Friday, October 17, 2014

Have we fundamentally changed- my take away from the Refuse to Regain article

Riding the wave, but not getting crushed!
Barbara Berkeley, MD- author of the book Refuse to Regain had a recent blog post entitled : Have We Fundamentally Changed- A Novel Thought about Obesity

Quick, click on that link and read her article.

I can only speak from my own experience. Here are my take away ideas from the article.

1. Weight Loss:  Fundamental shift from 1998 and my Weight Watcher Days: yes, I went from being a WW point counter, very successful for weight loss (NOT successful in weight maintenance) to a very low calorie, low carb dieter (not sustainable for weight maintenance). 

Something changed for me. A fundamental shift!

2. Weight MaintenanceFundamental Shift: I had a shift in early long term weight maintenance, from a carbohydrate tolerance of 100-120 grams of carbs  a day pre-menopausal to a shift of 40-50 grams of total carbs a day in post menopause.  This happened while I was writing this blog. To sustain the 70 pound weight loss, I was going to have to have a fundamental shift in my Paleo-ish food template. What sustained me in early weight maintenance was not going to work in my weight maintenance plan 2-3 years down the road.

3. Cause doesn't matter, Just a resolve to eat more Primarily/Paleo-ish: I can only guess at the causes: menopause, shutting down the shallow end of the obesity genetic pool.  I can come here and state root causes, I might be p*issing guessing in the wind! I could be totally wrong about processed foods, xanthan gum and other additives being an issue for me. In the end, it doesn't really matter, it boils down to a resolve to eat less processed foods to meet my own goals.  I was told in 2002 that wheat and processed sugar might be like an allergy for me. Accepting the allergy concept fundamentally shifted my health to a better place.

4. Respect the new state of reality:  YES!!! THIS!!!  I respect the new state of reality. Not avoiding the reality of me needing to stay on about a 98% Paleo-ish food template, of choosing to remain what I respect my own reality of stone cold food sobriety. Rather than avoiding my own reality, I embrace it. Get crushed by reality or embrace the reality of long term weight maintenance. What keeps me in long term weight maintenance also keeps me in long term great health. Probably the best health of my life. That's a been a fundamental shift- accepting abstaining from grains, sugar, dairy, legumes, and nuts. It's real. It works real well.

There's no coincidence that  my long term weight maintenance = my long term health
Surf those waves!

I keep my eyes wide open, resolve to accept my own reality, and do the day in day out work that it takes. Surfing those dynamic shifts!

What didn't work in the past = Avoidance

1. Avoided the fact that the old points counting without respect to processed foods was not going to work any more.

2. Avoiding the signs of peri-menopause and the need to eat lower carb got me a few months of insomnia and some continued migraine head aches. Fortunately, I was much more into fundamental shifts by this point.

3. Avoiding  the advice for 10 years that sugar and wheat may be an allergy. Glad that I survived these years. Praying that I don't pay with joint damage or worse.

4.  Avoiding the reality of what works for me in long term weight maintenance. I couldn't make those fundamental shifts in my other two big attempts at weight maintenance - I regained 70 out of 60 pounds lost in 1999 and I regained about 25-30 pounds in 2002-2003. There was lots of yo-yo dieting all along the way.

Okay, any take aways of your own from the article? I suspect that many long term maintainers have respected their new state of reality.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Two Years, 8 Months in Weight Maintenance - sustaining the transformation

 2 years, 8 Months in weight maintenance:

Highest Weight 187
Current Weight 119
Weight Range 113-119
Age: 48
Height 5'1"
Menopause: Yes! 2 years, rare hot flashes!
Glucose 2 hours post meals: 80's
Blood pressure: 100/59

All right! Here's what is working right now  ( I had a 1 hour mis-publish today. Apologies- here's the real deal)

1. Paleo-ish food template.  Yeah, it works well for me, my genetics and over all health. Really, really well! I sleep better, low inflammation, no headaches, better skin, more muscles, great blood work, very few binge urges. One stop shopping. I went in seeking weight maintenance, I found long term health. Sustainable, feeling full except right before meals. Sometimes, I feel guilty... (future blog post on this- survivors guilt.. )

2. Walking daily with Fitbit Flex: I'm still using my fitbit flex to track steps. I experiment around between walking 12,000 + to walking 15,000+ steps daily, most days. Depends on my work assignments, time, etc.  The graphs are fascinating.
3. Blogging less and getting stuff done- Priorities: I've been posting less (not because I'm binging, at the top of my weight range, etc) but working on house projects, getting and giving support. It feels right. I still tweet, read, and interact on social media (entertainment on my 2+ hours of commute time a day- in a vanpool, I don't text and drive!) I do watch some TV, but I'll watch on a mobile device while I clean or work on a project.

What hasn't worked in the past:

1. Adopting a food template that was not optimal for me:  Moderating junk food, counting points at WW and thinking I could eat "anything in moderation". Nope. Doesn't work for me. Kept me pretty sick for along long time. I had to forgive myeslf for not moving on sooner and trying to make it work. Sigh....  My take away: put the time into your own sustainable plan. No one else can do this! Thinking for myself is key!

2. Not monitoring my steps and believing that 4,000-5,000 per day was going to fit for me. Don't feel bad if that's your level. I'm a life long walker- started in High School. That's my go to activity. I do find I drop below 10,000 steps AND 60 minutes of decent activity, I will regain.

3. Getting to distracted: Easy to eat the SAD diet and sit on the couch and watch TV- eating low fat ice cream with M&M toppings. Be on the internet too much. Pretty easy trap to fall into. Priorities, focus, and avoiding food comas from high carb/sugar foods are key. I've heard many people say when they switch to more of a real foods template- TV goes out the window. I can say I'm one of those people. It was a natural progression from 2012 to now.

What's up for the Month of Oct-Nov 2014

1. My weight is up higher: experimenting with some pickled/fermented onions. Going to stop now!
1.5 I'll be tracking my food on My Fitness Pal for the next month or so due to my weight trending higher. Quick course correction is the cornerstone to my success. I don't cut calories, I do watch my carb levels. 
2. Awaiting on my yearly blood work, so I may make changes based on the results, or not.
3. Low tides, so I'll be hitting the tide pools and the beaches a lot.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Tips of the Scale- Podcast #120 Download now to listen to my story

Quick, hop on over to Tips of The Scale and download my very long, but very awesome podcast(link)

Or hit up iTunes and check out my podcasts, and the other guests (link here)

Sam is easy to talk to and really gets at the underlying stories that we all have to share.

Have a great weekend everyone and a huge thank you to Sam for sharing my story.

We are stronger together. If something I did pops off the page or out of your podcast earphones, then jot it down and explore it later.

Check out Sam's work. Great stuff!

Friday, October 3, 2014

No Grains, No gains October 2014 - Body image and body acceptance in weight maintenance


Our Mission Statement : A group a of Primal/Paleo/Grain free women who blog about their experiences/life/benefits without grains. It’s a great way for others (who may be wanting to lose weight, reverse an acute/chronic health trend, and/or transition from commercial weight loss programs) to read about real life women who are living the life and succeeding!
Body image
  1. How your body shape /size has changed?
May 2011
 Wow! I've changed my body shape completely. This is a side photo of 187 pounds on a 5'1" me. Visceral fat. A lot of it.

I've lost a lot of weight through my middle, and really all over my whole body.

I lost 37% of my body weight in 40 weeks. About 70 pounds.

I went from a size 18 or 1X to a size 4-6.

37% of my body weight lost. About one third of the Biggest Loser contestants loss LESS body percentage in Season #15 (Spring 2014). I cried when I realized that.  I was shocked. And I had kept the weight off off 2+ years. Wow!

37% of my body weight gone.  Still, I'm blown away by that! Holy Smokes. Whaaaat!!?? True! It's still a little bit of awesomeness. Really.  Check it out: Scroll down on the Wiki page for Biggest Loser Season 15.  Still, I'm a bit shocked.

2. How has your body changed in weight maintenance?

Feb 2012 and August 2014 Maintaining Weight loss long term
I've gotten a bit curvier. I weigh 2-3 pounds more, but I'm 2-3 times stronger, too!

When I gain weight, real weight gain, it's all in my abdomen.

I take visceral fat as a super serious threat to my long term health, so I take action ASAP- usually dropping carbs and upping protein or fat will get me where I need to be. Back on track.

I get a little bit more sub-cutaneous fat on my hips during winter. It's not really so cold in San Diego, but I suspect it's a normal for me. Probably not inflammatory, based on my hs-CRP values, lack of joint pain, etc.

I can still wear the same clothes year round.

My skin is clearer now that I got off dairy.
I also tan a whole lot better when I used to burn now that my diet is lower inflammatory. The lower inflammation and resulting vitamin absorption no doubt helps (I learned this in the Primal Blue Print- Mark Sisson)

 Even though I'm dairy free- I still practice Primal Living.  I living Primally as seriously as I do visceral fat. I prioritize a better way of living.

3. Strength training:
Aug 2014- Warner Bros Studios
I've gotten more muscular in my arms from working out 2X per week. That's nice.

It's also essential for my long term bone and muscle health. Another win.

Finally, first time in my adult life, I felt like wearing a sleeveless shirt. That's all Folks! When traveling around LA in summer temps, playing super tourist, sleeveless was nice.

It looks like Bugs Bunny is going to hook my arm at any moment. LOL!

4. Body Acceptance:  For me, it was a process. It took a while. Here's what helped- a big dose of reality and honesty, and humor. Major transformations are NO JOKE. It's a mind bender.

A. My weight loss health coach reminded me to take a whole lot of photos early on and place them everywhere. "You'll want to identify with the thin you." Something to the fact that if I couldn't mentally shift, that I would be at higher risk for identifying with the obese me.

B. I realized at goal weight (115) that parts of my body were as big as they were at 187. Really, thighs, parts of my arms. Still pretty big. Not quite as big, but add in excess skin, and yeah, when I sit down, I'm about the same size. That's okay. My health risks are low. The day I noticed it, I laughed and laughed. Holy Guacamole. It's all good.

I won't be getting skin surgery. Too busy saving money for a better camera and awesome trips with my daughter. Size 4-6 clothes fit. Spandex is cheap. Very few skin infections, no pain. Life is short, so am I.  ;)  The trips just keep getting better and better, no matter where we travel.
Pt Dume, Malibu, CA

 C. I took time to recognize myself in the mirror. It took a while, sometimes I still look at myself (gym) and think, "Hey, that chick  looks familiar, probably a neighbor.. OH, MYGOD, it's me staring at myself in the gym mirror... ".  Yeah, I still sometimes don't recognize myself.

D. I look different to others. I scared my daughter in a hotel by walking up and sitting down on a lobby sofa. She nearly ran off!!! She didn't' recognize me, and this was 1.5 years after the weight loss. The look on her face! Whoa! We laugh about it now.

E. I still feel like I'm 187  *some days*. Really, I do. But I know it's false brain signals. So, I remind myself I'm a normal weight. I tell myself, I deserve this, that I did the work, that I'll show up to do the work, and that the obese feeling is the old neruo- path ways still zooming around.

F. I still don't think I look as thin as I should/could *sometimes* Also, false brain signals. That and clothes that aren't the best for my shape or are ill fitting. I remind myself not to get stuck in the old thinking. Maintaining a major weight loss requires that I deal with this stuff. I have to be honest. I have to buy spandex. No, really- I vary in how I look. We all do.

Whatever! I'm going to think a little bit more about losing more weight than a Biggest Loser- Keeping it off longer, and looking for that familiar face in the gym mirror! More weight than a Biggest Loser.....  laughing, crying.. whoa!!! Awesome sauce! Heh, Heh... Don't get me started on visceral fat.. because I'm going to go all NINJA on that......

Time to check out what Jeannette and Leigh have to say about this topic. Be sure to check out their blog topics at

Jeannette at For Life:
Leigh at Poonapolooza:

Okay, any observations? Have you had it take some time and space for your brain to get caught up to your body?


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gretchen Rubin explains abstaining in a clear and easy to understand video, no sugars no grains for the WIN!

About 3 years ago, I realized I needed to abstain from processed sugars and grains. Sugars and Grains trigger my brain to want to binge eat and I feel down right horrible, addicted, and just messed up, generally. I believe I was born this way. Not my fault, but my responsibility to find my own way- food sober as I define it.

The only expert I am is on myself.. Everyone is a little different in what they can and cannot eat. If you can figure that out, that's a pretty awesome gift.

Here's a great video, explaining abstaining in an easy to understand way- from Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project). She describes abstaining in a 3 minute video. Be sure to check out her books and subscribe to her youtube channel, too!

Link to the Video is here

1,000,000 thank you's to Gretchen Rubin for explaining it so well. I might guess that abstainers are fewer in the eating area.

What is working now: (Heaven)
When I abstain, I feel freedom, peace, happiness, free from most binge urges, alive, engaged, like myself, and healthy, creative, able to use my gifts. Over all  "I feel better".  It didn't happen overnight, a few days/weeks of withdrawal symptoms.

What did not work in the past: (Hell)
I used to try to live life as a moderate eater.(processed sugars and all grains) I was a square peg trying to fit myself into a round hole. I felt trapped, conflicted, unhappy, hooked, binging a lot on lots of foods, numb, disengaged, someone that was not me. I was sick.  I stopped taking photos- my greatest gift.

I FEEL BETTER when I abstain.  The act of abstaining sometimes prompts others to bucket that behavior calling it : orthorexia,  disordered, obsessive, too restrictive, unhealthy. They could be right- for themselves. I'm sure it's true for many people. But not for me...

What the heck!!!???    I'm none of those things, in my opinion. I FEEL BETTER. All projections of another person's opinion or experience onto me, I don't need to take it with me. I brush it off and walk away - literally, figuratively, etc. Other people's opinions are none of my business. I FEEL BETTER.

I used to get called all the obese names when I was an obese kid in the 70's and 80's. It's laughable that the small act of abstaining from a few foods could invoke name calling, projection, and tisk, tisking.   Just shows you that a good self-esteem is critical. A thick skin, good sense of self, and doing what is important to me- abstaining, living a life that I see fit. It's all good. Because I FEEL BETTER.

A huge shout out to all the Paleo and Primal crowd (where going grain free and processed sugar much of the time is healthy), to the #NSNG crowd where you can be a " cool kid" when you go No Sugars, No Grains. For all my sisters and brothers in food addiction recovery that must abstain to remain sane- you are not alone. And to my bloggy friends who also abstain- you know who you are! Best tool for long term weight maintenance in my tool box.

If you are a moderate eater, bravo to you. I totally get it if abstaining would make you sick or unwell.  I understand.  Don't do it. Do what works for you.  I feel better when I abstain. I'm alive today because I do abstain.  I think we can all live together pretty well.

Stepping off the soap box now... that post has been in my head for weeks. Feels good to get my thoughts out, and the video was a great motivator.

No one right way in the Koi Pond- just the one that gets you to where you are going!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Falling Forward 2014 , #2 Planning for weight maintenance- take the time to make a plan

Plan for the changes
Falling Forward 2014 , #2 Planning for Weight Maintenance- take the time to make a plan

One of the big steps I took during weight loss was to

1. PLAN for Weight Maintenance
 Before I got there, about 20 pounds before I arrived.

For 40 years, periodically, I would just arrive at weight maintenance and not make any solid plans for the next, much longer phases of:

a. Transition
b. Year 1-Maintenance Junior
c. Year 2-Maintenance Senior
d. Years 2-5 and beyond, Maintainer Mentor

 In the book Refuse to Regain (book),  Barbara Berkeley, (blog) MD discusses the different phases of weight maintenance.

  If I could make Refuse to Regain mandatory reading for all of us going from weight loss to weight maintenance transition, I would. Take what you need for tools and test yourself and make a plan. What sustained me in weight loss (no matter what my plan was: Food tracking, WW, Medifast), the skills I had in weight loss were not the skills I needed in weight maintenance. New and different skills and  habits, were required.

Since the rates of long term weight maintenance are relatively low, be sure to make a plan, then adjust your plan if it's not working. Quickly!!!!  It's hard (painful) to face small gains or upward trends. It's harder and more physically and emotionally painful for me to lose 20, 30, 50, heck 70 pounds! If I could have addressed a slow 2-5 pound gain earlier in the process.

Once I put a plan into place, then changed it up, that's where the sustainability of all the parts of weight maintenance came together. ( I have no crystal balls with the answer, only feed back of my body and mind). The answers were inside me at each phase. Being honest and taking action, early, with any trends was key. I guessed correctly more often than I miss-read what was the root of the re-gain.

What's working now
1. Lower Carb, Higher Natural Fat- Paleo-ish food template.
2. Planning food, movement, sleep, stress relief, in my 2.5 years of weight maintenance
3. Prioritizing #1 and #2
4. Staying away from "S" foods (as described in Refuse to Regain)

What didn't work in the past:
1. Highly processed diet, high in "healthy carbs!!!" Heart healthy whole grains, and low, low fat.
2. Plans that involved foods  and habits that produced "gain" instead of "maintain".
3. Not prioritizing effective plans and not making changes and quicker course corrections if my plan was not working.
4. I ate a lot of "S" foods- sugary, starchy foods- in moderation. I never stopped to evaluate that moderation wasn't in the cards for me for the outcome I wanted.

All right- anyone else find differences in the first year, two, or longer? Did you make plans and make changes when your outcome was not sustained?

My Weight Maintenance Planner

Saturday, September 20, 2014

On and off the grid this fall- still on my food template!

Sunset Surfer, Carlsbad, CA
I'll be on and off "the grid" over the next couple of months.

What's working now: 

1. I'm still on my food template. I weigh in daily. My "pounds lost" range is anything from 68-72 pounds lost.

2. I weigh less when I drink chicken or beef broth 1-2 times a day! I'm out of broth, so I've got the crock pot fired up.

3. I'm spending more time relaxing, walking, photographing, getting and giving support, etc

4. I'm also spending more time re-arranging my schedule due to life changes ( new school for my daughter, new work schedules & assignments). Finding time to connect to my teen, driving here and there.

5. I've been reading the book "The Hunger Fix" by Pam Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP and absolutely loving it. Taking notes, saying "yes" a lot. Yeah, finally the science is there for what I believe to be a life long addiction that effected me since I was age 6.  

6. I'm working on a post about "How to start removing processed food from your food template". I consider myself an expert. :)

Catch me over on Instagram for my current walking photos
Catch me over on Twitter for my favorite re-tweets

I'm not totally off the grid... :)   My food sobriety is my #1 priority so I can show up for the rest of life. That's sweeter than anything I used to eat. Onward!

What didn't work in the past:
1. Avoiding the scale so I wouldn't have to take action. I couldn't change what I didn't measure. My binge brain LOVED that.
2. I didn't use the crock pot to cook when I was super busy. I bought frozen diet food.
3. I didn't choose a support group that respected my need to abstain. I didn't respect my own need to abstain, either, so that drove my choices. Nice to get out of my own way and own it!
4. I put other schedules and needs before my own.
5. I didn't believe that I could be addicted to grains and sugars- like an allergy for about 10 years (my doctor told me, I chose not to believe)  So glad I opened up my brain and didn't get sicker than I already was.
6. I didn't think I could "live" without my snacks- See #5. That was my addiction talking. False fix.

Hope you are all well. Just know I'm still food sober, just posting less often. Natural progression.
Fresh eggs- the egg came first!