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Location: The fringe.
Registered:: 11-16-2002
Posts: 372
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Laura, that is so sensible and should be so obvious, yet it is so easy to obsess about the negative in our lives and completely forget the positives. Humans - never happy with what we have, always wanting what we can't/don't, such a perversion.

So I started dancing almost a year ago to date, I was 180/185lbs upon starting and I'm down to 150. I'm 5'7", so I am certainly at a healthy weight now, and I am in the best shape I have ever been in, although that doesn't mean that much given I have always been a bit big for my cohort throughout school, and this is the first athletic activity I have ever persued. Incidently, I am 22 and hate pretty much 95% of athletic activities because they bore me stiff. Oh, and my hand eye cordination isn't so great, and I don't do so well playing on a team. Good thing dancing involves only one other person (on a regular basis, for me) and we have a similar enough of a mentality that when something doesn't work we deal with it rationally and while in good spirits.
Anyways, I would like to lose another 10-15 lbs, all for aesthetic reasons, although I think I have hit a wall. I haven't lost anything in the last 3 months, so I need to figure out a way to kick start things again. My diet isn't bad, but it certainly is not good either. I could never go low carb, high protein, I simply don't care to eat that way - I love my starches too much. Most people crave chocolate and chips, I crave pasta. I do need more fruit and veg in my diet.

As far as slimming down is considered, I think I may not be losing much weight but I'm a little slimmer, so I may be replacing fat with muscle, although I'm not shrinking so much any more. I wish to target my thighs as the fat there seems to refuse to move. Has anyone tried anything such as Metabolite, or other diet suppliments that are ephedra free? They make me nervous, given FDA approval seems to mean jack all, so how does one figure these things out?

So it seems now there are several of us that simply need to push through a plateau - but how? Can anyone suggest an activity I could do that is fun and doesn't require a partner?
Location: Sacramento, CA, United States
Registered:: 12-11-2000
Posts: 1049
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I've used Xenadrine on and off over the last couple of years, and I like it. It gives you energy, suppresses your appetite, somehow aids weight loss, and it doesn't have ephedrine.

If you aren't into going to the gym to use the stairmaster, treadmill, etc, try swimming. I love stay cool while you're working, it keeps you lean without getting bulky, and it's fun! It's an excellent full-body workout...cardio and strength training in one.

Location: Kansas City, MO
Registered:: 10-18-2002
Posts: 31
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Laura - your fab. Thanks for the advice. I'll PM shortly.

But the question I have is - does Latin make all us more fanatical about our weight and body? The standard dresses now-a-days aren't that much better, but there is less bare!

My partner/husband has also gone into this fitness/lose weight thing [the more starve yourself and exercise loads] because he wants to look better for the Latin. Lucky for him, he doesn't have the emotional shipping container that I have. >sigh< And he's looking really good after 8 weeks of dedicated cardio and weights [although the weight hasn't shifted - it's just turned from fat to fit]
Registered:: 10-05-2000
Posts: 3146
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About "bad for you cravings"...

If you are craving something sweet, especially sweet and doughy like baked goods or donuts and especially in the afternoons and/or evenings, it is a sign of serotonin deficiency. Serotonin is the "happy" chemical in your brain that makes you feel calm and happy and at ease. There are two ways to increase the serotonin in your brain: SSRIs and things that increase the amount of serotonin your brian produces. Well, there's a third way -- MDMA or ecstacy -- but that's currently illegal and what it does is give you a big serotonin "dump" where your brain spills all it has and makes you feel really good. Oh, and a fourth: various relaxation techniques, including meditation and yoga, have been shown to help raise serotonin levels.

But anyway...SSRs are "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors" which basically mean they block your brain from sucking up released serotonin so that serotonin levels in your brain stay higher and you feel better. Prozac is probably the most popular of the SSRIs. Prozac is often prescribed to bulemics even if they aren't showing the signs of clinical depression because the increased serotonin levels helps to keep them out of the binge/purge cycle.

My doctor feels that SSRIs should not be the first choice of treatment, and so instead focussed me on increasing the amount of serotonin my brain manufactures. I do this by eating foods that are higher in tryptophan and by taking 3 grams of L-tryptophan (in capsules) a day. L-tryptophan needs an adequate supply of B vitamins so it can be converted into serotonin, so I also take a good multi-vitamin with every meal. I'm sure someone is reading this going "but L-tryptophan is banned." It *was* banned in the USA by the FDA in the late 80's (I think) due to a single bad batch that came from a single Japanese manufacturer. Four people died of something sort of like meningitis. Anyway, that manufactuer is no longer in business and none of the new manufacturers use their old method, so it's legal and available in the USA again. Some of you might be thinking "3 grams a day! You must sleep all the time!" Well, no...that much makes me feel happy and normal and with decent energy levels...if I were normal to begin with that much would definitely put me to sleep! Anyway, my point is that there *is* non-Prozac-style help out there. When I take my L-tryptophan regularly I have a great reduction in cravings for sweet doughy foods and I binge far less often...and if I do overeat, it's simple overeating and not a real binge.

If you are craving chocolate in any and all forms, it could be a magnesium deficiency. One thing to note is that magnesium and calcium need to remain in a certain balanced range with each other, so if you start taking calcium supplements you might also have to start taking more magnesium so you stay in range. Or you could just eat more foods with both, which is the best solution overall. Chocolate cravings or nutrasweet-sweetened soda cravings can also be a sign of low endorphin, which is treatable with DL-phenylalanine.

If you crave fatty foods, either fatty and sweet or fatty and salty, you could be low in omega-3 fatty acids or in either endorphin or dopamine, I can't recall which at this point. Anyway, the omega-3's can be fixed by eating fish three times a week. You can also take fish oil capsules, but once again it's always better to get what you need from food.

I've been reading a lot about brain chemistry and food lately, and find it fascinating to think about and talk about, so if I've gone on to the point of boredom for you that's why! But if you're interested also, there's several good books out there to read.

About Latin dancing...I just saw a video interview with Didio Barrerra and and Diana McDonald where he was talking about how skinny the Latin women are getting and how some of them look anorexic. He said he'd like to see the women with a little more meat on their bones so they'd look a little more womanly and sexy. He asked Diana what she thought and she kind of hemmed and hawed and said that you have to look good in your costume so thin and fit is good but anorexic is bad.

Location: Sacramento, CA, United States
Registered:: 12-11-2000
Posts: 1049
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I always thought France Mousseau (however you spell it) had the most beautiful, sexy body on the exboyfriend thought she was fat and prefered Melanie LaPatin! hmph.

Observations from my evening at the dance studio:

While practicing standard, I was focusing on using my center: I "sucked" as Ava Kaye says. I worked on pulling back through my center and making my center follow my foot on 2, and I found that it was much easier than the last time I worked on this, a week ago...maybe due to the crunches?? It REALLY improved my dancing. I was more balanced! Already! I didn't get so tired so fast! Euphoria!

Then, depression. I went to my gold-level class. We're working on a tango/paso formation routine for the aforementioned studio showcase on June 17th. The last time this class did this (before I joined), the ladies wore their ballgowns. Good deal, I own one. However, it turns out that won't work so well with all the paso and open work we're doing. Bright idea, has the thin woman. Let's wear these cute latin skirts, the kind with slits on each side up to your ass, and the hankercheify hemline. Yeah, 225 pounds is going to look GREAT in that. I'm SO excited about dropping what will probably be $75-$100 on this skirt and a cute top, which they may not even make big enough for me. I can work really hard and maybe lose 15 more pounds by then, MAYBE, but I'm still going to be roughly the size of a small barge. Of course, I'm the only one in the class with this problem, so I can hardly make a fuss about it. This is going to be just wonderful.
Location: Sacramento, CA, United States
Registered:: 12-11-2000
Posts: 1049
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BTW that's really good info, Laura...thank you! You're always a fount of useful information!

Picture of 90%Attitude
Location: US
Registered:: 11-06-2001
Posts: 1059
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Best advice I ever got on food cravings was from a doctor who specializes in treating PMS and who had written an excellent book on the subject. She was specifically addressing hormonally-induced binging. I won't get into the details, because I don't recall all of it exactly, but the gist of it was, "Never eat carbs without protein, and vice versa." It works, it's simple, results are immediate, and it isn't at all difficult to carry out (especially considering there's about to be some serious eating going on anyway). Turns out, each type of food chemically creates a craving for the the other, so overindulging on one is a guarantee that you'll want to overindulge in the other very shortly, thus kicking off the cycle of food/fat/guilt trips - grrrrreat. Just the thing for topping off being emotionally whacked out on hormones, no?

This is is something you can prove out for yourself. I had always believed that we crave what we need, and there's some truth to that. There's also some truth to the idea that we can manage the craving thing before it gets a grip. (If you've ever found yourself mysteriously alone at midnight with Patsy, the blues, a box of Kleenex, a six pack of beer, and a big pile of chocolate, you know exactly what I mean!)

You can probably search Amazon for Diane da Silva, M.D., if you want to get all the details. She does her own research, and has a practice based in San Bernardino, California. She's a psychiatrist by specialty, but don't be put off by that. She might be the first one in line to defend your relative sanity. She spends all her time working on practical approaches to women's health, with a very holistic attitude. I located her while doing a national search for a specialist. I'd have travelled anywhere at the time, but lucked out in finding her right in my own back yard.
Picture of Chris UK
Location: UK, surprisingly....
Registered:: 03-20-2001
Posts: 904
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It's a good tip about having access to the foods that you tend to crave.

I have to maintain constant weight, which can be difficult. And of course, I get cravings for things, fortunately it's generally for pickled beetroot (beets, I believe in the US), pickled sweet onions and gerkhins, and chocolate. I was actually told by my doctor to not try and cut these completely out of my diet, but rather to have them in the house, accessible, so that when the craving came, resist for a while, but if it feels unmanageable, have just a small bit. And never feel too bad about wanting it. If you have a craving, fulfil it.


Location: Indiana
Registered:: 02-14-2002
Posts: 103
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Hi girls! I don't need to lose any weight (I won't say how much I weigh, though), but I've been through this before. About 6 years ago I gained 15 pounds and it made me look huge (I'm 5'2"), so I gave myself a word to lose weight, since none of my clothes fit anymore. First thing I did is quit fast food and soda. I switched to drinking water daily and excercising (crunches, reverse crunches, situps)every day and do some muscle-building excercises as well. in about 6 months I lost 25 pounds and that did wonders for my body! I"m not naturally thin, but I got my current body through hard work and am set on maintaining it. To this day I watch my calories, fat grams, sodium intake. I do allow myself some fast food (Taco Bell) once every couple of weeks, but I avoid deep fried and greasy stuff, my stomach doesn't even like it anymore. Now that I'm dancing, it helps me with maintaining my weight, on top of eating lots of fruits and veggies. This way I know, if I splurge on Steak dinner or a buffet, I'm still going to be ok the next day.
This was just my story.
I want to support all of you guys and I salute this support group, I think it's a great way to share experience and make everybody feel better about themselves.

Keep working on it and you will achieve those goals!

p.s. - Laura,
I'm sorry to hear that that 'thin girl' was so inconsiderate about choosing an outfit for your formation, the group should have done a vote on different options. Paso is possible to do in a long skirt too! The asymmetric one, that is a bit shorter in the front and longer in the back (flamento type). Maybe you could suggest that at the next group meeting!

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Hey everyone. I have been reading here and want to share and lend my support. I know we all have personal goals to reach and if there is a group of people with as much knowledge and kindness as this it can only be a good thing.

I don't really feel that I need to lose weight but am more concerened with my size, body fat percentage, and muscle tone. About a year ago my clothes started to get tighter and tighter (can't blame it on them shrinking anymore though it was a good excuse as far as I was concerned ), I wasn't watching what I was eating and I was eating a lot of junk and fast food and not exercising much at all. It has been hard to change my diet and some weeks I slip back into old habits and have trouble resisting food temptations but it has been easier since I started dancing.

Now that I am dancing quite a bit I have become even more body conscious and sometimes that is a good thing and sometimes a bad thing. It was nice to have Laura's information on reinforcing the good achievements and progress instead of always seeing the bad (my hips are to big, my stomach is not flat enough...the list goes on and on).

I did recently start doing Pilates and drinking more water and less soda and have found that results are already showing. Now during lunch a few days a week I try to walk and exercise. With such a busy schedule it is hard to fit everything it but if I want something bad enough I will just have to make it happen!!!

Now the focus is on getting my body fat percentage down, significantly, and I have to work on finding the best way to do that. More dancing I say!!! More and more and more!!! Or maybe some bouncing exercies?

Anyway, I value all of the advice and information that has been posted here and hope all the useful information and support keeps flowing in.

Best of luck to everyone!!!!

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