JESPAH   191,094
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My Castles Stand Upon Pillars of Salt and Pillars of Sand

Monday, March 18, 2013

And so it goes.

That has been my mantra lately, it seems.

I went through a marathon interviewing session last week. In fact, right now last week (it's a bit before noon), I was busily, earnestly, explaining how I'd do some sort of project that has details that I have already, mercifully, forgotten.

And if you read last week's blog, you'd know that I also pounded the table and didn't overeat french fries and tried to be knowledgeable, charming and sincere.

And it was not enough.

I was told on Thursday that they didn't feel there was a fit.



But that's the point of this blog.

I am not saddened by this. I'm still a bit peeved at all the time and energy that went into a marathon that got me nowhere. But I do all sorts of stuff that, seemingly, gets me nowhere. I walk around my neighborhood and, when I've been a gym member, I've walked on a treadmill, the very epitome of things that don't seem to get anywhere.

I take one less chip, or drink an extra ounce of water, or I walk around my car the long way around instead of the short one, and none of these things has any form of instant gratification or results or success whatsoever.

It all seems to, sometimes, take forever, eh? It can certainly feel futile at times.

Another drink of water? Another walk around the pond? Another rep? Another meal to track? Another measurement to be recorded? Another step on the scale?

I know, and I am not without sympathy. It can seem like such an uphill battle, in both directions.

But the way I have learned to view it is like a system of gates and checkpoints. To get to your destination, you have to go through these points. Those points are that extra rep, or that ounce of water, or those rejected french fries. There are stops, too, as your body readjusts, and you readjust. And sometimes there are setbacks or slips, for those are a part of it all as well. There is no reason why this is going to be an easy or fast or pain-free voyage. For it will not be. That is not what was promised you.

It's the same with this seemingly endless search for professional fulfillment. The marathon interview session was just an annoying checkpoint I had to go through. So is this day's tracking - that's a part of today's checkpoint for getting and staying healthy. So be it. And we will push onwards, for all of our goals, whatever they may be.

And so it goes.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    i admire your determination and the way you put things into perspective.

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DDOORN 3/19/2013 3:48PM

    Another great song, Ms. Vonnegut!

Raising a glass to the wisdom of tedium! :-)


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PHEBESS 3/19/2013 3:36AM

    LOVE the song - one of my faves!

But - that was a major interview process for them and for you - and it sucks that it didn't work out.

As you say, it takes time, we keep on doing the work (or interview, or exercise, or watching what we eat) - and eventually we get the results we want.

So - keep on keeping on, you'll find the perfect job at some point!

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MARCHMAIDME 3/18/2013 3:15PM

    That's it, Jes. Onward/forward. Nowhere else to go.

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KASEYCOFF 3/18/2013 12:28PM

    I hate interviews - most of them seem to be such a monumental waste of time, both on the part of the interviewER and the interviewEE. So much of it consists of generic, banal questions that don't apply to a specific position anyway.

Re the gates / checkpoints: I think of them as mileposts, but it amounts to the same idea (thinks me). And yes, sometimes it's just a case of ticking another box.

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BLUEANGELLK 3/18/2013 12:28PM

    Sorry to hear about the job, but you sound like you are taking it in stride. Keep moving past the checkpoints and towards your goals!

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MS.ELENI 3/18/2013 12:03PM

    They sure seem to make you jump thru hoops for nothing. it will be worth it when you find the right job.

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And Possibly the Complications

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

I am one tired puppy.

Yesterday was a LONG day. It was an enormous job interview, and I didn't even see everyone I was supposed to! Hence, even if all is positive and wonderful and lovely, I would STILL have to have a phone screen with this last dude.

That would be my third phone screen, on top of six hours of interviewing which included a one-hour presentation by me.

I cannot begin to tell you how beat I am. But how do I feel about it all? Does the linked song provide a clue, perhaps?

In the morning, I had four separate interviews. I think they were mainly good. One was a woman I had phone screened with, and I had thought I'd blown the phone screen, but obviously didn't. I felt similarly in the interview, and then reminded myself that that was what I'd felt before, so it was likely to be all right.

Then I met, erm, someone (it's blurring together), then a gal who would be a peer. The peer mentioned that she lives in Somerville. Well, I had been in Somerville the day before, running a 5K. Hence we suddenly had what to talk about (she had not run it). But it was a good icebreaker. Then I met the only man I met with at all that day; he was more of a mathematical kind of a person and gave me a scenario and asked me what I'd do. When I told him, he said that that was exactly what he had done - apparently a part of this job is to revive that older project (as you can imagine, I cannot say too much about such things).

Then it was time for lunch. My hoped-for boss took me. She's another Somerville resident, and asked me about the race. It seems she's also a runner but she didn't run it, either. But there's also a gym in the building, at the end of the day, would I like to see it? Sure. I think I handled the lunch okay. I got a sandwich that turned out to be messy, and it turned out to be served with fries. By that time, I was already pretty fried, and my only coherent thought was to have them hold the bacon. But the fries? They were meh. There was a time when I would have cleaned my plate of even meh fries. Instead, I ate my turkey and avocado sandwich and had maybe ten of the meh fries and that was good enough. Got back and washed my hands really well.

On to the presentation.

I could pick anything I wanted, and I did not have a deck of slides from anything, so I had to do it all from scratch. I selected Social Technographics (
) for my topic. It is, essentially, about how and why people use the web in different ways.

I ran slides. I pointed. I paced (I hate sitting for such things). I pounded the table. I modulated my voice. I answered questions (and I even clarified an answer in one of my thank you notes). I am thinking that part went really well but who knows.

Then, one more interview ('cause I hadn't had enough of 'em, apparently) and then I would have had a phone screen with the guy who ended up being stuck in the air, flying back from Detroit.

Then I got my little tour of the little gym, and my hoped-for future boss remarked that she had offered to lots of people to show them the gym but I was the only person who had taken her up on it. We shook hands, she gave me directions to get onto Route 128 (even though I have a GPS) and she told me I'd hear this week, most likely, as to whether I'd be talking to this guy.

My impressions are that they are very thorough but perhaps too much so. Sometimes, you have to punt, you know. And sometimes there are deadlines and you just can't do everything according to Hoyle. So that's all kind of strange. They were recently purchased by a company in the Midwest (I had originally thought that the new parent company was overseas, but they aren't; they're in the Mountain time zone) but the transition is still not complete. Those sorts of transitions can be troublesome; my experience is that those usually mean layoffs. Hence I could be going into a situation that could end abruptly.

The commute was okay; I had been worried that it would be a real pain. The gym is okay, but the area is flat and seems safe and well-plowed, so outside walking during lunch might be a better way to get in fitness minutes. While I was there, someone had brought in homemade Irish soda bread and put it in the break room, but I just ignored it as if it were a fancy paperweight with raisins.

Do I want this job? I think it could be a productive way to spend some time, and I could learn quite a bit. Is it my passion? No. Is it exactly what I want to do? No. But it will more than pay my bills until I can fulfill my passion.

But if I'm going to be hired, I have to go through another damned phone screen.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 3/13/2013 5:24PM

    Good luck, Jespah, I am keeping my fingers crossed and saying prayers that this turns out for you in the very best way possible. Did you catch the article on yahoo this past week about all of the hoops that companies are putting prospective employees thru? Evidently, this is becoming the norm rather than the exception. I find it totally discouraging (and for those who end up not getting hired after doing all that hoop jumping, demeaning and demoralizing). Not to mention expensive.....some of the prospective employees who had been interviewed for the article stated how much expense they had put into gas, clothing, materials, etc. Keeping positive thoughts that you are going to be one of the lucky ones! God bless.

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DDOORN 3/13/2013 1:41PM

    OMG the PACES employers put a prospective employee through...! I am OH-so-happy not to be out in the meat market these days...whew!

Sounds like you did SUPER bearing up under it all, though...crossing all my digits for the tide to turn in your favor!


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CAROLISCIOUS 3/12/2013 9:09PM

    That was an intense day. Good for you for hanging tough. Sounds like you did really well. I request permission to borrow the paperweight with raisins imagery. Awesome!

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BLUEANGELLK 3/12/2013 8:54PM

    Sounds like you did a great job. You sound like you were so cool under pressure.

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PHEBESS 3/12/2013 8:06PM

    WOW that's an intense interview!!! But I think it sounds good - especially since you looked at the gym, LOL! But really, little things like that leave an impression.

So good luck!

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    Good Luck Jes. Keep those updates coming. Be nice to hear that the bills were paid off and you did not have to eat the fries to get there. Congrats on that part too.

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2WHEELEDSHARON 3/12/2013 12:06PM

    I would do well to learn some table pounding skills from you:)
It sounds like you did your part of the process very well. I hope they come through tolerably well until you do find your passion. All the best!
Excellent restraint with the meh fries!

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MS.ELENI 3/12/2013 10:43AM

    Sounds exhausting. Hope it turns out the way you want

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CDCSMITH2013 3/12/2013 10:19AM

    Good luck. Sounds like you did a great job!

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I Could Change My Life to Better Suit Your Mood

Monday, March 04, 2013

Many doings here, in Jespahland.

I had an in-person interview today. And on Wednesday, I'll have a second phone screen with a different place. Progress, no?



Both are in data analysis. Hence I want to do neither.

But my current gig is a startup and they just don't have enough bucks.

I am not asking for enough for Caribbean vacations. I am asking for enough to pay my mortgage.

But the one from today was/is a temp gig until the end of the calendar year. Hence there is some appeal there - make some cabbage and hold my nose and do the work, but at least there's an end in sight.

Now, contrast that with the whole weight loss experience.

We don't interview for it - it just happens in the sense that we have metabolisms that begin to falter, or we don't eat right or we don't work out enough or whatever - there are all sorts of reasons for becoming overweight, but we get there. Kinda doesn't matter if we take the train or the trolley, eh? So we get there. And we might try on various methodologies. We work hard and, perhaps we prove ourselves or the methods become proven or whatever.

And we go on for a while, and then, eventually, well, what?

It's not a short-term contract with a hard and fast end date. It's a permanent gig. It's not something where there is an end to the behaviors - the behaviors go on. And that can sometimes be a little hard to take.

After all, we want to get back to "normal", right?

So, what's normal? What's the end point? What's the part that happens after?

It's not a backslide into older behaviors, for then you get back to Square One and you've gotta do it all over again. That's no good. But it's not necessarily doing the exact same thing, day in, day out, forever. After all, our bodies change, and sometimes things (seemingly inexplicably) stop working. Or we tear our hair out, hating the rut. Or age or injury or whatever conspire to make it so that we really can't continue to do the precise, exact same thing until we finally keel over.

It's little differences, and strangenesses, and quirks, yes, and a boatload of creativity and improvisation. We roll with the punches, as the scale seems to, at times, have a mind of its own, or our measurements feel less than optimal, or that pair of jeans that fit just fine last year are suddenly too tight. Or too loose. For even the positive serendipitous changes are still changes.

In some ways, I suppose, this journey is a job. So let us make it a good job, that we do with pride and creative spirit. One where we don't keep hitting the alarm clock every morning because we hate getting up and going to it. One where we pull together and buy into its success.

Go team.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 3/13/2013 5:27PM

    Love. It. Thank you!

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    Oh I just love this blog. To me it means putting the focus on fitness not as an afterthought but in the same way I focused on my career. With that level of energy and commitment. Heck if I could do half of what I put into my career I would be a lot more fit. And that just makes sense because all of my other activities...all of them...are dependent upon how well I feel, how healthy I am and how agile, and how much endurance I have. Wow.

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SUZLOOZ 3/5/2013 9:10AM

    Wonderfully put. Hurrah for that creativity and inspiration, and the ability to still be aware of it when you have to hit the alarm clock every morning.

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MARCHMAIDME 3/5/2013 7:39AM

    Good in theory. Putting it into practice? Aye there's the rub. ; )

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DMPRIDER 3/4/2013 11:53PM

    Well put. And good luck on the job front!

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DDOORN 3/4/2013 9:38PM

    Thx for the pep talk Jes, and hoping things work out on the work front...! It's been too long in the trials & tribs dept.!


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CAROLISCIOUS 3/4/2013 9:20PM

    That old saying has been ringing in my head today...If you always do what you've always done, then you always get what you've always got.

Well said, JES!

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QUAIL75 3/4/2013 9:05PM

    Go team!

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BLUEANGELLK 3/4/2013 7:29PM

    Well put.

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MS.ELENI 3/4/2013 6:54PM

    emoticon emoticon

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I Knew Just Who They Meant

Monday, February 25, 2013

We live in a strange world.

We are in contact.

But, in many ways, we aren't.

Case in point. I am FB friends with a lot of people, including people from my past. Got a notification of a birthday. Went to write on the wall. And, you know, you expect to see a ton of birthday wishes. instead, there was an RIP wish.

I did some sleuthing. It seems this person died on January 13th (and the birthday would have been February 21st). And so the information came a good 6 weeks too late.

It's so odd, learning of this sort of news in this particular manner. This person was 61, and had had health issues. Such things feel weird but, deep down, they shouldn't be utterly shocking. After all, even the health nuts among us can still get cancer. And anyone can be hit by a bus, yes?

And it makes me think of others, who I've looked up, with varying degrees of success. The suicide. The physics professor. The doctor. The missionary in Japan. The city manager. The writer. The aviation engineer. The artist. The independent filmmaker. The insurance broker. The ex-con.

These are not all exes, I might add. There are people - male and female - who I've lost touch with, but I've stalked online a bit. Some have written back when I've hit "contact". Others have not bothered, or the contact page hasn't been maintained and, instead, goes nowhere, and I end up wondering about that.

It's a game a lot of us play, and there's nothing wrong with playing it. Hell, it might be, for some people, the reason why they're not being hired. You should Google yourself, particularly if you've got a common name, and check out your own online reputation. And repair it, if you can.

And you can go out and make your own reputation as well. I own my own name as a domain, and I use it.

And there is your rep here, too, even if you just use a screen name and never friend people elsewhere and keep SP thoroughly separate from everything else in your life.

So, what kind of SP member are you, really?

Do you cheer on others? Or wallow in your own misery, hoping others will pick you up? Do you add as many helpful tips as you can about how to do this? Or do you just sit and complain about what you feel you cannot do?

Now, there is nothing wrong with venting or complaining. Wallow, if you must. Hey, I'm not stopping you. And there can be days when it really feels like all of that.


When the wallowing and the complaining and the venting take over, and are the only thing that you are offering, what does that really say? I am well aware that things are not always sunshiny. I vent quite a bit here, m'self. And maybe my own words don't stand up to post mortem scrutiny.

For that is what I am thinking about here. When all is said and done - and I mean REALLY all said, and all done - what is being left here, in this great community?

A big part of the SP journey is helping others. It's giving support, and encouragement, and passing on our knowledge. It's setting a good example, and it's offering a sympathetic ear, or perhaps a shoulder to cry on, if necessary.

So I ask you, are you doing that?

I do not ask you questions that I don't ask myself, so I can tell you, I am definitely asking myself that.

Just what are we leaving behind for each other? What legacies of help and caring are we building? A burden shared is a burden halved, so let's build them together.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

2BMYOWN 3/13/2013 5:41PM

    I think of these things every time I sign into FB or sparks. It's a train of thought worthy of pursuing to the max. We each make our own little 'indent' in this reality, but it is up to us what that 'indent' will be, either for good or for ill. I think we all want to feel that our existence here in this plane mattered to someone other than ourselves, and I often wonder if this cyber world does not, in some ways, make us more 'isolated' in our 'real time' lives. ??? Balance is the key. This new cyber world gives us the ability to come in cyber contact with people across the globe, most of whom we will probably never meet, but yet it is vitally important to build on those connections that we have in our day to day lives....maybe more important, in a lot of ways. I have always tended to be a 'hermit', of sorts, working by night, sleeping by day, avoiding all of the rush and hubbub of the daytime work-a-day world and people. Hence, I have many more 'cyber friends' than I do actual in-my-life friends....and I consider that to not be a good thing, overall. As much as I love my cyber friends, I also am now taking the steps to connect (and reconnect) more with people close to me, physically and in real time versus cyber time. I am also taking the steps to meet those cyber friends who are most significant to me along this route in order to make them more personal. I cannot mourn the lack of friendship in my life because I am the one who created that vacuum, so I am working to now correct it. But this is an excellent blog, thank you for posting such a thought provoking piece of work.

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CAROLISCIOUS 2/27/2013 7:49PM

    You very eloquently shared something that crosses my mind quite often. Some people just seem to come from a place of negativity. I know we all have bad days and it is certainly okay to ask for a shoulder now and again...but I do tire of hearing nothing but excuses.

You certainly live up to your "community leader" badge on your wall...thanks for all you do.

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    You have mentored me for years now in how to be part of an online community. I wonder some times if you know how far and how deep your coaching goes. I am grateful. This on line community thing reminds me of the scene in the last Harry Potter in the train station between living and dying where Harry asks Dumbledore if the scene is all in his head. D responds of course it is Harry but that doesn't make it any less real.

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PHEBESS 2/26/2013 4:37AM

    My condolences on the loss of your friend.

And yes, we each leave a legacy - we should always remember that. How do we want to be remembered? And equally important, what do we hope people will forget? (They don't forget the stuff we wish they would!)

So yes, live each day as if it's your last day on earth. Live your life as if you will live forever. (I think that's from the Talmud somewhere........)

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NUMD97 2/25/2013 10:58PM

    Incredibly ironic reading this just now. I lost a close friend almost three weeks ago, and I have been asking just that: What is her legacy? What did she leave behind for the rest of us?

As for SP, yes, indeed, it is a very supportive community, for the most part. People contribute here, and take from here, what they can and what they will. In an ideal world, more of us would be more supportive here, and less whining, and it is always a good reminder that we should be mindful of our conduct here. I do try. But the flip side is when you do offer some on here [not all by any means] a kindness, some grab on to it as they would a life preserver. Like everything else, SP is a question of balance.

Thanks for posting a most insightful blog. Sorry for the loss of your friend.



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LUCKY8GAL 2/25/2013 9:28PM


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MS.ELENI 2/25/2013 7:32PM


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DDOORN 2/25/2013 9:03AM

    Great point Jes and thanks so much for PRACTICING those words so faithfully. Our SparkFamily is so blessed to count you among us!

Keep paying that Spark forward everyone! It's one of the best Win-Win deals you can get!


ps...and yeah, savor and seek out those precious contacts we have with each other, both in real time and virtually, but ESPECIALLY LIVE, TOGETHER & FACE-TO-FACE!

Comment edited on: 2/25/2013 9:05:25 AM

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BLUEANGELLK 2/25/2013 8:51AM

    Beautifully said.

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CDCSMITH2013 2/25/2013 8:50AM

    Excellent questions and blog. Sorry for the loss of your friend.

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SUZLOOZ 2/25/2013 8:49AM

    Wag more, bark less. I like that.(from your page). I used to be a member at another diet web site where I vented quite a bit. I'm trying to avoid that here, but I like to think that I am light years away from where I was then, so...I've had the same experience, Googling people to find out that they are no longer living. And I maintain a "cyber-only" friendship with a woman from the previous diet site. I have no idea what she looks like. It is a strange new world, isn't it?

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Second Verse, Same as the First

Monday, February 18, 2013

In all fairness, it's not the second verse. It's actually the fifth.

See, in three days, I will be celebrating my fifth year sparking.

Yeah, really.

Egad, what can I tell ya?

I can tell you that, five years ago, I did not expect to be here. I did not expect to be on the lifetime website plan. I did expect that losing would take a while. I'm not so sure exactly what I thought about my lifetime, though.

I expected a loss of, if I was lucky, perhaps 48 pounds/year. 4 pounds/month is slow and reasonable. I did considerably better than that, and am down a good 120 or so even with backsliding. At my lowest, I was down about 160, but it did not take me 3 years to get there - it took me more like a year and a half.

And what would I tell the person just starting out, whether that was me or, perhaps, you?

I'd say that this is going to take a while. And even the easy stuff might get hard. But the corollary to that is that the hard stuff often gets easy. It's something of a trade-off. I'd say that there are days when all I want to do is eat whatever, and I sometimes, in all honesty, miss that. I would also say that I don't miss my seatbelt being too tight. I don't miss size 26, or even size 18. I don't miss huffing up the stairs.

I'd tell you that I'd like to be younger, to be sure. I would have preferred to have started off here, at this weight (235.6 this morning) instead of the 346 I started at. But then I'd be starting at 50 instead of 45, and that's harder.

I would mention that there are days when motivation runs thin. There are days when it runs high. Try to do more when you're inspired to, and kinda save it up for the times when you aren't quite so inspired. I'd tell you to measure, too, in addition to weighing, as measurements can be a bit of good news when everything else seems to be bad news.

I'd tell you to lift weights, even small ones, for they not only help to sculpt you and give you fat-burning muscle, but they also impart and air that you can do anything. I'd tell you to race, too, whether it's running or biking or swimming or whatever and forget that you are perhaps not as fast as you would like to be, or even if you come in last. Just go out there and do it and you will gain some measure of invincibility from that, too.

I'd tell you to forgive yourself and not beat yourself up for imperfections. I'd tell you that you are going to screw something up, big time, whether it's miscounting some favorite thing that turns out to be horribly bad, or doing an exercise wrong and hurting yourself by accident, or you'll take a rest day that maybe even turns into a rest month. But through it all, you are human and, yeah,, you screw up, but any day you wake up and get up in the morning is a day that you can start over again and fix all that.

I'd tell you that consistency can be dull, but it means you're getting into a habit. But the paradox of all that is that you can't get into too much of a rut, as that stalls things, so you need to sometimes shake it up. I'd tell you that you should be prepared to watch while on vacation, and work out in the weirdest of places, because you might take a holiday, but your body often has other plans.

I'd, finally, tell you that what you have to say is important, and it's worthwhile, and YOU are worthwhile, and that's not measured with a scale or a tape.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Congrats on 5 years of success. Oh and you left something off your list. Helping others which you do every single day. I think that is part of your formula too.

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PHEBESS 2/19/2013 3:58AM

    Great blog! And celebrate the loss, and maintaining that loss, while continuing to slowly lose the rest.

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2WHEELEDSHARON 2/18/2013 8:32PM

    I've missed your blogs, along with a few other important blogs when my internet access became scarce. Now that I have full access whenever I damn well want it, I'm so happy to be reconnecting with your fantastic blogs. Thanks for sharing this. So many excellent things to remember!

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CAROLISCIOUS 2/18/2013 7:24PM

    That about sums it all up! Great blog!

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FAT2GAINHEALTH 2/18/2013 3:51PM

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MS.ELENI 2/18/2013 3:16PM

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