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Regaining My Focus

Monday, June 14, 2010

Losing your focus is like falling in darkness. You are not sure where the bottom is. So you float and you learn that the harder you try to focus the harder it becomes to do so. A friend points something out on your Spark Page and all of a sudden itís ďLet there be light.Ē Everything seems so clear. You are not quite sure how to get where you want to go but at least you know where you are going.

There is not a lot of balance in my life. Truth is known there never has been. Itís always been all or nothing with me and in most cases both. I plunge into something with a lot of energy and when I canít sustain the energy forever I give up. Itís why I am over weight. Itís why I feel I have to do it all. Itís this feeling of not being quite equal to everyone else. It means Iím a ďpeople pleaserĒ because I have to be better than you just to be equal to you. It means I set a lot of unrealistic expectations for myself and when I donít achieve them I give up. Itís why I lost my focus last week. I was asking myself to be perfect in a world where perfection is impossible. Excellence, yes. Perfection, simply a dream. Itís a dream I always thought was attainable because if I did what no one else did than maybe it would balance the scales.

What my friend wrote on my Spark Page about being a people pleaser removed the scales from my eyes. I saw what was motivating me and how I needed to change it. I need to develop a sense of balance.

For the remainder of last week thatís what I did. I looked at the three areas of my life that are important to me; the physical, the emotional and the spiritual and realized that if I didnít pay attention to all three equally, I would not be successful in doing anything positive.

Another Spark friend blogged about keeping an exercise journal. I went to Target and got a cheap calendar that I could carry with me. I wrote my exercise plan out for the week. Because of my travel schedule I was not able to exercise at all on Thursday. This was my first challenge. I had to deal with that. If I miss a day, no matter what anyone says, I feel like I have failed. Well, last Thursday there was no way I could exercise. I didnít and I told myself I had stuck with my plan, which made me a success.

Food was another issue. I had to eat three meals out last week. No way around it. The answer was fresh fish and veggies and yeah I had a piece of bread, LOL. I did make a meal plan, went to the grocery before I left town and packed enough of my own food to get me through the three days I was gone. Lotsí of water, lots Ďof un sweet ice tea. I planned and I prepared and I didnít have to be perfect, because I was prepared. I felt confident. End result was a six pound loss for the week.

I think a lot of that loss had to do with paying attention to the emotional part of me. I made sure I got enough rest. I realized that too much rest was just as bad as not getting enough rest. By getting eight hours sleep and the security of knowing I had created a good food and exercise plan a lot of the needless stress was gone and I could concentrate on, well, concentrate on being me.

The spiritual part of my life is the most important part of my life and probably the area I feel I fail at the most. I have a hard time talking about what I feel and what I believe because I have always been turned off by people who take God, open your mouth, and shove Him down your throat just so they can feel they did something good and put a gold star next to their name. I donít ever want to be like that.

I could write reams and not express it well, so I will share with you a line from a song I like. It goes: ďTake my life and let it be, a living prayer, my God, to thee.Ē

Thatís all I really want out of life if I am going to be honest. I want to love and be loved. I want to share and be shared with and the odd thing is that for the longest time I felt that if I shared all of who I really was with you, well you wouldnít like me. Itís that need to please. I do want to let you know everything God has done for me.

It all came together yesterday morning. The dramatic way would be to say it happened at church. It didnít. It happened at the park while I was starting week three of C25K training. It was hot, I was aching and that nasty little voice inside of me kept telling me to quit. I would never be able to run a 5K. I tried to brush it way but it just wouldnít stop.

I got mad, really mad. I yelled at it to go away, to leave me alone that I didnít need it anymore and please donít come back. It was still hot, I still ached, but I ran farther yesterday that I have since I was a kid and I did it because I wanted to, not because anyone required me to.

My focus is returning.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BIGLITTLEWOMAN 6/29/2010 10:33PM

    I cannot believe your blog is a repeat of what I have been struggling to put a fact to as well. Beautifully and poignantly phrased. Thank you.

We are on a parallel out there somewhere.

Comment edited on: 6/29/2010 10:34:02 PM

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TINKERBELL200 6/17/2010 10:03PM

    Awesome John! Good to know you got your focus back! I'm so glad you didn't give up! Your doing great! You are making positive changes and learning so much, about being healthy and it seems to me you are seeking and learning so much about yourself!
I'm somewhat of a perfectionist, people pleaser myself. I'm starting to lean, as I get older, to this is who I am, and not worry about what people think anymore I like to be around people who accept me for who I am. I'm not perfect. I make mistakes. I say stupid things sometimes. But I have a good heart! I don't however like being around people who make me feel like I'm walking on egg shells, worried about who I am. I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm learning how to be accepting of myself, and that's not a bad thing! My pastor's wife always says, "Where ever you go, there you are!" Isn't that a true statement!
Keep on keeping on my friend . You are learning and growing daily.

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JUDIL62 6/17/2010 1:29PM

    Wow, that blog really hit home with me. I share your "people pleasing" and "perfectionist" personality traits. I am getting better at not being a perfectionist and just this week I too realized that people pleasing doesn't work either.

My favorite statement is "Excellence not Perfection". Putting that one down as one of my mantras. You rock brother...keep on blogging please:)


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JPRICE217 6/16/2010 2:37PM

    emoticon back so happy to see you back bloging emoticon

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NEEDTOLOSE100LB 6/16/2010 1:24PM

    emoticon Good to have you back. Sometimes a little bit of time taken to regroup is what we each need. Just glad that you were able to see that need and address it.
As for the having to be better to be equal...I think each of us holds back a portion of what we are in fear that others will not like us or will judge us. With God, we cannot hold that back...He sees all of us, every good or bad bit. He also tells us that he forgives us in such a way as the difference from the sunrise to the sunset, which will never meet. As I work on my own weight loss journey, I also work on who I am and who I want to be. I would love to be like God and be a very forgiving person. I am not there yet. I am also learning how to be a more giving person. I always fear that the recipient will think that what I have given is not enough or petty, so I hold back. We each have to come to know our own worth at some point and that seems to be hard. We tend to sway from one end of the spectrum to the other, overcompensating either way!
Guess that is enough said. Again, glad to have you back and glad to hear that you managed a great loss of 6 pounds for the week. Keep it up!

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DOLLIE6 6/15/2010 1:44PM

    Good for you. Keep on keeping on.

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WANDAH3 6/15/2010 7:33AM




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TNTEACHER2 6/14/2010 11:53PM

    Another great blog, John.

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SHERWOODCYCLER 6/14/2010 10:03PM

    Way to go. You are definitely figuring out what it takes to be "all for you" rather than all or nothing.

I am traveling two weeks in a row (this is week 2). But I jogged before I got on the plane today. And I ate a chicken caesar salad at the airport and a seafood spinach salad at the hotel. Plus a little cadbury chocolate, but hey, I'm w/in my calorie range. So I'm worth it.

Figuring out the combination of things that makes you spark and be successful is so important. Keep it up.

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SHER11 6/14/2010 9:29PM

    emoticon Back, I missed your blog.
I'm so happy you're here with us again

God Bless


Comment edited on: 6/14/2010 9:29:37 PM

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CATHERINEL66 6/14/2010 9:24PM

    Good job on packing your food for work travel. I lived vegan through a conference last week, thanks to a small fridge in the hotel room, and nearby local market! I ate out too, but super healthy stuff (which took some work to find!).

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DOLLBABE56 6/14/2010 8:29PM

    Happy to see you blogging again. I am also a people pleaser. emoticon

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STORMTMB 6/14/2010 4:00PM

    In one of her "rules," Regina Brett said "God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn't do."

I know you love God and seek Him for guidance in your life. You don't need to please the rest of us, just Him. Your focus needs to be on God and He will guide you through the rest. As you do that, we see your example and the Lord will shine through you.

BTW - I have already seen Him in you, my friend. emoticon

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HDHAWK 6/14/2010 3:23PM

    The harder you try to focus the harder it becomes. That's where I'm at right now. Seems like this journey is so easy some days it's ridiculous and other days the food wins.
People please, yes to that one too! This journey is for me to feel better about myself and be healthy. I've regained a lot of the weight I lost and am always thinking about how other people must see me as a failure. I'm sure they don't care as much as I think they do. I'm my own worst critic.
Congratulations on your 6 lb. loss for the week and setting a plan to make it happen. Most of all, congrats on finding some insight for yourself.

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    Once you love yourself the way you should everything else will fall into place. Pleasing others will not take on the importance it does now because no matter what happens you will still have someone who loves you. Love is not something to earn for good behavior. It should be unconditional. Thus we still feel the same about you whether you blow the entire week or not. I'm okay and you're okay. Always.

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KSGROTHE 6/14/2010 2:51PM

    emoticon on your in-depth evaluation of developing a sense of balance, on losing 6-lbs, on taking good care of your emotional self, and on continuing your C25K training even when you didn't want to!

You're thinking about a lot of the same things that I think about. Unfortunately, I often don't DO anything about what I'm thinking about.

Keep up the good work! You seem to be making so much progress in your personal journey!

- Karen

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AZCUPCAKE 6/14/2010 2:03PM

    Very proud of you for facing your demons and telling those little buggers to GO AWAY! You are being rewarded by your healthy weight loss and your overall metamorphosis!! I am glad you are in a good place in your head right now!!!! emoticon

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SHEILAKHS1 6/14/2010 1:31PM

    Thank You for another great blog...i have been trying hard to put my life into perspective and i along with you now realize i am a people pleaser i am more worried about what other people think than what i think myself and it drags me down but I am trying to work on that and with your blog you made me realize yet again that i am not alone in this journey

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PRINCESSNURSE 6/14/2010 1:06PM

    I finding running VERY empowering. It really has shown me how strong I am and given me the courage to stand up to some of my self doubt. I think God uses things to make us stronger. Perhaps God was using your run this week to teach you how strong you are :-)

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ALLISON145 6/14/2010 12:51PM

    This post really resonated with me, John. Before I can be really successful in losing weight on the long term, I need to come to grips with that fact that I cannot be perfect all the time, and that I do not need to overachieve just to be "as good as everyone else." Why do we have these embedded self esteem issues, I wonder? I had never drawn a parallel between my perfectionism/over-achiever and low self esteem until this very moment.


Wow. Thank you!


And Congratulations on an Awesome Week!!



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SPARKENISTA 6/14/2010 12:45PM

    Focus has always been an issue for me, as well. Getting the basics out of the way is definitely a way to improve focus. Kudos on your run!! You're getting younger every day!

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LAWRALOO 6/14/2010 12:40PM

    First off, way to go on the c25k program. I love it. :)

Your thoughts are always so honest and make me want to reevaluate what I'm doing. :) Thank you for putting your thoughts out there because you know what? We're all thinking them. 80% of us are too afraid to say how we really feel.

I wish I too could find that balance on a consistent basis. I have a hard time staying in between the lines. I'm either way far down or too far up.

Amazing amazing strides for a 6lb loss this week. Way to go.
I miss my 6lb loss weeks! lol
I'm super proud of you John. I love watching and hearing your journey. It makes me smile.

Keep it up. You know what you want in this journey and you're the only one who can give it to yourself.
You're made of amazing and you're a wonderful person.
You'll reach your goals because you're determined to do so. :)

Have a great week.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 6/14/2010 12:38PM

  I am glad you are back.. I knew given time you would figure it out... you have been missed emoticon

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EDWINA172 6/14/2010 12:36PM

    This could have been written by me. I believe that you are me, only in the male form. LOL! Thanks for sharing. Keep on writing.

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LUCYSRAIN 6/14/2010 12:25PM

    Hey John,

Welcome back, don't you ever worry about pleasing people here. You are a Wonderful Man full of Gods spirit and Grace. You are gifted with the ability to capture what so many of us feel and in doing that you remind us ALL of the importance of balance.

We all are creatures of habit, emotions can play havoc on balance when you become to critical of yourself or your journey here. We fall down we get up, I agree with your comments of pushing God down others throat, BUT acknowledging his presence for balance is so revelent....thats when all the threads begin to weave together emoticon


(I will be praying for your friend, I just heard the same about a friend here in Louisville)

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CMBELISLE 6/14/2010 12:13PM

    Sometimes it feels like balance is just out of our reach, but once we attain it (if only momentarily), it really gives us the warm fuzzies. I hope you can retain your balance.

As for your epiphany, I've rarely known anyone to have it happen in church. Often, they are surrounded by nature, which is where I consider God to be most prevalent.

Have a great week!

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JLUVSHIKIN 6/14/2010 11:40AM

    Well said! I enjoyed your blog; and I am glad that you are finding your focus! Congratulations!

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BECCALYNN75 6/14/2010 11:07AM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUZANDALE 6/14/2010 11:05AM

    You made me cry John!! This described me and how I have felt for the last couple of weeks! We seem to be a lot alike is so many areas! I have been so busy trying to live up to every body else's expectations that I forgot what I am trying to do FOR ME!!! Thanks for the reminder!! And congrats for getting your focus back!!
emoticon emoticon

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JENNY888 6/14/2010 10:59AM

    We all have to take time to refocus from time to time. How smart of you to work on all three areas at once. Congratulations on the six pounds. If only I could lose like that. It is always slow for me. I love to see others do it though.

Comment edited on: 6/14/2010 11:05:31 AM

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KAT573 6/14/2010 10:30AM

    Life IS a balancing Act! We all have different beliefs and assumptions which drive us, and it is always good to stop and look at them every so often, cause they do change, or they need to change, and we lose our balance when we don't take that time. To me, walking with God IS finding that Balance and since it has to be done over and over and on and on, well, it just makes sense to keep on keeping on! I think we live Life to BECOME who we are, accepting all sides of us, the good, the bad and the ugly; when we try to ignore a part of us, we do indeed lose our balance, our richness, our authenticity and our integrity. There is no real development of compassion when that happens. Keep on Keeping ON! emoticon

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HLPRATT 6/14/2010 10:30AM

    You know, being a perfectionist can be a problem. Just keep moving in the right direction -which you are and don't worry about bumps along the way.

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/14/2010 9:40AM

    Well done, John! We HAVE to take time out to regain our balance and focus from time to time. I am a people pleaser as well (I suspect many of us here are), so I relate to so much of what you said. The spiritual part of life is extremely important to me as well, but I don't like how some use it as a club on others. I think St. Francis of Assisi had the best philosophy there: at all times preach the Gospel, when necessary use words.

YEAH for you at telling that voice to get out of there and pushing on; I've had to do that as well because a part of me still wants to say no way can I run. We are DOING it, though, so that voice is wrong.


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KLEONIKI 6/14/2010 9:34AM

    Such a well known motif this is to me, too!
And the answer is always the same "get on your feet and keep going" only that this repetitive mysterious lifesaver move happens somehow under the inspiration or support of one of my SP friends!
I will never stop saying the same thing: "this Spark place is a true mystic healing garden for us".
I am happy you did refocus again , dear John. You are far too precious for me/us (your Spark companions) to lose your way.. even for a bit.
And you know what? Losing focus for instance enables you to REDIFINE and REFRESH!!!

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YOYONOMORE1 6/14/2010 9:32AM

    Good morning John, can you guess, yes my interent is being nice to me this morning, woo hoo. All three areas are connected and make us who we are, so it is important to focus on all three. WTG on the 6 lbs. gone, woo hoo. I liked the way you put your blog together today. Have a great one.


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MARCYNA 6/14/2010 9:18AM

A perfect plan in three parts.
Definitely ,the HS will be on your side. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/14/2010 9:19:03 AM

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 6/14/2010 8:59AM

    Good for you John. I too struggle with the little mean voice and with trying to please people. When I began to stop the people-pleasing, some people couldn't handle that any more. My family of origin is struggling to learn to accept that I'm not always going to say yes all the time; not going to put my life on hold to make their lives better. Not up to me to take care of everyone else at the expense of me. It was a hard lesson to learn, but I work on it every day. Southern children (especially females) are raised with a different set of life skills, or so it seems to me.

I am proud of you for working past the words of the mean voice. It will only make us stronger once we defeat it. Keep going. I'm in your cheering section!

emoticon Go John!

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JENBEN2087 6/14/2010 8:52AM

    I feel this exact same way many times. Thanks for putting it into words and most importantly, action. With this kind of re-focus, you will reach your goals with less stress and more peace of mind.

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MINENA1 6/14/2010 8:47AM

    You are emoticon John!!

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KRISSYSWIM16 6/14/2010 8:46AM

    I am glad you are back! I am also so happy to see that you told those negative thoughts o get out of town! I know those feelings come and go, but you took control- be proud of yourself! and six lbs lost, you are amazing. Keep up the awesome work and remember to cut yourself some slack, you are doing awesome and you will continue* HAPPY MONDAY!

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Finding Focus

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

One of the major issues in my life is that I try to do everything, usually all at once. That leads to a lot of stress which leads to anxiety, which leads to me being out of sorts. A better way of putting it is that I get out of focus. Thatís where I am at right now. The adjustment knob on the focus for my inner camera is stuck.

I havenít lost The Spark. I am more committed than ever to my nutrition, (I am no longer using the word ďdiet.Ē It has too much of a negative connotation to it.) and my exercise plan. As a matter of fact, thanks to a blog I read this weekend I am keeping an exercise calendar that I carry around with me to keep track of what I am doing and when. Really great idea. I am amazed at what this process can and will do for you when you allow it to. So rest assured I am not going anywhere.

I have a very strong spiritual belief that God has a purpose in life for each of us, each moment of the day. Part of my purpose and my life is being here with you. I need to learn from you and then I need to use my gifts and talents to share my path and journey with you in return. To be honest with you I am a bit over whelmed.

Between writing a blog, keeping up with the teams I am on and returning Spark Goodies you all send me I feel like I am spinning around in a circle. Then I feel guilty. I feel that if you took the time to acknowledge something I said then I should honor you by writing back or checking up on you periodically.
I donít always get to post on my team message boards and I really miss reading about what some of my friends are doing. I am very blessed in the fact that I am self employed, so I can work my schedule in easily.

This journey is about my health and my health and well being is going to be my priority. I contemplated the idea of saying nothing at all but I donít think that would be very fair. I am not going to blog for a week. I am going to take that time to reflect and to pray and ask God where He sees me serving Him best here at Spark. That may sound sorta corny to some of you, but I believe that I found all this for a reason. I want to make sure I am the best servant I can be.

As I said earlier I am not going away. I am more committed than ever. I am just not going to blog for a week and take the time to relax a bit and regain my focus.
I want to thank all of you for being such good friends. Without your love and support I would not have gotten this far. I look at this as parent of the process, part of learning to live with health.

Thank you for helping me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKENISTA 6/12/2010 3:21PM

    We all need time to kick back and reflect. Getting some perspective will certainly help in the long run.


kenista emoticon

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MARCYNA 6/11/2010 6:00AM

    I'm just like you,hugs emoticon

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JLUVSHIKIN 6/10/2010 6:58PM

    Enjoy your rest.

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GIRANIMAL 6/10/2010 6:08PM

    No worries, John! All this wonderfulness can be overwhelming sometimes. I too sometimes slack and can't keep up and feel bad about it. But we all have "real" lives away from Spark and I figure we all are doing the best we can!

I finally got to this blog today, for example, because I realized I hadn't heard from you or checked up on you in a while.

So I am glad to hear you are stronger than ever in your commitments. You're such a fantastic Sparker, I'd hate to hear otherwise!

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TINKERBELL200 6/10/2010 5:17PM

    John, I think that's an awesome idea! Your blogs bless us all, but if need a break take one. Spark was not meant to overwhelm you. You just need to prioritize and not get such a full plate of things to do! Like having a full plate of food! It's too much!!!
I'm glad you are seeking God for His guidance for your purpose! With Him you can never go wrong. I'll pray He gives you the answers you are looking for. He's never steered me wrong! God bless John! You are doing awesome!
emoticon emoticon

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BUGGYS 6/10/2010 4:23PM

    John, you have given us all so much and it is now the time for you! Sparking can be so time consuming and I understand why you feel you are going in really shouldn't feel guilty about what you are should rejoice in the fact that you have taught us and learned from us and because of that, you know what your journey has to be...pull back, take time, take care! emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 6/10/2010 4:06PM

    I get you on this. Trying to manage it all can be overwhelming. Take the time! It is about balance and we each have our own balance!

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AZCUPCAKE 6/10/2010 2:05PM

    Taking a week off makes sense, John. You give so much to others, and it is definitely time to focus on JOHN! I know all of your SparkPals want you to do what is best for you. Take care, and rest assured, no matter where your path takes you, you are in your friends' prayers. Godspeed! emoticon

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GRACENFAITH 6/10/2010 12:01PM

    Lord, you know our needs better than we do ourself. Be with my brother in Christ in this time. Let his eyes see clearly, his ears hear your words, and let him felt your presence so sweetly and has no doubt of your presence. All sins confused and forgiven, so this prayer can be hear clearly. In Jesus' name...amen.
emoticonWalking with God

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WALKNLOVE 6/10/2010 9:49AM

    May God give you the wisdom you seek.We will miss you! Big hugs!

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WANDAH3 6/10/2010 7:25AM

    We all need that time to withdraw, re-focus and re-charge our batteries. I understand.

Have a good week off, I look forward to reading your posts/blogs again.


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TRISH2229 6/9/2010 11:25PM

    Its good to take time to rejuvenate the spirit and focus on self. You give so much to all of us. Enjoy! emoticon

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NEEDTOLOSE100LB 6/9/2010 4:22PM

    I have to admit, your blogs are almost addictive. For those of us who may be addicted to your daily musings, we will just have to get the syndicated version and re-visit your older posts to see what we may have missed at the first (or second or third) reading. That is much better than picturing you burning out on us!
Keep yourself well, there is only one of you.


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ALLISON145 6/9/2010 1:56PM

    Try hard not to feel pressured, ok? I know that I do not expect responses or goodies back or any of that when I give them to other people - I do it because I want to encourage and help them, not because I'm trying to get people to do things for me. I'd like to think (and I forcibly assume, I suppose) that everyone else is coming from the same place that I am and that they will not be offended if I don't reply immediately or even at all sometimes. My take is that everyone can give and receive support in varying amounts at different points... it's not tit for tat all the time, and it shouldn't be. Give what you can give, when you can give it, WITHOUT TAKING AWAY FROM YOUR OWN JOURNEY. Ok?

'Nuff said!



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TINK33 6/9/2010 10:55AM

    John, it's ok for you to do something for yourself. It's ok to not take care of everyone else - all the time. We love you because you are an inspiration, but you are not responsible for inspiring us - 24/7. You do the best you can and you hope that you help others in the process. That's the whole mission of a servant. My favorite saying is "I have to fill my pitcher, so I can fill all of the glasses in my life". You are wonderful and motivational and inspirational whether you write ever day, every week or every month - we'll take what we get - because we appreciate you - unconditionally!

Be good to yourself and take some time to fill your pitcher!

God Bless. . .


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MINENA1 6/9/2010 10:02AM

    We'll miss you! You're such a wonderful person! A ray of sunshine emoticon

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MARCYNA 6/9/2010 9:32AM

    I'll miss you, take care emoticon

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DUTCHIEKIWI 6/9/2010 12:30AM

  You have been a blogging machine! I love reading them, sometimes they come out faster then I can read ;0)

Take a rest you so deserve it!

Don't feel obliged you have to blog every day, it seems like people of certain characters like us go through a patch of that.

Ya can't keep it up, it gets crazy. Spark is supposed to be a fun way to lose weight and get healthy, by not burning yourself out it will stay just that, fun!

You are loved and respected by so many, and I'm sure no one expects a reply to everything they post.

Rest easy, energize, come back when you are ready!

Love ya.



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IMJUSTDUCKIE 6/8/2010 11:20PM

    We'll miss you! Hurry back emoticon

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SHER11 6/8/2010 10:36PM


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GEEMAWEST 6/8/2010 10:33PM

    There is no way that everyone can reply to every response they get on blogs, their Sparkpage, etc. Just do what you can do and what is best for you. That's what's important.

I have noticed that a lot of people on this site have the same problem, me included. We are people pleasers. We want everyone to be happy and put our own needs last.

Good for you for taking notice of yourself!

Hugs, Cheryl

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MISHKALA 6/8/2010 8:22PM

    Ask and you shall receive!! God will certainly guide your way, all we have to do is take the time and listen. Looks like you're already doing God's work. God bless you on your journey. emoticon

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HDHAWK 6/8/2010 5:23PM

    Do what you need to do to stay on the healthy path John. It does take a lot of time. I finally made the decision to reduce the amount of teams I'm on. I'm on only a few and it has helped me to spend less time on the computer, but enough time that I still get to spread and receive the spark!

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KSGROTHE 6/8/2010 5:10PM

    John, you do what you need to do to find your focus and balance. I'm sure people understand and can sympathize. You know, I don't expect a response when I respond to your blogs. I mean, I don't post a comment to every blog I read, right? To be honest, I'm always a little surprised when people respond back to me after I post a comment on their blog.

Thank you for sharing your journey with us! Take care!

- Karen

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MYRNACARRIER 6/8/2010 2:50PM

    You are absolutely right to take this time to refocus.
I read your blog everyday and am often moved to tears by the insight you reveal to us. God has blessed you with that and will now prepare you for whatever it is he has planned for your future because you want to be availablefor him. God bless and we will be waiting to hear the rest of the story. emoticon emoticonfor now.

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THAMLEY 6/8/2010 2:00PM

    Committing to SP means you have made an effort to put yourself first. We all need to have our times of meditation and prayer. Taking this break is probably what you need to tame the amount of stress you're feeling and get your sense of empowerment back. Enjoy the time with yourself, we'll be waiting for you when you return. Meanwhile, check out a wonderful blog I read earlier today. It might start you in the right direction.

WillowWinds- Don't worry be Happy, Part two

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PUCCIOLA08 6/8/2010 1:38PM

    I'm sure everyone knows how you feel, I've been here 2 weeks and I already sort of feel like I'm going in a circle as well. But no one blames you for taking a week for yourself! Spark isnt meant to be a chore, and you certainly dont need any excuses why you'd want to take a blogging-break. Hope you have a nice weak, take all the time for yourself to regain your focus and we will all be here for you when you get back :)

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LUCYSRAIN 6/8/2010 1:06PM


It's good to hear you are listening to your needs and putting your relationship with our Holy Father first, that is so important!

You are a special person, you enlighten us with your words and you will be missed while away. Don't feel guilty for taking time out for you!

Bye the way, you have so many friends and people that read your wise optimistic words. Don't ever worry about replying to me, just reach out when YOU need to...

Much Love!


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HISTOMOM 6/8/2010 11:47AM

    I know that God will guide you this coming week... I will miss your blogs...but I know that you will return knowing what it is that God wants for you. emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/8/2010 11:48:27 AM

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    We all need a break sometime as the longer you are on sparkpeople the more it can consume you unless you set limits.

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GERIKRAGH 6/8/2010 10:36AM

    to be continued.................

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JAE_HENNINGTON 6/8/2010 10:13AM

  Well I will certainly miss reading your daily blogs but I do so understand also.. take time to just refocus and regroup and I will look forward to you returning ...take care my friend

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CLOTHEDINLOVE 6/8/2010 10:09AM

    Take care, and don't feel guilty. You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of anyone else!

God will get us all through, in His own way. :)

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BESTSUSIEYET 6/8/2010 9:53AM

    Balance is key -- and God will lead you as you seek Him. I've cut back in many ways, and when I have a little extra time I might go check on someone I haven't heard from in a while. I like to encourage folks just getting started -- sometimes they need it far more than those of us who have been here a long time. Take care of yourself and your family - and then do whatever God prompts you to do on Spark. You're a blessing, and God will give each of us what we need to hear from Him (through you or someone else) just when we need it. God Bless You on your Journey to Health!!

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BECCALYNN75 6/8/2010 9:52AM

    Praying with you for God's guidance - for all of us!

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JCDROLSHAGEN 6/8/2010 9:51AM

Enjoy your break. You deserve it. Of all the people that I have met thru this forum, you have to be one of the busiest I have seen. Your progress with your plan is impressive and so is your contribution to the Spark site. This kind of dedication is something to which we all can aspire. So have fun and fine tune your focus.

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SUSIEMILO 6/8/2010 9:44AM

    I hear you, and I feel it also.
When I first started, I blogged daily, joined a bunch of teams, accumulated more friends than I had ever had in my life, and over time it built into such a commitment that I wasn't getting my fitness in because I was at the computer.
And like you, I felt bad when I couldn't get back to all the people who left a comment, goodie, etc.
But with some thought, I realized that I have to be a little bit selfish about this, and unfortunately, not everyone will get a comment back from me. But I have to put my journey first, and my well-being (mental and physical) are my priority. Because that's why I'm here in the first place.
I love all the new friends I've made, and there are a core group that I seek out daily. And there are others that I drop in on about once a week to see what they're up to. And there are others that I'm just grateful have stopped by with a comment.
I wish I had the time and mental stamina to keep up with everyone and return every comment/compliment/good wishes. It's just not possible to do that as well as get my chores done, go to work, sleep enough hours in the day, and get my fitness in.
Something had to give, and unfortunately, it had to be the time I spent on the computer.
Sure - I feel bad about it. But I felt worse when it was my own needs that I was neglecting.
There has to be balance.
You take the time you need to reflect on what adjustments you should make. Maybe you can still blog, but just once a week?
Maybe you could put out a statement (as a lot of my friends on here, as well as I have done) that you just need to cut back the amount of time spent on the computer, and apologies to all in advance for not getting back to each/every person who leaves a comment.
And think about it from the other side. When you leave a comment on someoene's page -- do you really EXPECT a return comment? That could cycle on into eternity....

If you think about it this way, it might help.
This is a community of eavesdroppers. Anyone can listen in, and leave their own comments.
If this were actually taking place - say at a wedding or something... You and one person are having a conversation. Someone walks by, hears it and chimes in with their comment. And you include them in the conversation. And a couple from over there come over and start talking about it also. And you also start talking to them, all the while trying not to ignore and leave out the original person you were talking to. And more come over and start joining in.... and pretty soon you're "committed" to carring on a personal and individual conversation with over 30 people at once!
How can that be done? It just can't. We aren't capable of it. (well - I'm not, anyway)
It's the same here. And it's too bad -- because ALL of these people are amazing and wonderful, and worthy, and supportive, and just good people. We hate to be rude, ungrateful, etc.
But we also have to remember our limits, as well as our original purpose for being here in the first place.

It's an awesome site, and an amazing tool.
But there needs to be balance in your life.
Anything --- even the very best of things --- is not good in excessive amounts.
And I have faith that you will find that balance in a way that makes you feel good, as well as your friends and followers on this site.

(no reply needed)

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MAWRTIAN 6/8/2010 9:31AM

    Thank you for this post John! I will be praying for you too. I hit a point on my journey where I feel like I needed to blog everyday and that is what I'm trying this week but I understand the need for quiet introspection.

Keep up the great work and we will be here when you get back!

margo emoticon

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SANDYK4BAMA 6/8/2010 9:23AM

    John you go ahead and take all the time you need! Your fans will wait patiently, and know that we are all there with you. Your health is the issue, and so is your comfort, your happiness; so don't let all this extra STUFF get in the way of that. We who are so inspired by you can re-read the other blogs that you have written in the past, and we will still be inspired - because that's who you are, it's what you do. However, sometimes we all need a little breather, some "ME" time, some space to regroup and circle the wagons. Don't ever feel guilty about that; and just speaking for myself, you don't have to respond to everything I send or write, I just want you to know that there are people out here who admire and care about you and your endeavors, and that is my real goal in sending/writing, not to make you have one more person to keep up with. Let us blow some sunshine up your skirt for a change! You so DESERVE it!

Love you to pieces John!
God Bless You!!!
emoticon emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CMBELISLE 6/8/2010 9:23AM

    No problem! I didn't know how you were keeping up with everything and not making yourself crazy. It's time for you to take some time for you - most definitely - and figure out where to go from here.

Take care!

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BRYLIA 6/8/2010 9:21AM

    John, Glad you let us know what was up. While I will miss your daily blogs, I think like usual, you are right on track. Put God first, pray for his will. I will do the same, adding a prayer for you. Glad to hear that you are keeping up a healthy lifestyle.
God Bless, Lisa

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GRANDTO4 6/8/2010 9:20AM

  I wholeheartedly agree with FANAMAMA - you need to do your best at your journey and we all need to do the same. We all need help sometimes, but we also need to be accountable and stand on our own two feet. I know I would not be the "courageous, independent, take charge woman" my mother and children just called me, if God had not put circumstances in my life that left me few options, other than to be that way! Given the choice, we would all take the easy road! Please do not feel guilty about nudging us all to independence!

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STORMTMB 6/8/2010 9:01AM

    Ask and He will answer. :-)

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FANAMAMA 6/8/2010 8:57AM

    This is GOOD John! God is calling you and you are listening. I am relieved you are well. May He bless this time of reflection and prayer. Enjoy your time with your Best Friend! He has your best interests at heart, always. Asking for His guidance is what He asks of us.
And don't you worry about the rest of us. This is YOUR journey, and you need to do what is best for YOU. As much as we will miss you, we will be fine.

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    Follow the Lord's will and the rest will fall into place! Praying for this time as you reflect and a gain a clear focus from Him! emoticon

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JPRICE217 6/8/2010 8:39AM

    emoticon for telling us that you are taking a week off was worried that you didn't blog yesterday. God will answer your request . Sure hope it is to continue to blogg because I sure do enjoy them. As I said before you are the best emoticon

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CINDYLUFUS 6/8/2010 8:32AM

    Thank you for all that you do, all the encouraging words and blogs. I believe we all need those reflection moments. I pray that God speaks to your heart and gives you direction.

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ADG8201 6/8/2010 8:27AM

  Thank you for this.

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Being Happy

Friday, June 04, 2010

If you cant view this blog here in spark this is the YouTube link where it is availible also

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JCDROLSHAGEN 6/10/2010 3:01PM

Cool stuff John! Good point about the happiness. I cannot remember the last time I got up in the morning without that to do list in hand. I used to have mornings where the day seemed like it was going to be magic. And I suspect that the more I took on, a little of that magic vanished. Think that's what you were talking about when you were talking about focus. Yeah, I get it now. Perhaps that is something for me to reflect upon. Thanks for this particular does hit home.

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WALKNLOVE 6/7/2010 5:59PM

    What can i say? As always, you are a blessing! have a great & happy day John!

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LUCYSRAIN 6/7/2010 12:19AM


Your words of wisdom are appreciated!

We all need to hear about Gods Word to find our Joy and Happiness emoticon



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MARCYNA 6/6/2010 1:12PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROSE5328 6/6/2010 10:11AM

    Thank you John!

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CHERIRIDDELL 6/5/2010 11:34PM

    Awesome blog! I have that song from the Partirdge Family running through my head now "Come on get Happy!"

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HONORINGGOD 6/5/2010 3:08PM

    just another bless from my spark brother today I am happy but Iwilll store this for that "alert" day .God bless you back spark brother john emoticon

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WANDAH3 6/5/2010 10:28AM

    John...thank you for sharing. This was a message that resonated within this morning.

Thank you, Have a wonderful weekend.


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CROBINGO 6/5/2010 7:39AM

    Great blog. One thing you said particularly resonated with me. "Our unhappiness iS acquired." So true.

I enjoyed the entire blog, but this I took away as something to continue to work on. While I am not unhappy often, even when I am, it is acquired and I will remember that sentence.

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GRANDTO4 6/4/2010 7:48PM

  Hi John - I need to let you know how you have helped me today - to choose to be happy. I have been Sparking since Feb. and ever so sloooowly lost 25 lbs. I walk slowly with a cane, due to needing knee surgery on both legs, so exercise is very limited. I have been trying to save leave from my job to have the surgery. But recently I was diagnosed with cancer, and in a couple of days will have some major surgery for that, using up every bit of my leave. I was in a real bad place over that news - like "What the heck, where are the cream puffs??" kind of place. And "What's the use??" kind of place. So I pulled up my good ol' John videos and blogs, and now I can see things a little differently. More along the lines of "Thank God I have 25 lbs less to carry through this surgery!" And "Thank God I had symptoms to enable the Drs. to find this early!" And "Thank God I have enough paid leave to recover for 4 weeks and still get paid!" And last, but far from least, "Thank God for John who helped me rearrange my view of life!!"

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WKATHLEEN71 6/4/2010 6:20PM



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    I really enjoy your videos! Thanks for sharing!

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TERESAAVIL 6/4/2010 3:04PM

We're all called to be a gift to one another and you are.
Makes me think of what Mother Teresa said "do small things with great love." That's what makes me happiest.
Blessings to you and those you hold dear.

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PUCCIOLA08 6/4/2010 2:00PM

    Sometimes when I am on Spark People, I come across a few tidbits here and there, and I write them down to read again later. The first thing on the to of todays paper is "First thought of the day should be to be happy". Your vlogs always bring me close to tears, I think it has something to do with what I like to call "fat girl syndrome" where we are so unused to hearing "you are worth it" and "you can do it" even from ourselves, that when we do hear them, it takes our breath away.

Thanks John.

Bueler.... Bueler..

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/4/2010 1:46PM

    I always enjoy seeing your smiling face on Fridays, John! Good food for thought as always; thanks for the reminder, and thanks for helping me--hope the happiness you spread to others pours back on you a hundredfold. Happy Friday!


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EDWINA172 6/4/2010 1:37PM

    Thanks for sharing this. Today, I decide that I'm going to be happy!

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BRYLIA 6/4/2010 11:57AM

    Good Morning, Afternoon or Evening John....Thanks for the great smile and joy you bring to my life quite often thru your thoughts! As I ponder your words, I think that you will find what you seek and then if you share it, it grows and becomes reflective. I will use your example of the baby who seeks or choices the pleasant soothing voice, then gives or shares by smiling or cooing, which in turn brings a reflective smile or joy radiating back to the baby. As I was thinking this thru another bible message came to me--TRUST and OBEY. Jeeezzz what if we simply applied that principle to all areas of our life. Trust being the knowledge of what we know to work and obey simply the action or doing part of it! With that in mind, I am going to do a little action of walking. Have a great weekend my sparkfriend.

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JPRICE217 6/4/2010 11:07AM

    Thanks I really needed to hear you today, down in the dumps about something that happened at work . You have made me realize I can be down all day or be up and I have chosen up'

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ELIZABETH525 6/4/2010 10:04AM

    Thank you for reminding me that happiness should be a priority. Like so many people, I tend to try to make everyone else happy before I focus on myself. I guess it is the Stepford Syndrome...where you please others, make sure everything is happy and nice before you sit down to relax. Thank you for your morning blog!

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WISEONE68 6/4/2010 9:56AM

    Okay, I will admit it---I am not guilty---I AM HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY!!! emoticon
Love ya, Dude!!!! emoticon

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JAE_HENNINGTON 6/4/2010 9:48AM

  The bible says give and it shall be given unto you, pressed down, shaken together and running over. Most of us equate that with money but really it can be applied to anything. I have found that every good thing begins with a thought, what I give to my world will be returned to me. The world teaches us just the opposite. I am coming to terms with the fact that my family lied to me, I am worth every effort, and I am not a bad person. I am loving and kind.I have a lot to offer and I am learning to share myself with the world.. thank you for this most thought provoking blog

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DOLLBABE56 6/4/2010 8:59AM

    When I pull up your blog and I see that it is a video, I smile and say "Oh boy!". I really enjoy them. THAT, is one thing that makes me happy. So, thank you John.

As I am watching this video, I am wondering where happiness is for me. This has given me something to ponder today while the workers are fixing my floor.

Thanks John

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FANAMAMA 6/4/2010 8:51AM

    Thank you for your insight this morning John. I am so guilty of thinking that my happiness depends on external factors: how others treat me not at all how I treat myself.
To be honest, I haven't yet reached the point where I can confidently say that I am worthy of the time and effort it takes to be healthy. For the most part, i do my exercise when my family is busy doing other things, like sleeping or at school or work. My meal plans are for all of us, not just for me. And I haven't truly rewarded myself for each 5 pounds I've lost.
But, because you remind me every day that I AM, indeed, worthy, it is starting to sink in.
Question now is, am I worthy of the new pair of running shoes that would probably make my knees feel better? Hmmm....

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My Best Advocate............ ME

Thursday, June 03, 2010

I didnít begin to get healthy until I came to the realization that I had to become my own advocate. No one else was going to take care of me but me!!! Thatís hard for an overweight person to do sometimes. We look in the mirror and no matter how many positive mantrasí we repeat inside of our heads the mirror can be such a cruel mistress. We hear snickers and we take solace in the poor food of choice and just reinforce that whole ďI am really worthlessĒ image.

Itís hard to muster up enough energy and desire to start doing the things that will make a difference. I mean why even bother? We are fat now, we have always been fat and we are probably always going to be fat. We find ourselves rather disgusting donít we?

We donít share that thought with anyone because we know what people will say. Theyíll tell us we are lovable and intelligent and we can ďreally do itĒ if we try. We know different, donít we?

Itís a vicious and insidious cycle. How do we break it? Hereís one guys opinion:
First, you have already done the most important thing: You asked for help. Youíre here at Spark and you join teams and get involved in challenges and write blogs and you stretch your hand out and ask to be supported. That was hard for me to do. It was hard for me to admit I didnít have all the answers in the first place. Its how I got in the mess I was in, thinking I knew it all and could do it all on my own. I came to find out that instead of being superior, as I had convinced myself, I really acted that way because I felt insecure. My first month at Spark I was really intimidated and in the spirit of full disclosure some of you guys still intimidate me a bit because of how awesome you are. Silly isnít it?

I ask for help and keep asking for help and when people ignore me or brush me off then I look for other people who will help. I wonít give up. Somewhere along the road I discovered what I have always preached: I am worth it. I am also pushy and loud and darned opinionated. As a client of mine once said ďI am an acquired taste that is not for everyone.Ē But I am worth as much as anyone else, never more, but always as much. I quit wallowing in my own misery and decided that I have a lot to offer people and that deep down inside of me all I have ever really wanted to do is help people. So I decided to help me first. You canít give what you do not have. I am falling in love with myself. Itís still a bit uncomfortable to say that, LOL, but I am getting more comfortable with it all the time.

Putting me first meant I made a few very tough personal decisions. I had belonged to our local YMCA for thirteen years. I was even on the Board of Directors at one point. Two of my favorite people of all time Nick and Terri Ann worked there as trainers and were really supportive of me. The facility was older; the equipment was not maintained properly and regularly. Nothing was being done to reverse that trend. As hard as it was for me I switched gyms. I switched the Yís main competitor here in town. The proof is in the pudding. I am healthier, happier and the services available are superior for almost the same amount of money. I have taken a bit of heat for that decision especially when my new gym highlighted me in their June add as an example of someone who is creating a healthy life style. I had to ask myself a really important question: Do you want everyone to like you or do you want to be healthy? It would be nice if I had both but I think there is some humor in the fact that no one gave me a second look until I started losing weight. Now everyone wants to be my buddy!!

I am looking for a new doctor. When I saw my doctor last week about my blood pressure I made the remark that Joan had suggested I get it checked because it might be low I got a sarcastic response; ďWhoís your doctor, me or your wife?Ē Duh, that one doesnít deserve any more of an explanation.

I come first, so does my health and well being. I get a little shaky inside when I have to stand up for myself but itís getting easier. Itís easier because of my family. There is Joan, the kids and my extended relatives and then there are you who make up the rest of my family. I could not do what I am doing without you, but more importantly all the support in the world has little to no value until I become my own advocate and if I need to fight for what is best for me.

Iím no more special than you, but you wanna know something? You are just as special as me, which means you are truly worth the effort

Be blessed and reach out to someone today.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 6/6/2010 4:01AM

    Oh John!!!
I've tried so hard to have everyone like me that I forgot to take care of silly. Thank you for reminding me love for the others is not first place, love for ourselves is, the rest will just flow.
Love emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/6/2010 4:08:00 AM

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HONORINGGOD 6/5/2010 3:13PM

    i thank the LORD for my spark friends emoticon

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SANDYK4BAMA 6/4/2010 10:00AM

    John, I very highly doubt I'm as special as you, but I want you to know, every single time I read your blogs, you touch my very soul. We must be soul-siblings, because so much of how you feel is how I feel. I have not been overweight all my life, in fact, for most of my younger life, I was UNDERweight. But I can tell you this, over or under, I have still got the same piss-poor opinion of myself, well-not so much an opinion, as it is a feeling. Like you said, I see me in the mirrior and I cringe. I usually try to avoid the mirror like the plague, unless I have to be there to put on make-up, brush hair, etc. It seems to me I have always felt this way. It has nothing to do with fat, skinny, or what anyone else says to or about me. It is my inherent inner flaw. That you are trying to overcome that feeling yourself puts me in highest company. I will try to do what you said, and "learn to love me" but that will be the hardest of journeys for me here on Spark, way harder than losing weight, or even maintaining weight, but I will try. You always give me hope, and without hope, what do we possibly have?

Thank you so much for being you, and for sharing your innermost thoughts with us sparkies. Know that someone here really really really needs and loves you just the way you are! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KAT573 6/4/2010 9:00AM

    JOHN: good to be back home and to see you keeping ON! Self-advocating was one of the most important (and foreign to me at the time) activities I stumbled across in my 30's. While mine was triggered by an incident that forced me to seriously and honestly look at, realize and accept the impact of my hearing loss on everyday Life, as well as on my Being in the World, it was not til years later that I realized all that time to now, self-advocating was what I was doing, albeit in a more roundabout manner through activities that served organizations that addressed issues for folks with disabilities. Now I realize that a more focused effort on myself, is also needed to balance that more public action.

So actually, self-advocacy informs all aspects of our Lives, and every one of us, absolutely. The purity and clarity with which we realize it varies over time. It is the ideal state of mind we hope, as parents, to nurture in our children, in our organizations, and in our communities. It is also the fulcrum of our existence, so when it is faulty, we will feel it!

The good thing is, yes, we can work on making us stronger, if we are willing, honest and open to what we have to do by facing where we are truly at, from the inside out.
So the degree and quality of self-advocacy becomes a gauge of our developing adulthood. We are never done growing up and out, into the World. Having realized that age has nothing to do with growing up, and that THAT was the purpose of every day of our lives, I was able to accept, forgive myself, encourage myself, and challenge myself with less fear and well as those around me! emoticon
KEEP on keeping ON!

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HAWAIILINDA 6/3/2010 9:53PM

    I read in your blog everyday the little change's you are making, and wow it is the concept of healthy living and you are doing it. One day at a time!

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YOYONOMORE1 6/3/2010 4:36PM

    Hope you can find a good doctor, one that wants you to be an active participant in the health care you get, after all it is your body.Yes, I am having a beautiful internet day today, lol.


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DOLLIE6 6/3/2010 2:59PM

    Love it , Love it. Right on the spot. emoticon

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PENNYAN45 6/3/2010 2:53PM

    Great blog! I couldn't agree more!!

It is true that there are lots of people here who help. I'm convinced there is no better support anywhere else.

Surprisingly, though, I have found that one of the most important features of SP is that it gets us focusing on ourselves - and on our weight loss process.

That is something many of us have not done before.

We have to focus on what and how much we eat, and when and where we exercise. We also have to notice when we don't perform as we wanted to.

We have to figure out how we are going to react to small failures or setbacks. We need to figure out what the problem was/is - and how we are going to deal with it in the future. (That is often when the help and support from SP friends is most appreciated.)

The entire weight-loss journey here is filled with problem solving and decision - making activities. We are actively monitoring ourselves and making choices every day.
I know that I never spent this amount of time or energy on my weight loss before SP!

In fact, I remember blogging that in the past, my thinking about being overweight was usually just emotional - and negative - thoughts filled with guilt and regret and self-criticism. But since joining SP, I began to use my thinking skills, my planning skills, and my problem solving skills - all directed to solving the problem of how I could best lose weight.

Instead of feeling bad about myself, I began to take my weight loss on as a project -- and I became the project leader. There was no criticism - only problem solving.

The SP site provides all the resources that are needed for doing that. It also provides each of us with a soapbox and an audience - by way of our blogs. We are given the space within which to reflect. We each learn a great deal about ourselves from writing our own blogs (and from reading responses from others.)

SP keeps us focused on the larger issue of losing weight and changing lifetime habits - and it keeps us focused on the smaller everyday issues of what shall I have for breakfast -- or which gym should I attend?

I believe it is that continued focus that leads to our eventual success. Whereas in the past, we might have become discouraged and given up early on in the process - that does not happen here. Rather, we learn how to stay with this project through all the little setbacks.

SP helps us to stay focused, to stay committed, and to stay the course! It helps us to become our own advocates.


Comment edited on: 6/3/2010 2:56:05 PM

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AZCUPCAKE 6/3/2010 1:33PM

    Your 'voice of reason' is can't begin to imagine your ability of having a positive effect on a person when the going gets tough!! Thank you for a much-needed shot of reality AND possibility that reinvigorates my flagging motivation every time I "tune in" to your blog! It is so much easier to flick that mean little devil off of my shoulder every time I think a Kit-Kat bar would be a quick solution to whatever ails me when I think of the kind words you would prescribe to alleviate the stress or tension that can take a body to the ground at times.Thank you over and over, John!

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JENNY888 6/3/2010 12:15PM

    I think it will be a good idea for you to change your doctor. The one you have doesn't sound like the best one for you. I know I need to do the same thing.

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TXNANA_4 6/3/2010 11:54AM

    Just what I needed today. Thanks!

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STORMTMB 6/3/2010 11:45AM

    I told my current doctor in my very first appointment that I'd ask a lot of questions because I want to understand my health and make good decision and to be a partner with him in my own healthcare.

My previous doctor didn't like it when I asked him questions or wanted to understand why he recommended something. Even his nurse said "because doctor said so." What crap. That's why he's my former doctor and I totally love and learn so much from my new/current doctor. What a change.

Good luck in your search and don't stop until you find the right one for you. The previous suggestion was a good one, ask a nurse (or as many as you know).

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LUCYSRAIN 6/3/2010 11:42AM

    You are simply the emoticon

Thanks for reaching out in such honesty..


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    I hope you can find a good doctor. Yours sound like a pompous %^&. Hint - ask a nurse you know who she goes to. LOL.

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GIG2828 6/3/2010 11:10AM

    Love the blog!

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GERIKRAGH 6/3/2010 10:46AM

    U made a good point. And I liked Ur comment about the doctor. My doctor is sort of like that but I just see his nurse practitioner--her I like.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 6/3/2010 10:08AM

  this has been my mantra for awhile now..."You Have To Become Your Own Best Friend" gets lonely at times because we need each other, but who else knows best what I need but me.. great blog as always

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CRIS76 6/3/2010 9:40AM

    A very nice blog, indeed. Thank you so much for your insight - it's spot on!

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 6/3/2010 9:38AM

    Reading your blogs makes me think that maybe it is possible to quiet the mean voice inside my head and to lose the weight once and for all. I'm so proud of you for not only learning as you go but for teaching all of us. I look forward to making your words of encouragement a part of my day!


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BRYLIA 6/3/2010 9:20AM

Another great blog and words of wisdom to live by. I don't truly know you because I have never met you but somehow, I feel a connection closer than some of the people I have known for years. You speak to my mind, heart and soul, providing words of encouragement that are so needed not only to me but to all of us, you included! You are definately an awesome person and so worthy of self praise and effort. BRAVO for all you are doing for yourself, your family and so many others!

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/3/2010 9:05AM

    John, we do have to become our own advocates and start loving ourselves in order to really make progress on this journey. It's tough to do, especially if you've been a people pleaser your whole life like some of us. Thanks for having the courage to do it for yourself and be an inspiration for the rest of us.


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WISEONE68 6/3/2010 8:59AM

    nice...and, you are right--NO one can advocate for us like we can!! Our loved ones can push, prod, etc.--but, WE have the final, ultimate decision.
You done good!!

Keep it up--it does get easier and easier as you learn--no only about yourself, but about what works and does not work for you (tell THAT to a doctor!!). Be well, Friend!!

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HDHAWK 6/3/2010 8:49AM

    I love this blog John. I still struggle with wanting everyone to like me or eating things I know aren't on my plan to please others. I will say I've made great strides in that area. I know I've made improvements in advocating for me, but there is still progress to be made.

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HDHAWK 6/3/2010 8:49AM

    I love this blog John. I still struggle with wanting everyone to like me or eating things I know aren't on my plan to please others. I will say I've made great strides in that area. I know I've made improvements in advocating for me, but there is still progress to be made.

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KRISSYSWIM16 6/3/2010 8:42AM

    Love this blog. I have to say the past 2 weeks I have not been a very good self advocator (? haha) and it shows. Im trying to give myself a good kick in the rear- so thank you for this!

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DOLLBABE56 6/3/2010 8:36AM

    You are truly an inspiration to me - everyday. I am honored to call you my friend. It is a huge comfort to me to have all this support - from you as well as all of my Spark friends.

I do struggle everyday with self worth. Sometimes I forget that I am worth all of these changes/improvements. The past few days have really been a struggle and I didn't win. Today is a new day. I can do it. Just need to stay focused.

Thanks for the great blog once again.

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EDWINA172 6/3/2010 8:26AM

    I'm glad that you are becoming your own advocate. Your doctor's remark kind of boils my blood. I usually bite my tongue when it comes to my knee jerk reactions. I don't want to speak first, eat my words second, but your doctor sounds like a pompous fool. (Nicest thing I could say....really want to cuss) Sounds like he was a bit intimidated by your wife. Who knows you better, your wife or doctor?

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FUZZY1TOO 6/3/2010 8:10AM

    John, how did you do that? How did you get into my head and express some of what I had been feeling the past few days? lol I guess great minds think alike, eh?

I agree with what you are saying. It's hard to reach out and ask for help. . . somedays it's even harder to accept the help. As I have been telling parents for years, 'no one is going to be a better advocate for your family than you -- and you are part of that family!'

You are doing a great job and have a wonderful support system, both in person and online. Keep going. . . 'cuz you help keep us going.


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Being Prepared and My New Running Shoes

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Our son Paul is a runner. At age twenty seven he runs mini and half marathons, 5kís and any sort of race they will let him run in. His wife runs with him. When he found out, as he put it, ďI was serious about starting to run,Ē he told me I needed to go with him and see his ďshoe guy.Ē As he explained it, ďDad you really donít want some high school junior who works at Dickís part time fitting you for running shoes.Ē

Okay. Iíll admit I have had a lot of new experiences in the past six months or so. There is this virtue and itís called faith. Every now and then you have to swallow really hard, admit you donít know something and lift a cocked eye towards heaven and trust a person who appears to know what he is talking about, even if you changed his diapers for a few years.

Saturday morning he showed up at our hotel and took me to the ďshoe guy.Ē When we walked in the door a very athletic looking man about thirty greeted me and asked me my name.

ďWhy does he need to know my name?Ē I thought.

He needed to know my name because if you are going to spend two hours with someone calling me John works a lot better than ďsirĒ or even ďHey you!Ē
He had me take off my shoes and socks and began to walk me through a process that measured both feet sitting and standing. He measures my arches. He smiled, got up and went behind a curtain. When he returned he held a box.

ďI want you to put these on only so I can measure how you run.Ē

He proceeded to show me how to lace the shoes, put them on, tie them and make sure they were tight. He pointed to a treadmill by the store window and asked me to warm up for a minute or so and then jog for a minute or so. As he explained it, he would be videotaping my feet to see how I ran and how my feet fell when they hit the surface.

So here is fat old me in this store with all these very lean people making the earth shake for a few minutes. When I got off the treadmill, he smiled again and disappeared. He returned with six boxes of shoes and we went through the process of finding the right ones for me. He had me try on some amazing socks which felt like part of heaven had settled in my feet. He explained how the most important thing about these shoes was supporting my arches. He had me run more. When I picked a pair of shoes we moved on to inserts. This entailed another fifteen to twenty minutes of trying inserts in the shoes I purchased until I found the ones that supported me the best.

Total time: two hours.

ďJog up and down the street if you like,Ē he said.

I jogged to the corner and called Joan. The price for all of this was around two hundred dollars. You donít stay married for thirty six years by just randomly spending that kind of money on shoes. She listened to me for a minute and said:

ďWell, if you donít get what you need, six months from now youíll be sitting in an orthopedic surgeons office and the minimum weíll be paying is the one thousand dollar deductible on our health insurance.Ē

Case closed. I purchased the shoes along with the amazing comfortable socks.

Other than wanting to tell you just how cool it was to buy the shoes and share my happiness with you there is a point in here somewhere.

ďFail to plan. Plan to fail.Ē There are so many times in my life I have just lunged into things and wondered why I wasnít successful at them. It was because I hadnít prepared. Lack of preparation comes from wanting to change our current reality so quickly that we donít have to admit parts of our lives are messed up. Instead, we push forward motivated by some false thought that we are different than everyone else. We can hit fast forward and get there quicker than everyone else.

We are not different. We are wonderful, marvelous, beautiful, loved and cherished by God, but we have to prepare for everything we do or we wonít succeed.
Itís why we measure our food, chart our exercise, step on the scale and take the tape to out hips, stomach and thighs. We are preparing. We are preparing for those wonderful moments we etched in our minds. They are our goals.

Buying the shoes was fun, but more importantly, as I tested them out when we got home, I found that one action increased my confidence and my ability to do something I was still a bit shaky about.

From time to time people will tell me I am a good writer. I have to smile because you donít see how many times I hit the back space key or high light a whole paragraph to delete before I am satisfied with what I wrote. I am a terrible speller and have taken to writing my blogs in Microsoft Word and then pasting them here because Word automatically corrects so many spelling errors. Writing like running and many of the things that give you great satisfaction require preparation and the right tools in order to be successful.

Good health requires preparation. Thatís why you and I are here. Thatís why itís more than a diet.

Have a blessed Wednesday.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HLPRATT 6/14/2010 10:27AM

    Yes your feet are very important to running. I need to find a shoe guy like that.
I was 45 before I ever ran and I'm not a real runner but I find when I get on the treadmill now I'm not satisfied with just walking anymore. I just did the superman 4 mile in Metroplis in 47 minutes. Races are fun even if you don't win. You'll love it when you try it.

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TULIPCHICK91 6/7/2010 3:05PM

    Your blog was timed perfectly for me to read it. I also went out and got fitted for shoes this week and got a little critcism for spending $100 and several hours of my time. You (and your wife) have reaffirmed that I did the right thing. Thank you for another thoughtful and well-written blog.

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ELIZABETH525 6/4/2010 10:18AM

    You ARE a wonderful writer. It is the process and the end result that makes you a writer. We do not care that you are a horrible speller. That is what spell check is for. What we love is how articulate you are, how your words flow and how every line you write has meaning and impact!

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DOLLIE6 6/3/2010 2:51PM

    Thanks for sharing John, very interesting. We really do need to take care of our feet. Look what we put them through.

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AZCUPCAKE 6/3/2010 1:26PM

    Joan is one smart cookie, and you are so blessed to have her for your "sole-mate!" Haha! Pun intended! I am glad you purchased a pair of shoes and socks that will make your running more efficient AND enjoyable. And if you STILL need something to seal the deal in your mind, think of all the times in the past when you put the not-so-great food into your shopping cart and paid for it without blinking an eye! You are making a MUCH better choice in getting that amazing footwear!!! BRAVO! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WANDAH3 6/3/2010 7:23AM

    Thats what I need..."a shoe guy". I'm going to have to ask around to see if there is anyone here that would fit me with a proper fitting shoe! Love it.

Good luck with the running.


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VAEMPYRESS 6/3/2010 6:04AM

    Love it, I too just went and got my new running shoes fitted by my "shoe guy" I think I took an hours or so.
I'm with PRINCESSNURSE though, What shoes did you get?

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    Another very true and thus very wise blog......but the real question is-what kind of shoes did you get?

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STOLTZY64 6/2/2010 10:48PM

    WOW! I never heard of such a shoe fitting as that! What a process!!

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KATIEGLEN012 6/2/2010 10:11PM

    Wow. I know for a fact that good tools produce a quality product, so it makes sense to buy good shoes, but this guy was fabulous. Sounds like he really knows what's up. Lucky for you you listened to the "kid". emoticon How is it they know so much?????

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HAWAIILINDA 6/2/2010 10:10PM

    John, Thank you again! I am going to use the lesson learned in your experience. The planning that is so important to succeed. I haven't been planning ahead at all not , meals, not exercise I'm just trying to do the best I can each day. I do need to plan both a plan A and a plan B. If I'd had a plan B today I would have been prepared for the late lunch that I ended up with and had something healthy at hand instead of falling back on a drive thru meal. I can also have a plan B for exercise so that when something gets in the way I have something to fall back on.

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KSGROTHE 6/2/2010 7:57PM

    emoticon on getting out of your comfort zone and getting fitted for good running shoes! Your feet thank you, I'm sure!

I really should get some good shoes myself. I'd like to try the Couch-to-5K program, and I have no running shoes. Even the walking shoes I have aren't very comfortable. And my hiking shoes were not very good on my long hike over the weekend.

Keep up the good work! emoticon

- Karen

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DOLLBABE56 6/2/2010 7:43PM

    That must have been a very interesting experience. It is so hard to get a good fit on athletic shoe. I think that going to a shop like you did would be awesome.

We don't always give our feet enough care. Think about it. I know I've been guilty of buying those "oh so cute" shoes. You know, the ones with the spiky heals and pointy toes. In other words, I've tortured my poor tootsies. And believe me, I've paid for it.

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JPRICE217 6/2/2010 7:36PM

    You'r right about the right shoes. 1 1/2 weeks ago I walked faster and farther tnen I ever had and I hurt my foot and it still hurts. I am going to have to find out were I can be fitted. emoticon so I can emoticon

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TERESAAVIL 6/2/2010 6:15PM

  Thank you for this information. I have problem with my feet so I should go to a professional who would know what I need.
Think it would be a cheaper investment then what I am doing at this time.

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STORMTMB 6/2/2010 5:56PM

    John, I think you left out part of the story that I'm sure took place... the big hug and "thank you, son" to Paul for introducing you to YOUR "shoe guy," another new friend on your journey. I'm sure Paul was thrilled for you!

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FANAMAMA 6/2/2010 5:43PM

    I'm saving up for a good pair of running shoes myself! In fact, I've used it was one of my rewards for reaching a certain weight. I'm hoping my knees don't give out before then!
Thanks for a great reminder that we have to go about all this with open eyes and a plan, not just blindly following some food and exercise plan. That right there is a plan to fail.

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SKE1283 6/2/2010 5:28PM

  The right tools make a BIG difference between getting fit and getting hurt.

When I made the commitment to walk in my first Susan G Komen 3-Day (60-mile) walk this coming October, I went to FleetFeet of Atlanta to get outfitted with the right athletic shoes. It was so worth it, I haven't had a hint of trouble with my feet since I was fitted with the right socks and the right sneakers with the right inserts. :)

I figured I needed to make the investment in doing this right so that my training would build me up, not tear me down.

Thanks for sharing!! emoticon

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WISEONE68 6/2/2010 5:03PM

great blog! you are right about planning to fail (I used that saying, fail to plan/plan to fail as the title of blog once--great minds, huh? emoticon).
i am so glad you took the time to get the right equipment for what you want to accomplish. i bought a food scale, lots and lots of measuring cups, single serving food containers, etc. when i started all this...I was READY for whatever came.
i even allowed myself to spend money on shoes (tho, not as much as you did!) and workout clothes...and, more since losing some weight!! I will have to buy shoes again before my 15K run in September--
we deserve to "pamper" (not really a GUY word, sorry) ourselves!! good for you--and, good for your son to recognize you are SERIOUS, dude!!!!!

be well!!

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TRACYDUKA 6/2/2010 3:07PM

    I'm not near ready for running shoes yet, but I'll have to find someone who is a "shoe guy" or knows a "shoe guy", because I have cranky feet! I wish them much luck getting me a good fit. :D I do so love your blog though. It makes me feel so MOTIVATED. :)

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 6/2/2010 12:13PM

    I loved getting my new "running" shoes! It was so nice to have someone help you find just what you need to make something that's hard to do a little bit better. I'm saving up now to get new ones when the current ones wear out in the near future.

Way to go John! Keep up the great work!


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MOMGABE 6/2/2010 11:47AM

    Great blog! I went and got fitted for shoes in January at a store that specializes in running shoes. Very similar experience. I also ended up with shoes, inserts and socks. But I have to say, after running in them for 5 months, they have been great. No problems with feet, ankles, legs, etc. Well worth the money.

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    Hey, good job, John. Sounds like quite an experience. Of course you will be obligated to run in those new shoes now or suffer my wrath. LOL. emoticon

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JUNEBUG4967 6/2/2010 10:56AM

    John, A lot of your thoughts today struck home for me. I guess I'll have to find my own "shoe guy" here in OKC as the last 2 prs. have left me dissatisfied and uncomfortable. I also need to get an appt w/Dr. to see about some issues with toes. That might be part of the "uncomfortable" part. But the part that really struck me was the comments on preparation or lack thereof. I have my own challenges and have not been towing the line as I should. This is letting me become lax in areas where I should have miniscule "wiggle room". Thanks!

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RONDAJONES 6/2/2010 10:51AM

    Does your son have a "shoe guy" in Columbus? I have been wanting to go to one! LOL Seriously!

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CMBELISLE 6/2/2010 10:44AM

    Well, this blog couldn't have come at a better time. I've been contemplating getting fitted for "real" running shoes rather than just going to Wal-Mart and picking up what feels most comfortable for me. I'm cheap when it comes to shoes, so shelling out $100 to $200 has been giving me anxiety attacks. Your blog reminded me that in the long run, it will be much less expensive to just pay for the shoes.


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GETFIT2LIVE 6/2/2010 10:14AM

    You are so right, John--taking time to prepare properly and having the right tools makes all the difference in both our confidence and our success! Your shoe buying experience sounds much like mine. I love love love my shoes that I got there AND especially the socks ($25 for three pair of socks, on top of HOW much for shoes?!). It was absolutely worth the investment of time and money along with the potential for embarrassment (YOU are a runner?). Now I've taken the next big step, signing up for a running club--one little action increases confidence and our ability to do something we are shaky about.

I look forward to hearing how your training is going; remember no matter how fast or slow you are going with the training, you're on your way, and that already makes you a runner. And yes, you are a good writer, whether you rely on Word to help you or not--Word can't put together a sentence or a thought, only tell you if a word is in the dictionary or not!


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BECCALYNN75 6/2/2010 10:08AM

    This part could have been written just for me:
"Lack of preparation comes from wanting to change our current reality so quickly that we donít have to admit parts of our lives are messed up. Instead, we push forward motivated by some false thought that we are different than everyone else. We can hit fast forward and get there quicker than everyone else."

Momma always said I have two speeds - stop and full speed ahead. Sometimes that is a blessing, and sometimes a curse.

I can also relate to what you said about your writing. When someone compliments one of my photos I usually laugh to myself and think about how many other shots I deleted to get that one.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 6/2/2010 9:56AM

  you are so right...i smiled when you talked about being a good writer. I am a writer also, and I go through those same things.When I go back and read what I have read, I laugh because I am always leaving words out or spelling words wrong.. or sometimes it takes me days to get something to sound good enough to post

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DAWNDMOORE40 6/2/2010 9:39AM

    Good for you on buying a good pair of running shoes! I hope you are now able to go out with your son and run a marathon! emoticon

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WEEZIE1122 6/2/2010 9:01AM

    I knew it. I just knew it. I'm not the only one that uses Word first.

Great blog again John.

We love you

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HDHAWK 6/2/2010 8:58AM

    Good for you John! Do tell, what is the brand of socks you bought? I have found some I like, but I usually buy ones that don't quite hit the mark!

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SANDYK4BAMA 6/2/2010 8:52AM

    So tell us please, Dear John, what kind of socks were those anyway? I have only one pair of socks that has ever felt remotely good, and I don't know what brand they are. I am tortured by socks because I can't stand the seams on the inside of the toe area, and it is a rare occasion to find some without that. But to find some that feel like heaven - well, please please, elaborate. I need me some of these!!

Thanks for your blog. I haven't been on much lately as I started a new job, and I didn't know if I was allowed to SPARK all day long like I did at home. But alas, now I'm starting to feel my way around, and I'm back to the Feel Good Column of John. You can't imagine how much better you make me feel about myself with the words you bestow upon us everyday. Know that always, if you don't get anything else accomplished in a day, if you wrote your blog, I got something good out of it. You are one of the highlights of my day! Thank you again for your blog, and most of all, thank you for just being YOU! emoticon

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BUGGYS 6/2/2010 8:48AM

    Good shoes and arch support makes all the difference, doesn't it? A couple of years ago, I went through the same knee kept hurting when I walked and now I am pain free...John, it really doesn't matter about the is about your health and how you are going to get was nice that you called your wife but she was right...think about YOU, and the rest will fall into have a good son and he must be so proud of his dad! emoticon

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MARCYNA 6/2/2010 8:37AM

    Love it. I have high arched feet and it took me years to accept they were different from 'normal' feet.
One day my trainer told me it's the best for athletes as it promotes dynamics.
I've never had a shoe guy - too expensive for me - but I'm gonna get one.
Congrats 2 you , dear wife and clever son
PS Being prepared is the key. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/2/2010 8:38:03 AM

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BRYLIA 6/2/2010 8:27AM

    Sounds like one awesome running shoe experience...did you get to run a little with your son? He must be so proud of you like we all are...keep up the great effort and most importantly have fun!!!


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WISHIEGIRL 6/2/2010 8:23AM

    Isn't the whole running shoe process amazing? I mean, who would have thought that all of that was necessary to find the right running shoe? And yet it is.

It's kind of like the process we need to go through to make this lifestyle change. There's dozens of little adjustments to go through.... try them on, and then more adjustments. Thanks for this blog post - I needed to read this today.

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