Healthy Byte: Tips from Long Term Maintainers

In the health world, we’re typically inundated with research on the best ways to lose weight, from nutrition advice to fitness tips. But what if we knew the secrets to never gaining it in the first place? What if we just focused on how to stay at a healthy weight?

Brian Wansink, PhD, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, author of Slim by Design, and Yahoo Health Advisory Board Member, and his team of researchers at Cornell Food and Brand Lab are launching the Global Healthy Weight Registry in January to gather information and discover the secrets of people who have pretty much never gained weight (other than 5 to 10 pounds).

You can join the registry here.

Currently, the National Weight Control Registry, made up of people who had lost 30 pounds and kept it off for three years, provides a wealth of information on weight loss and what makes individuals successful with it long-term. But we don’t hear much about preventing weight gain in the first place, Camille Finn, manager of the Healthy Weight Registry, tells Yahoo Health.

“We need this registry so that we can share the secrets of people who have never been overweight,” Finn explains. “We hope to discover interesting tips and tricks from people who have always been a healthy weight and share those secrets to help others avoid gaining weight.”

So who’s eligible for the registry? Finn breaks it down: “The perfect candidate is someone 18 or older who has maintained a healthy body weight (healthy body mass index) throughout their adult life, and who has not worked with weight counselors or other health professionals regarding their weight in the past.”

If you think you qualify, the next step is to take a questionnaire, which asks a wide range of questions on topics such as what you eat for breakfast, food preferences, cooking secrets, and broader topics such as hobbies and your outlook on life. Once you’re accepted — you’ll be kept anonymous, don’t worry — you’ll be sent updates on new insights and related research papers Wansink’s team publishes. Your only other commitment will be to answer a new set of questions once a year.

‘If you are not eligible, we can still keep you up-to-date on some of our findings when you sign up as a Registry Friend on our website,” Finn explains.

Once the registry gets going, the team will crunch the data in search of commonalities among healthy weight people, says Finn. Then, they’ll share these insights with both the people in the registry and the general public, so that others can apply these tips and tricks to their own lives. “We’ll write academic articles on the results and develop infographics, posts, and tweets, and share them on the website and our social media so that we can help people stay slim.”

The team has created an infographic with some of their preliminary findings on “healthy weight” registrants, which includes some interesting stats: 63 percent eat veggies with dinner every night, 46 percent eat fruit at breakfast, 47 percent never diet, and over 50 percent exercise four or more days per week.

As the registry grows, more insights like these will be revealed and guide useful recommendations that other people can follow to help maintain a healthy weight throughout their lives.

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Eating Healthy One Dupe at a Time

2015 10-23

Ban gluten. Say good-bye to sugar. Give up carbs. No matter what diet you pick, the problem remains the same: Eventually, it ends.

Research shows that the vast majority of people who diet to lose weight end up gaining back some or all of the weight they lost, typically within a few years. And most of us who try lifestyle changes like cutting carbs or sugar only do so for a set period of time.

We recently asked exercise scientist Philip Stanforth, executive director of the Fitness Institute of Texas and a professor of exercise science at the University of Texas, why that happens, and what people who want to lose weight and keep it off can do.

He says there is one key principle that should guide any decision to make a change about what you eat. And that’s “doing something you can maintain for the rest of your life.”

After the initial “dieting phase” of cutting calories, eating healthier food, and upping your workout regimen — experts recommend aiming to lose only a couple pounds a week by burning a few hundred more calories than you’re eating each day — you can start to make some small shifts back towards how you’d normally eat and workout, says Stanforth.

But overall, Stanforth says, “you still eat the same way [as you did when you started to eat healthier].”

Meaning that after you’ve lost a bit of weight, it’s normal to scale back a bit on your workouts and start to eat more calories each day. “But you still eat the same kinds of foods,” says Stanforth, because you’re in the mindset that, “this is how I’m going to eat for the rest of my life.”

Unfortunately, the vast majority of dieting information doesn’t reflect this view. And that’s a mistake, Stanforth says.

“You know we tend to say you go on a diet, but that also implies you’re going to go off of it. And that’s not how we should be looking at this. Sometimes people are looking for the latest fad, but oftentimes it’s the fundamentals that are the most important and that make the biggest difference.”

Originally Posted HERE

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Healthy Byte: Day 960

Yes, that is the number of days I have obsessively logged every morsel which passed my lips and every mascara running session at the gym into MFP.

I recently celebrated my 2-year weight loss maintenance anniversary and I feel that I have learned a tremendous amount through many, many bouts with trial & error and just observations. I’d like to share this collective in hopes that it’d help others. So here goes nothing!

A recent MFP friend asked how do I stay motivated to stay active in maintenance. In my haste to publish my anniversary post I think I really missed the mark on addressing the question properly. What I initially stated was that regular exercise had simply became a mindless habit which is mostly true. However, in giving the question some additional thought, I feel that I can elaborate a bit more with more practical response. So I asked myself, ‘Self, when you are dog-tired & would much prefer to veg out in front of the computer, what does drive you to go to the gym?’ The answer is in two parts.

The first is that it is a habit for me because I absolutely thrive in routines and schedules. However, to say that is the sole driver is not 100% accurate. What keeps me going is that I continue to experience measurable progress towards my fitness goals. And this one is a bit of the chicken or the egg phenomena … let me explain.

My main mark of progress when I was losing weight, like many others, was the fickle frenemy the scale. No matter if it was 2 lbs or a mere fraction of a pound loss, every miniscule step closer to my goal, the more I was motivated to carry on with what I was doing. It is not that much different to be successful in maintenance. I shifted my focus from losing weight to fitness oriented ones, ie. gain muscle definition. Although I secretly dream of looking like this,

Day 960 JE

Photo of Jamie Eason: Former NFL cheerleader & Winner of the World’s Fittest Model Competition

I know that this is something I am unable to maintain for the rest of my life. It’s not a matter of whether I can physically accomplish it. Rather it’s a matter of being able to comply with the heavy demands necessary to achieve AND maintain which is something I am just not willing to invest the time & effort into for the-rest-of-my-life. So I opted to choose something which is more realistic for me and my lifestyle.

Enter the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Day 960 MO The First Lady’s toned shoulders and arms requires effort of course. But the ‘upkeep’ is a very sustainable amount of effort without becoming burdensome. So with a realistic goal set, an adjustment in exercise regimen, all it took was consistency and time (patience). The more muscle definition that I saw the more motivated I became. Everytime I catch a glimpse of my reflection in the mirror and see the budding toned legs, arms, or shoulders, my initial reaction was always ‘holy shit is that me?’ Immediately followed by ‘wow I never thought any part of me could ever look like that!’

So, that’s the chicken or the egg phenomena: I go to the gym and workout regularly because I am seeing positive results towards my fitness goals. And I am seeing positive results because I am going to the gym to workout regularly.

MFP Flex

6 mths Strength Training – still fairly doughy with bat wings & bra strap fat (Weights Exclusively)

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12 mths Strength Training – starting to see some definition in certain positions – the progress keeps me motivated to carry on – tweaks exercises to get the most bang for the workout buck (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

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18 mths Strength Training – muscle definition becoming more prominent – swapped out all my tshirts for tank tops & I always do my pushups in front of a mirror to check my body position but more importantly seeing my shoulder & arm muscles at work motivates me to really push myself to do ‘just one more’ (Bodyweight Exercises Only)

I mentioned previously how utterly ‘lost’ I felt initially in maintenance. The incremental progress during weight loss was suddenly POOF – gone. I felt as if my inner tube had been deflated leaving me in the middle of the ocean just floundering. Simply being intellectually aware that continued activity was ‘good for me’ was not enough of a motivator because to a certain extent, a part of me did have the ‘yay I’ve reached goal – I’ve crossed the proverbial finish line’ mentality. Embracing the reality that there is no finish line & that this is for the rest of my life sort of commitment, it was imperative that I set new goals to help me overcome a common transition pitfall from weight loss to maintenance.

Fitness goals doesn’t have to be earth-shattering or monumental in order to be effective. It can be a series of mini goals. ie. 2,000 steps in three months No matter what it is, it is a key factor to staying active in maintenance. Every now & again, when I hanker to skip the gym,  I ask myself, ‘is it really worth it?’ As one MFP friend very aptly described, muscle definition is a “herd-of-turtles-slow” process and so my answer 99% of the time is a resounding ‘NO.’ It’s just not worth it to me to undo all the time & effort already invested for one night of sitting on my duff at home for an extra hour or so. Hope this more in depth answer is helpful.

ADDITIONAL INSIGHTS

Need a Plan:

The key is that you need a plan that fits your lifestyle and goals and that allows you to follow through. The world’s greatest plan won’t work if it’s not right for you.

Key Behaviors of Long Term Weight Loss Maintainers:

Several key behavior changes that occurred over the year of follow-up also distinguished maintainers from regainers. Not surprisingly, those who regained weight reported significant decreases in their physical activity, increases in their percentage of calories from fat, and decreases in their dietary restraint. Thus, a large part of weight regain may be attributable to an inability to maintain healthy eating and exercise behaviors over time. The findings also underscore the importance of maintaining behavior changes in the long-term maintenance of weight loss.

TIP OF THE WEEK

Bread … oh how I love thee! It’s my standard go-to for lunch because it is easy, quick, and perfect for a busy morning rushing two kids out the door for school. But when I decided to get healthy, I needed to tweak it so that it is the healthiest version of my standard go-to. Instead of trying to force myself to eat new strange ‘healthy’ foods (ie. lettuce wrap in lieu of bread), I stuck with what I loved and simply swapped out components in order to make it healthier. As you can see below, simply by changing the bread, I saved 80 calories per sandwich, reduced carbs, & total fat/sugar intake. Which may not seem like a lot but multiply that by a week (400 calories) or a year (22,400 calories), it adds up really quickly in my favor.

2015 8-21 Incre Tip

Per 2 Slices Sara Lee Soft & Smooth Enriched Whole Grain  White Sara Lee 45 Calorie & Delightful Whole Grain Aunt Millie’s 35 Calorie Whole Grain Difference per Sandwich
Calories 150 90 70 80
Total Calories from Fat 14 10 5 9
Total Fat 1.4 1 1 .4
Carbs 28 19 19 9
Sugar 4 2 1 3

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Forty Pounds to Freedom (Q & A)

2015 8-10 QnA

Now to answer some specific questions from one of my polls of what peeps would like to know:

Q: rayw89 Have you ever caught a few extra pounds coming back on and had to curb it? And do high calorie occasions throughout the year(if you do them) have any negative effects? Thanks. 🙂

A: You bet! I do have a set weight range for maintenance which I monitor quite regularly. My normal weight flux is 93 – 95 lbs → PLEASE remember that I am ‘fun size’ at 4’10” & petite frame … the average size of a 3rd or 4th grader so that # may seem borderline anorexic to some, my height & frame has to be taken into account. My ‘danger danger Robinson’ weight is 97 lbs. In my two year maint I have reached 96 about a half dozen times from my various little eating ‘experiments.’ HAHA For example, I went through a phase where I ate an entire BOWL of popcorn every night for an after dinner snack. I gained weight like nobody’s business! lol  What I learned is that I’m one of the unfortunate souls who do not process carbs very efficiently and had to resort to alternative tactics. ie. eat my dinner later, drink lots of water, leave the kitchen right after dinner so I don’t linger around and be tempted to eat something else just because it’s readily available etc. If I am really hankering for something else, I try to chose the most satisfying and healthy option. ie. PB&J on ½ of toasted whole wheat English muffin. For the second part of the question I’m not really sure what you mean by ‘high calorie occasions’ but I do live by my own variation of the 80/20 Rule. Therefore there are indeed occasions where I have gone as far as 1200 calories over my daily allotment → think bday, anniversary, graduation in the same week – YIKES. I usually am 2-3 lbs heavier for about 48 – 76 hours after, then I go back to my normal eating pattern and my weight goes back down within the normal flux range. No real permanent negative effect as long as it is truly a once in a rare occasion sort of deal → think 2-3 times a year … maybe. And let me just clarify that the 2-3 times a year is by choice. I don’t actively avoid indulgence. It’s just now that my body is SO use to eating well most of the time, when I do indulge in junk I just feel awful for the next couple of days. Sometimes I literally feel like I’m going to die! lol It’s kind of like my body has forgotten how to process junk so it rebels with GI issues. So like Pavlov dogs, the more I feel bad every time I indulge the more I don’t because I like feeling good. Seems silly and a little lame no? Regardless how many calories I consume, I log EVERYthing. If it passes my lips I log it. Instead of being seeing that blaring red number as a teacher wagging their finger at me, I see it as nothing more but data. It helps me to identify food items which make my weight flux more than others or feel more bloated than others. It’s a good tool for analysis & reflection. For example, by having the data to analyze I was able to delineate that it wasn’t so much the carbs that was making me feel sluggish & bloated but certain food groups (FODMAP sensitivity). I’d have never been able to figure that out if I didn’t habitually log everything.

Q: drmartz55 Read a good article on PsyBlog about the psychological secret to great exercise habits, so I’d like to know what prompts you to exercise regularly?

A: ahhhh great question! This goes back to being the tortoise nor the hare. Whenever I used to want to lose weight I’d would go full throttle, gungho and go to the gym 5 days a week for an hour and a half, sometimes two full hours. The first week was awesome – “YEA I feel great!’ The second week was less awesome – ‘This is okay.’ The third week I was starting to dread going to the gym – ‘hmmm, why the hell am I doing this?’ By the fourth week I’m like –  ‘pffft whatever I’m not seeing any results anyways – why bother!’ This time, since I know I am not a gym person by nature, so I started small. I asked myself what realistically can I consistently do without feeling like it is a chore? The answer was 15 minutes twice a week. I figure that anyone can spare 15 minutes twice a week so that is what I started with. For a few months I went to the gym religiously for 15 minutes twice a week. When that became second nature I increased the duration and frequency. I bumped it up to 30 minutes three times a week. And when that became this mindless autopilot mode that I just did without thinking (like automatically putting on a seatbelt in the car without thinking about it) I increased the duration and frequency again and so on. What I didn’t know was that by approaching exercise this way, I was fundamentally inscribing a new life habit. And now, honestly, even on days when I absolutely want to just crawl into my pjs & stay home, my auto pilot mode kicks in I mindlessly change into my gym clothes & I go. Once I am physically at the gym, even if I am just dog tired and say to myself, ‘I’m just going to dial it in tonight’, I never do because once I get going, my body takes over and my brain just goes along with it. Also, in my previous failures I did classes exclusively. This time I almost never went to classes but did my own thing because the classes was set to someone else’s schedule which often times meant a 2-3 hours lag time between getting off work until class started. That lag time was very dangerous for me because once I get settled in for the night it’s much more difficult to get myself motivated to go back out. Doing things on my own meant I can come home from work, dump my work stuff, change, go to the gym, knock out my little routine, then D-O-N-E Done! This has worked much better for me and when I get bored I just YouTube or Google something else to do. 🙂

Q: vmsolko I’m wondering about the transition from losing to maintenance. I recently switched from the setting to ose 1.5lbs/week to 1lb/week and I gained 4 lbs. :/ It’s only been 2 weeks, so I’m hoping it comes off eventually as my body gets used to the extra calories. Did you ever have issues getting your body to accept your “set point” of daily calories?

A: hmmmm okay – my first question to you is have you reran your TDEE#? For example,  if someone is 5’5” at 200 lbs the BMR will be more than if the person is 5’5” at 130 lbs. Why? Simply because there is less of you → the body overall will need less calories (fuel) to function & support – the exception of course if someone is training for bodybuilding contest or Iron Man or some extraordinary physical activity. Make sense?

SO to answer your question … I actually changed very, very little from losing to maintenance – calories wise. For example, when I was losing, my daily caloric allotment was 1200 + whatever I earned from exercise, let’s say it’s 300 for a total of 1500. No matter what my total calories was for the day I would leave 200-300 to create that deficit. SO 1200 (base) + 300 (exercise) = 1500 (total) – 1300 (actual consumption) = 200 deficit

In maintenance, the first thing I did was reran my TDEE. There will be a difference between 43 years old at 4’10” 136 lbs with zero and 45 years old at 4’10” 95 lbs going to the gym 6 times a week. Secondly, I didn’t really ‘increase’ my calories per say because I was never starving on 1250 – 1300 calories a day while losing. So what I did was I tried to eat more of what I earned from my exercise calories.

Using the same example above this is what a typical day would look like for me now: 1300 (base) + 300 (exercise) = 1600 (total) – 1400 (actual consumption TDEE) = 200 deficit

I basically ignore MFP base calories and concentrate the daily total. And even though MFP may reward me the 300 exercise calories bringing my daily total to 1600, I would never consistently eat the full allotted 1600 because my TDEE is below that.  So to think about this logically –  if my body ONLY need 498 to support my current level of activities then it would make no sense to go over that.  To the last part of your question, no not really. I did not forcibly up my calories I just gradually ate more towards my new TDEE which was not a huge difference from losing.

That’s why I always strongly encourage people to have some idea of where one should be eating and not just blindly upping calories according to MFP because that’s what we’re suppose to do in maintenance. Just try to remember that MFP algorithms are for the average person, of the average age (36.8), and of the average height (men: 5’10” women: 5’4”) so it’s not something to put a lot of stock in if someone falls out of the ‘average’ spectrum … like me. The important thing I try to remember in maint especially is to eat based on my height,  current age & weight, and level of activities. I rerun my TDEE annually on my birthday because our calorie needs decreases as we get older. Although our actual appetite may not reflect that. haha The other thing I have really focus on in maint are macronutrients. Primarily because my fitness routine & goals are different. Since I am doing less cardio & more strength trng, I do feel more satisfied longer with more protein. SO I have upped my protein, lower my fat and maintain the carbs. This tweaking helped me a lot. Hope all that makes sense.

Q: blc1971 Transition tips would be great! Also, weight fluctuations, your set-point (if you have one), weight range, etc. Plus anything you want to share!!

A: hmmmm … my weight flux is about 1-2 lbs on any given day. Maybe up to three during that lovely time of the month. lol My typical weight range is 93 – 95 lbs & my danger weight is 97 lbs. I really had no official transition because I made incremental changes throughout losing so once it was time for maint I just pretty much carried on just like any other day with some tweaking here & there as my goals change from losing weight to fitness oriented ones. ie. muscle definition SO SORRY …  that was probably an incredibly lame answer but by the time maint came around, all the new habits have taken root so it was more a matter of continuing to get the most ‘bang for my buck’ approach.

Overall I think maint should be more about balance and allowances for ‘life’ happens. For example, during the months when the hubs & I were running into the four winds with kiddos spring sports I didn’t get to work out regularly. The old me would have had a complete melt down of how I’m was going to gain weight and be fat again – a thought which horrifies me. But the new me understood that and I control what I could control … which was my eating. So during spring, I ate pretty much on plan near 100% of the time to compensate for the lack of exercise. Maint is about incorporating everything we’ve learned from losing weight and being flexible. Otherwise we’re going to drive ourselves completely mad! lol

HB Sig

Healthy Byte: Forty Pounds to Freedom (Story Version)

“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”
~ Maya Angelou, American Author/Poet

2 Yr Wt Loss Ani B4NAFT

9-4-9

Nine-Four-Nine, that is the number reflecting my continued cult-like diligence to logging into the calorie and exercise app – MyFitnessPal. Although that may seem impressive compared to some, that number is still very much in it’s infancy.

Nine-Four-Nine is not simply my number of consecutive days of logging, it also marks a milestone – my two-year weight loss maintenance anniversary. It was indeed 2 years ago when I reached my goal weight and have maintained 100% what I have lost. A feat which statistics had adamantly testified was out of reach for most. An impossible ordeal to obtain. And like a card player at the Blackjack table in Vegas, the odds were very much stacked against me but here I stand, 2 years-in, giving the statistics the proverbial finger.

The Key: The secret to my success? On the verge of sounding like Neo in “The Matrix” … “There is no spoon.” I wish I had an easy answer neatly topped off with a bright shiny bow, but alas, I do not. What I can offer are bits of self observations that will hopefully help ‘flip the switch’ for whoever maybe reading this post. Just be mindful that everyone is different and this is just what has worked for me.

From the Start: My initial goal had never been solely about losing X lbs in X time for X event. Losing weight was certainly a factor to measure progress but my ‘big picture’ goal was always to become as healthy as I can & as far away from developing diabetes as humanly possible. The luxury of time took a tremendous amount of pressure off.

Be the Tortoise Not the Hare: Having tried multiple times, with all the standard array of weight loss methods and ultimately failing was oddly good for me. It was good because based on all my past failures I learned that in order for the results to stick, whatever change(s) I was going to incorporate into my life to not only reach healthy but to stay healthy, had to be sustainable … as in ‘rest-of-my-life’ level of sustainability (a tall order). Unlike previous attempts I didn’t dive head first plunging into a totally new eating plan and go to the gym 5-days a week to only give up 3 weeks later because I didn’t see any results or was just burnt out. Nope! This time I had wisened up that I needed to make small incremental changes in order to banish my old habits for the rest of my life. For example, the amount of sugar I use in my tea. Over a period of a year I went from 4 TBSP →  2 → 1 → ½ TBSP → 1 TSP → all the way to what I am using now which is 1 Dash. I continue making small incremental changes even now in maintenance. I am always looking to make this lifestyle easier by maximizing efficiency. Like continuously swapping out nutritious poorer foods with more nutritious rich foods. Or an exercise which works more muscle groups at once rather one at a time. I call this the ‘most bang for the buck’ approach. For example, I only do compound exercises. If I am on the elliptical I set it to high resistance and vary my stance in varying degree of the squat position. This not only gets my cardio in, but the resistance & varying positions builds muscles. Kill two birds with one stone … so to speak.

IMAG2622

Example of small incremental changes: 4 TBSP → 2 → 1 → ½ TBSP → 1 TSP → 4 Dash → 3 Dash → 2 Dash → to current 1 Dash

Where Everyone Knows My Name: To finally understand and accept that there were really no finish line, that reaching goal was just a stepping stone to the bigger, grander scheme of things … aka maintenance was utterly daunting. Perhaps the oddest phenomena of losing weight  was the loss of support from my existing social circle. The initial banter of support somehow evolved to an aire of backhanded compliments and insinuation of an eating disorder. As my social circle shrank my feeling of isolation grew. I became disheartened with the monumental task before me. What I needed was to build a network of support. A network of those who collectively had given the statistics the same proverbial finger. RAWR! 🙂   I began to actively procure fellow maintainers as MFP friends & this was one of the two pivotal turning point in my maint journey. Having MFP Friends, although it was mostly virtual, tamed the soulless bewildering beast that maintenance can be. Maintenance became a soft little purring kitten quietly curled up on my lap. It provided an outlet to share my frustrations, to ask questions, and the simple camaraderie gave me a sense of that I am a part of something special. ❤

Drop a House on That Bitch: Two numbers was the other pivotal turning point in maintenance for me.  80/20 (Rule). To say that I was hyper-vigilant in my losing weight phase was putting it mildly. OCD came in handy to adhering to a set daily caloric number. hahaha The same approach which helped me reach goal was actually quite counterproductive in maintenance. I was incredibly disappointed that I was unable to stay 100% compliant 100% of the time … for the rest of my life. I realize that sounds rather ludicrous but the strict adherence is what helped me reach goal so naturally in order to stay there I just had to continue no? I constantly struggled with snacking after dinner and I have had my fair share of occasions where I said ‘fuck it I’m having some cookies n cream ice cream’ followed by cookies, then sweets. Just as I licked the last bit of chocolate off my fingers, a tremendous sense of guilt and failure would ensue. And of course this feeling of self disgust at the total collapse of my ‘willpower’ or perhaps it was just a genuine detrimental character flaw resurrects the super hyper vigilant sadistic controlling bitch (aka me) to be even more boisterous. It was a cycle which became evident that what I was doing was no longer working and the internal tug-of-war was a miserable existence. Then in researching nutrition for a blog post I came across an article referencing the 80/20 Rule. If this was a television sitcom exalted angels would be singing in the background complete with a beacon of light shining gently upon my little head. It was brilliantly simple. To maintain, all I needed was to eat on plan 80% of the time and then 20% of the time, if I so chose, I could indulge within reason (portion controlled). The minute I gave myself permission to eat what I wanted was the minute that I stopped craving it – it’s just human nature I suppose.

Jedi Mind Tricks: We all can borrow a page from Stuart Smalley. His daily self affirmation is “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.” As corny as that may seem Stuart is on the right track.

There is a genuine disconnect period after weight loss where the brain hasn’t quite caught up with the new physique. I’m not sure what the science behind it is is but it’s fairly common that the fatty mentality lingers on well after the weight is gone.  For example, it took me about 2 years to wear leggings because my mentality was ‘oh I can’t pull that off.’ SO the odd thing that I have done and continue to do is partake an activity of the youth … I-take-selfies! Yes I can hear the eyes rolling but hear me out.  We see ourselves everyday and it’s easy to take things for granted. By taking snapshots of myself I am visually reinforcing that I have indeed changed. Every now & again when I just don’t ‘feel’ like I’m making any fitness progress I go take a selfie. When I see my bicep getting more defined or my bat wings less wing like,  I get excited, I get pumped, and I’m super-charged to continue to do what I am doing. Self-affirmation and re-motivation is an important part of sticking with it. Another quirk I’ve developed is that I carry a photo of fat me around on my phone. It’s not very different from a child with a new toy. In the beginning they are all about it but after awhile they get tired of it and want something new. I think it’s very typical of human nature in general, not just children. Every now & again, I do get use to being the new size and grow callous to all the time & effort that I’ve invested to reach the new size. My brain would start to think, ‘hmmm, maybe it’s time to take a break from the exercise or the eating.’ This is when I pull up the fat me photo then look at the healthy me photo and on the verge of sounding self-absorbed I let myself marvel at the transformation. This visual helps remind me where I was and that what I’m doing every day does indeed matter. Because at the end of the day, we have to be our own best advocate. SO yea go on, be a bit more like Stuart, take some selfies, and allow yourself to bask in your accomplishment!

HB Sig