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Joyous Exuberance

Sunday, March 20, 2011

That's pretty much been my mood for the past couple of days, and I'm enjoying it.

"Many a green isle needs must be
In the deep wide sea of Misery,
Or the mariner, worn and wan,
Never thus could voyage on . . . "

That's Percy Bysshe Shelley, the early 19th Century British Romantic poet, from " Lines Written among the Euganean Hills"-- always just a tad self-dramatizing, don't you think? Don't think of my life as a "deep wide sea of Misery" ever -- but nevetheless, there are moments of rest and respite which do feel like that "green isle" and heaven knows we need 'em. Yes we do!! In order to continue with that "voyage on". Which Shelley in fact, didn't -- dying poetically young at age 30. Never really had time to grow up. Growing up being hard work, ongoing, never ending . . . even at almost twice that age.

My weight is stable for now at 145 -- love the way that feels. Had my size six black jeans on yesterday!! And received a compliment leaving the gym: "Hello there, skinny Minny!"

Although yes, I'm preparing for/anticipating even, that inevitable blip upwards. To which when it happens I will say "Oh, well".

Because: I'm continuing to hide trigger foods, preplan nutrition and fitnes, sit down to eat, tolerate hunger, and spend the time required to identify/cope with sabotaging thoughts.

Of which sabotaging thoughts the most frequent still is: this all takes too much time.

And to which my best rejoinder is: yeah, about 10 extra minutes a day, That's all.

Whereas being heavier than I want takes 24/7. Lugging around excess weight.

My sister and I are planning to spend next Saturday together: yippee!! Shopping to be involved. Coffee also in huge quantities. And giggling, cackling, snorting: general hilarity!

Will be fun!!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JIBBIE49 3/22/2011 8:20PM

    emoticonIt is good to have a sister.

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JHADZHIA 3/21/2011 10:34AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Well done on the lifestyle commitment!!
Enjoy your super spring!!
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BRIGHTSPARK7 3/20/2011 9:55PM

    YAAAAAY! Cheering with you my joyful friend - for many reasons, and for no reason. Your happiness is infectious and I find myself smiling as I read your blog. emoticon
Glad you are you.

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KALIGIRL 3/20/2011 8:44PM

    Sounds like you're in a great place - enjoy it - you've earned it!

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NANCY- 3/20/2011 12:04PM

    Enjoy! You deserve the brightness.
As far as when the "oh well" strikes... you have the tools to address it.
Celebrate Spring as the new you that you are,


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TRAVELGRRL 3/20/2011 10:25AM

    I too am feeling a general feeling of exuberance; could it be SPRING????

You are just doing SO WELL with the Beck book -- as I work through the Estrich book I see so many similarities, although Estrich is a little more unforgiving and forceful! Exactly what I need right now.

Thanks for sharing the link to your blog on this book; I'm definitely going to blog on this as I get further along.

Congrats on the size 6 skinny jeans!!! That is an AWESOME reward for the 10 extra minutes a day!!


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Waiting to Exhale: OK Now! Whew!!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Suffice it to say, these past few weeks I've been waiting for medical tests. Lump.

And: got the results today. No worries.

I'd told myself it "would be nothing" but clearly didn't entirely convince myself.

Because now I know: I'm feeling totally relieved.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VALERIEMAHA 3/22/2011 12:51AM


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CRYSTALJEM 3/19/2011 11:34PM

    Waiting is the toughest challenge. I'm so glad for your good news. Enjoy your relief and best wishes for continued good health.

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TEENY_BIKINI 3/19/2011 5:19PM

    That is fantastic. Waiting for test results is a major drag. I am so so so glad it was great news.


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MSSNOWY 3/19/2011 12:30PM

    What a relief! I'm so glad for you. Like dodging a bullet, isn't it?

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    Ahhhh spring.

Ahhhh relief

Ahhhh Saturday


love you.

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TRAVELGRRL 3/19/2011 9:47AM



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NANCY- 3/19/2011 9:37AM

    Excellent News.
You are not in the minority when it comes to waiting for results. It is a stress inducing situation.
I never would have known that you were stressed by your recent postings. You seem to find a balance even when concerned. You are one awesome lady.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/18/2011 9:56PM

    That's wonderful news. It's just great to get the waiting over and to have a great result. emoticon

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    Yayayay! I am so happy for you!

There's nothing worse than that waiting, eh?? :P

So glad things are all right. emoticon

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JHADZHIA 3/18/2011 7:33PM

    Fantastic!! I am so happy for you Ellen, that is good news!!! Now rest and relax and enjoy your weekend!
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SLENDERELLA61 3/18/2011 6:40PM

    Relief!! Relief!! How scary! And how strong you were! Be proud. You are able to handle just about anything, aren't you? That is so freeing. Take care, Marsha

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BRIGHTSPARK7 3/18/2011 6:37PM

    I'm so glad for your good news. What a relief! And glad you are taking care of yourself. xx

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PUDLECRAZY 3/18/2011 6:18PM

    The best kind of diagnosis. Lumps can be scary before being diagnosed, even when trying to convince ourselves there is nothing to worry about. I'm so glad there was really nothing to worry about.



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1TRULYBLESSED 3/18/2011 6:06PM

    So glad that you got good news today!! I've had those false alarms a few times myself in the past...the waiting is no fun, I know. But now, you can exhale, and put your focus back on more positive things!

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No Motivation to Run? Blame Evolution!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I pretty much just take it for granted: I never want to work out. Any motivation which I experience is always "after acquired": after I've done it. Never before.

And now there's scientific evidence which explains this phenomenon: see this article from today's Globe and Mail:


In a nutshell: we're programmed by evolution to conserve energy, and not to waste it. That's in case a mastodon charges at us just after the treadmill workout when we're all pooped out. (Hasn't happened to me yet -- but just sayin'). The brain has evolved to protect us against needless expenditure of energy. Why should I get up off the couch to run if there's no immediate danger?? All of this means there is a perfectly a legitimate physical aversion to engaging in unnecessary effort. Sounds like a watertight excuse, right?

The "Catch 22" here is: your brain doesn't function properly without exercise. So it's only IF you exercise that your brain will work well enough to remind you BEFORE you exercise as to why you NEED to exercise in the long run for other perfectly legitimate reasons -- such as preventing heart disease, increasing muscle strength, warding off diabetes, controlling weight gain. Or something like that. (My own brain is experiencing fuzzy thinking: I didn't make it to the gym this morning, still in flu-recovery mode. Will get there, though: will do it!!).

The resistance to exercise reminds me of the person who doesn't use a bike helmet. Because, presumably, no brains to protect anyhow. Gotta be the reason.

I was so hopeful when I read the headline, "Can't motivate yourself to run? Blame evolution." Turns out, however, that evolution won't give us a free pass. Still gotta do it. The motivation comes after the fact -- when the brain is working properly again. And the endorphins have kicked in!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DBCLARINET 8/22/2011 7:44PM

    Yeah, I came across this blog kinda late in the game. Might be because I was only a week out of boot camp when this was posted! But this explains SO MUCH!

I always wonder why, when I'm done with the workout, I feel like I could take on the world. Why I always feel like my workout was really the warm-up for the main event. I get through my workout, especially weight-lifting, and I'm ready to REALLY LIFT. I'm ready to turn myself into a mushy pulp on the floor. But my workout is done, so, that's not gonna happen.

So every time I go in to work out, my goal is to push myself hard enough that I don't feel like I can take on the world when I'm done. But now, instead of wondering what on earth is wrong with me, I understand that everything is quite all right!

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VALERIEMAHA 3/22/2011 12:57AM

    I just got this Thought for the Day email and it feels so perfect. There's motivation...and then there's W.Q.

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
-- Mahatma Gandhi

What counts most in life is not IQ but WQ, "Will Quotient." No one can plead that he or she lacks will. There is will in every desire. Every desire carries with it the will to bring that desire to fruition. When it comes to something we like, we have all the will we need. Someone says, “Hey, come on, we’re going skiing!” and that is enough. We will get out of bed at three in the morning, drive for hours, stand cheerfully in the snow waiting for the ski lift, and in general suffer all kinds of discomfort with a will of iron. Yet as small a challenge as a letter to Aunt Gertrude will find the will against us.

To control our destiny, we need to harness our will, to do not what we like, but what is in our long-term best interest. If the will is strong enough, great things can be accomplished; if the will is weak, very little. In every endeavor, it is the man or woman with a firm will who excels.
-- Eknath Easwaran

I think my problem isdefinitely W.Q. Does this resonate with you at all?

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PUDLECRAZY 3/17/2011 9:46PM


Darn it - I fall victim to the same phenomenon. I am counting on spring to pump up my desire to exercise.

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SERENE_ME 3/17/2011 8:56PM

    hee hee

I feel like a moron - this time last year, a day like we had today would have called to me to get out and run in it. Instead, my spoiled little brat is comparing the pittance of this brilliant March day in Ontario to the gorgeous March day in Florida and she's hanging around the house with a chip on her shoulder. I thought it was my bad attitude.

Now I can blame evolution. Thank Ellen!

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FRACTALMYTH 3/17/2011 2:40PM

    There's a mastodon behind me right now... and a t-rex... a spinosaurus... a complete dinosaur collection, in fact... in order to exercise this morning I shall have to chase at least 20 dinosaurs out of my space... but first I have to write up my legal research... which is obviously why I am sitting here reading blogs, right? DOH!

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NANCY- 3/17/2011 9:37AM

    No wonder I have felt like a hamster on a wheel.
Thanks for sharing.

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Spring Shopping in my Closet

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's too soon, temperature-wise, to wear spring clothes - but I've certainly wanted to rotate out some of the winteriest tweed and flannel things because they don't fit my mood of pending-spring euphoria! There are certain colours, as well, that are kind of autumnal and just don't feel right, by mid-March -- ambers/sage greens/golds: all the "fall foliage" tones. So they've been moved out of my current closet as well.

And while in that process, I tried on a number of spring/summer items which with my weight loss will all be wearable:

Cream wool skirt, very sleek with fan pleat at the back;
Summer cotton pencil skirt in coral; another in lavender;
Fluttery pleated yellow organza skirt;
Pale green pants;
Pale yellow pants;
Cute golf skirt, bright red;
Cream brocade skirt suit with pearl and gold buttons, sweetheart neckline;
. . . and quite a few more.

(No, no, no: I don't BUY all these clothes: I'm the willing recipient of cast-offs from various kind gfs' closets!!)

So I've tried 'em on, thought about accessories, mentally integrated them into my spring. This is an exercise (not on the fitness tracker . . . ) which will inspire me to maintain.

Because, if I put weight back on before the weather warms up -- won't happen!! Won't be wearing these spring clothes at all!!

Silly, frivolous, vain: all of the above. But whatever works, right? Whatever works!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNACFIT 3/21/2011 9:17AM

    Wow..can I come and shop in your closet, too??

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FLORABEL 3/17/2011 9:44PM

    Not frivolous at all--EXCITING! :) Congrats!

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/17/2011 4:05AM

    I'd love to see some photos.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 3/17/2011 12:59AM

    You inspire me to look through my closet, Ellen. This weekend will be the first day of Spring. The hospital gift shop where I volunteer is filled with easter bunnies, yellow chicks made from colored hydrangea blossoms, and ceramic teapots shaped like parakeets. I have been immersed in Springtime all afternoon. My closet though is mostly purples, blacks and reds -- a winter palette. I"m going to have a good look through it tomorrow and see what else I can find.

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JHADZHIA 3/16/2011 3:21PM

    What a rainbow of colors you have found for spring! Would love to see photos!! Shades of red and oranges colors I stay away from with red hair -strictly autumn colors for me lol. Unfortunately, I got too thin for my nice yellow and mint green capris sets :(
Enjoy your finds!

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JOHAL52 3/16/2011 12:43PM

    Lucky you to have such fashionable girlfriends. The floaty yellow skirt sounds lovely!

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KRISTI2661 3/16/2011 11:21AM

    Sounds fantastic! Things like this really can keep you motivated.


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CRYSTALJEM 3/16/2011 8:50AM

    Wow, it sounds lovely. What a fun and motivating exercise.

Have a wonderful day, hope spring arrives your way really soon (here too for that matter!)

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GRAMPIAN 3/16/2011 8:20AM

  What a lovely range of colours you have for Spring. They'll make you feel good - especially with the weight loss. emoticon

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Last of the Beck Blogs For Awhile: Snowdrops and Chickadees!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So if it's going to take me weeks -- or more likely, months -- to come to the natural plateau at which I don't lose any more weight, that means I'll be continuing on my Beck program for the foreseeable future.

Blogs will be more sporadic -- and (yes, I write this with some relief which is I'm sure shared by my most faithful readers!! ) on other topics -- until I get to that "staying at the new weight" point.

Bottom line: it's not just about sustainable weight. I know too that I need a sustainable exercise and eating plan that I can live with for the rest of my life.

And I also know that at my age my metabolism HAS slowed -- despite ST and cardio -- so that my maintenance calorie range is going to be relatively low. It helps to track calcium and various vitamins and minerals and fibre as well as protein/carbs/fats so that I can supplement as necessary: a multi-vitamin pill, extra calcium or D when needed, etc.

To be resisted: that unreasonable, perfectionist "I wanna be thinner" drive. Invidious comparisons of myself with other thinner people whose life circumstances or metabolisms make it possible to be achieve weights I cannot sustain. That way lies only persistent and unnecessary unhappiness which will ultimately (and perversely) result in giving up. Which will in turn result in weight gain and potentially in other negative health consequences.

To be embraced: a rich life in which a reasonable body weight is only one of many satisfactions. Together with that "oh well" which represents acceptance of the possible and the sustainable in the weight department!

A couple of cautions: Beck says she has never worked with a dieter who can stop tracking and maintain weight. She warns that in her experience "hunger" or "listening to your body" is never a reliable guide to how much you should eat.

She also indicates that those who are most successful in maintaining weight loss eat pretty much the same things day after day: maybe three different breakfast/lunch choices, six or eight different dinner choices most of the time.

That would be me: sounds boring, but sameness works for me so long as I change up the vegetables in the lunch salads, the seasonings in the dinner soups. It's my thought that spending a lot of time thinking about different recipes/menus/restaurant options only triggers cravings for foods. Better not to expand my choices!!

So: it's goodbye to Beck blogging for awhile, but not goodbye to Beck for me. I'll be staying the course, reporting back when I plateau and determine my "sustainable weight" and then maintaining without yo-yoing within a 3 pound range (Beck's magic number -- I had been permitting a 5-8 pound maintenance range, which kept creeping up from there). That's my plan. I'll be weighing daily and posting changes faithfully on my weight tracker.

Snowdrops!! There are snowdrops blooming in my garden! And I have been hearing chickadees experimenting with their "Sweet spring" call, although so far somewhat tentatively (with a few "dee dee dees" tacked on to the end . . . )

I'm loving the longer sunshine after work with daylight savings time.

Would we enjoy spring so much if we hadn't earned it by enduring the rigours of winter? And after all my cross-country skiing, I may be enjoying the winter to spring transition more than ever this year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 3/15/2011 7:28PM

    YAY for springtime! I've been enjoying the crocuses, a few daffodils, and the flowering trees of the Pacific NW for the past few days - those bright spots of color are so wonderful!!!!

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SLENDERELLA61 3/15/2011 4:59PM

    Congratulations on getting through the book, and enlightening me on every Beck topic. I deeply appreciate your well thought out analysis and applications. Great job!! I look forward to those infrequent blogs that report on your long term progress of plateauing and staying within that narrow healthy range. I feel so confident that you are going to live that rich life you envision. With deep respect, Marsha

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FREELADY 3/15/2011 3:10PM

    Uh-oh . . . if I start missing my Blog-o-therapy with you, I'll just have to nose into the archives of your past blogs to get my Watermellen fix.

Honestly, what you say is reasonable; you're moving into a new season with your health process!

I just want to say that your attitude example, motivation, insight and practicality are extremely valuable!
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JHADZHIA 3/15/2011 12:21PM

    I find that very interesting, limiting meals to a select few choices, as that is exactly what I do because I don't know how to cook. I don't have oil, flour or any other baking stuff in my apartment. I use only the microwave or my rice cooker. I actually have the same supper, egg whites with cheese and whole grain crackers every night. Breakfast is usually a fruit shake, and lunch is a salad or beans. I add cereal or bread to get grains, but only one serving as I find I get more than enough fiber from all the veggies and fruit I eat (had 13 yesterday, a bit much and I went over on fiber)
I too, have the sluggish metabolism from hell. I find it very easy to pack on weight and very difficult to take it off. Not being able to strength train is a big minus for me. I am limited to 5 lbs because of my elbow replacement and that is next to nothing :(
Wow 3 lbs range, I sure have failed miserably at that. I have gained 7 lbs in 9 weeks during my surgical layoff. A lot of it is frustrated boredom snacking not being able to do my regular activities and being restricted staying at my Mom's..
I don't think I have ever watched this much TV in my life (I don't do it at home), but that is all my Mom does in the room she gave me to stay in..
Wow! blooms already?? So envious! We are in a major melt right now, water and ice every where, but it keeps freezing back up which makes walking very dangerous.. I am loving the sunshine too, been a long time since we have had any.
Looking forward to summer more than I ever have before lol. Its been a long cold and dark one here..
Enjoy it and good luck with finding your 'happy weight'!!

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CRYSTALJEM 3/15/2011 11:37AM

    May your journey continue to be rich and satisfying.

Snowdrops blooming in your garden?! I'm soooooooooo jealous! I've still got 1 meter of snow to lose before I can even begin to see my garden! However, thank you for the wonderful spring image that I will hold in my mind all day - flowers are actually going to start blooming again. Yeah!!!!!!!!

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KALIGIRL 3/15/2011 11:00AM

    "To be embraced: a rich life in which a reasonable body weight is only one of many satisfactions."
Well said. Here's to a rich, full, healthy life(style)!

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