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Tried Zumba and other rambles

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Yesterday the gym was having a special theme day (summer) as well as their first Zumba class. To get interest up, the class was offered for free just last night - members will have to pay $5 per class and non-members $10 in the future. So I figured why not - can't lose with something free.

Yuck. I walked out after around 10 minutes.

Now before you leap in because you love Zumba, please understand that this was purely MY opinion of this class / instructor combination. The Yoga instructor was far better - even if I found Yoga not to my tastes.

I was spending more time shuffling side to side, arms not moving much because I was trying to figure out what my feet were supposed to be doing, but most didn't last more than 4-8 beats which meant by the time I started to move, it was a new move in some other direction.

I can salsa. I used to head out to Latin clubs at least one night a week just for the energy and the dancing years ago. Heck, my music player that I had going while doing my weights before was playing J.Lo, Enrique Iglesias, Pitbull, and more. Latin dance pop. I stand at bus stops and dance.

This ... did not feel like Latin dance with the energy turned up. It felt like an old-school aerobics class with a dash of Latin music, hip thrusts and shimmies and an outfit that maybe is supposed to be Brazilian-inspired. (Maybe the expectation I had of high-energy Latin dance was part of the problem. *shrug*)

I think I went to my first aerobics class back in the mid-80s. Leg-warmers and leotards, big hair, and 80's pop music, gratingly smiley instructors. But at least those instructors got involved and made sure everyone knew the basic steps and gave people time to do them AFTER showing them the step. This class, this instructor ... not so much.

The warmup was done (with the only named move being a grapevine), some time had been spent standing as she fast-forwarded to the next song in her list, and a few minutes were spent shuffling to keep up and try to get at least one step right here and there. My heart-rate might as well have been resting. It was beating faster when I was doing my preacher curls! I wanted cardio ... not what I would get standing and dancing while I waited for a bus.

I'm glad it was free. If I'd paid $5 for it, I would have been miffed walking out at the waste of money. Instead, I slipped to the back and out of the room, got my phone (with music) and headphones out of my locker, and was onto the elliptical in 5 minutes. Bam! My heart-rate was quickly back up into a respectable range - and I kept that up until about the same time the class ended.


Another thing they offered free was a "body composition test".


It sounds like more than it was. It was the hand-held body fat % device. According to that, I'm now at 33.1% body fat. (According to my scale at home which uses a foot sensor, I'm 39%.) Of course, now I don't remember what it read back in January when the personal trainer was doing the initial evaluations, so I don't have a reference for the change. Hmmmm, maybe I blogged it.


StairMaster / Step Machine

So, first time I tried it I did 10 minutes. Last night I did 15. This was before my strength training on the weight machines, which I finished just before the free Zumba class would start. I swear it's easier to climb at a reasonable pace (... okay, I don't know if my definition of reasonable is the same as others - hehe) than it is when it slows down. It acts like slowing down is the easy part.

I definitely feel this more in my quads than the elliptical.

Next up? Maybe the rowing machine. I don't think the motion would aggravate my arm.


Upcoming 5k this weekend - Packard Summer Scamper out at the gorgeous Stanford campus. (Seriously, if I came into money, that's where I would go to school given a choice. Loved it when I was a teen, love it now.)

The difficulty is ... I don't live that close to Stanford and I don't drive. Race is Saturday at 8:10, though I have to show up early for my packet. The closest bus / shuttle that runs Saturday morning is 1.7 miles from the starting line. (The cost of a taxi to get there from home is $80-ish.) Add it all up and I will be waking up around 5:15 am to catch the bus, walking those 1.7 miles, getting my packet and setting up, walking the 5k, walking those 1.7 miles back to the bus stop and riding home ... for around 6.5 miles of walking.

In addition, I don't have a backpack or running belt right now. I have to go buy a cheap pack tonight - and probably some small safety pins in case they don't provide any with the bib. If I don't, I'll have no easy way to carry the liters of water and bus pass and other related items.

Methinks I didn't plan this very well.

But I'll have fun. And that is what is important.


Don't really like the new fitness page changes. Mostly because it didn't carry over the list of ST machines I do ... and has no easy way (other than going to the old page) to set them up. I'll have to either buck up and spend the time to search for each and every one to add to a Grouping or just quit tracking them on SP and use the JEFit Pro app only.

While I understand the desire to have the time spent doing ST count as fitness minutes, I was also amused to see that the changes means I supposedly burn 300+ more calories those days. I wonder how many people are going to see their calorie range go up and freak a little.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AMBUDMAN 6/26/2012 9:14AM

    I tried Zumba at both my gym and the "Y". The only thing I really liked about it was the music. Give me "Country Line Dancing" anytime and I'm good to go. The right instructor really does make a difference but there is to much bending and twisting that I am not suppose to do. This old machine has to watch how it is greased these days, LOL.

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    Good luck at the race today!

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AZULVIOLETA6 6/23/2012 1:52AM

    Sounds like you didn't get a very good Zumba instructor--there really isn't supposed to be a warm up during the class beyond perhaps the first song, and steps should not be named—both of these things violate the Zumba methodology. Anybody who takes and pays for the Zumba instructor course will pass—this includes people who can’t dance, people who have no business being instructors and people who are just complete idiots—you get the picture. Quality varies enormously.

I also have a Latin dance background, and I've found that I really can't deal with instructors who are more hip-hop or aerobics-orientated. If you've taken a lot of dance classes, Zumba can be tough to get used to in several ways—it’s hard to feel comfortable dancing alone in a line when you are used to mirroring a partner, it’s hard to get used to moving your upper body in ways that would be incorrect in real Latin dance and it takes a while to figure out each instructor’s cues and learn the routines.

The point is that you might be enchanted with Zumba if you try another instructor. It’s worth giving it a second chance.

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MICHELLE_391 6/23/2012 1:16AM

    I've never tried Zumba, but I'm also not graceful or even coordinated. I'm glad you didn't pay for the class.

My calorie counts actually went drastically down with my new weight loss. I upped my cardio by 15 minutes a day, and this made a scant difference. I was just starting to get used to eating more calories and now...*sigh*.

Have fun with your 5K - even though it is more of an 8 mile walk for you.

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NEWMOM20121 6/22/2012 9:24PM

    Glad the zumba class was free, wish I was closer and I could give you a ride to the 5k, agree do not like the new fitness page. Have a great weekend.

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KLONG8 6/22/2012 3:12PM

    Hmmm - sounds like the instructor wasn't good at instructing. But Zumba isn't for everyone. I took about 4 classes, had fun, but discovered that it was hard on my hips (surprise) & then recalled my ortho guy said "try not to do a lot of side by side motions like tennis or zumba). Well, there you go.

And then I read the rest of your blog. My god, you're an animal. Keep it up!

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SBNORMAL 6/22/2012 2:47PM

  To bad you did not like Zumba, but I think you are just so advanced from the beginner's class, since you have been at this for some time and you have had real experience with Latin dance. Try something else and KEEP ON TRUCKIN!!!

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VALKYRIA- 6/22/2012 2:18PM

    I thought I was the only person on this page who didn't enjoy Zumba... haha.
Have a great time at your 5k. Keep up the fantastic work :)

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ILOVEMALI 6/22/2012 12:17PM

    I hate the gym. I did enjoy Curves, but our (stupid) local Curves is closed from 12 pm til 2 pm -- perfect for those of us whose only potential free time during the day is the lunch hour. The response was that I could come early (5:30 am) -- my response was NOT!

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PGNBRI 6/22/2012 11:20AM

    I've done Zumba with several different instructors and the right instructor really does make all the difference. There are some that I will never take their class again. Total waste of my time. Its boring and I don't get a good workout. And there are others who work me very hard! So, I hope you'll try it again with another instructor. You may still not like it, but if you like Latin music and dance, I think its worth a shot!

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KENDRACARROLL 6/22/2012 11:06AM

    Love my Zumba class! The fun factor depends largely on the instructor.
Thanks to Zumba I'm moving parts of my body that I haven't moved in years. It's like greasing an old machine :)

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QUASIOR 6/22/2012 10:12AM

    Well at least you tried. She may have been just a bad instructor. I love Zumba personally. That's my cardio. I don't mind it being a little like an aerobics work out I liked them too. I understand you don't like it from that bad experience! I do it all with Wii, and now DVDs and Xbox soon, so I could do it and screw up and not feel awkward. so I'll be all good when I feel brave enough to go to class! I want to jog eventually too but it's too hard on my joints yet with too much weight.

Have fun with you run emoticon

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BLUE_KARMA 6/22/2012 9:41AM

    I think a big component in Zumba is the instructor. At our YMCA we have 7 certified instructors. Of those, I think two are amazing - give great cues, make you work hard and sweat, make it fun. 3 are okay. 2 are awful. Sounds like you got someone on the lower end of the spectrum.

Have fun in your 5K!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RG_DFW 6/22/2012 7:22AM

    Never tried it

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TAMPATINK67 6/22/2012 1:11AM

    Thanks for another view on Zumba - maybe I'll wait and try to pick up one for the Wii at GameStop!

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SPARKFRAN514 6/22/2012 12:58AM

    I agree about Zumba classes i have two left feet and don't like doing group classes like to work out i even hve a hard time following Coach Nicole as I have two left feet . doing the foot work and arm work is a site to see good thing i do it when one else is around. i am trying to get used to the tracker gave up today 6/21 and just used the Spark America tracker wher you just enter the time you worked out and the you can make short notes about what you did going to keep working with it since i don't have any other way to track it.
thanks for the Great blog.

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JSLATE2K 6/22/2012 12:41AM

    My niece is a Zumba junky. I used to be a dancer in my 20's, but I recently got the 28-Day Bootcamp, and I am truly not mastering moving different parts of my body in different directions during the Cardio Blast - I look like a newborn giraffe. Kinda' funny, because I'm a cardio junky - just so long as I don't have to be coordinated. Oh well, I keep forgetting I'll be 50 this year, and some things are not as natural as they once were. In time....

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FLEURGARDEN 6/21/2012 11:02PM

    That was my experience with a zumba class too. So many people love it, so I tried it, but I couldn't follow the steps and catch on at all! Like you, I was doing aerobics during those Jane Fonda days. :-)

My strength training came over to the new fitness page as a "group" - did you check under that tab? I didn't have to re-enter mine, which I really appreciated.

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2BEABETTERME 6/21/2012 10:40PM

    Kudos for trying something new! I've heard great things about Zumba but haven't tried it. Despite liking the Yoga moves on Wii, I hated the one and only Yoga class I tried (yet again, I have heard others love it). To each his own!

Have fun at your race!
emoticon emoticon

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HOPEFULHIPPO 6/21/2012 10:33PM

    That's pretty cool they offered it for free :o) A great way for people to see if it's for them...I think other gyms (mine) should try that! LOL

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ANGGEL40 6/21/2012 9:41PM

    I tried Zumba twice and I am not a big fan of it either..but I love Yoga..Yoga makes me relax more ..I am glad that you did get you another workout in..good luck on your 5k this weekend and be safe walking to and from the bus stop!

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HEAT7918 6/21/2012 9:26PM

    I'm not a big fan of zumba or yoga either... though I think it's possible if I found the right instructor, both have potential - maybe.

Thanks for sharing!

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TALENKARR1 6/21/2012 8:13PM

    My friend has been bugging me to try zumbaI am more of a dance like a fool person. So I didn't taake her up on her offer........Kinda glad I didn't. Idon't like the new traker ever sooo. no staying with the old. but hay you did something new even If it wasn't to your taste. Way to go on being fearless!

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MNJONES2 6/21/2012 7:53PM

    Zumba wasnt my thing either - I tried Zumba gold too but was frustrated when the instructor didnt even talk during the class - she just pointed the way she wanted you to turn. If you missed the point ...... ah well.

I am still hoping that Group Active will be added back soon.

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KSCHRAUT 6/21/2012 7:44PM

    I am sorry you had such a bad experience with ZUMBA. I personally LOVE it, but I also had fabulous instructors and the classes were very high energy and did get my heart rate up by the end of song 1. Sounds like your instructor may not be giving the experience people should get. At least you know it is not for you.

I had noticed the calorie change when adding in ST to the new fitness tracker. My thing is, I don't necessarily time how long I do each ST exercise as an individual so I have to get used to that if I do indeed want to use it

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KATYDID412 6/21/2012 7:40PM

    I bought Zumba for the Wii after a friend of mine had tried a class (in person, with actual people) and loved it. I did it (I use the term "did" loosely) once. Actually, I'll be putting some items on Freecycle this weekend and I think that'll be one of them.

There was no instruction on the DVD. It just ... started ... and I was completely lost. Completely. Even the low beats-per-minute dances were too confusing.

So yeah. I'm sticking with what i know.

But good for you for trying!

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LGAR519 6/21/2012 7:12PM

    I've never tried zumba. Probably never will! But at least you know it isn't for you.

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PARASELENIC 6/21/2012 7:05PM

    There as many exercise options as their are personalities in this world-- and between you and me, the real deal (salsa dancing) is a very enjoyable workout on it's own.

I'm glad you're trying new things, though, and sharing them here, as they give me ideas of new things I can try, too!

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IMATALOSS 6/21/2012 7:03PM

  That's great you tried something new. I walk by and watch the Zumba class but haven't had the courage to try one.

I was wondering what was up with the Fitness tracker. I thought something was wrong with the screen!

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1STMOMMY1991 6/21/2012 6:55PM

    I HAD Zumba (notice past tense) for my Wii but am so uncoordinated I gave up because as you said, my heart rate wasn't up snce I couldn't follow the moves well. I now just play my own music and DANCE, DANCE, DANCE away in my living room. I keep my rate up because it doesn't matter how I'm moving since no one is here to say I'm doing it wrong. I do alot of moves I've learned from Coach Nicole's bootcamp and others I've seen.
Glad your class was free. Kepp moving!

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SKAHONEY4U 6/21/2012 6:46PM

    I'm trying a free zumba class next tuesday. I am terrified- I am very uncoordinated!! The girls in histopath invited me, so I said I'd give it a try!!

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AMYTRIPP 6/21/2012 6:33PM

    I've never been graceful enough to do any dancing. :) So I haven't tried Zumba, but I don't think it'd be my thing.

Fitness tracker- yep, not liking it... yet... maybe I will after a while

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BEEMEE137 6/21/2012 6:29PM

    I'm totally with you on Zumba. I hate it. If I could understand what the hell they were doing for longer than 5 seconds my heart rate would have been up but the lady just kept screaming at us and doing moves so fast no one could keep up.

However, it never hurts to try something new, so kudos for that. Hopefully your next endeavor will be more enjoyable for ya. :)

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SHERIO5 6/21/2012 6:27PM

    Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained as far as the Zumba experience! It sounds like you didn't have the best instruction going into it...that makes all the difference to me! I don't mind not "getting" the steps right away, as long as the intructor is encouraging and gives modifications for folks who don't like/can't do the steps or moves she is demonstrating. Good for you trying it anyway!

Let us know how your run goes!

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TRULYVISIBLE 6/21/2012 6:18PM

  I took Zumba three days a week for a year or longer. Then they got this teacher who was very chatty during the hour, stopped to find music and would change steps too often. I can relate as that is when I stopped my gym membership as I only went for Zumba.

I started to hike more and now that it is summer, I swim. As long as we are moving, that is what counts.

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KARL1266 6/21/2012 6:11PM

    Interesting experience with the Zumba class. I do Zumba at home on my Nintendo Wii so this way I get to learn the moves. It really does sound like you had an instructor who either was a rookie and didn't know how to teach a class or one who assumed everyone knew all the moves. Either way...not a great combination. Having never attended a class I am the last person to pass judgement.

Good luck with your 5K (or is it 10?)!

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MUSOLF6 6/21/2012 6:07PM

    Thanks for sharing. I have Zumba for my Wii fit and it is a lot fun. I do it with my daughter. I still can't get all the moves right, but then , who cares , I am in my house and feel , that I get a good workout. I properly don't look very good doing it. Not graceful at all. lol emoticon

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CUDDLEY51 6/21/2012 5:30PM

    Intersting perspective on zumba....thinking this was a rookie instructor or something?? Most folks seem to get alot out of their zumba classes, although I have never personally tried it. But hey, good for you for being at the gym and checking out something new!!

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MYBLUEIRIS 6/21/2012 5:12PM

    Hey lady!

It's interesting to me to hear your input on what you thought about a Zumba class. Maybe the instructor wasn't sure how to teach a class... that was my first thought upon reading what you wrote. Still, I probably would have ducked out too. I'd kinda like to check out a Zumba dvd from the library, though. That way, I could do it in the privacy of my home, and I could turn it off if it doesn't work for me.

I haven't tried the new fitness tracker for my ST yet. I'm still trying to figure out where my ST exercises went! You say they're still there just on the old tracker? Huh. I was hoping they'd carry over.

Anyhow, hope you're having a good week!


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RUNNERRACHEL 6/21/2012 5:12PM

    Sorry you didn't have a good experience with Zumba. Sounds like the instructor didn't do such a great job of getting you engaged, enjoying the music, movement and rhythm. I like Zumba and have seen that a good instructor can make a difference. A so-so instructor makes a so-so class...etc.

Good thing you still found some good cardio machines.

Have fun at your 5k, which with all the extra walking will be a 10k for you! I am pretty sure you don't have to bring a lot of water. There should be water stations and every race I've been to provides water during and after the race. That might lighten your load if you don't have to lug a lot of H2O...

Well, great job staying active and finding ways to get that heart rate up.

I hated the new tracker until I saw that mileage, ST, cardio was all in the same place. Initially I switched back to the old tracker then gave the new tracker 5 minutes of exploration and decided to go with the new tracker. I like the old one that has pictures, not just names for the ST exercises. I did create a few groupings that make it a little easier.

Keep up the great work!

Comment edited on: 6/21/2012 5:14:02 PM

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PJDARCAX2 6/21/2012 5:11PM

    Thanks for sharing! I will not waste money trying this class out!!

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Summer is here!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Today is the Summer Solstice (or Winter Solstice for those below the equator). That means it is the longest (or shortest) day of the year and the official beginning of the new season.

While I have yet to do one of the seasonal 5% challenges, I do mark each season with some goals for the coming months and a review of the previous season's progress. So here it is:

== by Summer ==

1) Replace all my old shirts. Not only are they now pretty much too big, but more than a couple have been really shabby for quite a while now. It's long past time to change it up.

Heh, got this one done in April because I mistakenly thought it was an April goal rather than a "by Summer" goal. I've bought a couple shirts since then (workout ones) and also recently ordered a couple of shirts from SparkPeople. I finally have more shirts than workdays. (Yes, it was that bad at some points ...)

2) Workouts maintained. Minimum of 30 minutes cardio (usually 40+) every day, though two "rest" days of lower intensity / effort. Three days weekly of Strength Training (full body for now, split if I get to point of needing more rest between.)

Haven't missed a day yet. It's such a habit right now and so convenient on the way home from work or first thing on the weekends that there isn't even a question of whether I'll do it.

3) Increase non-workout walking such as to and from transit and work, using stretches and paying close attention to how my foot feels.

I'm coming to believe my foot may never be 100%, but is rarely an issue. (Mostly when it is more tense or inflamed, it feels like my sock is rumpled when it isn't.) Stretches, particularly calf and achilles tendon keep it from getting worse and I keep the ice ready if it ever feels more swollen. I'm actually scheduled for a 5k walk this coming weekend (the Packard Summer Scamper out at Stanford University).

SUMMARY? Met them all. Really, though, they weren't challenging goals - just reminders of things I wanted to make sure to accomplish within a "reasonable" amount of time or reminders to keep doing something.

Onward to the next three months:

== by Fall ==

1) Roller-blade at least once or twice. If I decide I really want to get back into it, get the protective gear (elbow, knee, helmet) and possibly arch supporting inserts. If not, donate or dispose of the skates.

2) Walk two more 5k races after the Packard Summer Scamper. One is the SP virtual race. The other is, as yet, undecided.

3) Talk to a career counselor / college counselor. No decisions have to be made yet, but I need to start figuring out "what I want to be when I grow up" so that I can make goals to move me in that direction.

4) Make it happen! I miss hiking. A lot. While I'm not keen on hiking with someone, that is better than NOT hiking. Call my brother (who I've lived with and hiked with in the past) and plan some hiking out at Big Basin or Castle Rock. It'll be good for him too!



Quick comment on not having done any of the 5% challenges. I'm actually considering doing one, but I feel like my reasons are kind of screwy.

I haven't done any because I didn't really want to put any pressure on losing a certain number of pounds. My goals are and have always been more loose on the weight and more focused on the actions / habits and the fitness level.

I haven't done any because I'm already working to keep SP time from becoming overwhelming. I'm here more for others than for me. (I could track my food, my fitness, and my other goals anywhere. It's the interaction with SparkFriends and SparkTeams that hook me and keep me here.)

I haven't done any because I don't want to feel obligated to a Team or like I'd be disappointing a Team if they set a goal or challenge I won't do (e.g. get 8 hours of sleep every night or don't snack after 8 pm).

All that said, I'm really starting to want to do one because of the blogs from people in challenges - the interesting stuff that they seem to do as a group.

I think I need to just do one (Summer Challenge, Fall Challenge, hmmm) and see how it goes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKFRAN514 6/22/2012 12:25AM

    Hope to see join the 100 day summer challenge you will enjoy the challenges and the team leaders are great. i like your plans and goals we all need to make them and check them off as done its a great feeling. thanks for a great blog

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SHERIO5 6/21/2012 9:02AM

    Excellent work on meeting your goals, I really like the way you describe how easy it is to get your fitness in...that's how it should be!!! I think that's emoticon

I haven't done the challenges too well, I have started a couple, but then found the goals not so motivating because they were habits I already had...and the sweet tooth one...I just quit! I do love seeing how motivating they are for some folks. I agree, the regular interactions are what keep me motivated. I just joined a new team, and "meeting" and learning about the team seems to be helping my motivation.

You are so consistent! That's what I'd like to learn from you, my friend! emoticon

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RG_DFW 6/21/2012 7:10AM


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AMYTRIPP 6/21/2012 6:26AM

    Great job on the goals!

Seasonal challenges: I'm thinking about the fall because summer is way too busy as it is.

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JIBBIE49 6/21/2012 12:06AM


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MICHELLE_391 6/20/2012 11:44PM

    Great job! I'm impressed by the roller blades. I can't stay up on those things to save my LIFE.

As for accountability - you set that goal yourself. You aren't obligated to join any of the groups or challenges. You do what works in YOUR life.

emoticon emoticon

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POETLKNG2LOSE 6/20/2012 10:42PM

    Great job on your goals; onemof mine is to get my stomach smaller and maybe use less salt cause of water retention. Amazing how much salt is in everything these days. I like the camaradarie of the teams i am in and the support. I usually choose goals i can do like \drink 10 glasses of water or exercise minutes or in the cooking group; turn one old recipe into a healthy one.

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TIFFY0906 6/20/2012 10:25PM

    emoticon on finishing your summer goals already

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MNJONES2 6/20/2012 10:04PM

    I love summer time!!

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JSLATE2K 6/20/2012 8:46PM

    Sadly, for me the Vernal Equinox is a reminder that there is just more of the hot, desert sun that day. I wish I could say I set many goals this time of year, but for the time, it's a major accomplishment just to get out and do my brisk walks daily for the hour or more that I'm accustomed to.

That aside, you're an inspiration - you've got some great goals ahead, and you remind me that hiking on Mount Lemmon here can be a nice reprieve from the heat. I need to re-evaluate how I want to approach Summer.



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SEATTLE58 6/20/2012 7:10PM

    Good for you with thinking of doing this with each new season. So smart of you and a good idea! I just set my new goal with the SP Change Goal page. I sure hope that this will do the trick for me and your goal setting will do the trick for you! emoticon emoticon

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SKAHONEY4U 6/20/2012 6:47PM

    Great job on already finishing your by summer goals!

Comment edited on: 6/20/2012 7:02:54 PM

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PARASELENIC 6/20/2012 5:51PM

    I'm impressed with your tenacity and commitment to your goals-- some of which were extremely rigorous (every day exercise at least 30 minutes-- that's a very large commitment!)

As an aside:

Why no hiking by yourself? Is it a safety thing, a health thing, s/thing else? Just curious, as I love to go hiking by myself-- as long as I bring the cell phone and water, I'm good to go. (NOTE: my cell phone is a cheapy pay as you go, no gps, etc., but I keep it on me in case I get attacked by a bear or s/thing.

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MISSY455 6/20/2012 5:44PM

    emoticon on hitting all your smaller goals! You can't hit the big goals without the smaller/short-term goals. emoticon

As far as the 5% Challenges go, every one I have participated in has been different. The goal is to lose 5% of your weight, but honestly I think less than a handful of people per team actually manage that. The more important part, at least for me, is the camaraderie of knowing others are pulling for you to be successful. The challenges help instill healthy habits that you carry through the whole challenge, and hopefully beyond! I took a break from the challenges for about 6 months due to injuries, but I missed the additional accountability I feel to my team. Whatever you decide, I know you will be successful on your journey. You are focused, goal-centered, and you have already come so far. You are doing an amazing job!

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MUSOLF6 6/20/2012 5:40PM

    emoticon emoticon

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LVMAMAW 6/20/2012 5:14PM

    emoticon Your logic makes a lot of sense! Congrats on your successes and good luck on your new goals! emoticon emoticon

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LONGLIGHT 6/20/2012 5:10PM

    Good goals all the way through. I have to say that exercising so consistently for so long is far from a small goal to me, kudos to you for making it such a habit. And good luck with your next ones. emoticon

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2BEABETTERME 6/20/2012 4:42PM

    Great goals! I too am weary of a 5% challenge. The scale is so fickle I am avoiding it but once or twice a month. When I take the power away from that number on the scale, I do much better.

Good luck on whatever you decide to do!

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JENNCABA 6/20/2012 4:37PM

    emoticonThat you met all of your smalls goals. They may have not been challenging but they are still accomplishments that are helping you to get closer to your bigger goals emoticon

I do like doing the team challenges because they do help to keep me going. And I like how we do things in a group. It does take up some of my SP time but as you may have noticed I am kind of quiet and I do not blog a whole lot so it's not too bad emoticon

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FLEURGARDEN 6/20/2012 4:22PM

    Great goals! I haven't figured out what I want to do when I grow up either yet - and I'm in my late 40s! I need to think about what I want to do late in my career or early in my retirement years when I don't want to totally quit working cold turkey. So let me know how that career counselor goes!

I'm joining my first 5% challenge this summer. I'm not sure I like the sole focus being on pounds lost, but maybe I'll find out it's not the total focus and maybe it will get me off my current platueau and get me closer to goal even if I don't lose 5%. We'll see how it goes.

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Women's clothing sizes

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I have two pairs of black slacks I wear to work. These two pairs of pants caused me some confusion. The 18s, even when I bought them, were snugger in the hips/waist than the 16s, though the 16s were snugger in the calves (skinny jean snug).

The confusion came when I realized it was the 16s that were getting "too big". Like ... pull down without undoing the button and zipper big. But the 18s were still a comfortable fit, if starting to get a little loose. That was around a month ago. I couldn't decide if that meant the 16s were stretchy and generous or the 18s were incorrectly marked ... or what the heck size I'd be wearing.

Figuring out the size would help in trying to decide where to go shopping for pants. I honestly had this idea that there was a size gap between women's clothes in a department store and the clothing sizes in a plus-size store. It has been many years, but that's just the memory I have ... of outgrowing 16W at my normal stores and not being big enough for 16W at Lane Bryant and being frustrated even more by shopping than usual. These two pairs came from Torrid, so I figured I'd be 14-16W there.

Before I went shopping I decided I wanted to figure out what size I am.


Okay, I knew SOME things about clothing sizes, but I learned a good bit more trying to research that. (Good old wikipedia!)

I knew that sizes have been fudged upward over the years - vanity sizing. No big deal to me since I'm not aiming at a clothing size number. I'm too big-boned to ever wear the smallest sizes. (As in ... I don't think my skeleton could fit in size 0 - 2.)

I knew that sizes varied some from store to store, brand to brand, catalog to catalog, and style and material could even affect it. My way-too-big 16s were a victim of style and material, being very stretchy and probably intended to be worn more on the hip than at the waist - or by a wider-waisted person than I am.

I remembered being able to look at a chart with chest, waist, and hip to get sizes to order.

So, it shouldn't be too hard to find a few charts and decide what size I am.



Uh-huh ... sure. *heavy sarcasm*

After a few hunts, some not all that successful, for said charts, I wasn't any closer to figuring out what size I'd be wearing. And then one of my searches landed me on Wikipedia. (

To summarize, men's clothing sizes were standardized in the U.S. as far back as the American Revolution. Chest size was used and the rest of the body was assumed to be proportional, with pants being easily altered for length. And this mostly worked. (Though I am sure plenty of men have been frustrated by being broader shouldered or small-boned.)

Women's bodies didn't settle into anywhere near that simple a breakdown. In the 1940s, a team measured nearly 15,000 women, and based on the diversity proposed a sizing system that would have 3 heights, 3 widths, and a chest measurement. Manufacturers didn't like that because they'd have to make too many different sizes. The "standards" have ended up being mostly voluntary and thus catalogs and stores and sizes that don't seem to make sense sometimes. (Worse, reading elsewhere, that study of women tossed out any non-white measurements and offered a small cash payment for getting measured, potentially bringing in more poor and malnourished women.)

All coming down to ... no freakin' wonder things don't fit well just because they're the "right" size. Somehow in 43 years, I never really thought past there being a certain size of clothes I would fit into. I even took a sewing class in junior high and never thought past patterns having those same sizes to the ability to let out or take in clothes to make them fit better.

Much of that I learned a few weeks ago.

I hadn't yet pushed past that and gone to get new pants.

Today I was wearing those 18s, doing the regular tug to keep them up. I got off a little late which meant walking to the train rather than waiting on the next bus. I put my phone in my pocket for a moment so I could adjust my gym bag ... only to have the pants almost get tugged down by the weight.


Thankfully, I knew there was a Dress Barn, a Ross, and some other stores in the general vicinity. The closest was Dress Barn, so in I went. Comforted that the sign outside said sizes 4 to 24 - I knew I'd be able to find something.

The store was split down the middle - Women's to the left and Misses' to the right. Now, my understanding of misses' clothing is slimmer - not busty and hippy - so Women's it was.

They didn't have a lot of pants, but I did spot a pair of 16W capris and a pair of 14W capris, scooping them both up and heading for the fitting room figuring that would let me know which to look for.

I don't know why it surprised me as much as it did, but the 14W fit just fine. If anything, they'll be getting loose more quickly than I'll be happy with. I couldn't find any 12W, so I just went with those and got permission to change into them after buying. Whew!

This weekend I'll have to see about getting more pants. Even those gray jeans are getting looser. Or maybe I just need to invest in a belt for the first time in forever.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOTTY7267 7/19/2012 2:58PM

    Yes, trying to determine your size is hard. I had the hardest time getting the right bra size, as this is always the first area I lose in emoticon. Anyway, I finally just decided to go and get measured. I have also learned to return items as well. I am still not that comfortable with trying clothing on in department stores. emoticon

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WALKINGBOUT 7/16/2012 10:37AM

    I hate sizing clothing too... Hard to find that right fit... I don't even think it is possible ... Ha! Hey, but, it keeps you on your toes trying to figure it out!.. Got to smile about the phone in the pocket bit... I do the same thing and the phone does indeed tend to give a tug in the downward direction... Ha! Keep searching and if you get it figured out about the size...tell us all your secret!... emoticon

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LYNSEY723 7/6/2012 3:47PM

    I understand this pain! I buy 90% of my pants at the same store. Even at that store I cannot figure out what size I need... there is no walk in and grab what I need and check out. I have size 8s that I wear right now. The slacks are all too big. The jeans (all in the same style but different washes) vary from too big, to just right, to too small! ALL IN SIZE 8!!! The way the waists are on the slacks, they don't give much so I know I didn't stretch them out.... Why can we have pant sizes like the men?!?!


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TRI_BABE 6/29/2012 7:01PM

    I don't know what size I am. But until my existing size 4's fit "right" again, I am not buying anymore new clothes, LOL

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WINNIE1978 6/29/2012 5:55AM

    I started buying the same brand and same cut of jeans at the same store part way through this weight loss journey so that I at least had a general idea of whether or not I was going down in pants sizes. I got tired of fitting into a 10 in one store, but having to get a 14 in another, etc. Investing in a belt saved me a good bit of money and made me more comfortable when I was "between" sizes too.... I no longer had to worry about losing my pants or squeezing into them before they fit comfortably.

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LEB0401 6/27/2012 3:24PM

    SO TRUE!

I was shopping with boyfriend and had a coupon for a pair of slacks from New York & Company. He was getting pretty impatient, and my coupon was about to expire, so I ran in, grabbed a size 6, and checked out. I typically (at that time) wore a size 8-10, but I figured with the vanity sizing I'd be ok with a 6. Um.. they were so loose that even a belt didn't help, just bunched everything up at the waist. And I can't return them! *Fist shake*!

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SMILES650 6/27/2012 10:27AM

  You would think that they would come up with some sort of globally acceptable consistency so that we woman could actually figure out what size we really are! emoticon

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BANDMOM2012 6/26/2012 3:24PM

    I love clothes shopping emoticon I hate clothes shopping emoticon Those sizes are a joke. The only thing harder than buying pants . . .buying a bra emoticon.

Great blog!

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THEIS58 6/24/2012 1:55PM

    totally agree - sizing is just plain annoying and confusing!

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CTUPTON 6/23/2012 6:28PM

    There is definitely a conspiracy out there! Now please make a blog about having pockets in all woman's pants. Men would never buy pants without pockets! Chris

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    Womens clothing sizes are insane. A friend once told me the more you pay the smaller size you will wear. I usually find this to be true (try on a cheaper store brand bra then go find that same size in a victorias secret and you will see what I mean). Jeans are a nightmare, and a lot are held to a very lax standard allowance in each size. Honestly I buy my jeans from an online company called All American Clothing. Their jeans are not flimsy like some brands are anymore, and their sizes are completely consistent. I am not pushing any agenda with the brand, but it is the only one I have found I can pick up 3 pair of the same size pants and they all fit exactly the same.

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KIPPER15 6/23/2012 1:28PM

    I have always hated clothes shopping. I go to Goodwill and the Salvation army store and try every thing on. It keeps the cost down and I get more for my money.

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TUBLADY 6/23/2012 11:27AM

    I used to model so I know about ladies clothes and sizes..
When I was obese I could buy off the rack, as long as it said 3X,4X and later 5X it would fit. After all the stretch waists give and give.
But when I had to buy regular clothes again, wow. All the different brands and manufactures size different. Now I try everything on.
I too have lost my hips as I got older. The bust too. waist a little snug, due to excess skin, which I will have removed soon. But at 136 I ware 8 and 6's. That is what I wore back when i weighted 115 lbs. But the other day i tried on a pair of low riding skinny jeans, the 10's were just right. Go figure. I decided they fit too low, didn't get them. Leave those for the young girl who has the right figure.
Thanks for an enlightening blog.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 6/23/2012 10:20AM

    This is so funny. I like Gloria Vanderbilt jeans/capris and have them in several sizes, finally settling in the last year or so on size 10. I can slip into an 8 in slacks (different brand), but for the jeans, I don't like them so tight.

I have a pair of HOT pink capris (Gloria Vanderbilt) in a 10 that are pretty loose. In fact I took a picture of myself in them, and noticed I could probably wear a size smaller in those particular pants. Then yesterday I wore a pair of size 10 orange jeans, again Gloria Vanderbilt and they are very tight. In fact when I was done running errands for the day, I changed out of them, they were bordering on uncomfortable.

I also know sizes have gotten bigger as the American woman has gotten larger. My 42-year old wedding dress is a size 12. it's very odd, because I cannot get it to zip all the way up, as hard as I try. I'm pretty sure I don't weight anymore now than when I got married, and can wear a size 10, so I have proof. I'm thinking, however, after 42 years and 3 pregnancies and a 180-lb. gain and then a 180-lb. weight loss, that perhaps my body shape has changed. I know I am less hippy than I was in my youth, but maybe boobier? I know that's the area of the wedding dress that won't zip up, as soon as it gets to my chest, it is stuck.

So there's my 2 cents....GREAT BLOG! Oh....I love Dress Barn. I finally ended up getting one of their charge cards and that makes it way too easy to buy stuff there.

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HUBBYANDI 6/22/2012 1:34PM

    I also find clothing sizes to be quite annoying! thanks for the humor in helping us through the research! I am finding that some larger clothes fit better and are more stylish than smaller in my size as well, but I was able to snag some belts from the clothing of my FIL before we passed them onto the junk heap. (he was 94 and no one wanted his worn out clothes!) So some things are belted while others are being cinched up several times/hour!
Maybe someday there will be hope for us-in the meantime, I will continue to feel happy that I can enjoy pulling my pants UP instead of being uncomfortable b/c they are too tight! :)

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BLUEJEAN99 6/21/2012 12:08AM

    I wear all elastic waist stuff (skirts jeans shorts) etc so the size isn't as crucial... I'm somewhere around a 16 or 18. I finally gave my plus size stuff to charity. First time I did that instead of hanging onto it "just in case." emoticon

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JIBBIE49 6/21/2012 12:03AM

    What an honor to see your blog featured in the Spark mail. emoticon

Clothes sizes are so pathetic. What is now a 0-2 use to be a 5 or 7 when I was in my 20's in the 70's. It is all so fat people can say they fit in a size 18, when that use to be a 24. You are so right about it being VANITY sizing. But, I read that OLD NAVY pants are five sizes different so guys think they are slimmer. So, it isn't just women.

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NEWTINK 6/20/2012 11:08PM

    I have a pair of tan capries that are marked 26w however I cant even button them yet lol they have been in my closet for almost five years waiting for me to be able to wear them and well I am probably three inches away from that now.... but yea you got to love those sizes. Good luck with the pants and hey buy a belt just because you can wear it with confidence now ... emoticon

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EUEK098 6/20/2012 8:27PM

    The size thing drives me crazy

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SUSIEMT 6/20/2012 7:24PM

    Oh the dreaded hazard of having to buy new smaller clothes! I love it! Actually I hate it! While going from 32W down to 16 I kept altering my clothes! Yuck! It worked great for my workout clothes though. Keep up the good work!

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BUBBLEJ1 6/20/2012 7:03PM

    No wonder nothing ever 'fits'. Depending on the store and brand I am anything from a size 10-18, and can be from a M-XL.

Even within the same brand there are differences. I tried on 4 pairs of size 12 jeans, all from the same brand. I pair fit, 1 were a bit tight, 1 didn't do up and 1 didn't get past my knees. Now, that is just crazy!

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DRAGONCHILDE 6/20/2012 6:31PM

    I went to Old Navy today for some new fitness stuff... picked out all large sizes... ALL the same, same store, mind you... and all three of them fit so differently as to be laughable. One was stretched so tight and clingy that it made my thighs look enormous and the fabric see through... the other was too big to wear. Only one was wearable! SAME BRAND!

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NEWCHINELO 6/20/2012 5:31PM


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SPARKFRAN514 6/20/2012 3:37PM

    I found a the same problems you have to try things on if you don't you end up returning them. I appreciate all the research you do in to topic and share with the rest of us from protein powder to clothing sizes your blogs are great help to us on the Spark trail. emoticon
now that i am educated about sizes off to go shopping emoticon Know it not wise to shop for some things at The Big W tried on a swim suit and it was a 2x and tight and really didn't like it but it was cheap so decided to go some place else. going to Kohl's when i get done here since I am watering the lawn and doing Spark time. I will be back with my shopping report

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LAINYC 6/20/2012 3:10PM


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JOANIEB130 6/20/2012 1:37PM

  Great blog on clothing sizes. Brought to mind an idea I want to share:

A group of about 12 of my closest girlfriends got together recently and had a clothing swap. The rule was everything had to be in good, clean, wearable condition. Everyone brought clothing items, some still with price tags on them - never worn, and people also brought accessories, purses, shoes, etc.

Everyone went home with wearable "new" clothes for FREE and it was easy for everyone to find something almost regardless of their size because everyone had a range of sizes in their closets and in their items donated.

At the very end we boxed up all that was not claimed and donated to a charity. We got to shop and socialize for free, benefitted a good cause in the end, and plan to repeat next year. emoticon

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TERRIJ7 6/20/2012 1:06PM

    I love that you did the research and shared it with your Spark friends! I abhor shopping for clothes--especially bras! All that undressing, dressing, adjusting...ick! I tend to buy several of the same thing once I find something that is comfortable and reasonably attractive, just to avoid having to go through the ordeal again any time soon.

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EVER-HOPEFUL 6/20/2012 1:01PM

    not only do differant companyies and shops do differant sizes so do differant countries.italy sizes 40 is actually a german 36.german 56 is an english 24 so on and so on.the only thing is try things on and go with what looks best lol.and don´t let me get into shoe sizes. emoticon

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TAMMIEANN76 6/20/2012 12:29PM

    I've wondered the same thing about why sizes aren't more standard in women's clothing. Makes me CRAZY!!!

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JUDYAASH 6/20/2012 12:16PM

    I agree. I hate clothes shopping and am wearing clothes I bought 9 years ago because of it.. I don't kno wwhat I will do when I lose enough weight to need new clothes. Congrats on your success!! emoticon

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GALINAZ 6/20/2012 11:55AM

    I've become a fan of thrift stores for clothes. I try things on before purchasing and shop their sales. I like variety I can get for a small amount of money

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KATYDID412 6/20/2012 11:54AM

    So most of my knowledge of clothes and anything remotely fashionable comes from What Not to Wear. That show has convinced me that I am not insane when I try fruitlessly to make sense of clothing sizes.

My understanding is, the numbers basically mean nothing. What one manufacturer labels a 14W, might be a 16 or even 18 for another manufacturer. Some of it is vanity sizing, because of course who wants to be a huge number. Some of it seems to have no logical reason behind it. Just thorough inconsistency.

I recently bought two pairs of pants from Lane Bryant (online) -- both in 18s. One was a cropped pant and one a capri. The capris are big on me, while the crops are tight, almost uncomfortably so.

So I guess that's even more reason to go through the pain of trying on before you buy.

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MARJORIEWRIGHT 6/20/2012 11:04AM

    It is very confusing for us women almost as much as it is for guys and that is probably why they don't do the shopping. emoticon

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EFFRAYECHILDE 6/20/2012 11:02AM

    Sizes are all over place. But, it's great see you are losing so much weight. I am facing the same problem with my clothes. Currently, I wear a belt to combat my sagging issues. Since, I am so close to final weight loss goal. But, I have had to give up a lot of clothes. They are just too big now.

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    I wish the sizes could be universal!

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MAMALOVEBUG 6/20/2012 10:24AM

    I'm 5'11" so I also have the struggle of finding plus size tall pants. Tall people can be big too! And don't even get me started about shoe shopping after having two kids and starting at a size 11.....I hate shopping too!!!!

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NEWMOM20121 6/20/2012 10:20AM

    Very true, every word. Always love your blogs.

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MOMMY445 6/20/2012 10:14AM

    i agree. sizes are all over the place.

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DENNETJ 6/20/2012 10:08AM

    this is exactly why I hate shopping especially clothing shopping

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VOLLEYGIRL77 6/20/2012 9:57AM

    I hate clothes shopping!! Especially pants. They should make it mandatory for all sizes to be the same!

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PROVERBS31JULIA 6/20/2012 9:46AM

And I used to do sewing. the sizes in the back of the patterns are considered the "correct" because, after all, if you sew it, you want it to fit, right?

Your comment about the one pair of pants bring wider at the waist struck a chord with me. In high school, I was heavy as a freshman, wearing like size 16-18 but my grandma always altered clothes to fit (she was a professional seamstress, head of alterations for a high dollar specialty women's clothing boutique.). My sophomore year I began running because of being ill wrh congestion (allergies?) and accidentally lost 30 pounds by the time my junior year started.

So when I started needing to find clothes to fit, I discovered that my waist to hip ratio was still wider, albeit a couple sizes smaller. New patterns showed on the back that a person of my (new, slimmer) hip size (let's call it 36" for example) should have a waist of 24" but my waist was more like 28-29", much thicker waist. In the blue jeans department, the "misses" sized (sometimes called women's, but this was in the day where they rarely labeled clothes "plus sizes") jeans, when I took my tape measure and measured waist and hip size, corresponded with the pattern size - so if I picked out a size based on hip size, the waist would not fit. If I found a pair that fit in the waist, the hips were entirely too big.

At some point, I was directed to the "junior miss" department, and discovered all those pants were made on the basis of the waist being thicker/wider in proportion to the hips, and I discovered that a junior miss 13 fit me perfectly in waist and hips (but too long in the legs - always a problem with 5'3" shorties and back then I couldnt consistently find junior misses in a petite length sizing.)

I also discovered that in men's jeans, the waist and hips were even less pronounced so I could find a pair that fit in the hips, and only have to pinch up about 2-4 inches in waist (simple darts stitched in the waist did the trick!) and then just look for the shorter inseam - men's don't usually go in "petite" or regular or tall inseams - they'll have numbered inseams by inches - 28, 30, 31,32, etc. Some brands every inch in the more popular or common sizing, going by the bell curve of the overall population, and then maybe only every two inches like 34, 36 etc for the really tall fellas.). It depends these days, of course, by brands and their particular economics.

Oh ! I remember somethig else I wanted to comment on - you mentioned where the smaller size seemed larger than the larger size pants, making you wonder about the label - I've wondered if the assembler accidently picked up the wrong size tag and sewed it in at the factory!! And I have had the experience of being at a store, maybe pants were on sale, like BOGO half price/ free it doesn't matter... So typically I'd want 2-3 pair of pants, maybe one in black and one in dark navy or dark brown/chocolate, right? Same size, same model/style #, same bar code/UPC, same price. Try on one size or another, found which size fit, and then look for same model/style/size but different color - right? We all do this! But I have now learned to try on EACH pair in the same size but different color - why? Because the blue ones might have been made in India and the black ones in Vietnam and the red ones in Jordon, and all three might have differences as much as 1/4-1/2 inches one way or another!!! I don't know if the spec tolerances were just tighter at one shop, or quality standards were looser and another shop, or what, but I have come home with 3-4 pairs of the same style/design of pant, same UPC code, same size, and have one color be too small or too large, just too different in sizing to be comfortable!! Strange... And annoying!

emoticon emoticon

But - as long as your sizes are on a downward trend, getting to smaller numbers, that's a good problem to have, right!?


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MANDALORE 6/20/2012 9:29AM


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BIRDLSLAURIE 6/20/2012 9:09AM

    I really hate clothes shopping. It very rarely ends without a lot of frustration and clothing that I really feel good about.

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SAINTBETH 6/20/2012 9:08AM

    Congratulations and thanks for the info. I take a little tuck in the waistband of my larger pants. This can be a few stitches or 2 big safety pins placed vertically. Sometimes I make them pleat-front pants but usually I put them in the back between the hip pockets and the mid-point. Since I wear my shirttail out most of the time, the modification doesn't show and it buys me a bit of time until pay day.

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HEARTS116 6/20/2012 8:47AM

    Same issue with me!!

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MARGARITTM 6/20/2012 8:44AM

    No kidding on the "Vanity Sizing" If you EVER go into a "vintage shop" WOW.

The 3/4 of 1970 is a 0 today and 5/6 is a 2!

Marilyn Monroe was a size 12 in her day and considered to be the perfect shape


Jennifer Aniston is a 0 and considered perfect!

Bottom line "it ain't the # on the inside - it's the fit !!!!

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TURNINGTABLES21 6/20/2012 8:20AM

  I am going to repeat what several others have said ~ I hate shopping!

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FARIS71 6/20/2012 7:49AM

    It's so true - sizes are all over the place!!

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GARDENCHRIS 6/20/2012 7:30AM

    I also have the same issues from brand to brand ..... love the heavy sarcasm!! lol

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AMANDA_C 6/20/2012 7:21AM

    So glad I'm not the only one with this problem!

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Nine months along

Saturday, June 16, 2012

16 September 2011 to 16 June 2012 - 9 months of progress

Starting Weight = 250.5 pounds
Current Weight = 186.0 pounds

In addition to the photos on my main page, I took this one of me being a goof:

I finally feel like I can see some progress in my arms - and the measuring tape agreed in the realm of an inch down from 14.5 to 13.5 *DANCIE DANCE*. (Yes, other spots are obviously shrinking too, but I like seeing the biceps and triceps making themselves seen and less flap.)

In fact, it seems strange because I'm not really a lot lighter in this past month - just 5.5 pounds down - but I feel sleeker through much of my body. And that's showing in an inch or so down from just about all major spots. I remember back in November or December trying to decide whether joining the community center or a gym would be worth it. Now I'm so so glad I did so in January and have stuck to it consistently since.

It's not for everyone, but I love daily workouts and really love weight training. I love seeing the results as I up the pounds here and there. The one I accidentally had a 7.5 pound add-on the other day was my seated leg press. Since I got through all 12 on the first set, I kept it on there - completing my remaining two sets. Admittedly the last two were slow and careful, but I did them and with good form. Up from 155 lbs to 162.5 lbs. Which really means I should be able to do squats rather well when I update my fitness testing at the end of this month for my 6 months on that.



I finally went and bought a few treats from the SparkPeople store. A couple of shirts - one that I know I can wear to the gym right away (XL sleeveless navy workout shirt) and one I'm curious to see how I fit into and work toward (L green T-shirt) - and a blue mug. I can finally replace the one I use at work with my own!


Time to veggie it up for dinner - JUDYPOPPINS mentioned it is National Fresh Veggies Day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IMCG2012 6/19/2012 3:42AM

    Your progress is amazing!! Well done, you look great!!! emoticon

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HOPEFULHIPPO 6/18/2012 1:55PM

    I love your goofy picture. wow ! You are doing great :) emoticon

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CALI_POPPY 6/18/2012 1:32PM

    You are doing great and truly providing me with some continued inspiration!! Rock on...

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CAO2012 6/18/2012 1:31PM

  Wow! You look so great!! Amazing!

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PARASELENIC 6/18/2012 1:21PM

    You look fantastic! (Love your guns!)

I admire your tenacity with the daily workouts-- your excitement and positive attitude is contagious!

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AMYTRIPP 6/18/2012 12:52PM

    Amazing progress!! Congratulations!

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BEEMEE137 6/18/2012 11:53AM

    You look great! Keep it up! :)

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CUDDLEY51 6/18/2012 11:24AM

    Incredble.... emoticon

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SHERIO5 6/18/2012 8:18AM

    You are really doing this! I think you are looking younger as well as more toned!! Woo-hoo! emoticon

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QUASIOR 6/18/2012 2:59AM

    Beautiful work! emoticon emoticon

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SOCIALWORKER26 6/18/2012 12:02AM

    Thank you for the comments on my recent updates. You look awesome! I am so impressed by your progress over nine months... and your arms look great :)

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TIFFY0906 6/17/2012 11:33PM

    You look wonderful and you got "GUNS" (your arms look good).

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JANET4171 6/17/2012 8:42PM

    Your arms look awesome!!!! Keep up the good work! emoticon

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CATS_MEOW_0911 6/17/2012 8:25PM

    Those are some nice guns!

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ROXYZMOM 6/17/2012 8:25PM

    You look fantastic! Great job! I love your perserverance and positive spirit!

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TANYA602 6/17/2012 8:02PM

    This is such a cool picture, and I am so glad you posted it! I can't even begin to tell you how much younger you look! Congratulations on sticking with your goals and working so hard to get to this point!

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 6/17/2012 3:40PM

    That's wonderful! Keep up the great work!

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    emoticon You look amazing :). emoticon

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ANGGEL40 6/17/2012 1:25PM

    emoticon emoticon

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CHUBRUB3 6/17/2012 12:50PM

    Whoo hoo! Fantastic!!!
You are amazing!
Go girl!

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MICHELLE_391 6/17/2012 12:35PM

    Beautiful progress! Congratulations! And I love that picture - it should be featured somewhere on the Spark site: it shows that fitness is fun!

Your blog is also a great reminder not to be fixated on the numbers. As we get fitter and fitter, our bodies shrink, firm up, and those beautiful muscles appear.


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1STMOMMY1991 6/17/2012 11:49AM

    good going. It's nice to see the tape measure numbers go down too!

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JANESLOSS 6/17/2012 11:32AM

    Wow! Nine months.
It's amazing to see how much one learns in nine months. I know for you, as well as me, this past nine months has been a learning experience. My nine month anniversary is just ten days from yours.

Spark on!

Jane emoticon

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MBGUYER 6/17/2012 11:31AM

  great job!

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NEELIXNKES 6/17/2012 10:29AM

    emoticon emoticon

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TMCLEOD4 6/17/2012 10:15AM

    You're doing an amazing job!! Congratulations!!

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TALENKARR1 6/17/2012 9:44AM

    first you look great! and happy! Second my sister micheal's best friend jeff wants to know if your single... I have been showing off you guy's to get my family intresed in spark. he saw this blogg yesterday and thought you were "pretty and was a fun person to get to know" thought you might like the compliment

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FLEURGARDEN 6/17/2012 8:41AM

    Wow - 162.5 lbs! My personal trainer was impressed when I was able to do leg presses at 80 lbs. Looks like I have a long way to go. :-)

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HYDROQUEEN 6/17/2012 8:37AM

    Love this shot! Flex it girl! emoticon

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MOM_TO_AKI 6/17/2012 8:23AM

    emoticon good for you.

I really like the picture :-)

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LGAR519 6/17/2012 8:02AM

    You look so good. Great pose!

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MUSOLF6 6/17/2012 7:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LDRICHEL 6/17/2012 7:44AM

    Wow!!! All that in just 9 months? This gives me so much hope!

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RG_DFW 6/17/2012 7:30AM

    emoticon emoticon

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LITAPOWER 6/17/2012 6:34AM

    I am so happy for you, congratulations! Great work, you should be proud! It makes me feel so motivated! I want it too! I'm dreaming now of my own nine months of progress, still a long way till then! emoticon

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NEWCATA 6/17/2012 5:12AM

    You look great!! emoticon

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MISSY455 6/17/2012 1:57AM

    You are doing emoticon Glad you are taking the time to reward yourself! You have been working hard and making wonderful progress! emoticon

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TRULYVISIBLE 6/17/2012 1:42AM

  A proud pose as it should be. You're doing great! If you can do it, so can I. Thanks for the inspiration, It gives me a push when I see someone succeed like you.

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ANGELWENDYMAMA 6/17/2012 12:52AM

    Great picture! Yay for goodies!

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JSLATE2K 6/17/2012 12:43AM

    Great pose - reminds me of Charles Atlas. Congratulations on the body changes - the scale doesn't begin to represent the bigger picture, does it?

I bought some tight-fitting, large Tee-shirts a few months ago as motivation. I actually put one on the other day. It fit, but... I still have a little more belly fat that I need to get rid of before I go hang out in it.

Way to go getting yourself some treats - and useful ones at that!


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02SERENE 6/17/2012 12:16AM

    Give yourself a emoticon emoticon

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FRANCES-AGAPE 6/17/2012 12:15AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GOING-STRONG 6/17/2012 12:06AM

    Woot Woot.. lookin' good!

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More on Motivation (way way too long)

Friday, June 15, 2012

There were quite a number of very interesting responses to my recent blog about motivation (“Even world-class athletes have meh days”

What comes through loud and clear is that we are all unique. What works for one person might work even better for some people, similarly for other people, worse for still more people, and not at all for another group of people. Being unique doesn’t mean others aren’t the same in some ways -- as it became clear that I’m not the only one who just does rather than needing some clear “motivation”. It just means that the whole sum of who we are and what works for us isn’t easily defined based on what worked for someone else. As said elsewhere - “we are all an experiment of one”.

(This isn’t to say there’s a magic trick to things; there are natural limitations. Eat too little and our body will suffer malnutrition and starvation. Eat too much and we will feel poorly and gain weight. There’s just a very broad range between those points and our exact position is unique to us, but being a special snowflake doesn’t mean the sun won’t melt us like every other snowflake.)

A new bit of information came at me from an unexpected source today. I usually spend a little time collecting all the “easy” SparkPoints each day – the articles, poll, trivia, quiz, and so on. One of those is the SparkPeople WebSearch. On the page I do the search from, there is a new motivational poster each day. Today’s:

== If ones motives are wrong, nothing can be right. - G.W. Carver ==

Ouch ... am I the only one who cringes copying something with a grammatical error? I wanted to put (sic) in there. ANYWAY ... until I read that, I had not thought about the fact that the root of motivation would be motive. That sent me looking up the definition of motive to see what more that could add to my understanding.

I admit - I can be rather excessive about definition lookups when I’m trying to really make sure I understand a word. First there are the basic definitions:

** Something (as a need or desire) that causes a person to act (
** An emotion, desire, physiological need, or similar impulse that acts as an incitement to action ( )
** Something that causes a person to act in a certain way, do a certain thing, etc.; incentive (
** The reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way
** Special Usage: the general desire or willingness of someone to do something (The New Oxford American Dictionary on my Kindle Fire)

Now, the interesting thing about definitions is that they change over time. Sometimes we get the mistaken idea that a dictionary definition is it. But if that were true, there wouldn’t be many different dictionaries and many shades of meaning between them. Just looking at those above, it’s easy to see that the meaning isn’t quite as clear as “sun – that big yellow round thing in the sky during the day”.

Words do lose hold of their original meaning or gain meaning as people use (and misuse) them. In fact, that definition about motives being reasons directly contradicts other references I found that bluntly stated, “motives are not reasons”.

There’s two other parts of many dictionary definitions that I go to for further clarification, especially when the definition alone isn’t enough.

First there’s the etymology:

mid-14c., "something brought forward," from O.Fr. motif (n.), from motif (fem. motive), adj., "moving," from M.L. motivus "moving, impelling," from L. motus, pp. of movere "to move" (see move). Meaning "that which inwardly moves a person to behave a certain way" is from early 15c.

Then there are the synonym studies – comparing it to words such as Incentive, Inducement, impulse and even reason:

* Motive is applied mainly to an inner urge that moves or prompts a person to action, though it may also apply to a contemplated result, the desire for which moves the person
* Motive implies an emotion or desire operating on the will and causing it to act; Impulse suggests a driving power arising from personal temperament or constitution; Incentive applies to an external influence (as an expected reward) inciting to action; Inducement suggests a motive prompted by the deliberate enticements or allurements of another
* A reason is an explanation of a situation or circumstance which made certain results seem possible or appropriate; A motive is the hope, desire, or other force which starts the action (or an action) in an attempt to produce specific results.


That very last one comparing it to Reason made a light-bulb go on for me.

Goals, whether they are a number on the scale or a measurement or a clothing size or a physical ability or the elimination of a disease / medication, none of them are motivation. They can be what gives us the hope, desire, urge to work toward that result – what “sparks” our motivation – but they are not actually the motivation itself.

“I want to go to Disneyland next year.” There’s a goal. Without motivation, we don’t save money, we don’t schedule vacation time, we don’t get flights scheduled, and we don’t go to Disneyland.

“I want to go to Disneyland next year so I can have my picture taken with Mickey Mouse.” Now we’ve included a reason. But if we’re still lacking motivation, it’s a pipe dream.

Similarly, we can have many goals and reasons for losing weight, getting fit, getting healthy, but people have spent YEARS wanting to be skinny without having the motivation to get there. And certainly the vast majority of those who show up here at SparkPeople are burning with motivation to make it happen this time when they first arrive, but somewhere along the line even if the goal is still there, even if the desire is still there, something isn’t providing the push.

At the same time, some of those things DO give people the motivation they want. Maybe we stick a picture of Mickey in our wallet and easily turn away from the Starbucks to save that $4.00 toward our trip. Every time we open our wallet our energy to make that trip happens is boosted.

Which kind of brings me full circle to that inner motivation – and not knowing how to explain it well. The same goal that drives one person leaves another shrugging.

Not once along my journey have I felt that giddy bubbly excitement at lower numbers on the scale that I’ve seen others express. Sure, the numbers are fun, but it’s just not the same. (I passed into Onederland with scarcely a murmur. I’m almost to what I’d call my start-point on gaining years ago – back to my “normal” chubby range of 165-185. And yet they’re just numbers.)

What does make me bubbly? I can do two 30-minute sessions on the elliptical with stretches in the middle, resistance set to 5, with the incline doing a full hill through the session. Wooohoo! I’m doing 50 pounds on the seated bench press in 3 x 12 reps now – having started at 20 or 30 in January. *happy dances* I’m doing 155 on the seated leg press without my knees or ankles doing more than an occasional tendon snap (not painful or a problem – just proof they don’t slide as smooth as when I was younger). All stuff that would seem terribly droll to some people.


That may be the real issue. Motivation isn’t an unchanging object. We can’t look at it, touch it, step back and see it as part of the bigger picture, compare it to images and descriptions, and say “Yep, THIS is what motivation is.”

It’s as complicated as love. We just know when we are motivated. When we have it, we’re sure of it. When it weakens or slips away, we question whether it was real and bemoan its loss. We seek it, but more often find it when we aren’t looking.

Signing off on an overly long wall of text. What on earth motivated you to read this whole thing?

emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BERGIE8771 6/18/2012 12:13PM

    Thank you for these thot-provoking words. Your blogs help me in this journey.

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ANGELWENDYMAMA 6/16/2012 10:38PM

    Loved it! Read it all. ;)

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TANYA602 6/16/2012 6:32PM

    You give me good reason to pause here about my own reasons for being on this journey to better health. I like that you do this to me with each of your blogs.....

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FUCHSIAGAL 6/16/2012 1:51PM

  I read all the way to the end because your posts are always thought-provoking. Thanks for the inspiration to "think out of the usual rut"!

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SWEDE_SU 6/16/2012 8:47AM

    " What on earth motivated you to read this whole thing? "

maybe because you always have something worth reading - maybe because reading what you write for us is motivating in itself - maybe because it makes us think - maybe... emoticon

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RG_DFW 6/16/2012 8:26AM


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QUASIOR 6/16/2012 6:09AM

    Haha, you know what - just to put it out there. The reason why I'm still at it is because I'm so stubborn! I won't give up because I have to keep going, something, I don't know what exactly, is driving me. On the other hand I can see reasons, good ones, for keeping on this pattern that has become rather habitual. emoticon

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ALWAYSOWNIT 6/16/2012 2:02AM

    " It’s as complicated as love. We just know when we are motivated. When we have it, we’re sure of it. When it weakens or slips away, we question whether it was real and bemoan its loss. We seek it, but more often find it when we aren’t looking. "


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JENNCABA 6/16/2012 1:32AM

    emoticon emoticon

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JESSERS22 6/16/2012 1:20AM

    Another awsome blog! i love reading your blogs! emoticon

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CCLEMOS 6/15/2012 10:39PM

    I'm not sure about motivation, I just know I like to read what you write :)

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JSLATE2K 6/15/2012 9:43PM

    I'm one of those who looks at motivation as a reason - but I also include that (A) It has to be attainable (Going to the moon to say I did it is not realistic) and (B) It has to be honest; In other words, I really have to have a reason I believe in - not "just to do it" with some excuse attached.

But you're right, so many of our emotions - and motivation is wrapped in just that - elude our capacity to define them.

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02SERENE 6/15/2012 9:31PM

    Yes, I read the whole thing! Motivation -

For me its Motivation vs. Discouragement. I am always looking for ideas to get my engine moving on the train towards my goals. Thanks for the definitions and positives.

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MUSOLF6 6/15/2012 8:44PM

    emoticon emoticon

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    Yes! Another logophile! I, too, love looking up definitions & word histories. Thank-you for this post that included so much about motivation & its definitions & such. Grammar's also important to me. What motivated me to read this whole thing? You're a SparkPeople friend & I'm interested in what my friends are up to & how they are doing. Also, once you got into the etymology of motivation, I wanted to see what you had found out. Thank-you!

I hope I used "etymology" correctly - I'm quite tired & don't have much energy to look it up. haha

Thank-you for this blog post - it make a lot of sense to me & has really brought some things home to me about my own level of motivation & lack of it. I've been going through my own thoughts & ideas & motivations about weight loss & getting fit, & this has helped to urge me to keep that up.

Take care & keep up your journey with great motivation & energy.

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FRANCES-AGAPE 6/15/2012 7:41PM


Youi ALWAYS have GREAT blogs !

Have a Wonderful Weekend


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