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Losing is nice, but what can I truly sustain?

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Sunday, February 13, 2011

Looking back at posts and blogs, I've always talked about sustainability, destressing and baby steps. Well today I got a chance to practice what I preach.

For some reason, I've been hungrier than usual the past couple of weeks. It became really noticeable the past 10 days or so. Almost half of the past 10 days I've eaten above my calorie range. This is uncommon for me as I've always been satisfied with my calorie range before and had gone over maybe once a month before these past weeks.

At first I thought it was a fluke - perhaps because I've been experiencing more pain and have taken pain meds my appetite had increased. And there was a glitch in my thyroid meds where I was slightly HYPER thyroid for about a month. But none of this really explained things. I have been getting much less exercise and decreased my calorie range accordingly and exercise does act as an appetite suppressant for me - so perhaps that's it? Who knows - the body is complex. Which is why I decided to listen to mine and up my calorie range to something that worked better for me.

So I shifted my tracker to have me lose about 1.25 lbs a week rather than 1.5 lbs. This is about the range I've been over eating in anyway. I'll watch what/how I eat this week and if it works, great. If not, I'll readjust down to 1 lb lost per week. I know - sounds kinda wimpy doesn't it? I mean I still have 125 lbs to lose! But I realized that this is a journey for me. Losing 1 lb per week is still 52 lbs a yr! Losing 1.25 lbs a week is 60 lbs a yr! Those are some pretty awesome numbers!

One of the things I've tried to do on SP is learn from others - both the motivators and the folks who are struggling. Here are some differences I've found:

1. Motivators track and pay attention. Strugglers have not yet mastered consistent tracking or think it's not worth the time.
2. Motivators are consistent. Strugglers stop and start, stop and start.
3. Motivators are realistic - they set achievable goals. I've looked at their Nutrition Trackers and they eat a decent amount of calories and pay attention to major nutrients. Strugglers set unreasonable goals - hoping to maintain the large weight losses of the early weeks indefinitely. They often eat within a range that occurs for me as "deprivation" - sometimes they even eat below what their metabolism burns just keeping them alive (about 1200 cal) which according to the latest knowledge can push you into starvation mode and make it almost impossible to lose.
4. Motivators typically enjoy fitness activities of some sort and are proud that they can do something they weren't able to before. Some of them have achieved huge fitness successes and others just enjoy life in their own skin more and are more active. Motivators again set attainable goals for themselves and were consistent and persistent. They adjusted their programs as necessary. The mistake I see Strugglers making is doing too much too fast and (again) burning out. Just like you can put your body into "starvation mode" by not feeding it an adequate number of calories/nutrients, you can "overtrain" your body and experience negative health gains that impact weight loss by making you sick, tired, stressing your immune system or making you more prone to injury or accident.

So I've read, listened, watched...and I've taken away some lessons. Let's face it - up to this particular time - I, Jen, was a "Struggler". I made all the same Struggler mistakes and I experience the same results - frustration, deprivation, injury, illness and weight loss stagnation. I don't want to go there again. So I'm developing a closer mind/body relationship and listening to how I feel and act. This is even more important now with a chronic health concern. Thus the calories go UP!

And I have one last thought. I've been moderately successful in weeding out some stressors in my life lately. I wonder if having those stressors gone is also allowing my metabolism to go up a bit. Because that's what it feels like. It feels like my metabolism is faster. And actually, I've been able to DECREASE the amount of thyroid meds I take lately after being stabilized for awhile. So I wonder and I will pay attention to that as I progress in my journey!

Thanks to all my emoticons who have been such a wonderful support network and role models as I muddle through all of this.

emoticon SP is so great because it gives each one of us the tools to discover what works for US as individuals. And I am so grateful!

UPDATE: As of weigh in today (Feb 21) - I am down another 1.9 lbs after having my first ever gain last week. This brings my total to 52.1 lbs in 5 months! Upping my calorie intake seems to be working. And no, I did not work out more. In fact I did less. This weight loss thing is a journey - we'll get there. I've determined that I will not add undue drama to this journey but relax and let it take its course.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    That's emoticon that you found what works for you by listening to your body! emoticon
    2521 days ago
    I read this blog for the first time two months ago, and it is still on my mind! This has been the most inspiring thing I have read on Sparkpeople! Thanks for writing it!! emoticon
    2543 days ago
    That's a great summary of motivator and struggler. I hope I can be a motivator even if it's just to my parents and sibling. But first, need to be my own motivator to success not motivator to failure!
    2547 days ago
    I too need to go from a struggler to a motivator. Thank you so much for this inspiring blog.
    2559 days ago
    I need to go from struggler to being a motivator. Thank you for this inspiring post. emoticon
    2567 days ago
    I have had two occasions recently when I overate sweets. Each time was after I had eaten a grapefruit with Apriva artificial sweetener. I suppose my body expected calories from the sweetness that it did not get and this made me crave sweets. I have read this elsewhere in SparkPeople and now I believe it. I am not far along after restarting last week when I bought the book Spark. I find your blog motivating and thank you for making the effort to share. I am surprised that my fat/protein/carb ratios have been very close to goals. I don't get close to potassium goal though...
    2583 days ago
    Great post. It's hard to learn moderation in this "fix it fast" world. You've learned an important way to manage your weight and sounds like you are fixed for success!
    2584 days ago
    You have tremendous insight! You have summarized your experience and the lessons you have learned from other so well.
    I admire your williningness to not only listen to your body, but to act upon it. I am a bit believer in the mind/body conncetion.
    Unfortunately, I am one of those who are struggling to add calories in order to provide proper nutrients. I haven't found that place, and have lost the actual feelings of hunger. The upper end of my tracker seems high for someone who was on a calorie-restricted diet for so long for health reasons. I have become an avid exerciser, and I have worked through many of my health issues so my metabolism is greater. I still have many fluctuations which make consistency a difficult place for this routine loving individual to find.
    I know it is possible, and reading your story and the important reminders help to keep me going. After all, life isn't static, why not just re-evaluate and go with it?
    Thank you so much for sharing. I needed to be reminded of these things today. And that is what Spark and its members do! emoticon emoticon
    2588 days ago
    Great blog. You definitely shifted your mindset from a struggler to a motivator. There is no rush. In order to lose weight the proper way we have to change our lifestyle and listening to our bodies is the first step.

    emoticon emoticon
    2589 days ago
    Wonderful blog. Thanks so much for sharing! I want so much to be a Motivator instead of a Struggler! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2589 days ago
    2590 days ago
    Thanks for sharing.
    2590 days ago
    Hey DOWNTOWNJEN I hear ya and just know where you are coming from. I started dieting back in October of last year and I
    told myself I have to do what is best for me.

    Just to fill you on a little about my diet, I am on a 2,000
    count low fat calorie diet and I told myself I would have to
    do certain things in order to achieve my goals. They are:

    1. I am not a big sweet eater and never was so that is my
    my first step to help me to lose some of those extra
    pounds that I need to shed off.

    2. I am a person that loves to indulge in those salty
    snack foods such as: chips, popcorn, cheese and
    crackers and whatever else falls into that category.
    But here is my secret to this step. I feel if I am
    going to munch down on that extra bite of snack that
    is going to put that extra calorie back on I am going
    to make sure I get out and walk or do some type of
    exercise to burn off those extra calores that I just
    put into my mouth before I put the pounds back on.

    So consider some of my secrets that I have just listed
    and see if they help you the same way they have helped
    me. But congratulations and I wish you the best of luck
    in whatever steps you take.

    emoticon emoticon
    2595 days ago
    Great Blog.. Also always remember, that now you are losing.. so even though you may only be losing a pound a week.. you are also not gaining .... at the same time.. so really if you had been like me I was gaining slowly too, so now I look at that even if I am at a plateau I realise at least I am not gaining.
    Great Job!

    Sparkle On,
    2597 days ago
    I just read this blog and enjoyed it alot. I'd like to add one thing: because I can now see myself as a struggler, I think I am an analyzer too, like this bloggist. What do you think?
    2597 days ago
  • SWAN47
    You are truly a motivator. Good food for thought. Thanks for sharing your insight.
    2598 days ago
  • DOCKO56
    Excellent insightful blog! emoticon
    2600 days ago
    Thanks for shaing, always helpful to know your not alone. emoticon
    2602 days ago
  • CDMARTIN3224
    Jen, I just want to say that your view on this is very inspiring nd enlightening! Way to keep positive!
    Thank you!
    2603 days ago
  • NANA717
    Very good! Thanks for sharing!
    2604 days ago
    Nicely done!
    I appreciate your sharing your insights into how 'achievers' work with the system and in their minds. I like the slow approach Sparkpeople encourages, and it is working for me now.
    Thanks and keep it up!

    2606 days ago
    2607 days ago
  • CATHRINE2010
    Way to go!! Realizing your strengths and weaknesses are all part of the road to success!! I know you will get there and stay there. It's about being healthy and sometimes it's a healthy mind not body that counts! Good Job and you are a motivator.. to us all!! emoticon
    2609 days ago
    I just got around to reading this post today and I have one thing to say, Thank You!
    2610 days ago
  • MARIAND123
    GReat blog. I am going to move from the Struggler status to the motivated status
    2610 days ago
    Right on. emoticon
    2610 days ago
    awesome post! Congratulations!
    2610 days ago
    This is great insight. Thanks for sharing it and I think that you will be a sustainer when you get to your goals! You have a good, solid understanding of the pitfalls and you just have to have a support system to help you through the rough spots! emoticon emoticon STAY CENTERED
    2611 days ago
    Excellent blog - thanks for sharing your insights. I seem to do both but I'm much more of a struggler on the weekends. I need to be more consistent. Even though I'm still losing I understand what Margietec1 was saying - even maintenance is tough. There is no magic bullet. You have to keep tracking, keep exercising, and make the right choices. Otherwise, all of the weight comes back. I think that's the difference for me this time around - the realization that even when I've lost the weight, I still won't be able to eat whatever I want all day long whenever I feel like. I'll still have to make the right choices.
    2611 days ago
    I really needed to read this blog this morning. For months I was "an achiever", then life got in the way & I became "a struggler". I appreciate the perspective!
    2611 days ago
    Congrats on ur achievement!!!
    2611 days ago
    You are totally in control and understand what it takes to gain control when you slide. Congratulations and keep the goal in sight! You've kicked my butt today and I am very appreciative!
    2611 days ago
    Great thoughts..thanks for the reading!
    2612 days ago
    What a wonderful post! This is just what I needed to hear!
    Continued success to you!
    2612 days ago
    Truly a wonderful blog. There was a lot of thought put in about the motivators and the strugglers. Funny how I find myself flipping between the two. For months I can be one the fall into the old pattern of the other. Thanks for the blog.
    2612 days ago
    Truly a wonderful blog. There was a lot of thought put in about the motivators and the strugglers. Funny how I find myself flipping between the two. For months I can be one the fall into the old pattern of the other. Thanks for the blog.
    2612 days ago
    Thanks for the GREAT Blog. I truly enjoyed reading it. Keep up the great writing. It encourages others to continue on this hard but rewarding road.
    2612 days ago
    great thoughts--reminds me that when the student is ready, the teacher appears. You are my teacher today. I have lost around 35 pounds, and this was my goal. I am having some trouble right now with maintenance. Just maintaining and making what I know are the right choices in diet. I thank you for your honesty and your perspective.
    2612 days ago
  • 4KIDS_4ME
    Lots of food for thought here. I'm in between struggler and motivated. Some days are easier than others so I needed this reminder today emoticon
    2613 days ago
  • 7252LOU
    Congratulations on your success to date and especially your realistic attitude. I too overeat every week, but usually just only 2 days....never an entire week. I am comfortable with this reality....I enjoy food, but I don't want to slip back into eating way too much Junk Food....Girl Scout cookies are a real challenge for me. emoticon
    2613 days ago
    This showed up in my mailbox this weekend, and is SO timely! Thank you! I was camping this weekend, for the first time since joining SP, and so of course missed my regular workouts, my calorie tracking, even making sure to drink enough water! This reminder, to do what we can do, and set sustainable goals, is just what I needed today!
    2613 days ago
    Continue success to you. This is my first day with "sparkpeople" and I am in a struggling stage right now. Thank you for the encouragement.

    2613 days ago
    My problem is that when I reached my goal weight, I continued to lose without trying. How do I make it stop?
    2613 days ago
    This blog is exactly what I needed to hear. I USE TO BE a I feel/act like a struggler...I need to get back to that place on consistency. Thank you so much.
    2613 days ago
    Congratulations on your successful weight loss, and on analyzing and changing your strategy to continue with success! emoticon
    2613 days ago
    Great blog. I felt like you were talking directly to me. Very encouraging to know what I was "a struggler" and what I'm striving to become better at is being a Motivator or mover!!! Thanks this was truly insightful.
    2613 days ago
  • BTRFLY08
    Great blog!! I am definitely a struggler. I know I need to make some changes. Thank you for sharing!!
    2613 days ago
    Very well said! I guess I'm still considered a struggler. I am going to cross over on my 2 year anniversary, which is this week! Thanks for the inspiration. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2613 days ago
    What a great post with some real common sense ideas. Thank you for sharing. I love that each of us needs to find what works for us and be realistic. Thanks again for sharing. emoticon
    2613 days ago
  • JOEY331
    I love your last line about not adding undue drama to the journey, but relaxing! I'm an avid tracker, and it works, so I'll stick with it. Thanks for your motivating blog!
    2613 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.