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Mirror Image

Sunday, May 15, 2011

While out shopping, I ran into a friend who I hadn't seen for a long, long time.

She is about my height. Both of us were looking at the size eight rack of pants.

She squealed with pleasure, "Hi!! You look terrific!! You're so thin!!"

I told her (truthfully) that she's looking great too. And pointed out -- we're the same height, we're shopping for the same size pants, so if I look thin to her, she also looks thin to me.

We'd been good buddies at the YMCA years ago, so it was easy to slide back into the kind of conversation we had many times after a workout while fixing our hair and getting ready for our jobs. We caught up on our kids and husbands. We chatted a bit about nutrition, exercise, current weights . . . yup, we DO weigh about the same.

It was a moment. I still don't think of myself as thin. And she doesn't think of herself as thin. But, looking at each other -- she IS thin. So: I've gotta be, too.

Mirror image. Somehow it's easier to see it in someone else!!

(P.S. Vanity sizing is getting ridiculous!! I tried on four size fours -- a pair of ultra lowrise bell jeans, and three skirts. Didn't buy any of them, but they all fit. And they all had waistbands more generous than some of the vintage 10s in my wardrobe!! Size creep: who do you think you're fooling, clothing manufacturers??? Not me!! )

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DUSTYGIRL25 5/17/2011 6:31PM

    Love your Blog! Very insightful. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

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TBANMAN 5/16/2011 11:27PM

    Funny - we were out with friends on Saturday night and my close girlfriend was complaining she was up 3 pounds since the start of the NHL playoffs. Chicken wings and margaritas are not her friends. ;) I was about to take her to task - you can't even tell, that's not that much, you'll be right back on track again in no time, everyone has to be human and kind to themselves every once in awhile ...

Until I recalled that I've been beating myself up over my 4 pound gain.

Mirror image, indeed.

Thanks for holding up the mirror to MY face.

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CARRAND 5/16/2011 9:57PM

    What fun to run into an old friend like that. I'm sure you do look thin!

I have jeans that fit in sizes 8, 10 and 12, all purchased from the same store. You just have to try on.

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PHEBESS 5/16/2011 6:02PM

    It definitely is easier to see one's true size when we see someone else who is the same size - I think we can be more objective, because we don't have the emotional involvement as well as the body memory.

Sometimes I look at my jeans and I'm amazed at how small they look! It's a similar sensation - that detached analytical look!

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KALIGIRL 5/16/2011 12:30PM

    Wonderful to run into a friend who's taken a healthy path too - bet you look fabulous!

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NANCY- 5/16/2011 8:20AM

    What a refreshing experience. How sweet it must have been to make that discovery and touch base with an old friend.
I totally agree with you about the sizing issue... we should change over to how men's clothing is based on measurement... that might be a tad shocking... but it would be reality and we would be able to shop with "will it fit?" in our mind.
Take a good look in that mirror... that thin person is YOU!!!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/16/2011 2:32AM

    It is peculiar that we never quite look at ourselves as others see us. It just shows us how many other 'things' go on between the mirror and what we see.

Here in Australia our sizes have not gone quite as far as the North American continent but the differences between one shop and another is huge. It's all very confusing. At almost 6 foot I will never see single digits unless I am very, very ill

Do dressmaking sizes remain the same as of old in patterns? They do here and it can be quite an eye opener. No wonder my Mum was slim when she was a size 14.

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ERIKO1908 5/16/2011 1:15AM

    You are so right about not seeing the truth about ourselves...maybe now that you saw the truth in the "mirror" today you will be able to look closer when you are actually looking into the mirror at yourself & begin to see the truth that is there!!

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DONNACFIT 5/15/2011 9:36PM

    Hi..the size thing baffles me, too. Awhile back on one of your blogs you mentioned wearing size four, size six etc...I'm 5'10" and wear size 14 now..when I weighed 140 I wore size 12..I think you cleared up some of the mystery..they've messed up the sizes...here I just thought I was huge boned and muscle weighs a whole lot more than fat??..Also means there's hope for single digits for me, too?? emoticon

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Trillium Woods

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The sugar bush canopy is almost completely sketched in with bright acid green. This morning it was raining a warm misty rain, releasing a gloriously green and earthy fragrance. The birds' songs were constant, interwoven: robins, song sparrows, chickadees, warblers.

And at this moment of maximum light, just before the forest becomes its cool and shadowed summer self, the spring wildflowers have peaked. Hepaticas, spring beauties, dogtooth violets are gone. Now it's swaths of yellow large flowered bellwort. Bright yellow marsh marigolds in the swampy places. Violets -- yellow, white and purple, a purple-pink -- spangling the forest floor. Trilliums, trilliums, trilliums -- bright white, some segueing to soft pink, with intermittent dark red "wake robins". In a far corner of the woods, I found an enclave of smaller trilliums with copper green leaves and white flowers with a red heart. Checking out the Ontario Wildflowers site, I discovered these are called "painted trillium" and they do look as if each one had been delicately handpainted on porcelain.

If you'd like to see any of the wildflowers, here's a link:


These particular woods are layered with memories for me: all the seasons (spring, summer, fall and winter) from over 30 years of walking the paths with my children, and with all of the beloved dogs I've owned in that time. I remember the spring of the swallowtail butterflies. I know just when and where to look for the bright pink waterlilies in mid summer, the fringed blue gentians in fall. There's the bench where the kids and enjoyed so many winter picnics of peanut butter and jam sandwiches with a thermos of hot chocolate.

But as familiar and dear as they are, these woods are still full of surprises, new discoveries, new joys.

Painted trilliums!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNACFIT 5/15/2011 9:52PM

    Hi..enjoyed accompanying you on your woodland walk. I love my prairie wildflowers too. The crocuses are almost finished and the bright yellow buttercups are blooming now and I've seen one wild bleeding heart in bloom so far..I spend almost as much time looking at the flowers as I do looking at the cattle :)

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/15/2011 8:16PM

    What beauty you bring into my day, thank you. emoticon

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KALIGIRL 5/15/2011 7:48PM

    I can almost picture your beloved woods.

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PHEBESS 5/15/2011 5:53PM

    I always love reading your blogs! Pure poetry!

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FRACTALMYTH 5/15/2011 2:54PM

    Wow! If I could choose anywhere else in the world to live, it would be in your part of the woods :D

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CARRAND 5/15/2011 1:47PM

    Absolutely beautiful. I can really see those woods and flowers.

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_LINDA 5/15/2011 11:00AM

    Absolutely wonderful blog Ellen!! I really enjoyed your descriptions and felt I was walking right there along with you! It sounds like such a gorgeous place! How I envy you! Thanks for the link -I had not heard of many of these flowers and it was nice to look them up all in one place! So glad you can still enjoy the wonder of it all in spite of so many years spent there! What memories!
Enjoy your Sunday!

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IMAGINE_IT 5/15/2011 7:39AM

    Thank you for this Blog Ellen...i could almost imagine being there with you...walking right along..those paths...admiring all the beautiful wildflowers...and being thankful for all the Beauty that still is everywhere!!
Thank you also for the link....lots to be discovered there! emoticon emoticon

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NANCY- 5/15/2011 6:53AM

    Thank you for sharing the link to those beautiful flowers. It brightened my raining morning. What a precious gift of sharing nature with your children!

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VALERIEMAHA 5/14/2011 10:44PM

    Nature in all her glory. I do not believe I've ever seen trillium flowers "live." I looked on the link you offered...such a delicate beautiful specimen, from the elegant and regal lily family.

Lovely stroll through the woods.

P.S. I see I got myself "unsubscribed" from your blogs, because I wasn't notified of your last two! I wondered what your feed was referring to...until I finally saw your blog title!

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/14/2011 10:14PM

    What a treat to read this blog and vicariously enjoy the vigor and magic of Springtime in the Ontario woods. Today I have been reflecting about that singular 'wild' place within ourselves which resonates with beauty in nature, in others, and in art.

I am reminded of a walk I took last April with my sister through a bluebell wood in England. The memory still warms my spirit.

Thank you for sharing your walk with us. xx

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Virtual pals, real value

Thursday, May 12, 2011

That was the headline on a tiny article in the Toronto Globe and Mail earlier this week. It outlined UK research indicating that the typical user of a "social networking site" (such as Facebook, or I presume SparkPeople) has 121 online friends, in comparison with 55 physical friends. It also found that 1 in 10 people found their "best" friend online and that people tend to be more honest with friends online than with their physical friends.

No question: I have made some wonderful friends here.

No question: there are people here with whom I share very important values that are not so much a focus among many of those I encounter in my day-to-day life.

No question: there is a degree of honesty here which is huge. For one thing, most of us post our current weight on those weight tickers!! How many people in "realtime" know your actual weight? And how funny is that, when presumably those realtime friends can make a pretty educated guess just by looking at us??

Thanks so much to all those who congratulated me on my Second Sparkiversary and left such kind comments! Friends indeed!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DONNACFIT 5/15/2011 9:43PM

    Love all my virtual friends... emoticon

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TEENY_BIKINI 5/15/2011 11:47AM

    Excellent and so so so true!!


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VALERIEMAHA 5/14/2011 11:08PM

    I couldn't agree more! AND check this out...scrolling down through the comments are many mutual friends, three of which are virtual-become-real-time friends: WHITE-LOTUS, PENNYAN, and STLRZGRRL! Ain't it grand!

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MSSNOWY 5/14/2011 11:04AM

    You are so right. It's such a blessing to have SparkFriends -- and other virtual friends as well. They don't 'seem' virtual at all. And, in fact, I suspect they aren't -- we just contact them differently.

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COSMIC_ENERGY 5/14/2011 10:13AM

    Amen and amen! My virtual friends are supportive, non-judgmental, and honest (ok-so are my "in person" friends too, just don't have quite so many!) Just that my Spark friends are working on body/mind/spirit all together and that is a different bond.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IRONGRANNIE 5/14/2011 3:48AM

    That is so true about showing our weight. I certainly don't tell people my weight, they would think I was very strange, but not here!

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FRACTALMYTH 5/13/2011 8:11PM

    I missed your Sparkiversary :( but that doesn't mean I don't love you heaps!!! Virtual friends are the BEST. What a sad and isolated life it would be if I were confined by geographical circumstance to those few friends I can maintain in real life. So glad we are connected :D

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PENNYAN45 5/13/2011 6:02PM

    I, too, value some of my virtual friends as much or more than some of my real-life friends.
And I feel grateful to be living in this great age of technology which makes it all happen!

Thanks for being one of my special virtual friends.

emoticon emoticon

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DSHONEYC 5/13/2011 12:09PM

Perhaps my very first SparkFriend 2 years ago...drawn to one another by virtue of the medical journey we were both taking.

emoticon Happy Friday the 13th.

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JOHAL52 5/13/2011 9:17AM

    I wouldn't have "met" you Ellen if it weren't for SP. And we couldn't have shared our mutual memories of Canada. I am looking forward to more! Like mosquitoes in summer....

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STLRZGRRL 5/13/2011 12:36AM

    ellen, it has been a stone honor to watch you on yoor journey... I won't be here very much after today... but please know how much I love your writing, your wit and your incredible take on the life as it goes on and on...

Sparkmail coming at you in 3..2..1...

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/12/2011 6:01PM

    I never cease to be surprised at how absolutely wonderful virtual friends are, no bitching, lots of time to read to 'listen' and above all the most wonderful sources of support. I wonder if it is because we all have similar goals, emoticon and my Spark emoticons.

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_LINDA 5/12/2011 1:15PM

    That is a very interesting article! Thanks for sharing! I am a little below the online count and have no personal friends, so I am quite grateful for this online community that gives me such a warm welcome and great interaction! I can see why people hang out with social networks so much.
I was so glad to have met you in my online travels!
Have a terrific Thursday!!

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CARRAND 5/12/2011 12:22PM

    I was surprised at the value of virtual friends after I joined SP. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to feel so close to people I'd never met in person. I feel like I share more of myself here.

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PHEBESS 5/12/2011 10:41AM


However, I show my weight LOST, LOL!

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KALIGIRL 5/12/2011 8:29AM

    emoticonshare my weight?

Isn't it grand to have such great virtual friends?
emoticon emoticon

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Second Sparkiversary!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

It's been two years!

I weigh a solid 30 pounds less than when I found Spark People May 10 2009, down from 172 to 142 (or 141, with occasionally a glimmer of a "middle 3"!!). Still working on determining lowest sustainable weight . . .

That was recapturing and then sustaining an original loss from 230 pounds in 2001 to 150 pounds in 2002.

My new stability of weight maintenance in the low 14os resulted from my introduction to the Judith S. Beck 42 day program in cognitive psychology techniques for Thinking Like a Thin Person: thanks SLENDERELLA61 and the Beck Diet Solution team for support with this project, which I began earlier this year, blogging my way through the 42 days! It works!! And I was able to sustain it through a serious "cancer recurrence" scare in March.

I'm continuing to pretrack nutrition on the Spark Nutrition tracker: I'm continuing to sit down to eat, manage my environment, recognize that hunger is not an emergency, cope with sabotaging thoughts (including the primary sabotaging thought that pretracking takes too much time and is OCD!!).

Right now everything in my wardrobe fits (or is too big). Love that!! And after a winter of cross country skiing and regular gym attendance, I feel fit and strong.

Nothing feels better than feeling healthy.

Thanks, Spark People. Included in that thanks: Chris Downie and staff, the site itself (free, free, free!!), all the resources and links and articles, and most especially all of the wonderful Spark friends I've made right here.

This is an absolutely amazing community and I continue to be grateful for all of the support and good ideas and shared values I've found right here, every day.

Thank you, all!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TEENY_BIKINI 5/15/2011 11:47AM

    Fantastico!! Wonderful!! You are amazingness!!


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VALERIEMAHA 5/14/2011 10:59PM

    Yep, I'm cryin' in my beer that I missed the BIG emoticon

Your accomplishment is emoticon; YOU are emoticon

A devoted admirer,

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IRONGRANNIE 5/14/2011 3:44AM

    emoticonfor 2 years.

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FRACTALMYTH 5/13/2011 8:12PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PENNYAN45 5/13/2011 5:57PM

    SO happy for you! Congratulations!!

emoticon emoticon

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NANCY- 5/13/2011 8:40AM

Just a thought to ponder, perhaps the lowest sustainable weight is more of a range than an actual number.
It is amazing the gift that being here at SP brings and that you bring to SP.

Keep on Sparking!!!!

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JOPAPGH 5/12/2011 9:34PM

    Congratulations on your two year anniversary too! You continue to be an inspiration.

Keep on keepin' on...

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    You are simply amazing.

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_LINDA 5/12/2011 1:20PM

    You have done such an amazing job turning your life around! So glad you found a plan that really works for you!
So Happy, Happy belated anniversary!! (don't know how I missed this blog -it didn't show on my friend feed)
May you reach the weight you are happiest with and keep it forever off!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 5/12/2011 1:21AM

    You have come a long way...and worked very hard on getting down to your Goal weight emoticonon your success and your 2year Sparkversary.. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TBANMAN 5/11/2011 11:53PM

    Congratulations! You are an excellent motivator to so many here, including me. Thanks for the last two years.


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CARRAND 5/11/2011 8:37PM

    Congratulations on all you've accomplished!

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NICE125 5/11/2011 7:54PM

  Congratulations!!! And you are an inspiration to so many of us, I doubt I would have even attempted the Beck plan without the support of your excellent blogs.

Thanks and keep on!!!

Best wishes

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CASJ57 5/11/2011 10:15AM

    What a wonderful anniversary!

emoticon emoticon


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KALIGIRL 5/11/2011 8:46AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Way to maintain your healthy lifestyle!

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DONNACFIT 5/11/2011 12:56AM

    Happy 2nd Sparkaversary!!! emoticon

You are an inspiration to me and I'm so glad you're my Spark friend!!

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JIBBIE49 5/11/2011 12:47AM

    emoticonI love the BECK DIET SOLUTION because you are right about THINKING LIKE A THIN PERSON. It is what matters.

Happy Sparkversary.

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BRIGHTSPARK7 5/10/2011 11:49PM

    Happy emoticon Sparkeversary Ellen! Congratulations on your well deserved success! Looks like you've found a new way of life, and a new lease on life!

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KRISTI2661 5/10/2011 11:37PM

    Love, love, love this blog. You are an amazing Spark friend and I am so glad I have met you. I have read bits and pieces of Beck (I've had the book for years and never even opened it until I saw another Spark friend talk about it) but I've never committed to it - maybe I should? The one thing I do say to myself all the time is "I'm hungry, but it's not an emergency" - I love that! And, you know how much I love Spark, too!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TRYINGHARD1948 5/10/2011 11:36PM

    Congratulations Ellen, you are a winning loser.

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SHECHAM 5/10/2011 10:29PM

    Congratulations and well done! Whooo Hooo To You!!!! emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 5/10/2011 10:04PM

    And I'm grateful for you, Ellen. You are one wise and thoughtful woman, smart and hardworking. I've learned a great deal from you and I am grateful. I have the strong feeling that your goal to maintain within a tight little range is well within your grasp, although I know that is a goal that will require effort every day. But you know what to do. It's worth it and you will do it!!

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PHEBESS 5/10/2011 9:29PM

    emoticon emoticon

Happy 2nd!!!!

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TACONES 5/10/2011 9:14PM


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THINLIN07 5/10/2011 9:12PM

    I agree this site is amazing. I have lost so much weight and dropped so many sizes. I also have made some great new friends as well. Congrats on your 2nd sparkiversary I just celebrated my 1st on april 1st. emoticon

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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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CARRAND 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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