Saturday, August 10, 2013

Planning, risk assessment, and decision for weight loss vs being stuck in a loop

Planning- avoiding past Titanic history
* Note: if you are arriving from a Paleo perspective- hang on... I didn't arrive in the Paleo scene until weight transition and I'll blog about that soon..*

 Changing my tools: planning, assessing, deciding, and acting  helped immensely to move from being at a BMI of 36 to moving to a normal weight.

Rather than blaming myself for a large regain 60+ pounds  in 2000, it all added up to choosing effective weight loss tools that I could implement when and as I needed.  I followed a formula in each stage.

What worked:  Looking at weight loss as a "project", just as I would for an employer, gardening, or any project.  I placed a huge emphasis on planning, assessing, and actually doing. There was also a lot of root cause analysis and problem solving in each phase (more on that in another post)

1. Picking an effective program/plan: I considered my past attempts (structured programs- with a leader or coach vs at home calorie counting and going it alone). I'm a structured plan person, I know this about myself.

2. Assessing the risk :I considered what my current health state was at the time. (I did not feel well, I did not look well and loosing weight was a serious, life threatening matter. High CRP, joint pain, and a HbA1c starting to trend high. No serious diagnoses, but I had the intuitive feeling there would be soon.) At the time, my risk was probably high. I prioritized loosing weight as my top priority- as important as childcare, paying bills, and my job.
My hs-CRP was 6.8, yikes

3. Deciding and committing:  Once I picked a plan that met my criteria, researched it, arranged for the physical items (food) and the finances (it cost to buy products and I prioritized my finances) then I dove into it 100%. I read all I could, studied, I asked my health coach all the questions I needed. I stayed within my plan so I could evaluate 8-10 weeks down the road.

Lean and Green meal- weight loss
4. Planning (again!):  Weight loss was my first of several phases. As I approached the transition phase to first year maintenance and beyond. I went through another round of planning, assessment, deciding and committing.

Regular readers know what comes next... what did not work for me:

What did not work in the past: * Special note- it was a lot of work to get to a place to think clearly with all the brain fog and numbing that sugar and wheat. I don't blame myself for that part. It wasn't a personal flaw! This stuff is COMPLEX...

1.  Staying with plans that were no longer effective:  I was successful in 1998-1999 with weight loss (but not weight maintenance) at Weight Watchers, but counting points was no longer an effective plan in my 40's. I stuck with this for several years! and did not choose another plan. I also tried calorie counting with limited success.  Hindsight is awesome. Deciding to move on opened me up to what did work.

2. Assessing the risk: I work in health care, previously at a large trauma hospital. I know my risks were high, yet I failed to prioritize it and assign the risk the right place in my life. I thank my higher power every day that I found the clarity to start to help myself. I  didn't let me get me. Whew. Putting my weight loss first gave it the correct assignment in my life "to-do's".  That was a beautiful gift I gave myself

3. Deciding and committing: Holy smokes the wrong food template kept me stuck. I had 30-40 re-starts- WW, calorie counting. Exhausting, not effective, sad, stuck, and looping around. One or two 2 point WW snack bars, Skinny Cow Ice cream, or healthy whole wheat waffles topped with berries (healthy!) and cool whip (it's within my point range-whoot-whoot!).  Getting off processed and sugar and wheat for long enough cleared the fog up in this area. My food choices contributed to my looping around and not engaging. Food quality, food choices matter so much.
Sugar bomb disguised as "Healthy"

4. Planning: I absolutely did not plan for effective transition. I went back to the foods that got me overweight in the first place in a moderation. Eating trigger foods caused foggy brain, weight gain, and another spiral up on the scale. No planning or studying what others did in successful maintenance. Just hoping I could keep weighing in and stay in my weight range.

Notice:  Blame, shame, victim mode and other ineffective strategies were kicked to the curb. I might have a 5 minute pity party for myself, then I get back to more effective ways pretty quick.

Discuss: Did anyone else use project planning/problem solving or stepping outside the blame, shame cycle to break free?

A good walk outside ends any pity party in my head


  1. I thought of myself as a big science project and did not take any of it personally. Objective perspective, heads up, proactive, reality.

    1. That's a good way to think of it Vickie. When you look at it more objectively and stay proactive and real- it's all good stuff. A way to wade through all the stuff that is out there. Thanks for stopping by the blog.

  2. Not really for was more read a book, absorb it, get energized by it, put it to work. That research led me into more research, that I absorbed, and became energized by it. I guess I was like Ms. Pac Man, gaining strength, passion, and energy with each book on the subjects of grain-free I read. Each article, each blog. :)

    1. This is how my transitional stage when, Gwen. Reading, trying, personalizing. I'll be blogging about my transitional pathway next. Ms. Pac Man- love it.. :)

  3. Hi Karen! I always enjoy your analysis because it's so true. Your point about figuring out what *doesn't* work to free up what *does* work rings true for me. Previously, I hung on to an idea for years that was only working halfway. Great tools and plans work really well, not halfway. :D

    1. Marion, I was sooooo stuck. Partly my own doing. I was clinging to old successes at WW without making the decision "This is so not working- better walk away.." probably because there was overlap with what did work there- some of the mind tools, the support group.

      Yes- great tools and plans do work well. Thanks for stopping by...

  4. Wow, that is an amazing and detailed breakdown. I have never analyzed myself and looked at it that way, but I can see myself in a lot of your descriptions. Like the eating the same foods that got you fat and having brain fog, etc. Maintenance is much harder than weight loss, that's for sure. Thinking and evaluating clearly to see what is hindering us is so valuable. Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Thanks Margene. It is amazing to me the number of people who used TSFL and MF and it worked well who have similar stories.

      Maintenance is a whole different phase, totally. Different skill sets in use, I think. I love reading your blog and following along with your progress. Good stuff.

  5. Karen
    It's great the way you plan and analyze, I'm sure many of your readers find this beneficial.
    You have done so well.

    All the best Jan

    PS I love the bird in the picture, it's very colourful. Do you know what it is?

    1. Hello Jan,

      The bird is an acorn woodpecker. There are lots of them eating acorns this time of year. They scold each other, fight with the Western Blue Jays and are active during my daily walk. Total entertainment. Thanks for stopping by the blog...

    2. Hello Karen

      Many thanks for letting me know the name of the bird ... appreciated.
      All too often we ignore the nature that surrounds us.

      All the best Jan