Sunday, September 25, 2011
Some of us Sparkers seem to have uber awesome qualities that we should properly recognize and reward.
We all need motivation to not only get to our goal weight and lifestyle, but also to maintain it amidst our zany daily lives, right?
I vote for Spark Badges! Something that can be shown off or traded like baseball cards. OK, so I’ve never actually even owned baseball cards, but I am drawing a blank here on other items to trade aside from earrings…
All you need to start off with is a proper ‘Miss America’ style sash on your torso, and you’ve got the canvas for the colorful collection of badges to earn.
Strength Training Badge: Only for the hardcore (literally!). You work so hard, pressing and pulling, and it shows! This one is made of steel, since you are too! Now drop and give me 20!
Team Leader Badge (complete with megaphone and pom poms): Have you started up a team? Are you inclined to shepherd the flock; to nurture and encourage all who cross your path? This one’s for you.
The Fisherman (err, woman? Whatever!): You never let another friend fall, and you constantly cast your line into the water to fish for anyone struggling. I was ‘hooked’ right after joining Spark, since I was hanging out with the bottom dwellers and silty muck. Once I was reeled in, my Sparky Fisherman didn’t club me (ha!), but motivated me to succeed! Rather than allocating a sardine smelling badge for this, I vote for a goldfish cracker.
Weight Goal Badge: Congratulations!!! This badge is as light as a Forrest Gump-like feather, so as not to upset the scale by even a hair. Wear it with pride and tell everyone how Spark helped you reach your goal!
Healthy Food Badge: For some of us, the crossover from overly processed fast food to fresh produce and better choices was not an easy one. You’ve been experimenting with produce that was void in your life for too long and are enjoying the journey. This badge is made out of dried mango to further the point that good food IS yummy too! Just please don’t eat the badge…
Super Parent Badge: This badge is actually a locket. There is a photo of your kiddo(s) on the inside, and an engraving of you on the outside, with multiple arms, juggling it all! Oh, and maybe the super parents should also get a bonus cape. I mean really, you all NEED the cape too!
The Zzz’s Badge: Have you gotten enough sleep to ensure that the day starts off right? Well if so, then pin this fluffy 850 thread count mini pillow badge to your sash. We sacrifice sleep too often when the to-do list is overflowing. It takes skill and the courage to say “no” to protect that time.
Do we really need a Knot Badge? Like the merit badge of the Boy Scouts? I am not sure. I mean, unless you are tying a knot around something and then dragging it around for weight resistance… oh wait! Cannie50 – I remember that you actually DID do that once as a reminder of the weight you lost (and continue to lose). OK then, decision made. We can use a piece of rope for this Knot Badge – for dragging weight around…or small suitcases, and/or small creepy critters….no alligators!
Food Allergy Badge: This badge is made of anti-microbial, sugar-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free, pollen-free WATER. You see, this is a ‘wet badge’. You pretty much just get dunked. We can’t have your badge contaminating anything (like my DH did once when he accidentally double dipped his knife back into the peanut butter after using it on his gluten-filled bread. D’Oh!) Preparing food for the ones you love (or even yourself) can be a constant challenge. Lots of details to remember; from purchasing a simple can of soup (sneaky and confusing labels!), through serving (no cross contamination!). A well deserved badge.
Chronic Pain ---- Badge: This badge cannot actually be worn I am sorry to say. It is a shoulder to lean on (or cry on) for those of you who battle pain daily (like myself). Since Western / Eastern / Traditional (and non) treatments have not alleviated your ailment(s), some days you just need that shoulder...
Golden Grilled Cheese Badge: OK, so I threw this one in for me. So what!? For those gifted with the talent to wield their griddle pan into creating that perfect yin yang balance of a crispy outside and gooey cheddar center. This badge has an imprint of the spatula you used to create that gooey-ness. And the spatula is melted on one corner like your own spatula likely is at home! : ))
I know there are many more Spark Badges to be added. Any ideas?
Sunday, September 18, 2011
Well, I guess that would be me in my black workout capri pants and top : )
I've whimpered and whined enough for all who read this to know that I hurt a lot, every day.
Chronic pain has crawled into my lap like an ugly dirty monster and burrows through my days, igniting a fire in my veins and muscles; increasing as the hours pass. My new nerve condition now co-habitating with my existing monster causes my already inflicted arms and legs to turn dark purple and leave all normal feeling obsolete; just buzzing and jerking with deep pain that you can feel through to your gut.
My 'low pain' portion of the day is in the morning. I read that it has something to do with the longer my heart is over my appendages = more pressure and swelling from my disease, yadda yadda yadda. Let's just say that I can sit upright just fine in the mornings. I can (usually) type my emails and do my job. But by 2:00 p.m., I am just wasted, and counting the minutes until I get home and try to elevate my legs. And it's downhill from there baby.
And it's been really tough these past 2 weeks for some reason. My bag of tricks didn't seem to be working: ice packs under my desk on my legs, consuming only cold liquids (I miss my non fat latte's!), A/C cranked at work while others around complained in their sweaters... The monster just wouldn't let up, and I was exhausted.
Plus I wiggle a lot to distract myself from the pain, so it can be unnerving to people around me.
My husband and I were basically ordered to see a counselor who specialized in 'couples dealing with chronic pain'. I cannot tell you how valuable that was. My husband now knows what to do when I hurt so much that I start to talk like Yoda -"Fire all over. It feels like"- and how to react when I just weep in pain and can't pick up my fork to eat dinner - on't get mad. Don't take it personally. Eat your dinner and let me re-group.
I decided to share some pictures of my current state, which literally snaps back and forth dozens of times per day until the evenings, when the burning just takes over everything. Since I wear tights daily to cover my legs and bury my hands in my pockets when we leave the house, this was a VERY tough step for me to take.
But I owe it to you awesome Sparkers. After all, you share your feelings and fears so openly in this forum.
This is what my hands often look like. Purple from the Complex Regional Pain Syndrome with red areas of Erythromelalgia fire. Until the fury of EM takes over my hands later.
When my monster takes over, and the tabasco like fire fuels my arms and legs, I look like this:
When my CPRS first attacked on Memorial Weekend, my left foot felt like it would pop. This photo is not nearly as bad as it was the day prior to when I took this:
A photo of my hands when touched. They seem to 'hang on to' the imprint of whatever touches my hands:
I have to remind myself to not be so self centered; to recognize that others suffer from things far worse than my ailments. Millions of people are forced to cope with chronic pain. And we all need relief. Being attacked by your own body is a whole lot of no fun.
I jokingly refer to low pain time as my Cinderella time. When it fades and I descend into the pit of fire-like pain, I've turned back into a pumpkin, like the fairy tale. I guess it lightens the mood a bit.
In the meantime, I thought that it would be nice to scold my monsters with proper names so I can curse them directly, don't you think?
Who can say "Bad Erythromelalgia!" or "Stop it Complex Regional Pain Syndrome!" quickly?
My four letter words certainly won't work in public (insert grin here).
Do you have any names you'd like to suggest?
Mmmmm Latte...... : )
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Although I have not tried EVERYTHING on the market and hot off the gossip trail to lose weight, I have tried (and not lost at) many 'fad diets'. I was convinced that my life would just be grand if one (or any) of these things worked for me.
After all, celebs do them, and look at how fabulous their thighs are, right?
I've summed up my experiences with each below. Feel free to chime in with your input!
Juice Fast Diet: I lasted 6 days on this one. It is amazing how badly the desire the chew something becomes a few days in.
Grapefruit Diet: I didn't have a problem with this one actually. My lips were in a constant pucker though. Plus I was going through so many, that I had to buy them by the case = HEAVY! So I guess this diet DID include weight lifting...
80/10/10 Diet: This one focuses on getting 80% of your calories from produce primarily. The idea looked lovely on paper. 10 Cups of strawberries for breakfast? Sign me up! We practically spent all of our grocery $ on my romps around the weekend farmer's market though - and I don't share. Plus I ended up gaining 15 lbs immediately. My body apparently was not on board.
Hypnosis: Yep, really. I tried this. Not just one session either. The guy was certain that he could remove my cravings for dark chocolate covered yummi-ness. After months (and a lot of $), I saw no change. Bummer.
No Carb: Works for some. Not for me. This was probably the crankiest time period of my life (my poor husband!).
Soup Diet: Not bad, just a bit boring. And back when I tried this diet, there was no such thing as low-sodium soup, so I was quite swollen with chapped lips.
Posting Magazine Pages of Models on My Fridge Door: Why, you ask? Because it was supposed to inspire me not to open the door of the very appliance I was trying to get into, right? Well, once I saw that the photo-shopped model's thigh was the same width as her arm, I promptly got another magnet and posted a big fat sushi stake out menu on top of her. Poor thing needed some protein...
Cabbage Diet: See Grapefruit Diet above. Large heavy round produce.
Baby Food: OK, I chickened out on this one. I stood on the baby food aisle, staring at the little glass cups of beige pasty stuff and just couldn't do it.
Apple Cider Vinegar: I lasted 2 days. I'm surprised I lasted that long. Blechhh.
Fat Burner Pills: They seem to have only one advantage in my book - intense underarm and crotch sweat, complete with heart palpitations that make you flashback to your first true love experience in junior high. Hmm, maybe that was just me.
Raw Food Diet: One word, BURP! The instructor told me that if I was craving popcorn, then I should "try a heaping bowl full of raw cauliflower sprinkled with nutritional yeast to satisfy that urge perfectly". Go to a movie theater with your heaping bowl. Watch how quickly the other people in your vicinity move elsewhere. I dare you.
And then I stumbled onto SparkPeople. I finally came to terms with what I had known deep down all along, but refused to admit:
The change started with ME.
I jumped into the pool completely at that moment, and paddled through all that SP had to offer: teams, challenges, meal plans, and most importantly, supportive Spark Friends!
I made my goal weight too, by my goal date, just as the Spark Tracker calculated. SHAZAM!!!
I'm not done with Spark though. Not by a long shot. In fact, SP has become a part of my daily life, and I love it.
It was a challenge to get back to this weight, and I know it will not be easy to keep that weight off going forward.
but I certainly won't convince myself again that fad diets are the solution.
Now will someone pass me the cauliflower? I'm about to watch something on NetFlix...
Friday, September 09, 2011
I just reached my weight loss goal. Wahoooooooo......... right?
I dunno. I'm feeling a bit...like someone forgot the avocado in my lunch order, and I just opened the container at home to that cruel reality. Doh!
I feel a lot better physically, as I know that the weight loss on my body means less burden for my current health issues. Less weight literally translates to less 'acreage' if you will, for my vascular disease and nerve condition to attack.
I look a lot better to myself too (most importantly), and am so thankful for the tremendous support and virtual ears from SparkPeople friends (you know who you are).
I am certain that I would not have made it to this weight on my own without the perks of Sparlk- "No way, no how, uh uh", as said by the wonderfully funny Sinbad in the movie Houseguest - Ha!
But in all seriousness, I was broken when I came to SP. Broken and in dire need of something to pull me back together. I found it here at SparkPeople.
I have still stumbled with my emotional eating often in recent months, and when I fell and scraped my virtual knees, it was the Spark teams and pals who comforted me and told me that while it would likely happen again, that was no reason to give up on my weight loss goals.
I naively thought the weight loss would go hand in hand with overcoming food issues.
It certainly does not.
At first I was confused and sad by the goal # on the scale.
Like a chick being pushed out of the nest too soon, chirping out, 'wait, are you SURE I can use these flimsy wings to fly???'
I'm currently reading The Four Day Win by Martha Beck. It's not a thick book, but it's got a lot of good fiber to chew on (don't worry, I am not EATING it). It's chocked full of contemplative exercises that are truly enlightening. Plus, it's not another diet book that I would inevitably fail (again).
This morning I was reading about researching my life. In it, Martha says, "your perfect body is a jewel, the setting is your life. Until the setting is ready to hold the jewel, it won't stay where you want it". The setting is literally the setting you are in; the job you hold, the friendships you keep, your health, the love(s) in your life, etc. All of these things directly affect your weight - and I was in denial of that.
I thought that if I could hire someone to yell at me and berate me into submission, that the weight would come off, and that was the the only real issue, right?
I even tried to conn my husband into acting as a kitchen drill sergeant with my food, which is really NOT his responsibility (and bashes your self confidence in the process by the way).
Have you tried to force your spouse / lover to rule over your eating habits? Soooooo un-sexy!
If your goal is to ruin your romantic encounters, then do this - No good!
I am a work in progress, who also happens to have reached her goal weight.
I am not cured of emotional eating.
Although I was saddened to find that the gap in my pants didn't equate to the lack of emotional triggers in my noggin, I will stand tall against the daily challenges when food is a factor.
Hmm, maybe if I 'stand tall' in my old pants, they might fall to my ankles and SCARE away those junkfood cravings - BONUS!
Saturday, September 03, 2011
Will you continue to blow off your workout until 'tomorrow' - over and over?
Let's talk about your food. Are you making healthy changes in your life, and more importantly, in your refrigerator?
Do the contents of your pantry have an expiration date of 2067 with all of those processed 'food items' lined up?
Is your pet expanding as you expand?
Do you really have time to waste while areas of your life waste away?
What if you were to meander through the day and then experience a health crisis that flipped your entire world on end? Perhaps a car accident, and injury, or in my case, a disease that decided to pick 1 hour into enjoying my husband's office holiday party to initiate an attack on my body like a piranha.
That was year's ago. When I look at my body now and see how this piranha beast has eaten away at the interior of my body; now reflected on the outside of it 24 hours a day, I sometimes shudder.
I know that this sounds vain, but I wish my hands looked normal to do my wedding ring justice.
All of those tiny things that make a woman feel beautiful (or at least myself), are twisted.
Some of the material things like manicures/pedicures, jewelry and shoes; things that I can't tolerate getting or wearing (Good LORD I miss sexy shoes!!!). Other things are not material, but ever so much more important, like holding my husband's hand or enjoying sleeping in later just to be closer to him, with my head on his chest, dozing off under the rhythm of his breathing.
I used to blame myself for not taking the time to enjoy those little things, but that doesn't help any. My husband prays for my healing every night, and we are thankful for the small windows of low pain I get; sometimes a day's worth per month.
Who are you to take for granted all of the freedoms you currently have?
Do you think your actions, or lack there of, will be available to you forever? Says who?
What's that line we've all said under our breath at some point? "If I only had it to do all over again..."
Don't wait for that.
Get out of your chair.
Put that unhealthy food down.
Use the multitude of resources here at SparkPeople and build a better food lifestyle.
Get outside and feel the sun on your face, the breeze on your body, the ground beneath your feet.
Call a friend and go take a hike, and then hug them wholeheartedly as you say goodbye - because you can.
Train like there is no tomorrow!
Enjoy the sunset with someone special.
Don't give up. EVER.
This time is a gift. Don't waste it.
And report back to me with your great walks/wogs/hikes/rowing/trail running sessions so I can live vicariously through YOU : ).
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