Okay, its a stretch, but hear me out.
When I go to the quilt show, I go primarily to see all the beautiful quilts. To be inspired by their beauty, creativity, and workmanship. But after I’ve been there for just a little while, I can start to get overwhelmed by the intricacy of the work. It is pretty common for the quilts nowadays to be very heavily quilted–microquilted, I just heard it called. Here is an example of one of the quilts I really liked. Pretty typical quilting. Believe it or not, some have even more threadwork on them.
And the thing is, I am never going to do this. I know me. I know how I work. Too many ideas, too many colors in the world, to work continuously on one quilt long enough to do that type of work. I could start to feel bad about myself. But I don’t. I just remind myself that I do a different type of quilting. Tiny stitches do not necessarily equal beauty and value.
That is why I was particularly interested to see this next quilt at the show, hung in a place of honor, having won an award for something like ‘most innovative quilting.’ Most innovative quilting! at a show FILLED with quilts COVERED in the most beautiful painstaking tiny stitches. Again, this is not exactly something that I would do myself (can anybody say “not enough color?”) but still it was nice to see that there was room for ‘different’ in this major quilt show.
So that’s a little how I feel about deciding to maintain at 168 pounds. Rather unusual in this bloggy weight loss/fitness/maintenance world. Its way over my BMI. Way over my W.W. goal weight (duh, they use the BMI charts.) Its pretty ‘heavy’ for a five foot tall woman.
But after writing the last time about this, I thought a little more, especially about some of the comments you all made. And I decided to see what it would be like to change the way I was thinking. To actually think “My goal is to maintain my weight at 168 pounds.”
I like it, for the most part. I didn’t change the way I ate. I still eat mostly clean, whole foods, foods that I have prepared myself. I still plan my meals ahead of time. I still eat minimal sugar and wheat. I still try to wait until I am hungry to eat, and try not to eat to ‘overfull.’
I still exercise just as much. When I have time, I exercise a lot. Its weird that I don’t really say/think that I love exercise. But I miss it when I don’t have time to do a lot. I’ve gotten used to multiple walks a day, and when I don’t get to the gym for a while, I really miss it.
But here’s the part I guess I am working on the most. Changing the way I identify myself. I’m having a hard time trying to come up with the right words. Something along the lines of ‘an older woman who is overweight but still reasonably attractive, who exercises not in the hopes that her body shape will change or become smaller, but to stay strong and healthy and flexible and mobile.’ Oh. And who has a normal BP, cholesterol level, and blood sugar level. Reminds me of the song “I Don’t Want Much, I Just Want More .”
Even without a TV, its hard not to compare yourself with the ‘American ideal.’ I still have thoughts sometimes about being thinner [and younger...] But just like my quilting, my body can be different but just as good.
I spent a bit of time yesterday reviewing information in a couple of books, both written by doctors. I don’t agree with everything they said, but by and large, they present a lot of good information about long-term weight loss maintenance. The first was ‘Refuse to Regain’ by Dr. Barbara Berkeley. In her chapter on metabolism, she writes that your metabolism is mostly a function of three things: your size, your age, and your sex. Yes, your metabolism was faster when you were heavier, just by virtue of the fact that you were larger. And yes, your metabolism slows down as you age (bahhh!) And your sex just because men have generally a bigger muscle mass than women. (A very good reason for us ‘older women’ to work out with heavy weights.) Then she says this:
Most POWs (previously over weight) do not take their new, smaller body size into account after a diet. They generally don’t realize that this new body is going to need lots fewer calories to run. While most post-dieters try to eat healthier, they don’t significantly reduce calories when compared to what they ate before. This is one of the major reasons they regain weight.
That’s why I always say to people, make changes that you can do for the rest of your life. Choose foods that you can continue to eat for the rest of your life. Exercise in a way that you can continue for the rest of your life.
The second book was The End of Overeating, by Dr. David Kessler. In his chapter on Food Rehab, he makes this statement:
[For some people] the greatest challenge comes after reaching their sought-after weight, when they recognize that their struggle will never be completely over and that the battle with conditioned hypereating is lifelong. Accepting those realities helps to keep you vigilant. Keeping relapse at bay is not about being strong enough to beat the temptation of eating stimulating food, but about being smart enough to deal with it.
I think I’ll end there. I’ll be back tomorrow with some of the quilting that I am working on now. I didn’t see anything like it at the show, which is actually kind of neat.