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Chocolate Cravings

Monday, August 25, 2014

(This was a message board post I made, that a fellow Sparker asked me to turn into a blog. I've added some comments at the end. The original topic was an "incurable" chocolate craving.)

Sometimes I think we need to examine how we think about things. Like... calling it "incurable" leaves us feeling powerless and at the mercy of the cravings. Like we have no control whatsoever and are doomed to failure forever. I'm (well) over 50 and in menopause and have hypothyroidism. And for any/all of those things, *they* say weight loss is harder. I could've chosen to wallow in, this is SO hard and I can't do it and all those things are working against me, how can I possibly ever lose weight.

But I chose instead to look at it like-- ok, fine, it's harder. But it's not impossible. There are still choices I can make, there are still things I can do. And I focused on figuring out how to make it work, for me. I've done different things-- avoided some trigger foods altogether, by telling myself that *someday* I'll be able to eat (whatever it was) in moderation, but today was just not that day. I've not kept certain things in the house, or kept them in the freezer or portioned them out into single-serve snack bags or plastic containers. I've kept stuff in an awkward-to-get-to cabinet (instead of within easy reach).

Most of the time, I hit at least the bottom of my range with good, solid, nutritious choices. Which leaves me a couple hundred calories to eat a treat or a little junk, and still be within range. Sometimes what's worked for me is saving the treat to eat right before I brush my teeth and go to bed. I just don't eat it til it's bedtime. I will say though that since I get up really really early, I go to bed early too-- and I think that helps.

I like dark chocolate, but not *too* dark. I get no enjoyment out of that 70% or so stuff. And that's okay, it really is. No point eating it if you don't like it. If a lower-calorie fudge bar would satisfy you, that might be an option to consider. If individually wrapped chocolates (Dove or something like that) would work instead of a large bar... worth a try. I know I can't handle having an open bag of chocolate chips in the house. I can portion them out in advance (when I'm not in the midst of a moment of weakness) and then exercise some control and eat just one serving. But a whole open bag, where I can help myself without measuring first-- just a recipe for disaster. The individual chocolates might be the same way. Perhaps deciding on just eating 2 (for example) and then portioning the large bag in advance into those smaller, "serving-size" bags might help. So then in the evening you get your one serving.

I reckon the bottom line is trying some different things and figuring out how you can make it work-- how you can get that chocolate fix and still fit it into your plan. And how you can have it in the house without going hog wild and eating it all, at one go. Or eating everything else you can think of, while trying to ignore a chocolate craving.

btw... I lost the weight and have kept it off over 2 years. Just my personal experience, but it is not impossible, it is not incurable, it is not hopeless. Just don't give up, don't quit trying different things, don't stop focusing on figuring out how to make it work for you.


A couple additional thoughts, on turning this into a blog:

Some people say it takes 2 weeks, or 3 weeks, to form a new habit. And that may very well be true. But I'm going to let you in on the truth here-- the old, bad habit does not go away *forever*-- it is still buried in our brains somewhere. The monkey may be off our backs, but he is lurking in the bushes, ready to jump back on in a moment of stress or anxiety or when faced with a buffet table loaded with our favorites. Don't get discouraged if you occasionally find yourself giving in to that old, bad habit. None of us is perfect. Just pick yourself up and keep going. Get back on track and keep going.

And the second thing I'd like to mention is the value of joining a Challenge. I've done a bunch of them-- they were very helpful while I was actively working on losing the weight. And perhaps even more so, now that I'm in maintenance. I'm on the 5% Challenge-- the goal behind the Challenge is to lose 5% of your weight. I don't need to lose any weight, but they allow maintainers to join as well. jmho but it is extremely important to keep yourself involved, to keep the focus going. When I hit maintenance.... all of a sudden that laser-beam focus on losing weight was gone, and I felt adrift in a sea of "What do I do, NOW??" I was able to lose the weight because I was SO motivated to do it. But maintaining the loss takes a different kind of motivation. The Challenge helps tremendously with that, by reinforcing those healthy habits.

I yo-yo dieted for years and years-- and when I hit goal, somewhere in my subconscious was the thought that I could go back to eating more treats and junk and sweets. That old, on a diet, off a diet type thinking. All the "healthy lifestyle" I'd given lip service to, suddenly didn't seem as important to be so strict about. I still struggle some, with the thought that "I'm in maintenance, I can get away with eating this". I still struggle some with overeating, with those old bad habits, with those old, sort of automatic responses to certain foods. And the Challenge helps with that, too.

I'm no paragon of virtue or pillar of strength. I am (at heart) a wimp, a weenie, a whiner. I am a slug, when it comes to exercise. I've got a very good Spark friend who has lost the weight and is very close to her goal. I think we'd both agree that the "secret" to our success is that-- no matter what-- we just do NOT quit.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLAZINGSWORD 9/13/2014 10:49PM

    emoticon 100%!

I too, love sweets. My down fall is Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey ice cream, which comes in a carton & I believe it is a 2 pints? Why do I love it? It is banana flavored ice cream with walnuts and chunks of chocolate! And Milk Duds. Needless to say, I can and have eaten a whole carton of the B&J's ice cream, and also a box of Milk Duds, but not together in one sitting or even on the same day.

I still have a ways to go on weight loss, probably about 35 more pounds.

One day, probably about 5 weeks ago, I decided to read an article here from spark about maintaining once a person has lost their weight.

It was like a light bulb went off in my head when they shared that what to do to maintain the loss: simple, it is to keep doing what help you to lose the weight in the first place.

Duh!!! Must have had brain fog! It just never dawned on me. And so like you said, a lot of people once they lose the weight think that, well, you know, can go back to eating some of the foodstuffs that got them into weight trouble in the first place.

For me, I just can't keep B&J's Chunky Monkey or the Milk Duds in the house because I know myself well enough that I can't just eat the serving size recommended.

Maybe one day I will be able to just have 1/2 cup of ice cream or just one serving of Milk Duds but until then, they are not welcomed in my house! emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/13/2014 10:51:38 PM

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MSANITAL 8/25/2014 7:56PM

    I think your on to something good.. I too am basking in the ever so symptoms of menopause., and weight loss has stopped, I have had my thyroid checked it is ok it is just my metabolism that is off.

Keep up the good work...

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GOCALGAL 8/25/2014 9:05AM

    Bravo!! emoticon emoticon Fabulous advice and so well written! Thanks for sharing and debunking the "I can not do it because I'm over 50" myth.

I'm 60+ and have lost and kept 30 pounds off I'd like to lose more. It's never easy but it is doable especially if one keeps it always as a priority and as you so wisely said, "Never quits" despite the challenges and meltdowns that will inevitably happen.

The only thing I disagree with is that you are a wimp..whiner..No you are Winner! emoticon

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TERI-RIFIC 8/25/2014 8:32AM

    emoticon emoticon There is so much valuable insight in this blog! I have had a small dessert every night after dinner for about the past year. It helps me resist sugar cravings. When I tell people that I do this there is something about it that they just don't like! I totally relate to how you have to find your own strategies to deal with the different problem foods. emoticon

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Monday 5/26

Monday, May 26, 2014

A lot of stuff on my mind this evening.

Had to work today. After a number of years at the marina, I'm feeling like I am so *done* working there. I started on, after the owner was diagnosed with cancer. And they needed some extra help. Stayed through his treatment and relapse and more treatment and finally, that last summer. When they pretty much told him there was nothing left that they could do. And after he had passed (he was right around 50 years old), I stayed on as his widow and grown children took over. I figured, I'll give them 5 years to pull it together and then they should be on their feet.

It's been a bit more than 5 years, and the grown kids are no closer to looking like they're going to step up to the plate. Every year, the place has gotten a little more disheveled, a little more disorganized, a little more like it's going down the tubes-- it's just a matter of time. Each of the "kids" has their own little, hidden agenda and doesn't show up to work when they don't feel like it, or if there's something else going on they'd rather do. None of them respects the other's opinions concerning the business and they're all full of ideas about what the other 2 should be doing.... while meanwhile trying to figure out how they themselves can get away with doing less. There's no clear leader among them.

Here we are at the big, kick-off weekend for the summer season.... and they haven't hired adequate help, and none of them wanted to work today.

sigh. I love each of them dearly, as I've come to know them quite well over the years. But honestly, I think I just need to find another job. I'm fixin' to start praying hard over this.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYPEARLS 5/26/2014 10:17PM

    In the end, you have to do what is right for you. emoticon

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Memorial Day Weekend

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Spent yesterday getting caught up with stuff around the house. DH's friend from Memphis came up for the weekend, and they went out on the boat all afternoon. Which was good-- they needed to get caught up (which means talking about a bunch of stuff I'm not particularly interested in) and I needed the house to myself.

I have to work tomorrow, so today is pretty much "it" for me, as far as getting a little rest and enjoying the weekend. It's cool and a little overcast outside this morning, so I think I'll get out there for a walk. Lately it's been sunny and really humid even in the mornings, and a walk ends up being super sweaty. There won't be too many more mornings like today, til the fall.

I know a lot of people have outdoor plans this weekend, and where I work (at a marina) it would be great to have hot & sunny weather..... but personally-- I'm hoping it rains a bit so I don't have to water all the flowers & the garden. Maybe it'll rain after it gets dark!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOLFGMA 5/25/2014 8:03AM

    Living near the water must be super nice. Have a nice walk to start your weekend. emoticon

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Saturday 5/24

Saturday, May 24, 2014

I'm not much on writing blogs, but the Challenge team I'm on has assigned blogging this week for points toward our goal. And I'm all for doing whatever it takes, to help out the team. emoticon

Today was also weigh-in day. I'm down a whopping 1/10th of a pound. Sort of disappointing.... but it beats a gain. Sometimes it seems like-- you do all this stuff for an entire week, a whole SEVEN days.... and then you hop on the scale and don't see a number that reflects what you think it *ought* to be, in relation to the effort you made. It's like there's no reward for all that hard work, all the times you said no to a doughnut at work, all the water, all the veggies. It would be easy to say, screw it, it's not working.

Ah, but I know the scale is a fickle friend. So many of us pin all our hopes on the number between our toes-- and yet there are so many things that can affect that number, that have nothing to do with fat loss or gain. Water retention from too much sodium, extra fluid for the muscles to repair/rebuild after a hard workout, TOM (not a factor for me, but for many others). Could be sluggish bowels as well. And the body is a fascinating thing. On paper, it's calories in/ calories out. But in the real world, you could do the exact same thing two weeks in a row, eat the exact same foods, and lose nothing one week and 2 pounds the next week.

It seems that perseverance is a really good trait to have, when you're working on a lifestyle change.

There are other, possibly better ways to gauge progress (than the scale). It just so happens that for this particular team, we do a weigh-in once a week. And post the number for everyone to see. I've worked hard at not letting the scale be the "ultimate authority" for whether I feel good or bad about myself and the past week's efforts. It's very very hard though to let go of that tie to the scale as a means of measuring progress, a way to define my happiness, the be-all and end-all.

The bottom line for me is that I'm not doing this for weight loss/maintenance alone. Sure, when I joined Spark I wanted to lose weight. But the overall goal was to be healthy and fit, which means getting some exercise and eating a healthy, well-balanced diet. So whether the scale reflects that or not-- it's pretty much what I did last week. I'm chalking it up as a "Win" for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COFFEELOVER13 9/13/2014 5:36PM

  Missruth: The only reason I am posting this this way is due to fact for some reason when I tried to send you a private message the message doesnt go thru. I need to tell you that your advice was perfect. I think I will write to the head of the department and tell them exactly that. . Do you know who actually reads the lab test reports? And do you know what the format of the reports are?

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DIANNEMT 5/24/2014 5:03PM

    What I HATE is the scale on Thursday and Friday has a GREAT number and then Saturday is something ELSE! ARG! Yes, I want healthy and fit--but I ALSO want THAT NUMBER. If I am going to maintain (someday), can't I have the number I want???

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MLKDUD 5/24/2014 2:49PM

    I have to remind myself to look at the big picture. I may not lose EVERY week, but overall I AM!

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KALISWALKER 5/24/2014 11:09AM

    You are right it's a win! We are moving in the right direction and it feels good knowing we are on our way!

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Random Springtime Thoughts

Sunday, May 04, 2014

I was thinking, as I worked on getting that screened porch cleaned up (until I brought the tv back out there, because I couldn't think of anything else even remotely interesting to think about) how in the "old days" people didn't need to specifically get some cardio or strength training several times a week. Their daily activities required burning a lot more calories than our current lives do. Everything was a much more intensive chore than it is, now. Dragging the rugs outside to beat them clean, scrubbing clothes on a washboard, sweeping the floors with a broom, scrubbing on hands & knees. My Grandma talked about carrying all the freshly-washed & still wet clothes up to the attic and hanging them there in the wintertime. And then little by little, they'd bring them downstairs to the kitchen to dry by the fire in the stove. Took a week to get everything done, and then they'd start all over again.

Course, Grandma also said she would not prefer the "good old days", to having a washer and dryer. And vacuum cleaner. And all the other modern conveniences.

So I reckon I don't mind having to specifically do something, to get that exercise.

Did a lot yesterday.... ran some errands in town, got that porch finished and then worked in the yard. Did some weeding and planted a bunch of flowers in the humongous flower bed closest to the house. Previous owner liked annuals, but I prefer perennials. It would've been too expensive to replace all of them at one time, so I've been working on it over the past 2 years. I think I need to wait now, for the rest of the slow-to-wake-up stuff (calla lilies, hibiscus) to get bigger, before I put anything else in. My goal (eventually) is to have enough stuff in that bed, that there isn't hardly room for any weeds to grow.

DH was commenting on how pretty the iris are.... but they don't last long. Some of the perennials are like that. I've got other stuff in there though that will bloom a lot longer. Some of the daylilies will go all summer, once they start blooming. The roses, too.

After the yardwork, I did some chores inside the house. Spent the day getting a lot of stuff done around here. Quit around 3, to watch the Derby.

I say all that, to say this-- used to be (back when I was fat and never got any exercise) that every spring, I'd jump into getting all this stuff done. And I was so out of shape that I'd end up barely able to move, after a day like yesterday. I'd have muscles I didn't even know I had, that were SO sore. But thanks to a program of regular cardio and strength training, this morning I am not sore. I feel ready to do it again. Which is good, because I need to get the beans and cucumbers planted and we're going to go work on cleaning up the boat.

Plus, the clutter in this house is driving me absolutely crazy. I want to spend some time today starting in on that. I think I'll start with my clothes, since it's finally warm enough to pack away the sweaters and get those capris out for good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOCALGAL 5/5/2014 9:28PM

    emoticon emoticon

emoticon Ruth! I can not believe how much you get done!

I wish I could magically transport a bunch of free plants from my nursery! I know they would go to a good home. hugs!

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JSPIN74 5/5/2014 9:55AM

    emoticon emoticon

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TERI-RIFIC 5/4/2014 1:23PM

    Wow you got a lot done!!! Good for you.

Comment edited on: 5/4/2014 4:00:42 PM

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    The price we pay for not having to do the chores is having to do the exercise. A fair trade-off when you consider it!

Make Today a Great Day!

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