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Okay, time to stir things up a little

Friday, January 11, 2013

I had another day of being super hungry yesterday, one that led to eating over 4500 calories. As I discussed in a previous blog, this isn't "binging". I'm not rushing to inhale the food. I'm not craving and caving in to that. I'm not hiding my eating from anyone (here or at work). It's simply eating more food and more often through the day, deciding not to sweat the calorie range.

Now, this has been happening off and on for some months now.

There's also the fact that I've bounced back and forth between a low of 167.5 and a high of 172 since around mid-November. (I hit 172 as my new low in mid-October and first saw 167.5 in early December as the BLC#20 came to a close.)

It's not a plateau, at least not in the traditional sense that I would be expecting it to have continued downward and "done everything right" to make it do so. It is heavily related to my average calorie intake during that period. My average daily calories were around 2500 for the period from when I was just starting to see numbers below 170 until the last day I was doing 7000+ weekly cardio (about two weeks ago). My expected range was in the 1900-2250 realm, so I was definitely exceeding that.

Worse, I'm looking at total amounts recorded some weeks for things like peanut butter or almonds and they are not matching up with the quantity that would be in the full container. I've been under-counting more than a little. (When I'd eat the whole jar / container, it was right. But when I'd just eat it all during the week over 5 days, it wasn't.) Which says I've probably been eating over that 2500 average by another couple hundred.

Yeah, I've been eating at what is really maintenance level ... so I've been maintaining. Good little body.


So it was (past) time to really step back and take a look at things and make a few changes.

I'm a night owl. That's a given. I prefer the night. I am more alert and active in the evenings. Even with regular 8 hour nights, I tend to auto-pilot my way through the first hour or two of the day. I know this and it's not the problem.

The problem is that my routine changed. My previous routine was lights out somewhere between 12 am (midnight) and 1 am meaning I've closed up my laptop, taken care of my teeth, and rolled over to begin seeking genuine sleep. That gave me a consistent 6.5 - 7.5 hours of sleep nightly. Lately I've been up past 2 am more nights than I want to count, and barely managing 6 hours a night. There's even been a couple of nights with 4 or less hours of sleep.

emoticon I know better. I know what that does to me.

That little sleep makes me mentally slow down - getting my work done more slowly, spending more time to write the same sorts of responses and blogs, sometimes just sitting and zoning. The more time things take, the less time I seem to have to do everything and the more behind I get. I dislike feeling pressured ... and start adding "fun" things, little addictive games, so I don't feel like I'm all work and no play. Then I stay up even later playing. It's a vicious cycle that doesn't end until I make sleep a priority.

That little sleep also makes me hungry - as a way to replenish the energy that proper rest should be giving me and to replace what the adrenalin push of keeping me going depletes. I feel more awake when I eat better / more. (Not excessive amounts that would put someone to sleep.)

That little sleep makes me less mindful of snack items I'm eating. Anything not already in a single-serving-size portion is probably going to have too much eaten. I've gone through a container of almonds that was probably 15 servings in 5 days and thought I was taking a normal handful each day because I just wasn't mentally all there paying attention.

So sleep is one of the basics I'm already working to put back in order. I've made the plan to not play the game except while waiting on or riding the buses. If I pull it up at night, it's getting deleted off my phone. Simple as that. I'm done with this downward spiral because I'm giving my play more priority than my health and sanity.


4A-HEALTHY-BMI had sent me a SparkMail a few weeks ago when she noticed the calorie ups and down, and there was something I mentioned in my reply but didn't really delve into. I also mentioned it to my OUTLAW team yesterday.

I'm currently at what I would call a comfortable weight. I look in the mirror and am happy with what I see for the most part. I know where I'm thick, I see plenty of excess fat in my torso, but compared to 80 pounds ago ... I'm rocking the slim chart.

There's two weights I remember from around 19 years old. I was 168 pounds when I went in to get my ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery - a test to see where your best skills might be, to select a field) results. I did well enough I could have my pick of services (would have gone Air Force) and vocation. Go to sign up and find out I'm a few pounds over the max to go to Boot Camp. I just needed to lose about 5-10 pounds which would be easy peasy.

Turns out I was almost three weeks pregnant. emoticon I never did join. Instead, I got up to 199 on the day before I had DDb, two weeks late and she weighed in at 8 lbs 15 oz. That dropped me back down pretty darned fast, and I didn't worry about the weight on the scale again. I don't even remember my weights with DS or DDa. They were smaller and I didn't even get near 199.

I do remember being 150 in Sophomore or Junior year of high school when I took Driver's Ed. We had a class on blood alcohol level and when asked for someone who weighed 150, I stood up. (The instructor was explaining how someone lighter would actually have a higher blood alcohol level than expected because there was less blood to mix into.)

So, long story short (too late, not possible from me), I remember being in the 155 to 170 range for my late teens and early 20s. I didn't pass 200 until years later when I made my fateful decision to become invisible.

It's familiar enough. I'm wearing "normal" clothing sizes (M / L depending on cut, that kind of thing). I regularly get compliments on how I look, how much I've lost. In fact, I've had a few people look shocked when I say I have around 15 more to lose. I'm larger-boned (around 7" wrist) and taller than average (5'8") and busty, so I carry it well enough that clothes can let me mask the thicker torso and gut.

Not only that, but health-wise and fitness-wise I'm doing rather well. Those 15 pounds aren't the make or break point between a health problem and total health. I'm continuing to work with weights and build muscle.

What I realized yesterday was that I've got no sense of urgency. I never wanted to make weight my focus. I figured eating right and focusing on fitness would just naturally bring my weight down. (Well, more than figured. During all the time I was deliberately gaining weight, if I started hiking or walking, I lost. If I stopped eating as much, I lost. My body never willingly held onto those pounds - I had to work to maintain and increase them.)

I haven't come up with an optimal solution on this one. I do NOT want to get into a scale number mindset or a particular size goal. But I need to mentally redefine what is the best weight and shape for me. This isn't. It's comfortable, but it's like a ratty T-shirt comfortable. It needs to be replaced.

Minimally, I want to rediscover the waist that is smaller than my ribcage. I think that's a starting point.

It also leads into the next thing.

emoticon emoticon
Weights and cardio.

I do NOT ever want to be the kind of person who spends over an hour doing cardio. I don't consider that effective for the kind of weight loss or body recomposition I'm interested in. My primary goal with cardio is not fat burn. It is CardioVascular Fitness -- my heart and lungs being healthy and fit.

I do want to be the kind of person who has an effective strength training routine. I consider that effective for long-term fitness, not just in terms of pounds on the scale but in terms of how much muscle I lose, maintain, or gain, how strong and durable my bones are, how well my tendons and ligaments support everything around them, reducing chance of injury and pain. To me it is number one in the battle to age gracefully, something that is important to start now at 43 going on 44.

Up until a couple weeks ago, however, I'd been increasing my cardio more and more. I'd gotten to a point where I was tracking 48 minutes of brisk walking (from work and from the gym) and doing 60 minutes or more of cardio every single day of the week, including weight days. Well, I had gotten a clue and dropped my cardio on weight days down to 20 minutes (plus the 48 of walking). My SP calories burned was running 7300 - 7500 toward the end of that.

A couple weeks ago I decided to stop tracking the walks, with the idea I don't get my heart rate up enough for them to "count". I also increased my strength training to 4 days from 3 and dropped my cardio to 10-15 minutes those days. I dropped my fitness tracker's expectations to 3000 a week.

But I was still walking briskly and walking the dog longer and further. I just wasn't tracking it.

Which leads me to the couple of days of "I'm ravenous" overeating. My last couple of strength training sessions have been a bit of a slog, weights I did well before seeming absurdly hard. Then I ate a lot yesterday because I was so hungry and my weight work that night was a breeze. Waking up this morning, I had a lot more energy than I'd had since the weekend.


All of which comes together in some changes I'm making.


My walking is going back in the tracker. However, I will be using my Heart Rate Monitor to get a closer idea of time and calories burned based on real exertion and manually tracking rather than using the generic "Walking (4 mph)" option. The calorie range is based on a sedentary lifestyle plus the recorded activity. That much and that fast walking is NOT sedentary and I need to have it accounted for when deciding the appropriate calorie range to eat in.


I need to stop the wild ups and down with my calories. To do this, I'm temporarily setting my goal as though I'm mostly maintaining (by setting the goal date to a couple years from now). I'm going to figure out how many calories I'll be burning including the walks and set the fitness tracker according. That will give me a "maintenance range".

This first week I'm going to eat to the range point (100 below the top number).

The following week I'm going to eat to the bottom of it to create a deficit of 250 daily (1/2 pound) for the week.

If this (mixed with the above sleeping better and defining what I'm trying to achieve) gets me off the merry-go-round of being ravenously hungry about once a week, then I move to the next step of seeing what my weight did for those two weeks. Food tracking is going to be near meticulous as is fitness tracking. If I gain during both weeks, I'll create a larger deficit. If I lose, I'll stick with the bottom of that range. If I stay flat, I'll move it down another 250.


Oh, and I did forget one item.


One of my concerns a couple weeks ago was that I was filling in all the extra calories I could eat because of my heavy cardio focus with treats. One or two a day would have been no big deal, but when I could easily fit 600 calories worth of empty calories every day and was DOING just that, something wasn't right.

Unfortunately, I went overkill in the opposite direction. I discovered yesterday that I was feeling deprived and resenting the lower calorie range because it felt like I couldn't fit a single treat in.

Not only that, but I missed buying a few things last week when grocery shopping. My food shelves at home and work ... look EMPTY. There's enough to eat, but visually it created a feeling of scarcity. There's not enough food ... so illogic dictates that I need to eat more of what is there.


Really brain? The sleep-addled effect is definitely at work here.

So, part of what's changing up will also be defining what I consider treats and making sure they fit, but don't become excessive.


Last comment: I know this might make my first week or two of BLC#21 a little off in the weight loss department, but ideally this will align me better to move through the entirety of the twelve weeks.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COXBETH 1/12/2013 3:57PM

    " I dislike feeling pressured ... and start adding "fun" things, little addictive games, so I don't feel like I'm all work and no play. Then I stay up even later playing. It's a vicious cycle that doesn't end until I make sleep a priority. " ------ it's like you are IN MY HEAD!

I know I need to make good quality sleep a priority...but I haven't yet. I need to get back on that soon.

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CIPHER1971 1/12/2013 8:28AM

    Well you have given me food for thought, I will read with interest how it works out

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KSCHRAUT 1/12/2013 6:12AM

    Great blog as usual. I haven't been consuming too much more lately, but definitely different choices than normal. I am also very close to goal and I like what you said about being close to maintaining, seeing weights you saw in teens/early 20s....I'm the same way. I remember being like 160ish in high school and I'm 155 now, so this is a good thing. It really is a matter of putting it all into perspective.

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 1/11/2013 11:01PM

    It's fun reading the musings of other people who are as into the numbers and patterns as I am. LOL

Yeah, insufficient or disrupted sleep can really mess with a person. Good idea to get a handle on that!

As far as figuring out your calorie burn, I'd recommend using your Google spreadsheet, rather than messing with either the HR monitor or SP estimates. In the end, given a consistent amount of activity and a consistent amount of food, what your weight does will tell you what your total burn is. And it'll be much more accurate than any estimate you can get somewhere else...

I find that my HR monitor numbers don't really tell me how much I'm burning. But when I change my activity levels, the DIFFERENCE in my average HR monitor burn estimates seem to make sense.

So, for example, if I am pretty active and burning an estimated 500 calories per day according to the HR monitor and then become less active and that average drops to 300 calories per day, I find that my total calorie burn seems to drop by about 200 as well.

This is assuming that I'm neither losing nor gaining during the periods I'm getting those total burn estimates from.

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 1/11/2013 10:45PM

    Very interesting. Sounds like you are hungry because you are burning up the calories. Hope your new plan works well for you. emoticon

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KRYSTL719 1/11/2013 10:41PM

    Hey, by the sound of your blog and everything that you explained, you are very aware in your health. You are doing an awesome job despite the calorie intake you mentioned.

I too am a night owl, I hate getting up early and I hate to go to bed early. =P

I wish you luck in finding anything that you think will help. I find myself in the same predicaments, just today as we speak i didnt track everything because I knew I went over and so forth. Long story short, we are all here to listen when you need to vent.

I cant wait to get down to that weight =)

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Heart Rate Monitor aka my geek is showing

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

A DailySpark blog showing fitness gadgets happened to have the Polar RS100 heart rate monitor shown. I followed the link to Amazon, saw the price, and decided it was time to move ahead with my plan to get one.

It arrived on Monday. I didn't get it out and swoon emoticon until after work. I liked how neatly it was packaged, a small black box. Not sure why I expected something big and clunky. There's three pieces - the watch which tracks the data, the chest strap, and the transmitter.

It didn't take me too long to figure out how to get into the settings on the watch, just a few looks at the little guide and some button poking, and soon enough it had my vitals and was ready to go. The chest strap thus far seems to be reasonably comfortable. Then again, a few decades of wearing bras makes one used to a snug band around your rib cage.

It was at that point I ran into my first confusion. I know my resting heart rate - usually in the 58 bpm to 62 bpm range. It read 32. Adjust strap. No change. Turn off and turn back on. No change. Wet the electrodes more. ( emoticon That sounds horribly kinky for some reason ... or my mind is just in the gutter ... MOVING ON ...) No change.

Fuss, fuss, fuss. Take off strap, put it all back on. Ah! There's a 64! That's more like it.

Beep! Beep! Beep!


Okay, I know I set the sounds to OFF ... why is it beeping at me? Oh! My HR is below the limits set. Well, DUH! I'm sitting here figuring the thing out. How do I make it stop beeping?

I didn't actually figure that out the first day, but it wasn't obtrusive enough once I was outside of the office to worry over. I did learn just how freakishly (in a GOOD way) fast my HR drops back to a resting level. I already knew that even my very brisk walk isn't enough to get my HR up all that high, but it was amusing to see it in action.

I did my lower body workout that night and had it running through the majority of that. The calories burned it calculated and what SP came up with were nearly dead-on (4 calories apart). I have to admit I was rather shocked at that. With any strength training exercise that I've manually entered, I just put 5 calories. The ones that come from SP calculate numbers in the 13 to 15 range. Somewhere in the adding all of that together, it worked out.

Then yesterday it went back to showing me 32 again. NOTHING that I did would get it to show me the expected range.

I went online and searched. It BETTER NOT be the battery was my thought after reading numerous forums. (I'd be rather miffed to be sent an almost dead battery.)

Fuss, fuss, fuss. Ponder buying whatever gel some were recommending. Fuss, fuss. Change heart rate limits so it doesn't warn if I pass the Low. There, no more beeping ... if I can just get it to show the right .... wait a minute. 64? emoticon It's fixed!

Yesterday's cardio workout, it showed about 100 calories less burned than SP came up with. I did 30 minutes each on the elliptical and the recumbent bike. I've always thought SP's numbers for the stationary bike seemed a little high. They're about 200 over what the bike itself calculates per hour workout. Since I did both, it's a little hard to tell if that's where all the difference was from.

I also messed around a little bit last night and recorded an hour's worth of laying in bed writing and browsing on my laptop. Multiplying the resulting calories burned by 24 came up with around 1725. That's higher than the calculated BMR of 1520 (but that's to be expected as it wasn't completely at rest with minimal motion) but lower than the sedentary AMR of 1815 (which again makes sense because I wasn't doing any getting up and walking around which would be normal through a full day).

(Of course, it likely bases the calories burned on the same basic calculations, so it SHOULD be right in that range. This just gives me a nice confirmation that the numbers outside of deliberate activity are in the right range.)

Oh, and the 32 - 40 numbers?

Happened again. It was looking fine for the first couple hours, but suddenly it was reading 32 again.


Wet the electrodes. Nothing.


Poke buttons on the watch.


OHHHHHHHH! There's my 60. Poke button again. And there's the 32. I feel like a dodo. All this fussing and fussing and it was just me bumping a button on the side. My griping and frustration were purely self-inflicted.

Okay, so the button toggles between HR ... and what? Onto the website I went and pulled up the manual.

emoticon emoticon

It's a percent of my maxHR.

Y'know, for all that I know quite well that I want 60 - 85 % of maxHR when working out, I had never once wondered what percentage the resting HR was of maxHR.


Now, beyond that, I haven't quite decided how I want to use it most effectively. Today I'm doing a longer BMR test of sorts. I put it on and started the timer early this morning. I plan to use "laps" to break up my workout (cardio, weights, stretching), but otherwise have it run until I'm getting ready to sleep. The end result (plus the remaining hours to hit 24) should give me a pretty good guesstimate of my calories out in a typical workday.

I definitely wanted this for my weight workouts - to see where they actually sit in terms of basic calorie burn. It will also be useful when I do longer walks or when I know I'll be out and about on my feet most of a day - to get a better feel for how much more I burn.

I did wear it while walking Buster yesterday. That's always interesting because there are times we're running along and times I'm standing around waiting on his sniffer, so 20 minutes to go around the block (about 0.4 miles) isn't quite as light a workout as a mile in 45 minutes would register as. Natural intervals, hmm?


More generally, I am satisfied with the heart monitor at this point - though I wish the display had been clearer about being a percentage. (Now that I look, there is a tiny % off to the left that shows up. But not being larger and to the right of the number, I would not have seen it.)

Keeping the strap clean seems easy enough. It's noticeable that I have the strap on, but not bothersome. Being able to easily unsnap the transmitter when I'm not using it to save the battery is nice, though being a woman that could look a little odd if I do it in public. emoticon

The watch is lightweight, though of necessity has some bulk. In fact, it remains to be seen how well it stands up to the typical abuse being on my wrist entails. (Years back I had a very nice watch I really loved. About every 6 months, it seemed, I had to have the glass / crystal face replace because it would end up so scratched up I couldn't read it. Another watch snapped where the band meets the face when it caught on something. I'm rough on them without intending to be.)

Combine that with the cheapo pedometer I got after losing the Secret Santa gifted one, and I'm probably fitness gadgeted out for now. A good thing. I'm going to need to save money for other things, like more workout shirts in a smaller size.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MNJONES2 1/11/2013 3:33PM

    I remember using one of those - I have it a drawer somewhere.... hhmmmm.

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 1/10/2013 1:31PM

    I love my HRMs - yes, I have several including a couple of Polars and also a Timex version. They all seem to work the same way and I don't even remember why I ended up with more than one of them. I'm just a gadget geek and like ot keep track of measurements.

As for your BMR, while I think the HMR is more accurate than other guestimates, the only way to really KNOW what your BMR is requires a different test. I always wondered why all the calorie recommendations and counts seemed to be so far off for me - when I got my metabolism measured FOR REAL, I discovered it was incredibly low - 1238 to be exact! I got it measured again with different equipment by a different lab and it came up the same - turns out I also don't burn as many calories during exercise as expected so I started doing research into the topic and.....

Turns out that ALL of the gadgets and programs and so forth are based on a formula calculating the 'expected' or 'estimated' calorie ranges for the 'average body' or what some people call 'the universal body.' Problem is, nobody actually HAS that 'average' or 'universal' body so it's really more like the gas mileage ratings for cars - that is, they provide interesting information but don't necessarily correlate to real life. I also found out that our metabolism changes all the time based on what we eat, when we eat, how frequently we eat, how we sleep, what activities we do and a bazillion other variables. It's taken me a long time to accept that there really is no way to get or use totally accurate data so I just play around with it and ignore the calorie parts of reports. Instead, I focus on heart rate, time it takes to do things, how far I can go and that sort of thing - that helps me keep track of my progress better than the scale, clothing sizes or 'calorie counts.'

Anyway, good for you - I'm impressed with how well you are doing and you're definitely an inspiration for me!

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WINNIE1978 1/10/2013 12:35PM

    I really, really hope that your Polar HRM lasts longer than mine did. I received a Polar HRM for a Christmas present in 2011... and it only lasted a couple of months. It would work fine for a week or two and then stop reading my heart rate all together. I called Polar, was sent a new strap... it worked for a week or two... then nothing. Polar eventually tried to tell me that it was MY fault that it wasn't working. Funny thing though, is that I bought myself a Garmin HRM and have had zero problems from it!

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KSCHRAUT 1/10/2013 8:36AM

    This is wonderful. I've thought about this, but never seem to have enough extra $ between pay checks/bills to comfortably get one. Maybe for tax season. ;) Thanks for sharing all the info about it!

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QUASIOR 1/10/2013 7:03AM

    I want a Garmin, but currently have a Suunto and it doesn't do alot more than heart rate monitering, not even a stop watch! NOT happy about that. I hope yours does lots more!

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KARL1266 1/10/2013 6:34AM

    Glad you like the HRM. I have been tossing the idea around for a while as well and after reading your blog I will be thinking even harder. I, too, like the numbers and would love to have more data about the exercises I am doing.

Couple of questions, if you don't mind...

Is the strap on the watch adjustable? I have big wrists and standard watch straps just don't work for me. I don't wear a watch for that reason/

And the chest strap...give me your honest assessment as to the comfort of it. I am a guy who doesn't like feeling constricted by "things". Could this be a potential issue?

Can't wait to hear about future results!

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_JODI404 1/9/2013 11:27PM

    Glad you got it figured out! As a numbers girl, I knew you would love it!!

I definitely love mine! I agree, along with a pedometer, I feel I have good data.

Both tools encourage me to push harder/further.


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GOLDENRODGIRL 1/9/2013 10:08PM

    Very cool! I love my new HRM, too.

I have heard, though, that HRM calorie counts aren't super-accurate at lower heart rates (that is, they're very accurate when you're doing cardio exercise, but not so great for weight-lifting or non-exercise times). You might want to research that a bit before relying on it for a total daily calorie expenditure.

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CATLOVER110 1/9/2013 9:00PM

    I enjoyed your review. I've been thinking about getting a heart rate monitor.

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HYDROQUEEN 1/9/2013 7:07PM

    I like seeing my numbers too and found my hrm to be a very useful tool. Many gyms have equipment that will sync with a Polar. That way the numbers that you see on, say a treadmill, are your actual numbers. Mine is a Sigma and actually stops working while I'm on my treadmill. I remedy this by removing the wrist watch and placing it nearby. Reads fine then. Have fun with it.

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SHERIO5 1/9/2013 6:24PM

    Sounds like you are enjoying your new toy...btw thrift stores often have cheap workout clothes. I found two tops with Target tags on for .99 and one for $2 at Salvation Army on Monday.

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AHTRAP 1/9/2013 5:19PM

    Thought maybe it was measuring metric heart rate until you revealed the reason for the 32. emoticon

I tend not to trust numbers from the machines I use, the action/feel of different ellipticals (or other equipment) are disparate enough that you can easily feel like you're working out much harder and be told you're burning less calories on one, and then take it easy on another only to see it report a huge number. Which one do you believe?

I expect I'd care more if I were concomitantly tracking food on here with any degree of accuracy.

Appreciate the product review!

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GOING-STRONG 1/9/2013 5:06PM

    Great review! By the way, I just picked up TWO work-out tanks at Goodwill for $2 each... like brand new! YAY!

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    Does it come with the stretchy cloth strap? I swapped my Polar strap out for the waterproof version from the get go, and I think there are less problems. I also have noticed that I have to wear it lower than expected for accurate readings, or I get weird error messages, it stops, it has weird readings, etc. So there is about a good inch gap from bottom of bra - guess my heart is low!

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PRAIRIEBETH 1/9/2013 4:37PM

    Oh those electronic gadgets have just about done me in sometimes!!! Even my pedometer made me crazy. Enjoy your new monitor emoticon

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EKOSS88 1/9/2013 4:31PM

  It's a device review and a comedic read all in one! AWESOME

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1EMMA2011 1/9/2013 4:23PM

    Loved how you were trying to make it quiet! Congratulations on getting this! Sounds like fun!


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What to do when January 2013 doesn't go as planned?

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Did you set goals, make a fresh start, have all sorts of plans for 2013? How are they going?

I can see from blog titles and SparkTeam threads that not everyone's month is going according to plan. And it's only the SIXTH of January.

I'm sure not perfect either. I already missed one day of my "Dental hygiene habit" and went on a snack attack and stayed up too late last night.

So what do you do when you've already "screwed up that goal"? Is it the end of the world? Do you self-destruct? Is the goal a failure and not worth doing anything more with?

I certainly hope NOT!

Thankfully, I'm not fussy about perfection. (As our BLC teams say - PARTICIPATION, NOT PERFECTION.) We don't have to have every single choice, every single action, every single moment perfectly in line with our goals and plans to get there. We just have to have enough of them - a majority - and we have to keep adding more actions and choices that are in line to get closer.

I missed ONE DAY. I was right back on track with dental hygiene the next day. If I end January with 30 out of 31 days done, that's more than December (which I didn't track, but I'd put around 15 out of 31 ... if I was generous). I looked at what happened -- and one of the problems is that I wait until the last minute before going to sleep to brush my teeth. That one night I was super-tired, and fell asleep before I did it. Simply doing it a little earlier in the evening would work - then I could lights out and sleep without worrying about it. So I make a minor adjustment to my schedule to make meeting my goal easier for the rest of the month.

With the eating, I already ~KNOW~ that staying up too late makes me hungry. I got myself into the situation and didn't simply lights out like I should have. I ~DID~ actually brush my teeth finally and lights out to sleep. Once I got up in the morning (6+ hours slept), I tracked everything then planned my food for the day to be healthy and on the low end of my range not counting the wee-hour snacking. The adjustment to my schedule to brush my teeth earlier will also help avoid that because I don't like to eat after I have clean teeth.

My January is still going well. I may have broken that streak, but I have been writing every day so far, I have updated my budgets, and I've got my new workout routines for strength shaping up nicely.

So, if you've already had a hiccup, a speed bump, or even a brick wall, show up in your 2013 plans - what are you doing to review, review, regroup, and emoticon ?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNDALOVES2HIKE 1/10/2013 1:20PM

    Perfection is a myth - I always say 'focus on progress' but I think I like your idea better - focus on PARTICIPATION - awesome!

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MNJONES2 1/8/2013 11:21AM

    goals are met with hard work! YOU WORK HARDER THAN ANYONE I KNOW!

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FRANCES-AGAPE 1/7/2013 11:15PM


HEY, ANY improvement

Glad your year is going well

For sharing your goals -
Your dental one inspired me
so nos I am being more
diligent about flossing

Have a Terrific Tuesday !

emoticon emoticon


emoticon emoticon
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Comment edited on: 1/7/2013 11:17:00 PM

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KING_SLAYER 1/7/2013 11:03PM

    I try to avoid setting "goals" at the beginning of the year. To me it's like making resolutions, which I spent years not fulfilling, so there's a kind of negative connotation there for me. I may have some goals in mind, but I usually will wait a couple of weeks into the year before I attempt to realize those goals, takes the 'resolution-ness' out of 'em!

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TEADYBEAR77 1/7/2013 8:51PM

    You can never throw in the towel no matter what. Thanks for sharing

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 1/7/2013 5:07PM

    emoticon It is about keeping on regardless. emoticon

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BMCKEOW1 1/7/2013 1:28PM

    Love it that's a great reminder.

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HOWIEANN 1/7/2013 12:24PM

    Thanks for the reminder! :)

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 1/7/2013 10:09AM



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-POOKIE- 1/7/2013 8:55AM

    Its too early to give up! We should re-group and come out fighting!

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SHERIO5 1/7/2013 8:14AM

    emoticon emoticon

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    Bravo - GREAT blog! Perfection is WAY over rated and truthfully unattainable but we can sure beat ourselves up and exhaust ourselves trying! emoticon

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MUSOLF6 1/7/2013 6:56AM


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CHRISTINASP 1/7/2013 5:33AM

    I think the first part of your entry was about ME! LOL
So yes I had a bump or maybe a pothole in the road on January 5th. Realized that if I don't get enough rest / sleep working on ALL other goals is harder so sleep should come first (just blogged about that).
Btw I think 30 out of 31 days is pretty ambitious - remember you will have done better than last month if you do the dental hygiene SIXTEEN times this month! ;)

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LEVELPATHS 1/7/2013 3:37AM

    I had a rubbish week last week cos I was tired and had been ill before that...

Today I am happy again and am going on the attack!

Yesterday is gone - no point worrying about it - just consult my list of things to work through, start at the top and see how far I can get today! :-)

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YESCURLYCAN 1/7/2013 2:49AM

  emoticon blog. Thanks for writing this; it was timely! I have had three days of hiccups but got myself back together. I went over what I was doing and why, then got back in line. So far so good. I choose not to let it faze me now because I still have three weeks to make January great.

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CIPHER1971 1/7/2013 1:52AM

    A good reminder to us all

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JERSEYGIRL24 1/6/2013 11:55PM

    Good for you!!!

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JKPONYGIRL 1/6/2013 11:53PM

    your january sounds great and you have inspired me to get up and brush my teeth!! emoticon

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ILOVELIFE2012 1/6/2013 11:25PM

    My plans are not going as planned, my 5 days of cardio are looking more like 3 days and that is ok. Like you have indicated in your blog, it's not the end of the world (I used to think that way). For a long time I thought I had to be perfect with everything. Not sustainable LOL! Keep moving forward!!!

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DOVESEYES 1/6/2013 11:22PM

    Yes I agree its not the end of the world as we know it, our persistence will conquer in the end. emoticon

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THETURTLEBEAR 1/6/2013 11:00PM


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GOING-STRONG 1/6/2013 10:43PM

    Expecting perfection is just a recipe for disaster. You have to be flexible and just move on. I used to have a problem flossing and irrigating my mouth daily. I now have it listed on Spark as an "other goal" with a checkbox. If I check it every day I get spark points and that has really helped keep me accountable. Weird how little tricks can help lol. Best to you, Rhonda

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KARL1266 1/6/2013 10:38PM

    Blowing a goal...losing balance...losing focus. These are just ways for us to regroup and start again. I've always gone on the basis that goals are fluid. Things happen, life moves on, etc and the goals themselves will be adjusted when the time comes to review. Sooner if it seems necessary.

Great usual!

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TIMOTHYNOHE 1/6/2013 10:13PM

    If you chip a teacup, you don't throw the china closet down the steps.

The last perfect person born was nailed to a tree.

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NEELIXNKES 1/6/2013 10:07PM

    Just keep pushing forward. That is all I can do, all anyone can do. Thanks for the reminder!

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ROXYZMOM 1/6/2013 10:02PM

    PERSERVERE!! As Scarlett O'Hara said ...
"tomorrow is another day". ;)

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State of the Blue42Down - 2013 fitness review

Thursday, January 03, 2013

A year ago, after three-and-a-half months active on SparkPeople, with the New Year 2012, I decided to do a review of a variety of statistics about myself - keeping my focus more on fitness than pounds. (** Hehe, hurried to post before midnight - now I'm going to get the last few measurements done. **)

First State of the Blue address:

Three months:

Six months:

Nine months:

And now today! (Well, actually I did most of the testing on the 1st. I'm just getting the blog done today.)

Height = 5' 7.75"
Weight = 175 pounds TO 168 pounds (7 pounds down)
Body Fat % = 36% or 27.23% to 34% or 27.31%
BMI = 26.8 (Overweight) TO 25.73 (Overweight)
BMR = 1532.575 TO 1502.125

Forehead = 23.5 TO 23.5"
Neck = 14 TO 13.75"
Shoulders = 42.5" TO 43"
Chest = 39 TO 39"
Bust = 43 TO 41.25"
Ribs / Strap = 35.5 TO 34.25"
Bicep = 13.5" TO 12.75"
Forearm = 10.5 TO 10"
Wrist = 6.75 TO 6.75"
Waist at Navel = 36.5 TO 36"
Hips = 43 TO 42"
Seat = 43 TO 42.5"
Thigh = 23.75 TO 23.25"
Calf = 15.5 TO 15"
Ankle = 9.5 TO 9.5"

Fitness testing:

Resting Heart Rate = 55/49 bpm (machine) TO 59 (machine)
Target Heart Rate = 124 - 150 bpm
Blood Pressure = 93/62 TO 103/72

for instructions and scaling)

Situps = 35 (Excellent) TO 29 (Good)
Modified Pushups = 10 (Average) TO 10 (Average)
Squats = 50 (Excellent) TO 60 (Excellent)
Step = 132 (Poor) TO 147 (Very Poor)
Vertical Jump = 8.5 (Below Average) TO 9" (Below Average)
Sit and Reach = +0.5 (Average) TO +1.5" (Average)

Aerobic fitness check:

Heart rate before walk = 60 bpm TO 78 bpm
Time for 1 mile brisk = 14:09.9 TO 13:45
Heart rate after 1 mile brisk = 120 bpm TO 105 bpm
Time for 2nd mile brisk = 13:57.62 TO 13:30
Heart rate after mile 2 = 128 bpm TO 111 bpm
Time for 1 mile normal = 15:24.59 TO 16:30
Heart rate after 1 mile normal = 120 bpm TO 89 bpm


Situps were really hampered by a very sore tailbone from a fall ice skating on Saturday.

I actually did a full military pushup first then 9 modified pushups, in part to kind of prove to myself I could.

Step was done after everything else without enough delay to have my heart rate closer to resting before starting, but I was hurrying to finish before the gym closed.

Walking was on a treadmill again, so heart rate check more accurate and speed more controlled.

Physical / injury comments:

No major changes this time around. (Well, there's the temporary injuries - a major bruise on my right thigh/hip and a very out of joint tailbone from ice skating falls. I'm still careful sitting with those, and they're making certain workout moves uncomfortable.)


Now, the last three months didn't really see significant changes in these numbers (and I'm not complaining because it was 100% due to choices I made and actions I took). However, looking back a year I've gone from:

15-minute miles with my heart rate nearly at 85% of max at the end of mile 2 TO 13-minute miles with my heart rate barely getting over 60% at the end of mile 2!

Really struggling to do 3 Modified Pushups TO doing a Full military pushup followed by 9 modified pushups.

Doing 15 squats and my knees hurting too much to continue TO 60 squats (and those after the 3 miles on the treadmill to boot)

(And those don't show all the constant little improvements I can feel and measure regularly in my workouts - like pushing the level on the recumbent bike to 10 because 8 feels too easy, when I could barely struggle along on 5 at first.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LYNDALOVES2HIKE 1/10/2013 1:19PM

    What an impressive fitness review - good for you!!

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 1/7/2013 4:50PM

    You are so impressive! I am really awe-struck by all you've accomplished!

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MNJONES2 1/6/2013 12:40AM

    Sorry to hear about your tailbone! OUCH! You always work so hard and are inspirational to everyone. Happy New year!

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PKCTTS 1/5/2013 4:59PM

    Your blogs are always inspirational and informational. Great job.

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MERRITTMD 1/5/2013 4:55PM

    Awesome progress! So impressive!

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ILOVEMALI 1/4/2013 1:54PM

    you look so great!!!

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AGINNETT 1/4/2013 9:25AM

    great progress!

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GOING-STRONG 1/4/2013 12:30AM


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SHERIO5 1/3/2013 5:28PM


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JUSTAGIRL45 1/3/2013 1:57PM

    You are always an inspiration to me!
Thanks for sharing emoticon

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DIET_FRIEND 1/3/2013 12:33PM

    You are such a scientist! Glad you are making progress. I recommended you last blog to my SparkTeam, hope you had more than usual traffic!

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THETURTLEBEAR 1/3/2013 11:15AM

    That is awesome!!!!!!!!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 1/3/2013 10:39AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MAGGIE805 1/3/2013 9:47AM

    Awesome!!! Way to go! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CIPHER1971 1/3/2013 7:46AM

    Awesome emoticon

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ILOVELIFE2012 1/3/2013 7:43AM

    great progress CONGRATS! I might put together one of my own progress reports!

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KSCHRAUT 1/3/2013 7:39AM

    Wonderful! Keep up the good work!

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MUSOLF6 1/3/2013 7:39AM


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DOVESEYES 1/3/2013 4:54AM

    Amazing changes emoticon

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CHRISTINASP 1/3/2013 3:58AM

    You're very thorough! Hope your tail bone heals soon.

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The "Magic Trick"

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

It's been said before. It will be said again later by others. It bears repeating.

There is really only one "Magic Trick" to improving our lives, and that is embodied in a single word:


It is the magic behind Spark Streaks. When we start with emoticon it is so seemingly small.

What will one 10-minute workout do? What will one day of eating within a reasonable calorie range do? What will one night of 7-8 hours of sleep do? What will brushing our teeth twice in one day do?

It can feel like nothing much. There's no big flashing lights to celebrate that we did one small thing good for us for one day. There's no obvious non-scale victories that we can see and measure out of one time.

But then we apply the "Magic Trick" of CONSISTENCY.

Day 1 becomes Day 2 becomes Day 3. Even if we only make it to Day 7 before we slip, if we start right back over at Day 1 as soon as possible, it starts to add up in tremendous ways.

Day 1 is a snowflake. emoticon Beautiful and solitary, but not having much power beyond its uniqueness.

Day 31 is a snowball, able to carry an amount of force if thrown, holding the promise of a snowman.

One month of 10-minute workouts can have measurable results. What had us huffing and puffing and perhaps even cussing on Day 1 is likely to feel surprisingly easy on Day 31. (On my Day 1, I walked less than a mile in 15 minutes and danced 10 minutes. On Day 31 I walked around a mile-and-a-half in 22 minutes and spent around 20-30 minutes doing a small Strength Training workout.)

Day 100 is the snowman's lower body, a clear idea of the size and shape of things to come.

A season (thirteen weeks) of consistent healthy habits can have very visible results. For some that is weight lost. For others it is more energy, better ability to handle stress, getting sick less often, being able to walk further than the end of the driveway, or just feeling mentally alert. Depends on the habit, depends on the starting point, but Day 100 is almost certain to reward us.

Day 473 and I think I've almost got the head to set on top. I think I've only missed doing some sort of physically active thing one day - back in December 2011 when my foot was hurting badly.

Now, that's not Day 473 of being perfect.

Far from it.

I've had numerous days where I didn't eat as reasonably as I planned. I've overeaten by 3000+ calories OVER my range on a few occasions.

I've had days where I didn't really put my all into my workouts and was more on cruise control.

I've had days where I didn't get more than 1 or 2 hours of sleep.

I've had days where I totally failed to clean my teeth.

BUT, I never stopped through all those 473 days. I always accomplished at least something. I tracked every one of those days. Well, not even that perfectly. There are two recent days that my tracking was slipshod. I got completely behind on everything I needed to do and by the time I went to track I couldn't begin to guess if I'd had 3 of something or 4 or 9. I just estimated reasonably high (1500 over calories) and tracked what I could remember.

Consistency does not mean perfection.

If Day 7 is a complete wash, we have two choices.

The choice that emotionally destroys people over time is giving up because the streak ended. We quit. We don't try again until something motivates us - often something that hurts (physically or emotionally) more than "failing" at our streak did.

Think of those snowflakes combining together and building up in a snowball. Something happens that makes us feel like we'll never get it big enough - perhaps it rolls off the snow and onto bare cement. So we turn our backs on it and walk away. The seasons change and what we had accomplished melts away in the sun.

The better choice is found in consistency. Day 8 becomes a NEW Day 1, a fresh start to the streak, but we don't give up. Now we have a 7-day streak as a goal to beat. (Or it could be a 300-day streak we break. It doesn't matter which day, only that we get right back to it.)

Again those snowflakes. Instead of walking away completely, we get that snowball back on the snow-covered ground and keep rolling. We aren't starting fresh with a single snowflake (or handful) - we're starting with all the progress and momentum we have so far. It might be called Day 1 of the streak, but it is still Day 8 of the overall journey.

emoticon and build your future through CONSISTENCY emoticon


And one last thought - CONSISTENCY needs to be about DO, not SAY. No matter how many times we tell others or ourselves we will do something, it won't get done until there is CONSISTENT action.

Ending with a semi-relevant quote:

** What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say. **
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TKAYSMILES 1/23/2013 4:19PM

    Great blog Blue!! thank you for sharing!!!

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THETURTLEBEAR 1/3/2013 11:47AM

    That is DEFINITELY the magic word.

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HOPEFULHIPPO 1/2/2013 6:34PM

    I def need to work on the consistency party...I mean part. LOL

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DONNACFIT 1/2/2013 2:36PM

    Love your theme for 2013 is Magic so I searched the site for magic and your blog appeared as if by magic!! just what I needed to read and just what I had in mind when I picked magic for my 2013 theme!! the magic of consistency!! Definitly the magic trick emoticon

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DIET_FRIEND 1/2/2013 1:39PM

    As usual, your blog is a masterpiece! TY for sharing!

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TANYA602 1/2/2013 11:53AM

    What a beautiful analogy! Congratulations on your own consistency and for leading the way as one who truly has inspired me in 2012! I hope 2013 is a memorable, happy, and healthy year for you!

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SAINTBETH 1/2/2013 11:39AM

    Cool. It's a trick I already know.

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PIXIE-LICIOUS 1/2/2013 11:31AM

    AWESOME blog, I couldn't have said it better myself!


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CHRISTINASP 1/2/2013 10:41AM

    An absolutely great blog. Thank you!

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CRYSTLE4HIMTX12 1/2/2013 10:38AM

    One of my favorite quotes. Great blog. emoticon

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DEBBIELCG 1/2/2013 10:21AM

    love it, it is the absolute truth.

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KSCHRAUT 1/2/2013 7:35AM

    Wonderful! I love restarting my streaks for the first of the year just to see how long I can keep them going! Great blog, as usual!

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PAULALALALA 1/2/2013 12:45AM


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SHERIO5 1/1/2013 11:31PM


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HYDROQUEEN 1/1/2013 11:25PM

    Well said!

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LYNDALOVES2HIKE 1/1/2013 10:47PM

    I love the way you describe it - and you're right that consistency is the magic trick. Awesome blog!!

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JACKIE542 1/1/2013 10:39PM

    Yes great info. emoticon

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UNIQUELYBETH 1/1/2013 10:35PM

    Thanks so much for sharing! So true...this is exactly what I needed to read today :)

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CHARLIE215 1/1/2013 10:23PM

    Great blog

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DOVESEYES 1/1/2013 10:02PM

    "Energy and persistence conquer all things"

So true

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PKCTTS 1/1/2013 9:29PM

    LOVE it!!

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PJBONARRIGO 1/1/2013 9:17PM

    Great inspiration for the first day of a new year! Thanks for posting this! emoticon

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