Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sustainability in Weight Maintenance (and loss)- food and mindset

The sun is setting on season 23!
 Sustainability in Weight Maintenance , and Weight Loss

Sustainable: that word gets tossed around a lot in weight management. And, in weight loss.

I think one of my successes was letting go of what I saw in my minds eye as what was "sustainable" for the super long term and more for the short term.  I saw my foods and activities as dynamic.

I like that idea- Michael Hyatt talks about it as "seasons" in a recent podcast. Season 0 was in beta... I can relate.

This time I made an early decision not to sustain the food template that I lost weight on for more than just losing weight. I used package foods knowing that what got me through weight loss would NOT get me through weight maintenance. "This is for weight loss only and that is OKAY" What got me through early maintenance would NOT sustain me through later weight maintenance. What gets me through my late 40's now (I'm 48) won't get me through my late 50's. It's going to change up, so will what sustains me.

I saw it as phase 1 and I also could see, in my minds eye, that I would need to experiment, develop, and work on the next phases- 2 transition. Phase 3 the first year of weight maintenance. I hear "I HAVE to be able to do this for the rest of my life". Nope, maybe for the next 6 months to a year. Yeah, probably that long. That's it.  There are some basic things that, yes, I'll have to do for life. Abstaining from wheat, sugar, and dairy. Yes.

Then vs Now: The foods I ate in weight loss are not the foods I eat now in long term maintenance. The foods I ate in early weight maintenance are not the food template of now.
The foods I ate in the second year of weight maintenance are more like the template of now.
I was a lot more snacky and moderate carbs. That sustained me then. The transition to year two brought a tighter carb window. Rightly so with all my hormonal changes.

During the first 1.5 years of weight maintenance, I had to really fine tune my food template to deal with my emotional/binge eating. So many people say it's not about the food. Well, for me, it starts with food, then with my mind. I can't get a clear mind to work out long term weight maintenance without a clear food template. In that order. No other order is sustainable for me.

Rightly so, my brain chemistry and genetics , life in general demand it, as far as I can tell. Some of it I choose, some of it I get without a choice. I can choose to change up or I can choose to stay the same. I choose this! As best I can.

My 2 cents: Be willing to keep an open mind about sustainability both in weight loss and weight maintenance. Seeing it as a dynamic process and not static. I found THAT to be sustainable. Keep an open mind. Always. Tricky, challenging, but rewarding.

What's working now:
1. Lower carb window 40-50 grams per day for weight management and good sleep
2.  Letting go of what worked early in weight maintenance and loss
3. Abstaining from wheat, most processed sugar, legumes, dairy, and nuts
4. Keeping a very open mind for the future steps (known and unknown) for a sustainable weight management plan

What did not work in the past:
1. Trying to maintain my weight using a higher carb window 70-120 that I used in year 1.
2. Trying to go back to my old moderation habits during my WW days in weight maintenance
3. Not connecting the food connection to my long term sustainability for body and mind.
4. Just looking at the short term and not changing to match my aging body, health conditions, etc.

What ideas about sustainability have you found? Does it pan out to the long term or do you change it up. Are you willing to change it up to meet the challenges- known and unknown? Here's to developing and being willing to change what is sustainable for yourself. In all life's seasons.



Saturday, August 16, 2014

Podcast recommendation - Tips of the Scale

I'd really like to recommend another! great weight loss and weight maintenance podcast- Tips of the Scale.

The podcast interviewer, Sam Lomeli, asks the very deep questions of long term maintainers and others who have had to navigate a lot of personal road blocks to achieving long term weight maintenance.

Here's the link in iTunes

There's also a 1 million download challenge. 999,999 by 9/9/2014.

I'm off to download a few episodes and listen while I get some home projects done this weekend. I really do enjoy hearing how others have overcome obstacles to reaching their long term weight loss and weight maintenance goals.

It reminds me I am not alone and I can appreciate different ways of arriving at the same place.
 I listened to Heather's episode (Half Size Me- Heather) and really enjoyed it. Episode #81
Let me know if you have some favorite episodes. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer Shorts 2014 #2 - Fasting for Blood Draws has never been easier (now that I'm fat adapted)

Summer Shorts 2014 #2 - Fasting for Blood Draws

Ah! Fasting for routine blood draws. Now that I'm what Mark Sisson refers to a "fat burning beast" as compared to a "sugar burner" and I can rely on my own body fat to burn, fasting in the morning for routine blood draws has never been easier.

What a huge difference this makes! I can get up, do my normal routine and feel totally fine. Very level headed, stable, energetic. I still have body fat to burn and that's what my body switches over to use for fuel for the morning. At least that's what I think is going on until I have my blood draw.

I've been on both sides of the fasting blood draw phlebotomy chair as a Medical Technologist. Asking patients if they are fasting, telling patients to fast, and of course, now - being the patient doing the fasting.

WOW!!! What a difference eating a lower carb, higher natural fat diet makes. Like a bonus of long term weight maintenance, many areas of my day-to-day life have been improved.

 What is working now:
1. Eating a lower carb diet to maintain my weight loss, long term and staying leaner & fat burning.
2. Waiting to eat in the morning, some mornings ,until I feel hungry to eat- especially weekends
3. Abstaining from most processed sugar and all grains
4. Putting a note on my coffee maker to remind my brain not to brew any coffee
5. Post blood draw: Making up my usual breakfast- Eggs and Avocados, and taking it to the coffee shop for post blood draw.

What didn't work in the past:
1. Eating lots, and lots of high carbohydrate meals, I maintained obesity pretty well as a sugar burner.
2. Waking up food seeking thinking " I can't wait to rush down and prep... oatmeal, waffles, fruit" almost to the point of obsession. Getting Hangry (hungry and angry) and very, very shakey and felt unwell.
3. I used lots of sugar with plenty of fruit (It's natural!), little blue packets of Equal (It's low calorie and in my coffee!), and ate TONS of Kashi Go Lean (colon blow), Oatmeal (vehicle for brown sugar- it's natural and heart healthy), and Van's Toaster Waffles (vehicle for cool whip and fake margarine- it looks cute and low in points... so what if the margarine melts watery... that's the sacrifice I was willing to make... because it's low in points).
4. Occasionally, I would forget and brew coffee, messing up my fasting... (sigh)
5. Post blood draw: Going to the cafe at work and ordering the "Big Breakfast"- eggs and bacon, yes plus lots of potatoes (add ketchup!) and toast slathered with real butter ( I deserve it! I almost passed out)

Yeah! Totally different experience and one of the bonus items of getting off sugar and processed carbs.

I feel better now! Okay, anybody experience fasting blood draws a different way now that they've changed up their diet? Anybody pass out while waiting for their fasting blood draw. I know it can happen.


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Shorts 2014 - #1- Food Photos as a Trigger for Emotional Eating

Exposition Park, Rose Garden with photo bomb


Summer Shorts 2014 #1- Food Photos as a Trigger for Eating

(no actual food photos, a few food names below... pass if it's a trigger....you can thank me later... ;) )

I'm fresh back from vacation with a ton of topics swirling around in my head. I'm going to try a new series "Summer Shorts 2014". Short, to the point, what works for me now.

Topic #1 Food Photos are a Trigger for me for emotional/binge eating.

Photos of my former binge foods can really start my slippery slope thinking. I have to be careful

1.Social media streams I view
2.What blogs I subscribe and place in my reader
3. What magazines I read or even pick up to glance through.
4. What TV shows I watch.

To get my binge/emotional eating under control, I HAD to address this topic. Sometimes a blogger will post a food photo and I can breeze right through it. Sometimes a weight loss or weight maintenance blogger will post many photos of cookies, the dessert or tee-hee-hee the indulgence/cheat/sweet because one will not hurt me (YES!! One hurts me and knocks me out of food sobriety- I'm THAT person!) that they had on vacation, or some other baked cake/frosting delight that is "clean". Paleo, non-Paleo... who cares. It can and will trigger me.

Now that means that I  (aka- what's working for me)
1.Get my head on straight and get back off the slippery slope.
2. Unsubscribe from a single or whole feed on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook
2.5 Set my preferences so those photos don't appear.
3. Re focus my efforts on non-food projects, thoughts, etc

It does NOT mean I (aka- what did not work for me in the past)
 1. Troll Pinterest or blogs for ingredients that are "on my food Template" to make compliant treats.
2.  Subscribe to food based blogs unless the treat recipes are less than 1-2% of the plan.
2.5 Randomly follow Instagramers, etc
3. Spend huge amounts of time researching "lite" recipes for baking. I stopped baking all but for roasting  meat and veggies.

If I've unfollowed anyone over the last 6 months, it's me. I've got to put my food sobriety and my wellness first. It's so not personal about the blogger themselves. One or two photos and I'm fine. More and I have to do what's right for me. They are free to bake up a storm and do whatever.  I have to be real about me, my plan, what works, and baked goods don't work. Food sobriety comes first.

I feel better recovered. 

How about you? Are there feeds that you once read that you had to unsubscribe from due to food photos or other triggers?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Two and a half years of weight maintenance - what's working!

May 2011 to August 2014
 2.5 years. August 2014 update

This is the post where I document where I am, post weight loss. If you don't like talk about weights and the scale, weight graphs, before and after weight loss photos, skip this post. For the rest of you.... the details.

Highest weight : 187.4
Current weight : 117.0
Goal weight range: 113-118
Feb 2012 to August 2014- two and a half years!
Time at goal: 2 and a half years
Height 5'1"
Age :48
Menopause: yes, second year

Two and a half years.
The longest time I've gone at one stable weight since I was six years old. 40 years of searching for a stable weight. I'm felling pretty accomplished right now.

I had been trending a little higher in my weight maintenance range  on and off in 2014. I decided to do try two big things that turn out to be related. Not necessarily weight related... But I do feel better doing both things.

1. Track food at My Fitness Pal every day, no matter what. I really want to see what my carb range is. Keeping my carb range between 40-50 grams per day. ( from non starchy vegetables, occasionally berries, and a small amount of 85% chocolate)

2. Try to get as much sleep as I can each night. It means I cut my internet surfing down, put down projects, sleep in a little if possible on days off work.

As it turns out, if I keep my carbs in the 40-50 ish range ( more on super active days) , I can and do sleep extra well. I naturally get sleepy, fall asleep quick and wake up just before my alarm felling well rested. There's definitely a carb and good sleep connection.

Is that effecting my weight? Who knows but it probably won't hurt me. I feel great most days. Overall, I'm pretty happy with the last 6 months or so.  Eliminating my trigger foods and high carb processed foods has really helped me from having very few binge thoughts. It's a nice relief.

I wouldn't say things are always easy, but setting up consistent habits, my current food template, daily weighing , and tracking when needed are all routine now. Easier than I thought. Much easier than gaining it back again.  Food tastes great, I feel full after and between meals. 

Easy is relative. Weight maintenance takes day in day out, meal in meal out work. Onward!

What's working now 
1. Lower carb Paleo-ish food template
2. Being tough about my food choices
3. Eating for fuel for my body and not out of emotions, feeling my feelings
4. Prioritizing sleep by staying off the electronic grid, kicking the cats out of my sleeping area

What didn't work in the past

1. Eating processed and/or higher carb foods ( yes, even fruit, it's not free for me)
2. Eating according to what everyone else deemed popular ( candy topping on frozen yogurt , energy bars , dried fruit on oatmeal, moderate cupcakes= binge filled says and nights + doughy body)
3. Numbing out tough emotional time, with sweets or wheat
4. Letting other priorities and nocturnal cat shenanigans interrupt my sleep.




Friday, August 1, 2014

Dealing with Skeptics - No Grains No Gains blog topic August 2014


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!

The August 2014 topic is : Dealing with Skeptics!

Here's how dictionary.com defines skeptics 
noun
1.a person who questions the validity or authenticity of something purporting to be factual.
2.a person who maintains a doubting attitude, as toward values, plans, statements, or the character of others....
People  question why I don't eat grains.  They are skeptical. There's blame, there's an attempt to scare or shame me. I understand it. Really, I do. Because for years.... I was a huge lower carb, higher animal fat, avocado, skeptic. I, too, was convinced of all the fears of heart clogging saturated fat. Holy Smokes, I used to think, I will NEVER be low carb and wind up needing to work up cardiac disease. NEVER EVER.  All because I ate a ton of whole grain bread, Fiber One bars, and oatmeal and couscous. The box said they where "heart healthy", so did a lot of other agencies.

How did that work for me? It didn't. Really. I was pretty darn sick up until I stopped eating grain (and most processed sugar). The best measure of going grain-free was the right thing for me:
  • my  hs-CRP was 8.6 mg/L (now 0.4 mg/L ) 
  • my weight was 60-70 pounds  over my current weight (now sustaining a 70 pound loss)
  •  my BMI-I had Type I obesity and my BMI was 34-ish (now a solid 22 BMI)
  • my HA1c was 5.7% and climbing (now 5.3% and steady)
  • my HDL was 49 mg/dL  (now 79 mg/dL)
  • my triglycerides were over 100 mg/dL and climbing (now in the 40's mg/dL)
  • Emotional eating/binge eating daily or weekly, (now zero, but occasionally a binge thought crosses my mind. I count myself in remission/recovery)
Disclaimer **** I'm not a doctor, so if you are working with one who has had some current nutritional training and is a good diagnostic clinician,  he/she will know your personal health history, genetics, personal risks, etc. Please check in with your own doctor. I encourage you to change docs or get a second opinion if your medical team is not addressing your health concerns in conjunction with you, your health and the current research. So much information is very out of date.****

 Here are the most current skeptics questions:  and my responses.

0. If the person is a known negative person, narcissist,  anger or drama king/queen, or manipulative I only respond "I feel better now" and minimize my time with them. Not my circus, not my monkeys. Moving along is the kindest, best thing I can do for myself and them! I'd like to save my time and energy for people who do really care.

For responding to normal skeptical people who just want to know and/or who genuinely care AND that I could provide a teach able moment to a low inflammatory grain free diet and why I look different.

1. Accusation: "You WILL get a heart attack/clogged arteries/stroke/constipation without heart healthy grains"
  
My response: No! In fact with my old blood markers, the high inflammation, weight, higher triglycerides, I was much closer to being sick and the lower weight. 

 I end the conversation with:  I feel so, so much better now, lower heart risk and ... in a whisper if they've asked- I poop like  a champ now that my gut bacteria and inflammation are all healed up... just saying....!!!" 

2.  "Grass-fed beef and Coconut Oil are high in saturated fat very,very bad for your heart health-EVEN avocados can be problematic" says commercial weight loss programs, associations paid by big food and based on poor science .

My response:  No!  I think that the nutrient dense profile of grass-fed animals, coconut oil and especially avocados keep my hs-CRP low and my HDL really high. Far from my grain rich diet and high inflammation markers of the past. I feel full, my skin, hair, hormones, sleep are all in tip top shape now that I'm eating good, nutrient dense foods.

Besides, I feel so much better after I eat grass-fed beef and eggs cooked in coconut oil and avocados as regular foods during my week.

 3.."You won't get enough nutrients and lack of whole grains will give you colon cancer"

See my response to #2. I get plenty of nutrients.  I steer clear of burnt foods, processed lunch meats and my family history is negative. I'll go get a screen when the doc says it's time, and I'm fortunate that colon cancer doesn't run in my family. MS runs in my family and I believe that by eating low inflammatory, that I can lower that risk.  I sure don't miss those nasty processed deli meats and diet frozen foods and high carb snack bars that I used to eat. I'm not so sure those were my best nutritional choices at the time. Glad I've found that in real, whole foods!

I feel so much better, rarely hungry, better skin, more energy, better sleep. Seems like good nutrition to me!

3. "You caused this, you stopped eating grains and now you can't for LIFE, you messed yourself up pretty bad, are you sorry you can't grains, oats, healthy whole wheat cereal, beer, eat pasta, pastries, cakes, cookies, baklava served at a potluck,  made by an elderly mother- she will cry if you don't eat it (not kidding), fresh French bread in France, fresh Italian Pastries in Italy, etc.?

My response: No, I don't miss it. If I did I could choose a Paleo desert (rare) or other grain free option.  I think I was gluten sensitive for many years. I got used to joint pain, acne, migraines, thyroid disease, and was told by my doctor that it was to be expected to feel like crap and they gave me medicine. Now, except for thyroid medicine, I'll be off even Ibuprofen and cold meds for most of my life. I had no idea how the gluten's, grains,  effected visual things but also my immune system, my sleep, etc.

I feel so much better now! No way would I go back to the physical and emotional pain of grains- even a little bite, and yes, your family will stop crying, caring, and will get on with life!

4. If there is an emotional/binge eater that won't stop pestering me to eat moderate, that "It's widely known and proven that eliminating a food/food group will cause you to binge and you'll stay sick forever and moderation is PROVEN to work, aren't you worried about that?"

 My response:  No! My emotional eating didn't stop until I started to go gluten, then grain, dairy and nut free. Moderating  trigger foods was 100% binge eating for me.  Especially wheat.  Eliminating foods brought me to wellness like no other tool. I've been not myself for 40 years with emotional eating. I'm in remission now by abstaining. and please understand that abstaining does NOT equal restriction. If that person just won't stop: I'll stop them and ask them if they would recommend that a recovered alcoholic hang out in a bar with their old drinking buddies or line up their shelves at home with booze?  That's how it is with me and grains. End. Of. Story. I dismiss them and end the conversation.Or put them back into #0. Not going to argue with what doesn't work...

I feel so, so, much better when I don't emotionally eat or binge eat. Whole new world!

If there's one take away in my whole, long examples is this:
Eat the food you eat because it makes you feel better physically & emotionally,thrive, and be your authentic YOU.

Don't take my word for it, be your own n=1 experiment. What's your experience? Lots of skeptics clouding your decisions?

Head over to my other blogger friends to read how they deal with skeptics

Gwen at the Sunny Coconut ( ps- be sure to update your link to Gwen's site)

Jeannette at For Life

Leigh at Poonapalooza

Also, there are great articles at Mark's Daily Apple about grain free/gluten free food templates
Happy reading!
The dangers of going gluten free
The 8 most common reactions to your grain free diet and how to respond
Why Grains are unhealthy

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

More $0.99 e-books - Kindle Edition- Cholesterol Clarity and Eat the Yolks- limited time

Alert! Limited time. More inexpensive Kindle books by awesome authors: I was able to get these books for $0.99 in the kindle edition ( Death By Food Pyramid was listed on Jimmy Moore's page, but I could not locate it for $0.99 at the writting of this blog post)


Thank you to Jimmy Moore, Liz Wolfe and the other quality Paleo/Low Carb/Primal book authors for making their e-books available at sale prices.

So many great books, so little time. :)