Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Staying Healthy Within Parameters Of Your Life

My middle daughter and I had a long discussion about this. We both acknowledged that we needed to stay the healthiest we can, given all that is happening in our lives.

It was really amazing how parallel our thoughts were about this. Both of us have a number of big stressful projects that ever got done or still have to get done. In the meantime, we weren't too great at juggling all of our goals and aspirations at once. Some balls fell to the ground, at times. We picked them up whenever possible.

My middle daughter is busy finishing up her master's degree and moving to another state, among other major events. I am busy with too many deadlines coming due at work at once, getting taxes for our business done pursuant to August deadline, car repairs, home repairs, an upcoming trip, and many other events. This includes that I published an ebook on Amazon!

Click here: A-Moms: How To Raise Competitive Award-Winning Students

I worked on this book since 2006! So it was definitely time to push this book-baby out into the world. So publishing this book was exhausting and very exciting all at once. It will be sold in 160 countries! I have Amazon author pages in UK, France, and Germany, for example. I saw that my book is being sold in India too. All very exciting.

Overall, I've been getting so much done, but specifically, some things have been placed in lower priority. My eating has not gone as well as I'd like lately. I'm struggling with 6 pounds of gain since last year. I've been so tired that I haven't had my usual vigilance as my un-tired self normally has. But I continue to work on this, quite hard, which is why this problem hasn't gotten any worse. I keep trying, and that continuous effort really matters. Little good decisions every day have kept this weight gain quite small.

However, on the bright side, my fitness is totally awesome! Eating and fitness do *not* exactly correspond that much for me. I've been doing 100 to 250 pushups each week, and they have been paying off for bench press. I have the big 45 pound plates on the bar, hoisting that over my forehead, and I am loving it! I've been doing 3 sets of bench press at 135 pounds, which is thrilling!!!!! Yes, with 5 exclamation points! 

My body feels *completely* well. My painful knee injury of last year is completely rehabbed. It feels great! I am still doing standing backbends at gym on Sunday. And I'm still doing my chin-ups too, usually about 20 every Sunday. Everything is super good for fitness.

So, my perfectionist self wishes I had this down perfectly, including a perfect weight, but I have so much going on right now that everything has had to "give" a little bit. When we overstretch ourselves into uncharted territories and formidable mountains of projects, there is a vulnerability involved. I feel that vulnerability, but I also feel the excitement of doing things that I really want for myself.

All of us bloggers and readers of blogs fully know how incredibly important it is that we are able to practice our right of free speech to deliver our unique messages to the world. As we know from reading certain small blogs, there are new fresh ideas to be found in tiny corners. These great ideas often don't conform to the mass messages of our society. We often buck the tide, attempting to help provide innovative solutions for others. I am very proud and happy about myself to know that I believe I've written a book that provides fresh ideas toward education that could make a difference in someone's life.

So am I disappointed in this small weight gain this year? A little, but generally, I'm very happy with all that I've been accomplishing. We have to stay healthy within the parameters of our own life. Nobody's situation is the same. As my daughter expressed to me, "We can't make everything about our health, such that we don't spend our energy on other important things." Parenthood, work deadlines, taking more classes, writing, etc....At the same time, both my daughter and I keep making little daily decisions toward good health, even though there has been a lot of imperfection happening. Every little good decision matters and adds up, whether it is for health or for other important dreams and aspirations. 

So now I'm off to do at least 90 more pushups, before I go to TOPS tonight. :-)

What do *you* think? Are you okay with yourself when you are doing too many things to achieve any sense of perfection for your goals? What do you do when you have too many things to do at once? And, of course, anything else you'd like to add.

Have a Delightful Day!

:-) Marion 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Food Saboteurs, Overweight Culture & How I Keep My Weight Off

Last night at our TOPS meeting, we had a rather heated discussion about my personal food issues.

I explained that I don't know what to do about people buying me high calorie food after I specifically tell them that --"I don't want that." When they give me the food, I can either reject it and have a very terrible day with that person or I can eat it and be very disappointed in myself while maintaining peace in the relationship.

Food saboteurs do not take "no" easily--or at all, for that matter. Over the years, certain readers and fellow bloggers have tried to explain to me the predicament that they are in regarding their family members who fully expect them to be "food buddies" in every fattening way that exists. If this person rejects the food, it is seen as rejecting the friend or family member. People get quite angry at the person trying to watch their weight over rejecting food, such initiating full-blown arguments over food and displaying permanently hurt feelings. Really.

A meeting member told me directly, "You have to take full responsibility for what you eat. Nobody is making you eat food. You always have the choice to reject it."

I answered, "Except that I don't reject it. I don't want to be in a fight with my husband or a family member over food. I know what I'm like, how I've been my entire adulthood, and I know it for a fact that I don't reject these high calorie foods. I don't have more willpower than I did 10 years ago when I weighed much more. I'm still a food addict. I still am the same person who used to weigh 50 more pounds. I still have the same issues, if I'm placed in the same situation." 

Another member understood what I was saying, "Nobody offers drinks to an alcoholic and expects them to reject it. Why then, do people buy the largest sized caramel frappe with a thousand calories for a person who they know has problems with their weight?!" Exactly! That's the issue I was trying to explain.

Another member stated, "Marion, you are just going to have to get more cranky about this to others. Reject the food, like you used to do. It should be your choice what you want to eat." Yes, part of food responsibility is choosing your own foods independently and then taking responsibility for your food choices. 

In any case, I relayed this entire meeting content to my husband who has been a food saboteur lately. I also told my husband that when he is not concerned about the healthiness of his food choices, that doesn't just affect his eating but also all of us around him, especially me. My husband, specifically, recalled certain high-cal food that he had bought for me this week, going against my wishes, and realized that he literally was pushing food at me. So he told me that he was going to make a concerted effort to not do that. Yay!

If anyone thinks, keeping weight off is simply a matter of eating a prescribed diet, they are ignoring the "heavy" influence that family, friends, and indeed, this entire overweight culture has on us, who are trying to watch our weight. For many of us, one of the most difficult aspects of watching weight is the resentment and anger our former food buddies have if we reject their offer to eat high-cal food together.

So, if I have no more willpower than I did when I was very overweight, what do I do to keep the weight off? I continue to make the effort to avoid as many trigger situations as I can. I go to restaurants much less often. I don't order desserts or high calorie foods, unless I make a rare exception that I truly want to make. I don't bake desserts at home any more, and haven't done that for years. And in replacement of all of those unhealthy foods, I eat more eggs, lots of apples, fruits, several daily servings of vegetables, tuna, fish, and chicken. I constantly feel that cultural pushing of food in my life, and I make a concerted effort to buck that tide.

What do *you* think? Was this helpful to you? Do you have food pushed at you? Do you know somebody who lives with this situation? Do you agree or disagree with what I'm saying? I'm sure that there are people on both sides of this fence, opinion-wise. What are your ways to deal with this problem? I know certain people who have literally had to break friendships with "food buddies" who could not adjust to their new eating.

Have a Super Day!

:-) Marion


Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Diet Success Facts & Politics: TOPS v. Weight Watchers

Did you know that TOPS, Inc. (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) was founded about about 15 years (founded in 1948) before Weight Watchers (founded in 1963)? Did you know that TOPS has approximately 10,000 chapters and approximately 170,000 members? Cite: TOPS statistics

Why don't you don't hear much about TOPS?

The little known fact about Diet Politics: TV shows have sponsors who pay money to advertise. If a diet management corporation wants to advertise itself, it has to pay the promotion price.

Explained recently at TOPS State Recognition Days (Wisconsin): When a certain TOPS member was on the Dr. Oz Show, this member could not talk about TOPS whatsoever or wear TOPS symbols on clothing during the show -- at all. So this TOPS member could not truthfully tell the Dr. Oz audience about personal success stemming from being a TOPS member. On the other hand, the person who lost weight with Weight Watchers could talk about Weight Watchers success because Weight Watchers, Inc. had paid the promotion price to the Dr. Oz Show.

Does better publicity mean that Weight Watchers is better than TOPS?

TOPS is a non-profit corporation with rock-bottom membership costs. TOPS costs approximately $90 per year to belong, including all weekly fees. In my chapter, it costs even less than that. This means that all people can afford to belong, but also that we aren't fancy and cannot afford expensive promotional advertising. TOPS partners with The Medical College of Wisconsin for its obesity research.

Weight Watchers is between $480 and $625 annually for a member. I personally think it is a pretty good organization with a good record, however, for many people, this is too high of a membership cost to sustain for very long. On the other hand, Weight Watchers is held at higher end locations and has paid leaders and can afford promotional advertising to tell the public of its benefits.

Many people think that Weight Watchers is the only affordable reliable weight management option, because they have never heard of TOPS or OA (Overeaters Anonymous).

How does TOPS rate for success versus Weight Watchers? 

The University of Colorado researchers found that TOPS was very effective, versus "pricier commercial programs": 

...Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus found those who spent three years in the nonprofit Take Off Pounds Sensibly (TOPS) program lost five to seven percent of their body weight and kept it off. “This is the first time a study of this size and duration has ever been done on a weight loss program,” said Nia Mitchell, MD, MPH, and a primary care physician who worked on the study.  “The natural history of weight loss is weight regain and we were happy to see that people were able to keep off the weight.”

The three-year study, published September in the research journal, Obesity, followed thousands of people enrolled in TOPS. The program provided access to their database, but no funding for the research.  Milwaukee-based TOPS helps members lose weight through group support and education. They are encouraged to get a weight goal from their doctors and make it their target. At the same time, they attend weekly meetings and weigh-ins.  ...

The study points out the large price difference between TOPS and other well-known weight loss programs.  TOPS costs about $90 a year while Weight Watchers is between $480 and $625 annually. Programs like Nutrisystem and Jenny Craig, which include the price of food, can cost between $3,600 and $6,500 a year. 

Mitchell said there have been studies of popular commercial weight loss programs but [there has been] little investigation [studies] of nonprofits [weight loss programs] like TOPS or Overeaters Anonymous.

Cite here: University of Colorado's Research About TOPS Success.

As this research explains, personally for me, consistently participating in TOPS for over 3 years now has greatly contributed to my success. I have been through several weight ups and downs, but I could easily afford to outlast a period of discouraging times while staying in the TOPS program. (In earlier years, when I was discouraged with Weight Watchers and couldn't afford the weekly fees either, it was an easy choice to quit for both reasons.) So affordability plays a huge factor in sustainability of a long-term decision.

Weight Watchers Research: Weight Watchers programs offered as good if not better results than with programs led by medical professionals.

What do *you* think? Did this give you new information for you to make better choices? Do any of you belong to OA (Overeaters Anonymous)? I would certainly like to hear more about OA. Does any of the diet organization politics, described above, surprise you?

Have a Beautiful Day!

:-) Marion

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Be Tough (And Don't Be A Baby) To Lose Weight And Keep It Off

Intro: People often tell me that they'd basically like to keep their life the same, but just change how they eat to lose weight. Sometimes people ask me: Do you have to change your personality in order to lose weight? I'm addressing these issues today on my blog.

Do you have to change your personality to lose weight and keep it off? 

Definitely yes. You have to get more tough on yourself in a number of ways. You have to get more fussy about food choices, instead of eating just anything others are eating. You have to carefully watch serving sizes, smaller portions in the first place. No second helpings unless it is something like veggies or fruit.

Mentally, if you used to eat to make yourself feel better, you have to learn to quit doing that. Or at least minimize it a great deal. You can learn how to have a better perspective about your life. This kerfuffle that is taking over your life today will pass, and in another week, there will be the next pretend-crisis to replace it. You can accept that is how life is, and realize that no excess food is necessary to survive these daily events. They pass on their own.

We don't have to be happy every moment. I used to eat treats to make sure that every moment was bliss. However, this is very much a false view of life because the troubles I didn't deal with were still there while I was on my candy-as-a-drug high, chemicals zinging happily in my mind. Some days are just happier than others. I have had to learn to practice more gratefulness about non-food items. I have learned to do other fun things when I get stressed out. Sometimes, if I can't stop being angry, I just channel the anger into housecleaning, to make that energy burst into something productive.

We have to be vigilant, not allowing ourselves to drive our diet motorcycles straight off the cliff. By ending food recklessness, we learn to practice a special kind of self-care. We should never be "rebels without a cause" about our food. That is self-sabotage, and it is something mentally and physically destructive we can avoid doing to ourselves.

When we are at the grocery store or facing food choices, we need to be tough with ourselves. To the level of harsh, almost. To take the humor approach, I walk by cookies/crackers and outwardly call them "evil." I smile, but it's not really a joke. Cookies and crackers create a lot of serious health problems for food addicts. I can't stop at a serving, so I don't fool myself. I can't handle those foods at all. I say "no" to more foods, more often, many more times.

See my blogging friend Jane's great blog post on this subject. Jane is very funny, but incredibly serious too. She walks her straight line, and clearly knows what violates her food rules.

So when people tell me that they are simply going to tweak their eating to lose weight, I never really think that person will succeed for very long. I'm not trying to sound mean about this, but it really is a huge lifestyle change filled with being much tougher and more vigilant every single day all day long. Losing weight and keeping it off does not involve a superficial fix.

But it is also filled with being more proud of yourself too. Most people who have lost weight and kept it off will tell you -- All of the increased toughness is totally *worth it.* We love and enjoy ourselves so much more for deeply caring about our bodies and for stopping the mind games involving being a slave to food. We got off the scary/embarrassing food roller coaster and set our feet onto firm ground that makes good sense in every way possible. It is a very much happier way to live.

Today is Tuesday. As many of you know, I have a 24 hour fast from Monday evening at about 6 p.m. until Tuesday evening at about 6:00 p.m. Why do I do this fast? Because it is my message to me to: Quit being a baby about my eating!!! I do *not* have to eat excess food to be happy. After not eating for a full day, a plain apple or orange, or a bowl of mixed vegetables taste absolutely delicious!!! I use Tuesdays, as I have to the past 3 years, to remind myself to not be so spoiled about food. Because I am a food addict, I need this blatant reminder about every 7 days -- each Tuesday.

Every day, I need to remind myself: Be tough (and don't be a baby) to keep my weight off. I am worth fighting for. And so are you.

What do *you* think? Do you agree or disagree with what I said above? I appreciate your opinions, since there is definitely far more than one way/opinion on this topic. 

Have a Wonderful Day!

:-) Marion

Update on me: Hi! I'm finally back from one of those Lowe's "little" house projects on our house, getting it ready for our daughter's graduation party. Well, what they don't tell you on the commercials is how *exhausting* the combo of indoor/outdoor spackling/taping/painting, weeding/gardening, and full-fledged spring cleaning for 2 weeks in a row really is!!! But it turned out great. Now recuperated, I can say it was all worth it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

One Day at a Time, One Hour at a Time, One Bite at a Time...

When I think about all of the mind games that can steer us wrong, it's a wonder than any of us keep our weight off on the long-term, and yet we do. Some days are fairly easy to eat right.

However, many other days seem quite stressful and less certain. I don't know about your situation, but junk food is always around me and I also have highly stressful situations at work. Contrary to many people's beliefs about me, I am never in a state of Zen. I attack my problems before they attack me. I try to never let people or problems take nibbles out of me, though I still have some very hard days. 

So what do I do on the hardest days? I try to deal with the present situation, ignoring both the past and the future. I take my eating issues one day at a time, one hour at a time, and one bite at a time.

Can I eat well for the next hour? Then eat well for the hour after that? And keep that going? That is all that is necessary. Keeping weight off does not involve monumental heroics, but many good little decisions all day long. And believing in yourself that you can manage the next little chunk of time in front of you.

It's the daily process that counts most.

Food prep is crucial. A chopped cucumber gets eaten, while a whole cucumber lays in the back of the fridge. Chop your healthy food up. Place it in containers. Make yourself iced tea or cool mint-infused water ready in the fridge.

What's in front of us gets eaten. So the family's junk food needs to get put far out of sight in functional undelicious-looking containers, preferably on high shelves.

Meanwhile, the fresh fruit and veggies need to get put out on the kitchen counter top, to be the first thing you see as you walk in the kitchen. Not to make us seem robotic or anything, but most of us will generally eat whatever is in front of us, so plan for it. :-)

Good food choices (low carb foods are always best) and not allowing weight maintenance to get overwhelming are key. We can all handle that small moment in front of us. Really. Don't make eating well into a huge ordeal. Make eating well manageable as easily do-able small tasks to avoid the mind games.

What do *you* think?

Have a delightful day!!!

:-) Marion

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Honesty to One's Self Regarding Health & Eating

This week, at my TOPS meeting, I told my group that I did not feel very honest to myself regarding the subject content within our TOPS Pledge.

The TOPS Pledge contains these words:

TOPS Pledge
I am an intelligent person.
I will control my emotions,
not let my emotions control me.
Every time I am tempted to use food
to satisfy my frustrated desires,
build up my injured ego,
or dull my senses,
I will remember,
even though I overeat in private,
my excess poundage is there
for all the world to see.

The words of the TOPS Pledge are quite profound to me. On many occasions over the past 3 years, I have found myself telling a family member or friend something like, "This week I ate to soothe my injured ego because people have been constantly chewing me out," or "I just ate that food to dull my senses because I am so frustrated."   

In TOPS, a main premise of our organization to honestly to one's self. It's a huge thing. We each have to be able to personally face the "why" of our overeating in order to do something about it. 

Further, I have learned that I have to appreciate when I'm doing okay in a dog-eat-dog world, so that I can acknowledge my victorious attempts of still trying to do "my best" despite stressful situations. Each day, I endeavor to attack those problems instead of letting them attack me. That is a character strength, even if it often doesn't feel that way or results are not as good as we wanted. If we lay the stress on ourselves of needing to be "great" within very frustrating circumstances, we probably cannot meet up to that unrealistic standard. This unrealistic standard creates stress, for which we seek relief, often with overeating comfort food. 

"Okay" is a very much harder standard to accomplish in the worst situations 
than "Great" is to accomplish in optimal situations.  

TLC--tender loving care to ourselves during our hardest ordeals and most frustrating moments. Self-love for just trying to do our best is also part of the honesty we need to achieve our health and eating goals.

Be honest about why you overeat, but also be equally honest that --you are a good person who is fully deserving of good things. 

What do *you* think? What do you think is involved in self-honesty regarding health and eating?

Have a great day during which you have practiced self-love!  

 :-) Marion

Sunday, April 12, 2015

My Exercise/Gym Update: April 12, 2015

Today, it is a personal post, regarding my current exercises and gym experiences.

I've been going to a new gym for the past 2 1/2 months. So far, it's been...GREAT! This gym is a longer trip from my house, but there is more weightlifting equipment in a bigger space and a well-thought set-up. I have met a few of the old regulars of the weightlifting area, which is always fun. I'm sort of a weird fitness person doing my own thing, doing a big bench press sets with the 45 pound plates and then doing yoga balancing poses in between sets, so I often get invited into lively and fun conversations about exercise.

One of the older weightlifting guys asked me if I know how to rehab knees. I told him how I was in constant pain last year with my knee --but this year, it's totally pain-free. I showed him my leg twirls that helped my knee get rehabbed. I hope that helps him.

Another guy asked about weak/sore back, in which I suggested that he might try Lat Pull Downs set at a light amount of weight to rehab his back. Lat Pull Downs are a deeply under-appreciated exercise. Everyone should do them.

Personally, I have done 700 pushups in the past 4 weeks. (No...I don't do them all at once!!! Lol.) I do sets of 10 and then take a break to tidy the house, sort mail, or stir what I'm cooking. I do not like pushups at all, however, pushups allow me to do a great bench press, which I *do* like quite a bit. So I force myself to do them, which is good for me to force myself to get unlikeable things done to get a happy result at the gym.

I'm still doing chin-ups and standing back bends each Sunday-- at age 47. I was talking to a 40-year-old woman in the locker room who totally agreed-- at our age, it feels amazing and awe-inspiring that we can do the exercises we do! We enjoy our personal fitness capabilities so much!! Younger people take these same exercises for granted so they don't feel the joy of accomplishment that we feel.

I am back on track for yoga too. Last year, when my knee was so hurt, I could not do many yoga poses. Contrary to popular opinion, yoga can be incredibly hard on knees, especially if they are previously hurt. So I abruptly stopped doing several yoga poses last year. But now both knees feel great, so I'm back to doing all the yoga poses I love to do.

I have given up Bosu ball balancing. One day, hours after leaving the gym, my one hip felt...I don't even know how to describe it. But the hip issue was with me for 2 days. I knew it was from Bosu ball balancing, and I didn't want that feeling in my hip joint. Bosu ball is just not worth any sort of joint issue for me.

As one guy at the gym was telling me, they show an adventurous/reckless exercise on youtube.com, but they don't show the aftermath of all of the people who are injured from doing that exercise. So true! More and more, I am choosing tightly controlled exercises and avoiding Bosu balls, big kicks, jumping, side hops, and anything that is more likely to get me unbalanced that I hurt myself. This is my personal choice based upon how much I truly resent being injured.

As one older weightlifting guy was saying to me, he doesn't understand why the younger weightlifters take so much needless risk. My comment back was: We see this mainly as a journey, while they see it primarily as a goal. Perspective is everything!

Walking: I walk Keebler one mile per day in our neighborhood. Besides that, I tend to walk 2 to 3 miles just doing my normal activities. Usually, on Saturday, I have a bigger walking day involving shopping. I think this is a walking amount that feels great.

Lastly, I've been trying to make a grocery trip right after gym when I'm feeling physically at my best. The foods I purchased reflected how I was feeling. I had a delicious salad with fresh dill in it. Fresh herbs transform salads. My son commented that the salad did not need dressing. 

What do *you* think? What good things are happening for your fitness and eating?

Have a Marvelous Day!

:-) Marion