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Who's in control of the steering wheel?

Saturday, April 07, 2012

So, another type of ad that seems common on one of the channels played on the gym TV is investments. Gold and retirement planning are the two common ones I can think of. One of the retirement planning ones actually made me think of this whole process of change and altering our lifestyle.

In the ad, it starts with one pair of hands on a steering wheel, steady and even. Retirement planning. Suddenly from the side another pair of hands grabs for the wheel. Taxes. Then another pair from the other side. College expenses. Then another pair from elsewhere. Medical costs. More and more hands keep making grabs for the wheel, and it spins this way and that as one side or the other gains more hands / pull in that direction.

The car careens all over the place, making much less progress, even spinning around and going the wrong way at times.

Applying that to our journey to health and fitness, we get on this road, hands on the wheel, and we start to make decisions. We're going to do this, we're going to do that, we've got that car pointed right straight in the direction of all our excess weight lost and life perfect.

And then another pair of hands yanks us off-track. Maybe it's the cookies still in the cupboard or the fast food joint so conveniently close to work. Maybe it's the rumbling stomach or the gasping, wheezing, breaths and aching muscles from our first few efforts at being active.

We fight our way back on course, tugged this way and that.

Then another pair of hands joins in the fray. Maybe this is a family member or a friend who is so helpful about bringing us a favorite treat or telling us we're beautiful as we are. Maybe it's the scale telling us that in spite of all our hard work, we're up this week. Maybe it's some random stranger being cruel because of the weight.

Zig, zag, on and off the road, a battle for control of our direction.

Even more hands jump in. Maybe it's emotional eating or binging or wild cravings we can't seem to control. Maybe it's unexpected life stresses - deaths, divorces, fracturing friendships, loneliness, job loss, financial strain.

Is it any wonder that so many have a hard time and "fall off the wagon"?

Of course, at this point is that the ad's solution to all that is not for the individual to be able to take and maintain control of that steering wheel. However, that's not really an option for those changing their own life ... unless they've got the time and money or connections to be shepherded Biggest Loser-style through every step of the process.

Some things that do come to mind:

1) When steering a car, we learn how to make SMALL corrections. I actually remember Driver's Ed classes and these computerized training sessions in which we "drove" based on a film playing. The natural kid instinct for driving is turning the wheel hugely to correct. The right way is small adjustments. By the time we've been driving a while, we don't even think about those tiny constant corrections.

Our path to a new lifestyle is more easily done in a similar manner. Let's say we plateau for a month. What's the natural instinct? Jump on a severe diet restriction - cut out this food group or that, double our workouts? Sounding at all familiar?

2) When steering a car, we deliberately slow down when we enter a hazardous zone. (Unless we're the Dukes of Hazard and try speeding up instead.) We see brake lights ahead, we drop our speed and examine the road. We don't just keep going full speed ahead, then swerve and hope we avoid every danger. We change lanes, we slow to a crawl, even stop as needed, and eventually we get past and return to our normal speed.

Again, good concept when we see danger points looming. We can slow down. We can examine the upcoming obstruction. We can shift our plan to adjust. (An injury or illness, for example, instead of the end of the world is just a delay of a few days or a need to switch the plan up to continue.)


I'm sure there's probably more, but I haven't cooked my dinner yet. Must do that to have some digesting time before getting to sleep.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRADIA 6/20/2012 2:57PM

    Good comparisons always come in handy. Thank you.

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SISYPHUS_CLIMBS 4/23/2012 6:50AM

    Great analogy!

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ROJAKHAN 4/19/2012 10:00AM


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LISABOULDER 4/16/2012 11:55PM

  Great blog. Thx so much for sharing with such a good analogy

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ELLENSANGEL 4/15/2012 9:59AM

    Greatpoint of view and awesome advise. thanks.

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LOUISIANA_LOU 4/14/2012 7:35PM

    My first post, and I had to say I really enjoyed this blog post. Very good analogy and good advice for all the pitfalls we face.

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FLUTTERFLI 4/14/2012 6:31PM

    emoticon emoticon

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 4/12/2012 3:12PM

    This was great. Thank you for the analogy; makes me feel better about some of the issues I've been dealing with myself lately.

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JAS9096 4/12/2012 1:43PM

    What an amazing blog! Thank you for posting :D

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SUPERSYLPH 4/12/2012 11:33AM

    I love the comparison!

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REDHATSHAPELY1 4/11/2012 8:20PM

    Loved the blog. The analogy of the steering wheel is right on. Thanks!
Keep on Sparking!

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TMCLEOD4 4/11/2012 2:49PM

    Great blog! I missed it somehow, but just looked it up. I'm really glad I did!

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RHEASWEIGH 4/11/2012 1:50PM

    So true.

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EUNIQ3 4/11/2012 1:41PM


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HUBBYANDI 4/11/2012 10:35AM

    I had not seen this ad, but it certainly describes how we tend to react to the hands trying to steer us off course...and how we "knee-jerk" react to them, by overcompensating. Great advice to only move the steering wheel a bit to guide it back to where we should be in our road of life.

thanks for sharing!

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GRAMPIAN 4/11/2012 6:51AM

  Good analogy.

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GRAMMAJUDY1 4/11/2012 2:10AM

    I am impressed. This blog was interesting and provided much food for thought. The best part though was the writers style and the way she made word pictures. My compliments for a well written blog. emoticon

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JULIA1154 4/11/2012 1:17AM

  This is an excellent blog and that's a terrific analogy. Thank you!

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ADRIENALINE 4/10/2012 11:35PM

    What a great analogy! It really brings it home.

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HUNNAWANNA 4/10/2012 4:58PM

    I wish I had taken a drivers ed class or learned how to but for real, I really enjoyed reading ur blog because I understand the need for small corrections when it comes to my journey to a healthy weight-loss and lifestyle. So thanks for sharing ur view, I needed to b reminded that Life Happens and it should not stop me from doing what I have to do! :-)

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HUNNAWANNA 4/10/2012 4:58PM

    I wish I had taken a drivers ed class or learned how to but for real, I really enjoyed reading ur blog because I understand the need for small corrections when it comes to my journey to a healthy weight-loss and lifestyle. So thanks for sharing ur view, I needed to b reminded that Life Happens and it should not stop me from doing what I have to do! :-)

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KLONG8 4/10/2012 2:21PM

    OK, I really liked this. The analogy is right on. It is tough keeping on path when we're being pulled off course by life. But small corrections, attention, and knowing where we want to go....that's the answer.


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BANDMOM2012 4/10/2012 1:11PM

    Great way to look at the process!

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KATV865 4/10/2012 1:01PM

    What a great analogy!

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BYTHEGRACE 4/10/2012 12:32PM

    I like it! Well done!

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NATARSHAD 4/10/2012 12:07PM

    Food for thought!!!

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VALERIEBARBER 4/10/2012 11:26AM


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ERIKGN 4/10/2012 10:02AM

  Nicely said!

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FLYINGB16 4/10/2012 4:55AM

    Awesome analogy!

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HIPPYCAT 4/10/2012 12:27AM

    Very well written - Thank you!

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SAMI199 4/9/2012 11:50PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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46SHADOW 4/9/2012 10:35PM

    So wise!

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KIPPER15 4/9/2012 9:48PM


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LIVERIGHTNOW 4/9/2012 8:56PM

    Hay, way to go, girl!!!! My new mantra: "Who's driving this car, anyway?" ME!!!

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PENOWOK 4/9/2012 8:55PM

    Good comparison!

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LOLAJO54 4/9/2012 7:26PM

    no wonder this was voted a popular blog.. what great analogy to the wheels on the true

great advice -- thanks for your thoughts of wisdom!

great stuff here emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 4/9/2012 7:11PM

    emoticonWhat an honor to see you blog featured in the Spark Mail. You certainly are an inspiration to others. emoticon

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KMMITCHELL4 4/9/2012 6:13PM

    I never thought of it that way. That's really helpful. Thank you!

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MERAINA 4/9/2012 5:52PM


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TUBJUMPER 4/9/2012 5:06PM

    Great Blog!

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GAELA-I-CAN 4/9/2012 5:01PM

    Great sence of humor, makes reading you blog very entertaining.

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WILDFLOWER521 4/9/2012 3:09PM

    This was interesting. It definitely helps to put things into perspective.
Thanks for sharing!

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LRSILVER 4/9/2012 3:02PM

    Interesting. thanks for sharing.

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JEWITCH 4/9/2012 1:08PM

    Interesting and thought provoking blog. Thanks for shoring.

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GORGEOUS72305 4/9/2012 12:51PM

    Love it!

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YAMAHA49 4/9/2012 12:45PM

    Jennifer: Great analogy. Especially the part about our ability to make micro-corrections when we are driving it becomes second nature...good goal for me with my daily porgram. Thanks for sharing......

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CHRIMSONFYRE 4/9/2012 12:39PM

    Great blog, you put it together very well, makes sense.

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DUSTYPRAIRIE 4/9/2012 12:16PM

    Very well put!

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SCMAMAJONES 4/9/2012 12:09PM

    Wow. Just Wow. I had to dig through my old feed to find this one, since I've been out of pocket, but it was worth it. Thank you so much! I love the way you write, and love the visual metaphors you can find to express issues that we are all dealing with.

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CAROLYNJ18 4/9/2012 11:59AM

  Great visual!

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Not sure how to feel about this one

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

So tonight I was on the bus heading home from the gym. A woman sits down next to me. I've run across her before and she appeared to recognize me. She started off with a comment about how large my phone is. I agreed - it's a smart phone and I have a pretty sturdy case for it, so it's quite a handful. I was playing Draw Something which drew in the interest of at least two others around, so we all had a little talk on that. (I started playing Draw Something at my DDa's request - but it's certainly easy fun, so I have multiple random games going.)

Anyway, as I finished the games and put it away, she started talking about going to the gym and how all the working out just was't helping her lose weight. (And, yes, she was definitely overweight - probably shorter than me and wider, more apple-shaped.) She went on about something she didn't like about 24-hour Fitness lockers / showers and how she'd switched to the YMCA and was using the pool there for a good overall workout.

Now, all that would have been an interesting conversation. But then she showed off her two purchases in her hand. One was headphones for the gym. The other? A large bag of pork rinds. Large as in 2-3 times a normal bag of potato chips that is already 2-2.5 servings. It's her snack, she says. I give an easy laugh and say that it would certainly undo most of a couple gym workouts, which she simply pooh-poohs. Then she rings the bell for her stop ... next to a 7-11. She needs to go get her 2-liter of pepsi to go with her snack.


I just ... I don't know whether to feel pity or shock or what.

One feeling I have is a bit of shame that I can't seem to avoid judging what she was eating (though I made no other comment besides the indirect one about it undoing workouts). I can't let go of just how WRONG what she was eating was - not so much what it was (though ewwww), but how much she considered normal for a snack.

I think what feels so odd is that from her perspective that is completely normal eating behavior. There was nothing at all wrong with working out at a gym and complaining that it wasn't helping her lose weight, nothing whatsoever connecting what she eats to that issue, in her mind. I'm having trouble "walking a mile in her shoes" to understand how it is possible to think that way.

*shakes head and lets it go*

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HONEYPI 4/23/2012 8:43AM

    Maybe your conversation with her sparked 'Food For Thought' with her later and she will rethink her food choices, hopefully.
Hey, I recently discovered 'Draw Something', so if you want to start another game my name is honeypi or email nytonc@gmail (add the .com). It's so much fun! emoticon

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KLONG8 4/10/2012 2:27PM

    You know, we've been doing this for a while and have learned a lot (sometimes we don't use it but we know it). It pulls you up short when you run into someone who is missing a basic. It's sort of like my DH coming home from work one day and saying, "Did you know that eating a lot of carbs can cause you to gain weight?" Duh! Has he not been listening to the news, watching me pay attention to a balanced diet and talk about how important it is not to stuff yourself heavily (good choice of words) with carbs - especially empty carbs?

So...I think your comment was probably the gentlest passing of info you could do.

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JACKSBRAT1 4/6/2012 2:27PM

    I personally do not think i would say people are ignorant........ I think a lot of people are just not aware of ....... or maybe they have things that they are stressing about ........... I Know being a ex smoker that when your stressed you smoke, when your sad you smoke happy you smoke ect, ect same as food some people use food in stead of smoking ! I think people give up there bad habits when they are ready to do it for them selves ! I agree with sue , we can not change others , we can only work on our selves and i don't know about all of you but i have a lot to work on to keep me busy !! emoticon


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AEBROWNSON 4/6/2012 9:50AM

    It's possible she came over to you because she has noticed you on the bus and has seen your progress...why else would she talk about the gym? It takes a long time to put all the pieces together about getting healthier. She's getting the exercise part, but the food part is still eluding her (I agree...pork rinds, Ewwww!)
If you see her again, and have the opportunity, mention SP!

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INFINITEJESS84 4/5/2012 7:35PM

    Interesting. Don't worry too much about the pang of judgment you felt. It's natural, and as long as you remain compassionate and respectful in your words and attitude, it doesn't mean anything about you as a person.

In the western world, there is no lack of information regarding what one should and should not eat. Denial is a powerful thing, and people need to come out of it in their own ways. Probably nothing you could have said would have changed her mind.

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APONI_KB 4/5/2012 9:09AM

    I think it's good of you to care, but other than that I just don't know what to say. I learned the hard way that exercise alone won't cut it. Did you tell her about this site? Maybe it would work to introduce her to sparkpeople and let her discover for herself what she's doing wrong.

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WOMANOBRONZE 4/5/2012 1:00AM

    I just read in Nathaniel Branden's "Six Pillars of Self Esteem" the following:

"We are the one species that can formulate a vision of what values are worth pursuing - and then pursue the opposite."

This observation was used to kick off a discussion on how our actions that result in self-sabotage can be intimately linked to low self esteem.

The rationale goes as follows:

Many of us may choose to eat poorly because, well, we don't think we're worth the trouble of reining in our appetites. I mean, if we think we're worthless anyway, why go through the pain of eating right and exercising?

Interesting thought!

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SPARKFRAN514 4/5/2012 12:42AM

    Some people just need to be reassured that it is O Kay to over eat and want others to agree with them. or make her feel better about her choices in snack foods and needed some to agree with her. you were kind enough to try and tell her to re think her choice that's all you can do you are not here Keeper as my Aunt and mom would say. you can lead a horse to water but can't make it drink
you did your part telling here about her snack choice an the gym visits. the water part is the choice was up to her what to do with the information you provided
which you did telling her that the snack was several gym visits to work it off. you should not feel bad what she did with the information. now its up to her. not sure i could have shared with her like you did. way to spread the Spark

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TRENTDREAMER 4/4/2012 4:02PM

    A few thoughts:

I lost at least 15 pounds eating a lunch that would make the pork rinds and pepsi look like the lean options. I changed other areas before that and even then the change was gradual once I started. I knew that the lunch was unhealthy but that it needed to stay while I solidified other habits

Even before that I was in complete denial about how the fast food breakfast, 5 daily candy bars, pizza lunches and mall food court dinners were affecting my health.

You're not judging her as a person. She's making decisions that are adversely affecting her health. I personally do a lot of "Wow, I used to eat like that"s when I see people making unhealthy choices. It's natural.

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AMBERZADE 4/4/2012 3:22PM

    Don't be so hard on yourself for judging her. She did invite you in. I think your comment was polite and mild enough to get through to her if she was interested and still not offend.

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MICHELLE_391 4/3/2012 11:00PM

    I think it is very compassionate of you to care about the health of this stranger. I agree with the comments above that this woman simply doesn't know better. That is really sad that education about good food is overshadowed by big business' advertising. I remember a commercial from the late 80's early 90's where McDonalds had a commercial where chicken nuggets were growing from trees.

Often, on the train in the morning, I'll see children drinking orange soda and Cheetos on the way to school. I wonder if the parents understand that there is no orange juice in the soda, or cheese in the Cheetos.

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SUE_2U 4/3/2012 8:59PM

    Letting it go is probably the wisest thing we can do.
It's like the Serenity Prayer,
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."
We can't change other people. We can try to point things out along the way, or respond if they ask advice, but we can't make their decisions for them, nor should they be making our decisions for us.
It's really shocking how many people are just like that woman, though. They don't want to change. They just want things to happen without having to really do much of anything to change their habits.

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2BE-MY-BEST 4/3/2012 7:48PM

    Some people are that ignorant and I think it would be ok in a nice way to tell her that her efforts are being sabotaged by what she is snacking on. Speak up!

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MOBYCARP 4/3/2012 7:44PM

    Letting it go is doubtless the best thing for your own fitness and health journey.

Philosophically, we aren't all ready to see Truth at the same point on our journeys. It took me between 5 and 6 years of off and on trying to get fit through exercise before I ended up tracking what I ate. And without tracking, I would never have truly understood the adage, "You can't out-train a crappy diet."

I've been tracking for almost nine months now, and the big shock is how few calories exercise is really worth. Even when I was running 4 or 5 days a week, I still couldn't eat everything I might want.

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ICA171 4/3/2012 7:07PM

    My husband, though not overweight, thinks that working out is much much more important than what you eat. I've tried to tell him several times that no, working out is important but you have to eat well most of the time, too. He doesn't eat badly all the time, but if he eats candy or something like that he just says he'll work it off later. I'm guessing that that's her thought process--she thinks exercise is everything while diet is just a negligible part of the process. It took me years to convince my husband otherwise, so I don't know if anything you can say to her in the span of a bus ride is going to have much effect. I hope someday she figures it out.

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SOFT_VAL67 4/3/2012 6:34PM

    im not sure either

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    It is SO hard not to judge when people are making such obviously poor choices. It's sad. You just want it to "click" for them. Health = Fitness AND diet. Health is about vegetables and fruits and whole ingredients that aren't processed. You want to shake them! You want to snap your fingers in their face and say "WAKE UP!"

I feel this way with my family all the time. My mother cries all the time that she's gotten so fat over the years, but then drinks a nice big coffee full of artificially flavored high-fat cream and has a quarter pounder for dinner. My dad has struggled with his weight all his life and gives into fad diets, (Atkins especially) and then gets pissy when it doesn't work, because he doesn't realize there isn't any "trick" to losing weight except to eat good foods.

It's so strange. And yet, you can't judge, because can they help that it hasn't "clicked" for them yet? Don't you just wish that you could instantly share what you know and what you've learned so that they can see the light, too?

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CHUBRUB3 4/3/2012 6:10PM

    You said it as delicately as possible that she should rethink her 'snack'. It is up to her to take the advice and work with it.

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_RAMONA 4/3/2012 3:41PM

    I can really understand how you feel... I'd feel pity, shock, and every complex nuance in between (and probably an unhealthy dose of judgement... more than my fat, this is really something I struggle to lose). Feelings aren't an idictment of one's character... they're simply an internal context for one's experience. I would also be struggling with the conflict of wanting to be helpful and thinking, based on the evidence in front of me, that there really is no point in saying anything... I think there will always be 'shoes' that just won't fit on our feet no matter how hard we try to jam them on. I don't have as much difficulty with how people got 'there' but with how, once a new option presents itself, they stay 'there'.

I think you did well to not acting on your feelings... I wonder if I would have been able to stop myself from doing so. I'd alo likely be ready fior the next time I saw her... because wanting to help would eventually win out. If you see her again, why not have a business-type card in your pocket with the URL for SparkPeople on it? Just hand it to her and explain that you remembered your previous coversation, that you know it is really frustrating to be doing everything right and still not be losing weight, and that you've personally found the site really helpful in losing weight. She can then decide how connected she really wants to be to her own process... and she'll have some real tools to use to do that. The rest is up to her.

Frankly, I've ceased to be surprised at just how disconnected people can be... and they are all over SparkPeople, too. Some people have been here for years (like me, HA!) and yet (unlike me... though the quality of my food has never been my issue) still haven't moved any closer to understanding just how they are sabotaging themselves. Conversely some of those who seem most hopelessly disconnected just suddenly 'get it' and everything changes for them... and I've learned from my experience here that you can never tell at initial presentation which way it will go.

I just read the blog of a Spark who's 6-year old and 4-year old didn't know what celery and cucumber were until this week. She, herself, has been eating 'healthy' for a year now and hasn't fed any of the new 'healthy' food to her family. I've just gotta walk away from stuff like that.

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LGAR519 4/3/2012 1:05PM

    I love pork rinds and it is hard to stop when you get started eating them. That said, I'm not sure what I would have said to the lady. Some people don't have a clue and some people don't want to have a clue. There's a big difference!!

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SIMPLY-EVA 4/3/2012 12:28PM

  Maybe there is a way to approach the subject without sounding like you are criticizing her for what she is eating. I, for one, love pork rinds. They are a fun snack in the city I grew up in and, although not healthy, I do have them occasionally. Why not giver her a tip instead. Ask her if she has ever calculated how many calories she should have per day for what she is trying to achieve. Then, if she says yes and tells you a number, ask her how many calories are in the pork rinds and reminder her that the number doubles since the one listed is per serving and some bags have 2.5 or more. This will open a new area for her and offer her some awareness. No need to be mean about it even if you would like to cause some people really don't get it at first. You have a chance to help since she most likely will be on the bus again at some point. Open the conversation about how its going and then take it from there. I have a cousin who stays thin by eating a snickers bar and a dr pepper every day for breakfast. Horrible right? But she is doing what works for her. She also does tiakwondo and boxes. Not my idea of a good plan but its working for her.

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AMY_BE 4/3/2012 11:46AM

    I like your posts. It's a good practice to temper judgment with giving people the benefit of doubt (as I'm sure you know.). It makes me think of all the judging looks I get when I am hiking; people just see the fat and don't see the effort. Take that walk into town and it's worse: They just see the fat, they don't know my story, they don't know what I go through or how hard I work out. Or, like after running my first half marathon in Oakland last week, fat and all, I went to have some Indian food......(delicious naan carbs for the first time in 3 months, sigh!) and I got looks. It's so easy to look at people and weave stories. In fact, I don't think it's possible to not do so. So I remind myself that that's all it is: a story I'm telling myself about someone I don't know. In my head, I judge and tsk tsk peoples' choices (I know so much better than them!), and then I give them the benefit of the doubt. Then it's easier to chuckle, to have compassion, and maybe even to judge myself a little less harshly. emoticon emoticon emoticon
Pork rinds are just WRONG, lol!

Comment edited on: 4/3/2012 11:48:21 AM

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TMCLEOD4 4/3/2012 10:12AM

    My parents are the same way. I find myself frequently saying to my sister, "They can't be that ignorant of what is good for them, can they?" My sister thinks they are but that they are also stubborn and won't listen to advice on healthy eating.

The woman, you ran into, probably doesn't know how poorly she's eating and needs to learn it on her own. I see it here on SP message boards as well. I want to shake them and tell them they are wrong. But, they will have to figure it out themselves.

I wish I'd figured it out a couple of decades ago.

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SHERIO5 4/3/2012 10:04AM

    I'm with you...

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SASSY5468 4/3/2012 9:34AM

    Wow! I'd be thinking the same thing you are. We're taught as kids at school about good food choices. She must have missed that class :)

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JALEEMN 4/3/2012 9:31AM

    I agree your response was spot on. But I also find myself regularly thinking judgmentally about people I see that are way over weight and exhibiting such behaviors. I have a hard time not saying anything sometimes, like in the grocery store when I see morbidly obese people in spandex and pushing a cart full of boxed processed foods. On the street seeing the same type of person riding one of those electric scooters or chairs, maybe there is and underlying health issue, but do you suppose it's due to the obesity ? I know I can be quick to judge and criticize, it's not a Christian way to be and I pray about it all the time. But my judgement springs out of pity. Pity that these people have let the this evil world lead them down the path they are on and like the woman on the bus it's their "normal" and they see no reason to change.

This is a difficult subject for me I struggle with it all the time. I guess all I can do isbe a positive influence for exercise and a healthy diet for those around me like our kids, grandkids, friends, etc. In the end if you are able to turn even one persons lifestyle around that is a huge accomplishment.

Thanks for bringing this up !


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AMYTRIPP 4/3/2012 9:07AM

    Ugh. Yeah. I think you just have to let it go. You can't be responsible for her poor choices and sometimes we can't help but judge. Especially when we're trying so darned hard to make our own changes and feed our bodies right.

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RG_DFW 4/3/2012 8:40AM

    pretty much sums up the mentality of a great deal of America today...

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JENSTRESS 4/3/2012 8:24AM

    It is hard not to judge, especially in a situation like that. I definitely understand your shock and surprise. I remember being in a similar situation with a former co-worker. How nothing she was doing was helping her to lose weight. Then I had lunch with her one day. You don't want to judge, but you do want to help! I know that for me, now, I bring up this website. Hey, have you heard of Sparkpeople? It is a website that is about losing weight and (insert praises of SP here). It doesn't always lead to someone joining, I am sure, but at least they would get some idea that their weight loss is being thwarted by themselves. To see that by tracking food, they are eating far more than they realize... But you did everything right. Maybe she will notice that the hundreds(?) of calories extra she is eating in pork rinds with no redeeming value are adding up on her. Hopefully.

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-SONIA- 4/3/2012 7:02AM

    The teacher part of me would definitely want to go into a mini Spark lesson, but I'd probably chicken out! emoticon Or not... Sometimes I just can't help myself! emoticon

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TORIAMAE 4/3/2012 5:58AM

    It definitely is hard not to judge...not so much from a moral perspective but from a common sense perspective. As in, how on earth can you not know that pork rinds and pepsi will undo your efforts at the gym?

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BWGIRL36 4/3/2012 1:33AM

    I truly didn't think I ate that much until I started tracking my food. So some people truly are clueless about nutrition. I am still learning and will probably continue until I die. Oh well, sometimes I get upset about what people eat too. I just bite my tongue most of the time.

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FULLOFFAITH 4/3/2012 1:01AM

    Yes it is amazing in this day?and age when people still can't understand that it is a combination of moving your body and feeding it health energy packed foods. Every where you turn there is information but maybe there is so much out there some people don't know what to believe.



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NEWMOM20121 4/3/2012 12:58AM

    It is hard not to judge. I think your response was perfect.

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2012 Stats - Three Months Done (State of the Blue/Jennifer)

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Three months of 2012 completed, so I am reviewing where I've gotten to:

Height = 5' 7.75" TO (67.75" TO ) TO 5' 7.75
Weight = 221 pounds TO 200 pounds (21 pounds down)
Body Fat % = 45% or 28.23% TO 42% or 27.89%
BMI = 33.85 (Obese) TO 30.63 (Obese)
BMR = 1737.375 TO 1641.325

Forehead = 23.75" TO 23.75"
Neck = 15" TO 15"
Shoulders = 45.5" TO 44"
Chest = 41" TO 40.5"
Bust = 48" TO 46.6"
Ribs / Strap = 38.5" TO 38"
Bicep = 15" TO 14"
Forearm = 11.5" TO 11.25"
Wrist = 7" TO 6.75"
Waist at Navel = 42" TO 40"
Hips = 51" TO 48"
Seat = 48.5" TO 46.5"
Thigh = 26" TO 26"
Calf = 17" TO 16.75
Ankle = 10" TO 9.5"

I can definitely tell hips have been going down. That's the big key to the smaller pants. Everywhere else they can be somewhat loose, but in the hips I start getting an inch then two of material loose.

** See
for my original comments on taking those measurements.

Fitness testing:

Resting Heart Rate = 56 bpm TO 61 bpm
Target Heart Rate = 125 - 151 bpm TO 124 - 150 bpm (lol, I'm a year older)
Blood Pressure = 109/71TO 115/75

NOTE on Resting Heart Rate and Blood Pressure - first number of heart rate was done in bed with watch, second was done on blood pressure machine after being up and out, but not having worked out yet. Both are nicely in ranges, so no worries.

for instructions and scaling)

Situps = 20 (Average) TO 31 (Good)
Modified Pushups = 3 (Poor) TO 4 (Below Average)
Squats = 15 (Average) TO 22 (Good)
Step = 132 bpm (Below Average)TO 145 bpm (Very Poor)*
Vertical Jump = 7" (Poor)TO 8" (Below Average)
Sit and Reach = -3" (Poor) TO +1" (Average)

Aerobic fitness check (2 miles total)

Heart rate before walk = 59 bpm TO 90 bpm
Time for 1 mile brisk = 14:57:58 TO 15:10
Heart rate after 1 mile brisk = 128 bpmTO 127 bpm
Time for 2nd mile brisk = 15:07:72 TO 14:45
Heart rate after mile 2 = 140 bpmTO (whoops*)
Time for 1 mile normal = 18:02:97 TO 17:02
Heart rate after 1 mile normal = 120 bpmTO 109 bpm

* Comment on the step test. I did this after doing the miles test, where in January I had done the step test first. In addition, I had just finished getting the aerobic step all prepared which had my starting heart rate for the test 112. So even though this one dropped in the good/average/poor scale, I actually think I would have done better if I hadn't skewed my results unintentionally.

** Comment on the mile 2 heart rate. The treadmill will not measure heartrate when I'm walking at 4 mph or faster. So as soon as mile two ended, I dropped the speed to the normal mile. Except that by the time I'd recorded the time and went to check the heartrate, it was down to 118. So I don't know what the true heart rate was for the end of mile 2, BUT on the plus side it shows just how quickly and easily my heart rate can drop. And it likely was lower than the past number given how low it dropped quickly.

Other comments:

Pushups: Holy mackerel ... that 4th modified pushup was deadly. I was determined to do better than 3, but upper arm strength has definitely been slower to build.

Squats: I possibly could have done more. It's supposed to be until exhaustion and I didn't push that far. HOWEVER, big difference from beginning of January was my knees. In January it hurt my knees to do the 15. Today it didn't hurt, but the tendons did start to pop (make a noise, slide a little, whatever), so I stopped when both were doing that. Huge improvement really.

My legs have always had more power. I remember doing a seated leg press in high school at 300 pounds, full set of reps. Arms .... I couldn't even manage the modified chin-up option (hold at the up position for some number of seconds).

Physical / injury comments:

My left foot has been okay with walking. I've been doing some treadmill work, but not a lot. It's not 100% but neither is it hurting. More like I can regularly feel the tightness, and calf and achilles tendon stretches ache more on that side. BUT, stretches have kept it from getting any worse, and even with doing 3.2 miles today for the test and walking for groceries later, it only had some residual ache. (Iced it just for a precaution.)

I haven't mentioned it in a blog, but back when I was working out 15 or so years ago, I'd run into some issue in my upper left arm doing certain motions (such as a pectoral machine). I never had it checked and had forgotten about it. It is definitely still there. I have no idea if it is tendon or muscle or bone. I am very aware of and working with it careful doing shoulder presses and arm extensions.

When I worked with the Personal Trainer the first time, that didn't show up, but there was some pain in my right elbow with some overhead arm extension with a strap he had me do - he asked about Tendonitis. That has not been an issue for me using weight machines, but I did notice it once lifting my duffle bag loaded with stuff, so I suspect that's where that one came from and it is healing/healed.

Left shin has had some very slight pain the last couple of workouts. I definitely don't want to add shin splints to the foot issue, so I'm paying very close attention to it. I will probably head back to the running store mid-month for a review of my gait and a look at the state of my shoes. (I wouldn't be surprised if they need replacing. I wear them daily, most of the day, so they've got 6 months of constant use on them.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AEBROWNSON 4/6/2012 10:01AM

    About your shoulder...this is nothing to mess around with. It sounds like the beginnings of a rotator cuff injury. How does it feel with an overhead press? I had surgery about 5 years ago on mine. get it checked out! --Ann emoticon

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BUONNATALIE 4/3/2012 12:36AM

    Wowza! Congrats. You're doing so great!

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ROXYZMOM 4/2/2012 9:08PM

    Holy Cow! You are doing fantastic!

Good for you!!! You go girl!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LIVINGFREE19 4/2/2012 3:41PM

You are doing well, and keeping very good records!

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WHQPHQ 4/2/2012 2:47PM

Love the new picture on your profile page, you can really see the difference!

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NEWMOM20121 4/2/2012 2:26PM

    Thank you for sharing. You are doing great. This helped motivate me today.

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    AWESOME progress! You can see a big difference from your photos! Keep up the work - you're worth it! emoticon

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MISSB222 4/2/2012 12:06PM

    emoticon Great job! Sounds like you are making some major strides! Keep up the great work!

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AMYTRIPP 4/2/2012 8:43AM

    Amazing! You're such an inspiration. Keep up the good work!

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SHERIO5 4/2/2012 8:41AM

    I can see your dedication in this blog!!! You are doing this!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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AMBERZADE 4/2/2012 7:31AM

    Like i said ..... you're so very organized!!! You're making great progress!

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-SONIA- 4/2/2012 6:52AM

    emoticon 3 months! emoticon April just beginning! emoticon Continue kicking butt!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAMAWALMART 4/2/2012 4:41AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 4/2/2012 12:27AM

    emoticon nice work!

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TEALBERI 4/1/2012 11:19PM

    Way to go!!!!!

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TIFFY0906 4/1/2012 11:16PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SPARKFRAN514 4/1/2012 10:16PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon way to go you got me motivated to take my measurements its something
I was afraid to do when I started so i will have to go from my 3 month starting thanks for the push to do this little task

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BERRY4 4/1/2012 10:08PM

    That's so great that you have been able to track those improvements in 3 months time. (I'm just starting my first 3-month challenge, so it is encouraging to see that it can/will make a difference!)

Keep up the good work as you journey forward to greater health and fitness!
emoticon emoticon

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MICHELLE_391 4/1/2012 9:46PM

    Congratulations on your progress! I'm excited that I started reading your page and can now watch you progress further. You can do this, heck, you ARE doing this! I hope your injuries don't get in your way. Excellent idea about going to the running store and having your gait checked.

Thank you for the inspiration!


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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 4/1/2012 9:43PM

    You are doing great. emoticon

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SASSYLJB 4/1/2012 9:32PM

    Great Progress! I am very impressed keep up the wonderful work!


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_RAMONA 4/1/2012 9:25PM

    WOW! Way to go, Jennifer!

You cracked me up with the forehead measurement, LOL! I wish I'd have thought to take that one, but as you already know, my 'fat head' is transitory and has very little to do with my actual weight, or any progress with respect to actually eliminating fat. SIGH. It's down at the moment, but I won't make any promises it will stay there.

I really like that you've been so scrupulous about measurements. I wasn't so much so right off the bat and I regret it. Fortunately/unfortunately it took me awhile to get my stride, so I don't think I missed much. I also wasn't going to take my measurements today because I didn't think anything much had changed... I found I was wrong, and am now even more encourged, as opposed to being faintly discouraged as I was yesterday when I realized it was time to change my page.

I hope others learn from your example! I love watching your progresss, and it makes me want to strive for my own. Thank you for sharing with such honesty!

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LBEEKMA 4/1/2012 9:21PM

    Woohoo on your progress! You've made a lot of positive changes.

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Sorta almost caught up, maybe, and March ends!

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Whew! So having missed keeping up with friends at all on Friday, I planned to do so this morning. Then I got up and decided the gym and shower would be a better start to my day. Then decided to go to lunch and get some new pants to go with the new shirts. And finally home around 6:30 pm set myself to the task of catching up. Four and a half hours later, 8 pages of friend's feed, and still some thirty blogs to read and catch up on, I'm ALMOST there. I'll finish it, but wanted to get my blog done before the witching hour.


So the big thing today is the end of March and a look at my March goals followed by some setting of April goals.

== March goals ==

1) Weight stably at or below 205 emoticon
-- Today's weigh-in actually surprised me with a 200. I had bounced between 203 and 203.5 for over a week and a half (I weigh daily), so I was already meeting the goal, but the last couple of days have seen some dropping again.

2) Sodium intake kept below 3050 every day of the month emoticon
-- Highest day was 2,897. My monthly average for March was actually 2,153. Definitely improving in this area.

3) Protein powder (once received) tried in a variety of ways and blog about goods and bads emoticon
-- Definitely did this and have a current favorite of an 8 oz apple juice, some cut up strawberries, and the powder. (Adding banana is even better, I find, because it reduces the tendency to get all foamy, but I've been having bananas at work and the powder at home.) Blogged about this a couple of times - several of the experiments were not as successful (... V8).

4) Call at least two doctor's offices and find out their uninsured prices for a routine checkup and get details on what that includes and what more might be wanted.
-- I did call one clinic. I was not able to get details on what a routine checkup would include or get a clear price. No, for a first time patient there is an "initial consultation" that costs from $80 - $200 during which they decide what you need. Which, to me sounds like I'd be paying for a minimum of three visits plus all lab work (first visit = consultation, second = do the tests and lab work, third = review the results.)
-- In addition, I talked with a coworker and our finance person about our medical insurance. I remembered it being set up some years ago. The finance person has emailed the insurance guy to find out what my damages would be and whether the November opt-in is the only time I can sign up. What I did learn is 1) it's with Kaiser, 2) company actually pays a small part, 3) it's as expensive as I'd expect Kaiser to be, but 4) all preventive care is "free" or copay only - not part of a deductible. All of which means ... if the U.S. individual mandate crud doesn't get nixed, I at least won't feel like I'm being forced to pay thousands yearly for absolutely nothing AND that if I get it, I'll be getting every single preventive care checkup I need very routinely.

5) Read up on planks and see where I'm at - as it sounds like they can help me build strength for a pushup emoticon
-- Well, I read up on them and learned how to do a basic plank. I've tried it three times. Typically I can hold it for 30 seconds without too much issue, but I really don't know how to measure results from it separate from all the other strength training and core work I do. Probably going to just leave them until I want a change-up in my routine.

6) Up my fruit and veggie consumption by at least 2 per week over my current averages emoticon
-- While I'm saying goal met, this was not as consistent as I'd like it to be. There were at least four or five days in which I had no veggies at all. And I ~LIKE~ veggies. Sometimes the only fruit I had was the juice in the morning, fruit bar for snack, and juice and cut strawberries with my protein powder. But at least I now have a baseline idea of where I'm at.

Summary: All in all a job well done, though I definitely let my procrastinating show when it came to calling doctors. I literally made the clinic call and the insurance questions ... on Friday. I did try walking to the Doctor's office next door to where I work a couple days before, but they were closed ... at 3 pm. (Gone golfing?)


Moving forward to APRIL!

(While I'm vaguely tempted to put absurd goals for April Fool's, I wouldn't be fooling myself.)

1) Weight stably at or below 195.
2) Sodium intake kept below 2800 at least 90% of the month, average ideally in the 1800-2200 range.
3) Eat at least 1 veggie a day - baby carrots, veggie platter, stuff like that to work for snacks so I'm not procrastinating.
4) April 1st do fitness testing and measurements to compare against 1 January.
5) Log my sleeping habits. Nowhere near ready to change, but it's time to track it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIFFY0906 4/1/2012 10:53PM

    Congrats on the goals met and much success on the April goals.

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SPARKFRAN514 4/1/2012 9:53PM

    you are a very organized person and do a great blog and keeping in touch with your buddies i agree it is a task but a i learn so much reading up on how everyone is doing. My April goal is to do better at keeping in touch with everyone. emoticon emoticon way to go on the new pants. anxious to hear from you when the the number on the scales with a one emoticon

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MICHELLE_391 4/1/2012 9:50PM

    ONEderland is at your doorstep! Congratulations!

I'm not sure where you live, but are their any clinics around that you could go to? For example, before I had a job with insurance, I was getting blood work and routine stuff done at Planned Parenthood. It was very inexpensive.

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AMBERZADE 4/1/2012 9:24PM

    You're so organized and conscientious! You're doing great!!

For some reason I thought you worked at home.

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NEWMOM20121 4/1/2012 7:06PM

    Great job.

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MARYSTAN 4/1/2012 5:49PM

    emoticon meeting your goals!
emoticon on setting goals and holding yourself accountable!

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TRACYKHOLM45 4/1/2012 4:48PM

    Way to go on your March goals & good luck on April's

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WEEZER66 4/1/2012 4:05PM

    YOu are doing awesome!!

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SKYSEARCHER 4/1/2012 12:26PM

    Sounds like you're doing great! :-)

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    Awesome job!! And thank you for the great idea.. I never thought to set small goals for the month to keep me on track!! emoticon

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CINDYG43 4/1/2012 11:08AM

    You are doing an AWESOME job and you're almost in onderland!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SASSY5468 4/1/2012 10:46AM

    Way to start sniffing at ONDERLAND! You're so close! Even though I know you don't seem to feel the same way about it as people like me, it's still fantastic to get there :) Great work on your goals and being aware. You're such an inspiration.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 4/1/2012 10:08AM

    Way to meet your goals! Great new goals also. emoticon

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INFINITEJESS84 4/1/2012 9:59AM

    Congratulations on a successful March! Those goals seem very sensible. Planks are a great exercise to strengthen th core. At first I worked on holding them for longer periods of time and escalating from a modified plank on my knees to a full plank. There are all sorts of difficult advanced modifications you can try if full planks become too easy for you.

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TORIAMAE 4/1/2012 9:13AM

    I love the way you break down your goals. It makes so much sense and you can totally see progress!

Way to go! Sounds like March was a great month for you.

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SASSYLJB 4/1/2012 9:12AM

    You always do a great job and the results are showing! Keep up the good work!

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LGAR519 4/1/2012 8:41AM

    Love the way you review your past month goals as well as list your next months goals. Such ambition! I have been sick with virus for 6 days. Now, am having colitis flare due to stress. Spent all grocery money on doctors and medicine. Payday not for 3 weeks. So, no fresh fruit and veggies or milk products for 3 weeks. Sickness and good nutrition don't mix. You are wise to do research!

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-SONIA- 4/1/2012 7:42AM

    I like the idea of a weekly Freggie count, instead of worrying about daily. I might incorporate that into my monthly goals -- along with trying planks ;) emoticon

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WHQPHQ 4/1/2012 4:06AM

    Excellent plans for next month and well done for hitting those goals.

Re: planks, I think they are one of the best exercises you can do for your core, when I am doing them regularly they make a big difference to the rest of my exercise routine plus they help strengthen the lower back. Are you doing the full plank on your toes or just on your knees? Make sure you keep your backside down in line with your legs, if you are doing it right you'll feel your abs burning (ha ha in a good way).

You always remind me to do my monthly goals! =)

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B-LYNN1ST 4/1/2012 3:14AM

    You are doing great, and I wish you the best of luck on getting the information you seek. 5 pounds down is a win. I'm patting you on the back. Congrats for those 5 pounds dropped ditched and kicked off the body. I'm happy for you, and I hope you find a doctor that isn't going to rob you blind in co pays or cash pay out. We have some high family doctors here and insurance is a must with some of them, but if you don't have it. They work out a discount plan. Just to get your business. So, I wish you well with that as well.

Comment edited on: 4/1/2012 3:15:23 AM

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Short and sweet

Saturday, March 31, 2012

So glad it was Friday. If this had been Monday and I had to think about work tomorrow ... blech. That's all I have to say about that.

Sweet was that today was the first day a coworker suddenly noticed I've been losing weight. We didn't really talk about it - she just asked if I had and I said Yes and then Thank You when she said I was looking good. She happens to be the one who lost quite a bit of weight herself quite rapidly and, in my opinion a good thing, kept attention off me doing my thing because of her diet talk.

Didn't do my weights tonight. I had to really push on Wednesday to do my usual weight amounts and reps, so I decide to give myself another rest day. If that's still the case tomorrow, time to back off and rest a bit longer - I didn't think I was overtraining, but I have been pushing more for the exhaustion on some muscles.

And that's all folks.

(I'd say shortest blog ever by me ... but I'm not about to paw through .......... almost 200?! blogs to find out.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHELLYK972 4/1/2012 11:09AM

    Congrats on the compliment!!!

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RAE_LEIGH22 4/1/2012 1:47AM

    Isn't it great to get recognition for your weight loss? That must have felt great ...what an accomplishment!

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SUE_2U 3/31/2012 10:28PM


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TIFFY0906 3/31/2012 10:11PM

    Its good when someone notices your hard work.

Sometimes you just need an extra day of workout rest.

Keep up the good work.

Comment edited on: 3/31/2012 10:12:13 PM

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SHIROIHANA 3/31/2012 8:46PM

    It's always a nice boost when someone notices good results. Shows that you are making progress. :) Rest is very important. Keep up the great work!

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SKYSEARCHER 3/31/2012 8:40PM

    Yeah, got to watch out for over training. Avoiding the injuries will help you to stick with your program, which it sounds like is going great :-)

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TMCLEOD4 3/31/2012 12:11PM

    Congrats on someone noticing! That always feels good!! As for the weight training, everyone has to rest sometimes. There's nothing wrong with that!

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XXEDRA 3/31/2012 10:20AM

    Yay for it being noticed!

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LGAR519 3/31/2012 9:37AM

    Makes my day when someone notices I've lost weight. I'm sure you feel the same way. By the way. I bought the same protein powder that you got. I've tried it in my oatmeal and a smoothie. Not too happy with it so far. It clumps instead of mixing. I'll figure some way to use it because it costs too much not to use.

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TRENTDREAMER 3/31/2012 8:57AM

    "If this had been Monday and I had to think about work tomorrow ... blech. That's all I have to say about that."
* Amen!

"Sweet was that today was the first day a coworker suddenly noticed I've been losing weight. "
* Never gets old, does it?

"I didn't think I was overtraining, but I have been pushing more for the exhaustion on some muscles. "
* Yeah, I would take today off but a friend who I take class with made me promise earlier this week. My body is sore from the last two days. I'll do modifications of the moves if the body isn't feeling it.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 3/31/2012 8:48AM

    emoticon emoticon

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-SONIA- 3/31/2012 7:46AM

    I'm sure your muscles will thank you. They'll be ready when you're ready! emoticon

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LISALOSING52 3/31/2012 7:17AM

    It's Always a Great feeling when someone finally notices that you have lost weight. It may make you want to work out harder but good to see you recognize that you have to take time to rest once in a while.


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WHQPHQ 3/31/2012 6:43AM

    Yesterday one of the nurses who normally works on another ward was on my ward and they said "you've lost so much weight", I was really pleased that someone noticed! I hadn't seen them since December which was when I started SP.

You should definitely rest every so often =)

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MAMAWALMART 3/31/2012 3:41AM

    Nothing wrong with a little rest.
I'm glad I can now say thank you when someone notices I've lost weight.
I use to ask "Where?".
emoticon on your continued success.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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