Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas Wrap-Up 2014, What worked this year vs what didn't work in years past in weight maintenance

Torrey Pines and Del Mar, CA Christmas Day 2014
I had a super relaxing, although still a little busy, Christmas.

Relaxing in that I took a lot of time outdoors with my new camera.

Busy in that the normal holiday activities combined with a young teen and the usual drive around, finish gift wrapping, visit with friends and family always take time. Add in cooking and staying on my food template, sleeping enough, a good kind of busy.

Here's what worked.

1. Planning ahead: first year ever that I had shopped, wrapped, and organized in advance. I will be doing this again.

2. Super simple decorations: 
 Four main items, small, pretty, and I can put them away in less than 10 minutes.

3. Getting enough sleep before and after Christmas.

4. Taking time to visit with friends at a brunch but staying on my food template. No one gave a rat's patootie that I didn't eat.  I ate at home before and brought in-season cut up oranges that were quite awesomely sweet. The kid had plenty to choose from- theme seemed to be cinnamon rolls and breakfast casseroles (all had cheese, so no go for me being dairy free). I have no idea what the kid ate, not my place to be the Paleo or Primal Police. She can make her own decisions. I had plenty of coffee and time to visit. So fun to see everyone. 17 year tradition!!!

5. Two foods that I now moderate on occasion but that do not trigger. One slice of bacon and a small slice of an orange. Pork protein is generally a no go for me and lots of non-berry fruit as well. A lot of both cause me to bloat up or weight re-gain.

Once and awhile on a few, carefully chosen food items don't seem to cause a lapse or awaken the binge brain from its long sleep.  That's how I know they are okay to have now and then. More for their flavor. I could care less about them. I do plan on testing lard out to see if it's more the protein portion of pork or if lard would be okay on occasion. Sometimes I'll cook with lard and the flavor profile is mighty fine in a non-binge brain way.

5. Weighing in daily, except one day this week I totally forgot to hop on the scale. No big deal.  I'm running 115-116 after I healed up from my dental work and early December illness. I feel great! If you are new to my blog you'll know that I'm very short 5'1" so this is a very normal maintenance range for me.

6. Long hikes during my time off and several fit bit challenges. Lucky to have great hiking weather. Totally  made my day on Christmas Eve when I was setting up the second photo of a fast 30 minute photo session and walking window and I saw a whale spout photo bombing in the background. Knocked my socks off!  THEN, I continued to photograph the whale (Moonlight Beach, Encinitas, CA) and found some cormorants photo bombing the whale. Later, I learned via Instagram from a surfer that the whale  had earlier swam right through the surfing line up at Beacon's (a beach to the North)  Sweet! 

Christmas Day Hike- 22,000 steps that day.(first photo on this page) Torrey Pines. So clear you could see the smoke stack in Carlsbad. YEAH! Thousands of people hiking in Torrey Pines. I've never seen it so crowed. Happy that entire families chose to get outside and hike up a 0.75 mile hill. 

What didn't work in the past.

1. Wrapping gifts and shopping at the last minute. Less sleep and more binge urges.
2. Decorating the way my family used to and not adopting a simpler style. Especially after my move from a bigger home to a small town home. Very stressful.
3. Not getting enough sleep. I was always sick around the holidays. I can now see my decisions of both food and lack of sleep played a huge part in that.
4. Attending events with the intent to binge eat, prep food that I legalized so I could binge, and in turn did not feel great visiting with people. Too busy side-eying the frosting on the cinnamon rolls... could I snag some without anyone noticing... ?? Ugh. Stomach hurts just thinking about it...
5. Avoiding the scale and false promises to "cut back" "be good" "go to WW" in January. After binge season was over. Using bulky sweaters to "hide" my body rolls. I'm telling you, that sweater trick did not work. But my binge brain loved that strategy.
6. I hiked, but not very far. And, as a sugar burner, I would fuel even a short hike with carbs, Cliff bars, low fat cookies, M&M laden trail mix, or some processed WW snack if I were truly into counting points.  Now as a fat burner, I'm lucky if I'm even hungry. I do find that I'll need something, within an hour of finishing 5-6 consecutive miles, but I can usually wait to get home 30 mins to 1 hour. No big deal as a fat burner.

That's the scoop. A lot of thoughts came out of my head on the Torrey Pines hike. About how I kept myself stuck, by my own choices for so many years. I remain convinced that the best tool for weight loss and weight maintenance is a good sense of self and the ability to change up more quickly and pull away from the heard and lemming mentality. Especially when I could clearly see it wasn't working. The mind clarity and the Paleo food template are very clear top tools.  The decisions to stay stuck were my own choices. Oh, but my binge brain loved it.

Ownership is awesome. Self efficacy, hard work, but clarity and clear choices are very much worth it and become easier each year.

And, the cat photo for our friend, Katie! The cats had an especially good day playing with the gift wrapping and trying to destroy the minimal Christmas decorations. Lots of laughing on our part.
Tortoiseshell Cat in a Tube


  1. I have a family friend from Chicago that was boogey boarding the Encinatas beaches most of this past week. Might be in your photo there. LOL

    Glad your Christmas was so good. You deserve it!

    1. Ah, the water has been fantastic (although some days big surf), Gwen. It's nice having a peaceful holiday of my own choosing. Not always possible, but something to choose if you can.

  2. Love your strategy!! I love a calm holiday season, not a stressed/crazy one. I'm ending the year better than I started it - my goal every year!

    1. Thanks, Jeanette- I know you know the power of being outside in nature. Even in Indiana, I would hope for clear weather so I could cross country ski, ice skate or get outside. :) Here's to a calm New Year.

  3. Well the cat in the tube won me over!

    1. LOL- Kate, we laughed so hard. The cats were really having fun with the tube.

  4. Thanks cat friend!! Happy new year - thanks for all the time you put into your blog. After reading it for 6 months you inspired me to start a low carb woe. My life is so much better for it...simpler, easier.
    Katie ( and Moki - choc Siamese who will be getting a new sister soon..)

    1. Thank you Katie!! I write here because I'm likely to go back to my old WW calories in calories out, moderation thinking. And that is now stinking thinking for me. Glad you are finding results in a lower carb approach. I shudder to think what my life would be like (hot flashes, insomnia, migraines, many pills) had I not dived into a Paleo-ish approach, then fine tuned.

      Oh, and good luck with the sister kitty. Hope Moki gets along with her okay... All I can think when cat #2 gets out doors is how bad cat # 1 will feel if cat #2 doesn't come home (coyotes will eat cats in one night in my neighborhood). And how hard it would be to introduce a new cat. I put a lot of effort into making sure they don't get out. Crafty, both of them...

  5. You are making very good points here. Simple things just make life so much pleasant... if we are willing to put in the extra discipline. :-)

    1. Thanks, HappinessSavouredHot. Sticking on my food template and dealing with my binge brain are my one-two PUNCH for staying on track and in long term weight maintenance. I know myself and my brain. Constant vigilance!

  6. Love your 'what worked' and what 'didn't work' analysis. Great post.
    While I agree with you about Paleo/primal grain free food template being sane it is not a guarantee for a healthy diet right?

    1. Rina, I use about a 98% paleo food template. Now, my binge brain could easily toodle off and make all sorts of Paleo desserts, treats ... all "Paleo" but like a good balanced system, I had to be 110% honest about honey, cookies,paleo baking... etc.

      Oh, me... I'm so glad I don't fall into that trap. Jason Seib... he said at a seminar.. DON'T go back to the Standard American Diet.... so glad that he said those words.

      So true.. any food template may not lead to the outcome of health in lab results, bone strength, binge eating, etc. Gotta optimize it, IMO.

  7. I totally agree that a simpler life, reduced clutter, being proactive, etc makes a big difference. This is the first year (in forever) that things were more last minute for me, but because they were simple, it was okay.

    Good post.

    1. Vickie, I'm totally convinced that the same genetics and environment that set me up for food addiction also plays a part in clutter and inability to make decisions, hang onto stuff, etc. I do think organizing, letting go, and not buying in the first place can be learned and taught. Each area of my house that I purge the old stuff from the bigger house the easier it is to maintain order. It feels good to let go of old habits that don't serve anymore. :)

      Yes, making things simple boils it down to what is important- doesn't have to take much time... Good stuff. :)

  8. As always, I love how you chart your weight. It is time for me to track my food for a bit. It is way too easy for me to indulge in bits here and there--and I don't want to start that pattern. I have had way too many bites of holiday treats, and tomorrow I am going to go clean. Fortunate,y, I have not gained any weight, but that's only because I have been vigilant about exercise and watching my meals like a hawk. All the bad food is now out of my house and no longer a temptation.

    1. Ali- I have tried a few days, weeks, and even a few months of not tracking food. I'm glad I did it, and I still continue to take days and a week off here and there. But I can see how I eventually start trending high. I know my carb window is so narrow I could easily start to drift higher with just a crap ton of non-starchy veggies... for a fact fruit. Plus, it can start up a "eat whatever the heck you are Paleo cycle now, this is healthy, blah, blah, blach." Glad you are course correcting quick.

      From what I understand, fat cells are like body organ. They have a biochemistry surrounding them and much hormonal and cell signaling goes on. From my own lab experience- the body will try to regulate itself, including going back to old hormetic states. Does explain why the "remission" rate for obesity at 3-5 years is so low. Highly theoretical at this point, but it does seem to match what happens without tight control- (glucose, insulin, ghrelin, leptin)

      good luck and let us know how it is going!

  9. Glad to hear Christmas was good.

    Liking your pictures with your new camera.

    Have a good end to 2014 and all good wishes for the coming New Year

    All the best Jan

  10. I totally understand the "clutter factor" in food addition. I work hard to keep my environment as clear as possible of unnecessary things. I have less anxiety that way and as a result, less tendency to stress eat. I also enjoy your "what works" and "what doesn't work." Good stuff there.