All Entries For emotional health

The Buck Stops Here

''The buck stops here'': many of us have heard this phrase in our lifetime. It basically means that YOU assume responsibility for your actions.

President Truman was known to make reference to this phrase from time to time. At the National War College on December 19, 1952, Mr. Truman said, ''You know, it's easy for the Monday morning quarterback to say what the coach should have done after the game is over. But when the decision is up before you--and on my desk I have a motto which says, ''The buck stops here''--the decision has to be made.''

The decision has to be made, but have you really made the decision?  The decision to take your life back?  The decision to stop passing the buck to somebody else or some circumstance and take ownership of that decision?

Sometimes, as we move through life, we tend to pass the buck in order to make it easier on us, right?  There are times in our work lives that we pass the buck to our co-workers.  Other times, maybe we pass the buck to our spouse for whatever reason.  Why do we do that? When a decision has to be made, make it and go forward with that decision. The buck stops here, with you!
Posted 5/7/2012  10:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 18 comments   10,854 views
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Fighting the Negative Outside Influences

Let’s face it; we all have outside influences that affect us every day of our lives. I know I do. Daily, sometimes hourly, there seem to be obstacles that just get in the way of my journey. 

I want to share with you a very personal situation that affected my journey in a very negative way.

At the end of the summer of 2011, I started a new job. This job was something that I’d set out to attain several months before. I spent several hours in phone conversations with the management of this company. Many of these phone calls happened very early in the morning--good thing I’m an early riser! This job was everything I wanted. I would be working for a company I’ve had a relationship with for several years. I would be working from home, and talking to people, helping them to improve their own understanding of how business operated and how I could help make it better. These are all things that I wanted and, quite frankly, things that I am good at. I was told it could take several years to fully learn all the different software adaptations available within this company and I was willing to move as fast as I could to learn it all.
Posted 4/2/2012  10:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 48 comments   10,633 views
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5 Lessons Therapy Has Taught Me

This was a topic that I have been considering blogging about for quite some time now, but was too embarrassed as to what others would think about me. After all I spend a large portion of my day helping and advising others, so why on Earth could I not figure out how to help myself? 
The term therapy is not always welcomed with enthusiasm and open arms for many people. Many times it is equated to those whose lives are out of control. In fact I must confess when someone told me he/she was in therapy it caused me to ponder what was so horrible in that person's life to have them seek advice from someone else. Why couldn't his/her family help them out?

Well,  that all changed when I found myself in this quandary after experiencing the loss of my mother-in-law and a family issue that could not be resolved by normal conversation and intervention. Regardless of how much effort I was making, I could not change the situation. I had reached the point in my life that I needed help. Just like I need a doctor to manage my high blood pressure, I needed someone to help me manage the fears, anxieties and concerns of a situation that was truly out of my control.

When I made the appointment for my first visit I was quite nervous as to what even the therapist would think of me. I felt like I did the first time I walked into the gym when I was overweight and could barely walk on the treadmill for more than a few minutes at a time. What would people think of me? Would they think I was a messed up middle-aged lady struggling to cope with life? Would they think I was on the verge of a breakdown?
Posted 3/20/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 53 comments   15,215 views
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Is it Possible to Grow Thicker Skin?

I’ve always been a sensitive person.  Sometimes that’s a good trait to have, because I feel like it makes me more empathetic towards others.  Sometimes it’s not so good, because I get my feelings hurt very easily.  I’m convinced there is a genetic component to it, because I see the same trait in my oldest daughter.  My husband, on the other hand, is very good at letting things roll off of his back.  He doesn’t let rude comments or misunderstandings bother him.  He’s able to take it in, and then let it go.  I’m just not like that.  I let things bother me too much. 
Posted 3/20/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 87 comments   18,958 views
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Motivation: How Can I Find It?

How can I get motivated?

How do I stay motivated?

Will someone please motivate me to exercise?

These are all questions that I have seen a lot of members ask on the SparkPeople message boards recently. Motivation seems to be hard to come by some days, while other days it seems much easier. Why is that? Well, something that I have experienced that may help with the “problem” of finding and keeping motivation to stick with your health goals (and any other goals you may have set), is to find the motivation and power from within yourself.

While having external motivators, such as preparing for a big event, fitting into your swimsuit just in time for summer or fitting into a particular outfit for that special event, can be helpful in the short-term, it may not help you in the long-term. What happens to your motivation once that event comes and goes? Your motivation to keep going after an external motivator is over may cause you to lose your desire to move forward, therefore, you may be more likely to lose your motivation and fall back into some older, less healthy habits. That is unless you have some other form of motivation from within yourself.
Posted 3/1/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Denise Tausig : 18 comments   9,874 views
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Yes, but Men Lose It Easier

I am declaring war on a six-word sentence.
You may know by now that I started my weight loss journey on December 28th, 2009 with a goal of losing 60 pounds.  I managed to lose 100 and I did it within one calendar year. I lost that weight by fueling my body with the rights foods and working hard-- very hard.

I’d like to share with you a phrase that I’ve heard during my journey: ''Yes, but men lose it easier.''  Although this phrase is only six words long, it can have a much more disastrous effect than it might seem. Have you ever heard these words while on your journey?  Have you ever used those words to another person on a weight loss journey?

This phrase can be used as encouragement for some.  For others it is used as an accusation, as a means of denial, as a crutch.  It is the epitome of the double-edged sword.  These words can cut like a knife, no question about it.  I am certain that people who have uttered these words either to me or to another individual did NOT mean them in a harmful way.  When a man is working hard and doing all things right and is finding success with his journey, why are folks so quick to knock his success with the phrase, ''Yes, but men lose it easier''?  It is a complaint really, isn’t it?  It isn't usually said in praise.  Here is the deal: this phrase is hurtful.  It can deflate all the sense of accomplishment that a man feels for the work that he has done.  This phrase says that his work doesn’t count, that his struggles don't count. Chances are, that man will not give a complete picture of what he is going through.  There is a mental battle that is being fought right alongside the physical one.  I’ve said before that the emotions of this journey are sometimes the hardest part.  These six words can do a great deal of damage that will require even greater work to overcome.
Posted 2/27/2012  10:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 46 comments   9,604 views
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Feeling a Little Down? This Drink Might Help!

One of the biggest changes I’ve made to my diet over the years was to increase the amount of water I drink.  When I started working for SparkPeople over 7 years ago, I probably drank about 2 glasses of liquid a day (outside of exercise).  I’d have a glass of orange juice for breakfast and a glass of milk for dinner, and that’s about it.  Being surrounded by people who drank water throughout the day made me more conscious of how much I was having and the fact that I probably needed to be drinking a little more.
As soon as I started drinking more, I noticed a difference in my energy level and my mood.  I felt better overall.  I’m not saying that everyone needs to start chugging the H2O, but in my case, I think I was probably dehydrated most of the time.  New research shows that not drinking enough could be affecting your mood and cognitive abilities. 
Posted 2/14/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 27 comments   12,024 views
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Be Courageous

''Take courage'' is one of my favorite phrases from the Bible and I believe it can change a person’s life.

It takes courage for us to function in our daily lives.  Some of us need more courage than others sometimes, and that’s okay.  Some of us are so courageous that we believe we can conquer the world single-handedly.  Others, such as the Cowardly Lion in the Wizard of Oz, ask somebody else to give them courage, not knowing that it comes from within.

What exactly does courage mean anyway?  According to the dictionary, it is ''the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.'' 

Those are some rather powerful words, if you ask me! 
As I think about COURAGE, many thoughts come to my mind: brave men and women defending our country and our police and fire protection who serve us daily in our homeland.  What about the moment a person takes the first step to reclaim their health and start a new lifestyle?

Have you ever really thought about what it takes to make a lifestyle change?  You will change the patterns of life that you’ve had possibly for years.  Changing the way you eat, the way you exercise, the amount of water you drink.  Learning how to deal with the obstacles in life in a whole new way will take courage. 
Posted 2/6/2012  10:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 43 comments   12,908 views
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Do You Embrace or Fight the Aging Process?

It’s hard for me to believe that I’ll be married 10 years this summer.  It doesn’t really bother me to get older- I think age is just a number- but time just goes so quickly.  There are days when I think “Wasn’t I just in high school a few years ago?”, and then I remember that it’s been more than a few years and my oldest will start Kindergarten this fall. 

When I look in the mirror, I’m like most other women who are critical of what they see.  My body is healthy and strong, but let’s be honest:  I’ll never look exactly like I did before having three kids, no matter how hard I try.  I’ve got circles under my eyes from sleepless nights with babies and brown spots on my face from being careless about wearing sunscreen.  Although I don’t love these things, I do my best to accept that regardless, I can still be fit and happy. 
Posted 1/24/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Jen Mueller : 64 comments   10,466 views
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Fun Fitness and Long Term Goals My Virtual Journey

Are you one of those people that find it boring to exercise?  Do you get tired of logging miles on the dreadmill or the elliptical?  Wondering how you can keep yourself going for the long term?

Awhile back I decided I needed something fun to keep me going.  I needed a goal that would make tracking all those fitness miles interesting.  I chose to start a Virtual Journey.  It wasn’t hard for me or some of my Twilight Challenge team members to make that choice.  I started a message board for our team, and the challenge to track your fitness miles on a virtual trip to Forks, Washington, began.  (For those of you who haven't read Twilight, the main setting for the four books is a small town in Washington.) 

I determined that it would be 2,262 miles from my front door to the Forks High School, and my tracking began.  At the time of writing this blog, I’ve have tracked 1,432 miles. I’ve blogged along the way about states I would be in if I were really running or riding my bike, and what I would do there.  It helps me stay on track to know that there are others doing the trip with me from wherever they are. 

I’m setting up a plan now to make sure I reach my destination before the last movie comes out on November 16, 2012.  Starting January 1, I’ll need to complete 2.5 miles a day throughout the course of the year to reach my goal by the release date.   When you break it down like that it doesn’t seem so intimidating does it?
Posted 1/19/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Michelene Cleary : 28 comments   9,431 views
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Top 10 Things You Should Know About the SparkPeople Community

As some of you may know, before I became an employee for SparkPeople, I was a member just like you. My husband and I joined SparkPeople on January 1, 2004. Back then, the site was great and had a lot of helpful features, but it was nowhere near what it is today. Today, SparkPeople offers a lot of the same basic features that it did back then, but now it has even more, especially when it comes to the Community features! Can you believe when I started there were no SparkPages, SparkPoints, SparkGoodies or SparkTeams? Crazy, I know!
Something that hasn’t changed on SparkPeople throughout the years though, is the fabulous Community. From day one of using the site, I found that the SparkPeople Community was one of the most valuable pieces to my success and keeping me motivated throughout and beyond my weight loss journey. As a member, I made many friends by posting in the Message Board forums (this was before SparkTeams and SparkPages were available on the site). I found a lot of support from other members, along with the SparkPeople Coaches. I truly felt like I was a part of something really special, and honestly, I still do!
Posted 1/12/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Denise Tausig : 43 comments   17,084 views
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Scale Haters Unite!

By now you’ve been working on your New Year’s resolutions for roughly four weeks.  Have you stepped on the scale this week only to be discouraged, frustrated, angry, sad, or some other combination of negative emotions?  You’re not alone!  Before you give up or quit, let’s discuss some options.  Do you really want this year to end up like last year and the years before?  Do you want to quit on your resolutions because a piece of equipment told you that you weren’t doing well?

I have a history of writing blogs that are essentially rants on the scale.  In my humble opinion, it should play a minor role in determining whether or not you’re achieving your healthy lifestyle goals. (I'm not the only one who feels this way! Read ~INDYGIRL's blogs 10 Signs You are Getting Healthier Even if the Scale Doesn't Move and Lighten Up about Weighing In, too.) If the scale should be designated as minor bench player, who should the star players be?
Posted 1/5/2012  6:00:00 AM By: Michelene Cleary : 22 comments   9,777 views
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The Emotions of Change

Honestly, I never expected so many changes when I decided to take my life back.  Oh sure, I expected to get skinner, but that is where my thought process stopped.  I am not sure I expected or even understood the “healthier” aspect of it all yet.  I’d set out to lose some weight and wouldn’t you know that I lost a ton of baggage as well.  Who knew there were emotions involved with this journey, NOT ME!

I remember being about 20 pounds into my journey and my boss asked me if I had lost some weight.  It shocked me initially that anybody had noticed.  Then I was filled with pride that someone had noticed.  I used that one very quick two minute conversation as motivation to keep going.  Like a lot of people, my weight loss started at my face and worked its way down.   My wife noticed some emotional changes already as I instantly became more pleasant to be around.  I was really pushing myself more than I had in years to be active, and it brought me joy.  By the end of the first four weeks, I was obsessed with fitness and was walking at least twice a day, typically more.
Posted 12/27/2011  10:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 56 comments   13,888 views
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Create Your Moment

Blogging has been a part of my job for well over three years now and while some blogs come quite easily, there are times when I struggle to come up with a topic that I think many of our readers can relate to. And as crazy as it sounds, hearing just a phrase or reading a quote can send my mind racing as to how I can relate it to my life.

That is precisely what happened a few days ago. It was a cold day here in Dallas and I had just finished a short 4 mile run when I needed something to warm me up. I went into my pantry and grabbed a package of hot chocolate. I glanced at the quote on the package and it read, "Create Your Moment." The minute I read the quote I knew this was going to be a blog, after all life is really all about moments we create every day. It's not a single event that defines who we are, but many moments strung together that will.
Posted 12/20/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Nancy Howard : 53 comments   12,146 views
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Your Spouse is Getting Healthier, So Why Aren't You Happy?

Are you threatened by the lifestyle change your spouse has made? Have you ever said things to your spouse about their lifestyle change that have made him/her feel bad?

I have to tell this story that really happened just a few weeks ago.  I was having a discussion with a friend we’ll call Sam about my transformation and lifestyle change.  He had a lot of questions, which I was happy to answer.  But I wasn’t sure where he was going with this line of questions. 

Finally, we came to the point of his inquiry.  He told me about a mutual friend of ours (we'll call him Bob), who is morbidly obese.  I had seen Bob myself recently and honestly his poor health broke my heart.   Sam told me that Bob had been working on his health a few years back.  He had been going to the gym and was trying to eat better.  I was super excited to hear this, but I had to ask why he stopped.  Apparently he was making some progress and had lost just enough weight for it to be noticeable.  That’s when the support at home ended!  
Bob’s wife had told him she was worried that he was going to lose weight, get sexy and leave her.  You can probably guess what he did.  He stopped going to the gym and gave up any progress that he had made and gained back all of his weight if not more.

This story is devastating to me, absolutely devastating.  The more I think about it, the more frustrated I get.  I’m confused about why Bob didn’t talk with his wife about the situation to ease her fears.  Why didn’t he explain that he was doing it to be a better husband to her?  I’m confused about why she would completely sabotage his progress like that. Would she rather see him dead?
Posted 12/19/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Jerome Merlau : 35 comments   8,585 views
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