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8 Month Body Makeover Week 1 Training Log

Monday, September 03, 2012

Week 1 Training Plan: 9/3 - 9/9

Monday, 9/3: Rest Day

Tuesday, 9/4:
Goal = Long Run Day [7.5 mi]
Actual = 7.5 miles in 100 min (13:20 min/mile). Ran 2:00/walked :22. A little faster than the 14 min/mi pace I was looking to hit, but it's hard to run that slow. My legs felt great, like I could have gone a lot longer/faster.

Wednesday, 9/5: Rest Day
Actual = 60 minute walk

Thursday, 9/6:
Goal = Medium Run + Strength Training [4.5 mi + Stage 1/Workout A #1)
Actual = 4.78 mi in 55 min (11:30 min/mi). Ran 2:30/ran slowly :30/Ran 2:00/walked :30). Felt great. Strength training: did Workout A #1 and liked it. It went pretty quickly. Overall it was pretty easy, though I feel a bit shaky right now, which is how I know it worked.

Friday, 9/7: Rest Day
Actual = 45 min. brisk walk

Saturday, 9/8: Goal = Medium Run + Strength Training [5.5 mi + Stage 1/Workout B #1)
Actual = 5.5 in 72 minutes (13:15 min/mi). Ran 2:30/walked :30/ran 2:00/walked :30. Felt pretty awful. Strained a big muscle in my inner thigh doing weight training and it was sore all day yesterday. Thought it would be better today, but it really hurt. Ran anyway on the "play with pain" motto, but it was slow. May end up regretting it.

Sunday, 9/9: Rest Day
Actual = 40 min. walk

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THRASHEJ 9/7/2012 7:38PM

    Looks good! You are very smart to stick rest days after strength training. Especially when you are focusing on compound movements. You may not feel horribly sore now but it is coming...woohoo to your new body!! :)

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BEECHNUT13 9/3/2012 9:20PM

    Good luck!

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Introduction to my 8 month Body Makeover Plan

Monday, September 03, 2012

So, I am almost at my goal weight (down from 197.5 to 133.5; goal is 126.5). Having some epiphanies:

1) I like my body! It's fun being able to wear size 8, to be able to try things on in a store and have all of them be flattering. I smile when I look at myself in the mirror, and even though sometimes it takes some getting used to, I'm starting to feel at home in the size I am now. On vacation I bought some perfume and fancy bras, even. It's fun seeing myself as attractive!

2) Fitness is part of my life now. I just got back from vacation, and other than one travel day, I worked out every day. Most days it was hiking: 2+ hours per day, including days with the kids where they stopped for lunch and I kept going. It's fun to see my kids experience the side benefits of my more active life. I kept to my running schedule, clocking in a 6 mile run in 70:14, which is my fastest medium run yet. I know it's not fast by objective standards, but it's so much more than my body has ever been capable of before.

3) BUT I have too much body fat and not enough muscle. Since I lost the weight relatively quickly, and only using cardio, I'm pretty weak and still flabby for the weight I'm at. I want the benefits of being strong as I get older: increased mobility, greater bone strength, decreased chance of falls, etc. I also want bigger and stronger muscles now for aesthetic reasons.

4) Part of maintenance for me will be constantly finding new goals and challenges to keep me motivated and gaining new levels of fitness. There isn't going to be a "soft landing" once I get to my goal weight--no complacency for me! This is especially fitting because it's very easy to regain weight when you've been on a VLCD, and I'm going to need to increase my metabolism to keep that from happening. Setting strength training as a goal will thus help me meet two goals in one: a reshaped body and weight control.

So, with all that in mind, I am starting today on a long term plan to decrease my body fat and increase my strength. This will be about more than losing weight, although I hope it will allow me to lose the last few pounds and keep it all off. I will know I'm successful by a combination of before and after pictures, measurements, and increasing lifting ability.

I've gotten a lot of great advice from both runners who lift and committed strength trainers. Some of it is conflicting, and some is coming with heavy warnings about the advisability of adding in strength training at the same time that I'm training for a half marathon. But I've found a great weight lifting program, The New Rules of Lifting for Women, that I'm excited about and that I think I can adjust to suit my needs. It focuses on whole body movements, rather than isolating individual muscles, on heavy weights and relatively few reps in order to increase muscle size, and mimicking the movements we use in real life--lots of push ups, planks, and squats!

The weight lifting plan starts gradually, and I'll be able to control the amount of weight I use so that I'm not overstressing my body. I also built in lots of off days into the plan and am lifting on the same days that I'm running so that I can get in full days of rest in between workouts for muscle repair. The strength training program will take me about 8 months to complete doing 2-3 times/week (there are 7 increasingly difficult stages). It's also 8 months until my half marathon, so I figure I've got a built-in goal date.

The Plan: A two-week repeating schedule of running and strength training:

Week 1:
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Long run (8 mi right now; will increase to 15 eventually)
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Medium run (5-6 mi) and strength training
Friday: Off
Saturday: Medium run and strength training
Sunday: Off

Week 2:
Monday: Short run (3-4 mi) and strength training
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Long run
Thursday: Off
Friday: Medium run and strength training
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Medium run and strength training

Current Status: 9/3/12

Weight: 133.5
Body Fat: 29.5%

Neck: 14 in
Upper Arm: 11.25
Upper Chest: 35.5
Bust: 37.5
Waist: 32
Tummy: 34.25
Hips: 36.75
Thigh: 22.75

I plan to do a blog post each week with my training log and also do a monthly progress blog summarizing the gains I'm making (in lifting amounts, measurements, and body composition changes). By April 27, 2013 my goal is to run a 2:30 half marathon, to decrease my body fat from 29.5% to 24%-25%, and to have maintained my weight in a range of 125-129 lbs.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THRASHEJ 9/7/2012 7:35PM

    You have awesome goals! I love your workout routine, looks as balanced as possible! I am glad you can tweak NROLW to your needs. Personalize, personalize. Remember your primary goal and revert to that when you feel like you may be overtraining. Keep a watch out for that!

Good Luck, I'll keep lurking you to see your progress. AND TAKE BEFORE AND AFTER pics for the strength training. It will really help you when the scale number may no longer go down.....

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SWEDE_SU 9/3/2012 9:55PM

    looks like a great plan!

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MARTHAWILL 9/3/2012 9:14PM

    You go!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 9/3/2012 9:02PM

    Sounds like a good plan.

You still might enjoy reading Leigh Peele's stuff anyway, though. :-)

And BTW, I'm doing NROL4W, too!


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BEECHNUT13 9/3/2012 3:24PM

    That sounds great! You can do it, Peri. :)

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SYZYGY922 9/3/2012 2:14PM

    I want to say how much I admire your continued work and motivation. I got down to about my goal weight (actually lower!!) when I was about 18, but I let myself gain the weight back because I was so disappointed in how my body looked. WHY didn't I just work on building muscle? I'm now at the point where muscle tone is actually noticeable and even more important. I'm currently at 31% body fat and I want to get to 15-20% eventually, but my mini-goal is 25%.

I need to read The New Rules of Lifting For Women. I have read that it's not the best idea to do cardio and ST on the same day, but I have also read that if you're just an average person trying to get fit, it's not a big deal. Currently, I do both on the same day because I'm still overweight and I'm more worried about losing it.

Anyway, great plan! I admire you!

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    Your fitness routine is intense and amazing at the same time. I am trying to motivate myself to run at least 2 miles, I find that difficult at this time. Keep up the great work!

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    There are a lot of ways to incorporate strength training into a running regime. If you are relatively new you aren't going to go heavy and go hard just yet? Core and upper body strength are key to running fast and well. My running partner, cheetah girl, swears up and down that just working on core strength using pilates 2 to 3 times a week helped her running improve really quickly. she was training for Ragnar at the time.

Using 8-10 and 12 pound weights you can easily work in some supersets of arms work outs even on a running day. Superset simply means no rest between sets BUT you switch body parts. For me, I'll do a set of 15 hammer curls with 15 pound weights and then bend at the waist and do 15 kickbacks with the same weight. Back and forth until 3 sets of each are complete if it's a light day. The first works your bi-cep, the 2nd your tri-cep. It comes down to good form and the right sized weights for your level, you can get heavier as your strength improves! Best of luck!

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How much do you think about...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

..your weight, weight loss, eating, fitness, calories, etc. etc. etc. ?

I ask, because my husband commented last night that I have seemed distracted for the last few months, like my mind is often elsewhere. I realized once he said it, that he's right. I'm pretty much always thinking about losing weight. I'm calculating my calories in my head (either that I've eaten or that I've burned off), I'm predicting what my weekly weigh in will be, I'm figuring out how many more weeks until my goal weight is reached, I'm imagining what I'll look like in certain sizes, I'm calculating how fast I can bring my 5k time down, I'm thinking about what I'll need to do to maintain my weight--what I will and won't eat, how I'll keep up my healthy habits, when people will stop remembering that I used to be fat, etc. Or, of course, I'm reading/posting on SP, tracking my exercise, updating my excel spreadsheets (weight tracking and running log), mapping my runs, and doing all the other record keeping that goes along with this process. Is this common, or am I an outlier here?

I know I've always lived "in my head" a lot--spinning fantasies of what life would be like if I had a different job, imagining what my kids will be like when they grow up, picturing what I would say if I ran into an ex-boyfriend, etc. But now it seems like all that mental energy gets directed in one place--my weight & health. I'm not necessarily complaining, because I think that one-track, single-minded focus is what has allowed me to be successful. In fact, in an earlier blog post, I actually recommended getting obsessed with the weight loss process, mainly because I see a lot of people who do it kind of half-committed, make a lot of bad choices, beat themselves up over it, and then at the same time wonder why they're not making progress. My general modus operandi has always been 100% focus on whatever I'm doing, and it seems to work well for me.

But I think it comes at a price--it takes over your life. For example, I'm going out of town again (just up to the cabin) for a week. I know that I'll probably be spending a lot of time obsessing about my weight. Since I don't have a scale up there, it will be tempting to think multiple times a day about what I'll weigh when I get back, predicting, judging, guessing, fantasizing, preparing for that weigh in. And yet, if I do that, I'll miss out on one of the joys of being up there: being totally disconnected from technology and everyday life, able to just BE.

This is part of the reason why I signed up for a Mindfulness Meditation seminar this fall at our local Zen Center--to learn how to just be in the moment, without thinking about it so much. I'm also hoping that once I get to goal, I'll be able to take a lot of the time I spend thinking about losing and gradually shift it to other things in my life (though not so much that I slip into old habits!). I'm wondering if that will be possible, though, and how I'll do it.

So I'm wondering, how much do you think about weight/weight loss? And has it changed over time? Were you able to "turn down" the focus at some appropriate point? Any hints on how to do that?


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OOLALA53 9/13/2012 12:18AM

    I rarely think about calories and haven't counted them for years. I do think about what I eat, but I don't WORRY about it. I choose foods I like, and found after years of dieting and then bingeing and then giving myself permission to eat what I wanted, I like a lot of meals others might call diet meals, but I just like them. I choose meals that I think are delicious but that fill me up only enough to keep me satisfied until about an hour or two before my next meal. I like being hungry for my meals. If I go out and really want a burger and thick, floppy fries, I have them. If I want some fried chicken, I have it. I just don't want those things often and certainly not in very big servings because they keep me from getting nice and hungry for my next meal. However, I'm not as thin as you and don't ever again intend to aim at a certain weight. I go totally by habits now. I aim for getting more consistent about exercise now that I feel my eating is pretty smart, but I won't be planning to run any races. Now, a dance marathon? That I might train for. But it will be for the fun, not to get any thinner. That has failed for the vast majority who have attempted it for over 100 years. I aim for sane habits that I can do forever. My body will do what it's going to do, and I'm willing to accept the body I get with smart habits. emoticon

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PURPLEPEONY 9/2/2012 11:45AM

    I think of it constantly but it`s not to the point of obssession. As long as I`m consistantly losing I can see my goal in sight.
emoticon emoticon

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THRASHEJ 9/1/2012 10:31AM

    It does become somewhat of an obsession but I think that is a necessary evil because it is also that same obsession that helped you FINALLY lose the pounds in the first place! It needs to shift to your main focus in life for a while. Then what happens? If you are lucky you become a real fan of exercise and living a healthy life and now it is your HOBBY, which makes it one of your prime concerns in life too, LOL. I love fitness and books about it, watch shows about it, love the gym, walking, running, etc, etc....but I realize too when I am being crazy. I always say it is easy to go overboard when you are losing, losing, losing....hard to imagine but easy to turn into that anorexic nervosa (like) person. Don't sweat your vacation, even if you did gain it would not be very much and it certainly wont be permanent, sounds like you've changed 100% about how you think about food and exercise. That is key for maintenance!

"My general modus operandi has always been 100% focus on whatever I'm doing, and it seems to work well for me."

GOOD! This is why you are a winner! Don't lose your focus, just learn to tone it down a bit and you'll be golden! :)

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COCHESE321 8/27/2012 6:42PM

    Through diligence and hard work, I have whittled it down to 23 hours a day. emoticon

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JODROX 8/27/2012 8:37AM

    I'm pretty much obsessed with it too :) It's a good thing.


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BEECHNUT13 8/27/2012 8:04AM

    I'm one of those people that doesn't think about it enough, screws up, beats herself up over it, etc... I'm trying to become more mindful of it, actually. I bought a BodyMedia Fit CORE which will give me more exact info, and I'm hoping that keeps me focused and moving in the right direction.

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CINERICIA 8/26/2012 7:47PM

    I wish I had an answer for you, but I'm afraid I'm in the same boat. I'm constantly thinking about food and exercise, even when I plan my foods for the entire day first thing in the morning and get my exercise in right away. It it the right amount of this, that, or the other? What if I have to make a substitution? Blah, blah. Worse, I talk about it all the time. I guess that would be OK if it was only me and the husband, but I have two teenage daughters and I do not want to encourage them in any way toward a negative relationship with food.

The best advice I would be able to give you is to be mindful of the moment you're in and try to focus on that instead of constantly living in the past, the future, or in your head. But it sounds like you've already taken a step in that direction. I would be interested in hearing how the class goes and if you get any good advice or tips and tricks out of it.

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LORILEEPAGE 8/26/2012 7:05PM

    I am one to think about all things food and exercise, all of the time. It was worse when I used my SP app on my phone to log every food. My husband (and I) felt like I was obsessing too much. So for a little while I didn't log food at all. But then I was constantly worried I would gain weight. So I started doing what I did before, when I had been maintaining for 6 years. I started keeping a notebook next to the fridge where I wrote down a whole meal's total calories. From tracking for years, I knew by heart how many calories are in most foods. So I can run a quick total in my head without looking up every last food. Sometimes I look for some unusual foods, but otherwise I'm ok. I just don't think about food quite as much but it hasn't been a complete solution to my obsessing with calories in/out. It's interesting to read other people's comments on your blog. Thanks for posting this, it helps to know others struggle with the same thing.

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1_AMAZING_WOMAN 8/26/2012 5:30PM

    I have come to the determination that the more I focus on dieting and weight loss, the more weight I get. Like the old saying, "What you focus on you get".

Thin people do not focus on counting every calorie, and obsessively think about what they are going to eat when. They likely are concious of their general calorie intake, but don't count them. They listen to their bodies, and use common sense. They are concious of what they put in their mouths, and if they eat a bit too much one day, they eat less the next. More than likely they eat less calorie dense food most of the time, and when they eat calorie dense foods they eaburt less of it at one time than we do.

I have found my life negatively affected by counting calories and dieting. I am now ready to start eating like the thin person I used to be (when I didn't ever diet, but was just concious of my food intake). I ate junk food sometimes back then, but it wasn't often. And, I worked hard and burned off plenty of calories. It is now time for me to forget about 'dieting' and counting calories, and work on eating sensibly and healthy and becoming more active. Because the more I have dieted the more I have binged. Cause so much of every waking moment was thinking about or calculating food intake. So, of course, why wouldn't I then be hungry all the time and craving all those foods I was trying to avoid???

There's gotta be more to life than thinking about food.


Comment edited on: 8/26/2012 5:31:23 PM

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DRPOOH63 8/26/2012 4:42PM

    A scale on vacation? Interesting. I think about it obsessively at times and then at other times I enjoy the moment and work to see if I can maintain without obsessing. I am getting better about it and actually have lost weight when not focused on it but just working the plan and process.

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SWEDE_SU 8/26/2012 4:10PM

    i'm definitely in the "thinking too much about weight, fitness, diet, calories, etc" crowd. i know that is why i successfully lost the weight, and i have to find the right balance to move forward from here. DH is patient when i talk about it, and understands my need to talk about it, but i know it is not his favorite topic. still, i have to keep my focus because we have a major change coming up when we return to the US in 10 days, and i have to figure out how we stay where we are in terms of weight and fitness.

i see several people mention meditation, and maybe that is something to consider. will look into it...

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MARTHAWILL 8/26/2012 2:44PM

    I love reading your blogs. I too have been totally obsessed about losing weight- to different levels - even at one time worrying about the calories in toothpaste - wish I had some of that again right now. Perhaps I wouldn't be struggling so much to fiind my way back to feeling absolutely in control. Just had a week of holidays with lots of physical activity and am up a bunch of pounds because I let down my guard- knowingly. I guessed when I was eating the fifth large marshmallow in a row - and other foods- that I hadn't burned enough calories to get away with it.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AMARILYNH 8/26/2012 1:55PM

    First, why not just take your scales with you? That's what I do anytime we take the car on vacation. And I even bought a very light weight travel scale that I took to Europe on our last vacation. Its not like I pulled it out every day, but I did weigh at least a couple of times a week. I NEED that to not obsess about how much weight I'm gaining!! In the long run it helps me relax and enjoy myself more!!

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SYZYGY922 8/26/2012 1:51PM

    I have trouble finding a balance. When I'm not actively trying to lose weight, I don't think about it (but I might mentally admonish myself for being fat), but when I am actively trying to lose weight, I think about it ALL THE TIME. It has affected my social life because I avoid going out because of what kind of food will be available or worrying that I might miss a workout. It's not entirely healthy, but it's healthier than the alternative, in a way. I hope to find a balance when I finally reach my goal. I'll consider meditation and stuff then. I will REALLY have to remain diligent to keep the weight off, though!

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CELIAMINER 8/26/2012 1:23PM

    Argh, I DO think about my weight, my food, my fitness too much. Worse, I talk about it too much. DH is patient, but I can see his eyes glaze over when I start talking about eating, exercising, or what one of my Spark buds did or said.

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PHEBESS 8/26/2012 11:42AM

    I try not to focus all the time on counting cals, but I do try to keep only healthful foods in the house or the fridge at work. That way I don't have to think about it, I just don't have too much choice.

Because yes, it can be mind-consuming and time-consuming. And if I don't think about it, well, that was how I got here. So I plan ahead, have certain items for specific meals and/or snacks, I schedule in my ST and cardio, and I'm good to go. Now things are habit and second-nature, and I don't have to think about it as much.

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OOLALA53 8/26/2012 10:53AM

    I've decided that it's too much for me, but I'm also very close to having a lot of the kinks worked out. However, I think sometimes the problem is that people use complicated strategies that use a lot of mental energy that they can't sustain. It really doesn't take all day to plan out a few good meals and get in some moderate exercise, especailly after we learn to shop for what we know we'll want in our meals. Also, if we set our loss goal very high, it can necessitate a life that many will struggle with forever.

But I'm giving myself until my birthday this year ( a little over 4 weeks from now) to let it take its course. I was a binger for about 37 years and I made a good turnaround on that (not perfect but down 16% of my weight and into the normal BMI range) 31 months ago. I'm going to use some of the same techniques Judith Beck recommends (and some of what I know those with OCD use) to design a plan to decrease my thoughts on this issue. One thing I know is I will make a list of other topics to think about, including some memorized poems and songs. I'm also going to start getting more involved with music, so I'm hoping that will be another absorption. I won't worry about some thinking about planning for and looking forward to nice meals. Many people in thin cultures (French and Italian) pay that kind of attention to food, though calories and weight loss don't have much to do with it. Pleasure without overeating is their guideline. emoticon

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KAYOTIC 8/26/2012 10:19AM

    I've recently begun meditating almost daily, and it really is great, so I hope you get as much out of it. It's hard to do, focus on the moment, and my mind wanders alot, but the goal is to keep focused on the moment. I find I'm more mindful at other times of when I'm wandering off to the past or future now as well.

That said, I do think about my program a lot. More so on weekends, when my day is less structured and I have more "spark-time" on my hands! But I tend to obsess less about the scale weight and more on the food and exercise part (Leigh Peele's "screw the scales" is a really good explanation of why the number doesn't really mean much).

We may always have more of a focus on nutrition and exercise, since we know what happens when we just "let it go" and none of us wants to go back to where we were before we started this Spark thing!

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MJZHERE 8/26/2012 10:11AM

    I definitely am very caught up in the weight loss - especially since I found sp. However, I know for me it is important to get to my goal to be this focused for now. Camping I had no internet and I really missed sp. I am going to take some time today to check in with myself. On this journey, I learned that I have eaten rather than be in touch with my own feelings, thoughts, etc. I think even the weight "program" can distract me from me! And more important than the weight is the lessons I have learned and implementing them so I was glad for your blog this morning that acted as a reminder.

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THINNYGINNY 8/26/2012 10:03AM

    You are definitely not alone - "sparking" takes a lot of my time, energy and thought. I also obsess a bit and cannot fully enjoy time away without worrying about whether I'll eat too much or gain weight - I think about what I weigh, or what I will weigh - a lot!
But in years past i would worry when we went out to eat about whether I could get enough food - how to order a "big enough" meal without looking like a pig. I obsessed about whether I was the fattest woman in the room or not. I refrained from going places and doing things I thought I was too fat to do. So being heavy and being an over-eater took a lot of time and energy and kept me from living in the moment, cause I was living in shame so much of the time. I think our current obsession is normal - we are, after all, making huge changes that call for an overall change in how we think and act.
I think, in time, some of this thought process will become automatic.. I am already able to be "more in the moment" with my kids - going on rides at legoland, going in the pool with them etc...
So no worries - tell your hubby that you're just going through a "phase" like teenagers do - lol. You'll grow out of it...or shrink out of it...

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DDOORN 8/26/2012 10:00AM

    Great point! I know this is true for me...the struggle to bust loose out of being so lost in my head and to be able to simply enjoy the moment. Meditation sounds like a great idea...not an easy thing for me to do.

Also having people, places and things in our life that we love to spend time with makes it easier to get out of our heads and into our lives.


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CATHRINE2010 8/26/2012 9:11AM

    I just want to let you know that I also think of these things. It is normal. Be focused, enjoy life to your fullest ability. You work so hard for something and you know how easily it can slip away. I would suggest you get a scale for up at the cabin so you can concentrate on having fun with your family and not worry about the weight. Relax, Enjoy! emoticon

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TINAJANE76 8/26/2012 9:08AM

    Probably too much, but I'm hoping it will lessen over time as I become more comfortable with where I need to be as a maintainer. For now, near-constant vigilance is helping to keep me on track. One thing I've found helpful up to this point is to take one day off a week from my usual patterns. For example, I only use Spark to quickly log my food and exercise and don't get caught up in messages and surfing. Maybe I'll be able to increase that to two days a week as time goes on and achieve a better balance.

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Maintenance Plan

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

After having lost 50+ pounds three times and not kept it off, I've been very focused on maintaining this time around. It is especially true because I've taken off the weight this time through a doctor-supervised program of high-protein meal replacements. That means that weight loss has been relatively easy for me (losing 2-4 pounds a week regularly without feeling hungry). But that means that maintenance will be the hard part. I know that the transition to "real food" is fraught with dangers, and I'm feeling a bit white-knuckled about it. And I still have almost 15 pounds to go before I hit my goal!

So I thought the best thing I could do was channel that anxiety constructively. I decided to write up Maintenance Plan, kind of like the Birth Plan I wrote before I had my first baby. I realize that things may change (Cord wrapped around neck? So much for no medical interventions!) and that I may want to revise, but this is a starting point that will hold me accountable at the beginning, and I can change, edit, and add to it as I go along in maintenance and see what works and what doesn't. In writing this, I've drawn upon the books The Beck Diet Solution, The End of Overeating, Refuse to Regain, and Thin for Life, and especially the advice and life experience of maintainers on SP.

If there's one thing I've learned from the yo-yo years, it's that NOT having a plan DOESN'T work. So, here goes--hoping/deciding/determined that this time is going to be the last, and this time I will, indeed, keep it off.

[I found the process of doing this--what are my weak spots? Where might have I fallen down in the past? What is my self-talk? How can I motivate myself when it's not "exciting" anymore? What kind of habits can I stick with for the rest of my life?--to be really useful. The process was more important than the product, in fact. I encourage people who like this to go through and craft their own "Maintenance Plan" even if you still have a ways to go before you get to goal.]

My Maintenance Plan


In the first month, follow my doctor’s plan for transition, which is to keep eating a shake for breakfast and a shake for lunch, but add in a healthy dinner. Carefully log calories, adding a few more each week, to determine maintenance calorie needs. Gradually get to the point of using shakes only for convenience (breakfast) or for correction.

Use menu planner to plan out all food for the next day, plan meals for the following week and buy groceries in advance. Write down any and all adjustments to pre-planned menus as they take place during the day. Track daily calories, fat, protein, carbs and fiber.

At first, plan to have a salad at every dinner with fresh veggies but no starchy ones. Use tasty salad dressing to make it more appealing, even if it does “cost” calories. Then have next course be steamed veggies or fresh veggies with a tasty sauce. Use calories to “dress up” veggies. For snacks, eat fruit or vegetables (keep fresh ones cut and washed in the fridge) and use hummus or other toppings for enticement.

Gradually add in other food groups, but limit bread to every other day and make sure it’s whole wheat. Avoid starchy vegetables. Continue to follow vegetarian eating plan, getting protein from nuts (in moderation), beans, and tofu. Use cheese sparingly. Use veggies and fruits to get lots of fiber. Experiment with foods that lead to saiety and with recipes that can be made more healthy.

For treats, eat a mixed bowl of fruit, fruit with yogurt, or fruit with non-fat Cool Whip, but make sure there are calories in the budget for the treat and try not to get dependent on a nightly sweet.

For the first three months (or until calorie budget is firmly determined), avoid eating in restaurants, buffets or grazing at parties.

When eating out, pick out a meal in advance using online menus and track all choices. When eating socially, start with healthy choices (veggie tray) first. Calculate calories for other foods and think ahead about amounts or limit self to one plate. Track afterwards.

When big eating opportunities are coming up in advance (e.g. Thanksgiving, birthday), bank calories in advance by eating lightly. Get to the bottom of the maintenance weight range before the event. For these few events, give permission to not track (but also not to lose control). Still eat healthfully, but also enjoy the food. Immediately get back on track the next day.

Don’t eat trigger foods. Just don’t even go there. That means no Smartfood, Cheetos, or Lays Sour Cream and Onion chips. No keeping chocolate in the glove compartment. No stopping at Bruegger’s for a bagel or Chipotle for a burrito. No Ben and Jerry’s hiding in the downstairs freezer. No making truffles as “gifts.” And be very, very careful with pasta.


Continue Half Marathon training plan until April (run 4 days a week—1 long, 2 medium, 1 short—and do 2 cross training days). Commit to exercising at least 5 days a week for the rest of my life (or as long as I physically am able to).

For cross training days, try out new exercises. Hiking, cross country skiing, roller skiing, biking to school, or yoga.

After Half Marathon, cut running back to 3 days a week and add in two days of strength training.

Increase the amount of exercise with friends by inviting friends on walks or to try new exercises. Remember that the goal is to be more active all the time. Just because exercise isn’t vigorous doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it (avoid all or nothing thinking here).

After Half Marathon, develop another exercise goal. Triathlon? Strength training? Learn tennis? Sign up for another event for next summer to work toward. Continue with running but try to switch things up to avoid boredom.


Practice cognitive strategies to address sabotaging thoughts:

--If I hear my inner voice say, “It’s so unfair that I can’t eat what all my skinny friends can eat. Why do I have to eat like this for the rest of my life?” respond by saying: “It’s not actually unfair. First of all, most of my thin friends are runners and do watch what they eat. I have to assume that they’ve budgeted this eating, since that is what thin people naturally do. I can’t assume that thin people get to eat whatever they want. Also, I am lucky in lots of ways—in my family, my financial situation, my work, my health. This is one small way that I have to struggle, but it pales in comparison to what many people have to deal with.” Or just say, “Oh, well.”

--If I hear my inner voice say, “I’ve been so good for so long. One little bit won’t matter” respond by saying, “One little bit is never one little bit for me. That kind of eating is what got me to 197 pounds. I would rather not eat that and stay at 127 pounds rather than eat it (and others like it) and be back at 197 where I was miserable. I’m actually lucky that I have a body that won’t let me get away with eating unhealthfully, because it will keep me on track. Every time I say ‘no,’ it gets easier to do so.”

--If I hear my inner voice say, “I really want that. It will taste so good!” respond by saying, “It actually won’t taste that good. How many times have I been overwhelmed by the variety of candy in the convenience store, unable to pick out just one? Then picked out several because they all looked so good! And then gotten half way through the first one and been disappointed because it really didn’t taste that good, and neither did the next or the next. Unhealthy food never tastes as good as I think it will, or if it does, the good taste never lasts as long as I hope it will. The taste is fleeting, but my health is forever, and worth it.”

--If I hear my inner voice say, “I don’t want to exercise. It’s too cold/early/hard. I’ll do it tomorrow” respond by saying, “Remember that maintenance is really about maintenance of good, healthy habits. Exercise is a crucial part of that. I always feel better after I exercise. I can always decide to only do half an hour, but I’ll make that decision once I’m out there. I can’t afford to let my newfound fitness dissipate—I’ve worked too hard to have that happen.”

--If I hear my inner voice say, “I’m so hungry! I’m going to go into a food crisis! Where is the nearest food? I can just get something quick to keep me from getting weak and shaky” respond by saying, “It’s not an emergency. I’ve been hungry many times and the world has not ended. I’ve been a lot hungrier than this and gotten through it. This is actually my body telling me that I need fuel, but I’m not on empty yet. I can make it to my next meal.”

--If I hear my inner voice say, “I’m gaining weight. I’ve screwed up. I might as well quit now, because there’s no point anymore” respond by saying, “Is that really true?" If I had a friend in my position who said that to me, would I believe her? Or would I point out all that she has accomplished and remind her that a little blip is not going to ruin anything at all? I’d tell her to get back on track right away and not to beat herself up over it—she made a choice, she didn’t cheat.

--If I hear my inner voice say, “I don’t want to eat like this for the rest of my life. It’s too restrictive. I’m just going to screw it. Bring on the chocolate chocolate chip ice cream!” respond by saying, “That is not a choice. It simply is not. It’s fat layered on top of sugar layered on top of fat. The urge is only hard when I’m indulging in even thinking it’s an option. I refuse to give myself that option. I say no, and I’m going to go do something else to distract myself.”

Review the advantages of losing weight. Reread the “Why?” section of my blog regularly. Regularly record surprising new things I can do, comments I’ve gotten, and how I feel now that I’m at my goal. Merge these two lists together and copy it to take with me. Pull it out and read it when I need my resistance muscle strengthened.

Prevent unplanned eating. Don’t eat just to eat. Be mindful. Make it a thought-out-in-advance choice. Practice saying, “No thanks” or “I’ve already eaten.” Remember that I’ve now been at lots of events where I’ve eaten absolutely zero (and was glad later). Bring water with me, chew gum, and stay far away from the buffet.

Monitor hunger. Stop eating when full. Leave food on my plate. Take less than I think I need. Learn to tell the difference between mouth hunger and tummy hunger.

Beware of my special downfall: all or nothing thinking. Have occasional treats, but make sure they’re worth it.

Manage emotions. If feeling stressed, exercise. Be aware that the desire for comfort can drive eating, and instead have a bath, read a book, or cuddle up with the family.

Focus on improvement. Learn to love my body for what it is. Remember that a 40-year-old body not the same as 22-year-old body, but be impressed at how my body has been able to change and improve. Love my body for what it can do, not how it looks. Don’t compare myself against others, only against what I used to be. Think of how far I’ve come.

Rejoice every time I enter a room and am not the fattest person in it. Feel sorry for people who have not discovered health and fitness and are trapped by food or too heavy to exercise. Be thankful that I made the change in the nick of time, before it was too late and I started getting serious health complications—high blood pressure, diabetes, a heart attack, or stroke.

Arrange the environment to keep tempting foods out of the house, to avoid events if they lead to overeating, to bring healthy food to a potluck, to get a treadmill so that I can run inside during the winter. If something isn’t working, figure out what it is and change how my life is structured so that it’s no longer an obstacle.

Start meditation training!


Constantly monitor! Weigh every day and record on spreadsheet. Set up trend line and use it to reign in. Include column for weekly Wednesday official weigh-ins, and have “progress check” with husband on Wednesdays to assess what’s working and what’s not, as well as how I feel about it.

Set a weight range (125-129?) to stay within. Have a scream weight (130?) that sets the Serious Correction Plan in motion.


Use daily weigh-ins to help determine calories for the day. Eat at low end of range if the scale is showing an increase from the previous day. Use this Immediate Correction to avoid big weight swings. Make small increases stay small. No more “I blew it, so I might as well…” Be action oriented and know that I can easily correct the creep from a day or two.

If Scream Weight is reached, set in motion Serious Correction Plan: go back to eating a protein shake for breakfast, a protein shake for lunch, and a salad for dinner. Exercise 45-60 minutes each day. Do this until middle of weight range is reached again. Then analyze what happened (using husband as sounding board) and don’t repeat.


Maintain support network. Go to the clinic once per month for weigh-ins. Go on SP and record weekly weigh-ins. Participate in daily thread on the At Goal and Maintaining Team. Be a coach to others just starting out. Be very open with new people I meet about living out a “healthy lifestyle.” Post a monthly maintenance picture of myself on SP, just as I did when I was losing.

p.s. Here's the link to the super-helpful At Goal and Maintaining Team--so glad I found them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    You are very fortunate to have a husband for a cheerleader and sounding board!

You have done so well! Good of you to share you plan for Maintaining.

I am a new Maintainer, and I appreciate all your hints.

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TORTISE110 9/18/2012 6:26AM

    Great example.

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NAOLEE 8/24/2012 9:25PM

    Thank you. Look you lost 150 pounds that you gained again and now you are doing the right thing. emoticon

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EMILYDOODLE 8/23/2012 9:06PM

  Great plan! emoticon emoticon

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WESTCOASTKID 8/23/2012 8:56AM

    BRAVO!! emoticon

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DDOORN 8/23/2012 8:33AM

    As someone all too familiar with the yo-yo problem and struggling to bounce back for GOOD this time I found all of your information tremendously helpful, but ESPECIALLY the Cognitive...all that negative inner talk can so readily knock the wind out of my sails!

Saving your wisdom to refer back to as I pull my own action plan together!


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LRSILVER 8/22/2012 9:38AM

    Great ideas. Planning really works.

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TORTISE110 8/21/2012 8:11PM

    You are making life happen for yourself. Awesome. emoticon

You rock!

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EMILYDOODLE 8/20/2012 9:46PM

  emoticon on your weight loss. i know you will be able to keep it off.

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GETFIT1126 8/20/2012 8:03PM

    Great plan! Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your weight loss! emoticon

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PACHZIGER 8/20/2012 12:18AM

    Thanks for the maintenance team link. Had not realized there was one!

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EMILYDOODLE 8/19/2012 10:58PM

  Sounds like a got a good plan. Great blog!

emoticon emoticon

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MAMA_CD 8/19/2012 4:37PM

    Sounds like you have a great plan, and because you've written it down, you'll find it so much easier to walk out that plan. emoticon

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IN102WIN 8/18/2012 7:37PM

    WOW what an in depth plan! Sounds really gr8 and it will really help. Thanks for sharing!!

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THEIS58 8/18/2012 7:15PM

    Good idea about the plan!

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RAFF73 8/18/2012 5:47PM

    emoticon emoticon
You have come a long way! You have a wonderful plan in place! Thanks for sharing it with us. It will help those of us still going long on our lifestyle change. Plus it will help those of us who are getting ready to start maintaining our new weight from our lifestyle change.

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IRISHANGIE1 8/18/2012 2:08PM

    What an amazing blog, you certainly will be successful in your maintenance program. Congratulations on such a wonderful and fact filled plan...that will not only be useful to you but to all of here at Spark who will be reaching goal and worrying about maintenance. emoticon emoticon

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CAROLZ1967 8/18/2012 12:49PM

    Great plan, great attitude! Very well thought out too. That's what it takes too. I've hit my goal and am about 14 lbs up right now :-(. Very sad about it. I've gone up like this before and was able to get back down so I know I can this time too. Just very frustrating and sad. Maintaining is tough and takes continued focus and commitment. But the rewards are so well worth it. You can do it! And so will I....I just need to get back with monitoring my eating very closely.

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LVMAMAW 8/18/2012 12:12PM

    emoticonWhat a great plan and attitude! You will be successful, I just know it! I am following your lead! emoticon emoticon

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LYDDIECAT 8/18/2012 10:33AM

    Thank you so much for posting this. I am nowhere near maintenance yet, but I will be at some point. I love your cognitive strategies and some of them are helpful to me now, in my weight-loss stage (such as keeping in mind that thin people are not just "blessed," but they are working at it too). Thank you, thank you for sharing.

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EGR2BEME 8/18/2012 5:29AM

    Okay! I want to follow in your footsteps! That is such a great plan of action. I am going to come back and read this when the going gets tough!!

I have been a non-Sparker for several months and it shows.

All the best with your thorough plan.

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NELLBELLA26 8/17/2012 10:54PM

    What a fantastic idea to draw up a maintenance plan. I bet it really quelled your anxiety and you have some great responses to that pesky inner voice that makes us believe things that simply aren't true. I might do this myself. I lost 50 lbs back in 2010 but have gained 30-35 of it back. I really hate that I have gained it back and have to lose it again. It never is easy, but it is necessary.

great blog!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHIRE33 8/17/2012 9:00PM

    Wow! That's thorough!

On a happy note, you may find as I did that the more you eat veggies, the more you like them, and the less "dressing up" they need. I don't add much butter anymore, except maybe sweet corn or a potato. And I need less to satisfy me. My favorite salad dressing is apple cider vinegar and a real fruity virgin olive oil, with a little salt and a lot of pepper.

Sounds like you have it all covered!

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AATKIN01 8/17/2012 8:59PM

    you have an awesome plan. and its good not just for maintaining but for those of us who are still trying to get there. thanks for sharing. emoticon

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MANILUS 8/17/2012 8:02PM

    I am good at weight loss but only maintained my 1st major weight loss for 2 months. I was happy to see your thoughts and plan laid out, thanks for sharing!

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SIM1SAYS 8/17/2012 6:37PM

    You've got a great plan and attitude - you can do this. emoticon

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DINIE123 8/17/2012 6:11PM

  Wonderful blog, I saved it in my favories so I can re-read it frequently. You will be successful, there is no other way for you to go. We have to have a plan and back up strategies, and you have covered them all very well. Good luck, thank you for sharing this information, it will definitely be of help to me. Diane emoticon emoticon

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KATD13 8/17/2012 4:54PM

    You've got this!

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CLPURNELL 8/17/2012 4:41PM


That is a great cohesive and comprehensive plan!!! It sure sounds like you will keep it off!!

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TAMPATINK67 8/17/2012 4:20PM


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LELERS 8/17/2012 2:58PM

    Nice plan of action! I love it!

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ORANGE81 8/17/2012 2:56PM

    I liked this blog and your plan. Since I haven't ever been able to maintain this time I am sure to use your ideas as soon as i get to a healthy weight. Love the "scream weight" emoticon

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CAROL494 8/17/2012 1:59PM

  What a comprehensive plan! emoticon

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HEATHER3477 8/17/2012 1:44PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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STOPPLAYING2011 8/17/2012 1:21PM

    Wow you really learned a lot of vital information that will definitely help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. I need to lose 15 pounds to at least get in a healthier BMI range i will be reading over your ideas so that when i do get to my goal weight i can maintain it emoticon emoticon

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KOMTRIA 8/17/2012 12:37PM

  You are going to be a successful maintaner. You have a great comprehensive plan.
Very impressive.

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URGETTINTHIN 8/17/2012 12:03PM

    By George, I think you've got it!!! PLAN PLAN PLAN AND PLAN and stick with the PLAN!! emoticon

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MINAMORIN 8/17/2012 11:59AM

    very good plan. . . keep up the great work.

emoticon emoticon

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THOMS1 8/17/2012 11:42AM


Comment edited on: 8/17/2012 11:43:23 AM

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TRICIAE2 8/17/2012 10:43AM


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SHOAPIE 8/17/2012 10:39AM


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FARIS71 8/17/2012 9:28AM

    I am blown away by your plan. Amazing! I'm totally going to steal some things for myself -especially the "If I hear my inner voice say ____" Thank you so much for sharing. You are definitely going to succeed!

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BLOOMING52 8/17/2012 9:26AM

    Thank you.

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AJB121299 8/17/2012 9:20AM

    nicely constructed plan, good luck

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JLEMUS1 8/17/2012 9:10AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LAURIE5658 8/17/2012 7:53AM

    What an awesome plan! Best wishes!!

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TRYINGHARD54 8/17/2012 7:36AM

    how much protein for each shake ?

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GIGI1953 8/17/2012 7:31AM

  Wow! Nicely thought out and hit many valid points. Like the all or nothing comment as that's me! I was glad to see you budgeted for treats cause the poor mes can certainly lead to a binge.
Goo "food" for thought.

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SOXFANNH 8/17/2012 7:30AM

  Wow! I am so going to use this post to devise my own maintenance plan (even though still have 20 pounds to lose). This is really fabulous and great food for thought (pun intended). : )

Good luck on reaching your goal weight and then maintaining!

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NIKO27 8/17/2012 6:23AM


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Advice to Someone Starting Out

Friday, August 10, 2012

It feels arrogant to start giving advice when I haven't yet reached my goal, but I did weigh in on a team thread the other day of a young woman who wanted to start losing weight but was overwhelmed about where and how to start. This is what I told her (I thought I'd copy it here so I can refer back to it later myself--it's what worked for me, and I need to remember that for those times when I'm struggling):

My biggest difficulty starting was thinking that I couldn't do it, so why even try? But it really is true that the hardest part is deciding to do it (I mean REALLY deciding).

And if you need inspiration, think about this: On April 1, 2012 I weighed 196.5 pounds and had a BMI of 34.8 (Obese range). Today (8/9), I weighed in at 140.5 and a BMI of 24.9 (Healthy range).

You know that it's all about calories in-calories out. Use SP trackers (track EVERYTHING). Start on exercise--and it's ok to start small. I did the Couch to 5k program with an app on my phone, and that started with 20 minutes of walking and running per day (I started running 90 seconds at a time). You can gradually up it, but for now just commit to doing something physical every day. Now I run 4 days a week, just 4 months later, and I'm up to a long run of 6.5 miles.

Educate yourself--I suggest the Beck Diet Solution to get yourself in the right mindset for losing. Refuse to Regain and Thin for Life are about maintenance, but it's good to to start reading about maintenance while you're losing because it shows how permanent the changes you're making need to be.

Set up accountability structures. In addition to SP, I have a calendar on my bathroom wall where I check off every day that I exercise at least 45 minutes (it used to be 20). Seeing a whole load of green X's is very motivating! I also have a chart on Excel where I keep track of my weekly weigh-ins.

Inspire yourself. I went to a craft store and got a poster board and bought a bunch of fitness magazines and made a huge vision collage full of images and words that I wanted to live up to. I found before and after stories and pictures that I bookmarked. Come on SP when you want to eat, and read up instead.

Basically, you have to understand that losing weight and getting healthy, if you really commit to it, is going to be kind of like a part-time job. It's going to take a lot of time, it's going to occupy your mind and thoughts, and you're going to get kind of obsessed and one-track-mindish for awhile. That's ok, because if you don't, you're only half-hearted about it, and then it will be much harder to resist temptation. My approach, and I know it's not for everyone, is to go whole-hog, 100%. Then you see immediate results and that can fuel your determination for the long run.

Just remember: if you really commit yourself, it IS possible. And you'll be SO glad later. If I could go back and let my 197 pound self live for 24 hours in my 140 pound body, there's no way I'd ever lack motivation--being healthy and active and happy and proud and confident really is its own best reward!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MJZHERE 8/25/2012 2:04PM

    emoticon I had to keep looking back in your blog to see if the date you started was truly April 2012. Good for you! This blog so inspired me that I immediately went to library site and put a hold on the beck diet book, thin for life and a few others I found while looking for these. Thank you!

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GODSCHILD2_2011 8/19/2012 9:36AM

    This is absolutely some great advice...keep up the great work.

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DINIE123 8/17/2012 6:15PM

  Another blog filled with good advice. Maybe you should take up writing, you have a wonderful sense of honesty and factual material, I really enjoyed this. Thanks for sharing. Diane emoticon

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CLPURNELL 8/17/2012 4:42PM

    Great advice!

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NALAYB 8/17/2012 5:05AM

    Amazing advice!!! So inspiring!!

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NMINDSEYE 8/12/2012 11:06PM

    Your blog is just what I needed. emoticon

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BF20PERCENT 8/12/2012 5:55PM

    Thank you for sharing a great advice. I think I cannot run but after 5 minutes pass by, I want to finish what I started. You are an inspiration!

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BEECHNUT13 8/10/2012 11:45PM

    Great advice for anyone - not just someone starting out. I also read the Beck Diet, and as a psychologist I know I should be more excited about it... it really is a great book.

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SWEDE_SU 8/10/2012 3:34PM

    excellent advice!

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EGALITAIRE 8/10/2012 2:28PM

    “Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets”

“Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”

William Hutchinson Murray

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STEPHNS1 8/10/2012 1:02PM

    This is great! Thank you!

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SUSABELLA627 8/10/2012 10:57AM

    Wow! Thanks so much for sharing your journey. You are a true inspiration!

Congrats on your weight loss and much continued success on reaching your goals!

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BOOKWORM27S 8/10/2012 10:40AM

    Great advice!

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