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Another First! Thanks & Shout Out to Our SparkFamily!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thank you everyone for all of your TREMENDOUS support which pushed one of my recent blogs ("A Change in Perspective: Preparing for Maintenance") toward achieving my very first Popular Blog Post award!

It's not only a super day for this reason alone, but have notched down in another couple of ways that have me psyched as well: 1) I've crossed another big number by dropping below 220, which would be 100 pounds below where I started when joining SparkPeople in 2007 and 2) This led me to pulling out a "Large" shirt which I tried on only a few weeks ago and had barely buttoned around my belly yet already fits comfortably today...YES! Soon to kiss all the XLs goodbye and pass on to the Thrift Store!

While I'm lovin' it, I can't help but do a little head-scratching as over the past few weeks the pounds have NOT been flying. It's been a patience game for myself seeing the numbers drib, drab, zig up, zag down and just reminding myself to stay the course: ounce by ounce those pounds are gonna go!

PLUS not only have the pounds been slowing way down but with all this cardiac stuff going on my workouts have been more sparsely populated and less vigorous.

Since being unable to drive last week I have yet to get to the fitness center and relegated myself to mostly walking, jogging...yet look at these rewards I'm reaping! Go me! :-)

Such a wonderful note on which to kick off my weekend!

Thank you again everyone!

Viva la SPARK!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MCCOURTT 3/17/2014 1:41PM

    Congrad - All the way around!!! On the Blog, but more important on what you've done emoticon

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HAPPY-DESTINY 3/16/2014 11:25AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KANOE10 3/15/2014 9:45AM

    I am glad you had a popular blog. Your words are inspirational and should be read by everyone! Even though you are healing, you are still losing and are staying focused. Great job on the 100 pound loss. That is magnificent,

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/14/2014 10:14PM

    Awesome and well-deserved 'popular blog' award!
You've come a long way!!
And ALL your blogs are so full of ideas, music and inspiration!

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WATERMELLEN 3/14/2014 10:00PM

    Delighted to get that popular blog motivation: although all your blogs are popular with me! Congrats on the weight loss: those pounds have no choice but to disappear because you are sticking with the program. And: I see you've put in over 500 exercise minutes already this month, before the halfway mark. On a roll, fully committed to your heart recovery and ongoing health!!

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1CRAZYDOG 3/14/2014 8:47PM

    Awesome!!!!!! Congratulations.

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L*I*T*A* 3/14/2014 7:56PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/14/2014 7:41PM

    emoticon emoticon Slow and steady, even with little zigs and zags... and over time... LOOK AT YOU! emoticon emoticon

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PATRICIAAK 3/14/2014 7:29PM

    Congrats to an inspiring guy.
Reading your blogs gives me hope.

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TINAJANE76 3/14/2014 4:15PM

    Awesome, Don--I'm so happy for you! Enjoy the attention, your Large shirts and have a great weekend!

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_LINDA 3/14/2014 1:06PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
I too, couldn't believe you hadn't had a popular blog post until now!
Great news on the smaller size!! Weight never comes off in a straight line and its amazing you lost some with all your restrictions right now!
So keep it going, you are obviously doing something that is working for you!
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MAESTROSHASHA 3/14/2014 11:44AM

    All this accomplishment and it includes a blog post award AND a dropped clothing sizes?!?! Now that's cause for CELEBRATION! Way to go! :)

Comment edited on: 3/14/2014 11:45:12 AM

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DAISYBELL6 3/14/2014 11:38AM

    Way to go Don! I think all your posts should be Popular blog posts!

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123ELAINE456 3/14/2014 11:31AM

  Awesome Blog!!! Well Said!!! Well Done!!! You are doing Great. Keep It Up!!! You Can Do It!!! WTG!!! God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Weekend!!!

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CHANGE4FIT 3/14/2014 11:30AM

    Yay you! So glad you have had a remarkable "reboot" in so many ways. Keep on Sparkin',

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BEATLETOT 3/14/2014 11:05AM

    What the...? Your first Popular Blog? No way!!! Congratulations on everything!

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VALERIEMAHA 3/14/2014 10:31AM

    I can't believe this is just your FIRST Popular Blog Post award??? But anyway, HIP HIP HOORAY!

Just reading your ROCKIN' blog amped up my day several notches. Thanks for modeling how it's done, my friend, as you simply jump over all the obstacles and continue your journey-of-a-lifetime, to optimal wellbeing and contentment!

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ALIIDA 3/14/2014 10:21AM

    Great feeling, that, throwing out the large shirts. Well done! Very happy to hear how well you are doing. emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon

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WENWIN 3/14/2014 9:53AM

    Don...there is nothing tougher than just staying the course during the ups and downs. Congrats on all your accomplishments!!

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PEZMOM1 3/14/2014 9:44AM

    emoticon emoticon

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HIPPICHICK1 3/14/2014 9:20AM

    Perhaps you weren't eating enough? Or working out too much? Maybe? Regardless, congrats on ALL of your recent successes!!
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SLIMMERJESSE 3/14/2014 9:01AM

    So glad you're doing great.

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ANDREWMOM 3/14/2014 8:56AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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First Day of Spring!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Who cares what the calendar sez? Who cares that we're gonna get DUMPED on with another half foot of snow tomorrow?

Today was truly the first day of spring! 50+ degrees and sunshine / blue skies EVERYWHERE! A nice, teensy NSV was to decide instead of pulling my long-sleeved t-shirt down over my jeans I was going to tuck it in! I have forever pulled my shirts down, figuring somehow it hid the fat better? Silly me...! But hey, as I trim I figure I have less and less reason to be self-conscious. Tuck 'er in! :-)

I had a couple hours to myself this afternoon and knew the area I was going to be in so had some ideas before setting out on foot where I wanted to go: UP Reynolds Rd., Johnson City at least as far as the high school. I knew there would be a good, stiff uphill grade to get me pumped and running! Plus I figured the view up there would be worth the climb!

See that awesome sky?!? The hillside?!? I couldn't take in enough of it! I realized the high school was only partially up the hill and was drawn to the challenge of continuing up Reynolds Rd. to the top. When I hit the Indian Village complex I thought it looked like I was near the top so I thought 'enough of this pokey walking, why not jog to the top?'

Silly me...had been a while since I'd traveled this road...! But for some reason it felt better to shift into a jogging gait rather than walking up this hill so I held to my jog all the way up to Deyo Hill Rd. and then enjoyed a leisurely saunter back down past the high school. There was a sign for Finch Hollow Nature Center and I realized for all that I celebrate the outdoors in the 30+ years I have lived in the area I had never gone to this Nature Center. I'm overdue!

Off I went to search for Finch Hollow. Here is the route I traveled today:


Up Oakdale Road I went. I knew by the map that the Nature Center was just north of the Oakdale Mall. So I walked, walked and walked to no avail. Never saw any indication of Finch Hollow anywhere! Finally I saw signs I was leaving the village of Johnson City and figured, enough's enough...gave up and turned around re-tracing my steps back down Oakdale. After a little re-tracing I spied a yellow pipe gate padlocked shut. No sign, no nothing. But I figured it must have been the place. Highly underwhelming. Ah well. Now I knew.

So back I went taking Oakdale to Harry L and to my car. Very weary down the home stretch, having taken in 6 miles...but it was the very best sort of weary!

Now I'm ready: bring on that snow! I'll tap into my reserves of sunshine to blast my way through!


ps...hope it works, as minus the use of one arm due to limited range of motion as my pacemaker heals, snow-shoveling is going to be a challenge! :-)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SASSYCHRIS1952 3/12/2014 8:14PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_MOBII_ 3/12/2014 7:01PM

    Great picture!

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COMMIT2BFIT4ME 3/12/2014 2:35PM

    Nice blog. What a wonderful way to take advantage of a nice spring day to walk and explore this glorious world. I take advantage of free admission day once a month to walk at our local botanical gardens. It's nice to get new scenery. I am glad you feeling better.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Feeling a little jealous that I don't have nice hills to climb in my hood. Although..I bet I could find one close..thanks for the inspiration! emoticon

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L*I*T*A* 3/12/2014 11:50AM

    love bright sunny days too........
does elevate our moods....

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OUATEONE2 3/12/2014 10:20AM

    Great blog and as someone else stated, it felt like we were there with you. I feel guilty for wishing the showers would go away when it is 68 in my neck of the woods right now. Have a great day and stay away from that snow!

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HIPPICHICK1 3/12/2014 9:57AM

    That is QUITE the walk. How disappointing that the nature centre was closed. I live 4 km from a nature centre and we go there as often as possible to support it so it stays opened.
Glad to hear you enjoyed the day to the fullest!

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WATERMELLEN 3/12/2014 8:43AM

    Love the selfie, love the blue skies, love that you're feeling better and full or optimism and exuberance. But please: take it easy on the snow shovelling while you heal!! (We've got lots more forecast for today too).

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RAINBOWFALLS 3/12/2014 8:41AM

    Hopefully we will not see much snow and the weather is heading right back up so it will melt quickly. I walked yesterday and have to agree that the blue sky was gorgeous.

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BILLB000 3/12/2014 7:27AM

    Allowing the sunshine to help you thru the next few days makes so much sense. You bring up so many positives in your blog that one feels inspired.
Thanks for the blog.

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FERRETLOVER1 3/12/2014 7:09AM

    I love that you took advantage of the great weather! I love your positivity! I am just so beaten down by all this snow and freezing cold weather - it's really doing a number on my attitude - so thank you very much for reminding me to enjoy the moment!

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    I think you should forego the snow shoveling Don. Hire someone to do it while you heal.

You went for a fabulous walk/run and I'm amazed you can do this already.

Do you feel any different with the pace maker? What shoes are you wearing when you do your trek?

What is your average for steps/miles per day?

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123ELAINE456 3/12/2014 1:10AM

  Awesome Blog!!! I'm glad that you had a Wonderful time out on such a Beautiful Day as you had where you lived. Be careful and don't overdue it with your arm though. God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.

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PATRICIAAK 3/11/2014 11:18PM

    I felt like I was walking with you.

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/11/2014 10:58PM

    Funny how we go here, there and everywhere EXCEPT to explore the very things that tourists visit when they come to our areas! Glad you did your 6-mile walk/jog. Fantastic walk on a glorious day!! And!!
You tucked in the shirt!!

So the question must be: what other local haunts await your exploration in the coming weeks (after you figure out what to do with the snow..)? Maybe some indoor historic site that you pass by without noticing?

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 3/11/2014 10:46PM

    Isn't it incredible how much energy we have on bright, sunny days? Glad you enjoyed it while you've got it. I think there's more winter in store for some of us.

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LOLA_LALA 3/11/2014 10:42PM

    DON! How exuberantly you're springin' right into spring! emoticon I'll have to go check out your route once I'm done gabbing here. You look like the picture of great health! And all...that...GROUND you covered - wow! Flat on my can just trying to wrap my noggin around that kind o' mileage :)

Our weather down here in northern VA is a wee tad warmer than yours, but with the same pattern - a nosedive in the temperature on Thursday, with possibly even some weird "stuff" like a tornado warning or two (!). March is a capricious month here, weather-wise, but we usually have a good deal less snow than you do. I'm concerned about the prospect of you shoveling snow right now (yeah, I know I must sound like a nagging sister! :) I worry about that healing tissue around the pacemaker... You be careful, and listen, hire a neighborhood kid to do that shoveling if need be. No reason for you to risk all the gains you've made. "Gains" - did I say "gains"? Congratulations on your LOSS - that golden moment when we can tuck a shirt in and feel just fine about it - bravo!! emoticon

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STRIVERONE 3/11/2014 10:37PM

    I had to enjoy the best day in recent memory for an outdoor stroll vicariously through your blog. We spent it traveling to Middletown so Judith could be tortured by a periodontist.

I'd do the bare minimum with that snow. It's going to melt anyway.

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1CRAZYDOG 3/11/2014 10:17PM

    OH boy, hope that you don't get dumped on! The weather is so weird! Glad you got out. Take care of YOU!

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HAPPY-DESTINY 3/11/2014 10:17PM

    Oh my! I drove the same route you ran! I was there Saturday !

We are so close to each other . . we need to meet up sometime! I am NOT a runner though nor a jogger! I do have my bike though! emoticon

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/11/2014 10:15PM

    Memories! Thanks for them!

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Breathing In & Breathing Out...

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Sending a big shout out of appreciation and thanks to everyone for your support on my last blog! Took you all "with" me on my latest medical journey which went very smoothly.

The ablation was completed Thursday, bumping my HR back up to 55-60, however due to my heart still dropping beats it was going to be pacemaker time after all. I was relieved as I figured I'd only likely have to return within the near future to have it done. One twofer special coming right up!

So Friday they wheeled me in for the amazingly quick procedure! Like rolling into an auto shop with all the spare parts lined up along the wall 15-20 mins and back in my room floating on a Fentanyl fog. I got a Medtronic dual chamber MRI compatible pacemaker and then it was off to la-la land...

The intersection of medicine & technology is an amazing thing to behold. I feel a little bit like RoboCop or Ironman, lol. It's one thing to hear about it but quite another to being the recipient of such wizardry!

I was in a limbo room at hospital probably for insurance reasons plus there were no empty beds and the place was filled to gills. So this meant little privacy, curtains for walls and no place to shower. Sink scrubbing time! I am drawing a hot soak in the tub immediately after posting this blog! :-)

One very smart thing I did was to download a most delightful book "Spokesongs" by Willie Weir:


Reading his humorous, insightful encounters while traveling through amazing places such as India and South Africa on his bicycle really took me away from the hospital so delightfully! I highly recommend him to anyone into cycling and humanity. He has such a way about him! I can relate to some of his style, sorta feels like me, except he is WAY more bold and willing to outside his comfort zone than I ever have been, with SUCH rewards! I'm so envious!

I'll be following up with the arrhythmia center to get hooked up with a box that will "beam me up Scottie" and wirelessly transmit info on my pacemaker functioning to the manufacturer while I sleep to be sure everything's running okay.

Still not hearing what the deal is regarding anti-coagulants and the possibility of discontinuing them later.

One little surprise I found out almost as I was leaving I was informed that I was not to drive for TWO WEEKS! That dropped my jaw! That'll mean no work or private practice. I've got boatloads of time to take, but hate the thought of leaving colleagues in the lurch for so long. Going to see if I can have this "amended"...

I had been spoken to by nobody all day long on Friday after having the pacemaker put in first thing in the morning. Finally I pinned down a nurse who, while she didn't have the answers re: my concerns about lifestyle changes, precautions, etc. living with a pacemaker, she did give me a helpful booklet but what was SO cool was that she introduced me to another hospital employee whom my doctor spotted as having the same problem as I have w/ atrial flutter & he did her pacemaker too. She's been using it for ten years with one replacement which she said wasn't a big deal.

So temporarily I have to be careful about lifting, pushing, pulling with my left arm while the tissue around the pacemaker heals to properly "hold" it in place. After that? Not really too much to worry about: avoid being scanned @ airports and other electronic scanners. Microwaves are no problem. My pacemaker is MRI compatible should I ever need one. I have to be careful to avoid any sudden impact around the pacemaker which is below my left clavicle and if anything DOES impact it to seek help.

This gal was clearly full of energy and buzzing 'round the hospital doing her thing...very friendly and supportive.

So upon getting home on a sorta sunny, mid-40 degree day whatza guy to do? Get those stir-crazy legs out walking and soaking up the outdoors which I'd been walled off from for the past few days! :-)

Although the song "The Waters Of March" didn't pop up on my music while walking, I couldn't help but think of it as an antedote to all the information overload I've been experiencing. Love the lyrics which seem to say "look around you, take in your world, breathe in, breathe out, celebrate life and living!"

A stick, a stone, it's the end of the road
It's the rest of a stump, it's a little alone
It's a sliver of glass, it is life, it's the sun
It is night, it is death, it's a trap, it's a gun

The oak when it blooms, a fox in the brush
The knot in the wood, the song of a thrush
The will of the wind, a cliff, a fall
A scratch, a lump, it is nothing at all

It's the wind blowing free, it's the end of the slope
It's a beam, it's a void, it's a hunch, it's a hope
And the river bank talks of the waters of March
It's the end of the strain, it's the joy in your heart

And although the song, written by maestro Antonio Carlos Jobim is wonderful to hear it performed by himself and so many others, I'll share again my favorite version in honor and memory of the great Oscar Castro-Neves who sadly passed away last year:


Now this Stevie Wonder song DID pop up while walking and gives me a very similar lift:


as did this one too:


and fittingly near the end of my 2.5 mile walk came this song reminding me to let everything go and just take in the world and BREATHE:


I'll close with a rare thing: a selfie...just don't DO selfies! But here are a few from the bridge on my walk...

And here's a cock-eyed pic with the fishing access behind me from where our local bike club has met and launched many a glorious ride!

The saga will continue, but for right now I'm checking out. I have a long hot soak in the tub waiting for me! :-)


ps...here's a great pic of a number of our bike club members used in conjunction with some great local news!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CELIAMINER 3/13/2014 1:50PM

    Wow, I haven't been keeping up, so I had no idea you were having ablation performed! Glad it went well, and thanks for the flowers goodie!

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ALIIDA 3/10/2014 10:40AM

    Hubby has been asking about you. (He had an ablation on Valentine's Day and a stent placed ten days ago.) I'm so happy I can report how well you're doing. emoticon emoticon

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GR8CATSBY 3/9/2014 8:09PM

    Welcome home! Glad things went smoothly!!!

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CHANGE4FIT 3/9/2014 6:58PM

    Glad this adventure is done! Hoping all continues on a positive path and "the beat goes on".

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_MOBII_ 3/9/2014 6:17PM

    I am so happy you are all better! And if you have to be a super hero, Ironman is the way to go!

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DAISYBELL6 3/9/2014 2:06PM

    I'm so glad your procedures went well and that they are over for now.


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DOUGDC 3/9/2014 2:03PM

    Glad to hear things are going well and that you are comfortable. An example where current day medicine is working well! Best always.

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L*I*T*A* 3/9/2014 1:10PM

    listen to your drs about the 2 weeks off!!!

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HIPPICHICK1 3/9/2014 12:40PM

    Glad you are all put back together and functioning! Walk on Don, walk on.
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OUATEONE2 3/9/2014 12:11PM

    emoticon best wishes for your quick recovery and return to normal activities.

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ZELLAZM 3/9/2014 8:50AM

    I'm so happy everything went well for you, Don! How great that you got to talk to someone who could give you a firsthand testimonial about your new hardware! And thanks for the playlist suggestions. I will think of/pray for you when I listen to these!

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KANOE10 3/9/2014 8:27AM

    I am so glad your surgery went well. You have bounced back and are walking and listening to great music. I am very happy for you.


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RAINBOWFALLS 3/9/2014 8:12AM

    I am so glad to hear that you are out and about already. Be careful and let yourself heal. Take care

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    Wow, Don, you got the job done! No biggie on getting a pacemaker in anymore is there? Of course I still wouldn't want to do it myself. Luckily my ticker is still ticking fine and probably will be until I succumb to too much fun with a cabana boy. LOL

Glad you are up and about and already exercising! Wow! I think I would have gone in for some sympathy hugs from friends first. So here's yours: emoticon

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    I'm an EMT and I see a lot of patients with A-fib. I bet you're going to feel like a million bucks once you're all healed up! emoticon

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_LINDA 3/8/2014 11:44PM

    So glad this is behind you and now you must heal -do be careful and don't push it. If you can't drive for two weeks you can't! Better safe than sorry!
That is so awesome you could get out for a walk! Being able to get in a hot tub right away? Big bonus! Enjoy!
Here is to fast healing!

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123ELAINE456 3/8/2014 10:49PM

  Awesome Blog!!! Well Said. So glad that things went well for you and that you are on the road to compete recovery. God Blessings Always. Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.

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SAM60SUMTHINK 3/8/2014 10:39PM

    Wonderful! emoticon
Ok, you've not been gone long, but ... you are back!! And as good as new!
Glad you got all done in one trip, rather than all that back and forth to doctors and waiting etc etc. then readmission.

The new boxes that serve as communication center between the pacemakers and doctors/technicals are incredible; real 'beam me up, Scottie' creations. I've seen my Dad link up to the techs; they read his numbers from down in Albany or somewhere. Amazing.

The 'forced' time off will give you time to adjust, enjoy just how much better you feel with that helpful gizmo!

Thanks for sharing the links; how I enjoy your musical selections!

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LOLA_LALA 3/8/2014 10:08PM

    ...and he's BA-A-ACK!! emoticon home, Don! Wow...leave it to you to get fully outfitted with a pacemaker...and out taking a walk and sending us this glorious playlist of solid-gold goodies to enjoy! Many thanks! You look absolutely terrific, too - fit as the proverbial fiddle, just as if you and that amazing Willie Weir were actually brothers separated at birth. Glad you're up, out, and at 'em so soon and thriving! Ah, the Stevie Wonder song, "Ngiculela" - his Spanish is honey to the ears, it flows so beautifully! I played that particular album (well, they *were* albums back in the day! emoticon ) 'til it was practically transparent. The last selection was new to me, but what a honeyed voice she has. You have an appreciation for all the bestest out there emoticon

I got a kick out of your "auto parts" description of Pacemaker General Motors and was rather amazed to learn your new "machine" is safe for MRIs. I don't believe my brother's was - at least not in the beginning. His latest "installment" may be. The first pacemakers - way back in the sixties! - were the size of cigarette packs. How they've miniaturized these wonderful devices!

You know what's great about The Waters of March? The English lyrics you posted are as wonderfully lyrical as they are in both Portuguese and French! Masterful translations!

Well, "beamed-up Scottie," we sure are delighted to read this blog entry of yours! All the best as you continue to heal. I bet you'll be back at work before you can say...Ngiculela! emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 3/8/2014 9:29PM

    The joy in your heart, the joy in all of our hearts that you're OK -- look at you out walking and listening to music, taking it all in stride so to speak. Absolutely wonderful!!

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/8/2014 9:00PM

    So glad things worked out well for you, Don. Take care.

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PATRICIAAK 3/8/2014 8:56PM

    welcome to the 'bionic man' world.
glad everything went well.

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1CRAZYDOG 3/8/2014 8:54PM

    Well done. Glad that part of the journey is over for you.

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ONEKIDSMOM 3/8/2014 8:52PM

    Glad that things went smoothly. Now rest and recuperate during that two weeks of "no driving". So great that you were able to go out and walk in the sunshine so soon after, too. And a hot soak in the tub after the walk? Perfect end to your day. Rest well... you won't have too much worry over Springing forward overnight!

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STRIVERONE 3/8/2014 8:36PM

    Well Don, you've crossed that bridge, so to speak. Now you can grab the rest of 2014 and never look back.

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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:


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.



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!


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


  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.

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!

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!


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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!

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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


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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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    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:


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!


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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PREACHERLADY565 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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    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


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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!

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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

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.

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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. "

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.
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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