Diet Dispatches

The value of exercise

October 18, 2011 

Carole Tanzer Miller, features editor, writes: A year ago this month, I reached my 135-pound goal. The exact date isn't clear from my iPhone WeightBot records: I weighed in at 136.5 on Oct. 11, 2010, and the next entry was 134.3 on Oct. 15, 2010.

A year later, I'd rate my success at maintaining as mixed.

On Thursday, I was 1.8 pounds heavier than the 140 I've set as my don't-go-higher-than-this-or-else limit.

That's definitely disappointing even though my weight is considered "normal" for my 5 feet 6 inches. After all, I've been exercising almost daily for a few weeks. The initial soreness is gone. And I see a noticeable payoff in terms of increased stamina. (Last big neighborhood walk, up and down hills, with my fast-of-foot friend kept a good pace - AND this time, I was able to carry on my half of the conversation, too. Previous jaunt left me with a fist-sized knot in my calf and gasping for air.) So hooray for that!

But I'm a bottom-line kind of girl and that bottom-line number on the scale is driving me nuts. It's especially maddening when I reflect that at various points over the past 12 months, I actually flirted with 130, with no special changes in my eating or exercise habits.

So, what now?

Well, I'm adjusting my goals. Just a tad. Here's the plan:

Goal weight remains between 135 and 140. I will continue daily weigh-ins, recording them in WeightBot.

I will exercise at least 30 minutes a day five days a week - more if possible.

I will keep a log of everything I eat and drink, noting times of days and how I'm feeling at the time, to look for patterns and bad habits.

I will continue using the stairs at work even after the elevator is finally fixed.

I will consult my Take Shape for Life health coach about next steps and then, follow her advice.

Here's to Year 2.

Eating for good health

Community blogger Alan Foster writes: Beginning weight: 225 Current weight: 205

Well, a week of not worrying about weight loss hasn't produced any results one way or the other. The scale hasn't shifted up or down. I have exercised a bit more than normal, but I haven't splurged on any high-calorie meals except for one night of wings and fries with some dear friends. The very next day, the same friends became faced with a critical health issue, which really made me stop and consider my health and that of my family. Good health is something we take for granted until it goes away. It's no secret that our diet can play a key role in our health or lack thereof. I suppose I've always wanted to watch my weight, not so much for health reasons, but mostly for appearance reasons. In observing the ordeal my friends are enduring, I'm looking at health with a new perspective. I have a renewed sense of responsibility to maintain my health and will encourage my family to do the same. Obviously, misfortune can creep in regardless of diet, as with my friends. However, to ignore the potential consequences of ignoring one's diet not only could impact me but also loved ones. Here's to health!

Learning self-esteem

Community blogger Muriel Watson writes: Starting weight: 326. Current weight: 264

I have lost another 4 pounds, which means I have now reached 42 pounds at Medi-Clinic. It feels great! I love this whole transformation of my body, but I have a hard time seeing the changes that everyone else seems to see. I get a lot of compliments now. I know they mean well, but self-esteem is not something I am very good at. I am still working through these issues and know that it will take time to heal.

I will go back to Medi-Clinic for my midweek injections and then to the gym after. Working hard toward the best results and excited to see less of me tomorrow.

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Weight-conscious staffers share stories and tips at blogs.newsobserver.com/turningthescales.

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