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How wide is your tightrope?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A suggested article popped while I was browsing Pubmed called "Weight maintenance as a tight rope walk - a Grounded Theory study"
It's from Sweden and was an analysis of attitudes, behavior and strategies of middle aged maintainers and slight gainers. You definitely want to look at figure 3, which shows 4 different models of the tightrope. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pub

The shortest, widest (and easiest) tightrope was heritage. I didn't get this one since the heritage I identify with is obesity. Though I guess my dad didn't struggle with his weight. It notes habitual and unstructured eating. I could say I'm a habitual eater. I know how many calories each meal should kind of have, and I have some habitual groupings, but I don't have an issue with not knowing what I'm going to eat before I open the fridge. Numbers speak to me and when I look at a food I can place it on a kind of spectrum of calorie, nutrient and satisfaction quality. I guess the second two are old for me, adding the calorie and sodium quantities has been new in the last year.

The second easiest tightrope is joy, and this one I could totally relate to. The second figure breaks down a response that was categorized as joy driven. The bible says the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. But in my experience, it's the spirit or the mind that is making a lot of my bad food choices. If my body were choosing, everything would be functional and down to earth. This comes back to the food quality spectrum. The last two boxes made me laugh, because it sounds like a Mormon Sunday school lesson. "My body is a temple; men are that they might have joy." In the full article, I match the holistic eater concept pretty well.

I could also relate to the third tightrope, which featured routine. I identify with "weekend celebrator" and "daily exerciser." I guess I wouldn't be a weekend celebrator if I weren't being a "family pleaser." I asked my husband if he needed a haircut and he said he'd just got one, and I said "but you didn't get the donuts" (there's this deluxe donut shop by his barber) and he said "well, I thought about it but I didn't want to tempt you."

I don't talk about it a lot, but now and then you might get a glimpse that I'm also on that fourth tightrope, characterized by control. Sparkpeople doesn't recommend it, but I actually do track my daily calorie deficit. I don't do it everyday like I used to, though. Sparkpeople doesn't recommend approaching eating as an addiction either, but that don't make it any less the case. I think too many numbers are scary for some people. To me, it's how my body lets me know what's working.

Well, the conclusion of the abstract lays out that the benefit of this study was to reveal that people's approaches to nutrition and fitness are different, and taking that into account could influence what advice is given and how it is received. I wish I'd read this before I had that talk with my husband yesterday, not the donut one, a different one about how to help him lose weight (he was asking for help). My daughter thought the donut thing was cute, and it kind of was, but it reflects that dieting mentality of naughty and nice foods.

4A-HEALTHY-BMI hooked me up with the full text. She's my Obi wan. If I can just avoid turning to the dark side... :P

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Very interesting. Thank you for sharing.
    1678 days ago
    Great info thanks for sharing.
    1855 days ago
    Okay, I've looked at the full report. It will probably take me another month to understand the full abstract. But I read the last paragraph on pg. 4

    And as I understand it, maintainers were on a short wide, tight rope when using the heritage strategy. But what is the heritage strategy? I believe it means these people had the right genes for maintaining their weight, and they didn't need a lot of support to maintain their weight. They didn't need to do a lot of work to change habits or anything like that because they maintained naturally (habits were already in place).

    So it really was an absence of strategy. They didn't do anything to maintain their weight. They just relied on the luck of their genes.

    I still like where I jumped with my first interpretation of the heritage tightrope. Though I was thinking of the heritage of the culture of food in my experience in my family, and in society around me (like growth of fast food chains in high school, food commercials, growth of food manufacturing) So for me, I see the habits developed out of my heritage to have a very strong pull when trying to deny them and lose weight instead.

    Is there a fat gene?

    I know there is a fat habit (or 2 or more).

    I imagine page 6 will clear this up for me. I'll read more on Sunday.
    1856 days ago
    Bravelute, I think the reliance on heritage works for those with a compatible heritage, but since this study started with maintainers we don't get a picture of what an unhealthy heritage looks like.
    1858 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    Interesting information. Thanks for sharing.
    1858 days ago
  • 1EMMA2011
    Excellent post! I can relate to the third one too!

    Thank you for sharing!!

    1858 days ago
  • NEEDBU66
    Fascinating! I could see how all typeropes effect me. I have a dad who at 84 can still pull up his body from a bar, and a mother who never exercised until she broke the 8th bone. (at 81 or 82) I still say "meat potatos vegetables and salad" whenever contemplating dinner- tradition. Heritage. Joy'! Its always why I'd rather eat a bowl of ice cream and just laugh at the idea of an apple. Really.
    (until lately) And control. Oh yeah. I laughingly have decided I do indeed have OCD. Only I call it CD0 because, obviouisly, we got to keep it in alphabetical order!! Thanks for the synopsis!
    1858 days ago
    Just looking at how they are depicted, it seems to me the dark bold straight arrow on Tradition might signify how strong a role tradition plays in the way we eat, approach fitness, etc.?? My tradition leans toward the unhealthy eating obese side also, and it has been very strong influence on me, creating difficulties when I tried to make changes.

    What do you think?
    1858 days ago
    Now I've read the whole article, I'm wondering more how important the different aspects they identified inform my weight management efforts.
    1858 days ago
    Cool - I will certainly check this out!
    1858 days ago
  • STHAX10
    1858 days ago
    Great info. Thanks for sharing.
    1858 days ago
  • _CYNDY55_
    emoticon Interesting Info emoticon
    1858 days ago
    Great info.
    1858 days ago
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