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Comfort is Highly Overrated

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How often do we hear people say, "I'm just not comfortable with that." Meaning, it's not happening. I can't be expected to do it. Because nobody can expect me to tolerate discomfort, right? Not any discomfort at all. Ever.

Would you give a speech at the conference? No. I'm just not comfortable with that.

And can you help with fundraising? I hate to ask people for money. So no. I'm just not comfortable with that.

Could you learn this new accounting software? I'm no good with numbers, really. I'm just not comfortable with that.

So when did we become entitled to continuous comfort?

Remember years ago, when you were cold in the winter and hot in the summer? And expected to be? Now our houses and cars are centrally heated and centrally air-conditioned. We don't have to tolerate the discomfort of being too cold or too hot any more. Or just long enough to run from the car to the house. If we don't have a drive-in garage with direct access.

Remember when kids could actually fail at school, be held back a grade? Not any more. Because the child might not be comfortable with his classmates if they were a year younger. So the child need not endure the discomfort of studying and learning and passing, because there will be no consequences if he doesn't.

And when he finishes school and starts a job, the same attitude prevails. Work is not only work any more, not primarily a way to earn a living. We expect to feel comfortable at work. to do work that is fulfilling, in a way that is compatible with our personal style. We won't tolerate being overtly "managed" or "directed". No way. Too bad if a particular task needs to be done competently, on time and in a particular manner. Sounds like a bully boss in a toxic workplace to me!!

So not surprisingly, that attitude of entitlement to comfort extends to the things that are necessary to lose weight: taking in fewer calories, burning more calories. There's gotta be an easier, more comfortable way! A magic diet food, a pill, a medical procedure . . .

We walk around with bottles of sports drinks or cans of soda or juice boxes or smoothies, sipping constantly. Dehydration isn't a good thing, obviously: but do we need to be on continuous fluid intake so we never experience any thirst at all, ever? And wouldn't water work?

We carry food everywhere, expecting that we will snack at the first hint of hunger. And the next hint too. Eating all the time. Rather than accepting that hunger is normal, not an emergency, just a sign that we're really going to enjoy that next meal.

Some fitness facilities tell us it's possible to exercise effectively at a pace that won't even break a sweat. So there would be no need to "disrobe" or "shower" after a workout. Because exercise should not be uncomfortable. And if it gets uncomfortable, we should stop right away.

Well, it may be comfortable, but none of this works. Insisting upon remaining inside our personal "comfort zones" results in long-range and profound discomfort.

The discomfort of degrading our environment with excess fuel consumption.
The discomfort of life-long not-learning.
The discomfort of incompetence.
The discomfort of overweight.
The discomfort of being unfit.
The profound dissatisfaction of never becoming all that we can be.

Sure, I like to be comfortable as much as anyone. A comfortable chair with a comfortable book. A hammock under a tree. A cozy quilt on a cold winter night. A relaxed walk with an old friend, enjoying the conversation and the silence.

But: we don't need comfort all the time. Not continuously!!

I'm just not comfortable with all this focus on comfort.

Comfort -- yeah, really -- comfort can be highly overrated.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUEBIRDSFLY 5/3/2012 2:12PM

    Thank you so much for writing a blog that perhaps makes a lot of us feel uncomfortable if not perhaps downright uneasy.
I need to think about this. This need for comfort.

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CRYSTALJEM 5/2/2012 11:48AM

    Brilliant! I'm tingling this is so well said, I was almost bouncing in my chair while reading it. Now, having said that, I'm one of those who usually needs to be dragged out of their comfort zone kicking and screaming.... buuuutttttttt.... it's almost always so worth it!

I also love what DOKEYOKEY says... "The disequilibrium zone, it turns out, is a learning zone. So--hooray for a little discomfort."

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SLENDERELLA61 4/30/2012 6:56AM

    Wow! How often do you read something that you hadn't thought about? Not too often, and very infrequently on SparkPeople. I mean, it is great to read things that confirm and strengthen things you already know, but how much more valuable is it to think about things in a new way. Thank you. Thank you very much. -Marsha

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ID_VANDAL 4/29/2012 1:00PM

    You really have a great blog here. I'll have to give this some thought on my walk today. Have we become to comfortable or expect to be comfortable beyond reasonable expectations?

I also read your blog about tracking calories - one reason I hate to do that is that it does take an effort so thanks for bringing some focus to that issue.



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TRYINGHARD1948 4/29/2012 8:48AM

    An interesting blog Ellen. I need some time to think about this one. Comfort can be in so many areas and situations as your blog hints at. I am a great believer that we do have to have certain needs fulfilled before we can even expect children to learn, security and enough food being the very basic needs. I don't think that is about comfort though. Many of us I am sure were uncomfortable doing sport at school but have learned to love it as we have aged because we realise the benefits, just as many go to great lengths to achieve in the work environment regardless of their own and others' comfort.

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KAYAKKIM 4/29/2012 7:54AM

    I have been thinking about the idea of comfort a lot lately- my students in my College Learning Strategies class always set goals for the semester, and so many have a hard time achieving their goals because they refuse to get out of their comfort zone and do what it takes to achieve them. We read an article called "What if the Secret to Success is Failure?" (link: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/18/m
uccess-is-failure.html?pagewanted=all) and talk about character education- something which is lacking in this world of "I want what I want, and I want it now!". Our family went for a camping trip over Easter instead of going on a hotel trip (we do camp in the summer all the time), and while the first night was incredibly cold, we stuck it out and bonded together over the experience. Getting out of our comfort zone brought us home with a greater appreciation for what we have. Working harder to cook and prepare meals was great too! Comfort is wonderful, and I enjoy the good things in life too, but for example, why is that sweets have become a part of our daily existence (from seeing vending machines everywhere to daily desserts), when they used to be limited to a cake on birthdays or holidays?

Thanks for a great blog!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 4/28/2012 9:14AM

    I need some comfort. Its a human need! My two needs are not always a quilt to comfort me. I also wont give up everything! Because as I see it, we need some comfort now and then, or we would go bonkers from too much stress or abuse and some would commit suicide if they had none. This world is not a very comforting place for the mind that's been abused and denied comfort when most needed! Comfort is not over rated. Its just the wrong kind many seek; and the one that is needed the most is hardly given. Knowing the difference is the real comfort. The comfort of others in showing love is most neglected! As I see it, in this world, there is only one comfort missing and I find human contact and comfort from loved ones is needed more and the one they need the most is not taken, that of knowing a G*D who cares! He's the G*d of all Comfort and he's in control of everything and I thank him, that not all discomfort last an eternity! He, I can count on to relieve me of the worst kind ... that of the discomfort caused by fear! Perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee, has been a comfort to me in my darkest hours of discomfort and fear! No, I think comfort is not taken advantage of, at least the good kind of comfort! Knowing HIM! Because with him any discomfort can be met with peace in the soul! I could not comfort my own soul! Susana

Comment edited on: 4/28/2012 9:18:40 AM

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TIFFANIE150 4/27/2012 1:33PM

    lol @ i'm just not comfortable with all this uncomfortableness!!

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NANCY- 4/27/2012 9:38AM

    That attitude of entitlement to comfort keeps us stuck. Quick fixes, magic pills, snake oil, may be comfortable, but they do not work. You reap the benefits of going outside your comfort zone.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
I need to go and get out of my comfort zone.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 4/26/2012 11:47PM

    Well,. since losing weight (and keeping it off) is definitely uncomfortable, it's necessary. LOL

And anyway, I don't think the discomfort of the work to keep it off is as pervasive and painful as the discomfort of being super obese. Or even overweight. Or even how I feel when the vanity pounds aren't gone.

I LIKE how I feel and look right now. I'm going to hang onto it as long as I can. And if/when my grip slips, I'm going to rally and pull myself back here, whatever it takes.

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CARRAND 4/26/2012 9:14PM

    Excellent blog!

Our parents generation weren't concerned about "comfort" the same way we are, and I think they were healthier for it.

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DOKEYOKEY 4/26/2012 7:24PM

    Thanks for writing about this.

One of my students just gave a speech ( teach public speaking) on outdoor education and one of the key ideas, it tu rns out, is "disequilibrium." In other words, they get the kids out of their comfort zones. The disequilibrium zone, it turns out, is a learning zone. So -- hooray for a little discomfort!


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    How so very true... striving for comfort, that luke warm banality of tranquility, is merely chasing blandness.

How ironic that the original meaning of "to comfort" was "to make stronger" (as in com - fortis). But then again irony is never comfortable....

(edited because even I know there is no "k" in tranquility!)

Comment edited on: 4/26/2012 2:28:58 PM

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TEENY_BIKINI 4/26/2012 12:58PM


This does sound like me though... "We won't tolerate being overtly "managed" or "directed"." LOL. Guuurl, I do not like to be managed - however, I don't mind collaborating :)

Linking the sense of the entitlement to eating habits, etc. is a perfectly valid and wise perspective. Personally, I negotiate my comfort levels on different ideas and values all the time. I find that flexibility in all things keeps me from going cray cray.

PS - you are right. I am a bad influence. Please ignore everything I just typed... :)

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SKINNYPOWELL1 4/26/2012 12:38PM

    Great blog, how easy it is to be comfortable, it's when we step out of the "comfort zone" we grow, learn and blossom. emoticon

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DDOORN 4/26/2012 12:20PM

    "The profound dissatisfaction of never becoming all that we can be."

Ouch! That's one of the things that can either drive me forward or cause me to beat myself up when I DON'T keep pushing! The double-edged sword of high expectations for oneself!


d-raising...ugh! I see so many WONDERFUL cycling events out there that require $1,000 or MORE in fund-raising and I just cannot bring myself to do it. Feels so self-centered: Can you please give money to this cause so I can go have a blast cycling from A to Z...?

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KALIGIRL 4/26/2012 8:48AM

    emoticon I love how your mind works.
Not into 'dis'comfort, but definitely into growing - need a little 'inflammation' to clean out the old cells - same with the mind and soul?

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ODAYSKI11 4/26/2012 7:08AM

    And don't we all have a clue yet? Losing weight - specifically what we have to do to reach our goals - is not comfortable! It's way more comfortable to pop that (your favorite 'not good for you food') into your mouth than be uncomfortable and either NOT or even replace it with a fruit.

Good blog! emoticon

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_LINDA 4/26/2012 2:43AM

    That which does not kill you will only make you stronger.
Its so true you can't grow as a person unless you get outside your comfort zone..

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EGALITAIRE 4/25/2012 9:01PM

    I am not comfortable with this blog.

Comment edited on: 4/25/2012 9:01:59 PM

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DBCLARINET 4/25/2012 8:45PM


Nothing good ever comes without effort.

And, I loathe when people say "I'm not comfortable with that." It always comes across as such a cop-out. Please, cry me a river, build me a bridge, and get over it!

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It's Not Fair . . . .

Sunday, April 22, 2012

. . . another persistent sabotaging thought that I must persistently resist.

(Because if it's not FAIR, then of course I should just give up, right? And revert to my "natural" weight of about 230. Right? That would be fair!!)

TUFFMUFFIN, aka DH, has dropped weight from 183 to 174.5 since he started SparkPeople just a few weeks ago. In other words, he's lost almost all of the 10 pounds which was his "golf season" goal.

He's feeling great. He's looking great. He's feeling way better on the golf course, carrying his clubs. And he will lose the remaining 1.5 pounds. Because: that's who he is. TUFF!!

His birthday is coming up. His old Levis were worn out (size 36" waist, 34" long). Right through the knees: still fine for cutting the lawn but not much else.

I hit a sale about 10 days ago, and bought him two new pairs of Levis. Blue ones and black ones, both slim fit. At his request, 34/34. He tried 'em on last weekend: still a tiny bit snug through the waist. (I tucked them away for the big day: still a week away. )

And they will be perfect by next weekend.

OK, so what's not fair about that? I'm struggling to stay steady at 142 (when I want to be 138). And (with the exception of 300 calories over on Friday) I've been consistently within my range of 1200 to 1500 calories a day.

TUFFMUFFIN's lower end of range starts . . . 300 calories higher than my high end . . . . And he hasn't been so consistent in sustaining his range. He's had cheeseburgers. He's had fish n' chips. He's had big thick juicy steaks. And roast beef. He's had ice cream!!! And he lost two (count 'em) TWO pounds this week alone.

Me? Omelettes, salads, fruit, soups . . . like that. (And a little dark chocolate!! In the 30 calorie squares).

He's tuff. But I've gotta be tougher!!

It's not fair. It's not fair. It's not fair.

He's tall (he says he's 6'0'': I believe he's taller, by 1-2"). He's got a way better metabolism than I have. And he can eat the way he has been eating and lose weight, whereas I can eat the way I've been eating and stall. That's reality.

Oh well oh well oh well. I'm heading to the gym. I'm reading my Beck cards on the elliptical. If the weather warms up a few degrees, I'll play golf later.

Not giving up. Not now. Not ever.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 4/26/2012 11:29PM

    Hahaha. Nope., not fair.

But then how fair is it that I can go to spin class and bust my arse, while there are people out there who have got cancer and can't? Or are dying of something? (I just recently read "It's not about the bike" by Lance Armstrong.)

How fair is it that my friend CARRIE1948 has struggled with thyroid disease, elderly parent issues, and injury setback after injury setback?

I was just thinking of that tonight while on the bike and worked through some really difficult segments, thinking, "This is for you, all you people out there, who would LOVE to be here but can't."

Nope, not fair at all. But I'll take what I've got and run with it. :-)

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KALIGIRL 4/23/2012 8:39AM

    Here's to not giving up and remembering how glad you were when he joined us!
emoticon on his achievements and fitting into the new jeans!

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NANCY- 4/23/2012 8:23AM

    Kudos to you for doing what you have to do for you, reading your Beck cards and making this a lifestyle for yourself.
I bet you are more flexible than him. Everyone is different. Just think, you are helping him achieve his goal. Who told him about SparkPeople?
You are living the life.
You are doing great.

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NOLAZYBUTT110 4/23/2012 7:18AM

    Men are like that, because they have a higher metabolism IWoman dont after memopause) and men do lose weight faster, until they quit working; and then it sticks to their bones if they dont get out and move just as hard after retirement as they did before! Trust me! It catches up to them! (My husband cheats, by not eating after supper, except for an orange or apple.) I cant do that! (Im diabetic.) But I find if I have milk, I can lose weight, but one bad things about milk; it feeds many illnesses.) So does sugar! (sugar feeds cancer. and fat cellls!) Hope you can find YOUR loss capability formula for losing soon.) But I know this, if you drink more water or have soup you can lose more weight. Eat soup twice a day and you will see a loss! Try the clear liquid soups.

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DBCLARINET 4/23/2012 6:32AM

    It's completely not fair! My husband dropped so much weight just because he decided to eat a little less and work out a little more. Three years ago, I found I had to overhaul my diet because processed carbs keep me bloated and prone to weight-gain.

Hence the constant supply of bread and Goldfish crackers.

Yesterday, my husband had a concert and wanted to feel "special" afterward, so we went out to dinner, just like we would when I had given a recital or something. He saw "crab dip" on the menu and felt certain he could sell me on it because it came with tortilla chips, carrot sticks, and celery, and he would eat the tortilla chips and I would eat the celery and carrots. He did sell me on it. He also ate both bread rolls and the croutons off my salad.

That's just how we work.

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/23/2012 3:59AM

    Stop comparing, they really are a different species when it comes to weight.

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JOPAPGH 4/22/2012 10:26PM

    I must admit I hear the same from my darling wife.

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DDOORN 4/22/2012 9:48PM

    Way cool competition you two offer each other! :-)


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CARRAND 4/22/2012 8:58PM

    I can really relate to this. My husband's diet is generally terrible. He eats places like McDonald's, and Jerry's. He thinks potato chips are a vegetable. His favorite late night snack is M&M's. He gets no regular exercise - and he's an inch shorter than I am. Yet I weigh 157 and he weighs 152. No, it's not fair. i track my food, I eat my fruits and vegetables, I get lots of exercise and I lift weights. My goal is 150, but it looks like my husband will be at that goal, and I won't. And he's not even trying to lose.

In fairness to my husband I must say that he naturally eats small portions. I've seen him throw out half a donut because he "had enough." I generally clean my plate.

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SLENDERELLA61 4/22/2012 7:51PM

    Great blog!! It isn't fair. BUT I really am glad I'm not 4'11". I can have an occasional treat, whereas some sedentary short people can hardly meet their nutritional needs within their calorie range. So, I don't know if that helps or not, but seems to me it could be a whole lot worse.

I admire your commitment to do it anyway. You can gripe a little, but you will accept reality and do what you need to do. I will, too. -Marsha

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HDHAWK 4/22/2012 6:43PM

    Men have more muscle which burns more calories. No it isn't fair, but unfortunately, men do have an easier time of it.

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ROOSTER72 4/22/2012 6:21PM

    So frustrating - but outside your control.

Focus on the things you can change - the rest is just distraction.
You are so close - you will be there soon.

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PHEBESS 4/22/2012 5:34PM

    Yup, it's a man thing. Their bodies don't hold onto fat the same way ours do, their fat is marbled into the muscle while ours is a thick layer on the outside, and they burn more cals in a minute of sitting than we do.

And yes, it isn't fair.

BUT - that doesn't mean we should give it. It just means we have to fight a little harder.

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TBANMAN 4/22/2012 3:39PM

    I remember an Oprah episode I saw way way back when it was still "Tuesdays with Dr. Phil." Yep, that far back. It was an episode about weight loss, and Oprah was bemoaning her slow metabolism. She said to him "but some people can eat whatever they want and lose weight!" and he shot back at her "yes, but that's not you, is it?"

That's not me either. And evidently that's not you.

And it's so totally, unequivocally, without any shred of doubt not fair.

But there you go. Have fun at the gym.

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TRAVELGRRL 4/22/2012 1:17PM

    Great blog!!!

This REALLY seems unfair since being thin is in for women in our culture.

Like you and Faraway, my DH and I are doing this together. And we've both lost 25 pounds. But he's at his goal weight and me...not so much. And he eats pie, potato chips, and ice cream while I suck on sugar-free popsicles!

But yes, it is nice to have a partner on the journey, and he is my #1 fan and cheerleader. And really that counts for a lot.

So every morning when we each get on the scale, I have my 5-minute tantrum and then I carry on!!!

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FARAWAY84Z 4/22/2012 12:29PM

    I'm having the same feeling about my DH. We both started a 90 day challenge and I bet he is at least down 9 to 10 lbs already to my almost 5. But I have to remind myself, like you are, that they are built differently and it's great that they are doing this with us. Keep up your motivation and we'll reach our goals together!

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_LINDA 4/22/2012 11:33AM

    Its totally unfair that males can lose weight so quick and easy and not even have to be rigid about their diets :(( But that is because of their better muscle mass and higher burning metabolism. Women were meant to carry fat to nuture their young. The body does not give this up easily. Yes, its sucks to be a woman wanting to lose weight. But its like comparing apples and oranges. It is annoying to see my step dad eat fives slice of toast a day outside his regular meal times and not gain an ounce. I have to work at keeping myself in my size eights. lots of exercise. But I do understand the differences, but that doesn't make it right ;)
Women are tough too and used to doing everything the hard way. You can do this Ellen! You go girl!!

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Tracking is too much trouble . . . .

Saturday, April 21, 2012

. . . . a persistent sabotaging thought that I must persistently confront.

I do track my nutrition every day. Including those random spoonfuls of peanut butter (what a whack o' calories!).

I do track my exercise . . . which just reminds me of how hard it is to burn off the calories!

I tracked my Friday night pizza with TUFFMUFFIN: two slices McCain Canadian thin crust. And a glass of white wine. And was about 300 calories "over" yesterday. Yikes.

Because I know: whether "I" track or not, the ol' body (that would be "me" also) is tracking relentlessly. Persistently. Privately. Publicly. Every calorie in. Every calorie out. No choice. All calories present and accounted for! Never too much trouble for "me". Never.

Oh well. Oh well. Oh well.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    :) Just started tracking again 13 days ago. No fun, but totally necessary.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 4/26/2012 11:25PM

    Yup. Tracking is a big pain in the arse.

But it's a whole lot better than what seems to happen when I DON'T track! LOL

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/23/2012 3:57AM

    I must admit it is an essential for some of us.

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JOPAPGH 4/22/2012 10:28PM

    I was in tracking wilderness for a few weeks but I'm back.

Keep up that great focus!

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LISALGB 4/22/2012 7:29PM

    Yes, tracking is a lot of trouble . . . which may be why I'm so bad at it.

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NANCY- 4/22/2012 10:57AM

    Well said!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 4/22/2012 10:26AM

    If we dont track, it tracks us... by showing up as the Great DIVIDE.... the HIPS! Boy do I know it! Its a battle of the BULGES! Hip city! Wappo alley! It catches us unaware! No matter what we think we get away with, we dont in the rear end! lmao! Because I have seen... its... reflection in the mirror! Susana

Comment edited on: 4/22/2012 10:28:20 AM

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ONEKIDSMOM 4/22/2012 7:40AM

    The body: the final arbiter. Never forgets to take it into account. Never. Track on. emoticon

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DBCLARINET 4/22/2012 6:58AM

    Yup, it's a lot of work! It's why I keep playing around with NOT tracking, but I do kind of fall into the mindset of "Don't see it, don't eat it." As in, if I don't see it written down that I ate it, I didn't eat it!

That's why I post my food in my blog now -- it almost keeps me more accountable, because then it's up there for other people to see (I know I don't look at other people's food trackers...). I just try to think of what "model" meals would look like and go for that. It's not tracking, but it's not completely NOT tracking.

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CARRAND 4/21/2012 9:09PM

    You mean if you don't track it, your body still counts it? Yikes, I'm in trouble!

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SALSIFY 4/21/2012 3:22PM

    I just tracked for the entire day for the first time in a long time. I've slowly slipped off the wagon & gained some weight & what you're saying is true.

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PHEBESS 4/21/2012 3:21PM

    Tracking is a chore. Like washing my face or brushing my teeth - not fun, but healthier than not doing so.

At least that's what I tell myself.

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TBANMAN 4/21/2012 2:20PM

    I've never had trouble tracking diligently. My issue has been tracking honestly. It all looks great when I DON'T track those nibbles of chocolate throughout the day, the half-a-doughnut filtched from the staff room, the extra 2 oz of wine that happened to splash into my glass at night. They don't REALLY count, do they?

Then I wonder why I'm not losing or worse, why I'm gaining.

The last two weeks I decided if Ima not gonna track it, Ima not gonna eat it. And I've lost 2.6 pounds. Shocker, right?

As long as we keep telling ourselves the real pain in the ass is losing that WEIGHT that we put on, we'll be OK.

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SLENDERELLA61 4/21/2012 2:14PM

    You are SO right! Tracking is a whole lot of trouble. Part of me thinks it is ridiculous to spend so much time and energy doing it. But then I look in the mirror -- and smile. It is a whole lot of trouble, BUT it is absolutely worth it. The biggest difference between the 8 times I gained my weight back and this time when I'm maintaining is tracking.

Always love your blogs, Ellen. So glad to have my new computer and have it up and running. Plan to again be a regular reader of your wisdom!! -Marsha

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ROSEWAND 4/21/2012 1:57PM

    What has really worked well for me is eat carefully
the week and splurge on Friday night. I pretty much
eat what I want at this one meal. I just make sure
that the calories over the week are just enough to
keep me in maintenance.

This has been my method during the time I was
losing weight and continues now as I maintain.
It eliminates any sense of deprivation and those
pesky feelings of guilt that tend to creep in when
we eat more than planned.

Maintenance is about balance including balancing
our love of eating with our love of health and thinness.

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TRAVELGRRL 4/21/2012 11:35AM

    I am totally with you! No matter what goes on the tracker, no matter what we tell people, the ol' bod shows what's REALLY going on.

Pizza: a food I only dream about! But to paraphrase George W. Bush, "Choices were made." I'm sure you and TM really enjoyed winding down on a Friday night with a pizza and wine. Sounds heavenly, and well worth an extra 3 miles on the treadmill to undo the damage!

Onward and upward! To infinity and beyond!

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Charlie is a Fatloser!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A year ago our vet told me that our beloved golden retriever, Charlie, was significantly overweight. He was having problems with the skin breaking down on his elbows. She said it was because he was so heavy he was essentially slamming himself down on the floor to take the weight off his feet.

He then weighed 43 kg.

Saturday when I took him for his checkup, he weighed 33.5 kg. A loss of about 20 pounds in 1 year.

Our vet was so impressed! And Charlie is, of course, looking sleek. Feeling lively. And no more problems with his elbows!

She wanted to know how we'd done it. I told her: strict chow control. One cup of grain free high protein organic duck dog chow morning and night. In between meal snacks limited to fresh veggies: carrots, sugar snap peas, cherry tomatoes . . . Charlie loves all of these and sits beside me while I'm making my salads. And: more exercise.

Apparently very few people actually manage to help their dogs lose weight, even though it's vitally important to their well being and longevity. Charlie will be 8 in a few weeks, and we love him very much: "Best dog ever!", we tell him many times a day. Of course I took weight loss for Charlie very seriously indeed and so did everyone in the family.

Interestingly enough, the vet herself (about my age, height and build) would like to lose a few pounds. She asked me a year ago how I manage to keep in shape and I told her: YMCA, SparkPeople.

She asked me again on Saturday (having put on additional weight over the past year), and I told her again -- this time also mentioning fatloser.com.

The vet is an absolutely lovely person . . . so kind, so knowledgeable about animals and about pet nutrition. But she thought that a diet heavy in safflower oil (!) and walnuts (!!) -- (nutritious in and of themselves, of course) -- was appropriate for herself. Even though she knows all about calories in/calories out. Knows all about move more, eat less. Thinking back to my blog a few weeks ago about how overweight works at work . . . . I'm wondering how tough it is for a vet to get tough with owners on their pets' obesity when . . . . yeah.

I'm so proud of Charlie!! We got his "weight loss chart" printed out and posted it on the wall in the kitchen, near his chow bowl! Here's to Charlie! We hope he's got many many more healthy years ahead of him!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ID_VANDAL 4/23/2012 5:40PM

    Good for you!! Charlie couldn't have done it without you!!

I know he must feel a whole lot better and I'll bet you notice the difference as well so GREAT JOB!



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SALSIFY 4/21/2012 3:25PM

Well done Charlie!

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MSSNOWY 4/20/2012 11:50PM

    Good for Charlie. I hope he has many many years to enjoy his sleek life! And good for you, too, for helping him. I'm trying to figure out about dogs and metabolism, though. I think there must be something to different dogs burning fat differently or something. We have two goldens, almost the same age. They eat the same food in the same amount, get the same treats, go on the same walks, and are more or less the same size, though one is slightly 'heavier boned, broader chested, etc. He's fifteen pounds heavier than the other one. He was kept very very skinny by his former owner and he's frantic to eat all the time, even though we don't feed him more than recommended. But he is definitely much more food oriented and worried he won't get it. The guy we've had since he was a pup is much more settled and less intense about food. He is also the more wired dog. Hmmmm.

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BD3269PM 4/20/2012 11:55AM

    Way to go!!! I'm going to tell Bailey just how good Charlie did. Maybe she can do the same emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 4/20/2012 11:25AM

    This is so wonderful! You're such a good pet owner. I know it can be hard to keep a dog's weight in check. Luckily with my last dog I never had to worry about -- Killer could eat anything and he stayed so skinny! And mostly he was one of those dogs who just stopped eating when he was full, no matter what it was. If only some of us could learn that, huh?


But I remember as a kid, my dog was very overweight (and so were we) and my mom tried really hard to slim Frosty down -- she cooked her special "diet" meals and everything, and that dog would act like we were starving her! She'd always find a way to get in the garbage, sneak something from outside...sheesh.

So good for Charlie! And kudos to his mom for a job well done. emoticon

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DDOORN 4/20/2012 11:12AM

    Yay Charlie! (and YOU, of course...!)


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NANCY- 4/20/2012 9:26AM

You and Charlie are awesome!

Regarding the Vet, sometimes it is easier to care for others rather than ourselves.

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IMAGINE_IT 4/19/2012 11:04PM

    emoticon WoohOoo...for Charlie emoticon

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KALIGIRL 4/19/2012 9:16AM

    WTG Charlie!!!!

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SLENDERELLA61 4/18/2012 7:00PM

    Congrats to both you and Charlie!! Well, you even more than Charlie, I suppose. Wouldn't you like to have someone (kind and knowledgable, of course) dishing out all your food?? Well, come to think of it, we don't need that person any more. We can do it ourselves!! Yay!! Hooray!

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CARRAND 4/18/2012 6:46PM

    Good job with your dog. You did him a favor for sure. I hope your vet listened to you about losing weight. Eat less, move more, works for people and for dogs.

I had a cat once that weighed 25 pounds. He was huge. He developed liver problems and had to be put down when he was about 12 years old. I tried to feed him less, but there is really no way to exercise a cat.

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JOHAL52 4/18/2012 4:34PM

    Terrific work on Charlie! That is so great!!!

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ODAYSKI11 4/18/2012 7:39AM

    Wow, your blog is a wake up call to me. My dog Mandy is not overweight, but close, and I know I feed her too many small milkbone "cookies", convincing myself the small makes it ok. I know she loves greenbeans, so for goodness sake, thanks to you, I am going to start feeding her various veg's for snacks!! I want her to live as long as possible!!!
Thanks for your blog, and I'd like to be your "sparkfriend"!

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/18/2012 6:01AM

    Well done to Charlie's owners, not easy with those sad eyes looking at you. The vet, well, join the rest of the world, intelligence does not come into it.

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TWEETYKC00 4/18/2012 5:24AM

    Good for Charlie, way to go!

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_LINDA 4/18/2012 12:54AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Go Charlie emoticon GO!
That is an amazing loss! Well done!
Good for spreading the Spark! High Five!

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DONNACFIT 4/18/2012 12:52AM

    Great job..Charlie and of course his family..he couldn't have done it without you!!

Most of our 20+ barn cats are looking very fat!!! oh darn..that's not fat..they're all having kittens!! Will help wilth the mouse and gopher population!!

And thanks for dropping by my blog..our snow has all been washed way with the rain!

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NOLAZYBUTT110 4/17/2012 11:00PM

    May Charlie have another 8 years! Yes Dogs need execise, just ask my lulu, shes outside in the yard running 4 times a day. Having fun! sleeps great and is a very good loving dog too. Pets are just like people just smaller and voicelss. But need to eta and exercise just liek people. (Isnt it somehting Drs and vets forget that!) If you love your self you will love your pets! Charlie has a good parent! Pat yourself on the back for caring! (Love all my pets the same, and want them around a ong time! And healthy so I have them as company as long as possible! Cant live without mine! (My last three pets all lived to be at least 12 years, average). Hope Charlies lives and keeps you company for at least another 8! susana

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TRAVELGRRL 4/17/2012 5:55PM

    Your vet sounds like some of the people you were talking about awhile back: once you mention Sparkpeople they lose interest! They are looking for a "secret", and Sparkpeople and hard work just aren't sexy enough!

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CRYSTALJEM 4/17/2012 11:51AM

    Yeah Charlie!!!! Way to go. Now he'll have the extra energy to love you all the more for hopefully many more years to come. I really liked this blog. You got me to thinking about your approach though. If we all did the same thing, we'd have as much luck. Hmmm.... more "food" for thought.....

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DBCLARINET 4/17/2012 11:40AM

    Yeah, Charlie!

I have heard people claim (purely anecdotal evidence) that nuts will stall weight loss. Sure, they're full of good fats, but I guess yeah, some people need to leave out the nuts until they've lost weight.

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PHEBESS 4/17/2012 10:42AM

    YAY for Charlie! And for you, for being a smart doggie mom!

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JENNNY135 4/17/2012 9:12AM

    Great job.

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DARRLENE13 4/17/2012 8:55AM

    Way to go Charlie!!!

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Runners: are you a ferret or a dog?

Monday, April 16, 2012


The Toronto Globe and Mail has a most interesting article today about how human beings are biologically wired to run. So are dogs. Ferrets? Not so much!!

And as for me? I'm a dog with (sadly) the hips and knees of a ferret!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYLADY4 4/20/2012 2:05PM

    Great article!

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SHRINKINRUNNER 4/20/2012 12:37PM


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SKINNYPOWELL1 4/20/2012 11:44AM


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DDOORN 4/20/2012 11:13AM

    Go FERRETS! :-)

Running just ain't my thing...lol.


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SLENDERELLA61 4/18/2012 6:54PM

    Guess I must be a dog. I'll check out that article! Thanks, as always. You find such interesting things. -Marsha

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TRYINGHARD1948 4/17/2012 3:09AM

    Now I know why running never appealed, no kicks for me, Sinuous, graceful, and sleek, yes I don't mind being a ferret.

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PHEBESS 4/16/2012 5:48PM

    Yeah, well, I'm definitely a housecat. Let me lie in the sun on a pillow. Thanks.


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CRYSTALJEM 4/16/2012 2:53PM

    I must have missed that article. Thanks for sharing. It's very interesting. Now... to find that trigger....

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CARRAND 4/16/2012 1:07PM

    Very interesting. I probably never go fast enough to get the rewarding brain chemicals. Oh well, something to aim for.

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NANCY- 4/16/2012 8:03AM

    They pay folks to study this stuff?
I feel great after working out in the pool.
To answer the question.... I'm more like a cat with cattitude.

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