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BLUE42DOWN's Recent Blog Entries

A thank you to BOOKWORM27S for question on gall bladder stones

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Sometimes the information we learn here is greatly useful in ways or places that are entirely unexpected.

A few weeks ago, BOOKWORK27S had asked for fellow Sparkers' comments on gall bladder surgery. I didn't answer, as I didn't know anything about it at all. But, being the sort of person I am, I went searching for information - learning a bit about gall bladder stones in general, symptoms, and treatments. (Yes, I'm that crazy Sparker who actually reads those health A-Z articles if they interest me.)

So, why the thank you? I went to visit my son and daughter this afternoon - figured an hour or two for coffee to order the shirts / hoodies they want would not conflict with family. Turns out family already had a crisis in progress. Their Abuela (Spanish for grandmother, but they actually call her Mama') had been sick much of the night, nausea and throwing up. Their uncle took her to the hospital maybe an hour before I showed up. The diagnosis ... gall bladder stones.

Knowing what I had learned recently, I was able to reassure them somewhat that in most cases it can be addressed without anything severely life-threatening; that surgery to remove it could possibly be necessary, but is reasonably routine for doctors. (She's in her 70s, and has had at least one stroke, so they were rather nervous about anything that could put her into the hospital.)

It was nice to actually KNOW something about it and not be just trying to comfort them blindly, perhaps wrongly saying everything would be okay if it was worse. As the nausea and vomiting was new (not an on-going symptom), she has hopefully been seen soon enough to avoid the worse results of letting it continue like that.

So, not quite as Merry a Christmas as they'd hoped. And oddly, becoming a bit of a tradition they don't like (someone always seems to get sick or hurt on the Eve). But thankfully a Christmas they can celebrate rather than grieve.


May all those of you celebrating Christmas or Hannukah or the Holidays in any form be safe, well, and warm. And may you remember the blessings of being alive, the blessing of having family and/or friends, the blessing of having foods around you have to say "No" to or "Just a sliver".

Peace to All.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/25/2011 6:27PM

    Praying grandma feels better in no time. emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 12/24/2011 11:14PM

    emoticon

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Los Gatos Creek Trail - a few pics

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I took my camera along this afternoon when going for a 2-mile walk to get some shots of what the Los Gatos Creek Trail looks like (as compared to the Guadalupe Creek Trail I've blogged about before).


This one is about half a mile into the trail - and unknown to me at the time includes the lone water fountain along the way.


A peek at the creek and the trail on the far side. It's much harder to see the water in the summer, as you might imagine.


One of six stray cats I saw along the trail. On my way back, he was out in the road and actually followed me a short way.


After the 1-mile marker, there's a sudden slope up to a bridge. The creek has a mini-lake on the far side of the bridge with a dam under the bridge over which the excess falls. This is a look from the bridge back along the creek - the left side being the trail I came on and the right the far side trail I could take.


Right near the beginning / end as the sun was setting behind me, these are some bare trees. The clumps in them are abandoned nests from the spring.

I also took some pictures of some birds, possibly American Coots, but none came out well. One surprised me by submerging completely - the first time I just saw the ripples and thought someone nearby had tossed a rock. Then as another bird swam near, suddenly there were two birds. I watched more carefully and saw it submerge again ... even seeing bubbles rise to the surface in the middle of the expanding ripples. Took it a while to surface with its catch in its beak.

I could not get the camera ready in time for the three separate groups of Canada Geese that flew overhead. Two groups were rather scattered, but one was in a perfect migration V. Of course, being Winter ... they aren't really heading any further South. California is part of their wintering range.

I'll definitely have to take the camera along in the Spring / Summer. The difference is just incredible.

However, this does give an idea of why the Guadalupe Creek Trail somewhat disappoints. Here, it's almost possible to forget about the city ... except for the dull hum of the freeway (on the far side of the far trail).

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLUE42DOWN 12/24/2011 11:00PM

    Sadly, during the winter I don't get to walk that trail much. The sun sets around 5:45 pm, and we're not supposed to be on the trails as it gets dark. (Having been about halfway once when it got seriously dark, I understand why and don't try it.)

So most of my weekday winter walks are city blocks, sidewalks and houses. On the plus side of that, San Jose has a massive variety of architectural styles and choices in yards. This is definitely not the suburbs of Edward Scissorhands with cookie-cutter lawns and houses. So by changing which blocks I go up and down, I get to see an amazing number of styles, colors, sizes, etc. (And while I don't really expect to ever buy a house, it is fun to think about which I like and why.)


Santa Cruz Mountains are gorgeous. When I had a car years ago, I loved to drive out to Castle Rock Park or Big Basin and hike. My long-term hope to do some backpacking, maybe overnight camping, that's where I'd want to go first. There's trails I understand will take me to points where I can look out and see the Pacific.

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NORCALCAT 12/24/2011 7:05PM

    I was born in Los Gatos! Lived in the Santa Cruz Mts right after I was married...how I miss those mountains! Such a beautiful trail!

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LBEEKMA 12/24/2011 6:41PM

    What a nice escape. It sure beats sidewalks and rows of houses!

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POETLKNG2LOSE 12/24/2011 2:27PM

    I envy you being able to walk year round without having to worry about cold and snow or ice. Nice scenery too.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/24/2011 2:04PM

    Beautiful..that makes walking so much for fun when you have scenery like that. emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 12/24/2011 9:27AM

    It's still beautiful - thank you!

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Thanks everyone! And a welcome to Winter (or Summer)

Friday, December 23, 2011

First off, a very big thank you to everyone who read my blog, all who chose to Like it and those who responded in one way or another.

I think the responses were the best part - because I learned some things and had a few new random thought paths created by some of them. I also headed around to the SparkPages of all who replied and left comments, read more blogs, and just appreciated this community all the more.

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Welcome to Winter (or Summer for those Sparkers on the other half of the planet). Today is the Winter or Summer Solstice, the day when the sun (sol-) stops (-stitium) moving North and starts moving South or vice versa. It is the longest or shortest day of the year.

In fact, for those who live on the Arctic circle, the sun only peeks halfway over the horizon at midday. Those who live closer to the North Pole might not even see the sun for a day or more, the sky merely lightening and dimming with a dusk and dawn that is sunless. (The Antarctic circle would see the sun only dip halfway under the horizon, but there's very little land - and those staying at a camp in Antarctica would be closer to the South Pole and potentially have the sun only dip in the sky, not setting fully.)

All this happens because earth does not rotate around a point exactly up and down compared to the sun. We've probably all seen those pictures of the earth's axis at some point in our school years. Something I don't remember ever being taught back then, but learned because of my fascination with astronomy, is the tilt (or lack of) for other planets in our solar system. Three besides earth have similar tilt, three have almost no tilt, and two actually are tilted so the spin with one side always facing the sun and the other side never facing it.

Now, the Solstices and their annual opposites, the Equinoxes (when day is the same length as night), are when we consider our seasons to change. Of course, the seasons don't abide by our whims and it gets cold or hot based on many factors, but we humans do like having a way to say "it's officially Winter" or "it's officially Summer".

So, on that note:

Welcome to Winter (if you're in the Northern Hemisphere)!

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Welcome to Summer (if you're in the Southern Hemisphere)!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OUTATTHEBEACH 12/24/2011 2:02AM

    Interesting to read....thank you!!!

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THETURTLEBEAR 12/23/2011 1:25PM

    emoticon

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TMCLEOD4 12/23/2011 10:49AM

    Awesome!! Thanks for your blogs! They make me think and brighten my day!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/23/2011 9:45AM

    emoticon emoticon

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ALWAYSOWNIT 12/23/2011 2:00AM

    Congrats on the well deserved popular blog award:)

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Distorted views we often have

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I find this really fascinating; I'm not sure why. Maybe I just have an oddly unique perspective on it from the deliberateness of my weight gain.

Normally when a person gaining weight, they don't go into every day thinking "I hope I gain a pound this week". They don't plan their meals and do their grocery shopping to make sure they get those necessary extra calories. They don't avoid mirrors and pictures with the thought "I don't want to see myself until I weigh more". They don't berate themselves and feel ashamed because they ate too little. They don't consciously decide "I'm going to park right in front of the store so I don't burn as many calories."

In fact, while they have bad daily habits, such as 32-64 oz. of Coke / Pepsi a day, a day in which only a single 6 oz. can is consumed is meaningless. It isn't a failure that they didn't have as much some days.

Unless they're actually thinking about the food-to-weight connection at the time, they spent very little time worrying about whether they had one donut or twelve.


Now swap that person to a weight-loss mindset, and it's (swiping the Lewis Carroll title) "through the looking glass". Except, it's not even a looking glass. It's a (not-so) fun-house mirror. Everything becomes hyper-distorted.

One misstep and it's like they've stepped on a land mine. There's shrapnel flying everywhere, and they're on the ground pitifully murmuring "I'm done for. Go on without me." That single 6 oz. can of Coke one day is the iceberg that sunk the Titanic and they're going to go down with the ship.

WHY!?

Do we forget that gaining weight was also a journey? An easier one, for sure, since it depends on bad habits, not doing, and not caring. But it was a journey just as filled with days or weeks we didn't gain a pound, we didn't binge or overeat, we didn't stuff ourselves sick.

Seriously! While there may be some who accomplish this, most of us do not gain 1-2 pounds a week steadily or on average. For example, given that I quit caring about 15-17 years ago, probably starting around 175 at the time, if I had gained 1 pound a week, I'd weigh around half a ton (1000 pounds).

The reality was more about up some weeks, down other weeks, some days eating way way too much, some eating very little. (A comment on the "very little". I've had weekends where the only thing I consumed were mugs of milk or chocolate milk. A full 8 cups of chocolate milk only adds up to around 1260 calories. I can't even say I had that much. I had no thought in mind about weight loss. I just didn't want to bother cooking, and milk is very satisfying and filling to me.)


=============

Then a realization came to mind. When we talk about a journey, I think some think of it as a road trip. Get in a car, plug a destination into the GPS, and follow smooth paved roads from start to finish.

This journey is almost never like that. The car's a heap-o'-junk that we can't trust to start from day to day, the GPS constantly loses signal or turns us all about, and the roads, IF they exist, are full of pot-holes, ruts, missing signs, bridges out, and every other possible delay imaginable.

If we're expecting the former, that whatever we're doing is the magic bullet of weight loss, every single pitfall in our path is going to slow us and we are going to become very disillusioned and discouraged fast. In fact, we're likely to hit the gas hard and hope to just plow through, instead miring ourselves deep in what we hoped to avoid.

If we're expecting the latter, we drive a whole heck of a lot slower, we pay close attention to the road and steer around the pitfalls we see, when we fail to avoid one, we get out, assess the damage, get back in, and continue, now watching for that kind of pitfall again ahead of us.


Long story short, we've got to make sure we haven't distorted our view of what our journey will be like. Whether SparkPeople is our first ever attempt to lose weight or feels like it's our last hope, getting to our destination WILL have pitfalls. We will get stuck in potholes, run into tree branches, have cows blocking the road, turn down a dead end, get turned completely around, and feel more than once like we're never going to get there.

Expect that. Plan for that.

Straighten out that looking glass or fun house mirror and take a long hard look at what the journey is honestly likely to hold.

CAREFUL! Don't get bogged down in the immensity of how many road hazards there are to avoid or that one of them up ahead somewhere looks like the Grand Canyon. There is time between now and then to get the car running better, collect resources, look at maps, ask for help, decide to drive around, work out however that massive issue will eventually be handled. It's a long journey. Those hazards aren't immediate. Only the nearest ones will matter immediately.

But that honest look can save us a lot of heartache because the trials and tribulations will be far less likely to stop us dead in our tracks if we knew they'd be there and acted early to minimize their harmful impact.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILLINGTYRANT 1/26/2012 7:26PM

    I think you hit the nail right on the head. Over time, I have experienced the pot holes of dieting. I have stopped dieting and have re-evaluated my goals. The "real goal" is to get "healthy". If I mess up, I just get back on the horse and try again. This approach has allowed me to loose 30 pounds. It took more time than I would like, but the results speak for themselves. Thank you for sharing your insights and hopefully, get others to realize this is a life-long journey. I am enjoying every minute of it.

Gale emoticon

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NDORRIS 1/9/2012 9:18AM

    Here, here--very well spoken! I have started mindfulness practice and this blog suggests what I can do to be mindful about my attitudes and behaviors around food and exercise. I appreciate the effort you put into creating such a well thought out and relevant piece of writing. Thanks for publishing it.

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JENNIEONFIRE 1/7/2012 10:02AM

    This blog really helps me look at my "journey" in a different aspect. It really is true that the weight gain was a simple journey to follow and now to change it in the harder journey is tough but totally doable! Thank you for inspiring me

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GLYNISBELL 1/2/2012 9:58PM

  All about life and how you choose to handle it . I enjoyed your blog . Very encouraging . Something to think abut .

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JOOFARK 1/2/2012 4:56PM

    Thank you for this blog. This was one of the big lessons I learned last year about weight loss that helped me to blow holes in my black/white, all-or-nothing outlook on the way I gain and lose weight.

Thank you for reminding again of this lesson. I will probably return to this blog throughout the year to read it again and again along the road to a healthy lifestyle.

May you have overflowing joy this year.

~jo

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KWSUNSHINE1 1/1/2012 11:47PM

  this blog shows good insight! i would like to use it as analogy for my clients. i am an ladc (alcohol and drug counselor); the thoughts presented here describe a similar journey situation as my clients experience. thanx for sharing! :)

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KBITZNELSON 1/1/2012 6:17PM

  You have given me lots to think about. Thanks.

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DESERTFLOWERG 12/30/2011 6:31PM

    Thanks for the perspective.

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LOVEX3 12/30/2011 9:13AM

    Awesome blog thank you for sharing with us

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KARENB2648 12/29/2011 10:11AM

    Thank you for taking the time to write down and share your very thoughtful assessment of what, I think, we all go through on our journey to being healthy. You express yourself very well!! I am keeping this as a reminder of what this journey is really like. Take care. emoticon

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WORKOUTWITHPAM 12/29/2011 2:28AM

    Very nicely spoken. Thank you for sharing with us. Great Blog.

HUGS
Pam

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1BEACHWALKER 12/29/2011 1:14AM

    Great way to look at it! emoticon emoticon

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JEANNETTE59 12/28/2011 12:31PM

  Clear, concise and wonderful blog. emoticon

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TIMOTHYNOHE 12/27/2011 10:26PM

    I think I have finally caught on.

I was over-indulging this weekend and instead of think "Oh woe is me all is lost! I have eaten too much i am a pig and a slob ... blah blah blah."

I was able to think, "It's just two days. I have all new habit that will carry me through and get me back to my new normal."


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MISSLOIS 12/27/2011 4:06PM

    great blog!!!!!!!!!

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KAYLSLYNN 12/27/2011 3:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HUMBLEDAISY 12/27/2011 12:59PM

    So True!

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TXGRANDMA 12/26/2011 9:23PM

    Great blog! So TRUE!! I never thought of it that way before, sure makes a lot of sense....

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CHACHITA7 12/26/2011 9:17PM

    So very well expressed - thank you for sharing

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NUMD97 12/26/2011 2:57PM

    Your blog has been sitting on my desktop as a reminder to take the time to read it. I finally had a moment to do so just now and it was well worth the wait. Wonderful blog! It certainly gives a new spin on the obvious and I thank you for taking the time and care to write it.

All the best as you continue on your own "road" to better health,

Nu

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GONABFIT 12/26/2011 1:13PM

    great blog! Thank you

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BLOOMING52 12/26/2011 10:30AM

    emoticon

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GHOSTFLAMES 12/26/2011 7:21AM

    LET'S GO FOR IT WE ARE WORTH IT. WE ARE ALL HERE FOR YOU IF YOU NEED ANYTHING AT ALL JUST ASK.
ONE DAY ONE STEP AT A TIME WE WILL ALL DO THIS. TAKE CARE AND GOOD LUCK YOU ARE ON YOUR WAY, CHAR

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DAISEYTWO 12/26/2011 1:53AM

    You got a great attitude. This is so true.

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TIFFY0906 12/25/2011 5:28PM

    Great Blog - emoticon

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LJR4HEALTH 12/25/2011 5:02PM

    Thanks for sharing great insight

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TAKIAANDMOMMY 12/25/2011 10:42AM

    Wow I have been having such a hard time, "beating myself up" for gaining all of my weight back and struggling with breaking bad habits, this blog is wonderful, im so happy I came across it!

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ANNTORR53 12/25/2011 1:49AM

    Great perspective.

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FIREBUG32 12/24/2011 10:11PM

    Great observation! Thanks.

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4UTOPIA 12/24/2011 9:58PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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BLOOMING52 12/24/2011 6:23PM

    emoticon

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RANJINI4 12/24/2011 5:03PM

    Great Blog!Made me think!

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ANDBEYOND 12/24/2011 5:02PM

    You are so RIGHT! Now we have to walk our JOURNEY! Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year!

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LEANLIVIN 12/24/2011 12:03PM

    Great insight!!!

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TINASDUNWELL 12/24/2011 10:21AM

  I loved this blog! This is really fantastic. I think I'm going to print a copy to put near my desk. emoticon

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MOMMAKNOWSBEST 12/24/2011 9:51AM

  :)

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SPARKLED146 12/24/2011 8:43AM

    Thank you for this great viewpoint!

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KIPPER15 12/24/2011 7:51AM

    Great blog. The journey will continue! emoticon emoticon

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WOLF648 12/24/2011 5:46AM

  emoticon

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123ELAINE456 12/24/2011 2:51AM

  Awesome What a great blog. God Bless You and Have a Wonderful Week. Merry Christmas and Happy New Years

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KRISTEN_SAYS 12/23/2011 10:43PM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing

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YINETTV 12/23/2011 10:07PM

  Gps are horribl--i live in boston-- but i live the analogy

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DMAICON 12/23/2011 7:28PM

  I can truly relate to this blog! Thank you so much! emoticon

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WHQPHQ 12/23/2011 5:39PM

    Thank you for this!

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MARYSSEAMAN 12/23/2011 5:30PM

    Oh dear Lordy! Have I truly consumed a bag of fritos while reading your blog? As I worked out, watched what I ate today and planned for the holiday "traps". I think I need a better navigator! Great blog!

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JLBRHW 12/23/2011 2:22PM

  Keeping with the journey theme....we all know that if we start out on a trip and take a wrong turn, we don't give up on the trip, we just right our course/turn around and keep going onto our destination. Thanks for your reminder blog - very helpful!

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STINASLUV 12/23/2011 1:28PM

  Thanks for sharing, made me think a little more of how hard I can be on myself.

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KCKITTY43 12/23/2011 12:26PM

    very nice,very helpful insight emoticon

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BANDMOM2012 12/23/2011 10:48AM

    Nice

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SDTALLY 12/23/2011 10:24AM

    What a wonderful and refreshing way to look at the weight loss journey!

emoticon

Sharon

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Well, bummer - not enough bang for the buck

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I have a community center only a few blocks away from me. I had this idea that sometime into the coming year, I could head over there and move from the at-home strength training to some more serious work on some machines. I wouldn't really need the treadmills as I walk the neighborhoods, no matter the time of day or night, but some higher level cardio on a couple days wouldn't necessarily be amiss.

So just the other day riding the bus past, I noticed they had a sign out - an annual pass with a discounted cost. Nice prices, too - $120 for access to the fitness center all year, $200 for full access to that and any classes. Not sure I'd go for the classes - in fact, fairly sure I wouldn't - so I was all ready to go do a tour and plunk my money down.

And then I looked up the hours to figure out the best time to head over there. Given my schedule and when I'd be able to use it ... at the very best, if I made it a priority over anything else, I'd have a two hour window I could get there four nights a week. Leave work late, and I'd lose half an hour or more of that. And if I chose to walk before going (since cardio is best done before ST), that would just cut more into my time.

Sadly, for all I was excited to see it there and think of going, the hours mean I wouldn't really take full advantage of it.

So, bummer.

Now, there are two Bally Total Fitness clubs - one near work, one near home. That could be an option, and they do have better hours. But, even without a long-term contract requirement, I'm not sure I want to spend $60-80 to enroll and $25 - $30 a month just to have daily access to either just one or both. Daily access I'm not even 100% sure I'd use as completely as I could.

So Plan C it probably is - slowly collecting such things as dumbbells of different sizes, bands, maybe a balance ball. (Hehe, balance ball reminds me of my last one ... over a decade ago. It got popped by my daughter who was playing with it and bouncing around until it hit the corner of something with the pressure of her against it.) For now my walking and weights will suffice.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BLESSEDGMP 12/21/2011 1:59PM

    Do you have a YMCA near you/ They usually have pretty fair prices and good equipment. I go to a natatorium belonging to the city and do water aerobics and strength training. It is $4 a day and you pay as you go so no real commitment. Keep at it you are going great.

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SABLENESS 12/21/2011 11:38AM

    I'm with you on Plan C. Getting to be obese has already cost me enough; when I think of all the money I wasted on junk, hefty portions, and hidden treats--AAIIEEE. I just haven't the funds to spend on memberships, and I'm not a "class" person. I have enough fitness items at home to make a real difference, if I use them. We need a good blog on Fitness for Free. I'm not going to let the lack of money hold me back, and neither are you!

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MARKSTIPANOVSKY 12/21/2011 4:55AM

    Good luck with staying focused and reaching your goals. +Mark

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BOBP56 12/20/2011 10:09PM

    Plan C is a good plan, but I have to say I really love my Bally's membership.

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TMCLEOD4 12/20/2011 10:06PM

    If you want to up your cardio without a gym, try a DVD. You can pick some up at the library and try before you buy. Or, you can do what I do and search the thrift stores from time to time for DVDs and equipment.

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HDHAWK 12/20/2011 6:05PM

    I do all my workouts at home and get along just fine. You can do almost anything with a bench and a set of adjustable weights. Adjustable weights are a little pricey, but they are well worth the investment.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 12/20/2011 5:41PM

    Sorry the times didn't work out for you. I bet you can get just as good a workout at home. Hope you find what works best for you. emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 12/20/2011 5:11PM

    I think that usually you can find a "no enrollment fee" period (often UGH beginning of January) - or bully them into dropping the enrollment portion. But you are smart to evaluate whether you'll get your money's worth. Most people don't!

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PARKERB2 12/20/2011 5:02PM

    If you are not going to the classes and use the equipment, don't waste your money. Work out your own exercises and stregth training sessions. Good luck.

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