Monthly Archives: June 2013

28 weeks

I’m revisiting my success story and plan as I start a new round of Maintenance FANS.  It’s not really much new, but the emphasis on different things shifts over time.  Do things shift because of where I am, or is it seasonal?  Like when I started maintenance I was really focused on attitude and mental issues, but it was also winter then.  Then I came to a greater appreciation of fitness and body composition.  Now I’m back to focusing on diet and physiology.

Why was I overweight?
I was overweight even as a kid.  I think I just had a preference for sweets and a disinclination to move, like what we see with the childhood obesity today.  As I got older I had some idea that I should try to lose weight, but I almost never lost more than a few pounds.  I was easily drawn in by strategies that said they would be easy or fun or rely on some secret trick.  I eventually settled into a belief that I was meant to be overweight, but age and injury started nudging me into the obese range.
Was there a moment when you decided to do something about it?
There was a series of events.  First, I faced my highest weight of 212.  I hadn’t weighed myself in years, but I was helping my sister weigh her baby who was really small.  Then my husband turned 40 and I knew my birthday was around the corner.  I started losing weight and cut sugar, but then we had our 5th child.  When I found myself back at my 40th birthday weight, I decided it was again time to do something.  This was January 2012.
How did you lose the weight?
I started out tracking my food, and I started losing about a pound a week.  I originally just wanted to get out of the obese range. But as I saw how well tracking workedl, and I saw what others had achieved, I decided to strive for a healthy BMI.  They say calories are king, but you don’t win chess with kings.  I tracked water, veggies and fruits, protein, fiber, and eventually sodium as I gradually built a nutritional strategy that allowed me to feel relatively satisfied at an effective calorie range.  I had good intentions for exercise, but sparkpeople and later fitbit were key in turning my intentions into action.  As 2012 came to a close I reached my goal weight of 165.  Most importantly, I trusted the process and didn’t let apparent setbacks derail me, and I pursued the mental furnishings of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
What is different about your life now?
1.  I have a lot more energy.
2.  I have confidence from keeping promises to myself and caring for myself
3.  I have a richer relationship with food, more appreciation for its nutritional depth but also greater enjoyment of the occasional treat.
4.  I have developed my physical abilities in ways that I feel I could do just about anything.
5.  I feel like I’ve really demonstrated what being positive can accomplish.
Pictures:  Forthcoming.  I have my NWCR goal in 10 days and I’ll take some pictures for that.  My pictures above:  2010 at high weight (white and green shirts)  at 165 in black, my jeans from 20w to 12, at BMI 25 in pink, and April 2013 in purple.

Emotional Regulation

I’m not sure if Emotional Regulation is really the biggest part of Maintenance of if I just think about it the most.  I do feel like it is the aspect of maintenance people have the least ability to find out as much as they want from the internet, like they can about nutrition and fitness and to some extent attitude.  (I think that attitude can be an external thing, though the decision to seek an attitude boost is an internal decision that can be made into a habit.)

Emotional regulation can be an issue for compulsive eaters (a significant but perhaps not complete overlap with weight loss maintainers) because many have used food to suppress emotion.  I confess I watched an episode of Extreme Weight Loss, and they focus on the drama of big revelations to break cycles of addictive or dysfunctional behavior.  While such big breakthroughs can be instrumental, it doesn’t take earth-shattering revelations or major paradigm shifts to deal with weight.  I believe it is necessary to acknowledge small day to day feelings.  Doing so validates self-worth.

One obstruction of acknowledging emotions could be the acceptance of some emotions.  We might feel uncomfortable with anger or regret, for instance, either due to negative experiences with other people’s emotions or from common aphorisms that say we shouldn’t feel this or that emotion.  Most such aphorisms, if taken in full context, probably go deeper into how such emotions can be understood and lived with.  “Suffering arises from attachment to desire” might suggest it is wrong to feel desire, but it is one small statement out of the whole philosophy of Buddhism.

Just laying our emotions bare is not living with them.  One might just as well plow dirt and then wait for the elements to turn it into a productive field.  We do not simply listen to our emotions, but engage them in productive dialogue.  If there are problems that can be addressed, we do so.  If problems cannot be addressed, we can acknowledge that they are not our problem.  I believe many people who suppress emotion do so not because they are naturally unfeeling, but they might be oversensitive to emotion.  I can sometimes get overwhelmed with feeling upset over something happening on the other side of the world or even in a different time.  Our news and social media bombard us with things to care about which we may not be able to do much about.

Then there’s things we can do something about.  If such a thing is causing emotional distress, it probably needs to be looked at from every angle.  Sure there might be someone in your life driving you crazy, but is it possible you are putting undue focus on that?  I have an inordinate number of siblings and at least one of them is always doing something that I disagree with.  But I can be grateful for every one of them.  I have friends with few or no siblings and they find my family life to be fascinating even if it’s sometimes exhausting.  It is very rewarding to be part of a huge family.  And would I really want any of my siblings asking  my opinion on everything they do?  Would I want them to treat me that way?

There will be negative emotions we simply need to accept.  There may not be another way to look at them.  But if we have examined them thoroughly we can put them away without suppressing them.  We have used our mind to deal with them instead of using food.  And the next time they come up, chances are they will still belong where we put them.