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Ending off April and into the month of May

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Another month bites the dust, and another month down, and another month down, another month bites the dust. Time to take a look at how I did on my goals for April:

1) Weight stably at or below 195.
** Not quite. I saw 194.5 one day, then had Chinese with my daughter unexpectedly that very night. Chose to thoroughly indulge my chocolate love with a dessert that was amazing. So yesterday and today have been 195.5 - which is totally fine with me.

2) Sodium intake kept below 2800 at least 90% of the month, average ideally in the 1800-2200 range.
** 6 days out of 30 were over, so 80% were below. Not as good as I'd hoped for, but only one of those was way over and several days were in the 1600-1800 range. Plus the overall trend since the beginning of the month is downward. I'm improving this steadily.

3) Eat at least 1 veggie a day - baby carrots, veggie platter, stuff like that to work for snacks so I'm not procrastinating.
** This I actually did accomplish. Having the baby carrots and pre-cut celery at work for afternoon snacks made all the difference in planning. I'd like to vary it up more, and this week proved that sometimes I need to pay closer attention to the pre-cut food (the celery was bad).

4) April 1st do fitness testing and measurements to compare against 1 January.
** Done and posted in a blog. Definitely can see my progress, which is nice. I do love challenging myself in fitness.

5) Log my sleeping habits. Nowhere near ready to change, but it's time to track it.
** Didn't actually start this until the 12th. Originally I was going to do it on SparkPeople but flat-out could not figure out an easy way. Eventually made a new Calendar on Google and have been recording it there.
** I already knew this was an area I need to seriously work on. I got to sleep before 1 am ... once in three weeks. Some nights I slept through, some I woke up a couple times (always back to sleep fast, whether it's a potty need or just awake and roll over), but only three nights did I get 8 hours or more. The rest bounced between 5 and 7.

So 2/5 goals met completely, and all of the remaining 3 done at least satisfactorily. None too shabby at all.

Oh, and I somehow had the idea in my head that my Summer goal was one of April's:

1) Replace all my old shirts.
** Given how few shirts I had to begin with, this can be considered done already. (Seriously? I had one shirt for each day at work and a couple of ratty t-shirts for the weekends and a workout shirt.) Of course, I will end up replacing these - but for now I actually have a "wardrobe" of shirts.
First two bought on trip with daughter

Next four (my "easter egg colors"):

Bought this weekend:

In looking at them and considering how my shopping went, I've realized I have something I'm calling negative style. My daughter is taking an art class and working on negative space - in which the background is solidly black and the item of interest is the "uncolored" area. My negative style is not defined by me having a clear idea what I want to look like; it is defined by the multitude of shirts I look at and go "ewwww, no way" and keep looking.


Oh, so time to set my May goals.

1) Weight stably at or below 190.
2) First chapter of The Spark read.
3) Begin to clear out old statements. I have two boxes in my room and a filing cabinet in storage. I still have copies of 1991-1993 taxes, when my kiddos were babies. WHY!?
4) Sodium intake kept at an average of 2750 or lower for the entire month.
5) Get to bed before 1 am at least 5 nights a week.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIDOSHA 10/30/2012 6:45PM


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BLUEJEAN99 5/3/2012 3:15AM


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JUSGETTENBY42 5/2/2012 7:51PM


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MYSTERY-LADY1 5/2/2012 5:13PM


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FARIS71 5/2/2012 5:01PM

    this is totally inspiring!!!!!!!!!

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MMNICKS 5/2/2012 12:49PM


Great Work!!!!

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LAINYC 5/2/2012 12:19PM


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PATIB13 5/2/2012 11:21AM

    Way to go, you are on a good path. Pretty shirts, Make sure when shopping that you try stuff on that you go ewwww when you see them on the hanger. Sometimes those are the ones you ending up liking the best.

Keep up the great work. emoticon

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BIRDLSLAURIE 5/2/2012 11:02AM

    I admire your ability to set clear, concise goals and follow through. Congratulations and continued success to you.

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JIBBIE49 5/2/2012 10:23AM

    emoticonWonderful to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. WHat an honor.

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TRACYKHOLM45 5/2/2012 9:58AM

    Congrats on making it into Best of SparkPeople Daily

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MIMIDOT 5/2/2012 9:23AM

    You're working hard. Keep it up.

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WALLINMW 5/2/2012 8:38AM

  Stay motivated!

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HEARTS116 5/2/2012 8:33AM

    Congrats on reaching so many goals!

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JANEMARIE77 5/2/2012 7:06AM

    doing great love the goals

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GRAMPIAN 5/2/2012 4:35AM

  You're doing so well! emoticon

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AGINNETT 5/1/2012 11:51PM

    great job working on your goals and reaching so many of them, Great job.

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TIFFY0906 5/1/2012 8:00PM

    Congrats on reaching some of your April goals and the ones you didn't reach, you still improve on - so way to go. Wishing you all success with your May goals - you have such determination, I'm sure you'll get it done.

Comment edited on: 5/1/2012 8:01:50 PM

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BENCGDL 5/1/2012 3:59PM

    You are so inspiring! Keep up the good work!

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APONI_KB 5/1/2012 3:53PM

    The May goals look good. I have tax forms going back to high school. I actually keep them because its kind of fun - sort of. I have however started shredding my way through the rest of the file cabinet. I have no idea why I dutifully saved credit card statements and checking acct statements especially with all that stuff online now.

I don't know how you function without sleep, but the sleep goal is a good one.


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SHERIO5 5/1/2012 12:21PM

    Good work!

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LGAR519 5/1/2012 11:41AM

    Nice shirts. I need to get my Summer clothes out and try them on. I might be able to replace some of them. I go to bed early but it is almost impossible to sleep in this house. I realize that getting the proper amount of sleep is very important! We need to work on that!!

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CELLISTA1 5/1/2012 11:37AM

    Well done! Maybe there is a fashion goal in your future :)

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CHUBRUB3 5/1/2012 11:30AM

    You are doing great!
Keep up the awesome work and you will reach this next month's goals too.

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MNJONES2 5/1/2012 11:22AM

    Really appreciate how you keep track of your goals and how well you did. Fantastic!! I need to be more organized like you!! Thanks for the update!

As always best wishes on your journey to good health.

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THISTIMEMYWAY 5/1/2012 11:18AM

    Great reflections and plans for the month of May. emoticon emoticon

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TORIAMAE 5/1/2012 10:51AM

    Congratulations on your goals met! Sounds like solid goals for the month ahead too!

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KENTUCKYGIRL01 5/1/2012 10:40AM

    Well then...If I would have to say... good job well done! emoticon emoticon
Remember no one ever said it was going to be easy. I really wish it was !! Every step forward is toward that goal. Now in May, We are going to see great results,I just know it ! A new month is always a new you. emoticon emoticon !! Keep Faith !
YOU are doing a GREAT JOB !!!!!
emoticon...... emoticon+ emoticon+ emoticon= emoticon
Means( emoticonand emoticon emoticon) emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 5/1/2012 10:41:23 AM

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FLYBABY54 5/1/2012 10:02AM

  Great blog! You are on the right track and have a plan. You have inspired me to get rid of more shirts. emoticon For today, though, working on arts/craft in bedroom closet and purging my (old) collection of purses. Have a great day!! Looking forward to reading more! Thanks for sharing....

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TANYA602 5/1/2012 9:29AM

    I love that you are both reflective and forward-looking, I need to set similar monthly goals and I will be coming back to you for some ideas.
I like how light and airy your new shirts are! Beautiful! Maybe this will be the summer I don't hide behind sweatshirts (I live on the coast and always tell myself I like to stay warm and snuggly - yeah right) and baggy t-shirts.
I just began reading The Spark, also. Check out the team page as well as the bonus page to help earn points.
Have a wonderful May Day!

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TERRITOONS 5/1/2012 9:12AM

    I love your goals. I don't know HOW you function without plenty of sleep. Sleep is ALMOST my number one priority, because when I am tired I get cranky (to put it mildly) and cranky is NOT a good thing to be when you work with kids all day. And, of course, it is when I am tired that I want to eat.....sigh...

So.....I get up at the crack of dawn (3:55am) but I also got to bed between 8:0pm and 9:00pm, and most days I get a little cat nap during the kids naptime.

BTW, I don't know if you have an iPhone, but I know there are several apps available to track your sleep patterns. :)

Good luck!

Comment edited on: 5/1/2012 9:13:39 AM

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AMYTRIPP 5/1/2012 8:44AM

    Well done!! I love the shirts! A nice mix of colors.

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-SONIA- 5/1/2012 8:39AM


You're starting your sleep goal tonight, right? It's a very important one!

You're much more sane than me (LOL) -- so I'm not sure how well you do with lack of sleep -- but I know I am a complete mess. I had an epiphany yesterday. I don't think I'm actually an emotional eater. I only overeat when I'm overtired AND stressed -- and it's a lot easier to get stressed when I'm overtired (DUH) -- so... If I go to the source -- SLEEP -- I rarely get stressed, and I rarely overeat!!

If I'm sad or angry, I'm fine with food -- it's only stress that does me in -- and I only get stressed when I don't get enough sleep (90% of the time, I'd say -- the other 10% is stress that comes even when I've had a good night's sleep.)

Anyway, just something I've noticed ;)


Here's to a Marvelous May!!! emoticon

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 5/1/2012 8:00AM

    You had a great April and are gonna have an even better May. emoticon emoticon

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2BEABETTERME 5/1/2012 7:38AM

    Well done for April! Great plan for May!

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RG_DFW 5/1/2012 7:35AM

    Way to go... goals are essential and you're doing great

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KSCHRAUT 5/1/2012 7:10AM

    Way to Go! Nice new shirts! Great job with the goals, and good luck with May!

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QUASIOR 5/1/2012 7:07AM

    Nice colours though in those shirts. emoticon your doing an awesome job, I need to do this too!!! I'll blog and do some monthly goals tomorrow. I did my first semi-successful couch to 5k jog/run today. YAY go me!!
Now, please tell me why sodium is so important???

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SASSYLJB 5/1/2012 6:45AM

    Those are some great goals and the shirts look comfortable. I think making monthly goals is something I need to maybe start tracking! You do such a great job of them. Keep up the great work!

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KARL1266 5/1/2012 6:39AM

    Great job with the goals. I've never had much luck with goals like these, but admire those who can stick with it. Way to Go and Congrats on a great job!

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SLIMXTINA 5/1/2012 5:31AM

  Love your shirt colours - they look super comfortable. Like your idea with the goals and good luck with the boxes. emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 5/1/2012 3:34AM

    sounds like a good plan!

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ILOVEMALI 5/1/2012 2:29AM

    Great goals, and great progress. Clear out those statements -- it felt great to toss all of my stacks of shredables yesterday! And getting new shirts! YAY!!! Didn't this feel good? xoxo Deb

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AHTRAP 5/1/2012 2:25AM

    Don't stop (you) now, you're having such a good time...

Good for you, setting and tracking the smaller goals. That's something I haven't had much success sticking to.

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Yeah, I'm a math-head

Friday, April 27, 2012

I always loved math. I love tinkering with numbers and figuring out interactions between them.

Some numbers we often know if we're tracking our food:

Fat gram = 9 calories
Protein gram = 4 calories
Carbohydrate gram = 4 calories

All good. But one day I was trying to read a nutrition label that had gotten creased at the carbohydrate line and was nearly impossible to decipher. It wasn't until that day (only a few months ago) that I made the wild connection to the total calories in the food.

(Fat g * 9) + (Protein g * 4) + (Carb g * 4) = Total calories.

Well, close enough anyway. It's not exact because a lot of rounding goes on. The listed gram of something could be 0.5 grams or 1.49 grams or exactly a gram. But that variance is no more than 2 calories for protein and carbohydrates and 4.5 calories for fat, so it's close enough.

I have no idea how I went 42 years without catching on to that little fact.


The biggest number most of us deal with in one way or another is our calorie range. There are sometimes the craziest ideas about it - such as the idea that eating 400 over the range one day a week would be why we'd gain a pound or two.

I wanted to give my numbers and provide a general idea of my thinking when it comes to what I eat (and the exercise I do). And I do pull out a calculator when doing these. I could do the math in my head, but it's faster and less prone to error.

1) The basic information:

* I'm female.
* I'm 43 years old.
* I am 5' 7.75" (or 172 cm)
* I currently weigh 196.5 (or 89.1 kg).

The formula commonly used is:
BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) - ( 4.7 x age in years )

So, for me:
BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x 89.1 ) + ( 1.8 x 172 ) - ( 4.7 x 43 )
BMR = 655 + 855.36 + 309.6 - 202.1
BMR = 1617.86

That's how many calories I would need to eat if I were bed-bound to maintain my weight and my body.

2) I multiply that by 1.2 to find out how much I burn with a sedentary life-style. Now, technically I could call myself moderately active or very active, given that I'm at the gym 7 days a week and never do less than 40 minutes of cardio. BUT I prefer to calculate for sedentary and then later adjust for the specific activity. It's too easy to err upward in what we consider our activity level.

BMR x 1.2 = 1941.432

So in order to maintain my weight with no exercise at all, just routine daily activity, that's how much I'd need to eat.

3) I add in the exercise I do. According to SparkPeople's calorie counters, I burn around 4200 a week. I divide that by 7 days in a week to get my daily burn of 600 calories. That gets added directly to the BMR x 1.2 number for my total daily calorie usage:

Daily Calories used = 1941.432 + 600 = 2541.432

That's how much I could eat to maintain, assuming all the numbers are spot-on accurate.

4) I need to create a deficit - eat less calories than I'm using so that my body goes to the fat reserves for energy needs. I'm in no hurry, so I believe I have my goal set to 1 pound a week. That's 3500 calories weekly, which is then divided by 7 days in a week to get a 500 calorie deficit:

Recommended Daily Calories = 2541.432 - 500 = 2041.432

Which is fairly on target with the range SparkPeople gives me (1810 - 2160, with 2060 being the rounded amount that is my target).


This is all fine and dandy, but it makes at least two assumptions that are not necessarily correct:

- That the BMR formula is exact. It isn't. In fact, there's a newer formula that is supposedly 5% more accurate and two other formulas based on lean body mass rather than total weight. The latter are considered likely to be more accurate for athletes than the original formulas.

- That the calories burned in activity is accurate. Not by a long shot. The simplest example to me is that I get the same calorie burn on SparkPeople for 40 minutes on the elliptical without any consideration for the incline and resistance I use. So whether I'm working easy at 1 resistance or at my top cardio HeartRate at 5 resistance, there's a set number of calories I've supposedly burned.

Oh, and one other assumption that isn't accurate, but I allow for - I am often more active than sedentary during the times I am not at the gym. Sure, I sit at work. But I get up and go to the kitchen for my snacks, down the hall for the restroom, climb the stairs to get to the office, walk from the bus stops - sometimes the near one, sometimes 3/4 mile. Sure there are nights I get home and settle down with my laptop. But there are days I go to the park or the mall or somewhere just to get out and walk over a mile - just because, some more actively than others.

How do I allow for it? Well, let's take a look at my calorie intake the last 7 days:

Fri = 2008
Sat = 2151
Sun = 1857
Mon = 2149
Tue = 2582
Wed = 1959
Thur = 2050
Sum = 14756
Avg = 2108

I don't deliberately zig-zag my calories in like that - I just eat per plan, but only to meet hunger. Some days I'm just not as hungry. Other days I'm hungrier. And then there's the limited days I do something like have dinner with my daughter or splurge on a treat. In fact, until typing it up here I hadn't added the numbers up like that or even looked at them closely beyond knowing that one day was a good bit over.

Now, about that one "way over" day. Notice that number - 2582? I found it rather amusing that I was only 40 calories over my calculated Daily Calories Burned. That's right. One day out of seven was at a maintenance level, while the rest were at a deficit. That's pretty typical for the days I have "too much" - without counting in advance, I naturally seem to eat in that range. Looking at a report all the way back to when I started, I have two days that hit near 3300, both back in my learning days (learning how many calories things had), and never more than 2600 since on those days once a week or less that I eat out special.


Reminding me of the last little bit of math I tend to do - my height won't change, my age won't change more than 1, so the only difference in my current calorie range and my eventual maintenance range is ( 9.6 x weight difference). My approximated goal weight weight is 160 pounds or 72.6 kg. The difference between current and goal is 89.1 - 72.6 = 16.5. So, ( 9.6 x 16.5 ) = 158.4.

That's all.

My BMR will only shift by around 150 calories - or 190 adjusting for sedentary activity level. Since I currently have the 500 deficit, I could actually end up eating about 300 MORE calories than I do now. It's all in speculative fun, of course, but it's reassuring to see that I won't have any drastic changes to make.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMBERZADE 4/30/2012 11:42PM

    You HAD to do math!! LOL

Everything you've said is worth thinking about. Thanks for taking the time to write such a great blog with lots of useful information!

Comment edited on: 4/30/2012 11:43:14 PM

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    This is great lol. My workstyle definitely bleeds into my healthy lifestyle as I keep spreadsheets and charts to track and plan! It actually makes it a bit like a game or puzzle and ensures our goals are concrete and realistic. Nice work, math-head ;-)

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JEANNINEMM68 4/30/2012 7:38PM

    Wow, can u balance my check book?

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ILOVEMALI 4/30/2012 1:03PM

    Man o man, do I need you to manage my math life! LOL!

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APONI_KB 4/30/2012 10:29AM

    So basically I need to get taller. hmm

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MISSLISA1973 4/29/2012 6:22AM


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BLUEJEAN99 4/29/2012 1:55AM


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CLAYARTIST 4/28/2012 11:11PM


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NEWMOM20121 4/28/2012 10:24PM

    Awesome. Love the blog

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MYSTERY-LADY1 4/28/2012 10:15PM


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CICELY360 4/28/2012 5:23PM

  Too complicated for me.

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HEARTS116 4/28/2012 4:51PM

    Awesome blog!!

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JENNY421 4/28/2012 2:45PM

  what an amazing blog!

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BERKCHIK 4/28/2012 12:57PM

    Awesome blog, sister! emoticon

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BIRDLSLAURIE 4/28/2012 11:42AM

    I love math as well. I've always been about the numbers. Loved your blog!

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SHOAPIE 4/28/2012 10:42AM


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SUSANK16 4/28/2012 10:35AM

  Impressive math - how do you account for pounds lost? I have my own math formula that shows that I decrease about 4 calories each week based on pounds lost.

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MARYJEANSL 4/28/2012 10:31AM

  I didn't have one of those formulas. I think having it will be helpful, thanks.

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TANYA602 4/28/2012 9:46AM

    This is just wild! I love the details behind each set of numbers. All I know is that I am still learning so much through this journey from everyone here on SP, and today you were one of my best teachers.
Have a fabulous weekend!

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REGILIEH 4/28/2012 9:34AM

    I'm glad other people liked it.

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JIBBIE49 4/28/2012 9:11AM

    emoticonSo wonderful to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. You are certainly a emoticon You have so many people following you, that now YOU are the inspiration for them. emoticon

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SHIROIHANA 4/28/2012 8:10AM

    I wish I was more of a math person. I see numbers and my brain immediately gets on shut down mode. I learned to go by how I feel so I don't have to deal with numbers. But I am very impressed with your calculations. I should sit down and calculate my own numbers and see how much calories I need to maintain. Thanks! :)

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GRNBTL 4/28/2012 8:05AM

  Very interesting, thanks!

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JGRAY76 4/28/2012 7:11AM

    This is really interesting. I need to consume 1,850 calories just to maintain my current weight. Thanks for the math lesson

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FARIS71 4/28/2012 6:58AM

    Wow, that was strangely fascinating! I'm impressed!

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SUE_2U 4/28/2012 5:54AM

    Wonderful way to look at it. My husband was totally into playing around with numbers, while for some reason numbers give me panic attacks, I swear! Not that one can avoid them...
This is very informative. I think I kind of realized the culmulative relationship between the ingredients and the total caloric percentage of an item from that type of food, be it oil or carb, etc.
As for the BMR I do know that it is definitely variable. Some people can't metabolize food as well as others. Mine runs a bit low so I try to calculate that in. If I go too low, though, it just lowers my metabolism more. It's kind of a strange balance, but I think it's better to mix up the intake a bit some days so that it doesn't get stuck.

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SAMI199 4/28/2012 4:04AM

    My hat's off to you-I am not by nature a math whiz-I can do it
when needed-but I appreciate you taking the time to post this-now I don't have to strain my brain-lol.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KSCHRAUT 4/27/2012 9:10PM

    THANK YOU for this blog. I may be referring back to it on days where I feel confused about my numbers, etc.

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GOING-STRONG 4/27/2012 8:43PM

    Great blog... I have found that calories in food aren't always accurate either. I try and go conservative on the exercise calories burned and overestimate the calories in food. Better safe than sorry!

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BEVERLY1983 4/27/2012 4:52PM

    I like the math. I have always loved math.

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TIFFY0906 4/27/2012 4:21PM

    I love math and figuring this stuff out. I actually use a formula to figure out my body fat and lean body mass. Its not as accurate as a body fat caliper but it puts me in the ballpark of where I am in these areas.

Very informative post.

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SHELBEY74 4/27/2012 4:08PM

    So funny! I've done this same round of math. I went one step further and started an excel spreadsheet with all the variances. Not because the numbers are 100% accurate (because they aren't), but because the math is fun and the graphical representations of the calculated vs. actual are neat to look at. Glad to see I'm in good company.


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MNJONES2 4/27/2012 3:39PM

    I like figuring out the math too!! It is fun to see where we are and where we are going!! LOVE IT!

Best wishes to you always

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FLEURGARDEN 4/27/2012 2:50PM

    Glad to know I'm not the only one who loves math! When I was little and went shopping with my mother she was always throwing math questions at me, such as, "If this $42 blouse is on sale for 25% off, what is the price?" And when I got older, she'd expect me to calculate the tax, too. She was good at math herself, and cashiers were always surprised when she'd have the exact correct change ready. So I'm always looking for math problems to figure out to keep my mind active. Seems I'm always calculating my average pace on the treadmill throughout my workout or how many calories I expect to burn, etc. Who knew math could be so much fun?

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SPARKFRAN514 4/27/2012 12:29PM

    I am one of the many who didnít get a good math back round in grade school so hated math. But you are so much like my brother who also like math so I will have him help me figure out my numbers while he is here for Bloomsday. I Blog emoticon

learned several things from the blog even though you didnít really talk about them . they came to me as I was reading kind of like those little voices in our head
1. I learned that you need to be happy with a one pound weight this is some thing I have been working on for a long time.
Seeing all effort that goes in to losing that one pound
It is hard work

We may eat same amount of calories each day as seen by your sharing your totals . this has made me decide that next week i will read the daily feed back more carefully some times we think we are eating correctly the calorie count may be in range but the carbs and protein and other facts
may be under or over emoticon so we are not really the right amounts in each day.

thank you for getting to to re thing a few things over and get a new plan in place and A big thank you for showing me how GREAT a ONE Pound loss is have a great week end keep up the great blogs


Comment edited on: 4/27/2012 12:40:01 PM

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MICHELLE_391 4/27/2012 11:24AM

    I never would have figured this out on my own, nor am I sure that I completely understand what all the math you've done means. But the bottom line is that you are naturally within range and that must be reassuring and kind of awesome.

Thanks for the lesson! emoticon

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BYTHEGRACE 4/27/2012 10:52AM

    Hey, I'm 60 and didn't know the total kcal formula until today! Thanks for putting the formula together is such a personal way!

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LGAR519 4/27/2012 10:28AM

    I can't even balance my checkbook much less figure all that other stuff-------

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_JODI404 4/27/2012 10:22AM

    That was really informative for me, thank you!!

Quite interesting! emoticon emoticon

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SHERIO5 4/27/2012 10:16AM

    Gack! You remind me of my husband with the numbers!

I'm thankful there are folks like you who can make sense of the numbers, find it fun, AND are able to explain it simply with language so I can understand!

l emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BANDAID1006 4/27/2012 10:07AM

I loved seeing your breakdown. Jillian Michels has something like this in one of her books. I thought it was really cool to see the breakdown. Thanks for showing us how to apply the math. lol emoticon

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TMCLEOD4 4/27/2012 9:57AM

    I've done these numbers over and over for years. They work for a while, then they stop working. WHY? I don't know. Because our bodies aren't calculators and don't always follow the rules. Generally, you are right. But, don't be surprised when you stop losing for 7 weeks and can't find an explanation. There won't be one. Then, all of the sudden you'll start losing again, without changing a thing.

I truly wish it were as simple as the numbers imply.

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RG_DFW 4/27/2012 9:08AM

    One thing I've discovered is that the numbers I use are way different than those published, or maybe my tracking is way off. Either way, through trial and error I discovered the numbers (and counting system) that work for me. Interesting post -- I like numbers, too!

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-SONIA- 4/27/2012 9:00AM

    I'm getting back to tracking calories again today. I don't want to think about the numbers too much, but I don't seem to be losing any weight without tracking. I also ended up leaving all but 3 teams I'm active on -- and 3 local teams (to read local blogs and maybe make a local Spark Friend someday...) I'm sorry I wasn't able to stay on your team, or several others that I liked -- but I got very overwhelmed last night with all the time I've been spending on Spark lately.

I hope the numbers can work for me this time, now that I'm going to take the time to track again. It does seem so simple -- I just have to stick to it!! emoticon emoticon

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 4/27/2012 8:59AM

    It seems so simple but for me I've found the numbers to be crazy. I can not eat as much as Spark says without gaining weight. And I am more active than I have ever been in my life. Years of food abuse I guess. emoticon

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HUNNAWANNA 4/27/2012 7:19AM

    Really enjoyed reading Sometimes we need to "get involved" with the - how does it work - in order for us to deal with the - why is this happening. Thanks for the breakdown.

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SASSYLJB 4/27/2012 6:47AM

    You thats impressive. You math head people impress me! I was never one, and some how my son is guess thats a good thing!

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AMYTRIPP 4/27/2012 6:31AM

    Wow! I love looking at all those numbers. You've really got it down. Great stuff!!

I'm not so much of a number person - more a language lover. Ah well.

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SBNORMAL 4/27/2012 4:44AM

  When you do the math it's takes the emotion out of the food. Continue to make good progress with the plan food or math plan.

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Tinnitus (aka ringing ears)

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Today's health news article for me was certainly of interest. (

I know. Sometimes I can seem to be ridiculously healthy. And even I don't think of tinnitus as a "disease" - though the article called it Ringing Ear Disease. O_o I sit here typing with them ringing pretty much non-stop and realize that it just doesn't bother me as much as it seems to affect some people.

I've had tinnitus for many many years now. The vast majority of the time it is something that I tune out and ignore. I would notice it most doing things like driving up into the hills at night to look at the stars. Without the constant drone of city noise, suddenly all I can hear is the high pitched whine. (And the fact that was back when I was driving means I've had it at least a decade - I lost my car at least 7 years ago.)

I'm actually tone deaf just below the range the tinnitus registers at, giving me slight issues hearing certain people talking. I can hear in a range slightly higher which is annoying. I'm one of those people who can hear when the TV or a monitor is on. And being just higher then my tinnitus, the two sounds mix with each other.

I figure I know what caused mine - years of excessively loud stereos in cars, years in nightclubs next to big speakers, years of Walkmans and MP3 players at too high volumes on songs I love. So I don't have any feeling of "It's not fair." But I did get curious if there was anything to be done about it.

Tinnitus is actually the reason I went and checked my blood pressure for the first time - not weight. In reading, I learned that tinnitus can be caused by other things than excessive exposure to loud noises. One of those is a symptom of high blood pressure. So off I went to the local pharmacy / store that has a self-use blood pressure machine. Normal. Whew!

I didn't bother to research it further.

So checking out the article above and the link to ATA (American Tinnitus Association) with tips was actually rather interesting and informative. I had no idea that my typical 6 hour nights of sleep might have an impact on the tinnitus - that getting more sleep could help in that area too. Add that to my list of reasons to get my bedtime earlier one of these days (yeah, yeah, I'm procrastinating on that one).

Other things I've done or am doing also seem to be positive. I'm not a regular alcohol drinker. (While not a teetotaler, I drink maybe once a year if it's part of a social situation. I only drink alcohol for flavor anyway, and food is so much better.) I've reduced a lot of stress-factors in my life. I'm slowly working my sodium intake down. I avoid artificial sweeteners in most of my foods. I keep my ears cleaned out. I have never smoked and I don't drink coffee or soda, so no caffeine.

None of those are things I did for my ears and tinnitus, but apparently they can be factors to aggravate the tinnitus (? make it louder, perhaps?)

Ultimately, of the limited health issues I have, tinnitus isn't the one I seriously wish there were a cure for. Would be nice, but I can live without.

The one I hate hate hate hate and have yet to figure out why everything says it is "incurable" ... cold sores. Ugh. (I actually read medical stuff trying to figure out why some virii are considered incurable - and others have millions put into finding a cure. Still don't know yet.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NOLAZYBUTT110 5/1/2012 9:25AM

    For yoru tinnitius, have you ever tried Lipo-Flavinoids-Plus? You can find it at Walmart in the Pharmacy department area. That and Ginger are my stay to keep my ears from ringing. Sometimes the sound gets so high pitched that I could scream and I probably would not hear my own voice; it gets so loud! But those two items help IMMENSELY!

I have had tinnitis since my son blew off an M_80 firecracker near my ear! For the firsts two weeks I could not hear a dam thing! But my hearing is pretty good now considering, since I been using the Lipo-flavinoids! The Lipo-flavinoids help keep the fat out of the inner ear so theres no pressure on the inside of the ear and it restores circulation to the ear. Many times people lose hearing because of FATS that build up in the blood stream and end up in the ear. Flushing out with water does not help because its on the inside of the veins and in the middle ear, like a waxy build up but inside the ear. The Lip-Flavinoids are in oranges, lemons, and grapefruits and ginger.

Try it, because it does help IMMENSELY! When I feel normal for a while I forget to take it and it comes back as soon as I eta any fatty or fried foods. so I alway keep some Lipo-flavinoid pills on hand and take them when I start to hear that sound coming back. It does go away butc an come back fi you eta foods with FAT static high pitch in my ears again!

That waxy build up is plagque inside the ears! If its in the ear its also in your veins and arteries! Eat mroe citurs (including the skin) because just under the skin is where the LIPO-Flavinoids come from! They break down the fats! The ginger keeps your body from absorbing fats in the stomach! Ginger is better for you in so many ways. You wont get gall stones if you have ginger every day! If you get tinnitis, you will also get gall stones! But to prevent both , use the Lipo-Flavinoids and ginger. I use mroe ginger than the Lipo-flavinoids! Hope this helps you. The ginger will also help you lower your fat intake.

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SHIROIHANA 4/28/2012 10:41AM

    Interesting... I don't think I've ever had this. If so I've never had it bother me either, which is why I don't remember.

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NORAHNICK 4/26/2012 5:22PM

    Ugh. I've noticed it in my left ear a lot in the past several months. It's ringing as I type this. Hate it. Sometimes I don't know if it's me or that white noise stuff electronics can put off, but since it's just the one ear, I am assuming its me.

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ILOVEMALI 4/26/2012 4:35PM

    I am so sorry that you have to deal with this problem. I have a couple of clients who also are sufferers, and my husband gets it from time to time. It's miserable!

With regard to cold sores (YUCK!), ask your doctor to prescribe Valtrex. I take a couple as soon as I know that one is coming on, then one twice a day for a week. Keeps it much more under control.

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WEEZER66 4/26/2012 2:21PM

    Thank you. Very interesting

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ERINMARIE424 4/26/2012 12:36PM

    I have had it for a couple years now - it comes and goes. Thanks for posting the article!

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AMYTRIPP 4/26/2012 9:03AM

    I'm glad it's not overly bothersome for you. It sounds like you're dealing with it in a smart way - ie: not letting it run your life, but looking around for answers.

Never having looked into the subject, I find the list of things that could ease tinnitus to be interesting - I would have never thought any of those things (caffiene, sleep, etc) would have an affect.

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QUASIOR 4/26/2012 3:44AM

    On a rare occasion I notice it. Doesn't bother me either. I do get pain in my ears from time to time - I know exactly what causes that though, just waiting for my bottom wisdoms to get ripped b/c they are growing around my nerves and my jaw is suppose to be tiny and wasn't ever going to be big enough to take all my teeth anyway. So they grew in the wrong places and never erupted. Ooops. Blood pressure has always been perfect.

A rare social drinker? I have some too from time to time. I don't need it, and I don't miss it. Parenting is kinda more important for me. I think that's why a lot of people who used to drink more when they were younger shy away from it once they become parents. Maybe that's why for you too?

Cheers, I always love reading your blog, always interesting!

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FUZZYBEEZ 4/26/2012 2:04AM

    I am pretty sure I have it. I have never went to the doctor for it but like you I can hear the hum of a tv or a fan or such quite often. I am sitting here tonight watching tv and my ears are ringing. I don't have high blood pressure either. My blood sugars are ok. I'm well hydrated. And still my ears ring.

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MNJONES2 4/26/2012 12:53AM

    I am glad you are able to deal with things with such thought. You seem to have such a steady approach to all the little things. Continued best wishes on your journey to good health.

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SPARKFRAN514 4/25/2012 11:27PM

    you put a lot of thought in this blog i never thought much about the ringing i get in my ears at times thankfully it not all the time like you have.
i am waiting for them to blame the ringing in the ears on cell phones
emoticonthey seem to find so many odd things to blame on Cell phones. I am impressed you are not a soda drinker its some thing i have cut down on but still not able to give all together.

Comment edited on: 4/25/2012 11:28:46 PM

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-SONIA- 4/25/2012 4:41PM

    I'm glad it doesn't bother you too much. I'd go nutso... I'm very sensitive to sound (and smell... probably unrelated... oh, and tags in my shirts! LOL -- maybe I'm just super sensitive! ha ha)

And Yay for 3 points for reading the article! LOL

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SBNORMAL 4/25/2012 4:31PM

  I had it and it is bothersome,but hopefully it will go away soon.

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SEATTLE58 4/25/2012 4:30PM

    I do know that it can come from loud noises in life. My Dad was a carpenter most of his life and he suffered from it. You know how loud saws are. Kind've like a close Rock band! ha! Sure glad that your blood pressure has been normal! I can get cold sores too from time to time from Methotrexate, that I'm taking because of my RA. As soon as I feel a tingle I take LLysine, a supplement that really helps. My MIL taught me to double the doses on the bottle and does it ever help. I also use the Campho-Phenique salve just for cold sores. It comes in a little tube and I love that it takes all the "ouch" out of the sore and it starts shrinking it! Just a few things that I've found out. Hope you can get a handle on that anyway.

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SASSYJVG 4/25/2012 4:18PM

  I too have the constant "pulsating noise" in my ear which doctors have not been able to correct. There was a time ago when the ent was able to irrigate wax build up, fixing the problem but not this time. Sometimes when I'm really irritated, I'll just press on my main artery particularly if I'm trying to watch tv quietly. I hope someone has ideas that would help.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 4/25/2012 4:12PM

    So glad it doesn't bother you. emoticon

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KAELANI83 4/25/2012 3:56PM

    I have Tinnitus as well. Except mine isn't ringing, it's hearing my blood pressure in my ears. I've seen an ENT & my hearing is fine as well as my blood pressure. They just can't figure out what's going on with my ears!

Thanks for sharing the article!

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APONI_KB 4/25/2012 3:48PM

    I have a friend at work who has this. She even had a CAT scan or something and it's just horrifying that in the end they tell you, well deal with it sorry.

I've been to a few loud concerts and had this for a day or two, enough to scare me into taking better care of my ears. I feel badly for anyone who gets this. I'm glad to hear that you're ok with it.

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LGAR519 4/25/2012 3:45PM

    One of the few problems I've never had!! Lol. Had no idea it was so prevalent!

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_RAMONA 4/25/2012 3:00PM

    Sorry to hear about your tinnitus! Mine never really bothered me, either (my balance issues bother me a lot more). I have intermittent bouts due to TMJ issues. Since I had my jaw 'retrained' I've rarely had any problems... if it starts up at all I just know Ihave to relax, lol! I know a couple of people who are quite debilitaed by it.

As for the cold sores... Jennifer, have you tried Abreva? My sister swears by the stuff.. carries it everywhere. If she's able to apply it at the very first tingle the sore never erupts.

Also, check out this thread (I like the whole website). Perhaps it has something you might find useful!


"Herpes is a lipid coated virus. Now Butylated HydroxyToluene (BHT) is a food preservative that kills these viruses. Don't take my word for it, do your own research. The BHT is available ay Vitamin Reseach Products online."

"Given proper consistent daily dosage of BHT; the virus can be completely erradicated from the bloodstream (since mature HSV particles will be destroyed as soon as they are released)"

"BHT is a very effective therapy for suppressing the herpes simplex type 1 virus. BHT can totally suppress this virus, accelerate the healing of existing cold sores; and prevent non-infected people from contracting the herpes virus. The recommended dosage to prevent future outbreaks of the virus is 250 mg per day (taken with the highest-fat meal of the day). If cold sores have already appeared 250 mg per day may be sufficient in many cases. If lesions have not cleared within four days of using 250 mg then this dosage should be increased to 500 mg per day for a further four days. If still no result, the dosage may be increased to 1,000 mg per day. To date all cases have been resolved using 1,000 mg per day. A maintenance dose of 250 mg per day for life is recommended, as BHT cannot remove inactive herpes viral particles from the body. This maintenance dose ensures that mature virus particles are destroyed as soon as they are released. This would prevent all future outbreaks of lesions and would also ensure that the herpes carrier is never infectious to others. If BHT is not used until lesions appear, it takes four to seven days after the commencement of BHT use to heal the lesions."

Comment edited on: 4/25/2012 4:36:57 PM

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TMCLEOD4 4/25/2012 2:52PM

    Interesting that you put so much thought into this. Doesn't everyone have a small amount of ringing in their ears?? I do, LOL!! Always thought it was just part of life. I've known about Tinnitus since high school, where I trained to be a nursing assistant. I always thought that was something worse than what I experience. Something so bad, it maybe causes headaches or interferes with concentration or something. I never bothered to look into it. Kinda like the really bad headaches I get a few times a year. Just recently I've been wondering if they're migraines, but not enough to actually research it or go to a doctor about it.

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RG_DFW 4/25/2012 2:50PM

    Interesting... I've had it for about six months now but I tend to ignore it most of the time.

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Were they talking / laughing at me?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Most likely not, but a good reminder that I do have that little insecure voice in my head somewhere. Thankfully she's never been strong enough to overwhelm me.

This came about tonight while working out at the gym. A group of three or four guys were walking from one area to another and stopped almost immediately behind me, started speaking in a language I don't know and laughed.

My very first thought was "What? Is my butt jiggling or something?" (And, yes, on occasion I wonder what I look like from behind in the gym, or what I look like through other's eyes.)

My second thought was "Why on earth would they care enough about that to stop, talk and laugh? Yeesh, I can't believe I'd even think or concern myself with that."

What I really liked, though, was the third thought. "It doesn't matter either way because I am doing exactly what I need to be doing to make it better!"


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIDOSHA 10/28/2012 7:26PM


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    I have had several moments like this at my gym with me (and once they actually spoke my name out loud!). It's very odd.. I just hope it's in a good way, lol!

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FRAZZY2 4/30/2012 4:42PM

  I agree with babbina and all the others to keep being true to yourself!!!!!The music is in you baby girl keep up the good work!!!!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/30/2012 4:45:56 PM

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FRAZZY2 4/30/2012 4:40PM

  I agree with pixiewixie's comment and it was right of you to keep going,as we say down south,THAT'S WHAT'S UP!!!!!! STAY STRONG!!!!!! emoticon

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BABBINA 4/30/2012 2:54AM

    Ugh! I love what you said at the end! Perfectly said & so so true, that least yr doing something abt whatever it is, for you & not for them.

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RDY4THIN 4/30/2012 1:46AM

    The only comment I ever heard from a guy was describing my legs as having "thunder thighs". Until that point I never considered myself as fat/overweight, but bottom heavy (pear shaped). But it stuck and while I was attracted to the more fit guys they never seemed to give me a glance. Compared to the underfit, skinny, I guess I look fat. Now compared to fit bodies, I probablystill look pudgy. But I am BETTER THAN I WAS! Hats off to you... .and go forward with your goals!! As JCDROL said, YOU will be hot but they will still be shallow jerks. emoticon

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COREY195 4/29/2012 11:18PM

    you are doing great. emoticon

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MADELINEFINCH 4/29/2012 7:00PM

    That's wonderful! "It doesn't matter either way because I am doing exactly what I need to be doing to make it better." Such an inspiring thought. It's hard not to get overly self-concious about my body, especially when I'm exercising. But those who care don't matter, and those who matter don't care :).

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MISSLISA1973 4/29/2012 11:04AM

    You hit that nail right on the head! Good for you! emoticon

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CAROLJ35 4/29/2012 10:48AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MANILUS 4/29/2012 9:50AM

    You came with the right line of thinking, you are doing the improvement on yourself.

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JCDROLSHAGEN 4/29/2012 9:21AM

    Who cares what jerks think?! When we are hot, they still will be jerks (and shallow.)!!
Have a great day!

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EVANIAN 4/29/2012 9:06AM

    I have had many kids tell me that I am fat. This really hurts, but it is worse
when adults dont know how to behave well.
Keep up your hard work!

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AZCHICA2006 4/29/2012 8:36AM

    I know the feeling, I often see guys (in the weights room) look at me, look away, look back again and say something to one of their friends. I always have my headphone in so I can't ever hear them though. I wonder what they are saying, if they are making comments about the fat I still need to lose while they have none, of if they are wondering why a "girl" is the in the weights room. I figure, too, that it doesn't matter because I am there and I am doing my thing to make me the best me I can be.

Just keep doing your thing!

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PLAYLIN 4/28/2012 7:28PM

  Wow how many times have I felt that little laugh or whispers behind their hands and just know I'm the topic of conversation. Real or not , the thought is still there. It makes it hard for someone to even go out in public after that. I really compliment you on your attitude and courage. I hope that I'll be able to let this roll off my back the you the next time.

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SNFOSTER1 4/28/2012 5:16PM


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MISHL2012 4/28/2012 2:23PM

  Whats the best part for me is that you didn't stop and worry about #1. you let your brain keep going until #3 and then happiness. Thanks

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SERASARA 4/28/2012 1:10PM


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SWEET40SOMN 4/28/2012 12:39PM

    Perhaps it is my age, don`t know for sure, however, last week my mother and I went to lunch at a nice restaurant , we sat at a booth, shortly after we we arrived, there were three business men seated at the table, next to us. These guys kept looking at us and smiling, real big, mom and I smiled back. This smiling back and forth went on through out our entire lunch. As I got up to assist my mom with ambulation, all of these guys mouths drops open, and one of them almost fell out of his seat, literally. My initial thought was to tell them off and remind them that they were over weight themselves and had no right to be appalled by what they saw. Then I thought, that would only feed into their ugliness, and so I said " you gentlemen have a great day" and I gave the one who nearly fell out of his seat a great big wink and said I`ll see you later." Mom and I had to hold our breaths until we got outside to burst out laughing. I told mom as we were getting in the car, see even though I`ve put on all this weight.............I still get plenty of attention.................. Mean people suck................... emoticon

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CALAMITYJANE53 4/28/2012 9:39AM

    Spot on! Well done! emoticon

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KDMAMA2 4/28/2012 8:52AM


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SHIROIHANA 4/28/2012 8:23AM

    Amen to your last thought! If they did stop and laugh at you, it will be you who will have the last laugh as you are on your way to a better and healthier you.

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THISTIMEMYWAY 4/28/2012 7:07AM

    Thanks! I needed to be reminded this morning since I will be going back to the gym after a while and am feeling a liitle insecure about what others who I saw before will think about me still looking the same, I.e. No progress.
BUT WHO CARES! Life is up and down. NOBODY's PERFECT. emoticon

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WHQPHQ 4/28/2012 3:09AM

    Wow you have a really positive attitude, I think I need to steal some!

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TNELLY37 4/28/2012 2:26AM

  I've been there before. I have insecurities because of my weight. I was teased by the popular kids when I was in high school, the mean girls, the snotty cheerleaders, and the ignorant jocks who had nothing better to do, than make fun of other people. But I have to let it go, not let other people stop me from reaching my goals.

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LYNNIERN 4/28/2012 12:30AM

    Awesome read, loved the third part!! emoticon

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LOVEREDDESERT 4/28/2012 12:09AM

    Awesome that you keep that insecure voice inside your head in check. Perhaps you can keep reminding her about the incredible things you have been doing to improve your life. Remind her that you are the one in charge and how much you rock for being at the gym in the first place.
Oh and those guys...who cares anyway. You are taking care of you!!!


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TYLERDRANGUET 4/27/2012 11:37PM

    What a great attitude! In all honesty, though, they probably thought you were cute!

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CM_GARDNER78 4/27/2012 11:04PM

    Wow - great job!!! :-) That's a huge NSV if ya ask me!! I have the HARDEST TIME not thinking everyone is talking about me. Like anyone wants to talk about me! Geesh! ;-)

Way to go!

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KANOE10 4/27/2012 4:50PM

    Great.. Believe in yourself and ignore them! Good job. emoticon

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NOLAZYBUTT110 4/27/2012 1:19PM

    They were probably gay~ guys who wanted to make a comparison with your butt! lol Let it go, dont let what other thinks, say or do affect the way you are, because its not worth getting upset about. Or feel insecure, or as if someone is stalking you or laughing at you! Just smile and think, " yep, I got a good a$$!" lol Its what goes thru most other peoples minds when they are looking and laughing at others... esp in a gym or ona side walk, : thinking about their own and your rear end. lol Its a game of Comparisons~ sweety! They laugh becasue they dont have what you have! Its what its all about! And if you are beautiful they are jealous and its why they are laughing; they are insecure about theirs and its why they laugh! I know the psycholigy of their sneers! But they are really laughing at their own selves! lol LMAO because I know exactly what they are thinking.... "what I am thinking? Is anyone noticing....mine? ! lol Big Time!

Comment edited on: 4/27/2012 1:57:52 PM

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MELLYBEANS0919 4/27/2012 1:08PM


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SSEARE 4/27/2012 12:36PM

  I've felt this same insecurity so many times...unfortunately, it's not confined to the gym. Your quote at the end of the blog, "It doesn't matter either way because I am doing exactly what I need to be doing to make it better!" is the perfect phrase to say to myself when I wonder if I'm a spectacle of some sort. Thanks for the lift. These little SparkPeople nuggets contribute to my daily successes.

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AZURELITE 4/27/2012 11:55AM

    Third time's the charm... or in this case 'third thought's the charm' !

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ELUNAMAKATA 4/27/2012 11:30AM

    *high five* +50dkp ;-)

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KNEWMETODAY 4/27/2012 9:56AM

    Sometimes I think I'm such a nice person, yet I tend to think the actions of others are suspect. I need to cut both of us a bit of slack.

You did a good thing!


ie--awesome take!

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BLUEJEAN99 4/27/2012 1:17AM


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ROXIT22222 4/27/2012 12:46AM

    Yay! I like the third thought! It was the one I was going to say before I read it!

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TUBJUMPER 4/26/2012 11:13PM

    Exactly right!

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DANIELJASON 4/26/2012 11:06PM

  I get that feeling too..I'd give a little chuckle myself :D good for you ! that's awesome and keep your head up !!!

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AMMAVI 4/26/2012 11:01PM

  Good for you for winning out on this one!!! Keep up the good attitude and hard work!!

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SALSA_DIVA_44 4/26/2012 10:56PM


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JERZGURL_NAN 4/26/2012 9:44PM

    THAT's RIGHT!! Congratulations for reasoning through an uncomfortable situation. It's insane what our insecurities create sometimes, isn't it?

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LUCINDARW 4/26/2012 9:02PM

    great attitude! Keep it up. emoticon

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KENNY83 4/26/2012 8:31PM

    "Be yourself to the fullest no matter what others may think or say", I remember reading that somewhere. I like pixiewixie's comment lol, had me laughing. Good blog, reminds us all of that inner insecure voice in all of us. emoticon

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PIXIEWIXIE 4/26/2012 8:17PM

    I think what they were actually saying was:
Guy #1: Check her out, she's HOT!
Guy #2: Look at that perfect butt.
Guy #3: Hey, I think I'm gonna go and ask her what she's doing later.
Guys #1&2...etc.: Laugh, laugh, laugh... Are you for real? She's WAYYYY out of your league!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISSY455 4/26/2012 7:37PM

    Good for you! Love the attitude!

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    I actually skipped a job interview today because I saw myself in the storefront and thought, "Nobody is going to hire a fatty like me!" It was at the courthouse! The money! How foolish of me! Never again. I'm going to be out there living life no matter how much I weigh, because that is the only way to get healthy and lose weight, by letting go of the shame.

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BERKCHIK 4/26/2012 6:01PM

    Love that 3rd thought! I wish I could think, who cares it's only a laugh, maybe they need one. But I wouldn't think that...then again, maybe I would!

Great share. Thank you!!! emoticon


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Some thoughts while on the elliptical

Sunday, April 22, 2012

First off, the elliptical.

I remember the first time I set foot on one. I asked one of the gym employees to show me how to get started. I wasn't even sure if it was going to work for me because of knees and ankles, but figured I would give it a try as a means of not impacting my foot.

I did this at the end of an evening's workout, so I was already running low on energy. I lasted all of five minutes on a cardio program that did nothing more than up the resistance to get my heartrate to the right range. And man was it up to that 142 with just the slightest amount of resistance. Then it did a 3 minute cooldown that made me laugh inside because my heart would not drop below about 128.

(For reference: I am 43 so my max heart rate is 220-43=177. Target Heart Rate range of 65% to 85% comes to 115 to 150. I think most of the machines use 80% which is 141.6 or 142.)

I tried again a couple times that week and was sooo proud when I managed to keep going for a whole 12 minutes plus the 3 minutes cooldown, though I was still having trouble going easy and slow enough "cooling down" for it to not still be a workout.

Some bit back I'd swapped from the elliptical that is just one height to one that adjusts incline. Part of the reason for that was because of the way my feet would start going to sleep within 15 minutes on the "flat" version. I laced my shoes looser, move my feet more, and swapped to the machine with incline - and the combination helped.

This machine has various programs for varying the incline through the workout and does a 5 minute cooldown. I got into the habit of doing 15 minutes plus 5 minutes cooldown after my weight training, having done 30 minutes on the recumbent bike before.

In the last few weeks I've been pushing myself more on both the recumbent bike and the elliptical. I've gone as long as 50 or 55 minutes (including the cooldown) on the elliptical. I started bumping up the resistance from 1 to 3 then 4. I swapped from a hill program that was milder (went between 1 and 16 inclines) to one that has a "big" hill topping out at incline of 20. I've gone from 110 strides per minute to mostly holding 120 strides consistently to pushing for stretches of 130 strides per minute and/or doing some arm moves for added cardio work.

It's hard to believe stepping on today and doing a 10 minute warmup (did the lower hill program and skipped the cooldown), stretching my calves, then doing a 40 minute program of the big hill at resistance of 5, keeping at 130 strides per minute for at least 3/4 of that, then 5 minutes of cooldown during which my heart rate quickly got down to 112, how far I've come.

I don't do this to burn more calories, even if that is an effect. I don't do this so I can eat more. I don't do this so the pounds will melt off faster.

No, I do this because it shows me just how capable my body is. I do it because it makes my legs and glutes feel strong and able. I do it because I can set tiny goals for how to up the workout the next time and do it. I ~LOVE~ the mental high from exceeding my own past ability.


Now, a funny thing today happened while I was doing my elliptical time. Two girls came out from another area. One got on a treadmill and was sort of slowly increasing the walking speed. The other hung around a little then got on an elliptical but was going about as slow as one could go. At this point one of the personal trainers came out of where they'd been and made the one on the elliptical get on another treadmill.

Best I could tell, this was part of their session with him. He was trying to get them both to go a decent speed on the treadmill. (And I don't mean full out running. I mean that they were both walking well under 4 mph and from what he was saying, he wanted them running or jogging.)

At least one was complaining (even if in fun) and turning the speed back down every time he'd reach over to speed it up.

I had to really shake my head and laugh inside. Some people will pay serious money to have a trainer push them. (And, really? I've seen this guy with another group of four girls who work - he pushes just as hard as they need - varying it by their ability. But he does push.) If I was spending that money, I would NOT be complaining or saying I couldn't do something. I'd be at least putting my all into doing it and letting my body limit me rather than my mind.

Me? I won't pay a trainer because I'm regularly pushing myself. Not on my rest days like yesterday, but the rest of my days are about seeing if I can do more. I don't want to be pushed to the edge of my ability, but I'm not about to lighten up and take it easy on myself either. What I do want is to be always pushing to expand my comfort zone. If I'm comfortable, I'm not pushing myself enough.


This last is some thoughts that went rambling through my head while working on the elliptical after those girls and another pair he worked with.

I am not the sort to be suicidal. At all. Something dreadful could happen to my children, all of my family and extended family, my best friend, even to me, and I would absorb it and find a way to live with it and survive for me.

At the same time, I am the sort who does not want to live to be 100 unless I'm able to live an active and independent life. Something I've heard about in primitive cultures was the elderly beyond a certain point choosing a time to walk away, to stop being a burden on their village / people. That has a strong appeal to me. When this body is almost done, I don't feel vitally driven to keep it going longer.

Where is this going? Well, the main windows of the gym I go to face this wide walkway between two main streets in downtown, a theater being directly opposite. There is a LOT of foot traffic through there. The University is only about 6 blocks over, a main park and the convention center are a few blocks in other directions. The primary transit lines and transfer points are on either side of this walkway. So I see many people in all sorts of levels of fitness and health.

One fellow I've seen a few times now is missing much of his forearms and hands or they're small up near the elbow. I'm not close enough to know for sure, but it looks more like something he was born with. He doesn't hide his arms. He manages to carry what he needs. He looks healthy and fit. I see him and think what life might have been like born that way. I do this with many people who go past.

Never once, I realized, did I think that it would be miserable to live like that. Instead I was imagining the challenges involved.

So that sent my thoughts on what some might consider a morbid turn.

One of my unmentioned goals to finally get done this year is a Will, a DNR (do not resuscitate) order, and so on. My kids already know the basics - any organ donation possible, cremate what's left, ash disposal up to them. (I'm not at all concerned about what happens to the body once I've moved on.) But formalizing it is always a good idea.

The DNR order is one of those trickier ones. At what point of body damage would I want efforts to keep me alive to cease? Because, yes, I have a strong will to live. I can see myself in a wheelchair, paraplegic, and fighting to keep doing as much "normally" in my life as I can. I can't see myself happy as a quadriplegic with little control of anything but my head, driving my wheelchair with a joystick I manipulate with my head or mouth. I feel a very real horror at the thought.


Activity. The ONLY activity I'd be capable of would be mental. I may love reading and learning, but the idea of being unable to do any more than drive around on a sunny day just makes me cringe.

I'm not athletic. I'm not interested in being a runner or a bodybuilder or a fitness trainer. But I am and always have been active. Even when I made myself essentially a shut-in for a few years, I still walked to and from work, walked to the grocery store, went for late night walks for any number of reasons, went hiking when I had my car.

I love physical activity. I love the body in motion. It's a perfect balance to the constant mental activity going on. I cannot imagine losing that. I read about those with mobility issues or injuries, and I'm immediately trying to think of ways to remain active in spite of those. There are numerous Sparkers whom I respect immensely for the amount of fight they put up to be active, whether it's against pain or injury or illness or other form of disability.

So, really, as long as I have a body willing to move, and a mind and body capable of moving it, I'm going to be active. I'm going to make the time. I'm going to create the space.

I'm going to move it, move it, shake it, shake it.
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHIROIHANA 4/28/2012 10:56AM

    What a beautiful post! You are a true inspiration and am very proud on how far you've come along. As long as you keep moving forward and giving it your all each time, that's what matters. You don't need a trainer or hours in the gym for progress.

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JENNAAW 4/26/2012 8:39AM

    Very nice post to read! I am my own trainer too, and a mean one at that. I see trainers at my gym; they don't seem to push their clients much. If they did, they might not have anyone left to train I guess. I can't believe how lazy the routines are week after week. At my gym most people read magazines or even ebooks (I would throw up or drop things because the machines shake so much when I am using them) and leaning on the handlebars is not uncommon. From my experience, I would advise them that it is better to do a shorter time in good form rather than plod along for 30 minutes or more while leaning. Just my opinion.

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MSSUZZANNE 4/23/2012 9:40PM

    I love your approach to the elliptical! I can relate to not wanting to pay a trainer to push you...I push myself too. I am fiercely competitive with myself. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, you inspire me!

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SASSY5468 4/23/2012 2:32PM

    You are amazing and I love reading about your challenges for yourself. It's such an inspiration!

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SBNORMAL 4/23/2012 2:16PM

  I am trying to do like you, and keep it MOVING!!!

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WAYSOFGRACE 4/23/2012 10:24AM

    I am impressed with your ability to constantly challenge yourself. You've done so much and come so far, I have no doubt you will succeed in anything you set your mind to! I am not one who can do that with any level of consistency, and I recognize the need to do that. I tend to push myself when I have someone next to me. They don't have to say anything, or do anything. I will just automatically push myself at that point to go just a little bit further, a little bit faster. I do it with work, I do with exercise, with anything really.

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LGAR519 4/23/2012 9:54AM

    I woild fall flat on my face if I thought as much as you while exercising .LOL. Hubby and I have discussed our final wishes but have nothing in writing. My Mom is a DNR. She is 94 and has many health problems. She made the decision herself.

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AMYTRIPP 4/23/2012 9:43AM

    First off: Congrats on how far you've come on the elliptical!! Inspiring! And I love hearing how you push yourself.

Will - I totally agree on the diposal of my remains. I want to be cremated as well, but I really don't care where I end up. That pile of ashes wont' be me. I've told loved ones before that if I didn't get cremated, I'd want to be buried as 'naturally' as possible. This thought of burying bodies in a way that insects can't get to them, etc., seems silly to me. Give back, darn it! LOL

DNR - my dad signed one when we all knew he was getting to the end of his life. I was there when the ambulance arrived after he'd taken his last breath (to this day, I swear he willed himself to die as we heard the ambulance in the distance- he swore he'd never go to the hospital or a doctor- he didn't). I gave the ambulance personnel the DNR and watched as they called the hospital and were given the okay to honor it. Just knowing those were my Dad's wishes made that decision easier and one that I have no regrets about. (He had liver damage, emphasyma, and pancreatic cancer).

Great blog!

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-SONIA- 4/23/2012 8:56AM

    I'm just learning how to be connected with my body, and it's a nice feeling. It's strange to think of all the years I just ignored it altogether...

You have a great, healthy focus and attitude! As always!! emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 4/23/2012 8:58:27 AM

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PATIB13 4/23/2012 12:43AM

    Good job on conquering the thing goes through my head...WOW I don't know if I do as much thinking as you do while exercising. I am impressed.... but good for you for thinking about what needs to be done and how you want it taken care of. I am nut sure how I feel about that for myself, some days a DNR sounds like the way to go, so that my family doesn't have to suffer through a long ordeal then other days I think what if that cuts down my chance to live. So many thoughts maybe I need to get on an elliptical and think on it :)

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EJRANVILLE 4/22/2012 10:53PM

    Funny, I remember when 15 minutes on the elliptical was tough--and now an hour is the usual routine. I think I have both gotten stronger and my body has adjusted--which probably means it's time to change it up a bit.

I see other people with trainers too (I don't have one) and most of the time you're right--I already push myself to that same degree. emoticon

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SPARKFRAN514 4/22/2012 10:47PM

    I do the elliptical as well. I had a trainer when I joined you got two free training days when you joined. Then you could add more. I signed up for one month for 2 times a week to get me motivated and set up with several programs. I donít use one any more but he still checks in and sees how I am doing and encourages me when I come to work out.
At my first visit he had me try the tread mill . I told him how i felt using the tread mill he agreed
I was safer using the Elliptical. ( on the tread mill I felt like I would fly off the back of the tread mill.) The ellipticalís in the gym I go to can be set at different inclines and resistance settings. My goal is to do the Pikes Peak setting just because its some place I have visited. I picture my self riding in the car as we drove to the top of the mountain and walking around once we got to the top. emoticonI donít think like you do as work out you really get into thinking as you workout. ME I make a I make a mental shopping list work on a to do list of things to get done after the work out. The gym I go use windows face a busy street so I will some time count how many red or what ever color I think will be fun to count. Thank you for the comments on my blog its always fun to hear from you and get your in put. Have a great Monday and keep Sparking.

Comment edited on: 4/22/2012 11:06:24 PM

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QUASIOR 4/22/2012 10:33PM

    You know, I've had invisible barriers that really classify as disabilities - depression, coeliac etc, but helping myself to get over those things I really do require my body to move it, move it!! What a difference that makes to my body!!!

Really I think the very worst possible disability to me is to be living in an unresponsive shell, but having an active brain ticking away, unable to communicate. That gives me shivers.

I have to keep it together and get healthy for one simple reason: I'm a carer (and a mother) and I have 6 other people relying on me for everything, and if I wasn't here - OMG - who would look after them? I don't trust the government, I can't trust my in-laws (we are in fact estranged from them) and my parents are getting past their use-by-date with their growing health issues and old age. I am the youngest of 7 children and my parents are about 15 years older than my peers. They aren't physically capable. So I have to get fit/healthy just to make sure I'm there for them - and that keeps me motivated like nothing else.

Thanks for sharing - I understand you wanting a DNR order. I hope we don't find ourselves in that situation!

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GOING-STRONG 4/22/2012 10:22PM

    I'm very impressed with how far you have come. You have that elliptical whipped into shape! Great attitude and I like how you push yourself competing only with yourself. I also try and do that and need to work on challenging myself more. Thanks for sharing and Spark on!

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MICHELLE_391 4/22/2012 8:49PM

    Lovely show of respect to the human body! You sure DO get a lot of thinking done while working out. Does this mean you don't listen to music? I think that would be a huge step for me - working out without audible stimulation.

You've made tremendous progress and I'm glad to see that you are actually proud of yourself! You've done a lot of work and set the stage to do a lot more and love the journey.


emoticon emoticon

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    I am working on a five wishes for myself right now. I am considering doing it since if something happens to me I need to know that someone else will do what I want done even if it's hard.

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KARL1266 4/22/2012 8:27PM

    As always, another thought-provoking blog. I feel inspired to get a bit more active. I don't go to a gym because I'm cheap. But I do work out at home. Something you said struck me--"if I'm comfortable, I'm not pushing myself enough".

I'm comfortable. Guess I need to step it up a bit.

Thanks for writing that.

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KSCHRAUT 4/22/2012 8:07PM

    Wonderful blog! Some very interesting thoughts and all worth talking about. I, too, think it's ridiculous when people who pay trainers don't put in all their effort during the sessions. Seems like they are just wasting their money to me.

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POETLKNG2LOSE 4/22/2012 7:49PM

    I agree with you there; why pay a trainer and then complain and not even try. I believe God wants us to take care of our bodies. I admire you for pushing yourself the way you do. Never been to a gym in my life. i do mine with weights and resistance bands and workouts at home. I have a living will i got from a company laying around the house i have to fill out. I decided to pay for a funeral trust instead of life insurance; so I won't be taxed or no one can take money out of it. As for quality of life; it all depends on the person and what they believe. I know of someone who is in a wheel chair and can only move her head. She has been like that since she was 17; and dived into shallow water. She is a Christian, perhaps you heard of her, Joni Erickson Tada. She draws using her mouth. She had a regular radio program and she helps other people in different countries get wheel chairs; plus other stuff. She hasn't given up as long as god can use to impact others. As for me I think i will call it quits if I have to be on a feeding tube or they have to use a machine to keep me alive.

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AMBERZADE 4/22/2012 7:45PM

    Congrats on conquering the eliptical. It looks like the most fun of all of those machines at the gym.

I feel the same way you do about what happens to my body after I die. It doesn't matter to me. But a DNR.... I'm not so sure about.

I'm also not sure about how I would take the challenge of being disabled in some way. I really respect people who handle it well.

Good for you for staying active. I can not say the same.

You sure get a lot of thinking done while you're exercising.

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