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!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Falling Forward 2014 #1, What if believed I could not be leaner than in High School?

1980 Freshman in High School vs Sept 2014
Falling Forward 2014 #1,

What if believed I could not be leaner than in High School?

I'm fresh off my 30th High School Reunion.

One of the best things about major transformation is choosing what is right for myself. What feels best. When I reach "I feel better" or "I feel like myself" then I know I'm on the right path.

The commonly held messaging by weight loss groups, internet personalities, etc might have had me thinking,  "I will never be the weight I was in High School".

I was obese in elementary school, and also in High School . In a world that hated mightily on the obese. (the world still hates, but I was largely (pun!) alone in being obese in the 70's)

It's a good thing that I set my own course and did not have a limiting belief on my body composition post 40 years of yo-yo dieting and obesity.

I left it open to see what would happen. I got to "I feel better" rather than what popular opinion told me I should believe.

What's working now:
1. Eating a low inflammatory (yes Paleo-ish ) food template.
2. Addressing what I believe to be a life long food addiction by abstaining from grains and sugar
3. Getting support from others who understand I need to abstain rather than moderate
4. THINKING for myself and then telling others how I feel.

What did not work in the past:
1. Moderating low Weight Watchers points bars, Skinny Cow ice cream because Weight Watchers told me I should and could eat within my "points" range and be successful.
2. Ignoring the fact that when I didn't eat sugar, I felt better after learning that as a teen and ignoring my shrink when she told me "I think you are allergic to wheat and sugar- stay off!"
4.  Trying to seek weight or binge support in groups that are H*ll bent on moderation. (good for you if you can moderate- but I need to abstain. Okay to do what works.)
5. Not thinking for myself and then telling others what I needed.

Here's to falling forward into your own "I feel better" and independent thinking and n=1. Not always popular, but feeling well is worth it. I'm much leaner and better health wise now than in 1980. Glad I don't follow popular thoughts when they don't match with my reality.

Any of my readers leaner now than in school?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Two years, 7 months- weight maintenance graphs, updates

Monthly Update:  2 Years, 7 months in long term weight maintenance. If you don't like weight graphs, why are you reading my blog? (joking is short, and so am I , have some FUN ), you may want to skip this blog post.  I use data to help me make decisions about progress in my long term weight maintenance.
Highest Weight:  187.4 pounds
Current Weight: 115.8 pounds
Weight lost: 71.6 pounds
Goal Range: 113-118 pounds
Years at goal: 2 years, 7 months
Age: 48
Height 5' 1"
Menopause: since 2012

Let's chat about my monthly weight graph. I went on vacation to LA for a few days and hung out in "stay-cation mode" in San Diego County in August.  Oh, say can you see Mt. Bacon in my month weight graph... yeah, I rarely eat bacon, but I did on this trip. I got what I thought I would: puffiness. (see more below). Temporary.
What's working now
1. I moved a breakfast carb (veggie serving- think tomatoes, kale, onions, or bell pepper) to dinner. Outcome:  More stable blood sugar/hunger from 6am until I eat lunch at 11:30am daily. Exception: If I'm super active OR if I walk for lunch and it's ho then I'll drink some bone broth to replenish my salt levels. Remember! I'm the person who needs sea salt to keep my blood pressure from dropping too low, sea salt keeps me feeling well. Conventional salt will add 1-2 pounds of uncomfortable misery the next day. I've been reading Jason Seib's Facebook tips lately.  Not everything applies to me, I take what pops for me and move along....

2. Bone broth:  I've been drinking bone broth 1-2 times a day with awesome results. A little bit of pink Himalayan salt. Very satisfying, delicious and just over all goodness. I've had success with beef bone broth, too, although I do make chicken broth more often. The crock pot for the WIN! 

SweetSalt Duck salad of my own making
3. Eating 95% in my food template: Oh yeah! LA did not disappoint. I'll be bragging blogging a separate topic about finding good places to eat while being a tourist in LA later in September . One of the best salads (duck!!!) at SweetSalt in Toluca Lake. Hint: If you are in Burbank for any studio tours- get yourself over there ASAP for real food & great gluten free options, reasonably priced.    REAL FOOD for the WIN
4. Time with my family and photography- with the right fuel- fat adaption:
Union Station- LA
Because I eat 95% on my food template (Paleo-ish) day-in-day out ( my binge/emotional brain does not take a day, meal, or moment off), I have pretty balanced blood sugar. That means I can hike, tour, and enjoy myself without being the queen of snacks.  Eating a breakfast of omelets with veggies (on vacation, no veggies at breakfast for work) and avocado slices is key.  It means I can hike for several hours, walk for 3 hours and only think about hauling some water along to re-hydrate.  I can concentrate on photography, time with my daughter, and be clear minded and overall enjoy myself. FAT Burning beast, indeed..   Family, photos, clear mind....Fat adaption for the WIN

Malibu, as see from Pt. Dume- Paleo Fuel for the hiking WIN!
What didn't work in the past:
1. Carb filled breakfast: With my genetics and life long emotional/binge eating- cereal, waffles, and pancakes were the WORST thing I could do. Nothing like staring my binge brain off on a sugar spike. Sigh! I really thought I was doing the right thing.... 

2. Being afraid of all salt, and Eating Bacon and packing back canned soups, bacon. Not being off regular salt long enough to see the effects of regular salt vs sea salt. Puffy and bloat-o-ramma. Yeah, I put some life into living with the vacation bacon (#NSNG). You can see the mid-August  bloat. I"ll back off on vacation bacon. One day yes, 3 days, no.

3. Using vacations as an excuse to eat junk food. Lot's of it... YOLO was not my friend. I used excuses to pack back obesity and binge foods.  I would have lived once, but as the obese me feeling down right crappy. Now I live how I believe I was meant to live, mindful of what tools I need to me my authentic self. One way is better than the other. Free to choose. I choose this... not that!

4. Trips were based around stopping for snacks, bringing lots of "bars" along because I was a sugar burner. My mind was full of thoughts of food, snacks, eating rather than my daughter, the scenery and awesomeness that travel (and non-travel) brings. Snacking on high carb/sugar foods had a price. Glad to have my clarity back.

Okay, If you are a weight maintainer- hope things are going well and you are finding your own version of what is working, what did not work- keep going. If you are loosing weight, keep going. Onward! What works for me may not work for you... that's okay. Find your own groove.

3  months
1 year

Sustainable Weight Maintenance- 2+ years

Friday, September 5, 2014

No Grains, No Gains - Is eating no grains or organic more expensive- the financial perspective

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!

September 2014- Topic- Is eating no grain or organic more expensive (from a food/budget perspective) ?

Short answer: It's about the same in cold hard cash, but much cheaper from a health perspective. Less time off work, fewer over the counter meds, fewer doctor co-pays, purchasing fewer clothes

What costs more: The higher quality meats that I buy end up costing more per pound, but the savings in the long run. Plus I feel ( and look) better. So. MUCH! And a little bit more time to prep the food and do dishes- so it costs a small amount of time. Well worth it.

Organic :Buying some organic items supports my local growers. I buy only in-season , local organic at the Farmer's Market OR organic from Trader Joe's or Costco. 
Sept 2014

Here's what I do now: See how simple it is- Ingredients- Shopping EZ

1. I cook at home:  easy meals: grass-fed burgers, organic chicken thighs, lamb,soups, stews, stir-fries, Thai food, shell fish.

2. I buy very few processed foods. Meats, veggies, some fruit, and coconut and avocado oils. Sometimes spices.

3. I buy real foods. Cook them up, add simple spices. Done, easy to shop, easy to prep, easy to batch cook. Grab and go.

Costco Cart- March 2014
Simple meal prepped at a beach house for friends, 2013

 I took a peak back to Sept 2010 records  and compared that to my current monthly spending on food:

Here's what I found:  When I was 70+ pounds overweight in 2010

July 2010

1. I ate out a lot as the "old me"- Financially more expensive, high inflammatory, too.
  • Snacker :at work and during errand, 100 calorie packs, and protein bars. I was a champion snacker- Sugar burner!
  • Work Cafe:  baked chips, salads, huge wraps, crap low fat dressing. Canola oil- high dose.
  • Frozen yogurt stops: It's low fat and I can binge on the toppings walk off the points.
  • Name the Low Points Fast Food lets stop by our favorite pizza place, Panera's, Daphne's, Costco- I'll buy a "healthy" Ceaser er  salad- drown it in crappy dressing and croutons, oh, and you get a slice of pizza and we'll share it...let's get a frozen yogurt, too- dairy you know? "Low fat "healthy"- everyone does this, RIGHT? Pooooooooor me, I'm sooo busy, this is nice and fast
What did it cost me:  2-5X what a home  cooked meal would cost.

2.  I bought many more processed foods from Costco and Trader Joe's and the grocery:
  • Boxes of mac and cheese (major binge food for me)
  • Salads prepared- not a bad choice, but lots of junky toppings- 
  • Huge Lasagna's- that was my batch cooking, I could freeze down a portion and add a "healthy" low fat salad... yeah, sure- pasta = binge. Add some salty baked snack or popcorn because I wasn't puffy enough....
  • Rotisserie chickens: Funny thing was... I loved them... too much. I had a hard time stopping eating the meat. Much like my reaction to anything with MSG or sugar in it.... Hmmmm...there's no sugar or msg listed on the package.  Funny how those chicken packages got relabled with questionable contents.
  • Diet foods: Diet meals in packages, frozen, or refrigerated. Oooohhh portion controlled, low fat.. yeah. I 'll lose a lot of weight this way, and they are on sale... 5 for 10$. Awesome- NOT!
What did it cost me: Well, the store bought food was less expensive, but filled with junk food- added salt, sugar, and gluten.    0-2X more expensive than home cooking now

3. I bought real foods, but didn't quite have my thinking aligned for my goals:
  • Lots of baby carrots: They are FREE WW points. Yep.. Free, free, free... but funny thing was they never filled that numb void I had from not eating enough fat.... but they were ZERO, free, No body gets "fat" eating veggies.... RIGHT?..Hmmmm
  • Lots of fruit: Fruit was either low points or now 0 points... I ate a lot of fruit, because that doesn't make me anyone fat.... RIGHT? 
  • Lots of boxes of cereal and Fiber One bars- because "Healthy Whole Grains" were going to make me THIN... if I count the points, and eat a tiny serving  count several servings, and ingore severe cravings, and that horrible feeling after I ate wheat... because I should eat 6-12 servings. Yeah. Right.  
What did it cost me:  2X more for processed food- cereal, diet breads, toaster waffles I was addicted to buying . I figured it would come out good on my WW points tracker.. Hmmmm.
No more costly, but I had many more GI problems- I bought much more Immodium AD and Jumbo Sized Bottles of Tums. Even some proton inhibitors. Normal, RIGHT?- everyone has a King Kong sized bottle of Tums at their desk. ??Not so much...

Quick- go back and look at my first list. Basic, simple foods, cooked or batch cooked easily. Glad to be off the packaged food train.

Question: What is eating processed, "diet" foods costing you? It goes way beyond money, sick care health is expensive.

Jeannette is taking the month off. Head over to my bloggy friends to see what eating grain free costs them.

Leigh at Poonapallooza

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Own your own data- Tedx talk and what's working for me now- weight data,

Click on this link to watch and listen to the 17 minute talk .

If you are adverse to collecting your own data: weight, using data for critical thinking, etc- you may want to skip this blog post.

**My Disclaimer... work together with a trusted medical provider(s) and/or family members who support you when making decisions, knows your full health history. See my own disclaimer on the side bar on my blog's full web page if you are viewing this post on a mobile device**

Wow! This TedxTalk about "Owing Your Own Data" really hits home for me.

My take away points from this talk:
1. The speaker recorded data that was easily recorded, daily, free except for a tiny amount of time.
2. The speaker understands statistics and how to apply them to her own personal risk.
3. The speaker used what data and knowledge she had to own and make her own medical decisions
4. The speaker worked together with her doctor and accepted the risk she was taking
5. The speaker is her own expert on herself.
5. The speaker took the initiative to tell her doctor her wishes, her thoughts and they could make the decision together.
6. The speakers husband  used his own health data to make a major weight transformation and improve his overall health.

 The author's take away : take ownership of your own data, become your own authority, you don't have to be an expert.  Two experts together = Better decisions

I'll be blogging in the next week or so about some recent decisions I made on short and long term health goals and how I used both weight and other data (hs-CRP, HDL, triglycerides) to make food decisions, talk to my doctor, etc. It feels so good to take ownership in my own health care. I would not go back to the old ways.
1 month weight data

What's working right now
1.  Using my data driven scientific mind to take data and use it in the short term to keep and stay well from a place of strength.
2.  Using my data driven scientific mind to take data and use it in the long term from a place of strength and knowledge.
3.  Being comfortable to talk to my doctor about how I'm feeling and what my concerns are and telling her how I'm feeling, what is working. Asking questions from a place of stating how I feel.  "I feel better now, I'd like to try... "
4. Keeping an open mind about new research, ways of thinking and digging a little deeper into who is funding research, food politics,  etc. Testing it on myself and keeping only what works for me. N = 1. Oh, no grains = very few binge urges, hot flashes.. okay, I get that! I put myself in charge of my health care and decisions.

What didn't work in the past:
1. Stopped looking at short term weight data because I wanted to hide my head in the sand and not face the fact that I was indeed overweight, gaining weight. It was what it was. I felt I weak and powerless because I could not lose the weight and that irrational thinking drove my behavior.

2.  Stopped looking at long term data because I felt ashamed and defeated rather than "what does this say about moderating sweets, sticking with this weight loss plan?" I felt I couldn't do something different. I felt I  was weak and powerless and irrational thinking  drove my behavior.

3. I was too embarrassed and thought I was "weak" about asking about plans other than Weight Watchers for weight loss. I didn't speak up about my hs-CRP and said, Hey! Wait... does this mean something with my heart? Could I change something about my diet? How do your long term thyroid patients do on grains? I felt like nobody else had these concerns and that irrational belief drove my actions.

4.  I used to faithfully think : "Well if it's at the Mayo Clinic, American Heart Association, Weight Watchers it must be based on sound science, so I should do it and get results. NO, this didn't work for me. I got pretty sick following the "healthy whole grain" advise. I put someone else in charge of my decisions and discarded what I knew about myself to be true.

How about you, have you used any easy to collect data to make changes and examine what is and isn't working?