Planning for Success and the Exercise Train

Happy Monday everyone!
I always feel an amazing sense of relief when I get back to my weekday routine. Weekends are HARD! The schedule is always changing and I know I do better with a rut. I mean, routine!

One of my best support routines is to go onto the beforeandafterhelp.com board and post on the Planning for Success thread for the day. I put down what I’m planning to eat today. Then I find the Exercise Train thread for the day and put down what I’m planning to do for exercise. Sometimes I post the whole week’s schedule/menus if I haven’t made them yet (this weekend was nuts, did I mention that?) so that my plan for the week is written down and I can look at it, think about how to improve it and if necessary, figure out the points/calories on either Livestrong/DailyPlate or Weight Watchers online tools.

Planning For Success:

B: 1/2 cup of steel-cut oatmeal recipe with protein powder, applesauce, cinnamon, Splenda brown sugar, peanut butter
S: Coffee with inspire ice-cream sandwich protein powder (I know – sounds strange but is GOOD)
L: Emergency freezer rations – we didn’t do ANY cooking this weekend – how weird is THAT?
S: Nectar Peach protein drink in unsweetened ice tea
D: Smoked pork, broccoli and quinoa
Optional snack: greek yogurt with brown sugar Splenda and apple slices (I will keep this at work all week and if I get the munchies, I have it available)

Exercise Train

Today I have less than 2 weeks until the Iron Girl Triathlon. I’m a little nervous – I haven’t done nearly as much in the last two weeks as I planned because I hurt my shoulder a bit and I’ve been spending way, way too much time sitting on my butt and writing about exercise instead of doing it. That doesn’t burn as many calories as you’d think – LOL!

So today – I’m planning to:
1. Swim 1/3 of a mile
2. Walk 3 miles at lunch
3. Ride my bike for 45 minutes tonight after dinner with my son

We’ll see if I do all that – and can keep it up this week! I’m going to come back and update this just for some accountability!

Melting Point Model

started work on the Melting Point Model tonight. Let me know what you think!

Finding Your Melting Point is all about moving from where you are now, to where you want to be. You may be familiar with the Capability Maturity Model, or CMM, used to assess the level at which a project, program or organization operates. Similarly, the Melting Point Model or MPM, can help you assess where you are in your development of key skills needed to lose weight and keep it off. Once you know where you are, then you can make some decisions about what you are willing to do to achieve your goals.

It’s all about choice. Organizations decide at what CMM level they need or desire to operate and you need to decide if your goal is to advance your MPM level or stay where you are. Do you need to move from MPM Level 0 to MPM Level 1 because you aren’t making progress? Or have you reached your goals and want to move to MPM Level 3 to increase your chances of sustaining that success?

There is no time line associated with moving from one level to the next. It’s not about how fast you get there, it’s about the journey. If you are successful at Level 0, congratulations! If not, then your first goal should be to move to MPM Level 1. Stay at MPM Level 1 until you master it and want to move on to MPM Level 2 to speed up your progress. If you stop being successful, then you may need to increase your MPM level to continue your weight loss journey. Personally, I am at MPM Level 2 now, and my ultimate goal is MPM Level 3 so that when I reach my goals, I will have learned the skills I need to stay at my goal weight. I’m not there yet, but that’s my plan.

Assessing Your MPM Level

Let’s start with where you are now:

MPM Level Characterized By: Description
Zero (0) Chaos May be unaware of need for a plan or process. Exercise and nutrition are not planned. Probably not losing; possibly gaining.
One (1) Change May be exercising or eating well, but neither is consistent and success is not always repeatable. Losing, but weight fluctuates up and down.
Two (2) Control You have a plan for incorporating exercise and nutrition into your life. You work your plan. Weight loss and improvements in fitness level are consistent and success is repeatable. Weight loss occurs at a healthy rate.
Three (3) Mastery In the maintenance phase, you monitor, assess and refine your processes and plan to maintain your fitness level and keep your weight within a five pound range.

Safety Nets

6:37 am Today is about support. I think that has been one of the biggest differences between this lifestyle change and past (failed) efforts. I have asked for help. I have sought out support. I have not tried to do this on my own. As if I could! What was I thinking all those years, trying to go it all alone?

Facebook I’ve been playing on Facebook instead of writing, which is appropriate, because it is one of my supports. I started posting my goals and status on Facebook before my surgery. I even posted my before and after pictures. I try to post my progress and confess to any slips. Several people have said that they started exercising because of my posts – I love that!

The First Strand in My Safety Net was my doctor’s office: Laureate Medical Group. I got a complete check up, including a heart test (the shortness of breath was a concern for everyone) and a whole panel of measurements. I went back at six months after my surgery and had significant improvement in every measurement. That’s the kind of motivation that keeps you getting up and eating oatmeal and going to the gym.

Weaving in the Rest of the Net took a while, but has been worth it. I work with the nutritionist from my doctor’s office – Alissa Winters. She runs a weight loss class that I’ve now attended twice and may go back for a third because I learn something each time and reinforce the habits I am trying to develop. I meet with her every three months to review my journal and record my new measurements.

We are Family I reached out to my sisters and friends to ask for help and to make me accountable. If I slide, I want them to kick me in the butt. Mostly they are amazing for all the positive feedback and helping me see how far I’ve come. Sometimes, really and truly, I can’t see it. Isn’t that strange? It’s like there is a photograph of obese me and I can’t see past that to the real me in the mirror.

Weight Watchers at Work I had joined Weight Watchers in the past, and I’d done the online WW for a while, but I really got serious with the Weight Watchers at Work. It was right there in the building, I knew people there and it kept happening, every single week. I wasn’t very good about following the guidelines at first. I didn’t really count points and I didn’t even read the materials. Mostly I had my weigh in book and a date every Tuesday to fess up to what my weight really was. The first day was so hard. I had already been trying to walk and to exercise for several months on my own, but when I stepped on the scale it was over 300 pounds. My first 10% goal was 30 pounds. Thank goodness they have 5% goals now – that would have been less intimidating.

Weight Watchers Today It is so different for me. I try to go to every meeting, weigh in and stay for the meeting if I can. I love our leader, Jane Brown. She is so funny and so loving and makes me feel like she really cares about my success. I follow the Simply Filling technique, because I still can’t count points. I use my extra points for stuff like bread or treats, but for most of my meals I pick from the list and eat mindfully until I’m satisfied. I try to stop before I’m full, but I’m still working on that. It is actually a huge accomplishment for me to say that I now stop eating when I’m full. Those of you without food addictions won’t understand, but – HUGE! Also, I have my necklace of WW tokens – five of them now – one for each 25 pounds I’ve lost. I wear it almost every day and count them whenever I feel like going off track, thinking to myself – is it worth it? It usually isn’t!

Weight Loss Therapy I’ve written about Rebecca before, so I won’t bore you with how WONDERFUL she is. But she is! I started seeing her the week before surgery and saw her every week after surgery. In the last few months I’ve switched to every other week, so I can make my mental health insurance last for the whole year. It helps to have someone who sees thru my BS. (Hey, of course I’m good at it – I’ve got a BA in BS from Yale for God’s sakes!)

BeforeandAfterHelp.com I don’t know what I would have done without this board. There was so much more to learn than I thought. I bought books, I researched online, I interviewed dozens of people and collected notebooks FULL of info. But still, nearly every week, there is something that comes up that I need help or advice or heck, even a recipe. I’ve made friends on this board that are so dear to me. I follow along their progress and am just so excited when they hit their goals: Having the surgery = Welcome to the Loser’s Bench; Under 200 for the first time = Onderland and losing the first 100 pounds = Century Club. And getting to maintenance? That’s the big one, the 4th of July fireworks. My friend LaDeeDa (everyone has great board names – mine is just Karen1, how dull!) just got to maintenance and I felt as if my best friend or sister had done it. Check it out if you are at all interested in the surgery. Very positive, very upbeat and seriously organized and moderated by some of the most knowledgeable people I’ve encountered on this journey.

My Surgeon’s Support Group Okay, but not such a a good fit for me. Meets in a dicey part of downtown that I don’t usually drive through, much less want to park my car. I am a spoiled white girl from the burbs now – doing the downtown thing just doesn’t work for me. Plus, I am so blessed to have a great job and good insurance. A lot of the focus for these groups was how to get insurance approval and how to afford the protein and vitamin supplements and new clothes. Worse was that so many of the people who came seemed to be struggling with regain. There was ONE great session where they brought in a chef – loved that one. But I want more focus on getting active and changing the messages in my head. I did crash the Northside Bariatric Support group a few times. It was better, but they only meet once a month and our schedules haven’t clicked very often.

My Pouch is probably the sternest and least forgiving of all my safety nets. I had surgery to re-route my intestines and create a pouch that was about 2 ounces in size. That, more than anything, gave me a road block to the overeating. Now, if I’m in a mood and the donuts are calling me, I have three things that act as safety nets: the first is that I can’t actually fit a dozen donuts in my pouch, there just isn’t enough room. Second, all that sugar will make me sick – maybe even dump. And let’s not go there – TMI! Third, no matter how much I eat of something bad, I’m not absorbing all the fat and sugar anymore because of the surgery. I’m so glad I have my pouch and I’m glad it will always be with me. I’m glad I didn’t have the band because you can have that removed. I wear a medical alert bracelet with my surgery type on it and I make myself read it every time I’m tempted to eat something I shouldn’t. It helps.

Last, but Most Important Every single minute of every single day, my husband and son are there for me. They give me praise and tell me how beautiful I am. They brag on me to their friends. They listen while I ramble on and on about my obsession with weight loss and nutrition. They wave goodbye cheerfully  (mostly) when I go off to the gym for hours on Saturdays. They humor me and go on 22 mile bike rides and hikes up mountains. My husband shops and cooks and freezes to make sure there is always a good option for me to eat that tastes FABULOUS. He doesn’t bitch and moan about the 10 new wardrobes I’ve had to build. (Though he’s glad I discovered the Goodwill and wishes I was more into tailoring…) I don’t know how people do it on their own. I don’t think I could have done so well or gotten back on track so quickly the times I’ve slid. I love you guys.

Weight Loss Therapy

5:39 AM Good morning! Look at that – made it a whole minute earlier today. I’ve got my glass of water, the dogs have been let out and back in to sit on my feet and I’m ready to WRITE!

Weight Loss Therapy Last night was my session with Dr. Rebeca Moore, the weight loss therapist that I’ve been seeing since August of last year – right before my surgery. I knew that I needed a counselor and I wanted her to know me at my pre-surgery weight and attitude. I figured that way she would be able to tell when I was lying to either of us.

Thirty years of therapy I started counseling when I was a very angry and out of control teenager. Despite being as wide as I was tall and one of the smart kids in school, I was always getting into fights. So I got sent to counseling. Not a great fit – she was sweet and gentle and I needed someone to call me on my BS. Plus back then I just followed the family line of everything is fine, what do you mean? Not a lot of progress.

College Therapy I did better with college therapy – got to take advantage of some great minds at Yale New Haven. I worked through a lot of issues and learned how to express my emotions – well, actually, I think I just learned how to FEEL them again. They were just beaten out of me to the point where I refused to allow myself to cry or to feel sadness.

Finally learning Now, though it is still far from normal  or even comfortable for me, I am able to feel and express my emotions much more than I ever have.

Skin on Skin This week’s “practice” is to have four times a day when I’m ‘skin on skin’ with my husband and son. When they wake up (or I get back from the gym), when I leave for work, get home from work and before bed. We already hug and kiss at those times, but I am going to focus on relaxing into it more and not rushing off to the next thing that needs to be done. (That’s one of the down sides of being a project manager – I’m always thinking about the next thing on my list).

Bed Time Nights are the hardest for me, because while I get up at o’dark thirty, the boys are happy to stay up til all hours and then sleep late – which works if you are homeschooled but not if you are trying to get up and write and get to the gym before work. So usually my husband does the bed time ritual. Last night was nice, because with the new camp schedule, everyone is going to bed early. I got to tuck in my son and kiss him goodnight and then fell asleep listening to my husband read the night time story.

Emotional Intelligence While I’ve always realized that my IQ was high and been able to leverage that in school and work, my EQ has always been – lacking! I started working with an Executive Coach last year, Jodie Charlop from Potential Matters. I was frustrated because of my lay off. People that I felt didn’t get as much done were still there, but I was gone.

There’s a Reason for That! Working with her I learned to ask for and get feedback and learned that I’m just not a comfortable person to work with. I’m too demanding on myself and others. I am driven and focused on the to-do list and not on my co-workers. At first I resisted the idea that it was not a waste of time to chat and get to know my fellow cubicle slaves.

Experimenting I tried being more outgoing and getting to know people at my new job. It has made such a difference in how I feel about my job and also, how easy it is to do my job. Yes, I spend more time talking and less time working, but I’m not having to battle the attitude problems that I thought other people had. Well, they had attitude, but it was because I started it! <LOL>

People Matter I’ve always been aware of what my immediate family or my very best friends were doing. I would remember what was going on in their lives and their birthdays and special occasions (eventually). And I’ve always admired my best girlfriends, who remember that for EVERYONE they know. Although I’m not to their level, I feel like I’m making progress and getting to know people. I spend time saying hello and how are you – even on instant messaging.

Impact on Weight Loss I think the way that has helped me with the weight loss is two fold: one, I’m not so stressed at work. Its a much more relaxed environment and I don’t feel the need to stress eat as much. And when I do feel it, I can usually distract myself with a coffee break with one of my team members. Two, because we are friendly, they notice my weight loss, they notice what I’m eating or if I ride my bike to work. So I get a lot of positive feedback.

Fat and Ugly Days Yesterday I was having what Geneen Roth calls a “Fat and Ugly” attack. I got on the scales at the gym and they are so different from mine, that I appeared to have gained four pounds. Now, I know that I haven’t gained four pounds, but because I was using two different scales (who am I kidding? There’s not a scale in Atlanta I don’t step on) I hadn’t really made as much progress as I thought. So I got to work and was feeling all down and someone stopped by to congratulate me on how good I looked. She said she could tell that I was continuing to work out and lose weight and she made me feel great. There’s nothing better than that!

Well, gotta go – Body Sculpting Class this morning – have a transformed day!