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Shiny Happy People: A Positive View on Things

Friday, July 30, 2010

If you are tired hearing about me saying “You are who you hang around with…..” you may move on to another blog. I won’t be upset. (Well maybe just a little bit)

I got a spark Mail this morning that had positive energy flowing out of it before I opened it up. Now I would like to tell you I bounce out of bed in the morning singing and dancing around the house in some sort of euphoria, but I don’t. Most mornings I have to will myself to smile. I have been working on this. My days go so much better when I hit the floor in a good mood full of anticipation for what’s ahead.

But I digress. My friend was just full of good news today and you could feel the excitement oozing through the mail. It was infectious. I smiled when I read it and responded in kind. As I got up from my chair I noticed that I was humming and there was a bit of a spring in my step and my outlook for the day was a bit brighter. Thank you dear friend.

The gifts we give each other are often very intangible. They come packaged with good news, or a silly joke or simply a smile. How valuable and powerful they are. They can cause us to turn on a dime and our outlook on life suddenly changes for the better.

It tells me us we have so much more value than we can ever imagine. Our silliness, our goofiness and our good news can be the elixir someone needs to get up and go. I learned today to never discount or undervalue the gifts and talents of the people in your life. Those gifts may come in different packages but they are gifts none-the-less.

You are who you hang around with. Positive people, breed positive results and the next thing you know, we are infecting the world.

Be someone’s reason to smile today. Go ahead, it won’t hurt ya.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MPALMER15 8/1/2010 8:28PM

    Awesome blog!

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A10TIVTRTL 8/1/2010 11:31AM

    Great blog, John. I'm going to recommend it to my friends. Oh, and I've added you as a friend and subscribed to your blogs. Love your attitude!

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DEMURALIST 7/31/2010 5:09PM

    thanks, you were my reason to smile, just now!

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CARTOONB 7/31/2010 12:21AM said it!

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SLOLOSER 7/30/2010 7:59PM


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SLY_REDUX 7/30/2010 7:24PM

    I so agree!

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WILMABEAL 7/30/2010 5:55PM

    lol kinda sounds like me. I've been so excited! emoticon

Comment edited on: 7/30/2010 5:58:03 PM

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/30/2010 3:38PM

    So true--I'd rather be spreading sunshine than clouds, there are enough of those that come along naturally! Thanks for making me smile today, John!


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DOLLBABE56 7/30/2010 3:23PM

    Thanks for the "positivity" (is that a word?) John.

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STORMTMB 7/30/2010 3:11PM

    Great reminder. Thanks, John. emoticon

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CINDYC53 7/30/2010 12:07PM

    Yup! So true. Thanks for the reminder!

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LUVMYK9S 7/30/2010 11:47AM


Awesome advice! Just one smile can turn even the gloomiest day around! You are one of those positive people and your blog always lifts my spirits!

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MYOWNHERO 7/30/2010 11:44AM

    Well said! Thanks for the good vibes :-)

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SHARON10002 7/30/2010 11:36AM

    emoticon message! emoticon for helping us to remember that we must be the light for others. Have a wonderful day! emoticon

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NJMATTICE 7/30/2010 10:43AM

    Thanks for the positive reinforcement. I was very happy to be back home to hang out with my shiny, happy, positive blogging friends. It makes a tremendous difference and is helping shake off the negativity that attached itself to me in my travels. Keep smiling my brother!

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/30/2010 10:41AM

    Good advice. Every day you wake up has the potential to be a good day. Make it so. LOL.

Comment edited on: 7/30/2010 10:41:48 AM

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JENNY888 7/30/2010 10:32AM

    There is a lot of wisdom here. Great blog John.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/30/2010 10:19AM

  you are so right.. and i have been thinking along these lines myself... i need to find some very positive people to hang with.. thanks for the validation

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TIME4AFITME 7/30/2010 10:02AM


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MESEATURTLE 7/30/2010 9:57AM

    emoticon well said!!!

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MESEATURTLE 7/30/2010 9:57AM

    emoticon well said!!!

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MESEATURTLE 7/30/2010 9:57AM

    emoticon well said!!!

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CLOTHEDINLOVE 7/30/2010 9:54AM

    Awesome point. It's part of the reason I'm headed out of the office I'm in... the work brings me down! I need something more active and that helps people in a more tangible sense. It's also rough to be around so many people who aren't worried about their health in the least and bring in fattening "goodies" to share all the time!

I hope where I'm headed in life will bring more of those positive people into my life. Thank YOU for being one already. :)

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FITVALGAL 7/30/2010 9:34AM

Birds of a feather flock together: I choose to be positive so that positive people will choose to be around me.

"Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher." -Oprah Winfrey

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CROBINGO 7/30/2010 9:03AM

    So true! Also, I am pleased for you that you got such a nice email that really perked up your day!

(Disgustingly I AM one of those people that wake up immediately wide awake, excitedly go into the kitchen make my coffee, sit outside rain, heat or shine in the early morning hours of like 4-5 AM to great the day. BUT, then the real world enters in and life enters in and various large or small stresses of work and the day start weighing down my shoulders. It sounds like you go the other way. You wake up slowly and "fill your cup" with positive energy as the day goes on. That is pretty cool, actually!

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TRACYDUKA 7/30/2010 8:57AM

    I completely agree. I've noticed that if I wanted to live a more positive life I needed to surround myself with more positive people. I have a friend...she was a reluctant friend. We laugh now about how we became such good friends, but really and truly I try to emulate this part of her. :) She is sunshine wrapped up in a 4'11" package. She was 16 when I met her, I was 21. And she was bubbly. Smiling and talking a thousand miles a minute and GUSHING happiness...and I was annoyed with it. UGH. I couldn't STAND being around someone that was that giddy ALL THE TIME! I was convinced that it wasn't sincere. Then one day she came to my house a few years later. She wasn't happy that day, and she needed a friend and she looked ME up. She told me of many bad things that had happened to her in her life. And trust me, hearing her tale made me cry. And though these bad things happened to her, she "faked it until it was real". So though it was her shield, she genuinely was happy in her life. And she's remained that way. And when I was going through the roughest time in my life, I was no one, I was a shell of a human and I knew I needed to become someone again. I thought of the people in my life and their attributes that I WANTED for myself and I thought of her ability to smile through it all. And her ability to provide sunshine to those around her. And I have tried my best to become as optimistic as she is. I'm not quite there, but I definitely shine this little light of mine.

I know that's a wee bit long winded. But it's true, you ARE the company you keep, so why keep company with those that are bad for you?

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AZCUPCAKE 7/30/2010 8:52AM

    Right on, John! There is no greater gift than when a loved one shares their good fortune, great news, or everyday happiness with me. Like the MasterCard commercial says: PRICELESS! A great attitude is positively contagious, and the more we can pass that on through our own positive attitudes, the better the world will be, one phone call, e-mail, or visit at a time!

Happy Friday, and here's to a positively wonderful weekend right around the corner! emoticon emoticon

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CAHUNO2 7/30/2010 8:49AM

    I think you are right!! emoticon emoticon

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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Sometimes there are no profound words, no keen insights. Sometimes there is just a simple, but deep “thank you. “ Sometimes that “thank you” strikes at the core of who you are and like every tender and emotional moment in your life you find yourself struggling to fight back a small tear.

Sometimes you sit back in awe and amazement at the people you have come to call friends and are so very grateful for them. It is at those times that the only words that can form on your lips and in your heart are the words “thank you.”

Sometimes you hang your head just a bit because you should say thank you more often. Sometimes you are guilty of taking that friendship for granted and like so many other moments in our amazing lives you do not realize their value until they have long since passed you by. You smile ruefully as their faces pass through your mind. Do you think they ever knew how valuable and precious they were to you? Or, did you always “mean to say something” but never quite had the time or the words. The circumstance need not be tragic. Maybe a neighbor who listened over the fence moves to another city and then there is a huge void in your life and you never told them how much you looked forward to you chats. A co-worker receives a promotion and suddenly that standard, every day luncheons that were just part of your routine are gone. There’s a void.

You have hundreds of Spark Friends, you get tons of Spark Goodies, receive encouraging Spark Mails and you try to respond to as many as you can. You are grateful and thankful. Then you notice after a bit that some of your friends are gone. They no longer Spark for one reason or another and you feel a bit sad. Maybe you never told them how much they helped you by a few encouraging words. Maybe you never let them know that if they helped make a difference in your life they might make a difference in their own. Maybe you never said thank you from the bottom of your heart

Thank you

From the bottom of my heart.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARCYNA 8/1/2010 2:16AM

    Thanks for being a Friend emoticon emoticon

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PANFRIEDTROUT 7/31/2010 11:29PM

    I thought I'd be reading a blog with a list of things for which you are grateful and I was preparing a mental checklist to see if I might not have thought of something that you did think of.

Only, this turns out to be a "list" of one and only one concern: friendship. And, outside of God & family, that's the most important item one could ever check off. Remembering to say thanks or I was thinking of you today or .... Whatever it is that lets the friend know that they have value to you just because they exist in your life; that you have known them.

Too often in my life, the very moments you speak of have passed me by and I have felt much guilt over it and moreso when I try to justify letting those opportunities slip.

Lately, I have been under a strong conviction to remedy this & it was only yesterday that I actually made an Appointment in my Planner to write or call one of my friends. I'm also adding it to my SparkPage as a goal for August; to take a few minutes 5 days each week to reach out.

My worldview doesn't accept "coincidence"; I felt like I was truly led here today to read what you had to say.

So my friend, let me just say, Thank YOU! emoticon


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WILMABEAL 7/30/2010 6:02PM

    VERY well written ,your very good with words, How true your blog is to the point! emoticon

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JPRICE217 7/30/2010 7:28AM

    emoticon emoticongreat blog you always make me stop and think send you my emoticon

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PUCCIOLA08 7/30/2010 2:21AM

    I love this, John. Thank you for making me smile at every blog you write, and thank you for getting the wheels turning in my mind. Thank you :)

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CINDYC53 7/29/2010 5:02PM

    Lovely. Of course, I had a small tear, too, reading it. It really is amazing how connected we can become to so many people around the world. Thanks for your blog!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LUVMYK9S 7/29/2010 4:06PM

    emoticon for all of the insight and motivation of your blogs. YOU are a friend to ALL of us. I truly appreciate all that you do!

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GIRANIMAL 7/29/2010 2:36PM

    emoticon for all you are and all you do, my friend!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/29/2010 1:36PM

    Thank YOU, John. I have been thinking about some of the Spark friends I made here when I first began this journey and wondering what happened to some that are no longer active. Makes me wonder if I had taken a minute more to say thanks for being there that it might have helped them keep going a little longer; we rarely get to see this side of heaven how our lives and our words help someone else, but we still should strive to live and speak in such a way that we are a blessing and not a curse to those around us. Thanks for being one of the blessings in my life, John.


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NJMATTICE 7/29/2010 11:51AM

    "I'm still here El Guapo."
(just checking to see if you get the somewhat obscure "Three Amigos" reference.)
Quit your crying and get back to work!
ps you're welcome and keep up the good work.

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FROGGERHKC 7/29/2010 11:31AM

    emoticon emoticon
Great blog! :)

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BRYLIA 7/29/2010 11:26AM


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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/29/2010 10:15AM

    I agree. When friends disappear it is sad but sometimes they return.

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JUSTLYLE 7/29/2010 9:56AM

    Another great blog John, always enjoy reading them.

And by the way, THANK YOU for all your words of wisdom.

Skeeter emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 7/29/2010 9:48AM

    I too am guilty of not saying thank you enough. I too have lost friends along the way. It is important to realize just how much our friends mean to us.
Thank you John.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/29/2010 9:38AM

    Thank you for this reminder. I appreciate you, John!


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SANDYK4BAMA 7/29/2010 9:36AM

    In case I forget, a big THANK YOU, John. You give me hope, endurance, and much much more, and always right when I need it. So again, thank you for being my SparkFriend! emoticon

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GEEMAWEST 7/29/2010 9:34AM

    I have had this experience much too often. Great blog, John.

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CAHUNO2 7/29/2010 9:27AM

    Yes. You nailed it again. emoticon

I do wonder what happened to old SP friends. emoticon

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MINENA1 7/29/2010 9:26AM

    emoticon emoticon THANK YOU!!

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TIME4AFITME 7/29/2010 9:20AM

    Thank you

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KAT573 7/29/2010 9:01AM

    Thank you, John! keep on keeping on!

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STORMTMB 7/29/2010 8:56AM

    It's never too soon to do a kindness because you never know when it will be too late.

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A "Me-Time" How To, A Guide To Relaxation Technique

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

There’s that old saying that goes; “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.” Well, LOL, yesterday, at the end of my blog I offered to share with anyone who was interested in the process I used for relaxation during my “me time.” I thought I’d get two, maybe three responses at the most. So many of you were interested in what I did and how I did it that if I tried to answer all your Spark Mails it might be sometime Saturday before they all got answered.

I am going to try to explain what I do and how I do it. If you got an email from me please disregard it. This blog will go into much greater detail.

I use relaxation techniques to center myself and to get rid of the stress or negative feelings I may have about something or someone. I have found when I do this consistently that my emotional eating will dissipate. Different people use this technique for different reasons. I have a close friend who uses it as an opportunity to pray and discern God’s will in his life. Another friend uses it as a visualization tool to see himself doing the things he enjoys doing well. Regardless how you use it I will tell you this:

It’s not magic and it takes an investment of time. It can be frustrating at first but if you stick with it, I have found amazing results especially as it relates to calming and centering.

First get comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you are sitting up or lying down, just get comfortable. If you have to adjust during the relaxation don’t worry, the most important thing here is that you are comfortable. It’s self-defeating to try to relax when you are in pain or uncomfortable.

In order to get myself into a state of what’s called “complete physical relaxation” I use a yoga breathing technique. It involves taking a deep breath through your nose and counting “1-2-3-4-5” As you do this you should visualize filling your lungs from the bottom , through your rib cage and then to the top of your lungs. I try to visualize my lungs as a balloon filling up. Once filled up I hold the breath for a count of “1-2-3.” Then I slowly exhale through my mouth, counting “1-2-3-4-5” as I do. It’s in through your nose out through your mouth.

I use a track a friend gave me called Meditation Yoga – Sounds of Nature. I am not sure where you can obtain it but there is music and a person guides you through the relaxation process. If anyone knows how I could share this by uploading or any other process I’d be more than glad to do so.

This part takes the longest to master because as you concentrate on your breathing your body will begin to relax. In the beginning this takes the longest to accomplish. Just be patient. A lot of people give up after a few days because they aren’t seeing immediate results. It usually takes ten days at about ten minutes per day to get yourself totally relaxed.

One you are relaxed you can use this technique to do a number of things. Because I am an emotional eater and my moods, attitudes and feeling affect what I put in my mouth, I use this time to brush away any negative thoughts I might have about myself, other people or situations in my life. I may simply be stressed or over whelmed and I use it to decompress and relax. It does always give me a boost of energy and I often use it before I go to the gym or do my C25K.

Once relaxed, I stay in that state for twenty minutes. Don’t be daunted by this. I have been using this technique off and on for close to five years.

The music I use is as follows and it is available on ITunes:

Quietude by Peter Kater & R. Carlos Nakai from the album Migration
Winter Walk by David Nevue from the album Overcome
Ocean Shores from the album Ocean Dreams

Another option would be to use Pandora Radio on the internet. It is free and I sometimes use a station called New Age Mix. You can access Pandora Radio at

Finally, I will see if I can do a video blog incorporating what I wrote about here and walk you through a meditation. I know you all don’t have access to video blogging so any other technological suggestions would be appreciated.

Hope this helped

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JURI62 7/29/2010 7:38PM

    Thank you John! A video blog would be awesome!

Comment edited on: 7/29/2010 7:39:25 PM

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CINDYC53 7/29/2010 5:04PM

    This is great!! Very very helpful!!

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JPRICE217 7/28/2010 4:35PM


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    It's very similar to what I have done for many years except I was taught to combine the breathing with visualization and muscle relaxation.

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/28/2010 1:41PM

    Good info, John. Sometimes I will simply close my eyes, focus on making my breathing slow and deep, and repeat a phrase or a word silently such as 'I am loved' or 'Peace, be still.' Even a couple of moments of that will usually dramatically dissipate the stress I'm feeling. Looking forward to the video blog!

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KPDRMNG 7/28/2010 1:12PM

    thanks for sharing, I definely need to try it. I'm sooo stressed currently my hair is standing on ends. emoticon

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DOLLBABE56 7/28/2010 11:48AM

    I haven't done this in so long. I use it mostly at the end of a yoga session. I forget about doing it at other times of the day/night. Thanks for the reminder.

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MUSTANG_SALLY2 7/28/2010 11:45AM

    Thanks for sharing this. I so need to incorporate this into my day. I'm working on it!


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STORMTMB 7/28/2010 11:34AM

    How interesting. Thanks for sharing. There may be something about this relaxation technique on YouTube already or maybe if you do a video you could post yours there.

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Creating Me Time and Restoring Balance

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I am an emotional eater. A lot of you reading this probably are too. Food is our drug of choice. Anxiety, depression, fear, any gamut of emotions sends us scampering towards a tube of cookie dough and we don’t quit eating until, exhausted and guilty, we sit in our chair, feeling worse than before we indulged. It’s a vicious cycle. It’s a self-defeating cycle. It can put up a wall so thick that we simply throw our hands up in disgust and walk away from all our health plans. We are addicted.
I spent yesterday reviewing my last month. What did I do well? Mostly that fell in the exercise category. Where did I slip? That one took a bit longer, LOL.

One thing I have incorporated into my regimen that has suffered recently is “me time.” Some folks may call it meditation or relaxation or creative visualization but regardless, I use it as an opportunity in the middle of my day to disengage from everything. My stressed out time is the middle of the afternoon. It’s the time when anxiety, boredom, weariness and a host of other emotions creep into my mind. To fight them off I eat. When I eat I feel guilty and when I feel guilty I eat more because what’s the use, right?

That’s the time I use for “me time.” This isn’t a planning or a goal setting activity. There is no thought process involved here. I am taking a break. It’s time to let everything good, everything bad and anything else drift away.

I had stopped using this balancing technique for over a month. So yesterday afternoon, I sat down, closed the door and dimmed the lights. I got comfortable, the position doesn’t matter. I know some people who do it lying down and some who do it sitting straight up in a chair. I have play some music that is soothing and relaxing and once, I close my eyes, take a deep breath and slowly exhale. I let my body and my mind relax. I concentrate on my breathing. I slowly inhale through my nose, hold my breath for a second and then slowly exhale. The combination of the music and my breathing creates a deep relaxation that restores me.

Remember when you started Spark? Remember how you were asked to be active for ten minutes a day? What’s your activity level currently? I started my “me time” at ten minutes each day. It takes some getting used to just like walking, running or cycling does.

No one teaches us to relax. No one teaches us how to remove negative distractions from our lives. This technique allows me the time to purge those self-defeating and destructive thoughts from my mind. When I open my eyes I often find I have a new surge of energy that carries me through my day.

I was surprised to find that when I opened my eyes yesterday I had been relaxing for well over thirty minutes. It helps me create a much needed balance in my life.
I started this blog by talking about being an emotional eater. As I learn to balance my life I find that I have less of those episodes occurring. I get sloppy sometimes, but I think that’s different. My emotional eating has a lot of sources, LOL, and one of them is lack of balance.

Along with diet, exercise and rest it is important to me in maintaining that balance.
If you are interested in knowing more and what kind of music I listen to and the breathing technique I use send me a Spark Mail and I’ll be glad to share.

So many of you have helped me in so many ways, I am trying to return the favor.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MAKALANI22 7/27/2010 10:05PM

    great blog. i definitely agree that it's important to have 'me time'. i honestly think it also helps our minds connect with our bodies to let it know, "hey, it's okay to release emotions as well as weight that does not serve us".

it's powerful and profound. i have also been slacking on this lately and will be going home tonight to practice a little 'me time'

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ALLISON145 7/27/2010 10:04PM

    I'm totally going to try this tomorrow, John! There's no reason I shouldn't be able to do this in my office for 10 minutes or so... I bet it makes me more productive the rest of the day.



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KATIEGLEN012 7/27/2010 9:56PM

    I am an emotional eater. And 'me time' is a must. I love the early morning. Just to start my day in the right frame of mind, but mid-afternoon is a tough eating time for me too. Hadn't thought of using my 'me time' there also. Might just have two 'me times' per day. I'll let you know how it goes.

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    I have meditated for many years. It's very relaxing.

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NJMATTICE 7/27/2010 3:43PM

    Thanks for the positive reinforcement.

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LUVMYK9S 7/27/2010 2:09PM

    Thank you John! I definitely need to work in some 'me time'. Starting with 10 minutes a day, I think that is manageable.

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BECCALYNN75 7/27/2010 12:46PM

    Thanks John for another great blog!

I guess Focus & Balance are my goals for the week because the Lord keeps sending me those messages, from the sermon Sunday, my devotional reading and your blog.

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BRYLIA 7/27/2010 11:39AM

    I remember using a relaxation techinque simular to what you described that I had learned in college but havenet used in many many years. I think it's time this comes out of the closet so to speak and get's put back into practice. Thanks for jogging my memory! Happy Exercising and Relaxation, my friend! emoticon

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JPRICE217 7/27/2010 11:10AM

    Great advice John. everyone needs me time and not to feel about it. I would like to know the music you listen to

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JENNY888 7/27/2010 10:46AM

    I'm with you on needing this "me time" in the afternoon. I am incorporating time to meditate and relax. It's my reward to myself not for what I have done, but what I will do afterwords.

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YOYONOMORE1 7/27/2010 10:24AM

    Hi John, yes that all around balance is so important but I think we all have times of forgetting that, glad you got it back. I am in a state of happiness as this is day 5 of my internet working right, can hardly believe it, 5 days in a row. Enjoy your day, your week and your "me time".


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RHONDA_11 7/27/2010 10:24AM

    I loved this! Thank you. I am going to add a meditative time to my afternoon and not just my morning meditation emoticon

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RACHELRB 7/27/2010 10:23AM

    Great words John. So many of us recognize the importance of taking the 'me' time. It's actually doing it that counts. I like how you found a way to do 10 minutes a day and gradually grow. Earlier this week I put on my weekly commitment list that I would give myself 5 minutes. I think if we can start there we are on our way emoticon All the best to you on your journey through life.

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CHRISSYVB 7/27/2010 10:14AM

    Thanks for a great blog as usual. I never believed in meditation until one day after yoga when the instructor told us all to do it. I thought it would be a waste of good exercise time but I did it like everyone else. WOW, I'm a believer now, I finished so refreshed and calm but with amazing energy. Anyone who is skeptical needs to give it a try. When you get it right, meditation is like nothing else.


Comment edited on: 7/27/2010 10:15:39 AM

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TIME4AFITME 7/27/2010 10:07AM

    Sounds great

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STORMTMB 7/27/2010 9:56AM

    Good for you, John. Enjoy!

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WALKAWAY 7/27/2010 9:51AM

    John, thanks for the great blog. I needed to do this yesterday. To take time away from a stressful situation and just "BREATHE." I didn't and came home last night wanting to eat everything within reach. I managed not to, but still felt on edge all evening.

I need to remember "More Me Time."

emoticon emoticon

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WYNAMT 7/27/2010 9:39AM

    It is very important to take time for ourselves on this journey and beyond. Glad to hear you are bringing yourself back to center!

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DOLLBABE56 7/27/2010 9:34AM

    Great blog John. My "me time" is early-mid afternoon. Poppet (my dog) and I lie on the bed. I pet her (when she'll let me emoticon and close my eyes. I always feel better after we have "napped?/relaxed" for about 30 minutes.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/27/2010 9:29AM

  we all need these times of reflection, time to remember why we do what we do and times to remind ourselves we are worth it

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/27/2010 9:26AM

    What a good reminder, John! I used to do something like this as well and it has slipped in recent months. I think the Quakers call it 'centering' yourself; it's a way of restoring balance and peace in the midst to the center of your being in an often too busy, out of whack life. Thanks for sharing; we desperately need balance, and that is a great way to restore our spirits.


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ROCKINFOX 7/27/2010 9:23AM

    Relaxation is definitely important. This blog reminds me that I also need to take out some time for me. I need to start implementing this technique once again into my daily routine. Great blog!!!

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KAT573 7/27/2010 9:22AM

    This is a hard one for me too; especially since something more is pushing from the inside out so taking time to put up my duds and read has become a way of avoiding that push that needs to be answered. LOL and I know what that push is, too, and can think of several reasons why it will NOT be answered 'today'. None of them are excuses tho I try to make them be; they are reasons. rationalizations....hmmmmm not that far from excuses again, are we?

I am glad you have nailed this for you for this day. I think key is, I have to do it every least once. A worthy goal. Next in line is rewarding myself. emoticon

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Seven Months Sparking: Falling Down and Getting Back Up

Monday, July 26, 2010

About a month ago I began acting like I was on a diet. Every morsel of food that went in my mouth was weighed (No pun intended!!!) against what the dreaded scale might say every Sunday morning. I could go on and on but suffice to say I was driving myself crazy and, according to my beloved wife, was becoming a real pain to live with. Joan and a few Spark friends suggested I “step away from the scale” and concentrate on healthy living and less on weight loss. I didn’t weight for four consecutive weeks. I continued to track my food and exercise. I weighed yesterday morning and had 3.8 pound gain. I didn’t freak out. I put on my running shoes, stepped into the heat and ran a mile and a half. While I ran I asked myself what I learned. Here it is:

Valuable Lesson One:
No amount of exercise eradicates French fries, chocolate chip cookies and beer. One thing I noticed after a week or so is that I would have cookies and add twenty minutes to my cardio that day. After a while it became a bargaining tool inside my head. “Wanna beer? Get on the bike for thirty minutes.” Bargaining or rationalization never works. I might want it to work in my favor but it doesn’t. That leads me to;

Valuable Lesson Two:
If it is in the house I will eat it. I am not going to stare at a sleeve of Oreo’s and muster up some weak semblance of will power, turn around and walk away. Besides I think it is cruel to intentionally tempt yourself just to see “how strong you are.” If they are in the house, they get eaten. If they are not in the house, they remain a fantasy. If there are apples, grapes, blueberries in the fridge they will get eaten as well. It’s a law of physics. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. I am in control of what goes in my grocery cart, garbage in, scale creaks!!!!

Valuable Lesson Three:
Patience is more than a virtue.
A gain, is a gain is gain but I learned a lot about John. This month of riding the bike without any training wheels has been an eye opener. I have been here before. I have lost this much weight and then everything sort of stopped and didn’t move until it moved upwards and then I lost all faith in myself and then…….
I have roughly weighed the same for the past three months. I saw foods that weren’t good for me “creep” back into my diet. They are food high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates. I slowly allowed those foods to creep in here and there. Even my good foods tilted toward excess a bit. I started eye balling measurements rather than taking them exactly. Things must change.

Positive Out Come:
Even though I did it for all the wrong reasons my cardio workouts have increased from roughly fifty minutes a day to roughly seventy minutes a day.

I am going to begin working with a personal trainer next week. For the past three months I have realized I needed some help taking things to the next level. I finally decided on a trainer and we start work together next Monday.

I am in Week 6 of C25K. Running has become a real joy and I look forward to it.
Summer is a great time to take advantage of fresh fruit and veggies! I pulled out the massive Cooking Vegetarian Cookbook the kids gave me for Father’s Day and planned menus for this week using some of them.

My confidence level has never been higher. I learned a lot about me in the past months and now I am putting things into place to make sure I reach my goals. This was a small setback but in a lot of respects one I needed to regain my focus.
I am worth it

I deserve it

I AM who I hang around with. Wonderful people like you.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WILMABEAL 7/30/2010 6:13PM

    That is a great blog. Very true and helpful! emoticon

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SUSIEMILO 7/30/2010 4:20PM

    I also went through a hiccup in my program about the same time you did. But unlike you, even my fitness minutes decreased.
But unlike all the other times in my life, I at least stayed where I was, and didn't begin re-gaining my weight.
I'm getting back on track now, and motivation and energy are coming back.
I know that without Spark, and the various blogs that I read and friendships that I have on here, I probably would have repeated history and re-gained a LOT more than the 5 lbs. that I did.
I count that as a near-miss, and thank God (again) for Spark.
I'm back on track and gaining momentum on my program once more.

And I'm so happy to hear the positive come back into your "voice". Great news to hear that you've come full circle and are once again on track.
All the best to you for working with the personal trainer.

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CINDYC53 7/29/2010 5:09PM

    Really great!! I'm doing a mini-marathon of reading your blogs and am finding them SO beneficial.
I'm with you about "if it's in the house I will eat it." That's a big one for me when I'm trying to stay on track. I'm kidding myself if I think I can buy something (usually CARB laden!) and only eat one a day, or whatever my rationale of the moment is.
Yes, we're here for the long haul, and that means sometimes taking 2 steps forward and 1 back. But NEVER QUITTING!! We're all human, and we're all here for each other.
Thanks, John!
p.s. When I am really serious about my food, I plan the day and fill in my tracker in advance... I might leave 100 calories for something spontaneous, but having the plan in place helps me.

Comment edited on: 7/29/2010 5:11:16 PM

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CLOTHEDINLOVE 7/27/2010 9:34AM

    It is a fine fine line between obsessive and permissive--- thank you for this blog. I have been having the same struggles with letting bad foods creep back into my daily diet instead of letting them be a treat. The way you put it... " I slowly allowed those foods to creep in here and there. Even my good foods tilted toward excess a bit. I started eye balling measurements rather than taking them exactly. Things must change."

Thanks, John. As always, you wrap up those thoughts that have been floating around in my mind into such an understandable package.

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JAE_HENNINGTON 7/27/2010 9:27AM

  you always have wonderful things to say, things that makes me stand up on the inside and say...yes! I can do this

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MSPLACEDAGAIN 7/27/2010 9:19AM

    These are good reminders to me too! I am half way to my goal and have been taking a break. Time to get back on it and fight the "creep" of unhealthy foods and larger portions.

Thanks for the blog!

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IFDEEVARUNS2 7/27/2010 8:47AM

    I think the most powerful thing you said is 'you are who you hang out with'. I've definitely found that to be true. Thanks for another excellent blog.

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CUBFANGIRL1 7/27/2010 1:32AM

    I can pretty much identify with every lesson you have shared (except for the beer part. . . I can safely have beer in my house w/o any temptation to drink it, lol). I know there are not supposed to be "forbidden" foods and maybe when I am on more solid footing I can have a package of Oreos in my house w/o fear of overdoing it. . . ut for right now, if they are there, I will eat them. A lot of them, if not all of them!

Good for you for not panicking.

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CHERIRIDDELL 7/26/2010 11:41PM

    Ah yes thanks for the wake up call.I seem to have used the same bargaining tool startegy ,equally unsuccessfully I might add!!!

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KSGROTHE 7/26/2010 9:12PM

    emoticon for not freaking out about your weight gain and instead assessing what you have learned! It's easy to get discouraged when weight gain happens, but instead you've come out with a higher confidence level than ever. You can get back on track, and you know it!

I have missed the last few of your blogs because I was not getting notifications from SP in my email, and then my grandma died and I went out of town for her funeral and have been trying to catch up on things ever since. I missed your blogs more than I knew and am so glad I came to your page to read this.

Keep up the good work! emoticon

- Karen

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DUTCHIEKIWI 7/26/2010 8:59PM

    Thanks as always for sharing John.
I have to watch watch wacth myself at the moment, I'm having a wanting problem with cookies.
and by god they seem to be on special everywhere!
I never even used to like cookies!?!! What's going on???

I just went and brished my teeth, as that help to stop my cravings.
After the work done by the dentist last week i really want to get pearly whites, clean and sparkly...

so I keep brushing.

I'm jealous of your running, I really want to get there, to go there.
I started and threw it in because of rain, never picked it up and keep thinking about it.

If you can run, will I be able to as well??
Strap on your shoes and go...
awesome way of exercise!

I'm getting back into the right frame of mind, I'm reading all the right stuff.

Now all I need is the cookie sales to STOP!!

xx Dutchie

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JPRICE217 7/26/2010 4:02PM

    emoticonyou seen where you are and where you was heading and stop the down ward slop and are getting back on the healthy living emoticon

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BOURNBABE 7/26/2010 2:08PM

    I'm the same with in the house I'll eat it. Good luck with the personal trainer! Look forward to hearing how it goes as I've contemplated maybe doing the same.

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LUVMYK9S 7/26/2010 2:07PM

    As usual, wonderful insight! Thank you for your candor. I have also used exercise as justification to indulge a bit more than I know I should have. Every so often I have to start weighing and measuring my food again as it seems my interpretation of a portion gets skewed over time.

Thank you for giving me the initiative to refocus, and reinforcing that we are all worth the effort of good health.

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MOMGABE 7/26/2010 1:59PM

    John, Thanks for sharing. This is exactly what I needed to hear today. I, too, have allowed my food plan to get sloppy and have included items that I really don't need. You are so right, you can't out-train poor food choices. It is time for me to quit kidding myself.

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AZCUPCAKE 7/26/2010 12:56PM

    This blog is absolutely golden, John! It speaks volumes regarding the ways we tempt ourselves and then wonder why we eat the Oreos! Because they are THERE! emoticon Truer words were never spoken. I have NEVER felt guilty because I have eaten too many slices of apple or even a whole CUP of blueberries. NEVER.

Thanks for your honesty and candor. You really know what the "hot buttons" are that we all deal with on an everyday (sometimes MINUTE by MINUTE!) basis. I am thankful for your insights, as always. emoticon emoticon

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JENNY888 7/26/2010 12:39PM

    What you have learned is very important. I think most of us have these slipping times. What is important is waking up from them and taking action.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 7/26/2010 12:19PM

    Yep, most people kind of get sloppy sometimes and then have to clean up their acts. I think it's kind of a vacation from the rigors of the game but you can't win if you don't play so you have to get back to it.

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WALKNLOVE 7/26/2010 11:38AM

    Hey John! I am still learning myself and lately I have been lazy! I work out 5 days a week, but haven't been logging my nutrition.Lots of "life" stresses...mostly good, but stress just the same.Keep me in your prayers means alot! You are a real blessing! I still keep checking your blog, because I know you are real & understand our struggles.Even one tidbit of wisdom can go along way in helping us discover our true selves and find our way to being successful.This is our LIFE! No one can live it but us, but I don't just want to live, I want to live healthy, happy & more successful! emoticon

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TRACIEO3 7/26/2010 11:24AM

    Ah, what a great blog and yes, it is very easy to fall without some preconceived due diligence. I have been on here for roughly 8 months and have lost 92 pounds. I have been at a stall for about a month, maybe less. Losing and gaining up and down and then the last 2 weeks, nothing no loss no gain. I looked back at my eating habits, what had changed. Well, even my good food was leaning towards crappy. Just because Newman O's are organic doesn't mean they are any less junk food than OREOS. I weigh and measure almost all my food, I really need to and all this time I thought I was at a standstill with my weight loss but continued exercising right through it 60 minutes 5 days a week. What about inches, I thought one day, and to my surprise I have lost 5 inches ( over all) in the last 2 weeks. I don't know why when I was so diligently taking body measures I suddenly stopped about a month ago. So, I've still lost and toned up I just can't see it on the scale. Keep this in mind because good health is based on how you feel, not on what the number is on the scale. Good luck on your journey.

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GIRANIMAL 7/26/2010 11:11AM

    Sorry for your stumbles but yay for all your learning. And thank GOODNESS none of us are alone in this. I can totally relate to almost everything in here! I too have seen things creep back in. I was happy to learn that for the most part I CAN have it in the house and leave it alone -- but I also have hit some bumps where that fell totally apart. Curious indeed.

I just had a week off work (I tend to miserable about tracking at home) and my boyfriend is back home. I tried to be lenient for his return but not go too hog wild. I did great for like a day. Whoops. One disadvantage to living in such a fantastic food city as Chicago is all those fantastic food options beckoning from like every corner! And the BF wanted them all after having been gone for 3 months. emoticon

So here I go learning some lessons and picking right back up where I left off as well. Onward and upward together, my friend!

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HDHAWK 7/26/2010 10:35AM

    I've been doing the rationalizing thing lately too. The saying "you can't out train a bad diet" is so very true. I think through these struggles we learn a lot of valuable lessons that will help to make this a lifestyle change. I just wish it didn't take so long!

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DIASTER 7/26/2010 10:30AM

  Well John I do believe God helps you write your blogs knowing what will reach out and touch our hearts and souls. Whoa ,Wonder how many of us have been floating around the last few months waiting for a kick in the behind, do we all bargin? Do we all slip and keep sliding until we hit a rock?
Who could imagine eating a whole quart of rocky road ice cream then going looking for something else? Hungry? No. So why?
What is in the frig behind the pears and apples, carrots and celery, PB&J.
So today I start all over with enthusiasm thanks to your timing with that wonderful blog, the treadmil awaits thenk you!!!!!!
Not sure how the oreos got in my cupboard but they will not reappear for a long, long time.

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STORMTMB 7/26/2010 10:14AM

    If it's in the house, I'll eat it. Boy, I've re-learned that one in the last month. I've learned that I can't eat just one and stay in control. Darn I hate that... but it's a lesson learned. Hang in there. I think you're gonna love your trainer (eventually). I'll be anxious to hear how it goes.

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CAHUNO2 7/26/2010 9:17AM

    One of the things I love most about SP is the things I'm learning about myself. Things I have thought for years (decades) that don't apply me --- DO!! emoticon

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BEANPOD77 7/26/2010 8:47AM

    John, thanks for this blog. I am at the 6 month mark, and can feel that same "slipping" mentality..There is not the same fervent excitement of watching the scale go down ..seeing the reward there was in the earlier months..I recognize this pattern from previous attempts. Reading your lessons above have given me motivation to reset specific action goals for myself..I wouldnt say I am "off track" but the scale is averaging a steady weight ( some up some down, ) and while I have been wondering why, when i read your blog and re-examined my last 3-4 weeks, I think the connection has been made! Thank you, thank you , for continuing to share your thoughts..You have helped me more than you will know!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/26/2010 8:21AM

    Yay for you in learning from the experience, John. I just wrote a blog about having to dump the 'diet' mentality and realize that I am going to be on this journey for the rest of my life. We say it's a healthy lifestyle, but I don't think I fully grasped what that meant until recently. You are going to make it, my friend, because you ARE worth it and you DO deserve it. I am proud of you.


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EDWINA172 7/26/2010 8:09AM

    Good stuff! I don't keep "bad" food in the house either. Why torture myself, right? I think that we all can relate to the bargaining and slipping. Good luck with your trainer. Have fun! You're worth it.

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HONORINGGOD 7/26/2010 8:02AM

    you are so worth it &im proud of you emoticon

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WEIGHTDIP 7/26/2010 8:00AM

    Your blogs continue to inspire me. Thanks for all the effort.

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NJMATTICE 7/26/2010 7:56AM

    Thanks for taking the time to write out our journey. So typical of anyone who has struggled with "food addiction" -that bargaining to get back to the junk we think we need for fun and fulfillment. I hear ya, soul brother. Keep fighting the good fight. I am hopeful that showing up for work, writing and sharing the journey, the honesty will pay good dividends. Thanks for keeping it real and keep up the good work. You're doing it!
(it's good to be back!)

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DOLLBABE56 7/26/2010 7:46AM

    I have been right there with you. Same thing. Funny, today I decided to knock it off too. I had start the old "bargaining" in the past 2 or 3 weeks, and this weekend completely threw in the proverbial healthy eating towel, so to speak. Back on track today. I will cut down on the processed foods; eat more lean protein; incorporate some fish (which I have been lacking the past few weeks); and get those "good for me" veggies and fruits into me. NO FRIED FOODS!

Today I begin the second round of C25K week 1. I decided to do each week at least twice since I am quite out of shape. I don't want to over do it and risk injury. I really enjoyed last weeks runs, but boy oh boy it does affect my hips. I use the treadmill because the heat is unbearable to me. But also because I am a bit clumsy shall we say? LOL

Good luck to you John And, good luck to all of us! We can do it!!!

Comment edited on: 7/26/2010 7:46:55 AM

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HEART4HOME 7/26/2010 7:32AM

    I love it! I have experienced some of the barganing mindset that you wrote about. Good for you for taking a step back to examine yourself. It sounds like you have a great plan. I am proud of you for working through this couch 2 5k. I am still trying to muster up the courage to get out there and try it. I wish you much success. Thanks for encouraging us through your blogs.

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