JTAMSYN   32,454
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4 month review

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hello fellow sparkies,

It's been 4 months since my last blog. Time flies! I have been somewhat regular on Spark. Here's whats happened. I received a reassignment mid-Feb which involved moving 4 hours away, nearer to the border Mexico (Northern Guatemala). I had two weeks to pack up, find a place and move. Hectic to say that least. Not to mention that the day before receiving the notice, I started a cold. Well, there was no time for cuddling. I spent the following month packing, moving, unpacking and getting settled in my new assignment. However, this took a serious toll on my health. My cold turned into acute bronchitis which lasted more than 2 months. It got to the point that I was coughing so hard that I would vomit. I bruised my ribs so badly that 2 months, my ribs are still very sore.

About 2 weeks after starting to feel better from the cold, I caught the Typhoid Fever which left me so weak, I could barely walk for days. During the following two weeks, I suffered two relapses. By this point, I was so physically and emotionally destroyed that I was ready to pack up and move back to Canada. My parents heard my distress and paid for my husband and I to fly to Mexico and spend a week with them at the beach. So 13 hours on 5 buses, 2 taxis, 1 plane later, we were by the Carribean, catching our breath. It was exactly what I needed. I was able to recharge, relax and regain my sanity! It was much overdo!

My mother said that I had lost more weight since the last time I saw her (Nov. 2013). This is encouraging considering that I wasn't able to exercise for three months with all the sickness I was dealing with. I know I have lost a lot of muscle which I'm working on regaining. I've reached my goal weight but I'm thinking of lowering it another 5lbs.

To be honest, I'm not super focused on pounds, more on how I feel. I'm actually more concerned with building up my immune system and taking care of my health. I want to feel healthy again and strong, not shattered and weak. So I'm working on doing exercise every day , even if its just 20 mins of sweating, but something!

Anyways, we're back home now and ready. We've decided to make sure we have 1 day a weak off, for resting, time to spend together. The next couple of weeks will be full of work to make up for our holiday. But starting June 1st, my goal is one day off a week. I'm going to call my sanity day! No more working 7 days a week!

So this is has been my life lately. Very, very busy but learning to find a balance.
Oh, and I hiked another volcano in February. That now makes two!

Here's a pictures from our trip. One is of the sunrise where we stayed.

Have a great weekend everyone!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    It sounds like you were really run down and sick. I'm glad you could get away for a rest. You definitely need to make your health a priority.

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68ANNE 5/19/2014 4:11PM

    Very hectic time for you. Getting some sickness' especially when you are stressed does take a horrible toll on your body. Glad you did get some vacation time.
The one day a week off goal is a stroke of brilliance!

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SMILINGTREE 5/18/2014 10:00AM

    Goodness! One day a week is definitely not too much to rest and recharge and spend time with your partner. Take it easy on yourself as you continue to recover and grow stronger. It's good to see you back :)

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SUNSHINE99999 5/17/2014 10:13PM

  you deserve a day off for all your efforts on the other days. emoticon

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EMMACORY 5/17/2014 9:49PM

    So sorry you had so many health challenges....glad that you are on the mend. Yes, do take that one day a week off. You deserve it. emoticon

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Made it to the top! Reached my 3 year goal!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

3 years ago, when I joined SP in 2011, I made a goal of climbing a mountain. The first mountain was a figurative one, losing the weight that was stopping me from climbing a real mountain. On January 8th 2014, I climbed a 13,000ft volcano near my home in Guatemala. This volcano is called, Acatenango, which shoulders an active volcano named Fuego.

Fuego is the smoking one on the left. Acatenango has two peaks, on the right.

I had two fears about this climb. First, I was scared of slowing everyone down and being the one that everyone has to wait for, especially with the 40lb pack on my back. Second, I was scared that my breathing would not allow me make it to the top. The first hour was bad. It was a straight hike up in sand. I questioned my sanity but sheer stubborness and short breathing breaks kept me going.

I remember thinking at this point: what did I get myself into?

But I just focused on putting one foot in front of the other. After about an hour, my breathing calmed down and I no longer felt like I was on the brink of an asthma attack. From that point on, I was at the front. It felt so amazing to have to stop for the others!

I've come so far! It was the most amazing and memorable experience. The beauty that surrounded us was incredible. And I realized that I am strong enough! If I just push through the tough times, nothing can stop me! This is one of the most challenging hikes in Central America and I made it to the top in 5.5 hours!

So yes, I was on top of the world!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TECH1960PS 1/28/2014 1:43PM

    Well done, beautiful pictures. emoticon emoticon

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PENNYLANE15 1/23/2014 11:10AM

    Beautiful pictures and what a great goal to achieve!!! Fantastic and exciting!!!Great job!

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KABMPH 1/23/2014 8:44AM

    Congratulations!! What a beautiful story and beautiful scenery!!

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DIANER2014 1/23/2014 12:11AM

    How awesome! Congratulations! Beautiful pictures!

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68ANNE 1/22/2014 10:45PM

    I love it
You are so on top of the world!
in more ways than one. . . . . . !

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TAICHIDANCER 1/22/2014 9:13PM

    In 1976 I climbed Agua. Great job: congrats on a real achievement.

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    What an amazing adventure! I loved the pictures! Congratulations on making your goal!!

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BRENJET 1/22/2014 8:59PM

    Beautiful photos...Amazing accomplishment...Super inspiring!!!! Thanks for posting this for all of us --great motivation!!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TARANITUP 1/22/2014 8:31PM

    How amazing! Great feat!!!!

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PRINCESS_SOFI 1/22/2014 8:21PM


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MICHSTATE 1/22/2014 7:10PM

    Nice!!!!! Awesome job!!!!
I am sure you noticed my inactivity lately.....I was just diagnosed with a stress fracture in my foot....it had been bugging me for months, but I kept hoping it would just get better on its own!!!! Now I am in a surgical boot for 6-8 weeks !!!!! :-(

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EABHA70 1/22/2014 6:49PM

    That's amazing! Climbing a mountain is a goal of mine as well. A couple of years ago I did some (gentle) climbing in Iceland, also near some volcanoes, and it was inspiring. Well done!

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ADF1981 1/22/2014 6:47PM

    Congratulations for reaching your goals! That is a big achievement!

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ARNETTELEE 1/22/2014 6:46PM


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Progress pics

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I have a few pictures to share since my family took lots of pictures while they were in town. I gained about 4lbs in my 3 weeks of no exercise due to a bad cold and my family visiting for a week. Which isn't bad at all. But I'm back to it. In the past, being away from exercise and perhaps a little indulging, usually led me to a several months or years hiatus. My main goal was to get right back to good habits. So this is what I've been focusing on. I have been doing well. By the end of next week, I should easily be back to the pre-cold weight.

Anyways, here are a few pics. Sorry for the quality of some. I never take pictures of myself, feel pretty stupid when I do it. So I've had to depend on other people's pics and some zooming in...

Hubby and I:

My sister in-law and I:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIMITEDGRACE 12/13/2013 4:22PM

    I hope you're on the mend and have to say it's amazing how you've transformed from the pics that are dated 2011! I'm sure you're much stronger inside & out. It's really nice to see and gives me hope that I'll have some progress pics of my own one day! I don't think I've ever NOT been overweight in my life, so it's hard for me to visualize what I might look like once I'm at a healthier weight and kicking butt like you. ; )


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PRINCESS_SOFI 12/13/2013 2:14PM


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MICHSTATE 12/13/2013 9:30AM

    Looking good!!!!! :-)

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LCERVERA 12/13/2013 5:28AM

    You look wonderful! My friend's daughter just left for a seven month missions trip to Guatemala yesterday! Looks beautiful.
Keep up the good work and enjoy getting back to your exercise routine. emoticon

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SHERYLP461 12/12/2013 10:44PM

    Great pictures

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68ANNE 12/12/2013 10:33PM

    I see a beautiful and smiling woman. Rock on girl!

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AURORADAWN5 12/12/2013 7:55PM

    Looking good girl ... and you have exactly the right attitude. Falling off the wagon isn't a disaster. It'll still be waiting for you when you're ready to climb back into the drivers seat. Good luck.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 12/12/2013 5:58PM

    I loved the pictures! You look great and it looks really nice where you vacationed.

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Huge NSV!

Friday, November 22, 2013

Like most people, I've bought clothes for my 'estimated' goal weight. Over the years, I've accumulated a few, especially pants. And every once in a while I go through them and try everything on. Today, I did the rounds again and tried it all on.

I'm happy to report that I no longer own anything that is too small!!! Everything fit or was too big! What a weird feeling to not own any clothing that I'm working towards fitting into! WOW! What a feeling accomplishment. emoticon

This really highlighted for me the importance of strength training. In 2011, I weighed about 5 lbs less than I do now but couldn't fit into a certain pair of non-stretch pants (size 6). And yet, even with the extra weight, I can now. Just goes to show that sometimes the scale gives you grief, but it doesn't mean there aren't any changes!

On other fronts, still sick. It's really affecting my breathing which is made worse by living at high altitude. Still not exercising, trying to save my strength. My family arrives on Sunday and Monday. My parents, my grandparents, my brother and sister in law and my great aunt. I haven't seen any of my family in at least 1 year some almost 2 years. So this is a big reunion. We rented a beach house for the week. I'm getting all the groceries bought and organized before they come since there's no grocery stores near the house. Also, I made cabbage rolls today, my Ukranian great grand-mother's recipe. We might be making pierogies also while they're here. So food galore! But I plan on enjoying myself without going crazy. I see some pool exercises will be in order :)

Anyways, I hope you all have a great weekend! Rock on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADF1981 12/22/2013 5:50PM

    That is awesome that you are wearing your skinny clothes! Congrats! Sorry that you weren't feeling well. Hope that you are doing better now.

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FIFIFRIZZLE 11/28/2013 5:08AM

    Aren't you doing well! Congratulations!

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PENNYLANE15 11/25/2013 10:33AM

    Congrats thats so exciting!!

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PRINCESS_SOFI 11/23/2013 1:21PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon What kind of strength training did you do to start?

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ERLYWA 11/23/2013 9:38AM

    Congrats on reaching that milestone! That is awesome!!

emoticon emoticon

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MICHSTATE 11/23/2013 8:19AM

    Awesome!!!!!! I look forward to that NSV too!!!!!
Have fun with your family!!!!

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68ANNE 11/22/2013 10:14PM

    Congrats on the clothes. Going to buy more clothes!?

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UNSWEETMAMA 11/22/2013 9:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/22/2013 8:35PM

    I hope you are feeling back to 100% before your family arrives and that you have a wonderful visit. Congratulations on getting back into all of your clothes!!

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Review of my strength training challenge

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

After completing my dietbet in October, I had decided to do a 5 week strength training and squat challenge. I have 3 days left to it and I wanted to share what I've learnt.

First, I've realized that I really need to work on my upper body strength. Don't get me wrong, I can lift heavy things. In fact, I lift 10 pails of 20 liters of water for every load of laundry I do. But I really struggled with the military push-ups. My elbows hurt afterwards. But I like the way it started to define my shoulders. So I really need to keep Upper Body exercises on my list.

The challenge I set for myself was 6 days a week of strength training, 6 days a week of squats (up to 250) and push-ups, on top of my regular 45-60 mins of cardio daily. I've realized that this is a bit much for me. I end up working out around 2 hrs a day, every day. Moving forward, I think that I will reduce my strength training to 3 times a week. Much easier to maintain long term.

I've seen a big difference in the month. I feel stronger and leaner. It has slowed down my weight loss but I've lost an inch each on my waist, hips and thighs. I'm now 1.4 lbs away from goal. It has shown me that losing weight isn't everything. You can stay at the same weight but lose inches and look a lot better, stronger and much more toned. I'm glad that I decided to up my weight goal. I won't feel pressured by the scale and can just focus on getting toned. Any other weight loss will be bonus.

Funny story: last night I wore a dress that was tight in August and fit fine in September. Its a tailored dress, no stretch. I had it made so it basically fit me like glove. Anyways, I asked my husband to zip me up and he says: the dress is kinda loose on you, honey. Actually, looks like you're wearing a paper bag. Haha! It now has about 6 inches of extra fabric. Anyways, others made comments last night about it too which is the first time anyone has said something. A great feeling! Perseverance pays off!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TAICHIDANCER 11/20/2013 10:59PM

    Good for you on the dress. Reminds me I have some shirts that need to be taken in.

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68ANNE 11/20/2013 9:28PM

    Awesome on the dress.

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MORTICIAADDAMS 11/20/2013 9:12PM

    Great blog. All good news. You are doing fantastic!

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MICHSTATE 11/20/2013 1:42PM


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PRINCESS_SOFI 11/20/2013 11:50AM


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JUNA89 11/20/2013 10:57AM

    emoticon emoticon

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