Thursday, July 25, 2013
Yesterday I realized was the first day of my 7th year with SparkPeople. There has been an up time and a down time. When I first joined SP, I had been on a ‘diet’ for a couple of months and was having good success. Then I found SparkPeople and my success continued as a lifestyle change. All in all I lost 60 pounds, but I gained so much more. I felt good about myself. I didn’t mind looking in the mirror. I learned to enjoy working out, even getting up earlier in the morning to make sure I got in at least one workout. I learned I could workout while watching tv instead of sitting on my backside. I learned to dump the soda and drink water, water, water. I learned to eat more fruits and veggies. I learned to count calories. I learned to keep up with calories in, calories out. I learned a lot. I learned how to eat when we when out. I changed a lot. This and more happened during the up time.
The past couple of years have been the down time, especially most recently. I still know all of what I learned in the up time. Unfortunately, over the past couple of years I have found half of what I had lost. I don’t feel good, or as good, about myself anymore. The mirror isn’t as good a friend as it was. I still workout at least 5 days a week, starting the mornings with a workout. Being truthful with myself, I know I don’t put as much into them as I used to do. Plus, I use to always get a workout in each evening before dinner. If not before dinner, then at night while watching tv. Or both. Lately, the evening and night workouts have disappeared. Oh, I have my ‘excuses’ for this. Yes, I know they are excuses. I do still drink water, water and more water with only the occasional soda. I still eat my fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, I eat too many other types of snacks that have too much sugar in them. Or, instead of the habit of having raw carrots, or similar, when we grilled hamburgers or had some other kind of sandwich I have chips. We have started eating out once a week, unfortunately knowing how to eat when out and doing it are two different things. I still log in my calories in and calories out, but the in is too much and the out is too little.
So, there it is. I know what to do. I have done it before. I know I can do it. I want to do it. I say I am going to get back with the program seriously. So, why don’t I? I know this is the question I have to answer for myself. So, here’s to working on that answer. Here’s to a successful 7th year to match the 1st.
HEY YOU, JUST DO IT!
Tuesday, July 23, 2013
I just realized today is the beginning of my 7th year at SparkPeople. That isn't what I came here to write about, first hint I didn't realize it until I noticed it on my Spark page to write this blog. Maybe tomorrow I will write about my successes and disappointments over the past 6 years during my lifestyle change. But, today I am writing to Lucky Bugs.
My Dear Lucky,
Almost to the moment, it has been one week since your physical being left us. One long difficult week. I miss you so much. Last week I wrote abut some of things I would miss now that your physical being is gone. I miss all those things and much more. I miss you lying on the back of my chair as I sit there. I miss you walking across my laptop keyboard, or sitting on it. I miss you showing up from wherever you were in the house when supper is almost ready. This morning when I was in the shower and Daddy stuck his head in the bathroom door as he left for work, I missed him telling you, "you're in charge". I miss you stealing some milk from Daddy's glass of milk.
Your Daddy misses you, too. He has shed his tears for you, as I have. Friday evening as we sat in the car after picking your ashes up, we held the small box and cried. Your Daddy commented, we were taking you home not the way we had hoped but where you belong. Saturday we spent over an hour in a leather store searching for the right piece of leather to make a pouch for you. Yesterday when I came home he was sitting at the table making the pouch. A precious way for him to show how much he loved you.
Your brother and sister miss you terribly. They have both been a bit lost this past week. Sissy has spent a lot of time under our bed. Pilgrim has spent a bit more time downstairs then normal. Neither will go into the back bedroom the three of you shared. Neither has gotten on the cat tower this week. Pilgrim will not jump on the counter where you would eat, even though when you were physically here he had no problem sneaking up there when you weren't looking.
I have heard and seen you a few times this week. Daddy has, too. But, neither one of us as much as Pilgrim has. There has been several times one or both of us has heard the herd of elephants upstairs. You know, that same herd when you and Pilgrim would be playing upstairs. Prissy was downstairs each time, so it had to be you and Pilgrim. What a wonderful sound it is.
I should have been working out this morning when I was writing this. But, I felt the need to get some emotions out this morning. I suppose some may say I am dwelling too much on losing you. But, I can't stop the thoughts of you. I can't stop this hurt I feel, only time will make the hurt lessen, but never go away. I can't keep all these feelings bottled up inside. This is part of my grieving for you. You, my sweet Lucky, were my four-legged best friend. For almost 15 years you were there with me through the good and bad times. You were there to perk me up when I felt down. You made me smile. You made me laugh. You even annoyed me at times, but always in your sweet way. You made me feel loved. I pray you felt the same;. Our home will never be the same without you.
I love you, Lucky Duck!
Wednesday, July 17, 2013
This blog isn't about my journey here with SparkPeople. It isn't about weight loss, but it is about a different kind of loss. It isn't a loss they I celebrate, it is a loss I mourn.
The past couple of months we have been dealing with some health issues with our 14 year old cat, Lucky. There were many times we saw glimmers of hope, times when he acted as though he was improving and on the road to a few more years with us. Yesterday, after a quick downfall in just a little over a day we had to make that decision to end his suffering and begin ours. It was time to think more of him and less of ourselves. Lucky left for Rainbow Bridge a little less than 24 hours ago, yet it seems a lot longer.
Lucky came into my daughter's and my life in November 1998. His full name is Lucky Spencer after the character on General Hospital played by Jonathan Jackson. Melody had a bit of a crush on him and chose the name. We said the name Lucky, also came from he was Lucky to find a loving home with us after he and his siblings had been left outside the mall that had a Humane Society store. Also, the week we adopted him was the week of the Iron Bowl. That year Alabama beat Auburn 31-17 and, of course, that was because Lucky had brought us luck.
A couple of years later, Melody moved to Minnesota and I moved to California. Lucky made the move across country with me. He and D became fast friends. D had never had a cat. It didn't take long for Lucky to turn him into a cat lover. I remember watching them each night playing tag in the living and dining rooms. Lucky would nip D on the leg and run off, D would chase him and tag Lucky and run off, and so on. If Lucky felt attention deprived he would come and nip one or both of us on a leg and continue to do so until one or both of us got up and played with him. He was such a playful thing.
Then we made the move to Washington. We moved into a nice size apartment that, of course, was Lucky's domain. He loved the heat lamps in the bathrooms and would curl up in the sink to soak up the heat and sleep. He loved to be pushed while lying on the desk chair (with wheels) up and down the long hallway. I always knew when D was almost home from work because Lucky would run and sit by the front door and wait for it to open. It wasn't because he had seen D through the window, because he would make his way to the door before D had even pulled in to the parking lot.
In 2004, we adopted Prisscilla and Pilgrim. We had researched how to introduce the two new furballs into our home without too much trauma to Lucky. Well, Lucky, didn't like it at all after all they were in his domain. So, we bought a house. We moved from our 2 bedroom apartment to a 4 bedroom house. I jokingly told people each cat had their own bedroom and I had to share one with D. Once we moved into the house Lucky's attitude towards his new brother and sister changed. He accepted them and grew to love them. The house was his domain, just as the apartment had been. But, he allowed Priss and Pil to share his space. Lucky never weighed over 7 pounds. Priss and Pil, Pil especially, are bigger cats. Priss weighing in around 15 pounds and Pilgrim at 20 pounds. Need I even say which one ruled the roost? Lucky did for sure! But, oh how the three of them played. Oh the times D and I would wonder where the herd of elephants upstairs came from. They played hard, but they rested hard, also. Their bedroom would get sun throughout the day, when the sun would shine here in the PNW. The three of them would be on the bed or floor sharing the space and the sun.
I will miss pulling into the driveway and seeing Lucky in the window. Seeing him jump down to run downstairs to greet me. I will miss his jumping on the cat tower for some me time. I will miss seeing him sit in his chair across the table from me at dinner time. He loved to share our dinners, even up to this last Sunday when we had steak and shrimp. I will miss seeing him curled up with his Eeyore sleeping. I will miss the MEOW he would make when carrying his baby doll in his mouth. I will miss the jingle of the bell and tags on his collar. I will miss his head butts. His Elvis impression. His supervision as I cleaned house. His taking his bath on the bathroom counter as I took a shower. I say I will miss all these things and many more, but I already do.
Lucky may have been tiny, but he had so much love in him. He is loved more then he could ever know. I have a huge hole in my heart that was left by the loss of my beloved Lucky Duck. I know time will heal it. I know eventually I will be able to think of all the wonderful memories he left us with and not cry. But, at this time that seems an impossibility. His physical presence is no longer with us, but his sweet spirit will remain furever.
One more thing for now. Around a year ago I decorated my bathroom with rubber ducks. I used a bath set called Lucky Duck. Most appropriate as that was one of my nicknames I had for Lucky. I decorated a grapevine wreath with ribbon and some rubber ducks. Yesterday when we returned home from the vet, I went in the bathroom and one of the ducks had fallen off the wreath. A sign from my Lucky Duck that he is still with us, you think? I do!
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
Stop Doing These 7 Things if You Want to Get Healthy
By Chris Freytag
Sometimes getting healthier isn’t about the choices you're making, it’s about the choices you should stop making. To live your best, healthiest life, try to add some of these tips to your health and fitness routine.
1. Stop with the excuses.
Everyone has the same amount of time, and to give you some tough love: people who are busier than you are finding time to workout. Do away with the energy-defeating excuses and create time in your day to exercise. You'll feel so much better after you do.
2. Stop skipping workouts.
Working out on the occasional Thursday isn’t going to keep you healthy. Come up with an exercise plan that works for you and stick to it. Maybe you do cardio three times a week and strength training twice a week. Or maybe you'll power walk a couple days a week and swim laps on weekends. Get exercise on your calendar most days of the week, and give yourself one day to skip instead of skipping six.
3. Stop self defeating thoughts.
If you say, I don’t like exercise, guess what? You won’t like exercise. Approach it from a different angle instead. Ask yourself: What exercise would I enjoy? What form of activity will motivate me to do it each day because I like it? Maybe it’s playing soccer with your kids or going for a walk with your neighbor. You have endless options—play a sport, join a gym, take a ballroom dance class, swim, hike, ice skate or rollerblade. No matter what your age or physical ability, there is something out there for you. You just need to find it.
4. Stop ignoring strength training.
You don’t need an at-home gym or free weights to build muscle, there are many resistance training exercises you can do with your own body weight and you can always incorporate good, old fashioned push-ups. Try some squats and lunges. Don’t forget the plank position too—it’s a great strength builder for your whole body.
5. Stop mindless eating.
Pay attention to what you eat and why. Instead of losing yourself in the fridge for comfort, ask yourself what’s going on with you instead. Slow down. Decide to eat healthy first and once your appetite is satiated, you probably won’t be craving to overindulge.
6. Stop avoiding the scale.
Advice about weighing yourself has always been all over the map. Some experts think weighing yourself daily can be defeating if you see a slight increase because of water weight gain, but weighing yourself daily is a great way to gauge how you are doing. Just be realistic about it and don't give the scale permission to determine how you should feel about yourself. Don’t freak out if you're up a pound or two one morning. Just use the scale to track your weight and keep your health top of mind.
7. Stop skimping on sleep.
You need eight hours of sleep a night for your health. You also need it for your waistline. When you don’t get enough sleep, it drives down leptin levels, which means you don't feel as satisfied after you eat. And a lack of sleep causes ghrelin levels to rise, which stimulates your appetite and you get hungrier. With eight hours of sleep, you'll be well rested and more likely to make great decisions—to do or not to do—for your health.
What are you going to STOP doing for your health?
Saturday, February 23, 2013
The latest AT&T Ad campaign hits my funny bone as the little kids sitting at the table show the grownups that things don’t have to be so complex. And, their slogan and message bring up a good point that you can apply to healthy living (and your smartphone): “It’s not complicated.”
I love these ads so much because after all, that’s my mantra when it comes to getting people eating well and moving: “It’s not complicated.” It calls for commitment and sometimes hard work. But complicated? No, it doesn’t have to be!
Just eat a little healthier; move a little more; and you will improve performance. The problem is, it’s easy to make things more difficult and elaborate than they need to be. Perhaps you remember the early days of step classes. When I first started teaching step, there were five basic choreography moves everyone was doing.
Then step patterns got really crazy! People were going “over the top” and “boomeranging” over their steps. I sometimes practiced for hours just to teach one really elaborate choreographed class – that’s how complicated it was.
Then people realized something: They didn’t want – or couldn’t do – all that complex stuff. Now step classes are back to basics again!
When Simpler Is Better
Here’s another example: Squats and lunges. They’re great for getting your heart pumping and strengthening your lower body. Simple. But go to any gym, and you’ll see people doing really complicated variations on these two otherwise simple moves. Why? Well, advanced exercisers might need it and want it. And that’s fine.
But if you’re struggling just to do an exercise the right way without all the “fancy,” then simpler is better. And if the basic feels too complicated, make it even more basic! Modify.
I always say there’s no shame in modifying, only quitting. And, honestly, quitting is complicated because now you have to add “get in shape” back on your to-do list!
When you modify exercise so it feels manageable, you cut the “complicated” out of the exercise equation. That’s why you start with just a lunge, for example. Nothing more. Learn great lunging form first. Basic technique trumps everything else because it lays the foundation for working your way up from there. Oh, and it saves your knees, back, hips, etc.
Step back and take a look at the workouts you’re doing now. If they feel like a burden and not a welcome part of your day, perhaps re-evaluate how you could make them less complicated.
In other words, there’s no need to “tape a cheetah to your back” to achieve the results you want. (Don’t get that last line? Watch the AT&T commercial.)
Chris Freytag is a fitness expert, public speaker, contributing editor to Prevention magazine and an author of several books, including her latest, a healthy cookbook titled, CHOOSE THIS! She appears regularly on QVC, and her latest workout DVD is called the 10lb Slimdown Xtreme, including 13 comprehensive circuit training workouts. Chris Freytag has been training, teaching, and educating in the health and fitness industry for more than 22 years. She is passionate about helping people take better care of themselves and their families.
Top Fitness Expert Chris Freytag Motivates and Empowers You to Lose Weight and Live Healthy: Find out more about Chris Freytag or contact her on her website at ChrisFreytag.com on Facebook, Pinterest, or on Twitter.
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