Thursday, November 15, 2012
If you’ve ever been a member of Weight Watchers, you’ll eventually hear about the concept of the “anchoring.” Weight Watchers defines it as a process for creating cues or triggers that remind you of your weight goal and the inner resources you have to achieve it. An example of anchoring is hearing a song that reminds you of your high school days or seeing a pair of shoes that your child wore as a toddler. We do it every day, and it works equally well when we are trying to lose weight.
In this context, sometimes we need to seek out an anchor and sometimes it finds us. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or expensive. Maybe it’s an inspiring song or a pair of sneakers or a key chain. It can also be a specific ritual that reframes and refocuses your thinking.
I don’t know if WW still does this, but they used to award you a key chain when you lost 10% of your weight. The intent was for the keychain to be your anchor. I got one oh, so long ago and was surprised to realize that it’s been on my keychain for 11 years. Why did I never remove it when I regained the weight or switched out keychains? Because over the years, the keychain represented SUCCESS. Me at my best doing my best. I like thinking of myself that way and to remove it would suggest otherwise. So I kept it. Now when I see it, I smile.
My morning smoothie has been an important ritual. Get off track? Start the day with a smoothie. Somehow, it’s become an anchor. The smoothie is nutrient dense and reminds me that I am doing this for my HEALTH—to combat prediabetes, inflammation or whatever else I have. It’s full of omega-3s, antioxidents, vitamins, protein—all the stuff my doctor has recommended I consume regularly. The smoothie is more than just a “diet” it represents a large part of my success and road to better health.
So if you’re off track in your eating, try to find a food ritual that reinforces why you’re doing what your doing here on SP. For you, it may be a cranberry-walnut salad, or that new salmon recipe that made you realize, “Yes, I CAN enjoy my food while I lose weight.”
Whatever anchors you to this program, find and use it to keep you on your path to success.
Onward and downward!
Saturday, November 10, 2012
This week, I visited my doctor to get the results of a series of preventive care lab tests. The purpose of these tests was to assess my health status and help me understand my risk factors for disease. Many of the measures I understood, such as the A1C test and thyroid panel. There were also other tests that assessed my risk for heart disease and other ailments. After reviewing the results, my doctor told me I had "inflammation". Huh?
Apparently, when we gain weight, the excess fat on our bodies doesn't just take up space. It is metabolically active and negatively impacts all of systems. We are familiar with how it contributes to high blood pressure and diabetes, but apparently it also releases hormones that cause "inflammation". Our bodies become inflamed when we are trying to heal from damage. When our bodies endure sustained damage, the inflammation becomes constant. The blood test I took measures whether or not your body is under siege from constant and chronic inflammation. Mine is.
Trouble is, I don't know exactly what is causing mine. It could be the bursitis in my hip, for all I know. But one documented cause is excess weight. Translation? My doc confirmed that my weight loss journey is NOT over. "Get that BMI under 25," she said, matter-of-factly.
She also said I needed to eat more omega-3 rich foods, and take a multivitamin and a baby aspirin a day. I also need to exercise 150 minutes a week.
I hate to whine, but I do a lot of it when I blog, so bear with me:
You would think that after losing 50 pounds that I wouldn't be dealing with "inflammation." It makes me feel like I've climbed a mountain, reached the apex, looked out on the horizon and saw 20 more mountains between me and my destination.
Twenty pounds shouldn't sound like so much, but since it's all I have left to lose it seems like a lot because it's going to take awhile. Some days it does seem discouraging--especially when I've been only half-way focused and just barely staying on program.
Nevertheless, I stocked up on veggies at the store, bought my vitamins and baby aspirin and hit a zumba class. Not because I'm feeling especially motivated, but just doing what I need to do to inch forward--even if I'm just crawling.
Onward and downward.
Sunday, November 04, 2012
The hardest part of my goal weight being in sight is that it's so close, yet so far. One of my biggest motivators for losing weight is the pain of overweight. It's those days where I don't like what I see in the mirror, and I feel old and tired. Now, I'm in much better shape, have more energy and like my appearance. Throw in the fast-approaching holiday season and I'm ready to just focus on maintaining my weight.
This weekend, I saw the problem with this way of thinking. In my mind, when I say "maintaining my weight" there's still a part of me that wants to eat without thinking about calories, fat or fiber. Where I just eat with no restraint. Intellectually, I understand that I can't return to that lifestyle, but emotionally, I'm still tempted to do so. Make sense?
Friday and Saturday were two days where I was just eating with nary a thought and no plans to record a thing. Plus, I didn't even get my exercise in. Yes, I was a total slacker and at the time, I was cool with it, but I realized something. Maybe I didn't hurt myself having an "off" day or two, but an "off weekend" can eventually morph into an "off month" that translates to significant weight gain. How do I reconcile the philosophy of a "healthy lifestyle" with "staying on program?" By now, this "healthy lifestyle" should be ingrained into every fiber of my being, because I've been doing this 10 months, right?
But the reality is that I'm still a fat person inside a thinner person's body and no matter how disciplined and focused my eating and exercise can be, I'm still going to have days where I just wanna sit around and eat and not think about anything. The only answer I have is to do what I've been doing this whole journey. Get back on track and spend some time blogging, keeping my food diary and exercising for 10 minutes, just to regain a sense of control.
So here I am, after a weekend of candy, pizza, fried junk and barbecue. Doing some menu planning so I'm not so tempted to just grab stuff and eat it. Stocking my kitchen with the staples that helped me shed 50 pounds and trying to figure out how to freshen up my workout.
One other factor that's helping me regain focus was volunteering this morning to hand out water during a local 5K and 8K race. While at the water station, I got to see the runners in their element and speak with other volunteers who enjoy running. I spoke with one woman about my age who shed 30 pounds and completed a half-marathon earlier this year. I also got to people watch. I estimate that about half of the runners were over age 40. One woman who ran the 8K looked to be well into her 70s. One 10 or 11 year old girl ran the 8K. I also realized something else. I didn't judge the people by how fast or slow they were running, or their time. I admired the spirit of each and every participant for showing up and finishing the race. It was this morning where I set a goal to run at least 3 non-competitive 5K races in 2013.
I don't want to return to the couch. I need to have something compelling on the horizon. I think that continuing to work on getting in shape physically sounds more interesting than losing 17 pounds to reach my weight goal.
So today, I will plan my menus for the week, do my grocery shopping, fit in 10 minutes of exercise and keep pushing.
Onward and downward.
Monday, October 29, 2012
Have you ever made an assumption that turned out to be untrue? Have you ever lied to yourself to avoid responsibility for your behavior? I sure have and as my goal weight is in sight, I've realized that a lot of things I had routinely assumed are no longer true. Here is the self-talk I used to replace my old assumptions with new truths:
Assumption: It's impossible to lose weight after 40.
Truth: The weight comes off more slowly, but it's not impossible.
Assumption: I'm too old to jog or run.
Truth: If you're in good health and train properly, you can transition from walking to running.
Assumption: I'm too busy to exercise.
Truth: This is another way of saying "Exercise is not a priority." Make it an appointment on your calendar and honor the commitment.
Assumption: I can't stay on a diet long enough to lose weight.
Truth: If you deny yourself your favorite foods, you will fail. Find a way to include them as part of a calorie-reduced eating plan. Make shifts in your eating habits, not overhauls.
Assumption: I've tried 1,000's of diets and have failed every time.
Truth: Fall six times get up seven. If you "fail" it means you tried to do too much, too soon. Baby steps, baby steps. Food shifts, 10 minutes of exercise. Start where you are.
Assumption: I am an emotional eater. When I'm bored/stressed/depressed/angry, I eat.
Truth: Remember your plan: 1) call a friend; 2) get counseling; 3) go to the gym; 4) do housework.
Assumption: I have no willpower.
Truth: 90% of the time, you can control your food environment. 10% of the time, you can't. Plan accordingly. If you're going to a friend's house for dinner, figure out what you are willing to do. Go ahead and have their world-famous lasagna, but skip the store-bought dessert. Eat a piece of fruit ahead of time.
Assumption: I'm good at dieting/exercise, but can't do both consistently.
Truth: It's tough to be consistent on two fronts. Start where you are and slowly build up better habits.
Assumption: I lose weight too slowly.
Truth: Depends on how you define slowly. One pound a week is average.
Assumption: I'm too impatient to lose weight.
Truth: Find something else to do with your time besides obsess about the scale. Waiting to lose weight is like watching paint dry. Distract yourself.
Assumption: I don't like to eat fruits or vegetables.
Truth: Make a list of the ones you DO like and eat those. Be open to trying new foods and new recipes.
Assumption: Diets are boring.
Truth: Only if you don't plan.
Assumption: I don't like writing down what I eat
Truth: You have to decide if losing weight is a priority. If it is, then you'll track your eating.
Assumption: I can never get below ___ pounds.
Truth: You never know until you try.
And now, my most recent:
Assumption: I can't run 5K.
Truth: You just finished a virtual 5K. You CAN run 5K.
It's all good!
Onward and downward.
Sunday, October 28, 2012
It's official now. I have lost 50 pounds. I started in January and weighed in this weekend 50 pounds lighter. Here is my journey in pictures.
This is a photo of me from 2007. I love my hair in this picture, but I weigh more than 200 pounds.
In 2009, my weight was starting to bother me. I decided to start a "diet". Here is a "before" picture from that year. I was near my all time high.
I found a rare full body shot of me at more than 200 pounds. My daughter had just graduated from high school so there were cameras everywhere. I couldn't believe how heavy I looked in the pictures. I was certain the camera was adding 30-40 pounds to my image because I didn't "feel" fat.
2010 and 2011 were stressful years. During this time, I gained an additional 10 pounds, putting me well over 200 pounds. When I saw this November 2011 photo of me with my adorable grandson, I was shocked at how heavy I'd gotten. Then, in January 2012 I was diagnosed with pre-diabetes. Now, my weight was affecting my health. With a class reunion on the horizon in 2013, I had all the motivation I needed to make a change.
I'm about 25 pounds down in this photo.
My grandson and me. I'm down about 35 pounds here. My face is visibly thinner.
Here's my before/after photo which I took just before I dropped that last pound to make it officially 50 pounds. I weigh less than I've weighed in over 10 years. I've dropped from a size 16W to a 12. Now, I'm only 17 pounds from goal!
Onward and downward.
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