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The real secret to weight loss

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Yesterday I watched a programme on the BBC documenting the various weight loss gurus over the years. Two of the diet programmes that were reviewed were Weight Watchers and the Atkins diet. The whole premise of the show was that diets don't actually work and that, statistically, people can end up gaining even more weight than they started with after dieting.

This is not new information. The news really tends to be quite bleak for people who want to keep their weight off, so I got to thinking about what it really is that people need to lose weight and this is what I concluded:

Self-motivation.

It doesn't cost a thing, but boy oh boy, is it a hard to keep up that motivation.

More than that, this self-motivation never really ends.

Even though I'm at my goal weight and have been for a year and a half, I still have to make tough decisions about what to eat. The decision to stay healthy and slim is still something that I have to make consciously, and, at the end of the day can sometimes be a very difficult, and very tiring, thing to do.

Yes, we have support systems, tracking tools, etc, but it's up to us to use them. Up to us to eat within our calorie range and go out and do a bit of exercise, and, ultimately, if we want to keep the weight off, up to us to decide to keep on doing those things for a very, very long time.

** I realise this may not be a very up-lifting blog, it just struck me that I needed to write about it as I'm starting to get tired of keeping up with my maintenance and it seems to be happening six months before I reach my two year maintenance goal, so it falls into the statistic where people start to gain weight again. I suddenly understood why. For me, at least, it's getting a bit harder to stay motivated and on track. I'm actually needing to work harder at it!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MWWENSIN 9/23/2013 4:33PM

    Reallly great blog the diet never ends. That is why it's really a lifestyle change. You're definitely on the right course - eating right and exercising.

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FLORIDASUN 9/8/2013 9:08AM

    I love this blog...it's all about self awareness...we constantly have to be aware of where we are, what we are feeding ourselves, and where we intend to go with our goals. You hit pretty much everything smack on the head...you need to track you calories in and out.

I've got aways to go...I rebel against tracking...so actually I'm self sabotaging...NOT a good thing! emoticon

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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/15/2013 11:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon info!!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/15/2013 11:35:26 AM

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DIHEALTHYHAPPY 8/14/2013 10:28AM

    I agree! I have maintained a 100 pound weight loss - give or take a couple of pounds every now and then - and it seems to get harder. September 8 will be my 7 years anniversary! Woo hoo! One thing I have accepted, having once been morbidly obese, I have to spend a lot of time each day exercising and I also have to be accountable for my calories.

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LAURIETAIT 8/13/2013 1:32AM

    I think a big part of your success can be attributed to your exercise of choice, running. Poor nutritional choices can be off set with regular strenuous exercise. Embracing an active lifestyle is the key to maintenance I think. You've done a great job so far and you look amazing. Keep fighting the good fight. We're all here for you when your energy and commitment start to flag.

Insert emoticon that says: YOU"VE DONE IT BEFORE ! YOU CAN CONTINUE TO DO IT!


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KRISZTA11 8/11/2013 4:20PM

    Maintenance is so much different from the weight loss phase...
It is easier because we can eat 500 calories or more a day, and it is easier be satisfied with good, colorful tasty food.
But it is harder because it is longer, it is a lifelong thing -isn't it scary?
And sometimes it is harder to follow a flexible schedule, because the difference between maintenance mode and "normal" previous lifestyle is smaller.
I totally understand your feelings.
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CAROLISCIOUS 8/11/2013 1:15PM

    Maintenance is a tough and lonely road sometimes. You stop hearing all those motivating "Hey, you look great," comments because people have gotten adjusted to the new way that you look. It's easy to start feeling like it isn't important any more...but it is, and you can't give up.

I am a 5 year maintainer. I keep some side by side before and after pics posted in various places so I see them often. I posted a couple of blogs recently about accountability in maintaining that you might find helpful.

http://www.sparkpeople.com/
mypage_public_journal_individua
l.asp?blog_id=5367700

ht
tp://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage
_public_journal_individual.asp?
blog_id=5381955

I still have good days and bad days, good weigh ins and bad weigh ins. More good than bad keeps me out of the danger zone.
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ANATASHIKI 8/11/2013 12:54PM

    thanks for saying these things . I don't know why everybody , dieters and non dieters think that hey , you make an effort for an year or two and after that you return to the " normal" life. there is no "normal" life . maintaining requires the same effort if not more.
don't give up , I like seeing people like you , that means there's hope for me too emoticon

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Running update

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Everything is looking good for my upcoming half marathon. I had signed up for a 15km race, but it got cancelled, so I created a virtual 15km with the team 'Runner Girls United' which was one way of giving myself a goal halfway towards the half-marathon time.

I also decided to measure my long runs according to time as opposed to distance. Now I try to increase my long run by 5-10 minutes a week, depending on how I'm feeling. My last run was 1hr 37 (I was 500m away from hitting 17km, so I just carried on running until I reached it) and it went well.

I must thank people for all their advice. As soon as I started bringing water along with me and slowing down my pace for the long run all my frustrations disappeared. I felt less tired and my legs have been able to keep going without much pain at all! My muscles did ache a little yesterday, but I think that's probably quite normal. I never thought I'd ever say that, but...... I'm really enjoying these longer distances...... (I bet my old Phys Ed teacher just felt a shiver down her spine....she would never believe it!!)

I've also taken that advice that even if I can't fit shorter runs in during the week, I must still try and do a weekly long run. In fact, I've been quite flexible with myself about when I run - as long as I take a day off between runs and two days off after my long run. This has made it much easier to fit the training into my last two weeks of work. Now that I'm on vacation, I have more time, which will help.

All in all I feel quite confident that I'll reach the 21km mark. I'm so aware that I need to be careful and not push myself because I don't want an injury now! I'm also finding that all my routes (that once seemed so endless) are getting a bit short. I'm having to double up on them! In that respect I'm happy that we will be moving to the countryside soon where I'll have a lot more space to run. The city parks are getting a bit small now, and those long runs are becoming quite epic!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LAURIETAIT 7/29/2013 1:15PM

    emoticon emoticon You will ace this half!

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ABETTERBETTY 7/28/2013 5:49PM

    Congratulations on your training. Sounds like your plan is working out.

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ANATASHIKI 7/28/2013 1:14PM

    great job! and lol , mine too , I was almost half of my actual weight and couldn't run back then. I never thought I can run emoticon

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PMRUNNER 7/28/2013 6:05AM

    Sounds like great progress and a solid plan! Good luck!

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KRISZTA11 7/28/2013 5:07AM

    emoticon to your effective and safe training plan and to the great progress you made!
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Emotional over-eating

Saturday, July 20, 2013

It's just so busy at the moment. And when it's busy it's hard to keep up with exercise, healthy eating, and my newest focus: emotional well-being.

This last week I became painfully aware of the power of emotional eating. As part of maintenance plan I allow myself small treats almost every day. Incorporating these small treats was one of the things that helped me break the restrictive dieting/ overeating cycle that I was once in, and I'm sure has been really helpful in keeping my weight so steady. I've been doing this for over a year now, however, this week, whenever I was about to eat a treat, a small voice inside me kept saying, 'go on, have some more....you deserve it.....'

I've heard this voice before. It visits me whenever things get a little bit emotionally overwhelming. This time, however, I was able to step back a little and consider what the impact of that 'little extra' would be. Then another voice, the one that likes to be thin and healthy, was able to rationalise with my desire to treat myself.

Let's face it. I could have eaten every cake in that coffee shop, but once I had finished eating, I would still feel just as stressed out, as well as guilty about how much I had over-eaten. The food was not going to take the stressful feelings away.

In that moment, I was able to catch myself before the emotional eating took hold, but, as a precaution, I'm tracking my food quite carefully just to stay aware of how much I'm eating.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANATASHIKI 7/20/2013 11:54AM

    well done and thanks for the reminder , I'm in the same stress danger situation right now , luckily I have no treat here emoticon
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The Countdown to our move begins....how do I do this without gaining weight?!?!?

Monday, July 01, 2013

That seems to be my main concern. Not, will anything break? Will the journey be a safe one? Have we budgeted properly? No, no, no...... it's: can I do this without the ever familiar 10 pound weight gain?

Moving and weight gain go together with me. Then once I'm settled, I manage to lose some of the pounds (never all) just in time for the next move. I don't want to go through that again.

Fortunately, my support network for weight loss in on-line (which means I can take Sparkpeople with me where-ever I go emoticon ) plus this is the longest I have ever maintained such a steady weight AND it is also the most weight that I have ever lost. I think my habits are in place, but I plan on starting to track my food every day again (starting soon) just to keep an eye on things.

I've also signed up for a half-marathon in Belfast, the city nearby where we are moving to, which is a month and a half after our moving date. That should keep me training, and hopefully set that habit in stone when we are there. My foot started aching a little yesterday, but I think it is minor, and that I'll be pretty much on track again in a few days.

Emotionally, I don't know. I had a few moments this weekend where I really wanted to break out the chocolates. It's becoming harder to just have one or two, which is why I'll start tracking again. I've also started seeing a therapist just to talk things through. That's a new thing for me, but it's helping me keep things in perspective, which is what I need right now.

This is a big test of my maintenance abilities. And I am planning for it, but still really nervous.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FLORIDASUN 9/8/2013 9:01AM

    Such an exciting adventure...I know you will hold the course on how far you've come! You just CAN'T go backwards after coming this far! I'm cheering you onward and upward! emoticon emoticon

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MILLIFRED 7/29/2013 1:09PM

    Maintenance is scary because most of of are used to gaining back the weight. This time I have stayed at goal for one month with no problem at all and now have decided to go for another 5% challenge to lose another five pounds. I now have more confidence that when I decide to quit I can maintain that weight and neither gain nor lose as long as I pay attention. I think nutrition tracking as well as weighing frequently are two key factors, speaking from past experience. When I quit doing that before I started gaining again. How are you coming with the move?

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SPARKCHANTAL 7/3/2013 6:28AM

    you are strong, you are beautiful, and you can do it without feeling nervous, because you have the confidence to do it, i'm sure.
after all, what reason could there be not to?

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SKIPPYALTO 7/2/2013 1:46PM

    Stay strong. Moving is never easy.

Your Spark family is here for you.

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Is the first step the biggest step?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Today I've found myself thinking about how small changes in life can eventually lead us to achieving our greatest dreams. The small step approach works, definitely, but as I've been thinking about it, I realised that when I started Sparkpeople, I didn't feel like I was taking a small step at all. In fact, it took me about two months to just get myself to sign-up for the programme!!

That was my big step - taking a chance at something that I wasn't very sure would work for me. Once I was signed up, I was really sceptical that it would work at all, and I think it was only after I had lost my first 5kg that I began to believe that I might actually reach my goal weight...... the hardest part for me was starting.

It was the same with running. I look back at the photos of my first 5km and I am in awe of the courage and will-power it took to do that first run. I look heavy, and it looks like it was hard work. But, I did it. Now, I feel confident enough to try for a half-marathon. In a sense, because I have built up my faith in my running ability over the years, this will be easier than that first 5km ever was.

Every first step into the unknown is a tough one. But, in this present moment, I am so glad I took those first steps towards a healthier life. I'm a happier person for it.

It is something I need to remember as I look forwards towards the next big steps in my life.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANATASHIKI 6/19/2013 10:59AM

    great job , both losing weight , running and especially maintaining! emoticon emoticon

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CANDIK48 6/18/2013 5:59PM

    The decision to commit is the hardest part about commiting. Congratulations on starting on your journey! emoticon

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