SLENDERELLA61   159,271
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How Good Do I Want to Eat?

Friday, July 15, 2011

The scale said 125.8 this morning, right in my goal weight range of 124-129.9. Yes, I'm happy with that. I've been maintaining more than an 80 pound loss for 19 months now. I'm getting more and more confident that I not only can, but I will, maintain my healthy weight.

BUT, and this is a big BUT, am I happy with the way I am eating? Not completely. On the positive side, I always eat a great variety of fruits and vegetables. I eat enough lean protein and don't eat fatty meats. I have 3 cups of skim milk almost every day. I get plenty of fiber. I eat whole grains every day, and many days have no white refined grains. When I use oil, it is usually extra virgin olive oil or canola, and I rarely heat it.

However, I've found I can maintain my weight and still retain some eating behaviors that are less than ideal. I still nibble a bite or two standing up, usually while I'm cooking or putting food away. I still occasionally finish something that Natalie didn't eat. (Oh, yuck. Did I just admit that?) Sometimes I eat in my car. Sometimes in the evening after supper I intend to have a snack, but end up having three (like a 5th piece of fruit I know I do not need then a sugar free hot chocolate and then 100 calorie popcorn). I still use too much artificial sweetener, although I have cut back. I don't always plan my eating ahead of time.

So, I'm trying to decide. How good do I want to eat? Are there any of these behaviors I really want to change? Or should I just relax and be happy with a normal body weight?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/16/2011 9:13PM

    What your blog suggests to me is simply how much mental effort and consciousness we need to bring to bear to sustain weight loss: and you are doing that. I know you will make the decisions that work for you.

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/16/2011 10:28AM

    Well maybe you could think of it as "is this in my best interest , is it something I really want or is it mindless eating?"

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BLUESKY_321 7/16/2011 6:52AM

    Good "food" for thought, my friend!

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    Weight is only part of the overall picture (it may be the hardest, most frustrating part, though! LOL). emoticon

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MONTY68 7/15/2011 10:47PM

    Hi Marsha
I love your blog. I personally feel you have done a awesome job in releasing and now maintaining your goal weight. You are the only person that can make a decision on the food that you eat. It seems as you describe what you do that you are not seeing any increases in weight and as far as defining what you do as something you might consider changing, I think your last question you ask has the answer in it.
I have maintained my weight for 3 1/2 years, I track everything I eat and have never been over my range in calories. I will say that some things that I enjoy may not be so healthy, I still chose to eat what I want. I want to enjoy life and do not feel guilty if I decide to have something that might not be defined as healthy.
I know that you will make the right decision for you, what ever it may be.
Thank you for sharing.


R> emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AQUAGIRL08 7/15/2011 8:57PM

    Only you can decide what you want to do. I think if it were me, I would give up eating off Natalie's plate. I guess I'd do it for several reasons, one, if she were to come down with a cold or other illness, you would get it and two, I'd rather measure what I eat more closely. If I'm going to spend the calories, I want them to be on something that I really want to eat and I want to know how much I'm eating. Eating off her plate makes that impossible. Just a thought....

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JOYINKY 7/15/2011 8:34PM

    I think you're the only one that can answer that. If it were my list; I'd not eat after Natalie; used to do that a lot and I deserve better than that. If I'm going to have the calories should be something I choose, not what someone else leaves. I'd also ditch the artificial sweetners as much as possible. The rest of the list I just don't see as a problem if the choices are healthy ones. Nothing wrong with relaxing and being happy with a normal body weight! Progress not perfection Marsha. Be well.

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    I shall just wait to see what you decide emoticon

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Simple Ways

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Today the SP DailyBlog has an article detailing a study of successful maintainers. It recommends reminding ourselves of why we lost the weight. My Beck Advantages Response Card has over 20 good reasons. I don't read it every day now, but it sits on my home treadmill tray where I read it at least weekly.

The article also recommends rewarding ourselves for doing the things we need to do to maintain. The SparkPeople trophies as well as kind words and goodies from my SparkFriends are some of my greatest rewards.

I truly intend to be a long term maintainer. Reminding and rewarding are two simple ways I'll help myself succeed.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MANGOKAYAK 7/16/2011 6:14AM

    Good for you! Keep on maintaining and don't forget to reward yourself, so many people slip up here. Hugs!

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AQUAGIRL08 7/15/2011 9:13PM

    You are so right! When ever we feel frustrated we need to remember how far we've already come and why we originally made the effort to begin with.

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KALIGIRL 7/15/2011 12:42PM

    Here's to reminding and rewarding!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/15/2011 9:59AM

    I agree, especially the reminding part, once at goal that isn't as strong as when we are losing.

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SEPPIESUSAN 7/15/2011 7:49AM

    Thank you for mentioning the article - I'm a day late, but hopefully I can still find it - I can't yet call myself a successful maintainer, but I absolutely want to be one someday, so I want to read this article!! Congrats on being a successful maintainer yourself!

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_LINDA 7/14/2011 10:20PM

    So happy I found someone as amazing as you to share this journey with and to maintain! Inspiring someone to go for it is reward enough for me. I enjoy watching my Spark buddies stretch out and grow and have successes in their journeys..

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MIRAGE727 7/14/2011 9:31PM

    Since I started maintaining, I've learned a lot of what you have mentioned. It does make the journey a lot easier and more exciting to carry on. Glad to be on the walk with you, Marcia!

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WATERMELLEN 7/14/2011 7:44PM

    I'm going to maintain going forward forever!! Yeah!! And I'm sure you'll be maintaining right beside me!!

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FROSTY99 7/14/2011 4:46PM

    emoticon emoticon

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    I too intend to be a long-term maintainer!

We can do it!!

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-PAULA 7/14/2011 3:52PM

    It's the great blogs from great mainainers like you that inspire those of us trying to "get there". Thanks for your motivation!

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JOYINKY 7/14/2011 3:19PM

    Health is my greatest motivator! Life is a lot more fun now.

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JOHAL52 7/14/2011 2:56PM

    I hope to return to maintenance in the next month. I feel exactly as you do.

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Good Find and Feeling Good

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

I found a step -- like the kind they use in step aerobics -- in our thrift store for $2. So I have new possibilities for exercise in the living room, especially while I'm watching TV. I hope to find some of the square parts (are they called risers?) to make it taller.

If you read yesterday's blog, don't feel too sorry for me. Calling it "lower back pain" is an overstatement. Mild discomfort is more accurate and even that is improving. I had some treatment today and was told I could still run, so I ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill. Felt good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AQUAGIRL08 7/15/2011 9:22PM

    I love thrift stores! I get some of my best "treasures" there!
I'm glad you're still running!

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KALIGIRL 7/14/2011 8:52AM

    Have fun with your new exercise toy!

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DONNABRIGHT 7/14/2011 7:43AM

    Gotta love those thrift stores!

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_LINDA 7/14/2011 1:23AM

    Great find!! I have had my step for a long time now, and have risers for it, but don't know if you can buy them separately. Check online with the used resale places. Good luck with it and enjoy!!
So glad your back wasn't too serious, way to go with the treadmill!

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TBRANCH2 7/13/2011 9:30PM

    great deal on the step! See the fun you can have shopping once you retire!!?? lol Congrats on the run and remember to take it easy on the back...we have to look after our team mascot!!! lol

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FROSTY99 7/13/2011 8:50PM

    That is where we got our step! We originally bought ours as an extra step for our 5th wheel and then I started to use it when I started working out at Contours. They are great.
Glad the back is feeling better.

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ANNIEONLI 7/13/2011 8:23PM

    Yay!!! Love a bargain!!!
Good news on the back! Slow & Steady!!!!

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WATERMELLEN 7/13/2011 7:57PM

    I love a great deal -- yay thrift stores!!

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JOYINKY 7/13/2011 6:25PM

    I love thrift shopping and making a great "find"! Have fun!

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    Awesome on the step! I paid way more than that at when I bought mine!

WTG on your back!

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SASSYCHRIS1952 7/13/2011 5:42PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Water Exercise

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

I have 3 running books by well respected running experts. Each lists many issues that can arise due to running, but not one of them mentions lower back pain. So I thought it was just me. But then yesterday, while reading a SparkPeople article I read, 'Runners often times feel pain in their lower back from the tightening of their hips caused during a running motion. " It recommends 3 back-strengthening exercises. However, one of them, the back extensions on the ball, is what I was doing when my back first started bothering me.

So today I went to the Healthy Back water exercises at the YMCA. It wasn't really cardio and wasn't really strength training, mostly stretching with some ab work. Not sure if it is going to solve my lower back pain or not, but I think it is worth a try. Next time I need to go earlier and do cardio first or stay and do lap swimming after. This time I left my house at 9:20, didn't get home until 11:30, and hadn't exercised. Perhaps I'll walk tonight.

If you are interested in the SparkArticle I cited, Ouch! Avoiding the Aches and Pains, check it out:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 7/13/2011 12:10PM

    emoticonfor posting the article, I hadn't read it.
Hope your back is better soon!

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_LINDA 7/13/2011 12:41AM

    A back is a touchy thing I sure know that. A good strong core and specific exercises for the lower back are the only way to go. Maybe this water class will help, I sure hope so, wish I had something like that here for my chronic lower back problem. I agree with massage, or best, getting physiotherapy -those guys perform miracles! I hope you solve it! Feel better soon!

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WATERMELLEN 7/12/2011 9:21PM

    I hope those back exercises help!!

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JANEWATKINS 7/12/2011 7:33PM

    I'm shocked by the benefits of water. Yesterday I rode the stationary bike like a mad woman (think Biggest Loser, peddling for $100,000). I burned 270 calories in 20 minutes (according to My Fitness). I then swam laps for 15 minutes, American crawl one way and backstroke the other, AND that burned 275 calories. Five minutes less time and 5 more calories. Amazing. Good old water!

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FROSTY99 7/12/2011 6:26PM

    Before my dh had back surgery, he did 12 wks of PT in the water-they wanted first to see if it would relieve the pain and if not to try to strengthen it before the surgery. It did help but did not get rid of the pain-hence he eventually had surgery.

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MNNICE 7/12/2011 5:42PM

    Great timing, as my lower back has been nagaging a bit the last few days. From time to time I go to a chiropractor and have him stretch and stimulate the muscles (no "cracking" allowed!), but I haven't had to go for over 3 years now. Hoping I can work it out on my own! Interestingly enough, I had been a bit lax on the core exercises while I was on vacation, and perhaps that had something to do with it.....

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    There is a Daily Spark today about Hamstring problems that can also cause lower back pain.

Sorry you are hurting - I hope you find the solution.

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PMFISH 7/12/2011 2:27PM

    A good massage also helps loosen the lower back if you have a good massage therapist.


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Not Cheating (Warning: For Die-Hard Trackers Only)

Monday, July 11, 2011

From time to time, usually as I'm measuring foods to be tracked, I have wondered if I have been consistently cheating. Today I took the time to experiment to answer my own question, at least for this particular situation.

The question that I've pondered without answering for months - if not years - is whether the water/liquid in the can is included in the nutritional information. Today I took a can of low sodium pinto beans. I poured off the liquid which was about 1/4 cup. The label reported that the can contained 3.5 half-cup serving. So, you would expect it to hold 1 and 3/4 cups beans. When I measured the can, it held 2 full cups of water.

So, I'm thinking that when I measure out 1/2 cup of beans the nutritional info should be correct. I was concerned that if the liquid was to be counted and I always just selected the beans that I was repeatedly getting more calories and nutrients than I was tracking. Now I need to confirm this observation with several cans.

Yes, I know this experiment is bordering on the obsessive. Yes, I know that the answer for fruit in juice or syrup is different since the juice is actually higher in carbohydrates and calories than the fruit pieces. Yes, I know I don't have to be precise in order to succeed. Yes, I know all of those calorie listings are really estimates.

Nonetheless, I found it quite satisfying to find this particular answer today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEPPIESUSAN 7/13/2011 6:54PM

    I went through a phase of being kind of obsessive about it all..I used to weigh an apple before I ate it, then weigh the core after I was done, and subtract what I didn't eat from what I did, and Spark-track the grams of apple eaten. Now I just go under apples and choose "small," "medium," or "large." Ultimately the scale will tell you if you're eating the right number of calories or not!

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MNNICE 7/12/2011 5:02PM

    I've found, too, that there seem to be so many discrepancies. Sometimes tracking can be very tedious - but at least for me, it's a necessarily evil! emoticon

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BLUESKY_321 7/12/2011 3:51PM

    It's all about being aware! And keeping engaged!

And you are obviously both! emoticon

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KAZINMICH 7/12/2011 2:06PM

    This is something that drives me insane!!! I'm constantly going, how much, what does it say, what am I actually eating?? GRR! Pasta is incredibly frustrating. I always try to err on the side of caution, it's just so frustrating. I took the last month off from tracking altogether! I'm starting back up again in hopes of losing another 50+ lbs.

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JOHAL52 7/12/2011 2:02PM

    2 cups of water or 2 cups of beans?

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 7/12/2011 1:16PM

    I find measuring by weight to be less ambiguous.

Amusingly enough, with some items the weight reported on the front of a can of tuna is sometimes different from the weight reported in the nutrition facts for "contents of can."

The difference is the water the tuna is packed in. So if I'm not actually weighing stuff but going by the label I always go by the nutrition facts version.

And yes, I do sometimes compare the weight of an item with the "serving" listed on the package. Sometimes it is quite different. If it's very different I go by the amount my scale says is there rather than the package estimate.

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AQUAGIRL08 7/12/2011 12:59AM

    Every once in a while I do the same thing. I've found several off brands that were on sale where it didn't measure correctly. My guess is that that was the reason why they were on sale. Generally the name brands were accurate with the amount printed on the box.

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    I do the same kinds of things, hehe!
It especially freaks me out if it is something I eat often over a long period of time.
If I have to estimate something (like restaurant food), I estimate high, just in case. I like to think it balances out other possible miscalculations.

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MISTYRIVER64 7/11/2011 6:29PM

    When we take the time to verify what we are being told (be it information about our world or something about our food) we are doing ourselves a great service. Sharing it means you are doing everyone a great service. Thanks

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SUSIEMT 7/11/2011 4:50PM

    Well, now I know why you look so good! You take nothing for granted! Spark on my friend! Sometimes I like being in the dark and leave those touchy questions that might lead me to a higher calorie count alone. Maybe that is why I never have pasta!:)

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WATERMELLEN 7/11/2011 4:24PM

    I don't think you are obsessive: fact is, that relatively small calorie "excesses" (100 calories a day) add up to . . . 10 pounds a year . . . which compound over the years to 50 pounds, 70 pounds and so on.

And: when you see how much effort is required to burn even 50 calories on the elliptical cross trainer . . . well then!!

Your diligence and attention to detail is what has made you successful, and what indicates you will continue to b successful!!

I rinse canned fruit (the way Linda describes -- although I eat that very seldom) and I rinse the beans carefully too, mostly to get rid of any of the BTH (or whatever it is) plastic from the can liner, plus any excess salt. Never do use the liquid in the can, always just the rinsed beans (and I do eat a lot of canned chickpeas, lentils, black beans etc.).

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_LINDA 7/11/2011 2:37PM

    My bug was this. A package of macaroni said it contains 170g. A serving size is 71g of dry mix (about 1/3 the package) that the nutrients are given for. Can you see this math does not add up??? It should contain 210 grams then!! It would be kind of hard trying to measure three separate servings, one being not big enough dry, then make it up. Problem with pasta is it varies so much depending on whether you like it firm or soft :(( so measuring the cooked product is just a crap shoot. I agree measuring is not precise. In regard to canned fruit, rinse the fruit thoroughly with water so you get no extra calories from the juice or syrup water and then you can count the fruit separate.
It does make you stop and think why some people may be struggling..

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CONTENTCHRIS 7/11/2011 1:45PM

    Hey good call. When in doubt i always lean towards the high side ..meaning if the can says 150 and the juice may or may not count ..i count it...but I am a guy and have a few hundred more calories that I can partake in as well...

Love your Art outside picture background !

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T2SEE140 7/11/2011 1:28PM

  Great thought! I had thought of this as well. There have been too many times where a can of soup says "about two servings" and when I measure it is only one and a half servings, talk about cheating!

I myself use my own measuring tools and the nutritional information on the container and do not worry about the servings. There are too many times that I don't use the juice/fluid. I figure that I am still losing weight so my measuring style works for me.

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TINYFRIEND615 7/11/2011 1:27PM

    I think this is interesting. I had never though about that before. I get especially confused with tracking pasta!

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 7/11/2011 12:54PM

    Obsessive? Yes. Can I relate - ABSOLUTELY!

I went through the same thing with measuring frozen or cooked emoticon
and decided that I prefer the cooked measuring!

If you take a cup of frozen mixed veggies and then cook them, you will not have a cup of cooked veggies. So which is it?

I will be interested to see what you decide with your beans!

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MIRAGE727 7/11/2011 12:51PM

    I totally appreciate where you are coming from, Marcia. It's good that we are at least in close proximity in our tracking. After all, we are somewhat accountable.
Yes, I believe that we could be inadvertently "cheating" ourselves. But we are only as accurate in our recording as our data is. (I have a separate issue with some of the shaky user food calorie input/serving available in Nutrition as well.)

Since, I started Sparking, I have also purchased a food scale. That helped me a lot on portions among other measures. Obsessive? No, I think we just care. Thanks for sharing and I really enjoyed the insight.

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KIM--POSSIBLE 7/11/2011 12:35PM

    I wonder the same thing, but have always just counted the measured food I actually ate. I have measured the grapefruit in a container, and found that there was less actual fruit than the number of servings listed, so I would assume that the liquid would have to count. I haven't actually measured the liquid, though, to test that theory.

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