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Similarities between managing a huge weight loss and eating disorders

Friday, March 18, 2011

PATTILYNN224 and I have been discussing perceptions of this weight loss process and body dysmorphia, etc.

Something about her questions cut down right to the heart of the matter in a way that made me want to share my answers here.

The conversation started when she commented on the photo of me going over Ohiopyle Falls


PATTILYNN224
When you started your journey to better health did you know you were going to get to the place you're at now or were you just hopeful?

4A-HEALTHY-BMI
I had NO IDEA I'd start doing something crazy like whitewater kayaking.

At the very beginning I would have been thrilled to just get my weight under 300. Seriously. LOL

When it went under 200 I was shocked and amazed.

And when I got my % body fat between 17 and 19 last year (which is technically "athlete" range) I really didn't believe it.

I still have trouble thinking of myself as an athlete, but I'm working on it. It takes a lot longer to change what's inside your head than it does to lose the weight.
www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31489881/ns/ health-womens_health


PATTILYNN224
Thanks for the link. I guess because I am so far away from that point in my life I never really considered those things. Thanks for the flip side. It's an eye opener. I wonder if that is how some fall into becoming anorexic?

4A-HEALTHY-BMI
If I were focused more on body weight and less on athletic performance (my strength to weight ratio i.e. lean muscle versus fat), I can easily see how I could slip into some kind of anorexia. There are a lot of similarities between the process of losing a massive amount of weight and having an eating disorder.

In order to make a change this big in my life I've had to go to some extremes in terms of control. (They don't call it "morbidly" obese for nothing - that sh1t will kill you - so I figure it's a matter of life and death to keep it off.) I weigh almost everything I eat and, I log my weight and percent body fat daily at physicsdiet.com.

I log my cardio exercise with a heart rate monitor and try to get an adequate number of strength training sessions per week and I lift heavy. At the moment I'm aiming for two workouts per day at least three days M-F to support the long, hard kayking and snowboarding sessions on the weekends I do for fun.

It didn't start out this way - at first all I did was log my food and walking/water aerobics/weight lifting at SP and weigh myself once a week. I wasn't concerned with my macronutrient ratios or my % body fat. I was just excited to see the pounds dropping and hoped to go down a size in clothes and maybe one day be out of ordering 3X and 4X sizes online and be able to shop in the 1X and 2X sizes in actual stores.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 6/26/2012 10:26PM

    This is a great blog about eating disorders and weight loss maintenance. It's amazing how our minds work in similar paths . . . or maybe I'm coming along the path a bit later!! Thanks for the link!!

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GRACEFULIFE 3/21/2011 10:30AM

    http://profile.ak.fbcdn.net/hprofil
e-ak-snc4/23303_368278261847_60
56_n.jpg

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LADYGWEN25 3/21/2011 8:20AM

    I agree there's a fine line.. and i think it all has to do with mindset like 4A and Gracefullife said.. If your mindset is one that working out every days leads to a more productive lifestyle through playing sports, activities, enjoying your kid more.. then you're on the right track.. If you mindset comes down to scrutinizing every single bite of food to the tenth on the scale .. or even a fixation of how much you're eating to how much you're working out.. You could have the start of a problem.

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FRECKS96 3/21/2011 7:57AM

    Thanks for sharing. I had a conversation with my mom this weekend that touched on a similar topic. It's always good to be reminded of what we need to be mindful of.

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ANNE7X7 3/20/2011 8:43PM

    Thank you for sharing this!! I've been pondering this a lot, and your thoughts on it are super interesting!

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KAZINMICH 3/20/2011 1:51PM

    I struggle emotionally with my weight and worry that no matter what I do I'll be stuck at this weight the rest of my life. Or I worry I will have to go so overboard to be healthy it will take over my life. I don't want to do 2 or 3 workouts a day, I don't want my life to be work, workout, cook, clean, sleep. My body keeps revolting over the one workout I try to get done. I refuse to give up despite my physical ailments. It took a drastic overhaul of my diet, and adding in exercise to lose what i lost, but its very hard to tell that I lost close to 40 lbs already.

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DDOORN 3/19/2011 10:49PM

    Thank you for sharing both the conversation AND the link...I can attest to that article applying to men as well!

Don

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KAYOTIC 3/19/2011 4:19PM

    What a wonderful accomplishment, and the journey you are on is inspiring!

It sounds like you have found a great balance in working out and having fun, this should serve you well in your new life as an athlete!

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GRACEFULIFE 3/19/2011 10:43AM

    "If you're at a healthy BMI and you're beating yourself up over the scale number, you're treading in dangerous water."

I disagree, mainly because I believe that having a larger amount of muscle mass can readily put you into the "overweight" BMI range. If you define "healthy BMI" as "up to 30" as 4A has to me before then I retract my point.

I read an article from one of the notable trainers online in which a client commented that when they'd been obese, they'd "never thought of themselves as someone who can exercise". And that's a real key. The switch from that to "I love what lifting heavy does to my body" or "I'd love to go shred today" or getting up saying "Oh cool, today I get to go kayak class IV" is a sea change, and that is really what a healthy lifestyle is about.

I didn't even pull off a huge transformation like 4A, but even for me it was a big deal to say "OK now I am quite fit, I don't care so much about my weight". Since the bottom I've gained about 15 pounds... thing is, I gained like 10 of it nearly instantly after I began weight training and my size barely changed. I'm significantly smaller than the last time I was at this weight. I'm trying to cut some again, but the difference is that this tme it's not something I'd gnaw my arm off for. Now it's just another thing I'd like to have happen, eventually.

Comment edited on: 3/19/2011 12:27:27 PM

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BREWMASTERBILL 3/19/2011 10:05AM

    I think you made the VERY important transition from being focused on the scale to more practical goals like athletic performance. If you get fixated on the scale number, you're flirting with eating disorder territory. The only way to make the scale continuously go down is to eat less and exercise more. Once you are at a healthy weight, you really have to get into eating disorder territory to make the scale go down much more. If you're at a healthy BMI and you're beating yourself up over the scale number, you're treading in dangerous water.

Comment edited on: 3/19/2011 10:06:42 AM

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JESPAH 3/19/2011 9:45AM

    It does seem to be a fine line/related. Certainly an extreme either way can tip us over.

For some of us, we are here because of somewhat addictive personalities. Being addicted to food, or to weight loss, well, they could perhaps be two sides of one coin.

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CARRIE1948 3/19/2011 8:22AM

    All I know is my body perception is radically different from what the world sees. It's not a case of what I monitor or wanting to hit a certain number on the scale or body fat - I simply see myself as fat now when I didn't before. I notice all the places where I still jiggle a little and give fleeting notice to my increased strength and endurance.

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WOLFKITTY 3/18/2011 12:16PM

    I know that I've said things before like, "Yeah, I started losing weight and one of the things that appealed to me was that I have 100% control over how I move my body or what I eat". I guess that's one of the things that is a major milestone for anorexia, is that feeling of control. But I don't believe that I behave in a dysfunctional way. I log my food, I eat almost 2,000 calories a day, and since it's working toward being healthier without excessive exercise, it doesn't fall into that category.

I want to keep it like that - an effort to sustain and strengthen life, not squelch it. But I know that people with eating disorders believe that they ARE doing that, sometimes. Isn't it a fine line?

Jocelyn

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Research Guinea Pig - mobile wellness apps

Thursday, March 17, 2011



So I joined a study as a research subject. It's kind of cool.

They lent me an Android phone for a month and I'm supposed to take a photograph whenever I make a health-related decision, rate it on a scale of -3 to +3, associate an emotion with it, and share it with the other people in the study who are also doing the same thing.

Then we can look at each other's photos and comment on them and have conversations.

Here's the page where the research study is described:
idl.cornell.edu

Look at the list of projects on the lower left and click "Vera."

If you don't feel like following the link, here's the blurb about the study:

"A key to behavior change is the ability to intervene at the point of decision. In health behavior, this could be the moment one must decide between taking the elevator or the stairs or whether or not to eat a piece of cake. These are also the moments where it is most difficult to reach people--they occur throughout the day, often randomly, in any location. Fortunately, the ubiquity and awareness of today's mobile phones provides us with a solution. The goal of this project is to explore the use of the mobile phone as a behavioral interrupt: how, at the point of health-related decisions, can we encourage people to take a moment to think about the ramifications of their decision, reflect on past decisions, and ultimately make healthier choices?"

So far I've only had one conversation with someone who posted a picture of her dog (I commented that I thought it looked cute and she said thanks).

It kind of reminds me of the blogs WOLFKITTY was doing for a while where she logged all her food by photograph.

I'm interested to see if it'll help me stay on track, because it often is at the moment of decision that I waver and sometimes end up making choices I regret - especially when it comes to binge eating. I'll let you know how it goes.

It's also kind of neat to have access to a smart phone. My cheapo Tracfone can't do these things. I think I prefer the iPod interface to Android overall, but I could get used to the swipe text entry feature...

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/18/2011 2:48PM

    @BB
I found this on one of the websites for a grad student working on VERA:

How can mobile phones can be used to employ various forms of motivation-both social and individual-to encourage healthy behavior? Intrinsic motivators are innate motivational factors such as competition, cooperation, control, and recognition that have been leveraged to bring about behavior change in many circumstances. Social influence has been shown to play an important role in persuasion and the motivation of behavior change; countless studies, both involving technology and not, have shown that individuals grouped with peers have better results in alcohol and smoking cessation, losing weight, exercising, and even surviving cancer. Through good design, all of these motivational factors can be employed and studied in mobile phone applications. We have developed and pilot-tested a health behavior application called VERA in which users take photos to document health-related behaviors, then rate and reflect on their own behaviors as well as those of their peers. Preliminary data show that individuals using VERA exhibit generally healthier behavior than those who don't, and that individuals using VERA with their peers are healthier yet. Furthermore, VERA collects volumes of highly valuable data, explicitly documenting the day-to-day health-related behavior with associated stress and emotional state of participants. This represents great promise for the use of cell phones as a means of encouraging healthier behaviors related to weight loss and the prevention of obesity.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/18/2011 12:02PM

    @BB
I'm not sure either, but like you said, logging works. Perhaps they're just trying to see if an app like this will work for the purposes of logging and how it can be improved. Either way I'm not about to turn down the chance to spend a month being accountable in a different way.

(Or the chance to have a free smart phone for a month. It doesn't do calls or txt but I can access the online river levels, which is sweet for kayaking purposes...)
emoticon

Here's their manifesto:

"The Interaction Design Lab explores social and technical issues in the design, implementation, and evaluation of information and communication technologies. We conduct research in mobile computing, technologies for health and wellness, social networking, affective computing, design theory, and related areas. Our work seeks to understand how technology can help enable more healthy, socially connected, reflective living."

So perhaps it's just an experiment in how to develop a health decision logging app. Perhaps the real point is to figure out what features make us interact, or to find out how we interact - both with the app and with each other through the app.

Anyway, for the purposes of most research projects it is usually best for the subjects to just follow the instructions without knowing the real questions behind the study. Otherwise we might accidentally bias the results.
emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/18/2011 12:14:07 PM

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BREWMASTERBILL 3/18/2011 12:00PM

    I think people change their behavior(s) when being watched or when they're tracking (food tracking is a great example of that). So I guess I just don't get what they're hoping to accomplish. Maybe I just can't get my head around fuzzy stuff since I deal with machines most of my day.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/18/2011 11:19AM

    @BB
My understanding is that we're supposed to pull out the phone and make the decision right there on the spot and log it immediately. That's why they want us using a web-accessible phone. At the moment since I'm still getting used to the idea, I often realize I've already made a critical decision and I log it after the fact.

They surveyed us at the beginning of the study and said they'd survey us again at the end. So I think they're looking for some change in the answers, probably as a perceived effect of using the app.

This is social science, dude. It ain't like the physical sciences we geeks know and love. It's way fuzzy and hard to quantify.
emoticon
(Since they don't have guinea pig emoticons, the rabbit will have to do.)

I suppose we could pretend this is a rat or hamster or some other sort of lab animal, but it appears to be outside, not in a cage...
emoticon

...and anyway, white rabbits are typical lab animals.

Comment edited on: 3/18/2011 11:20:57 AM

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BREWMASTERBILL 3/18/2011 7:31AM

    So I guess I'm not following entirely. You make a million decisions all day long. Before you make a "critical" decision, you're supposed to pull out the phone? Or do you review your good/bad decisions after the deed is done? It seems to me like this is subject to the uncertainty principle. Or is that the idea? Are they trying to measure you in your 'natural environment' or are they trying to measure if the phone changes your behavior?

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WOLFKITTY 3/18/2011 2:46AM

    Hmmmmm!! Interesting!
I can't wait to hear what YOUR analysis is after this!
Jocelyn

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GRACEFULIFE 3/18/2011 12:29AM

    I have an Android phone now and I'm still getting used to it, but I like it overall. The battery life I don't think I'm happy with though.

I wish I could get in this just so I could watch your stuff, hahaha.

Swype is awesome. So is text entry by speech, with no programming required. Lots of cool stuff in the market, too...

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Inexpensive healthy food

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inspired by another blog post to share some of my current eating habits.
www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4093557



I frequently buy the big family pack of boneless chicken breasts from Wegmans ($1.99/lb), and with kitchen scissors trim off the remaining bits of fat (those go in a container in the fridge for cat treats). As far as I can tell, Wegmans does not inject this chicken with extra saline.

Then I chop up the breasts with the scissors into manageable pieces and freeze them, in handfuls of pieces, in ziploc bags.

To use I dump the frozen raw chicken pieces into a microwave bowl with some water and cook 'em. Usually it takes about 3 minutes on high, then I poke them apart and cook for 3 more, often adding a can of "Light" soup (Campbell's and Progresso both make soups which have about 150 - 200 calories per can.) Or I just add actual vegetables and seasonings and make soup from scratch. If I have the time I lengthen the second cooking time to 10 or 15 minutes on medium power. The flavor is better and there is less risk of boiling over.


I like to buy these packages of salmon and keep 'em in the freezer. They're individually wrapped, which is convenient. I take one out when I arrive at work and it's usually thawed by lunchtime.

Then I fire up the toaster oven, spread foil on the tray, spray with some olive oil,

sprinkle salt-free lemon pepper, slap that fish on top, sprinkle with more lemon pepper, and broil for 5-10 minutes.


You can do the same thing with shrimp and you don't even have to thaw them first, although I sometimes do. You can also add shrimp to soups. It's one of the lowest-calorie lean protein sources out there.

Sometimes I just microwave the shrimp, stopping every few minutes to dump out the water and move the cold ones in the center to the outside.

Then I dip in Tabasco sauce as I eat them.


I also buy giant Hubbard squash (anywhere from 1-5 dollars each), drop them from chest height on the front stoop to break 'em open, scoop out the seeds, and bake skin-side down for about 3 hours at 350. The seeds go into the bird feeder where the blue jays enjoy them.

Sometimes I rinse the seeds and bake sprinkled with salt-free seasoning. It depends on how ambitious I feel and whether I want a high calorie snack sitting around or not.

When a fork goes in easily and there are lots of nice carmelized edges I scoop the flesh into microwave and freezer friendly containers and freeze them. One squash often yields more than 16 cups of actual food. I think the flavor is superior to other kinds such as butternut.

Then I microwave with seasonings (any kind of alt-free one works) or add a dollop to the chicken soup, above.

Sometimes for dessert I just take the squash cold, add some nutmeg and cinnamon and sugar substitute and mix it up. It tastes like pumpkin pie.

P.S. The absolute best tasting squash, in my opinion, is Buttercup.


www.recipetips.com/glossary-term/t--
37061/buttercup-squash.asp


I didn't mention it above because Hubbard is so much cheaper and tastes almost as good. I bake it the same way, but because it's smaller it takes more like 1-2 hours. They're small enough you can cut them open with a knife. Sometimes I'll bake half of one in the toaster oven for lunch. (No one else uses the toaster oven at work between breakfast and lunch so it's available.)

It was bred in North Dakota to replace sweet potatoes which don't grow there because it's too cold:

Yeager, A.F. and E. Latzke. Buttercup Squash: Its Origin and Use. Fargo, ND: Agricultural Experiment Station, North Dakota Agricultural College, 1932. Bulletin/North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station no. 258. 19 p. NAL 100 N813 no.258

In 1922 North Dakota researchers Yeager and Latzke undertook a squash breeding program that was initially focused on the Hubbard squash. Their aim was to develop a desirable variety that would take the place of the sweet potato, which had proved unsatisfactory in variety testing in the region. This report, issued ten years hence, describes the origin of the Buttercup variety, a small turban-shaped squash selected from an accidental cross of Quality and Essex Hybrid, and also considers growing methods and the variety’s cooking and food qualities. A good portion of the bulletin consists of general instructions for cooking and several dozen recipes (p. 13-19). With black-and-white photos, and bibliography (sources cited in footnotes).

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIBBYGEO 3/24/2011 1:47PM

    Thanks for the tips! They are good ones!

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DDOORN 3/18/2011 11:28AM

    More ideas:

http://www.parenteart
h.com/blog/eating-healthily-wit
hout-busting-your-budget/

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KAZINMICH 3/17/2011 8:29PM

    What an Awesome blog!!! What great information on food, I am sooo going to try this.

I also buy the similar chicken - boneless, not injected, skinless. I also trim (for the pets) and always keep some cooked in the fridge, and some cooked in the freezer.

I have tried following my mother-in-laws some what instructions on cooking squash in the microwave, and it didn't work out.. so I am SO going to try this. and I also am very excited to feed the seeds to the outdoor animals!! They are going to be so happy!!!

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ALYFITN 3/17/2011 9:14AM

    I always get a lot out of your blogs--what great information.

I am a new fan of electric pressure cookers. I grew up in a home with a mom who used the stovetop kind and was always afraid it would blow up. But the electric kind is easier--and it cooks squash really fast for supper. I LOVE squash---all kinds.

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JESPAH 3/17/2011 6:53AM

    Awesome.

So many people feel that a meal's not complete unless it's got beef in it.

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TENACIOUSTIGER 3/17/2011 5:14AM

    sounds like YUM i love salmon

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SEYSARAH 3/17/2011 12:17AM

    Loved the squash ideas..and have wondered for years how one is supposed to get into a Hubbard squash..and then what..thanks so much...

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CARRIE1948 3/16/2011 6:47PM

    I buy teh same chicken and salmon. I also buy the tilapia just for a change

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ANNIEMAC_98 3/16/2011 4:29PM

    Great blog! I plan on trying these things! Thanks so much!

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CHBADILLO 3/16/2011 2:49PM

    Love your BLOG, great infomation! What's a Wegman's , a grocery store? We don't have any of those here. GREAT ideas I'm going to use, all but the squash, it's a texture thing. LOL

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ZENMIND7 3/16/2011 1:48PM

    Great ideas. Thanks!

I love your method of opening up the squash! -- "drop them from chest height on the front stoop to break 'em open" (Although I'm a little scared of the germs on my front stoop, even if the thing is going to get cooked at 350!)

I wish my work had a toaster oven.

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MRDPOLING 3/16/2011 1:42PM

    Very good! going to use some of your ideas too! Thanks for sharing!

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PATTICAN 3/16/2011 1:26PM

    I'm a big fan of butternut, but I'll have to check out this squash. Thanks for the heads up!

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DDOORN 3/16/2011 1:19PM

    We're big fans of stocking up @ Wegmans when their chicken is on sale...they seem to have better quality than most of the other stores.

Don

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ROZELL99 3/16/2011 1:10PM

  Good suggestions, thanks!

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Crawled out of bed, and back into my boat...

Monday, March 14, 2011

I spent most of the past week in bed with a nasty cold. Seriously. Most days I didn't even change out of my pyjamas. When I had the energy I watched episodes of Farscape streaming from Netflix. Most of the time I slept.

The cats definitely seemed to appreciate me being around. So did the birds because I actually managed to fill the feeders later in the week.

It was awful lying there, knowing that the spring thaw had started and that I was trapped inside unable to paddle all those lovely creeks and rivers. Friends were posting all kinds of reports of awesome paddling runs, and also skiing, and a few did BOTH the same day. Watching science fiction characters go through adventures didn't help much, because *I* wanted to be the one out there, having adventures.

But Sunday I had enough energy to get my stuff together and go do a local creek run with a friend. Here's the trip report on American Whitewater:
www.americanwhitewater.org/content/R
eport/detail/id/878498

It helped that the creek is only 30 minutes from my house.

I feel better today. Still coughing up some residue, but well enough to go to work and try Body Pump class tonight.

A friend got me started taking "Wellness Formula" that she swears boosts her immune system. www.amazon.com/Source-Natural
s-Wellness-Formula-Capsules/dp/B002DFO
466?tag=manifolds-20
We'll see. I paid more than twice that at the local health food store, for only 180 pills. *sigh*

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYAKKIM 3/18/2011 6:59AM

    Glad you are healthier again and that you got out to paddle! I got my first spring paddle in yesterday!

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CARRIE1948 3/15/2011 11:13AM

    Glad you're feeling better. Let me know how the supplements work.

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DDOORN 3/15/2011 9:54AM

    It's so TOUGH when the spirit is willing but our bodies let us down!

Glad to hear it sounds like you've turned the corner!

Don

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FRECKS96 3/15/2011 7:46AM

    Looks like an awesome ride! We truly have some great paddling in our area. Hope you're back to 100% soon!

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JESPAH 3/15/2011 6:34AM

    Oy. Feel bettah soon.

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WOLFKITTY 3/15/2011 1:13AM

    I hope you feel 100% really soon!!
Take care of you!!

Jocelyn

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BUNPOH 3/15/2011 1:04AM

    I've been sick for days too! Hope you fully recover quickly!

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TERESALANFORD 3/14/2011 1:29PM

    glad to hear you are feeling better

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2003 calories burned in one day! For fun!

Sunday, February 27, 2011






897 cal xc skiing
485 cal snowboarding
400 cal snowboarding
148 cal snowboarding
73 cal shoveling the driveway at 2am after arriving home so I could get the car in

I haven't seen a number that high since I did a bike century last September!
(3278 that day)

I am happy to report that I can now get off the chair lift on the board most of the time without falling on my butt. LOL

Kinda tired today. Will probably just XC a little around the neighborhood (there is a state park at the end of the block), and then lead a kayak rolling session tonight. Nothing ambitious.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 3/15/2011 1:13AM

    Gorgeous, gorgeous gorgeous, WOW!!

Very cool.
Jocelyn

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HOTRODSANDY 3/6/2011 6:50PM

    Awesome! Makes me tired just reading it. emoticon

Hoping to be able to do that much activity by next winter! You inspire me!

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TEENY_BIKINI 3/6/2011 6:31PM

    Cool!

emoticon

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JUNESHOPE 3/4/2011 2:35PM

    Sounds fun...Enjoy the ride of life! emoticon

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TENACIOUSTIGER 3/2/2011 6:12AM

    whoa sounds like you have had a massive day, the last time i did that was when we rode to Fremantle and back. Great fun though, i so envy you to be snow boarding! Thanks for dropping by my blog, I will have to live vicariously through your legs for now. I'm thinking about trying some nordic poles when I can do a bit more as its supposed to give you more of a workout than just walking. Have you ever tried it , i guess its like cross country skiing without the snow. I did try a bit of Langlaufing in switzerland once a long time ago.

You are my benchmark to aspire too love the red leather pants! emoticon

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KAYOTIC 3/1/2011 9:36AM

    emoticonYou Rock!

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SUNNY2010 2/28/2011 10:08PM

    Awesome!!!!!! emoticon

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FRECKS96 2/28/2011 11:03AM

    Woo Hoo!!! Congrats on a super fun day!

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JESPAH 2/28/2011 6:34AM

    2003 was a good year. :)

Great job!

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DDOORN 2/27/2011 6:43PM

    Whew...! No one can incinerate those calories like YOU do when you get out there & have fun in the snow! :-)

Don

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BREWMASTERBILL 2/27/2011 12:59PM

    Ummm . . . Wow!

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