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Can money buy happiness? At least it will buy me a new heat pump

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

While sitting in my cold house yesterday, I read the SP article “Can Money Buy Happiness”?
www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellnes
s_articles.asp?id=1776


It’s strange how SP often emails me a link to something I really need to read.

The answer is “it depends” and the comments seem to support this.

I wonder:
What if I were unable to pay for a new heating system?
What if I were unable to pay my electric bill?
What if I were homeless and cold all the time?

With that kind of stress I would find it very hard to be happy.

Yesterday I wrote that I had responded to my temporary stress and sad reflective mood by consuming lots of comfort food. (Easily accessible since I live with the junk food king).

If I lived with constant financial stress, I would find it hard to live a healthy life also.

Statistics say that obesity rates are highest in areas with the lowest average income levels. Part of the problem is cost and accessibility of healthy food options. Constant stress plays a part as well. Oatmeal, potatoes and some other staples are comparatively inexpensive, but fresh fruit and vegetables are another matter. Occasionally we read about families who are able to defy the odds, but it’s not the norm.

If you can’t provide for your children the way you wish, it takes a very strong person to resist their request for a cheap candy bar or bag of chips. The recent “Weight of a Nation” documentary visited low income areas and compared the cost of junk vs. healthy food.

My comment on the SP article was:
“I think the key is "once basic needs are met." After a certain point, more money doesn't add to happiness, but it's very hard to be happy when hungry or homeless or without the ability to pay for medical treatment”

It’s hard to be healthy also.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILSONWR 1/20/2013 8:42AM

    You're so right. The people who need to work on their health the most are often the ones who can least afford to do so. The stress levels of just living from day to day add to the difficulties.

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MOOSLADY 1/17/2013 4:13PM

    I would say no, money can't buy happiness. My parents are an example. My dad worked as an engineer/chemist and made a decent living. My family lived as if we were much poorer than we were because my parents were determined to save up enough money to feel secure. Fruit, fresh vegetables, meat not on sale, drinks away from home, were all "wasteful" because money was to save, not use. When my childless aunt died they inherited her large savings and stocks. Still they lived as if they were on the edge of poverty. Never new clothes, cheapest food possible, sleeping in the car in rest areas when traveling. Now they are going on 89, their health and energy isn't what it used to be, but they still buy the cheapest canned food(never junk food, too self-indulgent) and worry they are going broke. Just taking care of their investments takes a couple hours per day. Sure, they can pay their medical bills, and replace their heating system but don't, unless they can do it without touching savings. They still balk at eating any fresh food as they believe it is too expensive. They demand that family do all their home maintenance and home health for free rather than pay someone. They consider it too expensive. To put some prospective on them, they live on around $88,000 per year, around 2/3 of that interest income and live in a rural area with very low cost of living. They worry and stress constantly that they are too poor. They have all their basic needs met and still are in a constant misery about money. Thus, I cannot even agree that meeting basic needs plus, will make you happy.
My husband and I on the other hand, make a little over half what they do, could never hope to replace our heat if it died, often choose to go without medical care and just hope we or the kids get better, drive 20+ year old cars that need repair constantly and run out of food money regularly. That said, even though we stress sometimes, we are generally happier with our life and find more meaning and satisfaction with life then my parents do. I am doing exactly what I have wanted to do, raising my kids and teaching, are surrounded by a large loving family of 5 kids and 3 grandkids, are constantly occupied with an active church community, in good health and eating healthy in spite of a limited budget. I tell my kids that money is like grease, it can smooth out life but will never make you happy.

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CAROLCRC 1/17/2013 8:21AM

    Interesting discussions! I'm always shocked at the requests at our annual "adopt-a-poor-family" drive at work - they always need size XXL or larger, even for the kids. You can eat nutritiously on little money, but it takes dedication and knowledge to do so.

Once your basic needs are covered, I think it's more a matter of what you decide to do with your life than how much money you have that makes you happy.

That said, I'm certainly enjoying having enough spare cash for nice vacations! emoticon

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MJZHERE 1/16/2013 9:21PM

  What is interesting is what people consider necessities. Trying to help people "struggling" with finances, I run into common roadblocks - cable, internet, cell phones along with the service are non-negotiable, seen as necessities. Also there are ways to get healthy foods cheaper than junk foods in the city - pricematch at Walmart.
I am not without compassion - help the homeless- but I am always amazed at what people think they have to have, and will allow themselves to end up homeless rather than do without some things and save for a "rainy day."

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DR1939 1/16/2013 11:42AM

    I taught Health Psychology at the university level for many years, also Social Psychology. Both of these areas address the issue of money and happiness. The research clearly shows that not having enough money for basic needs and to meet emergency expenses, particularly along with not having social support to aid you, interferes with happiness. You are correct, once basic needs are met, then it depends. As with most things in life, the equation is not as simple as money = happiness, but rather a very complex set of issues.

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SOUTH_FORK 1/16/2013 10:33AM

    Thanks for bringing this up- such a complex issue. For those who are living above that "able to provide for basic needs" baseline, the question of "enough" is so crucial. When do we have enough?

People make fun of me because I'll not purchase something I want- even for a few dollars- simply because I don't need it. I know that the minutes of enjoyment it brings won't make me happy.

As a family, we've had to defer medical testing because it was simply too expensive. Although this is upper tier "basic needs" its a painful choice to make.

At any rate, the idea of money=choice is a powerful one.

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SUZYMOBILE 1/16/2013 10:19AM

    Not having the time to cook healthy is a factor, too. I ate my first frozen meal in YEARS over the weekend! At least it was Lean Cuisine and did no permanent damage.

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SPEEDYDOG 1/16/2013 9:14AM

    Great blog. I am glad you have a new heater. There is always a question on what is enough money. I live comparatively well. But I consider that luck.

You are correct that many healthy food options are expensive.

Bruce



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COCK-ROBIN 1/16/2013 9:09AM

    I agree. And it frustrates me that healthy food is more expensive than junk. And it should be the other way around.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/16/2013 9:09AM

    I agree. And it frustrates me that healthy food is more expensive than junk. And it should be the other way around.

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OPTIMIST1948 1/16/2013 8:50AM

    Money doesnt buy happiness. It buys CHOICES. And then you can choose the decision to increase your happiness. In this case being warm increases your happiness. You can also redefine how to increase your happiness. Sweet candybar or sweet fruit. Icecream or greek yogurt. Chips or popcorn. Lood guck!

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CELIAMINER 1/16/2013 8:48AM

    Very though-provoking blog, and I'm glad you are getting your new heating system.

Beyond food, I think I've used the *things* money buys as a substitute for happiness. Both DH and I grew up in lower-income households. While we were not below the poverty level, the gap between our house and more affluent ones was painfully apparent, as my clothes came from others' cast-offs, and we couldn't afford all the neat things my friends had. When I got out on my own, I started buying *things* like there was no tomorrow. Not in a hoarder sense, but the things piled up. When DH and I combined households, the result was bulging closets and a maze of boxes in the basement. As we look toward retirement, it feels as if we will never stop being owned by possessions we haven't even looked at in over a decade, but we WILL get there.

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WATERMELLEN 1/16/2013 8:48AM

    Very true . . . it's easier to stick with sensible eating when not under stress financially or otherwise . . . and junk food is so cheap that the temptation is tough to resist.

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NELLJONES 1/16/2013 8:42AM

    I guess I remember the old days when we were shown photos of poor families in Appalachia. No one was fat. My parents grew up during the Depression, and I knew many people that age who were hungry as kids, some who were excited to join the Army because they would finally have enough to eat. My how things have changed!

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SYNCHRODAD 1/16/2013 8:29AM

    Having money does not bring happiness, having lots does not necessarily bring happiness. I think John Bogle is happy. Here is a pointer to an commencement address he gave in 2007 just before our country's financial implosion. Happiness most likely has the greatest opportunity with "enough."
http://johncbogle.com/
wordpress/wp-content/uploads/20
07/05/Georgetown_2007.pdf

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KANOE10 1/16/2013 8:16AM

    I work with low income students. They start off thin and by 3rd-5th over half of them are overweight. They live on junk food. It does not help that our school offers pizza daily.
I agree with you..it is hard to keep thin and be poor. Those stats are right. Quite honestly we do spend money on getting good healthy food.

Great blog and interesting thoughts.

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MYBULLDOGS 1/16/2013 7:39AM

    money can buy happiness. try doing anything without money. if your short a penny most stores will not sell you the item

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It was a dark and stormy night as she drove the twisting country road toward home

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

That’s how mystery novels used to begin and they rarely ended well. Fortunately, nothing dire occurred, only very disappointing. After a day of healthy eating and excellent workout, including navigating several potential hazards, I ate 1200 calories of junk, the equivalent of my total consumption all day long.

The day began with a grey sunrise, not at all typical for our lake. It was foggy and gloomy with a steady rain. OK, she thought positively, we need the rain. The lake level is low.

The house felt cold. Her husband announced that there was something wrong with the heat pump. The compressor was dead. OK, she thought positively, it should still be under warranty. I have the paperwork. I’ll go to the gym and call from there

At the gym all treadmills were occupied (very unusual) so the regular pre-class run was scrapped. At least, we had a heating tech coming out after lunch. Aerobics/weights class went well.

Back home the rain had stopped temporarily. She raced out the door to get a few miles in. After a healthy lunch, the technician arrived. The bad news – a whole new system was needed, inside and out, including corroded pipes. Engineer husband agreed with the diagnosis. OK, she thought positively, we’re lucky that we can afford it and it will be more efficient and better for the environment.

After a healthy dinner, it was time for choral rehearsal in a city 30 miles away. An email arrived with the news of the death of one of our singers. Who would be available to sing at the funeral?

After rehearsal the husband and daughter of the deceased arrived to thank us for singing. Our group had meant a lot to his wife. Only 30 people could fit in the choir loft. There are about 100 of us. They would practice the chosen songs at the end of rehearsal.

As one who was unable to attend the service, she hurried to leave. The weather was getting worse. She was stopped suddenly by the sound of “Amazing Grace” a beautiful arrangement and a standard part of the group’s repertoire. From the back of the church she listened. It sounded heavenly. Singing within the group, in the 4th of 5 rows, she never heard the full effect before.

She drove carefully on the way home. It was difficult to see, even with bright lights on and deer are a common road hazard. Thoughts of the day filled her brain.

Once home in a cold house, she bundled up in a heavy robe that she realized belonged to her mother. Jan 31st would be the 2nd anniversary of her mother’s death.

She made some tea and got “something to go with it.” Soon more and more nourishment was needed “to go with it.” 1200 empty calories later, she stopped. The thoughts stopped too. It was finally time to sleep.

The end!
If you’ve read this far, thank you, I know this isn’t like my normal blog. I’m feeling better this morning and realize why my lapse occurred. This is a long journey and one bump in the road won’t make much difference.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILSONWR 1/20/2013 8:32AM

    At least you recognized it as a bump in the road and moved on. I've been having way too many "bumps" lately (the cruise was disastrous as far as calories).

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DR1939 1/16/2013 11:48AM

    emoticon

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KANOE10 1/16/2013 8:20AM

    You are right..one bump in the journey is not going to make a difference! You had a very rough day. We have a heat pump and I know how expensive those things are to replace. Plus the gray weather doesnt help. I am sorry about your singer. That was beautiful that your choir sang for her.

Today is a new day day on your journey. It will be a good one. emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 1/15/2013 8:19PM

    Great blog . . . sounds like total exhaustion of will power to me after a very gruelling day and a huge requirement for positive effort, delivered.

You just ran out. And as you say . . . one lapse is not serious.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/15/2013 7:41PM

    I"m glad it's better for you.

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COCK-ROBIN 1/15/2013 7:41PM

    I"m glad it's better for you.

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MJZHERE 1/15/2013 6:32PM

  What a journey life is - full of so many ups and downs. In the midst of it, you write beautifully. Thank you for sharing - my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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CAKEMAKERMOM 1/15/2013 12:40PM

    Sometimes things happen and food choices are made that total up everything you ate earlier in the day. Cupcakes do that to me if there are more than 4. Start every day over with a new determination!

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AMSPARKER 1/15/2013 12:18PM

    My thoughts and prayers to you. I just lost my beloved uncle and I can't stop crying...it's funny how these emotions make us turn to food to find comfort...so far, I'm not doing that, but it is a long road ahead, so hopefully I can say this aweek later, too. So many times, death in any shape or form is so hard to deal with...hang in there! how lovely that you have your mother's robe!

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CELLISTA1 1/15/2013 12:13PM

    So, you are a human being with feelings. Your story touched me. I could hear the sound of the choir. I think everyone here understands.

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KANSASROSE67 1/15/2013 11:56AM

    A good blog...sometimes these days just happen. Wish I could have heard the choir with you!

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KANDOLAKER 1/15/2013 11:37AM

    Bad stuff happens, and it is understandable how you could get off track. The good news is that it is a manageable number, and you can burn 1200 calories before you know it. Wishing you a much better day today!!

PS. You are a great story teller! Always love your blogs.

emoticon

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WINDSURFNERD 1/15/2013 11:10AM

    Sound like a tough day, but congratulations for maintaining perspective and the ability to "find the good".

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CELIAMINER 1/15/2013 10:55AM

    So glad you can deal with this bump. I've been having a series of bumps that have my waist band too tight for comfort, so I rejoiced in staying within my calorie range yesterday for the first time in awhile. I hope today is better for you!
emoticon

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SYNCHRODAD 1/15/2013 10:04AM

    I ran into flu "dip" the last 3 days, down 6 pounds. Finally this morning, I have an appetite. Bumps and dips and we return to normal. Thanks for taking the time to write this blog. It took some thinking and I know it takes time which you have given generously to us.

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BOILHAM 1/15/2013 9:41AM

    Bumps in the road - tell me about it. You know how it happened, just like I do. Just get back on plan. No biggee.

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KELLIEBEAN 1/15/2013 9:03AM

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing that!

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DAISYBELL6 1/15/2013 9:02AM

    Life happens and you move on. My thoughts are with you on the anniversary of your mom's death.

emoticon

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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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MISSUSRIVERRAT 1/14/2013 8:09AM

    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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