Monday, August 22, 2011

Next to Last SLIMMER THIS SUMMER CHALLENGE Update..and Some Long-Winded Thoughts on the Scale AND...On What I'd Like To See In The Next Challenge...So Tell me what you think...and pics of my new green sneakers...

I meant to post yesterday, but hubby and I headed out and then I got lazy. But I did weigh-in and update the sidebar yesterday with the weigh-in (in case nobody noticed, hah).


That's .6 lbs down from last week.

This week has been an upsy and downsy week and I have struggled.

Playing catch in my new bright green sneaks!

I walked x3
I did Pilates x 2 with trainer
Worked on push-ups (still can't do them right) only 1 day (lazy, lazy)
Matching green "feline footwear",hubby's
I had a casual day of playing Frisbee/Catch with the family
And otherwise I stayed in out of the heat being a lazy cat.
Drank my fluids all but one day, when I fell short by 8 oz. (Mistallied.)
Prayed for y'all.
Did not quit.

Breathing got radically better and I've had no issues this weekend. Huh to that in the deep of hurricane season's heat/humidity/pollens, but I won't say I'm not grateful.

I'm still not at my lowest weight of 183.8 for the challenge, but while I'm crawling on my way down, it is on the way DOWN, and if I do a half pound a week consistently for the rest of the year, that's almost another 10 pounds down, and I'd be only 15 lbs away from goal weight.

Yes, I do have to think of it in long-term. I only want to lose 25 more pounds (to 160 original goal), and it may take me a while to do it, but the point is and always will be consistency. Losing a bunch one week or three, gaining a bunch for a week or three, then losing a bunch again---that's not healthful or my style. I want to learn to be losing, in maintaining. I don't wanna yo-yo, all hyped up for a month, then fizzle out for 3, then find myself fighting the same pounds over and not really getting where I want to STAY.

I want to get to my dang goal weight, be it 160, 170, 145, whatever. I want to GET there and then learn how to maintain it (which is a whole nother hard work journey). Crash diets don't appeal to me. Yo-yo doesn't appeal to me. Whether it's 3 pounds, 2 pounds, 1 pound, or a half a pound a week, I just want to be someone who is doing what she needs to do week in and week out.

That's hard. But that's the only way to beat the fat for life. Learn what it takes to do the things that need to be done.. at each meal, every day, each week, month by month,  year after year.

And I think I need to see the scale the way I see the mirror or the blood pressure cuff or my every-3-months bloodwork. I can't ignore it, avoid it, or let it make me nuts. It's simply FEEDBACK. Like my waist measurement (that hasn't budged in weeks and weeks). It just says, "Here is where you are at" and no more. It's not cussing at me. It's not blessing me. It's not reviling me. It's not telling me I"m better than... It's a number. It's monitoring. It's accountability. It's information. THAT IS ALL.

I measure my waist and hips, I weight, I take my blood pressure, I get blood taken for lipid and CBC panels. I check the mirror to see how my eyes look, my hair, my teeth, my skin. Why? Just to track. Just to see if I'm making progress. Do my brows need plucking? Is there still some gunk on my incisor? Do I need to add benzoyl peroxide to the night-time regimen for my skin. Did I have too much salt? Did I eat too much of this and that and mess up my LDL?

Sometimes I do good things (moisturize, pluck, brush, use conditioner, eat lots of veggies, take my vitamins, exercise). Sometimes things go a bit bad (I don't wash make-up off properly before bed, forget to tend to a zit, eat too much sodium, go nuts on cheese, forget to drink extra water when I exercise in the heat). Sometimes they go way bad (like the time my liver enzymes or sugar were going out of whack and my triglycerides were high when I was binge-ing during mom's demise and taking statins, both hurting my liver).

The mirror, scale, tape measure, BP machine, etc...they just give me INFO. Then I do something with it--be it change food or or movement, or ignore it, or call the doc in a panic. Whatever. Tools. Just tools.

The reason I do these measurements isn't principally to feel great and get a boost and motivate myself. Those can play a part. The main reason I do these things is to see if I AM MAKING PROGRESS and if I am NOT MAKING PROGRESS to find ways to motivate myself to do the things that will improve the result on the scale, with the tape measure, on the lipid profile, with the blood pressure monitor.

The motivation isn't the scale. The scale can tell me if I'm motivated or not. 

It's a gauge of motivation, and it's confirmation of proper changes implemented in one's plan. It is not THE motivator.

Measurement tools are FEEDBACK. They are not the judges of what I am worth.

I am worth just as much at 184.4 as I was at 299 lbs. I may feel differently ABOUT myself, but that's not the scale's problem. That's MINE. That's psychological stuff or self-esteem stuff or mood stuff or whatever.

Every article I've read about those who lost a lot of weight and kept it off talked about daily to weekly weighings to stay on track and correct behavior before it got way out of hand. The majority of the time I didn't want to get on the scale it was because I knew it would be bad and I didn't want bad news. And the majority of time I've seen bloggers over the last 5 years avoid the scale or take scale breaks, it was because of the fear or stress of the number.

We love the number when it's positive.

We hate it when it's negative.

I make a new proposition: Let's not hate a number or love a number.

Let's think of it strictly as feedback. A coach will tell a runner if their time, their number, was better, worse, the same. It's a way to gauge where training time/techniques need to be applied. Maybe check for issues.

If you are doing everything RIGHT--calorically, exercise, fluids, sleep, meds, mood--and the scale is cruel for 2 to 3 weeks on end, then yes, there may be some deeper issues, medical issues. Allan used to tell us this all the time. If you do it right and you arent' losing: SEE A DOCTOR.

If  WE KNOW we're not doing it right, then why get upset at a number on the scale that reflects our NOT doing what we ought? The scale can be deceptive, as it doesn't measure FAT, just WEIGHT, and that can be skewed--in terms of fluid retention at TOM or after salt intake or with steroid use, or huge water loss at the start of low carb diets, which says nada about FAT, etc--but it's only a tracking tool. That's it. Other measures are needed for body composition. Nevertheless, it's a good tool. It is good feedback OVER TIME. One week can be off. Two . But over time, it's a good tool. USE IT. As a tool, not as a self-esteem monitor or a mood controller.

Just a feedback tool for someone renovating...a body. :)

Cause this cutiepie deserves to have a hot(tish) wife:
My Prince, who looks so hot with a mitt, yes?

Now, for my next challenge:

I had pondered hosting a Christmas Dress Countdown challenge. I still think I'd like to do something along those lines. However, I really think what I want to do is something a bit different than what I originally discussed via email with THURSDAY'S CHILD. I do think I want an email component, which means it will have to be a smaller challenge (so it's a not a crazy long email list).

I was looking back at the things that helped or motivated me most in past challenges, and maybe include things like that. But also include something I've never seen addressed in other challenges I dabbled in or competed over the years: the spiritual and/or the "change techniques" component.

I have no idea right now how that would be set-up. I had this brilliant flash of a notion in the midst of falling asleep two days ago, and I remember going, "Oh, geesh, that would be it. That would be amazing." And I fell asleep--and forgot the brilliant idea. Dang. That's frustrating.

But I do think that many of us already know the nutritional tips, the tracking tips, know we ought to exercise and drink fluids. How many know the actual helpful techniques for behavioral CHANGE? The spiritual aspect that can help one overcome vices/bad habits?

I'd also want the time between StS and when the new challenge starts to be prep time: get rid of junk or trigger foods from your home, prepare the books and exercise stuff (DVDs, equipment, clothes) ready, shop for fresh plan-friendly groceries, figure out your water needs and schedule to workout, get family and friends on board to support you through the temptations of the holidays before the challenge ends (no Halloween crap, healthful options at Thanksgiving). Whatever needs to be done to be all set and IN the mindset. And that can--and maybe SHOULD--include the purchase of a smaller size dress, one that doesn't fit yet, to motivate one to fit into it by Christmas. Or at minimum a photo of the desired dress and the desired size. Yep.  Prep work.

Maybe that's too ambitious for ONE challenge. Maybe I'm full of crap.

And if you think whatever challenge I come up with is too demanding or weird or whatever, remember, there are always many challenges going on. You can find one that suits you, for sure! You can start one...and should, if you have the energy and ideas or just the time! Nothing suits everyone. Be a challenge starter or co-starter!

But, anyway, all that's what I've been pondering, and especially this: components that are about changing more than what we choose for breakfast or how much water we drink. Probably including a book of the challenger's choice (I might offer a list for suggestions) to use and read and apply during the course of the challenge. Perhaps one food book and one change book and one spiritual book. Well, that would be CHALLENGING, except for folks who love to read.

But one thing I know for sure, I want a challenge that is very supportive, positive in outlook, hopeful--like Slimmer This Challenge has been, hooray!-- and one where scale accountability is a given. One number, once a week, no excuses. Allan had that rule, and trust me, it motivated me. I knew if I didn't give that number by that day of the week, I was OUT of the challenge, unless I had a darn good reason and let him know (ie, hospitalized, no internet access on Fiji vacation, computer crash, etc).

I remember how more than once, when I was tempted to hit a cookie or an extra serving of this or that during DDDY, the knowledge that I'd have to send a number to Allan come Sunday made me NOT hit the chips and salsa or blue cheese dressing. Seriously, knowing there would be a reckoning of the numerical sort can be the thing that stops the nighttime extra snack.

Well, Allan would holler sometimes.

I won't holler, but I think knowing you'd have to publish your numerical feedback for the week, rain or shine, was a sort of rein. And to encourage each other NOT to think of the number as the determinant of mood/feeling/motivation, but just something to guide us, help us tweak, help us regroup, or help us celebrate milestones.

As far as other parameters, perhaps a more flexible caloric level than StS, as long as it's one where folks can lose something a week to reach the Dress Size goal....not everyone needs to be 1200, but some people do. Not everyone can lose at 1600, but some people can. Livability--food plans and exercise plans that reasonably fit into your life/family life/work life/day-to-day, but is challenging enough to actually cause weight loss and increase in muscle. Just not TBL level hard. ; ) Since it's another long challenge--3 months or so--one can lose a nice amount to fit into a lovely Christmas dress without having to live at the gym or starve.

So, those are my thoughts on a "next challenge", encapsulated here:

1. Weigh-in number must be posted on the blog once a week, on the given day(s) without fail or excuses.
2. A caloric limit chosen by each participant to encourage steady weekly loss and a healthful diet plan of their choice that includes real, wholesome foods and adequate fluids. Participants will need to decide how to track--any method, I don't care--but you should have some method to know when you hit your limit.
3. An exercise type/variety/intensity chosen by the participant to be at least 3x a week.
4. A book(s) to be studied, blogged about, that helps the participant with change/procrastination/spiritual/vice/bad habit issues that will help overcome overeating.
5. A very supportive atmosphere and positive support structure, which should include commenting on each others' blogs to cheer each other on.
6. Email motivational support from leader(s)
7. A goal dress size stated (or guess at) or, better yet, pic of dress bought for motivation or wanted as a dream-dress, and ideally, but not required, a pic of challenger WEARING the dress in the after when challenge concludes. (Faces can be blocked out for privacy, but we wanna see you fit into the goal dress.)
8. A commitment NOT TO QUIT. To stay in the challenge and work on issues and post weight, even if one is doing poorly. To hang in. Hang in and not disappear. A COMMITMENT to fellow challengers to go the distance, no matter the obstacles.

I'm thinking that if it's a limited, manageable number, I'd give priority to those who finished Slimmer this Summer who want in. If you stuck with the StS 12 weeks, you can stick to a similar number for the Christmas Dress Countdown.

Anyone have suggestions on what a challenge should have based on what motivated you the most to LOSE the most in the past? Comment away...


SO FAT 4 NOW said...

A Challenge is just that, Challenging. A cookie now and then is not a Challenge, it's called Tuesday. Make it hard, then it is a Challenge. Look up knitting circle for the other stuff...

Anonymous said...

Love the shoesss. Your looking good doll!

Princess Dieter said...

Knitting as a distration from eating might work, too,A! :)

Caron said...

You are getting close to winning the race and mostly because you've been sure and steady and kept your eyes on the goal. Inspiring. You look wonderful!

Karen Butler Ogle said...

What inspired me the most on my weight loss journey was the encouragement of knowing others were on the same journey. It helped me to know that others were following the exact plan I was. After I got to goal, it didn't matter so much that we are all doing different plans but in the heat of battle, it helped to know that others were sacrificing the same food I was.

Amber said...

Wonderful insights! Yes, numbers are so helpful in being accountable to ourselves and motivating all together.

I would love to join you in another 3 month challenge. Anything to keep me moving and thinking about what I am doing to nourish myself. I already have a dress in mind if it is a Christmas dress challenge.

P.S. I love your new matching shoes!!

Suzan said...

If I were ever to do a challenge again, (I'm pretty much a lone wolf, so I doubt it) the challenge would have to be with people who were doing similar diets.

After all that I've learned about food and health, it is impossible for me to comment on people's blogs to encourage and cheer them on when what they are eating to lose weight may be setting themselves up for regain of their weight, and/or chronic illness.

I believe that achieving good health is more important than losing weight. The previous weight loss challenge made me realize this even more.

Excess weight is a usually a symptom of inflammation/infection usually acquired from poor eating habits, rather than a disease in itself. If people try to lose their excess weight eating highly processed/packaged, sugared, highly inflammatory foods - even if they're labeled "healthy" or "fat free," they may lose weight, but they'll either just gain it all back+, or set themselves up for lifelong, chronic illness. In all good conscience, I couldn't participate in that.

Princess Dieter said...

While you and I have very similar ideas of what constitutes a healthful diet, I can cheer people on doing HEALTHIER diets than the crap a lot of American eat or that we ate to get morbidly obese. Just not eating a bunch of junk food, candy, sweet soda, cookies, cake, pizza helps. that's a move in the right direction. I can cheer folks on choosing their right direction. They don't have to be perfect for me to cheer them on, just as I'm never perfect diet-wise, and I hope they cheer me on, too.

Lots of athletes and very fit people don't eat the same way. Jack laLanne ate grains and lived to a ripe old age, cause he did it MOSTLY absolutly right--rest, vigorous exercise, fruits and veggies in abundance, moderation, good attitude.

I'll cheer folks on who want to eat better andm ove, because eating crap and not moving is killing our country. Progress is progress. :)

Julie said...

Long post, great post and yes please include in in a challenge not just about weight though I'm thinking I might head for a healthy 150-160. I'm not doing to well in the maintaining yet, scale up a tad this week, down last week. I'm learning but I love the challenges and I know what you meant about if I eat this Allan will know. It made a difference, a huge difference. Think about it and see where this all heads.
Take care and have a blessed afternoon. Oh love the shoes and your hubs and you are a hot couple.

Jo said...

I like the reading idea, sort of like a book club, but that is because I loooooove to read. I like the weigh in and send the number by a certain deadline. I don't like the part about eating the same foods, because there are some who are diebetic, gluten intolerant, lo- or high-carb for whatever reason, vegan, on and on. Posting foods is fine (but boring) but not everyone drinking protein drinks or everyone eating the same food. I don't want to waste my calories by "having" to eat your eggs. You get my drift. However, I would be the first to jump into a challenge, because I do best when I have a group mentality, and enjoy the back and forth and getting new ideas. Having said all this, I will abide by whatever rules YOU set out for the challenge YOU sponsor for us. And thank you in advance.

"KT" said...

"The motivation isn't the scale. The scale can tell me if I'm motivated or not." This is SO wise.

The "whole body" challenge sounds really cool too, I'd love to take part if there's room when it happens. :)

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I always have brilliant ideas right before bed and then they go away! I've often thought that I want a computer printout of what my brain is thinking because it goes away so fast!

I agree, HAVING to weigh in weekly with the numbers published DID work. I didn't like to see my name at the bottom and I tried harder to get it up towards the top. It DID motivate me. I think it's a great idea. Count me in when you do it! :-)

If knitting keeps me from eating, I might just learn it. I know there is a chili dog eating 5K race, there has to be a knitting 5K race out there somewhere. :-)

Kathy Ireland said...

I would love to be included in this challenge. I stumbled across your blog yesterday and am so impressed. For me, motivation to exercise is the thing that I need. When I feel run down, or tired = unmotivated; and I don't exercise, I end up eating. Then the guilt comes. Then I don't sleep well. Then the food hangover the next day. Then I'm tired the next's a vicious cycle.
I would definitley like to try this challenge!

EmptyNester said...

I love everything you've come up with so far. Except the posting of the number- I don't mind sharing that privately, but too many people read my blog that I don't care to give the number out to. I'll have to figure this one out!

Angela Pea said...

I'm good! Still looking for a dress. I really need a new formal dress for corporate holiday shindigs. I pulled mine from the closet to try it on last night, and laughed out loud. It's so loose and baggy - I can hardly believe that a few years ago it was too tight and I needed structurally compressed/supportive undergarments in order to zip up!

That number thing? My head knows it, but my heart is still struggling. The mental and emotional part of weight loss is way harder than actually shedding the pounds.

Yum Yucky said...

Ahhh, yes. Your Prince. He's probably wearing the sunglasses so no one would know he's sneaking peeks of his Princess' booty. HA! (and girrrl, your legs are looking slim!)

w0rld4vamps said...

Although I've been in the blogging world for a while I haven't participated in a group challenge. I find you inspirational and I want to try something new so count me in. The rules you set are already very similar to my own goals so I think having a group mindset and a competitive edge would help. I'll put in a new post announcing joining this challenge soon. Until then does anyone have suggestions on what books to read? I'm a huge fan of reading!