JENJESS48   52,101
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JENJESS48's Recent Blog Entries

Taking a Spark Break

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lately I've been feeling overwhelmed, mostly at work - which is where I do most of my Sparking. My weight loss effort level has been up and down, more down than up, and I keep beating myself up over it. I just need to free up some of the brain space being occupied by all my Spark activities. So I've decided to take a Spark break. I'm still going to exercise and eat healthy, but I'm not going to track and I won't be hopping online. I'm not sure how long this will last; I plan to try it for a month and reevaluate.

In the meantime, I'll miss you all. Good luck in all your endeavors!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DITZYCHICK 11/3/2011 7:50PM

    Completely understandable!

I completely understand as I too get caught up in spark world and start to feel overwhelmed. You have to do what's right for you though.

You'll be missed and thought of!!! emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 11/2/2011 3:10PM

    Sometimes we all need a break. I'll miss you and look forward to hearing from you soon! emoticon

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ELLYFINT 11/1/2011 7:43PM

    Oh nooooooo! I'll miss you!

Ok, but selfish comment aside: it's important to do what's important for YOU so if a Spark Break is what you need, GO FOR IT :) And rest assured, all your Spark Friends will be waiting for you whenever you decide to come back!

Good luck with all your healthy goals, Jen!!!

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DIXIED88 11/1/2011 2:45PM

    Taking my idea and running with it, eh? Just come back occasionally and say hi. You have to do what's healthy for you and that's exactly what this site is all about.

Miss you and super tight hugs! emoticon

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KATHIERAE 11/1/2011 10:06AM

    gotta do what's best for YOU! Take care of yourself and I hope work gets better... emoticon

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    You know, just a thought....but your activity on Spark could be done once a week instead of daily. Sure, you can't track every meal for a week in one day. But you could keep an offline food journal to keep you aware of what you are eating, be sure to write in the calories when you have time to. I say, if you checked in with your teams (especially Determination and Accountability) weekly and just let us know whether you are still eating well, still exercising, and still alive that would be a good thing and we can still send you support, encouragement and lots and lots of prayers that your workload eases up soon.

It's ok to be overwhelmed and go shrieking through the night once and awhile but don't give up. Don't you EVER give up!!!

I have faith in you.

Much love and hugs,


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BARBARA_BOO 11/1/2011 1:21AM

    I know exactly how you feel. That's what I've been doing.

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KITHKINCAID 11/1/2011 12:51AM

    Just do a "No Weigh November" and then come back in December. As long as you can stay accountable to yourself, it doesn't matter what you do, but we'll miss you!

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CATS_MEOW_0911 11/1/2011 12:36AM

    Hope you have a good SparkBreak! You come back, ya hear?
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SWEETSOUNDS11 10/31/2011 9:55PM

    Well I do hope you find a way to reduce stress. I am glad you plan to continue to eat healthy and exercise. I have some fear about you not logging on to SP. I think scaling back is a good idea if you find you are over doing it or if its stressful. However research suggests having a support network and logging food items are strongly correlated with success. I really hope you keep with SP over the next month and just find a different balance that works for you. I am here cheering and routing for your success!

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Turning It Around: New Motivation and a Double Win

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My last blog was about me feeling stuck and frustrated. In it I mentioned that I'm frustrated because DH and I are getting closer and closer to starting a family, but I'm no closer to my weight loss goals. Well, I decided to turn that rationale on its head: I'm using our plans to light a fire under my butt to shed the excess pounds before I get pregnant. This weekend I realized that I have a golden opportunity in my hands: I have six whole months to focus on myself and my goals before my life utterly changes and my main focus will be on other, tiny, people. I realize that it is not only possible but also healthy to devote time and attention to yourself while raising kids. And I also know, courtesy of so many great examples right here on SP, that you can be a mom and lose weight. Yet it is never going to be easier than it is right now. Losing weight gets harder as you get older, and no one has discovered the fountain of youth. Losing weight takes a lot of time and effort, and soon I will have more demands on both of those things.

So. Clearly now is the time to work on ME and MY GOALS. As hard as it sometimes is, it is never going to be this easy again. The window of opportunity is about six months long (provided we don't have any scary infertility problems, which I'm not even allowing myself to think about) and I do not want to squander it. These are my new mantras:

--It's never going to be this easy again.

--Now is the time. Don't squander it.

-- I have six months.

This is very motivational for me and in a very positive way. Yes, being in better shape will be better for the would-be babies. But this is the most important thing I can do for myself in a long, long time - possibly for life. (Or at least this is what I'm telling myself, since it keeps me going and I have no idea what my future will bring.)

I am also a very visual person. So I took little reusable flags and stuck one on my monitor for each pound I want to lose. The flags are in groups of five and each time a group disappears I get a reward. They're a great visual queue for how much I have left and how much is already gone. Plus it's a super easy way to track both my progress and how much I have to go before my next reward. And don't worry, I'm rewarding myself for other things, too, not just the pounds. I reward myself for every 10 100% days I have, which is a great way to keep me focused on the process.

Separately, I had two big wins last night. My work pants situation was getting pretty dire: I only had one pair of dress pants left that fit. And they didn't fit that well - and were quite faded. Yeah, those poor things have served their time and are due for a peaceful retirement. I hate shopping when I don't know what size I wear or what styles will work. Thank goodness for Ann Taylor Loft - they had a great sale and a super helpful clerk. I walked out after 30 minutes with 3 pairs of pants and a dress and without $140. This may seem steep, but normally their pants are $70 a pair and dresses are $100. The pants are pretty, machine washable, well made, FIT, and look great. I'm a happy camper.

After my little spree, I met DH for dinner. We went to a place we'd never tried before called Seasons 52. They specialize in fresh, seasonal food. Many of their ingredients are organic and/or locally sourced. We didn't realize this when we decided to go there, but every item on their menu is 475 calories or fewer - which they state right at the top of the menu. Win!!! That takes the guess work and guilt right out of the equation since it is literally impossible to make a poor nutritional choice. I had the tomato carpaccio (fresh tomatoes, the barest drizzles of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, and a teaspoon of goat cheese), grilled trout, asparagus, and roasted potatoes. OM NOM NOM NOM. DH had tuna and avocado rolls, filet mignon, mashed potatoes, and carrots. Yes, his serving size was small. But it was satisfying and nutritionally sound. We passed on dessert, which is a variety of 300-calorie shot glasses of decadence, because I didn't have quite enough room in my calorie budget. But I love that they have the calorie counts readily available and that there are so many delightful choices. I think we've found a new favorite restaurant!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DITZYCHICK 10/13/2011 10:08AM

    Loving the attitude girl! It's so exciting to be planning your family, and you're is the easiest time for you to focus on yourself. Once little people start showing up in your house (because they just appear, right?) you'll find that you have so many reasons and excuses not to take the time for yourself. Plus, the more fit you are before pregnancy, the better off you'll be!!! Stay positive and go with it...full speed ahead!!!

CONGRATS of the super successful shopping trip! It always feels great to "have to" purchase smaller clothes and I'm sure gives you great motivation! And to follow it up with that wonderful restaurant find...WooooHoooooo, Well Done Girl!!!

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KATHIERAE 10/12/2011 9:13PM

    "It'll never be this easy again" emoticon I love that one the most, because it is SO TRUE!!! No matter what age we are at, we are all getting older, and it's always easier when younger...

I am so JEALOUS of the new restraunt! It sounds fantastic!! emoticon emoticon

Have fun with your six months, and beyond! emoticon

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ELLYFINT 10/12/2011 8:21PM

    Hey Jen, this blog really is so different in spirit from your previous one, and I'm glad to read of your new motivation and concrete plans to achieve your goals :)

The pants purchase and healthy dinner discovery are the super-cherries on top! Enjoy!

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JMUCKINHOUPT 10/12/2011 8:09PM

    You are being so positive. You are an inspiration.

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ROCKINMOM77 10/12/2011 4:13PM

    We tried for several years to get pregnant with our last (4th) son and as soon as I lost 30 pounds, I was pregnant. I honestly have to say it was thanks to the weight-loss that made it happen. This time with my weight loss journey, I was having panic attacks about getting pregnant so hubby is getting snipped on the 28th!! Good Luck to you!! emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 10/12/2011 3:13PM

    You are in such a great position to lose the weight NOW, and you're right, it's so important to be a healthy mom. I love your rewards system and that restaurant sounds fabulous! emoticon

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KT-NICHOLS-13 10/12/2011 2:55PM

    Wooo Hooo for new pants at a great price. (Okay, a tolerable price) I bet you will feel all sassy and fabulous when you wear them too.

Sounds like your new favorite restaurant is focused on good food prepared well. The bonus, calorie information. Both your meals sound awesome.

Loving your positive attitude!

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DIXIED88 10/12/2011 2:37PM

    Double win!!! Love this blog! Good luck on all your adventures. You can do anything you set your mind too!

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KITHKINCAID 10/12/2011 2:28PM

    That restaurant sounds divine! I'd love to try that - and I think ALL restaurants should post calorie counts. Makes life so much easier.

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Reset My Ticker

Friday, October 07, 2011

I started out 2011 very strong, losing 10 pounds by February. Since then I've only dropped 3 real pounds, losing and gaining the same pounds over and over again. And I'm heartily sick of it. While I love all the positive comments on my friend feed every time I lose a pound, it also disheartens me because I know that I'm truly only re-losing the same pound I re-gained last week.

This week I reached a new level of frustration. I have been reasonably diligent about keeping to my simplified program but it's not enough. It's time to level up. Losing inches is great, but the pounds have GOT TO GO. I'm more than halfway to goal weight, but the remaining fluff just doesn't want to budge. So I'm going on the offensive. I changed my ticker to show how many pounds I have left (27). I will update only with pounds lost, not the occasional (and inevitable) gain so that it accurately reflects how far I have to go - and I stop fooling myself and others into thinking that I'm losing more than I am by a deceptive friend feed. I will redouble my efforts on both fitness and food tracking. So far this month I've done pretty well at both. But the name of the game now needs to be CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY, CONSISTENCY.

Why, after so many months, am I doing this now?

emoticon YOOVIE's blog about fear of success really resonated with me and got me thinking about why I've stalled out.

emoticon DH and I are seriously talking about trying to start a family in the spring. And I am NOT where I want to before I get pregnant. Pregnancy will be much easier if I am slimmer and in better physical condition.

emoticon I want to only have to worry about baby weight after giving birth, not baby weight plus the other stuff I was carrying before pregnancy.

emoticon A while back KITHKINCAID shared in a blog that one of her secrets to success is only updating her weight when she loses, not when she gains. It's a way of saying "Eh, temporary gains happen. Get over it and move forward." Plus it feels more honest to me and I want that right now.

emoticon I finally am just at breaking point with the constant 3-pound up-and-down wobble. Sick to death.

[deep breath] Okay. Resetting the ticker is a great first step. But I also have to get it MOVING. To do this I will:

emoticon Religiously track my food. No matter if it's difficult, annoying, or I just don't wanna. Do it anyway.

emoticon Do some sort of fitness activity every day. Like I said in my last blog, walking, yoga, and Wii fit count because I'm trying to work on flexibility, hand-eye coordination, and agility. But they only count if I am also doing 3 heart-pumping cardio sessions and 2 ST sessions a week.

emoticon Level up the ST. What I am doing now just isn't working me hard enough. The trainer at the gym at work has a reputation for bad-a$$ ST routines. I'm going to go talk to him and see what he can do for me.

emoticon Track my calories burned for a few weeks of consistent fitness, average it out, and update my nutrition goals accordingly.

This had better work: if it doesn't, I don't know what will. Does anyone have any other suggestions? I'd really love to hear them!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ELLYFINT 10/12/2011 7:32PM

    Hey Jen! While I can empathize with the frustration, I feel like you're being very hard on yourself. Having said that, it's GREAT to mix things up and toughen your routines when you've hit a plateau...just don't beat yourself up about it! The steps you've outlined to bust the blues are reasonable and very sound... GOOD LUCK!!!

Family talk sounds exciting :) Sending y'all my best wishes!

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LOTUSFLOWER 10/10/2011 11:37AM

    emoticon I loved that blog by Yoovie, too, and I like Jenn's ticker methodology too. You've GOT THIS. That's so exciting you're talking about starting a family. That will be one of the biggest motivators you will find.

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DITZYCHICK 10/10/2011 10:13AM

    Girl...I think you're being way too hard on yourself. Put on a smile and hold your head high. You're doing great!!! I think it's great that you've reset your tracker because you need to keep yourself in the positive and focus on how far you've come. Think about the changes you've made in your lifestyle with nutrition and fitness! Reflect on the before you in comparison to the healthy person that you've become!!! I like your plan and I'm hoping good things for you sweetie!!!

Also...I'm so excited for you and your husband with all this expanding family talk!!! It's so wonderful that you're taking care of you and planning your family! I'm really looking forward to following you along your journey!!!

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KATHIERAE 10/7/2011 11:22PM

    I think your plan sounds great!! I need to cut and paste it for myself... Like on my bathroom mirror!! emoticon

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KITHKINCAID 10/7/2011 1:45PM

    It works! Seriously. But then you become like me and start talking to your scale and offering to bribe it for a lower number. Doesn't work. Damn thing. Hehe.

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KT-NICHOLS-13 10/7/2011 12:55PM

    Shades of my life and way of thinking. If I find the magic key I'll share it with you!

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NANNER2121 10/7/2011 12:41PM

    Although this is no consolation, remember you are not alone and most of us have the same yoyo that you are experiencing right now.
Make a plan - which I see you have already done - and stick to it but be prepared to modify in order to keep the body guessing.
Sending positive energies your way.

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HAMMLIN 10/7/2011 12:32PM

    I feel you with the same 3 pounds over and over- I've been in that rut since last November.
Kudos to you for busting out!

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September Wrap-Up and October Goals (With Dress Pics!)

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Last month I lost 0.4 pound, stayed exactly even on inches, didn't stick to my program with iron-clad consistency, but met most of the rest of my monthly goals. So, on balance, I'm pretty happy and give myself a B. Here's my favorite non-scale victory:

Granted, I have on a pretty serious shaper. But the dress is a 10 and I'm absolutely in love with it. emoticon

I also had a major victory against emotional eating, which I blogged about last week; I'm still pretty proud of it.

Yesterday brought me another nice non-scale victory. DH asked me if what I was wearing was new. I said no, to the contrary, it's quite old. He said, "Oh, that's right! I keep forgetting that you're smaller now than I've ever known you and I don't know all your clothes anymore." So that's a twofer: I'm smaller than when DH and I met AND I have an observant husband who bothers to notice what I wear. emoticon

Right now I'm ready for a change and a fresh approach, so I think I'm going to change up how I do my monthly goals. I'm scaling back the number but making them more challenging and more focused.

emoticon Eat in my calorie range plus 5 freggies 5 days a week.

emoticon Do some sort of activity every day. Walking, Wii fit, and yoga count. (Gotta work on flexibility, agility, and hand-eye coordination a bit.)

emoticon Log 1000 fitness minutes.

emoticon Do 3 cardio sessions each week.

emoticon Do 2 ST sessions a week.

emoticon Sleep for 8 hours a night. Yes, every night.

emoticon Drink 8 glasses of water.

emoticon Drop to 169 pounds, a 3-pound loss.

Most of these goals are familiar. But enough are new - or at least more focused - that I'm hoping they'll help get both me and the scale moving. Notice that the goal weight is at the bottom of my list; it's there for a reason. I tend to lose inches more easily than pounds and I've - slowly and painfully - learned to focus on process, not product.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DITZYCHICK 10/4/2011 1:29AM

    Love the dress and love that husband of yours!!! What a guy!!! really look fabulous, thanks for sharing the pics! As for your goals...You've Got It!!!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 10/3/2011 6:52PM

    A beautiful dress, the color is fantastic and you look fabulous it. I also love that your Mr is so observant.

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KITHKINCAID 10/3/2011 2:03PM

    Love the dress Jen - you guys look GREAT!

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CAALAN23 10/3/2011 12:04PM

    You look beautiful and kudos to the hubby for being so observant! He looks dashing btw. :)

I'm with you on logging 1000 minutes. I really want to get 1500 but will be happy if I'm consistent enough to get a grand. :)

Good luck in October!!!! WoooHOOOO!

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LOTUSFLOWER 10/3/2011 11:41AM

    Love the dress!!!! You look amazing, congrats!!

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KATHIERAE 10/2/2011 6:38PM

    YOU are a 10!!!

So is your hubby! emoticon

Awesome goals and goal setting process... emoticon

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New Dress Pics

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Last night I bought a new dress to wear to my good friends' wedding on Sunday. DH is a groomsman but I'm not a bridesmaid. And I know I'll be feeling awful because of my foot surgery later today, so I wanted to look as sexy as possible so I'd feel more confident. If this dress, in plum instead of the gray shown, doesn't do it, nothing will:

These images are really tiny. Go to this link if you want to see a bigger version; I recommend enlarging the details to really see the lace and sequins (uh,yeah, I'm biased, lol):

The best part is that it's in a size 10 and fits beautifully. (10 is my goal size!) Granted, I need a serious shaper to make it work. But it does work and makes me feel like a million bucks. I'll post pictures of me/us at the wedding in a later blog!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MERRIKATE 10/1/2011 12:00PM

    GORGEOUS!! I note that your Goal Weight Avatar also wore plum, and now you ARE she!! This is a perfect dress to display your sleek new self to the world. Hopin' that you're able to post those pics you've promised soon -- and that you'll update us about how matters progress with the foot repairs too???

I've been away for most of Sept, and it's great to be back gathering up inspiration from my Sparkler buds again, that's for super-sure!


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DITZYCHICK 9/23/2011 9:38AM

    That's a gorgeous dress, and you're going to look and feel fabulous!!! Great choice!!!

Can't wait to see a pic of you in the dress!!!

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KATHIERAE 9/23/2011 12:26AM

    "But it does work and makes me feel like a million bucks." emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SURLYGIRL 9/22/2011 11:11PM

    LOVE the dress ! I sent the link to a friend who needs a dress for a wedding. Can't wait to see pictures of you wearing it.

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SAMMYSWEETPEA 9/22/2011 7:34PM

    That is a gorgeous dress! I can't wait to see pics!

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CAALAN23 9/22/2011 6:57PM

    VavaVOOM! You will post pics, yesh?

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DIXIED88 9/22/2011 5:26PM

    Gorgeous dress! Can't wait to see the pics!

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KITHKINCAID 9/22/2011 4:28PM

    Ooh lala! That's AWESOME. You're going to rock it for sure!

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LOTUSFLOWER 9/22/2011 3:05PM

    LOVE the dress! Congrats on being in your goal size!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 9/22/2011 1:27PM

    The dress is beautiful!
When you can, let us know how you are after the surgery.

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3016DEBRA 9/22/2011 12:46PM

  emoticonYou'll turn some heads in that little number! Have a Great time!!

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DANCEMANIAC 9/22/2011 12:08PM

    Yeah those layers are very slimming. I went to a wedding a couple of weeks ago and bought a similar dress, it felt very comfortable. Good luck with your surgery, I hope you get well soon. emoticon

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RADFEN 9/22/2011 11:16AM

    I'm wearing the gray dress to my reunion this weekend! It is a dress that makes you feel good.


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