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Slow Down and Be Mindful: Beck Day 5

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

There is a heck of a storm blowing outside our windows: thunder and lightning in the winter time, snow blowing hard and sticking in the window screens.

And I've got a little bit of an internal storm going on too because I know: today is about pushing further on the "sitting down while you eat" skill. And there is no way this is going to feel "natural".

Yesterday I did mindlessly pop two blueberries into my mouth while standing up and preparing my dessert after dinner (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries and fat free sugar free vanilla yogout). Calorie count? negligible. Better than a big hunk of cheddar cheese? or a heaping spoonful of peanut butter? Yes yes yes: give myself credit. But this is at the heart of learning to think like a thin person for me and the key impediment to maintaining without yo-yoing.

So: sitting down exclusively while eating requires more than just sitting down. I've got to:

--take small bites and chew slowly;
--finish chewing and swallowing each bite before putting more food on my fork or spoon;
--put my utensil down between every few bites and count to 10;
--take a sip of water every minute or two;
--above all: not to give in to the impulse (strong) to skip learning this skill: do it anyway!

OK, this will be tough tough tough for me. Today I'm to practice by eating my breakfast and my lunch alone. No conversation, no reading. I usually eat breakfast with my husband over the newspaper; it's storming so hard, our newspaper wasn't delivered today, which has to be a "sign from the universe" this matters!! I usually eat lunch with work colleagues while talking about work issues or life in general. Or catching up on professional reading. I do often eat dinner alone (or with Charlie) while reading another whack of newspapers. You're seeing where this is going -- a whole lot of mindless eating even when I'm sitting down!!

Lost my first version of this blog and have had to rewrite it; second little sign from the universe this matters!!

All right then. Here goes breakfast!! Sitting down. Slow. And mindful.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 2/2/2011 7:20PM

    Great job, Ellen!! You are seriously and mindfully taking on the challenge of changing your eating and becoming a mindful eater. Change is not easy. You are doing it. I love the rules you have set for yourself, especially putting the silverware down between bites and swallowing before putting more food on your fork. Good job of getting very specific with your expectations. I like the confession about the 2 blueberries, too. I find myself almost doing something equivalent almost every meal. I sense that being very strict on this sitting down to eat and eating mindfully will pay off!! You are doing great, Ellen. Keep up the good work.

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KALIGIRL 2/2/2011 12:54PM

    Isn't it wonderful to have the 'time' to savor food and give thanks for it?

As Marc Lesser notes in "Office Zen", Spiritual practice and work practice can be boiled down to two simple activities: sitting down, and getting up. When we sit down, we are quiet, observing, listening deeply. We let our thoughts, feelings, and ideas rise to the surface. We watch and listen for what comes through the cracks of our consciousness and our thinking. What wants to be seen or heard, that may be difficult to see or hear?"

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VALERIEMAHA 2/2/2011 7:23AM

    I have resisted even reading your latest blogs because I DON'T Sit.Down.And.Just.Eat. I have a ritual of eating with my friends, my SparkFriends, that is, in front of the computer. Almost every meal. I don't even have have a dining table, though I could easily enough rig something up. The Buddhist approach to mindfulness and "just this much," of "chop wood, carry water," mindfully doing one thing at a time, is such an ingrained part of my *knowing*...but not as much in the *doing.* Mind you, I'm MUCH better at it than I was years ago. And meditation practice has helped me in this regard. But my eating practice is one of the last hold-outs. I think about doing something about it, sometimes a lot, and then let it slide. I know all the steps you describe from the book would help my own challenges with maintenance. But I guess I'm not ready yet. Perhaps soon?

Thanks for rattling my cage though...now that I finally caved in and read through all your Beck blogs. hahaha You amaze me.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Building My Confidence: Beck Day 4

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Hmmm. Beck is telling me to give myself credit every time I "engage in a positive eating behaviour": such as, sitting down while I eat.

I did manage to sit down while I ate absolutely everything yesterday. Yay me!! Weird, though -- particularly while eating my tiny container of yogourt at work for mid afternoon snack.

So today I've got my "Give Myself Credit" card tucked into my purse with my other Response Cards. I've reread my reasons for losing weight. I've slipped an elastic band on my wrist to remind myself to give myself credit. I've had (and tracked) my breakfast of oatmeal, flax seed, cinnamon, raisins, 1% milk.

I've told myself it's OK to praise myself, just as I would praise a good friend and give her credit for adopting new diet behaviours. "Good job". "Great". Even though I haven't done much deserving of praise so far: eating sitting down, one day. Big deal. (Feel a bit like I'm speaking to my dog, Charlie -- "good boy". But after all, Charlie gets a lot of praise: and Charlie has become the best dog ever. So: must work!!).

Actually eating sitting down IS a pretty big deal for me -- and will continue to be difficult.

So: good job!! With feeling: GOOD JOB!! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 2/1/2011 9:42PM

    I think giving yourself credit is absolutely crucial. Glad you are sitting down to eat (yay, you!!) and glad you are giving yourself credit. Love the story about the best dog ever! Your breakfast looks super healthy. I'm going to have to get some of those flaxseeds. Keep up the great work, Ellen. The more I work this program the more I like it!!

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TEENY_BIKINI 2/1/2011 11:18AM

    Great job indeed!

You are simply awesome.


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JHADZHIA 2/1/2011 8:58AM

    Way cool! I am a bachelor and usually eat over the sink to reduce dishes and messes, but only using one hand means I am forced to sit down and eat everything now.
I have enjoyed watching Marsha using this Beck program and its interesting seeing your challenges with it..
Its never entered my mind to give myself credit for anything. Don't see the point. You just do what you have to to achieve your goals..
Good luck with it!

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Eat Sitting Down: Beck Day Three

Monday, January 31, 2011

This has to be one of the most important new techniques for me. I will struggle with it. And I've already made myself a Response Card: SIT DOWN TO EAT.

My "sabotaging thought" about this is, of course, that it's not my fault because it's "automatic". But eating is not automatic. It's not like my heart beating. I decide to eat, and I decide not to eat. Standing up is not an option. There is no choice. Not even "just this once".

I am going to notice and I am going to savour every bite that I eat.

Sitting down. Every time. Every bite.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TBANMAN 2/2/2011 10:45PM

    I am also exceptionally guilty of eating standing up. Thanks for the reminder that it's not about how fast, but how good.

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PHEBESS 2/2/2011 9:37AM

    I eat sitting down - it's just in the living room in front of the TV, LOL!

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SLENDERELLA61 2/1/2011 6:29AM

    Good use of response cards! Good job of identifying sabotaging thoughts! You are right, this is a big one. You can do it!! emoticon

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FROSTIERACES 1/31/2011 9:50PM

    I rarely ever sit down to eat unless we make a meal and then for some reason I always end up back at the counter standing and snitching at my plate! I'll be checking back to see how this works out for you. How challenging!!

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IMAGINE_IT 1/31/2011 2:19PM

    Sitting down to eat?? Definitely a "Must"..but many times very difficult to accomplish..i wish you lots of success with this step. Maybe try and set the table with some pretty flowers..or change where you sit and where you can look at something totally different while eating? I know i have a 'better eating'experience when i actually sit at my dining room table and turn the TV OFF!!! emoticon

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KALIGIRL 1/31/2011 1:07PM

    Sounds super to me - stops the tasting while cooking or eating on the 'run'.

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Commit to a Diet Plan: Beck Day 2

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Day Two: I've picked two reasonable diets. The primary diet plan will be to continue nutrition tracking on Spark, which I've been doing for some 20 months or so now: calories, carbs, proteins, fats and a whack of other nutrients including calcium, Vitamin C etc.

And in the alternative, if for some reason Spark nutrition tracker stops working, I'll sign up for a course of home delivered meals from Healthy Heart, Toronto based food service endorsed by the heart and stroke people -- so not prefab, but low in sodium, without preservatives, portion and calorie controlled and very delicious actually.

The Healthy Heart plan is relatively expensive so I don't want to go there again -- I had used it a couple time before I found Spark!! But I do know it works, particularly as re-education concerning portion size. So that's my secondary plan.

I've considered modifications to my primary plan -- because it's important to plan modifications in advance, not just on impulse. I'll be planning for 1 square Lindt 85% cocoa chocolate a day after workout and two snacks -- probably low fat sugar free yogourt most of the time -- mid morning and mid afternoon at work. Both modifications are incorporated into my calorie range.

I won't be skipping breakfast or loosening up my plan on the weekends . . . I will be sticking with my plan today even though I'm attending a party this afternoon. Now that should be a bit of a challenge but the hostess is well aware that I watch my weight carefully. She is also a breast cancer survivor, and I can be sure she won't enagage in any "food pushing" activities, so it's up to me.

I'm confident that either or both of these plans would meet with the approval of a "health care professional": didn't "consult" this time but have done so in the past.

I've read my list of reasons to lose weight and will do so again!! I have them on a Beck card in my wallet and will review them just before I get out of the car at the party address!!

Going out for a cross country ski this morning . . . yesterday's was glorious in full sparkly sunlight and fresh snow, today is soft grey with drifting snowflakes and will be lovely in a different way.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MINOUSH 7/18/2011 9:49AM

    Hi, I'm Minoush. I have finished my chemo and radio therapy but I'm still taking hormonal therapy. I'VE PUT ON 10 KILOS. I need a diet plan to follow as all my trials have proved to be failure ones. Thank you emoticon

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JHADZHIA 2/1/2011 9:05AM

    Awesome! I love my piece of 90% Cocoa dark chocolate from Lindt too :)
Glad you have decent enough weather you can get out and ski, that would be so pretty!
Saw two people actually skiing on the ice in spite of the extremely cold temperatures..
Too bad pre made and delivered meals are so expensive :( That would be so convenient..
Keep up the great work!!

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IMAGINE_IT 1/30/2011 3:26PM

    Sounds like you have your plan ready and in action!! emoticon
Adapting to a new..or different 'diet'/lifestyle is all about discipline and willpower and 'just how much a person wants to do it'...you seem very disciplined and determined to me...so i have no doubt that you will do great!!
You know you have me curious now ..and next time i am going to the Book store i will check into this Beck book!! I have 30lbs to go before i am at my goal weight and at a healthy BMI...i need all the help and ideas i can get!!
Have fun skiing and enjoy the party emoticon emoticon

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CMB2048 1/30/2011 11:39AM

    Ellen, I'm really interested in the Beck book. I hate to buy it right now though because i've bought so many books in the past. But I'll be following along in your experience with it.

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PHEBESS 1/30/2011 10:20AM

    Sounds like a plan! Sometimes I wish we had meal delivery - there are days when dinner is a bowl of cereal!

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SLENDERELLA61 1/30/2011 10:00AM

    Like your two choices! Both sound healthy. Wish we had that delivered healthy meal option here - maybe by the time I'm 90+ and don't want to cook we'll have it.

Great that you are using your Advantages Response Card. I've found it surprisingly helpful.

And, I'm in awe of your cross country skiing. Fantastic!! Naturally, in sunny Florida, that is not an option here. But I might go ride my bike on the trail or hit the gym today. Haven't decided yet.

Take care, Ellen. You are doing great!!!

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Reviewing the Advantages of Dieting: Beck Day One

Saturday, January 29, 2011

We don't use the word "diet" much at SP -- right? Because we're making life style changes and not temporarily depriving ourselves.

But I'm adopting the language of Judith S. Beck in her book, "The Beck Diet Solution, train your brain to think like a thin person". The incomparable SLENDERELLA has been blogging about Beck -- and got me totally intrigued. So I bought the book and the workbook, have read through both, gathered my tools (sticky notes, food scales/measuring cups, bathroom scales, index cards) and am ready to roar.

Beck doesn't provide a diet plan: she says any reasonable diet will work. She provides tools derived from cognitive psychology to train the brain so we can stick with that diet, or eating plan. There are two weeks of preparation before commencing a diet; she says that you would not sign up for a marathon and expect to be able to run it tomorrow, and similarly it makes no sense to launch right into a diet before learning how to stick with an eating plan for life.

The first step is to Review the Advantages of Dieting -- in a chart in the workbook -- ticking off the applicable ones.

Most important for me: to reduce the likelihood of recurrence of breast cancer.

But I ticked off 18 more from her list -- and also added that I want to be able to wear everything in my closet -- not just the 10s and the 8s but the challenging 6s --

I'd lost 80 pounds in 2001-2002 and kept it off, then gained 20 with the cancer dx in 2009: and took it off again in months with the support and resources of Spark People. And I've been consistently within that maintenance range and healthy BMI since September 2009, never once going over. SLENDERELLA's a maintainer too. And Beck is all about maintenance.

However, I've become concerned about how hard I have to struggle to stay within that maintenance range, and the number of times I've had to peel off the same 5 or so pounds. With a history of an estrogen positive tumour, even mild yo-yoing is not what I want. When I'm up in weight, I can't wear everything in my closet and that annoys me. With Beck, I'm hoping to explore the psychology of maintenance more thoroughly and feel in better control of the life long maintenance which is my goal. I want to be more confident that I am maintaining, rather than panicking with every fluctuation. I want to see whether I'd be more comfortable at a lower weight than my maintenance range.

Yup: I want to learn to think like a thin person!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAPPYNSMILING 3/4/2011 10:02AM

    Thanks for this information. I think I would like to get this book, too. I have vowed to myself that I will never HAVE to go on a "diet" again. So far so good, but I still could use some more information.

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DONNACFIT 2/3/2011 11:10PM

    This sounds great..Thanks for sharing this :)..I'm ready to take notes... emoticon

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JHADZHIA 2/1/2011 9:11AM

    Its great there is something for people on maintenance.. Not a lot out there about it. Between you and Marsha, I might absorb some very helpful information :)

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FROSTIERACES 1/31/2011 9:48PM

    You're sucha great researcher of things before you just jump in ...the book sounds good. It's cool that you can gear it toward your main goals that you have in mind. Health is so important. Size 6's...do you think after surviving cancer your body reset itself to metabolize differently? or is it just your diet? I bet the cross country skiing is going to make a HUGE difference. A healthy diet combined with exercise....cannot fail!! emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 1/30/2011 3:18PM

    Very interesting Ellen and thank you for sharing with us. You know i am still long way from my goal weight..sighs...and about to go through treatments...but i will follow your blogs.. when you share the details and your success( i am positive that you will be successful!!) with us about this Beck 'Diet' emoticon emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 1/30/2011 9:55AM

    We can do this!! You have great motivations that are absolutely realistic. You can done a great job identifying your advantages. I do find that reading my Advantages Response Card twice a day or more is very, very helpful to get it embedded in my brain!! -Marsha

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FRACTALMYTH 1/30/2011 1:05AM

    Looking forward to hearing more!

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CMB2048 1/29/2011 4:02PM

    Keep us pposted. It sounds really interesting!

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KALIGIRL 1/29/2011 12:31PM

    Very cool - I can't wait to hear more.

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TBANMAN 1/29/2011 11:28AM

    An excellent goal to have. Can't wait to read about your experience.

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GROEDER 1/29/2011 9:32AM

    Thanks for the information. I am going to look for the book. It sounds like I could use it.

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