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WATERMELLEN is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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It's a long journey and a continuing experiment of one. The big change in 2020 was retirement (not COVID related but in the planning stages for several years). And then in 2021, relocating from Ontario to Prince Edward Island!

Beginning in April 2019 and now in April 2021 ongoing for over two years, I decided to focus on finding my natural weight by rejecting the diet mentality, honouring my hunger and making peace with food. I want to continue learning to trust myself, listening carefully to my own body signals described in the 2012 book, Intuitive Eating by Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch. And (as set out in my weight loss history below) this is a fundamental change in focus for me.

By 2019 I no longer feeling good about engaging in a continuous adversarial war with myself, even "making the case for myself" as per Susan Estrich. Or practising "mental toughness" as per Steve Siebold. Or "strengthening my resistance muscle" and applying elaborate cognitive behaviour therapy strategies to combat thinking errors, as per Dr. Judith S. Beck. Or sustaining "bright lines" of no sugar, no flour, no snacks as per Susan Peirce Thompson.

With the help of Jon Gabriel, in 2017 I acknowledged for the first time the role of fear in my life, generated by Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

I was introduced in 2018 to 3PGC: Three Principles Global Community: mind, consciousness and thinking. So many of the random 60,000 to 100,000 thoughts we experience daily are concerned with fears from the past and anxieties for the future which are not happening now, in the present. Peace and contentment are always just one thought away: we can let troubling random thoughts ebb and flow like the weather or the tides.

And the 3PGC approach in turn prepared my to reconsider intuitive eating, which also focuses on respect for my body in the present. Including nurturing responses to present mild hunger and eating what I want to the point of present mild satisfaction. Treasuring the pleasure with gentle nutrition. And treasuring the pleasure of gentle movement too.

This was and continues to be revolutionary for me. And even after two years, I'm not saying I've "found the answer". Not even for me, and certainly not for anyone else. Of course I was concerned and continue to be concerned that intuitive eating might result in weight gain. [Here's the April 13 2019 blog culminating a blog series on intuitive eating where I write about these fears: https://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_

I used to say that MAINtenance is the MAIN thing and that it required "eternal vigilance": calorie counting, tracking of fat/carbs and proteins. My Beck-borrowed motto was "hunger is not an emergency".

But: so far so good. I'm not thin thin thin but I'm OK with the weight that results from a more intuitive approach. Much happier with my sense of calm and confidence in the present when I treat myself with greater trust and kindness.

And my new motto? INTuition comprises INTegrity. I cannot compromise my integrity and honour all the components which make me my best self: the actual body I have in the present which is a result of both my biological heredity (my height, my shoe size, which I'd never attempt to diet away or fight) and my history of experience emotionally and intellectually and spiritually. Integrity is not primarily a moral value but an integrating energy or consciousness and I do a damage to myself by ignoring it . . . just as I do a damage to my metabolism by gaining and losing and regaining and relosing the same 10 pounds over and over again trying to sustain a particular body weight, yanking my chain until I get back to the "number" which may not in fact BE my number.

What's my number? What's my natural weight? I don't know, I don't know, I still don't know for sure.

But at 70 now, it still seems to me that it was time I found out? And that I trusted myself enough to begin to discover it? And to accept it? Whatever it is? And perhaps: I am getting there, two years into the process!

And how I got to this place -- yes, I'm leaving up the "old history" below, in case anyone wants to explore it. With some edits!! And also, of course, as a bit of a fail-safe in case "intuitive" doesn't work out for me, I lose my nerve and I revert to the old tight control that has worked for me in the past. Although I'm increasingly confident and calm about that and pretty sure it IS working, for me. Please, wish my continued luck on this journey because this matters to me for sure . . . in a way that ripples far beyond issues relating to weight control!!


Watermellen is apparently really only 5'7" (so my doctor insists . . . but I would like to believe I'm 5'9", and not just because I'm almost always wearing heels!!). At 70 now, I'm a Canadian, married for almost 40 years to a terrific guy with two great adult kids and an interesting job from which I've now retired -- all good stuff, and I'm grateful for all of it. Who could ask for more???

We have had to say goodbye in November 2018 to our golden retriever Charlie who was a wonder dog for sure. We were so conscious of our great good luck that he did live to be fourteen and a half years old, and we did cherish every single day with him. Now we've got to continue trying to be as good people as he believed us to be since he is most certainly up there advocating for our admission eventually . . . and it won't be heaven for him if they turn us away. In July 2019 we did adopt a new golden retriever puppy: Henry, who went to work with us ever day until we shut down our office in March 2020 -- and we're pretty sure Charlie is overjoyed that another dog has joined our lives.


Weight management, however, has required life long attention and I know now that isn't likely to change. Eternal vigilance will always be essential, and in particular sustaining all the techniques I know and can learn to avoid the temptation I'm unable to resist. [NOPE: no longer thinking eternal vigilance of that type is necessary or even desirable -- but what works for me is listening to my body attentively and trustingly.]

A technique which I discovered in 2013 on Amy Cuddy's TED talk: the deliberate choice of body language to reduce cortisol. Yeah! Two minutes of "victory pose" in moment of stress! If, as Steve Siebold says (www.fatlosers.com) our minds affect our bodies, and we require mental toughness to lose weight -- then maybe power-posing our bodies can also affect our minds!

My own weight loss history? I went from at least 230 (probably 240, I'd stopped weighing!!) to 150 (size 18 or 20 to size 8) in 2001-2002 with healthy eating, cardio and strength training: I was inspired by Susan Estrich's fine book, "Making the Case for Yourself". And since 2002 I have steadily kept most of it off, with just a bit of up-and-down. However, I permitted some "pity party pounds" to creep on after a February 2009 breast cancer dx and was so exasperated that year when all my spring clothes were uncomfortable.

Discovering SparkPeople in May 2009 (after recovery from surgery and just before beginning radiation treatments) turned out to be a great move. I met my initial SparkPeople set goal weight of 155 BMI 22.9 during those radiation treatments and got back comfortably into my size 8s. Then I decided to lose at least another 5 lbs and reevaluate.

For a year or so my weight settled into a maintenance range of about 151-154. As treatment side effects (especially fatigue) receded, I did get back into the more vigorous exercise program I'd followed since 2001; what worked for me was three days a week at the gym, 30 minutes of cardo (about 400 calories burned per session) plus another 20-30 minutes of weights/abs/stretching. Although this resumption of exercise was less than my previous level, I felt well and in fact questioned whether my former level of 5-6 days a week at the gym was the optimal goal.

Rather than more gym time, I very much wanted to return to running. In the late 80s and early 90s before my massive weight gain (incurred during a stressful return to school) I had run 10 k a day and loved it. But as a runner, I foolishly neglected strength training and stabilization of hip and knees joints, and that's what eventually brought my running to a halt. In 2010 I did experiment with the PODRUNNER intervals free download running program and adopted the POSE technique (vertical posture, short rapid stride, mid-foot landing) to guard against injury. Once again, for a brief period of time, running could offer me a reliable source of euphoria. I completed the 5k program and got half way through the Gateway to 8k. However, the recurrence of persistent pain in my right hip and knee joints eventually persuaded me that running was no longer possible for me. This was very very disappointing.

Once I stopped running in 2010, I found that my weight maintenance "range" was becoming more and more "elastic". Throughout late 2010 my weight began to creep up, so that by December I was probably around 163 pounds again: I had stopped weighing myself regularly but my size 8s were snug and my 10s were no longer loose. My health and confidence were both taking a bit of a dive.

At Christmas time 2010 I began using a 10,000 luxe light box to stimulate production of vitamin D. Since I could not run, I also decided to resume cross country skiing, something I had loved as a younger woman but had forgotten about for some 25 years. Cross country skiing gave me that "outdoors" cardio without knee or hip pain, and I took it up with great vigour and pleasure, rapidly increasing my circuit to 6 km several times a week -- as a result enjoying winter more than I'd done for decades.

Beginning in January 2011 I also tried Judith S. Beck's Beck Diet Solution, the 6 week plan to train your brain to think like a thin person. This series of techniques derived from cognitive psychology has proved to be a marvellous find for me; my weight dropped from 163 to the mid 140s and feeling healthier, happier and slimmer than I had felt for some time. Even a three week "cancer recurrence" scare in 2011 (which, thankfully, turned out to be a false alarm) was not enough to derail me from my new Beck strategies.

Beck, I believe, has taught me how to take the yo-yoing out of my maintenance range. It's not automatic, though, and I still find maintenance much tougher than weight loss. I must regularly review my Beck cards to remind myself of the advantages of thinking thin. I must arrange my environment to avoid trigger foods. I must preplan my food and exercise, entering my plans into the Spark nutrition and fitness trackers a day in advance. I remind myself to sit down to eat everything, and eat slowly. I have learned but must remind myself that hunger is not an emergency, and that I can tolerate hunger. I have learned but must remind myself to identify sabotaging thoughts (chief among them, "This is taking too much time!") and deal with them ("Not as much time as lugging around all those extra pounds 24/7!"). [With intuitive eating approaches, I now feel that listening to my body and responding to hunger signals absolutely is something that I need to do right away. Eating the good stuff when I'm hungry, stopping just before I'm full.]

What's my final goal weight? That's still (in 2015) not clear: I'm still "Becksperimenting" as to the relationship between "lowest achievable weight" and "lowest maintainable weight". But mid 140s feels good, and all my clothes fit comfortably. In late 2014/early 2015 I repeated the pink Beck 6 week program (once again blogging my way through it every day, once again while dealing with a breast cancer recurrence scare) and also read the green Beck "Diet for Life" book. My weight hs been staying steady in the low to mid 140s, within a 3 pound rage, and I'm wearing size 8s and 6s comfortably. [My weight with intuitive eating approaches is higher than this . . . and still not clear where it will settle. But my 10s are comfortable and some 8s too: and that feels good enough in the context of greater calm and confidence in my life overall.]

I've also rebooted Mental Toughness several times (most recently in early 2015) by revisiting the terrific www.fatlosers.com program . . . blogging Steve Siebold's 21 day program in all his outrageousness. He sure is not for every one . . . but then he is not addicted to the approval of others (and gotta say: I'm not much, either.)

What I know for sure is that my MAIN focus will always have to be on MAINTENANCE. I am determined to stop yo-yoing, which for me means I must weigh myself daily and track my weight every day. Having lost that last 10 pounds at least 10 times over the past 10 years, I do not want to have to lose it even one more time. Yo-yoing is particularly contra-indicated for people like me who have had estrogen-positive cancer tumours, so that's an especially effective incentive to stick with the program. [And now, no longer committed to rigid maintenance at a pre-determined number on the scale at all cost; but increasingly committed to treating myself with kindness and tenderness and care in each present moment. Accepting the weight that results.]

Regardless of the maintenance "calorie range" generated by SparkPeople, in 2015 I've found that now I cannot eat more than about 1300 calories a day without weight creeping back on above my 3 pound permissible range: less if I indulge in refined carbs, no matter how diligently I track the actual calories eaten. Most of weight maintenance for me is calorie control: as important as exercise is for toning, cardio vascular fitness and sustaining my naturallly upbeat and generally happy outlook, I know that I can never exercise enough to be able to eat whatever I want. [I continue to exercise every day, and I'm probably still eating about 1300 to 1500 calories a day on the intuitive eating approach -- but no longer counting and tracking, and instead responding to intuitive eating and movement signals.]

After over 5 years maintaining on SparkPeople (and about 8 years prior maintaining before joining SparkPeople) I continue to appreciate more all the time the amazing SparkPeople site, all the terrific resources -- especially the nutrition tracker -- and all the highly motivated members who have such excellent suggestions and ideas to help all of us stick with our programmes to meet our goals.

On a frivolous and superficial and girly level, I continue to enjoy pretty clothes (particularly coloured leather jackets!), lovely shoes and boots, a sparkly lapel pin, a silk scarf -- most often purchased from a thrift store or ebay. Style is a frugalista hobby which also keeps me motivated in maintaining weight loss.

But it's been regaining the feeling of feeling well (after not feeling so well, and after enduring two subsequent cancer recurrence scares) which has jolted me into conscious gratitude. I don't take well-being for granted, and don't suppose that I ever will again. My capacity for taking pleasure in the ordinary small things in life -- flowers on my kitchen table, a bird at my birdfeeder, a sunset, a new moon, the sound of the wind through the trees -- all of that is free for the noticing, all of that is given, and all of that fuels my joy and enthusiasm and zest for life.


This pleasure in ordinary things is a deep value for me and NOW, in April 2021 something that through 3PGC and intuitive eating I'm continuing to apply to gentle nutrition, gentle exercise and living in the present!!

Member Since: 5/10/2009

Fitness Minutes: 152,946

My Goals:
Through intuitive eating, gentle nutrition and gentle movement, discover what my natural weight might be by losing the diet mentality, honouring my hunger and making peace with food. And trying not to freak out if I don't like the result!!

My Program:
Continue with my weekday morning exercise program comprised of four sets of 10-15 full push ups, full sit ups, mountaineers and squats followed by a thorough and pleasurable yoga stretch program from top to toe with a focus on balance in every sense of that word. Weekday brisk lunch recess walks. On the weekends, get to the gym for some weight lifting. Continue to enjoy kayaking, golf, XC skiing and I hope soon a resumption of dog walking with a new puppy!!

Personal Information:
Proudly Canadian!! Love to read. Still and probably always consider KINDNESS the key human virtue requiring sustained moral imagination respectful of the otherness of others; now seeking to apply MORE kindness to myself too with gentle nutrition and gentle movement. Irredeemably silly, playful, frivolous and girly!!

Other Information:

Read More About WATERMELLEN - Profile Information moved here. (Updated April 17)

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