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Odds and Ends: Aspartame, Caffeine and Blue Agave Nectar

Friday, July 01, 2011

It’s hard to believe that it will be close to two months since I had a diet soda. Mercifully I have entered that stage where I don’t even think about it. I can be in the same room with a bottle of diet Coke without allowing it to seduce me. I still have one rather nasty side effect. My thighs, both quads and hamstrings and my hips cramp very easily. My doctor could find nothing wrong. She told me I “probably pulled a muscle.” Hmmmm, both hips and both legs? That’s one heck of a pull. I’m not fortunate enough to live in an area that offers integrative medicine so I have to rely on the internet. My wise wife of thirty seven years suggested that some of the aspartame was stored in my fat cells and was producing the distress. I researched it. She was correct. According to the three or four articles I read, Aspartame withdrawal can cause moderate to severe cramping in the hip and thigh area. Here is the scary part: The substance your fat cells produces is formaldehyde!!! The pains can last anywhere from two to six weeks. I am in week three and believe I am over the hump. The pain gets less each day and I can ride my bike. Stairs are still a bit of a challenge. My loving wife with her ever present sense of humor said. “Well look at it this way, your one of the few living people who is embalmed and living!!!”

Last Tuesday, eight days ago to be specific, I stopped using caffeine in my diet. This is not as daunting as it may seem, I am not a coffee drinker and with the soda gone, I was down to one huge McDonalds un- sweet iced tea in the morning. I decided that was my next step. It’s been eight days and all I am drinking is water. I’m at the point where every now and then I want something with a bit of taste top it so I squirt some lemon or lime juice in my water.

I have begun using organic blue agave nectar as a sweetener. It is a low glycemic sweetener so it absorbs into your body at a slow rate. The end results are no sugar spikes. I have been having berries, blue, black or strawberries with each meal and putting about one half of a tea spoon of blue agave on them. Since Tuesday evening when I began I have noticed I am not having any strong sugar cravings or carb cravings for that matter. One tablespoon has sixty calories and this stuff is so sweet I can’t imagine anyone using more than a tablespoon at three meals!!! It is the substance tequila is made from. Talk about an endorsement, huh?

Finally, about two weeks ago I wrote a blog concerning my granddaughter and her “silly hat.” I’ve posted a picture below.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKENISTA 7/4/2011 11:16AM

    John--We haven't been in touch for a while. I had no idea that Aspartame was so damaging. I don't drink much soda but I shovel it into my coffee. As far as I knew, it was made from sugar, and harmless.

I have blue agave nectar in the house, but I haven't been using it. I'll try it today.

LOVE the hat!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NUNZIATA43 7/4/2011 8:18AM

    Love the hat - and your encouragement! HATS OFF to you!!! I have tha gave nectar but it is so stinkin' sweet that only use a tad here and there. You're doing so well getting off the sodas! WHEW so glad I never started that stuff. Keep rockin' and rollin'!!!

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MARCYNA 7/4/2011 3:51AM

    I love your new profile picture..and I am amazed of your humor in describing all your cramps, sorry for that..I wish I had your sense of humor...kindness and sympathy.
PS I use honey as a sweetener. I know it's highy caloric but it's natural and won't do any harm in small amounts.

Comment edited on: 7/4/2011 3:52:49 AM

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ANATASHIKI 7/3/2011 1:23PM

    I don't know what to say , I always had cramps without using any artificial sweetener, due to low magnesium and /or calcium. sometimes it showed on lab tests results , sometimes not. sugar and carb cravings disappear if you don't eat sugar AT ALL after a while. sugar need is an illusion. if you don't eat them , cravings don't show anymore. sugar is addictive and white carbs the same. good luck with your healthy changes !

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GIRANIMAL 7/3/2011 12:42PM

    Dear. God. Aspartame is sooooooo scary. But emoticon at Joan's living dead comment! Do you have a health food store or Whole Foods near you? See if you can find some arnica gel or something called Traumeel for the pain. You can even get arnica tablets.

I had a similar reaction, I think, when I did the cleanse and I think it was from ditching the refined sugar! I had shooting pain from my low back, down my legs and into my feet so bad I was up crying one night. But luckily it only lasted about two days. I hope your reaction does not last as long as the Internet says it can.

Agave is good stuff! I even got you-know-who using it exclusively in his iced tea. emoticon Now if I could just get him to switch to stevia for his coffee, the damage from those Oreos he loves so much would be far less! LOL

Have am excellent holiday, dearest bro. Love, love, love the hat!

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SPARKLISE 7/2/2011 9:19PM

    Great job on the giving up the pop and caffeine!
I restarted the caffeine and i hate giving it up again because i know i'm going to have discomfort(headaches).
But you reminded me that it won't last forever and that i'll feel much better.
Thank-you for sharing!
Oh! Love the hat!! emoticon

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CHAITEAKITTY40 7/2/2011 6:04PM

    Aspartame gives me wicked migraines, so I don't go near the stuff. Love the Hat! Happy 4th of July!!
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LORSI2000 7/2/2011 1:08PM

    Excellent look! Anyone that can wear bedazzled wonders is a friend of mine!

Reading your recent post, I want to "spark" your interest in researching the MANY benefits of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) if you haven't already.

If not, read on: I started taking 2 TBSP of organic ACV every morning. Straight. (it's recommended to add it to a glass of apple juice with honey; but I cast the wimp factor aside and take it straight! You get used to it and the convulsions don't last long.)

You can visit for all the benefits of ACV and more. It's relieved my joint pain, water retention, improved my immune system AND cleans the plumbing naturally and slowly so you don't run screaming to the nearest bathroom. It aids in getting rid of toxins, helps control and normalize body weight and more!

It's important to get "Organic" ACV that has the "webbing". The ACV in stores is crap, distilled and useless.

I swear by it! (and I don't mean I shout profanity when near the bottle!)

Have a "blast" this holiday weekend!

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NASFKAB 7/2/2011 8:49AM





Shocked to read about effects of aspartame. Glad you are cutting down on caffeine. Have to check out agave nectar


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LYNMEINDERS 7/2/2011 1:45AM

    Love the looks superb....

Comment edited on: 7/2/2011 1:46:33 AM

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LYNMEINDERS 7/2/2011 1:45AM

    Go you....2 months...that is totally superb...I am proud of you....and now giving up done....
I have also heard that Aspartame has that affect and abpout it staying in your body for quite sometime after you have ceased to consume it.....
Not good...however like you said...I am sure your body will rid itself of it...

Well done....

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DAD2GETFIT 7/1/2011 9:51PM

    I haven't stopped diet soda, but I have cut back. That's interesting about the withdrawal. Can you find the blue agave in a standard grocery or do you have to go to a specialty shop?

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CARTOONB 7/1/2011 9:09PM

    I'm a member of your club...the Living Embalmed Club! However, it is not working itself out of my system, so I am feeling no pain.

You've made some great decisions and changes. Great job!

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JUNEAU2010 7/1/2011 8:10PM

    BF uses blue agave nectar (he's diabetic) and is very happy with it.

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HDHAWK 7/1/2011 8:00PM

    Great hat!

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    I cut back on soda a year or so ago and gave up caffeine years ago. I can't do the agave though. Hate the taste but then I hate the taste of alcohol.

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SMILLS9 7/1/2011 1:32PM

    Very interesting information.

Love the hat.

Happy 4th.

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KERLIN26 7/1/2011 12:58PM

  Dr. Oz endorses blue agave...I've been meaning to try it. Now that you've reminded me, I will!

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GETFIT2LIVE 7/1/2011 11:55AM

    Love the hat--your granddaughter is awesome (like her grandpa!). YAY for you in taking those steps! I have not given up diet soda completely; I have it mostly when eating out, but I need to move away from it entirely. I've done it a couple of times, once for six months or so, but I do enjoy the carbonation. Sigh; one of my few remaining guilty pleasures, I'm afraid! Not quite sure I can give up caffeine, however; living in the Seattle area, I am in the virtual center of the coffee universe, and it supposedly has some positive health benefits when kept in moderation. We'll see; one step at a time, right? Glad you are over the hump with the pain; I hope it gets out of your system entirely soon and you are pain free!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 7/1/2011 11:54AM

    Great job John. May I also encourage you to look at other food labels, if you aren't already ... those tricky food manufactures like to slip aspartame or a version thereof, in other products as well. Crazy, but true.

LOVE the hat, you were it well!

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HAPPYSOUL91 7/1/2011 11:16AM

    Aspartame is real trouble for the body, there has been much research on the subject. I use Trivia which is natural and from plants

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MOMKAT4310 7/1/2011 10:48AM

    Thank you Thank you for the information on Aspartame. I have cut diet soda and have been experiencing nasty thigh to hip pain, mostly at night. Been to DR. who poked, prodded, pulled, stretched and had 4 vials of blood drawn. Nothing negative showed up in blood tests, but the reduced artificial sweetener could be the culprit. I will up the water even more, and give it some time and exercise. I have been doing lots of both weight bearing and non weight bearing leg and back exercises. I guess there are a lot of fat cells to be trying to hold on to that aspartame. And yes, I knew it was bad.

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BEATLETOT 7/1/2011 10:44AM

    Today is day 1 in my battle against aspartame. So far, so good...

Really enjoyed this blog!

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KKINNEA 7/1/2011 10:42AM

    That is the best silly hat ever. Interesting stuff on the aspartame - I might have to cut the tremendously occasional dier Coke I have too.

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KIKOOMAGOO 7/1/2011 10:32AM

    Wow- I knew aspartame was bad but didn't realize it was that bad. I don't think I eat anything that has it, but will start being more vigilant. Caffeine- hmm. I still have 8-12oz of coffee every morning, and am down to adding almond milk and dark cocoa powder to it. This is down from 40oz a day each cup with a .25 cup of flavored creamer. I'm getting there. Haven't tried agave nectar yet.
Love the hat! Enjoy your weekend SparkFriend!

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SILLYHP1953 7/1/2011 10:31AM

    Amazing work you are doing! Who knew how terrible diet sodas are for you! And think of ALL the people who drink them thinking they are making healthier choices. Thankfully I never drank much soda, and never diet, but I do drink green tea, and am trying to just drink it in the morning now. I will still get a headache in the morning sometimes before I drink my tea.

Who would have thought tequila was related to anything sweet!!
And no wonder your granddaughter has you wrapped around her little finger!

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GERIKRAGH 7/1/2011 10:21AM

    Sometimes I think we know more about health than the doctors. I always think I should try to deal with whatever I have before I see the doctor. And I always try to find out as much about an ailment as I can.

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DIANA_IS_BACK 7/1/2011 10:04AM

    About 10 years ago I worked with a woman who had Lupus and she could always tell when she was getting ready to have a flair up and they were getting more and more often to the point where she thought she was actually constantly in pain.

To make a long story short, her son who is a pharmacist told her to stop drinking diet soda and crystal light as well as anything else with aspartame.

Within a couple of days her symptoms subsided and within a couple of weeks she was completely "normal" and she did not have another flair up for the 2 years I continued to work with her. The only change she made was cutting the aspartame.

This prompted me to do some research of my own. The stuff is poison. pure and simple. It is amazing to me that the FDA has approved it for consumption.

Congrats on your success! I have yet to try agave yet. Everytime I go to buy some, I talk myself out of it for some reason. I really need to try it.

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CIVIAV 7/1/2011 10:01AM

    I love blue agave! WTG John you are laying out a few challenges for me! While I am resisting a bit , it's time. For me it's white grains. They are now gone!

Hmmm, I'll let you know how it goes, if it doesn't!

And, yes, I do, I do like your hat!

Comment edited on: 7/1/2011 10:02:15 AM

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CMA444 7/1/2011 9:53AM

    I still haven't given up my Diet coke. I know I need to but I just haven't done it yet.

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MME_BUTTERFLY 7/1/2011 9:45AM

    Congratulations on giving up the diet soda. I spent a year and a half experiencing a myriad of symptoms and was initially thought to have multiple sclerosis. I finally had an appointment with an MS specialist who told me he didn't know what was wrong with me because I had all the symptoms of MS, but no MS plaques on my MRIs. I finally figured out it was aspartame poisoning from the yogurts I was eating. Now that I make sure my diet is aspartame free most of my symptoms are gone, although I still have some residual double vision. Best of luck to you!

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MIZZSB 7/1/2011 9:44AM

    Oh John What a AWESOME pic!!!

I am done with diet soda for almost a month now, but i do have sugar pikes as well.
If i am correct you eat berries to control those pikes?

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GRAMLORI 7/1/2011 9:35AM

    What a fun hat!! Funny how as we get older, the more we don't mind the silly stuff. Hmmmmm.......I think I feel my blog in the making...........


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JECKIE 7/1/2011 9:30AM

    Love the hat!

"It is the substance tequila is made from." - boy, if that's not a reason to avoid it! :) (me and tequila have such a love/hate relationship)

Good for you for cleaning that stuff out of your diet! It's amazing what we put into our bodies, isn't it?

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In The End........... I'm Responsible

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sometimes it’s hard to let go of what I call the “hug factor.” It’s the part of the journey where you feel warm and safe. You feel the support of other people and in many respects you are on a natural and legitimate sort of high. You lose weight. The little voice in your head is humming the refrain to “Happy Days Are Here Again.” You are strong, you are invincible!! (Apologies to Helen Reddy)

You begin to believe that the universe has shared with you a secret it has shared with no other human being and despite the warning signs that say the contrary you have a tendency to ignore the prophets and sages. You cut back on your exercise regimen because after all you HAVE amped your metabolism to the point where you are burning off everything you taker in or………….. You work out for five hours and then reward yourself with a pizza and justify it by an obscure mathematical formula that you created for you that proves empirically your five hours of exercise totally negates the pizza. (I do this a lot, LOL). You begin to eat desserts, because somewhere you read that this word called “moderation” applies to everything all the time and you never really set out to be a martyr now did you?

One morning you wake up and things are snug. Must be water weight!! A few weeks later the smell of moth balls reach your nose as you rummage through a few boxes looking for your fat clothes. For the life of you, you can’t figure out what happened. The “hug factor” tells us that as long as we keep telling ourselves how amazingly wonderful we are then we are immune to life and the rules that apply to everyone else. Just send out a few Goodies, write a poignant blog and look in the mirror and mutter “I believe in you!!!” That should cover everything, shouldn’t it?

You are worth it, you do deserve it and yes when you hang around wonderful people you will grow. You are what you believe you are. You also are responsible. Your body is a temple; it houses the amazing person I detailed above. If we don’t take care of it. If we don’t sit down and set some hard and fast rules for ourselves, then we will be repeating this cycle over and over. We forget our body is a machine. Machines perform as long as they are cared for. Try not changing the oil on your car for thirty thousand miles or so!! While we are beautiful, wonderful and amazing, we also have the awesome and holy responsibility to take care of our structure aka our bodies.

I get lost sometimes, I’ll admit. I get caught up in fitness minutes, Spark point and how many cool teams I can belong to. But, when all is said and done, isn’t it my health, my overall health that really matters most? I’m never going to weigh 145 pounds again like I did at age 16, but I can be healthy and happy and do the things and eat the things that push me forward. I love each of you and wish I could hold a huge party to meet and talk with all of you, but am I being truthful with John, when I tell myself how great I am and my behavior says the exact opposite.

Can you say “wake up call?”

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALYFITN 7/9/2011 5:53PM

    I love your blogs. I saw a bit of myself in this particular one. I'm adding you as a friend. Thanks, John. Keep up the good work!

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REJ7777 7/4/2011 6:51AM

    Thanks for this great reality check! emoticon

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    Every so often it's just time to regroup. Trick is to catch it early on in order to minimize the damage.

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TERRIPAL1 7/2/2011 12:53PM

    Very nice !! I like the hug factor lol , I do things a lot like you, the pizza won't hurt yeah right!!

Thanks for the wake up call!! emoticon

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HDHAWK 7/1/2011 7:58PM

    I swear you read my mind sometimes John. Boxes of fat clothes "just in case". Yes, I'm wearing them now. It all comes down the the lousy choices I've made lately. Whose fault is it, mine alone. It's also up to me to do what I know I need to do to make the changes I need to make.

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JSPIN74 7/1/2011 12:33PM

    excellent blog here John...thx for sharing the wake-up call :)

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ENDUROVET 7/1/2011 12:18PM

    Great points John!

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GIRANIMAL 6/30/2011 9:51PM

    Oh, dessert. I embraced "moderation" to justify it every single night (it was in my calorie budget!) too. It wasn't until all my food issues forced me to give up the refined sugar that I could see the flaws in that thinking. Don't get me wrong - I still have dessert every night. But now it's pure, unadulterated fruit!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

Yum! This is food that fuels my body, not my justifications. emoticon

I think I'll always want cookies and doughnuts! But these days, I want more for my body, my machine, to feel strong and healthy.

I think we've all had this wake-up call and will probably slip a little and then have it again! After all, it's not about perfection, unless perfection is just doing your honest-to-goodness best.


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KERLIN26 6/30/2011 8:39AM

  Sooo true. Thanks for giving us all a wake up call!

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LYNMEINDERS 6/30/2011 5:13AM

    Another brilliant blog John....
So timely as I am battling to not keep repeating the same old cycle that creeps in so subtly and totally ruins what we have achieved.....

Taking responsability....thanks for the wake up call....


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WIGIME 6/30/2011 3:19AM

    I totally agree John. Good blog.

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GEEMAWEST 6/30/2011 12:16AM

    I agree with Barb. emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 6/29/2011 10:52PM

    Most of us have to have the same talk to ourselves occasionally. Moderation doesn't mean you can eat a half a pizza every few days. DARNIT!!!LOL.

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CARTOONB 6/29/2011 9:20PM

    I thought from the title that you were taking responsibility...dang it. Sounds like I'm responsible for me...which might explain my current health status. emoticon

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CIVIAV 6/29/2011 5:23PM

    I'm awake now!

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MARCYNA 6/29/2011 3:16PM

    This is all so very true..and for me it's also a matter of being always on the same plateau that I have been trying to break without results,,,,thanks for sharing emoticon

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NASFKAB 6/29/2011 2:16PM

  Thanks alot all the best

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KELCEE75 6/29/2011 1:13PM

    Oooo....thanks for that! That's totally where I'm at. Have a great weekend!

emoticon emoticon

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DEE797 6/29/2011 12:20PM

    Thank you for sharing this blog with us. It is definitely a wake up call and I need one right now. emoticon

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TIME4AFITME 6/29/2011 12:07PM

    Ya i had that wake up call on the weekend. Thx

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HAPPYSOUL91 6/29/2011 11:14AM

    Oh yea....the wake up call!

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MIZZSB 6/29/2011 11:08AM

    thanks John..!

I needed that today!

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GAL7288 6/29/2011 11:05AM

    wow, that describes me to the fullest, but you're right, as always lol. Thanks for posting this, i needed to hear this. emoticon

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C55R55 6/29/2011 10:59AM

  I can relate to your blog. For myself, I'm coming to understand that it's all in my mind! What rebounds for me, is what I am slowly realizing... is an old mindset.... old ways... old patterns of thinking and being.. and in all these years of successfully losing and gaining my weight, sooner or later, the old ways rebound and when they do, well, we all know the cycle. I'm now working in a small group with people who have come to understand this about themselves too. We all are working on shifting and learning how to choose a road that takes us out of the old patterns and beliefs that lies in each of our lives. We are learning to recognize them and learning how change them with new ways and a new mindset. I was addicted for over 40 years to chocolate and sugars. Since working on understanding my old patterns, thinking, responses and triggers, it is a miracle that for 2 months chocolate no longer has a pull on me. It has been around me, but no longer does it take over me. Small steps. The 'real' changes come in small steps and often you only notice them when you look back and realize that a familar reaction no longer affects you. I had a whaling shipwreck of a weekend! My group last night, helped me realize that automatic responses to a trigger which I automatically responded to... was my old way of reacting to other's needs, wanting to help, protect and rescue. I lost everything I learned. We brainstormed suggestions and new strategies if that situation surfaces again. It wasn't nice being in swampland and self sabotaging. It's freeing to switch to an upward spiral when you are aware. Thanks John!

Comment edited on: 6/29/2011 11:05:11 AM

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KKINNEA 6/29/2011 10:48AM

    This is so true and why I came to Spark in the first place. On target as usual!!

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GRAMLORI 6/29/2011 10:08AM

    When we learn to actually keep up the good work, THEN we can say we have truly grown some. To think that I can eat anything I want, and then for the 2 weeks before a doc appt I "be good" and the scale will be my friend is when I am lying to myself. Eating a healthier diet (I hate to use that word!) MUST be an everyday thing. Exercise must be an everyday thing. I'm learning that as well.

Here's to the journey, eh John? emoticon

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CINSROAD2HEALTH 6/29/2011 9:56AM

    emoticon Your blog has made me be honest with myself. I found your blog through a friends newsfeed...and I appreciate your honest writing and wish you the very best on your healthy lifestyle journey!!

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EDWARDSC393 6/29/2011 9:34AM

    You,re so right! I get caught up online, spark then I don,t give myself enough time to work-out and shower and blow dry my hair, I make excuses, but in the back of my mind, I,m aware! So I,ll keep on plugging away. Cherie

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CMA444 6/29/2011 9:23AM


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SPARKLISE 6/29/2011 9:05AM

    Wake up calls are great if they push us to do action.
I have noticed that a lot of people on spark who have lost weight and kept it off don't blog a lot. I think it's because they're out enjoying life!
The rest of us stay at our computer trying to talk ourselves and others into action!
This site is great but it can lead to obsession and i have to admit that we tend to say everythings great- even when it's not really.
Anyhoo! Thank you for sharing so much of yourself and for another great blog! emoticon emoticon
Have a sun filled day!

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JWAKJA 6/29/2011 8:57AM

  Hang in there

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ANDREWS_MOM 6/29/2011 8:53AM

Certainly needed to hear this. I have been on a somewhat doward spiral for awhile and having been trying to get back into the swing of the things- but it's tough and I'm struggling.
I soooo needed to hear this today!
Definateley made it a spraked day for me! :)

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What Keeps Me Moving Forward (Most Days LOL)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

No matter how battered and bruised I feel, no matter how gloomy things may seem I always cling to the strong and clear vision that I will be successful in creating a healthy life style for myself. I’ve found, quite by accident, that it “hope” that keeps me going. We put a lot of emphasis on faith and how strong it should be. Love is comforting and strengthening, but to me it is the knowledge or the hope of success that keeps me hanging on through the strongest gale force winds.
I have clung to four things fiercely. I am worth all the effort I put into myself. I deserve to have happiness, health and success, I am who I hang around with and finally I am what I believe I am. I cannot separate one from the other. They interact like puzzle pieces and when the going gets tough, I pull them out, dust them off and they supply me with energy and drive and purpose. I know they’re nothing new. You and I have heard them before in some form or fashion. I have found a way to give them personal meaning.

I believe I am worth all the setbacks and restarts I go through. I grow from them, they make me stronger. I am wiser today then I was yesterday. The bit of emotional and physical agony I endure is worth the end reward.

I have a non-negotiable right to be happy. No matter how many times I have stumbled and fallen down I have the right to pick myself back up and move forward towards my goals. I may take detours and I may end up getting lost and disillusioned. No matter how many times I start over, I deserve to be as happy as anyone else. No one can tell me otherwise!

The people I keep close are the people who not only love me but motivate me to be everything I can and deserve to be. They challenge me to grow. The hardest part is always weeding the garden, distancing myself from those people whose lives and their attitudes are not healthy or in my best interest.

If I believe I am a success, I’ll act like it. No time left for martyrdom or feeling sorry for myself. I deserve success, I’m worth the effort so don’t you think it would be a good idea for me to act like it. We attract positive, healthy relationships in our lives when we believe we deserve to have those kinds of things for ourselves.

Tracking my food is a bother most days. I hate it, especially when I know I’ve eaten some stuff that keeps from moving forward. I may have a headache or my back hurts and walking or exercising just doesn’t seem worth it. This journey isn’t about scoring a perfect ten. It’s about doing the things we know will help us grow even when we don’t want to. When we do, the victory is so much sweeter.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HDHAWK 7/1/2011 7:55PM

    emoticon I couldn't agree more. Even with all my missteps and weight regain I continue to learn more about me along the way.

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GIRANIMAL 6/30/2011 9:37PM

    Well said! Deserving to be happy is a hard one -- the grind usually has me focused on getting by, or how "it could always be worse" and then I feel silly for NOT feeling happy and settle for more like content. But I have found the line between contentment and complacency to be far too thin for comfort. Talk about a motivation buster!

Thanks, as always, for the reminders! emoticon

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WALKNLOVE 6/29/2011 7:39PM

    I need to track my food...really struggling with this & think it's the key! Pray for me! And you are so right...You deserve this, I deserve this...we all do!

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LYNMEINDERS 6/29/2011 1:59AM

    Amen yet again.....and it is all about the journey towards the goals....
Believing in ourselves and believing we can achieve it will motivate us towars he goals....
i know you can do this and hopefully you know as can achieve things you haven't even dreamed of.....I know you can....go for them

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CARTOONB 6/29/2011 12:12AM

    I agree with G-Ma!

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GEEMAWEST 6/28/2011 9:58PM

    You are definitely a success in my eyes! And I love you! emoticon

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JUNEAU2010 6/28/2011 7:35PM

    I should read this every day until I memorize it, until I internalize it, until I live it, until I believe it for myself!

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PGNBRI 6/28/2011 12:47PM

    Great Post John!

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/28/2011 12:23PM

    I love your four things, John; they are worth clinging fiercely to because they are so true. I think you have a lot more faith than you give yourself credit for, though, since 'faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.' You ARE worth the effort, every bit of it, and you have a right to be happy. You are one of the people I want to hang out with because you motivate me and challenge me to grow, too; whether you know it or not, you are already a success. I see you reaching all your goals in due time, and I have never doubted it. Keep holding tight and moving forward; you are going to make it.

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FROGGERHKC 6/28/2011 12:19PM

    Another great blog! Have a great day!!! emoticon

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KKINNEA 6/28/2011 11:21AM

    Well said!

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SPARKLISE 6/28/2011 10:47AM

    Thank you for sharing. It makes me realize i should sit down and write some thoughts that i will hang on to fiercely in darker times.
I have to think of what they are first and that means i have to sit down and really do some(gasp!) internalizing. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DEE797 6/28/2011 10:46AM

    Thanks John for reminding us what is important. I love reading your blogs.

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HAPPYSOUL91 6/28/2011 10:38AM

    So glad you have four things that you are hanging on to fiercely. They sure work wonders

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MIZZSB 6/28/2011 10:07AM

    thanks John!

negative people are not good for you! Have a great day!

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C55R55 6/28/2011 9:49AM

  A spark buddy directed me to your site yesterday and I am sure glad I visited. Your messages are timely in my life. I haven't spiraled out of control as much as I did this weekend by putting the needs of others first before my own. In dealing with the emotional web that was before me, I spiraled out of control with my eating. I realize that I need to find new strategies to deal with other's negative feelings and experiences and chaotic ways. I have had trouble getting back on Plan. Your message of hope today is comforting and soothing. Thank you for taking the time to write and helping us learn from your experience. What a great way to serve others! Thank you! Blessings to you John on your journey.

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TRISTAROSE 6/28/2011 9:30AM

    emoticon Blog .... you really inspire me and this one is a keeper!

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MOMMYBYCHOICE 6/28/2011 8:57AM


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GRAMLORI 6/28/2011 8:47AM

    Once again, well said, my friend! Have a blessed day!

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MADKAPKID 6/28/2011 8:46AM

    John, I have followed your blogs for a long time and YOU are such a blessling. YOU put things into perfect perspective. Make it something to think about....challenges me. LETs me know I can ...I should...I WILL...and most of all I CAN! Have a joy filled day....Karen emoticon

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MARCYNA 6/28/2011 8:45AM

    I needed to read this today,all I I feel are bruises and hurts. I know I deserve something better than that....thanks for sharing, love emoticon

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CIVIAV 6/28/2011 8:40AM

    Thank goodness for you John! You keep reminding me that it's about more than the doing and my actions but also about my spirit. I tuned into the Johnson, Kroch boxing match last night for a few minutes and heard the announcer say that this was a match of will not skill and not force. Kind of fits all together for me today...

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Where Is Your Treasure?

Monday, June 27, 2011

I did something last night I haven’t done in ages. I took a nice warm bath. Oh, I know its June, and its warm but I soaked there for a half hour or so just reading. I’m reading a book on wellness through balance in your life. One of the points the author made was that you’d be surprised how our choice of food determines our attitude and your outlook on life. I put the book down after a bit and sat there staring at my toes. I had a bible verse scroll through my mind

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

It didn’t take real long to figure out the answer. All I had to do was look at my belly. It’s food, followed by money, followed by an overwhelming desire to be accepted and recognized by every human being I meet. That’s where I devote most of my energy. These thoughts come for a reason. They offer me a choice. They offer me an opportunity to stop abusing my body and to embrace a healthier way of living.

Food is my main issue but I know people who can easily substitute food with many other things. Did you know you can become obsessed with exercising to the point where it consumes your entire life and then subsequently ruins it? My daughter Kate has a friend whose husband became so obsessed with a popular exercise program on DVD to the point where it their marriage to unravel. I’m sure other factors were at play but there are people that have to be exercising all the time.

No one likes to read this stuff, heck I don’t enjoy telling you that most days I’m thinking about my next meal fifteen minutes after I eat my last one. I’m not proud of the fact that I worry constantly about money or being accepted or not having enough friends. You can fill in the blank with your stuff and logically I guess we could just sit around bemoaning our fate.

I went to bed determined to figure this out before I fell asleep. One thing I noticed about my “treasure” is that there was no mention of helping, serving or being present to other people. It was a “me, me, me” thing. I laid there and realized I can be awfully selfish at times. Maybe, just maybe, if I opened up a bit more to other people and invested my energy in becoming a servant rather than worrying about getting the best caloric bang for my buck off my next meal, I might slowly begin to change my perspective and balance my wellness.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

Those of us who are overweight know that we got that way because we devote a lot of time to not only eating but eating the wrong foods. Threaten to remove my treasure and you have quite a fight on your hands, my friend!!! It’s why a diet doesn’t work. It doesn’t change our focus. It doesn’t teach us to look for a healthier and more balanced treasure in our lives. It can become a self-destructive monster.

So this morning I begin another journey towards my own wellness. It will come from thinking less of me and more of those around me. Isn’t that really balance anyway? When I’m healthy all eight cylinders fire in order to keep me moving forward.

Care to join me?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HDHAWK 7/1/2011 7:51PM

    I just finished "Excuses Begone" and one of the important points about getting what we really want is to serve others. I'm right there with you.

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NASFKAB 6/28/2011 6:54AM


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LYNMEINDERS 6/27/2011 11:51PM

    Amen & Amen to this....

Crazy...these are all things i easily we forget what we know when we don't want to do something about changing....

the other fascinating thing that i have thought about reading your blog is that finally having gotten to my goal doesn't mean I can go back to my old ways...thats what has always tripped me up before when I have been in this place....this whole "where your treasure is there your heart will be also" takes in an aweful lot of how we I think anyways....still have things to work on and change....

Thanks heaps for making me think....I promise also i will act in the thoughts otherwise I am wasting energy thinking them.....

Comment edited on: 6/27/2011 11:54:36 PM

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DAD2GETFIT 6/27/2011 8:28PM


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GIRANIMAL 6/27/2011 2:28PM

    I do care to join you, but at the moment I am sort of flabbergasted by the fact your personal summation -- "I’m thinking about my next meal fifteen minutes after I eat my last one. I’m not proud of the fact that I worry constantly about money or being accepted or not having enough friends." -- is me to a super-scary T!

My problem with stepping outside of myself to find happiness is that I have often made myself so exhausted by being engulfed in my own stuff that I am too tired to give anymore. This is horrible selfish but true! And it's unfortunate because I do know that the feeling of wholeness I am always chasing does indeed often come from service to others.

Lots to think about here, brother.

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LORSI2000 6/27/2011 1:53PM

    Sign me up!


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JENNY888 6/27/2011 12:00PM

    Excellent, thought provoking blog. I'll have to think on this one for awhile.

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SAMDJS 6/27/2011 11:39AM

    Your blog spoke right to my heart and soul. I was just praying this morning about getting my priorities straight. I find myself constantly thinking about what I eat and how much I exercise for fear of gaining back even 1/2 a pound of what I've lost (I reached my goal and absolutely do not ever want to gain it back so now it seems I live in "fear" of that happening). I can't do anything without wondering how it will effect my weight.
I know I obsess and I hate it. My prayer was to take my mind off that and put it where it belongs...on Him and the wonderful blessings in my life. For some reason this is really hard for me to do....


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MARCYNA 6/27/2011 11:33AM

    Yes, I totally agree and i think we should all learn to fill the blank in a healthier way....otherwise we're stuck, obsessed with something that will never give us life..., with idols that will never fulfil our dreams

Comment edited on: 6/27/2011 11:34:35 AM

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DEE797 6/27/2011 11:07AM

    Another thought provoking blog. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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AKATUJE 6/27/2011 10:58AM

    There is always something fulfilling about doing something for someone with no strings attached. May God help us to turn outward more.

Thanks for sharing.

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KKINNEA 6/27/2011 10:25AM

    Well said and something to think about.

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C55R55 6/27/2011 8:57AM

  Thank you for a great reflection assignment! Having been highly influenced by the church, today I understand that my treasure has been highly invested in others and not in myself. My belly is the expression of that life. Today, I am working on living a new way and learning that there are new treasures to support who I am and validate me. Thanks John for your insightful writing.

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WORKINGSTIFF 6/27/2011 8:39AM

    Your blog brings to mind two quotes on my desk:
"Where your pleasure is, there is your treasure;
Where your treasure, there is your heart;
Where your heart, there your happiness." St. Augustine


"To live life well requires intense self-deception or deep courage." Father Lou Guntzelman

And isn't a compulsion or addiction simply another way of living in self-deception? The alternative is too hard for most people-the deep courage of introspection. Doesn't matter what the addiction is, be it food, money, drink, exercise, extreme martyrdom-it's all a way of avoiding looking at one's self with a critical eye. Avoidance of what is truly going on in one's life. It's kind of messy and painful to look deep inside sometimes.

Of course, looking inward doesn't have to be all negative. Take yourself for example: you believe what you do is focus on yourself, but your writing is so out there and helpful for others. You may not think much of it, but you are a true help to others. One of your treasures is to write and you are an inspiration to others.

I'm on board too! Balance is important in life.

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IFDEEVARUNS2 6/27/2011 8:13AM

    I'm ready to hop aboard! But I suspect that thinking about me, me, me is a good thing in some ways, if properly channeled.

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The Power of Sharing

Saturday, June 25, 2011

There is a simple yet powerful beauty that happens when we choose to share a part of ourselves with someone else and as we do so, we know there will never be any return to us other than the knowledge that we helped another. So strong is the power of sharing that I believe it has the power to heal the person who receives that out pouring of love.

Earlier this week I wrote a blog about remaining positive in the midst of all that was swirling around me. A Spark friend responded to that blog with a link to a video on YouTube. To say it blew me away is an understatement. I listened to it twice and would have listened more but I cried a bit harder each time I listened to it.

I won’t elaborate; give you my opinion, etc. This song stands on its own merit. I am happy to share it and grateful it was shared with me.

I hope you get as much from it as I did.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEACHBUMCRY 6/27/2011 1:43AM

    Thank you for sharing, I needed this reminder.

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NASFKAB 6/26/2011 9:01AM

  GReat blog

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/26/2011 12:57AM

    This song always touches my heart, thanks for sharing!

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    I gave it a listen and I can relate! :') THANK YOU for that! It touches a point where it is what I feel and am going through. Makes sense to ME.

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LUVMYK9S 6/25/2011 1:45PM

    Thanks for sharing this John!

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HDHAWK 6/25/2011 11:26AM

    Lovely, thank you!

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MIZZSB 6/25/2011 10:39AM

    thanks John!! I will listen to it as soon as possible...

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GRAMLORI 6/25/2011 10:06AM

    This hsa become one of my all time favorite songs, because I can relate to it soooo well. And I think that's the case for most people, too. Thank you for sharing the link, I immediately put it on my FaceBook page to share. Plus, I listened to the story behind it.....WOW.

John, you are so good at sharing, and you open yourself up for us to see all of your good and bad times, and I just want to thank YOU for all that you've shared.

Keep it up, brother. The road is much easier with friends like you.

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JECKIE 6/25/2011 10:04AM

    Wow. Thanks so much for sharing this. I've been doing a lot of study lately on the concept that God never promised us a perfect life. He simply promised we would not walk it alone.

Raindrops, indeed.

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ACCTGMAMA 6/25/2011 9:39AM

    Thank you for the link!

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