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Travel Survival Tips: Sunny Challenge Blog

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This week’s main challenge was to help each person in planning their summer vacations, since we all know it's hard to stay on track during a vacation!

Our challenge this week was to pick a city that you are going to this summer, or somewhere you want to travel to, and blog about 2 healthy restaurants or types of food and one healthy activity available in that city.

We travel to our cottage in Michigan near South Haven every summer and there is an amazing restaurant called Clementine's. They actually have huge towers of french fried onion rings with sides of ranch that COME with them - you don't have to ask, sort of in a whisper, if you can have ranch with that - it already comes with it. They also have to die for Bloody Marys. Cheeseburgers. Melts. You name it, they have it.

But, last time I was there I found something healthy on the menu. A warm spinach salad with fresh chicken (not fried) and just a decent amount of blue cheese crumbles. A hard boiled egg and some raspberry vinagrette dressing. Now this is my go to choice when we visit this restaurant.

Another restaurant in the area is the Phoenix Stret Cafe. At this place it's pretty darn difficult to pick something that ISN'T healthy. They have about ten salads to choose from, a "mini breakfast" with smaller portions, and even a tofu scramble. Yep, this is the place to go to. And the food is good!

A healthy activity in this city is to run/walk the Kal-Haven trail. It's beautiful in the summertime, I recently went for a walk there in the winter/fall. I can't wait to run, bike, and walk on the trail this summer.

Other things that have helped me survive trips to Michigan are:

- Bring my workout bag with my running shoes, Garmin and any gear I need.

- Bringa Leslie Sansone DVD to do in the morning or at night, and get my dad and sister to do it, too.

- Bring resistance bands.

- Pack healthy cereal to eat at breakfast, bringing healthy snacks like grapes, carrots, unsalted sunflower seeds and granola.

- Bring my own cute water bottle to ensure I'll refill it with drinking water. This keeps me away from the wine and soft drinks. And feeling full.

- I only allow myself ONE, sometimes two...glasses of wine per day.

- I do not eat any crackers, chips, or cheese. One just leads to another.

- I bring my vitamins.

- NO fast food. Period. If I am forced to go through a drive-through I will order a salad with healthy dressing or a grilled chicken sandwich. But I am making my dinner tonight so that I can eat while driving and not stop through a drive-through.

- Accountability. I sometimes do food blogs of the food I eat while there, and the day after I return I also post a blog report on how I did, AND weigh myself Monday morning as an added kick-in the butt.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COLT2008 5/27/2011 11:05AM

    emoticonplanning and I love the challenge. We're going to Six Flags in 2 weeks and I will be planning ahead as well.

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TEMPEST272002 5/26/2011 9:28PM

    Great vacation ideas! Love spinach with blue cheese. Mmmm...

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 5/26/2011 5:55PM

    Thats great!

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OFFDREA 5/26/2011 5:18PM

    I want to run wherever that picture is!!!!

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KSGROTHE 5/26/2011 4:51PM

    Great plan! It sounds like you'll have a great vacation!

- Karen

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AMBER281 5/26/2011 4:15PM

    Sounds lovely!! Great plan!

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SGTSUNNY 5/26/2011 3:38PM

    It sounds lovely! I would have to avoid the first restaurant as Onion Rings are my fav! I can eat them plain! LOL!

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KITHKINCAID 5/26/2011 2:21PM

    That sounds idyllic! Although...so do the onion rings :)

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JENJESS48 5/26/2011 1:56PM

    Sounds like your fabulous summer plans are coming along nicely. Woo hoo!

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RED_WRITINGHOOD 5/26/2011 1:46PM

    That's a great idea! What a gorgeous place to vacation as well!

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Sometimes It's Hard...But You Get Back Up

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Today I had a difficult run. Summer-like weather has finally hit Chicago and I wanted to go running first thing in the morning. But I had a late night last night watching scary movies and didn't get to sleep until 3 a.m. SO my run had to wait until after planting flowers and then lunch, when the girls took their nap (or attempted to take their nap, I should say).

It was hot. I planned ahead, and wore shorts, only one sports bra and a tank top. I pulled my hair back and I was off. From the start I had an inkling that it was gonig to be a hard run. Once I warmed up it didn't get easler, the whole time it felt like I was running through mud. (I love this expression, but yet I have never really for real ran through the mud, but I imagine this is what it would feel like: running in place almost, the wind against you, the sun beating down and you're not going anywhere. oh, and it hurts, LOL).

The route I take is hilly and at one point as I was barely making it up a hill, an older dude - at least 20 yrs. older than me and who looked out of shape - passed me.

Then as I turned the corner some random woman yelled something out of her car at me, I could only make out the word "run".

That was it.

That was the point where I wanted to throw in the towel.

I just was so tired, I had run 2.5 miles, I intended on 3, but 2.5 is good, right? But that wasn't my plan. I started to walk and a song came on my iPod, "Move Along" by The All American Rejects, the same song that have inspired so many here on Spark, and also pushed me through the hill at the Shamrock Shuffle 8k last month.

I could DO this.

So I began again. I ran, at my pace, and finished the run I had planned on doing.

And you know what? It felt great, not giving up on myself mid-run, and knowing that I could do it. I felt gratitude at the end, for the body God has given me, and for the strength He has also given me. And I want to honor that, and today...well today I know that I did.

And maybe, just maybe that woman was screaming out her car window for me to continue to run, or "You can do it",something encouraging like that.

And if I can do it, believe me, YOU can do it too.

I did a Google search for images that I could post onto this blog and came upon something that could be called fate, serendipity, coincidence, or God. I have a very good friend, Blaize, (DANCINGEARTHMOM) who has been more than a friend, a support, a partner, but more like a sister, a fellow mother, and a good friend, the kind you would love to just talk to over a glass of wine on the porch some night.

Well the first thing that I found in my Google search was a letter from the Universe, which Blaize posts often in her blogs. I found it so uncanny to find this, and it's message so pertinent to ME, TODAY, even though it was initially posted a year ago. I had to include it, it is below.

Blaize, this is for you, too baby, because maybe you needed to read this just as much as I did today. I know you are starting over too, in so many ways, and I know that you will also never give up on your family, or yourself. Love you!

And maybe YOU, Spark reader, could use it, too.

The Universe - You can do it!

Wake up! Remember what excites you. Think of these things, those friends, and the adventures that can be yours. Focus. Care. Fantasize. Imagine. It's all so near. Speak as if you're ready. Paste new pictures in your scrapbook, on your vision board, and around your home and office. Physically prepare for the changes that you wish to experience in your life. You've done this before. You know it works. You're due for an encore. It's time to amaze. That's why you're there.

And it's why I'm here,

The Universe

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEATHIELAUREN 5/26/2011 9:53AM

    I so needed this! It's been a tough week- just plain busy, and I've definitely felt like it would be easier to throw in the towel. The scale just isn't budging and I'm trying to find balance- so hard! Then I saw your blog and remembered all of the things I want and need to do. It's been tough the last few weeks for workouts. I want to train to run, but 90 + degrees and humidity makes it so hard!!! But you're right- we've made a commitment to ourselves and we've got to push thru! Thank you! emoticon

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KSGROTHE 5/23/2011 7:19PM

    emoticon on finishing your run and on finding inspiring words and images to share! emoticon

- Karen

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WHITNEY0814 5/23/2011 2:55PM

    I'm proud of you for finishing your run!

This blog is inspiring and just what I needed today, thank you!

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FLYSOHIGH 5/22/2011 4:20AM

    Hey girl! Congratulations! That's actually the best of runs when you feel like running thru mud and YET YOU D-O IT! It's such a triumph over weakness! Easy runs are easy, but the ones that are real hard - they make you a real runner! And especially during those runs your running shoes are erasers erasing the failures and pain of the past. I had that yesterday when I was so hot at the gym (despite the a/c, go figure) that I barely made it thru the 1st K, but then just concentrated on watching the bikers biking up a MOUNTAIN during Giro d'Italia and ended up running over 10K. I actually really have new found respect for myself today!

Anyway, You did awesome!
And I gotta say I am ALWAYS impressed by your consistency in running and sports given that you have two young children! You rock!

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ZURDTA- 5/22/2011 4:06AM

    That's great - that you continued on your run and gave it all you had. Way to go!

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MOMFAN 5/22/2011 2:20AM


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    Gosh darn it Kathy, my dear wonderful partner, crying over here! I just love you. And yes, I really really needed this....thank you for that my dear friend. You are seriously a sister and a best friend to me. I am SO incredibly PROUD of you for so many things, and today just adds one more thing to this list. You inspire me! Every single second. And you give me faith that I can get back to myself, back to being the runner I was....and let me tell you, you have helped me more as a friend, a fellow mother, a partner, and just really a strong woman.....you have changed my life my dear! I adore you. You encourage me to be a better me!

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TEMPEST272002 5/22/2011 12:00AM

    emoticon for finishing that tough run! Those are the best and the worst ones. Hurts to push through, but there's a feeling of self-respect that's hard to beat.

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BABY_GIRL69 5/21/2011 7:49PM

    Thats how I feel when I plan my workouts in the morning. I feel so loopy & it takes me some times 15-30mins when I am in the mode to do more & more. . .I am challenging myself & reading blogs like yours to help keep me motivated. Also as to not burn myself out like I normally do. I workout so hard that I just stop so this time I am pacing myself & not working out the 2-3hrs everyday except on Sunday. I am always amazed when I see runners & joggers. Keep running!!

God bless & enjoy everyday!


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RONIREDD 5/21/2011 7:35PM

    Love it! Thank you!

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DREAMGIRL76 5/21/2011 7:26PM

    So very proud of you. Now relax and take care of that body, those joints and muscles, put your feet up, or take that relaxing bath, be good to yourself. Hugs, Debbie

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DREAMGIRL76 5/21/2011 7:26PM

    So very proud of you. Now relax and take care of that body, those joints and muscles, put your feet up, or take that relaxing bath, be good to yourself. Hugs, Debbie

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SEWINGMAMACDS 5/21/2011 6:48PM


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AUBRAZILLA 5/21/2011 6:03PM

    Yay!! What a great blog. I'm renting a zipcar and driving an hour outside Chicago in order to run in mud tomorrow (Merrell Down & Dirty 5K) so I'll let you know how it feels!! emoticon

Great inspiration! It is so hard during the run to say, "This is where it is hard, and this is where I keep going." Afterwards you realize you probably had the strength, but right when you're in the middle of it everything seems impossible. Great job!!

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    Love this blog! I definitely know how hard it can be to run in hot, humid weather. I wasn't a runner when we lived in the midwest, but summers here in VA get pretty nasty. We'll be switching some of our runs over to morning runs soon, but keeping at least one early evening one, just to power through it.

Way to go on finishing your run! You're incredible!

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JENJESS48 5/21/2011 5:19PM

    You're amazing! I would have walked home, lol. And you've inspired me to quit putting off my ST today and just do it. Because I can. And my goals are worth it. You totally rock, lady!

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    You always inspire me. You have become a runner and one that I admire. You can do this, you are doing this, and you will continue to do this. Even when you want to stop.....you will find that shred of hope and inspiration to continue.

Thanks for sharing today.

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MARCYNA 5/21/2011 5:03PM

    This is a really inspiring post, thanks for sharing!!! emoticon

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Looking Forward...A Picture Blog

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Growing up I was not an outside kid. I was always more cerebral and loved reading books. Being obese since the 2nd grade also added to my dislike of the outdoors.

When I was a pre-teen and MTV came out, that sealed the deal. I was indoors, all summer long, with a bowl of Cheetos on my lap and the remote in hand, pillow behind my back. My mom tried to get me to go outside…pleaded with me even. But I wasn’t budging. And my Mom, God bless her and I love her, she is also not an outdoors person and had gained weight after having her kids. So I kind of learned by example…and thus that is why it is one of my main goals to be a healthy mom and to instill exercise in my kids at an early age.

But, I digress.

What I want to show you is what I am going to do THIS summer.

Summer music festivals. I used to hide from them and let my husband go alone. Not this year! I already have my Pitchfork ticket and plan on bringing the girls, too!

Training for 10 and 15k.

Running my first 10K along Montrose Harbor

Playing on the beach in Michigan with my daughters and my new bathing suit on.

Getting silly at the cottage.

Going on long walks and runs and noticing the beauty that surrounds me. I went for a walk last night to the library and never, ever, noticed before the beautiful trees in front of the building.

Hiking at Starved Rock.

Flying a kite.

Going to the Taste of Westmont and riding the rides with my girls.

Smelling fresh cut grass. Running through that grass with bare feet.

Water parks.

Sun dresses.

Campfires and marshmallows and that smell of smoke in your clothes.

The birth of my twin nieces and having the energy to help my sister with them...and to hold them.

Trying my hand at gardening for the first time.

Running lakeside in Michigan with the sun shining down.


Relaxing in the back yard.

Planning mini vacations in my own city, where I can get lots of walking in and spend time with the family.

Playing with my nephews.

Working out in Millennium Park for free – yoga, zumba, FUN!

Eating sushi outside.

Going to the Splash Park and then swimming in our backyard baby pool with Lucy and Marlo.

Going to the Zoo.

Sailing aboard the Tall Ship Windy again from Navy Pier, a yearly family destination.

Watching fireworks.

Watching the sun go down.

Seeing a Cubs game on a roof top.

Renting a bike and riding on the lakefront.

Reading and writing outside.

Walking to the coffee shop next door at lunch and getting a workout in.

The birth of another baby girl niece will finish off my summer!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUDITH316 5/25/2011 8:15AM

    awesome blog, love the photo's, congrats on the birth of your nieces and another one later this summer, sounds like you have planned out an awesome summer, I love the route you will be using for your running, lots of awesome scenery..You are doing great, keep up the great work! emoticon emoticon

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AUBRAZILLA 5/14/2011 10:51AM

    I bet you subscribe to Runner's World!! My motivational poster also has the red-headed goddess in sneakers, but I added the caption: BUILD A BETTER BUTT!!

Your motivational poster is beautiful and I was almost distracted, until I began to read your blog. Good God, LotusFlower! You are fantastic :)

Chicago is such a beautiful place, and it cheers me further to know there are so many beautiful people in it. Here's to the summer and tan shoulders!

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Great !!!!!!!!!


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GOGOMAMA 5/13/2011 3:27PM

    Beautiful images! Sounds like heaven!

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LYNN2BTHIN 5/13/2011 3:09PM

    What an emoticon blog!! Your plans sound amazing and I loved all the pictures too. You go girl and have fun!

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KSGROTHE 5/12/2011 9:32PM

    Your plans look emoticon and emoticon!!! You are going to have so much fun!

- Karen

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    Music festivals are the high light of my summers. :) Enjoy!

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ROBYNROSE26 5/11/2011 4:14PM

    Your summer plans are amazing! Enjoy!

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AMBER281 5/11/2011 3:58PM

    Wonderful blog. Sounds like you are going to have a great summer!

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CALLIKIA 5/11/2011 2:56PM

    YES YES YES! I can't wait!! I'm not waiting. Every nice day = me, outside, enjoying it somehow. We've got a basketball, tennis rackets and balls and now a volleyball in the back of our new car and we are SO ready to hit the road! And the beach! I can't wait for the beach and swimming in the lake and rowing and... *breathe, Esther!* *lol* Cannot WAIT!

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ROEANDGO 5/11/2011 12:51PM

    What a wonderful list!! Love the pictures and think I may "steal" your idea! It sounds like you are going to have a wonderful Summer!!

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RONIREDD 5/11/2011 11:23AM

    I love this, thank you! I might have to "steal" it from you and figure out my plans for the summer!

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DZINE4KING 5/11/2011 11:17AM

    What a beautiful blog! I love the pictures...makes me think of things I would like to do this summer! Thanks for sharing!

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RED_WRITINGHOOD 5/11/2011 9:54AM

    I love this blog!! The pictures are wonderful!

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ZURDTA- 5/11/2011 9:03AM

    Awesome pictures and great things to do.

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KARVY09 5/11/2011 7:41AM

    What a perfect ode to the amazing summer you have in store!

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MERULE 5/11/2011 1:31AM

  This is beautiful. Simply beautiful. Makes me think of all the summers I let go by just because I thought I wasn't good enough.. Thank you! This blog made my resolution to have the best summer ever and live it to the fullest grows stronger. Thank you thank you thank you! emoticon

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SMALLERMELORIE 5/10/2011 10:42PM

    Wonderful blog. Where in Michigan do you go to the beach? Looks like you have a wonderful Summer planned.

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REENSKI 5/10/2011 10:19PM

    Wonderful blog!

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    I'll be visiting Chicago in June for the first time, looking forward to it!

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MELMEI 5/10/2011 9:25PM

    This blog made me remember how cool of a city Chicago really is! ESPECIALLY in the summer! I'm super excited to be more active this summer too!!!

Question... Where is your cottage in MI? My friends/friends parents have a cottage in MI and yours looks VERY similar to my friends. There's is on this small private lake in the middle of nowhere (can't remember the name of the town).

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JLPEASE 5/10/2011 9:23PM

    This is a great blog!

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SBHPATRICK 5/10/2011 8:11PM

    Wonderful blog! I too am looking forward to a lot of those activities this summer - I can hardly wait!

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    Not going to lie, as a fellow Chicagoan (WOOT!), I share SO MANY of these goals! You'll accomplish them, and you'll enjoy every minute. :) I lived near Starved Rock, and let me tell you, it is such an incredible hiking experience. :) I had no idea Millennium Park has free exercise, though--you best bet I'll be getting some Yoga in this summer!

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KANSASROSE67 5/10/2011 6:52PM

    I LOVE this blog! I have been going through a rough time lately and this is first thing I've seen that's made me feel excited and happy for the upcoming summer. My normal outlook is positive...in fact, I wrote a similar blog last summer about the things I wanted to do. Thanks for giving me a little of myself back.

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TEMPEST272002 5/10/2011 6:23PM

    What an incredible summer you are about to have. I love how all the choices you've made around fitness & healthy eating have brought you to a place where you are ABLE to them. It's going to be amazing!

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KITHKINCAID 5/10/2011 6:22PM

    This blog brings tears to my eyes! Not only am I feeling just what you are feeling today (isn't the weather GORGEOUS today?), but all of the activities that you're planning on doing just make me so excited to do them too! I have my first sundress of the season on today, biked to work, smelled the fresh grass and really though "wow - this is the kick-off to summer"! I've been daydreaming all day about going home and sitting out in my yard with a fizzy berry water and enjoying the remains of this day. We are so blessed.

And that before pic of you with Marlo is incredible. You have come SO FAR!!!

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    It sounds like you have an incredible summer planned! Way to go...Love it!

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LOOZINITNOW 5/10/2011 4:48PM

    It's going to be a fabulous summer! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BUTTERFLYBLUE67 5/10/2011 4:47PM

    I love your blog and most of all outlook on your future.

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JENJESS48 5/10/2011 4:25PM

    Ooooh, can I come with on some of those?

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CHICAT63 5/10/2011 4:17PM

    Absolutely frigging fantastic summer planned - YOU GO GIRL.
PS: Being a twin myself, loved the picture. All the best to your sister & hubby. Josée

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    oh my gosh what beautiful pictures!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! sooo much fun!

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JMEPAYNE 5/10/2011 4:11PM

    Love this blog!!!

you should def hike starved rock! my in-laws live about 5-10 minutes away and i like to sneak in a hike there every few months. LOVE it!
i love all your plans for the city... it's so amazing in the summer. I live right off montrose and the harbor is about a 15 minute walk for me... i am planning to utilize it as much as possible this summer! emoticon

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STARLIGHT615 5/10/2011 4:10PM

    Love the pictures!! You can do all that and more sweetness!!

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SGTSUNNY 5/10/2011 3:59PM

    Great blog, so inspiring! Loved the pictures. Keep on doing what you are doing, it is working!

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OFFDREA 5/10/2011 3:56PM

    You're summer looks like so much fun!!!!!!
I wanna go to starved rock! That looks breathtaking!

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    Awwww! I love the blog! And I didn't know you were in Chicago! You're a hop, skip and a jump away! Chicago is one of my FAVORITE cities.... SO much fun to do there girl...and it looks like you have your summer all planned out! LOVE IT!

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GRAMPIAN 5/10/2011 3:44PM

  Good pictures. emoticon

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JENNSWIMS 5/10/2011 3:35PM

    I don't know where Starved Rock is, but it is beautiful. It reminds me of the Hocking Hills, here in Ohio.

What a great blog!

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Why I do This

Thursday, May 05, 2011

This week our challenge is to blog about why you decided to change your habits to become a healthy, fit person.

I have never really felt comfortable in my own skin. I think thats my initial answer to the why, why did I decide to change my habits. But then thinking further about it, I realized that wasnt really it. It was part of it, sort of like an itch when you get a mosquito bite. The itch is the reaction to the bite. In my case, what was my bite? Quite literally, that I was eating too much. I was TOO FULL. I got big, and bigger, and then was at my biggest ever. But that, too, was just a reaction to what I was putting in my body. That had nothing to do with my soul. No, the reason I changed my habits was because I didnt know who I was anymore. I had just become this person who didnt recognize herself in the mirror and a person who, instead of feeling her emotions, or anything really, just stuffed them down her mouth. This person I did not love. I didnt even LIKE this person I had become.

So, there was a problem inside of myself, and I was protecting myself from the outside in... or so I thought...filling myself so full of food that it left little room for anything else in my life. I was cushioned all right. But I had no life. I had no joy. I had..THINGS, I had PEOPLE in my life. I had been blessed with a wonderful husband and looking back I dont quite know how that happened except when I met him I was ME, and he fell in love with that person and as that person gained 120 lbs. before his very eyes he still loved that person inside, the soul. There arent many people in this world that can look past 120 lbs. and I thank the Lord every day that my husband is one of them.

I had a great family, a good husband, a job, a home. From the outside things looked great. I kept up appearances. I even had fun every once in a while. But when I got home from work, from that party, from putting on the show, I was sad. I didnt like being alone with myself because I didnt like myself. I turned to TV, food and alcohol to numb it all. To be honest with you I thought a life full of sleeping 24 hrs. a day would be a dream come true. And I wanted to change. Boy, did I want to change, but I wanted the fast magic quick as lightning pill that would reverse time and make it all go AWAY. Well guess what honey, that doesnt exist. Just another excuse for me not to get healthy. It was impossible , right?


I tried every twist, turn, diet, pill, fad, trend. I tried it all. I wanted to be healthy and fit, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well. It was always on my to do list to go to church. To exercise. To start that new diet.

But when I realized that I had failed at it all, when I reached that brick wall and just surrendered and reached out to God, a God I hadnt spoken to for at least 15 years because I felt He had betrayed me through a deep loss earlier in my life (and most likely the reason I started to overeat and fill myself up) it was only when I came to that point that my life started to change. I prayed and reached out to a God that did not know me and I didnt know Him. But, I had one small thing. Faith.

It was that little speck of faith that changed my life.

I began to pray more, and to ask God for help overcoming my overeating, and my urge to binge and purge my food, like I had in H.S. when I was a size 6. I began to pray for the strength to eat, but only to eat enough, as I had been anorexic previously as well. My family has some serious addiction issues, my uncle drank himself to death and thats not all, I knew I needed prayer to get through this thing.

And I think God had a bigger plan to have me go through the pain I went through earlier in my life, and the despair. I had always had church on my list, as I said, but now I have something even better...through the broken road I went down I discovered a deep faith in God that I can rely on, and use for my strength, and now church is something I want to do, just like working out, eating right, etc. Maybe I had to go through that to get to where I am now.

So through my faith I began to do it all one step at a time. Youve all probably heard my story.. couldnt walk even a half mile at first, now Im running up to 6 miles at a time. I always wanted a family, and now I have 2 beautiful daughters. I have a healthier marriage and stronger friendships.

And now I feel like ME again. Thats the most important part to me. Not the size jeans I can fit into, not that Ive dropped 10 sizes or almost 90 lbs. But that I love myself again. That I can SEE myself again. I look in the mirror and I recognize that person looking back at me. Instead of wanting to be numb I want to feel it ALL. I love running mainly because it forces me to connect with myself. To push from within and to hear the sound of my breath in my ears and my feet on the pavement. I love yoga because I can feel every curve, every muscle and every stretch and I just know its great for my body, like a cool drink of water to thirsty lungs. I love walking, biking, dancing. I love being me again. But Im also discovering new things about myself every day, and becoming even more of the person I was always meant to be. I was hiding from life and now Im living it and making the most of each day.

After being lost for so many years I thought I had lost her. That girl who loved to roll down hills and run through the woods and explore. I wasnt sure how, or if, I could get her back. I didnt know what that would look like.

But now I know.

It looks like me, only better. I am a healthy mom, wife, sister and friend. I am pursuing my dreams to run a 10k and a 15k and eventually a half marathon. I also plan on honoring my writing and get back to it, and find myself there again.

I am worth it. I can say with certainty that we ALL are.

So, my final answer to the why? Why did I start this journey? Because I had to. Because I didn't know who I was anymore and I needed to find out. Because, deep deep down...underneath it all...I wanted to LIVE.

I feel it all, I feel it all.
The wings are wide, the wings are wide
I know more than I knew before.
Lyrics from Feist, I Feel It All

I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, Move from here to there and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you. Matthew 17:20

Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like Northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
Id like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
Youve been there you understand
Its all part of a grander plan that is coming true
Lyrics from Selah Bless the Broken Road:

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RECIPE4ME 8/30/2011 9:59PM

    Great blog! inspiring!

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KATV865 8/29/2011 11:34AM

    So inspiring!!

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PAMELALYNN2011 8/27/2011 2:26PM

    i absolutally adore this page and all your inspiring blogs and writtings!!! you are very inspiring and i am so happy for yu and your successes!!

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Wow. I am at a loss for words. If you knew me you would know that doesn't happen often! LOL !!!!
What a testimony.

blessings to you, Sue

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GOGOMAMA 5/13/2011 3:29PM


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TRAVELGRRL 5/8/2011 4:35PM

    You brought tears to my eyes! I will read this blog again and again when I am feeling discouraged. Thank you.

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JENJESS48 5/7/2011 12:11PM

    Fabulous blog, Kathy! I heart you so much. emoticon

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    What a special blog Kathy.

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ROEANDGO 5/6/2011 8:16PM

    Fabulous blog Kathy!! Congratulations on finding YOU again!!

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KSGROTHE 5/6/2011 7:35PM

    emoticon blog! I have felt some of the same things about losing the me I once was. You have done a great job rediscovering the you that was hiding!

Keep up the good work! emoticon

- Karen

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MANLEYSANDY 5/6/2011 6:36PM

    Great blog!!!

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TABIKATZZ 5/6/2011 4:28PM

    wonderful blog. It was beautiful and so are you! Congrats on your journey and your discovery of yourself along the way.

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AMBER281 5/6/2011 1:06PM

    Wow what a wonderful blog, I will definately come back and read it again. Thanks for sharing.

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SEWINGMAMACDS 5/6/2011 12:29PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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MARCH_ 5/6/2011 10:44AM

    In our daily life, sometimes a lovely grind, it is so important to keep in view of the bigger picture. You've got that, and I thank you for it.

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LOOZINITNOW 5/6/2011 8:06AM

    What a beautiful blog! God is good!

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KITHKINCAID 5/6/2011 12:33AM

    I'm so proud of you. I don't have much more to say than that. You have changed your life and it is wonderful!!!

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MOMFAN 5/6/2011 12:02AM


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TEMPEST272002 5/5/2011 11:32PM

    Geez Kathy, you literally made me cry. I got to the part

"I look in the mirror and I recognize that person looking back at me. Instead of wanting to be numb I want to feel it ALL."

& the tears just came. Incredibly moving & beautiful blog. Thank you so much. You have been a real inspiration to me on this journey.

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SGTSUNNY 5/5/2011 10:52PM

    Yes you are amazing. And I think we gained for the same reason, it was a grief reaction. So lets continue to lose the weight and make strides towards relearning and revisiting ourselves. I love reading anything you write, but this was particularly moving and touched my heart. Hugs.

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THEADMIRAL 5/5/2011 9:38PM

    Bravo! emoticon A beautiful blog - we can do all things through Christ! You ARE doing it and you're overcoming all that hid you from your sight and God's. emoticon

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ZURDTA- 5/5/2011 3:56PM

    Lovely. You see that person inside you - the real you - is why you are such an inspiration.

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    Thank you for sharing this! So many people are looking for exactly what you've found and they feel there's no hope, but Praise the Lord there is!!! That dark place is no fun to be in, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and it just takes time to get there. You have a wonderful, beautiful soul and I'm so happy that I stumbled on your Sparkpage many months ago. Again, thank you! emoticon

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    Awww sweetie you are such a beautiful spirit! I am so glad that you feel like you again. Your faith inspires me and encourages me to be better and to have faith and hope. You are seriously amazing and your daughters are lucky to have such a great role model....and a mother who is so adamant in her faith and self confident in her decisions that you are making an improved version of you! Gosh I love ya!

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COLT2008 5/5/2011 2:59PM

    emoticon, emoticonfor sharing!

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OFFDREA 5/5/2011 2:58PM

    Kathy you are an amazing woman. I am in tears reading this. You deserve all the happiness in the world. You have changed your life the way some people can only dream about. You are a true inspiration and motivator. You be proud of all you have accomplished and the goals you will conquer in the future. Nothing will ever stop you.

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April Progress Report and a Look Back

Monday, May 02, 2011

Start weight: 213
End weight: 209.5
Weight lost: 3.5 lbs.
Total weight lost this year: 16 lbs.
Goal weight progress: 31.5 more lbs. to go to goal weight!
Onederland progress: 10 more lbs. to reach ONEderland!
Total weight lost: 88.5 lbs.
Total fitness minutes: 1.045


My goal this month was to lose 4lbs, bringing me to 209. I nearly reached that by losing 3.5 lbs. And I gained 3.5 lbs. this month, so my highest this month was 215.5, not 213. I am very happy with my progress this month.


emoticonI ran my first 8k – the Shamrock Shuffle!!! 1:01 PR for me!

emoticonI signed up for my first 10k! (and I wanted to)

emoticonI ran in the rain for the first time!

emoticonReached over 1,000 fitness minutes for the month.


emoticonI am feeling like a "thin" person.

emoticonWhen the hot weather arrived unexpectedly I embraced it and didn't try to cover myself up like I used to do in the summers. I actually welcomed it.

emoticonI worked out with my tankini bottoms on and a sports bra and nothing else so as to not wake my family gathering clothes in the morning and I felt slim! I looked down at my legs and they looked trim!

emoticonI ordered 2 swimsuits from Old Navy and was sure that the "Regular size" I would have to send back, but it fits! I actually look good in it! I am so excited for the summer! A complete NSV for me.

emoticonMy wedding ring literally fell off of my finger while I was in the store.

emoticonI went to my yearly dr. checkup and the dr. couldn’t stop saying how proud she was of me and how much I’ve changed in the last year and agreed on my goal weight and that I could reach that by next year.

emoticonI gave some of my tops that are too big for me now to my sister who is 8 mo. pregnant w/ twins – this weekend she wore a shirt I purchased for my wedding anniversary last year, after I had lost 40 lbs already – and it fit her perfectly. Shows me how far I have come.

emoticonI inspired my cousin Kim to purchase a treadmill and start training for a 5k, and her husband John to join Spark!


emoticon It’s ok to ask for help.

emoticon There’s always a time to change things up.

emoticon The only competition is myself.

emoticonThat turtles do win the race….eventually… emoticon

emoticon That weight loss ISN’T a race, but a journey.

Enjoy it :)

I usually use my paper Spark calendar, but this month proved to be very busy, so I used the Spark Summary calendar feature. Below is my snapshot.

A comparison photo - left me at the beginning of this journey, right at my current state of the journey.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AUBRAZILLA 5/14/2011 10:52AM

    I love this recap, mind if I steal it?

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TRAVELGRRL 5/3/2011 8:47PM

    So proud of you! Keep up the great work! WTG on your 8K!!!

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ZURDTA- 5/3/2011 6:41AM

    Awesome - your hard work work and dedication have paid off.

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MOMFAN 5/3/2011 1:59AM


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THEADMIRAL 5/2/2011 9:46PM

    emoticon What a difference! And what a emoticon month! emoticon

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    Hey Kathy, I know the girl on the right, but who is the girl on the left. hehe. I love it, you have done so well and I am very proud of you.
Great job

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TEMPEST272002 5/2/2011 7:13PM

    I just melted at the family photo at the bottom. You look 10-15 years younger this year & so happy. Loving the NSVs!

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    You ROCK!!!!! I tell you all the time, but I must say it again, You're such an inspiration!!!! You're one of the reasons I know I can conquer this thing!! emoticon

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KSGROTHE 5/2/2011 4:53PM

    Great lists of Fitness Accomplishments, NSVs, and Things You've Learned! emoticon

Keep up the good work! emoticon

- Karen

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SLFRISBEY 5/2/2011 2:44PM

    Woohoo! You look amazing and are so kicking some serious booty! Keep it up, you're a great example to follow! :)

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LOOZINITNOW 5/2/2011 1:24PM

    Great non-scale victories and accomplishments! Those are worth a lot!!! emoticon

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SEWINGMAMACDS 5/2/2011 12:42PM


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TEDDYBEARGIRL 5/2/2011 12:31PM


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JENJESS48 5/2/2011 12:30PM

    You're doing fantastic, Kathy! And your girls are absolutely precious!

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KITHKINCAID 5/2/2011 12:17PM

    Oh my gosh, I love how Marlo sucks her two fingers instead of her thumb! Super cute.

I'm so proud of you this month. You stuck it out and the scale finally paid you back. I know it's been a tough haul for you, so WAY TO GO KATHY!!!!

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LMLOPEZ 5/2/2011 12:15PM

    Woo Hoo!!! You look as amazing as you feel. Great job!!!
The health benefits alone that you have gotten in your weight loss and getting fit are wonderful enough. The benefit is that you ARE a healthy mom and a good role model for your children.
emoticon emoticon

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OFFDREA 5/2/2011 12:11PM

    Kathy you are amazing!!!!!!!

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    I am so proud of you! You look AMAZING!

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