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The Week in Review: Taco Hell

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I'm not going to lie, I'm pretty embarrassed about what I'm about to tell you about my binging. It isn't so much that I DID binge, but rather what foods I chose that are embarrassing. I looked back at my emotional eating pattern from late last week/early this week and groaned. The upside is, I caught it before it really got out of hand (as in, jumping of the wagon for a month). I also didn't let the rest of my life get put on hold because of the binging. Usually, if I really get into a binging phase, I cut back or stop exercising because I feel like crap. Then I feel even more like crap because I'm stuffing my face and not moving. Then I get depressed. I think the reason I haven't had a depressive episode in a while is that I no longer fall into this pattern.

Last week my 19-year-old cat Kaia started to seem worse, and I was getting stressed out about having to make an end-of-life decision for her. I was deciding when would be best to euthanize her, which stressed me out. I had already given into a stress binge at Taco Bell last week, which planted the seed to want even MORE.

Then one night, the image of pizza and lasagna entered my brain. Without hesitation, I ordered pizza, lasagna, and for good measure, chocolate cake from my favorite pizza place. I ate all of it in one sitting and felt absolutely ill. I swore up and down, of course, that I wouldn't do THAT again.

Then, 2 days later, I got home from work with the conversation with my veterinarian friend about euthanizing Kaia. She kindly told me I could come in whenever I was ready and that she fully supported my decision. I felt panicky and wasn't sure what to do with myself, so of course that requires eating a ton of food. Because I was too embarrassed to order from the same pizza place again 2 days later, I ordered from Domino's. Yuck. Nevertheless, I ordered a bunch of crap and stuffed my face. Yes. Because that is how I think through a problem.

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The next day (Tuesday), I wrote my blog about my cat Kaia. I ate another 3 pieces of pizza in the process. It finally sunk in how ridiculous this all was, and I threw out the remaining half pizza. Yes, it was a waste of food (and money). But as my favorite WeightWatchers leader would say, "The food can go to waste, or it can go to waist." If I finished the pizza, I would have just kept going.

I hit the reset button and went to Muay Thai class with my brother that night (Tuesday). It is the first time I had been back to Muay Thai is a couple of years. Muay Thai is Thai kickboxing and uses elbows and knees in addition to kicks and punches. It was a great class and my brother and I had a lot of fun. We both opted not to stay for the hour-long kickboxing class afterwards--me because of my knee and John because of his long run the previous day. I came home and did my STS chest, shoulder, and triceps workout. I lifted ridiculously heavy weights that had me grunting at the end of each set. I then had a protein shake. Then I made some pasta and topped it with some tomatoes, zucchini, and herbs from the garden with avocado oil, garlic, and fresh spinach. I felt truly relaxed and satisfied from the exercise and good food, unlike the binges that I try to justify by saying they make me feel better.

The binges are just my insecurities crying out, trying to tuck me snugly away under a thick layer of fat. I have to remember that it is the anticipation of a binge that I crave. The relief comes from when I say, "Okay, fine, I'll do it, I'm going to eat whatever I want until I'm sick." It's the idea of giving in and telling myself it's okay to eat (X) food that feels freeing--with key emphasis on the FEELS. The relief from binge activity comes before any food passes my lips. I first learned about this concept in Judith Beck's book "The Beck Diet Solution." She suggests learning to recognize that feeling that comes when we've decided to give into a binge (which comes before the actual eating), acknowledge the feeling of relief, and find something else to do immediately. This has made me a lot more conscientious of an impending binge, and that I have the choice to tell myself "No," and to find something else positive to associate with that feeling. If I give in, I try to do it guilt free and immediately return to my normal eating. This week, I had several binges, and I felt terrible about it. That makes a lot of sense, I was eating to try to fix a terrible feeling. But stress eating doesn't reverse kidney and liver failure or seizures in a 19-year-old cat. At least I've learned that much.

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Tomorrow is my 33rd birthday, and I hope to make my 33rd year my best yet. Having celebrated my 1 Year SparkVersary in August, I feel like I'm on a roll with working towards my truly healthy self. I feel like I am finally becoming the person I was meant to become, and a few bad days aside, healthy choices come naturally on a typical day. I also think part of being healthy is recognizing the emotional eating and putting it to a stop, even if it isn't stopped completely in the first place. I am just going to say that I don't plan on "conquering" emotional eating or binges. It is not realistic and I would just be setting myself up for failure. Giving in guilt-free on occasion has been the best choice I've made to control the binges, ironically enough.

It's funny, I am trying to decide what to have for dinner at the restaurant with my family tonight, and I am thinking I'll get a big salad...not because I feel compelled to stick to my "diet," but because I am craving a big bowl of veggies that badly. Don't get me wrong, though...I will be having some sweet potato fries...and probably dessert...

I also have some veggies from the garden, including a volunteer spaghetti squash that I found growing beside my garage. Tomorrow, I think I am going to cook the squash and top it with a sauteed eggplant, pepper, and tomato sauce (including herbs from the garden, of course). My harvest is dwindling down (what little of it there was), but I have thoroughly enjoyed growing some food this year. it has made me really appreciate what it takes to get food on the table, and I can't take that for granted.

My garden's "bounty."

As I embark on my 33rd year on this planet, I am grateful for my family and friends who celebrate with me, and that I am surrounded by such kind and supportive people (that means you, SparkPeeps!). I know how lucky I am.

"Life itself is the proper binge."
-Julia Child

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKYWATCHERRS 9/23/2011 4:14PM

    Thanks for being brave enough to post this, Erin. It's given me some food for thought (haha) regarding my own binging and overeating habits.

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ASHLEYVRONEK 9/11/2011 4:52PM

    Happy Birthday! emoticon
I'm sure you're going to have a great year ahead!

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DESERTFLOWER8 9/11/2011 12:04AM

    YES YES YES YES YES!!! I am cheering! This is, perhaps the BEST analysis of binge behavior that I have EVER read. I subscribe to your blogs, and they are all brilliant; this one had me busting out of my skin with recognition. Thank you for that....

I send you best wishes for a fine year ahead...and for a garden of plenty..

Comment edited on: 9/11/2011 12:05:00 AM

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UTMIZ_2000 9/10/2011 11:01PM

    The thing I like best about the blog feature is we have friends willing to hold us accountable and for me that makes it easier to become accountable.

Get it out in the open and deal with it. And I am so proud of you for throwing that pizza out. I should have done the same thing with my ice cream. You have inspired me to be a better person if I fall into my ice cream trap again.

I am so proud of you. And look at how much better you felt after the exercise. emoticon

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HIKINGSD 9/10/2011 10:32PM

    Happy early Birthday! Don't let the past week or so determine your well being. You are worthy of a happy and healthy life. I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. 19, she had a nice long life. Our kitty is 13 years old and I fear the day I will have to make the difficult decision of ending her life. You are stronger than you know.


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HIPPICHICK1 9/10/2011 10:15PM

    Put the past aside. There are better days to come, you can bet on it.
I'm so sorry to hear about your kitty. Think quality vs quantity.
Really, if you think about it, quality in all things is the best thing for all of us.
Wishing you a superior quality life this year on your birthday and all ways.

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    You're's the thought of giving in to the binge that makes us feel better. After I eat it, I just feel sick and ashamed of myself. It's good that you acknowledged these feelings and got back to healthy eating.

Happy Birthday!!!

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APED7969 9/10/2011 5:31PM

    Happy Birthday! I'm glad to hear you got your binge eating under control, I am quite thankful there is no Taco Bell in australia (or dunkin donuts!) You have come so far, your ability to grasp the mental and emotional reasons for struggles gives me inspiration to do the same. Like you I have lost weight and then gained all of it back (plus some for me) in the past and I occasionally worry that this time will be the same. Then I read one of your blogs and it makes me think a bit harder and I get a grasp on the problems in my head rather than just my problems on the plate. Thanks for that!

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APIRLRAIN888 9/10/2011 5:15PM

    Happy birthday! Awesome garden loot! And hugs for cat and binge

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ABB698 9/10/2011 4:31PM

    So you're human Erin! Good to know :) Binging is what it is, and you allowed it not to take over, so WOO HOO! Happy Birthday tomorrow, enjoy your yummy veggie harvest, it looks delish! Oh, and enjoy your cake too, it is your birthday after all! emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/10/2011 2:00PM

    I wish you a happy birthday and all love to Kaia. I think that many people can identify with what you write. You have a lot of insight which must help you and will continue to help you.

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EMRANA 9/10/2011 1:50PM

  Happy birthday! emoticon

That's a really interesting insight about binging ~ and I definitely understand that craving for salad after you've allowed other foods in too much. I hadn't thought about binging in that way before.

Love to you and Kaia.

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JSALERNO 9/10/2011 1:22PM


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Quality vs Quantity of Life: Professional judgement is easier said than done...

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Kaia striking a sexy cat pose.

I was working at an emergency clinic 7 years ago, and one night a couple brought in their ornery 12-year-old cat that had large abscess on the neck. Rather than pay for the treatment of this non life-threatening condition, the owners opted to euthanize her. They signed the papers and were waiting in the room for the doctor to come in and put her to sleep. I asked the vet if she would be okay with me asking them to surrender the cat to me, and that I would pay for the abscess repair and treatment; she was fine with that. I went in and was talking to the argumentative owners about surrendering her, and they argued that they "simply couldn't justify spending that kind of money on a cat, when they could be donating money to children through UNICEF." They told of how the cat belonged to their son, who was now away at college, and that she "had lived a good long life." They told me the cat wasn't nice, anyways, and seemed to dislike them. They were the kind of owners that make me question humanity. I finally pointed out that it would still cost them a couple hundred dollars to euthanize the cat, but if they surrendered her to me instead, it would cost them nothing. They immediately signed the surrender papers and went on their merry way.

I wanted to contact them later and ask if they ever made that large donation to UNICEF. My guess would be no.

The euthanasia solution was put away and we instead performed some basic blood work and clipped and repaired the large abscess that had opened on her neck. Her blood work looked good and she was healthy. I was planning on keeping the cat as a foster and possibly surrendering her to a rescue.

And so began my journey with Kaia, a crotchety, no-nonsense 12-year-old black and white cat. I was going to take her home and provide her post-surgical care until she was completely recovered. It quickly became apparent that this cat would not be "adoptable." She was almost unmanageable, she was so disagreeable. I knew I could not surrender her to a rescue, so I decided that I had a new cat. She didn't let me touch her and she hated my other animals; she had never lived with any other animal before.

After several weeks, Kaia would sit in a high place and survey the room. One day, she casually walked up to my dog and smacked him, and then did the same thing to each of the cats. It was clear who ruled the roost. She became much nicer after that and started to seek attention from me, and would even sleep in the bed with me. She became an outgoing cat. She also got along better with the other animals. It's amazing that a 12-year-old cat learned to like dogs and other cats.

Kaia tolerating the presence of a foster kitten.

About 3 years ago, when Kaia was 16, her routine blood work showed mild kidney enzyme elevations. This is certainly not unusual for a senior cat, and it was not to the point where any treatment was really necessary. We rechecked her values regularly and they seemed to hold steady until last year. Her kidneys were getting bad enough that she was put on a prescription diet. Her kidney values slowly started to creep up, and she started vomiting regularly. I started giving her an antacid to help with the vomiting.

About 9 months ago, I woke up to hear thumping in my hallway and saw the cats freaking out. Kaia was having a grand mal seizure. The seizure only lasted a minute or so. I took her in immediately. She appeared completely normal by the time I got to the clinic. We drew blood and found that she was in the early stages of liver failure on top of the kidney failure. Nothing on the blood work explained the seizure, though. We decided to just keep an eye on it for the time being.

Over the months, her seizures have become more frequent. My vet and I opted not to put her on a seizure preventative, though, because that would probably just accelerate the liver failure. She has also started having difficulty walking and stumbled sometimes. She started having facial twitching sometimes. And now, over the past couple of weeks, she has become incontinent a lot of the time and seems to lose control of her rear legs completely. The best guess is that she has a brain tumor or cancer somewhere in her body causing the seizures, and she may have thrown a blood clot, thus causing the rear limb paralysis. Both my vet and I take the "no heroics" approach when it comes to 19-year-old cats, and therefore I am not going to put her through any diagnostics at this point. Ultimately, treatment would not cure her, and she would be miserable being hospitalized. It has gotten to the point where I need to ask myself if she is happy living this way, and how much worse I should allow her health to get.

She is sitting quietly by my side right now. She seems comfortable right now and seems content a lot of the time. Her habits have changed, though, and she no longer sleeps or cuddles with me and hides a lot of the time. I am afraid of coming home one day to find her having non-stop seizures or in horrible pain, and I don't want that for her (or for me). I am going to euthanize her over the next couple of weeks, because it has truly become a question of quality versus quantity of life. Although I know how I would advise someone in my situation, and I would assure them that euthanasia is the best choice, professional judgement goes out the window when the animal is our own. I want her to be comfortable and I want to remember her feeling relatively well, not suffering. These decisions are never easy, but I know it is the right one for Kaia.

Kaia on a happy day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PONYFARMER 10/12/2011 12:18AM

    What a beautiful girl. I am crying again, b/c I know the torment of having to do the right thing. I am so blessed that my Joy-Joy has no real medical problems. She takes meds for a low thyroid and she takes rymadel (sp?) for her arthritis but she is the happiest dog I have ever known and I will know when she is tried and needs my help that one last time.

I think about your girl Kaia, what a pretty name, that she may have been so disagreeable b/c of who she lived with. Two people who could care less about her. She was a problem left on their doorstep that they did not want. She knew, animals know these things. For her finding out that there was a place she could live in peace and love and joy made her put down her guard and let others into her world. Keeping them out in the past was a survival technique that she needed to adapt to her situation.

But finding you she found HOME!

God bless you for taking in a difficult cat who had never before been given the chance to just be who she was, good, bad or indifferent.

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SKYWATCHERRS 9/15/2011 4:56PM

    Sending you and Kaia love. I know it hurts to see them suffer and then to lose them. Kaia is lucky to have had you as a cat-mom and she will be waiting for you.

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/13/2011 1:25PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon I too believe in quality of life vs. quantity. Kaia's last 7 years have been good ones, and more than she would have had if you had not stepped in to rescue her. What horrible people those owners were! It is always incredibably sad when a loved pet declines.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    What a great story. First the fact you saved this ornery cat (I sincerely think the result of it's living situation..remember these owners raised the son who went off to college, and one wonders what that relationship was about) and it's life turned around under your care! You added a second chapter to Kaia's life, which I am sure was a big change from her former one! She has you to trust with her well being, and thankfully you do know what is best! Having lost two of my three dearly loved rescued cats (and our rescued dog!) in the past year, I totally understand. One of the cats my husband and I did put down (as well as our dear old dog), and if we could do it over would have even done it sooner, as our memory is one of pain and sadness, yet this dear boy had so resisted giving up that we went further than we should. Please know you are doing the right thing and take comfort in the fact we can spare these loved beings a peaceful ending!
Take care.
Mary emoticon

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JITZUROE 9/8/2011 2:50PM

    Ohhhhhh, I am so sad for you!!! When my 19 year old CC fell off our bed in some sort of seizure (stroke? No idea), we raced her to the vet. I was so frantic and pretty much rufe with my demands that they make her better. I had to make a decision to end her life as the vet said she was in a poor state and not going to get any better. I wanted her beter! Free from pain, back to her awnry self that got her to 19, but instead I chose to take her out of pain. Hardest thing I have ever ever ever done. I held her the whole time. I owed her that mch. I kissed her goodbye... And I am stil weepy now just thinking about it. I am sending you huge hugs and hope you make the right decision for both of you...

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DARKTHOR 9/7/2011 11:36PM

    Thank you for giving this lovely cat a chance at quite a few happy years in your household. You have enriched lives, including your own.

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    I have been there and I empathize about this and what a difficult decision it is to make, even when we know it's the right thing for the pet and the family.. It's not easy. Definitely it's the hardest part of pet ownership to put an animal down. Hugs..

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SCHWINNER! 9/7/2011 8:05AM

    Aww...what a sad but happy story! You've already given Kaia a second chance, and I'm sure she is eternally grateful. It's a hard decision, but you know you're doing the right thing for you. You've extended her life by 7 years already!!! SEVEN! :)

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LEAELLEN07 9/6/2011 10:41PM

    A beautiful story. She is so lucky you took her in and gave her a few more happy years. I'll be thinking of you and Kaia, and your story in the coming weeks as you face such a challenge.

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/6/2011 10:24PM

    *hugs* One of my kitties went through acute renal failure a few months ago. (Fortunately, he pulled through and is perfectly normal now.) It's so rough watching a furry little one go through debilitating illness.

19's a good long life for a cat, and you sound like you've done all you can to make her last 7 as great as possible. Knowing what the right thing to do is doesn't make it any easier.

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WINNIE1978 9/6/2011 8:58PM

    I am glad that you were able to talk Kaia's previous owners into handing her over to you. It sounds like she has had a nice life with you. It is heartbreaking that you have to choose between letting her live with her health problems or ending her suffering. I know that you will make the best decision for Kaia, even if it will be difficult.


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    I think that's the right thing to do. Especially if she's going to suffer and be in lots of pain.

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HIPPICHICK1 9/6/2011 8:52PM

    It's heart-breaking when we experience life's full circle through the death of a beloved pet. She had 7 more great years of because of you and she gave you lots of kitty love for it...eventually.
I wish you love and light at this difficult time.

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BECKY3774 9/6/2011 8:36PM This is one decision that you have to make for yourself, and the hardest decision to make....just know that we're here for you... and bless you for taking such good care of her and giving her a chance when nobody else would! She's beautiful!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GEMINIAN1 9/6/2011 7:53PM

    I have tears in my eyes for the both of you.
My heart goes out to you both.
I hope that a decision comes to you.
Thank you for taking care of her and giving her extra years that she wouldn't have had without someone as wonderful as you are.
My thoughts are with you my friend.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISTYBLUE716 9/6/2011 7:08PM

    emoticon emoticonthinking of you!!! you're is quality over quanity...but you still got a huge quanity! She's beautiful!

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EMRANA 9/6/2011 5:56PM

  May I send Kaia some Reiki to help her feel comfortable? I am a Reiki Master and my focus is animal Reiki. I can do distance healing, and I never charge money for my Reiki, no worries about that. I do it as spiritual service.

Sending you much love and understanding. I have been there too. I know how hard it is, my friend.


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APED7969 9/6/2011 5:22PM

    As hard as the quality versus quantity talk is to apply to our own animals it is true. It sounds like you've done all you can. When clients ask me about signs of pain in animals I often mention hiding but ultimately we are only guessing. I'm sure she's forever grateful for you getting her an extra 7 years of life even if being a cat meant she could never let you know just how grateful she is. emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/6/2011 5:13PM

    What a heart-breakingly beautiful blog and a tribute to your humanity and all that you and Kaia have given to each other. She is so lucky to be around such a wise and loving person.

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KRAWRS 9/6/2011 4:36PM

    Beautiful blog. You are a wonderful person for taking her in and letting her live the life she was meant to! She is lucky, and I'm sure she knows it. A hard decision, but the right one. (((HUGS))

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LEONALIONESS 9/6/2011 4:22PM

    I'm so sorry. :c

With my ratkids (and the catkids, in the future, I imagine) I always prefer to wonder if I went too soon than know I went too late. I've waited too long with some rats, unable to let them go, and the extra time wasn't good time for them. I regret that more than I can say.

When her good days/hours are outweighed by the bad, when she gets that "done" look in her eyes - you'll know.

Have you tried her on pred or dex, in case it is brain tumor? Or will pred/dex affect the kidneys too much?

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    You saved her and gave her so many wonderful years of happiness and a good home. Now you can save her again from suffering and pain. My heart goes out to you. I've done it and it isn't easy. emoticon emoticon

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IFDEEVARUNS2 9/6/2011 4:10PM


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KKINNEA 9/6/2011 3:51PM

    You are such a wonderful and caring person so I know this isn't easy. Hope you are able to make the decision in peace.

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TWO-TOO-MUCH 9/6/2011 3:18PM

    Oh my, what a beautiful blog. It is the greatest gift we can give our pets, to set them free from any suffering. It is the ultimate act of love. Having been through it twice in 2010, I know it's not easy, but neither is seeing our beloved pets suffer when there is no hope of improvement. Good luck to you and peace to Kaia.

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JSALERNO 9/6/2011 2:54PM


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BECKYSRN 9/6/2011 2:45PM

    emoticon You are a wonderful cat, you know....

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FIFIFRIZZLE 9/6/2011 2:24PM


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The Week in Review: Reckless Abandon

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Reckless Abandon:

1. It's idiomatic English, means roughly "without care or regard for consequences".
2. Title of a Blink 182 song.


I went to my saxophone lesson on Tuesday feeling mildly confident. I had practiced quite a bit and felt I had improved some, especially on some of the technical exercises. I don't put much "feeling" into the technical exercises, and I try to play them with precision and perfection. When I started to play, and I saw my teacher shaking his head. I stopped playing. "What?" I asked sheepishly.

"Let's see. I want you play with more--how should I put it--reckless abandon." He then proceeded to play the exercises playfully and song-like. He then had me play along with him, and then he stopped playing while I continued on. I admitted to him that "reckless abandon" is not something that comes naturally to me. "Well, we'll work on it," he assured me.

The thought of doing anything with "reckless abandon" makes me feel a little queasy. I always have a plan, I follow the plan, and I don't attempt something unless I know I can do it right. If I know I will probably do well, I go balls to the wall. If I know I may not do it very well, then I approach with extreme caution. This approach, of course, causes me to hold back from pushing the boundaries and going further with some things. ALISHAB3 left a comment on my "Emptying the Hollowness" blog this week about internal all-or-nothing thinking. She's right, I do struggle with black-and-white thinking a lot. Therefore, everything I do must be done to a T--losing weight, exercising, eating right, playing the saxophone, kickboxing--or it is not worth my while. But I have come to realize that I need to approach some things with reckless abandon in order to move forward.

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After thinking about it, I realize that I have already thrown caution to the wind and just gone for it at times. Returning to kickboxing was very risky with my knee problem--it could have become acutely injured after starting up again and gotten a lot worse. I was at the point where I figured, "What do I have to lose?" Well, other than my ability to walk, I suppose. I never would have known if I was able to kick again if I hadn't picked up my leg and taken a swing at the heavy bag. I'll never know how playfully I can play my saxophone if I never play without worrying how I sound, rather than how I feel. Sometimes I need to let whatever happens happen.

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As ALISHAB3 pointed out, we often fall into the rigid all-or-nothing thinking when it comes to weight loss, too. I have gotten significantly better about this, although the thinking still frequently sneaks in. I used to either do a binge right--eating until I was physically incapable of eating anymore--or I was following my food plan correctly. There was no in between. I've lightened up a bit on this thinking, and although I may overeat sometimes, I am not nearly as reckless as I used to be about binging. I talked myself out of a binge this week not by steely willpower, but by genuinely picturing feeling bloated and gross after eating the food, and the day-long food hangover that would have ensued. I didn't do anything to distract myself, I just imagined how gross it would feel to binge and how I would feel ill the next day. I then proceeded to follow my food plan for the rest of the night and forgot about wanting to binge. However, my little brain cells were lying in wait waiting for an excuse to binge. A few days later, after a stressful day at work, I went to Taco Bell and overate. Granted, the binge wasn't as damaging as I thought it would be after tracking it (yes, I did track it) and I didn't go as overboard as I may have in the past, it was still a reckless act. I fall into the thinking mistake that this type of overeating is okay because it is my way of "living freely," but reckless abandonment need not lead to wrecking my goals.

The type of reckless abandon my saxophone teacher was talking about is the type that lets us discover our potential. It is letting go enough and not worrying about the result as much as just going with the process. The process can be fun, challenging, frustrating, hilarious, and freeing all at once. Unfortunately, this type of reckless abandon is not ingrained in my brain. I don't have fun until I am doing something really well. The process of getting good is taxing. Over time, I believe I can uncover how to lead a life of reckless abandon.

Maybe I need to get tricked more into reckless abandonment. As I did my first weight workout of the week, I loaded the barbell to 30 pounds for my shoulder work. I reached failure with that amount on the barbell--I could not have done another rep if I had wanted to. Then, during my second workout doing the same exercises, I noticed that the weight felt more challenging. I figured my arms were worn out from lifting weights and kickboxing. I was still able to complete all of the reps, though. I looked at my barbell and realized that it was loaded with almost 45 pounds, not 30. I was able to work with that weight because I didn't realize how heavy it was, therefore, I wasn't able to talk myself out of it. Even I was surprised at the fact that a significantly lighter weight had actually brought my muscles (and nerves) to failure. I guess my limits will be discovered if I just say, "Screw it," and go with it.

Image from

Perhaps I would benefit from a little more reckless abandonment in my life. I just need to keep in mind the difference between reckless abandon and just plain reckless. I now know that they are not the same thing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILINGTREE 9/5/2011 10:10PM

    I have run farther than I thought I could by miscounting laps or covering up the face of the treadmill before. I have often wished I could be more reckless, but it's really tough. How does one train to tolerate more risk?

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/5/2011 6:21PM

    Thank you for the wonderful blog entry. "Reckless abandon" is something I've been missing in my life since about the time LBJ was in office! Reckless abandon used to be so much fun. I'll go for it soon and think of and thank you!

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SABRINALONDON21 9/5/2011 4:13PM

    Very nice blog!!!! I can relate to the rigidity with planning, I am the same way!!!!

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PAWSINAZ 9/5/2011 3:39PM


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HIPPICHICK1 9/5/2011 3:18PM

    Great blog!

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1LATTE4ME 9/4/2011 10:52PM

    So right, you are.

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    Sometimes we can be so bent on doing a good job and doing everything perfect and by the book what we can lose out on the fact that innovation and great ideas come out of people doing something different than the status quo. Sometimes we have to do things for the sake of joy and having fun. I would like to think that even Mozart sometimes liked to play chopsticks.

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TOTHEFUTURE1 9/4/2011 10:02PM

Another thought from the movie "Auntie Mame" "life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death"
Enjoy the momnent

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APIRLRAIN888 9/4/2011 8:46PM

    I love it! thanks for the reminder

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/4/2011 5:04PM

    heh--that's how it goes sometimes. you start working out, forget how to count, and hit a PR because you failed to add up the plates correctly :)

living with reckless abandon is amazing. i can think of a lot of things i'd still suck at if i hadn't thrown myself into them completely with no reservations...

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    emoticonfor posting.

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SparkPeep opinions--baby shower etiquette?

Thursday, September 01, 2011

So the other day I had blogged about a woman who I was deciding whether or not I really want to be friends with anymore ("Emptying the Hollowness" blog post). The woman who had called me a "baby squirrel killer" is pregnant. She is not a super-close friend, but I was excited for her. I had told her a few months ago that I wanted to throw her a baby shower in October, and host it at my house. She was excited about the idea.

A couple of weeks ago she came to me and told me she didn't really want a "traditional" shower, and that she would rather have a "regular" party at her house on the same night instead. She asked if I would still help plan the party, but it felt more obligatory on her part so I wouldn't feel completely shot down. My feelings were a little hurt, but I said okay. Since she has poked fun at my small house before, I get the impression that she doesn't think my house is good enough. The party was actually going to be held outside in my huge garden, including a bonfire in my fire pit. She has not mentioned the party again since. I kind of took her change of plans as a "Thanks, but no thanks," and that she was declining to have me throw her a shower. I was talking to a co-worker friend tonight, and she pointed out that most people would be honored to have someone offer to throw a baby shower. So, I am wondering where to go from here.

I've never thrown a shower for anyone before, so I'm not quite sure what the etiquette here would be. Even if I did still consider her to be a friend, I feel like she turned down my offering to host a baby shower, and therefore I'm not responsible for this party. If she does end up asking me to help plan this party at her house, I am inclined to say, "Since you declined me offering to throw you a shower, you can go ahead and do whatever you want for your party," and not be involved. Is that rude? Am I obligated to help with this party that she is throwing because I offered to host a shower? I feel that she was being a bit ungrateful, and I don't feel inclined to be involved in planning this party.

Opinions? What would my SparkPeeps do?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

UTMIZ_2000 9/6/2011 4:14PM

    I'm sorry you're going through this.

You are clearly uncomfortable with the situation. I would suggest you just tell her that. If she has hurt your feelings, it is okay to tell her that as well. She is not the only person with feelings. I've been pregnant six times and can tell you with confidence, she can take the truth. Sounds like she was trying to give you a way out of the party, anyway and might just be relieved at the news.

You need to feel good about yourself when this is all over, so all advice aside, you need to decide how to proceed. I wish you the best. emoticon

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ADAGIO_CON_BRIO 9/5/2011 6:32PM

    I was impressed by your valiant efforts with the baby squirrel and dismayed at the way your "friend" treated you at the time.

Because you "sort of" have asked for advice, I would say this: consider the value of this friendship. You've written down two examples of ways in which she has cavalierly dissed and dismissed you. It might be a good case of "reckless abandon" to get rid of or distance yourself from a friend who is not supportive. Only you can weigh and measure the value the friendship has for you, but you can always back out and help her by giving her a small gift or taking a "wait and see" attitude.

Please take care of yourself! I really like you a lot from the blogs I have read and think you have been a hero in many ways.

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LEONALIONESS 9/5/2011 2:33PM

    I'd be bailing like I was in a canoe with a big hole on each end. Of course, I find baby showers to be darn near the pinnacle of "Places I Do Not Want To Be". As a childfree/sterilized lady, nothing makes me feel more like an outcast that being surrounded by ladies going baby crazy. I feel really confused (why are they so excited? I'm bored. And a bit horrified since I'm tokophobic) and horribly out of place.

I also despise passive aggressive people and she sounds like a prime example of that.
Do not want. Have fun doing your own party, lady.

Also, the folks giving her a pass for being preggo? Not flying. Excusing bad behavior due to pregnancy is so irritating. I get really hangry when my blood sugar is low and I've been known to be a real jerk. As soon as I snap, I own up and APOLOGIZE for my behavior. To imply that it's just pregnancy hormones makes it seem like she's so so crazy from being womby that she can't possible acknowledge being a jerk. Which is insulting to pregnant ladies and chicks in general. I've had some AWFUL PMS bouts where I can tell I'm being just irrational and flying way off the handle. I can't seem to *stop* but I can tell I'm out of line. Being pregnant doesn't shut off one's logic center or self awareness, right?

Hormones and outside stuff CAN make us wacky but we're adult and smart enough to realize that when we snap at someone or otherwise are cruel, we apologize. "Sorry, my blood sugar was low/I was having a rash of killer PG hormones and I get mean/irrational in that state. I'm so sorry I snapped at you/was rude/hurt your feelings, I didn't mean to be nasty." Goes a long way! Having a baby doesn't mean you can be an @ss with no consequences. You're pregnant, not mentally incompetent/lacking in all social skills.

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ARCHIMEDESII 9/2/2011 9:33AM

    I'd say that co-worker has given you the easy out of the situation. Since you had been having some issues, now you aren't obligated to throw her a baby shower. She seems to have decided she can do a better job. Which is fine. Let her. It's less stress for you ! You made the initial offer which she accepted and now she's changed her mind. Don't be offended. That's her choice.

Although, with this new information, her change in behavior towards you could be a result of fluctuating hormones. I'm not saying that her previous behavior was right. it wasn't. It was downright rude. However, knowing that she's pregnant and may be going through an emotional hurricane of her own, I could see cutting her some slack.

What would I do ? I'd be magnanimous and continue the offer to help. Helping doesn't mean you have to do everything. You could offer to help with cards or invitations. You could offer to help cooking food or set up. It doesn't have to be anything substantial. Just a small gesture of goodwill.

And a small gift would be fine. You don't have to get her the baby stroller. A cute outfit for the new addition would be perfect. Unless of course all the co-workers are going to chip in for one "big" gift from the team.

I'd take the high ground with the co-worker even if she's had occasion to be crass.

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GEMINIAN1 9/2/2011 8:20AM

    The last time she talked to you about it was a couple of weeks ago?
I'd just wait for her to approach you about it and she what she wants you to do.

You're not obligated to do anything.

Do you still plan on going by her house or ... bailing on the whole entire event?
I'm confused about that piece?
I mean, she might just ask you to bring some paper plates.
If you were willing to throw the whole shebang at your house before, then you can't even pick up a package of plates ... I think she'll get the hint about your relationship; or lack there of.
I hope it works out my friend.

Comment edited on: 9/2/2011 8:21:34 AM

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HIPPICHICK1 9/2/2011 8:01AM

    You are never obligated to do any thing you do not wish to do.
If I were you I would be very clear about this party and your role in it with your "frenemy."
Don't ask...just tell her that you have accidentally double booked yourself that night and you can not attend her party after all, but you wish her well and hope she has a great celebration.

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ABB698 9/2/2011 2:31AM

    If she declined your offer, than its her loss, you are under no obligation to do things her way or be any part of her planning.

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    I think your party idea sounds great and she should have gone along with it. If it's like you said and she is making excuses to get out of it you could just not do anything and see if she says anything later on. It sounds kind of weird to me - a regular party as opposed to a shower?????? I wouldn't have a clue on how to proceed.

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    "She asked if I would still help plan the party...I said okay."

I think by your own words, you have set yourself up with the obligation to help. That being said, I wouldn't go to too much trouble. Perhaps you could say something to her like, "I know I agreed to help you with this party, but something recently came up. I can still (insert small task here), but that's all I can manage at the moment. I didn't think you'd mind since you decided against me hosting a baby shower in favor of a casual party at your house."

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/1/2011 1:13PM

    You're under no obligation...if she wants your help, she'll ask for it. Sounds like a terrible, ungrateful person.

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KKINNEA 9/1/2011 12:28PM

    I would probably try to avoid being involved - I think someone else mentioned not being available that evening. That makes sense to me - gets you out of the situation as gracefully as possible.

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EMRANA 9/1/2011 12:23PM

  I don't think you are obligated to help in any way. The friendship became strained because of actions on her part, and it was recent, not months ago. You actually went above and beyond and talked about doing the shower at your home anyway. She has not been responsive. If she wants to have it at her place, and under her own direction, because she doesn't think your offering was "good enough" then that releases you from worrying about it in my book. Why would you have to go to her place and do all the work when she is the one making all the decisions now? That's not your original offering.

Take that with a grain of salt, as I have never been involved in a baby shower. I've attended a grand total of one, when I was 17, and I'm now 40. That's just my own feeling of how I'd handle it if it was me.


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APIRLRAIN888 9/1/2011 11:49AM

    Well, coming for having a preggo sister... they (me included) are irrational when we are pregnant ;p

and I dont think you are obligated ;p

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AMARILYNH 9/1/2011 11:39AM

    I just took the time to read your earlier blog "squirrel killer" and agree with what CANNIE50 said there - paraphrased if this 'friend' isn't making you feel good about yourself she is no friend. I cannot IMAGINE calling someone by that terrible name not just once but several times. It was a mean, callous thing to do.

If she brings up your helping her again (hopefully she WON'T!) I'd do what MKWMKW suggested - not be available that night.

As was said by others in that blog, she is someone you do not need as a friend. You are too valuable to allow friends who treat you this way in your life.

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    Ok, I guess I don't have kids or ever ran a shower, so maybe my advice isn't best.

If this was me, I'd say I'd be happy to bring some food. Have a small list of ideas in your purse, so you can say what you were thinking of bringing. I would not want to get roped into baking 100 cupcakes or something that sounds like torture to me. Now, she can have her say. There is nothing wrong with saying you need to look into a recipe to see if you feel comfortable making it before agreeing. (This is awesome too because you can bring things like a veggie tray with hummus and other spark recipe type foods. You will be able to enjoy party food and still stay on track- wooohoo!)
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Here is the big question for me.... have you ever been to her house before? If no, I would feel a little strange about going through someone's belongings to get trash bags, ect without getting direction. Have you ever been to someone's house where they said.... "just grab it, it's in the right hand drawer". In reality there are 6 different drawers that could be considered that one. Frustrating. I'd want to jump out of a window in this situation as a co-host.

If you know the layout of her house; and are friends enough to grab a glass of water without even asking and it's totally normal... YES, you need to do clean up type stuff at the end and all the other stuff that goes along with it. Unfortunately, if you were that "close" with her... you need to follow through on this one. Then, gracefully bow out of the friendship.

I say, bring a few food items, do a little cleaning, offer little things, and call it a day. Don't go crazy. I'm sure you were thinking of all of the little things you can do to make her day special. Honestly, it is out of your hands now.

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Comment edited on: 9/1/2011 11:07:05 AM

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FANGFACEKITTY 9/1/2011 10:15AM

    I think you are obligated to help since you already told her you would. The key word is help, not to do everything yourself. I would throw the ball back into her court - ask her when she wants to get together to make plans. If she never sets a time to do so then you are off the hook. you will have lived up to your agreement to help, she just chose not to take advantage of your help. Her loss.

Comment edited on: 9/1/2011 10:21:50 AM

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JET150 9/1/2011 9:28AM

    I don't think you're obligated to help her either. If she does come to you and asks for help, I think that if what she asks works for you, you should go ahead and do it. The emphasis, I think, should be on doing what works best for you. Since she hasn't said anything, she sure shouldn't be thinking you will take major responsibility. If other plans come up for you, you should go ahead with them.
Good luck. She's certainly put you in an awkward situation.

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MKWMKW 9/1/2011 7:57AM

    Why don't you just act kind of flustered and say, "Wow, it really is great that you decided to do your own party! I've had something come up for that night that I just can't get out of, so I won't even be able to be there." Then just hand her a baby present, so you don't look mean, and you're totaly off the hook.

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EZJAMES 9/1/2011 6:19AM

    Okay, well there's the off chance that she legitimately wants to just do something casual at hers (or perhaps she doesn't want to be obligated). So try not to overthink it too much- though I always do. She's turned down the opportunity to have an awesome shower, but hey, why not just throw a party yourself - if you want to that is as it sounds like you had some nice plans, and now there's none of the baby stuff to deal with.

As for the quandry; if she asks for your imput, just smile be nice and say that you're relieved she changed her plans as you're now a bit caught up with other things, but if she really needs you it's possible to pop around earlier to help with any preparations she's made.

Tch! Bad form on her part though, I'd love someone to throw me a bash!

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JSALERNO 9/1/2011 6:16AM


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DIANE7786 9/1/2011 4:48AM

    Some people donít know etiquette and some donít care about it. Itís too bad you agreed to help with a regular party at her home. Does she expect bridal shower gifts at this regular party? Since she hasnít said anything since she turned down your offer of a bridal shower, she may have other plans she doesnít want to tell you about. Thatís okay. Sheís not your friend. If she wants your help and money (you were going to host a shower), smile, be gracious and do as she asks without complaint to anyone but Sparkpeople. You will look good to your co-workers and avoid being the topic of gossip. After the party, avoid that woman as much as possible!

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JBINAUSTIN 9/1/2011 3:31AM

    No, you're not obligated to help her throw a party at her house.

I wonder if she's figured out yet that if it's not a shower, she doesn't get shower gifts?

Giving her the benefit of the doubt, maybe she doesn't want gifts or is embarrassed to open gifts in public at a shower. Maybe she's not comfortable with being the center of attention or playing baby shower games. That might explain why she'd want a regular party instead of a shower. You could ask if she has concerns like that. From your previous blog, she doesn't seem graced with the best social skills and she might not know how to say those things. Some people are really uncomfortable receiving gifts in public. I, for example, didn't have a bridal shower for that reason.

You could say that you're not comfortable hosting a party in someone else's house. That's probably true.

If it turns out that a shower makes her nervous for some reason that makes you feel better, you might decide to help her out without being an official hostess. I've never been pregnant, but my pregnant friends never seemed eager to throw a party once they swelled up like blimps, so help would probably be appreciated.

You could offer to bringing some food or drinks. There's probably no need to decorate since it's not a shower but you might offer to help set up and break down. You could also offer to run a "shower game" if she wants to experience that particular social nightmare.

To be helpful during the party itself, you could keep track of who brings gifts and make sure all the gifts have a tag on them or a card TAPED to them--some people will bring gifts even when asked not to, and keeping track (and taping) would be a great service to a very pregnant woman so she can enjoy the party. You don't have to tell her about it in advance, just come prepared to do it (bring your own tape and a notebook) and offer when you get there. It's a little awkward when you're not the hostess, but it can be done.

Good luck with your dilemma.

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SparkVersary Resolutions

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My 1 Year SparkVersary was on August 21st, and I meant to post some resolutions at that time. My SparkVersary was kind of like New Year--a time to reflect and decide what I can do to make the next year even better.

I've talked before about how I had lost 95 pounds on WeightWatchers a few years ago, in 2006. I had lost the weight in less than a year. Yes, I was happy about the weight loss, and I started doing triathlons, which was a major accomplishment, but I had no other concrete proof of my progress. I had my little weight tracker book from WeightWatchers, which would have a smiley face drawn in by the weigher when I had a loss, and nothing when I didn't lose. I had no progress pictures, no blogs, no journals, no reflection of my life beyond the scale. I was probably starting to make some other changes without realizing it, but I didn't have the resources to truly evaluate my life and make changes at that time. I truly thought that losing weight would just solve a lot of my problems by itself...and we all know how well that thought process goes...

I wasn't surprised that I stuck with SparkPeople for a year, but rather, I was shocked by the major life changes that I had made because of SparkPeople. The changes I have made in my mind have paved the way to make changes in my body. I have learned a lot about myself, especially with the wisdom and input from my awesome SparkFriends. Blogging has been especially helpful with processing my thoughts, so prepare to be continuously inundated with posts.

My primary goal by my 2 Year SparkVersary is to reach ONEderland. That means losing about 60 pounds in 1 year. I believe this is a very reasonable goal. I've been thinking over the past week or what else I would like to accomplish by my 2 Year SparkVersary, so I've set some SparkVersary Resolutions:

emoticonLose at least 60 pounds (by August 21st, 2012).
emoticonGet my personal trainer certification.
emoticonParticipate in at least 2 race events (triathlon, duathlon, 5K, 10K...)--I'm already committed to doing the swim leg of a triathlon next summer.
emoticonMake any remaining toxic people in my life disappear so I can nurture the real friendships that I have.
emoticonJoin a saxophone ensemble and start performing.

I have a feeling this is going to be an awesome SparkYear!

Here is my 1 Year SparkVersary blog post--and thank you to all my SparkPeeps who celebrated with me!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Happy sparkiversary! Good luck with your goals!

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CHAOSTHEORY635 9/1/2011 1:00AM

    you got this :)

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    I have the exact same goal in mind. Let's go for it!

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APIRLRAIN888 8/31/2011 9:47PM

    woohoo you can do it

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GEMINIAN1 8/31/2011 6:27PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
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Cheers ... To Your Next Spark Year!

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HIKINGSD 8/31/2011 6:05PM


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LHLADY517 8/31/2011 5:48PM

    You can do it from one sax player to another.

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APED7969 8/31/2011 5:21PM

    Congrats on coming so far! Great resolutions, I'm sure you'll succeed at all of them :-)

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    emoticon on reaching your one-year anniversary!

emoticon on all your accomplishments so far. It's great to look back and realize you have moved mountains in the past year. (I have a few mountains I am looking to move -- I call them my hips.)

emoticon on your goals for the coming year!

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KKINNEA 8/31/2011 2:52PM

    Great resolutions!! You can do it!

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JSALERNO 8/31/2011 2:23PM


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NKECHI711 8/31/2011 2:04PM

    You can do this...push hard for your goals! emoticon emoticon

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