Monday, March 14, 2011
There was "pre-Beck" (2 weeks). I've finished Beck (4 weeks). And now it's "post Beck" -- the "transition to the rest of your life" part. To which (not suprisingly) she allocates a chapter, but without specifying a daily program.
But -- based upon the comments of my fellow Beck trekkers, who've completed the program ahead of me -- I'm suspecting that Chapter 11 is the most important chapter of all.
And that's why I'm going to work through Chapter 11 slowly and consider the concepts jam packed within this final flourish carefully. It's clear that "post Beck" requires weeks and probably months of monitoring if I'm going to achieve what has so far been that elusive goal of maintenance without yo-yoing.
If only 20% of people who lose weight keep it off successfully, that seems to be because people lose weight and permit it to creep back on without deliberately and consciously determining what their maintenance weight will be. That's what I've done in the past: regaining and relosing the same 10 pounds over and over again during the past decade since I did the BIG weight loss of 80 pounds.
And so, if I don't want that yo-yoing to occur again, how do I know when I've lost as much as is appropriate for me? Beck helps by asking us to consider: what is the difference between "lowest achievable weight" and "lowest sustainable weight"?
Today I'm at 148, up 2 pounds from 146 where I hovered for several days. Oh well. Really. I do KNOW that this is a blip, because I do KNOW that I stuck with my program, without deviation. Well within my calorie range. Moderate exercise as possible (given recovery from flu).
Is 148 a good weight for me? My "ideal goal" might be 138 -- I remember weighing that little in first year university and feeling quite quite slim . . . .
What about my "satisfaction goal" -- what Beck defines as the weight at which I would be "minimally satisfied", or "slim enough"? Right now I am reasonably happy being under 150 -- into all my size 8s, a few generous 6s, wearing my "challenge" wardrobe items . . . everything comfortable. Is this my satisfaction goal? Umm -- still feeling a bit of a roll around the tummy. So maybe not quite.
(Reality check time: Either of these weights is lower than the "goal weight" of 155 SP originally set for me. But either of these weights is also within a healthy BMI range. So: I'm not over-reaching, not aiming for "model skinny" size 0 or anything remotely close to that . . . ).
Beck then asks me to consider: has my weight "naturally plateaued" yet? That's what happens when you eat a fairly consistent number of calories every day, get about the same amount of exercise a week, and your weight remains constant for several weeks.
So, no: my weight has not yet naturally plateaued. I have been very consistent with food and fitness, and I have not yet stopped losing weight. I don't want to be at a "good enough" weight for about 3 days and then start regaining. I want to break that pattern, for good. I need to carry this experiment on further, until my weight does stabilize.
When I do stop losing weight, then I need to consider: it will be sensible to do one of two things. I will need to decide:
Can I further reduce my calorie intake by 200 calories a day or so? Or can I increase my calorie burn through exercise?
After all, I do know that by increasing my calories by just 100 calories a day, over a year I will put on 10 pounds. So the reverse should be true, too: right? Possibly my weight will slow, and I will lose that further 10 pounds to my "ideal weight" of 138 if I persist with the program over the next year. Or . . . maybe not.
For now, I am going to follow my Beck trek AS IS. I will arrange my environment to hide the food triggers. I will preplan my meals, and track them. I will preplan my exercise, and track it. I will sit down to eat and eat slowly, waiting for fullness. I will tolerate hunger. I will identify and cope with sabotaging thoughts, including the sabotaging thought that I am all done with Beck: I will continue to take the time that dieting requires. And wait until my weight naturally plateaus. So I can see what that weight actually is. In relation to my "ideal goal", and in relation to my "satisfaction goal".
And then I will deliberately and consciously make the "maintenance weight" decision. Which will not be my "lowest achievable" weight -- but my "lowest sustainable" weight. And accept that the lowest sustainable weight is bound to be some pounds heavier.
And while I am waiting for my weight to plateau on the program I'm following, I will weigh every day and post my weight on the tracker. Every day. So there will be no fooling myself about being within maintenance range, and no "creeping up" into yo-yo territory again.
My maintenance range has yet to be determined. This is the transition to the rest of my life.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
In the workbook, Beck refers to keeping skills fresh: in the text itself, she recommends making a new to do list.
Here's the key sabotaging thought: "It's too much trouble to keep on doing this".
And the more helpful response: "Dieting and exercise DO REQUIRE a significant amount of time and energy".
But -- not as much time and energy as my nay-saying excuse-seeking self wants to assert!!
And: not as much time and energy as lugging around excess weight.
So I spend10 minutes a day pre-planning food and exercise -- and schedule 30 minutes cardio + ST at least 3 times a week (total gym run, with shower, door to door maybe 1 hour 30 minutes).
When I gain weight, how much time and energy does it take? Oh, yeah, that's right: I lug it around 24/7. When I buy a new bag of chow for Charlie (50 pounds) and carry it out to my car, I sometimes remind myself: until I peeled off the 80 pounds in 2001, I was lugging around way more than a bag of dog chow every where I went. I lugged it up and down stairs. I pumped blood through it. And I had to stretch my (size 18-20) clothes around it, with not a single skirt or pair of pants which was truly comfortable through the waist band! It was great to lose that weight.
But in the last 10 years, since I lost the weight the first time, I've lost 100 MORE pounds -- which would be 10 pounds regained, and 10 pounds lost. At least 10 times. Yo-yoing.
Learning cognitive strategies to make my "diet work" and eliminate the yo-yo (with all of the associated health threats of yo-yoing ) is absolutely worth it to me. Yes, it is. And I now believe that this is going to happen.
So: what are the key cognitive skills Beck has taught me?
1. Arrange my environment to reduce food triggers: hide the chips, the peanut butter and the cheddar cheese. The surplus of these foods in the cupboard/fridge since I started "hiding" them from myself has dramatically illustrated for me who (ME!!) was eating this stuff.
2. PRE-PLAN the food and the exercise: and thanks, SP, for providing trackers that work so well to support pre-planning. Still don't want to do this, still crave freedom and spontaneity ("now what would I like to eat right now") but pre-planning is very effective and supports the "NO CHOICE" at the heart of Beck. If it's not on the plan (food) I'm not eating it: if it is on the plan (exercise) then I'm doing it.
3. Sit down to eat; eat everything slowly and enjoy every bite. I was eating way too much food standing up -- food that was either "undocumented" or "underdocumented". And I've stopped, almost entirely. Eating slowly gives satiety a chance to kick in -- and now I've demonstrated for myself that fullness happens if I give it enough time, about 20 minutes.
4. Tolerate hunger. Hunger is not an emergency. Hunger actually helps me anticipate and enjoy my next meal more.
5. Identify and cope with sabotaging thoughts, including the self-indulgence which "permits" overeating because "life is so tough". My goodness, Beck does require a real mental workout. But, I can use my brains to make my life work. And I'm not embarrassed to admit, losing weight and keeping it off has given me more of a sense of accomplishment than quite a number of other accomplishments picked up along the way here and there . . .
There is more -- of course there is -- but these are my "top five".
These will be on my to do list for the foreseeable future.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Beck's important advice on Day 40 is to enrich your life now. Not to wait until you're slim, not to assume you're not worthy of the good times until you've lost the weight. But to make your life worth living in the present.
I'm reminded of lawyer Susan Estrich's wise counsel in her remarkable book on weight loss, "Making the Case for Yourself", which is to begin by dumping the granny panties. Buy yourself some pretty underthings right away -- you deserve satin and lace. It's uplifting! (Yup: literally quite often as well as figuratively, all puns intended!!)
On a more serious note, consider JANEWATKINS's recent and thought provoking blog, "Dying is part of living", in which she poignantly speaks to the attitude of her sister-in-law during her end stage of cancer treatment; here is the link:
This blog reminds me -- and it's number one on my Advantage Response Card list -- that my primary motivation for weight loss maintenance is reducing the chances of recurrence of breast cancer given my history -- the type of estrogen rich tumour which thrives in fat-tissue environment.
What's on Beck's list of "enrichment activities" for right now? When I review the list, I'm reassured that yes, I'm squeezing all the juice possible out of my life right here and right now.
Travelling: Done plenty, will do more.
Buying new, more fashionable clothes: Guilty as charged, need no encouragement here (and thrift store works very nicely too).
Taking up a hobby: Gardening, my renewed interest in cross country skiing which has made this past winter my best in decades.
Signing up for a class: Just enrolled in a mediation course which will begin next month.
Improving your work situation: Mine may be stressful but it's very good, with supportive colleagues -- and we're in a process of continuous improvement procedurally and substantively.
Looking for a new job: I love the new jobs which roll in the door with each new client-- no two cases are ever the same.
Dating: DH is fulfilling that role very nicely, thank you!
Joining a group, club or team: I'm active at my Y and my golf club, and really enjoy my collaborative team members professionally.
Going to the beach: Yes, regularly in the summer, and love living so close to great beaches.
Making social plans with new people: Regularly, including a business lunch today, a planned get-together with a "cancer support" team which has been helping a colleague very soon.
Volunteering: Doing that.
So check, check and check.
How about just noticing the abundant pleasures of the natural world all around us? Not on Beck's list: but there are birds, flowers, sunsets, dogs, little kids and so much more. The world brims over with mentions. Mentions of joy.
How about participating in Spark People? Also not on Beck's list -- but it's a key source of resources, friendships, support and fun in my life. For which I thank you all continually. And most sincerely. .
Should you enrich your life now? Find things other than eating which are fun to do? Which you cannot do while simultaneously eating? Which are more fun to do if you haven't engaged in a lot of excess eating?
Yes yes yes.
Thanks, Judith S., for helping me notice: My life is rich. I am continuously seeking out opportunities to keep it that way. And to enrich it further.
Gonna keep on doing that. More consciously. More deliberately.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Not a problem.
I'm at 249 minutes of cardio this week already conservatively estimated from cross country skiing and gym sessions on the elliptical (plus two vigorous ST workouts).
I'm a life-long exerciser, going well back to my teen years. I've changed up the times I exercise to accommodate changing life circumstances. And when medical issues have intervened, I've got right back to working out again as soon as health permitted.
I don't particularly expect to want to go and exercise -- in advance -- ever. Getting out of bed at 5 am to go to the gym -- is not appealing. But I do know that exercise always makes me feel better after I've done it: the old "after acquired motivation" -- actually quite similar to the after acquired motivation for weight loss.
Exercise is important for mood, fitness, toning. But it frankly doesn't help me much with weight loss or weight loss maintenance. I have to work way too hard to burn even a few calories. This morning, 400 calories on the elliptical took 34 minutes at level 8 because my RPMs were only about 51: and I realized afterwards that I've caught my DH"s flu (achy, sore throat, low energy).
So be it. The predicted rain is turning my cross country ski dreams to slush. And I'm not likely to get to the gym tomorrow or maybe even on the weekend, if the flu runs its predictable course as well. But in the long run, I know: exercise is not my issue.
It's all about food.
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