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Heart School

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

I've had this absolutely weird, humorous preoccupation with this old "Far Side" cartoon ever since I knew another intervention was going to be necessary to correct my heart rhythm:

jerrytravis.blogspot.com/2011/11/tut
ored.html


So here's how I've twisted that chuckle to "fit" my circumstances: "Hey Biff, I'm going off to the hospital to get my heart "schooled" so it beats right!" :-)

I've been WAY pleased with my weight loss efforts lately. It's so strange how without making any significant changes in my approach how QUICKLY the pounds have accelerated their disappearance! I will have to remember this when it slows down again...lol.

I've passed the big *3*0* so far since January 1st, averaging 15 pounds a month...! I am now only 2 pounds away from breaking 100 pounds lost since joining SparkPeople. And THAT marker (320 pounds when joining SP in 2007) was significantly down from my all-time high of 450 pounds from way back in the late 1980's, early 1990's.

Another motivator for me? Back in 2010 when I previously reached my goal weight of 200 I had the special honor of being one of the guests on Dr. Oz's 100th show featuring 100 people who had lost 100 pounds or more and kept it off.

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=2878056


www.examiner.com/article/richard-sim
mons-and-100-big-losers-helps-celebrat
e-100th-dr-oz-episode


Lots of cool pics in that blog, even one with Richard Simmons who was a special guest and led a round of Sweatin' to the Oldies ("Hit The Road Jack")! Great memories!

Anyhow, I've saved both the skinny-sized 38 jeans and Dr. Oz t-shirt from that occasion and have the jeans hanging up outside my closet just waiting for me to fit back into them and I can't WAIT till THAT happens! :-)

With this week's big batch o' soup I've decided to dip my big toe back into the waters of grain and put some barley in the soup which is just your basic chicken, carrots, celery, onions & garlic. I figure this will have a pretty low risk of triggering any overdoing it and reacclimate my body in a fairly tame manner.

My workouts have dropped off some in anticipation of my ablation, mostly because it just seems weird to pump up a heart that's doing such peculiar things. I'm still heading off to spinning, just not going as "all out" as I might ordinarily.

I'm liking my weight loss before the ablation as I always figure the fewer extra pounds before any medical procedure the better. I continue to give my stomach a pat on the back when it growls and grumbles at me during the morning hours, awaiting my first meal of the day at noon time...telling me I'm on the right track and didn't overdo the calories yesterday. If I DON'T sense my stomach talking to me I figure I must've run a tad high on my intake.

A confession I'll make regarding tracking: thus far I am not pulling out any food scale. I am more-or-less eyeballing my portions either through packaging (you know, those handy Dannon greek yogurt 80 calorie packages and other such conveniences) or 1 cup - 1/2 cup measures. I figure if the pounds get TOO stubborn as I near goal I can always resort to more precise measurements at that time. I am a huge fan of keeping it simple and if what I'm doing works, then so be it!

I'm feeling so READY for this ablation...top of my game with food which is a major, MAJOR big deal for me.

Now let's get this heart "schooled" good & proper and get on with my Spark even MORE fully engaged!

Don

ps...another bonus old favorite "Far Side" for you cat-lovers (or haters...lol):

www.pinterest.com/pin/16395986116931
007/

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 3/8/2014 5:16PM

    I remember catching a glimpse of you in the audience on the Dr Oz show! That was way cool! And congratulations on the weight loss emoticon

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ZELLAZM 3/8/2014 5:19AM

    Glad I read this today so I can be thinking and praying for you as you face this procedure! I'm way behind on reading blog posts and have been missing my Spark buddies and their inspiration. Your reminder to just stay hungry is a big help to me, especially in the evening --- when it isn't really hunger but tiredness most of the time.

Go, Don, go!



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WATERMELLEN 3/7/2014 9:37PM

    What a treat to find this blog on Friday: but don't know how I missed it when you posted it on Tuesday! Love Gary Larson: soooo funny. Nice way of thinking about the upcoming ablation procedure; "That'll larn ya", right? So good that you've prepared with regular moderate exercise and continue weight loss . . . and chicken barley soup, a big fave of mine!!

We're all rooting for you, Don.

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ALIIDA 3/7/2014 9:43AM

    Wishing you well as I sit here with my successfully ablated DH.
emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/7/2014 9:46:03 AM

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_MOBII_ 3/6/2014 9:00PM

    I am so glad your heart is going to 'get schooled'...just be sure to stay away from the vet's office!
emoticon

Those skinny 38's are within your reach, you can do it!

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BLUENOSE63 3/6/2014 1:54PM

  Congrats on all your success, you deserve every iota as you have worked very hard!

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PATRICIAAK 3/5/2014 9:52PM

    Wishing you well.
I totally agree with keeping it simple - much easier to stay on track when the going gets challenging.

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/5/2014 9:38PM

    Hmmm.... your cardio-electrician won't be 'tutoring' you... so tomorrow will go just fine. Love the Far Side.

Will be sending good vibes your way as you discover yet another miracle of modern medicine technology. Not so long ago such procedures were mere pipe dreams; amazing, isn't it?!?

We'll see you on the other side of your experience!


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WMUGRAD 3/5/2014 8:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUEPERWOMAN 3/5/2014 6:52PM

 

Great job!

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LPRUNWALK 3/5/2014 3:34PM

    Don, you continue to do SO well, and to be such an inspiration. Really happy for you that the pounds are falling off, especially in the lead up to Ablation Day :-))
I am a big believer in keeping things simple too, and have rarely gone to the trouble of weighing my portions. I will do a bit of measuring here and there, but in general as long as I'm seeing progress I'm happy enough with the eyeballing method. Mind you, I haven't lost any weight in about a month, so maybe it's time I adopted a stricter approach...
Anyway, just wanted to stop by and congratulate you on doing so wonderfully.

Comment edited on: 3/5/2014 3:34:54 PM

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KANOE10 3/5/2014 8:22AM

    You have got this healthy eating and food figured out! You are doing great with your loss and your plan is working! That was quite an honor meeting Dr. Oz as well as Richard Simons.

I hope your procedure and the schooling of your heart goes well. I am keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

I liked your cartoons!

emoticon

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/5/2014 8:21AM

    Wishing you the best

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JACKIE542 3/4/2014 11:19PM

    Wonderful blog. emoticon Good luck to you with your ablation emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 3/4/2014 9:26PM

    Good luck w/the ablation. I like your common sense approach to your portion control!

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/4/2014 8:49PM

    Good luck with the procedure. You sound "pumped", at least psychologically, even if you are avoiding "pumping up" the heart rate in your workouts. Good job getting down a few more pounds ahead of time, I agree we don't need excess poundage getting in the doctors' way!

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_LINDA 3/4/2014 7:31PM

    Wow! A bonfide Spark super celebrity! Imagine being on a popular TV show and meeting Richard Simmons! Great story to highlight losing an incredible 100 lbs! Looks like you will be fitting back into those jeans in no time at the rate you are going!
Always liked Larson cartoons!
Really hope this ablation will succeed and give you peace of mind to enjoy your favorite fitness activities!!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BOHEMIANCAT 3/4/2014 6:28PM

    Awesome on the attitude and weight loss!
Linda

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DOGLADY13 3/4/2014 5:54PM

    You have such a fun attitude given what you are facing. I'll keep it in mind next time I have to have a procedure done. You will probably heal more quickly with such a good outlook.

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FERRETLOVER1 3/4/2014 5:47PM

    emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 3/4/2014 4:34PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PHOENIX1949 3/4/2014 4:12PM

    emoticon Blog and achievements.

Wishing you well with the ablation. A former walking buddy had this done about 10 years ago and her heart is still ticking with aid of pacemaker that came with the ablation as an insurance policy.

Far Side & Dr. Oz fan here also.

First aware of Richard Simmons in about 1982 when I awoke to his program in my Endicott, NY, hotel room (first day of my 2-week training scheduled). It was several years before he reached Central Texas stations.

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NHES220 3/4/2014 12:02PM

    Hoping all goes well with the ablation and you are ticking along normally! Sounds like you have a plan in place to meet your goals and you definitely have the motivation!

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STEVEN_D 3/4/2014 11:09AM

    Let's get that ticker ticking like it's supposed to. What an incredible story. I feel the connection, because I started right at 320 and have lost 60#. I am on my way to 200 and I get so inspired by reading the success stories of others who have fought the good fight. Thank you!

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THINFITFEMINIST 3/4/2014 10:41AM

    your a winner and loser Don, congrats!

Comment edited on: 3/4/2014 10:41:46 AM

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HIPPICHICK1 3/4/2014 10:27AM

    We're all rootin' for ya!

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COMMIT2BFIT4ME 3/4/2014 10:17AM

    WoW! Not only are you a great spark friend, you truly are a ROCK STAR! I am a big fan of Zig Ziglar and one of my favorite quotes is “You will get all you want in life, if you help enough other people get what they want.” I feel like SP embodies this philosophy and you my friend are certainly one of the best crew leaders inspiring so many of us in spark land! Thanks again for such an inspiring blog and Congratulations on your successes..looking for another success in your ablation. emoticon Mary

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GARDENCHRIS 3/4/2014 10:09AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/4/2014 10:05AM

    You're amazing. Here's to being too cool for school and your heart learning well.

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OUATEONE2 3/4/2014 10:04AM

    Incredible amount of weight lost! Wow. I really don't know what to say other than great job. emoticon emoticon

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RACEWELLWON 3/4/2014 9:39AM

    Don - what a very encouraging blog ! love the Far Side - Dr. Oz. - I am star struck :) - so when is the procedure ? Chicken Soup one of my absolute go to foods . I eyeball things also but I agree that once I started paying attention to what triggers me to grab and eat the pounds began too melt away. Two pounds away emoticon good for - Keep us posted Karen emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/4/2014 10:46:22 AM

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

A Change in Perspective: Preparing for Maintenance

Friday, February 28, 2014

One of our members of "At Goal and Maintaining" SparkTeam recently expressed worries about relapse and "obsessing" over food. This got me thinking about some of the changes in my thinking since 2014 began.

I once upon a teensy sliver of time reached my goal of 200 only a few years ago in 2010 and am clawing my way back to goal again (SHEESH but the pounds are getting stubborn, but I'm MORE stubborn!) but with a different attitude this time around that I think will pull me through toward greater success in maintenance this time around.

NELLJONES response summed it up to a "T" in her response, basically normalizing what can seem obsessive to others, what once seemed obsessive to ME: the care and precision in tracking our food which is necessary for folks like us to achieve and maintain healthy weight truly is "normal" within the context of own unique realities. It's not "whacked" or a "pre-occupation" or "obsessive" or whatever derogatory label one wants to give it.

It's our reality: we MUST follow these steps if we are going to achieve and maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.

Research continues to bear this out, thank you to the wonderful folks at the National Weight Control Registry who continue to support, pull together and highlight such efforts:

www.nwcr.ws/Research/

Our fears can be so rooted in our perceptions. If we can shift our "lens" and realize that for folks who have been obese; the steps we must take to achieve and maintain our weight are normal, evidence-based practices; we can pull the plug from viewing ourselves as "weird" or in some way negative and instead champion our efforts by patting ourselves on the back as one of the rare 5% who can successfully lose the weight and keep it off!

Don

PS: NELLJONES' comment in the message thread which resonated: "Food is more than eating. It's deciding what I will cook, making the shopping lists and where I will acquire the ingredients, noting what has to be done in advance (meat out of freezer, soak beans, etc), then the hands on prep and cooking. Eating is just the last piece of it. It's become a hobby like any other hobby. No one questions obsessive quilters or coin collectors."

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NEWNANCY2012 4/1/2014 7:49AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MAREE1953 3/19/2014 4:44AM

    I struggle with the "achievable" vs "maintainable" weight loss goal. Your blog motivates me and reminds me of the tools available and which I must use in a faithful and deliberate manner. Time for me to "embrace" it. Thanks, Don, for blog; thanks teammates for comments!

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WENDYANNE61 3/18/2014 2:34PM

    I recently heard someone at work describe me as "that woman in the office on the fourth floor who drinks weird green gunge all the time"! (my lunchtime green smoothie...)

Tracking and measuring what I eat is the only method I have ever found that helps keep me from re-gaining weight. I am addicted to cake, cookies and sweets, so tracking will be my reality long-term if I want to keep in reasonable shape - if someone finds that obsessive - well, that is their problem - it does´nt bother me! emoticon

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KIMBERLY_Y 3/17/2014 12:29PM

    You are on the money with this blog! Sometimes I go through a spurt where I track all the time just to keep myself in check and accountable, and then I go for a week without tracking. But, the lifestyle is still the same. Meal planning and grocery shopping along with exercise are requirements for my chosen lifestyle. It is my choice. They can call us obsessive or gym rats or anything else, but I feel good and I am healthy. That is most important! Thanks for the great blog!

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HAVASUJULES 3/16/2014 9:49PM

  A wise Salvation Army officer once shared this with me:

A person's perspective becomes their reality


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SLAYINGDRAGONS 3/15/2014 1:55PM

    Great perspective on this! Thx

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MJREIMERS 3/15/2014 12:26PM

    Awesome blog and so true. For a long time I thought I was obsessed with logging my food and exercise. (Some family members think I still am.) This blog summed it up so nicely.

We aren't weird or "over the top." We are doing what we need to do in order to maintain a way of life that we have chosen for ourselves. HEALTH! We can't do much without it!

Thanks for this! I needed it!

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THOMS1 3/15/2014 10:58AM

    I totally agree with your blog. We have to keep tracking, exercising and planning. It's just a way of life now and I see it as normal. I too have trouble with gaining and losing and when I stick to my plan, track and keep up with my exercise I keep near my goal. It's all about our choices. emoticon for this blog. emoticon

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HOLLYM48 3/14/2014 3:50PM

    Congrats on all of your success!! Best of luck on your continued journey!!!
All the best to you. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MEXGAL1 3/14/2014 3:40PM

    emoticon

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AMARILYNH 3/14/2014 1:25PM

    Well said and oh so true! The health I've achieved through tracking is worth way more than any amount of time spent doing it!! emoticon emoticon

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SCRAPPER1124 3/14/2014 7:21AM

    Love this Blog great perspective. It definitely described my type A personality with weight loss. emoticon

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MOONCHILD8 3/13/2014 4:25PM

    Great Blog! Thank you for your wonderful insight. Yes we will always have to weigh, measure, record, track, eat and exercise on this healthy lifestyle. It can be fun, enjoyable, and shared with others. Linda from bean town

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PACKERMANN 3/13/2014 1:09PM

    very insightful blog and very helpful comments!
thanks, all!!

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CELIAMINER 3/13/2014 11:30AM

    emoticon and thank Nell for helping me feel normal. I recognize that I may never be able to eat intuitively, and I recognize the easy way of the old habits lurks constantly like the little devil on my shoulder whispering in my ear. Reality and normality for me MOST likely will involve measuring and tracking for as long as I want to maintain (and that better be forever). I really like Nell's summation that eating is just the last part of the food process. I, too, love food. I love to browse recipes, plan meals, shop for the best ingredients, chop all my veggies manually (because it is relaxing to me), cook, and EAT.

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-SHOREIDO- 3/13/2014 10:56AM

    Enjoyed this blog!! Great words of WISDOM!!

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BESSHAILE 3/13/2014 7:11AM

    yes. yes yes yes. This is who we are - people who have to make more conscious decisions about our food. At this point, I feel weird if I'm NOT making these choices deliberately. Maybe because I'm still fearful, but also because it just feels comforting.

And wow - what a journey you've been on. It's obvious to me your best trait is your willingness to come back and try again - you are such a winner!

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JULIEABIGAIL 3/13/2014 4:45AM

  don, not only is this a truly outstanding, eloquent, inspiring blog, but i just love that you publicly credited nell, who hit the ball out of the park with bases loaded on this one. your feedback is always insightful and uplifting. emoticon

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DSJB9999 3/13/2014 3:07AM

    Fantastic blog, I too love eating but we have to make good choices about what we do eat.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 3/13/2014 2:49AM

    This is such a great blog for many of us who often feel "weird" while trying to figure out the maintenance secrets. I'd say it's a relief blog!
Both you and NELLJONES carry lots of wisdom on the subject and we are more than thankful that you share it with us!
emoticon

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LESLIESENIOR 3/13/2014 12:16AM

    Great Blog!!!! For those of us with past poor health choices, we must become obsessive in a good way. I am a recovering alcoholic. I would not think of missing my AA meetings, skipping my prayer and meditation, or not working with my sponsor. It is the same with my weight maintenance of 7 years (I lost 60 pounds). I must be vigilant to stay on track and not slip into old habits. I'm 23 years in recovery from smoking. I'm obsessive about that for sure! It goes for exercise as well. I track my miles, my minutes, and remain consistent. I apply the same vigilance to my mental health through meditation and prayer daily. The list could go on for us all.
Cheers to us all on Sparkpeople for seeking daily self improvement through healthy living. It is a wonderful journey with no end!

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KEEPITSIMPLE_ 3/12/2014 10:30PM

    Great blog! I totally agree on the food perspective. It is essential to me to go through the whole process of the planning, buying, prepping, modifying, cooking, etc, in order to know what's going in my body and know The choices are good ones that will keep me on track. When I don't do this, and take shortcuts instead, I feel it right away. This has been essential in maintaining.

Thanks for sharing.

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SLENDERELLA61 3/12/2014 9:59PM

    I definitely "like" this blog!!

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SUSIEMT 3/12/2014 9:56PM

    Oh Yeah! If I fail to plan I plan to fail! I always have to plan my meals just like was said I have to have to have to! Then I need to log my nutrition! I have gained off and on in the past 3 years max 15 lbs. I have also taken it off through my due diligence. I used to worry about gaining all my weight back but realized I don't want to so I am willing to take the steps I know will work! Proper diet and exercise. Oh don't get me wrong, I do indulge but get right back on track.

Very good blog!

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DAWNDMOORE40 3/12/2014 9:54PM

    emoticon blog! For me it was about learning that this is a lifestyle change and that means for a lifetime, not just until the pounds come off! Also, it meant not restricting myself but allowing myself to eat foods I love once in a while and if I did "fall of the wagon" so to speak, that I wasn't a failure!
emoticon on your success! I truly loved your blog! You are an inspiration to those out there that are trying to maintain their weight loss! I wish you great success in the future and my hope is that you will always share your wonderful achievements with others! emoticon

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BOOKAPHILE 3/12/2014 9:50PM

    It takes some of us (including me!) several trips down in weight before we understand that we cannot act like those who have never been heavy. Being willing to do what it takes for your own health, regardless of how others view you, is one sign you'll be in that 5%.

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CAROLISCIOUS 3/12/2014 9:47PM

    Great blog...thanks for sharing your insight.

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UNSWEETMAMA 3/12/2014 9:36PM

    emoticon
Congratulations on your success. You've earned it.
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OHMEMEME 3/9/2014 6:00PM

    Awesome info! Thanks for Sparking! My "maintainence" has been similar to yours just on a smaller scale. I have learned sooo much from you and so many Sparkers that maintainence can be a tricky but doable thing. We have to do what ever it takes for how ever long it takes and often that changes in the process! Keep up your rhythm... emoticon

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CARRIE1948 3/7/2014 12:44PM

    I'm still waiting until the day food is a pill I take several times a day and I don't have to waste so much time thinking about it

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WOMANWITHGRIT 3/4/2014 12:21AM

    Thank you, Don, for your comment to my blog and your clarity about tracking and the clear necessity for it. Yes - obsessive to some but essential for me.

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/3/2014 7:13AM

    Very good point. I know you will make it back to goal - you are a very determined individual.

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CHANGE4FIT 3/2/2014 11:08PM

    Excellent perspective as always. I was recently preparing a weight management test for the Cardiac rehab staff at our facility. This involved article review and I had chosen an ADA article. One of the key points in the evidence is that weight loss and maintenance does not happen with increased activity alone-dietary management is an even more critical piece of the puzzle than activity. Always good to have the evidence to reinforce the habit. I am a self identified OCD sort, so tracking fits my preferences. I also find it fascinating to explore the distribution of nutrients in daily intake and look for opportunities to improve my choices as they relate to potassium, magnesium, calcium and sodium-it is a challenge to create balance-one I enjoy working on!

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IRISHF 3/2/2014 8:27PM

    DogLady13 sent me over here to read your post, and I'm so glad she did. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I agree 100%. It's nice to consider that tracking (which is the only thing that works for me) is normal in our reality.

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EDDYMEESE 3/1/2014 11:21PM

    Very true. Nobody questions an alcoholic having to go to AA for the rest of his/her life to be able to maintain. For some of us, continuing to be mindful of what goes in our body will be the only way to maintain.

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VALERIEMAHA 3/1/2014 4:53PM

    Love this reflective and informative blog, Don. OUTSTANDING! And I also enjoyed everyone's comments. Thanks for bringing us along on this journey.
emoticon
Maha

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SLENDERELLA61 3/1/2014 3:43PM

    Thanks so much, Don, for your contributions to the At Goal and Maintaining Plus Team. Thanks for your contributions to SparkPeople. Love your perspective and your openness. We all benefit when we share such observations and experiences. -Marsha

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KANOE10 3/1/2014 3:25PM

    I have no doubt that you will stay in that 5 % who keep their weight off. Tracking is a good obsession as evidenced by the successful maintainers at the registry. I also find that as time goes on the pounds do not go down as quickly!

Great blog.

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BECCA315 3/1/2014 3:14PM

    I'm nowhere near maintenence, but thanks for the input. Becca

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DOKEYOKEY 3/1/2014 12:21PM

    I love the quote that food is about more than eating. Agreed! Thank you for your thoughtful words here today.

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L*I*T*A* 3/1/2014 11:55AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/1/2014 11:00AM

    Yep, this seems to be what I need to do. Track and control my eating. I can choose to resent it, accept it, or embrace it.

So far, 4 years after reaching goal I'm accepting. Maybe someday I'll attain Jedi Master Maintainer status like Nell and be able to embrace it.

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NANCY- 3/1/2014 10:19AM

    Great blog!

"We are who we are and do what we must do.
The steps I must take are for me, and not for you.
Through trial and error we learn what works.
You might find what I do strange, but you do strange things too.
Everyone's needs are different.
It all about living a good life and doing what we must do. "
-Nancy-

Ok my feeble attempt at writing what was in my head. Great subject and wonderful comments. Thanks for being you.

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HIPPICHICK1 3/1/2014 7:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BABYSTEPS123 3/1/2014 7:22AM

    emoticon emoticon
Something I am beginning to understand this time around, and I think it will make all the difference!

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DOGLADY13 3/1/2014 6:29AM

    A few years ago the New York Times ran a long article in the Sunday magazine about obesity and weight loss. One of the more provocative themes was that for many people to keep their goal weight they had to track every calorie in and every calorie out. At the time I thought it was crazy but now I know it is true at least for me and my husband.

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GREENGENES 3/1/2014 12:52AM

    Well said!

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PATRICIAAK 3/1/2014 12:08AM

    fabulous perspective.
It gives me insight as to why I have 'stalled' for so long.
Thanks.
I clicked 'like' in hopes it becomes a 'featured blog'.

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ALIIDA 2/28/2014 10:29PM

    Thank you for this enormously helpful blog. I was startled to read on the link that maintainers do an average of an hour of exercise a day. I thought an average of half an hour was a decent minimum. I'll be re-thinking that!

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WATERMELLEN 2/28/2014 9:48PM

    Addiction to the approval of others -- the most insidious addiction of all. And truly I DO NOT CARE if people think I'm obsessive about planning and tracking my food, eating pretty much the same soups and salads day after day, or refusing to base my entire social life around eating on other people's terms. This is what I need to do to be healthy, and I'm intending to do it for the rest of my life. I can be and am quiet and unobtrusive and non-obsessive about it, so long as nobody else feels the need to draw attention to it, tell me it's unnecessary or pressure me to eat what I don't want.

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Ablating We Will Go!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Well my "electrician" or more formally, electrophysiologist got right down to business and scheduled me for my cardiac ablation next week! I'm pleased to get going on this and am hopeful that I'll be putting this behind me so that I can hit the roads on my bike this year just like any other!

The way that I understand the procedure is that he will be zapping (with a radiofrequency catheter up through the groin) the electrical current in my heart to see if it restores a proper rhythm...if that doesn't work he'll zap the node which controls the electrical current...probably Sinus (SA) node in the right atrium. If he fries the node it'll mean installation of pacemaker to replace the node and to restore proper cardiac rhythm.

I'm really okay with this as I've read enough to know that a pacemaker isn't gonna slow me down any and it isn't all that invasive. I asked how this condition could have developed and he's pretty confident that it's leftover baggage and consequences from my morbidly obese days when I had congestive heart failure...one never knows how bad choices can come back to haunt yet again!

While there are risks with any surgical procedure, it's a pretty easy choice to make in moving ahead with this as: if this condition isn't treated my atriums will continue to malfunction: not emptying completely, nor filling completely. This results in a pooling of blood in my heart which places me at risk for clotting and strokes and requires anti-coagulant medications...which present a risk of their own. Additionally this condition results in my feeling more fatigue than I ought to feel due to the improper functioning of my heart.

Restoring proper rhythm to my heart will eliminate all of these problems.

Yep, there are going to be further tweaks and possible complications but I'm pretty confident that the path I'm choosing will be the lesser of possible problems.

It's also a good thing that of the two problems I have the flutter, not the fibrillation. Per PubMed:

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9511885

"Radiofrequency catheter ablation of typical atrial flutter is highly effective and associated with a low recurrence rate of atrial flutter, but atrial fibrillation continues to be a long-term risk for patients undergoing this procedure."

Looks like it will involve at least an overnight stay, perhaps more time if pacemaker tweaking is necessary.

Ready to move on and put this behind me! Going to have a crazy-busy time getting ready at work for the time off though...!

Keep 'er SPARKING everyone! :-)

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NANCY- 3/3/2014 8:58AM

    Your "electrician"? Love your attitude. FYI my son got a pacemaker at 19, he is now 25. Swims and flirts with the girls. The pacemaker made his life better, the alternative was not.
With your attitude, You will have this situation addressed in fine fashion.
WTG on taking care of your leftover baggage.

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CHANGE4FIT 3/2/2014 11:00PM

    Hoping all goes well with your procedure and you are back on the bike by the time this winter decides to morph into spring for good.
Keeping you in thoughts and prayers spark friend!
PJ

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IRISHF 3/2/2014 8:31PM

    Good luck with your ablation. My grandmother had a pacemaker and she lived to be 90 years old with no problems and was independent.

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ALIIDA 3/1/2014 8:55AM

    All the best for your ablation. My husband had this done last week, and it worked like a charm. emoticon

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HAPPY-DESTINY 2/28/2014 2:23AM

    I do hope it all goes well for you! My heart (no pun) goes out to you.. I am with you in Spirit and mindfulness!

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YOGATIME 2/27/2014 11:54PM

    Don my friend, by now the procedure is over. Can only hope it was a grand success. Meditate on the healing energy of life and continue to sparkle!! Love and Prayers--Namaste

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SAM60SUMTHINK 2/26/2014 11:41PM

    One good thing about cardiac electricians is that they don't dilly dally. So glad this procedure, since it's necessary, will be done so quickly! Hmmm ... and!! What wonderful timing: you'll be back training for summer rides as the weather warms up. Um.... it IS going to warm up this year, ISN'T it??

Wishing you speedy return to normal biking capacity!!
Keep us posted; as the comments reflect: your friends care.

Comment edited on: 2/26/2014 11:41:44 PM

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RAINBOWFALLS 2/26/2014 8:17AM

    I am glad to hear you are so positive going forward with this procedure. I hope all works out with the best results for you. Take care emoticon

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_LINDA 2/26/2014 12:53AM

    Got everything crossed that all you will need is the ablation! My thoughts will be with you! Remarkable what surgeons can do these days!

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RECREATING_ME 2/25/2014 11:15PM

    I'll keep you in my prayers, Don. I hope that the ablation alone does the trick and that you soon will be flying along on your bike!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/25/2014 9:04PM

    Those of us who have previously been overweight, and in some of our cases for decades before losing it... are very fortunate our bodies have recovered as well as they have! So take good care of yours, sounds like you have made a solid, logical decision, one that was easy to make.

I wish you many years of healthy living, with whatever assistance is needed for that heart!

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LOLA_LALA 2/25/2014 8:52PM

    "Ablating We Will Go!" emoticon Don, your sense of humor is as healthy as the proverbial horse :) We're all going to be pulling for you next week, hoping for the very best outcome from the ablation... and I have a sneaking suspicion all will be well. You sound like you're not only well-prepared work-wise, and also information-wise, too. May I recommend toting in "Brasileiro" on your mp3 device - I found it so comforting when I had some surgery back in '98! A fellow who appreciates great rhythm as much as you do deserves nothing but A-OK (boy, I'm dating myself with THAT expression!) cardiac rhythm, too - especially when it means the restoration of a lot of the energy you've lost via fatigue.

Having look at the link you provided and some of the other jumping-off links on that article, the fact that you've got flutter rather than fibrillation also sounds like good reason for optimism. The stats look very much on your side.

Think how great it's going to be once you're over this temporary obstacle and back on that 'cycle again this summer! Won't that be great? That's where I see you! Meanwhile, you sound positive and strong as you enter this unfamiliar territory. I'll be so anxious to hear how well you're doing post-procedure!

All the best - Susan emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 2/25/2014 8:33PM

    You have a confident and thorough understanding of your situation and have made the best possible choice.

Please, however, don't drive yourself crazy at work getting everything done before you book yourself in for the ablation!! No way!! If it doesn't get done, I'm betting either one of your colleagues will pick up the slack or . . . it can wait!!

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KANOE10 2/25/2014 5:59PM

    You sound well prepared and knowledgeable about the procedure. It sounds like a good solution. I am keeping you in my prayers and hoping that the ablatement goes well. Hugs.

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THINFITFEMINIST 2/25/2014 4:11PM

    You are going into this procedure well informed. That is good.

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HIPPICHICK1 2/25/2014 3:30PM

    Sounds like you are prepped and ready!
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L*I*T*A* 2/25/2014 3:05PM

    praying all will go well........
all the best.......
blessings and hugs.......lita

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VALERIEMAHA 2/25/2014 2:47PM

    Thanks for bringing us "on-board." As procedures go, it sounds relatively safe and full-proof (between the alternatives).

I have no doubt that you will come through with FLYING COLORS!
emoticon
Maha


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PATRICIAAK 2/25/2014 1:57PM

    You're right. I'd make the same choice.
Praying all goes well.

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STRIVERONE 2/25/2014 1:41PM

    Don, I'm looking forward to hearing this is all squared away and we get to hang out on a few rides come spring.
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Comment edited on: 2/25/2014 1:42:20 PM

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HILLSLUG98239 2/25/2014 1:35PM

    I'm delighted to read your positive take on things. Pessimists may get better laugh lines, but us PollyAnna types heal faster!

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COMMIT2BFIT4ME 2/25/2014 1:11PM

    You have such a good attitude and positive mental outlook. Keep moving forward in maintaining a healthy life. You obviously have become very skilled and mastered the art of making adjustments as life unfolds. Keeping you in my prayers and sending positive energy your way.


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SLIMMERJESSE 2/25/2014 12:54PM

    I'll keep sending you positive energy from my corner of the world in CA, Don.

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LPRUNWALK 2/25/2014 12:45PM

    Wow, I had no idea you were going through this. Your positive, 'get 'er done' attitude and your passionate dedication to your own health will undoubtedly serve you well. I will be eagerly awaiting news.

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LKG9999 2/25/2014 12:43PM

    Good luck with the ablatement. Fingers crossed that's all you'll need!

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Nordic Swing Dance!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Sometimes a workout is just that: a WORK out! It just doesn't come easy and it just doesn't crank up those endorphins the way one would like.

This morning was one of those mornings. The old upper body ST moves just weren't happening without a lotta OOF and there were no new increments of weight added...just the same-old, same-old. So after almost an hour of that I move on to Spinning Class for an hour. But again it just wasn't happening. I was going through the motions but none of the tunes grabbed me the way they sometimes do. You know: when the rhythm of the music is right in sync with your pedaling or even better, inspires you to pedal harder?

So after a "meh" morning at the fitness center, feeling like my tank was running lower than it should and thinking about my heart, I head out to the car and WOW:

The great outdoors were beckoning! Clear blue skies, sunshine and mid-40's! Within a couple of days we are in for more frigid single digits and below weather: This was clearly a day to savor and treasure!

Although I wondered about tossing another workout on top of two that were already so-so I simply could not let this day pass without taking advantage of it!

Off to Otsiningo Park I go and pull out my Nordic Poles which had been gathering FAR too much dust, put on my mp3 player and I'm OFF to the trails! It was utterly the smartest thing I have done for myself in a while! I was just enthralled with my music, the weather, the trails busy with families, couples, joggers, kids on bikes and moving my body felt just WONDERFUL! I was non-stop smiles and at times even chuckling and chortling with inner dialogue such as:

My inner critic: "You're gonna PAY for this with all sorts of aches and pains!"

Me: "PAY?!? If what I'm doing is COSTING me I'll gladly hand over my wallet! There isn't any pill, potion or magic that can do any more for me than what I am doing right now!"

The shuffle on my mp3 player was in rare form, first serving up a couple of Sergio Mendes tunes, the first from my very favorite album of his:

Brasileiro - Magalenha
www.youtube.com/watch?v=stYJkLlNmsY

Sergio Mendes, Encanto - Odo-Ya (be forewarned...these two albums of Sergio's will get you up and MOVIN' to the GROOVIN'!)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnTyikc7aqk

Marcus Roberts - Cherokee: Virtuosic boogie woogie! You've never heard two hands have more fun than this!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7Yp32vmMfw

The Who Live At Leeds Shakin All Over (and later Baba O'Riley!) Love the bombast and drive of The Who!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nhl83IAxpYs

Basia - Someone For Everyone (nice jazzy piece from an under-appreciated Polish singer)...couldn't find the studio version, but this live one is fun!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAAJ70TheRI

Had a nice teaser blast from the past: Sly Stone's Hot Fun in the (ahem) WINTERTIME! :-)

And I was delighted to get this recommended tune courtesy of RECREATING_ME! Pharrell Williams - Happy! Such a fun video with this one!
www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6Sxv-sUYtM

When I use the Nordic poles I try to really get *into* the stride and to remember to swivel my hips with my walk. With all the great music being served up it felt more like Nordic Swing Dance than Nordic Walking...lol! I tossed some jogging in now & then when it got a little sloppy for the poles and fjorded a few parts of the trail which were flooded over.

And yes, when it was all said & done and I finished the 5.25 mile loop I was one whupped and hurting pile of joy! Totally put thoughts of my heart on the way back burner!

Before signing off I just had to share such an inspiring talk I heard on TED TV, courtesy of our local public radio station:

Less Stuff, More Happiness:
"Writer and designer Graham Hill asks: Can having less stuff, in less room, lead to more happiness? He makes the case for taking up less space, and lays out three rules for editing your life."

This is really great wisdom, HUGELY resonated with me, and is WELL worth checking out!

new.ted.com/talks/graham_hill_less_s
tuff_more_happiness


Find and celebrate your SPARK everyone!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RECREATING_ME 2/25/2014 11:06PM

    So glad that you liked "Happy!" :)

And what a wonderful workout! Sounds very invigorating!

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VALERIEMAHA 2/25/2014 7:50AM

    HOW INSPIRING!

FYI:
http://www.capitalfm.com/artist
s/pharrell-williams/news/oscars
-2014-nomination/
emoticon
Maha

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SAM60SUMTHINK 2/23/2014 10:07PM

    What a fantastic day, Don!
..and I totally enjoyed all the links; I just added Basia to the growing list of artist whose CD's or downloads I would like to get!!




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L*I*T*A* 2/23/2014 11:51AM

    emoticon emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 2/23/2014 11:01AM

    Great TED talk! Thanks for posting the link.

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KANOE10 2/23/2014 8:28AM

    I have had those blah workouts also. You found such joy in your nordic dance trek. Thanks for sharing the music and the talk. I have always loved Sergio Mendez.


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WATERMELLEN 2/23/2014 7:47AM

    So delighted to hear about your Nordic Swing Dance!! There is nothing getting into that zen zone of exercise when all worries recede into the far distance: good for you for persisting until you found what you needed.

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PATRICIAAK 2/22/2014 11:46PM

    great that you did the outdoors

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CHANGE4FIT 2/22/2014 10:47PM

    Will have to hunt that TED down-always a good talk!
It was down right balmy in the south today-mid 60s, sunny and a light breeze. I got out on my favorite "trail" and stomped out five miles with my favorite play list! Great day for walking-nordic or not~LOL

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SLIMMERJESSE 2/22/2014 9:04PM

    I have been clearing for awhile now and can honestly say it is a very freeing feeling. The lightness of being, so to speak.

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_LINDA 2/22/2014 8:57PM

    emoticon
Nothing, absolutely nothing beats getting outside and enjoying a rousing musical led work out! Great work, great tunes and thanks for the links!!
So getting cabin fever here -back in the deep freeze. Will have to live vicariously through my Spark friend's adventures!

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LPRUNWALK 2/22/2014 8:55PM

    So good to see you feeling high on life! Third time was the charm.
LP

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/22/2014 8:29PM

    emoticon And may your muscles "eventually" forgive you for feeding your soul! A day well lived... if one thing's not doing it, but another beckons... go for it.

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LOLA_LALA 2/22/2014 7:53PM

    Rock ON, fine dude!!!

It's not every day I feel utterly compelled to click the "I liked this blog" button, but I couldn't pass it up after reading this energizing, uplifting, rock 'em, sock 'em entry! emoticon Plus, there's something more than a wee tad global about groovin' on primo Sergio Mendes cuts while endorphin-cranking with Nordic poles and hence, your one-of-a-kind invention of NORDIC SWING DANCE!

Awright, so I'm an old (read: ancient) fan of Sergio's from his '66 beginnings. He's my fave Brazilian artist of all time, and Brasileiro and Encanto are the two well-worn albums which, fortunately, can now rest in degradation-proof perpetuity on my iPod.

YOU KNOW YOUR MUSIC, MY FRIEND! Love Baba O'Riley, too, as a truly unique energizer. Listen...with your kinda tunes and creativity, I'll be one of the first to sign up for your next Nordic Swing Dance class. Just show us the dotted line...and meanwhile, carry on! Loved this entry!

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THINFITFEMINIST 2/22/2014 7:36PM

    What a beautiful blog!

Question: Have you looked into Eat To Live as an eating program? Very well documented that it does wonders not only for weight loss, general health and bodily healing, but also specifically for the heart.

I didn't go to your page before asking this. Perhaps you know of it already.

Keep up the spontaneous method of exercise. It was such a joy to read about. Thank you.

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FERRETLOVER1 2/22/2014 7:07PM

    emoticon

It's so great that you were able to enjoy the wonderful weather and experience such an exercise high! You rock, Don!

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Finally: Down To New Weight Loss Low for 2014!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Beginning in January I've been on a zero-sugar, zero-grain approach and for the heckuvit I've been trying what some refer to as an intermittent fasting where I only eat from noon until 8-9 pm and leave myself food-free for around 16 hours. Keeping calories around 1400-1600 a day.

During the first few weeks BAM! I dropped 20 pounds. I was thrilled, but I knew it wouldn't last...but but but...I've been almost totally flat for Feb. following the same approach that dropped all those initial pounds. Definitely WAY frustrating! But heck...what are my options? I figure I've gotta stay the course on the zero-sugar, zero-grains...this is how I eliminate nearly ALL my trigger foods. Plus eliminating the food option from 9 pm to noon simplifies my life even more not having to contend with food during those hours...always so hectic getting out of the house first thing in the morning, I appreciate not having food get in the way, lol!

So the pounds have been zig-zagging around the 230's during February, but finally hitting 230 today felt like: all RIGHT! Being more stubborn than the pounds is gonna pay off after ALL! I'm still feeling pretty good about my unusual approach to food. I think this is going to work for the long haul with minor tweaks for maintenance. After seeing how flat my weight can be even with this low caloric range I can tell that shifting into maintenance is really going be such a minor change. There is no magic gold ring of bonus calories awaiting when I reach goal weight. Hunger and Patience will continue to be my Best Friends Forever! :-)

My experiments are truly my OWN and I don't mean to suggest this as "the solution" for ALL! We are all SO UNIQUE! We all are our own best experiments and have to tweak and learn from what works and what doesn't.

Monday I meet with my "electrician" and hope to find out more about the "re-wiring" projects he proposes to get my heart back on track. In the meantime I have resumed my nearly daily cardio regimen, albeit a smidgen of a notch down and with Spinning classes still knocking my socks off even after scaling back. This has left me with an "empty tank" and unable to pull off Swing Dance on top of my workouts over the past several weeks, which I miss.

I've updated my SparkPage to reflect current goals as I am now approaching my seventh year with our wonderful SparkFamily!

Keep the SPARK everyone!

Don

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHANGE4FIT 2/22/2014 10:41PM

    Glad to hear your intermittent fasting experiment has paid off-not only in weight loss, but as an opportunity to "find some new friends" for the journey!
PJ

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KANOE10 2/22/2014 10:15AM

    7 years on Spark and reaching 230. You are doing it! Your fasting approach works for you. I am glad you are exercising and feeling good.

I hope that electrician of yours is a good one and finds some way to help you!

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SAM60SUMTHINK 2/21/2014 3:19PM

    You've accomplished so much!; at this point, shaking things up seems a good idea... as long as you're in sync with things like DASH recommendations, just in case. A thought: haven't you been cutting down a bit on calorie-burning activities? Might be that as much as the food that slowed your rate of loss down...?

SOME grains are a good idea, though; don't you think?? Might be you could think outside the box of temptation-grains. Yikes... that sounds like I recommend eating some really gross grain you don't even like, huh? Check this out: http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutriti
onsource/what-should-you-eat/he
alth-gains-from-whole-grains/R>
Don, you are doing great. Glad you stay on top of all you do!

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LKG9999 2/21/2014 11:17AM

    I have also had great success losing weight by reducing carbs. I'm following a plan that is very similar to Ideal Protein, which eliminates all grains, simple-carb veggies like potatoes, and refined sugars. However it also initially drops the calories quite a bit, down to around 900 per day. May be just me but I wasn't making any weight-loss progress when I was consuming 1400-1600 calories/day, even with exercise. Currently I'm staying on the plan with the hopes that the reduced calories will prevent weight regain while I am so immobile.

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VALERIEMAHA 2/21/2014 7:37AM

    And the beat goes on!

"And: all best for your meeting with the 'electrician'. I'm pretty sure he's gonna tell you, 'Don, I've heard about hearts of gold, but not sure I've every actually seen one before!!'"

Yeah!
emoticon
Maha
P.S. Did you begin here in 2006, then? Me too!

Comment edited on: 2/21/2014 7:38:39 AM

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PATRICIAAK 2/21/2014 12:40AM

    What does your doctor think about the 'fasting'?

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RECREATING_ME 2/20/2014 11:40PM

    Wow - what a great commitment you have made to Sparking! 7 years is amazing!

Hoping the doctor has a good plan for you on Monday.

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MICKEYH 2/20/2014 10:47PM

    Way to go!! I am on my 4 th day of no sugar challenge. emoticon emoticon

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LOLA_LALA 2/20/2014 8:54PM

    emoticon Don! If "attitude is altitude," as they say, you're way up there in the stratosphere! We'll all be with you in spirit next Monday when you saunter off into the medical sunset to meet with the electrician (somehow, I want to call him "Dr. Zappa," but that may just because I've paid lots of visits to neurologists, and many of them, too, specialize in "wiring". Who knew I had such a "revolting" ol' body? :::groan:::)

CONGRATULATIONS
!! on those 20 pounds (wowzers!!) you lost!! I've heard that lengthy fasting period has good effects on one's health and blood tests - keep us posted. As someone who goes 28 out of every 30 days without grains or sugar, I can tell you that this allowed me to drop all my weight and right the Titanic of my formerly abysmal triglyceride/total cholesterol/crappy LDL numbers. I feel great - no weakness or blood-sugar vacillations.

We're excitedly awaiting more news, and I have a suspicion it will ultimately be very positive, Don! All the best - Susan

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THINFITFEMINIST 2/20/2014 8:01PM

    On the "flat" periods I think it simply is your body adjusting itself. I know my program does this. My weight goes down, my body fat % stays the same. My weight goes up, my body fat% goes down. Then the next day both are down. Go figure!

Congratulations! Your program sounds perfect for you.

Please let us know what goes on with the "electrician".

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_LINDA 2/20/2014 7:38PM

    emoticon emoticon
You got to go with what works for you!
Maybe you could rotate your workouts so you can include Swing Dance instead of doing the same thing all the time. Your body will appreciate the change up of routine!

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ONEKIDSMOM 2/20/2014 7:01PM

    That's some milestones, 7 years a-Sparkin'! And congrats on coming to peaceful terms with your inner stubborn. Hope that electrician gets the wiring all figured out for you, as I know how much you love your activity.

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L*I*T*A* 2/20/2014 6:43PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 2/20/2014 6:29PM

    I'm all for each of us finding what works -- and intermittent fasting (even with all the reverence accorded to breakfast) works for a whole lot of us.

Congrats to you on finding 230. Congrats on 7 years here.

And: all best for your meeting with the "electrician". I'm pretty sure he's gonna tell you, "Don, I've heard about hearts of gold, but not sure I've every actually seen one before!!"

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COMMIT2BFIT4ME 2/20/2014 1:58PM

    Congrats on 7 years and your continued successes!

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HIPPICHICK1 2/20/2014 12:18PM

    Here's to experimentation!
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WMUGRAD 2/20/2014 11:29AM

    Congrats Don!

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SKINNYPOWELL1 2/20/2014 10:59AM

    You have always been an huge inspiration to me, I enjoyed reading your blog today, keep up the good work.

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PEZMOM1 2/20/2014 10:03AM

    emoticon

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CHELERY1 2/20/2014 9:53AM

    emoticon You're inspiring!

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MAESTROSHASHA 2/20/2014 9:43AM

    Congrats on the wt loss. Even more congrats and cheers for finding out what works for you. That is always such a challenging piece to this whole puzzle. Take care :)

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SLIMMERJESSE 2/20/2014 9:28AM

    How fabulous!

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