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How Do I Get this Weight Loss MOVING? One Approach

Thursday, April 21, 2011

CMB2048 posted a recent blog asking "How do I get this weight loss moving?" It was a heartfelt plea from a person who's really struggling and who is making huge progress with regular strength workouts, but time pressed at work and having trouble with the nutrition piece.

Here's the link:


And: here's my reply, for whatever it's worth:

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" Try eating the "same" thing every day -- I do. Have never used the SP menu planners; don't cook really either, and almost never bake.

Breakfast: microwave oatmeal (2 minutes); or microwave omelette (3 minutes: Omega3 Natureggs and Simply Egg White). I change these up with different seasonings: flaxseed and raisins and cinnamon or cocoa and walnuts in the oatmeal. Maybe Kashi Go Lean for a change; always low fat milk with the cereal. Or low fat feta and spinach with Greek seasoning or maybe asparagus and a little parmesan and Italian seasoning in the omelettes. And salsa. There are lots of varieties!!

Lunch: huge leafy green salad of arugula or spinach or mesclun plus huge range of bright veggies (carrots, sugar snap peas, raw beet, radish, brussels sprouts or broccoli, cucumber, red pepper, tomatoes) plus lean protein (chicken/shrimp/chickpeas) plus small amount low fat salad dressing. NO croutons, no highfat cheese or meats, no creamy rich dressings. Maybe half an avocado once in a while. And afterwards, chopped mixed fruit -- huge range of bright choices: kiwi, pineapple, frozen mixed berries, frozen mango chunks, cherries, grapes, clementine. Rarely pear, banana. Different every day, but it's always salad and fruit. Make the salads and fruits the night before and it takes me 10 minutes tops. All ready to take to work in the morning.

Supper: every Saturday morning I make a huge pot of veggie soup using up all the left over veggies plus chicken broth, canned tomatoes, whole grain (brown rice/wholewheat pasta/barley) plus canned lentils/chickpeas/kidney beans) plus a different "ethnic" style seasoning -- curry or Thai or Italian or Greek or Mexican: no two pots of soup are ever the same. The soup simmers while I run through the laundry and read the newspaper -- takes maybe 20 minutes prep time.

When I get home from work, I nuke a bowl of soup fast before I eat something else-- and follow up with fat free sugar free yogourt and fresh berries: raspberries/strawberries/blueberries/black
berries -- I really love these. (Then I make my salads). Last treat before leaving the kitchen: low fat hot chocolate, with extra cocoa stirred in for extra chocolaty-ness.

If it's a social occasion "company dinner" then I'm going to have grilled chicken or fish, lots and lots of veggies, maybe a small baked potato -- I can almost always order something like that in a restaurant. And coffee. And a bite of my husband's dessert!!

That's about it. Sounds boring maybe -- but it isn't to me. I never get tired of it.

Beck taught me to pre-track my nutrition in the SP nutrition tracker the day before -- SP makes it easy because I'm using the food groupings I've developed and "editing out" what I haven't used for the next day's meals. No pear? then delete. No broccoli? I axe that one too. Takes maybe 3 minutes.

Snacks are generally fat free sugar free yogourt. If I'm going to have a glass of wine, I pre-track it.

So with pre-tracking, I don't have to decide what to eat 200 times a day (that's apparently the average number of times people make food "decisions" every 24 hours): I've already decided the day before -- there's NO CHOICE. Beck taught me this one too and it's become key for me. If I didn't pre-track it, I'm not eating it. Easy.

Beck has also taught me: sit down to eat everything, never eat standing up (it was all those spoonfuls of peanut butter and big chunks of cheese while my soup was heating that were sabotaging me). Tolerate hunger, it's not an emergency, it's perfectly normal and thin people feel hungry every day: in fact, if I'm hungry I'm going to enjoy my next meal more. Then when I'm finished, wait to feel full: it's going to take 20 minutes or so. That's OK. A good time to play Scrabble!

I've been eating the same breakfasts, lunches and dinners pretty consistently for a long time. It actually feels quite luxurious and self-indulgent to treat myself to all of those (not inexpensive) fresh fruits and giant shrimps and first quality veggies.

Plus: 85% cocoa Lindt chocolate squares in my locker at the gym for after my workout: bribery is so effective!

Hope this helps. "

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I've been eating pretty much the same old same old every day for a decade since I lost 80 pounds. But have also recently fine tuned my plan based upon recent "Beck lessons" which have helped me take off about 10 more pounds . . . and which I hope will significantly reduce the yo-yoing of that final 10 pounds -- off and on and off and on again. We'll see: I'm still Becksperimenting to determine my "lowest sustainable weight".

And all that coffee? It's my only remaining sin (or that's my story). Without the coffee, I'd be impossibly self-righteous, right? Gotta guard against that self-righteousness vigorously and at all costs!!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BABYFACE26 5/28/2011 2:31PM

    The part of all of this great advice I liked the most? realizing that we make "food choices" so many times in a day. Feels like it, too! and that's too much energy expended thinking about Food! also realized the reason my "diet" doesn't work? I am still eating too many foods with SUGAR, and too much food!
.....I am just the opposite, generally. I like to eat something different all the time! with some exceptions. Time for a totally New approach, and maybe I will finally do this!

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PENNYAN45 4/27/2011 4:50AM

    I have printed out this blog, Ellen. What good ideas!

And, while you say it is eating the same thing, it is really quite varied with all the individual foods you change around within the meals.
I think I would call it more of a framework for meals -- a very healthful one!

Thanks for sharing with us in such detail.

Also...let me add my praises for those Beck strategies of sitting down and eating mindfully and of planning meals. They contribute so much toward our success.

I am sure that this blog was a big help for CMB2048!

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FRACTALMYTH 4/24/2011 7:00PM

    I am back to pretracking too... I have been sticking with my basic same meals every day, but as the workload crept up, so did the snacking... seems the tireder I am the less resistance I have to self sabotage. It's all a learning experience, right? If I already know what my snacks are for the day, the temptation to go overboard disappears... and I can schedule in and stick to my no-snack days :D

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CARRAND 4/22/2011 9:41PM

    I eat some variation of the same breakfast every day. I never get bored with it. I can eat the same lunch for a week at a time, too. I just cook up a batch of something on the weekend, divide it into 5 servings and pack it away in the fridge to take to work for lunch. Dinner is harder because my husband likes to eat meat and bread or chips for dinner, with applesauce or a banana. I try to fix some salad or vegetables for me, even if husband won't eat them. If I could just stay away from snacks, I would do OK.

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TBANMAN 4/22/2011 1:04PM

    I also eat basically the same things every day: 1 omega-3 enriched egg, 1 slice of Orowheat double fibre dry toast and 1/2 cup of OJ for breakfast, a cup of low-sodium vegetable soup, 2 mini babybel light cheeses, and a piece of fruit for lunch, then lean protein, veggies, and some sort of starch for dinner. It really does take the guesswork out of it. I'm so good with knowing what works that I plot in my daily calories that evening and almost always come within my range - if I'm out of range, it's because I'm too low. And my one daily indulgence? A 4oz glass of white wine while I read in bed. 70 calories of heaven.

I have found that if I stop the little cheats - a piece of chocolate here, a few crackers there - I lose between 1 to 2 pounds a week. Without fail. It's crazy really - when you work the plan, the plan works for you. Done and done.


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KALIGIRL 4/22/2011 12:49PM

    Wonderful, helpful post!

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SLENDERELLA61 4/22/2011 11:28AM

    Wonderful blog, Ellen. You've made the planning easy. I really like the way you do it. My eating is not so different from yours, but I throw in the unexpected a little more often. I eat oatmeal most breakfasts and like it. I vary it with different fruits/spices/nuts. Often I eat low sodium beans and brown rice at lunch, but I often have a salad instead or with. I don't eat the soup, because I haven't found soup I like that isn't too high in sodium. Hubby does the grocery shopping. He buys me lots of fresh fruits and veggies. For supper I have mostly veggies and meat, with a little potato, sweet potato, or corn or brown rice if I want. If he buys meat that is too fatty for me, I have beans or cottage cheese or boca burgers or tofu. Sometimes I have one ounce of ribeye steak or ham along with another lower fat/lower sodium source of protein. It works. I don't mind having similar meals a lot. I vary the fruits and veggies. I have fish or shellfish, lean pork, and chicken breast almost every week. Sometimes I try a recipe, but usually I prefer it plain. I use my foreman grill a lot.

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CMB2048 4/22/2011 8:12AM

    I am so honored Ellen....this is a first for me! A link to my blog!!! I feel so important today.... emoticon

I love your response and i think I need to follow this advice. The only thing I don't think I could do is eat soup every night for dinner. My husband wouldn't like that for long! He is a problem when it comes to dinner because he has worse eating habits than I have!

But I can certainly start with breakfast and lunch. I also need to get Beck out and spend some serious time with that book. It seems to have helped you with a difference perspective. I bought it and then didn't stick with it. Time to do that again.

Thanks for all the advice and I plan to take it!!!

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BLUESKY_321 4/22/2011 8:07AM

    Thanks for sharing this. It is so motivating to read the success stories and the how to's of others. It reinforces the fact that this work, this planning, this thinking WILL pay off long term in so many ways!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/22/2011 3:41AM

    Thanks Ellen. I don't think you would be alone on this lifestyle journey in having very similar meals each day. When we find something that works, why change it? As you say there are lots of spices, fruit varieties, etc to make small but tasty changes. emoticon

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_LINDA 4/22/2011 1:08AM

    I have eaten the same basic meals every day as well as I don't cook or bake. It works for me. One thing I ALWAYS have is a banana, its important for the potassium and its one fruit that is good year round..
I like the policy of Keep It Simple Stupid :) You need something that is automatic and doesn't take much thought.
Good response you gave!
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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/22/2011 12:56AM

    Thanks for sharing what has worked for you, Ellen. I especially appreciate the tip about pre-tracking and planning ahead. I've found myself doing some of that recently. And I like the low time investment in cooking, too.
And maybe it's time for me to read Beck. I'm working on that last ten pounds, whittling away at it day by day. And reading your insights has really helped.

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FREELADY 4/21/2011 10:13PM

    I love your new word! Becksperimenting! Genius!

This is a very important blog. I ate it up, every word. A year ago I was not ready to hear this, although I was learning so much from Beck and losing some weight. You have so much valuable insight and experience here (Becksperience? . . . well, some of it, at least!).

Thank you for taking the time to write it down so we can benefit!

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Spark Support

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

There is nothing like it.

I do know that being "up two" is not the end of the world. It's minor stuff -- true even if it turns out to be a "real" gain. Still minor.

But -- absolutely not minor-- the kindness, the great suggestions, the sturdy realism of response here.

What an amazingly supportive community of Spark Friends!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMB2048 4/21/2011 6:59PM

    You are so right Ellen and knowing you, those two pounds will be gone in no time!!!

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TRAVELGRRL 4/21/2011 6:40AM

    Totally true! Thank you for YOUR unwavering support!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/21/2011 1:09AM


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TBANMAN 4/20/2011 10:42PM

    You get what you give, right?

No better place than this for illustrating that.


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DSHONEYC 4/20/2011 9:53PM

    Up 2, down 3...slow and steady does it. Splurged on a big cupcake today (with chocolate frosting) because I could afford it calorie wise...my aren't we starting to think like a thin person?

emoticon Love raspberries! Glad they love me, too!

Comment edited on: 4/20/2011 9:54:18 PM

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CARRAND 4/20/2011 9:11PM


We are the greatest!

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SLENDERELLA61 4/20/2011 6:15PM

    Very good observation. So glad you got the support you were looking for. I know you can get those two pounds off and tighten that maintenance range! -Marsha

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/20/2011 5:31PM

    You are so right, Sparks is just the most positive, supportive community.

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DONNACFIT 4/20/2011 1:00PM

    I love Spark and so glad you're my spark friend!!

Love your idea of fresh flowers..I love them too, haven't had any for awhile..been eyeing Easter Lilies in the store but knew they bring on my daughter's allergies (the one that visited last weekend.

Note to self..need fresh flowers... emoticon

Hubby said he saw some crocuses just not open yet...

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PHEBESS 4/20/2011 12:35PM


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JOHAL52 4/20/2011 9:30AM

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_LINDA 4/20/2011 9:26AM

    Its a two way street that is for sure! Just love it here!
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HAPPYNSMILING 4/20/2011 9:03AM

    You continue to be an inspiration to me...just so you know!

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KALIGIRL 4/20/2011 8:52AM

    Ain't it grand?

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NANCY- 4/20/2011 8:50AM


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TOOKES519 4/20/2011 8:22AM

    I could say.......Ditto!!


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BILL60 4/20/2011 7:05AM

    It certainly is. Now let's get back on it and get rid of those "2".

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Up Two

Monday, April 18, 2011

How I hate changing my weight tracker but -- there it is, 144.5!! WAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!

Gotta keep it real.

And -- no, I don't think it's "permanent" because it can't be: I simply have not eaten enough or slacked off from exercise to generate a 2 pound gain.

Oh, well. Oh, well. Oh, well. Information only: that's all that scales are for.

Keep on keeping on, and the weight will budge down again.

My blog on "lowest sustainable weight" did NOT trigger a hubristic weight gain: no, it did not!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 4/20/2011 6:17PM

    You are right to keep focused on your eating and exercise. It is not a real gain when you are eating right and moving like I know you do!!

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FLORABEL 4/20/2011 11:29AM

    Just water! Promise!

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JOHAL52 4/19/2011 9:30PM

    I still think you need to check out your body fat %. If those two pounds aren't fat--if they are water, then it's really not a big deal!!

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NANCY- 4/19/2011 7:59AM

    Instead of a target weight... what about a "lowest sustainable weight" range?
Everyone's weight fluctuates. Too much salt one day can make you puffy the next. You will see where your range falls.

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IMAGINE_IT 4/19/2011 6:49AM

    I am sure it is Water weight!!! Nothing but water weight!! You will have a good result next time you weigh..just stick to the Beck principles emoticon

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/18/2011 11:16PM

    You're still in your home weight range, El! I"m with Kaligirl on this. It's probably just a fluctuation.

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TBANMAN 4/18/2011 10:51PM

    You have a great attitude about it - a thin person's attitude! That's all that matters.

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CARRAND 4/18/2011 8:56PM

    My weight goes up a down by a pound or two all the time. I try not to let it bother me.

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KALIGIRL 4/18/2011 7:31PM

    I'm sorry the numbers have distressed you and am pretty sure they're a fluctuation.
I'm happy to move within a 5 pound range (keeps my BMI within a 1 point spread).
I know you'll settle in on a healthy, happy weight.

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DONNACFIT 4/18/2011 4:09PM

    I know you'll bounce back down to your goal weight..you can do it..I'd blame the scale..maybe it's broken?! haha.

We had company and early Easter over the weekend and yes I made the works...turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, hot cross buns and my world famous coconut cream pie and when I stepped on the scale this morning I was only up one pound woo hoo!!

Take care and have a Happy Easter..thanks for the comments, they really helped brighten my days :)

Sunny days are ahead for me...getting back on track :)

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PHEBESS 4/18/2011 1:27PM

    Salt? Travel? The phase of the moon?

I swear I gain in the winter because my body wants to hibernate! Other people lose in the winter because their bodies work harder to stay warm.

Two lbs, I wouldn't worry. I'd keep an eye on them, but I wouldn't worry. Just make sure they don't invite any new friends, LOL!

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_LINDA 4/18/2011 11:13AM

    Hopefully, when you say you are not eating enough to warrant a gain, that does not mean you are starving yourself either..I agree with Kristi. Weigh yourself every day, but pick just one day of the week to count for your ticker. So much less stress every day. My weigh in day is Monday, when I can remember it lol.
You can get this gain off Ellen, don't worry. When you are doing everything right, the stubborn scale will follow.
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TOOKES519 4/18/2011 8:44AM

    I still can't believe you actually track when you gain weight. If I did that it would be different everyday it seems because I weigh everyday, but I only post the reading from my Saturday weigh in. Which lately the numbers have been quite generous to me.

What I try to keep in mind is if you feel good the numbers on the scale mean nothing at all. I try to live by those words and have that thought process. It doesn't mean I always do, but I have good intentions. LOL



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GROEDER 4/18/2011 8:27AM

    Slight changes happen - in fact, it happened to me this week.
Lets not dispair!!!! We are doing it right.
Forget the scale, keep working, and have a great week.

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IPA-RAY 4/18/2011 8:23AM

    I occasionally find random fluctuations on the scale of 1-2 pounds that defy explanation or belief. So I can consider my scale to give me my weight +/- 2. If the following reading in a few days confirms the gain (or loss), I accept it.

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Lowest Sustainable Weight: Periodic Post-Beck Report

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUESKY_321 4/20/2011 8:46PM

    Catching up on my reading and just have to say what a great post this is! It reinforces that what I am doing WILL work! It's hard work, and you're right, the more successful we are the harder we have to work ... it seems so very unfair, doesn't it? (uh oh... sabotaging thought!)

I love "my choice"! What a different feel than "no choice"!

Thanks for posting .... it was just what I needed to hear tonight!

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RANCHGAL9 4/20/2011 6:56PM

    Great blog and happy that you are keeping to your goal of health and happiness. It is a struggle when you realize I am eating the same and working out the same so why am I not losing. You got it exactly right - need less, the less you weigh so trying to balance the eating and the working out is a life long experiment - at least it is for me.

Good luck in your continued journey emoticon emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 4/19/2011 9:32PM

    Great job! I have never tried tracking in advance but I can see that it might work for me. I'm so impressed at your consistency and committment!

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IMAGINE_IT 4/18/2011 7:22AM

    Congrats on getting to 142!Awesome job Ellen and what determination you have..love it!!! emoticon emoticon
All the things you talk about are true..don't stand up while eating..preplan..preplan..(i think that is one of the most important things one can do) and for sure taking in fewer calories to maintain..while exercising a bit more intense..
The Beck method must work because you are a great example! emoticon emoticon
Thanks for all your informative and entertaining blogs Ellen emoticon emoticon

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MSSNOWY 4/17/2011 10:03AM

    Sounds as if you've got it figured out, Ellen. And you've got the commitment to make it happen. Congrats! I will muddle along in your wake, if I may.

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NANCY- 4/17/2011 8:33AM

    WTG on finding what works to get you to your goals. You are empowered. Sounds like You have made some great choices for yourself.
Keep Sparking!!!

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JIBBIE49 4/17/2011 12:22AM

    Everyone should read Judith Beck, PhD's wonderful book "THE BECK DIET SOLUTION". She is awesome. It is all about learning to THINK like a THIN person.

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FREELADY 4/16/2011 11:50PM

    You explain so eloquently the reality I am slowly digesting. Hearing you say it makes it less scary. Focusing on other delightful interests and pleasures (NON-FOOD) makes it less scary. Thin people have made peace with the less food, high activity dynamic. I know some really nice and smart thin people, and they don't seem to be suffering, although I see them limiting their food in a wide range of different ways.

Thank you for making this so vivid and so intriguing.

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CARRAND 4/16/2011 8:51PM

    You are an inspiration to me. I started at 220, and got down to 150, which was my goal. (I'm 5'8") Now I'm thinking that I could go lower and maybe get to 142 like you did. I've been exercising 6 or 7 days a week, but a lot of it is yoga and/or strength training that doesn't burn near as many calories as the elliptical. Eat less, move more. That's the secret, and I like the idea of finding my lowest sustainable weight.

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WALKINGANNIE 4/16/2011 5:20PM

    Inspirational stuff Ellen. You're amazing and your blog today helped me a lot. Congratulations on your resilience and achievements and thank you for motivating others by sharing them.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/16/2011 4:19PM

    Glad you have discovered what works for you to be healthy and happy, Ellen. I'm at that size 8 place and working on the last ten pounds. This week, I only walked four days out of seven and gained a pound. The lesson for me is to walk daily and eat within my calorie range of around 1200 to 1500. The experiment continues. Reading your blog assures me that if I carry on tracking, eating wisely and exercising, then I can also get to my size 6 sustainable weight. Thanks for writing!
Usha xx

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DREMARGRL 4/16/2011 4:00PM

    It all comes down to one thing.....It's all OUR OWN CHOICE! You have chosen and I'm so frickin' proud of you, my friend! XO MaryAnn
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JOPAPGH 4/16/2011 3:48PM

    Yup. I recently double checked my first few months on Spark. I was diligent about tracking food and staying in range coupled with copious amounts of physical activity, mostly outside and I was extremely successful.

Now that I am able to up my calorie burn again I need to focus on not sabotaging myself in the nutrition department.

Congratulations on all you have accomplished since our first week together on Spark in May, 2009. Keep on keepin' on...

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VALERIEMAHA 4/16/2011 3:16PM

    Yeah, well I'm happy to be trotting along with you too, Ellen, but, though it's a familiar tune, I still don't like it. Very difficult to stomach (pun intended). And Trace, your "Get over it...FOREVER" strikes a bitter note.

What a way to finish out the life thang. Yeah, yeah: I WANT high quality life to the end. Yeah, yeah: I WANT to be active and able to play fast and hard. But, the thought of eternal vigilance over intake choices and quantity does depress me, I have to be honest. That's just the truth. Maybe I can make my peace with it. But I'm convinced that's why I'm fallin' off each time as I near the finish line.

Distressed in AR,

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STLRZGRRL 4/16/2011 2:48PM

    Oh, El... you are SO smart... like I need to tell YOU...

This is all so true true true...

In a nutshell for you Cliff's Notes fans:
"take in fewer calories... or... burn up more calories..."

Yes, forever. Get over it.

But mostly I just want to affirm for you that you are allowed to be scared... and do it anyway... that makes you... brave.

I am SO honored to travel with you on this journey...

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KRISTI2661 4/16/2011 2:00PM

    Great blog post. I love hearing about maintenance and how people deal with it - my dream is to one day have that as something on my "plate" so to speak. You are inspiring!

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Satisfying Week!

Friday, April 15, 2011

My regular work week was changed up with some fun things -- a drinks meeting with my collaborative colleagues, and two days of mediation training.

The mediation techniques are meant to enhance my work in collaborative practice -- and there is no question in my mind that working with family law clients collaboratively makes for better resolution all around. Learning new skills is challenging . . . and not entirely comfortable, given that the training was very "hands on". But of course that's exactly what made it useful. And the quality of the training was absolutely superb, with a great class of participants all working very hard and lots of laughs.

In addition, I wrestled a couple of long standing files towards final settlement.

So yup, I'm tired. But also pretty exhilarated.

And on top of all that: spring! Green-ness. Sunshine. A few hyacinths and early tulips in my garden!! A pair of cardinals under the birdfeeder.

And tomorrow it's a haircut (I really really like the guy who's been cutting my hair for 20 + years); then a trip to the gym; and in the afternoon a new opera with my DH.

Life is feeling good.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNACFIT 4/18/2011 4:13PM

    Sounds like you had an awesome week :)..I'll just let your good mood rub off on me..thanks, I needed that emoticon

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NANCY- 4/16/2011 9:08AM

Nothing like closing out a good week to boost our spirit. That accomplishment feeds us.
Here's to many more good weeks.

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_LINDA 4/15/2011 11:34PM

    What a fantastic week you have had!! Green and flowers, wow! Our poor birds are hunkering down in what ever shelter they can find from the cold north winds and constant threat of snow. Its not the early birds getting any worms around here lol.
Hope your weekend goes as great!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/15/2011 11:31PM

    I was just talking with my DH about trainings that help us do our work better and how rewarding it can be to push into new territory while doing the same work. Glad it's been a satisfying week for you. It has been for me as well.

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GROEDER 4/15/2011 9:43PM

    Sounds like a great week. I'm glad it went so well for you.
Have a wonderful weekend as well.

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