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Give Me Back My Spark!

Monday, April 07, 2014

I now know why this site is called SparkPeople. It's because when it's working and you're successfully achieving goals and losing weight, you've got that "thing," that SPARK, that accounts for so much more than just simple motivation. It's a drive to keep going and keep pushing beyond anything else - beyond the small set-backs, or random life happenings that can otherwise derail a person who doesn't have "it." It's the thing that makes you push through the pain, muddle through the negative thoughts, and buoy your triumphs. It's the thing that makes YOU the number one focus in your life and can act as a friend in times of loneliness, can make you feel full even when you're bored or tired or stressed, and can actually suggest appealing alternatives to unhealthy habits that would otherwise sound crazy or like too much work.

This winter absolutely stole my Spark. In fact - I know it stole it from many other people too having talked to them.But I don't think it was just winter for me. I actually think I lost my Spark a long time ago, and I'd give just about anything to have it back right now.

If I really think about it, I lost my Spark before I ran the Hot Chocolate 15K in the fall, I lost it before I started training for the Triathlon last year, I actually lost it long before LAST winter. I lost it the minute I crossed the finish line of the Chicago Marathon in 2012.

I've spent some time today reading through some of my blogs from the Marathon until now and it's like a feeling of foreboding creeping through all of them. My jubilant race report from that day was followed by my Week 27 blog in which I talked about the surreal feeling of having completed this huge thing that took up 9 whole months of my life and the depression that happened after I realized that life goes on without it taking up so much space anymore. That blog was then followed by another talking about how hard it was to get back on track with my eating, followed by a very honest "When Things Fall Apart" www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=5126264

A blog in which I basically stated the fact that I had become a changed person, I was - at that point - unable to resurrect the self that I was before taking on the Marathon challenge, and for all intents and purposes I no longer had my Spark. That was November 6, 2012. I've been struggling for a year and a half now without my Spark!

So what do I do? I actually don't know. My life is VASTLY different now than it was in April of 2010 when I was 313 pounds and crying for change. I am a (relatively) healthy individual. Yes, I still have a lot of weight to lose, but there are not many unhealthy 200 pound women who can just go out and run 6 miles without too much thought. My blood pressure is still fine, as are all the rest of my vitals. I have a different work lifestyle that I'm still getting accustomed to, but it's manageable. And I have trained for a number of endurance events.

But therein lies the thing that tipped me off to having lost my Spark, and having lost it a long time ago. I didn't train for the Triathlon like I did for the Marathon. And I'm certainly not training for the Tough Mudder (in 5 weeks!) like I trained for either of those two events. Bottom line - I just don't care! And that's awful. It makes me so sad. I lost the need to prove to myself that I can do anything. I CAN do anything. I already know that. There's no excitement in it anymore, no anticipation. I invested SO much money in Tri gear thinking that it would be a lifelong investment in annual triathlons, possibly even training for a Half Ironman, or more. But to be perfectly honest - at this point, I really don't give a crap about my bike, or my wetsuit, or putting in the effort required to do any of that stuff.

So did the Marathon really ruin me? Was it SO hard and SO taxing on my Spark every single day for 9 months to get to that place of accomplishment that it burnt itself right out? Maybe it did. Maybe I wasn't ready for that challenge just yet. Or maybe I deemed the Marathon to be my ULTIMATE achievement. And when it was over, I just full-out quit. I did what I set out to accomplish - I lost (over) 100 pounds and I ran a Marathon. End of story. But it wasn't the end of the story - it just felt like it was long enough to shock my system and blow out the pilot light. So who has a match? Anyone?

I half-assed my way through the Tri. Sure, I trained for it. And I finished well. But I only did what I absolutely had to, and I stopped running after the second mile because it got hard. I could have finished so much better and I knew it. I felt guilty about it then and I still do today. I knew I had more in the tank and I could have gone further. But my push was gone. That thing that drove me to go one step further, one mile harder. The thing that would have made me persevere through the 6 mile run regardless of the weather or my exhaustion. I just didn't have it anymore. And I don't have it right now. I'm 5 weeks out from a major race and there is NOTHING that will get me out of bed in the morning to work out at all. I'm simultaneously terrified that Mudder might kill me, and not at all scared about any of it. I'm just going to do it like I do everything else. It will hurt and it will suck but I'll still do it. At this rate though, I won't be doing it very well. "As long as you finish" has gone a step too far with me. My drive to compete against myself and to get better and better is broken.

Marathon training also invited the food back. I had to consume so much more every day to match the number of calories that I was burning every week, so away went all my good eating habits and staying in any particular daily range. I discovered quickly that I could consume pretty much anything I wanted and not gain. But I wasn't losing either. I was stalled and had lost all momentum on my original journey to lose the weight, so the Marathon became my one and only focus - the thing that I had to do to feel successful. And when I achieved that success, the training went away and the food stuck around. But my life these days will never involve running over 10 miles a day. I don't like it enough, and I just don't have the time to put in those kinds of hours on the road anymore. But do I have room and time to consume over 2500 calories a day? You bet I do. I have never had a problem going to great lengths to achieve a food fix.

So what do I do? How do I get my Spark back? I'm in a tricky place of knowing exactly what it is that I have lost and what I want to regain. But attempting to "fake it" is not winning me any points with myself and usually ends in self-sabotaging activities because "I should know better." (The quotes are honestly how I'm talking to myself) I just don't really know how I got it to begin with in 2010 - it kind of just happened. And it was the happiest ride that I've ever been on for a solid year and a half. But my priorities have changed. The things that I want to accomplish now are different than the things I wanted to accomplish in then, and I can't take another year and a half of my life to shift the focus back to me and only me like I did before. If I'm going to go on another ride, there are other people and things that need to come with me this time.

I am open to suggestions. I just know that I'm tired of not caring anymore. I want to care! I want to be excited again. I want my damn Spark back!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CALLIKIA 5/29/2014 1:54PM

    I wish I had found my Spark again when I was where you are. Unfortunately, mine led to pain and illness and injury and now I'm back looking at where I started last time and just wishing I could get back to there. We'll get there! I have to believe we'll find our way again!

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JEN-ATX 5/8/2014 9:21PM

    it happens! i've lost and found my spark several times over- i have no idea where the heck it goes or why it chooses to return. for me, i got tired several years ago of continually training harder and longer (for tri's), and maintaining the same weight and physique. i hit a point where i realized i could not train any more hours in the week, so something had to change. enter the weight room. i started following a 12 week body building program and it was totally different from anything i'd done before. it gave me a fresh focus, a new spark, and changes in my physique that i'd been thinking i could achieve through cardio alone (i now know better). after taking a few years off i've finally returned to tri training- not to compete, not for the medals, but for the friends i missed and for the sweaty workouts i missed.
it may just be about finding a new interest, a new challenge. there's so much out there that can challenge your body and your determination. have fun with it! best of luck to you!

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ON2VICTORY 4/11/2014 10:20PM

    I know the feeling Jenn... when I finished my 70.3, it was the start of a long downward spiral that ended with me hobbling over the line of HM#2 after the big tri. I was done and injured. Like you, I had stopped losing a long time ago and the only thing I had to be proud of was me raking in medals. now that is mostly gone and also, like you said, the food never went away.

I learned alot of sloppy habits in the name of training. I havent been on my bike since last August and have slowly began running again after a LONG break. and I gained about 15 lbs in the process. I took about 10 of it back off but I am trying to get my groove back.

I just want you to know that you are not alone. I think this is more common than most will care to admit.

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MANLEYSANDY 4/8/2014 8:16PM

    When I think of this question, because I think you know, it happens to all of us, I think back to what originally got and kept me going. For me, fortunately and a bit unfortunately, I thought losing the weight would bring me something I was missing in my life. I thought the weight was holding me back from having a boyfriend. I lost the weight 4 years ago, only really put back on 10 pounds of 40 pounds lost, but guess what, still no boyfriend. So, then I really started asking myself what was weighing me down, the physical or the brain weight. For me it was the brain weight, and I started to focus on that more then losing weight.

I think you said it above, maybe your focused changed, you CAN do anything, and it doesn't matter what the scales says, because you believe in yourself. Although, I only know you from following you on Spark, you have so much self confidence and drive, you date, you get out and do things, you made this great leap into being a business owner, so does it matter what the scale says? Do you love you? That is what really matters right?

Shedding more physical may be great, but take a look at the why, and if you are looking for the answer in the bag chips, you know you won't find it there.

I have every faith you will get your Spark back....

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IMOM4GIRLS 4/8/2014 10:47AM

    Oh My Words!! You just took the words right out of my head and heart! I was literally thinking about Spark People today as I drove to work and how long it's been since I Sparked and how dim my Spark seems and how I should come and post here and read some blogs. I sat down at my computer and your update appeared in my email. As I read it I could have cried!! It was exactly what I've been thinking, how I've been feeling, what I've been missing!! Thank you for your eloquent words. I am going to try to write a post - I doubt it will be as eloquent lol. It's been a long long time but we will both find our Spark again. I know we will. Just being here - reading and writing - we've taken our first baby steps back to being active Spark People again. And that's a very good first step. Best to you - I will look for more posts from you to see how you are progressing.

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Big Hugs!!

Kath



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SEPPIESUSAN 4/8/2014 9:26AM

    I used to blog about this exact topic - gaining and losing the spark! I lost mine a long time ago. :( I recently had a baby so for a long time I wasn't even thinking about it, but I am now and I want it back! Let us know if you figure it out!

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ISLENAA 4/8/2014 4:20AM

  I haven't accomplished as much as you have but my story is a bit similar in that I got my first real spark when I challenged myself to train for a h.m. For me, the passion..the spark was all about proving to myself, that I could do it.

I soon lost my 'spark'' after I completed my h.m. But I thought maybe I just needed another structured program. So I trained for another h.m but it wasnt the same. The challenge wasnt there and neither was my spark.

Then I joined a weight training group and jumped into an extreme training regimen...at least it was for me. For the next 3 mos, I felt that 'spark' again and saw amazing results but soon lost interest when the challenge turned into a tedious work out that took up a lot of my time.

Since then, I've regained 50 of the 70 lbs I've lost... managed to lose 20 and have 30 left to go. It's been tough to say the least without that 'spark' but I'm sure I'll find it again and you will too. All the best! emoticon



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MAMADWARF 4/7/2014 11:59PM

    You are so me! I began in 2010 too and the first two year were great, the last two years I have regained 50 pounds and I start and stop, start and stop. This week, my goal is to just track one good thing. Today, I did not eat a doughnut. A far cry from where I was but the only step I can make now.... carry on, my friend. You are not alone.

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Life Happens!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Hi Sparkies! I'm BAAAACCCKKK!

Be honest - you missed me, right? :)

This is just a quick note to tell you the reasons that I have returned and just a brief "here's what's up in my life right now" update.

I didn't fall (totally) off the wagon. I've gained about 20 pounds back this winter (a lot of people have - screw you winter!), but for the most part I've actually done a really great job in the past year of maintaining everything that I accomplished with Spark in the first place, not to mention I ran another Half Marathon in New Orleans just over a month ago. Nevertheless, I honestly need a kick in the pants and some of my daily reminders to keep me headed in the right direction right now. I will be damned if I'm going to give up my 100 pounds lost. The additional 30 has waxed and waned, but I'm ready to see it gone and then some this summer. And today is the first day of Spring - so get it!

When I left here, I left a lot of things - including a job that gave me a desk and a computer to be in front of every day. In the world of tracking and blogging, let me tell you how essential a desk job is for me! Despite all the amazing mobile devices, unless I have Spark open on a browser in front of me all day, it's really complicated for me to track and manage. So today I am happy to report that I am back at a desk this week for the first time in MONTHS and I'm feeling like parts of my life are slowly coming back under my control. But here's the best part - it's ALL for me now!

I am living my dream of owning my own company and working for myself one day at a time. I bought the computer I am sitting in front of, and the desk and the chair and the cabinets and heck, this whole office BY MYSELF. (Well, my company did). I am currently working out of the building that will house our theater - construction starts in a couple of weeks. All of this is very exciting and very stressful so I've been binging and stress eating, but I'm managing.

I also moved for the first time in 8 years on March 1st. I am loving my new apartment (there's room in my living room for a bike trainer!) but it's taking me longer than I would have liked to really settle in and make it "home." (Cue more binge eating, stress eating and "McDonalds sounds good cause there's no food in my new house" eating). Mind you - it's also because I'm spending about 4 nights a week with my honey and his honey (his adorable dog Finley - who I think not so secretly gets more excited to see me come through the door than my boyfriend). This guy is the super buff, "sexy nurse" that is pictured with me in my album. Yummy! And heck if it isn't totally motivating to be around a guy who does Crossfit 3 times a week and is training for the Tough Mudder with me in May. And he's motivated by me too. He isn't as much of a runner as I am (or, rather lately, pretend to be). So we have a good system worked out - he helps me in the strength training category and I give him his marching...er, running orders.

But here's what really happens when you take a year away from Spark and the warning signs that say it's time to get back to it. This is a reminder list for me of the feelings that are tough to remember when you're fit and active, but are all too familiar when they start to return:

- I get breathy walking up a couple of flights of stairs.
- My pants are tight and I have a bag of "skinny clothes" again - not cool.
- When I'm shopping for new clothes, I have to remind myself that I am NOT a medium shirt anymore, and that sucks.
- When I do work out - OMG major DOMS!
- My arm flags are starting to fill in again. Either way they suck, but I'd rather flappy skin than flabby arms.
- Belly fat. The muffin top has got to go.
- My skin is hating my poor food choices. I'm always broken out.
- I remember what dehydration feels like. Not great. Feels WAY better to drink all your water every day.
- Also feels way better to have the "success" of being on target and checking off all those little Spark boxes every day. It really is an accomplishment.
- I'm not as surefooted anymore. The more you run and walk and workout and work your core, the more balance you have in general. All of a sudden I feel like I'm fumbly again and can't bound up and down sets of stairs like I could without constantly looking down and checking my footing.
- The post-binge carb hangover SUCKS. Yes, a tub of Ben and Jerry's is delicious, but waking up the next morning with cotton mouth is disgusting.
- I'm making excuses, and I'm DIETING! I'm looking for the quick fix, and lord, what an eye opener that is. I'm going to write a bigger blog post about this, but you know it's time to get back to what works when in one month you try all of the following: eating clean, eating only fruit and veggies until dinner, eating protein bars for breakfast and lunch, changing your calorie range every week when you don't get results on the first week (including setting it to a 1200 calorie starvation diet mode that only lasted for one day), and thinking a million times in your head "maybe if I tried THIS, it would work." It won't. We've all been there. Here's what works - doing what you know works. Spark works. This works. And it's slow. DAMMIT it's slow. But it works. So just commit to it, trust in it, and log in every damn day. Check the boxes, make the schedule, negotiate a healthy life for yourself.

So that's why I'm back! And with that - it's time for me to get back to it!

See you all soon :)

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PJH2028 5/10/2014 1:16PM

    Hooray! I'm back here too! And SO glad to read your voice, your story.
Congratulations on new desk and digs. And… RIGHT tHERE with you on all.

I'm living in Big Sur, CA -- and I'm generating my own structure every day…which is tough for me… but not letting that story of it being tough dominate. It's DOable

I'm going to read some more current stuff and would LOVE to stay in touch.
Coming to Chicago for a visit 5/20-26, then NYC 26-6/1, then back in Chicago 6/2-6/12
Maybe we can meet.

Xop

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LAURIETAIT 3/21/2014 6:44PM

    Well I'm sorry you're struggling with the weight but so glad to hear from you . Lots of big changes in your life, how exciting. I'm looking forward to reading about your new company as it grows and becomes ultra successful.
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JEREMY723 3/21/2014 5:07PM

    Welcome back and all the best for a great spring!

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DIASTER 3/21/2014 1:51PM

  So many of us seemed to have taken the Winter off. Good thing Spring has bolted us back to reality. We do know better but that binge factor seems to get in the way during the Holidays and is so hard to shake . emoticon

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SBHPATRICK 3/21/2014 1:34PM

    Wonderful to have you back here!

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CHICAT63 3/21/2014 8:29AM

    emoticon emoticon Glad to see you back and posting !

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SPEEDY143 3/20/2014 6:28PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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New Life, New Blog

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yesterday marked another Sparkversary for me. Hard to believe it's been 3 years. But yesterday also marked another anniversary. Yesterday I quit my full-time job. Amidst the bombs in Boston, my heart was racing for oh so many reasons. So many things in my life came full circle yesterday, and so, what better way to commemorate all those changes than with a new blog?

Follow me over here, won't you?

jenn-of-all-trades.blogspot.com/

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNSWIMS 4/27/2013 9:19PM

    I recently jettisoned a job that was killing me. For almost 5.5 years. I think I'm learning to value myself more highly and it sounds like you are, too. :)


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SHELLYBABE2 4/21/2013 5:10PM

    emoticon Wishing you the very best of luck & will follow your journey with pleasure to see how it all unfolds for you - looking forward to reading about your year of big change and hope you reap all the rewards of your hard work!





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LOTUSFLOWER 4/17/2013 9:45PM

    Congratulations, I know you'll find a soft place to land emoticon emoticon

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MICHSTATE 4/16/2013 3:29PM

    I can't figure out how to follow you, when I clicked on subscribe it wanted to take me to a podcast????

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MANLEYSANDY 4/16/2013 3:03PM

    I will follow you!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 4/16/2013 2:56PM

    Congrats on Jumping!
Is your on-line blog available via RSS feed? I didn't see that icon when I clicked over.

EDIT:

ANSWER: Yes.

For those following blogs via RSS Feed look at the bottom of the on-line post for ... Subscribe to: Posts (Atom)
When you click there you will be able to setup via RSS Feed on your computer and/or smart phone.

Comment edited on: 4/16/2013 3:09:25 PM

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WORKNPROGRESS49 4/16/2013 2:53PM

    emoticon

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Ten Things I Hate About Binging

Sunday, March 24, 2013

I'm going to post this blog on my cupboard and try to refer to it when I get in that unstoppable mindset. Waking up the morning after a binge (a really big binge) has to be one of the worst feelings in the world. So here's a list of everything I really hate about what binge eating does to my body:

1. Heart palpitations and sweats from my body working so hard to digest all that extra food.
2. The salt hangover sensation in my mouth, like I haven't brushed my teeth in weeks.
3. The horrible empty/raw stomach feeling of the over production of acid in my belly.
4. Looking at all the wrappers in the trash and knowing what I have done.
5. Stinky, awful, putrid flatulence. I'm a walking sulfur bomb and it's disgusting.
6. The knowledge that no amount of hard exercise today is going to make up for what I ingested last night.
7. The feeling of the swing between hi and low blood sugar and the moods that the swing initiates.
8. Going to the fridge and realizing that I ate a bunch of things that I was saving for later.
9. Feeling lonely and depressed over what I've done. You can brag about exercise, you can't brag about binging.
10. The feeling of total lack of self control on top of the feeling of absolute control. I did exactly what I wanted to do, ate exactly what I wanted to eat and yet just couldn't stop myself from doing it.

All I can do now is move on and start over. Like I've tried to every time before. But ground zero is not a happy place to be. I've lost that happy place that got me this far and some days it feels like I'll never see it again. The things that worked for me before aren't working anymore, so I'm back to searching for the thing that will. And just trying not to destroy my progress thus far.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOCOHOLO 4/14/2013 4:01PM

    Hey there Miss Thang! What's going on with you? I'm back to SP and ready to kick major butt. Are you having a good month?

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LAURIETAIT 3/31/2013 4:23PM

    I am recently recovering from a week long binge. During Spring break I traveled to Texas with my husband in his big rig. Stopping in truck stops all across the US. Such nutritious food available at those locations. (heavy sarcasm) Anyway, I'm thinking of having your 10 points tattooed on my forearm as a reminder. I've totally blown my 5% challenge weight loss streak. But, this is a new week and it's never too late to begin again. I hope you get your mojo back and jettison whatever issues are dragging you down forever. Your amazing, much admired joi de vivre can't stay MIA forever. Hang in there. Better times are ahead.
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Comment edited on: 3/31/2013 4:24:12 PM

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PAPER_WINGS18 3/25/2013 4:13PM

    I don't know if you follow SLIMKATIE's blog, Runsforcookies.com, but she recently wrote a really helpful blog about how she has been binge free for 6 months. It really struck a chord with me, so maybe it will with you as well:

http://www.runsforcook
ies.com/2013/03/how-ive-stayed-
binge-free-for-six.html

emoticon emoticon

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MANLEYSANDY 3/25/2013 12:01PM

    I hate to see you struggling like this because you truly have done AMAZING things for yourself. Like everyone has said before, we have all been at the place you are, so we can understand, but to understand is to get in touch with the "why"...I know you know in your heart, why you are struggling with the binging and getting back on track, and the "why" is the hardest thing to get in touch with. You have spent a lot of time on the why, and it deserves just as much time as eating right and exercising, I think sometimes more.

I have said it before, but I truly do care about your struggles and I hope everyday that you will get what you want, you just have to take it one day at a time.

You are amazing don't forget that...

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INSPIREBYNATURE 3/24/2013 10:43PM

    Right there with you honey. HUGS!

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LOTUSFLOWER 3/24/2013 2:10PM

    I have been in this place too, and too often lately. I love your idea to keep a list where you can see it, as a reminder during those tough times. I am wondering how it would be to also create and post a list of all of your accomplishments and how far you've come on this journey. Maybe that would help remind you that you have done this, and you can do this. A road is never a straight line, we have the hills and valleys and that is the place where we learn how strong we are, and keep pushing forward. You have so much strength and heart - you will make it out of this valley. I saw you in Mile 23 was it of the marathon - you were all heart and your character was tested and revealed there. You have got this girl. I love you! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/24/2013 2:11:47 PM

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PJH2028 3/24/2013 12:14PM

    Dear friend,
A while back ... you wrote to me that (I paraphrase) "sometimes we just have to eat over or through things". That acceptance back then was a turn-key for me. Sometimes... yes. And then.... well... sometimes... no. Sometimes... we have what we need all along (insert wizard of oz/ruby slippers here).

Uncontrollable -- the robot, where-was-IEYEIEYE feeling-- absentee-ism binging is, for me the worst hangover of all.

Not showing up for myself.... and there are SO MANY WAYS that THIS IS WHAT it's about for me.... Is what that often hid... and still tries to hide.

It's ironic -- The capable, showing-up-for-others... the pushing through -- to achieve? or to prove? --- I've gotten lost in it.

For me... maintaining what I've (quote) "achieved" in weight loss .... is requiring Personal Growth in these ways.

Insides and Outsides / Outsides and Insides. What I think I know/knew... What I don't know at all.

Relationships in question. Work in question.
Reading Pema Chodron again. Often nurtures me.
Breathe

Love to you
Today and Every day.

If you ever feel like meeting for tea or coffee or ....
Let me know

Warmth and compassion and acceptance and
xo


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SHELLYBABE2 3/24/2013 11:56AM

    emoticon sure we've all been exactly where you are, not that it helps make you feel any better right now, but remembering you're not alone helps. No you can't brag about the binge but you don't need to feel alone with it either.

The only thing you can do is stop and start over. Stop the self punishing, stop looking at why you don't feel in the zone that spurred you to lose weight, stop looking back if it doesn't make you feel good etc etc etc, in fact just stop looking & just start over. You are where you are right now and you have to decide to just stop eating what you know you shouldn't in the way you shouldn't eat it (also applies to drinks) and set your plans. program & goals into motion. I'm telling you now that it's not worth wasting any more time feeling the way that you do! You take one day at a time, remove trigger foods (even if it's just getting someone to hide them away for now) surround yourself with the foods you know you can have lots of because when hunger strikes (which it does in abundance with volatile sugar spikes) you will be grateful to eat anything. It is hard going cold turkey (I went through this not a month ago & I felt like I was coming off drugs/drink) it is almost painful - but you have to decide if the hard work is worth it. Do you really want this? If you do then get cracking girly because it's right there waiting for you! Don't surround yourself with negative, only positive, not how bad you will feel bingeing but how good you will feel/look by working on this. Get tough with yourself by all means, but don't get mean & that's what we tend to do to ourselves when things are not going right. You should pin one of your heaviest pics of yourself alongside what you are like right now & celebrate what you are capable of! I'm telling you if you are in the frame of mind that sets a binge off, do you really think you'll stop and read your list & think twice? It's just more of a punishment for you right now whilst you already feel bad enough!

I think once a big goal like you had with the marathon is done and over it leaves you aimless, that combined with the life that you find you have due to more confidence meaning increased socialising etc leaves you with the why shouldn't I mentality that leads to increasing the amount of 'treat' items in your daily diet and so the cycle continues until you are consuming too much of not the healthy things. Of course life gets in the way, problems and situations arise but you have to start this plan from scratch again to be able to succeed. I'm sure when you started Spark initially you didn't think going completely healthy was great, that kind of gets coloured with the rose tinted glasses - it was always hard work, it was just the euphoria of exercising/healthy eating and the pounds lost totting up that carries you through the middle bit & yes once routines and habits are in place they do become easier in the main, it just means that you have to do the hard bit again and get your healthy habits back into being your biggest habit.

I really hope you manage to get back on track with your journey, to my mind you really have come too far to throw it all away. Remembering the difficulty you had in bending over and breathing at the same time fades with time & all the other reasons you started this journey initially doesn't work anymore for inspiration but if not that, then do you really want to have to buy all new clothes in the next sizes up? Not half as much fun as fitting into smaller clothes! Use whatever you can to make yourself do this, it's the only way - doing it! Especially when you can't find the reason to do it.

I've been saying this to myself for days/weeks but 'Today really is the first day of the rest of your life, make it count!'

Wishing you the very best of luck :) sorry I've gone on a bit too much, but I truly wish for you to succeed! :)

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BOOKWORM27S 3/24/2013 10:48AM

    Excellent idea! I've been there so many times.....

emoticon

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NO.

Monday, March 11, 2013

How many times have you said "No" today? Last week? Last month?

It's a powerful word, but we tend to live in a "Yes" society and I can bet that most people here have a bit of a "Yes" problem. I know I do. I have guilt, I don't like to close doors, I feel like I'm going to miss out, like someone might be mad at me, like I'm obligated to participate, like I won't be asked again if I say "No".

And so I "Yes" all over the place. "Yes" to work, "Yes" to fun, "Yes" to social obligations and volunteer jobs and food. Oh man, I "YES" to food all the time.

But what happens when you try "NO" on for size? What REALLY happens when you "No" to some of these things? For me, it makes me feel powerful. Just for a split second, but it's there. I'm in control of myself. I don't have to "Yes" to everything. I can say "No" and people will find someone else to do that, or go there, or get this, or eat that. And you know what? They won't think twice about it. Because me saying "No" to something isn't really going to ruin their day. Really it's not. But saying "Yes" to something MIGHT just ruin mine.

Food for thought, but it just occurred to me recently that I get almost as much satisfaction out of saying "No" to myself and following up with the reason WHY I'm saying "No" as I do saying "Yes". When I say "Yes" it's usually to a binge. I'm saying "Yes" because I deserve it - and I do. I deserve to be full and fed and to meet my own needs. But how many times would saying "No" meet those needs just as well as saying "Yes"? The answer to that question is - A LOT. The more I say "No" and carve out my own space for myself and get what I REALLY want out of a situation, the less I need to say "Yes" to make up for feeling used and abused and put out all the time. I end up having to say "Yes" more to myself when I say "Yes" more to other people.

But what about the worrying? What about the guilt and the feeling that saying "No" means that people won't like you? Well - think about the last time that someone said "No" to you. Did you hold it over their head? Did you pass them up the next time something fun came along? Were you angry at them? Probably not. So why do we constantly assume that people won't respect our personal boundaries? Because we don't respect our own.

I'm delving into the world of "No". And that doesn't mean that I'm going to become a negative person. Just the opposite. "No" means that I am respecting my personal boundaries. It means that I am fully contemplating what to take in and take on. I'm making the BEST choices for myself, not just accepting the first thing that comes along. It's going to take some getting used to - but I'm optimistic. Because saying "YES" to a healthier me means knowing how and when to use my "No".

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LOTUSFLOWER 3/14/2013 1:33AM

    I have such a hard time with no too.

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MOCOHOLO 3/12/2013 6:57PM

    Yet another area I need to work on too. Thanks for the great food for thought! I think part of the reason my weight crept back up over the past few months is that I have been saying yes to everything, be it a social event or a girl scout cookie. I like the way you framed this whole question as an issue of power. Thumbs up!!

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SOUTHPONDCAMP 3/12/2013 8:13AM

    Hmmmm....something to think about. I'm terrible at saying "no" both personally and professionally which is something I should work on.

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INSPIREBYNATURE 3/11/2013 4:26PM

    boundaries are so important! way to go!

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-POOKIE- 3/11/2013 3:39PM

    I really liked this blog.

You are so right, I know I do it myself, I stretch myself thin saying yes to this, yes to that and actually this last month or so I have been trying on NO for size by not doing extra hours at work when I am already stretched thin enough and need the time to do other things.

However I do feel bad about it. I guess the guilt complex hasn't gone far.

I've been bad at saying NO to food once, and needed somebody else to say it for me, thankfully he did and I didn't have to endure a pizza hangover.

*hugs*

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SUSIE4LYF 3/11/2013 2:42PM

    You absolutely have no idea how profound this is to a "yes" girl. That concept of always being the "yes" girl is probably one of the reasons (not the main one) I became a social worker.

I have honestly never thought about all the reasons that I say yes. But you got my attention. Now my curiosity is running over with the possibilities of what would happen if I said, "no".

Thank you for these words. It has made a difference in my day today and hopefully my outlook for the future.

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