Saturday, April 16, 2011
My weight is at 142.5 right now. It may not "stick" there as my ultimate "lowest sustainable weight" (that's the concept from Judith S. Beck's "Diet Solution" I'm experimenting to discover) but my weight has been hovering at about 142 for several weeks. Without yo-yoing. Everything in my closet fits and feels comfortable, including the size 6s.
When I was 230 pounds size 18 in 2001, I could burn 500 calories in well under 30 minutes at level 2 or 3 and RPMs 50 or so on the elliptical cross trainer at the gym. I was using Susan Estrich's "Making the Case for Yourself" approach (which I still think is terrific!). Burning 500 calories per 30 minute session was then my self-imposed "double requirement"; so I had to keep my legs moving until the elliptical screens told me I'd completed not less than 30 minutes AND not less than 500 calories. And I kept that up for quite a while during my initial acute weight-loss phase, generally getting to the gym 5-6 days a week until I reached 150-155 pounds size 8. Where I more or less stayed (with a little yo-yoing of 10 pounds or so) until the cancer dx in 2009. Bumping up then a full 22 pounds to about 172. Pity party pounds. (OK, so I was scared.)
And then in May 2009 I joined Spark to peel off those pesky 22 pounds. At 170, I realized that my calorie burn had dropped to about 400 calories in 30 minutes. In other words, I had to work harder to burn fewer calories. Which was fine. I took off those 22 pounds post surgery and during radiation, inspired by the knowledge that the chance of recurrence of the estrogen-positive cancer tumour I had battled was significantly elevated with even moderate weight gain. But during the later radiation treatments and for months afterwards, I was also dealing with extreme fatigue. So I cut back to 3 weekly gym sessions. Which meant weight loss maintenance had to be about portion and calorie control primarily.
Eternal vigilance. That's what I told myself I was doing. But continued yo-yoing 10 pounds up, then back down. And up. And down. Really.
Until my weight had crept back up to 163 or so in January 2011. I really hadn't been weighing myself regularly, and I really wasn't moving my tracker to reflect the weight I actually was; I was thinking "maintenance weight range" of 5 pounds, but it was 10+ pounds, and not going back down: staying at the high end.
And that's when Dr. Beck's Diet Solution came to my rescue with her 42 day program for learning to think like a thin person. Yes, it works: it even continued to work for me in March 2011 through a significant 3 week "cancer recurrence" scare while I waited for an MRI (which turned out, thankfully, to be negative). But even though Beck works -- yes there are some permanent drawbacks . . . which I'm having to face.
Now at 142 pounds, I notice that it's taking me about 34 minutes or more to burn the same ol' 400 calories, even working away on the elliptical cross trainer at level 8 and revving it up to RPMs 60 or so. To keep up that pace, I'm using the Podrunner gateway to 8 km downloads (from my ill-fated return to running experiment) and today chose the the week 9 segment: it's pretty demanding!!(And the cardio was followed up, of course, with one of my pretty tough upper body strength training routines, plus some abs plus some stretching to sustain flexibility. . . about 30 more minutes, maybe another 100 calories or so).
OK, so what does this all tell me?
That it takes significantly fewer calories to maintain my body at this leaner shape which I prefer.
So I can either eat waaaay less than I used to or I can exercise waaaaay faster/harder than I used to.
I can take in fewer calories, or I can burn up more calories. Or some combination thereof.
But I've known for a very long time that I can never exercise enough to eat whatever I want, or anything remotely close. And it seems to me that my resting metabolic rate may also be changing as I get (sob) older!! And by changing I do mean . . . going lower!!!
How to cope? I can read my Beck cards to reinforce the techniques I've learned, based upon her extensive research in cognitive psychology.
Hunger is not an emergency. Hunger actually helps me anticipate and enjoy my next meal more. Thin people welcome hunger and experience hunger without panic. Don't eat anything standing up. Sit down and savour every bite. Wait 20 minutes after every meal for satiety to kick in.
Preplan nutrition a day in advance. Preplan exercise a day in advance. Then there is NO CHOICE about what I'm going to eat, or whether I'm going to exercise. Or, to think about it differently, it's absolutely still MY CHOICE. But it's a choice I already made. Yesterday.
So for now, I'm acknowledging that my gross calorie intake to maintain 142 is only about 1600-1700 calories a day. But that's providing I burn 400-500 calories at least 3 times a week.
If my "lowest sustainable weight" is to be 142 or so, then I've got to commit myself to continued light eating.
Consistent lighter eating than I was permitting myself when my weight was yo-yoing 10-15 pounds (while I was pretending not to notice!!). Or not actually yo-yoing so much as staying stuck at the high end of a too-generous "maintenance range"!!
Which means I can't waste calories. That pretty much every calorie I eat has to count, nutrition-wise, to ensure I'm eating an optimum fat/protein/carb balance.
Which also means that I need to continue deciding in advance what I'm going to eat day by day, and putting it in my SP nutrition tracker a day in advance to check that I'm eating optimally. And putting into my SP fitness tracker when I'm going to the gym, and what I'm going to do when I get there. (I'm missing my cross-country skiing: but golf will be possible soon! And I'm also thinking of getting my very very old bike tuned up to take some spins on that -- like the skiing, another form of outdoor cardio without the stress on the knees/hips of the beloved running!!)
Which means fighting that very familiar sabotaging thought: this is all taking too much time! (No it's not -- it takes about the same time to pre-track OR to post-track).
And fighting the other very familiar sabotaging thought: this is totally anal-retentive!! I want to be more spontaneous! (And you can be -- about exercise. Go ahead and spontaneously park at the far end of the parking lot!! And get that bike tuned up! And run up and down the stairs three times!! And try a few jive steps while the i-Pod's still running after your workout!! There you go! All kinds of spontaneity -- just not about eating!!)
Yay SP trackers! Yay Judith S. Beck pre-planning!
I'm liking 142.5. I'm thinking that this is a comfortable weight for me now.
Saturday, April 09, 2011
Do you love perfume as much as I do?
Are you a "signature perfume" type -- always choosing the same fragrance? Or are you silly enough sometimes to select a perfume just because it kinda "coordinates" with what you're wearing?
For example, Red Jeans by Versace when you're wearing red? (This is a dramatic lily-based floral). Or Mademoiselle Coco when you're wearing green? (It's so herbal and grassy.) Or, say, Shalimar or perhaps Je Reviens ("I Remember") when you're wearing vintage? Je Reviens is a classy Worth juice which has been around for a very long time and still smells great.
There's always room in my life for playful light-heartedness; perfume is that for me for sure. But maybe perfume can also be more than mere frivolity. Here's a link to a perfume company called The 7 Virtues which is creating jobs for women in Afghanistan and developing new agricultural activities there as an alternative to the growing of opium, a Taliban-controlled industry:
Canadian Barb Stegemann is the author of "7 Virtues of a Philosopher Queen", a book which I haven't read yet but which sounds most interesting, and which apparently sets out her purposes in developing her perfume company.
She wants to encourage a life of virtue by cultivation of the 7 virtues -- and this is what she cares about:
1.How adopting an attitude of WONDER instead of doubt can lead to professional and personal advancement.
2.How to obtain a strong mind, body and spirit connection through the practice of MODERATION.
3.How to uncover the TRUTH.
4.How to transform fear into COURAGE.
5.How to trust your instincts to ask the right questions in the pursuit of JUSTICE.
6.How to obtain the WISDOM needed to discover your life’s calling and purpose.
7.How to see the age-old view of BEAUTY as the result of balance and proportion in your life.
(All these are ideas which I know from reading a huge range of our fabulous SP blogmeisters are of interest to so many of us exploring body/mind/spiritual health right here!)
But the 7 Virtues concept isn't just a book or a static philosophy: it's a way of life that integrates business with philanthropy: a genuine philanthropy which goes way beyond mere "charity" to create wealth for everyone involved, drawing upon the principles of Adam Smith. Stegemann has put these virtues into action by sourcing organic fragrance oils in Afghanistan through a cooperative which has come to support over 2,500 farmers.
She's now marketing two Afghan-based perfumes: The 7 Virtues Afghanistan Orange Blossom (orange blossom with jasmine and freesia) and The 7 Virtues Noble Rose of Afghanistan (which combines organic rose oil with carnation, peppercorn and clove).
My DH bought me the rose fragrance for my 60th birthday. He'd read an article about it in the newspaper and special ordered it for me from this site: and he says that he was treated with absolute courtesy and kindliness, with the parcel couriered to him within 48 hours.
So: after all of that build up: what does it smell like? Yes, I do absolutely love it! It is very rosy and feminine but also subtle and layered and complex and mysterious and spicy!!
(The spicy part offers some consolation for Fendi no longer being available on the market -- Fendi was an Oriental that I wore very often indeed and still look for longingly . . . haven't found it yet.)
Very quickly and out of all the bottles sitting on my dresser the 7 Virtues Noble Rose of Afghanistan has quite definitely become my fave fragrance. And I do love fragrance . . .
So what's the right clothing to work with Noble Rose? I will, of course, be wearing it with my new pale pink suit for spring -- and also with a black silk floaty-skirt suit printed with tiny pink rosebuds which I've had for awhile and still like a whole lot. (Shoes for the pink suit are pink quilted leather with kitten heels and tulle bows: could not be any sillier than that!! Although the fuschia sling backs I wear with the rose printed suit are pretty silly too . . . )
I also had Noble Rose on today with wide-leg navy blue jeans and my red leather motorcycle jacket -- and yesterday with a smoke blue grey suit and rose printed scarf. This is one versatile fragrance and I seem to be wanting to wear it every day!!
I'd love to try the 7 Virtues orange blossom/freesia/jasmine perfume. Or Stegemann's next project, which will be a green vetiver fragrance with organic oils sourced in Haiti and due for release this coming fall.
And I'd love to hear Stegemann speak. She is apparently available as a keynote
conference motivational type, focusing on concepts of Courage and Wisdom as essential components of corporate citizenship. If any of you book such speakers for your businesses/organizations, the contact info is of course on the site as well..
[If you'd like to hear her too, there's a link below to Stegemann speaking about the 7 Virtues: and yes, she also speaks candidly about the connection between these virtues and obesity, something she herself has struggled with successfully but not without effort . . .
I thought I'd blog about this amazing entrepreneur and her products because I know there are lots of people on SP who support these kinds of principles and projects -- and who might not be opposed to enjoying a new spring fragrance!
Our Canadian soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan. And dying. Yesterday was the funeral of a 24 year old young man from Valcartier in Quebec, killed on his first tour of duty. Thousands of ordinary Canadian citizens line up on each side of the highway when the bodies of our Canadian soldiers are brought home, to show their respects. We have been a nation of peacekeepers, and this is a new epoch in our military history. Each death of one of our Canadian soldiers makes me very sad. Very sad. Of course we support our brave soldiers who are doing what seems to be necessary, but I like to think that there may be additional methods of combating injustice and instilling democratic principles in Afghanistan -- that the evolution of this perfume business is a parallel effort also doing its part to make the world a sweeter place. Stegemann was motivated to develop her perfume company because her best friend was grievously wounded in Afghanistan.
Perfume is lovely -- and so too is the thought that by wearing this gorgeous scent I'm helping women in Afghanistan find alternatives sources of employment . Helping empower them as they struggle for for their existence, their education and their democratic freedoms in a most oppressive regime.
Friday, April 08, 2011
Yesterday I turned 60!! SIXTY!!
OK, cannot believe it. And have to say, turning 60 is probably the most traumatic "big birthday" I've experienced since 40. When my husband had to take me to Bermuda for a week. And arrange a catered party on our return home for a huge crowd of friends. At 40 I was home with kids, having left a great job as a college teacher, in between careers, wondering if I'd ever get back into the workplace.
By 50 I'd earned 3 more degrees and been called to the bar and was practising law and was preparing a manuscript for publication. But: I also weighed 85 pounds more than I do right now. Had paid a price -- a big one -- for the stress of commuting and academics and all the rest of it.
Yesterday's 60th was low key. Started the day at the gym. I worked hard all day and loved it -- actually made significant progress in resolving two big cases that I've been working on for a long time. Felt great. Came home a little early to warm April sunshine, made dinner for DH and DS, polished off a bottle of pink bubbly among the three of us (a new Argentinean rose which is a glorious colour) and enjoyed chocolate fudge cake and wonderful gifts. (I'll blog about one of these, from DH, soon . . . because there are people here who will want to try it, I'm sure!!)
It was a very good day. Through SP I've met so many people who make 60 look energetic and graceful and powerful: Sandy, you're key among them!!
And so I'm thinking that 60 is doable! Gonna be doing it anyway, right? Will be doing it with heart!! (And smelling gorgeous, as it happens -- but more about that soon!!)
(P.S. When I changed my SP page to indicate I'm no longer 59, I couldn't enter that info without changing my weight tracker because my weight at 144.5 was below my former "goal weight" of 150. So -- put in 142. But don't really know that 142 is my goal weight: I'm still Becksperimenting with lowest achievable/lowest sustainable weight. Did preplan and track everything I ate for the birthday feast: stayed within goal too, and did not gain any weight . . .).
Thursday, April 07, 2011
Then you should be checking out STLRZGRRL's amazing series of blogs, and in particular today's "part 3".
Here you go:
What an amazingly tough and wise and fundamentally kind person is our Trace!!
I "liked" it -- hope you will too. This one deserves a "most popular blog" award because so many of us need to read it!!
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