Saturday, November 26, 2011
My very first 5% challenge that began in the Fall of 2010, was the start of a great impetus to lose the last half of my desired weight loss. Thank you, Ceri, for introducing me to such a great group of people. When I look through my Spark friends, I’m amazed at how many of my friends cross over into so many of the 5% teams of the challenge. Regardless of what team you’re on, Spark people rejoice in each other’s joy, are saddened when we fine a friend in mourning, and tend to offer a kick, nudge or other appropriate form of encouragement to help us and our friends become the best we can be. I’m in awe of the incredible strength of knowledge we have to offer each other. Thank you, my friends!
Here’s an update on the goals I set for myself for the Fall challenge:
Maintain a healthy BMI (130-174) within 2-lb of goal
Goal weight with 100 lbs lost = 161.2 with a 23.1 BMI
Beginning challenge weight = 158.4 with a 22.7 BMI
Ending challenge weight = 156.6 with a 22.4 BMI
Track fitness daily
70 minutes of daily cardio/strength training (average = 126 minutes)
Track food daily (with lots of favorites, groupings and recipes, this continues to get easier.)
Eat six or more servings of freggies daily (my average is about a dozen freggies (fruit and veggies) daily. During the week where freggies were the Living The Good Life, I averaged 28 freggies daily. WooHoo! I love a great personal challenge. )
Drink at least 12 cups of water daily (this is so easy with my natural thirst for water and I averaged 19.5 cups daily, while average nearly 22 cups during the Week One Living The Good Life water challenge.)
Satisfy 4-7 recommended levels of: calories, fat, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, calcium, and sodium daily (there were a few days where I barely made four levels. Whew! Whenever possible, staying within the calorie range in the one I may have exceeded on one or two days.)
Sleep 7-9 hours a night six days a week
Earn 75% (or more) in Living The Good Life weekly challenges (while a percentage is not an appropriate measure, I only missed getting the maximum points one or possibly two days and went hog wild on the water, fiber, and freggies.)
Spend at least 15 minutes daily in the study of God’s word
Do something fun at least three times a week (I can’t help but find beauty around me in nature or in relationship with others: whether it be visiting Amnicon Falls earlier this month or celebrating the joy of Thanksgiving poolside with husband at his cousin’s condo assn)
Knit one prayer shawl (I completed two prayer shawls (Charcoal and Strawberry Pink Parfait) during this challenge and today have begun another. It’s not very often I get to make a prayer shawl with the owner in mind before beginning it: It adds a wonderful new depth to the making of it.)
I’m so thrilled with making Michael’s Black Friday yarn sale, which this year took place on the evening of Thanksgiving Day. Being in a warmer climate for a bit helps me get a better selection, as fewer people resort to the warmer skills sets in paradise. I’m happy to pay half price for 64 skeins of Homespun yarn . . . saving me over a hundred dollars. This should keep me busy for the next year or so making 16 prayer shawls and two smaller projects (perhaps lap robes).
If I could change anything in my goals, it would be in the level of finding the BALANCE needed in all things. I don’t mind that I get a little “wacky” during some of our weekly challenges, as I know it is only temporary (and it’s fun!): It ultimately teaches us ways of better incorporating our healthy living habits . . . something that over the long haul requires balance. Through proper balance, my JOY (as chosen at myoneword.org) is also made complete. (John 16:24).
Through the study of God’s word (Matt 37-39), I learn that my faith life is a relationship within three key areas: With God, with my neighbor, and with myself. Very often, we allow ourselves to only hear about God and neighbor (about giving sacrificially). We cannot neglect ourselves! (John 10:10). Yet, in all things, we must glorify God (Col 3:17 and 1 Pet 4:11). Within the Spark Community, we learn to take care of God’s creation (ourselves) with the respect we deserve. For the time I spend here (as long as it is not in excess) I have no regret.
Are you taking the time you need to properly take care of yourself and meet your goals? The fact that you’re even here -- I hope -- means a wholeheartedly, YES!
Saturday, November 12, 2011
My 5% SparkTeam Challenge encouraged the teams (I’m a Teddy Bear) to a week of freggies (fruits and veggies). I made it my personal best averaging 28 freggie servings over seven days by ending on my highest ever note of 43 freggie servings while remaining within my calorie, protein, and carbohydrate recommendations. WooHoo! Speaking of protein, I seem to be doing much better reaching the 60 grams daily while in maintenance mode. During this week's 5% challenge, I do not count my legumes or beans as veggie servings.
In combination with my team “Inspired and Challenged by Joyce Meyer,” we strive to celebrate and eat new foods and recipes. Combine the two challenges, and it’s a lot of good eating for me:
1 – I found myself at the grocery store adding Brussels sprouts to a couple of my dishes. I’m not that crazy about the shape, so I shred it and make a delightful stir fry with black mustard seeds, onions, chilies, and light curry spices.
2 – I developed a black mushroom (vegetarian) Pho (Vietnamese Rice Noodle soup) that filled a large serving bowl with 14 freggies.
3 – Acorn squash was one of my recommended freggies for the week. This was an easy one to enjoy for two days.
4 – I discovered that my homemade yogurt curry (just a half serving – 4 oz) that I normally serve with steamed broccoli, cauliflower, or cashews, is also terrific when combined with three cups of beet greens with some sautéed onion. I liken this recipe to hollandaise sauce (made light and nutritious). Beets were a tremendous sale this week and nothing went to waste: I even fixed the stems of the beet greens for eating. What a great way to enjoy 4 freggies in one side dish. The first above dish with tomatoes, beet stems and pineapple represents a 10-freggie breakfast! Another day I enjoyed a beet greens breakfast with apples.
5 – This same yogurt curry went beautifully with 8 cups of shredded romaine. What a treat to up my good foods. I don’t ever recall cooking with romaine before and got the idea from dining with one of my Nepali friends who happened to stir fry some shredded romaine as a side veggie. While I intended to save half the recipe for another day, I had to go back and finish it. Yum!
6 – I have also enjoyed pomegranates this week . . . something I haven’t had for a few months.
7 – I have been enjoying a home-made pizza using the Flat Out Bread and used this week to tweak it a bit so each pizza (6 slices) contains 7 freggie servings (1 marinara sauce, 1 onion, 3 portabella mushrooms, and 2 red peppers). The center pieces definitely need a fork, Oops . . . I took a bite out before taking the photo. 8-))
Enough with the freggies! I’m now going to settle back to trying to get more like the 8-10 fruits and veggies I might normally get in any given day.
Have you been creative with your freggies?
Saturday, October 22, 2011
Love does not boast (1 Corinthians 13:4-5). I do not write this for the purpose of boasting, but to share with so many of you my labor of love in one of the ways I serve others through Christ. Several of my Spark Friends have asked me about the prayer shawls I make, so I thought this might be a good opportunity to devote one of my blogs to this topic of service.
Personal Responsibility (Part of my Spark Goals)
I believe we have a responsibility, as God’s children, to be “giving” people (2 Corinthians 9:7). The greatest command God gives us is to LOVE (Matthew 22:37-39) . . . to love God and to love others. I see faith as being an active verb. My faith must be vibrantly alive . . . a lot like the joy I experience as I celebrate life. One of the ways I celebrate the gifts I have in God is to serve in God’s ministries to the world whether I’m living in the Great Lakes Northland or SW Florida Gulf region.
About the time I was preparing for retirement, I made up my mind to join my church’s prayer shawl ministry hoping to make one prayer shawl a month. Each prayer shawl represents about 30 hours of labor (depending on how many times I pick up and start) and I was blessed to be able to complete 24 prayer shawls to my church during the first year. I’m more in line with completing one a month again. Recently, I selected yarn for making a pink-toned prayer shawl for Heide, whose family is now being affected by her diagnosis of breast cancer in Florida:
Most prayer shawls run about 30” wide and 5.5-6.5’ long. They typically serve as a shawl around the shoulders, skinny afghan when lounging on the sofa, or to keep ones legs warm when doubled (something that might serve well for someone in a wheel chair). Here’s the one completed in parfait (pink tones) with my Boyds Bear “Sparky” at rest:
My friend Florence taught me the Trinity pattern . . . so named for God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The trinity pattern is a combination of K1 (K1, P1, K1 in one stitch then P3 together) repeating these four stitches with a K1 at the end. I cast on 78. Every other row is simply pearling (P78). Then it's doing these four stiches in reverse after beginning and ending with a K1 (P3, then K1, P1, K1 in one stitch). I've done so many shawls now that I no longer have to keep track of which sequence I'm doing. Sorry, but I’m not a professional pattern writer. People use different patterns and some crochet. You could probably Google: “prayer shawl patterns" for a variety of instructions. Most craft stores even have books on showing a variety of prayer shawls. In essence, I’m doing a popcorn stitch. I am also often in prayer while knitting. For example, while beginning the Trinity stitch I'm able to K1 (saying, “in the name of the Father”) P1 (saying, “Son”) K1 (saying, “and Holy Spirit”), P3 together (repeating a series of small breath prayers such as “Heal Heide’s Breast Cancer . . . Heal Carol's eyes . . . Heal Shin-Ping's Brain Tumor . . . Heal my Dad's back . . . Heal this family . . . may this family yearn for the word of God . . . may this family know your great love for them . . . may this person or family grow in the Fruit of the Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control, etc, etc). It’s become a glorious time to spend in prayer with my Creator. God answers all our prayers and I believe that the direct healing of my friend’s brain tumor is in direct response to the many people who have laid hands on her and prayed for her.
Our church has sponsors and memorials to a fund that allow us to buy new supplies of yarn (Lion Brand Homespun) and size 13 knitting needles (I prefer the quieter and warmer bamboo needles). I buy most of my yarn, carefully matching die lot numbers while on sale, using the 40% or 50% off coupons at the neighborhood craft store and buying in mass on the Thursday or Friday of Thanksgiving). I have more than enough yarn now to complete more than a dozen shawls or lap robes.
Community of believers:
My northland prayer shawl ministry meets one Tuesday evening a month at church, as well as one Saturday a month often at someone’s home. We bring our prayer needs together and pray together.
While in Florida, I attend the weekly Tuesday prayer group meeting to continue my work on prayer shawls. In order to “pray continually”, as told to us by the Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, I like to think of prayer as an ongoing dialog with God without the physical restrictions we often place on it when in worship or more usual prayer (ie hands in the air in adoration or done when we bow, fold our hands, and close our eyes). These gatherings have also become an opportunity to break bread together or write get well wishes through cards along with the sharing of devotion, prayer, and bible verses.
Here I get to enjoy the lanai and back yard while knitting a couple of trinity-stitch lap robes for my Florida church:
Here’s a group of us knit at a Saturday brunch at Karin’s home:
Prayer Shawls are returned to the Community:
Once a month, the completed prayer shawls are hung on the communion/alter railings and prayed for during the worship service before being commissioned to represent our prayers for the person or family they are then later given to. These prayer shawls are primarily made for people in their time of suffering or at a time when these prayers can be enjoyed. One of my recent prayer shawls below (done in waterfall blues) went to one of my best friends who chronically suffers with Lupis and now carries a portable oxygen tank:
It’s a wrap:
Not only does my faith walk encourage service, but my college alma mater where I continue to serve as World Student Association Liaison, places a large emphasis on civic responsibility within our communities. I am so blessed by the many people and a loving Lord who have encouraged me and helped me choose joy when times get a little tough. Thank you for investing the time you just gave me to reading this blog. I am most grateful.
Here’s a prayer shawl made while traveling and visiting northern India in June of 2010 . . . a shawl I left with my dear host family.
I hope you find opportunities to give of yourself to your friends, loved ones, and communities. You may touch people in ways you never gave much thought to . . . through your support and encouragement, that smile you offer, or that prayer you pray.
I’m so glad we have a God who wonderfully and fearfully made us (Psalm 139:14). It is only through God that we can learn what the fullness of love is through God’s love for his children. God is love! (1 John 3:1)
“Every time you feel like doing the wrong thing and you choose to do the right thing you are growing and God is smiling!” – Joyce Meyer
For those of you who receive a prayer shawl, know that your church family continues to pray for you. From the Amplified Bible, Numbers 6:24-26: “The Lord bless you and watch, guard, and keep you;(25) The Lord make His face to shine upon and enlighten you and be gracious (kind, merciful, and giving favor) to you; (26) The Lord lift up His [approving] countenance upon you and give you peace (tranquility of heart and life continually).” -- Amen.
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Back in September, I had the opportunity to join TheCrazyMango thanks to our regional connections in the area. SparkPeople is a major influence in our lives, in that we have both lost 100 lbs. WooHoo! We celebrated with conversation, entertainment and dinner at the new Japanese Hibachi steakhouse in the area.
Today, I walked a 5K, met up with THECRAZYMANGO a second time, and met another new Sparker, VPOPPY01, up from the Twin Cities area having lost about fifty (50) lbs! They both share their before and after photos online, so I just couldn’t resist sharing them here. I’m so proud of them!
The 5K went so fast, too! And the walk along Lake Superior is truly incredible! Turns out I walked 3.1 miles in 45 minutes.
I used to walk four miles every morning for about a year or two with a couple of my partner’s classmates . . . at that time, we were walking four miles an hour at the local mall (or neighborhood, in the summertime) Mon-Fri. For health reasons, I had to begin slowing my pace, so I began taking the more scenic route to my walking, while both smelling the roses and taking a few photographs.
Here’s our 5K SparkPeople Group photo:
I didn’t think I ever had it in me to walk another 15-minute mile again, so to walk an average of a 14.5 minute mile is quite an accomplishment. WooHoo! It has so reenergized me!
Hope you’re having a great weekend and ready to meet your October goals!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
The actual question in our 5% Pre-Challenge #3 is, “Why do you want to lose weight?” You might say I'm becoming a regular at this: This is my fifth challenge. Just as I began the Summer Challenge, on July 16, I lost my last three pounds and reached my 100-lb weight loss goal, making my last 5% Challenge my first challenge in maintenance mode.
This list is intentionally not prioritized. My reasons for having made this weight loss journey are as follows.
1) SparkPeople is EMPOWERING! Because I can! So many people proclaimed from the rooftops that, “After you turn 50, losing this much weight just isn't either feasible or possible.” Sounds like a good challenge to me! I know I can do this, but I chose to do it s-l-o-w in an attempt to help me KEEP it off. I do believe this was a wise strategy.
2) SparkPeople BREAKS BARRIERS! With early retirement around the corner, I want to be able to travel to some of the countries so many of my friends, former classmates, and school colleagues call home: Japan, Peru, and China (loves that began when I attended college in the 70’s), Taiwan, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal (most recent university graduates, many of whom are working in this country or attending graduate school).
3) SparkPeople MOTIVATES! One of my biggest motivators was this mentality: The last thing I want to hear overseas are these words, “Look at that fat American, over there!” Let’s face it, America has become the face of obesity. I always dreamed I might perform Tai Chi in a public park in China. May 31, 2006 was the start of this journey.
4) SparkPeople INSPIRES! I want to improve my health. In the past five years, I've put the 3-pronged cane back in the closet, disconnected the sleep apnea machine, lessened the acid blocker prescribe me (in half), and lowered my heart meds to a half minimum dose. Big WooHoo!
5) SparkPeople is INCLUSIVE! I must take responsibility for a body which I ultimately believe belongs to the God of my living faith. This body is the foundation for sharing my worship, praise, and thanksgiving. I cannot do this very well as a morbidly obese person. Now is the time to be able to do, with much more ease, that which God has planned for me to do.
6) SparkPeople is INTOXICATING! Consider this yet another way of saying I’m addicted to healthy living! I love all the great SparkPoints earned for life-long learning and being active. During our last challenge, THETURTLEBEAR said it best in her blog entitled, “I discovered the dirty little secret about the 5% Challenge.” She writes, “This challenge has nothing to do with losing weight. The 5% Challenge is all about changing old habits and instilling new, healthier strategies for our lives going forward.” You may read her entire blog at:
7) SparkPeople releases CREATIVITY. One of my hobbies is photography . . . amateur photography. When I blog, I enjoy incorporating some of my creativity in taking awe-inspiring (au naturale) photographs. Last Thursday, I spent the day with my father and enjoyed taking him to Bayfield to enjoy the lakefront of Lake Superior.
8) SparkPeople builds HEALTHY HABITS. I'm excited to grow a level of fitness that I've been missing all my life, further develop my intimate relationship with God, and eat nutritionally sound meals.
9) SparkPeople REDEFINES US. Here’s my sometimes secret confession, I don't recognize myself as either of the before and after people that have become my personal testimony. All too often, I still consider myself fat. I really need to change this mind set. This 5% Challenge and my SparkFriends will hopefully help me put my mind set in perspective.
I've pretty much been fat or obese all my life with the exception of a brief time in the mid 70’s. It’s time for a reality check and I’m hoping this 5% challenge and monthly fitness minutes done in primarily maintenance mode is just what the doctor ordered!
I look forward to reading about your reasons for losing or maintaining weight. Let's all rock in making this the best challenge ever!
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