BESSHAILE   52,114
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BESSHAILE's Recent Blog Entries

Happiness Experiment

Monday, July 15, 2013

I got this idea from fellow sparker LDRICHEL.

If, at any time, someone were to ask me, I would say "I'm a happy person" and I am. But I also struggle with nagging worries that, when looked at closely, are not really worries at all. They're more like distractions from the responsibility of living joyfully. Most of the world's cultures, and most of our philosophers, push us to think that the world is bad and life is bad and it's much smarter to expect the worst so that when it doesn't happen, you will be pleasantly surprised. There's something so backwards about that I have actually quit reading the philosophers - and yet I'm always seeking new ways of eradicating those niggling anxieties. Because not being grateful for all the riches in my life seems even more stupid than being naive.

There is something in my nature that loves exercises, check boxes, forms, trackers, and practices. Right now I am exploring several of these. Obviously it's time to put a new ritual together. I am not sure if I'm ready to jump into this particular one - but I thought it was so good - that it holds such beneficial possibilities, that I just had to share. Here is LDRICHEL's Happiness Experiment boiled down to 5 essential steps. I'm sure she won't mind me passing it along.

1. Three new gratitudes each day will teach your brain to retain a pattern of scanning the world not for the negative, but for the positive first.

2. Journaling about one positive experience you've had over the past 24 hours allows your brain to re-live it.

3. Exercise teaches your brain that your behavior matters.

4. Meditation allows your brain to get over the cultural ADHD that we've been creating by trying to do multiple tasks at once.

5. Random or conscious acts of kindness - send a positive e-mail to thank or praise someone in your social support network.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANOE10 7/17/2013 7:52AM

    I like those guidelines. I particularly like the idea of 3 gratitudes and remembering one positive event as ways to focus on being positive. Thanks for sharing.


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GETULLY 7/15/2013 11:24AM

    Banish Monkey-Brain! That is my big one for happiness. The thing in my head that jumps from one thing to the next without finishing the first thought. This sounds like a bang-up thing to do. I hope you blog about how it goes for you.

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CELIAMINER 7/15/2013 9:53AM

    Good experiment! Hope you find just the right mix for you.

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MSLZZY 7/15/2013 9:52AM

    Very good advice on seeking to instill positive in your life. Thanks for sharing. HUGS!

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CBLENS 7/15/2013 9:15AM

    thanks for sharing

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CHERYL_ANNE 7/15/2013 8:04AM

    Nice! Totally appreciate the positivity and the sharing!

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NANA2PRINCESSES 7/15/2013 7:46AM

    Great guidelines. Thanks for posting.

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Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, Start All Over Again

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Yep. It's Day One of a new streak for me. I'm concentrating on only one streak this year - to make each day as healthy as I possibly can. Not as perfect as I can ... though the inclination is to obsess over reaching or not reaching perfection. I'm pretty good at dismissing the perfection imp. Doesn't mean I don't feel his pinch - just that - I can tell it to sit down and be quiet.

No - what I want is to eliminate - or at least drastically limit the number of days when I blank out, eat all over the place, remain inactive and make other bad choices by default. Mindless eating, eating when my body says "please, no more", eating because "It's dinner time", eating because it's there.

To tell if I'm making each day as healthy as I can, I have to track. I wear an exercise monitor so that takes the burden of tracking off my shoulders. LOL. I wish I had an eating monitor I could slip over my teeth that would do the same with tracking food. But I can write down everything I eat. I have a pretty open plan for making sure my days average out to the right amount of food to keep me healthy. There's a daily caloric total and a daily activity total but I can go a little over or under in any given day just so long as I stay within the total week's allotment.

that's the plan

so far I've been pretty good at sticking to it.

But not last week.

Last week I just plain ate more calories than I burned up. Each day the tracker showed the excess but it wasn't till Sunday that I hit the red zone. I could have made up for it with a little more exercise and a limited, but healthy, amount of food. But I didn't. By lunchtime I found myself spreading butter on a second roll at the restaurant. The thought floated through my head "Hey Bess - isn't this how you got to be 173 lbs - and 187 lbs and 200 lbs?" I answered "Yeah - it's the end of the week. I already blew it. I'll start tomorrow ... at Tara" and took a big bite into soft fluffy wheat and dairy.


There you have it.

My Bad

Mea Culpa

Today is different. Today I am hearing this old Jerome Kern song - one my mama used to sing to us. Here's the Frank Sinatra version:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CELIAMINER 7/9/2013 10:45AM

    I'll have to join you in restarting. My calendar tracking my calories, alcohol intake, and early bedtime is looking pretty sparse in the gold star department for the first 7 days of July. Finally had 3 stars yesterday. Hope it's the start of my own streak for health. Good luck!

Comment edited on: 7/9/2013 11:06:01 AM

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MAGGIE101857 7/9/2013 8:19AM

    I hear you loud and clear!!! I did great yesterday for breakfast, lunch..then I got home and my resolve flew out the window AGAIN. What is wrong with me??? emoticon
I guess we will have to develop our own "sensor" for our calorie intake; I hate logging everything...but it's the only way!

Have an emoticon day!

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KANOE10 7/9/2013 8:16AM

    Have a great day..restarting and staying healthy! You can do it.


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SANDICANE 7/9/2013 8:04AM

    Today is always a good day to reach our daily goals!


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BETHGILLIGAN 7/9/2013 7:36AM

    Great attitude! That's the attitude that will help you be successful!!!

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GLUECIPHER 7/9/2013 7:12AM


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GOLFGMA 7/9/2013 7:12AM

    You're on the right track now! Yesterday is gone and forget it, look forward at all you CAN do! emoticon

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FERRETLOVER1 7/9/2013 7:10AM

    I loved your comment about the "perfection imp"!

Great blog - with your positive attitude...I know you can do this!

Take it one day at a time; one step at a time; one meal or exercise routine at a time...

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SANDYCRANE 7/9/2013 7:09AM

    My holiday weekend was much like yours. The house is empty again and I can concentrate on myself. I am ready.


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MSLZZY 7/9/2013 7:06AM

    Now that's a great way to start the day! Thanks for sharing that song and I know that you and I will rock the day! HUGS!

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ELRIDDICK 7/9/2013 6:58AM

  Thanks for sharing

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Little Things Mean A Lot

Saturday, July 06, 2013

I loved the article in Best of Spark People this morning. The one titled "25 Ways To Get Back On Track". The suggestions were such little things. Easy-peasy things. Things you can do without exhaustion, fear, or shame. They're not the sort of things that remind you of how bad you've been. They're not the sort of things that demonstrate how out of shape you've let yourself get. they're just little sweet pleasures you can toss into your life like croutons in a salad or sprinkles on a donut. Or should I say INSTEAD of croutons and sprinkles.

Take a walk
drink some water
exercise for 10 minutes ... or even just 5
go shopping for healthy food

Doncha just love it? As I read this list of little trim tabs that you can flick to put you back on course I was reminded of this old Kitty Kallen song:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRADMILL2922 7/9/2013 12:13AM

    Gotta love how the small things can add up to something big! Thanks for sharing!

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LRSILVER 7/6/2013 9:49PM

    Thanks for sharing.

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MSLZZY 7/6/2013 5:53PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 7/6/2013 5:35PM

    Great! Keeps us all on track. Yay for small things that help!


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BETHGILLIGAN 7/6/2013 1:23PM

    Love it!

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HEALTHY-SPARK 7/6/2013 11:46AM


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WATERMELLEN 7/6/2013 10:56AM

    What a glorious song! And yup: little things really mean everything in weight loss as in life . . . .

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JACKIE542 7/6/2013 10:10AM

    Wonderful, thank you. Loved the song and little things do mean a lot!! emoticon emoticon

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CAROLJEAN64 7/6/2013 10:02AM

    I am listening to that wonderful song as I am writing ... it is so wonderful and so true. It is the little things that come together to create our live. Thanks for posting.

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HOLLYM48 7/6/2013 9:40AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HARPERLADY 7/6/2013 9:02AM

    nice I will have to check it out

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/6/2013 8:43AM

    Nice reminder blog. Thanks!

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NANNABLACK 7/6/2013 8:36AM


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Are We There Yet? a RB/LB conversation

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

emoticon Left Brain So - how ya feeling there?

emoticon Right Brain Pretty good thanks.

emoticon Left Brain That was a good weigh in yesterday. 147.6 lbs. down about 2 lbs without really trying that hard.

emoticon Right Brain Well. It may not have been so hard for you but I had a lot of scary days in June.

emoticon Left Brain I could feel your tension. Especially when we had to actually track what we'd eaten. It was hard to always tell the truth.

emoticon Right Brain Yeah. And it was hard to obey you when you made me stop eating.

emoticon Left Brain Oh? It can't have been that hard if you did stop and we did drop some lbs.

emoticon Right Brain Well. well. It felt hard at the time.

emoticon Left Brain Maybe sometimes. But lots of times I picked up on some pretty good feelings.

emoticon Right Brain Yeah. Yeah. I did feel good lots of the time. But mostly only when you asked me how I felt and took enough time to listen to my answer. Mostly then. If you just said NO ... well. Remember that cake we ate with Hannah last week? 'member?

emoticon Left Brain Oh. Yes. I do remember. But I didn't say no either, remember that?

emoticon Right Brain Yeah but it still pinched. I still missed out on some of the fun because I felt guilty. If you had given me time before we went out to eat maybe I would have enjoyed every bite. If we had already decided we were going to eat cake - it would have been more fun. I don't like cake being sprung on me like that.

emoticon Left Brain Hmmm. I didn't think of that. I don't like it either. And you know, she and I are going to VaBeach this month. There's going to be a lot of temptation. I am really going to have to LISTEN to what you're feeling BEFORE we go to a restaurant - maybe even before we get out of bed! I promise. I will do that.

emoticon Right Brain Thanks. That would be a real help. a great big real help.

emoticon Left Brain (smiling at her feeling brain) Well. Helping you helps me.

emoticon Right Brain (winking back at her thinking self) Ahh so it's always all about you isn't it?

(both laugh)

emoticon Left Brain So. Are we there yet? Are we at goal?

emoticon Right Brain I don't know. I don't think so. Especially if we actually lost weight in June while we ate lots of extra stuff.

emoticon Left Brain Well - we hadn't been doing any strength training for 2 weeks. Muscle loss could have begun to set in. We could have lost muscle and not fat.

emoticon Right Brain Yeah. I know. And I don't like the fat hanging off our tummy.

emoticon Left Brain But we look really good in our clothes.

emoticon Right Brain Well. That helps with the good mood and all, but I think it ought to go anyway - that tummy fat. and since we have hard muscles underneath the fat .... here - feel. See?

emoticon Left Brain (patting her tummy) Yeah. Yeah. I agree. So. Do you want to keep trying to lose lbs instead of steadying off?

emoticon Right Brain Yes. Yes. I want to get to 143 lbs. I said so months ago. I still want it.

emoticon Left Brain I'm good with that. Just checking in with you. I think we have a wide leeway with this weight thing. Unless we learn something different or the doctor makes different recommendations I'm willing to keep working till we're where you feel the best.

emoticon Right Brain Okay then I want to keep trying to loose. But you keep checking back with me. If I feel differently I want you to know.

emoticon Left Brain Well - I'd want to know - if I didn't we could make a train wreck out of all our progress. We can have this conversation next month after weigh-in and see how you feel.

emoticon Right Brain Okay. No train wrecks. But no ignoring feelings.

emoticon Left Brain So that means we're not there yet, right?

emoticon Right Brain Nope. Not yet. But soon, right? Soon.

emoticon Left Brain Yep. soon. Now - let's go make breakfast. I'm hungry.

emoticon Right Brain Me too. I want peanut butter toast!

(and those 2 brains hook up and head off to the kitchen)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JACKIE542 7/6/2013 10:05AM

    So cute emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 7/5/2013 10:13AM

    pretty cute blog!!---Lynda emoticon

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MSLZZY 7/3/2013 11:43PM

    I just love those conversations. At least they both sound happy now.
I hope you have an awesome 4th of July, cake and all LOL!

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CAROLJEAN64 7/3/2013 1:10PM

    Love the conversation! For a slightly more serious discussion between right and left brain check out this TED talk by a scientist who remembers what it felt like to have a stroke.

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KANOE10 7/3/2013 9:19AM

    NIce blog. I am glad the two are getting along and that you lost two pounds. emoticon emoticon

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CELIAMINER 7/3/2013 9:02AM

    I really enjoy your LB/RB blogs! Have a happy Fourth!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAABSTORY 7/3/2013 8:45AM

    That was pretty good. It is amazing what the same brain can do if we direct it in the right direction.

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TORTISE110 7/3/2013 8:45AM

    Boy, ain't it the truth. Fun blog.

Just so you know. As long as you stay in Maintenance team you can go for your new goal. We need you there!


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GETULLY 7/3/2013 8:26AM

    Very fun! You listen to yourself like we all should! emoticon emoticon

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MOMMAPAM1 7/3/2013 7:56AM

    emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/3/2013 7:56:23 AM

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Some Thoughts on a Saturday Morning

Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's the last Saturday in June and real hot weather summer is upon us. Of course, it's nothing like last year's real hot summer weather which was more often over 100 degrees than not. This summer it's different - like the Start page on Sparkpeople this morning.

I'd had a tip off from a spark buddy I met up with yesterday (first time ever!!!) who told me the roll-out had happened yesterday. I see some folk don't like the changes but I agree with the editors. This is a much more streamlined page and it still tempts me to explore. I tend to use SP from a serendipitous point of view. I always begin with Best of SparkPeople email - and follow the leads it presents. I've met more new people, gotten more new ideas and just all around enjoyed myself going with the flow. It's a little surprise gift first thing in the morning.

I say Thanks SP for keeping it fresh. (I'm also glad the swapped around the points earning options - again, just for the variety factor.)

Meeting up with SP friend CLBENS was fun. She looks great too! And we both ordered the same lean protein rich lunch - without even discussing it first! Next time, though - we will probably meet for something more active.

For a long time there didn't seem to be any sparkers who lived close enough for me to meet up with but this summer several have swung into my orbit. I'm looking forward to hooking up with them.

Last night there was a wine tasting in our local wine shop - She does these about twice a month on Friday evenings and they're like little parties. Afterwards there was a free bluegrass concert down the street at a riverside park. These are sponsored by our local main street organization and this is their second season. Last year I bought tickets for all of them and then never got to go to one - and gave my tickets away. It was fun to stroll down the street and listen to the music after sipping my wine (carefully calculated to fit within the days calories/points)

It was the last day of the fiscal year and though I believe I've tied up all the strings, I have a funny feeling that maybe I did not. It all seems too easy this year. Of course, there have been huge personnel changes this year, both in the library and in the county government - so maybe that's what's giving me that odd sensation. At least I know the changes are for the better, so I will just throw out my blessing hook and expect the best.

Ah well. a meandering blog with no real insights or words of wisdom - just a few thoughts fluttering around on a Saturday morning. Hope your Saturday is full of joy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMREITE 6/30/2013 1:37AM

    Sounds like a good day.

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LRSILVER 6/29/2013 9:57PM

    Glad you got to meet a sparkfriend.

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MSLZZY 6/29/2013 6:47PM

    Out with the old and in with the new. It is exciting to see changes on SP. It does encourage me to explore parts of the site that will help me even more!

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CELIAMINER 6/29/2013 12:14PM

    I don't mind the changes in the Spark start page, but I do notice polls no longer award points. Being a "points whore," I'm still searching for where the point opportunities have gone, and I see that articles and Spark Blog page items now award 5 points rather than 3. I like that, since I see the educational and motivational aspects of those tools as very valuable.

Your wine tasting sounds like fun! We have a couple of shops close by that do tastings, and the "nicer" of the two (a gourmet/specialty/wine) shop also has music on occasion. Then there are all the wineries in Virginia! We have a couple of favorites, though getting there is not as easy as getting to one of the shops.

Finally, thanks for reminding me that it's the end of the FY for one of my volunteer organizations, and as treasurer, I need to get the financial report together.

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KANSASROSE67 6/29/2013 11:58AM

    Your evening sounds wonderful! And I'm so glad the budget process was better this year. I sent mine off to our new city manager and haven't heard a thing...hoping no news is good news!

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JLITT62 6/29/2013 11:37AM

    Having worked in social media before we really had a term for it, I can tell you people don't like change.

How lucky to have some local spark buddies!

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KANOE10 6/29/2013 9:43AM

    Yes, we have had major changes in our library system..due to lack of funding. I hope your job is secure for next year.

We have 100 wineries in my area so wine tasting can be very much fun.

You sound happy and focused. I don't mind the changes on Spark People..Change is good for us. I am going to have to check out those emails from Spark.

We are hitting the 100s..that is why I exercise early!

Have a great Saturday.

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FORBANDE 6/29/2013 8:58AM

    How great to meet another Sparker! I'm meeting a Spark Friend in July and am very excited. The wine tasting sounds so fun!

Have a wonderful weekend!

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