JLHNELL   34,615
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JLHNELL's Recent Blog Entries

Back on Track!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hi SparkFriends, long time no see/blog/message etc. The holiday season was a win/lose situation for me. I quickly realized that with all the wonderful joyous activities and preparations, I had significantly less time to commit to Sparkpeople.com, and I had to take a hiatus. I did a decent job of staying on my diet path, with a few mild indulgences here and there, but the good news was that overall I did well, and only gained about 2-3 pounds overall. I hovered around the 190-193 mark for about 2 months during the holiday season. I also had a mild setback when I suffered a pretty significant lower back strain. I have NO IDEA how it happened, but I had to really cut back on my lifting and pretty much just stick with cardio, and luckily I was pretty good about keeping up with that. The absolutely hardest part for me was getting back in the saddle, going back to my strict documenting of everything eaten, and getting back in the vigorous exercise habits I had developed. I have finally been able to get my ass in gear for the past week, and was pleasantly surprised by my weigh-in last week (190, which wasn't too bad considering how long it took me to get my motivation back). I was even more surprised, pleased, and highly motivated to see my weigh-in this morning, when I officially got to a grand total of 25 pounds lost since I started this journey in August! Dah-da-da-dah!!!!! Woo-Hoo! That just completely justified the hard work I put into recommitting myself and reversing some bad habits that I had slipped back into. Then I rewarded myself by buying a new pair of jeans today, and since I had a little wiggle room in a size 16, I went ahead and bought a size 14 as insurance to keep up the forward progress!!!! emoticon

So hello again to all my spark friends, I've missed you, but I'm sure you understand when messaging and blogging takes second place to your kiddos. We had an amazing Christmas, with so many lovely memories, and it makes it so much nicer that I don't feel guilty about overindulging all holiday, and was able to pick up where I left off!

Lessons I learned: as admirable of a goal as it was to be able to diet intensely over the holidays, it just isn't realistic for me as a busy mom to be able to commit the time necessary to maintain the level of intensity I had all fall. On the other hand, it is awesome and reassuring to know that the experience I built over a few months allowed me to maintain a generally healthy lifestyle and enjoy some occasional indulgences, but never overindulge, and keep up a good consistent exercise practice (minus the injury), and avoid what was in the past an inevitable weight gain over the holiday season. Lastly, I know now that if I dig deep, no matter how hard it is, I can find the strength to recommit to my aggressive lifestyle change and find success. I feel so good today that I can't wait to see what the coming weeks and months bring! And I can't wait to wear my new jeans! Next step, bathing suit shopping . . . shudder! I'm going to hold off for another month or 2 and hopefully I will have a pleasant surprise awaiting me there!!!!!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARIPEPE 2/7/2011 12:30PM

    I took the same hiatus you did and am trying to get back on track myself. Good job saying on your diet path over the holidays and for kicking it back into high gear. It gives me hope! And congrats on losing 25 lbs! That is AWESOME!!!

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    emoticon Getting back on is always harder than falling off so congrats on making your way back!

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Nov-Dec Beck Team Challenge: My Goals

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I posted this today on the Beck team message board for the Nov-Dec challenge, and I also wanted to post it here on my blog. Here is my goals for the Nov-Dec holiday season challenge. I didn't have time to post yesterday, but I started yesterday in spirit. My overall goal is to enjoy the holiday season and our special family traditions as much as possible, while maintaining my forward progress. I want to enjoy special pre-planned indulgences but keep proper portion sizes and maximize my exercise. No excuse not to keep up the exercise during the holidays!

1. Stay within calorie range on a daily basis, except for: Thanksgiving dinner, my birthday dinner (Nov 10), Christmas dinner party Dec 12, Hauer's party, Christmas eve dinner, christmas morning breakfast, Christmas day dinner, new years day dinner. But, these special meals must be portion controlled. All other food must be logged.
2. Any special treats eaten at any other time must be logged (I.e. Cookies, starbucks, wine, etc) and must fit in daily calorie range.
3. Continue to meet current exercise goals (aerobic or yoga 30+ min daily, weights 2-3 times per week)
4. Add extra 15-30 min of exercise at least 2-3 times per week
5. Continue to read ARC and other cards daily
6. Revisit any Beck principles as needed during this time
7. Continue to report to coach regularly, and prior to above mentioned special occasions for support with game plan
8. Report on this message board both missed goals, AND credit for successes, at least weekly (daily if possible)
9. No weight gain on Thanksgiving week
10. No more than 1 pound weight gain Christmas week

Good luck, everybody! Have a wonderful holiday season!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KOOKERBEE 12/1/2010 1:33AM

    I'm glad you've decided to have your holiday traditions / treats. What is life without these rich experiences? I think it's possible to do things in moderation, and your goals will accomplish that for sure! Good luck with everything - you can do it!!!
Laura :)

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TEENY_BIKINI 11/11/2010 1:36PM

    LOVE these goals!


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JLHNELL 11/3/2010 4:03PM

    Thanks guys! We have some very special holiday recipes in our family that I KNOW wouldn't normally fit in my diet, but they have such strong emotional ties for me, that it would just ruin Christmas eve and Christmas day if I couldn't enjoy them. So I'm trying to be realistic, maximize my healthy habits around the holiday to prevent those special indulgences from throwing me off my progress; and I'm gonna make darn sure that I control portion sizes. I figure that way, I will enjoy these special treats with my family, but I won't feel like a blimp after 2 days of eating (like I always used to!). Also, through my Beck Diet Solution work I will hopefully be able to indulge without falling off the wagon, and I know that 2 days of portion-controlled treats will be balanced out by a week of careful eating and regular exercise. Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season as well!

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MARIPEPE 11/3/2010 8:37AM

    I may have to steal a few of your goals! I really like the way you gave yourself leeway -- just enough to allow some variance, but strict enough to still hold you accountable. Nice! Good luck this holiday season :)

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APIRLRAIN888 11/2/2010 8:34PM

    awesome realistic goals! love it

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TANIKEYA 11/2/2010 8:10PM

    Wow! I can tell that you are being very realistic which is a good thing. I like that!

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Winning the Battle of the Candy

Monday, November 01, 2010

I've seen alot of message board posts and blogs about people not being able to resist the Halloween Candy. So I thought I'd try to write a fun blog about all the crazy ways we can beat the battle of the candy. I figured if I made it silly and fun, I'd enjoy resisting the candy with all my Spark Friends!


1. Open up all the candy. Put in a large bowl. Add sardines, garlic, onion, Limburger cheese, and any other odiferous foods you can find. Mix well. Take small taste. You'll never eat Halloween candy again.

2. Place all candy in the bottom of the diaper genie for a few days. Shouldn't be a problem after that.

3. Package candy in sandwich ziploc bags. Take with you to movie theater. Hand out to other patrons outside the door so they can bypass the theater snackbar prices.

4. Open all the candy and add to your composting pile. (yes, believe it or not, you can do that as long as you break it up into small pieces!)

5. Mix all candy together; put in large baking pan and melt it all into one big disgusting blob. Hmm, not so appetizing anymore.

6. Donate to soldiers overseas (not funny, but definately an excellent use of the candy.)

7. Stuff all the candy in a pinata and offer to bring to a friend's or child's birthday party.

8. Got someone at work you're not too fond of? Put all your candy in a basket, with a note saying "for a real sweetie" (no signature) and leave on their desk.

9. Open all the candy, then take your kids out to a field, and use a slingshot to shoot the candy into the trees.

10. Put a picture of yourself at your heaviest (preferrably a picture you hate or are ashamed of) sticking out of the bowl of candy as a visual "stop sign"

11. Make your gingerbread house early with all the Halloween candy.

12. See if a local dentist sponsors a buy-back program to get a little holiday spending cash.

13. Have your spouse hide all the candy (in a tough spot to find) and not tell you where it is. If/when you do find it, bring it back to him/her to hide again. Make it a ongoing competition.

14. Challenge yourself to see how long you can go without eating any of the candy (make some kind of challenge sheet or log and post right in front of the candy). Make sure you come up with a terrific prize for meeting a certain goal.

15. And if all else fails . . . THROW IT AWAY! If you eat it, you're only "wasting" it in your body (as fat), so don't feel guilty about "wasting" it in the trash.

Any other good ideas? Feel free to post in the comments!


Tough weekend, Better Monday

Monday, October 25, 2010

Whoa boy . . . when I slip up, it is unfortunately not a little, it is a lot. Phooey. I lost alot of ground over the weekend, and I'm blaming it on the pizza box in the fridge that faced me down Sunday . . . and won. emoticon

I had really been doing phenomenal, but I let my giving-in muscle flex its ugly self this weekend. It all started with the fam coming out Saturday night for Boo at the Zoo (a Cleveland family must-do event). I ordered pizza and chicken to make my life easier, as I had been cooking all afternoon for my niece's birthday party the next day. To offset the bad food, I popped a Kashi pizza in the oven for me (figuring I would split it, half Saturday and half Sunday at the birthday party) so I could eat pizza with the family but stay in my diet. I also whipped up a batch of Chef Meg's Roasted Root Vegetables to enjoy with the pizza and share with the fam (I highly recommend, very yummy!). I did so well, ignoring the delish smell of the fried chicken (dripping in grease, I kept reminding myself!!!!) and eating my yummy veggies and kashi pizza. But the problem surfaced . . . I had bought WAY too much pizza and chicken (perhaps subconsciously? maybe my giving-in muscle wanted me to cave in that night? who knows), and as my mother and I packed up the left-overs, I had a sinking feeling that I would have a problem.

Fast forward to that night - I resisted all the chocolate and treats at the event, promptly put the treat bags out of sight with the rest of our Halloween candy (which I am proud to say, I have not bought a single piece, it's all come to our kiddos from events). Then, as I was starting to get ready for bed, I happened to open the fridge door, and there was that damn pizza box, staring me down, whispering, "come on, you know you want some. Go ahead. One piece won't hurt." Three pieces later, I went to bed, ashamed of myself, but determined to hold fast to my diet plan at the birthday party the next day. (no appetizers; my healthy pizza, a single serving of the pasta salad I had made, and a small piece of birthday cake).

Fast forward to post-breakfast (which unfortunately for me, was another 3 pieces of leftover pizza) . . . on my way to the birthday party . . . well, maybe I should just check this dip . . . hmmm, that was delicious . . . another bite won't hurt . . . Katie picked up that special dressing for the salad, maybe just a small bowl . . . I can always save the Kashi pizza for tomorrow, why don't I just eat the pizza Katie got for the party . . . a scoop of ice cream with my cake won't hurt, I've already eaten all this other stuff . . . I'll just nibble on this leftover dip while I wash the dishes . . . sure, I'll take home some of the leftovers for Bill and the kids, as long as you don't think you need them . . . Bleh!!!!!!! The downward spiral begins, and all my good habits are flushed down the toilet!!!!!!! Dinner that night was leftover fried chicken and a double serving of pasta salad!!!!!! This is exactly the kind of thing that got me into this mess!!!!!!

So I woke up extra early this morning, determined to go back to my good habits, and to accept the bad weekend and move on. Unfortunately, as many of my fellow Beck team members know, it's not so easy to change bad habits once you let them slip back into place. So at my youngest son's playgroup this morning, when just last week I would have been able to focus on playing with him and ignore all the yummy snacks and food left out by the host, give a polite but firm refusal and still enjoy myself; suddenly I was nibbling on chex mix (I don't even like that stuff!!!) and accepting items for lunch that definately were not on my diet plan!!!!!

So waiting in the car pickup line at my daughter's preschool, I pulled out my trusty Beck journal and cards, dusted them off (I actually hadn't needed them in a while, maybe that was the problem), journeled about the morning and reviewed the specific steps that had led to the problems, and where I needed to focus some time and energy to practice skills that had perhaps become a little rusty. I gave myself credit for recognizing that there was a problem and admitting to myself I needed a refresher course; then I made some minor adjustments to my diet for the day (not cutting out a bunch of stuff willy-nilly to make up for my transgressions, realizing that wasn't fair and I needed the healthy things I had planned for to keep my body running well and get through my afternoon workout). And here I am, taking responsibility for the weekend and this morning, and rather than being dissappointed in myself and grabbing for a bag of potato chips (thank god I don't have any of those in the house!!!!), I did an extra 10min workout this afternoon, and I'm blogging as therapy. Thanks for listening. ;)

A side note . . . to those of us who are lifting as recommended for the Spark fitness plan, do you (like myself) crave protein after your lifting workouts? My usual M/W/F routine is 30 minutes of elliptical early in the morning; then lifting in the basement in the afternoon while the kiddos nap. I don't typically get hungry after my morning workouts (which you'd think I would, since I'm in "starvation" mode), but I am ravenously hungry for protein after lifting in the afternoon. Wierd. Granola and Greek yogurt for me, yum.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARIPEPE 10/30/2010 6:52PM

    I don't know what the Beck journal is, but I'm glad you had a motivational and reflective device like that to help you through this setback. And that's all it was - a setback. You've put in a lot of time and effort to get healthier and I know you will have no problem getting back to your new good habits. I hope the rest of your week went much better!!

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DESERTMIKE 10/26/2010 2:05AM

    Sorry to hear about your tough weekend. I had to chalk up one of my weekends earlier this month as a loss, too. But I am glad to read that you picked yourself up, dusted yourself off, and hopefully tomorrow will be a better day!

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Who Loves to Shop Once Again? ME!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I haven't posted a blog entry for some time, partly due to a few crazy weeks of hectic family life, but mostly because I couldn't come up with something I felt compelled to share. Well, I struck the jackpot this past Friday, so here it comes! Guess what, fellow Sparkers . . . I went clothes shopping . . . and I loved it!!!!!!

Back in the day (when I was a happy size 12ish), there was nothing I enjoyed more than shopping with my momma. We were the ultimate hunters in the outlet mall jungle, and we bagged a fair share of bargains in our day. But as time passed, and my waistline expanded, I completely lost any joy I felt in trying on clothes. In fact, it got to the point where a trip to the mall was enough to induce tears and anguish when looking in the mirror and seeing my reflection. The reflection didn't match the me that I knew was inside, hidden behind the layers of fat and poor physical shape. The me that was inside used to be beautiful, with pride and self-confidence; strong physically, mentally, and emotionally. But that strength was slowly slipping through my fingers, even as I cloaked my shame at my appearance in bulky, shapeless clothing. I acted as though clothes didn't matter to me, and I dressed like I put no importance on my outward appearance. But subconsciously, I let my outward appearance reflect how I had come to feel about myself: that it didn't matter what I looked like because I didn't matter.

That was rock bottom. The sobering realization of what I was doing to my appearance and how it reflected on my self-loathing was just one of the many reasons I finally committed to a healthy lifestyle. On my Advantages Response Card and Motivation Worksheets (for those of you familiar with the Beck Program), I had put "to look and feel attractive once again", but until recently, I didn't truly believe I could regain my outer (and inner) beauty. Until I took a shopping trip . . . to the Gap, of all places. Even in my healthiest in highschool, I rarely shopped at the Gap, the clothes just weren't designed for my figure. Even at my healthiest as a three-sport athlete, I was never thin, I had curves that just didn't fit into Gap clothes. But I gathered all my new-found self-confidence, reminded myself of all the compliments I was getting on my slimmer figure, took a deep breath, and said, "what the hell, let's try on a pair of jeans and see what happens."

Today, fellow Sparkers, I was pleased as punch to model my size 16 stylish Gap jeans for my hubby. The first time I have been out of a women's plus size pair of pants for at least 2 years. The first time I could confidently wear a contemporary-cut pair of jeans and not be embarrased. I rocked those jeans. I got compliments on the "rear view" from family members. My hubby told me how proud he was that my "booty" was getting tighter. I felt sexy for the first time in GOD KNOWS how long.

And the best part? I honestly didn't think those 16's were going to fit. I had optimistically brought them into the fitting room along with an 18, just in case. When I stepped out of the dressing room, with a crazy grin on my face and tears rolling down my cheeks, who knows what that poor dressing room attendant thought. But I gave her a hug, and whispered that I was on a diet and had lost almost 20 pounds, and hadn't shopped in this store since high school, she smiled, said, "wait here one minute, I have just the top to show off those new jeans," and came back with a tshirt and a sweater in - wait for it - a LARGE. Are you freaking kidding me? I haven't fit these breasts in anything less than an XXL for years! And on top of it, she wanted me to layer with the tshirt. I don't do the layered look, I'm too fat for it . . . wait, maybe she's right . . . and guess what. I left that store with a layered sweater and tshirt in a size large, fitted just perfectly to show off my sexy new jeans. That's right, I am wearing a fitted top, layered, and I look damn good. The best part? I can't wait to lose some more weight and go shopping again. Because now how I look on the outside reflects the real me once again; I am beautiful, I am confident, I am strong, I am a mother and a wife and a woman and I deserve to look as good as I feel.

Here's wishing to all of you that you can experience the joy of shopping nirvana care of a healthy Spark lifestyle! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISSANTHROPY15 10/18/2010 7:27PM

    This was an amazing blog to read and I can identify with your feelings! I was just remarking to a friend that losing weight is expensive because I now enjoy shopping again! I want things that I would never have worn was I heavier. I want clothes that hug my curves and not hide them. It is such an amazing feeling, isn't it? Congratulations to you!

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MARIPEPE 10/18/2010 3:08PM

    I outright cried reading your blog. Seriously. What an inspiration you are! I am so proud of you for having the courage to not only go clothes shopping, but to completely leave your comfort zone and go to a store you'd never have dreamed of stepping inside a year ago. You are a wonder woman! And bless that dressing room attendant's heart for knowing just the right sweater and shirt to recommend to you (to layer - wow!).

Honestly, the fact that you think your "outside" finally reflects the beautiful person you are inside is just awesome.... there truly is no replacement for feeling that way, is there? You deserve that feeling for all your hard work. Keep it up!! I can't wait to hear about your next shopping trip!! :)
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DESERTMIKE 10/18/2010 10:48AM

    Congratulations! It's very inspirational to hear about your victories.

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JESSICAMARSHALL 10/17/2010 11:01PM

    Keep up the hard work!

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BETZYGIRL 10/17/2010 10:52PM

    What an emoticon, emoticon blog!!! Thank you for sharing. I got tears in my eyes just picturing the joy you felt when you saw yourself in those jeans! Here's to you and I look forward to when I can get into a 16ish pair of jeans again. My woman on the inside still looks like she did at age 16. I realize a pair of jeans won't make me look 42 years younger but they sure will make me feel it!:) Here's to you girl! Keep up the good work.

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