PAPERARTSY's Recent Blog Entries

It's not all or nothing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I've read several posts in my groups lately from people who want to scrap whatever plan they are using because some small part of it doesn't work for them. If it's something big--you are doing Weight Watchers but you don't want to count points, you might want to consider a different plan. But, if something small isn't working for you, stop doing that particular something and see what happens. You don't always have to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

I've seen a lot of different diet plans. Some are just plain terrible, or worse, dangerous. But many others work well for different people. The trick is to find the one that works for you. Virtually all programs will say or imply that you must follow the plan exactly as written. Here's a secret: you don't! Make the changes you want to make and give it a few weeks. Are you losing weight in a healthy way? Great; keep doing what you are doing. No? Time to rethink.

I use information I've gotten from a number of different diet plans. I've taken ideas from The Eat Clean Diet, the McDougall Plan, Eat to Live, and Spark People and cobbled together a plan that works for me.

All of these diets, except Spark*, recommend a whole food diet. I eat a whole food diet with the exception of white rice. I don't like brown rice. I'm not going to eat it because I don't ever eat things I don't like. Nor am I going to give up white rice because I love sushi. Not gonna happen. However, I am thrilled to eat any other whole grain.

All of these diets, except Spark, do not recommend counting calories. And I don't. I don't want a "diet", I want to develop sustainable healthy eating habits that will regulate my weight automatically. I am not going to do anything while losing weight that I am not willing to do for the rest of my life: I'm not going to obsessively count calories (or points or whatever) every day for the rest of my life, so I'm not going to do it now either.

The Eat Clean diet recommends eating five small meals a day each containing both protein and complex carbohydrates. I love this idea and have found it much easier to make good food choices because I don't wait until I am starving to eat.

Spark gives me great support, tools for goal setting, and a place to track my fruit/veggie and fluid intake, as well as my daily exercise minutes.

Obviously there is much more to each of these plans, but it would take far too long to detail everything I use (or don't use) from each plan. And, it's unnecessary. I think my point is clear.

Find what works for you and use that. Don't be afraid to ignore recommendations that simply aren't going to work for you. Don't set yourself up for failure by choosing a plan that doesn't fit your lifestyle. Find what works for you and have faith in your ability to know what's best for your body and your life.

*To clarify: Spark does encourage the consumption of whole foods, but generally I find the recommendation in most articles dealing with this subject is to eat "more" whole foods, not to eat "only" whole foods. The other plans I mentioned recommend eating "only" whole foods.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINAKATRINA1 11/7/2009 2:47PM

    Great advice! Sounds like you are on a good track. Finding what works for you is sometimes hard; glad you've figured it out for YOU. Congrats on losing 8 lbs so far! emoticon

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Staying body positive

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I've been thinking today about the issue of commenting on others' weight loss. I started thinking about this after reading a blog post by a friend, and part of what I am posting here is also what I posted as a comment on her blog.

Complimenting people on weight loss is a sticky situation. I personally don't ever comment on anyone's weight (loss or gain) outside the setting of a weight loss support group (like Spark), because I feel the implication of those kinds of comments is that being thinner is inherently better and that simply isn't true. Our worth comes from what's inside, not what's outside. Additionally, our society is full of people who have eating disorders and body image dysmorphia. Commenting on weight (even positive comments) only makes those problems worse. I really strive to be body positive in all my interactions. I don't put down my own body, or anyone else's. And, I try to avoid ever engaging in diet talk--again, outside the context of a weight loss support group. I think it is far more important, and healthy, to celebrate what our bodies can do instead of what we wished they looked like.

When I am within the confines of a weight loss group I do congratulate people on achieving their goals, because when we join weight loss support groups we are specifically looking for support and encouragement. However, I have to admit it does still make me vaguely uneasy because I don't want to contribute to "thin is better" mindset. I prefer the message: "healthy is better". But I also know we want a quantifiable way to show we are achieving our goals. And weight loss is much easier to quantify in pounds and inches than it is in health benefits, so those numbers become our benchmarks for lack of a better option. It's a complicated issue.

I do think making our bodies as healthy as they can be is a very positive goal. And, for some of us weight loss is part of that goal. There's nothing inherently wrong with that as long as we are losing weight by adopting healthier lifestyle habits and not by participating in dangerous diet fads.

I have to wonder though, am I being hypocritical to make the distinction between how I conduct myself in day to day life and how I conduct myself within a weight loss support group? Is it ethical to make that kind of distinction? Or am I doing a disservice to my online friends that I wouldn't do to a friend in person?

I'd love to hear your thoughts...

ADDED LATER: I've been thinking about this some more and I think I know why I behave one way in a social context and a different way in a weight loss support context. I think it probably has to do with how I receive compliments. When I am on Spark or in some other weight loss support atmosphere I appreciate weight loss compliments because I feel like I am being complimented on making progress towards my goals. When I receive weight-related compliments outside that setting it bothers me a bit because I feel like that person is saying that I wasn't ok the way I was. That may or may not be the person's intent in either setting, but since I perceive it that way, I use that as a guide toward interacting with others.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JORDANADDO 10/22/2009 5:17PM

    I agree with alot of your points. I personally don't feel you are hypocritical and the subject is definitely complex but i feel your comments on this site are justified. we are all here with a common goal, and the words of support and encouragement can help people achieve this. You will find that for many people losing weight is bigger than just being thin and is actually about changing a persons lifestyle which can lead to people accomplishing things in life they never thought they would.

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Do it now!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I hate those weight loss drug commercials on tv where they show several overweight people talking about why they want to lose weight. They want to play soccer with their kids or kiss their husband under the Eiffel Tower or whatever. The problem I have with this is there is no reason not to do those things right now. You don't have to wait until you are certain size to travel abroad, nor do you have to wait until you are a certain size to run around outside with your kids.

While I think weight loss can be a great goal (it's a goal I am working toward myself), the fact remains that diets frequently don't work. Most of the people who lose weight are going to gain it back and many more will give up before they reach their goals. We are all striving to be one of the few who succeed, which is a good thing. But, let's be realistic; it may never happen for some of us. If there are things you want to do, do them now. Love the life you have right now.

I started thinking about this because I went ice skating today with my son. Most of the other moms just sat and watched their kids skate. I'm sure some of them simply weren't interested in ice skating, but I am equally sure some of them lacked the self-confidence to try. One of them told me she was too old to skate anymore. She didn't look much older than me. I am a very large woman and I haven't ice skated since I was a teenager. I looked ridiculous flailing around hugging the wall, but I didn't care. I was having a great time and my son got a chance to try something new. I doubt anyone else even gave me a second thought.

I see this all the time: parents who won't swim with their kids, people who hold off on things like new hairstyles or manicures until they lose weight, people who miss countless opportunities to try something new because they don't think they deserve it now. Stop that thinking!

Whatever it is your heart desires, do it now. Live your life now like you would if you had already achieved your weight loss goals. You are worth it now!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MIMI1009 10/21/2009 7:35PM

    LOVED THIS BLOG! I am no stick figure and i do not let it stop me from world-travel, trying new things, etch, etc. I think those commercials are ridiculous as well- and hope that people live today.

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PAPERARTSY 10/21/2009 7:33PM

    You really should try it, VoiceOfTruth1! Especially if it is something you want to do. I was terrible, but it was so much fun. Also, unlike your situation, my son would never have tried it if I didn't go out there with him. I want him to try new things, so that helps motivate me to try them, too. We were both holding on the wall trying to keep our balance as we made our way around the rink. I'm sure we looked so silly, but we survived (no falls!) and we had a great time. I can't wait to go back and do it again.

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XFITSTRONG 10/21/2009 7:25PM

    You went ice skating? That is awesome. That is actually on my to do list. My husband and sons ice skate and play ice hockey so they are pros out there on the ice. And there is me sitting on the sidelines as usual. One day soon I AM going to work up the nerve and have my boys pull me around the rink. I wish you lived near me so we could go together... emoticon Everybody else I know is just as chicken as I am.

Comment edited on: 10/21/2009 7:25:37 PM

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The thing about studies...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Spark blog has an article today about a new study that shows children with working mothers are less healthy than those with stay at home moms.

This post has elicited exactly the sort of responses you might expect. With a few exceptions, each side is claiming their way is better and they declare the study is either flawed or not based entirely on their own personal experiences. Posting about the stay at home mom down the street who feeds her kids junk or the working mom who prepares a raw vegan feast every night for her tv and video game-free children doesn't prove or disprove the veracity of the study. These things are nothing more than anecdotal evidence. I don't know enough about the study to say whether it is inherently flawed or not, but in the grand scheme of things it really doesn't matter anyway.

Here's the deal: no conglomeration of data can accurately depict what is happening in your home. There are plenty of children who have working moms who are still healthy and plenty of children who have stay at home moms who aren't. That isn't the point of this study or any study. It's all about the trends.

The study is valuable only in that it can show us general trends. We as a society can look at this information and use it to make changes that might solve our collective problems. Nothing is gained by deriding others' choices. The majority of women have jobs outside the home. It's a fact. And, it is not likely to change. If there are some negative consequences to our nation's children because of that then we need to acknowledge it and look for practical solutions--not blame.

What kinds of solutions? How about these: overhaul the school breakfast/lunch program so that kids get healthy whole food meals. Provide nutritional training and support to child care workers. Provide more low-cost after school programs that give kids a safe place to engage in active play. Increase police presence in parks and other outdoor common areas that are currently unsafe for children. Stop subsidizing unhealthy foods so Doritos and Twinkies aren't cheaper than apples. Some of these ideas may be more practical than others, but if we focused our efforts on solutions instead of blame, we could solve a lot more of our problems.

I'm disappointed that Spark chose to frame this study as a personal attack on working mothers instead of a wake up call to a nation that subsidizes processed food at the expense of whole foods and turns parks into parking lots.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLESSEDMAZARS 10/21/2009 8:15AM

    Good point!

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MIRDREAMS 10/20/2009 10:50PM

    Completely true and a good reminder to remember where the data comes from and what the person using it is trying to prove. Common sense is so rarely part of the equation.

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IUHRYTR 10/20/2009 8:57PM

    I agree. Thanks. -- Lou

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I Hate Fat Talk

Monday, October 19, 2009

I was very happy to see a post on the Spark blog about ending fat talk.

I absolutely hate it when I get stuck in a situation where I am forced to listen to other people's fat talk or diet talk. I'm not talking about a heart to heart conversation with someone about weight concerns. I'm talking about listening to co-workers or casual acquaintances go on and on about how fat they are or what diets they are on this week. Even worse, most of the people doing the loudest complaining are far from fat. It is incredibly annoying to me that so many women think this is the only topic on which they can relate to each other. I absolutely detest it. So please, read the abovementioned post and sign the pledge. Then, find something positive to talk about over lunch that doesn't have anything to do with weight or diets.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRIJ7 10/20/2009 3:32PM

    I'm with you! But isn't it funny how easily the conversation slides into those ruts?

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IUHRYTR 10/19/2009 11:32PM

    Amen. -- Lou

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SCARLETTBROOKE 10/19/2009 10:35PM


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GAGABABA 10/19/2009 10:29PM

    I totally agree with you

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