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How're we doing, stats-wise?? Calling all SP MAINtainers!!

Friday, April 02, 2010

There was an interesting article in the April 1 Toronto Globe and Mail which I'm pretty sure wasn't an April Fools joke: "Most Canadian dieters can't keep pounds off, poll finds".

If you want the link, here it is:


In a nutshell, a recent Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation poll found that only 17% of those who were overweight and took weight off were able to keep at least five pounds off for five years. For those who were obese, only 8% who lost weight were able to keep five pounds off for five years. And I'm guessing that the US stats are probably comparable.

Why weren't even these modest successes sustainable, according to the Canadian research? What you'd expect: fad diets; too-rapid weight loss; lack of professional advice. But the number one reason why the weight crept back on is lack of support after the initial "diet" plan. To sustain weight loss, people have to stick with the nutrition plan for the long term. And without support most people can't do that.

Over the past 30 years, obesity has doubled in the 40-69 age group and tripled in the 20 to 39 age group. It's a serious health problem: we all know that. And people are spending lots of money to try and lose weight -- 42% of dieters spent more than $500 a year on their efforts to lose weight. The younger the dieter, the more he or she spends.

The article doesn't say so, but I'm cynical enough to believe that commercial weight loss programmes have a vested interest in sustaining -- not weight loss -- but weight recidivism. If their customers pack it all back on, those customers are more likely to come back to the commercial weight loss programme and spend their hefty weight loss dollars all over again. For commercial weight loss programmes, the profit motive may conflict with supporting maintenance.

So: what about SparkPeople?

Are we beating these odds? I'll bet we are. I'll bet that among those who've been on SP for more than 5 years and started in the overweight category, more than 17% have kept more than 5 pounds off. I'll bet more than 8% of those who were obese when they started have kept more than 5 pounds off. Way more. SP is all about healthy lifestyle, slow weight loss, tons of professional advice and above all SUPPORT. And SP is all about free: we certainly know that SP services aren't costing anyone anything. So there's no incentive for SP to withdraw support during the crucial maintenance phase. On the contrary.

I'm not a five year member -- I only started SP in May 2009. But I have maintained weight loss (with just a lilttle blip) for over five years. And yup, I was obese. That initial 80 pound weight loss was accomplished between June 2001 and February 2002. Seven years later, in February 2009, I'd found 20 of those pounds again. That was my blip. And maybe I had some pretty compelling health problem distractions . . . which would be an explanation but absolutely no excuse justifying my temporary loss of focus! Actually, risk of recurrence increases with weight -- all the more reason to keep weight under control .

And I knew that. Which is why after joining SP in May 2009 I'd taken the 20 "blip" pounds off again by July 2009, and I've kept them off since then. With the help of SP nutrition and exercise trackers, expert information and an amazingly supportive community I've sustained my maintenance range of 150-155 for 8 months.

When I huddle on my At Goal and Maintaining team, I regularly signal "MAINtaining!". That's my shorthand for "maintaining is my MAIN goal". And it is. Because maintaining for me is more important than ever. And because maintaining for me will always be harder than losing.

Two things.

First of all, it's pretty clear that SP is offering everything that the Canadian researchers identify as essential to weight loss maintenance. Which means that SP has to be beating those kinda dismal 17% and 8% 5 pound/5 year stats, doncha suppose? But by how much? How're we doing, stats wise? How many of us have lost weight and kept it off? How much weight? And for how long??

And second: can the SP site be tweaked to focus even more on maintaining weight loss? I do notice that some members vanish swiftly or drift away a little more slowly once they've accomplished their weight loss. Which is fine if that works for them, of course. But for those "losers" who leave, we can only wonder how successful they are in keeping the weight off without the support of the SP community. What are the stats on "at goal" members dropping out? Regaining? Coming back? And what suggestions can SP members offer SP coaches and site administrators to make the maintenance phase just as cohesive and supportive as the weight loss phase?

We're participating in an amazing experiment, which seems to be completely in accord with the cutting-edge sustainable weight-loss research. When you're losing weight, it's hard work but it's also dramatic and immensely rewarding as the compliments flow in and you can fit into smaller and smaller sizes of new clothes and you feel healthier and healthier. Maintaining can be much less exciting, much less glamorous, attract much less attention -- especially if better appearance rather than improved health was the main goal (vanity is a powerful motivator!!). And it can be a bit dismaying to realize that weight loss doesn't solve all our other problems! That's when weight can creep back on. That's why figuring out how to sustain weight loss has to matter more than the initial weight loss for each one of us. And for our families, our friends, and our communities -- virtual and real!

MAINtaining is my main thing -- and as over time SP builds a community with more and more maintainers in it, I'm guessing that SP will focus more and more on support of weight loss maintenance.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 5:21PM

    Temporary loss of focus is my blip from time to time....and yes I wish there was an exact cure for maintenance stage - it would have helped while I was there! It really is hard work. You have achieved so much :) You sound at peace with you! :)

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BRIAN36 4/5/2010 10:47AM

    I've been maintaining for about 2 years now and I can honestly say I don't think I would still be going as strong without SP. Maybe it isn't so much the information that SP provides now, but the community that keeps me here and keeps me going. The interactions with others, encouraging some and being encouraged by others. It's the piece to the puzzle that seems to be missing in my "real" life.

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TEENY_BIKINI 4/4/2010 10:07PM

    Great article.


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PENNYAN45 4/4/2010 9:26PM

    I agree that SP has something to offer that no other weight loss systems have. Having tried a bunch of them over the years - I am convinced that Spark People has a winning combination of tools, resources, and a support system.

The SP friends that I have made here are very important to me -- and to my success in losing weight. After my weight loss, I plan to hang around for maintenance as well-- especially now!!

Thanks for your informative blog.

emoticon emoticon

PS I am adding you as a friend. emoticon

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JOPAPGH 4/4/2010 9:02PM

    I know what I need to do to maintain. I just have to recommit the discipline to do it.

Nutrition tracking for me is the best and worst part of SparkPeople. It is hands down the best way to maintain but is also the first area I neglect.

I'm down 20 lbs for two years. Time to go back after those last five again.

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MRS.DOYLE 4/3/2010 5:58PM

    I think this site is doing a good job of keeping maintainers. When I joined I was overweight and was surprised that the adverts on this site showed slim people as I considered it to be a website for "fatties". Now I am maintaining and can relate to the people in the adverts as I now see it as a site for "fitties".

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WALKINGANNIE 4/3/2010 4:54PM

    Nail on head Ellen! Your analysis of commercial weight loss programmes seems (sadly) to be spot on.

I'm very happy to be in the SP maintenance experiment and a couple of weeks away has given me time to assess my relationship with SP. I know that my new healthy habits have become ingrained now thanks to sustained efforts and tracking over several months but my needs have changed during my involvement with the programme. I now know - if I didn't before - that there are a number of Friends, including you, who help to keep me on track. This is what I value most at this stage and what will keep me focused.

Commercial programmes have never provided me with the same sense of belonging to a group of like-minded people who understand and support each other.

Here's to maintenance forever!

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CMB2048 4/3/2010 11:05AM

    I have been one of those gainers/losers over and over again most of my life. And now I can't seem to figure out how to get the scale to budge again. I could blame my age now. I'm much older and losing is much more difficult but I know that is just an excuse. Lots of women my age lose weight. So I have one year until my 50th birthday and I just have to figure all of this out. Great blog. I still believe and I've said it many times on SP that those of us with weight problems are truly "addicted" to food. Just like alcoholics are addicted to alcohol. Until we realize that and know that we can't ever go back to eating like we used to, then I think your Canadian statistics will always bear out. We have the food industry actively working against us too, wanting us to eat more and figuring out ways to get us to do that. I believe that food addicts like most of us have to swear off certain foods because if we don't, like you said without supports, that one taste of a french frie eventually turns into two the next time, three the time after that until we are back at a full plate! Thanks for sharing.

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    I think you are right on target here. What good is it to reach a goal for weight if you don't maintain it?

Over the last 3 months in the program, I've experienced a slow, steady weight lose. But to me more importantly, is learning what are good solid choices for achieving my goals. I'm very confident these patterns will remain after I meet my goal. I like this new way of eating.

I would love to stay on the site all day, but I've realized that as much there is to do and see here, I do have a very active life. I can't believe how much time I can spend here not even realizing it. I must be obsessed . . .

Great post, have a great weekend!!

Comment edited on: 4/4/2010 7:49:30 PM

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/3/2010 1:43AM

    Fantastic Ellen, I'm still learning how to maintain and am so thankful that SP and community keeps me responsible for my choices. You are so right, SP is about a healthy lifestyle.

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CHRISPYLEE 4/2/2010 10:55PM

    This has got to be one of the smartest things
i have read in a long time!!

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BOOKAPHILE 4/2/2010 7:09PM

    I agree with you. I've only been involved 4.5 months, and I'm fine tuning the final goal weight, but maintenance is right around the corner for me.

I never want to go back and have to re-lose the weight again. I'm planning to keep track and not let myself go.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/2/2010 7:05PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Have just recently joined the MAINtaining team. I do admire the dedication of the people who have achieved their home weight and are staying around to motivate others. I've heard that being team leader is like having a part time job! I agree that Spark is the cutting edge of what is possible with weight loss. The community support together with latest research is phenomenal. We are so blessed.

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STLRZGRRL 4/2/2010 6:56PM

    Ya... I'm coming, Ellen... give me another minute to chisel the rest of the fatness off here and I'll maintain with you...

I have talked to people who tell me the initial SP addiction lasts about 2 years if you have a real virulent case... you can get yourself off the daily rush of spinning the wheel... getting ALL the points... being less active on the site so you can find the hours in a day to be active in YOUR LIFE...

But I can tell you what happened EVERY time I stopped paying attention... and I stopped paying attention for a REALLY. LONG. TIME this last time... and I mean LAST.

I KNOW I can't spend as much time as I'd like to here... and I don't feel strong enough to strike out too much on my own... but I HAVE learnt my lesson:

I'm going to be tracking my fitness and my food 4. EVAR...

Pinky swear.

(And I don't think I can ever let go of the very best people I've found here... a girl really can't have TOO many friends... I've learned THAT lesson, too!!)


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DSHONEYC 4/2/2010 6:07PM

    I want to join the MAINtainers club and vow to be loyal! This time when I reach goal (this will be the first time) I never want to add those hard-won pounds back on. I have lost & gained the same 5 - 7 pounds tooooooooooooo many times. You are an example for all of us out there still working toward the goal.

PS I think the failure is mostly attributed to people not really changing how, why, where and what they eat. It's a lifestyle. emoticon

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Saturday Morning -- more prosaic AND more upbeat than Wallace Stevens

Saturday, March 27, 2010

My microwave omelette maker is a wonderful invention. Today I whisked two large Omega + eggs with a tablespoon of water, salt and freshly ground pepper, sprayed the omelette maker, poured the mixture equally into both sides and microwaved on full power for 1 minute. Next, I stirred in the liquid edges, thinly sliced two fresh mushrooms on top (one for each side) and added a scant handful of fresh arugula. Back into the microwave for another minute, and then I closed the omelette maker to let it rest while I chopped three red and three yellow cherry tomates for garnish.

Breakfast "dessert" was a few fresh blackberries, three large fresh sliced strawberries and a half cup of fresh raspberries with a dollop of non fat sugar free vanilla yogout.

Visually quite marvellous. Both hunger and soul satisfying. And (let's get technical) total price just 253 calories. For which I bought 19 gm protein and all kinds of vitamins/minerals zinging around my system for sure.

Speaking of zinging there were also three cups (yes, three!!!) of black coffee. Freshly ground Columbian beans made in a French press. Served in my special snowdrops mug, in honour of the snowdrops outside my door. As I've told STLRZGRRL, coffee is my only remaining sin.(And I just wish it were true).

All of this savoured with a good read of the Toronto Globe and Mail.

OK, not entirely dolce far niente. Because this was while I fed Charlie and tidied the kitchen and did the laundry and started a fresh pot of soba edamame soup simmering on the stove.(Yup, multi-tasking r us).

It's sunny, it's Saturday, and yesterday I saw my first robin. The rotw (rest of the weekend) stretches ahead. Time hasn't picked up speed just yet. Simple simple pleasures.

What's not to like??

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 5:07PM

    wait a minute...microwave omelet maker? is this a device all by itself ...don't tell me I'm behind on yet another kitchen gadget! Sounds delicious! and berries too..yum!

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WALKINGANNIE 4/3/2010 4:41PM

    This sounds yummy Ellen.

Thanks for your messages while I've been away. Hope you have a good weekend.


Annie x

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CMB2048 3/28/2010 8:47PM

    I love omelets and coffee is also my vice! You sound happy!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 3/27/2010 11:34PM

    I LOVE the idea of having dessert for breakfast ... and berries is fantastic. Wow! 19 grams of protein ... well done! Mine was a veggie burger with beans chased down with a mug of cardomom and cinnamon tea (made by the hubs). Tea is one of my not guilty pleasures.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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FRACTALMYTH 3/27/2010 11:07PM

    MMmmmmmMMmmmm. Delicious! Thanks for sharing :D

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/27/2010 7:42PM

    Nutritionally fantastic, visually delightful and is your friend salivating, you bet. I can smell that coffee, oops no, it's morning coffee being prepared by hubby. Loved the blog, enjoy the weekend, it sounds blissful so farand long may it last.

Just a few spring tulips to add to the delight.

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STLRZGRRL 3/27/2010 10:36AM

    Oh, Ellen... you ARE living the dolce vita...

I personally killed the organic Weetabix I bought on my last Amish scratch and dent trip (12 biscuits @ 69 cents not to rub it in!) by downing the last one with 4 oz. of Organic Valley drinkable vanilla yogurt poured over top and... well... way too much coffee... not your way cool French-pressed Columbian but another of the candy-flavored packets I picked up in Reading/Birdsboro... (Butterfinger flavored... I KNOW!) while I fed and watered the hounds and started plinking away at my Spark points...

Today... I'm committing to riding Troy for a full hour and getting this hovel vacuumed before trying to get a walk in with the creatures today... and there IS this report I have to pencil whip between now and Monday... but that is a far distant point this morning...

Ahhhh. Weekends.

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DEBRA_T 3/27/2010 10:04AM

    Sounds like a wonderful morning -- had somewhat similar but my omelette maker is named Joe. LOL
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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Right up against the warm red bricks of my house, on the south side: snowdrops!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

STLRZGRRL 3/25/2010 5:12PM

    Ah, the sure signs that we will yet put this winter into the books... and SLAM THAT BOOK SHUT!!!

Jeeze Louise!!!

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TBANMAN 3/22/2010 8:06PM

    We're a little ahead of you here on the west coast - my tulips are blooming already. Glad spring has sprung!

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FLOWINGWATER 3/22/2010 9:49AM

    Always nice to see those snowdrops, as they bring the hope of spring. Thanks for sharing!

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DSHONEYC 3/21/2010 11:41PM

    Its San Diego, sunny and warm.. Working in the yard, walking the dog...I hope the sunshines for you, my friend.

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FOSSE_OF_LOVE 3/21/2010 8:18PM

    I know most of the country is benefiting from the springtime sunshine but I have to say the extreme of the snowflake against a warm brick is rather nice. Thanks for painting that picture.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/21/2010 7:38PM

    Harbinger of Spring, gorgeous.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 3/21/2010 2:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
LOVE it!
And glad you are feeling better.

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CMB2048 3/21/2010 1:23PM

    Nice and sunny here in PA. I had the golf clubs out yesterday!

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Inside the Mind of the Thin Self

Saturday, February 27, 2010

I've just read a remarkable blog by DEBRA_T called Inside the Mind of the Fat Self. Here's the link.


Please take a look -- it deserves to be voted "most popular" just because it's so clear and unblinking about all of the insidious and toxic "right now" excuses which are characteristic of the "Fat Self".

I know these excuses intimately. I battle them every day, and always will. I read them with that flash of self-recognition that signals "This is good stuff, this is true stuff".

So DEBRA-T's blog made me think. What goes on instead inside the mind of the Thin Self?

Maybe some of these thoughts:

I'm guessing that you're becoming a Thin Self when you require yourself to postpone food-based gratifications most of the time.

That would be because the Thin Self defines gratification more precisely as something other than unlimited french fries right now because everyone else is having them and besides I've had a really bad day and besides I've been so good and besides I don't want everyone else to think that I care about being fat which they might think if I didn't have them too and besides I can't enjoy myself unless I do and I deserve to enjoy myself right now because it's hard to enjoy myself because I'm so fat unless of course I'm eating so I'll have them right now.

Breathlessly scarfing them back so fast I scarcely taste them before I think about what I'm doing.

What does the Thin Self get out of this willingness to postpone instant caloric gratification?

When I achieve it, I recognize the thrill of NOT feeling bloated, out of control, despairing.

For example, waking up without experiencing self-loathing first thing.

And falling asleep without experiencing self-loathing last thing.

Although I'm pretty sure that the Thin Self cannot be noble and exalted at all times. Not likely. Because in my limited experience, a significant percentage of the Thin Self's rewards are relatively trivial --

For example, being able to buy pretty clothes. Silly shoes. Looking good. Hearing compliments.

All superficial, sure. And probably not enough to sustain the Thin Self when the new wardrobe becomes taken for granted. Or when the compliments, stop as the compliments will when people around you come to take it for granted that you're not fat. Have forgotten you ever were fat. Maybe never even knew you when you were fat.

Which is why there has to be some other much more important stuff that the Thin Self experiences. The stuff which is key to maintaining weight loss, which means the stuff that is key to maintaining postponement of instant gratification.

Because the Thin Self does not live merely Inside the Mind. The Thin Self is a Mind. But also a Body. And a Spirit.

The Thin Self is a Body which delights in the uniquely personal sensation of moving within your own skin. The delicious pleasure of toned muscles. Strength. Resilience. Balance. Endurance.

The Thin Self knows the spiritual benefits of doing everything possible to stay healthy. Because that is how we experience self caring. Which is the foundation of the ability to care for any other person or community or cause -- the bedrock of caring about anything else at all.

The Thin Self feels happy. Which is not beer ad euporia. Not a temporary instant fix kind of self-indulgence. Not complacency and self-righteousness. Because this is tough. A constant battle never won: a constant battle worthy of being constantly fought.

There are evitable disasters and irritations. These are, let's face it, an inevitable part of everyone's lives. But the Thin Self has the strength to weather those, to wait them out. To weight them out, according them the attention that they really merit, without the false comfort of eating to excess to get through them.

And so some of the time -- increasingly more of the time -- eventually most of the time?? the Thin Self experiences contentment. Conscious contentment.

An integration of body and spirit and mind.

An awareness of the intense potential for pleasure that surrounds each of us all of the time. Which is there for the noticing, there for the taking, there for the experiencing.

Just for being fully alive.

I aspire to being a Thin Self!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 5:05PM

    What a great blog to read. I smiled at the breathless paragraph as yep it's exactly like that at times, all those thoughts at once or one after another of the "reasons" I ate Easter candy yesterday and today too! Ugh! it really is a journey and so much easier to just be in my size 8 jeans though I SWEAR I'm happier in my 6's! Somewhere in between is good I think...moderation and catching that moment of breathless mindless eating. Thanks for sharing :).

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TKADEEPBREATH 3/27/2010 8:25AM

    I know you wrote this almost a month ago, but I'm just now getting caught up (a little). I know I'll always find something on your page to challenge and encourage me.

Your words speak the private "self talk" I have experienced on both sides. The undisciplined "fat" talker makes excuses and puts off till tomorrow. The determined voice that is willing to fight the never ending war overcomes by the knowledge of the benefits. The rewards are too numberous to mention.

I hope the Thin Self overcomes for all of us that are trying so hard to learn about the truth and put off the old fat ways.

About 3 months in now, I have learned that it the uncounted "bite here and bite there" that can be a problem. I've started paying attention to what I think is almost nothing and have discovered there is no such thing. It all counts and makes a difference at the end of the day.

What a great blog and great way to start my Saturday morning.

emoticon Jan

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FLOWINGWATER 3/18/2010 9:30AM

    Thanks for the food for thought, Ellen!

I really like this paragraph: "There are evitable disasters and irritations. These are, let's face it, an inevitable part of everyone's lives. But the Thin Self has the strength to weather those, to wait them out. To weight them out, according them the attention that they really merit, without the false comfort of eating to excess to get through them."

What resonates with me is that the thin self leaves behind the need for food as healing. The thin self recognizes temporary gratification for what it is. I think that's exactly what I've been struggling with since I entered maintenance. It's that I'm stuck in the superficial phase of the "thin self". The place where, the big achievements have stopped, the complements have slowed, the pleasure of new clothes is only temporary, and I'm left with a "what now?" kind of feeling. Thanks for helping me pinpoint the issue!! It's been nagging at me for a while.

We never stop learning, even after we reach our "goal". Ultimately, the thin self isn't about weight at all. It's about spiritual awareness.

I love how the spark people journey guides one through weight loss not only for the body but for the soul as well!

Excellent blog!!! Thanks for your insightful words. They have inspired me!! emoticon

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JOPAPGH 3/9/2010 10:22PM

    Clearly I'm somewhere in between the two worlds:

I ran 6.5 miles on my lunch break.

Then rewarded myself with cookies.

Then got irritated with myself and rode 45 minutes on the exercise bike tonight so I would end the day with a calorie deficit.

Still a journey...

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MSSNOWY 3/4/2010 11:52AM

    Excellent post, Ellen. Thank you. I'll go read Debra's now, but I really wanted to say how much I liked yours.

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CMB2048 2/28/2010 7:52PM

    I am in constant search of the Thin Self you write about. I've never been able to find her. My entire life I've always felt fat, even when I'd lose weight and actually be thin. But I'll keep searching!

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    Great blog! Even though I'm not a "Thin Self" yet, I'm on my way...enough so that I can identify with the changing thought patterns. Well done. :)

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WALKINGANNIE 2/28/2010 2:25PM

    This is so very good Ellen and a perfect match with DEBRA_T's.

I've voted for them both.

SP Friends just keep getting better and better at writing 'sticky sense' - things that make points clearly and in such a way that I can 'get'. My perceptions are changing as I'm prompted to look at old issues from new angles. I've never had this sort of reinforcement of ideas. It's all very powerful.

Thank you.

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PHEBESS 2/28/2010 12:05PM

    Wow - a lot to think about!

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VALERIEMAHA 2/28/2010 10:20AM

    This is such useful wisdom for me. I have not climbed back up to the 205 lbs. that I lost many moons ago, when I carved down to 125 lbs. on Weight Watchers. But I have been dangerously yo-yo-ing with about 25 lbs. in recent years. I know that, at 68 years, my heart likes this less and less (and I'm actually experiencing some odd symptomatology that slightly concerns me). All this to say that I CONTINUE to THINK FAT, I continue to behave addictively. I have difficulty delaying gratification in great Americana "I want it ALL...and NOW" style.

In addition to that, my life is multi-layered and interesting, but it also has a "heaviness" brought on by some external circumstances that I'm currently dealing with. Unfortunately this has resulted in some of my out-of-control behavior. The fact is that I have some intense challenges in my life, and for that reason good food takes a special seat as a pleasure that I appreciate and enjoy. But with the larger vision, what a crock to think that this temporary pleasure fills any deep-seated needs!

Thanks immensely for this soul-searching blog, Ellen.

Love ALL Ways,
P.S. Oh, and I LOVE following Debra!!!

Comment edited on: 2/28/2010 11:01:12 AM

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DEBRA_T 2/27/2010 10:19PM

    Lovely ending for a battle well fought, to be integrated, to know self-care, ffeel contentment and have something left over to give to others. You know you've left the Fat Self far behind when you don't need to constantly worry and obsess about yourself so that you are free to care about something else besides yourself.

You have a wonderful appreciation for how fleeting the superficial rewards are for being thin and an even better appreciation for the truly great ones.

Thanks for the Spark Goodie and for taking the time to write such a lovely complementary blog to the one I wrote this morning.

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STARRY-EYEDGIRL 2/27/2010 9:57PM

    Yes, the other stuff does go hand in hand with the trivial stuff. You have described the Thin Self so well Ė an integration of body, spirit and mind, yes indeed, and feeling good is the desire that drives us on, I believe, in every aspect of our lives! Therefore, I especially relate to and agree with, your last paragraph:

'An awareness of the intense potential for pleasure that surrounds each of us all of the time. Which is there for the noticing, there for the taking, there for the experiencing'.

I canít think of anything more pleasurable, in this moment, than the thought of you, not only aspiring to be a Thin Self, but actually being that fully alive, Thin Self.

What a wonderful blog, Elle, emoticon

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ANNIEONLI 2/27/2010 9:10PM

    Great blog!!! I absolutely loved it!! A job well done! I've thought about many of these things and you put many of my thoughts onto the page for me. I'm sure the other blog has bits and pieces of my mind there as well, but truly, this is spot on for me in the moment, right now. Wonderful.

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/27/2010 8:05PM

    Great "other half" to Deb's morning post! I think this one deserves to be voted a favorite, too... so the population of Spark People can see them side by side.


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    Great Blog - and I also read Inside the Mind of Fat Self!

Thank you for your wonderful insights! Great of you to share!!

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SLENDERELLA61 2/27/2010 7:45PM

    Wow, what a blog! So much to chew on here! (Excuse me, I think in food terms. I wonder why.) In search of self care and self love, deeper things, things that will last.... To the thin self!! Thanks for your insights, Marsha

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

It's official: one year post dx, all tests normal and I'm healthy!

Big sigh of relief. (Didn't entirely realize how much worry I've been ignoring, more or less successfully!)

And big thanks to all SP friends who have been so kind and so supportive.

One year ago I had received the bad news, was scared, waiting for surgery, wondering what would happen next, and stress eating to the point of adding 20 pounds in a matter of about eight weeks. Once I'd recovered from the surgery, I signed up for SparkPeople in May, started tracking my food diligently and rebuilding my fitness with cardio and weights.

Here I am: the twenty pity party pounds peeled off again (since July), completely recovered from radiation therapy (including fatigure) and in week 6 of 9 in the podrunner intervals training, steadily working my way back to a 5 k steady run.

There are pink and yellow tulips on the kitchen table. Despite fresh snow in the back yard the days getting longer and spring is around the corner.

Life is good, I'm feeling good, and did I mention how grateful?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROSTIERACES 4/5/2010 5:13PM

    Pink and Yellow tulips - so pretty! awe..I am so sorry I missed this blog Ellen. You've been through so much it sounds yet are perceiving even stronger. I love that...you're a great person to know here and...I too am very happy for you, your children and your Mike! emoticon

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VALERIEMAHA 3/18/2010 8:27PM

    I too am just seeing this and in wishing you the joy of immersing yourself in each moment, I send you this special blessing, from John O'Donohue's book, Anam Cara (Gaelic for Soul Friend):


May you awaken to the mystery of being here and enter the quiet immensity of your own presence.
May you have joy and peace in the temple of your senses.
May you receive great encouragement when new frontiers beckon.
May you respond to the call of your gift and find the courage to follow its path.
May the flame of anger free you from falsity.
May warmth of heart keep your presence aflame and may anxiety never linger about you.
May your outer dignity mirror an inner dignity of soul.
May you take time to celebrate the quiet miracles that seek no attention.
May you be consoled in the secret symmetry of your soul.
May you experience each day as a sacred gift woven around the heart of wonder.

-- John O'Donohue
http://www.johnodonohue.com/> emoticon

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JOPAPGH 3/9/2010 10:17PM

    Somehow I was unsubscribed from your blogs and missed this.

What great news!! Glad the running is going well and that we had the luck of starting SP the same week. It has been a thrill following your journey.

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WHOLY_FIT_48 3/4/2010 6:19AM

    Just now getting caught up on some SP reading. Soooo very happy Ellen that you are doing so well! As others have posted, here's to our health and healthy living. Thanks for sharing so much of yourself with the rest of us. emoticon

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PHEBESS 2/28/2010 12:03PM

    VERY good news!!!!!!! And yes, you should be ecstatic!

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STLRZGRRL 2/27/2010 7:57PM

    OMG, Ellen, how happy am I for this wonderful news... Happy for you... for your DH and DCharlie... for your kids... happy for all of us who are so lucky to have met you here... for all the many lives you touch...

That squashy feeling? Yep, it's me hugging you SO hard...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TBANMAN 2/25/2010 10:14PM


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CMB2048 2/25/2010 8:45PM

    Your blog is so wonderful and I am so happy you had such wonderful news. I loved the end of your post about tulips, pounds gone, gearing up for a 5K and life being good! You sound very happy!

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WALKINGANNIE 2/25/2010 1:07PM

    What wonderful, wonderful news Ellen. Life is indeed good.

Your friendship has been a source of great inspiration to me as I knew that you had faced such big health problems and were doing all that you could to secure your own fitness and vitality.

You're an amazing, strong, determined woman who has fought to be fit. You have set a fantastic example and I'm sure that you give hope to many others.

Thank you and here's to your very good health!

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SLENDERELLA61 2/24/2010 9:25PM

    Congratulations! Hooray!! Wonderful, wonderful. Here's to health and healthy living! -Marsha

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TRYINGHARD1948 2/24/2010 9:21PM

    Ellen, that is just the most wonderful news. I am so happy for you. Life is good, and you enrich every other life you touch. emoticon

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LYN-EDWY 2/24/2010 8:46PM

    I am so happy for you.
Thank YOU for being such a supportive part of SP.
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STARRY-EYEDGIRL 2/24/2010 8:27PM

    Oh Elle, that is such good news. The whole family will also be relieved!

emoticon emoticon emoticonMarg xox emoticon

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    Great blog! So happy you are doing so well!

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IMAGINE_IT 2/24/2010 7:23PM

    Life is very good..and especially with wonderful people like you in it!! emoticon I am so happy to hear that all the tests came back normal emoticon emoticon
P.S. Yellow tulips are my absolute favorite flowers!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 2/24/2010 6:46PM

    Congratulations to you! What a WONDERFUL DAY!!!

With flowers on the table, the snow outside is bearable, is it not? I know that got me through many a Michigan winter!

You have accomplished so much in one year!

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KRDRAPES 2/24/2010 6:38PM

    so happy for you!!

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