Making a Thought Collage

Thought collage
Thought collage

I’ve been in a stuck place for quite a while now where my weight and body are concerned.  I know what to do, and I wanted to want to do it, but I just didn’t.  I finally got tired of it and decided to get my act together and take a step.  The one I chose was to go back to Weight Watchers, which I did last weekend.  I’m not particularly concerned about time frame or goals; I just want to refocus and take one step at a time to get healthier.

One part of that was sitting down and creating a new thought collage.  I used to make these every 6-12 months, or to mark a particular point in my journey.  Some were happy, others full of rage and pain.  Although I’d cut out things a year or more ago, I never got around to finishing the collage, which is the final part of owning the thoughts and feelings.

I collected some magazines and cut stuff out yesterday, adding in some that I found in the envelope of previously snipped pieces.  Most I couldn’t use because I’m simply not in the same place anymore.  This is a much healthier place  to be.

Since I’m busy posting motivational things today, go take a look at the lessons from the road in Do You Suffer from Diet Rage? over at

How Did it Get to be February Already?

Star tarot cardThis is my 500th post which is a milestone and it seems as though I should have something momentous to talk about to mark the occasion.

But I’m watching the Super Bowl, grooving in my chair along with Bruce Springstein and the E Street Band.  I don’t much care about the game, though it’s fun to be watching it all virtually and chatting with my friends in Twitter.  It’s like being at a party but without the extra food and noise.

A few things that have been happening lately —

I finally cancelled my WW e-tools account. Several months ago I’d reduced it from the full meetings+online to online only since I wasn’t going to meetings.  Once I saw that I wasn’t doing the online either, my choices were to actually use it, continue to pay for it but not use it (thus wasting money), or just cut my losses and move on.

I went back to tracking my food using SparkPeople which I’ve written about before but got away from when I went back to doing WW online.  There’s only so many places I can track food and I ended up not tracking anywhere. And not tracking is not a good idea for me.  So I quietly went back and just did it as a first step.  I like SparkPeople because you can see a bunch of different nutritional values all at one time, for the whole week – calories, carbs, fat grams, fiber, protein.

With WW points, although you know that all points are not created equal, they look the same on the tracker.  This way I can see the cost/benefit of my choices with great clarity.  Hmmm, that one had way more proteins in it than I thought; I should have it again.  Uh oh, that one had more carbs and fat grams than I realized; next time I’ll stop at one.

I feel most in control of my food when I’m not afraid of it, and that happens when I plan.  That, in turn, works best when I write things down.  Planning and writing down in advance (i.e., the night before) gives me my roadmap for the next day so I don’t feel as vulnerable to cookies or donuts or chocolate.  Most of my social outtings are lunches at work and I know the options — so planning the rest of the day helps me decide where I can go.  Such as my beloved Pad thai, which I have at least once a week with colleagues.

My newest discovery came from a colleague in Houston who saw me twitter about Glühwein a little bit ago.  Glühwein is a wonderful hot spiced wine found in outdoor stalls at  Christmas markets in Germany.  On a cold winter’s night, doesn’t hot spiced wine sound wonderful?  My friend sent me some little  Glühfix “tea bags” of spices that you “seethe” in a pot with a bottle of red wine, a pint of orange juice, and some sugar.  Oh. My. God.  It’s amazing – warming down to the toes, slightly sweet, wonderful spices and scents.   I promptly hunted for and found more Glühfix bags on eBay (of course) so I can share with other friends as well as enjoy later through the winter.  I highly recommend it.

The broken collarbone has healed nicely and it only aches when the weather changes, which this winter seems to be a lot.  I can do pretty much everything, which is a good thing since no one ever called to let me know about the MRI they were so eager to have me get.  By the time they schedule me for physical therapy, I can probably skip the whole thing.  I was very lucky that it wasn’t a bad injury and healed so easily.  Especially since we will have more snow, maybe even this week!

No Longer a Weight Watcher

Vegetable PeopleI did it. After thinking about this off and on for several weeks, I cancelled my WW membership for meetings and etools, effective mid-April when my current monthly pass runs out.

Eeeeeek. It feels really weird to have done this because I’ve been a WW member for almost six years this time. But I haven’t been working the program or staying for meetings and it was time to either DO those things or own up to what I’m actually doing. Which is not WW.

It’s a wonderful program. It’s the only thing that’s ever really worked for me long-term. It’s the reason I’ve been able to maintain at least some of my last big weight loss. I may be back. But it just was no longer a good fit for me now.

I’ve been enjoying using the SparkPeople site over this last week, seeing nutritional values of what I eat in terms of calories, fat, carbs, protein and fiber. That’s more helpful than arbitrary points, even if points are based on a formula of calories/fat/protein. Points are not created equal and the more complete nutrition shows me why.

I’m going to count Saturday morning weigh in as my daily number. I’m responsible for recording it myself, which I will do. And we’ll see how this goes.

For the last week, my food has been more balanced and I’ve been more aware of not only what I ate but how I ate it. Partly it’s the SparkPeople thing. But I’m also watching Paul McKenna’s I Can Make You Thin programs on TLC and trying to put his simple rules into practice:

1. Don’t starve yourself.
2. Eat when you’re hungry.
3. Eat what you like.
4. Eat consciously.
Plus the usual drinking lots of water, sleeping enough, and getting in some exercise.
There’s no magic involved in this process. Just making better choices than the day before, eating good food that’s good for me, and keep on trying. Wish me luck!

I am a Spark Person

Food balanceI’ve been experimenting with a new set of tools for tracking and working through on my food. I went to WW last Saturday, and for now will continue going to meetings for weigh in, but instead of tracking my points, I’ve decided to track more stuff using SparkPeople.

I am a geekette, happy and comfortable using online resources and tools. The WW e-tools site has useful information but it was very flat. There are message boards there, but that’s about the only way to interact with other people and I admit that I almost never used them. I pretty much just used online journal, recipe builder, and some recipes – but not many of those, either, since I have a ton of cookbooks (most of which I look at but don’t cook from).

SparkPeople is jazzier and more interactive – and free. You can build personal pages, participate on teams such as “over 50”, “women in menopause”, geographic area, all sorts of things that fit with your profile. Or none at all if you don’t feel like it. These teams help build support and interaction. The site has tons of recipes and is loaded with articles on health and nutrition.

When you set up a profile, you decide what your goals are: weight loss or maintenance/toning. There are a few other questions and then the system tells you what your daily targets are for nutritional values and exercise. You can change your goals at any time and are encouraged to monitor exercise and water consumption as well as food. There’s a fun system of SparkPoints that you get for doing a variety of things you probably would or should be doing anyway. But points are good, right?

Pretty much the only part I’ve been using (give me a break, it’s only been 4 days) is the nutrition tracker. I enter items from a list just as in e-tools, can have favorites just as in e-tools, and see daily totals. The values, though, aren’t points, which are sort of made-up numbers, but actual real nutritional categories. The default is to show calories, fat, carbs, and protein. But you can also modify it to pull out more areas to track, such as potassium, sodium, fiber, and more.

Although two foods may have the same points value, their nutritional content is usually very different because food is not created equal. So I really like being able to have a more realistic idea of what I’m eating, both in terms of staying within a healthy range for each element and in seeing a weekly pattern.

So far, so good. I’m not even trying to be on a weight-loss plan this week; just tracking what I’m doing is kind of a miracle. There is a lot to explore on the site and over the next few weeks I plan to figure out some of the stuff I haven’t seen yet. So far so good, though.

Check it out – it’s free!