JCORYCMA   13,602
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To All my Spark Friends: Please Read!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Dear Spark Friends:
I am veering off my usual health and weight loss topics to bring a concern I have to my table of friends --

I am co-leader of my hometown's team and as such try to read as many blogs as I can from fellow team members to stay in touch. The other day I read an entry from a teacher who wrote about a particular student of hers who had a difficult parent and the gist of her blog was about her resentment over students who are on free and reduced lunches and other entitlement programs.
I am quite certain that this woman was probably venting out of frustration and I left a comment expressing a little of my own opinion. After thinking about it later, though, I regretted leaving it.
I want to make it clear that I didn't regret my opinion one bit, but that I let myself get emotionally sucked into a subject that has nothing to do with motivating and inspiring health and fitness.
So I went back and read over comments that other sparkers had left on her blog and was shocked at the vehemence of some peoples opinions. One particular woman's comment in support of the teacher's feelings seemed especially harsh so I clicked on her page and read the only two blogs she had written at the time.
I was so saddened and disappointed at the judgemental, political extremeness, and almost hateful nature of her blogs!

It isn't the fact that my political leanings differ from hers. I am not an extremist by any means to the right or the left, and I certainly respect the concept of freedom of expression.
However, one of my favorite quotes is:
"Freedom of expression is NOT yelling FIRE! in a crowded theater"
(I am sorry that the author of that quote escapes me for the moment.)

She is entitled to say what she feels like on her own page.

What REALLY bothers me is that when we express ourselves in a judgemental, hateful, vehement manner about any segments of population, we risk alienating people. Now I entirely get the drift that she could care less whether the folks she has chosen to spew her venomous diatribe at feel alienated or not.

HOWEVER ---

I firmly believe that this isn't what Spark People is all about. I am very concerned that a newcomer to SP will stumble across her politically driven blog in seek of weight loss motivation and be completely turned off by the whole website.
For all intents and purposes, Spark People is about motivating, inspiring, encouraging others in the WEIGHT LOSS AND FITNESS EFFORTS.
I have no problem with people blogging about personal issues that are emotionally challenging to them. Our blogs shouldn't be restricted to JUST weight loss and health issues, especially when they ultimately impact our state of health mentally or physically, but I definitely feel they should be presented in a non-judgemental, non-hate mongering manner if they bring in other peoples.

Maybe it's because I am NOT a judgemental person by nature. I read my Bible faithfully, and you know what? I haven't found my name mentioned in it anywhere as an appointed judge. In fact, our good Lord is pretty specific that HE alone has that privilege.

I chose a profession where I get to help all walks of life -- every race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, and gender. The workings of our bodies really is the great equalizer. We have more in common with everybody else than not when it comes down to it.

I like to think of myself as a kind and gentle and tolerant soul in my "old age". Lol!

While I am by no means wishy-washy or timid in my political leanings, I simply don't feel like Spark People is the venue to express them. There ARE websites out there where you can share all your opinions with like minded folk. Some are monitored by the FBI, I'm sure :)

So when I read her blogs, did I click the little icon to report an inappropriate blog? No. She wasn't profane, sexual, racist, anti-semantic. or anything like that. She was political. She was judgemental and disparaging about a segment of society that through the grace of God I am not in.

So I am coming to MY friends here on SP and asking that you please not encourage these kinds of public blogs by commenting either in agreement or disagreement. By simply commenting, we are acknowledging them and giving them fuel to either continue with them out of our encouragement, or continue them out of vengeance over our dissenting opinion.

Let politics be politics on MSNBC or FOX News. Or on any of the myriad of websites out there dedicated to such.

Let Spark People be Spark People...

Thanks!




  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MRSZIPPY1001 5/20/2010 2:07PM

  Well said, Joanne. As a newcomer and currently reading the Spark book, my thoughts while reading your blog post kept going back to why and how Spark People got started in the first place. Perhaps we all need to be reminded of the "spirit" wherein it was originally created and instituted by its founder, and not detour into other worldy issues that have no place in this venue.

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GRAMMAELLEN 5/10/2010 2:41PM

    I guess the right thing to do is just walk away. But I remain concerned. I fear had I encountered such negativity toward anyone or anything on SP I would have checked the "inappropriate" box. Now, I don't know what happens when that box is checked. Does it go to SP for evaluation? Can we let Spark People the site decide? I guess I'll just make sure I exit a blog like that quickly, if I happen onto one. I would hate for a new member to encounter such a negative attitude on SP. That defeats the entire purpose of SP. The site should be enlightening and uplifting, and I have found it to be just that 99% of the time. Thanks for the heads up. Something to think about.

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JESSA2 5/10/2010 1:45PM

    AMEN SISTER! emoticon

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FERNASHES 4/27/2010 6:46AM

    I've been struggling with this lately. Spark is wonderful because of the positive nature and how everybody is willing to reach out a helping hand.

However, last week I was reading a forum post about changing in gym locker rooms. The attitude of people kind of upset me and I said so, perhaps a little too harshly. When I got home, meaning to delete my post (perhaps better to keep Spark safe than vent a little myself), the forum post was completely gone.

I think it's a fine line to walk and we all need to keep an eye on how much we actually say on Spark. Getting more healthy naturally touches other parts of our lives, but there are perhaps better places for such subjects.

Personally, I think I'll just be avoiding confrontation on Spark - it's just not worth it and there are so many other great things on this site.

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MUSHCAT 4/27/2010 3:50AM

    Makes me wonder if the content of my blogs are out of line. I try to share my personal growth experiences since Spark does such a great job with all the fitness lifestyl info. Food for thought. Thank you.

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BIGDAD1211 4/26/2010 11:11PM

    WOW! I just saw this. I agree with you 100%! On your own page, you have the right to say what you want, but you should not force your views on others who may not agree with you.
Thank you so much for this post as I too have seen this happen here at SP. I pray that our new members will not let comments like that affect their stay here at SP!
In Jesus Name
Greg

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SCAVARET 4/20/2010 9:22PM

    So true!! Thanks for blogging about this topic. Hopefully, the offenders will take note.

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ANASNEWBODY 4/16/2010 10:46PM

    I agree with your comments .

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LIGHTHOUSE23 4/13/2010 7:41PM

    Great blog! I agree completely. emoticon emoticon

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ANNSTOECKL 4/11/2010 1:48PM

    I agree with you and try to keep my fingers to myself whenever tempted to respond to something I disagree with. Thank you for taking the time to respond in an acceptable way. Blessings, Ann

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GERIKRAGH 4/11/2010 12:53PM

    Amen!

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ZELLAZM 4/11/2010 7:23AM

    I agree with your point about just walking away from such comments. I always think about the adage - if you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all. That doesn't mean we are to let ourselves be berated, or that we aren't supposed to stand up for what we believe. But there's an appropriate time and place for everything.

Good blog - and the one before it on self-examination as well!

Blessings today,
Michelle

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HEALTHYDIANAMB 4/11/2010 3:16AM

    It is amazing how ignorant and uncompassionate us humans can be,but that isn't what this site is about.It saddens me that a people on SP would make those kind of prejudice comments in the first place. This is not the place. I thought teachers had to be politically correct and careful what they say,not a good example of an educator. I am having a hard time with this.I think we all outta pray for this person and let God handle the rest. I am gonna say that some children alot would go hungry if it wasn't for these wonderful programs,not all are taking advantage of these programs,they are more needed now then ever before. I have noticed myself becoming a kinder,gentler and alot more tollerant and just alot more positive,since I started SP.Thankyou and God Bless. emoticon emoticon Diana

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KRITTERKEEPERS 4/11/2010 2:32AM

    Joanne,
I agree. This is not the venue for political discussions. SparkPeople is supposed to be an uplifting and motivational site, not a soapbox for political views.

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PUDLECRAZY 4/11/2010 1:27AM

    I don't know who wrote that blog, and I don't want to know. It saddens me when teachers degrade students or programs that help students. The children are who we are there for.

I am also saddened by the political climate and the vindictiveness and narrow-mindedness that is so prevalent right now.

Thank you for this blog.

Chris

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RUSTYSHAW1 4/10/2010 11:10PM

    Thank you for discussing basically a touchy subject. My DH has an old "chum" from college who has taken it upon himself to bring up "political" subjects and sends them out to all of his old, and current buddies via email. Well, it got rather insulting and finally, FINALLY, a number of his "buddies" asked to be removed from the long list of email addresses. Those people did express their disappointment of the direction the "discussion" had taken and further said they wanted NO PART of such negative comments. My DH has yet to take action; I wish he would. My hunch is his ol' chum will ultimately do something very negative again. I do not care for us to be in any sort of contact with him. Best wishes, Rusty. emoticon

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TK2009NOW 4/8/2010 5:35PM

    As with any public forum, there will always be polarizing people. Since SP is free, there's more of an opportunity for people to post whatever they wish.

And that's difficult.

I've found that whenever I stumble upon a blog or thread post that is totally derailing from the purpose of the site and/or the topic of the thread, I just ignore it. I know what my purpose is for being on SP, or Facebook, or any of the other public sites, and try to stay on focus.

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DASEEMAN 4/8/2010 12:33PM

    Joanne,
Thank you for sharing your experience. I especially like the point you made about reading your Bible and your name not being in it as a judge. I happen to feel the same way. We are not on this earth to judge others but perhaps to make others lives better. We all are different and have our own trials and tribulations to deal with and I personally have tried very hard throughout my life to keep that in mind when dealing with anyone.

I actually feel sorry for this person. This person is missing the beauty of each person's individuality. Each person had something to offer and to not be open to that is missing out on what life has to offer.

I am also saddened that this person is a teacher of children. I strived to raise my children to not be judgemental for any reason. I know there are people that are judgemental, because I have viewed their biases and seen the results. The saddest part is this teacher is in our school system spreading the poison that is stereotyping and thinking less of the children because of their situation. It actually brings tears to my eyes that this one person could and does influence others in a negative way. As the blog responses obviously pointed out.

I better stop now because I am ranting. However, I do want to thank you for submitting this blog as inappropriate!

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BRIARROSE30 4/8/2010 12:17PM

    Terrific blog! I have found the same things - only some that are heathly hatefully blog about those who aren't. I find myself wondering if they ever knew what it was like to be overweight. I like your saying about not seeing your name in the bible as a judge...if only more people realized this!

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LITTLEKELT 4/7/2010 8:14AM

    I absolutely agree with you. I love Sparkpeople because everyone so far has been extremely kind and supportive to me. It is a safe and warm place. I do blog about things that aren't directly related to my diet/fitness. They are things that are bothering me in one way or another, and they affect my general well-being. The support I gets helps me to feel less alone, and generally better about myself- which has the knock on effect of helping me to stay motivated. Sometimes other people identify with the things I go through, and hopefully that helps them too. For me, my mind and body are very closely related!!!
If I was blatently criticised or publically slammed down for being who I am, it would hurt, and I would be very sad to lose the wonderful feeling of belonging and the positive energy that Sparkpeople gives me.
I am here to care for myself- and hopefully to give something to other people along the way.
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THEQUEENBEE333 4/6/2010 3:04PM

    I agree w/you. I blog about my frustration because its that stuff that causes me to overeat or eat to deal w/it. So maybe that is what others do sometimes :-) I agree, Spark is great and I am glad that there are so many people like you in the world. Have a great Tuesday!

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SLENDERCLAIRE 4/6/2010 6:22AM

    Couldn't agree more. Let's spread love and support here.
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DDOORN 4/5/2010 7:30AM

    It is such a sad thing to see the politics of division and animosity creeping into our Spark community!

Toward that end I've chosen a path very similar to your own Joanne. There seems to be such a scary "us vs. them" mentality in today's politics when, hey folks, guess what? We're all in this boat together!

ESPECIALLY when it comes to improving our health and wellness!

Don

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CARRAND 4/4/2010 9:57PM

    I totally agree. Thanks for the reminder. I think most Spark People do avoid the political and try to be upbeat and motivating. (Except on the political team message boards, and I think those are kind of fun.) If I run across a blog posting I don't agree with, I usually just move on to something else. Commenting to disagree seems impolite somehow, and adding to someone else's rant isn't much fun.

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MBREWTON35 4/4/2010 9:54PM

    Thank You for being a leader and speaking up on this topic! People ARE here to be motivated on health and weight loss issues. There are just too many toes out there to be stepped on when you publicly single out an entire group of people in a hateful manner the way she did. It's not the SP spirit and you are right, there are many other sights were you can rant your ignorance if you choose.

I spark mailed her privately, stewed on it for one day, and let it go. If she wants to waist energy feeling bitter, there is no since in going down that path with her. It was hurtful the way it stirred up a bunch of other members to jump on the hate wagon with her.

Oh well! You go girl! emoticon

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CHAIMANN 4/4/2010 3:23PM

    Amen. I do it more or less well at times, but I try to remember that everything I post on the internet becomes my Public Face in the Whole World. If I get all uppity about something, I try to have a darned good reason.

The idea that you are not free to falsely shout "Fire" in a theater was expressed by Oliver Wendall Holmes in a Supreme Court ruling.

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GETTINGTHINNER2 4/4/2010 11:08AM

    Excellent...and as is typical from you, well written!!! SparkPeople, to me, represents the good in all of us to be nurturing and supportive in this common goal to better health. Let's keep it a safe haven of acceptance.

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LADYFOLDER 4/4/2010 9:59AM

    I totally agree!!

That is one of the reasons why my SparkPage is private. I watch what someone has been saying on their blogs before I invite them to be a friend so that I feel confident that I won't find objectionable comments on my blogs or on my page; also that I can make my blogs saying what I want to say without worrying about people misinterpreting what I say.
I personally haven't had any issues with SparkPeople pages, but I have had a family member have problems on another site.


Comment edited on: 4/4/2010 4:19:29 PM

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HAPPYSOUL91 4/4/2010 9:16AM

    Luckily I haven't run across any of those type of blogs. Sadly I find that there is a lot of hate in this world, if someone doesn't agree with you...shoot them...scream at them and so on. The biggest hate topic is religion, culture, race and different belief system.

We seem to have lost our tolerance for others and our good sense. It really makes me sad and actually uncomfortable.

It doesn't surprise me that we have those blogs on a "free site"....glad you reported it because you are right, it doesn't have any business being on here.



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SLIMLILA 4/4/2010 1:27AM

    I think I will be more inclined to click the report button now that i've read this. I was following a thread one night and I think if people had been present they would have come to blows, it was discouraging. If I am expressing personal things I try to send it in a spark mail not leave it open to public scrutiny, but thanks for wake-up call as well.

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TACONES 4/4/2010 12:49AM

    You are so right, we are here to encouraged and inspired. Thank god that I have not come across any negative individuals, especially if I am having a bad day.

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SLIMMERJESSE 4/4/2010 12:27AM

    I understand what you are saying. There's a lot of things I've noticed lately about SP that is making me lean toward leaving. I tend to keep my opinions to myself, except for my recent rampage against SP advertising drugs. We've discussed that. Honestly, I just don't feel it's the same site I originally came to. As far as that person you're writing about (and I have no idea who that is), I just think there's a segment of the population that's had it with working hard while others get a chronic free ride. I see that more and more. But I agree, keep those opinions off SP.

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SLENDERELLA61 4/4/2010 12:18AM

    Well said. -Marsha

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A Little Self-Analysis

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Not too long ago I blogged about being in the doldrums and searching for my motivation. I shared the funny but true story about my husband helping to bring it back. The truth is, I DID spend time reading blogs, re-reading The Spark, and visiting friends pages and I really think it was a culmination of all those efforts that got me mentally back on track.
Now one thing I discovered back when I first started on my weight loss journey is that while making a commitment to yourself is an important first step, carrying on through with it can be quite another story. If only all it took was deciding you really want to be thin, we'd all be thin!

The first thing I did was get back on the scale. You know I ended my affair with the scale a while back and I found that I was using that as an excuse not to get back on it and face the proverbial music. However, there is a difference between sensible weighing in and a daily obsession with it.
Turns out my "little funk" and subsequent foray into the land of cheeseburgers, cheese nachos, and cheesecake cost me SEVEN POUNDS!
I swear, I can never figure out how it can take me seven WEEKS to lose seven pounds, but only TWO weeks to put them back on!

Next thing was to analyze my calories in and calories out. Obviously, cheeseburgers et al are NOT healthy choices. I didn't have to look too far to figure out that what I was eating was wrong. Yes, I understand the whole concept of moderation and not depriving yourself. BUT, I know me. There is no such thing as a few fries. I don't count out 15 tortilla chips and I certainly don't drizzle the cheese sauce - I ladle it on.
Where the analysis came in is WHY was I eating like that. Was it really loss of motivation? Could my determination of the last 5 years go out the window THAT quickly?
I wasn't tracking my intake because when I'm eating all wrong, I don't take the time to look up each and every thing I put in my mouth. It not only is overwhelming, but I'm actually ashamed to see it in black and white.
Working from memory, I went day by day and analyzed where I was when I lost control and what were the circumstances --
One day I forgot my lunch. Left the house with it sitting on my counter. Why? I was rushing because I was running late. Because? I had stayed up late the night before and I was tired and drifted back to sleep for a few minutes. So that meant ordering lunch to be delivered. Did I order wisely? No because most deliveries take a minimum order and that meant asking around the office for volunteers. No problem there except the usuals whom eat out everyday don't exactly eat at healthy places.
One night I got home late from the Y where I work out after work. I was tired, my DH had a cold and had taken a much deserved nap after work and didn't start supper, so we went out to eat and I wanted something fast. Why was I late from the Y? I got out of work late and I chatted with friends after working out. Those things happen.
I decided that I needed to keep a healthy frozen dinner in the freezer at work with my name on it, along with a carton of sugar free applesauce, so if I forget my lunch again, I don't have to order out. Oh and I need to get into bed earlier so I'm not so tired that I can't get right out of bed in the morning.
I also need to keep lean sandwich materials on hand at home and maybe a can of healthier soup or some healthy frozen leftovers so if I'm delayed after the Y, I've got options. If we do end up going out, It can be somewhere like Applebees and DH can order me something off the healthy choices. I'm not even looking at the menu!

Lastly I looked at my exercise. I give myself kudos for being a consistent exerciser. Even when feeling blah about it, I kept going 5-6 days a week. BUT, and this is a big but, I have been in quite a comfortable routine with my exercise. I might read a magazine and ride the bike 30 minutes tops on a low resistance. I might "run". I even convinced myself I was doing "intervals" by running a little, walking a lot. Before Christmas I was running a solid 30 minutes. Granted I was sick most of January and part of February, but instead of working my time back up, I was still taking it easy.
So I decided to turn on the heat a little. Yesterday I ran and I pushed myself. No it wasn't a solid thirty minutes but it was run fifteen, walk five, run ten. Then I went to the bike and did another thirty on a resistance that made me work! Today I rode the bike for 60 minutes on that same resistance. No reading material. I was pumping too hard and sweating too much, so I half way watched TV along with the clock thinking how much longer?!?
Once I was done, my legs felt like jelly but I felt GREAT!

I discovered something. When I exercise like that, it seems that controlling my eating is much easier. First of all, I just wasn't as hungry and secondly after burning all those calories, I wasn't going to eat them right back on!

I've been thinking all day about all of this. Do I want to keep this intensity going just for seven pounds? I look good enough seven pounds heavier. My clothes still fit OK. The answer though, really lies in how I feel. When I eat unhealthy I don't have energy. I feel bloated, gassy, tired, and mentally sluggish. I don't feel like exercising. It gets to be one big vicious cycle!
I picked my goal weight because even though it takes more personal effort to maintain it, I feel SO MUCH BETTER when I make that effort. A pound or two fluctuation doesn't make an appreciable difference, but more then that and I can tell a huge difference.

For right now, the word moderation is not in my vocabulary. I'm the original "if you give me an inch, I'll take a mile" kind of dieter. I'll have to be fairly strict until I'm back to goal. THEN if I can keep challenging myself in my workouts, I can treat myself occasionally with a usually off limits food. But only when I feel in control and CAN be moderate.

So there you have it folks. Next time you feel like you are struggling take some time to do a little self analysis. First get your head back in the game, then analyze what it's going to take to get where you want to be. Break out of those vicious cycles we set up for ourselves.

So......

What's holding YOU back?









  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SHEILA8383 5/13/2010 11:38AM

    Loved the blog! During my youth if it wasn't Tang it definitely was Kool Aid with lots of sugar.

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SENKYOUSHI 5/10/2010 5:31AM

    A friend linked to this and I'm so glad. It was just what I needed!! Thanks for taking the time to write it!!

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DASEEMAN 4/8/2010 12:38PM

    As usual Joanne, your blog has hit the nail right on the head! Thank you, I needed this!

Deb

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ALYFITN 4/6/2010 8:53AM

    emoticon This is an extremely helpful blog. I stopped tracking 2 weeks ago b/c I did not want to put in black and white what I was really eating. I struggle with moderation like you.

I am training my brain. Some people can keep chocolate in their home and they do not even think about it being there. I was looking for others' blogs on having Easter treats around to see if others have the same wiring I do. After high intensity workouts, my thinking changes. Perhaps that is part of what I will always need to do even after my weight loss.



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MYDAUGHTERSMOM 4/3/2010 11:36AM

    Wow, what a blog. Thanks you for commenting on my blog about the important of making every minute count! I really like your inventory here made about what is working and what was not. Sometime, for my age I don't know what works best and frankly, I am learning that commitment to regular exercise as important as what I put in my mouth: I feel an inner peace and that translates into a deeper meaning about living and life. Instead of measuring life in pounds or weight loss or even exercising as a punishment---I am discovering a new way to integrate them into a SELF-CARE PACKAGE! AND WHO WOULD NOT WANT ONE OF THOSE?
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CCLEADBYEXAMPLE 4/3/2010 8:02AM

    Hey girl,
As always you have such great blogs! I think it's so true though how the little things can really affect your day. It's truly a lifestyle-so not getting enough sleep, etc can start to affect other parts of your day.
I think sometimes when we are close to goal we almost "lax" a bit and not remember why we got here in the first place..to feel good and lead the healthy lifestyle!
You are doing great darlin-hope we can meet up soon!
Casey

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HIDIANE 3/30/2010 9:40AM

    Boy, that hit close to home! I guess it took a slip to get you back on track. It is very frustrating that weight gain is so much easier, isn't it, but sometimes we forget how good it feels to eat well, feel good in our clothes, and get that great rush of endorphins after a vigorous workout. Luckily, it all came back to you!

Thanks for another inspiring blog!
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TOOTIEHEAD 3/30/2010 6:20AM

    Thanks for the motivation. I saw me through the entire blog!

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TODAYSAGIFT 3/29/2010 4:02PM

    I can related to this "I'm the original "if you give me an inch, I'll take a mile" kind of dieter."

I'm giving myself some flexibility this time around, but not with OFF LIMITS foods!

Have a great week!

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THEQUEENBEE333 3/29/2010 1:50PM

    WOO HOO. Go you - you are doing it! You have great plans! Great job! Have a great Monday! I have held myself back too long too, we all do from time to time - but its time to move along! GO YOU!

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BETWEENUS 3/29/2010 11:32AM

    Going through the evaluation process reveals a lot. Thanks for the reminder, it helps me as well....

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BESTSUSIEYET 3/29/2010 11:07AM

    Right On! I know that exercising and eating right are closely tied for me, too -- like you said, if I work hard, I'm less likely to want to undo it by eating junk. That's one reason I like those QuickFire challenges. Days when I'm adding 25 squats into my day 4 x are NOT days when I also stop by the candy jar in the office!! Glad you took time to examine your life and re-establish your plan! Blessings to you, my friend!

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MBREWTON35 3/28/2010 10:46PM

    Good self evaluation! You can't just put a band-aid on a splinter, you got to root that sucker out! Like the eating habits. Plan, Plan, Plan and Track, Track, Track. I like the journal part of the tracker. If I had a horrible calorie day I can make a private note to myself about what went wrong and how to avoid it next time. You are in a hard spot because you can put on seven pounds and still look skinny, but you know how seven can turn into to 10 and so on! It really does have to be about how you feel in the end. You're fighting a life time of a mindless habit, don't go into the light!! emoticon

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GO-SARA-GO 3/28/2010 10:13PM

    Great Blog!!!

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CHAIMANN 3/28/2010 8:05PM

    See, stuff like this is why you are my idol around here.
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Just today, before I read this, I decided it was time to take my lumps with the scale (+4 pounds) and resume doing what I know works. I'll have to work in a little self-reflection, too.
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ISHIIGIRL 3/28/2010 5:38PM

    I like the way you put this in perspective. I have been struggling with food choices this last week also. Now exercise I tend to over do just a bit. Isn't it funny how we all seem to find someone who is experiencing the same things we are? I have seen this time and time again on sparkpeople. Thanks for posting, great blog as always.

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SHOSHANADP 3/28/2010 5:02PM

    I too need motivation and limits. I have to tell myself that I can not have a food. After a while, I will stop desiring it, which says to me that I never really needed it in the first place. I can't say "Oh, I can have a small amount of such-and-such now and then" if I am trying to cut back on it. I must cut it out completely. I pretend that I have an allergy or that it is otherwise medically forbidden. *shrugs* It works some times. As for my exercising, I make myself get dressed for the gym and go, telling myself that I must at least do something. Once I'm there, I tend to push myself farther than I had intended (although rarely as hard as I normally do).

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CARRAND 3/28/2010 4:44PM

    Great blog as usual. I haven't really hit the doldrums yet in my weight loss journey. I think it may be easier to lose weight than to maintain a weight loss. I do pretty well with moderation. I'm learning to choose wisely when I go out to eat and I balance the day's calories. I ate a big breakfast because the husband wanted french toast and sausages. So I ate a small lunch and we are having fresh tuna for supper, so I'll be OK. I'm glad to hear you are back on track. I recognize it's a life long struggle. Hang in there.

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GETTINGTHINNER2 3/28/2010 3:26PM

    emoticon I really needed to hear what you had to say. I've been struggling to get in control since I had a week of vacation with a non-healthy choice eating friend...it doesn't seem to take an arm twisting to convince me to eat some cake or other less than noble food choices. Somehow, once fallen into the vast world of junk food...well, you know the routine. You are so right about how it feels, more than how it looks, that bothers me! Back to feeling good!!
emoticon

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JUSTLYLE 3/28/2010 3:18PM

    Super blog again, always glad to read.
I think the weather in the North has a lot to do with our attitude concerning weight loss. Myself if I get working outside like lately my appetite is less. Guess what more work"exercise" and less calories. I fell sorry for anyone who has a hard time with exercise, sure can't have many calories.
Hope you have a great week.

Skeeter emoticon

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KITTYF54 3/28/2010 1:31PM

    thanks for this blog. I've been really struggling for over a year on how to motivate myself to exercise.

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JIMDAB 3/28/2010 12:18PM

    Sometimes we chase our tails when we should just sit down and think, eh? Great blog as always. Nothing like a kick in the keester to start the day.
Jim

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DDOORN 3/28/2010 10:50AM

    Way to go, sifting through mistakes to get the wisdom you need to move forward...!

I always say mistakes are opportunities for learning! Have been there, done that re: doldrums myself. Maintenance can be such tricky territory...!

BTW, 7 pounds can be such an EASY hiccup...could accomplish that in the matter of HOURS...lol!

Don

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HAPPYSOUL91 3/28/2010 9:28AM

    Wow, I am sure you were writing this for me!!! Been there, done that way to many times to count. Yes, if you give me an inch, I'll take it and raise you 7

Thx for posting this blog

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WISLNDR 3/28/2010 9:15AM

    I soooooo needed to read this today!! I am going to spend some time today really analyzing what it is I should be doing. Thanks for a great reminder!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MONARCHCT 3/28/2010 9:07AM

    Great blog. I too find SP stories to be motivating &, like you, I could easily say "good enough" with my current weight. But then what? Go back to my old, unhealthy habits? I had better make peace with accepting this healthy lifestyle as a forever program.

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LAURIE5658 3/28/2010 8:48AM

    You. Me. Identical. Clones.

emoticon

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DAYHIKER 3/28/2010 7:34AM

    Thanks for this one, Joanne. I'm in a similar situation and it's an encouragement. As you know, instead of "exercise" I am working hard outside almost every day and really burning a lot of calories (HRM) but instead of quelling my hunger like "exercise" does, I am hungrier!! And I feel better when I eat more BUT I have gained a few pounds, too. Like you, I can't take an inch without it going to a mile and for the last three weeks my dh has gone through a spell of bringing home all kinds of delectable things from his trips to our neighboring Amish community. emoticon

Thanks for provoking me to get my head back in the game!
emoticonCindy

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SANDSGIRL2 3/28/2010 1:22AM

    I found myself that not being prepared (having healthy foods available) is also my biggest pitfall to a healthy life. If I have to run out and get something or order out, it's not likely to be a healthy option. I've also thought about creating a "go to list" of fast food and restaurants on days I have to chose then the "go to list" will be my menu.

I have a significant amount of weight to lose, but already, I can feel the difference healthy eating and exercising is having on my body. My energy level is 10 times improved.

The self analysis is a great thing we all need to do when get off track. It's all staring us in the face sometimes we just have to be brave enough to take a hard look at ourselves.

Thanks for a great post! emoticon

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Don't Be Discouraged

Thursday, March 25, 2010

So I opened my newspaper this morning and was greeted with this headline on page 10:
"Daily 1-hour workouts a must for older women to fight flab" and like the rest of the "older women" in the nation said to myself -
To hell with it! Why do I even bother??
When I took journalism 101 at Iowa State, I remember the prof telling us that the average reader seldom reads beyond the first couple of paragraphs of a newspaper article so make 'em good and make your point early. In this particular article, the first couple of paragraphs only compounded the depressing news, stating that "sobering new research spells out just how much exercise women need to keep the flab off as they age -- and it's a lot."
So I decided to go beyond the average reader and actually read the whole article which turned out to be much less depressing. It seems that middle-aged and older women who started at a healthy weight with a BMI of less than 25 who were NOT on calorie cutting diets but consistently got in an hour of moderate activity gained little or no weight, while those without the activity gained an average of 6 pounds.

It's not that I think 6 pounds is so little. I fought for every one of the 70 pounds I lost and I always tell people that out of those 70 pounds, the last ten seemed to be the hardest.
But what I'm afraid is that if I can read that headline and can feel hopeless and think why bother, then the average woman - especially an overweight woman - will REALLY feel discouraged.
They won't go on to read that we are talking 6 pounds and that moderate activity encompasses brisk walking, leisurely bicycling and even golfing. I've cleaned out a closet and felt like I expended more energy than I would have golfing!
It's true that few overweight women get that much exercise --with the notable exception of us Sparkers, right ladies?
The reasearchers said that it's uncertain whether the results would apply to men. With no disrespect to the many men on Spark people, I'd have to hazard a guess that the results most likely wouldn't apply.
My husband announced that he needed to lose a few pounds so he cut out the evening Twinkies and lost 5 pounds! Oh he assured me indignently that it wasn't JUST cutting out the Twinkies. It was adding the Kashi bars he said with a wink and a smile while pointing at the bathroom....
Oh and the study reiterated what we "older women" have known all along: that hormonal changes in menopause also can make women prone to weight gain, especially around the belly.
Well here's a newsflash: so can sex in the younger women who didn't use contraception!
AND we've discovered that even an hour a day of crunches isn't going to totally get rid of THAT belly - even after delivery. Maybe a date with a plastic surgeon or a wardrobe of spanx.

Sigh! No matter how you look at it - women get screwed (pun intended...)

So what's the answer? Give up? Lay down in our recliners in front of the television set munching on a bag of Cheetos. The only exercise we get is getting up to find a tissue to wipe the orange off our fingers?
If I sound like a woman who has been there and done that it's because I HAVE and I DID just that. For years.

NO!
The good news is that despite our hormones, our bellies of jelly left after birthing that last 8 pounder, AND -- despite those depressing headlines, with making consistent small changes like eating more vegetables and lean meat, drinking more water, tracking our calories, getting out of that recliner and into the tennis shoes to walk or garden or play bowling on Wi:
WE CAN LOSE WEIGHT AND KEEP IT OFF!
Despite our ovaries running out of gas and joining the ranks of "older women".

How do I know this?

Because I've been there and done that...
Me on the left in red.

Me a year later!

Keep Sparkin'!
Joanne

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILEYBABS 4/11/2010 12:46PM

    Being females does put one at a disadvantage for the weight gain and now, at menopause, I am fighting it with as much determination as I can. Thanks for showing that it can be done!!
Kudos to you for all your accomplishments in fitness!
Barbara

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TK2009NOW 4/8/2010 5:28PM

    Great boost of encouragement, Joanne!

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BRIARROSE30 4/8/2010 12:21PM

    Love this! The healthy industry is a major money maker, I'm sure the CEO's of weight loss centers, diet pills, etc. LOVE the mixed messages sent to women. If we all got thin and healthy, they wouldn't be making tons of money! I support the Spark sponsors because I appreciate this website so much.

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CHANGEDIN09 3/31/2010 8:18PM

    enjoyed this one. thank you

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PATRICIAAK 3/30/2010 10:38PM

    great blog!

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L*I*T*A* 3/30/2010 10:02AM

    wonderful.......wonderful.........<
BR>thanks so much for sharing.........
blessings and hugs...........lita

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RUSTYSHAW1 3/27/2010 11:29PM

    Oh Thank You for essentially buffering what was expounded on by the so "kind" news columnist. Gee, sometimes I think some of the people in the world just want to make people struggling with weight to feel miserable - why try. I know it can be done. I did it when I learned to roller skate at age 56/57. I add to drop sufficient weight to put on a skin tight roller skating costume. And I DID it. So why did I gain weight again. I had to quit roller skating, became depressed, you know the rest of the story. So here I am again but doing it slowly and consistently. Always enjoy visiting your page. Rusty.

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GETTINGTHINNER2 3/27/2010 12:03PM

    emoticon Excellent blog! Very helpful especially since you lived it! Thanks so much for sharing! Have a great weekend!

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GODDESSGIBSON 3/27/2010 7:10AM

    Thank you
Thank you
Thank you for sharing~!

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BESTSUSIEYET 3/26/2010 7:46PM

    Hooray for another wise approach ... I hope some of the gals who are still trying to get themselves motivated will read your blog instead of the article YOU read!!! Keep encouraging us - and keep up your own good habits!

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CCLEADBYEXAMPLE 3/26/2010 1:34PM

    I couldn't agree more...good for you to be a leader and set the example! WE have the power to do anything we want if we set our minds to it. And in the end..I love the healthy lifestyle. I don't miss eating like a pig and laying around (ok I never was a real couch potato:)!
I can't wait to meet you Iowa girl!
Casey

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LOSINGITALL4ME 3/25/2010 9:07PM

    Thanks for the great blog and I agree with you. I will get discouraged if I think I must do and hour every day. Sometimes I don't have a whole hour to spare but I can get in a half hour. Thanks for the info.

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THEQUEENBEE333 3/25/2010 8:29PM

    Thanks for sharing! I so agree w/you!

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CARRAND 3/25/2010 7:59PM

    I saw the same article, but I just thought: oh well, any exercise is better than no exercise, and we just need to eat less as we get older. When you think about it, throughout history most women got plenty of exercise all their short lives just trying to grow and can food, sew clothes, make candles, beat clothes on a rock to wash them, raise kids, etc. They would have laughed at the idea of "exercising" to maintain their weight. Great blog, as usual, really makes me think.

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MBREWTON35 3/25/2010 6:18PM

    I agree, it doesn't have to be a full hour a day, everyday to make a difference! It all adds up. emoticon

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MONARCHCT 3/25/2010 10:11AM

    Love your blog...and your attitude. Like you, I am struggling with the last few pounds. But I know that a 60 year old woman CAN lose weight, it's just a longer, harder process than for a 25 year old. Maybe the objective with the headline was to motivate women to at least exercise as much as possible, but it likely is having the opposite effect (Why try?).

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JUSTLYLE 3/25/2010 10:02AM

    Great blog as usual, Love the dig at the males. LOL. Gotta go, getting a sudden urge for Cheetos or something.
Skeeter emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/25/2010 9:32AM

    Wow, Joanne, I am always in awe of 70 lbs lost! How did you handle plateaus? Another great blog. Thanks!

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LAURIE5658 3/25/2010 9:09AM

    Ya...I read that and yes...I DID indeed get bummed out however I do get at least an hour 3 days a week. Its the pther 2-3 days that I need to work on. On a side note, I CANNOT believe that is you in both pics. Amazing!!

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HAPPYSOUL91 3/25/2010 8:51AM

    Very good blog....your picture difference is great

Yes, I also read the article and at first thought...oh no...never enough. However, after pausing and thinking about it, exercise justs needs to be done!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 3/25/2010 6:51AM

    Hmm. I get about that much exercise, and I'm training for a half-iron triathlon. Need to read the article, but have to get ready for work now...

OK, I went to find the article on Google News. Didn't find the headline you mentioned but I did find another article about the same study from the LA Times. In there they say:

"The 60-minute-a-day recommendation, released online Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., is aimed at women of normal weight who don't want to diet but do want to avoid gaining weight over time. "

http://articles.latimes.co
m/2010/mar/24/science/la-sci-wo
men-weight-gain24-2010mar24


I'll tellya what. Even if I DO exercise an hour a day I can't eat whatever I want. I have to "diet." (In the sense of logging what I eat and controlling the calories.) Otherwise the weight comes roaring back with a vengeance. And yes, I've done that experiment recently. :-\

Comment edited on: 3/25/2010 6:59:35 AM

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DDOORN 3/25/2010 6:41AM

    Although most reports of this did say, "hey SOME exercise is better than NONE" it all had a "half empty" rather than "half full" ring to it...I'm another example as I have HARDLY done an HOUR of working out every day yet have accomplished great things!

Don

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GOINGWYLDE 3/25/2010 2:57AM

    I read an article somewhere, ( I think it was the dailyblog) that was recommending men and women increase their daily activity to 60 minutes a day. Seems like it just keeps going up and up. Personally I have come to beleive if you watch what you eat consistently and move whenever you can good things are gonna happen!

P.S. Your hubby is right about those Kashi bars...made me lol
emoticon

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RAINTHIEF 3/25/2010 2:11AM

    Great blog! i totally agree. emoticon emoticon

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UMUCGRAD 3/25/2010 12:32AM

    Good for you! I had the same reaction to that news piece. How discouraging! Yet, we KNOW that it is possible for middle-age women who are/have been obese to lose weight and to keep it off. We must be bearers of the good news.

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Motivation: Lost and Found

Monday, March 15, 2010

When I was little, I remember my mother always used to sigh dreamily and say "Richard Burton can put his shoes under my bed anytime!"
Being young, and having absolutely no clue about the facts of life, I used to wonder why would Richard Burton put his shoes under a bed instead of in the entryway like the rest of the guests? I even asked my sister who was four years older and she snickered and told me to go ask Mom. Fortunately I wasn't THAT interested at the time and it wasn't until I was somewhat older and happened to think about it that I finally got it and had a chuckle.

Years later when I well into my weight loss journey -- in fact about 20 pounds away from my goal, we had one of those silly female conversations that only women at work on a rare slow day can have. The subject? If you had a "free pass" to make love with any man on earth other than your husband who would it be?
Another nurse in my office thought a moment and shook her head. "Nope girls, sorry to disappoint, but I have to say there is no one other than my husband!"
We all groaned and rolled our eyes until we remembered that she was married to a blue-eyed rugged cowboy type whom we all dubbed "The Marlborough man". He brought her Starbucks every morning just because he loved her.
Ok. My turn. They all turned questioning eyes on me.
Without hesitation I told them it was Antonio Bandaras. Besides being tall, dark, and handsome, he had that incredibly sexy Spanish accent. Why he could just talk in that suave Latino voice and I was in the mood, I told them.
My friend, Terry laughed and said that I must be the only woman in the world who could watch the movie "Shreck" and get turned on when Puss 'N Boots spoke!

Later that night while cuddling with my husband on the couch (secretly thrilled that finally both of us could fit on the couch together), I told him about the conversation. He laughed and told me that if Antonio ever called me and said that he wanted MY body, it was OK. After all it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and because he loved me, he wouldn't stand in the way. Teasingly, I said OK, turnabout is fairplay. If HE had a once in a lifetime opportunity offer, whom would he like it to be? He immediately replied that it was Michelle Pfeiffer. We shook hands on it and I snuggled in closer to him, watching TV.
After a minute he said, "You know I'm not really worried about you and Antonio."
"Oh yeah"? I replied. "Why is that"?
"Because when anyone mentions the word SEX in your presence, you've suddenly got a headache"!
I whacked him with a cushion and of course had to prove him wrong...

It got to be a standing joke between us. For some strange reason, when I needed a boost of motivation to continue on with my weight loss efforts, I used to think about Antonio calling and panicking because I still had X amount of weight to lose! I simply wouldn't feel comfortable standing nude in front of Antonio Bandaras if I was even one pound more than my goal. He was after all, used to seeing Melanie Griffith in the buff and that was SOME competition!

The day I stepped on the scale at the Y and saw that I had reached my goal weight -- 70 pounds lost -- I could hardly wait to get home and tell my husband. I burst through the door proclaiming:
"Guess what? This body is FINALLY Antonio Bandaras ready!!"

That was four years ago and I had all but forgotten about what I jokingly refer to as my "Antonio Bandaras phase". I was in the process of trying to maintain that 70 pound weight loss and finding out that sometimes it was more of a struggle than I had anticipated. I was status quo at work and church now. Old acquaintances were used to my new weight and quit remarking about it long since. New friends had no idea that I even ever used to weigh so much more. Most of the time I managed quite well because so many of the healthy changes that I had made, like regular exercise, were now habits. I really had adopted a new healthy lifestyle. Finding Spark People was a HUGE boost and I continually find motivation and inspiration by logging on and tracking food, fitness, and visiting friends pages.

Lately, however, I hit what I term a "blah" spell. Maybe it has been the gloomy, cloudy, rainy, chilly weather here in Iowa. Days upon days without sunshine. That has meant exercising daily at the YMCA when I used to love walking or running outdoors in the sunshine, breathing in the fresh air!
As I pronounced in my status not too long ago, I spilled tea all over my beloved Macbook laptop and soaked it into ruination. The cost of repairing it will almost be the cost of a whole new laptop. So what did I do? Attack a box of Girl Scout cookies that I had bought from a co-worker "for my husband". Half way through the box reality gripped me and I acknowledged to myself that all those cookies gone weren't going to revive my computer, so I tossed the box into the back of the pantry and went in search of my motivation.

I started in my closet. I looked at all the labels - Small, Size 2, Medium, Size 4, Petite. I had donated all my "fat clothes" so I had nothing to compare the new ones with. The reality of just how many clothes I owned prevented me from the temptation of going out for a little "retail therapy" and buying more.
I dug out old photo albums to look for pictures that would help me see how much I had lost, only to realize that when I was over weight I loathed having my picture taken so I was hard pressed to find even one single picture of my former heavier self.
I pulled out the log of my strength training that I had kept the first year I started exercising and looked over the numbers so I could see how the weights I was lifting had gotten progressively heavier over time.
I reviewed the log of my measurements.
Got onto Spark People and looked over my whole page. Reread my blogs.
I even went to the pages of some of my most motivating friends: DDOORN, BOTZZZ, and others and reread some of THEIR blogs.
Nada, still BLAH. Not in the mood to eat healthy. Don't want to exercise.
I even pulled out the BIG gun. I went to KITT52's page! Gasp! If that woman doesn't inspire you nobody will.
Sadly to say I was still in a funk. I had put on 5 pounds and felt wretched. That was the top of my comfort zone. I lamented to my husband:
"Help! I've lost my mojo and I can't get it back!!"
I don't even know if women have mojos but it sounded appropriate at the time.
Hmm he thought. Did I try...
Yup. No go.
This?...
Uh-huh. Nope.
"Sorry Babe", he told me. "Cant help ya" and he disappeared downstairs to watch TV.

A little while later while I was back reading "The Spark" searching for that much needed push -- my cell phone rang. I glanced at it and saw that it was from my husband. That's odd.
I picked it up and quizzically said, "Hello"?

In his best latin lover impression, he breathed into the phone --

"Zhoe-Ahn. Deese eez Antonio Bahn-dah-ross and I want your sexy bodeee!!"

I couldn't help but burst out laughing and I I told him absolutely! Just let me QUICKLY take these five pounds off first.

So the other day when my granddaughter was here and she asked if I would fix us a snack and watch the movie "Shreck" with her.
I told her I'd be happy to fix HER a snack and watch the movie, but Grandma wasn't going to eat because she wasn't hungry.

I'M BAAACCCKK.....

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

THEQUEENBEE333 3/23/2010 10:29AM

    Thanks for sharing! Have a great week! B. I am just catching up on old blogs. I am way behind!

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JAVAJO47 3/22/2010 8:50PM

    Oh my gosh Joanne...you made me laugh so hard. You and your hubby are adorable. I'm so glad that you're back and ready to rock and roll. BTW, if I HAD the opportunity to make love to any man other than MY husband, it would be Pierce Brosnan. Not only does he have a simply adorable face and body, his accent is to die for! But then again my hubby is Romanian and has a killer accent as well. I do believe that was one of the first things that melted me when I heard him speak. LOL emoticon

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DDOORN 3/22/2010 7:35AM

    Kudos to you with help from your DH in pulling out of what seemed like the winter doldrums!

Don

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LIGHTHOUSE23 3/20/2010 8:27PM

    So many of my sp friends have been (mia) for a bit this month. I, personally longed on everyday, tracked my food. Even got in some exercise. BUT I didn't eat as I should have. I was in such a funk. I am so glad I read your blog. It just reaffirmed, what I already knew. We are not alone and it is a life long journey! emoticonYou and your husband are way cool!! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/20/2010 8:29:12 PM

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BIGDAD1211 3/18/2010 5:34AM

    Great Post! You have a great Hubby! If I was there I would give him a high five! I have read some of your other blogs and you are a blessing to so many people here at SP! Keep up the great work!
God Bless
Greg

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CCLEADBYEXAMPLE 3/17/2010 10:41AM

    I honestly don't know whether to laugh or cry! That is wonderful! We (even the best of us!) get in funks...and getting our groove back can come in may ways (I have certain people and things that motivate me too). Sometimes they are unexpected or hit us hard..but either way..at least they come!
I can't wait to meet you! I am having a wellness party at my house on April 10 from 2-4..send me your email address and I'll invite ya! My email is on my page if you want to send it to that..or you can shoot me some Spark mail!
Go Team Iowa!
Casey

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BESTSUSIEYET 3/16/2010 11:18PM

    I thought I was coming out of my 'blah/funk' -- but when I read this, I realize I'm still kind of there ... maybe I need to have a serious chat w/ hubby about 'possibilities' :-) You keep me smiling and keep me wanting to guard my new habits! Thanks again for another great blog!!! Hooray!!

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THINWITHIN18 3/16/2010 11:17PM

    This blog is the big winner as far as I'm concerned. You and your husband sound wonderful! Thanks for the inspiration.

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GETTINGTHINNER2 3/16/2010 9:55PM

    So cute! I loved reading this and want to meet your husband!!! You know you belong together when he knew just what lifeline to throw to you! I'm glad you're back!!!

emoticon emoticon

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CARRAND 3/16/2010 8:36PM

    Way to go sis. We should have goodies that are hunky movie stars or latin lovers!

emoticon

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TIFFANY_SUZANNE 3/16/2010 3:45PM

    Ooooh Joanne, this was JUST what I needed to read today. You are one awesome lady!


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HAPPYSOUL91 3/16/2010 12:06PM

    Ahhhh, if only Antonio Bandaras knew how many of us want his body emoticon

Great blog and your husband is wonderful!!!!!!!!!!

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TRINITY4001 3/16/2010 10:37AM

    So glad that you are back! You are wonderful motivation to others just being yourself! That is part of what I find so amazing about Spark...there are always others around to help! Maybe we need your husband here too!! emoticon

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TATTY66 3/16/2010 9:20AM

    That was brilliant!

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes because you are so lucky! Not only do you have a wonderful husband, with a great sense of humour but one who also cares enough about you, to not only think about what to do but to actually do it. He's definitely a keeper!

Oh and congratulations on getting your mojo back! lol

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KITTYF54 3/16/2010 8:10AM

    Gotta love a husband who will have fun with himself to help you. I'm so glad you got your mojo back. LOL Kitty

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WISLNDR 3/16/2010 5:36AM

    Great blog! Thank you for sharing the challenges that come with maintaining success. These are the things I need to read as I continue my progress!

emoticon emoticon

emoticon BACK!

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SLENDERCLAIRE 3/16/2010 5:30AM

    Fabulous - you've really started my day off with a smile!

BTW I totally agree about Antonio Banderas. Form an orderly queue, ladies! I love the bit on the DVD extras on Shrek where you see him recording his lines - he's just so totally into it! Looks, voice AND a great sense of fun!

Sounds as though your husband isn't a bad second either - such love and support - and another one who enjoys a good laugh.

Here's to the men in our lives!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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THE_SILVER_OWL 3/16/2010 1:32AM

    So did you tell your granddaughter that Antonio Banderos can put his boots under your bed?

Glad you're back!

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JIMDAB 3/16/2010 1:09AM

    here here

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CHAIMANN 3/16/2010 12:15AM

    emoticon That man's a keeper!

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MBREWTON35 3/15/2010 11:57PM

    We all just get in funk sometimes. Ruining a Macbook and this Iowa weather are certainly justified reasons!The fact that you decided it wasn't going to take you under and went searching for ways to pull yourself out shows what you are made of! We are always here to pull you back on the wagon! Uncle Jim is a hoot. I knew you would be back! emoticon

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/15/2010 11:48PM

    This is so cute, I could reach through the computer and give you a big hug.

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MILLISMA 3/15/2010 11:27PM

    Love the story! Thanks for sharing and all your honesty. You have done such a great job and I am thrilled for you....my day will come.

Mary Anne emoticon emoticon

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AMBULATOR 3/15/2010 11:10PM

    Awesome blog.

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G-MAMICK 3/15/2010 11:03PM

    I so enjoy your honesty and courage, not to mention a wicked sense of humour. Bless you for sharing your thoughts and experiences, good and bad.
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JUSTLYLE 3/15/2010 10:54PM

    Here's too you, WELCOME BACK! Great blog as usual.

Skeeter emoticon

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FROGGIE13777 3/15/2010 10:41PM

    Good Blog!!! Welcome Back.

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Calling All Leaking Ladies

Friday, March 05, 2010

Estee* was a long time beloved patient of ours. Age 46, she had been a widow since her early 20's and raised a son all on her own. He was now in the armed services and you couldn't find a prouder mother. For years I had teased her that she might meet a new "Mr. Right" and would come in here sporting a big diamond. She'd laugh and say "Girl I am trying"! A devout Christian, her biggest enjoyment in life besides her son, was her church. She told me that if the Lord was going to bring a new man into her life, she would find him at church.
Not long ago she came to see me. Usually she was so upbeat and jovial, with a grin that lit up her whole face. But that day she was barely smiling. I asked her what was wrong and sadly shaking her head, she told me that she couldn't "get happy" at church no more.
"Get happy?" I asked her.
She explained that in her church they would sing as their praise band played and "You just opened yourself up to let that Spirit in and you would raise your hands and dance and shake". Filled with the Spirit -- you were "getting happy"! But lately she found to her terrible embarrassment, that when she danced and shook, she would wet. In her church everybody dressed to the nines in their Sunday best and she had actually ruined a nice dry clean only suit! As a consequence she got less and less active, dancing became swaying. She would use the bathroom right before services started and then pray that the preacher didn't get too wound up and prolong the service. It wasn't just church either. She couldn't lift her little niece without feeling that trickle and had taken to buying pads to wear every day. The last straw came when one of the deacons from her church came to visit her and inquire if everything was OK because he noticed that she wasn't participating as enthusiastically in church as she usually had. She was mortified and mumbled something about being worried about her son even though he wasn't deployed and they prayed together, but silently she prayed that she would just stop leaking. She said she always told her son that you had to "put your feets to your prayers" so she was doing that and it was her fervent prayer that I could help her.
No pressure....
Fortunately, I had a pretty good idea from talking to Estee what her problem was. After the doctor examined her, he referred her to me for testing.

Carolyn* was a retired school teacher and mother of five grown children. She complained of random leaking all day long and even sometimes at night! She couldn't really relate it to any specific activity. She never really felt like she emptied out her bladder when she went to the bathroom because she went frequently and good volumes. She was overweight by about 25 pounds, but upon exam it looked like she had pretty good support from the muscles and ligaments that hold the bladder in place. She was a long time type II diabetic. The first part of my testing, I have the patient urinate on a special commode into a beaker that holds 1000 ml or roughly 64 ounces -- 8+ cups. The average total bladder capacity in a person is between 400-600 ml -- around 4 cups. Most of us would be climbing the walls to find the bathroom if we let ourselves get that full. When I brought Carolyn back to the testing room, she walked and talked normally. She sat down and we spent a few minutes reviewing her questionnaire and 24 hour voiding diary. After I left the room, she used the commode to void and when I came back in I was amazed to see that she had overflowed the beaker! I had a pretty good idea what was going on with Carolyn too.

Jan* was just 37 years old and the mother of two young boys. Both of her boys weighed over 9 pounds at birth. A former smoker, she found herself sneaking a cigarette or two now and then "to help her lose weight" as she was still carrying around about 60 extra pounds after the birth of her last child. She came to me because she felt like her life was ruled by the bathroom. She had to go constantly, and at least once a day she would experience such urgency without warning that she couldn't get to the bathroom fast enough and she would find that urine escaped before she even got her pants pulled down. "It's silly", she told me, "I can just see a sign saying bathroom and I've got to go". The worst was when she'd pick up the boys from after school child care and as soon as she got home she couldn't get her key in the door fast enough to get to the bathroom in time to prevent leaking. She had taken to leaving her back door unlocked - a practice that her husband highly disapproved of. It didn't matter if she used the bathroom right before leaving work. She tried restricting her intake of fluids, having no water all afternoon. Her husband wanted to get a sitter and take her to the movies. Just the two of them like when they were dating, but she feared going because even if she emptied her bladder right before the show started and she drank no soda during the show, she knew she'd have to go at least once during the movie and again right after it ended. It was much easier to watch a movie at home where she could hit the pause button anytime she needed to go. Hmm... I think I know what her issue may be too.

Three women, three different scenarios, but each suffering a decrease in quality of life because of urinary incontinence issues. As I said, I had a fairly good idea from the outset what was causing each woman's symptoms but it isn't just a matter of being able to diagnose from simply interviewing a patient. To me, it's like putting together a big puzzle and when all the pieces fit together and you can treat the patient successfully, it's very gratifying to see an improvement in their lives.

We have a saying in my line of work that "nobody has ever died from urine incontinence". However, occasionally a patient will come close. Like the 70 year old patient that was hurrying to the bathroom when she fell and broke her hip. Surgery was required and two days after surgery she developed a blood clot in her lung which then required an extended hospital stay and she couldn't participate in physical therapy until the clot was dissolved with blood thinners. She ended up leaving the hospital and entering into a skilled care facility. She ultimately ended up in a nursing home, giving up the beloved home she had lived in for over 40 years. She used a walker at first, but eventually had to use a wheelchair. She became depressed and because of medical issues, she was a poor risk for any more surgery and couldn't use medication to suppress her incontinence. She just wore adult incontinence pants -- or diapers as she sadly referred to them.

So you can see that incontinence is not just a "embarrassing little problem" that every female eventually has to endure.

Quite a process takes place when we have to urinate. When you are a kid, you run in the bathroom, pull down your pants, go, jump up and run out and never give it another thought. When you become an adult and start to have "issues", the bathroom takes on a greater precedence. Everywhere you go you scout out the bathrooms in advance -- just in case.

Picture your bladder like a balloon. Like filling a balloon with air, the bladder fills with urine from the kidneys as we eat and drink. As it starts to become full, the pressure inside the bladder increases and that pressure increase sends a signal to the brain that you are going to need a bathroom. So the brain tells you to find the toilet and once you do it sends signals to the nerves that supply the pelvic region (lower abdomen) and control the coordinated process.

A balloon is made entirely of latex. Your bladder is made almost entirely of a muscle called a detrusor muscle. It is designed to contract once you are sitting on the toilet so that there is a force to expel the urine.
The urethra -- the tube that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body is like the tied off part of the balloon. It is designed to be shut tight. Watertight like a frogs behind I always tell my patients. However, when you are on the toilet, and the detrusor muscle that makes up the bladder kicks in and starts to contract, this urethral "sphincter" relaxes and lets the urine flow out.

You can see right now that any number of things can and frequently does go wrong:

First that detrusor muscle can get a mind of it's own and start to contract when you are nowhere near a bathroom. If it's mild and you can distract yourself you may be able to suppress the developing urge, but sometimes it reaches an intensity that you can't and you do what one patient described as "the pee-pee dance" all the way to the bathroom. Many people just can't overcome the urge. This is referred to as urge incontinence or DOA -- detrusor overactivity.

Some people have just the opposite problem. Their detrusor muscle has become lazy for many different reasons. Sometimes it's related to getting poor messages from the brain. People with spinal cord injuries, herniated disks in the back compressing nerves, diabetics with chronic neuropathy (poor nerve conduction) all can suffer from this. When the muscle doesn't contract properly, there is no force to expel the urine. Patients try to push with their abdominal muscles but they never really empty out their bladders appropriately. They walk around as if they were carrying an over full bucket that sloshes over the edge. This is known as overflow incontinence. The risk here is that the muscle will eventually get enlarged and floppy. Big bladders hold big volumes and that increases the pressure in the bladder which can lead to damaged kidneys over time.

The sphincter known as the urethra can have issues of it's own. When a woman's bladder starts to sag, it pulls down the bladder "neck" or the urethra. Normally it is fixed snug like up against the vagina, but when it become unhinged, it becomes mobile. It moves when you cough, sneeze, dance, or lift heavy things. Sometimes just walking will cause it to move. The trouble is that when it moves, it opens a little and urine escapes. This is known as stress urinary incontinence (SUI). Not because it causes you stress, even though it does, but because it takes a "stress maneuver" to make it move and cause subsequent leaking. Sometimes the sphincter itself is compromised and never really is shut tight like that frog's rear. It's like a door that isn't shut all the way, leaving a crack for urine to escape. If the sphincter gets weakened overtime it can lose it's tone and when you sit to urinate, it doesn't gradually relax timed with the detrusor contractions. It flops open and urine runs out. This may happen when you aren't even on the toilet. This has the fancy term "instrinsic sphincter deficiency" or ISD.
That old urethral sphincter may have the opposite problem of being jammed shut tight whether from an obstruction like a polyp, or it's kinked off from a severe prolapse, or there is a stricture from scarring from chronic inflammation or infection. It may not relax appropriately and those folks end up urinating in spurts and trickles. It may also contract rhythmically while trying to empty and that can cause urine to reflux or travel back up into the bladder and they never quite empty out.

The three most common forms of incontinence in order are mixed ( a combination of one or more of the following) stress, urge, ISD, and overflow.

Whatever the cause, all whom are incontinent start to develop some common patterns. They go to the bathroom frequently whether or not they have an urge to go. They want to get the jump on it and feel like if they empty their bladder continually, somehow there won't be enough urine in there to leak. This doesn't work because the kidneys are constantly making urine and there is always going to be a residual left whether large or small that has the potential to leak.
Because a person heads to the bathroom before they have the proper urge, they tend to want to assist the detrusor muscle by pushing out the urine with their abdominal muscles. Even those with strong urges will often push as a method of trying to squeeze out every last drop. What this does over time is contribute to prolapse or worsen an existing prolapse. The bladder might not contract as much as needed over time. Hey if you are willing to do half the work, why shouldn't it just wait on your abdominal assistance? However, abdominal voiding is a very poor way to urinate. If you push hard enough for long enough, you may just push that bladder neck down to where it kinks and then you have to try and lean forward, stretch back, stand, insert your fingers in your vagina JUST TO PEE. So, don't do it -- it's a trick!
People then think if they don't drink much, they won't make much urine and they won't have to go as much. We all know the dangers of dehydration. It's not healthy and besides that it backfires too. The more concentrated your urine is, the more irritating it is to the lining of the bladder and the detrusor muscle will tune up in defense giving you even more urgency.

Because incontinence can be caused by so many different factors and often be a combination of factors, patients come to me to unravel their symptoms and put the puzzle pieces back together. I measure and trace their urine flow pattern. I test the integrity of their urethral sphincter. I fill them with sterile saline and check to see that their nerves are working well and they are feeling proper sensations to go. I see how well they empty and how much they leave behind in the bladder. I check for prolapse and have them perform stress maneuvers so I can see if that urethra is moving. I use electrodes to sense if they are pushing with their abdominal muscles while they urinate. I monitor their detrusor pressures to see if its contracting when it shouldn't be but contracting enough when it should be.

Once I put all the pieces together, I submit my report to the physician who will then prescribe a treatment. Treatments vary according to just what's going on. It might be physical therapy to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles to prevent further prolapse or strengthen the urethral sphincter. It might be surgery to snug everything back up into place tight. It might be behavior modification to relearn poor toileting habits. It might be medication to calm an overactive detrusor muscle. It might be a referral to a urologist. It might even be teaching
them to catheterize themselves if they aren't able to empty due to poor nerve conduction.

It's important to test before treating because when there is a mix of symptoms, you have to sort it out. A patient who urinates frequently because she is sloshing over the edges of her over full bucket due to her poor detrusor contractions wouldn't be a good candidate to snug that urethra up too tight with surgery or give her medication to calm down an already underactive detrusor muscle -- even though she is in the bathroom a lot. She is there because she has trained herself to be there not because her body is telling her it's time to go.

Now you know everything you never wanted to know about urinary incontinence, you may be asking what causes all this? Number one cause in females is childbearing. (Prostate in men) Pregnancy and vaginal delivery wreck havoc on the pelvic floor muscles that hold everything in place. My theory is that you don't pass something the size of a bowling ball through something the size of a golf ball and come out unscathed!
Number two cause is smoking. Yes, smoking. I know smokers feel picked on but the carcinogens in cigarettes that affect the lining of the lungs affect the lining of the bladder the same way. Smokers have a higher incidence of bladder cancer. It also weakens the muscles --The bladder muscles as well as the muscles and ligaments that support the bladder. PLUS - smokers cough more. Plain and simple.
Third leading cause is obesity. Think about it. Put a pound of fat like the kind Oprah famously wheeled out on her show down on something that weighs ounces like a marshmallow. Is it squashed? Uh-huh....
Take an obese smoker that has given birth several times, worked an occupation that doesn't allow for regular bathroom breaks (think nurses, teachers, assembly line workers, telephone operators...) and you have TROUBLE that starts with a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for PEE. (Give me a break -- I'm from Iowa!)

So there you have it -- Urinary Incontinence 101. Now that you've taken the class, see if you can guess the primary causes of the three patients at the beginning. They all ended up revealing mixed patterns, but each one had a primary cause. Come on -- it ought to be easy by now!

If YOU have any of these symptoms, see your physician. Some problems caught early can benefit from the least invasive treatments like physical therapy or behavior modification techniques.

Don't let emoticon stop you from seeking treatment and improving the quality of your life!

Whew! After reading this back I realize that It's kinda long. emoticon If you've made it this far -- thanks for staying the course!!
Joanne

*names changed
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COANNIE 6/11/2013 2:46PM

    Thank you so much for this post. I have to wear heavy pads every day due to stress incontinence. Even so, if I try to run, they become full and I wet. It's so embarrassing. Thank you for explaining why and how it all works.

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5BADDOGS 5/25/2013 11:34PM

    Everything you ever wanted to know, but were afraid to ask! Thanks!

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HANDICAPABLE 8/2/2010 8:51PM

    Thanks for sharing. I didn't realize that even younger women had problems emoticon

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MOMMYAGAIN09 7/28/2010 3:44PM

    Thanks! I've had this problem ever since I was 19! Very informative.

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SMILEYBABS 4/11/2010 1:00PM

    Another well-written and informative blog!
My students did a research project on predictors of incontinence and one of the most interesting facts they uncovered was the amount of money a person with incontinence would pay to treat it. One of the greatest factors, though, is to admit to the problem. That's where we, as health care providers, come into the picture. Incontinence should be in the review of systems of every adult patient.
Thanks for taking the time to write such an explanatory article!
Barbara

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RUSTYSHAW1 3/13/2010 10:51PM

    Thank you for bring this subject out into the open. It has been kept private for so many years. I have to remind myself not to forget to do my kagal (spelling) exercises. Ever since the birth of my first born, my pelvic floor has been weak. So I am sensitive about this issue. It has improved over the years (28!) but if I am surprised by a sneeze, oh dear.

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BESTSUSIEYET 3/10/2010 10:28PM

    Keep up the good work, my friend -- you are helping us know ourselves better, and give us new reasons to keep being faithful in our Journey to Health! This is another step on that journey, and it only makes sense -- if we can become Spark-ers, sharing about our eating problems with you all, we can surely talk to our Dr. about the Incontinence Issues!

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LAURIE5658 3/10/2010 2:13PM

    I FINALLY had a chance to read this installment of As The Bladder Churns and THANK YOU for an explanation of what is actually going on!

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KITTYF54 3/10/2010 7:35AM

    Since your last blog I hid the precious Soda in the back closet and have only had two in a week and a half. LOTS less involuntary leakage, actually, it SEEMS to be gone.
Now realizing I have a lot of morning irritation, maybe due to my morning cuppa coffee? not sure if I'll give that up or cushion it with a quart of water before and after. LOL I'm experimenting. I do love coffee

Comment edited on: 3/10/2010 8:02:30 AM

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LADYFOLDER 3/7/2010 5:05PM

    Joanne,
Thanks for the 2 blogs on incontinence. It's wonderful to know that a solution is out there now, even if a little too late to help my mother.


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HAPPYSOUL91 3/7/2010 10:48AM

    Very good blog, filled with information

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CARRAND 3/6/2010 4:17PM

    Your are really doing a service with this kind of blog, and you make everything so easy to understand.

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BLUEJEAN_GIRL 3/6/2010 11:05AM

    Great information! This is something us ladies deal with but are too embarrassed to admit. Bless you for writing this blog!

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MILLISMA 3/6/2010 10:53AM

    Yes, the blog was long but look at all the wonderful information you have given us. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Mary Anne emoticon

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VXWALL1942 3/6/2010 12:21AM

    Thanks

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BARBARA_G 3/5/2010 8:56PM

    Thanks to your last blog I brought this up with my gynecologist today!
Thank You!!!!!
Barbara

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THE_SILVER_OWL 3/5/2010 8:42PM

    Another very well written blog loaded with great information. How about a follow-up with some info for the guys? Do you treat them as well or only women in your office?
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~JJ~

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MBREWTON35 3/5/2010 3:52PM

    Bless your heart girl, you never give up trying to help women with their bottom area. You are so under paid!

Let's see, I'm 50+ pounds over weight. check. I delivered four "bowling balls" vaginally in seven years. check. I ware a poise pad every day of my life because I just loose small amounts all day no matter what I'm doin. check. I can actual move the neck of my bladder from inside my yoohoo. Not to be gross I was totally just checking! emoticon

It may be time for an appointment! I hope your information and my openness will bring other women out of closet and take action. It's not something you have to just live with, and you are right, you shouldn't just take a pill from your primary care doc to mask symptoms. You should see a specialist and get to the "bottom" of the cause. I promise I'll stop postponing the appointment.....I just can't say I'll never have another baby...AHHH! HELP I'M NUTS! emoticon

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RAYLINSTEPHENS 3/5/2010 1:01PM

    I stayed the course - and it was a very long blog emoticon emoticon

Your blog is very informative and I thank you for sharing your expertice!
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G-MAMICK 3/5/2010 11:09AM

    Once again a thoroughly informative and interesting blog. Thank you.

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MOMOSEVEN 3/5/2010 9:59AM

    Thanks for another great and informative blog. Have a great weekend.

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SLIMMERJESSE 3/5/2010 9:45AM

    Wow, this is great info, Joanne. You must be a fast typist! And possess terrific expertise, that's for sure. Thank you for enlightening me on this topic. Also, I am going to read that book you recommended in your response to my blog. Thanks for that tip. Have a wonderful day.

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JUSTLYLE 3/5/2010 9:19AM

    I stayed the course! Very interesting, learned much that my Dr. doesn't have time to explain. Excuse me but I have to go relieve myself NOW!
Skeeter emoticon emoticon

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JHADZHIA 3/5/2010 6:55AM

    Thanks for the info! My mom has a prolapsed bladder, but doesn't want the surgery because of the risk of what might happen if its not successful..

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