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Mommy, I hope God is nicer than him

Sunday, October 07, 2012

That was the comment of my 4 year old son when he was lying on the couch sick one Sunday morning. I hadn’t noticed that his cartoon program had ended and he was watching a local preacher known for his fire and brimstone delivery.

Thirty-three years have gone by and our family still uses that phrase whenever we encounter someone whose advice is presented in an unnecessarily harsh, mean spirited, arrogant or ridiculing manner.

There are some situations where a severe approach is warranted. Marine drill sergeants have developed their tactics over generations of practice. Parents have employed “tough love” when demanding uncompromising adherence to house rules.

However, in the overwhelming majority of cases, a positive, supportive approach is much more successful. I’m not talking about false compliments or denial of a problem, but the wrong tone can make the recipient of the advice tune out the message.

I’ve only been active on SP a short time, but I’m happy to say that I’ve observed a general atmosphere of support and acceptance that is conducive to success, especially here on the Maintenance Team. Of course, in any online community this can’t be 100% true. The recent article on the healthiest frozen meals comes to mind. Some comments sounded like anyone consuming one or serving them to the family had committed the culinary equivalent of mortal sin.

We are limited by the printed word, devoid of visual cues. Perhaps it’s the striving toward a common goal, but I’m very glad to have found a place in this welcoming environment.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 10/8/2012 9:40AM

    It's so easy for "tone" to go missing from emails etc.

But gotta say: most of the SP community is extraordinarily kind and supportive!

And I do love your 4 yo's comment -- what a family keeper indeed!

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    I have found the Spark community to be extremely positive, kind, friendly, and supportive. It has been wonderful for me.

What came to mind with your preacher example was health celebrities that are like nasty drill sergeants, not mentioning any names. I just run the other way and can't understand why some people are so attracted to that unkind, over the top negativity. I much prefer Leslie Sansone's positive, encouraging approach. After listening to her constant pep talks as a background for her exercise routines (do 4 miles about 4 times per week), I think she is starting to brainwash me into being a more positive person. OK, I must admit that in the past I just plain thought she talked too much, but she is really starting to grow on me.

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MJZHERE 10/7/2012 10:49AM

    Very well said! I, too, was pleasantly surprised by the wonderful atmosphere at the Maintenance team. Great source of support!

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SUZYMOBILE 10/7/2012 10:43AM

    So well said! There are, as you said, contentious people on every online community, but it's funny how eventually they disappear. The old adage about honey and vinegar applies.

However, I have to confess to outrage over those daily email mini-quizzes that Spark used to send--along the lines of "Which [totally unacceptable junk food] is better for you?" I've stopped getting them, so they may have discontinued due to reactions like mine!

Comment edited on: 10/7/2012 10:44:19 AM

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CELIAMINER 10/7/2012 9:41AM

    "Belief in a cruel god makes a cruel man."
- Thomas Paine

I've heard there are some teams with very contentious members who make nasty, hurtful comments, so I'm happy I haven't had to deal with that. I did get a very snotty comment on a member suggestion I made one time (back when SP gave a point for liking or submitting a suggestion), and even though I told myself that woman was probably happiest when she was unhappy, the comment still comes to mind, or I wouldn't be mentioning it here.

As for frozen meals, there are some great ones out there, notable Helen's Kitchen (organic veg) and Organic Bistro. And I love that you shared the wisdom of your son that you've carried with you through the years.

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LESLIE871948 10/7/2012 9:41AM

    Ok, I was loving this well written blog from the beginning, but that bit about the frozen meals is classic. I am going to have to say that my mental view of those is that they are a sin and a shame for the most part, when compared to local real food. Then I am going to have to go on and say I am a sinner. I try to sin with Amy's meals or some other with recognizable ingredients, and I try to keep it to days when I am tired and overwhelmed by a very busy schedule. I have empathy for any person who needs to use frozen meals for whatever reason. And that had to be a good place for people who have to use them to find quality ones, right? I have been guilty of posting things that people get offended by, but I really try to tone it down if I have strong feelings. I am nowhere near as nice as God, but I want to go that direction! emoticon

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/7/2012 9:37AM

    Love your son's comment! Little kids are such crack ups. I am also amazed at how overwhelmingly positive and kind people are on SP. I have never belonged to such a consistently positive online community before. I really look forward to reading what people (like you!) have to say. I am learning so much and daily get little jewels of wisdom and encouragement.

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KANOE10 10/7/2012 8:51AM

    I agree with you..a supportive environment is so helpful. Your 4 year old made a good observation. I enjoy the support at Spark also. It is very helpful to have people who understand your weight issues...especially in maintenance.

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WELLNESSME09 10/7/2012 7:17AM

    So sweet, it's those moments that make you stop and think.

Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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NCSUE0514 10/7/2012 6:30AM

    4-year-old wisdom could teach many folks a lot, couldn't it?

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Who you hang out with makes a difference

Saturday, October 06, 2012

I remember reading that the amount we eat is influenced by those around us.
That makes sense, but I’ve also realized that our image of ourselves is influenced in the same way.

In some yoga classes I feel like an old oak tree surrounded by young, flexible saplings, but it doesn’t stop me from going. As the “Silver Sneakers” group arrives for their session, I perk up. I applaud their efforts to stay active. As I told one 88 year old woman, I want to be you in 23 years, active and mobile and still coming to the gym.

I visit nursing homes regularly, a habit begun during my mother’s several rehabilitations and continued after her death. One day an old gentleman wheeled his chair next to me at the lunch table. He whispered “You’re one fine lookin’ woman.” I thanked him for that unexpected compliment and he continued, “You have nice legs.” Now, that’s something I’ve never heard in my entire life. Maybe his eyesight was failing?

I mentioned this to a female resident that I knew well and she told me that he was 95 and was quite the ladies man in his day. Then she added, “You do have nice legs – no varicose veins!” LOL

So, your perspective changes depending on your vantage point. All we can do is continually try to be the best version of ourselves possible.

Note: Grammatically, I'm pretty sure the title should begin with WHOM, but it doesn't seem natural to me. I don't talk like that. Perhaps because of whom I hang out with? English teachers feel free to comment.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    This is an interesting blog. I am about your age and have very active friends. We line dance together, walk, take aerobics, boat, kayak. That, of course is a good thing.

But I have also noticed that they are starting to point out the details of their infirmities and signs of aging. Personally, I try not to do this. I find all that talk depressing and damaging. I have had the thought that I need to make younger friends!

They also seem to be fixated on one-upmanship with dazzling us with their recipes/entertaining skills. Detect any envy on my part?? :-) That can lead to unhealthy eating and also seems to be a waste of time to me. I find myself avoiding social occasions because of being turned off by this.

Comment edited on: 10/8/2012 7:40:13 AM

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KANOE10 10/7/2012 8:56AM

    Good blog. That was cute about being complimented on your legs. I want to be in the gym when I am older also. I also feel like an old oak around the young ones at the gym. However, I enjoy watching them!

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PHEBESS 10/6/2012 7:20PM

    Yup, I want to be that kind of person when I'm 80 something, going to exercise class and having good legs, LOL!

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WATERMELLEN 10/6/2012 7:08PM

    The "whoms" I hang out with would never notice grammar in reading such a fine blog!! At age 61 myself, it's fun to notice that I'm positively decrepit in some circles and just a (relatively) young thing in others. Like you I'm determined to maintain good health!

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/6/2012 5:36PM

    Technically it should be "whom" but until you mentioned it, I didn't notice. Great blog!

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NWFL59 10/6/2012 2:12PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 10/6/2012 11:00AM

    I am NOT going to comment on the grammar, just the sentiment. There are so many women on SparkPeople who I want to be in 10, 15, 20 years!

Too cute about the old gent with an eye for good-lookin' ladies.

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WILSONWR 10/6/2012 8:54AM

    Good insight!!

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It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish

Friday, October 05, 2012

That’s was the song in my head while running the other day.
Coming back from rehab sometimes it’s discouraging not to be going as far or as fast as I want. Many on SP get discouraged when the weight loss is not progressing faster. Sometimes you realize in spite of all your effort, your body doesn’t look that that woman across the room. Still we keep on trying to be the best version of ourselves possible.

We all started in different places and have our eye on a different finish line.

As the lyrics say:

It's not where you start, it's where you finish,
It's not how you go, it's how you land.
A hundred to one shot, they call him a klutz,
Can outrun the fav'rite, all he needs is the guts.
Your final return will not diminish,
And you can be cream of the crop.
It's not where you start, it's where you finish,
And you're going to finish on top.

See you at the top Sparkers. Have a good day

Note: It's Not Where You Start (It's Where You Finish)
Music by Cy Coleman - Lyrics by Dorothy Fields

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILLOWBROOK5 10/5/2012 9:42AM

    Very inspiring! emoticon

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SUZYMOBILE 10/5/2012 8:40AM


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KANOE10 10/5/2012 7:57AM

    Good blog. Inspirational.


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CELIAMINER 10/5/2012 7:40AM

    Thanks! I've been needing additional inspiration lately, so your blog comes at a good time.

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SWEDE_SU 10/5/2012 7:36AM


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RAPUNZEL53 10/5/2012 6:42AM

  Thanks for posting!

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Society in Denial

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Although I’ve only been active on SP for a few weeks, I have been quietly lurking for over 3 years. Lately I’ve been aware of the differences between the insulated environment of SP and the larger society we live in.

On SP there are differences in approach and disagreements on various topics, amount of carbs or other nutrients, intensity/frequency of exercise, and even the appropriate shoes when beginning to run, but we are united in striving for the common goal of living a healthier life. Moving more and eating the right foods in appropriate quantities are the methods we use to get there. We also realize that the ‘one size fits all’ approach is not reasonable and we find our own modification to achieve success.

Then there’s the world outside of SP, the world increasingly accepting of the new size of America.

We meet them personally. “You don’t want to be a size 0, do you? It’s unhealthy to be too skinny.” (Like that’s right around the corner or even an option)

We meet them anonymously through the resizing of the fashion industry. “Don’t worry, see, you’re still a size 10” (Even though you’re 30 lbs heavier than you used to be)

Finally, we’re beginning to meet them in print – the apologists for obesity, subtly denigrating those striving to change.
) Thanks to Watermellen’s recent blog

While the title “A little fat is good for you” is reasonable. It also states that:
“Taking and keeping weight off is next to impossible” (So why try?)
“Entire empires – commercial, government and academic – have been built on our morbid fear of fat” (Looking around, we must have conquered our fear pretty well)

All of this has led to fat becoming the new normal
) Again thank you Watermellen for finding this.

This is reflected in the adjustments in our environment.
• Home furnishing companies make their products larger
• Urban buses need reinforced frames
• Hospitals re-engineer their equipment to be able to serve patients
While these are necessary to deal with reality, they also mask the problem

As the weight of our nation increases, our image of ourselves is changing. With 66% of us overweight or worse and another % struggling with anorexia or illness, normal BMI or slim people are currently an ever shrinking minority.

A generation ago America didn’t look like this. Scare tactics may not work but putting the statistics out there is necessary. Making us happy with the status quo is not helpful either individually or as a society.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Excellent blog. Very thoughtful and interesting. Thanks for taking the time to make the entry.

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CRYSTALJEM 10/5/2012 9:56AM

    "Making us happy with the status quo is not helpful either individually or as a society. "

Very powerful point. I agree totally (aren't Watermellen's blogs awesome!). While I don't believe in being mean about it, or nagging people that they have to change (take the viral video/email about the Denver anchor), but turning a blind eye, saying that gaining weight to an unhealthy degree is the new normal is just as wrong and very unhelpful.

Thank you.

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JENNYR0506 10/5/2012 8:15AM

    "No matter what your weight, you can achieve striking benefits from eating well and exercise. Just don’t expect that diet and exercise will cause you to to lose a meaningful amount of weight, because (unless you are among a tiny sliver of extremely lucky and determined people) they won’t. For most of us, losing weight and keeping it off is next to impossible."

This was the whole quote on weight loss from the article "A Little Fat is Good for You".

It is amazing how quickly she can go from achieving "striking benefits" to "losing weight ,,, is next to impossible."

So many of us on SP have proven that eating a healthy diet and exercising DOES result in striking benefits in weight loss and health. We are not lucky but we are determined. And that is not a bad thing!

emoticon Jenny

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WATERMELLEN 10/4/2012 9:14PM

    Great blog! There's lots of pressure to accept being fat. . . . and to pressure those of us trying to be healthy just to give up.

(And: thanks for the shout-out!)

I'm glad that after "lurking" for 3 years you're becoming more active and speaking out!

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ROSEWAND 10/4/2012 2:04PM

    It is a strange new world out there. Even though
my BMI is around 20, many people think I am too
thin. 30 years ago, I would be perceived as normal

I, too, have noticed how the idea of just
adjusting to larger sized people is become the
norm in our culture and advertising.

I had the strange experience of going to a pot-luck
recently where there was nothing I could eat accept
what I had brought. What was there was mostly
manufactured "food", and everyone seemed so
comfortable with it. I feel as if I was in a different

I am very grateful to this community of like-minded
health conscious people who are committed to
changing themselves and become a model of
what we can be.

Thanks for writing such a good blog.

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CELIAMINER 10/4/2012 11:00AM

    I really resonate with the clothes sizing issue, as I have in my closet clothes ranging from an XS sweater to a size 14 pair of jeans...and they all fit.

As for redefining "fat," I am happy that I can now fit comfortably in a coach class airline seat, that I'm not the one getting "why me" eyerolls when I sit down next to someone on the commuter bus, and that I can do so many more physical things so much more easily than I could 75+ pounds ago.

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SWAZY33 10/4/2012 10:49AM

    Great info :)

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MJZHERE 10/4/2012 10:31AM

    Same thoughtwave here - yesterday at the store, the sizes on clothes really got me going in this direction. Having recently read The Influencer, I was struck with how the two effective methods of influencing change are modeling (actual) and vicarious modeling (presenting an example so real that the person can put themselves there in the story). Unfortunately education doesn't usually work unless the person strongly trusts the source and is already heading that direction (according to the book and reinforced by my own experience - how often does "do what I say, don't do as I do" work with our kids). My mom ate healthy (from her own 1 acre garden mostly), and was still riding her bicycle at age 80 (with severe arthritis). She has strongly influenced me. Also why I look to those who have been successful here at sp and read their posts, blogs.

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SUZYMOBILE 10/4/2012 10:02AM


Love this: "'Entire empires – commercial, government and academic – have been built on our morbid fear of fat' (Looking around, we must have conquered our fear pretty well) " !

I'm lucky to have found a little coterie of new friends here in Florida who are constantly seeking to become thinner and healthier. In NH, our neighbors viewed me as a freak and often asked, "Is Sue all right?" emoticon (A lot better than you, honey!)

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BIGDOG18 10/4/2012 9:18AM


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Why women can’t “keep up” with men or heels in the workplace.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I mean the ‘heels’ on our shoes, not what you may want to call an obnoxious male boss.

Every day I drive past a billboard advertising surgery for varicose veins. The caption is “Love Your Legs Again” and the picture is of a woman, seated with legs crossed, wearing stilettos.

So the comments I’ve been reading on blogs and message boards about foot pain from shoes got me thinking. The business attire of women tends to hobble us.

My job as a teacher/computer coordinator required me to be on my feet quite a lot. One day a male colleague and I were hurrying down the hall to provide tech assistance. I literally could not “keep up” with him. As a runner, cardio wasn’t the problem, but even my sensible shoes with the low (less than 2”) heels impeded my stride.

Soon after that, I began wearing running shoes to work for daily activities and stashed my ladylike pumps under my desk in case I had a visitor, meeting or trip to central office scheduled. Then the official directive arrived. We were all to dress professionally – no “sneakers” although orthopedic shoes were allowed. Fortunately, I discovered that my running shoes came in black so unless you had your nose on the floor for a close-up view, I was OK.

In this respect at least, men are fortunate. They can go about their daily work comfortably even in their “dress shoes.” Society expects a lot of women. We have many more body image issues than men do and are overwhelming targets of the fashion industry. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel in that department so my fashion shoes are limited to special occasions. I won’t offend a bride by showing up in sneakers at her wedding.

Women have told me that yes, their shoes are uncomfortable, but they “make my legs look so great.” I hope they don’t end up as the customers of that billboard ad someday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 10/3/2012 8:38PM

    I keep telling myself my silly shoes are comfortable but . . . gotta admit, sneakers would be more so!

Thanks for your comments on my fat kids blog. You have certainly done great wtih your maintenance!!

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SOUTH_FORK 10/3/2012 1:23PM

    I can identify this post... Over the past few years working in an office my shoes went from something very sensible, but "masculine" to a more petite shape. Living in Florida, sandals and open-toed shoes are acceptable in a business casual office. After all summer of wearing cute flip flops and sandals, I woke up every morning with a pain on the top of my foot (not the classic plantar fasciitis) that would dissipate after I hobbled around for a few minutes but still nag all day. Guess what, switching to mary janes and my old clod-hoppers did the trick... my feet are thanking me for it- and I'm thankful that I don't work in an environment where heels are required! Sitting at my desk in a skirt and a pair of men's oxfords right now- and they look pretty cute!

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SUZYMOBILE 10/3/2012 9:12AM

    I am so glad I work at home and can walk around barefoot all the time. I'm in trouble only when I have to go to a conference or the home office, and discover that I don't have any shoes.

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WILLOWBROOK5 10/3/2012 8:50AM

    Great blog! I love shoes but over the years (decades), while I still want my shoes to be cute, support for my feet is my first concern. I have bad feet and worse knees. The other week, I tried on a pair of shoes that I know are great support and I also thought they were cute (but not in a high heel, make your legs look great way). My friend commented "They aren't very feminine." I said, "I love them." She said, "They're cute." LOL.

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MJZHERE 10/3/2012 8:34AM

    My daughter, who is a runner, wears the heels like they are sneakers. My mom the same way. Me, not so much...sneakers for this girl.

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MABTE52 10/3/2012 8:04AM

    Yep you are so right. They haven't yet figured out how to make sexy comfy shoes for women yet and we women continue to wear these uncomfortable shoes.

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