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100+ years of Clairol – self image isn’t only about weight

Monday, January 14, 2013

My blog entry on Saturday included the admission that I didn’t diet in the past because I didn’t feel I had to. In spite of my weight gain, my body image was fine.

Case in point: When at a family gathering my aunt remarked to my mother that ooh, Eileen got fat, I responded while gesturing around the room, “compared to whom?”

Still, there was one feature of mine that I always wanted to change – my hair color. Naturally a dark brunette like my mother’s side of the family, I wanted to know if “blondes have more fun” as the commercials said. I started dying my hair at age 15. I couldn’t easily be a blonde, but I went as light as I could with do-it-yourself home products. Did my mother object? No, she was dying her hair too. So was her sister and her daughter, my cousin. We were all “Moongold” women. We were a matched family set.

I went natural for awhile around age 40 just to see what I would look like, including the gray hair, more of which was popping up every day. Finally, my mother had enough. “Dye your hair,” she said. “What will people think if I have a gray haired daughter? They’ll know I dye MY hair.” Well, of course they would, Mom. You’re 65 and your hair hasn’t changed in 50 years.

You see, there was a time when women all claimed their hair was natural. “Only her hairdresser knows for sure” was another Clairol commercial. In our case not even a hairdresser knew for sure since we did it ourselves.

Back in the day coloring your hair was like getting some “body work” done now. It was just polite to believe whatever the remade person said.

I was 45 when my oldest daughter got married and I dyed my hair as Mom wanted. I’ve continued ever since. Fortunately, grey hair is much easier to turn blonde. After 50 years, I’ve finally reached my original goal, but whenever a form requests that I specify hair color, I’m tempted to answer “Nice and Easy #106”

Now we’ve come full circle. My daughter must decide if she wants to turn grey when her mother isn’t showing any. Her sister doesn’t have that dilemma. She started her hair dye ritual at age 15 too and never quit.

Society has expectations of how a woman should look and we can’t help but be affected by some of it. As long as it doesn’t negatively impact your life, go for it. If you prefer to defy convention, that’s OK too. Do what you have to do to keep physically and mentally healthy and happy.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SYNCHRODAD 1/17/2013 6:24AM

    I told my wife the other day, I wasn't sure what her original hair color was. She told me that it is now gray. I had my suspicions... For my last driver's license renewal I had to appear in person and take a written test and an eye test. When I was completing the form, I asked the lady if I should change my hair color to Grey. She looked and said, "Nah." So my driver's license still says "BRN". What do you think?

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LOVESTOWALK49 1/15/2013 2:13PM

    I stopped dyeing my hair awhile ago. I have a few grays in my naturally dark blond hair. The gray hair mixes in with the blond so I just look more blond.

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CAROLCRC 1/15/2013 8:16AM

    There are no grey hairs.... just sparkly ones! I have "natural platinum highlights" according to my lovely hairdresser.

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MJZHERE 1/14/2013 4:43PM

  I have left mine alone for over a year now and I don't think I can go much longer. Streak it at home - trying to match what it use to do naturally in the sun before I decided to get healthy and keep my face and head covered in Phx heat. Thought I was going to quit coloring, but it just seems so blah.

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KANDOLAKER 1/14/2013 1:07PM

    Thank goodness for the option of being able to color! My hair was so short for 15 years, that is wasn't worth coloring. Now that I am letting it grow out again, I just self-colored earlier this month! Seems like an easy "fix" compared to other vanity issues!!

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CELLISTA1 1/14/2013 1:04PM

    I love all these issues that you bring up. We've come pretty far as women but there are still these "vanity" issues that are in our culture. I'm 67 and basically a hippie inside. I never wore makeup and still don't, but several years ago I started having my hair colored with pink and blondish highlights. It was fun for awhile but the color doesn't last long anymore and it's very expensive. A couple of weeks ago my daughter gave us all blue highlights. Mine turned out blue-green and I thought I looked like a mermaid. A grandma mermaid. But it's almost all gone already.

The women I admire most are those with natural beauty, whatever it is. I see a lot of botox and eye lifts around here and it creeps me out. Gray or white hair can be gorgeous. A smile can be gorgeous. Beautiful energy can be gorgeous.

That said, to each her own.

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BOILHAM 1/14/2013 12:22PM

  Hair dying, make up, shape altering undergarments. We men don't even know what you really look like. Not complaining, though, ya'll look purty and smell nice, too. Thanks for all that hard work you but in to look nice for us.

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62NVON 1/14/2013 11:19AM

    I love this! I don't dye mine; it's naturally dirty blonde. But I do help it out with Sun-In. That keeps it on the lighter side and helps with the gray.

I say, barring anything risky, do whatever you like to make you feel better about yourself!

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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/14/2013 11:05AM

    I have dyed my hair, just for fun, a few times, but now that I've noticed the grays coming in, it'll be natural the rest of my life. I'm embracing the dozen long silver hairs I have.

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REFFIE1 1/14/2013 10:45AM

    My mother finally decided to stop dyeing her hair red at 94! She is now a silver fox and getting tons of compliments on her hair. What a surprise! She tells me now that she is in her nineties she is getting more beautiful every day! I still dye my hair because my grey comes in salt and pepper and would definitely wash me out.

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WILLOWBROOK5 1/14/2013 10:36AM

    My mom was Moongold Blonde for years too! I remember buying the stuff for her at the Ben Franklin's Five and Dime. Then back in the 90's, she decided to stop coloring and as her hair grew in, it turned out she was naturally....Moongold Blonde, LOL. She had messed around with her color for so long, she forgot what her natural hair looked like. She finally started getting a little grey around age 80. She is now 86 and still has a lot of her Moongold hair, with some grey, but not all.

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KARRENLYNN 1/14/2013 9:30AM

    I love your answer to your aunts comment about your weight! Good for you! I started to grey early and have chosen so far not to change that. But who knows, not that I'm getting healthier and thinner, I just might make a few other changes!

Have a great week,

Karen emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 1/14/2013 8:32AM

    Yep, that's one ritual I'm not going to give up. I look old enough as is, thank you!

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ANNIEONLI 1/14/2013 8:28AM

    I defied haircoloring for a long time, but the gray hairs were popping up all the time...and now, after 2 years, my hairdresser finallly did the all red dye on my brown hair and I love it! I am a redhead in the sun, and a bark brown in the house... and it suits me and my personality. i don't think it would have fit me back 50 pounds ago....I just wasn't in "that place" yet to do anything "nice" for myself... now, after 3 kids, and 13 years married, I consider it more "me time" to look good and to feel good....and yes, to even defy my age a little bit!

And WILSONWR - you crack me up!! We touched up my hubby's gray beard and had a good laugh the other night! He's with you in that regard!

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WILSONWR 1/14/2013 8:14AM

    I didn't realized so many people dyed their hair! Maybe I should give it a try! (nah -- I'll just be grey)

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    The hair dye thing is kind of funny. One day I realized that NONE of my friends had their natural hair color. Since we are out in the sun a lot, most of us end up some shade of blonde, either intentionally or unintentionally. All of the husbands have turned grey and/or are balding.

I can't go by my Mom. She's 91 and still has natural strawberry blonde hair with only minimal grey....VERY unusual! One of the caregivers tried to take her wig off when she was going to give her a shower.........but, oops, it didn't come off. She was a hair model in her younger days and I have some beautiful pictures of her.

I have about 10 grey hairs at 63 in my light brown hair..........which I color to a warmer shade because I find my own boring!

The grey hair thing is just heredity. Guess women color their hair, grey or not!

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Seeking a distance run – the twists and turns and ups and down of my day

Sunday, January 13, 2013

As my status says, I have new motivation to increase my distance running.
As I wrote last Sunday, I discovered a beautiful running trail 25 miles away from me.

I haven’t run a race longer than a 5K since my retirement 5 years ago since my rural roads don’t lend themselves to distance training. My definition of “long run” changed accordingly.

Yesterday morning I set off to channel my former self, the woman who used to reserve Saturdays for a long run. The day began beautifully.

It was 42* when I left the house. Arriving at the trail 50 minutes later (country roads and city streets!) it was warmer. Hmm, maybe my long shirt, vest and tights are too much?

There was a shelter house by the parking lot. (good)
The bathrooms were locked (bad)
There was a portapotty (good). It stunk. (Of course, it did)

Now, which way to run. According to the marker, I was at mile 21.8.
I went left and ½ mile later the trail ended at a city street with an arrow pointing to the rest of the trail. I guess the trail consists of segments.

I retraced my steps and went the other direction.
Very nice scenery along the river and markers every tenth of a mile. (Good).
Oops, I’m running very slowly (Bad?) Not really, this is exploratory and it’s supposed to be a LSR (long, slow run).

Lots of people are on the trail – runners, walkers, bikers, families with kids and dogs (all on leashes!). The trail is wide with lots of passing room. All bikers use their bells and faster runners announce “passing on the left” (Very Good & Safe). I’m very happy!

It’s getting much warmer (bad) so I slip out of my vest and leave it zipped around my waist. In ½ mile, I realize that I put my glasses in the pocket and now they’re NOT there (VERY BAD). Aside from the cost, I need them to drive home.

I retrace my steps, walking VERY slowly and squinting to search the ground.
On a whim I ask a couple coming towards me if they saw a pair of glasses on the trail.
YES! They found them in the middle of the trail and put them safely on a manhole cover at the edge of the grass. (VERY GOOD)

I kept walking. There were about a dozen manhole covers along the way.
Finally I saw my glasses shining in the sun, not broken or even scratched. (VERY GOOD).

Back to running. I’m wearing my glasses this time even though they keep slipping down my nose in the heat. I run/walk back to the car. The heat and stress of losing my glasses have taken a toll. Finally, a 1 mile walk to cool down.

I’m very hungry and reach for the energy bars I keep in my car. There are none left! (Bad)
People at the shelter house are having a cookout. It’s January but must be nearly 70*.
I’ve got to get something to eat and they tell me about a Co-op a few minutes away.

What a surprise! It’s a huge, healthy foods/organic Co-op. (GREAT)
I found all kinds of vegetables and products I didn’t think existed around here and bought a bagful as well as some energy bars to replenish my car supply.

So I count this as a very successful day. I know this has turned out longer than a marathon report, but it was a milestone day for me - 7.2 miles total. Yeah, I even counted the distance looking for my glasses. At my age if my feet are moving forward, I’m going to count it. It’s a benchmark and something to improve on. I hope to make this a habit.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAYBURNER1969 1/13/2013 7:40PM

    LSR? Not LSD? Did they change the acronym? (long slow distance to long slow run?)

Oh my, what a day. Congrats on your milestone. Maybe you'll run the Virginia 10-miler this year.

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DR1939 1/13/2013 1:31PM

    Our county has just received funding for a paved trail to connect the nearest small city with a state park. It will run through our small (pop 449) town. At least some of it will be completed this year. Several years ago MN passed a constitutional amendment establishing a penny-tax to fund what I thought was primarily hunting and fishing areas. I did not vote for it. In fact, a lot of the Dept of Natural Resources portion has been spent on trails and other amenities. In addition, there is money allocated for the arts and for preservation of historical sites. The amendment was written so the legislature could not grab the funds and so that they must be allocated across the state, not just in Minneapolis/St Paul.

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KANDOLAKER 1/13/2013 12:17PM

    Great blog - with all the goods and bads. Glad you found your glasses and glad you got a nice longer run in!!

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WINDSURFNERD 1/13/2013 11:39AM

    Wow, sounds like quite an adventure! I love "new runs" because of the sense of discovery and surprise...sounds like you found many things, your glasses, your long-run mojo and a new trail!

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SUZYMOBILE 1/13/2013 11:07AM

    The universe was definitely rewarding you for making that run!

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LOVESTOWALK49 1/13/2013 10:58AM

    I'm glad you found your glasses, unharmed. emoticon

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MJZHERE 1/13/2013 10:10AM

  What a nice discovery! Yay for you! Hope you get to enjoy it often.

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CELIAMINER 1/13/2013 9:40AM

    Good for you! Sounds as if the goods way outweighed the bads.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/13/2013 9:19AM

    What a great run! I'm proud of you.

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WILSONWR 1/13/2013 9:15AM

    What an interesting run! Glad you found your glasses, though - that can be tough if your vision is as bad as mine. I was throwing brush on a fire once and a limb caught on my glasses and pulled them off. I was on my hands and knees looking for 15 minutes before I found them!

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DAISYBELL6 1/13/2013 9:02AM

    I love your persistence, perseverance and attitude! emoticon

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SWEDE_SU 1/13/2013 8:51AM

    sounds like a great day all in all - love your blogs:-)

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MAGGIE101857 1/13/2013 8:41AM

    Every step counts! Sounds like a nice place to run, and lots of found "treasures"!

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BOILHAM 1/13/2013 8:29AM

  Yes, you count every inch. LOL. Sounds like an interesting LR. Thanks for sharing your run. Glad you found your glasses!

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ONMYMEDS 1/13/2013 8:21AM

    Good story. And yes, at our age, if our feet are moving forward, it counts!

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The ultimate oddball admission – I never dieted during 25 years of carrying the extra weight

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Not once from age 35 to 61 was I ever tempted by diet plans or programs or pills.

I just accepted it as normal. I was getting older, my metabolism was slowing down and hormones were to blame. I didn’t need to diet. This is what I would be in middle age. It was inevitable. Just maybe the “small” frame that I had during my college days was really a “large” frame after all. That would account for the extra weight, right?

Fortunately, my weight gain leveled off at 25 pounds, probably because I was always active and my drink of choice was water.

However, it was that very good fortune that made the 25 lbs permanent. I was already doing the EASY stuff. – moving more and giving up sugary drinks. So the pounds stayed put – mostly on my hips and thighs.

My body image was fine. I never compared myself to movie stars or models, but to the real people around me. I made peace with my pear shaped body a long time ago. I may have been gaining weight, but my family, friends and colleagues were gaining more. Besides I was still wearing a size 10 just like back in high school. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the same size 10. Because of sizing creep of the fashion industry and forgiving fabrics, I could gain 25 lbs and stay the same size even though each of my measurements had expanded significantly.

I was fit and healthy and the feedback I was getting was that I was fine. I was told by everyone that I could “carry it” – the extra weight that is. In the era of “The Biggest Loser” why be concerned with a measly 25 pounds?

My ‘aha’ moment was caused by a different kind of vanity. My 5K times were getting progressively slower. I might have accepted growing hips, but not slower running times. Here I would put up a fight. That was my line in the sand. Enter tracking, portion control and SP. The rest is history.

The stories I’ve learned here are amazing and inspirational. You’ve made me aware that losing the weight isn’t the end of the journey. If I hadn’t been warned, I may have just gained the weight back and my first experience would have ended badly. I’ve learned here from your personal stories that regaining is a definite possibility and we must continue to be vigilant.

I credit SP and the teams I joined with giving me the tools and support to maintain for 3 years. Thank you all for accepting this oddball. I know my story isn’t typical, but the “new me” wouldn’t have been possible without you.

Looking back now, how could I have deluded myself for so long? Is anyone else here in in that category - a "first timer" or am I truly a minority of one?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEDE_SU 1/13/2013 8:55AM

    while i did try to lose weight, it was never through diet - it was exercise every time. we worked at a healthy diet as an end in itself. the yoyo effect of weight gain/loss for me was dependent on exercise - under 20 miles/week, gain weight; over 30, lose weight. i had the same clothing size creep, and probably some weight creep due to wine creep.

tracking certainly helped - seeing that all those healthy foods we ate still added up to CALORIES made a difference, and wine creep. had to get control of that. now, it's the feeling of having made it - i'm not going to lose that feeling!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/12/2013 9:45PM

    Thank you for your amazing blog!

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SUZYMOBILE 1/12/2013 1:04PM

    Maybe you weren't really carrying THAT much extra weight? Whatever, it's a really good thing you're here now.

I've never NOT struggled with my weight, so perhaps I just described myself--that I don't really carry that much extra. But at one point I was close to 200 lbs, so I guess I can go overboard if I let myself.

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ONMYMEDS 1/12/2013 12:29PM

    Well, thanks for pointing out that I might be an oddball because your first few paragraphs describe me perfectly.

The only difference was that my 'aha' moment came when my cholesterol tested higher than I was comfortable with. When I read that eating healthier and exercising would help lower it, I proceeded to do just that. I never thought of it in terms of dieting, and actually did not find it all that difficult to lose 30 pounds.

And I discovered that I liked running. I am oh so thankful for that.

Truthfully, I've always been odd. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/12/2013 10:20AM

    I certainly shared the very same delusion at 230 pounds size 18-20 that it was "normal" to put on weight and that it "didnt' really matter" and that all serious committed "professional" type women were focused on goals way more important than looking good.

Delusional indeed. Fact is, it's hard to sustain credibility as a self-disciplined "professoinal" woman (whatever that is) when the elephant in the room is (pretty literally). . . not so self-disciplined about eating!!

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KANOE10 1/12/2013 10:05AM

    I am a first timer to Sp..and keeping my weight off. Unlike you I struggled and worried about weight for all of my life. Now I am finally stable and entering my 3rd year.

Good for yu keeping off the 25 pound loss and staying healthy! emoticon

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GOODGETNBETR 1/12/2013 9:48AM

    That's not an oddball story but still going to say emoticon

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LOVESTOWALK49 1/12/2013 9:45AM

    It might be that you never dieted that your weight only went up twenty-five pounds. I walk a lot, bike some. I've always been active. I was called fat so much that I gave up on dieting by the time I started college. I never got more than fifteen, maybe temporarily twenty pounds, overweight. I was actually thinner for many years after my babies.

There are many studies that show yo-yo dieting causes weight gain. If one never diets or does so less frequently, they aren't as likely to gain as much over the years. I gained only ten pounds over the years. Recently, I lost twenty due to mostly stress and watching what I eat. I've dieted over the years, but I never lost more than fifteen pounds at a time until lately. Then, I didn't have much more than fifteen pounds to lose. Most times that I tried to diet over the years it didn't work. I lost no more than five pounds and gave up in a few weeks. emoticon

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CELIAMINER 1/12/2013 9:21AM

    Good for you for staying active enough to keep your weight creep down to 25 pounds. I also felt it was my "destiny" to gain weight as I aged, since my family was fat. However, I deluded myself by saying, "I walk a lot," when in fact I had decreased my activity to almost nothing except yoga and ST (no cardio). That's when the pounds really piled on, and the more weight I gained, the less active I became. I also credit SP with showing me just how little I was doing and giving me the tools and metrics to help me find the right balance for me.

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NELLJONES 1/12/2013 8:42AM

    I can't imagine not trying for a "miracle" weight loss plan in the time I was heavy. That wake up call is so different for everyone. I'm glad you heard yours the first time, and paid attention. It's that acceptance and attention that keeps you at goal.

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WILSONWR 1/12/2013 8:27AM

    Your story isn't typical - I think most of us have tried many different programs. But good for you for finding the incentive to lose the weight and then doing it! I don't think any of us could say we've only been on one "diet" in our life - that is really fantastic!!

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The admission of an oddball – part 2 – I like to exercise

Friday, January 11, 2013

I don’t see it as a chore. Fitness never was my problem, eating was.

So much for all those ads – just walk and lose weight. When I decided to get serious about my weight, I was already RUNNING 20 miles a week and hauling around a bunch of extra pounds while doing it. I also had to confront the attitude of “you’re so fit, you don’t have to lose weight.” I really wanted to believe that. There was one problem. I was fit 25 pounds ago, so why did I need to drag those pounds around now?

I had been active since childhood except for a brief period in high school where I succumbed to peer pressure and gave up sweaty sports in favor of sitting around trying to look pretty. While raising a young family, I walked, biked, swam, did aerobics and circuit training. I wasn’t an elite athlete by any means, but I liked being in motion. I discovered running in middle age when my daughter joined her HS cross country team.

Sadly, as the saying goes, you can’t out-train a bad diet. I also learned that exercise can’t make up for consuming huge quantities of healthy food either.

I like the fitness tracker and use it every day for actual workouts. I don’t record steps or other activities of daily life. In my head I have another measure that’s equally helpful to me..

I have to run one 10 minute mile to burn off one chocolate chip cookie. It takes 3 of those miles for a cup of ice cream. If I walk at my 15 min/mile pace I need to put in more time.

Exactly how much more? That ice cream and cookie requires 40 min of running or 90 min of walking to balance it out.

Fortunately, even at age 65, I still like exercise, just about all kinds - outdoors or in the gym. Even the treadmill and stationary bikes are OK in bad weather up to an hour anyway.

However, I’m realistic about what it will do for me. As I wrote yesterday, I love nutrition tracking. It’s a good thing too because only by keeping the nutrition and exercise in balance will I keep moving in the right direction with my life.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 1/12/2013 5:48AM

    Wow, good job on the exercise and the realization of how much it takes to burn what you eat.
My goal is just to walk each day. And I need to work harder at it.


emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/11/2013 8:48PM

    I like to exercise . . . but it doesn't help me much with weight maintenance for just the sad facts you cite: takes waaaaaay too much exercise to burn off just a few calories. So the nutrition tracking is the main thing for weight, the exericse makes me feel good!

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KARRENLYNN 1/11/2013 8:01PM

    I like exercise but I got very lazy about it. Like eating correctly, its a decision that's easy to do or not to do. I feel better when I do it. I love feeling my muscles after I've worked out, it's great!

You can't out exercise a bad diet or too much of the good stuff either, but sometimes it keeps the damage minimal for a short time.


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DAPHNE_RUNS 1/11/2013 7:10PM

    It took me while to figure out the whole nutrition/exercise formula. Actually when I started training for my first half, I started paying attention to my calories burned and once I started adjusting my food to match my calories burned...I ate more and still lost weight. I love exercise because I can eat more!!

Comment edited on: 1/12/2013 12:23:45 AM

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WILSONWR 1/11/2013 5:27PM

    Enjoying exercise and understanding it's impact sure makes life better! It's just those pesky calories that make it tougher...

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JOPAPGH 1/11/2013 12:37PM

    Exercise has become second nature to me. Nutrition tracking should only make my results that much better

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BOILHAM 1/11/2013 12:11PM

  Isn't it nice to enjoy exercise?

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CELLISTA1 1/11/2013 12:05PM

    What you said about how much you have to run to burn off ice cream or a cookie -- omg, that's why I am stuck at the same weight for so long. I never burn off anything! Well, that's an exaggeration, right? Otherwise I'd be gaining. I think it's interesting how we are all different, though I sometimes wish I could combine with someone like you or dear Cannie and be a paragon of both nutrition and exercise!

emoticon emoticon

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LOVESTOWALK49 1/11/2013 11:29AM

    I love exercise too. I didn't as a kid since I was never good in gym class. I was always the last one picked in team sports. I like running, walking, biking. I love swimming. I like fitness classes where the instructor tells the class to do as much as they can. If it isn't fun, I don't want to do it. I weight trained for years in my basement.

I hate that it took me to thirty to like exercising again since I saw it was the punishment in gym class. It didn't really since I didn't see swimming, biking or walking as exercise but as fun. I got introduced to Sweating to the Oldies by a neighbor after having my second child. I was hooked. Exercise even aerobics could be fun. I learned that I needed to find the stuff that I liked and ignore the rest. emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 1/11/2013 9:58AM

    Good grief! I can't believe you're 65 like me! I can't do the kind of fitness you do, unfortunately. My knee hollers at me every time I try to run, darn it. But I walk every day, not because I have to exercise, but because my spirit craves it.

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PMRUNNER 1/11/2013 8:02AM

    My friend has a water bottle that says "I like to run" and on the other side it says "Because I really really really love dessert!"

It isn't about giving up things, it's about balance and smart choices and being realistic about calories in and out. Keep up the great work and positive attitude!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/11/2013 7:51AM

    Very Good!

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COCK-ROBIN 1/11/2013 7:51AM

    Very Good!

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The admission of an oddball – I love tracking my food

Thursday, January 10, 2013

It’s not a chore. I know I can manage without it calorie-wise at least short term. I’ve done this during the entire month of December with a cruise and the holidays and no Internet. Yet I look forward to online tracking.

So many weight loss programs/diets include the “no tracking/weighing/counting” benefit in their ads that I must be in the minority. I’ve even read blogs that look forward to the day they can stop tracking and eat intuitively. Oh, I intuitively know what I should be eating. The problem is that it’s too easy for me to ignore my inner good sense and scarf the stuff down anyway.

I really like to see the data (especially the charts) of my nutrition tracker. It’s a challenge to stay in range for all nutrients as well as calories.

I like the accountability factor. If I eat it, I’m going to have to write it down and see the numbers change. It’s just not the same to me to keep a pencil and paper diary - too easy for me to misplace it. SP keeps the equivalent of my old school “permanent record card.”

I like to plan my food for the day and see what happens if I eat this not that.

I wonder how many Sparkers hate tracking, or do it only because they have to, or actually like doing it. Am I really such an oddball or are my fellow tracking enthusiasts just quiet about it?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GINIEMIE 1/12/2013 5:55AM

    Tracking helps me keep caloric count. I will write down what i'm putting in my mouth and record it. Then I calculate what I will be able to eat for snack and dinner. I never got the hang of calories, my eldest son likes to spout off how many calories are in that ... I just never have been able to do that, so I rely on the nutrition tracker, and since sodium has become a necessary target to keep my blood pressure down, you can bet I'm watching that too-even though when I cook I do not add salt, so I know that sometimes it reports more sodium than I've actually consumed.
emoticon emoticon

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KARRENLYNN 1/11/2013 7:54PM

    Tracking keeps me focused on eating better. Lots of things I used to eat with abandon strikes fear because to eat it means I have to account for it.

The 1 downside I've found is eating things that I can't find nutrition info for, like certain restaurant meals or other peoples dishes. When I have to guess, I either underestimate or overestimate. Sometimes by a lot, which really defeats the purpose of tracking.

At the end of the day, I believe a good part of my success this time is do to tracking on SP. Computer is definitely better than pencil and paper!!

Karen emoticon

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JOPAPGH 1/11/2013 12:35PM

    It's a necessary evil for me. I succeed when I do it and gain weight when I get away from it for any length of time.

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KANDOLAKER 1/11/2013 10:06AM

    Me too! Great blog - and I like tracking for the challenge and KNOWING that I'm doing good and not just guessing! Thanks for sharing.


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WATERMELLEN 1/11/2013 8:17AM

    I have decided I love tracking . . . because tracking is what makes it possible for me to maintain. And just reopened yesterday's nutrition tracker to insert a late snack . . . so yeah, I really do feel 'accountable" to me (as if my body hadn't tracked it anyhow, right??)

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BOOKAPHILE 1/11/2013 8:13AM

    I'm one of the ones who, 3 years ago, looked forward to being able to stop tracking... and here I am re-losing the weight. I'm now convinced that my "intuitive eating" is overwhelmed by my love of food until it skews my portion sizes out of all resemblance to reason. I'll be tracking from here on to avoid having to keep 4 sizes of clothes in my closet. Do I love it? Not really, but I don't hate it, either. I'll do it to be healthy.

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KANOE10 1/11/2013 7:36AM

    I like tracking each morning. It makes me plan what I am eating for the day and keeps me accountable.

I say whatever works for you in staying it.

Way to go on maintenance.

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SUNSET09 1/10/2013 10:54PM

  It works for me as I've never tracked like this before and it really helps, as you stated keeps you accountable and you can change your calorie intake amount if you so choose. Even the foods I didn't know were so high and those not so high. I love that I can reveiw the week, month and daily amounts to control not only what I eat, I can track the amount of exercise I'm doing as well. It's a habit with me now as I'm seeing the results! Welcome to the Club! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WILSONWR 1/10/2013 9:37PM

    I like to track because it definitely shows when you are making mistakes.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/10/2013 9:11PM

    Great! I love tracking my food and exercise as well

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ADARKARA 1/10/2013 4:28PM

    I love it too! I find it fun. =)

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LOLATURTLE 1/10/2013 4:06PM

    I kinda love it! I think what I hate is when I know I need to but I can't for whatever reason, either I am away from a reliable internet connection or I'm incredibly busy. (When I'm busy to the point that tracking bothers me is usually when I'm stressed to the point that EVERYTHING bothers me, including eating and sleeping and showering, because they're all just "one more thing on the list." )

But when I have time and availability (the phone mobile app is a HUGE help for this!) I love it. Like you said, I love the "What happens if I eat this? okay what about this?" games. It's like a puzzle sometimes, trying to figure out which food do I want the most and how can I fit it in.

I also love love LOVE LOVE the charts on the SP My Reports. They won't load on my phone browser, lately, which makes me SUPER CRANKY. I want to look at them ALL THE TIME.

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KATEM325 1/10/2013 3:44PM

    I love it and I hate it! It channels my inner Type A & OCD personalities but it also annoys the crap out of me when I can't find what I'm looking for or have to sub it out with something that it not exactly matching my nutrition facts. I do also feel like I'm being held accountable and love being able to look back and see trends in my calorie amounts. I know by examining my reports that I eat the most calories on Friday or am able to make my protein goals if I have hardboiled eggs as my snack.

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NUMD97 1/10/2013 2:17PM

    Found you following the SP crumb trail on my feed. This is interesting: I suspect I like it because it gives me structure and order. And it plainly shows where and how much I mess up. I usually know the where, but the how much, often is astounding. On the days I just cannot track (rare), I just put it in my day runner to transfer to SP when I get the chance, and I always do. It's that important.

For myself, I just cannot see a "graduation day" from this. I suspect it's like a 12-Step Program: You're never totally away from it, because the risk is just too great that we would fall back into bad habits.

Thanks for the interesting post, and all the best as you continue on your journey to better health,


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KANSASROSE67 1/10/2013 1:48PM

    I can't say I love tracking any more than I love brushing my teeth. But it's the same kind of thing. It's necessary for me. I believe food tracking is the primary reason I was finally able to lose weight and the only way I'm going to permanently keep it off.

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CELLISTA1 1/10/2013 12:52PM

    I like to track my nutrition. I'm not obsessive about it: I don't track when I'm away from home and I don't track when I'm sick, which is right now. I don't worry that I am exactly exactly exact -- but it gives me a close approximation of what I've consumed. My issue isn't the intake, it's the burn. I track fitness too and usually fall short.

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ROSEWAND 1/10/2013 11:58AM

    I love tracking, too! I have been tracking every day
on Spark for over three and one-half years. I have
not missed a day, even Christmas and holidays.

It is about planning. We are more likely to eat well
when we know ahead what we will eat. It is about
accountability, somewhat like balancing your bank
balance. And it really helps to know the nutritional
values of what we are eating.

It takes so little time when you have it set in place.
Just copy meals ahead and make adjustments.
It has become an important part of my life and
helps me maintain my weight.

Check out the blog about tracking I wrote awhile
ago on my SparkPage and you know many of us
are on the same page. emoticon

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MJZHERE 1/10/2013 10:46AM

  I don't like tracking for one reason - I don't want to do the work. I really want to just eat like I should, without the added focus and the work (did I mention that already :)
There is a lot of otter in me - "girls just want to have fun." Unfortunately since I haven't been tracking I see the scale staying more often a few pounds higher. I keep thinking at goal weight that I should now be able to just eat right - without the vigilance. Perhaps this is the thinking that caused a lifetime of yoyoing. Unfortunately most of life seems to require work to get the results.

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HALFFAST 1/10/2013 10:44AM

    I'm kind of anal about tracking- I not only log everything online (to keep track of nutrients), I also write everything down (it helps when I'm making my grocery lists!). So definitely count me in as an oddball! ;)

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HAYBURNER1969 1/10/2013 10:29AM

    I rather like tracking; it's just hard to find the time to do it. I need a nutritional secretary. Being stuck at home today and tomorrow, I plan to enter some of my most common recipes and other things that I eat. I used to have hundreds of things entered in FitDay, but apparently, they are all gone now. Grrr! I think SP is a better site, anyway... I just didn't want to re-enter everything. Well, now I have to, so I will try to do better about tracking.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/10/2013 10:26AM

    I love data! It really helps me be able to look back and see what happened, either good or bad.

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NELLJONES 1/10/2013 10:10AM

    I love tracking but not on Spark. I really don't care about my nutrients; if I eat my exchanges as per my plan, the nutrients take care of themselves. I DO have to track exchanges, though, and so many people hated that kind of tracking that WW switched to points. And people hate tracking those. But then again, most people don't balance their checkbooks or keep track of expenditures (debt crisis rather than calorie crisis). With pen and paper it's not that hard, takes minutes a day. The objections must be something other than not really WANTING to know what they are eating or spending.

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FLGIRL1234 1/10/2013 9:54AM

    I think its fantastic! You will definately be more successful in your journey with the tracking.

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BOILHAM 1/10/2013 9:50AM

  The extent of my "tracking" is writing down my daily calorie intake on one of those erasable pads. I don't necessarily dislike doing that, but I think it makes me seem a bit obsessive to those who observe me doing it. Like my DW and grown up kids. But, I am at about my ideal weight now, and never really had a weight problem at all until I got up to age 60 or so. So, my comments probably don't apply.

But, at least I got to say hello to you this way. :)

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SUZYMOBILE 1/10/2013 9:08AM

    What weirdos we are! I'm HOOKED on tracking. I trust myself so little that I wouldn't even dream of not tracking, unless I had no Internet access (as when we were on a cruise). Other SparkFriends have tried not tracking, and it just doesn't work, so why not do it?

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IMSMILEY88 1/10/2013 8:38AM

    Oh, I think you are quite the oddball! emoticon But, I think it is WONDERFUL that you love to track. I met goal weight & held it for a year... without tracking. And, then, last year, I gained 15 pounds...without tracking. Yes, tracking WORKS!!! But, I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that I might need to do this forever!!! Ugh!

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ONMYMEDS 1/10/2013 8:17AM

    I guess you can count me in as an oddball because I also like tracking.

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SANDYCRANE 1/10/2013 7:47AM

    I do not like tracking. Our computer is rather slow and the internet is a little unreliable. Those are two excuses. Actually I thought it would help me more to record everything in a small journal, still have not done it though. But you are right, it is easy not to count that piece of chocolate and bite of this and that. I need to do something because that scale is definitely not moving down. Thanks for the reminder. In answer to your question, no you are not an oddball. You are a person who will be successful on your weight loss journey.


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