A Blip.

Well, when last I wrote, I was climbing back on the diet bandwagon (removing sugar/ logging calories, upping exercise…) And then last week happened. I don’t know what really happened.

I could blame it on my mascara. My eyes are really sensitive, and so I always use Almay mascara (hypo-allergenic.) This time when I went to get a new tube, they didn’t have the same one I always buy. No biggie, its all Almay, right? Well, my eyes didn’t like the different mascara. And then they get itchy and sore, and I can’t stop rubbing them, and pretty soon, I just feel rotten.

I could blame it on a burst of creative energy. After taking an “artist’s holiday” during the holidays, I got right back into working with more ideas than ever. I’ve been finishing projects and starting new ones. I want to work on them all all the time.

So whatever it was, I didn’t want to go to the gym. I even got as far as getting dressed and going to town several days, and I still didn’t go to the gym. I usually came home and took a half-hearted walk with Noah.

And I wanted to eat MORE. So I ate more. More of my healthy food, and more of my not-so healthy choices.

When this happens, I can start to panic. Is this the beginning of the end??? Then I review all the years past. Times when I over-ate, or didn’t exercise for a week, or didn’t log my food. And I’m still here, plugging along. Its a concern, but its not reason to panic.

I just thought I’d keep it real, and let you know I have days and weeks like this.

Thinking about Food

A few posts back I mentioned that I was slightly disturbed by HOW MUCH I think about food. Some of the commenters said that they also thought about food a lot, and recently, a couple of other bloggers have mentioned the same thing. One blogger’s therapist called it an eating disorder. That bothered me, so I started thinking about that.

And here’s what I came up with.

First, back to Dr. Sharma’s talks. When Dr. Sharma talked about obesity being a chronic disease, he pointed out that treating it (maintaining weight loss) requires abnormal behavior, just like a diabetic who sticks themselves to check their blood sugar each day–that is abnormal behavior. To maintain a large weight loss, most people have to track their food, make careful food choices, etc. That is abnormal behavior. But it is what is required to control this chronic disease. So right there, you can see how that would lead you to think more about food.

The second thing that came up was this. Several people that are about my age and height have said that 1400 calories seems to be the amount they can eat to maintain their weight loss. I know that’s true for me. That’s not normal either. I input a 60 year old, 5 foot 1 inch, 155 pound active woman into the USDA’s calculator. They said I could eat 2200 calories a day to maintain that weight. IN MY DREAMS. So us weight loss maintainers get to eat about two-thirds of what the “normal folk” eat on a regular basis. That said, if you make good choices, you can eat very well, and be very satisfied at 1400 calories. BUT IT REQUIRES YOU TO THINK ABOUT FOOD A LOT.

So that’s what I’m thinking about this morning.

P.S. If you are waiting for the code so you can watch my episode of The Quilt Show, I am too! The Quilt Show is having some technical difficulties. I will get the code to you as soon as I hear from them!

Thin Enough

“Thin enough.” That’s how I described myself after seeing the trailer for The Quilt Show episode that I am going to be featured in this coming Monday. There are so many layers to those two little words. Because “thin” is not a word any normal person would use to describe me. At 5 ft. 1/4 inch, with my weight regularly fluctuating between 155 and 168, thin just doesn’t come to mind.

But following up on yesterday’s post, I am working on being satisfied with the weight I am. I am fast approaching 60 years of age (I KNOW, I can’t believe it either :) ). I don’t want to spend the next 20 or so years being unhappy with myself.

I also feel a little pressure to meet a certain expectation–after all, this blog is about “living a whole and healthy life.” And on The Quilt Show blog, I am a semi-regular contributor as “The Healthy Quilter.” I think that pressure is a good thing–a form of accountability that I can’t escape. So I was relieved to see that I looked “thin enough” (and healthy enough) on camera.

I went to the doctor last week. We talked about my ongoing knee pain (yay–finally got the referral to go back to the ortho doc) and I told her all the things I am doing–walking, riding the exercise bike, P.T. exercises. And she said mildly, “well, maybe you should lose a little weight.” I took no offense at her statement. Its a good idea. Its just a little more complex than that. Because really what she should say is “maybe you should LIVE at a lower weight.” And to live at a lower weight would mean restricting my food intake to a degree that I am unwilling or unable to do at this time. I reminded her that it was not on her computer record that I had lost 100 pounds before she became my doctor. I’m not sure that meant anything to her. And so for now, even as a person who is facing eventual knee replacement surgery, I am thin enough.

Anyway, it is a very good feeling (make no mistake, I don’t feel like this 100 percent of the time) to be content with the way I look. Sometimes I try to think about what my perception as a 20 year old was of what a 60 year old woman should look like. I think I look better than that :)

Thin enough is definitely a term that needs to be seen in perspective. For a woman who spent well over 20 years weighing 257 pounds, I am thin enough.

What is Left to Say?

Us bloggers tend to have a lot to say, no? That’s usually why we started blogging in the first place. When I first lost my weight, I loved talking about it. I wanted to encourage other people that it Could! Be! Done!! Now I feel a little like my grandpa, who used to say ‘the older I get, the less I know.’ Obesity and losing weight and maintaining weight loss are such complex issues. And actually losing weight is the least  complex. Everybody can do that. But understanding obesity, the source and type of it, and then maintaining weight loss long term turn out to be extraordinarily complex issues. What can I possibly say that might help?

I’ve listened to a couple of lectures given by Dr. Sharma on Youtube. Some of the things he points out might be perceived as discouraging. But I have always found comfort and strength in hearing the truth, even if it isn’t the magic bullet I would have wished for.

Dr. Sharma points out that obesity is not just a disease. It is a chronic disease. A chronic disease without a cure. It doesn’t even have very many effective treatment options. The best you can do is to manage it. FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. As discouraging as this might sound, I found comfort in it. I was beginning to feel like there was something very wrong with me. On my last trip to Tahoe, I worked hard at balancing enjoying special treats with eating really healthy foods. Overall, I think I did a really good job on this trip. But I remember one day saying to myself, “MY GOSH, you think a LOT about food. Its abnormal.” After I got home, I kept on thinking about this. One day it occurred to me that at my heaviest, I also thought a LOT about food. I got a good laugh out of that one.

Dr. Sharma also talks a lot about exercise. He says that exercise has very little to do with direct weight loss. VERY LITTLE. But he pointed out that all the side benefits that come with exercise can have a beneficial effect on your efforts to lose weight. Stress relief, better sleep, and just feeling better about yourself so that you WANT to eat better are all side benefits of regular exercise. I totally believe this.

Dr. Sharma also talks about the time it takes to maintain weight loss. How it almost has to become a second job. Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep (you all know there is a lot of information tying sleep to weight loss, right?), planning, preparing, and/or journaling your food all take a good amount of time.

So as I reach the tenth year of when I STARTED this last weight loss, and I do still struggle with maintaining that loss, I guess I just want to say that it is very much worth the struggle. I would love to be able to convince people that learning to be content at a weight that is much lower than your highest weight, but still not as low as your “ideal” might be a key to at least maintaining weight loss.

I Bought Another Diet Book

I bought another diet book. (Disclaimer: this is not a book review.) As I virtually thumbed through this book on my Kindle, the question that kept running through my mind was “why?” Why did I buy another diet book? What was I looking for? I’ve been dieting and/or maintaining for almost 10 years now. Did I really think I would find something new?

Was I looking for the magic bullet, just like the rest of America? If I just do this or that, I can eat whatever I want and still be thin and fabulous.

But what I really think I was looking for is reassurance. Reassurance that my thinking is not wrong. That I am doing the best I can. That it is okay to eat what I eat. Its okay that I am not as thin as the “American ideal” (haha–that’s a funny one, isn’t it? In our all-powerful country, a huge percentage of us are obese, but our “ideal” is borderline underweight.)

This book provided that reassurance.

There are so many voices out there on the inter webs yelling at us that their way is the only way. That their way is the best. If only you would eliminate this or that food, you would be cured of all your aches and pains and you would be thin and rich (okay, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration.) I admit it–sometimes I get lost in the melee. I start to doubt myself. I wonder if what I have learned over the years is true. This book provided a voice of reason, backed by the author’s solid scientific background and years of experience in the weight loss and weight loss maintenance field.

Maybe another time I’ll review this book, but for now I’ll just tell you that I recommend it. Its chock full of good and true helpful information for the person who wants to lose weight and maintain that weight loss.

 

The Garden…and Other Things I Haven’t Written About

This morning I spent about 3 hours working in the garden. And I thought about taking pictures, but it just seemed like the garden is in that in-between stage when there’s nothing particularly interesting to show. Hopefully, in a few weeks, my work will be rewarded with lots of pretty flowers to share with you.

But while I worked, I thought about all the things I HAVEN’T written about lately. And how, just like the garden, even though I haven’t written about those things, it doesn’t mean the work is not being done.

Just because I haven’t written much about weight loss/maintenance DOESN’T MEAN I AM FAT. GIVE ME A BREAK. Maybe I have already said everything I could possibly think to say about the subject. Maybe I am busy living my life, and going to the computer to repeat my thoughts about what is necessary to lose and maintain weight has been usurped by much more interesting creative impulses.

Every day of my life I work on maintaining my weight loss. Some days it seems absolutely effortless. And some days it seems like a full time job. When I mention to people that I used to weigh a lot more, and we’re discussing keeping the weight off, I almost always say the same thing–“Its hard work.”

Just because I am not writing about food or recipes or low-cal cooking DOESN’T mean I have gone off the rails. FAR FROM IT. I’ve tried some really excellent new recipes lately. They were other people’s recipes, and they were tasty and healthy and low calorie. I didn’t even have to adjust them. They’re all out there on the web. I just didn’t feel the need to share them. And sometimes food tastes better than it looks. That’s the case with my latest try.

Just because I haven’t mentioned the gym lately, doesn’t mean I sit for hours in my Lazy Boy in front of the boob tube. How many times and in how many different ways can I say “I went to the gym. I did my weights workouts. The same exercises at the same weights. I got on the exercise bike, and I rode for the same distance in the same amount of minutes.” And on the other days, “I took Noah for a walk, and I came home and did my PT exercises.” And in case anybody’s wondering–yes, I am in an exercise rut. Its a rut I like very much. Which means that I will keep exercising consistently. Which is one of the most important factors in weight loss maintenance.

Oh, and one more thing. Just because I do not post pictures of myself that often, it does not mean I have gained a ton of weight and am embarrassed by my appearance. I live alone. My arms are short. You do the math.

Maybe, just maybe, if I am ever really healed of the chronic condition of WEIGHT, there will be no more need to write ad nauseam about the daily vagaries of my LIFE WITH FOOD.

I love you guys and I love blogging. I love the comments and “conversations” we have on this blog and some of my other friends’ blogs.

But sometimes the drama and the judgmental attitudes expressed by other bloggers just gets to me. Their opinions are arrogant and mean-spirited, and they are saying those things about people they don’t even really know. If you want to write about your own shortcomings, that’s fine. But don’t drag all the rest of us in with your irresponsible blanket statements.

 

 

A Gazillion Calories in a Single Day

Isn’t that a song or book title?? Anyway, that’s what Christmas day felt like. I decided early in the day that that was the way it was going to be. It was very fun, but I still have to work at not having guilty feelings or negative thoughts about eating whatever I want. I did only eat a small dinner, since I was pretty much not hungry from all the other treats I’d been eating. And by the time I drove home that night, I was SOOO ready to start my regular healthy eating the next day. I made a plate of goodies for my contractor and that pretty much cleared the house of Christmas treats.

Yesterday, I went back to my normal eating habits and logged all my food in Lose It. I ate every 3 or 4 hours, and made sure I had food that I enjoyed.

The thing is, its become more and more clear to me, that it is my INTENTION to eat healthily and stay as fit as possible. I have a very clear vision of what I want my aging life to be. I also have a very clear vision of what I do NOT want my life to be. Its been a while, but its still very clear in my mind how I felt every day when I weighed a hundred pounds more than I do now. I can imagine how that old body would feel with 9 years of aging on it.

So onward into the new year. I’m sure there will be lots of new (and old) advice and hopes for starting a newer, healthier life. I guess my wish would be for everyone to think clearly about living a healthier life, instead of a life at a certain weight or wearing a certain dress size or looking a certain way. None of those things has anything to do with a good life.