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The right times for Quitting

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Okay, I realized this morning looking back at my blog that there is a difference between the quitting I was thinking of and quitting with respect to bad habits (such as smoking or drinking).

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Okay, wait ... what does someone trying to quit smoking say when they throw in the towel? They can't exactly say "I quit" ... since what they're quitting is quitting.

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ANYWAY ...

The quitting I was referring to is giving up on something that moves us forward. Building a financially secure future, building a physically fit / capable body, building a relationship (whether friend, family, or spiritual) - these are all things that create more for us in the future.

Why do we do any of them? Might as well ask what our purpose in life is. Generally it comes down to some variation on we want tomorrow to be better than today in some way. As a child, we might lay down to sleep imagining the games we can play tomorrow, of growing up and no one being the boss of us, of a variety of careers. Whether our vision of that future is clear or blurred or seemingly non-existent, we still want to survive, we still want another chance the next day.

Suicide is the ultimate version of that particular "I QUIT" refrain. Life is vitally necessary to have in order to have something in the future. Death completely and irrevocably ends any possibility of a better tomorrow by trading life for nothing.

That kind of "I QUIT" refrain isn't sung after careful and deep consideration of the challenges. It isn't lauded as an answer or solution to the challenges that lets us proceed forward. It's an emotional knee-jerk reaction to our nearer tomorrows not being as much better as we wanted or expected them to be.


But as I tried to draw a line and say - this is when "I QUIT" is smart and this is when "I QUIT" shouldn't be considered, I realized it isn't that simple.


When we decide to change our life for the better, part of what we do is quit certain things.

I quit eating foot-long sandwiches with chips, sometimes soup, and three cookies almost daily from Subway. I have the 6-inch sandwh on the (not often) occasions I choose to eat there with one cookie if I can fit it into my nutrition needs for the day.

I quit playing video games from the time I got home at 5:30 pm until the time I crashed for the night around 1:00 - 2:00 am. I play an hour or two on the nights I decide I have the time and desire.

I quit chugging 32-64 oz of chocolate milk daily. I sometimes have a chocolate (or strawberry) milk as my post-workout snack, but even that is rare. I have milk on my cereal and a rare glass when it fits into my day - need calcium, have calorie and fat room.

I quit a fair variety of things that were routine before.

Of course ... I never made a drama production of saying "I QUIT". I just decided those things weren't workable for the future I wanted, so I let them slide into the past. I wrote those sentences with "quit", but that's not really how I ever thought of it.

Which made me wonder about the definition of quit. Is it as simple as "stop doing" or "give up"?

Hmmmmm ...

Looked it up and here's what is interesting. There's multiple definitions. "To cease doing something", "to give up", "to admit defeat", "to end or be freed from", "to leave or vacate". In the Merriam-Webster synonym discussion, it mentions this while comparing it to stop:

** QUIT may stress either finality or abruptness in stopping or ceasing **

(More appropriate for my sentences above might be that I discontinued those practices, rather than saying I quit them.)


I'm meandering now.

Sorry, I'll quit.

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I QUIT CONSIDERING "QUITTING" AN OPTION

Hmmmmm, guess that's a little too broad - and almost as knee-jerk as saying "I QUIT".

Oh, wait ...

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If I quit QUITting, then how can I QUIT quitting?


When I quit trying to deal with my creditors, the results were far more destructive than when I was struggling along paying them small amounts.

When I quit one job, the results were losing a 401(k) program, vacation time, annual bonuses and raises, health and dental insurance - much more destructive than staying and trying to pretend I didn't despise my coworker.

When I quit fattening myself up with the odd goal of becoming invisible and avoiding male interest, on the other hand, the results have been better eating habits, more energy, more strength, clothes I'm happier with, more upbeat mood regularly. There was very little destruction when I quit believing that more weight was a solution.

Some quitting worked, some quitting didn't.


When I'm looking at my options, I want to find the choice that is most beneficial across the board. Quitting actually COULD be an option in some cases - if it allowed me to build a better future.

I will eventually have to quit my job. It pays my way now, but I have no insurance (unless I pay it all myself), no vacation time (we get five paid holidays a year), no career future here or elsewhere, no investment option, and no standard routine for performance reviews and raises. Right now is not the right time to quit - but quitting is the eventual option that will have to be taken.


IF I want to consider quitting, I have to consider what exactly I want to quit, what I want to keep doing, and what the consequences of quitting are. I have to consider what I will continue doing to build tomorrow.

Let's say, for example, my weight stalled in this 182 - 184 range for longer than a couple of week (during which I know I had too much to eat).

If I got frustrated and said "I QUIT", what exactly would I be quitting?

Would it mean I would QUIT eating single portions and go back to eating 3-4? Would I start eating Ultimate Cheeseburgers and Oreo Cookie Shakes on a regular basis? Would I return to eating foot-long subs, three cookies, chips, and a soup? Would I QUIT going to the gym after work? Would I QUIT walking if I could avoid it and QUIT taking the stairs if an elevator was available?

How exactly would that solve my problem (being stalled between 182-184)?!

True, I wouldn't be stalled in that range for long. I'm pretty sure I'd GUARANTEE a climb back to 200+ in short order.


And suddenly emoticon

Quitting is only an option when I can clearly define what I'm quitting and how that will help solve the problem.

I think of a fellow Sparker who turned in 2-week notice at a job. The amount of job stress leading up to this has been immense. She's measured things such as how much she could set aside before the last paycheck. She didn't just say "I QUIT" - she weighed the pros and cons and found a point at which it was more self-destructive to stay than to quit. Sure, being unemployed and job-hunting in this market is a whole new stress ... but, in her case, it is a better stress. It is building to a better future.

So any time I feel the urge to say "I QUIT", I want to expand it. I want to say what I'm quitting and why. I want to think forward to the future beyond it and see if QUITTING makes it better. I want to think beyond quitting to what I will be doing.

I want to know that when I do say "I QUIT", I wasn't just trying to take the easy way out or stick my head in the sand ostrich-style.

Oy, I'm long-winded.

I QUIT. [FIN]

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HOPEFULHIPPO 7/27/2012 12:50PM

    and I thought my mind was full of thought provoking confetti! emoticon

and as for quitting quitting smoking they say (and I quote my hubby on this) "nobody likes a quitter"

tee hee!!

great blog.

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KIMCOLLINGS 7/27/2012 1:14AM

    Thank you for sharing. Gives me a lot to think about.

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MADELINEFINCH 7/27/2012 12:28AM

    You're so inspiring. Thank you for writing this!

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FRANCES-AGAPE 7/26/2012 10:52PM

    emoticon BLOG

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Just the right mix
of humor & seriousness

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BLESSINGS!

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MICHELLENRGZED 7/26/2012 10:16PM

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Definitely a lot to think about here.

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SPARKFRAN514 7/26/2012 9:12PM

    emoticon i never really thought about the word and its meaning like you. I quite just means you quite what you are doing so if you were working on not smoking and quiet it just means you went back to smoking went off your diet you are going back to your old eating habits. i enjoy how you look at things and thanks for sharing with you friends here at Spark

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TALENKARR1 7/26/2012 7:13PM

    don't worry I can't speak for others I got what you mean in your previous blog. Some times quitting is a good thing. lots of times it's not. I like this blogg because it shows what you are "quitting" that is bad for you you should joing the team I am a administartor of funnly enough it is called "quitting" It is all about making the right choises for yourself andnot waiting around till ____ happens. and learnig to love who you are. Kinda like what this blogg states.

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_RAMONA 7/26/2012 7:06PM

    I SO appreciated being along for this ride!

"That kind of "I QUIT" refrain isn't sung after careful and deep consideration of the challenges. It isn't lauded as an answer or solution to the challenges that lets us proceed forward. It's an emotional knee-jerk reaction to our nearer tomorrows not being as much better as we wanted or expected them to be."

In the past, I quit on myself, in this sense, altogether too much... fully and tenaciously engaging in the struggles to resolve my health and weight cahllenges, is helping me put this in my past.

"Quitting is only an option when I can clearly define what I'm quitting and how that will help solve the problem." AMEN.

Thank you, Jennifer.

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KARL1266 7/26/2012 6:38PM

    This makes much more sense to me. I spent most of my day thinking of a way to refute your earlier "quit" blog without sounding like I totally disagreed with you (which I don't). This blog has raised and discussed most of the bullet points I was toying with in the back of my mind.

There are times when quitting IS necessary. You've listed a few in this blog. I would add (by way of possibly stretching the definition of quit) that there is a need and necessity to "quit" an abusive relationship, or to "quit" a marriage when one partner is doing things that the other believes breaks that solemn vow.

I'm glad you revisited this and expanded on your meaning.

Great blog!

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Why does anyone consider "quitting" a solution?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Even I'm guilty of this - not in the area of weight loss, but in other aspects of my life. I've pushed and fought and struggled only to come to a point where I wanted to scream "I QUIT!" and walk away.

What is it that makes us think Quitting is a solution?

One of those aspects where I "quit" was finances. When my EX and I divorced, I found myself carrying a load of debt. I followed that with a couple of very poor decisions and involvement with an organization that can suck people financially dry "in a good cause". I would struggle to meet all my necessary expenses, provide for my kids, and hope I could get a little bit toward one or another creditor.

It was so bad at one point that I went to a Credit Counseling Center (something free offered in the community) ... only to have the counselor review all the data I provided and say "We can't help you. You don't even make enough to meet basic expenses, let alone set up payment arrangements."

I gave up. I quit trying to even make the bare minimums where I could.

Did it solve anything?

NOT a chance.

Not paying the IRS ultimately led to my entire checking account being wiped out by a lien ... 2 days before rent was due. They didn't give a hoot if I'd end up homeless and without food. I owed money and they'd get as much of their money no matter who it hurts.

In fact, in looking at what I did, I went beyond saying "I QUIT!" I actively sabotaged myself. Of all things I chose to treat like a non-necessity, I chose the two that had the legal power to destroy me (taxes and student loans are the WORST debts, in my opinion). I wasn't doing better because I was blowing money on things I didn't need because dang it, I earned it, I deserved to spend some how I wanted.

Plus ... quitting did not make all those challenges go away. My employer went through a very bad financial period. I think at the very worst time, I had not received a paycheck for 5 or 6 weeks. And when I finally got a paycheck, I only got one. Twice I had paychecks bounce ... and learned to walk into the branch to cash them rather than deposit them in the ATM. I wanted to quit the job, but this coincided with the worst imaginable job market. (Classifeds for jobs were a single side of one page in the newspaper. I'd never seen so few.)

That was almost three years ago now. I became more aggressive about following up on my paychecks and not accepting fluff answers, the finance person got replaced, more customers were found, paychecks got slowly caught up, and I trimmed my expenses way way down. (Admittedly, though, I was limited in that trimming when DDa and DS lived with me - I "had" to pay for a 2-bedroom apt which was 2/3rds of my net income. Now I rent a room that is around 1/4 - such a difference.) I've paid off all tax and student loan debts. All my other debts are past the statute of limitations.

Quitting nearly destroyed me in a way no other challenges had before. I had NEVER feared that I would end up homeless. I believed that I could ALWAYS find a way to land on my feet without having to depend on others. Quitting, the self-sabotage, and the ongoing external challenges, had me doubting myself and my ability to rebound.

See, that's the other really negative thing about quitting. It doesn't matter that it was our choice. When we quit, we internally know ourselves as a quitter. We know we didn't have what it takes to keep fighting for ourselves. We know we valued ourselves and our future less than ... well, after we quit, we find out it gained us nothing, so we value ourselves below nothing.

So if quitting solves nothing, what solution is there when we feel impossibly stressed and overburdened, when nothing seems to be going our way?

Taking one small step forward. Then taking the next small step forward.

It might take years, but if we keep taking one tiny step after another, we will be better off. Even when it didn't feel like I'd ever make it through, getting up the next morning and going about my routine moved me toward this day.

I QUIT CONSIDERING "QUITTING" AN OPTION.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DANCINLOVE 7/27/2012 9:36PM

    Inspiring story. I'm trying to deal with my finances after my husband walked out on me, and am fighting to not put my head under the covers and wish it would all go away. Thanks for posting this.

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SPARKFRAN514 7/26/2012 9:06PM

    emoticon you have had so much happen to you in you life and still you are a emoticon person and encourage so many Sparkers along the trail. and thank you for sharing you struggles and how didn't quite but just kept going how das you were to bad off you couldn't get help that seems so odd but true. emoticon

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RUNNERRACHEL 7/26/2012 7:41PM

    emoticon

You're right--quitting doesn't solve anything. Small steps forward, no matter how insignificant will move you forward, in finances, in weight loss. The important thing is to keep moving forward, making progress.

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_RAMONA 7/26/2012 6:55PM

    This blog entry resonated for me in a (good) visceral way... THANK YOU for taking the time to share so honestly and eloquently.

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TANYA602 7/26/2012 5:09PM

    Wow. What a lesson here for all of us and yet, most importantly, that quitting is not an option. I've been "tired" before but haven't thrown in the towel yet. I think of Richard Dreyfus telling Bill Murray to take "baby steps" and that seems to work for me in finding my way back into a better place. You are one wise woman!

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ILOVEMALI 7/26/2012 3:57PM

    I'm with you.

I love your blogs. Always so clear and thoughtful.

Hope that you received a postcard --

Not quitting --

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TMCLEOD4 7/26/2012 2:24PM

    I just read someone's blog saying they're quitting SP for a while. It said they're stressed out about not losing weight on some weeks. This person has lost 28 pounds so far. I wonder where she'll be when she realizes quitting wasn't a solution.

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GOING-STRONG 7/26/2012 1:56PM

    Burying your head in the sand and ignoring the situation doesn't solve anything. Keep on keeping on!

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IMELECTRIC 7/26/2012 1:31PM

    I went through the same thing 3 years ago with a divorce. We were behind in our bills because I have been laid off (1st time in my life) In that time we both made good money and spent it with only a little savings. I took a job as an electrician because engineer jobs were impossible to find at that time. I had all the bills during the 1 year separation and the court doesn't make him pay anything but minimal support, which covered lunch money! I worked all the overtime I could in an outside environment all year around. I couldn't quit because of my kids needed me...I was all they had because their dad was an alcoholic. Struggled through it sometimes with only $40 a week for groceries. After the divorce was settled after 1 long year of struggling, the economy picked up. Thank God, I found an engineering job that I could make the bills with. I learned alot about not getting loans and credit cards. I am back to the stubborn self I was and did learn to stay tuff....not give up...and eventually it will work out....if you learn from your mistakes. But never "QUIT"

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Comment edited on: 7/26/2012 1:32:36 PM

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ROCHELLE62 7/26/2012 1:15PM

    I believe that the secret is figuring out what to quit. I need to quit overspending, quit overeating, quit putting off the things that will make me healthier and happier. On the other hand I can't quit building for my future, taking pride in my accomplishments or hoping for better.

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FLEURGARDEN 7/26/2012 12:32PM

    Congrats on digging yourself out of debt. It's never a good thing to ignore letters from the IRS. My sister also learned that the hard way - debts to the IRS never go away, so the sooner you talk to them, the better.

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LGAR519 7/26/2012 11:33AM

    I have one more car payment and am almost finished paying off my credit cards through a Christian Debt Consoladation firm. It has taken me 6 years and I have done without quite a bit. But it's worth it. I got it done. I didn't quit.

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MUSOLF6 7/26/2012 10:32AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SBNORMAL 7/26/2012 10:29AM

  Finances can be overwhelming and I have a few that I have to face.

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DEBJAE 7/26/2012 9:52AM

    Oh yeah, been there done that financial/credit/debt thing. Thank God I had the determination to pull myself through the mess and end up on top.

Excellent blog!!

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JENNCABA 7/26/2012 9:37AM

    Totally understand !! emoticonAnd yes, quitting is not an option !! emoticon

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GOOSIEMOON 7/26/2012 9:35AM

    Great blog post!
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SABLENESS 7/26/2012 9:33AM

    Great blog. "Failure" is an opportunity to learn. There is always at least some small positive action we can take. emoticon

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APONI_KB 7/26/2012 9:29AM

    I totally get feeing overwhelmed and not wanting to deal. There are times when well I think of it as swimming upstream, relax for a second and you start going backwards.

I've been there financially. I worked my way through college at a time when my parents business was failing. I was homeless for a few months. Its a long story and not a good memory but I spent many a night either sleeping in the mats in the gym or one of the couches in the math library.

It makes me appreciate my little brick house at the end of a cul de sac now

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Comment edited on: 7/26/2012 9:30:24 AM

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/26/2012 9:26AM

    I understand and agree. However, as someone who has never been a quitter, I recently found that it was beneficial for me to do so
in a certain realm. So, it can be a good
thing. Like anything else, it's a two-sided coin -
can be used as a tool or weapon.

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KISAKATT 7/26/2012 9:15AM

    Wow, great blog! Thanks for sharing your story with us, you have accomplished so much in three years! You have just the right way of saying this too, makes me really question why I ever quit anything!

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RG_DFW 7/26/2012 7:45AM

    Sounds good!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 7/26/2012 6:40AM

    emoticon

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FINALLYBEINGME 7/26/2012 4:16AM

    I needed to hear this today..I think quitting confirms that sense of internal failure that a lot of us carry around..well, we're not going to succeed any way so why not quit..well, because if we quit success is no longer an option. Great blog! emoticon

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1MILLDOLLARBABY 7/26/2012 4:08AM

    i think sometimes people mistake quitting with finishing sometimes as an end to something...but in my mind both are wrong. quitting usually leads you to even more work and finishing is something that isn't possible because once you've spent the journey it continues on in other areas of your life and goes on just perhaps in different ways. emoticon

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 7/26/2012 3:40AM

    emoticon Quitting should not be an option any of us chose in any situation. Thanks

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SAMI199 7/26/2012 3:33AM

    I'm with you! Quitting is not an option.

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Whew, definitely stuffed feeling, but mmmmmmmm

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Every once in a rare while, it's nice to eat purely for the appreciation of flavor, even knowing it'll make the day's calorie count insane. That day was today.

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My oldest - DDb - had her birthday in mid-June, but this was the soonest we could all coordinate meeting up between their college classes with finals, jobs, choir practice (DDa only), and my finances with the dental work.

We started off with eating Italian at Buca di Beppo. Bread with that mix of olive oil and vinegar as we waited, then sharing Baked Ziti and Ravioli Pomodoro. I had to pretty much guesstimate for the nutrition tracker - so not a clue if it was more or less than listed. I tried to estimate higher than I thought I ate just so it is realistically over the top. Delicious and we spent the entire time talking. The waitress just had to laugh because she'd ask if we were ready to order and we'd all go "oops, we got talking again - give us a few more minutes".

Now, in order to make it there on time after leaving the gym, I hadn't changed clothes. When I got there, I changed in the restroom and discovered I'd forgotten to include a shirt. Soooo ... being a restaurant on the perimeter of a mall, into the mall we went with DDb and DDa on a mission to help me buy a shirt. Picked up a cute striped gray shirt (in a Large ... from a completely normal store - woot), but DDa was complaining about me being all gray (shoes, jeans, and shirt, not to mention in my hair) and I still hadn't bought new pants yet, so onward to another store for jeans.

With the help of a sales associate, we found a pair that was really cute, but the largest size the store had was a 10. In fact, the largest they had of anything was 12 so I figured I was out of luck there, but DDb and DDa convinced me to at least try them on. So we got two other styles in 12 and the one pair in 10 and off to the dressing room.

The first 12s were definitely hip-huggers. That is not a style I wear easily or that looks right on me. But they did fit otherwise. So after showing those off and mentioning the hip issue, I tried on the other 12s. They fit great.

As I was showing them, DDa spouts a few things rather spontaneously. One was that she thinks my legs look great. Then I turned around to go into the dressing room and she says something like "Dang, even your butt looks good." LOL, those glute exercises must be paying off. =P

The 10s were laughable. Not a hope of zipping them up. But, allowing for the fact they were skin-tight, the fact I could even get them all the way on to be AT the position to try to zip them up was pretty shocking.

I understand size numbers have shifted over the years. But I think this is the first time I've really picked up on what that means. I could swear I was a 14 back in my 165 days, a 12 in my 150 days. And now with a 40-year-old's body and 182 pounds, I'm fitting in a 12? Freaky.

But, the 10s were in the color I really wanted (a darker green). The salesperson called another branch of the store at a mall closer to my home and they had 12s, so we had those put on hold. We picked those up later.

I got permission and was all changed into those clothes. While I had been paying, DDb and DDa headed out to another store. Coming back, DDa didn't even recognize me until she realized it was her brother next to me.

Haha, I looked "too young". Then again, later on in the day I got my first look at myself in a full-length mirror. For whatever reason, I didn't really look too close in the dressing room and their mirror was more above the knee. The later one was at a shoe store and with no head and just the body it was kind of disorienting. I really look different than I think. Partly the size, but also partly the clothing style.

Off to Cold Stone we went for a snack and then to the theater to watch the latest Dark Knight movie. My DDa wanted to go soooooo bad, so we obliged - but I'm not complaining in the slightest since Action/Adventure is my favorite genre.

Post-movie was off to the other mall for the pants, shoes for DDa, and then to a sports store to look at running shoes for her. She's been getting up at 6 am to go running for several weeks now, but does it in her normal shoes (Vans? not at all running shoes). First I picked up some weight gloves. I've been noticing calluses developing at the base of each finger, so hopefully these will help.

This place doesn't do any of the fitting that a running store does, though, so I'll be taking her to a "real" running store another time. I think it may be important because one thing she mentions is that her feet roll out (supination, I believe) through most of the stride. We all have high arches, but even standing "neutral", her feet don't press down as much on the inner edge of the ball. Getting her some that fit and support better could make a big difference for her.

By this time it had been 7 hours since we'd had lunch, so we headed to a burger place called The Counter. To order we had to pick from a variety of selections. Meat, for example, could be beef, chicken, turkey, veggie, or something locally obtained (O_o halibut?! I guess we are an hour or less from the ocean), could be a third, two-third, or full pound, and either on a bun or in a bowl with salad greens. And so on. So while it was a "burger", it could be made into pretty much a veggie salad if we so chose.

I didn't so chose.

Let me just say English Muffin works surprisingly well with a burger, as do grilled pineapple and roasted red peppers with a small dab of honey mustard.

I am stuffed. I may have delayed myself in this 182-184 range for another week or two (hit a "new low" of 181.5 this morning, but I'm being realistic). But it was so so worth it.

Oh, and I went all-out with a strawberry shake. In part because it was real berries blended up - not pink color and flavoring.

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To me the key to having a day like this is:

1) It's a very rare and very special treat.

2) We had a lot of walking and stair climbing throughout the day other than when we were watching the movie. Even the time waiting on food in the evening we spent wandering the nearby area.

3) I didn't get extreme portions. I had a few small slices of the bread before - not a whole "loaf" to myself. I scooped reasonable amounts of the pastas. I picked the 1/3rd pound beef (had to lift an eyebrow at the idea of trying to manage a 1 pound burger) and had enough veggies (4 separate items, a portion each) to balance it well.

4) I don't stress over the fact I may stall this week or even gain slightly. What's one or two weeks extra, especially given point 1 - this is rare. I have no clue how many calories it actually was, but if my guesstimates are at all accurate, I'm 3500 calories over for the day. Since my SP goal is 1 pound a week, all that does is put me at "maintenance" calories on average for the week - including my higher calories on Thursday as well.

I'm still working out regularly. I'm still getting my water daily. I'm not thinking the way I ate today should be "normal" - tomorrow will be right back to appropriate ranges on all my nutrients.

This is life.

A happy, well-satisfied, healthy life.

Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Good night Sparklers!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DMANN104 7/24/2012 12:12PM

    emoticon Sounds like a great day spending time with your kids!

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GODIVADSG 7/24/2012 10:07AM

    FANTASTIC!!!!!! What a superb day! Way to go on changing your style with your weight loss!! Love it!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TALENKARR1 7/24/2012 8:20AM

    I agree sizes for women are nuts! I'm glad you had a really greast day. and am very happy you didn't beat yourself up about it.

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TANYA602 7/23/2012 6:03PM

    This whole recount of your day made me smile! How fun that you were with the "kids" and shopping, enjoying some good food, and a movie. What a way to spend a summer day! And big time kudos for buying some new jeans and putting another pair on hold! Wow! I wish you were here to shop with me! I am not a shopper AT ALL and am only partially looking forward to shopping for school clothes in the next month. In this whole 6 months on SP I've only bought a new tshirt and it was a Large! Down from an extra large.
I hope you enjoy the rest of the week!

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ILOVEMALI 7/23/2012 1:28PM

    what a wonderful day! Congrats on 12s!!! and thanks for your supportive comments on my vacation blog!

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DENNETJ 7/23/2012 1:14PM

    sounds like a blissful day to me. Enjoy those comments those are the fuel we draw on when we are struggling.

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SA9CHI 7/23/2012 11:46AM

    Sometimes you just have to ENJOY! It's always nice to spend time with your loved ones! You're doing to great and in no time will reach your goal!

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AMYTRIPP 7/23/2012 9:06AM

    Sounds like a great day and so well worth it.

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SBNORMAL 7/23/2012 12:04AM

  What a wonderful day with your adult children, and wow a size 12!!

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FRANCES-AGAPE 7/22/2012 8:01PM

    emoticon

Sounds like a PERFECT day

That is the kind of day you &
your daughters will remember


You did
emoticon
planning & choosing -
Mostly healthy with
a few indulgences

Have a WONDERFUL WEEK


emoticon emoticon

BLESSINGS!

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emoticon emoticon



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_RAMONA 7/22/2012 5:27PM

    What a GREAT day!

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DAZZEEDOO 7/22/2012 12:47PM

    Sounds like you had a wonderful day with your kids- and that's the kind of day where you just let it flow, and go with it. emoticon

Tomorrow you can get back to it
Have a Great Week!
emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/22/2012 12:48:24 PM

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RUNNERRACHEL 7/22/2012 11:54AM

    Sounds like a great day!

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ALWAYSOWNIT 7/22/2012 10:40AM

    Seems like you had a pretty great day.. emoticon

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JENNCABA 7/22/2012 10:00AM

    What a great day you had emoticon emoticonJust enjoying yourself...it must have felt wonderful to walk into just any store and find something to wear that fit great emoticonnice to hear you had a nice relaxing fun day, you deserved it !! emoticon emoticon

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ILOVELIFE2012 7/22/2012 9:44AM

    what a wonderful day!!!! You are right, so great to enjoy it without the pressure!!! Wonderful!

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FLEURGARDEN 7/22/2012 8:34AM

    Sounds like you had a very fun and productive day with your kids. Time spent together like that is precious. And the added bonus with the new clothes in a smaller size. Woo Hoo!

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KSCHRAUT 7/22/2012 7:53AM

    Nice blog. I too remind myself that these special days are rare and I need to keep living in order to want to keep doing this lifestyle change. If I didn't allow myself to splurge once in awhile I wouldnt be so apt to keep doing what I doing

Glad you had a great day!

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RG_DFW 7/22/2012 7:34AM

    emoticon

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2BEABETTERME 7/22/2012 7:31AM

    Life was meant to be lived. As long as we realize we cannot live "large" every day and we need to get back to the healthy routine, we are doing good, living life and enjoying it.

What a great time with your kids!
emoticon

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MICHELLENRGZED 7/22/2012 7:02AM

    Way to go! Sometimes a splurge day is required, whatever the splurge. We all need to rest from being constantly aware of our intake & calories & all that, & it's great to just have fun, including with food. It is enjoyable, & the key is to make these days rare, as you said. Everything in moderation, & it sounds like you did really well with it. Way to go on the success you're having from all your hard work. Keep it up!!

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AHTRAP 7/22/2012 3:59AM

    Good to go off the charts on occasion, let loose a bit. Sounds like you had a great day!

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YESCURLYCAN 7/22/2012 3:47AM

  What a great way to spend a day: Eating great food and not worrying about it, having your daughter compliment your progress, fitting into smaller sizes and exercising to boot. We should all be so lucky to have days like these. Spark on! Btw: I LOVE The Counter! That is all emoticon

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LOL, why not?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Credit for me seeing this goes to HOPEFULHIPPO.

Usually I read through bunches of these just for the amusement of how different people respond more than with any intention to answer, but what the heck ... I have work stuff I don't want to do right now.


1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
A song ... as were about 600,000 other girls in the year or two around when I was born.

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
Welllllll, I have ended up with some tears on my face while reading a book semi-recently, but all out crying would go back to when Princess Di was in the accident. Wasn't really crying about her, though. I hadn't mourned my marriage / divorce at all, and her death was sort of permission to break down briefly.

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
It's clean, neat and legible, but nothing special.

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
I'm boring and prefer turkey breast or honey-roasted ham.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
Three total. DDb was raised by adoptive parents, DS and DDa by me and the EX.

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Probably the kind of best friends who don't need to stay in contact regularly - they just get each other so well. (We also would be completely baffling to most people as our conversational leaps would skip so much.)

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
I don't think so.

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Indeed. I have all my original parts with the exception of baby teeth and wisdom teeth.

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Not a chance. I would, however, sky dive.

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Bounces between Frosted Mini Wheats, Honey Bunches of Oats, Kellogg's Raisin Bran, and a dark chocolate hazelnut granola (mostly eat the last right now - YUMMMMY!)

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Always - it's habit.

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
In a relative sense, I've always had a certain reserve amount of physical strength that surprised people. (My DDa weighed around 90-95 pounds, was sleeping in the car, and I carried her into the house for example. I didn't think about it as strength - just something that needed to be done.) On the flip side, I'm barely getting to the point where I can do a few girly pushups ... which makes me feel not so strong and determined to get stronger. (Emotionally would be a whole different answer.)

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Mint chocolate chip. (Even was when I was little and walked to Thrifty's!)

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Smiles (or lack of) and whether they're genuine.

15. RED OR PINK?
Red, though pink apparently looks better on me.

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Hair on the body (not the head). I feel like I get 5 o'clock shadow on my legs. (Course my DS appreciated the genes when he could grow a full mustache in 9th grade.)

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
Uh ......... no idea. I don't usually miss people. I could say my best friend, but as soon as I adjusted to less contact, I don't miss it.

18. WOULD YOU CONSIDER BEING HYPNOTIZED FOR ANY REASON?
Nope. Not interested in the slightest.
(Yep, I came back and edited this. I'm not even interested in remotely advertising for some individual I've never heard of, slipped in sneakily.)

19. ANY TATTOOS?
Not yet for several reasons. If I do, I want it to be very artistic (not a slap job), colorful (hate the plain black stuff), and somewhere that won't grow icky looking with age and weight changes. May not happen.

19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
Black. It's my work neutral to go with pants that are usually dark.

20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
Spoonfuls of peanut butter - ugh.

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The tinnitis in my ears and my keyboard and my coworker's clacking as we type. Otherwise it is very very quiet in my office.

22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Forest green. Or really any green that isn't bright and brassy.

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Cinnamon and vanilla. The latter is my favorite in soaps, shampoos, and candles when it is natural.

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
My boss today. A friend last night.

25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
Mountain hideaway without a doubt.

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Hockey, especially if I have front-row seats!

27. HAIR COLOR?
Depends on which strand you look at. Everything from light blonde to dark brown to white.

28. EYE COLOR?
Green hazel. I honestly think they come closest to matching an olive shade, but being hazel it depends on mood and what I'm wearing.

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Can't anymore. I have corneal implants.

30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Fudge - the real stuff, perfectly made candy fudge. (I've tried making it. Each batch was okay, but not perfect.)

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Action/Adventure, actually. Endings can be happy, shocking, or sad - so long as there was a lot of action. REALLY do not like scary movies. They're either corny or gory most of the time, neither of which has any appeal.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
Iron Man 2 on my laptop. Totally loved Ms. Potts in Avengers and went back to watch both Iron Man movies. Was, sadly, less than impressed.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Green - an olive shade.

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Love summer more, but that's partly because it never gets unbearably hot here.

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Neither, but hugs if I can't avoid them. (I'll e-hug people all day long ... and cringe away from real hugs unless they're from my kids.)

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Well, fudge as my favorite food, but I love sweet desserts. This questions reminded me of a fab dessert from Macaroni Grill. It was a fun-size Snickers bar inside a pastry shell, fried in oil. OMG GOOD! (very very rare treat, obviously, if they even make it still)

37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
Love both, but Strength Training involves more variety and s easier to see improvement.

38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
What's a television? Seriously, I owned one for 15 years that was only used for playing console games by my kids in the later years.

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
Book? Try bookS. I am reading a number of books and swap around based on what I'm in the mood for. Scifi/Fantasy? Romance? Mystery? Thriller? Non-fiction? Self-help? I'm reading them all.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
My elbow. No, I'm serious. It's black and has an ergonomic thing for the wrist. But it's more comfortable to put that under my elbow and move the mouse on the desk.

42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Soft chiming bells. The "silence" of nature. Waves on the shore.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
*sings (poorly)* Nowhere Man, oh Nowhere Man.
(I actually have no idea what songs the Rolling Stones did. I know WHO they are, but that's it.)

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
New York City. Worked in Manhattan (49th floor of one of the Twin Towers, in fact) and lived in Brooklyn - for a whopping 3.5 months before getting the heck out of there and coming back to California.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
Depends on how we define "special". I can lift both eyebrows Spock-style (independently). I am pretty good making software crash, though thankfully I'm also good at figuring out what I did to cause the crashes so I don't repeat them - and so I can report it for fixing.

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
At home in the bathtub. My father cut a hole in the seat of a chair (it was planned for home) and caught me. I was the first of 5 all born at home.

47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
Same city as I was born in, actually.

48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?
The house I rent a room in is boring white.

49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?
I don't have a car. My last car was called blue, though it was really more green looking - a teal color. I once had a red car ... and learned that speeding and red cars are TRULY a magnet for cops.

50. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 50 QUESTIONS?
Sometimes. Depends on the questions. Depends on what work I'm trying to avoid doing. Depends on whether I can avoid absolute answers. Better than 100 QUESTIONS!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 7/26/2012 3:40AM

    emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 7/21/2012 10:35PM

    Love your answers, thank you for sharing.

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MNJONES2 7/21/2012 10:58AM

    Sounds like you had a good day. I always want to change answers when I do one of those things.

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CORINA-MOMOF4 7/20/2012 8:34PM

    emoticon

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BLUE_KARMA 7/20/2012 9:38AM

    Ah - as I midwife I especially like your birth story!
Thanks for sharing you!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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QUASIOR 7/20/2012 8:45AM

    Home birth! Wow, you're parents were ahead of the movement!

Interesting answers, to some varied questions. Hope your family get together with your children goes well!

emoticon see... virtual hug. Safe.

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TALENKARR1 7/20/2012 7:55AM

    You worked at the twin towers?! Al I can think of is if you worked there a few years more we wouldn't have you!!!

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IMELECTRIC 7/20/2012 7:44AM

    Do you live in a big city where you can walk to work? I am with you on the hugs. I love hugging my kids but feel funny hugging other people especially those I really don't know that well.

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SBNORMAL 7/20/2012 6:07AM

  Good. Answers,let me see those SPOCK. Eyebrows. Lol

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HOPEFULHIPPO 7/20/2012 12:34AM

    oooooh I can imagine the fun with 100 questions!! LOL Home birth, how interesting, that's a great story to tell!!

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FRANCES-AGAPE 7/20/2012 12:28AM

    emoticon emoticon

You are an interesting chick !

THANKS for letting us peek
at the woman behind the curtain

emoticon emoticon

BLESSINGS!

emoticon emoticon
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RUNNERRACHEL 7/19/2012 11:52PM

    Thanks for sharing. I like your answers. Learning a little more about you!

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POETLKNG2LOSE 7/19/2012 10:03PM

    Thanks for sharing that; I used to answer surveys online thinking that i would get some money or something for it. Then i got tired of them and got rid of them;didn't have the time to do all of them. It is interesting to ask yourself questions though.

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CHRIS3874 7/19/2012 10:00PM

    Interesting thanks for sharing;

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TANYA602 7/19/2012 5:23PM

    My grandmother made the most amazing fudge. Since she has passed I won't eat any. Dang I miss her fudge.
How fun getting to know more about you!

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IAMZBEE 7/19/2012 4:05PM

    Hehe, thanks for sharing!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/19/2012 3:48PM

    These are great; I may borrow them at some point. I remember visiting the twin towers; I wonder what it was like to actually work
there.

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Ten months along and a slew of pictures

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

16 September 2011 to 17 July 2012 - 10 months of progress

Starting Weight = 250.5 pounds
Current Weight = 183.0 pounds

Definitely slowed up the loss of pounds this past 31 days, but that's fine because I also upped most of my strength training weights and was eating at the very top of my range when I was hungry. I'd far rather have a slower month in which my lean body mass is being challenged than a faster month.

New pic is up on the main page, but here's my usual front and side:



I know a few people have mentioned it is probably time for a new swimsuit - and they're absolutely right. I took a look inside and this one is a 22W. I'm fitting into a 14 in pants and XL shirts are actually getting mostly too loose in spots, so no surprise the suit is getting "big". (It's not as noticeable in the pictures, but this suit was designed to help smooth the shape. It's to the size now where it is loose all around - those "form-fitting" areas fit a form larger than me. Which is a nice feeling.)

I'm not quite sure what I'm going to do about it, though. I have no need for a swimsuit at the moment, so buying a new one just for pictures and growing out of it seems wasteful. But I cringe at the thought of one from a thrift store for whatever reason. For now, even as it gets loose on me, it still has enough fit to see the changes.


Now, just for amusement's sake - when I order a SparkPeople T-shirt in Large, I completely expected it to be quite snug around the top, but soon to be (un)grown into. Instead, as I've mentioned, it fit - even loosely. Well I took a measuring tape to it out of curiosity.



Laid completely flat it is 22" across - or 44" in diameter - and it has a typical amount of material give / stretch. Given a bust measurement of 45", a chest (above) measurement of 39", a band measurement of 36", and a waist at navel measurement of 39", it's no wonder it fits fine in one single spot ... and is too big in the rest.



The XL shirt from the Packard Summer Scamper looked exactly the same size when laid flat. I say "was" because I donated that along with a variety of other things. (While it was iffy okay for size, it was thin and white. Other than wearing it over other things, which is too warm, I wouldn't ever use it - so better someone else got some benefit.)




I was curious how long my hair has gotten and what it looks like from behind (aka whether I should get it trimmed again soon). The coloration is totally natural and something I've put up with since it went from blonde to dirty blonde to brown.



In pictures of me between 3 and 6, I'm blonde. Over the years it has slowly darkened until it's the darker brown in my profile - though the amount of kinky white in it keeps increasing giving it an even more mixed coloration than what that picture can show.

For an idea of how much lighter it was - this is my senior picture. My hair was not colored at all. Permed, sadly yes.




Anyway, enough pictures. =P (Stop me before I go pull my baby book out of storage! LOL)

I mentioned that I ramped up my strength training. I get so excited every time I add another few pounds on any particular machine, but it's harder to keep track of all the improvements. One of the troubles is that I didn't translate all my hand-written pages from the first few months into the app I use now. Another trouble is that some of the exercises / machines I've changed over time - and even when they seem the same, 80 pounds on one might be easy and on another be a real effort. I haven't yet done benchmarks stuff or free weights (more on that after).

Finally, I know when I started out I was easier on myself. I babied my knees, so even if the muscles were strong enough, the joint and tendons and such weren't ready for much

For example, Quadriceps are the large muscle in the front of the thigh. Mid-January when I joined the gym, I did Leg Extensions (Quadriceps) - 20 pounds, 2 sets of 12. Early February I was doing 30 pounds, 3 sets of 12. Then I read up strengthening knees and swapped to the Seated Leg Press for a more natural motion - like a squat. I did 75 pounds, 3 sets of 12. I'm still doing the seated leg press, but I'm up to 175 pounds, 3 sets of 12.

I wouldn't really say I've built from 20 to 175. But who knows what I'd have done in mid-January had I started on the Seated Leg Press.

Seated Bench Press is one that I don't have the first couple months logged electronically and would have to dig out paper - but I did go from 30 pounds, 3 sets of 12 in mid-March to 60 pounds, 2 sets of 12 and one set of 8 yesterday. That's one that I can see the results in my ability to do another pushup and not feel like collapsing.

Preacher Curl / Biceps / Arm Curl is one that I've bounced around different machines on. The first one I used now has a ripped pad, the second one didn't have a pad at all - more a free sweeping motion but I didn't trust my form, and the third is okay but I'm concerned I'm somehow pulling with more than my biceps so I'm looking at more alternatives. With all that hopping around, my biceps are stronger but the numbers don't directly correlate which is frustrating.

Benchmarks. So the app I use to track my strength training and cardio (not on SP - I dupe my records here) was originally designed for and/or by bodybuilders and keeps a certain flavor from that. One of those things is that they expect profiles to include six benchmark exercises - all barbell work. I'm getting to the point now (6 months of consistent weights) where I'm starting to be tempted to dip my toe in the free weights.

The main concern I have is I really do prefer my gym time being total me time. I don't have to wait on someone, make conversation, explain why I changed my mind on a particular exercise. For some of these benchmarks - most notably bench press - a spotter is preferred. I so do not want to have to ask around and interrupt other's workouts to get someone to spot for me.

What is under consideration for now is paying for a single Personal Trainer session explicitly for the purpose of being trained on and doing the 6 benchmark exercises, perhaps being trained the form on some other exercises so I can practice them (I'd like a bicep exercise that doesn't involve mashing my triceps into a pad ... my left arm doesn't like that much).

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

Whew did I ramble. But there it is - 10 months worth of SparkPeople. Ten months of eating normally, but tracking and making sure a vast majority of days are within my calorie range as well as meeting my macro-nutrient ranges. Ten months of daily activity (only one day missed due to my foot). Ten months of logging on and getting my SparkPoints (my streak is something like 306 days).

The first ten months of the rest of my life.

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Yeesh, finally got it posted right ... I think. Annoying when uploads go wonky.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKFRAN514 7/20/2012 12:07AM

    Love your pictures and seeing and hearing about the changes you have experienced . you look great and i know how fun it is o see the sizes of clothing go down
hope you enjoy having a trainer even if only for a few visits. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JENNCABA 7/19/2012 4:00PM

    emoticonYou look great !! emoticon emoticon

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SBNORMAL 7/19/2012 5:20AM

  YOu have done great!!!! Maybe since summer things are on sale you can get a new suit for cheap, maybe you will like to try swimming for weight loss.

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SAMI199 7/19/2012 3:52AM

    Awesome I would love to see your baby pictures-lol.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_RAMONA 7/18/2012 5:10PM

    WOW! Jennifer, you look fantastic, and you are doing so well at everythig else. If there was a prize for most diligent, consientious and consistent Sparkler, I'd vote for YOU!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 7/18/2012 1:51PM

    All your hard work is really paying off. You look great.

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MEH50BEWELL 7/18/2012 12:36PM

    WAY -- TO -- GO!!! Great pics. Great accomplishments. It's funny how the pile of clothes we had in the "IF I lose weight" drawer, are now the "when I lose weight drawer. The fat clothes or the ones we simply don't like get sent to donation and are not occupying the "IF I GAIN WEIGHT" drawer.
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KISAKATT 7/18/2012 11:11AM

    Way to go on all of your healthy changes! And ten months is a great amount of time for it! Stay motivated!

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SLIMMERJESSE 7/18/2012 8:41AM

    Congrats on your excellent progress. Lookin good!

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FITANDFAITHFUL1 7/18/2012 8:39AM

    Excellent! 10 MONTHS of life style change!! AWESOME!! How inspiring!
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TALENKARR1 7/18/2012 7:59AM

    If your realy looking for a something that will be a "swim suit" try one of those "sleep short sets" you know the ones that make a girl 100% hoochie. they will cover the same amount of area on the body and fit better. they uselly consit of a tiny top with a shelf bra and bootie shorts. I have a couple of sets when it gets real hot here. 120/ 90 degrees or so. cause honey that suit just doesn't work to show how much you realy have work on you. You look fab honey, Flaut it! way to go with the progress !

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MSLZZY 7/18/2012 7:05AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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