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Communal Project: a log reinforcing healthy choices & thoughts

Saturday, December 29, 2012

After two pretty rough months emotionally, I fell off the bandwagon last weekend and overindulged at three parties in four days - with predictable results.

In addition to getting back on track with the food and exercise, I thought it would be a good idea to work on reinforcing my healthy choices and thoughts.

I can see from the teams.sparkpeople.com/maintai
blog posts that I'm not alone here, and I know I'll be more likely to do this if others do it with me. So... I created a loose, open-ended community log, where we can acknowledge and celebrate our good choices and positive thoughts. I think it might be really encouraging to see each other's responses.

Here's where you can make an entry into the log:

Here are the responses so far:

(This takes you to the current day's entries. To see responses from previous days, click the tabs at the bottom of the screen.)

Here are wordles of our positive thoughts so far:

I'll post one there each day from the comments.

And here is a thread where we can talk about this project:

As it says at the log entry form, you can participate as much or little as you like.

We'll do this until January 31.



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOLFKITTY 1/3/2013 12:02AM

    You are so brilliant and fun.
I love you.

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ISHIIGIRL 12/30/2012 4:56PM

    Thanks, I have really needed some other form of accountability. I am hoping this does the trick for me!

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WATERMELLEN 12/30/2012 2:18PM

    So cool that you are heading out to ski today too . . . you can add it to the "project"!! (I did). Hope you have as totally awesome a time: it was amazing, I'm still flying high on endorphins!!

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MANDELOVICH 12/30/2012 10:51AM

    This is a super project. Thanks so much for doing it!

It's really helping me focus on the good after 3 months of being off track!

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LESLIELENORE 12/29/2012 2:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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KATHIC2 12/29/2012 10:08AM

  Really appreciate your thoughts and leadership. Thanks!

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MKELLY72 12/29/2012 9:23AM

    Yes- thank you! I love how you create these challenges for us! How hard is it to create those forms, etc? I wonder if it's something that I could tackle for the team that I lead?

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NEW-CAZ 12/29/2012 8:53AM

    emoticon Angela for arranging all that, you are one amazing leader and motivator! emoticon

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5 reasons why I want to get these 10 lbs back off and continue with the strength training

Friday, December 21, 2012

So it's been a very good year.

I broke all previous records from 2010 and 2011 (the year I was on shoulder rehab) for number of rivers paddled (47), hours in my boats (366:37:03), days paddled (103), difficulty of rivers paddled (IV-V), calories burned on rivers (48,146) and calories burned boating overall (116,200).

I kayaked in NY, MA, WV, PA, Costa Rica, Canada, Argentina, and Chile.

I paddled the Bottom Moose (IV-V)

And I'm back from my trip to Argentina and Chile:

I got on some of the biggest white water I've ever seen (the Futalefu in Chile). For a glimpse of the kind of thing I saw, take a look at the White Water Grand Prix race run on that river a few days after I was on it.
I might not have been on the same sections shown. And I was not racing other boats; I just wanted to stay upright because I had ear infections and didn't want cold water in my ear canals. I also had a chest cold and lungs full of fluid so I was out of breath much of the time. And there was a fever and those night sweats. But it was all good, once I was on the water; I didn't notice those things. And I didn't flip, which taught me that I can stay upright if I really really want to. (Normally I don't care because I can always just roll up.)

But it was the same river and it was Very Big. A LOT of water. The current was so strong and fast we went 4.3 miles in 1.2 hours. And we were not hurrying. We spent a lot of time at the put in, warming up, practicing skills, taking photos between the rapids, checking the gauge, etc. That might tell you how much water was going through there. It was a pretty high level, "70," even for the Futa.

Here we are, between the rapids, all tossing our paddles in the air, for fun:

(There was no taking pictures while running the rapids, which you'll understand if you watch the Grand Prix videos.)

So now here I am, back at home, the cold mostly finished (just hacking the last stuff out of my lungs) and 10 lbs above where I like to be, partly due to the difficulty of eating right while ill in a foreign country - you get so drained you just eat what is put in front of you rather than asking for more veggies and protein and less carbs and sugar. And judgement is kind of impaired in those situations anyway.

And I haven't weight trained since I left, which is now a month ago. And my jeans are tight. And here are the holidays, with temptations all around me and all my normal exercise options disrupted.

This blog is for me. A kind of vision collage, if you will, of the things I am looking forward to.

I have some short term goals, like being in my +/- 3% range for the weigh in on Monday for the Mardi Gras Maintainer Challenge docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform

But I also have some other long term goals in mind. If I can stay in good condition (which requires eating right, doing strength training, conditioning, and working on flexibility) I may be able to step up my game this year.

Here are some of the rivers I have in my sights as possibilities, depending on how well I can train and improve:

1. The Rouge in Quebec (IV-IV+):


2. Great Falls in the DC area: (V+)


3. The Upper Yough in Pennsylvania: (IV-V)


4. The Upper Gauley in West Virginia: (IV-V)


5, This is in addition to more runs on the Bottom Moose (IV-V)


If I want to do this, I have my work cut out for me, because it is very ambitious.

That means, food ON POINT, including paying attention to macronutrients as well as overall calories, continued strength training (I'm at Stage Three for New Rules of Lifting for Women), continued conditioning (XC skiing, spin class and tae kardio), and continued flexibility (yoga).

And so, here I am, on the darkest day of the year, heading into my off season, and trying to keep the motivation alive for the spring.

My first step is to do an entire week with the calories under 2000 and to resume the strength training. I've got 3 days to go for the calories and plan to restart strength training tonight.

Don't wish me luck. Prod me, poke, me, bug me, annoy me, and otherwise get under my skin and help me remember why I'm doing this.

So I can boat better.

Thank you.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISKECK 4/8/2013 8:00PM

    Oh wow, what an awesome blog! I want to do those things! I've only done white water once and I loved it. I live about 10 miles south of Great Falls and have a flat water kayak I throw in the water in the creek behind my house when it gets warm which is fun but nothing like the excitement of paddling white water in Argentina. That looks so exciting - did you do it with a group or go on a tour with strangers? EIther way it looks pretty awesome.

I will say good luck with your training but will also be watching for your progress!


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MAREE1953 1/3/2013 1:53PM

    Wow, I'd say you lead a pretty exciting life! I love the water, too, especially the Mississippi River, but in a much more relaxed way (houseboating). We say the water makes us "level". Go get 'em!

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NUMD97 1/3/2013 10:48AM

    Your achievements, Angela, are positively breathtaking and awe-inspiring. You will accomplish what you set out for yourself to accomplish, because you obviously have a handle on how to set your cap and then tackle the task. What so many would give to be able to do just that!

We'll watch you, I'm sure (you have legions of fans), and I doubt seriously that you will need much poking and prodding.

All the best for your new year goals,


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SHERRIJ61 1/2/2013 2:28PM

    What a great year you had... I too have similar goals to lose 15 more lbs, strength train more, get more muscle definition and of course eat healthy..

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NJ5050 12/28/2012 8:21PM

  Congratulations on a great year!

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CARRIE1948 12/28/2012 12:18PM

    You CAN do this Focus ion your rewards - more rivers.

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KATHIC2 12/23/2012 10:06AM

  You are now an accomplished athlete. Carry out your plan so you ready to paddle with the best! Just do it! Press on...no deviations allowed!

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KENDRACARROLL 12/22/2012 10:11PM

    What a great adventure. Sorry you got sick though.
Very ambitious and adventurous goalsgoing forward.

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KANOE10 12/22/2012 9:38AM

    Your trip looked wonderful! Go for those ten pounds. You can do it! It definitely is harder to eat in a foreign country. Now you are back in the US with a great set of goals for the year!

I am working on an up pound also..We can do this.

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GREENGENES 12/21/2012 10:50PM

    Amazing. What a great year.

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WOLFKITTY 12/21/2012 10:23PM

    Impressive!! :D

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WATERMELLEN 12/21/2012 9:12PM

    You don't NEED luck. You need determination, discipline, and diligence.

And: you've got all of 'em.

But like all of us, you need to dig deep and keep on finding 'em and using 'em.

So: now I'm counting on you to poke and prod and push me right back!!

What an awesome array of possibilities you've set out for yourself!! And what a great year you've had!!

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KARRENLYNN 12/21/2012 8:20PM

    You have a strong why for your goals. The past is done. Just start from where you are and keep moving forward, 1 good choice at a time. I've never gone kakyaking before, how exciting!

Have a happy and healthy holiday season.


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DALID414 12/21/2012 7:31PM

    Wow! Ambitious indeed! But emoticon
Do it for the ones who are paralyzed in fear of the water ***raising my hand***

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-AMANDA79- 12/21/2012 6:49PM

    I have never done that before. Looks so exciting!

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ANGELARPACK 12/21/2012 5:27PM

    I am impressed with where you have come from in your weight loss. I love it that you did it in your 40's. It gives people like myself hope. emoticon

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TINAJANE76 12/21/2012 5:16PM

    I think most of us could use a good poke this time of year. I'd be happy to oblige, especially if you can poke, prod and harass me back! Those rapids look killer! I'm sure you'll be up for them in no time!

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LESLIELENORE 12/21/2012 4:56PM

    I have been lax with my ST as well. I'll nag you, and you can nag me. lol

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GOTTAPLAN4U 12/21/2012 4:19PM

  I watched the boater cross video. That's an intense sport to which you have dedicated yourself. I can't think of a surer way to maintain a fitness plan than to take on those kayaking challenges that you lay out for yourself.

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SUZYMOBILE 12/21/2012 4:14PM

    You can do it, and in case you can't, here's a healthy boot in the a$$!


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SPARKLINGHOPE 12/21/2012 4:03PM


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ILOVEMALI 12/21/2012 3:48PM

    Just what I needed to read today.

Please poke, prod, harass, cajole me, too. I really only have 10m pounds to go, and have really been messing around with them!!

Happy Holidays!

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Where I started, 186 lbs ago. Never, ever, EVER give up!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Now and then people contact me and say that they are currently around the same weight as where I started, and they ask what it was like, and how I felt when I started, and how I even GOT started, and how I kept going.

Back then I would have been happy to get under 300 lbs. I don't think I ever really believed I could go under 200. But I tried (again) anyway, because I just didn't want to continue, in my mid-40s, feeling like an old lady, having trouble going up and down the stairs in my house, having trouble fitting into chairs, and feeling generally unattractive and unfit.

The links below are to excerpts from the journey I made from 335.6 lbs to about 200 lbs. Removing the last 50 was a different sort of journey. And removing and keeping off the last 10 has proved the most challenging of all.

(335.6 lbs, BMI = 52.6) May 2007 - Apr 2009

Apr 2009 - Jun 2009

Jun 2009 - Sept 2009

...and now? Holy crap, all you have to do is look at my most recent kayaking blogs.

Seriously, if you had told me in November 2008 that in four years I would be kayaking class IV-V rivers and flying to Argentina for a white water kayaking trip, I would have laughed and asked what drugs you were on, and joked that I wanted some.

And then I would have waited until I was alone and I would have cried, because something like that would have sounded so amazing and wonderful and so completely and ridiculously impossible.

Yet here I am. And next week I will run this rapid in Argentina. With style.

So when I say in my signature on every message board post, "Never, ever, EVER give up!" I really mean it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GABBY98_80 3/25/2013 12:11PM


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LOVESTOWALK49 12/1/2012 5:51PM

    Wow! Have a great trip. emoticon

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PEWTERBUNNY 11/27/2012 11:18PM

    Wow! Looking forward to getting to know you.

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CHAQUITA73 11/27/2012 10:22AM

    That brought a happy tear to my eye!!! You rock!

Thanks for the inspiration!!

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MJZHERE 11/25/2012 4:48PM

    Really inspiring. Thank you for writing this.

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KELLIEBEAN 11/25/2012 2:31PM

    You are amazing!

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    emoticon emoticon

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ILOVEMALI 11/24/2012 8:56PM

    Ok. I'll not give up.

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KATHIC2 11/23/2012 9:47AM

  You are so inspiring! You have such a great to journey to share and do it outstandingly well!!!

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BOOKWORM27S 11/23/2012 12:12AM

    Great blog, very inspiring!

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LESLIELENORE 11/22/2012 8:43PM

    Have fun in Argentina!

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HDHAWK 11/22/2012 7:55PM


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CAT-IN-CJ 11/22/2012 6:53PM

    Absolutely amazing!
You are proof positive that a person can do whatever they set their minds to . . . .
if ya want it bad enough.

You rock!

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WENDYWITKOSKI 11/22/2012 6:08PM

    emoticon emoticon

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TINAJANE76 11/22/2012 6:05PM

    You're SO right! So many of us just seem to give up because our goals seem unattainable or at least like they're not sustainable. You're living proof that not only can you lose a whole lotta weight, but that you CAN also keep it off long term. Congratulations on all your success and have a blast in Argentina. And I want to see some photos of you running those rapids!

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LJCANNON 11/22/2012 4:27PM

    emoticon emoticon Thank You! emoticon Thank You emoticon Thank You!!
I am so grateful - And Happy For YOU!! - that you DIDN'T Give Up, and that you are continuing to share your Journey with us. The Journey will NEVER Be over, and at times it may be Difficult, but your Pictures, Blogs, and Adventures remind us that it IS WORTH IT!!

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NEWANDHEALTHY13 11/22/2012 4:10PM

  Firstly, congrats for Not giving up.
Am extremely happy that you were able to push against the tide and reach your goal and are living a fuller life.
Thank you for inspiring people.
God Bless

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GOPINTOS 11/22/2012 4:05PM

    OMGosh thank you for sharing! I havent read it all yet, but wanted to say thank you! emoticon

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DALID414 11/22/2012 3:58PM

You've come a long way. You've earned your way to Argentina!

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SPARKLINGHOPE 11/22/2012 1:26PM

    emoticon Happy Thanksgiving!!

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KANOE10 11/22/2012 12:44PM

    What a wonderful journey towards health. I think you are right, keeping the last 10 pounds off is very much work.

I am so excited about your going to Argentina. I have always wanted to go there.

Have a great Thanksgiving. You should be so happy with yourself. I used to weigh 242 and am so happy not to weigh that anymore.

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ARUSHING2 11/22/2012 12:14PM

Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.

Thanks for sharing.

Happy days to you, and have a continued fantastic trip about too!

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SUZYMOBILE 11/22/2012 11:43AM

    Holy crap, indeed! You had me practically in tears myself, when you said that you couldn't have believed what you've become and what you're doing now.

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm happy to know you!

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Making my bed as an anti-binge / maintenance strategy

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Whenever houseguests have stayed in the past I've whipped myself into a frenzy to try and make my home hygienic, if not presentable. Litter box and cat bathroom spotless, cat hair tumbleweeds swept out of the corners of the stairs, my bed made, everything vacuumed, dishes done and put away, kitchen clean, laundry folded and put away.

And I've otherwise pretty much neglected the house and yard the way I used to neglect my exercise and nutrition. I'm starting to see that this pervasive self-neglect leads to feeling badly about myself and my life, and that taking care of myself helps me feel loved.

I've recently been through the guest cleaning cycle and over the subsequent weeks especially needed to practice self-kindness due to hitting a very rough emotional patch. So when things went south and I found myself spiraling down into sadness, I took a different strategy. I continued the behaviors for keeping things the way I like them.

It makes me happy to see my bed made and the rugs vacuumed. It makes me feel like someone loves me. And you know what? Those are very good reasons to do it. These are not chores to be avoided, they are self-nurturing behaviors which bolster my feelings of self-worth.

Now of course these concepts are obvious, in hindsight. But given how I'm wired, it took an extremely painful situation for me to finally make the connection:

Feeling nurtured and loved removes one of the most powerful inducements to my binges, namely the idea that self-neglect is OK and appropriate because no one loves me or cares about me, least of all me, and they never will. I've carried this negative thought pattern with me for many many years and it's even more powerful than my desire to continue to fit in my kayaks.

Now that I've made that connection, and since my fitness and health are indirectly at stake, in a twisted way I can finally appreciate the value of this concept. Making my bed will make me happy, and if I'm happy, even just from the little things, I'm less likely to spiral into that sort of negative thinking. And therefore less likely to binge, and therefore more likely to continue maintaining my fitness and health.

So, yeah. Add vacuuming, cleaning the litter box, and yes, making my bed to my list of anti-binge strategies.

Because you know what? This isn't about the guests. *I* am worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRIANGLE-WOMAN 4/28/2013 7:25AM

    Stopping back to "visit" and read a few more old blogs.

I love this one!! I have a large house and three teenage girls and I do a LOT of cleaning and laundry as a stay at home Mom. I have learned to pay a cleaning service to come out twice a month. I call it my "therapy" bill.

To have the WHOLE house cleaned, top to bottom makes me feel like a million bucks!! And I then have some extra "me" time to sit back and go for a walk, go to the gym or try a new healthy recipe.

Great strategy!!

Have a great day and keep ...

)) -::-
. .))
((. .. Spreading the Spark!-::-
-::- ((.*

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BOXER-MOM 3/11/2013 5:22PM

    I LOVE it! I guess in a way cleaning the house keeps me from being bored and binging, I am go-go-go with 2 big dogs needing to be walked 5x's a day as we have no yard...and a 4yr old on top of that cleaning, I am busy pretty much all day! I never use to clean house this much, and now that I think about it.....I think I started cleaning more, ALLOT more since losing the weight..maybe they do go hand in hand!?!?

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LESS_IS_MO 12/18/2012 3:02PM

    I love the blog. I recently borrowed the book "Better than Chocolate" from the public library. Within 5 minutes of opening it, I knew I wanted to own it. I downloaded it for my tablet (bonus that the book has colour illustrations - not many do) and have been reading it daily and writing notes on it. The book is about how to achieve happiness and it talks about exactly the kind of behaviour you describe in your blog. You are right, a clean house makes us happy, so we really should do it - all the time! Not just for guests!

And even though I haven't been able to find the motivation to lose the 15lbs that I gained back from an over 50lb loss, somehow reading in this book has helped that too. I read in it that being in control of my behaviour creates positivte feelings and leads to happiness. Knowing that has had an effect on my bingeing. Of course HAPPINESS is important to me - being thin, maybe not so much - maybe being thin is too a vain goal or something, but being happy - now that's a worthy goal! That's important for my whole family. Soooo, maybe I can lose the weight by focusing on creating happiness, instead of focusing on getting thin.

Good luck to you. And thanks for sharing.

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KANOE10 11/21/2012 8:51AM

    I love this blog. You are right on about feeling cared for and nurtured as being important. There is a self respect that comes from making your bed and keeping your house clean for yourself. I also have cats and totally sympathize with you about the cat hairs and litter boxes..work for the little cuties.

It is true that when I lost control of my weight, I also let other things slide and stopped caring. You are right..make that bed for yourself and be happy! I like your picture. It made me smile!

Excellent blog.

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GERMANIRISHGIRL 11/20/2012 12:29PM

    emoticon emoticon

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TIFFANIE150 11/20/2012 9:42AM

    This was very eye opening to me, as well. Thank you for sharing it.

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ANNIEONLI 11/20/2012 8:36AM

    Very very insightful....and very very true.

I find that when I don't make the bed, get dressed nicely and do my makeup, there is a completely different attitude swirling around in my head. Heck, makeup alone changes my whole attitude toward how I view myself! I never leave home without it!

Keep it up!!!! emoticon

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62NVON 11/20/2012 8:09AM

    Love this! I totally identify. I've been working towards the same goals. WTG!

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NUOVAELLE 11/20/2012 1:52AM

    Great blog with such an insightful message for all of us! We are all worth taking care of ourselves and doing things for us. As they say, self-love is the only weight loss tool that works in the long run. And it works for each and every one of us.

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FLGIRL1234 11/19/2012 10:24PM

    Love this blog!

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BLUE42DOWN 11/19/2012 7:21PM

    What a emoticon revelation to have. And, truly, knowing that you like having the bed made tells me this: it doesn't just make you ~feel~ loved. It's a very physical proof that you are loved - by yourself. Which is a beautiful thing.

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MKELLY72 11/19/2012 12:52PM

    This is the kind of spiral you want! One healthy behavior inspires another. I have noticed this connection before too...my finances, for example are much more organized than there were before I started practicing self-care strategies. I still have areas that need work, and I always will- so I will work on them:)

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BOOKWORM27S 11/19/2012 9:02AM

    I understand the connection. I'm a "neat freak" and I find focusing my attention on making my house look perfect can also distract me from thinking about food.

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KATHIC2 11/19/2012 7:09AM

  YOU ARE WORTH IT!!! There is a synergy to life and to our health lifestyles. When things are going well, it all ties together and seems to generate more positive energy.
You have tremendous energy and put things together so well! And then write about it so profoundly!

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NEW-CAZ 11/19/2012 3:00AM

    Good habits in one area build good habits in other areas- all positive thinking is to be applauded. emoticon emoticon

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WOLFKITTY 11/18/2012 9:21PM

    Great insights, and definitely something for us all to remember. :)
Thank you!

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WILLOWBROOK5 11/18/2012 8:25PM

    Great points about self-care and keeping our homes looking good. I always feel better when the house is tidy and clean, too. People tease me sometimes about being too clean, but really, I just like my surroundings to make me feel good instead of bad.

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MS0669 11/18/2012 7:50PM

    I just watched your story on NBC - you are an amazing woman ! It's so easy to fall into the binge pattern and not care about the important things in life. I am glad you have been able to figure out great ways to distract yourself ! Thanks for sharing your story.

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GEE-KNEE 11/18/2012 7:50PM

    You are SO worth it! I've trying to keep the house a bit cleaner for me, but sometimes the only way I can rope the family into helping clean is by planning a party.. voila, clean house full of good friends.... two good things. :)

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BROOKLYN_BORN 11/18/2012 7:20PM

    Good habits in one area can have a positive effect in others as well. Great blog!

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WATERMELLEN 11/18/2012 6:56PM

    "Self-neglect is OK and appropriate because no one loves me or cares about me, least of all me"

What a courageous acknowledgement. I am so sorry that you are going through a painful period.

So glad that you are taking care of you. And caring about you.

Because your Spark friends and fans know very well: yes, you are absolutely worth it.

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SUZYMOBILE 11/18/2012 5:30PM

    God, that's insightful! Over the years on SparkPeople, I've started adding different non-fitness goals to my "Other Goals" list, such as making a to-do list every morning (including stuff as simple as Make Bed and Clean Glass). I couldn't have stated the reasons for doing so nearly as insightfully as you just did, but the reasons are simply that these things make me feel better about myself--much like maintaining by weight makes me feel better about myself.

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KAYOTIC 11/18/2012 5:19PM

    Great insight, thanks! And Tinajane's comment about the haircut hit home a bit, as it's been awhile since I've had one, and been really thinking about it a lot latley....maybe that's what I need to do to take care of myself.

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DALID414 11/18/2012 4:06PM

    That's weird! Years ago my bf said that he felt so loved when I would fold his laundry! No one had ever folded his laundry before me, no even him!

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TINAJANE76 11/18/2012 3:59PM

    Yes, you ARE worth it! I think this is something that many of us who've struggled with managing our weight can relate to. Whether it's not taking care of our bodies, not feeling like we're worth doing nice things for ourselves or neglecting our surroundings, I think these are all powerful reflections of our sense of self worth.

I remember reading a blog by another person here on SparkPeople about a year ago who had not been for a haircut for eons. She just didn't feel like it was worth taking pride in her appearance when she still had so much weight to lose. One day she had the revelation that it didn't matter if she was at goal or 100 pounds away from it--she was worth a freaking haircut!

I think learning to love ourselves is a huge part of this process because it can go a long way in helping to prevent lots of self-destructive habits and, even better, can just make us happier.

You're such an inspiration to so many people here and I know you can work through this. Thanks for sharing your thoughts so honestly!

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LESLIELENORE 11/18/2012 3:44PM

    Whatever works for you is good. I have a tendency to hold onto "stuff", so I have to do a clean out a couple of times a year so my apartment doesn't get too cluttered. But the day to day cleaning gets away from me sometimes. You ARE worth it. And so am I. Thanks for the insight.

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KICK-BUTT-MAMA 11/18/2012 3:37PM

    Wow! This is me exactly! I am at the beginning of my weight loss journey and I'm starting to uncover some of the reasons why I binged. And since I can't binge, I'm being forced to deal with these things. It's a difficult process. But making myself feel loved and taking care of my home and myself are huge for me!

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Bottom Moose (class IV-V)

Monday, November 12, 2012

Yesterday I ran a new river, the Bottom Moose.

This river has been a sort of milestone for me. I have been aspiring to run it for a while. This is the kind of river most white water kayakers come to the Adirondacks for, and the past couple of years I've had to run easier things while my friends paddled on it because I was a beginner.

The description of it on the American Whitewater website says: "The Bottom Moose is perhaps the most famous, biggest, most important whitewater run in New York state." It also says, "Generally speaking, paddlers should have Class-V skills if they want to have fun on the Bottom Moose."

To put this into context, here is a summary of the river and rapid classification system:

- Class 1: Very small rough areas, requires no maneuvering. (Skill Level: None)

- Class 2: Some rough water, maybe some rocks, small drops, might require maneuvering. (Skill Level: Basic Paddling Skill)

- Class 3: Whitewater, medium waves, maybe a 35 ft drop, but not much considerable danger. May require significant maneuvering. (Skill Level: Experienced paddling skills)

- Class 4: Whitewater, large waves, long rapids, rocks, maybe a considerable drop, sharp maneuvers may be needed. (Skill Level: Advanced Whitewater Experience)

- Class 5: Whitewater, large waves, continuous rapids, large rocks and hazards, maybe a large drop, precise maneuvering. Often characterized by "must make" moves, i.e. failure to execute a specific maneuver may result in serious injury or death. Class 5 is sometimes expanded to Class 5+ that describes the most extreme, runnable rapids (Skill Level: Expert)

- Class 6: While there is some debate over the term "Class 6", in practice it refers to rapids that are not passable and any attempt to do so would result in serious injury, near drowning or death (e.g. Murchison Falls). If a rapid is run that was once thought to be impassible, it is typically reclassified as Class 5.

As this is only the end of my second season I certainly do not claim to have class V boating skills, by any stretch. At the moment I'm working my way up into class IV.

But the water was low, we had a big strong group, and the weather was fabulous. My friends assured me I had the requisite skills. So I went for it.

One of the more entertaining parts of the run is a 15-foot vertical drop. I didn't bother "boofing" or jumping it, but just penciled in.

Right after this a friend met us on the side of the river with a hot lunch he'd prepared on his camp stove - quesadillas with cheese and ham and salsa, and hot dogs, and cans of Mike's Hard Lemonade. Although these are not my normal foods, they definitely hit the spot as I was HONGRY. I even had a couple of the miniature Reese's.

My heart rate monitor estimated that I burned 1400 calories in the 4 hours we were on the river. In the end I ate far more than I needed that day, and when that happens I just have to eat at a deficit for a while to make up for it.

It was an awesome day, and I felt really good about how I ran the river. I only had one flip, and in most of the rapids I was just about where I'd wanted to be. I only "snuck" one of them - the class V named Crystal since I have a kayaking trip coming up in Argentina in two weeks and I want to stay uninjured until I get there! The other class V drop was dry and no one ran it.

I've forever heard talk about how scary the drops on this river are, and how technical - I wasn't prepared for how beautiful it was. The frequent twists and turns provided new views around every corner and the terrain was stunning.

I had fabulous company on the river that day - several very good friends and the coaching they gave me with suggestions about how to make it through big rapids like Shurform were spot-on. In the end kayaking really is about sharing time doing what you love in beautiful places with your good friends who have your back and vice-versa.

GPS tracks and a couple more photos here:

From a whitewater kayaking perspective, having run this river in relative style (even at low water) is kind of equivalent to having gotten to goal in weight loss. I have, in a way, finally "arrived." From here on I will continue to improve my skills, but finally now I can play on the rivers with most of my friends.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DALID414 11/15/2012 10:24PM


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BLUE42DOWN 11/14/2012 7:31PM

    The information on the various classes was fascinating. emoticon for sharing the beauty and the fun!

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NUMD97 11/14/2012 10:03AM

    My jaw drops every time I see pics of your latest adventure. Angela, there are no words to describe you: What you have accomplished for yourself in so many venues, speaks volumes about you. You never give up, and you keep challenging yourself in new ways.

Love it! Love it all!


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KARENDEE4 11/13/2012 6:09PM


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BOILHAM 11/13/2012 11:31AM

    Wow you are awesome. This sport is something I know nothing about, so thanks for the quick lesson. Love the "drop" picture.
I learned that a class 5 river can be a river that was previously unpassable - but someone did it, so we're going to call it a 5 now. LOL.

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TIFFANIE150 11/13/2012 11:26AM

    Yep and you will keep "arriving" again and again!!!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 11/13/2012 9:45AM

    Wow, that's fantastic! We have 5 kayaks so we can paddle with the grandkids, but no whitewater on our river. It has a power dam on it - probably all we can handle.

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SPARKLINGHOPE 11/13/2012 9:35AM


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SWAZY33 11/13/2012 8:22AM

    emoticon accomplishment
emoticon pics emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 11/13/2012 8:19AM

    Wow! You are definitely living life large . . . so adventurous. Your fitness and your skills make it possible . . . Argentina next.

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TINAJANE76 11/13/2012 8:14AM

    That's amazing! I love the shot of you coming down the vertical drop. You have most definitely arrived!

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BREWMASTERBILL 11/13/2012 8:06AM

    Looking forward to you tackling Tallulah Gorge. emoticon

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KATHIC2 11/13/2012 7:32AM

  CONGRATS!!!! For making your dreams come true, for inspiring us, for soaring to where you want to be!!! I love hearing about your adventures and accomplishments. Looking forward to the next!!!

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BOOKWORM27S 11/13/2012 7:19AM

    Wow, you are simply amazing! It must have been so cold!

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KAYAKKIM 11/13/2012 4:52AM

    You are just amazing! The photos you shared are stunning. As you said in your blog, you have "arrived". What a fabulous accomplishment! I used to do whitewater, but now stick to quieter rivers...although I enjoy the challenges of high water and inclement weather, I have found that is what I enjoy most. I am just so very impressed at where you are with your whitewater in two years. I never ran the Moose myself, by growing up in upstate New York in a paddling community, I had many friends who did and loved the beauty and challenge of the river. Enjoy the Argentina trip- you deserve it! I will be looking forward to seeing photos.

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NEW-CAZ 11/13/2012 2:51AM


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CELIAMINER 11/13/2012 1:08AM


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ILOVEMALI 11/12/2012 9:31PM


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LESLIELENORE 11/12/2012 8:52PM

    emoticon emoticon That is so Awesome! Sounds like you had a fantastic time. It seems like you have definitely "arrived"!

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