Thursday, June 30, 2011
KALIGIRL and BRIGHTSPARK have both kindly pointed out that my reading of the Leslie Beck article in my previous blog was (ahem) somewhat inaccurate and perhaps a little immoderate and . . . . that in fact the occasional French fry might not spell disaster and . . . . like that.
Here's what KALIGIRL said:
I hate to differ, but the article stated: “People who REGULARLY ate French fries, potato chips, mashed potatoes, processed meat, meat, sugary drinks, sweets and refined grains were more LIKELY to gain weight.”
I'm an EVERYTHING in moderation person unless you have an addiction, and consider a DQ cheese coney, sharing onion rings and a mini oreo blizzard a REAL treat!
And BRIGHTSPARK agrees with KALIGIRL.
And of course they are both absolutely right.
I replied to KALIGIRL:
Thanks for your comment on my "moderation" blog: your gloss on it is definitely more moderate (and accurate!!). And yes, I do think I have an addiction to French fries, potato chips and all the rest . . . trigger foods for me!!
And I repllied to BRIGHTSPARK:
On reconsideration, I'm thinking you and KALIGIRL are right, Usha . . . I need to be more moderate in my rejection of moderation!! The two of you have a lot of wisdom.
But (defence of necessity) my intensity is related to my addiction . . . last week when my weight went back up over 140, I'd had just a couple foods that aren't on my usual program (small serving of chicken wings, a muffin) both tracked and within range but . . . . they trigger cravings and my metabolism seems to deal with that kind of food differently.
Don't like the results of "moderation" for me. *sigh*
I really had only eaten some treat foods with moderation. And I really don't like the results of "moderation" for me. But that's because . . . . I've still got some work to do on "thinking like a thin person", pretty obviously. I'm still dealing with those incredible and uncontrollable urges to eat yucky stuff in great bucketloads . . .
Maintaining weight loss is not easier than losing weight. Or at least, not yet. I'm still working on finding my lowest achievable weight, and determining my lowest sustainable weight. Not there yet: maybe not close yet.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
OK, it's official -- at least if you are prepared to rely upon a Harvard study tracking almost 121,000 people over a 20 year period. The link above will take you to the whole article, written by Toronto based dietitian Leslie Beck. But here's the condensed version.
Some foods really are bad.
It's not the case that you can eat all foods in moderation.
The baddies? Predictable. All my faves.
That would be French fries and potato chips at the top of the list. And would include "sugary drinks" (what we Canajuns call "pop") and processed meats and desserts and refined carbs and . . . even baked potatoes. Yikes.
People eating these foods put on 17 pounds over 20 years. May not sound like a huge weight gain . . . but often apparently combined with additional weight gain associated with inadequate exercise, drinking, lack of sleep . . . yeah.
I've been trying to persuade myself that a French fry or two (snatched off DH's plate) isn't going to hurt . . . so long as I stay within my calorie range. And I have permitted myself a baked potato probably once a week.
Gotta reconsider this.
Stick with the veggies, fruit, nuts, whole grains and yogourt which are the mainstay of my diet - and which the Harvard study tells us are associated with no weight gain, even moderate weight loss.
Not what I wanted to hear, frankly. But this is a pretty reputable source. So, I'm listening.
Moderation in all things? Maybe not.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
OK, with lots of support from SP friends I turned around that blip upwards and today weighed in at 138.5 again.
But: I'm going to continue with the vigilant pretracking.
And not eating unless I'm sitting down.
And measuring portions.
And arranging my environment to hide the peanut butter and the cheese!!
And reading my Beck advantage response cards.
All of that.
Because: I don't want to strengthen the giving in muscle. And I do want to keep my motivation and my resistance muscle strong!!
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Changed my weight tracker to 140.5. Up from 138 where it's been (faithfully checked daily because that's what works for me in maintenance) for weeks and weeks.
But today it WAS 140.5. And so I changed it.
I hate to see that middle number 4.
I know, I know. Not a big deal. Probably temporary.
I haven't been exceeding my calorie count. Have been permitting myself 1500 or 1600 calories a day, however. Within my "range" but probably too much for my metabolism.
And: I did have a serving of salted cashews and almonds yesterday. So there might be some "water weight" lurking in there. Nuts good (in moderation); salted nuts not so good.
Today: Will review my Beck cards. *pause: doing that right now* Done.
Where have I been a bit sloppy?
Pretracking nutrition: gotta do this every day, the day before. (Haven't put in today's nutrition yet: will do this immediately after posting my blog). And I will measure portion sizes rather than relying upon the "eyeball method".
Exercise: work has been uber stressful, and I haven't been getting to the gym as much as I need to. Even though the gym (and golf) are excellent means of combating stress. Went to the gym yesterday. I'm playing golf today. And tomorrow.
Eating standing up. There's been a tiny bit of that creeping back in . . . vegetables while preparing salads, a berry or two. Trivial from a calorie count perspective, NOT trivial from a "strengthening the resistance muscle" perspective. No more eating standing up. None. No choice. This is a huge slippery slope for me.
So: I will continue to pretrack diligently: exercise, nutrition.
And measure my portion sizes accurately.
Because: ignoring small weight gains is what got me up to 230 pounds in 2001.
Eternal vigilance is what I require. Beck and SP can help me maintain that.
I want to see a middle number 3 again. Yeah.
When it happens, I will post it!
Thursday, June 23, 2011
Today's Toronto Globe and Mail has a great article on how motivation works in the brain, at the level of actual neuro activity in the various structures of the brain. I've provided the link, above, in case you want to read the whole thing. And it's a fascinating story, given that motivation is something that concerns so many of us. However, it's not exactly your "easy read", so here's the condensed version related to the weight loss experience (at least, so far as I'm I'm able to understand it myself).
Essentially, the neuroscience researcher Mark Fenske has discovered that positive motivation arises when the "reward" centres of the brain win out over the "loss" centres of the brain.
In other words, in deciding whether to pursue any particular goal -- including weight loss-- the brain performs a kind of cost/benefit analysis. The motivation story is about an internal battle between various centres of the brain.
We decide to accomplish a goal, such as losing weight. Then our brain considers: How rewarding would it be to accomplish the goal? Some areas of the brain evaluate the rewards (for weight loss, better health, better appearance . . . all the reasons we have to lose weight) -- and a positive evaluation of the rewards associated with a particular goal will result at least initially in motivation. We're gung ho!! We're roaring off all speed ahead to lose a pound a day!! Yay!!
And quickly lose momentum. Because the brain's motivation centres are continually dealing with backtalk from other brain areas. No one likes to be unsuccessful, or to pay more to achieve something than it is worth to him or her.
So these "backtalk" or demotivation brain centres ask other questions designed to protect us from the sting of failure. How likely is it that I will be unable to accomplish the goal? These negative and anxiety-stimulating brain centres evaluate the risks I won't be successful (how many times have I tried in the past and not stuck with the program, or lost weight only to regain it again? and how difficult was it to lose that weight in the first place?)
If these risk and loss factors seem very large, then the brain decides to submit to demotivation rather than experience defeat. The brain determines, for example, that weight loss would require too much effort getting out of bed to exercise, it would require too many sacrifices of delicious foods in social situations, and that in any case I won't be able to keep it up. The result? Giving up. Regaining the weight loss in that first flush of enthusiasm. And probably a few more pounds.
Do it. Don't do it. Do it. Don't do it. When it comes to motivation, or its opposite demotivation, apparently that's what happening inside our brains all of the time. A measurable brain battle of conflicting neuroactivities.
So: how can we strengthen the motivation centres of the brain and weaken the demotivation centres?
This brain battle doesn't need to be an unconscious one.
We can choose quite deliberately to focus on the positive brain signals.
We can deliberately choose to pay greater attention to the positive "do it" signals.
We can deliberately choose to pay less attention to the negative "don't do it" signals.
After all, because I had failed to lose weight up until age 50 did not mean that I was destined never to lose weight. I did lose 80 pounds between 2001 and 2002. I have kept it off, and since January I have lost about 10 pounds more and kept it off. I now weigh more than 90 pounds less than I did in 2002. But: I was yoyoing, fluctuating.
Using the Judith S. Beck Advantage Response cards (from her book, The Diet Solution) was simply a method of focusing my attention on the rewards of losing weight. To adopt her language, it was a method of strengthening the resistance muscles and weakening the giving-in muscles. It was a method of learning to think like a thin person. And for now at least it does seem to have stopped the yo-yoing of that last 10 pounds on/off/on/off.
"Do it" (motivation) is winning: "don't do it" (demotivation) is losing. My brain battle was made manifest in my body: up 10 pounds, down 10 pounds, up 10 pounds, down 10 pounds.
I stopped permitting myself to dwell on fear of failure. I stopped permitting myself to focus on how hard it is to plan my nutrition and exercise.
Instead I have deliberately chosen to pay attention to the rewards of clothing that fits, feeling slim and healthy.
And I've discovered that it isn't that hard to plan nutrition and exercise, especially with the SP trackers. I've learned that sustaining the motivation to maintain weight loss has simply turned out not to be as hard as I had anticipated.
At least most days!!
The Fenske research on the brain battle of motivation reinforces my experience with Judith S. Beck and with SparkPeople.
We're here to pay attention to the centres of the brain that focus on the rewards of weight loss: better health, better appearance . . . . all of that.
On a cost/benefit analysis: yeah. It's worth it. So worth it.
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