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Two Year Sparkversary

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This week marks my two year "Sparkversary." In February, 2010, I found Sparkpeople (at this point I can't remember who recommended it) and joined it, needed to lose over 200 pounds. Honestly, I didn't do much with it for a few months. I looked at emails, saved a few recipes, etc. Then, toward the middle of April, I lost my job. For the first time in my adult life, I was unemployed for more than a day.

In May, 2010, I started getting serious. I bought the book and read it. I started exercising ten minutes a day, just like Sparkguy said. I started cooking Spark recipes for dinner for my family. I gradually worked up to where I was exercising over 30 minutes most days. And I lost 40 pounds in three months.

Then I got a job, working days for the first time in almost 20 years. Suddenly, I didn't have time to cook. I made myself believe that I didn't have time to exercise. For the next year (plus a few months), my drive for a healthier lifestyle came to a screeching halt.

Suddenly, on January 15 of this year, my family and I decided that it was time, once again, to get serious about our health. I didn't gain all of my weight back in that year, but fluctuated within a ten pound range. On that day, we got ourselves up off the couch and drove to the nearest 24 Hour Fitness. We joined, and worked out that afternoon. Today is February 16. Yesterday marked the one month anniversary of joining 24 Hour. It was also the 29th day out of 31 that we exercised there. (We have a weekly church activity on Thursday nights.) I am riding the recumbent bike for 42 minutes a night (including cooldown), and then doing strength training, alternating between upper and lower body each day. I have lost over 20 pounds in that month. As a family, we are within a pound of losing 50 all together. I'm tracking everything I eat on Spark People, and tracking all of my fitness minutes. For the first time since I joined Spark People, I will have over 1000 fitness minutes in a month. I feel great.

I still don't have time to cook much, because we are doing the exercising after work each night. But Subway is getting a lot of business from us.

I've also joined a "Biggest Loser" challenge where I work. After three weeks, I am in 8th place out of 43. This is week four, and the rankings come out tomorrow (Friday). I have lost 5.5% of my original weight in four weeks.

We are serious this time. We have the encouragement of a lot of Facebook (and RL) friends. Even the people at 24 Hour have noticed that they are seeing us EVERY NIGHT! I plan to start putting more pictures on my Spark Page soon. Possibly within the next week, when I hit my official 50 pound mark.

SPARK ON!!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SOXYINMO 2/8/2013 9:50AM

    Congratulations! Your determination is very inspiring! Thank you for sharing and happy anniversary!

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GOLFCHICK2-0 2/16/2012 12:04PM

    Happy emoticon!! Good for you to keep on and get re-motivated. To have and give the support of your family is so important. Keep up the good work!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PROGRESSFORWARD 2/16/2012 8:01AM

    emoticon emoticon

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RAINBOWFALLS 2/16/2012 7:46AM

    That is great that you are also doing it with your family! emoticon

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Whoops! What happened??

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

I didn't meet my weight loss goal for August. Missed it by a couple of pounds. I'm not discourage by that, because the pounds continue to come off. I just had a bit of a hiccup during Stephanie's birthday week.

My Spark Streaks seem to have all come to a screeching halt. I'm not worrying over that, either. Between starting a new job, my wife having knee surgery, and Stephanie starting her Junior year in High School, my life has changed in probably the most drastic way since the day I got married 25 years ago. I'm hanging in there, though. I've not allowed the eating to get out of control. Still controlling that. I've faltered in my exercise, but am confident that I will get back into that groove soon. I've only been at my new job for 2 and a half weeks, so I'm still getting used to working 9-6 during the day, rather than a graveyard shift, which I worked for close to 15 years straight.

But staying in my daily regimen is my communication with SparkPeople. I continue to read the emails, visit the forums, and try to post something in the forums at least once a day. These people have become my friends and I find that I miss them if I don't visit the forums daily. SparkPeople has become very important to me, more so than I ever expected it would. And I continue to to tell people about it, as well. During my unemployed period, I had a weekly workshop/support group at the Texas Workforce Solutions office, which was led by a counselor. When I brought up SparkPeople in one of her workshops, she thought it was an awesome idea!

Gotta close this now and get on to my devotional blog. I hope everyone has a great day today!

TTFN, y'all!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRAMMY13X 9/2/2010 2:48PM

    I enjoyed your blog post. I'm sure you will be right back on track with all your streaks very soon.

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Emotions, Stress, and Depression

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I've been through a lot of emotions in the last few weeks, since I have been unemployed. I don't feel "special" or unique, because I know there are a lot of people unemployed right now, and many worse off than I am. But that doesn't negate the emotions that go along with it.

This morning, I had the pleasure of reading this article: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellnes
s_articles.asp?id=98
, which I found to be inspirational. Also of great help has been a couple of workshops that I have attended at our local "Workforce Solutions" Center. That's basically the state employment center. They just try to put a positive spin on the name.

They have contracted with a healthcare company to come in and give some workshops on stress management and career transition. The one on stress management last week was very helpful. I knew I needed something like that, just because of the many moods I was finding myself in on a daily basis. Just like the article above described, I find myself having really good days where I am up emotionally. But then the very next day could be the total opposite. And it doesn't seem to be totally related to the job search. Some days that I have a relatively productive day, job-hunt-wise, turn out to be downers, and for no apparent reason.

There have been multiple times where I have felt like bursting into tears for no reason at all, which is a sign of either depression or pregnancy. Pretty sure I'm not pregnant. That would be groundbreaking news. All of this, I'm sure, is related to the fact that I'm jobless.

Yesterday, I attended another session with the same person that was related to career transition, but it was more of a "support group" format. We picked a topic out of a handful of cards. The topic was "pressures." There was one other person there yesterday, so we had a nice discussion on what types of pressures we were experiencing, due to our jobless state. And it was very helpful. It was kind of like going to a therapy session, except it was free (well....except that our tax dollars pay for it).

What's the point of all this? I guess to say that the article I linked to is absolutely right in the fact that the days will vary. I have good days and bad days. Fortunately, at this point, I think I have more good ones. But I won't give up. And when those bad days come along, I will deal with them the best I know how. My family has been very supportive. In this I am very blessed. That helps a lot. It also helps that I seem to be able to identify when I'm not having a good day. That helps me develop strategies along the way to try to deal with that.

In the middle of all of this, I now have this community of SparkPeople to help motivate me. This helps in multiple ways. One is that there are people a lot like me out there, working to create a better self, a healthier person. We are all determined to make it work, a little bit at a time. So the motivation is high. I guarantee that if I posted anything that even sounded like I was about to give up, I would receive dozens of encouraging responses! And I would do the same for anyone else, as well.

So I will look those bad days right in the face and refuse to give up.

Grace and peace, friends.

Jeff

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SIXTEES 7/27/2010 10:15AM

    Good post .
My husband has been out of work for 16 months and has pretty much the same emotional ups and downs. He wonders if he'll ever get a job. (He worked for his last employer for 20 years). For him, playing golf 3 days a week is a stress releaser.
I know that it's not that much of a comfort to know your are not alone - but it's kind of eerie how many over-50 people I know out of a job.
Hang in there
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CHRISTAN6 7/27/2010 9:02AM

    I am glad to here that you are not giving up. It's great that your family is being supportive. You knwo those workshops can really help and give you the understanding you need to know it is okay. The fact that you are unemployed is nothign against you personally, so many people are in the same boat. I am currently looking for work too but have been a stay at home mom for the past 5 years. So hang in there and soke up the knowledge and help that the workforce center is giving you.
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RAINBOWFALLS 7/27/2010 8:00AM

    It is nice that they have workshops available. I'm sure it is not easy going through this and I'm gald you are talking and writing about it. I'm sure that will be helpful. Best of luck I hope something turns up soon for you.

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MRE1956 7/27/2010 7:54AM

    BTDT more times than I care to think about (and am just about to go through another phase) - here's wishing you all the best!

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GARDENCHRIS 7/27/2010 7:30AM

    I applaud yo in searching for ways to encourage and motivate yourself! There are lots in your same boat I'm sure, but each of you ARE unique in so many ways!

We never understand at the time why things happen in our lives at the time, but after we can see the what is is we were supposed to learned.

I hope and pray your situation gets better soon.

Hang in there.
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GEMINI-SKY 7/27/2010 7:28AM

    Good Morning, Be like the Frog and Keep trying. We are ALL here for YOU ! ! ! It WILL all work out.

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NANN66 7/27/2010 7:25AM

    I am praying for ya!!! Be strong!! We are here for you!!!

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Stage 4 and Beyond

Thursday, July 01, 2010

As I reach Stage 4 of the 28 day plan, I'm looking at steps to set for life. This doesn't stop tomorrow when my 28 days are over. This is a plan for the rest of my life.

As I work on "spreading my Spark," I find that I have already begun to achieve the first "action step" in Chapter 9. I see at least 5 people that have joined SparkPeople because I talk about it.

I'm also looking at goals for maintenance (even though, at this point, this thing called "maintenance" is probably almost two years in the future).

Step 1: I will continue to track my food intake every day, even after I reach my goal weight.
Step 2: I will continue to track my exercise, and I will increase my exercise over time. Currently, I am riding the recumbent bike 25 minutes a day, at level 3. That should increase to 30 minutes sometime next week, and then to a higher level. Sometime during the next month, I plan to begin to add some of the strength training exercises recommended on my fitness page. I wanted to get some significant weight off before I started those.
Step 3: I will continuously check my daily calorie needs, as my weight drops, so that, once I reach my goal weight, I will be right on top of what I need, and will be used to referencing the chart so that the transition to maintenance will be smooth.

I started out calling those "goals," but they aren't really measurable, so I won't call them goals. But the are steps in my journey.

For the time being, I will continue to have a goal, though, of losing 10 pounds a month, at least until I've lost 100 pounds.

I like the "Nine Ideas after Meeting Your Weight-Loss Goal." Each one of those may have something significant that I could achieve (with the possible exception of starting my own business...not much of an entrepreneur, myself). Finances need to be under control; I would love to begin a new career (one of my long term goals is to get a Master of Library Science); I don't know about learning a new hobby or talent, but I need to rediscover an old one (I'm a trombone player...I got it out of the case for the first time in several years recently); and I will certainly keep improving my health and fitness.

I'm going to get a "goal calendar." I like that idea. I'll get a small one, that I can carry in my messenger bag. And I have a "buddy" to report to. I call her my wife. We talk about this every day, so she's right on top of my progress and failures.

And I'm starting my "Sparklist" today. This, I'm sure, will be a work in progress, because I will discover more things that I want to accomplish along the way. So my Sparklist will never be finished.

Well, there it is. I have a sense of accomplishment today, because I have actually completed a step in this process of developing a healthy life. Now, as the song says...."The future's so bright, I gotta wear shades."

Grace and peace, friends.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RAINBOWFALLS 7/1/2010 12:41PM

    Excellent! You are so on the right track! Keep it up!

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Goal Met

Monday, June 28, 2010

As of this morning, I have officially met my short-term goal of losing 10 pounds by the end of June. The end of June is Wednesday (this is Monday), but I reached the goal today. So, I will set a similar goal to do the same during July. New short-term goal is to lose 10 more pounds by the end of July.

According to the program, since I have more than 100 pounds to lose, it's okay for me to lose more than 2 pounds a week, so that's what I'm shooting for.

It's been a good time, so far. I am now into the last week of the 28 day program, and will be reading the final chapter of The Spark either today or tomorrow. I have thoroughly enjoyed this trip, so far, and don't plan on stopping any time soon. And I'm trying to pass on my "Spark" to anyone who needs this kind of thing in their lives.

Just last night, I chatted with a long time friend on Facebook, who, it turns out, has been on SparkPeople for almost two years!

My wife and I continue to find great recipes on SparkPeople, and I've been cooking at least three nights a week (and will continue to do so, at least until I find a job). No doubt this has helped my weight loss, but I've also, as of yesterday, exercised for 40 consecutive days on our recumbent bike, which was, more or less, a coat hanger until a little over a month ago! Last night, I increased my time to 25 minutes. May not sound like much, but for me, that's very significant.

Job interview today! I hope I can "sell myself." I haven't had to do that in so long...so I'll be spending the morning preparing for that.

TTFN, y'all!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BONNIEMILTON 6/28/2010 5:58PM

    Good for you, I am happy for ya!! Keep on keeping on, its good you got the bike out. emoticon

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RAINBOWFALLS 6/28/2010 9:27AM

    Good luck on the interview. I'm sure with your recent success you will be more positive about selling yourself. Your mini goals sound good, when I first started I had set an 8 to 10 pound a month goal. That goal is still set. I also started on a recumbent bike and have also increased my time as time has gone on. It feels great to be getting stronger.

Keep up the good work!

Comment edited on: 6/28/2010 9:28:27 AM

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BICKLEYHOUSE 6/28/2010 8:23AM

    Thank you all!! emoticon

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TEXASGIRL48 6/28/2010 8:17AM

    Good Luck on the job interview. Keep up the good work!

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GLORY63 6/28/2010 7:39AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

With that extra confidence, the interview should go well.

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GEMINI-SKY 6/28/2010 7:38AM

    I think you're doing FREAKING AWESOME.....Your excitement is contagious. Good Luck at your job interview and do keep up the Great Work.
Patti
OXOX
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GOLDIES1 6/28/2010 7:36AM

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