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Reaching out for a helping hand

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ok sparkers...I have to admit I'm struggling.
Being older, the memories of the 5Ks I used to run, the days when I was pain free, the stage of my life when I had a fulfilling career that kept me active through the day - those are my past.
I've since gained weight and although the gaining has stopped, I have had such trouble LOSING weight and trying to maintain a positive attitude about NSV like being able to complete a half marathon or getting into that smaller sized dress...
So knowing that each of you has a word of wisdom, I'm reaching out for support and motivation and hoping I can return the favor in the future...
Thanks for the listening ear. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CATIATM 5/25/2012 1:15PM

    Hmm ... I go through these periods, too. I think we need to change as much inside as we do outside to really get healthy. Keep trying!

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DUKEFAN86 5/24/2012 7:48AM

    Know that I'm thinking of you, and rooting for you! You can do this!

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SANDYDOLLAR201 5/23/2012 7:29AM

    Sorry you have been struggling.
So many of us go through it, but not so many reach out.
Just keep doing the things you know that work for you, start with one thing at a time and keep adding to it. We can't all do the things we would like to do or was able to once do, but we can keep trying.
I am here for you any time you need a shoulder, a friend or anything.

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FRANCESCANAZ 5/12/2012 8:21AM

    Like my older sister always says...Aging isn't for sissys. Everything is so much harder. Losing weight is hard. Maintaining a helathy weight is hard. Being overweight is hard. Pick your hard. emoticon I hope you will have a great & healthy summer of weight loss. We can do this...even over 50.

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REJ7777 5/12/2012 6:53AM

    I know what it's like to look back and remember when ...

But in 10 or 20 years from now, we'll look back on TODAY with the same kind of nostalgia! "If only I could be back there." Well, you are here. Make the most of every day, invest in your health, make plans and projects. Do what you CAN do.

That doesn't mean that you can't enjoy the memories of past accomplishments. Quite the opposite! But do enjoy today, the present moment, and have plans for the future. Investing in your health is ONE way of investing in your future.

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STRINGI719 5/11/2012 11:18PM

    Oh, honey, I am SO sorry! I don't feel like I have any special words of wisdom for you, but I just want to encourage you to keep on going! I know it's hard to put in the work and not see the results, but you ARE doing the right thing! You have been consistently learning so much through your Duke programs, learning about eating right and taking care of your body. Not one little bit of that is in vain! You are always trying and never giving up, and that's amazing! Plus, it's been so kind of you to share what you've learned with others.

I sure hope you get a lot of amazing tips and new motivation. You are a beautiful and beloved creation, and you are worthy of health & happiness.

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ANDI571 5/11/2012 8:47PM

    Oh the joys of being older, right? I have never run marathons, but do remember the day when I could start eating right and the weight would come right off. I also remember the days when I could cheat and 2 pounds wouldn't pop back on.

I have found the past is a memory to be cherished, as is today. I had to tweak, then tweak some more, not only food intake, but the mental aspect, and slowly but surely the weight came off in slow increments. I should have been at goal ages ago, but that last couple of pounds wants to stay. But that's ok. I just keep trudging along and it will get there. I did hit it for about a day. That let me know it was achievable.

I have found, I have to measure and track everyday. If I don't, it doesn't come off. I also had to find an exercise that I didn't mind doing. I bought a little stationary bike at Walmart. It's one of those that you can sit in a chair and do. When I first got it, I struggled to get 10 minutes in. I now do it 30 minutes almost every night. I even sewed a pad to it so I could lay in the floor and pedal during my shows. I was a bit embarrassed when I first started because of everyone on here that runs and exercises like crazy. But you know what? I got into almost all of my smaller shorts this summer. So it must be working.

What ever you do, don't give up. Take others stories and apply them, but not necessarily abide by them. We are all different, and what clicks for one, may not click for another. When I first started two years ago, I thought I needed to run because so many of my Spark Friends were running. I didn't like to run when I was a kid, why would I now. I had to figure out that it was ok. It was the same with my eating. I had to find the food that I knew I would be satisfied with.

You can do it. Just let yesterday be your good memories, and then make more good memories out of today.

Don't let that .25 or .50 losses discourage. They soon add up. You won't regret them once they add up to goal.

Comment edited on: 5/11/2012 8:48:19 PM

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ONEKIDSMOM 5/11/2012 7:17PM

    emoticon emoticon I'll try not to give you tons of words, but know that there are lots of kind, supportive, encouraging thoughts headed your way. Hang in there! It must be frustrating to remember times of higher levels of activity (I know I've been in that spot, feeling imprisoned by current circumstances). BUT you're here, you're reaching out... and your buds all know it takes time and patience to let the process work.

You may be struggling, but you shall overcome. emoticon You are WORTH IT!

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DOTTIEJANE1 5/11/2012 6:18PM

    Sorry you are having a hard time. SOOOOOO thankful that you let us know so we can cheer you on to VICTORY .One step at a time ,drink water, measure food .It is sad when we can not do what we have done before in by gone days BUT there are so many thing we can do and have not tried. I know you can do this YOU HAVE . WISHING YOU SUCCESS !!

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KARENA228 5/11/2012 5:56PM

    Hello my friend,

I'm sorry you're having a difficult time, I am too and I totally understand your frustration.

Like everybody else here already stated, you took a great step in reaching out for support.

I don't have much to offer in terms of advice but i'll quote me " I just keep trying". A little is better than none and even if the weight (lbs) doesn't drop the way you'd like it to, you're still getting fitter and eventually all the pieces will come together (that's what i keep hoping for).


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JUNEPA 5/11/2012 4:00PM

    There will always be highs and lows. Make a plan and baby step forward, gradually you will gather momentum. Do you have a friend to be accountable to or to work out with? Human encouragement is good for the soul
I can be your buddy if you like, you and Natplummer helped me get going again in January

Comment edited on: 5/11/2012 4:22:57 PM

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BEFIT014 5/11/2012 3:30PM

    DECIDE--on a course of action. Start by taking baby steps. Do only what you CAN do.
COMMIT--to your course of action.
SUCCEED--and you WILL succeed!

I'm sorry that you're in pain--I know that has to be difficult.

You've made a big step just by reaching out.

I'll keep you in my thoughts & prayers, my friend!

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SETAGOAL1 5/11/2012 3:10PM

    You have not given up on yourself. You now know you are the only one that can make it happen for you.

You have the power to succeed or fail.

You have chosen to succeed.

Few baby steps complete a long journey

Writing is progress!!!

Way to Go My Sparkfriend emoticon

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BOGUSANNIE 5/11/2012 2:51PM

    I am sorry for your struggling...the road can be rough some times can't it? I don't have much advice to offer, other than to sick down, with yourself, and write down all the positive things you are doing and things you want to do...start small and it will give you momentum...
emoticon emoticon

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JEN_BACK2BASICS 5/11/2012 1:55PM

    I'm sorry you are struggling, but I'm so proud of you for putting it out there and asking for help. This is a tough journey, and going it alone makes it so much tougher. We're here for you! I will tell you my story, and hopefully you'll find it helpful.

Last year I gained back 35 of the 50 pounds I had lost. I had injured my knee, and just getting out of bed was painful. The pain affected every moment of every day, and I got depressed. The weight started piling on. After my surgery, I was apathetic about getting back to where I was before the injury. I didn't do my rehab, I didn't eat healthy, I just sat on the couch. Just me and my big old pity party. My surgeon noticed my weight gain and said I was just exasperating the situation and the extra pressure on my joints was making the pain worse. (So that's key point #1.)

But I didn't care. Or rather, I cared so much I cried about it every day, but didn't bother to do anything about it. The depression overtook my world, and I didn't know how to get myself out of it. So I asked for help. (Key point #2, one you have already done. Yay!)

Since I wasn't doing my rehab exercises or any cardio on my own, I decided that I better get somebody to force me to do it. I hired a personal trainer and forked over a semester's worth of tuition money. I sacrificed my graduation date for my health. That was on January 29. At first, I just showed up and the trainer made me do stuff. I was disgusted with the amount of fitness I had lost, and my inability to do things that I used to be able to do (like half marathons and sprint triathlons). The trainer sympathized, but told me that I needed to stop dwelling on the past and just focus on regaining my health. (Key point #3.)

After just two weeks of three sessions each, I had regained enough fitness and self-worth to start getting excited about my sessions. I also stopped gaining, and the pain in my knee started to abate. After four weeks, I started to lose weight. It's now about 3.5 months after that first training session. I've lost 15 pounds, am pain-free most of the time (just little twinges now and then), and my self-esteem has sky-rocketed. Even though I haven't relost all of the weight, my fitness levels have returned to their pre-injury state and then some. I have hit personal bests in both running and swimming, and recently began training for a sprint triathlon.

So, and this is my last key point, just start. Fight through the pain if you have to (but don't do anything that will make matters worse!), and over time, things will improve. You may find they improve faster than you ever imagined, which will leave you wondering why you waited so long to get started!

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CHLOE453 5/11/2012 1:28PM

    Well I not sure if I have any real words of wisdom since I am struggling also, however I personally have found that taking baby steps is working for me. Each week I incorporate something new such as more water, more exercise, more Spark time, etc... The weight is slowly starting to come off and I am looking forward to logging in those fitness minutes along with my food intake. Whatever you find works for you....GOOD LUCK, I know that we can do this.

Hugs~~Kelly emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HAPPYSOUL91 5/11/2012 1:25PM

    Being older myself and w/bad back and knees I know what you are going through. But, we can't live in the past, no one does, we must look toward our future.

Losing weight is a struggle when you are unable to exercise as you did but you can still do something. Ok, it takes forever, however what choice do we have? Concentrate on what you can do, what you eat, how you view your day. Mix it up, try something you haven't done, push yourself. Add visuals: put a happy smile on your calendar each day you exercise, put another for making good food choices. Just know you are taking care of yourself.

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PATTIE441 5/11/2012 1:24PM

    Oh my friend! I am so sorry you are struggling. I totally feel your pain. I had gained over 20 pounds or more over the holidays, and I was just not losing. But, something in me, just clicked, and I was more determined than ever to start it up again and do it. I started out slow and just pushed myself forward. I also find this from one of my old blogs, that helped pick me up. I hope it helps, my dear. Thinking of you and if you want to sparkmail me also, we can think of a few things. We can do it!!
You Can Do Anything
You Believe You Can

Just start somewhere. Resolve to do something.
You might even write out what you want to
accomplish. Then explore what you need to do to
reach you goal, and start doing it, step by step.
It's the same as if you were planning a trip: you
get a map, make your preparations, and then start
traveling the right road.

Don't get "bound up" in any problems that stand
in your way. Do something every day to resolve
them. Trust your instincts. Do one thing at a time.

Remember... if you sow seeds of fear, doubt, panic,
and procrastination, it will most likely work against
you. If you keep doing the same things you're
doing now, you will keep ending up in similar
places to where you are now.

Once you start making progress towards your goal,
you will be magically propelled towards eventual
reward. Just keep listening and taking direction
from inside you. Be patient; your dreams will not
come true overnight. But start now, and go with
love and courage and confidence. Don't be afraid.
You can do anything you believe you can. And
don't forget to keep an open mind and heart to
check yourself along the way.

You can do it! Go for it, and good luck.

~ Donna Fargo ~ emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KLONG8 5/11/2012 1:20PM

    First of all, the fact that you are here and that you've stopped the weight gain train is tremendous! It's HARD to stop that process, you have a lot of company there that knows you've made a good start.

I also can identify with being older and things you used to do without a care in the world are no longer options and that's tough to deal with. My thing? I can't run any more. And I used to count on that big time to keep my weight down.

But since I've been on SP I've gotten more in control. When I struggle or plateau I don't panic anymore. I just realize I have to get down to business. And business is pretty straight forward. I need to measure my foods to make sure I'm not trying to fool myself (the body always knows even if I don't), I need to communicate with the SP universe (just like you're doing now), I need to have a plan to help me when I eat in restaurants, I need to come up with exercise that I can physically handle AND that I like enough to do consistently. That's about it.

Yes, we can stray, yes the scale can not cooperate. But if I consistently do the majority of those things I wll lose weight. Slowly in my case because I gained this weight slowly, but it will come off.

So congratulations for getting a great start and I'm rooting for you to get that scale moving downward in the near future. emoticon

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Plan for SparkStreak - Day 1

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm now officially a member of the gym again.
Today starts a new SparkStreak. TODAY. NOT TOMORROW.

Here is the plan.

Monday - Weigh in, FITN assessment on elliptical weekly
Cardio. Lower body weight training (LB wts), stretch

Tues - Cardio & Circuit training class, Upper body weights (UB wts), stretch

Wed - Core training, stretch

Thurs - Cardio & Circuit training class, LB wts, stretch

Fri - Core, stretch. Occassional yoga.

Sat - Galloway running group, UB wts, stretch

Sun - Core, stretch

15 miles weekly
1000 fitness minutes monthly

I am trying to visualize the transformation in 1, 2, & 3 months
and will reassess progress each month.
Hoping to lose a pound weekly.

Thanks for your support! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADELCASALE 5/10/2012 10:12PM

    That pic is a great visual. Cheering you on!

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CATIATM 5/6/2012 12:25AM

    I love that image! It's a great reminder of what we're working towards. How's the streak going? emoticon

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KALISWALKER 4/27/2012 10:28PM

    Great to hear you joined the gym!

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-LINDA_S 4/27/2012 6:51PM

    Wow, you really have a plan! Best of luck for your success!


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PATTIE441 4/26/2012 10:59PM

    Wow! You go girl! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CASSIOEPIA 4/26/2012 9:26PM

    Love the picture of fat vs muscle - I've never seen anything like that before.

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GETFIT2LIVE 4/26/2012 3:54PM

    Great plan--you are gonna do great! You will be amazed at the transformation as you do more strength training/weight training. It doesn't always translate into pounds on the scale, but it makes a big difference in how you look and feel both. WOO HOO!

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ABSOLUTZER0 4/26/2012 2:58PM

    Let the fun begin! GO GET IT!

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BOGUSANNIE 4/26/2012 2:52PM

    BTW...that fat is YUCKY!!!! emoticon

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BOGUSANNIE 4/26/2012 2:52PM


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AKSTACEY70 4/26/2012 2:51PM


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JUNEPA 4/26/2012 2:28PM

    You go, girl
Ambitious but do-able plan !!

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TEMPERANCE88 4/26/2012 2:21PM

    Woot woot! You can totally do it! Great plan you've got, and I know you'll keep fighting. :)

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Changing From Within - Week 6 of 8

Thursday, February 16, 2012

emoticon No, you're eyes are not deceiving you! emoticon I'm skipping weeks 4 and 5 in order to bring you the latest class, it was too good not to share! I promise to go back and fill in the missing weeks. emoticon
Week 6 was something of a breakthrough. We've been doing mindfulness exercises, mindful eating, and rating ourselves on the hunger/fullness scale. I was starting to wonder if this was going to be "successful" - after all, if it were as simple as thinking about what we eat, we would all be at a normal, healthy weight, right?
It so happened that our class fell on Valentine's Day. A special challenge for those used to romantic dinners out and boxes of chocolates to celebrate. Part of our discussion at the beginning of the class was about the difference in the expectation of a food experience and the actual food tasting. After some lively discussion, we spent a few minutes in mindfulness/meditation. Focusing on the breathing and sensations in our body is very calming and centering. It gives you a pause between thinking and action. That's where our choices lie.
After mindfulness, we reviewed the 8 tips for dealing with cravings from Week 5 (I'll get to that in a later blog).
This week we started the new information with a review of how food can't really be treated as an addictive substance because we DO need food to survive. However, we can consider some elements as addictive, and address them as needed - sweet, salty, fatty, and so forth. Think about sugar - originally, it was "hidden" or inaccessible in foods. Either it was in a fruit, or honey - which was guarded by bees and difficult to obtain! So think about treating it with respect and reducing the amounts in our diets.
We then did an exercise called the BEHAVIOR CHAIN ANALYSIS.
We listened to "Gretchen's story" - a made-up scenario about a woman dealing with every day life stressors, from her teen-aged daughter having a crisis to planning a party for her husband's business associates...bottom line, she ended up polishing off a cheesecake at the end of a difficult day!
By reviewing the series of events in her day, it opened our eyes to moments that either set her up for later "failure" or highlighted how she was not taking care of her own needs or maybe not even aware of what she was feeling or needed and how to get those needs met.
Listening to the story, it made me realize that old saying:
"It's not what you're eating, it's what's eating you."
Sometimes we turn to food when our needs are not physical hunger.
Our relationship with food can be a reflection of dysfunctional relationships with others.

Mindfulness creates a space so that we can respond rather than react to situations.
It's useful to check in with our emotional state, our physical state (hunger or not), and our mental state (are our thoughts kind or critical?)

We then went through a guided meditation.
Think about making your own plate for a meal...
Think about having a plate made for you with too much food...
Visualize yourself a year from now...
What would you feel if people comment about you a year from now?...

It was like "erasing the slate" because emotions will definitely arise when you are imagining these scenarios!

The Behavior Chain Analysis allows us to look over the series of events that lead to or result in eating for reasons OTHER than physical hunger.
If you can figure out what your TRUE NEED was in a situation, you can plan how to have those need(s) met without turning to food.

I hope this was a helpful summary for you, and I'll get weeks 4 and 5 updated before next Tuesday's class.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHANGEISGOOD 3/31/2012 10:36PM

    What a great "food for thought" blog! I especially liked the line:
"It's not what you're eating, it's what's eating you."
I will do well to keep that in mind. In fact, I might have to make a plaque with that on it to hang in my kitchen! Thanks for sharing!

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KARENA228 3/30/2012 5:16PM

    I'm just reading this...So interesting.

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SKYFYRE 3/18/2012 7:53PM

    Wow, you have been up to a lot! Keep up the great work! The mindful program sounds wonderful!

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4EVER21B 2/27/2012 3:09PM

    Wonderful insight to my own emotional eating. Thanks!

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CATIATM 2/23/2012 9:34AM

    I've been giving a lot of thought to how I respond to triggers. I don't know how to reduce the stress in my life right now, so I need to focus on managing it better. Thanks for these wise words!

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IAMDESSIE 2/19/2012 12:51AM

    Thanks for sharing!

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ADELCASALE 2/18/2012 8:15AM

    Great blog! I am interested in finding a similar class in Philadelphia. The journey is so about moving toward health on all planes - physical, emotional, psychological. I hope you are having a great weekend! emoticon

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COMPUCATHY 2/17/2012 10:19AM

    Makes perfect sense! Sounds like this was a great aha for you, too! Hope you are having a great week! Keep up the good work! Thanks for the encouragement! Spark on! emoticon

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REJ7777 2/17/2012 5:43AM

    I was gulping down a cup of green tea with lemon and ginger when I started reading your blog. Now I'm taking time to enjoy the flavors! Yum! Yum!

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KKINNEA 2/16/2012 10:20AM

    Interesting stuff - sometimes I can totally connect why I'm emotionally eating and sometimes it's more subtle.

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short blog for points

Friday, February 03, 2012

I'll get to the Changing from within update hopefully tomorrow...
I tilled my garden, although the effort was much more than the small plot I have warranted. Next year I'll just hire someone to do it for me - would take maybe ten minutes for someone with the right equipment. The time, effort, and cost today was extreme.
Will be planning what to plant over the next few weeks, waiting for our weather to have the inevitible cold freeze.
Back to walking tomorrow morning! Let's earn those fitness minutes! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADELCASALE 2/5/2012 10:50AM

    Very early on the gardening prep! Hopefully we all will get a break on the "inevitable" winter freeze! Have a great week.

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IAMDESSIE 2/4/2012 7:13PM

    WOW that was an early start on your garden. Nice way to get your exercise going. Great job!!!

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KALISWALKER 2/4/2012 4:32PM

    Hi Buddy. Good to hear you are getting your exercise. Enjoy the weekend!


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CASSIOEPIA 2/4/2012 9:30AM

    I wore red yesterday too! Gardening is one of my favorite summer activities. Looking forward to chatting with you more about this!

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LJCANNON 2/4/2012 12:29AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 2/3/2012 11:54PM

    emoticon on your fitness minutes and your spark points!!!

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PATTIE441 2/3/2012 11:14PM

    Woo Hoo! We can do it!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DILIGENTFAITH 2/3/2012 10:48PM

  Getting sparkpoints is kida hard

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FITFABJENN 2/3/2012 10:35PM

    Yea for fitness minutes!

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Changing from Within - Week 3 of 8 Mindful eating

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

(This entry is for last week's class, tomorrow will be a summary of this week's class.)
The third class centered on a mindful eating experience. I must admit I was late to the class - I didn't want to eat cold food, so I got a half salad from Wendy's so I'd have something warm to eat.
However, there was a handout for the day's class and the mindful eating meal is almost self-explanatory.
Before eating, determine where on the hunger scale you are.
-Am I physically hungry?
-Am I thinking about eating for an emotional reason? Is there an alternative activity I can do?
-Am I eating out of habit? Am I on automatic pilot?
If so, reconsider or do something else. Remind yourself of your larger goals.
-Am I responding to food triggers?
If so, recognize them and distract or delay yourself from eating.

Once you are ready to begin eating
-think about what you actually want (both to eat and larger goals)
-prepare a place to eat and SIT DOWN
-minimize any distractions
-relax your body and gauge your physical hunger scale level
-express gratitude (I say a prayer)
-SLOWLY and fully TASTE the first few bites
-put down your utensil after EACH BITE and chew thoroughly, continue this throughout the whole meal
-continue paying attention to your thoughts, body sensations, the tastes of the food, and your emotions
-notice when your taste buds are satisfied (the initial few bites are the most pleasurable)
-stop and breathe
-try to tell when your stomach FIRST feels stretched, a signal of becoming full
Remember, it takes some 20 to 30 minutes for the brain to get the signal your stomach is full.
-Allow yourself to leave food on the plate, put it away at the completion of the meal, or discard any you no longer plan to eat.

APPRECIATE yourself for attending to your health!

If you have never tried mindful eating at a meal and want more information, check out the numberous resources that explain the process more fully.
Expect to take over half an hour. It may feel excruciating slow, and is typically done in silence so as to appreciate all the thoughts, emotions, sensations and processes involved. Even if you cannot do this every day, plan to try it periodically to "retrain your brain." It is very powerful.

The next class focuses on recognizing emotions and becoming more aware of the physical sensations of emotions.
Halfway through the course!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

IAMDESSIE 2/4/2012 7:33PM

    I love it, this is great advice. Thank you for sharing. You are bringing awareness to many people.

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PATTIE441 2/1/2012 6:52PM

    Awesome! Thank you so much! emoticon emoticon

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TWNOMWE 2/1/2012 6:11PM

    Thanks for a great blog. emoticon

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CASSIOEPIA 2/1/2012 5:23PM

    This is great advise for anyone - thaks for sharing.

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STRINGI719 2/1/2012 3:21PM

    emoticon for sharing this great information!

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KALISWALKER 2/1/2012 3:10PM

    Thanks for the info. We should do a challenge like this. Have a great week buddy!

Hugs Lynn

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KLSIMPSON70 2/1/2012 11:26AM

    I've wanted to try this for a long time, but it sounds hard! I rarely eat without a book in my hand, and it's really hard for me to leave food on my plate. But... I'm going to try it! Thanks for inspiring me to eat more healthfully :)

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KKINNEA 2/1/2012 11:16AM

    I just worked through a healthy habits worksheet with my chiro and one of the items is chewing every bite 30 times - seems equivalent to the mindful eating and something I need to practice too!

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