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My First SparkVersary (Today!)

Friday, January 28, 2011

When I started on SparkPeople a year ago today, a year seemed an impossibly long time. Then, I was so overwhelmed by the richness of the site that I did not even log in every day, let alone earn every possible point and sponge in every fact I could. Then, I was not thinking about lifestyle, even though I knew intellectually that is what it would take. Then, I thought I would be at goal weight now or at least almost there.
Little did I know
That 11 coworkers/teacher/friends would die last year
That I would experience the longest plateau in my life
That I had to unlearn everything I thought I knew about exercise, nutrition and weight loss and re-educate myself.
That I would make friends and find a community and that these friends and this community would enrich my life and my journey in wonderful ways
(I donít have to be tough and do it alone.)
That my mission to drop tonnage would morph into a lifestyle journey
(Not that I have arrived, which is the point)
That I was more than an emotional eater, stress was a huge trigger, and so was boredom (Does that mean I was an equal opportunity eater?! Yes)
That, because of the influence of SP, I would start to take better care of me
(More still to be done)
The head knowledge would trickle into my heart so that I am now starting to believe
That the journey is saving my life
(not to mention improve the quality of said life)
I no longer give the scale power to govern how I feel about the fact that it has given me at that moment. It is, after all, a snapshot of a moment in time. Yes, I know I am not anywhere close to where I thought I would be now in terms of pounds lost, but that does not mean I am a failure. It means that I have some truths to face. I still donít like to exercise and until I can make that change, the loss will be slower. And, wow, is this hard to put on paper, I am physically challenged and I do have to admit I have limitations that most people do not. I am also middle-aged (picture me looking over my shoulder Ė who are they talking about?!).

This is not a linear journey. Not only have I lost pounds, I have changed how I eat, I have added exercise to my daily (mostly daily) life.

Fun along the way:
my SparkFriends
walks along the wetlands and the hills around work
hiking Pinnacles National Monument with a friend and her surprise that I could hike it better than she could!
The charity walk which was something I had never done before and I will do again
While I still hate to exercise when someone can see me, I have no problem walking in front of anyone!
I like the elliptical~ I can't wait until I can last on it for longer than 2 minutes.

I changed from 2% to nonfat milk, from Pop tarts to high fiber cereal, from primarily carbs to balanced food. I've even made lowfat Mozzarella cheese my primary cheese AND I measure it! I prefer my high fiber cereal to the doughnuts and bagels that still show up uninvited.

As I stand on threshold of my second SparkPeople year, I know the year will be a lot like last year in many ways. I will lose weight (slowly, most likely), I may hit a plateau or several and there may be days when the temptation to give in to stress/emotions/boredom/whatever eating consumes the day. But it is unlikely that such a day would represent the massive calorie load it would have in the past. And, should that happen, it will be like stubbing my toe in the sidewalk crack. Even if I fall all the way down, I will get back up again. (I have lots of experience, so this analogy could go on for a while!)

This year will be about getting fit and choosing health and less about the numbers on the scale and tape measure. I feel less guilt about an occasional dietary transgression than I do about exercise. WOW! I still have couch potato days and, even on active days, I know I should do more.

This year, the focus is on fitness minutes. I will walk and will start running.
This year, the focus is on strength training. I will keep working on this until it is fully integrated into my fitness routine. Last night, I had a very vivid dream that I used Kettlebells regularly, that I was good at it, that I liked it. I am so far from that now, but it is no longer in the realm of impossibility! WOW!

IF I get the promotion, my reward is the Wii Fit. What?! Not books! Not a meal out!
Not some other sedentary thing or activity?! Who is this person?!

I wish I could talk to Chris Downie and thank him for SparkPeople. He has given me LIFE! This last year has been a year of living and is so different from the previous decades of existence. I wish I could thank the entire team, the IT folks, all the support staff. All of them have created an opportunity that truly is priceless. How else could I have "met" my SparkFriends, discovered that I am not alone in my struggles (I knew this in my head but not in my heart) and learned to love complete strangers, logging in to see what kind of day my friends are having, waiting to hear about a marathon, a job interview, a loved cat....

Mahalo / thank you / tusen takk / gracias / merci to all of you. Without your contributions, I would not be here to mark the day.

I love you. I love SparkPeople. I like me!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHAOTIC-KITTY 1/31/2011 4:19PM

  emoticon on your first sparkversary! I am sad I missed it. :( You have come so far... and, I'm so happy for you. :)

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MYSTERY4EVER 1/28/2011 8:35PM

    Happy Sparkversary to you. You have come so far. It is wonderful that you are looking ahead. Keep up the good work.

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BABYSOX 1/28/2011 5:33PM

    Congrats on your Spark Anniversary. Your comment about "stubbing your toe in the sidewalk crack" struck so true. It is a great way to look at it. Good luck on your journey!

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NONIE_C 1/28/2011 5:19PM

    If you were here right now, I'd give you the very biggest hug ever!!!!
I loved reading your unabashedly personal and profound words about your spark/personal journey so far. I love being a part of that journey and having you be a part of mine.

Happy emoticon my dear, dear emoticon

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BEBE1964 1/28/2011 3:28PM

    "I like the elliptical~ I can't wait until I can last on it for longer than 2 minutes." - Thank you!! I have been embarrassed to admit some things, this being one of them!

WOW! It has been quite a year, quite the journey for you! What I read here is so rich in warmth, someone who is honest, able to see and accept their self as they are. GOOD for you!!!!!! Progress is better when taken in slower, small steps - they lead to overall accomplishment and new habits - Change that sticks with you! Personally, I think you are already there! Congratulations!!

~ Kim


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LIBBYFITZ 1/28/2011 2:59PM

    emoticon wow, Congratulations! It has been a very sad year for you , but you have come through it! The Wii fit sounds great! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LESLIES537 1/28/2011 10:44AM

    A big CONGRATS on your success! YOU ROCK! emoticon

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CMRAND54 1/28/2011 9:07AM

    Congratulations! I love this blog and I love being your friend.

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JHADZHIA 1/28/2011 9:06AM

    Happy emoticon
You have come a long way! Well done! You are successful on all fronts!
Kettlebell might be a terrific idea for strength training, but make sure you get a professional to show you correct technique which is vital to avoid injury.
I am surprised to think you could add running. The high impact is bad for arthritic joints. Running is something I would never even consider. It bothers me just to walk on pavement...I feel the difference compared to walking on the earth trails.
Keep up the momentum!!! This is your year!!
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EAGLE101 1/28/2011 6:16AM

    emoticon

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LINDYPAINTS 1/28/2011 6:05AM

    What a great Blog to celebrate your Sparkversary! So much of what you wrote sounds just like me... isn't this a wonderful place where we can find others to share this journey to "new me" territory!
Thanks for sharing!
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HONEYMUFFIN1923 1/28/2011 2:19AM

    AWESOME BLOG! LOVED IT!! HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!

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SUGARPUNK52 1/28/2011 1:51AM

  Congratulations! I love the attitude! I too love my spark family and friends.I walk every day.I don't run(I have to use a cane to walk) but it looks like fun.YES WE CAN!

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JAKEANDNELLIE 1/28/2011 1:30AM

    Congratulations on your progress - both mentally and physically!
Sheila

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Rest in Peace, Chuck and Other Musings on the Day

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On the heels of yesterday's news about the death of our founder's widow, I came in to work today to find an email announcing that one of our longtime scientists died Saturday while on vacation in Hawaii. I could not get it out of my mind. It's a huge loss for the company, a painful sorrow for friends and an incomprehensible loss for his family.

My last interactions with Chuck were a couple of months ago when we had some technical conversations, background to some research he did and wrote about years ago. I was impressed by the depth of his knowledge, his ability to explain the technology to a layperson (me) and his extensive knowledge of the history of the company.

Rest in peace, Chuck. You will be missed on many levels. I will pray for your family.
***
I did not get to take a nice long walk at lunch and I chose not to do so when I had a break between work and Toastmaster officer training. Surprisingly, I got in over 10K steps anyway and some very light ST. I am ending the day on the lower end of nutrition.

I found out that the attorney who was originally going to be supervising the paralegal is now not owning that responsibility. It turns out that my former boss will be handling it. I think he is fabulous, but I am not 100% sure the feeling is reciprocated. I also found out that someone else within the company has applied. Supposedly, I know who this is, but I don't! (The attorney who was the original supervisor told me that.) I am not dwelling on it - no point in doing so since the whole thing is out of my control, but I certainly am curious.

The Toastmaster officer training was hosted by a fancy high tech company's club. Nice facility. I found the training to be both simplistic and alarming. I am not sure I should be club secretary! I missed one meeting already this year, so my record is incomplete. (I did not know I was supposed to maintain notes about meetings - I thought it was only for officer meetings!) I will, of course, continue, but it is a bit more involved than I anticipated.

I wore PXL slacks today (Petite Extra Large) and I really should donate them! Woohoo!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMRAND54 1/27/2011 6:12PM

    Good luck with your job application. You've got to be a good candidate. And, doesn't it feel good to find your pants are too large?

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 1/27/2011 12:43PM

  Sorry to hear. :(

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MEGANC1988 1/27/2011 10:53AM

    emoticon

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JHADZHIA 1/27/2011 9:38AM

    So sorry about the loss of Chuck :(
You are doing well in spite of your stresses and trials..
Way to go with the pants! I assume your job requires you to look professional, and baggy pants won't cut it..
Keep up the great work..

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IILAAD65 1/27/2011 8:26AM

    How sad to lose such a brilliant mind.

What is the Toastmaster thing?

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MRE1956 1/27/2011 5:39AM

    Sorry about the loss of Chuck - it's never easy when anyone who's had an important place in one's life passes on......I have a funeral to attend on Saturday - a family acquaintance of many years that we knew through our church at the time......

Ah, Toastmasters - boy, does that take me back....."back in the day" I was VP-Public Relations for a work-based club.....even earned my CTM......sometimes I think I should try that again as in recent years my speaking "talent" has withered away due to lack of use.....

Wishing you all the best, and again, my condolences on your loss...



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MOMMA_BEAR_69 1/27/2011 3:39AM

    Sorry to hear of Chuck's passing. Praying for his family...

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It's Becoming Routine!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Not much to say tonight, which is kind of odd.

What did I do today?
I walked for 53 minutes which included a different walk at lunch time. I walked a different direction so, while it was not quite as long as yesterday's walk, I felt the work because of the hills. I know it raised my heart rate, but I still have a way to go before I reach what SP calls the target heart rate for cardio. (Almost a year on the site and I am still not there yet!).

I came home and did some strength training and I feel that, too.

The food is within range, with dinner still to occur, and the water is covered.

*****
There are a few things I can share that do give me something to say.
There are now two openings for attorneys where I work. One is to replace an attorney who gave his notice last week and the other is to add an attorney in our Knoxville office. Our newest attorney starts next week (she is replacing the one who was let go in December). With all that and with the company's notoriously slow action on responding to internal applications, I have not heard anything about my application for the paralegal position. I know there are reasons why they might not hire me, but there are also reasons why they should. My insecurity creeps in and I fear that I will not be seriously considered. If I don't even get an interview, does that mean I should take the hint and start job hunting?

I need to drop a lot of weight soon if I do need to job hunt. I don't have the wardrobe to do that and I can't spend nor do I want to replace this size. I would like to defer wardrobe spending until more pounds are history!

My company's founder died in 2007 at the age of 95. He was in the office the day before he died. We had a party for him at his 90th and 95th birthdays. Someone asked what he had to say about his longevity. He said that, had he known he was going to live so long, he would have taken better care of himself. By the end of his life, he used a walker and was in a lot of pain due to zero cartilage in his knees. He was a real inspiration to me. How could I complain about how I feel at my age when he was still active and contributing and working at 95? I am still in awe of his intellect, his humor and his humanity. He started the company after a full life as a teacher, as a nuclear engineer and was already a grandfather! I love the story about him trying to join the military at the outbreak of WW II. The recruiter asked him what he did and when he said something about nuclear energy, the recruiter sent him home saying "you can do more for us at your job." His patented design for cooling nuclear fuel in power plants is still in use in some countries.

His widow died this weekend at 94. I walked past his portrait several times today and all I could think is that they are now reunited in Heaven. I don't know exactly, but I am sure they were married for over 50 years. Their anniversary falls on my birthday (though they were married years before). The company is sending flowers and I sent a card to their daughter. I met her at his memorial service and we spoke briefly. Oddly, I had been thinking of his widow a lot in the past few days. Now I know why.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMRAND54 1/26/2011 6:20PM

    Good work out.

I've noticed that I'm having more and more trouble getting my heart rate into the target range. I have to do at least 5% incline on the treadmill, or use the elliptical machine to even get my heart rate over 110. I guess that means my heart is stronger than it was.

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MYSTERY4EVER 1/26/2011 1:28PM

    Keep up a positive attitude. Whether you get interviewed or not is out of your hands. Don't put energy into worrying about something you cannot control. You have so much going for you that you can be positive about.

I loved your comments about the founder of the company. What an inspiration.

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TEENY_BIKINI 1/26/2011 9:39AM

    Great work out, gorgeous. Stellar.

I believe you can do anything - rock this!

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Numbers

Monday, January 24, 2011

65 - minutes walked today (not all at once)
02 - mintes on the elliptical (!)
06 - strength training exercises
05 / 02 hip flexor time without help

I can do hip flexors all day long as long as I have at least a finger touching the wall. Standing on my right leg, I can last 5 seconds without help. Standing on my left leg, I can last 2 seconds on a good day without help. I will keep working on this balance exercise.

My legs felt like jello after the 2 minutes on the elliptical. It sets for a minimum of 20 minutes - it will take me a while to work up to that!

I am feeling pretty chunky, but I am not going to focus on THAT number (scale) right now. I am going to keep moving forward (literally and figuratively) and work on building up my energy (I still am TIRED after this month of blah!)

THANK YOU for all the support and encouragement. I really appreciate it!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CMRAND54 1/25/2011 8:59PM

    Good for you! The elliptical is hard for me, too.

I had yoga tonight, and I couldn't do the tree pose at all. My balance just wasn't there.

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THATS_LOVELY101 1/25/2011 1:19PM

    Great numbers! Keep going on the elliptical. One of these days you'll get there. Just keep trying!

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SUGARPUNK52 1/25/2011 12:38AM

  Good for you! It takes time to build up to just about anything.Give time to yourself.You can and will do it.GOD bless.

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JHADZHIA 1/25/2011 12:29AM

    Balance is my worst problem. We all start at the beginning (seems like I am stuck there when it comes to balance). You are doing great trying! Never give up!
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BYEFATNANNY 1/24/2011 10:25PM

    Keep it up, you'll be surprised how fast you can build up time on the elliptical. Work on your legs on a separate day when strength training though. emoticon

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CHAOTIC-KITTY 1/24/2011 10:15PM

  wow.. congrats on all the exercise you got in. :)

elliptical is my fave. in my gym. there is a fat burner setting and it goes for 20 minutes. it really makes your legs feel like jello at the end. you will get up to 20 minutes.

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Comment edited on: 1/24/2011 10:15:25 PM

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Zero Plus One

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A migraine threatened all day. Again, I did nothing productive. I am a bit down. I am tired of tracking food, of exercising, of the journey. I hope the mood passes very soon. I gave in and ate way over today. I am not particularly depressed, angry or upset, just beaten down.

Thank you, SparkFriends, who have posted comments and sent goodies. You are a lifeline!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PMCFARM 1/24/2011 10:28PM

  emoticon try to remember, everyday is a new beginning!
MarilynC.

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LESLIES537 1/24/2011 12:26PM

    emoticon Maybe doing some exercise will get those happy endorphins flowing again...hang in there! emoticon

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MYSTERY4EVER 1/24/2011 10:39AM

    One thing I have been doing on those "blah" days is to track my food BEFORE I eat it. I have been amazed how often the urge passes when I know what the damage is. It is oh so much easier to remove the food from the Nutrition Tracker than to remove the results from my body.

I hope this week is better for you.

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JHADZHIA 1/24/2011 9:01AM

    emoticon emoticon
You will get through this, as soon as you feel better. I have taken time off from all tracking, points earning, and my exercise is haphazard. I know I am eating more carbs and less fruits and veggies then I am used to. So its an easy guess I am regaining the weight that I worked so very hard to lose.. But I am not stressing it. My job is simply to heal and recover right now. I realize that. Taking time off is not a sin, regrouping is allowed after being ill/and or injured..
Hand in there, we are here for you..
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