(A work in progress based on contributions from Cerulean, Tiger Girl and SandraEG) Let’s start with the basics; if you are in Development, that means you are still in abstinence! Yes, you are! That sounds very bossy, doesn’t it? Well, it comes from the voice of (painful) experience... This is a really important fact to remember because there will be all sorts of crooked thinking that says, oh well, Foundation is over, maybe I can relax a bit. In fact, crooked thinking dominated my Development period so…ignore it at your peril. Many of us deviated during Development and that means one thing and one thing only – you’re making it even harder on yourself to finish Development. You slow your weight loss down, the eating (whatever is not a permitted foodpack) messes with your head (rebellious child, critical parent, victim, rescuer, persecutor – they all come out BIG time during Development). Development is all about accessing your adult voice/state and holding it. But that is very, very hard so much thinking is needed about strategies that people can use to make this process easier. LighterLife – having provided so much information – is woefully short on support materials during this stage of the programme. Several of us, however, have gone back to our LLCs and advised them about this and I am sure this will change for the better. But being short of materials is no excuse for straying…(take it from one who knows)! If terms like rebellious child and critical parent don’t mean that much to you, it’s time to go back to the Green Book and remind yourself of the skills that you learnt in Foundation. The Transition from Foundation - Development The shift from Foundation to Development seems massive; in my Foundation group, food chat was severely limited and I see this as a very, very good thing. In Development it's an open forum. It does seem that many Development sessions (based on posts here on Minimins) focus on how people have lapsed - with details. That's a shock there is much chat about the lapses (while the weigh ins are happening). I am wondering whether this sets off a subconscious switch that says "it's ok to cheat"? Is this enabling behaviour, or not? It’s something to be prepared for when you enter Development – there may be chat about …food! THE FOODPACKS I would suggest, once you are in Development, that you may want to try flavours that you have dismissed; tastebuds do change and what you hated in Foundation, you may find you now love. I hated the nut crunch bar during most of Foundation but when I tried it half way through, I liked it and it got me through the final stages. I also started to get addicted to certain foodpacks during Development – banana and strawberry, in particular – and other LighterLifers I know started to have more than four packs. The sweet ones were usually the culprits! So, again, play around with tastes but watch out for ones that you begin to enjoy in any other way than for nutrition, if you know what I am saying. Bars Several LighterLifers I know also stopped having bars towards the end of Development, particularly as you get close to your goal (see the GOAL section for details). I did too – I stuck to nut crunch, just to give me something to chew. GOAL SETTING For the goal-phobes of Foundation (like me – worried I wouldn’t EVER be able to manage 14 weeks/100 days), this is a chance to make goal setting really work for you. For a long time, I had no goal and this limbo-like state is no good for a regime like LighterLife. If you have come through Foundation, you will be slimmer/lighter/smaller – whatever description is appropriate for you. You have proved that you can stick to the programme all the way through. (100% abstinence is the yardstick by which we should all measure ourselves but we are human so if you got to a significant weight loss (with some deviations), acknowledge that and think about how you can be kind to yourself by..staying 100% abstinent during Development). This week, at Development, the old timers (like me) were asked to think about what advice we would give ourselves IF we were about to start Development. What would we do, with the benefit of hindsight? My first answer was…set yourself some new goals. Go back to the goal setting sections of the green Foundation book and start to think about where, how, what you would like to be at the end of Development. And this is the important bit – it does not necessarily have to be a weight-specific goal. This could be a weight goal, a size goal, a fitness goal, a BMI goal, a bath-test goal (my LLC advises that a good gauge is the bath test ie are you happy with what you see/how you feel in the bath). Again, I didn’t do this (goal setting) until Cerulean (Solongandthanksforallthecheese | Diet, fitness, weight loss blog) posted this extremely helpful guide from her LLC and I am eternally grateful for this because, for me, this was the target I needed: "The other interesting thing ... is that my counsellor (who has been doing this since the programme began) actually advises getting to BMI 22.5 and THEN losing a couple of pounds short of whatever you lost in week 1 (your glycogen load) as this is the weight that you will regain in management. Now of course some people don't need to be BMI 22.5 and as a slim person you may have a lower glycogen load than you did as a morbidly obese person, but she observed that her people that got through management tend to fluctuate by about 7lbs. So the lesson is not to expect to lose another stone in Management. I think that some people refer to Management as 'refeeding' because of this suggestion as some clients go quite low and gaunt before finally getting their glycogen back. Apparently my theory about dropping your BMI to 20-21 to shift any remaining problem areas before gaining a few lbs is also pretty sound. Interesting." PHYSICAL EFFECTS Ketosis is KING in LighterLife. This still stands in Development, as it does in Foundation. No two ways about it. Things get messy – physically – when you start dipping in and out of ketosis. There was a thread about hair loss – something that I experienced towards the end of Development but it did tie in with when I was not abstaining 100%. There are, apparently, reasons for this; sadly, I am not a scientist or a weight-loss expert so not sure what the biology is behind this. Anybody got some views on this? Weight Loss – for some of us, weight loss slows right down. It took me six weeks to lose 13lbs and Cerulean wrote this (see below) which is a great way to express what is going on: Dear LL, There's a problem here - next week if I don't lose something I will have lost close to a pound in nearly a month - I'm very very happy with the size 8 jeans though so I'll forgive you Love Sarah If you are expecting to continue with your one stone per month weight loss, this can be a disappointment. There are, however, other compensations – you will be smaller. THE COUNSELLING AND RELATIONSHIP WITH YOUR COUNSELLOR This is still critical and, if my own experience is anything to go by, I relied more on my LLC during Development than I ever did in Foundation. I had more questions, more comments, more feedback. THE SESSIONS - GROUP DYNAMICS + HOMEWORK Development Dynamics are completely different to those of Foundation. For a start, you are no longer in your closed group; it’s a mixed bag. Some people will have been in Development for months, some for weeks. Unless your LLC is very strict, there is unlikely to be homework BUT I urge anyone entering Development to make time to do work ‘at home’ be that group exercises, revisiting the Green Book, blogging, posting on Minimins, exploring particular issues that come up. As with Foundation, what you sow, so shall you reap. I was so diligent about writing up every single session during Foundation but in Development…I started several exercises but never finished them. And when did I struggle and cheat the most? During Development. PHYSICAL EXERCISE As with Foundation, you should definitely be walking, as an absolute minimum. Advice for Development is the same as Foundation: Apart from walking 10,000 steps everyday, monitored by the LighterLife pedometer, I did no exercise. This was a mistake. I would not advocate doing serious cardiovascular workouts but The Bodydoctor's (www.bodydoctor.com) stomach plan is the business. If you start, as you mean to go on, you may be helping to prevent loose skin by ensuring that you are toning up as you move through Development. SUPPORT - ON- AND OFF-LINE Here are some useful threads about Development, that I think are worth reading: www.minimins.com/lighter-life-forum/19450-highs-lows-development.html? (The Highs and Lows of Development) www.minimins.com/lighter-life-forum/19105-management-question-cerulean-other-long-term-llers.html? (A Management Question for Cerulean and Other Long-Term LLers) These are the blogs that I recommend for the Developer: Live to Slim - Bring It On http://livetoslim.blogspot.com/ kiwirevo - http://kiwirevo.livejournal.com/ Vague Glorious http://vagueglorious.wordpress.com/ STRATEGIES FOR SUCCESS I drove myself mad in Development; feeling as if I were constantly failing, focusing on all the things I should have done. Then Tiger Girl made a fantastic suggestion; she said focus on what works, rather than on what doesn’t! Therefore, a major strategy for success is to go back to what you did in Foundation. What worked for you? What didn’t? Why were you able to walk away from the crisps/chocolate/toast – whatever food you like – but, somehow, in Development, you can’t? Being in the zone – there’s so much talked about this phrase – particularly by and for athletes BUT it’s a great mindset to have. In Foundation, you were in the zone. That’s where you need to be for Development. Development Doldrums and Back To Basics Tied in with the above, really. I don’t think it’s co-incidental that many Developers (particularly on Minimins) find themselves going back to basics. Crooked Thinking will tell you that the diet is boring, untenable, you’re more hungry, etc, etc, etc. I remember my LLC saying that the packs give you everything you need. No more, no less. So, if you are feeling foodpack-challenged, chances are it’s about something else entirely! Reframing – this is a great tool to get you through the tough days. EXTERNAL PRESSURE This will really kick in during Development. Some of you may have already got lots of compliments by the end of Foundation but by the time of Development, it can feel like open season on your weight. Just as most people would NEVER openly comment about you getting bigger (unless they were giving you tough love), the absolute opposite is true when you start losing weight. Anyone and everyone will comment and it’s really hard to stay strong. The fact is that most people will be used to seeing you as bigger, possibly much bigger and so each time they see you, it’s a shock. They haven’t got used to you being smaller and boy, will they tell you! If you have more weight to lose but feel pressurised to stop thanks to all the comments, (Surely, you’ve gone far enough?!/Surely, you’re not still on that diet?/Surely, you can eat now?!), you can use the BMI argument. This whole subject is about boundaries and it’s up to you to set yours. I have had to learn to say ‘thank you’ to compliments and try to cut off any further discussion unless I want to talk about my weight loss. Conversely, some people may not comment at all; the conspiracy of silence can be hard to take! Remember, it’s about that person’s issues, not yours. Somehow, your success (at weight loss) will be triggering something for them. But that’s ok because you’re ok! (Sorry, small joke!) MIND GAMES I think the hardest time comes when you are close to your own chosen goal. If you, like me, have spent most of your adult life overweight, these are challenging times. Development - Management - why is it so hard? Of the many Development ‘chats’ between members of Minimins, Cerulean and I had a big online discussion about this: www.minimins.com/lighter-life-forum/19105-management-question-cerulean-other-long-term-llers.html I had a massive lightbulb moment, which came about from trying to understand why people struggle at the end of Development. I concluded it was because...Development is also the tipping point into the world of being slim/thin. Once you get down to the lower BMIs, you are slim and if you have never been that before, it's unchartered waters. Scary/exciting/overwhelming and any other emotion you want to name; I think the subconscious knows this and tries to delay making that final leap. Because once you've moved over to the "other side", it IS different (back into that experiencing it rather than contemplating it. It may not help you being a weight holder but at least you have had a taste of what being slim feels like, particularly as you go through Management. DIARIES AND THE URGE TO BE MORE SOCIABLE In the Beginner’s Guide (for Foundation), I urged people to clear their diary! But it is more than likely after six months in that, whatever time of year you started, some big events will be coming up and you may feel being less like a hermit. Some social events were easy for me, some less so. Go with what feels right. Take a long-term view and factor in abstinence; if you want to attend something, is it in your best interest? (For example, will the pressure be too great if you say no to something? Is it easier to attend something or easier to stay away? Every situation will be different. Just be prepared.) A POEM THAT MAY JUST STRIKE A CHORD (something we covered one week in Development) The Journey Down the Sidewalk of Life: Psychological Self-Help THERE'S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK Autobiography in Five Short Chapters By Portia Nelson Chapter One I walk down the street.?There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.?I fall in.?I am lost .... I am helpless.?It isn't my fault.?It takes forever to find a way out. Chapter Two I walk down the street.?There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. ?I pretend that I don't see it.?I fall in again.?I can't believe I am in this same place.?But, it isn't my fault.?It still takes a long time to get out. Chapter Three I walk down the same street.?There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.?I see it is there.?I still fall in ... it's a habit ... but, my eyes are open.?I know where I am.?It is my fault.?I get out immediately. Chapter Four I walk down the same street.?There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.?I walk around it. Chapter Five I walk down another street. (If you go to the website, there are more discussions about each of the chapters.) AND... FINALLY Is Development harder than Foundation? In my opinion, yes it is! BUT with the right attitude, you CAN get through it and make it work for you. Big time. You can use this time to consolidate everything you’ve learnt in Foundation and really start to apply it. If you are in Development for the long haul, see this as a golden opportunity to really get your head round the issues that got you there in the first place. Every so often there will be an influx of new people into the class; my advice is this – ask your LLC if you can have a “what advice can we give new people session”? This will enable you to set your progress in context; it will be great boost to see how far you have come and how much you have learnt (and can share). There is nothing like the appreciation of others who are behind you and who want to know what works. And if you are in Development for a short time, then make the most of it. Route to Management will come sooner than you think so this is really the only time – while still in abstinence – to appreciate and understand the lessons that you have learnt. Remember, set yourself some new goals, revisit them frequently, work out your vulnerable moments/situations and learn some new coping strategies. Decide to make it as easy as possible for yourself (by being SUPER kind to yourself). Don’t jeopardise all your Foundation hard work so work out what’s going to work for you. Keep going back to the basics, if you need to; practice makes perfect. AND STAY ABSTINENT. Absolutely. 100 PER CENT! Good Luck!