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JENSHAINES's Recent Blog Entries

Expectations for the BLC

Saturday, September 20, 2014

So... this was an interesting exercise. We are to blog about our expectations for the BLC.

My expectations?

To have no expectations.

Yes, I know that doesn't sound very positive. Actually, though, it's the best kind of positive. The reason that I have no expectations is that each round has been a completely different adventure. Some adventures have been happier than others, some more life-changing, some more challenging, but all have been SPARKling in their own way.

And I like surprises. So, I'm trying to not go in with specific expectations.

I do, however, have intentions.

I've been part of a special program that Terry, Tekru1, dubbed "Jen's Magical Mystery Tour". It's a *learning journey* run by Mycelium.is, and it has helped me to get my non-profit moving forward. It's also given me many, many tools, as well as many fabulous human catalysts and fellow-journeyers.

Two tools I've learned about are intentions and back-casting.

One thing that is clear to me about the BLC and all challenges in life: you get what you put into it. The one thing I would say loud and clear to BLC newbies - is do every little thing you're asked to do (unless your doctor says "no"). Push your boundaries; try new things. My success, or lack thereof, during various rounds has had everything to do with what is between my ears.

I like the word "intention", rather than "goal", because I'm putting myself in the equation. It's what I'm taking on. It's my intent - from the inside. A goal, now, to me is something internal that may rely on many factors. I'm not sure I'm making sense here, but in my own brain, I am. emoticon



Back-casting is an exercise where you imagine an eventual outcome and then move backwards to figure out the steps to that outcome. To do this fully here would be way more than anyone would want to read, but I'll do it in brief:

At the end of Round 26 of the BLC, I'll have a stronger core that allows me to do more hill walking and stairs with ease and holiday temptations won't be an issue because the emotional part of my eating will be tamed via help from my teammates, but especially from Emssbears and Jaizways - Emssbears because she has these amazing 100 day challenges (one is starting September 23 - feel free to sparkmail her and JOIN!), Jaizways and I have some similar patterns, and so she has given me sage advice that works for my body. However, the rest is up to me. I don't know what my final weight will be. I'd love it to be at least 10 lbs. down from where I started, but that's truly secondary to a strong core and defeating emotional eating.

To get there, I'm going to track most days, be mindful all days, follow the core training tools that are available through sparks and beyond, and be present, present, present and learn from my wonderful teammates and other BLCers and Sparkfriends.

Cheers! I hope you all have an emoticon round!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 9/23/2014 4:36AM

    Like your "word study" - my first assignment for the new class I'm teaching at the Bible school, so my head is full of words right now. Your post also reminds me of a favorite saying, pinned to the wall above my desk right now: If you think you can or you think you can't, you're probably right! (Henry Ford)

I think you CAN! Go Jen!

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ZANNACHAN 9/23/2014 1:35AM

    I kind of like your open ended expectations, as long as you keep what your priorities are in sight (it's easy for me without solid plans/goals/expectations for my real goals/desires to get lost in the present details).

You are so right about getting out of the BLC what you put into it. I have to be careful not to over do things because it's easy for me to do, but at the same time... I *always* do the best I can in any given challenge. And the rounds that I'm able to put more in are the rounds I get the most out, pure and simple.

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SWEETNEEY 9/21/2014 10:12AM

    I like the idea of backcasting.

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HILLRUNNER 9/21/2014 4:43AM

    I followed you train of thought all the way through!!! I have full confidence in your ability to follow that which is between your ears!! WELL SAID!

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CIPHER1971 9/21/2014 4:08AM

    Great blog, awesome intentions - this is going to be a fantastic round.

Have a brilliant day

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NEW-CAZ 9/21/2014 3:03AM

    emoticon blog emoticon

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COOLMAMA11 9/20/2014 9:27PM

    Much success Jen, your intentions are stellar, you can do this, I think this round will be fun, we have a great bunch of positive gals working toward a healthier lifestyle, their support will get us through those rough times!

~Elaine emoticon emoticon

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JAIZWAYS 9/20/2014 8:51PM

    Great blog!! When you can take control of that emotional eating you will have taken a HUGE step in the right directions. You are right - Weight loss mainly happens between the ears!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 9/20/2014 8:51:47 PM

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SUSANELAINE1956 9/20/2014 8:12PM

    This blog makes perfect sense. Wishing you success with your intentions! emoticon

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Trash Head

Wednesday, September 17, 2014



So today is the official start to Round 26 of the BLC.

My name is Jennifer, and I am a Trash Head.

Thank goodness the round is starting!

On August 13th, I weighed 215.8 lbs. Today, I weigh 220.6 lbs.

I know exactly what happened: I ate away emotions as I'm going through some major transitions currently. I didn't exercise, because I mean, why do something healthy and fun when you can just stuff your face instead?



There was always, "I'll think about it tomorrow"



Well, those days are OVER!

Through this amazing "learning journey" I've been taking through the Mycelium School www.mycelium.is I've learned that "asking for help is kind".

So, I'm going to be kind to all of you.



Tell you what... I'll help YOU if you help ME!

emoticon emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZELLAZM 9/20/2014 6:37AM

    Jen, you'll be off Trash in no time, I just know it. Have a great round!

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NEW-CAZ 9/18/2014 12:20PM

    emoticon

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ALP1976 9/18/2014 9:24AM

    Oh all the profile pics of people replying to your blog sidetracked me for a second. HELLO Hugh Jackman!! ;)

Jen, you know i am always here for you! Just don't beat yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward from where you stand today. I luv ya my friend! You're so awesome!!!

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EMSSBEARS 9/17/2014 11:50PM

    You know that I am here for you whatever you need because I know that you have always been there for me. emoticon

Beth

Comment edited on: 9/17/2014 11:50:55 PM

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ZANNACHAN 9/17/2014 11:44PM

    I started a lot of rounds on Azure on Trash Island... so I can sympathize!

The others have some good questions to ask yourself about what you want and what you need to do to get there. I would suggest that you also ask yourself what you are getting from the unhealthy habits and how you can get what you need (such as stress relief or feelings of comfort/happiness from eating, for example) in ways that don't undermine your healthy lifestyle goals.

You CAN DO THIS! And the upside of Trash Island... you don't have to be stuck there for long. You can DO THIS and GET OFF THE ISLAND for a better place!

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LADYHYJINX 9/17/2014 8:26PM

    Sounds like you know what happened and why. You are now armed to fight the next battle. This is a journey, not a race. It is also a learning experience and sometimes I find I learn faster when I stumble.

We are by your side.....we can catch each other when we stumble.

emoticon emoticon

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SUSANELAINE1956 9/17/2014 8:04PM

    You have a deal. I will help you and you will help me. We have done in before and we can do it again! emoticon

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 9/17/2014 7:24PM

    You've come to the right place- the team is ALL about helping each other!! All you've got to do is give a shout out about what kind of help you need and you'll have plenty of helping hands reaching out:) Including mine!!!

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WINDYCITYCYNDEE 9/17/2014 6:40PM

    Oh well, climb out of the Slough of Despair! emoticon You will. emoticon

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COOLMAMA11 9/17/2014 6:31PM

    Jen I'm here for you, I gained 2 lbs over the break, I am really going to try and wake up each day with a positive attitude, and say to myself ,"Just Do It!" Wish this journey was a bit easier lol!

~Elaine emoticon emoticon

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GODZDESIGN95 9/17/2014 6:04PM

    I hear you loud and clear. You got this. I went thur something similar with drama and gained a few pounds. But i decided I would not let drama stop mr and I am back down to what I weighted when the last challenge stopped. emoticon emoticon

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JAIZWAYS 9/17/2014 5:29PM

    Think of it as a small bump in the road!

I have 4 questions for you

1. What would you like to achieve this round?
2. What steps are you willing to take to achieve these goals?
3. Can you do this?
4. WILL YOU?

We are all here to help and support you just like you always do for us. Feel free to contact me at ANY time if you are struggling , or heading for the cookie jar!! I mean it!


emoticon
Jane

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JAIZWAYS 9/17/2014 5:16PM

    Double posted - disappeared into cyber space then re-appeared . Must be the monkeys !!

Comment edited on: 9/17/2014 8:19:32 PM

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CIPHER1971 9/17/2014 4:52PM

    You are always there for us Jen, so reach out any time you need help, and I know you will be helping me stay accountable.

Have a great day

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KATELJM 9/17/2014 4:48PM

    emoticon What do you mean? Do you need to track and to make good choices? Could exercise be at all as good for us as they say? If you can easily make up for your gain, my hat (if I wore one) is tipped to you. As for me, it takes so much work I dare not take my focus off my goal!
emoticon emoticon

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BA5454 9/17/2014 4:44PM

    Amen, sister. We can do this! Great blog and a great start to the BLC!

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GEORGE815 9/17/2014 4:42PM

    Good luck!

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CAROL494 9/17/2014 4:41PM

  emoticon

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Summing Up - the BLC round 25

Sunday, July 20, 2014

So we have a challenge this weekend to blog about what we've gotten out of the BLC this round. For those who don't know what the BLC is, it's an amazing team of dedicated folks who are supporting each other to a healthy lifestyle.

There are many different teams and each week two teams are highlighted for weight loss - either the most participants losing on a team and the team that has lost the greatest percentage of weight.

Yes, it's the biggest LOSER challenge, but for me, it's really been much more about getting healthy. And that's true for many members. There are those who keep their eyes on the scale prize, but there are many who are more interested in total health. There is even a dedicated maintenance team.

So I have to say that the thing that is always number one in my book is the people. My team, Azure Destinations, gets to visit other teams along the way, so we really get to know many, many members of the BLC. It's a varied group; some are hyper competitive, some are non-competitive, some are self-competitive, some have a holistic approach, some have to track EVERYthing, some are very chatty and active on the boards, some are almost silent.

I've had the pleasure of a very easy-going, enthusiastic team this round and a very easy-going, enthusiastic cappy team - I'm one of the captains for Azure Destinations and we've had a truly wonderful team this round - decision making has been easy, tasks have been easy (because we have enough folks to get them done) and the support has been magnificent.

We also got to incorporate a new tool, thanks to JaneGSN - a special tracker that lets us build up to 7 personal goals for the week and see how we fared with the goals at the end of the week. This lets us correlate our behaviors to our weight loss. It also means that while we all start with SMART Goals for the ROUND, we also have ways to change them up each WEEK. That's been invaluable for me.

Another thing the BLC has given me is openness to new ideas. Admittedly, this isn't my strongsuit. I have hard held beliefs about what weight loss/health techniques work for ME and often I am stubborn about trying new things. I absolutely blew a fit a couple of rounds ago because a captain suggested a new path to follow, for just one week. And you know what? I DID learn things that week. And while that particular path didn't work for me, it was only the beginning of opening me up to new ideas, options and opinions.

That's the other great thing about travel for me - I get to experience how other teams do it. And that's cool!

There's even a new team - Spicy Sparkologists, that will create their own, personal experiments about weight loss - use science, research, etc., to find what's the best plan for YOU.

So yes... this is all great.

But now... how did it go for me on my health journey this round? Well... I started the round bingeing. I am no longer bingeing. I started the round feeling a bit at a loss in terms of an exercise plan. I now have an exercise/meditation plan that is keeping me calm, happy and fit.

I've gone down a clothing size and am about to jump down to the next.

My weight loss itself? Well... I've been stuck in a plateau. OTOH, I just came back from a two week vacation - the first week was a cruise - and I didn't gain. For me, that's a huge victory. AND my clothes are much looser than when I started (as I said, about to jump down to the next size).

So, I'm pretty darned happy.

But I also need to make a plan for the break (the next round starts mid-September - a longer break than usual) and also to start off Round 26 with a ROAR and push to goal, so... I have two questions:

The first one - what should I TRY over break to get my loss really going again?

Two - interested in the BLC? Sparkmail me or sign up for the mailing list:

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/groups_i
ndividual.asp


Registrations will be starting in the next couple of weeks! Hope to see you there.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LADYHYJINX 8/3/2014 8:42PM

    I love it!!!

emoticon and emoticon

I am honored to be by your side in BLC26. It will be terrific as well.

Lady Carol

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SWEETNEEY 8/3/2014 12:27PM

    great. Thanks for inviting me to BLC it was a nice experience. I'm going to try it again.

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ZANNACHAN 7/22/2014 12:38AM

    I love this, because I think that a focus on a healthy lifestyle is so much better in the long run--healthier, happier, and more sustainable.

I agree-that new tool for tracking points/personal goals is AWESOME. CAMO uses it to, and I love it. It has really simplified tracking team points--as well as how I am doing on my personal goals.

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PLB0217 7/21/2014 10:37PM

    I am SO happy for you! Just reading this...I am getting excited!

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SUSANELAINE1956 7/21/2014 9:20PM

    emoticon Your maintaining while on a vacation shows how much you have learned. I loved being on Azure with you again. emoticon

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MAZZIE973 7/20/2014 11:20PM

    You're so wonderful, Jen! You're a great leader and friend!! I'm so happy for all of your successes...as for your plateau...you'll bust right through it once your life calms down post-cruise!! You're the BEST!!!

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SMERTZ 7/20/2014 9:14PM

    awesome...No weight gain on a cruise. You rock

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ZELLAZM 7/20/2014 8:05PM

    What a great report! Glad for your progress and all the positive experiences during BLC 25!

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-THINQ- 7/20/2014 4:35PM

    Yer: AWESOME! :=^D
I'm really glad this round has gone well for you, and I'm grateful to have your sparkling friendship!
Hopefully I'll see you on the thread, Soon!

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JAIZWAYS 7/20/2014 4:22PM

    emoticon Jen. We are all here trying to lose weight but it becomes so much more than that. It is a journey of discovery about ourselves and finding the right balance for life.

emoticon on your achievements this round. Not bingeing any more is HUGE! emoticon Down a dress size emoticon .

Thank you so much for all you do for our team.

I am going to try something different eating wise over the break. Just for a change. I am looking at South Beach (there must be a South Beach on Azure!!!). I need something easy to follow when I am away and that still incorporates my whole foods approach. My hesitation is no fruit for 2 weeks, can I do that? I love my fruit!

Keep up the good work!

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CIPHER1971 7/20/2014 4:08PM

    I have a question for you - Why wait until September to start?

Great blog, and I am glad that the team made it a good round for you - as for down a dress size - emoticon

Have a great day

M

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PREDEL 7/20/2014 3:48PM

    emoticon I'm so happy to see you so happy! Sorry, I've got no suggestions for you but I'll be there to root you along the way! emoticon

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COOLMAMA11 7/20/2014 3:32PM

    emoticon great blog!

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Lessons

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I've had many lessons since June 15th. I've continued learning about what works for me and what doesn't, hubris, my skills/lack there of as a leader, and what demons I'm still grappling with.

First off, my rockin' teammate, Jane, wrote this amazing blog:

www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5719369


I was already a texting buddy with someone who was attempting to avoid bingeing, as I was.

I was also inspired by LucyLu22 and her fabulous Streaking Challenge for the BLC (5 days a week of 20 minutes or more of exercise for the 12 weeks) and by Emerald Elephant who did a 100 day exercise challenge and WOWed me, and then by a newer team member, Emssbears who started a 100 day challenge on June 15th for anyone to join and to put in whatever challenge they wanted. (And this was her second one... she is AWESOME!!!)

Well, my mojo and motivation was in high gear. I was coming off the high from the sheer honesty and fabulousness that Jane gave me via her blog.

So I pledged... no bingeing for 100 days.

Yes, I have a problem with bingeing. When I look at anything I struggle with at this point in my weight loss journey, it is probably bingeing. I've got my good habits in place. I love exercise now. I prefer to eat healthily. I have treats in moderation. But then... this emoticon takes over (maybe a flying monkey?) and all of a sudden I'm inhaling food and just not paying attention to anything - my hard work, my discipline, how my stomach is feeling, etc. It all goes back to feelings of being out of control, scared, alone... and food was the one thing I could do to "stick it" to certain people in my life.

Yeah... um... that sure showed them. emoticon

Anyway... it's still a demon I live with every day. It's an addiction issue.

So, flying high, I started the challenge. I'd already been binge free for over a week? More? And I was going to DO this, by golly.

And I did. Until Day 2 of the challenge. emoticon

And I was too hard on myself. I was ashamed and I changed my ticker to a "days without bingeing" ticker, so I'd be PUBLIC with this battle.

But wouldn't you know it, it just made me feel worse.

And then I had a bout of fibromyalgia. Or maybe I'd had one since the day I started bingeing. One question is whether the fibro caused the bingeing or whether the bingeing caused the fibro, but in any case, as soon as I let go of the guilt, the shame, the feeling that I had to do all or nothing - BAM!

I'm back to normal. No fibro, no urge to binge. And Beth, bless her (Emssbears), is letting me continue alongside those who can REACH 100 days. And I will cheer them on every step of the way.

But what I have found out is that pressure does not help me on my journey. I don't do well when I feel someone else is "telling" me what to do. Even if that person is... me.

I've watched folks like Beth go through AMAZING odds and stick to something because they said to others that they'd do it. I admire that tremendously.

This is clearly another thing for me to work on. And that's all it is - something to strive for. It doesn't make me "less than" because I didn't fulfill that. Even as a Captain for Azure. Yes, I'd like to set a perfect example, but then... I'm not perfect.

Ultimately, when I make an unhealthy choice, the ONLY person I'm letting down is me.

And that should be enough in itself.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JAIZWAYS 6/30/2014 6:57AM

    Jen - emoticon you are so right! We are dealing with an addiction. A very tough one to overcome, as we cannot cut out our "drug" from our lives and we have to learn to control it as best we can. As any other addict does, we are going to have lapses. The main thing is that we are trying to make these lapses occur less frequently and to recover from them faster. Then we need to reflect and learn why it happened - that is what you have done. emoticon This feedback helps us to come up with some strategies for the next time we are faced with the same situation.
We are all different and recognizing why we lapse, is such an important part of of our journey. As a leader you are not expected to be perfect - in fact it helps others to know that you understand and struggle with the same issues that they do. We are a team! And remember
T - together
E - everyone
A - achieves
M - more. emoticon

By being so honest and transparent you have helped us all but mainly you have helped yourself. emoticon
The 100 day challenge does not say that you have to be 100% but that you are going to work at and focus on this for 100 days. Any days that you manage to control your binging are steps in the right direction.
You are doing emoticon. You are a wonderful leader and motivator. emoticon emoticon Jane



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MAURIZIA 6/28/2014 12:29PM

    Jen, it's all about lessons...the ones we learn the first time around and those we learn slowly. It will always be this way. The lesson is to acknowledge and change.

Hugs.

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ZELLAZM 6/28/2014 5:51AM

    Thank you for your transparency, Jen. That's a sign of a true leader and a good teacher, as I've been teaching my students (and re-learning myself) this semester. Azure is blessed to have you. But you win over bingeing for YOU because you're worth it!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PLB0217 6/26/2014 6:05PM

    Dude...I have had many a conversation with myself about just think..
Thank you for posting this.

You can do it...one day at a time!

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EMSSBEARS 6/26/2014 5:22PM

    You are doing great and no one on this earth is perfect and is not ever going to be so you can just forget about that, we can only give it our best shot. This challenge was never meant to stress anyone out or make things worse it was only meant to allow people to reach deep down within themselves and see what they had and go for it and try to maintain it for a period of 100 Days and see what a difference it made after that length of time or for however long they could make it. If you stumble then you start over and you make it for 90 Days or 80 or whatever it there is no judgment. It is and was not my intent for it to be construed that way - for me it was a FUN way of seeing how long I could go.

So I am glad that you are back relax and have FUN with the challenge, see where it takes you.

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SENTERSTOCK 6/26/2014 9:27AM

    You are doing fantastic! Still at it! That says a lot! Pat yourself on the back and look straight ahead for the next steps! emoticon

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MAZZIE973 6/25/2014 10:10PM

    Sweetie, no one expects perfection from you EXCEPT you. You need to cut yourself a little slack. We are here to support you, not judge you. You're doing wonderfully! And you're such a great motivator and give tons of support!

As for the binging, that's a tough one to beat. I have no advise on that one...other than one eating opportunity at a time. I can relate to the feeling that you expressed over why you overeat...that it's your way to stick it to others. Doesn't make any sense rationally, but it's an emotional thing. Almost like forming a shell.

I'm glad you're feeling better, and hope that you continue to do so! You're such a wonderful person!! emoticon emoticon

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FITNFUNJEN 6/25/2014 7:53PM

    You are doing great! I have been working on learning how to flex my self-commitment muscles for the last year. Due to my perfectionism, I was terrible about breaking my promises to myself. I never would have committed to the 100 days thing a year ago for the same reasons. 28 days at a time has been much more manageable for me. And even when I messed up, I had to learn to be okay starting over again.

Even after working on this for a year, there are certain things I wouldn't commit to for 100 days because I know I wouldn't do it and then would be too hard on myself. So I'm only committing to 100 days of what I know I can accomplish and want to be consistent with (not something that is still a huge struggle for me because that would be too much pressure!)

Don't be hard too on yourself! Sometimes, flexibility and wiggle-room is exactly what you need to be successful! You can do it Jen! Remember that the real lost battle isn't the bad day or the bad week, it giving up on yourself. As long as you keep going, you are winning!

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SUSANELAINE1956 6/25/2014 6:33PM

    Last week was a frustrating week, and yet here you are optimistic and ready to make this week a good one. You are open about it and sharing your experiences so we can all learn from you. That, and your constant nurturing and support, are what make you a great leader. I know you are going to learn from this, move on, and be successful. I think we as a team will all have a better week. emoticon emoticon

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COOLMAMA11 6/25/2014 6:16PM

    Jen I so know where you are coming from, I have bouts of this also, Mine is usually brought on by stress. That's what makes you such a great leader, you let us know the truth about what is going on in your life concerning your healthy journey, we are all here struggling to conquer the beast inside us that makes us keep falling back to our old ways! We learn from each other!
I think we expect too much from ourselves, when I was a leader I was always so conscious of every thing I did , what I said, striving so hard to try and be an impact on their lives, that I soon got lost in it all, when I fell off the wagon I would be filled with guilt, "I'm such a bad example" would run through my head. I now see that we are all not infallible, we have our good and bad days just like everyone else. The thing I am happy about is we don't give up, we see we are straying and pull with everything we have to walk that bumpy road to success..we will get there, but like I said before, we will always have to deal with "watching what we do", our food and exercise!
A great blog Jen, it just shows that we are indeed a work in progress..I think we are doing very well, a few bumps here and there, but we do prevail!

Hugs Elaine emoticon



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CIPHER1971 6/25/2014 5:58PM

    emoticon blog, and so true. I know I can be my own worst enemy.

Thank you for sharing your human-ness, it helps the rest of us.

Have a great day

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LADYOLIVER 6/25/2014 4:40PM

    emoticon KeepingitReal emoticon
These are the type of blogs that gives me motivation. The ones that speak of real life challenges that effect our 4LIFE journey to be healthy.

I love the statement of only letting ME down. Meaning my journey... the good, bad, ugly IS MINE. It's designed for ME. Some choices I choose and some catch me by surprise. I am not here to compete but DEFEAT that one who wreak havoc. Thanks for the WARNING of what maybe waiting to attack as LIFE challenge us.

Delayed Baby, NOT DEFEATED emoticon LLLLLEEGGGOOOO

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TEKRU1 6/25/2014 3:33PM

    None of us are perfect, but some of us are perfectionists. We're the ones who don't do well when we set the bar too high because we don't forgive ourselves for being human. Its about learning to structure the challenges in front of us so we can handle them - if it comes down to breaking up the 100 days to one bite ata time, there's nothing wrong with that! Concentrating on each meal, each day, even each bite will still get you to that place you want to go.

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ONTHEPATH2 6/25/2014 3:33PM

    I could so relate to your blog! Yep, I too binge. Sweet, followed by salty, followed by a diet soda! I love the 100 day challenge concept.

Way to be honest and admit your stumble, get back up, dust yourself and continue on. Let go of that self inflicted guilt and shame, it's just wasted energy! Best of luck in the remaining days of your challenge!

Maybe the lesson isn't controlling the binge.... more will be revealed as you journey forward.

Please post along your journey of 100 days as to how you are doing!!! Best of luck!

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What Motivates Me to Commit to a Healthy Lifestyle

Sunday, June 08, 2014

It was... fear.

It's now... joy.

That really sums it up. I've spent much of my life reeling between healthy choices and longer periods of unhealthy choices. I was kind of an all-or-nothing kind of gal. I was blessed with great health growing up, and I blew it late teens/early 20s via cigarettes, weight yo-yos and other unhealthy choices.

From the time I was in my early teens I had horrid stomach aches and other digestive issues, and I figured it was just too much coffee, the cigarettes, etc.

By mid-20s the cigarettes were out of my life (as were many of my other unhealthy choices) but my love affair with food and bingeing continued.

I didn't have the most supportive or easy childhood, and food was a major "friend" during that time. As complications in my family and work world took place in my 20s, it continued to provide comfort. As I went through caregiving for various dying family members, it sustained me because dealing with my feelings was just too hard.

As my weight ballooned, so did chronic illnesses - asthma, un-diagnosed joint/systemic issues, GERD, IBS, yada, yada, yada. I assumed it was just the strain of the weight on my body. I joined Spark in 2006/2007 and made some progress, but then hit a sticking point. I kept doing the same things, but nothing came off. A friend suggested seeing a specialist in diagnosing food allergies. As it turned out, gluten was a culprit, but as I got off gluten and healed, I also found that my body started to work "right" for the first time.

Exercise has become a lifeline, not a chore. A day that I don't dance is a day I feel icky. I love yoga and wish I'd started it years ago. I prefer nuts or fruit to traditional dessert. Processed foods taste like the garbage they're made from. I'm calmer, happier and yes, those chronic issues have disappeared.

Do I still have to care for my joints? Yes. Will I ever reach my college weight. Doubtful. Do I care? No.

Due to journaling, meditation, etc. I'm far less afraid of death/disease than I used to be. Things don't bother me as much due to appropriate outlets for my feelings. Whereas the fear of the deaths I saw around me and the fear of disease spurred me on initially, now the journey is *mostly* joy. Yes, I have those days when I splurge and yes, the weight is coming off sssssllllloooooowwwwlllllyyyyy.

But now, each day, each bite, is GOOD. Water is my drink of choice. I get good sleep most nights. I'm happy. I'm peaceful.

Good health=Happiness.

Commitment to health=Joy

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FIT4MEIN2013 6/24/2014 11:04AM

    Have a great day!

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JUSTME_KELLYD 6/22/2014 4:02PM

    Loved reading this. Reminded me of some issues I have dealt with previously!

Wish I could get to a place where I truly I joy exercise, but not there yet! Maybe it will happen this summer....fingers crossed!



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FITNHEALTHYKAL 6/12/2014 6:40PM

    When we get to the place where being fit, and healthy and happy isn't a journey full of resentment and feeling like it's all WORK and come out on the other side joyful and happy, we truly have it ALL! Your life's journey is full of FUNderful things and more to come! emoticon

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JERSEYGIRL24 6/10/2014 7:38PM

    Great job, Jen. I think you speak for many of us as far as the life challenges go. As far as how you've tackled them, you can inspire many of us. emoticon

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FIT4MEIN2013 6/10/2014 12:48PM

    Excellent blog! emoticon

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PREDEL 6/10/2014 8:42AM

    What an inspiring blog, Jen. I'm not there yet but you give me hope. I'm thrilled you've found joy in getting healthy. You truly deserve all the best in everything you touch. emoticon

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LISA01605 6/9/2014 10:34AM

    Love this blog!!

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NANCYTUNBERG64 6/9/2014 7:34AM

    Very inspiring. Thank you so much Jen!!

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RASPBERRY56 6/9/2014 5:10AM

    BTDT - not with the health issues you have, thankfully, but with the unsupportive start in life - and yeah, that really, *really* s##ks!

emoticon

Good on ya for turning things around - keep up the great work!

emoticon

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MAZZIE973 6/9/2014 1:56AM

    You are so centered! I so admire you for surviving so much successfully.

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FITNFUNJEN 6/8/2014 11:13PM

    I love hearing about your journey!! You are in a great place now. The future is bright and you've got this!!

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MRSP90X 6/8/2014 10:33PM

    That is awesome!! Healing is where it's at!!

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POSITIVEHOPE 6/8/2014 10:24PM

    emoticon emoticon
I want to love the journey not achieve a scale number!

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ZANNACHAN 6/8/2014 10:17PM

    So glad that your journey has brought you to a point where being healthy also makes you happy! It sounds like you are in a much better, healthier, and generally happier place in your life, and this is a good thing.

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JAIZWAYS 6/8/2014 9:38PM

    Jen I am so happy emoticon that your journey to good health is now joyful and not a chore. We have to make this fun and embrace our new habits because we can't go back to our old ones if we want to truly lose this weight and never find it again. Realizing this emoticon is a huge step in the right direction. You will get there emoticon . Keep going, you are doing an emoticon job.

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COOLMAMA11 6/8/2014 7:37PM

    Oh girl, you said it so well, that is what is missing, the Joy of this journey, I am looking at it all wrong, to me it has become a chore, I must get a reality check, and look at this in a different light! Thanks Jen you are such a great inspiration!

Elaine emoticon

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TERSIEFROG 6/8/2014 6:18PM

    it's funny, my eyes were just opened to what you wrote here ... right before I read your blog post. I realized I need to find the joy in what I'm doing to be able to stick with it. And you just affirmed everything right here. :)

Thank you for that!!

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MAURIZIA 6/8/2014 5:52PM

    Jen, you continue to inspire me. I am so happy for you. You are such a motivating example for the rest of us who know you. Thank you.

Hugs.

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LADYOLIVER 6/8/2014 5:51PM

    emoticon I love it....I love the reality journeys, the share of good, bad, and the ugly.
Keep up the AMAZING work.

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CHOCOHOLIC2276 6/8/2014 5:51PM

    Very inspiring and honest:) emoticon

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BMCC488 6/8/2014 5:30PM

    It's great the strides you made and to hear about all the awesome rewards you've reaped in a healthy body and mind. Truly inspiring!

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A_RARE_BEAN 6/8/2014 5:13PM

    Awesome, it's amazing to hear the great benefits of changing habits and taking care of yourself.

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SUSANELAINE1956 6/8/2014 4:58PM

    Jen - I'm happy you are doing so well now. One of the best things about joining SP was meeting you. You are always so encouraging and full of joy. emoticon

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CIPHER1971 6/8/2014 4:55PM

    Awesome - that is a truly inspiring story.

May all your days be filled with joy. emoticon

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