Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Why Didn't I Think of This Snack Before?

I'm not sure what made this dawn on me, but earlier this week it struck me--why not a small salad for my  mid afternoon  snack?

So one day this week, I brought a small amount of mixed greens, mixed with a few chopped leaves of fresh mint, with some fresh raspberries to put on them, with 1 T of low-fat Asian Ginger dressing and 1 T of Feta cheese. YUMMY!

Then, the next day, I brought the greens & mint, topped with some cantaloupe chunks, a few raspberries, and pineapple salsa. ANOTHER WINNER!

What's more, is the salad takes a lot longer to eat, and so feels more satisfying (not to mention the feeling of nutritious self-righteousness it elicits) than the 3 to 5 bites of a "bar."

Monday, July 19, 2010

Activity, Elliptical, Inspiration, Omron, Upbeat

It's Vowel Headline Monday apparently.

So my company is starting this wellness "competition" in the office. If you sign up, you get a very nice Omron pedometer that I had bookmarked as a replacement to the last Omron I had that um. . . got washed.

The event doesn't start until August and goes through the end of Sept. The rules are you have to hook up your pedometer to the Internet tracker at least 50 days in that time in order to not have $28 come out of your paycheck for the pedometer. (Hey, you'd still save $.) And if you do, I think you automatically get $25.

Plus the team that has the most accumulated steps gets an extra day of vacation and I think some kind of meal.

It's caused quite a bit of hubbub in our office. So I started wearing my pedometer early to get the reality check.

Day one: just a day in the office, no exercise: a sad 3708 steps. Going to see my trainer helped a bit. . . 4932. And the best day was Friday, when we train in the gym and include some laps--6900.

So this week's goals include hitting at least 5000 steps each day. I'm trying to work my up so by the time the competition starts, I can be shooting for the standard 10,000/day.

Today is a home run because I did my  training and stayed to do the elliptical for 30 minutes. (I've catapulted far from my early part of the year's success after Hubby hurt his knee and abandoned the gym at least 2 months ago.) So it's 11:43 and I already have 6615 steps.

I'm not sure how much I will walk with the "team" in the GA heat. Compared to the "average" woman's stride of 2.2, mine was 1.6. . . . but I am inspired and feeling pretty upbeat about it.

My contribution may be more along the lines of follow the leader in loops around the office!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Longing to Be as Well Trained as My Dog

Several times I've compared my experiences with healthy eating to dog training. When reading Lyn's post Off the Floor about her ease of getting up and down from the floor, I find myself longing to be as efficiently trained as our sweet Golden Doodle, Yeats, who we work with repeatedly to move freely and quickly from any of these positions to the next: sit, down, and up.

If only I could move as smoothly, energetically, and enthusiastically through a quick succession of movements like these:
Down (lying down)
Up (standing)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Freeing Myself From Comfort to Sit With Discomfort

I've been thinking about how easy it is to fall into being comfortable with being obese. You just kind of lose touch with yourself--stop looking too closely in the mirror, keep wearing slightly too large clothes, don't see others besides your usual companions, and basically stick with the routines that keep you from having to face yourself.

And then something happens like it happened to me last week that suddenly snatches you out of that comfortable routine, bumping you rudely across some reality checks, like:

  • You get on a plane and realize you've forgotten your personal seat belt extender and sit through the flight with your seat belt unbuckled because you've already asked for one twice from the flight attendant and none of them seem to notice you're unrestrained, which leaves you feeling invisible (but still huge and ugly). 
  • You can't pick up the pen you dropped on the floor while you're in a seated position.
  • You see yourself reflected in the elevator door behind other women and realize your shoulders are at least half again as broad as theirs, like they are women and you are some other species.
  • You wake up with heartburn so bad that you have to get out of bed and sit in a chair until it goes away.
  • You realize you can't keep up with a friend who you used to leave in the dust when you walked together.
  • You're working on a program to help others get healthy and you're desperate to claim the good feelings you promise them.
And then, you think about what you have to do to leave these esteem-crushing feelings behind, and it dawns on you that leaving the comfort means needing to face some uncomfortable situations, like:

  • Not reaching for your standard breakfast cereal that you tend to overindulge in
  • Sitting and waiting for your slow-eating husband to take his next bite because you're determined to not finish your meal before he's half way through like you usually do, so you're pacing him (it took him 3 minutes, I watched the clock)
  • Stopping eating before you feel totally "full"
  • Drinking water when you feel hungry instead of eating whatever you can get
  • Climbing the stairs in the office even though you know you'll arrive at your next meeting slightly breathless and people may notice
  • Taking the time to plan and shop for healthy meals over the weekend even though it feels like you're stealing time away from more "relaxing things"
  • Pausing to monitor calories and fat grams before you put them in your mouth and adjusting as necessary to stay within healthy limits
  • Stop avoiding exercises that you fear might make your knees hurt and try them, slowly. . .
Once again, I think about what we learned as we trained our GoldenDoodle, Yeats. Our trainer, Wendy, told us we had to help Yeats learn to get through feelings of frustration so she would learn she couldn't always have what she wanted and would learn to respond to our "commands."

If Yeats was acting out on the leash, we were supposed to pick her up and hold her until she became completely relaxed. (This was long before she weighed 50 lbs!) The key was not get frustrated ourselves. Just to breathe, hold her, let her fidget, until she quieted and calmed down, and not to put her down until she did. Wow. What a lesson for a little puppy.

Now I have to do that for myself. It's really tempting to avoid the frustration all together.

It might help me to picture my acting out as embarrassing and frightening as our "Cujo" puppy was on the leash --imagine myself as a "mad" dog that needs to relax through her frustration to become a sweeter, more socialized being on the other side of it.

Wow. What a lesson for a 47 year old fat woman.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Fat People & Athletes--More In Common Than You Thought

You don't need to know these people or these books to get something out of this discussion. But for the record, this is a continuation of discussion about 2 interesting books I've been reading: Health at Every Size by Linda Bacon, Ph.D. and The Healthy Obsession Program by Dr. Daniel Kirschenbaum.
Fat People Have Distinctive Biologies
It seems Dr. Bacon would agree with Dr. Kirschenbaum's concept that "the overweight body powerfully resists weight loss."
They both seem to believe that the overweight body is different and has a different biology. I find that very freeing. Not because I'm off the hook of having to work--we all know biology is destiny, but because it helps me to remember that how i got to this weight is not all my fault.

Here's a run down of the fat person's biology Dr. K raises--if you don't like reading about this stuff skip down to the next colored subhead, starting with "Reframing."

Our genes. Genes have a huge influence on our metabolic power and tendency to develop excess fat. (Kids born to obese parents are 4 times more likely to be obese than kids born to lean parents.)

Our number of fat cells. We fat folk have up to 4 times as many as people who have never been overweight. You can keep developing them throughout life, and once you have them, they don't go away. Studies show that overweight people and formerly overweight people have bodies that deliver fat into the cells more efficiently than the bodies of people who have never been fat. In fact, people who have never been fat seem to have more fat transported into muscles to be used as immediate fuel. (Lucky us.)

Our insulin response. Insulin allows our cells to use sugars, called glucose, for energy in our body. Some overweight people have too much insulin and their body becomes insensitive to it so that sugar can't get into the cells as easily. You've probably heard about this--it's called insulin resistance and it can make you prone to developing type 2 diabetes.
Here's the rub, losing weight makes your bodies fat cells more sensitive to insulin but your muscle cells less sensitive to insulin. And that means you may store that sugar as fat and gain weight more easily after losing it. 

And there's more to the insulin story: overweight people increase their insulin responses just by SMELLING and SEEING food--even just THINKING about food. 

Our "I'm Hungry" enzyme. LPL is an enzyme that moves fat in the body. When you lose weight, more LPL is released and sends messages to the brain: "Eat now!"  

Our appetite hormones. Leptin is the hormone that directs the among of fat that gets stored in fat cells by affecting appetite. When weight loss causes fat cells to shrink, less leptin is released, which increases appetite. Ghrelin is another appetite hormone. 

Our fat-grabbing ability. Adiponectin is a protein secreted by fat cells that helps sugar in our blood get into our cells to be used for energy. The more fat cells you have, and the bigger they are, the less adiponectin your fat cells secrete. And that means that overweight people have a greater propensity to direct blood sugar into fat cells--not use it for energy.

Reframing Your Ideas About Your Fat Biology
So what's the path to overcoming this resistant biology?  Dr. K says. . . (just a reminder to what I said yesterday--I pulled these quotes from an interview with Dr. K and reordered to display my point but I don't think I've corrupted his messages.)

Overweight people . . . have to become super-normal in their way of handling everything that affects their eating and exercising. So, it's much more like an athlete in training than it is like somebody with a neurotic problem.
How overweight people should think of their biologies is similar to the way athletes have to think about their performances. Research on skilled performance - everything from chess to piano to athletic performance shows that the difference between better performance and worse performance, more than anything else, is the amount of time, practice, and quality of instruction. 
So, it's the same deal with weight loss. If you want to put the time into this, if you want it to get better, you can do it! Just because your biology says "Here's the way I'd like to go," doesn't mean you give into it. We have biological urges every single day that we resist from sexual things, to overeating, to grabbing things out of a storefront. We always have to manage urges in which our biology is directing us in one place and we have to go somewhere else. That's the way it is with weight control - the biology is moving you in a certain direction but you gotta say, "Well, I'm not going there, biology.

I Loves to See Travolta Dance

Not skinny Saturday Night Fever Travolta, but older a little meat on his bones Travolta! Whew, baby!

Then I can't embed this one, but check out--from Michael!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Which Motivates You More? Feeling Good or Feeling Rotten?

it doesn't matter if you are familiar with the people I'm talking about. .  just keep reading. I think you'll be interested.

At first glance, it might seem that Dr. Kirschenbaum's philosophies and Dr. Bacon's (both Ph.D's, not MDs or nutritionists, just for the record), are the complete antithesis of each other.

Afterall, Dr. B recommends abandoning the concept of dieting for intuitive eating and Dr. K. advocates for a very low fat diet (max. 20 grams a day). 

But I like what both of them have to say. And there are some important core principles that they share. 

Wanting to Feel Good Can Motivate You Longer than Self-Loathing

Dr. K shares what some of his patients have said to him: "The life of an overweight person is incredibly difficult. It's filled with unhappiness about oneself and awkwardness about such things as, What am I going to wear and I don't look good in this and Nothing fits and . . . I'm awkward and I can't move and I'm aching. It's just so filled with negativity."

Doesn't his response to these feelings sound like what I wrote yesterday about HAES? (

I couldn't find a site completely focused on Dr. K's philosophies, though he's written several books. But I did find a helpful interview with him. And I pulled and regrouped some of his quotes to make my points.)
I help people to deal with their bodies as temples, as something to be proud of, no matter what shape they're in, if they can possibly do it. A lot of people can make this shift and that makes them feel better right away. This doesn't mean they're less motivated - in some ways it makes them more motivated because they're focusing on their physical beings. --D. Kirschenbaum, Ph.D.

Consistency Counts in Self-Love & Nurturance

To do what Dr. K prescribes: 20 grams of fat a day or less, 10,000 steps or more, and self-monitoring--you gotta believe in the beauty and power and potential of yourself. Here's what Dr. K. says:
I say to people, "Look, I know how tough this is to be this focused, but it's better than the alternative. [My interpretation--all those negative feelings.] Let's work on it. But when you work on it, why not feel better while you are going through it?" And, the research shows that people very consistently feel better once they engage in this process.
And what's the key to Dr. K's process?
The bottom line of an effective weight loss program is an extremely consistent approach. Most diet plans emphasize moderation. That doesn't work. The research evidence indicates that weight control is a journey that does not begin with just the first step. It begins when all of the steps start coming together in a very consistent way. A strong degree of consistency in doing the behaviors that lead to weight loss is necessary in order to overcome the very resistant biology of excess weight.
Come back tomorrow. . . I'll share more about that resistant biology!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Road to Happiness Is Wide Enough for Everybody

I've been doing a lot of research lately about weight. Interestingly, it's for my work. Not so surprisingly, it's been easy research for me to do and easy to read what I find. 

It seems as I continue to slog through the info that the "truth"--if there is any truth--is somewhere between Linda Bacon's philosophy about Health at Every Size and Daniel Kirschenbaum's philosophy of Healthy Obsession Program. 

Health at Every Size Philosophy

Bacon's core goals are:
  • Self-acceptance: affirm beauty and worth regardless of size or shape
  • Physical activity: increase activity for pleasure and improved quality of life
  • Normalized eating: internally directed eating, honoring pleasure and appetite
Her tenets include:
  • Change occurs when individuals value themselves enough to want an improved life
  • Accepting weight is about taking control, not giving up
  • Lightening up on the pressure to lose weight and the letting go of despair empowers people to move on
  • When pleasure and vitality are considered, being active is an act of self-nurturance
  • Dieting should be replaced with internally-directed eating: honoring your hunger, feeling your fullness, pleasing your palate (the last 3 phrases were coined in Intuitive Eating.)
  • The reason for change should be replaced--no longer "lose weight and/or prevent disease"--where fear is the motivator. Instead, the reason for change should be pleasure, self-efficacy, and a sense of purpose and meaning--where enjoyment is the motivator.
Bacon's "Live Well" Pledge
  • Today, I will try to feed myself when I am hungry.
  • Today, I will try to be attentive to how foods taste and make me feel.
  • Today, I will try to choose foods that I like and that make me feel good.
  • Today, I will try to honor my body's signals of fullness.
  • Today, I will try to find an enjoyable way to move my body.
  • Today, I will not try to change my body to fit others' standards.
  • Today, I will try to look kindly at my body, and treat it with love and respect.

The title of this post is a phrase that Dr. Bacon uses. I like it. Do you?

Tomorrow I'll hit some highlight's from Dr. Kirschenbaum's Healthy Obsession Program. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Since We Last Met: A Pictorial Review

Here's a few images from what's happened in my world since I last blogged. Hope you enjoy them. And the new song is for Carrie.