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Mountain Hiking in Park City Utah

Thursday, July 24, 2014

I had a beautiful week in Utah. I went for work and it was a productive week, but I also took every chance I could to hike in the mountains. What a lovely place!

And here is a beautiful picture of the last bit of snow on the high you can almost touch the sky!

If i could hike in places like this all time, I wouldn't even think of it as exercise!

A lovely time!

Good wishes to all!



Thursday, July 17, 2014

For a long time, my favorite report on the Spark website has been the Calorie Differential Over Time. Iím pretty good at tracking both exercise and calories consumed, and when I'm dong well, it is really satisfying to see consistent caloric deficits reflected in the report. And while I can fool myself daily and even weekly that I'm doing ok, when I look at the report over time, there is no escaping the truth. Right now, itís pretty clear why Iíve barely been maintaining over the past 12 months: on average, I eat about the same number of calories as I burn. (A little P.S. on this however: I did great last month and didn't lose a single pound. Frustrating but not a reason to stop trying).

in any case, while that report is great for seeing past trends, it doesn't help me with planning day to day. I've struggled with how much to eat on a daily basis, given the concern over the effect on metabolism when you cut calories too low. However, the bottom line is that a person needs to have a deficit of about 3,500 calories to lose one pound. So if I want to lose a pound a week, that translates to a deficit of 500 calories a day. And Spark has a report to help me with that: the Single Day Calorie Differential Report. BMR and calories burned are conveniently totaled on the report, so if I subtract 500 from that number, I have my daily target. And at the end of the day, it shows my calorie deficit. Neat! That target is a little lower than the low end of the target range listed on the Nutrition Tracker, since my trackers are linked. But I like the specificity, so Iíve decided meeting that target will be my primary goal going forward.

Last year and the first couple months of this year, I had success when I set specific goals, tracked them on a daily basis using the food and exercise trackers and the quick tracker, and regularly assessed how well Iíd done on meeting those goals. Iím going to try that again.

So, here are my goals through the end of August.

1. Maintain a calorie differential of 500/day Ė I can do this. I will continue taking lunch and snacks to work, and Iíll start planning and preparing dinners in advance more often (although I donít plan to track that).

2. Do cardio 4-6 days per week. Running, walking or biking. Maybe swimming. I love cardio.

3. ST at least twice a week. I donít enjoy this as much but Iím determined, because the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn.

4. Practice yoga once a week.

5. Reduce stress through meditation and blogging. When I get stressed out I eat too much and drink too much (duh). I am determined to find other ways to deal with daily stress as well as the larger stressors that occur regularly.

So, those are my goals. I am determined to be disciplined.

Onward and upwards, Sparkers! We CAN do this!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WHITNEYLD 7/18/2014 11:51AM


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HIPPICHICK1 7/18/2014 9:17AM

    For almost 3 years the scale didn't budge for me. What I have noticed though is that my body composition has changed. I look smaller yet I weigh the same (or almost the same). That is courtesy of two things:
Tracking my food to make sure that I don't over eat.

As far as I'm concerned yoga has done more for my body than lifting weights ever did. My yoga is a muscle challenging workout. My teacher teaches Hatha yoga, but I've added in some really slow squats, lunges and my abs routine and practise my yoga at least 5 times weekly if not 6. Yoga isn't just a stretching routine anymore. You can put some power behind it and it can be a strength training workout too!

I'm off to study my reports now. I had forgotten about the calorie differential report until now. Thanks!

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    emoticon Goals!! emoticon

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Thursday, June 05, 2014

After a few months of what seemed like uproar, things are more or less back on track. My kidsí dad survived triple bypass and aneurysm surgery, my younger son who was taking care of him full time is back home. We helped my older son move from an hour and a half south to 45 minutes north. Work is still crazy but not as much as it has been lately. Travel schedule has calmed down and Iím actually planning a two week vacation in August. Through all of that I was pretty inconsistent. Not awful. Just not consistent. Too much food and drink, not enough exercise. Not enough time for anything.

I donít want to make excuses for not sticking to my plan and staying on track, and Iím not.

Itís a fact, stressful situations and life circumstances are everywhere and happen all the time. My workload is heavy, Iím always behind. Someone is always getting sick and there are always emergencies.

What I would like to do is figure out how to be consistent through all of that. How not to use food and drink as a way to deal with stress. Or to use the stress as an excuse to indulge in too much food and drink. I want to learn how to find satisfaction in saying no to what does not help me and yes to what does.

No thanks, I donít think Iíll have another glass of wine. Yes, Iím going to have a cup of tea instead.

No, Iím not going to have that cupcake/candy/chips/pasta with cream sauce etc., etc. etc. Yes, Iíll have a piece of fruit/cucumbers and hummus/dates and almonds/etc.

No, Iím not going to stay up late watching tv/talking on the phone/reading/checking out facebook. Yes, I want to be able to get up early and run/walk/do yoga/strength training.

No, I canít do a meeting at lunchtime today, but I can do it at 2. Yes, I am going to get out the door and get a walk in.

No, I canít finish that spreadsheet/memo/email etc. right now. Yes, Iím going to get out of here and get to the gym and I know this work will go a lot faster when Iíve worked some of this stress off.

Iím not going to make excuses, Iím just going to forgive myself and move on.

Iím looking forward to tomorrow. Iím taking the day off and I am going to go running and maybe do a little ST and then get some things done around the house. And maybe relax a little. Awesomeness!

Have a great weekend, Sparkfriends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARINEVE 7/8/2014 7:30AM

    It still seems funny to me that we can know exactly what we should do, but in practise it is always difficult to actually do the right thing.
Don't know what it is, old habits die hard?
Anyway, being aware of what the better options are, is the first step.
Good luck!

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EMMACLAIRE5 6/10/2014 2:58PM

    I think you've got a great perspective on what needs to happen, as well as what realistically *can* happen. I could have been having a very similar conversation with myself lately as well. I know if we keep our eye on the goal, the baby steps and growing consistency WILL help! Hang in there!

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KALIGIRL 6/6/2014 1:41PM

    "I want to learn how to find satisfaction in saying no to what does not help me and yes to what does."

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HIPPICHICK1 6/6/2014 8:54AM

    I find that when I am really emotionally upset about anything, I go for a walk. I talk to myself either out loud or in my head (if I think someone might hear, but I live in the woods so I don't have many concerns about that) until I feel all talked out. The vigorous walking does the trick every time.

As for eating healthy, I have no choice. I have to stay away from all sugars, refined foods, alcohol, most grains...because the Candida is still present. If I don't stick to the Candida diet I will not get better.

You are right in re-framing how you think about your health and stress and how you can get over that hump of wanting to eat or have a drink to soothe yourself. You could also say something like, "If I eat this it will hinder my good health, and if I need all of my energy for work and a great work out and to take care of my family, this food will NOT help me to attain those goals, but will surely help to sabotage them."

Here's to making YOU your #1 priority!

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    Those are great replies to some very common questions. So true that stressors are always around us - we simply have to find better coping mechanisms or responses. You are on track!!

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SALGUOD2 6/6/2014 5:54AM

    You'll be fine

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Live, Love, Give

Sunday, March 16, 2014

I was going to call this blog Belated February Assessment, March Update and Goals. Because that's what I was going to do. But I changed my mind. Given the stresses of the past weeks and in keeping with the reminder that life is truly and really quite short, I decided to go big! In the end, what do we really have? I am working on keeping things in perspective.

My younger son came home from a visit with his father a couple weeks and told me that his dad was pretty sick, and over the next couple weeks, the news just got worse and worse. It turns out he needs triple bypass heart surgery, an aortic aneurysm repaired and a lot of arterial blockage in his legs bypassed. We are all struggling with this. I feel so sad for him and for my two grown sons, who are scared they are going to lose their father. Iím trying to help as much as I can and be there for my sons. Itís not really a surprise, since he is such a heavy smoker, but just so sad that itís come to this. Hopefully he will make it through the surgeries and go on to live a healthier life. Both of our sons have been there for their dad and the younger one who lives with me has been amazing, going to doctorís appointments with him, asking the questions that need to be asked, scheduling appointments and the surgery and just being with him. His surgery is scheduled for Friday and weíll find out tomorrow what the recovery is.

Most important to me is to be there for my sons, give them the support and the love they need to make it through this as best they can, whatever happens. I also want to support their dad. Even though we haven't been married for a long time, I still care about him and hate that this is happening to him. However much it is self-inflicted.

While Iím trying to keep up with everything, I have not been as disciplined as I might have been otherwise. My girlfriends and I bagged our half marathon, partly because one of them got a concussion and couldnít run, partly because of everything going on here Ė I wasnít sure of the timing of everything and didnít want to be out of town for two days. So instead if the race, my girlfriends and I had a spa day yesterday (massages and dinner) and that was good. I am so blessed to have such good friends. Just so lucky.

And while I had been fairly good about staying with the program up until he week before last, this completely threw me. Iím ready to recommit now, though. Iím not going to do a blow by blow assessment of the past 6 weeks, but I will get back to that next month. For now, Iím going to work on the goals I laid out for February, working out, eating well. I want to be the strongest person I can be, so I can do the things I need to do. And always remember to be in the moment and take all the joy I can from this life Iíve been given.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EMMACLAIRE5 3/18/2014 3:16PM

    That situation must be very difficult and emotionally fraught. Taking care of yourself so you can be supportive for your sons is going to be so important! Friends, massages and dinner sounds like the perfect prescription for self-care emoticon

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LAURALITE 3/18/2014 12:26PM

    I'm sorry to hear that your ex is having such a health crisis, and for the deep angst it has created for you all. It sounds like you have raised wonderful boys, who are caring, smart and nurturing. There's nothing like a health scare, ours or in someone we love, to help us get our priorities straight. Sending love and prayers for a good outcome, and great health and many more wonderful years together for all.

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HIPPICHICK1 3/17/2014 10:06PM

    Sounds like you are dealing with a lot right now. I hope your children's father is okay.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 3/17/2014 9:13AM

    Sounds like an excellent plan for an incredibly stressful time.
Thoughts and prayers with you and yours.

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KELLIEBEAN 3/16/2014 10:42PM

    I'm sorry for the pain you are all experiencing! I will keep him in my prayers that he pulls through this.

BIG BIG emoticon

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Self Control

Saturday, February 22, 2014

This week was even better than last week with consumption Ė I was more consistent about staying in my range and I averaged around 1500 calories a day. Thatís been my general goal, and since I am burning around 2400 calories, I hope to see some results. Didnít hop on the scale like I usually do on Saturday morning, but I feel like my jeans fit better than they did last week. If I donít see any loss, Iíll adjust the calories down, but I have to say, I am feeling pretty good. And I think itís because I was able to control my consumption. And that self control felt really good.

I wasnít quite as disciplined about exercise. I did get all my training runs done Ė 21 miles in all Ė but I didnít do any strength training. I did yoga once.

Next week I will exert the same self control over my exercise and activity as I did with my consumption this week.

I started reading a book about will power and itís pretty interesting. The author maintains that while will power was a very popular concept in the Victorian era and thought to be a critical element of a healthy personality, the idea that we were actually in control of ourselves foundered in the 20th century in Western culture, with the advent of the behavioralists like B.F. Skinner who essentially believed that people could be trained to behave and perform in certain ways, regardless of their willingness to do so. This flew in the face of the idea of free will. Eventually, the idea of will power was replaced with the concept of self esteem and the culture readily accepted that idea. This fit in well with the 60ís ethos ďif it feels good, do itĒ and ďIím ok, youíre ok."

Iím not sure I am willing to accept all of this. But I do think that in our education system, teaching will power and self control do not seem to be emphasized as highly as the promotion of self esteem. Thatís always bothered me, since it seems backwards to me to promote self esteem as separate from accomplishments and values. You feel good about yourself because youíve mastered a skill, achieved a goal, developed good values (kindness, fairness, etc.), rather than the reverse. And accomplishing and achieving have everything to do with discipline, self control and will power. Essentially, delaying immediate gratification for future rewards.

And I think this is a part of what many of us on Spark are here to each other to develop self control and exercise our will power in order to achieve our goals. Definitely a running theme! This author believes that will power is like a muscle, which can be developed and strengthened, so I am looking forward to learning more.

Here's hoping all my Sparkling friends have a wonderful Sunday and a productive week!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CARINEVE 3/6/2014 7:29AM

    That is indeed a very good point you raise about achieving things having to do with will power. I know that is not the main point you are making in your blog, but it appeals to me.

I have read somewhere that the people that are successful in a sense that they are able to accomplish things like making healthy living a habit or reach certain goals, do not have more (or better trained) will power than others, but they are just better at implementing new behaviour, so it becomes a habit quickly.
And if it's a habit, you don't need to think about it anymore, so it doesn't require a lot of will power.

I kind of liked that idea, that is why since reading that I try not to think too much about or say out loud: how I don't feel like working out, or would prefer a bowl of chips to a bowl of cherry tomatoes and just do what needs to be done.
It seems to work for me, and afterwards I feel good about doing it, and think consciously about that.


Comment edited on: 3/6/2014 7:30:18 AM

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BUNNYCATS 3/3/2014 10:20AM

    I think some disadvantaged kids need to feel "good enough" to even start working on goals. I don't like the idea of some people feeling entitled to rewards without doing the work. Rewards are great, but sometimes you have to feel that the journey is the reward.

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LAURA7051 2/26/2014 5:13PM

    I'd love for that part of me that wants to eat fruits and veggies to be stronger and the part that wants potato chips and chocolate to get weaker. :D

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EMMACLAIRE5 2/26/2014 12:04PM

    It does feel really good to practice self-control, doesn't it? I think that's why I like doing short-term challenges to myself, both to try and break bad habits and to develop new ones. This week is a grain-free week again - I can do anything for a lousy week! And then at the end of the week, I'll feel the satisfaction of being successful at that. Then I can have a no-alcohol week/month, then something else after that. It gives me a goal to focus on, which keeps me on track! That will power book sounds interesting, but I don't count on my will power as much as my determination.

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TTHINAGAINN 2/23/2014 4:54PM

    I agree that self esteem is something that needs to be thoroughly taught and stressed in our society. If as parents we are not teaching our children that they are perfect as they are, good enough, etc... then we have to worry about the media and their peers making them feel inadequate. I also believe that self control is tied to self worth, self love and acceptance of all of one's emotions. Emotions stem from our experiences in life whether or not we had control over those experiences or not. This tie directly correlates our mental health to our physical health.
Great Blog!!

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HIPPICHICK1 2/23/2014 10:51AM

    I'm amazed that you run several miles almost every day and can actually survive on 1500 calories a day. I don't even understand how that is possible. Are you losing weight? Are you hungry all of the time? How many calories do you burn in a run? What is your BMR?
Signed, The Curious Cat

Comment edited on: 2/23/2014 10:52:05 AM

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KALIGIRL 2/23/2014 7:36AM

    Interesting how 'finding' and 'practicing' what works for each of us is so important. Love the idea of 'exercising' will power while BEing...

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