Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween 2014- Fun sized candy bars weren't really fun

Happy Halloween 2014.

 Fun sized candy bars always lead to not so fun sugar binges that could last from 2-3 days to 2-3 months. Binge eating on sugar and the resulting obesity was not fun.

Side effects :Migraine headaches, buying larger clothes, having higher fasting glucose, being ashamed, feeling terrible was not fun.

Only the junk food manufactures think "fun" sized candy bars are "fun". I don't buy that message anymore.

Here's to celebrating with real food and celebrating my 4th Halloween Food Sober. That's a lot more fun.

If you can moderate fun sized candy bars. Awesome. If you cannot, you are not alone.

Here's what's working for me today

1. Abstaining from grains and processed sugar
2. Enjoying lower health care bills and $0 spent on my deductible
3. Normal glucose levels ( fasting 81 upon waking)
4. Day, week, month long food sobriety
5. Enjoying creative costumes
6. Cinnamon in my black coffee for flavor of the season

Here's what didn't work in the past:
1. Trying to moderate Fun Sized Candy bars because they worked into my WW points values
2.  Higher $$ spend on my health care bills because I was sick more often in the fall.
3.Fasting glucose values of 96 and higher after moderating those fun sized candy bars
4. Fun sized candy bars and my binge brain setting me up for  2-3 months holiday binging
5. Being more focused on the candy than the costumes
6. Having the flavors of the processed foods hijack the flavors of real food.

Safe travels and stop and think how you will choose your "Fun" today. Choose your fun from a place of strength, courage, and wellness.


Saturday, October 25, 2014

4th year of not eating Halloween Candy, yeah, I abstain from sugar, works for me...

Trigger Warning: I do write about sugar and Halloween Candy in this post. There are no candy photos, no specifics. You are welcome! ;)  Thinking for yourself warning: If moderation works for you and you can maintain a large weight loss, do it. You may even want to skip this post if abstaining triggers you. You probably want to skip my whole blog. Boom. There, I said it.  Abstaining doesn't work for everyone, and that's okay with me. Do what works.

 If you are struggling or on the fence thinking about using abstaining eating strategies, keep an open mind to abstaining. I used to buy into the Moderation Myth. Glad I can think for myself. It's sweet.

This will be my 4th Halloween that I haven't had even a bite of candy. Once I realized what life was like without a binge urge every second , hour, several times a day, once a week, once and a while, life became sweeter in a non-sugar way.

I started living life fully. Candy was a  false sugar fix. Moderating Halloween Candy was one of the worst choices I could make. Moderating mini- candy bars always triggered a binge.

No matter how well I counted WW points, planned for just one piece, sugar really effects my thought processes. Sugar really effected  my health. Scary how close I was to pre-diabetes. How much inflammation I had.

All the sugar effects have poor outcomes to my emotional and physical health. I was born this way. It's not a matter of being "weak" "disordered" or "ill" (people like to name call, funny, almost more than when I was obese!! Whatever....) It's just the way my molecular biology presents, combined with my past and present food environment  That's okay.  It's okay not to eat sugar if it works for me. It's not like I have a "sugar deficiency". Halloween Candy is not special.  I'm an adult. My choice.

Rather than fighting something I feel I cannot change, I abstained from Halloween Candy in 2011, 2012,  and 2013. ( My Halloween Post from 2013) . I now plan to abstain in 2014. If you return in 2015,I plan to abstain. My choice.

I'm still maintaining my 68-70 pound weight loss over 2+ years.  I get the choice:
A. Abstain and not re-gain, clear thinking
B. Moderate candy, binge eat, gain weight, binge eat.

One choice is much, much to me sweeter than the other.

If you are abstaining from Halloween Candy this year, please know you are not alone! If you moderate candy and are still reading this post- yayyyy you. High five! Respect. If you are on the fence,  try think for yourself, your choices, your outcomes. There's no one right way. Experimenting takes a lot of courage, self-efficacy, strength.  N=1.

What works for me
1. Abstain from all Halloween Candy, again, 2014 for the WIN!
2. Any candy brought into the house gets placed out of sight
3. Extra candy after a few weeks is tossed into the trash
4. I enjoy taking Halloween photos of non candy items
5. I get outside and walk a lot and take a lot of photos (low tides this weekend)

What didn't work in the past
1. I would attempt to moderate, memorize those WW mini-candy bar charts. 
2.  I would attempt to moderate mini-candy bars EVERY day, then buy candy at the 1/2 price sales!
3. What extra candy? I ate it up pretty fast
4. I could only think about what types of candy I liked the best. 
5. I was only concerned with how many houses I could (or that I could take my kid)

Candy Abstaining Island

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?