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Ponderings on blenders and more

Friday, February 10, 2012

Those frozen smoothie packets interest me. I'd like to try a couple out. But in moving back in August, I shed the vast majority of my kitchen appliances, which leaves me without any form of blending device. Not that my blender was in great condition - at 7-10 years old, it was a miracle that it mostly didn't leak (unless mostly liquid contents were left in it for a while). All the better I replace it anyhow.

There's also the idea of cooking more, which means a lot of cutting, chopping, and dicing. Which had me considering a food processor - or "better yet" a combo machine. But it seems like the two tasks I want to accomplish are at the wide ends of the spectrum from one another. Liquid is better with a blender, solids are better with a food processor, and mixed machines don't do the extremes as well as the middle.

So, for now at least, it seems a blender is the plan.

After learning about the sodium in cottage cheese, and having some No Salt Added cottage cheese, I've started looking into protein powders. In a way, it feels like trying to pick a blender. Lots and lots of choices and difficult to compile reviews that don't always cover what I care about.

I don't want to just rush and buy either, but I don't want to wait too long either dithering over what's "best".

I think I need to further clarify what I want and don't want.

(For example, I know I do NOT want a soy-based protein powder. Nor do I want one with artificial sweeteners. Does a whey powder exist without sweeteners? To be determined.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAELANI83 2/13/2012 1:21PM

    I have a hamilton beach travel blender. It's an 8oz travel mug that fits on the blade & can be taken off to drink directly from. I love it!

Comment edited on: 2/13/2012 1:22:33 PM

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GSWINNIE 2/10/2012 8:45PM

    I had so many issues with a blender I had purchased that I returned it. I then ended up buying one of those magic bullet systems which is great for making individual smoothies (not the packaged ones though not big enough)and it is wonderful as a food processor as well.

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    I need to get a blender, too..and find good protein powder, also. :) Let us know what blender you pick and I'll do the same.

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PARASELENIC 2/10/2012 2:45PM

    Depending on the quantity, I would totally recommend a magic bullet. We have one at the house and I am totally addicted to it-- super easy cleanup, very strong (makes a great hummus) and you can use it to chop for things like salsa, too. It's not as clunky as a blender and you can make one drink/shake at a time.

Totally, completely, in love with my magic bullet.

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SHERIO5 2/10/2012 11:04AM

    Sounds like you are doing your homework first, good plan!

I don't do smoothies too often, and I just use my food processer when I do.

I'm reading the responses though, good to see what others have found so I can learn from their journey! I'm not big on re-inventing the wheel when I don't have to!!

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MICHIGANLORI 2/10/2012 10:50AM

    I like 'Designer' Whey protein. My chocolate flavor has 18g protein and 2g of sugar. I like the strawberry and chocolate flavors the best.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/10/2012 10:11AM

    It cost a little more but a Ninja is awesome. I like way better than my blender. I love how smooth it makes things and how it makes snow cone ice. emoticon

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WHQPHQ 2/10/2012 9:51AM

    Have you tried one of those hand blenders? I have one and they are ideal for smoothies/soups etc. I also have a Kenwood mini chopper, it's small enough so that it can be stored away when you're not using it but it's a good size for making pastes (for curry etc).

I've been looking into protein powder too, I keep finding recipes that use it but don't know where to get any from, I suppose I could try the Health Food shop.

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LGAR519 2/10/2012 9:50AM

    First off, thanks for the comment on my last blog. I appreciate all your suggestions. You had some good ideas and I am taking them all into consideration. Now, about the Protein powder!!. I have the same qualifications for it that you do. I need to get some and want to be sure it is right for me. Mercy, is it expensive! I live in Virginia and sometimes it's hard to get the same products as other States. But if you find some you like, let me know the name of it. please.

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TAMPATINK67 2/10/2012 8:50AM

    Analyzing first - lovin your journey!!!! Good luck and let us know what you find!

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SASSY5468 2/10/2012 7:44AM

    Good luck in your hunt to find the perfect blender and protein powder. I am trying to find a fiber wafer that is gluten free. Not easy. But, with the Celiac's I have a very tough time hitting my fiber goal, even with all of the fruits and vegetables. It sucks. Everyone has their "thing" that they struggle with.

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Proof positive that scales don't just show "yesterday"

Monday, February 06, 2012

I don't normally pay a lot of attention to the numbers on my scale. I weigh in daily, every morning, immediately after getting up and relieving myself, with no clothes to skew the numbers. Then I record it here and on another site, checking my trend over time on the other site.

Normally it bounces up and down quite a bit. Up two pounds, down a pound, up half a pound, down three pounds, and so on. (I don't have SparkPeople announce the losses because it would look rather silly losing 1, 2, or 3 pounds on random days when that wasn't truly how much my trending weight shifted.)

This past week it unusually stalled completely for about 5 days - sitting at exactly the same numbers every single day. No big deal. Five days is not a "plateau". It's just an interesting variation from the usual bouncing around.

Yesterday it had dropped half a pound.

Then I spent the afternoon with my daughter, had my little tumble, and in getting my protein up in range and filling a late evening hunger was around 200 calories over my range. (And looking back over the week, I've been toward the upper end of my range all week.)

So I should be up today, right?


Down another half pound.

Moral of the story?

Very simply - the bathroom scale is not an exact science. A pound or more gained or lost is not always a direct result of what was done yesterday.

It's a decent enough tool to give us approximations on our progress. But it is rarely up 1 pound just because we ate 1200 calories more than we should have yesterday. It is up one pound because of a complicated mixture of factors that may have almost nothing to do with protein, carbs, and fat turning into glucose and being stored in fat cells.

(In fact, there are some days where air pressure and humidity play a factor in the number. I know higher humidity means my hair weighs a little more and lower means it weighs less. Small amounts in the grand scheme of things, but try weighing yourself with towel-dried hair sometime and comparing it to blown dry hair. If the scale has the precision to show it, there is a difference.)


Now, the most important thing. No, the scale does not show me "yesterday", BUT that doesn't change the fact I ate more than planned calorie-wise. I knew that last night. Stepping on the scale didn't erase it and make it okay because I supposedly lost 0.5 pounds overnight.

Living a healthy lifestyle isn't about wild adjustments based on scale shifts. It is based on knowing what is a healthy and workable range of both nutrition and activity - and maintaining that balance over the long term.

I lead the scale through my actions in the general direction I choose. The scale does not lead me through the numbers it shows.

(Edited only to change out a "never" to a "rarely", since absolutes are flawed.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Thank you.

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BENCGDL 2/9/2012 12:52PM

    so true!! emoticon

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SCMAMAJONES 2/7/2012 12:20PM

    Ah, another one admitting to weighing daily. Yea for us!!! I do the same thing. I record it in an Excel spreadsheet. I actually do an average and report the average on SP on Sunday (average of preceding Sunday to Saturday). So when I have a decrease in that weekly number, it shows I'm trending down. Or up, as is the case lately.

I also go up or down randomly, sometimes almost 2 pounds from one day to the next! I couldn't stand the thought of taking a once a week snapshot and missing those drops when they happen. Because they encourage me. I actually have daily weights going back from 2008, before I joined SP. When I pay attention and watch sodium, the numbers fluctuate less.

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SHERIO5 2/7/2012 11:27AM

    Food for thought!

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CALAMITYJANE44 2/7/2012 9:52AM

    Perfect way to describe it. So many times I give the scale way too much power over me - i.e. it determines how I feel about my efforts and progress.

Thanks for the very salient reminder of what it is - a tool!


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CRAFTYME44 2/7/2012 9:32AM

    This is the most amazing blog ever! You address the exact problem I have. I avoid the scale most of the time because when I know I've been doing all the right things, sometimes it takes a while for the scale to show it. If I don't see the result on the scale I want to, it can throw me off my healthy lifestyle ..... and really hard!

Thank you for your very intelligent take on scales!

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SAMI199 2/6/2012 11:37PM

    emoticon You are 1000% correct-I love this blog!


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50ISNEW30 2/6/2012 11:27PM

    Totally agree!

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_JODI404 2/6/2012 10:04PM

    Awesome points made! emoticon

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    So true!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/6/2012 8:02PM

    So true. emoticon

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GETMETO50 2/6/2012 6:20PM

    "Living a healthy lifestyle isn't about wild adjustments based on scale shifts. It is based on knowing what is a healthy and workable range of both nutrition and activity - and maintaining that balance over the long term."

thank you this is EXACTLY what I have been trying to verbalize but haven't been able to!

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DEC2DEC 2/6/2012 6:15PM

    Thank you. YES!

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NIECYWRIGHT 2/6/2012 6:04PM

    Good point.

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MISSB8604 2/6/2012 5:50PM

    LOVE it!

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SASSY5468 2/6/2012 5:37PM

    Very wise and well written blog!

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JODIWHITE19 2/6/2012 4:56PM

    Great blog!!

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Taking a tumble - the "joy" of being a natural klutz

Monday, February 06, 2012

Those of us who are natural klutzes often find an amazing ability to roll with the punches as it were.

I am one. My DDa is one as well.

It's not just weight-based and not knowing how wide a space I need. DDa is not fighting weight. And I've been clumsy even back when the only picture of me has me tall and scrawny looking (ah, growth spurts).

What does this usually mean? It means something will slip out of my hand, I'll get my other hand swung to try to catch it or slow the fall, a knee will move and a foot will shift. If I'm lucky, I slow it (bruising myself, of course) enough to avoid it shattering or splattering on the floor. I can say from experience that bread does not always land butter side up. In fact, the heavier coated side is more likely to be down ... and make a mess of clothes that try to stop its descent.

This also means I've had more than my fair share of trips and stumbles. Ice skating and other such activities at least taught me to fall properly, to curl, to roll, to not try to break a fall by bracing arms.

Which leads to the other half of being such a klutz. I don't really get badly injured for being so. Bruises and scrapes absolutely. Broken bones? Never once in my 42, almost 43, years.

Thank goodness my DDa is much the same. Worst two things in her life have been a badly infected lymph node and an over-extended elbow from volleyball.

This afternoon we headed down a flight of stairs. About two steps down, she started moving faster and the next thing I know she's falling, curling, and stopping about 10 steps down. I get almost to her ... and looking in concern manage to catch my toe of my right foot, my ankle collapses, and I go down three steps to the landing. -______-

Good grief! But, that luck or training in falling saved us both. She's got mildly scraped knees, a scraped and bruised shin, a skinned elbow, and a sore spot on the back of her head. I've got a scraped and very very mild twist of the ankle. Other than having to sit for 10 or so minutes to get over some light-headedness and assess the damage, we were up and walking it off.

And what must seem so strange to those who would have seen that, by the time we were walking, we were laughing about how surreal it had seemed, she was making a joke from a webcomic she reads about how she "can't stair", and we headed to find a bandaid for the one scrape that was leaking a little. She seemed most concerned about the different reactions she would get from people when they learned about the tumble, even deciding who she would probably avoid telling about it.

I honestly hate sometimes to be such a klutz and to have passed it on as though it is part of my genetic code. BUT, equally I am grateful that both she and I came through with such minimal damage. I cannot even wrap my head around how much worse it could have been.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PAULSSHAR 2/8/2012 3:46PM

    I can also relate to this! How's your ankle feeling now?

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SAMI199 2/6/2012 11:42PM

    I'm so glad you guys weren't seriously hurt...The joke in my family is "There's a reason they didn't name me Grace." lol.


Comment edited on: 2/6/2012 11:43:42 PM

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_JODI404 2/6/2012 10:01PM

    Glad you both are OK! That is a great skill set to have, knowing how to fall correctly! It usually happens so fast, it's hard to think. Hope you both are healed very quickly!

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TMCLEOD4 2/6/2012 2:23PM

    I can relate!! I'm such a klutz!! I'm really glad you're both okay!!

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THETURTLEBEAR 2/6/2012 12:57PM

    I used to have a boy in my scout troop who was a klutz - one injury after another. His doctor told his parents to sign him up for martial arts, so he learned to fall better and not hurt himself. It worked!

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REALLY_ROBIN 2/6/2012 12:39PM

  You have such a good sense of humor about things! Kudos to you! Glad you are both ok!

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TRACYKHOLM45 2/6/2012 12:18PM

    So glad you both are ok. I definitely understand about the klutz thing, my coordination is also real bad.

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SUECHRIS50 2/6/2012 11:31AM

    I was born a clutz and my oldest and youngest are too!MOM said I was an accident looking for a place to happen. emoticon

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LGAR519 2/6/2012 11:02AM

    I have been a klutz all my life. My balance is shot now so I use a walking stick.

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SHERIO5 2/6/2012 10:16AM

    I was smiling as I read this...I too am a "natural Klutz"! I'm glad you and your daughter are doing fine. I'll bet you fall "up" the stairs too!

Thanks for having a sense of humor about this!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/6/2012 10:12AM

    So glad you didn't get hurt too badly. emoticon

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MSLZZY 2/6/2012 8:26AM

    I call that rolling with the punches! At
least you know how to fall without getting
badly injured. HUGS!

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SASSY5468 2/6/2012 8:03AM

    So glad you both came out relative unscathed! *phew*

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SANDYB223 2/6/2012 7:24AM

    Scary....glad you were able to walk it off!!!

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RICHOJOHNSON 2/6/2012 4:45AM

    Glad u ok

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WHQPHQ 2/6/2012 4:10AM

    Oh no, hope you're both ok! I'm always injuring myself, I think my depth perception is off - I always hit myself on door frames etc.

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Feb 2012 Week 1 - Long-Term Health and Fitness Goals

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Obtain a full determination of my health condition from a doctor.

This involves a variety of smaller goals / steps to be done. I need to select a general practitioner or see if there are any clinics around. I need to figure out all the procedures that might be involved in getting a "clean bill of health". I need to price them and start setting aside money for the entirety.

I also need to review the insurance my coworkers have to see if it's of any value to join and whether doing so would change doctors, costs, and options. (Skipping LONG rant about insurance - suffice it to say I despise insurance companies.)

I don't have a specific target date for this goal, but definitely would like to have it done before the end of this year.


Not a major thing, but I want to be able to do a "real" pushup with proper form.

For women of my age, doing 8-17 bent-knee pushups is considered Average. I have no idea at what point of being able to do that I'll be able to manage a military-style pushup, but I ~will~ work from one to the other.

As I'm currently at a ridiculously weak point where I'm lucky to do ONE bent-knee pushup, I don't have a target date - just the goal and knowledge that when I reach this, I will really feel I've crossed a certain fitness threshold.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEC2DEC 2/5/2012 11:22AM

    Start the pushups against the wall. Gradually move further out. When you're ready, move to a lower incline -- if you're at a gym, you can set up a bar on a rack and use that. Gradually move the bar to the floor. If you're at home, you can use STAIRS. Just gradually move to a lower and lower stair.

Don't progress until you're doing full sets at the current incline in *good form* going all the way down -- it's easy to cheat and not go low enough, but that doesn't help you.

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50ISNEW30 2/4/2012 8:36PM

    Good goals. It's good to know your baseline health before 50 so you have a good comparison for the future.

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TIFFY0906 2/4/2012 5:52PM

    Love the goals I know you will achive them. emoticon

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JUSTAGIRL45 2/4/2012 4:51PM

    Smart, reasonable, achievable goals. You can do this!

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    getting a physician is tricky and getting a work in progress bill of health is definitely a fine idea. on the push up i dont have the flexibility in my right wrist so i can do wall push ups but not floor ones. it still works the upper back muscles. so maybe you want to give those a try.

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AHEALTHIERME444 2/4/2012 3:28PM

    Great idea about getting your health in order and a good reminder for others!

Keep at it and you will get there with the push ups. Another great way to work towards a military push up is using a fitness stability ball. Start on your stomach and roll carefully to where you are using your arms for support and the ball is at your knees. Then try to see if you can do a push up from there. It is a bit easier for me then even doing bent knee pushups.

If you type in Printable 15-Minute Ball Workout into the search field on this site--It is included as a part of this really doable routine.

Good luck!!! emoticon

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GETMETO50 2/4/2012 12:26PM

    sounds like a good plan...I too want to get to a point where I can do military pushups...I could only do the knee bent ones and now I can only do maybe 3 where in the past I could do over 20...never had much upper body strength and I can talk about it all day but until I get off my butt and WORK on it I am going nowhere.

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NIKINA_G 2/4/2012 12:09PM

    great goals !!! the day I will be able to do my first push up I will have a wild party...hahahah

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/4/2012 11:22AM

    emoticon on the push-ups. That was a HUGE goal of mine. You will be SO proud of yourself. emoticon

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LGAR519 2/4/2012 11:17AM

    My Humana Gold Medicare is a pain in the B---! It only covers papsmears every 2 years. You could be dead in 2 years! And trying to find a Doctor who suits me is impossible!

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KAELANI83 2/4/2012 10:51AM

    Insurance is so yucky, it makes me want to like in the UK! I feel your pain about insurance, finding the right doctor, and taking care of medical issues! I wish you luck with all that!

Great goals -- very specific and important! :)

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SHERIO5 2/4/2012 10:42AM

    Your goals sound smart to me! Good job on putting them down so you can make them happen! emoticon

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SASSY5468 2/4/2012 9:26AM

    Those sound like perfectly reasonable goals! Best of luck with them! :)

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WHQPHQ 2/4/2012 3:08AM

    Insurance sounds so confusing! It's strange, everything in the UK is free. emoticon
I can't do press ups! I can go down but then fall on my face and can't get myself up for love nor money! Have you tried doing planks to improve your core strength first then work up to the press up?

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Stage 4 - Spread the Spark

Friday, February 03, 2012

I have to admit when I first read the name of the stage, I rather expected it to be quite pushy about trying to recruit people. I'm very pleased to see it's less focused on The Spark as the book(s) and site and more focused on the Spark we each have within us.

For really, what IS the Spark? I suppose each person has to answer that for themselves. For me, it is that inner push to improve my health and fitness and life, to strive for something better. It's what takes it from just being lots of knowledge to being applied.

It reminds me, amusingly, of my DDa when she was little. I don't radiate heat necessarily, but I'm nearly always comfortable with the weather hot or cold. Unlike me, she is very temperature sensitive. It didn't matter how many blankets and how thick, she often was cold at night. As a little kid, she'd fuss and not fall asleep because she was too cold. So I got into this little "game" of closing my eyes and reach inside mentally to the heated core that kept me warm and slowly describing to her this process to expand the heat and send some to her to help her warm up. It didn't seem to take long before she'd fall asleep.

I'm not saying it worked! I think the drone of my voice and closing her eyes to try to imagine it was all it took to distract her long enough for sleep to claim a victim. However, I do have the same kind of idea about the Spark - that it is something "inside" me that I can reach for and expand to warm others.

The list of ways to Spread the Spark is actually quite interesting. Sure, one is "Get 5 friends to sign up on" which fits the original idea I expected, but the next one after that is "Volunteer to help with a 5K race." Nothing about wearing a SparkPeople shirt or telling others about SparkPeople. JUST volunteering in a way that helps others who are actively doing something for their help.

In fact, without having read this list yet, I wrote recently in response to someone else's blog or status or an article that I'd like to volunteer, particularly to be one of those who cheer on the participants running, jogging, or walking - to be there at the finish line even as the last person makes it across and still be cheering. Since I'm laying off walking long distance until my foot is completely recovered, this idea has a lot of appeal.

Now, just to clarify, it is very thrilling to share SparkPeople with a stranger (my last blog) and to hope she checks it out and joins us here. I will certainly not be trying to keep a secret. However, I dislike anything related to advertising or pushy sales. I cannot see myself printing cards for SparkPeople and handing them out to strangers. I can see myself, as I did, writing the site legibly and giving some description to a person who asks for the information.

Actions, to my mind, speak many many times louder than words. And so this list that has many actions has great appeal. Help fix up a playground. Coach a sports team. Volunteer at a YMCA or community center. Donate healthy foods to local food drives.

Share and spread the Spark through example and actions that spread healthy living.

I can do this!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHERIO5 2/3/2012 4:28PM

    I like the way spreading the spark just happens naturally, as people see an attitude change, a smaller jeans size...

Thanks for stopping by my blog, and good work on taking care of your body as you heal, AND finding other ways to move it!!


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TIFFY0906 2/3/2012 1:17PM


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PARASELENIC 2/3/2012 1:10PM

    You have totally inspired me to volunteer to help out with a 5k race. Thank you!

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NIKINA_G 2/3/2012 12:42PM

    great blog !!! emoticon

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TXWINS 2/3/2012 12:15PM

    Well said!

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THETURTLEBEAR 2/3/2012 12:03PM


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CRYSTLE4HIMTX10 2/3/2012 11:10AM


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LGAR519 2/3/2012 10:39AM

    Very good blog! I agree with you 100%

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    It is wonderful, and I cannot help myself spread the spark even without being in stage 4 hahaha. Thank you for helping me with my Spark...did you know you really have!

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SAMI199 2/3/2012 9:11AM

    emoticon I am not a high pressure lover,either. It is fun to see the ripple are the Best!

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    im glad its not a pushy website thing too...BUT i find myself really spreading the sparks everywhere...when someone says i look great i end up talking about this wonderfull site and all MY WONDERFULL SPARKS FRIENDS...Ive been fat all my life Im still fat never lost any weight untill sparks NOT A POUND EVER

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SASSY5468 2/3/2012 8:33AM

    What they said :)

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SANDYB223 2/3/2012 7:29AM

    Love your blog and your thought of inspiring by example. Awesome!!

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JUSTMI1 2/3/2012 6:16AM

  You my friend, inspire people to stay on sparked as well with your encouragement and friendship so ty ty ty with all my heart for being my spark friend and congrats on the new level you are, you rock!

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