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Training, Not Trying

Thursday, February 23, 2012

I'm done trying to lose weight. Not forever - just for now. Because chances are, if I quit trying so hard, it's just going to happen anyway. Instead of beating my head against a wall about monitoring every calorie consumed and wondering why the scale still isn't moving, I'm embracing the training mentality that I'm going to need to carry me through the next 8 months of running, swimming, cross-training and running some more to get me in shape to complete 26.2 miles on October 7th. And sometimes what you need to do to train that hard, is EAT.

So I have officially sworn off the food tracker. Which is actually both liberating and terrifying. Bottom line is that I know - I KNOW - what a 1500 calorie day looks like. I know roughly the complete calorie breakdown of everything I eat on a regular basis. I've become pretty good at guessing about everything else. And they put info on the backs of food boxes for a reason. The mental calculation is enough - I'm not going to stress about the rest. Instead, what I'm going to have to do is listen to my body. Novel concept.

Over the next couple of months I will be increasing my weekly running mileage from 12 miles a week to 25 miles a week. By the time I run the marathon, I will have increased that number again to approximately 40 miles a week. If I don't lose weight from running that many miles, I seriously need to take stock of what else I might be doing that preventing it from coming off.

Training is all that matters right now. If I don't change a thing about what I'm doing, I have already proven that I will continue to maintain. But I have an inkling that the person who crosses that finish line on October 7th is not going to weigh as much as she does today.

It's time to put the knowledge I have to good use, trust my instincts and embrace the fun of training for this momentous occasion in my life. Chapter 1 in Hal Higdon's book "Marathon" says that the marathon lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle - good food, good sleep, low limits on booze and other bad-for-you things. So for the next 8 months, I am a marathoner. Plain and simple. And the pounds are just going to have to agree at some point.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ANDEEC09 2/28/2012 9:36PM



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TUCKERKT 2/25/2012 9:48AM

    Wow, I have the opposite problem. I have no problem with increasing my intensity but I have been way to lazy on my food tracking. Stupid munching! Way to go and keep on adding those steps!

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BABY_GIRL69 2/24/2012 10:54PM

    Well you do what you need to do.

God bless & enjoy everyday!


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TETICH 2/24/2012 3:13PM

    Wow, you will definately do it and the thought of 42+Km just makes me think what an achiever you are. The pounds will just drop off, they won't have a choice emoticon

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ON2VICTORY 2/24/2012 3:02PM

    hey buddy! I totally hear you. From what I read from Jeff Galloway and John Bingham, both have stated in their books that marathon training is hard enough without adding the stress of trying to lose weight. For some (like me) it was downright impossible due to the carb intake and energy demands that are going to be placed on you as your training miles get longer.

There is a difference between running to lose weight and training. When you are jogging, pace and distance really dont matter. When training, you are endeavoring to increase your endurance and performance, both of which are impossible at a calorie deficit.

Marathons generally are not run to lose weight, it is the challenge and I promise you that you will be a better, stronger, more capable you when it is over. it is a lifechanging experience that will add depth to your journey that nothing else will.

make it happen and dont worry about the tracking....

Comment edited on: 2/24/2012 3:04:03 PM

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TEAM-SARAH 2/24/2012 12:28PM

    You can only create so much of a calorie deficit in a day and still be losing weight in a healthy sustainable way! So you HAVE to eat more. I was truly burning about 6000-8000 a week marathon training for the 2010 Chicago Marathon. You simply cannot get through those long runs without having a balanced diet and eating the right amount of food... so there are a lot of built in controls in place. you will do great.

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LAURIETAIT 2/24/2012 12:01PM

    I'm looking forward to regular updates on your progress.

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KKINNEA 2/24/2012 11:52AM

    I assume you're running Chicago - good luck! Let us know how training is going.

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VICKYMARIEC 2/24/2012 8:57AM

    I think you'll do great and i'm looking forward to seeing your journey with this marathon. I think it's a great idea you wanting to change things up a bit. Sometimes thats what our bodies need. Best of luck!

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JENJESS48 2/24/2012 8:47AM

    I think that focusing on training and not tracking will probably give you the breakthrough you're looking for. Sometimes just slowing down and listening to our bodies is absolutely the best thing we can do - especially when you're training as hard as you will. Best of luck, although I know you don't need it!

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-POOKIE- 2/24/2012 8:44AM


I think you will do awesome, because thats what you are!

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MARATHONBOUND 2/24/2012 4:55AM

    You continue to inspire! I will be in MA rooting for you all the way! You got this! Amazing blog, as always. emoticon emoticon

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LOTUSFLOWER 2/23/2012 11:31PM

    I am proud of you. I know that you will definitely not be the same person when you cross that finish line. You are amazing. I'll be rooting you on every step of the way!

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SARAWALKS 2/23/2012 10:59PM

    emoticon emoticon
I so agree...even though I am not marathoning, I am in a phase where I need to just trust my instincts & not feels good so far!
emoticon emoticon

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SAPHRAEL 2/23/2012 8:26PM

    I look forward to watching your progress. It sounds wonderfully "normal" to just be really active and not fret over your calorie intake. Awesome!

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SEPPIESUSAN 2/23/2012 7:57PM

    Whether or not you lose any weight, I think your training will probably be better with you not stressing over calories. (Not that I am basing this on ANY marathon training experience whatsoever, because I have none.) Food is fuel, and you need fuel for long runs!!

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KT-NICHOLS-13 2/23/2012 6:31PM

    Best of luck to you. I know you'll reach every goal you set for yourself.

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No White Knight

Thursday, February 16, 2012

This week has been a somewhat somber reality check in the aftermath of Valentine's Day - supposedly the most romantic day of the year.

My reality check? Fairy tales don't exist. Neither does Prince Charming, or Cinderella, or Happily Ever After.

No - nothing is wrong in my relationship. In fact, we're better than ever and had a really lovely Valentine's Day skating at the top of the city and eating gourmet cupcakes. Le sigh. I'm still very much in love with my wonderful man.

But as wonderful as he is, he is not here to save my life. He is not going to whisk me away and make all of my problems disappear. And it would be really terrible of me to demand that of him.

But the problem is that I HAVE been demanding that of him. And of other people too. I am enamoured with the romantic notion that there is some magical key to my ultimate happiness - and I don't think I'm alone in this method of thinking.

"If I just lose the weight, I will have everything I truly desire"
"If I find the perfect man, we'll get married and have babies and my life will be perfect"
"If I get the perfect job, I will never be unhappy again a day in my life"

Well - that's just not the way it works. Life, is life. And it's going to continue being life with all of its crazy ups and downs, regardless of dramatic weight loss, weddings, babies or any other big events that really only serve to sway the course temporarily before life carries on, day after day after day.

Existential much? Perhaps. But I'm finding lately that coming smack up against The Human Condition as we all share it is helping me through the worst boughts of loneliness and depression and dissatisfaction. Sometimes telling it like it is and excepting it as that is the best thing that any of us can do.

So what brought this on? As romantic as my Valentine's Day was, I had hinted at a gift that I really wanted a few weeks ago and I didn't get it. And that upset me. I had fantasized about our perfect night together, and that had included me getting this gift from him. When that didn't happen it honestly felt like my hopes and dreams were crushed...just a little. I immediately jumped to blaming him for my hurt - did he not get the hint? did he not love me as much as I love him? was he insulted that I had suggested he buy me a gift in the first place? am I not worth it? But I knew there was something that felt wrong about being mad at him for such a silly thing. And there is something wrong - but it isn't with Nikhil.

I'm not happy with my life right now. My job is sucking all the joy and energy and desire from my daily existence. I am desperately trying to find somewhere new to go, but the job market is terrible and we all know that. This is going to be a long battle. Add to that the fact that I'm not just trying to change jobs, I'm trying to start a whole new career path for myself. And one that nets me more money at the end of the month. Not an easy task. I'm also still in Plateauville, but, DUH, for obvious reasons. So it's only natural that I would seek salvation in the one thing in my life that IS going well - my man.

Imagine the pressure he must feel having to live not only his own life (and do amazingly well at it), but also be responsible for making mine better! That's so unbelievably mean of me, I'm ashamed. But can you blame me? Who doesn't want to be saved? Who doesn't want to be swept off their feet and taken away from all their worldly issues? Shrink this down to a smaller scale though and ask simply - who doesn't just want to be hugged and told it will all be better soon?

The gift that I wanted? It would have bought me maybe a week of gloating on Facebook, showing it off to all my friends, being made to feel special for a short period of time. And yes - that would have felt great. I could surely use a dose of that right now and I'm still mourning not getting it. But after those 3 days of happiness, life would come back with a vengeance. I'd still be in Plateauville, I'd still be working my sucky job, and despite a really nice gift, I'd still be in the same place with the person that I love. Changed, but only briefly.

They are right when they say you can't buy happiness. And that goes for all kinds of currencies. Money, pounds, food. No amount of any of those things is going to create the kind of change in your life that yields a true feeling of contentment.

However, they are also right when they say that we are each the masters of our own destiny. I am the only person that can control my personal fulfillment. No one else is going to get me a new job. No one else is going to live a healthier life for me. I'm in charge of doing all those things for myself. And ultimately, it's better that way anyway since I'm the one that's going to benefit from it.

It sucks - not getting what you want. And it sucks when you REALLY realize that no one else can be responsible for your happiness but you. Because it's then that you know that it's a long road ahead and it's going to be a lot of hard work. And that sucks too. But the rewards reaped are going to be a bigger payoff. I've felt that and I know that, I just have to keep reminding myself of that. It doesn't make it any easier, but just because there aren't Princes and Castles and Fairytale Endings, doesn't mean there aren't Silver Linings.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUEYGIRL 2/28/2012 3:42PM

    I have mixed feelings about this blog.
One: I can relate because I feel I"m in a similar place job-wise and in a few other things in my life. Nothing major is wrong, but I'm searching for something and I'm frustrated that others can't wave a magic wand and give me what I want.

Two: Seeing your words brought reality back to me. After I realized I've been feeling the same way, I wanted to offer you advice, advice I need to tell myself!

Three: don't be so hard on yourself and, you know what, it's ok to lean on someone else for a short time. It seems he can handle it, so let him.

Four: Have you thought about telling him about your reaction to not getting the gift? In all honesty, maybe he just forgot or didn't know how important it was to you.

Five: Yes, you need to be practical, but there's a place for dreaming and dreaming big. Ultimately, you have to do some work to make those dreams come true, but do not ever limit yourself. "If you can believe it, you can achieve it." (Richard Bach)


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    Wonderfully written :)

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TUCKERKT 2/19/2012 8:59AM

    You really know how to put your thoughts down, thoughts of so many of us on this journey. Thank you so much!

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CHICAT63 2/17/2012 12:32PM

    Thank you for such a great blog !!! We are the Master of our journey, thanks for the reminder:).

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LMLOPEZ 2/17/2012 12:10PM

    Good blog Jenn. I agree with you that you are the master of your own destiny. Gifts are great, but ultimately what you put into life is what you get out of it. That's the real gift.
In Valentine's days past I would have been upset not to get flowers or candy and have a "special" day. This year after 17 years of marriage, I got a husband with a sinus infection, the pleasure of being a chauffeur to my children for various activities and a night to prepare for work. But I did enjoy a lovely dinner with my family and the love of being together. Sometimes Prince Charming comes with a sinus infection and other tasks-but that's okay. :) Good luck with your new career change-small steps can lead to big changes-but standing still gets ya nowhere.

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LOTUSFLOWER 2/17/2012 11:43AM

    I can relate to what you are saying....there's a good book about the 5 love languages, I don't know if you've heard of it, but we all show and like to receive love in different ways, and once our partner knows which one it is (compliments, gift giving, touch, I forget the other two lol), then they know how to show us they love us in the way we like to receive it. But you are right, there is no white knight per se, and it is so important that we love ourselves first, as I know you do and have been working on as well. Just like there is no magic pill for the weight loss. You always provide such insight into these things, I really appreciate reading your blogs, I always learn something. Love you!

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SARAWALKS 2/17/2012 8:52AM

    Wise Woman you are, Jenn.
It is SO hard to let go of that romantic crap we are fed since birth.
But at age 66 I have to say that it is a liberation to realize that it's up to me, it's still up to me, it's always been up to me...and to look around and see a LOT of silver linings. Even though I am not "in a relationship," I am also not in a BAD relationship. I have wonderful friends and a nice place to live and a job that rejoices my heart at the same time that it exasperates me and doesn't pay enough for luxuries, but does pay enough that if I sacrifice and save a bit on little things, I can have some luxuries.
And the main silver lining is - I am content.
That is worth a tremendous amount.
Blessings to you and you will get there to that silver lining place! emoticon

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-POOKIE- 2/17/2012 6:47AM


I really feel the sentiments you are expressing here, and I really understand your feeling, Im feeling myself thinking similar things as well.

Ultimately its down to us to be our own white knight and make things the best for ourselves.

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STEFFIROCKSIT 2/17/2012 4:42AM

    I hear you, girl!

I'd love to be swept away from "Chunkyville" by a white knight - preferably in a truck full of delicious food LOL!

Hang in there, you'll make it happen!

Love and Lunges,

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LAURIETAIT 2/17/2012 12:40AM

    This is a difficult lesson to learn. Some people never learn it. But if you get it you have the key to love, joy, fulfillment.... the whole deal. Have fun unlocking all the good stuff!

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BABY_GIRL69 2/16/2012 11:09PM

    I used to watch all the black & white movies of romance & the magical kiss that sealed the deal. I waited almost my whole life for that beautiful man to sweep me off my feet. I actually had that man all my life but still wasn't happy. I gave up on the fairytale but did I really have too? No, I just had to open to the possibilities & not kill his joy by allowing him a say in our life together. I say be patient & love always & will find a way. He might just surprise you when the time is right....

God bless & enjoy everyday!


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SBHPATRICK 2/16/2012 3:55PM

    Thank you for the eloquent and thought-provoking post.

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YOYONOYO 2/16/2012 2:59PM

    Powerful and life-changing blog. Thank you. I need to take more responsibility for my own happiness and stop blaming other people and circumstances. I needed the reminder.

I bought my own valentine present this year. I got just what I wanted and LOVE it. I buy myself flowers too every once in a while.

I've done the yo-yo on weight loss partly because I didn't understand the reality that reaching my goal wouldn't make me ultimately happy. I think it'll stick this time because I realize I can be happy and accepting of myself right now.

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DSBRIDE 2/16/2012 2:58PM

    This journey to healthy living is hard but it's filling with many insights along the way. Yes, we are responsible for ourselves and our own happiness. It is all on our outlook on life. Wake up with a good attitude, you will have a good day. Do something nice for someone else, it comes back to you 10 fold. Plateaus come and go, jobs come and go but finding contentment in your life is forever, you earn it and you deserve it. Here's to happiness!!

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DDCOP70 2/16/2012 2:43PM

  My Mom who died 10 years ago had clipped this quote out of a newspaper and had it taped to the wall above her desk. After she died I kept it and read it everyday. I love your blog and look forward to reading your posts. You "get it" and you inspire me. You have amazing insight.

"I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me." by Anna Quindlen

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The Hunger Games

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The novel is on my list of "must reads," but this isn't a blog about a book.

I'm terrified of being hungry. There - I said it. I'm STUCK right now because I can't bear the thought of being hungry. The thought of being hungry scares me so much, I binge eat in anticipation of maybe, possibly, ever being hungry at some point in the future. When I was over 300 pounds, I couldn't possibly even imagine trying to lose weight because that would most certainly involve being hungry. And I CAN'T be hungry. Being hungry triggers the worst possible feelings and reactions and instincts deep down inside me. Every trait that I have that makes me "all-consuming" is triggered by my hunger. And I have come to understand that if ever someone speaks poorly of me, it is usually because they have witnessed a behaviour that is the product of my hunger. Being hungry is a bad, bad thing for me, and I do everything in my power to make sure it never happens to me. And unfortunately for my weight loss project, that includes the physical consumption of A LOT of food.

But we're talking about two different kinds of hunger here. Otherwise - I'd still weight over 300 pounds. Somehow, in April of 2009, I got over the fear of physical hunger and managed to lose 100 pounds. Thinking back on that year I can't remember ever being physically hungry. I wasn't in pain. I wasn't depriving myself. In fact, I was being fed plenty. I lost over 100 pounds eating over 2200 calories a day. That's a lot! I am living proof that you don't have to starve yourself to lose weight.

So what the heck am I so scared about lately?

I always knew that my weight loss journey was going to have 2 chapters. I had a pretty even 200 pounds to lose that I figured would happen in two 100-pound increments. Getting to the first hundred was the first hurdle and I galloped over that line with what I look back on now as a blaze of glory. But I have just recently realized that what was supposed to be two equally weighted chapters has become, over the course of the last year, three. I am not ready for the final chapter yet. And my fear is telling me that fair and square. I am not yet mentally ready to lose another 100 pounds. And that sucks. Because like the scale, you can't will the brain to move quickly. Chapter 2 is about taking time, and work, and love and faith to move that mountain of mass in my head. I don't doubt that it will happen for me. Just not as quickly as I wanted it to. This isn't going to be a clean fight for me. And why I ever expected it to be, I don't know. This has been a dirty duel since day one (and day one was a LONG time before April 15, 2009).

So right now, I'm fighting the fear. The fear is the unknown factor. Because the known factors are actually fairly simple. I am at a point where I need to reduce my daily calorie intake to approximately 1550 calories a day. When I do that, and stick to that plan, the scale responds accordingly with a loss. So I know the math works. But what doesn't quite work yet is my mental willingness to stick to that number. Even though I have proved through a number of days of eating at that level that I WILL NOT be physically hungry, my emotional hunger is taking over. I'm using my running as an excuse to overindulge. It feels good, so I continue to do it. Heck - Hal Higdon tells me I can eat PopTarts? Best believe I'm gonna go get me some PopTarts!

I can tell that I'm in the midst of a down and dirty mental battle with my brain when I start instilling ridiculous "Game Rules" on myself. The post-it on the box of PopTarts that says "Only if you run 5+ miles," the note on the container of ice cream in the freezer that says "Only to be eaten when Nikhil is present" because I know I won't binge in front of him, the constant talking with myself all day long about how many calories I consume and when I can consume them - "If you wait until you go home, you can have a latte on the way." I'm so obsessed with consumption, I'm actually consuming myself! I've been playing the game for long enough now that I know the rules inside and out and therefore, I also know how to get around them. But in playing the game I'm not actually listening to myself. I talk to myself daily about numbers - numbers on the scale, numbers on the tape measure, numbers attached to the foods I'm eating - but I'm NOT talking to myself about my feelings which is not allowing myself to know when I'm really, physically hungry. My life, and my health, and my happiness is NOT a game. So I need to stop playing for a bit and listen. I need to stop making deals and bartering with myself, trying to "win" when all I'm doing is ensuring that a different part of me is going to "lose." And that's the part of me that is so scared right now and hanging on for dear life. She's not going to let go and give up the ghost when she's so threatened.

Mentally, I'm back in 2009, before the change. In many ways I have come SO far. In many ways I have made amazing movement to something more positive. But I think the fear that I am feeling now is attached to my core issue, and the closer I get to that issue, the tighter I hang on to my old habits. SOMETHING happened in 2009 that allowed me to let go. Something happened that made me trust and through practice convinced me that my worst fears of being hungry weren't going to come true. So I'm continuing to put in the work right now to find that something again. Because right now, I'm too hungry not to be fed and I'm sitting at an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet called "Life" - And I'm fighting with all my might the temptation to try a little bit of everything.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BECKYB73 2/16/2012 2:56PM

    Loved the novels....LOVE this blog.

I like how you're looking your fear square in the eye and KNOW that you're going to beat it!

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WATERMELLEN 2/11/2012 5:54PM

    There must be hunger in the air -- I've been blogging about it too-- and am like TRAVLGRRL a huge fan of the Dr. Judith S. Beck approach set out in The Diet Solution. She "trains the brain to think like a thin person" . . . using techniques from cognitive psychology one step at a time over six weeks. It's helped me . . . . might be worth a try???

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TRAVELGRRL 2/11/2012 2:00PM

    I really feel your pain and can understand how scary this is.

Have you ever read "The Beck Diet Solution?" One of her main tenets is "HUNGER IS NOT AN EMERGENCY." In the book she deals with the panic that can come with worrying when your next meal will be, and actually has practice exercises to help you overcome the fears you mention.

It's a battle, it's always a battle, but I know you will be successful. Good luck.

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MANLEYSANDY 2/10/2012 5:15PM

    You have worked so hard and I know you still have the fight in you!! You amaze me, your spirit, your beauty, your intelligence and tenacity. That hunger you are talking about is tough to feed, but I know with all the hard work you have done and will do, you will learn how to feed it and as god is your witness, you will never go hungry again, (mentally or physically)!


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LOTUSFLOWER 2/10/2012 2:44PM

    I am so right there with you. I don't have any words of encouragement except in the infamous words of Dori from Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming." You are in the midst of lots of stuff going on in your heart, your head, your body. Work through those things, give yourself time and be gentle with yourself. You know the rest will come. You are doing important heart-work that will last your lifetime. I love you!

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JENJESS48 2/8/2012 1:01PM

    Numbers are important, but at the end of the day our brains and hearts really control how much we can improve ourselves and how much weight we can lose. I think we all hit a wall at some point, where our minds are holding us back. Congrats on having the courage to realize that and start working on the real issue. emoticon

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KT-NICHOLS-13 2/7/2012 5:12PM

    The closer you get to the *hidden* truth the scarier it seems to be. Kick the door down girl and shine a light into the darkness. I believe you're right at the door . . . when you're ready, kick it in.

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WOLFKITTY 2/7/2012 4:34PM

    So true, sugar!

Like, for real.
But we will get through this.


cited advice - I've heard that getting out of the habit of rewarding yourself with food helps.)

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SUE5007 2/7/2012 4:32PM

    Sounds like you might be on the verge of mental burnout. That's what I get when I start playing mind games like that. I get so sick of thinking about calories in and out, it consumes me, I hate it so I quit.
Sometimes a fast helps me. I go two meals without food. Once I get the first hunger pang, I am worried about how much worse my hunger will get...but it never gets worse. I am able to ignore it a lot. That gives me confidence when I start to be afraid of being hungry--I get that too by the way.
Also, if you can find something else you are afraid of and do it anyway it might help. For example, I was at the gym with my hubby and he asked if I wanted to try bench press with him. Honestly I was afraid and didn't want to. I told him no, I'm afraid...but let's try it anyway. It wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be and that gave me a tiny bit of courage to try something else.
Be patient. Explore. Be honest with yourself. Keep a positive attitude.

emoticon Good luck. Keep up the hard work!

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LAURIETAIT 2/7/2012 3:43PM

    I hope you wrestle your fears to the ground and leave them out for the count. You've been so brave, worked so hard and come so far to let a little fear (or a big one) keep you from the life you want to live. We're all out here rooting for you to throw those issues to the mat.

Comment edited on: 2/7/2012 3:44:19 PM

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Coach Nicole's 28-Day Bootcamp DVD - KITHKINCAID's Review

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

So I think most of us would either have to be living under a rock or never signing into SparkPeople to not know about the release of both the SparkPeople Cookbook and Coach Nicole's new 28-Day Bootcamp DVD.

In a very smart marketing campaign, selected bloggers and team leaders were all sent the new DVD for free and asked to post an honest review of the product by, well, today. I love living to the deadline!

So here's what I HONESTLY think - It's Great!

I do love getting stuff for free, but more than that, I think that this is actually a DVD I'm going to use and enjoy more than once. And thank goodness I have something better to look at now while I'm toning by buttocks than Tony Little in a tight jumpsuit. No jokes kids - Tony Little Target Training was the first series of workout videos I ever purchased (on VHS no less) and they still get rotation every so often when I feel like my cardio alone isn't cutting the bacon anymore. But I've been in need of something new for a while, and this fits the bill nicely. I mean, let's face it - Tony Little is, well, annoying. Coach Nicole - definitely not annoying. You kinda want to hate her when she's making you sweat, but she's honestly too cute to hate, especially in these videos. And her workout assistants are cute too!

So to give you the rundown - there's a 28-Day Calendar program that you can follow to a T, or you have the option to play the video segments separately and go at your own pace. Either is totally acceptable. I was a little confused at first because when I got the DVD in the mail, I loaded it onto my laptop instead of into my regular DVD player and it skipped the main title menu and went straight into the workouts. But after backing it up a bit and reading through the different menus, I found the 28-Day routine right at the top of the list. I really like the calendar program because you can select a specific day and it will automatically play through all the videos associated with that day. No guessing games, remembering or stopping and starting the DVD required. Just plug & play and get ready to sweat.

The videos on their own are simple. As an avid fan of a pretty hardcore Zumba class, this is NOT that kind of workout. I am still a little disappointed that I can't seem to find an at-home workout that works me as hard as my Zumba class, but then again, I think that's just the nature of the fitness class beast (there is higher impact in numbers!) These routines and the overall look and feel of the video remind me of a Weight Watcher's cardio dance video I got for free the last time I signed up with them. Simple dance moves, easy to follow, gets your heart rate up - but I could easily have carried on a conversation or even sang along to a song while doing the workouts and it's a fairly minimal calorie burn. It does get tougher, however, when you start layering the videos together. So for people who want to pack a harder punch, you have to spend the time and do the full routine, and you WILL feel it after that.

There are some cool extras that I enjoy including a couple of workouts from other fitness experts. There are also a couple of great recipes in the booklet that comes with the DVD. There's an online component to accompany the DVD - a place to ask questions, get feedback and comment on your progress, which is cool. After my initial confusion about the location of the 28-Day Program on the DVD, the website is actually where I went to get help (and found what I was looking for).

Overall, I think this is a really great solution for people who want a ready-made plan to follow without having to think too much about it. Kind of like Spark's food plans, it's a great tool and resource when you don't have a lot of time or need additional instruction. For me, because I do so many other cardio activities, the video will be used mostly for the added strength component when I need it, but I don't know if I'll ever end up doing the full 28-Day routine since I have no plans to forgo or stop all of my other activities for any length of time. But it's always nice to have the option! The 28-Day Plan has built-in rest or cross-training days, so maybe if I REALLY want to bust out a month of FULL activity I could follow this plan and squeeze in my running, swimming, biking and Zumba too. Phew! Makes me tired just thinking about it. And rest days are important. Remember that!

So now to the nitty gritty: Target has these DVDs exclusively, so you'll want to go there to pick one up. You get 250 SparkPoints for buying it and a $3 off coupon if you go to . Us lovely folk who got one for SparkPoints. Trust me - I tried. Hehe. But definitely take advantage of the $3 coupon while you can. It's not a pricey investment and it's a good resource to have laying around, especially for when the snows of winter start coming and trap us all in our caves of warm slumber and comfort food.

And of course - "I received this DVD for free from SparkPeople and did not receive any form of payment for my review."

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SARAWALKS 2/8/2012 6:23PM

    Thanks, Jenn, great review! You've motivated me to try it! Having these all in one place will be handy too, as opposed to having to choose from what's on Spark. emoticon

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ON2VICTORY 2/2/2012 4:29PM

    i gotta get busy and write my review as well.... deadlines.... deadlines...... lol... I enjoyed the DVD as well..

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KKINNEA 2/1/2012 11:01AM

    Cool, will definitely need to take the wrapper off my copy now!

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SHFELKEY 2/1/2012 9:12AM

    Your review made me laugh out loud -- all the parts about Tony Little!

Thanks for posting your review. Keep on Sparking!

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MOM23ES 2/1/2012 9:07AM

    I didn't have Tony Little tapes but I did pop in my VHS Richard Simmons tape last week to introduce him to my kids. LOL - first question out of their mouths is why are all the men in their underwear? They had never seen such short shorts. HA! They laughed tons in the beginning but by the end they were having fun actually doing the work out with me.

Planning on starting Nicole's 28 day bootcamp today. emoticon

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LAURIETAIT 2/1/2012 12:52AM

    Nothing beats free except maybe something you'll actually use for free. I've been contemplating buying this DVD. It's good to know that people you trust like it. Thanks.

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SAPHRAEL 1/31/2012 11:54PM

    Tony who? Hehee. Thanks for the review. If you do ever find the equivalent of a Zumba class workout on Dvd, pass it along and I'll do the same!

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LOTUSFLOWER 1/31/2012 10:29PM

    I am not going to read your full blog yet as I don't want it to influence my blog (that I still need to post), but I have to say that Tony Little was also my first set of workout tapes - neon orange VHS, baby!! Love ya!

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Workout Music of 2011: Mashed Up

Monday, January 23, 2012

This doesn't count as my blog this week, but for any of the rest of you who also play all of these songs regularly on your running/workout mix, this is SO COOL!!!

This is the first I've heard of it, but apparently this guy does one of these every year. The video for this one is also on YouTube and it's fantastic.

Definitely a new one to download and "add to the mix"!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CHATTIEGIRL 1/31/2012 1:47AM

    Hi Jenn;

I have to start a CD with songs and I am going to copy this one, thank you. Have a wonderful 2012 and reach all your goals. God bless you always.

Smile Joyce

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35ANGELS 1/25/2012 12:34AM

    This is awesome.....I've never heard of it before either.

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SEPPIESUSAN 1/23/2012 7:59PM

    I agree - so cool! Thanks so much for sharing.

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FYREDRAGYN 1/23/2012 2:52PM

    Thanks for sharing this, I love it.

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