RUTHXG   44,804
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OK, so I've decided!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Thank you all for such thoughtful responses to my last blog, mulling the possibility of letting go of my desire to lose more weight.

I've decided to continue to work on fitness & health, but with a slightly different focus. I have changed my ticker to show my current & goal body-fat percentages instead of weight. My goal is now to become stronger & more toned--of course while eating good food & keeping up my cardio. If I lose some weight in the process, fine, but as long as I am getting fitter (as indicated by such things as the weight of dumbbells I can handle, endurance in workouts, & shrinking measurements) it won't really matter if my weight stays about where it is now.

If I gain 5-10 lbs & don't see improvements in those areas, though, I'll quickly switch back to focusing on weight along with the rest.

Reading up on body-fat percentages, I came across a couple of helpful sites:

For some of my Sparkfriends, an ultimate goal of 28% body fat would be too high because you're younger than I am. But both these charts show differences in ideal fat percentage based on age as well as gender. (The second one also takes into account whether one is currently underweight, healthy weight, overweight, or obese.) I chose 28% because it's pretty much in the middle of the ideal range for women of my age group (I'm 58). This morning my scale registered my current percentage as 30.5. We'll see how long it takes me to get to 28! Already 30.5 is amazing to me, as when I first started using this scale it was regularly telling me 37 or 38%. What a difference regular strength training can make!

I'll try to remember to take my measurements tomorrow morning as well.

As for how this fits into my travel-savings scheme, I think I'll allow myself to save $25 each week that my BF % & measurements are trending down.

I'm excited about this new focus!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHANSHE 8/12/2012 5:33PM

    Sounds like a GREAT plan Ruth! I am happy and excited for you!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 7/25/2012 3:53PM

    Love this. I need to do my body fat test again - i'm afraid to see what it says, though!

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MOMFAN 7/23/2012 1:55PM


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RUNNERRACHEL 7/23/2012 1:53AM

    emoticon I think that is a good decision. Before you told me you were considering this I had thought of it after reading your blog. That is a good thing to track and will show your progress. I think I will also start measuring as a way to track my progress and not focus on the scale.

Great decision!

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BEATLETOT 7/22/2012 7:49PM

    You are such a big deal, Ruth!!! =) I love what you're up to...good luck! emoticon

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KAREN_NY 7/22/2012 7:28PM

    Here's to Healthy & Happy!!!

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VARSWIFE 7/22/2012 7:24PM

    Good for You!

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TURNERHEATHER4 7/22/2012 7:21PM


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Should I quit trying to lose weight?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I honestly want some help thinking this through. My weight was up slightly this morning--I expected it, as I had a couple of lovely feasts with friends this week. I have just 10 minutes to go to make my exercise goal for this week, though, & I have not been overindulging in sweets. So it's not that I've been slacking.

The thing is, my BMI is 22.8. A lot of people would be THRILLED to be maintaining at that level. My desire to lose weight is not connected to health but to vanity--I would look better with a bit less pudge around the middle (though I'm a pear) & upper arms (I inherited my mom's tendency to store fat there). But I'm not sure how important that is in the grand scheme of things.

Though my weight is up a pound from last week, this week has been an especially happy one. Tuesday night I heard Diana Krall at Ravinia--a friend had offered me a ticket, & her family provided all the food & wine. It's rare that someone treats me to music & food; I'm usually the one organizing social occasions, or at least I contribute. So I felt really nurtured, & the music was heavenly.

Then last night I made a Colombian feast for a few African American friends with whom I'm planning a trip to Colombia--a really creative venture focused on advocacy for Afro-Colombians. I spent hours on the meal, making a couple of neighborhood forays to get all the food items & then cooking everything except the dessert from scratch. So this was the converse of the Ravinia night: I took great pleasure in giving wonderful food to my friends. They all recognized it as something special--they even came dressed up, though I hadn't said "this is a dress-up occasion." The three women guests wore dresses! I felt so honored by that.

One couple brought a container of artisanal cheesecake in four different flavors. I had already gotten flan at a Latin grocery. No way, though, was I going to say no to my friends' offering. Most of us had a half-slice of cheesecake & a half-slice of flan.

So what I'm thinking is, as long as I'm exercising at least 150 minutes a week--changing it up & increasing intensity periodically so that my fitness continues to improve--& basically maintaining my weight, eating nutritious food, & indulging in sweets only on social occasions, maybe that's enough. I really, really value occasional feasts with friends & loved ones, & I want to have space for them in my life without feeling that I'm betraying my fitness/weight goals. It would be quite different if weight loss were a health issue for me.

What do you think, Sparkfriends?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMFAN 7/22/2012 3:31AM

    What about Strength Training, are you doing any?

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BABY_GIRL69 7/21/2012 10:50PM

    I think sometimes losing weight is a bit about both health & appearance. So get yourself down, you did have good times with friends whom can almost by the tone of the blog be considered family. I can't wait til next weekend either it will fun.

God bless,


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NANASAMM 7/21/2012 6:41PM

Be mindful but don't obsess.
Be healthy but not fanatical.
Be active but relax as well.
Be happy, healthy and enjoy life.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 7/21/2012 5:50PM

    I think you should focus on being happy and healthy and it sounds like you do this regularly, by surrounding yourself with wonderful people, music, books, etc and sometimes the wonderful food that goes along with it. Since I would love to be in your weight range but I can understand your feelings of just wanting to look a little better - I think you shouldn't focus on weight but rather toning and inches. Stick to your plan of getting your fitness in and eating well besides your few, planned indulgences, and you will do really well. Check in with the scale just to make sure things aren't getting out of hand. Maybe add in some more ST or circuit training workouts that will help cut the fat in the areas you want and take your measurements regularly. You are in a really good place, Ruth!

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BEATLETOT 7/21/2012 5:06PM

    Ruth, I think your attitude rocks whether you're trying to lose weight or not. I see serenity, happiness and peace with what you eat and how you eat and how those line up with your values. I think you could quit trying to lose weight and easily maintain or maybe even lose without trying because you already are focused on taking care of yourself and your body.

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BOB240 7/21/2012 2:44PM

    OK.. some experience in this... When I was younger I was a good athlete.. by the time I was 40 I hit 260 pounds (I'm male 6 foot 1) I then lost weight and at 41 I was ok
at 42 I was ok ( I maintained)
at 43I was ok ( I maintained)
at 44 I was was getting fatter but didn't notice
at 46 I was fat again.

At 50 I was still fat. 7 Months later I am ok again (see my blog)

Lesson.Weight is a useless indicator at maintenance because it doesn't change.

I don't need to track food anymore because I know how much everything is worth but I need another indicator.Recent research shows that as you get older you have to continually increase the intensity of exercise (higher weights. faster runs).

150 minutes a week is good but are you getting stronger (lifting heavier weights?) and faster (what is your vo2 max?).For me, my future is about keeping an eye on these things.They are tangible numbers and goals.I am not intending getting to the next olympics - but I am intending increasing these things by 5% a year. You are successful because you hit goals and targets. The danger is that without them and without "pressure to improve" the only direction is down :(

Finally. Do a google on "maintain weight after a diet" - depressing reading. 19/20 people put weight back on . The plan to maintain, in my view, has to be as aggressive as the one for weight loss..

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RUNNERRACHEL 7/21/2012 1:40PM

    Yeah, I have been wondering kind of the same....

Exercising regularly, healthy BMI, eating healthy foods, enjoying life. Why are we so focused on weight?

My weight is 5 pounds above my goal weight right my goal of losing those pounds is more about a number (I think I'm fitter now than I was last summer--I can run longer, farther, I have more muscle tone, am stronger) and vanity. Want to lose weight in my middle even those I'm an apple and that is where I hold on to weight, pudge.

I think as long as we don't slack off (thinking "I can now slack off since I'm not trying to lose weight...") and continue to work on strength training, cardio, pursue fitness goals with the same commitment, continue to eat healthy and have sweets only on occasion, continue to track on SP, then the focus is on health and not so much on weight...

I would say keep working on your fitness and tracking food, staying in calorie range. Say to yourself, I am going to pursue a healthy lifestyle and if I lose more, great, if I get more toned, fantastic, but if not, I'm healthy, strong, and fit and I'm ok with that. I think that is what I'm going to do, too.

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CZARINA_TV 7/21/2012 1:10PM

    I would keep tracking things (150 minutes of exercise is great!), but I don't focus on weight. My weight is up since I joined SP. I have more muscle and I'm now at a healthy 19 with my BMI. I also have love handles and a big ol' butt for someone my size. I remember not having pudge and I was really skinny at the time -- 95 pounds! I miss not seeing fat when I slump in a chair, but I eat better now, I enjoy myself more and I can actually do more.

Maybe try it for a few months and see where you end up? I feel like weight loss is only half of the goal, really, but it's the easiest to quantify.

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LISALEIGH103 7/21/2012 1:02PM

    this may be bad advise but even if ur bmi was in the high range id tell u to just b happy we all die weather of health or freak accident so if u dont wanna stop your meals with friends dont you have to want it to succeed at it the guilt only sets u back so keep trucking forward

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SHARON2014 7/21/2012 12:45PM

    When my BMI is within the "normal" range, then my plan is to maintain within a range of no more than 3 pounds over. My goal then will be to tone up my muscles. I would continue my exercise program, eat reasonably and weigh in once a week. If my weight starts to creep up, I would evaluate my eating and exercise and go from there.

I don't know your specific situation, but it sounds like you are doing great. It just may be that you may never lose the "pudge", I know because I have lost 30# and still need 25 to go to get to a normal BMI. However, my waist and midriff have not budged!! I have no butt and my pants size is a 12, and my tops are still XL.

At some point maybe we need to do the best we can - be healthy AND happy and relax about what we cannot change.

I'll be interested to see what others think...

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A great meal for company!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Last night I feasted--a belated birthday dinner for me, at my house with my "creative group" of longtime women friends. I was in charge of the main course & veggies (by my choice), & the rest was supplied by my friends. I had planned to grill outdoors, but an unexpected thunderstorm nixed that (the rain was MUCH needed), so I switched to my oven's broiler. I thought I should share the menu, because it was a very simple meal that felt luxurious & included treats but did not stuff us.

MAIN COURSE: (cage-free humanely raised) chicken thighs, skinned/boned, larger bits of fat removed, brushed with Trader Joe's barbecue sauce, grilled under the broiler for 5 minutes on one side, 3-4 on the other.

VEGGIES: cherry tomatoes, sliced green/yellow/red sweet peppers, two small skinny eggplants peeled & sliced, tossed with a little extra virgin olive oil + dried thyme & oregano leaves + diced fresh chives, arranged on two cookie sheets with raised edges, set in the oven on a shelf below the chicken for about 8 minutes, then broiled for a few minutes, stirred in the middle of that time.

SALAD: leaf lettuce, sliced tomatoes, diced fresh parsley, a few sliced almonds, eaten with balsamic-citric dressing.

BEVERAGES: my friend brought champagne for my birthday, & we drank the bottle among four of us, so that was one treat--but we also drank cold water steeped with a few crushed sprigs of mint, stevia, & lemon verbena, all of which I have growing on my back porch; my friends just LOVED it, declared it the Best Water Ever! emoticon

DESSERT: amazing handmade chocolate mousse-raspberry concoctions brought by another friend--so you see, we actually had something quite decadent!

For me the chicken was a treat, as my housemate & I eat mostly legumes & nonfat cottage cheese & yogurt & occasional eggs for protein. And since we eat so frugally overall, an occasional splurge on deboned/humanely raised chicken can fit easily into our budget.

Roasted/broiled/grilled veggies with the EVOO & thyme/oregano (from last year's porch plantings!) tastes like a splurge but isn't. I actually picked out some of the sweet peppers from my neighborhood grocer's mark-down rack. Herbs are just a little touch that makes the veggies truly special.

Notice that we didn't have any high-carb food (potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, etc.) on the menu. Those foods are important to include in one's diet day to day, but omitting them from this meal left room for the rich dessert. And no one felt deprived.

And it's just so lovely to drink cold water with crushed mint/stevia/lemon verbena! I recommend that you grow your own herbs so you can have little luxuries like this often--0 calories! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANASAMM 7/21/2012 6:44PM

    Happy belated birthday! Sounds wonderfully delicious. I love boneless, skinless chicken thighs and veggies. My son made chicken kabobs. Yummm

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MTULLY 7/21/2012 11:22AM

    What a fabulous way to celebrate your birthday! Nicely done!!!

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ANIHAKA 7/20/2012 4:12AM

    I came across your page on the Starfish team counting fibre & exercise. Will be using your idea of water plus lemon verbena as I heard that herb is good for bringing down blood pressure. Sounds like a great barbeque.


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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 7/17/2012 12:15PM

    Yummmm! sounds like an awesome birthday feast!! emoticon

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CZARINA_TV 7/15/2012 1:51PM

    That sounds like a great birthday party! Happy birthday (again) Ruth!

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SUZBOISANNE 7/15/2012 5:52AM

    Happy Birthday to you, my friend. Sounds like you had a fabulous feast with friends you enjoy and vise-versa! May all your birthday wishes come true and your year sparkle and shine brightly. All the best!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/15/2012 5:52:43 AM

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BABY_GIRL69 7/14/2012 6:08PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
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emoticon emoticonHappy Birthday Ruth!!

God bless & glad you enjoyed yourself!


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MOMFAN 7/14/2012 3:53PM

    emoticon emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 7/14/2012 3:53PM

    Wow, sounds so delicious! what a wonderful dinner! Thank you for sharing. My taste buds are imagining it all! Especially that water. Sounds so good. I'd love to try to make it.
And it's nice to read that you had a great birthday dinner with this group of friends!

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MACMOM57 7/14/2012 3:25PM

    Wow sounds like you had an awesome dinner. Happy Belated Birthday.

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Birthday gifts to myself

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth of July, U.S. people! Hope you are having a lovely holiday.

I was born on the 4th of July 58 years ago!

This morning, because I have the day off & my housemate is away, I got to sleep in & then do extra exercise--SP's 28 Day Bootcamp short cardio sculpt + Leslie Sansone's big burn. Total minutes 54, which is peanuts compared to what many of my SP friends do every day, but lots for me. Especially because outside temps were up to 95 already & the ceiling fan in my living room/workout space is not working. I drank 48 oz of water in the process of exercise & then sat under the dining-room fan to eat my breakfast. Ahhhh. emoticon

I've decided to modify my nutrition/fitness/travel-savings system in one important way: I can have sweets more than one day IF the occasions involve hospitality/celebration--& still transfer travel $$ to savings IF by Saturday my weight has gone down. Monday evening my Indian friend invited me to dinner to celebrate my birthday & included a lovely dessert, mung halwa; & today I'll be celebrating with my Guatemalan friend & her family & I imagine they'll be serving dessert too. It would just be wrong to decline altogether. But I can eat small amounts & stay within my recommended nutrient ranges. This morning my weight was down 0.4 (& my body-fat percentage was down too, yay!).

That's more than anybody probably cares to know about my tweaks to my little system, but it helps to write it out for myself. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HELLODANAE 7/4/2012 11:29PM

    thanks for the great ideas birthday girl!!!
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BABY_GIRL69 7/4/2012 9:31PM

    Happy Birthday Ruth!! You share birthdays not only with America but also with my brothers! Both born different years but on 4th of July. lol You are gift & that workout sounds intense. My workout was cooking & game on again tomorrow!

God Bless,


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MOMFAN 7/4/2012 6:39PM

    Happy Birthday!! Sounds like a great one!!

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SPLASH1105 7/4/2012 6:39PM

    Happy Birthday. I hope that you are enjoying your day.

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SUZBOISANNE 7/4/2012 5:48PM

    Happy Birthday wishes to you for 58 more times!!!! Enjoy the rest of your day!!! So happy you are doing so great!!! emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 7/4/2012 2:59PM

    Happy Birthday! and Happy 4th of July!

What a great day you are having--sounds relaxing and very active!

Good job finding ways to fit treats in to your celebrations while still staying in your nutritional goals for the day and losing weight--you're doing emoticon

Have a wonderful day! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CZARINA_TV 7/4/2012 1:38PM

    Happy birthday!

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CARLYG8 7/4/2012 1:32PM

    Happy Birthday! Hope you have a wonderful day and enjoy your 4th!
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NAKIOMA 7/4/2012 1:29PM

    You are doing great - congratulations on the attitude and you birthday.................Naki

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Dessert dream

Friday, June 29, 2012

This morning I woke up from a dream in which I was trying (somewhat futilely) to organize a gathering of young men. I think it involved campus ministry. They kept needing to change times & places, so we would start to meet & then people would drift away with promises to return.

Frustrating, but the worst part was that I was providing SWEETS for every single partial/failed meeting! & eating them myself. I woke up feeling chagrined & a bit helpless. And bloated! emoticon

Has anybody else cut back on sugar & then suddenly dreamed about desserts?

As for what the dream means, I'm not sure. I really have been avoiding sweets except the honey on my cereal, & in a bit of homemade yogurt twice this week, & reduced-sugar jam on toast maybe twice. I'm eating these as parts of meals, not snacks. I miss chocolate, but I don't sit around thinking about it.

Maybe it's a "too much to do" dream (I ALWAYS have too much to do) & the sweet stuff symbolizes fears of wasting time.

emoticon Hmmmmm . . .

By the way, does anybody know that this SP emoticon stands for? emoticon Bad hair day?? So weird, heehee!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LULUTU 6/30/2012 7:52AM

    Ruth - your dessert dream made me laugh! Thanks for sharing!

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SHANSHE 6/29/2012 8:36PM

    That IS a weird dream, but could mean something. I agree you should pray about it, it may have some deeper meaning!

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RUNNERRACHEL 6/29/2012 6:44PM

    Hahaha that's the Spark mullet! I think it means business in the front, party in the back...whatever that means!!! Lol.

I am not sure what that dream could mean. Pray about it. Maybe God will reveal its meaning...

Great job not eating sweets! I've never had that kind of dream after giving up sweets. I just remember feeling so great and not missing that sugar crash. I sometimes have them but I have to be careful.

Have a great weekend!

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MOMFAN 6/29/2012 4:17PM

    The things you learn on blogs!!

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