Saturday, October 12, 2013
What's your desperation point? Over the last few months I have watched the numbers on my scale climb. As I had done before, I reached a milestone goal and then turned direction and headed back towards my starting point. I watched those numbers grow, but I had convinced myself I could get back on track. I stepped on the scale, saw an ugly number but assured myself it wouldn't be long. Each time the numbers rose I justified it with knowledge that life had been throwing me too many challenges and eating properly and exercise would just have to wait.
But then last week, I hit my desperation point. Perhaps it was the fact I was tightening that belt and realized it was squeezing earlier than it used to. Perhaps it was the fact I looked in a photo and instead of pride, I now felt remorse that my weight loss was no longer apparent. I had even been hiding from the scale but last weekend I stepped on and realized I had hit my desperation point. I had almost come full circle. I weighed in and was three pounds short of last years starting weight. Twenty five pounds of fat has been added back to my body and I am choked.
So what do you do? On Monday, I made an effort to wake up half an hour earlier and get back to doing what led to previous success, riding my stationary bike and sparking. Just starting my day in this way gets my focus on being active and healthy. I am still crazy busy but this 30 minutes of activity seems to lead to a more active day and with a focus on health I am eating more carefully. Somehow hitting this desperation point led to exercise and now I am on a Spark streak of daily morning exercise hitting 6 days today.
I hate being back to a number that I have been at previously. I hate acknowledging that I have not had the success I wanted and have actually been losing this battle but I am here and back to exercising and eating healthy. I don't really know what it will take to stick to it long enough to get to my ultimate goal of a healthy weight and healthy lifestyle but I am back on this journey and so far, in one week, it's led to a degree of success. In one week I have lost 3.4 lbs. While I know the weight loss won't continue at this rate it is great to see it heading in the right direction.
Sunday, September 15, 2013
Just felt like I should check in as I have received some amazing Sparkmail, Sparkgoodies and Sparkpage messages asking me what's up and where I have been.
I have definitely abandoned Sparkpeople for awhile and with that a few extra pounds have crept up and the fitness minutes decreased. Believe me I want to be here, I want to be active and I want to be eating properly but life has thrown a few challenges my way and I have taken them on.
The biggest challenge I have recently accepted is taking on the role of principal in an inner city school. This school is amazing, with teachers who put their heart and soul into difficult job. We have many immigrant families coming through our doors, unable to speak English and hoping we can provide their children with the tools they need for success. Along with these families, we have others who are very poor and beset by difficult life circumstances. Our school though small, provides breakfast and lunch programs for the kids, special English classes for the students as well as the parents, through community donations we provide clothing and furniture to the families that cannot afford these purchases. There is so much happening at this school, and in my role as principal, I oversee the programs as well as the learning of the students. This job has been crazy, busy, overwhelming, challenging, exciting and fun. I am loving it but it has a life of its own and my next challenge is trying to contain it and finding a way back to taking care of my health and fitness.
On the home front, there are struggles as my DW has been battling health issues that do not seem to want to go away. The medication she takes seems to create other problems, stomach pains, vision problems, headaches and more. But if she does not take them, the original health concern is only aggravated and the days get very difficult. Unfortunately my DW has found that her once close friends have fallen to the wayside and her burden seems too much too bear. I wish I could get her to join Sparkpeople as this is a community that always seems to care.
Somewhere in this picture I do have my two amazing daughters. They continue to bring joy to each and everyday but I know they are also challenged by my new job, my DW's health problems and their own school work and more. I am so thankful that they are doing well. Hey, my oldest has gone 64 days seizure-free and my youngest is doing well and happy at school.
Believe me, I do want to be here on Spark and seeing how all of you are doing, cheering you on. I am actually surprised that I am here today but I felt like I was missing something and had to peek in on all of you.
So many of you amaze me. You persist through difficult times and you find time to encourage and support the wayward Sparkpeople like myself. I appreciate the Sparkmail I have received, the Goodies that have come my way and the messages on my Sparkpage. I would like to respond to each and every one of them but haven't, believe me, it is not for lack of caring.
I am hoping to be back here more often and providing support to all of you but for the meantime it is going to be sporadic. I will pop in and out of hiding but briefly.
Until the next time, good luck on your adventure to better health and fitness,
Friday, July 12, 2013
I have thought about this for awhile, and then, a little bit longer. I do appreciate all the great things about Sparkpeople; the great tools, the great resources, the great people. I appreciate the teams I have been on as they have introduced me to many amazing people.
When I first joined Spark I was keen and eager and joined multiple teams, unfortunately over the years my team list has dwindled as I found many teams did not have great participation and other teams had a focus that had little or nothing to do with health and fitness. While discussions about Lawn Fertilizer or Professional Boccee may have a place here on Sparkpeople, I have shied away from those teams as I want my Sparkpeople adventure to be about Health and Fitness. Conversely, there are also great Challenge teams out there. They encourage health, fitness and accountability but sadly sometimes the teams are too big, the duration too long or sometimes the challenge is just too onerous.
So I have an idea, if anyone is interested...
I would like to ceate an Accountability Team. A small team of no more than 8-10 people with a focus on health, fitness and reaching our goals. It is not about parenting, gardening, backgammon or lawn furniture. It is about active living and healthy eating. It is also about supporting each other and becoming accountable to each other.
Requirements are simple...
You must report to the team daily to let us know what you did to be active that day or the day prior, with some feedback on your successes, struggles or questions. If you did not workout because it was a rest day simply let us know.
You must let us know what your calorie count for the day is. Apparently eating in range helps in attaining or maintaing a desirable weight.
You have to be there for the team, that means you share your activity but you also support others through encouragement, praise, or answering questions. That is part of the reason for the small team, with too many people, some people get lost in the crowd.
If you fall off the map for more than two days, without notice, you must be willing to receive Sparkmail, comments on your Sparkpage, or Goodies asking what has happened. If you notice someone on the team is missing you get to encourage them in positive ways through Sparkmail, Sparkpage comments or Goodies. Remember, the encouragement must be positive.
This team is not permanent. After one month it will disappear. The reasons for this are simple, people get busy and cannot always recommit. Sometimes people move on to new adventures. If you do not participate, probably because you are too busy as life does get in the way, you won't need to join in the next new accountability team.
The team will be renewed after four weeks so some may choose to drop away and others to come aboard. For returning members it is a time to recommit and maybe a chance to connect with new team members who have new ideas.
So, let me know what you think. If you have any questions let me know, if you have suggestions tell me, but most of all, if you are interested just reply to this blog or send me a Sparkmail.
Sparkpeople has even written an article about this...
Saturday, June 01, 2013
Who do I complain to?
Yes, I definitely have a complaint. Somebody isn't following through here. I joined this place years ago and was assured that if I ate properly, exercised, used the nutrition tracker and participated in teams I would reach my health and fitness goals.
Well, guess what, I haven't met those goals. Sure I have lost fifty pounds over the years. Yes, I am more fit at 49 than I was at 45 or whatever age I was when I joined. But c'mon, I haven't met my goals yet. I still have about 60 pounds to go and I am getting tired of all this eating healthy, exercising and my daily visits to Sparkpeople.
Oh sure, I did hit a rough patch in life a few months ago. Yes, there were too many family health issues with too many visits to doctor’s offices and many stress filled days and nights. It has been a "crappy" bunch of months and life has been busy but come on, just because I have had a rough go of things doesn't mean Sparkpeople should renege on their promises.
Sparkpeople, you promised if I exercised I would be healthier and lose weight. For years I have been exercising, riding my stationary bike, playing soccer with my daughter, going for walks. And you know what, it worked, for a while. But for some reason, there has been weight gain lately.
Yes, in the last few months the exercise may have stopped but come on, is that really enough reason for this weight gain. I did start walk/running three times a week, well some weeks, and maybe I did take the last two weeks off but I have been busy at work and getting ready for a new job. If I didn’t know better maybe my weight gain could be because of inconsistency on my part.
Sparkpeople, that nutrition tracker of yours isn't doing its job lately either. I have used it for years and years and I know what my serving sizes look like. I know that the breakfast I eat on a regular basis is about 450 calories, my lunch another 450 and my dinners about 700, and my usual snacks through the day about 400. I really don't have to use that tracker because I know I eat about 2000 a day and lately I haven't used the tracker because I have been skipping my lunches.
You would think that missing lunches should free up some extra calories but no, my weight is going up. If I didn’t know better some may suggest it could be related to the French fries I have sometimes been eating, or the three to ten candies I have been nibbling on at work, or chocolate, well chocolate doesn’t count because dark chocolate is healthy. And do I really have to record those cookies, I mean I am stressed and an extra cookie or two, once or twice, or even three times a day shouldn't hurt.
And Mr. Sparkguy, you also promised that if I were to participate in teams I would have support and that would lead to weight loss. Hey, I am on teams, I think it was ten on my last count. But for some reason I am still gaining weight. Sure I haven't had time to log on everyday, read my friend feed or check up on my teams but I haven’t quit those teams, I have just been too busy to check in on everyone. Something is definitely wrong here.
So, whom do I complain to? It is obvious someone isn’t doing what he or she is supposed to and I really want this situation fixed up. Soon!
Note from the author...
Actually, I do know who to complain to... Me!
Yes, this was written tongue in cheek. I completely recognize that the person that isn't doing what he is supposed to is me. Sparkpeople, like a gym membership, pedometer, or pair of runners, actually has to be used to receive benefit. While I have been successful using Sparkpeople, I have had a rough go that has slowed me down. It would be easiest to blame Sparkpeople, the gym, whatever, but I know the buck stops with me. My reason for writing this is to share my struggles and understandings in what I hoped would be perceived humorously.
Monday, April 15, 2013
Just read this article today and thought i would share it. it is just further proof that we should be eating more foods with fewer ingredients.
The original article is posted at...
A new (and disgusting) Food Beast report reveals that Cadbury Creme Eggs contain a substance from the castor sacs of beavers, which are located near the beaver’s tail. The secretions are found in an artificial sweetener called castoreum, listed as “natural flavoring” in the popular treats. Do a little more research and you’ll find that this “natural flavoring” is also found in ice cream, gelatin, pudding, alcohol, and baked goods.
While the discovery is rather disturbing, it’s only one of several bizarre ingredients found in food, some of which we consume daily.
1. Cochineal beetles
In 2012, some Starbucks patrons were enraged to learn the chain was using cochineal beetles in strawberry-flavored drinks like the Strawberry Frappuccino. The crushed-up beetles create a red dye effect. The chain declared it would stop using the beetles in its products. However, according to WildFlavors.com, cochineal extract can be found in meat, sausage, red marinades, jams, gelatin desserts, juices, noncarbonated soft drinks, icings, toppings, fruit preparations, confections, and dairy products.
Ever wonder how that bag of shredded cheese is magically able to avoid clumping? You can thank sawdust for that. Many brands of prepackaged, shredded cheese use cellulose to prevent the shreds of cheese from sticking together, according to Care2.com. Cellulose is also used in meat products, ice cream, and spice and powdered-drink mixes.
3. Sodium bisulfite
A combination of sulfur dioxide and sodium carbonate, sodium bisulfite remains a topic of concern. It has been known to cause allergic reactions and, in rare cases, death. While it has been banned from use in fruits and vegetables that are intended for raw consumption, it’s found in wine, potato chips, other potato products, and dried fruits.
Similar to the way cochineal beetles give red coloring to common food items, isinglass, otherwise known as dried fish bladder, is used to create the golden color of beer. According to Care2.com, it’s not necessary; yeast separates from the actual beer within a few days to create the color. Isinglass speeds up the process, though.
5. Ammonium sulfate
Fact: Ammonium sulfate is a chemical fertilizer. Fact: It’s also used in many chain restaurant sandwich breads. It feeds yeast in the baking process, says TruTV.com.
6. Propylene glycerol
Also noted on TruTV.com, propylene glycerol, commonly used in antifreeze and sex lubricants, is found in prepackaged salads. That’s how they’re able to look and stay so fresh. It’s also used in food colorings and cake mixes.
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