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Fasting...who'd have thought it?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hi sparkies, I am way overdue for a blog here goes!
I returned from France 9 lbs. heavier than when I left...this despite having LOST down to approximating 130 while in Villefranche-sur-Mer at Institut de franšais!
How do I know I lost that much? My pants all needed safety pins at the waist!
I did nothing heroic to lose this weight, in fact I ate exactly what I wanted, and our food at breakfast and lunch was nothing short of fantastic. We had a lunch consisting of salad, main course and dessert, and everything was so yummy you wanted seconds. Sometimes I had them...

My miraculous weight loss was because of the hill on which Villefranche is built.
It is a steep hill. There are three corniches, or ledges, along which main roads run to places like Nice and Monaco which are nearby. I lived halfway between the Basse Corniche and the Moyenne Corniche. So in order to get to class, or to go to buy food, or to do much of anything, I had to walk up and down these hills every day! It was hard at first. I had to do extra stretching to avoid the leg cramps at night! But by week 3 I was feeling SO in shape, it was amazing.

Some of the Villefranche effect went away when I reached Paris, which is built mostly on flat land. And I had two months in Paris. But NOT unlimited funds, so a restaurant every day was not in the picture. I cooked in my teensy kitchen corner and I must admit I also ate lots of bread, cheese, and drank wine and cognac! So bit by bit...what can I say.

Not so easy to take this off when I got back - my snacking had diminished, true, but I was used to eating bread and cheese and I really didn't want to give them up, especially after I discovered the delicious cheese at Trader Joe's which costs less than Wegmans! I did well at maintaining, and I went down a bit, from 144 to 142...several times...well, lots of times really! The old yo-yo again!

Meanwhile, I was trying to keep up my French, which means reading and listening to something every day and talking it when possible. Also I had determined on a writing project while in France, and on my return, this project looked HUGE. Scarily HUGE. Getting emails from friends in France about it didn't help. I realised I have a very old fear of writing (even though I have done it, when young, and know I can) which I avoided when choosing my musical career. Hey, when you sing, you sing other peoples' words, and nobody can fuss at you about your words. Besides most of the songs are about love any way. Ha!

However, now that I am retired, the chickens are coming home to roost as they usually do, and I am feeling very led to return to this writing thing. But there are still fears. The project involves religion, which introduces even more fears, since this is a very divisive subject in America today, and I have friends on all parts of the spectrum. I have my opinions but I am good at seeing all sides of an issue, I hate conflict, and I often keep my thoughts to myself. If I'm to do this writing project, I have to address all of this.

So what should fall into my Facebook timeline but an online prayer group and a 9 day fast, International Week of Prayer & Fasting, for goals such as peace in our world. I'm adding to the goal our prayer group's intention - to pray for all persecuted Christians and for their persecutors. Personally, I am broadening that to all persecuted for their religion, whatever their faith...and their persecutors. To pray for the persecutors, no matter how offensive they may be, seems important to me. They are human beings, after all, and they are capable of change, and God can do an awful lot when we are bold to ask.

Hence the fast.
One of my spark friends is experienced at this and she sent me the following link to a book by Stephen Buhner - The Transformational Power of Fasting.

This book helped me so much to decide whether, and how, to fast, and helped me see what it would involve. I decided to begin (somewhat late) by cutting out caffeine, dairy and sugar, as the book recommends. I was moderately successful with the dairy and sugar, did better with the caffeine.

My nine days began yesterday. I'm starting with a juice fast - only juices and water - and I've invested in a juicer. I'm using some bottled juices if the labels show them to be free of additives. All fruits and veggies need to be organic or else washed with a biodegradable wash which is actually quite easy to use.

I must say that so far things have gone well. Some gas pains, some muscle aches, some desires to eat something crunchy or chewy - but nothing I cannot bear. The juice is ABSOLUTELY DELECTABLE! I had no idea that you could extract juice this delicious from fruits and veggies. I do not feel deprived of taste in the least. And I was 140 pounds this morning. The book says that weight lost while fasting usually does not come back on as quickly as weight lost by dieting or limiting one's diet. I hope they are right. I'm quite amazed at how much energy I still have (of course it's only day 2) without caffeine or some other stimulant.

The plan is to do 5 days of juice fasting, and then go to a water fast for 4 days to finish up. I will see how I feel at the end of day 5 and decide then. It is said that one still has hunger pangs during a juice fast and that those disappear once you get past day 3 of a water fast. But you can continue most normal activity during a juice fast, while a water fast really drains your energy in the first 3 days, and you will not feel like doing much. I can only contemplate this because I'm retired. But it is a sort of adventure...and my discipline seems to be better under these conditions than it is during everyday life. Perhaps because it is a special choice...and I want to use this time for some needed introspection, at this time of transition for me. I'm continuing to walk, just not as much. Those walks will get even more gentle during the water fast days.

The book I have found to help me with juicing is excellent too. You might check this out, even if the fast aspect doesn't appeal to you - it is packed with great information about foods for juicing and their medicinal and health benefits.

Here's the link - it's by Michael Murray

And now I have to go juice some stuff for dinner! I will try to blog daily about this - it will be a good discipline for me - and let you know how it goes.

Have an awesome week, everyone!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 9/28/2014 5:39AM

    Wow, Sara, it sounds like you found something exciting to experiment with! I see on your feed that you are still on this fast (and I expect you must be on the water stage now!). Let us know your thoughts when you finish with it!

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CANNIE50 9/23/2014 1:38PM

    I admire what you're doing. I'm fascinated by your trip (& so happy you were able to enjoy such an adventure). I'm a big fan of juicing though I just incorporate it into my regular eating, at this point. I'm glad you told me about your blog because, unbeknownst to me, I'd become unsubscribed. Suspect that happened to others of your Spark friends as well.

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 9/22/2014 12:21PM

    Sounds like you had a really lovely trip. Take care of yourself and have fun.

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LOSE4LIFE47 9/21/2014 5:42PM

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Hit and run blog!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Getting in a very fast blog here...going out to eat with a friend who is here from Nova Scotia...and yes, planning to do the salad with salmon or chicken and dressing on the side! emoticon

YES, doing well! I actually hit 138.6 this week, before I had a chip attack and popped back up to 140.2. But it was a mild chip attack, involving lentil chips (yum! gluten free section) and not involving nearly as much white wine as it could have.

I AM learning to control these things...
Am burning up the treadmill and the elliptical these days, increasing a bit each time I go in there.
Problem - I need to be less sedentary the rest of the day. Gotta do more walking around the house as I work on my French...

Thanks to all of you who are popping in to say hello - I emoticon it and completely understand if this is intermittent. After all, these days I am the emoticon of Intermittent...

Off to eat! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHIPPEE 3/18/2014 8:09AM

    Sara, you are so funny. I love the expression "chip attack". LOL I think I'm going to adopt the [fill in the blank] attack terminology!

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MICKEYMAX 12/3/2013 10:57PM

    You are so fabulous!

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 11/19/2013 1:01PM

    WOOHOO! Gaining control a little at a time is a fantastic way to progress to an overall healthy lifestyle. It sounds like you are doing it and having fun!

Continue having fun!

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    Sounds like you ARE learning to control things well. That extra will come off soon, I'm certain.
I hope you had a great time with your friend!
It's wonderful to see what you're up to. Thanks for blogging.

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SYLPHINPROGRESS 11/14/2013 11:12PM

    Sounds as though you're doing swimmingly well, lentil chips or no. Mm, lentis chips? Sound interesting.

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JET150 11/14/2013 10:15PM

    You scared me with your title- I was afraid you'd been hit by a car. Whew. your dinner sounds lovely!

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SARAWALKS 11/14/2013 9:54PM

    Well, so much for the salad with salmon or whatever...
I ended up having sea bass with chorizo and broccolini and olives and roasted peppers. Delish! And worth whatever gains I will have tomorrow...

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CASTIRONLADY 11/14/2013 9:45PM

    Good job - enjoy your friend. emoticon

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KITTYCAT64 11/14/2013 6:47PM

    Have a great time with your friend. You are doing emoticon Hugs,Cathy

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KITTYCAT64 11/14/2013 6:47PM

    Have a great time with your friend. You are doing emoticon Hugs,Cathy

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Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I'm leaving off the accents because they just make a mess...sorry, French speakers!

Finally back, feeling that I am making progress, but my weight is not that much lower than my last blog! 141.4 this AM. 141.8, my last blog on July 19.

Thanks to you who are still with me, despite my infidelity! I must admit that having a new iPhone makes it so much easier to track on Fitbit, and that Fitbit's food tracker is easier for me to use. Plus, I've discovered the Fitbit feature that tells me each day how many calories I have left to eat. Amazing how useful that is...

I have been up to 145 since the July 19 entry, but now thanks to the gym and a new 3-times-a-week routine on treadmill and elliptical, I finally feel that I can LIVE (ergo, EAT) and still manage to gradually lose weight.

I'm doing much better at maintaining and not binge-ing. Even though my binges were not huge they were a very bad habit. I've discovered I am just not happy eating much less than 1400 calories a day, so I have to exercise more and exercise effectively.

I've hated the treadmill in the past but am getting more into it when I pump up the incline and/or the speed, this helps me challenge myself. Ditto the elliptical, I try to vary the intervals and go a bit higher in terms of resistance each session. Yes, there is the boredom issue, but going every other day helps with that, plus I make sure my music is really energizing. Klezmer is my absolute fave for exercise.

Colder weather has hit and that means we want to eat more. I was SO CLOSE to the 130s last weekend...2/10ths of a pound away...and then I blew it. But this new routine - I feel confident I will get there again, and manage to attain my 135 goal by early next year.

Thinking of all you peeps and wishing you the absolute I obsess about learning French and preparing for my weekly tutoring sessions and getting ready for next year's trip to France!

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Oops, forgot about the plantar fascitis...that got in my way a bit is much better now thanks to many hints from YOU! emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_BABE_ 11/5/2013 12:54PM


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KENDRACARROLL 11/5/2013 11:57AM

    Sounds like you're right in the swing of things.
Boredom factor on the treadmill is huge, and changing speeds and incline helps at least a little bit. I've chosen to take it outside and get my cardio by hiking. Beats the treadmill any day :)
Wishing you continued success on your journey.

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CLAIREINPARIS 11/5/2013 7:22AM

    I am glad you are learning what works for you! This is so important!

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    The trackers sound great. So does your exercise program and nutrition intake.
You are definitely learning that French as best you can. WTG :)
You will get there, for sure.
I'm so glad for you that the plantar fasciitis is so much improved!
It was a treat to read a blog from you! :)

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 10/25/2013 11:49AM

    WOOHOO! Sounds like you are having a lot of fun and success. Miss you here but understand that you need to use what works for you. Glad you are finally getting to where you enjoy (mostly) the exercise and are having fun getting where you want to be. Congrats!

Have fun!

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It moved!

Friday, July 19, 2013

AND Mr. Yo-yo moved out too. He's begging to come back but I am being firm...

"It" of course is Mr. Scale.
And not just because I kicked him to a different corner of the bathroom...

Finally, this AM, 141.8. I know it doesn't seem like much, but after two weeks at 143, I was so happy to see change in the right direction.

The victory equally is to be beating the starve/stuff syndrome. I found the emotional eaters group a week or so ago and someone had posted this link:

I've never been bulimic, but the way Kathryn Hansen discussed her eating issues resonated with me. I had to face the fact that I hadn't confronted the longterm nature of this journey - OR my tendency to kid myself about my evening stuffing and morning starving - OR my tendency to kid myself about the effect of even small amounts of alcohol in boosting the tendency to binge.

So, even though it's been horribly hot and really hard to make myself walk, I said, Gotta do it. Even if the scale doesn't move. Maybe I'll be 143 for the rest of my be it, at least I will be stronger and I will know that I have a choice when it comes to food and my retirement will NOT be one long snack! At the very least, I am truly learning to maintain, even if I seem incapable of losing...

55WALKER's countdown has really helped me too. When I see that number in the morning, I know where I am in the current phase of the journey. And I have to come to terms with my impatience and my desire to progress quickly, at the cost of healthy patterns.

Yah, I know that I will probably zig up again tomorrow since that is the nature of things. But it helps to have seen some progress - since it seems my big problem with a slow journey is that it's hard to see the progress and hang with the program.

It's day 42. No matter where I am on day 1, I AM finally forming new habits.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHIPPEE 7/30/2013 5:05PM

    Good for you. Once again you are such an encouragement and bring so much wisdom to the whole process.
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CELLO23 7/30/2013 5:03PM

    Just read this, Sara - good to hear of breakthrough. They are mental as much as physical! I find stress and reward are reasons for my scoff-brain to override the more sensible one. And the scoffing tends to be carbs/choc rather than - um - veg. (let's face it) But forewarned is forearmed! Keep on at it! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    You are so inspirational. So glad for you for this success. :)

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 7/19/2013 7:21PM

    Congrats on getting rid of Mr YoYo. Have fun living your new healthy life. Love the sentiment on the blog you quoted.

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    A change of 1.2 counts at all times, but especially when Mr. Yo-Yo has been visiting and you're developing not only new habits, but new attitudes. And, not that I'm competitive, mind you, 141.8 sounds very much like little from where I sit.

Evening stuffing that goes into late night is my stock in trade. Sometimes I determine that I'll adjust the next day or two's calories downward to compensate, but it never works out that way. Beside lacking enough willpower, I also see cutting down as a form of punishment which, in turn, I see as a sad thing.

You sound great.


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QUADCMOM 7/19/2013 8:46AM

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Thanks for sharing. You are doing GREAT!!

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55WALKER 7/19/2013 8:10AM

    Evening stuffing, morning starving? Hey, that sounds familiar!
Glad the countdown is working for you too.

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Counting down, ditching Mr. Yoyo

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

My last blog was April 24 and I THOUGHT I was getting serious... emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

It's been oscillation city, folks...or yoyoville...whatever you want to call it.

Whereas the image I'd like is more like a down elevator or escalator...

But I am wrestling with Core Stuff here and you know how that is!

My Core Stuff seems to be the classic yoyo syndrome. Two or three days of eating and exercising well (but probably eating a bit too little) and two or three days of bingeing just enough to destroy my gains, due to the aforementioned "too little" days.

Also Core Stuff for me is Carbs At Night. I think it was Bren's blog that flipped this light switch for me (that's JITZUROE for those of you who don't know Bren...but doesn't everyone know Bren? If you don't, you should...her awesomeness quotient is way up there.).

Also someone mentioned the Bedtime Banana. (just figured out that this was GREASYJOAN - thanks, Natalie)

OK, I admit this is not what I yearn for at Bedtime (nasty minds get out of gutter please, thank you) but I will settle for it and I do find that it is often quite satisfying, carb and sugar-wise.

So - last week was unprecedented. I was down 2.5 lbs in four days...until Friday rolled around & movie-with-the-girls night bounced me back up a half pound. Recognizing the yoyo effect, I said, "Fine, Mr. Yoyo, I will just play with you a bit this weekend, but come Monday, you have to go home."

So I let myself have a Few Treats...but on Monday I resumed good behavior, but - and here's the point - I Didn't Overdo It!

Wasn't sure if this would work, but hey, said I to self, at least if I can beat Mr. Yoyo, that's progress. All right, it's only Tuesday, but I'm back to 143 - where I was on Thursday last week.

I'm aiming to lose a pound a week by this method. Aiming for more of a loss invites Mr. Yoyo to take up permanent residence and I think we need a divorce.

The countdown is SO helpful. I'm thanking 55WALKER here, who started this with a friend of hers. She posts a number every morning - there are nearly two months left in the countdown - and our goal is to lose 10 lbs by day 1. I have lost 8, if I can maintain where I am now through the week.

Oddly enough, setting a goal means nothing to me unless I have a daily reminder of how much time I have left. The ticker doesn't help. But ticking off this number every morning is a GREAT reminder of where I am on this journey to divorce the Yoyo Man.

Thanks to all my Spark friends because I know that reading about your journeys has contributed to this light bulb...a special thanks also to TINAJANE in Italy who has written so well about maintenance. Losing involves maintaining, the two are not different at all, one requires the other.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHIPPEE 7/8/2013 9:07PM

    Thanks. You are always so encouraging. emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 7/7/2013 1:09PM


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CELLISTA1 7/2/2013 10:03PM

    I have nothing brilliant to add to this insightful blog except to say:


Toss that yo-yo in the trash, unless it's yo-yo ma.

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    It looks like you are getting to know yourself and the way you work better! Great to read this! Now you lost me with the Carbs at night and banana thing!!!

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 7/2/2013 3:06PM

    I think that you are on to something here. Great idea using the countdown method to get where you want to go. I agree that a smaller goal that you can consistently meet helps.

Have fun!

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    Good thoughts for me to ponder, as I play with the yoyo a bit too often as well....

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