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What's on my mind...

Monday, March 11, 2013

For this weekend's challenge, we're supposed to post a blog about whatever. I'm not very good at whatever; I'd much rather have the "powers that be" give me a topic to blog about, like when we were in school and had to write an essay.

So, what I'm going blog about today is that I love being part of the Amazon Warrior team for the second round of BLC challenges but I wish that so many of the veteran members weren't struggling so much and I wish that other than being there for them virtually, I could help in other ways.

See, this is one of those times when teleporting would come in handy.

Teleporting is the one sci-fi invention that I most covet. If I could teleport, I could go to Barb's and help her or I could go to Julee's and help her or I could go to Linda's and help her, etc., etc., etc. (and of course, I'd go visit all the other Warriors as well because it would be great to meet them in person!)

Heck I could go and help my good friends, Ang and Cynthia as well from the Living With RA team (which by the way, I'm one of the co-leaders of although I spend so much time on the BLC stuff, I feel I don't give enough time to the RA team).

Teleportation is definitely the way to go.

Have a great day, everyone and emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 3/13/2013 1:34PM

    Until then, the virtual world of SparkPeople is the next best thing to teleporting! :-)


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ANGEL1066 3/11/2013 7:29PM

    Bi-location would also be great, then I could be getting my own work done even while I'm dashing about helping others, Lol! That's the Super power I've always coveted!

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_LINDA 3/11/2013 3:37PM

    That would be so wonderful. So many friends, so little time for sure.. Those Biggest Loser teams sure are tight knit and motivating to the people on them, some of the ideas they have come up with are brilliant to get people moving on their programs..
Good luck with your team!

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ANGRITTER 3/11/2013 2:17PM

    I whole-heartedly agree, and I am so glad I am not the only one that would use it for good and not evil! I would love to go around and help all my friends I have met here and would help them out. I know poor Cynthia could stand to have someone pop over several times a day, Tiny in Arkansas could use my sawzall in her yard, and I could use the workout. HAHA

And yes, Di is moving out. I can't remember if I wrote a blog or just sent an e-mail, but she is leaving to move in with her loser son in Maine in mid-April. Of course she asked me for $1500-2000, and then asked my parents for $800. I told her she was out of her goard if she thought we were giving her money like that. So dad is going to do a once-over on her car mechanically and MAYBE fiver her $400 for gas. We are not a bank, and she's been spending plenty of money on BS lately, so there is no way we can or will give her all that money. She's just stupid, and I now refer to her most times as SB (you can figure that out!)

Love and hugs and teleportation!

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 3/11/2013 12:29PM

    I have to agree with you there. I've often wished for both a teleportation machine and a short term time travel machine so that I had the time to support and visit all my Spark Friends and still have time to spend working, with hubby, bff, SCA friends etc. Too many friends. Not enough time. Ah well. It sounds like you are doing well this round. So glad to hear that! Keep moving & pushing forward.

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A-STRONGER-ME 3/11/2013 6:06AM

    And I would be expecting a visit!! I have really turned my struggle around - hoping I can hold on to it!

You are an inspiration! emoticon

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My Vacation in Belize

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Iíve returned from Belize and I had a wonderful time. The pool was the best thing about the place as it was approximately 270 feet wide. I figured out early on that it took me 10 minutes to do 4 laps so every day, I tried to do at least 12 laps altogether. I could probably have done more than 4 laps at a time but I just didnít have the interest to do more than that at one time.

Pool view showing the width

The one thing I didnít know ahead of time about this resort was the length of time it took to get there. I had gotten up at 1:00 a.m. at home, picked up by the limo at 3:30 a.m. and boarded the plane in Toronto at 6:00 a.m. We were supposed to leave at 6:20 a.m. but the flight left Toronto an hour late at 7:20 instead of 6:20.

There was a stopover in Cozumel, Mexico and we were made to get off the plane so they could clean it and then we had to reboard it to get to Belize so we got to the main airport in Belize City around 1 p.m. And, then, much to my dismay, we were told that we were going to be flying from Belize City to Maya Village in a 12-seat Cessna! I hate flying and this was something that I wasnít looking forward to (Iíve never been in such a small plane).

Cessna Caravan

Much to my surprise, I didnít actually hate it until the descent started. It was then that it was buffeted about with some turbulence and I thought I was going to be sick. So, I just shut my eyes and concentrated on breathing. After we landed, I had a headache. The plane ride took about half an hour and then we were put in a shuttle bus and transported to the resort for another half an hour. We got to the resort around 2:15 and I was exhausted but we didnít get our rooms yet. We were given welcome drinks and then shown the way to the pier to have some lunch. We finally got into our rooms around 3:15, at which point I had been travelling for approximately 12 hours and I was thoroughly exhausted. To no oneís surprise, I was in bed and asleep by 9:00 p.m.

Before, I left on vacation, I blogged about my plans while away and they were:

1. Exercise for a minimum of 1 hour every day
2. Indulge myself on the first full day (Tuesday) and then eat responsibly for the rest of the trip
3. Participate in as many of the BLC challenges as possible and record my points faithfully
4. Read a minimum of 5 novels

And, this is how I did:

1. The only two days I didnít get an hourís worth of exercise were the travelling days. On February 4th, I got no exercise although I did manage to get almost 8000 steps, which I thought was pretty good considering I spent a huge amount of the day sitting. And, on February 11th, I only got 40 minutes in because we had to leave the hotel at 8:30 a.m. for our trip home.

And, I actually got 2 hours on two days and 1.5 hours on a third day so I was happy with that.

2. The food part didnít turn out so well as the fitness though. There wasnít a lot of choice when it came to which dishes to eat. Each meal only had 4 or 5 dishes to choose from and only twice was there a green salad and once there was steamed veggies. The food served most often was different rice dishes and lots of chicken.

But, the good part was that the plates were huge and so typically, I didnít go up for seconds. And, if you wanted dessert, most meals it was pineapple, papaya and watermelon and sometimes orange slices but a couple of times, they had different types of cake and I had that three times.

The best meal we had was grilled red snapper with coconut rice at the Š la carte restaurant.

As for the drinking part, I had 2 pĩna coladas, 2 lime daiquiris and 2 chocolate monkeys plus one half-glass of red wine there.

The pool bar also delivered snacks to your chaise if you wanted to indulge. I had banana bread, nachos and pizza (all on different days).

3. I participated in all of the BLC challenges to the best of my ability and posted my points well within the deadlines. The hotel didnít have a dedicated room for guests to use the hotelís computers and I didnít bring mine since most resorts do have this. However, I was given permission to use the conciergeís computer at the front desk after dinner on the days I needed to record my points and thatís all I used the computer for plus a couple of emails home.

4. I finished the 4th novel on the plane coming home. I didnít reach my goal of reading 5 novels but one of the books was more serious than my normal reads and it took me 4 days to read. In my defence though, I also read 2 magazines. The books I read included:

ē The Iron King by Julie Kagawa. This was a Teen Fantasy novel and it was really good. Itís the first book in a series and I canít wait to read the next one.

ē Snow Blind by P.J. Tracey. It was a good solid mystery and it was the 4th in the Monkeewrench series.

ē The Villa Triste by Lucretia Grindle. This was the more serious novel. It was set in Florence in the 1940s and in present day (2006) as well. The present day story was a mystery that related to the events that occurred in the 1940s. It was really good and I highly recommend it.

ē The Alchemyst by Michael Scott. This teen fantasy was quite good as well. It took me a little while to get into it but once I did, I could barely put it down. Itís the first in the Nicholas Flamel series.

I also played Scrabble with my dad every night before dinner and won 90% of the games and even though he was an English professor, heís not very good at playing strategically although he's better than he was last year.

And, of course I had a few naps as well. On Saturday, my dad decided he wanted to go to town because it was market day and asked me if I wanted to join him. I told him ďnoĒ because itís been my experience that town is always a lot hotter than the resorts and partially because thereís no where to cool off in town like the pool or some shade and also because most towns only have a bunch of touristy shops that sell a lot of junk. But, he went anyways and regretted it. He said that he walked through the town for the first half hour and bought some presents for his grandkids and then he had 1.5 hours to kill before the hotel shuttle returned for him, which he spent in a cafť.

So, Iím glad I didnít go with him.

The high points of the resort for me were the pool and the chaises. These chaises were the best ones Iíve ever seen at a resort. They were wooden with nice, thick pads. In fact all the furniture was made out of good, solid wood at the resort and the room we had a separate bedroom that my dad let me have and he slept on the futon in the living area.


Picture that hung over my bed

My dadís favourite points of the week included the dining room at the end of the pier that we took most of our meals at, the pool and the gardens plus the nice floral arrangements on the tables in the dining room.

Pier Dining Room

My dad in the Pier Dining Room

The weird thing about this resort is that hardly anyone swam in the Caribbean Sea. There were rumours of stingrays, jellyfish and sea urchins so I decided to be cautious and avoided it but itís really too bad because the Caribbean Sea is typically pretty warm and calm at this time of year.

The beach

So, that was my week. Sleeping, eating, swimming, exercising and reading. Itís a tough life, isnít it?

My Dad and me in front of the hotel

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DDOORN 2/27/2013 1:54PM

    Sorry not to catch up sooner...looks like a wonderful trip! That pool sounds heavenly!

When will such places catch on to the fact that there are MANY of us customers who would highly value having a regular source of freggies at our meals?!?


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ANGRITTER 2/22/2013 6:43PM

    Oh, dear Lord! I don't think I would have made it through this week of roughing it you have had to deal with!! HAHA. It's gorgeous! And it looks deserted! What's up with that??

Your father is a handsome man and you are looking good there, young'un! I hope you had the time of your life and it will get you through the rest of the cold you have left for the year.

I think it is wonderful that you and your father get to vacation together. These years are his prime and you are there with him for every bit of it. I was leery of having my parents around every day, but they have been such a huge buffer between Di and I and they are so funny that I love having them here now. (Also helps that I will have a disability check coming to me soon and I can lend a hand and pay some stuff off for them so they can relax and travel some.)

And if you need a travel buddy, I am free! HAHA

Love and Hugs, Ang

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A-STRONGER-ME 2/13/2013 6:09AM

    emoticon - all of it and you even participated in the WE Challenge - and some say it cannot be done!!


I would have been with your dad on at the Pier Restaurant - that looks fabulous.

Glad you had a great time - sounds relaxing!

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DENAMARIE1 2/12/2013 8:57PM

    Wow, thanks for sharing with us!! That place looks and sounds amazing!! That is so cool that you got to take a trip like that with your Dad!

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TROPICGAL 2/12/2013 7:39PM

    emoticon Back! It sounds like you had a nice relaxing time, and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip. Except for the long traveling days.

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 2/12/2013 7:36PM

    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip with your father. Thanks for the wonderful pics and update.

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ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 2/12/2013 5:47PM

    emoticon home! I missed you. You vacation sounds wonderful and just what you needed! I will be looking for a few of those books. I am glad you got to relax a bit and the resort looks beautiful! Thank you for sharing.

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JMOUSE99 2/12/2013 5:46PM

    Welcome back Joanna. The resort sounds wonderful, too bad it was so exhausting getting there. And emoticon on the swimming and the posting!

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DEDICATED2HIM 2/12/2013 5:25PM

    It sounds like a lovely trip. Did you manage to sneak one of those chaises into your suitcase? They do look comfy. I'm glad you had a good time!

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GLASSART43 2/12/2013 5:23PM

    Joanna, I missed you on the chat thread, so welcome back!

Sounds like a wonderful vacation in an incredibly beautiful setting.

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SRITHI97 2/12/2013 5:14PM

    Welcome Back! glad you had a wonderful vacation and way to go with participating with the team challenges even on vacation! Awesome and you are a great warrior!

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NANABNANA11 2/12/2013 5:08PM

    emoticon home! Sounds like you had a great holiday. Awesome job at doing the challenges and participating with the team..You are a Warrior!! Pictures are great.

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FUSIONFITNESS3 2/12/2013 3:37PM

    emoticon back!!! Oh, that pool looks absolutely inviting. I believe that the restuarant on the pier might have been one of my favorites too. What a gorgeous setting to enjoy a meal. But then, the beaches look absolutely stunning too. Certainly too bad that you couldn't go swimming there due to the sealife.

emoticon on your goals. You may not have met all the goals but I think you did make a emoticon attempt. emoticon commitment to your health!

Sounds like you had a great vacation. emoticon for sharing with us.


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IMAGINE_IT 2/12/2013 3:18PM

    emoticon emoticon back!! emoticon I am happy that you had a nice vacation. Thank you for the beautiful pictures and all the details of your trip. Lots of reading....relaxing and exercise in the form of swimming emoticon
and emoticon job on getting points for the team emoticon

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Weekend Challenge

Sunday, February 03, 2013

So, I'm supposed to do a blog for the WC. Since I'm trying to do everything on it except for the items that you have to do all 4 days (I'm traveling tomorrow so drinking 8 cups of water, tracking food for all 4 days, no snacking after 8 p.m. may not be doable for all 4 days). And, this blog is the last item on that list.

So, I'm flying to Belize tomorrow morning at 6:20 a.m. and my plan for staying on track is:

- exercise for a minimum of 1 hour every day
- indulge myself on the first full day (Tuesday) and then eat responsibly for the rest of the trip
- participate in as many of the BLC challenges as possible and record my points faithfully
- read a minimum of 5 novels

That's it. No other plans.

Back in a week! I'll talk to you then.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMAGINE_IT 2/6/2013 6:56PM

    emoticon Plan...but also time to relax! emoticon Enjoy your vacation! emoticon

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4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 2/5/2013 6:37PM

    Have fun on your trip! Sounds like you have a good plan in place.

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DDOORN 2/4/2013 12:08PM

    Sorry to miss you before your departure...you are going to have one heckuva healthy blast! Looking forward to hearing all about it!


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LADYJ6942 2/4/2013 9:31AM

    Enjoy your vacation, travel safe and enjoy!!!!!

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FUSIONFITNESS3 2/4/2013 3:40AM

    Enjoy your books and stay faithful to the BlC cause.

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SEATTLE58 2/3/2013 6:39PM

    Good for you! emoticon I know you can! Have fun in the meantime too!! emoticon

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How My Life Will Change When I Reach My Goal

Sunday, January 27, 2013

This second blog is also for the BLC weekend challenge.

Before I joined BLC20, I honestly never thought I would reach my weight loss goal. I started at 264 in 1998 and have been trying since then to lose weight. I must admit that after 2004 when I got RA, I kind of stalled out on the trying thing because I was in so much pain that exercise got booted to the curb and eating healthily wasn't high on my priorities when high fat food was way more comforting.

That said, in Fall 2012, I joined BLC20 with the goal of losing 10 pounds but being happy with 5 and thinking all along that I'd be lucky to lose anything. But to my surprise, not only did I lose 5 pounds, I actually lost 8! So, now reaching my goal weight seems much more attainable. However, it's still a long ways away but I haven't given up.

My rheumatologist is thrilled with my weight loss (now more than 10 pounds) and told me to keep on doing what I'm doing so that's the first thing I'm looking forward to. Losing weight will take a lot of pressure off my knees and therefore, less pain (in theory) and if there's less pain then maybe I'll be able to be more physically active.

I'd love to be able to buy clothes anywhere and not just for plus-sized women. I'm looking forward to being able to sit in an airplane seat more comfortably.

But, honestly, the biggest change I hope will just be my health. I'd like to reach my 60s in the best health that I can have so that I can retire to an active and healthy life. I'll still have RA and OA but I can manage those. And, I have to remember that living healthily is for life not just until I reach goal.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

4-1HEALTHYCYNDI 1/29/2013 11:30AM

    WOOHOO! I'm glad you joined the challenge and got such great results! You are doing exceptionally well.

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ANGEL1066 1/28/2013 7:59PM

    I hear you about the comfort food, always my downfall. But every ounce of weight I have lost has improved my pain level and exercise has really improved my ability to manage daily tasks. Great blog!

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A-STRONGER-ME 1/28/2013 7:00PM

    Keep fighting the good fight and it will happen!!

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_LINDA 1/28/2013 6:18PM

    emoticon This Biggest Loser challenge seems to be just the motivation you need to get it moving in the right direction! Do know this. I have RA and OR as well and I feel WAY better now then I did when I was packing around 198 lbs on my tiny little frame. It made a HUGE difference! I can move better, participate more, and even though there are more serious pain challenges, I can handle it better, and moving always makes me feel better than sitting around. Pushing through the pain and becoming fit was so worth it, just for the way it makes you FEEL -GREAT!
You can do this Joanna!!
emoticon emoticon

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IMAGINE_IT 1/28/2013 9:09AM

    emoticon Blog Joanna....and i like the way you think...because living healthy is an absolute 'Must' at all times (except the occasional slip-ups) and not just until the challenge is over..or until we reach our Goal. You will succeed! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FUSIONFITNESS3 1/28/2013 1:07AM

    emoticon blog, Joanna.
You've hit the nail on the head when you say the big change will be your overall health. We read it, we hear it, and we see it all around us all the time. I know that for me I didn't believe it for myself in the least. On my weight loss journey over the past year I have been pleasantly surprised to experience better overall health. I say surprised because remember I didn't believe it for myself. My joints hurt, not because of any diagnosed arthritis so I believed my exercise would be limited. I now run and the knees are cooporating so far. I had been on BP medications for years and resolved that wouldn't change because my Mom had been too so it must be gentic. Guess what. I am off all my BP medication. So what I read, what I heard, and what I saw had truth to it and I do believe it is possible for me to improve my overall health. Joanna I believe that for you too.
emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 1/27/2013 8:28PM

    Re: "living healthily is for life not just until I reach goal." Now THAT'S the true secret to success! Because beyond your improved health there won't be too many changes to your life when you reach your goal. The At Goal and Maintaining SparkTeam helps folks to take the LONG view toward our health and is worth joining well ahead of reaching your goal as research is now revealing that folks who prepare for maintaining their weight in advance have a greater chance of success.

LOADS of support, knowledge and wisdom on that SparkTeam also!


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GLASSART43 1/27/2013 7:22PM

    emoticon Joanna!

It took me almost a year to lose 55+ pounds, and Spark and the Warriors are why I haven't quit. You have done amazingly well - I'm in awe of your energy and know you will keep improving your health.

Go Warriors! emoticon

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ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 1/27/2013 6:02PM

    You are doing great!!! From one Warrior to another, you can do this!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROUNDTOWNMOM 1/27/2013 4:33PM

    You have been an amazing Warrior.............and you continue to inspire me with your determination and your success. I'm so glad we've gotten to know each other and that you are part of our team!!! Keep up the great work!!!!!!!

............and thanks for your support of me........................! emoticon


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KMM1123 1/27/2013 4:20PM

    Way to go on the weight loss! Overall health is a great goal to have. Any mini goals you create will help you to reach your main objective.

This is my first ride with the BLC and I'm having a great time!

Keep up the great work!


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DEDICATED2HIM 1/27/2013 3:18PM

    OK I admit I'm slow. What on earth is a BLC challenge?? Please leave a note on my spark page and explain....sounds like something Id like to do.

Keep up the good work girl, you're making steady progress!

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SEATTLE58 1/27/2013 2:25PM

    Wow Joanna, you are doing so good, I know that you'll get to goal by the time you're 60 and way before even, I feel. With the way you're going at it for sure! I have faith in you Girl!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ANGRITTER 1/27/2013 2:07PM

    First of all, there is no way you are almost 60! So entering your 60s healthy will be a goal met as you must have over 15 years to get there, right!!

Secondly, I love that the BLC challenges are doing great for you and are challenging you more and more. I am not ready to dive off into one of them for myself yet, but I am sure that one day I will have to drive and commitment to step into that challenge pool!

I say that anything that motivates you is a wonderful thing. My motivation lately has been more along the lines of havin more space in the bed for my fat butt so I can sleep AROUND my dog and still have my own room. Today I outslept him (I slept until 1 pm!!!) and he kept coming in here and using my body as a trampoline. I think I won, I am not sure yet as I have not moved very far!!

Remember, on Sunday a Goddess rests!

Hugs and Love, Ang

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Forgive a Regret & Write About It

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I have my fair share of regrets but I must admit that I haven't held onto them. Life is about moving forward and not dwelling in the past. But, this is part of the BLC Weekend Challenge so I will put down one of my biggest regrets.

My biggest regret is that I stopped exercising when I got married. Before DH and I married, I weighed 130 pounds and to maintain that weight, I walked everywhere. I lived out in the country where a bus only went by our house once every 2 hours and once every 4 hours on holidays and Sunday so if you didn't feel like waiting for the bus, you walked.

The furthest I ever walked was 7.5 miles, which seemed like a lot especially given the fact that it was a hot July day. But, my best friend's boyfriend lived in Binbrook and she wanted to go to his house so my dad dropped us (her, me and her sister) off about half way there from our house and we headed off. It took us most of the day to get there as it was dusk when we arrived.

We (a different we) walked/hitchhiked 10.5 miles to Gage Park in Hamilton one summer night just for something to do. But, since there were 5 of us, rides were few and far between so there was a lot of walking. We had more luck getting rides home.

So, you see, walking was no big deal to me. But, when I got married, we ended up driving everywhere and hence no exercise.

I always tell my nieces and nephews to stay active no matter what and maybe that way, they won't gain as much weight as I did.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

_LINDA 1/28/2013 6:31PM

    Sometimes circumstances can be a good thing -I must walk every where I go as I don't drive and buses are infrequent. But today living out in the boonies would be very inconvenient -nothing much to do except walk around the roads would get very boring very quickly (my sister's farm is 30 miles from town so her kids could only play around the farm yard -they used to be outside a lot, but now its computers and texting) Your solution of keeping your exercise interesting by trying a multitude of DVD's is the best for someone in isolation.
I gained my weight when I lost the ability to move in a major flare up affecting almost all my joints except my hips. I lost it, but gained it slowly back again. But now I have learned to track and count calories I have no excuse for ever regaining the weight again. Even through surgeries I have kept it off and that is thanks to Sparkpeople!!
Spark On!

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ITS_MY_TURN_NOW 1/27/2013 6:03PM

    Good job! You are changing things up for yourself now.

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ROUNDTOWNMOM 1/27/2013 4:29PM

    Now that it's out there..............no more regrets. You are doing an amazing job!!!


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ANGRITTER 1/27/2013 1:41PM

    Hello Gorgeous! I love that times were safe enough for you to hitchike. Think if your young family members did that these day.... no way! Too many cuckoos out there to even risk it!

I used to be nice and pick up hitchhikers, so if I had been in another country in my past, I would have given you and your 4 friends a ride but only if I saw you walking that pattern several times a week. I only picked up people that I saw were"repetitive walkers" because I figured they had a job or something to be at and were least likely to hack me to small bits and steal my 1974 Corvette Stingray. I never picked up anyone else in any of my other cars! Funny how that works.

But congratualtions of embracing your inner teen and getting back out there and walking again!

Hugs and Love, Ang

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LADYJ6942 1/27/2013 11:39AM

    Oh so true. Great blog. I used to walk a lot, still try to but having the car and living in my new neighborhood it just isn't as convenient. Maybe come spring I'll do more.

Hope all is going well for you at work with the training and project and the new BLC round. Sure miss you Warriors!!!

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DDOORN 1/27/2013 10:42AM

    Where we live can have such a huge impact on how we live our lives. I think one of the best investments a community can have on our health and well-being is to plan the growth of the community and position homes and businesses in such a way that fosters walking, riding bikes and getting out and MOVING our bodies! Trails, parks and just PLANNING where homes & businesses are situated can make a tremendous difference in how people choose to spend their time.

Not that it takes us off the hook for our choices...kudos to YOU for turning your life around and choosing to follow the way of the SPARK! :-)


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MYRTLE811 1/27/2013 10:39AM

  I remember when I started walking again; I walked in a park and actually sat down every time I reached a park bench. Now I'm walking three or four miles a day and it does make a difference, not only for weight loss, but also for how you feel afterward.
I like your thinking about the walking again and hope you are taking it one step at a time, one mile at a time. You will do it.

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