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The Journey To Health and It's Decisions

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Before I began this journey towards health I lived under the misperception that there were all kinds of things and people that I needed in my life. I clung to that notion like a drowning man clings to a life raft. I drew lines in the sand. Either you were for me or you were against me. If you were for me, you had better agree with what I say. If you didn’t, well you were history. What you had to say contained little to no value if you made the choice to not agree with me. Of course I never spoke any of it out loud. It all swirled around in my head and the harder it swirled, well the more I ate. My name is John and I am an emotional eater.

Happy…………. Pass the pasta. Sad…………. Send in the burger, fries and beer. Anxious………… there is a cake with my name on it someplace. I clung to those beliefs with a tight fist. We all do. We all have those beliefs inside of us that motivate us. Yes I said motivate us, but in the wrong way. Instead of pulling us closer to a healthy life style they push us further away. They teach us to say the right thing so that everyone around us nods and smiles. That’s because we are scared that if those people knew what went on inside of our heads they may not like us. My name is John and I get scared.

Sometimes I am scared of being scared. Some days I’m scared and I don’t know what I am scared of but I’m so used to being scared that it’s just “what I do.” I can’t tell you any of that. You may not care for me, or support me or cheer for me. It’s all about control.

Then there came a cross roads of sorts. It’s time to go one way or another. “Time” that voice said inside of me. “Time to let go.” My name is John and I was petrified.
I know how to be fat. I know misery and I know people that will tell me anything I want to hear just so I’ll go away. Let go? There are people who “say” they care but in the end their actions speak differently.

I let go. For me it was one freaked out moment.

Health in every way shape and form means that I let go of the toxic and embrace that which challenges me to grow. As long as we cling to the toxic, whether it’s a food, a thought or a person, then we are only fooling ourselves. We live in a society that encourages us to be toxic, to make excuses and to deal with symptoms and not diseases. If you don’t believe me go into a book store and look what two sections are the largest? They are the sections on dieting and on self help. We are encouraged to get smaller and smarter without really ever coming to know ourselves or the person sitting next to us. We are encouraged to polarize.

This whole Spark process breaks that mold. It tells us to be healthy and to be happy. But I learned in my own life that until I consented to let go and let other people help me attain those two goals I would never reach them. It’s meant I had to admit that my way wasn’t always the best way and that there were other people who knew more than me.

The amazing thing is that as I dig deep I am less and less concerned with food. I find myself stressing less and less about what I eat because what goes in my mouth is benchmarked against the growing sense of excellence I have concerning myself. What I work on with a dizzying diligence is my perception of my health and establishing relationships with people who can help me do that. I am breaking the mold.

There are people who do not have my best interest at heart and I had to say good bye to them. It hurt, it was painful but at age fifty six I figure I got a good fifty years left and there is a bunch of stuff I want to do. I am not ready to concede. This chrysalis I have experienced is due in large part to you who sit and read this. If I was the kind of person who liked to embarrass other people I’d name you one by one and then write forever about the unique part of you that you have shared with me. Yes, I made the choice to listen to you. I get a gold star for that, but it was you, right there, sipping your coffee or water that helped me learn to let go by your life.

The past is behind us and beyond our grasp. Time to let go of old ways and come into the healing light of healthy self awareness.

In the most sincere sense of the word, I love you all.

It’s only been three months. My God how good will it feel in three years?

Have a blessed day.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Hey John,

I'm right there with you on this one. I love to help other people but accepting that I need help from others or that I'm wrong about something is so, so difficult.

Being able to write about my feelings and see that there's someone else out there who has the same reactions makes this whole thing a lot less scary.


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GRAMMABENJI 3/18/2010 12:29AM

    you have such amazing blogs. you write well and share your feelings with all of us.

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KATJAMN 3/17/2010 5:36PM

    Hey John,
another great blog.
I love this process of self awareness, I also hate this process of self awareness. LOL
Thank you so much for you words of wisdom and strength.
I do believe we are gonna make it!!!

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WANDAH3 3/17/2010 4:40PM

    Thank you for your wisdom and for sharing it with the rest of us.


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TRIPLE_EMME 3/17/2010 3:18PM


Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

I love you, Sparkfriend!


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_RAMONA 3/17/2010 12:41PM

    " I dig deep I am less and less concerned with food."


{{{{{{{ HUGS }}}}}}}}}}

Comment edited on: 3/17/2010 4:52:44 PM

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STORMTMB 3/17/2010 12:32PM

    "Health in every way shape and form means that I let go of the toxic and embrace that which challenges me to grow. As long as we cling to the toxic, whether it’s a food, a thought or a person, then we are only fooling ourselves."

Your words spoke to me, John. Nothing that I can explain here, but the Voice from above has used 2 or 3 people to deliver this message. Pretty soon I'm going to get slapped upside the head... As always, thanks for your words of wisdom.

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ALICEELIZABETH4 3/17/2010 12:29PM

  Hi John, I am new here. I read your blog for the first time today. I, too, have come to the realization that I need help to live a healthy lifestyle that is also full and meaningful. I have been used up so to speak in meeting the needs of everyone around me and have noticed that when I hear feedback they are mostly allowing me to help to make me feel good about me, and that feed back blew me away! I have been wearing myself out to help those that don't really need help except maybe in the drama department. With the help of my medical doctor, I am starting the first day of my healthy lifestyle journey today. Thank you for your blog. I look forward to hearing more.

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BECCALYNN75 3/17/2010 11:50AM

    These two sentences really stood out to me:

(1) We live in a society that encourages us to be toxic, to make excuses and to deal with symptoms and not diseases.
(2) This whole Spark process breaks that mold. It tells us to be healthy and to be happy.

I think this is what I had to "get my head around" too. For me it became the line in my signature "Taking responsibility and not allowing excuses". Some of those were my excuses, some from others who may have meant well, and some from society in general.

Another great blog John! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and feelings so openly and wish I could express myself half as well.

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MOTHERLORI 3/17/2010 11:25AM

    Happiness is a choice ~ I always try to surround myself with happy people, so when I'm choosing not to be happy, they remind me, it's my choice. That's why I always read your blog John, you understand what so many people don't, how we live our life is our choice, how we deal with our emotions is our choice, how we overcome our difficulties is our choice. I appreciate your choices! Lori emoticon emoticon

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TNTEACHER2 3/17/2010 10:50AM

    Another good one, John.

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GREENCAT1 3/17/2010 10:37AM

    John - I am sitting here in tears. Your blog was exactly what I needed to hear today. For some reason I am feeling overwhelmed by all of the major changes and little changes that I have been making and that I have ahead of me yet. I feel that I am at a fork in the road and I either cling to the old, comfortable ways and live with the consequences, or bravely walk into the unknown and embrace health. I don't think I can live to my fullest potential and do all of the things that I am led to do if I back out now. Your words speak to my heart and have given me some strength on a day when I surely need it. Thank you for sharing.....

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CMBELISLE 3/17/2010 10:32AM

    Fear can be a great paralyzer and when we work toward leaving our "comfort zone" we are often afraid. However, living a successful and happy life often requires us to leave that zone.

As usual, another great blog.

Hope you're having a great week!

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TKRINER 3/17/2010 10:01AM

    Thank you for your blog. It's very insightful.

Feel the fear, do it anyway. - Jillian Micheles

When I start to get scared I remember this quote.

Hugs, Tami

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YOYONOMORE1 3/17/2010 9:56AM

    John, you are an amazing person and a great inspiration, you certainly do have a way with words that reach out to us and help us want to continue this journey together. A very Happy St. Patrick's Day to you and Joan, I take it this is a day of celebrating in your home. Keep the blogs coming.


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TAZZAT2003 3/17/2010 9:50AM

    For me it has been just over a month. However, in that month I have grown so much. A lot of that growth has been because of you, John. When I first read your blog I was in "Aww". Your honesty, your optimism and your sincerity touched my heart. I thought to myself, "I wish I could be optimistic like him. I wish I had something profound to say that would have a positive impact on someone's life." Then, one day, it just happened.(I believe it was the day you posted about choosing to be happy.) I decided to be happy. Now, more often then not there is a big smile on my face and I am sharing my experience with others. I do not know for sure but, I like to think that I too have been able to positively impact someone's life.
The journey to health and happiness is long but, always know that you have got a friend here, always.

In light of the occasion:

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
May the rains fall soft upon your fields,
And, until we meet again,
May God hold you in the hollow of His hand.

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AMYTATH 3/17/2010 9:28AM

    John!!! This is so totally what I did about 9 months might not know this to talk to me now but I used to be one of the most pessimistic people you would have ever met! Life was out to get me, everyone I really talked to had drama and life was just drama. Stuff at home was hard and I always thought about the negative. Then I was reading one day and one sentence caught my attention and changed my life. "If you only think and dwell on the negative, negative is all you will see." It went on to explain that negative thinking brings about negativity. Instead of THINKING about the negative, find the positive and think and talk about that.

OMG it changed my life. Yes, life happens and sometimes its negative but if you find the positive you can still be happy with life. I don't associate with the people who only want to talk about the fight they had with someone, or how they hate their job and the people they work with...ect. My home life is better, my JOB is better. It was even reflected on the annual evaluation I got at work about a week ago.

Thinking positively and surrounding yourself with people who are positive brings positivity in your own life!!! I live by this now!

Have a great day John!!!

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KLEONIKI 3/17/2010 9:27AM

    Yes, yes!
I can relate to this blog too... My words, are accurately spoken by you dear John!

It is soothing to find another one of one's kind...

But It is better if after THE CHANGE had taken place , the relation could continue to exist! This is the challenge for me!
To be able to exchange words even out of points- rewarding mode, to have the interest to share even though some or all of us have reached the goal aimed... In other words to become FRIENDS.

Good luck with you journey!
Keep on the good job!

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NJMATTICE 3/17/2010 9:16AM

    You'll feel thinner. That's my guess.
For me it has been a process of allowing myself to mature. (grow up) I can still be child-like but have to let go of the childish. I was clinging to the dependent side of my nature. Dependent on everyone else but myself to get my needs met. That way I could blame others for my unhappiness. Spouse, family, food, alcohol, cigarettes whatever or whoever. I was a victim. Poor me.
The phrase that resonated with me this fine St. Paddy's day morn with the bright sun on my shoulder, (run on sentence, my favorite literary device) is this:

"growing sense of excellence"

A nice term for high self-esteem. I like it. I'm taking it with me. Here's what my Spark Journey has taught me.
Self Esteem is build one healthy choice at a time. Every time that I do the work, make the hard choice, keep the promise that I have made to myself, my self esteem grows. With good self esteem, good choices become easier to make.
Distilling this has given me the simplicity that I need to succeed. And finally becoming a "responsible adult" has given me a terrific quality of life. I'm the boss. I'm large an in charge and I love it.

You have inspired me to be verbose. You are doing great. You are also Large and In Charge my friend. Have a great day. Erin go bragh or whatever that means.

Comment edited on: 3/17/2010 9:17:22 AM

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AMABILE75 3/17/2010 9:15AM

    emoticon We are right here to walk this path with you. Some days we may decide to take the quick direct route, while others we want to take the scenic route and make a few stops along the way. We're here at your pace, on your time table, when you need us. emoticon You are simply amazing!! Three months... wow! In three years NOTHING will be able to hold you back! :)


Thanks for all of the support you continue to give me on my blogs & my page. Your support has truly made a difference in my life. emoticon

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MARCYNA 3/17/2010 8:40AM

    Hi John, what you've written is all about me - and I'm sure my name's on everything with 'chocolate' on it.
BTW I'm thinking I might as well CHANGE the people I hang on with.
Just as I'm starting to change the food I eat, I need to let go of wrong people.
Lots of love,
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/17/2010 8:45:37 AM

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BUGGYS 3/17/2010 8:15AM

    OMG! I could have written this blog...thank you for putting all of my feelings into made my have such a great attitude and you will reach your goal emoticon emoticon

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Small Acts of Kindness and Our Journey Towards Health

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Of my top ten things to do in life, walking outdoors in the morning is right up there. Once the weather warms up for good in mid-April, I enjoy getting up around 5:30 and taking a walk. It is cool it is quiet and I use the time to think, meditate, pray and plan my day. As it gets close to mid-April the more excited I get. It’s one of the things I really look forward to. That’s not why I am writing about my morning walks although I certainly love the benefit.

Every morning I walk the same route. A few summers ago I would walk down a street that had a bus stop. As I did I would pass the same person walking the opposite way toward the bus stop each morning. I would always smile and say hello to them. I am not a quiet person by nature, nor is my voice soft. If I say “good morning” to you, most likely you will remember it all day as will people in surrounding counties. I always make it a point to give a person eye contact when I talk to them. When I’ve said hello to you, you know you’ve been said hello to. I enjoy smiling. I know if you smile at me I feel good. So along with hello you get a smile.

So each morning as I passed her at roughly the same time each day, I said “hello” or “good morning.” One Friday, towards the middle of August I performed my usual ritual and continued my walk. As she passed by me I heard a small voice say, “Excuse me, sir.”

I thought maybe I dropped something so I stopped and turned around. The woman smiled slightly and said;

“I wanted to thank you for your kindness these past few months. I have had a rough summer. I wont get into it but things haven’t been good for me. But there was one thing I could always count on, your smile and your “hello.” It made my day seem that much easier to bear.”

She smiled again and turned around and walked towards her bus stop. Talk about your major life lessons!! You and I never know the impact, positive or negative we are going to have on a person simply by what we say or what we don’t say. I was being friendly and polite. I had no idea my good morning meant that and a lot more.

The lady taught me a huge lesson. If you ever meet me, you’ll know it’s me. You’ll hear a warm hello and a get a pleasant grin. Oh, I know, some people think I’m a stalker but you know what reaction I get the most? Most people sort of let their guard down and smile back or say “thank you.” I can tell by the look on their faces they mean it. Someone recognized them.

We all want to be recognized, whether we admit it or not. We all like to hear our names spoken or written. It singles us out as special. And, um, well we are!!! When we take the time to acknowledge another person we never know the full extent of the good we do.

When I love you, I love me, plain and simple. There is a lot in you to love because there is a lot in me to love and the more I practice that notion the more I grow and the more dependant I become on myself and the less dependent I become on food and other destructive habits.

This morning I am going to start randomly finding Sparkies I do not know, introduce myself and encourage them. I encourage you to do the same. Ya never know when that little push might be the best one someone ever gets.



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Your story is so true. One of my favorite things when I'm out for a bike ride, walk, or jog, is to say hello to someone going by. This all started for me when I first started jogging back in 2004 and I heard someone from across the street that was running shout to me "hey, good job, keep it up!"

Woah... some random person just said "good job?" It was the best encouragement ever. I still remember it today and now make a point to say hello or ringing my dorky bike bell and waving at someone else outdoors. It's a fun way to share the encouragement :) Great job.

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GRAMMABENJI 3/18/2010 12:32AM

    It would be wonderful to meet you. you are so uplifting. I am going to be finding some sparkies too.

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MARCYNA 3/17/2010 11:36AM

Give and you'll be given in John's interpretation,just love it, I wanna try it -I'm afraid not with the kind of voice you have. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/17/2010 11:42:38 AM

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TNTEACHER2 3/17/2010 10:46AM

    In the cafeteria at Union City High School, where I used to work, there was a sign which said "Smile. It may be the only smile a student sees during the day." I thought, "How sad." Of course, our director of instruction always told us teachers to smile just before we began presenting the lesson. As a teacher, I smiled at everyone. I like teen agers! And when I smiled, they usually smiled, too. Thaat made me happier.
One of our duties, as God's children, is to notice our fellow humans and to help them through their jouneys on this planet.
Well said, John, and especially well smiled!

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KATIEGLEN012 3/17/2010 5:57AM

    This reminds me of the Prayer of Jabez...use me Lord, I do not need to know or understand the whys...just use me.

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WANDAH3 3/16/2010 4:48PM

    Thank you for sharing. I love the ripple effect of goodness you have created. Like you, I make it a point to smile and say hello to those I walk past when out walking. I especially love the looks of astonishment on the teenagers faces! They are so amazed to be greeted and smiled at. Makes life fun.

Have an awesome day,
PS...I putting out the warning...I'm a hugger!

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CMBELISLE 3/16/2010 1:31PM

    So eloquently stated. When I'm walking (and in all other parts of my life), I always try to smile and/or say hi to anyone I see. Some people smile back and some scowl back. I feel kinda sorry for the scowlers, but the smilers make me feel good. It's one of the few things we can do where we reap the rewards almost immediately - not always, but quite often.

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GOLFCHICK2-0 3/16/2010 1:17PM

    Good Morning to you, John!! How sweet a story that is! I'm one who was brought up with "Please" and "Thank You" as part of a natural vocabulary. I have found by throwing in a happy smile and saying "Hello!" has made people's day just a little brighter..

A couple weeks ago, going through the smog check at DMV, somehow I ended up in the slowest lane. Everyone in front of me was giving the poor guy a hard time. He sure let me know that my smile and good attitude made his day better.

Spark it Forward!! emoticon emoticon

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KATJAMN 3/16/2010 12:59PM

    I would love to be the person getting that smile and the hello.

I strive to be the same way. When anyone walks in the bank where I work, they will always get a big hello and a smile. I love the shocked reaction some people get on their faces.

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AMYTATH 3/16/2010 11:01AM

    I find my self doing the same thing with the smiles! When Im walking down the halls at work I try to make eye contact with everyone, smile and say Hi, good morning, have a nice night, whatever fits. At the hospital I used to work at, there was a mirror above the time clock and it had a sign on it that said..."Smile...its contagious" That phrase has stuck with me for ten years now!

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TAZZAT2003 3/16/2010 10:43AM

    Good Morning, John. Thank you once again for another fantastic lesson in spreading the spark. I hope you have a terrific Tuesday. Something tells me you will.

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/16/2010 9:48AM

    Good morning, John!

Thank you for sharing your story; it is inspiring.

And, I love your new plan.


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AMABILE75 3/16/2010 9:19AM

    GOOD MORNING JOHN!! emoticon

How wonderful that you were able to touch another person's life in such a way. You are a good soul.

I do love finding new SparkFriends and just drop in and say hello!! I will do that today. Thank you for the encouragement.

emoticon emoticon

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WALKNLOVE 3/16/2010 9:07AM

    Yea, I am the same way! And whenever I meet someone new, in most cases I give a hug, cause I am a hugger! Hugs are always good things, unless of course you see that imaginary sign around their neck that says,"Don't touch me."(Sometimes we have to respect their need for privacy.) But just about everyone needs a smile & a here's one right back at cha! emoticon Thanks for sharing that simple truth that even the smallest, random act of kindness can go a long way to brighten someone's day!

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STORMTMB 3/16/2010 9:00AM

    There is a person who has come into my life recently who always, always uses my name. I love it. I love his voice and I love to hear him say my name. It calms me and gives me peace. I can't say I've ever felt it before. Not like that, at least. It's not a romantic thing. Just a "you're special because you're a human" thing.

What I've noticed is that he knows everyone's name, no matter their status, gender or age. He takes the time to ask and remember. He only heard my name once and remembered. While one may say it's a great memory, I truly believe it's because he takes the time and care to remember.

It has been an awesome lesson for me and one that I am acutely aware of now. You are oh so right that one small act can have such an impact on a person. A hello, a smile, an acknowledgement. Some days it's what I need to get through the day.

Have a great day, John. emoticon

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JATOBY51 3/16/2010 8:57AM

    emoticon GOOD MORNING
Thanks for sharing this story! Thanks for reminding me that our smiles and small acts of kindness do touch people! And especially if we touch one person the way you did it is all worth it!

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BLUEGOOSE2 3/16/2010 8:53AM

  You are such a special person John and a very GIFTED writer. Thank YOU!!!.

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NJMATTICE 3/16/2010 8:52AM

    Random Act of Sparkness. Smiles are a great investment. They cost nothing but exact a great return! My children get so uncomfortable out in public with me. I go up to any stranger and ask them questions like "That's a great hat, where did you get it?" or make random comments to young parents like "Oh, I see you have your helper with you today." They roll their eyes and say "Yes I do." Then smile. I remember how challenging shopping with a little one can be. My kid's go "Ma-ahm! Why do you always do that?" Just as my sister and I would always say " Da-ad!. . ." One of the greatest gifts passed on by my dad is the gift of "being neighborly".
Thanks for the positive reinforcement, John. And keep being "neighborly". It's a real healthy habit.

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What I Have Learned So Far: Three Months of Spark

Monday, March 15, 2010

As of yesterday I have been a Sparkie for three whole months. I would like to share what I have learned so far.

First, I deserve to be healthy and with that I deserve to be happy. So do you. Health is not something reserved for the bright, the beautiful or the privileged. It is my God given right, if I choose to take advantage of it. By being healthy I open the door to so many possibilities in my life and BTW: very few of them have to do with how I look. They ALL have to do with how I feel about myself. When I feel healthy and pursue happiness in myself I can see it in you. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but the more I see it in me, the more I see it in you.

Second, I am not doing anything but I am becoming a whole lot. I am not on a diet I am in the process of changing how I look at myself and when I do that I start to look at how I see the rest of the world and all the very beautiful and talented people that are in it. I am simply, tastefully and wonderfully becoming myself. The journey I am on is not about doing things it is about becoming the best me I can be.
Third, I have a responsibility to share the insights, the gifts and the talents I have been given. They were given for a reason and that reason is to share what I have learned about life, through my experiences with other people. If I can cause you to smile, to laugh or to simply look in the mirror and appreciate yourself a bit more than I have succeeded. I am learning to be less selfish because the more I give, the more I get.

Fourth, I am learning not to judge. If I refuse to judge me then I can’t judge you. We come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of recipes and exercise ideas and notions that are very effective for each of us. I have learned we are like a huge field that goes as far as the eye can see and in the field are flowers and plants and trees of different colors and shapes and sizes that make up this amazing tapestry called life. I am learning to be open to learn from you. My youngest Spark friend is nineteen and my oldest is well into their seventies.

Fifth, I have learned that if I can make excuses not to do something I can create a reason to do something. Sitting in front of me in the mirror each morning is a gift from God, that gift is me. With that gift there is an opportunity to do many things, if I choose to do them. I can be tired, cranky, and low on funds. My mother may have been mean or one of my friends cross with me. Those are excuses not to honor my commitments. The reasons for me to do things are simply that I deserve my health and my happiness but in order to cross that bridge there is always a toll. That toll is my commitment to a healthy life. It means I track my food and when I want to eat a bag of cookies, a chocolate cake or an entire pie, I understand I will not be healthy and that as an adult I have a choice. It means I eat the grapes or the apple instead and enjoy it just as much. Yes, it is hard and I get really mad sometimes. It’s a commitment.

It means that I get on the treadmill or bike or elliptical every day for forty minutes whether I really want to or not. I don’t always do it cheerfully but I do it. I have learned to be flexible. It means I work out at five am one day and eight pm the next day because that’s what my schedule permits. In a nutshell it means I am honoring me.

I honor you. I honor you for your guidance, your friendship and your understanding. I stand up and applaud you for the events in your life that have knocked you low and then you have risen up again to continue your journey. When I want to stay home and watch the television rather than work out I think of so many of you that put your heads down and make the effort to be healthy and I begin to feel small. I think of those of you who have persevered through the most trying of situations and I begin anew. Believe me when I say each of you is my prayers on a daily basis.

Saturday afternoon I got an email from the Spark Team. My first reaction was “Oh, oh, what have I done now?”

It read;
“The SparkPeople Community thinks you are a motivation to others!

SparkPeople Members can vote for SparkPages that are motivational, based on Community involvement, personal accomplishments and more. You have received enough votes to become a "SparkPeople Motivator." Congratulations! For recognition, your SparkPage now has a special "SparkPeople Motivator" icon, and your SparkPage will be featured more prominently on the main SparkPages section of the site.

Thank you for inspiring other members through your own hard work and dedication! “

I read it to Joan and I started to cry. To those of you who felt touched in some way by what I have written and thought enough to take the time to recognize me, I thank you. I should say so much more but I simply can’t. If you can imagine what is written on my heart, suffice to say it is extreme gratitude mixed in with a lot of awe.
Finally you will no notice of weight loss mentioned here. If you are interested go to my Spark Page and read the ticker. My concern is health and happiness, both mine and yours. My weight loss is a byproduct of my desire to be a happier and healthier me on all levels and that is what I will continue to work on. I will be honest with myself and others. I will pay the price and grind it out some days when I’d rather not. I’ll link arms with you and walk down that road where we don’t always know where the next turn is but where we can see the sun over the next rise.

A Spark friend wrote a few weeks ago that if we aren’t careful the scale can become Satan. It cabn rule your life if you let it. I choose to let me rule my life.

That is what I have learned here in the past three months and you, (Yeah YOU!!) I learned a lot it from you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATJAMN 3/16/2010 12:56PM

    Good for you, John!! You deserve it!! You are very inspiring.
I, for one, have been on the receiving end and I appreciate all that you offer!
Keep up the great work and I am so happy that you made all those discoveries.

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BLUEGOOSE2 3/16/2010 8:31AM

Congratulations on your award, my friend!! Thank You , for being such a positive and uplifting person. The warmth and love of you spirit comes through in your writing. My GOD continue to bless you always. I feel it a privilege, to call you a friend.


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    The feeling is mutual.

Congrats on the award :)


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AMYTATH 3/15/2010 4:22PM

    John, you are always so eloquent with your words. I always read your blogs...what I come out of it is knowledge and...a feeling. This warm fuzzy feeling. Though the feeling is there the words are not. I never know what to say after one of your blogs because I dont want to sound stupid after you so briliantly worded your thoughts. But I felt I needed to comment today...still not sure what to say so I hope two words sum it up...

Thank you.


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NEELIXNKES 3/15/2010 1:44PM

    What a great post. Thanks for sharing your story with us! emoticon

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GIRANIMAL 3/15/2010 1:11PM

    emoticon You deserve it. You certainly have motivated and inspired me daily!

I too am working on not judging. I am not sure why this is so hard for me sometimes, since I generally celebrate people's differences. Ah well, another lesson learned. It's good to know so many of us share similar struggles. Thanks as always for your openness!

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ANNSTOECKL 3/15/2010 1:02PM

    Thank you for sharing what you've learned. I just "met" you and already you have inspired me. Blessings

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CMBELISLE 3/15/2010 12:55PM

    Congrats! You really are a great motivator!

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CAROLYN0107 3/15/2010 12:38PM

    Congratulations John for becoming a SparkPeople Motivator!

I appreciated your list of what you have learned in the past three months. It was a good evaluation. I am looking for health... but it would be nice having a bit more weight loss on my part! I'm now trying to lose the weight I gained June-Dec during my six months in the States. You know, pot luck church dinners, all you can eat buffets, etc. Sabotage to the 22 pounds I HAD lost. But I am not giving up. I'm getting healthier every day as I walk more and more.

Have a good day.

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TAZZAT2003 3/15/2010 12:04PM

    Congrats, John! I knew it was only a matter of time. You have been such a positive influence on me and my life. I knew I was not alone in thinking "What a motivation you are." An added bonus is this award would sure look good on an application for any radio station. So glad we have met and I look forward to hearing your voice on the radio someday. =)

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DOLLIE6 3/15/2010 11:36AM

    Congratulations on being a super person. Isn't that funny when someone is kind or caring we all react so strong. That's what we all should be, there helping others, caring enough to hold out a hand, caring enough to blog and encourage. I followed some of my friends to your page and I really got a blessing this morning. Thanks for sharing and just being you. I will follow your blogs.

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MARCYNA 3/15/2010 10:19AM

    Oh John, you just deserved it!!!
SP is a special place where people get what they deserve, ain't it great???
I'm too moved to write anything else... emoticon emoticon emoticon

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YOYONOMORE1 3/15/2010 9:21AM

    emoticon on your award, you are a very good motivator, keep it up.


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WANDAH3 3/15/2010 9:17AM

    John, you are one of the Best!

Thank you for being your authentic self and sharing that self with the rest of us.


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STORMTMB 3/15/2010 9:04AM

    You are an inspiration, John. Congrats on a well-deserved award! Keep up the great work.

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8MYWAYHERE 3/15/2010 8:52AM

    Great blog. I am so glad one of my spark friends had you as a friend so I could follow her link and read your page. You've got a great perspective. I've been here about 2 months - thanks.

emoticon emoticon

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NJMATTICE 3/15/2010 8:30AM

    Namaste! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/15/2010 8:30:31 AM

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REMODELINGPAT 3/15/2010 8:10AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticonMy friend, there aren't enough good emoticons to congratulate you on your progress. I'm glad SP recognized you as a motivator...because YOU ARE! The day I found your page was a RED LETTER day.

Blessings on you in your continued walk toward health. I will enjoy tagging along.


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JUSTLYLE 3/15/2010 7:46AM

    Great blog and easy reading. We're so happy you found Sparks.
Skeeter emoticon

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YMATTOCKS 3/15/2010 7:44AM

    I've tried for years to "diet" unsuccessfully. This year I came to the same conclusion. This is a way of life, not to be consumed with food or the scale but to be consumed with living. Thank you for your insight. Your words are truly inspiring.


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DOLLBABE56 3/15/2010 7:42AM

    Believe my John that you really are an inspiring motivator, and I am very proud to know you. When I feel myself start to feel blue I read one of your blogs and am lifted up. Sincerely.

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AMABILE75 3/15/2010 7:33AM

    It is truly amazing how far you came in just 3 months!!! emoticon Such wonderful things you have learned too. I am so happy that I met you on here, you have become one of my most cherished friends. I always look forward to your blogs and responses. You are definitely a motivator and deserve the award for sure!! I am so proud of you, so happy for you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Thank you for allowing us to learn and grow with you!!


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Putting Life Into Neutral

Saturday, March 13, 2010

This will be quick.

I am going to be a "Spark Bum" this weekend. I will keep up with my food, my exercise and all my goals and commitments. I will pray for each of you, hold you in my heart and think good thought about you until Monday morning. That's when I'll be back.

I am taking the weekend off. We are not doing anything very special at all. Grocery shopping, a movie, church, raking out flower beds. I am going to relax and savor life like a fine bottle of wine.

I deserve it and so do you.

Dont miss me too much. I will talk to all of you Monday.

Have a great weekend guys.



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TNTEACHER2 3/15/2010 2:10AM

    See you again Monday.

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CRYSELLE 3/14/2010 10:55AM

    I hope you are having an awesome and relaxing weekend!!! :)

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WANDAH3 3/13/2010 9:13PM

    A question John...."if you are thinking good thoughts about us until Monday morning, does this mean the thoughts turn ugly after Monday????? emoticon

Have an awesome weekend.


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MINDAC20 3/13/2010 8:04PM

    Have a great weekend, John!

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SUSANNE61 3/13/2010 3:33PM

    Good for you. We all need to take a little "me" time. Congratulations on your nomination as Motivator.

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SPARKENISTA 3/13/2010 3:23PM

    Have a great weekend, John!

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REMODELINGPAT 3/13/2010 9:29AM

    Have a wonderful weekend! We'll miss your blogs, but everyone should take some personal time occasionally. emoticon

Blessings for you and your wife!


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STORMTMB 3/13/2010 9:21AM

    Enjoy your weekend and hug that wonderful wife of yours!

BTW - I don't think you're putting life into "neutral;" I'd call it moving full speed ahead because you're taking time to enjoy your blessings. That's the way life is meant to be lived.


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BIBLIOHOLIC57 3/13/2010 9:09AM

    How wonderful for you. Have a great time and make sure you buy your wife some FLOWERS!

Looking forward to reading your blog on Monday.



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TEENY_BIKINI 3/13/2010 8:19AM

    Enjoy the wine and the respite. You are worthy :)

emoticon emoticon

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"But You Don't Understand....... I'M TIRED"

Friday, March 12, 2010

A friend of mine called the other day. I hadn’t heard from him in awhile. He’s had a rough twelve months or so. His father passed away right before Christmas 2008. He had struggled with diabetes for over twenty five years and was in poor health all that time. Like most other things in life you “get used to” things. His dad died rather suddenly. One day he was laughing and talking the next he was dead. Shortly after that my friend found out he had diabetes. A few weeks ago he found out he had something called celiac disease which comes from intolerance to gluten. It’s been a rough year. He has always rebounded from anything that’s been dished in his path. During the past year I have watched him slowly slip into a depression.

He is one of those people who will talk when he’s ready to talk and in the ten years I have known him it never happens any sooner than that. The good news is once he gets it out he is pretty concise.

“I’m angry with my father,” He began. “He left my mother a financial mess. He knew better than that. Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.”

I had to smile because the damn had burst; he was ready to face his demons so to speak. Was I?

I laid in bed that night thinking about the last part of his statement, “Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.” Joan and I have six great kids. They are not perfect but neither are we. We raised them to be themselves and no one else and we think they are pretty good people. Oh how I wished I had left it there!!
I began to think about all those times I wasn’t a “hero” to my kids. I started reviewing all the mistakes I made. Off in the distance I heard a voice:

“Pity, party of one, your table is available.”

It was going to be a long night. Why did this have to happen now!! Fortunately my inner voice intervened. (TYVM Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!)

“Okay so maybe you weren’t a hero all the time. Why can’t you start being one tomorrow?” It wasn’t this holy, voice from on high. It was sort of a “duh, John” voice. It said “If you are not happy with the way something is, change it.”

“Duh!!!” (Sometimes I wish it would leave off the duh part.)

I have the power to change anything about me I don’t like. No one else does. I can blame mom, dad, Joan, the kids and the fact that one of my favorites got voted off American Idol last night………… It is not going to change who is responsible for what happens to me.

It struck me that it really is all that simple. I am the one who makes it complicated. I throw in all kinds of terms and conditions and then when you don’t live up to them I have a built in excuse not to move on. It’s never, ever me.

While I am responsible for me, if I do not learn from other peoples positive example than I will not be completely successful. I was traveling all day yesterday and I was tired when I got home. I had already decided no cardio today. I was too wore out. I needed a break anyways. My attitude was poor. I had a whole raft of excuses.

I started reading Spark People blogs and boy-oh-boy did I get a wakeup call.
My good friend AMABILE75 has been put through the ringer the past few days. She has some health issues she’s concerned about and if you read her profile and her blogs, well just let me say this: She is in my top ten of inspirational people…….. of all time. Her blog yesterday talked about exercise, walking up a jillion flights of stairs and then beginning preparation for a 5K run in July. This is while she is living with her medical issues.

“This is the last call for pity, party of one.”

I was humbled. I had a sore neck, a sore back and I was cranky. I changed clothes went to the gym and I have to tell you it was the best work out I have had in two weeks. This morning I feel energized and refocused. (Thanks Tara)

The only person who can change me is me, but if I try to do it alone it won’t ever work. When I need something I turn to those in my life who can help, guide or show me a different perspective. To me that’s the true secret of being a Sparkie.
In three months I have created relationships that God willing will last a life time. But in the end it’s all up to me. I can succeed or fail but it’s my choice.

It’s your choice too.

Knock em’ dead today my friends

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JERIBERI1 3/14/2010 10:35AM

    Great blog, John!! Yes, we are responsible for our own happiness, our own choices, and our own attitudes. Change is not always easy, but it's always necessary. The very definition of life is that it is ever-changing.

Have a fantastic day!!

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RAINBOWMF 3/13/2010 7:26PM


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ANNSTOECKL 3/13/2010 3:20PM

    Boy, did I need this today! Thank you. Prayers for your friend. Blessings, Ann

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GERIKRAGH 3/13/2010 1:54PM

    Amabile is also a friend of mine and a daily inspiration. Your blog reminded me of my favorite quote: If it is to be, it is up to me. Thank you for the reminder that we CAN be responsible.

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TNTEACHER2 3/12/2010 11:45PM

    Another great blog, John.

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NJMATTICE 3/12/2010 7:49PM

    There's no such thing as a good excuse. There may be a good reason, but no excuses. Have a great evening. Really. Have a great evening. I doesn't matter if you are tired, you can still choose to have a good evening. (that was not for your benefit. I'm just talking to myself.)
John, you have a good evening too.

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WANDAH3 3/12/2010 5:02PM

    I see that "duh" voice lives in your head too! lol.

I have a quote that I've started using and it really is the one thing that gets me going on those days when I just want to shut down and do nothing. "Just do it".
I'm the only one that can "just do it" in my life. I detest that "whiny" voice that gives me so many excuses. I have come to realize that the the quickest way to shut it up is to "just do it". I always feel so much better when I have "just done it".

Have an awesome weekend.


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STORMTMB 3/12/2010 11:56AM

    To me, parents are heroes because they are human. Kids need to have the love and support of their parents, but they also need to know that sometimes parents (adults) mess up or make a bad decision or have something bad happen.

Kids need a good example of how to rebound from that. They need to see a parent say I'm sorry or figure out how to make it right or how to cope when things just aren't fair. Kids need role models for how to live their lives in the good times and in the bad or difficult. When it's done in an open, loving and supportive way, every adult, parent or not, is a hero.

That's my two cents.

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GETFIT2LIVE 3/12/2010 11:53AM

    Well done--as others have said, dads don't have to be perfect (though as parents we sure WANT to be!), they just need to be real, be truthful, and be there for their children, and it sounds like you are all of those.

The turning point for me in beginning to make real life changes was realizing (finally--duh!) that the choice is mine to make. I can choose to continue down the same, destructive path I've been on of eating things that do me no good and getting as little exercise as humanly possible, or I can choose to make the changes that I know I need to make. We have a choice; we are not victims; and we are not alone. Have a GREAT day!

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TEEKAY25 3/12/2010 11:10AM

    Thanks for your post, it was a great wake up call. I've been sitting at the pity party table for too long, its time to join this thing called LIFE and live.


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TKRINER 3/12/2010 9:41AM

    Thank you for this inspiring blog. Your right, we have to make up our own mind to change. Just wish that wasn't so hard to do.

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SANDY5882 3/12/2010 9:32AM

    Thank you - you remind us it's all about our decisions for us and we are the only ones we can control!

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COVINGTON69 3/12/2010 9:25AM

    I am a daddy's girl through and through and I KNOW my dad isn't perfect but the important thing is he is still my hero regardless. My parents have always been there for me since I was little and they were broke 30 somethings raising 2 kids. I love them for who they are and how they raised me. I respect them and now they are not only my parents but my friends.

You can change things that you want but one of my favorite quotes is, if it is something you can't change, don't worry about it. I try to use that in my life when people/things get on my nerves.

OK I rambled, but I am glad I met you as a friend.

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TAZZAT2003 3/12/2010 9:18AM

    You remind me of an old friend. I always had excuses. I wanted to learn how to drive..'I do not have a car, my mom won't teach me, I do not have time etc'. No matter what the problem, no matter what the excuse he always would tell me "You can" I would always become defensive and sometimes frustrated. "I just can't" I would say. Without missing a beat "You can! If you want to do it then do it". As frustrating as it was, he was right. It may take a while. It may be really hard. However, if I want it badly enough I can have it...I can do it.
I have since learned to drive. I am learning to live a healthier life and this fall I WILL return to school.

I can, you can, we can! The question is will I? YES I WILL!

Have a great weekend! Thanks again for another inspiring post!

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AMABILE75 3/12/2010 8:59AM

    As MARCYNA already said, dad's (parent's) do not have to be perfect or hero's 100% of the time. You are still human, and humans are not perfect. Therefore it is impossible to be perfect 100% of the time and expecting that of yourself is unrealistic and setting yourself up for disappointment.

With that said, if there is an area or aspect of your personality that you wish to change then yes, only you can make this change. You CAN do it though. You are such a strong person, so kind and caring, I know that you have the power within yourself to do anything you decide you want to do. It may not be easy, but we are here for you every step of the way.

Thank you so very much for all of the kind words you wrote about me. I am so happy that I have been able to help. I would go through everything I've been through in life 10 times over if I knew it would somehow help another human. Thank you for letting me know that I have helped you. I can go through the day with a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.

emoticon emoticon

Have a great day!! You are WONDERFUL!

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REMODELINGPAT 3/12/2010 8:13AM

    Introspection is always hard, and usually painful. But as we come out the other side, IT IS GOOD! I hate looking inward! There are so many murky, dingy, dusty corners that I don't want to examine too closely. You, my friend, are an example to me. I CAN burrow into the dark and, with God's help I CAN clean up all the murkiness, one corner at a time.

Have a super-colossal, absolutely fantastic day! You're one of MY heroes in this walk toward a healthier life!

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DOLLBABE56 3/12/2010 7:38AM

    This gives us something to really think about. I always feel better when I exercise. It's remembering that when we are in a funk. Thanks for another great blog. I will now go check out AMABILE75's blog.

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MARCYNA 3/12/2010 7:36AM

    I can tell you dads don't have to be perfect to be heroes...They have to be just truthful.
And definitely you are. emoticon emoticon

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:28AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:28AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:28AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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MMP526 3/12/2010 7:27AM

    Great, inspirational post!

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