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Whaledancer's Weight Loss Ramblings

Monday, 17 January 2005

In response to 'Despondent About Losing Weight'
I won't say that I know how you feel, being despondent about needing to lose a lot of weight, but I certainly started out kicking and screaming. I had just been told I was pre-diabetic, because I had just tested slightly elevated for blood sugar. I HATED the idea of changing my eating habits. I love to eat and I felt like I was being robbed of one of the great joys of my life. I decided to give it 12 weeks, because I figured I could take just about anything for 12 weeks. I would decide then whether I wanted to go on. I actually gave it about 16 weeks. By that time my blood sugar was normal. I decided that losing the weight was the best thing I could do to prevent insulin resistance, but the diet I was on seemed restrictive and I wasn't following it as carefully as I needed to. I hit a 4-week plateau.

That was when I joined Weight Watchers online. My plan was to get to my goal weight, so that I could then go back to eating the way I always had. I told myself that I wouldn't wait until I had to lose 80 pounds next time. The plan was, that when I was 10 or 15 pounds over goal, I'd diet again.

Weight Watchers just works for me. I won't say it's always easy, but it gets easier. I've been losing pretty steadily, with slight fluctuations. But the real change has been in my attitude. Now, I'm not planning on there being a "next time." I feel that this is something I can do for the rest of my life. And I know that I need to. I like how it feels to be thinner, but more than that, I like how I feel eating a healthier diet. I don't have heartburn all the time, for one thing.

I realize that I'm not going to have to go the rest of my life without eating another piece of brie or creme brule or Big Mac. But I don't want them often. It's okay for them to be an occasional treat. And I actually enjoy them more now that they're a special treat. There are some changes I do plan to make when I start maintenance (like regular whole-grain bread instead of reduced calorie), but I don't want to go back to the way I used to eat.

If someone had told me at the beginning that I could actually enjoy eating this way, I either wouldn't have believed it, or the idea would have horrified me. But I realize now I'm not going to morph into someone who says "Mmmm, I just love fat-free cheddar." It's more that what I enjoy now is cooking really good-tasting meals that are, by the way, healthy.

Posted by whaledancer at 12:01 AM PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 9 June 2005 3:52 PM PDT

Wednesday, 1 December 2004

Weight Loss Time Travel
...or how my weight loss journey became a journey through time and space.

I find that as I reach different milestones along my weight loss journey, I remember where I was in my life, and what I was doing, the last time I was that weight. I mostly associate it with vacations we took, because that was when I bought new clothes, and as I fit back into those clothes I remember where I wore them. It was also when we took pictures.

At 210 lbs, I was happy to be able to fit back into the quick-dry underwear I bought for Africa. At 200 I was able to wear the jacket with the faint mustard stain from the banger I bought off a street cart in London. Now my souvenir sweatshirt from our visit to the friendly whales in Laguna San Ignascio fits again. I’m just getting back into the clothes I bought for Belize (although they’re so lightweight, by the time it’s warm enough to wear them, I expect/hope they’ll be too big). Then I think there’s a gap until the next clothing size milestone, which would be my honeymoon clothes (and wedding dress). Beyond that, I didn’t save many clothes, because they were so dated, and because I never expected to be able to wear a medium again. I do, however, have a "souvenir of Heron Island" windbreaker; when I can wear that again, I will be where I want to be.

Posted by whaledancer at 12:01 AM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Monday, 29 November 2004

The Doctor's Appointment
Finally had my next doctor’s appointment today, trying to get a diagnoses for my illness. He ordered a whole battery of tests, including several for some rare and quite unpleasant cancers, as well as some more common cancers, hepatitis, HIV, and a bunch of auto-immune diseases. He seems to think it is likely to be an auto-immune disease, such as lupus. Now, my instinct and intellect both tell me that it probably isn’t one of those nasty cancers, but my fear hasn’t quite gotten the message. Not to mention that now I’m hoping that it’s "only" an incurable auto-immune disease. There doesn’t seem to be much good news in this picture, except for the possibility of finally getting a diagnosis.

What I feel like doing is curling up under a blanket, and eating comfort foods. What I AM doing is drinking water and coming on this board. I did discover this afternoon that I have not yet evolved to the point that carrot sticks count as a comfort food. <>

Posted by whaledancer at 12:01 AM PST | Post Comment | Permalink

Saturday, 20 November 2004

Pretend You Have the Resolve
Topic: Lost Motivation
This was in response to someone who posted (in part) "I don't know how this happens, but I woke up this morning and my resolve is wavering. Suddenly, losing weight doesn't seem to be that important any more. In fact, it seems almost an unnecessary bother. Now, somewhere inside me I know this isn't true, but I can't seem to reach that place. Some days this is just such a tedious journey!!!"

You've got it right. Staying on program, losing weight is HARD, and it gets tedious. It's a lot of work, and you have to think about it, and it takes time, energy, and attention that would it would more fun to spend otherwise. And sometimes you just don't want to do it.

When you don't have the resolve, when you've lost the belief that it will be worth it, pretend as if you did. Even though it seems pointless, even though you don't feel you're worth the effort, even though you're hating everything about Weight Watchers, do it anyway. Because you know those feelings are temporary. Because you know that if you just grit your teeth and keep going, the motivation will creep back.

When you started this, you had determination. Sometimes determination erodes. But you've said it yourself, you're "too old, too arthritic, too damn smart to keep doing this."

Maybe it would help to think about what brought you back here and what you wanted out of it. Or maybe not. Maybe it would help to review the Weight Watchers'; "Tools for Living" and "Winning Outcomes." Or maybe not. Sometimes you just have to tough it out. Sometimes you get so fed up you need a vacation from being on program. Maybe you'll give up completely and find yourself hauling your sorry behind back here again, 10 pounds heavier, and saying "The line is drawn AGAIN." Or maybe not.

I think you'll stick with it, even though it sucks right now. And I think in a few days things will look different.

Posted by whaledancer at 12:01 AM PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 3 November 2005 11:01 PM PST

Friday, 19 November 2004

The Search for Willpower
Topic: Willpower
Now don't get me wrong, I wasn't off program. I knew this dinner at a friend's was coming up and that there would be yummy, tempting snackies there, so I saved my WPA's [Weekly Points Allowance*] all week. That's not what bothers me. The problem is that I couldn't seem to enjoy them in moderation. My friend had thoughtfully put out some raw veggies and grapes, in addition to the cheeses and dip, so I had healthy alternatives available. But there was this blue-cheese-and-roasted-pecan cheese spread that practically made me swoon (not to mention the big hunk of brie). I didn't want to savor a little of that spread on my broccoli floweret. I wanted to take it into a corner by myself, with a spoon. I didn't, because of social pressures, but if I had been alone, I swear I would have polished it off and licked the bowl.

The thing that worries me is what this means for my "lifetime" success. This gluttonous response to some foods is part of what made me fat, and it doesn't seem to have changed. Oh, sure, I don't have to let them into my house, but I can't avoid encountering these rich foods forever; they're out there, and sometimes I will be faced with them. I hate the idea of never enjoying them at all, but will I ever be satisfied with just a taste? Or will this always be a struggle for me?

This time I was able to do a controlled binge. I planned for it and counted the points afterward. It's just that I'm not comfortable about that out-of-control feeling I had, as if I were powerless to stop going back for more, when I wanted to. Ideally, I'd like to be able to enjoy --really savor-- a small amount of something yummy like that, and then STOP. If I could just figure out WHY that's so hard for me, maybe I could change my pattern.

*On Weight Watchers? Flex Plan, foods are assigned a point value based on their calorie, fat, and fiber content. You have a daily points target, plus a "Weekly Points Allowance" which you can use all at once, or throughout the week.

Posted by whaledancer at 12:01 AM PST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Wednesday, 8 June 2005 8:42 PM PDT

Monday, 1 November 2004

Gorg, the Dreaded Scale Monster
Topic: Facing the Scales
I have this image of the scales as one of those diabolical, dictatorial monsters from a 1950's sci fi horror flick, and us as the poor subject beings paying weekly homage. We cringe in fear as we approach: will it be reward or punishment?

Sometimes we have done everything the evil Scale Master demands of us, followed the dietary laws, avoided the proscribed foods, worked until we sweated, laid our sacrifices at his feet, and even saved some of our weekly points (because we've heard he likes them), and he STILL doesn't smile upon us. Or worse, zaps us with his dreaded Weight-Gain Ray.

We stumble away, crushed. "What, what have I done wrong?" we cry, "How have I displeased the mighty scale?", little realizing that it simply pleases his sadistic, capricious nature to toy with us. We tear our hair and fall into despair.

Or sometimes we approach in trepidation, trying to conceal the guilty secret of pleasurable indiscretions, but knowing that the Scale Master sees all, knows all. And when, inexplicably, he rewards us anyway, we hastily back away, bowing, not wanting to question this boon.

I am ready to cast aside the shackles of this tyranny! No longer will I allow this arbitrary, implacable enemy to define my sense of self-worth! I will not allow the Scale Master to punish or reward me. I will break free and stand alone. I will seek satisfaction from within, I will not offer up my food choices as sacrifices to the Almighty Scale, but will enjoy them for their own sake. I will take control of my own eating and exercise, for the sake of my own health, not to satisfy the evil whims of the Scale Master. If I have stayed on program, I will be happy, no matter what the Scale Master does. I DEFY YOU, EVIL TYRANT! Who is with me?

Posted by whaledancer at 12:01 AM PDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: Thursday, 8 June 2006 5:21 PM PDT

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