ELASTI-GIRL   10,604
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ELASTI-GIRL's Recent Blog Entries

A different kind of run

Monday, August 22, 2011

I recently volunteered to be a sherpa. Not for the Alps (I wish). This type of sherpa carries a disabled "runner" along trails in a Trailrunner, designed by the Mayor of Vancouver who is himself a paraplegic.

(I'm at the front of the Trailrunner in the white top).

The experience was great and my team even ended up in the city paper. But, the coolest part was meeting Margaret. She is a C6-7 quadriplegic who injured herself at age 16 during a gymnastics stunt. She's in her 30s now, holds a Master's Degree, volunteers with a number of organizations like the Rick Mercer Foundation, and has an indomitable spirit.

I volunteered to be a sherpa because I love the outdoors, especially running trails, and thought that if I couldn't do it without someone's help...well, I wanted to give what I would want to get. We're running every week to train for a trail race in September. What a great incentive to stay in shape.

(I'm wearing the VFFs - barefoot shoes)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHALLENGER15 8/23/2011 8:39PM


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VIRGOLGAL 8/23/2011 11:16AM

    Wow!! What a great event and a super motivator for people!!! Amazing.

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    That is amazing! Thank you for being an awesome person!

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  Sounds like a blast! Good for you :)

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CMPEARL 8/22/2011 4:49PM

    What a fantastic idea...everyone involved benefits!!! You are amazing!!!

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MELLIL 8/22/2011 4:19PM

    emoticon emoticonGOOOO YOU!!! Oh I LOVE this! All of it! The giving spirit... the fitness mode... the cooperation... the FUN! You have surely blessed that young woman - and been blessed in return! emoticonGO! You emoticon... I'm sO proud!

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FREES1 8/22/2011 3:47PM

    what an awesome thing!!!

I once lived with someone with MS who used a wheel chair... its absolutely amazing what these folks can do given the right equipment and opportunities!

a great gift you and your team are giving!

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Long-term Weight Loss Success

Monday, August 15, 2011

For those who haven't heard of the National Weight Control Registry, this study group was started in 1994 to study individuals who are able to lose weight and keep it off for 5 years or more. While it used to be believed that only 5% would be successful, this long-term study has shown that as many as 20% of those who start losing weight will have kept the weight off. So, what are the keys to their success? Here are some findings:


* 80% of persons in the registry are women and 20% are men.

* The "average" woman is 45 years of age and currently weighs 145 lbs, while the "average" man is 49 years of age and currently weighs 190 lbs.

* Registry members have lost an average of 66 lbs and kept it off for 5.5 years.

* These averages, however, hide a lot of diversity:
* Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs.
* Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years!
* Some have lost the weight rapidly, while others have lost weight very slowly--over as many as 14 years.

* We have also started to learn about how the weight loss was accomplished: 45% of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program.

* 98% of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.

* 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.

* There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.

* 78% eat breakfast every day.

* 75% weigh themselves at least once a week.

* 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.

* 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

I'm hoping to learn from these individuals in order to experience my own long-term weight loss success. I still need to get to goal but I'm going strong after 4+ years and I plan on joining the 5-year group in January 2012.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHALLENGER15 8/15/2011 6:29PM


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MELLIL 8/15/2011 5:45PM

    You are definitely a success story! And I'm sure you will maintain it (within a few pounds) because it really has become your lifestyle! And it's important to you to teach your girls! (that's a GREAT motivation!!!) emoticon

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SUSIEMT 8/15/2011 3:00PM

    Thank you for the information! I have been on my journey for just over 3 years. I have lost 175 lbs and I keep wondering when I can start counting my time. Only kidding! It's just a retorical rambling. You keep up the good work!

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  I'm sure you'll be apart of that group no problem!

I hope to be too....right now I'm in the group who gained it back. No more of that!

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REDSHOES2011 8/15/2011 1:45PM

    Hope you make it, I am going strong efter 8 years! Good luck!

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Will diet soda make me gain weight?

Monday, August 15, 2011

This year, 2011, has been a challenging one for weight loss. I've been reflecting and hoping to find some insight into why. What was I doing before that's changed? What needs to change that hasn't already?

There are two things that I've observed. More observations may arise as I find more insight, but for now, I think these two things are helpful:

The first is that I've cut back on my running. It's summer and I've been bike commuting, which is great. But for some reason, running really kicks the fat off me. I'm still running 1-2x per week, but nothing like the distances and times I was doing before. So, I'm still enjoying my bike commutes and I've only got a couple months left of good biking weather. But, I'm thinking that I'll increase my runs to 3x per week.

The second observation is that I've started drinking diet pop again. I stopped cold turkey in 2007 and didn't touch the stuff again until last winter. It crept in slowly until I was up to one can per day, almost every day.

So, how can a calorie-free drink make me gain? I knew it could but I didn't remember why, until I was watching a Dr. Oz show where they featured diet soda. A woman talked about kicking the diet soda habit and losing 10 pounds in one month. She said that junk food doesn't taste as good with water, and that a lot of foods she craved after drinking diet pop were unhealthy food choices. Hmmm, interesting. So, I did a little research and here's what I found.

In LiveStrong.com, an article stated that "diet soda contains fewer calories than regular soda does. However, drinking diet may also result in weight gain because consuming artificial sweeteners may lead to sugar cravings and further poor dietary choices, according to MayoClinic.com."

I think there's merit in this finding. I don't actually find that my cravings go down, and my biggest problem since drinking diet soda again is that I've increased my consumption of chocolate and chips. Plus, for the first time in 4 years, I've been craving french fries again! With a diet coke please.

I'm on Day 3 of no sodas (diet or otherwise) again and I'm hoping that this tweaking will be the difference I need. Not to say that I couldn't improve other areas, but I'm finding my cravings are already improving. I'm going to observe the results this month and see if I may be onto something.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELASTI-GIRL 8/22/2011 3:20PM

    Soda-free for over a week!

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CMPEARL 8/16/2011 10:04AM

    Hopefully this will be your answer...I know I read something similar recently in "The End of Overeating," and I believe there is a lot to it. Good luck!

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CHALLENGER15 8/15/2011 6:45PM

    Congrats on your three days! I supposed it DOES affect some people that way; I suspect it isn't good for other reasons as well. I have gone cold turkey with it and then gone back to it so many times. I am trying to do green tea more this time in trying to let go of the "hard" stuff - Diet Coke!

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MELLIL 8/15/2011 5:12PM

    THIS sounds VERY plausible to me! Certain foods do just "go together". I noticed I don't eat AS MUCH pizza if I drink water with it... because pizza really GOES with Pepsi! (DIET pepsi, of course!) emoticon

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    Its totally true about pop or any artificial sweetner that is. When I did my bodybuilding show 5 years ago I ate NOTHING with artificial sweetner and fruit ended up tasting like candy as it was sooooooooo sweet. Adnittedly even though I know that I am still obsessed with having one pop ( diet) a day! So you are way better then I!

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-LISS- 8/15/2011 4:04PM

    I ALWAYS craved chocolate with a diet Coke. I indulged maybe once a week on average but I always ended up eating more sweets when I did. Also, I found I got really bad headaches. Everyone I encounter who has a bottle in their hand is either a self-proclaimed addict or overweight, or both. I think that stuff really does create cravings. I have been consuming very little to none lately and it's still a struggle.

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BUTTERFLY-1976 8/15/2011 2:56PM

    Congrats on the 3 days of no pop.


It's something I've never thought of but it does make sense.

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  Good for you on 3 days soda free!

I can definitely attest that since I have stopped buying Diet Coke aside from the rare treat when out for dinner, I don't crave the junk nearly as much. I also found Diet Coke increases my appetite.

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    It's definitely true. When your taste buds taste something sweet, they send signals to your brain that are like, "Yummm! Sugar! Energy boost!" But when your body doesn't get the sugar that it expected (based on what it tasted), it makes you crave sugar even more. I switched to green tea!


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NWLIFESRC 8/15/2011 12:59PM

    Maybe this is the answer to what's up with me. I consume 4 to 5 Diet Pepsi's a day.

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Slow and steady.

Monday, August 01, 2011

I've been losing weight since 2007...sloooowwwwwly. So slowly. It seems that about once a year, I have a small gain and then there is a few months a year that I have some really consistent weight loss, and the rest of each year seems to be a balancing act of practicing the right habits and meeting exercise goals.

In 2009, I started following a sparkfriend who really inspired me. Boy, we need those success stories, especially when we're struggling. It was just amazing to me to see someone lose 80 pounds in a year. She got down to 125 pounds from almost 200 pounds. I started at 181 pounds and my goal is 115 pounds (I'm short), so I was keen to see how she achieved similar goals. Even though I was uber impressed with what she accomplished, a part of me was wondering why I couldn't just focus intensively for a short period of time and get to maintenance.

I was particularly impressed with this sparkfriend's running successes as a result of getting in shape. Exercise has been a major component of my weightloss journey, and running has helped me set and stick to goals along the way. Her running 10K times were so impressive and she seemed to be doing more and better all the time.

I recently caught up on her blogs for 2010, and this is where my heart breaks. She got a running injury, then another, then surgery...twice. No exercise at all. 80 pounds re-gained in less than a year. I could just feel her frustration and I was so discouraged for her!!

What's great is that she's still here and still focused. Now, that's determination. But man, what a tough journey!!

So, I thought to myself, yep, I still need to lose 30 pounds. Yep, I'm on year 4. Nope, haven't yet tasted goal. But, no major gains, no major set-backs. I've had an over-training injury but caught it in time to listen to my body and plan for a full recovery while I scaled back my running and focused on cross-training. I've never stopped exercising or doing a lot of other "right" habits, even though I still struggle with bad habits. I've adjusted calorie intake where calorie output wasn't as high and made lots of incremental shifts aong the way.

So, here's what I've accomplished at 40 pounds of losing weight over 4 years. I've stuck out this journey of life change through 4 years of Christmas celebrations (we all know how hard that time of year can be), I've finished a very stressful full-time university degree and started a full-time career path during that time, I've seen my girls grow from infants to school-age bundles of energy, our home has added a cat and a dog, money issues have gone up and down and up and down in the roller coaster of raising a young family, me and dh are consistently taking the time for each other that we need, I've run a couple half-marathons, a full marathon, and most importantly, I've been able to finish training for these events and adjust my calories back to a "normal" range. And finally, even with the little gains that seem to show up once a year, I've consistently lost more than I've gained, and I continue to increase my overall fitness that challenges me to keep moving forward.

My goal right now is to really enjoy the journey. Embrace it. Today is mine. Every choice I make at this weight is the only day I have. Every step toward a healthier me doesn't take away from the success of today. The last 4 years have been so enjoyable and successful. Just because I haven't reached goal is surprisingly beside the point. So, I don't intend to regret where I'm not yet when I have so much to celebrate today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GREYLOCKES1 8/3/2011 10:49AM

    Great recap of your journey. Thank you for sharing

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    I love this blog. I kind of understand where your friend is coming from. Last year when I started with Spark I was needing to loose weight bad. I was 270 pounds and as I got into running I maybe pushed too hard too often. That's when I had 2 seizures on different runs and had to take some time off to figure out my body and re-plan things with my neurologist. Came back this spring with a new plan and a redefine attitude. So I have gone from 270 to 188 in just over a year even with a 6 month time frame that I didn't workout!

Thank you for sharing this, it is always a great support system to know there are people who may understand your path and the things you are ealing with!

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CMPEARL 8/1/2011 3:33PM

    Your blog literally caugt me at the right time...I was having a pity party today after some recent gains on the scale and was lamenting that I am not a quick loser when it comes to pounds. Over a year and a half and I am down 50 pounds with 30 or so to go...I love your attitude that however long it takes we need to be thankful for TODAY...for our health, our accomplishments, our love ones and all of the wonderful things to come. Thank you!!! emoticon

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AFRESHSTART2 8/1/2011 1:16PM

    emoticon blog! This one is a keeper for those days when the "you are a failure, you can't even lose weight" devil tries to get to my mind!
emoticon attitude! You are so right, we so often tend to focus on the end goal that we fail to recognise the little successes along the way without which we will not get to the end goal that we are so focussed on! You are doing great. Keep it going.

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MTULLY 8/1/2011 11:57AM

    I love your attitude! It really is all about the journey and what you learn along the way. I will copy and save your blog to read on the days I get discouraged because it isn't going fast enough. Many thanks for sharing!

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REDRUNNERMOM713 8/1/2011 11:05AM

    Love, love, LOVE this blog!! I too am a VERY slow loser. I seem to have maintenance down even though I still have about 20 to lose. You have accomplished and have had so many successes on your journey and it's great that you recognize that. You are doing amazing! I can't wait until I can say I've done half and full marathons. Keep up the great work!!! emoticon

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Is cereal a healthy choice?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

As part of my current SP challenge, I've been doing some serious label-reading. I've been a label-reader for years so I didn't think there'd be much to discover. However, I decided to take the challenge to a new level and find out what the labels in certain foods actually means.

Yesterday, I read cereal labels. Okay, I was seriously shocked at how many ingredients are in what I thought was healthy eating. We only buy high-fiber, "healthy" cereals. But, I read somewhere that any food with 5 or more ingredients is a processed food. Well, I was amazed at the number of ingredients in cereal, including words I couldn't spell. Never a good sign.

Dr. Oz said that we should avoid foods with sugar in the first 5 ingredients. Again, I was shocked at how many "healthy" cereals had sugar listed in their top 5 ingredients, another warning sign.

So, I took my label reading a step further and did some research on the history of cereal. I found the best best summary of my findings in the following article, which is primarily derived from Felicity Lawrence's book, "Eat Your Heart Out":


Essentially, the article says, yes, cereal is highly processed. In fact, that's why it was developed: To create a packaged and ready-to-eat, highly marketed breakfast product whose primary value is its ability to line the pockets of its manufacturers. Sales of cereal have increased every year since its introduction in the early 1900s. Wow.

One of the most fascinating parts of this article is where it talks about our modern technology's ability to fortify cereals with ingredients lost during processing. However, this process creates a chemical, "Acrylamide", that in 2006 was found to be directly linked to cancer in humans. Yikes!

So, I've learned a lot, especially about my own mistaken beliefs around foods. Marketing really impacts us; it's hard to remember to put on my thinking cap and ask myself, "Is this really good for me, just because it's packaged to sound that way?"

Next question: What will I have for breakfast today??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PERSISTANT123 7/30/2011 9:30AM

    Thanks for sharing. I rarely eat cereal any more, but I too discovered some of the "healthy" things I thought I was eating was was over-processed. I too learned a lot from this challenge.

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KALISWALKER 7/30/2011 12:06AM

    Wow what great info! I didn't know about the rule of 5 ingredients, but I will remember it.

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MINDERLY 7/29/2011 11:48PM

  Interesting. My nurse practitioner actually recommended Kashi cereal due to the higher protein content.

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CANADIAN_MOM 7/29/2011 11:39AM

    Excellent point. In the past I ate cereal for breakfast, a bedtime snack and a handful every now and then. There would be 12 different boxes of cereal in our pantry. I have since stopped eating cereal and have oatmeal, eggs or a smoothie for breakfast or even an evening snack. I am still trying to get my kids off of eating cereal. Two of them will eat scrambled eggs, but the third one doesn't like them.

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TWOSTICKS 7/25/2011 11:04AM

    I found a great breakfast product (for lack of a better word)
Highwood Crossing Power Grains

Only problem is they need to soak overnight and I often forget!
They are an Alberta Company and are now selling at Safeway. I really enjoy this cereal and add a bit if brown sugar or light maple syrup when I need a bit of sweetness.

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CHALLENGER15 7/24/2011 8:33PM

    I am a steel cut oatmeal woman myself, and I actually like the even less processed oat groats. I have been buying them from a bulk bin [about half price that way], so I will be looking at the grocery store when my current supply runs out.

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MELLIL 7/24/2011 8:08PM

    I just tried steel cut oats for the first time this past week... and I am SOLD! I absolutely LOVE them -- way more than those instant oatmeal packs! I tried them because I'm always looking to cut more sodium -- and they have none! How great to start my day off with such a yummy breakfast with no sodium! The first day I ate them with natural (no sodium) peanutbutter and a mashed banana in them. YUM! The 2nd day I ate them with blueberries, cinnamon, and just a touch of brown sugar.

However... I DO think it's SAD that all those cold cereals are so NOT good for us! We all grew up on cold cereal... and naturally we LOVE it! And my FAVORITE doesn't even pretend to be good for you! Cinnamon Toast Crunch! But even the others - yea... they ALL have additives and preservatives so they can sit on the shelf for a couple of years at the grocery store! And then in our pantry... I really don't eat cold cereal very often anymore at all. But I WOULD... if it was healthy!

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PEPPERMINT125 7/24/2011 3:47PM

    Great blog! You might also wonder if the processed breads are a healthy option for the same reasons. I agree with Carrie. I rarely have cereal now. Mainly have eggs and oatmeal for breakfast and occasionally yoghert. Although this label reading is making me look at the types of yoghert and oatmeal as well. emoticon

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SEWINGMAMACDS 7/24/2011 2:43PM

    Thanks for sharing. I rarely have cereal anymore -- I never could just have one serving, and I was always hungry within an hour after eating breakfast. I now have eggs and oatmeal as a standard.

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CMPEARL 7/24/2011 11:50AM

    I love all the suggestions! Yesterday I too read my cereal boxes and while there are a ton of ingredients I don't see me given up my Kashi cereals anytime soon! I also like my chocolate protein shakes mixed with a cup of frozen blueberries and a cup of fat free milk :)

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ELASTI-GIRL 7/24/2011 11:17AM

    Thx for comments! I should mention that I rarely eat cereal but it was definitely interesting to discover what's in my cupboards.

1CRAZYDOG - great idea to post breakfast options! Some more include:

* Low-fat yogurt mixed with fresh fruit and slivered almonds
* Slow-cooking oatmeal sweetened with maple syrup, apple slices, raisins, and cinnamon.
* Homemade whole-wheat waffles topped with fresh fruit and low-fat vanilla yogurt.
* Homemade whole-wheat pancakes topped with almond butter and banana slices.

More suggestions?

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1CRAZYDOG 7/24/2011 10:38AM


dinner left overs
oatmeal (steel cut oats)
egg white omelette
poached egg

I get lost w/breakfast ideas, too. That's when it's time to hit the Spark People recipes for ideas!

Good luck. I know it takes so much time for me to shop because I read labels, but it's so worth it. I feel better buying foods that are healthier for me.

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  Great information! Thank you for sharing.

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