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something weird in the neighborhood

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Oops, now that Ghostbusters song is going to be stuck in all our heads, right? Sorry about that. So, a few things have caused me to have an "F the scale" week or two. Um, by "F" you know I mean forget, right? What?! You thought I meant that other F word? I am shocked, I tell you, shocked emoticon So, here is the deal. My scale is messing with my head a bit and I know I am preaching to the choir here, so I won't go on about it. I don't base the value of my life on a stupid set of numbers but it is a handy little tool for tracking one area of my health so, it does have some effect on me. According to the emoticon, I have made no progress for months. Random comments over the past few days have made me think this may not be the whole story. First, after a school play in which my little darling portrayed an enormous spider (sorry to the arachnaphobes - you would NOT have appreciated the costume I actually managed to create), I helped another mom carry chairs from one building to another. The other building was across a playground and up some stairs so it required a bit of effort. At one point, she looked around and said "why are two small women doing all the work when there are dads just standing around?" Well, I was thrown by her comment about "two small women" so I did not have an answer. Oh, she is referring to ME and herself. Weird. I did have to laugh when, shortly after that, one of the dads said "oh, good, you are done carrying those chairs - I was starting to feel guilty". Yesterday, I stopped by our neighborhood market to buy a few things (the store where I used to load up on binge foods). I bought a few snacks but nothing crazy. The young woman behind the counter said "you look fantastic". WHAT?! I was dressed in workout clothes, no make-up, and my hair in a ponytail and, let's face it, even all dolled up "fantastic" is a distant memory, Sparkly people. She must have noticed my surprise emoticon (my surprise face looks a lot like my shocked face and neither are fantastic). She said she could really see a difference in my appearance and I looked good, i.e. healthier and fitter. She then told me her mother and sister are trying a new diet which does not allow them to eat protein and if you know me at all you know this made my head want to explode emoticon so instead I told her about Sparkpeople. Finally, this morning, as I was running with my neurotic but loyal and cute emoticon a mom I know, who is young and cute and fit (actually, they all are because I am 52 and the mother of a second grader so that pretty much renders every mom younger and cuter and I don't begrudge them that, one bit, thankfully) stopped me on the trail. She said "I have been meaning to tell you how great you look. I can especially see it through here" and then she made that gesture with her hands, about rib-cage level. Okay, something is definitely happening to elicit these comments. After spontaneously hugging her, twice, I ran off with a new spring in my step. It made me think. Oh, while I have been focusing on chubby arms and legs that, while stronger certainly, remain very well insulated, apparently other parts of my body have been visibly affected by exercise. I realized that while my belly hangs on for dear life (though not to the degree it did 30 lbs ago, for sure) my ribs have made a return - a bit of a gentle curve has replaced the roll that once resided there. Huh. Who knew? Not me, since I was a bit focused on the areas where I do not see change. I don't think of myself as a "negative Nellie" but I have had friends tell me I am too hard on myself. So, do I tell you this to brag? No, not really - not bragging, just reporting. The reason I am telling you this is to say that even if you struggle, as I do, with the food side of this equation, all is not lost. I have said from the get-go that my focus is strength more than weight loss but at times I have felt like I take this too far, and hide behind this philosophy to avoid some of the discomfort that comes from reining myself in around food, from dealing with my compulsions and disorderly eating. However, I actually have made some progress in that area. Because I exercise so often, I do think of food as fuel more often than I did in my "fat and getting ever fatter" days. I don't exercise as a direct way to lose weight, but I do enjoy the fact that it helps my metabolism to operate more efficiently, and that it gives me a healthy way of sorting through emotional anxieties that, left unchecked, will show up as voracious cravings for simple carbs disguised as actual food. So, keep putting one foot in front of the other (preferably at a fairly rapid pace so your heart and your lungs are reminded of how vital they are). Challenge your muscles. Challenge your thinking. Go a little further, a little faster, a little longer, a little more often than you think you can. You never know. Just when you think that the hard work only shows on the inside (where it is most important, of course), along comes some proof that yes, the outside is shaping up a bit, too. I have to say, a little positive recognition can offer some additional motivation to get out and enjoy the neighborhood.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    To get compliments if the best motivation to keep up the good work. Or go a little longer. When perfect strangers notices a change , that's being on the right track..
    Sometimes we are too hard on ourselves. I know I am. But then along comes someone who hasn't seen us in a while and they notice.
    I try to notice and give compliments to those at the gym that I know are really trying to lose and when I tell them how I notice some results, They just beam.
    Carole you are working hard to improve your health and life and it shows.
    When you think that you have many child rearing years ahead of you, you need to stay young and healthy. Smile.!!!
    Take care, another well thought out blog.
    Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2140 days ago
    Oh, I so identify with you! "my focus is strength more than weight loss but at times I have felt like I take this too far, and hide behind this philosophy to avoid some of the discomfort that comes from reining myself in around food, from dealing with my compulsions and disorderly eating"
    I have read a couple of your blogs this morning and now am a subscriber! I live in the northeast and have also been quite active now for 10 or 15 years and also enjoy food. Apparently too much as I can't get this 10-15 lbs to leave but I also notice my legs and arms feel "harder" emoticon
    2143 days ago
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    2144 days ago
    I love your line of thinking on challenge, it is important to go a little longer, think differently and yes the inner you is more important but it is absolutely amazing to see the outer you make progress! Congrats on your transformation! It is unbelievable that somebody would do a no-protein diet when that is the most important thing your body doesn't make and you need to fuel yourself. Keep up the great work!
    2144 days ago
    What a great blog!!! So encouraging! Bless that woman's heart for speaking what she was thinking & seeing! This is one heck of a rocky road we're traveling...but you're proving to yourself & us that it DOES work......if we're consistent and following the plan.

    I am thrilled for you and so proud of the gigantic effort you are making on all fronts --- your health, Peyton's health and your Spark friends' health and attitude.

    You feed us emotionally! (and humorously!)
    2144 days ago
    I love this! Exciting that you are getting all that good feedback!
    2144 days ago
    You go girl!! How wonderful that people are noticing the changes!! I think that is the best kind of encouragement.
    You are doing all the right things for you! I am so happy for you!! Total awesomeness!!
    Sending you lots of love!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2145 days ago
    VERY pleased for you!!! You are right to keep the scale in its rightful place - it is one indicator, but there are others, and clearly you are on the right path. I am really proud of you.
    emoticon emoticon
    2145 days ago
    No protein?!

    This is one of those times when "Spread the Spark" moves from being a good idea to being an absolute necessity. I hope she passed along the message!

    2146 days ago
    "A new diet which does not allow them to eat protein"??? Is there an end to craziness? I think my head would have exploded!!! I am very glad you told her about SP.
    Congratulations for getting those lovely compliments, I am so happy for you! It was also very encouraging. I REALLY should get into ST!!!
    2146 days ago
    PS, yes, thanks for the song, it IS going round in my head... :-)
    2146 days ago
    Lovely blog, and how fantastic that people are noticing the changes! It has much more effect I think when the comments come from others, rather than the scale. So congrats and keep up the good work!! You obviously deserve all those compliments!
    2146 days ago
    that's wonderful. i'm really happy for you. and glad you live somewhere where people say those things.
    2146 days ago
    Something magnificently weird in your neighborhood!!! People who have noticed the changes on you long before you knew they actually did! It just feels good, doesn't it? And I believe it's a sign of people's character, too. There are people who I know very well and have made no comment seeing the changes in my appearance - they just give me this weird top-to-toe look - and then there are people whom I may not know very well, who have made the sweetest and cleverest comments. Like the mom who stopped you on the trail.
    Non-scale victories are the best! But they still can't make us completely independent of this horrible device with the numbers on it!
    You've come a long way and you deserve all those wonderful comments and reactions! Keep up the great work!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    PS: I had exactly the same reaction to the no-protein diet! I mean, really? No protein? Could this EVER make someone lose weight??? Sometimes I feel like wearing a T-shirt all the time with the words "Eat right, move more! No magic diet or pill!" written on it!
    2146 days ago
    Oh Happy Day!!
    This is such a wonderful blog and I am so happy for you that you get some outside recognition for all of your hard work. I knew from the amount of running and weight training that you do that you must be feeling some results even if the scale refuses you some kudos! It is a wonderful thing to get compliments and I know it's hard to absorb them sometimes because well, it is sometimes but good for you for posting and sharing because we all know just how much your really do deserve them. emoticon emoticon
    2146 days ago
    That is soooo awesome! I was disoucraged a while back and I took my meausreme T's...sure enough, PROGRESS!!!!! Wonderful for people to tell you instead of just thinking it, isn't it. You work hard, nice to know its being noticed! Hugs
    2146 days ago
  • DOODIE59
    Oh Carole -- that's terrific! Your head must be spinning with all the compliments:) A few supportive words can be all the fuel one needs to KEEP GOING! You go, girl:)
    2146 days ago
    I love it! Those few nice comments completely changed your perspective. Magical.
    2146 days ago
    Kudos to you. You deserve all the great compliments. I think when we see ourselves in the mirror, we oftentimes see the fat version of ourselves, instead of the nicely toned, more muscular, smaller, fit people we've become. Time to give ourselves more credit, huh?
    2146 days ago
  • YIWEN39
    Too right Cannie, F## the scale emoticon
    So happy for you that you are getting all those compliments, that's awesome! And you are spreading the Spark too, awesome again :-)
    You're talking the talk and walking the walk. Spark on! emoticon
    2146 days ago
    Soooo lovely when others notice our efforts . . . because all of us do tend to be hard on ourselves!!
    2146 days ago
    LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT keep right on kicking emoticon YOU ROCK!
    2146 days ago
    There's nothing like that wake-up moment when somebody who has no stake in it gives you a compliment. You go, "ME?????" and the answer is YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

    I am so happy for you!
    2146 days ago
    I have been noticing lately that, and this is so foreign to me that I don't even know how to absorb it, the scale really, honestly does not have the same power over me that it once did! I am like 1crazydog, I have to weigh every day, but it doesn't mean the same thing and it does NOT have the same impact it used to to see no loss or even a slight gain. I know that I look different, (people keep telling me!) and if I admit it, I can see differences when I look in the mirror. I think that the thing that I am doing, if I admit it (oops, I think that is what I am doing here) is that the mirror isn't reflecting a model perfect body, and it never will. And I am ok with that. What I weigh doesn't reflect where I am and how far I've come. I have lost a lot, I am being a bit lazy right now with the last evil "10", but I don't, and won't stop with my changing how I feel about my physical activity, no matter what the scale tells me from day to day. I would miss it and at this point this is not just lip service anymore. It used to be, but not now. What you mentioned about food being more fuel than comfort is so true! And way too sweet when that happens, when you are out to dinner and realize that you are NOT feeling that gorging on everything in sight is an unavoidable catastrophe just waiting to happen.
    From the pictures I've seen of you I have tried to find the "major flaws", I can't find them. You look "mahhvelous"! Isn't it so neat though, when folks who don't necessarily love you see the things you seem so inclined to overlook!
    emoticon emoticon
    2146 days ago
    Positive comments are better than a number on the scale anyday!!! Wooohooooo! emoticon
    I decided along time ago that my scale is male because it behaves soooo badly. hahahaha emoticon
    2146 days ago
    What wonderful feedback! That is awesome! So happy for you!
    2146 days ago
  • MIQUEY73
    How awesome that is!
    2146 days ago
    Woohoo!!! That was my first reaction to rhe check stand person's compliments! My second reaction was ACK! I did that no protein diet for 6 months and was my heaviest by the end! So I know you are spot on with the protein power, err, powder? Ha!

    I love that you schlep unruly and heavy items around without a thought. I'll bet that you put some fear into the hearts of those men who stayed back as you two 'changed the floorplan'.
    You are 100% stronger than a few years back. I'll bet you are the strongest you have ever been! And muscle weighs more than fat ( I know, MEH! But it's true!) and your body will continue to whittle down in certain areas. I'm waving my jazz hands for you today!
    2146 days ago
  • MISSB8604

    Random comments from random people are wonderful aren't they?!

    Congrats dearest!
    2146 days ago
    What a great blog, thanks for sharing. It helps to be reminded that the number on the scale is not the only measurement we should be looking at and it is definitely the one that should be taken with a grain of salt!
    2146 days ago
    I agree - positive comments can certainly add enthusiasm to what we're already doing!

    That said - I still believe good fences make good neighbors! emoticon
    2146 days ago
  • DAISY443
    Is one of the seven deadly sins envy? Then I am doomed! But, good for you!
    2146 days ago
    First, I was in your shoes, too. Always the OLDEST MOM @ every school function, PTA meeting . . . all of that. BUT I was SMARTER, too! HA. Didn't it feel great to keep up with the younger Moms (and what can I say about the Dads who were on the sidelines watching you carry the chairs! 'Nuf said on that one.

    Secondly, you already know that scales lie, don't you! LOLOL Lots like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar (alright, that might not be the best analogy for Spark, but you know what I mean). Lying just comes 2nd nature to a scale.

    How do I know that? I went through what you're talking about. Having that scale blare back the same #'s was difficult. Though, I have to admit, I really did not have too much plateau time. Anyhow, then the compliments, the noticing subtle changes in my appearance were mentioned more than once. So I KNEW I was on the right track even though that lying scale didn't!

    I have a different relationship with my scale now. I HAVE to weigh daily, but it's a # that I write down and forget about. Period. That is as long as the OTHER measurements are on track.

    You're doing a fantastic job.

    BTW, how is your son doing on HIS journey to eating healthier? I can't help but think he sees you and learns a LOT!

    2146 days ago
    Fantastic! All these people confirming one thing: you look fantastic! The truth isv that you are so much more than a number on a scale and you have positive conformation of that. Just keep on keeping on and eventually your lazy scale will catch up with you.

    Haveva great day!
    2146 days ago
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