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Two Dangerous Paths

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I have come to the realization that there is not just one, but TWO dangerous paths to which I am prone, both of which I must try to avoid if I want to effectively manage my weight.

Dangerous Path 1: Do whatever I want, whenever I want, because it feels really good!

This is the path I took prior to SparkPeople and also during those periods of rapid weight re-gain. This is the mindset of the Susan who ate so much in college that a friend said, "You eat more than anyone I've ever seen." This is the Susan whose thinking gets so illogical that somehow eating one pint of Ben & Jerry's is a common precursor to eating a second container! This dangerous path is quite obviously unhealthy. Dangerous Path 2 is not quite so obvious, but is just as dangerous...

Dangerous Path 2: Aim for perfection.

This is the path that led me, in early 2007, from 167 pounds to 134 pounds in just four months, while also making me cranky and lethargic in the process. This is the path that leads to resentment, because while everybody else is having fun, I have to keep up with my multi-hour sessions at the gym. There is no listening to my body when I have this mindset; there is only following pre-set rules. Sure, Dangerous Path 2 gets me skinny fast, but there is no way that weight loss attained this way can be maintained, because this lifestyle cannot be maintained.

What got me thinking about this today was a slice of cake. A coworker will be leaving us at the end of the school year, so my school's special education staff (all six of us) got together this afternoon to present her with a gift and to share a chocolate cake decorated with frosting best wishes. I only found out that there would be cake a few hours earlier, and I went into the situation ambivalent about whether I would actually eat it. I ate my usual healthy lunch at the usual time, and then just before we met I had a nice crisp apple to take the edge off my appetite; I also brought a can of seltzer to the meeting with me.

While the cake was being cut I noticed that everyone was getting a queen-sized piece. I considered asking for just a sliver, but in the end kept quiet. I let my giant slice sit on the table in front of me for a while and up until the moment I took my first bite, I still wasn't sure whether I'd eat it at all, or whether perhaps I'd leave a few large crumbs behind (never a common practice of mine in the past).

Well, I ate that great big slice of cake. It was moist and delicious, and I didn't leave a trace behind on my plate. After we said our goodbyes, I went right back to my office and I entered SparkPeople's closest match (the SP database had chocolate cake with chocolate frosting, which must be fairly similar nutritionally to what I had: chocolate cake with white frosting), and then I went home and did three things:

1) I continued thinking about that cake, and that cake's implications.
2) I ate a little less for dinner than I normally would, to keep my daily total calories at a comfortable level.
3) I exercised a little more than I probably would have if I hadn't eaten that cake.

Two very important things I did NOT do were:
1) continue chowing down on anything/everything I could find (a la Dangerous Path 1), despite my natural inclination to do so which kicks in whenever I start to eat something "naughty."
2) deny myself the cake altogether, or skip dinner entirely to make up for it, or go for an unreasonably long run (unreasonable here meaning taking so long that I wouldn't be able to meet my boyfriend at the train station after he was done with work). These are choices I would have made if I were in the mindset of Dangerous Path 2.

I want to live in the balanced middle of the spectrum between complete food freedom and ultra-strictness. I want to be healthy AND live my life to the fullest. I cannot get there if I take either extreme approach. I need to occasionally have a slice of cake, guilt-free, and then go out for a fun four-mile jog!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIL_EZZY 6/11/2009 5:33PM

    I too loved this blog. See you have it. Your mindset has obviously changed so I don't see you going down either of your dangerous paths anymore. Good for you Susan.

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SEEHOLZ 6/11/2009 5:19PM

    OMG- I love this blog, because I need to do that---- keep a balance in my life. It's like i know what I need to do, but sometimes have the hardest time following through. That's the balance- there is nothing wrong with having a slice of cake on a special occassion--- and I'm totally proud of you for stopping, because old habits and tendencies tend to stay with me and I need to accept that even though the extremes are always there, I don't have to act upon them!
THANK YOU so much for blogging about this. It's weird, too, because I was wondering if you were lately slowly going to the other extreme.... it's so good to know you aren't!

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JENJENRUS 6/11/2009 1:59PM

I just got your message that you left me and hurried over here to read your blog since you said it was similar and boy can I relate! I am the same exact is either all or nothing. I *used to be* a terrible binger...I really have tried to make a new lifestyle and so far, it is working!

I just wanted to tell you that I completely understand where you are coming from. Good job for recognizing your weaknesses!

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RA4945 6/11/2009 1:05PM

    Wow, this was beautifully written, Susan. You are so articulate! I love your attitude. This will surely keep you on the road of success!

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SIMPLYSMALTZY 6/11/2009 9:54AM

    Great job! We have to remember this is a lifestyle change. One slice of cake on a special occassion isnt going to kill us. Who never wants to eat cake or BEN & JERRY'S ever again?!?! Definetely not me!

It's great that you are finding a happy medium!

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BELIEVE-IN-ME 6/11/2009 8:52AM

    I can't add anything more than the previous posters have said so I'm just going to say; "Wow!" That was an incredible read and oh-so-true for many of us!

Good for you! You can have your cake and eat it too!


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TRACYZABELLE 6/11/2009 4:46AM

    One bite, one day, one pound at a time girl! And also if we do not pre-plan when we have those special events, failure may be lurking around the corner.. Don't I wish I incorporated these things years ago! You can do it Susan, I have faith in you.

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CREATINGMYSELF 6/10/2009 11:45PM

    I think a lot of us can relate to these scenarios, and I know for me personally it has taken me a long time to come to these realizations about my eating patterns. It's very black and white thinking-- either it's good or bad, all or nothing. And yes, it's dangerous. Congrats for recognizes these behaviors and patterns-- hopefully it will help you on your journey.

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MARATHONER340 6/10/2009 10:07PM

    WOW can I relate with this one! I too have gone down both paths and agree we need to remain somewhere in the middle! I think you made good choices today and am proud of you! It's so refreshing to hear that othe people have been in the same mindset as I have about things!

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KJNE8O 6/10/2009 9:49PM

    You are growing up!! LOL. So very wise and such a great way to approach life. Something that I need to hear and live as well. Thank you!

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ZIRCADIA 6/10/2009 9:43PM

    GOOD GIRL!!!!!!!!!! :D I cannot tell you how unreasonably proud I am of you every time I read about you thinking through these life changes and making moderate and smart choices. I say unreasonably because who am I to have the right to be proud of your accomplishments??? HAHAHA :D Maybe it's better to say that I'm exceedingly happy for you and your newfound path!! :D CONGRATULATIONS!

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KMWKENT 6/10/2009 9:40PM

    Great observations and great attitude! Glad you're able to find that middle ground.

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Long Run Stats

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Wow, I've earned my rest day tomorrow - 5.5 miles yesterday + 7.5 miles today = 13 miles this weekend!

I need to list today's stats in two different ways - one for the running-only portion at the beginning, and one for the entire thing that involved a lot of walking toward the end.

6.24 miles
5.6 mph
689 calories
10:41 min/mi
BMI 24.7

7.53 miles
5.1 mph
829 calories
11:54 min/mi

It felt good and I didn't feel gross despite being covered in sunscreen. Once I stopped to walk my legs - muscles and joints - were feeling sore and tired, but nothing else was bothering me at all. It was a pretty day for running!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRACYZABELLE 6/9/2009 4:44AM

    keep the sunscreen on lady! we dont want you to look like a prune at 40!

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SKYFYRE 6/8/2009 6:57PM

    Great Job and a great run!
Look at you runner girl! emoticon

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ROGUE_1 6/8/2009 5:28PM

    That is so inspiring! I realized that I need to start going for longer runs outside especially now that the sun is shining and the weather is sweet. Do you run mostly outside or on the treadmill? You've definitely earned your rest day, so enjoy it! You are getting so close to your ticker goal...keep up the GREAT work :)

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ZIRCADIA 6/8/2009 2:53PM

    WOOHOO! :D ROCK ON, chica!!! :D That is GREAT! :D

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JENONTHEROX 6/8/2009 1:24PM

    you definitely did have GREAT runs over the weekend...13 miles is delicious!!! I love reading your running stats because I do the same, keeping them in my datebook (total time, mileage, pace). I've just been SO reluctant to run 2 or 3 days in a row... but I guess by adjusting the runs accordingly makes it work.

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RUN_LIFT_EAT 6/8/2009 8:34AM

    Wow! That is a great weekend!

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SEEHOLZ 6/8/2009 1:15AM

    YOu are doing so fabulous AND you totally motivated me to get my butt out there today!

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LIL_EZZY 6/7/2009 10:26PM

    I am jealous. Sounds like you enjoyed yourself out there in that sunshine. I sat inside all weekend apart from taking my son to his football game in freezing conditions. I wanted to go running yesterday(sunday) but had some sort of vomiting bug and felt oh so crappy. Today is freezing and windy but I may get out and do something once my housework is done. Hurray for you running all those miles.

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KJNE8O 6/7/2009 10:21PM

    Sounds like a great weekend for running! Way to go!

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MARATHONER340 6/7/2009 7:58PM

    yay for the 13 miles this weekend! That's more than I can say I ran! =)

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Week 9 Ends

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Week 1 -1lb
Week 2 -2lb
Week 3 -1lb
Week 4 -0.4lb
Week 5 -2lb
Week 6 -1lb
Week 7 -lb
Week 8 -2lb
Week 9 -1lb

Yesterday evening I went on a FANTASTIC run. It must have been the perfect combination of ideal weather, being very well-rested, having had lots of caffeine (three cups of coffee - er - that's two more than I have most days!), and being well-fed. Before I went out, I told my boyfriend the route I planned to take and asked him to please give me an hour before picking me up. I ended up going about 5.5 miles, which felt nice and easy with some walking whenever I needed to use my phone. :) After I got picked up on the side of the road, I actually changed into a different outfit IN THE CAR, ha, because we were about to meet a friend for dinner. (I had originally imagined I'd have time to shower and all before dinner, but nope - don't tell anyone!) It was such a nice night to eat on an outdoor patio. I had just a garden salad with no croutons and half of the dressing (I asked for citrus viniagrette but got honey mustard, oh well), plus two glasses of pinot noir. I really wanted to go out for ice cream afterwards because there's a place near that restaurant that has fat-free soft serve peanut butter, but neither my boyfriend nor our friend wanted to, so instead we went to Starbucks and I had a small decaf skinny latte which was also quite the yum.

This morning it hurt to talk - I seem to only be sick overnight and when I first wake up, and then I feel fine the rest of the day. I am now at 153.4 and suddenly the 140s seems oh-so-close. Can't wait!!! :) :) :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KJNE8O 6/8/2009 4:28PM

    Allergies? A humidifier might help - but great weekend :)

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JENONTHEROX 6/8/2009 1:26PM

    you're doing amazingly well with your weight losses, nice & gradual... you are working HARD & deserve all the progress you're getting. The 140s are just around your corner, you'll be there before you know it.

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    You rock. Nuff said.

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LIL_EZZY 6/7/2009 10:28PM

    Sounds as if you had a really nice weekend. I love springtime. 140's here you come.

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    great consitent progress. you will see 140 in no time!

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BRUIN2 6/7/2009 11:45AM

    Stopping whenever you needed to use your phone?!?


You're funny.

And the pb soft serve sounds sooooooo goooooooood (as a treat of course!).

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SDTALLY 6/7/2009 10:42AM

    You're doing great! I couldn't seem to loose more than 1 pound per week when I was loosing. Found out the key is to just keep on & eventually it all comes off!



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ZIRCADIA 6/7/2009 10:36AM

    Maybe you need a humidifier in your room or something?? But woohoo on such a great evening and down a bit more today! :D

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My BMI is 24.9!

Saturday, June 06, 2009

154.0 pounds this morning - that's a BMI of 24.9 - I am no longer "overweight!" Now, I have celebrated this exact fact multiple times in the past only to eventually become overweight yet again - no more!! This time I am being moderate, flexible, fitting it in with my life much better, losing only a pound a week most weeks, focusing on goals other than weight loss (like PRing in my 5K), and I have a reasonable goal weight that I will achieve and then STOP trying to lose weight. Eleven pounds down, fourteen to go!!!!!!!!!!

I was not feeling well last night - I had a sore throat and was exhausted. Several of my coworkers have also had sore throats and/or lingering colds lately. But I am trying to nurse myself back to health before it turns into a full-blown illness by taking very good care of myself - mainly by getting TONS of sleep last night and drinking a lot of water. Plus I'm eating healthy as normal, and doing light-to-moderate exercise.

Happy Saturday all!! :)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DAPHNEG2 6/8/2009 2:58PM


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ZIRCADIA 6/7/2009 10:19AM

    You are doing GREAT!!! :D CONGRATULATIONS!!! :D

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RUN_LIFT_EAT 6/7/2009 8:53AM

    You are made of the win Susan!!!!!!!!!! I am so happy for you! It isn't easy figuring what works and what can stick. We're up against such an uneven playing field in this society. . . I am so happy for you!

I hope you get to feeling 100% again soon!

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GERMANPICKLE 6/7/2009 4:17AM

  congrats! you have learned so much (and shared so much) you'll stay there this time. No doubt!

Hope that you don't come down with the whole cold. Stay healthy!

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    Congrats! I know that this time you will stay under a BMI of 25, because you have been doing things slow and steady, and have been making lifestyle changes. So it will only become easier for you to lose and maintain!

Hope you're feeling better soon :)

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    take care of yourself!

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BRUIN2 6/6/2009 5:46PM


And so glad you're listening to your body and taking care!

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Thursday, June 04, 2009

I am going to be a big lazy dork right now and write a blog entry rather than going to each individual person's page to answer questions. I LOVE getting comments on my blog, but I find responding to them to be rather awkward!

KJNE8O-We always start around the first of September - just in time to have a couple days of school before a long weekend for Labor Day! I get two or three weeks off between the end of summer school and the start of the regular school year. Yay! As for the idea to run two days and then take a day off, that's a consideration...I hadn't thought about not keeping it the same from week to week though. And do I do some kind of intervals or speed work the first day and then an easy run the second? I dunno.

Run_Lift_Eat- It's definitely not TOM this time. I like the word "ellipticate" - did you invent it? I would definitely like to ellipticate on a day between two tough running days! Although I have noticed that ever since I started doing way more running than elliptical, that the elliptical has started to feel harder (and running easier). Different way of using the muscles - all the more reason to cross train. I teach fifth grade special ed - mostly reading and math. In the summer the kids are a bit younger but same idea. As for the month that that article was in, I'm pretty sure it was 6/09.

Dana-Glad I'm not the only one who finds running boring once in a while. I don't know how you are awake enough to run with your rowing schedule and everything else you do. I got my almond milk at Trader Joe's...I'm bad about just buying something at the grocery store without paying any attention to how much it costs, but I just dug up my receipt from my recycling and it was $1.99 for a 32oz box.

RA4945 (and Breigh) - I think I would feel a little ridiculous running up and down the same hill, too! Haha. I know how good for my fitness and my running it would be, but I'm not feeling very excited about that prospect.........

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKYFYRE 6/5/2009 4:13AM

    Hahaha! Laughing at Brieghs Blog comment!

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BRUIN2 6/4/2009 8:16PM

    Answering blog questions IS a mega pain in the butt. There really should be a reply button instead of having to go to the page, scroll down, reply, etc.

I think almond milk here is like $4 or something - yikes.

There's nothing wrong with running up and down the same hill - that's why they're called hill *repeats* hehehehehe.

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ZIRCADIA 6/4/2009 5:30PM

    THANKS! :D

We don't have Trader Joe's here, but if I can find it at that price I'll definitely at least try it.

I've never done hill training really, just sometimes gone out and said, ok, I'm gonna run THIS hilly route today or I'm gonna keep it flat today. Also there's a MASSIVE hill by my house -- I don't run up and down multiple times, I think I'd die... hahaha. But maybe I should try it sometime. And I just subscribed to Runner's World -- haven't received my first issue yet but I'm eager for it!!!

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RUN_LIFT_EAT 6/4/2009 5:10PM

    Oh yeah, some runs suck.

I didn't invent ellipticate, I am pretty sure I stole it from a fitness forum or something but I am trying my best to popularize it, ha ha!

Thanks for answering my qs! I am pretty sure I have that issue of RW.

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