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Cobwebs to Cables

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Habits start out as cobwebs and turn into cables." - Steve Siebold on

I have been listening to free talks from this "mental toughness coach." As long as I can remember, I have known that I needed a mental toughness coach. My DH has helped me tremendously in this area; his rock-solid love combined with patiently expecting me to do my best means I have definitely grown in mental toughness. Mr. Siebold has some no-nonsense challenges. Here are excerpts from talk no. 2. (Thanks to BigLittleWoman who made me aware of this site and TravelGrrl who put it in a blog.)

"Successful dieting is about breaking down old habits and building new ones. . . . you can't afford to let your old habits in the door even for a second. These old habits are haevily entrenched and extremely strong. Breaking them is like cutting steel cables, which is why most people fail on diets. Diets work perfectly, but most people aren't mentally tough enough to break their old habits. . . . . You have to sever the old habits and give the new ones a chance to get established, so they are strong enough to fight the old habits when they re-appear; and they will! Old habits die hard. You are training a new army of habits strong enough to fight off the old army." (end of quotation)

Even cravings can be "trained" through habit. God is helping me. As you walk in the door of the big-box store near my house, immediate you see the promotional aisle. It has yards of low-cost food items, but absolutely nothing fit for human consumption except cans of tuna. For some reason I just started craving oranges. Hooray!

The other thing I crave often is hot tea. For months I have made it any time I was hungry off-schedule. Also I have allowed myself to buy it away from home to wean myself away from the emotional habit of treating myself to unhealthy items. I get it unsweetened, trying many forms and flavors, savoring the aroma and delicate nuances, noticing how good the warm cup feels. Now I find it very satisfying. Yes, it is a crutch. But it is a replacement for other things that I'm a whole lot better off without. And I'm thankful that I often crave hot tea now.

More from Steve Siebold: "I want you to be tough today. Instead of whining and crying about how hungry and deprived you are, think of how great you will look at your natural weight. I want you to ignore anyone who attempts to derail you or demean you or throw you off course in any way. Remove yourself from any situation that tempts you to cheat, even if it makes you look rude or inappropriate. People who care about you will understand. You must get tough with yourself and your surroundings. Don't think about it; just do it. Do the work, or you will die fat. This is serious business."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAMAARI 3/1/2012 10:22PM

    Ah, great blog. I do the tea helps. Thanks for the tough words!!

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CRYSTALJEM 2/21/2012 8:49PM

    Excellent blog. Severing the cable really gave me a visual that I needed, thank you. I say old habits die hard all the time, but you've got me thinking about it in a new way.

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ID_VANDAL 2/21/2012 5:24AM

    Great blog and thanks. I'm going to do that mental toughness program when I get home. I'm also one of those people who need to get my rear end kicked with some strong talk every now and then.

Good luck to you and keep up the great job you are doing!



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KLONG8 2/20/2012 5:33PM

    Just what I needed today. Time to turn some cobwes into cables. Cables of GOOD habits!

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_LINDA 2/20/2012 12:44PM

    Awesome blog and ideas, thanks for sharing! I love my natural green tea, its all I drink besides water..
Good luck with your goals and mental toughness, don't we all need some of that!!

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SLENDERELLA61 2/20/2012 9:51AM

    Great blog, full of truth. Thank you for posting and thanks Watermellen for sharing! -Marsha

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DONNACFIT 2/20/2012 9:36AM

    Thanks for sharing!!

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WATERMELLEN 2/20/2012 9:04AM

    Hot tea sounds like an excellent new habit. This is a great blog: I liked it! Cobwebs to cables, yeah: and progress through patiently trusting the process.

My new "cobweb" is celebrating hunger, seeing it as a positive experience: and I appreciate your kind comments on my hunger blogs. It's such a small thing for me, wondering why I didn't figure it out earlier, and wondering too why it's so hard to sustain. Not feeling complacent (not a bit); more of a "duh" headshake kinda thing!!

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MAMASUDS 2/19/2012 2:52PM

    Reading my mind againg, aren't you. Kind of scary in there, isn't it. Be careful!
Ever since you sent me the info on the challenge, I have been dwelling on the habit forming part of it. Hmmm. Replacing my cappuccino with tea could be an option. Hmmm.

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BITTYGIRL51 2/18/2012 6:25PM

    Very inspring and a great blog! I don't vote for blogs often, but have voted for this one! Thanks for sharing. I'll have to check on Steven on Sounds very good!

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    Wow! Great blog! I really like what Steve Siebol said! emoticon

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VISUALLYRICS 2/18/2012 12:14PM

    Wow!! I relate to your blog all too well.
His advice is what enabled me to lose 60# & keep it off.
Truly being tough is not easy, but it brings results! emoticon
I couldn't have accomplished anything with out the Lord. He is my biggest cheerleader.
As for a cup to tea, I don't consider my true 'good addiction' to my daily tea time a crutch either. I love that I created an established good habit... emoticon
I absolutely LOVE tea! ...I drink it while others indulge in dessert.... it truly satisfies.

Thank you again for an Excellent blog! ~ Laura

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ADJQUILTER 2/18/2012 10:13AM

    Thanks for sharing those insights. "Habits start out as cobwebs and turn into cables."
If we can replace those old habits, or our "old person" with new habits, and by truly becoming our "new person", we will please God, and He will give us the victory.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BIGLITTLEWOMAN 2/18/2012 10:06AM

    Great blog Freelady and you are becoming free of the past. One of the wonderful things about Spark is what we discover from others. I picked up from someone else's blog. I think it was New Paradigm who picked it up from someone else and so it goes. I have learned that when I find a tidbit of interesting information, to go after it right away, follow the link or google the words to research a possible new tool that may accessorize my armor.

This habit information is spot on. I am now telling myself, "I don't do that anymore" and it works. Amazing. Once I say that everything I have learned comes into my head and I do not give in to an old habit. emoticon

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NANCY- 2/18/2012 8:49AM

    Like that cable analogy. Getting rid of old habits is challenging. I like to think of the"tools" needed in order to make changes and help me through transitions. Crutches are "tools" to get you from point A to point B. It is wonderful that we have these tools available.

After the baby shower, I'm going to have to listen to that guy.

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WARMSPRINGDAY 2/18/2012 8:29AM

    Tell me more. Where do you get these to listen to? Is it online or on CD/tape?

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JLITT62 2/18/2012 7:41AM

    Thanks for sharing that with us! Sounds really interesting.

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TRAVELGRRL 2/17/2012 10:33PM

    I am so glad to see you inspired by the videos.

I enjoy hot tea also, almost every afternoon around 4 pm. It is a substitute for drinking wine, so it is a very important replacement. I don't view it as a crutch at all; I think of it as a new part of my healthier lifestyle since green tea contains antioxidants. I love that we can come to enjoy the replacements as much as we did the bad thing that it is replacing. (Not sure if this makes sense!?!)

Have a great weekend, FL!

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Valentine Fruit Fun

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My daughter had 10 girls coming over for a Bible study / Valentine party, and we wanted something festive and yummy to have with the chicken fiesta vegetable soup. I knew half a strawberry would be heart-shaped, so we used cream cheese to stick them to apple slices. (We cored the apples and sliced them horizontally into rounds.)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VISUALLYRICS 3/6/2012 9:24PM

    Awesome creative and edible!! Can ya beat that?! Yum.... emoticon

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ADJQUILTER 3/1/2012 8:45AM

    I loved this idea. Think I'll make a snack for my DH this afternoon to let him know how much I appreciate his love and support.
Thank you for such a clever and loving idea!

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MAMASUDS 2/26/2012 12:11AM

    I'm making these today for my birthday breakfast. Thanks for the great idea!

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WARMSPRINGDAY 2/18/2012 8:30AM

    Love it!

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    What a great example you have been to your daughters. These look so cute.

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WATERMELLEN 2/16/2012 9:01PM

    Very pretty and healthy too!

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TRAVELGRRL 2/16/2012 5:06PM

    Very clever! I had a carton of strawberries but we just chomped them all up. Yum!

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JUDITH316 2/16/2012 8:26AM

    great idea, I always look for new healthy snacks to try when my grandkids are spending the day with me. thank you for posting. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JLITT62 2/16/2012 5:25AM

    Ooooh, that sounds delicious! So creative, too.

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ID_VANDAL 2/16/2012 5:07AM

    Very clever idea indeed! Bet they didn't last long!



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BESTSUSIEYET 2/15/2012 11:23AM


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NANCY- 2/15/2012 9:31AM

    Excellent idea. Thanks for sharing it.

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ME_FIRST 2/15/2012 7:32AM

    They look so delicious and healthy eating too. I bet every loved them. Great idea.

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RUNNINGOMA 2/15/2012 4:40AM

    What a great idea!!

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MAMASUDS 2/15/2012 12:21AM

    I love the idea! I think I will use it for my birthday! Thanks!

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    I LOVE That idea! YUMMY! emoticon

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JUDYAMK 2/14/2012 10:11PM

    What a cleaver idea I am going to do this. I think it is awesome 10 girls came to Bible study. praise the Lord for that gathering
Judy emoticon

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Grateful for Progress on Beck's ARC

Sunday, February 12, 2012

For the Beck Diet Solution I had to make "Advantage Response Cards" listing specific reasons I wanted to lose weight. They have been tweaked a bit since I started working through Dr. Judith Beck's book in December 2009, but overall have stayed the same. I put the list on my "Other Goals" tracker (one long entry of 11 reasons) so that would be at least once a day I'm sure to read them---reading my ARC was one of the first Beck disciplines to establish. I'm also noting on my Spark Page several of them that in God's mercy have been accomplished.

Through God's amazing grace I have two more elements of progress to celebrate with you. The very first item on my list has always been "Get rid of back pain." For years I had almost continual pain between my shoulders and pain every evening near my tailbone, plus hip pain. Thank you, Jesus, I have been truly pain free since before Christmas. I have an excellent chiropractor from the Palmer method who is also an inspiring nutrition and exercise coach. Losing forty pounds, plus regular chiropractic adjustments, plus deleting wheat which is generally inflammatory for me, plus God's healing hand . . . this combination of factors God has used to grant me complete relief from pain.

After all, most people at a healthy weight would get a backache if they put on a pack with nearly forty superfluous pounds and carried it around all day, every day!

Another on my list of reasons to lose weight was "Walk around without embarrassment." You will be amazed to hear that this is already true in my life. Yesterday I worked at a high school basketball tournament for 5 hours. I had to walk in and out of the gym and along the sidelines a dozen times at least. Near the end I realized I had never felt self-conscious once. I didn't give a thought to how I looked, slimmer or not. How could that be, when I still have forty or fifty pounds to lose?

Some of it is just God's grace in my heart, and I am so grateful. Also I have observed some specific elements that have contributed. Making healthy choices helps me feel great about myself as a person. I have more concrete self-respect and more confidence. Yes, I am overweight (right on the cusp of obese) but I am working hard every day to keep moving in a healthier direction.

It has been a long, slow progress in teeny tiny steps. I still blow it and I'm still stubborn about things. But I have stopped fussing at myself about my years of obesity and I'm looking ahead at what I still can accomplish with God's help. Somehow that also released me to recognize other things I can feel great about: I am compassionate, creative, reverent, analytical, and funny.

I guess what it boils down to, regarding the embarrassment, is that as far as walking around goes, I don't have to be constantly thinking about those dozens of extra pounds I'm carrying. I'm focusing on the job God wants me to attend to right at hand, savoring each moment's unique joys, strategizing about the current challenges I face and the action I can take.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADJQUILTER 3/1/2012 8:37AM

    "I guess what it boils down to, regarding the embarrassment, is that as far as walking around goes, I don't have to be constantly thinking about those dozens of extra pounds I'm carrying. I'm focusing on the job God wants me to attend to right at hand, savoring each moment's unique joys, strategizing about the current challenges I face and the action I can take."
I agree completely with the eloquent way you said this. The main benefit of having lost over 60 pounds for me isn't the comments I get. It's feeling free of that excess baggage.
Feeling free to enjoy the life God has given me. Feeling free to continue working on becoming the best me that God wants me to be.
I'm so very happy that you no longer suffer from the back pain. God is a great healer.
It sounds like your healing was much more than just physical.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    What a marvelous metamorphis, you are blooming my dear, just blooming and I am so happy for you. I think it is a good thing we don't judge others as harshly as we judge ourselves.

You are a beloved child of God and nothing changes that. Nothing. emoticon

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ID_VANDAL 2/14/2012 4:55AM

    I am so very happy for you! Your success is well earned and I'm glad you are realizing the benefits of all your efforts.

No back pain - I'll bet you forgot how it felt not to have back pain didn't you!!

Great job - major credit to you!!



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NANCY- 2/13/2012 9:19AM

    What wonderful qualities you have. Perhaps you should include perseverance. You have keep moving forward. I agree with TRAVELGRRL and Dr. Beck give yourself credit for taking those steps.

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WARMSPRINGDAY 2/13/2012 5:09AM


What a testimony and inspiration. Thank you for sharing this. It has freshened my spirit.

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MAMASUDS 2/13/2012 2:52AM

    Thank you for sharing with us. What an awesome testimony of God's work in your life. Go forth boldly!

Oh how we miss having a Palmer graduate close at hand. We were spoiled while living in MO and IA. We do have a good physical therapist who does "manual therapy" as he calls it. He has been a blessing many a time during our time here. I was always amazed by my chiropractor while in college. He could tell me what I had eaten the day before simply by doing joint and reflex tests on me. If I had drunk soft drinks at work all evening, I couldn't hide it from him. He knew right off. If I had ate in the school cafeteria and drank water, he knew that too. What a blessing it is for you to have your chiropractor as a cheerleader in your health journey. That is so cool.

You forgot to list encourager in your list of great qualities. You have been an encouragment to so many of us here. It really is a gift, not to be overlooked.

Celebrating your freedom from pain with you and wishing you a week full of many freedoms!

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TRAVELGRRL 2/12/2012 10:19PM

    "It has been a long, slow progress in teeny tiny steps."

This is what will make it long lasting change! I love that you have put your Beck goals in your Spark "other goals". I have done the same thing, and it's a great daily reminder to do the basics.

I'm so proud that you are so much less self conscious about the extra weight you still carry. You have so much to offer and now the world can see it, because YOU see it.

In the words of Dr. Beck, "You deserve credit for that!"

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No One Wants It? Really?

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

While traveling I carry along lots of fruit and nuts and carrot sticks since our teen girls get hungry often. At one motel breakfast bar I realized that later we'd be in the Creation Museum a long stretch of time, and figured a munchy snack might be easier than fruit in some settings, so I took with me a single-pack of a sugary breakfast cereal. It was probably a lingering twinge of (misplaced) guilt also, because this particular variety of cereal used to be a celebrated favorite in our home. For years our cabinet would never be without THAT CEREAL (lots of boys continually refueling plus yours truly being stubborn about changing our eating habits). But I did gradually change what I bought, and the boys are all grown and gone, so the younger kids haven't had that item in a long time!

When we were unloading the car after the trip, the sealed cereal pouchlet was still knocking around beside the seat. Surprised but ever frugal, (you DO NOT throw away food!), I brought it in and stuck it in the pantry. Now five weeks later, today my mid-teen daughter waves it around asking me what to do with it, cause she's certainly not going to eat it. I ask the pre-teen daughter, "Can you please eat this tomorrow so it won't be a temptation to me?" (I've been hungrier the last 2 days and feeling vulnerable.)

Younger daughter looks at the package with scorn: " _ I _ don't want it!!"

Thanks be to God for His mercy! and if you're in the difficult stages of nudging your family toward healthier eating, don't give up. It does get better. Many of them will "get it" eventually . . . and even if they aren't wholehearted about it, you don't need to feel guilty for acting in their best interest.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    How about the birds and squirrels?? They can have it and you can watch them as they celebrate their treasure.

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WATERMELLEN 2/12/2012 3:48PM

    Victory!! Great story . . .

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ID_VANDAL 2/10/2012 4:53AM

    Good job on getting rid of that cereal in the right way!! Give yourself some major credit on the self discipline you have given to your daughters!!

Super job!!



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JUSTBIRDY 2/9/2012 9:28PM


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NANCY- 2/9/2012 2:46PM

    emoticon MOM!!!
You have taught them well.


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ME_FIRST 2/9/2012 8:00AM

    That's wonderful. You're kids are so much better off without the sugar cereal. My mom never bought sugar cereal (although we were allowed to put some table sugar on our cereal if we wanted) and so I don't have a taste for it and never wanted it. If all parents give their kids are chicken nuggets and french fries, then that's all they'll know to eat.

Way to go!!!

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MAMASUDS 2/9/2012 3:00AM

    Woo Hoo! Way to go! You have done a great job training up your daughters. And just think the advantage you have given the next generation. What a wonderful heritage.

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FREELADY 2/8/2012 8:00PM

    You're welcome WSD about my indefinite food description. I am vague on purpose because I myself am so vulnerable to mental images. Hope I get tougher, but as of now many blogs I read leave me newly craving some indulgence---even if they describe successfully resisting it!! So I try to be considerate not to add temptation for anyone who might be wired like me.

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And thanks for not saying what kind of cereal and making me hungry
emoticon emoticon

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FREELADY 2/8/2012 6:39PM

    Ha! I gave it to the Vietnam Veterans (tucked under the stack of pants that are too big for me. Yay!

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TRAVELGRRL 2/8/2012 5:23PM

    I had a WW leader who used to say "THROW IT OUT! You are not a garbage can!"

Apparently neither are your kids, except they know it and you are still struggling with old childhood messages!

Do you have a food donation box at church you can put it into? Or did you finally do the dirty deed and pitch the darn thing??

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CAMEOSUN 2/8/2012 2:56PM

    emoticon Instilling healthy values !

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/8/2012 2:56:39 PM

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MOM-OF-SIX 2/8/2012 2:05PM

    Awesome story! I hope my kids will get there eventually. Right now I'm glad that they eat a lot more fruits and veggies than I ever did growing up. They also love all my cooking, even when I use asparagus! Sometimes I tell them "no" to the asparagus, it's expensive and it's one of my favorites. I save it for me and hubby.

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    I think that's so GREAT! Yes, my son was talking just the other day about food, and he floored me when he said, "I can't believe there are actually people who love white bread! It's worthless! And wheat bread tastes so much better!" I LOVED IT! Yes, you are so right! Good job, Mom! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Focused Action instead of Generalized Complaining

Saturday, February 04, 2012

[Hey---maybe that should be my overall theme for 2012!]

I don't think I've blogged about it, but I have been fussing about some outrageous and offensive ads on SparkPeople. In extreme cases I have also commented on their site help message board. Now I want to comment that an ad I have seen is quite pleasant and wholesome . . . and I appreciate that!

The Lipton Green Tea ad --which has various fruits bouncing in and out of a steaming cup-- is attractive and cheerful. I don't mind being caused to think about green tea and/or fruit. The amount of animation is tolerable. I also don't mind neutral ads. I realize I need to put up with some degree of distraction because it keeps this wonderful site free.

Positive products abound; they do exist. Surely we can keep being shown advertising that pertains to beneficial items and upholds community standards of good taste and high moral tone. I think it's reasonable to ask for ads which have healthy products, beneficial products, or at least wholesome and G-rated products. Ones I don't mind being in view if my pre-teen daughter is in the room.

We positioned the computer screen in full view of the family room and kitchen for a reason. I hate feeling embarrassed about something showing on my screen, when what I'm doing is reading a friend's blog or writing an encouragement to someone!!

Spark has an official article that discusses concerns about inappropriate ads. They state that a third party selects and cycles them . . . the old "we can't control it" cop out. Yet if you look at the message boards for site/technical help, many offensive ads have been removed and Spark says "Thanks, we hadn't caught that one."

So it is worth it to go through the specific procedure to report offensive ads. Here's the article, and at the end they list exactly how to do it.

Yes, it's a hassle, and takes up time we could be getting motivated or spurring on a friend. But it will bless many other people if we can stifle some of the garbage ads that are tainting the uplifting experience that I associate with SparkPeople.

P.S. Here's a FAQ answer that's similar and links back to the same article:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAMASUDS 2/13/2012 3:04AM

    Yep. Had to do that on this end because of dating sites that kept coming up. Our laptap sits in the dining room too and I was getting frustrated about the ads my son was inadvertantly seeing. Very thankful to say that Spark Tech took care of the problem. Now I just keep seeing this wonderful Bubble Tea bouncing around and we would have to drive 90 minutes to get one. So, I guess it isn't much of a temptation. It brought back great memories of a Chinese church in Cananada though and the opportunity to teach our kids what Bubble Tea is.
Thanks for standing in the gap and helping to guard our hearts and minds from ad trash.

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WATERMELLEN 2/12/2012 3:50PM

    Good to know, thanks.

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    I have to say, I somehow am oblivious to ads on most sites! The only time I'm aggravated is when I run my mouse over a word and an ad of any kind pops up! I guess I just got so used to "tuning them out" that I might not even notice if it was an ad for something horrifying! Anyway, I hope it gets resolved because to many people, it really is bothersome! emoticon

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ID_VANDAL 2/5/2012 6:42PM

    That is very good information to have. Advertisers seem to be losing common sense when it comes to putting up ads but then again it's all about generating revenues. I wish we could all just start boycotting suppliers with offensive ads but then we would all have to agree on what's offensive and that would be a problem.

Anyway thanks for sharing the links.



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RUNNINGOMA 2/5/2012 4:15PM

    Will do. Worth the effort!

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NANCY- 2/5/2012 9:09AM

    Well said.

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DRAWNTHISWAY 2/5/2012 8:39AM

    Thank you for posting this.

I will point some of my friends who have recently seen offensive ads to your links so that they can help report them. I rarely see an offensive ad because I have an add-on on my browser that prevents the ads from being seen, and have for years. So I admit to being clueless as to what sparkpeople advertises.

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WARMSPRINGDAY 2/4/2012 10:34PM

    Great information!

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