Thursday, October 17, 2013
I was thinking about the last time I got off track with my food choices. What caused me to get derailed from my good intentions? One of the problems was not eating enough protein at meals and then the Munchies Devil would attack and I would eat anything that was available. So I make sure that I have egg whites at breakfast, keep lean cooked turkey in the freezer for snack, and have kidney bean salad with my lunch. This really helps when the munchies attack, I am better able to pick better portions. Before I would overdo the amount of peanut butter, but now I measure it out and spread it on low calorie crackers. A small change but has a big payoff in total calories during the day.
The Sugar Monster would attach at almost any time and I would snack on anything sweet, but I keep individual applesauce servings in the refrigerator and go for one of them first. Then if I still want something sweet like chocolate or a cookie, I find that I can limit the amount I eat.
In figuring out maintenance, it is clearly important to find strategies that will work every day and that I can live with. Just saying no doesnâ€™t work but having some easy, acceptable alternative helps me with making good choices. It is too easy to slip in extra calories and then slide down the slippery slope back to weight gain. Small changes becoming habits will be a part of my success. I need this to help ward off the Munchies Devil, the Binge Demon, the Emotions Beast and the Sugar Monster.
It is all about calories and being happy with the calories I eat. Maintenance is definitely different than losing weight.
Friday, October 11, 2013
First thanks to everyone who liked my blog and made it a Featured Blog Post and thank you for voting me a Motivator. It really does mean a lot when someone posts a comment and shares their story. Thank you.
In my continuing process to figure out how to keep myself healthy and at a good weight, I realized that the After-You-Get-To-Goal is just the beginning of another phase. As I thought through this I have spent some time “getting in touch with my feelings.” How many times have I been through a workshop --on all sorts of topics -- that the leader has brought this up? Often it is easy to be active during the exercises during the workshop or training but it is really, really hard to apply different strategies during the chaos and messiness of day to day life. But it has become apparent to me that keeping the weight off is partly about managing the feelings that food evokes.
I see apple pie and lemon meringue pie and it reminds me of helping my mom in the kitchen when I was young. Hot dogs, hamburgers, potato chips, fried chicken and potato salad bring back pictures of picnics and big family gatherings. A simple thing like the smell of beef stew with dumplings cooking on the stove on a cold winter night is very comforting. Pumpkin pie is all of those Thanksgiving and Christmas family gatherings. Nowhere does a bowl of broccoli bring up memories (unless it is a wonderful high fat cheese casserole). So whether I am happy, sad, stressed, bored, angry, lonely, nostalgic or ecstatic there is some food that will help reinforce my feelings or bring me comfort while I work through them.
What I realized as I work through the first part of maintenance is that I have to give up the foods that are tied to my memories because many of the foods do not fit into my healthy lifestyle. So my first reaction was total DISBELIEF that I could not go back to the way I ate before and it made me very angry. I have to permanently Change my Food choices. As I worked through these emotions in my blog it seemed that the Stages of Accepting Change really apply. I found the list on the Internet and have rewritten them to apply to me.
The Stages for maintenance are:
1. Shock and Anger, I learned that Change in Food Choices is permanent and I still do not get the 20 year old body back.
2. Denial, I wanted to be in a comfort zone, it will be different for me “I can still eat all the cheese I want”.
3. Depression, feeling depressed and negative about giving up foods I love to eat and only having them occasionally in small amounts if I really want to keep the weight off.
4. Insight and Acceptance, realizing that without Change in Food Choices, the road will lead me back to an unhealthy place while Change in Food Choices leads to a real chance of success and I am in charge of making those choices
5. Learning and Actualization, a positive mind state, adapting and figuring out strategies for Change of Food Choices and incorporating them into a healthy balanced life
I can see that in previous weight loss situations, I had never worked through the phases and really got stuck at number 2 or number 3. I am working through the Depression of giving up foods I have always loved to eat and working into Insight and Acceptance. Part of this process is learning to cherish the memories but not indulging in the calories. Also, it is about recognizing emotions and acknowledging them with something other than food. And recognizing hunger and choosing wisely most of the time trying to push out the Food Demon (Eat both donuts!) from my healthy self-talk (Have some fruit and ˝ of a donut).
What struck me as I read through the comments was how many Sparklers have moved to the learning and actualization state. It doesn’t mean that maintenance is always easy. But the bottom line is you’re weight’s always going to creep up. You just have to keep pushing it down. We have to do the best we can with whatever information is available and what we accept about ourselves. You can read through all the wonderful comments but these are the ones that really resonated with me. Thank you all for sharing I posted your Spark name at the end of the comment.
SOME THOUGHTS ON CHOICES
Stick with what you know is truly fair and that you can live with for a long time. It really doesn't have to be a terrible struggle every day. OOLALA53
But I think in the end it is about doing the best that we can do to stay healthy without killing ourselves or injuring ourselves to lose the fat. HMAZIS
Fortunately as humans we've got free will and intelligence and grit, and we get to decide if something is worth the effort. 4A-HEALTHY-BMI
It is clear that the same rules for weight loss apply whether you're 30 or 60 -- reduce your calorie intake and increase your activity level. TORTISE110
Mother Nature can be such a meanie, but I will accept a healthy body and organs and let the shapers and camouflaging clothing handle the appearances! We will not give up, even though time is definitely not on our side! MNNICE
I can totally relate to what you say. It's the same for me. Losing weight means exercising my butt off - literally- and starving myself to death - literally. LOL. I have scaled back my expectations. MORTICIAADDAMS
I just keep moving and strength training at a moderate rate. I have stopped focusing on the scale number and rely on how I look and feel in my clothes. RACINGTODOIT
I enjoy and appreciate my new body, my new muscles. I'm not going to lose sleep over what I have not achieved so far! NICKYCRANE
I have learned to enjoy my cup of lasagna, and just a tablespoon of each component in a Cobb Salad. The one upside, I guess, is that time seems to pass faster at my age, so "a couple times a year" doesn't feel so onerous. NELLJONES
But I do more than an hour of exercise daily, including ST and I really watch what I eat. I am a size 8, but if I don't watch that will become a 10 again, and I gave all those clothes away. I think that it is important to watch what I eat and how much I exercise to make sure I feel and look good. I am 59 1/2 and find that every year it gets harder. But I work harder. LRSILVER
I hope I will be able to make good choices and live a healthy life and be content and satisfied with how I look, belly fat or no belly fat. I think the most important thing is how healthy I am and to continue to make healthy food choices and keep portion controls in check, and from there I'll take it one day at a time. OFFICECHIK
I am not in my 60s yet but as I creep into my 50s I am feeling all of the things you wrote here. It is really hard to maintain that first initial goal weight as we age and Mother Nature pulls her fast ones on us all. Great glob! Thanks for sharing. ISHIIGIRL
I refuse to live my life worrying about every mouthful of food. OOLALA53
Do I cut out all of the foods I enjoy across the board or do I eat healthy and enjoy some of my favorites, too? At my age, I'm thinking of enjoying my life a little more but I'm not liking the numbers on the scale or on my pants. My goal needs to be healthy not thin! BETHGILLIGAN
Thursday, September 19, 2013
What started me looking at the problem of age and persistent belly-fat was that I had targeted 157 as a good goal weight. The last time I was there I looked pretty good and fit into a size 12. Well I made it!!!! And I do fit into a Size 12 but there is a lot of belly fat hanging around which wasn’t there the last time.
On one Message board someone posted “Cardio, strength training, and eating well have gotten rid of most of my belly fat. AT BMI 25 I had a lot of belly fat. At BMI 20.4 I have very little.” I tried to figure out how much I would need to lose to reduce my BMI and this is what I found:
Past: 185 BMI = 30.8 Ate anything I wanted and just a little exercise (Size 16 a bit tight)
Now: 157 BMI = 23.7 Eat 1450-1550 calories, keep to 47 or less fat grams, moderate exercise 5 days, strength training 2 days (Size 12, tight around the waist)
Maybe: 150 BMI = 22.8 Eat 1350-1450 calories, keep fat grams under 45, increase cardio intensity, exercise every day, work up to heavier weights
I haven’t been at 150 for quite a while and although I believe that I can work down to it, the maintenance is going to be very difficult. Right now I am struggling with staying in my calorie range for 157 and finding a level of exercise I am going to do regularly from now on. Anything lower than 150 is just not worth it to me.
I have read through a lot of SP articles, blog and team/message posts and it is clear that the same rules for weight loss apply whether you're 30 or 60 -- reduce your calorie intake and increase your activity level. But in looking at the problem of my repeated weight gains between 50 and 60 it is clear that my body is different in my senior years than it was when I was younger. In reading about the after 50 woman, I found that as you age, your metabolism slows -- by up to 10 percent per decade after age 25. That means you may take in the same number of calories and exercise just as much as you did in your 30s, but the weight still creeps on.
Although your estrogen levels may be the same as they were in your 50s, you're still losing muscle due to aging. That further slows your metabolism, which is why belly fat continues to be an issue. As you lose bone mass, you become shorter. Because there's no place for your organs to go, your abdomen protrudes. What this means is that as you shrink your BMI numbers change. If you were 5’6” and 150 pounds your BMI is 24.2 in the normal range. If you have shrunk a little to 5” 5” and still 150 pounds, your BMI is now 25 in the overweight range. And since you have lost muscle that extra is in fat which is probably around your middle because you are a woman.
One article suggested that to avoid gaining weight, the rule of thumb is that for each decade past 40, you should consume about 100 fewer calories EACH DAY. That’s because metabolism—the rate at which your body burns calories—gradually slows down as you age. So it means that you need to fight the encroaching belly bulge by reducing your caloric intake even further and keep up your exercising. If you think walking to the mailbox is cardio, then you are in for a big surprise.
In another article it said that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) is best at blasting belly fat. “Research has shown that women who did 20 minutes of HIIT 3 time a week burned more fat than women who exercised at a moderate pace for 40 minutes 3 times a week.” To do this you need to do work up to doing 25 minutes of HIIT 3 to 6 days a week. SP has a lot of articles on HIIT and it isn’t for sissies. (www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness_arti
Thinking about doing cardio is easier than doing cardio after 60. As I have aged, I find that I am not as flexible, it takes longer for me to recover from intense cardio, my joints ache a lot more and it is much easier to get hurt. So being active is great but there are limits.
As for reducing calories, it really means that you must give up sugar, all refined carbs, limit red meat and really watch the amount of fat you eat. And by age 60 I should be eating at the low end of my calorie range which is not a lot of food in a day and there is almost no room for fun food. Even if you plan out your calories to splurge at one meal, you still have to eat small amounts (think Thanksgiving!! ). There are 408 calories in 1 cup of Lasagna with Meat. Who eats only a serving of lasagna that fits into a cup? You can check on your favorite fun food.
One recommendation was when eating a Cobb salad (egg, blue cheese, bacon, dressing, maybe avocado) besides the lettuce and tomatoes only choose two items. It isn’t a Cobb salad at that point! But that is what it takes to reduce down the belly fat.
So where does all this information leave me? Really unhappy because it means that if I like being at my current weight I have to really watch what and how much I eat every single day and be committed to a regular (no excuses) exercise program. If I want to lose a little more belly fat, I have to eat even less and add in more minutes of cardio exercise.
I am very happy at having lost the weight and SP and the Sparklers have really made it possible. What I am now doing is exploring what I am willing to do to maintain and again SP really helps to think it through. So many other programs don’t really give you the tools you need to work out the problems of maintenance. So I am grateful for having lost the weight, feeling better, having more energy, being healthy and getting into a size I like. I just wish Mother Nature had thought this aging thing through a little better.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
I have gotten to a weight that I plan to stay at for a little while and have increased my exercise minutes. These cravings come over me like wanting a big fat cinnamon roll. Or the need to go out and find some lasagna to have as a snack. I have increased the amount of carbs I am eating because that seems to be what I am craving. So now I have planned more potatoes, pasta, rice and bread into my day. That seems to help, along with a little more protein. Trying to redirect those cravings to healthy foods.
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