BESSHAILE   46,351
40,000-49,999 SparkPoints
BESSHAILE's Recent Blog Entries

Three Tweaks for the #backontrack in August challenge

Friday, August 02, 2013

Three. As in three kisses or three heroic feats or three wishes - three is one of the universal folk magic numbers.

I've been wanting a little challenge lately - something new and different but disciplined - to give me a framework - a structure - as I plow through the busy month that will be August. In fact, I have been wanting to take on a Big Project soon, but right now I'm winding up some previous Big Projects. My little ENFP heart doesn't really like coming to closure, doesn't like the winding up part of Big Projects and is often tempted to abandon the chosen BP right at the finish line so she can have the fresh hopefulness of Starting a Big Project instead. Since this month's BPs are job oriented and I can't abandon them - and I don't really want to - I needed a little challenge and Spark People's #backontrack in August came along just in time.

So - I'm probably not going to subscribe to it on facebook but I did pin it on Pinterest. Mostly I'm just going to update it in my status every day. And I've chosen three tweaks I want to do consistently in August.

1. Stop taking that bite (and sometimes 2) out of my husband's breakfast cereal. I almost never eat breakfast cereal because it doesn't last me till lunch time. I love it - especially the granola he particularly likes. I need something different to get me from breakfast to lunch. More protein most of the time. I always fix breakfast for us both and I always take it on a tray back upstairs where we indulge ourselves with breakfast in bed. I know but it's our little routine. So when I fix his cereal ... I always take "one little bite - that won't hurt, now, will it?"

No more. I stop. If I want to eat granola for breakfast I will, but no more sneaking some of his and pretending it doesn't count.

2. Take Callie the lab puppy for a walk every day that isn't raining. She is developing some bad habits herself - mostly having to do with finding my stuff and chewing it. Not Himself's stuff, you see. Just mine. That tells me she's wanting more attention from me. And I need the extra movement to counteract my sedentary job. The walk doesn't have to be a big deal. I can stroll down the lane in flip flops if I want. But move we shall and bond we shall do also.

3. No More Second Helping Of Dessert After Dinner. Say what? you ask. Yeah. I know. I do. I have healthy dinners and I built in a small 100 calorie bit of ice cream as part of most of my evening meals. and then. Yep. And then. I go get a second helping. and I don't seem to be just doing this now and then - but every single day. It's become a compulsion and I can tell I'm not even enjoying the second helping. so - for 31 days there will be only the single helping of ice cream or dessert but while I have the FIRST helping ... I'm really going to savor it.

There you have it - my 3 tweaks. (so who remembers that show .. My 3 Sons?)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WEDDWT 8/5/2013 12:10AM

    Fred MacMurray's My 3 Sons? The sons - Robbie, Chip(?), and uh, uh....

Report Inappropriate Comment
KANOE10 8/3/2013 10:46AM

    Excellent 3 steps. That is great that you joined the August challenge. I am weighing daily and on my own challenge of losing weight in August.


Report Inappropriate Comment
MSLZZY 8/2/2013 11:17AM

    I read this article too but decided to not join on FB and just do the best I can.
You are well on your way!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRADMILL2922 8/2/2013 10:35AM

    Tweaks are always necessary! We are never perfect. I love challenges as well so good luck with yours!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JLITT62 8/2/2013 8:12AM

    Those are great tweaks! You already know #1 is one of my problem areas.

I'm blessed with not having to work so daily walks are part of our routine. It's not just physical exercise for the dogs - not so much for me, but I still count it - but it's mental exercise too. And there's usually, but not always, a bit of training in there too. Stay, leave it, that sort of thing.

Good luck!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KELLIEBEAN 8/2/2013 7:58AM

    Excellent. I am in on the challenge as well. I'm not hitting the social media, I'll just blog.

Here we go!

Report Inappropriate Comment

So How Did It Go - That Mindful Cardio?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Truth? Though this didn't have the controls of a scientific experiment I think I really DID get more out of my cardio by paying attention to my body. I wear a monitor and it showed me that 50-100 more calories were burned yesterday than I expected.

Is it true? did really paying attention to how my thighs, my back, my abs and upper arms felt as I worked my 35 minutes on the elliptical really burn more calories than just flopping my way through? Or did I subconsciously spend more time exercising and moving than I realized.

Let's examine the day. I did get in a 1 mile walk with my funny little white dog. Here she is, checking things out in the bean field.

But that had been planned all along. It's a short walk, worth some 50 calories, but I'd like to add it to my daily routine.

At work I was at my desk only slightly less than usual. I had a program to prepare for and enough staff that I only worked the front desk for 30 minutes. No walk at lunch time since I had a WW meeting - where I was glad to find out that I'm still within my goal range - even after 2 weeks of rather profligate eating. and still below 150 - which was more than satisfying.


Hmm. I sat during the program in the afternoon - though there was a good bit of walking back and forth as I brought paraphernalia into the meeting room. Altogether, if I really want to push things I burned 50 calories more than I would have on a library day with no kiddie program in it. I guess. Pushing it a bit. Maybe.

Okay - then it was off to the gym - 35 minutes on the elliptical. Normally I'd expect to burn 150 +/- calories doing that while watching HGTV (my 5 o'clock TV poison). I use a programable elliptical that has the hand poles for working the upper body. emoticon

I decided to really pay attention to the body and what do you know - I found that to be impossibly boring to do for 35 minutes and MUCH harder too. It's true. I worked harder while I was paying attention. But I just didn't have the mental control to stay at it for 35 minutes. Within the first 5 minutes (maybe even instantly) I realized I had to take baby steps into this mindful body cardio, so I decided that I would concentrate for 2 minutes and then I could buzz off on the television for 8. I set the elliptical so that after 8 minutes it would tell you to start pedaling in the opposite direction. Those were the Pay Attention Minutes. So I did 3 sets of 2 minutes when I paid close attention - abs tucked? glutes taut? back straight? Thighs engaged? Arms pumping? Check.
Ordinarily - at this point I would have racked up about 150 calories burned and to make sure of it I did just a few strength exercises - 3 sets of 10 presses, 3 sets of tri exercises and 3 sets of the rowing lift ... or whatever it's called. 10 minutes in all? Honestly I'd be overestimating if I could claim 50 calories for that.

So at the very best I could claim 300 calories burned for yesterday. But when I plugged the monitor in it showed a 350 burn.

As I said - this was no scientifically controlled experiment but hey - I'll take a 350 calorie burn any day! In fact - I think I'll go take it today. I know my little dog wants me to take her out. I hear her scratching at the door.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LRSILVER 8/1/2013 4:44AM

    Well done

Report Inappropriate Comment
MSLZZY 7/31/2013 5:39PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CBLENS 7/31/2013 10:23AM

    Well done Bess! & pretty wallpaper.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KANOE10 7/31/2013 8:14AM

    350 burn is excellent. You are doing a great job of developing mindful exercise.

Cute dog.


Report Inappropriate Comment

Who Is This Body?

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Don't you just love it when a light bulb goes off inside your head? When an idea you never thought of before blossoms right in front of you? When something suddenly becomes clearer?
(of course you do, LOL)

So today while reading The Best of Spark People article 10 Smart Ways to Burn More Calories
Crank Up Your Cardio to Blast More Fat! the light clicked on at number 9.

"9. Focus. We talk a lot about the importance of the mind-body connection and fitness. Although cardio isn't as Zen-like as yoga, cardio can still benefit from a strong sense of awareness. The next time you do cardio, focus on the movements and breathing while squeezing those muscles. By engaging your mind, you can actually better engage your muscles, which allows you to complete the exercise more easily and still burn more calories!"

Wow. See - whenever I'm doing cardio I try to zone out of what's going on. When I'm on that elliptical or stationary bike ... or even when I'm swimming laps - I try to get away from what it feels like because it feels hard. I like to watch television if I'm not in the water, so I can forget about how tired my arms and/or legs are getting. It's a "grit your teeth and plow through it" sort of feeling. I can almost hear myself thinking "I know this is hard but la la la la I can't hear you telling me!"

But by doing this maybe I'm missing out on something. For sure I'm not savoring the experience of those hard working muscles. Maybe I'm not even getting the full benefit of my workout. I know this is true with weight lifting - when I just push with my arms it's hard hard work but when I engage my abs and glutes ... it's still hard but it's different. It's ... it's easier to do it well.

I think it's time to pay attention to my body while I'm doing cardio workouts. It's time to feel those legs and back muscles, to experience what they're actually doing. I'd like to get to know Who Is This Body a little better. After all, I might like her.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LRSILVER 7/31/2013 4:57AM

    Good points.

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRADMILL2922 7/30/2013 11:02AM

    Definitely an interesting idea. Something to think about!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CHERYL_ANNE 7/30/2013 10:13AM

    The more I engage and practice mindfulness, the better I like the experience.

Really appreciate you sharing the light-bulb moment and letting the light shine upon us!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MSLZZY 7/30/2013 9:18AM

    Food for thought and a great idea! Thanks for sharing. HUGS!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KANOE10 7/30/2013 8:44AM

    Good idea..I am more like you..I tend to watch the news while exercising. Interesting concept and it just may burn more calories.

Thanks for sharing.

Report Inappropriate Comment
RSSSLHB 7/30/2013 7:39AM

    emoticon emoticon for posting

Report Inappropriate Comment

Wearable Art

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Here I am in my Zentangle T-Shirt

Himself asked me if it was finished - and didn't I want to put 'more stuff' on it. In fact, I don't, but the fun thing about this is that I can always add more if I wanted to. I'm much more likely to put in too much than not enough - in life as well as in art. So I stopped here and gave this shirt a little spin.

I used Sharpie Fabric Pens for most of it and some other dark permanent art pen along the back. It's supposed to be water fast ... but you can be sure, I'll wash it separately the first time.

The picture is from my Other Blog - which I have neglected shamefully this summer.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSLZZY 7/25/2013 2:08PM

    Just darling!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KANOE10 7/25/2013 12:57PM

    Great shirt and nice design. It is beautiful. Well done.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLIMMERJESSE 7/25/2013 8:48AM

    Wow, lovely!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JLITT62 7/25/2013 7:56AM

    It is beautiful & you wear it well!

Report Inappropriate Comment
TORTISE110 7/25/2013 7:38AM

    Awesome! You look adorable in it. Love the grin!

Report Inappropriate Comment
LRSILVER 7/25/2013 7:01AM

    You are so talented.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SPARKCHANTAL 7/25/2013 6:54AM

    it's beautiful.

and one big rule of art: less is more!

Report Inappropriate Comment

Dancing in the Street - Photo at the end.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

I do love how sometimes the universe aligns things just perfectly - in big ways and in small ones. I'm back from a two day beach get-away that turned out to be particularly magical. I took a bit of a risk with this one since I was trying to achieve something for two people, me and a family member, who were coming from two very different emotional places. My life is pretty good, pretty stable and pretty secure. Hers is chaos. I love this person. Her birthday is in a few days. I wanted this to be a happy time for her while still being a happy time for me - and as I said - sometimes the universe just makes it all perfect.

The traffic was easy getting to the beach. The weather was hot but just beachy hot and there was always an ocean breeze and the water was gentle and refreshing. The crowds were packed like sardines and as polite as Sunday School teachers. In fact, it was the people we encountered that made this trip so fantastic. Everywhere we went on this little jaunt, we made the most amazing connections with people. The man at the hotel was able to get us into our room an hour early. He gave us fabulous advice on a restaurant which turned out to be the first restaurant I've ever eaten in at VaBeach that wasn't all carnival food and didn't also cost an arm and a leg. It also turns out that the city fathers and mothers of Virginia Beach have hired performers to entertain people on every corner in a 10 block line - every night throughout the summer from 7:30 to 11. No tips. Just pure pleasure. And entertainment of every sort from hammer dulcimers to HipHop dancers, magicians to folk rock singers, marching bands to jugglers of flaming torches. There was even a cabaret style Frank Sinatra singer crooning in the middle of one block. At either end were two large stages - one with a gritty rock band and the other with the most amazing magician/illusionist I've ever seen. Here's a link to some videos of his stunts.

The magic continued the next morning with a sunrise beach walk and a mid-morning departure. The traffic was easy to drive through - an important thing for this country driver who rarely encounters more than a dozen cars on her daily commute. The only slow down was right before the Norfolk tunnel ... which is a good thing, because then even the driver can mosey along looking at the wide water, the sailboats, air craft carriers and cargo ships as they move slowly up and down their watery highway. We got to Colonial Williamsburg right at lunchtime and were treated to an absolutely delicious luncheon of quasi historic dishes in Shields Tavern - one of the documented eateries close to the Capital Building. As our meal came to an end we heard music coming from upstairs and as we were leaving we stopped to talk to the musician - who, in the most charming Virginia fashion, turned out to be married to a woman who went to the same high school as my companion and was best friends with the daughter of a man who worked for my father. And though he grew up in Texas, he was a descendant of two families from my end of the county, including one long gone family whose original land patent was researched and platted by my surveyor husband in 1977. I mean - how Virginia is that?!?

So. Great. Great Vacation. Happy Bess.

But this is, after all, Spark People. It's about staying healthy - and obviously there was a lot of emotional and mental health going on here but what about the food thing. What about my weight goals. What about that? I ate all over the place on this trip: shrimp scampi, salt water taffy, ice cream, wine with dinner - and though I walked for miles and swam for hours, I didn't track anything.

So. so did I break my streak of healthy days?

Well that harmonic connection I mentioned at first - that thing about the universe aligning up to make things just right must still be going on because what did I discover on the Best of Spark People this morning?

I found these words quoted from this article:

"The second most common cause of a motivational slump is expecting yourself to be perfect. The idea that anyone can (or should) never overeat or never skip a workout is a form of false pride. Why would anyone think that she'll be the first human being in history to pull this off, or that if you don't, you must be a miserable failure? The emotional upset of failed perfectionism can make it virtually impossible to stay motivated.

If you're holding yourself to a standard of perfection, or verbally abusing yourself for those bad days, give yourself a break. "

Yeah. Yep Yep Yep. YES! I'd say I'm still on my streak of making healthy choices. And look where it got me -

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KANSASROSE67 7/23/2013 12:10PM

    Loved this! Glad you had such a good sounds wonderful.

Report Inappropriate Comment
JLITT62 7/23/2013 6:51AM

    And now I can actually picture you in all those places! Having a great time IS part of a healthy lifestyle.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CHRISTIECAT 7/20/2013 7:44PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
BARBARASDIET 7/20/2013 3:02PM


Report Inappropriate Comment
CAROLJEAN64 7/20/2013 1:33PM

    What a wonderful uplifting blog to read. Thanks.

Report Inappropriate Comment
LUNADRAGON 7/20/2013 12:58PM

    Sweet! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WATERMELLEN 7/20/2013 12:19PM

    Super pic!! Super blog!! Just love the exuberance!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
BABY_GIRL69 7/20/2013 10:17AM

    Very nice.....

God bless,


Report Inappropriate Comment
CELIAMINER 7/20/2013 9:49AM

    Bess, I'm so happy for you that you had this magic time AND that you let yourself be the free spirit you know you are. Thanks for sharing, and I'm going to use your quote as my Facebook status.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SLIMMERJESSE 7/20/2013 8:52AM

    Very cool!

Report Inappropriate Comment
NANNABLACK 7/20/2013 8:13AM


Report Inappropriate Comment
KANOE10 7/20/2013 7:58AM

    I love your dancing in the street picture. You look so happy! It seemed like a wonderful vacation.

Thanks for sharing that article. It was excellent. I like the comment do you think you are the only human on the earth who goes off track. I like the followup where he says that obsessing about going off is really avoidance of acting responsibly.

"Viewing motivation as the ability to resist the lure of "bad" foods or overcome the appeal of lying on the couch will only lead to frustration and self-blame. Things go much better when you see motivation as the ability to give yourself the chance to make conscious decisions and take responsibility for these choices. Therefore, the main "enemy" of motivation is the tendency to see yourself as the hapless victim of forces (or urges) over which you have no control. "

I liked this focus also. Looking at eating healthy in a positive yourself the chance to make decisions and taking responsibility works so much better than feeling like you are a deprived victim.

Happy Summer, Spark Friend!


Comment edited on: 7/20/2013 8:02:11 AM

Report Inappropriate Comment
KARENKANDO 7/20/2013 7:49AM

    May you always dance. . . imperfectly! Thanks for sharing!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MSLZZY 7/20/2013 7:49AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 Last Page