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Hi. I don't know what to do.

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Old 10-08-2004, 03:58 PM   #1
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Default Hi. I don't know what to do.

I have been reading a few things in the maintainers forum already. I recognise a few familiars from other forums. Hi! And I will read more ... lots more.
I just felt that I should try to write down my garbled thoughts.
I don't know what to do. I'm lighter than I ever thought I would get. I'm even OK shape-wise. If I tone up some more, that'd be wonderful. If I stayed like this, it would be fine too. I wouldn't even mind if I hovered up a couple of pounds.
But I don't know how.
I feel obsessive/compulsive ... over-the-top if I'm still entering everything I eat in fitday -or- exercising hard -or- trying to figure out maintainance levels -or- ideal weights. If I let it all slide, even a bit, I feel like I'm at the top of a slippery slope.
Yesterday, two people called me skinny mini and someone said something to me about anorexia. I had 1800 cals yesterday, elliptical'd 15 mins and did some upper body weight stuff. I still have some 'soft tissue' around the middle. Anorexia is not it.
Perhaps it's a problem with not having a numerical goal.
I'll go read now. Thanks for listening.


I'm going to amend that ... it would indeed bother me if I hoveed up a couple of pounds. I still weigh myself every morning. Ugh, I may be sicker than I thought.
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Old 10-08-2004, 04:59 PM   #2
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Susan -- go back and read this thread started by lessofsarahtolove

NY Times Article 9/30/2004

There are many, many great thoughts in there... I'll point out a few...

Sweater Girl posted:

Quote:
Would someone call a diabetic obsessive because they go for a daily walk and avoid junky carbs and test their blood a few tmes a day? My dad does that and I call it trying his best to stay alive to see his grandkids.

Do we call an athlete obsessed because they wake up at 4:30 every morning to do some training andbecause they eat the same type of smoothie each morning to get their day started. I call it striving for excellence.

So when we skip the afternoon snackies at work (or eat some fruit, cc or whatever instead), exercise, and eat our non-processed foods we're obsessed? I don't think I am obsessed, I am just realistic. We have to manage our obesity, even if we're now thin. So I don't think you're obsessed at all. Congrats on the WL!! Maybe those co-workers are jealous at your resolve or maybe they think you make them look bad or maybe they think you're judging them. Just tell them you're doing this for you, you're happy.

Think about it this way, all of us here have been obese, so it's not like we're trying to prevent a possibility of it since our Aunt Martha was obese: we've been there before, our chances of becoming obese again with our old eating habits is basically 100%. If you want to treat yourself once in a while do it on your own terms (I always feel more in control when I chose when to have the occasional splurge).
Meg said:

Quote:
"I personally donít care what the statistics say ó this is MY life"
gatsby said

Quote:
that is so amazing! say it again "this is MY life" everytime someone gets on your back about exercising too much, not eating enough, here just have one donut, you're no fun. i'll tell you what's no fun, no i wont, you aleady know know what's no fun about being fat, obese, overweight, pick your adjective.

Don't let those saboteurs get the best of you... it is your body and your life and you choose to put healthy stuff in it and good for you!!!! YOU choose a healthy "lifestyle" ... and so do we... Come here to get your motivation to keep away form the cwap foods....

HTH...
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Old 10-08-2004, 08:47 PM   #3
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susan - you have A LOT to be proud of, and you need to take care of it. but in a way that you can live with, that balances you. these wonderful women who view their weight MANAGEMENT as similar to diabetes MANAGEMENT give me such hope and courage. and it makes so much sense to me.. how many times have i read or been told that obesity is a CHRONIC disease [or condition]??!!!

and that means lifelong management.

so this morning my pants were a little snug... that means that i'm about 5 pounds over my usual 'balance point.'

so what do i have to do??? it's really simple.. in a few small steps again.

make sure i get at least 1 hour of walking in every single day. more if i can.

start my day with a 10 gram protein shake. then a walk. then breakfast before 8:30, even if i have to eat it in the car.

lunch by 1:30

snack around 5:30-6:00

a walk

dinner around 9 [don't ask!!! this is what works for me]

stay out of the wheat thins. just because they say that they're single serving doesn't mean i get to eat the entire serving in one day - my carb portions are about 50% of everyone else's

i don't have to give up anything or change much. just exercise, and eat on a schedule.

and i can handle this. i can do this. i've done these 5 pounds before without even thinking about it. i can do it again. better this than 300 again!!!!!

we have so much to lose when we gain back. i can't do it again. i just can't.

soooo susan... what do you need to be balanced and on track?
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Old 10-09-2004, 08:51 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. I've been reading too. Especially, Ilene's recommended reading I feel a little more balanced this morning. I, at least, have some nebulous thoughts that might fall into order.

I hope to get to the point where I can ... once in a while ... enter a days worth of food into fitday and just see how I'm doing. Or maybe write everything on a slip of paper and just enter it once a day. I have a pretty good handle on food and know what I'm doing unless I eat something wierd. I NEED to stay on top of the groceries!!
I can walk ... maybe on my days off which would be two days a week at least. But winters coming. That worries me.
I can hardly leave my weights alone, so I'll always be fooling with them. Probably 5 or 6 days a week.
And my elliptical machine is something I love and hate.
Both my DH and I really want a bowflex and that is a possibility for Christmas.
I should be able to maintain at about 18 or 1900 calories. I guess I just need to convince myself that I can relax without relapse.

Thanks again to everyone who posts in this forum. I'm learning lots.
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
I feel obsessive/compulsive ... over-the-top if I'm still entering everything I eat in fitday -or- exercising hard -or- trying to figure out maintainance levels -or- ideal weights. If I let it all slide, even a bit, I feel like I'm at the top of a slippery slope.
Hi Susan! Glad you found us here Ė this is definitely the right place to talk about all the issues you brought up because I think weíre all in a similar place. I for one feel exactly like you do. Certainly much of the world sees us as obsessive compulsive diet and fitness nuts (of course, the norm in this country now is overweight or obese - 65% - so even being a normal weight is being different).

My response to you is -- try not to let yourself be defined by other people. Donít let them project their expectations and insecurities onto you. Youíre doing whatís right and necessary for YOU.

Iím completely convinced that those of us who have lost weight and are struggling to maintain it are a separate breed than the rest of the world. Weíre no longer overweight but weíre different Ė physically and psychologically Ė from people who have never been overweight. We have eating issues that will probably always be with us and face it, weíre going to have to work harder to keep the weight off than someone who never was overweight. We may look the same on the outside as normal people but we're still very different on the inside.

It most definitely comes down to lifelong obesity management for us. We canít do what the rest of the world does when it comes to food and exercise. We canít afford to let go Ė forget diets Ė skip the gym for very long because then weíd end up as one of the 95% of dieters who regain the weight theyíve lost. Those are just the facts of life for us. If itís not going to be for the rest of our lives, itís not going to work. Itís that simple.

Iím married to a naturally thin person who eats what he wants, when he wants, and how much he wants. I canít do that and neither can most of the rest of us here Ė not unless we want to put the weight back on . So we have to track what we eat, plan our meals, carry food with us, weigh ourselves regularly, exercise daily and all those other things that look completely nuts to normal people. It may look obsessive compulsive to THEM but to us, itís just part of our lives.

Jiffís word touched me to the core:
Quote:
we have so much to lose when we gain back. I can't do it again. I just can't.
I canít do it again either. I canít fail again. It would kill me. All that we need to do for lifetime obesity management is a very small price to pay for all the rewards that we get. Iím not willing to give up those rewards just to live my life according to someone elseís rules and expectations of whatís ďnormalĒ. This is normal for ME and this is how I choose to live my life.

Susan, in my usual long-winded way, Iím trying to say that how youíre feeling is perfectly normal for someone like us. You might not have anyone in Real Life who understands but here you do. Stick around here and weíll all support each other as we keep the weight off for life.
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Old 10-09-2004, 11:35 AM   #6
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Meg this post really, really affected me. After all the amazing wisdom and inspiration I've been fortunate to read here, this is the very first time I feel like I need to print something out and carry it with me. In the words of my gumba DP, "You're freakin' amazing......" Seriously, thank you, thank you, thank you for encapsulizing, in a way both positive and pragmatic, the feet-on-the-ground reality of life-long weight management in a world in which not everyone shares or understands this experience. I do this for myself and noone else, and I can't assume or require that others understand the necessity of my behavioral choices -- or how they make me feel. I can share how I'm feeling with the people I love, but my experience is my own. Thank heaven for this forum, eh?
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Old 10-09-2004, 04:28 PM   #7
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I will add a "Hear, hear!"

One of the things I came to terms with when I started my (current / final) program to lose HALF my body weight was ... it doesn't matter what it takes, how weird it feels, how different it is. Whatever I have to do to lose weight and keep it off is what I'll do. Without using the precise phrase, I realized the concept of "obesity management" and looked at my weight loss as just the beginning of the rest of my life.

"Whatever works," is my mantra. In past weight loss attempts I had assumed that, losing weight and getting to goal de facto included becoming a "normal" person. That meant growing the same kind of built-in mechanism that naturally then people have that would allow me to "be normal." I finally, finally, finally realized that I am NOT and can never be one of those people. I am what I am, and while I can MANAGE this disease of compulsive overeating and obesity, I can't be cured. I also can't be worried about doing this in any kind of ideal fashion. "Whatever works."

You mention being obessive-compulsive as if it's a bad thing. The fact is, if you get to be significantly overweight, chances are you ARE a compulsive overeater. Compulsive overeaters share a lot of traits with alcoholics and other addicts. That includes a streak of perfectionism -- feeling that there is only one "correct" or "best" way to do something, and if you can't do it that way, it's not worth doing it at all. Compulsive overeaters call this "all or nothing" thinking. It's what leads people to binge when they have one slip, when the logical course of action would be to just do the right thing at the next meal and keep going. It's what makes us feel we SHOULD be able to lose weight by "just eating less," or that we SHOULD be able to maintain without thinking about it too much. This kind of thinking obliterates small victories, insists that losing 1/2 a pound per week isn't fast enough, and makes us feel hopeless and worthless because we can't do this without effort and planning and diligence.

"Whatever works." It doesn't MATTER if you have to keep track of every bite in Fitday for the rest of your natural born days. It doesn't MATTER how other people manage their weight. It doesn't MATTER that you have to keep working at this. I'm not saying we should hang on to our compulsive tendencies -- naturally it's healthier to not have them, and that is an area of your life you can work on. Still, you have to recognize your own strengths and limitations, and work within them. You have to do what YOU need to do to manage your weight and stay healthy. Keeping track of your food every day isn't necessarily obessive -- it's a tool. If you feel yourself unable to eat without a pencil and paper, or you start worrying about having 2 Tic-Tacs instead of 1, then yeah ... we'll talk. But, you should never be embarrassed or ashamed or feel less worthy simply because you need to put a little effort and thought into staying healthy.

I highly recommend reading the book The Thin Books. It was written by a member of Overeater's Anonymous, and it is the best thing I've read about compulsive overeating and weight management. You might also find some useful insights in Fattitudes.

Good luck, and keep us posted.
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Old 10-09-2004, 05:20 PM   #8
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Thank you for the outstanding post, Funniegrrl! "Whatever works" goes in our Maintainers lexicon, right up there with "obesity management". You've got some great insights into the obsessive tendencies that result in that destructive pattern of black & white/good & bad thinking.

Who ever would have thought that so much of weight maintenance happens in our heads, not our bodies?
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Old 10-09-2004, 05:55 PM   #9
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weight maintenance happens in our heads.. oh my... this is perfect.

and as a lesson in how different we all are... i'm having dinner with a dear, dear friend tonight. she's battled anorexia - with varying degrees of success - her entire life. we've often discussed FOOD issues... and have been left with our mouths open. we have nearly identical emotional issues. i've fed mine in the past, she has starved hers.

so tonight, we'll yack away., i'll knit. she'll smoke. we'll eat appetizers, because we eat just about the same amount these days. and the waiters in this particular restaurant will keep an eye on us and wonder why we're not eating much, but they'll take care of whatever we need and flirt.

a couple of the men at the bar will come over and flirt, and we'll wonder why...

and we'll leave focusing on the fact that our EMOTIONS have been fed, and oh, by the way, the food was good too.

and THAT'S what's important.

susan... i have so much support from so many people. they've been awed and amazed at the enormous weight loss. they will all be angry if i gain it back. and frankly, if i find i can't control my weight, i will check into an inpatient obesity program like duke university's. I'M NOT DOING THIS AGAIN!!!!!

it breaks my heart that you don't have this kind of support. without the weight management focus that we've been talking about, we can all end up like i was before surgery: bedridden and on oxygen. just because your weight issues were not as extreme as mine doesn't mean that it's not as serious!!!! no one should get to the point i was.

and everyone in your life needs to either understand that and support you, or LEAVE YOU ALONE.
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Old 10-09-2004, 06:03 PM   #10
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This thread is so timely for me. I had just put down the phone to my sister having tried to explain to her my problems/concerns over food obsessions. How in order to make sure I don't eat too much or eat trigger foods that set me off on eating too much or on the other hand eat too little so I am too hungry to sleep, I have to write down everything that I should eat for the day, enter it into Fitday and cross it off my written sheet as I eat it. She suggested seeing a doctor. I am not unhealthy. I lift heavy weights, I can run 10km without feeling over-exerted and I weigh 136 lbs (down 2 from last week). Obesity management is a good term but is it possible to manage obesity without being/appearing obsessive? I stayed with my family for 3 weeks last summer and tried to take a relaxed approach to food for appearances sake. I gained 5 pounds.
I am not sure what I am trying to say or ask. Meg you seem to have such a straight on approach to all this. Do you feel obsessive? Or do you feel like you are just responding to a disorder? Are we replacing one problem with another? Or are we just making the best of things as they are? My children are approaching their teenage years watching me approach food like an enemy, am I setting them up for disorder later on?
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Old 10-09-2004, 07:14 PM   #11
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First of all, Meg, I'm honored beyond belief that "Whatever works" is to be enshrined in the Maintainer's lexicon. I will add one caveat: "Whatever works -- as long as it is healthy, physically and psychologically."

Second, I'll jump in again and answer the obsessive thing ... Yes, it IS possible to become obsessive. What's the line? I'm not a mental health professional, but if it doesn't affect your daily activities, then you're probably fine. For example, if you get anxious, nervous, or emotional if you are unable to follow your daily exercise regimine, there may be a problem. If you find yourself unable to concentrate on anything until you get on line with fitday and log those pretzels you just had ... there may be a problem. Etc.

I know that I'm a compulsive overeater, and that I have some OCD tendencies, as do many addicts. There are other things I get compulsive about, and the more I learn about compulsive eating the more I see how these impulses affect other areas of my life. However, there is a big difference between having some tendencies and being full-blown OCD. If you are concerned, there are lots of books on OCD available, and I would bet there's probably an OCD support web site, too. And, you could always see a therapist for a screening.

I do think that the difference between APPEARING "normal" and appearing obsessive is ... talking about it. No one except you guys and my Jenny Craig consultants have any idea what I go through and what I do. Yes, they know I'm careful about what I eat, and that I exercise. My mother will sometimes ask me, "Can you have ... xyz?" when she's cooking a meal I'll be eating. My standard answer (which is true) is, "I can have anything; it's just a matter of how much and what else I eat that day." I simply don't make an issue of what I can eat or not eat or how I track my food or anything else. It's not a topic of conversation unless someone asks, and then I downplay it a bit. Not out of shame or anything like that, but I feel the choice is to either not say much or give a 20-minute verbal essay. If I'm going out to eat with someone and they mention a restaurant that doesn't have much healthy food, I'll speak up matter-of-factly -- "I can't really eat there; what about so-and-so?" and everybody's cool.

Now, I DO have a brother who is very overweight and who I've come to know shares a lot of my personality traits. I've started talking to him a LITTLE about these issues, just in a "We're a lot alike and here's what I've done to get this far" way, but again very low-key. If you ask anyone who's close to me they would say I'm conscientious but they would in no way consider me obessed.

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Old 10-09-2004, 08:35 PM   #12
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Iím sitting here thinking about what you said, Alberta Ė that I have a ďstraight on approach to all thisĒ. If I do, itís only because I spent the first 46 years of my life failing at weight loss. Iíve got hundreds of diets and countless years of failure under my belt. Now that I found what works for ME, I don't give a damn about what anyone else thinks of it. Iím finally succeeding at weight loss and maintenance and that is ALL that matters to me. All those years of failure have given me a very profound appreciation of success.

Do I feel obsessive? No, I feel driven to keep the weight off, but not in any kind of dysfunctional way. I simply put a very high priority on maintaining my loss and am willing to do ďwhatever it takesĒ to keep it off. I think that having my children watch their obese, unhappy mom lose the weight has been an extremely positive thing for them. Weíve had a lot of conversations about it and Iíve never gotten the sense that itís had a harmful impact on them. They understand why I'm always going to need to be thoughtful about food and exercise.

What I want to say to anyone who gives me a hard time about what I do is: look, people, Iím doing it. Iím doing what everyone told me is impossible. Iím living my dream and Iím loving every minute of it. This is the hardest and at the same time, the best thing Iíve done for myself in my life. How on earth can anyone say Iím doing it wrong???

To everyone who thinks that:

I eat too much (my popcorn bowls full of salad)
I eat too often (5 - 6 times a day)
I exercise too much (1 Ė 2 hours/day)
my muscle arenít feminine
weighing and measuring my food is obsessive
writing down everything I eat is an eating disorder
etc

I DONíT CARE!!!

My fingers are in my ears and Iím singing ďLa La LaĒ. I canít hear you and I DONíT CARE!!!

Iíve had to deal with my extended family on vacations and heard all the snide remarks, too. Iím guessing that it wasnít worth those five pounds to keep up appearances with your family, Alberta? Thatís a pretty high price to pay and I bet you didnít enjoy having to lose those five pounds again. It doesnít do any good in MY family to try to explain myself so Iím quiet and just do exactly what I know works for me. I donít try to justify myself or convince anyone that Iím right. I just do it.

Perhaps an ďexpertĒ would say that I -- and others here -- have traded one eating disorder for another or that Iím obsessive. I disagree and prefer to think of it as ďordered eatingĒ. Itís controlled and orderly Ė Iím in charge of my eating; food isnít controlling me. Itís certainly not intuitive eating because it takes thought and time and planning, but I donít think itís disordered in the least. If weíre healthy and fit and not obsessive in a way that interferes with life, like Funniegrrl talked about Ė so what?

When you stop and think about it, thereís a tremendous amount of irony in people (often overweight themselves) feeling that they have the right to criticize what weíve doing. Weíre beating the odds and changing those dreadful statistics about weight loss and regain. We are doing it, people!

Once in a while, we all need to stand back for a minute and appreciate how far weíve come and what weíre doing each day of our lives. IMHO, that's all that really matters in the end. I hope that we can all find the confidence and the strength to continue to make the right decisions Ė for ourselves.
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:02 PM   #13
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Funniegirl, I agree with your "whatever works" statement and the assertion about compulsive behavior. In terms of the latter, I believe that people who have struggled with their weight do have to be compulsive in some ways. In Ann Fletcher's THIN FOR LIFE, she cites one of the traits of lifelong maintainers as being the habit of daily weighing & journaling of food. These things would seem obsessive to those who have either never had to diet or who consider dieting to be something you do to get some weight off but that has little to do with the rest of their lives.

SusanB, I agree with funniegirl's "whatever works" statement. I would only add that what works today may not work next week. You have to be ready for that reality and be flexible enough to change. So, for example, you expressed some concern that with winter coming you wouldn't be able to walk outside. Try to think of what other options are available to you. Is there a gym nearby that you can join so that you can use the treadmill? What about home workout tapes (they've come a long way since Jane Fonda)? There are lots of other options if you think about it. The only thing that isn't really an option is giving up. You've come so far and should be proud of yourself. I think the more you maintain, the more comfortable you become with your daily habits until it becomes second nature.

A book I would recommend is DIETING FOR DUMMIES. It's a common sense book, but the part I really like about it is that she includes a formula for calculating the number of calories you can eat and still maintain. It's takes into account things like age, activity level, etc. Even though I exercise 5-6 days a week for 1 - 1 1/2 hours per day, I classified my activity level as "light" because I work at a desk job & sit most of the day. With that, I found that her calculations are pretty much on target. I've been sticking to the calorie range of her formula for about a year now, and I haven't gained any weight.

Good luck to you!
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Old 10-09-2004, 09:10 PM   #14
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One last thought -- and then I promise I'll shut up ...

A lot of us have spent our lives as People Pleasin' Fat Chicks -- our Karen's (MrsJim) oh so descriptive phrase. When we were fat, we spent our lives trying to keep everyone around us happy, even if it meant that we suffered. We didn't think that we were worthy of making ourselves happy. Often the only "nice" thing that we ever did for ourselves was to feed ourselves. Any of this sound familiar?

Does it make any sense for us to try to please other people now by deliberately doing things to sabotage ourselves? We know what we need to do (and not do) to keep the weight off. Aren't we still falling into the trap of being people pleasers if we knowingly do things that will harm our maintenance efforts -- just to make other people happy? It's time for us all to stop being People Pleasin' Formerly Fat Chicks.
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Old 10-09-2004, 10:36 PM   #15
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I can't thank you all enough for this thread!

My parents arrive for a week long visit today, and my Mum is famous for her fabulous cooking (especially her sweets).

So, this thread is just what I needed to get me in the right head space for the next week.

Every time I visit here I'm inspired and reassured - it's so good to know there are others going through the exact same things.

Thanks!!
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