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SparkCoach Action Step-A Phone Call to the Past, Part 1

Sunday, April 07, 2013

First, in this action step, SparkCoach asks that we fast forward to ten years in the future.

10 years in the future
It is 2023 and I am 47 years old. I still live in Auburn, WA in the apartment with my significant other, and no, we still are not married. We continue to be committed to each other solely however.

My parents having given up driving every day out to Auburn, and we have saved up and procured a car. We have given in and gotten either a tablet or a device that only plays DVD's to entertain us between appointments. Roger and I both have new casemanagers that we actually like and respect.

We share a home with a shelter puppy (actually more likely, a senior dog, due to my preferences) that we went out to purchase after a period of mourning passed for our current dog, Mickey. He or she likes our sedate life and going out for walks with us in the park nearby.

We have invested in more kitchen equipment and have a working blender, full size food processor, and coffee grinder (for grinding spices). We cook the majority of our meals now, from scratch or with minimal processed ingredients (like processed cream of/chicken/celery/mushroom soups). We keep a few frozen meals on hand in case we don't have time to cook a certain night and still keep our schedule of going to bed early.

Holly has passed away due to her progressive illness, so I no longer have that to go to in the evening on Sundays, but I attend Holy Family in the morning and cherish my evenings for a deeper devotional time by myself in bible study and reflection.

I no longer get to see most of my Bible Study friends most of the time, but I stay in contact with them online and over the phone. I still order Avon from Bonnie, ,or from someone she has referred me to after she no longer sells it. I attend weight watchers and have made the majority of my friends and acquaintances from there. I attend at least once a week, sometimes multiple times. I am a lifetime member and have maintained my maintenance weight for a minimum of six years.

I volunteer at 2 places each week, part-time for about 4 hours a shift. These places are in Auburn and are easy to get to. The rest of the time I spend at home, in meetings, or at the gym. In downtime I believe in keeping myself vibrant. I follow a reading schedule for myself that I develop myself, in the interest of expanding my knowledge and vocabulary. I follow a varied exercise routine that includes strength and flexibility as well as cardio. I enjoy taking photos and updating my SparkPage and Facebook with the results.

When I open my eyes in the morning I feel it is a day rife with possibilities. I instantly think of all the things I am going to do and accomplish that day. I instantly make my way to the kitchen for 4oz of juice mixed with 1/2 c to 1 c of water and either eggs or a high fiber cereal to start my day. After my workout I reward myself with coffee or an espresso. I renew my fragrance of choice, and alternate between at least two (one day one, next day other) so I don't get too used to the smell and drench myself with it. I hear Roger snoring as I finish up on the balance board and get my coffee and I snuggle down with our senior pup to watch an old rerun of a Joyce Meyer TV podcast to start my day right.

We go to volunteer and to appointments and to see my parents on holidays and birthdays by car, that Roger drives. We actively visit friends and acquaintances, at least once a month for each one friend. My parents do a lot of traveling and we like to get together with them when they return to see pictures. We live a simple life, intentionally. We don't do a lot of traveling or go many places far away.

We do, however, take breaks from the modern world and go hiking/camping with our phones and ipods turned off. We enjoy reconnecting with nature.. big trees, big rocks, rivers, lakes.. We can't be gone for long, due to the area we live in and the constraints of our medical obligations, but we go enough to reset each year. We have a car and participate in Volksmarches (organized walks) across Washington State.

In how I move my body, I am very much more co-ordinated, hand and foot, than I have ever been. I bellydance and shimmy, I enjoy step-aerobics, I've even branched into kickboxing after an initial period of trepidation since our apartment is so small. I take classes at the gym or pop in DVD's at home. I am partial to DVD's or download because of the transitory nature of streaming. I like to KNOW if I like a routine that it will be available as part of my routines indefinitely and not just till the next software update, rotation, or until the streaming provider loses the license to show it.

For strength I use machines at the gym and my XMark Adjustable Weights that I invested in even before I reached my goal weight. They are showing their age, but still usable. I use handweights and wrist weights to up my cardio routines now and make them more challenging. I am working on pull ups. I can already do regular pushups and hold a plank several minutes. I can bench 100 pounds easily at the gym. My body responds to the movement I do by getting stronger.

I am just diabetic. I held it off for several years by eating healthy and exercising, but my genetic makeup and early predisposition has caught up with me. Rather than view it as a death sentence I take my diet and medication seriously and work to minimize its effect on my body. My outlook is bright and my triglycerides, cholesterol, and iron levels are all in line. Although I have become diabetic, I consider myself to be healthier than I was when I started my program in 2013. I enjoy each life to the fullest and look forward to each new day.

When I look in the mirror I see myself significantly grayer and with pronounced wrinkling. It upsets me a little bit because I don't feel so old and because I wish I'd started things sooner, before the fat meant that weight loss would make my skin so loose. But I also see it as a sign of progress. I reached this age! I attempted suicide and there were so many times I might not have made it, and I got here! Also, the skin is loose because I DID LOSE THE WEIGHT! I am able to be a healthier me and live longer because I'm no longer so heavy. Plus I look better because I'm letting myself wear makeup again, because once again I care about my appearance. I have a low maintenance haircut that I update at least once every two months, so it dosn't look scraggly ever again. I'm taking care of my teeth, using whitening toothpaste, and have given up diet colas and diet dr pepper in favor or water, one cup of coffee in the morning, and the occasional cup of tea each day, so my teeth are less yellow, even though Roger won't let me repeat a tooth whitening regimen I did 10 years ago, for fear it rots my enamel right out of my head.

When I look below my collarbones, I look skinny but curved. I have muscles, and they show. Not like bodybuilder muscles, but giving definition to my form. I work on abs religiously, but am not able to see them due to excess skin. I wear one piece swim suits that have skirts on them or with skirt cover ups attached to help the skin problem. Most of the time its not visible under my clothes. I've made peace with the fact that I am now a B cup rather than a C or maybe a barely B. My chest size still makes finding a bra difficult. I enjoy not bouncing around everywhere, not needing underwires, and being able to find sportsbras that will work for me.

I make sure my clothing fits. I am not as swayed by ideas of quality and permanence as some, because I know I get tired of wearing things eventually. I spend money on my foundation garments and mainly wear t-shirts and jeans, except to church and family functions. I've gotten my ears re-pierced and am sporting one set of earrings in my ears at all times, so that I never have to re-pierce them and spend that money, again. I like studs and drops and small hoops. I like pearls and cubic zirconia, sometimes together. I like sterling silver and silvertone (as long as it doesn't have nickel or anything that will turn my skin green)

What brings me the most joy on this day is, fellowshipping with my friends and writing with my Bible Study friends, seeing my other half sleep and playing his video games, petting my dog, and taking care of my body.

Each night I put my head to my pillow I feel tired. Physically tired, mentally grateful for the pillow and grateful for another day I got to spend on the planet. Tomorrow I plan to do it all again. This is my ideal life -- to live with my significant other, near my parents, until we are old and gray and the Lord takes us away.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAGGIE101857 4/7/2013 8:08AM

    What a beautiful blog! So much thought and honesty put into your words; a future filled with love and contentment! May you be blessed with this and more!

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SWEETNEEY 4/7/2013 6:49AM


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FATHINSN 4/7/2013 5:36AM

    I hope you will achieve those future in 2023, you probably have ongoing plan now :D

10-years ago, what I saw in my future was I will be the rising star for programming world (even if it's just in the company that I work at), I will have a loving husband, I will start my own family. Oh, and I will have flat belly, flat enough to not having unflattering bulge between my bra line and above my jeans.

Now, I'm more like a falling star in my career (not that I'm a bad worker, it's just that it's not quite my dream job in 10 years ago), I've been single since university (nearly a decade ago) but at least my belly looks promising LOL So, when I reached my dearest age 30 end of this year, I will make a more achievable goal, not something that everyone wants :D

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SparkCoach Action Step - Shaking up the Routine

Monday, April 01, 2013

For my action step today I'm supposed to pick 1-3 new goals off a list. So here are two that I just decided today and 2 that I was already going to do.

1. I am joining WW to meet people face-to-face (Spark is still better)
2. I am starting the #riseandshine challenge for April.
(Having a healthy breakfast and exercising first thing in the day.)
3. I am trying a new recipe each week.
4. I am going to learn about adding Strength Training to my routines.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SCUBAGAL07 4/1/2013 6:13AM

    Sounds like a great plan! Much success

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All About Me from A to Z

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Recently seen and borrowed from CINDHOLM's SparkBlog:

A. Are you at all artistic? Years ago and every now and then it crops up, but Artists create great messes difficult to contain and I am trying to learn how to better contain, organize, and un-mess myself, so being artistic is difficult.

B. What are your favorite burger toppings? onions, pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, mayo, ketchup, and mustard, sometimes relish if the pickles aren't there

C. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? silver, I don't look special unless you look really hard or am layered on thickly.

D. Diamond or pearls? Diamonds and pearls.. I like them both equally, sometimes together

E. What exotic pet would you like to have? I'd have a guinea pig if my allergies would let me. They are the perfect size for a lap pet.

F. What was the last film you saw at the cinema? I think it was "How to train your dragon"

G.What is the worst gift you have ever received? A Free Catalog to Hickory Farms (They were a sibling trying to save gift money for a toy they wanted)

H. What habit would you like to be able to break? over-sleeping

I. If you could be invisible for one day, what would you do? I would go someplace where I am not allowed or sneak into several gyms and cause reports of ghosts everywhere while I try out their equipment

J. What do you like about your job? that it is volunteer so I get a great deal of say over what I do, when, and for how long

K. Did you ever learn to knit?no, I've tried to crochet though

L. Would your friends describe you as 'ladylike'? no, maybe if they don't know me very well

M. What is your middle name? Louise

N. Are you a night owl or an early bird? Night Owl, but trying to change

O. Do you like okra? Yes, in chicken gumbo primarily

P. When was the last time you cleaned out your purse? sometime last week

Q. What is one of your favorite quotes. Make a M.A.D.D.I.N. which means, "Make a Difference. Do It Now"

R. What do you have on the outside of your refrigerator? Magnets, coupons, Metal Dry-Erase Calendar, magnetic pen container and random dry erase markers with magnets on them.

S. If you could have one superpower, what would it be? enveloping everyone in the warm fuzzies and upping their self-esteem five notches

T. Do you prefer a truck or car? Actually my favorite was a van we had for a short period of time, because we were going to outfit it with carpet and take a mini DVD player with us and hang out between appointments, instead of being in the waiting room all the time. Other than that, I have to say I like the car, because of fuel efficiency.

U. What is under your bed? a medical cusion that makes it hard for me to make the bed, a couple of blankets, some pillows, and an eyeglass holder

V. Did you wear a veil when you got married? no, not married yet, have the veil in a box though

W. Can you whistle? no

X. Do you know what a Xenopus is? no, had to look it up - used to have african dwarf frogs, which are related, but not anymore

Y. Do you eat yogurt? Only occasionally, I like both regular and Greek yogurt

Z. Do you enjoy zombie movies? NO, but I watch them with my SO sometimes because he does

Feel free to cut and paste an add your own answers! There was a similar statement on CINDHOLM's blog saying people were free to use the quiz.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

M4JMOMMY 3/24/2013 7:57PM

    Very cute!

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TIMDEB 3/24/2013 5:01AM


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FATHINSN 3/24/2013 3:43AM

    This is fun A-Z way to tell people about yourself. I like those about crayon, the invisible part and about the superpower :D

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SparkCoach - The Five Things You Want in Your Life

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

This was the SparkCoach visualization exercise for February 1st:
Picture five things you want in your life, whether they are people, goals, experiences or things. How will reaching your small goals today help you achieve those dreams, too?

The five things I want in my life right now are:

1. My family
Roger, Mickey, Parents I want them all in my life right now and I want to devote enough time to them to make them feel appreciated and let them know I love them.

2. My medical team
My counselor, med provider, primary care physician.. I want to be consistent enough with my appointments and treatment that they know their opinion and instructions are appreciated and followed.. so they know they make a difference in my life

3. Exercise
I want to spend a significant amount of time in exercise. Recently I reduced my tv time to under 1 hour per day (although sometimes I bank days and spend it on the weekends) but I haven't upped my actual activity comparably. I want to grow the time I exercise to be an hour or two a day. Right now I spend 3 days a week exercising 10 minutes a day.

(Sorry about the interruption.. I'm home now and can finish)
4. Social Time
I want to spend time focusing on friends. Online this has been growing, but offline, not so much. The only constant I have is my Bible Study and I let every little thing get in the way of that. I need to be consistent with that as well so they know I value their friendship and getting together with each other. Online I am working on being consistent with a few groups, some better than others.

5. Nutrition (aka Cooking Time)
I want to spend more time in food prep and actually preparing food rather than just popping something in the microwave, as I do most days.

===============PART II================
or How will achieving your small goals today help you achieve these goals?

1. I need to schedule more time at the end of the day to give Roger and Mickey time, and when I come home from things to touch bases. Right now I don't have more time scheduled for them and I need to. My parents I see several times a week and I think that's okay for parental contact being as old as I am. Achieving my small goals today will hopefully give me more years to spend with them however, so at the end of the day, its a win win.

2. I am pretty good about keeping my appointments, but I want to try for 100% unless I'm physically throwing up or something. I'm also not very compliant with my asthma meds, which would help my exercise-induced asthma attacks happen less often. I want to actually put the advise they give me into effect in a timely manner rather than stretching it out as I am wont to do, because I want them to know that I value their time.

3. Increasing my exercise goals will increase my results.. either for weight loss.. less muscle lost, or muscle toning.. all of which are good things. I am applying for an accountability partner in the hopes of stricter adherence to my exercise plans and to accelerate the rate at which I change and lengthen my sessions . The more I devote to exercise, the easier the weight loss will be.

4. I want to have lots of friends. I never again want to be at the point where I only have one friend and that friend is online a million miles away. I want friends online and I want friends that are there in person as well. I can't do life here on this planet alone and I am a very social creature. That's what being face to face with the Almighty and my own flaws and imperfections have taught me. I need friends to be able to get up in the morning and work on all my goals and health. I need to get serious about the Bible Study again and quit making excuses not to go. If it looks like I'm losing my only friend outside of the Bible Study in person, then I need to start going to support or interest groups again to develop more friends and acquaintances.

Being consistant with my small goals will help me 1.)stay positive, which is more attractive in a friend than being pessimistic or miserable 2.)healthy and vibrant, also more attractive than being sedentary and having a lot of health problems 3.) give me something to talk about other than the weather.

5.)Preparing more meals myself will give me the confidence to continue to do so later in life, it will be cheaper in the long run than all the processed microwavable foods I eat (as long as I eat them before I spoil) and may prevent me from developing certain diseases. It will help me make sure I get the nutrients I need and control calories, as I will be able to control what foods get added in what proportions to the dishes I make. My small goals don't really help me do this right now, but it would help my overall picture to make them part of my small goals.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TIMDEB 3/24/2013 5:01AM


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M4JMOMMY 3/13/2013 11:37PM

    Sounds like a great plan!

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KRISTYTROGERS 3/12/2013 5:19PM

    I love that the goals have a how to get there section! Planning really does help when trying to achieve goals!
emoticon emoticon

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LYNNWILK2 3/12/2013 3:18PM

    great top three, I'll be waiting to read the other 2...
great exercise, wonderful in fact.
I just started Spark Coach this weekend... it looks like you are really working the program and learning new things about yourself ... good luck...
and again, great beginning.

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HEALTHY156 3/12/2013 3:15PM

    Those are awesome goals. I love it. I look forward to reading the rest. :D

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SparkCoach - Mistake

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

As my community action step today, SparkCoach has asked me to say a few words about the last time I made a mistake on my diet and what I could learn from that.
So without further ado:

The last time I made a mistake in my diet was actually today. I really did well exercising but I didn't eat very healthy. I ate out of a box (3c of Tuna Helper) because we are low on groceries right now. That doesn't look like it is going to change much this next month because our food assistance hasn't come in yet and I don't have extra money to put with the food bill this month.

I think what I can learn is that I need to check with Roger how he feels about me making certain purchases in the future, so we can avoid (what I call) "revenge spending." Also I need to make a bigger push to take my vitamins with meals, so I can hopefully not get deficient in vitamins or minerals. Also, having about $20-60 extra really goes a long way in the grocery budget, so I need to make sure I have extra money to devote to our food.

[UPDATE: 13MAR2013 I should have updated this sooner. We did eventually have the assistance come through, so we should be okay for the month. I just won't be able to try new recipes. Sorry for worrying people. Although, I will store the information away in case we ever can't make the budget stretch again]

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ISTRALOUISE 3/14/2013 2:08AM

    For anyone interested in Angel Food Ministries, here is a page that points to some alternatives since the page claims AFM closed its doors in 2011:

Thanks to M4JMOMMY for the original idea emoticon

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M4JMOMMY 3/13/2013 11:36PM

    Have you heard of Angel Food Ministries? In my area they offer food at a very low cost. You usually sign-up and then go to a local church on a certain day and buy your box of food. You get a box of food with meat, fresh vegetables, etc.. It can really stretch your budget.

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REDMOUNTAIN 3/6/2013 1:27AM

    Good luck. You can do it. emoticon

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