Tuesday, May 17, 2016

May 17th, 2016 Support Instead Of The Fork

May 17th, 2016 Support Instead Of The Fork

Last night was involved. Just as I was dropping into bed, I checked the radar and realized, I had work to do. Severe weather season means weather coverage at any time-night or day. Even when the weather isn't considered severe--as broadcasters in a state known for tornadoes, it's important to be a voice of calm, especially when a storm looks and feels dangerous, but isn't. This coverage translated to roughly two hours sleep. Not good for me.

I made it through the day by remaining in contact with support and staying focused on getting what I needed--while keeping an eye toward getting something else I needed--a nap! I did eventually grab a one hour nap--still not enough, so I'm making it a priority to go to bed much much earlier tonight. No weather coverage tonight, thank goodness!

Tonight is a great night to republish some thoughts on consistency. The following excerpt is from the September 23rd, 2014 archived blog post:

The topic of consistency has come up a few times of late. Consistency is key, for sure. This road isn't about perfection. Striving for perfection is the quickest detour to disappointment. Consistency is the goal along this road. If we can be consistent, we can accomplish amazing things. But how do we remain consistent?

In my opinion, it starts with narrowing our focus. Not once have I sat down with a calendar to try to figure out when I'll arrive at some predetermined number. I haven't even stated a particular goal weight, opting instead for a "healthy weight." Who knows what that will be? It doesn't matter how long it takes or when I'll get there because my focus is on today. My goal is to make it through this day with the integrity of my food plan intact and if it's an exercise day, that too. Today is the day. I'm not obsessing about how much time it will take. It will take however long it takes. If I focus on how long it will take to "arrive," I'm suggesting that my efforts will end at some point. And making my food and fitness a big priority in my life is something I do not plan on ending, ever. 

Keeping it simple is important in keeping us consistent. It's super easy to make this really difficult. You can quickly overwhelm yourself with a multitude of numbers, rules, self-imposed requirements and rock solid expectations. Keep it as simple as you need, to fit where you are. If you're planning on waking up tomorrow as a completely different person with completely different habits and behaviors--it could become very difficult, really fast.

I recommend setting a calorie budget or points budget, whatever you prefer, and making the limit you set, sacred. Sacrificing the integrity of this budget shouldn't be something taken lightly. Treat it with the highest importance level. Then, find an exercise of some sort that works for you and your body and do it. Worry less about content and more about maintaining the integrity of your budget and exercise schedule. As you progress and you become more comfortable, you can get fancy all you want!!

Allow your food to become a natural evolution of good choices. My choices today look very different than when I first started losing weight six years ago. I wouldn't categorize myself as a "clean eater," but I'm at least 80% clean and that's a big difference for me.  Had I tried eating like this on Day 1, September 15th, 2008, it likely wouldn't have gone very well.

And that brings me to the "joy factor." I believe we must enjoy what we're doing in order to maintain consistency. If we don't enjoy--and I mean truly enjoy what we're eating, how do we expect to keep doing it? I eat what I like and nothing I don't. This doesn't mean I'm not willing to try new things. It simply means if I don't like it, it will not be on my regular "foods I enjoy" list. 

Somewhere over the years, someone decided that losing weight had to be about eating things you choked down as a means to an end. And as soon as the weight loss goal was reached, you could go back to eating what you like. I say nonsense!! Why not eat what you like and enjoy from day 1? Then, if they're not the best for you, gradually and naturally improve your choices. But never sacrifice by eating things you can't stand!!

My first food question isn't "Will this help me lose weight?" My first question about any particular food is: "Do I enjoy eating this?" If the answer is yes, then the second question is, "Will this food help me lose weight as a regular part of my day to day selections?" If the answer to that question is "No," then like it or not, it goes. An automatic "no" for me is sugar. I enjoy eating deep fried egg rolls, fried anything, really, and plenty of other things that if consumed regularly, would have a negative effect on my efforts. The key is finding foods that give you a "yes" to both questions.

The same "joy factor" applies to exercise. Find what you enjoy! If all you can do is walk slowly for short distances, do that. But make it enjoyable. Listen to music, an audio book, or carry on a conversation with someone--whatever you got to do to make it fun and enjoyable. When you're ready to make it something more intense--again, make sure it's something you truly enjoy doing.

Narrow the focus to one day at a time, set your limits and maintain the integrity of your limits, enjoy what you're eating and love what you're choosing to do for exercise.

And a big one: Develop a support system that focuses on accountability. Don't remain all hush about your efforts--share it, tell your friends and family--make some declarations and ask for support from those you're confident will give it. Keep a MyFitnessPal food diary or something similar and make it accessible by the friends you accept.

And another big one: Write, write, write--how you're feeling, what you're doing, describe your challenges, write about what you plan on doing to overcome these challenges, and write about how determined you are to succeed once and for all. Get it out on paper, in your personal diary--or on a blog, on your facebook--somewhere, anywhere--just write for you and your own personal clarity. There is no right or wrong. It doesn't matter if you fancy yourself a good writer or not--that isn't the point. If the only person who understands what you're writing is you, mission accomplished.

Consistency brings results. If the results aren't to your liking, change the elements of your consistent efforts until you find the balance you desire.
That was a fun little trip back to a year and a half ago. An additional thought:

Here's the thing-- If we give ourselves this simplified approach, it allows mental space to face the bigger issues of emotional and stress eating. I can't count the number of times in past weight loss attempts where I made the basics bigger than I could handle--and then, at the slightest bend emotionally or in my stress level, I'd release the plan completely. I was looking for some kind of magic emotional and stress pattern of stability. Instead, I eventually realized stress and emotions are a part of life--so instead of hoping and praying for a pattern of stability long enough for me to succeed--I realized how I needed to learn ways of changing my pattern of perspective.

This is where the benefits of accountability and support have the best chance of changing things. Reaching for support instead of the fork can give us life changing shifts in perspective.

I'm hitting the pillow softly, with gratitude, confidence and certainty. I maintained the integrity of my maintenance calorie budget, I remained abstinent from refined sugar and I exceeded my daily water goal. And in the face of a challenging schedule over the last 24 hours, I increased my awareness--understanding how I might not make the best choices under these conditions--so I brought in additional support to help carry me through to a wonderful finish. This kind of day--in all its challenges, feels amazing once I'm on the pillow and giving thanks for having made it through. I'm grateful.  

Today's Live-Tweet Stream:

Thank you for reading and your continued support,


  1. Always explained so well now to apply it.....thank you, Robin

  2. Really well put. Great points. Well written.

    I disagree with the "share" aspect however.

    I would add - share very wisely.

    Chose your audience well.

    Most of the time it is better to share with a support group (like you have) or an online community.

    Sharing with general public, in real life, audiences tends to invite opinions, commentary, discussion, whenever they see you.

    And often those opinions do not understand food addiction. They also do not understand living to avoid diabetes (vs living to have diabetes and controlling/treating it).

    Those opinions tend to be of the everything in moderation, just this once, viewpoint.

    This might be the difference between men and women. It might be that your audience in real life, speaking as a male, does not think up your process is up for discussion.

    But this does happen for women. I actually encourage women NOT to try to explain or discuss their process with most people in real life. If they are forced to explain to someone, I suggest that it is often best to simply say they need to avoid a food item due to a medical condition. As in they have a food allergy/sensitivity, and leave it at that. No details. No discussion. And learn to change the subject when people press.

    1. Totally agree with you. Great point. Choose your audience well--and be careful. Blogging isn't for everyone. Finding support and building a system of accountability is important--and can be done without being public with it all.
      The most important thing is to have some kind of journal--diary--even if you're the only one who reads it...
      And oh my-- you're spot on about so much here-- the unsolicited advice thing---uhg---Some get it way more than others---
      I've received plenty over the years-- and still do, to this day--- and I don't respond.
      It doesn't mean I'm closed to new ideas, I'm not.
      But I take it from trusted sources--not strangers, who are often totally unfamiliar with me and what I do, anyway.
      Great advice you give!!!

  3. This is what I loved most from today's blog:
    "If I focus on how long it will take to "arrive," I'm suggesting that my efforts will end at some point. And making my food and fitness a big priority in my life is something I do not plan on ending, ever."
    Okay, it's not from today's blog, but you said it almost two years ago and it is the most important thing we need to realize in order to maintain.

    Oh, and regarding Vickie's advice, yes people are full of unsolicited advice and criticism about weight loss. But you and I have walked the walk, so we are entitled to talk the talk, as far as I'm concerned. What we do may not work for everyone, heck what YOU do, would not work for me, but what I do for myself is working and I'm not changing it up based on somebody else's advice. However, from the "advice" you offer today (or more accurately, in Sept. of 2014) about eating only what brings you joy, I think I've decided to STOP ordering steamed broccoli as a side in restaurants. I will just tell them to SKIP the side, as I can no longer eat steamed broccoli. It brings me absolutely NO joy.

    1. I wanted to add - It is more about avoiding getting stuck in a continuing, conversational loop with people than it is about a one time discussion, in my opinion.

      A one time discussion can turn into the same discussion loop EVERY TIME WE SEE THEM, very easily. I think it is just how people are wired.

    2. Dupster, That acceptance and total embrace of a plan that is you in every way--can and will carry you back into maintenance mode--and this time, in a more solid fashion. And I'm so glad you're ditching the steamed broccoli!
      Some people LOVE it--and that's awesome for them-- but you and me--not so much! Good for you in immediately identifying an example in your own experience!

    3. Vickie...I get that--the same discussion over and over-- Yes, I still do that to this day on certain things. I've been having the same "I'm going to start a podcast" conversation with a close adviser for over two years.
      Avoiding getting stuck-- oh my, yes.

  4. Again, thank you, Sean. Your posts/blogs help my focus, lift my spirits, and spark my resolve, one day at a time.

    1. You're so very welcome!! I'm so glad this blog affects you in a positive way. That made my day, thank you!


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