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Chilly check-in from Austria (20 sec)

Monday, February 04, 2013

Just an energetic hello from my daily run!
Enjoy the snow under the pine trees!
See my post below on meditation for "relaxed" input!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Yay! Great blog, it is good to see and hear you!

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TRAVELLER3 3/2/2013 8:27AM

    How wonderful to see and hear you. Looks like a great day! emoticon

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KMICHA 3/2/2013 7:47AM


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LILY_SPARK 2/4/2013 6:50PM


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    Hi Hakapes,

It was nice to see and hear you.

Have a nice week! emoticon

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ALDEBARANIAN 2/4/2013 6:29PM

    Nice video blog. I enjoyed hearing you talk, and seeing the scenery. :)

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EASTENDCLAM 2/4/2013 6:14PM

    I ALWAYS feel it so good on you for getting out there!

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LISAINMS 2/4/2013 4:06PM

    Beautiful run!

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SLENDERELLA61 2/4/2013 3:42PM

    Love to see you outdoors! Run happy!!

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DUSTYPRAIRIE 2/4/2013 1:15PM

    I've got to get the speakers working!

Have a great week!

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CJJANISS 2/4/2013 12:29PM


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Meditation - heading towards 90 days

Sunday, February 03, 2013

I started an experiment in December, to have a daily meditation session. Usually in the evening, sometimes both in the morning and in the evening.

I see this is an often overlooked part of healthy living: recovery. After overhauling my nutrition and exercise habits, it was a straightforward decision to start experimenting with recovery, by which I mean sleeping, resting, meditation, having massage, relaxation and similar activities.

After successfully passing the 30-days, I liked it a lot, and decided to continue for 90 days, and see.

Funny, before, it looked so much effort - another 15 min to squeeze into my day.
Now, I notice it is less and less effort to do it, and it's slowly becoming part of my usual daily activity. I'm starting to doubt I could do without.

In my previous post, I shared some "inbetween" learning. Now here are some post 30-day trial learning:

1. It was good that I set a shorter time (15 min) vs the optimal time for meditation (I would have gone for 30 min as optimal). This lowered my resistance to "I do it anyway" level, and helped me on those days when I was tired, or busy.

2. I re-live these feelings in many of my 30-day trials.
- The first couple of days are easy and full of excitement.
-Then it becomes difficult, and seems to be a lot of effort to keep on going.
- Then after 10-15 days, it starts to get into more comfortable.
- After around 30 days, I arrive to a "neutral zone". If I want, I can keep on doing it, or abandon it, if the outcome is not so interesting.

3. I see more and more the positive things even in otherwise "not so nice" events. I feel grounded.

4. Now, an occasional miss of meditation for a day has little effect on my overall motivation to do it. In fact, I'm looking forward to it much more then not.

5. My girlfriend became interested, and started to join me after some time.
Now, we often do it together.
It's in a way both "me" time and "us" time.
I never planned for this before, and this a real surprise benefit.

Here's a shot of our our Sunday hike:

I received so good tips on my previous post, thank you a lot!
I would be happy again for any tips, ideas, experiences on meditation (even if it's a repetition - then probably it's even more interesting).
- How you do it?
- How often, and for how long?
- What benefits did you notice?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ON2GOALS 2/15/2013 8:54AM

    I love the way you are incorporating the whole person, body, mind and spirit, in your healthy maintenance. emoticon

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    Meditation is awesome. I usually do it on a daily basis for 12-20 minutes. The website www.meditationroom.org has some awesome meditation "rooms" where they play meditation music. What I like about it is that the music fades away after the 12-20 minutes making a soft transition when the meditation time is done versus setting an alarm and being startled at the end of it.

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-AMANDA79- 2/3/2013 11:49AM

    Glad you are enjoying your meditation time!

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The Meditation Experiment

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

For long, I wanted to make daily meditation part of my life.
Finally, I started a 30 day trial on 18th Dec. It looked like an easy enough - difficult enough challenge to keep my focus on healthy life during the holidays.

I calibrated it for 15 minutes, which is less then my ideal goal, but my focus now is to establish the habit of doing meditation. When I am regularly doing it, and find the time for it in my daily schedule, I can scale it up to be longer.

So far, I am on track every day, and very happy for the results.

Some benefits that I already see:
1. If I do it in the MORNING, my day has an energized and in focused atmosphere. Somehow I work more on the things that matter. Strangely, my hunger is less, and I have more wish to go out for exercise.

2. When I do it in the EVENING, it is a great way to close down the day, and wind down all the happiness and stress from that day. My sleep is much better afterwards.

3. Having a healthy lifestyle goal in FOCUS makes other challenges that show up much easier to deal with. Somehow, if I pay attention to this one, automatically I have more "energy" to do the other things right, too.

It feels great just to do meditation every day.
If it works well this way for the whole 30 days, I will experiment with doing it both in the morning and in the evening, making a frame for my day.

I wanted to this for years, and was wondering why it happens now, and not before. Some funny facts I found:
1. There is a nice warm carpet now in the room, which invites for sitting, kneeling, laying down on it.
2. I found my watch which can make only one "bip" when the countdown timer finishes. So I have a gently transit out.
3. Winter and especially "dark" December fosters looking inside.
4. As in maintenance mode, my nutrition in general is on track, and my exercise is on track. So I can start to improve the third big area, rest/recreation.
5. I went to a 4 day silent retreat in Dec 2012, which boosted my motivation to start this trial. I expected it would boost it, so it was a good decision having done it!

This is a look-out tower nearby. It was near freezing conditions, and the heavy fog blocked all visibility. It was a really funny to walk in this "white air mud". Everything was so silent and calm.

Are you doing meditation?
How you do it? (Time, place, format?)
Or are you doing any other type of recreation/stop in the morning or the evening?
Any tips are welcome!

Happy new year!

A friend of mine recommended this podcast on meditation.
Looks good!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLIMBOT 1/4/2013 4:29PM


Comment edited on: 4/8/2014 1:51:25 PM

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PEPPYPATTI 1/3/2013 6:21PM

    Way to go on your meditation. I find it hard as I have ADHD but I usually set aside 5 minutes in the morning to just focus on breathing.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GREENGENES 1/3/2013 3:47PM

    Meditation is not something I have tried but it sounds like a good idea. The podcast sounds like it would be very helpful. Thanks!

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KRISZTA11 1/3/2013 4:45AM

    Thanks for sharing your experience,
and I'm glad it is going so well!

I did meditation (20 minutes every day, sitting and counting breaths) for several weeks when I started SP and the effects were similar.
I stopped doing it when I started running regularly, and the morning runs had the same positive effect on my mood and energy levels.

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BEATLETOT 1/2/2013 8:12PM

    Oliver, you are always such an inspiration, doing things I wish I'd done or should do or want to do! I love your experiment and your insights thereof. Cheers!

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FLPALM 1/2/2013 4:32PM

My form of meditation is PRAYER! Now this may sound different but everyday....
my routine is:

Get up, take morning vitamins, have breakfast, clean up, then SIT DOWN and READ, yes READ, my prayers! It takes time, and even though, I know them, by reading them, it makes me FOCUS on the WORDS, "talking to GOD" my higher power. I have several booklets, prayers that I read.

When I do this, I feel ENERGY, FOCUSED, and a CALMING EFFECT, of Serenity, to CHANGE what I can do, ACCEPT what I can not, and the WISDOM to know the difference....and yes, even though I am NOT part of a well-known organization, the good feeling is what I use.

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HHB4181 1/2/2013 1:50PM

    I am not, but like you, I've been wanting to for a while....

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HEALTHYKIM101 1/2/2013 11:45AM

    Maybe I should look into this.....thought provoking..... emoticon

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    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Very cool goal. I like hearing about this!

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RUNNING-TURTLE 1/2/2013 8:45AM


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Drinking Fast and Slow

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

One feature of maintenance mode is regular drinking.

I didn't consider it to be so important, but it has a tremendous effect on how much I eat, and my hunger in general. So here are my experiences from the past 2 years on drinking. A longer read, but hopefully with many tips for you for inspiration.

I remember when I started to drink regularly about 8 cups (2L) of water a day, it was so strange.
First, it felt it to be a lot, I was feeling like forcing water inside me. I could not imagine how someone can drink 8 cups of water in a comfortable way.
Then, the other issue was how to remember drinking? And in fact, this was an even bigger challenge. There were days when around 5pm it took me by surprise - OMG I didn't drink at all during the whole day!

I started by counting, first on the exercise tracker, and keep track in my mind. It worked, but was way too much effort. There are so many things to remember during the day, and I cannot focus on just to remember drinking on every single day of my life.

So I spend some time to change my environment in a way that drinking happens automatically. After a few weeks of experimenting and tweaking, I have a setup I am happy with. In fact, I don't even think about it. It just happens, and I often drink more the 8 cups, depending how much exercise I do.


I observed a lot of improvement after starting to drink regularly. Paradoxically, I considered it a simple thing, I didn't even consider it contributing to weight loss, but had such a big impact on me.

1. Hunger is partly related to the pressure in the stomach. If there are more things in, there is less hunger. The best way to fill it up is with water - no calories.

2. After reading an article on this topic, I started to experiment by judging if I'm really hungry or thirsty. It explained that thirstiness usually goes away after 1.5-2 hours, and is replaced by hunger. It turned out that most of the time I was lacking water, when I felt hunger.

3. Somehow my metabolism get into a new path, maybe faster, maybe more intensive, I can't really tell this, but by drinking regularly, the whole digesting-calorie burning system felt more in place.

4. My weight stabilized from day-to-day. As I started to drink similarly every day, the ups and downs in my weight from one day to another disappeared, as I had a constant high hydration level. I was also playing a bit with this, and the maximum I reached was 2.5 kg (5.5 lbs) from one day to another, just by drinking and not drinking.

5. My weight in general went a bit up, due to the water present in my body, as my hydration level was back.

6. Coke, coffee, beer, soda, fruit juices, and many other drinks somehow just started to disappear from my diet, and I started to enjoy drinking water. I drink now wine, and bear, and fruit juices in a way much lower quantity (not that I was a drinker before), and value the taste more. Before, I needed to drink a lot, to feel better.

7. Lot of un-explainable headache disappeared. This I only noticed later on, and the main difference I could identify was drinking regularly.

8. My skin looked better...

Equipment - they are all filled, of course! :-)


Let me share you some experiences that worked for me to make drinking regularly part of my life:

1. Instead of counting 8 cups during the day, I developed habits for drinking. These are "anchor rituals" that happen anyway during my day, and I linked drinking to them.
a) when I get up, and automatically measure my weight, right after it I drink 2 glasses of water
b) at the start of the big meals, breakfast, lunch, dinner, I drink a glass of water. If the morning 2 glasses are close to breakfast then I don't drink an extra glass. I know, I also read those articles that say digestion is way much better when food is not diluted with liquids, but I accept to have a less then optimal digestion in exchange of better hydration.
c) before doing exercise, and getting out of the door, I drink 1 glass of water
d) after exercise, I drink a glass of water

2. I made water "easily accessible" around me. I almost bump into water to drink.
a) there is a glass always in my kitchen close to the tap (we have drinkable water), ready to take it for a drink. I always keep it there.
b) I have 2-3 0.5L water bottles filled in the morning hanging around that I can grab, and have it at hand
c) in the office, I place a glass and a water bottle on my desk. If I go on meetings, I just bring it with me

3. I made a contract with myself to detect false hunger. When I feel like snacking, first I drink a glass of water. Then I still have my snack, but I drink first a glass of water. This results in much lower snacking.

4. After snacking, I drink a glass of water, to clean my mouth and prevent the "sweet" taste making lingering on my receptors to crave for more sweet.

5. When I go out with friends and order drinks, I made a similar contract like with snacks. I order some water with every single drink I order. So I always order a bottle of water PLUS a beer, a some water AND a glass of wine, a glass of water AND a Tequila.

6. When having breakfast, I go for tea, instead of milk, chocolate drink, fruit juice and similar. Or if I do, I still go for tea, and milk.

7. When leaving home or the office, I carry a foldable water bottle in my bag. I used to have just a plastic bottle, but for fanciness and motivation, I bought this Vapour 0.5L bottle, that I can roll up when empty. Looks really cool. So when I leave home, I always fill up my water bottles and have water on me. So the water bottle is a fixed companion of any bag I carry with me.

8. At the airport, after passing the security gate, I fill up my water bottles. So when on the plane, I have water on me.

9. On the plane, when drinks are served, I always ask for 2 glasses of water. When they come again, I ask again for 2 glasses of water. If I want to drink something else, too, I still ask for the 2 glasses of water. I usually tell them that I am very thirsty, and hope it's not a problem, and it never was, so don't feel guilty for asking more water on the airplane.

10. For fruit juices, I made the deal - I love fruits, but instead of liquid form, I take them in a chewable form. And I drink water.

11, When on conferences, workshops, business meetings, etc. I ask for permission to take a bottle of water with me. So when I need, I can drink. It was never a problem, nor in Mexico, nor in Singapore, nor in Russia. Apparently people drink water all over the World.

12. I have some cash with me for the case I want, I can buy a bottle of water. I made the deal not to judge if it is over expensive, I just buy it, and drink it. I save money elsewhere (for example spending less on snacks).

13. When going by train or by car, I take more water with me then I think I would need. There's always someone around who also want to drink, and sometimes I cannot refill, or just there is no opportunity to get water. If it's too heavy, I can always pour it out.
I have a shelf full of different sized and shaped water bottles. So when I go on a trip, I have a choice for size, material, and so on. I have more then I would need, but I rather have more, then not having one when needed.

14. Even with this systems, there are days once in a while, when I'm reaching for the 3rd snack and I discover that I am on this conference and they have no water for the coffee breaks. So I am always taking in new ideas, tips, experimenting with them to improve continuously.

As you can see, if I add up all these occasions, it is much more then 8 glasses of water a day. And that's the whole point of it. I don't have to think about counting it, and paying attention to drink enough. It's just around me, and my life is now organized in a way that drinking happens without thinking. So my mind is free to focus on more valuable things than counting glasses of water.

From my run today - winter colours in Austria.

Do you drink enough?
How do you organize it for yourself? I'm always happy for tips.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NUOVAELLE 12/6/2012 1:48AM

    I also use the strategies you mentioned at your first point. First thing in the morning, before and after exercise, before and after meals.
Thank you for all this useful information. I particularly liked the false hunger detection and I think I'll put this strategy to use as well!
emoticon emoticon

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MOBYCARP 12/5/2012 9:39PM

    I got rid of unexplained headaches years ago, when I went off caffeine cold turkey. I didn't stay totally off caffeine, but I'm more aware of it.

Apparently, caffeine is mildly addictive, and the headaches were withdrawal symptoms. To avoid them, I needed to keep a constant level of caffeine in my system. Constant near zero is a lot easier to maintain than constant at a higher level.

I suspect that, as a side effect of drinking more water and less of other things, you're putting less caffeine in your body and keeping what caffeine you do have at a more stable level. That would account for the random headaches going away.

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GREENGENES 12/5/2012 8:47PM

    Awesome plan. I usually have 1.5 cups in the morning when I get up. At work I have two 2.5 cup water bottles I keep filled. One of them I keep with me at all times and refill regularly (it clips nicely to my backpack so I can keep my hands free). The other one is is for a back-up if I don't have a chance to refill the first one. This way I always have water handy. My flavored beverage during the day is usually tea although I will occasionally have a diet soft drink (which doesn't count for my water intake).

They installed a new filtered water dispenser ("hydration station") in my building which is great. Every time I go anywhere during the day I make sure I walk by and refill my bottle. When I head to class I fill the bottle and drink at least half while I'm teaching (often more if I end up doing most of the talking :-) and then refill the bottle when I head back to my office. When I head to a meeting, the same thing. I also make it a routine to get up and walk around several times a day so I always take my bottle with me and refill it at the dispenser. Some people in the office next to the water dispenser have commented that I sure seem to drink a lot of water :-).

Comment edited on: 12/5/2012 8:52:28 PM

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ALDEBARANIAN 12/5/2012 6:13PM

    Yea. I drink more than the recommended 8 glasses every day.

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LEIELD 12/5/2012 4:50PM

  I start my day with a glass of water

I make sure I drink a glass of water with each meal

I drink water during and after exercising and walking.

I sip at 2 cups of water in the evening.

I usually get my full 8 cups in each day and most times more .

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I am the project - walking the work talk at home

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

One of my daily work activity in the past years have been project management. It's about creating a plan about something to reach, and then follow that plan until it is reached. Often the plan needs update, and the goal changes, but at the core, I see it as this planning-doing the plan.

However, it seemed difficult to use some of those "work skills" in my personal life. Because it's personal, so it's free, finally I don't have to focus, finally I want to do something that is not "work".

I have many friends, who implement a lot of planning and structure in their work life. Dealing with budgets, sticking to deadlines, figuring out ways on how to overcome obstacles. But to use these same skills in personal life - I don't know many friends who do.

For myself, it took some time until I discovered that I can use the same approach for myself in my healthy lifestyle that I use at work. To benefit from all the knowledge I acquired at work for my personal life. Set a goal, create a plan, and just go with the plan until I reach the goal to be healthy. In fact, the change started to happen when I first spent time, about a month planning how I will be healthy, instead of starting it right away. It was rather accidental, not intentional. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I used something I already have, but in a new way, reinventing the path.

Last week I was in Leuven, Belgium. One of my healthy habits is 10 min exercise, no matter what. My colleague was not able to run, so we made a loooong walk together to move some calories.

Now, in maintenance mode, I intentionally channel many of my R&D project manager "work skills" to be healthy, like:
- look up research articles on healthy living
- understand food labels in depth
- write constructive feedback/complaint to food manufacturers (either to give praise or request change)
- coach others for being healthy to keep my energy around healthy living and motivation
- use tracking and data analysis to understand what's happening
- explore new healthy technology/gadgets/ideas to give motivation (as an R&D engineer, I explore a lot of new technology and ideas)
- use Gestalt OD approach for my own process
- and so on

These are all things that are easy to use for me, because they are already in my skill-set. A discovery for me is that it doesn't feel "work" at all, it's fun.

I was wondering, what do you use from your "work skills" in your personal healthy lifestyle?

Small update 21 Nov 23:02 Paris Time
Thank you for all the comments! You make me really happy! :-) :-)
I will be travelling this weekend for an MMFC event in Germany, I can come back to you to reply only on Monday and onwards.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUPERSYLPH 7/7/2013 11:01AM

    That's great! What useful work skills!

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NASFKAB 1/5/2013 5:32AM

  great job

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ADELCASALE 1/4/2013 1:48PM

    Nice going!

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NLYR20 12/18/2012 9:55AM

  Wonderful approach....

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LETHANIA 12/5/2012 5:08AM

    Great blog! Ten minutes each and every day is my new goal. ..... also sort of interesting is my father and I just had a long talk about planning and I was thinking exactly that, what if I applied those principals to this part of my life. It is crazy the way are and you'll hear a repeated theme over and over sometimes... its like.. hey are you getting it yet LOL.

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EFFRAYECHILDE 12/3/2012 9:12AM


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BEAUTY_WITHIN 11/27/2012 11:17PM

    Pretty awesome idea! Thanks :)

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WHITEANGEL4 11/26/2012 8:55PM

    Great blog, thanks for sharting

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SERASARA 11/26/2012 1:05PM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HZGLORY 11/26/2012 12:54AM

    Really great Idea and I see it worked. I will have to think on all this a bit more. I am sure you are right and now I need to think how I can use my skills to bring myself success in my own personal journey, Thank you for getting me thinking. Susan

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1DRWOMAN 11/25/2012 5:22AM

    Great blog!

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SATCHMO99 11/24/2012 5:23AM

    A friend at work, who is a dance instructor in her spare time, got everyone at an All Staff meeting active and engaged by starting with swaying their hands side to side, then split us into 3 groups and got us Mexican waving. Sit down, stand up, sit down.

It sure got the blood pumping, and was so much fun.

Another time, in a team meeting, she got us to do a salsa dance before our meeting.

It boosts engagement, and creates a buzz, so everyone feels chatty and happy.

Gotta love Charlotte!

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TDWANDD2MYK9 11/24/2012 3:34AM


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LYDIASPURPLE 11/24/2012 1:07AM


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REENIE131 11/23/2012 11:31PM


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TERRIJ7 11/23/2012 1:05PM

    That is a great way to look at my health journey. Thanks for sharing the insights

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KIMBOLEAN 11/23/2012 12:32PM


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TDWANDD2MYK9 11/23/2012 8:39AM


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THEIS58 11/23/2012 8:12AM

    Still like it!

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TINAJANE76 11/23/2012 12:41AM

    Super blog, Oliver! It's pretty ironic that many of us have had so much professional success but often have a hard time transferring those skills over to our personal lives to help us along with our weight loss and maintenance. Staying healthy sure feels like a job sometimes so maybe we need to become more serious about treating it like one!

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JIBBIE49 11/23/2012 12:09AM

    emoticon Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail. What an honor. emoticon

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STUFFNEARTABOR 11/22/2012 11:42PM

    Great Blog - I'm loving the application of the planning process @ home!

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KIMBERTA99 11/22/2012 11:39PM

    You continue to amaze me with your hard work and dedication!! emoticon

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5KYOURWAY 11/22/2012 11:10PM

    yes little reminders through the day.

making it a little slot like a fast break 10 minute focus on healthy me.

simple but effective.

i am going to get the spark book to study.

consider 10 minutes exercise with staff during my shift.

something fun to generate some humour.

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J2740LOU 11/22/2012 9:35PM

    emoticon Great idea. Apply work skills to your personal life. Thanks for sharing a great approach to addressing and solving a life style change. emoticon

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HDHAWK 11/22/2012 8:25PM

    Great blog! I have many skills I use at work. I will think about using them to get healthy!

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SUSHMASH 11/22/2012 8:17PM

  Great blog Oliver . I like the title too . Cheers emoticon

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CHANGING-TURTLE 11/22/2012 5:33PM

    Great blog, makes one think

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HEIDIE6 11/22/2012 5:19PM


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MYBULLDOGS 11/22/2012 2:32PM


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WALLINMW 11/22/2012 1:10PM

  stay motivated

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TRISHMO1 11/22/2012 1:08PM

  Great blog emoticon

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CRAZYGYMGIRL 11/22/2012 12:52PM

    Until I read this, I hadn't realized that I'm doing the same thing. Worked in several areas and have skills including budget, project management, research and negotiations. I have a very detailed plan for a healthy lifestyle which includes budget, tools, timelines, checkpoints and I evaluate on a regular basis to determine if I need to modify the plan. I keep track of the various components of my plan on a series of spreadsheets. Interesting way of looking at this journey of ours... I am the project. And at the end, when the goal is completed, you can't just drop the whole thing. The product requires continued monitoring and maintenance.... brilliant.

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NASFKAB 11/22/2012 9:53AM

  great ideas thanks

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TWNOMWE 11/22/2012 9:47AM

    emoticon great blog and wonderful ideas.

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JOANNHUNT 11/22/2012 9:36AM

    emoticon Blog. Very interesting and educational. emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THEIS58 11/22/2012 6:34AM

    Just great- thanks!

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LEANMEAN2 11/22/2012 6:30AM

    Thanks for sharing.

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BLUEJEAN99 11/22/2012 1:55AM


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MOMFAN 11/22/2012 1:15AM


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JAMER123 11/22/2012 12:27AM

    emoticon blog that is emoticon !! emoticon

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PRAIRIECROCUS 11/21/2012 11:50PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CLAYARTIST 11/21/2012 11:48PM

  emoticon emoticon

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CM_GARDNER78 11/21/2012 11:42PM

    What a fantastic idea. I kind of was on this wave length, and blogged something similar as you - but you put it very eloquently! I think that this is a GREAT idea to use your skills in other areas, and apply them to weight loss! Thanks for a great blog!

~ Christa

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LIVELYGIRL2 11/21/2012 11:15PM

  Excellent thoughts. Also, enjoyed seeing your views! emoticon emoticon

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PYNETREE 11/21/2012 11:08PM

    Great way to implement your talents!

Loved that you shared the picture from your travels! You really get around! emoticon Do you always travel so much?

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SHOAPIE 11/21/2012 10:18PM


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NOTSOFLUFFYDAD 11/21/2012 9:57PM

    Fabulous blog!

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LIBBYL1 11/21/2012 9:51PM


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TIMDEB 11/21/2012 9:41PM


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