Friday, September 06, 2013
The BLC Challenge is on a between-round hiatus and my team not done well for the last three weigh-ins. It has occurred to me that many people still experience a disconnect between what we are trying to achieve here on SparkPeople and "real life". Ideally after a member completes the Spark stages, he or she should have the tools to successfully lose weight by following a healthy lifestyle of sensible food and some sort of daily exercise. Many of us have trouble sticking to this plan and seek out organized challenges. Spark has offered several wonderfully motivating seasonal challenges but their size sometimes makes it difficult to really connect with others. I was lucky enough to find the Biggest Loser Challenge where members are divided into teams that compete against each other. I have established close ties with many of my team mates and feel a great responsibility to the team to actively participate during each round. At first, like many, I viewed the interim between rounds as a free-for-all, going right back to my old eating habits. I finally made the connection that when I ate with abandon my health problems would all flare up and it took weeks for the arthritis, IBS, skin break-outs, etc. to clear up...let alone how much work it was to re-lose the pounds gained. My family is really active...I get my burn in even on vacation or when we gather for holidays so it's all about healthy eating for me.
I think that in a way, I am lucky to have all the food sensitivities that I do. Now I don't consider ever eating many of the temptations that you all face. As I was reading how some of you were going to family picnics over the holiday, I was imagining the potato salad, cole slaw, hot dogs etc. and how foreign those foods are to me now and how much I don't even want them! I've been active with the BLC for several rounds and I finally "get" that this is the way I'll be living my life going forward. Sure there are splurge meals here and there but it's to the point where I don't feel good for several days when I eat (and drink) like that. Our bodies are made to only handle so much food at once; our systems can compensate for an occasional overindulgence but not an extended one. We are actually poisoning ourselves when we go all out for several meals in a row. That's why you can't out-exercise a poor diet. You might lose the weight but eventually you will pay the piper with poor health, G.I. problems or an injury that won't heal due to inflammatory response, to name a few. That's what happened to me and why my body is a wreck now. I continued to smoke and eat whatever I wanted while training for marathons but I was thin, performed well and looked great so I didn't realize the internal damage.
To be clear, I am not writing this to chastise folks...just wanting to share what I've learned: binging can set your health and weight loss efforts back by weeks while your body tries to repair itself. Try to find a nutrition and exercise program that you can live with 24/7/365!
Saturday, August 31, 2013
paleo pumpking pancakes
arugula, ground turkey, roasted red pepper and mango salad
run 4 mi
Friday, August 16, 2013
For most of my life I was cover girl thin. Being the kind of kid and adult who preferred to be outdoors, I loved being active. As a young mother, we lived in an urban setting in a 3rd floor walk-up; getting off the baby weight was never an issue since I walked everywhere and carried groceries (and hot cycles, strollers & babies) up all those stairs. I had an easy relationship with food until my 40s since I could eat whatever I wanted. Determined to raise healthy children, I cooked 98% of our meals--my kids were some of the few that had a different breakfast each morning--Monday Mush (oatmeal), Tuesday (french) Toast, Wednesday (Cream of) Wheat, etc. I became an good cook and excellent baker. Vegetables were always featured and my kids all love them.
When I hit my 40s, the pounds started sneaking on slowly so I began running despite being a pack-a-day smoker. Running allowed me to continue eating whatever I wanted and cookies were my favorite pre-workout food. It was nothing for me to eat an entire row of Oreos an hour before speed training at the track. We ate as healthfully as we knew to during those years--organic veggies when I could grow them or find them at market, lots of lean meat, low fat dairy including yogurt and whole grains. I had some health issues and had surgery for "girl stuff" when I was 45. I think that's when my GI problems began--bloating & IBS but running helped keep the symptoms under control. It was then that DH and I started another pack-a-day habit; one package EACH of Pepperidge Farm cookies for dessert. Yeah, it's true. The kids got them too--DH was heavyish but the kids and I were athletes and in shape.
I was training for my third marathon and in the best shape ever. We'd gone to visit our daughter in Olympia, Washington and had hiked Mt. Rainier when I noticed my toes were numb. I thought my feet had swollen from the long hike. Two weeks later I was numb from the chest down and the MRI showed a tumor in my spine which thankfully was removed successfully and I have few deficits. The steroids, antibiotics, and hospital drugs did a number on my body, not to mention the months of rehab when I couldn't run. My weight soared to (!!)160# and I started the diet phase of my life. One of the diets I tried was the popular South Beach Diet; three weeks without breads, pasta and cookies and my IBS and gas completely disappeared and I was down within goal weight quickly. Great! Easy! I had that diet mentality where I didn't really change my eating habits but used the diet for when I needed to look good for something, mind you, I was within 10# of my ideal weight so what was the big deal?
Flash forward, I am nearly 58 years old now--the four major surgeries and the decade of not understanding how leaky gut syndrome affects one's entire immune system, hormonal balance and metabolism have left my body in shambles. Since my last surgery 2.5 years ago, my weight ballooned to nearly 200# despite faithful workouts and a 1500 calorie limit. I have chronic inflammation and am prone to injuries that take months to resolve. I have a limited social life because I can't eat or drink what other folks are having. It's put a huge strain on my marriage; but my husband supports my efforts to figure this out and we hike together regularly. We've found one nice restaurant that understands gluten-free for our Friday night date. Just this month I've started an elimination eating plan for 30 days (the Whole30) and have had tremendous results in resolving the bloating and the weight is coming off. This is not a diet, the Whole30 is helping me understand what my dietary triggers are so that I can heal my gut. I do worry that my GI tract is permanently damaged as I still have unpredictable control issues (some of which stem from nerve damage from the tumor surgery).
I have written this in hopes that younger women might read this and avoid the years of heartache I've had. Binge eating is not good for you, no matter how healthy the rest of your eating and life is. Excessive sugar and too many carbs can hurt you permanently. Cheat days can set you back weeks metabolically. Get educated, look at the big picture and understand that healthy weight loss is more than calories in-calories out.
Oh...and in case you are wondering, after a 30-year habit, I am 2.5 years smoke-free!
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