Day Eleven…

Being open to the journey means that I am eager to find ways to participate in the process. I have been on this journey in earnest since September 2017, that is a very long time. How do I keep making this fresh? For one thing, I think it is very important maintain a “beginner’s mind”. I’ve written about this concept before. Having a beginner’s mind means lifting preconceptions about what to expect when approaching… well, anything. It is especially helpful, when it comes to weight loss, or maintenance.

So, how can I keep it fresh this week? I asked myself a question, What if I eat more whole foods? How would that impact my hunger levels? To answer that question, I’m experimenting with is eating more whole foods, and saving SmartPoints for dinner. I have been monitoring my hunger cues by setting my phone timer for 4 hours after I finish each meal. I am finding this challenge as helpful in the same way that giving up dessert was good for me last week.

In keeping with the theme of gratitude, today I am grateful for:

  • Physical Therapy (thank you, Dave you’re helping)
  • Fresh vegetables (colorful, cheerful, and satisfying)
  • Lemon juice (I know it’s weird but true lots of flavor 0 sp.)

I hope you are having a positive journey. I am on your side we can all reach our goals together.

Day Ten…

Three things I am grateful for today are:

  1. Homemade tomato sauce – Yum (lower SmartPoints)
  2. My green and blue flannel shirt (so comfortable)
  3. Late spring rain (even though the sky is dreary it makes everything all around look so vibrant and green).

It was another good day on plan. My husband brought be home a Carvelite ice-cream (I guess that’s number four on the gratitude list). I have been rolling over SmartPoints for the last two days. I’m going to keep at this, I hope you do too.

Day Eight…

I decided I’m going to keep counting days until I get back to goal. I did lose a pound this week, and that is very welcome news. I worked to recapture a beginner’s mind this week. Giving up dessert was a good way to get in touch with those feelings. Insofar as my mindset, gratitude is the word of the day. It’s easy to feel grateful when things are going good isn’t it? However, while it’s always good to be grateful, it’s even more important when times are tough. It is also easy to be grateful for the big things, like my children, my husband, my family, and my friends. I am deeply grateful – they are all the most important people in the world to me, I am so blessed to have these remarkable people in my life. Sometimes, it is important to recognize the less obvious sources that make me feel grateful. These are three small things I’m grateful for:

  • the way the sun comes through my dining room windows.
  • living in a small town close to the water.
  • being able to have this time to reflect and write.

So, yes I am grateful for the biggest blessings but I also don’t want forget the small ones too. I realize that to someone reading this post, it may sound strange to write about gratitude here (since this is a blog about weight loss and maintaining weight loss) but I guess the thing is anything that is difficult to do requires a lot of energy. Energy that comes from gratitude is better than energy that comes from struggle. I aspire to keep a grateful heart no matter what comes my way.

Day Seven…

There is this little specialty shop in the village that sells infused vinegars and oils. The great thing about infused vinegar is that it adds a lot of flavor with 0 sp. and the olive oil is just 4 sp. for a tablespoon. Consider trying some, this is a little helpful tip that keeps things fresh.

Reflect on your week without sugar: What did you learn?

Friday, How Sweet It Is Seven Day No Sugar Challenge

As I reflect on this week, I believe this little challenge saved me. It helped me to get back on track by focusing on one thing, giving up desserts. I think the reason why this worked so well for me is that giving up desserts made me feel less hungry. I really hope I don’t feel frustrated if I don’t lose weight this week. I mean right now I feel empowered and have a great sense of personal satisfaction, and it would be awful if the numbers on the scale took that feeling away from me. I know, I know, I can’t let the numbers rule the day, no matter what it was a great week. I keep reminding myself, I’m doing this for me I am worth it. My hope is that you believe that your are worth it too.

Day Six…

Yesterday a friend confided that that she was missing chocolate and nuts. She decided to give them up because she has been gaining not losing. She works a lot, and they give her an energy burst that keeps her going when she’s tired. However, at the same time she also said, that she feels better now that that they’re off the menu. Her clothes feel looser, she is less hungry. She hates to admit it, but she is probably better off without them. Then, she also went on to say that the Wendy’s salad she has been eating each week on her way to her second job, has 16 SmartPoints! She enjoys the salad, and it is convenient but in no way is worth all those points. When her daughter looked up the salad, it was a real eye opener, and now she is bringing her own salad.

I have been encouraging her to track her foods for a while now, and I guess her WW coach joined the chorus and got her to promise to track this week. She was blown away by at how easy it is to stack up hidden SmartPoints (or calories however you work it) on what seemingly would be healthy options. Nuts, salad, even chocolate (in moderation) are “healthy” options but not if portion sizes are too large, or if they are laden with hidden fat and salt. Awareness is a very important tool that makes a huge difference in the results we get along the way.

Read an article about sugar and respond.

Thursday, How Sweet It Is Seven Day No Sugar Challenge

Ryan Andrews wrote this article, Sugar Daddy: My Year Without Sugar. I found this to be full of information and incite. Rather than summarize the article, because hey you can read for yourself. I would rather explore the parts that were most meaningful to me. There was quite a lot that resonated with me. Some of the ideas Ryan put out there are:

  • “Desserts are addictive.” For me this is a true statement! I find that when I eat desserts that are in the house, I want to go back for seconds, thirds, and sometimes the entire box of Enlighten bars. The best way for me to indulge in dessert is to go out and get an ice-cream cone, a piece of cake, or a cookie. This is my experience; however, it is not true for everyone. Ryan links to an article that details the effects of Dopamine on the brain that goes into why which is also an interesting read.
  • “We get to choose what we do.” Agreed! We can empower ourselves to make deliberate choices. It’s a little easier to give up dessert when I create some context by comparing it to the struggle of raising a family or sustaining a career. When I think of it that way, it is not such a big thing after all.
  • “We don’t eat sugar ‘in moderation’.” A fun fact, nearly 90% of the North American diet is comprised of processed foods (carb dense sugar rich foods). That’s why I’ve had so much success with WW because the #Freestyle plan leans so heavily into the 0 sp. foods (low fat whole food choices). this makes sense to me, as my coach Bonnie tells me, “We didn’t get here eating carrots, bananas, or grapes.” True! True!
  • “Food is habit forming.” Yesterdays post goes into my thinking and YES! This a very true statement for me as well. He found that taking dessert off the menu left him feeling less hungry – same!
  • “The ‘All or None’ approach can work with strong incentives . What he refers to an an incentive is how I regard as my why. Agreed. My why is a powerful one, I don’t want to gain back the weight I lost. It took a long time and a lot of effort to lose this weight because I wanted to feel good physically and build up my confidence. That is the most important thing.
  • “Internal dialogue sucks.” I hadn’t thought about all the internal dialogue that goes on with the struggle to be moderate with dessert. It creates unnecessary so much unnecessary tension. All the, “Should I eat another peanut butter chocolate bar? No. But, if I eat two that’s only 5 sp. as opposed to 3 sp. what’s the big deal?” Sound familiar? Exhausting. I don’t miss that.
  • “Taste re-calibration is possible.” It’s true, I am finding that I don’t even want sugary desserts (right now). Last night when my son was eating sorbet I had a ramekin full of fresh strawberries they were so sweet to me. What even does a ramekin hold, 1/3 of a cup 1/2 cup? So funny t think about – it was only five days sugar-free yesterday.
  • Think about attachments… Change occurs at the desire level… Tap into what you want, avoid declarative statements…

True Stories & the Stories We Tell…

The stories I tell myself can either build me up or tear me down. I had an excellent day on plan. I kept my goal close to me and tracked everything I ate. I am in control and can do this (even though some times it’s very difficult). There are all kinds of true stories surrounding my weight loss journey – true stories of defeat and success. The story that is the most important is the one where I never ever give up. I am going to keep at this, for the rest of my life, because I want to live my life in the best health I can. I enjoy having energy, and the sense of confidence my weight loss has given me. I’m more confident because I feel more like I used to feel, before the weight gain, and that feeling makes the work that maintenance requires seem like a fair trade. I’m resilient I can dig deep and keep going because that is who I choose to be. That’s my story.

Getting Grounded…

Understanding why weight loss is so important is the one thing that separates long lasting success from a temporary victory. Weight loss is too hard to maintain unless there is a real and meaningful reason to keep at it. The conversation this morning was very honest and real, and it is really making me think.

I listened very carefully and I heard four categories of people on the journey:

  • WW Mavins – Erin became Lifetime! Go Erin! She shared her strategy of keeping peanut butter cups in the freezer to have on hand when she needs one. She also shared about going out for dessert and not keeping that food in the house. She is a fan of the Schmidt 647 Italian bread (as I am). Having this bread on hand helps because it offers a full sized sandwich that is more substantial for 2 sp. Members like Erin are flying high and feeling amazing because accomplishing this goal is a life changer.
  • Motivated Mamas – Lorraine shared how how she is finding new ways to keep her food interesting and satisfying One new thing to try, she is using Better’n Peanut Butter at 1sp per serving it sounds very promising. Members like Lorraine are in the I can do it phase and are doing just that – they are both inspiring to others as as they can be perplexing. They seem to have figured out something that can be so elusive to others.

It’s easy to use names when people are successful or feeling strong, now I’m just going share profiles I notice. These members are heroic to me because I understand in a deep and personal way what they’re going through.

  • Foxhole Fighters – Other members are in survival mode. They are fighting the weight loss or maintenance battle and don’t know if they will win or lose. They are fatigued and worn out. They attend the workshop, they share, and they are in a very real sense phoning in for backup. Members like these are in a tenuous situation – this phase may either lead to a comeback or a setback. These members inspire me because they are fighters. Even though this is hard, they are fighting the battle and that is really quite remarkable.
  • Nay Nays – Some members are beaten to the point that they have almost given up on weight loss. They come to the workshop but inside they aren’t convinced this will ever work. They start to say things like, “This program just doesn’t work for me.” When people say that, I believe them. I believe them because who can blame someone for feeling this way. The most amazing thing about these members is they keep coming. They come because inside there is still some hope that they can turn things around.

I can describe these phases because I’ve experienced each one. The thing that pulls me to one over the other is the proximity to my “why” and how deftly I am able to grow my #willpower. This post, is dedicated to my #why and #willpower. Here is a quote from my updated page #Why:

Being on Maintenance has taught me to appreciate and value willpower. I used think that willpower was the thing that made weight loss unsustainable and that it made this journey more about struggle than joy. I was wrong. Now I think that my willpower is like the fuel and my why is like the motor.

Jenn Hayhurst #Why

I’m glad you’re reading my post. I’m glad that you are on this journey. No matter what phase you’re in be grateful that you’re in it. You are not unconscious to the issue – you’re in it and dealing with it. If you need to refuel your willpower or tune up your why. You can do it.

Got a Good Thing Going…

Snacking on the banana that I didn’t eat this morning, I find myself thinking about how good my day is going. I went to spin class this morning so that makes the third class I attended this week. I exited the gym to a beautiful sunny morning. I am really proud of myself for making the choice to go. Recording my data for the week, is helping me to build myself up. Doing this, makes my progress more visible to me and I am finding this exercise very helpful.

I think I’m turning over a new leaf and heading into a good period for my weight loss/maintenance goals. Goals related to weight may be difficult at times, but I can do difficult things. So can you. More tomorrow.

Don’t Wait it Out Write It Out…

This week, at my WW Studio, we had a discussion about ways to change unhelpful habits. Change the habit change the outcome, I’ve been writing about Habit Loops since Day Fifteen of my journey. I am intrigued by Habit Loops and how unconscious we are to the pull of our hidden habits. For example, somewhere along the line I created a bad habit of associating my emotions as a cue to eat. Sound familiar anyone? I know I’m not alone.

One strategy I want to try when I feel stressed, or I suddenly find myself on the hunt in the kitchen when I’m not really hungry, is doing a quick write. Today I watched a video for a few minutes, and started writing for five minutes about what I experienced and thought about and then a few more minutes to read over my writing. Try it, it’s fun.

My Quick Write: I am present now…

Spark! Quick Writes to Kindle Hearts and Minds in Elementary Classrooms offers teachers QR codes that give access to video files like this one.

The moon is floating and it’s hard to tell where the water meets the horizon. The warm light cascades over calm seas and there is only the sound of water lapping up against my boat and the smell of salt and teak. I am struck by how the creamy golden light wavers, dips, and shimmers like some strange exotic being. It is light it is radiant and I am reminded again this is not of this world. It is a visitor from above. Then as it breaks away to give the sea that one last embrace, it curves towards the edge of the sky and is gone. It is tucked away as the sun slides in and a new day has begun.