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Fall 5% Challenge - Assignment 8

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Here is my prompt:

Give 3 or 4 reasons and for each (reason/excuse on why my diets and exercise plans have not been well-executed in the past) write a strategy that will keep me on track for 8 weeks.

I really like this assignment. It is methodical and systematic. It also reminds me of the EX method of quitting smoking, which I think is nice and...dunno, comforting in a way. Familiar and friendly. Anyway, here are my answers.

emoticon DIET emoticon

***Excuse #1
"I am craving sweets."
Strategy: Chew gum instead. Eat a piece of fruit. Suck on a Flintstones vitamin.

***Excuse #2
"I am craving chocolate."
Strategy: Tell myself I can eat some at the end of the night within my calorie/sweets budget. Also, make sure I am careful throughout the day to make sure I have room for the treat.

***Excuse #3
"Dang it! I'm late! No time to make breakfast!"
Strategy: I want to make sure that my kitchen is well-stocked with fruit, string cheese, nuts, bars, hard-boiled eggs...stuff that I can grab and go and also keep for snacks at my desk.

***Excuse #4
"Dang it! I'm late! No time to make lunch!"
Strategy: There's no way I can promise myself or commit to making my lunch the night before, although that would be the most obvious way of avoiding this. I've been leaving a little later in the morning, because I'm usually very early to work anyway, so I can spend the five minutes to stick the leftovers in the Pyrex. If there's nothing to put into a Pyrex or a Ziploc baggie, then I will leave work to get food...but I am going to the grocery store, not the 7-Eleven or the CVS. I'll go to the grocery store and pick up the tuna or chicken salad. Yum!

***Excuse #5
"So-and-so brought cookies/homemade banana bread/baklava/bagels...etc., etc., etc."
Strategy: I don't think I can say no, especially to any of the above-listed items. I will allow myself ONE per day. If two people bring awesome food, then I have to choose.

***Excuse #6
"Husband made mac and cheese. Holy crap, it's sooooo good. I'm going to eat the bajeezus out of it."
Strategy: I dunno. I mean, I have to watch him make it, put in the recipe, get the values, and portion it out, but I think I'll probably still be eating the bajeezus out of it. I can just track it better.

***Excuse #7
Strategy: Put pizza into my tracker BEFORE I eat it.

emoticon FITNESS emoticon

***Excuse #1
"I'm tired. I can't move. Well, I guess I CAN, but I REALLY don't want to."
Strategy: I'm committing to five minutes of exercise a day, which is really only one strength exercise, at "worst." I can certainly do bicep curls, crunches, or calf raises for five minutes, so there is that. Further, this attitude stems from my smoking (See blog "Sybaratism."). Since I am officially scared straight on the smoking, then this is not going to be an issue.

***Excuse #2
"Okay, this is a real, legitimate emergency, and I really can't do the five minutes today. I mean, I really can't."
Strategy: This happened this weekend. My strategy for this one during the Challenge is going to be at least five minutes of gentle stretching before bed. This sounds relaxing and charming to me.

So there are those. Any tips, suggestions or additional strategies welcome!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHITNEYLD 10/2/2012 10:04AM

    I stole this idea for my own blog! Hope you don't mind. I thought it would be a great idea for me to do this.

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MONAKIN314 9/26/2012 12:17PM

    Great Plan!

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/26/2012 12:07PM

    Love this blog and where you admit you'll probably "cave." That's ok, it's all about balance! I couldn't resist Mac & cheese either!!
I have a stock of frozen healthy waffles, oatmeal, cereal, etc for days at work when I don't plan out a regular breakfast. I even sometimes "Cheat" and get the oatmeal from McDonalds or Jamba juice. IDK why but it makes me feel empowered to order something remotely healthy when everyone around me is getting hash browns and mcmuffins!

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MADAMES 9/25/2012 10:11PM


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PINKNFITCARLA 9/25/2012 9:17PM

    Sounds good! emoticon emoticon

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 9/25/2012 7:52PM

    Sounds good to me, if 2 people bring yummy treats, why not have 1/2 of one each. and keep the other 1/2's for the next day!!!
All the best with the challenge

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RUTHXG 9/25/2012 5:57PM

    Sounds good to me, Brenda! emoticon emoticon

(Sorry, I am running a deficit in my Inspiring Things to Say mental stash. Love you in any case!)

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5% Challenge Assignment #3

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I've kept the same answers to the third assignment on my SparkPage for a looooong time. It's time to update. Not only was I so inspired by my Larve-cum-Adult Starfishie Dragonfly, but I mean, it's just TIME. I haven't thought about these answers in a long time, haven't tried to internalize them, and they certainly haven't been effective.

So here are the questions and my updated answers for assignment #3.

Today's assignment is to list all the reasons you want to lose weight.

***I do not see myself as I am. I think I'm thinner than I am. I posted a full-body photo of myself as a background so I can SEE what I actually look like. It's not great, and it's not what I see. So when I am FORCED to see it, like the other day when I was in a dressing room, it's a disgusting shock to me. I don't want to be shocked anymore.

***I am vain. I want to look cute and attractive. I don't want to look rotund.

***One of my knees has arthritis in it. It doesn't hurt unless I weigh a few pounds more, and then only going upstairs, but com'on. I'm not even 30.

***I am just tired. I want to work on something else. Or nothing at all. Regardless. I'm done. I'm tired, and I'm done.

What do you want to change?
I want to change my body and the feeling of failure, sadness, and disgust. I was grossed out by what I saw in that dressing room mirror. I hate saying that. I feel bad saying that, but I did. I want to change my relationship to food. I want to start making the connection between what I eat and the size of my belly, thighs and ass.

How do you want to look?
Like a 30-year-old version of 23-year-old me. Trim and slender. Like someone with wrists the size my wrists are. I want to look my best. I've been going through some sort of spiritual crisis for the last long while; I'm having trouble coming to terms with the idea that I'm only living once, and this is the way I'm going through it. There's a lot more to these thoughts, but suffice to say, I'd like to look my best.

How do you want to feel?
Attractive. Comfortable in my skin. Toned.

What things will you be able to do in the future with a slimmer healthier body?
I'm not really hindered by my weight right now as far as activities. I can fit in amusement park rides, I can run, I can jump, I can kneel down...but I guess I will be able to buy cuter clothes and focus my efforts on other parts of my life that need to belooked after.

So that's them. This took me a long time to write. I hope it's clear to you guys, but more importantly, I hope it's clear to me during the challenge.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/21/2012 4:17PM

    I completely relate - in my mind I'm like Oh I look pretty good? then I look in the mirror and I'm like
emoticon Oh
I agree with your other reasons, too. It's like, I'm not as bad as Honey Boo Boo's mom, BUT I also don't look like how I want to at age 28. And the knees thing, yeah! It sucks!

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RUTHXG 9/20/2012 11:13PM

    This post is very poignant; I hear longing in your words. May that desire energize you day by day!

emoticon emoticon

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DRAGONFLY02 9/20/2012 9:15PM

    Awwwww, thanks for the shout-out in your blog. I'm glad my blog inspired you to update yours. I consider myself blessed for making this journey now in my 30s as I know the older we get, the harder it is. But there are so many people on here who've been able to make the changes that are older. Regardless, now is the time to make the changes to our lives and continue living healthy for many, many years to come! Thanks for being such a great mentor!!

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BRAVELUTE 9/20/2012 8:39PM

    I agree with Bookwerme. We aren't doing this for the now. Tomorrow counts, too. I wish everyone would watch Dr. William Li's video at Ted.Com or on You Tube or at Eat to

He says we can eat to keep cancers from growing into tumors. And the same science behind that claim works for shrinking fat cells, and other ailments like arthritis, alzheimers, and on and on. Perhaps the food list at Eat to Defeat would be the spark that you need as you make those changes you want to make.

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BOOKWERME 9/20/2012 8:32PM

    When I was 30 I was always up to my ears in kids and farm work and just trying to keep up with everyone. I never wore the size clothes I wanted...that something special that caught my eye always stopped in the size below whatever I was wearing. It wasn't until I was in my 50s that I began to feel the consequences of not taking notice along the way...diabetes at age 46. Heart surprises some years later (that cost us a full years insurance!!!) The weight creeps up unless you are vigilant.

You are analyzing the whys of NOW...keep that focus for things get harder as you age...I didn't believe it when I was told that back when I was in my 30s and 40s. But it is true..your joints begin to complain, you may discover some arthritis...stairs are sometimes a bit of a get stiff when you sit after exercise. The more you can do NOW to keep yourself fit and healthy, the less trouble you will have with all this aging stuff down the road.

GOOD FOR YOU to see where you are going...and why!!! emoticon

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VONBLACKBIRD 9/20/2012 8:26PM

    emoticon emoticon

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Five Minutes...

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I realized I have five (maybe six) things I want to do. If I spend a minimum of only five minutes a day on each item, then that's half an hour. I can schedule a half hour out of my evening...and of course, the minimum means I spend five minutes OR MORE on each activity. And I can do one or two of them in front of the TV.

They are:

1. Be outside (at least "be;" ideally, mow, pick up, plant, sweep, etc.)
2. Exercise
3. One relationship-building activity a day
4. Learn Arabic
5. Finish my book list
6. Clean/organize the house

My plan is to do the outside thing right when I get home, before I sit. Then, I'll exercise while I watch TV. If my RBA is an email, FB message, letter, etc., then I can do that in front of the TV, but if it's something like a phone call, then I'll do that either before or after my exercise. Before I go to bed, I'll do my five minutes minimum of Arabic, and after that, read before bed.

This could be something good to use my stickers for, one sticker for each task completed, but that still begs the question of where I'm going to stick my stickers.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/20/2012 5:18PM


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MONAKIN314 9/20/2012 12:10PM

    Nice Plan. You always make me laugh. You could make a sticker calendar like when we were kids and give yourself a sticker when complete a daily goal, then give yourself a bigger reward after earning some many stickers.

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HOPESINGH 9/20/2012 9:27AM

    Go for it! Kaizen really works

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RUTHXG 9/19/2012 8:46PM

    Yep, sounds good! You could make some kind of display calendar for the stickers, & reward yourself when it fills up!

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MADAMES 9/19/2012 7:57PM

    That's a great list! You can accomplish great things with that list.


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DUXGRL1 9/19/2012 7:54PM

    Sounds like a good plan!

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KIM--POSSIBLE 9/19/2012 7:50PM

    Sounds promising! Just five minutes. Most of us can find five minutes for the things that are really important to us. And, I bet once you start with five minutes, you will end up doing more on the exercise! Good luck!

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

I guess I'm "back."

Not that I was super-gone. I've logged in daily, tracked iffily, replied to blogs, etc.

But I haven't been Sparking.

Since May, I haven't been Sparking. I've barely exercised. My food sucked, then was okay, then sucked again.

So what happened in May?

Well, I guess I'll just put it all out there.

I started smoking again in May.

I did the same thing I always do. Smoke for a few days, stop for a day, smoke for a day, stop for three, ad infinitum. I finally smoked my last one on Labor Day. And this will be my LAST. I really can't keep doing this. And it's scary $hi+, too, what can happen if you continue in this way.

So that's what I did, and it's really wild what an energy suck this is. And it doesn't affect you just physically, either. It's mental, too. I feel like I'm in a funk, like I physically can't BRING myself to get up off the couch and move the 10 feet over to the stationary bike. It's harder to get out of bed. And actually working to succeed something, like quitting diet soda, cutting down on sweets, or even reading a book or clipping coupons? Forget it. Life becomes an endless urge, punctuated by cigarettes, TV and BrickBreaker.

Well, probably about five or six days ago, I started feeling more like the cloud had I could actually SEE again, if that makes sense. And I started exercising a little bit. I went back to the eating plan that I had made work for a couple weeks during my nicotine bender.

One thing that's come over me though, that I don't understand, is that I'm going backward somehow. I have a sudden urge to buy stickers and stuffed animals. And I have. Stickers, anyway. A stuffed elephant probably isn't far behind.

Why? Am I trying to go back to the time before I smoked? Or try to recapture the time I smoked, but overshot? Any therapists/counselors reading this, please give your opinion!!!

So today I bought these:

And these:

And I found these in my closet:

So what do I do with these stickers? I have no idea where to stick them or what to do besides buy them and look at them.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 9/20/2012 5:09PM

    Just curious, have you ever read Alan Carr's "Easyway to Stop Smoking" ? just wondering because it came highly recommended so I sent it to my mom. My grandma just had an operation on Monday to remove her lung cancer -- she quit smoking 30 years ago, and luckily they caught it early. But I'm trying to urge my mom to quit. I guess she has to want it herself, and I know she does, but we'll see. Keep us updated, i KNOW you can do this. emoticon

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GETSTRONGRRR 9/19/2012 8:54PM

    It's tough, but it can be done. I smoked for 25 years. I quit in 2007 at age 48, then started running...very slow and for maybe 1 minute at a time.

9 Months later I ran my first marathon at age 48 and haven't smoked since.

You can do it...whenever you're ready....don't wait as long as I did!

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RUTHXG 9/19/2012 8:53PM

    See my suggestion above. I have no idea why the sticker & stuffed animal yens are emerging at this moment--but I'm VERY happy to hear that you're starting to feel like yourself again!

Nicotine is a nasty, nasty drug. You are fighting a noble fight.

emoticon emoticon emoticon !!

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MADAMES 9/19/2012 8:10PM

    You could put a sticker on a wall calendar for each day you accomplish a goal. If you pack yourself a lunch, put a sticker on your napkin. Make yourself a poster and add one sticker for each step of a special project that you complete.


If and when you get tired of the stickers, you could donate them to any school teacher, Sunday school teacher or day care worker. Never fear! There is no danger of a sticker going to waste!

Comment edited on: 9/19/2012 8:11:53 PM

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KIM--POSSIBLE 9/19/2012 7:48PM

    It is amazing what a difference one "little" thing like that can make! Glad you are "back"! We've missed you. emoticon

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

I went to a party tonight.

It was hosted by some people who called their house the "Street-they-live-on" Brewery. We took our new exchange student, and we had to leave early, after the third time I saw him yawn.

I don't blame him for being bored. We knew we were going to a beer tasting; we just didn't know that we would be sitting through over an hour presentation of hops, barley, yeast and "what do you smell? What do you taste? How's the head?" And the kid's 16, so he couldn't participate. I teased him as he poured some lemonade, beckoning him to let me smell, and look at the glass through the light.

It was BORING.

But in a way, I was entranced by our host's passion for beer brewing. I want a passion like he has, but I don't know what it could be. I could get back into German...maybe the lit, maybe the SLA. Crossword puzzles, coupon clipping, playing an instrument...I don't know what it could be, and thanks to my friend's passion, I'm not in the clearest state to determine what it is right now, but it makes me think.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 8/28/2012 6:46PM

    Oooh, yeah I agree about the singing.
Mine is baking, but lately I've also gotten into jigsaw puzzles and hama beads (aka perler beads).

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4LEEFCLOVER 8/27/2012 3:11PM

    How about the singing? Are you still in to that? Maybe there is a local a cappella group that needs you. Whatever it is, it should feel good when you give it your all.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOMFAN 8/27/2012 2:33AM


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MISSLISA1973 8/26/2012 9:52PM

    It's a good question to ask yourself now, rather than looking back on your deathbed and wondering how you were alive so long and yet never really lived. When you find your passion, you will really feel alive. Let the search begin!

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ANIHAKA 8/26/2012 12:41PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog and pictured your exchange student yawing with boredom. OMG that's a difficult one - finding my passion. At present I'm a bit obsessed with making plum jam or jelly as it's termed in the USA. Plum trees happened to grow from wild in our tiny front garden and I've managed to salvage enough of the fruit for a few jars of jam. Who knows what next - preparing my house for the inevitable.
Have a good week!

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ANJAYS-JOURNEY 8/26/2012 7:48AM

    passion that's a hard one, but you already have a passion that you don't realize, your healthy, or you would not be here, you are living a healthy life style full of change
Have a great day

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HOPESINGH 8/26/2012 2:51AM

    Quite a funny post. I know that my passions really bore other people (what's so fascinating about the middle ages, they ask. Or about Bollywood movies, the Hindi language, etc...).
Think about it when you're sober!

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RUTHXG 8/26/2012 12:48AM

    I hope you find a great passion that's precisely Beatletottish!

I have some friends, & a cousin, who are really into brewing. I think it's cool that they do it, but I don't really like the beers they make, though I enjoy many commercially available beers. That's a little awkward. emoticon

My passion is language. But I don't like to bore people with it, & anyway I'm not one of those people who rant about the greengrocer's apostrophes that they noticed on a billboard--life is too short. Since I get to earn my living working with language & play solo word games regularly, my yen is satisfied day by day.

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DIET_FRIEND 8/25/2012 11:05PM

    I read a SparkPage about a girl whose passion is working out in a gym. Then I read your blog and between the two, I pondered what my passion is. Currently it's decluttering. Each week I take a bag or 2 of clothes and stuff fit for donation to the Salvation Army. They can give it to needy people or sell it raise money. Each week I declutter an area to the point of filling up my trash can up prior to the garbage truck coming. I've been in the same house for 16 years and it's pretty cluttery.

I recently read a quote that said wealthy people end up being the custodian of their possessions. I may be that, but I need fewer possessions to be the custodian of!

Hopefully you will discover something to be passionate about soon.

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SCRAPPINPOLLY 8/25/2012 11:01PM

    Sorry it was boring. Man, that's the pits isn't it?

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