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Counting Every Calorie: Obsessive? Future Eating Disorder?

Thursday, May 05, 2011

I've been counting calories -- using the nutrition tracker, pre-planning my meals, following the Beck cognitive strategies to "learn to think like a thin person". I've got Beck cards to review which remind me to arrange my environment to eliminate temptations: that hunger is not an emergency; that I should sit down to eat; and that I can identify and cope with "sabotaging thoughts" -- including, that the process of tracking nutrition so closely is anal retentive and takes way too much time!!

And for me: it's been working.

Instead of yo-yoing 10 pounds up and down, I've been pretty stable.

And: I've been stable at a lower weight than I'd achieved before. I seem to be at a lower sustainable weight. So of course, I like that.

I particularly like it because staying lean reduces my chance of breast cancer recurrence significantly.

But today in the Toronto Globe and Mail on line edition there is a discussion with a psychologist who suggests that tracking calories can be the precursor of an eating disorder.

My family gets it. Nobody at home is pressuring me to eat more, or to stop tracking my food. They do understand. Completely.

But I certainly know that I've got social friends and acquaintances who would like to pressure me to eat more like they do -- more spontaneously, and more "binge" type high calorie foods on "celebratory" occasions. Whereas I'm trying to think of other ways to be social, and other ways to celebrate that don't involve overeating. Because life is to be celebrated much more often than I can "afford" the calories to overeat!!

I don't believe that I have any of the indicators of a future eating disorder, and I do believe that the Beck method is superb. It reduces the need to make eating decisions every day: NO CHOICE (or, I already made that choice, and it was MY CHOICE to do so. Yesterday. When I pre-planned.)

Whaddya think for your own selves: if you're tracking, do you think you're getting obsessive? Are you worried you may trigger an eating disorder??

Here's the link:


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FRACTALMYTH 5/9/2011 3:19PM

    I am trying to get myself to a position where I don't need to track - not because I'm worried about any obsessiveness, so much as I tend to rebel against any kind of repetitious regime... wait - that's not right.... hmmm. OK. I tend to rebel against having to comply with too many repetitious regimes at once! I am right on top of the health and fitness regime when the only other thing I am doing is parenting. When I add working to the mix, my efforts at all 3 become haphazard, so health and fitness takes a back step - or rather, instead of being a mandated regime (albeit one that I have mandated for myself) it has to become more integrated and flexible. If eating starts getting out of hand I will track for a few days to get myself... back on TRACK lol... but then I am working on trusting myself to stick to the plan while playing unsupervised (to borrow a parenting metaphor lol). It gets to the point where I just want to eat my dinner and not pull it apart and weigh it first! I know that extras and portions can be problematic, so I am working at developing good judgment based on what I have learned from the tracker and taking a "refresher" whenever I feel myself slipping. I am getting better at accepting that exercise can be squeezed in anywhere I can, even if just for a few minutes here and there instead of a concerted all out effort. For me, it is about keeping in control while releasing the need to control (if that makes any sense...) - accepting the difference between Life as it actually is, and Life as it is meant to be :D and learning how to make Life as it actually is the best that it can be at the time.

As always - thank you so much for helping me to clarify my goals and what I am doing to reach them. I wouldn't think about this stuff and realise there may be method behind my madness if not for your provocative (in the sense of poking my brain) posts :D


Comment edited on: 5/9/2011 3:24:26 PM

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PHEBESS 5/7/2011 11:30AM

    My problem is that I NEED to be obsessive about my calories in! At least for a while. Because it does work!

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BLUESKY_321 5/7/2011 8:03AM

    If this is working for you (and let's face it, it IS) then so be it.

I agree with Mssnowy - if you are using the numbers to try and one-up yourself each day, that would seem to be a sign of an unhealthy use of the tracker.... that's not you!

I track ... but post-track and I'm still indulging in spontaneous eating on occasions (I'm not ready to give that up YET! although you and Marsha make me think about it all the time emoticon) I'm definitely not obsessive but my family does think it's weird and sometimes I worry about the message that I'm sending to my kids. I try to put the "healthy" spin on it, but they know I'm all about the weight issue .... LOL.

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TRENTDREAMER 5/7/2011 7:36AM

    "I've been counting calories -- using the nutrition tracker, pre-planning my meals, following the Beck cognitive strategies to "learn to think like a thin person". I've got Beck cards to review which remind me to arrange my environment to eliminate temptations: that hunger is not an emergency; that I should sit down to eat; and that I can identify and cope with "sabotaging thoughts"
* While usually Beck's views are a little too libertarian for me, it sounds like he's on the right track with this. That being said, I still like listening to "Loser". Soy un perdador (I'm kidding).

"But I certainly know that I've got social friends and acquaintances who would like to pressure me to eat more like they do -- more spontaneously, and more "binge" type high calorie foods on "celebratory" occasions. "
* Change can be really hard when something that has traditionally been enjoyed together becomes a thing of the past for one(especially when it reflects bad decision on the one(s) who continues partaking).

"But today in the Toronto Globe and Mail on line edition there is a discussion with a psychologist who suggests that tracking calories can be the precursor of an eating disorder. "
* And I would say that it absolutely can. It can be a first step. But that doesn't mean that it inherently (or even probably) will.

If I had a daughter who started counting literally every calorie, I would probably look closely at "next moves". Is she always talking about calories? Is her day/weekend totally ruined if she went 28 calories over because she was hungry and needed to eat a piece of fruit? Basically, is her calorie counting helping her get her eating on track or is it becoming a matter of life and death for her psychologically.

The author uses the term excessive with little definition. I think obsessive or compulsive calorie counting and obsessive/compulsive worrying about it is more of a symptom of a similar problem/problem set that underpins eating disorders. But in and of itself, calorie counting kind of is what it is.

Comment edited on: 5/7/2011 7:43:56 AM

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CMRAND54 5/6/2011 12:23PM

    I've been tracking my food for a year and a half. If that's an eating disorder, so be it. I lost 70 pounds, and am still within 2 pounds of my goal weight. I have no desire to starve myself to death. I do eat things like chocolate candy, or gluten free cookies on occasion, I just track the calories to fit them in (or not, depending on my mood). I figure that I'm not ever going to have a perfect diet, but that's not a reason to stop trying to eat healthy food. Stick with it. You're doing great.

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MSSNOWY 5/6/2011 10:05AM

    I think it has to do with the motive for tracking. If , as you are doing, it's to pre-plan and make sure that you are within your range of food intake, or if it's recording what has been done to make sure that you're staying on track, then I don't see a problem at all. In fact I think it's healthy and it obviously works for you.

But I do think that 'tracking' can be obsessive in the hands of someone who feels some virtue in taking in less and less each day and trying to 'beat their record.' If they have a competitive mentality that makes a 'game' out of it in the worst sense of the word, then, yes, I can see where it could lead to compulsively trying to out-do your earlier 'record' and create a real health problem.

I don't think that's you. So count away. I need to do more of it, and you are a great example to follow. Thank you.

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NANCY- 5/6/2011 8:14AM

    Personally if tracking for info works for me when I am looking for trends. Otherwise I am not a tracker. (I prefer to be oblivious.)
Sure come folks could become obsessive about it. But that would probably already be within their personality.

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SLENDERELLA61 5/6/2011 8:07AM

    Great blog. You raise a great issue. For me, counting calories just makes sense. If I don't I'll be overweight. When I count my calories I can maintain a healthy weight. Simple as that. I do not sense that this "obsession" is going to increase. I may take off a week here and there and do a little intuitive eating. But I know for me, intuitive eating won't work for the long run.

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1000PENNIES 5/6/2011 7:41AM

  I don't think tracking calories or exercise is obessive behavior. If anything it is helping me to be more balanced in my approach to eating and exercising. There are days that I go over and it is not always planned (Im still working on that). But I am finally getting a grip. Compared to where I was several months ago. Barely exercising and eating close to 3000 calories a day versus exercising at least 5 days a week and eating around 2100 a day. I would say that is an improvement. My goal is to get to the point that I am consistently within my calorie range and exercising everyday. I am losing weight. Yes it is slow but I try not to focus so much on the number but the benefits instead. So I would keep on doing what you are doing.

By the way what is the Beck approach? It sounds like something that I would be interested in looking into.

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IRONGRANNIE 5/6/2011 1:57AM

    I am with you on this one. I don't track all the time but I do it in controlled bursts-1 or 2 weeks at a time to make sure I am not falling back into old habits. Sometimes I find I have got a bit of portion-distortion going on and I can reel it back in.
Future eating disorder? Honey that takes waaay too long to develop for me to worry!!!!


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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/6/2011 12:48AM

    You are doing what you need for optimum health and wellbeing. I don't pretrack but I do tend to repeat healthy options day after day. I like to think I'm using my decision making muscles during the day and tracking really supports that. It provides good information -- as you know -- about other things besides calories.
I'm with you on celebrating with friends in ways that don't necessarily involve lots of food. We can gather for hikes, movies, or just for fun. My friends know I'm a vegetarian and they expect me to cook pretty healthy food for them, so that definitely helps. And if I'm invited out, my family and friends know to checkout the veggie options for me. This has taken years of training them ... but has been well worth it.

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JUDI_CUTIE 5/6/2011 12:24AM

    I'm with you on this one. The tracking in advance is the best way for me to succeed. Whenever I get myself to do it (which comes in waves) I always do well. Sometimes I rebel and just don't feel like it, but I firmly believe it is a good thing to do. (I am on my sixth night of tracking ahead after being out of the habit for a while. I feel great about it!)

I don't think it leads to eating disorders. I think it is actually a way for people who have problems with their eating (maybe an eating disorder or maybe just struggles) to get a grip on it. Choosing in advance is not dysfunctional. Enjoying life without it being all about the food is quite a feat. If you can do that, you have to count that as a GOOD thing and not as a problem.

(It is pretty important though that you do not put a damper on events if your friends want to indulge. Be sure you are really ENJOYING the company even without the food.)

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FREELADY 5/5/2011 11:45PM

    What you are doing is sane and successful. It's simply practical and effective, like using a bank statement and a budget to manage financial resources.

When slightly skewed information floats around out there, distressing and or discouraging good, earnest people, it makes it all the more valuable and significant that you are so generous and kind in encouraging and instructing others on this site.

You give of yourself continually around here, and it nourishes confidence, strength, and good judgment for many of us. So I would say, far from being vulnerable to an eating disorder, Watermellen is functioning as a one-woman eating-disorder ANTIDOTE!

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DONNACFIT 5/5/2011 11:17PM

    You're doing great!! I don't think you have to worry..it's only obsessive if it is interfering with your daily life in a bad way.

Keep on Sparkin' emoticon

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EDWINA172 5/5/2011 10:57PM

    I've tracked my calories for over 4 years. I am down 50 pounds and am healthier, more fit, medication free and very happy. If that makes me obsessive, so be it. If someone wants to label me with a disorder~then slap it on me.
My husband and I will track our calories until we are no longer able to. We love how healthy feels. We are helping others become healthy. There are many "friends" and family who don't understand our lifestyle. That's ok with us. They don't have to understand our life because WE are living it, not them.
Sounds like you are doing well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Thanks for posting the blog. Have a great weekend.

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ERIKO1908 5/5/2011 10:15PM

    I can totally see where that 'could' be an issue, but I'm thinking you are one of the ones that has it under control. This really is working for you & it has taken you to a WAY better place that is much healthier for you. I think over time, as you get more and more into the Beck way, there might be a 'slight' relazing of some of it - at that point if you feel yourself starting to slide you really don't have that far to go to recover. I really liked your comment about there being way more in life to celebrate than you can afford with calories. This is such a wise comment & I am taking it with me to ponder. As long as you keep it smart & are aware of what you are doing & also what a disorder looks like & know if you are heading in that direction, I'm sure you will do fine. I'm at that same place, because I'm not sure of my end weight. I know in my brain that I will recognize when it is too much gone...I keep looking for that point at which I am done & ready to maintain. Yeah for all your successes!!! This really is about you doing it and doing it well!! Keep up all your hard work!!

~~ Erica

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VALERIEMAHA 5/5/2011 9:50PM

    I have the *feeling* that your approach to weight control via Beck tends to reflect the way you live your life in general, which is why you've accomplished bunches of stuff and contributes to you having what's known as "The Good Life!"

Although your approach is a little too controlled for me, I'd certainly like to find a territory mid-way between when I'm at these days and where you're at!!! No true confessions at the moment -- so 'nuff said.

But I applaud you and think you're doing great...AND of course the health considerations are more urgent with your history!

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NICE125 5/5/2011 9:44PM

  It's a matter of balance, I am 40 pounds overweights so I need to count calories, and I don't think I am obsessive, I don't beat myself if I go overboard by a 100 or so cal. I don't get irritated or angry if I do that, also if one pre plans then there is always some built in extra calories one can take, no danger of eating disorder here!!!

Loving Beck! thanks Ellen!,

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DREMARGRL 5/5/2011 9:42PM

    DON'T WORRY....BE HAPPY! Look at the alternative and know that you are just determined and focused on staying trim and healthy....WAAAAA-HOOOOOOO FOR YOU! And for me........xo Take a look around and know that you are the smartie pants. I XO
Have a good night, darlin', and keep up the good work.
Have a lovely summer and keep that spark blazin' hawwwwt!

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Liposuction: The Fat Comes Back!

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

An article in the Toronto Globe and Mail says that liposuction isn't permanent. The fat comes back -- just not necessarily in the same place. So if you have fat liposuctioned off your tummy, it's back within a year but maybe in your upper abdomen, or back, or even your triceps.

Here's the link: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/the-ho


And the interesting thing is . . .even when people were informed about this research, many still opted to have the liposuction done!!

OK, I've fantasized about liposuction from time to time but . . . really? Worth the discomfort? The cost? And the wondering: where's it gonna reappear??

Whaddya think??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 5/7/2011 11:31AM

    I have a friend who thought we should be able to lie in the sun, melt the fat, and then just suck it out with a turkey baster. Wouldn't that be so much easier???

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CMRAND54 5/5/2011 8:43PM

    I never was interested in liposuction. I wouldn't mind having some excess skin trimmed, though. Maybe I'll get my neck tightened.

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JIBBIE49 5/5/2011 7:08PM

    The fat doesn't "Reappear" but the FAT CELLS that were there are now the ones that get FULL of fat, because a person goes back to their old eating habits and GAINS weight. So the fat cells on the back of the arms or on the inside of the thighs NOW get full.
The place where you have Lipo-suction no longer has the fat cells there so you CAN'T fill them back up again.
I know a woman who had it done along with a tummy tuck after having six children and her stomach area looks great so now she can wear dresses that have a belt rather than having that fat bulge sticking out that made her look like she was about 4 months pregnant.

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/5/2011 4:42PM

    It's amazing what people will do to themselves.

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NANCY- 5/5/2011 9:33AM

    I heard about this, but decided long ago that I didn't really trust anyone well enough to suck stuff out of me for vanity sake. I feared that they might leave me looking worse than when I started.

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FREELADY 5/5/2011 12:18AM

    I am such a cautious soul. I always tell myself I prefer the known negatives to the (possibly worse) unknown ones!

Thanks for this info.

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ERIKO1908 5/4/2011 11:44PM

    Tee hee...I giggled after reading this...I had an evil thought...maybe I can get mine to reappear on that cute little stick thin bopsy girl at the gym who eats everything and anything under the sun without gaining an ounce...and will happily tell you the whole story while swinging her ponytail and rolling her eyes...sorry...my brain took a not so nice detour there...perhaps kinder and gentler Erica will return tomorrow...

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/4/2011 10:57PM

    Lipo doesn't appeal to me at all. I try to love my curves into their new forms.

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VALERIEMAHA 5/4/2011 10:08PM

    I stay as far as possible away from all medical establishments unless I need urgent care.

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MARELNAT 5/4/2011 10:07PM

    My fat would probably reappear right back where it started in the caboose! emoticon

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MAINtaining! And anticipating the leaping greenly spirits . . . any day!!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

I'm feeling very lucky that my slight indulgence over a birthday dinner for DH yesterday did not push the scale up -- or at least not yet! I'm holding at 142 for now, got to the gym today for cardio and upper body weights plus abs and stretching, we'll be heading out to the golf course tomorrow if weather permits! (And quite possibly, even if it does not!).

This is such a wonderful time of the year, I'm in a continuous state of barely-suppressed euphoria. I noticed that the big sticky buds on our chestnut trees are just beginning to split open. After a winter's worth of hyacinths blooming inside, I now smell hyacinths when I step out into the garden! In just a couple of days, all of the trees will be covered with that sharp acid green of first leaves. I may just have to take a day or two off work to get the full benefit of the spring joyousness, that "leaping greenly spirits of trees".

The first fuzzy green each spring always coincides within 24 hours or so with my son's birthday, and always reminds me of of his birth -- a difficult one by C-section, scheduled so that he would have his "own" birthday and not have to share with his dad . . . although as it happens they are so very close that neither would have minded . . . . and that first walk to the window after his birth, looking out from the hospital over the park across the street with all of the magnificent old maple trees just coming into leaf, as if the whole world was celebrating with a burst of renewal. (Oh, yes: he was worth it! Absolutely!! And continues to be . . . a very sweet young man! )

So here's the poem, which many of you will already know is one of my absolute favourites, and which never fails to give me pleasure:

i thank You God for most this amazing
by e. e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun's birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any--lifted from the no
of all nothing--human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWMS48 5/3/2011 11:19AM

    While staying with my daughter in Chicago, I got to reexperience spring. The flowers that bloomed a few weeks ago at home are in full bloom in the yards around her condo. Beautfiul deep purple hyacinth. Pink, orange, yellow and striped tulips. Magnolia and pear trees. Forsythia. Only those of us who suffer through the cold of winter can truly appreciate the warmth and color of spring.

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JOHAL52 5/2/2011 3:52PM

    That poem is great! I had read e. e. cummings years ago in college but don't remember that one. I love Spring too! Spring and Fall are my favorite times of the year in eastern Canada!

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PHEBESS 5/2/2011 11:35AM

    ABSOLUTELY ONE OF MY ALL-TIME FAVORITE POEMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!R>
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/2/2011 6:23AM

    Most of us only see through a glass dimly but with your help Ellen, you clear the glass and suddenly we can see things with our mind's eye that we walk blithely by most seasons. Thank you, already I am looking forward to our Spring in six months time.

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SLENDERELLA61 5/1/2011 6:43PM

    How springly! How beautiful!! Sure hope you can take off your day or two to soak in the coming of spring and celebrate! Celebrate spring! Thank you so much for sharing your wise perceptions and your spirit of joy.

Must say it is 86 degrees here and it seems like summer rather than spring. But there is beauty and joy here, too. I will look harder for it, Ellen. Thanks for the inspiration.

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VALERIEMAHA 5/1/2011 2:17PM

    emoticonWhat pure delight you are Ellen emoticon

emoticonthen there is the utter joy of e.e.cummings' gift

emoticonand finally there are your friends' amazing heart-touching comments


Comment edited on: 5/1/2011 2:18:13 PM

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FREELADY 5/1/2011 1:47PM

    You are fitting beautifully into a balanced, healthy groove.

Your blogs are a treat, a nice slice of verbal dark chocolate.

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NANCY- 5/1/2011 9:08AM

    Thank you so much... that poem was a beautiful way to start my May.
Your joyous spirit is infectious. With an attitude like yours, maintaining will become second nature to you.

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DONNACFIT 4/30/2011 11:46PM

    Glad you're enjoying your green..I love hearing about it and your blogs and poems..especially when we woke up to snow and wind today :(

Keep on Sparkin' emoticon

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CMRAND54 4/30/2011 11:13PM

    I absolutely love that poem and I am going to copy it into my collection. We had a gorgeous spring day here today with a blue true dream of sky and azalea blooms everywhere.

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    I told man-of-my-dreams that I need to find a poem or two to memorize, to strength train the little grey cells...

and here, mere moments later, I find a poem I have loved and forgotten handed to me on a silver platter with a side of watermelon!

Thank you and your leaping greenly spirits! I'm off to find a permanent home in the back of my mind.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 4/30/2011 9:53PM

    Celebrating with you, dear Ellen. I saw a solid beacon of green shooting from the top of our magnolia this afternoon and the hubs and I stood together admiring it's effort and vitality. There are fuzzy pink apricot buds on the apricot tree and the pomegranate tree is covered in greenly brightness. My lemon pickle has been sunning itself this week with temps up in the 70s. It has been a blessed April.

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STLRZGRRL 4/30/2011 9:37PM

    Oh, El! I am sending our leaping greenly your way, Doll!

I truly thought it would never get here and I have rarely been so glad to have been wrong!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Long Weekend

Monday, April 25, 2011

This has been a lovely four days off work, relaxing at home and at the golf course. I indulged in a couple of toasted hot cross buns (yes, faithfully tracked, within calorie range!). Maybe these aren't an American tradition, because I didn't find them in the SP Nutrition tracker . . . President's Choice makes a delicious version with plenty of currants and nutmeg.

On Saturday afternoon we went for a walk in the woods: there are lots of the earliest wildflowers in bloom. Bright yellow colts' foot and marsh marigolds; tiny white and peppermint pink striped spring beauties; yellow dog tooth violet; and one of the best arrays of hepatica I can recall, including white, pale pink and soft mauve/blue. The trillium leaves are well up and I noticed quite a few buds. At home my garden has crocuses, hyacinths, tulips, scylla and daffodils all beginning to bloom: and the leaves on the lilac hedge are showing green. I got quite a number of bags of garden debris lifted off the flower beds but there is more to come.

It's also been a great pleasure to get back to the golf course. We were able to play 18 holes both yesterday and today; it was coolish but quite bearable, and no rain (as the forecast predicted) either day. I could hear so many different birds on the course: robins, Canada geese, mallards, red wing blackbirds, chickadees, gold finches -- and a chorus of spring peepers from the ponds. We saw a huge beaver swimming around very happily! The red maples are in full flower and the grass is becoming deep green. I'm finding that a winter at the gym and cross country skiing has put me in great shape for golf: and it was fun to discover that every item in my golf wardrobe (including the bright red size six skirt, which is the most challenging "test item") fits well!! Carrying a few fewer pounds gives me noticeably more energy too -- I'm usually pretty tired the first few games of the season, but not so much this year.

I have my lunch salad and fruits all ready for tomorrow, and it's going to be a busy week. But for now I've got a few more hours to kick back and relax: maybe I'll "let" my son thump me at Scrabble (as if it's possible for me to beat him oftener than every 12 games or so . . . )!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNACFIT 4/28/2011 9:05PM

    Great blog..ain't spring fine emoticon

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BARBIETEC 4/28/2011 4:49PM

    What a lovely walk! I am waiting for the summer to come to Iceland heheh :)

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PHEBESS 4/27/2011 5:54PM

    Your walk sounds wonderful - glad you had such a nice weekend!

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SUCHAHOOT 4/26/2011 1:55PM

    I am just grinning reading your beautiful descriptions. We have been enjoying birds in our backyard. We've had a Painted Bunting return and now an Indigo Bunting come along. Mockingbirds building nests out front and Blue Birds in the bird boxes at the back fence. The crazy Downy Woodpecker still coming in and landing on the suet feeder and sending it swinging. I'm going to set my hummer feeders out today!

Thank you so much for that lovely, tranquil walk.

And emoticon on your fitter self and that cute red skirt!!!

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DSHONEYC 4/26/2011 1:33PM

    Always a pleasure to hear what is going on in your life filled with nature and fun activity. You have to be one of the most balanced people I "know". I want to grow up and be just like you.

No kidding. You are my inspiration!

emoticon The American version of Hot Cross Buns.

Comment edited on: 4/26/2011 1:34:16 PM

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NANCY- 4/26/2011 8:25AM

    What a wonderful weekend. Your effort has a nice payoff.
I'm glad that you took the opportunity to enjoy and savor the fruits of your effort.

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/26/2011 1:42AM

    Beautiful, beautiful word pictures, I now have a gorgeous Spring painting in my head. Thank you Ellen. It is fantastic that you have more energy and even more pzazz. emoticon

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CMRAND54 4/25/2011 10:12PM

    We used to get hot cross buns in Bermuda on Good Friday. They were a favorite treat of mine until I developed gluten intolerance. I haven't seen gluten free ones yet.

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SLENDERELLA61 4/25/2011 4:11PM

    Ellen, congrats on looking great in your skinny sports outfi and having the energy to take on golf without fatigue this year. Just shows how fit you are! Way to go!! Enjoyed your description of spring in your neck of the woods. It is so good that you pay attention and enjoy!! It adds a lot to life!! Keep up the good work. Glad you got a break from work, too! I've had hot cross buns here in USA and sung the song, too, so don't know why it wasn't in the data base. Oh, well. -Marsha

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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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CMRAND54 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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