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Sunday, October 28, 2012

OK, I'm pretty pissed the world in so called experts.

Here's the deal;

I had my annual physical done on Friday. Tuesday I went in and gave them a few liters of blood so they could have all the labwork done when I sat down with the doc.

Fast forward to Friday....everything is checking out just fine...hearing, eyes, weight, blood pressure. Even the doc takes a look at me as I walk in and says, "Hey you look great!"

Then we get to the labwork.

Cholestrol is 300!


Now for the last 25 years my cholesterol has beeped and bopped between 180-210....last year this time it was 202.

So what the hell happened?!?!

Well in my zeal to adapt to a ketogenic diet, I lowered my carbs down to below 50gms/day. Most days I am below 30 gms/day. All the reading I have done tells me I should be in ketosis, that is, switching from burning carbohydrates as a primary fuel to burning fat.

To fuel your new metabolism.....SO THE THEORY need to increase your fat intake....of all kinds....mono to saturated fats.

And I did so. For 5 happy months I stopped eating sugars and breads, starches and rice. I watched my waistline and belly tighten & shrink. I saw my bodyfat drop 4-5 percentage points. I started having fresh eggs for breakfast, I ate steaks with the fat, I put butter on my veggies, had bacon every chance I got.

For months I had been waiting for this physical, imagining that I would be the poster boy for this year's "Patient of the Year" award.

Instead the doc had a serious talk with me about starting a regimen of statins to lower my cholesterol!

I confessed to her my recent experiment of increasing my fat intake as I limited my carbs.....she just stared at me and again asked when I wanted to start the statins.

I pleaded for another 3 weeks to readjust my diet....this had to be an anomaly....either that or they switched my blood samples in the lab.

Now I'll admit, everything else looked great.....HDL was way glucose readings were great (apparently they have the ability from one sample to know what your levels have been for the last 6 weeks....amazing!). Apparently my risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is wicked low (which was my goal).....but I set off the medical alarm bells and warning lights for a potential heart attack!

Needless to say SWMBO was pissed. She gave me the "I told you so" stare. We spent Friday night walking around the beach figuring out how to fix me.

So I've been on a massive re-evaluation these past 2 days.

I think the low carb thing works for me.....I don't think that correlates to increasing my fat intake....definitely not saturated fats.

I track every damn thing I eat, so I'm going to have to do a little chemistry mixing to re-adjust some of my nutrients.

Yeah, I'm pissed, but I've come way to far too screw around. I've been making all sorts of changes in my diet and health these last 2 years on SP and I'm not about to chuck it all out the window because of this. It just means, yet again, a massive re-direction in how I hard can that be?!?!?

More to follow.....have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HAKAPES 12/15/2012 2:40PM

    Wow, that's a lesson. However, who never tries, never wins. Happy that you make medical checks so such things pop out in time!

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    No need to add my two cents - right?- cuz everyone else here has given you plenty of support and good advice. Soooooo, I'll simply say, I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Oh hell ... I gotta say more than that:
Make the changes that YOU believe will make a difference. Proof will be in the pudding. Oooops, I mean, in the LEANER cut of meat.

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Woah! I am a firm believer in education, reading and research. I know you'll find what works for you in your quest for health- to find a balance so you can keep up what is working, yet lower your cholesterol. That would be quite the wake-up call!

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TRIANGLE-WOMAN 11/9/2012 1:08PM

Well, you enjoyed the experiment while it lasted...

Maybe more protein, less fat is the answer?

Good luck!

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REBECCATKD 11/4/2012 10:59AM

    Oh, no! Pissed indeed! But take the three weeks and see what you can do.

Also, it really could be an anomaly. My cholesterol reading was the same -- give or take 2 points -- for two years and then suddenly jumped 40 points in six months. I hadn't been doing anything different. My doctor assured me that it was no big deal, but I had another test run. The result? Back to my regular number. So misreadings DO happen.

Keep us posted!

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CLAIREINPARIS 11/4/2012 4:37AM

    How discouraging after all your efforts! But I am sure you'll find what works for you and get a healthy cholesterol level again... Take care of yourself!

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PROT358 10/31/2012 8:42PM

    That would be frustrating! You might be able to reach a dietary middle ground. My parents both have high cholesterol, and they limit red meat, and maybe if you have oatmeal every day ... it seems a shame to completely abandon ship when the past few months have otherwise been going very well for you. I would ask for lifestyle changes you can tweak to make the numbers more favorable rather than pills, if you can avoid it. Good luck! I really hope you figure this out. Keep us posted!

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LOWFATFOODIE 10/29/2012 3:31PM

    You'll figure it out and adapt.

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SALONKITTY 10/29/2012 12:35PM

    Oh dear--I'm glad to hear you turned down the chance to take statins! I see that you checked out the link I posted to Chris Kessler's article. It sounds like you might want to have a closer look at the specifics of your numbers, and also consider what he said at the end of the article, about there being a possible source of inflammation and that being the cause of the high reading.

I'm sure it was a real shocker to learn those numbers after you had such great success with your weight loss and fitness. I think you'll be able to figure out what's going on and get it turned around, though it sounds like it's going to take a bit more experimentation. Hang in there, you can do it....

P.S. Attia's Eating Academy site that Egalitaire suggested is great.

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BILL60 10/29/2012 8:49AM

    Something very similar happened to me years ago while on the Atkins. While I lost a ton of weight, my cholesterol went through the roof. Hang tough!! I'm confident that you'll figure out what works for you.

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EGALITAIRE 10/29/2012 8:21AM

    I can only imagine how disheartening and disconcerting that news was, particularly with the focus on statins in the popular media and Conventional Health community.

I won't espouse my own theories, but will advocate you do some extensive research on your own. I have read a lot of information recently that seems to fly in the face of the conventional wisdom about cholesterol. I may be more of an marker for other conditions, than it is causal for heart disease.

I will have to do some research to find the article I read a number of months ago - it was on marksdailyapple, so maybe if you want to look there yourself. Anyway, the essence of the article is that cholesterol numbers and production are function of much more than diet - in fact, dietary fat accounts for less than 15% of all the cholesterol in our bodies. Further, when we reduce the amount of cholesterol we eat, the body often produces more and vice versa.

So the bottom line is that high cholesterol numbers are typically the result of something other than diet. The two main culprits are 1) inflammation in the body - cholesterol is used to repair damaged cells, so the more damage, the more cholesterol is needed to make those repairs 2) Some people's cholesterol numbers go up in the first few months of a primal style diet because as their bodies start to use fat as a primary source of energy their is more fat being transported in the blood.

Check out Petter Attia's blog as well - he has very good information on cholesterol and insulin production, low carb, etc.

Yes, people with heart disease often have higher cholesterol, that means it correlates, not that it is causative. If the cholesterol is being sent by the body to prepare damaged cells, maybe the damaged cells are the initial cause of the heart disease.

If the above is true, an analogy that seems appropriate is blaming cholesterol on heart disease is like blaming firefighters for starting fires. Every time you drive by a fire, there's a whole group of firefighters there, and you never see a whole group of firefighters congregating except when there is a fire - clearly, incontrovertible evidence - firefighters cause fires.


Hope you are able to find out what works for you and your health

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BERGBA7 10/29/2012 6:24AM

    That is very interesting to me. Thanks for posting.
After 2 months of low carb (around 80grams/day) my cholesterol came in at 202 in September. It had always been very low previously. So, I had similar results but they were not really alarming. A Spark friend that researches cancer and obesity told me that rats that are put on a diet with around 35% fat/day or higher develop much more often cancer.

So, I backed away a bit from the fat and low carb since then. As you know I don't eat meat, so my guess was that the fatty milk products and the eggs were the "evil guys" in my diet. The same spark friend gave me the advice to cut back on fatty milk products but told me to keep the eggs. She did not think they had a bad influence on my cholesterol. I decided to clean out things like blue cheese and am trying to stay at around 150grams of carb/day and not exceed 35% of fat intake a day. I will see in 6 months whether that has worked for me or not.

I am sure you will find how to readjust your diet in a way that is best for you. You have so much experience with it. I guess all you need to do is cut back on the "bad" fat and your cholesterol will go down again. Good luck!

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BOB240 10/29/2012 6:23AM

    well.. this is interesting...I have no idea why this happened..
I can understand the drive to use statins.. but it would be really useful to tweak your diet without... but there again.. you aren't a lab guinea pig.

Keep us posted.. I think I'd better get my level checked too...:(

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YAGERMONSTER 10/29/2012 4:21AM

    I am going to raise my cholesterol, per your previous diet, just so I can lose the kind of weight you lost. Then I'll worry about the cholesterol problem, you should have it figured out by then. :D

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FANGFACEKITTY 10/29/2012 2:16AM

    Confucius say "Better to be pissed off than pissed on!"

Surprising news about the cholesterol. I always knew bacon was evil, now I have proof to point to.

But if anyone can get the levels back down, you can. Without the drugs. Don't you just hate that a doctor's first, second and third instinct is to push pills? Instead of first seeing if there is a way to fix what is causing the problem instead of using pills to mask it.

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DOUGDC 10/29/2012 12:53AM

    I'm kind of surprised at your high cholesterol. Were the LDL's up as well?

I'm doing a carb avoidance diet. No strict limit. Simply not eating potatoes, pasta, bread and starchy vegetables as I used to. This means that fat comes in around 50% of calories.

About 15 years ago, after I had been on a reasonably low fat diet for years my doc put me on statins. Said that some folks simply cant get their cholesterol under 220 without help. I'm on them now.

But with the statins and a diet relatively low in carbs and relatively high in fat I've had a cholesterol near 100 and an LDL near 120 for two years. My doc says he's not surprised and that low carb folks sometimes come in with great lipid profiles even without statins.

You seem a conscientious sort. As you look at modifying your diet, I'm sure you'll look with care and work with your doc or a nutritionist to find out what is actually responsible for the change you saw.

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LISAINMS 10/28/2012 10:41PM

    Yikes! I'm glad you didn't just grab the Rx for statins and go. Make a course correction with less of the saturated animal fats and I bet you will be lower on a retest. The low carb is working for you so make the adustment to the fats and replace with a little more veggie carbs.

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BEATLETOT 10/28/2012 10:17PM

    Ah, man, what a bummer! A few more blogs from you regarding low-carb, and I was gonna go there myself. I hope that your cholesterol is at a good level in 3 weeks! You can do it!

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CHEEKY1000 10/28/2012 10:01PM

    Um, yowzer! 300! I can see why you'd be pissed. The beauty of SP is that it is as adaptable as we want it to be (and as adaptable as we are). You know that already (call me Captain Obvious).

Let us know what conclusions you come up with during your re-eval. I don't want to be a nay-sayer, but with so much fat intake, is the 300 really a surprise? Again, not a criticism--just wanting education. Much like me forgetting that pre-packaged foods are loaded with sodium *sigh*.

Sorry your physical didn't go as well as you'd wanted overall. FYI, I love the way your wife gave you the "I told you so" look. Such skillfull non-verbal communication skills. LOL


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    Oh man! That totally sucks! I'm so sorry that your results weren't what you wanted but now you have something to work on and from what I know about you on Spark - you'll do it. I have faith in you. Good luck!

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VHALKYRIE 10/28/2012 8:38PM

    Wow...I have to admit I'm surprised. I had my physical last month, and all my numbers aligned into the excellent category. I'm sorry to hear about this.

Maybe a full time ketogenic diet may not be the best for you - I know that you are very active lifting and spinning. Personally, I only dip into keto levels briefly as a reset button. If you've read my recent blogs, I mention that I've shifted into higher intensity exercise, so I've somewhat increased my carbs in response, mostly fruit and potatoes.

Have you read this article from Mark's Daily Apple?


I don't blame you for wanting to avoid the statins. I'm sure you'll find the right balance without them.

Comment edited on: 10/28/2012 8:57:17 PM

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WILDFLOWERMA 10/28/2012 8:08PM

    I'm so sorry to hear about the disappointing cholesterol news. Although you may have to tweak some things and balance out some of the fats, you should still proud of all the other accomplishments. After trying so many diet approaches only to eventually regain the lost weight, I truly believe it is about finding the right balance for your body. There is no one size fits all approach or miracle cure.

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NKOUAMI26 10/28/2012 7:38PM


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Endurance Strength Training.....the recovery spin class

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Well needless to say, after yesterday's endurance strength training session, I was a tad sore this morning. (

Don't get me wrong, it was a good sore, the kind of sore that reminds you that you have muscles in all sorts of weird parts of your body. It's the kind of sore that says, "hey dumbass, why did you decide to start using us after all these years, we've been pretty happy atrophying away down here!"

As the morning wore on, I wasn't shaking it off, so I made secret plans to duck out at lunchtime and sneak in a spin class under the guise doing some "management by walking around"

Quite possibly the smartest thing I did all day!

Now when I'm in town, it's tough to break away during the day to hit the gym. On the road at conferences and other meetings I have to attend, I've got more opportunities. But this week has been fantastic!

At last week's scheduling meeting, I told my front office staff to leave me wide open this Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday....miraculously, they listened and did just that! Tons of white space on the calendar....I don't think I have been so productive in months. I knocked out tons of things on my never-ending to-do list, got caught up on a bunch of professional reading I had let slack off, prepared a bunch of reports that needed some undivided attention, knocked out tons of correspondence, and basically networked like a I got in a lunchtime workout Tuesday & today.

I strolled in to the spin class today still feeling a little wobbly from yesterday's lower body endurance workout. As I got on the bike I seriously questioned my own sanity and wondered if I hadn't made a monumental blunder attempting a hard cardio session after a tough ST workout.

But once curvilicious instructor gal started pumping up some Black Eyed Peas ("I got a feeling") the world seemed just right and next thing you know I was revving it up past 90 RPM and steadily pushing up the resistance.

And then my legs started loosening up and it felt as if some biophysical miracle flushed out all the leftover lactic acid from yesterday. Hill climbs, sprints, intervals, you name it, I was all over it. 50 straight minutes of pretty damn hi-intensity cardio on the bike, punctuated by 30 second breaks to towel off the sweat and chug down a few gulps of water.

Yeah, so maybe there is something to this endurance strength training after all.....sheesh!

Have a great night spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PLMITCH 10/12/2012 10:26PM

    emoticon emoticon

"endurance strength training"...sounds painful! But I'm sure it was good!

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SAFARIBABE 10/12/2012 9:23AM

    Nothing beats a good turn on the bike! Maybe you can rent one in Hawaii and go for a ride up one of those volcano things.

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BERGBA7 10/12/2012 2:45AM

    Yep, as crazy as it sounds, a workout while being sore can help recover. I do not really understand how that works, but found that it also works for me.
You seem to have found your balance - strength, cardio, food - I think just that is maintenance. Doing something you like that makes you feel good, strong, healthy, happy and balanced. One day you might just stop loosing weight and there you are on "maintenance". To plant a flag on the day you realize you want to stay just like you are is a celebration of achievement ~ don't miss that happy moment!
Enjoy your sweating and have a nice trip to Hawaii.
emoticon emoticon

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ADVENTURESEEKER 10/11/2012 11:38PM

    Gotta love a good workout!

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Endurance Strength it....hate it!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

So I really enjoy my workout schedule. I try to get in 3 days of ST plus 3 days of cardio in any given week.

Cardio varies between riding my bike (my supercool Trek which is also my avatar), working out on the elliptical, taking a spin class, and any other activity to get my HR up to 80-90% of max

For ST it's a little more complicated.

Now I freely admit that I've been working out with a trainer for these past 3 years (I'm pretty sure he received some Sadism 101 training as an East German Stasi agent or quite possibly was a Russian Spetsnaz animal cruelty specialist). He changes up routines on me periodically and definitely pushes me past what I would normally do on my own on a regular basis.

We basically alternate doing a heavy weight/low rep workout, followed by the same routine with medium weight and higher reps.

For example on squats, I do 240 lbs for 5 reps (4 sets total) on a heavy day, then do 165 lbs for 15 reps (4 sets also) a couple days later.

You would think the heavy weights are the tough days.

Oh No! No, no, no, no, no......the tough days are the medium weight/hi rep days. "These are the days we train for endurance", says Stasi trainer guy (imagine Arnold saying this).

Today was such a day!

Now I consider myself a fairly tough-minded Mo-Fo. I can endure all sorts of privations & pains. I've run marathons, spent days in the woods eating only what I can catch, and all sorts of other weirdness.

But endurance ST is a whole other ballgame.....I don't think there's a tougher thing I do (at least I think that right now, at this moment, today)

Right as I get to 8, 9, 10 reps, I realize, "Scheisse, I still have 5 more of these to do!"

Meanwhile, my glutes, hamstrings, & back are screaming, and I am getting an incredible aerobic workout as I am huffing and puffing for all I'm worth (Stasi guy says it's technically an anaerobic workout...."Screw you Stasi guy" I mutter to myself as I focus on reps 12 & 13)

Man, oh, man what a combination though...strength training and endurance. I used to think endurance meant running (or biking) for long distances, usually measured in hours. In the ST world it's about how long can you stretch out that time where you are stressing your musculature with repetitive movements while bearing a load. Yes each set is over in under 2 minutes, but it sure feels like hours to me!

But I've come to believe that you have to do both. Doing heavy weights is good to build muscle and strength, but I know a lot of folks that do just that, and are explosively strong for a minute or 2, but ask them to do something repetitive and they're out of Schlitz pretty fast.

Lifting less heavy weights for a higher number of reps is also great for building muscle strength & tone, but also helps build mental strength where you learn to recognize the fatigue and work through it as well as building up your stamina, which may be a better measure of overall health than just the amount of weight you moved in a day.

By Jove, maybe I've got it....maybe I can fire Stasi guy, quit my day job, and become a Personal Trainer myself!

Have a great night spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOWFATFOODIE 10/13/2012 4:02PM

    I totally agree. my program actually does rotate weeks of heavy lifting with weeks of high reps. Right now its crazy 20-30 reps with active rest in between.
I'll take those 8 reps at high weight any day!! Something about going over 10 is a mental game... usually I have to count to 10 twice to avoid that panic of 18...19...20.

Definitely switching up routines (not just weight but different lifts too) every couple of weeks is generally a best practice.
After my 12 weeks (I'm in week 9), I'll be working up a 4 day ST routine that changes up every couple of weeks, focusing on the parts that need the most improvement...

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SAFARIBABE 10/12/2012 9:20AM

    Ach you LOVE it! You KNOW you love it! You love getting beat up by Stasi guy, and most of all you thrive on the rush of success when you finish AND can still crawl to the car! LOL

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GREENGENES 10/11/2012 7:07PM

    Great. Personal trainers sound like they can be very beneficial but not something I've ever thought about and certainly not in my budget. However, I've noticed a few students (former varsity athletes) at our fitness center working one on one with other students and I've thought about asking them if they would work with me and how much they would charge but I don't think I'm ready to go that route yet.

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LISAINMS 10/11/2012 1:46PM

    You do need both! I see so many at the gym that do either/or. They are missing the boat.

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BILL60 10/11/2012 9:50AM

    Gold stuff!! I personally dislike bike speed intervals and hill repeats. While they're made for increasing endurance and strength, I would much rather do a 50-miler than a lousy 1hr intervals/repeats workout. They truly humble you.

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CHEEKY1000 10/10/2012 10:41PM

    Okay, seriously, you said picture Arnold...but all I pictured were Hanz and Franz "Pump you up!" LOL

I did some lunges and squats on Sunday. Did a relatively easy workout since I haven't used the muscles other than running in months. Did I say easy? Today was the first day since Sunday that I could actually get onto and off ...the...uh...toilet (shhhh) without crying. Okay, maybe I didn't cry, but holy guacamole did it hurt and I was definitely grimacing if not crying. On Sunday, the workout felt fine--even considered adding weights. Sooooo glad I didn't. So, at the moment, I'm in awe of you. I'm pretty sure 5# (let alone triple digits) would break me at the moment. LOL

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 10/10/2012 10:20PM

    Be careful, BEATLETOT and I, both, speak German. emoticon LOL.
Actually I was born and grew up there. To picture Arnold pushing you, makes me laugh.
I certainly don't work out at your level, but I have worked out with a trainer for this past year, and it definitely makes a big difference.
Keep it up!!!

Comment edited on: 10/10/2012 10:30:40 PM

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    Ooooh! Sounds good and awful at the same time! :)

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Just exactly what is Maintenance???

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

OK, I freely admit, these days I've been a blog slacker. No real good's not like I lack things going on....I'm mostly on a pretty stable glide path working, eating, exercising, life, yadda-yadda-yadda.

I've read a lot of blogs & commentary lately on people in maintenance. Hmmmmm......maintenance.....exactly what is THAT?

I've been a pretty steady 178 - 182 lbs now for 4-6 months. I'm wearing 34 inch jeans....but need a belt to hold them up so I don't look like this

I work out because I enjoy it and feel better when I do. I don't view exercise as a tool to counteract the food I eat....this is a pretty huge mental shift. I recently re-wickered my food plan to significantly reduce my carb intake and feel tons better for it.....I feel in control of my appetite for the first time in......DECADES!

So what the hell is maintenance?!?!?

I don't know, mostly because I don't think I've thought my way through it yet.....most of the stuff I've read from folks in or approaching maintenance have said it's pretty much an extension of what they've been doing to get down to their goal weight anyway......I don't think I'll plant a flag, stake my claim, and say, "Today I declare that I am in MAINTENANCE"

In any case, life goes on and thanks to SP, I can handle all the many minefields out there much better today than I could before I joined. This week I've got a dinner event on Thursday night, a going away luncheon on Friday, SWMBO and I are hosting a backyard party for about 30 folks on Saturday afternoon, and Sunday.....

....I fly to Hawaii for a week!

I got a call from the corporate leadership a few days ago and was told I HAD to attend this meeting in Honolulu.

Oh alright, if I really HAVE TO!

Maybe I'll have an epiphany about maintenance as I sit on my breezy lanai, sipping my morning Joe and gazing out upon Diamond Head

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOWFATFOODIE 10/13/2012 3:56PM

    Enjoy Hawaii... I don't think I'll ever choose to say I'm in Maintenance either. I don't work well in "leave things as is"-- I'm on or I'm off. If I'm not progressing, then I am regressing.
Right now its body fat percentages. We'll see when I make that goal what is next-- probably being able to do pullups, handstand pushups or something equally "impossible" for me now.

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EYES_ON_THEPRAZ 10/11/2012 2:56PM

    Good for you - you are living your life and maintaining better than most of us! Have fun in Hawaii!

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SAFARIBABE 10/10/2012 7:23PM

    Maintenance....maintenance is actually owning a pair of pants that fit right!! All of them even!! (Hint Hint!!) Now why can't my boss ever order me to meetings in Hawaii. Well I guess you get ordered to enough places like Deluth (nothing against Deluth, I'm sure it's lovely). LOL Shame all those fruity drinks with umbrellas are high carb!! emoticon

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LISAINMS 10/10/2012 2:51PM

    Maintaining AND a forced trip to Hawaii? Well...don't suffer too much!

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MILLIE5522 10/10/2012 1:23PM

    Green green green and I'm not talking about veggies either! emoticon

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BEATLETOT 10/10/2012 12:21PM

    Hey, and that pic of the boys with the shorts also show maintenance! Glad to see you blogging!

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ELAYNE39 10/10/2012 9:51AM

    You poor thing. Hope you are not suffering too much in Hawaii.

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BILL60 10/10/2012 8:40AM

    Surely you need someone to carry your suitcases.

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    Ooooh darn, Hawaii! If you must...

Enjoy your time!

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ACCEPTHECHLNGE 10/9/2012 10:49PM

    Life is tough, isn't it? As long as you have a gym in the hotel, you will be ok and 'maintain', unless you are drinking too many Mai Tais. Enjoy!!!

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Istanbul - I need a vacation from my vacation!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Ahhh, it's nice to be back home! Here I sit on my favorite chaise lounge, looking out our windows onto the stormy seas as I get caught back up on logging food and blogging adventures.

I got in last night after a surprisingly uneventful flight with stops in Paris and Atlanta (yes Fangfacekitty, I had a nice experience with Air France....good food, lots of decent movies to watch, and friendly flight attendants)

But man I need a vacation from my vacation!

I arrived in Istanbul on Saturday 22 Sept. Checked in to the Renaissance Istanbul (owned by Marriot) which apparently opened up only a few weeks ago. My room had a great view of the bridge over the Bosporus and to my incredible delight, the gym was equipped with the latest Lifecycle bikes, treadmills, & ellipticals.

They even had a squat rack with free weights, a TRX room, a pilates room, and some concept 2 rowers! I was in heaven! I got in a good workout to shake off the transatlantic flight, then went to visit the rest of the family who was in the thick of wedding planning.

Sunday was great....the wedding went off without a hitch. They picked a beautiful spot in a little boutique hotel (Hotel Les Ottomans - ) right on the water.
Yours truly danced a good part of the night away with my sister (mother of the groom) and any bridesmaid within reach, then promptly logged about 120 aerobic minutes into my spark tracker later that night.

Monday was supposed to be a recovery day, but after I complained that all of my clothes had suddenly become all baggy this year, my sister insisted on taking me shopping to some of her favorite spots. We may not actually be brother and sister....somehow she has the genes that actually enjoy shopping.....mine are recessive.

She hauled my ass over to a bunch of Euro-boutique men's shops and no matter how difficult or picky I was, just kept hauling sports coats off the racks and telling me all about them ("See this stitching on the lapel, that's done by hand!") After 4 hours of this madness (and the realization that she wasn't going to stop until I picked out something), I settled on a sporty looking dark number with subtle azure stripes that I'd be comfortable wearing on casual nights out.

Tuesday my 35 year old nephew (her other kid) took the day off and we did the grand Istanbul walking tour. We started at one end of the Golden Horn, winding our way through twisting alleys, until we hit the waterside, crossed the bridge across the Golden Horn, wound our way through more streets until we hit the maze of the spice bazaars

Once our noses couldn't take it any more we hit the grand bazaar where I picked up a few trinkets for my front office folks

We found our way out after a few wrong turns, stopped for some tea, then picked up the pace to hit Haga Sophia before a big crowd of German tourists got ahead of us.

Being a history buff, I took every opportunity to school my nephew at every historical monument from the importance of the famed triple walls of Byzantium, to the 1000-year old sword carved initials into the railings of Haga Sophia by Vikings hired to guard the Emperor, to how the first use of cannons in a siege took down those same walls in 1453. Amazingly, he listened and enjoyed my lecturing!

Then we decided to rest, and so took a ferry ride to the Asian side where we walked another 5 miles through twisty streets and seaside vendors as we gazed back upon Europe!

According to my Bodymedia Fit, we walked 35,000 steps that day, which roughly equates to about 17 miles. And if that wasn't enough, we had reservations for dinner that night to take my sister out for her big 60th birthday! We did it up nicely. Nephew found a cute little spot in a high rise where they converted the balcony into a dining area with a view of the Bosphorus.

Anyway, the rest of the week was just as hectic. Wednesday I took my mom for a ferry ride out to the Princess Islands for lunch and a horse & buggy ride, Thursday nephew and I did another walking tour, though this one only logged 18,000 steps, and Friday I took myself out for another adventure where I could just relax alone.

In the meantime, I got in 3 good days of ST at the hotel, stayed relatively carb free (except for some very excellent chocolate cake on sister's birthday and a serving of baclava to die for at the wedding), and felt quite fetching as the good-looking, wide-shouldered, flat-bellied, 52-year old who can still dance up a storm when the music is right!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CLAIREINPARIS 10/8/2012 8:38AM

    What a beautiful city and a fun blog! It sounds like you had a fantastic time!
I wasn't looking forward to having to travel to Istanbul for work at some point in 2013, and now I am! Thank you!

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ALLYTHEATHLETE 10/6/2012 10:24PM

    Sounds amazing!

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MARZIPAN22 10/5/2012 11:56AM

    We were in Istanbul this past Spring and my husband really loved it (he was an art history major way back.) Your photos were wonderful and I was so happy to know that you had a lovely, busy time. It's terrific that you kept up with your fitness goals (and then some, I'll bet !!)

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BERGBA7 10/3/2012 3:55PM

    Wow! I love city trips and this one was great! Walking for sightseeing is one of my favorite workouts! Great you enjoyed it and had some good time with your family!
emoticon emoticon

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HAKAPES 10/2/2012 5:35PM

    Wonderful journey...
I love the title of the blog! :-)

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GREENGENES 10/2/2012 12:45PM

    35,000 steps!?!?!? Awesome "vacation". What a great adventure.

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HEALTHIERKEN 10/2/2012 11:46AM

    ". . . good-looking, wide-shouldered, flat-bellied, 52-year old . . . "
Ain't it great to be able to think of yourself in this way???!!!!!
Congratulations on your health and fitness accomplishments. : )

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SAFARIBABE 10/1/2012 7:49PM

    WOOT!!! I knew you'd come thru with some photos for the state-side stranded of us!! Glad you had a great trip. As for those shopping assured you and your sister are truly related. It's a woman thing -- well most women. Just look at SWMBO if you don't believe me. LOL Remember when y'all went sofa shopping? Glad you're home. Hope you can have a few days before jetting off again.

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MILLIE5522 10/1/2012 4:31PM

    I love dancing! Its the best way to burn those calories.
Great pics. I must go there one day.........

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REBECCATKD 10/1/2012 12:26PM

    Gorgeous pics! Sounds like a wonderful -- and busy! -- vacation.

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BILL60 10/1/2012 10:03AM

    Super adventure!!

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JTROBERTSON 10/1/2012 9:44AM

    Looks like a beautiful place. emoticon

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LIVELAUFLUV 10/1/2012 5:26AM

    Glad you had a great time! I hear you on needing a vacation from your vacation though. After our Alaskan cruise, I needed a week to recover and get back into the groove of reality!

Great job with your steps, and activity level while you were on vacation! Keep up the good work.

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    Sounds like you had a most fabulous time!

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WOUBBIE 9/30/2012 11:32PM

    Yumm! It sound like a delicious time in the best possible way!

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PROT358 9/30/2012 9:42PM

    Wow, that sounds fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing pictures and your experiences. That is the one place I have to go before I die. So beautiful and so much history. I'm glad you enjoyed yourself and stayed on track!

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    That sounds fantastic and exhausting all at the same time! Whew! Sounds like a great vacation!

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SHERYL_B 9/30/2012 7:32PM

    Glad you had such a good time. It sounds amazing!

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