Saturday, August 18, 2012
Early in my SP journey, I looked online at some ideal weights. The answers varied, and it wasn't clear what goal I should aim for. I wrote a blog about this at the time:
This week, there's been an active discussion on the now-renamed At Goal and Maintaining + Transition to Maintenance team. One of the posts there aimed at supporting new maintainers had a link to a site I'd used to look at various ideal weights. Now that I'm maintaining, I went back and looked again.
I saw the same estimates I was looking at before, but they look different with a year's Sparking under my belt. The BMI range of 139-183 lbs. remains too broad to be useful, but I no longer think about edging into the top end of that range. The top end is clearly too high for me, and the bottom end is clearly too low for me.
The Devine formula target of 170 that looked too low to me then, looks too high now. The People's Choice Ideal Weight spits out 165, but it varies according to what weight I tell it I currently am. I learned to ignore it the first time past.
But the real deal is the Met Life tables. I have a hard time measuring my elbow as described, but I think I come out close to the borderline between medium and small frame as Met Life defines it.
My Met Life ideal weight range is stated to be 160-173 lbs for a medium frame. That looked way low to me a year ago; this morning I weighed in at 161.4 lbs.
However, the Met Life standard is weighing while wearing 5 lbs. of clothing and 1" heels. The program already accounts for the 1" difference in height; but my standard weight is in undershorts and tee shirt, which combine to weigh less than a pound. So if I knock 5 lbs. off the Met Life range for medium, I get 155-168 lbs.
That kind of sounds like where I've settled is in the middle of the range. If it turns out I'm really small frame, that range goes down (adjusted for my weigh-in standards) to 147-158 lbs. I kind of doubt that 158 should be the *top* of my range, though it's possible it should be *in* my range.
What does this all mean? Not a whole lot, in terms of picking a weight target. I still have to do that based on how I feel and what I can do at the proposed target weight. But there is a bit of an ego pump to see that where I've landed, which might still have a slight downward bias, is right there in the range that would make an insurance company happy to sell me a whole life policy.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Last Thanksgiving, I ran a 10K. I happened to come in first in my age group, which in hindsight wasn't the best thing that could happen. That encouraged me to try to gear up for a half marathon. Further hindsight tells me I added mileage too quickly, and I didn't pay enough attention to my legs. I ended up with a nagging foot injury, tried to come back from that too fast too soon, and am currently sitting out from regular running.
The plan with the foot re-injury was to wait longer and for the foot to feel better than I did the first time around. To support this effort, I'm not even looking at organized races. Pointing at an organized race gives me the wrong incentives. I'm likely to let testosterone poisoning creep in, and end up re-injuring that foot.
The best-laid plans . . .
This evening my daughter asked me if I was doing the Race with Grace (Thanksgiving Day 10K) again. I told her quite honestly that I don't know if I'll be able to run a 10K by Thanksgiving Day.
She wants to do that race with me. She had thought it was 10 miles. When I told her it was 10K, or about 6.2 miles, she said, "I could walk that now. I couldn't walk the next day, but I could walk it."
So what's a father to do? I made a verbal commitment to sign up again this year. The idea is to register as a father-daughter team, as family teams are one of this particular race's gimmicks. If I have to walk it, I'll walk it.
So here I sit, with a bad foot that let me run three stretches of 200 paces each (about a minute and a quarter each) during a 4 mile or so walk last Sunday, but isn't ready for continuous running. Now I know I'll try to train for that 10K, even though the smart thing would be to avoid competition and take a year to come back if the foot needs a year.
But what's a father to do? When your only daughter is overweight and wants to do something physically active with you, you do what you can to support her efforts to become more healthy. And with daughter working every weekend, Thanksgiving Day is the only predictable race day that neither of us will have to work.
Just have to manage my expectations. The goal is to participate and have a good time. The goal is *not* to finish first in my age group.
Time will tell how well I do at paying attention to the smart goals.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I've weighed myself daily for I don't know how long, but I've recorded the weights since December 31, 2001. That's a decade of data to look at, and noticeable slice of weight fluctuations while Life Happens.
A few years ago, when I thought I was trying to control my weight, I came up with the idea of comparing to a year ago. If the comps showed negative deltas, I was having a good year. If the comps showed positive deltas, I was having a bad year. This motivated me for a little while, then I just continued the spreadsheet out of habit.
In 2012, I got used to having year over year comps showing my weight as down more than 30 pounds. Today I noticed I've completed 7 consecutive days where those comps are less than 30 pounds.
I expected this to happen, and now it's here. By the end of 2012, those comps should be down under 10 pounds, maybe under 5. I had considered that losing that 30 pound margin might look like a bad thing to me, but it turns out that it doesn't.
It looks like I'm doing the MAIN thing, maintaining. My weight is in a four month sideways trend after being in a four month very gentle downward trend. If I can keep this up, in another 8 months those comps should fluctuate randomly between positive and negative numbers.
That would be way cool, to have a maintenance trend so long that the year over year comps averaged out around zero for an extended period of time. I'm not there yet, but I'm beginning to believe that I can get there.
The goal is to take this chart, and make those last four months of sideways extend out for a long way:
A full year of sideways trend would be unprecedented for my last decade. Then again, the weight loss in 2011 after I started SparkPeople was unprecedented. It could happen. I'm going to do my best to make it happen.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
This weekend I've been thinking quite a bit about various aspects of maintenance. That has translated to more time on the At Goal and Maintaining Team, including a couple of moderately long message board posts there. That took so much time that I won't be able to develop any of the following scattered thoughts fully before I need to go to bed.
Goal Weight: When I started my most recent (and ultimately successful) effort to lose weight, I didn't know what goal weight to set. I picked a weight that seemed aggressive at the time, though it sounds overweight to me now. After I achieved the initial goal, I kept losing weight for a while while learning how to not lose. Then after I thought I'd learned to not lose, I was really losing slowly for a while longer.
I now have about 4 months of a sideways weight trend in maintenance, and I haven't changed my goal weight in quite a while. But . . . my goal weight turns out to be the top of a range, not the middle. I get the idea that goal is a range. Intellectually, I get the idea that a single goal weight makes sense as the midpoint of a range, so that going too far over or under is a concern requiring correction.
I just seem to be really bad at accepting being over goal, whatever goal is defined to be. So while my goal has been defined as 162, I've spent a lot of time in the 160-162 range. Yeah, I get that this is too narrow a range; but that leads me to the next scattered thought.
Weigh-in standards: More that a decade ago, before I started recording my daily weight, I settled on a standard for weighing myself. I weigh myself first thing in the morning, after getting up and using the restroom. I wear undershorts and a tee shirt, because a) they're light, b) that's what I usually sleep in, and c) when I started doing this I would have been too embarrassed to weigh myself nude.
My reasoning was that this standard served two purposes. First, it made the daily weigh-in as consistent as I could make it. Second, the consistency should be at the low weight point of the day, so I couldn't cheat by changing when I weight.
That standard served me well through over a decade of weighing myself and trying off and on to lose weight. I have a decade of history that is reasonably comparable. I can look at trends and remember what was going on in my life at the time my weight was moving up or down.
But now, in maintenance, I wonder. Is it a good standard to have the low weight, or does it unfairly deflate my numbers? Deflate compared to what? I guess compared to some unknown-to-me standard for ideal weight or measuring BMI or something. Now that I put this in writing, it sounds really lame. Still, ever since I read that the Met Life tables standard was weighing while wearing one inch heels and 5 pounds of clothing, I wonder about whether I have a fair standard.
I can compare to the Met Life tables by simply adding 5 pounds to my weight and an inch to my height, but . . .
Part of what has me wondering is that I sometimes weight myself at other times of the day to see fluctuations. When I started weighing myself, on an old analog scale that was only accurate to one pound, I might lose a pound, or perhaps two, overnigh. Clearly water weight. With SP-level hydration, I can lose 3 to 5 pounds of water weight overnight. Perhaps my "accurate" weight would be a pound or two higher than my dehydrated standard?
Maintenance, publicity, and consistency: There's a thread on the At Goal and Maintaining Team about how maintainers don't get much visibility on SP: www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
I see that this is true, and I kind of understand why. Or at least, I have a theory that I posted there and won't repeat here.
That thread leads me to another scattered thought: Maintenance needs to happen through all phases of life. Sometimes life is going to throw stuff at me that needs a lot of attention. When this happens, what's important? The important stuff for maintenance is, control what I eat, get some sort of exercise, and get as close to enough sleep as I can manage in the face of the Sedentary Work Hell Project or whatever else life throws my way.
When Life Happens, blogging and reading other people's blogs and reading/posting to message boards and reading SP ads takes a back seat to simply recording food, exercise, and the basic goals I use for self-motivation. I can log on and use the tools, if I have a small amount of time. To do any sort of meaningful participation in the community, I need more time.
So . . . when Life Happens, I may be able to maintain. But while Life is Happening, I'm lousy support for other maintainers or people still losing weight who hope to be maintainers some day. I'm also a poor prospect for marketing.
It may well be that some people get to this point, and never see the need to add back the community time. If I can maintain on 15 minutes a day using the SP site, cutting out most social interaction, what reason is there to add back the community? In my case, the community interaction is both entertaining and useful; but if I weren't particularly amused by it, and it didn't make me think about my own situation, all that would be left would be a moral sense of giving something back. And there would surely come a time when I felt I'd given enough back.
The 5% Standard of Maintenance: An oft-quoted statistic is that only 5% of the people who lose weight maintain the weight loss for at least a year. As I was writing about the publicity topic, I got to wondering how the underlying study for this was done. (Not that I'll go and find the study to critique it!) Maybe there are people who lose weight, keep it off, and never bother to report the fact to anyone who does studies?
Is it like the headline I saw this week, that the average cost of a wedding is $26K? That one, I understand. It's put out by Brides Magazine. The people who are looking for economy weddings are unlikely to be telling Brides Magazine about it, so that statistic almost certainly represents a subset of American society that places a high monetary value on elaborate weddings.
I'll probably never know whether there is similar reporting bias embedded in the oft-cited percentages for maintainers. Even if there is not, that 5% number has been around a while; when was the study done, and does it still represent reality? Maybe the number now should be 10%. Or 2%. In any event, the percentage doesn't do much for me. What matters to me is not whether 19 in 20 people who lose weight gain it back, but whether *I* do.
That, and what I have to do to make long term maintenance a reality. I've got short term maintenance down pat. Now I just have to keep doing it, for the rest of my life. Or perhaps, as some folk say, keep doing it for today. And then again tomorrow. And again the next day. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now that I've typed this much, I probably won't develop any of the above scattered thoughts into full blogs by themselves. But that's okay. I have time (barely) to get to bed on time tonight. And getting enough sleep is a key for me, personally, to be able to maintain. Everything goes better when I get enough sleep.
Wednesday, August 08, 2012
For most of my adult life, I'd have told you that I Don't Do Fresh Produce. It's hard to understand, you have to go shopping more often, you have to eat it before it goes bad, and it creates awful stinky garbage. I might have had some other excuses, too; but those were the main ones.
A year ago, I would have told you that one of the great things about SparkPeople was that I didn't have to buy fresh produce. I could use the nutrition tracker to just track what I was eating anyway, and adjust what I ate to meet the calorie, carb, fat, and protein goals within the scope of what I was willing to eat.
Tonight I just read a blog by HOT4FITNESS about climbing back on the wagon of buying (and eating) good stuff instead of junk. And I thought about my shopping habits.
Today, for the first time in my life, I bought fresh raspberries. Less than a week ago, for the first time in my life, I bought fresh sweet peppers. Neither the raspberries nor the peppers are going to go bad on me. The raspberries are because Aldi was out of strawberries (something else I never bought fresh before this summer). The peppers were an impulse buy with some SP nutrition articles in mind; they're pretty good on a salad, and I intend to try them in an omelet if I get around to making an omelet before I use them all in salads.
Alas, with a new taste for produce comes the realization that produce has seasons. I discovered a love of navel oranges this spring; now they're more expensive and harder to find. Sigh. SparkPeople has the answer to this for me; buy in season, which means trying more stuff I've never bought before. Hence, the strawberries and raspberries purchased for the first time as oranges become more costly and lower quality.
I don't know that I'll ever become one of those people who look forward to rotating through the seasons to eat different types of fresh produce. But I'm going to make a point to try something that's in season now and then.
Melons are very obviously in season right now. I'm still a bit intimidated by melons. They all look pretty big for one person, and I don't understand how to store part of a melon. But you know what? I might get past that excuse, too.
Stranger things have happened to me. Like, having a refrigerator with fresh produce being some of the most obvious contents. I never would have predicted that.
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