10 Things I Do To Maintain

My second series of articles is starting to go up over on GYFT, 10 Things I Do To Maintain a Weight Loss. Check ’em out:

1: The 5 Stages of Accepting Maintenance Reality

2: Make It Permanent

3: Points for Trying

I’ve got four more in the pipeline to come out over the next few days, and I’m going to write the last 3 real soon now. I’ll cross-post the next few as they come up. I hope you are enjoying them!


Cross-Posting Because I Care

I wrote a series of 10 articles to kick off my tenure at GYFT, “10 Things I Did to Lose 200 Pounds,” a collection of ideas and skills I used to drop a whole lot of weight:

1: Stop Thinking I Knew Everything

2: Get Help

3: Clean Up My Act

4: Write It Down

5: Learn What Exercise is For, and What It’s Not

6: Try New Fruits and Veggies

7: Have a Daily Strategy

8: Say Yes to Exercise

9: Learn to Eat in Restaurants

10: Become My Own Drill Sergeant

It’s not a comprehensive list, obviously, but a good start. I’m working on my next 10-article series now, 10 Things I Do to Keep It Off. I hope I don’t start sounding like a broken record! Let me know if you like them, and which ones you think resonate the most with you and your experiences!

Beating the Scale (part 2), and Journaling on the Internet

I posted a couple weeks ago about how I’ve stepped back a bit on weighing myself. I decided to weigh myself once a week on Fridays. Except last week I just didn’t feel like it, so I didn’t. This week, when I got on the scale I was amazed. Yet again, without constant daily vigilance, nothing catastrophic happened! Amazing! I’m really liking this new freedom from scale tyranny! I was even down a pound and a half this morning, which may have been attributable to…

I signed up to try an online food tracking web site. I’ve decided that doing reviews of the various sites might be a fun few articles for GYFT, since my editor there has been hinting lately that he’d like some more product reviews. So this week I’m trying out MyFitnessPal. So far I have some thoughts, which I’ll expand upon later, but what it boils down to is, when you’re used to writing down with pencil and paper what you’ve eaten it’s a bit of a hassle to have to search for it in their database, try to figure out what the right one is among the result set, then try to figure out what the portion you ate was when all they have are options like “100 grams.” WTF is that in the real world, please?? I imagine that will probably be the case with any food tracking site though. Welcome to the 21st Century!

Also the interface has a relentless focus on weight loss, which is a little off-puting to me. Not everybody who is tracking needs to lose weight. I’m just trying to maintain here, so daily summaries that tell me how if I ate like this every day, in 4 weeks I’d weigh (X which represents a several pound loss) are kind of annoying.

On the plus side, seeing my running total through the day and how much I have left at any point is nice and triggers a bit of a game instinct in me, causing me to try to stay under my target for the day. Never really get that with pen and paper tracking.

Have a great weekend everyone!

It’s Alive!

The website I’ve been writing for is live today. Here’s the link if you want to check it out:

I’m really impressed with how great the site looks, and how interesting so many of the articles seem to be. I’ll definitely be binge-reading later today!

All of my articles can all be found here: http://www.getyourfittogether.org/author/laina-w/

My first set is “10 Things I Did to Lose 200 Pounds.” Plus a couple of product reviews of things I like to use.

I send them new articles regularly so there should be new stuff showing up all the time. I’m actually pretty impressed with how the site looks, and I want to read a lot of the articles the other writers have written. I’m definitely bookmarking it!

I’ll also link some of the good ones here so even if you don’t want to start following that site you can still see the stuff I’m proud of here.




I constantly struggle with getting enough protein in my diet. I know that I don’t really get enough and I should be including more, but it’s just not something that’s easy for me to add. In addition, meat just isn’t something I crave, so I have to find other ways to get it and I’m coming up short on ways to do that.

Most days I have oatmeal for breakfast, then a snack mid-morning, a big salad from the salad bar at work (and I’ve recently started adding some of the chicken breast and sliced hard boiled eggs to my salad) a mid-afternoon snack, dinner, and sometimes an after-dinner snack.

Usually, for the last 10 years, each of those non-meal snacks for me has been fruit. Fruit is easy, it’s readily available, it’s portable and packs into a lunch box with no fuss, and it doesn’t require any utensils. Downside: fruit doesn’t generally include any protein. So that’s three “meals” in my day with no protein. The more I read the more I have started thinking that as my body ages (I’m 40 now), the more it needs small amounts of protein with every meal, including snacks.

But figuring out how has been a real struggle. Yogurt or cottage cheese in my lunch box for two of those snacks is a possibility, but it requires little tupperware containers, so that’s a hassle. String cheese might be an option but it seems to defy my simple, non-processed foods guideline. Actually, I’m not sure on that one, as I don’t know much about the relative processing necessary to create it. Nuts are…problematic. I love nuts – almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans, really, any kind of nuts are great – bring it on! But…nuts are very high in calories so I have to extremely careful about how many I eat. A very small handful is the limit for a snack, but you know my problem is and always has been portion size. I’m not good with foods that you have to portion out strictly (part of why I love fruits and veggies so much – it’s hard to go overboard with them, they’re mostly water!), because I always want to add just a little bit more to my portion. I can’t be trusted with that, and it’s not like you can buy them in single-serving portions.  Same thing with regular cheese – it’s got a high caloric density so I would have to work really hard on making very small portions for me, and I think that I’d be left feeling deprived, because I love cheese so much and just eating a “serving” – a cube one inch on a side – seems so measly.

So this week it’s been little containers of yogurt or cottage cheese. Maybe I’ll look into a few strips of jerky. I’m open to other ideas on how to get more protein into my workday. New ways to look at these small portions of the protein forms I’ve mentioned would also be great. How do you get protein into your meals and snacks? Which forms am I overlooking?

The Scale Has Been Messing With My Head

The scale. Ugh. I’ve mentioned in the past that I think the biggest component of maintaining a loss this big long-term is the mental game. Sometimes you win it, and sometimes you lose.

Well, for the last 6 months I’d been losing, because I’d been letting the scale get inside my head. Managing the scale and its mental impact is a big job for me, because it’s not just a Thing That Measures, it represents success or failure in an endeavor such as weight loss and management. Over the last 10+ years I’ve gone through cycles of mentally managing the scale well, and other times, such as recently, of failing to manage it well.

To recap: After I finished losing with Optifast I started weighing myself daily, mostly because the news was good – Yay! I’m skinny again! I’m below my target! Yay! But then, I went on a trip in May and when I got back the news wasn’t so great – I’d put on a few (less than 10) but I was determined that getting them off again was the difference for me personally between success and failure (another way that weight management can get under your skin – obviously in the real world what you weigh has no bearing on your personal success or failure, but when you spend a lot of effort and time on something you can start to get your head tied into knots regarding its true importance). So then I started weighing myself every day and every day was NOT good news. And the scale has an insidious way of getting inside my head and disrupting the messages there. It inserts negative, damaging scripts into the conversations I have with myself. If I’m having a good day, but I had a weight I wasn’t happy with, the message is, “Well, you’re having a good day but don’t get too happy missy, you’re still a fat cow.” And if I’m having a not-so-good day, as you can imagine it’s much worse.

In fact, it even seems to insert itself into images. I look at myself in the mirror, and instead of seeing what’s there, I see, “Well, you’re up a few pounds so obviously you don’t look GOOD. Just ok, maybe, for someone so fat who is failing to drop the weight she needs to, because she’s a FAILURE.”

I’m not telling you this because I think it’s a good or beneficial way to talk to yourself. I’m telling you this because I think I’m not the only one who can fall into these destructive mental patterns. If you get this, then you and I are both suffering from disordered thinking around weight and body image.

Last week, however, I managed to break the spell. I woke up one morning late last week and I couldn’t face it. I was having some health issues (worse than usual) and I just couldn’t bear yet another shitty thing. So I skipped it. And the next morning I skipped it again. And for a whole week, I kept skipping it. I kept following my healthy food plan and my exercise regimen (when  my health allowed, of course, I’m not killing myself to exercise with a migraine, for example).

You know what happened in that week? Without the insidious voice of the scale in my head, the little voice that tags my image in the mirror started to recover. One morning she whispered, “We look good today,” and nobody disputed her. The next day she quietly said, “My body rocks,” and nobody shouted her down. I started to see what was there instead of allowing the scale to filter my every thought and image. Yesterday I went to the gym and in the room full of mirrors the voice said, “We’re strong, and capable, and perfect just the way we are.” There was no argument.

This morning, after over a week of ignoring the scale, I got on and nothing catastrophic had happened. A number came up, and it was fine. It was simply a measure of the pull of gravity on me. It wasn’t my body image, it wasn’t a denigrating voice in my head, it wasn’t a threat or a harbinger, it was just a number. So I think I’ll be weighing once a week from now on.