation on the basis of those x-rays, so I will need to get to my doctor and get a thorough evaluation.

Guarded good news is that my mother-in-law has not yet developed multiple myeloma, though her blood toxin levels are getting close to the breakover point. Fingers are crossed and prayers are being said that the rise in her levels stops, because she has a gene indicator that says that if she develops it, it will be a very aggressive form and quickly fatal. I have the best MIL in the world, so I really hope she stabilizes.

After a week off my bike, DD and I have ridden the last two days. Thursday we only rode 12 miles, but yesterday we did 37.5. We were attending a Critical Mass group ride, and on the way downtown we were caught in a serious rainstorm. It was warm, though, and we just laughed our way through it. The rain stopped for the group ride, but when it was over and we were headed home in the dark, we got caught in a serious deluge. Soaked to the skin and shivering, we finally took refuge at a Taco Bell, where we had a snack and waited out the storm. When it finally stopped we had to apologize to the employees for the LAKE of water that was under our table. Once we got home, we celebrated our accomplishment with hot showers, dryer-warmed fluffy bathrobes, and hot toddies while we watched the opening ceremonies for the Olympics.

Today I am definitely feeling the ride in my tailbone region, but also in my feet and legs from taking a lot more weight so I could be off the seat much more than usual. I'm hoping to get a short ride in before hubby arrives home from California, but I'm not going to fret if that doesn't happen.

Next weekend is Pedal to the Point. 75 miles of riding, two days in a row. I'm a bit nervous, but also excited. I'm also determined not to injure myself with this ride. If it proves to be too much, then I will SAG. Because hurting myself over one event is foolish in the greater scheme of good health.

I just hope I can remember that on the rode, if it comes down to it....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EUPHRATES 8/3/2012 4:38PM


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1GR8FULWOMAN 7/29/2012 9:02PM

sorry to hear about your fall, and I hope your mother in law will be okay....

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THOMS1 7/28/2012 12:50PM

    Hope your bruising is better before your big ride. emoticon emoticon

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WALKINGGRANDMA 7/28/2012 11:56AM

    It is good that you are listening to your body. Broke my tailbone a few years ago and had to learn to sit on my hips which didn't help my back at all. It was a long six weeks.

I hope things work out for the best for your MIL.

Watching the Olympic bike ride. It is fun to watch. Have fun on your ride today.

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NATPLUMMER 7/28/2012 11:55AM

    I've got some arthritis in the same place. Glad you didn't hurt yourself too bad.
I hope MIL gets through it okay.
Awesome rides!!

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DMEYER4 7/28/2012 11:33AM

  My prayers are with you for your MIL. Also I hope the pain gets better before the big ride. emoticon emoticon

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OPTIMIST1948 7/28/2012 11:33AM

    I am glad to hear that youare being prudent with your tail. Fingers crossed for your MIL. Welcome back!

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