Tuesday, March 15, 2011
SparkPeople is valuable site for anyone who wants to lose weight and make new friends. In no particular order here are other random thoughts about SP. with which you may or may not agree:
* I am grateful this site is free to use and I do understand the need for ads, but some of them have been in questionable taste, such as the one for male sexual enhancement and the one for female incontinence that showed a woman's jean-clad crotch. I have to question the judgment of whomever chooses this type of ad.
* It's educational being able to read so many different articles on nutrition, fitness, motivation, well-being and various diseases and illnesses.
* It's nice having quizzes added that count for 10 points up to a daily max. of 50 but it's disappointing to learn the number of quizzes is limited so we can't get points after we've maxed out several days in a row.
* It's also nice we are now able to reset the A-Z Health topics. An improvement would be to award three points for each of the nine sections within each topic -- symptoms, when to see a doctor, etc.
* Why don't team leaders at least huddle with their teams every day and welcome new team members?
* If you post a profile picture and more than one person is in the picture, identify who is who.
* When you take pictures, it might be a good idea to make sure there is not a flash from a mirror, or dirty clothes on the floor or the toilet in the background, etc. Better than self-photos with a cell phone, have someone take one of you with appropriate background.
* Another thing to pay attention to is the color of the profile page and the color of letters chosen to use on that background. Some pages are so dark it's impossible to read what is being typed as a comment.
* If you answer a post, read the first post for what the poster asked.
* If you do answer a post, stick to the poster's topic. If you want to start your own topic, then do so in a separate post. And if a topic doesn't apply to you then don't answer. One topic asked about counting coffee and tea as part of daily water intake and one reply was, "I don't drink coffee." The topic didn't ask if you did so why even reply then?
* Check your teams for topics already posted before beginning a new one that is the same as an ongoing one. This just clogs up the message boards.
* Check spelling before posting, especially if you call yourself a writer. One hint: "loose" is what clothes become after we "lose" weight.
* I enjoy receiving and giving Goodies and am happy they are an option.
* I wonder how people can show 2,000 fitness minutes on the first day of the month. Are they really being honest with everyone and themselves?
* Status updates are fun to follow but don't get upset if we don't click we liked it. It might not appeal to us or make sense to us.
* I was told by a SP coach that it is not the number of people who read a blog that determines if it will be designated a "Popular Blog" but that it is based on the number of people who click they liked it. So, if you thought a blog was worthwhile then click you liked it.
* I wish there was a way to know when team members become inactive on the site. I've clicked a number of them on different teams and received a message that the member couldn't be found. But their picture remains on the team site.
* How is it that I get an email notification of a new team member, send that member a welcome team Goodie, but then when I try to access their page to write a personal comment am told by a message that the user can't be found? How can they be found to receive the team Goodie then?
Monday, March 14, 2011
Have you had a good day recently? One that is not spectacular or necessarily exciting but simply nice?
I did. Today. After the past couple of days fighting the veil of darkness, I had a pleasant time today. We had a board meeting of the county's Commission on Aging of which I am a member. We started what may be a first for the country -- an eight months, one morning a month training session for representatives of local agencies helping the elderly. The sessions will focus on teaching these agencies how to work more effectively with the various media to get information about aging across to the public.
Afterward I stopped at my favorite center to watch bowlers and have a cheeseburger. Alex, the cook, has been there for more than 20 years and makes what might be the best tasting burger in town. We caught up while it cooked then I helped a man carry coffee. Poor soul was shaking so much as he tried to carry two cups of hot coffee and creamers and sugars. Had a nice chat with him. (Bowlers are some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet.)
Ate lunch while watching a league bowl then sauntered to the pro shop to talk with Mike (who's averaging 243 in one league) and look at new bowling products. Finally sought out Cliff the manager to catch up with him. His son, Jason Couch, won his 16th professional bowling association title last weekend. We talked about my joining a summer league after time off because of the back problems and how, if that worked out, I'd be back in the fall for a regular league season.
Came home, read the paper. The tragedy in Japan defies comprehension, doesn't it?
With upbeat music playing in the background, I finished a final book edit that was due tonight. It's off to the author and a check should be on its way soon from her to me. A fair exchange I think.
Now it's almost 8:00, not tired so believe it or not I think I'm going to scrub some baseboards and clean ceiling fans. Then have to put trash and recycled things out for tomorrow's collection before reading before bed.
As I said, not a spectacular or exciting day, but compared to the past two, it was a day in paradise. A positive beginning to the week.
I hope your day was also a positive jump start to your week. Keep believing in yourself and working day by day to reach your goals.
To those who were kind enough to respond to yesterday's blog, I have a gift to give you -- . Thank you.
Sunday, March 13, 2011
For days I have debated writing this story but after reading of others in a similar situation I decided exposing something I deal with may help someone else.
I suffer from depression. Some studies claim this is a brain disorder, others claim it is a reaction to stress and other factors beyond our control. It really is not important what causes it; what is important is dealing with it.
Last night is a good example. I had a pleasant day, was catching up on emails and various sites I participate in, public television was airing an oldies/doo-wop music special (yes, my era) and all felt okay. Then, a veil of darkness draped itself over me and my mood changed. I even posted a status update about it.
There have been numerous counseling sessions and medications but they are not a permanent barrier tough enough to always keep the brightness shining. One thing that has been shown to help is exercise so last night I began several vigorous exercises and followed with a long, hot shower. That helped, but after a short while I only wanted to go to bed, read a while and shut out the world.
Normally, as some of you know, I am an upbeat, positive person who tries very hard to lift up others and encourage them to do their best every day. Once in a while a SP friend will write and ask why I haven't answered their recent blogs. I reply and tell them that sometimes I just need time to myself. Later, though, that day or another, I will read and reply to 40 or more blogs.
Last night I tried to backtrack and determine what led to that veil dropping. Nothing is ever decided in a vacuum. One feeling or thought leads to another and another until a lever is pulled and moods change. Often, too, long-buried feelings surface and cause us to examine our lives and our decisions. It is a complicated situation.
What I ask of you is if you know someone who seems to be down, who seems to change moods for no apparent reason, talk to them, see if they need to see their doctor about their changing moods. It's likely they do not know themselves why they are happy one minute and not the next.
Mine largely began in 2006 when losing three relatives in three months a year and a half earlier hit me. That was followed by a diagnosis of diabetes soon after. One of the valuable aspects of SparkPeople is the information passed along on various illnesses and diseases via articles, message boards and other avenues. I have learned so much from this site and from the members who have also shared their situations. The support I have received here has been a true blessing.
I remain positive about life. As my weight has finally dropped, blood sugar readings have dropped also. Other medical indicators have posted terrific numbers. I am grateful to a health insurance nurse for referring me to SparkPeople. My time here has not been wasted. I have learned how to adapt to my problems and to those of others. I continue to enjoy the friends I have met here, from Finland to Canada to Australia, and from California to Virginia. What a group of motivating people you all are.
For more information about depression, please check the site for the National Institute of Mental Health at www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications
Thank you for reading this far. I hope I have explained why it sometimes takes me a while to catch up with everyone or to blog.
Life can be good if we have faith and exude love, friendship and compassion, if we help others whenever we can and if we believe there is a greater purpose in store for each of us if we only open our minds and our hearts.
We can succeed if we believe in ourselves and never, ever, give up.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
Today, I ran across these two quotes:
"Greatness lies not in remaking the world but in remaking ourselves." - Mahatma Gandhi
“Take the first step in faith. You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” - Dr. Martin Luther King.
Together, these thoughts easily point us in the direction we need to travel to have a successful weight loss journey. They also provide a framework for viewing our efforts to become the person we each aspire to become.
Take the first quote, for example. "Greatness lies not in remaking the world but in remaking ourselves." Now, it would be a significant achievement if we were able to remake the world, but common sense tells us the chance of our having an effect on the entire world is negligible.
But we CAN remake ourselves, can't we? One positive day and one pound at a time?
How do we do that? By following Dr. King's advice to “Take the first step in faith" and understand that we "don't have to see the whole staircase" in order to "just take the first step.”
Sounds pretty simple. Take the first step, even though we do not know how many steps we will ultimately take and where they will lead us. But if our goal is to remake ourselves, we can be pretty certain our steps will take us to a glory land of weight loss success we never would have dreamed of if we had not taken that first hesitant step.
Will you take the challenge that is implied in the statements of these two wise people?
Will you make a sincere, focused and determined effort to remake yourself into a happier, thinner, healthier person?
All you need to do is take that first step in faith and always believe in yourself this is something you CAN and WILL succeed in achieving.
That's it -- take one step, then another and believe in ourselves. Something we all can do, isn't it?
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Lately, I have read many blogs and status updates from people who say they are tired. This is something that hits me from time to time, like this past week when all I had energy for was to rake a bag of leaves or put the trash out. The rest of the time I have simply wanted to sleep.
Oh, I've gotten in time here on SP and on Facebook and LinkedIn, and I have made progress on getting my tax papers in order and a book edit that is due soon, but find I can only do these things in spurts of a couple of hours or so, then I need to head to bed, sometimes reading for a bit, sometimes not, before falling asleep.
Tomorrow I may have an excess of energy, work in the yard, sort and de-clutter boxes of things in the house, edit and be on fire, getting many things done and feeling good for having done so. Then again, maybe not.
I know the theorem that states that a body at rest tends to stay at rest while a body in motion tends to stay in motion, but knowing that and finding the energy to get going are two different things. Could this be from boredom? I don't know.
What I do know is that despite being so tired, I remain positive about my weight loss and strive to continue encourage and lift up others. I continue to mull over the remaining plot of the mystery I'm writing and stay on top of emails, reading blogs, huddling every day with all my teams and monitoring the teams I co-lead. But overall I feel as if I'm wasting the time that has been entrusted to me every day.
On Monday I see my primary care nurse practitioner and will ask her about this but I wonder why it hits for so long and so often recently.
Have you had bouts of fatigue like this? If so, how did you overcome them?
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