Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Think I'm Done With Dieting

Have you ever taken a good look at what you were eating, then stopped to ask, "What was I thinking?" Good heavens, all that white food. The day before yesterday, I looked at my dinner and it was chicken breast, yogurt, and cottage cheese. The only color in front of me was the cinnamon I'd sprinkled on my yogurt. I realized at that moment that I'm a fraud.

Let me explain. On Wednesday I passed my ACE certification exam, quite handily I might add, although I nearly bonked mentally after question 100 because I had only consumed a little protein and fat free dairy two and a half hours earlier. Do you know how challenging it was to unlearn everything I've read and practiced nutrition wise for the last three years in order to match my answers to what's recommended by the ADA and "My Food Pyramid?"

Here's the dilemma in a nutshell. What the heck am I going to tell my clients about eating? And why am I restricting my eating so much anyway? Yesterday, I bought the the dress I'm going to wear for my talk at St. Mary's. It's a size 2 Calvin Klein, which happens to be a size smaller than the dress I wore at my last talk, and here's what made me smack my forehead at my own foolishness. It's the same manufacturer, and I weigh exactly the same, but I'm a full size smaller. What the heck am I doing trying to grind my scale weight down to 108, or even 113 for that matter? Do I really want to be a size zero? Is that what I'm after?

Get this. The title of my talk is:

Acceptance- The Key to Transformation

Fraud! Fake! Fony! (Oops, sorry, "phony" I just dig alliteration. Or is that consonance?")

How can I possibly give this group of incredibly smart women a talk on acceptance, when I'm still desperately chasing the Hollywood ideal? I remember three years ago when I was getting ready to submit my pictures for TT Transformation 2, a part of me hesitated because I thought I was still fat. Even now when I can easily fit into size 10 clothing from the girls department, (no seriously, not Juniors but Girls, I can literally shop at Justice) I'm still trying to starve off that last bit of fat around my lower hips and thighs. Now I'm beginning to see why.

If I convince myself that I can't start my career as a fitness trainer and transformation coach until I have a perfect media ready body, I have an excuse to never start at all. Too late. The cat's out of the bag, and I've begun. And who are the people who are my first clients? Not a single one of them wants a Media Body. Not one.

I remember the first time I walked into the gym with a Turbulence Training workout in my hand. I got teased by some of the old timers back then for my "internet workout." One of them even called me "Rocky". I was a little bit ashamed of my body back then, and when I looked in the mirror I felt kind of ridiculous, the overweight housewife trying to train like an athlete, but I had a plan, and nothing was going to stop me from following it. Actually, these days when I look around the gym, the guys with the best physiques all seem to have a printed workout with them too! Do you know why I think that's so? In order to keep improving you really do have to change up your workouts, and if you advance your workouts often enough, it's highly unlikely that you're going to have them memorized!

So now I really do have to turn around and face the fear that I've been running from. Even though I have maintained my fat loss for over two years now, I am afraid that if I stop actively dieting, the fat will creep back. That's fine. Now is the time to accept myself at the healthy weight of 118 with a BMI of 22.29 at age 47. Right now.

What is a great body? It's the body that makes it possible for you to fulfill your dreams. I earned my Zumba license two weeks ago, and the training was packed. Do you know what I saw? Women and a few men from about age 20 to 60 of every shape and size, and this wasn't a class, nearly everyone there intended to teach. I guess I thought that starving and carving myself down to what I thought was ideal would make me worthy of leading others. I also thought that a perfectly slender body would make me invulnerable to criticism. Today I realize that the only criticism that holds me back is my own.

So I'm still in for the challenge, but I'll do it for the joy of continuing to build strength and mastery. We all have different gifts, and I will happily admire those who can achieve the beautiful line and definition of the truly lean, yes, I'm sure I'll envy them a little too!

Oh! So what am I going to eat? That's easy. It's what I call the volume pyramid with the base being vegetables, then lean protein, fruit, whole grains and dairy if well tolerated, and healthy fats coming from organic butter, coconut, and olive oil. Sweets? Only as occasional enhancements if they don't act as triggers for overeating. Makes me leap out of bed at dawn and glow.

Well there it is, the long post that signals the end of dieting for me. Feels kind of like a birthday. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

It's the Deficit Darling

No, this blog hasn't turned it's attention to politics.  If I was going to go into politics though, it would be on the platform of , "Let's build better places to walk" or, "A sidewalk in every neighborhood" but I digress.

So I'm on the Dukan diet right?  And I was having one of my rebellious days yesterday.  You know the ones, when you just want to say why can't I eat whatever I want right now?  By the way, the Dukan diet actually gives you a projected date for when your adherence to each phase will end.  I'm in the cruise phase right now where you alternate protein/non-fat dairy days with days that add unlimited vegetables.  Ah yes- the unlimited aspect- here's where things get interesting.

What's my problem?  Please bear with me, and forgive me for whining, but it may be your problem too so I don't feel so bad.  Here I sit at 118 pounds, and although I've been following the diet faithfully, I haven't lost any weight in, oh, probably five days.  By the way, I'm just going to weigh myself every day for the rest of my life:  all in the interest of science.

Define Faithfully

Yes, that is the issue.  what does it mean to faithfully follow the Dukan diet?  The book says that you truly can eat as much as you want if you stick to the menu.  (Stop that, you're rolling your eyes at my naivete, I can sense it.)  So yesterday, I decided to give it a shot.  Lots of London broil, mixed veg, and yogurt later, I'm up two pounds this morning.

Sigh.  Did I fail at another diet?  Did another diet fail me?  Not yet.  Not quite yet.  The possible problem?  Carb creep and slippery little additions.  For example, there's the sugar free gum I've been chewing that contains 2 carbs per piece, and that sugar free maple syrup that I've been using so liberally, and what exactly is in that low fat ranch dressing?  You see what I mean?  So here's the plan.  I've already logged everything I'm going to eat on the fitbit website, and I've taken control of my allowed extras.  I'm not going to quit over this.  I'm going to step back, evaluate my efforts, and do whatever I can to help this plan work.  Then I'll really have some good information.

Back to the deficit.

I was listening to Jillian Michaels' podcast yesterday, and she talked about plateaus and those of us who are going after the last few vanity pounds.  She spoke of getting into a calorie deficit that's between 500 and no more than 1000 calories.  Now I realize that one of the major points of the Dukan Diet is the freedom to eat freely, but I've searched and searched, and I can't find any specific info on whether that applies to those of us who are already, quite frankly, really small.  This is the last five pounds we're talking about here.  So with the help of my fitbit I'm pledging an intake of 1300 and an output of 2000 calories a day.  That will put me in what I hope will be the "sweet spot" of a 700 calorie deficit.  Now, to burn 2000 calories, I've got to really keep moving throughout the day in addition to my Turbulence Training workouts, but this is the kind of life long habit I want to build anyway.  One nice benefit- Tippy the dog is very happy with extra walks I've been taking.  So in the interest of further fat loss, joy, and beauty, I'm off to walk the dog.

Besides, if I never struggled, I wouldn't have much wisdom to share.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Using the Last Five Pounds of Fat

Yep, that's right, as of this morning, I'm back to 118 pounds: exactly where I ended Turbulence Training Transformation Contest #9.  So what's up with all of these contests?  Well, the truth is that they work.  As proud as I am of letting go of 40 pounds of fat over the past three years, the fact is that one way or another, over time, I have kept it off.

The Elusive Five Percent

No, it's not as exciting, and it doesn't make headlines and get your picture all over the internet, but the true test of fat use (remember?), is keeping excess weight off over time.  (Pause for research.)

Ok, that was enlightening, I just went over to the CDC website and read about a recent study that showed 27% of women maintaining their weight loss.  Well gee, I guess I'm not so super special after all.  Nevertheless, I'm proud of my maintenance and continuing perseverance in the journey to 18% body fat.

So Why Do Contests Work?

Here's a paradox for you.  It is within these competitions that I have found the most amazing source of social support.  Everyone participating is there for similar reasons, most of which boil down to health and happiness through physical transformation.  Alright, maybe some of them just want to win money, but I don't think they would spend so much time encouraging each other if that was the case.  As I continue on in TT Transformation Contest #11, I have to stop and think, haven't I won enough?  But then I say no, this is a tool that works.  It focuses my attention, and my intentions, so I keep moving toward what I really want: the figure I've always dreamed of.  There are other challengers who've been in on this almost as long as I have who have had ever greater success, and I welcome every one because believe me, I am going to school on their success!

So now to walk Tippy, and get ready for another great day.  Now if I could just get as comitted to keeping my desk clear!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

What Makes Daphne Run?

If you're familiar with the myth of Daphne and Apollo, you may know that she runs because Cupid shot her with a lead arrow.  Here is a url with an excellent synopsis:
(Why can't I just copy and paste this in and have it show up as a clickable link?  Oh well, just google: Daphne and Apollo and you'll get the whole story.)
Ever since I first saw Bernini's sculpture I've been fascinated and somewhat horrified by this story.  When I was in school I learned that myths came into being as answers to the great questions about life, death, creation, and what concerns me here: Human Motivation.

Leaving aside the fact that Apollo is pursuing and Daphne is running because Cupid shot them out of spite, (Thanks Kid) whenever I think of this myth a little voice inside my head says, "That is Apollo she's running from, god of the sun, music, self-knowledge (Gnothi Seuthon is written at the entrance to his oracle at Delphi) and who knows what else.  In the story he is charmed by her unbound hair blowing in the wind, and he imagines how lovely it would be if it was styled.  So he doesn't just want to do her, he wants to do her hair!  This god had everything going for him.  What was she thinking?  And how in the world does this relate to burning up those last few pounds of unwanted fat?

What Makes Daphne Run?

This question relates to more than the pursuit of the aspirational body, whatever that means or looks like to you.  It relates to all the times that we run from the thing we say we really want.  When I think of Daphne as she is presented in this story she is a symbol of many things to me, but youth and freedom are the most obvious ones. If she can keep running there will be no marriage, no children, no responsibility, no change for her.  Also, as Apollo stands for the sun, I think she is running from the all consuming fire that burns away the ego, and even the individual self when it catches you.  

I think that this is the central fear that that stands between me and my essential self.  If everything that isn't good, or worthy, or needed about me gets burned off- including vanity and the last ten pounds, who will I be?  Isn't it the weird, quirky, and lumpy stuff about me that makes me unique?  And if I do manage to get to my ideal, what will be expected of me?  Fully realized individuals are supposed to be mature, generous, more interested in other people than themselves, kind, wise, organized.  The kind of person who is a hard worker, a good listener, and who flosses twice a day. A...a real grown up!

Years ago, when I quit smoking for the first time.  (Don't worry, I haven't had a cigarette in almost 11 years) I read a book called , "You Can Stop Smoking" by Jacquelyn Rogers.  Let me paraphrase a line from that book that will always stay with me.  "In order to stop smoking forever, you have to grow up that last little bit."

You Have to Grow Up that Last Little Bit

It's early on Sunday morning on Mother's Day here in the US.  My husband and son are still asleep, and I am here at my desk where I pay bills, and file receipts, keep records,  and do lots of the things a mature responsible mother does.  This is also where I write and edit the thoughts that swirl through my head most of the day.  The last few pounds represent growing up that last little bit.  When I reach my goal, I will have come into full flower.  Once I come into full flower, I will be expected to bear fruit.  This is the great fear in me.  The time is coming when I will have to start offering my very best to the world.  Of course this is what I want more than anything!  I have worked, studied, practiced, thought, and persevered for so long just so that I could offer some genuine wisdom about physical transformation, and the motivation that brings it about.

So what is running from Apollo for me?  (By the way, Apollo ultimately represents me, cause it's all about meeeee after all :) ) That's simple.  Overeating, over thinking, procrastinating, and self delusion, are all the steps that carry me away from the sun.  I know what to do,  how to eat, and how to move in order to let my ideal self catch up to me.  Fat loss is a paradox isn't it?  To burn off the last little bit of my unessential self, maybe I just have to stand still.

So, what are you running from, especially you moms on this Happy Mother's Day.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Be Who God Meant You To Be, and You Will Set the World On Fire

That's a quote by Saint Catherine of Sienna, who happens to be my namesake, as I was born on her feast day.  Imagine my delight when when I heard Richard Chartres, the Bishop of London, quote this line at the very beginning of the wedding sermon for Prince William and Catherine Duchess of Cambridge.

The very much appreciated handful of you who have been reading this blog from the beginning know that the central question I've been asking all along is, "Why do we want to transform our bodies?"  What is the reason behind the reason that keeps us heading to the gym, writing down what we eat, and searching for the latest clues to building and keeping a pleasing figure?  Is it simply vanity, approval, belonging, or a sense of worthiness that we're after?  And if it's any of those things, are they worth the time we spend focused on ourselves, and justified, especially in light of the fact that this pursuit may take time away from work and family?

Perfect Physical Well Being

Some time ago, I wrote a post about perfect physical well being because I thought that it might be the impulse at the root of what I was after, but now I am beginning to see the next layer underneath.  St. Catherine's quote reminds me that there is something about the essential self, unencumbered by ego, and stuff, and yes... extra adipose tissue... ok fat, that is needed in the world today.  The closer you can come to living as your essential self, the more positive creative action you can take in the world.

Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this sun of York.  Shakespeare

Three years ago, when I truly accepted the fact that I wasn't living as my essential self anymore, I started to change.  Looking back, I see very clearly that my discontent with myself was driving me to do things that put up new, stronger barriers to what I wanted to do with my life.  Overeating, overthinking, even overspending were all distractions from that discontent.  The sun is the inner and outer light that shines on our avoidance of the pure creative drives that would have us take positive action... nearly all the time! Now why would we want to avoid that... hmmm?  That's a blog for another day, as it's time for another very satisfying trip to the gym.

Oh, by the way, I'm back at the Turbulence Training, in TT Transformation Contest 11, and I am on fire to burn away the last 6 pounds.  I have new secret weapons too, including my new best friend, The Fitbit.  More on that later too.