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The Niagara River...

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Stellar weekend. If I didn't feel like being more expressive and detailed, I would totally just end it at that, lol. :D It was just one of those weekends where everything fell perfectly into a happy place and life was easy. It was a (sort of) long weekend here in Canada, with Canada Day falling on a Tuesday, and my wife and I deciding to take the Monday off using a vacation day. It really started on Friday night I guess. I had a great workout and swung by the liquor store on my way home. Equipped with a bottle of wine, and both kids fast asleep in bed, my wife and I just sat out on our deck, drinking and enjoying the warm weather. We'd been tossing a few ideas back and forth over what to do over the weekend. Saturday was fixed up with plans to attend a wedding for some friends of mine, but Sunday through Tuesday were totally up for grabs. For awhile we were leaning toward heading up north for a few days, but then I threw out an idea that got us both super excited... a trip down to Niagara area to bike the trail along the Niagara River!

Since we first started dating, we've been talking about biking this trail one day. Every time we would drive along side it while hitting up wineries, or just taking a scenic route to the Falls, we would stare at the trail and say "one day". Well, the beauty of the Monday we chose to take off, was that our kids' daycare was still opened - as Monday isn't the holiday. We could drop them off and then book it down to Niagara for the day, no problem. With that set in stone, we got on with our weekend.

The wedding was soooo much fun, and an excellent excuse to wear the suit I bought back in March for my brother's wedding. A lot of the people at our table are friends from dodgeball, and so we totally ended up being "that table", lol! :D The table that took full advantage of the open bar. The table that laughed and talked just that much louder than all the others. The fun table. :D The wedding was close to home as well, so we didn't need a DD between my wife and I. It's more fun getting drunk with your wife than having to rock, paper, scissors who gets to drink. :) It was just a great evening. Good people, good food, good dancing, and free booze!

Sunday was just a relaxing day around the house. Filled up the kiddie pool and spent time outside in the beautiful weather with the kiddos. I found a copy of "The Incredibles" and knew Evan would absolutely love it, so I told him we could do a movie night and his eyes lit up. So fun to see your kids get excited over the simple pleasures. We did some pita pizzas on the grill and settled right in. After the kids were asleep, I got a picnic lunch put together for our little bike trip: some awesome roasted and seasoned chickpeas (that I bought), a pasta salad with goat cheese, crisped prosciutto, tomatoes, and a red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing (which I made), and some pesto tuna sandwiches (which I also made). Gatorade and water to drink, a change of clothes packed, and some sunscreen and a hat to fight off the sun - all set! :D

The Niagara River connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and provides the endless flow of water for the epic Niagara Falls. The river spouts out into Lake Ontario right next to the beautiful town of Niagara-On-The-Lake - one of my favorite places on earth. This town has been the backdrop for some of me and my wife's favorite memories together over the twelve years we've been together. We went on dates there... I asked her to marry me there... and we celebrated our sixth anniversary down there. Fort George is right next door to the town, and makes for a perfect starting point for the bike trip along the river. The trail there is well defined and runs all the way to Fort Erie (with a couple of trail interruptions along the way). I wasn't sure how far we'd be able to get, but I knew that we could make it to Queenston no problem, and then maybe just a bit further before having to turn back. I thought it would be awesome if we could bike it all the way to the Falls, but felt that might be an unlikely thing to plan on. I was excited to see how my recent stationary biking efforts would translate into real biking - figuring it would go well, as we wouldn't be hoofing it, but rather enjoying the ride and the views. I let my wife take the lead, as I thought it would be better for her to set the pace... the view of her butt the whole way there and back turned out to be a bonus I hadn't considered, lol. :D It was just such an incredible ride, the whole time was so enjoyable. There are a few sections of the route that are a real challenge, but for the most part it's extremely level, with a good mix of gentle slopes up and down. We made it to Queenston around noon, and stopped for the picnic lunch before getting underway again. I, like the dufus I am, forgot forks for the pasta salad, but thankfully a fancy restaurant at the park-grounds we stopped at let me have two disposable forks! :D

We got back on the trail and I had made some calculations on how far we could bike before having to turn back. We both wanted to see the Falls, both for pride's sake and because you can never see the Falls too many times, but it didn't seem totally possible. The view of the River and other features from Queenston to the Falls were spectacular! Bridges connecting Canada to the States, white water rapids at one point, a super cool looking hydro power plant, and then of course... the Falls! We were soooo close to reaching the Falls at my "turn-back" point, that we both just said "eff it, let's do it!" It would just mean that if we didn't make it back in good time, then we might be late picking up the kids from daycare. No big deal really, and we just HAD to finish that leg and see the Falls! :D It was a really sweet feeling having made it all the way there, having biked about 22km. It took about two hours to do so, but again, it was all just at a leisurely pace. I average a speed of 16km/half-hour on the stationary bike at a good resistance (trying to keep my quads conditioned for running), so you could definitely bike that faster if you wanted to and were in good shape. The way back was more downhill, so I had pretty good hopes that we would still make it back in good time. Well... we KILLED it on the way back, lol. There were a bunch of great downhill sections that allowed us to coast at good speeds for quite a while. Took use about an hour and twenty minutes to get back to our car! :D That also includes two stops we made to take some pictures and just enjoy the view some more. We were pretty proud of ourselves. :) My wife was pretty spent afterward, but I was amazed to find that all the conditioning I gained during my half marathon training hadn't left me! I haven't run long distance in almost two months, yet my body felt ready to go do another 43kms if I wanted! Gives me hope that when my knee stops bothering me, I'll be able to just pick things back up again.

So yeah. A gorgeous ride, I highly recommend that to anyone living nearby or visiting. If you visit, let me know and I'll totally come bike the trail with you!!! :D So that was Monday. Tuesday was just a nice laze around the house kind of day. Kid's played outside, we tidied up the house some, had a nice dinner, and then just enjoyed some win and a movie after the kids went to bed. True fact: a bottle of red wine shared between your spouse once a week is a requirement for a good marriage. Unless you hate each other... in which case... drinking may not be a good idea... :| moving on. :D

That's it. That's all. Sorry it was so long and conversational in tone, but for those that stayed and read it all (or those naughty readers that just skimmed and skipped to the end, lol) here are some pictures to enjoy! :D

A beautiful candid shot that a friend took of my wife and I at the wedding on Saturday...

The park where we stopped to eat lunch...

Queenston-Lewiston Bridge I think? Cool bridge, essentially, lol...

Hydro Powerplant...

A shot of where the rapids empty into, and a cool cable car that takes you across to get a wicked view of it all...

The Falls!!! We made it, woohoo! :D

Our route (map image is turned sideways to show the entire route, not relative to true north)...

The two intrepid explorers, pre-sweated... did I mention it was INSANELY hot and humid that day? :D

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I've always wanted to visit Niagara Falls and the area! It's so crazy, my bf and I were JUST talking about Niagara Falls and then I sat down and read this post. What an awesome trip. Thanks for the great blog, I think my favorite thing about reading blogs is getting a window into other lives in other parts of the world. Oh yeah, and motivation!

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STEELKICKIN 7/7/2014 4:01PM

    Beautiful, beautiful pictures of nature and you two! I'm going to be honest, I skimmed until I saw the words "free booze" jump out at me so I went back and read the whole thing...and I'm really glad I did.

It sounds like someone had a perfect weekend. :) Yes, indeed.

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AGGIEKBEAR03 7/7/2014 1:56PM

    What an amazing trip!

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JILLYBEAN25 7/3/2014 8:52PM

    DUDE!!! Too cool and mega fun! It turns out I'm terrified of bikes, but what a gorgeous trail! I'd hike it... or have some poor s.o.b. rickshaw me along it. Niagara Falls is a must see for me someday!

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HOLLYM48 7/3/2014 8:46PM

    What a great weekend! Sounds like a great workout. Awesome pics of the area.
Loved the pic of you and your wife at your friends wedding. Very sweet.
Great picture of the 2 of you pre sweat setting out for your bike trip. That is some awesome miles and what an excellent place to bike. The view was spectacular!
I love the wine idea too and agree with it. After almost 29 years of marriage, my husband and I still try to go out at least once a week on a date! It is worth the time and energy for sure!

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    Sure sounds (& looks) like one amazing wkend! And children are priceless, glad you guys had a nice movie night. The wedding pic is awesome of yous, fun to see the causal one of you both too & the scenery pics are beautiful. Thats wonderful you & your wife finally got to do that trail--looks gorgeous & sounds like you both had a great time! Its special the sweetness you share together & hearing the significance of Niagara on the Lake in your story as a couple....glad the childcare was open & you guys got that awesome day together! Ps. nice work w/ the bike ride time!

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KANOE10 7/3/2014 7:38AM

    What a great bike ride and picnic. How exciting that you made it to the Falls. The whole weekend sounds perfect with your wife and your children. I love that wedding picture and the two of you with your bikes.

What a great Canada Day! You are both obviously very fit and trim!

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RABBITART 7/3/2014 1:48AM

    Sounds like the perfect weekend! Beautiful pictures! Your comment about the wine made me giggle.

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RUDITUDI2000 7/3/2014 12:45AM

    That sounds like an amazing weekend! Wine with my hubs is a Saturday night ritual! Love it!

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TINAJANE76 7/2/2014 8:56PM

    What an awesome weekend you guys had! I'm so happy that you had such a nice time and that you were able to cross something off of your bucket list that you had wanted to do for such a long time. I know you already know this, but I TOTALLY agree with you about the wine, lol!

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KRISKECK 7/2/2014 5:23PM

    Wow, what a wonderful story - and you and your wife are adorable together! So sweet. And I love Niagara-on-the-Lake too, just beautiful! I didnt know that trail was there, definitely going to do it next time I drive up to see my Mom!

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AMBERNICHOLE3 7/2/2014 4:51PM

    This looks incredible, glad you got to finally go :)

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FITGIRL15 7/2/2014 4:15PM

    Beautiful weekend Gregg!!! I'm thrilled that you got out on that ride that you've always talked about doing! Some times great ideas don't need much prep time ;)

I have only been to Ontario once, and my intention was to make it to Niagra falls, but... alas, HUGE power grid failure :( MERP! I guess I was just lucky that I didn't end up in DT Toronto when all hell broke loose!

Now that is on my bucket list... if I had one! emoticon

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LEWILL1982 7/2/2014 2:39PM

    Awesome! I loved it all, I need to get up that way sometime. I have a college roommate that lives on the NY side, close to The Falls.

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KAT321123 7/2/2014 1:50PM

    I love (and am not at all surprised...haha) but the fact that you guys were the fun table at the wedding! =)

Overall, that sounds like such an amazing long weekend! You're doing an amazing job, it seems like, of balancing it all -- enjoying a nice meal (and drinks!) without totally overindulging too regularly, exercising while still spending great time with your family, taking care of your injury while still keeping in shape -- which isn't always such an easy task. I'm sure it helps that your wife was up for the challenge of the long bikeride with you. It's funny -- as I was reading this blog I felt like I was watching a movie and was thinking, "I hope they make it to the falls!!". Haha. Of course I was all sorts of excited and relieved that you made it.

Thanks for sharing your weekend with us SparkFriends and the conversational tone was great as far as I'm concerned! The pictures are an added bonus -- you both look so happy together and the views are amazing!

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    Love this!!!! I miss the falls. I've been a few times but it's been years. I need to get back.. hey I'm only a state away now right? BAHAHA. Glad you had an amazing time. You two are the most gorgeous couple, I swear. Glad you had fun, you deserve it.

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MANDELOVICH 7/2/2014 1:33PM

    Amaaaazing! The captions made it seem even better. And may I add you and your wife looked stunning at the wedding and super happy on the ride! Perfect weekend indeed!

Comment edited on: 7/2/2014 1:42:45 PM

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The Thing about Pull-ups...

Friday, June 27, 2014

I'm not at all sure where to start this tale, but something very exciting happened to me today. :D When I lost all my weight in my late teens, one of my favorite things to do were pull-ups. It's not that I particularly liked them, it was just one of those stupid show-off things one did to try and impress girls. :D I was really light at the time so it wasn't even that I had bulging biceps, I was just strong enough to lift my skinny self up at will. I was a phenomenal rock climber at the time thanks to that and thanks to my height and long reach. As the years went by, and my weight increased, I found myself unable to do as many pull-ups, until eventually I couldn't do a single one at all. I'd laugh it off, and just say how out of shape I was.

As I lost weight this past year, I would randomly test my luck at a pull-up - knowing full well that it wasn't likely I'd find any success. I finally figured I'd have to wait some time longer, and haven't attempted one since December. As I was finishing up my last arm exercise this evening at the gym, I kept eyeing the pull-up handles attached to the machine I was using. I wanted to try one so badly, but had already done pecs, chest, triceps, and biceps, and was sure I wouldn't stand a chance. Being at the gym, there were eyes everywhere, and I didn't want to look silly struggling to try a pull-up only to fail miserably. Those voices aren't the ones I listen to anymore though... and it wasn't long before I said "what the hell", and assumed the position. :D

Adrenaline started flowing through my veins, and I was nervously excited about whether I would triumph or not. Katy Perry's Dark Horse (guilty pleasure music) was blaring through my earphones, and I was ready to reach up and grab hold. Firmly gripped. Knowing that I'm stronger than I've ever been in my life currently. I began to pull. :D My body lifted off the floor and my legs immediately bent and crossed below the knees without any thought, and I pulled myself up with surprising ease. One more seemed like a must. A third felt only natural. The fourth brought resistance, but I finished it and dropped to my feet. Four pull-ups! :D It's not a big deal to some for sure, but man oh man, it was the world to me!!! I'm excited to start including them in my routine! Great way to start the weekend! :D

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOBYCARP 7/3/2014 10:38AM

    Oh, YES!!! That first set of multiple pull-ups is a key accomplishment. Soon you'll be doing more than four, perhaps a lot more.

2012 was the year I was first able to pull-ups, never having been able to do them in my life. It was a huge thrill the day I managed to do three. I figure the first one might be a cheat with a jump to get there, and the last one might be a sluff off on the way down, but the middle one had to be real.

Besides weight loss, the key thing for me was getting a pull-up bar for home. Once I was able to do 3, the novelty of the situation had me doing 3 off and on when I passed the bar, just to convince myself I really could. I remember thinking it would be so cool if I could work up to doing 10 pull-ups.

Two years later, I'm doing 25 pull-ups in the morning. Considering that 10 pull-ups was unattainable fantasy land for the first 56 years of my life, and even 3 pull-ups was fantasy land for over half a century, I'm pretty pleased with that.

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NUOVAELLE 7/3/2014 3:09AM

    Can I share your enthusiasm??? I've been trying to do just one for a long time now and even though I'm much stronger and lighter, no luck yet! And I know it's not as easy for us women as it is for you but, I mean, won't I do just one some day? So, I can really understand your joy and excitement! And well done for silencing those other voices that would have robbed you of such a joy!

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LEWILL1982 7/1/2014 3:40PM

    Congratulations! Sometimes we just need validation that all our hard work is paying off. We may not be 100% compared to where we used to be (in your case, when you were younger and could crank them out, no problem), but it's important to recognize that we are 100% for right.this.minute! You've achieved a goal and a milestone to cement all your hard work.

Pull ups have been a goal of mine for a long, long time. I can finally do 2 -that's all 1, 2!

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FRAN0426 6/30/2014 8:07PM

    Such a great pay off for all the hard work you have been doing. Happy for you that you can now include pull-ups in your workouts WTG

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AGGIEKBEAR03 6/30/2014 5:35PM

    YAY! Such a wonderful accomplishment! Maybe one of these days, I too will be able to do 1 (probably should start working on upper body strength first emoticon ).

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HOLLYM48 6/30/2014 5:25PM

    That is awesome! Way to do something out of the comfort zone and prevail! Not only one, but 4, woo hoo!

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TINAJANE76 6/30/2014 4:56PM

    Holy crap, man! FOUR pull ups?!?! I know you're a dude, but I've never been able to do even one, not that I've ever given it a real serious try, but still. Congratulations--this is a big thing!

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-POLEDANCEGIRL- 6/30/2014 11:38AM

    Hooray! Congrats!

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MISSMANDAPANTS 6/30/2014 11:35AM

    I need to be able to do one. Just one.. I would be happy with that. You're ridiculously amazing, as per usual!

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FITGIRL15 6/29/2014 11:21PM

    Wicked!!! 4??? Holy cow! You are ON FIYAHHHHH!
I used to do them too, after every fitness class I taught... but lately, I do the less impressive (but equally challenging move): the push-up. :)

Pull ups are pretty impressive! I bet you had all the gym ladies lookin! heheh!

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STRONGCOURAGE 6/28/2014 6:05PM

    Hey hey, thats awesome--anyone that can do a pull up impresses me...or even anyone who braves to try! (I have loose joints esp in my I'm slightly nervous about pull ups!) & that's great you're kicking out those (negative) voices & provin whats true & great! :) And gotta say, love your humor throughout your blogs...or perhaps its more the way you easily make one smile/laugh along the way. :) Happy with you for another success and step forward in your healthy livin'! Keep it going! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GETSTRONGRRR 6/28/2014 9:46AM

    Congrats! Pull-ups are my bane and are going to be a big part of my next fitness phase!

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KRISKECK 6/28/2014 7:42AM

    That is FANTASTIC! I am so happy for you - you inspire me! Thanks for sharing!

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MANDELOVICH 6/28/2014 7:19AM

    What a great indicator of progress! Way to go!

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KERRIELYNN719 6/27/2014 9:29PM

    I'm so jealous! That's one of my (secret) getting healthy goals....I always felt like such a failure in school because I couldn't ever do a pull up for the fitness tests....I literally can't pull myself an inch off the ground....I can start on a chair and jump off but I just fall.....I can hang from the bar just hang, not above the bar or anythjng...literally just hang there.....I even had to be on crutches for a few
Months in middle school and I was sure that would give me enough muscle to do one...but nope.....

I give it a try every few months....I still can't lift myself off the bar....maybe someday....but it's one of my four pull ups is an absolutely amazing feat in my eyes

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The Truth...

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I was watching this recent clip from John Oliver's show - - and it brought to surface a lot of feelings I've had on the issue of "the latest diet fad" or "the miracle fat burning pill". If you take the time to watch the clip I shared here, you're probably both laughing, because John Oliver is freakin' hilarious, and you're probably also a little furious at how easy it is for our society to be saturated by wonder drugs and these self-purported easy ways to get what we want.

I lost 85 pounds in one year, and the question that I get more than any from SO many people now - both in my life, and some here on spark people - is "how did you do it". A fair question. A wonderful question, really. I love talking about how I lost weight, because it always brings me back to the moment I changed the course that my life was headed, and brings me back to the epically hardcore, unwaveringly will-powered guy who tore through to his goal weight in seven months - losing 80 pounds in the process. I explain how I came to a low place in my self-esteem and how it was affecting my daily life, and how I'd had enough. I explain how I immediately began eating better and smaller portions, and working out diligently three times a week - half hour cardio, half hour strength training. I explain how it led me to coming back to spark people and tracking my calories honestly every single day, saying no to the random snacks that I knew would only slow my incredible momentum. And then I explain how increasing my exercise intensity along the way to match my body's growth in that respect was crucial, and that with being at goal now, and keeping all these amazing habits in tow, I'm able to relax in regard to that extra glass of wine... or as of late, a daily vanilla dip donut, lol.

I love it. I love being able to share all of that. But guess what... guess the reaction that I have almost every... single... time. Can you guess? The friends, the relatives, and even the strangers, they all respond with, "oh... I was hoping it might be something easier. Like maybe a pill or just cutting out one thing or another." Annnnnnnnnd cue awkward laugh from me. I smile, I nod, and I just end up saying "yeah, too bad it couldn't be that easy." What's amazing is that I understand where they're coming from. When I was struggling with my weight, I couldn't change because I felt it would be too difficult, and so why bother. I think it's very natural for us to always want the easy way out. I think it's somehow innate almost. At least it was with me, and seems to be with many to whom I keep telling my story.

When it's not people looking for the easy way out, it's people looking for the latest fad. I've had people ask if I did the atkins diet, or say "you MUST be doing paleo", and of course people ask if I've been doing all the shake diets. The weird thing is though, that when I explain how I just eat what I want so long as it fits my recommended calorie range, and comes close to the ratio of carbs/fats/protein that I want, the sparkle in their eyes diminishes immediately! I'm always so shocked to see their interest completely wane when in fact I'm saying "eat whatever you want, just not so much of it". Yet it happens. At the end of the day, if it's not the easy way out people are looking for, it's the sexy new diet on the block that they want.

The secret to losing weight and keeping it off isn't a mystery to me anymore. It's just a plain-jane thing really. You eat smaller portions of healthier foods, you say no to high calorie foods and drinks that are bad for you until you get to your goal weight range (I stayed away from pasta, pizza, desserts, and wine for seven whole months, but have allowed them back in as weekly indulgences here and there), and you exercise regularly a couple times each week. The more you can find ways to be active outside of the gym, the better! I make a habit now of walking places close to me instead of driving, and if I've been sitting too long watching TV or playing Candy Crush on my phone, lol, I force myself to stand up and find something to do. With two kids, it doesn't usually take too long to find some way to be active. :D It's a mental shift, a new normal to develop, and it's not easy. Not by far. If it were easy, then weight would never be an issue for anyone. But... it's a wonderful thing. And... the incredible boost to your self-esteem and self-worth at feeling good about how you look, and feeling like you've accomplished something important, makes it worth EVERY single sacrifice in terms of the foods we crave, and the lazy-ish lifestyles we tend to gravitate toward.

There's no shame in wanting it easy. There's even no shame in being afraid of how hard it might be to change. The real shame is that we let ourselves think that we could never do what's necessary to change. I thought that way for years, and let myself get worse and worse... driving out of my way during the day to buy two or three whipped-cream filled donuts from a Country Style Donuts location (OMG sooooo yum)... buying and consuming whole birthday cakes all by myself, in one night! The list goes on. We lie and tell ourselves we'll never change, so why bother and just enjoy what we're putting in our mouths... the truth is we CAN change, and we don't have to live in that misery of our own creation.

Not sure what kind of comments this post will inspire, but it's just something that was in my mind and on my heart, and that incredible John Oliver clip completely sparked me into sharing it all. Happy Hump-day Spark People, hope you all have an incredible rest of your weeks!!!

Quick pic from Father's Day recently, cause everyone loves pics! :D

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 7/12/2014 5:09AM

I can't add anything to all the comments.
I just loved your blog!

Comment edited on: 7/12/2014 5:10:15 AM

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    OH my goodness thank you so much for sharing! I've been getting the same reactions, for me it's huge to have the mental shift and I love talking about it but it seems so many want some sort of "other" answer and not I'm being reasonable and moderate and being more active! But for me I love that part, I feel normal, I enjoy food and life and that was my biggest fear before not being able to feel normal or enjoy food etc! Now that I know it's actually pretty simple and nothing crazy I know I can keep it long term.

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PEZMOM1 7/10/2014 8:18AM


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ASHLEIGH1985 7/8/2014 9:54PM

    So true! Thanks for posting!


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LAURAHARTLINE85 7/7/2014 11:21AM

    Thank you for posting this post. I am on my own journey to lose 80 pounds, but have stalled out over the last couple months. I have a lot of aquaintences that sell weight loss / health supplements, pills, shakes, etc. I'm ridiculously stubborn and believe that I can do this without those things. I want to be able to do exactly what you explained: tell them that there was no secret pill to my success other than hard work. But just this week I was starting to consider again, mostly because it's just been so frustrating watching the scale stand still. But again, thanks for your motivating words today. emoticon

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MOMTO6CUTIES 7/7/2014 11:20AM

    This is great. Thank you so much for sharing.

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JANCARD 7/7/2014 5:57AM

  Great blog & enjoyed the video too! I've had the same experience when asked how I lost weight. Most people don't care to hear about it once they realize I'm not going to tell them about some new plan/pill/powder. I'm not going to judge harshly though, since I'm sure I was guilty of the same at one point myself. Thanks for sharing!

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MAREE1953 7/6/2014 8:27PM

    Congratulations on a great blog and finding the "secret of weight loss"!! Bahhahhahhahahahahhh!!!! The secret is : there is no secret! Okay, now I'm gonna watch the video.

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CELIAMINER 7/5/2014 8:14AM

    Congrats on your continued success, and thanks for being a great motivator!

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CRUISEBOUND2014 7/5/2014 7:05AM


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PEAR-170 7/4/2014 3:20PM

    emoticon emoticon

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AMARILYNH 7/4/2014 11:55AM

    SOOOOO true!! Lifestyle change? Huh? They want quick and easy and true, forever weight loss is neither quick or easy!! But its so worth it!!

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AEHEGE 7/4/2014 10:20AM


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-SHOREIDO- 7/4/2014 10:02AM

    Great write!! Thanks for sharing!! emoticon

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MJREIMERS 7/3/2014 7:29PM

    I also find it intriguing when you lose weight the "right way," people aren't as interested. I had the same experience. Good for you and great for your family. I bet there isn't a day of regret now that you can keep up with those two cuties! emoticon

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HOLLYM48 7/3/2014 6:59PM

    Boy, I can so relate to this, I could have written the majority of what you just put down in words! I too was looking for the easy way when I found SP. We all look for the magic pill. But alas, there is no magic pill. Just determination and willpower and eating the proper portions of the normal every day food. Easy, yes and no. There are some foods that I would love to have a 2cd helping of, but I don't, why, because nothing tastes as good as I feel! I love being fit and healthy and at the weight I am at and 2cd helping wont keep me there! Congrats to you on your weight loss and your willingness to keep on working on staying there. Every day it is a battle of wills, but with the help of all the great people here on SP, we are winning that battle! Keep up the great work! You are doing just awesome!!!!

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SUNSHINE20113 7/3/2014 3:01PM

    Thanks for sharing the video - I had no idea Dr Oz was doing that! What was he thinking?
I remember also being asked "what diet I was on" when I was losing weight, and that similar glazed expression when I'd say, "I still eat everything, just a lot less of it". It wasn't the answer they were looking for at all.

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WIFE48 7/3/2014 2:17PM

    You are so right! Most of us thought the same thing, " there must be a magic pill or diet". There isn't just healthy eating and fitness of course.
Thanks for sharing.

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OHSOSVELTE 7/3/2014 11:58AM

    wow, thank you, so motivating for those of us just beginning to turn things around. Oh and love you pix, beautful kids,

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MEXGAL1 7/3/2014 11:01AM


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OOLALA53 7/3/2014 10:34AM

    I did it more slowly without counting calories by just committing to be a moderate eater by having three meals and no sweets a day on weekdays forever. Eventually, my weekends started looking much like weekdays. I didn't stay away from anything because I didn't want to feel I was doing this only until I lost a certain amount of weight. I did aspire to decreasing junk and increasing quality food, and I have. My colleagues have seen me lose and maintain this way for 4 1/2 years, but they dismiss it as a tactic. People can't believe that they can actually choose to eat less and eat better over time if they aren't counting every calorie. I get a lot of skepticism here at Spark, too, but it's the way people live in slim cultures. They don't know how many calories there are in food and they don't know how much they weigh. They just don't eat randomly and they think you don't enjoy food more by overeating it, but by savoring it before, during, and after they eat it.

It takes about five years for these changes to solidify. You're on your way! Let's affirm that we will both keep beating the odds.

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MOMMY445 7/3/2014 10:14AM

    so well said and i also agree with you about the sacrifices we make in the mean time well outweigh the end result.

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KATIE3908 7/3/2014 10:03AM


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PACKERMANN 7/3/2014 9:34AM

    discipline is always worth it.
thanks for a great blog!

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IAMAGEMLOVER 7/3/2014 9:27AM

    emoticon Losing weight is hard work, just as maintaining is. No magic cures. Love the picture. I can see you had a fantastic father's day. Your kids are adorable.

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ELLEKTRA 7/3/2014 7:05AM

    I absolutely love this very honest, very truthful...and my feelings towards losing/maintaining are hand in hand with yours...

Brilliant, thank you

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BESSHAILE 7/3/2014 5:51AM

    "I'm always so shocked to see their interest completely wane when in fact I'm saying "eat whatever you want, just not so much of it".

this is SUCH a powerful truth. Congratulations on a super blog, a wonderful insight into healthy living and ... wow - what a role model for your children! They're lucky ducks!

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AKELAZ 7/3/2014 4:31AM

    Just happened across this. Succinct and inspiring. The TRUTH indeed.
emoticon emoticon

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WENDYANNE61 7/3/2014 4:00AM

    Thanks for a brillant blog which brings it all together! All the best for your future which should be amazing!

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NEW-CAZ 7/3/2014 3:15AM

    emoticon emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 7/3/2014 3:04AM

    The video brought about the exact feelings you mentioned! Thank you for sharing and thank you for this wonderful, honest, well-written blog! It's really surprising how people get disappointed by what they've always known.
Congratulations on the life you've earned!
emoticon emoticon

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DAWNDMOORE40 7/3/2014 1:09AM

    What a emoticon blog! emoticon for sharing your journey with us! I too have maintained my goal weight now for over 2 years and I have up's and down's, but your right when you say it's all about a change in how we think about food and exercise. I still exercise every day, but even though I am not always perfect with my eating, I still most of the time stay within calorie range, and on the days I don't, I don't sweat it! I continue to wish you nothing but great success! You are an inspiration to all those who are just finding out what Spark People is all about! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JEANKNEE 7/2/2014 11:05PM

    Thanks for sharing the video clip. Yes, too many looking and hoping for the easy way out.

For years I did nothing because I didn't believe it was possible to lose weight and keep it off. Oh, I knew plenty of people that had lost weight. But, I knew no successful maintainers. So, my thinking was why bother. But, I was miserable and could not continue what I was doing. Then I came across the At Goal & Maintaining Team. Bingo!

Thanks to those of you doing the work and keeping it off. You're my inspiration.

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SUSIEMT 7/2/2014 10:51PM

    I always thought a lot of what Dr Oz said about weight loss was a bunch of BS! You have done GREAT! Keep up the good job! Yea Maintenance!

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GLORIAMAJDI 7/2/2014 10:51PM

    Thanks for sharing, I can so relate to all of this! It is interesting to me that people don't want to QUIT eating so much. People (especially in North America) want their food and they want a lot of it! I have twice heard that our stomach is only the size of our fist and when we cram it full and stretch it out, we just want more and more. That stuck with me and I try to remember that when I think that I want a huge portion. My stomach can't hold that much, I will just make myself miserable. But tell that to anyone and they look at me as if I am an extra-terrestrial! LOL!

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LOGOULD 7/2/2014 10:29PM

    Thanks for sharing that video (you're right, it was HILARIOUS, and sad at the same time). Unfortunately I get the same response from people. There is NO magic anything except for possibly the magic of community and encouragement that I have found within the words of wisdom from Sparkers such as yourself. Thanks again for sharing!

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MOBYCARP 7/2/2014 9:33PM

    The video was hilarious, even though all I knew about Dr. Oz is that he or someone imitating him has had incredible success getting past the spam filters on my work email account.

Seriously, how can anyone think anything marketed like that could possibly work?

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PHEBESS 7/2/2014 9:25PM

    Yup - everyone wants the easy way out. Watching what you eat? Eating healthful foods in decent portions? Exercising???? Being active?????? OMG, TOO MUCH WORK!!!!! But SO worth it!

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_LINDA 7/2/2014 9:23PM

    Another friend had already shared that clip, wish it would go viral!! Dr. Oz is getting away with murder for sure.. Eat less, move more, pretty much the Gold Standard for weight loss. I too, learned that staying in the calorie range was the most critical component. I really just had to cut out the excessive junk extras. Tracking things accurately was the biggest eye-opener for me and what lead to my weight loss finally reaching goal. It also helped to see what a real portion size really was.
People don't want to hear the simple truth, but it is what it is.
Congratulations on your weight loss and keeping it off!
Cute photo!

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SLENDERELLA61 7/2/2014 9:04PM

    Great blog. The truth. Well stated.

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JENNIFER0807 7/2/2014 9:47AM

    THis is so positive and motivational! Sometiems the thinking about how hard something will be will be really is the thing that keeps me from going forward. I'm glad you were able to overcome that and feel great now. I hope to get that feeling myself. I just have to accept i have a long road ahead of me and it will be hard but i just have to do it!

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KAREN-IS-HERE 6/27/2014 12:48AM

    emoticon ...and that's how it's done emoticon emoticon

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STEPH-KNEE 6/26/2014 11:06PM

    emoticon I too am one that eats whatever I want as long as it's in my calorie range. That really makes people mad LOL. Like so wait "you can have a donut sometimes", why yes, yes I can! Sometimes, not always, and I have to decide if it's worth the calories... some days it isn't and some days it's not. If there were any magic for weight loss, the whole world would know and everyone would be skinny. I can't blame them for wanting to know but they always seem so disappointed when they hear the truth. emoticon

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JILLYBEAN25 6/26/2014 9:03PM

    I have a feeling this will happen to me a lot when I become a registered dietitian (if I get to become one). All the latest diets and diet fads hurt my heart when I meet people who are on them. John Oliver rocks!

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KANOE10 6/26/2014 7:37PM

    That was a great blog..and I enjoyed the video. I also get that glazed over look when people ask me how I lost my weight. They often do not listen to me or simply want a fast solution. Taking over a year is not a quick solution!
You reminded me of my sister who told me that she does not want to be skinny like me as it was too much work to keep the weight off and that she wanted to keep eating her favorite foods. Looking for the easy way???

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WATERMELLEN 6/25/2014 8:47PM

    Nobody wants to know what it really takes . . . and that's why Dr. Oz is so successful. (But: that clip is hysterical for sure).

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SOUL2SHINE79 6/25/2014 7:33PM

    Hahaha! Funny clip...I have fallen for some of Dr. Oz's miracle pill recommendations before. He is very convincing. Never again though...good old fashioned discipline and perseverance and honestly tracking what I eat on here, mixed with some patience and heart pumping exercise..just like you said..are the way to go! Keep up the awesome truth telling on how to do it right!

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FITGIRL15 6/25/2014 5:29PM

    For me, losing weight was one of my biggest achievements to date! (That may sound ridiculous, but it's TRUE! I can't remember a time that I felt more successful and in CONTROL of my own destiny! It is rewarding to break the shackles of our many food induced cloudy judgements about life, diet, fitness, and quick fixes!

I am happy that you are still holding your head high and telling your story about the HEALTHY way to lose weight! What's sad is that so few people really want to hear you... they all wish you really said "Eat Pizza for every meal!" or "Drink more wine!". LMAO

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AMCAN262 6/25/2014 4:59PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TINAJANE76 6/25/2014 4:35PM

    I think most of us who have lost weight and had that question lobbed our way can relate to those more-glazed-than-a-vanilla-dip-donu
t-eyes you get when you tell people you lost the weight the old-fashioned way--eating better and less and moving more. So simple in theory, harder to do in practice, but really the only way that works long term. Of course there are other things that come into play--dealing with emotional issues that led to your being overweight in the first place and sustaining motivation to do what it takes to keep up your efforts and make them long term to name a few--but as you said, success really is within everyone's reach if they're willing to dig deep and put in the effort that's needed to get to where they want to be. Great blog, my friend. You make me proud.

Comment edited on: 6/25/2014 4:37:17 PM

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No Limits...

Monday, June 23, 2014

I'm not saying I'm invincible, or that I'm foolhardy enough to believe that there's no point in which I can't push my body any further than it might be capable of going... but it's been irking me since my doctor mentioned that maybe my body had reached it's limits. No one gets to decide or suggest what my limits are except for me. Period. I've earned that right. There's a sort of raging energy now that's building inside of me as I wait on my knee... when it's healed and ready to be pushed again, that energy is gonna ignite in a big way I think.

After biking 9 miles tonight over 32 minutes, I ran for about 5 minutes to test two things: one being my knee (which felt fine during and after, though running at a much slower pace then I'm capable of mind you), and the other being to see what it feels like to transition immediately from bike to run (as I'll have to do that in a triathlon, as well as swim to bike). All I can say is that triathletes are my new heroes! My legs felt like stumps! It was an oddly incredible feeling. Despite the fatigue, that raging energy inside of me wanted me to go faster, harder, and for longer than the few minutes I allowed myself - being smart and all, I went slow and for just a few minutes of course. Once this obstacle of having a knee issue crumbles out of my way, it'll be so amazing to just let myself go. I can't wait... I don't want to wait... but patience is a virtue of the wise, and so I'll just let this fire burn hotter until it's out of control, and then we'll see about those "limits".

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TINAJANE76 6/24/2014 3:02PM

    Listen to you and your bad self--you're chomping at the bit to step things up, aren't you? I know it stinks to be held back from going for what you want, but I'm sure time and a bit more healing will have you raring to go in no time. In the meantime, burn baby, burn!

Comment edited on: 6/25/2014 8:48:52 AM

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AGGIEKBEAR03 6/24/2014 12:27PM

    Good job on the bike/run! and with no pain! Keep being patient with the knee, it will be worth the time you put in to your recovery to be able to run as much as you have in the past pain free.

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ARUNNINGKAT 6/24/2014 12:05PM

    "No Limits" sounds like a great mantra to me! I have no doubt that as soon as your knee is healed you will release the fire inside and run at great speeds and for great lengths! It reminds me of the soundtrack from "Chariotts of Fire". If you have seen the movie, you can't help but run when that song somes on. emoticon

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LEWILL1982 6/24/2014 11:41AM

    Keep letting that fire burn! That fire will help you truly discover your limits. You're right, nobody can tell you what your limits are, only you and your body know that.

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BRAINYBLONDE5 6/24/2014 10:52AM

    patience is a virtue! but I cannot wait until you are able to unleash the power you are holding in!

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AMBERNICHOLE3 6/24/2014 10:12AM

    You attitude is infectious, I love your positive outook in everything you do ! Keep it up

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PMRUNNER 6/24/2014 7:03AM

    Take care of your knee! It's hard showing restraint during recovery, but get healthy before you test those limits! Triathlons are fun, those transitions are tough. They get easier when you train them and when you have a tri-bike versus a road bike. Something about the geometry and the muscles used.

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WEARINGTHIN 6/24/2014 1:04AM

    Careful about being an exercise masochist. You don't need to punish yourself to succeed in life. The body has to last for a lot of years. Best wishes, Glenn

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FITGIRL15 6/24/2014 1:01AM

    I can feel your excitement bubbling off the screen!!! Sounds like a really cool feeling! It will be WORTH the wait, no doubt!

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HOTPINKCAMARO49 6/23/2014 11:26PM

  emoticon emoticon

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The Doctor...

Thursday, June 19, 2014

No, not Doctor Who, sadly. That'd be pretty sweet though... :D No, the other doctor. My family doctor. I finally had my long-put-off doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon, and while normally I find my doctor to be incredible, there are times where I feel like he simply gets an idea in his head of what's wrong and isn't willing to budge regardless of my symptoms. So... here's the breakdown...

The Good: my x-rays came back showing absolutely nothing wrong with both of my knees structurally. This includes the bones, their positioning, and my cartilage - all showing perfectly fine knee composition. He doesn't believe there is anything seriously wrong that can't heal on it's own (which I already surmised, so not really a doctor worthy comment). He gave me some prescription anti-inflammation meds to try to makes sure my knees aren't resisting a full healing due to some small inflammation that may still be lingering around.

The Bad: he did not offer any concrete knowledge as to what is actually wrong with my knee, nor did he schedule any more tests to determine the full scope of the issue. He says I hit a wall as to how far I can push my body, and that's all. Which is absolute horse-sh*t. I was running perfectly fine for months, and then since doing something to my knee, it hasn't fully healed and now I can't run more than four or five km without it hurting. Plus, it still hurts when I walk up and down stairs. He also didn't offer any timetable for when I could start to run again.

I didn't go in really expecting any of these answers, but figured that because they couldn't be given, he would have at least suggested more testing. But nothing. He just kept towing his opinion and shuffled me out of the office. It was frustrating to say the least. I'm generally a very calm person when it comes to dealing with stress, so the fact that this riled me up says volumes really. Still... deep breaths. I have some drugs now. I'll take them until they're done, as prescribed, and then try to keep myself from running - to make sure my knee is completely healed. I just have to keep breathing... keep calm... and remember that regardless of whether I could run or not, this is the summer of biking, lol. It isn't easy to keep a bright disposition about this, since running is such a passion of mine now, but deep breaths and a constant personal reminder that I'll be running again all in good time will see me through.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSILVER94 6/24/2014 9:46AM

    We must remember that first and foremost doctors are still just people and don't always have all of the answers. I have been disappointed on several visits with different doctors over the years with the lack of explanation to some of my concerns. Knee problems have always been an issue in my family and I remember as a child the doctor always just blamed my weight and never considered anything else or checked into it further. I've already read the blog after this one and 100% agree with you that you set your own limits and choose what you believe about yourself. The mind is a very powerful machine! I am happy that you have set your mind to run again! (Of course with safety in mind) But definitely on the horizon!

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RABBITART 6/24/2014 2:14AM

    I am sorry you are feeling so frustrated due to the lack of answers. I have been struggling with an injured leg for over a year as everyone has suggested definitely think about seeing a physiotherapist or sports medicine specialist. I would also recommend acupuncture and good quality sports tape. Don't use the sports tape you can pick up in drug stores. I picked up Roc Tape from my chiropractor. He would tape me and the tape would stay on for five days and you can shower and swim with the tape on. He even showed my family how to use the tape, so I did not have to go in as often. Roc tape was a life saver for me.

Hang in there and be patient until your knee heals and hopefully you can find a solution.

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STEELKICKIN 6/23/2014 6:53PM

    I feeeeeel your know your own body. You know when something doesn't "feel quite right" and when it does. As a former nurse, I can tell you that it is VERY good that your exams didn't show any damage. That means that yes, you are structurally sound. So why are you still having pain? Perhaps you landed on your feet at one point that perhaps tweaked the tendon or muscle (and these are slower to heal than most injuries). BUT! That being said, there could be more going on than that. I am very surprised that he didn't say, "But let's run this test or do this or that or that or this until we know for sure." The ball is in your can see if the prescriptions work but my opinion is to seek further council.

My sister was rushed to the hospital last Thursday. All of her blood work and scans indicated a blood clot in her lung. Her doctors were hmmmm-ing and huhh-ing so much I took her to another hospital. No blood clot but she had pneumonia. Just saying you can't always believe the first diagnosis you hear.

Just get well. Pleeeease. The world just isn't the same without you out there moving the air around a bit. It's been a lot hotter here in my neck of the woods and so I'm going to "blame" you, lol. :) I can't wait to hear of your biking tales.

Speaking of biking, talk to you soon...I'm off to Pennsylvania tomorrow! Take care of yourself, my friend...:)

Comment edited on: 6/23/2014 6:57:50 PM

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HOLLYM48 6/20/2014 4:06PM

    I agree with others that you should see a specialist, one that deals with orthopedics and specializes in the knee joint! Best of luck, I hope your knee feels better soon.

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TINAJANE76 6/20/2014 10:02AM

    I think it might be time for you to look for a new doctor, Gregg, and perhaps one who's more accustomed to working with athletes. We know our own bodies better than anyone else and if you feel like the answer he's giving you is unsatisfactory or incomplete then perhaps your issues are beyond the scope of his knowledge and expertise and his ego is getting in the way of admitting that and referring you to someone else. Unfortunately, we often need to be our own advocates when it comes to our health, so push for what you know feels right and find thee a new doctor!

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RUDITUDI2000 6/20/2014 8:23AM

    Do you have a running store nearby? Like a Fleet Feet? They could possibly help with good doctor referral. It sounds like you need a sports medicine doctor, an orthopedic. X ray only? I'd be upset too. You may have to really insist on a referral if your insurance requires one. Injuries! I spent most of my year last year recovering from two stress fractures. It's tough when you can't do what you love. Keep up the biking, at least that keeps you moving.

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STRONGCOURAGE 6/20/2014 8:20AM

    Aw :( I so hear your frustration--I remember mine! When my doctor finally did see me, he only did an x-ray too, which showed nothing :P Eventually he said it sounds like runners knee. (patellofemoral syndrome) Thankfully, my doctor let me have a reference for physio therapy. If you could get into a physio therapist, try. It really helping me--in gaining strength & healing-still a work in progress-but now I actually have a "muscle" form above my knee in a place where I had none for a time! Plus, when my knee flared up with swelling/pain a few wks ago I went back to my therapist and HE wrote out an MRI request and faxed it to my doctor. My PT knew we needed to find the cause for the swelling. Seems specialists take you more seriously. Someone mentioned orthodics...that really helps too--it affects giving correct alignment/support for your knees, and maybe that alone would help you. (I have customized orthodics but need new ones! They are pricey but mine lasted about 4 years--worth the investment!) I SO hope you get the healing & help for your knee. I know it can be discouraging being held back from an incredible outlet (I'm missing my joggin high, so I can't imagine how much more for you!) but take a deep breath, exhale slowly and tell yourself you'll get through this. You've come so far in caring for your body...I had to keep telling myself w/ my knee that its just a different "hurdle/challenge"for me to apply determination to--and getting boost from my spark family here to keep on. Injuries sure are tough ones. Brings determination and discipline to a whole new light doesn't it?! I see you as such a committed and driven person. I know you are able to find a way to keep on giving your body the best possible health, care, & love, even if it means compromising (your passion/ running) for a time/ in a different way. Remember, you are soo worth it! emoticon emoticon

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LEWILL1982 6/19/2014 3:52PM

    I would recommend going to see an orthopedic and maybe getting an MRI. I spent a summer in physical therapy a few years ago and that was when I learned the importance of stretching. Expensive lesson, but you live and you learn. Also, it might not be your knee it all, could be your IT band. That starts at your hip, runs down your leg and wraps around your knee cap. Just a thought....also, do you have a foam roller? Invest in one, they are cheap, about $10 at Wal Mart or Target. Foam rolling and resistance band stretching help a lot. I hate stopping to take the time to do it, but it truly helps. Good luck, feel better!

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KRISKECK 6/19/2014 1:28PM

    X-rays may not show torn cartilage or torn meniscus. Can you go to an orthopedist without a referral? They will do an MRI and that will show whether you have something wrong that can be repaired. You may want to consider this.

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ARUNNINGKAT 6/19/2014 12:42PM

    No problems on your x-rays is a good first step, but I hear you on the frustration when you can't seem to get any answers on what is wrong. I have been through that a few times with the kids and it is SO frustrating! And not being able to definitely have my sympathy there! emoticon

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FITGIRL15 6/19/2014 11:57AM

    You clearly have never beein injured this badly before! lol emoticon
But your experience with your DR. seems PAR FOR THE COURSE, really! And to be honest with you, I think he's probably right! Considering there was NOTHING on the x-rays to prove otherwise!
emoticon At least that's a bit of a relief, right?

Running is VERY stressful on the body! I think you seriously did just overtrain, and now your body is having a hard time rebuilding the damage! Having some anti-inflammatories is a great option, I hope it brings the sweeling down so the area can fully heal! Ever thought of getting some acupuncture in the area to help speed up the process? I have seen acupuncture do some AMAZING things as far as healing and recovery goes! Plus it's an amazing way to reduce overall mental stress too! Win-Win!!!!

Even our Canadian healthcare system has it's flaws... and to be honest, YOU know more about your body then your doctor EVER WILL!!!
I'm sure you'll figure out what it needs to get you back on that pavement soon!

(I know if it was me, and Zumba was on the line, I'd do everything in my power to figure out what I had to do to be able to keep at it! GOOD LUCK, my friend!!!)

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KAT321123 6/19/2014 11:35AM

    Firstly, I have some major blog catching up to do! =) But I'll start here.

I'm sure it's incredibly frustrating that you didn't get any sort of solid answer about what's going on for you and that your doctor didn't seem as committed as you are to getting answers. Can you schedule another appointment with him, scheduling it really as a time to talk things out more rather than getting tests? Or in Canada can you get physical therapy covered without a referral (I know you have a much better healthcare system than we do!).

Deep breaths, like you said. You'll get there again soon =)

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SLIMMERJESSE 6/19/2014 10:46AM

    I have a friend in the same situation for a different body challenge. Yes, it's very frustrating.

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KANOE10 6/19/2014 10:25AM

    I agree with you. That doctor did not give you enough information! That is frustrating. I would also want some kind of graduated schedule of healing and how to get back into running. But most important is what caused the injury and how are you going to prevent it again. I am sorry he was not helpful. However, it is good news to find that your x-rays were good with no problems. I would use his prescription, see how your healing goes, but then look for another doctor if you are not healed. Are there any sport doctors or physical therapists in your area?

Hard as it is, you are staying positive and planning a great summer of biking..while healing. You are showing strength and determination.


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