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Challenging My Inventory of Core Beliefs about Dieting

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fatloser tells me (this was the day 19 lesson) that I probably have a whole lot of "core beliefs" about dieting. And that many of them might not even be conscious beliefs.

Here are a few typical and unconscious core beliefs about weight loss and dieting, according to Steve Siebold, the "mental toughness coach" on fatloser.com:

1. Dieting is painful.
2. Dieting is short term for weight loss, and then I can stop.
3. I can lose weight without focused dieting (without tracking . . . just "cutting back" is enough).
4. Diets don't work anyhow.
5. I'll be unhappy if I can't eat what I want when I want (and I shouldn't be unhappy. That would be unfair).
6. Dieting means I'll have to deny myself all my favourite foods (and that wouldn't be fair either. Other people can eat whatever they want . . . and I should be able to also).
7. Dieting will mean I can't eat in restaurants. (And I like eating in restaurants).
8. Dieting is too much work (and I don't want to do the work).
9. Dieting requires extreme discipline (and I shouldn't have to be self-disciplined).
10. The pleasure of being "fit" (or slim) is not worth the pain of dieting.

Any of these familiar once they're dragged out into the light of consciousness? They sure were, for me.

Siebold suggests that we quite deliberately adopt a new set of core beliefs to replace those old unconscious beliefs. Here are his suggestions:

1. Dieting is pleasurable because it makes me feel successful, energetic and in control of my body.
2. Dieting is long term, like sticking to a budget, and and that's good because it will keep me on track and successful.
3. Focusing on my diet (tracking, 100% compliance) means I'll be successful.
4. Diets work perfectly every time, so long as I follow the diet.
5. I can be happy (much happier) choosing foods that make me feel fit and healthy.
6. I can develop new favourite foods that make me feel fit and healthy.
7. I can prepare to eat in restaurants by deciding what I'll eat in advance that is in compliance with my diet.
8. Being fat is too much work because it weighs me down all day long and makes me feel miserable.
9. Dieting is only a light discipline but it has disproportionately high rewards: I'll feel great and look great and get big compliments!
10. The pleasure of fitness is worth any price I have to pay because without my health I have nothing.

Siebold tells us that these are, in fact, the core beliefs of people who are fit rather than fat. How does he know? He's interviewed over 500 fit people, and these 10 beliefs came up over and over again.

What if I just don't believe those new "beliefs?" No problem. I don't have to believe them, I just have to tell myself that I believe them. I just have to be smart enough to copy the beliefs that already work for people who are already fit and not fat. If I copy those beliefs, then the appropriate actions will follow. The results I want. Fitness not fatness. Because these are the beliefs I need to believe in order to be successful at weight loss. Changing the belief changes the action. It might feel kinda phony at first to tell myself I believe what I don't yet believe, but persistent repetition of the new core beliefs will make them mine.

I'm never going to live long enough to learn everything I need to know, but that's OK. Because I can just copy the beliefs of successful people, leverage their knowledge and borrow their experience. If I do that, I'll become successful too. At weight loss . . . and at other stuff as well.

What an intriguing idea: I don't have to believe my beliefs. At first. But these beliefs will become my beliefs. Through practice and persistence. The actions that follow. And the results then follow the actions.

I took off 80 pounds in 2001. From 230 to 150. With a few blips, I've kept them off . . . and lost 10 more. Consistently at 140 (and still would like to be a few pounds lighter, about 138).

What Siebold made me realize is: I HAVE changed my core beliefs.

1. Dieting actually is pleasurable. (Almost always: although I grumble occasionally!)
2. It's permanent.
3. I'm pretty consistently 100% compliant. Hardly ever over my calorie range.
4. This is working for me.
5. I'm happy to eat healthily (and hate the "food hangover" feeling of high fat or salty foods).
6. I now prefer (genuinely) vegetables and fruits in salads and soups, lean protein, healthy fats. (Don't ask me about potato chips, however).
7. Had lunch at a restaurant yesterday: decided in advance it would be salad and chose a great one: grilled veggies with a little goat cheese and Parmesan crisps. Mmmmmm. Black coffee. No bread, no butter. No cream soup to start. Just half a teaspoon of DH's pecan pie. Enough? Yes it was. Delicious, in fact. While the others at the table ate quite differently. No problem: they don't have my metabolism.
8. Love feeling lean all day long, moving easily and lightly through life.
9. Love the compliments! "Those pants look fantastic on you" (yesterday). Vanity, I know . . . but I'm less than honest if I don't admit that it's great to look as good as possible.
10. Got my third year all clear mammo results back last week and I'm anticipating a good check-in at the oncology clinic on Monday. My health is worth this, yes it is. Not that freedom from recurrence is ever guaranteed or that recurrence, if it happens, would be "my fault". But, I know that I'm doing everything I can with healthy diet and exercise . . . and that's all I can do. So: not panicking. Not worrying. And that's a good thing too.

Fatloser.com helped me realize what I already knew. What I've already learned. But without being conscious of it.

Fatloser.com is a stellar program. And once again, I recommend it.

Yeah, Day 20 was terrific too . . . and I'm sorry that tomorrow it's all over. But: I've made notes. And I may try some of the other Steve Siebold resources. Because what he's offering (free, mostly) is pretty valuable . . . or at least I'm thinking so.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRYSTALJEM 3/15/2012 8:31AM

    Core beliefs, how very true. We all have them about all areas of our life. And you are right - most of them are unconscious. I can relate to the beliefs you are stating and actually writing out new ones is an excellent idea that I am going to flagrantly steal!

When I reassess my core beliefs, I am always surprised at the ones I've taken as simple fact until I realize that it just all goes back to my perception. Believing really is seeing.

Thanks for this really insightful blog. Oh, and I'm totally with you on those potato chips - my other downfall... beef jerky.

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ROOSTER72 3/15/2012 12:51AM

    I relate to core beliefs 5, 6, & 7

5. I'll be unhappy if I can't eat what I want when I want
6. Dieting means I'll have to deny myself all my favourite foods
7. Dieting will mean I can't eat in restaurants.

Rather than focus on them, I am going to focus on new beliefs 9 & 10. I know these both to be true - but I need to keep them front of mind!

9. Dieting is only a light discipline but it has disproportionately high rewards: I'll feel great and look great and get big compliments!
10. The pleasure of fitness is worth any price I have to pay because without my health I have nothing.

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    Wow... Just wow.

A week's worth of food for thought.... like a trip to a cognitive farmer's market.

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LUCKYONE60 3/14/2012 11:17AM

    Wow, that's some POWERFUL stuff. Thanks for sharing it here. Keep up the good work!

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SWAZY33 3/14/2012 11:11AM

    It's true how we can train ourselves to like food that is good for us and what we need for nourishment vs...what sugary snack is arund to binge on! Someone gave me a lil fun size bag of m & m's yesterday and I can't believe I'm sayin this but they didn't taste good! crazy!
Diet is a lifetime committment and we ARE worth it!

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TEENY_BIKINI 3/14/2012 10:09AM

    Totally fantastic and intriguing blog. What if we changed core our beliefs about everything that affected our life? How interesting would that be? I find that many of these philosophies can be applied to our entire lives - not just food. They are life beliefs.


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ID_VANDAL 3/12/2012 3:10PM

    Thanks for sharing all of that. I'm starting those FatLoser tapes today and looking forward to them. Every comment I've read about then is positive!!

Keep up the great work you are doing.



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LISALGB 3/12/2012 9:35AM

    Awesome!! This is great! And, I'm going to check out fatloser.com right now. Thanks!

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DDOORN 3/11/2012 6:43PM

    Definitely see good doses of myself in both categories...and as someone else noted sometimes there is a heckuvalot to be said for "fakin' it till you make it!"


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SLENDERELLA61 3/11/2012 2:11PM

    BIG CONGRATS on 3 years of health and overcoming. Thanks for sharing these insights. I've certainly changed my core beliefs, too, but perhaps could find a few more to change or slightly modify to improve my behavior and, therefore, my health. I just love, "I can be happy (much happier) choosing foods that make me feel fit and healthy," because it is so true. Soon I'll be back to regular Sparking. The break hasn't been bad, though. It has kind of let me know I can do this healthy lifestyle without Spark if I need to. -Marsha

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NANCY- 3/11/2012 12:57PM

    Wonderful blog... thanks for the sneak peek. I'm on day 7. It is true that our beliefs guide our actions.
You are doing awesome.

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DBCLARINET 3/11/2012 7:27AM

    I was thinking about one diet belief -- "Other people can eat whatever they want... and I should be able to, also." I have a friend who used to eat "whatever he wanted." He liked Lean Pockets and Cheez-its. He's skinny, about 130 lbs. on a heavy day. But holy cow, he can eat WHATEVER HE WANTS!

If you took two minutes to get past the part where he eats "whatever he wants," you would realize that he eats extremely small portions. Yeah, he eats Cheez-its every night. About 5, and then he's full and puts the box away. He made a box of Cheez-its last three weeks.

We were a fun pair to watch, me with my healthy food and him with his perpetual junk. He's since taken to riding his bike a lot and eating healthier stuff and takes pride in raving to me about how much better he feels. But the truth, just like with the Twinkie diet, is that you can stay skinny if you just don't eat a lot. Period.

I have never seen diet beliefs so nicely organized like that, and yet when I read through the list, I realize they're all true! And Siebold's altered beliefs are so true, too! I was in the lounge a few weeks ago and someone had brought in cookies, or cake, or something to that effect (yet again...), and one of the guys was egging two of us to eat some. The one guy had a bite, and I had none. Someone was kind of backhanded sticking-up-for-us (..."Hey, they can't eat that stuff if they want to maintain their weight...") and the guy said, yeah, but look at what they eat!

My first thought was, "Hey, I LIKE my salads, thankyouverymuch."

"Dieting" IS pleasurable -- and when something is pleasurable, you want to stick with it. Because my particular diet is grain-free, I've had the opportunity to explore an enormous range of new foods and found so many delicious things in the process. I actually don't have a "favorite food" anymore because so much of it makes me feel so good and satisfied. I always check out restaurants beforehand to see what they have to eat, and the more they have that is in compliance with my diet, the more excited I get. It builds anticipation for the experience of going out and turns it into a real treat. When I see people who are seriously out of shape and struggling to move, or people to whom age has not been kind, I feel even more inspired to keep eating healthy and working out because I want to be fit as a fiddle in my old age! No pills, no creaky bones, no achy joints, just a healthy, functional body.

I never put it in those terms, but that's exactly what I believe. Sorry for the ridiculously long comment, but you (or more appropriately, Siebold) hit on a huge thing there. I remember walking around an amusement park with my husband and in-laws, walking past an elephant ear stand, and when I didn't say anything she asked if we wanted an elephant ear. I said no. She said, "Wow, I can't believe you can walk by that and smell that and not want one." And then she went and bought herself an elephant ear. It was kind of a sad moment.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/11/2012 7:15AM

    Once again, thank you Ellen, definitely looking forward to the journey.

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MEADSBAY 3/10/2012 9:02PM

    Thank you so much.
You could have been one of SS's Fit 500!
I am on day 5 and still need to work on my core beliefs.

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_LINDA 3/10/2012 7:24PM

    Thanks so much for the excellent summary on what a healthy lifestyle attitude is truly about. Its nice to get it put out there in black and white! So very happy to hear your test results are good!
Keep up the fabulous work!

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DONNACFIT 3/10/2012 5:28PM

    Love it..can't wait to get all the lessons done..I'm on day 3 :) It's great!!

My Happiness project has .."Act the way I want to feel" emoticon

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TRAVELGRRL 3/10/2012 5:05PM

    Day 19 speaks to two quotes that I hold dear and use often:

"Fake it 'til you make it."

"Learn from the mistakes of others; you won't live long enough to make them all yourself." - Will Rogers

I just love how flipping the core beliefs from negative to positive make them seem so achievable and desirable!

Thanks for sharing (since I never made it to day 19!) emoticon

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FREELADY 3/10/2012 4:07PM

    Every time I get on an airplane, I have to tell myself what I don't yet believe. "This machine is skillfully engineered. Its flight is based on sound principles. Flying is statistically much safer than driving. I am very likely to have a safe, uneventful flight." Our minds and emotions do play tricks on us already; what you are describing is what I like to think of as replacing the status quo of self-trickery with TRUTH!

Your blog is tremendously beneficial, to have all this valuable info & insight together in one spot. You are a true mentor; you are digesting this good stuff in your own life, and generously sharing its blessings with us! Thanks!

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Quitting at Day Four

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

A number of us here at SparkPeople are trying fatloser.com . . . with varying degrees of pleasure!

I'm a fan. Really.

Fatloser is about mental toughness, and it's bigger than losing weight . . . it's about controlling our thinking by monitoring our moods and emotions to effect change in every area of our lives.

Steve Siebold pulls no punches. He says that if I'm fat, it's my fault. But that although there is a big price to pay for becoming "fit", I also pay a huge price (a bigger price) if I'm fat. So I've got to expect to experience pain, doubt and turbulence . . . work through the "season of pain" . . . grow up and fix the problem. Diets are "linear", he says: do the work, get the result you want. End of story.

For me, this 21 day free fatloser program is as valuable as Susan Estrich's "Making the Case for Yourself", Judith S. Beck's "Diet Solution" (I've blogged about both of these) and even SparkPeople itself. The fatloser site has a whole range of other resources . . . some free, some not . . . but there is no hard sell.

He's essentially focusing on the most debilitating addiction of all . . . addiction to the approval of other people. Being a "people pleaser" is something we learn as children, and it leads many to a place of "fear and scarcity" where the consolations of excess food become problematic. What's the solution? We have to use our logical minds to make decisions, and our emotional minds as cheerleaders to sustain the motivation to carry out those decisions. Regardless of whether other people approve or not.

And many of us know: there is huge social pressure to eat unhealthily. Especially in a society where 66% are overweight or obese right now, 75% will be by 2020, and 90% by 2032.

The weight loss industry in North America generates some $68B a year in profits by persuading people that they need to buy special products or coaching or supportive services to lose weight. There is no profit to be made in telling people that they can do it themselves. But people do have within themselves the willpower to do it for themselves. At no cost. Make a decision, develop the mental toughness to stick to it: that's Siebold's prescription and he spells out just how to do it. And Siebold's own fatloser program is now FREE, although he used to sell it for close to $500 a person.

Overeating, Siebold says, is not an addiction. Obesity is not a disease. We don't need medical attention to deal with this issue. (He does make an exception for the tiny fraction of the population with an eating or psychological disorder). But most of us just need the mental toughness to stick with a diet. Eating too much high calorie food just because it tastes good is . . . a bad habit. A tough habit to break. But: not more than that. Hmmmm. Siebold even says that if I'm a bit hungry when I'm ready for bed, that would be an indication that I'm sticking to my diet. And I need to think about it that way.

This makes sense to me. And made me consider: the mental toughness I learn from fatloser.com has to be useful in so many other areas of life.

So: how can it be that most people drop out of fatloser at about day 4 or 5? That's what he says at day 17. Which really astonished me.

Although: I'm betting that quite a few of those who make it past day 5 will pack it in at day 13. Day 13 is when he talks about the topic (THAT topic) which is pretty much NEVER discussed in weight loss venues . . . which would include SparkPeople. So I won't either. Even though Siebold is absolutely persuasive about how important it is. Matter-of-factly. But inevitably it's an approach that a whole lot of folks just might find . . . um yeah. . . . a little bit excessively candid?

Not me. I made it past day 5. And day 13. I'm definitely sticking it out for the last four days, and I'll be sorry when it's over . . . I'm hoping to take a couple hours and review all of the videos sequentially when I'm done. It's my understanding that the emails will all self-destruct shortly thereafter: and fair enough. It's quite a gift to provide this program at no cost even for a "limited time only"!!

Sure, I can see fatloser could be kinda in your face for some people, even for a lot of people . . . but it's so evident that Siebold had no intention of offending. He is simply trying to explain, to set out, with clarity and forcefulness, an approach to weight loss and to life itself which he has found infinitely useful. And valuable.

We can take it! We're tough enough. He's sure of that.

I can. It's great stuff. And: I do recommend it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAVELGRRL 3/9/2012 7:42PM

    I have to say I quit listening around day 15! For me he got a tad smug and repetitive, but I totally agree he "tells it like it is!"

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ID_VANDAL 3/9/2012 12:11PM

    Thanks for the reminder - I was going to do that before I had to go to Australia but now that I'm back - no excuses!!

Great summary - thanks again.



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TRYINGHARD1948 3/8/2012 7:13PM

    You definitely got me interested so I logged on and it is certainly a good time for me to face what he is saying. . I already love the first days stand out comment for me. "most people look at food and think of the pleasure it will give them, ohealthy people look at food and ask how healthy it will be for them.". Thanks, I'll let you know how I am going

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NANCY- 3/8/2012 10:54AM

    I just finished Day 4, now you have me curious about Day 13. Steve is an interesting individual. Here's to you completing the FAT LOSER PROGRAM. I know you will do it.

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DDOORN 3/8/2012 10:42AM

    Thx for keeping on with your enthusiasm for fatloser...I keep saying to myself, hey, gotta check this out...but haven't. Crazy/busy day...not going to happen today, still putting it off...argh! But I will definitely make it happen soon!


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PENNYAN45 3/8/2012 9:28AM

    Now I'm really curious!!
I am going to check this out. It sounds interesting and worthwhile.

Thanks for putting us on to yet another great resource.

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_LINDA 3/7/2012 11:34PM

    So glad you are finding this new approach a good wake up call! It would be very refreshing if people would tell it like it is and not sugar coat things!
Glad you are finding it helpful!

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DONNACFIT 3/7/2012 9:06PM

    Thanks for the interesting blog..I joined fatloser and have just watched day 1 and have 4 more days stacked for when I'm not so blasted busy..plus my crappy internet takes for ever to watch it...watch for 10 seconds..wait for it to download for a minute or more...over and over..wish his site had just reading instead of the video..I don't think I'd get much if I just read and did the questions..his talk is the most important part..My take is it's making me even more mentally tough..haha

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CANNIE50 3/7/2012 8:39PM

    Very interesting - and of course, I am thinking, hmmmm - is "that" topic the thing I think it is, that I think is very often true of overweight people, men and women - almost a primal protective instinct. Anyway, thank you for blogging about this. I do think people-pleasing is a big, fat (excuse the pun) problem and as I grow older I become less and less interested or willing to please people at any expense to my integrity or self-respect. I just don't have it in any me, any more, and I was an incorrigible people pleaser for many years of my life. I forget how far I have come in that area until I read or hear something about someone letting others rule their world via opinions and demands. You have definitely picqued my curiousity about the fatloser site.

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TUFFMUFFIN signs up!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012


What a guy: the incomparable TUFFMUFFIN!!

He thinks he needs to lose 10 pounds before the start of golf season.

I think he looks pretty darn good.

But . . . it's how you feel. As we all know. And carrying 10 extra pounds plus golf clubs . . . maybe more than the ol' knees can tolerate.

The knees have been fixed three times with arthroscopy (how many legs is that??) and most recently, an injection of some kind of goop that's supposed to ease the crunchy joint . . . it was good enough that TUFFMUFFIN (aka DH), Charlie and I were able to ski together on Sunday!

First time this winter. Charlie did NOT want to get into the car, really dislikes the skis which pass-through the back seat from the trunk . . . wouldn't get in until we removed the skis, closed the pass through hatch. And then of course Charlie simply pretended that they WERE NOT THERE at all when we re-inserted them, gazing stoically out the back window all the way to the golf course. But, it was worth it. Funny that skis don't bother him attached to our feet. And funny how he realizes that standing in front of someone trying to ski downhill is not a good idea.

He was in his glory, running back and forth between the two of us, covering about three times the distance we did . . . too bad I couldn't have taken credit for HIS fitness minutes too! The track has been lengthened, the wax was just right, the chickadees were singing . . . and Charlie was equally unhappy about getting into the car with those terrible SKIS (no, they're not here, I'm not looking) to go home.

So: there's a fun picture of me and Charlie on TUFFMUFFIN's photos . . . and TUFFMUFFIN is also joining me with the fatloser.com series. And so far, making great strides in logging his nutrition.

I know this guy pretty darn well after 33 years of marriage. Am I betting he's going to take those 10 pounds off before golf season starts??? Yes I am. He WILL do it!

But: your support will certainly help. So thank you!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWKAREN43 3/7/2012 8:04PM

    Welcomed your darling hubby! Thanks for introducing a new friend! Got to say I'm just a tiny bit jealous that he only has 10 pounds to lose but I'm getting over it! Hugs and blessings. Karen

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TRAVELGRRL 3/7/2012 7:49PM

    Hilarious! I wish I could get my DH to join -- he is doing the whole weight loss thing but hates the computer.

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SALSIFY 3/7/2012 3:41PM

    I went over to Tuff's page to say hello.

It's odd what dogs will take against - one of mine dislikes the little carts that street sweepers use & I have to drag her past howling whenever we see one.

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KALIGIRL 3/7/2012 8:59AM

    Sent him a WTG note - definitely congrats to both of you!

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DDOORN 3/7/2012 8:53AM

    Hooray for TUFFMUFFIN! You two sound like you just love the heck out of each other! :-)

My bet is that Charlie (re: funny how he realizes that standing in front of someone trying to ski downhill is not a good idea) learned this the "hard way"...lol!


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NANCY- 3/7/2012 8:21AM

    Strange how I could relate to Charlie pretending something isn't there. :)
SP has the tools to help TUFFMUFFIN reach his goal and with your support he can only lose. (sorry bad pun) but it is true that he will achieve his goal.

Comment edited on: 3/7/2012 8:37:04 AM

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CRYSTALJEM 3/7/2012 7:47AM

    Great blog... those knees can be tough when they aren't behaving properly. Good luck to both of you, you'll meet your goals yet, cause that's just what you do.

I too have often wished that I could log my dog's fitness minutes... I'd be at the top of the minute count then I tell ya! Have a great day. Stay fit.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/7/2012 6:01AM

    Gorgeous photo of yourself with Charlie. You both look in great shape, and TuffMuffin lives up to all you have said. Love the word picture of Charlie enjoying the ski-ing.

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_LINDA 3/7/2012 1:06AM

    What a great day! Its so wonderful when the three of you can all have fun outside together!
We finally got our winter here -enough snow to snowshoe in -my Mom's enjoying it at long last! Took until almost spring to get some lol.
Lovely photo of you and Charlie!! You look STUNNING!!
May you all enjoy many more fun activities outdoors! Those pounds will be quaking in their boots!!

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CANNIE50 3/6/2012 10:44PM

    emoticon so sweet

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TUFFMUFFIN 3/6/2012 9:41PM

    Tuffmuffin is glowing from the high praise from Watermellen. She is very kind and supportive. She really wants me to lose those 10 pounds. Can I even get remotely close to that billing? What a target for anyone to have to live up to!

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PHEBESS 3/6/2012 8:08PM

    I sent him a "hi"!

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DBCLARINET 3/6/2012 7:35PM

    That's great! I agree that TuffMuffin looks great, but I also sympathize with wanting to lose a few pounds because it makes you feel good. And heck, 10 pounds is pretty tough when you're already in good shape! So, best of luck to TuffMuffin -- I'm sure he'll make it!

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  Getting and staying healthy together is a beautiful thing!
I am sure you two will have many happy healthy years together!

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Dieting is Permanent

Sunday, March 04, 2012

I know, I know. The word "diet" is not politically correct. Not here.

We're supposed to be all about "healthy eating" and "healthy lifestyle".

But the truth is, for me: dieting is permanent. I can't sugar coat it ( . . . too many calories, right??)

No choice, no choice, no choice.

I've gotta diet. For the rest of my life.

I've gotta track my calories. Every day. Meticulously. Because at least 80% of weight loss maintenance for me is about nutrition tracking. And that means 100% compliance with my diet. Really. If I aim for 90% compliance, and permit myself to "mess up" once a day, or three times a week -- and average just 100 calories a day "mess up factor" (which is nothing, no gross self-indulgence at all, maybe an extra apple) -- I'll put on 10 pounds a year. Compounding! Ten pounds this year, ten pounds next year, ten pounds every year thereafter . . . yeah.

I've gotta track my exercise. Even though that's less important for weight loss/weight loss maintenance it's vital for cardio health, muscle maintenance. And yeah, I know that muscle maintenance boosts metabolism, but not by much. But above all, exercise is vital for sustained self-discipline. It's vital to sustain my mood of optimism and exuberance. Exercise makes me feel good. That's the main reason it's important for me.

I am not naturally thin. If you hadn't known me in 2001 when I weighed 230 pounds, you might think I'm naturally thin. People tell me that I'm "lucky" to be thin.

But: I'm not. I cannot eat "naturally" unless I want to balloon up to 230 pounds again. Ten pounds at a time. Two hundred and thirty is probably my "natural" weight. Maybe even higher.

And at 230 pounds I'm still hungry. All the time. I can be hungry at 140 or hungry at 230. I'd rather be hungry at 140, savouring my hunger, savouring my size six black levi jeans I bought off the sale rack yesterday . . . for $9!!

"Dieting is permanent. I am not naturally thin. I must be eternally vigilant and avoid the temptations I cannot resist."

That's one of my Beck cards.

Do I like it? No, I don't.

Sigh. Oh well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHRISTINECAN 3/6/2012 8:46AM

    This was so interesting I went to your main page and read your About Me info. This sounds like it was written by ME! Except that I haven't read Beck and think that I had better. I had already come to some of the same conclusions without it, but I like a leaning stick and it sounds ideal. btw, also Canadian, long term married etc.

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STRIVER57 3/6/2012 8:03AM

    interesting blog. i think you are right, but i've only been on maintenance for 2 months. but i'm also short ... i think i really can only eat 1200-1400 calories a day. i'm trying to keep counting, keep working out, and ... have an occasional treat. and 6 grams of dark chocolate a day. we shall see. i think i need to put that book on my wishlist at amazon so i remember what it is when i'm ready for it. first i'm going to run a half marathon though ... for my 61st birthday.

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CANNIE50 3/5/2012 9:40PM

    I resisted reading this blog because of the word "diet" and because of the word "permanant". I am glad I read it. You express yourself so well, and you obviously have some hard-earned wisdom to share. I am not at maintenance so I have more questions than answers. My viewpoint comes from being a person who has overcome several other compulsions and addictions in my life. When I first quit smoking and drinking alcohol years ago, it took a lot of work to stay that way. After years of maintaining my committment to staying free of alcohol and nicotine it became no less of a committment, but much less of a struggle. I do not think food and alcohol and smoking are interchangeable but I do think they have a commonality - trying to fill a need with something that will never fill us up. I have lost about 30 lbs in the past year and I definitely don't feel like I diet because I am not that disciplined about my eating. I rarely "eat with abandon" i.e. binge. I am disciplined about exercise (and I LOVE what you said about exercise - I have always said it makes me stronger, not smaller). Anyway, I am glad I read this blog and I hope that as you maintain your newer body that it does not always require the same amount of vigilance, at least not every single day, but I sure admire your willingness to accept that it will.

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IMAGINE_IT 3/5/2012 10:35AM

    Dieting is permanent??!! emoticon emoticon YES..you absolutely right...and i agree! I have been thinking somewhere along the same lines...once i get ot my goal weight (When..ooOOh When???!! lol) i will have to keep myself in 'check' not just 40..50...or 70% No!! 100%!!
It is funny but i used to think once i am at my goal weight i can 'just stop' and at least skip workouts..and/or eat whatever i want..of course in moderation..but by now i know better that this will not be possible..unless i want ot ballon back to 210lbs!!
It kind of sucks when i think that i have to "Forever" watch everything i eat..and exercise..exercise and exercise..but i am determined to make that my regular and forever lifestyle!!
Mental toughness!!!!! emoticon

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NANCY- 3/5/2012 8:08AM

    You are an amazing woman!
Dealing with the realization of not being able to go back to old habits, and saying oh well... well that just rocks!
You have the insight to carve out new habits to achieve what you want.

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DDOORN 3/5/2012 8:05AM

    That's some potent medicine, your Beck card: "Dieting is permanent. I am not naturally thin. I must be eternally vigilant and avoid the temptations I cannot resist."

And FWIW, the common lament of Oprah's regarding those lucky people who can eat what they want and not become obese? My bet is that they are an extreme minority of people and FAR less prevalent than we may want to bemoan!


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_LINDA 3/5/2012 1:27AM

    Great topic to get discussed here Ellen. There have been posts its harder to maintain then lose the weight that is for sure. And if you do want to eat 'normal' calories, then you have to be willing to hit the gym -for an hour a day every day, then you get normal calories. So, I do think exercise is very important in as far as getting to eat regular meals and not having to be stingy on every little thing. Its not much fun trying to squeeze into 1200-1600 calories every day. For mental satisfaction that just isn't going to fly. I love to exercise, so this isn't a huge problem for me.. Its the surgical lay offs that keep throwing a monkey wrench in. But as long as I can get back to my exercising and not have too much damage from the layoffs, I will be happy..
I see nothing wrong with diligent tracking. My sister is astonished I still do. Its the one thing I will not give up. I look on it as a check.

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/5/2012 12:39AM

    I enjoyed the reality and truth within your blog Ellen and the responses show what most maintainers have found - this is for life if you want to stay at the so desired and worked for goal. Feeling slim and healthy are certainly worth it.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/4/2012 11:59PM


Luck has absolutely nothing to do with it,

It's a whole lotta hard dang work.

(But so so worth it...)


And I feel kind of sorry for anyone who is disturbed by this news. Because unless you're willing to put in the work, you will fail at maintenance. It is much harder than losing.

This ain't no fairytale. We aren't hitting goal and then drifting off into the sunset, happily ever after. Period.

I've failed at maintenance more times than I've succeeded at it. But it's worth the work. It really is. And the sooner we realize that it's work, the sooner we're prepared to put in the time and effort.

And DBCLARINET, you are absolutely right that SP generally avoids the topic of the difficulty of maintenance. I have an email from Chris Downey where he basically says that telling people the reality of maintenance would probably discourage them.

I personally think that's the wrong approach, but he's entitled to his opinion. I might also point out that he has never been super morbidly obese. The personal problem he solved was different.

Comment edited on: 3/5/2012 12:18:48 AM

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TRAVELGRRL 3/4/2012 10:16PM

    What a great discussion, and something I would love to see discussed in the broader Spark community.

I don't believe most thin people are able to eat "anything they want" all the time, especially women. From what I observe most thin women are very careful about what they eat. My mom is that way. Seventy-seven years old and 116 pounds. Does she want to eat goeey desserts and ribs and pizza? Absolutely! But she rarely does, but she also has the discipline to take a dessert and eat a tiny piece. And leave the rest.

PennyAn has brought up some valid points but everyone has to find her own way to maintain. Some people exercise like maniacs. Some gain back 10 pounds and are happy because they need or want to eat more. Other people, like Watermellen and my mom, modify and restrict what they eat almost 100% of the time.

Watermellen, I totally appreciate how hard you've worked to get where you are, and more importantly, to STAY where you are. I am so grateful to be a fly on your wall and observe how you do it. I see how you work endlessly to motivate yourself. You are an avid Sparker and tireless cheerleader, always reading and sharing books and articles on weight loss. You never take those size sixes for granted!

You are sharing your path, the one that works for you, and I so appreciate it. I want to be just like you when I grow up!!

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    Honest, honest, HONEST blog. Its all about determining what you want and then committing to 100% compliance to do what it takes to get there.

You're doing the work, woman! Good for you!

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SALSIFY 3/4/2012 3:01PM

    I think my little aha moment regarding maintenance came when I read the research at the NWCR which said the average maintainer subsisted on 1380 calories per day. No wonder I've never managed to maintain any of my weight losses before! The good thing about Sparkpeople and blogs like yours is that I used to think that there was something wrong with me because I just couldn't maintain on a 'normal' diet. Now I realise that a permanant diet is the reality - and the most important thing to do is come to terms with this and get on with it.

Comment edited on: 3/4/2012 3:03:20 PM

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MEADSBAY 3/4/2012 12:16PM

    I don't know if it is not exactly 'politically correct' to call what we are all here trying to do as it is just more tolerable and less threatening to call it a lifestyle change.
Diet is such a loaded word for many of us.
I fell like I dieted my way up to nearly 200 lbs in the last 30 years or so (yo-yo-yo).
But you are absolutely correct that we have to continue doing it for the rest of our lives, which is why it is so important to find/ create an eating plan (DIET!) that we can live on comfortably for the rest of our lives, which I (and some of your other sparkfriends here) means a healthy nutritious satisfying plan with minimal hunger (another loaded word).
Not that hunger is an emergency- I get that-but it is not something I wish to 'savor' every single day.
Have a peaceful Sunday!

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DBCLARINET 3/4/2012 11:45AM

    I disagree that this blog is disturbing. It's real. I face the same struggle, that I am basically always on a diet. Anyone who thinks they are on a diet to lose weight and then will come off the diet to maintain is mistaken. I tend to gain and lose the same five pounds, and quite honestly, I'm sick of it. I refuse to settle at five pounds heavier, though, because I don't feel GOOD at that weight. Will maintaining a lower weight require extra dietary diligence? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes. I am not a slave to my appetite, and I refuse to ever be.

I really appreciate your dose of realism. Sometimes I feel like SP sugar-coats things too much and doesn't prepare its users for the harsh reality of maintenance. The beat part, though, is that maintenance does become habit, and that makes it easier. But it doesn't make it any less of a diet.

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PENNYAN45 3/4/2012 11:42AM

    I just had another thought...

What about using acupuncture or hypnosis to allay feelings of hunger?

I wonder if that could work.

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TBANMAN 3/4/2012 11:22AM

    I had a lightbulb moment once watching Dr. Oz on Oprah. He was talking about weight loss - a common topic for him - and Oprah's struggles. Oprah said to him "but some people can eat whatever they want and stay thin!" and he shot back at her "yes, but that's not you, is it?"

That's not you. That's not me. That's not anyone on this site.

Does it absolutely suck? Yep.

Is life fair? Not by a long shot.

Your attitude of "suck it up, buttercup," will keep you at your "un"naturally thin self where others fail.

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PENNYAN45 3/4/2012 11:01AM

    I did not like reading this blog. It is disturbing.

While I am losing weight, I have the 'finish' line of reaching my goal weight.
I tell myself that when I get there, I will begin maintenance -- whatever that may be.
I tell myself that maintenance is not going to be as hard as getting to the goal.

I tell myself that maintenance has to be more comfortable than losing the weight.

How could anyone maintain their new low weight for life feeling the way you do?

Is it possible that you should perhaps put on that extra ten pounds and maintain at that level?
Would that be easier?

How about using exercise to counteract those small 'splurges' you should be able to enjoy?

If you were walking X miles each day, would you be able to raise your calorie allowance by X?

I believe that if you-- or anyone -- is going to be successful maintaining your weight loss, you have to find some kind of equilibrium that leaves you feeling satisfied and comfortable with your food intake most days.

I sincerely hope you are able to find a way to do that.


PS I'm counting on all of my SP friends who are on maintenance to work out all these issues - so that when I get there later this year, I can look to all of you for good advice and guidance.


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Saturday, March 03, 2012

On March 3?

Just outside my back door, in a sheltered spot, on a mild day.


(I added the picture . . . from the Internet: but yeah, mine do look just like this).

And I'll be having coffee in my snowdrop mug to celebrate!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 3/5/2012 9:26PM

    Brave flowers!!!!!

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TRYINGHARD1948 3/5/2012 12:45AM

    We don't get snowdrops so it is a joy to share yours, thank you.

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TRAVELGRRL 3/4/2012 9:38PM

    Well, thank you for clarifying! emoticon I learned my new thing for the day!!

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SALSIFY 3/4/2012 2:54PM

    my snowdrops are out too in the garden. I love them too.

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NANCY- 3/4/2012 10:22AM

    you have a gift for finding the beauty in life. Thanks for sharing for it brightening my day.

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_LINDA 3/3/2012 10:12PM

    How wonderful! I have never heard of a snow drop! So looking forward to hitting the trails tomorrow -today Mom actually saw a coyote on the ice cavorting around! He was a biggie!! She did a seven mile hike though, not sure how far I will feel like going -a lot of foot and back problems, hoping they will hold off so I can enjoy getting outside..
Enjoy your Sunday!

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MEADSBAY 3/3/2012 7:59PM


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KALIGIRL 3/3/2012 5:46PM

    Here's to celebrating!

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TRAVELGRRL 3/3/2012 4:55PM

    Not sure what a snow drop is, but I can tell you are ready to savour it!!!


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